Healthy Roots: Reflecting on the halfway point

6 weeks in, and Healthy Roots is officially at the halfway point. So far we’ve witnessed 9 people — and a whole community of others who are following along from home — as they’ve committed to the challenge at varying levels.

In just a short time we’ve seen victories both big and small — for some participants that means losing half of the weight they had hoped to shed through Healthy Roots, for others it means trying a squash for the first time. Each of these successes are equally important as they draw participants nearer to the foods their ancestors ate.

At the heart of Healthy Roots is a desire to see health restored in our community, through eating traditional Haudenosaunee foods and committing to regular physical activity. This is reflected in our motto, “Esa:do:gwe”, or “You Will Be Healthy Again”. We see this slogan as a promise of good things to come when we work towards a diet of whole foods in their original form.

As the road to success looks more like a winding road than a straight path, we don’t expect that participants will commit to the Healthy Roots list without trouble or needing to make the occasional substitution. In fact, one of the most asked questions we receive as a committee are, “If this is a challenge, why did I see a participant eating foods that weren’t on the list? Are they still following the Healthy Roots diet?”

The conventional concept of a diet is to stick to a restricted list of foods with the end goal of losing weight. Since Healthy Roots is so much more than that, we acknowledge as a committee that reconciling ourselves with our original foods is a process. And because we are all so different, so too is our approach to health.

We have participants who stick to the Healthy Roots foods list exactly as it is. We have participants whose end goal is to slowly incorporate Healthy Roots foods into their repertoire until at the end of this challenge, their entire diet is comprised of traditional foods. We have some participants who have trouble with exercise, and then others who can’t wait to get outside for a hike, some ice fishing or hunting.

Though our participants are a group of complex, diverse people, there’s a single thread that connects them all, and it’s their desire for good health. So rather than look at these past few weeks as a diet, or even a challenge as it’s been called, we consciously are choosing to see it as a process which these 9 community members are working through with good intention and to the best of their ability.

We invite the community to join them as they either work their way towards the list or commit to it full on. If Healthy Roots is something that intimidated you before, why not choose just one thing from that list that can make a difference in your health today? Or you might find that staying true to the list is more your style, and you’re ready to make that change now. It’s not too late. Join us on Facebook at Healthy Roots, and connect with a community of people who are working towards their best health —mind, body and spirit.

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