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Exploring Paths in Health and Wellness: A Journey with Dr. Anna Pleat

Episode 36 of the Fuel the Fire Podcast hosted by Shanon Safi, RD, LDN.

Picture this: a journey of two old friends, united by a shared passion for health, wellness, and the power of nutrition. I was lucky to meet Anna Pleat, a medical doctor and equally passionate advocate for naturopathic medicine, during our shared studies at the University of Pittsburgh. Now, we come together again to discuss our respective career paths and the life-changing experiences that have shaped them. From Anna's inspiring journey from Europe to America to her transition from naturopathic school to medical school, we uncover a world of knowledge and experiences. We delve into the health benefits of European cultures, the importance of health education, and the vital role alternative medicine plays in our lives. Amidst our shared stories and laughter, the realities of transitioning to an online business, overcoming online toxicity, and the overarching importance of preventive health come to the forefront. But our journey doesn't stop there. We also discuss the launch of my online program, Body and Soul Freedom. A program designed to help people become intuitive eaters and view their health from a holistic perspective. The challenges, joys, and lessons learned along the way form a compelling narrative that I believe will resonate with every listener. So, buckle up and get ready for this ride. A journey of health, wellness, friendship, and above all, discovery awaits. 0:00 Opportunities in Alternative Health and Medicine

4:18 The Journey From Europe to America

15:53 From Naturopathic School to Medical School

21:25 Exploring Nutrition as a Career Path

28:55 Importance of Health Education and Alternative Medicine

38:10 The Importance of Prevention in Health

43:11 Transitioning to an Online Business

48:21 Navigating Online Toxicity

57:14 Body and Soul Freedom Journey

1:07:29 Podcast Review for Personal Gift

Episode Transcript:

Hello, hello, welcome to the Fuel the Fire podcast. I recently changed the name to Match my Brand and originally didn't do that because there were a couple other Fuel the Fire podcasts. But you know what I like solidarity. I freaking love the name of my business, so I'm sticking to it, I'm keeping it and we're running with it. So it is the Fuel the Fire podcast with your host, shannon Safi. So if you guys haven't already check out the masterclass that I just recorded on overcoming stress, eating and building body confidence, I put a lot into making this masterclass and I have my signature five step frameworks in there for you guys so you can start taking action literally as soon as you listen to it. While you listen to it, I'm telling you your brain is going to go off in so many ways and so many things are already going to start to click. So just by doing that, you're going to start to feel a shift. And if you take the framework and start to implement it, that's really like the basis of a lot of my programs. So check it out. So my group program, body and Soul Freedom, is reopened now. I'm really, really excited about that because I put so much work into it and I continue to make changes to the program and update it and improve it and make it even better. So once you get access, you have access for as long as I keep running the program, which is what I continue to do for quite a long time many years to come and I'm excited to see how the program continues to expand. So invest now, because this is the best price you're ever going to get it at, because, as I build it up, there's going to be more and more value, which might have to adjust the price because I plan to continue again to expand it. So get in now. It's an amazing, freaking program. It's all about really tuning in, becoming an intuitive eater, learning to trust your body and adjust the things that you truly need to grow from so that you can expand and become the person and feel confident in your body in the way that you have always wanted. So this is perfect. If you have been a chronic dieter, if you've struggled with nutrition in the past, feel like you're overwhelmed or stressed in your life, this program is perfect for you. So check it out and I highly recommend watching the masterclass first so you kind of get a taste even further from what you see in my podcast or here in my podcast. So, yeah, I'm excited for you. Check out the masterclass first and then enroll for the program. You will not regret it. All the women that have gone through it so far have loved it, so I'm really excited to share it, and it's amazing because guest speakers come in. So not only do you get to learn from me, you get to learn from so many other powerful women and potentially men that come in on the future that I seriously love and respect and have so much value to share in such beautiful perspectives. All right, so without further ado, we're going to get into today's episode. I have a dear friend, anna Pleat, who I actually studied with at the University of Pittsburgh, so we were both dietetics and nutrition majors together, and you'll hear more about our journeys and how we got to where we are today, but I really love it. She's got me so excited again about what I'm doing, my mission, just from having this conversation. You're going to love what you hear and it's going to be really great invigorating information to get you inspired and to really bring you back into focus on what matters when it comes to your health and where you need to put your energy where to start to explore, and if you're someone that's on a journey and developing your career, this is also really inspiring. So check it out. Hello, hello. I'm here with Anna Pleat, who is a medical doctor, and we have some beautiful history together. Anna and I actually studied together at the University of Pittsburgh when we were majoring in nutrition, and I always think of Anna as also the sore thumb that stuck out with me, where we felt like we did it 100% belong in a way, and we had such unique views on nutrition and health. So I'm really excited to bring her on here and bring in that perspective, share her journey. And, yeah, for me a little bit, it's going to be nice to reminisce about some parts of college and just to catch up and see how we've each taken things in these different directions. And, yeah, I'm just so excited to dive in.

Speaker 1: 5:09

Thank you. It is absolutely my pleasure to be here. When I found out you're doing podcasting and you're doing life coaching and all of this spirituality stuff, I thought, oh, this is my soul, sister, for sure. Things are going to come full circle. This is just so beautiful and I'm very happy to be here talking to you.

Speaker 2: 5:29

Yeah, oh, thanks for being here. Yeah, I like just seeing you feel so great again and I'm glad we reconnected the power of the internet and social media, I'll tell you, yeah, sometimes I take it for granted. Sometimes I'm like, oh my gosh, it's so much pressure to always be putting things out there, but at the same time it has brought me so many beautiful things and really awesome connections that I don't think could have happened under any other circumstance.

Speaker 1: 5:57

So I couldn't agree more Absolutely. And my life has taken me all around the world and the power of the internet brings me back to relationships I've had for over 10 years, like I knew you since oh my gosh, since we were what? 20. Oh my gosh, it's crazy.

Speaker 2: 6:12

You're right, I literally didn't even think about that, I just did. It's wild, yeah, wild stuff. Yeah, I'm excited to open up with your journey and tell them a little bit more, but first let's just get into it and tell the audience a little bit about yourself outside of your career.

