Saturday, December 20, 2008

Merry Christmas and Eat Well!

Merry Christmas!

As you make your food choices through the holidays, it is beginning to be very important to know where your food comes from. Unfortunately, not all food is created equal. Knowing where your food comes from and how it arrives on your plate is the only sure way to know you have quality. Accordingly, I have recently included the Eat Well Guide search on my blog:

For your searching convenience, this will be permanently on the bottom left of the website. (To find local produce, click on the submit button before entering a keyword.)

Monday, December 1, 2008

Quote of the Month

"Half the modern drugs could well be thrown out the window, except that the birds might eat them."

Martin H. Fischer

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Naturopathic Prescribing Rights

Estimates show that 20-30% of the Canadian population does not have a family MD. Accordingly, Naturopathic Doctors have an opportunity to provide primary health care to many people who do not have a family doctor. With talk of a new version of Bill C-51 being reintroduced to parliament, this position of primary care provider may become even more integral to naturopaths over the next several years.

Consequently, CCNM, the Ontario Association of ND's (OAND) the Canadian Association of ND's (CAND) and the Board of Directors of Drugless Therapies-Naturopaths (BDDT-N) recently collaborated to submit a proposal to the Health Professions Regulatory Advisory Council (HPRAC) requesting ND's privilege to prescribe drugs. If successful, this will ensure botanicals and other restricted substances will always be attainable and may include some emergency prescription pharmaceuticals as well. Consequently, with careful planning, this is yet another reason for growth of the profession.

You can read the submission online at or HPRAC.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Maintaining Naturopathic Standards

Naturopathic Medicine in Canada is continually growing and gaining public support as a viable method of true health care. This trust begins with the quality of Naturopathic Doctors. Today representatives from the Council on Naturopathic Medical Education visited our school. The goal of this council is to provide the public with a standard of quality assurance in regards to the education of Naturopathic Doctors.

In an open discussion, students expressed their concerns about CCNM including the tremendous intensity of our 2nd year program as well as some disappointment that certain areas of wholistic medicine were not included to a greater extent in the curriculum. Many ideas were put forward including making naturopathy a five year program or including the opportunity for specialization. It was apparent that it is difficult to please everyone's expectations as each person has a different context. In regards to including even more areas of wholistic medicine in the curriculum, our program is already really packed over the 4 years. However, I can certainly understand that my colleagues want to learn about "energetics" etc. in the safe environment of an academic setting because there is so much misinformation out there.

As a student, I take pride in the fact that every step of naturopathy is evaluated and continually improved when necessary. I recognize the effort it takes to guide the focus of our education. Naturopaths in Canada are Doctors and as such have an education that prepares us for work as a primary care practitioner (although one may choose to specialize). Accordingly, I value the efforts of the Council of Naturopathic Medical Education which continures to increase the strength and integrity of the profession.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Naturopathic Movies IX

Side Effects

This movie stars Katherine Heigl (of Grey's Anatomy) in a documentary meets chick-flick style film. The plot is closely based on the true story of the writer/director's 10 years experience as a drug sales rep. The movie shows how a 23 year old political science major was not at all qualified to "educate" doctors on the pharmaceutical drugs that she sold and yet she became the top selling rep in her company. There were several excellent scenes in the movie that brought some issues of contemporary medicine to the forefront.

This small independent film offers a humorous view of a tremendously unethical problem. Here is The Trailer.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Naturopathic Movies VIII

Here are 2 movies that reframe the process of natural childbirth in a positive light:

1. The Business of Being Born

Check out for more information and take a look at one of my earlier entries on Childbirth if you are interested.

2. Orgasmic Birth

I found the movie title initially shocking but the documentary is quite fantastic. Check out for a full movie review.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Quote of the Month

"Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint."

Mark Twain

Monday, October 27, 2008

Homeopathy in Naturopathy

Today we had a guest presentation by Dr. Peter Fisher who is a Physician to her Majesty the Queen of England. Dr. Fisher practices Classical Homeopathy, although he does not like some of the connotations associated with the word "Classical." Dr. Fisher is also an editor for the journal Homeopathy and has a vast knowledge of the homeopathic research published in conventional medical journals.

It is such a privilege to get to see international speakers who broaden the understanding of a subject. I really appreciated his perspective on the effectiveness of homeopathy compared to placebo while showing meta-analysis demonstrating both the successes and failures of homeopathy.

Dr. Fisher stated that although the idea of homeopathy "is implausible," there are some theories on how it works. The most prevalent being the, "Memory of Water." I was intrigued by his DVD analogy. If a chemist were to analyze the petroleum constituents of a DVD disc, this would give no indication of the information stored on the disc. Likewise, when the chemical constituents of a homeopathic remedy are analyzed, water, alcohol, and sugar are the most likely chemical constituents found. And, just like the DVD, these give no indication of the information stored within the remedy. An interesting comparison!

Another topic that came up was the idea of homeopathic vaccinations. Dr. Fisher stated that there was not a shred of evidence that Homeopathic immunizations taken from nosodes work (nosodes are remedies made from diseased tissue). A Homeopathic professor at CCNM agreed but stated that there was some evidence that individualized treatments based on the totality of symptoms were often effective. Dr. Fisher noted that Edward Jenner came up with the first vaccine using the cow pox virus in 1796 just a few years after Samuel Hahnemann discovered Homeopathy. He said that Hahnemann was excited about medical vaccinations (at least in their intent).

This issue of vaccination is such a hot topic lately, that I will be posting some links to interesting information at a later date.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

2nd Year Update in Naturopathic Medicine

One thing that pleasantly surprised me about CCNM was that change can happen quickly in response to student feedback. As such, this was the first time that a "midterm exam week" without classes was implemented. So, our class just finished a mental marathon with nine exams in one week (10 if the practical exam in Homeopathy is counted separately). Unfortunately for my year, the change nearly killed us! The second year is notorious for being the crux year in Naturopathy, but this new format made things exceptionally difficult by condensing all the MT exams into one week. However, I believe our suggestions will lengthen "exam week" or provide some other beneficial solution for future years.

Otherwise, the second year is amazing. This is where we really get introduced to the skills of a primary health care practitioner and also begin other exciting complimentary modalities like acupuncture.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Exceptional Products VII

Camros Organic Eatery

This September, CCNM had the privilege to re-open its cafeteria under the new management of Camros Organic Eatery. This family owned company, from Toronto, shares many of the philosophies of Naturopathic Medicine and what better place to showcase their menu than at the Canadian Naturopathic College. As wholistic nutrition is foundational to naturopathy, I am so proud to have food provided by people who truly care about the impact of food on health. Furthermore, the management has been open to suggestions from the students and a special student menu, exclusive to CCNM, will be available in addition to their amazing meals.

Today, several students from CCNM met at The Camros Garden which is situated about a 45min drive North West of Toronto in the centre of a beautiful hilly woodlot. We spent the afternoon doing gardening work and learning about the processes involved in growing vegetables without artificial fertilizers, herbicides or pesticides. A truly practical exercise in organic produce farming! It brought back memories of the hard work, yet community involvement, of the organic farming I helped with during highschool. I think everyone of us kindled a greater appreciation for the food in our cafeteria and are looking forward to going back to the farm when exams are done! Thank-you for the hospitality we were shown.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Quote of the Month

"In order to change, we must be sick and tired of being sick and tired."

