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Monday Mission: Do You Have a Naturally Minded Doctor?

Your mission, if you choose to accept, is to find a naturally minded doctor, or at least start thinking about it, especially if you have a health issue that warrants care.

Wooden medicine cabinet with old fashioned amber medicine bottles

I’m actually in the midst of this process and fumbling my way through, so today I’ll share the methods I used to search, the questions I ask to try to choose, and the reasons we’re out looking in the first place. (photo source)

Update 2015: We decided to move our health insurance to a Health Share Plan.

This post is sponsored by Trilight Health.

Our Story: from Conventional Medicine to Nutrition to ?

I’ve never gone to a naturopath or alternative practitioner in my life, and in fact, I just learned how to pronounce “naturopathy” Friday. Yes, this Friday as in three days ago.

I’m a baby stepper, remember? Winking smile

The closest I’ve come to this mission was finding an OB-GYN who wouldn’t bug me about natural family planning and who would allow me to have a natural birth without pressure. I did want a medical doctor, not a homebirth, and I thought I did a pretty good job finding someone I could have some back-and-forth with. I did have to get a little pushy about declining a late-term ultrasound and other procedures to make sure baby was still growing – I checked my own old records and discovered that both other Kimball kids had the exact same stoppage of fundal height in the final weeks of pregnancy, so I just wasn’t worried.

I needn’t have worried about the whole natural birth thing either, as it turned out, since no one had time to do anything but “catch!”

If there’s a “next time,” I’m having a home birth just so I don’t have a highway birth. Winking smile (UPDATE: I did it.)

Katie Kimball nursing a newborn

Other than having babies and annual checkups, I don’t see doctor’s offices very often, so I never worried about having the “right one.”

My kids have a wonderful pediatrician whom I love, and even though she’ll never prescribe an herbal remedy or suggest essential oils, I’m sticking with her because she brings good balance to the conversation (then I go online for herbs and oils).

My husband, on the other hand has a chronic disease of the digestive system (Crohn’s Disease). His family has a history of heart disease, diabetes, and early heart attack, and he’s fought high triglycerides and low HDL for years already.

Yes, sometimes I kid him that I should have done a more thorough prenuptial medical record on him before I joined our genes together. We’re hoping my genes trump his in everything but temper, since my side of the family has octogenarian downhill skiers and my dad doesn’t even wear glasses except to read.

It seems obvious to me that a digestive disease could and should have some roots and some relief in one’s diet. There’s also so much research on auto-immune diseases and how they’re related to diet, particularly gluten and auto-immune disease. Convincing a mainstream medical doctor that diet impacts disease is another story.

It was a year and a half ago when we exhausted the doctor’s options battling chronic diarrhea, including inconclusive tests and a prescription, and then discovered that going grain-free fixed the problem 100% in two days. We then refined the issue to gluten.

Here’s the family doctor’s response: “Well, if gluten makes you feel bad, don’t eat it. If you choose to deal with the consequences because eating the pizza is just that good, it won’t hurt you past that day.”

Oh, really?

If you have any background knowledge of gluten, intestinal villi, and leaky gut syndrome, your chest is tightening and you’re getting upset with that doc right now.

I wanted that to be the nail in the coffin, but it took two more issues, plus moving farther away, to finally convince dear husband that we really needed to find someone new:

  1. At his annual physical in the fall, he fasted for the blood tests, and guess what? They forgot to order the lipid screen, so although 90% of the reason he even goes in for a checkup is to see what his cholesterol and triglyceride numbers are doing, they simply weren’t run. His Vitamin Dlevels were low the year before and we wanted to see if our cod liver oil was working, too, but the doctor’s office apparently didn’t agree. I was livid.
  2. We popped in to see my old family doctor, an old man in a country town, in December because of an issue that cropped up while we were visiting my parents. He listened to my husband’s family history, high triglycerides and low HDL count, and within 5 minutes of meeting him, the doc said, “You have hypolipidemia. That causes early heart attacks.” A diagnosis with a name in 5 minutes, and his family doctor has known him his whole life and has only said “high triglycerides – eat a low fat diet” in 2007 and “high triglycerides – eat a low carb diet” in 2009. Bunk. We’re done there.

But now what?

We’re Off to See the Wizard…

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Although we’ve seen some incredible results with changing our diet, home remedies for ear infection, and our favorite magic cough solution, we’ve also tried plenty of things around here that just haven’t worked. My husband doesn’t necessarily believe that a naturopath will be able to do anything for him that we’re not already doing.

When I told him they usually don’t accept insurance at all, he did a physical double-take and stopped in his tracks. He literally halted as he was walking across a room:

“Well that settles it; why would I try something I don’t even believe works and pay out of pocket three digits?”

Ideally, I’ll convince him that it’s worth the risk in the hopes that (a) the end result will be more effective than a mainstream approach, and (b) therefore our medical costs over time will be much less. We’re not gambling people in general, though, so the real ideal would be a natural doc who accepts insurance…

How to Start Looking for a Naturally Minded Doctor

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Step One: When you don’t really like medicine, finding the right doctor is a lot like finding good eggsbest to start by asking around. This step will of course only be effective if you know some other naturally minded people in the area. If you’re moving to a new town, you have to make friends fast or…

Step Two: Try social media. Put a note on Facebook, Twitter, via email, that you’re looking for a new doctor. People love to share advice if they love or hated a medical experience, so you’re bound to get some bites. Use hashtags for your town on Twitter.

Also check out the websites of the local health foods store, Weston A. Price chapter, and anywhere else that you might be able to think of where naturally minded people congregate publicly. Our local health foods stores listed a few natural practitioners, and that was very helpful.

Step Three: Ask Dr. Google. Here are some of the terms I typed into a search bar (I search with Swagbucks, actually, to earn Amazon gift cards):

  • “holistic doctor grand rapids”
  • “naturopath grand rapids michigan”
  • “family doctor grand rapids”
  • UPDATE: A reader recommended trying nurse practitioners, who are often more naturally minded.

Step Four: Here are a few online listing sites for medical practitioners:

How to Narrow Down Your “Who to Call” List

If you’re looking at medical doctors, start with the “DOs” instead of the “MDs.” A DO is generally more holistic than an MD (although not always, but it’s a decent starting point).

Learn about natural practitioners and conventional medical doctors, too, by:

  • thoroughly checking out their website
  • following on Facebook or Twitter and browsing their recent updates
  • checking them out on ratings sites to see what other patients have to say about them

What to Say When You Call

You now have a list, whether short or long, of offices you’re interested in learning about to try to find just the right one. When I made my information-gathering calls, I had a list of questions in front of me.

With medical docs, I introduced myself as looking for a new family doctor and told whomever answered that I was trying to get an idea of the philosophy of the doctor on staff there. I usually asked:

  1. Can you tell me anything about Dr. X’s background?
  2. View on vaccines (if family doc, just because it gave me an idea of their philosophy, not because my kids would even be going there)
  3. What if I say “what are my other options” about a prescription? What would the doctor’s normal response be?
  4. How does nutrition play into health and wellness, your approach to treating a disease?
  5. Are you comfortable with patients using essential oils or herbal remedies to improve their health?
  6. Is there any sort of meet and greet opportunity?

In general, I was sorely disappointed, as most nurses/receptionists couldn’t speak to the doctor’s philosophy, and no one allowed any meet and greets. Boo, hiss. All the staff I spoke with had great things to say about the doctors in their offices, like “kind, knowledgeable, good bedside manner, everyone loves Dr. X, etc.,” but that didn’t really help me.