Speaker 1: 6:35

Yeah, that's an excellent question. So my career really bleeds into all of the things that I care about and am passionate about, like food and cooking and travel, and I've spent a lot of time living outside of the US, specifically in the last six years. I actually just moved back to the US back in December of 2022. And because of that, I am kind of reconnecting with all of these old passions of mine here in the US, like hiking and being outside and doing all this nature stuff. But I spent the last six years living in Italy and that has just been the biggest joy in the world. I always wanted to live in Europe growing up, and so I found a way to make that happen and it blended into my career path. So that was what was very special about it all. But, yeah, I love exploring places that I've never been, cuisines that I've never had, learning new languages. I definitely like a good challenge. That is not something I'm shy about in anything that I do. So, yeah, I do a lot of stuff and I feel like I'm just getting started. You know, life has unfolded right before me.

Speaker 2: 7:48

Oh, that's awesome. I think it's really cool that you took that opportunity to live in Italy, and living in Europe is something that I've always had some curiosity about, especially speaking on the food. Like, honestly, that would be such a big factor because just my thoughts on, like, what America does to our food and what Europe does not do to our food I was always curious how I would feel as a human literally just by changing what I'm putting into my body, removing all these chemicals and things that in America are legal, in Europe are illegal. What would happen to me? So, yeah, I'm definitely really curious to hear about that and what your transition felt like coming back to the States.

Speaker 1: 8:34

Yeah, you bring up some absolutely incredibly crucial points. The way that our food is produced, I mean, it's a whole topic, right. We could have 10 podcast episodes just talking about that. But, yeah, part of what drew me there were my passions for food and cooking and wellness really. And then I had the opportunity to go over there for school and that's where I went to medical school and it was actually this is maybe a point of later conversation, but I'll just get into it now a big pivot point that I had was recognizing the amazing things that European culture has within it, like embedded inside of it, just more walking and going to the grocery store more often and buying less when you go. These are things that, at face value, are not necessarily healthy habits. They're just habits. But it turns out that you're more inclined to buy fresh produce if you're just thinking about the meal you have to make tonight or tomorrow, and it's not overwhelming of planning all of your meals for the next nine to 10 days, the way we tend to do it in the US, and then things go bad and then you don't put in the effort to actually cook them and they focus more just at the next meal, and it allows the pace of life to just be a lot slower and pun intended more digestible, right. And so I just was so hooked to the way that people live there and it's not just Italy, but I spent a lot of time in France and in Germany as well, and also I spent a summer in Amsterdam and just the European societies they are food-centric cultures and they are very active in their healthy lifestyles. They're biking all the time, they're walking, they're very conscious about what the environmental impact is of taking all the cars and everything. So all of that kind of leads into the big package of like I love Europe, I love it, I'm so healthy, this is such a nourishing place for me to be. But then I had this tree point. It was during COVID, while I was there recognizing like, okay, I can just be here in my bubble loving the way I can live in Europe. But what about all of my friends and family who are in the US culture and we do some things really well, but we also do some things not so well, and there's a lot that can be learned that we can take from other societies and just start practicing this. And I just found that I had a calling to kind of bring it back to the US and I said, no, I'm going to come be a doctor here in the United States, in this medical system, in this society where people really need support to live healthfully and to make healthy choices, because our environment here is not reinforcing all of that the way other places around the world are reinforced, just from the way things work in their towns. We are reinforced to drive in a car to buy a lot of packaged, processed food. The gas stations here there's nothing fresh. The gas stations in Italy it's fresh fruits, vegetables, salads. You can get a sandwich made to go, not like at the sheets, made to go where it's like you know, mucked up with all the mayonnaise and stuff, although that stuff is very tasty. But I'm talking about like actual vegetables and actual lean proteins are like fresh bread in a sandwich at a gas station, Like it's just. You know differences, right? They emphasize fresh ingredients and like buying local and that's something that is very important to them and we have definitely pockets of our American culture that really value that stuff. But I hope that we can keep spreading that awareness of how important that is for our bodies and for the planet, because it really just comes full circle.

Speaker 2: 12:19

Yeah, so beautifully said. I think about the endeavor and I think it's really beautiful that you're dedicating yourself to it. Sometimes, when I think about how overwhelming it is, with how large of a challenge it is to take on, I have to remind myself like it happens one person at a time right, it's like one person has that journey, brings back that information, shares it with others, inspires others to maybe take that journey, and that's how it happens. And I think that's just a good reminder that with anything, it's really intimidating to take on something new or something big or a huge change, whether it's just in your life or a huge systemic issue that you want to start to fight against and bring better knowledge, better practices in. You really just have to start with you and take it like one step at a time, especially, you know. I even think about how long the journey is with being a doctor and having that eagerness to really want to put yourself out there into the world and start to share this and it's like, okay, but I still have to take the proper steps, I still have to go through this process. Um, yeah, yeah, how do you feel about just the whole journey that you've taken and like having this information and how you see like your ability and credibility, even with like sharing this information to the world and getting the information out there in a way where people know you to be like a trusted resource.

