28 Nov The 5 Pillars to Bone Health
By Mary Sheila Gonnella NC, BCHN
Six years ago I launched my first online course. It was actually a hybrid course, I taught it both online and live in person. It was called Your Roadmap to Bone Health. It was a pivotal step for both me and the students who went through the program.
My passion for bone health stemmed first from the confusion about what my clients were doing to address their bones.
Clients would come to see me with a bag full of supplements. During this part of the conversation, I often asked them why they took this or that supplement. Back then, I often got answers like, “I saw it on Dr. Oz” (does he still have a show?), or “My doctor told me to take it”, or “Actually I can’t remember why I’m taking this one.”
Regardless, it always taught us something, and oftentimes we were able to eliminate a few supplements, or even add one, which always seemed like a relief, and allowed us to address the present moment.
However, I noticed that calcium was almost always a supplement in the mix, and this was always because of the “recommendation from my doctor.”
All well and good, but many were taking 1,200 – 1,600 mg each day, especially when we added them up from multiple supplement combinations.
I knew I needed to dig deeper specifically into calcium supplementation, and make sure these amounts were safe, especially long term. I say this because, I also know that while heart disease affects both men and women, it is the leading cause of death for women, and at the root of cardiovascular disease is “calcifications” that build up in the arteries.
My curiosity was solidified when I attended an herbal training by Donald Yance, a renowned herbalist, when he referred to calcium supplements as “Drywall”.
I also realized the importance of bone health while studying Ayurveda and learning about the Dhatus. In Ayurveda, the Dhatus are the tissues of the body, and they are placed in order of which they are nourished.
As you can see from the image below, the bones are the fifth tissue in the chain of nourishment.
This means that if you focus your nourishment, like I teach in my nutrition programs, all the way to the bones, you are getting deep nourishment, which includes the nerves and hormonal system. So thinking about how you can nourish all the way to your bones, benefits the whole body, and supports longevity and healthy aging.
Thus began my adventure of going way deeper than just taking calcium supplements, to truly support women on their bone health journey. When you approach health through the lens of the bones, you get the bonus of supporting brain health, cognition, better sleep, blood sugar balance, and lowering inflammation.
This adventure of helping women with their bone health has played a role in my practice for the last 6 years.
When I was teaching at Bauman College Holistic Nutrition and Culinary Arts, I had a student, Mary Beth Ray, a yoga teacher for many years, who shared my passion for bone health. As her teacher I encouraged her to go with that niche, since she was also a Certified Yoga for Osteoporosis teacher.
From our student teacher relationship, a friendship formed and over time we put all of our resources together to create The 5 Pillars to Bone Health and have guided women through the journey of nourishing their bones, and not fearing their bones, and enhancing the quality of their life.
Working with Mary Beth and her expertise and yoga instruction, with a focus on how to practice yoga safely to reduce fracture risk, has been an amazing collaboration that has allowed us to create a holistic approach that is unique, and much needed.
Together we have provided the tools to help women to not fear their bones, including helping women to understand their DXA scan (an x-ray that measures bone density), so they can be in the driver’s seat of their health.
In fact, here’s what one of our students said about the course:
“If you want to learn about bone health from the inside out to the outside in, this course is for you.
For several years I have been frustrated by doctors who, despite my questions, never really helped me understand at a deeper level why my bones were breaking.
Even though I have much to learn, I feel more empowered to do so, thanks to this course. I would recommend it to anyone who wants to go beyond standard medical protocols and treat osteoporosis holistically.
Both teachers are experienced, knowledgeable, compassionate and kind–a winning combination. Thank you.”
The women we’ve guided have benefited from having less pain and inflammation, better DXA scans, improved sleep, and some have put their autoimmune disease into remission (a side bonus you could say).
If you are newly diagnosed with Osteopenia or Osteoporosis, or you know someone who is, and you’re ready to take the next or first step to making inspired change we’ve got you covered.
And even if you don’t have a diagnosis, but you want to know what you can do now to give yourself deep nourishment to support your body through all the stages of your life, we’ve also got you covered.
I love this comprehensive class, and the women who have taken it have loved it also. I hope you do too!
Here’s to strong healthy bones as we age!
To your vital life,
Mary Sheila Gonnella NC, BCHN
Founder, Occidental Nutrition