This blog is kind of a mish mash of recent professional experiences…
In early June I was privileged enough to spend a week at the D’Adamo clinic in Connecticut observing Drs. Colicci, Tran, and D’Adamo. By far, this was the best experience I have had observing at a naturopathic clinic! They were open, communicative, and patient with me and all my questions and allowed me to learn and hone so many skills.
If you are unaware of what a visit to Dr. D entails, let me give you a quick run-down. In your first appointment, you come prepared with a questionnaire about your past medical history, family history, and current concerns. You go through a series of measurements, including those outlined in the GenoType Diet book as well as other measurements to evaluate gut health and body composition. One of the residents takes your case, gathering all the info you can provide about your current concerns and past medical history. All that info is used to fuel GenoType SWAMI to create a totally individualized diet plan for you based not only on your genotype but also on your specific health concerns and goals. Your next visit you meet Dr. D who also gathers info about your history and current concerns and performs a physical exam. Then the exciting part comes. Your individualized diet plan is printed out for you and an individualized supplement protocol is also created for you and then you are educated about your health, how your plan addresses your needs, and your genotype by Dr. D.
I really enjoyed this approach, since it is truly the most individualized plan possible and, perhaps even more importantly, the patient is actively involved in learning about him or herself and enlisted in the plan to improve health. Ultimately we are each responsible for our health and it is only we who bear the consequences of our life choices. Therefore, it is so important that the patient be heard and involved, something I think is too easily overlooked in all sects of medicine.
This visit really helped me to refine my own vision for how I want to work with my patients in the future. In less than one year, I will be a student intern in my school’s naturopathic clinic actually treating patients! And, in two years I will have graduated and will be ready to start treating patients using whatever modalities I choose. My plan has always been to use Dr. D’s work with patients, not only because I already know there is a demand for such practitioners in my area, but also because I believe that nutrition is the most significant factor impacting health. Now I have seen how to actually use these tools in practice and how this approach will fit with my other interests, which are principally in energetic medicine, such as homeopathy and Asian medicine. I envision a practice in which both hygienic (nutrition, fitness, stress, sleep) and energetic medicine is available depending on the unique needs of the patient.
For about a year now I’ve been doing some consulting work that brings together my prior education and professional background (marketing and communication) with my current professional path and interests (natural medicine, nutriceuticals, research). I’m so fortunate to have work that is not only financially rewarding, but also allows me to learn more about topics that fascinate me. Part of the reason I became involved in natural medicine was because I ultimately wanted to work for myself, according to my own vision, and spending my time doing what I love. For fun last year, a friend and I brainstormed a whole bunch of ideas for a business name for my consulting and future medical practice. We came up with a lot of silly names that played on my last name (eg: Whellness, Whisdom, Whimstar, and some that I won’t mention!).
After all the brainstorming, one name has stuck with me and last week I registered that name with my province (so now it is all mine!) and bought several domain names to go with it! The name I chose to represent me is Wavelength Wellness. I chose “wavelength” because I am so interested in energy in all aspects of life and that will be a major part of my practice. I also like the implication of the expression “I am on your wavelength”. I want my patients to feel that way when we interact, as though I am receiving their information accurately and with a real connection. I like “wellness” because it covers a wide range of activities; it is the ultimate goal of everything I do. Plus, I know a lot of clinics with names like “health centre” and while that is accurate, it doesn’t have any feeling behind it for me, it is only descriptive. I’m a firm believer in the power of intention and the law of attraction, so I always want to keep in mind the idea of wellness. Finally, I like the letter “W” because it links to my last name, which is important because it is unique and memorable, and I like the alliteration.
Now I’m working on a logo (fun!) and will hopefully eventually have a website up that I can share with you.
Sorry to be blogless for so long, I had midterms which lasted pretty much up until finals and therefore have spent the last 6 weeks or so studying, eating, sleeping, and working! I am now off school for the summer and my time is more flexible, so I hope to write blogs more often.
