Mindful Interview: Dr. Amy Shah
Dr. Shah talks about the microbiome (gut health) and how it effects our overall health. Her book "I’m So Effing Tired”, is a guide to help reverse burnout and improve energy.
Dr. Amy Shah is a double board-certified MD who specializes in food allergies, hormones, and gut health. She graduated from Cornell University with a degree in Nutrition. She has also received training from Cornell, Harvard, And Columbia University. Her focus on nutritional help has led her to assist others to better their health. Some of these techniques involve healing inflammation, assist with digestion, and heal food sensitivities. She is also an advocate and expert on intermittent fasting for women. Dr. Shah has been named one of www.mindbodygreen.com’s Top 100 Women in Wellness to Watch in 2015. She has also been named in Phoenix Top Doctor’s magazine five years in a row starting in 2017. Her book “I’m so Effing Tired”, is a guide to health improvement, and was published March 2nd, 2021.
What inspired you to write your first book, I’m So Effing Tired? “My own experience with fatigue, health problems and burnout! I was in a place where I didn't feel good every day; either I was bloated, fatigued, or had a headache; I had trouble concentrating.”
How were you able to manage to balance the hard work it took to be named in the Top Do list for 5 consecutive years by Phoenix Magazine, while also being a wife and a mother? Was maintaining the balance between work and family as hard as it looks? “ Yes, it is as hard if not harder than it looks. I have a lot of help. I have clear boundaries, but I struggle just like the rest of us. I wrote my book to give others a little framework in case they were struggling as well."
In your book, you address that creating a better diet routine and trying intermittent fasting helps with increasing energy. Does this also help with other things like weight loss and self-control? “Yes, it improves your gut health which in turn improves your energy. The type of intermittent fasting I love to talk about is really called time restricted eating in the literature. What I argue is that if you sync to your circadian rhythms, our inner clock, with our actions like sleeping and eating we will achieve better health. We are not meant to eat late into the night. When we identify better sleep routines, we should also identify better eating habits as well as the quality and timing. Simple acts like getting morning natural light and having an early night have immense effects on burnout in individuals like physicians.”
How does your gut health affect one’s entire mood and energy? “The gut microbiome is directly connected with your brain. There are multiple pathways where the gut bacteria and your own cells communicate with the brain giving it signals to be happier or energized. The microbiome also has a large effect on our hormones which, as most women know, regulates so much of their mood, energy, weight, and overall well-being. Focusing on improving gut health is one of the most under used strategies to get more energy an improved mood.”
When you are feeling stressed, what is your go-to exercise? “This would definitely be a nature-based movement. Being in direct natural light and surrounding yourself in nature is a calming restorative activity.”
How do you think this would help women from all over? Is each person different when trying to relieve their stress? “Although it’s individual, nature-based workout is almost always restorative. We have natural Circadian Rhythms and wiring through our eyes and our brain, that cause us to feel calm in the presence of nature. Yoga, TaiChi, and other meditative exercises are also really great and can give people a restorative stress relieving movement.”
Do you plan on writing other books? If so, what do you plan on talking about? “Yes! I am writing one now. This one is going to be about the wirings of our brain towards food. Such a fascinating subject and an area that has really been tapped in by large food manufacturers yet the general public and even doctors don’t know this information.”
Outside of being an author and a doctor, do you have any hobbies? “I have so many, too many some would say! First and foremost, I am a very active person, usually getting 1 or 2 workouts in, yoga, outdoor walking, hiking you name it. Besides movement and nature, I also love to read and spend time with my family. If I have a few hours off I will be reading and working out for a few hours. I’m also really obsessed with Nutrition and Healthy Foods, so you’ll probably catch me at a farmers’ market. Of course, time with my family doing any of these things would be my ideal day”
What inspired you to become a medical doctor? “I went into medicine as a way to strengthen my nutrition knowledge and help others. There are so many inspirational people in my life like my dad who was such a hard-working immigrant who felt you should work hard for your passions.”
How do you hope to inspire others? “I hope that it is my actions more than my words. Inspiration comes from seeing people live out their ideals.”
What is the best piece of advice that you have either give nor received for women with burnout issues? “The best piece of advice I wish I knew earlier: There is a moment in your life where are you stop caring about what other people think of you, or about if you’re included or accepted. That’s when you know yourself work is paying off. What matters is your health, doing good work, having peace, and surrounding yourself with positive people.”
You can find more information about Dr. Amy Shah on her website www.amymdwellness.com, and if you are interested in her book, you can find it online at www.amazon.com, or you can click here, and it will take you to the kindle version on Amazon.