Naturopassy Medicine

Dr. Jules Passy, Naturopathic Doctor

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What to Bring to Your Naturopathic Visit

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This blog post was written by my colleague, Talia Marcheggiani, ND.  It really encompasses what you can expect on your first visit to see a Naturopathic Doctor.  To read more of Talia Marcheggiani’s posts, visit her website.

I remember sitting in the walk-in clinic. I’d been waiting for over an hour, not to mention the time lost denying my symptoms, waiting until they got bad enough to warrant the visit in the first place. Finally, it was my turn. I walk into the treatment room, where a thin, middle-aged doctor was seated, her hair short and grey, her eyes encased in dark, baggy skin. She didn’t smile. “How can I help you?” She asked, bored already. I began where I thought the story began, at the beginning. I got a few sentences out before she cut me off. I was surprised; couldn’t she see that all this information was relevant? I didn’t just have fatigue, it was a part of me. It was woven into the fabric of my life; it had a back-story. This doctor needed to know when it began, what my life was like at the time, what I’d tried to do to treat it myself, when it felt better, when it felt worse. I didn’t believe she could treat me without that information. Surely it all mattered.

It didn’t matter to her. I realized at that moment that in her eyes I’d become something less-than-human: a mere symptom. I was just fatigue and fatigue just equalled a series of blood tests. Nothing else about me was relevant. When I left the visit I cried for all the power I’d felt evaporate from me during that visit. I felt hopeless. I hadn’t yet begun my career in healthcare and yet, as a patient I intuitively knew I wouldn’t feel better until I had someone listen to me.

Maybe you’ve had a similar experience. Maybe you simply know what naturopathic medicine is and are looking for a second opinion. Perhaps you would like treatment from a specific modality – dietary advice or acupuncture, for instance. Whatever the reason for booking an appointment with a naturopathic doctor, there are some things you might want to bring with you to prepare for your first appointment.

Bring patience: Know that healing, real healing, takes time. Naturopathic medicine, unfortunately, is not a one-visit kind of model. In the first visit we take a thorough patient history – asking detailed questions about your health and your past medical history. First visits can take 1 – 1.5 hours. From there, it can take a naturopathic doctor 1-2 visits before delivering a treatment plan and it can take weeks to months before seeing significant improvements. This doesn’t mean that things aren’t working, it just means that, in the same way it took a while for the symptoms to develop, it takes time to get back to a state of health. For those of you who are used to the listen-for-5-seconds-before-interrupting model, this might seem foreign.

Bring commitment: Healing requires some action on your end. Whether it means taking your supplements every day, being open to changing diet and lifestyle, or committing to a treatment protocol, healing requires some work on behalf of the patient. Naturopathic doctors seek to empower and, with great power comes some responsibility. We want to take the strings of your health out of the hands of puppet masters with white coats and stethoscopes and hand them over to you. You have the power to do more for your own health than any doctor, drug or piece of medical equipment. You might just need someone to show you.

Bring awareness: It’s important to pay attention to your symptoms. This might mean keeping a headache diary for a week or two to see if there is a connection to stress or the food you eat. It might mean bringing along some verbs and adjectives to describe the pain you feel in your back – does it radiate, is it sharp, is it dull? Does it throb? etc. No two people and no two diseases are alike. Therefore, it is useful for your naturopathic doctor to know everything about you and your condition that makes you unique so that he or she can tailor their treatment plan to you, not the name of your disease.

Bring any supplements, medications and past blood work to you visit: Coming to see a naturopathic doctor is similar in some ways to seeing your family physician. We work with conventional medical diagnoses and it’s very important for us to have your complete health history, including what supplements and medications you’re taking (including doses and brands) and, if you have it, recent blood work so that we can see what’s going on inside your body as well.

Bring your questions: Be prepared to make decisions about your health. Naturopathic doctors try to put the power back into your hands. Rather than telling you what to do, we like to give you information so that you are better able to make a decision about what you think is right for you. This means learning about your disease, paying attention to your body and symptoms, making lifestyle changes or taking treatment as prescribed. One of our principles of naturopathic medicine is docere, or “doctor as teacher.” This means our job is to teach you about your body. Knowledge is power and we’re invested in empowering you with your health and well-being.

Bring openness to change: Many people assume that seeing a naturopathic doctor will involve going home with a list of foods that they can no longer eat. However, this is rarely the case. We move at a pace that is right for you, encouraging you and empowering you to make small, relevant changes towards a healthier way of life and feeling better. However, getting better involves change. It involves being willing to let go of your symptoms, evolve your understanding of health and change the way you feel mentally and physically. Chances are you sought out a naturopathic doctor because you realized that you need to change; you want your health to change for the better. And, congratulations, because booking your first appointment is your first step towards that change.