Speaker 1: 13:51

Yeah, that's such a good question and I probably should have backed up a little bit before we dived, you know, right into the conversation. Um sort of like how did I get to the point of going to medical school in Europe? And part of that bleeds into some pivotal questions I had to ask myself of. Is this resonating with me in like the core of me and what I want to bring to the world with my work and my message and the way I want to help people? And so it really kind of comes back to being at pit with you in our nutrition dietic program. And the program was, you know, excellent, right? So it's a program that's priming people to go be registered dieticians and I'm and I think you can agree like all about nutrition. I love it. It's such a rich, juicy topic and it can be taken in so many different directions. We can talk about like actually what people are eating, but then it really, for me, bled into more thinking about like well, how does health and a diet impact the rest of our like health and the rest of our health outcomes? And I kind of recognize that to me, diet and nutrition is just one tool in the toolbox that someone can really use and garner to exude an extremely healthy lifestyle or just improve their lifestyle a little bit more, you know, towards that goal of being ultimately healthy, which is really, you know, it's the journey, it's not a destiny, right? So I recognize that I love nutrition, but if I chose to be a registered dietician, I would be limiting myself in the way that I wanted to help people by giving myself only one tool, and so I really just reflected on that and thought, no, I want to be a doctor, but my path wasn't direct, right? So I had a little bit of like curiosity towards, like natural health and nutrition being like food is medicine, being like a core component of like a healthy lifestyle, but also like a natural medical approach. I decided to go to naturopathic school and I started doing that in Portland, oregon, right after we graduated from our bachelor's degree, and I was in this program and this was very unique, right? So it's a program teaching people how to use diet also, things like chiropractics, herbs, homeopathy, chinese medicine or acupuncture, like all of these wellness techniques and all of these natural healing techniques that have been around for centuries, if not thousands of years, and can be extremely effective, right? So I'm in this program and I'm learning how to do all this stuff. But I recognize like I can't necessarily practice medicine forthright. In the context of our modern medical system, with all of the pharmaceuticals and all the surgical procedures and all of the radiation therapy, I just I didn't want to be missing a really important piece of having health conversations with people and, you know, conversations about their disease. That's a big part of it for me. I thought I didn't want to be missing any of these tools. I really just kind of kept coming back to that, and so I decided to pivot again and go to conventional medical school or allopathic school to get my medical doctorate. And this coincided with a time in my life where I was madly in love with this European man, and so it was really you know how the story always goes. I decided to join forces with him and we saw a future together in Europe. So I thought, well, it doesn't make sense for me to get my degree here and then try to jump over the Atlantic and build my career there if I'm in school there. That's where I need to be making all the connections and building up my career in the place where I plan to practice, right? So I went over there and we both moved to Milan together and I started medical school and he was doing his other program and it was amazing. And then, you know, life evolves and I got to a point where and this is really the main pivotal moment where I decided, like I talked about before, that I wanted to come back to the US. The relationship I was in wasn't serving me anymore and I had to leave it. And that was, of course, came with all the difficulties, like the emotional burden of making such a big change after I'd already made such a big change to move to Europe, to build a life there. I love Europe and he was fantastic, but we decided to part ways. And then I had this moment where I could ask myself what's next for me. And then boom, covid happened. Like the next month, we broke up January of 2020. I can't even believe that right. So the universe was just sending me so many messages Like this is a moment to pause and do some soul searching. The world is on pause right now. Don't rush. Figure out what you want out of it. And so I did. I paused. I was like a basket case all of 2020. I didn't know who I wanted to be. I didn't know where I wanted to be, but the answers came. You know and this is stuff that I know you do with your yoga work and your meditation like giving ourselves moments of silence and moments of pause. It's not eliminating the messaging, it's actually allowing it to come right. So we have all this chatter and all this noise, but unless we give ourselves those moments and that space to just listen to like that inner voice, like that inner calling, you know, we can miss the moments in our lives where it's our opportunity. And so, thank goodness, my sister's a psychologist, so of course, I was guided by her wisdom, but I paused, I made this decision and I, full force, was like I'm coming back to the United States. Everything I've learned here in Europe is so valuable. Americans deserve to understand that there are so many ways to live and we are not boxed into the way we've been taught to live in the United States. And if that's not working for you, like I, have so many examples of how I can show other ways of doing it that are very embedded in our modern world, their fast paced lifestyles. We love that. In the US, people aren't going to give that up, to just work on their garden all day long, and I am supportive of that. How can we live full fledged in the technology in the modern world, but healthier? And that was a thing I had to bring back to the United States. So here I am. I've really pulled it over here and, like you know, I don't really even know what 10 years from now is going to look like, it's going to look like in my career, but I just know that this message is so clear for me, like something you know again, I'll probably give it some moments of pause to let those answers come, but like something like this right now we're having this conversation. Shannon, I never expected that I'm this conversation with you. You know, 10 years later and here we are, like it's just so beautiful, right? So I'm excited. I'm excited to keep pushing all of this information out to people, and I'm just getting started.

