Dr. Raynette Ilg – NUHS

“I love to do the research and figure out the remedies to people’s health problems.”

Laying the groundwork to become an ND

Dr. Raynette Ilg’s career started in office work, but her spirituality and family roots in botanical medicine led her to pursue a career in naturopathic medicine. Dr. “Ray” fondly recalls picking healing herbs from her grandmother’s garden, a practice that foreshadowed her professional calling as a naturopathic doctor.

NUHS as a springboard

Dr. Ray pursued her bachelors of science in biological medicine at the age of 40 while raising her children who were in junior high at that time. “Since I was an older student it was extremely important to me to be able to maintain a family relationship and go to school for my passion.” National University of Health Sciences (NUHS) offered the proximity and rigorous naturopathic education she needed to complete both goals. She valued the hands on courses and resourceful faculty that taught her an integrative approach to working with all kinds of other medical professionals in a team setting.

“Living the dream” after graduation

Following graduation in 2011, Dr. Ray launched Olive Branch Wellness Center in South Elgin, Illinois. She loves the flexibility that entrepreneurship has offered her and her family. Furthermore, she is proud of the office and team she has built. Each of her employees are hand-picked.

In addition to being a naturopathic doctor, Dr. Ray is also the author of Livin’ LaVida Grande: Why You Can’t Lose Weight and has been featured speaker on major networks such as ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC and The CW.

Finding fulfillment as an ND

From her start picking healing herbs in her grandmother’s garden to her established career in naturopathic medicine, Dr. Ray says, “It is a dream come true to be able to help people and not be so invasive! To see people who were told that nothing was wrong with them, even though they were not feeling well, come up to a new height of health and energy is amazing.” Another aspect  Dr. Ray enjoys about naturopathic medicine is the patient-doctor relationship where she has the opportunity to teach her patients. The doctor as a teacher approach puts the patient in control of their well-being with the tools they need to heal.

Advice for aspiring NDs

Dr. Ray encourages prospective students to study hard and take advantage of opportunities to develop a sense of what you want your practice to look like. Seek out other professionals as mentors to help guide you on your path. “Naturopathic doctors are known for their work ethic and for going the extra mile. If you can’t do that, naturopathic may not be your path in life; but if you can,” Dr. Ray exclaims, “Oh, the places you will go!”

Learn more about Dr. Ray:


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NUHS Continues to Engage Students and Grow Opportunities

Throughout 2018, students and faculty in National University’s naturopathic program have been actively engaged in various events promoting the field. NUHS students recently participated in the Naturopathic Medical Student Association conference in San Diego. In March, NUHS hosted the first of its kind conference focused on the latest research in nutrition. With new scholarship opportunities available, NUHS is also expanding its commitment to easing the financial burden of a naturopathic education. For the second year, NUHS will host the Healthy Kids Open House at its Lombard campus.

NUHS Students Score Victory in NMSA Trivia Cup Competition

NUHS students took first place in the annual trivia competition during the Naturopathic Medical Student Association conference in July in San Diego. The NMSA Cup is an annual competition among students at the seven accredited Naturopathic Medicine schools across the US and Canada. The rigorous, three-day competition tests students’ knowledge of the biomedical sciences, clinical sciences, naturopathic philosophy, and clinical therapies that naturopathic doctors employ. “It was very intense, but a well-deserved win–it’s great to put NUHS on the map, so to speak. It feels great to bring the cup to our home turf!” said Kareem Kandil, captain of the NUHS team, the Chicago Chapter of the Naturopathic Medical Student Association. As this year’s team will have graduated from the naturopathic medicine program by next year’s NMSA annual conference, National University is looking for new students to rebuild the team and bring home the 2019 championship.

National University of Health Sciences Launches New Graduate Scholarship and Increases Current Awards

Incoming NUHS students now have even more scholarship opportunities available to them. Starting with the 2018-19 school year, new students in the NUHS graduate-level programs, including naturopathic medicine, can now apply for the Dean’s Award, which awards two installments of $1,000 for the first two trimesters of professional studies. “This is the first new scholarship that has been created in some time,” said Marc Yambao, director of financial aid for National University. “We realize that education is a significant lifetime investment, and we wanted to broaden the scope of our awards to be more inclusive and lessen the financial burden on students and families.” Aligned with that commitment is the decision to increase the financial awards for the President’s Excellence Award from $5,000 to $6,000 and the President’s Achievement Award from $3,000 to $4,000. Both awards are open to students entering graduate level programs. To find out more information on scholarship requirements and how to apply, visit the NUHS website.

ND faculty Dr. Kristina Conner shares success tips for the Ketogenic diet

Many celebrities including Halle Barry and Gwyneth Paltrow have been touting the weight loss benefits of the Ketogenic diet. But before celebrities began using the diet for weight loss, it was first recommended for those with certain health conditions. Whether you’re trying to lose weight or trying the diet for other health reasons, NUHS faculty member Kristina Conner, ND, discusses how you can safely use the diet for weight loss. Read more on the NUHS blog, The Future of Integrative Health.

NUHS 2018 Nutrition Conference a Success

National University hosted the first of its kind conference on the Lombard campus focused on the latest research and trends in nutrition March 24 and 25. The nutrition conference, directed towards health care practitioners, students and the public, provided attendees with the opportunity to learn about various food movements, and how to implement these food diets or strategies to optimize health. Health care professionals received study results from some of the presenters in order to immediately begin putting the latest research into practice. “We were pleased with the quality of the education delivered; attendees walked away impressed with the knowledge provided to them,” said Dr. Jenna Glenn, DC, ND, MS, conference organizer and dean of the NUHS Postprofessional Department. For information about future programs, visit Post-grad and Continuing Education.

NUHS to host second-annual Healthy Kids event

After the success of the inaugural Healthy Kids event last year, NUHS is planning the next Healthy Kids event on October 20. The event welcomes local families on campus to learn about natural approaches to keeping children in optimal health. Similar to last year, NUHS naturopathic, chiropractic, and Asian medicine faculty experts and interns will host activities, classes, and demonstrations for both children and adults to enjoy. For updates on event details visit the NUHS website.

Explore a Career in Integrative Medicine at NUHS this fall

If you’re considering a career in integrative medicine, come visit us! NUHS offers a variety of visit opportunities including Student for a Day and Campus Visit Day at its Lombard campus. Scheduled for Nov. 3, Campus Visit Day allows prospective students to experience NUHS student life through interactive activities and real-life scenarios. You will also have the chance to interact with faculty, students, and graduates of NUHS. Student for a Day offered on Oct. 19 and Nov. 30 is a small group event that will give you the opportunity to sit in on a class lecture, tour our facilities, enjoy lunch with students and faculty, and meet with an admissions representative. If you have any questions or would like to schedule an individual visit, contact the Office of Admissions at 1-800-826-6285 or email admissions@nuhs.edu.

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Cranberries 101: The Naturopathic Kitchen

Welcome to our weekly dose of The Naturopathic Kitchen where we explore food as medicine. Through this series we hope that you will empower yourself to healthier eating. It can be intimidating to try new things especially when you don’t know what it is good for or how to prepare/cook it. Let’s learn together! Today, our focus is on cranberries!

Cranberry 101

Are you thinking Thanksgiving? If so, you are not alone! Cranberries are probably most thought of as a popular Thanksgiving side dish. Because they are harvested in early fall, they are often associated with the holidays in general. Cranberries can be enjoyed in many different forms—dried, frozen, fresh, or juiced. Fresh cranberries are good for about 20 days but freezing them increases their shelf life to 2 years, making them accessible year-round. Eaten fresh, they can be quite tart as the sugar content is not as high as some other berries, but the health benefits are too great to not include them when they are in season!

Where do cranberries come from? Where can I find them?

Cranberries are indigenous to North America and were a staple for Native Americans who harvested wild cranberries for a variety of remedies, foods and drinks. They were first grown commercially in 1816 and today are grown on more than 40,000 acres of farmland. Cranberries can be found in almost every culture, but outside of North America they are commonly used in the dried form. Their popularity makes them an easy find in almost every grocery store,  ranging from produce, to the frozen fruit section and in the dried bulk goods area. When looking for dried cranberries, be sure to grab the unsweetened variety, and read the label, as hydrogenated oils may be added to prevent sticking. You can also head over to the juice section for 100% unsweetened cranberry juice, just be prepared – it is very tart. Also, be sure to get organic cranberries when possible as conventional cranberries contain pesticide residues.1

How do cranberries help my health?

