Any gardener knows that simply cutting the top off a weed won’t stop it from growing back. It actually creates a vicious cycle that lead to very resistant weeds.
The same is true in the human body.
Most of us have been taught that germs cause disease. But another theory, known at the terrain theory, suggests that it’s not the germ but the state of our “internal environment” that determines health.
This is why when you’re well rested, eating well, and energized you tend to get sick less often or at least get over an infection quickly. If you’ve had a stressful week, didn’t get much sleep, and have been snacking on refined foods – the likelihood of becoming sick is much higher. Yes, germs are part of the disease process, but we are more or less susceptible to illness depending on the state of our terrain.
At the end of his life, Louis Pasteur, the scientist who developed the germ theory, is quoted to have said: “the microbe is nothing; the milieu is everything.”
To be healthy, we need to tend to our soil.
5 essential ways to support a healthy (and disease resistant) terrain:
An absolutely underrated aspect of a healthy lifestyle is adequate, good quality sleep.
Tips for healthy sleep:
sleep in the dark
set consistent bed and wake times (ideally between 10pm-11am to bed and rise with the sun)
avoid stimulation 1-2 hours before bedtime, especially from electronics
YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT. Nutrient depleted, refined, processed foods are healthy terrain enemies. Focus on lots of low-glycemic fruits and vegetables, good quality protein, and healthy fats.
#3. Support balanced gut flora
Many infection are related to “opportunistic organisms” – they are always around but don’t flourish until there is opportunity to do so. Supporting a good balance of healthy gut flora will keep these unwanted bugs in check and also support optimal digestion.
consume fermented foods such as kimchi, kombucha, kefir, and sauerkraut
eat a diet high in fibre to fuel and support good bacteria
speak with a naturopathic doctor about a probiotic supplement
#4. Reduce toxins
Toxins create inflammation and oxidative damage. Try to avoid what you can as well as support your detox pathways to ensure you optimize the health of your terrain.
sweat it out! use infrared saunas and exercise to mobilize and eliminate toxins thru your sweat
reduce pesticides by using the ewg.org list of least and most contaminated crops
stop putting toxins on your body and opt for safe, natural body care products (drop in and check out the options)
speak to a naturopathic doctor about detox support
#5. Manage stress
I cannot “stress” this enough! Do what you can to eliminate unnecessary stress and then work to change your point of view about the rest of it. Herbs, meditation, exercise, acupuncture, counselling, prayer, yoga therapy, laughter, and breathing techniques are all effective stress management options.
Did you know there are more bacteria on earth than there are stars in the universe?
Scientists from the University of Georgia estimate the number of bacteria on our planet to be five million trillion trillion – that’s a five with 30 zeroes after it.
That makes them something to talk about.
We typically think of bacteria in a negative light – they cause infections such as strep throat, food poisoning, and Lyme.
But thankfully not all bugs (not even most) are bad.
In fact, many are essential to keeping us, and the planet we live on, alive. We have many species of helpful bacteria living in our digestive tracts and on our skin that help support digestion and are an essential part of our immune system.
This month we are exploring all things bacterial, including what we can do to support a healthy relationship with the bugs we like and resist the ones we don’t.
This month we are exploring the benefits of connection; connection with others, food, nature, and of course with self!
I recently attended my uncle’s 60th birthday party. We have always been a tight family, especially the cousins, but with aging parents I couldn’t avoid asking the question of whether or not we would still be spending time together when we are celebrating our own 60th’s.
My younger (and seemingly wiser) cousins were quick to remind me that all relationships take effort and if we want to still have connection in 20, 30, or 40 years from now we “have to try!”
This is the message I want to convey this month – connection takes effort. It’s a choice. We need to be mindful of taking time out of our busy schedules to feel connected. The research suggests that by doing so, we can all lead healthier, happier, and longer lives!
