• 15-01-2019

    Skin - Is there a quick fix to problematic, aging skin?

    As someone who suffered from eczema, psoriasis, hyper-pigmentation and acne for years, I understand how frustrating it is to have no control over your skin. We aggressively cleanse, over medicate, and apply too many products that really dont remedy the problem as part of the fear response, the fear that if we do not do something it will get worse. Often times we strip the skin or apply so many barriers that our skin cant even breathe. If the placebo or subtle change of it improving begins, its never to last indefinitely, only for the cycle of skin stuff to start again with any sort of stress, change in lifestyle, change in temperature or even change in soap. 

    Let me tell you, my skin journey has included everything from top of the line skin care, laser treatments, facials, chemical peels, at home masks, blu-U light therapy, steroids, antibiotics (topical and internal) and even Accutane in my teens. After each treatment, new antibiotics or anything else, I would have hope, that my skin would improve, and stay better. It never did.

    Today, I go for facials occasionally, take a plethora of supplements, hydrate appropriately, eat well and use very basic skin care. My skin is great, and I often wear little to no makeup, finally being able to show off my skin after envying people for years, who had great bare clean skin. So you might be thinking, is it what I was using that has made this change? Am I seeing a new aesthetician? Was it puberty causing this? (No, this does not last 12 years!) Its none of the above. 

    I believe that superficial facial treatments can enhance your skin and improve your skin, but they cannot change your skin. 

    We spend tons of money on these treatments, expecting a full change in our skin. Some of the more aggressive treatments can definitely changeyour skin, by resurfacing or tightening it, but fundamentally, your body supplies the building blocks for this so your final lasting outcome is dependent on you. You cannot achieve good skin if you are toxic, inflamed, dont drink enough water and have a poor diet or the wrong diet for you (unless you have strong genetics, but trust me that doesnt last forever.) 

    There is no quick fix to changing your skin.

    There are many quick fixes to improvingyour skin, but when your body is producing new cells daily, what you have available and the internal environment of your body will determine what shows up outside. Your internal environment is everything from genetics, other conditions such as PCOS, asthma, food allergies, hormones and more; but it is most importantly your diet. Antiglycation endpoints also known as AGEs arent great for your cardiovascular health, and they show up in the skin as hyper-pigmentation and uneven tone. High aerobic activity and clean eating but not consuming the right type of fat might show up as thin skin, sunken temples, and hard face that looks dehydrated and aged. Consuming high mucus forming foods might be making you puffy, your features undefined, and having the appearance of poor bone structure. Chronic acne can be due to so many things not limited but including, poor gut health, toxic overload from heavy metals, parasites, too much heat in your body (from a TCM perspective), food sensitivities, chronic inflammation or more.  

    The approach you take to skin is dependent on you. 

    Sometimes we need conventional therapies such as accutane, steroids and antibiotics to get things under control, but the burden this puts on the body requires us to also replace, replenish and support what these treatments alter. This can include our liver metabolism, our gut micro biome, nutrient status, and skin thickness and sensitivity to light. Its a double edged sword, where there is no one size fits all approach because the cause of the problem is different for everyone. 

    I have used a a lifestyle approach to skin, and it works. The benefit of this approach is not only that I no longer have acne, hyper-pigmentation, eczema or psoriasis, but my skin texture has improved, I look radiant, my hair and nails are healthier, my gut is happy and I feel good. On my journey to improve my skin, I improved my overall health. There is no perfect, it takes self awareness and when I burden my body too long, things will start to show up, but its not often, its easier to control, and it doesnt last long. 

    So I am not saying dont use good skin care, or not to have enhancement treatments, but what I am saying is that these are the accessories to your skin. 


    Anything that you do that is causing skin cell turnover, micro-inflammation, using your own blood products (PRP), or influencing tightening through collagen formation will benefit from supporting your body first. 

    Ensure you have the right building blocks and co-factors to not only form great skin, but that your body can eliminate waste appropriately so that you look healthy, young and radiant. Take a holistic approach to your appearance, its not a quick fix, and it can take some time depending on the concern,

    but in my experience its absolutely worth it.

