Improve Your Health: Aim for the STAR (Strides to Achieve Results)

In order to best improve your health, just remember the mantra, “Base hits win the game.” Your best results will come through how you live day-to-day over time — not through isolated events.

Many people find themselves in a similar situation when they are newly diagnosed with an autoimmune disease. You get a diagnosis. Panic sets in. You realize that you need to make changes in your life — and fast. It may not have come as a complete shock to you because you may have always been hedging your bets, but now that gamble is catching up with you. The problem is you enjoy the bad habits you have created and aren’t prepared to give them all up.

Your story is not unique. In fact, I hear the grumblings all the time. People know a lot of the things they are doing are not working toward achieving good health. The sense of urgency upon a diagnosis drives them to make necessary changes in their life. And often they are aware that there are a lot more changes they need to make before it is all over.

Don’t beat yourself up and feel defeated. Remember: Base Hits win the ball game. To keep yourself motivated and always moving forward, it is sometimes necessary to take a moment and stop to acknowledge the steps you have already taken and recognize the achievements you are making in taking Strides To Achieve Results (STAR). Consider the following questions to evaluate your STARs:

Before your diagnosis, what were you actively doing to improve your health?

When you found out about your diagnosis, what did you do to learn about your symptoms?

Did you take any steps to improve your health?

Every action begins with a thought. Thought sets a new trajectory toward how you act. In fact, reading this now shows movement in the right direction. Remember, educating yourself is an important stride. That’s great! There’s another STAR.

Simple Changes Can Help Improve Health and Achieve Long-lasting Results

1. When modifying your diet, it is often easier to add recipes into your diet than eliminate your favorite foods. Don’t throw out those old recipes just yet. The more you learn new recipes, the more likely it is that you can make a few simple adjustments to your old favorites. Plus, adding in new recipes helps keep you from feeling like you are being denied and keeps a little variety in your diet. This doesn’t mean that you should continue to include forbidden foods. I have some great anti-inflammatory recipes in my book The Autoimmune Fix to help build up that recipe repertoire get started on the road to a diet that will work for your body rather than against it.

2. You can make substantive change in one full swoop when you replace everyday objects with a healthier option. For instance, replacing your air filter, swapping out plastic with glass, replacing your shower head, or throwing out cleaners with toxins and creating non-toxic cleaners are simple changes that will benefit you long after you implement them. The best part? It’s virtually effortless. You can learn more from my You Can Fix Your Brain Masterclass, created as a complementary tool to my book You Can Fix Your Brain, which will teach you easy, practical steps you can take weekly to adjust your environment and improve your brain health.

3. Know thyself. Work with what you have. Know your strengths and weaknesses. Use your personality to better guide you in creating a plan you can stick with. (Read on for more about personality types.)

Taking the First Step to Improve Your Health

You may have a long road of recovery ahead of you, and yes, the more you can do to benefit your health, the farther down that path it’ll get you. It’s hard to stay motivated sometimes knowing that your goal is going to take a long time to reach. I tell my patients to remember the phrase, “A thousand miles begins with one step.” For now, just worry about that one step and acknowledge how far you’ve already come.

Don’t forget that there is an emotional component in good health, too. You need to show yourself love and forgiveness. Acknowledge past mistakes, but don’t live in them. Step beyond them and recognize that you are now entering a forward-moving place that takes you out of those shadows.

With every step you take, you are closer to your goal than you would’ve been had you not implemented those changes to improve your health. You are making Strides To Achieve Results! These results can vary, and some may be more exciting than others. Sometimes that might mean sickness isn’t progressing as quickly. Sometimes that might mean you have one less symptom. You may not visibly see the impact it has, but either way your body appreciates the improvements you are making. You can task yourself with measuring your progress, which helps to both direct you in making the right choices and motivate you through a deeper understanding of what is happening inside your body.

So, how do you take the first step? Good results always start with a good plan. You have to work with your personality type and learn how you learn best in order to achieve your best results.