For natural practitioners, I started with something like: “We’re potential new patients, and we’re coming from the experience of mostly just mainstream medicine. I’m trying to get a handle on what the experience there would be like and hoped I could ask a few questions….”

I would try to cover:

  1. How do you describe your medical philosophy?
  2. What is your training and background?
  3. What would a first appointment look like?
  4. What do treatments look like?
  5. Can you do blood tests, etc?
  6. How does nutrition play into health and wellness and your approach to treating a disease
  7. My husband has X; how would you approach that?
  8. Cost? Insurance?
  9. Meet and greet opportunity?
  10. Questions to ask should include any specific health concerns your family has

What I Found in the Grand Rapids Area

If you happen to live in the Grand Rapids, Michigan are and are looking for a new, natural doctor, you’re going to appreciate this next part. Winking smile

  • Dr. David Sova, DO
    This is the family doctor we ended up choosing in fall 2014, and so far (6/2015) I’ve been happy with him (although his office staff is not always helpful on the phone, bummer). He is very thorough, teaches instead of orders, understands supplements and chiropractics a bit, and does not offer any vaccines except the single tetanus. Worth a meet and greet for sure if that sounds good to you!
  • Dr. Chad Kotlarz, ND (and MD) :: Holistic Care Approach
    I looked at the website on this one and wrote down “a little too non-medical” because there was so much massage and floofiness, but then I found just the doctor’s name through another source and called them. They don’t bill insurance and offer no meet and greet, but I did appreciate the assurance that after the first hour-long appointment, we’d be “walking out with a plan.” Cost: $185 1st appointment, more like $75ish after that
  • Dr. Daryl Wisdom :: Wisdom Wellness Center
    A former medical doc and his RN wife are both naturopaths, Christians, and bill insurance! For that last fact alone, this may have to be the winner for this non-gambling family. I didn’t get a chance to call this center but poked extensively into their website.
  • Dr. den Boer, MD, ND, DC :: Natural Holistic Health Center
    Chiropractics and naturopathy meet a medical doctor…I love the sounds of this office, and if it weren’t for the cost…  Here’s what I learned on the phone:   

     

    • They’re like a family practice, but don’t use pharmaceuticals.
    • Use diet and exercise; depends on the situation for how intense
    • Initial consult is with both Dr. den Boer and Dr. Stacy
    • You come back after a week to discuss findings
    • Full neurological, orthopedic and nutritional evaluation run on new patient, through Q&A, written questionnaire, and a hands on evaluation.
    • Can do blood tests for triglycerides and cholesterol there in the office.
    • Insurance is accepted very infrequently.
    • Supplementation utilized
    • Seminar presentation 1st Monday of each month at 6:30; anyone is welcome and it gives an opportunity to establish a relationship.
    • Cost $220 Dr. den Boer $150 Dr. Stacy (just for first consult)
  • Dr. Linda Hegstrand, MD :: Complete Wellness Center (link no longer available)
    I noticed something about the SAD (Standard American Diet) in that lingo on the website, and I knew I’d found a possibility. The fact that Dr. Linda is an M.D. helps my husband out, as he wants to trust those who are trained in medicine. Here are my phone call notes:   

     

    • How do you describe your medical philosophy?
      • Provide a free 15 minute consult – gives ability to see office, meet doctor, hear philosophy (generally at end of day, show a few videos, brief tour of office, then talk to doc for 15 minutes)
    • What would a first appointment look like?
      • 1 hour with doc; she gets history, treatment plan, supplement regimen, therapies needed
    • What do treatments look like?
      • Can do prescriptions but she sees them as more of a crutch; they carry a full line of digestive enzymes that Dr. Linda would explore with him.
    • Can you do blood tests, etc?
      • Yes, we do have test kits for lipid panels
    • Cost: $180 for first consult hour
  • Dr. Charles Lietz …often recommended to me by friends, but seemingly not accepting new patients. They never call back.
  • Dale Tamminga :: Healthy for Life
    This was the first ND I spoke with after finding him through the local health foods store. I only took notes in my head, and the file was corrupted. Sigh. Winking smile Here’s what I remember:   

     

    • First consult would be about 2 hours; discuss everything about medical history and personal diet, habits
    • Dale would take time to go over everything and come up with a plan, then explain it all at a second meeting
    • He doesn’t use words like “disease” and “treatment” – too medical
    • His personal story was fascinating – in a mainstream, fast-paced job, living with such chronic digestive issues that he planned his life around bathrooms. He wouldn’t even visit certain people’s homes if they didn’t have a convenient bathroom. And he thought that was normal…
    • Cutting gluten was a major key in getting his system working properly.
    • No prescriptions written – I asked about the vsl3 probiotic that Kelly Dorfman recommended here and he said that any time someone says something is “the only” way to treat an issue, he’s skeptical. He offers very good probiotics.
    • Cost for two appointments and his assessment: $190
    • I’m tempted by this one because he’s a man, his office is near my husband’s work, and he seems to have personal and professional experience with digestive ailments like Crohn’s and gluten.
  • Kathryn Doran-Fisher, ND :: Elder & Sage
    When the Facebook page discussed the evils of soy, health benefits of kombucha and the WAPF, I knew I was among friends. I got to speak with Dr. Kathryn herself, which was a really nice experience:   

     

    • New consult is 1 hour long, includes sitting down and talking about main concerns, health history
    • Digestive disorders are her specialties
    • She is a GAPS practitioner; best way she’s seen is to heal gut (This is where I’m hoping dear husband is not reading this post…he’s deathly afraid that he’ll end up on GAPS and by golly, he doesn’t want to! Then again, I don’t know if I want him to, either. That’s a tough diet and a lot of work…)
    • I told Dr. Kathryn that, and she said she could certainly help guide him through GAPS if he could wrap his head around it.
    • Forms of assessment are based on traditional natural health, Chinese medicine – looking at the body on the outside to find out what’s going on inside
    • “I spend most of my time researching how the body works and then explaining it to people – understanding helps people.”
    • She would look at cholesterol differently than most med practitioners; if we have test numbers, she would look at it and talk about it, but she can’t run the tests
      • looks at ratio as well as total triglycerides/cholesterol
      • right fat instead of low fat
      • high triglycerides are excess carbs
    • Her recommendations could involve lifestyle/diet, herbs, vitamin/mineral supplements, homeopathics
    • Cost: $75 for first hour
    • Insurance – a few clients have had success with a flex plan with card for consultations, sometimes for supplements

Our Next Step

I need to sit down with my husband and really talk this out. Do I call Dr. den Boer’s or Dr. Linda’s to see if we could explore using our insurance, since they’re MDs? Do we go to either of those “meet and greet” opportunities? Do we just go with the one that will take insurance, or the cheapest one who will probably put us on GAPS? Yikes!

I know we’ll be praying about the decision, and I’ll run a follow-up at some point letting you know how Mr. Skeptic’s first appointment went!

How about you? Have you ever gone to a natural doctor? How did you decide where to go?

Big thanks to Trilight Health for sponsoring this post and supporting our family’s immune system! Trilight offers a wide assortment of herbal formulas to assist with just about any ailment and general immune support. Browse by health concern HERE.

Need More Baby Steps?

Monday Missions Baby Steps Back to Basics

Here at Kitchen Stewardship, we’ve always been all about the baby steps. But if you’re just starting your real food and natural living journey, sifting through all that we’ve shared here over the years can be totally overwhelming.

That’s why we took the best 10 rookie “Monday Missions” that used to post once a week and got them all spruced up to send to your inbox – once a week on Mondays, so you can learn to be a kitchen steward one baby step at a time, in a doable sequence.

