What happens when you spend your whole life thinking you want to be this one thing only to find out that yes you want it but not in the way it’s generally accepted.
That’s what happened with Riva. Growing up all she wanted to be a doctor like her parents. With experience as a gymnast, a passion for fitness and health, as well as years of watching her parents in their medical careers, Riva thought she was well on her way to becoming a doctor. Well she did become a doctor but realized quickly that the way traditional medicine is practice was not where she wanted to be.
Finding her footing, Riva has launched her own holistic vision of health care, RIVA Wellness, combining all areas of health, fitness, and nutrition to help her clients, “Transform their health to get more out of life.”
SO TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT HOW YOU GOT TO WHERE YOU ARE?
Growing up as a gymnast I was very fit and active and very invested in my own personal health and really wanted to bring that to other people. I went to med school and started to really see the opposite where people were suffering so badly and they weren’t getting the exposure they needed to information to help them be well. I notice people were getting medicine but weren’t getting well. I actually started a residency program and ended up resigning to take some time to really think about how I could apply my medical degree to something that actually inspired me. So I spent some time on the Google, figuring out how to reconcile an interest in wellness, fitness, nutrition, and preventive care and I came across functional medicine. And I was like “oh my god, this is it, this is everything I’ve been looking for.”
WHAT IS FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE?
Functional medicine is the western medicine approach that looks at the whole person to get to the root cause of disease. It’s not looking at the downstream effects and firing off medications for symptoms, it’s looking at what are the triggers that caused this disease in the first place and dealing with those triggers which turns out most of those triggers we’re in control of.
SO WHAT IS RIVA WELLNESS DO?
I provide functional medicine and lifestyle coaching, In that I’m providing a 360 degree approach to your health. Where we’re looking at your nutrition, it’s not like we’re going on this diet, no, we are looking at medical plans of eating so most of them based around the Mediterranean style of eating. I walk people through easy ways of meal prepping so it’s not so much of a burden to wrap your mind around. So the nutrition plans for people is the foundation. Some people come to me with chronic medical conditions so I use the functional medicine approach to managing those in a much more holistic way. I never tell people to stop taking medicines because that’s dumb, but it’s more like let’s figure out a way where we can hopefully lower these doses of medication. For example if you lose weight you’re going to see your blood pressure going down so may be you won’t need to take as medicine for it. I do provide exercise programs for people too. A lot of people go to their doctor and hear well you got to eat healthier and exercise more, and you’re like “okay, what does that mean?” So I actually get to fill both of those voids for people, provide nutrition and a fitness plan.
WE SPOKE ABOUT TRIGGER PEOPLE HAVE THAT SET OFF AN UNHEALTHY LIFESTYLE. WHAT ARE SOME TRIGGERS WE CAN CONTROL?
The very first one that comes to mind is stress. Stress is one of the biggest drivers of chronic disease whether that stress is coming from our work or whether physical stress that comes from over exerting yourself and running yourself ragged. That causes all these stress hormones to build up in your body which triggers inflammation and starts to break down your body tissues and cause your cells to mutate more. This can also cause a lot more of the cancers we’re seeing. Being able to managing your stress and being able to recognize it is big. We aren’t ever going to get rid of it completely but we can all do a better job at mitigating those factors that are contributing to it.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE BIGGEST MISTAKES PEOPLE MAKE ABOUT THEIR NUTRITION?
Eat less but pay attention to the quality of foods that you are eating. The food that we are eating is information. You can eat a 100 calories of nachos but that’s not going to serve you’re body in the same way 100 calories of blueberries does.
There is no perfect diet, it’s what works best for you. So many people split hairs over the latest diets when there is no one perfect diet expect the one that works with your body.
The “natural” food thing is such a joke. Like when you see “natural” on anything, natural flavor, natural whatever, there is no actual regulation around the word natural and so it doesn’t mean anything. So people equate “natural” with being healthy but really it’s just marketing.
All the food lobbyist and big agra being able to pump kids full sugar and all these cereals and all these flavored high fructose corn syrup, things that a literally making our kids morbidly obese before they even have chance to step into the first grade and these big companies are able to say that the cereal is enriched with vitamins never mind that you have this high processed GMO corn and all these dyes and colors which are known to cause genetic damage and we are putting this in children that are growing.
NEW YEAR RESOLUTIONS ARE IN FULL EFFECT. WHAT ARE SOME TIPS FOR PEOPLE TO ACTUALLY STICK WITH IT?
The most important thing is to have a support system. Don’t think you’re going to make some radical transformation in your life really quick, it takes time. Have a fun community that is supporting you whether that’s a church or family or friends have people that are supporting you through your goals.
Have visual reminders around you. I have a vision board that has all of my goals on there for all different areas of life. For my career, for my family, for my health. You need to see constant reminders and be repeating those goals to yourself daily otherwise you’re not going to be emotionally invested in it.
Instead of setting a resolution, which most of us automatically set to break them, set an intention. Being able to stay committed to this journey instead of being like, “okay I’m on this weight loss journey I have to loose 30 pounds by March so that gives me how many weeks to do that?”. Automatically you’re starting from a place of fear like, “Oh my god ,I have to do this and I don’t know if I can do It because I’ve never done this before.” So just set an intention to be committed and get the support that you need. Because whenever we try to do things alone, like something hard, new, or scary it’s so easy to give up on ourselves.
DESCRIBE YOUR SLAY.
I’m a dreamer and every day I wake up I get to be one step closer to living the wildest dreams of my imagination. And it’s amazing to see when I wake up with that attitude magic happens.
You can catch more of Riva and her tips on her Instagram and through the So She Slays newsletter as she is set to release exclusive content just to Slay Nation.