Naturopathic Doctors Share Favorite Foods to Prevent Winter Illness

Avoidance of illness becomes a hot topic during this cold weather season as people try to stay healthy and save up those vacation days for the summer sun! The most effective way to avoid catching one of these ailments is to avoid the virus or bacteria that causes the symptoms! As life would have it, that just isn’t realistic all the time.

In conjunction with good hand-washing practices and hygiene, you can also help prevent winter illness and avoid sick time by making healthy food choices. A healthy diet will benefit your well-being year round, but some specific foods help add that extra boost during the dark winter months. Naturopathic doctors appreciate the concept of food as medicine and have some helpful suggestions to supplement your diet during cold and flu season.

Bring on the Ginger

Joshua Corn, ND, MS
IG: @dr.joshcorn

One of my favorite foods for maintaining wellness during winter is ginger. This warming food has a variety of benefits during the cold winter months. Ginger has anti-inflammatory compounds that can help ease aching joints and muscles. Ginger tea is great for nausea or upset stomach and can be used after a big meal to promote digestion. Ginger also promotes circulation and warms the body, helping all your fingers and toes stay nice and toasty. One of my favorite recipes that include ginger is a coconut, carrot, ginger soup. Adding to the power of ginger, carrots are packed with vitamin A and C to help boost immune function. The coconut milk in this soup has beneficial fats that can help improve our intestinal and immune health. Ginger is easy to incorporate into soups, stews, curries, or teas so you get a daily dose of spicy goodness.

Joshua Corn, ND, MS, is currently completing his third year of residency at NUNM Health Centers and serves as the staff physician at Volunteers of America’s Men’s Residential Center, a drug and alcohol treatment facility. His clinical interests include infectious disease, men’s health, LGBTQ care, and complementary care in treating substance abuse disorders.

Bone Broth Powerhouse

Laura Enfield, ND, LAc
IG: @drlauraenfield

Grandma had it right that chicken soup has healing properties. So what is it about the bone broth, or as grandma would say chicken stock, that makes it so amazing? When made correctly by adding apple cider vinegar to the carcass, and using the feet and necks of chickens, collagen and minerals leach out into the broth such as magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, sulfur, silica. The nutrients are all in a very absorbable form these feed your body what it needs to stay healthy.

In addition, you also receive a healthy dose of collagen, gelatin, and amino acids such as proline, glutamine, and glycine. All of these play a role in boosting the immune system, supporting digestive health and detoxification, and giving us nutrients to stay healthy. Bone broth can be used in so many different ways, it doesn’t just have to be used for soup. I frequently will cook my rice using bone broth, braise veggies in it, drink a cup of it, and yes, add it to soups and stews. The flavor is amazing and it is so good for you! So the next time you are at the farmer’s market, ask your rancher for the feet and necks so you can start your big pot of bone broth, you’ll be glad you did!

Dr. Laura Enfield is a licensed naturopathic doctor and acupuncturist and founder of Spring Tide Natural Health in San Mateo, CA. She specializes in creating individualized natural medical treatment plans for her patients so they can live their best life.

Garlic & Onion – Antimicrobial Superstars

JoAnn Yanez, ND, MPH, CAE
IG: @theaanmc Tw: @aanmc
Executive Director – AANMC

Raw garlic and onion contain antimicrobial compounds and play an important role in keeping a healthy balance of our good bacteria and flora so we can better keep away pathogenic ones when they show up. I add both into as many meals as I can to stay healthy year-round. Bonus, it also keeps the vampires away 🙂

JoAnn Yanez, ND, MPH, CAE is the Executive Director of the Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges and the Chair of the Academic Collaborative for Integrative Health (ACIH). She also serves on the Integrative Health Policy Consortium Education Committee. Weaving a passion for illness prevention into her professional life, Dr. Yanez’s career has spanned advocacy, academia, patient care, and public health.

Favor Fermented Foods 

Michelle Sexton, ND
Assistant Adjunct Professor, Department of Anesthesiology, University of San Diego, CA
Michelle Sexton, ND online.

Naturally fermented foods, preserved using salt and the natural bacteria found on the surface, are an ancient and rich source of beneficial bacteria (probiotics).  What does this have to do with winter illness?  In embryologic development, our respiratory tract and our gastrointestinal tract derive from the same tissue-forming cells. As these differentiate into our airway/lungs and esophagus/stomach/intestines, they maintain commonalities including the immune system lining these tissues and the microbiome that they host. We acquire our intestinal microbes prenatally, living our span in an important symbiotic relationship with them. There are far more bacteria than cells in our body, their weight roughly equaling that of our brain! By adulthood, we should have developed a richness and complexity in our microbiome that reduces our vulnerability to both internal and external challenges to our health. 

