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Women In Wellness: Dr Loreena Ryder Of Naturopathic Physicians Group On The Five Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Help Support People’s Journey Towards Better Wellbeing

An Interview With Candice Georgiadis

Consuming Food and Water — Food is the most intimate relationship that we have in our lives. Since it is such a personal relationship, it is often very difficult to modify or change our food habits. If you are a pet owner or have had a pet, your vet most likely changed their pet’s food when they had allergies. However, humans are resistant to that change themselves, even if we are what we eat. Water is the base of all our chemical reactions, as it makes up 60% of our body. Without adequate water consumption, we just can’t think or function properly.

As a part of my series about the women in wellness, I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Loreena Ryder.

Dr. Loreena Ryder is a naturopathic physician at Naturopathic Physicians Group in Scottsdale, Arizona. Dr. Ryder’s work includes a focus on female health and pain management, in addition to serving as a primary care provider. She is passionate about improving the quality of life of her patients by providing support for their mental, emotional, and physical wellbeing.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Our readers would love to “get to know you” better. Can you share your “backstory” with us?

I am originally from rural Pennsylvania, where my six siblings and I grew up using traditional folk medicine. I did not have much experience in the medical world, as we rarely went to a medical doctor. My family and I lived a healthy folk lifestyle, where we grew our own garden, hunted our food, and went to a local butcher for foods we could not hunt. It wasn’t until I was an adult and had my own children, that I had my first glimpse into the traditional medical field. When my first child had developed allergies and asthma, doctors had recommended traditional medicine for treatment including an emergency inhaler and steroid breathing treatments. They did not address any factors that may have caused or were contributing to her asthma to begin with. After I changed her diet and home environment factors, she got better in just a few days. At this time, I was working as a massage therapist which opened my eyes to holistic medicine. I used that income to work my way through Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania, to study business and professional studies. I then went into medical school at the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine and became a licensed naturopathic physician at Naturopathic Physicians Group.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career? What were the main lessons or takeaways from that story?

One of the most interesting things that happened during the start of my career was when I was a student physician that worked at several clinics and locations across Arizona. I had one patient come in for the exact same thing at two different clinics. She did not realize that I was the same student who saw her in the previous clinic. Her condition was rather severe and potentially life-threatening. She was resisting my recommendation to visit the hospital. That experience taught me that I must always keep my patient’s safety in mind. I realized, at that time, that my medical training has prepared me to recognize a risk and I should strongly encourage a patient to seek emergency medical attention when warranted. It built confidence in me that I am the medical expert. I should thoroughly explain the condition and risks that a patient is facing if neglecting to obtain emergency medical care. Especially if it is a matter of saving one’s life.

Can you share a story about the biggest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

There was one time when I was drawing a patient’s blood and my hand got caught with the needle, causing it to pull the needle out before I was ready with the cotton. Although it may have been a better situation for the patient to quickly pull it out, it was a very embarrassing mistake. Now I am more careful and cautious about where my hands are and where my equipment is. I learned to always take my time in every situation.

Let’s jump to our main focus. When it comes to health and wellness, how is the work you are doing helping to make a bigger impact in the world?

Within my work, I hope that I can help influence at least one patient at a time to incorporate a healthy lifestyle. The goal is then for that patient to go home to their families and explain the health changes they have been making to their lifestyle and the healthier habits they have developed when they had allergies, skin, or food related issues. I hope that will then help my influence of healthy lifestyles grow and multiply, and possibly start change on a bigger level.

Can you share your top five “lifestyle tweaks” that you believe will help support people’s journey towards better wellbeing? Please give an example or story for each.

