As a Holistic Health Coach, I believe that every single person in the health and wellness space, no matter how different their beliefs may be, is working towards a collective goal: to help others get and stay well. Every health advocate wants to inspire others to make healthy lifestyle changes, or see clients reach their most desired health goals – and we all have different ways of sharing our passions and knowledge to do exactly that. I believe we're all in this together and that the more we work together and share the wellth, the more people we will be able to reach and help, and the better off our world will be!
Because of this, I created a Women in Wellness Interview Series to share the different perspectives of five women that I find inspiring. Each of these women help others live healthy lives in different ways. My hope is that their stories and advice will resonate with you and maybe even spark some healthy lifestyle changes in your own life!
Welcome to the fifth interview of my Women in Wellness Series! I am so, so excited to share this one with you all. I interview my Naturopathic Doctor, Dr. Lisa Lavoie. I’ve been working with Dr. Lisa for just about a year now. I originally sought her help because I was experiencing fatigue, irregular periods, digestive issues and food sensitivities.
This interview is move conversational than the previous ones in the series, and in our conversation I share some of my own personal health struggles. It’s my hope that as you read through my questions and details about my experience and the wealth of information that she shares that you’ll find some answers and inspiration of your own.
Dr. Lisa Lavoie is a Los Angeles-based Naturopathic Medical Doctor at Naturopathic Wellness Center. She completed her medical training at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine in Toronto, Canada and is licensed with the State of California. She is a primary care doctor who specializes in chronic inflammation, depression, and disordered eating and body image. Dr. Lavoie has advanced training in personalized anti-inflammatory nutrition, brain chemistry, energetic medicine, and Heartmath.
Amanda: Tell me about your journey: How did your personal health story lead you to become a Naturopathic Doctor?
Dr. Lisa: My health journey started around the age of 15 with fatigue. Between the ages of 15 to 20, I started to look for answers around fatigue and the extra weight that I wanted to lose. Then in my early 20s, I had gathered the labels chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, depression. I was not getting answers from my medical doctors. They would suggest pills or talk therapy or told me it was ‘all in my head.’
At the age of 12, I had asked my doctor during a checkup about my weight and when he answered I remember thinking, “you don’t even know what you’re talking about! I’m twelve and I know you don’t know what you’re talking about.” I kept not getting answers and not getting better. I knew the answers I was given weren’t right because they wanted to give me drugs, but when I took them they made me worse. And I knew that couldn’t be the answer - it didn’t make sense.
So, I went to look for my own answers and I felt drawn to nutrition. I felt there was a bigger picture to be considered beyond nutrition, and I came across Homeopathy and started to put those two together. Then I came across the fact that there was a thing called a Naturopathic Doctor, that encompassed everything I had found to be important. This path allowed me to use the tools that I was really drawn to. So, it all made sense for me.
Because of my own health, I had a lot of false starts. I had to leave my undergrad twice because of chronic fatigue. It took me 8 years to get my undergrad, which is crazy. I’m from Canada, so I went to the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine in Toronto.
Amanda: For your personal health issues, what finally helped you realize what was going on, and how did you fix it?
Dr. Lisa: There was a lot of pieces and it was a 20-year journey. My hope now is to make that a much shorter journey for people, because I’ve already been there. Naturopathic medicine as it’s taught in the schools focuses a lot on the environment that your body, mind and soul live in. But a lot of it is physical stuff, where we’re looking at the food, but also: Are you missing vitamins? Are you moving? Are you sleeping? - those types of things. I would put one piece in place and would get a little bit better and then kept going deeper.
We’re energetic beings in a physical world. As above, so below; it’s like a trickle-down effect. If we think about the physical body in the trickle-down effect, it’s the end of the line. If you’re just focused on the physical body, changing your food or your sleep or your exercise, it’s a little like trying to micromanage. You have to go to the deeper levels of brain chemistry: How did you get wired? What’s running the autopilots of how you’re making your choices? Understanding that piece as well. Now, I work even more so with energetic medicine. I need to understand where the energy is disrupted in the body. What’s feeding this whole physical illness? Coming at it from the energetic medicine side with acupuncture, homeopathy, or reiki to correct, heal or put more energy in the body where it may have been disrupted. All the pieces are important. I think nutrition gets you so far, then you need another piece of the puzzle to get to the next step and put it all together.
Amanda: What does healthy mean to you?
Dr. Lisa: Healthy means flexibility. When your health journey is taking you to a place that is restricting your lifestyle, that is loss of health.