My name is Forrest Sheperd. I am a pre-med student going to school in Washington state, but my heart is back home in Santa Cruz, California. I’ve always had a fascination for the world around me, which naturally led to an interest in science, and many adventures exploring nature. Much of my childhood was spent collecting fossils and contributing to paleontological research.
After my mom introduced our family to a healthy diet, I eventually grew to love the difference that it made in my life, from more energy and actually enjoying running, to getting better grades. She got trained to teach a community program which used people’s lifestyle choices to prevent, halt, and many times reverse lifestyle-related diseases, which are the leading cause of death in the U.S, by far.1 This program used the strategies of lifestyle medicine.
Fast-forward to college, where I began to learn about these diseases. I quickly realized that most of society thought of these diseases as inevitable consequences of aging. A death sentence once diagnosed.
These same diseases I had seen my mom teach could be beaten, many of which I saw reversed during her community programs. How could there be such a big disconnect between what I had seen happen and what society, even medicine, knew of?
This sparked a burning curiosity to discover just how what we do on a daily basis can decide whether or not we succumb to the diseases that cut short far too many lives every year.
I was amazed at what I found. I had discovered a field of science which combined my passion for understanding the world around me with the opportunity to use this understanding to change lives. This is the field of medicine, and the new yet rapidly growing field of lifestyle medicine was addressing the same disconnect I had noticed.
It won’t be smooth sailing, though. Still, most medical education includes little to no true guidelines to help people reverse disease, but rather how to suppress the symptoms of people’s underlying diseases, even though physicians are who we go to when seeking to free ourselves from disease.
In this blog, I hope to document my journey towards practicing lifestyle medicine and targeting the cause of disease in an educational system and healthcare system which is geared towards suppressing symptoms.