Chef Ellen


Health literacy is the ability to obtain, read, understand, and use healthcare information in order to make appropriate health decisions and follow instructions for treatment.

Approximately nine out of ten adults struggle with health literacy. The objective is to become more familiar with your health, medical terminology, and accessing health information. Shedding light onto this much-needed aspect of wellness can hopefully enlighten one to become trusting with themselves and professionals who have their best interests at heart.

Empowerment, education, and advocacy. Health literacy sharpens an individual’s skill to grasp and participate in the health care system to maintain good health. Successfully navigating the many aspects of health literacy may also enable one to tap into the body’s innate wisdom to heal.

As we focus on health literacy this week, I would like to also connect with self-advocacy. For me, both subjects complement one another. One can weigh risks over benefits and ultimately make proactive decisions if comprehension becomes heightened. Therefore, taking action becomes a less stressful situation.

I’ve taken my experience, my work with clients, and extensive research to offer a comprehensive guide to empower those looking for change and best health practices. Navigating a prognosis, diet, lifestyle interventions, drug instructions, interactions, and especially avoidance of long-term drugs can aid in making sense of a complex healthcare system.

I draw from the wisdom of doctors and medical professionals who campaign for plant-based nutrition and advocate for lifestyle medicine practices, in addition to the latest scientific breakthroughs for balance and the advancement of wellness. Finding what works best is the personalized approach. I support more whole food plant-based options because of the health benefits to digestive performance. So, rest assured, please eat what makes you feel best, but consider more plant diversity, easy food swaps, crowding out processed and overly refined, and cooking/flavoring foods to appeal to and improve health.

Could progress and development of basic skills weed out the need for many prescriptions, procedures, and preventable chronic illnesses that introduce the need for repair and recovery? With advancements in integrative therapies, awareness, and empowerment, perhaps we have become more resourceful than those before us, so quick to rely on a quick fix or band-aid a situation instead of root-cause healing and lifestyle medicine foundational practices.

A national plan for improving Health Literacy also calls for more attention on educating people to live healthier and make well-informed decisions. Aside from understanding drug instructions and navigating our complex healthcare systems, what if a more holistic approach includes lifestyle modifications? The ripple effect would be prioritizing health, body, mind, and spirit awareness and clear communication from medical professionals to champion healthy behaviors across the board, promoting health and wellness nationwide.

I started a volunteer internship with Doctors for Nutrition in the last several months. In November, they will launch a doctor’s challenge, encouraging physicians to implement a whole food plant-based diet for a month to understand the improved benefits. In turn, these professionals can genuinely assist and educate patients on lifestyle medicine practices and avoiding long-term medications. Furthermore, if empowering an individual’s ability to seek, find, comprehend, and utilize information and services were further developed, they would have the ability to make well-informed decisions and actions for themselves and others.

Basic health literacy is fundamental to the success of each interaction between healthcare professionals and patients—every prescription, every treatment, and every recovery. Self- advocacy and rallying for an actionable plan to empower oneself support balance, becoming more proactive, and grasping a clearer bearing on health-related issues.