Updated: Apr 5, 2020
Last August 28, 2018, I went to see Dr. Gordon Saxe, MD, an integrative and holistic practitioner in UC San Diego Health. I scheduled a consultation upon hearing about him from a fellow breast cancer survivor and out of sheer curiosity. I've always been a believer of natural ways of healing to compliment conventional medicine so I wanted to see what he had to say to further improve my healthy habits.
The first part of the consultation was mainly him asking me about my life story in a nutshell, my diagnosis and how the journey has been so far and my lifestyle and eating habits. I answered all his questions with sincerity and when the elicitation was done, he asked to be excused for a few minutes so that he can give me his recommendations and explain them thoroughly. And true enough, when I came back after a little break, he had a list prepared for me.
Since I've already been living a healthy lifestyle, he asked me to incorporate the following in my diet more frequently:
BROWN RICE CONGEE
Congee was first used in ancient China and other parts of Asia as the first line of "food as medicine" for many diseases. It is soft, easily digested and highly nutritious. It's known to improve symptoms in weakened digestion and bowel problems.
PAR-BOILED OR STEAMED LEAFY GREENS
Dr. Saxe became particular with the cabbage/mustard family such as kale, collards, boy chow, mustard greens, turnip greens, watercress, arugula, etc. The darker the vegetables, the more nutritious they are.
MUSHROOMS & FUNGI
There are different variations that he recommended such as maitake, shitake, enoki, oyster, portabella, bunapi, crimini, etc. Mushrooms are said to increase energy, concentration, memory and immunity. He also recommended mushroom supplements known as cordyceps to treat fatigue and turkey tail for immune booster.
Along with these, he strongly advised that I carry on with yoga, meditation and long walks. Yoga is a mind and body exercise that implements heavy breathing which supplies the body with a great amount of oxygen. While meditation calms the mind and the rest of the nervous system which combats stress and anxiety. And going for a long walk is the best exercise there is as it gradually increases the body's stamina, develops strength and boosts the mood.
I did find these information somewhat helpful (especially about the mushrooms) but somehow, redundant and obvious. But what got me interested in our talk was when he spoke about how the spiritual, emotional and psychological aspect of a person can affect their overall health.
Disease comes from the word DIS-EASE, which means the body is not feeling good about something and that is why it's reacting with an illness. The body only takes orders from the mind and the heart. So if both of them are not at ease, it creates stress and discomfort that lowers the immune system and thus, manifests diseases.
According to Dr. Saxe, studies have shown that Eastern countries (that are mostly third world) who eat peasant food and function in a tribe have significantly lower rates of chronic illnesses than first world countries who eat organic food and have progressive technologies and conventional medicines. It's because that so-called peasant food comes straight from the farm without harmful chemicals or preservatives as compared to the first world country's good that are labelled "organic" but are mostly processed anyway.
And third world countries get a lot of human affection from being surrounded by family, friends and community all the time that contributes to a great overall well-being. Compared to progressive countries where people function in a highly individualistic nature and work too hard to make ends meet, it creates a selfish and stressful lifestyle which Dr. Saxe believes takes toll on the health. There is no concrete evidence to back this up but cancer, in theory, seems to be a more of a first world country disease.
As he finished sharing all these information, he , "So Jaymee, what part in your life did you think gave you that feeling of not being at ease that manifested your diagnosis? If so, have you made the necessary changes so that you can make everything better this time? Think about it. It's time to give yourself what you truly deserve to finally be at ease."
I left the clinic speechless with my mind wandering. It was then that I realized, I may have figured out the diet and exercise part of my life but I still have a lot of soul work to do. I know for a fact that before my diagnosis hit, I was a highly stubborn, selfish and superficial bitch. And after the traumatic experience, I was reborn into a humble, empathetic and profound woman. However, there are still certain aspects in my life that I need to improve such as letting go of past hurts, learning how to trust again and being open to being cared and loved for.
My verdict regarding consultation with Dr. Saxe? I would say it was so and so. I expected more from just getting congee, vegetables and mushroom as a prescription but he did give me something deep to ponder on that could potentially prevent me from getting in a state of dis-ease again. And with that, I'm thankful for our encounter.
If you're reading this, reflect with me. What aspect of your life is giving you a feeling of dis-ease? Are you willing to do something to make things better for you and your well-being? If so, what changes will you be making? Share if you must. I'd be delighted to hear from you.
Winning With You,