r. Samantha Pillay joins The Student Loan Podcast to share how you can save money by making your own food!
Have you ever been pressed for time and wondered how you could eat a healthy meal? If so, then Samantha has you covered with her No Recipe Cookbook.
Dr. Samantha Pillay is a urologist specializing in incontinence surgery. She is an advocate for public health, education, and financial security. She is a single mother, surgeon, entrepreneur, educator, public speaker, and director of a successful practice, Continence Matters, while managing her physical limitations from a medical condition from birth. Her skills to communicate in simple ‘how to cook’ language encourages newcomers to take the leap and develop an important life skill.
THIS EPISODE COVERS:
- How to save money by making your own food;
- The impact that small daily changes have on your long term physical and financial success;
- How Dr. Pillay overcame the stress that came with figuring out what to eat while maintaining a busy schedule;
- The negative health consequences that processed will have on your body long term; and
- much, much, more…
CONNECT WITH DR. SAMANTHA PILLAY
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Dr. Samantha Pillay (00:00): That's why I wrote that no recipe, cookbook. Yeah. To really focus on ways to save, um, money through food. Cause it's the little things every day that add up over time, it's just like you invest money, right. You know that if you invest money, the early start, that interest over time. Um, so it's those little bits of spending every day that make the difference.
The Student Loan Podcast Intro (00:25): Welcome to The Student Loan Podcast.
Shamil Rodriguez (00:28): Here, you'll find practical advice on tackling student loan debt, paying down your higher education expenses
Daphné Vanessa (00:34): And inspiring stories about paying off student loans.
The Student Loan Podcast Intro (00:38): We're your hosts.
Daphné Vanessa (00:39): Daphné Vanessa
Shamil Rodriguez (00:41): And Shamil Rodriguez,
Daphné Vanessa (00:44): Please rate, review and subscribe to the student loan podcast by visiting the student loan podcast on apple podcast or wherever you find your podcasts.
Shamil Rodriguez (00:54): This is not professional advice. And we speak from our own personal views and opinions.
Daphné Vanessa (01:00): The student loan podcast is brought to you by start new where you can serve your community and get rewarded with tuition and student loan payments to check out if start new is on your campus. Visit start new.com.
Daphné Vanessa (01:14): Welcome everyone to another episode of the student loan podcast. Today we have Dr. Samantha PA and she is here to tell us about how you can save money by maybe skipping out on dorm food. So with that, Dr. PA, please introduce yourself.
Dr. Samantha Pillay (01:35): Hi Daphné. It's great to be here. Um, I, uh, am a surgeon in south Australia, Adelaide, so I have, uh, spent a lot of time at, uh, university or college, uh, in the early days.
Daphné Vanessa (01:49): Amazing. And what was your college experience like? How, how is college in where you live compared to where a lot of our listeners are from which, you know, maybe the United States?
Dr. Samantha Pillay (02:01): Well, I haven't been to college in the United States, but, um, there are quite a lot of differences in the sense that, um, a lot of people that there's not as many cities and it's the colleges aren't as remote. So a lot of people are, uh, lot of people, more people would live at home. There isn't even the colleges available for as many people to live on campus. Um, and I don't, although we have fees, I don't think the fees are as high as they are there, but it still can be a really big burden for people when they finish to start out to spend years, you know, paying that off.
Daphné Vanessa (02:37): Right, right. Interesting. And how was your experience walk us through like all of your degrees. You're obviously well educated if you're a doctor
Dr. Samantha Pillay (02:49): Well I finished, um, school when I was 16, so I went straight into medical school, um, very
Daphné Vanessa (02:55): 16 years old.
Dr. Samantha Pillay (02:57): Yeah. I turned sort of, of 17 just as the year was starting. So I went off to all of the orientation, um, stuff, including a camp called med camp. I don't know if you have the same inauguration type thing. I went to med camp at the age of 16. Um, having grown up in an all-girl family from an all girl school, um, uh, was surrounded by, um, what you can imagine was the worst of the worst. Uh, that was a bit of a baptism by fire. Um, you know, a lot of heavy drinking and stuff, um, and went into medical school then, um, we it's a six year university degree here and then we do, what's called an internship that gives you your sort of license to practice. Um, and then I did, it's actually changed, but I did, what's called the sort of basic surgical training then got accepted into advanced, uh, training in urology, which is the specialty.
Dr. Samantha Pillay (03:59): I do surgery of the Ry tract, um, finished that did some further, uh, subspecialist training in the field of what we call female or functional urology. So I specialize in the surgical treatment of urinary incontinence. So, um, it was a long haul sort of, you know, all up sort of 14 years. Um, but the, after you fully qualify in your medical degree and you are doing your surgical training, you are working in hospitals under on a training program, which I think is very similar to what you have there. So you are you by then you're on a salary. Whereas obviously when you're in college and as a student, you, you there's no salary, but you, so you do, you do, it's like a working sort of apprenticeship surgical training. So, but long, long time. Um, but like life now, it's ongoing learning. I just studied just as hard as I did when I was at a, whether it was a doing my final year of exams for school, whether I was doing my final exams for med school, whether I was doing my final exams for surgery, I hate to say it in my fifties.