Most of the health benefits obtained from cranberries come from their impressive antioxidant content. This makes them excellent for prevention of many chronic diseases including, cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, and even some cancers.1,2,3 Cranberries have also gotten recognition for helping with urinary tract infections, but the research isn’t solid on whether they help during an active UTI though they may help to prevent one from starting.4

What medical conditions/symptoms are cranberries good for?

When should cranberries be avoided?

Cranberries are generally very well tolerated. However, they do contain high amount of oxalate which is a primary component of kidney stones. There aren’t any documented cases of someone developing kidney stones from cranberries but if you have a history of stones it might be best not to consume large amounts.

Let’s try them out with delicious and nutritious recipes!


Cranberry Orange Scones


1 ½ c organic whole wheat flour 1 ½ t baking powder ½ t salt 1 T orange zest (about 1 large orange) 2 T unsalted butter, cold and cubed ½ c plain Greek yogurt 3 T local honey 3 T freshly squeezed orange juice 1 t vanilla extract ¾ c fresh cranberries, diced 2 t organic milk


Preheat the oven to 425°F, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Whisk in the orange zest. Cut in the butter with a pastry cutter or the back of a fork until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. Stir in the Greek yogurt, honey, orange juice, and vanilla. Fold in the diced cranberries with a spatula. Using a spatula, shape the dough into a ¾” tall circle on the prepared baking sheet, and brush with the milk. Slice the circle into 8 triangular segments with a sharp knife. Bake at 425°F for 18-21 minutes, or until the tops are lightly golden. Cool on the pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack. Thank you to Amy’s Healthy Baking for this recipe!

Homemade Cranberry Applesauce


4 apples, peeled, cored and sliced 2 c fresh cranberries 1/2 c local honey 2 T lemon Juice 1 c water 1/2 t cinnamon 1/2 t cloves 1/2 t nutmeg


In a large sauce pan add water, lemon juice and honey. Stir over medium heat until honey is loose. Add cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. Add cranberries and apple slices. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Thank you to iSave A-Z for this recipe!

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Naturopathic Doctor News and Review (NDNR) Interview – How to Become an ND

Learn about a career as a Naturopathic Doctor! With Razi Berry and Dr JoAnn Yanez

Posted by Naturopathic Doctor News & Review on Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Full transcript of interview below.

Topics discussed:

  • Difference between homeopaths, herbalists and naturopathic doctors
  • ND training and curriculum
  • Whole body approach to healing
  • Fullfilment as an ND
  • Developing your toolkit as an ND
  • Top myths in naturopathic medicine

Razi Berry: Good morning, everyone. We are celebrating Naturopathic Medicine Week. This is Razi Berry, publisher and founder of Naturopathic Doctor News & Review. Naturopathic Doctor News & Review, as you know, is a case format journal about naturopathic medicine. Every month since 2005 we feature the best and brightest naturopathic doctors, and their cases. It is really a way for naturopathic doctors to learn clinical algorithms and best practices from each other, and really, the whole world is watching. It’s really created this following where many types of practitioners are learning from the leaders in natural medicine.

Razi Berry: I am here today to talk about how to become a naturopathic doctor. I’m here with the beautiful Dr. JoAnn Yanez. Let me tell everyone a little bit about you before we get started, JoAnn. I’m just delighted to be with you this morning.

Razi Berry: JoAnn Yanez is the executive director of the Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges, and we’ll learn about those this morning. She’s also the vice-chair of the Academic Collaborative for Integrative Health, and she weaves a passion for illness prevention into her professional life. Her career has spanned advocacy, academia, patient care, and public health. She oversees research, advocacy efforts, and the joint academic endeavors of the accredited colleges of naturopathic medicine. You’re a busy gal.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: I think we have some feedback right now. I’m not sure why.

Razi Berry: I’m not sure either. Is that better?

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: I was recently named the chair, the incoming chair for ACIH. I’m really excited to add that to all of the things that are in my day-to-day hopper, so to speak. I thank you, and thank NDNR for having me on. I really appreciate all that you do for the naturopathic community, and I can’t believe that you guys are going to be celebrating 15 years in the community. How amazing is that?

Razi Berry: Isn’t that wild?

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: It is.

Razi Berry: If I only knew now. We get a lot of questions from readers, and patients, and just consumers about naturopathic medicine in general, and how to become a naturopathic doctor. I think it would be fun to start, if you’d really explain what the education process is, because there are many types of natural and integrative medicine practitioners.

Razi Berry: There are health coaches, and integrative doctors, and functional medicine practitioners. Naturopathic medicine, in my estimation, is really the pinnacle, as far as education goes of natural medicine. Will you kind of explain what a naturopathic doctor is, and what the rigorous process is to become one?

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Oh, you bet. You know, I think you just said, “If we knew what we knew back then what we know now.” There’s so much information online about becoming a naturopathic doctor, and what you have to do. A really great place to start is our website.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: The AANMC website has everything, we have a whole section dedicated to prospective students, so if you have any questions, if you’re kind of curious, you want to get connected to the schools, we are a one-stop-shop.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: That said, if you’re wanting to become a naturopathic doctor, the first place you need to start really is why are you wanting to do this? What do you want to do? What is that passion inside of you that drives you to want to make this kind of an investment in not only your career but yourself?

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Once you have determined that this is it, the light bulb has gone off, this is your path, this is your passion, there are a few steps to take. The first step I always tell students to do is connect with the schools, because you will need to put together an academic plan.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: On our website we have a web page that’s three steps to becoming an ND. The first … If I’m thinking about a stool, the first of those legs on that stool is your academic map. What prerequisites do you need? Do you need to go and take some additional classes? First connect with the schools, talk to an admissions counselor, find out what classes you’ve taken, what do you need, and plan.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: The second thing … You’ve got your academic plan, that’s number one. I use my hands a lot, that’s my inner New Yorker, I can’t help it. Step number one is academic plan. What do you need to academically succeed in ND school?

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Step number two is personal plan. What in your life needs to happen to support you to make it across the finish line. For some people that is family support, for some people that is putting some money in a savings account, for some folks it’s really defining what kind of practice you want to have so that you’re fully invested.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Maybe you’re talking to naturopathic doctors, or you’re shadowing, or you’re seeing an ND and getting your health fully on board so that you can have the strength and stamina to do ND school.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: The last is your financial plan. How are you going to pay for it? Obviously this is an investment, it’s an investment in you, an investment to your life and career. Coming up with that financial situation. Those are kind of like the three nutshell, if you want to become and ND, where I tell people to start.

Razi Berry: That’s a great plan, and we have the link here where you can go and to kind of break that down and to make your own assessment. I’d like to go behind that a little bit, because people sometimes confuse naturopathic medicine with other types of healing. You know, like, some sort of herbalist, or homeopath, which are all amazing practices, and they’re important and we need them. But becoming a naturopathic physician, it is a healing art, but it is science, as well. It is actually becoming a physician. You do have to go through your regular undergrad, and then go through four rigorous years of medical school. A question that I sometimes get: Is a naturopathic doctor a “real” doctor? Even though that’s kind of a hard question to swallow, because it’s such a rigorous study. Can you answer that question, because we do get it a lot?

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Oh, of course. You know, I’m happy to dispel any myths or questions that people have in their brains. So, are naturopathic doctors real doctors? Absolutely. NDs are trained as primary care physicians who are, like you said, we are trained at the pinnacle of all of the healing, the natural healing modalities, and conventional medical science. In ND school, as you said, it’s four years of medical training. The first two years-ish are all of the biomedical sciences. That’s anatomy, physiology, embryology, biochem, and all of the foundational courses that any physician across the country is going to be taking. I always say this; the bones don’t move because you’re studying them in naturopathic school. The bones are the bones, the organs are the organs, the organ systems, all of that is what it is, and you’re studying all of that in naturopathic school. But then what really differentiates us is all of the modalities, all of the healing therapies that NDs get. Mind/body medicine, nutrition, hundreds of hours of nutrition at that, physical manipulation, hydrotherapy, botanic medicine, traditional Chinese medicine, all of those things that make going to see an ND unique.

