Transparency In A Murky Space

When I first started out I had no prescribers, was completing my masters in Clinical Nutrition and Integrative Health, invested a chunk of my savings into building a brand and was essentially a glorified health coach.

I had medical training I couldnโ€™t use, I had years of โ€œexperienceโ€ as far as youtube and google degrees go and a whole lot of passion.

๐˜ ๐˜ธ๐˜ข๐˜ด ๐˜ข ๐˜ฑ๐˜ข๐˜ต๐˜ช๐˜ฆ๐˜ฏ๐˜ต ๐˜ข๐˜ฅ๐˜ท๐˜ฐ๐˜ค๐˜ข๐˜ต๐˜ฆ. ๐˜๐˜ต ๐˜ธ๐˜ข๐˜ด ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ฃ๐˜ฆ๐˜ด๐˜ต ๐˜ ๐˜ค๐˜ฐ๐˜ถ๐˜ญ๐˜ฅ ๐˜ฅ๐˜ฐ ๐˜ข๐˜ต ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ต๐˜ช๐˜ฎ๐˜ฆ.

I knew the medical system and how to navigate it, I had the connections to be able to refer people to who they needed to see.

That was what my early 2000โ€™s looked like. I kept my goals quiet (if you know me that was no easy feat!).ย 

Fast forward to 2006, I met Suzanne Somers at an event. Anyone who has ever heard her speak knows she is big into the bioidentical hormone space. I paid to be a VIP so I could have lunch with her and other speakers. I guess I made a mark cause I was invited to a conference in Toronto that she was the guest speaker of in the months that followed. Itโ€™s where I first met my dear friend, my mentor and the woman who would put me on a path that would change my career.

In 2010 I attended physicians training for bioidenticals. A symposium that changed my world.

I was working as a a private consultant (I wore many hats at that time) and director for a private clinic in 2012 but continued my training in hormones until I was ready to leave and start my own practice. In 2013 I started a joint clinic out of California, one of my degrees was out of that state and I had so many connections there that it just made sense.

In 2014 I stared my nutrition consulting, Integrative Health clinic in Canada.ย  My first office space was shared with a financial planner and a law firm, it was downtown and it felt like the big time! I remember hitting my first goal, I had a $31,000 month, yes I said MONTH. All while completing both FDN and IFM courses – receiving my Functional Medicine certification and Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner certification within months of each other. I added that to the wall of other โ€œglory papersโ€ as I like to call them. I donโ€™t use the titles as they have become so diluted that they mean nothing now. I later moved my practice out of the downtown core to Manotick, I rented space in a medical clinic for a while before going fully virtual. I guess that makes me a pioneer in the Telemedicine space.

In 2017 I travelled to complete an ICP (in clinic preceptorship) under Dr Esther Konigsberg, an Integrative Medicine Physician who is all about optimization and illness prevention. I wanted to prove to myself that I knew exactly how to assess my patients, the lab results, and that my dosing theories (๐™–๐™จ ๐™– ๐™ฃ๐™ค๐™ฃ ๐™ฅ๐™ง๐™š๐™จ๐™˜๐™ง๐™ž๐™—๐™š๐™ง) were not only accurate but also on point. One day was over $3000ย  – I have the pretty little certificate to show for it and a ๐˜Ž๐˜“๐˜–๐˜ž๐˜๐˜•๐˜Ž recommendation. It was the confidence booster I needed to take the next steps with my practice. It was time to expand.

I have been blessed with mentors who have helped me along the way. From business coaches who cost $25,000 a month to hormone certifications and training by the best of the best (๐ญ๐ก๐š๐ญโ€™๐ฌ ๐ง๐จ๐ญ ๐œ๐ก๐ž๐š๐ฉ ๐ˆ ๐ญ๐ž๐ฅ๐ฅ ๐ฒ๐š!). Iโ€™ve been given amazing keynote speaking opportunities and been coached in public speaking by some incredible female experts. I was smart enough to accept help when help was offered.

Iโ€™ve been certifying and training ever since the day I started, all with one goal in mindโ€ฆ

๐‡๐ž๐ฅ๐ฉ๐ข๐ง๐  ๐ฐ๐จ๐ฆ๐ž๐ง, ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐จ๐ง๐ž๐ฌ ๐ญ๐ก๐š๐ญ ๐ฆ๐ž๐๐ข๐œ๐ข๐ง๐ž ๐Ÿ๐จ๐ซ๐ ๐จ๐ญ.

The patient advocate in me will never die. If I canโ€™t help a patient I do my best to find someone who can, or at the very least point them in the right direction. The current state of our Canadian medical system makes that quite the task, luckily my team and I are able to fill many of the gaps – ๐˜๐˜ฐ๐˜ณ๐˜ฎ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ๐˜ฆ๐˜ด ๐˜ต๐˜ฆ๐˜ฏ๐˜ฅ ๐˜ต๐˜ฐ ๐˜ฃ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ณ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฐ๐˜ต ๐˜ง๐˜ฐ๐˜ณ ๐˜ฒ๐˜ถ๐˜ช๐˜ต๐˜ฆ ๐˜ข ๐˜ญ๐˜ช๐˜ด๐˜ต ๐˜ฐ๐˜ง ๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ๐˜ข๐˜ญ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ ๐˜ธ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฆ๐˜ด.

