Tag: naturopathic doctor

September 4, 2023
asparagus representing holistic nutrition and food as medicine with the words overlay that read: Nourishment for mind and body.

Nourishing Your Mind and Body

In an ideal world, our food would serve as medicine, negating the need for excessive medications and supplements. Sadly, the reality is that the United States grapples with one of the poorest diets globally, often referred to as the Standard American Diet (SAD diet). This diet is rife with refined sugars, additives, and simple carbohydrates. We find that the relationship with the brain and gut is cyclical and often self-perpetuating – your gut affects your brain health and your brain health affects your gut. But what if we could alter this narrative? What if we could encourage a healthy gut-brain connection through the power of food and stress management?

The foundation of a vibrant gut-brain connection lies in the foods we choose to consume. A diet that embraces diversity is paramount, incorporating an array of fruits, vegetables, and high-quality proteins like lean meats. Rotating our dietary choices with the seasons not only benefits our health but also establishes a strong link between the gut and brain. The inclusion of anti-inflammatory foods and healthy fats, such as leafy greens, wild salmon, dark berries, walnuts, and almonds, can not only keep us satiated but also optimize our cognitive function.

It can be hard to discern if our mental well-being is influenced by the foods we eat. The interplay between mental health and dietary choices isn’t always straightforward. During times of stress, our penchant for quick and comforting foods tends to skew towards the less healthy spectrum. The effects often manifest in weight gain, blood sugar fluctuations, and eventually, anxiety and depression. Identifying this connection requires keen self-awareness, and sometimes professional help, allowing us to break free from the cycle of poor food choices that perpetuate mental distress.

The intricate relationship between stress and the gut is undeniable. Stress triggers a physiological “fight or flight” response, releasing cortisol and influencing blood flow, digestion, and gut movement. Prolonged stress contributes to digestive problems, from bloating to irregular bowel movements. Surprisingly, our gut holds a network of nerves akin to a “second brain.” This intricate enteric nervous system communicates bidirectionally with our primary brain. The disruption of this connection under stress can lead to those proverbial “gut feelings.”

Unraveling the gut-brain connection unveils its role in mental health. Chronic stress alters gut microbiota, the microorganisms populating our digestive tracts. This disruption affects neurotransmitter production, ultimately influencing our mood and mental well-being. It’s a stark reminder that stress isn’t confined to emotional turmoil but also molds us physically.

Managing stress and supporting gut health require a multifaceted approach. Therapists offer invaluable tools like mindfulness, deep breathing, and progressive muscle relaxation. These techniques can soothe the nervous system, mitigating stress’s adverse effects on the gut-brain connection. Collaboration with healthcare professionals, including naturopathic doctors, is pivotal when specialized advice is warranted.

Therapists hold the key to harmonizing stress-related gut issues. Through therapy, individuals can untangle emotional triggers contributing to stress’s physical toll. By addressing the root causes, emotional distress and physical symptoms find solace. Therapists serve as guides in developing coping mechanisms, fostering collaboration with other healthcare providers to ensure holistic well-being.

The notion of food as medicine carries profound weight when it comes to nurturing a robust gut-brain connection. We hold the reins to transform our dietary choices, aligning our well-being with the harmony our bodies deserve. Through mindful selections and therapeutic support, we pave a path towards vibrant mental and gut health – a journey well worth embarking upon.

Want to know more about integrative ways to find wholeness? We offer a variety of mental health tools to assist you – including nutritional suggestions. If you live in the Northern Colorado/ Ft. Collins area and would like to learn more about the innovative programs at Wholeness Center, please call 970-221-1106 or email info@wholeness.com.

July 10, 2023
vibrant sunflower with the text "Natural Protection from Sun Damage" illustrating the concept of using natural methods to safeguard your skin from the harmful effects of the sun from Colorado naturopathic wellness clinic in Fort Collins

Natural Protection from the Sun

Coloradans spend a great deal of time outdoors year-round and need to be hyper-vigilant about protecting their skin from the damaging effects of sun exposure. Colorado is one of the top ten sunniest states in the United States.

During the summer months, sunscreen becomes a hot topic, so it’s worth considering what you are choosing to put on your skin. Dr. Nicole Lewis, ND,  recommends reading labels to protect skin from toxic chemicals. According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), some sunscreen ingredients raise concerns due to their potential health and environmental effects.

Here are a few commonly mentioned ingredients to avoid:

  • Oxybenzone (Benzophenone-3): Oxybenzone is a widely used chemical sunscreen ingredient that absorbs UV rays. Concerns have been raised about its potential endocrine-disrupting properties, as it can mimic estrogen in the body. It has also been detected in water sources, raising environmental concerns.
  • Octinoxate (Octyl Methoxycinnamate): Octinoxate is another popular UV-absorbing ingredient. However, it has been found to disrupt hormone function in animal studies and has been detected in waterways and marine life.
  • Retinyl Palmitate (Vitamin A Palmitate): Retinyl palmitate is a form of vitamin A that is sometimes added to sunscreens for its antioxidant properties. However, studies have suggested that when exposed to sunlight, it can potentially generate free radicals and cause damage to the skin, raising concerns about its safety.
  • Homosalate: Homosalate is a chemical UV filter that helps sunscreen absorb UV rays. It is known to be a weak endocrine disruptor and has been detected in human breast milk, suggesting potential exposure risks.

There are safer, more natural options for sun protection. Explore using sunscreens with mineral-based ingredients, such as zinc oxide, which create a physical barrier to block UV rays. These ingredients are considered safer and are less likely to penetrate the skin or cause hormone disruption.