I’ll tell you a quick kind of segue story this morning, kind of veer off just a second. I was on the NBC radio station this morning in L.A., and I was talking with them about something very serious and emotional, which is pregnancy loss. Because it is National Pregnancy Loss Month, and the 15th is National Pregnancy Loss Day. She said, “Well, having a healthy pregnancy you start taking your vitamins when you find out you’re pregnant.” I said, “Naturopathic doctors take it a step further. We counsel you before you become pregnant, while you’re thinking of becoming pregnant, to make sure that you have the healthiest body to host that pregnancy.” And I said, “Naturopathic doctors is one gage of your energy. We’ll ask you about your libido.” I said, “When was the last time a doctor ever asked you about your libido?” And she just … Her mouth dropped. It was just a moment of, “Wait, what?” Because no one has ever inquired. What I think about with naturopathic doctors is we are taking this whole person picture of everything, and using that to help people attain their highest health.

Razi Berry: Yeah. You know what I was just thinking as you were saying that is they take it even a step prior to that, because if you are a naturopathic doctor and you’re seeing someone’s whole family, you will counsel the patient in ways that … Let’s say you have an adolescent daughter, you’ll make recommendations for or against something that will protect his or her fertility for the future.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Yes.

Razi Berry: I think that’s something that’s so amazing, because you’ll hear a doctor say, “Well, do this or don’t do that, or watch for this in order for when they grow up, and when they want to start a family they can have a healthy family.” There’s the whole idea of latency and removing the obstacle to cure, which is one of most beautiful philosophies in naturopathic medicine.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Well, all of the environmental exposures that people are … from day one exposed to, just because we breathe air and we drink water. Yeah, I do … Thank you for clarifying that, Razi.

Razi Berry: No, I think that’s great. I’d love to get the link of your interview this morning if you can send that over. Yeah, that’s a great question … Naturopathic … If you’re just joining us I’m here with Dr. JoAnn Yanez, she’s the executive director of the American … I’m sorry. The Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: It used to be The American Association of Naturopathic Medical Colleges a long time ago, and then we have two Canadian school members.

Razi Berry: That’s great.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Our member schools span across North America, and a lot of times I’ll be asked, “Where are the schools?” We have a map on our website with all of the schools, and links to each of the schools so that you can find out more information.

Razi Berry: Excellent. Yes, the answer is, naturopathic doctors are real doctors. They do go to medical school. There’s the application process, and we have the link here to learn more about that from the Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges. There are some online programs that are programs in naturopathy. Can you explain how those are different than becoming a naturopathic physician?

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: That probably is one of our most frequently asked questions: “Can I get an ND online?” The short answer is no. To become a licensed naturopathic physician you need to have gone to an accredited program, which is a four year in-residence. That means you have to go to the school. Many of the schools now incorporate hybrid learning, online learning, but you still … When you see a patient you have to touch a patient. You have to do physical exam on a human being, and have somebody watching you to make sure you’re doing it appropriately.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: There are online programs who will offer education in the natural sciences, and various different types, from health coaches to naturopathy. But there is a really big distinction, and that distinction is accreditation. None of the programs that are online for naturopathy are accredited or recognized by the United States Department of Education, which means there’s no standardization in their education. One school may offer one thing. I was contacted by legislators in New York, actually, about a couple months ago, because there was a school operating in New York that was offering certificates in chiropractic, certificates in naturopathy. When I Googled their address, it was somebody’s apartment.

Razi Berry: Oh, wow! This is why it’s important. If you’re going to spend the money to go to an online program that is claiming to give you some sort of certificate in naturopathy, you cannot hold a license to practice naturopathy. If you want to actually … Maybe it’s fun learning, but if you want to actually deal with patients, and diagnose and treat disease, you need to be careful and look for the accreditation. There’s a list at the aanmc.org, the link we have here, so you can learn about which schools in the U.S. and Canada are accredited naturopathic medical schools.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Conversely, I’ve been contacted over the years by patients and students who have either gone to these schools, or seen a practitioner and have been harmed, or have lost their money. You really have no recourse when you’re going to a school that’s not accredited.

Razi Berry: Yes. Yes, absolutely. It’s not easy to become a naturopathic doctor, but it’s really rewarding. What are some of the things that you wish that you had known prior to becoming a naturopathic doctor?

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Good question. I wanted to become a naturopathic doctor, I call it the Stone Age, pre-internet. There was no internet for me. I found out about it fully by accident. I was speaking with a chiropractor getting ready to start my senior year of college, and trying to figure out what I wanted to do. I spoke to this chiropractor who was also practicing homeopathy and acupuncture. He said, “If I had to do it over again I would’ve become a naturopathic doctor, because that’s basically what I’m doing now.” I said, “A natural what?” At the time there were three schools, and I contacted the school in Arizona that was still operating. It was in an elementary school at the time before it moved to its beautiful campus now. That was it, it was the light bulb that went off.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: What I wish I knew back then was really all of the opportunities that you can have, all the career opportunities that you can have as an ND. There wasn’t the internet, so you couldn’t Google things, you couldn’t easily find information, you had to talk to folks. I really wished I knew back then all of the different career opportunities that one could have with this ND degree so that I could’ve started.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: It took me about nine years to figure out my path and then where I wanted to go with this. I was successful and I was seeing patients, but I wasn’t fully fulfilled. I think because it took a little bit of time for me I wish I would’ve known that sooner. Also, the power of having mentors. Mentors I think in anything are so valuable. You know, a lot of times we’ll feel like we have to shoulder it all on our own and we can’t ask for help. Mentors are really important to help guide you, to help steer you, to bounce off questions that you may have. I would say, Razi, those are the two things that I probably … If I was counseling myself now, I would say, “Hey, Jo. Go get a mentor.”

Razi Berry: Yeah, that’s great. I love mentorship, as well. I mentor doctors in business practices. It’s really rewarding. I just want to say hi to some people that are joining us this morning. Thank you so much for joining us. I’d love to hear where you’re joining us from. If you have questions for us please feel free to ask. One person is saying that she’s been seeing NDs for over 15 years. That’s fantastic. But she hasn’t had one inquire about libido. I find that very surprising, because I’ve been seeing NDs for about 20-some years. But she’s wanting to know how to find NDs who practice specific specialties.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Oh, good.

Razi Berry: I would say go to naturopathic.org as of now to find a naturopathic doctor near you.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: We also have a web page on our website that lists all of the specialty organizations, so have her go-

Razi Berry: Excellent.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: If you go to … And I’ll have to find the link really quick, but if you go to that link on the AANMC website we have all of the specialty organizations, and each of those has a list of practitioners who are in those specialties who you could look out for. I hope that…

Razi Berry: Excellent resource, yeah. You know, even a naturopathic physician who specializes in pediatrics, or oncology care, or women’s health, they really treat the whole person. It’s not going to be the same experience as if you go to a conventional physician.

Razi Berry: I remember one time talking to our friend Dr. Geo Espinosa, who he said that usually people walk into … He specializes in men’s health and urology, and he said that mostly people just look at a man walk into their office and just focus on, like, the waist-down, and not the whole man that is presenting from the waist-up. That’s a great resource to look for specialties. But I just wanted to keep in mind that, treat the whole person is a foundational paradigm in naturopathy. If you go to a naturopathic physician for your libido, they are also going talk about your intestinal health and digestion, and your mood, and your sleep, and nutrition.

Razi Berry: Speaking of nutrition, when you mentioned some of the education that happens in naturopathic medical school, and you mentioned the hundreds of hours of nutrition, I want to just highlight for people to understand how impactful that is. Because physicians in traditional medical school do not learn nutrition. Nutrition is not just what to eat to lose weight, or gain weight, it is about every metabolic system in your body is dependent on what you put in your mouth and assimilate, and it becomes who you are. The foundations of nutrition in the doctoral level of education and naturopathic medicine are really profound. Do you want to speak to that and maybe some of the other really important things in naturopathic medical school that are different from any other medical school program?

