Updated: Mar 9
I started out as a Software Engineer - and EVERYTHING about me was “by the book” -from my programming to my health - I was a “don’t draw outside the lines” kind of person, and that’s how I lived, and all was ok. Until suddenly, it wasn’t…
There are moments and events in our life that are defining moments - some are joyous, others, devastating. Unfortunately my defining moment came from a family tragedy that was caused by medical negligence. This sent me on a spiral of trauma, that even 20 years later, I still feel the pain from.
But out of great tragedy, if we choose, can come great shifts and learning. I decided to learn everything I could about the human body and how we can take charge of our health and our wellness. I went from sticking to Western medicine and absolute science to opening my mind to alternatives. And it has been quite a journey...
As an Engineer - I needed actual, factual answers. I needed scientific, empirical proof that what I was learning was real. I searched up, down, sideways, back and forth for answers. All the while I was still working in a very technical, very high stress Hi-Tech setting.
It was a crazy dissonance, because there was the technological Ricky, who was climbing the corporate ladder and being promoted in executive roles, and there was other Ricky, learning that the high stress situations I was in were actually working against me and my health.
The more I learned, and the more my career accelerated, the more I was splitting into 2 beings - the being that was striving for balance, and the being that was pushing myself over the edge with a total lack of balance.
I realized that I could no longer live with 2 such split identities, and I had to make a choice - for myself, my family and my life. I took a bold shift and decided that I was going to study Functional Medicine (yes, this is an accepted, accredited field, in case any scientific, technical people like me are reading this) and I was going to slowly phase out of my high pressure hi-tech career. The thing was, it was so hard to disconnect myself from this world that I loved - I loved the innovation, the ideation into business, the spark of creating tech for good - but I knew I had to have a different approach to it - or it would eat me alive.
So I built my own path. I decided that the 2 VERY different fields can live together harmoniously - it doesn’t seem so at first, but at the core, tech and health have a lot in common. It’s about finding new solutions to ancient problems and utilizing knowledge, innovation and forward thinking to make an impact on society. Once I realized that the 2 could dance a beautiful tango together - suddenly everything fell into place.
Since I come from the high stress hi-tech environment, I get it. I get how easy it is to be swept up into the madness, forgetting to eat right, to sleep well, to take care of yourself, because your eye is constantly on the next iteration, the next deadline, the next product. I could finally for the first time, look from the outside on the madness that had been my life for 3 decades, and see where I had gone wrong - and help people spot those points at the right moment - and make the subtle but significant changes in their lives that suddenly brings equilibrium, balance and a much better professional and personal way of living.
I know that techies are also skeptics - believe me, I was there and in many ways, still am. Often, when people turn to me for help, they are afraid - afraid of having to give up the joys of life, like food and beverages, or work fewer hours and lose their job. I get it. And the beauty is that EACH person has their own path, their own little adjustments that are as unique as they are, that slowly, yet surely can be incorporated - nothing drastic - but even the small adjustments make a BIG impact.
One thing that I want to make VERY clear - I am a huge supporter and fan of Western Medicine. I’m not saying throw away your medicine cabinet and cancel your insurance - medicine saves lives. Without a moment's hesitation I can tell when we need to involve a doctor and I will happily work in conjunction with your Practitioners to bring the best of all worlds together. This is not voodoo and witchcraft - these are fields that are deeply researched and written about, and I’m very happy to provide deeper reading materials if you, like me, are a skeptic. Bring it on - I invite the queries!
As a Certified Functional Health Practitioner, I am like Magellan in many ways - I set out on a journey of exploration with each of my clients, plotting the path, seeing the pitfalls that lie ahead, talking about desired destination and what they can’t give up - no matter what. It’s a unique, fun process of discovery, and usually, my clients are stunned at how easy it is to take one small step at a time and how good they feel.
Here’s how it Works:
Functional Lab - The journey starts with a clear reading of the map. It’s important to incorporate traditional western medicine that works WITH your practitioner - and see the actual lab tests and where we stand right now. This can show the correlation between any symptoms or complaints and the ACTUAL state of the body.
Analysis and Correlation - Based on the lab tests and the intake interviews, I’m able to see the root cause and the goals and set a path for the journey
The D.R.E.S.S. Code - Not what you wear on the outside - rather what you wear on the inside. Diet, Rest, Exercise, Stress and Supplements are the keys to the D.R.E.S.S. code. I craft a personalized 90 day plan looking at all 5 of these parameters, with a weekly implementation plan that helps them slowly move to balance in all 5 arenas.
Monitoring and Adjusting - And as the weeks fly by, we monitor improvements, both in the feeling and in the actual measurement of sleep, weight, general condition, focus levels, stress management and productivity. We measure each week to see improvements and adjust the areas that aren’t working as well. Each piece has its own time frame, but we want to make sure it’s working for the individual.
ReAssessment - After 90 days, the client takes another round of functional lab tests to measure the internal processes as well, giving us a crystal clear indication over what’s working and what still needs work.
Balance for Life - After we get the results, we can assess what more we need to do, and create a sustainable plan of action, that is easy to maintain for life, still taking into consideration events, vacations, dinners out - we want to live our best lives, but also keep the balance so that our life is long and healthy.
The Dual Life of Ricky
Since embarking on this journey, it’s been such a relief to see that all parts of who I am can play together. I still am that engineer, that innovator, that consultant for early stage startups as they move from ideation, to MVP, to product. And at the same time, my depth of understanding their pressure to ship has taken on a new dimension, and it has created another layer of consulting - the health of a company and the health of its management and employees are tied together intrinsically. It’s no wonder that companies like Google, Apple, Facebook and others have instilled wellness, meditation and retreats as part of their employee benefits. This is not a perk or a nice to have, Managers understand (and even more since COVID) that life is bigger than work, and if there’s not a good balance at home, their employees will be less productive, less effective and less present. While I do focus on the actual, tactical tasks at hand - I also check in with the teams to see where else we can improve processes, make it a great place to work, and ensure that all employees are seen, heard and honored. It’s the Yin and Yang of life.