Naturopathic doctors evaluate an individual’s health status and nutritional status by obtaining a thorough medical and dietary history. Naturopathic physicians may also use laboratory testing to reveal specific information regarding a patient’s health status.
Your history, laboratory testing and current health status are combined with the doctor’s knowledge of biochemistry and human physiology to determine the best dietary recommendations for you.
Your naturopathic doctor will use this knowledge to educate you about dietary influences on your symptoms or the progression of a diagnosis you may have received. It is this education piece that empowers you to make healthy lifestyle decisions.
This is a common question I’ve heard. Or, the other variation, “Can’t we get all of our vitamins and minerals from food?” And, I honestly wish it was that way for all of us. Whole foods are amazing and nutritious and beautiful!
However, these days, even the most ethically produced and harvested organic diet with a rainbow of color variations in produce is unlikely to fulfill your nutritional needs. This is because we have harvested on the same plots of lands for so long we have depleted much of the nutrients that were once available.1 There are many other economical and political factors that play into mass produced foods as well.
Nutritional supplements and herbal medicines can help us to fill in the nutritional gaps. After evaluating your medical and dietary history, laboratory tests, and your current health status, your naturopathic doctor will carefully choose nutrients necessary for you and help you live a healthier life.
Please be wary of over the counter or Amazon supplements. Not all supplements are created equal. I (Dr. Ching) am happy to assist you in evaluating safe, efficacious supplement brands and distributors.
Still though, a diverse diet plentiful with organic produce requires less supplementation! I encourage you to continue to eat diverse and wholesome foods but also be individually evaluated for your nutritional needs. A naturopathic doctor can help you with that!
As you may have guessed, the answer is no. Truthfully, I would love if everyone could eat everything with no consequences. Variety is the spice of life as they say! More than that, food variety is extremely important for diversity in the gut microbiome and therefore vital for maintaining a healthy, vibrant life.
We all have different tolerances to foods. Some of us break down and metabolize all grains well and have no issues. Others can’t be in the same room as cooking oats. I was once on an air plane with a peanut butter treat as my flight snack only to find out there was another passenger whom was deathly allergic and I wasn’t able to even open my packaged treat on the plane.
It is important to recognize that food sensitivities often go unnoticed and chronic inflammation or symptoms could be caused by or exacerbated by a “hidden” food sensitivity.
Take me for example, I had chapped lips that I coated in all forms of lip balm from the age of 8 until a wise naturopath suggested I consider I may have a food sensitivity. Low and behold, I only wear lip balm to protect my lips from the desert’s dry weather, wind burn and sun burn now!
Naturopathic Medicine values the individuality of all people. The optimal diet for you depends on an evaluation of your nutritional status and your body’s current metabolism and tolerance levels. Other factors that play into dietary choices are accessibility, time and convenience, and financial means.
Somethings we can’t control or readily change, like: true food allergies; ability to absorb nutrients and use them; the fact that we live in the high desert and affordable, organic produce is not as easy to come by as in the Willamette Valley; the minutes in a day; or, the amount of money you can allocate toward your nutrition after paying the bills. Your naturopathic doctor will work with you to optimize your nutrition given your current health status and life situation.