What gets me excited?
Helping people feel their best.
I spent 4 years of college, 4 years of medical school, 3 years of residency, and 4 years of two fellowships to learn all that I could to help people feel their best. I became acutely aware of the importance of the choices both my patients and I make every day, from the moment we open our eyes in the morning to the very end of our day. The small decisions we make to eat better, stress less, sleep more, laugh harder have a huge impact in the long run.
In order to ‘practice what I preached’, I had to first change my own daily habits. Nutrition was my biggest challenge, but was one of the most important things I needed to tackle. Initially, my childhood centered around foods from my Puerto Rican heritage (yuca, bacalao, maduros), which I still love today. But, as I got older, I started to lean on soda and fast food. Without my family’s home-cooking, my eating habits took a deeper nosedive in college and medical training and I suddenly found myself eating a daily diet of grilled cheese, pizza bites and mozzarella sticks as I plowed through the stresses of my studies.
My relationship with food needed a serious overhaul. I was considered ‘healthy’ back then because I had no medical problems. But, I knew if I continued as I was doing, I would have major consequences in the future.
My food choices weren't the only things that needed to change. Finding the right balance always remains an ongoing journey -- but I was able to change.
Aside from eating differently, here are a couple of things that made a difference for me:
I made sleep a priority. No more late night TV. I rarely have caffeine. Actually, I am quite sensitive to it. I even feel the effects of matcha. Adequate sleep gives me enough energy to get me through the day.
I started a meditation practice. Stress + me = not great. I found meditation has been able to build my resilience, which is especially necessary while working in NYC.
I became aware of the importance of hydration. In the past, I kept myself so dehydrated in order to keep working and not need bathroom breaks. It was actually a good thing if I didn’t go to the bathroom during a busy hospital day because I wouldn’t have to break rounds. Crazy! I now carry a water bottle as a constant reminder to stay hydrated.
I take the stairs as much as possible within reason. I will go up 4 flights at one office and 6 flights at another. Being in New York City, I am able to get a good chunk of my steps in during the day, but climbing stairs gives my daily activity an extra challenge.
These small adjustments have helped me feel better. Seems simple, but living a healthy life really should be accessible and sustainable. I believe in small strides that can be easily implemented slowly to make the overall outcome extraordinary.
Dr. Samantha Nazareth, MD, FACG is double board-certified in Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology/Hepatology, who practices in New York City. She is also a noted researcher, writer, and speaker on nutrition, wellness, and the microbiome. Dr. Nazareth has research published in The New York Times and continues to be sought out by the media as an authoritative source on a wide range of topics that include eating, wellness and gut health. Her work has been featured on CNN, Huffington Post, US News & World Report, Women’s Health, Bustle, POPSUGAR, Shape, and Reader’s Digest, to name a few. She is also a medical advisory board member for Women’s Health magazine.
Dr. Nazareth’s mission is educating her patients and consumers on the increasing number of food and environmental issues that can adversely impact gut health. Dr. Nazareth advocates for keeping a balance of daily dietary and other healthy living activities (sleep, movement, stress reduction, support) to maintain optimal gastrointestinal wellness and, in turn, improve overall health.
Dr. Nazareth is also deeply interested and committed to supporting the promise of technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), big data, and all of the -omics (genomics, metabolomics, proteomics) to peel away some of the mysteries of gut health and the gut microbiome, so that gastroenterology therapies can become individualized and personalized. Dr. Nazareth is optimistic that technology can help bring back empathy, accessibility and confidence to the patient/physician encounter through voice recognition software, augmented reality/virtual reality (AR/VR), and blockchain. She currently advises start-ups, venture capitalists, accelerator programs and corporations on clinical validation and use case perspectives of digital health products, medtech, and healthcare technology.
Early Education/Medical Training
While in medical school, Dr. Nazareth was fascinated by the mysteries of the hidden organs and thought she would become a surgeon to fix health problems through a hands-on approach. That path took a different course when her mother developed colon cancer, which led her to want to learn everything she could about the field of gastroenterology. She went on to graduate from the only Ivy League combined medical program at Brown University, and subsequently completed her residency in Internal Medicine at New York City’s #1 ranked hospital, New York Presbyterian-Cornell Medical Center. From there, Dr. Nazareth pursued further study and training in both Transplant Hepatology and Gastroenterology at world-renowned New York Presbyterian-Columbia University Medical Center.