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521 North Argonne Road
Spokane Valley, WA, 99212
United States

509-919-1385

Naturopathic Medicine in Spokane Valley, WA specializing in discovering the root cause of your chronic symptoms.  We utilize environmental medicine protocols and holistic treatments to treat chronic symptoms and autoimmune diseases.  

Blog

Dr. Julie George aims to provide you with knowledge to take control of your life.  Our blog provides information for you to become informed, aware, and able to make confident decisions.  

 

Got to Go

DrJulie George

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Summertime is the perfect time to travel near and far.  Here in the Inland Northwest people tend to spend a lot of time at the lakes, going camping, and touring the Oregon Coast. In Spokane, we are so close to so many spectacular sites to see.  There is so much fun and excitement putting a trip together, planning the itinerary and heading out with our packed bags.   We often don't think about our "Got to Go" moments until it is too late.  So many people get diarrhea and/or constipation while traveling.  The causes vary but often are from nervousness, change in routine, climate changes, different diets, dehydration, overindulging and even pathogens.  If you believe you have been infected with a pathogen or foodborne illness seek urgent care.  Being prepared with some natural therapies while traveling can help you prevent and/or manage GI distress.  

Lifestyle Habits 

Stay Hydrated - The average person requires 1/2 of their body weight in ounces of water each day (150lbs=75oz of water).  Remember that activity, heat, dry climate and alcohol consumption requires more water.  We like to take along Jigsaw Electrolytes Packets to help us replenish all of the electrolytes we lost to stay well hydrated.                                                                                                                                                                                         

Eat Nutritiously  - Check out some healthy restaurant cuisine on your trip.  Always include veggies with each meal and a serving of fruit per day.  Don't forget to add the salad.  Roadtripping is no excuse to swing by the golden arches.  Plan your meals and bring a cooler.  Camping?  No problem bring organic bagged greens or frozen veggies to add to your dishes.  Fiber-rich foods are required.  This is not the time to overindulge in heavy foods.  Traveling does not give you permission to eat gluten or your other food sensitivities. You will thank yourself for staying on your plan.                                                                                                                                                                     

Movement - Find activities to keep you active.  Even if you are road tripping to your destination stop and walk around the car, find something to see along the way, and park at the furthest pump.  Just MOVE!                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Relaxation - We often fill our itineraries with all of the sightseeing, visiting, shopping, etc that we forget that its a vacation and we should relax.  Take some time for yourself and breathe.  We must get quality sleep so enjoy that hotel room you paid for.

                                                                                                                                                                                 

Natural Therapies for GI Distress

Microbiome Labs MEGASporeBiotic - We have bacteria living within our GI system that regulates our immune system and GI health.  When the bad bacteria and yeast overpower the good bacteria we are prone to infections, allergies, inflammation, GI distress, mood imbalances, and lower energy.  MEGASporeBiotic is designed to balance the bad bacteria and yeast.  They have designed this probiotic to survive the stomach acid, therefore, it is far superior to the competition.  It is the only shelf-stable probiotic I endorse, meaning it is safe to throw in your suitcase.  Available through our office

Enzyme Science Critical Digestion - 95 million Americans report GI distress.  When traveling we do not want gas, bloating, abdominal pain, food intolerances, constipation and diarrhea getting in the way of our plans.  We often do not know what is in the foods when we are eating at a restaurant.  Thus I recommend enzymes with each meal to help break down the fats, carbohydrates, and proteins.  

Jigsaw MagSRT - Magnesium is often deficient in the population.  Magnesium helps with constipation.  I like to travel with MagSRT because of the time release technology.

Homeopathic Nux Vomica - If you couldn't resist and overindulge on eating and drinking at dinner, then try homeopathy.  It is small enough to carry in your pocket.  Do not take with coffee or mint.  Homeopathy is best taken away from food and drinks.  

Ginger Tea - If you tend to feel nauseous or queasy try sipping on some hot ginger tea.  Easy to pack a few tea bags.  

For your convenience, you can order supplements through our online store access code for a new account is Rivercreek --10% off all orders.  All orders are direct from company to  Natural Partners warehouse where they are properly stored and shipped directly to you.  

