"There was only darkness in the beginning. That is what I remember. A darkness so profound and complete that it overwhelmed and debilitated my every move, thought and emotion. There was only pain and hopelessness and yes, fear. Terror is a better word for it – as terror can be paralyzing and that was what I was, paralyzed. Unable to make the simplest decision, unwilling to make the smallest change and apathetic about my entire existence.
Caring for my father as he battled metastatic prostate cancer in his bones, bearing witness to his pain, suffering and final release all the while pushing all my emotions down, down, down as there was ‘work to be done’ returned me home to Greece feeling completely lost and without a tether. And very quickly the darkness consumed me. Two months later, whilst sitting in the corner of my room one day, collapsed in grief once again, a small light appeared in the distance. Focusing all my energy on it I quickly realized that it was life, my life, and I felt a desire to reach out and grasp it. Was that hope? Was there life to be lived? And just then my father’s words echoed in my head ‘it’s good to be alive, the alternative sucks!’ – and I chuckled. He was right. I stood up and moved tentatively towards to the light.
In order to push out the darkness, we must fill our lives with light. In the light lives hope, joy and connection. I needed to find something to fill my life with this hopeful light once more so I went on a search – on the internet of course! Where else would a depressed, grief-ridden recluse find information? My father taught me that food is a powerful tool for optimal health. His dedication and focus modeled for me how to approach my health through nutrition and lifestyle. Yes, he still got cancer, but you see he had not kept up with the new science and held fast to old ideas. I wondered if he could have … nope, not going there. Shift from past laments to future hopes … I wondered if I could do better for my health through nutrition and lifestyle changes. And the search was on!
Who did I find? You already know!! Drs Campbell, Greger and Barnard were first on the scene and gave triage care to my ailing life. They began to empower me with knowledge and that knowledge brought with it hope and in time I slowly, with that hope, transformed that knowledge into wisdom as I began to apply what I was learning to my life. You will not be surprised to hear that I began to feel better, my energy returned and my mind began to clear. With clarity came strength, with knowledge came power and with hope came motivation – I started to dig deep into this new idea of how to live optimally.
That was in 2018. And it felt like a life-long journey had culminated in the arrival of true living – pure, clean living. I began living a life of joy again, of promise and hope and I stopped hurting my fellow animals on this planet. I welcomed a new-found respect for all sentient beings and embraced life-giving plants and a plant-centric lifestyle. I became obsessed with it actually! I studied online with the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies and eCornell, completing two nutrition programs over the next six months and I was hungry for more (pun fully intended)! I then became a qualified intermittent fasting coach and gut health coach. And still I was not satiated. I had graphs, charts, data and studies – enough to keep me busy and distracted from my pain. I planted a seed in my mind called ‘balanced living in six dimensions’ which transformed into 6D Living in late 2018.
One year later I visited True North Health Center for two weeks and that is when my new life truly began. You see, I met a community there, connected with people in a profound and transformative way. I had learned the term SOS-free! What?!?! Even cleaner living is available to me?!?!
Once more I returned to my home in Greece, but this time I felt strong, powerful and ready to conquer all manner of dis-ease and illness. All alone in my house now, no community to support, encourage and guide me in my journey, well let’s just say things did not progress perfectly! I realized I needed community to be successful. Living in Greece, there are not a lot of people who are SOS-free, I mean we baptize our babies in olive oil. Not so easy to explain how dangerous it is. Once more I searched the internet for some guidance and I looked to my book shelves for knowledge. By now I had heavily invested in many, many books. I just had not read them!
And so, 6D Living came into being. Although the site had already existed, I had not done much with it as I had no one with whom to share it. Now, I reached out to my True North friends and asked if they would want to meet once a week to discuss a book – you know, a book club! At least this would get me to read those books collecting dust on my shelf and it would be a good opportunity to connect with people also living this lifestyle. A positive first step for me to become more proactive and focused on this new lifestyle. We began with Whole by Dr Campbell and we were fortunate to have Dr Campbell join us for a discussion about his book. What a great beginning.
And then a funny thing happened. People started inviting their friends to join our book club and they invited their friends and then invited anyone who showed any interest in this lifestyle. Turns out there are a lot of people in this world who are craving connection, guidance and knowledge. And so, 6D has answered the call. We are no longer just a place to talk about books, oh no! We host a variety of platforms where people can connect with one another. Our books clubs, yup plural, run all year round, with multiple titles and moderators guiding the various groups.
We also have two 10-day programs which focus on whole plant nutrition, intermittent fasting practice and finding balance in all six dimensions of our lives – and these programs are immensely popular. Again, it is the community connection which is unique to 6D programs, as we meet daily to support and encourage one another. 6D is also connecting people through chat groups, online support groups and social media challenges which guide us towards optimal health and wellness. We even offer private lifestyle and nutrition coaching services for those ready to really dig deep and make some changes in their lives. All in all, my need to read the books on my shelves has led to some pretty amazing things and we are continually adding new programs, groups and coaching services as our community grows.
From the darkness the light has truly broken through for me and I can say that this journey has literally saved my life. I am not overwhelmed and consumed by gratitude, not terror. And now this light is breaking through for so many around the world – we are all learning and growing together, creating the lives we wish to live, becoming the people we want to be and ensuring a world in which we can all thrive.
I now walk through life 110 pounds lighter with 15% less body fat. My blood flows with half the cholesterol it used to lug around and my blood glucose levels are no longer in the diabetic range. With whole plant nutrition, intermittent fasting and a plant-centric lifestyle I am now physically stronger, mentally clearer and motivated to live out my days without pain, with full mobility and in joy. I am currently studying to complete my ND with the College of Naturopathic Medicine in the UK and am loving learning about physiology and anatomy. Our bodies are truly marvelous and if we give them a chance, they allow us to experience dynamic and fulfilling lives. I hope we will all give optimal living a chance to be our reality.
At this time our 6D Community is now an international community with hundreds of members and we continue to grow! This community is my strength, my support, my tribe. There really is hope when we combine knowledge with community and find ways to transform that into wisdom so that we can all live more optimally healthy lives. I live each day in gratitude for my life. As my father always said, ‘It’s good to be alive.’ Well said dad. Thank you for that lesson and so many others you shared with me. I miss you. I love you."
- Sia Hurst
(originally published in Health Science Magazine)
The NHA has a wonderful podcast available with Dr. Frank Sabatino.
The Health Science Podcast
Host: Dr. Frank Sabatino
The Health Science Podcast is brought to you by the National Health Association (NHA) championing the Gold Standard of a Whole Plant-Food Diet and Lifestyle Since 1948. The NHA’s Mission is to educate and empower individuals to understand science-backed results from an integration of all aspects of health; personal, environmental, social, and the animals. All of our experts subscribe to a whole food, plant-based nutrition, no SOS lifestyle and take a leadership role in advocating for healthy living and social justice.
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