Dr. Samantha Pillay (05:06): I still study just as hard because of the world we live in. I own a business. So I'm an entrepreneur. I have a surgical practice where the doctors work that I own. So, um, I've had a lot to learn in that area and now I'm a self published author and speaker, so I'm just forever learning.
Daphné Vanessa (05:24):
Dr. Samantha Pillay (05:54): Are student visas, obviously we had, um, and they're back up and running. I believe obviously they all kind of got canceled, of course, something called COVID. Um, but, uh, with that, with the travel opened up, now there are student visas that allow people to come in, um, there that when people are sort of overseas, it can be, um, more expensive than if they are obviously Australian citizens cuz of government support. But even though it's more expensive, obviously the us dollar is strong here. Now I'm not an expert in this area, so I don't know, but it would be very easy to find out how, but I believe that he, that the fees may be, um, more affordable, um, you know, for people to even come out here, if you look at the us dollar. Um, but as I say, what those opportunities are, are they'd have to, you know, and would vary for university as well. And number of different things. Yeah.
Daphné Vanessa (06:56): Very cool. Just very interesting, a different approach. Um, I know that we've, we've had an episode on a while ago where a gentleman came on to speak about Canada being an alternative solution for people to go to school because even the non-Canadian tuition fees are substantially less than, um, you know, American tuition fees as an example. So, um, Australia, another option.
Dr. Samantha Pillay (07:44): You know, there's an article this, um, that's just, I, I read in the us that a 13 year old girl, um, an African American girl has just gone to medical school. Did you? I don't know if
Daphné Vanessa (07:56): I saw that I saw that online. Um,
Dr. Samantha Pillay (07:58):
Daphné Vanessa (08:00): It. I know. I mean, you say plenty because you did it, but I think it's still something that is, you know, worth celebrating. Like my, my father and mother were both, um, they call it in their country
Dr. Samantha Pillay (08:43): The funny thing is that that sort of leads to another whole tangent that I work on, which is self-belief. So I think self-belief is a really important foundation and it starts in small children at the age of three. And that is what sets you up for your goals, for your vision. That is what allows you to make your passion become real. That is what's behind that resilience and perseverance. And that self-belief is just absolutely fundamental. So I do a quite a bit to sort of promote, um, gender equity and try and build self-belief in young girls. And I know you've got a young daughter, so it is like right up where I'm passionate about in creating that self-belief. And so one of the things I tell, you know, people is to dream big aim high, and that's one of the things that I probably, you know, only came to realize later on, I could have dreamed bigger named higher, a lot younger, but I didn't have the role models, um, to do that.
Dr. Samantha Pillay (09:44): And I often say to people, whatever your dream is, double it and then double it again. Um, so that allows you to really push yourself. I was very academic because I actually had some physical limitations from birth. So I couldn't actually play sport or walk very far or, um, you know, just do a lot of things. Um, and so that meant that I was spend a lot of time studying. So, um, that as well as I suppose, you know, being bright enough meant that AC academics was my passion, what I loved. Um, and so that just led to me sort of being able to kind of get through things quickly. Um, and I mean, even through medical school, obviously I did the normal time, but it was unusual for people to get straight onto the surgical training program like I did. And I think that's just down to putting your head down and having an absolute passion and then working as hard as you can to make that come true.
Daphné Vanessa (10:44): Yeah. I love that. Amazing. And so being admitted so young, did you have any student loan debt
Dr. Samantha Pillay (10:53): So that the whole system, cuz obviously I finished a long time ago. Um, 1991 kind of my last year of um,
Daphné Vanessa (12:10): Yep. Amazing. Amazing. So how quickly did, do you remember how much your super yeah.
Dr. Samantha Pillay (12:16): That's I know stretch. I reckon that I paid it off within the couple of years.
Daphné Vanessa (12:21): Oh wow. So because it wasn't that much or because like in comparison it
Dr. Samantha Pillay (12:26): Wasn't that salary much. We also, when we start our in turn, well it's all the same principles. So I was living at home. I was living on the cheap, um, everything I did was about saving money. Um, I was like goal you
Daphné Vanessa (12:39): You're a doctor. Right.
Dr. Samantha Pillay (12:40): Even, yeah. My focus was to just pay this off a S you know, so I had a, you know, the worst car ever. Um, and I'm, and I'm still the same principles. It's still the same principles. I still drive. I drive a car, I'm a surgeon. I can probably the only person in the hold of my state. Who's a surgeon and drives a car with a cassette player.
