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Embracing Naturopathic Foundations: The Key to a Balanced and Healthy Life

Naturopathic Foundations and Functional Medicine

I’ve been practicing for quite a while, many years, and the foundations I teach patients are called naturopathic foundations. Think of them like tenants of a healthy ecosystem that we have to get back to and re-create again. They should already be part of our lives, but we’ve got to create these in our lives if we don’t have them already.

Then we apply functional medicine to address the  root cause of illness. We did the foundations, but we’re still not healing all the way, we are still feeling a little bit off, and still getting sick too often. All right, now let’s hunt down these root causes. We use functional medicine for that. Functional medicine is evidence-based. We collect scientific evidence, and we figure out how we can solve the root cause.

When we add solving the root cause with naturopathic foundations, they come together and make a very healthy patient, a very healthy you. 

The 12 “Medical Tools” 

One cool thing I want to tell you about comes from Kitty Wells. If you haven’t heard of Kitty Wells, she’s amazing. She’s the Wellness Mama. She’s got a website, she’s been doing it for years, super smart lady, and she interviews all kinds of folks, clinicians, and doctors, and everybody in Wellness. So check it out, Wellness Mama, if you get a chance there. I’m just a big fan, she didn’t ask me to say that. I just think she’s doing amazing stuff. 

She had a “tip of the week” in a newsletter she sent out. It was by Dr. James DiNicolantonio.   He says- These are underused medical tools: 

  1. Fasting 
  2. Sunlight 
  3. Sleep 
  4. Nature 
  5. Real food (we’ll call it Whole Food) 
  6. Exercise 
  7. Heat/Cold (which is called contrast therapy) 
  8. Salt 
  9. Magnesium 
  10. Earthing 
  11. Meditation 
  12. Laughter 

Are you ready? Those aren’t medical tools. What are those? Those are naturopathic foundations. Those are every single bit of what I’ve been teaching for years. I went to naturopathic school where we learned those, day one, and every class we took was like, “Hey, you have to try to get your patient to understand these and implement them the best they can.” And then we hunt down those root causes to help prevent illness. Get them out of that autoimmune, or that lyme, or mold problem, or whatever is going on.

So it’s interesting, that they’re being called medical tools, no offense to Dr. James, sounds like an amazing guy, but I suppose they have to be called medical tools now because we don’t do those as much as we should. And it’s kind of sad, in a way, isn’t it? That we got away from these things that are such a tenant of being healthy and balanced.

So, not to paint with a broad brush, but I bet those, probably under 30 to 35 years of age, may partake in a little bit fewer of those than they should, right? A little bit on the younger side, with more social media, more screen time, and a little bit disconnected. That generation, and even younger are struggling with some of that stuff. like getting outside and enjoying nature.

Breaking Down the Foundations

Fasting

Fasting is unbelievable, it does a couple of things called autophagy, which cleans up cellular debris. Apoptosis also can contribute, which is kind of like stopping Rogue cells, neoplasms, that could potentially become cancer down the road. Amazing stuff. Blood sugar control, with insulin sensitivity improvement as well. Not everybody should fast, you have to be careful and work with a clinician, but some cool stuff out there.

Sunlight

Sunlight is so vilified, isn’t it? I mean, all the commercials, I see these all the time, especially in the summer, trying to protect you from the dangerous Sun. What? The sun is the most life-giving thing in the universe for us. We have to have the Sun. Every plant has to have the Sun, and then plants need the sun so animals can eat the plants, and they can be well. The Sun does so much for you. It helps us make certain chemicals that we can’t make from anything else, not just vitamin D. But way beyond that, it helps to polarize our body, helps to detox our body, and it just makes us feel happy because it helps us make melatonin and serotonin. So important, we have to get sunlight. 

Some people cite the risk of being burned by the sun (which we don’t want), but the risk of getting too little sunlight increases your illness or risk of disease more than getting too much sun, believe it or not. 