Naturopathic Medical Appointments

It is very important to have regular bowel movements each day.  If you do not have regular bowel movements then we encourage you to schedule an appointment.  We can test you for Leaky Gut and Food Sensitivities and design unique treatment plans.  GI health is important to your overall well-being, immune system, mood, and ability to detoxify.  

Disclaimer: This is for informational purposes.  We are not diagnosing or treating your medical condition.  If you have medical concerns please contact your primary care physician.  

Mold in Spokane Area

DrJulie George

 

Do you know someone that was highly productive maybe participated in Bloomsday or the PTG, and now barely has any energy?  Or perhaps you know someone that was a high achiever always making their goals and making life look easy, yet now they are having difficulty processing what to do next.  They could be fighting daily headaches or is it nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.  We probably all know of someone like this if it isn't us.  Some mold patients look great, and you wouldn't think they were even sick.  

Mold Illness is a real health problem.  Mold produces and releases tiny spores which are small enough to be in our air, water, and even insect-borne.  Mycotoxins are also produced from mold.  Both spores and mycotoxins can cause health problems.  One-quarter of the population is susceptible to chronic mold illness due to their HLA gene status.  HLA are antigens that are found on the surface of cells.  Antigens help the immune system label foreign invaders, however, people with a defect in the HLA gene will have difficulty clearing foreign invaders from the body.  When the body is under constant attack from foreign invaders the immune system can not handle it, thus the label Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome.  Mold illness is hard to distinguish from other autoimmune diseases and often has similar symptoms as chronic Lyme's Disease.  People with RA, Psoriasis, Lupus, Hashimotos, IBD, and Graves Disease often are triggered by mycotoxins.

COMMON SYMPTOMS OF MOLD ILLNESS

  • HEADACHES

  • DISTURBED SLEEP

  • FOOD SENSITIVITIES

  • ALLERGIES

  • IBS

  • DISRUPTED VITAMIN D METABOLISM

  • INCREASE VIRAL ACTIVITY

  • HORMONE DISRUPTION

  • FATIGUE

  • LOW LIBIDO

  • BRAIN FOG

  • DECREASED IMMUNE SYSTEM

  • NAUSEA/VOMITING

  • DIARRHEA

SIMILAR SYMPTOMS OF MOLD ILLNESS AND CAN BE MISDIAGNOSED

  • FIBROMYALGIA

  • CHRONIC FATIGUE SYNDROME

  • MULITPLE SCLEROSIS

  • DEPRESSION

  • STRESS

  • ALLERGIES

  • IBS

  • ADD

TESTING FOR MYCOTOXINS IN SPOKANE VALLEY

At Rivercreek Wellness, Dr. Julie George works with the leading laboratories in the nation.  We recommend testing for molds and mycotoxins as well as checking other blood markers.  Mycotoxins and mold are often problems that need to be addressed with people living with chronic illness.

SPOKANE AREA HAS MOLD

When I moved to Spokane I inquired about mold with inspectors, real estate agents as well as physicians.  Do you know what the majority of them said?  "Mold, you don't need to worry about that on this side of the state."  I was dumbfounded by that response.  Mold is all around us.  We have water pipes in our homes, it rains and  snows, right?  According to OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, 1/4 of US buildings are water damaged.  Just because your home or office hasn't been flooded, hit by a hurricane, or had pipes burst, doesn't mean you are free of mold.  A lot of the times the mold is not on the surface, therefore not visible to our eyes.  

COMMON REASONS OF MOLD GROWTH

  • REMEDIATION DID INCORRECTLY

  • POOR VENTILATION & HVAC SYSTEM

  • FLAT ROOFS

  • FAKE STUCCO

  • CRAWL SPACES

  • BASEMENTS- INCLUDING FINISHED 

  • WATER LEAKS

  • SEWAGE BACKING UP

INSPECTION OF MOLD

Your average insurance mold inspector is not enough.  It is important that you work with a professional that runs the correct mold and mycotoxin testing.  Even I have hired the wrong local companies for testing. We are developing relationships with a few trusted companies that offer great testing and advice.  

