Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Nutritional therapist Sonia Funk Believes Strategic Corporate Wellness & Culture Is Our Best Hope For Well Being

Last updated Thursday, April 6, 2023 22:03 ET

Registered Nutritional therapist, keynote speaker, and Wellness & Culture Strategist Sonia Funk explains the importance of the microbiome, trauma, and more on mental health.

Morden, Canada, 04/06/2023 / SubmitMyPR /

Everything changed in 2018 when Sonia Funk, registered nutritional therapist, went to the doctor. She was two years postpartum but still felt exhausted and in pain. She also knew she was under the duress of being cyberstalked, threatened and intimidated by her ex, and it could be the cause. Sonia communicated this to her doctor and simply asked them to check for vitamin deficiencies to rule them out. The doctor obliged and then asked “Do you want something for the stress?” Sonia felt the weight of the question and without thinking she blurted out “No thanks, I’m not really interested in medicating the fact that I have a huge bully in my life”. She had spoken without a filter and the words hung in the air. Leaving the clinic that day she came to a deep understanding of what was plaguing the world.

On that fateful day, Sonia’s work changed. She has been presenting a new, more holistic view of wellness to her various audiences ever since. Her work to date has spanned four countries, many organizations and conferences. Her company, The Whole Avocado, takes outdated knowledge and paradigms, flips them upside down and exposes why some of our core beliefs are hurting us and how to heal.

In Sonia’s work, she describes unwellness as both an interconnected and compartmentalized problem. The food industry, healthcare, ever changing parenting advice, and other things have contributed to outcomes that kill us slowly and keep us unhappy. Companies are spending billions annually on sick leave and on prescriptions that often harm more than help by numbing us to the cause of our distress. People are looking for answers to a problem that is not as complicated as we believe. From the keynote stage Sonia will tell you that “answers are so 1980s, we need better questions”.

Our physical health has deteriorated because present culture norms have taught us habits that harm the billions of healthy bacteria in our microbiome. This damage to our gut health is reversible, but we’ve only just discovered how influential the microbiome is to general well being and our mental health.

Decades of destroying our gut health with antibiotics, without a plan to repair it is largely responsible. On top of that, food is essentially information for the microbiome. So current eating habits in the Western world of refined foods that no longer come “with batteries” or relevant information, has made it worse. Resources that we consume daily are contaminated with dangerous chemicals that impair biological processes. All of this combined has contributed to our dis-ease in life. Sonia sees the raging issue of our so-called “mental health” crisis as misunderstood. Damage to the gut-brain axis is not a ‘disorder’, it’s an injury. A traumatic event and our biological and emotional response to it, is not an illness, it is a normal response to an injury. Medications cannot heal the emotional wound that creates the undesirable feelings. Repressed trauma and grief cause physical symptoms via suppression of the nervous system, leading to what we now classify as mental health issues. Unresolved childhood trauma alone is responsible both directly and indirectly for much of what a company now pays for in stress leave and medications. In a 2019 survey on Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), 61% of adults had experienced at least one ACE and 16% had experienced four or more. The number of ACEs directly correlates to disease and distress in adulthood.

Adverse Childhood Experiences can involve abuse, neglect, or household dysfunction. Any trauma-response can also represent struggles from a current external environment such as violence, bullying, economic hardship, and more. Sonia notes that the consequences of ACEs are caused by the sympathetic nervous system being overutilized early in life, which can lead to alterations in DNA and changes in brain development. She sees this as an injury, not an illness. When the body uses the sympathetic nervous system, it produces cortisol which decreases blood flow to the rational brain, suppresses the immune system and slows down digestion. She credits much of the rise of digestive system disorders such as IBS and immune system frailties, to this. This process is a normal biological response for responding to perceived threats and it is to be credited with why humans have survived for so long. Unfortunately, it can also be unconsciously triggered merely by perceived threat: our daily stressful lives, dysfunctional relationships, medications, caffeine, alcohol and processed foods.

Sonia believes separate industries' errors are compounding on each other and have caused our misleading belief that our bodies are broken. To unpack these problems, she provides education and strategies for confronting the real issues.

Sonia’s approach towards mental health considers what has happened to you not what is wrong with you. Adding to this, she explains the difference between an illness and an injury. An injury is a traumatic event, emotional or physical, that hasn’t been resolved and an illness is often a disease that developed from multiple ignored injuries. We also seem to wrongly expect our bodies to perform and repair without the necessary building blocks that we just spent the last 120 years refining out of our food.

Sonia understands the natural human need of wanting a single one-pill answer to complex problems, but the answer doesn’t always lie in a diagnosis. The real problem stems from the toxic world that our bodies are reacting to. Sonia explains how crucial it is to understand the principles of gut health, trauma and biology. Systemic issues can’t be solved without each element and layer of our complexity being understood. It can be hard to imprint this information on the public, but the workplace is an opportunity to bypass this and Sonia has figured out a way.

“Through The Whole Avocado, I demonstrate for corporate executives how to strategically decrease their benefit and stress leave cost by incorporating productive wellness & culture strategies and campaigns. I have developed programs for execution within the organization because I know and understand the stories of the individuals that are costing the most and how to intervene in their suffering. I also know that the only place they have to go with that suffering is to a healthcare system that is too overwhelmed to do anything but slap an intervention or a pill on it, pushing the compounding cost of the root cause down the road. Most acutely, I now see that the only person left to pay for the overflow of this cost, is the business owner. That is why I approach leaders in an empathetic, direct and strategic way. Bringing knowledge like this to people’s suffering, in a way that gives them choice, is the only way out now.”

The Whole Avocado founder Sonia Funk says.

Media Contact:

Name: Sonia Funk

Email: [email protected]

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