Sign up to get weekly challenges and teaching on key topics like meal planning, homemade foods that save the budget (and don’t take too much time), what to cut out of your pantry, and more.

Unless otherwise credited, photos are owned by the author or used with a license from Canva or Deposit Photos.

98 thoughts on “Monday Mission: Do You Have a Naturally Minded Doctor?”

  1. Hi! I just moved to Grand Rapids and I’m 14 weeks pregnant looking for a more naturally minded OB. I have no idea who to go to. You mentioned you had a good doctor for you delivery and also I saw you mention Grand Rapids so I’m assuming that where you’re front ? If you did use a GR OBGYN I’d love to get the name of the one you used/use.

    1. Hi Katie, Congratulations!! I’ve had a few here but both have moved away. 🙁 🙁 My current OBGYN is NFP trained so that’s automatically more natural, but I don’t have any actual delivery experience with her. Dr. Kimberly Barrows would be a good place to start though! 🙂 Katie

  2. Thanks for your list of doctors in the Grand Rapids area. I live here and have been unwell for about a decade. It’s been such a pain trying to find a doctor that’s naturally minded who takes insurance. I’ve gone through lots of traditional doctors who say they’re naturally-minded… ha! Now I’m without insurance and an income, so I can’t afford to go anywhere. Once I have some money, I will look into the ones on your list! 🙂

  3. Hi Katie,

    Just wanted to let you know of another doctor you might like. Dr. Peter Macfield. He’s with Breton Village Pediatrics and Family Medicine. His wife, Masuma, is the pediatrician and he handles adults. He will see kids though as I know my friend took her teenage son to him as he didn’t want to see a woman. They are both M.D.s but practice from a very holistic standpoint. They also don’t push shots. He went to Dr. Denboer to introduce himself as he practices quite similar from Denboer, but Peter has the medical background as well. He seems to be a good balance of both worlds. He took a ton of time in the appointment, was a great listener and was interested in me as a whole person. My friend took her younger son there and had been having some worries about him. She kept telling her regular pediatrician that she felt like something wasn’t quite right with him, even though there weren’t any regular markers coming up. My friend went to Masuma and she ordered a ton of tests that no-one had ever thought to order. Very thorough and interested in the details!! I too went to Sova, as did a friend of mine. She had high hopes for him but after awhile, he just seemed like every other doctor.

  4. I went to Dr L.H. (on the list above) & do not recommend. Here’s my long synopsis of my appt experience:

    This appointment was convicting to say the least! To diagnose, Dr had me hold up to my chest vials with names of illnesses or things that might cause illness written on them and had me squeeze my fingers together while she pulled them apart to test my weakness areas. When I asked how that works she said “there are cameras or receptors reading everything around us”- I looked iffy so she explained that it’s “like how even though we can’t see satellites, we can still use our cell phones.”.… oookaaay. My “crap detector” went on immediately. Sry, that’s a phrase my pastor uses:-). Not sure why I didn’t leave right then.

    After “diagnosing” in that manner, she had to figure out what supplements, treatment and doses for me so she had me hold supplements to my chest along with the “weak” vials flagged during the “diagnosis” and HAD ME repeat after her the dose amounts of each. i.e. “I should take 2 drops daily…I should take 3 drops daily…” -while doing the finger squeeze thing again to narrow down the correct treatment plan and doses of supplements. Did the same protocol to choose some cd’s I should watch and how often.

    Seeing the supplements pile up I had her stop and asked about cost; Was about $400 for 6 wks of supps (and that was after she decided I didn’t really need a few after I told her money was tight) plus follow-up treatments which would be around $2,000 plus the initial new patient payment of $400 which had gone up from a phoned quote of $300. So the total would be around $2800 if the plan worked for me quickly & before I needed refills on supps. Remember this Dr. is “natural” so no insurance. In the end I reluctantly paid the new patient fee of $400 & left the supplements, etc behind.

    The office is small and dark and I just felt uneasy as soon as I walked in. And apparently they lost my med info so some guy ended up giving me a laptop to use but I couldn’t get it to work. So he took it back and asked out loud all of my personal & med info while he typed it in right there in the tiny waiting area. Very stressful and embarrassing!

    Some other things they did before seeing the Dr was weird too, but it was the Dr’s “voodoo like” methods that sealed the “won’t go back” deal for me. I really wanted to be happy with this Dr. She seems like a nice & caring lady and I have prayed for her since my appt.

    So in the end I pd $400 to learn a lesson in doing more research when choosing a Dr.

    May God bless you on your health journey.

    1. Thank you for sharing this experience – I’m so sorry to hear it. 🙁 I believe that process is called “muscle response testing” but my husband thinks it’s 100% voodoo too. May your next step on the natural health journey be much more encouraging!!! 🙂 Katie

  5. hi i live in grand rapids, and im currently seeing dr sova. i have hypythryoid, hashimotos disesase and adrenal issues. Currently all of them are being undertreated and not properly cared for because dr sova did not care about my symptoms or what i felt was needed. he looked at the tests and said im fine and walked out when i started tearing up. i highly dont reccomend if you have thyroid disease or adrenal issues. im currently looking for a new doctor, on to the 5th one :/. finding a new and good doctor is very hard and i have not enough money for holistic care. if you find someone who is naturally minded and accepts insurance please let me know!

  6. I know this is an old post, but since it came up in a search for me, I thought I’d chime in about another great natural health clinic not on your list. I’ve been seeing Micah, a naturopathic practitioner, at Continuum Healing for nearly three years. He’s amazing! There are several other naturopaths and natural health consultants on staff there, as well, whom I’ve heard equally amazing things about. www.continuumhealing.com

  7. I am just now reading your blog for the first time. It is wonderful and I will be back to visit often. I, too, began a search for alternative health care in 2012 when I was diagnosed with crohn’s disease. The GI specialist was stunned when I told him I wasn’t interested in Humira after he told me I could have it for $5 a month. He tried to bully me and even used profanity. He was not my doctor after that. I, too, was looking in the Grand Rapids, MI area and went to The Born Clinic. It is run by Dr. Tammy Born, DO. My office calls and nutritional ivs and supplements were not covered by insurance and were all out of pocket. They allowed me to do all labs and tests through Spectrum Health so they were all covered by our insurance. It is now May 2015. Since my diagnosis in June 2012, I have had 2 flares that were signifcant. Otherwise, the education I received there was very helpful. Also, every single person there was always very kind. It is so sad that you have to get excited these days about being treated nicely at the doctor’s office when you are already sick. I hope this is helpful to someone else. God Bless!

    1. Hi Laura!
      That IS really exciting to hear! My husband also has Crohn’s, and he doesn’t currently have a good gastoenterologist, but if we ever need a specialist again, I’m excited to know that Born clinic might be a possibility.

      Thank you so much for sharing your experience! (I wouldn’t touch Humira with a 10-foot pole either…)

      🙂 Katie

  8. Hi,

    I just came across this blog post by doing a search for naturopathic doctors in Grand Rapids. Just wondering who you ended up going with and what the results were.

    I am considering Dr. Hegstrand in GR.

    Thank you!

    1. Kristina,
      My husband tried out Dr. den Boer in Grand Rapids. Dr. den Boer had a 2-year waiting list but due to my husband’s online application coming in just as there was a cancellation, he got in. Dr. den Boer was not able to help my husband’s Crohn’s. My husband is able to tolerate very few foods – no carbs/starch and only some cooked vegetables, some peeled fruit and lean meats. The diet Dr. den Boer outlined for him was following the Grain Brain book and full of foods my husband couldn’t tolerate (lentils, quinoa, etc.) He also put my husband on various expensive supplements which also proved to be intolerable. Dr. den Boer was not able to outline a plan for treatment and just continued to experiment with starch-enhanced supplements. My husband felt mislead and strung along and I doubt I’ll get him to try this route again. I know Dr. den Boer has helped others, but that was not our experience. I wish you well with Dr. Hegstrand.

