By Isabelle Calon
I had done some research in France to find a course to take me deeper into my understanding of what constitutes a plant based diet lifestyle. I wanted to discover its benefits and how can it be followed practically. The information available in France and in Europe was not sufficient. While researching, I came across The Hippocrates Wellness and things clicked. It was clearly the direction I wanted to take.
Everything was organized and confirmed for me to take the autumn 2018 course at the Institute in Florida but I suddenly had to change my plan when my Mother got extremely sick and was hospitalized. With Pam Blue, we re-scheduled for me to come a year later in 2019 but my visa to visit the United States was declined for some unknown reason. I then decided to take the online course. Finally, my dream came true…
Who am I and why choose Hippocrates Wellness?
I was born in a tiny village in the Champagne region in France and was brought up on a self-sufficient farm. At 18, I left my family to travel and study philosophy while developing a real interest in food. I tried to find the connection between food, mind and health, a path which I have pursued since then.
I was very lucky to have the opportunity to work in some of the UK’s most innovative kitchens and with their chefs, and these amazing experiences shaped my skills, especially creativity, in my cooking.
I opened a locally beloved restaurant in the south of the French countryside and I am currently running a successful home catering business on the Côte d’Azur near Nice.
Looking back, it is fascinating to see how my approach to food gradually became healthier, how willing I was to give my clients healthy dishes and how much I wished to give them information about my choice to use natural and organic ingredients. My ambition has been to feed people’s body and soul.
I now specialize in vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free and raw food using only local and organic sources.
I have also pursued studies of medicinal and edible plants and detoxification techniques with juices and raw food.
My husband and I maintain and regularly use ingredients from our own garden where we practice permaculture and sustainable food production.
My journey lead me to the Hippocrates Wellness in pursuit of a deeper understanding of optimum health, and how to practice this way of life, and assimilate what a plant based diet means, as well as to combine the accumulated information into a coherent and intelligent form. I strongly felt that The Hippocrates Course was the perfect environment for me.
How I found the transformation I was looking for in my life?
The greatest challenge has been to alter my life’s habits and then embrace the changes. As Dr. Dossey says "If we do that, we will discover that the universe has a way of meeting us halfway."
Dietary transition requires courage, consistency and perseverance as says Brian Clement "Demons come out of you!"
Having my husband’s support was half of the journey.. It has been so exciting to share information with him. Together, we have introduced daily wheatgrass juice, juicing & sprouting and a significant increase in eating raw and living food. We experiment with the benefits of the Hippocrates lifestyle together. What a joy! I think that this shows the importance of having support in making changes in our lives.
The most striking change I have experienced while transitioning is my degree of vitality, particularly during the fasting periods. It feels to me that the fuel is distributed and regulated into my body much more efficiently. My blood sugar level has been more balanced, so no more peaks of insulin which used to make me feel tired and hungry all the time. Bringing back the life-force through sprouting, making it 30-50% more nutritious, has an extraordinary effect on the quality of my energy, be it physical or intellectual.
Raw food triggers my sense of satiety preventing overeating. Snacking has disappeared and I can now make a clear different between real hunger and eating from habit.
Here are the basic principles I have chosen to install in my daily lifestyle to optimize my health:
- Eat organic food : pesticides, herbicides, fungicides are a major threat to our health as we absorb these poisons which become a source of disease and the root cause for many illnesses such as cancer, neurological problems, inflammation, infertility, diminished immunity, Alzheimer’s… Moreover, they deplete and poison the life-giving earth, destroying living creatures and essential nutrients and vital minerals. Not only is this a
catastrophe for the equilibrium of nature, but the shortage of the earth’s microbiome diversity also leads to major health issues of nutritional deficiency, like thyroid imbalance due to the lack of selenium and iodine.
- Eat local & seasonal food : I am encouraging the local economy by buying straight from the local producers where the products are fresher, in season and more nutritious and the carbon footprint is lower.
- Eliminate processed food and animal products : In doing so, one avoids sugar and salt in excess, chemical additives such as flavor enhancers, preservatives, GMO, antibiotics, growth hormones, heavy metals… and reduces one of the main root causes of inflammation and toxins. Processed food, dead food, cannot regenerate the cells of our body, being deprived of life and enzymes which are the very essence of life and regeneration.