In 2020 I burnt out.

There was a global pandemic, we were told that despite being telemedicine we couldnโ€™t order labs that were deemed โ€œunnecessaryโ€ (so basically any of the comprehensive markers). My prescribers could still prescribe based on previous โ€œstableโ€ labs, but with patients paying out of pocket they wanted to know what there levels were at, and I agreed. So I made the hard decision to shut my practice down. My practice was still available for those who needed (and could still afford) follow up, but for 2 years I was no longer taking new patients.

This broke my spirit, it broke my heart.

I became part of a panel of experts who navigated the unknown in regardโ€™s too the virus. I also became someone whoโ€™s DM was inundated with questions from the social media world. I managed a local chiropractic clinic to get me out of the house (talk about a trip that was!) and I dissolved a corporation only to incorporate a new one.

I took 3 years off to heal, to get my passion back and get my own health journey on track again.

I started a year long fellowship in herbal medicine because I knew most of the supplements out there were garbage and I wanted to up my herbal game. Despite being a formulator and already a clinical herbalist, I knew more could be added. But thatโ€™s a different story.

As someone who specialized (and suffers from) MCAS I was asked to join countless conference calls to figure out what was happening in the post covid space. Hormones were one of the many answers. We still donโ€™t have all the answers, I donโ€™t believe we ever really will. Genetics plays a huge roll, so countless hours have been spend cross referencing data with my collegues over the past few years.

I have always kept an open mind as to what works, what doesnโ€™t work and being smart enough not to shoot down something outrageous if I havenโ€™t tried it myself first (๐ž๐ฑ๐œ๐ž๐ฉ๐ญ ๐ฎ๐ซ๐ข๐ง๐ž ๐ญ๐ก๐ž๐ซ๐š๐ฉ๐ฒโ€ฆ ๐ฌ๐จ๐ซ๐ซ๐ฒ ๐ˆ ๐ก๐š๐ฏ๐ž ๐ญ๐จ ๐๐ซ๐š๐ฐ ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐ฅ๐ข๐ง๐ž ๐ฌ๐จ๐ฆ๐ž๐ฐ๐ก๐ž๐ซ๐ž ๐Ÿ๐จ๐ฅ๐ค๐ฌ)

I reopened my practice and started taking new patients in 2023, my practice built back up faster than I thought possible. The need had grown as the topic of hormones and menopause had become a popular one (and with it came the snake oil salespeeps)

I have multiple prescribers who are a part of my practice so that I can facilitate my patients getting hormone replacement in a safe and effective way. We all have the same training, we all trained under the incredible Neil Rouzier, M.D. – he has over 50 years of research on the medical literature. He is a pioneer.

Mastering the protocols for optimization of bioidentical hormone replacement therapy has taken me years to perfect, well over a decade in-fact.

I have been taught how to utilize scientific literature in review of HRT, how to utilize bHRT for what I like to refer to as preventative medicine. I have delved into case presentations, and case management – some hard hitting cases might I add.ย  I have learned an approach that is designed to help physicians (NPโ€™s and PAโ€™s as well) to successfully and knowledgeably treat our โ€œ๐š๐ ๐ž ๐ฆ๐š๐ง๐š๐ ๐ž๐ฆ๐ž๐ง๐ญโ€ patients with advanced concepts and up-to-date research. What the heck is age management? We are managing the hormones and lifestyle factors that cause us to age, preventing age related health issues and with it improving quality of life. ๐˜ž๐˜ฉ๐˜ฐ ๐˜ธ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ๐˜ต๐˜ด ๐˜ต๐˜ฐ ๐˜จ๐˜ณ๐˜ฐ๐˜ธ ๐˜ฐ๐˜ญ๐˜ฅ ๐˜ช๐˜ฏ ๐˜ฑ๐˜ข๐˜ช๐˜ฏ ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ๐˜ฅ ๐˜ฃ๐˜ฆ๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜จ ๐˜ด๐˜ช๐˜ค๐˜ฌ?

Chronic diseases like obesity, heart disease, cancer, strokes, and dementia continue to rise. Instead of managing disease the goal of myself and my prescribers is to provide evidence based care, to prevent these things from happening in the first place. Especially when it comes to women.

Itโ€™s why my feathers get ruffled when I see patients being misled by those who cannot prescribe. False promises, missing information and misleading verbiage are all over social media and how is the unsuspecting peri/menopausal woman to know ๐™’๐™ƒ๐™Š can do ๐™’๐™ƒ๐˜ผ๐™?

I believe in getting the truth out there no matter who it pisses off, I donโ€™t sugar coat and I donโ€™t back down. Thatโ€™s the New Yorker in me. I will correct misinformation when I see it, I will happily call out someone who is operating outside of their scope. Iโ€™ve never been afraid of being labelled aggressive or whatever delightful term is bestowed upon me (some of them quite colourful might I add). I will gladly take it if it means I have saved even one woman from spending her hard earned money only to not get the protection from properly prescribed hormones or worse yet offered โ€œsymptom managementโ€ with herbs and supplements.

