Dr. Amy Savagian is one of our wellness heroes. She is an MD who was trained at USC, and has completed additional training in Functional Medicine. We love her personalized, system based approach to wellness that empowers patients to achieve their highest expression of health. We talked with Amy about why she believes in a balanced approach to wellness, and some of her personal life hacks.
How did you become interested in functional medicine?
My parents both worked in the Supplements industry at herbal companies, so I was always around it. I wanted to become an MD, but also always saw medicine through an herbal lens, with a dietary approach.
What does Functional medicine mean to you?
It means understanding underlying issues, or what is the root cause of a symptom or disease. Western medicine can be really good for acute situations, but most chronic situations are a result of lifestyle. So, I like to ask what lifestyle choices can be made to help a situation. I also like to look at strategies for the long term, not just tactics for the short term. Lifestyle changes can be slow to manifest, and many people are looking for a quick fix, and have become accustomed to taking a pill that will solve problems quickly. I feel that many people have lost trust in their own intuition or ability to know what they need. They have become over reliant on doctors and pharmaceuticals. I try to help them make choices that will help them in the long run.
How do you practice a plant-based, or natural wellness life?
I try to incorporate 4 simple, but important elements:
- I eliminate processed sugars and starches as much as I can. Pretty much all diets agree on the fact that these are not good for you.
- Sleep! Sleep is a big foundation for health. I use an Oura Ring to help me track and understand my sleep.
- It is important to me to keep up my activity levels. I follow the MAF Method (Maximum Aerobic Function) which looks at exercise, nutrition, and stress for optimal health. It is important to think about health holistically, and not just prioritize fitness.
- Emotional health is really important also. Some tactics I use are meditation, journaling, and gratitude.
What is your favorite tip or hack for a well-balanced life?
I really like wearables, like the Oura Ring for sleep, and a heart rate monitor. I also like intermittent fasting, especially the ProLon protocol developed by Valter Longo at USC. The body of evidence supporting intermittent fasting for health is pretty compelling (though women who are still menstruating should be cautious). I find it pretty easy to fast 12-14 hours each day. For me, not eating between 7pm and 9am is very doable.
What is your favorite natural or plant remedy?
I like a bedtime tea called Slumber from Tibena. It has chamomile, passion flower, lavender ashwagandha, reishi, and schisandra, to promote a sense of calm and relaxation.
Do you have a natural wellness or plant-based hero?
My mother. She did a lot of research on nutrition to help her own mother, and that always inspired me.
Dr. Savagian has a Concierge Family Practice in Pasadena, CA. You can find out more about her practice here.