Daphné Vanessa (13:00):
Dr. Samantha Pillay (13:01): So, you know, some of the surgeons have got handbags worth more money than my car. So
Daphné Vanessa (13:05):
Dr. Samantha Pillay (13:07): So, you know, it's the same principles in life. If you are a saver, if you're a lifelong saver and you look for ways to save. So, you know, and I'm still doing that. So it, I mean, I could have done a lot more when I was younger, but you know, youth got in its way, I've got actually more careful, probably with my money as I got older, that, and there can be income creep, but you know, if you look for ways to save money and that's why I wrote that no recipe cookbook to really focus on ways to save, uh, money through food. Cause it's the little things every day that add up over time, it's just like you invest money. Right. You know that if you invest money, the early start, that interest over time. Um, so it's those little bits of spending every day that make the difference.
Daphné Vanessa (13:55): Yeah. Let's get into the no recipe cookbook, right? Because we spoke about how you, you know, minimized your expenses, living with your parents, et cetera in school. And there's another little secret that you have, which is how students can save money by cooking. But you have a book called the no recipe cookbook. So I don't get it like, like let us know what's going on here.
Dr. Samantha Pillay (14:20): So it started up, well, there was a number of different factors. One is I had well, biggest stress in my life was what's for dinner. You know, I, I was a single mom. Um, I had a business, I was working in the business as a surgeon. Um, things were crazy. And I also had declining mobility, um, with my hips before I had a hip replacement, cuz I had congenital hip dysplasia. So I was having difficulty actually shopping, driving a car, walking the supermarket aisles, carrying a basket, unpacking, cooking, everything. So I worked out a way that I could shop once every two weeks. Mm-hmm
Dr. Samantha Pillay (15:06): And then I reduced my stress and save myself loads of time because I'd spend cook, you know, spend, look at all, these, have these cookbooks and I'd look at them. And by the time I'd worked out what I was gonna do around I'd list, I was over it. Um, you know, at the end of the day, I'm hangry and I've got decision fatigue, trying to choose from an app is an effort. So just by organized planning and shopping, once every two weeks, I save myself time and money. Now the thing was, I'm also passionate about health obviously, and it was
Dr. Samantha Pillay (15:58): And so there was huge health benefits from knowing what's in your food and being able to reduce those hidden sugars and salts. Yep. Um, that are in the food. And obviously it saved its slash more than a hard, my food spending and reduced my kitchen waste. You know, I was emptying bin a couple of times a week. And then suddenly at the end of a week, when we ETI the bin, it was like half, four. It was ridiculous. So I kind of thought, well, these sorts of benefits of saving money, being healthier, reducing my weight, reducing my waste, looking after saving myself time like that. I'm not the only person that struggles with this. Yeah. And I see patients who obviously struggle with these healthy lifestyle changes. And I thought, well, I, I wanna write. I mean, I'm not a chef, right? That's the whole point.
Dr. Samantha Pillay (16:48): I'm not a chef. I wanna write a book for people who don't cook. I've got, I know people who say I don't cook and they buy every meal out. Whether they buy it and eat it at home or whether they eat it out. But every meal they don't and they don't cook. Now, if you think about that, especially from a student perspective, what sort of money would you save over a lifetime? If you had a basic skill of how to cook a meal in 10, 15 minutes and often it's two or $3 a meal, you don't realize just how much you can save, um, by home cooking. So, and if you invested that over time, your ability to probably pay off your student loan just based on your cooking at home would be huge. Um, the, I think there was a, there's a, a website.
Dr. Samantha Pillay (17:38): I'm just trying to remember what it's called that has, um, uh, information on the us that I even looked up and they had, I think over $500 or something on, you know, on campus meals and over $300, you know, a month on people eating off, um, off campus compared to a $3 average meal, if it was sort of home cooked. So the savings are there. That's those little goes back to those little things every day, whether it's money or whether it's your health, um, that you are investing in, you kind of invest now you'll reap the rewards. Um, and if you don't invest now, you'll end up paying later cuz you'll be behind whether it's on your health healthy lifestyle, which is my other area that I sort of talk about and passionate about chronic disease prevention or whether it's your finances.
Daphné Vanessa (18:29): Very true. The habits are so aligned. And I think we've had another episode where we spoke about that as well. But habits of eating and exercise are so aligned to your financial health. I, I just see the two similarly and even for myself, when I've been in spaces where I'm not eating healthy and things, aren't going well, I'm also less disciplined with my finances. So I, I agree with you that they're incredibly correlated.
Dr. Samantha Pillay (18:57): Yes. So the, the, um, so the no recipe cookbook, there's no pictures, no recipes. It's actually, I grabbed it here. It's a little short novel that you can read. Oh wow. So cool. Um, it's sort of something people could read if they are on a bus or a train or something, um, you know, read in an evening and use a basic repertoire of meals. I've actually got four of the meals people can download for free from my website, samantha.com and they can just get started and, you know, practice. And what happens is that you can then go, I know how to make that dish with whatever meat, whatever VE or whatever meat substitute I want. I know how to prepare and chop it and add it to the pan away that reduces washing up, reduces cooking time and I can do it quicker and easier than ordering a delivery and the than what you would save in one day and what you could do if you invested that money over time, it's not just the money you saved in the day.
