Confident Human: Sierra Simpson

Sierra Simpson may be dressed as a superhero in this photo, but it is appropriate because she's a real life superhero in our eyes. Here's why...she is a scientist with a PhD in Neurology and Psychiatry, a published author, artist, entrepreneur, and part-mermaid. At The Confidence Co, we have the privilege of having her as a part of our team of advisors. She is changing the world as we know it when it comes to the understanding of our microbiome and the integral role it plays in our overall health.

In a study published April 27, 2020 in eNeuro, Simpson and team discovered that the gut microbiome influences the pattern of activation in a rat’s brain during opioid addiction and withdrawal. Yes, read that again. Sierra's methodology of "hitting the problem with a hammer to see how the system breaks, then backtrack from there" makes her tenacity to solve problems unparalleled. Her dedication to making science for everyone make her approachable and a true leader. Learn more about Sierra...

 

I AM Sierra Simpson AND I DEFINE CONFIDENCE AS happiness in where I am, and the courage to grow into the unknown.

 

WHERE DID YOU GROW UP AND WHERE DO YOU LIVE NOW?

 I grew up in North Country San Diego – little seaside coastal towns are my favorite. I took a detour and went to school at UCSB, and then on to the Bay Area but couldn’t leave San Diego forever. I returned a few years ago to get my PhD at The Scripps Research Institute.

HOW DO YOU DESCRIBE WHAT YOU DO?

I’m a scientist who is passionate about making science for everyone.

Science is just as much about storytelling as it is about research.

 

WHY IS HAVING A HEALTHY GUT IMPORTANT TO YOU?

I was sick for almost a year in undergrad and they didn’t know what was wrong with me. That meant I was prescribed huge doses or antibiotics because the doctors didn’t know what else to do. It destroyed my gut. The resulting indigestion, bloating and pain made meals challenging. I never knew when I wasn’t going to feel well. Then I thought to myself, “Sierra, you’re a scientist. Why don’t you figure it out?”. 

 

WHY THE CONFIDENCE CO MISSION RESONATE WITH YOU?

The mission of The Confidence Co as well as Lexi’s passion for gut health and for making the science accessible to everyone really resonates with me. Helping people lead happier, healthier lives has been a goal of mine, and seeing a strong goal-oriented woman leading the charge is inspiring.

NAME YOUR FAVORITE RESTAURANT.

La Bodeguita del Medio – also known as the little house in the middle of the road, this gem located in Palo Alto, CA is known both for refreshing drinks and a Cuban inspired menu. I highly recommend the sour orange & soy black roasted mussels with their freshly baked bread. If you’re feeling an adventure, the Seafood Ajiaco is a feast of the sea. Lobster tails, mussels, ship and plantains are served in a spicy cream sauce with black beans and rice on the side.

 

NAME THREE OF YOUR FAVORITE FOODS.

Sushi, Poke, and Takoyaki! Really anything that comes from the sea. I’m a mermaid at heart.

 

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE RECIPE?

A simple salmon poke- slice some fresh salmon, avocado, crisp persian cucumber, and juicy tomatoes. Toss in sesame oil, lemon juice, and a little tamari for taste. Sprinkle with furikake and put over rice or salad!

ANY MAJOR WELLNESS MOMENTS IN YOUR LIFE?

Finding the right diet and care routine to help my stomach issues.

 

WHAT'S YOUR CURRENT SELF-CARE ROUTINE?

With COVID, I’m missing the pool. I love to swim and spend time at the ocean. Since I can’t go to the pool or the ocean, I’m exploring different paths around my neighborhood.

Since summer is right around the corner, I’ve been trying to stay hydrated with fresh teas and homemade popsicles. Being at home has made it easier to prepare new dishes from around the world. I recently discovered Marion’s Kitchen and I’m obsessed with her char kway teo recipe.

To keep my creative juices flowing I’m working on playing with watercolors and bullet journaling. 

 

WHERE DO YOU GET OR DRAW INSPIRATION FROM?

As a scientist there are always new experiments to do and problems to solve. I think knowing that there is so much more out there to learn keeps me motivated and inspired.

 

WHAT WOULD YOU TELL YOUR 18-YEAR OLD SELF?

Love yourself. Don’t be afraid to forgive people for responding from where they are in life. Learn from them.

 

HOW HAVE YOU KEPT UP YOUR CREATIVITY DURING THIS TIME?

Yes! I love to paint and draw. I’ve been learning how to use procreate to design surfer-y and science-y designs.

 

HAVE YOU FOUND CREATING ART TO BE HELPFUL WITH EVERYTHING GOING ON? IF SO, HOW?

Making things has always been an escape for me. Sure, I might not be able to travel to Thailand right now, but I can bring the smells and tastes to my family. I can’t wait until quarantine is over because I made some summer dresses for my nieces. Being creative teaches is to live in the moment, as well as to look forward to the future – even if we might feel a bit stagnant from being isolated.

 

WHAT ARE IS ONE SELF-CARE RITUAL YOU'RE LEANING INTO FOR COMFORT?

Making playlists for my oldest niece, Julianne. She’s 11 and just discovering how wonderful music can be. I love sending her my favorited and face-timing when she find something she loves. It’s a great way to connect and laugh.  

 

DO YOU HAVE A QUOTE, POEM OR SONG THAT YOU WOULD DEFINE AS YOUR ANTHEM?

“Not all who wander are lost” J.R.R. Tolkein.

I took a circuitous route to end up at this very moment in my life. There is no need to live your life by other people’s agendas or timelines. Be kind, be open, be happy!