Local Healthcare Practitioners Share Their Health RegimensMay 01, 2022 01:22PM ● By Linda Sechrist
Today, a prescription from a healthcare practitioner for managing, improving or optimizing health will possibly include plans for consuming mostly plant-based foods and healthy fats, a daily walk, weight-bearing exercises, meditation to reduce stress, getting a good night’s sleep and perhaps taking supplements. Sitting across the desk from the expert advising us on what we are apt to consider as a challenging lifestyle change, we’re likely wondering if they’re doing all of what they are asking us to do.
Natural Awakenings queried local practitioners Dr. Carol Roberts, director of the Naples Center for Functional Medicine; Dr. Lindsey Berkson, NCFM; Doreen DeStefano DPN, owner of Root Causes; Sue Mahany, Spark Health Technologies owner; Rita Davis, founder of Soul Sessions with Rita; Dona Parker, owner of Tree of Light Whole Body Rejuvenation Center; Elizabeth Smith, owner of Integrative Direct Primary Care; Kimberly Lemons, owner of Suncoast Thermal Imaging; and Michele Durham, owner of Access Holistic Healing & Hypnosis, for details about their personal health regimens.
Roberts’ high five for maintaining sharp, clear thinking, healthy bones and a more supple and flexible body, as well as a more youthful appearance that doesn’t reveal her 76 years goes to bioidentical hormones, which she’s taken for 27 years. Others, such as Berkson, a hormone replacement therapy expert who speaks regularly at physician’s conferences about hormone replacement therapy, DeStefano and Mahany are also proponents of bioidentical hormones. While several have a yoga practice in common, all have some form of regular exercise and eat healthy.
Dr. Carol Roberts
When citing important nutrients in her health regimen, fun and sleep top her list, followed by lifelong learning, staying excited about something, having a purpose and loving relationships, which includes pets. “Pets are important. Our microbiome is much more diverse when we have a dog or cat, and the relationship keeps the heart healthy,” says Roberts, who muses that not having health issues at 76 may be because she began taking care of herself from the age of 30 when she started running twice a week. “Deciding that my body was for more than carrying my brain around, I realized I needed movement that was joyous, which was why I also started dancing twice a week, at night and on weekends,” she quips. No longer regularly dancing, Roberts takes joy from walking her dogs mornings at 5 a.m. She works out in a gym three to four times weekly and is a loyal fan of the PBS show Classical Stretch at 6 a.m.
Eating well 80 percent of the time allows Roberts to indulge sporadically in ice cream or a glass of wine. “I can afford to fall off the healthy lifestyle wagon occasionally because my bloodwork results are good. I couldn’t if they weren’t. The more adventurous I am with different cultural cuisines, the happier I am.”
Robert’s vitamins and minerals are contained in the fresh, organic foods she eats. “I don’t rely on supplements and treat issues as they arise. For example, if I’m feeling tired, I take a nap and possibly cordyceps or Rhodiola Rosea for my adrenals. I’m also mindful that my body needs iodine, which I recommend to patients.”
Dr. Lindsey Berkson
“I do everything I tell my patients to do,” says Berkson, who eats well despite a rigorous travel and lecture schedule. “I strategically plan meals for before and after trips, making sure I have what I need at home to avoid eating out.”
A senior citizen, Berkson, who generally works out at the hotel gym before a lecture, notes that she feels stronger and healthier than ever. Energized by living her purpose, her vivaciousness and positive attitude give her an amazing “Energizer Bunny” ability for schlepping luggage, as well as purse and computer bag, a heavy 40 pounds from the weight of the books she sells at conferences, through airports. “While knowing that I was born to do this work, my vitality level may be genetic, as my mother was very robust up until her early 90s.”
Berkson’s humor and positive attitude are major aspects contributing to her good health. “I often giggle to myself and make a joke out of what someone else might consider a misfortune, such as missing a plane and having to sleep in an airport chair. Laughter really is good medicine,” says the author of Sexy Brain: Sizzling Intimacy & Balanced Hormones Prevent Alzheimer’s, Cancer, Depression & Divorce.
DeStefano practices yoga, plays with her orchids and walks a minimum of four times weekly in addition to doing high-intensity conditioning twice weekly. Time for relaxing and relieving stress, which she does by hanging out with her dogs, is a key to her good health.
“I take supplements and several anti-inflammatory nutrients, consistently eat six servings of veggies and a few fruits daily. Big on consuming healthy fats, I keep meals low-carb, gluten-free and as organic as possible. I do cheat occasionally,” remarks DeStefano, who notes that she detoxes lightly by sweating with exercise and spending time in the far-infrared sauna daily. “I get in my hyperbaric oxygen therapy chamber twice a week, in general just to reduce inflammation, the root cause of most health issues.”
At age 55, Mahany recalls suffering with chronic fatigue in her 30s due to high levels of mercury in her teeth and body. "My health and energy are great now because of my health regimen, which includes eating 95 percent plant-based as per NutritionFacts.org, consuming organic, cold-pressed vegetable juices, sleeping eight hours nightly, using a BEMER microcirculation mat 16 minutes a day, breathing molecular hydrogen 20 minutes a day, taking an ozone sauna once per week and taking supplements daily—vitamin ADK, magnesium, trace minerals, desiccated thyroid, digestive enzymes and NMN, a stable, reliable NAD+ activator and anti-aging molecule," she says.
