My Journey to Naturopathy: Part 1

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My first visit with the Naturopath Doctor was exciting.

In a 1-hour consultation, I felt like we made more progress with my health issues than the past few years with my regular family physician.

My regular family physician tends to dismiss everything I tell him and I feel like I’ve had no resolve for any of my digestive and reproductive issues. [I’m not saying that all family physicians are like this. I know there are great doctors out there.] I’m looking for a new doctor, but no one seems to be taking on new patients right now, especially because I already have a physician. I would have to first terminate my relationship with my current doctor and go on a wait list, which of course is a big risk when I’m not guaranteed to find a doctor right away. So I’m still on the hunt.

This is partly what made me seek out a Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine. Because it’s a private health care service, finding a doctor is easy and quick. The only downside is the cost. My insurance covers $15 per appointment, so most of the expense is coming out of my pocket. I’ve heard so many great things about ND’s, so I feel like the benefit will outweigh the cost.

I arrived about 15 minutes early and was greeted by the ND himself. He gives me a warm smile with kind eyes, while shaking my hand with what I think is the gentlest handshake I’ve ever felt. I feel like I’m crushing his hand and I quickly loosen my grip. I’m given a few forms to fill out which are mainly about my health history and present concerns that I would like to address. After filling out about 4 pages, we head into his exam room for the consultation.

The next hour was life changing.

After a brief chat, the doctor told me about his training and background. Impressive to say the least.

“What do you know about Naturopathy?”

Oh shit.

I mumbled something about treating the whole person and made wild gestures with my hands.

He smiled and nodded in a way that made me feel like a genius. I like him already.

I learned that Naturopathy is based on a holistic approach to health. In other words, it looks at the person as a whole. All of the psychological, physical, and social issues that make us who we are today are taken into account. You cannot treat an illness until you find and address the root cause of the illness. The goal is to help the body heal itself rather than using medication (unless necessary, of course).

The doctor told me that his main areas of clinical interest are gastrointestinal health, detoxification, and treatment of anxiety and stress related disorders.  

The next hour was filled with relief. He listened to me as if what I was saying was the most important thing in the world. He didn’t dismiss anything I said. He was empathetic.

He even cracked jokes when he sensed that I was starting to squirm when talking about my poop.

That’s a good doctor.

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christinamom7 August 18, 2014

I’ve been suffering with candida and yeast imbalance for some time and have tried a number of remedies recommended by my Naturopath. I was keen to the Lady Soma Candida Cleanse, because it is an all in one candida cleanse, containing anti-fungals, enzymes and probiotics, so I only need to take one product, instead of a whole series of different formulations. I took the full dose to begin with, and was pleased with the results, which started to kick in within about a week. Now I just take 1 capsule per day of the Lady Soma pill as a maintenance dose and that seems to be keeping things under control for me. For the first time, I feel like I have found a simple long term solution to keeping my candida at bay.

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Corrie March 4, 2014

Hello Angela,

I have recently discovered your website after, again, experiencing very painful gallbladder attacks. As a former student of Nutrition/Dietetics, I strongly believe in the power of nutrition and how it can prevent and treat many illnesses. What I am finding, again, on my new health journey, is how many people in general, including MD’s and Nurses, do not feel the same way as I about the significance of nutrition. I, as you, felt as if the doctors I spoke with were not fully listening to my concerns, my suggestions, and overall my view-point. None of my arguments were taken into account as if I was just some ignorant person who just experienced my first attack and didn’t know a thing about the situation. They were not interestest in my opinions, my eating habits, how my past likely influenced my problems. The Doctor I spoke to was actually quite rude to me and the other doctor I spoke to made this funny smile at me every time I talked about how eating healthy again, specificallyl going Vegan again might really help me. I was not asked to talk to a Nutritionist and was simply given a note that asked me to eat “bland” low-fat foods until my gallbladder was removed. Being the Foodie that I am, I was somewhat insulted by how the third Doctor viewed healthy food, food that is not loaded with fats and Cholesterol as bland. Whenever I mentioned the idea of keeping my gallbladder and going Vegan people laughed at me. “Why eat healthy when you can get it taken out and eat what you want?” “Why waste your money on organic food?” “Eating Vegan will not help you.” “You will never get the protein you need if you go Vegan.” What is interesting is that now that I am eating mostly vegan foods, I have not had any noticeable health issues. Of course, I probably should eventually have it taken out, but still believe that I should continue eating mainly vegan foods after it’s gone. I know it will very much benefit me more than people understand. I just wanted to say that I am thankful that there are people out there, like yourself, who believe in the power of food. My dream is to prove many people wrong. To help people understand that food can change your life and that even if you are an MD or have a Nursing Degree, it does not necessarily mean you fully understand the main cause or treatment of an illness. We are still discovering new findings, daily, about nutrition and our bodies. Everyone’s body is different, every situation is different, and I have this feeling that certain people are not taking the time, or are not given the time, to really research a client’s illness or give them the care they need. Just my thoughts.