 

This content is not intended to diagnose or treat your health conditions.  If you have any questions regarding your symptoms or health please contact your primary care physician.  

Holistic Healthcare for Multiple Sclerosis in Spokane Valley

DrJulie George

Natural Health for MS in Spokane

March is Multiple Sclerosis, MS, awareness month.  Are you familiar with Multiple Sclerosis?  MS is an immune-mediated response in which the person's own body is abnormally attacking the central nervous system (brain, optic nerves, and spinal cord).  Nerves contain a protective coating known as myelin.  For some unknown reason, the body's immune system will start attacking the myelin and nerves within the CNS.  This immune response creates scarring which gives the disease its name Sclerosis.  Once the nerves are attacked it creates interference between nerve signaling thus creating the symptoms of MS (1).  Each person that presents with MS has a unique set of symptoms.  Conventional medicine does not have a cure for MS, therefore they manage the symptoms with prescription drugs.  

Common Symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis

  • Fatigue

  • Muscle Spasms

  • Numbness & Tingling in face, body, arms, and legs

  • Muscle Weakness

  • Chronic Pain

  • Dizziness & Vertigo

  • Difficulty Walking

  • Bladder Problems

  • Gastrointestinal Problems 

  • Vision Problems

  • Depression

Naturopathic Medicine for Multiple Sclerosis

People that have been diagnosed with MS often have several specialists because the symptoms cross many systems within the body.  One specialty that is often not discussed is Naturopathic Medicine.  Naturopathic medicine utilizes a holistic approach to treat the patient while looking for the root cause.  

Dr. Julie George focuses her Spokane Valley practice on naturopathic principles and environmental medicine.  The Mulitple Sclerosis Society states on their website, "The cause of MS is still unknown – scientists believe the disease is triggered by an as-yet-unidentified environmental factor in a person who is genetically predisposed to respond(1)."  Therefore, Dr. Julie George believes that people with MS should be seeing doctors that focus on environmental medicine.  No matter what stage of MS someone is in it is a great idea to integrate care with naturopathic medicine to optimize your body's ability to heal. 

Nutrition & GI Health

Having a healthy digestive system and microbiome influence your overall immune system.  When someone has been diagnosed with MS, we believe it is important to utilize specific testing for GI health using leaders in the industry like Genova Diagnostics, Cyrex Laboratories, and Doctors Data.  We also know that special diets have made huge impacts on patients with MS.  Dr. Terry Wahls and her research team have done studies on adding nutritional dietary changes with neuromuscular electrical stimulation therapy which produced positive conclusions (2).   Optimizing nutrition can be of huge significance alone.  

Genetic Testing

We believe that knowing your methylation cycle is important for optimizing your supplement protocols and detoxification pathways.  We believe that this allows for us to individualize your treatment protocols specific to you.  

Pathogens

It is common to find certain viruses in MS Patients.  Lyme's disease is also commonly found in MS patients.  We believe that MS patients should test for Lymes and co-infectors with the leading testing company IgeneX.  Bacterial and Parasite infections can also be found in MS patients.  

Toxic Burden

Knowing your environmental health history and the possible toxins you were exposed to can help with restoring your health.  Eliminating as many exogenous chemicals from your life is important.  Exploring your toxic profiles, heavy metals, and mycotoxin levels may help.  We utilize Doctors Data, Genova Diagnostics, and other leading laboratories to obtain this information.  

Stress Management 

It is important to find stress-reducing practices that can become a habit.  Stress can initiate immune flares.  In addition, to lifestyle habits, we can explore your cortisol/adrenal health with specialty testing.  

At Rivercreek Wellness we optimize your nutrition with dietary changes and professional strength supplements, we provide advanced and standardized laboratory testing, and educate on lifestyle habits.  Dr. Julie George prefers to work with MS patients monthly.  We also feel that it is important to integrate your care with leading conventional MS specialists.   

