We love that we get to share our passions with you on our blog. Whether it’s a recipe, a reflection, a story of a friend, or something simply fun and life-giving, we hope and pray that as you read our posts, you find inspiration and motivation for your beautiful life. Today, we get to share another friend’s story with you and we believe his wisdom will encourage you. We met Ed through leading worship at our church. He is a talented musician, a future physician and a sincere friend whose heart is to help people. We are so excited for what the future holds for Ed and his lovely wife Yvette as they continue to follow his journey in providing medical care for those who need it. Anyone who meets Ed is immediately impacted by his wisdom and kindness, and we know that by reading this interview, you will be as well.
We met up with Ed at one of his and Yvette’s favorite taco spots Tacos Tec. It was our first time there, but we had heard so much about it that our hopes were up pretty high. And we were not disappointed! We wish this place was closer to us so we could go more often…but then again, it’s probably a good thing for our waistline that it’s a trek for us to get to. Haha.
L&T: What sparked your interest in pursuing medicine?
Ed: Great question. Many years ago, I spent much of my time traveling the world as an itinerant missionary. Each year, and across various cultures, I watched thousands in desperate need of physical healing cry out for relief. It was an honor to pray over and see many discover God’s peace and comfort, but I longed to do more.
I began researching medical literature to learn about treatments for pain, depression, cancer, and everything in between. Soon, it became clear that medicine was more than an interest – it was (and is) my calling. I quickly enrolled into an alternative medicine undergraduate program with a lifelong mission that was etched into my heart. It was my faith and desire to see others made whole that drew me to medicine, and I continue forward because I truly believe that providing compassionate and holistic medical care is an expression of devotion to God, and the most powerful and effective way to combat health disparities, serve the underserved, and alleviate human suffering.
L&T: Why Alternative Medicine?
Ed: From the very beginning, I knew that I wanted to study whole person approaches to disease prevention, healing, and wellness. I believe in the interconnectedness of mind, body and spirit, and that functional relationships between nutrition, environment, lifestyle, emotional health, and structural disorder can all influence one’s capacity to achieve optimal health. My undergraduate training taught me to value these functional relationships, support the body’s natural healing mechanisms and focus on addressing the root cause of illness in order to promote optimal wellness. Today, more people are becoming interested in natural alternatives, and peer-reviewed medical literature is providing us with newly proven evidence-based solutions every day. And by the way, some of these solutions are real game-changers.
In my sophomore year of college, a former NFL athlete – let’s call him “Tom” – had received my number from a mutual friend, and called to ask for help with his health. He had been diagnosed with several chronic pain disorders, high blood pressure, obesity, and was frustrated that medications and surgery had only given him partial relief. I was just a student and communicated my limitations, but agreed to meet with him to discuss what I had learned thus far. In 12 weeks, Tom lost over 20 pounds, was pain free and no longer in need of medication. Alternative medicine changed Tom’s life. Shortly thereafter, I founded an integrative health education company called Revive the Body. Since 2011, we have helped hundreds with chronic illnesses to regain and optimize their health. Now, our company is 100% devoted to holistic and integrative cancer support and goes by a new name – “Pingenot Health” (pingenothealth.com).
L&T: So how does your company work?
Ed: Every minute someone dies from cancer, and three more people receive a cancer diagnosis. High-level medical research continually shows us that nutrition, stress, lifestyle, and medication/supplementation make a huge difference in promoting optimal treatment outcomes, and we help people to make informed decisions in these areas to strengthen their plan of action.
Imagine if someone close to you was diagnosed with cancer, what would you do? Most people would spend countless hours on the internet doing research, looking into treatments that worked in similar situations, calling offices around the world to find the right doctor, and so on. This is what we do, but with information based on scientifically proven data, years of experience and, most importantly, hearts that care.
We treat people like family, not patients. Many of our appointments last 2-3 hours. In essence, we do what it takes to find the strongest solutions possible, and if that means researching clinical trials and condition-specific diets, or helping someone to find the right integrative oncologist for them – so be it. Our goal is simply to help others find wholeness and breakthrough. And we’re really good at it. Also, we offer our services worldwide via Skype. That means no waiting rooms or travel costs!
I love my work, and my experience over the last six years has profoundly influenced my path in medicine.
L&T: What type of medicine will you practice in the future?