In addition to sunscreen, there are other sun protection measures to consider. It is possible to protect your skin by making nutritional changes to your diet. Here, Dr. Mary Rondeau ND gives a few nutritional tips to keep your family safe from the sun’s damage, naturally:

  1. Consume foods rich in Vitamin C: Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that helps protect the skin from sun damage. Where to find it: Foods like citrus fruits (oranges, lemons, grapefruits), strawberries, kiwi, and bell peppers are excellent sources of vitamin C. How to use it: Try bell peppers for hummus instead of chips or add strawberries to yogurt and granola. SOURCE
  2. Include foods high in Vitamin E: Vitamin E is another antioxidant that can help protect the skin from UV damage. Where to find it: A good sources of vitamin E include nuts and seeds (such as almonds, sunflower seeds), spinach, and avocado. How to use it: Almond butter, banana, cocoa powder, date, and nut milk smoothies- YUM! SOURCE
  3. Incorporate foods with beta-carotene: Beta-carotene is a precursor to vitamin A and acts as a natural sunscreen. Where to find it: Foods rich in beta-carotene include carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach, kale, and apricots. How to use it: Carrot juice can be a refreshing summer beverage! SOURCE
  4. Consume foods with lycopene: Lycopene is an antioxidant that can help protect the skin from sunburn. Where to find it: Tomatoes, watermelon, pink grapefruit, and guava are all good sources of lycopene. How to use it: Summer would not be summer without sticky fingers and faces from so much fresh watermelon!  If you have too much watermelon, add the cut-up chunks to a blender with a few leaves of mint for a refreshing summer drink. SOURCE
  5. Increase intake of green tea: Green tea contains catechins, which are powerful antioxidants that can help protect the skin from UV damage. Where to find it: Loose-leaf or bagged green tea. How to use it: Drinking green tea regularly can provide some photoprotection for the skin. Summer sun tea is one of my favorites.  Add 2 organic green tea bags to water in a glass quart jar, and put it outside in the sun for the day.  You can drink green tea warmed from the sun, or put it in the fridge for a cool down.  Try a flavor combination by adding a peach tea bag to the mix, for example. SOURCE

While antioxidants can offer some level of protection against UV exposure, it’s still important to use a natural sunscreen, wear protective clothing, and limit sun exposure during peak hours for optimal skin health and sun protection.

Want to know more about integrative ways to find wholeness? We offer a variety of mental health tools to assist you – including nutritional suggestions. If you live in the Northern Colorado/ Ft. Collins area and would like to learn more about the innovative programs at Wholeness Center, please call 970-221-1106 or email info@wholeness.com.

July 7, 2020
Natural Integrative Mental Health, Wholeness Center, Doctor Mary Rondeau

Have you heard the expression,

“You can’t have your cake and eat it too?” 

“That couldn’t be further than the truth,” says Dr. Mary Rondeau,

a Naturopathic Doctor at the Wholeness Center.

Specializing in the practice of integrative mental health, Dr. Mary uses a blend of conventional and natural medicines to address issues like stress, anxiety and bi-polar disorder, especially for those who are looking for treatments other than medications.

What does that look like?
When it comes to an integrative medicine, Dr. Mary Rondeau helps both adults and children. She focuses on the core needs – nutrition, sleep, exercise and optimizing health, using an integrative approach inclusive of:

  1. Nutritional protocols
  2. Natural supplements
  3. Herbal supplements

This holistic perspective, combined with someone’s lifestyle and daily habits, can be quite successful in treating both physical and mental health issues. 


Dr. Mary is passionate about nourishing both mind and body. 

Here, she sits down to tell us a bit about her motivation as a practitioner of natural medicine: 

Why did you go into medicine?

Dr. Mary Rondeau: I have always been interested in medicine and found I was pulled towards treating the whole person from all angles – that’s how I landed with naturopathic medicine.

I love plants and herbs and many medications are derived from natural plants, this fascinates me and I wanted to learn more.

What is it about food that makes you so passionate?

Dr. Mary Rondeau: Food holds an important piece in most people’s lives.

Food is:

  • A link to our family history
  • A way to connect to others
  • An expression of love
  • A way to feed our minds and bodies

How has travel impacted your approach to nutrition? 

Dr. Mary Rondeau: One of my favorite parts about travel is learning local food customs and learning to cook the cuisine.

One place I’ve traveled many times is to India.

There they practice, and I have studied, Ayurvedic medicine – particularly how food plays a large part in healing the body.

Western nutritional philosophy focuses on nutrients in food like: protein, carbs, fats, vitamins and minerals. Eastern nutritional philosophy focuses on the energy of food and how it interacts with the energy of our bodies.

I am an expert at combining the different philosophies in a digestible way for people – a beautiful blend! 


Want to learn more?

Dr. Mary Rondeau is a registered naturopathic doctor, functional medicine specialist and registered herbalist.  She specializes in functional medicine/naturopathic assessment for mental health disorders. Her eclectic training in traditional medicines took her around the world to study with Ayurvedic masters in India and Nepal and across the United States studying at large medicinal herbal farms for weeks at a time in the Appalachian mountains, her naturopathic doctorate degree in Tempe, AZ and her residency in Salt Lake City, UT.  She has happily returned to her hometown of Fort Collins to practice.

Please contact the Wholeness Center if you have questions about integrative medicine, and/ or mental health alternatives. If you live in the Northern Colorado/ Ft. Collins area and would like to learn more about the innovative programs the Wholeness Center has to offer, please call 970-221-1106 or email info@wholeness.com.