Author Unknown

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Book Review 7

real food: what to eat and why by Nina Planck

Although this book is a very easy read, I found the author's non-conventional approach to controversial topics quite enjoyable. The focus of the book is on the benefits of traditional foods compared to the the processed, ready-made, convenience foods which are currently so prevalent in North America. She takes the reader through the steps of processing which prepares these foods for mass appeal. In contrast, she makes an excellent case for unprocessed vegetables, fruits, grains and many traditional foods including wild fish, lean red meat from grass fed animals and whole milk directly from the farm.

This book does a really great job of reconnecting people with where food comes from. My wife said she absolutely loved the book and read every word! Occasionally, the author's points are even supported by some interesting research (for example, 'LDL Cholesterol: 'Bad' Cholesterol, or Bad Science?"). However, not all of her dietary advice may be perfectly representational of the advice a Naturopathic Doctor would give (please see a Naturopath if you have any questions). Also, her personal experience with vegetarianism (i.e. gaining weight) is not typical of most people (see Vegetarianism). Finally, just remember that there is much, much more to a nutritious diet than "old fashioned" foods. Otherwise, enjoy the book!

Here is her website:

Monday, September 15, 2008

CCNM Guest Speaker Udo Erasmus

What an exciting couple of weeks in regards to amazing speakers at CCNM! This was the first time I met Udo Erasmus although I have read some of his books and began taking "Udo's Choice 3-6-9" oil many years ago. Udo Erasmus, Ph.D. was a pioneer in turning the trend away from fat free products (the idea that all fat is bad) and pointing people towards the necessity of certain types of fat.

His presentation today outlined the differences between the essential and non-essential fats, therapeutic and foundational fats, as well as the effects of damaged, processed fats (like the nearly colourless, odourless corn oils). He also addressed the debated topic of the conversion of ALA fat to EPA and DHA and clarified questions on DHA from algae. DHA is so vitally important to the developing brain and EPA is also essential for healthy brain function-especially for adults.

Here is his official website:

Thursday, September 11, 2008

CCNM Guest Speaker Sam Graci

On Monday, CCNM had the privilege of hearing Sam Graci speak. This man was the inventor of Greens+ and is a phenomenal health expert and researcher. His research covers a huge spectrum of natural health issues from the benefits of high cocao chocolate to the importance of vitamin K in calcium absorption and acid/alkaline biochemistry. I read many of his books ("The Food Connection" is one of my favourites) before I entered naturopathic school and had the opportunity to see him speak on several occasions. The first time I saw Sam Graci speak was in the Canfor Theater, packed beyond capacity, at the University of Northern BC. After meeting and speaking with him in several cities across Canada, I find him to be a truly caring person.

Sam Graci has an amazing ability to simplify complex ideas for the general public, a skill I must learn to be an effective Naturopath (one of our principles is to be an effective teacher). If you ever get the chance to hear him speak, take the opportunity. If not, his books point people in the right direction and are very easy to read. Remember, his books are not intended to replace sound medical advice. For example, "The Bone Building Solution" may overestimate the amount of calcium that is available from several green plants and underestimates the amounts from some animal sources. As such, please see a Naturopathic Doctor if you have any questions.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Food and Medicine on our doorstep

Today, our Botanical Medicine class was introduced to a new way of appreciating our surroundings. Our naturopathic guide began the tour before we even got 20 feet from the school by pointing to 3 types of herbs bravely growing in one of the cracks in the concrete.

Later in the Don Valley, which is across the street from CCNM, we were told the dietary benefits and medicinal effects of Lambs Quarters, Stinging Nettle, Linden trees, Jewel Weed (Touch-me-not), Golden Rod, Yellow Dock, Plantain, Woody Nightshade, Wild Lettuce, Dandelion and many more.

It is amazing to me how the Dandelion is the most feared intruder into a lawn and yet at the same time it is one of the most healthy plants (every part of the Dandelion has tremendous dietary or medicinal qualities). This irony is unfortunately representational of much of North America's transition away from the natural and gravitation to the pharmaceutical.

Bring along one of Roger Tory Peterson's Field Guides to edible or medicinal plants for your next adventure to the local park. You might be surprised to find what is on your doorstep!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Quote of the Month

"You can or you can't; either way you're right."

Henry Ford

Friday, August 29, 2008

Running Children

Beginning habits at an early age that will lead to a lifelong interest in physical activity is very important. As a relatively new parent, nearly every day I am reminded of how influential a child's brain is and the responsibility that comes with that.

There are certainly psychological risks when parents pressure their children to be excessively competitive. Accordingly, the meaning associated with exercise is pivotal with children.

As I finished my undergraduate degree in Calgary, legislation was being passed to ensure that Alberta children would have increased amounts of physical education (PE) classes. Although the idea was excellent, we were given reports of some unforeseen side effects as teachers without PE training attempted to meet the new exercise quota. Military style exercises may possibly have some short term physical gains but, will not establish a positive experience with physical activity and as such will be quite detrimental in the long term. Similarly, exercise should never, ever, be used as a punishment.

Here is some information about children and competition:

1. Children are not miniature adults. It is recommended that children do not specialize in one sport too early but develop a variety of skills.

2. Aerobic exercise is very important in children although there is debate about how much a child's aerobic ability can be increased with training. However, Nieman (2003) stated, "Aerobic (heart and lung) fitness is lower than recommended for many young people. About half of girls ages 6-17 and 60% of boys ages 6-12 cannot run a mile in less than 10 minutes." As such, there is some room for improvement!

3. Children are quite capable of Calisthenics (body weight exercises) and higher repetition, lower intensity weight lifting workouts (Heyward, 2006; Nieman, 2003).

4. Because of the surface area to body mass ratio, children are not physiologically well equipped to dissipate body heat. Therefore, it is not recommended for children to compete in adult marathons until they are 18 years old.

For detailed reading on the subject here are some links:

I. American College of Sports Medicine Youth Activity Guidelines

II. Endurance training and aerobic fitness in young people

III. IMMDA Advisory Statement on Children and Marathoning

VI. Nutritional considerations for the child athlete

David C. Nieman, 2003. Exercise Testing and Prescription: A health related Approach, 5th ed. p.16.
Vivian H. Heyward, 2006. Advanced Fitness Assessment and Exercise Prescription, 5th ed.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Naturopathic Movies VII

Toxic Trespass

This Canadian documentary by Barri Cohen highlights the effects of environmental pollution on children's health. As her own 10 year old daughter was found to have known carcinogens in her blood, she persistently navigates through the dead ends and barriers put up in response to her difficult questions. What I found inspiring was that there were experts in the field of environmental health (in North America) that were trying to make a difference. The documentary points out that the Canadian government, in response to public pressure, will begin assessing the toxicity of 500 of the 23,000 chemicals that are currently legal for use (in herbicides, plastics, children's toys, stain guards, fire retardants, foods, etc).

Is it possible to be healthy in a sick world?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Food of Champions

In addition to the millions of dollars in bonuses Michael Phelps received for winning his 8 Olympic gold medals, his pictures will also appear on the boxes of Kellogg's Corn Flakes and Frosted Flakes. I don't know if Michael Phelps begins his day with either of these breakfast cereals but the association will now certainly be there.