      1. I would strongly encourage you to read the book “The Maker’s Diet” by Jordin Rubin, who also had Crohn’s Disease. His CD disappeared after he started using Homeostatic Soil Organisms and changed his diet. The company he founded (Garden of Life) makes some great probiotics that have made a huge difference in my family’s digestive health…

    2. Kristina~I see this is an old post, but wondering if you ever visited Dr. Hegstrand and what your experience was like.

      For others who might be reading, I have been a patient at DBC (Dr. den Boer’s practice) and saw Dr. Kate there. I found everyone to be very professional and friendly. I went in because no matter what I do, I am unable to lose weight. They put me on a supplement regime, had me see their nutritionist who was very helpful. But I was already eating quite healthy before going there. They suggested I have adrenal fatigue and maybe liver issues. I kept on with them and the supplements for awhile, but didn’t see results and so eventually stopped as it was all adding up financially.

    3. I personally do NOT reccomend “Dr” Hegstrand. I wrote about my experience with her above… Horrible experience and waste of my time and money. Hope you find a better and real health care professional.

      1. Yes, I concur. I would not got to Hegstrand. I had the same experience as you and felt pressured into very expensive treatment, on top of the VERY expensive of front fee. She doesn’t explain her very controversial methods and says you must believe it will work. I am a big believer in being hopeful, but science is crucial and she just expects you to trust her, no explanations. I am open to new things, but she was just way too fluffy and expected you to pay a lot of money for something that she would not explain. I feel like it’s exploiting desperate people who want to feel well, so they are willing to pay a big up front fee, hoping for answers. Then you get a big let down. I’ve never posted anywhere else, because…well, maybe she’s helped someone…but I’m very skeptical.

  9. Thank you so much for this post! I see it’s over a year old and feel fortunate I was still able to find it today. My husband has Crohn’s and is on the SCD diet. It’s the only thing that seems to help him since the meds usually given for Crohn’s conflict with his arthritis meds. His doctor gives no credit to or support for the diet. I had just started searching for a holistic doctor in Grand Rapids when I found that you have so generously done it for me. Your notes from each of the calls are invaluable! You’ve saved me a ton of time. Thank you, thank you!!

    1. Krista,
      You are so very welcome! You should know that I’m realizing I barely scratched the surface here, so definitely keep looking at other docs too, including chiropractors which I left off this list last year. There are some great naturally minded chiropractors in the area. Good luck on your search! 🙂 Katie

      1. My comment for your husband with heart disease is this. I’m a patient of Dr William Davis (author of Wheat Belly) & I can tell you he has the state-of-the-art treatment that works. Most naturopathic doctors are not cardiologist and don’t do the proper testing. Dr D is an integrated practitioner. Get tested for LDL particle size and Lp(a), not cholesterol. Get vitamin D up to 60 – 70, take lot’s of omega 3 (3000 mg EPA/DHA). These are rare doctor’s who do these advanced tests, but Dr Manohar in GR does these tests. Dr D says 80% of heart disease comes from having these test show abnormal levels (smLDL below 300 & HDL above 60). Read his book in the chapter on heart disease (size is IMPORTANT). The diet is high fat (but no trans & no vegetable oil fats) & low carb diet. Good Luck.

  10. Hi-

    I recently just moved into the Grand Rapids area. I am looking for a physician for my 5 year old to just get the “required” vaccines for school and a check-up. My son has allergies and asthma (none of which are an issue!). We do MANY holistic, natural alternatives. Really. No flare ups in over 2 years. I am hoping to find a physician where we can get the things done that we have to but not have to argue. I would prefer to find a holistic physician that we can afford! I went through your recommendations but most are in the three digits and the ones that accept insurance are closing because of Obamacare 🙁 Any ideas, friends??
    -Miranda.

    1. We live in Grand Rapids, MI and found a great doctor -Dr.Ben Schipper, in Grandville. He respects the choice to, or not to, vaccinate, and is an all-over great guy.

  11. Thank you for this, in my opinion- informative article. As I struggle with the recent meet and great with new MD which led to 2nd visit for child well-check visit. I learned really fast that not all MD respect the more natural way. I felt backed into a corner when I respectfully answered “we do not participate in Most vaccines”. MD further made things uncomfortable demanding my “proof” of why? On the spot re-buttles of stories, articles, “where I get my information from?” I never knew I was to come packing all my medical studies and reviews of each one. IT went back and forth like a bad tennis match… “But your children are at risk for influenza, ear infections!..” “Not one of them has ever had 1 ear infection nor flu….ever”-(seriously) ages 5, 8, 9 & 15. It was almost a comfort to come home and read your article on how to find a doctor that respects your families views, background, philosophy. Also the reassurance that we are not alone in this type of search. Thanks, from the bottom of my heart.

  12. Thank you for this. I have a great family doc who isn’t specifically trained in NP but is open to it. When they (there is more than one doc there and I like them all) saw me and my son post partum, I told them that I had encapsulated my placenta and thought they should know what I was doing. They were pretty thrilled with it and said they wished more stuff like that was more thouroughly researched in the medical world. They are very non-invasive and offer suggestions instead of just handing me a prescription. It seemed a bit stressful at first being more responsible for my own health, but now I’m grateful. We’ve been able to treat my son at home instead of the hospital several times. He did just as well if not better faster! I have been gradually been weaning my family off processed stuff, easier w/ the kids, not so easy w/ a resistant hubby. But the whole thing where the body is trying to flush something out through the skin is intriging! I and my kids have extremely sensitive skin, so I may up the ante on taking out the sugar and processed foods to see if that helps. Thank you!

    1. Jen, Can I ask who your family doc is? I’ve been looking for someone who is a bit more open to things and it sounds like you have found a great fit!

  13. Christine Welton

    I’d just like to thank you for putting so much effort into your search for more natural healthcare and for sharing the results. It’s an answer to prayer for me!

  14. Katie,
    Do you realize that Kathryn Doran-Fisher graduated from my high school up north? She was in band with me, altho I don’t know that she remembers me, since our band was so huge.

    What are MI’s laws on licensing NDs? They are pretty popular here in WA & most insurances work with them. We’re home to Bastyr.

    1. Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship

      No. Way. That is wild. Kind of makes me want to go meet her for sure! (And was that a joke about your band being huge?) I don’t know anything about licensing laws for NDs…probably something I should look up! I hadn’t gotten that far in my poking around yet… 😉 K

  15. Another source (apologies if it’s already been mentioned) is to find out if there’s an active homeschool group in your area with an online group you can join. Even if you don’t homeschool, there’s a wealth of information when you ask about naturally-minded doctors, dentists, midwives, etc. Our local group is VERY opinionated about their choices of health care and are very loyal to his/her practitioner of choice. It’s how we found our midwife and dentists, and it’s also a great source for finding raw milk, CSA deliveries, and other small businesses to support.

