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Archive for December, 2016

Four Amazing Stories of Health Recovery as Shared by Holistic Holiday at Sea Attendees

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Recovery Panel at Holistic Holiday at Sea

From cancer recovery to animal rights activism, the reasons why people choose a plant-based and/or macrobiotic diet and lifestyle vary widely and, in many cases, overlap. Each year on the Holistic Holiday at Sea cruise, president Sandy Pukel arranges for a Recovery Panel on which a dozen courageous and grateful people share with the audience how their lives have changed thanks to a plant-based (and oftentimes macrobiotic) diet and lifestyle. “The heart and soul of the cruise is this Recovery Panel,” says Sandy. “People go there and listen to these stories. They come out crying, they come out inspired. It’s truly remarkable.”

Sandy, who discovered his life’s purpose after being introduced to macrobiotics in 1970, adds, “Over the years, I’ve seen remarkable recoveries. My answer always is: Macrobiotics works if you embrace it wholeheartedly. You’re going to see improvement. The whole philosophy and food thing is stronger than you are, if you’re willing to embrace it.”

One Family’s Story

Thomas Kahn

Thomas Kahn

Thomas Kahn attended the cruise in 2015 with his sister Susan Bondi. “I heard the cruise helps people who had the same problems I had,” says Thomas, who has type two diabetes. Three years prior to attending, Thomas had a heart scan that revealed the beginnings of blockage. At the time, at 5’7”, he weighed 240 pounds. Susan, a gourmet cook, followed a vegan, low-fat, oil-free diet, and influenced Thomas in making a shift. He lost most of his weight within a year. “I lost 80 lbs from diet alone,” he shares.

The cruise helped Thomas solidify his oil-free, plant-based diet and, over the years, he has been greatly influenced by cruise presenters Dr. Michael Gregor and Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn. Thomas’ father was a type one diabetic who had a heart attack at age 49 while on the low carb diet. Doctors encouraged him to use olive oil. Nine years later, he was in need of a quadruple bypass. “The olive oil messed him up,” says Thomas. “Then he went on a true low-fat diet and lived to be 80.”

Thomas’ is just one of the inspirational stories we hear from our guests each year. We got the chance to catch up with past panelists Christina Pirello and Janet Vitt Sommer, and 2017 panelist Judy MacKenney to hear where they are in their journeys.

A Life of Gratitude

Christina Pirello, Holistic Holiday at Sea Recovery PanelAuthor of six bestselling cookbooks, Christina Pirello is also the Emmy Award-winning host of the national public television series Christina Cooks. She will lead four cooking classes on the 2017 Holistic Holiday at Sea and is on the faculty of The Restaurant School at Walnut Hill College.

At age 26, Christina was diagnosed with terminal leukemia and her cancer had already advanced to the acute stage. She saw a hematologist/oncologist who gave her three months to live with no treatment, and six months to a year with treatment. Having seen her mother pass away at the young age of 49 from cancer, Christina saw that conventional treatments seemed to have worsened her mother’s condition. Christina’s coworker suggested that she meet Robert “Bob” Pirello, a whole foods advocate. The two went grocery shopping together and Bob replaced all of the food Christina had at home with healthy options. He also gave her a copy of Michio Kushi’s The Cancer Prevention Diet, Revised and Updated Edition: The Macrobiotic Approach to Preventing and Relieving Cancer.

Christina’s strict macrobiotic diet consisted primarily of brown rice and millet, cooked vegetables (particularly green leafies and beans), tofu, tempeh, and miso soup. She went through a toxic discharge period, and knew that, despite the discomfort, her health was improving. Within 14 months after beginning her new diet, Christina’s white cell count was within the normal range. Hers is also a love story, as she and Bob later married!

Christina’s philosophy is that living a whole and healthy life should make us passionate and full of gratitude. Her recovery has helped her put things in perspective and she doesn’t waste time on petty things or people she does not resonate with. She shares, “It makes me humble and grateful for each moment of each day. My life is blessed, but since I don’t know how much time I have, I waste nothing. Each minute is precious although I admit I don’t fear death. I just feel like I am not done yet. I have work to do and would like to do more.” For more on Christina, visit her presenter page.

The Power of Food

janet-vitt-sommer-holistic-holiday-at-seaAlthough she will not be attending the 2017 cruise, Janet Vitt Sommer was on the Recovery Panel for more than ten years. In 1995, she was diagnosed with stage IV small cell lung cancer, with three tumors in her left lung, seven tumors in her right lung, three tumors in her liver, one on her pancreas, and another in her abdomen. A registered nurse since 1971, Janet saw her mother die from lung cancer at age 42 and knew the seriousness of this illness. “As a nurse, it’s difficult to believe I didn’t understand the power of food,” says Janet. “I thought of food as just nourishment, not a healing modality.”

Her oncologist said she had three to six months left to live. A dose of chemotherapy left Janet severely nauseous and underweight. Her internist Dr. Grossman, of Cleveland, Ohio, suggested that she try a macrobiotic diet. Janet enlisted the help of a macrobiotic counselor who told her she could be healed. After ten months on this healing regimen, her tumors disappeared.

Janet is now a nutritional counselor who leads cooking classes and prepares macrobiotic “meals to go.” The cruise has become an important part of her life—and romance! She and now husband Gary were married in Fort Lauderdale before the ship left the dock. “After all, where else could I go for my honeymoon and not have to prepare my own meals? Gary and I always get an efficiency suite when we travel. The cruise was perfect. Plus we were surrounded by many caring friends.”

