Peter Kozlowski, MD has a nice, bedside manner literarily speaking. With the release of his new book, Unfunc Your Gut: Boost Your Immune System, Heal Your Gut and Unlock Your Mental, Emotional and Spiritual Health, he demonstrates this time and again in spades. It makes for a nice tonality, but anchored with a distinct professionalism and self-awareness.
Kozlowski knows that he’s dealing in potentially uncertain territory for traditionalists, making a decidedly left-brain, not excessively maudlin case for what he calls ‘functional medicine’. This entails a tailored medical approach to physiological problems that addresses related needs on a medical, emotional, and even spiritualistic level. For Dr. Kozlowski, all three categories form a single whole. He cites what professional studies repeatedly advocate, showing the link between varied psychological states and the physical reactions they provoke within physical aspects of the body. Time and again, he says, people for various reasons fail to mention the important links between mind and said body.
The two are less about one transcending the other, rather in his view sharing a distinct, symbiotic relationship. “Bringing the three together, spiritual health includes the understanding that our emotional needs are just as important as our physical needs—it just so happens that they are less understood and less often met. Physical needs are the absolute basic necessities that a person needs to survive; they include things obvious to the senses such as water, food, air, shelter and clothing. Less evident to the senses, emotional needs include things like the need to feel valued, the need to feel safe, the need to feel like we matter, and the need to for meaning and purpose in our lives.
When emotional needs are chronically not met, this frequently turns into an emotional disability,” Kozlowski writes at the beginning of the book. “…My addiction and recovery helped me discover the secret to your gut health: yes, I am still talking about your physical body’s all-important connection to your mental, emotional, and spiritual health. In my experience, it cannot be overstated that your mind, heart, and spirit can influence your gut, and your gut can influence your mind.”
The next several chapters see Kozlowski expanding upon what he introduces in informal, affable prose. Yet everything is appropriately structured, almost like that of an MLA paper or dissertation. There’s never a sense Kozlowski is writing from a place of generality concerning knowledge, nor sacrificing potentially heady concepts for the sake of making the read more digestible. Pun intended. Rather, he is able to balance literarily the best of both worlds. On the one hand, he helps guide the reader in a reasonable, medically sound manner, while concurrently making everything light and tenable even to the most timid of readers.
Add in the fact he isn’t afraid of homeopathic and alternative measures to boot. “In most people’s cases, the digestive process goes wrong, right from the beginning, starting with their thoughts about food. In general as a culture, we are not connected to our food; eating has become a task to cross off our checklist,” Kozlowski writes in this vein. “…Part of a healthy process of digestion should start by connecting with our food and by practicing gratitude…Taking action by making choices to ensure the quality of life and care involved in cultivating the food you consume is also a way of practicing gratitude and recognizing your oneness with it and all life…”