TAHOE/TRUCKEE, Calif. — Dr. Ann Sura has had many jobs within the medical field, including working as a dental hygienist, a medical technician and a physical therapist.
“My mom called it ‘circling the drain,’” Sura said with a laugh. “I was trying to find my niche.”
Sura found her niche as a naturopath and practices at NaturaMed, Natural Family Medicine in a charming cabin on the lake side of Kings Beach. The cabin hardly looks like a doctor’s office with its cozy stove centered in the room. A clue to what happens inside is the myriad certificates and diplomas framed on the log cabin walls.
WAKE UP CALL
Although she wishes it were otherwise, Sura said many of her patients seek treatment when a “wake up call” has arrived. More often than not, it’s when chronic pain or illness presents itself that people seek treatment. She works to educate people on preventative care and wellness before sickness knocks on the door.
“I get to help people actually take control of their health,” Sura said. “I get to help people understand how stress impacts them, how lack of sleep impacts them, how the choices that they make in their food … how all of that plays a role in the aging process and recovering from chronic disease and preventing chronic disease.”
Sura asks patients to take responsibility for their health, and when they’re ready to truly do so, she said, is when she sees results.
Sura’s wake up call came one morning when she found a lump in her breast. Just four months after the loss of her mother to breast cancer, Ann Sura was diagnosed with the same disease. She said she “threw everything and the kitchen sink” at it, took control of her health and made her healing a priority.
“I learned that it’s okay to put ‘me’ first,” she said. “Especially for women, we suck at that. But if we’re not healthy, we can’t take care of those we want to take care of.”
Sura specializes in women’s health because to her “it makes sense.” NaturaMed offers pre-conception counseling as well as annual exams and alternatives to conventional hormone therapy. Through her own struggles with health, Sura said she can relate to her patients.
“It helps me understand their personal challenges better,” the good doctor said. “I am more open to hearing what they’re saying and I’m more open to hearing the meaning behind what they are saying.”
Listening to patients and making sure they feel loved is what everyone at the office at NaturaMed aims for, Sura said.
Patients looking for treatments for smaller ailments as minor as coughs, scrapes and colds can seek care at NaturaMed. The office offers many services such as neurotransmitter balancing treatments and intravenous nutritional therapy. Even for the same illness, no one treatment is ever the same.
“The fundamental part of what we do is very personalized medicine because every person has different needs and different challenges,” said Dr. Sura.
Dr. Sura’s husband, Mark Sura is a clinical, therapeutic and sports nutritionist at the office and works with patients to form new habits and adopt lifestyle changes. Using BIA, bioelectric impedance analysis technology, Mark tailors specific nutrition programs for individuals’ health goals. The office also has an infrared sauna which aids in detoxifying the body, increasing blood and lymph flow and aiding to heal sore muscles.
“We’re still a start up and I want to let people know we’re here and we’re good at what we do,” advised Sura.
She believes in using food as medicine. She and her husband work together to help patients make short-term goals and long-term changes. Their motto hangs in the office next to a cartoon of an overweight cat in front of the TV. It reads: “There’s nothing the doctor can do which will overcome what the patient will not.”
TOP TIPS FOR IMPROVED HEALTH
Breakfast: Parents and doctors have preached it for years, so it’s no surprise that Dr. Sura says eating a protein based breakfast, within 30 minutes of waking, is one of the most important things you can do for your health.
Time isn’t an excuse, Dr. Sura reminds patients. For people on the go she recommends making a morning shake consisting of water and a high quality protein powder to help keep energy levels consistent throughout the day.
Core supplements: Omega 3 and a phytomulti vitamin. Because our food supply lacks in nutrients, taking a high quality, food-based multi vitamin and mineral is another essential for health. Dr. Sura recommends a phytomulti (foodbased) vitamin, Omega 3, and additional bone support for women over 35.
Every three hours, a 40/30/30: Sura recommends eating small meals every three hours to avoid a drop in blood sugar. The small meals should be balanced, aiming for a ratio of 40 percent vegetable, 30 percent protein and 30 percent healthy fat. Recommendations include a hard boiled egg and some bell pepper, an apple with some almonds.
80/20 and no room for guilt: Feeling guilty isn’t healthy either. Good food habits should be practiced a majority of the time, yet an occasional treat doesn’t mean it’s time to throw in the towel.
“Life happens,” said Sura.
Jenny Luna is a freelance reporter for the North Lake Tahoe Bonanza and Sierra Sun newspapers. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“The fundamental part of what we do is very personalized medicine because every person has different needs and different challenges.”
Dr. Ann Sura,
owner of NaturaMed