Supporting health through nutrition

Nutrition – and mud – are the key to good health at Mount Kisco’s Khader Center.

When WAG and its parent company, Westfair Communications, recently relocated from White Plains to Mount Kisco, it was lucky to acquire not just a genial neighbor but a gifted one in her field — Dina Khader of Mount Kisco’s Khader Center.

A registered dietician and integrative nutrition consultant, trained in both Eastern and Western philosophies, Khader has helped thousands of clients with a variety of conditions, from autoimmune disorders, diabetes and heart disease to blurred vision, multiple sclerosis and cancer.

Of Jordanian descent (her father works with the United Nations), Khader spent much of her childhood in Africa. In Liberia, Libya, Tanzania and Uganda, malnutrition made an early impression on her. Interested in food from a young age, she took her first yoga class at age 11 or 12 when her father was posted to Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates. She learned from an Australian yoga instructor about the effect of meat on the joints and how it can cause arthritis and joint pain.

It sounded weird to her, because the reading she had done thus far — she references Robert Atkins M.D., in particular and his famed diet, popularized in the 1970s — had pointed to high-protein diets, with animal protein actually being healthy. “I decided I wanted to really investigate what she (the yoga instructor) was saying, to see if it was really true.” As she read more, she began to discover vegetarianism, “the opposite of the high-protein, Atkins approach,” and started experimenting with a vegetarian diet for herself. 

But another element was about to come into play. Now in boarding school in England, she couldn’t seem to progress in ballet class and her instructor was noticing a stiffness on her left side. “Long story short, we finally found out years later it was a reaction I had to the polio vaccine years earlier.” (There had been a polio outbreak in North Africa when she was living there with her family, and she had been given the live polio virus.) 

As Khader discovered, she was suffering from post-polio syndrome, in which the disease comes back to affect you years later. With her enduring interest in malnutrition and the new need to stay especially healthy, a career in nutrition was clearly calling. 

Coming to the United States in 1982, she studied nutrition in college and got her master’s at New York Medical College in Valhalla, followed by a one year internship at neighboring Westchester Medical Center. Visiting different wards — renal, cardiovascular — she gained broad experience, and her strong clinical background gave her the courage to start her own practice. In 1990, she opened her first practice on Lexington Avenue in Mount Kisco. 

For the first few years, Khader went it alone — answering the phones, dealing with all the administration and building up the practice without any help. Eventually, she hired a receptionist and, after 10 years, started to work with a business coach, who advised her that if she seriously wanted to grow the business, she needed a business manager. (She took the advice:  That same business manager  has now been with her for 21 years.)

But her post-polio illness was about to strike again. She began walking with a limp and was starting to trip. One day, after exercising at the gym, she had no energy even to walk up three steps and realized that something was seriously wrong. 

A serendipitous introduction to Premier Research Labs based in Austin, Texas, and a meeting with its CEO and founder, Bob Marshall, Ph.D., would prove momentous. “Not all B-vitamins are equal,” he said. “Most of the stuff out there is junk.”

She took a course with the company and learned about its supplements. Marshall gave her a protocol to follow using the product line, and the results were dramatic. “The difference was night and day,” she says. She continues using the product line herself to this day, as well as dispensing Premier Research Labs products in her clinic.

As well as dietary supplements and individually tailored nutrition programs, Khader is a great proponent of targeted mud- or clay-packing, something the center is especially known for. “Mud-packing can restore the electrical circuit of the human body, which may have been interrupted by disease or trauma,” she says. “It’s a way to detox the body very gently but highly effectively.”

Mud-packing is also one of the treatments used in antiaging therapies, which also feature a combination of a low-inflammatory diet coupled with the avoidance of an excess of fat. For weight loss, she works with blood types. People who are blood type O do well with some animal product in the diet, whereas blood types A and AB, Khader says, do better with a more vegetarian diet. She also prescribes medical shakes (“not just shakes you can go and buy, but rather shakes that have a lot of medical science behind them,” she says), which need to be supervised. Mudpacks, too, can play their part in weight loss.

Added to all of this, there is a hormonal component in most of these treatments, something that conventional medicine and doctors overlook. Although it is a slightly “how long is a piece of string” question, Khader says that typically patients will start to see changes within a month, although she advocates “giving it two or three months” in order to see significant results.

Around a third of her patients have been with her for more than 20 years, while others will come in for a specific issue and then “go on their way.” She sees an average five to six people a day as she spends a fair amount of time with each individual. Her online videos are powerful. One shows a patient diagnosed with MS, who had been told he would never walk again, now walking, thanks entirely to treatment at the center. 

While Covid has brought fear to patients, it has also given Khader the opportunity to give advice and reassurance — despite, as she acknowledges, knowing little about it herself in the early days. But as the pandemic progressed, there has been more focus on immune support. “Knock on wood,” she says, “90% of my patients have not gotten the virus, while the ones that have seem to have done fairly well, with minimal side effects post-Covid,” something she puts that down to a well-functioning immune system.

Whatever the reason, it’s an impressive statistic, speaking volumes for Khader and her nutrition center.

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