Board Certified Psychiatrist
Master’s Degree in Herbal Medicine
Former Personal Trainer
Level II iREST Practitioner
I have been fascinated with how the mind and brain works since I was a child. I was born with a sensitive nervous system that was prone to anxiety and I was determined to figure out how to use my brain to figure out how to get rid of my persistent and chronic anxiety. This led me on a long and at times perilous journey that almost crippled me. I was rigid in my approach to crush out my sensitivities, toughen up, and attack my so-called imperfections in an all out war.
Thankfully, I was saved by several brilliant and compassionate people who taught me a different way to look at the biological cards I was dealt with and I learned how to use them to my advantage. Slowly my inner war dissipated, and in its place, I discovered my 3 most powerful values: creativity, love, and freedom. I have used my values to guide my growing (and somewhat obsessive) passion on how to optimize mind-health for anyone that is committed to healing and maximizing their own mind’s potential.
I own and run a private practice in both Santa Barbara and the Bay Area. I have trained myself how to use video psychiatry so that I can treat any resident in California. I treat clients using a progressive integrative approach incorporating meditation, nutrition, supplements, psychotherapy and conservative use of psychopharmacology. My private practice website is: www.SBintegrativepsychiatry.com
“Overall, I enjoyed your sessions. They were beneficial, insightful and thought provoking. In all the years that I’ve been attending group [sessions] or seeing doctors, you are the first one that really hit home with my PTSD! I am really going to miss our sessions.”
– Retired Marine, Vietnam War Veteran..
In The Beginning
I have been interested in learning about the body and mind since I was young. In part this was motivated by my early experiences with sickness during childhood. I struggled with chronic acid reflux, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, anxiety and food addictions until I reached my maximum weight of 267lbs with a 42 inch waist at age 21.
I felt heavy, I got sick often, and I was almost always tired. I decided when I was 22 to take back my health and learn all that I could about exercise and nutrition. After 3 years of research and experimentation, I lost 77lbs and upgraded my level of health.
My side passion is cooking. I love to create healthy nutritious recipes to prove to people that they can have both a delicious and satisfying meal AND feel wonderful afterwards…rather than feeling tired, foggy, and like a 30lb sand bag was just placed on your back.
I love to cook and I love to teach; having a chance to do both in front of an audience at Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s Culinary Immersion in Newport, California was one of the most enjoyable professional experiences I have had.
When I was 26 years old, I knew I had to change my career and go back to school. I did some introspection to help guide me into what I wanted to do next. I knew that loved learning about health, I loved helping people feel better, and I really loved to eat which developed a passion for learning new ways to prepare healthy food to make it taste delicious. I decided to make cooking my side passion and prepare myself for medical school.
I have been experimenting with recipes for over 15 years with one aim: to create nutrient-dense brain-boosting meals that satisfy both your neurons and your taste buds. I am excited to share with you the cooking strategies and recipes that I have learned that have helped me and my patients rebuild and renovate our nervous systems.
Method To The Non-Madness
I enjoy being nerdy and reading scientific journals and any good book, video, or article on a wide array of topics that can be related back to mind-health. Years of reading and creating healthy programs for my patients taught me that the key to creating the best health strategies is to be open-minded and receptive to new ideas – even ones that may sound strange at first.
I intentionally read and listen to a wide range of experts, particularly ones who hold different views than the ones I currently have. This strategy has promoted more versatile and creative thinking which I use to evaluate new Mind-Health information (with a healthy dose of skepticism) and conceptualize new ways to optimize brain function.
My major motivation as an integrative medical doctor is to design the most effective strategies to help heal and strengthen the nervous systems and the minds of people I treat.
I am obsessed with learning about the nervous system and exploring the interesting connections between seemingly disparate subject areas:
- Reading about music, I can see its power to elicit powerful emotions in a safe and effective way
- Reading about business, I can see how our patterns of cultural beliefs influence how we work, how we relate, and how we generate meaning in our lives
- Reading about sports and dance, I can see how important rituals are to put us in optimal states in order to perform at our best
My gift is knowing how to combine these insights into simple and effective strategies that can help people feel better, perform better, and reduce suffering.
Born To Teach
My parents were teachers and I credit them both for instilling the love of lifelong learning and passing down the ‘teaching gene.’ I love to teach. In particular I enjoy the moment when someone really understands something new that has the power to transform their lives in a healthier way. That is very meaningful to me.
One of my favorite experiences in life is when a patient has a breakthrough – that ‘ah-ha moment’ when they can clearly see and let go of old self-destructive patterns and open the space for true healing to occur. They immediately feel lighter and brighter – often with greater levels of vitality that can be channeled into building previously dormant strengths…It’s one of the most beautiful things to be a part of. I get goose bumps every time.
Exercise On My Mind
Exercise has also been a large part of my life since I was young. The positive impact that exercise had on my mind has been obvious. When I was growing up I so much wanted to be like Bruce Lee and Rocky Balboa that I started drinking raw egg yolks and would chase chickens. Actually it was my dog but…you get the point.
I have had the great fortune to learn from many brilliant exercise experts and plowed through 1000’s of articles on exercise research. I experimented with a large amount of diverse exercise styles and after 15 years of reading, self-experimentation, and being a personal trainer to professional athletes, medical students, and medical doctors – I learned how to create quick and effective strategies to decrease the time in the gym while increasing the speed of progress and building a more powerful brain.
I enjoy exploring the frontiers of mind-health in new areas where performance enhancement becomes more of the focus. Areas such as:
Improving verbal fluency
Developing metacognition – mentalization
Boosting memory function
Boosting sustainable healthy energy
Promoting high quality living and longevity
My main vision is to create an evolving organization that develops intelligent effective learning tools derived from the best mind-health information. A progressive mindbody education center organized in an intuitive and engaging way that helps you easily differentiate between informational garbage from informational gold.
Most of the material on this site rides on the backs of many brilliant and compassionate women and men who have committed their lives to bettering our understanding of the human brain and mind. I am inspired by these people and deeply appreciate their dedication and contributions to help people feel better and live better lives.