The National Institute of Whole Health (NIWH) | Pioneers of Whole Health Education® and Whole Person Care
April 18, 2017

The Truth Behind Whole Health Nutrition

By Georgianna Donadio, MSc, DC, PhD

What exactly is “integrated” or “whole health” nutrition? When the word “integrated” is added to nutrition, it describes an approach to understanding nutrition from a whole person perspective. Human beings are made up of many aspects that come together to determine who they are, how they live, and the quality of their life. The way we think, behave, treat others, live, work and even eat are all inter-connected and integrated with one another.

For many people, the way they eat is compartmentalized from their big picture understanding of themselves. By exploring the various motivational triggers in our lives for both constructive and not so constructive behavior, we can experience an authentic control and understanding of “what makes us tick.”

I am personally a health conscious individual, exercising 75 minutes a day with the vast majority of my meals consisting of living plant foods. The other afternoon a close friend announced devastating new that sent me out of my office, reeling with distress, and I immediately knew I wanted a carbohydrate fix.

I wasn’t craving the kind of carbohydrate that by-passes insulin and is high in fiber and phytonutrients or rich in minerals and vitamin A and C. I wanted the processed kind that has lots of sugar and calories and would result in significantly high levels of serotonin being secreted into my blood stream, so my brain could take a step back, chill out, and process the information I had just received.

The idea of “integrated” nutrition, or integrated exercise, meditation, yoga, working, lifetyle or any other aspect of our lives, is to have a whole picture understanding of how food or behavior is integrated into our whole self and into the larger perspective of what motivates and directs our behavior choices.

Yes, indeed. I felt quite sick after pouring the sweet, crunchy snacks into my stomach, but I also was able to give myself some self-medication with the food that lowered my anxiety level and allowed me to emotionally process the news I received in a way that was less distressing and more constructive than if I would have NOT eaten the serotonin provoking foods.

The most important thing about the choices we make is whether or not we make them consciously. Integrative nutrition is not always pure, living, green, and healthy nutrition. It is about the whole experience of how, why, and what we eat. Perhaps the goal here isn’t perfection so much as awareness and understanding.


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Published in Holistic Health, Holistic Living, Holistic Nutrition, Whole Health Nutrition | Comments (0)

April 11, 2017

How Your Adrenal Glands Adapt To Everyday Challenges

By Georgianna Donadio, MSc, DC, PhD

The ability for a human being to adapt to its environment and to deal with the many ongoing challenges and changes it faces is the hallmark of a healthy body. That we can withstand day-to-day events that challenge our nervous systems, and subsequently our immune systems, is an expression that our body is working efficiently.

Stress and Your Glands

Understanding the connection between how events affect our stress adaptation system, primarily the adrenal glands, and how the adrenal’s hyper-secretions during stress can create havoc with the digestive and immune systems, is important so we can make informed lifestyle choices that preserve and respect our body and our long term health.

Sources of Wear and Tear

Most of us do not know what stressors are. We tend towards the idea that emotional upset is what constitutes stress. However, there are 12 major categories of stress that can impact our body and health. Unfortunately, we are subject to these stressors on a regular basis. A stressor is any activity or event which requires the body to change or adapt to maintain its homeostasis, or balance. Therefore, it becomes essential to know the factors we must be mindful of in order to keep our stress levels in check.

Here are the stressors to be aware of in your day-to-day life:

> Weather: exposure to heat and cold
> Insufficient sleep and rest
> Infection or silent inflammation in the body
> Allergies: all types
> Dental or medical procedures and surgeries
> Reproduction (women): menstrual cycle, pregnancy, breast feeding, menopause
> Sexual Activity (both genders)
> Nutrition: too much or non-nutritious
> Exertion and exercise: too much or not enough
> Trauma: any form
> Fear, anxiety, worry: ongoing
> Loss or grief

Coping Techniques

By keeping your stress levels low, you will reduce wear and tear on your body parts, which in the long term will lead to less chronic illness and disease. It is not the stress itself that makes you sick, but the ongoing wear on the body that causes dysfunction and dis-ease. Fortunately, there are many ways to reduce stress and maintain a balanced nervous system. While the list is endless here are some of the most popular ways to reduce overall stress levels:

> Exercise
> Music
> Yoga
> Sports
> Gardening

Each person finds their best way to relax and de-stress. It is something we all need to do on a regular basis to balance our nervous systems and stay healthy!

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Published in Whole Health Living, Whole Person Health | Comments (0)

April 4, 2017

Visualization May Speed Healing

By Georgianna Donadio, MSc, DC, PhD

Decades ago, in the 1990’s, Peggy Huddleston, author of “Prepare for Surgery Health Faster,” demonstrated the relationship between a patient visualizing their healing after surgery and a decrease in the need for pain medication and subsequent shorter hospital stays.

Huddleston conducted numerous studies at Boston area hospitals and, without exception, the use of healing visualization before and after surgery resulted in measurable improvements in the recovery from surgery. This also resulted in a decrease of costs related to hospitalization length of stay, medication, and the absence of complications after surgery.

Until recently, it was only nurses, social workers, and pastoral counselors who were advocates of guided imagery as a healing modality. But due to health consumers now educating their doctors about the healing benefits of guided imagery, physicians are also getting on board. Many are now recommending the use of guided imagery not only for pre- and post-operative benefits, but also as adjunctive therapy for chronic pain and disease.

Dr. Mehmet Oz, the well-known cardio-thoraic surgeon at Columbia Presbyterian Medical center, recommends imagery for his patients. This trend can now be seen at all major medical centers and hospitals. In addition, with studies showing that imagery saves money, has no clinical risk, and can be administered without a practitioner, companies like Blue Cross and Blue Shield of California have incorporated the modality into its paid services for its members.

In June of 2000, Blue Shield began a pre-surgery program involving Guided Imagery for its members who were approved for a major surgery. This established the first health plan to develop such a program.

Apart from its use with surgery, guided imagery can facilitate relaxation and reduction of stress. By imagining your body healing and growing stronger, messages are sent to the amygdala portion of the brain, which “automatically” sends messages to our immune system to create chemistry that will assist in the recovery or healing process that is desired.

Specific imagery for specific conditions can also greatly enhance the healing, but just visualizing the immune system sending out “messengers” to heal whatever part of the body is ailing can result in improved outcomes.

For more information about guided imagery and how it can help you or those you love, visit:

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