Speaker 2: 20:57

You know I love that, like that would have worked, though there's a lot of themes in there, right, there's so many different points that I want to touch on that. I really love that you mentioned and just like as you're saying it, and I'm like I really connect to your message and I really feel that Because, like with with Pitt, when we were there together, my intention was like never to be a dietitian. I was like a pre-med student studying nutrition for the same reasons where I was like, well, I mean, I think I kind of fell upon nutrition because I literally looked up all the majors and what courses they took and I was most interested in learning about the human body and seriously, like no other major really went into it as in depth as nutrition, because even like biology and chemistry and a lot of the like neuroscience, a lot of those typical courses, it wasn't focusing on specifically what I wanted to focus on. And when I saw all the courses for nutrition, I was like, yeah, this is like all about the body, like this is what I want to study, and so that's what led me to applying to do nutrition as a major, because it's at Pitt, it's like you don't just get to choose nutrition. You have to apply to be a nutrition major, which is so interesting but it's cool. And then being in the program, yeah, I just remember learning so many different things and like having really strong beliefs about the way I perceived it and like the role I believed nutrition should have in people's lives and like how the fitness piece and the lifestyle piece was all in there and I think that's what kind of led me to you know, I think, like you said, it was like I felt like nutrition or being a dietitian was really limiting my ability and what I wanted to do and the influence I wanted to have in people's lives, and so that's why I really just didn't. It didn't appeal to me. But then after we graduated, I knew I was going to have a gap year before I matriculate, matriculate, matriculate, matric, whatever went into school that worked. And so I was like, oh you know what, like I'm just going to apply to a dietetic program. And I just remember our advisor was just like you don't just casually apply to a dietetic program, like less than 50% people even get in. Like you have to take this seriously, you can't just like throw out an application. And I was like look at me, throws out an application with like doing it like all the night before, and I ended up getting matched, which I think I was kind of like, I think because I was so detached from the outcome. I think that's why the universal idea happened for me, because I literally was like well, it doesn't matter if I get in, I get in If I don't. I have a job here in Pittsburgh, so it's fine, like I don't have to worry about it, like whatever is going to happen, like I'm fine either way. And then I ended up getting in and I was like well, okay, yeah, of course, and I moved to Louisiana to do my program and when I was down there, that was like my first time. I think part of it was like I wanted to be somewhere totally different so that I could like figure out who I am and like reinvent myself and step into this new version of myself. And I think through that. That's when I started to reevaluate what I really wanted. And just from like my orientation week down there and hearing all of these dietitians like they had a bunch of dietitians come in and speak and talk about like what they did with their career and I was just like whoa, I didn't know you could do any of these things with dietetics. And because I was so focused on the clinical aspect, I think I was really just like pigeon hold into, like, oh, this is how you do it. But when I was doing clinical rotations, I literally felt useless as a dietitian. And I don't mean not to disrespect any clinical dietitians. That was just my personal experience in the setting in the hospital that I was at and what the rules were with what dietitians were allowed to do at that time, which has changed since I was a student which is crazy because I don't even think I'm that old but the field of dietetics has really changed. So, like before I wasn't, I really had no power to do anything. It was like I get a printout from the government and I hand it to a patient in the hospital that has the right to say they don't even want to talk to me. So I'm pretty much like typing up and retyping everyone else's notes into a chart and then going into a room and hand them a printed paper of things that I didn't agree with and walking out Like that's like all I ever did. And then when I, like you know, I wanted to be more useful and I would like really start to research things, because I had the space to do that and like no one wanted to hear what I said because I was just the dietitian, and like it just really frustrated me and I was like I want nothing to do with this, like this experience has really put me off from wanting to pursue clinical. So I like and like yeah. When I graduated I was just like okay, well, yeah, before then I the reason I ended up not wanting to pursue medical school like I pretty much dropped out before I started so I don't even know if you'd call it dropping out. I, you know, submitted my applications, went through the whole process and then was like you know what, nevermind, because I feel connected to like a different, different way to do this, and I was really burnt out. I think, personally, like I, I was just exhausted from how much I always tried to do. Like I just had to go hard on everything that I did in my life as a whole. Like I would just like for, like all of my life, for as long as I can remember, up until COVID, I played the game of like you wake up at four AM, cram as much into your day as possible and then you just pass out at 9pm because you have literally zero energy left and I never stopped to give myself any room to think about my feelings, my thoughts, my emotions. I saw a path, I saw a goal, that's it. And like I just never thought about anything else and I just, I just, I just never thought about anything else and I just, I just never thought about anything else. But then when I had that space in Louisiana and my program wasn't that intense if I'm being honest, I think other programs are a little bit more dialed up with the intensity so I decided to take a full-time job while I was in school, which is kind of crazy when I look back. But yeah, it changed my perspective and I got really connected to that similar mission where it's like no people need to know about nutrition and lifestyle and I want to have the space to sit down with people and talk them through this because there is so much to it. And like I think, in the medical field from, I got really lucky because I was working with a doctor where he would take an hour to sit with his clients because he was like the head doctor for spina bifida and it's a really unique situation because there it's just like you see one doctor that looks at everything, and so they get the space to have that hour. But then people would tell me they'd be like you don't get this, this isn't normal in the field, so don't go into it expecting that you get to sit down with everyone for an hour. And I was like, oh, watch me try. I was like I want that's what I want. I saw how powerful it was and that's just like I knew I wanted that in my life in some way. And then, yeah, I think just at that point in my life I took that pause and, like you know, I ended up never going back to pursuing it because once I opened up my private practice, I was starting to get that feeling of like, oh wow, this is what I wanted to do is sit down with people one on one, and so it kind of met that need for me. But like there's times like I'm so curious about your studies, even with like herbs and things like that, and I know you switched from the naturopathic route, but a lot of that has always been really interesting to me and I like studied under this woman for a little bit. She was a life coach, like very spiritual woman, and then she was married to a Chinese medicine doctor and I just loved my experience with them and like learning about acupuncture and having them do it on me and like I was so amazed with that, and just like learning about the beliefs that other cultures have. And then I studied abroad too, where I studied different forms of medicine and we like traveled around the Mediterranean. It was like a crazy program. It was really cool, but it gave me the opportunity to start to open my eyes up, to like wow, there's so much about health that I don't even know, that I don't know. And like getting the opportunity to see how different cultures do it. And, like you said, it was so much that I was really excited to share this with other people. And it's a lot of information where sometimes I feel like people have to hear it quite a few times for it to stick and really start to like for me, so much of it was embodying what I'm learning. It's like if I know this information, I need to practice it and really be strong in my beliefs and show people that I am, because so many people are scared to be the one to be the weirdo. You know, like I think me I've never cared. I'm like all right. If people want to think I'm weird, let them think I'm weird. I've like been that way my whole life, so I'm like thankful for that. But I can see the hesitation in so many people and like I still see it in myself whenever I take a new step in a different direction. I always have that part of me that's like that human need for community and connection that naturally kind of pushes us back into speaking out about certain beliefs when we don't agree with the status quo. And you're really challenging that to be like no, actually, I believe this it's hard, it's really. It's not always simple, even if you are someone that can just run with it most of the time. But yeah, I am really excited to see where you take things and something that you said that like I also just want to touch on. My sister is also a psychologist and it's really funny and we're just like continuing to click in ways that like we didn't even know we were connecting on. So it's, it's so interesting how that is, but I love it. I love that I had no idea, that's amazing. Yeah, it's funny how that is, huh.

