Erika Siegel of Portland, Oregon had plans to become a doctor. She wasn’t completely comfortable with what conventional medicine had to offer though, so she was confused about her career path. Her confusion turned to curiosity when she received a postcard in the mail from a Naturopathic school. That postcard ultimately changed her life.
Today she is a Naturopathic doctor focused on family medicine. “It’s the perfect fit for me,” she said of Naturopathic medicine. “A philosophy rooted in healing with a focus on prevention and wellness makes more sense to me than waiting for illness to arrive and then treating it,” she said. “Many roads can lead to wellness, not just pharmaceuticals and surgery.”
Dr. Siegel, who studied both Western and Eastern Medicine at the National College of Naturopathic Medicine, gave the example of 10 patients who have a migraine. If those 10 patients go to a conventional doctor, they all likely would receive the same prescription for the same medication. If those same 10 patients went to a Naturopathic doctor, they might leave with 10 different therapies, each based on the individual.
A Naturopathic doctor would take the time to understand all possible causes, such as food, allergies, hormone levels, muscular or skeletal imbalances, chemicals, sensitivities and more to get to the root of the problem, instead of focusing only on getting rid of the symptom. Dr. Siegel, who’s been practicing for about seven and a half years, said she does use medication when it’s necessary, such as for temporary relief while she’s searching for the cause of a symptom.
Nutrition is a big passion of Dr. Siegel’s. That passion, combined with continuous requests from patients and friends to provide nutritional advice and healthy recipes, led her to develop the Nourish Me ™ superfood supplement and write a book.
Nourish Me Superfood Supplement
Nourish Me is a nutrient-dense powder made from eight organic superfoods. Parents can mix the powder into creamy foods like yogurt, oatmeal and smoothies so that their kids get the essential nutrients they need for a strong immune system, a balanced digestive system, a strong brain and more. (Adults can use this dietary supplement, too!) Dr. Siegel said people can consume the supplement as often as they like. While some people eat it once a week, others eat it once a day. “If kids are getting enough veggies and variety in their diet, then they need less. If not, they need more,” Dr. Siegel said. “The best thing is that it’s all from food,” she said. “There’s nothing synthetic in there.”
Nourish Me Book
Dr. Siegel also is writing a book that will include tips on nutrition and kids’ health, home remedies, healing through food, and plenty of nutrient-dense, family-friendly recipes. Chapters include “The Dairy Dilemma,” which details why standard milk from the grocery store is not the healthy food many people think it is, and “Food as Medicine,” which explains how to use what’s in the refrigerator to achieve a medical benefit. She expects to complete the book by the end of 2012. Interested readers can sign up on the Nourish Me website to receive an alert when the book is available.
10 Healthy Eating Tips
Here are 10 tips from Dr. Siegel on how to get children to develop and maintain healthy eating habits.
1. Be a model of good eating habits. Parents can’t eat poorly and then expect their kids to eat well.
2. Before putting a meal on the table, put out chopped vegetables with a healthy dip or hummus so that kids can get some veggies down before the meal starts.
3. Eat dinner with other families to encourage a variety of foods. A child might notice that his good friend eats broccoli, for example. Plus, eating with company often takes the focus off what a child is or isn’t eating. Children get into the social space of eating together and often try new things.
4. Use the blender. Mash some cauliflower. Puree veggies into foods. You can easily add spinach into a smoothie without it being noticed – Try it!
5. Let kids put whatever condiment they want on their food. If mayonnaise, mustard or even dried fruit sells the dish, let them do it.
6. Don’t let a child’s blood sugar drop. Eating foods high in protein and healthy fats helps stabilize blood sugar. Once a child’s blood sugar drops the child is often too emotional to even talk about healthy food choices.
7. Chop veggies very small and put them into everything – put them in the Mac ’n Cheese, put them in the pasta, put them in everything. Make vegetables a part of every meal and don’t draw attention to it. Vegetables are just what everyone eats.
8. Remember that parents are in charge. “We’re often afraid to upset our kids,” Dr. Siegel said. “We put our foot down with other things, like making sure they put on a coat before they go outside, but often not with food. And remember, at the end of the day, it’s the parents who buy the food, right?”
9. Do not feed kids the food that is marketed to kids. Kids can and should eat adult food. Food marketed to kids is often loaded with sugar, artificial dyes and excess packaging. It’s actually easier to feed kids what the grown-ups eat once you get into the routine.
10. Relax. Try to look at the child’s nutrition for the whole day. If breakfast wasn’t a winner, there is always snack time, lunch and dinner. “When you teach good eating habits at home, you will feel ok with the times when your child is eating birthday cake and goldfish for dinner,” Dr. Siegel said. “Do what you can to make your best effort and then relax and enjoy your food. Teach kids to enjoy their food, too.”
For more information on healthy eating habits and the Nourish Me supplement and book, visit Dr. Siegel’s website at www.nourishme.com.
– By Jessica Braun
Jessica Braun is an editor and a writer at WholesomeOne. She can be reached at jessica.braun[at]wholesomeone[dot]com.