On Being Real

This week is a very pivotal week for me – I’m sandwiched between two big events.

I’m on the heels of having been in Chicago for the Institute for Functional Medicine’s Hormone conference.

And Lisa and I are in the thickest of thick of our Essential Thyroid Cookbook launch and have a major announcement coming early next week. We can’t wait to share it with you!

Image: The Velveteen Rabbit >

Things are pretty nuts (to put it mildly) and I feel ragged. Let’s just say that my lunches right now consist of a grass-fed beef stick, some nut crackers, and leftover kale chips or green beans from having made my daughter’s lunch that morning.

As the conference in Chicago drew closer, I got nervous. I thought:

  • I don’t have time for this. I can’t leave town right now.
  • Who am I to go sit in a ballroom full of smarty pants functional medicine doctors?
  • I’ve gained too much weight from this book creation and launch to go show my face at a health conference. (I haven’t really gained that much weight, but I feel like I have.)

Nonetheless, I got on the plane and walked into that ballroom.

If you’ve followed us for a while, you know that Lisa and I have taken an “alternative” (whatever that really means) path with the creation and publishing of our Essential Thyroid Cookbook.  

We turned down the big publishing deal and moved forward with our original plan of self-publishing. We pulled production out of China at the very last minute so that we could keep our money and our relationships here.

We’ve gone our own way.

(There are no directions for writing and publishing a book anyway. As Dr. Aviva Romm said in our conversation last week, “There’s no roadmap for any of this.”)

And Lisa and I are so fortunate to have had the unending support of our families and friends along this journey.

We’ve only connected with colleagues we know and admire for endorsements and for helping us to get the word out about this book. We know that it will get into the hands of the people who need it without us making new connections simply because we have a book to sell.

We could have done things differently, to be more “popular” or well-known. But that’s not the “real” us. 

At the conference, Dr. Joel Evans spoke eloquently and with emotion about some of the challenges that functional medicine doctors experience – being misunderstood and shunned by allopathic peers and questioned about why they want to practice “alternative medicine.” (This term always cracks me up – functional medicine is anything but alternative. Most of the principles of functional medicine are based in nutritional therapy, phytomedicine (herbal medicine), and spirituality – principles that were around loooong before the advent of Western medicine and pharmaceuticals.)

Yes, there were other health coaches at the conference, but I realized that I had more in common with everyone in the room, medical degree or not, than my insecure self initially thought.

We’d all gone our own way.

And going your own way takes time. A lot of time. And it’s hard, hard work. But the opportunites that present themselves as a result of the work, authenticity, and staying true to yourself are immeasurable, as Lisa and I are certainly finding. (As Thomas Edison said, “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”)

Doing things your own way can also lead to misunderstandings. But we are all the more “real” for having done it.

Art and Science
The Essential Thyroid Cookbook is truly a work of art and science. I brought the science, along with my background in art/design, and Lisa turned around and, with her analytical and scientific mind (she is a Bastyr graduate, after all), turned that science into her art – her exquisite recipes.

And one of IFM’s sayings is, “Reintegrating the art and science of medicine.”

True to form, the conference was truly a right brain/left brain event. It wasn’t just a bunch of brainiacs spewing information to medical practitioners.

There were some dense lectures. (I’d initially thought that I would share some of the nuggets and key take-aways from the lectures on social media in real time, but I said, screw it. I’m here for me – I just want to listen intently and take notes.)

But we also meditated. And we danced.

Aside from the mind-bending, cutting edge information about hormone health that I learned, I also realized that I was sitting in a roomful of other “real” people – people with insecurities about going their own way.

There were some tears. And lots of laughter.

I shared a postcard with information about our cookbook and I had people walking up to me saying, “Oh my gosh, you wrote this?” I proudly said, “Yes, I did.”

Maybe that’s one of the things about medical professionals having the gumption to go their own way – there’s less stoicism and “white coat” mentality and more, “Hey, we’re in this together, changing lives.” 

Let’s just say that I have several new and wonderful friends, including having spent a great evening with some fellow students from my Functional Medicine Coaching Academy program.

This topic came up – a lot – at the conference. 

And I owe a great deal of gratitude to Dr. Joel Evans (center) for bringing this “alternative” aspect to a very scientific conference.

[Photo courtesy of Dr. Joel Evans. Pictured left to right: Mark Holthouse, MD; Filomena Trindade, MD; Margaret Christensen, MD; Joel Evans, MD; Marcelle Pick, OB/GYN, NP; Dan Lukaczer, ND] >

One of my favorite things about the whole event was when Dr. Evans shared this, which was projected onto a huge screen:

“It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse. “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.” ― Margery Williams Bianco, The Velveteen Rabbit


Way to go, you did it!  This is fabulous and exactly what I needed to hear today.  Thank you for sharing!  

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