Why You Should Consider Visiting a Naturopath in the New Year

This post is a little different than my usual recipes.  As you may know, when I'm developing recipes, my goal is to use whole food ingredients that are good for your body and good for our animal friends (aka vegan).

But today I wanted to get a little personal with you and talk about my health and yours.  I'm going to tell you about my problems and how I've tried to solve them.

My Story
Flashback to 2007: I was working as a tenth grade English teacher in Florida and having the best year ever.  I was teaching some wonderful students and felt truly rewarded with my job.  My personal life was as good as could be expected: I had many friends and a boyfriend.  Although this was one of the best years of my life, it was also one of the most stressful.  Being constantly on the go, I had trouble sleeping and winding down.  Throughout the year, I used lavender essential oils to help me sleep and relax.  I thought the stress would pass when the school year ended.

But it didn't.

In June 2008, I attended a friend's wedding and planned to get a dog (my Clem!), something I had been wanting to do for years.  Once things had calmed down, I spent the rest of the month training Clem and trying to relax.  I felt like a switch had flipped inside me.  I no longer felt bubbly, happy, or social.  Something was wrong.

I thought things would be better once I had a routine and got back to school, but - again - they weren't.

That school year was a blur.  My students were much more challenging than the previous year and I wasn't up for the task.  My relationship with my boyfriend became strained because we lived far apart and he worked long hours.  I didn't have the energy to make it work.  I became more of a loner, so I didn't see a lot of my friends.  I knew that I couldn't go on like this.

I'm an assertive, proactive person.  I've been that way my whole life.  When something's not working, I fix it.  I was a mess.  I thought I was severely depressed; I'd struggled with anxiety issues my whole life.  So I decided to change everything about my life.  I quit my job, broke up with my boyfriend, and moved back to my native Pennsylvania.  Problem solved, right?

Eventually, I got another job and relied on friends and family to pick me up, but not much changed.  I went to the doctor and he prescribed anti-depressants.  I was on them for about six to eight months, but I didn't feel any different.  I just plowed through the fog.  

This foggy time wasn't a bust: I met my husband, enjoyed my job, and made new friends.  My wedding was pretty stressful; we got married in February 2013.  I still thought that I was depressed and had anxiety, so I went back on anti-depressants and started seeing a therapist.  Long story short, after seeing her for a few months, she said there was pretty much nothing wrong with me.  She didn't offer me any natural options or ideas.  I'm not sure why.

The Naturopath
Fast-forward to now: I frequently drive by a naturopath office called The Natural Path.  According to Bastyr University, naturopathic medicine "is a distinct system of primary health care that emphasizes prevention and the self-healing process through the use of natural therapies. Naturopathic doctors (NDs) blend centuries-old knowledge and a philosophy that nature is the most effective healer with current research on health and human systems."  These methods identify "the underlying causes of disease, while naturopathic therapies are supported by research drawn from peer-reviewed journals from many disciplines, including naturopathic medicine, conventional medicine" as well as many others.  

Take heart burn, for example.  Conventional medicine often offers pills to heart burn sufferers to mask the symptoms of heart burn.  Naturopathic medicine looks at the patient's diet and lifestyle and asks him or her to change it in order to eliminate the problem.  It's more difficult because it's up to you to change, but the results can be amazing.

I signed up for a Quantitative Fluid Analysis (QFA), which analyzes one's urine and saliva after 12-14 hours of fasting.  The naturopath is checking your body's pH levels and mineral content, among other things.  Through the QFA, iridology, and blood type analysis, my naturopath constructed my health plan.

Iridology
The Natural Path states, "The study of the iris provides the practitioner a simple, unobtrusive and economical means of looking into the body. Iridology is an integral part of our preventative medicine program, allowing for the ability to warn a person of impending ill health and avoid more serious symptoms. By examining markings, discolorations, textures and other iris signs, the practitioner is readily able to analyze the health level of all the body symptoms in a quick easy and non-invasive method."

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The Blood Type Diet
Based on your blood type, there are certain foods that are beneficial to you and certain foods that are harmful.  Naturopath Peter D'Adamo has written a few books on the subject and it might be worth checking out from your local library.  

What It Means for Me
My naturopath accurately (I believe) told me that I have severe adrenal fatigue (from years of stress) and my body has never recovered.  Because of this fatigue and digestive issues, my body can't absorb all of the nutrients and minerals that it needs.  She put me on two magnesium supplements, a digestive enzyme, and a probiotic.  My head feels less foggy and my digestion is much better.  From January to June, I'm going to do my best to follow this directive and diet to see if it makes a difference, although the diet it going to be tough!  Type O's have to avoid gluten, dairy, and some of my other favorite foods.  I will give this diet a chance to see if it makes a difference in my life.

For the first time in years, I feel hopeful.  I feel like my naturopath listened to me and my concerns - and she didn't try to just mask the symptoms, but to fix the underlying problems.  I encourage you to look for a naturopath in your area to help you feel better; life's too short to feel terrible.

Cheers & Happy New Year,
-Aileen