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Why I Shaved My Head

by Grace Van Berkum, R.H.N.

Last month I did something bold. Something daring. Something scary. Something most people, especially women, would never, ever, ever consider in their lifetime, given the choice.

I shaved my head. Shaved! Gone! Buh-bye! Twenty-one years of long, blond hair off my head and all over the floor.

What provokes someone, especially a woman, to shave her head? I guess everyone has their reasons, but let me share with you why I did it.

1) First of all, as a passionate plant-based Registered Holistic Nutritionist that often works with clients who have cancer, I did this to raise money for Cancer Support Services and all that they offer for cancer patients and their families through the Integrative Medicine Department at Orlando Health. Nearly all of the support services and educational classes they offer are free (including plant powered cooking classes and yoga) which is so amazing and generous. You can read more here:


2) I also did this to raise awareness that nutrition, specifically plant-based nutrition, plays an integral, massive role in our immune health, longevity, and quality and quantity of life. What you eat plays a monumental role in the prevention of disease, and even healing from disease. We have more control over our health, our bodies, our futures than we can even imagine! I was willing to shave my head for this message which is my mission to spread in this lifetime. We need to take our power back and start paying attention to how we’re living. We need to be more aware, more conscious, more mindful of how the things we surround ourselves with affect our energy output. This includes food and lifestyle habits.

My dad healed his cancer over eight years ago after being told he only had ten months left to live. He healed by changing his nutrition, his approach to life, and his mindset from negative to positive, by truly exploring all the blocks in his life holding him back from living a disease-free life. Watching this has changed my life and how I teach, and affects every decision I make. I am constantly self-evaluating if my food & life choices are loving, energizing, expansive, and life-giving—or if they are depleting and draining. Sunwarrior’s plant powered products have played an instrumental role for me and my clients in maintaining a healthy, abundant, energizing existence. Check out a variety of easy, delicious Gracious Living Lifestyle recipes here with healing Sunwarrior:

You can read more about my dad here:


3) For the last ten years, I have repeatedly said, “If I ever go to India, I will shave my head.” Not sure exactly the impetus for that statement, but I did indeed say it, and my friends didn’t let me forget it when I said I was going to India last month! And I always try to be a woman of my word. I believe that if you say something, you should stay true to your promise. Too many people make false promises these days, or don’t really mean what they say, which can make communication draining and confusing. As we all try to make the world a better place, I believe that being mindful of truthful communication is an area we need to spend some time in honest reflection. So in some way, shaving my head was an empowering representation of living and speaking with integrity, authenticity, and honesty. The world would be a happier place if more people would do what they say and say what they mean. Honor your word, honor yourself. Be real.

4) Sadly, my mom passed away two weeks before I went to India. My mom has been with me my whole life—my hair has been with me my whole life. So on some level, shaving my head represents a re-birth of Grace, a new me. Letting go of my hair also represents letting go of the things that no longer nourish me. For me, letting go has been about forgiveness, freedom, and creating space for more love.

And it has now been a just over a month since I shaved my head. While I shaved my head for some very specific reasons, the lessons it continues to bring me each day has been unexpected. Shaving my head has evolved into self-study, an observational study of my fears and transcending them. How I move through life without my hair to hide behind. To observe life looking quite different than most people and women I see or meet. To observe my feelings and reactions to how others might be judging me. Every day brings forth a new lesson with this shaved head, lessons on how I can move through life with more ease, more love, more joy. Funny how a lack of hair can do that!

Stay tuned for my next article on the “Life Lessons With a Shaved Head”

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