Speaker 1: 31:32

Yeah, it is. Oh, wow, you just touch on so many amazing themes as well. I do want to go back to what you were talking about being in, you know, in the doctor's office, the spina bifida specialist, him sitting down with all of you for an hour. So that's exactly the reason why I was first drawn to naturopathic school. I'll tell you it's exactly that. It wasn't because of the herbs or the Chinese medicine or, you know, some of the other options that are there. I'm not against pharmaceuticals. That's not my belief. So I recognize, okay, I'm going to learn a lot of stuff in naturopathic school that is going to be very eye-opening for me. Mind you, I did get acupuncture as a child and it was super valuable and helpful to me and actually allowed me to not further develop asthma, and I never had to take an inhaler because I went to acupuncture for six months of sessions. Like who would have thought that? My mom was a big proponent of thinking outside the box when it comes to health. So, knowing and recognizing that there are opportunities in these alternative health and alternative medical practices or settings to have deeper and longer visits with patients, that is the most attractive thing about naturopathic medicine to me, and at the time I thought I also wanted to have longer conversations, because even just talking about diet and nutrition is a whole thing, right. It's not what you're eating, it's your choices, your behaviors, your beliefs, your fears. I mean, all of that goes into how you live your daily life, and diet is part of our daily life, and I know there's some intermittent fasts out there that are saying, not technically, okay, that's fine, you can do your intermittent fasting, but, by the way, fasting is a dietary practice as well, so you are actively making a choice by abstaining from food for a certain amount of time. I digress, but the thing that was really pulling me in was I got to have those longer conversations, right, but naturopathic school and I talked about that before it wasn't really filling up my bucket the way I wanted it to and I really tried to make it work for me. I stuck through half the program. I was there for two years and some change and it just wasn't the thing I was looking for. It's amazing, and there are some incredible naturopathic doctors out there that are absolutely crushing it and changing so many lives and people's health for the better. But it was not my calling ultimately, and so that was a tough decision because, knowing that I'm a medical doctor, I will not have the opportunity to have hour-long visits with patients except in very few settings, and so I'm thinking at this point I might want to become a geriatrician. And that is actually one of the settings where the patient visits are longer. Right, because, a the patients are old, so they have a slower pace of things, but, b they usually have a lot more going on, so you can't get it done in five minutes Only if it's a quick checkup. Right, you have to have a little bit more time with people and, interestingly enough, geriatrics is a super holistic side of medicine. You have to take into account that person's functionality, their desires and their abilities and their own goals, their own health goals, right. So geriatrics is kind of, in a way, like holistic and balanced, the way I never knew it to be, or it can be at least. But recognizing that I wanted to have these deeper conversations was the fire. Your thing is fuel the fire, right? So what fueled my fire? To start my whole social media stuff? What I'm doing now? I'm making YouTube videos and I'm spreading them around TikTok and Facebook and Instagram, because this is my way of having those longer conversations with people. I'm not necessarily having them with the patients directly in that setting, but with the audience, where we can go deeper on topics about nutrition, what to know why it matters and I'm really a big proponent of the Mediterranean diet, of course, because I spent so much time there but it's just such a great approach to eating because it's so inclusive of the experience of eating, and so having the opportunity in the digital space to have these longer conversations to amuse just such a gift of living in this time period in the history of the world. This would have never been possible 30 years ago, 100 years ago, of course. So that's one thing that's really amazing, that I want to make sure people recognize that if they don't have time with their doctor, or even if they're in the setting of seeing any other healthcare provider, and they want those longer conversations, these conversations are starting to happen online and if you know where to look for them, like people like you and me, you can learn a lot and you can really harbor yourself with amazing knowledge and ways that you can start applying this stuff now and we talked about this earlier but one person at a time. That's how we make effective change. So one person learning something that's important for them to know about something in their diet or the way that they're thinking about their food and their relationship with food. They can then also spread that to other people and teach somebody else in their life. And that is, I mean, that's at least my vision for how we're going to create these healthier communities. Because you're absolutely right, you can't go against the establishment of food and big ag in this country, ag being agriculture. Those are such huge, powerful industries You're never going to get rid of that. But that's not a worthwhile goal then, given in that circumstance, it's better to just give people the foundation of what they need to know to be healthy, and then for certain things it's not going to be in their control to why they have nutritionists and dietitians and naturopaths and doctors and nurses and all these other people that are. That's why we are the healthcare workforce, supporting people in this path to trying to be as healthy as we can or at least avoiding the biggest problems, and that's kind of another topic. But we have a lot of work to do, I think in our medical system here in the US to pivot a little bit, turn the corner rather than just trying to fix all of the problems and save people from the near death experiences like go a little bit above and beyond that point to saying, hey, we cannot just wait until it's this like fatal outcome when we're intervening, like we need to step in way earlier. Prevention is the best cure for anything. We know this. All of the science, all of the data has been telling us this for a long time. It's not new, but we're not doing it and we can be. There are so many good ways to do that. So that's my pole and my career. My goals is I want people to recognize the power of prevention, because it is the best medicine they'll ever get is to not get the disease in the first place. And, of course, we all know the biggest burdens in our Western world it's not just the United States anymore. All of the chronic diseases it's obesity, diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease like atherosclerosis, strokes, cancer, like all of these things are chronic diseases that we know can be prevented in a lot of the cases. So the more people feel connected to that power that they have within themselves to like actually change their destiny. I think that it starts from that, and so just talking about what to eat all day long doesn't get at the root of that. But there are opportunities for talking to people about this in any context, right? But online is an amazing way. So I'm so glad that we're having this conversation, of course, because this is like the first of many to just keep these conversations going, keep people aware of all of this information that they need to know. Their health depends on it.

