Dr. Lata Shridharan grew up in India, where a healthy lifestyle means a well-balanced body, soul and mind. But her subsequent years working in American hospitals showed her that many American citizens only focus on curing their current physical problems.
“In the West, we’re trained to think that health is an absence of symptoms,” she says. “Eastern philosophy has educated me to say that health is a state that allows one to use the full capabilities of their body, mind, and intellect.”
Six years ago, Dr. Shridharan decided to start a private medical practice where she could bring holistic healing to Plano. Natural Pediatrics began on Spring Creek Parkway, and now she regularly educates her young patients and their parents on how to work toward a lifestyle balance.
The holistic approach can feel daunting at first, but it’s mostly about establishing healthy habits. Dr. Shridharan believes that health is not a “one pill fits all” solution, but rather a series of changes that lead to a healthier person.
Her most common advice deals with simple nutritional changes, specifically suggesting that people eliminate all sugar and processed foods from their diet. One of her biggest rules is “if it comes from a plant, you eat it, but if it’s processed in a plant, you don’t.” She suggests reading labels in order to find out how processed the food really is. “If you can’t understand what those ingredients are… don’t buy it,” she says.
In addition to dietary changes, Dr. Shridharan emphasizes the need to exercise the body at least 30 minutes every day, and to keep the brain active by attending classes or doing mind puzzles like crosswords or sudoku.
Last, she says that while physical and mental health are important, “there has to be some kind of a spiritual focus, too.” This isn’t limited to practicing an organized religion. Socializing in book clubs and group activities or even just engaging in regular conversation with others can help maintain a healthy state of mind.