Achieve Better Results by Working with Your Personality Type

What’s the best way to identify your personality type? There are hundreds of different personality types, all with narrow variations, but for the purpose of this article, we have broken them down into four main categories:

  1. The Fast Acting, Competitive Leader
  2. The Analytical, Perfectionist Planner
  3. The Socially-driven, Sweet-natured Team Player
  4. The Creative, Spontaneous Free-Spirit

While you may tend toward one of these four groups, you will find aspects of yourself in all of these categories. Pay attention to where your strengths and weaknesses lie in order to tailor this to you.

The Fast Acting, Competitive Leader

#1s – We’ll call you our leaders. You tend to be assertive and task-oriented and want change immediately. Writing your tasks down to have in front of you may help. For instance, buy a poster board and some Post-It notes. On each post-it, write down something in your life you need to change. On the left side of the poster board write a header at the top left that says, “To Do.” On the right side of the poster board, write STAR. These are the current Strides To Achieve Results. As you complete or implement a “To-Do” into your life, move that Post-It to the STAR side of your board. Put more difficult tasks at the bottom of your to-do list. When you reach these, revisit whether these tasks need broken down into smaller more achievable tasks that will allow you to continue moving forward. If you find you rely on calendars and planners, schedule your tasks directly into your calendar. And as a leader, if it helps motivate you to lead the charge, you can start your own support group. This will keep you motivated and accountable. You can even build in a competitive component that allows you to set a goal to meet your daily, weekly, and monthly targets.

The Analytical, Perfectionist Planner

#2s – The biggest pitfall for the analytical planner is they tend to be patient and proceed only AFTER formulating a detailed plan of execution. This can lead to a loss of motivation and a delay in the STAR-reaching process. If you have this problem, pick one thing that you know will be a part of your strategy and get started, even if your plan is not complete. An easy place to start is educating yourself; education is the cornerstone of creating a comprehensive, well-thought out plan. A journal is a great way of capturing the most important information that you learn along the way and allows you to revisit it to keep you on track. If you get tripped up, you may have begun a plan before fully understanding and creating your big picture course of action. The sense of urgency behind health-related crises can sometimes force you to act prematurely, but don’t throw the baby out with the bath water. The changes that you already made can be incorporated into a new blueprint for success or honed a little with the new information you now have. Remember the end goal. Plan for good health. Follow the plan you design, but don’t get too caught up in the details. To help walk you throw some of those changes, consider taking a course like the You Can Fix Your Brain Masterclass or Base Hits Win the Game. Or, simply follow the protocol outlined in The Autoimmune Fix.

The Socially-driven, Sweet-natured Team Player

#3s – The Socially-driven, Sweet-natured Social Team Player can tend to rely on external motivation. For the social person without a system of support this can be incredibly difficult, but there are a few things you can do. Encouragement and praise go a long way with you. Step one is to create a daily mantra of encouragement, a weekly intention for an action step, and a monthly reward system that works with your efforts — not against them. (For instance, you don’t reward going a month on a gluten-free diet with foods containing gluten.) A reward may be a special outing like a sound bath meditation or a deep tissue massage.

Step two is seek out a support system. Be careful who you seek support from. Pick someone who understands your situation and your personality. The wrong person can sew seeds of doubt, be discouraging, push you too fast, be codependent, or not push you at all. This is why you want that daily mantra — for times you need to sustain yourself. Ultimately, you cannot always rely on others for your own self-improvement.

If you post on social media, keep it to a closed, supportive group where you can offer support to each other. If you post on a larger forum, you risk haters and doubters or people who may frustrate you and make it more difficult to stay on track. You can find support on the weekly TheDr Facebook live streams. Here you will be with like-minded people who are also actively seeking to learn in order to improve their health.

For lifestyle activities, consider classes at a gym where you can enjoy the social aspect of group activities, or find a workout buddy or diet buddy. You tend to do so much for everyone else — you are just as worthy of your time and effort. A socially active life enhances the quality of life.

