It’s a pleasure to welcome Dr Rupy Aujla to the blog to share his wisdom on eating well.
My name is Rupy, I’m a general practitioner I do a bit of emergency medicine and I believe what you choose to put on your plate is the most important health intervention anyone can make.
2 years ago I started www.thedoctorskitchen.com a multiplatform resource to inspire my patients about the beauty of food and the medicinal effects of eating well. I create delicious recipes and talk about the clinical research behind the ingredients I use. I’m bringing a reliable, evidence based approach to healthy eating and starting the conversation about how we can use food in medicine.
Rather than scaring patients into a restrictive way of eating my philosophy is to use flavour and celebrate our cultural diversity to make healthy eating enjoyable and deliciously accessible to everyone. I’m introducing everyone to the incredible effects of food on health whilst showing people how it can be vibrant and easy to slot into a hectic lifestyle.
I’ve always been interested in the medicinal effects of food from a young age. I grew up in an Indian household and as most second generation kids will concur, our families tend to have an encyclopedic knowledge of ‘healing foods’. My mother overcame an illness by using diet and lifestyle when I was about 12 so I went to medical school with the understanding that food was exceptionally important to health.
It wasn’t until I became ill myself as a junior doctor that I really started to recognise the immense impact of food and lifestyle on the body. I started suffering from paroxysmal fast atrial fibrillation episodes a few times a week. A condition where your heart beats irregularly, inefficiently and very fast.
I could control most episodes with a large doses of medication (anti-arrhythmics) but the side effects were terrible. I was offered an intervention to potentially cure the problem, but I was concerned that it did not address the root cause of why I was getting these episodes in the first place.
With the blessing of my doctors I decided to focus on nutrition and optimise my health and wellbeing whilst I weighed up the decision of having a procedure. The goal wasn’t to reverse my condition it was to put my body in the best environment I could and to see if anything helped. The worse that could happen was I’d have to have the ablation and take medications in the meantime.
I concentrated on sleep, meditation, exercise and I made sure my meals were as structured as possible given my hectic schedule. I would start eating a lot more fibre, tons of green leafy vegetables, coloured foods and healthy fats. Importantly, I never gave up being a doctor. I ended up reversing my condition to the surprise of all my colleagues and personal doctors.
Retrospectively it’s hard to determine exactly what happened but my experience reaffirmed for me was the incredible importance of lifestyle and nutrition. By taking a holistic view of the body and mind, I was able to achieve this seemingly impossible outcome.
I started talking to more of my patients about their nutrition and lifestyle in clinic. I would never go so far as to suggest all conditions are reversible but improving diet and wellbeing has a lack of negative side effects. Essentially, I started preaching what I was practicing and my patients love the emphasis on nutrition as well as conventional medical therapy.
The Doctor’s Kitchen is about helping people live happier, healthier lives using evidence based food and lifestyle medicine. It’s turned from a small blog trying to influence a few of my patients to eat their way to health into a movement that is asking the important question: how do we equip the doctors of tomorrow to have a lifestyle medicine conversation? How do we cultivate a health conscious and proactive population that will lead to positive outcomes?
I’m designing better ways to teach medical students nutrition and pioneering the concept of ‘Culinary Medicine’ where we teach doctors the foundations of nutrition by getting them into culinary schools and teaching them how to cook. I also have a grander vision of community kitchens affiliated with all GP surgeries where people from all works of life can gain evidence based education on how to manage and prevent disease using food. A community hub where people from all walks of life can learn this essential life skill.
I hope you enjoyed reading this peek into The Doctor’s Kitchen. For more information you can check my website, I have a cook book being released on 28th December and I often do talks around the country.