Speaker 2: 39:39

Yeah, I agree, and like just this conversation is getting me re-excited because I feel like I like lost a little bit of my fire, and I love that you use the phrase fuel of fire. Yeah, I was going to do that for you, I know. I told like I had a whole conversation with you about like yeah, I need to start throwing this into my podcast and I'm really cordy with it I have. But, yeah, like it's getting me excited again because I think, especially with COVID, I realized how much more important nutrition was than ever. And like I feel like I'm maybe one of and I don't know the percentages, but I don't think I was in the majority of like, oh, covid came and my business actually tanked. Like my business grew, I hired a full-time employee and like it was because I think it was giving people the opportunity to pause and be like what actually matters in my life. And like now I have the space to like get my health together, get my life together, and we actually saw an increase in people signing up. So that just kind of reminded me. But then I think part of it was like my business grew so fast and my beliefs were also starting to shift and I was really like I think part of it was like I was having a lot of fun playing in the world of like getting the body to look a certain way with eating a certain way, and then I was just like you know what, like this isn't really a way to live. Like I see the importance of having it if you are playing a sport, and that's part of what I had an interest in is like how nutrition affects athletes. But then I personally was like you know, I just kind of want to be a normal human. Like I don't feel the need to be a competitive athlete anymore. I like I just want to be healthy. I don't want the stress of like weighing and measuring everything that I'm putting in just to have like the perfect health. It was almost like orthorexia in a way, like I think I leaned into it so extreme that I forgot what it meant to just like be a human and have fun with people and to have that just community aspect of my life. Like I was. I was just so busy in my own little world, like once that slow down kind of happened and I reconnected and like this is reminding you of that Like I almost had like a almost like a reactionary phase where I was resentful towards nutrition. I was like there's way too much pressure put on it and like it stresses people out and like when people are around me, they feel judged because of this. Like I was actually feeling, yeah, just like really negative towards it, because I almost felt like, yeah, like the way that I took it or just how people perceived me or the way I was triggering people, was too much emotionally for me to handle at that point and like going through my own internal transition with how I was handling nutrition, yeah, I kind of like disconnected from my mission for a while and I started to question, like, do I even want to be a dietitian anymore? Like I hate the stigma around it. I don't want. I don't want to feel like the way I look is it matters to this degree, like I feel this pressure, like I have to look a certain way and always eat a certain thing and act a certain way in front of people in order to be respected in this profession. And it took me a while to overcome that and I feel like it's really not till now that I'm starting to shift, like I almost like needed to step away from it for a minute, which created like really big shifts in my business, because my business was in person. And then you're talking about like having the conversation online. Like I agree, like I am now like okay, I want to have my business online because this is where people are hanging out now and, you know, do I believe that we should be on our phones all the time? No, like that was a big part of what I struggled with too is like, am I going to have the fulfillment if I have my business online? Because I believe in like real human in person connection is so powerful. Just being so powerful, just like being in someone else's energy, like that can have a really strong influence on people and just, yeah, what I believe it means to be human again, to just have that. And so I think there was a lot of fear, and so I like waiver for the past year and a half, since I like I close my business about like a year, like a little, a little over or, I'm sorry, a little less than a year ago, I closed my in person business with the intention to like take some time off and then try to grow online and then, like now that I'm doing it I'm. You know there's a whole learning phase of like how do I make a sustainable business online? I went from like having all of this credibility and like a slew of clients to like nothing. Because I like, because I think a lot of people were also confused about what I was going through. So there's just a lot of confusion in my world and everyone's world how people are perceiving me. Yeah, but like, the reason I feel really excited about doing it online is because I get to have these conversations. Like I love doing my podcast because there's people listening that you don't even know are listening, right, and so it's like just by us having this connection and the power that we're going to get the excitement that we get from having this conversation, to go back out there and like keep working on our mission. There are people listening that you, that you impact. Like you know, I get random messages all the time and it like makes me so freaking happy because it's just like that's a life that I touch, that I wouldn't have been able to if I didn't take the step and try to push things to go online and to also create my business so that it allows me to incorporate a lot of what I truly believe about how we should be living. Like I didn't want to be like working 12 hour days, six days a week, that the way I was, and like even on my day off, all I could think about was work. And so I'm like I'm really grateful for the opportunities because, like my family's from another country, so I know like it means a lot to be in America and like the luxuries that we get that you don't, you also just don't get in other places, depending on where you're coming from. But for my family, like I cherish the fact that we're here. And while there are, there are a lot of things that I want to shift. So it's like I want to marry the two worlds of like how we live over here and how we live over here, and like there's nothing wrong with either one I. But when you see both sides and you live both sides, then it becomes like, wow, I get the opportunity to integrate both, to find a new way of doing things, and like again, I need to, like I need to live it and I don't, you know, like I let my career be my entire identity and like that's also not like the healthiest thing to do either, because I just became like in a codependent relationship with my business and I'm trying to break out of that and, like you said in the beginning, where you're so passionate about what you do, it's like when someone asks me, like what do you do outside of work, it's like, well, you know, kind of like the same thing I'm teaching people while I'm at work from being honest, like that's not even a winning group of life. Yeah, it's just kind of how I live. But yeah, I think it was just like how do I continue to create that healthier balance for myself? And then, as I do that, how can I continue to teach that to others? So, yeah, I'm excited because even the online space gives you an opportunity to not necessarily have to pigeonhole yourself into a specific way of doing things professionally anymore. I think it opens up a lot of doors where you know like, like you know you as a medical doctor, you can combine the nutrition and you can teach it in a way where maybe, like there isn't necessarily a formal job in the hospital system that does exactly what you want, but, being in the online space, you can do it how you want and, like you get to be creative, you get to be an artist, you get to innovate, and that's so exciting and just the doors it opens up, the people you can connect with. It's just it's so expansive and like that's what I think lights me up and like just the countless opportunities and greater impact you can have and really share your message. So I love that you're taking that time, even while you're still studying, to really build that presence now, because it does take time. Like the online space is just so toxic in little ways. Where people are like you can make six figures in one month. Let me show you how I did it and it's like the annoying thing about that is like most of those people and only ever taught here's how you make money online, and I feel like it's like a bait and switch thing that people don't realize, because I got cut up in it too. Where I'm like why am I not making six figure months right now? Like they make me, like I'm seeing this and I'm like am I the only one that hasn't figured this out? What the F? Like? But like it's like no, seriously, like things take time and you know if you have a real message and it's not, hey, giving me money so I can teach you how to make money. Like there's a. You need to build that ability. You need to work with people and like the sooner you start, the sooner you get to where you want to go. So, yeah, that I really like command you for diving in now and I'm like so excited because I feel like things are going to be so good and the way you put your message out there and the way you're going to grow like I like I'm excited I get to watch. Thank you.

Speaker 1: 49:29

I'm learning a lot from you. I will say Instagram is something I have not cracking very well, but it's not. It's in this. Instagram is tough in 2023,. I will say everybody seems like they're a glossy supermodel and some of them are, but some of them aren't and they still make it look like they are.

Speaker 2: 49:49

I mean, I feel like that's part of my thing too. Like I made a post room like hey, you don't need to be an Instagram model to do this because, like there, that was like part of, like the issue I had with moving online. I'm like, listen, I, I tried it. Like last year I tried to be like hey, record me walking around this flower patch for a minute and like, so I can use it as a real and like, to be honest, I didn't like it. Like I felt so uncomfortable. And it's not because I don't like myself in front of a camera, it's because it's just like disruptive of how I'm living my life outside of work. Like if I'm going to pick flowers with my friends, I'm going to pick flowers with my friends. I don't need to document and tell everyone and make sure everyone you know I had to pick out a cute outfit and do all this and make you know, do my makeup. I'm like that's just not the type of person that I am and like I just don't want it to be that way. So I think once I kind of accepted, like literally that doesn't matter, because I grew my business without social media. And if I did it without social media, then imagine if I actually put I don't, like I don't even have to put in as much effort as I thought I had to and I don't need to be as polished as I thought I had to, as long as I'm authentic and like that's what people are drawn towards. You know, like I think I'm always reminded when I talk to some coaches and they're like, yeah, the people you think are crushing it online aren't actually crushing it. Like you'd be surprised how many people have, like you know, 100k followers and like they're in debt. So it's like don't let that discourage you or stop you from pushing, because it's like you have to sift through that online and just remind yourself like that, those numbers, these things, the counts, the views, like don't matter. But like you know you're you're putting the more. Yeah, and I've always found that like the more authentic I am and the where, when I share more powerful messages, even if they're not pretty, people respond to them, and so it's like I have to remind myself I'm like it literally doesn't matter, like no one's expecting you to be glamorous, like, yeah, that's cool and maybe some people care, but like if they care and don't want to listen to your message because it's not pretty and polished, then they're just not the right fit to be hearing your message and that's it, period.