Dr. Samantha Pillay (20:05): It's what that means. Whether you're paying off a student don't alone or whatever you are doing with it, that's going to make a big difference. So in actual fact, obviously the younger you are, the, the greater the opportunity in, in those savings. Um, so that was the, how the no recipe cookbook came about. I wanted something for kitchen Forbes, people who didn't cook, um, to be able to, to save money. I think a lot of cooking shows and, and cookbooks that out there are for people who want to cook. Right. You know, it makes sense.
Daphné Vanessa (20:45): Before I was a parent. Um, but I was married. I, my, my job sent me to another city to live in, which was away from my husband. I was on assignment. And during that time, um, I was like, yes, I finally don't have to cook because no stronger here. I didn't know how to cook until, you know, I met him. I really never knew how to cook. Um, but during that time, I basically just ate arugula out of a bag because it was easier than cooking. And I just agree with you so much that all of these shows act like, you know, everybody wants to stand in the kitchen for hours and I appreciate the art of cooking. I really do. Like, I, I think it's super creative and, but I don't wanna do it every night or even
Dr. Samantha Pillay (21:33): We wanna eat. We don't wanna cook. We just
Daphné Vanessa (21:35): Wanna eat. Right. Exactly. Exactly. And just full disclosure when I was in college, I didn't know how to cook at all. And my, um, but the people thought I did because my college boyfriend who's now my husband, um, used to ask for certain foods and I would just ask like a family member, like my mom or my aunt to cook it
Dr. Samantha Pillay (22:00): I think it's cheating. You said
Daphné Vanessa (22:01): Cheating, totally cheating. I, I of course disclosed myself, you know, before we got married, don't worry.
Dr. Samantha Pillay (22:21): Is, so if you think about the cost of that, and I don't mean just the day to day saving, because you've cooked a meal at home, and as a result, you haven't spent as much money on food. But if you think of the ability to actually cook a meal at home faster, because we have this, we we've, somehow we think that convenience foods are convenient, but a lot of the time it means you've left the house. You're standing and line your way. Exactly. You're on, hold on the phone, you are looking through apps, you know, so when it sits there and you can grab it, which is what you were doing, although it was just, you know, um, a bag of food, you realize that that's still faster. So think of the opportunity cost and what you could do with that time, whether you're actually generating income or investing it in your skills that will one day generate income.
Dr. Samantha Pillay (23:11): So it's not just the dollar cost saving, but then it's the ability of what you've done with the time and the money that you've saved over your lifetime as well. Cause you've paid off your student loan faster and you've got your through your course or whatever it is, got your work done first, faster, done, more work. Right? But then if you think about it from a health point of view, which is chronic disease prevention, which is my other area of interest, you know, 80% of heart disease stroke, diabetes is preventable. 40% of cancer is preventable. So if you are so busy being consumed with your success, that you don't have time to look after your health. And you're just eating out all the time. You know, third of people in the us have, um, high blood pressure, you know, three quarters of the population are overweight or obese.
Dr. Samantha Pillay (23:55): What is then if you're thinking about dollars, how's that gonna impact on your ability to work when you are older? Right? Right. And then what's the economic impact of that. And that, that not only that, what's the gonna be the cost of. So you've got reduced productivity and that's cost. And then you've also got all the health costs, the bills, the medical bills of your medication, all your appointments. Right. Um, so that single meal, you know, if you think about it, that one meal that you eat out versus the $2, if you cooked it yourself, that cost of that is huge over your lifetime. When you think about your time, your health and your money.
Daphné Vanessa (24:37): Oh my goodness. It's so real. What if, what if you're a person who is not health conscious, you know, it's the right thing to do, but you just feel like you're lazy and it feels easier. It's not easier. Right. But it feels easier to go to whatever, fast food place and order whatever, you know, fast food that you can't even call it garbage they serve. It's
Dr. Samantha Pillay (25:05): Funny, you ask that because there's something you don't know about me. And that is that I actually do public speaking. And one of the things that, the main thing I speak on is exactly that. So there's so much information out there, but the problem is, people just don't do it. Right. We, you know, or even, and, and either they might not know or that even if they know they still don't do it, it's just too hard. We're too busy. Right. And so I talk on this one body, one life, you know, invest now or pay later and showing examples. What helps people is one, what I've just talked about thinking, oh wow. You know, I'm gonna get, you know, it's could be the difference, the difference in your wealth over your lifetime in looking after your health, but, and other health statistics, um, to understand what that impact is.
Dr. Samantha Pillay (25:54): Um, you know, like the average American has like 17 teaspoons of sugar a day. And, you know, knowing the, the risk of, um, you know, diabetes, a third have prediabetes and things like that. So knowing those statistics can help people go, you know, I can't ignore it. Right. But how I get people to become motivated is to help them build their health armor. One thing at a time. So what happens is often people do unhealthy things and it all starts to add up and it sort of snowballs and it's overwhelming. I go, it's all too hot because I've got too much salt. I, you know, I'm overweight and, and, and it's just too much, but in reverse, it's true. If you start to do something positive for your health, it also snowballs. They also helps each other. So start very small. So what you could do is, you know, you might drink an extra glass of water a day, or to start with something really small, where you know that you are making an effort to look after yourself.
