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Community Highlights: Meet Lisa Pomerantz of Rooted Naturopathy

Today we’d like to introduce you to Lisa Pomerantz.

Lisa, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
I never dreamt of getting into medicine. I dreamt of working with people and with nature, but I didn’t know there was a branch of medicine that embraced this. All I knew was conventional medicine, pharmaceuticals and surgeries, sterile hospitals and five minute appointments with a doctor who barely knew you. I was an Anthropology major in undergraduate school. I wanted to understand people and cultures in all their wonderful uniqueness.

My path to becoming a doctor started back in 2011. I was studying abroad in Costa Rica when I got a call from my parents. They said that my dad had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and that I’d be cutting my stay short. My dad had always been your typical meat and potatoes kind of guy, but my parents began doing a ton of research on curing cancer. By the time I arrived home my dad had completely transformed his lifestyle. He went raw organic vegan, was drinking green juices daily, and regularly exercising. He also stepped away from his high stress job and focused on self-care.

His doctors gave him a prognosis of one year. Instead of getting sicker over that year, he got healthier than he’d been in years. He was diagnosed in October, and by my spring break we were celebrating his health on a family vacation to Disney World.

After I graduated with my B.A. I moved back home to Long Island to be with my parents and figure out my next move. I was having a bit of a quarter life crisis and struggling with quite a bit of anxiety. The anxiety began in high school along with a pretty debilitating depression. Although the depression only lasted 1 year. I made a decision at the start of that year. I decided that anxiety and depression was no way for a person to live. Decisions are everything. We often live in a very indecisive state. Oftentimes we’re stuck between taking a risk or staying in our comfort zone. So we don’t commit, might flounder between choices, not really taking steps forward. Well, depression and anxiety were not comfortable, I knew who I wanted to be, sociable, engaging, loving, and so I committed to that. I got a therapist and talked out all my pain. I was still sad one year later, but no longer clinically depressed. The sadness and anxiety took much longer to heal from. After I graduated from talk therapy, I didn’t know what to do or who could help me, so I did a lot of my healing on my own. I don’t want this for anybody, and that’s why one of my first pieces of advice is to never stop seeking help until you find it. Of course, when I got to naturopathic school I learned of so many incredible modalities and healers who practiced them. A few of these people facilitated the major leaps that led me to where I am today, and I’m forever grateful to them.

Through my own healing I became fascinated with the mind and wanted to learn the why behind everybody’s thought patterns. That’s a major piece of how I work with my patients. Mindset is everything. It determines the possible for a person, and so I train people on changing their mindset to change their results in life.

So, back to my quarter life crisis. I got a job at the local juice bar. It was like a watering hole for all the health minded folks in my town. I learned a ton working there, from both the customers and the two nutritionists employed there. I was watching my dad heal and the nutritionists facilitate this healing for the community, and decided I wanted to do this too. A quick google search and I realized I could do this as a doctor. Well, why not go all the way, I thought. Before I knew it, I had the car loaded to the brim with my possessions and was driving cross country to go to Bastyr University in Washington state. Moving so far from my family was not an easy decision, but leaving New York was everything my soul needed, and I began to blossom.

I graduated with my doctorate five years later, moved to sunny Colorado with my fiancé and our fur babies, and opened Rooted Naturopathy to finally realize my dream of facilitating true healing in people.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
It definitely has not been a smooth road. I doubt anyone attending medical school would say it was for them. Pretty much all of us talked about dropping out at some point! Late nights studying, no time for self-care or relationships, and the insecurities that arise from being so challenged takes a huge toll on a person. There were definitely tears, and even blood on days when phlebotomy lab didn’t go so well!

But when it rains it pours. Midway through school my aunt, my dad’s younger sister, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. My dad poured his heart and soul into her care, driving up to her to help her make green juices and teach her about using food as medicine. But she couldn’t beat the cancer and passed away one year later. My dad was heartbroken. He and his sister had been very close. His cancer returned a month after her passing.

In December of my third year, I was on the phone with my dad talking through some major difficulties in my personal life. He was my rock, and I could always turn to him for advice. His wisdom and reassuring composure leant me strength when I needed it most. I was more grateful than ever to be flying to the east coast to be with my family for the holidays. It was the last holiday I would spend with my dad. His sister’s passing and the return of his cancer weighed too heavily on him. The first time he got cancer his spirits were typically high, and he had an assuredness that he would beat it. This time he was angry at life and at the cards he’d been dealt. I know that it was his heartbreak that both brought the cancer back, and that ultimately took him.

It was a blessing that he held on until my spring break. I was able to be with him at the end. But it’s a terrible thing to see a loved one in so much pain. My dad always had a great sense of humor, and he passed on April Fool’s Day, 2018.

And I went straight back to school. The grieving was put off for the grades. It felt unreal, since I was only seeing my dad every few months when I flew home. It felt like it’d just be a few months until I saw him again. The next two years were loaded with growing pains. But I always stayed true to another decision I’ve made, to know that life’s hardships are there for a reason. The most difficult of circumstances also produces the greatest growth. Now, as I work to build my first business and naturopathic practice, I am constantly learning and growing, dancing that line of pushing myself beyond my comfort zone and staying true to my authentic self.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your business?
As a naturopathic doctor I seek to treat the cause of disease in my patients. I’m able to order labs and imaging, but the real gold is in the patient’s story. Deeply listening to their experiences gives a ton of clues as to why they’re unwell. I see myself as a bit of a detective, doing my investigative work to uncover the root cause of disease.

I also treat the whole person. You really can’t isolate one symptom from another. The body is one complete system, each part intimately interconnected and important to bringing balance back into the body.

My favorite part is educating my patients about their health. The Latin root for “doctor” means “teacher”, and that’s what I am. I love empowering a person to take control of their own health. Really everybody knows their body better than any doctor, they just may need help interpreting the signs their body gives them and the knowledge of what to do about them.

What sets me apart from other naturopaths is my emphasis on the mind and emotions. This isn’t every naturopath’s cup of tea, but I love this work. I find that the emotions are often the cause of disease that gets pushed to the sidelines. When we address the emotions, incredible things happen in the body. Mindset growth is a key piece of this. Mindset opens the door to new possibilities and guides someone to reach their highest potential. I get so much joy from seeing my patient’s blossom. Mindset is also essential to turning the health-promoting recommendations I give into lifelong habits. A new diet or movement practice won’t last long without a positive association closely tied to it.

After mindset is in place, I have many other tools in my toolbox. Nutrition, movement and stress management skills are foundational to my work. Then to further support the body I may bring in nutritional supplements, herbal medicine, homeopathy, and detox support just to name a few.

Is there a quality that you most attribute to your success?
I’ve taken on two roles in my career, one as a doctor and one as a businesswoman. As a doctor, it really all comes down to listening to my patients. So many people have stories of doctors who never listen or didn’t believe them. It breaks my heart. People go to the doctor in times of need, and they should be able to feel respected and heard. Just simply listening can be so therapeutic for so many people, but it’s also the only way to know how to help them. No medical text can give the answer to a real live person’s ailments. Everyone is unique and needs individualized care to meet their needs.

As a businesswoman, it’s all about mindset. Starting a new business has been a major learning curve for me and practicing a mindset of success allows me to continually push forward. I know wholeheartedly that I’ll succeed in my business because I won’t stop until I do. I’m grateful for any obstacles, no matter how big or small, because of the lessons I learn. I keep my mind on my why, helping people change their lives, and remain persistent in achieving it.

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Image Credits
Headshot by Monkifoto

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