I have known Shirley since the beginning of 2006 when I was first employed at Sydney’s Prince of Wales Hospital as an Advanced Trainee in Endocrinology.
We would develop a very close working relationship over the next 6 years, as I made the progression to become a Staff Specialist there. She would always assist myself and all hospital staff with all kinds of pay and tax queries – always going above and beyond to help whoever she possibly could, no matter how busy she was. She would always greet everyone with a big smile, and her “can do” attitude meant that she would always get the answers for everyone promptly – even on the rare occasion that she might not have known them straight off.
Since retiring in 2020, Shirley has been pursuing her dream of writing on a topic that she has always been most passionate about: health and wellness. One of her favourite mantras is “growing old but not becoming old”! Her website www.shirlspearlscom.au explains what she has always known since she first became interested in this subject nearly 40 years ago.
The importance of good gut health and its role in keeping our metabolic and immune systems healthy has been very well studied of late in the context of the microbiome which colonize our gut. Also, our society has become too dependent on processed foods with a high starch and fat content. It is no coincidence that our rate of obesity and metabolic disease have been growing exponentially; our life expectancy is now expected to decline as a result of this. Shirley gives simple and easy to understand examples of how eating healthier plant-based foods and participating in regular exercise can improve gut health, maintain a healthy weight as well as reducing the risk of metabolic and cardiovascular disease.
It is an added bonus that Shirley’s website is totally free with no ads – this is a great plus, as we are always inundated with numerous supplements and “miracle cures” being promoted on the internet, and it is never easy to discern exactly which ones are the “real deal”.
It has been my pleasure to stay in touch with Shirley throughout all these years, even after leaving Prince of Wales Hospital. I am very excited that she has continued to work in this trajectory, as these are the very same issues which I educate all of my patients about on a daily basis in my current professional roles. I am very sure that you will all find Shirley’s advice to be extremely useful for your own health and wellbeing.
Kenneth K Chen, MD FRACP
Director of Endocrinology, Diabetes & Metabolism
Co-director of Integrated Program for High-Risk Pregnancy, Women & Infants Hospital of Rhode Island
Associate Professor of Medicine & Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Alpert Medical School of Brown University
Co-chair of Health & Public Policy Committee, American College of Physicians (RI Chapter)
President of International Society of Obstetric Medicine