Back to School Survival Tips: Part 1 – Healthy Snacks

Summer is coming to a close and school is right around the corner.  If you are a parent, you are either cherishing the peace and calm from having your kids at home all summer or missing spending quality time with them.  One of the more challenging things with the start of the school year can be coming up with healthy and nutritious on the go snacks for your children – that they’ll eat.  We teach children about making healthy choices, and that should also be reflected in lunch and after school snacks.

Here are some healthy and tasty foods for the kiddos this school year.

Traditional Favorites

There are quite a few traditional snacks that you can try with your kids.  “Ants on a log” has always been an old standby, so grab some celery and top it with organic almond or peanut butter and raisins.  Also, chopped vegetables including carrots, celery, cucumber, jicama, or bell peppers (green or red) are good choices, especially if you add in a vegetable dip, such as hummus.  You can also use hummus with pretzels, whole grain crackers, and pita chips.  Skip the microwave popcorn loaded with synthetic butter, and instead use lightly salted air-popped popcorn.  Lightly salted pistachios can be a hit and help with fine motor development. Finally, fresh fruits such as apple slices, grapes, and oranges are always a good standby.

Turkey and Cheese Swords

Roll up a small piece of nitrate-free, organic turkey with an organic sliced cheese of your choice and skewer it with a pretzel stick. Easy, and the kids will get a kick out of their turkey and cheese ‘swords’.

Avocado Chocolate “Pudding”

Most kids love chocolate pudding, but traditional pudding cups are full of processed ingredients and sugar. Instead, take two large avocados, pit and peel them, and then chop them into small cubes. Put these in a blender with a quarter cup of maple syrup, a half a cup of unsweetened cocoa powder, along with 1/3 of a cup of coconut milk, two teaspoons of vanilla, and a pinch of cinnamon. Blend these until the whole mixture is smooth and then refrigerate it until it gets that “pudding” consistency and serve.

Banana “Ice Cream”

For this healthy version of banana ice cream, you need to peel several overripe bananas. After peeling, cut them into one-inch pieces and then freeze them in a Ziploc bag until they are solid.  Then, you can run them through a juicer or blender to create a “fake out” ice cream. Be sure to serve this as soon as you take it out of the blender/juicer.  If you want to make this a special treat, try adding berries or carob powder to the blender.  You can also try topping it off with fruits or nuts.

Almond Fudge

Fudge you say? This three ingredient treat is tasty and will keep their blood sugar more even than any traditional candy/fudge. Combine 1/2 cup almond butter OR allergy-friendly alternative, 2 1/2 tbsp virgin coconut oil (25g), add optional 2 1/2 tbsp liquid sweetener of choice) and a few drops maple extract. Combine the almond butter and coconut oil or coconut butter, and gently warm until the nut butter is easily stir-able and the coconut oil is liquid. Stir in the sweetener if desired, then spoon into a plastic container or candy molds. Freeze a few hours until solid, and store leftovers in the freezer. Thanks to for this one.

Fruit and Cheese Kabobs

Wash organic grapes and strawberries, and alternate on small skewers with organic cubed cheese. Everything is more fun on a skewer!


These are a naturopathic favorite. You can load them up with nutrients, vitamins and protein, and the sky is the limit on how tasty they can be. They also make a great ‘on the go’ breakfast or after school snack. The new school year will be bringing a lot of challenges when it comes to schedules and staying healthy, but with these inventive options, your kids can still get quick and easy snacks that are good for them. For starters, try out this delicious banana almond flaxseed smoothie.

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Dr. Jacqueline Yang – SCNM

“When I learned of naturopathic medicine, a light bulb turned on and there was no question on what I wanted to do.  The principles and philosophy of naturopathic medicine held true to my heart.  This is how I wanted to help people.”

Laying the groundwork to become an ND

As a pre-med student, majoring in biochemistry with a minor in chemistry, Jacqueline Yang, ND, CAc questioned her fit with allopathic medicine.

“I always knew I wanted to be a doctor, but when I was college, I started to ask myself what kind of doctor do I really want to be? How do I want to help people?  I see my work as my purpose, so these questions hit me hard.” With that, she began researching other approaches to care.