Mahany goes to Hot Yoga Naples twice weekly, takes a tai chi class at the Academy of Martial Arts once a week and walks the beach regularly. “If I skip exercise, I do the vibration plate for 15 minutes. I talk to my kids once a week, meditate and read newsletters and books about wellness. The latest are Lifespan: Why We Age and Why We Don’t Have To, by David Sinclair, Ph.D., and The Way of Miracles: Accessing Your Superconsciousness, by Mark Mincolla, Ph.D.”
Mahany also wears an X39 patch to build stem cells, rarely drinks alcohol and thinks about everything in life that she is grateful for nightly just before falling asleep.
Davis, a reiki master practitioner, intuitive and meditation coach uses reiki for self-healing purposes, managing minor health issues such as headaches, sore throats and stomach upsets. “I know when I need a practitioner to clear my energy field and balance my chakras,” says Davis, who believes that self-care helps regulate emotions and makes a positive impact on health. “Not into performance pressure, I set realistic goals for three to five times a week for doing my mantra meditation and a gratitude practice that includes being thankful even for my life’s challenges. Gratitude and my prayer time help me live at a higher frequency.”
A trained yoga teacher, Davis practices five to seven asanas three times a week. "This keeps me grounded, flexible and connected to my body," she says. Supplements aren’t part of Davis’s regimen. She doesn’t eat processed foods or a lot of sugar, which she advises has significantly impacted her energy level and ability to think more clearly.
At age 67, Dona Parker describes her health regimen as “Pretty strict. Daily, I juice 16 ounces of organic celery, to which I add a mixture of different aminos. Breakfast is a smoothie. I work out on my rebounder, use weights, do yoga stretches, have morning prayer time and three times a week I use all the modalities I offer at Tree of Light—infrared medical sauna, AARC LED chamber, and the Balancer Pro.
Parker’s interest in good nutrition started in her 20s when her dad died at age 47. “I began exercising in my early 30s. In my early 60s, due to health issues caused by mold, I discovered the helpful modalities I now use,” she says.
Smith’s diagnoses of Guillain-Barre Syndrome and arthritis before she became a holistic health practitioner provided the impetus to intentionally begin a healthy lifestyle. Now, at age 39, this includes being outside, enjoying nature while riding a bike with her three children or taking a walk, eating a balanced diet of fruits and veggies in small, frequent meals throughout the day, and adequate water consumption. “I splurge on one to two cups of coffee and dark chocolate in moderation so as not to tax my adrenals too much,” advises Smith. “I also set aside daily devotional prayer time. It’s my source of faith.”
Lemons is mindful to have an annual thermogram and check her breasts once a week for any abnormalities since she recovered from breast cancer. “I check while I’m in the shower,” she explains. Lemons is keen on being active and walking her two dogs several times daily, taking an immune support powder with inositol, as well as a daily dose of vitamins D-3, C and zinc, drinking filtered water, eating a keto diet and eliminating sweets, processed and fast foods. “I eat relatively healthy, but I’m not a stickler. I enjoy my life, which means that I cheated while on vacation with my kids in Colorado.”
Durham’s days each begin with self-hypnosis before getting out of bed. "From there, my mind travels to a deep meditative state connecting with my higher self, connecting to love, light and compassion. I daily shower with a soap made out of salt or a raw salt scrub and weekly, I use my infrared sauna (medical-grade near-, mid- and far-infrared) as part of my detox program. This also keeps my skin and cells young and supple. At my office, I play solfeggio frequencies, but when feeling tired or stressed, I like to use my BrainTap, usually daily, if not weekly. When I’m feeling pain due to muscle fatigue after working out, I use my near-infrared light device or sauna. I use the same equipment that I treat clients with and sell at my office,” she says.
In the last year, the three amazing differences Durham cites in her life are the result of switching to lighter, more whole and fresh foods, supplementing with mushrooms and drinking living water, which is pure cell hydration with ionized and alkalized water.
It’s comforting to know that these practitioners know what it takes to master the changes required for a more healthy lifestyle, just as they are suggesting for their clients and patients.
Naples Center for Functional Medicine, 800 Goodlette Rd. N., Ste. 270, Naples; 239-649-7400, NaplesCFM.com
Root Causes, 12734 Kenwood Ln., Ste. 84, Ft. Myers; 239-347-9234, RtCausesMd.com.
Spark Health Technologies, 11983 Tamiami Trl. N., Ste. 150, Naples; 802-752-6342, SparkHealthTechnologies.com.
Soul Sessions with Rita, 941-275-2859, SoulSessionsWithRita.com.
Tree of Light Center, 806 Neapolitan Way, Naples; 239-692-9367. TreeofLightCenter.com.
Integrative Direct Primary Care, 2590 Northbrooke Plaza Dr., Ste. 106, Naples; 239-350-4900, Integrativedpc.com.
Suncoast Thermal Imaging, 308 SE 43rd Ln., Cape Coral; 239-540-1002, MedicalThermograms.com.
Access Holistic Healing & Hypnosis, 840 111th Ave. N. Ste. 8, Naples; 239-776-2211, AccessHolisticHealing.com.