Dr. Samantha Pillay (26:51): So one of the things I sort of teach people is just brush your teeth properly. Now I know that sounds ridiculous, but most people are already brushing their teeth right now. If you, every morning you walk into the bathroom, you pick up your toothbrush, you Flo, you floss your teeth, you brush your teeth for full two minutes and you, and while you'll do that, you think about the fact that you're doing something positive for your health. You think about what else you're gonna do positive for your health that day. And at the end of the day, you brush your teeth again and think about what you did, right. And what you did wrong. You've made very little change in your daily routine, but you've just shifted your mindset. Now that is the start. And once you get that habit in, you can then go, ah, what go for the low hanging fruit.
Dr. Samantha Pillay (27:32): Yeah. Right. But what will happen is the more you start to look after your health and you become that healthy person, you want to be the easier it will be to add in everything else. So son, you know, is a big thing. 50% of Americans get skin cancer. Uh, a lot of people get, you know, most of aging is sun related and more Americans get skin cancer from solariums than lung cancer from smoking. So, you know, wow. You can put on sunscreen. Yeah. And then, um, you, you know, you're putting on sunscreen, you know, you are starting to make an effort. There you are, you know, having health, you're drinking water instead of soda, or you start adding these little things in, then suddenly when you go to, you know, order a meal and it's, you know, do I go for, you know, greasy food in a bucket of chips or something healthier, if you, you are more likely to make that decision, cuz you've already started doing all these other little things in your life that make you think I'm a healthier person.
Daphné Vanessa (28:31): Oh my goodness. So you're saying using the small habits to be, to get into the big habits.
Dr. Samantha Pillay (28:37): Yeah. And to start building and building and building. So, you know, whereas if you sort of go, I'm gonna completely revolutionize my diet and whatever. Um, you know, and that's why that's with the no recipe, cookbook, the meals, aren't a health book. There is a lots of health books out there it's just to try and get people into the kitchen. So, you know, there's, there is sugar and salt, but you see it's nothing compared to what there is in meals bought outside. And then once you people's taste buds need time to adapt. You just get people in the kitchen, cooking food, knowing what's in it. And it, then it's okay to have some of, you know, those meals. You can gradually become more health conscious and go, well, you know, I might add salt to this, but I'm not these meals don't have salt and over a week, you know, that's fine. I'm still within the recommendations.
Daphné Vanessa (29:25): Wow. And what if people have like their go to going out food? Like, you know, you, if, you know, for people in the states, maybe it's the Shrew mommy from sweet green or, you know, from people in Europe, like wherever you are, there's maybe your fast food place that you have your order. Are you encouraging people to learn, to make that at home? Are you encouraging people to make something else?
Dr. Samantha Pillay (29:52): It depends on what's in that food. So the best thing is knowledge is power. Okay. So take salt. Cause often salt's something that people really aren't aware of. They look at it and they go, oh, I think I know how much, you know, fat there is. Or I think I know how much sugar there is. It's sweet or it's not sweet or they just might not realize, um, or even, or even with sugar, you know, people know, oh, there's 11 teaspoons in the can of soda, but did they know that the same amount in an iced tea or slice of carrot cake? So that just it's having the right knowledge. But it's similarly with salt, knowing what the D recommend daily recommendation of one teaspoon is. Um, but it's recommended
Daphné Vanessa (30:32): One teaspoon of salt per day.
Dr. Samantha Pillay (30:34): Yes. But if you are over the age of 50 or you are African American or you have diabetes, heart disease or kidney disease, it's two thirds of a teaspoon.
Daphné Vanessa (30:43): Oh my goodness. Oh, wow. Yeah.
Dr. Samantha Pillay (30:46): Yeah. So that's what I mean by knowledge is power. Yeah.
Daphné Vanessa (31:03): And, and do you think part of that is like, everybody's so focused on giving up sugar. Everybody's like, you know, the whole, or I think, you know, millennials and gen Z anyways, we're all like no to sugar saying no to sugar, but heavy. Yeah.
Dr. Samantha Pillay (31:19): And so CDCs, estimated there's more salt in a restaurant meal than fast food.
Daphné Vanessa (31:27): Oh wow.
Dr. Samantha Pillay (31:28): Cause there's no regulation and, and um, you know, so we're seeing, I mean, extraordinary rates of heart disease and high blood pressure. So what, yeah. So the knowledge then goes, okay, well, is that food? Some, it starts to lose its shine. If you think about it damaging you. So the world health organization has classified process meat as a class, one carcinogen. So, um, yeah, a serve of, of like two pieces of bacon a day increases your risk of bowel cancer. So, um, you know, suddenly if you start thinking about what you're actually eating and you've got some knowledge, you might either have it less often or change that favorite fast food.
