My first visit to a naturopathic doctor

naturopathic-doctor
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I finally got around to a few of my health goals for 2013 that I wrote about at the beginning of this year! Last week was my first visit to a Naturopathic Doctor, and I left the appointment feeling more motivated and empowered that I ever have after leaving the office of my General Practitioner.

Now don’t get me wrong – there is a time and a place for the General Practitioner and the traditional medical system. As a kidney stone former, I don’t know where I would have ended up without the emergency medical care that I received. On the flip side, I’m tired of the “15 minutes per patient, per issue” system, along with the “having symptoms? here’s some drugs to suppress them” method. For years now I’ve lived with cold-like symptoms that I thought may have been allergies. My GP’s advice was to spray some steroids up my nose. My cousin’s advice (soon to be an ND) was to quit dairy. Steroid spray resulted in nose bleeds. Quitting dairy resulted in cleared sinuses, easy breathing and deeper sleeps.

After the past few months of getting my “well-being” ducks in a row, including going to the dentist for the first time in 6 years and getting 6 cavities filled (one per year isn’t bad right?!), I felt like it was time to focus on preventative medical care, rather than responding to symptoms after they occur. Husbie and I have already made the move to eating cleaner, buying our meat fresh from a butcher and cutting down on refined sugars and processed foods, but I still experience food sensitivity. I’ve been dealing with fairly regular upset stomach and indigestion, so I made an appointment with an ND to see what the experience would be like.

The entire process started with homework to complete before my appointment, consisting of an in-depth 11 page document about my medical history that I was required to fill out. I was surprised at the level of detail. Note to self: start keeping a medical journal. This document took me at least 2-3 hours to fill out. To be honest, filling it out got me excited because no medical practitioner has ever asked me so many questions about my medical history.

The initial appointment was about an hour and a half long. My naturopathic doctor is kind, patient and confident. I felt immediately at ease, and I felt like she LISTENED. She took the time to address each of my medical concerns in detail. She suggested a food sensitivity test which will test my blood against 96 different foods including a variety of fruits, vegetables, dairy products, bread products etc. Not only will this test tell me which foods I am sensitive to, it will tell me on a scale of 1-10 HOW sensitive I am to each food!

elimination-diet
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Along with the food sensitivity test I’m doing an Elimination Diet for a month. You could think of it as resetting the body and starting with a clean slate. It means cutting out all red meat, dairy, gluten, some fruits and veggies (oranges and corn!), coffee, black teas, alcohol, most condiments and sweeteners, and CHOCOLATE. Once the month is up we will slowly introduce these things back into my diet one by one and note the results. Husbie is being really supportive and he’s sticking to the diet with me which is incredibly comforting. I’m so lucky to have a man who believes in me and encourages me to be the best I can be. We’re currently a week in and I’ll admit that it’s tough, but I’m learning about replacing foods I used to love with more healthy options, like dates instead of sugar – delicious! We’re also getting really creative with chicken and fish, and we’re eating loads more fresh fruit and veggies.

I will definitely keep updating as this path towards a new proactive lifestyle continues! I’m really excited and I feel so empowered in regards to my own health. It’s definitely the beginning of something great.

4 Comments

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  1. This is really hitting home. I’ve been dealing with a perpetual upset stomach for my whole adult hood, that only let up while I was pregnant. Who is your doctor, and how would I go about finding a naturopath?

    • Cassandra, if you live in the Edmonton area, my naturopathic doctor is Dr. Alysha Somji, and she works at the Optimum Wellness Clinic in the Blue Quill area of the city. She’s really wonderful! If not, a few great resources for finding a Naturopath near you are here, or here. It really does make a world of change. How you feel physically can so strongly affect all other aspects of life. Good luck on your personal journey towards better health!

  2. Love it! It is unbelievable the extent of impact diet can have on one’s body. We have been educated about it since we were young, “you are what you eat”, but those words are difficult to take at face value. Because the direct correlation can’t be seen, it is extremely difficult to see the cause and effect relationship food can expel onto the body. It’s really hard to make those kinds of changes, and very impressive. Keep it up, Nicole!

    -Shannon

    • Shannon, you have no idea how great it was to read this! The reactions to this decision have been very mixed and I so appreciate words of encouragement because it’s definitely not an easy decision. Your vitamix instagram clips are making me smile and make me realize there are other people eating clean out there! We should have a baking date :)

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