Champions for Change

by | May 1, 2023 | Champions of Change | 0 comments

This month I wanted to highlight two more people that are doing wonderful work on  Nutritional and Environmental issues.  As my patients have taught me so well, what we are knowingly or unknowingly exposed to in the environment or in our food and what we choose to eat for food can have a huge impact on keeping us well OR increasing our risks for cancer.  Both of these women are leading by example, working every day on positive changes to the Environmental exposures and Creative solutions for good nutrition to  advocate for Indigenous Peoples in the States as well as in Hawaii!

The first person I want to highlight this month is Mariah Gladstone. I first saw Mariah when she testified before Senator Tom Udall at an Oversight hearing regarding Native American Agribusiness as the Senate and Congress prepared for Reauthorization of the Farm Bill.   She is a bright and energetic 24 year old from Montana who is a member of the Blackfeet and Cherokee nations.    Mariah is a 2015 Environmental Engineering graduate of Columbia University and one of 5 Native American Youth recognized as a Champion of Change in 2017.   She is so articulate and a strong advocate for Environment, Sustainability and Food Sovereignty.  This is so important as we know too well that Nutrition is Key to Good Health.  What I was shocked to learn, is that despite the fact that connection with Mother Earth and consumption of whole food is an intricate part of the heart and soul of Native American cultures, many Native peoples have been denied the opportunity to eat wholesome, culturally based food, leaving many malnourished and at high risk of chronic diseases.  Mariah is set on changing this situation.   She has her own online cooking show, Indigikitchen, about Native foods and cooking to bring wholesome alternatives and healthy food to Indigenous people and others interested in really fun and delicious food!  Check out her Creative, Nutritious and Delicious recipes at or on Facebook at Indigikitchen…her recipe, Nested Elk, looks Amazing!  She is one to follow and a True Champion for Change!

Second, is my dear friend Terri Napeahi who is an Indigenous Hawaiian, and has been a Champion for Environmental Advocacy for all in Hawaii for the last 6 years.   This year, she is running as a Hawaiian State Representative in the Big Island.  I first met Terri when I was lost on the Western Side of the Island and needed to get back to Hilo but needed to go up and over the highway along Mauna Kea, the 13,800 foot mountain.  OMG…Being afraid of heights, I was sure glad to find that Terri was willing to show me how to drive over this mountain pass and back to Hilo without hesitation!  This is Terri’s nature and she is a steady advocate for Environmental Safety, Sustainability and Good Health. She is like an eagle, very bright and visionary, constantly on the look out to help those in need, coming up with better strategies and solutions  to provide a healthful environment and advocating for those who are more vulnerable in our society.  Working with those with cancer has given me a unique perspective on health.  Today, more than ever before, our environment is linked intricately with our basic health and that of future generations.  A simple, clean and toxic-free environment is important for life long health and Terri is a tireless advocate for Environmental Sovereignty.  We need more people like Terri in this world today and one of those Champions of Change that is doing valuable work for the most vulnerable in our society!

To your Good, Better and Best Life through W.E.L.L.N.E.S.S.  Like these 2 women above, I encourage you to develop your own ways of being a Champion for Change with your family, your kids and your community!