Dr Preeya Alexander or more commonly known as the ‘Wholesome Doctor’ has been changing our perspectives on science-based medicine, one Instagram post at a time. Known for her simple break down, easy to digest posts it is for certain that any medical question that may arise – she is your girl to answer. And, ladies let it be known, there is no question too much for her. So much so, she is regularly featured on Mamamia and the Grace Tales, debunking all those beautiful female related issues we so luckily inherit.
As a woman of colour, Preeya openly talks about the Bold Moves and sacrifices she has made in order to celebrate her successes, and these did not come without hard work. Raised by her single mother who is a Queens Council, Alexander aspired to be a hard working, vivacious and caring woman, just as her mother portrayed.
Upon reflecting with Preeya about her journey, she opens up about the doubt cast over her from within the medical profession when she decided to pursue general practice instead of Physician training. But, with a lack of practical based medical knowledge available to the new world of social media, Alexander made it her mission to promote a complete, holistic, wholesome, and science-based approach to educate her now avid followers. And, we can say with full confidence, that the Wholesome Doctor has done just that.
“It all began when, one day, I literally saw someone write that increased avocado consumption could cure cancer, and it was at that moment, that I wanted to put myself out there as the ‘wholesome doctor’ to combat health misinformation and get some solid evidence based medicine out there in a fun and engaging manner. The words ‘wholesome’ and ‘doctor’ aren’t often used together and what people don’t realise is that medicine, with all the science, can be wholistic; we can talk about exercise, diet and meditation but also prescribe antibiotics and anti-depressants when they’re required.”
Here, we talk with Preeya about her journey as a mother and authority in women’s health along with her key pieces of advice for women wanting to lead a bold life.
I keep it real and authentic; I share my journey as a colored women, a mother, a young wife and have no hesitation when it comes to opening up about real life struggles – This is me, and I continue to work and push forward, and let me tell you, its not always easy. Social media has made it harder for women in so many ways, it presents ideas to women that you can have it all, see it all, be it all, do it all; literally nail every aspect of your life but the problem is the bar to achieve never stops moving. So, I share my daily struggles and setbacks whilst trying to ‘do it all’ and women relate to that, we all need to admit that its hard and that its okay to fall off the bandwagon.
Putting yourself out there as an ‘expert’ can come with its challenges – For me, I never had an issue with putting myself out to patients as a health expert. But, putting yourself out there to the world of online and media leaves you up to subjection by many people. I was initially worried about losing credibility with my patients and colleagues, I feared being labelled “just a TV doctor.” I had worked so hard to attain my qualifications; I had also gained a medal on the way for topping the general practice exams in Victoria and I was nervous about undermining all that by going into the media and social media world. It’s taken time and staying very true to myself, my gut, the medicine and science to navigate a way around it all; I remain a credible GP, I’m involved in medical education and training GPs, I also get to do other amazing things with my platform as well.
There are moments where I felt my voice wasn’t being heard – But, I want my voice to be louder as a woman of colour; ethnic minorities are not adequately represented on our TV screens, or magazine covers, and this is something I am very conscious of. Recently, I heard a colleague say that every women standing next to a male Doctor has had to work twice as hard to get to where they are, and I simply responded that a women of colour standing there would have worked four times harder. I think if we are honest with ourselves, Australia is still very much lacking when it comes to true cultural diversity. When you look at panels in mainstream media you tend to see the same looking people and I quite often look around and ask where are the Indian/ Asian/ Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women who are all qualified to sit on these panels? I’m passionate about instigating change because I want my kids to grow up knowing I didn’t just accept the issue, I tried to do something about it (and hopefully succeeded!).
More than ever, I wonder if I have bitten off more than I can chew – But, thanks to a diverse and supportive tribe of women and family around me everything seems possible. I thrive on pressure and faced paced activity, and it took me a long time to realise that if I could delegate or ask for help it didn’t mean that I wasn’t succeeding at the juggle. One also mustn’t forget the importance of selfcare, whether that’s 10 minutes of me time, cutting out mid-week alcohol or hitting the pillow at 9pm!
To look back and be celebrated as a woman who lived boldly would be an honour – To me, living boldly means living a life of courage, intelligence, fierceness, empathy, compassion, and care. Its succeeding as both a mother and career women whilst also maintaining my warmth and kindness.
“It is a wonderful tool to be ambitious and to thrive – we can be mothers, and career woman and still hold on to our femininity.”
To live authentically – Stay true to yourself and when things don’t feel or sit quite right say no, trust your gut and lead your life with conviction.