In part, the diversity of our diet determines the “critters” living within. Short-term dietary changes can dramatically influence the microbial structure. Eating naturally fermented foods increases the occupancy of the microbiome and adds the “good guys” to our microbiome, the bacteria directing our immune system and brain.  So, by adding naturally fermented foods daily, eating a diversity of pre-biotic foods-(rich food for bacteria), we boost gut, brain, and respiratory health. It is advisable to start slow if you have never eaten these foods. Begin by adding 1 Tablespoon to each meal, and gradually increase to ½ cup.  They are also fairly easy to make at home and can further support the reality of “Food as Medicine”!

Dr. Sexton has focused her research on the endocannabinoid system and the therapeutic potential of plant medicines that tap into and modulate this biochemical system.  Using a systems biology approach to health, Dr. Sexton guides her patients through the naturopathic medicine paradigm. She is currently involved in cannabinoid-based research and clinical teaching in the Pain Department at UCSD.  She has a small clinical practice in Pacific Beach in San Diego, CA.

Eat Those Mushrooms!

Amy Rothenberg, ND
INM Physician Liaison for Communications & Advocacy
AANP Naturopathic Physician of the Year 2017

When I think about what else to cook for my family to foster good health, especially in the winter, I always think about a variety of mushrooms. Many of the edible mushrooms have immune system boosters built right in. Mushrooms offer important minerals, vitamins, and enzymes and are high in antioxidants. Mushrooms help to elevate B & T lymphocytes or white blood cells, important to help us fight infection.

I have gotten good at using mushrooms at breakfast in a veggie or tofu scramble or sliced on a lunchtime salad.  I integrate mushrooms into tomato sauce for vegan sloppy joes or sautée with broccoli for a restaurant-fancy side-dish. Some patients wrinkle their noses at the idea of mushrooms but when I can share their versatility, how easy it is to use them, maybe share a recipe or two and describe the clear health benefits of mushrooms, I know this one small edible edition can help keep patients healthy.

Dr. Amy Rothenberg has enjoyed a naturopathic family practice since 1986. Her work with patients informs and inspires writing for the Huffington Post, Medium, Thrive Global, and more. Her book, The A Cappella Singer Who Lost Her Voice & Other Stories from Natural Medicine shares the impact of naturopathic medicine through patient stories. Dr. Rothenberg served on the AANP Board and as President of the Massachusetts Society of Naturopathic Doctors where she spearheaded the successful effort for licensure in the Bay state. Together with her husband, Paul Herscu ND, MPH she has raised three wonderful children. In her spare time, she can be found in her art studio, spending time with friends and family, hiking rural New England and on the ballroom dance floor!

Root vegetables make a healthy medley

Michelle Simon, PhD, ND
President and CEO of INM
AANP Naturopathic Physician of the Year 2018

I love a good roasted root vegetable medley in the winter.  Chopping up rutabagas, turnips, red and golden beets, purple potatoes, red potatoes, garnet yams, carrots of all colors, kohlrabi, onions, parsnips, you name it and I can put it in the mix.  Toss with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper and top with fresh rosemary for the last half hour of roasting, yum.  And it looks as good as it tastes!

Research on improving the gut microbiome is increasingly showing that eating a variety of vegetables daily is an important dietary strategy to embrace and this easy way of preparing root veggies helps up the daily average!

Dr. Simon brings her passion for working with organizations dedicated to improving the quality and delivery of healthcare. This desire stems from her years of practice as a licensed naturopathic physician. In addition to holding a Naturopathic Doctorate from Bastyr University, she also holds a PhD in Biomedical Engineering from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

She has served on boards for the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP), the Naturopathic Physicians Research Institute (NPRI), and several advisory boards. Dr. Simon served nine years on the Washington State Health Technology Clinical Committee, as Ambassador to the Academy of Integrative Health and Medicine (AIHM) and was recognized as 2018 AANP Physician of the Year. Dr. Simon shares with her husband a passion for adventure travel, preferably by boat or motorcycle. She also enjoys teaching a women’s off-road motorcycling class.

Feature Image: Dose Juice on Unsplash

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Deb Hubers

Debra Hubers is a serial entrepreneur and has started seven businesses; ranging from an advanced genomics to an employer health care purchasing cooperative. Deb has over 35 years of experience in healthcare finance, education, technology, and pharmacogenomics.

Ms. Hubers has dedicated her career to measuring and improving healthcare outcomes. Her expertise is leveraging technology to deliver personalized, preventative medicine. Ms. Hubers co-founded La Vita Compounding Pharmacy in 2007. Collaborating with her business partner, physicians and strategic partners, Deb has grown La Vita to be one of the most respected and sought-after personalized medicine providers on the west coast. She is also Co-Founder of EpigeneticsRx, a leading provider of precise, personalized, prevention which positively impacts genetic expression.