  16. Christine Robinett

    I’ve borrowed numerous Paleo, Gluten, Grain free cookbooks from the library and my local CSA chapter and narrowed my choice down to this half dozen as pertinent for me/us because J’s vegetarian and I don’t digest most meats, organic, free-range or not. That I figured out nearly 3 decades ago. Besides, the raising of livestock for meat is insanely water and carbon footprint intensive versus veg production. There’s some pretty substantial evidence that being on the veg/an/tarian end of scale does have life extension, quality of life and health benefits over meat eating. The Adventist studies extend over decades and very large populations. Allopathic-western medicine is obsessed with making profit off pushing pills, procedures, products, pre-existing conditions and NOT on real prevention, practical treatment, preserving peaceful dignity/respect and people as persons. You want to be frugal and live better than you thought possible? Then understand that CAM is wholistic, has very different philosophies, systems o treatment that are just as iif not more valuable to our health than allopathy. Most people have been so indoctrinated in the profit making not people system in this country that they have a tough time trusting this monopoly doesn’t place their health first and actually subjects them to”Guinea Pig” status with less rights and protections as a human being. Make your Chiropractor, Naturopath, Acupuncturist/TCM practtioner your primary care doctor. Do not shrink from standing up for your rights to wholistic practice. Don’t be intimidated by MD’s that will puitively judge your choices or discriminate against you forthem. Question authority repeatedly because the system is broken, the petro-chem-pharmaceutials don’t work, and “procedures” are violent, invasive and degrading to the physical vessel and the spirit. Sorry to sound preachy but this is really how critcal it’s become for the majority of Americans.

  17. Christine Robinett

    Chenopods are sometimes called pseudo-grains, like Quinoa, Buckwheat, Amaranth. I don’t allow any grass grains into the house in any products because I’m that sensitive. My spouse has been a bit comfounded NOT eating porridge every morning but he’s seen positive results in his health and dramatic weight loss. There are grain-free porridge recipes on the blogs. Ricki at Diet, Desserts and Dogs has a nice one. There’s a whole crowd of bloggers that are grain- free. I’ve been refining my diet for decades but only in the gluten, grain, legume framework for about 4 1/2 years. There’s been disability and long-term unemployment, fraudclosure (if you don’t think you could be next, think again when 98% of cases of foreclosure involve fraud and other legal issues). It’s been very rough but we manageto do it on a nearly non-existsent budget for food. I cook with Almond, Coconut, buckwheat, Quinoa, Amaranth. My go-to cookbooks/blogs are Elana Amsterdam’s 2 cookbooks and blog, Dr Bruce Fife’s Coconut cookbooks, and Kelley Brozyna’s The Spunky Coconut. I use Sandra Ramacher’s GAPS diet cookbook. I

  18. Christine Robinett

    The more important labs are negative ANA’s, normal limits Thyroid Panel, normal limits blood count, normal blood sugar. NO MORE AUTO-IMMUNE INFLAMMATORY DISEASE. ANA’s are anti-nuclear antibodies. I’ve had postives for this an other auto-immune panels since I was a kid. It took FULLY GETTING OFF ALL GRAINS and LEGUMES to reverse this, NOT JUST GLUTEN. This is very important to understand the difference. It means a bigger commitment to lifestyle changes but eliminating chronic diseases of 40+ years is nothing short of amazing proof that diet/lifestyle cause disease. My rheumatologist was dumb-founded. I jumped in very quickly and said, “So what I’m doing IS working, so I will keep it up”, before he could say anything further.

  19. I have a great godly woman naturopath with a very balanced approach to health. She is a godly woman who prays over her meetings (phone calls) and prays for my family. She is currently helping my whole family – my husband and I plus 3 growing boys- we are trying to detox etc… I personally have asthma and an undiagnosed autoimmune issue – much like chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia- Lord Willing, I will one day no longer be on asthma medicine:) and my pains will be gone… In the meantime, I would love to share my naturopath with you… She is located in Florida, but does phone consultations and is GREAT!!! Here is a link to her website!! http://www.Healthyhomenutrition.com/
    She is affordable, accessible, and has a Christian worldview in her approach to health!
    Blessings,
    Stephany

  20. Pingback: Monday Mission: Do You Have a Naturally Minded Doctor? | Kitchen … | Herbal Allergy Remedies

  21. My mom used to take us to see Dr den Boer when we were little. My sister had chronic ear infections and he got her over them – though I don’t remember how – it was over 15 years ago! 🙂 My mom loved him, but we eventually stopped going when we moved away and he started doing less chiropractic care. Last time I heard anything about him, it was that his wait list was out the window – I think it was when my Grandma was trying to get in.

    Finding a good, balanced doctor is really hard so I wish you luck!

  22. Because i fight a chronic illness (i don’t “own” it as in “my migraine” “my chronic -” whatever disease), i also have looked to find a good doctor. We have spent a lot of money on this because, as you say, many do not use/accept insurance. Even many of the MDs in our area are trying to move away from insurance. We have a large number of practitioners here, but it is a challenge to find one to work with. I sometimes was hit with “information overload” and as very few people i know are interested in alternative health, there has been almost no one for me to ask for recommendations. Even just interviewing someone to see if we would work together well can cost $200-300 here. And an interview doesn’t always give the full picture. I met with someone about a year ago who looked great at the outset (but then, with my permission, there was a medical student sitting in). The follow up was 180 degrees from the initial visit. I wondered if she had an evil twin that showed up for that appointment, and finally decided the first visit she must have been playing to the medical student.

    I have finally found someone in Orange County, CA (a MD with wholistic leanings) with whom i think i’m comfortable, but i went thru 2 NDs, 4 MDs, 1 DO, and a variety of others as well.
    In general i have been told that nurse practitioners and DOs are open to options more than others, but that has not been my experience. The DO did suggest some alternatives to try as a first alternative to statin drugs, but that office was giving Gardisil to young girls, pushing flu vaccines, and he was harsher in many aspects than MDs i’ve known.

    The nurse practitioner i saw was much more closed to alternatives that even most MDs. I think she felt she had some sort of “standard” to uphold and that if she opened the door to “alternatives” then she was not upholding that strict standard she’d worked so hard to gain.

    You CAN run your own lab work in most states, tho you pay for it out of pocket. However, it generally is cheaper to order it online in advance than if your doctor orders the work but the insurance doesn’t cover it and you get billed for the cost.

    I also have become adept in treating almost everything at home with herbals and supplements rather than a doctor visit, largely because i’ve had so many damaging responses to medications that i do not want to ever use them again. But we also do not have small children at home. Still, if we had been blessed with children, i would have worked very hard to keep them from ever having any medication for any reason based on my own debilitating reaction to drugs.

    These days i use a combination of common sense, herbals/supplements, the chiropractor i see, lots of research, a physical therapist, my favorite website of Hawkes’ Health http://www.hawkeshealth.net/community/index.php The advice of wise friends, and a doctor for back up.

    Best wishes and good luck for your search. It can be quite a challenge.

    1. Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship

      Wow, Kathryn, you’ve really had a time of it. I’m sad that finding medical care that won’t HURT you has been so difficult. The system is really working against us…
      {hugs} Katie

    2. Colleen Roach

      Hello Kathryn,

      Would you mind sharing with me the MD you found in Orange County. I also live here and would greatly appreciate the information.

      Thank you,
      Colleen

  23. This is a really interesting post, Katie, and especially since I live in the same area as you do, I appreciate you doing some footwork for me!

    I don’t have any personal experience with Dr. denBoer, but I used to know some folks who did. Their two year old had an issue with a severe skin rash, and they wondered if it might be poison ivy. The doctor actually allowed them to take photos of the rash and e-mail them to him so that he could make a diagnosis. He did charge, but nowhere near an office call–just a reasonable charge for the situation (we can’t expect consultations for free!). This family had some real extenuating circumstances so perhaps that played into the process. I was really impressed, though, at what seemed to me a common sense approach to the problem. The little one didn’t have poison ivy, and he was fine (I saw the rash–it didn’t look pretty!).

