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Lessons Learned from Martin Luther King Jr

on January 21, 2014

mlkHow the Teachings of MLK Can Help Pave the Way

Megan Monday articles are written by Megan Kalocinski, a Certified Nutrition and Health Coach.

In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday today (and the real reason why most of our nation has a day off from work and school), I wanted to highlight some of his most notable quotes and teachings in a way that have influenced the way I and others have interpreted our work in striving to help individuals fight for and achieve their best health.  Whether you are a mom wanting to choose healthier snacks for her kids, or you are on an all-out quest to eliminate every ounce of “unhealthy” out of your life, something is inspiring you inside to step outside of what has become the “norm” in our country, and sadly, across the globe in many places.  Granted, I write this from the perspective I now have after fastidiously studying about how obesity, Type II diabetes, heart disease, cancer, digestive disorders, allergies, anxiety disorder, intolerances, and other chronic ailments and diseases impact more people than not in the world today.  I have also been affected in numerous ways by several of the aforementioned – whether it be things I personally suffered from (and got sick of taking medication for), or watching and caring for family members or friends who battle(d) such misfortunes.  I understand that genetics play a role and some of these things are out of our control – to an extent. Chemicals, genetically modified organisms, processed foods, unhealthy food choices, lack of affordable healthy food options for most people, and what I feel is a complete corruption of the safeguarding of our agriculture, pharmaceutical, environmental, and even our healthcare industries plague not only our nation, but now our world.  I know I must sound like a radical extremist by stating those opinions, but sadly, there is truth in it, and so many people are not aware of it (not to their own fault; it’s so easy to be misinformed and misguided, thanks to the persuasive and all-pervasive marketing of big-money firms and industries who aim to keep the majority of people “in the dark”).  So what does all of this have to do with MLK, one of the world’s most influential civil-rights activists, and his notable quotes?

Well, let me start with the first quote I chose: The question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be… The nation and the world are in dire need of creative extremists.”  Many times, I feel like I am precariously stepping out on an unpredictable proverbial limb when I share what I know about the current state of our nation’s health.  I am sometimes met with shear skepticism (namely the rebuttal, “Well, if our government allows it, it must be safe, otherwise why would it be on the shelves of our stores?”), and other times, some people probably just think I am a pain in the butt because what I am sharing is so out of their comfort zone of what they know and do on a daily basis.  Although I don’t normally consider myself an extremist, perhaps the work that is done in this country (and world) by those who want to help spread the word about things that are slowly sickening and killing us as a whole could be viewed more positively if thought of in MLK’s terms.  I’m OK with considering myself as a creative extremist, and so should you if you follow this path.  After all, King also stated, Almost always, the creative dedicated minority has made the world better.”

Following suit with that premise, The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”  It wasn’t easy making the changes I have made for myself and my family over the years.  Believe me – I get it.  Kids are some of the hardest critics to win over and get on board.  Habits form at young ages, and many adults have been living a life of preferences that are really hard to change at this stage of the game.  Along the way, much of what I was doing was scoffed at or I was viewed as “weirdo” for drinking green smoothies at work while others guzzled Diet Cokes at 8am (not that I am trying to make anyone feel bad if they drink Diet Coke at 8am, although it would not be something I would recommend for people to do).  However, the more research and learning I tackled, the more in shock I was over what I was doing to my body in the past, I thought was the “healthy” way.  With tweaks, eliminations, and slight changes here and there, it all surmounted to a huge positive effect.  I watched others around me make the same mistakes I did, and it pained me to stay quiet, which is why I went back to school to become certified to share what I know and try and help people and do nutrition and health coaching for a living.  While I try not to overstep my bounds and chime-in when I see when people may benefit from a pointer here and there, I feel like I am doing an injustice to anyone whom I stay silent with in fear of them rejecting what I may have to share.  It’s not my job to save them, and in some cases, some people may feel like I have no right to share such “help” – which is fine.  However, I often ascribe to what Dr. King stated: Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”  I obviously know that I cannot change the world myself or “fix” all of the health problems that exist today.  But to get out there and stay rooted in my teacher origins and do what I can is what I have dedicated my career to do, and I encourage every single person out there who has a fire inside to get out there and make any positive change for him/herself.  Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.”

I think one of the greatest fears I have is that eventually, the industrialized and “modernized” human race is eventually going to get so far ahead of ourselves with our “developments” that we will not be able to sustain life for ourselves here on Earth, as radical as that sounds.  No matter what research or scientific study I read, our environment is so saturated with pollutants and material things that are crowding out the natural and normal functioning of our planet that even if we tried our hardest to cleanse our bodies of toxins, it’s nearly impossible.  That. Scares. Me.  What do our children have to look forward to?  Don’t get me wrong – civilization has come a painstakingly way with the positive developments created to make life easier and better – but at what cost for certain conveniences and profit?  Years ago when reading a book about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., one quote sharply stuck out to me: Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men.”  While King intended this quote to reference the use of weapons and the instance of war in areas across the globe, I think it can also pertain to the development of industrialized “advancements” such as GMOs, chemicals, an onslaught of pharmaceuticals, etc.  There are more artificial agents we put onto and into our bodies, not to mention the ones saturated in our immediate environment, that soon enough, there may not be an opportunity for what is deemed “natural” to exist anymore.  Many individuals in powerful positions in government and corporations are making incredulous decisions based on money rather than ethics, and unfortunately, the majority of the people on this Earth are affected without even knowing it – or having enough of a say.  It angers me that there are people are in power to be making decisions without properly conducting research on how this will affect mankind and the environment.  I certainly do not want to remain a by-stander in this situation, which is why I do what I do – I try my best to share what I know and to educate others about things they can do to make a difference for themselves, their family and friends, and future generations.  The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.”

Obviously, as stated earlier, I am passionate about what I do and believe in regarding the overall health of the population and environment, for this will directly impact us, our loved ones, and our children.  So many of us want the best for our children and subsequent generations, which is why if I can make even the slightest difference, I feel like I have succeeded.  Which is why you, too, should applaud yourself for any effort or action taken to make positive changes.  It’s very easy to become overwhelmed, which is completely understandable with all that we are tackling on a daily basis in our busy lives.  Times have definitely changed – and they will continue to change – but how we change with those times is what will make the ultimate difference.  Realize that you do have a voice; you do have a choice; and the power rests in your exercising both of those.  Whatever you do, don’t give up.  Whatever you want to achieve in life is attainable in some way.  It may not, all probably will not be easy, but without taking the initial steps, you will stay stagnant in your current state and have nothing to look back on.  All progress is precarious, and the solution of one problem brings us face to face with another problem.” 

Megan Monday articles are written by Megan Kalocinski, a Certified Holistic Nutrition and Health Coach and Owner/Founder of Empower Nutrition & Health Coaching, LLC. Megan educates and empowers women, men, and children of all ages to learn the true ins-and-outs of “feeding the brain with knowledge about the best foods and habits for one’s body” in order to reach optimal health and wellness potentials. Visit her website today to learn more: http://www.exponentialhealthandwellness.us or feel free to send her an e-mail at: megan@empowerhealthcoach.com.

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