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: One of the things I will say in regards to nutrition is that when you’re seeing … Full disclosure, I’m married to a conventional physician. In conventional school they actually do get nutrition, but it is about 15 to 20 hours, depending on the school. It’s IV nutrition, and very focused/targeted. In ND school nutrition is seen … That phrase, it kind of sounds cliché, but “you are what you eat.” It is seen as core. In our documents and on our website we have something that’s called the therapeutic order. Therapeutic order you think of it as an upside-down pyramid, and at the base of that pyramid are the basics for health, all of the things that you need to be healthy. Stress reduction, sleep, nutrition, movement, healthy thoughts, et cetera, is at the bottom. At the top are interventional things, like: drugs, and surgery, and high interventional natural products. In ND school what I will say is really, what differentiates is we walk the talk. From day one in ND school I still remember my first week of school we had a course called Physician Heal Thyself. It was really instrumental in setting the tone or naturopathic medical school that, yes, you’re going to be learning medicine, yes, you’re going to be learning lab values, and procedures, and diagnostics, and all of that, but at the end of the day you can’t fill somebody’s cup from an empty one. Really core, you’ll see in ND schools there are folks doing Yoga during lunch, giving each other massages, the cafeteria’s at ND schools … Yes, there is going to be chocolate, because we all need chocolate, but there will be kale salad, there will be juices and smoothies and organic coffee. I’ve had meetings, many meetings over the years at all of the ND schools, and I always know I’m going to be well-fed. Because naturopathic medicine, we practice what we preach, we walk the talk. I think that it’s really important, and one of the things you’ll see … And I work with folks from all of the other disciplines, every discipline has their place and their purpose, but I can say definitively that our schools, we embody that. We embody the principles of naturopathic medicine, we embody that therapeutic order all throughout the education.

Razi Berry: It’s true, and it’s beautiful. The other thing I wanted to point out about the nutrition is the supplementation and nutrition. You can walk down any supplement aisle and be just totally overwhelmed, and you can read magazines about supplements and feel like you need to be on everything. Part of being taught nutrition at a medical college- level as a naturopathic medical school is really understanding supplements, supplement/drug interactions, drug/herb interactions. So, when you become a naturopathic physician and your patients come to you on a specific drug, or on a specific nutrient, or other pharmaceutical, or a natural remedy, they are going to understand how those interact. Because they take so much pharmacology they understand how to wean you off pharmacy medicines when you need that or when you want that.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: And the interactions between those drugs and supplements. When I was in my residency in Arizona I did a rotation with a geriatrician who was the chief medical officer at a nursing home. She had me just follow her all day long, and my one task, my one task, she said, “Take their chart, look through all their meds and tell me what we can get them off.”

Razi Berry: Yeah, that’s so beautiful. People don’t want to be on all the meds. You know, NDs are totally anti. I mean, there are some pharmaceutical medications that, according to the therapeutic order they’ll stimulate the vital force, they can help you get through a period of time, they can help parts of your body’s energy rest, while the other heals. There are so many different reasons, but what I think is so fascinating, I’m going let the cat out of the bag, I met JoAnn when she was just … had just graduated, and she was working in a clinic. I was being seen there. Not only were you part of the nutrition and supplement program, but you also did craniosacral energy healing on me. It was fantastic because it was just … It was the first time in my life I had really seen those two elements married together, and it made such an impact on my health. You know?

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Well, thank you for the honor of sharing that. As a doctor I can’t share it, I have to keep my mouth closed. But I appreciate you recognizing that. I think for me, and I think for NDs across … When you ask people, “Why do you do this?,” or, “Why do you keep doing this?” Because we hear about physician burnout. We hear about doctors committing suicide and awful things that are happening because of the stress of practicing medicine conventionally. But consistently I will hear from NDs that it’s the patients that keep them going. It’s the folks who came in debilitated with horrible situation going on with their health for whatever reason it was, whether it’s pain, or a chronic disease, or what have you. Those healings that occur, that drives you, there’s nothing like that. There’s no paycheck that will be the equivalent of that feeling of knowing what an impact you’ve had in somebody’s life.

Razi Berry: Yeah, it’s so wonderful, and that beautiful convergence of the mind and the body being honored at the same time. For you, as a naturopathic physician, what was that like going through naturopathic medical school and learning all this didactic science, but also understanding the subtle energies of the body, and how emotions and relationships affect health, as well? And to be able to have tools to help people with both?

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: When I was in school I just … I was a sponge. I wanted to see it all, I wanted to be exposed to everything, I didn’t sleep much, which I paid for later. I was just one of those people where I wanted to see it all. If it was energy healers. I had one patient who amazingly, and I felt so honored, and I know we just celebrated Indigenous Peoples’ Day, but I was invited to a very traditionally done sweat lodge. I was the only non-Native person there, and it was really an honor to be brought into that circle. I just wanted to see it all, I wanted to be exposed to everything. I delivered babies, I did sports physicals on the Phoenix Coyotes and the Phoenix Suns. I just wanted to see it all, and experience it all, and have all of that in my toolkit. That’s what you mentioned. I think that as a naturopathic doctor that is probably the most gratifying thing. When I’m seeing a patient that I know I got all of these tools.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: I always tell the story of this one woman who came in, she was in her 60s and she had chronic insomnia. From as long as she could remember she’d never slept through the night. Never. She saw everything from psychologists, to acupuncture, to physical medicine, she saw everyone. She comes to me and we’re talking through all of this, and I had just learned guided visualization, guided imagery process, and I walked her through it. I said, “Would you mind just going through this exercise with me?” She said, “Sure.” I took her through the guided imagery and what turned up was when she was a child her parents were part of a cult, a religious cult, and there were things that happened at night.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: She was not able to ever let down her guard at night, because she was hyper-vigilant, “They can’t hurt me, and they can’t hurt my sister.” It wasn’t until … She had gone to therapists, and she had talked, but it wasn’t until we re-framed this, and empowered her to not feel trauma at that thought that she was able to reverse it. She came back the next week, and she said she slept for the very first time since she could remember.

Razi Berry: I just got goosebumps.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: I know. It’s one of those things that … What does that impact in somebody’s life mean? Just having all of those tools, having the different things that you can reach into for the 60-something-year-old female who had seen everything, who had seen everybody and nothing worked. That, Razi, is really gratifying as an ND, knowing that we’ve got all of this. I will tell folks, and this goes for any type of medical practitioner, if you’re not getting results with one type of person, there are many NDs who learn all sorts of things, if you’re not getting results have an open conversation with them, and say, “Hey, I’m not getting the results I’m looking for. Is there something else that I should be trying, or is there a better fit for me?”

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: This is whether it’s your gynecologist, your oncologist, or your naturopathic doctor, or your dentist. If you’re not happy with the relationship, because that is core. That’s core in the relationship.

Razi Berry: I love that advice. I actually have an E-book on the website Naturopath, called Is It Time to Fire Your Doctor? It tells my story of conventional medicine and just being … I felt like I was so swept to the side and just given a drug, a drug, a drug. When I finally gathered the strength to just say, “You’re fired,” and I went and I found a naturopathic medicine, and met you and others. That kind of changed the whole trajectory of my life. I’ll put a link if anyone listening to this is interested in this really fun guide, an E-book called, Is It Time to Fire Your Doctor? I’ll pop it in here.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: That’s awesome.

Razi Berry: Before we come towards the end I just want to announce to people who are just joining us. I’m Razi Berry, I’m publisher of Naturopathic Doctor News & Review, which I founded it in 2005. I’m here with Dr. JoAnn Yanez, who’s the executive director of the Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges.

Razi Berry: How many medical colleges are there in the U.S. and Canada?

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: There are seven members of my association who have eight campus locations. There is also a school in Puerto Rico.

Razi Berry: Excellent. Let’s go over … Naturopathic medicine right now is regulated in, you said, five Canadian provinces, and 20 states. Is that correct?

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Razi Berry: Also, what am I missing? Puerto Rico? You say it better than I do.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Puerto Rico.

Razi Berry: Woo! Makes me want to dance.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: The U.S. Virgin Islands and the District of Columbia.

