Nzingah Oniwosan is Haitian-American holistic health consultant, inspirational speaker, detox coach, yoga teacher, and raw vegan chef. As award winning visual artist, jewelry designer, classically trained pianist, published poet, and up and coming African and Haitian folklore dancer; she has created healing a modality that fuses holistic medicine with the arts.But would you believe that there was a time where not a single tear-jerking documentary about the meat industry could ever convince her to give up chicken? In this talk, we cover:
How her diagnosis of a rare autoimmune disorder and multiple tumors led her to a plant-based diet and holistic lifestyle that included therapy, mental health, and healing from trauma
What our food cravings are telling us about our emotional needs
Why healing isn’t about unicorns and rainbows
The biggest tool to have in your self-care toolkit
Breaking cycles of martyrdom from the matriarchy
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“Before I went plant-based, I was so anti plant-based. I remember saying, ‘I love my chicken. I’m never going to give my chicken up. I don’t care what documentary you’re going to show me. I love my chicken.’ So to see myself on the other side is like, wow… Never say never.”
“I had been diagnosed with rare illnesses: a pituitary tumor, a brain tumor that’s benign, clardomone, an autoimmune disorder, and PCOS. And when i decided to make the change, i had about five specialists i was seeing on a regular basis. I knew which arm was my good arm for blood. I have the university of miami that was interested in studying me because i presented as atypical with my autoimmune disorder. I remember talking to my endocrinologist, my hormone doctor, and asking if i could ever live without taking medication and was told ‘No’, and if i had decided to not I would have a very short life and eventually have organ failure. That was a big disheartening, but I just decided that there had to be another way. I kind of did some research and found that a plant-based diet could be the way that I heal myself. It definitely was a journey that had its highs and lows. It started off with just, ‘I want to heal or suppress these illnesses’ and it turned into a journey of therapy, mental health, and healing from trauma.”
“Illness is not as simple as eating the wrong foods. It can sometimes be the experiences we’re having and how we’re processing our stress.”
“In those experiences of being both physically abused as a child and sexually assaulted, the strong woman complex was being created because I didn’t want to be vulnerable anymore. But then that is a problem within itself. So the work I’ve been doing more recently is to take the S off my chest and allow myself to be a human, allow myself to be vulnerable and not be ashamed of the experiences that I had and to know that they don’t define me. They may have shaped me in some ways, but ultimately I’m human and that’s complex and beautiful and ugly all at the same time.”
“I can’t have anyone working with me as a healer if they don’t have someone they’re navigating healing with. Healing is something you’re going to have to do for the rest of your life.”
“Team hustle is not the team I want to be on anymore. While I’m doing the healing work for people, I need to make sure that i’m continually doing the healing work for myself because it’s so easy to take on other people’s burdens and traumas.”
“Being from an immigrant family, it comes with a different kind of demand and expectation growing up in America. And I was the only daughter until I was 21, and i was the first born and an overachiever so the expectations and bar was set high. So i was a people pleasure and I was taught to be a people pleaser. So in Haitian culture, women are asked to give their last breath when it comes to how we relate to everyone and we think of ourselves last, even down to how we serve food. If i were to burn some fish, i would keep the burnt fish for myself and then give everyone else the good pieces of meat. And I’m not doing that anymore.”
When we speak of women, our heroines are always women who sacrificed themselves. So in our societal subconscious, martyrdom is what we’re told we have to do. But I’m not doing that anymore. I need more women to be on this journey of, ‘I don’t want to be a Superwoman’. Because by being this Superwoman, you’re not allowed to be vulnerable. If you have an emotional moment, people look at you like you’re crazy. And that has its own implications.”
I have to reprogram my relationship with everyone because i don’t have a safe place, but i’m everyone’s safe place.”
“I have this clear memory of my mom in the middle of a manic episode, and she left the house. We weren’t sure where she went, and she came back with food. In her manic state, she was like, ‘I have to make sure my children are fed.’ And I was just like, wow, here you are in the middle of a mental breakdown and you can’t even put yourself first because you don’t necessarily have the support you need of make sure your children are okay so that you can process whatever you’re processing.”
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Nzingah Oniwosan is Haitian-American holistic health consultant, inspirational speaker, detox coach, yoga teacher, and raw vegan chef. As award winning visual artist, jewelry designer, classically trained pianist, published poet, and up and coming African and Haitian folklore dancer; she has created healing a modality that fuses holistic medicine with the arts. Nzingah’s most recent accolades include: a grant i by Broward Foundation to artistically engage a community in Pompano Beach, being featured in a documentary by Broward Foundation documenting her work as healing artist, and being named one of the 2015 “40 under 40” honorees by Legacy magazine.
She is currently an artist-in-resident for Broward County School Board, as well as, Old Dillard Museum. Her most recent project is YesBabyILikeItRaw.com where she inspires people to tap in their “RAW” power to be a better version of the perceived self. In fall of 2018 she will be opening Plant-based Cafe and Yoga studio in Haiti.
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