drugs. In fact, it could take up to twenty to thirty months of eating a better diet to change your internal environment. Still, I want to get to the roots, not the leaves. Once your plates are broken,
though, you may not want that timeline. Most of my people say, “I need to get this fixed faster than that.” That’s where nutraceuticals—foods that act like gentle drugs—and supplements come in. They can give a more rapid response. You couldn’t eat whole sprigs of rosemary, but you can take a capsule that contains concentrated amounts of rosemary oil. My traditional medicine colleagues call this pixie dust. Well, okay, I’m willing to make deals with pixies because they can’t do much harm. I’m much less willing to prescribe the dark magic of powerful drugs. I only make those kinds of deals when there is no other option. After all, dealings with Voldemort or Maleficent are much scarier and have bigger consequences. In modern medicine, the body is seen as a machine; each part is important but may or may not interact with any other part. And when a part is broken, you fix it or replace it. In traditional Asian medicine, the body is seen more as a garden. I like to take the garden approach. The plants that grow best in your own backyard are species that are native to your area. They’re well adapted to the environment, so they’re hardy and will grow without a lot of extra watering and fertilizer. But even native species won’t do well if they’re in the wrong environment. A plant that needs a lot of sun and not too much water won’t do well in the shade. You have to know your own internal environment and choose what will work best for you in terms of diet, exercise, sleep, and everything else. As a functional medicine doctor, I work to help you achieve and maintain that understanding so you can thrive. Many of my people have been to other doctors, sometimes many other doctors, without getting any real help. By the time they see me they’re usually at a high level of frustration, hopelessness, and even mistrust toward traditional medicine. After our first interview, they’re thrilled. At last, a doctor has really listened to them—probed and questioned to get down to the real problem—and finally has taken their problems seriously. They often tell me, “I came into your clinic feeling hopeless about my condition and circumstances, but now, after meeting and listening to you, I have hope again.” Comments like that are what make me feel alive, keep me going, and make me love my role in functional medicine.