Razi Berry: Okay. Tell the listeners what that means. Because you can still practice in every state.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: What happens, and I worked in New York for many years, and New York is pre-licensed. We have naturopathic doctors across the country, and across the world. I’ve been abroad and met NDs from places like Dubai, and Greece, and the EU, and so there are NDs all over. What I will say is the scope will vary from state-to-state somewhat, and in the pre-licensed states, naturopathic doctors’ brains don’t stop just because their brain is in a state that’s not licensed. Their scope may not be the same, but they are still able to help you and help work through problems, and then they work as part of a team with medical doctors, or chiropractors, or acupuncturists in those pre-licensed states so that you can, as a patient, can get full care.

Razi Berry: Excellent. We’ve been talking about how to become a naturopathic doctor, so we have links here. If you missed some of our conversation about what that process is please rewind back to the beginning. There are a lot of little nuggets of information. There are also some myths.

Razi Berry: Can we talk about some of the myths? Are there some we haven’t covered? Myths about naturopathic medicine maybe.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Well, I think we already covered myth number one, which is, can I get an ND degree online? The quick answer is no. There are so many different myths here that we have on our documents, but one of those is that naturopathic doctors are anti-drugs and anti-pharmaceuticals. You touched on this a little bit. I think that NDs are pro-patient. NDs are pro what the patient needs at that time, what the body needs at that time. That may be pharmaceuticals, that may be surgery, that may be nothing. There are plenty of times where I’ve seen people come in and they don’t need anything. They want to take a supplement, they want to take a drug, they want something in their hand at the end. Maybe all they need is change their diet and go walk.

Razi Berry: Drink more water.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Drink more water, or quit their coffee, whatever. But prioritize sleep. One of the other myths that we have up here is … We’ve touched on a lot of these already is … that if it’s natural it must be safe. I think for me there are so many things that we have touched on today, but oftentimes I remember seeing patients coming in with garbage bags, shopping bags full of vitamin supplements. Thinking, “Oh, well, you know, it’s natural. It must be good for me.” No, you don’t necessarily need to be taking 30 different supplement products in a day. Having a naturopathic doctor to help guide you through that process and understand what’s best for that person at that moment in time is really, really an important thing to consider. Those are some of the top myths.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: The last one that I’ll say is it’s not evidence-based. We hear this criticism a lot from folks, “Oh, you all practice quackery. You’re a hippie doctor who’s going to wave crystals over my head.” I will never forget the very first time I went to the New York State Legislature. I drove up to Albany from New York City, and I had on my business suit, and I was all coifed and done up. I walked into a legislature’s office and I introduced myself as a naturopathic doctor. They literally said to my face, “Oh, I was expecting you to wear Birkenstocks.” I said, “Oh, honey, that’s just for the full moon drum circles.” (laughter)

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: But at the end of the day I think with any profession you have naturopathic doctors across the gamut. You’ve got folks who embrace full nature-cure, and you have folks who are working in hospital settings. I think the beauty of our profession is our diversity. I will stand firmly by that, and I think that we’re in a time right now where people are looking for us versus them, and a lot of, “I’m better than you,” or, “My side is better than your side.” We’re seeing a lot of that energy going on right now in our world. What I will say is that there is no one naturopathic doctor that is better than another naturopathic doctor. You all have your strengths, you all have your beauty, and there’s no one naturopathic school that’s better than another. There’s all strengths, there’s all weaknesses. Especially for patients, there’s a good naturopathic doctor for you. I think that understanding in the ND community that we have this diversity, we have all these different types of practitioners, for all the different types of patients that are out there is a strength.

Razi Berry: I love that. The way standards of care work in conventional medicine, it often doesn’t suit the variables of the individual patients. Naturopathic medicine very much honors the patient, as you said. They’re not pro or against medicine, they’re pro-patient. I think that is one of the beauties of it. That’s what I love about the work I do in publishing the case journal, NDNR, because we can have an issue on men’s health, or women’s health, and everyone is going to be treated in a different way. There’s no two women with breast cancer are going to be, or men with breast cancer are going to be treated the same. No two children presenting with otitis media, an ear infection, are going to be treated the same.

Razi Berry: If you’re watching and you don’t subscribe to NDNR, which you probably do if you’re watching us, I would go there now ndnr.com, because you can just get a wealth of cases that are free right there or you can subscribe to have it sent to you. I also have the link here for, Is It Time to Fire Your Doctor? that will explain a lot about what a patient’s journey to naturopathic medicine is like.

Razi Berry: We’ve got all of the links that we talked with Dr. JoAnn Yanez here about: how to find naturopathic specialties, that link is in the comments here. As well as the naturopathic medicine virtual college fair that you have coming up, so you can learn about all the different options to attend naturopathic medical school. Also, the events calendar.

Razi Berry: Do you want to talk about some of the monthly events that you hold?

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Absolutely. One of the services that we offer for folks who are trying to learn about naturopathic medicine is a monthly free event series. We will have online events, because we recognize that we’ve got folks from all over North America, and even Europe who are interested in naturopathic medicine. We host monthly free virtual events.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Our next one is going to be on suicide prevention, and addressing depression and anxiety naturopathically. Next month we’re focusing on type two diabetes. And twice a year we host a naturopathic virtual fair. In November, we’ve got all of our schools, and all the admissions folk, and faculty, and students from every one of the accredited schools will be online and can answer your questions about what it’s like to be an ND, what you need to do to maybe start your journey to become an ND.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Some folks don’t have questions yet. For those, if you’re just still kind of dipping your toe in the water you can just come to the virtual fair and look at the questions other people are asking, and just kind of eavesdrop and see what people are looking into.

Razi Berry: I think that’s a great concept, I love it. It makes it easy for people to sort of get their feet wet, get information about the different naturopathic colleges. I love how they’re all different, just like any school. They’re all the same, they all have the same curriculum, and you become a naturopathic physician once you graduate. But they have different nuances, different sort of personalities. That virtual fair is a great place to start. If you are joining us, we’re about to end our time with Dr. Yanez, but if you are interested in becoming a naturopathic doctor, or if you know someone who might be interested, please like and share this video.

Razi Berry: It is Naturopathic Medicine Week, so I’d love for you to spread the news about this. There is a bunch of information in the comments here. I invite you to check out all those links. The virtual fair, the monthly events, my little gift to you: Is It Time to Fire Your Doctor? Be sure to visit the aanmc.org in the comments to learn all about naturopathic medicine.

Razi Berry: Is there anything you want to say before we say goodbye?

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: I’m so thankful for the opportunity, and catch us online. We’re happy to help you on your journey.

Razi Berry: Thanks so much. Thanks for everyone who joined us. We had a lot of viewers, lots of reactions and comments. Keep them coming, and we’ll peek back in and answer other questions that you have, but most of those questions are going to be answered at the aanmc.org website.

Razi Berry: Happy Naturopathic Medicine Week.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Happy Naturopathic Medicine Week!

Razi Berry: Yes. Stay healthy and we’ll see you again soon.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Bye-bye. Thanks.

Razi Berry:Bye.

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Pumpkin Seeds 101: The Naturopathic Kitchen

Welcome to The Naturopathic Kitchen! Each week we showcase herbs, food or spices that can easily be incorporated into your kitchen routine to promote healthier living. This week let’s take a look at pumpkin seeds!

Pumpkin Seeds 101

Many of us are familiar with the thin white seeds of the pumpkin that are pulled out when making a jack-o-lantern. Once these slimy seeds have been harvested they can be served in all kinds of ways—raw, roasted or de-shelled and used in salads or baked goods. Pumpkin seeds can even be made into a healthy oil or salad dressing. They are incredibly versatile, tasty and most importantly – great for your health!

Where do pumpkin seeds come from? Where can I find them?

Pumpkin seeds or, pepitas as they are called where they originated from, have been discovered by archaeologists in caves in Mexico dating as far back as 7,000 BC. They were treasured by many Native American tribes who cultivated them for their dietary and medicinal properties.

Today, pumpkin seeds can be found year round in most grocery stores. You might find them in the bulk nut aisles, part of a protein bar or even sold as a small snack pack at the check-out.

How do pumpkin seeds help my health?

