I am no stranger to trying anything to heal my body from the inside out. I’ve love to get off my medication for Lupus and Sjogren’s 100% and I won’t stop fighting for my health, even if that day never comes.
I started looking at everything I was doing, going back to basics and trying elimination diets like removing gluten, then removing dairy.
I even started celery juicing every morning – which has been transformative for my digestive health!
But, I kept slowly putting on weight, having more anxiety and insomnia and feeling more stiffness and body pain. I know a lot of this was stress related from all the surprises in 2020, but I also knew I needed to stay on top of it to keep things from spiraling out of control.
Why I Looked for a Naturopathic Doctor:
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I have great respect for modern medicine and what it can do. But, I don’t think it’s the whole picture. I do think food is medicine, too, and mindset can be medicine, as well. All of these things add up to putting a lot of importance on what we are doing at home to heal and support our bodies and health, in addition to seeking out reputable, trustworthy doctors to fill in the missing pieces.
So, please don’t take this to mean that I don’t trust my rheumatologist. After all, it was my rheumatologist that told me about the eye drops I am obsessed with every day and also encouraged me to start reformer pilates classes, which has probably been the single most effective change I’ve made for chronic pain.
But, I knew that if I went back to her with what I’m experiencing, the reaction would most likely be a medication bandaid: i.e., up my meds.
Since my goal is really the opposite, I thought it was time to add in another level, a new approach, a fresh perspective, and that meant saving up my hard-earned money to pay out of pocket to see a naturopathic doctor.
And, now, I’m going to tell you everything about it.
How To Find a Naturopathic Doctor:
We’ve all heard the cliche that naturopaths are all quacks. I don’t always agree with those theories. I’ve had great success in the past with other scoffed at natural remedies, like acupuncture and meditation.
I truly believe our minds are super powerful and sometimes we just need new ways to get our minds to keep doing the heavy, heavy lifting of carrying us through health issues like autoimmune diseases.
So, I did some research on what to do look for and I knew I wanted someone who had an actual NMD or naturopathic medical doctorate from an accredited university. I also wanted someone with a wide range of approaches, who seemed well-versed in a lot of methods, not just one thing. Plus, they needed to be close to my home, since it was in the middle of 2020 shutdowns and I am home with my kids.
After some research and reading Yelp reviews, I found someone who seemed to check all the boxes. I got in touch to request some info and see what she might do with a case like mine.
What To Expect With a Naturopath:
While experiences may vary, lol, I think you can generally expect a naturopath to start by sharing their packages with you. You’ll always need to prepare to pay in advance and out of pocket for things that might usually be covered by insurance. It is something I had to save up for, so I feel you if it’s out of reach. I hope to share a lot of what I’ve learned on the blog here to help others, too.
Then, once you’ve figured out what package works for you, your naturopath will probably want to see medical records from your doctors and have some time to look them over. Mine also requested really extensive labs, more than any other doctor had requested, and even gave me a referral for a mobile phlebotomist to come to my house and take my blood! So convenient!
Initially the experience as off to an exciting start. I was looking forward to seeing what we might learn from all these tests and checks I was writing.
What I Learned From My Naturopath:
As tests began to roll in, something I noticed from my naturopath was that she was not any less interested in making sure that treatment protocols exactly matched what I needed than western medicine doctors. Nothing canned was thrown at me – everything was highly customized.
This meant a complete supplement assessment, where she looked deeply into all of the supplements I take each day, what they do or don’t do for me, and where she can make tweaks with higher performing formulas or quantities best matched to what I actually need.
This new supplement revamp is something I am currently trying and want to share more on in the future after I’ve seen what it does for my health.
Then, she also was able to put me on a custom blended formula for thyroid – which is probably the protocol I was MOST excited about. I knew I needed it, but western medicine doctors won’t treat thyroid until you’re at a 5 or even 10! My fertility shut down when I hit a 2.5 years ago, so I know my body needs support at a much lower number than other doctors will treat me.
Plus, her extensive test results were able to rule out things like SIBO (which I thought I had) and also show me that I have a very high level of leptin, which is definitely not ideal and can wreak havoc on health, weight and hormones.
Lifestyle Changes I’ve Made:
Armed with all of this info (and more to come, I still haven’t finished all of the tests!), I’ve already begun to implement a series of lifestyle changes that I would not have known to make prior to working with a naturopath, including:
- Starting a leptin protocol diet to balance my leptin. I’ll write more about this in the future.
- Revamping supplements to match closely with what I need, such as much more Vitamin D and switching multi-vitamins completely (and much more).
- Adding in specific fasting protocols that are fit for me
- Removing gluten as close to 100% as possible – gluten and autoimmune are mortal enemies!
- Drinking more water (to be honest, I feel like I am always working on this one)
What Happens Next:
My naturopath journey isn’t over yet. I still have to finish a couple more tests. I took a short break to restore my funds for this investment and then I’ll learn even more about what’s going on in my gut.
Then, we’ll finish setting up all my protocols and see what happens!
I will say that the bedside manner of the naturopath I am working with is not great. She is abrupt and not empathetic when I talk about my financial limitations. This does bother me. But, I want to see this process through until we finish the tests and then see what happens.
In the meantime, I’m working hard to follow the leptin diet protocols (which is not easy – I love sugar!) and looking forward to seeing how the new supplements impact how I feel each day.
I’ll share more soon about the rest of my naturopath experience. In the meantime, reach out if you have specific questions! This is something I’ve looked forward to doing for a long time and if you are thinking about it, I’d love to help in any way I can.
To our health,