Alona Pulde's health care knowledge spans the globe. With a Masters degree in Traditional Oriental Medicine from Emperor's College in Southern California and a Doctor of Medicine degree from Albany Medical College, her holistic approach combines the Eastern and Western practices of health and wellness.
She and her husband, Matt Lederman, MD, are co-authors of Keep It Simple, Keep It Whole: Your Guide to Optimum Health. She also became one of the initial colleagues of John McDougall MD, and her Lifestyle Change Program is featured in the film Forks Over Knives.
Alona's lifelong dream to heal others has led her to do some amazing work, but it was not always clear to her what avenue she should take to reach her goals. She felt the Western style of practicing medicine was incomplete--focusing on fixing problems instead of preventing them. Early in her education Alona's yearning to incorporate wellness into people's daily lives led her down the path of Chinese Medicine.
"In my college years I became disillusioned with medicine for not promoting health and preventive care. At the time I was volunteering for an AIDS shelter and happened to be working with an acupuncturist and learning about Chinese Medicine. I was amazed at how well I resonated with the Chinese Medical Philosophy - a much more comprehensive modality that focuses on mental, physical, and emotional well-being. While earning my master's degree in Chinese Medicine my greatest mentor encouraged me to get my MD as well. I chose family medicine hoping to open some kind of comprehensive medical center. I entered medical school disillusioned with medicine for not promoting health and preventive care, yet I was confident that I could help bridge that gap."
She was receiving an excellent education, but it was her father's passing that taught her the most about how she wanted to guide the health decisions of her future patients.
"My father's sudden death of a heart attack while I was in medical school was devastating. It made me look at life differently. Our family had grown up being attentive to our health using olive oil, eating fish and chicken, exercising, etc. But I was realizing there is so much more to it".
Her life took another dramatic turn when she met Dr. Matthew Lederman while he was working at a hospital in Los Angeles. They bonded through a shared passion for lifestyle medicine that changed their professional and personal lives forever.
"Meeting Matt, and then learning about T. Colin Campbell and John McDougall, about plant-based nutrition, opened up a whole new, and yet intuitively familiar, world for me. It was a relief to read about doctors working with patients to truly be well. It is now a most amazing thing to actually see patients walk in excited about what they are learning, about feeling good, about making progress. And not just easy patients either, but people with serious health issues. How can any doctor, after experiencing that, pursue any other kind of medicine?"
Matt and Alona started a medical practice and decided to call it Exsalus which is Latin for "complete health". Dr. Pulde's focus is on women's health, and she specializes in Western treatments as well as traditional Eastern treatments such as acupuncture .
Together at Exsalus she and Matt focus on teaching people to make "living right" a critical part of their health plan. One of the most important things they recommend is eating a delicious and satisfying plant based diet.
"We feel that healthy eating and satisfyingly delicious meals are not mutually exclusive," exclaims Dr. Pulde. "Keeping your taste buds satisfied and your stomach content is a key to obtaining and maintaining health. Teaching patients about healthy substitutes for their favorite foods AND how to prepare these dishes easily is essential to their success."
Linda Carney is happy to promote and encourage Matt and Alona's work helping others, and Drs. Lederman and Pulde as they work to support Lifestyle Management workers as the Global Medical Executives of Health and Wellness for Whole Foods Market since 2010.
"Guidance from others in the field of Lifestyle Medicine is important to the success of each LM practitioner." say Alona and Matt.
A mutual sense of respect and sharing is something they strive to attain with colleagues and clients alike.
"Developing a community of support is essential to success. Community is the glue that holds together the newfound clarity, confidence and convenience people have obtained. As such, we encourage them to attend our weekly meetings to come see old friends or make new ones, share successes as well as frustrations, learn new recipes and stay motivated."
The embedded video below features Alona Pulde, MD and her husband Matt Lederman, MD being interviewed by Julieanna Hever.