This month I hope you slow down and taste your food; I hope you get on the floor and play with your children and grandchildren; I hope you spend a few moments here and there tuning in to what’s happening in your body below the shoulders; I hope you hug a tree. (Yep! I said it. I’m into hugging trees. It’s probably about time I fully adopt the naturopathic, crunchy-granola identity!)
So please come along with us on this journey of connection. Follow our Facebook page for empowering tips and tools to help deepen the many areas of your life that will benefit from connecting.
Lyme disease is a bacterial infection caused by strains of borrelia bacteria. The bacteria are transmitted to humans and pets bitten by an infected tick.
The incidence of Lyme disease in Canada is hugely underestimated. Reasons for this include: lack of awareness, missed early symptoms, and poor diagnostic procedures.
The symptoms of Lyme disease also overlap with other chronic diseases (such as MS, ALS, fibromyalgia, CFS, etc), increasing the chances of misdiagnoses.
The symptoms of early infection vary. Some people may experience mild flu-like symptoms, fever, and notice a bulls-eye rash, while others may not develop symptoms for a few months after being bitten. In any case, Lyme disease is a very serious illness that requires immediate treatment.
The tick population this season is especially high. Become informed about what you can do to reduce your risk.
Top 5 tick precautions:
1. Wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts when in tick habitats. Tuck your pants into your socks to prevent ticks from getting inside your pants.
2. Check your clothes for ticks often. Ticks will climb upwards until they find an area of exposed skin. Have a friend or family member check hard to see areas. Perform a full-body inspection once indoors. Ticks can cling to clothing; toss your clothes in the dryer for 20 minutes to ensure they are tick-free. Also check your pets.
3. Wear light coloured clothing to make it easier to spot ticks.
4. Walk on pathways or trails when possible staying in the middle. Avoid low-lying brush or long grass.
5. Apply insect repellent to your skin and clothing, especially on any exposed areas, such as ankles, wrists and neck.
Research on various natural extracts has proven significant benefit.
Garlic juice, when sprayed on residential landscape, had a significant repellent affect over a three-year study.
Rosemary, peppermint, citrus, and Rose Geranium essential oils also demonstrate tick repellent properties. I make a homemade spray with a combination of the oils, a bit of vodka, and water. We use it around ears, ankles, and wrists as well as on clothing and pets.
If you do find a tick, don’t panic. Remove the tick using these suggested techniques and follow up with your ND or MD to discuss.
I often tell my patients when it comes to things that are good for you more is not necessarily better….except when it comes to veggies!
If there is one nutritional recommendation that outlasts all the crazy diet fads and fits into every tailored nutritional plan it is to EAT MORE VEGGIES!
Eating more vegetables is one of the simplest dietary choices with the most profound health benefits.
Vegetables are nutrient dense – providing a good dose of vitamins, minerals, and other phytonutrients in every serving. The plant chemicals not only prevent disease but promote optimal health!
Veggies also tend to be high fibre foods. Fibre helps to reduce blood sugar spikes, promotes healthy bowel movements, and balances cholesterol levels.
Studies have shown that people who eat more veggies have lower rates of stroke, diabetes and heart disease. These same veggie loving folks are more likely to maintain healthy body weight, which is linked to a reduction of several different chronic disease rates.
When it comes to cancer, veggies pack a preventative punch. Sarah Toule, from the World Cancer Research Fund, says: “Research shows just how incredibly important vegetables and fruit are as part of a healthy diet. In fact, they’re essential for maintaining a healthy weight, which our own evidence has shown reduces the risk of 11 common cancers.”
Here are a few suggestions to help you increase your veggie intake to help you feel your best and stay that way!
Soups and Stews: When vegetables are in chili, soups, and stews, they get really soft and the flavours all blend together. Think about a pot of chicken noodle soup: there are loads of vegetables in this soup and even the pickiest eaters love it. So when you’re making your next batch of chilli, soup, or stew why not throw in an extra serving of veggies (or two). The idea is to get creative, cut veggies up small and add in a variety of different veggies or consider pureed options like this delicious cauliflower soup!