Daphné Vanessa (32:15): Right, right. I'm vegan. So that's not my case, but for the non vegans out there told you, I'm just kidding.
Dr. Samantha Pillay (32:33): Meat
Daphné Vanessa (32:34): Leaving the Western nations and going to a country where animals just run around and, and they pick it up, they kill it and they eat it. No, no salt to preserve it because they're eating it right then and there, you know?
Dr. Samantha Pillay (32:46): Yeah. So there's a number of different sort of, um, websites that you can go to. There is some, uh, I'm just trying to remember, is it a, it's not a group one. It was like red, meat's not a group, one cast synogen there has been some links, I think, you know, to high levels in the diet, but it's not something that people are told that they should avoid like process meat as such it's the processing process that, that, that makes it a group, one cast synogen right. So there's, you know, there's a lot of stuff. I mean, one of the things that I've written about, so I write some health related articles on my website. People are interested. One of the articles I wrote was about alcohol. So as I've got older, I drink less than I did at, at college. No surprise. Yeah. Um, and
Daphné Vanessa (33:33): College, we all drink enough for our lifetime, so we're good.
Dr. Samantha Pillay (33:37): Yeah. So basically, because I was in this, I was starting to get more data. The more data I got, the healthier I got, you know, so it's worked for me. It can work for you, you know, knowledge is power and researching into the list, risks of cancer from alcohol, like two or three glasses of wine a week increases woman's risk of breast cancer by 18%. You know, so understanding the risks associated with alcohol with cancer was a real eyeopener for me that there's no sort of safe level as well as the other health related risk. So if anyone wants to read my article, I wrote that article, you know, I haven't had a drink since
Daphné Vanessa (34:15):
Dr. Samantha Pillay (34:56): Yeah. So that's the IMED sort of in my fifties. So, you know, for me, I was difficulty sleeping. I've always had difficulty sleeping, really stressed, busy with work. And you know, when you sort of, so what I did was I wrote an article about the risks of low level alcohol. So the idea that it affects your productivity, because you know, you come home at night, you have dinner, have a glass of wine, um, and you know, relax. But the idea that, that it, um, causes anxiety. So we use it, um, you know, so the anxiety, um, affects quality of sleep. So what happens is, you know, it gives short term relief from anxiety, but the, the, the withdrawal effect is anxiety. So that just, uh, creates a more and more dependency while you don't actually deal with whatever's making you anxious. You just escape it. And when you come back, it's still there and you don't develop other life skills that are more he at ways of dealing with stress. And so you become,
Daphné Vanessa (35:54): What are some healthier ways of dealing with stress?
Dr. Samantha Pillay (35:56): Well, it, your mental health, looking after your mental health, looking after your diet, looking after your physical health, looking after your sleep, um, mindfulness, meditation, relaxation, yoga, you know, talking about emotions, learning how to solve the problem, rather than just escaping it, um, taking it head on, you know, and, and looking at it. So they're just build up, you just keep escaping them as you get older, you just get more and more problems. So the, the ability to, um, uh, but for me, see, my biggest asset is my brain. And, you know, obviously as I get older, I'm that second half of life, unlike a lot of the college students, but you will get there one day and you wanna look after it, whether it be your brain or your skin, or, um, you know, you wanna think about investing in it for the long haul and, um, mine. So really I wanted to keep my mental acuity. I love learning. So I wanted to keep my processing power and to be able to stay sharp, stay faster, you know, and stay younger. And I think that, that I am like that. I mean, I, I wrote, I've written seven books in two years. Oh my. Because I don't have a drink at night, you know, there's a lot I can do in the evenings.
Daphné Vanessa (37:09): Wow. But seven books in two years. I mean, even for somebody sober is still impressive, like it, because you're still a doctor, I think like, that's why it's impressive.
Dr. Samantha Pillay (37:22): That's
Daphné Vanessa (37:22): Own, you know, like a practice with doctors working for you and you had time to write seven books.
Dr. Samantha Pillay (37:27): Yes. So their children's picture books, which are, um, first is when I'm a Sur. The first was when I'm a surgeon. So the word counselor, the second one, I'm an entrepreneur. And the third one, um, that's just out on Amazon when I'm an astronaut and then there's activity coloring in, uh, books to inspire sort of the next generation of female leaders. So they've all got a female, uh, protagonist. And, um, she, she hopefully will inspire the next generation like your daughter. Um, so, and the, and the cookbook. Um, yes. So that is my evening. Um, creativity and relaxation, the real, the day work is either seeing patients operating or running a business.
Daphné Vanessa (38:10):
Dr. Samantha Pillay (38:15): That is one. So one of the things is, you know, I'm not perfect with my health and that's my biggest next health goal. So I've really, um, I had a hip replacement five years ago, so I've had a lot of physical work I've had to do from this congenital hip display, which is this condition with my hips, you know, that it just wasn't picked up when I was, was born. So I failed to walk. I mean, I started school in a wheelchair, so it's been a really lifelong battle. Um,
Daphné Vanessa (38:40): So you've had this since you were a child.
