I hope that when you come in to see me in the clinic it is obvious that I absolutely LOVE what I do. I would never do anything else and cannot believe that I graduated 14 years ago. With everything that has been happening in the world, I have been reflecting on my role as a naturopathic doctor. I’m often asked how I decided to become an ND and I love the story. I have never written it down and thought I would take this opportunity to do so.
I grew up in Sackville, my dad worked for the Federal Government and my mom was a nurse at Camp Hill Hospital. When I was 10, my mom started to get sick. She couldn’t remember things, her words came out funny and she was exhausted all the time. She still went to work and took care of us, but it was obvious to her and my dad that something was wrong. Eventually, the only foods she could eat were kale, quinoa, buckwheat, and milk-fed pork.
She had to go off work. They tried to figure out what was wrong. At the doctor’s office, no one knew what was wrong with her. She was told it was all in her and I think she started to believe it. Eventually, more nurses on the same floor had to go off work. She was then one of the first people in Halifax to be diagnosed with Environmental Illness, now known at Multiple Chemical Sensitivities.
At home, we went scent-free and then started shopping at farmer’s markets and health food stores. We were lucky because we always ate well and were active but we still had Cheez Whiz and chemicals to clean out the bathroom. I couldn’t have friends over that had scents on them but I was a mature 10-year-old and I understood why. I would go to their houses but when I came home I would have to change my clothes in the basement to be washed immediately.
At the farmer’s market, we had to take what we could get. I still remember moldy veggies that tasted horrible but once we discovered certain vendors that all changed. My mom has been shopping with Norbert’s Good Food since almost the beginning of her journey. I loved going to the markets with her, every week I brought a dollar to get a scrunchie, and then I had a cinnamon roll from Mary’s Bread Basket. As a child I didn’t feel the huge hardship that she felt, I’m sure she shielded us from the stress that she felt. I have great memories of shopping with her.
Lifestyle changes helped but didn’t cure her of all of the symptoms. She started looking around for people who could help her. The person that helped the most was a Naturopathic Doctor in Bridgetown. At the time we had to see her in person so we would drive the hours to Bridgetown to have our visits in a beautiful farmhouse. Homeopathy along with supplements helped my mom get her life back. She was able to go back to work but never did shift work again. She finished her career at the Cancer Centre and has now retired.
Chemicals still affect her and she still eats gluten-free and organic (almost 100%) but my mom’s quality of life is great now. She still uses supplements and is really active and is a huge part of my kid’s lives. I’m so thankful to that ND who helped bring my mom back.
At that moment I decided that I wanted to be a Naturopathic Doctor. I saw the wonderful impact it had on my family and I wanted to help others feel the same way. I feel so lucky for this experience. My mom recovered and I found my calling. I never once changed my mind and even now, 14 years in I cannot imagine doing anything else.
How Are You Feeling?
How are you feeling during COVID-19? There are so many emotions happening and they are all valid. I have good days and bad days. Sometimes I can be super productive and other days I can’t get out of my own way. Some days I am super patient with my kids and can get all of their school work done with them and other days I’m frustrated and can’t see clearly. I’m hoping to look back on this time and see the things that I enjoyed; getting our rooms painted, painting the trim at work, family bike rides, so many meals at home, new workouts and time to read.
One thing that I have been continuing in my health routine is to support my adrenal glands. Adrenal glands are the glands that sit on top of your kidneys and they keep you going. Adrenaline responds to short term and immediate stress (think being chased by a bear) but cortisol is the long term stress hormone. It takes over after a period of time if the stress continues. For most of us, stress has continued. Everyone is in a different situation and everyone will have different stressors but all of us have adrenal glands and they are all pumping out lots of cortisol right now!
If you are currently taking an adrenal supplement, don’t stop! Now is the time to continue. You may feel the need to take more or a different one, please consult a health care provider before doing so. The same goes for if you feel the need to start something.
There are some things you can start right now to make sure your adrenal glands help you get through this unprecedented time.
Eat protein: you want to keep your blood sugar level. With each meal and snack consume protein. Meat, eggs, nuts, powders. It doesn’t have to be a lot, just some.
Sea salt: have a little sea salt each day. Salt is depleted by the cortisol and when this happens you become tired, lethargic, and often dizzy. This can be added to your food or added to a small glass of water in the morning. There are many recent studies indicating that we are moving too far away from salt, watch for a blog post to come out about it!
Walk and do yoga. Running is great but it can be very stimulating for your adrenal glands. Walking, yoga, and weights are nourishing for them. Try to get outside as much as possible for an extra boost.
Tulsi Tea: We use the brand Traditional Medicinals (at Superstore). This tea is supportive and calming. Just what our nervous system needs right now.
Caffeine: Avoid caffeine after 930am if possible. It supports the cortisol curve early in the morning but depletes it as the day goes on.
Sleep: Try to get 8 hours and try not to get up too early. The most rejuvenating hours for your adrenal glands are between 5 and 7 am so try to sleep some during that time.
Have Fun: Do something you love doing. I love to exercise so that fills me up. Watch a comedy on Netflix. Cuddle with your kids. Play a board game. Something that makes you laugh as well as have fun gets you extra points!
Although I am not able to see new patients via telemedicine I have kept my practice open for current patients. If you feel you need adrenal support, or support in any way please feel free to reach out.
Supplements: We are still doing contact-less supplement pick up. Call us or email us to put your order in. We are accepting credit card payments over the phone as well as e transfers. Our hours vary so best to call or email us beforehand.
Thanks Sara… thus renews all that I’ve learned but maybe have let lapse mute than us best for me … I feel renewed reading this post .. so much has happened in NS and I’ve felt every ounce of its weight … I can’t get poor baby Dylan out if my kind and heart … I now live in Truro and he lives just 2 miles down the road… I can’t see my family which is always my strength in troubles… my husband continues to fight kidney lung cancer … your post reminds me it’s ok to look after me … 💙