We had the good fortune of connecting with Bela Patel and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Bela, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
I think my background as a clinical pharmacist and my passion for wellness is something very different than what is out there. When working with a client, I bring elements of western medicine, Ayurveda and nutrition so finding a job where I would fit in wasn’t the best option and so I knew that becoming an entrepreneur was what I needed to do. I also love the independence of making my own schedule, having the autonomy to create content that I value and most importantly providing a unique niche in Health coaching. Working on my own has been challenging at times but when I see the impact I can make on a client’s well-being, the rewards are unmatched.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I’ve always had a fascination regarding the way drugs work in our body to create specific pharmacological effects. In my case, specifically, it was the effect of my inhalers working to bronchodialate my lungs and provide relief for my asthma attacks. This interest and curiosity led me to a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from UC San Diego and then a Doctorate of Pharmacy from USC.

As a Consultant Pharmacist practicing in nursing homes for the last 17 years, I reviewed patients’ charts and made recommendations regarding their drug therapy in an effort to try to reduce the number of medications, minimize drug interactions and improve their overall health. What I found through the years is that many of the residents were getting younger, and their cases significantly more complex, thereby requiring even more harsh and powerful drugs. Much of the time, it was very clear that a better lifestyle and nutritional choices could have resulted in a different outcome.

While practicing, I discovered that although the medications would treat the symptoms, we unfortunately often fail to understand and treat the root cause of the condition itself. Similarly, several years ago, I realized my anxiety and certain food triggers often would cause insomnia and allergic reactions, including asthma attacks. I was taking three different inhalers and now facing the prospect of taking a sedative for the anxiety. Instead, I opted to change my diet and started practicing yoga and meditation—and the results were astounding. Perhaps the most profound realization is understanding that what we put into and onto our bodies has a tremendous impact in disease prevention, treatment, and overall well being. Making a decision to eat real, non-chemicalized foods and living a lifestyle in balance can allow our body to access its own internal pharmacy and help with healing itself.

My passion for helping people heal naturally, through food and alternative therapies, drove me to become a Certified Holistic Health Coach from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. Today with WholisticPharmacist, I am able to combine my medical background with this training to help clients implement a personalized plan and lead happier and healthier lives. The greatest joy I experience is hearing from clients 6-12 months later who have lost weight, reduced their medications, and feel amazing. Seeing my clients reach their goals is incredibly rewarding and is the reason why I continue on this path as a pharmacist health coach.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I absolutely love Southern California and feel blessed on a daily basis that I can call this place home.

Day 1: Hiking in Topanga State Park followed by dinner at Mizlala in Sherman oaks

Day 2: Brunch at The Penthouse in the Huntley Hotel and a day at Santa Monica Pier

Day 3: Head over to Little India on Pioneer Blvd in Artesia to check out the shops and eat at Rasraj

Day 4: Take a yoga class at Yoga Sol studio in Yorba Linda followed by an infrared session at Purify Sauna Lounge

Day 5: Lunch at 180BLU in Dana point followed by a walk at Crystal Cove park

Day 6: Day in La Jolla – checking out La Jolla caves and hanging with the seals

Day 7: Looking for homes because you will never want to leave!

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
It takes a lot of courage to leave what you have been doing for 20 years and focus on something new. My family has been incredible in supporting me throughout this journey. They are my biggest cheerleaders and keep me going. My daughters both help with social media design and content and my husband’s unwavered belief in my knowledge and abilities keep me thriving.

Website: wholisiticpharmacist.com

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