    That’s my exposure to that particular doctor. I hope you find something that works for you. There are so many issues to work through–mainstream doctors, mainstream insurance, alternative doctors, alternative insurance. We are beginning to see some signs of positive cooperation between chiropractors and medical doctors. It is tentative, but it is there.

  24. I found my current nurse practitioner about 9 years ago when I was in the throes of adrenal burnout. I She came highly recommended by a friend and I happily jumped from the PA I had been seeing (whose advice was to make sure I worked out at least three times a week and even after two months of exhaustion after taking that advice he told me to just keep at it, that was his only answer!) to an ANP (adult nurse practitioner). She was co-owner of an integrative medical practice with a naturopath and a couple massage therapists. She has since gone back to school and earned her Doctor of Nurse Practitioner and the practice has grown to include several more naturopaths and nurse practitioners. Each one seems to have their own specialty. One of the naturopath’s focus is oncology, one of the NP’s is gut health! Mine has an amazing grasp of women’s health, including hormonal issues and she GOT me from the get-go. She said yeah, all that exercise was doing was burning me out further: you have to let the adrenals repair before moving on to exercise. She put me on Armour thyroid, which helped a LOT, plus a little bioidentical hormone replacement. She also told me giving up caffeine would be a good idea but I was stubborn and it took me a few years to get completely on board with that one… I was never a volume coffee drinker and I did switch to half decaf, but now I am completely caffeine free and happy for it.
    I tried to replace her with another NP in an integrative medical practice close to our new home when we moved an hour away but that only lasted a couple years and I went back because it was never the same level of knowledge and understanding.
    BTW, in Alaska naturopaths ARE recognized and most insurance covers them. They are never a preferred provider but honestly, knowing what I know now, I would pay out of pocket and give up a whole lot of other stuff if I found someone who could turn my health around and my insurance wouldn’t pay.

  25. I have seen a couple of holistic practitioners, some better than others. One just recommended a TON of his own brand of vitamins and supplements. Talk about a conflict of interest. Overall, I feel best researching and praying about things and then reaching out to a healthcare professional as a last resort.

    The fact that so many people see allopathic doctors because they are cheaper out of pocket because of insurance and the natural methods which are cheaper overall are too expensive out of pocket is a sad commentary on the state of our health care system.

  26. After reading what your husband is struggling with I just had to share information that has changed my life. I have been sick for over two years the last year being very sick. I have had digistive issues all my life it seems. I had testing done with no answers with a health minded FP. I was giving up and feeling so helpless in my constant nausious feeling in my gut, not only that but pain. I have been researching about bacterial overgrowth and came upon a book called Breaking The Vicious Cycle by Elaine Gottshall. This book made perfect since to me why I never could get complete freedom from my sickness because I was only eliminating a few of the trigger foods at a time all the while consumming foods that trigger my sypmtoms. I would eliminate say wheat, feel slightly better but fall back to the same, I would eliminate gluten the same thing. It all made perfect since after reading the book. And after putting the diet to the test I felt relief finally after more than a year! I could not believe it. As long as I stick to the diet it works! The diet is for most digestive issues IBS, Chon’s, Diverticulitis, Celiac, cystic fibrosis, ulcerative colitis and chronic diarrhea. There is testimony after testimony that these diseases can in fact be totally controlled through diet. It is a hard change to totally change your diet although the out come is totally worth it. And there are so many things you CAN eat you just focus on those! The diet can be called SCD and a great blog with wonderful information and recipes in nomorechrones.com. I would highly try this diet before spending money on dr. bills etc. I just had to share, this has changed my life so much I want others to share in it.

    1. Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship

      Melissa,
      I’ve heard of that book but never looked into it…thank you much for the recommendation. I think SCD is a bit easier to swallow than GAPS, although very similar, so maybe DH would be more accepting of that diet…? The great part right now, honestly, is that he is pretty much symptom free. (Of course, that also means that he is not motivated to do a whole bunch to “fix” something that doesn’t FEEL broken, even though Crohn’s is certainly chronic and not going anywhere.)

      Thanks! 🙂 Katie

  27. Okay, I hope that these doctors can help you, but I have to add my little word of warning. Please, should a problem arise in your health that you don’t understand, go to a real doctor. My mom was totally into holistic health and doctors and was sure that her symptoms were being cured. Her holistic health person even told her she was improving. By the time I convinced her to go to a GYN, she had stage 4 cervical cancer. There was no hope.
    I see the benefits of holistic health, but I truly think it needs to be balanced with science. Some people I know even think that God didn’t make medicine so going to a regular doctor isn’t necessary or somehow compromises their faith. In my opinion, God gave us brains, thus science, thus medical doctors.
    Just hoping to remind everyone to keep things balanced and not completely forgo regular doctors in exchange for natural doctors.

    1. Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship

      Christina,
      A sad, scary, and important reminder. I’m so sorry your family had to experience this awful side of science vs. holistic. We’re definitely a balanced family and wouldn’t eschew medicine when necessary, but thank you for the reminder for everyone here.
      Katie

  28. I used to see a homeopath (she attended my mother’s church so I already knew her a little.) After seeing loads of Doctors due to digestive problems it was amazing to finally see someone who actually listened and helped! I would see a homeopath again in a heartbeat if I could. At the time I was single and had a good job so the extra cost didn’t matter. I have also been to an acupuncturist/TCM, researched several (having a good website was definitely a bonus), and ended up driving an hour and a half to see one who has had great success with fertility issues. I now live in a part of the country where medical doctors are scarce and once you have been assigned to one you can’t switch. I hope to one day trade my MD for an ND, but at the moment am just trying to keep out of having to go at all! Good luck in your search! I’ll be interested to know how you make out!

  29. I have Chron’s Disease and the naturopath is the only doctor that has recommended anything but more medicine. I HIGHLY recommend seeing one. At this point, the only reason I’m able to stay off stronger meds (I only take Pentasa, which is like the aspirin of Chron’s meds) is because of the things my naturopath has recommended. I pay out of pocket for each of my visits but I’m saving myself years in a healthy digestive system.

    1. I should also mention seeing a naturopath is the only reason I was able to get my son’s eczema cleared up without steroid cream.

  30. My family is also just now embarking on the alternative medicine journey. My husband is also skeptical, but my daughters and I have been going to an ND who specializes in NAET for about a month. It’s too early to tell a success story, but we are hopeful that my daughter will overcome her severe tree nut allergy.

  31. A very useful post Katie. Bottom line, we each are responsible and in charge of our health. The health professional you hire is working for you as your consultant. They are not in charge — you are. We need to believe that we are smart enough to evaluate treatments and not blindly do whatever we are told. I politely resist and delay when I am pressured to buy a supplement or schedule a treatment immediately after an appointment.

    Here in WI, the state does not license NDs, so I don’t think they ever accept insurance for office visits. Sometimes they are in a practice with an MD who orders blood tests, prescriptions (such as natural dessicated thyroid), etc., which then can be claimed on insurance. In fact, an ND I saw told me that the lab they used was covered by my insurance, even in the office visit wasn’t. She was right.

