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ABOUT NUTRIGENOMICS and how I use it as part of my treatments...

The body is a strange and wonderful machine with intricate relationships that must be maintained in a fairly strict balance.  Methylation is a very, very important part of the picture and without proper methylation (and detoxification) many issues arise.  Focus, mood, detoxification, digestion, immune function, energy- all of these and more can be affected.  This biological process is occuring right now in your body's cells about a billion times.  How can anything that happens that often not be important?  By looking at your unique genetic profile and obtaining a thorough history we can get a much clearer picture of why your health  concerns are there, whether it's infertility, miscarriages, anxiety or depression, or concerns with young children, like behavior problems and those on the spectrum.   Nutrigenomics uses this personalized template to figure out what diet and nutrients your body specifically needs, how to implement these changes to support long-term goals, and how to maintain these results for years to come.  It isn't enough to just treat one system, since that can cause a cascade of reactions in other areas.  Nutrigenomics (and epigenetics) to me, is a way to address ALL systems of the body from the ground up.  If your methylation pathways aren't working well then they need to be addressed, of course...but how?  By looking at the big picture of diet, gut function, lifestyle, stress, and history!   ALL of these play a part in your health- you are a combination of your genes and your choices.  This field uses genetic testing as a foundation, but it can't be looked at alone.  The goal is to get patients to a point where they have optimal quality of life with minimal work and restrictions.  Each person is a puzzle to be solved and those moments when it all comes together are amazing.  So many people struggle in pain and frustration without answers for years.  For many of them, that can change today...


I'm Sarah.  You can call me Sarah, Dr Sarah, Dr Strong... they are all just fine.  I enjoy having a professional, yet personal, relationship with my clients.  After all, we all have many hats.  I'm a naturopathic physician and had no other career choice since I was 12.  Stubborn, obsessive... call it what you will.  I call it love.  I have other loves, too, like my amazing husband who has supported me the past 15 years through a lot of crazy adventures.  I'm also a mom, so that is hands down the craziest and most amazing adventure ever!  I feel like having my two girls has changed me as a physician, as well.  I better understand the difficulty of balance and yet even more appreciate the importance of it.  


My children are actually how I began focusing on genetic variations.  Being the child of two only children, both of whom were orphans by the time I was born, I have very little family history.  When becoming a parent, I wanted to better understand what my children might be at risk for.  Through testing myself I discovered that I had two copies of a very common defect, MTHFR.  That was the gateway gene for me... I, as most naturopaths do, began experimenting on myself.  Wow.  More testing, more education. Simple nutrients added to (and taken away from) my body and the world was a whole new (and much better) place.  I then began using my wonderful patients as knowing guinea pigs.  Again, the results were amazing.  I was hooked.  Naturopathic philospohy meets modern technology- the best of both worlds!  I began learning more and treating more and I can never go back to the old approach.  We can now read our inner data like a book and get a treatment plan that is as unique as we are.  How cool is that?!  Later discovering that my daughter has various methylation issues only fueled my desire to understand this process better.


In 2003 I completed my undergraduate degree in biology at Alfred University and then attended Bastyr University, where I became a doctor of naturopathic medicine in 2007.  Since then I have had a private practice in Hilo, HI with a focus on chronic disease and infertility.  I have seen the power of natural medicine day after day and it has been very rewarding.  Over the past couple of years I have realized more and more the importance of understanding each person on a biochemical level, which allows me to tie pieces of the medical puzzle together that may otherwise not seem connected.  


After getting to a point of realizing that I wanted to specialize in this field, I trained with Dr Ben Lynch of Seeking Health and  Dr Lynch is a classmate of mine and has done amazing research in this field.   By incorporating his knowledge into my practice it has allowed me to put patients with autoimmune conditions into remission, to help people with a history of infertility become parents, and help those with chronic fatigue, anxiety, or depression find balance in their life.  Individuals with autism have major issues with methylation and detox pathways and optimizing them can cause profound changes.  This approach to medicine is new and expanding daily and it makes me very excited for the future of the medical field.  My true passion, however, is working with women during their childbearing years.  I love helping women conceive who have had difficulty getting pregnant.  I love helping them have a healthy pregnancy and raise amazing children.  I love supporting them through those crazy first years and I enjoy working with their young children, too, when issues arise.  I can resonate with all parts of this process and really find that there is a lack of support and understanding that so many women face during this life-changing process.  And, after all, creating a healthy mom and child only creates a healthier future, right?


After realizing how many of my clients were hoping to find similar positive results for friends and family who lived elsewhere, I decided to begin moving more towards the virtual world.  It's a love/hate relationship but overall the amount of knowledge that we can now find and share is pretty amazing.  Being able to help people in other countries from the comfort of their home is pretty incredible.


When I am not doing webinars or reading (total nerd... guilty!) I'm generally covered in soil, sand, or salt water.  Finger paint happens, too.  I love pretty much every plant out there and medicinal plants were how I discovered naturopathic medicine.  I'm happiest on a rainy day with a good book, I love mason jars of all shapes and sizes, and the smell of tomato plants always makes me smile.  I'm happiest when my muscles are tired and I'm surrounded by family.  





My goal is to look at each person individually- to take into account their genetic variation, their personal beliefs and lifestyle choices, and the challenges that they face.   I will always work with my clients to create a plan collaboratively that will work for them at whatever point they are at in their healing journey and I will support the choices they make even when they do not match my own.  I will never stop learning and expanding my knowledge in this field, as I feel this is an absolutely critical piece of the puzzle for those patients that I work with.  I also will always refer out to other practitioners if I do not feel that it is the best match, as I truly believe the doctor/ patient relationship is sacred and must be compatible for optimal healing to occur.  I will take every client and their case very seriously but will not forget that laughter is also good medicine.

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