Monday, January 24, 2011

The naturopathic Godfather

Today I met the Godfather of postmodern naturopathic medicine.  Dr. Joseph Pizzorno is an elder in the naturopathic community who graduated in the mid 1970's when there was only one naturopathic school in North America.  According to him, CAM is popular culture now in comparison to the persecution it suffered when he first started practicing.  He is currently the president of Bastyr University and also the author of the Textbook of Natural Medicine. 

So today, Dr. Pizzorno gave a presentation to CCNM students and staff about intestinal permeability.  As I am not a particular fan of this textbook, I was undecided on whether to attend.  However, who can miss the chance to see someone with such a reputation!  And, I have to say that the lecture was very educational and, as to be expected from someone with his number of white hairs, some controversial statements were made that only many years of experience could allow him to say.

Maybe the gray hairs creeping up on my head will help me after all!!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Blood, urine & no tears.

Today I finished my last official shift at the Gamma Dynacare Lab inside the Robert Schad Naturopathic Clinic (CCNM's teaching clinic).  Fourth year interns are required to fulfill a mininmum amount of clinical hours in the lab and also obtain a minimum number of patient blood draws, urinalysis and other tests.  Additionally, we complete a very thorough one-on-one verbal assignment that assesses our knowledge (learned in lab diagnosis theory classes) of the correct indications for ordering labs.  This learning experience was one of my favourite so far at CCNM.  It is not often that students get the opportunity to learn in a practical one-on-one teaching environment and I did not take the privilege for granted. 

Naturopathic doctors are trained to use lab diagnosis to investigate or support a clinical suspicion.  Additionally, many patients are now requesting disease risk assessment tests that can be performed with a "simple" blood test.  What is exciting is that many tests are now becoming available at point of care.  This means that soon a finger prick (instead of a more invasive blood draw into a vein), saliva or urine will be able to test most hormones and disease risk factors right in your doctors office.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Avocado...who knew?

It seems I always learn something about food when shopping at my favourite grocery store mcewans.  Even though many of the products are beyond a student's budget, I am easily persuaded when it comes to quality foods.  We usually go on Saturdays when we are certain to find a few vendors educating the customers about their products and providing samples to excite our taste buds.

Since the store's opening near to our house, I have learned a great deal about olive oils, breads, specialty meats, fine dining food combinations and most recently, avocado oil.  When possible, I always pass along cooking information to my patients and have found out that most people realize now that cooking with Extra Virgin olive oil is very counterproductive.  Virgin olive oil has a slightly higher burning point than Extra Virgin (harvested at a different time of year and contains different acidity levels) but I hear most naturopathic doctors still recommend grape seed oil as the one of the best cooking oils; and it certainly is.  So this is where avocado comes in.

Avocado oil has a burning point of almost 500F (200F degrees higher than most olive oils), just below that of grape seed, and here is what surprised me: it tastes amazing!  Furthermore, avocado is among a list of plants that contain beta-sitosterol which naturally lowers cholesterol.  Check it out at a health food store near you and ask your naturopathic doctor about more important healthy cooking tips.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

That's not a kids meal

After Christmas my wife and I had the rare opportunity to take our children out for supper with us.  On both occasions, at two different popular restaurants, it was quite disappointing at what constituted a, "kids meal."  It would seem that kids eating out only enjoy a choice of: mini pizza, breaded mini burger on white bread (no pickle, lettuce, tomato), French Fries with ketchup or a grilled cheese sandwich on white bread.  That is not a meal anyone should eat, especially not a child!

I am sure that these restaurants are meeting the demands of their customers which makes me realize the magnitude of this public health issue.  Until change happens on a broader scale, be proactive in asking for healthier choices.  Skipping the kids entree choices and combining two side dishes at one of the establishments allowed for vegetables and coleslaw which were actually quite tasty.  And, sharing a small plate with your child from what you are eating may be the best choice anyways provided your selection is a healthy meal.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

I hope 2011 will be a prosperous and healthy year for you.

Thank-you to all of you who have faithfully read this blog over the last 3 years.  It is hard to believe that nearly nine years ago I began this educational journey and 3 and a half years ago I signed up to be among the CCNM graduating class of 2011.  It is an end and a beginning all at the same time!

Over this next year, I will be transitioning from student to practitioner.  Many of my goals for this blog were achieved including being an advocate for naturopathic medicine to the thousands of people who have stopped by for a read.  Ultimately though, the greatest reward was when I was told by colleagues that they were inspired to start their own blog after reading this one.

Happy New Year everyone!