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Root Crust Pizza

This amazing pizza was perfected by my sweet mom.  Gluten free and packed with nutrients this pizza has never been a disappointment.

Start by pre-heating the oven to 375 ℉

We like to vary the ingredients and proportions of each of the ingredients in the crust but our staples tend to be: cauliflower, parsnips, sweet potato, onions and garlic.

When we need a punch of colour, we throw in a beet (usually 1 medium sized).

For 1 pizza crust:

1/2 cauliflower, 1 large parsnip, 1/2 large sweet potato, 1 small onion and 1-2 garlic cloves.

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Add all ingredients into a blender and fill the blender with enough water to cover the vegetables.

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From there, blend on medium (in a Vitamix, we set the power to about 7) until the ingredients are “rice sized”.  Pour the ingredients into a strainer to drain all of the water. Press down on the vegetables to squeeze the water out. Next, add all of the ingredients into a frying pain to saute.  Cook on medium heat.  Continually press on the ingredients for 10-15 minutes to gently cook the vegetables and ensure all of the water is evaporated. We usually cook until the cauliflower turns slightly transparent. Pour off any extra liquid.

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Next, in a large mixing bowl, add any spices or herbs you would like to add for flavour.  We often throw in some oregano and/or basil, salt & pepper.  Mix 1 egg into the crust. Stir everything together.

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Once everything is mixed, flatten the ingredients onto a pizza pan to form the crust.  Bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes (depending on the thickness of the crust).

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Remove from the oven and decorate the pizza with your favourite toppings.  While the pizza crust is cooking, we usually sauté zucchini, sun dried tomatoes and mushrooms and then top with bacon/sausage or chicken.  We like to use pesto as the choice of pizza sauce but, anything is fair game!  Finally, we grate a small amount of mozzarella cheese on top and place back in the oven for 5-10 minutes or until cheese melts. 

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When eating the pizza hot and fresh, it is still quite soft and therefore may fall apart.  (But, it is also delicious to eat cold and actually holds together much better!)

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Chocolate Mint Bars

Chocolate Mint BarsLine a 7″ by 7″ pan with wax paper.
In a pot on low heat combine;
1/4 cup cocoa powder,
1/4 cup coconut oil,
1/4 nut butter (almond, peanut, etc.),
1 tsp. vanilla extract,
2 tsp. of maple syrup,
pinch of salt.
Poor mixture into pan and place in the freezer.

For the top layer;
1 ripe avocado,
1/2 cup coconut oil,
~ 1 tsp of lemon or lime,
1 tsp of vanilla extract,
a handful of fresh mint,
2 tablespoons of maple syrup,
pinch of salt.
Combine top layer ingredients in a Vitamix or food processor.

Stir in chocolate chips. Pour top layer over bottom layer and place back in the freezer for 30-45 minutes. Bars are best served frozen!

* Adapted from Swiss Paleo

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Beet Hummus Dip

Beet Hummus Dip4 medium sized roasted beets (red beets, golden beets or candy beets)
Roasted beets: slice beets and place into covered pan with 1/3 cup water – bake at 375℉ for 1 hour,
1/2 cup sesame seeds,
1/4 lemon juice,
3 cloves of garlic,
1/2 tsp of coarse sea salt.

Blend all ingredients in Vitamix or food processor.

Top with goat cheese and parsley.

* Adapted from Elana’s Pantry

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Gingerbread Cookies

Gingerbread cookiePre-heat oven to 350℉.

Mix all dry ingredients together;
2.5 cups of almond flour,
½ cup coconut flour,
¼ teaspoon baking soda,
½ teaspoon baking powder,
¼ teaspoon salt,
2 teaspoons cinnamon,
2 teaspoons ginger,
½ teaspoon allspice,
½ teaspoon nutmeg.

Mix all wet ingredients together;
½ cup maple syrup,
⅓ cup + 1 tbsp of melted coconut oil,
⅓ cup molasses,
2 teaspoons vanilla,
1 egg.

Combine all ingredients and place cookies onto wax paper on a cookie sheet. Bake for 13 minutes and let cookies cool.

If desired, you can top the cookies with icing (or glaze them)by combining coconut oil, almond milk, maple syrup and icing sugar together.

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Chocolate Macaroons

MacaroonsAn easy and delicious recipe!

On low heat combine:

1/3 cup coconut oil
1/3 cup almond butter
Once melted, stir in:

1.5 tbsp cocoa
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup maple syrup

Fold in 2 cups of shaved unsweetened coconut

*optional: add 3/4 cup of chocolate chips

Spoon ingredients on to a baking pan that is lined with wax paper. Refrigerate for 30-45 minutes!

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