I decided before even knowing my genotype that I would give it a proper try, for at least three months doing my best to cut out all black dot toxin foods and strongly emphasize diamond superfoods. As of, literally, January 1st until the end of March I almost completely avoided Gatherer toxins (black dot or otherwise) and incorporated a whole bunch of new superfoods.
So what is my take on my genotype diet so far? Honestly, I can’t say that during the first three months I felt different than following the blood type diet. I did lose weight (about 5 pounds) but I had put on a few pounds leading up to Christmas, so I think this would have happened if I had been following the blood type diet anyway.
There are so many things I really like about the Gatherer diet. I like that the food categories and groups are more flexible than the blood type diet, particularly in the grains department. This has led me to use more rice and quinoa, which I have really enjoyed. As an O-nonnie, grains were very restricted! Dairy has become much more flexible too, but I just have no desire for dairy so I haven’t yet tried any of my superfoods in that category. I want to eventually make a ricotta cheesecake (because cheesecake is really the only dairy I miss!), but I think I should probably ease into the dairy rather than gorge to start… I like a lot of the superfoods, particularly fennel, celery, pineapple, raspberries, green beans, cinnamon, eggs, bison, turkey, and chocolate! It has been really fun and stimulating to try different foods that I haven’t had in awhile.
The only downside has been that I have found it challenging to eat as many vegetable servings as I was on the blood type diet. Many of my favourite, staple vegetables became black dots: kale, broccoli, carrots, sweet potatoes. I tried a lot of new veggies but I still missed my favourites. I recently added back my favourites a few days per week and will observe how I feel. I have also started eating chicken again (probably too much) and will see how I feel about this too. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to totally switch from chicken to turkey since eating out would become much harder.
I have come to realize that I really do identify with the Gatherer genotype. I assumed I was a Hunter initially because of body type, but I really don’t have the kind of inflammation issues that typify that type. I am an intense personality, but I think I am far steadier and have more endurance than a Hunter might. I do identify with the Gatherer need for regular activity, abundant nutrients, and blood sugar control.
I also think I am pretty sensitive to caffeine and have some other things in common with Explorer, so I am trying out some Explorer ideas as well. I have cut caffeine out of my diet entirely for the past six weeks and feel great. More about this in another blog.
Yes, I am still alive! Today I am productive, but doing nearly everything EXCEPT those things that urgently need doing. But still, productive. There are many blogs “in the works”, never fear! But for today, just a few thoughts:
Top 3 problems I have right now:
1. I need more sleep!
2. I am overworked and struggling to get it all done (well) and keep myself healthy…
3. I spend too much time alone studying and not enough time loving and being loved.
Top 6 blessings I have right now:
1. Those few, special, amazing friends & family who accept me and put up with my spasmodic time and energy availability!
2. I finally live in a peaceful, private space that is 100% my own.
3. I live in a city/country that is safe, clean, peaceful, accepting, supportive, vibrant, and fun!
4. I am fortunate enough to have access to loans and government support to pursue my education.
5. I am healthy, able to walk/see/hear and otherwise free to go and do whatever I want whenever I want.
6. I get to spend every day doing what I am most passionate about and learning what I am most interested in…
As long as my blessings double my problems, things are OK.
