After about a year of dealing with digestive problems, that I thought were most likely prompted by hormonal changes, I decided to seek some medical advice. My first step was to my trusted endocrinologist, Dr. Robert Dluhy, at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. I have been under Dr. Dluhy’s care for 20+ years. Dr. Dluhy proceeded to ask me many questions and came to the conclusion that it was most likely dietary, but sent me to the lab for blood work to confirm. The lab work included a test for Celiac Sprue, a common digestive ailment which came back negative. He then referred me to his colleague and the Brigham’s famed gastroenterologist, Dr. Norton Greenberger.
Dr. Greenberger asked me about every aspect of my life. As when some doctors are not sure what to say about a non-diagnosis, I expected him attribute it to stress, but he did not. Again, the discussion returned to dietary. He sent me away with a book he authored 4 Weeks to Healthy Digestion and made me promise to have a colonoscopy within the year (though I have not scheduled that yet !!!).
Dr. Greenberger’s book is very informative and touches upon many reasons for digestive interruptions and his approach is simple.
Week One: Start a Food Diary/Log
Week Two: Change your eating habits according to what you logged in week one
Week Three: Eliminate the Problem Foods (process of elimination)
Week Four: Chart a New Course
The book also lists what foods to avoid for common problem and even offers some decent recipes. All in all I felt I was on the right track.
But then I enrolled in a class, Consumer Health, at Salem State College with Judi Lasser. One day we went on a “field trip” to Advanced Health and Wellness in Andover, where we met Dr. Amanda Tracey (who actually went to high school with my daughter). I had been toying with the notion of adding the care of a Naturopathic Doctor to my preventative health care plan and this was the affirmation that I needed.
You might ask…Why a Naturopathic Doctor? Well, why not!!
Naturopathic medicine uses safe and non toxic therapies to restore and maintain balance in the body. Herbal medicine, homeopathy and life style counseling are often used in conjunction with one another.
Your next question…What is their training??? You may be surprised to learn that a licensed (key word is licensed) ND has completed eight years of education and the first two graduate level years are the same as an MD. They then break away and an ND begins to focus on natural therapies to promote health and wellness. Yes, imagine – an herb instead of a pill, acupuncture instead of pain medication and above all they promote proper nutrition.
My initial consultation lasted over one hour. I completed a very detailed health questionnaire and had a formal interview with Dr. Tracy. Among her suggestions…
Get a colonoscopy (OMG again with the colonoscopy!!!)
Have a stool test (yucky)
Make some dietary changes
Maybe a colon cleanse (for details http://www.wholehealthdetox.com)
I will offer you a few of the dietary changes, because they were pretty good suggestions.
You see we are what we eat and for many years we have been pouring chemicals and toxins into our bodies and there comes a point where it tells us enough is enough.
Yogurt daily, she suggested organic such as Stoneyfield, Fage Greek
Eat Sprouted Grain Products
Turkey- buy Nitrate Free (I think Boars Head is nitrate free)
Flax Oil-Use mixed in salad dressing or yogurt, or make your own dressing
Tea-really any kind but suggested green, red, white and herbal (Yogi Tea is good)
Multi Vitamins and Calcium- Dr. Tracey selected a brand for me based on my needs. I was tired of taking a multi vitamin and, B complex, E, D etc. She researched what would be the best for me and now I can take 2 with breakfast and 2 in with dinner.
Dr. Tracey also suggested that I visit the website www.ewg.org.There was lots of useful information on this site from a tuna calculator that tells you how much you should eat based on your size due to mercury content, to a list of the “Dirty Dozen” fruits and vegetables, these have the highest levels of pesticides (they strongly suggest that you buy these organic) they are: peaches, apples, sweet bell peppers, celery, nectarines, strawberries, cherries, pears, imported grapes, spinach, lettuce and potatoes. The cleanest fruits and vegetables (safe to buy conventional) are onions, avocadoes, frozen sweet corn, pineapples, mangoes, asparagus, frozen peas, kiwi, bananas, cabbage, broccoli and papayas.
I have also opted to change some of the day to day products I use including-toothpaste, mouth wash, laundry detergent, (and no more fabric sheets), house cleaner (no more Windex and 409). Trader Joes has a great selection of environmentally (and people) friendly alternatives that are economically priced. Oh yeah and only soy candles.
I am not trying to change the world just to make mine a little better, by learning to relax, restore and rejuvenate. This coupled with my conventional medical care, chiropractic and yoga has me on the right path.
What could be next- acupuncture?? Maureen will fill you in on that next.