I really did not know what healthy felt like until I lifted my own brain fog and fatigue.
I chose not to continue my career as an allopathic doctor when I moved to California, but instead to focus on something which I believe to be equally, if not more powerful – lifestyle changes to heal the body. As a western, UK trained doctor, I was taught that genes dictated our health destiny, and there is a pill for every ill. I practiced this way as an internist and family physician… until my own health and my family’s health started to deteriorate.
Post children, I had fatigue, labile mood, anxiety, brain fog and most mornings I just did not even want to get out of bed. I got by on caffeine but often on my way to pick up the kids from school I would just want to crawl into bed and have a nap. I was crippled with severe migraines, and popped painkillers a few times a week. I relied on coffee to get me going in the morning, and wine to relax me at night. I had a comprehensive battery of tests and had referrals to specialists but was told that everything was ‘normal’ and that my symptoms were to be expected for a busy, working mom.
But I just could not accept that this was ‘normal’. I started doing my own reading, research and discovered the power of foods as medicine and spend the next few years beginning to peel back the layers of my symptoms to get to the root cause.
Fast forward 14 years, I am absolutely passionate about lifestyle medicine. I believe that ‘food IS medicine’. Food can turn on and off genes (epigenetics) and that yes, although there is a pill for every ill, we should address the underlying issues rather than band-aiding over problems. I still believe that western medicine is fantastic and is life-saving, but an integrative approach is needed, especially when we are treating chronic diseases.
My husband was put on prescription medication for his hypertension at the age of 36, and gradually the medication dose was increased until a second medication was threatened at the age of 42. With my help, he managed to wean himself off his blood pressure medication.
I also have two kids with severe food allergies (my daughter outgrew all four of her food allergies ‘naturally’ by age 4, and I’m still working with my son to help him hopefully outgrow his).
We are in charge of our own health destiny. Even if you are dealt a bad deck of genetic cards, you can still overcome the odds and live with wellness.