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“Intermittent fasting 1–2 times a week” with Yeral Patel and Dr. William Seeds

Intermittent fasting 1–2 times a week: Rather than going on crash and fad diets, intermittent fasting is an incredible way to slow down the aging process, increase mental clarity and energy, reboot the metabolism and decrease inflammation. Other calorie- restricted diets slow down metabolism and increase harmful insulin levels, but intermittent fasting is a safer […]

Intermittent fasting 1–2 times a week: Rather than going on crash and fad diets, intermittent fasting is an incredible way to slow down the aging process, increase mental clarity and energy, reboot the metabolism and decrease inflammation. Other calorie- restricted diets slow down metabolism and increase harmful insulin levels, but intermittent fasting is a safer and more effective way to reset metabolism and improve health without having to give up one’s favorite foods (in moderation). Note: intermittent fasting is not recommended for pregnant women, cancer patients and those with eating disorders and those wanting to begin this practice should consult their primary care physician.

As a part of my series about “5 Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Dramatically Improve One’s Wellbeing”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Yeral Patel. Yeral is a functional medicine physician who is board certified in anti-aging/regenerative and family medicine and practices in Newport Beach, California. Dr. Patel uses an integrative medicine approach to treat and prevent chronic medical conditions and furthermore, utilizes a combination of both groundbreaking allopathic and homeopathic treatments to achieve optimal results for her patients.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the story about how you first got involved in fitness and wellness?

When I was working for a big medical corporation as a family medicine physician I was seeing many patients each day and it was hard to answer all of their questions during our brief appointments.

One day, a patient in her mid-40’s came in with a list of questions and while I really wanted to give her lifestyle and wellness tips that I knew would help, I knew I was short on time and had to wrap it up. Thankfully, I pulled up my schedule and saw I had a cancelation for the next time slot! I was so happy that I had an extra 20 minutes to talk with this patient! In those extra 20 minutes, her eyes gleamed with joy and she thanked me for the time and care I’d given her. She was so grateful that I’d provided her with tangible advice and wellness tips and she thanked me for helping her to better understand how important it was for her to take care of herself.

Four weeks later she came in for a follow up and looked like a completely different person! This time, she came in and told me that she didn’t have any questions, but wanted to share that she’d taken my advice and started to meditate, do yoga, and take more time for herself. She then confessed that the most important thing that had happened during the last month was that she’d found her self-worth again. She went on to say that she’d never told anyone, but deep inside she was sad, felt worthless, and was at the end of her rope (she was only in her mid-40’s). However, after slowing down and really understanding her own worth and the importance of self-care, she had a newfound passion for sharing what she’d learned and wanted to help other women who felt hopeless and sad know that they were worthy and deserved to take care of themselves.

After talking to that one patient and realizing what an impact I was able to have, I made the decision to leave corporate medicine and start my own Functional Medicine clinic. Now, every appointment is a minimum of 40- 60 minutes and we focus on treating every aspect of the patient as a whole.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?

When I was working for a big medical corporation as a family medicine physician I was seeing many patients each day and it was hard to answer all of their questions during our brief appointments.

One day, a patient in her mid-40’s came in with a list of questions and while I really wanted to give her lifestyle and wellness tips that I knew would help, I knew I was short on time and had to wrap it up. Thankfully, I pulled up my schedule and saw I had a cancelation for the next time slot! I was so happy that I had an extra 20 minutes to talk with this patient! In those extra 20 minutes, her eyes gleamed with joy and she thanked me for the time and care I’d given her. She was so grateful that I’d provided her with tangible advice and wellness tips and she thanked me for helping her to better understand how important it was for her to take care of herself.

Four weeks later she came in for a follow up and looked like a completely different person! This time, she came in and told me that she didn’t have any questions, but wanted to share that she’d taken my advice and started to meditate, do yoga, and take more time for herself. She then confessed that the most important thing that had happened during the last month was that she’d found her self-worth again. She went on to say that she’d never told anyone, but deep inside she was sad, felt worthless, and was at the end of her rope (she was only in her mid-40’s). However, after slowing down and really understanding her own worth and the importance of self-care, she had a newfound passion for sharing what she’d learned and wanted to help other women who felt hopeless and sad know that they were worthy and deserved to take care of themselves.