I love herbs! But they arenโ€™t hormones. They wonโ€™t do what hormones will do. They wonโ€™t give you the protection and prevention that hormones will.

This will piss some of you off, and I hope it does! Because that means you are doing something wrong and you know it. I get it, you desperately want to be part of the solution (or perhaps youโ€™re just a money hungry POS). I believe that many of you who are using misleading terminology or claiming titles that you shouldnโ€™t be are truly only trying to be relevant in a large space. Everyone wants to be an expert, but not everyone is. They say it takes around 20,000 hours to become an expert or master of a skill or subject.ย 

I want to be the first person to say that you ๐€๐‘๐„ relevant, ๐ฒ๐จ๐ฎ ๐ก๐š๐ฏ๐ž ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐ฉ๐จ๐ฐ๐ž๐ซ ๐ญ๐จ ๐ก๐ž๐ฅ๐ฉ ๐’๐Ž ๐Œ๐€๐๐˜ ๐–๐Ž๐Œ๐„๐. But you need to do it with honestly and integrity. That means first being honest with yourself. If you are a nutritionist be honest about what your scope of practice is. Have you received additional training in hormones or is it simply a passion and you watch youtube videos and learned to regurgitate what some โ€œguruโ€ has stated (because it resonated). Are you then telling your clients that a supplement is going to help their menopause better than hormone replacement therapy? Or are you teamed up with someone who will work WITH you at getting those clients tested and prescribed what is needed. Are you calling yourself a Functional Medicine Practitioner but you have no medical background? You know FDN-P means you are functional diagnostic nutrition, not medicine right? Are you using the term biohacker but donโ€™t understand the in-depth science or biology? A biohacker is such a BS fad term that now itโ€™s almost a red flag (unless you are one of the OG biohackers – those are the real deal).

Are you a NATUROPATH (trained out of Quebec and not regulated) but not a Naturopathic Dr? You know you are misleading clients when you cannot legally diagnose, cannot order blood tests for analysis nor can you prescribe medications. In truth, you have a scope similar to a nutritionist or wellness coach (your training is around the same length of time). A Naturopathic Dr has 4-7 years of post secondary training, thatโ€™s significantly more than 2-3 years. They are considered a PCP (primary care practitioner) and are trained to diagnose, prevent and treat acute and chronic illness as well as being able to prescribe (limited to schedule 3) some medications (based on province)

I also see many NDโ€™s telling patients that topical (cream) hormones are safer and just as effective as oral micronized versions. This lacks transparency and honesty. That is not evidence based medicine.

An ND can only prescribe schedule 3 drugs – meaning only topical progesterone and estrogen. Itโ€™s why they try to say it is safer. It is safer than synthetic progestins and estrogens, yes. It is NOT safer nor is it as effective as oral, micronized P4 or E2 – in fact the creams donโ€™t offer much other than symptom management and they arenโ€™t even that great at that.

Topicals lack the first pass effect, the much needed assistance of our liver in order to utilize all that cardiovascular protection, bone protection, brain protection and protection from certain cancers. Why are patients not being told this? Because some (not all) NDโ€™s have either decided that since they canโ€™t do what is needed they will mislead patients ORโ€ฆ they really have bought into the BS that whatever course they took has taught them (which doesnโ€™t include evidence based training).

Did you know you cannot prescribe off of a DUTCH test. You are required to run a proper blood panel. So why are we out here charging patients out of pocket for this? Iโ€™ll tell you whyโ€ฆ I see a lot of non medical/non prescribers running this panel because they cannot run a real panel. To be fair it can be a useful tool in certain cases AFTER a proper panel has been run, where it is complex and you need todo a little more digging. Personally I prefer to offer a genetic test to see if there are hormone pathway issues at a genetic level, along with other markers like cholesterol etc. I could offer a Dutch test and take hundreds of dollars from my patients, but I donโ€™t. I run proper diagnostic panels.

Then you have the really good NDโ€™s, they are the ones who realized the importance of hormones and the delivery method utilized. They realized they needed someone to facilitate that need and have brought on a prescriber to their team. Those are the ones I respect. We have a bunch of really good ones out there doing this BTW.

I know these statements piss people off, but it will also give clarity to those out there searching through the weeds to find answers during an already overwhelming period in their lives.

Same goes for my American peers, the chiropractors out there calling themselves a PCP (primary care provider) – you should clarify that means you can diagnose and treat MUSCULOSKELETAL conditions specifically. I see some of you playing way out of your scope and getting rich off of unsuspecting patients. Not cool. To be fair, I am not saying you need to be a licensed medical professional to make you qualified to help. We all know that not everyone is great at what they do – you have good clinicians and crappy ones. A good nutritionist is worth their weight in gold! As is a well versed health coach (not the mlm pushers, I said what I said). Same goes for all others in the wellness space.

Hopefully this provides some transparency for those of you searching for answers. We know the medical system is failing us, but so is the alternative medicine sphere.

Together we can do better.