Christine Dionese is an integrative healthcare specialist, medical journalist, and food writer. Her research, writing, speaking and consulting highlights how endocrine and immune wellness are shaped by the ever-changing environment.
To balance this more serious side of her work, Christine loves to concoct, write about, and connect people with food. Christine is passionate about helping people become their own advocates for change and thinks everyone has a shot at designing the lifestyle they envision.
In her own words, Christine shares her thoughts on integrative health and ageless living!
1. What’s the biggest tip you can tell the readers about how to practice integrative health?
Breathe and relax. That’s my biggest tip.
Food, supplements, exercise- they’re essential components of integrative wellness, yet, if you forget to breathe, to unwind, to meditate and relax, you’ll miss the moment. So, if you’re reading this right now, stop doing whatever else you’re doing and kick back, put your feet up, take a deep breathe. After all, tissues need constant oxygenation to thrive!
2. Tell us the story of how you came to be an integrative healthcare specialist?
It all happened very naturally. I couldn’t quite decide on specializing in one area- my background was in psychology, philosophy and world religion. I’d always wanted to practice holistic medicine, but after working with naturopaths, finishing grad school studying Chinese medicine and acupuncture, studying environmental and functional medicine and then getting into private practice, it just happened- it all came together.
I started accepting patients into my practice and of course, one size never fit all and I just naturally became an integrative health specialist by helping individuals invest in their personal wellness. I’m so thankful it happened this way- it’s really opened my eyes to how important it is to embrace all aspects of well-being.
3. When most people have a health concern, they look for quick-fixes or just focus on the physical components, can you explain why looking at the whole body — a holistic approach — is more ideal and why it will bring about long-lasting change and wellness.
Most people are surprised to learn that the skin is our largest organ- and the skin tells no lies- eventually it has no choice but to tell the truth of what’s been going on beneath it physiologically.
Everything we’re exposed to- food, drugs, supplements, our relationships, emotional responses, pollution- everything- is reflected by our largest organ. So, if we’re experiencing a weight issue for example and we temporarily “fix” it with weight loss pills without discovering first that we may actually be experiencing say, a thyroid concern, this taxes the physical body and brings stress to the mind.
It can cause us to produce un-necessary levels of stress hormones and therefore inflammation. And, you guessed it, this can signal an artificial fluctuation of other hormones that would otherwise help with anti-aging aspects such as soothing blood vessels, reducing blood pressure and balancing the sympathetic with the parasympathetic nervous system.
4. How can practicing integrative health — holistic living — promote ageless living?
Practicing integrative health is a lifestyle, one that embraces all aspects of health. No piece is more important than the other, but rather learning how to balance each one. And, one of those oft forgotten pieces is fun- taking time to detach from work to make time for ourselves. Maybe you spend that time taking a hike with your kids, or an entire day at the spa, whatever helps keep you present in the moment, having fun.
5. Some of the main reasons people are interested in ageless living is so that one, they can look ageless, two, be healthy and disease free, and three, be energetic and vibrant. Will you tell us, what do you do to look, feel, and be your best?
It probably comes as no surprise that I meditate. I take time to relax and breathe. This keeps the relationship between the parasympathetic and sympathetic (fight or flight) nervous system happy. I love to practice yoga- I’m still a total novice, but it helps me feel free from stress while building energy for later.
While I’m not vegetarian or vegan, my diet is primarily plant based and full of essential fats. The extended growing season in California makes it easy to create super-food juices and meals every day.
My work doubles as my hobby and passion, but I definitely take time to myself to rejuvenate with massage, acupuncture and chiropractic wellness. For personal care, I only use products the Environmental Working Group has rated free from carcinogens and endocrine disruptors. I also just started making my own sunscreen, free from chemicals.
6. Finally, is there anything you would like to share with the readers about integrative health, ageless living, or anything new on the horizon for you?
Ageless living is more about attitude and outlook than anything else. How we perceive our wellness is so important. And, the wonderful thing about integrative health and wellness is that we can always add and learn more to how we care for ourselves.
What’s new? For people who want to extend health through food, but the kitchen isn’t their favorite place, I’m really excited that my new food therapy business will be launching soon.
Click here to learn more about Christine!