This interview was published on Mary Marino Strong’s blog Moving from the Inside Out in 2010 when Ananda was a primary care physician in Portland Oregon. Currently Ananda is located in Lombard Illinois where her practice focuses on Wellness Counseling.
Today we begin Part I of a series of interviews with Dr. Ananda Kramer of Portland, Oregon on Transformational Healing and Digestive Harmony. I have had the pleasure of knowing Dr. Ananda professionally and personally for many years.
MMS: Welcome, Dr. Ananda. Please tell us about you.
AK: I am both a Naturopathic Physician as well as a classical homeopath. I have been licensed in Oregon as a Naturopathic Physician since 2001 and have been studying and practicing homeopathy for over 20 years. I chose to become a doctor to further my education in medicine and chose Naturopathy because it has a philosophy compatible with homeopathy. They share the understanding that the human body has an innate ability to heal itself. I see myself more as a healer than as a doctor; there’s a difference for me. As a doctor I am, of course, interested in relieving pain, for example, but as a healer, I’m concerned with more than that. I am interested in individuals reaching their true potential. This would include living a creative, joyful and purposeful life.
MMS: How do you work with the body’s innate ability to heal itself?
AK: From the naturopathic side, I reduce stress on the body so it is freer to heal itself. I consider improper diet as creating stress – just like overwork would, or lack of sleep. Stress blocks the body’s ability to heal itself.
MMS: There is an abundance of information on what foods to eat and not eat in the media. What’s your perspective on it?
AK: We need to discover the foods that create disharmony in the body in order to have digestive health. I’ve come to understand that people have an individual diet that is right for them.
MMS: Can you explain?
AK: As a homeopath I select one medicine that fits each person and I have found that it works best to do this with diet also. I call this finding our Ancestral Diet, looking for the diet that is consistent with our particular genetic background. Digestive problems are a problem today because:  we have migrated from where our ancestors came from;  we also have, for generations, intermarried with those from different genetic backgrounds;  we eat foods flown in from around the world, not local food; and  foods are processed with many additives. So in the modern world it is a challenge to know what diet is right for us.
MMS: If we look at the diets of people native to, say, Asia, Europe, Africa, they are very different. Are you saying people have a genetic predisposition to digest certain foods rather than other foods, the foods their ancestors ate for centuries?
AK: That’s right.
MMS: Thank you, Dr. Ananda. This is valuable information. So many of us are looking for the foods that will make and keep us healthy, especially we aging boomers.
Part II: Your Ancestral Diet and How to Find It
A food not properly broken down to components the body can use decomposes into toxic compounds. In a word, undigested food roots . . . Nutritional work is foundational to all holistic or natural healing. Dr. Ananda Kramer, welcome to Part II of our interview with Naturopathic Physician and Homeopath, Dr. Ananda Kramer. We left off with the differences in eating styles of cultures around the world. People of Asia, Africa and Europe, for example, all have a different basis to the diets which they have been eating for centuries.
MMS: Are you saying that over the centuries the bodies of our ancestors developed the ability, passed down through their DNA coding, to digest the foods of their areas? But because they didn’t have a need to digest other types of foods they didn’t produce the enzymes necessary to do so, making adaptation to moving afar very difficult?
AK: Yes. Changes in genetics take more than a few centuries.
MMS: All of my grandparents came from Italy, a country that uses a lot of cheese, butter and milk. Yet, I have a dairy intolerance (I am only the second generation to be born here.) I should be able to digest dairy then, shouldn’t I?
AK: Dairy intolerance is more complex than you might think. You’d have to look back to your ancestors in about 1000 A.D. There have been significant migrations of peoples and foods since recorded history. So, for example, lets look at pasta, a food very much identified with Italy. Noodles have been discovered in China made from millet as long ago as 2000 BC. The notion that Marco Polo introduced pasta to Italy from China may not be true. There is evidence that pasta made from Durum wheat (as it is today) was introduced by Arabs during their conquest of Sicily in the late 7th century. My point being, in reference to your question about dairy, that the foods associated with a culture may or may not be original with that culture.
MMS: I didn’t realize how complex this is. It makes me better appreciate the foods I can digest. People have been asking how they can achieve digestive harmony and find their ancestral diets. What can you tell them?
AK: We need to find out if there is a food our bodies will not tolerate. I do a test – it is a simple test that can be done at home – I call it the Food Intolerance Test or FIT. It has been around since the 1920’s and is also known as the Carroll Test. By having this test done one can find out the food, usually only one food, that an individual cannot digest. I would direct your readers to my website for more detailed information: www.doctorananda.com.