- Boost my intake of hormones, oxygen, phytochemicals & enzymes : I have introduced wheatgrass & green juices, mixed fresh sprouts as my main course, fermented food and of course lots of fresh raw vegetables instantly sourced from my garden. I now look for nutrients in my food intake rather than calories. If I give my body what it needs, it will naturally function well and maximize my quality of life.
- Food combining : I have experienced the effects of improper food combining like difficult digestion, over acidity, fatigue, inflammation, flatulence… I find it difficult to apply perfect food combining but try to stay aware as much as I can.
- Letting go of my addictions : The new lifestyle I have put into place meant that I had to let go of caffeine, of all refined flour, of sugar. It also meant to eat fruits within reason being in good health. Cooked food was an addiction too! Surprisingly, I find this easier as time go by. It is now occasionally, often in my social life, that I reach out for these substances. Stevia has been of great help!
- Install intermittent fasting : I eliminated breakfast in the morning and eat early at night, I fast for 18 hours daily. I also do longer fasts between seasons. It feels like a total reset of my body. It can clean, detoxify, eliminate and so optimize my digestion and assimilation. Fasting has been an amazing revelation to me, my mind is clearer and I feel so much better for it!
- Exercise : I have been exercising 5/6 days a week for many years. I alternate one day 40’ Cardio / 30’ weight, one day 20’ HIT / 30’ trampoline. Stretching is also part of my daily session. I also go for walks
several times a week with friends from my community. I love walking with bare feet in nature. I do lots of gardening depending on the season. Exercising improves the health of the body, mind and soul. It oxygenates and activates stem-cells, activates my body fluids, invigorates my lymph system, encouraging sweating and cleansing. Weight lifting is also essential for my bone mass and strength and calcium assimilation. Exercise is the most efficient « medicine » to handle stress and emotions, to increase concentration and the brain’s ability to learn and perform, as well as the quality of sleep. It improves immunity and cardio-vascular function, and also slows down the release of stress related hormones. It is a powerful mood elevator and aids in regeneration of telomeres and helps with anti-aging. Life is by definition in constant movement, so to stay alive, one has to keep on moving. One cannot talk about health if one does do physical activity!
- Dry brushing : I have introduced this new habit before showering. It encourages the cleansing and elimination of chemicals, skin being a main emunctory.
- Exposure to the sun : I am very lucky to live in the south of France where there is lots of sunshine, our number one immune builder. Vitamin D is critical for good health, it boosts immunity, and helps to assimilate calcium, boosts energy and elevates my mood.
- Drink sufficient good quality water : this helps me to get the toxins out and hydrates my whole body. I have recently bought a Berkley water filter. I also energize the water I drink.
- Quality of sleep : Sleep is a vital factor for good health. It should be restorative and seen as a medicine. Our body repairs and regenerates itself while we sleep. It is also very important in order to keep our immune system strong. I go to bed earlier and have installed a routine which helps me to unwire, get into and out of bed at the regular times, avoid spending time on the screen at night, eat early, drink calming tisanes.
- Relaxation : Those are precious moment of the day when I can disconnect from the outside world in order to connect within myself. It is a time of gratitude and forgiveness when my intention is to bring peace and harmony in myself and in my environment.
- Trust myself : During the course, I have learnt to listen to my body and trust myself. This means letting go of beliefs based on what I have been taught. Standing out of « I must, I must not » has been extremely liberating! My choices are now more based on my free will, on my own
conclusions and deductions. Being more in touch with my feelings has made my life so much more fluid and beautiful.
On a more practical level, I had to re-think my food reserves, re-organize my kitchen space, and slightly change my daily schedule. I very quickly realized that planning is the secret for a successful plant based lifestyle. Soaking, planting, sprouting, dehydrating, all need anticipating. I have also learnt to anticipate my hunger!
During the course, some of my beliefs related to food naturally have changed. Brian Clement’s daily recommendation of 5% protein, 90% carbohydrates and 5% fat was revolutionary, especially having been cooking professionally for many years. Using proper sources of protein from green juices, wheatgrass, algae, sprouts and seeds has made a huge difference in my diet. I am now very much aware that organic does not mean healthy and clearly understand the difference between raw & living food and how extraordinarily a plant-based diet optimizes -and regains health!
I have found that mind and body need to be in tune if we want truly to be healthy. It’s not enough to take care of my body. I need to care of my emotions. I need to take care of my mind.