The Creative, Spontaneous Free Spirit

#4s – The Creative, Spontaneous Free Spirit is energized through the imagination and exploration. You are limited by constraints. Do not place your focus on what you can’t do. You have an amazing journey ahead that can be filled with experimenting to keep you excited. When you feel limited, do something creative. ANYTHING. Variety is the spice of life, and it will recharge you. Then try to figure out the thousands of things you could be doing and aren’t. Lifestyle activities you have not tried. Foods you have never eaten. Find fun ways to keep things fresh while still incorporating steady change that can easily be maintained into your life.

Remember, your goal is to live a life of optimal health. This includes social interaction, activities that keep your mind engaged, moving your body, eating a variety of healthy foods, minimizing exposures to toxins, and reducing stress.

If practical changes seem boring, use doing something fun and different as your reward system. For instance, install the shower head, and head to the beach, or change your air filter and try an aromatic new dish. Build a raised garden, where you can create something and reap and share the benefits of the organic food you grew.Sign up for a health summit and implement something in your life that day. Variety’s the spice of life, so keep it spicy.

Reaching for the STARs!

Remember that we all share little bits of multiple categories. Whatever areas help you most, use it to improve your health. You can achieve much better results when you work with your strengths and minimize fighting against those weaknesses. There’s no use fighting them when you can simply shift your plan to work around your weaknesses in order to help you improve your health in a way that fits into your daily life.

The important thing is not to get complacent and stuck, but always make Strides To Achieve Results. This is your health, your vitality, your life — and only YOU have the power to change it. People can learn to live within their limits, but breaking out of those limits allows you to grow into a physically, mentally, and emotionally better person. This is the place you want to get to — a place that offers you choice in how you live.

Aim For The STARs!

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Coriolus Versicolor

Coriolus Versicolor, a remarkable mushroom, is esteemed for its potential to contribute to overall wellness. Known for its immune-supporting properties, Coriolus Versicolor may help strengthen the body’s natural defenses. This extraordinary mushroom has also been associated with promoting healthy energy levels, supporting digestion, and fostering vitality.

Fo Ti

Fo Ti, a revered Chinese herb also known as He Shou Wu, is valued for its potential to support overall wellness. Traditionally used for promoting vitality and longevity, Fo Ti may contribute to maintaining healthy energy levels, cognitive function, and immune system performance. This remarkable herb has also been associated with supporting liver and kidney health, as well as fostering a sense of overall balance


Agave, a versatile desert plant native to the Americas, is recognized for its potential to support overall wellness. Rich in natural fibers and low-glycemic sweeteners, Agave may contribute to maintaining healthy blood sugar levels, digestive health, and providing a natural alternative to refined sugars.

Maral Root

Maral Root, a potent adaptogenic herb native to Siberia, is celebrated for its potential to contribute to overall well-being. Known for helping the body manage stress and maintain balance, Maral Root may also promote healthy energy levels, endurance, and cognitive function. This exceptional herb has been associated with supporting the immune system, fostering vitality, and enhancing physical performance.

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NotoGinseng, a distinct variety of Panax ginseng native to the Changbai Mountains, is esteemed for its potential to contribute to overall well-being. Renowned for its adaptogenic properties, Noto Ginseng may help the body manage stress and maintain balance. This exceptional herb has been linked to supporting cognitive function, promoting healthy energy levels, and boosting immune system performance.


Baicalin, a potent bioflavonoid derived from the Scutellaria baicalensis plant, is appreciated for its potential to promote overall wellness. With its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, Baicalin may help protect cells from oxidative stress and maintain a balanced response to inflammation. This remarkable compound has been associated with supporting liver health, promoting cardiovascular function, and fostering a sense of vitality.

Purple Lapacho

Purple Lapacho, a unique and potent herb, is valued for its potential to support overall well-being. Known for its immune-boosting properties, Purple Lapacho may help fortify the body’s natural defenses. This remarkable herb has also been associated with promoting healthy energy levels, supporting digestion, and fostering vitality.