Family History of Multiple Sclerosis 

Do you have a family history of Multiple Sclerosis?  Having a family history of MS is reported in 20% of MS patients.  There is a 2% risk of developing MS if a first-degree relative has the diagnosis (3).  Therefore, Dr. Julie George believes that being proactive with preventative medicine is much needed.  We have access to several scientific medical tests that can be beneficial to your health.  

Genetic Testing                                                                             

Learning your single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) within your genes can be revolutionary to your current and future health.  We all have SNPs.  Being able to influence our genes expression is going to revolutionize healthcare.  This allows us to optimize our nutrition as well.  

Autoimmune Panels

Cyrex Laboratories has an autoimmune panel that determines your susceptibility to autoimmune diseases 5-10 years prior to a diagnosis.  When we determine that your body is already having immune reactions we are prompted to make major changes to your lifestyle.  

Toxic Burden

We can not avoid toxins, they are everywhere.  However, we can try to eliminate as many toxins from our lifestyle as possible.  We have the availability for testing heavy metals, solvents, glyphosates, parabens, phthalates, and many more.  Eliminating toxins from your body requires working with a doctor that is trained in environmental medicine.    

 

 

References

1.  National Mulitple Sclerosis Society. https://www.nationalmssociety.org

2.  Reese, D., Shivapour, E.T., Wahls, T.L., Dudley-Javoroski, S.D., Shields, R. (2009). Neuromuscular electrical stimulation and dietary interventions to reduce oxidative stress in a secondary progressive multiple sclerosis patient leads to marked gains in function: a case report. Retrieved from https://terrywahls.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Case-Report-Neuromuscular-electrical-stimulation-and-dietary-interventions-to-reduce-oxidative-stress-in-a-secondary-progressive-MS-patient-leads-to-functional-gains.pdf.

3.  Murray, J. T., Pryse-Phillips, W., Noble, J. (Ed.) Greene, H. L. II (Ed.), Levinson, W. (Ed.), Modest, G.A. (Ed.), Murlow, C.D. (Ed.), Scherger, J.E. (Ed.), Young, M.J. (Ed.). (2001). Textbook of Primary Care Medicine (Third Edition). Chapter 171 Multiple Sclerosis (pp.1623-1629). ST. Louis, MO: Mosby.

 

 

 

 

Protect Your Heart from Mercury

DrJulie George

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Have you heard that February is American Heart Month? Heart disease is the leading cause of death worldwide.  During the month of February, you will hear a lot about basic prevention tips and patient testimonials.  However, one of the most ignored links to heart disease is heavy metal exposures, specifically mercury.  Mercury toxicity is highly correlated with high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, heart attacks, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases (1).  Conventional medicine usually will only test for metals if there is an acute poisoning.  

What is Mercury and Where Does It Come From?

You probably first heard of mercury in chemistry class when memorizing the periodic table.  There are three types of mercury: elemental, inorganic and methylmercury (organic).  Dental amalgams are the silver filling and the most common source of inorganic mercury toxicity.  The methylmercury form is found in sea life, vaccines, pharmaceuticals, coal plants, etc.  Our body can convert methylmercury to inorganic mercury and store it in our body (1).  Mercury is lipophilic meaning it likes to concentrate in fatty tissues.  Mercury can affect your organs especially your brain and heart.  The average 154-pound person has a told body burden of 13mg of mercury (2).

Mercury Sources:

  • Dental Amalgams
  • Seafood
  • Freshwater Fish
  • Water
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Mercury-Containing Vaccines -Thimerosal
  • Natural Occurring
  • Industries
  • Coal Plants
  • Cosmetics
  • Crematories

Eating Seafood Increases Risk of Heart Disease

Numerous studies have linked mercury with heart disease.  A study in Finland linked cardiovascular disease and cardiac death with consumption of seafood containing mercury.  The study accounted for many variables and analyzed hair mercury levels in men.  The study found that men who consumed daily fish greater than or equal to 30g was associated with a 2.1 fold increase of having an acute heart attack and 2.4 fold increase in death related to heart disease when compared to those that ate less fish (2).