     

    Written by: Dr. Mashael Mawji, ND BSc. FNH (Hon)

    • 14-01-2019

    Pregnancy cravings explained

    There are a lot of theories why pregnancy cravings occur including hormonal changes, altered sense of smell, and nutrient deficiencies. In reality it’s likely that all three factors play a role and these cravings are trying to tell you something about what’s going on in your body. Some of the more common cravings include: 

    • Sweets and chocolate:
      • Sugar cravings may partly be related to the increased caloric requirements that occur with pregnancy.  You’re growing a human being and keeping yourself going so more calories will be needed. The other reason for sugar cravings is the changes in insulin sensitivity. Blood sugar levels can become erratic and this can influence your desire for sweet foods. 
      • Chocolate cravings in particular may be related to magnesium deficiencies. During pregnancy magnesium contributes to fetal development (Bone, nerves, muscle) and prevention of leg cramps and pre-eclampsia. Alternative food sources of magnesium include oats, quinoa, brown rice, spinach, kale, nuts, and seeds. 
    • Salty foods:
      • During pregnancy there is 40-50% increase in blood volume. This means that you gradually produce more blood throughout pregnancy to make sure your baby is receiving all of the oxygen and nutrients that it needs. Salt is an important component of blood so it makes sense that this is a common craving. Unfortunately salty foods are often unhealthy ones such as chips, fast food, and condiments. 
    • Meat:
      • Sometimes cravings come in the form of steak and burgers. This can possibly be pointing towards the body’s need for more protein or iron. Requirements for both nutrients are higher in pregnancy to help the growth of the baby. 
    • Ice and non-food items:
      • This might sound shocking but it isn’t uncommon to hear about women craving ice, sand, gravel, and other non-food items. The medical term for craving non-food substances is pica and can mean nutrient deficiencies are occurring, specifically iron, zinc, and calcium. If this is occurring it is important to discuss these cravings with your doctor so that appropriate testing and supplementation can be done. 

    Usually cravings aren’t concerning (Unless it is pica) but can contribute to unintended weight gain. During a normal pregnancy 25-35 pounds of weight gain should be expected although this will vary from person to person. If too much weight is gained gestational diabetes, high birth weights, and higher rates of cesarean sections can be seen. Because of this it is important to eat nutritious foods that may help prevent cravings from happening in the first place. 

    Healthy foods for pregnancy:

    • Nutrient dense foods: Dark leafy greens, berries
    • Healthy fats: Nuts, seeds, avocados, fish
    • High quality protein: Organic meats, fish, eggs, lentils, 
    • Complex carbohydrates and fiber: Various fruits and vegetables, flax, chia

     

    • 11-01-2019

    Travelling while pregnant

    Getting pregnant doesn’t mean traveling is out of the question and with babymoons becoming more popular it’s important to talk about how to travel during this time. With a growing belly travel can be even more stressful and uncomfortable than usual but there are natural ways to handle it. The general rule for travelling while pregnant is that it’s safest in the second trimester. Make sure you check in with your practitioner beforehand to ensure there are no complications preventing you from going on the trip. It’s also a good idea to check in with the airline to see if they have any rules surrounding pregnancy. 

    Choosing the destination: 

    • It’s a good idea to do some research into where you might be going. Some places carry a higher risk of Zika, hepatitis, and other infections. This doesn’t mean you can’t go there but it does mean you can be better prepared. Sticking to flights under 6 hours helps to decrease your chance of developing blood clots as well.  

    Stress:

    • Whether you’re flying or going on a road trip traveling is usually stressful. Don’t be afraid to ask for help with your bags and make sure to give yourself lots of time to get everywhere. Check in with yourself periodically and continue your favorite stress relieving activities. They may include taking naps, deep breathing, meditation, or light yoga. 

    Muscle cramps and swelling 

    • Common concerns in pregnancy are muscle cramps, varicose veins, and swollen feet which can all worsen during travel. Compression stockings support blood flow and prevent blood from pooling in your legs so you can still fit in your shoes. Walking and stretching the legs every 30 minutes will also help so getting an aisle seat is always a good idea.  

