Spotlight on Elizabeth Cromie de Vazquez
Elizabeth Cromie de Vazquez is a local alternative medicine practitioner with a solid scientific background. Elizabeth holds a Bachelor of Health Science in Complementary Medicine, from Charles Sturt University in Australia, a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and a Master of Public Health, both from Curtin University in Australia. Before starting her private practice in Montreal, Elizabeth worked in child health research, a field in which she is a published author.
“I have the skills to understand how research works. Sometimes we hear Research show that X, Y and Z…!” and we think that it guarantees that what is being said is true; but sometimes it’s rubbish. There are so many ways of misinterpreting data. You not only have to look at who is providing the money for the study, but also how the study is being set-up. It might be flawed from the get-go. There is always some research bias, and it is nice to be able to take that into account when results are interpreted.”
After her studies, Elizabeth worked in disaster preparedness with the Asian Disaster Preparedness Center, collaborating with teams from the United Nations and the International Federation of the Red Cross. She helped create education courses in the field of zoonotic diseases. Although apt at scientific data, her passion is working with people. She left policy and academics behind, followed love to Montreal, and has been of service to Montrealers ever since.
“My passion is working with people in the community, to help directly with their health. I didn’t want to be in policy or academics forever. I wanted to work face to face with people. I always knew I would go back to my natural medicine roots. I thought that having a child would trigger this return home. But love did. Natural health is an industry that lights my fire. When you’re in research you’re fighting for money, you’re competing with your colleagues, you constantly have to denote yourself. It’s very ego driven. It’s a very political game. In the end I would rather deal with people one on one. I wanted to be in the business of caring for people.”
People naturally confide in Elizabeth. Her approach is absolutely non-judgmental, and her objective is always to help with whatever ills her client. Usually people come to her when traditional medicine has failed to find a solution, or even a name to what ails them. She sees every issue her patients bring to her as a puzzle, and tries to put the pieces together to get a clearer picture. She also insists that the client has to work, that what she offers is a healing partnership.
“I think that’s the big distinction with traditional medicine. I do not have a magic bullet. The client has to be pro-active in their rehabilitation. I am a guide, I provide a space and tools for you to heal yourself.”
One of the most rewarding areas of her practice is providing relief to women who have hormonal imbalances: women who are pre-menopausal, young women who have to stay in bed for two days each month with PMS, menopausal women who have difficulty sleeping, women who are having trouble conceiving and whose fertility can be boosted with a few nutritional adjustments.
“Being bed-ridden with PMS two days a month is debilitating. It can have a terrible effect on a woman’s studies, career and relationships. We should theoretically have a symptom free period. When the body is in balance, you should have no symptoms except bleeding. It’s really not that hard to change. Usually, it’s just a question of eliminating some inflammation producing foods. Another good way of balancing one’s hormones are herbs. Often it’s just taking them for a period of time. Vitex (Chaste tree) is commonly used to balance hormones in women. However, it’s not a one size fits all solution. That’s when it’s helpful to talk to a health practitioner. Chaste tree is good when there is a progesterone imbalance, but when you have low estrogen, you might want to go with Black Cohosh or Dong Quai. Sometimes it’s looking at your body’s elimination systems. For example, the liver which is responsible for processing hormones. Perhaps it needs just a bit of support. Those are what I commonly see.”
She also enjoys working with children and youth with symptoms associated with the Autism Spectrum, ADD/ADHD and learning disorders. Although being active is normal in a child, some children need nutritional support to ease into the demands of school.
“I work with mood imbalance disorders, like anxiety, depression, ADHD. Sometimes it’s neurotransmitters, but sometimes, we have to provide the brain with building blocks. People aren’t always getting what they need in their diet. Usually it’s specific amino-acids and proteins that are lacking. There are very specific supplements that can help with building blocks of brain chemicals.”
When I asked her if she could only give one piece of advice, what would it be. Without hesitation she advises people to get their digestion to work optimally, and that there is nothing that digestion does not affect; it affects the immune system, the ability to eliminate toxins, focus, brain chemistry, reproductive health, hormonal balance and so much more.
“I have never met anyone with perfect digestion, even myself, and I have a lot of tools and knowledge in that area. It’s a constant flux you’re working with. But I can tell you what an optimal digestive system looks like: no symptoms, no gas, no bloating, and you can tolerate all foods. I am a big advocate of eating 90% for your health and 10% for your soul. Having optimal health doesn’t mean that you always eat perfectly, but it means that you can’t always eat everything you want. Sometimes that means you have to go through a period of elimination, you have to eat quite restrictively for a little while. I’m very happy to work with people who want to eat normally. Some people do enjoy eating very green and clean, but other people don’t, and there are ways to get around that. I don’t promote one nutritional lifestyle over another. There are many ways to eat healthy.”
Finally I ask her how she sees the future of health care, and what are the challenges of the next few years.
“I think what will work is individualized healthcare. It is not necessarily the way we work right now. We rely heavily on labels and standardization of treatment. But now, we’re seeing a lot of mystery diseases. I think we got so good at labeling, that there is a lot of stuff that is popping up that is completely outside of these labels. For example there are diseases and issues that are coming up because of climate change and pollution. There are things like Lyme disease, chemical sensitivities, chronic fatigue syndrome. The only way to treat these will be individualized therapy, genetic testing and nutrition.”
Elizabeth offers workshops on optimal health. Her next workshop is on the subject of optimal brain health for children, and is being held at Chabad NDG on Sunday June 7th 2015 at 10am.
Elizabeth is at Fleur Sauvage on Monkland, in the NDG borough of Montreal, twice a week, Thursdays and Fridays.
Her clinic days are Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, with the occasional Saturday. She also offers Skype sessions.
Initial Consultation: 90 minutes, 149$ (in person) or 138$ (Skype). Before your initial consultation Elizabeth will provide you with health forms and a food diary template to complete. When you are done, you can send a scan or a picture of your results, and she will come up with a preliminary protocol, even before you meet. She also can arrange for a whole range of medical testing to be done at a medical testing laboratory.
Phone: +1514 576 9553
Address: 5515 Queen Mary corner Clanranald.