Food Intolerances, Clinical Nutrition
& Digestive Health
As a naturopathic Doctor, I’m passionate about helping you understand how to use Food as Medicine. The food we eat literally becomes our bodies – the building blocks of your brand new cells. I’ve helped hundreds of Guelph families to make their lives more healthy and delicious through finding the right foods for them. You’re a unique individual and there’s no one “right diet” for the 7 billion of us sharing this beautiful planet. That’s why we’ll take the time to understand your nutritional needs, assess your physical signs of nutrition and blood work where indicated, and find out which foods your body isn’t tolerating so we can create a plan for eating well that will help you for months and years to come.
If we haven’t met yet, I’m Dr. Elizabeth Cherevaty ND RAc. I founded Two Rivers Health with the inspiration to help families live healthy, empowered lives. I believe that Naturopathic Medicine offers extraordinary tools, education and support for people of all ages to optimize their innate ability to heal and be well.
The food we eat forms the foundation of our health. Nutrients from our food communicate with our genes – the DNA code that dictates the form and function of each and every cell. High quality foods give us the opportunity to reverse symptoms of disease and build healthier bodies over time. This is why you can experience transformation in your health and wellbeing in just a few months of naturopathic care with attention to food. This continuous state of renewal means if we eat real food, move our bodies and cultivate positive thoughts, we can even grow healthier as we age.
Isn’t that amazing?
If you’d like to learn more about using food as the foundation of your health, discover the Food Intolerances that may be causing your symptoms, or you’d like to break through inflammation and finally maintain a healthy weight easily and naturally,, book a complimentary introductory visit with one of our highly trained Naturopathic Doctors, experts in clinical nutrition and making healthy eating a delicious and easy path to wellness for you and your family.
What Is Naturopathic Nutrition?
A healthy diet is the foundation of good health. In fact, every one of your cells, thoughts, emotions, hormones and tissues of your body is made directly from the food you consume in your diet. (Isn’t that incredible?) I believe that we should always choose the highest quality food that our budget can afford. But there’s no single “right diet” for everyone. What’s the best diet for you?
Naturopathic Doctors are experts in Clinical Nutrition. They recognize that every person is an individual and that your ideal diet will be as unique as you are. Using food as medicine, your Naturopathic Doctors can help you create the healthiest possible foundation for your body and mind through individualized nutrition.
Naturopathic Doctors are uniquely trained to understand your nutritional needs from a holistic and scientific perspective. First, we take the time to understand your current symptoms and state of health, including any specific goals you want to work towards in your healing journey. For example, no one wants to have to run to the bathroom multiple times per day, deal with painful gas and bloating day in and day out, or have to take medication indefinitely to stop heartburn pain.
Integrating the most extensive clinical nutrition education of any regulated health profession, we integrate medical diagnostics like physical exams and blood work, as well as Food Intolerance Testing if indicated, to put your nutrition status into a clear context. We also take the time to understand the pressures you’re feeling beyond the dinner table: family preferences, commuting, kids’ schedules, fatigue, stress or even boredom with meal prep can make it feel impossible to make any kind of change or get lasting results based on food. We empathize, as we live busy lives, too.
SIMPLE & SUSTAINABLE
Over the years, through our practice here in Guelph and inspired by our world travels, we’ve been blessed to develop a world of healthy shortcuts, quick and easy recipes, seasonal & local goodies, and superfood substitutions that you can take full advantage of so you’ll never feel overwhelmed. We’ve developed ways to make optimizing your nutrition simple, fun and sustainable for your lifestyle. We’ll have a chat about the symptoms and stresses you’re facing right now, and what strategies make the most sense for you at this particular time in your life. It may be delving into a gorgeous simple cleanse like our FreshCleanse Program, or perhaps creating a new habit of drinking more water between meals.
Regardless of how you’re moving forward, it’s important that you are moving forward in a positive direction toward your goals. The experiences that go along with your efforts to make these small changes will build new neural pathways in your brain, making positive changes feel easier and easier over time.