Dr. Samantha Pillay (38:43): Yes. I was born with this condition. Wow. And so I've do been doing a lot of my physical space and then, you know, my diet, I mean, I have always struggled to keep my weight down cause I couldn't exercise. Right. Um, and I always had a normal BMI, you know, which was a big effort. Um, and I had a bit of an aha moment when I found out that your waste measurement is more important than your BMI and even with the normal BMI. Um, if your waste measurement is over 31.5 inches, you have an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, and death. Um, so I, I had to sort of lose it a few pounds. Um, and then I've been, as I said, I've got healthier. I've started working in the health space. So what I'm doing is coming up with all my excuses. No, my, my I'm still working on my sleep.
Dr. Samantha Pillay (39:31): That's my biggest goal. Um, and that's because I do too much. I'm probably stressed, um, menopausal a few other things, um, to try and get my, improve my sleep, but I am improving. I'm trying to slow down. I'm trying to learn to relax. I'm trying to learn to meditate and become more mindfulness. I was very much a full on young person, you know, two to four hours sleep for most of my twenties, thirties and forties. Um, I'm now more five to six, sometimes seven hours sleep. My aim is to get seven and a half, but like things, it's the little things I'm slowly, slowly doing all the things all the time, trying to improve that problem. Um, and get myself in that part of my health better it's decades. It's decades of hard work to get me to be the person that I wanna be.
Daphné Vanessa (40:23): Wow. And so you're saying you slept two to three hours in your twenties, thirties and forties.
Dr. Samantha Pillay (40:31): That's
Daphné Vanessa (40:31): Terrible. Do you ever burn out like or
Dr. Samantha Pillay (40:34): That's right. Everyone goes, you can't keep doing this, but I I'm living proof. You can. And wow. So it, like, I did get up at 4:00 AM this morning, which is pretty usual. Um, but I go to bed earlier now.
Daphné Vanessa (40:47): Same, but you never burnt out. I think that's, what's the shocking part to me is that people keep that rhythm for a long time, but you hear a lot of people that also quit their, whatever they're doing. That's making them wake up that the, you know,
Dr. Samantha Pillay (41:04): Yeah. I think I, I suppose there's other things, you know, that I look after, you know, I've been diligent on my finances, so I haven't, you know, um, I've had things I've had to D deal with. Um, but you know, I've managed to keep things over the line. Um, uh, I've looked after my health. Yeah. I've had problems I had to deal with. I mean, before I had my hip replacement, it got so bad that I couldn't even stand and wash my hair or, you know, it was, I'd be in tears just trying to get dressed. Um, so I've had things, but I've just, I know what you say because you're not the first person I used to. People used to always say to me, oh my God, you're gonna burn out. You know? And you know, I used to worry about the fact that I was gonna burn out. Cause everyone used to tell me that.
Daphné Vanessa (41:41): Yeah. But it never
Dr. Samantha Pillay (41:42): Happened to you. Yeah. And then I got, I'm gonna stop worrying about it because I've been doing it for decades now. Like, and I'm not burning out, so, you know, why do I stop worry? Well, I'm gonna stop. Think things got better when I stopped worrying about the fact that I wasn't sleeping.
Daphné Vanessa (41:55):
Dr. Samantha Pillay (42:16): But I'm still working. As I said, I'm still working, try and get more sleep. I think there was lots of things. I mean, first there was multiple things. Like I had almost 18 months in a hospital when I was a child, I had chronic pain from birth, had lots of surgery. And you know, I was very institutionalized cuz you were kept in hospital in those days and I'd say you woken up, you know, every half an hour, you know, cuz it was a big open ward, all the kids in the one room and you know, black and white TV in the corner and the old mate and you know, it was great. Oh my goodness. I was born in the sixties. Yeah. Um, so the, your
Daphné Vanessa (42:45): Parents get to visit you in the hospital back then.
Dr. Samantha Pillay (42:48): Yeah. Yeah. My parents, um, got to visit, but you know, my dad worked long hours, so my mum would come in my siblings and stuff like that, but it was a very institutionalized upbringing and very disruptive for sleep. And then right. You know, there were lots of things over the years, you know, there's obviously I've had a chosen a sort of stressful and demanding career. I've done careers while I'm on call. You know, I did surgical, which just trial on call at major trauma hospital, you know, you don't even get to bed I've. Um, and then sort of before my hip replacement, I had a, you know, very significant problems for sort of 10 years where I couldn't never sleep for more than two hours cause of pain and, and you know, continuously anyway. So there's so many things have added up to me being, this is real sort of, you know, my problems.
