About Our Featured Foodie:
Dr. Tara’s passion is to inspire and empower others to experience the joy and richness of life. She embraces a holistic definition of health and wellness with a focus on lifestyle. Time and again, she has seen the dramatic impact nutritious food, physical activity, quality sleep, and positive social connections can have on overall well-being.
Dr. Tara’s Sunshine blog is the culmination of her unique and diverse training, and life experiences. She brings to the endeavour a background of nearly two decades as a medical physician and psychotherapist, combined with years as a dedicated mother, avid traveller, fitness fanatic, music-lover, and aspiring chef. Dr. Tara understands the fundamental need we have as people to establish our own supportive community networks. Together with our “chosen tribe”, we can bravely navigate the challenges of “getting healthy”, and build strong, happy families and communities.
Raised in a small town in Southwestern Ontario, Dr. Tara attended Queen’s University where she completed concurrent undergraduate BA (Psychology) and BScH (Life Sciences) degrees and received a number of honours and awards.
After graduating from Queen’s, Dr. Tara attended the University of Toronto Medical School. As a medical student, she was elected into the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society and awarded the Gladwin Ridings Memorial Scholarship for high academic standing, practicality, modesty, sensitivity, and reverence for human life. She graduated at the top of her Class of 2000 as the Gold Medalist.
Dr. Tara began her residency training in internal medicine. She later switched into family practice to nurture her growing interest in preventative medicine and the mind-body-gut connection. In more recent years, she has focused on individual psychotherapy and wellness coaching. One of her main interests is the impact of lifestyle on cognitive and mental health, and she uses social media to share her love of healthy cooking and living to inspire others.
On a more personal note, Dr. Tara has shared the following thoughts relating to brain health.
In both my personal and professional life, I have been witness to the devastating effects of cognitive decline and dementia.
Over a decade, I watched my maternal grandmother deteriorate from a strong, independent and proud woman to a scared, confused and frail person, unable to care for herself. I experienced first-hand the toll this took on my family, both physically and emotionally.
In my practice, I have counselled and empathized with families mourning the loss of their loved ones, and patients mourning the loss of their freedom and independence.
Perhaps more importantly, I have also witnessed how being proactive and living a healthy, active lifestyle can strengthen a person’s body, mind, and spirit.
In my own life, I take daily measures to achieve this goal and to try to inspire others to do the same . For me, this involves getting regular physical activity and adequate sleep, practicing mindfulness, challenging myself to learn new things, and eating a diet rich in whole, minimally-processed, predominantly plant-based foods.