After to talking to that one patient and realizing what an impact I was able to have, I made the decision to leave corporate medicine and start my own Functional Medicine clinic. Now, every appointment is a minimum of 40- 60 minutes and we focus on treating every aspect of the patient as a whole.

Can you share a story with us about the most humorous mistake you made when you were first starting? What lesson or take-away did you learn from that?

When I was in my residency training, they’d increase the number of patients we’d see every few months. By noon, I’d often see 12 -13 patients and was forced to move and work more quickly. One day, a patient came in for an eye infection (pink eye) and at the end of the visit, I quickly ordered the medication by electronic prescription. The process becomes almost automatic — -you scroll through a list of medications, check a box, place the order and the patient picks it up. Pretty simple.

Two days later, however, I got a message from the patient that her eye infection wasn’t getting better and that she didn’t see how it could get better if she was putting the medication in her ear. I was confused about why she was putting it in her ear — -she had pink eye, but I thought I should double-check the instructions I’d written just to be sure. Lo and behold, I looked at the instructions for her drops and it said place the drops in the ear!

I soon discovered that with electronic prescriptions, the same medication drops can be ordered for both the eyes and the ears and the instructions are already pre-written. The prescribing doctor just has to find the medication with the appropriate instructions and click to order. I’d ordered the correct medication, but I clicked on the instructions for use in the ear, not the eye. This experience taught me how important it is to slow down, take an extra 30 seconds, and verify that everything is correct — -even if you’re stressed and backed up with patients. Fortunately, the patient in this case was not harmed!

Can you share with our readers a bit about why you are an authority in the fitness and wellness field? In your opinion, what is your unique contribution to the world of wellness?

I am constantly reading the latest materials and attending conferences on health and fitness. I myself have incorporated and tested many of the tips I give my patients and have had my own struggles with weight loss and wellness. I can be a living example for my patients to prove that certain lifestyle and fitness changes can change their lives for the better. I think that my patients appreciate that I share my struggles with them and I think it makes me more relatable.

When we are “experts,” but open up and share our own vulnerability, we become more human and therefore, more relatable. Having a genuine rapport with my patients and building a relationship based on trust and openness helps me to provide better care for them. I try to be as transparent and open as possible with my patients and clients. I also conduct free talks at my private practice and for wellness groups in order to help spread awareness and promote healthy lifestyle and fitness practices.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

I am so incredibly blessed to have my parents and my husband. Not only are they my advocates, they’re also huge advocates of healthy lifestyle choices and practices that promote wellbeing. From the time I started studying in college and then on to medical school, my parents always told me that if I got too stressed, I could always step back and take a break — — even if that meant that I would have a lighter course load and graduate later. Both my parents reinforced that there was no huge rush in life and that I should do my best, but never let stress jeopardize my health.

My parents always encouraged me to work out and to take care of myself — even if it was a short workout just to clear my thoughts. When it came to self-care and wellness, I knew that I could ask for their help and go to them for anything. My parents gave me unconditional intellectual and emotional strength and support, and as a result, I felt fearless in my journey to become a health care provider. Their example also taught me to give back to those in need. Having those values instilled in me has forever changed my life for the better and shaped who I am. I knew that if I took care of my own health and wellbeing, only then would I be able to truly take care of others.

And then there’s my husband…

He’s just amazing. He’s always been my biggest supporter and cheerleader. I’d just made the decision to leave my high-paid corporate medicine job when I met him and although it was scary and a huge risk, he did nothing but support and encourage me not to give up. The way that I could talk to him, he was just engaged from the beginning.

When I first started my own practice, I couldn’t afford to hire an assistant and I had to do a blood draw on a patient. My husband happened to be at my office that day and in the room with us and saw that I was getting flustered. He quietly pulled me out of the exam room, told me to breathe, then rolled up both his sleeves and told me to practice on him as much as I needed until I felt confident enough to go back in and draw the patient’s blood. This from a guy who hates getting blood draws! But I did it, got my confidence back and went in and completed a perfect blood draw on the patient. I think that tells you everything you need to know about my husband.

Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s move to the main focus of our interview. We all know that it’s important to eat more vegetables, eat less sugar, exercise more, and get better sleep etc. But while we know it intellectually, it’s often difficult to put it into practice and make it a part of our daily habits. In your opinion what are the 3 main blockages that prevent us from taking the information that we all know, and integrating it into our lives?

  1. Having unrealistic goals: You have to give the process time. When we have unrealistic goals such as wanting to lose a lot of weight in a short period of time or instantly becoming healthy, we end up cutting corners. Invariably, going on trendy or fad diets or taking drastic measures can give us temporary results, but they can also wind up harming us in the long run.
  2. Taking short cuts: We often want to reach our goals without making real and substantial lifestyle changes. Instead, we look for shortcuts that help us avoid altering what we’re doing that’s unhealthy. For example, instead of cutting back on sugar, we substitute real sugar with heaps of artificial sweeteners. Artificial sweeteners are problematic in their own way and this substitution doesn’t address how and why we might be eating too much sugar. By taking shortcuts and failing to understand and change your lifestyle, substitutions can sabotage your goals and even worsen your state of health.
  3. Not incorporating others in your journey. In my experience, doing things on my own can be challenging. Having a buddy, a coach, a friend, or a companion join you in the process helps hold you accountable and provides much-needed support and encouragement.

Can you please share your “5 Non-Intuitive Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Dramatically Improve One’s Wellbeing”? (Please share a story or an example for each, and feel free to share ideas for mental, emotional and physical health.)

1. Meditation: Meditation is crucial to help balance emotions and help us think clearly. Everyone has moments of sadness, anxiety and stress, but meditation shortens those episodes, helps with focus, and improves our sense of wellbeing.

2. Intermittent fasting 1–2 times a week: Rather than going on crash and fad diets, intermittent fasting is an incredible way to slow down the aging process, increase mental clarity and energy, reboot the metabolism and decrease inflammation. Other calorie- restricted diets slow down metabolism and increase harmful insulin levels, but intermittent fasting is a safer and more effective way to reset metabolism and improve health without having to give up one’s favorite foods (in moderation). Note: intermittent fasting is not recommended for pregnant women, cancer patients and those with eating disorders and those wanting to begin this practice should consult their primary care physician.

3. Gentle exercise/yoga: There is no better way to improve mood and cognition than exercise. 150 minutes of gentle exercise per week is recommended to see improvement and of that 150 minutes, at least 60 minutes should be strength training (or, 2 days a week). Exercise increases blood flow to the brain and improves mood, wellbeing and memory.

4. Self-care: It’s crucial to take time out of every week and enjoy some “me time.” In the hustle and bustle of our “to do” lists, various tasks and work, we sometimes forget to do things we love. This can be as simple as going to a park and reading, laying on the beach, getting one’s nails done, going to a play or movie, having lunch or drinks with a friend or, just doing something alone that brings happiness and enjoyment into your life. It’s important to remember that self-care is crucially important to our wellbeing.

5. Volunteering: Volunteering is great for wellbeing. It really helps us to be “in the moment” and reminds us to appreciate and value what we already have. When you volunteer your time and help others, it shifts the focus from “me” to “them” and increases our self-worth and sense of purpose. Nothing feels better than being able to help others and it’s the best thing for boosting our sense of community and our sense of self.

As an expert, this might be obvious to you, but I think it would be instructive to articulate this for the public. Aside from weight loss, what are 3 benefits of daily exercise? Can you explain?

  1. Exercise helps release endorphins, the mood boosting chemicals that help to relieve and battle stress, depression and anxiety.
  2. Exercise helps lower inflammation and rid of toxins in our body, improving our wellbeing and reducing the risk of inflammatory-driven illness such as heart attacks, strokes, diabetes and autoimmune conditions.
  3. Exercise provides the opportunity to connect with our bodies (either in a group setting or alone) and allows us to feel and use our physical power.

For someone who is looking to add exercise to their daily routine, which 3 exercises would you recommend that are absolutely critical?