So just a few days into the GenoType Diet and I’m making some changes…
I have started making my fruit smoothies without bananas (so sad!) and so far I am using pineapple chunks, mango (using up what’s in my freezer), raspberries, and blueberries (see mango). I add to this 1 tablespoon of lecithin and then cover it all with a combo of prune juice (see mango), peach juice, and water. This actually tastes pretty great, and I am looking forward to using up all the prune juice and getting to some cranberry… But I still do miss bananas and avocados… Any ideas for something to put in there to give a creamier texture? I might try cottage cheese, but I will have to work into dairy slowly…
Yesterday I tried pomelo for the first time and it was alright. It is a really big citrus fruit with a very thick peel that was hard to get off. It tasted mild but still sour. I didn’t love it, but it was not bad, so I will definitely eat some more… In the afternoon I stopped by a tea shop and bought two types of Yerba Mate tea, one of which is called “Mate chino” which has cocoa in it! It smells like chocolate cake and kind of tastes like hot cocoa. Yum… I also bought some Green Tea Kombucha by Yogi Tea. For dinner I ordered Indian takeout of lamb tikka and basmati rice, which was already one of my favourite meals, but has now gone from neutral for an O nonsecretor to Superfood status for this Gatherer! For dessert I made my Walnutty Chocolate recipe.
I’m still working on figuring the vegetable part of this plan. I have tried green beans (which were great) and eaten up all the carrots left in my fridge. For dinner tonight I think I will make a salad with spinach, red pepper, and celery. When I grocery shop for next week I will also buy some okra and likely some salad mix or romaine lettuce.
Here is a link to the ricotta cheesecake recipe I mentioned in my last blog. I haven’t made it yet, but I think I could substitute for the sugar and flour to make it compliant. Enjoy!
A glimpse into my brain as I read and learn about The GenoType Diet...
27 Dec 2007:
Spent much of that day wondering when my book would arrive. Amazon said it would ship on the 27th and arrive between December 31st and January 2nd. I was at my dad’s house for the holidays and was worried that the book wouldn’t arrive before I left on the 31st! I considered just going out to buy one down the street, but was instructed by my father to just be patient (probably the most common thing he has said to me in my life!).
28 Dec 2007:
Book arrived! Yay Amazon! Spent rest of day flipping, reading, and measuring furiously. Couldn’t figure out if my ring fingers were longer or shorter than my index fingers! Measured obsessively with a variety of tools, techniques, and eyeballs. I don’t look like a Gatherer, but then what am I? Although, the emotional “highs and lows” part is spot-on… Experienced minor identity crisis.
29 Dec 2007:
Continued to measure obsessively. My father (Explorer) got very annoyed with me, but then also became obsessed with my fingers. Began to understand that if I was having this much trouble telling the difference, my ring finger is clearly NOT longer…genius! This means I’m a Gatherer. Read food lists for Gatherer and compared to Explorer (my next most likely type) and decided I should be pleased I’m a Gatherer because I far prefer these lists!
30 Dec 2007:
Whoo hoo! CHOCOLATE, walnuts, almonds, ghee, quinoa, basmati rice, onions, peppers, celery, pineapple, raspberries, cranberries, eggs, turkey, bison, lamb, okra, are all superfoods! Did I mention CHOCOLATE? Boo hoo! Red wine doesn’t have a black dot. Discovered recipe for ricotta cheesecake made with tons of superfoods – I can have CHEESECAKE?
31 Dec 2007:
Insisted on reading the Gatherer and Explorer food lists out loud to my father in the car on the way to Toronto. Scintillating reading for me, not so much for him… Grocery shopping. So confused! No kale, broccoli, bananas, blueberries, mangos, carrots… Where are my staples? Bought spinach, green beans, pineapple, raspberries, a pomelo (coolest looking fruit ever), celery, bison burgers, turkey, walnuts, almonds (covered in beneficial CHOCOLATE), flaxseed, eggs. Not so hard.
1 Jan 2007:
Kukicha tea is a superfood! I have a pomelo in my kitchen! Chocolate! Eggs, eggs, eggs… I have a lot of black cherry, prune, mango, and peach juices to drink over the next few months…
Overall, I am really pleased to be a Gatherer and excited about my food lists. I will never forget the good times I shared with some of my favourite O-non foods, like bananas, blueberries, carrots, kale, and broccoli and I will definitely keep in touch. But on the whole I am thrilled to keep many of my faves and gain lots of delicious new foods that were previously restricted!