McDonalds has also capitalized on the Olympics with a commercial showing athletes eating a breakfast chicken sandwich, "a new gold standard" according to the commercial.

Similarly, I saw an interview with Jamie Oliver who was irritated by many of the professional football (soccer) players in England who were endorsed by a fast food company or some other junk food.

There are many more multinational companies than Kelloggs and McDonalds that do this. I understand, especially in Canada, that an athlete may be forced to accept sponsorship from whom ever offers because Canadian athletes receive so little Government funding. However, the example these heroes of sport display to the youth, in regards to what food they eat, is unfortunate.

Jamie Oliver's campaign is inline with Naturopathic medicine. Nutrition forms the basis of health and a massive re-education of parents and children is necessary to build healthy people.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Antiobiotic Resistance

I was first confronted with the reality of antibiotic resistance during the prenatal class my wife and I attended in Toronto. The nurse told us not to touch anything! Not the doorknobs, elevator buttons or railings as hospitals are a breeding ground for antibiotic resistant bacteria. Even in the small town of Invermere BC, there was a case of flesh eating disease last year and people were discussing how serious the problem of antibiotic resistance really was.

Now, as my wife is nearing the end of her maternity leave, we have to make decisions about putting our son in daycare, etc. and this reality has resurfaced.

According to Dr. Gladwin, M.D. and Dr. Trattler, M.D. (authors of Clinical Microbiology made ridiculously simple, Edition 4, 2006) the reasons stated for the development of antibiotic resistance were:

1. Widespread and inappropriate use of broad spectrum antibiotics, especially in daycare centers and intensive care units.

2. Use of antibiotics in animal and fish farming to prevent infections and increase growth (which is a desired side effect of antibiotic use. For more information on the use of antibiotics to promote the growth of animals in Canada, check out the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food's excellent website).

3. Excessive use of antimicrobial preparations such as soaps and cleaning solutions in non-health care facilities (An article on WebMD, states that antibacterial products account for a billion dollars in sales annually. Accordingly, the public may not be made aware of the risks).

4. Increased numbers of immunocompromised patients requiring prolonged courses of antibiotics.

5. Debilitated patients which survive longer.

6. International travel which promotes the movement of resistant bacteria.

7. Inability to afford expensive antibiotic therapy (poverty situation).

*Be wary when an ad states that a product will kill 99.9% of bacteria. The surviving 0.1% may end up being the entire population bacteria in a very short time! For practical ways to combat the progression of antibiotic resistance, bring some questions to your next Naturopathic appointment.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Natural High

Today I went gliding for the first time in my life. Apparently Invermere BC is a gliding mecca that offers tremendous thermals and of course beautiful views of glaciers and the mountains. I had an amazing pilot who asked if I would be willing to "play" on the way back. I had no idea how maneuverable a glider was!! I'm not sure if I am allowed to disclose all the things we did with the plane... However, I will mention that I got to experience complete weightlessness (negative gees) for the first time in my life and it is quite a different sensation than jumping from a great height.

With about a month left of summer, I hope that more people will be able to take a few days, and turn off the lap top and cell phones, and take a break from their routine. The Roman's used to say, "a change is as good as a rest" and there might be some truth to that!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Quote of the Month

"Only when the last tree has died and the last river has been poisoned and the last fish has been caught will we realize that we cannot eat money."

Cree Indian Proverb

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Book Review 6

Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv

After the advice of a friend, I picked up this book at the local library and really identified with the content. Some parts of this book felt like the words came from my own thoughts! The author documents the progression from a 3D to 2D world away from nature as the effects of good intentions and fear ultimately have today's youth in house arrest. People do buy SUV's but unfortunately it never even gets to see a gravel road. Now, time is spent watching T.V., internet, gaming, or superficially communicating by instant text messaging. Or, if people do go out into the wilderness, it is to go racing with an ATV and there is no appreciation for the protection of the plants and animals. The author demonstrates how a "religious zeal for technology" and a devaluing and disconnect with nature has direct consequences on physical, emotional and spiritual health. I found the frequent nostalgic tone actually inspiring and thoroughly enjoyed reading this book.

During a class in my undergraduate degree, a professor presented an epidemiological projection that stated that the generation Dot Com (which followed gen-X) will be the first generation in history to have a shorter life expectancy than their parents. As the "dangers" of playgrounds (ie. swing sets) are removed, we continue to sanitize the risk out of life as much as possible until we have the safest, yet sickest, children in history!

Check out Richard Louv's website at: to learn more about "nature-deficit disorder."

Also, check out the "Leave no Child inside" program at Robert Bateman's Website under the FOR KIDS link.

Friday, July 18, 2008


For the past 2 weeks, I had several interesting encounters with the use of Roundup (an herbicide sold by the chemical giant Monsanto - who is still stuck in the false utopia of the "Green Revolution" ushered in by Norman Borlaug). In a conversation, I was told the story apparently used by some agricultural reps that Roundup is safe and could be drank like Iced Tea! Then, I was out for a run and saw a man spraying a chemical that smelled like Kerosene around his driveway. When I asked him what it was, he stated that it was Roundup. I wondered if it was legal in town and he said that he bought it at the store so, he assumed it was. Furthermore, he was not worried about any harmful effects because there were no wells in the area. Then, this morning I was shown an article in the local paper, The Invermere Valley Echo, called All chemical herbicides are toxic, written by K. Jean Cottam, Ph.D.

A little research showed that there is tremendous controversy surrounding this chemical including court cases and scientific allegations against Monsanto. Glyphosate is the main active ingredient in Roundup but the surfactants used may be the key to toxicity in humans. I was surprised that Wikipedia, being often from a conventional approach, had a great article on Roundup which included a lot of the controversy.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Book Review 5

The Brain That Changes Itself by Norman Doidge, M.D.

This book is an inspiring read for those who are interested in psychology and the capability of the human brain. The central concept is "competitive plasticity" of the brain. At times the book is disturbingly descriptive but it presents insights into the scientific processes in neuroscience and also relates some amazing case studies. Furthermore, it challenges some controversial contemporary beliefs. Be sure to read the 2 Appendices at the end of the book which are also interesting.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008


Yesterday I spent my first day of preceptoring (job shadowing) with a Naturopathic Doctor in Owen Sound. CCNM requires 100 hours of preceptoring before students graduate (Boucher requires 300 hours). It was a humbling experience to witness someone who is exceptional at their vocation guide patients (with very complex conditions) towards health. I was reminded why Naturopathic Doctors go to school for so long and how much more I have yet to learn.

2nd Year Summer Clinic

Last week I finished the 2nd year massage and hydrotherapy clinic rotation. This requirement can be completed any time between the end of 1st year and the beginning of 3rd year. Although getting patients for constitutional hydrotherapy was difficult in the summer, I enjoyed doing the practicals while the theory was still fresh on my mind. Also, doing the clinic in the summer should help ease the volume of second year slightly, I hope.

What an amazing experience, and initially a challenge, to keep the intake relevant and short, and then perform a treatment on a complete stranger. Overall, I found clinic a reward for a year of hard work.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Quote of the Month

“Health is a matter of choice, not a mystery of chance.”


