Naturopathic medicine, a holistic or whole approach to healing, focuses on natural remedies and the body's ability to cure itself. Naturopathic doctors are licensed as primary care physicians and can perform conventional, natural and minor surgery treatments on patients. Naturopathic practitioners do not rely on invasive treatments but instead rely on diet and lifestyle strategies that promote good health. Naturopathic doctors use diet, exercise and lifestyle tactics to combat disease.
The science of naturopathic medicine was popularized by Dr. Benedict Lust in the 19th century. In general, Dr. Lust integrated the prevention of disease by promoting good eating habits and founded the American School of Naturopathy in 1902.
A naturopathic diet works to prevent illness, increase energy and improve overall health. It relies on food as close to its natural state as possible. This means eating foods that do not contain artificial ingredients and are free of chemical preservatives and additives. Foods typical of a naturopathic diet include raw vegetables that are organic and seasonal and meat from animals that are pesticide, hormone and antibiotic-free.
Naturopathic Principles Applied to Meal Planning
A naturopathic diet follows the six guiding principles of naturopathic medicine: trust that the body can heal itself; identify and treat the cause; treat the person as an integrative whole; use non-harming and non-invasive techniques; focus on overall health, wellness and disease prevention; and use education to allow people to take responsibility for their health. With this in mind, a typical naturopathic meal includes a combination of approximately 50 percent organic vegetables, 25 percent whole grains and 25 percent protein made up of organic dairy products or free-range meats.
Naturopathic medicine is based on the belief that a diet that doesn't include food that is natural or wholesome produces toxins that poison the body. Conditions that are treated and eliminated with a naturopathic diet include digestive issues, food sensitivities and allergies, immune disorders, reproductive imbalances, high cholesterol, insomnia, stress and anxiety.
Use for Weight Loss
A naturopathic approach to dieting begins by examining the cause of obesity. Unlike other weight-loss programs, naturopathic medicine attributes weight problems to the potential for physical imbalances such as liver or kidney disease and thyroid disorders, high stress or emotional unevenness, food toxicity or drink addictions, or to sudden lifestyle changes.