Alex Keller, ND

Dr. Alex Keller, ND, AFMCP is a graduate of the University of Ottawa with an Honours Bachelor in Health Sciences and Psychology. Although originally intending to attend conventional medical school, following a three-month volunteer internship at a rural Kenyan hospital where he observed how doctors used local food to treat patients, he shifted his career goals and pursued a degree in naturopathic medicine at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine in Toronto.

After one year of practicing with the esteemed Dr. Chris Pickrell, ND, RH in a community acupuncture setting, in 2015 he and his wife Dr. Jenn Keller, ND moved to rural Ottawa, Canada where they started an organic farm and retreat center. In the same year, Alex and his athletic therapist sister Jess Keller combined their practices to form Keller Active Health, an integrative physical therapy clinic.

Ever curious and passionate about the education of evidence-based natural medicine, in 2017, Dr. Keller joined a fledgling Ottawa-based health tech startup named Fullscript. He serves as its Medical Director and oversees the development of medical education content for practitioners across North America.

Prior to medicine, Alex worked in the renewable energy sector, where he developed a deep passion for sustainable agriculture and environmental stewardship. This connection between medicine and agriculture now drives Alex to focus much of his energy on bringing awareness to the quality and sourcing standards in the supplement and organic agriculture supply chains.

Today, he splits his professional time practicing as a clinician, working for Fullscript, and expanding the farming operation while chasing his kids with Jenn and occasionally running ultra-marathon trail races. He is also currently completing an Executive MBA through the Quantic School of Business & Technology with a focus on supply chain innovation.

Pamela Snider, ND

Pamela Snider, ND, is Executive and Senior Editor for the Foundations of Naturopathic Medicine Project, producing a first of its kind international textbook of Naturopathic medicine through a series of international retreats and symposia. A nationally recognized integrative health and policy leader, she is active in both national and regional integrative health initiatives. Dr. Snider serves on the Board of Directors, was founding Executive Director and co-founder of the Academic Consortium for Integrative Health (ACIH/ACCAHCa consortium of the councils of schools, accrediting agencies and certifying bodies of the licensed, traditional and emerging integrative health professions, and is currently Vice Chair and co-founder of the Integrative Health Policy Consortium (IHPC).  Dr. Snider served as a founding Board Member of the Academy of Integrative Health & Medicine from 2014-2016. Her public policy work includes completing a two year appointment to the DHHS Center For Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) Medicare Coverage Advisory Committee (MCAC); serving as a Steering Committee Member for  the HRSA funded American College of Preventive Medicine NCCIM Integrative Medicine in Preventive Medicine Residency program, co-directing in USPHS Region X the Building Bridges Between Provider Communities Group, an exploration of interdisciplinary collaboration and common ground between public health and CAM; serving for 22 years on Washington State’s Health Professional Loan Repayment and Scholarship Program Advisory Committee (HPLRSP); providing technical assistance to and developing key language for the enabling legislation for NIH Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCIH/NCCAM); and staffing Joseph Pizzorno ND during his appointment as Commissioner on the White House Commission on CAM Policy.

From 1994-2003, Dr. Snider served as Associate Dean for Public and Professional Affairs and Naturopathic Medicine at Bastyr University, dividing her work between academic and public affairs activities, including chairing the Naturopathic Medicine Program Curriculum Review Committee.  Dr. Snider has been teaching, publishing and lecturing widely on Naturopathic philosophy, theory integrative health, public policy, and other topics for over 30 years. Currently, an Associate Professor at National University of Natural Medicine (NUNM) in Portland, OR, Dr. Snider also continues at Bastyr University in her 22nd year as a faculty member teaching naturopathic medicine history, clinical theory, and global context. Among her Naturopathic medicine professional roles she serves on the Institute for Natural Medicine’s Leadership Council.  In 1989, she co-led the naturopathic profession with Dr. Jared Zeff, in developing a unifying definition of naturopathic medicine and its principles of practice adopted unanimously by the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP) House of Delegates. She was a co-investigator in the 2004 NIH NCCAM research study, the North American Naturopathic Medical Research Agenda and CAM Advisor in NIHCCAM’s Financing Integrative Health Care (University of Washington).  Her areas of experience include healthcare education; naturopathic and interdisciplinary clinical theory, curriculum development; clinical practice; government and legislative affairs, public policy, interdisciplinary collaboration, and community organizing.  Dr. Snider has received the Ontario Naturopathic Physician of the Year Award, the Physician of the Year Award from the AANP, the President’s Outstanding Vision Award and Distinguished Alumnus Award at Bastyr University, AANP’s President’s Award, an honorary Doctorate of Naturopathic Philosophy from the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine (CCNM), the William A Mitchell Vis Award from the AANP and The Gathering – NMSA’s Beacon Award. She received her ND degree in 1982 from Bastyr University of Natural Health Sciences and is a licensed naturopathic physician in the State of Washington. She lives with her husband and children at their homestead in North Bend Washington, in the beautiful mountain to sea landscape and home of The Revival – Restore the Vis, an annual student-led community gathering.