Holy Basil

Holy Basil has been found to protect organs and tissues against chemical stress from industrial pollutants and heavy metals, and physical stress from prolonged physical exertion. It has also been shown to counter metabolic stress through normalization of blood glucose, blood pressure and lipid levels.


Ashwagandha, a revered adaptogenic herb, is acclaimed for its potential to support overall well-being. Known for helping the body manage stress and maintain balance, Ashwagandha may also contribute to healthy energy levels and mental clarity. This remarkable herb has been associated with promoting relaxation, supporting the immune system, and fostering vitality.


Guarana, a powerful plant, is celebrated for its potential to support overall wellness. Rich in natural caffeine, Guarana may help promote mental alertness, focus, and healthy energy levels. This remarkable plant has also been associated with supporting endurance and enhancing physical performance.


Catuaba, a potent herb, is appreciated for its potential to contribute to overall well-being. Known for its adaptogenic qualities, Catuaba may help the body cope with stress and maintain balance. This remarkable herb has also been associated with promoting mental alertness, healthy energy levels, and fostering a sense of vitality.

Reishi Mushroom

Reishi Mushroom, a highly-regarded fungus, is esteemed for its potential to enhance overall wellness. With adaptogenic properties, Reishi Mushroom may help the body manage stress and maintain balance. This extraordinary mushroom has also been linked to promoting immune system support, healthy energy levels, and fostering a sense of calm and relaxation.

Astragalus Root

Astragalus Root, a powerful herb, is respected for its potential to contribute to overall well-being. Renowned for its immune-supporting properties, Astragalus Root may help fortify the body’s natural defenses. Additionally, this remarkable root has been associated with promoting healthy energy levels, heart health, and supporting the body’s ability to adapt to stress.

Asian Licorice Root

Asian Licorice Root, a versatile herb, is valued for its potential to support overall wellness. Known for its adaptogenic properties, it may help the body cope with stress and maintain balance. This remarkable root has also been linked to promoting healthy digestion, respiratory function, and supporting the immune system.

American Ginseng

American Ginseng, a revered herb, is prized for its potential to contribute to overall well-being. With adaptogenic properties, it may assist the body in managing stress and maintaining harmony. American Ginseng has also been associated with promoting mental alertness, healthy energy levels, and supporting the immune system.

Rhodiola Rosea

Rhodiola Rosea, a robust herb, is admired for its potential to support overall wellness. As an adaptogen, Rhodiola Rosea may help the body cope with stress and maintain balance. This remarkable herb has been linked to promoting mental clarity, healthy energy levels, and increased endurance.

Peruvian Maca

Peruvian Maca, a nutrient-packed root, is celebrated for its potential to enhance overall well-being. Known for its adaptogenic qualities, Maca may help the body manage stress and maintain balance. This powerful root has also been associated with promoting healthy energy levels, endurance, and supporting hormonal balance.

Schisandra Fruit

Schisandra Fruit, a unique berry, is renowned for its potential to contribute to overall wellness. Boasting adaptogenic properties, it may help the body adapt to stress and maintain equilibrium. Schisandra Fruit has also been linked to promoting healthy energy levels, mental clarity, and supporting the body’s natural defense


Acai, a nutrient-dense berry, is recognized for its potential to enhance overall well-being. Rich in antioxidants, Acai may help support the body’s defenses against environmental stressors, while promoting healthy energy levels and vitality.

Himalayan Goji

Himalayan Goji, a nutrient-rich fruit, is valued for its potential contribution to overall wellness. This superfood is believed to support the immune system, promote healthy energy levels, and aid in maintaining balance within the body. With its antioxidant properties, Himalayan Goji may help protect cells from environmental stressors.

Gotu Kola

The main group of components in gotu kola is the triterpenes including asiaticoside, madecassoside, asiatic acid, and madecassic acid, which have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that are shown to positively influence brain plasticity which means a much sharper you.

