How I accidentally became a doctor, teacher and advocate, prescribing and 'preaching' lifestyle & dietary modifications as medicine to manage lifestyle-related diseases. My accidental journeys continues ....
My accidental adventures and journeys continues .....
I now practise as a a medical doctor prescribing lifestyle & dietary modications as medicine to control chronic lifestyle-related conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, hyperstension, cholesterol disorders, fatty liver disease etc. On top of that, I am also a chef in my restaurant The Bento People as well as a trainer, speaker and advocate for all things related to lifestyle, diet and health.
When I am practising as a medical doctor, as a physician, I am expected to be be mostly in my 'Diagnosis' & 'Treatment' mode; and correspondingly my patients would, in the main, be expecting 'Prescriptions', 'Medications' & often also 'MCs' .
But I began to see a different and greater need, especially after the last few years of accidental but intense involvement in the different aspects of food - as a chef in my restaurant, as an advocate and educator in healthy eating, as a food & health tutor/teacher & food coach. That for many people, one particular aspect of their lives that greatly impact their wellness, their health and which most people are grossly un-informed, un-motivated to considering change and under-investing in is in the area of FOOD. Food is something people subject their bodies to 3 to 5 times a day and which is a significant factor in all the chronic and severe illnesses afflicting people in this generation.
I realised and began to want to, desire to give more than just 'Diagnosis', 'Treatment' & 'Medication' which I mostly do when I am practising as a medical doctor; I wanted to invest more of myself in and spend more time to give 'Education', 'Encouragement' to people who desire to but who do not know how to improve the lives of their loved ones and themselves through making better food choices.
And this is the reason why I became a lifestyle as medicine speaker & advocate at seminars, conferences, events, companies & even churches, why I became a food & tutor / teacher to small groups in the classes I conduct regularly at training company Engines of Health that I founded.
As with most of the significant adventures in my life, all these happened accidentally.
And this is the story of how it all happened.
and I must start the story from the very beginning ....
My life's a collection of many accidental journeys.
My life has always been one of many colourful accidental journeys, none of which planned. At every stage of my life, my career, I have always been guided by seeking purpose in whatever positions I find myself in at any point in time.
All these time, whatever positions I found myself in, I always try to discern God's purpose for me in that position, once I find it, I would see that as my purpose and mission for the season, pursuing it with passion and intensely building my proficiency in it.
'Accidentally' was how I became a medical doctor, I didn't grow up dreaming of becoming a doctor. It happened by accident. I did well enough in my 'A' levels to be able to qualify for almost any courses in NUS then, and 'medicine' was the only course that one would not get in based on just good results, but applicants had to attend a selection process and interview. So I told myself that I would put that as my first choice and even though I was not a Christian then, I wanted to leave it to 'God' as whether I would pass the selection & interview process for medical school. If I get selected for medical school, I would take that as 'God's' plan for me, and if I fail to get past the NUS medical school selection process, I would also take that as an indication of 'God's' plan for me and move on to my own preferred choices of Law School or Business School. Please don't laugh at me for having such a 'strange' way of deciding something so important in my life, hey I was 18 years old then, but seriously and more importantly, I did it this way because even though I was not a Christian then, I felt there was this 'God' who loves me and would make good choices for me like a father would do, better than the choices I would be able to make for myself using my logical mind. So without knowing who this 'God' is and whether 'God' that I sensed do really exist, I decided to leave the decision of whether I should go to medical school, law school or business school to 'God'. And as it turned out, I passed the selection process and I got into medicine. I always saw that as 'God's' plan for me, even though I would have preferred to go to law school or business school, and never once did I regret going to medical school.
'Accidentally' was also how I became a senior management person in a government statutory board subsequently, the boss of a few hundred people operating out of more than 20 offices in 16 countries around the world.
'Accidentally' was also how I became a CEO of a hospitality company constructing, developing and operating a hotel and conference business.
'Accidentally' was also how I became a chef in the restaurant I started ( see my post - The Accident Chef Story )
'Accidentally' was also hwo I realised I left a 30 year legacy when I was 9 years old >>> ( see my post - Legacy, how I accidentally left a legacy )
'Accidentally' was also I completed a 42 km marathon when I was only 12 years old ( see my post - How I accidentally ran the marathon at 12 )
So it should be no surprise to anyone that 'Accidentally' is also how I became a food & health speaker, coach and teacher.
So this is what happened in detail.
How I accidentally become a food coach
It all started about 2 years ago when I accidentally became a chef
( see my post >> The Accidental Chef Story )
And how a facebook post by a friend, who was then a christian missionary in India, led me to embrace advocating healthy eating as my purpose, mission and passion ( see my post >> The day advocating healthy eating became my purpose & mission )
And then in May 2015,, these 2 events led me to create and start The Bento People, a restaurant with a focus on educating and encouraging people towards healthy eating.
And during these 2 years of being a chef running a healthy food focused restaurant, I dived deeply into researching about the relationship between food and health, reading all the medical research literature and all the food and health books I can get my hands on.