Speaker 1: 52:09

And well said and I love how so much of like finding people to follow online, whether it's a podcast or like video tutorials or whatever TikToks it's. It's like dating. Like you have to have the right vibe, going both directions right. You want to build like, if you're a consumer and you want to find somebody who's really feeling like they're speaking right to your soul, like you'll find that person. And then, on the reverse, as a creator, like finding the audience that wants that connection with what we're saying and is hungry for the message. Like that's the audience you want to build. Like I've learned this recently your vibe attracts your tribe and it's been such a helpful and a good reminder that you know connecting online is it's. It shouldn't be that different than connecting to somebody in the street, in the clinic, in the office. You know it's people behind those screens. So the more authentic, the more human, the more honestly vulnerable we can be like, the more people are going to have fine value in that, and that's true in any capacity humans being with humans. It's always been that case, like I like that part of it. But yeah, thank you, I'm excited to be building this. I don't know what this is it's going to be who knows. It's a lot of fun and it's you talked about this before like it reinvigorated you. To get back to nutrition, I actually had the exact same experience. Shannon, like my, took a pause from nutrition. I moved to Italy, a place where you there's no sense in trying to teach them nutrition. They already know it. They know it better than I do. I was. I was a learner. All of a sudden and I thought, oh, I don't know what I'm talking about. And the remarkable thing is like, if you're looking at that, at least in the Italian culture, it's like carbs, carbs, carbs, starchy carbs, all, all, every meal, every meal, and a lot of sugar. And I'm like I've been taught and I was pretty convinced, knowing all my biochemistry and all my physiology and all my tricks like that this is wrong and it gives you obesity. But like I'm looking at these people and they're absolutely the opposite of obese. They're like skinny and fit and they're active and they're happy and like, wait a second, I might be wrong. And so I did. I took a huge pause and I started really reflecting on, like how the mental health side of eating is, so maybe is the most important part. I don't know that we have such great data or such great research studies that are sussing out like is it the nutrients, is it eating whole foods or is it the way we're thinking? Like that's really hard to study, right, really hard to study. It's not going to be an easy way of measuring that, but observations in the community, in the real world, are also observations and science always is based upon observations. It starts there and so it comes back around. Sometimes you're thinking like, okay, maybe nutrition isn't that important. But here I am and probably this has been fueled another fuel Back in the US. I'm like, okay, for sure, it's probably the mental health and we are really tanking on that one. We got to address some of the serious crises that are plaguing our young people and our society right now with anxiety and stress and depression. Like that's very real. But just thinking about also what someone's eating, like that definitely counts right. So we do need to hit it from both sides and finding a way to bring that together. Like that I think you are doing so well and I'm hoping to keep doing that and keep that message going, because that part was really lost in the dietetic conversation for me, although like amongst registered dietitians, but I was never really in that field, so I truly can't. I think that's too big of a claim to make. I don't really know. I was never a registered dietitian, but from what we learned in our program and like the way they were teaching us, like we were not thinking holistically about it and so everything does come full circle, like you cannot ignore certain core components of what make up somebody's like daily lives, their habits, like all of that plays in and it's cool Like being online, being a creator, like finding creative ways to teach about it, to talk about it, to learn about it. Like I'm learning all the time. I'm actually probably learning more about all of these topics now that I'm finally like pushing myself and teaching myself. That's obviously a pretty well known thing that you learn the most for teaching, but this is just such a cool way of doing that. So really glad, really glad. We're doing this like Kudos to us, and I know that people are finding a lot of value for me, because that's really what it's about.

