How this thing called wellness can keep help you feeling good 24/7, according to The Nue Co. medical advisor Dr. Tiffany Lester.


Photography ByGUY AROCH





Dr. Tiffany Lester had always wanted to become a teacher like her mom until she got to high school. “My mom was a professional woman at the height of her career and she was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis,” she shared. “Watching her deal with this debilitating disease ignited my interest in medicine. I was like ‘I’m going to heal my mom.’ ” But in her third year at The University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, she realized how little actual healing was involved in the modern American healthcare system. “I loved all the learning in medical school but when I got into clinical rotations I was seeing the same people and just prescribing medications and watching them eat crappy hospital food and not get better,” she says. “I thought, how is this our healthcare system?” So, after earning her MD, Lester channeled that frustration into additional training in functional medicine, acupuncture, and TCM (she is also a grad of the Integrative Medicine Fellowship at University of Arizona and is certified in medical acupuncture). Now a San Francisco-based doctor at Parsley Health, the start-up focused on transforming our primary care approach, Dr. Lester is, it turns out, as much a teacher as a doctor. To wit, here is some of the wisdom we gleaned spending time with her last month.


“So often we outsource our healing to other people but I try to really empower people. I’m a facilitator and I can help you with my expertise, but you are healing yourself. We forget about things like, what am I putting in my body? What am I doing to relieve my stress? How much am I sleeping? Those things are free, it’s just about making them a priority.”


“People don’t realize but acupuncture is literally for everything. Whether it’s emotional distress, or you’re having pain from kidney stones, or back pain, or headaches, or anxiety, or depression. Combined with functional medicine, it’s a really powerful way to heal people. And it can shift people’s physiology and their nervous system so quickly. While therapy and all these other healing modalities are essential, sometimes you need to shift your mood and release your trauma and I’ve seen acupuncture do that for people.”


“I love intuitive eating. For example, for women, if you’re having your period, you’re losing a certain amount of iron and blood and so you’re craving a hamburger. And maybe you should eat it. Make sure it’s grass-fed, and make sustainable choices, but eat the hamburger. And feel good about it! Don’t feel guilty. I used to be a vegan and I’ve done all the diets at some point but while each diet may have its merits it’s still about knowing what’s best for you and also what’s best for the environment and to sustain us long term. One thing we should all be doing is eating more dark leafy greens and a more plant-based diet, but whether or not you choose to eat meat, drink dairy or nut milks, that should be based on what’s best for you and for your health and that can change throughout your life, especially for women because of our shifting hormones.”


“When it comes to nutrition, the three things that I’ve seen have the biggest impact on my patient’s health are gluten, carbs, and sugar. That’s because they increase your blood glucose and enzyme response so they can make you gain weight and cause a level of inflammation in the body. It basically puts more energy towards your digestion to process it all. Whether it’s a glass of wine or delicious sourdough bread or a cupcake, when you have it your body wants to slow down. I don’t think any of these things are really bad—unless of course you are one of the 2% of people who have celiac then gluten is actually bad for you—it’s just about having a healthy relationship with all of them. And making sure that you don’t have a leaky gut or intestinal immobility and your brain is functioning on all cylinders. Then you can have the pasta and still feel good. Most of us are not operating on that level so we’re eating too much of these foods that are depletive to an already depleted body.”


“Most of us are working too much and burning the candle at both ends, so the chronic stress depletes our adrenal gland then you’re having caffeine to bring yourself up, then you have a dip. It becomes a vicious cycle. How each of us processes caffeine can depend on our genetics: My sister can have an affogato after dinner and be fine, but I’m a slow metabolizer and I’d be up all night. Most people fall somewhere in the middle so I tell my patients to give their coffee a bedtime so you can have one as well: stop after noon and if you really need something later have a green tea. Really you should be digging deeper and looking at why you need something else in the afternoon at all.”


“The modern American work day is not really set up to take breaks at all. But if you have the ability to rest for 15-30 minutes when you find yourself tired in the afternoon, do it. It’s restorative.”


“I always bring activated charcoal with me when I travel. It’s not permission to go out and have too many glasses of red, but taking one or two capsules before bed helps. It’s good if you indulge too much or eat something that feels off or even if you get food poisoning. Just make sure you have lots of water because you can become constipated as it’s binding the toxins so you can eliminate them.”