Susan Haeger

Susan Haeger is Founder/Principal of Transformative Health Solutions Inc. She has applied her twenty plus years in executive leadership to help shape and drive adoption of progressive health policy for whole person healthcare. She was a section contributor to the 2021 INM/AANP published professional white paper, Naturopathic Physicians as Whole Health Specialists: The Future is Whole Person Health Care that provides supporting evidence for the profession’s significant and unique contributions to preventive, whole person care and models of integrative clinical practice.

Bruce Barlean

Bruce Barlean is an owner and founder of Barlean’s, a global dietary supplement manufacturer located in the Pacific Northwest in Ferndale, WA. Bruce has been actively involved in the Natural Products industry since 1989 and is passionate about making a difference in the world and positively impacting the lives of others.

Bruce believes that people can make a difference in the world through ordinary purchases. He is committed to improving the quality of life for every person on the planet by making the best products and by using the profits to support outreach programs. Bruce summarizes it simply, “We make good stuff to do good stuff”.

In the late 1980’s Bruce became passionate about how health could be dramatically improved with Flax Oil Supplementation. Bruce along with his entrepreneurial parents saw the potential to improve the lives of many people and in 1989 they began selling Flax Oil under the Barlean’s name. From 1989 – 2000 the business grew an average of 40% year over year. While most companies saw a decline in business in the 2001 recession, Barlean’s continued to grow and soon became America’s #1 selling flaxseed oil and continues to be to the present. The brand has since expanded to include additional oils, green food concentrates and other premium supplements. Bruce continues to drive innovation and over the years his products and company have won countless awards including: Eight consecutive Vity Awards for #1 EFA, Six consecutive Vity Awards for #1 Greens Food Supplement, Natural Choice Award for Best Specialty Supplement, Best Product of the Year, Best New Product, Gold Medal Taster’s Choice Award, Gold Medal American Masters of Taste Award, #1 Health Food Store Brand for Consumer Satisfaction by Consumer Lab, and Manufacturer of the Year.

In 2013 as the company was on the eve of celebrating the 25th year in business Bruce and his parents decided to take their desire to help people to a new level that they call Pathway to a Better Life – which is now seen in the Barlean’s logo. Bruce and his parents had always been generous in their giving and support of charities, but as part of the Pathway to a Better Life they decided to increased partnership with charitable organizations such as: Vitamin Angels, Compassion International, KidsTown International, Autism Hope Alliance, Engedi Refuge, Project 92, and others. And because so many people are unable to meet basic nutritional needs, Bruce created a comprehensive Omega-3 and multivitamin formula that he distributes free-of-charge to local food banks. In addition, Bruce decided the company would supply food banks with organic coconut oil to provide people with a health alternative to standard cooking oils.

Always generous with his time Bruce has served as a youth leader for his local church for several years and continues to mentor youth. He has been on several not for profit boards including; Whatcom County Pregnancy Center (2003-2006), Natural Products Association (dates?), and the Institute for Natural Medicine Leadership Council (presently).

The Barlean family have been avid supporters of Bastyr University since the 1990’s and in 2013 were given Bastyr’s most prestigious honor, the Mission Award, which recognizes their leadership over time in improving the health and well-being of the human community.

Bruce currently resides in Ferndale, WA with his wife Lisa and their two dogs: Heinz & Shadow. When he’s not helping others he can be found fishing (catch & release).

Get Involved!

Michelle Simon, PHD, ND

President & CEO

As president and CEO of INM, Dr. Simon brings her passion for working with organizations dedicated to improving the quality and delivery of healthcare. This desire stems from her years of practice as a licensed naturopathic physician. In addition to holding a Naturopathic Doctorate from Bastyr University she also holds a PhD in Biomedical Engineering from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

She has served on boards for the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP), the Naturopathic Physicians Research Institute (NPRI), and several advisory boards. Dr. Simon served nine years on the Washington State Health Technology Clinical Committee, as Ambassador to the Academy of Integrative Health and Medicine (AIHM) and was recognized as 2018 AANP Physician of the Year. Dr. Simon shares with her husband a passion for adventure travel, preferably by boat or motorcycle. She also enjoys teaching a women’s off-road motorcycling class.