“When I learned of naturopathic medicine, a light bulb turned on and there was no question on what I wanted to do.  The principles and philosophy of naturopathic medicine held true to my heart.  This is how I wanted to help people.”

SCNM as a springboard

Born and raised in the Northeast, Dr. Yang was eager to explore more of the country.  “I was searching for experiences that would challenge me and expose me to new things.” Dr. Yang chose to pursue her naturopathic medical degree at the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine (SCNM).

“I had the best four years of my life at SCNM.  Not only did I learn about the human body and the medicine, but I was able to create strong relationships that still hold to this day. There was a strong sense of community with the students and faculty.”

Finding fulfillment as an ND

Following graduation, Dr. Yang began working with another naturopathic doctor. Two years later she took over the practice. “I am the proud owner of New England Integrative Medicine, practicing in Salem, NH and Boston, MA.  I have a great staff and work with two other great naturopathic doctors.”

Dr. Yang gives back to the community by providing educational health and wellness presentations. She also served on the New Hampshire Board of Naturopathic Examiners for five years.

“My journey has not been easy, but I have no regrets.  I am so grateful to be a naturopathic doctor. What I like most is that I am able to provide options for patients. The best thing ever is the feeling I get when a patient tells me I’ve turned their life around and have given back hope. I also have a passion for the therapies that we use, such as botanical medicine, acupuncture, and homeopathy.”

In her personal time, Dr. Yang enjoys spending time with friends and family, exercising, and cooking.

Advice for aspiring NDs

Dr. Yang advises prospective students to spend time exploring their interest in the field of naturopathic medicine. “Visit the schools and reach out to a variety of naturopathic doctors – especially those who practice in the state you want to work in.” The scope of practice varies by state so it is important that you are aware of what you are able to offer. “Becoming a patient is another great way to experience the medicine.” Click here to find an ND near you in the US and Canada.

“In the beginning, I made sure to list out the things that are important to me.  Following that list helped direct me on what I needed to do to be successful and happy.  Creating a financial plan each year is also important for success.  Writing down goals, personal and business, will help keep you focused in all areas of your life.”

Dr. Yang is pictured to the right with a prospective student at HPW Live! in Boston – the kick-off to Health Professions Week – a virtual series of events held every fall for prospective students to explore career options in the health professions

Learn more about Dr. Yang

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Diet Mayhem – How a Naturopathic Doctor Can Help You Understand Your Nutritional Needs

Guest post by Fraser Smith, MATD, ND

It seems that every week brings another cascade of headlines about nutrition. One newsfeed claims “researchers have found that eggs will hurt your heart,” another proclaims “fish oil is useless,” and a newspaper states that “four cups of coffee a day will help your heart.”

At the same time, the bookshelves, and the “readers also liked” spread at Amazon is crowded with plans that vie for the title of the perfect diet for health. Mediterranean diets have very good evidence, although the role of fish and red wine are not uniformly agreed upon. The Nordic diet has sailed down from Scandinavia to hearten those who like root vegetables and hearty stews. The health benefits of a plant based diet are nigh indisputable but many people balk at the thought of becoming 100% vegan. What about those baby back ribs after all?

Into this ferment of science, pseudoscience, hype, rumor and traditional truths, comes an average North American. Wanting to stay healthy, feel better, outrun a heritable risk factor, or recover from illness, they earnestly want to choose the right diet. It should be fun and enjoyable to eat. Their family and friends should be able to share it with them. It should be affordable. They should be able to prepare it. And perhaps, the dogmatic nature of how some health authors present their advice, while enticing for those seeking clear direction, is a total turnoff for others who want a balanced approach.

This is where a naturopathic doctor can be an incredible guide. NDs know the biochemistry and physiology of the human body. They study various diet plans and program comparatively, that is, they look at the strengths and weaknesses of each. NDs have the education to evaluate evidence and how deep that evidence runs, yet, in the best spirit of evidence based medicine, can include in that evidence studies, analysis of groups of clinical trials,  clinical experience, expert opinion and reasoning based on biology. Best of all, an ND is trained to look at each patient as an individual. They have a particular history starting from conception. They had a certain microbiome (the bacteria living in the body, especially the gut) in their family home and that has had many influences. Their genes, while mostly shared with other human beings, do have distinct nuances. The impact of their diet and environment on those genes is divergent from others. And each patient has their own story, their own narrative, and of course medical history.