Being high in antioxidant content, pumpkin seeds exert many of their beneficial effects by taming free radical activity. Pumpkin seeds are also high in zinc and many forms of vitamin E which can help the immune system to be more robust and effective. Historically, they have been ingested for conditions like insomnia, diabetes, heart problems and cancer. Research has shown pumpkin seeds to be cardio-protective, lipid-lowering, hypoglycemic, anti-hypertensive, and can even protect against BPA and chemotherapy toxicities. 1, 2, 3, 4

What medical conditions/symptoms are pumpkin seeds good for?

When should pumpkin seeds be avoided?

Pumpkin seeds are generally well tolerated but in certain circumstances they should be avoided:

  • Pumpkin seeds can interact with lithium and shouldn’t be taken together
  • Known allergy to pumpkin seeds

Let’s try it out with delicious and nutritious recipes!


Spiced Pumpkin Seed Cranberry Snack Bars


1/4 c honey
1/2 t vanilla
1/4 c almond meal
1/8 t sea salt
1 t pumpkin spice
1 T almond butter
1 1/3 c almonds, chopped
1/2 c dried cranberries
3/4 c lightly salted pepitas


Preheat oven to 300°F. Line an eight-inch baking pan with parchment paper with enough overhang on the sides to easily remove the bars from the pan. Set aside. Mix the honey, vanilla, almond meal, salt, pumpkin pie spice and almond butter together until combined. Fold in the almonds, dried cranberries and pepitas until combined. Transfer mixture to prepared baking pan and press very firmly into an even layer. You really want it packed in tight- as tight as possible. Bake for 20-22 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely in the pan set on a wire rack for one hour, then transfer to the refrigerator to chill for one more hour. This helps firm up the bars which makes them stay compact. Remove bars from the pan using the overhang on the sides and cut into bars. Individually wrap each bar in plastic wrap or parchment. Store at room temperature for one week or in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. These bars are freezer friendly. After wrapping individually, freeze for up to three months.

Thank you to Sally’s Baking Addiction for this recipe and photo!

Pumpkin Seed Pesto


2 c packed fresh aromatic herbs (basil, parsley, mint, coriander) or leafy greens (spinach, arugula, carrot tops, beetroot greens)
1/4 c Parmesan cheese
1/2 c pumpkin seeds
1 garlic clove
squeeze of lemon to taste
pepper and salt to taste
1/2 c cold-pressed olive oil


Add all of the ingredients (except the olive oil) to your food processor/blender and blend until it becomes a paste. With the food processor on, feed the olive oil slowly through the feeder. If the pesto is too thick, add a little bit more olive oil. If too runny, add more herbs/greens and pumpkin seeds. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days or freeze in ice cube molds.

Thank you to Cocoon Cooks for this recipe!


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Integrative Cancer Care: NDs Work With MDs to Create Better Outcomes

Cancer has long been considered devastating, largely because of how quickly it spreads to attack multiple systems and because the treatments can be so debilitating.  According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), 2018 will see over 1.7 million new cases of cancer in the United States.  Furthermore, it is estimated that cancer will claim the lives of over 600,000 Americans this year.

Integrative Cancer Care Aids in Better Results

The news is not all bleak, NCI is also estimating that by the year 2026, the number of cancer survivors in the United States will increase from 15.5 million to 20.3 million as diagnosis and treatments improve.  One of those newer treatment options offering promise is integrative cancer care.

What is Integrative Cancer Care?

Integrative cancer care involves comprehensive support through each stage of a patient’s journey (from diagnosis to treatment decisions, restoration of immune function and survivorship). An integrative approach to cancer care treats the disease with any combination of the following, including surgery, chemotherapy and other tools, while also supporting patients’ strength, stamina and quality of life with evidence-informed therapies from traditional and naturopathic medicine. In integrative oncology, patients work with an oncologist or naturopathic oncologist and team of clinicians to develop a customized integrative approach that may include nutrition and lifestyle suggestions, counseling, pain management, mind/body medicine, acupuncture, botanical medicine and nutritional support. Integrative care continues with recommendations tailored to every aspect, from remission to active treatment to compassionate end-of-life care. The goal is to improve not just the quality of life of people living with cancer, but also to reduce the risk of cancer recurrence.

Why Seek Integrative Cancer Care?

Integrative cancer care is used to “help patients reduce treatment delays or interruptions and get the most out of life.”  One of the biggest problems for cancer patients undergoing traditional treatments are side effects associated with chemo and radiation therapies.  For instance, many patients cannot keep down food and, as a result, lose their appetites resulting in 80% of them being malnourished. Similarly, 33% of patients experience pain even after the treatments have ended and 70% of them experience fatigue from the treatments.  Integrative care combines these traditional treatments with evidence-based supportive therapies to help manage side effects, resulting in a better treatment outcome due to the collaboration of the medical and naturopathic clinicians.  Besides helping with symptom alleviation during treatment, integrative care can be used to help educate patients at the time of diagnosis and assist with recovery after the medical treatments are completed as a means of bringing the patient back to full health.

For Cancer Care Patients: Understanding the Benefits of Whole-Person Care

For patients, this type of collaborative approach to cancer treatment can be of great importance and help.  Behind the concept of integrative or complementary care is a philosophy that is at the core of naturopathic medicine – treating the whole person, not just the symptoms. As Sharon Gurm, ND, FABNO points out, one of the reasons she got into this profession is because “I realized I wanted to practice medicine differently—in a way that embraced whole-person healing, not just treating the disease.”

Many facing cancer feel their humanity gets lost due to such a focus on taking care of the cancer diagnosis.  The rigors of cancer treatment can cause anxiety/stress, depression, digestive issues, nutritional problems, fatigue, nausea, insomnia, numbness and pain.  But when paired with naturopathic supportive therapies, patients report much better experiences.  As Gurdev Parmar, ND, FABNO of Integrated Health Clinic in Fort Langley said, NDs are “able to provide the highest standard of integrative cancer care.”  Michael Traub, ND, DHANP, FABNO points out that “the combination of naturopathic and conventional oncology work better than either one alone.”

The use of such supportive therapies as acupuncture, chiropractic treatment, pain management and even spiritual support “truly meet patients where they are and work with them” as it “embraces science, available evidence and a rational individualized approach to care that is safe and effective.”

Dugaly Seely, MSc, ND, FABNO

Ottawa Integrative Cancer Centre

Students of Naturopathic Medicine: Understanding Naturopathic Oncology

For those interested in pursuing a career in naturopathic medicine, it is important to consider a career in naturopathic oncology.

“My passion for pursuing a career in oncology was reinforced while studying medical genetics at University of British Columbia and clinical research at the cancer agency. The medical and radiation oncologists I worked with were inspirational and became my mentors. It’s a journey and process of growth—personally, academically, professionally.  If you are considering naturopathic oncology as a career, pursue long-term preceptorship opportunities with naturopathic oncologists and if you are still inspired, then consider applying for a Council on Naturopathic Medical Education accredited naturopathic oncology residency.”

Sharon Gurm, ND, FABNO

Port Moody Health

Although cancer treatment is often thought of as a very taxing specialty, both Dr. Parmar and Dr. Seely praise the collegial attitude of NDs in oncology.  Dr. Parmar mentions specifically that “I cherish our annual meeting and every opportunity I get to collaborate and work together” while Dr. Seely adds “The community of naturopathic oncologists is a super collegial, bright and dedicated group of NDs. There are also allied health care professionals with like-minded goals who can really help as well and are fun to work with. “

Ultimately, if you are interested in pursuing a career in naturopathic oncology, there are some things that you have to keep in mind.

You have to not only have respect and rapport with your colleagues, but you also need to “be prepared to embrace both the intellectual and spiritual challenges of this field. You need to achieve and maintain balance in life to sustain the energy and resilience demanded of you. Dedication to spiritual practice, to staying physically active and cultivating a spirit of joyfulness are vital.”

Michael Traub, ND, DHANP, FABNO

Lokahi Naturopathic Medicine

Naturopathic cancer care brings about the best of both worlds.  By integrating the traditional medical approach to treating the disease with the naturopathic approach to treating the patient and his or her individual root issues, it helps the patient deal with one of the harshest diseases they may face.

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Our Favorite Herbs to Stay Healthy

Herbal medicine has been used for centuries. Join Patricia Gaines, ND, RH (AHG) Chair of Botanical Medicine at SCNM to find out why!