Availability: Make sure the veggies are on hand and available. When you or your child is hungry and open the fridge to get a snack and there are baby carrots, celery sticks, salsa and guacamole, you’ll be more tempted to eat veggies for your snack!
Super Sneaky Smoothies: Hide vegetables in smoothies. Leafy greens blend up nicely and, if paired with berries and 1/2 banana, they won’t change the taste – only the health benefits! Cooked greens are also a great addition to smoothies! Why not have some fun with your blender. A few to try: cucumber, cooked kale, baby spinach, and beets.
Change the Texture! Dehydrate or bake veggies so that they are crunchy and chip or french fry-like. Kale chips are always a hit, but you also make homemade sweet potato fries, cauliflower steaks, plantain chips, and even green bean fries. We love turnip fries at our house and you could use this recipe for any root veggie 🙂
Sauces and Dips Galore: If you or your child don’t like vegetables plain, consider them instead as a vehicle for awesome dips and sauces. Hummus is versatile and tasty, but rather than eat it with pita or crackers, try baby carrots, cucumber, or red bell peppers. If salads are boring you to death, maybe you need to explore some new salad dressings to jazz up the salad scene. You can also make your own pasta sauce with lots of yummy veggies. Chunky or pureed, mild or spicy are options that can be made depending on what you like.
Weekly New Veggie Challenge: Commit to one new vegetable a week. Baby steps, right? One veggie at a time might be a good way to ease into a more vegetable-rich diet. They say that kids need to be exposed to a new food ten times before they really know if they like it or not (and most of the time after ten tries they end up liking it)! So don’t give up if you don’t like something on the first try 😉
Pureed Power: When a vegetable is pureed, you can easily “sneak it” in to increase the nutritional value of the dishes you normally like. Pureed veggies obviously can be added to soups and stews, but also pasta sauces, gravies, salad dressings, casseroles, and even used in baking. One of our family favourites is a take on the Oh She Glows cheese sauce which we made a couple of tweaks to and love it in a mac’n cheese. Serve it with a tossed salad and your getting a few servings of veggies in one meal!
Drink your veggies: One super efficient way to get in a good dose of veggies is to drink ’em! When you consume fresh-made juice, it’s like getting an infusion of the vitamins, minerals and plant chemicals (phytonutrients) found in the whole plant. Make juicing part of your regular diet to benefit from a wide variety of plant nutrients.
*If you live in the Moncton area, check out JUICD! They are currently offering weekly delivery of fresh-made juices to your door.
More of what you do like: If you really, really can’t seem to eat more veggies and you’ve tried all of my suggestions, then focus on which vegetables you or your child actually do like and increase the consumption of those veggies. Even if the veggie diet isn’t varied, the benefit will come from having more vegetables on a regular basis.
Focus on Fruits: And my last suggestion, if it’s a constant fight to eat vegetables but you or your child love fruits, then focus on eating a wide variety of fruits. The one downside to eating too many fruit is the high sugar content (even though it is ‘natural’ sugar, sugar is still sugar and contributes to health concerns when consumed in excess). But, fruits are still loaded in vitamins, water, and fiber, so if you can’t do a lot of vegetables, try to at least get some more fruit in the diet…and maybe start working on blending in some veggies using the suggestions above 😉
#11 (cause who could stop at 10??)
Buy Local. Imagine bitting into a crunchy carrot and the smell alone makes your mouth water..Or a crisp cucumber that leaves juice running down your chin..How about making a delicious salad and the lettuce is so crisp and tasty you don’t even need dressing? Those are the kinds of flavours and textures you get when your food is fresh. BUY LOCAL. It’s just better!
If I told you that it’s possible to be well and have cancer, what would you say? In fact, some of the healthiest, most vibrant, enthusiastic, and energetic people I know have cancer.
With a cancer diagnosis there comes fear. Overwhelming, suffocating, blinding fear. And that’s ok. It’s normal. But after some time to digest the news – it’s important to move thru the fear and turn your attention to what you can do to improve your situation and live the life you want.