Ed: Right now, I am really interested in PM&R (Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation). Specifically, cancer rehabilitation. PM&R is a medical specialty just like cardiology, family medicine, surgery or emergency medicine, but many people have not heard of it. PM&R physicians help others to regain lost function after a traumatic brain or spinal cord injury, stroke, motor vehicle accident or sports injury. However, unlike physical or occupational therapists for example, PM&R doctors also manage the overall care of the patient, including medications, supplements, nutrition, and other therapeutic interventions. The cancer population is close to my heart, and serving as a cancer rehabilitation doctor is very exciting to me.
L&T: Wow. Can you share with us about stewardship and how we can take care of ourselves to prevent illness?
Ed: That’s a powerful question. Yes, I would love to.
Not everyone believes it true, but we are all designed to do wonderful things. In order to do those things, it is important that we learn to steward – our time, our money, our relationships, our emotions… it is all important. The same goes for our health.
If you are reading this, I am on your side. This is a judgement free zone. I believe that we should be able to make our own decisions when it comes to our money, time and health, but I also believe that it is important to educate ourselves in order to truly make the best decisions for ourselves and the ones we love.
Today, the CDC estimates that 1 in 2 Americans has at least one chronic health condition. That is a staggering statistic. Many believe that they are making healthy decisions “most” of the time, but we are getting sicker, faster. Good stewardship helps create our best chance to prevent or even reverse illness.
I could spend hours talking about this topic, and I often do. However, to give your amazing readers a few practical tips, here are the areas that we should all give some attention to when stewarding our health:
- Stress management
- Sleep hygiene
- Physical exercise
Write down three things that effectively reduce stress in your life, and put them on the schedule each week. Some of my personal favorites are physical exercise, prayer, planning ahead, and epsom salt baths. Some of your readers may even benefit from taking a B complex supplement or herbal adaptogen like Rhodiola.
Sleep is a big deal. If anyone is interested in learning more about good sleep hygiene, check out this article by the University of Maryland Medical Center: http://www.umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/condition/insomnia.
Exercise appropriately, according to your goals. You don’t necessarily need to do the latest crazy-intense workout to be healthy. Generally speaking, I like to recommend a good blend of aerobic and anaerobic exercise. Brisk walking or jogging coupled with weight lifting, for example. The key is to exercise consistently while doing something you enjoy. My favorites are trail running and functional training.
With so much information and misinformation out there when it comes to nutrition, I am here to set the record straight. There is not a “one size fits all approach” that works for everyone. The key is to first set your goal, and then eat accordingly. In general, here are some solid nutrition practices that promote health: do not skip meals, drink enough water, eat a variety of colorful fruit and vegetables every week, consume high-quality meats and organic foods when possible, eat “low-glycemic index foods” often, get plenty of fiber, and the list goes on. Bottom line, eat real food – most of the time, and learn to love vegetables and fruits.
Again, this is an extremely brief and general set of recommendations, but it is a good place to start.
L&T: What advice would you give readers who want to know how they can take better care of their bodies?
Ed: I spend most of my time working with cancer patients and people who have very severe health conditions. Here, making the right choice can be difficult and require a great deal of expertise.
However, in otherwise healthy people, I find that most people already know “what to do”, they just have difficulty actually doing it. Here are some tips to help your readers break the cycle and achieve optimal health.
When we are tired, stressed, bored or lonely, we are in a dangerous position when it comes to making wise decisions. I’ll say it again, when we are TIRED, STRESSED, BORED or LONELY, we are most likely to make poor decisions. We already know that we should stay away from unhealthy habits, but these physical and emotional states cause our brain to crave the wrong kinds of foods and behaviors. If I could only give one recommendation to your readers today, it would be to pay attention to the four areas listed above, as well as nourishing healthy habits by stewarding these additional aspects of life.
Get adequate rest more often than not. Manage stress wisely each week. Find fulfilling activities in service to others that provide meaning each week. And don’t do life alone – we simply were not designed to go at it alone.
If we can keep our stress in check, give ourselves grace, “recharge our batteries” often, exercise regularly, eat well… and if we can acknowledge our purpose to serve others, live in community, and plan for success – we will optimize our likelihood of living healthy and full lives. To the reader: you can do it – I know you can. We believe in you ?
If you or someone you know would benefit from Pingenot Health and the care that they offer, we highly recommended Edward, his knowledge and his heart.