Meet The Lupus Survivor and Health Educator
By Fallon Davis
A woman who beat Lupus by eliminating negative thoughts and changing her lifestyle at the tender age of 16, Dr. Brooke Goldner says you have to stay focused on your purpose in life. After being diagnosed with Lupus, Dr. G says that quitting was never an option for her. She was the first generation of Holocaust survivors and was the hope of the family that was going to have every opportunity.
Brooke endured many obstacles with her lupus and at one point suffered a stroke. In the midst of all the waves knocking her down, she stayed confident graduating in the top 10 percent of her class and achieving scholarship offers to all the colleges she applied to, eventually settling her first choice, Carnegie Mellon. Growing up in Long Island, she says her family gave her much support. Her mother was her rock and always motivated her to reach her goals and stay busy with life.
So, with the support of a strong family from Queens, Dr. Goldner pushed herself to the limit and refused to be helpless.
After 12 years of pain, Dr. G is fully recovered from Lupus and now teaches doctors and patients how to improve their health around the country. Specializing in plant- based nutrition she constructs diets using supermarket foods and provides daily counseling sessions for people living with the disease. She is the author of the enlightening book “Goodbye Lupus,” “Green Smoothie Recipes to Kickstart Health & Healing,” and “The Vegan Medical Doctor.” She is also a psychiatrist specializing in healing the mind from trauma, depression and anxiety.
“You don’t have heart disease because it runs in your family. You have heart disease because nobody runs in your family. ” -Dr. Goldner
Besides your Lupus recovery, what else inspired you to become a doctor?
The reason I wanted to be a doctor is because they did save my life… but they kept me alive. It’s my life, my passion and what drives my work every day because not very many doctors have been patients and especially not in the way that I was. I was sick for 12 years. I’ve been through chemotherapy, surgeries, kidney biopsies and all sorts of things. I’ve spent a large part of my life totally helpless and not knowing what’s going to work and if I’m going to live. It was inspiring to me and I wanted to help other people not suffer.
What is the goal of your work?
Patients nowadays go on Google and are so overwhelmed by all the information. There is no more trust. There was no Google back then and I had no idea what I was dealing with. My purpose is to inspire and educate, and that’s what I try to do.
That has always been my goal. How can I heal these people and make it so they can thrive and improve other people’s lives? When I figured out how to heal myself, that changed everything. I tell my story to inspire, so you can do it and educate yourself so you are empowered to do it.
However, sometimes the individual is not ready to be inspired yet. Sometimes, people are hopeless. Sometimes, you’re planting seeds that you got to water and maybe five years from now or further along, you’re going to finally remember to make that decision.
I read on your site that you can treat chronic diseases with supermarket foods. What foods/diet would you recommend to someone with Lupus or Neuropathy?
I start by telling people to add the good foods they are missing in their diet and experience the difference. I encourage them to add the most nutritious foods, which are greens, vegetables and avoid those products that are not conducive to the benefit of your health. Greens contain the highest concentration of vitamins and minerals and repair the body.
It is amazing to be a survivor of Lupus for over 12 years! When you had your stroke, how did you overcome depression? Were you depressed?
I didn’t get depressed. You asked me how I got up and went to school. My sickness was separate from my daily activities. For my mom, it was all about, you know, you gotta do what you gotta do. So, she would tell me that I have to take my medication and I had to get chemotherapy and by the way how are you going to get your homework done? How are you going to get these things done? How are you going to graduate on time? My family never asked me if I was able to or do if I needed to take time off.
She wasn’t like that. It was like how are you going to keep accomplishing what you were meant to accomplish? So it never crossed my mind not to because it was never brought up to me that way. It was more like, alright so, this is what you’re doing.
I didn’t tell my friends back then, I felt being around my friends, I could be my goofy normal self. I didn’t want my friends to be around me because I was sick. I would always focus on my goals and not on my illness. So I always tell my patients, the last thing you want to do is make your illness your identity. Don’t own it! Because then you possess it and no one likes giving up things they possess. I didn’t feel like my path was to be the martyr, but I did strongly feel like I was going to make it. I had no rational reason not to believe myself, except I felt like I was going to make it. I was meant to do something.
What are the key components for your 4-week nutrition program, The Hyper-Nourishing Healing Protocol for Lupus Recovery?
The reason it works is because my patients are interacting with me. They send me their diet every day of everything they ate. I’m there to say great, and hey, you didn’t get enough water in, what are we going to do about that? What’s this food? It wasn’t on the list. That’s every day. I’m going to hold your hand and you’re not going to fail. Of course, not everyone is ready for that and I don’t let everyone do that program because you have to be ready to be in a “yes ma’am” mood. You gotta be ready to do whatever I tell you to do.
If they aren’t ready for this particular program then the alternative method would be for me to meet with them one-on-one via skype or face to face to see what they are ready to do, and help them plan to work step by step in a more personalized approach tailored at a pace that they are more comfortable with implementing.
Can your book Goodbye Lupus and your program be used together?
Absolutely. Sometimes folks might not be ready for my one on one program, and feel they can get the information they need from my book. My program makes my patients accountable.
Can people who do not have Lupus also benefit from the information in your book and/or program?
Yes. Many people who do not have Lupus have used my book or program to maintain a healthy lifestyle.