An ND can work with a patient to create a plan that is right for them, at the present time. They can also look at clinical and laboratory evidence to see if the intended benefits have showed up.

In many countries and cultures, people do not obsess over diet to the extent that North Americans and other developed nations do. They eat a traditional diet, high in plants, with naturally fermented foods (think yogurt, kimchi, sauerkraut, etc.) and usually eat together. But these are different times. We have successive generations of people who have grown up eating a synthetic diet. The toxin burden in our world is higher than ever. And, we wish to, as the great scientist Linus Pauling would put it, “Live long and feel better.”

About the Author

Fraser Smith, MATD, ND is the chief academic officer for the ND program serving as Assistant Dean of Naturopathic Medicine at the National University of Health Sciences’ (NUHS) College of Professionals Studies. He is a Professor and author of the textbook, Introduction to Principles and Practices of Naturopathic Medicine. Dr. Smith is also the author of three additional books for the public, Keep Your Brain Young; The pH Balance Health & Diet Guide for GERD, IBS and IBD; and The Complete Brain Exercise Book. He is an editorial board member of the Natural Medicine Journal, and teaches Botanical Medicine, Pharmacology and Naturopathic History, Philosophy and Principles at NUHS. Dr. Smith is licensed to practice as a naturopathic physician in Vermont. He is past president (2008 – 2013) of the Illinois Association of Naturopathic Physicians.

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Breaking Down Silos: University of Bridgeport Leading the Way in Team-based Care

The University of Bridgeport School of Naturopathic Medicine has undergone a number of changes during the 2018-2019 academic year.  With the new president came the restructuring of 14 university programs into three colleges, with encouragement from university and college leadership to enhance collaboration among the schools within each of the colleges. Administrators in the recently formed College of Health Sciences (CHS) now meet regularly to create, develop, and complete projects as one consolidated unit, rather than isolated efforts that have sometimes produced redundant results. One example is the current review of the Integrative Clinic, a collaborative effort of the faculty and students within the College of Health Sciences. The University of Bridgeport’s Naturopathic Medicine Clinic offers team-based medical care with a focus on patient education and the use of natural and preventative therapeutics.

Pictured below: Naturopathic medical students take the oath at the white coat ceremony.

Collaborating to offer integrative health care

The programs within the College, including the Acupuncture Institute, Fones School of Dental Hygiene, the School of Chiropractic, and the School of Naturopathic Medicine, are in a unique position to collaborate and offer patients and students a fully integrative approach to health care, with the inclusion of these four distinct disciplines providing patient assessment and services as one functioning unit.  Student teams, with representatives from each discipline, meet with each patient, followed by a collaborative discussion of their findings, under the supervision of their respective, experienced clinicians.  Patients recognize the benefits of this collaborative work, and follow up with the team of student clinicians in the Integrative Clinic, and individually, with selected disciplines, as indicated.

UBSNM is currently exploring strategies to improve tracking and analysis of the outcomes for this collaborative work – both from the perspective of patient and student outcomes.  Pre- and post-surveys of participating students have revealed growth in their understanding and in their competencies in working collaboratively, while enhancing their understanding and appreciation of the other disciplines involved in the Integrative Clinic.

With the addition of the School of Nursing and the Physician’s Assistant Institute to the University in recent years, we are exploring expansion of opportunities for both patients and students in all of these disciplines in the Integrative Clinic. Another component of integration is sharing space, and the Naturopathic Medicine Clinic and the Chiropractic Clinic are about to embark on sharing clinic space, with the start of the upcoming academic year.  We have all moved around a bit, and are looking forward to this increased opportunity to learn from one another!