Dr. Samantha Pillay (43:34): I don't wanna be venting that problem, but that, but my sleep issues. But it it's a good example of the way that I'm recognized through, through this health work, how important sleep is and how much it's a risk factor and how much and how hard it's been for me to, to do that work and the amount of work that I've gone to go from two to four hours to sort of five to six, sometimes seven hours. Um, and it, and it's taken years and you know, I, it, it it's really getting close. You know, I'm putting so many little things in place to reduce my workload and look after myself and, you know, um, try, you know, trying to slow down. Yeah. Trying to slow down. Cause I realize that if I slow down during the day, I'm more like to have a better sleep at night.
Daphné Vanessa (44:19): True. Wow. I know that it's kind of like veering off, but I'm, I'm so curious how you've been able to be so successful with, you know, technically what some might call a disability, right? Like you've really taken your life. Like no one would ever know that you had any sort of health challenge.
Dr. Samantha Pillay (44:43): Yeah. I think I always looked about what I was. I always had set goals. That was the way I sort of stopped living in the here and now and focusing on what I was doing and always drove towards those goals and never stopped to really think about what I couldn't do, cuz that would've been very depressing. So I never thought about what I couldn't do. I always thought about what I could do love it. And that's, I think part of why that has inspired me to do those children's picture books to try and inspire people because I've realized that, you know, I've been able to achieve things that most people wouldn't have thought possible. You know? So when I did medicine, everyone said, that's great. But as long as you don't do surgery, because you've gotta stand. So that's the only thing you can't do.
Dr. Samantha Pillay (45:22): So what did I do surgery? Yeah. Um, which is probably a little bit, you know, about. And I had a, you know, even more sort of, um, I don't know, whatever attitude, uh, then, um, and, but I chose a surgical specialty where a lot of the operations were short and I could do most of my surgeries sitting down. So I had to work within my limitations. Um, but also set those goals and it wasn't easy, you know, I could have had a lot of life if I chosen something else. But the only person that would've missed out then was me.
Daphné Vanessa (45:57): Mm deep.
Dr. Samantha Pillay (46:00): Very so, you know, I, I had a vision, I had a passion, I had a goal what I wanted to do. It's like, um, I don't know. It's like never traveling cuz you're afraid you might lose your luggage.
Daphné Vanessa (46:14):
Dr. Samantha Pillay (46:17): You'll you you'll never know what it's like then will you?
Daphné Vanessa (46:20): Yeah. And you'll miss out on a lot cuz the world is beautiful. Amazing. Oh my goodness. You are so cool. Like I I've learned so I'm so impressed. I really didn't. I, I knew some of your backstory, but definitely not this much. And I'm really honored that you came here to speak with us just and inspire us because how did you do all that? And you're, you're, you're not even done with half of your life yet. You're killing it. Like
Dr. Samantha Pillay (46:52): Hopefully, hopefully not. But I think, you know, the biggest thing is having a purpose. So yeah. You have a purpose and you have a passion and everything else falls into place, you know? Um, I think people, a lot of people think, oh, you know, I mean I do some business mentoring and um, you know, teaching in that area and if you sort of think, oh, what can I, how can I come up with a business? That's gonna make money. Yeah. Then, um, you, you're gonna find it a very exhausting process. If you have a passion and go, I'm passionate about this, I can solve this problem. I'm gonna go out and do it. Then you've got your sweat equity, turning it into a business is just secondary
Daphné Vanessa (47:33): Truth.
Dr. Samantha Pillay (47:33): That's the problem. You, you work out the passion and now you now your job is to make that into a profitable, efficient business that creates a revenue that's sustainable so that you can continue to follow your passion and serve others.
Daphné Vanessa (47:46): Right. Amazing, amazing. Well, we've covered so much and
Dr. Samantha Pillay (48:14): The, think about what you can do in a day and then appreciate what that is over time. Right? So, but in the reverse, you it's, you know, it's is this day one or one day? Yeah. Every unhealthy meal you have takes you one step closer to that. Now it's too late moment. Right? So I see so many people do who come in to see the doctor and you know, they get the bad results from their doctor. Why, wait, why wait for that? Um, and what happens is so many people it's, then they have the heart attack, they get the cancer. And suddenly, you know, most people often know stories. Suddenly someone they know just an ordinary person does something absolutely remarkable. You know, they change their whole world, their whole life. Yep. They do. They do what was impossible. And what did they do it with the skills they had all along. They're still the same,
Daphné Vanessa (49:20): Same person. You know,
Dr. Samantha Pillay (49:22): They're still the same person. So whatever the resources were that, that they've done now to transform their life around, they had all along. It's only that that's triggered them to be able to do it. So if you've got those resources at which you all have, which is what motivates me to help people, because I see ordinary people do extraordinary things. I believe in people. I want people to believe in themselves as much as I believe in them, cuz I know they can do it and they can do it now. They, why wait until they get the bad news from the doctor.
Daphné Vanessa (49:51): Wow. Amazing. Dr. Samantha Pele. That was so inspiring guys for more, more, more, more on this episode and more, please visit the student loan podcast.com for slash episode 73. That's the student loan podcast.com/episode 73. See soon.
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