  • Exhibits significant wound healing ability, Improves microcirculatory parameters, Sedative and anxiolytic properties, Antidepressant, Re-vitalize the brain and nervous system, increase attention span and concentration and combat aging:

Water Hyssop

Best known as a neural tonic and memory enhancer this powerful herb increases cerebral blood flow and neurotransmitter modulation.

Green Tea Extract

Healthy energy producer and one of the more researched and promising supplements. It upregulates fat metabolism at rest and during exercise. In recent years the consumption of Green Tea Extract has shown to help prevent lifestyle diseases like cardiovascular disease because of it’s preventative effects on chronic inflammation.

  • Helps with weight loss by increasing a protein hormone which is involved in regulating glucose levels as well
    as fatty acid breakdown:
  • Decrease cholesterol absorption and plasma levels, has strong free radical-scavenging
    activity inhibiting LDL oxidation, reduce the adhesion molecule expression, has antitrombotic activities by inhibiting platelet aggregation: 

Mikania Guaco

“Guaco” is Sun Horse Energy founder Dan Moriarty’s favorite herb, and the reason why he’s still alive. Traditionally, it’s a well-known herb for snake bites, scorpion stings and other venomous creatures. Guaco acts as a non-steroidal bronchodilator, meaning it opens up the airways without steroids. As a result of guaco opening up the airways, the alveoli (tiny air sacs in the lungs) are better able to accept oxygen transfer and get rid of carbon dioxide. In Brazil, Guaco syrup is one of the most popular herbal medicines used to treat the symptoms of asthmatic bronchitis, cough and hoarseness.

Osha Root

A traditional Native American herb, Osha is also known as “Bear Root”. Native Americans noticed that when bears emerged from hibernation, the first thing they did after being in a state of torpor for 4 months was not feast on salmon or drink water, but rather, dig up osha and eat it. Why? It decongests and wakes up the lungs. Native Americans who used Osha were able to run further, and treat their colds and congestion. Modern research studies suggest Osha may support the immune system by offering protective effects against oxidative damage.

I want to thank you for your existence. I want you to know that functional medicine has changed my life, well the life of my autistic son. So much so that I plan on taking the Functional Medicine Health Coach Certificate and work with my new friend who is now a Functional Medicine Doctor from the Institute of Functional Medicine and spread the word on GI testing and how finding the underlying issues will help eliminate autistic traits. 

I hope to be able to meet you one day so I can share this great news with others. Changing my son’s diet has changed him. Food is medicine!! By the way, I’m cooking my rutabaga. I’m Italian and never grew up with these. With love.

Rita Mastrangelo

I found you on YouTube a couple of weeks ago and I’m hooked. I listen to you a couple of hours every morning. I am being tested for celiac disease and have been gluten-free for a couple of weeks. Thank you for all of your insight.

April Renee

Just wanted to tell you that you’re amazing! You are helping so many people all over the world! Including me! Thank you so very much, Dr. Tom O’Bryan!

Patricia Puddle

Good morning Dr. Tom, Would just like to say thank you! This time last year I was going through a hell of a time with my gut. Terrible indigestion on a regular basis, feeling as if I had eaten a boulder and the tiredness was doing my heed (scottish for head) in! With two young girls being tired is not an option!

I went to the doctors on a number of occasions and they decided to prescribe omeprazole to mask the problem, sorry help my problem. I decided taking these drugs was not an option for me! So I started googling the life out of it!! Low and behold you started popping up!! Oh and Gluten intolerance! 

Your advice has been second to none! You have in my case really simplified what gluten does to my body and now that I have cut it out (which as it appears in lots of foods, some I can’t understand) I have found that my symptoms very quickly reduced and now I’m a year down the line they have gone for the vast majority of the time!! For that I’m truly grateful. I now follow you on YouTube and Instagram, which continues to educate me and the importance of gut health. I look forward to your future advice. Yours faithfully,

Gary Christie

Black Ant Extract

A Chinese medicine tonic, Black Ant is used to support energy levels. (In traditional Chinese medicine, Black Ant is given to increase vital Qi.) Research studies demonstrate that Black Ant supports the function of the thymus gland, which plays a crucial role in the immune system, producing and activating lymphocytes.