Speaker 2: 57:01

Yeah, yeah, and I love that we are finishing on this note too, because it like segues into the program that I created at the beginning of this year. Like it's been in the works. I initially meant to launch it last year but like I just needed a break. Like that was just my point where I was like, okay, I need to step away and there was more that I needed to learn. Like over the past year like when I initially was going to launch it to when I actually launched it, there were things that went into the program that I like I didn't have the skills, I didn't have the ability to teach, because that's when I did my life coaching certification, which, like initially, I was like ashamed of doing it, because a lot of people you know, I think of like my family or just a perspective on life coaching like people are like, oh, that's a career for people that never did anything with their life, and so people were looking at me like, yeah, like really harsh perspective. This is what people were saying to me and obviously I don't agree with it because I chose it and I think it's really powerful. I think when I had some of that in my brain, I had some resistance initially, even starting the program, and I was like, oh, like, am I being silly? Like why am I doing this? And then, through the certification, I was like oh my gosh, this stuff that I'm learning is actually so powerful, and like knowing how to facilitate a group and things like this, just it's like it really helped me keep working on my skills and like I believe that we have to be lifelong students. Especially if you're going to be coaching others, you have to have that commitment to always be learning and that just has to be naturally in you. You know, like I just naturally have the desire to want to grow and learn. So when I launched my program, I called it. There's a few different names. I called it Initially it was called Fuel Fire Soul Academy and then I turned it into Mind, body, soul Harmony and now it is called Body and Soul Freedom and it's like I think I'm sticking with this name because I feel like I feel like I was really just trying to find the thing that would really encapsulate the whole image and like that's what it's about. Like this program, I made it 16 weeks because there's so much to integrate and even though people love doing like eight week, 12 week, because, like we have this desire to make it short and sweet, it's just like it's not a short and sweet transformation, unfortunately. And like I don't want to promise false things and like that's what's always hard about business. In the beginning I felt like I had to make these like bold, false claims to get people in the door because that's what sells and like that's what our you know. When I worked with someone on marketing, they're like, yeah, this that's what you have to say to get people in the door. You tell them what you want to hear and then you give them the real medicine. And I'm like you know what? Like I just want to be transparent, like I get that and like I'm sure it works and like I've used that tactic. But I want to start to share with people, like truly, how I feel about the process and like it's a take it or leave it. And like again, like I, you know you don't have to take every piece of business advice you get to, but yeah, the program that's essentially what it's all about is like, how do you become an intuitive eater? Like, yeah, you probably. Like it's for people that have probably tried dieting and don't really seem to find something that sticks. And they still have frustration and they're frustrated with their bodies and they have negative self-talk, negative self-image, which I feel like applies to almost everyone. If I'm being honest, if you live in America, you probably compared yourself, or if you have a phone, you've compared yourself to someone on the internet. It just like it happens. And so this program is all about like, how, like, hey, like, let's bring you back to your health, what are your goals? And like we need to look at your whole life and your beliefs and your psychology and your physiology and it's not just one. And that's like. What I've always been about in my business is like that's what we're known for. You know, initially, my tag items like food for the body and mind In NEW interconnections. Ask us now how I get, how do you get? We are a chain, a best friend, a tradEm, mythical substantia. You know it's my answer. It doesn't matter, we had a nonprofit early. It's because it's like to me you can't isolate one, you literally just can't. Because it doesn't Like you will go down the wrong direction. Like if some, if you're working with someone, that's just like hey, here's what to eat. To me, that's really disempowering, because you're no longer saying like, oh, you have the ability to internally know what your body needs. You're saying your body doesn't know, you don't know, follow this. And You're now like externalizing your power to knowledge, information, something outside of you, when, to me, if you want real results, if you want to have something that's lifelong sustainable, you need to learn how to listen to your internal guidance, because Everyone's is unique. So for me to say, hey, do this, it could be going against your internal guidance and You're just you're further furthering yourself from the outcome that you actually want to achieve. So with my program, it's like how do you actually Listen to your body? How do you balance all of these things? Like what needs to adjust. Like everyone has a unique life equation for what that balance needs to look like, and Like I want to teach you. But like, how do you actually look at that and figure that out for yourself? Because you are a unique person, you have your own essence, your own energy, your own balance. Like my balance doesn't look like your balance. So it's really like yeah, empowerment is a big word. Is like, how do you take your power back from all of these things that you gave it a way to so that you can actually start to take care of yourself and your health. And, like, your health dips into more than just what you're eating and how you're moving. It's how you're thinking, how you're feeling, your relationship with yourself, your relationship with your body, your spirituality, your community all of these things factor in To your longevity and your health. So, yeah, it's really like Trying to include all of that, and so part of it is like I I have different weeks and I invite guest speakers on which you know, girl, you know I'm probably gonna be hitting you up for one of those and stuff, and so like that's a part of it is like I want I don't want it to be just my voice I want them to learn how to hear their own voice, and so to bring in different perspectives. To me, like there's so many people here to learn from and you know you might click with someone in a different way, their path might resonate with you more deeply than someone else's, and so for me, it's really fun to bring in different voices, different perspectives, because you should learn for more than just one person you know and like you should be able to Hear different ways of thinking and perceiving because, like I said, it's just gonna click. Like Someone might just say the right thing that somehow it clicks in your brain, or like someone says this With their story and suddenly it hits you so differently than the other 20 people that you've heard it from, and so I think bringing that in is like, yeah, just wanting to make it like such a powerful program is really my goal is to like continue to develop this program because it's like to me, I really want to just keep making this the solution to helping people turn inward and and well, you know, like I said, there's other things to learn from, but like I really want it to be a very beautiful, transformational 12 weeks that really launches someone into this journey that they've been curious about, with their help. So, yeah, if you haven't checked it out, I'm gonna link it in the show notes. You'll be able to Learn a little bit more about it and potentially sign up with the other amazing people that have gone through it and are going through it.

Speaker 1: 1:04:32

Beautiful. That sounds like an amazing program. Honestly, I want to do it.

Speaker 2: 1:04:38


Speaker 1: 1:04:39

I'd love to have you and that and that also like touches on such an important thing, like we are never done learning about our health and working on our health and exploring ways that we are being challenged in our health and ways that we want to improve or can improve. Like it is a lifelong thing and I'm constantly needing those reminders and repetition, repetition, repetition and reinforcing the reasons that we want to be healthy, like to ourselves, whether that's with journaling, with affirmations, with the goal setting. I started doing this with setting goals for you know my own health, like it's something that we can do lifelong. So I'm really excited that you're doing such a cool program. People are gonna immensely better fit from that. I.

Speaker 2: 1:05:27

Hope. So it's just like continuing to get the word out there and peak people's curiosity enough, because it is going against the grain, a little bit of like what mass media is doing in the realm of health and nutrition. But I strongly believe in it and like this conversation again like really reaffirms that path and the message that I'm trying to share and like I'm excited to see what you come up with. And yeah, so if, if people are really excited by this conversation, they love what they heard, how can they connect with you further?

Speaker 1: 1:06:01

Yes, I am on YouTube, I am on tiktok, I am on Instagram and I am on Facebook, and all with the same name. It's at Anaplete, md, and Shannon will have all of the information, all the links that you guys can find me online. I am really passionate about teaching so, of course, in all the social media platforms the ones you know Tiktok, instagram, facebook there are short form content and they're just really pieces of the longer conversations that I'm trying to have. So if you want the full monty, the deeper discussions, the deeper knowledge, I encourage people to check out YouTube. That's where I can really go into the teaching at a deeper level.

Speaker 2: 1:06:46

Awesome. Yeah, we'll have all of that linked in the show notes so people can click read a little bit more, and I know people will be really excited to see it. So, yeah, I just want to say thanks for coming on. This conversation was awesome. I know I sprinkled in lots of bits about why I felt that way throughout this already, but I just want to say it again Thank you, thank you, thank you, and I'm really looking forward to see how things continue to evolve and expand for you in the future. Thank you.

Speaker 1: 1:07:14

Shana, this was honestly so much fun. I love this stuff. Thank you for inviting me, and we will keep chatting. I'm sure we will do this again. Sounds good.

Speaker 2: 1:07:26

Thanks so much for listening to today's episode. If you're enjoying listening to this podcast, I have a special gift for you. If you leave a review and send me a screenshot, I will send you something personally in the mail just to show you how much I appreciate your help in helping me spread the empowerment across the world and Showing other women the magic that they have within themselves, just the same way you do. Babe, if you're enjoying this episode, then I would love it if you took a screenshot and posted it on your story on Instagram and tagged me at fuel the underscore fire. Let's have a conversation about it. Let's chat about it. I love to hear your thoughts and your feedback. I'm here to support you in any way that I can. I love you guys so much and I'm excited to keep coming at you with some new guests, new information and new techniques to keep blowing your mind and making you feel invincible. Thanks for listening. I love you. Bye, I.



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