Sleep

Sleep is big, I’ve talked about this before. We’ve got to get in a biorhythm, we’ve got to get between seven and nine hours depending on how you’re wired. You have to get better sleep, that’s a big one. 

Nature 

Go out in nature and just sit there, you don’t even have to do anything, like if you live out in a country or rural area, or you can drive a few minutes out somewhere, even in Central Park in the middle of New York City. Get out there, sit on a bench, and just be. Just breathe. Nature is all around you, and nature has a vibration, everything has a vibration. It has a frequency. Those frequencies interact with your biorhythm. They start to sync it up, they start to help you raise your frequencies to help you be more well. Just sitting there, I’m telling you, that’s all it takes. Incredible.

Real Food

One of my favorite authors is Michael Pollock. He wrote “Omnivore’s Dilemma” a few years ago, one of his big mantras is, and he just keeps it simple, he says, “Eat real food, mostly plants, and not too much.” Like, that’s it. We can keep it pretty simple with that. We have got to get back to eating real food. Let’s get real food instead of the processed crap.

Exercise

I have known people who can barely get out of their car and come into my building. I have them stabilized on a countertop, and I show them some different things they can do. Anybody can move, you just have to find the right program for you. Start low and slow, increase it as you are able. You have to exercise.

Hot and Cold

This can be tough on the mind, to jump in a cold plunge or to go in a sauna, but it is incredible. It does some of the same things that fasting does, but hot and cold extremes when you get the extreme, you get something called heat shock proteins. Heat shock proteins can create a great metabolism. They can scavenge free radicals, which means they help the antioxidants in your body and help you prevent oxidative stress in the body. It’s pretty amazing. We can use cryotherapy at a smaller level with just hot and cold packs on the body.

Salt

Salt is unbelievable. I’ve had actual people, tell me they’ve cured their heart palpitations just by changing the salt input that I recommend on my program. They’re doing other things of course. I don’t feel health is just a one trick pony, but they’ve seen their heart palpitations pretty much go away as they’ve introduced the right kind of salt, the right level for their body. Salt is amazing when it’s the real stuff. “Redmond Real Salt” is one of my favorites, Celtic salt is amazing, and then you’ve got Himalayan salts, all are unbelievable.

Magnesium

Magnesium is used in at least 300 reactions that we know of. It helps with DNA methylation, which helps you detox and helps make your DNA express “Hey, I need this gene, and this cell, and this protein. I need that made over here.” Methylation is so important, helps with almost everything under the sun. Magnesium is amazing. There are different forms, I do recommend magnesium in glycinate or glycinate form for the nervous system, but there are other forms as well.

Earthing 

We need to ground ourselves. It’s a little bit more complicated than just the grounding mats you may have seen. I think there’s merit there, but we have to talk about it a bit more. But grounding, in its simplest form, we can just get out in nature and touch a tree, put our bare feet on some sand, and do something. It is incredible for your body. You’re going to have an ionic exchange of positively charged ions. You’re going to get negatively charged ions. It’s going to help balance your body. It’s pretty amazing.

Meditation

I have not found a more incredible modality for helping just bring together mind, body, and spirit than meditation. And if you can evolve it with some yoga with meditation, wow, it is incredibly life-changing.

Laughter  

We got to keep it light. You’re designed to have fun, you’re supposed to enjoy life. You have to find ways to do that. I purposely will get on Instagram and follow channels that have comedians on there, just watch video after video after lunch for 15-20 minutes. It is such an incredible gift to be able to laugh, and it ends up being a medicine. Because we’re going to make all these incredible healthy chemicals in our body, that’s going to help us put us in a parasympathetic state, right, and get us out of that sympathetic state. We want to rest and digest as much as possible, not fight or flight.

Hopefully, you’re following some of these Naturopathic Foundations and implementing what you can. 

Be well,

Dr. Jason

Board-certified naturopathic & functional medicine doctor

 

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