Being more aligned between my beliefs and my choices - i.e. building a bridge between my mind & the physicality of the world - has granted me emotional serenity, as if things were falling into place. Having a tendency to hyper activity, I have noticed how much I have slowed down and how much calmer I feel. Giving myself this space has enriched my spiritual life enormously. It has allowed me to contemplate more and find wiser answers in these quiet moments. I have reached a tranquil place where it is hard to imagine my diet being any different and where living on a living food diet makes perfect sense!
The epoch we are living…
The worldwide current crisis of the Covid illustrates perfectly how uneducated people are about their own health. It is much easier for people to be victims of the virus, find the cure outside themselves, and take zero responsibility for their own well-being.
Each and everyone one of us is continually fighting disease in some form. As I am writing this essay, my body is filled with viruses, bacterias, mold, fungus and cancer cells. The difference between a person who falls victim
to disease and a person who does not, lies in the functioning of his/her immune system. Immunity goes beyond just food. We must understand the importance of a strong immune system, and what we can do to boost it.
- Stress : We all have some degree of stress. Letting stress take over our lives has dramatic consequences on our health. Avoiding and resolving
stress is a key to becoming and staying well. Meditation is very helpful. Opening to some therapy work can be very useful, but takes courage.
- Exercise : We cannot talk about good health without discussing physical activity. It is a sine qua non condition for an optimum health.
- Find our passion : If we are to be in a position where we are going to be happy and healthy we must follow our passion. This starts with finding self-respect and being in touch with and loving what makes each one of us unique.
- Educate ourselves : it is our responsibility to find and acquire the knowledge we need to look after ourselves. It is essential to experience for ourselves and make our own choices based on our feelings.
Self-respect and self-love means taking care of ourselves. Eating unhealthy, processed, and highly polluted food often creates addictions (example: salt & sugar). The people and corporations who produce this food design it this
way, so we then want more of something which is lethal for us but profitable for them. This life-style can slowly destroy our lives, lead us to depression, ruin our relationships, our ability to perform at work, our mental capacity as we age, and our fundamental enjoyment of life.
Humanity is getting sicker and sicker. The increasing list of diseases of civilization and their consequences (diabetes, obesity, cancers, addictions, depression…) puts a tremendous burden on the world. The system is itself dysfunctional. Our native power for self-healing has been taken away from us. We have been brainwashed to seek solutions from outside ourselves in the form of magic pills, “vaccines, ” even surgery in the corporate pursuit of profit. We no longer have health care, we have sickness care.
We need to educate people from an early age about nutrition, lifestyle, health , homeostasis etc … There are no shortcuts to good health. Each one of us has to take full responsibility for being well and healthy. People need to regain their power by looking at their illness as a condition which they participate in creating, and change the outcome because they are the co creators. Once they take charge, they can find their sovereignty again. We all have a capacity for self-healing, the body regulates itself constantly. We tend to look outside of ourselves for answers while all the keys lie within us. Our lifestyle and life choices keep us unaware, ignorant and unwell, or not…
I am the change I want to see in the world!
Doing the online course has consolidated my determination to become a leader in promoting the benefits of a living food, plant-based diet for mankind : to reduce healthcare costs and to promote human health as mentioned , but also to end cruelty to animals and positively impact sustainable regenerative agriculture. Animals waste a lot of water polluting waters with tons of manure. A great percentage of the world’s food production goes to feeding animals, which is simply not sustainable. It is my responsibility to improve the health of the planet and preserving it for future generations!
Along with my vegan diet, which research now proves to be a necessity for the environmental sustainability of planet earth, here are necessary, practical and attainable steps which I try my best to put into action:
- Boycotting supermarkets, spend my money intelligently supporting small local businesses which share my views on food production and sustainability.
- Minimizing environmental impact with a zero waste consciousness and avoiding packaged ingredients.
- Making my own compost, feed the earth in my garden by creating rich compost, maintaining a worm farm, and building high quality dirt, so growing high quality vegetables and creating a world of abundance where surplus can be given away to my neighbors, and teaching them to do the same.
- Aiming at self-sufficiency as much as I can by growing my own food (wheatgrass, sprouts, vegetables, vegetal milks, and fruits)
- Being involved in my community to open people’s awareness and teaching them about sustainability, and organizing activities which bring us together such as helping in the creation of other people’s gardens, teaching permaculture, harvesting fruits & olives in each other’s gardens, discussion groups in the small associative café, delivering workshops, cooperative exchange of services…
- Modeling instead of telling my family, my friends and my environment what to do! This is the most powerful way to put a message across.