Top Herbs Everyone Needs to Know About

The presentation covers:

-Common medicinal herbs along with their safety and use indication

  • Centella asiatica – Gotu kola
  • Matricaria recutita/Matricaria chamomilla –Chamomile
  • Crataegus spp. – Hawthorn
  • Urtica dioica – Stinging nettle

-Top conditions treated with botanical medicine
-Supporting research in the field of botanical medicine
-Patient case study
-Resources for those wanting to know more about the field of botanical medicine

Want to learn more about herbal medicine? Check out The Naturopathic Kitchen  where we explore the use of food as medicine.

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NABNE Welcomes Fraser Smith

Dr. Fraser Smith

Fraser Smith, MATD, ND

The North American Board of Naturopathic Examiners (NABNE) is pleased to announce that Fraser Smith, MATD, ND, has joined NABNE’s Board of Directors. Dr. Smith played a leading role in the development and implementation of the Naturopathic Medicine program at National University of Health Sciences (NUHS) in Lombard, Illinois, which launched in 2006. He currently serves as the program’s chief academic officer and is the Assistant Dean for Naturopathic Medicine in NUHS’ College of Professional Studies. Previously, Dr. Smith served as the Dean of Naturopathic Medicine at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine (CCNM), as well as being Assistant Medical Director at the Robert Chad Naturopathic Clinic in Toronto, Ontario. As a professor at NUHS, Dr. Smith has taught various courses, including botanical prescribing, pharmacotherapeutics, and fundamentals of naturopathic medicine, and is a frequent lecturer and presenter at local and national events. He has co-authored or written two naturopathic textbooks, as well as four books for the public, and numerous journal articles.

Dr. Smith has served as a member or officer on many committees, councils, and organizations within the naturopathic profession. For many years he has volunteered for NPLEX as an item writer, reviewer, and cut scorer, and he has served on the NABNE Advisory Council. He has been involved in the Council for Chief Academic and Clinical Officers (CCACO), and has represented NUHS at Council on Naturopathic Medical Education (CNME), and American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP) meetings. He is a past president of the Illinois
Association of Naturopathic Physicians, and he is a tireless advocate for naturopathic licensure in that state. He is the current President of the Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges (AANMC). His widespread involvement in the naturopathic profession will make his input on the NABNE Board particularly valuable.

Dr. Smith fills the position left vacant when Sherry Ure, ND, from British Columbia, resigned after many years of outstanding service to NABNE.

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Dr. JoAnn Yanez on KCAA 9/14/18

Dr. JoAnn Yanez, Executive Director of the Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges (right), joins KCAAs “On the Brink” hosts, Erin Brinker (left) and Tobin Brinker (middle) to discuss suicide and the interplay between the microbiome – the bacteria colonization in our gut – and the synthesis of hormones and how that all plays together to impact our mood, behavior, thoughts and activity.

Full Transcript of Interview Below.

Topics Include:

  • Social media’s role in suicide
  • The current stigma surrounding mental health and how we can change it
  • Root causes of mental illness
  • The gut microbiome and its relationship with mental health
  • Gut-brain axis
  • Genetic predispositions for disease
  • And More…

Erin Brinker:  Welcome back. I’m Erin Brinker.

Tobin Brinker: And I’m Tobin Brinker.

Erin Brinker: We’re On the Brink, the morning show on KCAA AM 1050, FM 106.5, and FM 102.3. So excited to welcome back to the show Dr. JoAnn Yanez. She is the executive director for the Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges. She joins us once a month to talk about health and wellness related issues, and today we’re talking about suicide.

Erin Brinker: Dr. Yanez, welcome to the show.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Good morning Erin and Tobin, this is a topic very close to me personally, and one that’s impacting kids and grownups, all across the country. It’s a topic people aren’t always comfortable speaking about, but depression and anxiety can ultimately lead folks to a very dark place where they don’t feel like there’s any hope. And so, I would love to talk to you today. If this talk could prevent one unintended death, I would love for that to be the outcome.

Erin Brinker: I think that the first thing is that we still stigmatize mental illness. I mean, you don’t stigmatize heart disease but you do stigmatize … not you, but we, as culture stigmatize depression, or anxiety, as if there’s something really wrong with the person.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Yes. I know we’ve spoken about this before. If somebody is having a flare up with their blood sugar, it’s due to the diabetes, and they call into work and say, “I’m really not feeling great today. My blood sugar’s all over the place, boss. I’m not going to be able to come in today.”

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: “Okay, sure. Feel better. Get your blood sugars in line.”

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: But if somebody says, “I’m having a really bad mental health day today. I need to take the day off.” What is the perception that people have on that? Or, “I was up all night with anxiety and I couldn’t sleep at all. I need to have the day off.” You know? People’s perception on that and the stigma, like you said, around depression, anxiety, mental illness, mental health, is still prevalent in our system. Just if you look at the reimbursement model. We will reimburse for your diabetes, your heart disease … not yours, but … You know? We will reimburse for those types of illnesses.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: I remember patients having a very hard time getting reimbursement for counseling; sometimes it’s covered, and sometimes it wasn’t, and sometimes there were just very strict limitations on the amount of counseling that they could access. And so why is that seen, as an insurance component, as any different than any other component of us? So the naturopathic physician, we look at the mind, we look at the body, we look at the interconnectedness of how everything relates together. And it’s funny, in naturopathic medicine we always joke. There’s a lot of talk about nutrition, and gut, and poop, and everything else, and folks are like, “Why are you going into this much detail?” And there’s a lot of new data now coming out about the interplay between … They’re actually calling it the gut-brain axis and the interplay between microbiome – the bacteria, the colonization in our gut – and the synthesis of hormones and how that all plays together to impact our mood, our behavior, our thoughts, our activity.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: As an ND when we’re looking at mental health issues, we’re not just addressing, “Oh, you’re feeling sad,” or, “Oh, you’re not sleeping well. You’re anxious. You’re depressed, “but we’re looking at the whole person and, “What’s the root of this? Are there nutrient deficiencies? Is there a gut imbalance that is predisposing you to a shift in your neurotransmitter production? Is there a past trauma that’s unresolved, and that’s the real root of your issue. Do we need to help you with that? Are there unhealthy coping mechanisms that you’ve just never been taught how to cope with your day-to-day stressors that come up?”

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: So we work with patients one on one to make sure that they understand and can identify that root, and we start to work with them there. Does that make sense?

Erin Brinker: It makes total sense. People take medications for depression. And I’m not poo pooing those medications but they, to me, are masking the problem: that there’s an underlying issue that’s causing it, and I’ve never thought the gut biome as affecting mental health the way it does.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: There is a very strong connection with how the gut interplays in the synthesis of precursors to neurotransmitters, and all of the chemical pathway that is. The gut has so much connectivity in there as far as immune regulation, stress regulation, and it’s really amazing. I bet that in the next 10, 15 years we’re going to see even more developments in the science behind it. It’s funny, in naturopathic school we sometimes joke, “We’ve been talking about this for 20, 30, 40 years and now the science is just catching up,” but that was, like I started out saying, we always joke that … You know? Go in to see an ND and you might come in for a headache, and they’re like, “Why is the doctor asking me about my poop? I came in for a headache! Why are you talking to me about … this doesn’t make sense!” But for us it actually does because the gut regulates so much.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Our genetic expression, for example. We’re all made up with our own very unique genetic recipes. Those recipes, those genes, can be either up regulated or down regulated – so turned on or turned off – depending on what we expose them to. Some people – even though they have a genetic predisposition to something – can turn off or lower the expression of that genetic predisposition based on the environmental things that they expose themselves to, based on the types of foods, the chemicals, the pesticides that are the total load on their body and so it all is very important. I think that we’re just getting into the genetic science and understanding that more, the genome and how foods, how environment, can up or down regulate that. It’s fascinating, and it’s so exciting, and I’m just excited every time I see the science developing further. It really is a wonderful way.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: But getting back to that component of severe depression which suicide is often the manifestation of. I think the more we can do in our culture to de-stigmatize suicide, to de-stigmatize mental health, to get people the resources they need before things hit crisis point … So many times in our medical system, folks don’t get the care they need until things hit a steeper pitch. I do want to just emphasize, if you’re seeing somebody in your family or a loved one who is going through a hard time, just reach out with some kindness. I was listening to your last segment and the judgmentalism of that mom, of the $1,200 formula for an instant that she’s just trying to keep alive, and then having to go to the supermarket and see these peering eyes at her. What does that do to a person? So that judgmental nature that folks can have … What’s that saying, “Don’t judge somebody until you’ve walked in their shoes?”

