My Journey from a Scientist to a Naturopathic Physician
Updated: Mar 3
A little more about my journey…
But for those genuinely interested in their health, in the health of their families and friends..then here goes…as I actually think it is worth sharing to explain why I am here today, doing what I do. I feel like I kind of went the long way around it all, but this long way has been worth it.
My very first degree was in the study of the body (anatomy and physiology) and the study of how drugs interact in the body, their toxicity, their half-life, their pharmacology, and the science called biochemistry. I worked for a pharmaceutical company for one year during this time because I wanted to get more experience and ‘grow up to be a scientist’. This company was based in Strasbourg, France, and what a great experience that was. I knew then I was not going to be in the laboratory for too long.
This first degree led me down the road of toxicology and pathology. WHY? Because I learned in my first degree about the toxic effects of medications, and how the body needs to detox them, and if we go over a certain limit then it may well be ‘hasta la vista, see you on the other side’ kind of situation…or it may be a poor quality of life due to the toxic side effects, such as living with auto-immune conditions, cancer, chronic fatigue etc..all in all I wanted to know more.
Then this Masters led me into a field that I was convinced was due to toxicity…a pathology of sorts due to medications…so began my ‘overworked’ years in a laboratory growing cells, experimenting, analyzing DNA samples for specific genetic mutations, monitoring the growth of tumors in immuno-deficient mice (that were bred for the sole purpose of cancer research, not something I am proud of but I really believed in a CURE for cancer).
Then I discovered Dr. Nicholas Gonazeles, a LEGEND in the field of pancreatic cancer. He was labeled as a quack when I discovered his work (he only worked with food as a medicine alongside detoxing) whilst writing up my Ph.D. thesis but I was hooked. His cancer patients were living up to 11 years after the diagnosis, whereas at King’s College Hospital where I was doing my Ph.D. they were living up to 6 months (surgery and chemo, no belief in food as medicine and detox was seen as the devil’s work). Was I missing something? Could nutrition truly be important? I laugh at the fact that I even questioned that nutrition had any link to pathology or dis-ease…but that is because, in all my years of training, nutrition was not mentioned ONCE.
I had to follow Dr. Nicholas Gonzales, I moved to New York (serendipity, my other half was offered to set up work there as I finished my post-doctoral in London) and then deep-dived into a Masters in Clinical Nutrition…that was a MASSIVE wake-up call. Every lecture I attended mentioned foods, phytonutrients, the Kreb’s Cycle, Glycolysis, Ketones, Glucose…it was light bulb moment after light bulb. Wow, really inflammation is linked to the balance between omega 3s and omega 6s? Seriously? Then why was I not taught this simple FAT fact when I was learning about the cell in my first degree?. The very fact that this cell has a membrane that has the power to make us healthy or sick by just looking at the fats in the membrane. Oh my gosh, this cell membrane has the receptors which hormones bind to, and also drugs to block these hormones, but by balancing the hormones you do not need drugs to block these hormones? Could this really be? If it could really be, then why was I not taught this in all those years.
I was still very skeptical about some of the conferences I was attending outside of the Master’s degree. I remember one Naturopathic Doctor had a bottle of beer on the table…he was a pediatrician. He took the bottle of beer, peeled off the label, and asked ‘guess what the glue is?’ The same as the glue you find in wheat-GLUTEN. What a joke! Seriously? He is just a ‘showman’, if this was the case, I would know this (wrong), I was not taught about nutrition in all those years. He worked with children on the spectrum and was seeing tremendous results…I read book after book, ravished anything that connected the dots… realizing that the Biochemistry lecturers in my first degree forget to mentions B vitamins in the Kreb Cycle that we had to learn off by heart, forgot to mention phytonutrients as anti-oxidants for the inflammatory pathways that I was taught. The pharmacology lecturers forgot to mention that the VITAL enzymes involved in all sorts of drug metabolism require MINERALS, they forgot to mention that the liver cytochrome enzymes have an iron at their core…they forgot to mention how anemia can lead to POOR detoxification of medications, not just poor circulation…they forgot to mention that many of these drugs DEPLETE nutrients, ….WOW….how gullible was I? How brainwashed was I? Or was the nutrition industry brainwashing me? The fact that I had the pharmacology and biochemistry connection I could connect the dots, I could see what I missed and I felt slightly cheated.
I was taught by professors, by mainstream medics, by naturopaths, by scientists, by nutritionists, by chiropractors…heck I even was taught by the main man himself Dr. Jeffrey Bland. I had the privilege of also being taught by Dr.Atkins and Dr. D’Adamo (I did not really know who they were in those days, but New York was where nutrition in all its glory was rising in those days but still ridiculed).
So I qualified, started my very first practice on the Upper West Side…it grew fast and New Yorkers were and still are so into FOOD IS MEDICINE.
Then my firstborn (who is now nearly 18yr) got me into homeopathy. Another load of quackery, seriously? I have to be kidding myself! But again I went through very similar and profound ‘aha’ moments. I did a 4-year course in London. The mind-body connection, the connection of a mother’s birth trauma to her child’s eczema, the connection of my second child’s asthma to the trauma of the cord around his neck had me ‘hooked’ and wanting to know more. It linked well to the PNIE connection on some levels in my head…but I am still making connections with homeopathy every day.
I continue to learn, to keep connecting those dots and having ‘aha moments’. Is life not also about the ‘aha moments’?
We do not know everything and never will about this amazing human body, this amazing planet, the wonders of nature, but we sure can continue to learn and connect the dots and make informed decisions with the knowledge we have. One step at a time, or for some a degree at a time.
I know it will not stop here for me, I will continue to learn and study as my best teachers are my clients, so THANKYOU!
To health and well-being!
#JeffreyBland #homeopathy #asthma #birth #minerals #eczema #cancer #education #nutrients #nutrition