Food is so powerful in your health that you can use it to help you with virtually everything to do with your health: from boosting your energy to healthy weight loss to banishing PMS to boosting your brain power to conceiving a healthy baby to clearing up your skin or overcoming arthritis…What is important to you? How do you want to feel? Every step you take in your health is a step toward the life you really want to be living right now. Let’s make it happen! Starting with really good food.
TAKING CHARGE OF YOUR HEALTH
Some of our patients want to run the full gamut and revamp their nutrition plan as soon as possible. Some of our patients prefer to change one or two small things at a time. Either approach is completely OK, and will get you results.
As your Naturopath, our role is to provide you with in-depth assessment of your health status and potential treatment options that can help you move forward. You’re the leader in your own health journey, and we recognize you as the best expert in how you’re doing. So we’ll make sure to respond to any questions you have about your nutrition program so that you’ll know just what to expect when making any changes. Learning how to eat well is a lifelong gift you’re giving yourself, and we can’t wait to help you with that! Let us know how you’d like to move forward, and we’ll help you make your desired results happen.
From time to time, we’ll check in and see how you’re feeling. Many of our patients get good results within a short time, they almost forget what it was like to feel bloated, under the weather, achey and foggy all of the time! Anytime you need to check in, fine-tune or optimize your plan, or if something changes in your health, we’re here to help you get back onto a positive track.
NATURAL WEIGHT LOSS SUPPORT
The three keys to weight loss that are missing from conventional diet programs are:
- Leaving Inflammation on the Table. Inflammation is the root of all chronic illness, including weight gain, water weight or swelling, bloating and even the harmful effects of diabetes on the blood vessels and brain. To lose weight sustainably, we have to get a handle on the inflammation first. We’ll often start with an anti-inflammatory diet full of produce, quality protein and healthy fats.
- Neglecting Your Hormones: your endocrine system has everything to do with the rate of your metabolism, and where you gain fat. Environmental toxins have been implicated in contributing to obesity and diabetes. These chemicals are called “obesogens” because they case obesity. Some toxins also mimic estrogen and disrupt male and female hormonal balance.
- Happiness Mindset: you can be doing everything right, exercising regularly, monitoring everything you can, and still no weight loss? If you’re beating yourself up, pushing and pulling, struggling and suffering, we need to pause for a moment. Are you Happy? Do you like your job? Are you in a supportive relationship or happily dating your Self? The body tends to create symptoms when under stress or conditions of imbalance. Let’s help you get back to loving your Self first. Everything we do to shift your health needs to come from a place of Self-Care.
WHY EAT WELL?
We’ll be the first to admit, we LOVE FOOD! We don’t think there should be any big sacrifices between eating for health and eating for pleasure.Expect multiple benefits when you change your diet for the better.
Naturopathic Clinical Nutrition can help you:
- Identify & correct nutritional deficiencies (iron, B12, vitamin D, antioxidants, etc.)
- Reach your weight loss goals healthfully and sustainably
- Gain more energy
- Improve your mood
- Think clearly
- Identify food intolerances
- Relieve gas & bloating, heartburn, constipation or diarrhea
- Normalize your cholesterol and blood sugar levels without prescription drugs
- Learn how to incorporate disease-preventing “superfoods” into your meals
- Get better results from your fitness efforts
- Detoxify your body using foods and herbs
- Find out which supplements you need (and those you don’t)
- Prevent and heal chronic illness like migraines, obesity, heart disease, and diabetes
HEALTHY EATING PRINCIPLES
You’ll find we refer to a few basic principles when it comes to helping you eat well:
- Easy – it has to be something you can easily integrate into your lifestyle
- Sensible – only make changes that will give you real results
- Individualized – you’re unique, so should your nutrition plan be
- Optimized – remove obstacles to healing and add in resources for ultimate health and vibrancy
- Whole – getting back to the way foods appear in nature
- Traditional – eating the foods that gave our ancestors health
- Delicious – enjoying food and sharing with others enhances our quality of life
We’d love to know if these principles of healthy eating make sense to you. What’s important to you about eating well? Let us know here.
