CLARION, Pa. – The Mary Walter Leadership Series kicked off the spring semester by featuring its first speaker of the series, Elise Dietz.
This year’s series theme is “Defining your Purpose,” and Dietz spoke on how students should “voice your vision.”
Dietz is a Clarion County native who is an activist for local farmers. She has served as the manager for the Clarion County Farmer’s Market since 2008 as well as volunteering with nutrition foundations, all a part of her journey in finding her vision.
“It was not until Dietz was asked to participate in the CUP Communiversity agriculture project that she realized the vision that she has carried with her for several years. This is where she found her true purpose in life,” DeBreea Dunston said as she introduced Dietz to the crowd.
After years of suffering from health issues due to being overdosed on antibiotics, Dietz has been working for the past several years to regain her health.
Doctor after doctor would misdiagnose Dietz, prescribing her more medication, matching symptoms she was having with drugs.
“The antibiotics were curing nothing, and destroying everything inside my body,” Dietz said.
Her health issues started at the age of 3, when she was diagnosed with a lump under her left arm due to a cat scratch.
After that, Dietz had tonsillitis, abscesses in her teeth and gums, ear infections and brain fog, all before the age of 10. Her teenage years came with more health issues and more antibiotics to solve them.
As a young girl, Dietz dreamed of becoming an airline attendant, but was held back due to her health. She would eventually get a job as a legal secretary and begin her career in Clarion.
“If someone would have asked me what my purpose was when I was 18, I would have said get a job, get married and have children,” Dietz said. “I didn’t realize I had options.”
Dietz’s journey to a healthy lifestyle began when she discovered a book called “Nourishing Tradition,” written by Sally Fallon.
The book was filled with recipes for traditionally prepared foods such as grains and vegetables that are important to maintaining good health. The book also explained that those who stuck to traditional diets thrived, and those who relied on processed foods were struck with illness and health problems.
“I only had to read the first few pages until my intuition kicked in and told me that this was my answer,” Dietz said.
To assist her in learning more information about traditional nutrition, Dietz began attending seminars and reading more books, helping her learn about farming and soil health, focusing on how animals are raised and how it can affect the food that comes out of them. She changed her diet, focusing on good nutrition for her body while eliminating things such as white refined flour and sugar.
“When I would share my story about health issues and antibiotics, people would look at me like I was nuts,” Dietz said. “Some people got it, but most people didn’t.”
When she was dealing with illness in her family, she said that “doctors and nurses despised me. They would look at me and say, ‘what are you, a nurse? How do you know anything?’”
During her adult life, Dietz went from job to job never feeling like she was fulfilling her purpose in life.
“Moving on doesn’t mean you’re giving up, it means that you have the strength and courage that you know you are not where you are supposed to be.”
“I believe that following your heart is the true way to find your purpose,” Dietz said. “The tough part is convincing your mind and developing a vision of what it is you want to do.”
Dietz’s dream now is to have a full functioning grocery store in the Clarion area, along with a kitchen that focuses on locally prepared foods to further her sharing of information of traditional nutrients.
By having the grocery store, local farmers would have an outlet to sell their food, which would help them to keep farming.
“My purpose is to share my knowledge of caring about the environment, our bodies and caring about each other as individuals,” Dietz said. “Take the time to tell your story, and hear other people’s story; and really listen.”
The next Mary Walter Leadership Series lecture will take place on March 12 at 7 p.m. on level A of the Carlson Library and will feature student Kaitlyn Jones.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_facebook type=”standard”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_tweetmeme type=”horizontal”][/vc_column][/vc_row]