A Personal Note
I am often asked what motivates me to do what I do. It is one of the easier questions I have ever had to answer.
My passion for healing began early, with the arrival of my first medical kit, a Fisher Price model, at the ripe old age of four. Some might say it was fate playing its hand and that I was destined to be a doctor. I say it was a mind trick performed by the master of manipulation, my dad, who had always wanted a doctor in the family. Regardless, I knew at a very young age that helping others heal was something I really wanted to do.
Over the years my passion never wavered despite me searching for the “right” path. I studied Chinese medicine – a rich and ancient philosophy that is both comprehensive and individualistic. I studied western medicine – robust in its offerings and technological advancements. As prepared as I felt to give my patients a holistic experience, I couldn't be ready for what life was going to teach me. In my second year of medical school my dad, at 55, passed away suddenly from a heart attack. With all that I had learned by then, I was not able to wrap my head around how this could happen to a man who was relatively fit, ate healthily by Standard American Diet standards, and had no medical issues other than elevated cholesterol for which he was taking the appropriate medications. My personal devastation was beyond compare. Professionally I was also at a loss. Feeling as if I was missing something really important, I almost left medicine.
It was my luck that I didn’t walk away, because a few years later, I discovered the medicine I had always wanted to practice. A philosophy as old as it was simple – “let food be thy medicine.”
The food in question was more a nutrition prescription for a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes – a Whole Foods Diet. For the first time, I saw patients cured of chronic diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, arthritis and gastrointestinal diseases such as Crohn’s, reflux and heartburn. This is an incredible feat in a medical environment where heart disease remains our number one killer and half of those deaths occur suddenly with no warning. Diabetes is an epidemic growing not only amongst adults but now affecting our children as well. And obesity (a risk factor for heart disease) rates are soaring—66% of Americans are overweight, 33% of those are obese and about 17% are children.
It was an incredible gift to be a doctor who actually saw patients improve, and most without the need for medications or medical interventions. I heard patient after patient say they didn't believe they could ever feel this great, they were eating abundantly and losing weight, their skin looked younger and more vibrant, they were no longer experiencing the aches and pains of chronic disease or they could finally run around with their children or grandchildren. There is truly nothing more rewarding than this for a doctor.
On a more personal level, it provided me some closure, helping me understand what happened with my dad. I am convinced that had we known then what I know now, my father would still be alive. Although a bittersweet realization, I am grateful for the opportunity to have this knowledge today. Raising two beautiful and thriving little girls, a 3- and a 5-year-old, I feel empowered to help them grow healthy and strong with foods that will nourish them and optimize their health and longevity.
What motivates me every day is knowing that I’ve found that right path for my loved ones and me and that I’m able to share it with others interested in making every day their best by heading in the same direction.