Curriculum changes

With input from students, faculty members, and administrative staff, we completed an assessment of the program and the curriculum the Fall term of the 2018-2019 academic year, and developed the plan for the upcoming years in January of 2019.  We explored the concerns regarding the number of hours in the classroom, information redundancy, and the desire for more time to prepare for patient visits.  The resulting changes include more opportunities for collaboration, course consolidation, shifting courses to semesters that provide enhanced preparation for clinical rotations, and reduced seat hours!  We are all looking forward to the implementation of these improvements starting in the 2019 Fall term.

Pictured below: Every February, the UBSNM community honors World Wetlands Day with a courageous winter dash into our very own waterfront: The Long Island Sound. It was only 10 degrees. Note the ice on the sand!

Increasing clinical opportunities

The clinical opportunities for third and fourth year students have continued to expand.  The rotation at one of the local YMCA’s residential facilities was so successful that we expanded to two more YMCA facilities in Bridgeport.  More students can participate in these settings, and gain experience with a wider range of populations and pathologies, in a setting that is convenient for patients – in their own residential facility. The clinical rotations in Generative Medicine have moved over to the UB Naturopathic Clinic.  With this physical move, we are working to better integrate this approach to health care with the rest of the clinical opportunities, through collaboration and cross-referrals.

Excellence endures

The most talked about news regarding the UB School of Naturopathic Medicine, and of which many of you are already aware, the university has decided to close the program.  We will complete a teach-out program over the next three years, closing with the last graduating class in May 2022.  We are all enormously sad and disappointed about the closure, but plan to keep our focus steady, continue with the high standards that we have come to meet in recent years, and celebrate throughout this time, with each event, each student, continuing to build relationships with those in the naturopathic profession.

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Dr. Cynthia Anderson- UBSNM

“I love teaching what I believe in. I love the enthusiasm of my students for this medicine and their belief in it. Basically, I love my students.”

For Cynthia L. Anderson, ND, CNM, teaching has truly been a life’s calling that has taken her around the world. She shares her passion in naturopathic medicine by educating the future generation of NDs at the University of Bridgeport School of Naturopathic Medicine – her alma mater.

Why did you choose naturopathic medicine?

“I chose naturopathic medicine because I wanted to learn how to understand and treat the underlying causes of disease rather than use a Band-Aid or mechanistic approach. Working in the allopathic field for many years, I came to realize there was a more holistic way to help others. My father was an honoree naturopathic doctor, curing his gout with black cherry juice, his hypertension with exercise and beet juice. He was my champion in becoming a naturopathic doctor.”

Furthermore, Dr. Anderson experienced the healing power of nature while fighting cellulitis. She was amazed to see tea tree heal her infection within a few days without the side effects that she may have endured through the use of prescribed antibiotics.

What can students learn from you?

Dr. Anderson teaches naturopathic OB/gynecology, gynecology lab, medical ethics, physical examination lab full-time. She also supervises clinic shifts including a women’s healthcare shift. Her career experience is not only inspirational, but also educational.

“My hope is that students incorporate my abiding and deep love for naturopathic medicine and it’s principles into their practice. I intersperse life stories of various work experiences into my classes.”

Dr. Anderson worked as a midwife and as an adjunct professor at the University of Minnesota Midwifery school where she led residents through the birthing process. She supervised and volunteered as a midwife in St. Lucia, the West Indies, and Thailand. In Cambodia, she spearheaded the training program for Khmer midwifes.

“On my clinic shifts, I emphasize working holistically with mind, body and spirit, adhering to naturopathic medicine principles. I impress on my students that the four-year program is only the beginning of a life-long journey in learning naturopathic medicine and the art of helping others.”

Dr. Anderson is continuously learning and incorporating her education into her work. She is certified in Wilson Temperature Syndrome and trained in holistic counseling.

“I am continually grateful to all of my teachers, many whom I work with at UBSNM.”

Finding fulfillment as an ND

“When naturopathic principles are combined with the natural ability of our bodies and minds to heal, it’s so powerful. As a midwife and life-long feminist I am passionate in educating women about their bodies and providing them with the guidance to stay healthy throughout life. Utilizing naturopathic medicine alongside my midwifery skills has enabled me to help women heal more effectively and profoundly than I could have ever imagined.”