Thank you!

Corrie Cunningham

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Jenny November 14, 2013

Loved this! I had a lip/skin issue all summer. I saw 3 doctors and one specialist. Nothing helped. I went to see a woman who had just gotten her naturopath certificate (degree?) and not only was it super affordable, she helped me solve many problems in two visits. Who knew my body wasn’t producing enough bile to digest foods and I had free roaming toxins causing so many ills? Now I’m newer than new…I love seeing how people are looking for alternative was to heal!

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hkhkhk August 9, 2013

have you been back to the naturopath or are you still seeing him? i’m curious to hear about what additional treatment, etc he has recommended.

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Andrea@pencilsandpancakes May 29, 2013

I’ve had terrible luck with doctors just feeding me medication and am thinking about seeing a neuropath for a whole myriad of issues. Price is holding me back.

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Aubrey May 31, 2012

Angela, I definitely think you are on the right track seeing an alternative doctor for digestive problems. I have suffered from horrible digestion my whole life (and so has my mom, grandmother and great grandmother –so I think it’s genetic) and my mom and I started seeing a traditional Chinese herbal doctor last year. My problems (as did my mom’s) completely went away! I never knew that food didn’t have to be painful. Now I can eat just about anything (as long as it’s semi healthy) without a problem :) All the best to you! Keep us posted on your experience!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) May 31, 2012

Thanks for your best wishes!

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Jessica November 20, 2011

I also suffer from digestive issues and ovarian cysts. I was vegan for 5 years and had to starting eating meat and other animal products again because my body simply cannot digest whole grains very well. I suffered for years from bloat and constipation despite being extremely active and drinking lots of water. I now avoid almost all grains because the high fiber content is too harsh on my body. I also try to eliminate as much sugar as possible and as a result I feel much better. On a vegan diet I also noticed that I was emotionally more unstable than I am usually am. I felt cognitively sluggish and very moody.

I understand that diet is a very personal choice, and me making the decision to stop being vegan wasn’t easy. I always support local farmers and make sure what I consume was procured as humanely as possible. In the end, I feel so much better mentally and physically now that I stick to a more well-rounded diet without an emphasis on grains and sugar. I hope you’re able to come to a resolution that you can be happy with concerning your diet.

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Tiffany November 14, 2011

I will never regret going to an Naturopath Doctor. I had had digestive problems since I was a teenager (about the past 15 years) after 4 weeks after seeing the Naturopath doctor and doing everything she told me to do, I had no digestive issues. It was incredible! I tell everybody about it and recommend anyone and everyone to make the switch!

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Kitty October 12, 2011

Hi Angela, seeing a Naturopath is great step towards whole health, they’re very popular here in Oz. Hearing how expensive medical treatment is in the States, I’d recommend seeing an ND who is skilled in complementary therapies like acupuncture, live blood analysis etc. that way you get the most out of your visits. BTW if you’ve got sensitive gut issues, live blood analysis might be of help to pinpoint causes. It’s fascinating stuff.
Thanks for your inspirational blogging :) Kitty

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Ally Chick October 8, 2011

Hi Angela. Just wondering when you are going to write Part 2 of your journey to Naturopathy? We are all looking forward to reading it with gusto.

