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There is a massive paradigm shift happening on ground level among 30- and 40-something women.
We are leading the way in a new approach to how we look at our bodies and at our health.
We are sick.
Few of us got through our adolescent years without being prescribed a hormonal supplement (birth control pill), few of us got through our 20s without mood and digestive disorders and few of us are going through our 30s and 40s feeling great about our bodies.
This challenge to our collective health is behind the shift. Leading this charge is a group of amazingly dynamic, driven and healthy group whom I am honoured to call my colleagues and my friends: the new nutritionists, chefs, educators, authors and motivators.
We are excited, we are making change happen and it's because we understand that health is not about being thin and eating an optimal amount of calories, or getting the "healthier" option at the drive through.
Healthy is not about looking at a plate of food and seeing 650 calories and ratios in grams for carbs to proteins. Healthy is not about cheat days or finding junk food in the health food store that abides by our latest list of dietary restrictions.
We're about keeping it whole and real -- and you are digging this approach because it works.
Health is not an absence of disease. Health is having something. Having lots.
Health is about waking up, excited for the day, having a feeling of calm, vitality and steady energy. Health is about cooking the best food ever and enjoying it. Health is about the sense of empowerment that comes when we take control of our health as an active participant in the process.
I have a degree in fashion, I spent four years working in advertising and then my body gave out on me. At 26, I was too sick to go to work. After a three-year battle with digestive distress that doctors said was "normal" for my age, at 26, I was diagnosed with Crohn's disease, a chronic incurable, inflammatory bowel disease.
Opting to take my health it into my own hands, with the inherent belief that if the body and mind are given what is needed to heal, than health would be the inevitable end result.
My symptoms went away within a couple of weeks and now, over six years later, I remain symptom-free.
As a result of my experience, I have worked with thousands, I have taught over 250 cooking classes, appeared on national television, I write daily and have a book coming out across North America in April 2013. I will be leading my 5th annual health retreat in February, this year in Costa Rica.
The greatest gift that these opportunities have offered is enabling me be a catalyst in this new paradigm shift that can only benefit people on an individual basis, benefit communities by having healthier, more positive members and benefit the greater universe by helping people find their place of optimal health where they are able to give their best to the world.
Health is not about weight. Skinny does not equal healthy.
When we feel great, looking great is a by-product. Health has nothing to do with the size of our jeans or where we land on the body-mass index. As young women, we have seen our mothers, aunts, grandmothers, and many public figures battle the bulge, looking for a diet that works, sacrificing and stressing over this.
The solution, as many women are beginning to understand, is not to focus on what we are giving up, what we can't have, what we are missing out on, but to focus on the health; focus on what we are getting and gaining and how amazing that is.
Healthy is the new skinny and that shift in mindset will change how we view food, how we view our body, how we view each other and how, ultimately, we will make every choice count.