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Charlotte Amalie
Sunday, December 10, 2023
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@Work: Kalima Center

April 12, 2009 — Dr. Cheryl Wade is leading people on a pathway to healthy living at the Kalima Center in Christiansted. Her approach is to educate people holistically on what they eat and how they move their bodies.
"The greater good would be to see people healthy and joyful," said Wade, a general surgeon self-taught in holistic health. Her main focus is on nutrition and exercise.
Wade says she really wants to help people get their bodies in balance as they were created — in the image of God.
In 2000 she began a collaborative effort with her husband, Jonathan Lowis, that has been evolving ever since: They opened Kalima Center of Health and Holistic Living and Lalita Juice Bar and Raw Food Restaurant.
The center is tucked away in a quiet location at 54 King Street across from Government House. The courtyard of the center exudes peace and bliss, with lush green foliage and soothing fountains with Koi gliding through the water.
"Most of us are killing ourselves in quiet desperation," Wade says. "There is so much depression, and our society is under so much stress. We are under environmental and emotional stress."
Wade believes there are toxic elements in the environment, and that food is laced with chemicals and pesticides the body can't recognize as food. She recommends fresh, whole, raw foods because, she says, cooking reduces the nutrients. There are even toxic chemicals in the water we bathe with, Wade says.
Emotional stress can cause autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis and fibromyalgia, she says, noting that stress is a link to high blood pressure, heart disease, high cholesterol and some types of cancer.
"Our bodies are running in high gear, and we just burn out," Wade says. "Statistics show 95 percent of doctor's visits are related to stress."
Wade feels combining general medicine with holistic advice and modifying patients' diet and exercise keeps the body and mind fit.
"Simple adjustments to lifestyle can lead to healthy lives," Wade says.
Exercise, she says, gets endorphins flowing and releases tension.
"It is hard to get patients to exercise," Wade says. "I talk to them and tell them they have to start from the ground up with the most basic things like walking."
Wade, who is toned and slender, sets an example for patients. She swims and runs, and she has done the short race version in the local triathlons.
Yoga classes are also held at the center to help heal body, mind and spirit. The center is home to The Shop, where people can purchase products for healthy living such as health and beauty items, massage oils, nutritional supplements and books.
Wade's undergraduate studies were in anthropology at Cornell University. She decided anthropology was not the most secure profession, so she continued her schooling, earning her medical degree from the New York University School of Medicine.
"It was my mom's dream that I become a doctor," Wade says. Born on Nevis, she came to St. Croix in 1993 for surgery performed by Dr. Ralph De Chabert. He offered her a job in general surgery at Gov. Juan F. Luis Hospital. She took him up on it, and still works there.
The hard part about being a surgeon at the hospital, Wade says, is she never knows when she will get a call in the middle of the night to patch up someone with gunshot wounds.
Wade's goal is to get out of her office and get her message out to more people through mixed-media productions.
For more information, call 340-719-4417 or visit kalimacenter.org.
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