"N" is for Naturopathic Medicine; "N" is for Nutrition

08 Apr 2012

Posted by karen
karen's picture

Does nutrition have anything in common with naturopathic medicine?

When I posed this question to Dr. Ben Connolly, ND, this nutrition nut (me, not him), was thrilled to hear: "... nutritional counselling is my first consideration when I see my patients." That nutrition includes dietary changes and supplements - with his plan for the latter as initial building and restoring, and some for maintenance - with the goal as food being the primary source of healthy nutrition.

My appointment with Ben had been due to pain and swelling in my left hand, specifically at the base of my thumb (something happened while hiking and grasping a walking pole?!). He introduced me to acupuncture treatment, demonstrated appropriate stretches, and prescribed vitamin E, and fish oil, rich in omega-3 fats. There might have been more recommendations but this is all I remember from that visit two years ago. Since then, I've completed my nutrition studies and am grateful for the opportunity to do nutrtional consulting with some of his patients.

For the record, since then the thumb is functioning much better.  And I've learned more about Ben's naturopathic medicine philosophy.

"To promote innate healing of the body through safe and effective natural treatments."

Besides clinical nutrition, some of these treatments include:

- hydrotherapy - using the properties of water (temperature and pressure) - to help alleviate symptoms of disease and to improve circulation. My own experience/experimenting has been fluctuating the hot and cold temperatures while in the shower - an awakening! This is to improve circulation and to help flush toxins. For hardy souls - Ben's advice: take this on gradually, but is oh so reviving!

- acupuncture - this technique has my vote of credible healing/treatment 
- hands on body work, muscle manipulation
- lifestyle modifications - exercise, sleep, stress, aids for functional living
- herbal therapy
- orthomolecular medicine
What can't a naturopathic doctor do? "Refer patients for blood tests (can recommend that patient ask MD for specific tests) or perform surgery." 


From childhood, Ben had been interested in medicine and started his training with a Bachelor of Science degree at Saint Mary's University in Halifax. His job in a hospital lab, specifically related to transplant patients, was interesting work but other "aspects" of the job enforced his decision not to follow through on his original plan for mainstream medicine.

Four years later, he obtained his Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine from The Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine in Toronto.

Ben's purpose as stated on his business card.

"To improve quality of life for patients by addressing the fundamental causes of disease, by healing the whole person through individualized treatment and by promoting the principles of healthy living and preventive medicine." 

Knowing Ben's postive and professional attitude, expertise in his field, and friendly manner I can recommend that he will follow through on his purpose. 

Dr. Ben - and his wife, Julie, a massage therapist and certified laser therapist - work out of Upper Tantallon, Nova Scotia, and can be contacted through cornerstone naturopathic inc. . 
The sure link between this ND and nutrition? There are recipe books using whole, real food ingredients for sale in the front office. Let's just say, you probably won't see that at most mainstream doctor's offices.
It would only be right that I should have at least one recipe to suggest. The original recipe used kale but I thought the chard was a fine substitute.

Beet, Swiss Chard, and Walnut Salad

3 - 4 beets, peeled and cubed
1 bunch swiss chard (or can substitute kale), rinsed and chopped
1 cup raw walnuts, lightly roasted
2/3 cup (organic) feta cheese (optional but is a great addition)
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1-2 tsp. maple syrup
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves (carefully chopped)
1/4 tsp. sea salt
Steam cubed beets until tender, for 15-25 minutes, depending on their size. Put into bowl to cool; steam chard (or kale) greens for 5-10 minutes - until tender but still bright green. Rinse in cold water and carefully squeeze out excess water. Place in bowl with beets.
Toast walnuts in toaster oven or in frying pan on the stove for about 10 minutes, stirring or shaking often, watching carefully so they don't burn. 
In a small jar with a lid, shake together dressing ingredients. Pour over the salad and toss carefully. Top with feta cheese if using and sprinkle with fresh ground pepper.
Colorfully, delicious nutritious.
Beets - rich in folic acid and promote detoxification
Swiss chard - abundant in chlorophyll: purification and promoting the growth of beneficial intestinal flora
Walnuts - high in omega-3 fats: reduce inflammation, help protect against cardiovascular disease

The last few blogs have been on a bit of a salad roll - I think it's the hope and vibrancy of spring (as I finish this on a snowy Easter Sunday!!). But before I switch gears I have to leave a link for one more: this salad from FatFree Vegan Kitchen is  worth eating just for the dressing!

Bon appetit!!


jaffa's picture

The inherited traits from parents, also play a role in determining the health status of individuals and populations. This can encompass both the predisposition to certain diseases and health conditions, as well as the habits and behaviors individuals develop through the lifestyle of their families. Thanks a lot. Regards, african mango diet

karen's picture

It certainly is a complex mix that contributes to our overall health and well-being. Appreciate you stopping by. 

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