I have had the pleasure of meeting brave and stunning souls. Many of whom have faced the life they were given (and sometimes the death) with courage beyond what I thought humanly possibly.
One of the most powerful statements I have heard was from an inspiring 35 year old female patient who was diagnosed with breast cancer. It was a devastating diagnosis and would require aggressive treatment. After a few weeks of working together, she said the following, and it has stuck with me ever since:
“Cancer has given me permission to be the person I want to be.”
In an otherwise awful situation, she found opportunity. She started to create the life she had always wanted. (She is now 1 year cancer free and has started her own business doing the work she loves).
For some people it takes a life threatening diagnosis to make big changes.
There’s a lot of evidence to support the benefits of mindfulness, of being present. If nothing else, a cancer diagnosis can catapult a person into the present moment. Things that once seemed important become trivial and things we might have once ignored come clear into focus.
I think there are worse things then getting a shove towards being your authentic self.
When a person with cancer chooses to live in a way that reflects their highest self, healing will always happen. It may or may not mean cure, but healing is where the real magic is.
High doses of vitamin C are administered via an intravenous (IV) drip. The IV route allows much larger concentrations of vitamin C to circulate in the blood than is possible by taking oral vitamin C supplements. Often high doses of oral vitamin C cause digestive upset and diarrhea and cannot achieve high enough blood levels to have a cancer benefit.
What is IVC used for?
IVC is most commonly prescribed to:
improve quality of life
reduce cancer-treatment related symptoms including fatigue, nausea and lack of appetite
slow cancer progression
Does IVC work?
Most research has been conducted in the lab, using cells and animal models. Human studies are limited. Preliminary human studies, however, consistently show that IVC, alone or in combination with standard treatments, can reduce cancer symptoms, treatment side effects and improve quality of life. IVC should not be considered as a cure for cancer but as a powerfully beneficial aspect of an integrative plan.
A few small studies have looked at IVC in combination with standard care. In line with results from lab studies, these human studies show that IVC plus chemotherapy can slow cancer progression by reducing tumour size and decreasing tumour growth rate, as compared to chemotherapy alone.
How does IVC work?
Studies indicate IVC increases the production of hydrogen peroxide in the blood stream, which has been shown to cause cancer cell death while leaving normal cells unharmed. As opposed to vitamin C taken orally, vitamin C administered through an IV behaves as a pro-oxidant rather than an anti-oxidant and leads to the generation of free-radicals. Cancer cells do not have the necessary enzymes to breakdown hydrogen peroxide, causing the cancer cell to die.
Cancer cell lines that have exhibited sensitivity to the high doses of vitamin C that are possible through IV delivery include lymphoma, glioblastoma, bladder, prostate, liver, breast, cervix, ovary, colon and pancreas.
What are the side effects of IVC?
Side effects are mild and rare in most patients. Possible examples include diarrhea, loss of appetite, abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting, headache or mouth.
Is IVC safe?
Under most conditions, absolutely yes. However, IVC should not be administered to patients with renal failure, a history of kidney stone formation or those with a deficiency of the G6PD enzyme. Please contact Dr. Melissa Blake to discuss whether you are a good candidate for IVC therapy.
What is the recommended dose of IVC?
The goal of IVC treatment is to achieve a level of vitamin C in the blood stream of approximately 22mM (400mg/dL). My patients typically receive between 30g and 80g per infusion to achieve these levels. Extensive data show that doses up to 1.5g/kg of body weight are safe in a professionally monitored environment.
Treatments are generally administered 2-3 times per week during active treatment, and less often during a maintenance phase. Each treatment can last between 1 and 2 hours, depending on the dose.
The OICC has prepared this monograph, as part of a series of monographs being developed to share results of a review of the research evidence related to common therapies and products used within cancer patient care. The monograph is designed to summarize evidence-based research and does not advocate for or against the use of a particular therapy. Every effort is made to ensure the information included in this monograph is accurate at the time it is published. Please note that this monograph does not include an exhaustive list of all potential adverse events; individuals may experience unique side effects. The information in this monograph should not be interpreted as medical advice nor should it replace the advice of a licensed health care provider.