The American Heart Association published an article this month still promoting people to eat fish to keep the heart healthy.  They recommended eating fish for eating better, cholesterol control, and for weight loss (3).  I believe that eating fish on a regular basis could potentially cause a lot of harm within the body.  Each time we are exposed to heavy metals, they have the ability to lodge and store in our body.  Mercury increases our oxidative stress within the body. Glutathione is depleted with toxin exposures.  Glutathione is the number one antioxidant within the body that is required to combat oxidative stress.  Heavy metals and toxins damage our mitochondria which is our cells power house for generating energy.  This can lead to premature cell death.  Mercury has been shown to increase lipid peroxidation (1).  

Highest Level of Mercury in Fish!  

  • Swordfish
  • Albacore Tuna
  • Tile Fish
  • Shark
  • King Mackerel
  • The larger the fish the more mercury

What is your total body burden of mercury?

We feel that it is important to your overall health to know your total body burden of heavy metals for prevention.  At Rivercreek Wellness we have the ability to test for heavy metals.  We use laboratories that specialize in testing like Doctors Data and/or Genova Diagnostics.  It involves two collections of urine, one before chelator and one post chelator.  We prefer to prescribe an oral chelator for testing.  

Removing mercury?

Removing possible sources is the first step.  We usually recommend individualized chelation protocols for our patients.  Reducing heavy metals takes time and does not usually occur with one treatment or round of chelation.  

Disclaimer:  This is article is not intended to diagnose or treat your medical condition.  If you have any medical concerns please seek care from your physician.  

 

References

1. Houston MC (2014) The Role of Mercury in Cardiovascular Disease. J Cardiovasc Dis Diagn 2: 170. doi:10.4172/2329-9517.1000170

2. Salonen JT, Seppänen K, Nyyssönen K, Korpela H, Kauhanen J, et al. (1995) Intake of mercury from  sh, lipid peroxidation, and the risk of myocardial infarction and coronary, cardiovascular, and any death in eastern Finnish men. Circulation 91: 645-655.

3. American Heart Association News.  (2018) 7 proven ways to keep your heart healthy.  news.heart.org.  

 

My Dad Has Dementia

DrJulie George

Dementia.png

Over the holidays I went to spend some time with my family back in Texas.  Each time I go back it seems as if not much changes.  There may be a few additions to the family, but overall it feels the same time and time again.  This trip was a little different...  See my dad recently has been diagnosed with a form of dementia.  In additon, my brothers and I found out that he hasn't been taking his medication properly.  As a physician, this is frustrating to me. 

After the hustle and bustle of the holiday get togethers, I went to my dad's primary care physician to request his medical records and sign forms to allow me to speak with him.  The doctor was at the window on my arrival so he took us back to his office.  I wanted to ask a few questions about his medications.  As a naturopathic physician, I was puzzled to why he is not being monitored more closely and why he hadn't been referred to specialists for his dementia and blood sugar.  The doctor was very apathetic to my concerns.  He actually told me that my dad's condition was not a serious medical condition, yet a family problem.  This doctor didn't think a specialist was needed but stated, "If that is what you want, then I guess you can take him."  He went on to tell me that my dad has dementia and it is common and there isn't much you can do for it, except take his medication.  At this moment I realized what YOU may be feeling when YOU go and see your primary care physician.  I was so frustrated with my dad's doctor.  Besides this doctor lacking care and compassion, he wasn't even giving future options for care.  

If you live in or near a city that offers licensed naturopathic medicine you are BLESSED.  My dad lives in a semi-rural area of Texas where sick care is healthcare.  Naturopathic medicine isn't even licensed there.  Finding good quality care and healthy foods is dismal.  My dad does not want to progress any more than he already has so he has agreed to come for an extended stay in Spokane, WA with me.  To be honest, I am a little worried to break his social routine.  However, I am confident that eating a diet that I prescribe and cook for him will help control his blood sugar and cut the inflammation.  In addition to dietary changes, I will be hitting him hard with environmental medicine protocols.  I believe that dementia is a cumulative effect from our genes, lifestyle, and environment.  Therefore, addressing the whole person is key to slowing down progression and/or reversing symptoms.  