    Hydration

    • This goes for anyone who is traveling but is especially important in pregnancy. It’s natural to try and avoid drinking water because you may be avoiding using that tiny bathroom. However, adequate water intake is important for fighting fatigue and for the health of your baby.   It is recommended to drink 8-12 eight ounce glasses of water during pregnancy (Around 2-3 liters per day). Try to limit coffee, black tea and sugary drinks as these tend to be less hydrating. 

    Nausea

    • Although the nausea experienced in the first trimester might be gone travelling can make it return temporarily. Pack lots of small snacks that aren’t fried or spicy such as fruit or trail mix. Ginger tea, ginger capsules, or ginger chews are also amazing for combating nausea. Lastly, sea bands are wrist bands that use acupressure which is a safe and side-effect free way of dealing with nausea. 

    Don’t get sick

    • Between the stress of traveling and being stuck in a plane with sick people it can be hard to avoid catching a cold. Pack lots of hand sanitizer and avoid touching your eyes, mouth, and nose as much as possible. A good quality probiotic before and throughout your trip will help to support the immune system. Good quality sleep and frequent naps also jump starts the immune system and will help keep you healthy. 

    • 23-08-2018

    How To Differentiate Between Food Allergies and Food Sensitivities

    I, and certainly my colleague Dr. Steph Peltz, get many questions from parents about children and food! From the time their babies begin taking in solid foods, our clients want to know which foods are best at which stage, why certain foods seem to upset their little ones and whether their child has a food sensitivity or an allergy. In fact, there is a lot of confusion over this last bit.
     
    It's really important that parents understand the difference between an allergy and an intolerance (or sensitivity) as they mean completely different things and require different preventative measures and treatments. To help my clients, and the readers of Westcoast Families magazine, I wrote an article shedding some light on the issue and I hope you enjoy the read. 
     
    Head over to the article published on the Westcoast Families site and be sure to share it from there if you think it could benefit others.
     
    Have any specific questions for us about your child? Call the clinic at 604-544-7656 to book an appointment - we'd be happy to help!

    • 13-08-2018

    Parasympathetic VS Sympathetic Systems

    Let’s take a trip down memory lane to Junior high biology class. Do you remember learning about our nervous system? Parasympathetic VS sympathetic systems? 

    These 2 nervous systems explain everything you need to know about weight gain and fatigue! Why when you are stressed, you have digestive problems and get more gassy and bloated. Why, when you are stressed, you gain weight- especially around your midsection and belly no matter what weight loss efforts you have implemented, nothing seems to battle the bulge.  Why, you feel and look exhausted no matter how much sleep you get. Why you are constantly getting injured or are in chronic pain and it isn’t healing as it should.  And most importantly, what we can do about all of this. 

    Sympathetic Nervous system otherwise known as “ Fight or Flight”. 

    When we are stressed, or are put under stressful situations ( Even though we can’t admit we are necessarily stressed, and we are good,  and we got this, and we are fine and we will be ok) our body releases cortisol and adrenaline from our adrenal glands. The role of these hormones are to keep us going in the midst of stress. We are however only equipped with so many resources to allow us to keep going for so long, until we crash and burn because our cortisol and adrenaline levels can no longer be kept up with. This is known as the adrenal fatigue we have touched on previously. We are not equipped to run from a bear 24/7. God hasn’t built us that way, to have the organs and hormones  on endless supply to accommodate this crazy world we live in. We run out of resources very quickly if we push and push our bodies to no end. This is when we begin getting injured and end up with chronic diseases as a result of too much “stress” on the body without the ability to cope with it. No different than your car breaking down after you ran on it without changing the oil, getting it serviced, etc tec.  WHY this is of relevance to you, is because, when we are under stress our blood vessels dilate, our core body temperature increases, our digestive system shuts down, our repairing and restorative mechanisms are halted and we are running on pure adrenaline to survive. When we are surviving, we are hoarding all our resources and food and fuel to store it in times of need for quick energy. Everything we eat becomes stored in case we will need fuel at a later date. We are literally wired to survive. 