Naturopathic Movies VI

An Inconvenient Truth

I postponed watching this movie for quite some time because of all the propaganda surrounding it. Now, I have to say that this documentary hit me in an unexpected way and I'm sad that I did not full heartedly support it earlier. The presentation style and impact of the content was far more profound than I would have anticipated.

Please watch and tell others about this movie.

Monday, June 30, 2008


There are many benefits to eating a plant based diet. However, there are some special considerations that vegetarians need to be aware of in order to be proactive towards preventing long-term deficiency problems. The following articles are not an exhaustive list of the necessary considerations but indicate some important precautions (please see a Naturopathic Doctor or Registered Dietitian for information specific to you).

1. "Dietary Iron Intake and Iron Status of German Female Vegans: Results of the German Vegan Study." (2004)

Annika Waldmann, Jochen W. Koschizke, Claus Leitzmann, and Andreas Hahn

2. "Vitamin B-12 status, particularly holotranscobalamin II and methylmalonic acid concentrations, and hyperhomocysteinemia in vegetarians." (2003)

Authors: Wolfgang Herrmann, Heike Schorr, Rima Obeid, and Jürgen Geisel.

3. "Vegetarian diets : nutritional considerations for athletes."(2006)

Angela M ,Venderley and Wayne W. Campbell.

Child Birth

This subject is still very fresh in my mind with the birth of my son on February 6, 2008. At the time of our prenatal classes, my wife was one of only two women (out of thirteen) who were planning on at least trying a natural childbirth. At the end of the session, one other couple (after finding out that the epidural had an effect on the infant) thought that they might try a natural birth.

Now, new statistics show that cesarean section birth is the highest in history at almost one in four according to the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada (2008). Furthermore, a new documentary called, The Business of Being Born states that, "The United States has the second worst newborn death rate in the developed world."

The technology to intervene in childbirth, when medically necessary, is undoubtedly of utmost importance to saving lives. However, when our interventions of convenience lead to harm, this presents a public health issue. For a contemporary naturopathic perspective on childbirth visit,

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Exceptional Products VI

Natural cleaning and body care products:

Green Beaver Company

The founder of this company gave a presentation at our school that really impressed me. Also, this company is Canadian. Read their story on

Seventh Generation

We use their laundry detergent, soap and the diapers. The website is very informative and shows practical ways that we can stop polluting the home of our children.

Diabetes Prevention

Here are 2 articles published in the New England Journal of Medicine showing the powerful effect of lifestyle modification towards preventing diabetes. Lifestyle modification had almost double the incidence reduction of diabetes over the most popular drug Metformin (which some sources report a side effect rate in 50% of patients - mainly diarrhea and GI upset).

The first article is called, "Reduction in the Incidence of Type 2 Diabetes with Lifestyle intervention or Metformin" (2002)

The authors are: William C. Knowler, M.D., Dr.P.H., Elizabeth Barrett-Connor, M.D., Sarah E. Fowler, Ph.D., Richard F. Hamman, M.D., Dr.P.H., John M. Lachin, Sc.D., Elizabeth A. Walker, D.N.Sc., and David M. Nathan, M.D.

**One thing of interest I noticed was that the fasting glucose was nearly identical between the lifestyle group and the pharmaceutical group (Figure 3). Yet, the lifestyle group had double the preventive effect. This highlights the idea that solely controlling a biomarker (blood glucose in this case) to what is considered a "healthy range" may not be entirely effective towards preventing a disease.

The second is called, "Prevention of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus by Changes in Lifestyle Among Subjects with Impaired Glucose Tollerance." (2001)

The authors are: Jaakko Tuomilehto, M.D., Ph.D., Jaana Lindstrom, M.S., Johan G. Eriksson, M.D., Ph.D., Timo T. Valle, M.D., Helena Hamalainen, M.D., Ph.D., Pirjo Ilanne-Parikka, M.D., Sirkka Keinanen-Kiukaanniemi, M.D., Ph.D., Mauri Laakso, M.D., Anne Louheranta, M.S., Merja Rastas, M.S., Virpi Salminen, M.S., Sirkka Aunola, Ph.D., Zygimantas Cepaitis, Dipl.Eng., Vladislav Moltchanov, Ph.D., Martti Hakumaki, M.D., Ph.D., Marjo Mannelin, M.S., Vesa Martikkala, M.S., Jouko Sundvall, M.S., Matti Uusitupa, M.D., Ph.D.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Bill C-51

UPDATE ON BILL C-51 (September 7, 2008): As the Prime Minister announced that Canada will be having a federal election on October 14, Bill C-51 is dead. However, we need to watch for furhter Bills of the exact same nature in the future.

The proposed Bill C-51 has the potential to restrict the access of some natural health products (herbs etc.) to Naturopathic Doctors. These products will follow under the same category as some drugs which require a prescription. Since ND's do not have licensure to prescribe medications in any province in Canada (and are not asking for this privilege) restricting Naturopaths' access to these natural health products would be detrimental. Although the regulation of natural health products is needed to ensure quality and safety, this bill is extremely threatening to the practice of naturopathy and the health of citizens using natural medicine.

For more information on this bill, please visit: Click on "News and Events" Click on "Current Affairs"

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Naturopathic Movies V

The 11th Hour

This movie is a fast paced documentary filled with profound sound bites of information from many experts of environmentalism (Produced and Narrated by Leonardo DiCaprio). Remember to watch the special features as they are also interesting. This movie is so extremely pertinent to everyone of us. It is hard to be healthy in a sick planet.

Time is ticking...

Visit, The 11th Hour Official Website.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Exceptional Products V

Patagonia outdoor clothing and gear.

It may seem odd that I included a clothing/gear company, but we have tremendous power for change when we vote with our dollars by supporting companies with a good philosophy. This company makes top of the line expedition quality clothing that I have personally trusted in the wilderness. They are pioneers in the outdoor industry and were one of the first to make fleece, but more interesting was that they used recycled pop bottles to make it.

Patagonia is still very concerned with environmental endeavors and was also a pioneer in the use of products like organic cotton. Furthermore, check-out for tremedous amount of information on Environmentalism and be sure to view the "Footprint Chronicles" which tracks the distance a product travels as well as the effect each material and garment finish has on the environment.

Another company worthy of mention here is Mountain Hardware. Mountain Hardware makes possibly the most exceptional, highest quality outdoor gear in the world (the closest competition in North America would be from Arc'teyx) and is also involved in environmentalism. Take a look at Mountain Hardware Gives back on their website.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Naturopathic Movies IV

Shark Water

This documentary was not only visually stunning, and exciting to watch, I was shocked about how important the ocean life is to the survival of humans. This Canadian film was written by Rob Stewart who also takes some substantial risks to film the illegal practice of shark poaching.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Exceptional Products IV

6. Sambazon Açaí:

Although this product travels a fair distance to get to Canada, the philosophy of this company is extremely noble. Furthermore, the açaí berry is very nutritious and their fruit smoothies are exceptional!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Quote of the Month

"What gets us into trouble is not what we don't know,
it's what we know for sure that just ain't so."

