Cleanse, Cancer prevention, Adrenal, Meaningfulness, Mediterranean Diet
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September Health News

Michelle Crowder, ND - Licensed Naturopathic Physician

Click here to view the last newsletter from July 2013.

As summer winds down and the cooler, shorter days of fall arrive, it is a time to think about transitions.  Periods of change can create opportunities to explore new ideas and incorporate new habits into our lives.
Many patients ask for my opinions regarding detoxes, cleanses, and fasting.  Fasting is a feature of many cultural and spiritual traditions.  It was a fact of life (and still is, in many parts of the world) during times of food scarcity.  Whether we choose an extreme water fast, or a more gentle approach, cleansing can be a way to become more mindful of our daily choices – what we eat, how much time we devote to self-care, our thought patterns.
I will be leading a one-week gentle cleanse during late October / early November.  (Don't worry, it is not designed to be a "colon blow" requiring multiple trips to the bathroom... ;)  Exact dates TBD.  It will include an anti-inflammatory diet, specific therapies to promote our own metabolic detoxification processes, and daily self-care.  Support will be given throughout.  This is a great way to “re-set” your body before the holidays and approach them with a toolbox of health-promoting habits.  If you are interested, please reply to this email, or email  I look forward to working together!

For regular updates on pertinent medical news and research, see my Twitter page
To share this newsletter with friends and family, you may forward it from your email, or use this web link.

Michelle Crowder, ND
75 Barclay Circle, Suite 225
Rochester Hills MI 48307

What is Naturopathic Medicine?

In short, Naturopathic Medicine combines the best of conventional and alternative medicine into an individualized, whole-person approach to primary health care. NDs are trained as primary care providers with an emphasis on natural and common sense approaches including clinical nutrition, lifestyle counseling, and botanical medicine.

For more information, see my website, or:

You're What Kind of Doctor?

American Association of Naturopathic Physicians

Michigan Association of Naturopathic Physicians

What to Expect from Your Visit

I work with my clients to identify the root causes of disease, taking into account the various factors that influence health, including lifestyle, genetics, physiology, and mental-emotional state. First visits are 90 minutes and include a thorough health history, followed by discussion of my preliminary assessment and recommendations. I may order conventional or specialty lab work to aid in my understanding of your condition. We work together to devise a plan that will meet your health goals.

Follow-up visits generally last 30-45 minutes and are important so that I can better get to know your unique physiology, track your progress, and refine my recommendations. I can consult with your other health providers and make referrals as necessary.

Web Resources

A couple of cute videos summarize research about the importance of being outdoors in nature, and the myriad health benefits of walking just 30 minutes per day.  Autumn is a great time to explore Michigan's natural areas and urban greenways.

Zen Habits is an extensive collection of articles on topics such as simplicity, health and fitness, lifestyle change, and mindfulness.

More ways to reduce chemical exposures: In addition to their databases on pesticides in produce and cosmetics, Environmental Working Group has a nice guide to choosing safe, non-toxic cleaning products.


Veggies & Breast Cancer

High levels of estrogen contribute to increased risk for breast cancer, ovarian, and endometrial cancer.  Pharmaceuticals such as anastrozole treat breast cancer by inhibiting the enzyme aromatase, which converts steroid hormone precursors into estrogen.  Some foods also have aromatase-inhibiting properties, and have been associated with decreased risk of breast cancer when consumed over a lifetime.  The most powerful aromatase-inhibiting vegetables include mushrooms (especially white button), broccoli, bell peppers, green onions, carrots, celery, and spinach.

Stress Response & Adrenal Fatigue

The adrenal glands sit snugly atop the kidneys and release a collection of hormones and neurotransmitters that, among other things, help our bodies adapt to stress, regulate fluid balance, and produce sex hormones such as estrogen and testosterone.  In the presence of chronic stress, adrenal function can become compromised, leading to a collection of symptoms common in modern society, often referred to as “adrenal fatigue.”

Symptoms of adrenal fatigue include: fatigue, insomnia, brain fog, difficulty losing weight, emotional instability, blood sugar imbalances, allergies, frequent infections, chronic pain, reliance on stimulants such as caffeine, sugar and salt cravings.  I offer specialized adrenal testing to my patients in order to identify the pattern and severity of imbalance, as well as provide a baseline to measure response to treatment. 