Initially, it was out of simple necessity & a sense of responsibility, because if I am to advocate healthy eating, I better get the science right, the science of healthy eating, healthy food.
Then subsequently this became a passionate pursuit of knowledge, the pursuit of the essential life skill knowledge of the relationship between food and health, wellness & illness. I was particularly interested in the role of food in maintaining wellness and it's role in helping us regain wellness if we do lose it, as we all inevitably would as we age. I was reading ( books, research papers, online medical resources), watching videos, thinking, talking food & health every waking minutes I had. I would be reading, watching or thinking about food & health the first thing I wake, the last thing before I sleep, even whilst driving, cooking, bathing or walking.
All these time, my ever supportive wife, Janice, had to bear with my 'obsession' with learning about 'Food & Health'. She initially started off as a bemused observer but being the supportive wife that she had always been and sensing that this was no simple passing hobby of mine but a intense pursuit of knowledge to fulfil a purpose, she decided to join me in this 'obsession' with food & health.
We then began diving into topics biochemistry, physiology, pathophysiology together, we would be reading and discussing things together of the things that we discover or learn. Our daily conversations began to be predominated by topics such as hormones affected by food or which affects the metabolism of food such as insulin, glucagon, cortisol, leptin, ghrelin and others.
And in the past 2 years, especially in the past 6 months, I had learned more about food & health than I had in my 5 years of medical school and in the more than 20 years since I graduated and became a medical doctor.
But soon all this became a great gnawing dissatisfaction. I could see the potential of how informed mindfulness of what one eat can help maintain or regain wellness & health, but yet something so 'simple' & powerful was seemingly beyond or ignored by most people. Some simply didn't care or were unwilling to comtemplate any change in what & how they eat, these people only Live to Eat. And yet there were some others who were so quick to be jumping enthusiastically into the latest 'super' discovery of 'super' food, 'super' seed, or 'super' diets or 'super' supplement, natural or manufactured.
I encountered on a daily basis, people asking me about food & health. Friends, family & even customers when I served them at my restaurant. I could see that many are conscious of the need to know more, to be more mindful about the food that they were putting into their bodies, the food that they were putting on the table for their loved ones. But yet, most were inadequately equipped with the basic foundational knowledge of food, our body and major diseases to be able to make informed decisions, informed change in their eating habits, especially in the avalanche of conflicting and confusing news about food & health in the media, especially online and social media. So some where either over-zealous and over-reactive to every new information, every new discovery in the area of food & health, whilst the majority, confused & frustrated simply just gave up and fell back to a middle of the road approach of 'just eat everything and everything in moderation'. But family, social gatherings or the brief encounters with customers were not the best
I was especially disturbed whenever I encounter people who needed and were desiring to eat well to regain their wellness but didn't know how or were unable to because of their home or work situations. In particular, people with diabetes or pre-diabetes, I began to 'encounter' more & more of them, friends or family when I meet them at social gatherings as well as customers when I serve them at my restaurant.
I knew, with the journey that I had in the last 2 years, the knowledge that I had acquired, that I could and I had to do something. I knew and believed that God didn't put me through the hardship of the past 2 years for nothing, that no journey was to be wasted. However I knew that changing one's eating habits is something seemingly simple but almost impossible for most, that most would either not try or would fail even if they did. They needed help, most of all they needed support if they were to succeed. I decided that I would.
So I became a doctor not just advocating but also prescribing mainly lifestyle and especially dietary modifications as medicine.
And I started a school, Engines of Health
All of it, as with most things in my life, Accidentally.
- Waking people up to
The Power of Lifestyle to Heal & Destroy, helping them to maintain wellness & regain lost health through informed lifestyle & food choices
>> My Medical Practice where Lifestyle & Dietary modifications is the first go to medicine
>> My 'School' - Engines of Health - where I run workshops and programmes
>> My Restaurant - The Bento People - where I cook and try to entice people to eat healthy.
>> My Advocacy - The TV & print media where I have the priviledge to advocate the power of Lifestyle as Medicine
Why & What I Blog about
Blog's Top Posts
Lifestyle as Medicine - my journey, my passion, my pain
How & Why I became a Lifestyle Medicine Doctor, Trainer and Advocate
Doctor turned Accidental Chef turned Incidental Chef
Reflections of 'The Food Doctor'
How I lost weight 'accidentally'
Doctor turned Accidental Chef - How it all began
The birth of The Bento People
I made this Tom Yum Daikon-'noodles' because I was 'angry' with how the love for noodles was affecting one of my patients.
No wasted Journeys -
Why I Blog
Buay Chye, God & I. The day God sent me a cook.
Behind every adventurous man is a long-suffering wife
How I accidentally left a legacy as a 9 year old boy
The day blogger Leslie Tay (ieatishootipost) came to visit
The accidental marathoner
- how I accidentally ran the marathon when I was 12
They call me a Maverick.
I say I am an Explorer.
Why & How 'Advocating Healthy Eating' became my purpose, mission & passion.
Sharing about the power of food on Diabetes Lifestyle magazine