Healing from the Inside Out

Judy MacKenney, Holistic Holiday at Sea Recovery PanelJudy MacKenney was introduced to macrobiotics in 1992 after receiving a diagnosis of stage IV non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. She completed seven months of chemotherapy and suffered from a multitude of side effects. Like Christina, she pored over Kushi’s The Cancer Prevention Diet after she was given a short time to live. “My new health regimen was to change my diet and lifestyle by eating organic whole foods, miso soup, grains, proteins, root, round & leafy vegetables, and pickles for enzymes, plus natural remedy drinks to cleanse and strengthen my body,” says Judy. “I also chewed my food seriously until it became liquid, walked, did breath work, body-scrubbed, developed a positive mindset to heal, and showed gratitude for everything in my life on a daily basis!”

This year, Judy celebrates 25 years of being cancer free. She shares, “I still rely on a plant-based, macrobiotic diet and lifestyle to keep me healthy. With so many delicious, nutritious recipes to choose from nowadays, I find it just keeps getting easier!” A Kushi-certified macrobiotic counselor, educator, and cooking instructor, Judy will share her story on this year’s Recovery Panel and facilitate a follow-up discussion group. Read more about Judy on her presenter page.

On Your Own Path to Wellness?

We’d love to help you wherever you are on your journey to feeling your best. Our 14th Holistic Holiday at Sea cruise is set for March 11–18, 2017. Book your spot today!

Earn CME/CE Credits Aboard Holistic Holiday at Sea

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Holistic Holiday at Sea CME/CE Program

Guests aboard Holistic Holiday at Sea’s 14th annual cruise, March 11–18, will spend the week dining on plant-based cuisine, mingling with fellow voyagers at poolside socials, taking excursions at several ports of call, and participating in cooking, fitness, and mindfulness classes. They’ll also have ample opportunities to learn from experts. Dozens of presentations and panels will be led by more than 40 leading authorities in holistic and alternative health. While many cruise goers consider this event to be their yearly vacation, others are licensed health professionals who combine pleasure with business, earning CME/CE credits while on the ship.

A Collaboration Between HHAS & iCamp

After spending years in school and training, it is crucial for physicians and other healthcare professionals to continue learning and staying on top of the latest research in nutrition.

The CME/CE program is a collaboration between Holistic Holiday at Sea and iCamp (Integrative and Complementary Academic Medicine Program) at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. Since the ’80s, Donna Franklin, director of operations for iCamp, has been friends with Sandy Pukel, a cofounder of Holistic Holiday at Sea and longtime promoter of macrobiotics and holistic health. Donna says that a few years ago, they had a conversation that led to this highly successful partnership and program between the cruise and iCamp. “It all fell into place,” says Donna.

This year, there are a total of 35 available continuing education units approved by the Florida Boards of Acupuncture, Chiropractic Medicine, Dentistry, Clinical Social Work, Marriage and Family Therapy, Mental Health Counseling, Psychology, Pharmacy, the Florida Council of Dietetics and Nutrition, and MidWifery. There are 30 attainable Prescribed credits for MDs, DOs, PAs, and ARNPs, 35 CEUs approved by the University of Miami School of Nursing and Health Studies, and 35 ACBN hours approved by the Diplomate for the American Clinical Board of Nutrition.

While everyone is invited to attend all courses, these specially denoted courses go deeper into evidence-based research on plant-based living and eating. Attendees registered for CME/CE credits must sign in and out of each class and these sign-in sheets are used to document hours. All CME courses are also approved as CEs.

Exploring the Benefits of a Plant-Based Lifestyle

The ship offers a unique environment for learning to take place. Donna says, “It’s more than just a class. You’re eating the food and living in the environment. It’s very empowering … You really get it at a different level when you’re surrounded by people that are ‘walking the talk.’ They are eating this way … They’re doing their yoga or their meditation or they’re learning how to cook.”

By experiencing a plant-based diet while learning about it, medical doctors are better positioned to help their patients with nutritional concerns. In this way, the professionals can better understand and explain the challenges and benefits. Donna says, “When you physically experience it, it is life-changing. It changes something in the brain … You’re eating with like-minded people. You’re hearing their stories and they’re hearing yours. You’re hearing their struggles. They’re hearing yours.”

A Range of Topics

The topics covered in the CME/CE program are vast in scope. “You have a variety of different approaches and people really need to see what’s out there and what will work for them,” says Donna.

For instance, Caldwell Esselstyn, Jr. MD, FACS, will examine the vascular system in “Making Yourself Heart Attack Proof by Treating the Cause of Coronary Artery Heart Disease.” His pioneering research is summarized in his bestselling Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease.

David Blyweiss, MD, began his medical career as a pharmacist and since then has become an experienced practitioner of what is known as “functional medicine.” He will present a keynote called, “Chronic Disease is Never One Thing: It’s about Diet, Lifestyle & Environment in the 21st Century.”

Another presenter, T. Colin Campbell, PhD, believes the time has come for the public and professionals alike to understand the importance of nutrition. He discusses the main principles of nutrition and evaluates popular diet types with that understanding in his keynote, “Fundamentals of a Whole Food, Plant-Based Diet.” View the full CME/CE Program here.

Interested in Learning More?

There’s no better way to learn about the science surrounding nutrition and wellness than by experiencing it both in and out of the classroom. If you’re a healthcare professional interested in learning more about the CME/CE program on this year’s Holistic Holiday at Sea cruise, click here for more information. Curious about the schedule? View the entire HHAS program and itinerary here.

If you’re interested in earning credit, you must first book your ticket to Holistic Holiday at Sea before signing up for the CME/CE program. Why wait? Book today!

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