Creating Health and Healing with Grace Van Berkum
Please share what you do in 10-15 words: I teach people about the healing powers of plant-based foods, yoga, meditation, connecting to nature, and learning to open your mind and heart.
Why do you do what you do? The world needs to realize and understand where our foods are coming from and how what we eat is affecting our own health, and the health of our planet. When we are more conscious of how we eat and what we eat, and we approach eating with mindful intention, we begin to free up energy in the body to dedicate to our life’s purpose.
What are you currently fascinated by in your work? I watched my dad beat his cancer when the doctors told him he had less than 10 months to live. He completely changed his diet and transformed his personality. He opted out of surgery and chemotherapy and became dedicated to his own healing. He amazed the doctors, and he amazed me, his daughter, who was studying to become a nutritionist during that time. This has inspired me to teach all that I do. Food can heal us or food can make us sick. Balanced, anti-inflammatory nutrition combined with a positive, peaceful, loving outlook is the key to a vibrant, energetic, spiritual life.
How did you come to your path? Any aha moments or key teachers? Coming from a lifetime of poor self-esteem and body issues that resulted in a number of addictions and self-destructive behaviors, I decided I needed to drastically change my life or I was going to die. I decided I did not want to become a prisoner to my own self-hatred. I desperately needed to learn how to love myself. One way I have learned how to love myself and my body is through the food that I put in it. Becoming more aware of where the food on my plate comes from, and how it affects my body, my weight, my energy level, and my moods, has become such an empowering adventure for me, and I want to share everything that I have learned that has helped heal myself, and my father, with anyone that wants to hear it. Learning to heal my own health and life has been my best teacher.
What book(s) are you currently reading? Some old-school Deepak Chopra has found it’s way into my hands right now: “Ageless Body, Timeless Mind: The Quantum Alternative to Growing Old”.
What surprises you about teaching here? I love teaching at the ashram and meeting so many people from all over the world. One thing that always surprises me on my travels is how little people know about nutrition all around the world. This information is much needed everywhere and people are hungry for this knowledge (pun intended!). We need to learn how to eat and live so that we can thrive, not just survive. What works for me might not entirely work for someone else, but what I hope to accomplish in this lifetime is to make people more aware of the choices they make, and teach people to be more aware of their bodies and how food affects their own health, so that they can heal themselves, and help protect the planet at the same time.
Grace Van Berkum is a registered holistic nutritionist, Sivananda Yoga teacher, certified personal trainer, and founder of GLO Selfcare Center in northern Nicaragua. She is known for her nutrient-dense and delicious raw, vegan, plant-powered recipe creations and leads retreats on nutrition, conscious eating, and yoga worldwide.