Mark Twain

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Exceptional Products III

5. Saugeen Country Yogurt:

This yogurt is real! Made from whole milk unprocessed straight from the cow. For a plain yogurt, it has an amazing, soft flavour. Furthermore, it is organic (I like to mix it with fruit and a little maple syrup!). I toured the facility many years ago and was impressed by the simplicity of it and their philosophy. Interestingly, some Naturopaths believe that yogurt is the key to the health of the traditional Hindu diet.

Exceptional Products II

If you choose to eat meat (for a complete protein source, vitamin B12 and Iron) then eating
grass fed, free range or organic meat ensures that your selection will be free of the hormones and the subtherapeutic antibiotics required to grow conventional meat animals.

My favourite meat is Buffalo (Bison) which is very lean and unlike beef, does not marble. Buffalo are more efficient eaters than beef cattle and produce a healthier meat (slightly higher in protien, lower in cholesterol, lower in saturated fat and higher in Omega fatty acids). However, grass fed organic beef will also be leaner than conventional beef.

3. Mountain Lake Bison Range:

4. Hoven Farms Organic Beef:

For a list of healthy meats close to you, check out The Eat Well Guide.

Friday, May 30, 2008


Recently, at a conference, I had myself checked via the BIOMERIDIAN machine (the test was performed by the company's representative). This machine measures the electrical impedance corresponding to 14 organs/systems in the body. Of all the machines that I had researched, this one made the most sense to me. The representative was a very personable lady and performed a simple procedure of checking my Acupoints (on both hands and feet) with a noninvasive wand-like tool.

My results? According to the machine, I presented with normal values for 6 of the 14 organs/systems. The remainder showed that I was either Excess or Deficient to some degree. Most curious to me was a 65% deficient (Mid) respiratory system. Now after a year of extensive studying, with little time to exercise, I could have believed a massively deficient cardiovascular system, but respiratory? I realize that Toronto air quality is poor, but this seems extreme for a young, apparently healthy person!

Click image to enlarge

Even patient care in conventional medicine is suffering from the overuse of scientifically proven diagnostic machines.  Take a look at this inspiring TED video on the value of a doctor's touch presented by Dr. Abraham Verghese.

 I'll end with this quote that sums up this issue very well.  "The childish faith in the magic of technology is one reason the American public has tolerated inhumane doctoring."  The Lost Art of Healing: practicing compassion in medicine by Dr. Bernard Lown, MD.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Hamilton Health Symposium II

Although waist circumference (WC) does not distinguish between subcutaneous and visceral fat (or a person's frame size), research shows that WC is highly correlated with visceral fat. Furthermore, Kuk et al. (2006) showed that "Visceral fat is an independent predictor of all cause mortality in men." Accordingly, WC should be taken very seriously and become another target of health promotion and disease prevention.

However, when a person is put on an exercise program, we must be careful not to put too much emphasis on weight loss. It may be surprising to know that a "fit" overweight person may have a lower risk of disease than an "unfit" normal weight person. Research has shown that, "low cardiorespiratory fitness was a strong and independent predictor of CVD and all-cause mortality and of comparable importance with that of diabetes mellitus and other CVD risk factors." (1)

The key here (from a Kinesiologists perspective) is the benefits of attaining some cardiovascular fitness. If you are interested, look up Dr. Robert Ross (from Queens University) who has recently published many papers on the necessity of exercise/physical activity for the prevention or management (in the case of diabetes) of many diseases far beyond what diet alone can do.

1. Wei et al. Relationship between low cardiorespiratory fitness and mortality in normal-weight, overweight, and obese men. JAMA 1999; 282:1547-53.

Hamilton Health Symposium

Sprint interval training or High Intensity Training (HIT) is very applicable for cardiac patients. It is similar preparation for activities of daily living (e.g. Climbing stairs) and psychologically, the shorter term duration may help adherence.

Research shows HIT exercise is very comparable to endurance exercise in regards to cardiovascular benefits (the newest research is done by Dr. Gibala at McMaster in Hamilton):

1. Gibala et al. Similar metabolic adaptations during exercise after low volume sprint interval and traditional endurance training in humans. J Physiol. 2008 Jan 1;586(1):151-60. Epub 2007 Nov 8.

2. Warburton et al. Effectiveness of high-intensity interval training for the rehabilitation of patients with coronary artery disease. Am J Cardiol. 2005 May 1;95(9):1080-4.

3. Gibala et al. Metabolic adaptations to short-term high-intensity interval training: a little pain for a lot of gain? Exerc Sport Sci Rev. 2008 Apr;36(2):58-63.

4. Gibala et al. High-intensity interval training: a time-efficient strategy for health promotion? Curr Sports Med Rep. 2007 Jul;6(4):211-3.

Naturopathic Movies III

Here are some animated movies/commentaries that are humorously educational:

1. The Story of Stuff
2. The Meatrix

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


These principles were formally codified in 1989 and form a framework by which naturopathic medicine operates:

1. First Do No Harm
2. Identify and treat the cause of disease
3. Teach the principles of healthy living
4. Heal the whole person through individualized treatment
5. Emphasize health promotion and disease prevention
6. Support the healing power of nature

Monday, May 26, 2008

ND Program

ND Education (Curriculum)

Click on CCNM courses or BINM courses for a complete course listing of the ND Programs in Canada.

As stated earlier, a 4 year Bachelors degree, with the specific prerequisites, is required. Then, throughout the 4 years of school in Naturopathic Medicine, many courses are the same as that of conventional medicine including: physiology, anatomy, embryology, immunology, histopathology, biochemistry, microbiology, differential diagnosis, physical and clinical diagnosis, laboratory diagnosis, pathology, primary care, obstetrics, pediatrics, radiology, ethics, and minor surgery.

Additionally, even though Naturopathic Doctors (ND's) are not yet licensed to prescribe drugs in all provinces in Canada, pharmacology is still a mandatory course which is important to be aware of drug-herb interactions and this also compliments a traditional understand of how botanical medicine works.

Furthermore, unlike Medical Doctors, ND's study clinical nutrition, botanical medicine, spinal/joint manipulation (chiropractic), health psychology, Asian medicine, Homeopathy, massage and hydrotherapy. Added to the foundation of science, some philosophies of Naturopathic Medicine (found in both Homeopathy and Asian medicine) will introduce controversial concepts of mind-body connection and spirituality that are not highly regarded by western medicine.

Ultimately, the intense 4 year curriculum prepares ND's to be primary health care providers that compliment conventional medical care by MD's.

promotional videos from each school visit: Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Running and Memory

Recent studies (published in Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol, 2007 & Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, 2007) show that high impact running increases the release of Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF). This neurochemical is responsible for increased production of proteins that are responsible for remodeling the brain and increasing its function.

Check out, "High impact running improves learning" published in Neurobiology of Learning and Memory in May 2007 (Volume 87, Issue 4).

Our Drinking Water

Recent findings are showing a list of pharmaceuticals are turning up in the drinking water. As many pharmaceuticals are not metabolized well in the body, and are difficult for water treatment to remove, the concentrations are beginning to rise.

Here are 2 newspaper articles from Toronto that discuss the subject (there is a lot more info to be found by doing a simple Google search).

Fresh drinking water is often taken for granted in Canada. Will we really run out of water? Check out for information about Canada's fresh water. (Canadians use an average of 125,000L/person a year versus Americans use 30,000L/person a year. Measure your water Footprint to estimate how much water you use).

