Why did I become a Naturopathic Doctor?

I had a dream to be a doctor for my whole life, but always imagined I’d be a surgeon because of my fascination with the human body. Everything changed in university though! Throughout university, I worked as a Unit Coordinating Assistant in the Emergency Department, which meant interacting with everyone in the hospital system, including patients, nurses, emergency room doctors and specialists, and first responders. I thrived in this setting and absolutely loved being in the eye of the healthcare storm. I loved the diagnostic and puzzle-solving side of medicine, but there were a few things I began to question. I did not love seeing patients coming back to the hospital again and again for symptoms that were not well

understood or treated. I did not love the rushed sensation I got when I saw my own family doctor, or that I knew was a system wide issue in hospital settings. What started as a seed of doubt grew ferociously when I accumulated other life experiences after graduating university, like my travels to Europe (which helped me see the value of healthy nutrition and a less rushed way of life) and my undergraduate thesis (which linked the impact of environmental chemicals on hormones and behaviour).

The final nail in the coffin of my medical school dreams came when my mom began seeing a naturopathic doctor for her knee arthritis. Because I was a huge skeptic, I decided to accompany her to a visit, and

I was caught off guard by the science, the systematic approach, and the effectiveness of the suggested treatments. I realized that Naturopathic medicine would allow me to use my scientifically trained curious mind, spend the time I wanted with patients to truly understand how their individual body worked, order necessary lab testing, and put together a treatment plan that was thorough, thoughtful, and evidence-informed. Once I saw this, I could not un-see it, and it hit me like a ton of bricks. Despite having written the MCAT and being in the process of completing medical school applications, I closed the chapter to medical school and turned the page to naturopathic medicine instead. (And the rest is history!)

Dr. Elaine Lewis ND

What is my education & training?

I graduated from McMaster University with an Honours Bachelor of Science in Behavioural Neuroscience. I then completed my 4-year post-graduate training at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine (CCNM). I went on to graduate from a 2-year research residency at CCNM, where I focused on further developing my skills and experience in naturopathic medicine. After my formal education in naturopathic medicine, I have completed further training and am licensed to provide Intravenous (IV) Nutrient Therapy and vitamin injections, and to prescribe certain medications including thyroid and bioidentical hormones.

 

I am a member of the Ontario Association of Naturopathic Doctors (OAND) and the Canadian Association of Naturopathic Doctors (CAND), and am registered in good standing with the College of Naturopaths of Ontario (CONO).

What are my areas of clinical focus?

I am most passionate about helping improve:

  • Women’s health (including menstrual cycle and menopausal concerns)

  • Digestive health (including IBS, inflammatory bowel disease, and functional concerns like bloating, gas, constipation, and heartburn

  • Fatigue

  • Mood and cognitive function (including anxiety, depression, focus, concentration, & productivity concerns)

  • Hormonal systems (including thyroid, adrenal, insulin/glucose, and sex hormone irregularities)

  • Fertility (in both men and women)

What do I love most about being a Naturopathic Doctor?

I love being entrusted with my patients’ stories, their life goals, and their innermost fears. It honours me to help people see their own potential, as it starts with their health and bodies, and grows to their sense of self and inner confidence. When patients walk into my office, they often cannot see the light at the end of their health tunnel, and what I love is being able to hold a metaphorical flashlight for them and provide them the education and empowerment to create the health and body they desire.

What are the techniques I use most?

  • Diagnostic testing: both conventional lab testing and specialized functional testing

  • Intravenous (IV) Vitamin Therapy

  • Vitamin Injections

  • Bioidentical hormone therapy (thyroid & sex hormones)

  • Nutritional supplementation

  • Traditional Chinese Medicine Acupuncture

  • Cosmetic Acupuncture

  • Dietary and Lifestyle Counselling

What attracted me to team-based health?

respective fields and had mutual respect for one another’s roles in healthcare. Later, when Dr. Yaad and I were simultaneously studying in our respective professions (chiropractic and naturopathic), we’d often dream and plan for a time when we’d be able to create a clinic that was truly collaborative and team-based. We both quickly realized that this approach was far from the norm in private practice, but we understood from our own experiences how valuable the model could be for both patients and practitioners alike. 

 

When the timing was finally right, we partnered with a local pharmacy and founded the Centre for Collaborative Health, Oakville’s first and only collaborative clinic. We were proud to help the clinic’s startup in our role as clinic directors and we began to see firsthand how well the model worked in a private setting. We then set our sights on our true goal, owning and running our own clinic from the ground up, and setting our original vision to light with full control of the operations and management. And so was born One Elephant.

If I’m not at work, where can you find me?

I’m probably spending quality time with my loved ones, at the gym, watching the Toronto Raptors, or listening to audiobooks. I love exploring new cities, countries, or pockets of town that I’ve never been to, and I’m always looking for recommendations, so feel free to share your top spots. My guilty pleasures are coffee, chocolate, and red wine (yes, I really am a naturopathic doctor). I can get absolutely lost in inspiring stories both on the small and big screen, and I’ve been caught shedding tears during commercials, home reno shows, Oprah reruns, the Bachelor, and basketball interviews, none of which I can rationally explain, but all of which I’m unashamed of!

My exposure to collaborative health began in university when I worked in the Emergency Department at Credit Valley Hospital. I noticed the patient benefits when they were cared for in a team environment made up of practitioners and administrators who were experienced in their