Siberian Ginseng

This well known adaptogen has been proven to reduce cardiovascular stress, lower and stabilize blood sugar to healthy levels, and encourages a more efficient lipid metabolism.

Pine Bark Extract

Many studies have shown that pine bark possesses anti-aging properties. It’s very similar in nature to the well-known antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compound, resveratrol, which is abundant in red wine and grapes. Pine bark has a proven beneficial effect on lipids, the cardiovascular and immune systems.

Lion's Mane

A very yummy and medicinal mushroom is a well established candidate for brain and nerve health because it triggers neurite outgrowth and regenerates damaged nerves. Lions Mane has been extensively studied for its neuro-health properties.


This is an enzyme/protein that speeds up biochemical reactions and helps to prevent and dissolve the formations of blood clots (thrombi); addresses the problem of blood hyperviscosity, thereby preventing thick and sticky blood, which is not conducive to overall cardiovascular health.


Referred to as the women’s ultimate power herb, by some herbal enthusiasts. Used in India for at least 3,000 years, Shatavari, is structurally similar to estrogen produced within the body. Some researchers have concluded shatavari can be a highly effective alternative to synthetic hormone replacement therapy for peri- and menopausal women.

Chaste Tree Berry

Improve female libido, mitigate PMS, reproductive health

Horny Goat Weed

Increase para-sympathetic nervous activity, mitigate osteoporosis, improve libido, enhance smooth muscle tissue function

  • Treatment for erectile problems and nerve injuries in human patients:
  • Prevents thickening or hardening of the arteries through multiple mechanisms, including attenuating DNA damage, correcting endothelial dysfunction, inhibiting the proliferation and migration of smooth muscle cells, repressing macrophage-derived foam cell formation and inflammatory responses, as well as preventing platelet activation:

Bulgarian Tribulus

Enhance athletic performance, improve circulation, improve sexual performance, more efficient rates of protein synthesis


Cordyceps, a genus of mushroom, gained lots of attention after Chinese long-distance runners performed impressively at international competitions in the 1990s and early 2000s. Along with high-altitude training, supplementing with cordyceps was part of their intense training program. A research study concludes that cordyceps improves tolerance to high-intensity exercise after supplementation with it because the fungus is thought to increase blood flow, enhance oxygen utilization; it also acts as an antioxidant. It also has powerful anti-tumor properties, the ability to regulate the endocrine system, enhance your immune function, and protect the kidneys, lung, liver, and other organs.

  • Immunomodulatory, antitumor, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant activities, promotion of endurance capacity, and learning-memory improvement, can be used to treat conditions such as hyposexuality, night sweats, hyperglycemia, hyperlipidemia, asthenia, arrhythmias, and other heart, respiratory, renal and liver diseases:
  • Various pharmacological actions, including nephroprotective, hepatoprotective, anti-inflammatory, antioxidative, and antiapoptotic effects:

Ginkgo Biloba

In recent decades, an extract of the leaves of the tree Ginkgo biloba L. has been used to improve memory in disorders like Dementia disorders that affect memory and intellectual functioning, and are caused primarily by Alzheimer’s disease and vascular disorders.

  • Potent antioxidant properties and ability to enhance peripheral and cerebral circulation, ginkgo’s primary application lies in the treatment of cerebrovascular dysfunctions and peripheral vascular disorders:
  • Experimental results showed extracts of G.Biloba to upregulate protein expressions of BDNF:
  • The effects of Ginkgo biloba extract on cognitive functions in aged female rats;
  • The role of oxidative stress and brain-derived neurotrophic factor:


Jiaogulan, a versatile herb, is celebrated for its potential to support overall well-being. Known for its adaptogenic properties, Jiaogulan may help the body cope with stress and maintain balance. This remarkable herb has also been associated with promoting healthy energy levels, boosting endurance, and fostering a sense of calm and relaxation.