Erin Brinker: Indeed.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: I think that we really need to get back to a spirit of kindness and empathy in this country. I was at a meeting just the other day with a bunch of executive directors in Southern California, and a gentleman summed it up so well. He said, “We’ve gone from almost working in a peacetime environment to feeling like we’re at war.” You know? Folks are in a war of ideals. If you have an idea that’s different from someone else’s, they’re against you. Everything is this judgment, and pre-decision on someone before you’ve even really met them, or gotten into them, based on a quick assessment. “Oh, she’s buying food stamps and she has a brand-new cellphone,” or, “Look at the car she’s driving,” or whatever it is that we’re making those snap judgments on folks unfairly. I think if we can just go back to a spirit of kindness to each other and empathy, that a lot of our problems will maybe not melt away, but get a little bit better.

Erin Brinker: Indeed. You know what? This is very interesting. I’m going through this in my mind. Sorry, I’m still processing. There needs to be a study. Because mental illness has really gone up, and suicides have gone up dramatically, I wonder if there is a link between all of the suicides and mental health issues and the overuse of antibiotics when people are children. Over the last 20, 30 years, and it’s starting to taper off now, but antibiotics were used every time you got a cold. Right? Are we seeing that maybe gut health is so poor … Maybe that’s why we’ve seen this spike in mental illness and suicides. You know? I mean mental illness. I mean, I’m really talking about depression and bipolar disorder. Maybe there’s a link there.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Well there are links between the onset of more severe psychiatric disorders like personality disorders, and schizophrenia, and so on, that start to happen in the late teens to early 20s. And that also is when we start to see a spike in suicide, a spike in gun violence, especially with young males. The literature actually supports that. But another component, Erin, that I don’t know if we’ll really know the answer – or at least if there is literature out there right now I’m not aware of it – is social media and the glorification that folks can go out in a blaze of glory. They can get their last little bit of fame by bringing attention to their death or kind of going out in that blaze of glory, so to speak. There was a study years ago that I read that I’m a little fuzzy on the details on right now. But it talked about when there was one suicide in a community, there tended to be more suicides in that community because it brought awareness to suicide as an option. And I’m thinking of a colleague of mine right now whose teenage daughter just lost two friends in the last week to suicide-

Erin Brinker: Oh, my goodness.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: And drug overdose. So I think that when we think of … You know? Mental health, it’s a very complex issue and I don’t know if we can point to one thing like, “Oh, there were more antibiotics used,” or, “Oh, there are more environment chemicals now,” or any one of the things that we might want to point a finger to because there are so many factors that go into play. Just as naturopathic physician I’m not going to say, “Oh, there’s one cause for your illness.”

Erin Brinker: Sure. I just was-

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: You know, there … Go ahead.

Erin Brinker: I just was wanting to see if maybe a study might be worthwhile.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: I’d have to look and see if any were done already, but I’m not up on if that is the case right now. But it would be fascinating to understand the interplay between all the different various factors, and gut health and the microbiome and what impacts that. Antibiotic use, and then you also have antibiotic use in animals. Is that impacting you when you drink your milk and that has the remnants of some antibiotics it? Is that impacting your gut flora as well, in addition to just the antibiotics somebody is taking themselves?

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: I think there are so many different downstream impacts on the gut bacteria, that finding that one thing … You know? We don’t live in a bubble where the antibiotic is the only thing that person has been exposed to. You know? Now they’re finding drug residues in our water supply so who knows?

Erin Brinker: Who knows? Well how do people get more information about this? I think you have a seminar coming up on this topic. Am I correct?

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: We do. We have seminar next month in October on suicide, anxiety, depression and naturopathic approaches to that. We also have a webinar next week on the top herbs that everybody needs to know about. We host a monthly webinar series and I just hope that folks can tune in and learn a little bit more about how to stay healthy naturally.

Erin Brinker: So, it’s always a treat to have you on, Dr. Yanez. Let people know where they can go specifically to get this information.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Sure. Our website is AANMC.org. We’re also all over social media – Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, et cetera. So check us out, and I hope that we can connect you to somebody to help you be the healthiest you.

Erin Brinker: Wonderful. Well Dr. JoAnn Yanez, the executive director for the Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges, thank you so much joining us today.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Thank you, Erin and Tobin. Have a great morning.

Erin Brinker: You too.

Erin Brinker: All right. So with that, it is time for a break. I’m Erin Brinker.

Tobin Brinker: And I’m Tobin Brinker.

Erin Brinker: And we are On the Brink, the morning show on KCAA. We’ll be right back.

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Turmeric 101: The Naturopathic Kitchen

Welcome back to the Naturopathic Kitchen ! Each week we gather the latest research on common herbs you may encounter in your local produce or spice sections and teach you the benefits of introducing them to your kitchen. To make it easy, we include a recipe at the end of each article so you can easily start to incorporate these new habits into your diet! This week we will be discussing the powerhouse, turmeric.

Turmeric 101

Turmeric is arguably one of the most powerful herbs on the planet. With over 10,000 peer-reviewed articles, turmeric has an extremely impressive resume of data supporting its therapeutic indications. Curcumin, the beneficial component of turmeric, is the subject of most of these articles. Not only is turmeric great for your body and mind, it is also an excellent addition to all kinds of dishes. But be careful, it can stain! (Historically it has even been used as a dye).

Where does turmeric come from? Where can I find it?

That distinctly yellow turmeric powder comes from the Curcuma longa plant that grows naturally in India and other Southeast Asian countries. Because of this, turmeric has a long history of use in these areas dating back over 4000 years. In Southeast Asia, turmeric is a principal spice which is often incorporated into religious ceremonies. Today, turmeric is sold all over the world and can be found in almost any grocery store in the spice section. You might even be able to find whole turmeric root in health food stores, though it is not necessary to have the full root to enjoy the health benefits.

How does turmeric help my health?

Turmeric’s list of health benefits is impressive. It can be employed for use in diverse conditions affecting the entire body. Part of this is due to its incredible antioxidant properties and the way curcuminoids act in the body. From head to toe, turmeric can be indicated in brain health, depression, Alzheimer’s disease, chronic stress, skin conditions, wound healing, abnormal clotting, joint pain, type II diabetes, inflammatory diseases, nerve pain, and even help to metabolize and excrete environmental toxins! 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8

What medical conditions/symptoms is turmeric good for?

When should turmeric be avoided?

Turmeric has a long track record of being very safe. Adverse reactions are extremely rare and typically mild. In general though, you might want to avoid turmeric if you have:

  • A hypersensitivity to turmeric or curcumin
  • A bleeding disorder
  • Gallstones or a bile obstruction
  • Surgery scheduled in the next 2 weeks
  • Hormone sensitive cancers

Let’s try it out with delicious and nutritious recipes!


“Golden Milk” Turmeric Latte


1/2 c coconut milk
2 c almond or cashew milk
1/2 T coconut oil
1/2 t turmeric
1/4 t cinnamon
1/4 t cardamom
1/8 t black pepper
2 medjool dates, pitted
1/2″ cube fresh ginger, peeled


In a small saucepan over low-medium heat, whisk together milk, coconut oil and spices until warm. Do not let mixture come to a boil. Remove saucepan from heat and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Once mixture has cooled, transfer to blender cup with pitted medjool dates and fresh ginger. Blend mixture until smooth.

Thank you to The Mitten Kitchen for this recipe!’

Cinnamon Turmeric Sweet Potatoes


3 medium-large sweet potatoes
2 T turmeric
2 T cinnamon
2 T thyme
2-4 T extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste


Preheat oven to 400°F. Peel sweet potatoes and cut into bite size pieces. Place potatoes in a large bowl. Add extra virgin olive oil to lightly cover. Add spices, herbs, salt, and pepper. Mix well. Place the potatoes on a sprayed baking sheet. Cook for 45-60 minutes. Serves 4.

Thank you to One Green Planet for this recipe!

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