Check out our Q&A with the pioneering plant-based physicians behind Wellness to Wonderful.
The pioneering physicians behind the groundbreaking film Forks Over Knives and co-founders of Whole Foods Market’s Medical and Wellness Centers, Dr. Alona Pulde and Dr. Matthew Lederman, just co-authored a new book, Wellness to Wonderful. As major fans of their previous work, we had to hear all about the new project. Here’s what to expect.
Plant-Based Doctors Co-Author Wellness to Wonderful, a Holistic Approach to Well-being
Dr. Alona Pulde, a family practitioner, and Dr. Matthew Lederman, a board-certified internal medicine physician, are renowned doctors in nutrition and lifestyle medicine. The duo co-founded Whole Foods Market’s Medical and Wellness Centers, employee-only wellness centers for Whole Foods Market team members. They’ve co-authored six books, including two New York Times Best Sellers. Their latest work, Wellness to Wonderful, is a relatable guide blending medical science, psychology, spirituality, and wisdom to lead readers from stress and illness to a vibrant, optimized life.
Q. As the pioneering physicians and co-authors of Forks Over Knives, tell us about your new book and how it differs from your previous work.
A. Our passion over the last two decades has been nutrition and lifestyle medicine, focusing on diet to prevent and reverse chronic disease and optimize overall health and well-being. Addressing the detrimental effects of an unhealthy diet still ranks at the forefront of our work. However, it does not reflect the entire picture. Wellness to Wonderful, addresses the other factors that we have identified as crucial for optimal health and well-being. The pillars are interconnected and synergistic and tending to one positively impacts the others. For example, if you don’t sleep enough you make poor food choices, have less patience to communicate with family, and are much less likely to exercise and play.
Q. Wellness to Wonderful is said to challenge the traditional medical paradigm—in what way?
A. Much of conventional medicine is focused on illness and disease. The fix is through pills and procedures that at best manage disease and get you back to baseline. But for many of us baseline does not equate to optimal health and wellness. Yes, our numbers (blood sugars, blood pressures, cholesterol) may improve but we still feel sluggish or depleted, struggle with weight, suffer side effects associated with medication, or still experience the symptoms of disease.
The Wellness to Wonderful approach begins by asking, “What does a wonderful life look like?” We then focus on providing the knowledge and skill to get you to your wonderful life.
Q. Similarly, as co-founders of Whole Foods Market’s Medical and Wellness Centers, how do these clinics also oppose that same paradigm?
A. Sadly, a lot of conventional primary care focuses on managing disease with pills and procedures. However, without treating the cause of disease, it will remain present despite numbers decreasing or symptoms improving. Imagine you clog your arteries by eating unhealthy food and then take pills or undergo a procedure to clean your arteries. That can only help if you make changes to prevent those arteries from clogging again which will not happen making the same poor choices. Practicing medicine with our new paradigm allows doctors and patients to identify the underlying causes of disease and make changes that can actually lead to prevention and reversal.
Q. What inspired your newest book and what are the top takeaways that our readers can expect to uncover?
A. Our book was inspired by our personal health struggles and experiences, as well as the years we spent as medical doctors. It’s the result of our profound journey toward holistic wellness and the invaluable insight we’ve gained into the interconnectedness of mind, body, and spirit.
Top takeaways? Nutrition is important, but it’s only one piece of the puzzle. We are able to truly thrive when we take care of all nine aspects of our health: self, nutrition, physical activity, play, sleep, connections with family and friends, work that gives purpose, spirituality, and appreciation of nature. By weaving together these essential elements, we create a holistic approach to well-being, leading to a truly wonderful, fulfilling life.
Q. We live in such a fast-paced, demanding world and it can be so challenging to incorporate wellness behaviors. How can your new book help?
A. Wellness to Wonderful is down-to-earth with relatable guidance for a healthy and vibrant life. Readers can expect evidence-based insights, practical advice, and accessible strategies to implement wellness practices in their own lives. We incorporate real-life examples and often draw on our own personal experiences to help guide the reader.
Q. How do the teachings in Wellness to Wonderful differ from the current health trends and popular wellness fads?
A. We view health through a holistic lens, emphasizing the significance of addressing the root causes of ailments rather than merely treating symptoms. We address the whole person, offering long-term sustainable practices with an emphasis on fostering healthy habits and lifestyle changes maintained over time, rather than promoting short-term or fad-based solutions.
As always, our work is grounded in scientific research, providing evidence-based practices and recommendations to support our claims.