    Another place to look is the Institute for Functional Medicine. Under resources, they have a list of practitioners. You have to be discriminating, as they come from many different philosophies.

    http://www.functionalmedicine.org/

  32. You could totally handle the GAPS diet, no problem! The fact that you’ve already done grain-free and already make broth, yogurt, ferments, etc sets you up perfectly for it. And having a naturopath to help guide you through it would be such a huge help. I have been on it for 3 months for digestive issues, and most of the things that have been hard about it would have been hugely helped if I had been seeing a practitioner. It’s the number one tool for healing–not just managing–any digestive issues! The intro diet is pretty restrictive, but I honestly found the cooking part easier because all the meals were super simple (just soups!). I just kept my freezer stocked with some homemade bread, baked oatmeal, sourdough pancakes, etc for my husband so he could grab some grains if he needed more than the boiled food we were eating for dinner. My son was 9 months when we started, but he just pretty much ate whatever I was eating, so that was easy. It would probably be good for your whole family, even if the rest of you are pretty healthy.

  33. Sarah @ Real Food Outlaws

    Really helpful article! We haven’t had any health problems, thank God but we do have a Chiro that we love. I am my family’s primary health provider and have done a really good job so far(:

  34. Christine Robinett

    It’s ALL about diet and lifestyle. Your husband most likely needs to go back on a grain-free, not just gluten-free diet. Recent research (and my personal experience) does indicate the many gluten intolerant people cross react to all grass grains, legumes and even sometimes chenopods. The proteins are so close to identical that they will trigger repsonse in highly sensitive people. Since he’s got Crohn’s and a family history he should seriously consider it. I couldn’t get my triglycerides under control as a vegetarian even when gluten-free. It took eliminating all grains and legumes from my diet. I can eat chenopods but don’t overdo it. I had to educate my rheumatologist and internist about gluten, grains, cross reactivity, etc. I did an elimination diet and did challenges over months. Here I am 4 1/2 years later with negative ANA’s (anti-nuclear antibodies), tryglycerides WNL (within normal limits) and BP under better control with less medication.

    1. Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship

      Christine,
      I’m fascinated to hear that going grain-free helped your triglycerides! We’re getting a blood test done soon to see if his good eating over Lent helped at all, but we better do it very soon!! 🙂

      His first question is going to be “how often can I cheat without reversing everything?” Grain-free is okay, but he really has appreciated GF hamburger buns, and especially oatmeal is tough to let go of… Um, what are chenopods?

      Thanks for sharing your story!
      🙂 Katie

  35. Great info… Here’s a local natural path and he’s fantastic! Micah McLaughlin at Continuum Healing. Myself and several of my friends see him, truly amazing.

  36. Unfortunately, Ohio doesn’t recognize naturopaths so insurance won’t cover the cost. However, the dermatologist only prescribed cream and shampoo for my daughter’s scalp psoriasis. That was fine, but I wanted to find out what was CAUSING it, not just cover up the symptoms. My husband graciously agreed to pay the costs because he could see how our 17-yr-old was being affected – especially when it started moving down her neck!
    I just googled and liked what I read on the website. Shallow? probably. However, though I paid for one hour, the first visit lasted almost two! It took my daughter over an hour just to fill out the intake form – they covered EVERYTHING! The doctor suggested a test for food allergies, for the digestive system, and for the thyroid. I managed to get our reg dr to “re-order” the thyroid so insurance would cover that. The other tests came back to show my dd has some digestive issues which are normally caused by food allergies. Any guess as to what they are? Wheat, yeast, and unfortunately, eggs.
    The dr. said many allergies that crop up can be overcome, whereas those you’re born with are with you for life.
    I’d delved into a gluten-free diet previously – before finding the naturopath, but had no idea how long it would take to see a difference. The dr said about 4 months… It wasl nice to know I was on the right track. Also, candida was mentioned as a possible culprit in psoriasis and yep, yeast did show up in the digestive system!
    My daughter’s on several different herbal supplements to help calm down the inflammation/irritation in her digestive system, and to cause the plaques to be softer, smaller, and slower growing.
    So far, it was worth the money for us. Though not rolling in dough, by any means, (no pun intended) I’m grateful we had the money to go to a naturopathic doctor. The dermatologist gave us less than ten minutes of her time. Yes, the cream she prescribed took care of the symptoms, but she couldn’t have cared less about what was causing the problem in the first place.
    I’m greatly tempted to take my son to the naturopath to find out why his sleep is so lousy and definitely restful….

    1. Hi Carolyn,

      I live in Ohio and would love to know the name of the naturopath you see. Could you please share that with me as well as the location?

      Thanks a ton,
      Lilli

  37. Finally, after years of struggling with health problems (especially fatigue), I decided to bite the bullet and see a naturopath. I wanted to go to an M.D., since I was pretty sure I had issues that would need a prescription. Sure enough, close to $1,000 later (including $300 office visits and bloodwork) I’m on two different meds plus several nutritional products which cost about $100/month. Insurance has covered NONE of this so far. (I still need to submit paperwork to see if they will eventually cover some of it at least.) However, I’m glad I finally took some action to take care of myself as I feel like I’m on a path to healing the adrenal fatigue and thyroid issues that I’ve likely had for over 20 years. My advice to anyone reading this is DON’T GIVE UP ON YOURSELF! I so wish I would’ve taken care of myself sooner – I truly feel it would have made a big difference to my family if I was closer to 100%! God bless!

    1. Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship

      Lori,
      Phew, my heart skipped a beat reading the figures, but it’s so important to remember that some things are worth the $, and thank you for sharing the positive ending and feeling that you have about the choice you’re following. I hope you feel amazing soon! 🙂 Katie

  38. We have found a wonderful medical group that bills themselves as “Integrative & Functional Medicine”. They take insurance so payment is not a problem. But they are using all approaches to medicine. We have found it to be a wonderful combination. Best of luck in finding someone that suits your needs!

        1. Hi Katie,
          I live in GR and am looking for a new “naturally minded” doctor.
          How are you liking Dr. Sova? I have read good reviews about him but pretty bad ones about his staff and am hesitant to go with him if his staff is really that bad.
          Any insight would really help!
          Thanks!

          1. Lynn,
            I’ve heard the same and did have the experience that some of his staff (tends to be the ones you talk to on the phone) are not very helpful or nice, but the ones in person and the nurses are great! I liked making a “meet and greet” visit with him. 🙂 Katie

  39. Stacy Makes Cents

    I LOVE my holistic doctor! 🙂 I found him by asking my local friends on Facebook if there was one locally. Facebook is a great resource for stuff like that. 🙂

  40. I’ve had a difficult time finding good doctors myself. A friend recommended her naturopath. It was an hour drive, but I was having a skin issue that was getting so bad that an hour drive seemed like nothing. I think I only saw her twice. The first time we talked at length and she did a blood test. The second visit she told me I had an intolerance to gluten and that I should stop eating gluten. That was it. There was nothing else I could do. I was not impressed. I did cut out gluten and it helped for a short time, but the problem came back.
    One day while out walking in my neighborhood, I noticed a sign in front of a chiropractor’s office that said, “Ask us about allergy elimination”. I wrote down the number (they were closed when I was walking by) and called them the next day. I spoke with the chiropractor himself and asked about the allergy thing. Did that include food allergies? It did. He said I could come in and talk with him, no charge. He told me about NAET (nambudripad allergy elimination technique) It seemed a little odd and too good to be true, but I was desperate. After a few sessions I noticed the skin problem was gone! I’ve had to go a few times since, but knowing how to deal with it is so wonderful. And since I’ve cleaned up my eating habits and started eliminating other toxins in the home, I haven’t had to go in to see him in about six months. I do eat gluten now. I even talked my husband into going in to see him. My husband doesn’t need the NAET, but the chiropractor has helped him with things doctors couldn’t.

