Eleuthera, Bahamas — The One Eleuthera’s Foundation, in collaboration with cosponsors The Cancer Society of Eleuthera, commenced “Step Up to Health: 6 Weeks to Wellness/Fitness Boot Camp” September 10th and 11th with two sessions, one held in South Eleuthera at Preston H. Albury High School’s Track in Rock Sound and another in Central Eleuthera at the Cancer Society’s Wellness Center in Palmetto Point. The boot camp was led by Nurse Bianca Edwards, Mrs Tamara Moncur and Mr Brian Babbs.

Six Weeks to Wellness received an overwhelming response of more than 100participants from various communities who were all enthused about taking on such a challenge. These persons were then divided into teams who worked together for the duration of the boot camp.

The program, part of  One Eleuthera’s Health Initiative goal  of “reversing the trends” by promoting healthy lifestyle changes, focused on children and adults that may suffer from ailments such as obesity, diabetes, hypertension, gout, arthritis, insomnia, thyroid disease, lupus, fibroids and/or polycystic ovarian syndrome and a host of other health issues.  Aerobics, nutritional counselling, body weight exercises, crunches, endurance exercises, skipping, weight lifting, abdominal exercises and other activities were incorporated. The intent was to enable participants to adopt healthy self-management behaviours, reverse disease trends and create a healthier community through diet, exercise and healthy lifestyle changes. 

On October 14th, 2012 a healthy special luncheon and cooking demo was held by One Eleuthera’s Step Up to Health program at Pascal’s Caribbean Fusion in Rock Sound. Special guest, Raw on Da Porch’s very own Christina “Chrissy Love” Thompson taught participants how to prepare healthy meals made from alkaline products. Dishes included quinoa pasta, green salad, chickpea patties and green smoothie shots. 

Boot camp concluded with a closing ceremony, held at the Church of Christ, Rock Sound where participants reflected on the past weeks, sharing their successes, downfalls and willingness to continue the lifestyle changes they have incorporated over the program period. This assisted in boosting their confidence and that of their peers.

Nurse Bianca Edwards, mastermind behind the whole program and Ministry of Health’s Employee of the Year 2012-2013, encouraged persons to press forward and continue with their regiment from the past six weeks. ”It is important to decrease the consumption of acidic foods as studies show that many of the illnesses our bodies possess are due to the extremely high levels of acid in our bodies”, she warned. Nurse Edwards also reminded the group to stay away from white foods like flour and sugar and emphasized the importance of eating raw, alkaline foods.

Mrs Moncur shared a heartfelt story of how her father, a former male nurse, dedicated his life to nurturing others, but failed to take care of his self. He died some years ago at a young age due to complications caused by diabetes. She stressed the seriousness of catering to our health needs as she does not wish for anyone to face the same fate her father did.

CEO and Director of One Eleuthera, Shaun Ingraham addressed the group on the importance of prevention and how the role each one of us play in regard to healthy lifestyle choices and changes affect not only us as individuals, but the entire country. He went on to state that The Bahamas Government spends over $250 million per year on environmental and healthcare expenses for its citizens. The intent is for Eleutherans and Bahamians in general to adapt healthy lifestyles which will result in the decrease of hospitalizations and deaths due to preventable and controllable diseases thereby reducing the strain on the healthcare system. Further, such a consorted effort will decrease the amount of money spent on healthcare, allowing these funds to be funnelled to other areas of need such as education and infrastructure.

Prizes, sponsored by the One Eleuthera Foundation and The Market Place in Rock Sound, were awarded to the top three persons losing the most weight. Mr Brian Babbs was awarded for his assistance with the program and his ability to push everyone hard while maintaining their motivation. Finally, participants were awarded with guava duff made from alkaline products such as spelt flour, sea moss and almond milk.

The second cycle of One Eleuthera’s “Step Up to Health: 6 Weeks to Wellness/Fitness Boot Camp” will begin November 12th. For more information please visit the One Eleuthera website at www.oneeleuthera.org or contact them via email at info@oneeleuthera.org or by phone at 242-334-4630.

The One Eleuthera Foundation is a non-profit organization whose premise is “strengthening, connection and planning.” It was founded to identify and invest in unique, high-quality projects that strengthen Eleuthera’s communities and further the economic, environmental, and social development of the island.   We represent a gathering of professionals and organizations that share a commitment to a future that is built on the responsible development of our island’s many assets.