Dr. Anderson has presented at the American College of Nurse Midwifery (ACNM) annual convention on natural options for menopause, and more recently on non-surgical options for urinary incontinence related to pelvic floor prolapse.

“Sharing naturopathic medicine with midwives and a broader population is one of my missions as a naturopathic doctor.”

As a part of increasing awareness of naturopathic medicine, Dr. Anderson hosted a radio show Your Health is Your Wealth where she featured many prominent naturopathic doctors.

“Dr. Ben Lynch was a guest and discussed the MTHFR gene mutation and its relationship to miscarriage. One of my listeners emailed me many months later to thank me, as after hearing the show she was tested for the mutation, treated and finally had a healthy baby.”

“Another story is in regards to Dr. Dennis Godby and his sons Isaiah and Jeremiah who literally ran from California to the East Coast with the goal of bringing the message about naturopathic medicine to the general population.” The brothers joined the podcast weekly to share updates on their journey and advocacy efforts.”

Dr. Anderson has a private practice called Sabita Holistic Health located in Southport, CT where she offers holistic, individualized care.

Advice for aspiring NDs

Dr. Anderson advises prospective students to explore their interest in naturopathic medicine. Shadowing or interviewing a naturopathic doctor is a great way to gain insight and network. If you decide naturopathic medicine is for you – jump in whole-heartedly, be prepared to work hard, and make your education a priority. Finally, “remember during the struggle of school what an honor it is to be a student of this medicine.”

Learn more about Dr. Anderson

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Celebrating 100 Years of Licensure at AANP 2019

Guest post by the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP)

Naturopathic medicine has made tremendous strides since 1919 when Washington became the first state to license NDs, but some things remain the same: genuine patient-centered care, adherence to the unique guiding principles and therapeutic order that define our profession, and the commitment to restoring health over managing symptoms.

Journey with us through time at AANP 2019, the Annual Convention as we celebrate the past, present, and future of naturopathic medicine. Get a glimpse of this incredible journey through time in the 60,000 square foot exhibit hall as we celebrate how far we’ve come as a profession and envision where we will go. As you walk through the hall’s seven stations, you’ll get to:

  • Celebrate the first licensure law, passed by Washington State in 1919 – the Regulation of Drugless Healing
  • Visit the Foundation of Naturopathic Medicine timeline
  • View historical picture galleries archiving the deep roots of Naturopathic Medicine
  • Project into the future how naturopathic medicine will steadily become a household name, and more!

As you continue to stroll through the hall, over 100 vendors will showcase their products and services. If you’re in need of a break during the Convention, you will be able to enter the three themed self-care rooms, provided by National University of Natural Medicine (NUNM). One room will feature relaxation modalities such as massage and acupuncture, the second will offer quiet meditation like yoga or Qigong, and the third will feature self-care practices such as herbal tea, sound therapy, and aromatherapy. In addition, the grand exhibit hall will feature interactive stations such as a self-powered smoothie bike, nutritional cooking demonstrations, and a multi-sensory herbal experience.

Additional Convention highlights:

  • The closing NMC Summit on the Future of Naturopathic Medicine will take place Wednesday, August 14.
  • Attendees will learn from over 47 expert speakers in over 40 sessions, earning quality CE along the way.
  • A kick-off Thursday morning keynote speech by, Ian Coulter, PhD, from RAND Corporation who will speak on metaphysics and the role of vitalism in science.
  • The Naturopathic Medical Student Association (NMSA) will once again host its annual conference in tandem with AANP 2019 and will hold their 2019 Annual NMSA Cup competition.
  • The AANP annual election and award ceremony – which recognizes up and coming leaders, as well as the pioneers who built the profession’s foundation – will take place at the closing banquet of the Convention, the AANP Gala, on Saturday, August 17.
  • Hands-on, in-depth post-con workshop opportunities.

Naturopathic medicine is steadily becoming a household name as more and more Americans turn away from sick care and move toward sustainable health care. Let’s celebrate where we’ve been, where we are today, and those who helped us get here! Learn more and register for AANP 2019 here.

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