Whole health: Local integrative health coach reminds us 'you are what you eat'

August 28, 2013 9:36:27 AM

Jan Swoope - [email protected]


Remember when your grandmother passed on that wise adage, "You are what you eat?" No one believes that more than Lacretia Scarboro. She has powerful reasons. For years, the Columbus wife, mother and educator battled a debilitating case of hepatitis C, which she had contracted from a blood transfusion. Her case proved unresponsive to traditional treatments. 


Frustrated but tenacious, Scarboro launched her own personal research into alternatives. Today, she is energetic and sympton-free, and credits it to a comprehensive holistic approach to lifestyle changes, especially to her diet. 


"Our body really is a temple where our soul dwells, and if we're not aware of the condition of our temple, it can easily slip away to an unhealthy state of being," said the native Texan, who is an English compensatory reading teacher at West Lowndes High School. 


The more she learned, the more aware Scarboro became that our health is directly affected by what we feed our cells. She also more fully understood how important the mind-body connection is to achieving optimum health.  




Introducing changes  


In her own home, Scarboro began to focus on whole foods instead of processed convenience foods laden with chemicals. She read labels to avoid genetically modified foods (GMOs) and anything containing growth hormones.  


"I went vegan, mainly to avoid antibiotics and growth hormones fed to animals," she explained. "It affected my liver and kept me from healing." 


Scarboro took to the farmers' markets and to grocery stores that carry organically grown fruits and vegetables. She borrowed and developed recipes for meals, smoothies and snacks that would strengthen her immune system rather than weaken it. 


"If you don't eat proper foods to feed your cells, you're opening yourself up for attack by all kinds of illnesses and diseases," cautioned the educator, who began to be known as the "smoothie diva," a handle bestowed by former students. 


Raw fruits and vegetables, juicing and gluten-free foods in her everyday life began to generate results, as did exercise, increased spirituality and guided imagery. Scarboro chronicled some of her experiences and recipes on her blog, lacretiaclarksonscarboro.blogspot.com. 


With the passage of time, not only did the lifestyle changes apparently eradicate symptoms of hepatitis C, she was also free of migraines and acid reflux, which she had suffered with much of her life. 


She was a believer. Scarboro's enthusiasm for spreading the healthy diet gospel inspired her to share her fruit and veggie smoothies, blueberry and fig vinaigrette dressing, and gluten-, dairy-, nut- and soy-free chocolate chip cookies on several market days at the Hitching Lot Farmers' Market in Columbus. 




Not alone 


A life-altering chapter in Scarboro's personal campaign for restored health was a visit to the Center for Integrative Medicine at Duke University, a private research university in Durham, N.C. 


"When I walked in I almost wanted to cry," she admitted. "These people were doing what I'd been doing; I wasn't alone." 


Duke's program based on its Wheel of Health teaches prevention and intervention, studying how complementary approaches to health in areas such as mind-body connection, nutrition, physical environment and spirituality can integrate with conventional methods. 


At Duke, Scarboro became certified as an integrative health coach, armed with knowledge to effectively help others make permanent lifestyle changes. 




Support system 


An integrative health coach might be compared to a personal trainer for the whole self. 


Coaching provides an opportunity to collaborate with an experienced partner to work toward the optimal health you envision. It can motivate and support behavioral changes through a structured partnership that thrives on inquiry, personal discovery and accountability 


Some who come to Scarboro for help are facing health concerns they want to pay particular attention to -- such as diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking addiction or anxiety. Others are coping with illnesses such as lupus, fibromyalgia, gout and even cancer. 


Once a patient is diagnosed with an illness or condition and has been advised by their doctor of necessary changes, the majority of people don't know where to begin, Scarboro has observed. Many don't have a support system, or someone who understands what they're going through. A trained health coach can help create strategies for moving toward a goal, identify obstacles, help design a personal health plan, track progress and provide accountability. 


"I can't stand to see somebody suffering," said Scarboro. "I wish I'd had someone to guide me on my journey, when treatment was not an option for me. It was a very lonely journey, something I don't want anyone else to have to experience." 


It is never too late to make positive changes. Every minute of every day is an opportunity to renew the mindset Scarboro believes.  


Every day is another chance to ask yourself, "What have I done today to take care of mind, body and spirit?" 






■ facebook.com/SmoothieDiva 


■ lacretiaclarksonscarboro.blogspot.com 


■ hihcs.com  








2 bunches of organic kale, washed and torn  


3/4 cup tahini 


1/4 cup organic tamari 


1/4 cup Bragg's Organic Apple Cider Vinegar 


1/2 cup water 


1 teaspoon Bragg's Organic Sprinkle  


1 clove garlic 


1 lemon or lime (juice of) 


1/4 teaspoon sea salt 


1/4 cup of nutritional yeast (I use a heaping 1/4 cup) 




  • Place kale in a large mixing bowl. Combine the rest of the ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth to get a thick consistency. You may have to add more water. Pour over kale and mix thoroughly with your hands to coat the kale. You want this mixture to be really glued onto the kale. 


  • Place kale onto Teflex sheets, on top of a mesh dehydrator screen, and dehydrate for 6 hours or until done at 105 degrees. I fill up 6-8 trays using this amount of kale. Rotate kale occasionally to dry uniformly. I try to use all the organic ingredients possible. 


    (Source: Lacretia Scarboro) 








    For the filling: 


    3/4 cup dried figs (or combination of raising and cranberries) 


    3/4 cup dates, pitted (or you can use all dates) 


    1 tablespoon lemon or orange juice 


    1 tablespoon raw honey (could use raw agave or grade B maple syrup) 


    1/4 to 1/2 cup raw hemp powder (super food) 


    1/4 to 1/2 cup raw cacao powder (super food) 




    For crumbly base and topping: 


    1 raw cup pecans (or walnuts) 


    3/4 cup raw almonds 


    1 cup shredded dried coconut 


    4 large dates, pitted 


    1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 


    1 pinch sea salt 




  • Place first four ingredients in a food processor and blend to a paste. Set aside (Also you can soak the dates if they are dried or dried out. Just barely cover them with some purified water for an hour or so. Save the water and use as a sweetener in a juice or a vinaigrette salad dressing.) 


  • Process pecans, almonds, coconut, cinnamon and salt in your Vitamix or Blendtec, or use a food processor until coarsely ground. Add dates one at a time and process until mixture starts to stick together.  


  • In a 9-by-13-inch glass baking pan, arrange half of the crumble as a base. Then spread all the fig/date mixture on top, and sprinkle with the remaining crumble on top.  


  • Press layers together with the back of a spoon. Cut into squares. (Sometimes I make them into balls and roll them in a little coconut.) 


    (Source: Lacretia Scarboro) 


    Editor's note: Find more recipes on Lacretia Scarboro's sites noted above.

    Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.