  41. I’ve stopped eating grains altogether and I lost 20lbs. I’ve not been to a doctor for 5 years.
    My husband also has stooped eating grains and sugar (refined). He had very high cholesterol last year, for which his doctor prescribed some cholesterol lowering drug. He may have taken it for a month. He just went back after being on a low carb, no grains, no refined sugar life style and his cholesterol was 150 and his good cholesterol was up and his bad cholesterol was way down. I just went to holistic dentist who recommended a holistic (natural minded doctor). I recommend coconut oil (extra virgin) .

  42. I love this post! I’ve been so happy to find my doctor, who listens to me, orders tests I want, offers alternatives and options beyond “Take This Pill.” It’s so important to have someone who listens, who thinks, who isn’t in a rush.

    My guy is in Williamston, MI, and if anyone is near the Lansing area, I’d be happy to make a recommendation.

    1. Erin – I’m in Williamston frequently as we have family living in Okemos. We live in West Bloomfield – can you give me the contact info for your doctor? Possibly he can recommend someone out this way. If not, I may be willing to head over your way just to have a good doctor! Thanks.

      1. Hi Elizabeth! Shoot me an email at airynd at gmail dot com and I’ll be very glad to provide his information for you. 🙂

  43. Another method of finding a doctor is to ask a midwife that you trust. Our midwife was connected with a doctor who has a lot of common sense–not something you find very often these days! He’s still mainstream but is not pushy and is willing to let me have my own opinions.

  44. Hi there, this article caught my attention right away because of my own medical issues.

    I am a Registered Nurse and am surprised that there is nothing in here about nurse practitioners. I am in Oregon and NP’s here can be their own entity without any affiliation to an MD/DO. NP’s are a great alternative and in Oregon, they are covered under insurance like a regular doctor. They can have specialties like in women’s health, pediatrics, holistic, primary care, acute care, etc.

    The greatest thing about them is that they do way more holistic stuff, actually like a 100% more than doctors. Doctors are very cautious about entering into the holistic realm because true western medicine, medical associations etc. do not support holistic/natural medicine. Nurse Practitioner’s on the other hand can use holistic medicine if they can find research to back up their practice for something. An MD probably won’t be telling you to take mega doses of vit. D or the use of oregano oil to boost your immune system but an NP will.

    I was very reluctant to go to an NP for a long time but I have had ongoing issues with fatigue, headache, menstrual stuff, and many more symptoms and I have always been concerned about adrenal fatigue. I told my normal Doctor what I thought was going on and she laughed at me and handed me a script for estrogen supplements. Well when I went to an NP finally, my progesterone, testosterone, dhea, and cortisone were all extremely low…my estrogen was high. Guess it’s a good thing I threw the script away instead of filling it. All these labs indicate that my adrenal glands were not functioning well…not to the point of addison’s disease but still not good. I had a headache for 4 months. After a couple weeks of supplements my headache were almost gone. I still have a long road but I wish I would of just gone to an np ealier.

    1. Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship

      Heather,
      Love this success story! I didn’t include nurse practitioners because I had no idea that was a possible option. Updating the post now, thank you! 🙂 Katie

      1. Thank you! I want to add something. Studies show that patients of NP’s are healthier, have less hospital admissions, and shorter hospital stays. This is because the NP is an extension of true nursing which is based on evidence based practice, patient advocacy, and treating the whole person to promote health and well being. With that said, there are still NP’s that will only do western medicine practice so you have to do your homework before finding a good one. If I could afford a naturopath it would be my first choice but so far this is working for me.

    2. Heather @ Nourishing the Heart

      Adrenal fatigue is what got me to go to a naturopath for the first time. In the regular medical world, I was being offered birth control and antidepressants. I am so glad to be working with my naturopath to discover and heal the root causes! Mine was recommended by a family member and I am more than willing to drive an hour each way for my appointments.

      On another note, during my one true medical birth with an OB GYN, I was always happier with my NP appointments than my OB GYN appointments.!

    3. hi heather, could you tell me where you went because i have the same issue it seems and in need of real care.

      1. There are many options in Oregon. Look for wellness type centers that have a variety of providers. Check out their websites. There is normal hints of their holistic practices or lack of.

  45. This was very helpful! We haven’t gone to a natural doctor because we don’t have the extra money and need someone who accepts our insurance. But I’ve found a wonderful D.O. She doesn’t do meet and greats so I just scheduled a well check up for my son. We talked and she asked if I’d ever heard of the Feingold diet. 🙂 I was already doing that! Yay! Then she talked about how CLO is great but that tuna oil is better for super active kids and how she rarely gives meds. She even gives us no grief about not vaccinating and said that extended breastfeeding is so good for the child. We had a winner! The only problem is that it’s a very small practice and things have to be scheduled way in advance.
    Next up, I’m looking for a good chiropractor. That’ll be interesting.

    1. Do you stay in Michigan? I’m in search of someone who takes our insurance. Big vaccine debate going on and we need someone for our kiddos:( can’t go to Alger peds. Boo hoo!

        1. Thank you so much! As we are new to no vaccines, we realized how much of a lie we received into getting them and the pain in our kids eyes from receiving them. Thank you for your information and postings!

  46. TerriAnn via Facebook

    beware of anyone who calls themselves a traditional naturopath and check out their so called “certification” because most are meaningless.

  47. TerriAnn via Facebook

    Please be VERY careful about picking a naturopath. You absolutely need to find out where they went to school because there are only a few schools in the country that train naturopathic physicians and everyone else who calls themselves a naturopath have not had sufficient training, they have likely fone to a correspondence school or unaccredited school. ND, in most states can be used by anyone, there is no licensing. The reason some don’t use the words “treatment” or “disease” is because they have not been to a naturopathic medical school and can not treat or diagnose anything. The reason they do those test in the office is because they can’t prescribe anything. Here is a link to where you can find the names of the schools that are acceptable. http://www.naturopathic.org/content.asp?pl=16&sl=56&contentid=56

    1. Actually, you don’t know what someone is qualified to do unless you ask. Just because you receive an education from a correspondence school, it doesn’t mean that is the only place you have been educated.

      You could have had apprenticeships, you could have traveled around the world to learn medicine from other cultures, you could attend
      conferences on a regular basis, you could have worked at a health clinic, you could be an EMT, you could have had training with a physician, you could be a nurse.

      So if you are interested in natural health practitioners, the question is not “where did you go to school”. The question is “can you tell me about your experience”. It’s a different frame of mind. If you aren’t comfortable with that, then stick to mainstream.

      People who call themselves Traditional Naturopaths are not physicians and most do not pretend to be. They are teachers. They do not use invasive procedures. They do not treat disease or prescribe anything. They teach you how to achieve wellness by natural means. That is the definition of naturopathy. This “new naturopathy” is not naturopathy
      at all because it contradicts the basic premise.

      Saying that you are a naturopathic physician who can prescribe drugs and perform surgery is like saying you are a vegan who eats ham and cheese sandwiches on the weekends.

      If anyone is unqualified to do anything; it is someone who thinks they can avoid medical school yet still be a primary care doctor who
      performs minor surgery and dispenses drugs. This naturopath vs. naturopath is political, it’s a money/power grab, and it is really unnecessary because if you want to be a physician and still learn natural medicine, you can become an osteopath, or go to medical school and supplement the education.

      I don’t have a problem with naturopathic physicians, I am sure that many are very qualified, but I have a problem with the politics
      of taking a term that means one thing, perverting the term, and then saying “only my group can use this term”.

      So if you are going to spread information about naturopaths vs naturopaths, then at least try to be accurate.

      Here is more info
      http://www.bolenreport.com/feature_articles/feature_article019.htm

      http://www.classicalnaturopathy.org/licensing.html

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