“That’s TOO MANY VEGETABLES,” said no naturopath, ever
As individualized as you are, we do find there are common themes that most of our patients need when we first start working together. We’re not fans of rules and restriction when it comes to eating. We think healthy eating is a pleasure. Here are some of the things we most commonly encourage our patients to put into practice:
- Eat 3 “Square” Meals Per Day
- Snack only if you’re hungry
- Have Some Protein At Every Meal or Snack
- Breakfast is Mandatory – Eat Within 60 Minutes of Waking
- Drink 2 Litres of Water Before 2PM – Start With A Glass By Your Bedside
- Add Some Fresh Lemon Juice to Your Water
- Drink Most of Your Fluids Between Meals
- Choose Freshest, Highest Quality Food You Can Afford, as Food Becomes Your Body
- Enjoy at least one Superfood Daily (some examples here)
- There’s No Such Thing As Too Many Vegetables
Starting from a young age, we view your digestive health as one of the foundations of your overall health. Symptoms like gas, bloating, cramps, constipation or diarrhea aren’t normal.
WHEN YOU’RE NOT GETTING A GOOD GUT FEELING
Did anyone ever encourage you to “listen to your gut?” As Naturopathic Doctors we feel this is wise advice. Your gut health is connected to your digestion, absorption and nutrition status; your immune system; and even your nervous system, mood and brain. If your gut is trying to tell you something, it will be very valuable for you to tune into its message.As Naturopathic Doctors, we have extensive understanding of gut health and how to help you overcome these bothersome symptoms. If you’re not getting a good gut feeling, check in with us. Digestive health can recover in just a few months’ time because all of the cells lining your digestive tract will be replaced within three months. The more you can relieve the inflammation, restore beneficial bacterial balance, and promote gut healing, the faster you can alleviate your symptoms and get on with life. Remember, we’re not supposed to notice our digestive system at all! It’s controlled by the parasympathetic nervous system, the nerves that keep our internal organs running silently and efficiently. When you feel pain or other symptoms, you know something’s up.
DIGESTIVE CONDITIONS WE TREAT
Naturopathic support can treat or alleviate symptoms of:
- Colic in infants
- Tummy aches in children
- Gas or flatulence
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- Crohn’s and colitis (we encourage you to work with a GI specialist, too)
- Reflux or GERD (gastroesophogeal reflux disorder)
- Ulcer recovery
- Parasite recovery
- Candida or yeast overgrowth
- Food Sensitivities or Food Intolerances
- Imbalanced Gut Health after Antibiotics
After an assessment we can also suggest whether you need medical support, such as an ultrasound or referral to a specialist.
NATURAL TREATMENT FOR DIGESTIVE Symptoms
Naturopathic Doctors are trained in a broad scope of natural and integrative treatment modalities. We have plenty of tools in the toolbasket to help you get to the root cause of your digestive symptoms.
Your Naturopath may recommend using specific therapies for a few months at a time, then reassessing. Some of the digestive health treatments we use most frequently include:
- Probiotics – we use only good bacteria strains proven to colonize the infant, child or adult digestive tract. Some probiotics are specific to certain conditions, such as L. salivarius reducing inflammation in people with irritable bowel diseases like Crohn’s and colitis. Ask your Naturopath which probiotic formula is ideal for your condition and symptoms.
- Fibre – foods rich in soluble fibre help to soothe the bowels and bind toxins for elimination from the body. Great sources include ground flax seed, chia seed, oatmeal and applesauce.
- Glutamine – the preferred fuel source for the cells that line the digestive tract, this amino helps the gut lining repair itself. It is available in powder form through our clinic dispensary and can be easily mixed into food or juice.
- Anti-Inflammatory Diet – this includes foods like whole gluten-free grains, cooked vegetables and fruits, soups, stews and broths. (Complete and individualized recommendations and recipes available from your Naturopath).
- Botanical Medicine – herbal medicines have been used for thousands of years to soothe and heal problems with digestion. Your Naturopath can recommend herbal teas, tablets or tinctures (herbs extracted into liquid form) in customized formulas to suit your symptoms and preferences.
- Acupuncture – Traditional Chinese Medicine style acupuncture includes points that address specific digestive symptoms from constipation to bloating to diarrhea. Your Naturopathic Doctor will complete a personalized assessment and choose points that are customized to your needs.