Glycemic Index Old Paradigm

Here is an article published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition with a surprising finding about the Glycemic Index (GI). It suggests that we need to rethink the supposed insulin sparing effects of what have been called low GI foods. Blood samples taken showed the low GI of some foods was due to a higher insulin response, thereby keeping the blood glucose levels lower.

The article is called, "Different glycemic indexes of breakfast cereals are not due to glucose entry into blood but to glucose removal by tissue."

The authors are: Simon Schenk, Christopher J Davidson, Theodore W Zderic, Lauri O Byerley, and Edward F Coyle.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Book Review 4

The Web That Has No Weaver by Ted J. Kaptchuck, O.M.D.

If you are very interested in understanding Chinese Medicine, this book is for you. It explains the deep immersion of Chinese Medical thought in Taoism and how the the relationships and patterns of the Chinese organ systems work with acupuncture and herbs. Additionally, it does make interesting comparisons/contrasts between western and eastern medicine.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Book Review 3

Fats that Heal Fats that Kill by Udo Erasmus

Udo Erasmus was one of the pioneers in turning the trend away from fat free products (the idea that all fat is bad). Science has gone a little further than what is in this book but, it was a beacon of light at the time and is still an excellent read to understand the basics of fat biochemistry and how it effects health.

Here is a link to a website for this book.

Activites and Interests


Being in the outdoors is one of my favourite places. I thoroughly enjoy mounting biking, rockclimbing, snowboarding/skiing, hiking and camping. I do run but purely for the sake of fitness. I never got overly involved in team sports but do enjoy playing soccer and volleyball with friends.

If I am indoors, I love to play table tennis. Also, I play the guitar when I have time and enjoy jamming with my wife who plays excellent piano. Additionally, I find the strategy of chess fun.

Photography is another one of my big interests; mostly landscape and sports. Although digital is substantially more convenient than film, there IS a difference in the pictures, even at 10 Megapixels (although maybe only visible to the trained eye). Well, even though this is true, the cost of developing and ease of photo editing has lead me to nearly all but retire my trusty Nikon F601 for the D80.


I am enjoying developing my son's appreciation and respect for nature. I have a tremendous passion to preserve what is left of nature (According to the Toronto Zoo, 250 acres a day of rain forest are cut down a day to support North America's insatiable desire for fast food meat). As such, I am a conservationist and support the preservation of farmland (from the grips of suburbia), as well as habitat conservation, preservation of drinking water and specific managed wildlife hunting. I am shocked at the gross disconnect people in the large cities have with nature (ie. meat comes from the grocery store on a white Styrofoam and the shiniest, polished apples are the healthiest). A recent study showed that school children were able to identify hundreds of brand names advertised on T.V. but were unable to identify 10 plants or animals that were commonly found in their area (Source: The 11th Hour).

I am also a dedicated Christian (not affiliated with any denomination) and continue studying spirituality. Although several of the forefathers of naturopathy were ardent Christians (Vincent Priessnitz, Sebastian Kneipp, Adolf Just, Emanuel Felke, etc.), Christianity is currently not at all prevalent in naturopathic medicine.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Naturopathic Movies II

BBC Planet Earth

This 5 disk series will show you our planet like you have never seen it before! This is the most amazing documentary I have ever seen. It is visually spectacular with footage that few humans will ever experience.

Every person should see this series to appreciate the awesome beauty of our planet and also to be informed about the issues surrounding conservation that are so time sensitive.

The series is available on DVD at many stores including online at

Monday, May 12, 2008


Here is a list of movies that resonate in some way with naturopathic philosophy:

Who Killed the Electric Car?
SuperSize Me
The Corporation
4. The Matrix (the first movie only - the last 2 deviate substantially from productive philosophy!)
5. The Road to Wellville (Comedy- you may need to be a naturopath to find this movie funny!)

Friday, May 9, 2008


It took years of searching to find this profession which greatly embodies many of the philosophies that I strongly believe in. My search began when I moved from Ontario to BC and began a forestry job that was exciting and extremely physically demanding. During the winters, I worked as a snowboard instructor and I thought that things were in perfect balance with 2 exciting seasonal outdoor jobs. However, this changed when the effects of the suffering forest industry swallowed up my summer job.

So, I began work as a bike technician at a popular outdoor gear store and worked my way up the retail ladder until I was the assistant manager and staff trainer. At the same time, I passed more levels of snowboard certification so that I became an instructor trainer. My ultimate ambitions involved teaching something that was centered around the outdoors and health. So, for several years I worked towards becoming a corporate trainer for the outdoor retail chain and a provincial/national snowboard coach.

As I worked towards these goals, I realized that I wanted to have a greater impact, more directly, on people's health. However, the largest obstacle that stood in the way was the thought of University after a 7 year hiatus from high school. Fortunately, I had amazing encouragement from friends. So, my research revealed a degree program called kinesiology which combined exercise and health physiology - exactly my interests. At that time, I just heard of Naturopathic Medicine and although I was interested, initially my primary goal was to became a Sports Med Doc or possibly a Chiropractor. However, by my second year of university, I was convinced I would go into Naturopathic Medicine.

In one sense I went full circle as my grandparents and mother grow a full produce and herb garden, regard the benefits of exercise, carefully select a healthy diet, use hydrotherapy, and only use medications as a last resort when dealing with an illness.

I now have a beautiful wife (whom I met at university) and two charming sons born Feb 6, 2008 and April 13, 2010.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Plastic Drinking Bottles

Bisphenol-A is a xenoestrogen found in Nalgene and other polycarbonate water bottle products. Earlier this year, MEC pulled Nalgene from their shelves. I found it interesting that the U.S. T.V. show, "The Biggest Loser" (where contestants compete to loose the most weight) teamed up with Nalgene and Britta water filters to reduce the environmental impact of bottled water sales. This is a very noble cause indeed, except for the potential side effects of drinking from a Nalgene bottle!

The National Geographic Green Guide has some very good information on Bisphenol-A as well as the materials of Plastic Water bottles.

UPDATE July 26, 2008: Nalgene has now came out with a Bisphenol-A free plastic water bottle!! Also, check out Camelback who apparently was the first company to remove BPA from their plastic bottles.

Honey Bee Disappearance

The honey bee disappearance is a phenomenon that is being witnessed in several parts of North America. No one as of yet knows the cause for their mysterious disappearance. The bees do not swarm (as when a second queen bee develops and part of the hive leaves with her) but seem to just disappear. Some agricultural experts have already calculated the financial impact the loss of honey bee pollination would have; it's astounding of course (Source: BBC Planet Earth).

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Book Review 2

Eating Alive by Dr. John Matsen ND

This is a comprehensive yet easy to read book that I believe is foundational to naturopathic medicine.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Book Review 1

Nature Doctors by Friedhelm Kirchfeld & Wade Boyle

If you enjoy history and want to get an understanding of the trials and persecution that naturopathic medicine (and the nature cure forefathers) survived, then this book is a must.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Who are Prospective Patients?

Naturopaths are primary health care practitioners that are trained to treat the root cause of disease. As such, many patients of Naturopaths are those who have some type of chronic condition that has not responded to other forms of treatment. However, Naturopathic Doctors also treat a variety of acute conditions.

