Dear Barb

Dear Barb:

I want to live a more healthy lifestyle, but not sure where to start. Do you have any suggestions? In addition, I am considering consulting a naturopathic doctor; do you think it would be beneficial?

Ruth in Ottawa

It’s good to hear that you are interested in pursuing a healthier lifestyle. Although I’m not sure what your lifestyle is now, I believe there is always room for improvement.

There are many things you can do to achieve a healthy balance in your life, and a naturopathic doctor could probably help you considerably with this transition.

The most important thing you can do for yourself is to choose wisely what you eat. We have all heard about the controversy surrounding pesticide and chemical fertilizers used to grow our food, as well as the antibiotics and hormones given to cattle and poultry. We are scared when we hear about these practices and but most of us don’t realize we have other options. Buying organic foods whenever possible is a good place to start. Of course the drawback to organic is the considerably higher price than for non-organic. Perhaps you could start out by changing 50% of your diet to include organic food. This way you would be ingesting less of the chemicals, while still keeping the costs down. As well, supporting organic farmers is beneficial to the environment, as they do not contribute to the chemicals in our air, soil and water sources.

Another important part of a healthy lifestyle includes exercise. You don’t have to do a lot to reap the benefits of a more active lifestyle. A 30-minute walk around the block or a ride on your bike would give you an adequate cardio workout. Eventually you can increase the pace of your walk, thus giving you additional cardio benefits while helping to increase your metabolism.

If stress is a part of your life, maybe a yoga class would help to quiet your mind. Yoga classes are generally offered through the local college, schools, or private Yoga Centers.

Further to your question about a Naturopathic Doctor, I feel a visit to a Naturopathic Doctor would definitely provide you with some guidance to begin your journey toward a healthier lifestyle. Naturopathic Doctors require extensive education and training in a variety of areas, for example, nutrition, botanicals and homeopathy. Naturopathic Doctors treat the whole person, therefore would probably be able to suggest many changes to improve the full scope of your lifestyle.

Nonetheless, a Naturopathic Doctor should not replace your family doctor. Together, your family doctor and Naturopathic Doctor can complement each other and offer you some sound advice to reach your goals.

Finally, I would like to say thank you for writing and asking a very good question. Furthermore, in an upcoming column I will be offering more information on Naturopathic Doctors and their training and the variety of treatments they offer.

E-mail your questions to Some submissions may be edited for length or to protect confidentiality: your real name and location will never be printed. This column is for entertainment only. The author is not a professional counsellor and this column is not intended to take the place of professional advice.