- Castor Oil Packs – we love this soothing naturopathic treatment from infancy to adulthood! Detoxifying, anti-inflammatory and promotes healthy digestion and lymphatic drainage.
- Massage – ask one of our Registered Massage Therapists about improving your digestive health naturally and gently through massage.
UNDERSTANDING FOOD ALLERGIES, INTOLERANCES & SENSITIVITIES
WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN “FOOD ALLERGIES” & “FOOD INTOLERANCES”?
Food Intolerances are surprisingly common, negative reactions to foods. Food intolerances (or food sensitivities) usually come from the immune system, but unlike food allergies they are not life-threatening. With food allergies, the immune system makes IgE (immunoglobulin E), a type of antibody that creates the throat closing and respiratory distress associated with anaphylaxis or life-threatening food allergies, such as peanut allergy.
REvERSING Inflammation, The ROOT OF ALL CHRONIC DISEASE
With food intolerances, the immune system makes high amounts of IgG (immunoglobulin G) toward various foods. In this case, the immune system is creating an abnormal response to food particles you’ve ingested, treating them as if they were potential infectious organisms like viruses or bacteria. Since foods can never infect us, food intolerance reactions use up a lot of your body’s energy unnecessarily, and can cause a multitude of symptoms in your body which are all related to the inflammation these inappropriate IgG immune reactions create.
“How Can I TELL IF I HAVE FOOD INTOLERANCES”?
You can find out which foods are being inappropriately targeted by your immune system through having a simple blood test, called the IgG Food Intolerance Test.
Food intolerances are linked with multiple symptoms affecting potentially any body system:
- Digestive: gas, bloating, flatulence, cramping, constipation, diarrhea, heartburn, GERD, bad breath
- Nervous System: “brain fog”, learning difficulties, concentration problems, headaches, mood swings, irritability, behaviour issues, sleep issues, fainting, seizures
- Hormonal: PMS, painful periods, hot flashes, fertility challenges
- Skin: eczema, psoriasis, hives (urticaria), rashes, rosacea
- Muscles & Joints: pain, stiffness, swelling, arthritis
FOOD INTOLERANCE TESTING
There are two main ways to assess for food intolerances: the IgG Food Intolerance Test, and the Elimination Diet.
IgG FOOD INTOLERANCE TEST
Adults and children 2 years or older who have symptoms that could be food intolerance-related can be referred by a Naturopathic or medical doctor for a Food Intolerance Test. The test involves a blood draw at Dynacare Laboratory (the closest one to our clinic is in Kitchener). At your visit your Naturopath will issue the appropriate requisition for your Dynacare Food Intolerance Test. Dynacare lab uses a specific microarray method to determine your results accurately. This means that by eliminating the foods indicated on your test results for a period of time, you have a high likelihood of seeing your symptoms improve.
Did you know? Food Intolerance Testing is not covered by OHIP, but may be covered by your health insurance plan. Please check with your benefits provider for coverage details.
THE ELIMINATION DIET
The other way to assess for food intolerances is the elimination diet. Generally, if you remove the most common inflammation-causing foods, such as sugar, alcohol, gluten, dairy, soy, corn, fried oils and alcohol, you’ll give your digestive system a chance to heal and rest. After a period of time, you can reintroduce the foods you eliminated one at a time and observe for your body’s reaction.
Which Way is most accurate?
As with all medical tests, there is no 100% accurate way to determine what your food intolerances are. In the case of the IgG blood test, you’re testing specifically for high levels of antibodies towards foods. This test is very clinically useful and specific to this type of immune reaction. Some people find it too invasive to use with young children, as it’s a blood test.
Meanwhile, experiencing your body’s response to a particular food is excellent information for you about your overall tolerance of the food. And, there can be food sensitivities that don’t have to do with the immune system. For example, many people find when they consume milk products they notice excess mucus production in their throat or sinuses. This type of reaction may or may not correspond with IgG antibodies on a blood test.
Your Naturopathic Doctor can help you decide which method is ideal for you to get to the bottom of your symptoms so you can move forward enjoying the ideal foods for your body.