For a list of conditions treated by Naturopaths, please visit (Robert Schad Naturopathic Clinic, Health Concerns treated at RSNC).

Additionally, people do not need to wait until they feel sick to see a Naturopath. Naturopathic Doctors promote public health and disease prevention by educating patients on how they can obtain their optimal health.

Exceptional Products

Support your local health food store. The first “Health Food Store” was started by a Naturopath, Bennedict Lust in the early 1900's in New Jersey.

New Chapter Vitamins.

So far, I have yet to come across a more innovative nutraceutical company. They also use
Organic ingredients:

**Note: all the products listed here I have personally encountered (I do not get paid to put these products on this blog-I just really like them!)

What to Expect

If you are new to naturopathic medicine, here are some things to expect.

1. Time! Most Naturopaths offer between 1-1.5 hours for the initial visit. Bring your questions.

2. Cost. Naturopathic appointments typically cost between $80-190 depending on time.

3. Length of treatment. Although a Naturopath may prescribe a treatment to immediately help reduce acute symptoms, fixing the route cause of the problem may take a while. It may also be very difficult for a Naturopath to tell you exactly how long it will take to feel better, but they will discuss a treatment plan with you.

4. Some protocols may be surprisingly easy and you can't believe that no one has ever told you how simple getting better could be. However, some protocols may be very difficult to adhere to. Please talk to your Naturopath about your struggles and they will make sure that they find a treatment that works best for you.

5. Style of Practice. There are many different approaches to how naturopathic medicine is practiced. With 6 major modalities learned in school (see History link above), most Naturopaths practice the ones that they identified with the most. As such, some Naturopaths may appear to have quite a different perspective than others. Some Naturopaths even employ a prescreening procedure to ensure patients are aware of their special interest or focus. The naturopathic schools are currently working hard to ensure Naturopaths are primary health care practitioners - like a Family Physician (Naturopathic Doctors in Canada now undergo a minimum of 8 years of post secondary schooling). However, the nature of the profession will ensure that there will always be some differences in the style of practice.

6. Mind-body-spirit. Each naturopath has individual beliefs and interpretations on how these three things connect. Some ND's maintain a pure scientific approach to natural medicine while others may be more inclined to involve their spiritual/religious beliefs into their practice.

Student Life

Here is a brief overview of my experience with student life up until 4th year Internship.

As I mentioned earlier, the workload of the schooling is probably double the volume of undergrad. At CCNM, there are points during the year where a student will be taking up to 11 courses at once. So, there is not a lot of time for life outside of school - although the Naturopathic Students Association (NSA) and Social Class reps do a great job of setting up social events.

One thing I noticed almost immediately as a new CCNM student was how supportive the students were. The team atmosphere is unlike any school I have attended. I can't help but think of the sharp contrast between the student body here and that of one particular class in undergrad called, "The Sociology of Heath and Illness." Although the class itself was one of the most interesting classes I took, most of the students in that course were pre-med students and some of the perspectives and ideas presented on the online class discussion board were shocking (in my own faculty -kinesiology-the students were very competitive but much friendlier!).

The atmosphere and dynamics at CCNM may also be influenced by the predominantly female student population. In any case, when the course load and exams get intense, everybody soldiers through it together. Remember, you should find most of the material relevant and very interesting (unlike some required courses in undergrad!) which makes dedication easier.

Are You Prepared?

Here are some tips beyond General Requirements to ensure that you are prepared for school in naturopathic medicine. Also, if you have not been to see a naturopath yet, click on the What to Expect link under Prospective Patients.

Academic Prerequisites

All the naturopathic schools have very similar entrance requirements. Unlike other Canadian Medical schools, an undergraduate degree is mandatory for entry into both Naturopathic schools in Canada. Furthermore, there are specific course prerequisites: General Biology (one year), Biochemistry, General Chemistry (one year), Organic Chemistry, Intro Psychology (one year/half year for Boucher) & Humanities (one from a choice), Physiology (one year for CCNM). Some of the American schools also require Physics as well as a Math (algebra based) course.

**Note: if you do not have all the pre-medical sciences, CCNM does offer these through its Continuing Education Department.

The Application Process

There are no MCAT entrance exams for naturopathy (medical schools may weight MCAT scores at 15% of the applicants pre-interview admissions criteria - the remainder is 50% academic record, 25% life experiences and 10% reference letters. Source: University of Calgary, 2008). Instead, your academic record carries the most weight, followed by your extracurricular/volunteer/ employment (life experiences) and entrance letters will get you to the interview stage.

To prepare for your school interview and entrance letters, it helps if you are currently, or were in the past, the patient of a Naturopath. The experience of being a patient will show a relevant and much deeper understanding of the issues of naturopathic medicine.

Also, one of the application questions usually includes an understanding of the history of naturopathy. If at all possible, get the book Nature Doctors by Friedhelm Kirchfeld & Wade Boyle - you will need it in first year as well (it is available on line through Amazon and Chapters).

Volunteering or working somewhere in the health industry will also show your dedicated interest in health and helping others.

1st Year Prep

A strong science background will help ease the volume of required learning in the first year. If at all possible, take a university Human Physiology course and especially Anatomy. Although neither course is mandatory for acceptance, they are both recommended by most naturopathic schools. These are year long courses and Anatomy will be one of the most time consuming courses to learn because of the immense amount of memorization. I was fortunate to have a taken Anatomy (with cadaver labs) and was able to enjoy the review and learn some additional things that I missed the first time around. As such, I was able to put a minimal effort into studying Anatomy and focus on other courses that I had never encountered before (My wife and I also had a baby which took a bit of time!).

The intensity of naturopathic college is probably unlike anybody can prepare you for. A typical day (of 1st year) at CCNM can range from 8:30am to 6pm spent in classes with a 1 hour break to eat. Also, although the exams are slightly more applied than most university exams, a passing grade for each course is a minimum of 65-70% depending on the school . As such, many students go to class all day and then study until bed. This leaves very little time for family or a second job. The possibility to work might be better at Boucher because their trimester system lengthens their school year, but they take fewer classes at once.

School is very expensive, about $20,000 per year. So make sure that you work out your financing/loans so that you are not forced to work part-time during school. This can be a battle and I am by no means an expert on financial advice-it's tough! Both schools in Canada are eligible for government student loans (If more funding is needed, an educational Line of Credit to Naturopathic Students is most easily acquired through the CIBC). A few people do choose to work part-time throughout the year because it is a break from studying or relaxing atmosphere etc. but, I still don't know how they do it!

Remember though, if this is your passion, you will be able to do it!

Accredited Schools

There are currently 6 accredited Naturopathic schools in North America:

1. Bastyr University (Seattle, Washington)

2. Boucher Institute of Naturopathic Medicine (Vancouver, BC)

3. Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine (Toronto, ON)

4. National University of Naturopathic Medicine (Portland, Oregon)

5. Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine (Tempe, Arizona)

6. University of Bridgeport (Connecticut)

**Note: Not all Provinces and States are regulated for Naturopathic Doctors and therefore some people can call themselves a "naturopath" without the accredited training. Furthermore, a Naturopathic Doctor (ND), Naturopathic Medical Doctor (NMD) and Doctor of Natural Medicine (DNM) are not equivalent. Therefore, make sure you support someone who has gone the distance and graduated from an accredited school.