Treating the adrenals benefits every organ system, but is especially important for individuals with thyroid disease, immune dysfunction including allergies and autoimmune disease, hormone imbalances, and anxiety/depression.  
  1. The most important therapy for adrenal fatigue is ROUTINE.  Wake, eat meals, and go to bed at the same time everyday.  Sufficient SLEEP is imperative. 
  2. Incorporate a daily form of stress management, mindfulness, or prayer.  This could be as simple as a 20-minute walk in nature, or 10 abdominal breaths at bedtime.
  3. Eat within an hour of waking, and at least once again before noon, including healthy protein each time (e.g., almonds, walnuts, pastured egg, organic yogurt, wild salmon, whole grain such as quinoa).  Eat several small meals throughout the day and a small snack before bed, emphasizing healthy protein, fat, and fiber instead of carbohydrates. 
  4. Increase intake of B vitamins, Vitamin C, and Magnesium by consuming a variety of colorful vegetables and fruits, especially dark leafy greens such as kale, Swiss chard, spinach.
  5. Botanical medicines known as adaptogens can provide powerful adrenal support and are my preferred therapy for adrenal fatigue.  Examples include licorice root, rhodiola (pictured above), Siberian ginseng, ashwagandha, and schisandra.

Happiness, Meaningfulness, Stress, & Health

Research Review

Researchers from Stanford characterized the differences between a happy life (feeling good) and a meaningful life (feeling connected, purposeful). People who described their lives as meaningful reported higher levels of satisfaction than those who felt happy but lacking meaning.  In another study, people who reported happiness in the absence meaningfulness had the same gene expression patterns as people facing chronic adversity – including higher levels of inflammation associated with heart disease and diabetes.  Chasing meaning, therefore, seems to be healthier than avoiding discomfort.  Helping others and expressing gratitude are two simple ways to bring more meaning to your life. 

The idea that stress is bad for our health has become quite accepted in our society.  But it seems that the effects of stress on health may have more to do with how we perceive the stress in our lives.  In a recent TED Talk, psychologist Kelly McGonigal analyzed several studies of stress-related health outcomes.  In short, if study participants saw stress as beneficial, as a way for the body to overcome challenges, the risk of death was reduced, even in the context of high levels of stress.

Furthermore, our bodies seem to have a built-in mechanism for stress resilience: When we connect to others under stress and express caring, the hormone oxytocin is released, which stimulates repair mechanisms, protecting tissues from adverse effects of stress.  It is empowering to think that revising your relationship to stress and striving to connect with others could have profound positive effects on overall health.

Featured Therapy: Mediterranean Diet

The Mediterranean Diet encompasses features of traditional food cultures bordering the Mediterranean Sea.  It is a whole-foods, plant-based diet with a foundation of colorful fruits and vegetables (including wild leafy greens), legumes, and whole grains.  It is rich in healthy fats including olive oil and nuts (I recommend all nuts except peanuts, due to their inflammatory fat profile).  Fish is consumed at least twice weekly, with smaller amounts of red meat and red wine (consumed in a social setting).  Benefits of the Mediterranean Diet include:  
Keep in mind that although the Mediterranean Diet represents a nice foundation for making healthy choices, it may not work for everyone.  In particular, many of my patients have digestive disorders such as IBS, Crohn’s disease, Ulcerative colitis, Celiac disease, and Leaky gut.  I see that the majority of these patients do better on a grain-free diet such as the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, the GAPS Diet, or the Paleo Diet.  As this is one of my areas of special interest, I regularly work with my patients to determine which dietary choices will best address their health concerns.

FYI: Licensing and Regulation of Naturopathic Medicine

Licensed Naturopathic Physicians attend a 4-year post-graduate medical school accredited by the Council on Naturopathic Medical Education and recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. They must pass basic science and clinical licensing exams administered by the North American Board of Naturopathic Examiners. Currently, 16 states license Naturopathic doctors as primary care providers. National and state legislative efforts are organized by the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians.  Because NDs are not currently licensed in Michigan, they function as complementary providers.

For more information about the active legislative efforts to license Naturopathic Medicine in Michigan, visit the Michigan Association of Naturopathic Physicians.


About Michelle Crowder, ND

Michelle Crowder, ND is a licensed Naturopathic Physician with a focus in holistic and preventative primary care.  She works with people of all ages to identify and treat the root causes of disease, empowering her clients with the tools they need to understand and take control of their own health. Areas of special interest include digestive health, hormone imbalance, and immune dysfunction, including thyroid disease.

National College of Natural Medicine, Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine, High honors
University of Vermont, Master of Science in Botany
University of Michigan, Bachelor of Science in Biology, Summa Cum Laude
Copyright © 2013 Michelle Crowder, ND, All rights reserved.
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