Hello everyone—I’d like to introduce myself to you. I am a practicing naturopathic physician with a background in clinical and basic science research. My original training was as an organic chemist, specializing in drug design. I now call myself a “recovering” drug chemist. My Master`s degree focused on cancer immunology at Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, New York. In my life, I have worked in clinical and research labs, taught AP science courses in high school, practiced as a naturopathic physician. I also work as a writer and editor of medical and scientific articles. I also have a 2nd degree black belt in Isshinryu karate and am a practicing Reiki master.
Currently, apart from my practice, I am a grant reviewer for the National Institutes of Health and the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NIH/NCCAM). In addition, I have been called upon in litigation matters, specifically on the properties of various herbal medicines and their interactions with commonly used drugs. I am also the Scientific Review Editor and Content Editor for an upcoming foundational textbook in natural medicine—the first one of its kind in over 50 years.
I have published textbooks in botanical medicine, drug-herb interactions, the treatment of alcoholism and addiction, homeopathy and on teaching advanced chemistry and biology to high school students. I am also a writer and editor for academia, writing scientific grants and curricula for Integrative Medicine programs. I also write for industry and the public, writing articles and monographs on various supplements—my goal is always to provide well-researched and well-documented information for both professionals and non-professionals on various herbal medicines, supplements, diets and lifestyle choices.
I also lecture on various topics, including gluten-free diets, diets to treat and prevent chronic disease, the use of bio-identical hormones, mind-body medicine, naturopathic approaches to women’s health and addictions.
I live gluten and lactose-free in Vancouver, Washington and am married to the best darned carpenter in the world! My husband and I share 8 children and 11 grandchildren, a golden retriever named Leto and a cat named WMD. We grow many of our own vegetables in our backyard garden—in the front yard, we grow various medicinal and culinary herbs as well as flowers and trees native to the Pacific NW.
Zora's Gluten Free Journey
I came to live gluten-free in a bit of an unusual way—the story of my life! I was at the naturopathic medical school in Portland, Oregon (NCNM-the National College of Natural Medicine) and everyone was always talking about the issues of gluten sensitivities, the symptoms associated with gluten intolerance, gluten-free diets and so on. Being a born skeptic, I questioned every point and researched everything I could.
Part of my philosophy on being a physician, though, included the idea that if I was going to make some suggestions to people about their lives, I would be much more successful, if I actually knew what I was talking about! When you talk to people about addictions, for example, it is helpful to have struggled with some! I, for one, couldn’t take too seriously the skinny person who looked like they were able to lose weight by just thinking about it when they talked about how simple calorie restriction was! It’s relatively easy for the person who has never had an addiction to food, tobacco or alcohol to “just say no!” It’s also relatively easy for someone to say “Ok, I think you are gluten-intolerant. Start eating gluten-free foods!” and leave it at that.
I decided while in medical school that going gluten-free was a relatively easy thing to do, and if I was going to talk to my patients about it, I should try it myself! I didn’t really believe that I was gluten-sensitive. I decided to give it a shot, though, just to get a better idea of how it could be done. Well, within the first week, my entire GI system was celebrating—I had gotten so used to heartburn, gas, bloating —and the antacid tablets and the digestive enzymes—that it never occurred to me that all that was gluten-related! My symptoms were nearly all GI symptoms, but that was enough to convince me—and I’ve been gluten-free (with a few exceptions….) ever since.
What Zora's Up To Now
I live in the Pacific NW—where most stores carry gluten-free products, so shopping is relatively easy. But, I’d go back to the East Coast to visit my sons—and suddenly, it was not so easy! For example, in a restaurant in Washington, DC, the waitress had no idea what I was asking about—she had to ask three other servers and then finally called the manager, and all he could suggest was having a salad without the croutons! In all fairness, it was a trick question—I was having dinner with a friend who is a researcher in GI physiology and he “dared me” to ask, thinking everyone knew about gluten! And that’s how to get a gluten-free dinner….for free! I won the bet…