What is mistletoe therapy?
The liquid extract of the mistletoe plant has been used as an alternative method to treat cancer for close to a century! Mistletoe injections are currently among the most widely used unconventional cancer treatments in Europe. Estimated 80% of German and Swiss medical doctors advise cancer patients to use it as part of their protocol.
Primary actions: toxic to cancer cells, DNA protective, anti-inflammatory, immune modulation.
Is mistletoe effective for my type of cancer?
Mistletoe (sold as Iscador or Helixor) can be used in malignant and not-malignant tumors to stimulate immune function. When combined alongside conventional treatments, mistletoe has been shown to offset the side affects of chemotherapy/radiation like nausea, vomiting, and lack of appetite. It can also be used to diminish tumor-related pain and to reduce the risk of tumor recurrence.
Why are mistletoe treatments not available at cancer institutions in North America?
Even though it is used all over the world and proven effective in treating cancer, a clinical trial has not yet been done in North America. Until this happens, oncologists cannot offer this treatment as standard of care. Mistletoe can be prescribed by licensed naturopathic physicians who are trained in integrative oncology.
What does a mistletoe treatment look like?
Mistletoe is given as a subcutaneous injection (like an insulin shot, just below the skin) every 2-3 days. These injections can be done at home, making it a very cost effective treatment option.
Cost is dependant on personal response and required maintenance dose.
The ideal reaction to a mistletoe injection is a red flare or welt at the site – which indicated an immune system response. The welt may get red and itchy but should not exceed 2 inches in diameter and should vanish within 48 hrs. A good indication that the mistletoe is working is a slight increase in body temperature (1 C) within a few hrs of the injection and lasting no longer than 12 hrs after.
What benefits can I expect?
It is common to see tumour progression slow or stop, improved health, and reduced pain. Increased survival time is well documented. Quality of life is nearly always improved, including reduction in pain level, improved appetite, and general wellness.
What are the risks?
Negative side effects to mistletoe therapy are rare and minimized with the appropriate dose schedule. However, bruising as well as inflammatory reactions (which are desired and expected but can sometimes become problematic such as fever, flu-like symptoms, and headache) are possible.
*Notes: Deepest gratitude for Dr Neil McKinney, a naturopathic oncologist in Victoria, BC has over 30 years of experience working with cancer patients. He is a trusted source for mistletoe information and has seen a good response (improved quality of life, extended survival) in cases of advanced cancers.
Contact us for more information about the benefits and options of integrative cancer care.
More and more people are making the connection between how they feel and what they eat. Science is also connecting the dots, linking poor dietary choices with a variety of health conditions, including increased cancer risk.
In fact, it has been estimated that 30–40 percent of all cancers can be prevented by lifestyle and dietary measures alone.
However, when it comes to cancer prevention and care, there is a ton of conflicting information available about which foods prevent, or contribute, to cancer.
Good nutrition is a powerful tool – one that will definitely reduce your chances of having cancer, as well as improve your body’s response and overall outcome if you have cancer.
There are a few factors we cannot control that influence a person’s lifetime risk of getting cancer – but the rest you have the power to change!
Regardless of whether you want to prevent cancer, have cancer, are in remission, or simply want to improve your health – we could all use a boost in our nutritional superpowers.
Here are a few general suggestions to help improve your nutrition and supercharge your anti-cancer superpowers.
1. Kick refined sugar to the curb.
Refined sugar is the white stuff that is found literally everywhere. It’s a hidden ingredient in virtually every packaged food and we get WAY too much of it, often without even realizing it.
But don’t we need sugar to survive? All carbohydrates (including fruit, vegetables, whole grains, beans, etc) are broken down into sugar which the body uses to produce energy. We do not, however, need to eat sugar to survive.