MMS: Do patients ever say to you their digestion is fine, they don’t have problems, when you think otherwise?
AK: Yes. Sometimes people will tell me they don’t have any digestive problems, and I look at them and see they look pasty, no color in their faces. They may be overweight or bloated (can’t always tell which is which by looking) and they look tired. They complain about joint pain and muscle aches, problems with sleep and skin conditions. The bell goes off in my head: how will they get better if they eat a diet that’s creating inflammation in their body? How will they get better if they don’t identify this food? Nutritional work is foundational to all holistic or natural healing.
MMS: As a maturing boomer I specially appreciate this information. Your last sentence is very powerful to me. Thank you, Dr. Ananda.
Next time, we’ll continue with Part III of our interview with Dr. Ananda Kramer on Digestive Harmony and Transformational Healing. Love your comments; please keep sharing them. Question for You: Are you aware of how the foods you eat affect you?
Part 3: Conclusion of Your Ancestral Diet and Digestive Harmony with Dr. Ananda Kramer
What happens next?
MMS: Glad to have you back from your trip, Dr. Ananda. On this quest for finding Digestive Harmony and our Ancestral Diet, we left off with the importance of knowing if there are any foods for which we are genetically intolerant. You use a simple test, which can be done at home, to find that out. What happens next?
AK: What happens next is the work begins! Almost everyone says to me, after I tell them what their food intolerance is, “Now what can I eat”? I customize my dietary recommendations according to each individual’s needs. In general, we all need to begin to cook our own foods. Cook from scratch! Avoid using soups and sauces as bases for a meal and cook whole foods that are fresh, organic, locally grown and in season (which I have been saying for many years, long before it became popular.) For example, cook a chicken or a roast and have left over meat for sandwiches rather than buying lunchmeat. Cook fresh salmon instead of buying canned. Reduce carbohydrate consumption, especially bread, crackers and pasta. Cook whole grains instead. Have a variety of fresh vegetables and salads. Eat fruit for dessert. Good digestion is the foundation of your house, your body. Good digestion is the foundation of your house, your body. I believe that without good digestion it is very difficult to improve health. But just like a foundation is not the building, more than good diet is involved in creating a strong body. The building materials of our body should be top notch and we want to buy the best quality food and prepare it carefully. We also need to consider other things. If we continue with the building analogy, what about the design of the building? The design is as important as the foundation. We need a comprehensive plan to build good health that includes physical movement, drinking plenty of fresh clean water and sleeping eight hours a night.
MMS: I know from my practice that most people do not fully recognize the importance of physical movement, clean air and clean water. What kind of results do patients get when they, or you and they, figure out their harmonious food plan?
AK: When people change their diet based on the Food Intolerance Test they report some remarkable results. One would expect that digestive complaints would improve and that is true. But I also have reports that long-standing skin conditions have healed. One woman reported to me that after five years of avoiding eggs, her intolerance, her Lupus and Chronic Fatigue were in remission. We were both very impressed. Going from perfect food to the best diet for them Actually, any and all imbalances in a person’s health will improve with the right diet but how much is dependent on the individual’s vitality and overall health. I have observed over the past nine years of working with Food Intolerances that for some individuals diet alone is not enough to restore their health. It is definitely a good foundation but other therapies need to be added to bring the desired result. [Look for more on this in our second series of interviews in a few months.] In general, the younger the person is when the intolerance is identified the better the result. Children heal quickly if given good nutrition. Fortunate is the child who starts life with breast milk and then transitions to solids based on their ancestral diet. In my book they are going from perfect food to the best diet for them. She even lost two or three dress sizes
MMS: I remember hearing about a member of your family who had nausea and digestive problems since childhood. Once you discovered her Ancestral Diet and she eliminated her food intolerance, potato, her digestive complaints disappeared. She even lost two or three dress sizes. I’m not sure which is more impressive!
I can attest to the fact that, as an aging boomer, my health changed dramatically after I followed your advice, including eliminating dairy products. This certainly contributes to aging with ease.
AK: Thank you for this opportunity to let more people know about this simple yet powerfully effective way of identifying an individual’s personal diet plan. The doctor who created this test in the 1920’s was interested in helping people recover their health. He did not write a book, go on a lecture tour or in any way publicize his work. He focused on helping people get better. Today a small number of Naturopathic doctors in the Pacific Northwest carry on this work because we have not found a better way to restore digestive harmony to our patients.