  1. Brisk walking for 30 minutes. It’s easy, you can do it anywhere, and you need no equipment other than your legs!
  2. Yoga: A lot of exercise does nothing to help with flexibility. Yoga is great for improving flexibility and improving joint health to prevent arthritis.
  3. Short periods of strength training: I usually recommend resistance bands. Strength training is crucial as it helps build muscle, increase strength, helps with memory and boosts long-term brain function. Resistance bands are essentially weightless and I can carry them everywhere!

In my experience, many people begin an exercise regimen but stop because they get too sore afterwards. What ideas would you recommend to someone who plays sports or does heavy exercise to shorten the recovery time, and to prevent short term or long-term injury?

  1. Infrared Sauna helps decrease inflammation and release toxins from the body (such as lactic acid), which helps with recovery.
  2. People need to remember to replace the nutrients lost during exercise with a healthy, nutritious diet that’s packed with antioxidants and the proper micronutrients

There are so many different diets today. Can you share what kind of diet you follow? Which diet do you recommend to most of your clients?

Personally I’m a “foodie” and grew up in a big Indian family who loves to eat and spend time together. Because of this, I’ve learned the best diet for me (which isn’t too restrictive and still has great benefits) is intermittent fasting. This has worked the best for me because I don’t have an “athletic” build and can gain weight easily and because my love for food makes me not want to exclude any particular food categories.

Studies have shown that intermittent fasting decreases inflammation levels, increases metabolism, slows down the aging process and provides many more benefits, but for me, it helps me be more disciplined — — limiting my eating to certain hours but not limiting my consumption of my favorite foods. This method allows me to eat what I want (in moderation) and not gain weight or be unhealthy. Intermittent fasting has also helped me maintain consistently high energy levels throughout the day without the need for caffeine and constant snacking. While intermittent fasting is not for everyone (people who have a fast metabolism, have eating disorders, have cancer, or are pregnant and breast feeding), I’ve found it to be a helpful, healthy way to feed my appetite and body.

The diet that I recommend for patients depends on the patient’s medical history. For example, if the patient is a cancer survivor, I recommend a vegan diet because dairy and meat products are known to be carcinogenic.

For my hormone imbalanced, overweight or diabetic patients, I recommend intermittent fasting as long as they don’t have any medical issues that would make it harmful.

In general I believe in eating whole foods, eating everything in moderation, limiting processed foods and eating out, and limiting alcohol consumption. I prefer that my patients eat organic (especially if their fruits and veggies are on the EWG’s “dirty dozen” list), and recommend my patients eat grass-fed meats as the hormones in meat can wreak havoc on the body.

Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story?

One of my favorite books is health-related and called Brain Body Diet by Sara Gottfried, MD. I loved this book because it answered every question I had about fad diets and made me truly understand the brain-body connection. The book explained the many reasons fad diets don’t work and the importance of a balanced diet, exercise, meditation, stress management and detox. Everyone is different, however, balance is the key to success and that’s a universal truism that applies to everyone.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

My movement would definitely be Motivational Medicine. This movement is about empowering patients to truly be involved in their health care. I’d like to motivate them to take their health into their own hands and to not give up on feeling good and being well. My dream has long been to have a talk show where I can give health care and motivation tips to the masses and improve lives on a large scale.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?

“Why try to fit in when you were born to stand out?”

In my life, I have always taken my own path — — even if it was the path that no one else took. Don’t get me wrong, doing so would be scary, but with family support and hard work I’ve gotten where I wanted to be every time. We have to remember that everyone is different and our journey will always be unique and unlike others. There is no such thing as fitting in anyway. If everyone “fit in,” there would be no innovation, no diversity, and virtually no advancements in health or society.

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂

  1. Oprah Winfrey: Every time I look at all she has accomplished and everything she continues to do, I get inspired. I see how she’s had her own personal struggles and how she’s overcome them and what she’s been through to get where she is today. She is truly inspirational. I dream of collaborating with her in order to reach the masses and to improve the health and wellness of many.
  2. Ellen DeGeneres: Every time I watch her show, I see how she’s is touching the lives of others. She’s not only incredibly generous, she constantly demonstrates the importance and healing power of LAUGHTER.

What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?

Instagram handle: dryeralperfectyouth

Facebook: Perfect YOUth, Yeral Patel, MDInc

Thank you for these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!

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