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Sabrina October 5, 2011

Hi Angela!
I’ve been following your blog for about the last year when one of my vegan friends introduced me to it. I’m currently a student at the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine in Arizona and can’t even express how happy I was to see you taking an active interest in the profession, and especially about how positive your first experience was! I’m sure there are others out there who read your blog who will be inspired by your experience and that this will help the profession to grow!
Congratulations on making the first step towards holistic wellness and I hope the rest of your journey is successful in achieving all your health needs!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) October 6, 2011

Hey Sabrina, goodluck with your studies and future career in naturopathic medicine. How exciting!

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Jenny October 5, 2011

Would love to hear part 2 of the story!

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Tracy @ Commit to Fit October 4, 2011

I just went to a new ND for the first time and in 15 minutes, he was pretty much able to sum up all of my health issues (that I have been trying to figure out for more than 5 years) and talk about a plan of attack. I was in love.

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Courtney October 4, 2011

I’ve been thinking about becoming a naturopathic doctor, and your post inspired me to really look into it. I’m actually an under physics major, but my passion is waning and I’ve realized I spend most of my spare time researching nutrition and natural cures, so thanks for inspiring me to really look into it! I’ve talked to several naturopathic doctors in my town, and they’ve all been super friendly and are going to let me shadow them so I can see what it’s really like!

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Janiek October 4, 2011

Sounds like a nice, good doctor to me. Exited to read p2.

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Christie October 4, 2011

Funny you should post this just this week… I have been thinking about going to see a Naturopath for quite a while now, and being on school holidays from Kindy this week I am researching and hopefully booking an appointment! I always thought ND consultations could be valuable, but I never really thought I had anything they could help me fix… until about a year ago I gained a patch of eczma under one arm, and am getting increasing digestive and hormonal issues… now its my turn I think! Let us know how you get on!

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Ann October 4, 2011

Angela
I have only recently discovered your blog, and have been loving it since, so I apologize if this is old news, but wanted to let you know that you aren’t alone in your struggle to find a good doc. For more than a yr now I have been struggling to find answers to my digestive problems and have been very frustrated with conventional doctors who have repeatedly given me worthless advice, have seemed less informed than I regarding alternative diets, and have been dismissive of my symptoms. Don’t give up! I am trying several alternative practitioners (now simultaneously so I can hopefully speed up the process)–a chiropractor and a homeopathic dr–as well as a new gi doc (who I think is much better than the others). I also was weary of the costs involved and after many conversations with the insurance co realized I would have to be willing to pay the full price because it seems insurance won’t commit to any coverage until they get a bill (which I have to pay up front since so often they don’t cover homeopathic medicine). Anyway, I decided I had to try despite the costs. So I am waiting for results from some allergy testing etc and hoping that btw the 3 people I am seeing I can find a workable solution. I think I wasted too much time believing that my first gi dr knew what he was doing and want to encourage you to keep looking until you feel you are really being listened to and don’t be afraid to keep asking for better answers. Good luck and best wishes for relief. And, to totally change the subject, I love your ideas and recipes and thank you for inspiring me in the kitchen (even with extensive food restrictions)!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) October 4, 2011

Thanks for your encouragement Ann :) I wish you all the best with your test results and finding a solution!

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Lisa October 3, 2011

For those who can’t afford to see an ND, I strongly suggest looking for a DO (Doctor of Osteopathy). They are normal docs (you may even see one and not know it) but they are trained to have a more “whole body” approach. I have a DO primary care and also had one as my surgeon last year. They really listen to you and many will be happy to explore alternative treatments with you.