Sugar consumption is especially harmful when it comes to cancer care – cancer cells require 18 times more sugar than normal cells. Sugar also has a negative impact on the immune system, a system we definitely want to have working to enhance our anti-cancer superpowers.
Refined sugar is a low nutrient junk food. Excessive sugar consumption is a leading cause of diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and cancer. It has ZERO nutritional value, causes insulin levels to spike, and inflammation to soar.
Unrefined flour products lack fibre, B vitamins, Vitamin E, and minerals and unfortunately these products make up a significant portion of the average North American’s diet.
Many studies have made a direct connection between blood sugar imbalance and cancer risk. Foods which contribute to high levels of blood sugar and insulin, such as refined sugar, foods containing refined sugar, and refined flour products should be avoided and eliminated from a cancer protective diet.
2. Eat Food.
What? Eat food? Please explain.
Unfortunately, groceries store sell much more than just food these days. In fact, they sell a lot of food-like products.
Real foods are ones that look the same or similar as when they were grown and picked – foods you would recognize without a label.
Real foods often do not come in a package, and if they do they have a very short ingredient list (5 ingredients or less and you should be able to pronounce them all).
Unrefined, “real” plant foods typically have an abundance of fibre. Studies have linked low fibre intake with increased rates of breast cancer. In a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2004, it was found that the higher the intake of vegetable, fruit and whole grain foods the lower the risk of rectal cancer. A threshold of about 5 daily servings of vegetables was needed to reduce cancer risk.
Real foods with specific anticancer superpowers include: flaxseeds, garlic, onions, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and brussels sprouts. These foods contain high amounts of protective nutrients such as selenium, folic acid, vitamin B-12, vitamin D, chlorophyll, and antioxidants.
For more information on real superfoods – check out a previous post that will definitely enhance your superpowers: Supercharge with Superfoods.
3. Avoid over eating.
Eating too much food is one of the main risk factors for cancer.
Obesity has reached epidemic proportions in the North America with over half the population considered obese or overweight. Overweight and obesity account for higher rates of certain cancers as well as higher death rates. Clearly, obesity is a major risk factor for cancer.
Studies repeatedly demonstrate the cancer-protective benefits of a lower calorie diet. A meta-analysis of 14 experimental studies found that energy restriction resulted in a 55% reduction in spontaneous tumors in laboratory mice.
So, too many calories is definitely counter-productive, and slightly less than normal is very advantageous. How do we implement this information on a regular basis?
Eating slowly and mindfully will reduce the chance that you will overeat.
Use smaller plates and give yourself time to digest before getting up for seconds. It takes a bit of time for the “I’m full” message to get from the stomach to the brain.
Focus on real foods – most of these food are low calorie and very filling…so you can actually eat fewer calories by eating more real food!
Get comfortable with the feeling of being full but not stuffed.
4. Buy local.
There are so many advantages to eating local food including local economy and global environmental factors. But did you know that eating locally produced food can also contribute to your anticancer superpowers?
Because locally grown foods don’t need to be stored or travel far to be sold, they often taste fresher and more flavorful. This is also because they are picked when they are ripe, and not left to ripen off the vine or in a warehouse. Evidence shows that these factors give locally grown produce a higher nutritional value than produce transported long distances. This means we get bigger doses of protective vitamins and minerals in every serving.
Whenever possible, choose locally grown, organic food. Another great resource is the Environmental Working Group’s list of the most and least contaminated crops. By avoiding the heavily contaminated crops you can reduce your chemical exposure by as much as 50%.
5. Avoid Eating Your Emotions.
Perhaps the most toxic of all food is not a food at all – but an emotion.
If there was one poison I could recommend that everyone stop consuming – it is negative emotions. Fear and guilt are especially toxic.
Food and emotions go hand in hand – many of us have experienced guilt after induling or fear about what to eat and what not to eat. These negative emotions can actually cause more harm than the foods themselves.
So, although nutrition is extremely important to health and wellbeing – how you FEEL about your food may be even more important.