For a list of accredited and upcoming candidate schools, go to the Council of Naturopathic Medical Education.

Here is my experience with the two Naturopathic Schools in Canada:

I had the privilege to tour and receive an interview with both schools. At the time, it was a very difficult choice between the two schools as each offer their own benefits. One advantage both Canadian schools have over the American schools (with the exception of SCNM) is the inclusion of acupuncture and TCM within the ND curriculum.

CCNM is large and established and exudes a feeling of security. It has the Robert Schad Naturopthic Teaching Clinic which sees more than 26,000 patient visits per year. The location also offers the Paracelsus Herb Garden which I absolutely love. (Interestingly, we found rent to be on average much cheaper in Toronto than Vancouver). Over the course of the 1st year, most of my professors knew me by name and some would stop and talk in the halls. Our 1st year September class was 82 people and approximately another 50 people from the January intake joined us in second year (this "January Intake" option is exclusive to CCNM and has advantages and disadvantages discussed later). The Unity Summit, which happens in the 1st week of school, is a must and it did not take long before I knew everyone in my class by name. The curriculum at CCNM is organized into a semester system which puts CCNM students out at the same time as the university students in May. This does make for a nice long summer break after 1st year for September intake students to revitalize their bank accounts or relax and prep for the next year (Sorry January intake). However, the shorter semesters give the impression of cramming 5 years of school into 4 years - do not underestimate the intensity.

Boucher is at a fancy location in New Westminster (Vancouver) near the harbor front. The class sizes are small (they told me a max of 35 people per class) and the students I met appeared to have a tremendous amount of pride in their school. My interview was conducted by a Naturopathic Doctor who was on Boucher's Board of Governors, and I definitely felt valued and privileged to spend nearly an hour talking with her. Boucher also organizes the school year into a trimester system which I think has some great benefits. Although Boucher students only get 2 months for summer, I believe that the trimester system, which spreads out the amount of material required to know over a longer period of time, is very conducive to learning.

Different Strengths

I noticed a slight difference in the focus of modalities between each school, although the curriculum appears to be nearly identical. One difference the graduates informed me about when I visited Boucher was their proficiency and competence with the physical modalities i.e. joint/spinal adjusting. As of yet, a lot of people are not aware that Naturopathic Doctors are trained in adjustments, i.e. Chiropractic medicine.  My impression was confirmed by several students that either transferred to Boucher from CCNM or visa versa. Correspondingly, at Boucher there was possibly less focus on Botanical Medicine and TCM.

Alternatively, at CCNM, interest in physical medicine seems to be at an all time low (It is interesting to note that the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College, Canada's only accredited Chiropractic college, is just 5 minutes up the street from CCNM!). However, my 4th year intern was exceptional at spinal adjustments and there are additional opportunities to become proficient at this modality at CCNM if students take them. (Now, after completing my internship, I can say that I enjoyed helping people with soft tissue and spinal problems and confidently utilized adjustments when indicated.)

My point is not that one school is superior to the other in any way, but there are definitely some subtle differences that are hard to tease out from face value.  Ultimately, I believe that your education will be the result of what you make of it.

Quote of the Month

"And we have made of ourselves living cesspools, and driven doctors to invent names for our diseases."


Curriculum Vitae


Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine 2007 – present

4 year Naturopathic Doctor’s program

University of Calgary 2003 - 2007

Bachelor of Science Degree in Kinesiology

· Exercise and Health Physiology Major

· Presented research on snowboard wrist injuries at the AB Athletic Therapists AGM

University of Northern British Columbia 2002 - 2003

·Biology (101 & 102) and Chemistry (100 &101)

· English (170 & 270) and Math (115)


Certified Exercise Physiologist (CSEP - CEP) 2007

Personal Fitness and Lifestyle Consultant (PFLC) 2007

Level 1 Technical NCCP Volleyball 2004

Level 1 CSIA (Ski instructor) 2003

CSF Level 1 Freestyle Coach (Snowboard) 2003

CASI Level 3 Snowboard Instructor 1997, 1999, 2003

CSF Level 1 Race Coach (Snowboard) 2000

Level 1 CASI Evaluator (Snowboard) 1999

NCCP Level 2 Coach (National Coaching Theory) 1999


University Church 2003 - 2007

· Sound set-up coordinator

Prince George Bike Helmet Collaborative 2000 - 2002

· Researched injury prevention strategies and presented helmet safety sessions

Nancy Greene Snowboard League 1999

· Fund raising events and consultant for snowboard racing specifics


Canada Olympic Park, Calgary, AB. 1997, 2003 - 2007

Outdoor Programs Supervisor (Summer)

Adult and Teen Ski/Snowboard Lessons Program Coordinator (Winter)

Planet Organic Market, Calgary, AB. 2006 - 2007

Grocery Clerk

Kinesiology 479, University of Calgary, AB. 2007

Personal Trainer

Canadian Association of Snowboard Instructors. 1999 - 2004

Level 1 Course Conductor/Evaluator

Coast Mountain Sports, Prince George, BC. 1999 - 2003

Assistant Manager (2000 – 2002)

Key Holder (1999 - 2000 & part time in 2003)

Purden Ski Village and Purden Lake Resort, BC. 1997-2001

Snowboard Instructor and Coach

General Park Maintenance

Copperwolf Cruising Consultants, Calgary, AB. 1997


Tuesday, April 29, 2008

History of Naturopathic Medicine

This is a very, very brief summary. Please read the book Nature Doctors by Friedhelm Kirchfeld & Wade Boyle to get a good understanding of where naturopathy came from.

The term naturopathy (a hybridization of the Latin-natura and the Greek-pathy) was first coined in 1892 by John Scheel, a MD in New York. Benedict Lust, a German immigrant who had been helped by Father Sebastian Kneipp's water cure, came to America in 1896 to teach Kneipp's hydrotherapy methods. Benedict Lust purchased the term, "naturopathy" from Dr. Scheel in 1902. Lust was looking for a term that was not persecuted by the Medical Doctors of the time and used it to describe the methods of healing taught at his school. In 1956, Joseph Boucher (who was born in Edmonton) was joined by John Bastyr to open National College of Naturopathic Medicine (initially in Seattle before moving to Portland). Boucher was said to be a key figure in keeping naturopathic medicine alive during the tremendous hardships endured by Naturopaths in the 50's, 60's and 70's.

This is a very brief overview the beginnings in North America, however, the roots of naturopathy are in Europe where nature cure (water, sunlight, exercise, diet) began and can even be traced all the way back to ancient Egyptian, Greek, Roman and Chinese civilizations. (Click here for an article on Medicine in the Ancient World)

Today, Naturopathy formally consists of:

1. Nutritional Medicine
2. Herbal Medicine
3. Lifestyle Counseling
4. Physical Medicine (spinal adjustments, massage, hydrotherapy)
5. Traditional Chinese Medicine
6. Homeopathic Medicine

Furthermore, there are now many more therapies that are offered by some Naturopaths including IV therapy, chelation therapy, Bowen, etc. Therefore, Naturopathy is an umbrella term used to describe many methods by which a person can maintain or regain health.