Bemidji’s Dr. Alan Christianson Releases ‘Hormone Healing Cookbook’
BEMIDJI For some, facing adversity is necessary to be successful.
As a New York Times bestselling author, world-renowned endocrinologist, and thyroid specialist, Bemidji’s Dr. Alan Christianson learned early that sometimes things have to go wrong before they can go right.
After struggling to take control of her health, practicing naturopathic medicine, and writing eight best-selling books to inspire others to take charge of their own lives, Christianson released a food cookbook in early June to help to reverse hormonal weight gain, fatigue, insomnia and more.
The “Hormone Healing Cookbook” includes solutions to hormonal imbalances with 80 recipes to help tailor the best meal plans for all different body types and hormone levels because in Christianson’s words, health isn’t just about weight what you lose is about the life you lose. I earn.
This book is different from the others I’ve written. It is primarily a cookbook. My last three books got good attention and all had plans for various purposes, which included a few meal plans and a few dozen recipes, she said. But one thing my readers kept saying was that they wanted more recipes.
According to Christianson, everyone’s well-being depends on hormones. As hormones change due to lifestyle, disease, and aging, so does your quality of life. The top five symptoms of hormone imbalance are weight gain, fatigue, hot flashes, brain fog, and insomnia.
Thankfully, the right foods can help regulate and heal hormones, and simple changes in cooking can make all the difference. With recipes, photos and dietary solutions geared towards alleviating these symptoms, the cookbook aims to bring the body back into a state of balance.
The (target audience) of this book is likely a woman in her 40s. There is a phase leading up to menopause that often lasts two to five years and we call it perimenopause. There’s a lot of transition going on and people often don’t expect it, Christianson said. “This cookbook can guide them further and outline safe ways to make them feel their best so they can be the best mom, wife, and person they can be.
While Christianson’s passion lies in taking care of himself and educating others on how to do the same, that wasn’t always the case, as he’s had his share of setbacks, too.
Facing setbacks with his health early in life, Christianson admitted to being obese, epileptic, and diagnosed with a motor disability called cerebral palsy when he was younger.
I have had seizures and many health problems. I was a really, really awkward kid, he recalled. My mother said that when I tried to run, it was like the blades of a motor cultivator and my legs went sideways.
Christianson was adopted as an infant by a couple who could not have children of their own. They lived on a farm a couple of miles east of Bemidji.
He explained how, although his hardworking parents didn’t have much to offer him when it came to materialistic things, one day they came home with a gift, a set of encyclopedia books.
Christianson read each of the books from cover to cover, leading him to fall in love with learning. But with his sedentary bookworm life, he started gaining weight.
I didn’t fit in and was teased about my weight. It hurt, she said. Teenage is a tough time for many people, I was quite an introvert and definitely not a social or sports superstar. I took it pretty badly and that’s an understatement. It was devastating.
To escape harassment from his peers, Christianson turned to books. At the age of 12, he spent his free time in the Bemidji Public Library reading any health book he could get his hands on. The books taught him good food, exercise, and health information that would ultimately change the entire course of his life.
There wasn’t much data back then, but I learned things like minimize highly processed foods, reduce bread intake, and avoid sugar. I’ve also read that exercise is something you learn gradually, she said. There were several times where I decided that I was going to get fit and dive into something, doing more than I could, which resulted in me getting hurt and sore and miserable, so I didn’t want to do it again.
Applying information from the books she read, she began to control her food intake, focusing more on fruits and vegetables and avoiding second helpings. You even built an exercise program with the goal of being able to run long distances.
My parents’ kitchen was set up where there was almost a loop around the dining room and back into the kitchen. That loop was probably 40 or 50 steps and we’re not kidding, I used that as a track, he said with a laugh. I would do two or three laps on that little track and get shot. But then I started doing four or five laps, and then six. I continued this for months until I could go a significant distance down the block.
Far from being a natural athlete, the number of setbacks and injuries he faced would have made many give up in his shoes, but with knowledge and persistence, Christianson continued to fight for control of his life and health. He started running 5Ks, half marathons, triathlons and eventually qualified for the Boston Marathon.
I was able to improve my health from there and the more I progressed the more I realized this was my passion. I soon became known as someone who asked people for health advice like diets, fitness and whatnot, Christianson said. So, my first health concert I guess was at Harmony Natural Foods in Bemidji. I worked there in the 80’s as a clerk and did my best to answer people’s questions about supplements and herbs and stuff like that.
He knew medicine was his calling, but because he shared his passion for diet and nutrition, many doctors told him it was not part of standard medical practice. One even told him that if he went after that stuff he might lose his license.
Then one day, Christianson came across an ad for a new medical school opening its doors in Arizona that featured naturopathic medicine, a field that embraced the best of conventional technology along with diet and natural treatments.
I thought, “Wow, that’s it,” she recalled. It was exactly what I wanted to do, so I pursued it.
Christianson was licensed as a naturopathic physician in 1996 and as it became clearer that thyroid disease and hormone care was his primary focus, he specialized as a naturopathic endocrinologist.
I’ve come to think that someone who develops a chronic condition and engages in it can emerge on the other side healthier than before and healthier than their peers who have taken their health for granted, Christianson said. The body has an amazing resilience. I want people to know that you can feel as good as you want.
Bemidji has always been at home
Christianson knew he wanted to be a doctor and knew he would be moving to Arizona full-time to practice medicine in Scottsdale. But not long after graduating from medical school and starting practicing, he met Kirin, who would later become his wife.
After 27 years of marriage, two kids, and starting multiple businesses together, something inside him knew his heart was still in Minnesota.
When both of their children started college, the newly born couple moved back to the Bemidji area to spend more time with family.
It was fine in Arizona. We were excited about the practice and the boys started well there and everything went well, but Bemidji has always been at home, he said. I’m sitting here right now looking at the lake and the trees and just yesterday, Kirin and I were paddling on the lake and there was a crazy guy swimming. We had a quiet moment, sitting alone and I said to her, “I’m as rich as I can get right now. I don’t need anything more than that.”
As Christianson goes into semi-retirement, she still plans to do occasional virtual consulting, blogging and working on future books.
With her medical background and Kirin’s recent coronation as Mrs. Minnesota, she said they mostly spend their time volunteering in the community and enjoying the serenity of the Northwoods.
I love the culture here and the people, I missed them, she said. I love being here and I love being a part of this community.
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