Healthy food CAN taste delicious. But once in a while it is ok to stray from an ideal diet – as long as you bask in the moment, ENJOY, and then LET IT GO!
To summarize, I couldn’t imagine saying it better than the wonderful food author, Michael Pollan. Following his simple, concise advice will definitely strengthen your anticancer superpowers.
I’m in love with naturopathic medicine. Being an ND brings me so much joy, I cannot fathom doing anything else with my life. For so many reasons, I believe everyone can benefit from having an ND on their healthcare team.
Here are my top 5 reasons why YOU should see a Naturopathic Doctor.
#1. You suffer from (fill in the blank).
We get calls to the office everyday asking, “Can Dr. Blake help me with my depression/cancer/stress/pain/digestive concerns/high blood pressure/nutrition…etc.” The answer is always YES! No matter what your current state of health, naturopathic medicine offers a variety of different tools to help YOU prevent disease, reduce symptoms, and overall improve quality of life.
I have chosen specialties, areas of expertise in which I have a particular passion and have pursued additional education. It can be a good idea to seek that kind of specialized care for certain conditions. My areas of focus include:
Integrative cancer care (offering surgery/radiation/chemo support protocols as well as naturopathic cancer treatments such as tailored nutritional plans, therapeutic supplements, IV vitamin C, artemisinin, and mistletoe injections)
IV therapy (ex. IV Vitamin C, EDTA chelation, Myers cocktails, Magnesium drips, B vitamin injections, glutathione, immune boosters, etc.)
Mental health (ex. depression, anxiety, OCD, stress management)
Naturopathic medicine is a science-based tradition that promotes wellness by identifying the unique aspects of each patient and uses non-toxic natural therapies to restore his or her physiological, psychological, and structural balance.
The longer I am in practice, the more amazed I am about the power of natural remedies, nutrition, and mind-body medicine. There’s a tremendous amount of scientific literature to back up everything I do in practice – but I also believe the proof is in the pudding and continue to do what I do because of the amazing healing I see happening on a daily basis.
#3. You would like to have a relationship with your primary health care provider and play a role in your health plan.
As a naturopathic doctor, I have been trained to understand the art of healing, which is more than recommending a nutritional change, dispensing an herbal remedy, or prescribing a supplement. To understand the details and individuality of a patient’s illness, it takes time. One of my favourite parts about being an ND is that I get to hear each person’s story. This is a great honour and plays a huge role in my naturopathic approach to health.
I believe that effective naturopathic treatment requires patience and good communication – between doctor and patient, as well as other health care professionals and family members that a patient may choose to involve in their care.
I often ask my patients “What do you think is going on?” or “Here are some options, what would you like to do?”. I believe that each individual is the expert when it comes to their health. Ultimately, when given all the information necessary to make informed choices, YOU are the best person for the job.
#4. You want a healthcare professional who will look at the whole picture.
NDs don’t treat symptoms, they treat people. Everything is connected in the body and treating one symptom in isolation will never lead to cure.
A symptom is literally the tip of the iceberg – a sign of something bigger. The real issue lies under the surface and with careful questioning, a physical exam, quality testing, and some trial and error, the answers can be found and the body can achieve healing and optimal health.
#5. You have been told “everything is normal” but still don’t feel your best.
I often see patients who are at the end of their rope….they feel awful but their blood work always comes back normal or they’ve tried several different medications but nothing has helped. So, partly in desperation, they come to see me.
Luckily, naturopathic doctors are often successful at treating chronic conditions that don’t respond to conventional medicine.
NDs look outside of the blood work box. There are so many wonderful, effective ways to determine an imbalance in the body, and blood work is not always the best option. Saliva, urine, hair, and stool testing, as well as a comprehensive physical exam and history, can provide objective data to help determine the cause of the problem you are experiencing.
In my practice I ask a lot of questions patients are not use to answering. I take the time to dive into their history, review any tests that have been done, and take into account all aspects of health; mind, body, and spirit.