Another key aspect of my self development is the art of communication. It is something I aim at perfecting each day. It has been a long journey and therapeutical work has helped me to go beyond the limits I was imposing on myself. The more my beliefs and actions are aligned, the more I am in touch with my deepest feelings, the more I love and respect myself exactly
the way I am, then the more authentic and transparent I can be in my communication with the outside world, the easier it is to build healthy relationships based on integrity and the more positively I can impact my environment for the common good. It takes courage to contradict mainstream media or popular misconceptions but it is a challenge I wish to take on.
Time to roll up my sleeves. What can I do?
The covid crisis has put my catering business on hold and I am taking this opportunity to work and re-invent my menus for the future with lots of new raw recipes. The course has been a fantastic source of inspiration, and has allowed me to pursue my passions. My goal is increasingly to present healthy living plant-based food to my clients. I live in France so this is a very daring project of mine! I love food and my job is to make it look and tastes delicious.
- In collaboration with a friend, I have organized an online course on dietary transition : how to change your diet and how to change your life? During the exchanges I had with the group of 9 people, I was solicited to discuss topics such as stress, addictions, weight loss, inflammation, microbiote … It was challenging but an exciting experience which we are planning to replicate in the next few weeks.
- I have connected with an hydrotherapy center, of which I am a big fan, and sharing very similar understandings of the importance of cleansing and detoxifying, we have decided to build a partnership where we promote each other services.
- I am also working in partnership with a local governmental union, promoting waste reduction and recycling. As part of the zero waste initiative, we follow households engaged in the process of reducing their waste production and leading people toward a healthier lifestyle. Together, we look at our daily habits, proposing alternatives to significantly reduce the amount of waste we produce. I have done hands on workshops on sprouting, fermented food and vegetal milk, familiarizing people with new and easy ways of preparing their food more sustainable for the planet.
- Hosting my family and my friends at home is a wonderful opportunity for them to open their taste buds to new flavors and foods. It often is a revelation to them how plant based food can actually be delicious and pleasurable. Many members of my family and friends are now juicing, sprouting and slowly considering a healthier approach to their diet.
- Another initiative I have taken in my village is to invite people once a month into my small kitchen where we prepare a vegan meal which we then share together. Food is such a great way of connecting with people! Generally speaking, I find that people are eager to learn new ways of preparing and eating and are waking up to the parallel between their diet and their health.
- Practicing permaculture is an important part of life which I share with my husband. Today’s world is desperately in need of this philosophy of life : care for the earth, care for people and redistribute the surplus. We have initiated and accompanied some of our friends in their garden development projects, who are themselves now propagating the idea of a more sustainable lifestyle.
I am never short of ideas as to how to reach people positively, engaging in sharing information about the Hippocrates lifestyle. It is a never ending journey as there is a continual learning which must take place. Being so passionate about it, it feels that my professional and my private life are becoming one!
Each one of us can control our health destiny
Humans have deviated from nature’s intended order. This is a sad situation where there is a huge gap between the reality we created and our aspirations. Self-justification has opened the door to defeat. Humanity has somehow gotten lost and is slowly committing suicide by not taking any responsibility for the inverted sick world we live in. We are not supposed to be obese with diabetes or to have cancer… We forgot that death is a normal process of life. Discerning the true nature of the current situation is essential to envisaging a better tomorrow. We must not remain passive. There are thousands of ways to reverse the trend. It is up to each one of us. Nutritional advances have taken place in recent years now that we have scientific support and convincing evidence.
The Hippocrates online course has sparked something joyous in my heart. It feels like I am part of a network of people from all over the world contributing to the best of our abilities in order to create healthier societies. Within the Hippocrates community, I can find the strength to face resistance and thus find greater fulfillment. We have to heal individually and collectively.
The thread of the tremendous amount of information I have received and what has touched me personally the most in this course is that diet and lifestyle reflect feelings of self-love and self-respect. Equilibrium seems to be key to live my best life. Balance is to be found in each breath, it is a never ending voyage. I have learned to be less extreme and realized how much I was missing in life. The physical, emotional, intellectual and
spiritual worlds all need to be explored, experimented and integrated in an intelligent form for their true purposes. That means tapping into my higher self to create what seems to be the best life for myself and my fellow human being.