We sat down with Dr. Lori Beth Stargrove, ND. for some insight into holistic living, health, and general wellbeing.
Tell me a little about your background.
I’m a Naturopathic physician and I’ve been practicing for 27 years in the state of Oregon. In Oregon, Naturopathic doctors are licensed primary care physicians. In addition to being a physician, I am the clinic director of A Wellspring of Natural Health, I served on the Oregon Board of Naturopathic Medicine and I frequently teach at student and professional holistic medical conferences.
What does it mean to be a Naturopathic physician?
At the center of Naturopathic medicine is the core principle of vis medicatrix naturae – the healing power of nature – that informs for processes of healing between doctor and patient. What this means is that we utilize the principles of nature to discover the root cause of illness. We recognize that health is about the absence of disease, so we work to educate our patients on holistic ways of living.
What would you consider holistic ways of livings?
For me, a holistic way of living is both living in respect of self, others, and the world around you. This means that I utilize nature and natural substances to enrich my life while also doing the least amount of harm possible to the world. It’s become clear to me through the years that humans and the earth are in-sync, therefore, what is good for me should also be good for the planet and visa versa.
Drinking water, eating well: these are all things that everyone can agree on are essential for health and wellbeing, however, diversity flourishes in nature and because of this, we’ve begun to see that needs are personalized to individuals.
Going off of the idea of good for you, how does your career impact your lifestyle?
I hold high the value that we need to walk our talk and, because of that, I always check-in with myself to confirm that I am practicing the guidance I give: eating nourishing food, drinking plenty of water, getting restful sleep, and doing exercise that is suited for me.
What do you consider a nourishing diet?
There are general principles: plenty of water – at least 8 glasses a day. A diversity of fruits and vegetables; organic and local are always preferable. Red, yellow, green, and orange vegetables typically have more nutrition than pastel or white vegetables. Organic protein and high-quality fat – which is a
complicated subject – are also very important. A good place to start is to eliminate hydrogenated fats.
If you’re looking at the ingredients on a packaged product and the type of oil is not designated to one variety, the company is most likely using oil based on cost rather than quality. Similarly, when choosing a vitamin, which can be a confusing process to begin with, always look at the “other ingredients” and see if any dyes or flavors are listed. If so, avoid products with these ingredients.
While a healthy diet is important, what else do you recommend to your patients to sustain a balanced lifestyle?
Well, first thing is having a personal practice. Prayer, meditation, yoga, or something that helps keep you balanced, are great options. Taking a break from your daily routine and spending time outside is important as well. This can mean anything from going for a walk after work or doing your exercise routine outside.
What do you tell your patients about proper forms of exercise?
Everyone’s body is different, so it’s important to find the best exercise for your unique body type. For instance, I tried to take on running, but after pushing myself to go on runs, I realized that my body is not built for running, so I looked to other forms of exercises more suitable for my constitution. Just because one individual is easily able to run 10 miles does not mean all are able to or need to. Instead, I frequently go on walks, practice Qigong, and garden. Ask anyone who gardens and they’ll tell you that it’s not as easy as it looks.
It seems you recognize that everyone is unique, however, are there any tips that are applicable to everyone?
There are definitely things that everyone should abide by. One general rule to remember is to avoid white foods as part of your daily diet. This includes white rice, pasta, potatoes, etc. as they contribute to blood sugar and weight problems. This doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a piece of cake on your birthday or have a plate of pasta when you’re visiting an Italian restaurant, but don’t do that on a daily basis.
As I mentioned before, drinking plenty of water is important. Not only will it nourish your body, but it will also positively impact the appearance of your skin. Plenty of water and high-quality fat will go a long way for your body.
Just remember, getting healthy is a process and takes time. There may be small changes that can be made overnight, but people need to be patient with themselves and support the ongoing process. If you support your body, your body will support you.