  1. Consuming Food and Water — Food is the most intimate relationship that we have in our lives. Since it is such a personal relationship, it is often very difficult to modify or change our food habits. If you are a pet owner or have had a pet, your vet most likely changed their pet’s food when they had allergies. However, humans are resistant to that change themselves, even if we are what we eat. Water is the base of all our chemical reactions, as it makes up 60% of our body. Without adequate water consumption, we just can’t think or function properly.
  2. Bowel Movements — Bowel movements are how our body removes toxins. If we can’t remove toxins, we will start to feel sluggish, gain weight, and lack energy. Frequency is also important, as you should release your bowels that same number of times you eat in a day. A healthy excreta will typically smell like grass or hay and should be smooth or snake like.
  3. Movement or Exercise — This is crucial to living a healthy lifestyle, especially since many of us sit at a desk for work. Daily exercise provides several benefits including increasing your brain function by at least 20%, detoxifying your body, helping with bowel movement, and improving your sleep. Walking is good but you should be breaking a sweat. Taking a stroll is not necessarily active enough unless you are just starting out. Weight resistance training will help you build healthy bones and muscles, which will help improve your hormone regulation. The more muscle mass you have the better, as your overall hormones will be working stronger as well.
  4. Stress Management — Stress is the kryptonite of our bodies, as it taxes every one of our bodies systems and functions. Stress can affect everyone differently. Some people can handle more stress than others. Even if you do everything right and are extremely healthy, you may still experience stress that would put you in an unhealthy category. Stress may be a result of what is going on in your life, such as a stressful job or relationship, which means it may be time for a change. Self-care should always be a main priority for yourself, as no one else will care about your self-care more than you will.
  5. Sleep — This is one of the most important lifestyle tweaks. Getting a good night’s sleep every night is critical, as sleep help restores, rejuvenates, and detoxifies your body. However, you can’t bank your sleep minutes. There is no such thing as rollover sleep minutes. Taking a nap or sleeping in during the weekends can help but should not be considered a regular sleep routine for catching up. Sleep is great for maintaining strong GI health and weight management, but I don’t recommend sleeping on a full stomach. Your body needs a certain number of hours away from food to go through a cleansing process. You should eat a few hours before you go to bed. In terms of how much sleep you should get each night, it all depends on how you feel. A nice goal is seven to nine hours, depending on the individual. If you wake refreshed, then you have had adequate sleep.

If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of wellness to the most amount of people, what would that be?

The movement that I would start is educating people on over-eating and how much is considered too much. The number one cause of death in America is heart disease, as most Americans don’t realize they are overeating. Reducing your food intake can help control your blood sugar and weight. I recommend eating until you feel about 80% full during any major meal and then stop. Since it takes about 20 minutes for your body to realize that you are full, most will continue eating until they feel 110% full. Even before you start chewing, your body has already begun the digestion process. Your senses start preparing your body for a meal when you salivate from the aroma of the foods as you prepare it. When you grab food on the go, your body doesn’t have that sensory stimulation to begin preparing for digestion. To provide adequate digestion, you should chew your food so that your stomach doesn’t have to do all the work.

What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?

  1. The amount of off-the-clock work that is involved with being a doctor. From writing charts or notes, to answering voicemails, and writing prescriptions, there is a lot of work to be done beyond seeing your patients.
  2. You never stop learning. While I will never take another test again, I am constantly learning and continuing to develop my knowledge as a doctor from patients, other doctors, and even people on the street. You may learn something new from having a conversation with a stranger in a grocery store.
  3. The level of dedication it takes to become a doctor. There is a lot of money, time, and effort that goes into it. I do not think that I could have had a proper understanding until I went through medical school and experienced it myself.
  4. Understanding the balance between being a doctor and a caregiver. There must be a good balance between being responsible for someone’s health and knowing that you can’t fully take on everyone’s health problems. It can be emotionally daunting to try to take on the health of your patients from a personal standpoint.
  5. I can’t help everyone in the way I want to. There are obstacles for people that I can’t fix and need to refer people to other specialists, such as life circumstances and limited resources like money or geographical locations.

Sustainability, veganism, mental health and environmental changes are big topics at the moment. Which one of these causes is dearest to you, and why?

Mental health is an important cause that at least 70% of my clinical patients have struggled with at one point in their life. Mental health is defined as anxiety, depression, eating disorders, and personality or bipolar disorders. The amount of stress a person feels whenever mental health is weighing on them could have a negative impact on their life. Relationships may be affected, and some might even need to take some time off work. Treatment for mental health illnesses has been recognized more now than it has been in the past and there are even more ways to treat it. It is good to do a thorough intake on every patient to see the whole picture of the patient’s issue. It may be a matter of hormones or brain neurotransmitters needing to be balanced. It could also be a result of current or past emotional stress that needs to be identified and released. Once these treatments have been completed, the quality of life of the patient will significantly improve.

What is the best way our readers can follow you online?

Readers can visit us at our website at https://naturopathicgroup.com/ or on our Facebook page.

They can also contact us at 480–451–6161.

Thank you for these fantastic insights!

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Candice Georgiadis

Candice Georgiadis

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Candice Georgiadis is an active mother of three as well as a designer, founder, social media expert, and philanthropist.