The Beginning of my Naturopathic Health Journey

I’ve always been keenly interested in how all life forms including we as humans’ function. During my undergrad in biology at Brock University and through scientific research experiences, I found there are far more questions than answers. Although much is known about how we function, little is known about our interaction with other organisms, various environmental conditions including chemicals and environmental pollutants, and other “stressors”.

Upon graduating from Brock, I had every intention to continue with the scientific research route of my career in biological sciences, when I discovered Naturopathic Medicine from an advertisement in the Brock Press. I visited the naturopathic college in Toronto, started doing some reading about holistic approaches to wellness, and spent time with naturopathic doctors. I was intrigued and knew very soon that I would pursue this challenging and rewarding profession that does indeed fulfil a growing public need.

In the meantime, I was having some of my own health concerns. Chronic headaches, seasonal allergies/hayfever, recurring colds had become the norm for me.

I thought I understood my body….

Since I was a child, I suffered from frequent migraines and other types of headaches. I was very adept at knowing what kind and what strength of pain-reliever I would need, depending on the type of headache I was getting. I knew how to cope with these debilitating headaches. It was very easy. I stopped all activities, took some OTC or prescription drugs, lied down quietly in a dark room, tried to sleep, and waited for the pain to subside.

I also knew how to treat my new condition known as seasonal allergies and hayfever, which I developed after I graduated from Brock. Basically, I didn’t go outside much, stayed in air-conditioning and took Benedryl or pseudoephedrine when I did have to go outside.

Why was I getting these chronic ailments in the first place?

I went to see a naturopathic doctor, and through this process, I became aware that my body was trying to tell me something! Underlying my symptoms, I had food sensitivities, liver congestion, and numerous vitamin and mineral deficiencies from sub-optimal dietary habits.

After much study going through the 4-year intensive naturopathic program, I began to get a more accurate glimpse of the subtle workings of the human body, and of the uniqueness of my body (everyone is unique). I began to understand how one symptom could mean any number of things and that all the parts are working together, much like a symphony. I also began to understand how my body is supposed to feel when it is working optimally.

I started to look at things from a new perspective, from a holistic perspective – each organ, each symptom intimately related and affected by the other. How were my bowel movements? Were they loose, irregular or regular? Why did I get pains in my stomach? What did these signs and symptoms mean?

I realized that what I did to my body was the biggest cause of my ailments. I began to question and observe. What was the purpose of that doughnut, pop, coffee, and/or chocolate bar that I just ate? Was there any nutritional value in these convenience foods? If not, how are they affecting me? What did that night of over-indulging of rich food and alcohol do to my liver? My most severe headaches always came on when I was doing too much, not getting enough sleep and not taking care of myself. Isn’t it interesting that my sinuses became congested, I felt tired and my knees were sore after eating too much wheat, sugar or dairy and not enough fruits and vegetables?

I gradually began to make lifestyle, dietary and nutritional changes for myself, and watched my chronic health problems disappear. As a result, it has become second nature for me to pass this practical knowledge to my patients.