  • Cognitive Nutritional and Herbal Supplements
  • Detoxification Pathways
  • IV Nutrients
  • HBOT Therapy

I love my dad more than he will ever know.  It hurts so much to know the man that influenced my life is so confused.  My dad is aging as we all are, but restoring HIS quality of life and YOURS is why I do what I do.

 

This content is not intended to diagnose or treat your health conditions.  If you have any questions regarding your symptoms or health please contact your primary care physician.      

Naturopath In Spokane

DrJulie George

During medical school my husband and I were so confused on where to move.  Do we stay in Phoenix area where there are numerous naturopaths?  Move to a licensed state?  Unlicensed state?  We were so plagued with what, where and when to make a move.  We would debate each location on a map until we talked ourselves out of it.  Spokane came up once, but was quickly dismissed.  We joked on just throwing darts blindfolded on a map and moving to where ever it stuck.  It almost wasn't a joke at all.  As one of our business class requirements to start a mock business, we took a trip to MT.  We traveled the whole state and thought Bozeman would be ideal.  We were really set on making MT work.  

Then came the opportunity.  After completing a rotation with two naturopaths, they asked me to join them in Chandler, AZ.  It was so refreshing to work with two naturopaths that had been working in the field for many years.  We thought we finally found our place.  This was the time when the economy was changing in AZ.  I networked and built my practice rather quickly.  I enjoyed working in Chandler, and we loved living there.  However, we knew we needed to make a change for our family.  So we packed up and moved back to Texas.  I quickly was hired to work with a M.D. in the Houston area.  We had family.  We had support.  We worked trying to get Texas Licensure.  Yet we were so discouraged in not being able to fully practice in an unlicensed state.  Then my husband, Dr. Trevor George, transferred with his position to Sedona, AZ.  

Sedona, AZ was a unique place to practice medicine.  Being a healing destination, people from around the world traveled there.  I shared an office space with a naturopath that shared my same vision for healthcare.  Then my daughter developed health issues that often required emergency treatments.  Sedona area does not provide emergency treatments for children, they transfer to Phoenix.  After several transfers we knew we had to make a move.  

On a business trip my husband met a man on an airplane.  The man owned a business in Spokane and my husband was the right fit.  Shortly after that trip he made the move to Spokane.  The family and I followed behind 8 months later.  

We have found home and absolutely love Spokane.  We really believe that it was a God Move to get us here.  We have met incredible people, have great schools, attend an amazing church and live in a great community.  Besides being a little fearful of the bears, we love camping and hiking.  Being surrounded by lakes and so many neat places to visit, our free time is filled with adventure.   We intend to call Spokane home for forever! 

Life Changes

DrJulie George

 

As an expecting mother I envisioned the way I wanted to raise my children and have a professional career.  I wanted to instill some of the same family traditions that I had taken part in as well as start new traditions.  I thought about having themed birthday parties, trying healthy recipes and traveling the world.  I contemplated childcare situations and future education for my precious kids.  I envisioned taking 3 months off, then gently going back part time and building up to full time after the second birthday.  I really thought all of this was a perfect game plan.  

Then there was the birth of our third baby.  Everything went smoothly and she was a healthy 9lb 2oz baby girl born at home.  My envisioned game plan was still in place.  At 2 months old she started having horrible eczema and really bad reflux symptoms which were not improving.  As a mother, especially a naturopath, I felt like I was failing at discovering the underlining issue.  She had imaging and was being seen by a fantastic pediatrician, with no answers.  When she was 4 months old, we decided to give her an excellent product for eczema and reflux.  She immediately had anaphylaxis to the product.  We rushed her to the local hospital and onto being transported to the Children's hospital.  At the first hospital her blood work came back extremely abnormal.  We were in the hospital for 8 days before being released without a definite diagnosis.  Months later she was given the diagnoses of Hereditary Spherocytosis and Eosinophilic Esophagitis (EOE). 