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MaDeja October 1, 2011

I am having very similar digestive problems to yours. A few months ago I became very ill due to stomach problems that I have yet to discover. I lost 10 pounds, on an average I weigh 90-93 pounds, and I was so weak that I could not even leave my bed. I’ve been to many doctors and recently I found an MD that I am in love with; he thinks that I may have a wheat allergy. A cat scan also revealed, then, that I had a cyst on one of my ovaries. I feel better, but it is really hard bc I get pains, am very fatigued, and a college student.
Although, I do not and have not eaten pork for 10 years, your vegan diet is really inspiring. I’ve stopped eating all red meats at 10. I sincerely enjoy your posts. Would you please give me ideas on what works for you. Most food (especially oily/fried, breads, and meats) makes me feel as though I have to vomit.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) October 2, 2011

I hope your symptoms improve! That does not sound like any fun. I can relate to the pain of the cysts.
As for diet, Ive been trying to eat more vegetables/fruit and more protein than usual. It seems to be helping a lot.

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Jenn October 1, 2011

I love my naturopath… and my regular MD! My MD has a degree in Eastern Medicine as well and prefers that route when the patient agrees! I am sooo lucky!

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Hayley @ Oat Couture October 1, 2011

Really glad to hear you had such a good experience with Naturopathy! I’m a big believer in the work they do and I can’t wait to read part 2! Best of luck with it all love!

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Charissa October 1, 2011

I also can’t wait to read part two. The last time I went to the doctor to discuss digestive issues I ran into the same kind of problems that really left me feeling like it’s all in my head and that my visit was completely pointless. It’s why I don’t like going to the doctor but am interested to see what your doctor said.

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Ricki September 30, 2011

I feel very lucky that part of my visits to an ND are covered by my workplace health insurance. I have the biggest crush ever on my ND and the utmost respect for his abilities as a healthcare provider. When conventional medicine let me down again and again over my candida issues, he is the one who took me in, treated me with patience, respect and intelligence, and helped me to get better. Worth every single penny.

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Carrie @ No More Tomorrows September 30, 2011

I just discovered you. I’m SO glad I did!! I have been wanting to go the naturopathic route as well. Your post on it was perfect timing for me. Thank you so much for sharing!

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Christen September 30, 2011

I need more of this article!!! I just recently went to a naturopath here in Orlando, FL …and my guy….while nice…he was quite odd…and i was there for 4 HOURS!! uuggghhh… he didnt outline (linearly) what my issues where…and didnt correlate what suppliments tied to what issue he identifed in my body……I’d love to hear more about your exp. and more about naturopathic health in general!! So glad you took a step in that direction! and THANK YOU for writing about it!!!

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Cortnie September 30, 2011

I’m so happy for you, Angela! It’s always awesome to find someone who actually listens to you and is willing to help. I can’t wait to hear more about this journey with Naturopathy. I was recommended to your blog by a friend when she found out I was intent on entering a vegan lifestyle – your recipes and bright outlook have already inspired me so much!

xo
cortnie

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Melanie September 30, 2011

Glad you had such a great experience with your visit to the Naturopath. I am so fortunate because my sister is an N.D. They are so knowledgeable and wonderful! Would love to hear more about your visit!

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vv September 30, 2011

Hey Angela!! Your visit to the Neuropath doctor sure went well!! I wish I could visit one too!!! I’m facing similar digestion issues like you and have been for a few years now! I recently started visiting a doctor who practices Traditional Chinese Medicine in hopes of fininding a solution to my problems since my regualr family physician wasn’t helping much!! Would love to hear more about your progress and your next visit to the Neuropath doctor! :)

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VeggieGirl September 30, 2011

Wow! Wish I could afford a naturopath doctor!

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Claire September 30, 2011

I can’t wait to read part 2! I actually work with MDs for a living and have been really frustrated because they never listen to me and always want to medicate my problems rather than look to what the root cause may be. I am VERY lucky because I actually found an MD an another institution who is very holistic and I love her…and she is covered by my insurance. She is also a vegan (as am I) which I think is great because my previous MDs all thought I was crazy for being vegan. I am really happy for you that you found a ND that you love!

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