During these months leading up to the proper diagnoses, our family's world was unraveling.  My naturopathic office was having to be put on hold, my life evolved around driving to the children's hospital multiple times per week for testing and treatment.  My husband and I spent countless hours researching the diseases as well as natural treatments.  The medical doctors did not always agree or understand our approaches.  It was extremely exhausting fighting for my rights to breastfeed my child, and not to do the harsh medications and feeding tubes.  My husband changed careers and relocated during this exhausting time, which left me tending to the stress of an ill child.  I managed working limited hours for months.  Some patients were understanding, but not all.  After a scary allergic reaction that required airlift to the Children's hospital due to respiratory distress, our flight nurses and ER doctors advised that we needed to move closer to the hospital.  This expedited our relocation to Spokane, WA. 

Life as we once knew it changed.  Everything changed.  We can not be careless anymore or free spirited about where we go.  With the Eosinophilic Esophagitis (EOE) she has anaphylaxis to most foods, along with severe environmental allergies.  Planning a trip requires knowing where the EpiPen is located and how close the nearest hospital is to us.  Childcare is extremely difficult to come by due to the possibility of another child dropping a crumb on the floor and she picking it up.  Things that most people never think about are now in our awareness each day. 

All of those plans I had years ago are just reminders that life doesn't always go as expected.  I am now having to be extremely creative with birthday celebrations and holidays.  We live life to the fullest and are grateful for our little girl.  She is doing amazing and I will write on that in the future.  My daughter's health conditions are definitely influencing the way I practice medicine and my appreciation for caregivers.  Life has changed and we now embrace our new life.   

Defining Health

DrJulie George

 Photo by IJdema/iStock / Getty Images

Photo by IJdema/iStock / Getty Images

What does being healthy mean to you?  A few weeks ago I had a man tell me that everyone shares the same philosophy on being healthy.  I couldn't help it but disagree.  I witness people posting "healthy" recipes on Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook and I cringe because it isn't healthy to me.  I see people practicing so called healthy hygiene with antibacterial soap/hand sanitizers and my skin crawls as I know those chemicals are culprits to causing disease.  I may be a little critical but I want you to achieve optimum wellness.    

Merriam-Webster defines Health as

"The condition of being well or free from disease; the overall condition of someone's body or mind; the condition or state of something"

The World Health Organization defines it as 

"Health is the state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.

I have this discussion with a lot of patients, friends, strangers, and colleagues.  Each person has a slightly different idea.  For a lot of people being healthy is a goal: losing weight, running a marathon, increasing energy, walking a flight of stairs, beating cancer, kicking the caffeine addiction, walking a daughter down the aisle, being their for the birth of a grandchild...  Others believe being healthy is not getting sick (they are dumbfounded when I tell them differently).  Some live and breathe being healthy each day.  On rare occurrences, I talk with people that view being healthy as going to the doctor or hospital.  Many define health as living a long life.  I am here to validate all of these definitions.  

The beauty of having a naturopathic physician is we get to spend a lengthy amount of time with our patients.  We are here to assist with each individual's journey to achieving a healthier lifestyle.  For some people we have to start with the fundamentals: you must drink water to survive, pooping is a daily occurrence, fat is essential for brain power, the body requires identifiable foods, and sleep is not for the weak.  Once one masters the fundamentals then we can advance to: why you are freezing when its 110, why your feet itch, why you haven't pooped today, why you have no energy to deal with your todos, why you don't sweat in the desert....  Once we have eliminated a few of these issues we can proceed on to finding the cause, preventing future ailments, promoting a healthier you.  How do I do this?  I look at your genetics, toxic exposures, and use advanced medical testing to help you optimize your health.  Some people may be pleased knowing that they really needed to drink water, and  others may be praising Jesus that they finally have regular toilet time.  However, the vast majority of people are so excited that they want to know more.  

My own definition of being healthy for myself is eating organic foods, supplementing my biochemical pathways, empowering my cells to function optimally, relaxing, loving, compassion, and being faithful.  Guess what?  I'm always altering the subcategories to each of these as I learn more about my body and with new research.  I can't simply define my health definition concretely because my cells are constantly changing.  However, I strive to be the healthiest I can be each and every day.  

I hope you define your own health.  I wish you well on your journey.