    Parasympathetic Nervous system otherwise known as “ Rest and Digest”. This is the complete opposite of the sympathetic system. This is where we are meant to rejuvenate, relax, repair and regenerate. Our body replenishes nutrient stores, hormone levels, neurotransmitters, growth hormone and more while we are in this state. Our digestive system is working, HCL is flowing, enzymes are working to help us break down our food, our intestines and bowels are undergoing peristalsis and movement and all is well. We are balanced here, calm, our muscles are relaxed, heart rate and breathing rate and pulse rate are low. We aren’t hoarding resources here, our bodies aren’t holding onto food and calories, pressure is taken off our heart and our adrenal glands are having a holiday. 

    Now, the kicker is, we cannot be in both systems at once. We cannot be running from a bear and eating while we run and expect our digestive system to work for us. This is why when we are stressed and go go go and eat on the run, we get heartburn and acid reflux along with gas and bloating and perhaps diarrhea or constipation.  Why when we are stressed we get injured and our body doesn’t heal- because we haven’t given it the restorative and regenerative attention our body needs. Why when you are running on very little sleep or are tossing and turning, that you wake up exhausted. You haven’t allowed the body ample time to get out of 1 nervous system and into the next system properly so both functions of the body and nervous system could be appreciated. It is so important to appreciate the two systems for what they are, and respect the processes and bodily functions that take place in each. We need our bodies to respond under a state of stress, but we also need to place an importance on the value of good restful deep sleep. We must respect our digestive system and the enzymes that are responsible for breaking down our food and assimilating it so we use it for energy. It would be a shame to compromise this process because we are too busy.  All this requires is 10 minutes to sit down, focus on eating, on chewing your food properly and give your mealtime the quiet it deserves. In the midst of a stressful situation, simply go to a quiet room, heck a bathroom will suffice if you are out and about, turn the lights off and do 10 deep belly breaths. This calmness will allow a dial down of sympathetic to parasympathetic system and help recharge those batteries. 

    • 12-08-2018

    Releasing the weight

    A good friend of mine and I had a discussion about this topic, and I can truly say this was an “A-HA” moment for me in that it makes so much sense and is so inspiring and motivating,  I just had to share the concept with you to help us better understand weight and changing your mindset about weight loss, along with the judgement from others that comes when you mention you are “losing weight”. This is a touchy subject, and many people feel ashamed to admit they are on a diet for fear of judgement, or conversely, people continue to have negative self body images and negative self body talk when it concerns the topics of weight loss. 

    Weight “Loss” has such a negative connotation if you think about it. Loss has a negative meaning, in that you have no control over what has been done. You lose your keys, you lose the remote, you lose your favorite scarf, and as a result you lose your mind~! This word not only denotes a lack of celebration, but it amplifies a total lack of control. When you lose something, it is without thought, intention and usually more often than not, by accident. You lose something, you don’t know where it went, you are often upset and bothered. Why are we using this word to support a change in weight!?

    The choice to lose weight is a very intentional one, a process that has required strength, determination, hard work and in fact, complete and total control. The highest level of control actually. This should be celebrated with positive words and mention that  YOU are the one that made the change and success happen. Perhaps if we did this, weight loss wouldn’t be viewed as such a negative thing and in fact, more people would celebrate as opposed to pass judgment, as you are able to relay how proud you are of the results. How it was by choice, intention and control. 

    Releasing the weight is a much better expression in my opinion. Why? Because it is a personal choice, that you have decided that you no longer want to hold on to the excess weight you have on your body, and have consciously decided to release something that no longer serves you or benefits you in your life. I have chosen to release the weight. Release the shame, release the burden that comes along with being overweight, release the stress and emotion linked to the weight, releases the physical weight off your shoulders. Release is such a positive word, letting something go is so refreshing and unburdening and freeing. Releasing something into the universe that you are letting go of and all that comes with it. 

    What have you been doing? “I am changing my body”. I have decided to change the shape of my body. Again, you are in control of your shape and wanting to change what the shape looks like as opposed to losing the weight. 

    Numbers are merely that, a number. Yet we are so controlled by this number. Nobody cares if the 1.5L of water you just drank weigh 3 pounds, or that you haven’t had a bowel movement in a couple days, or that you ate a large meal and have the weight of the food in your stomach. People are judged by a number and a loss of that number dictates success. 

    We need to change the focus and take control back of the intention and work and dedication and power it takes to embark on a weight releasing journey. 

    • 19-06-2018

    10 Carry-On Essentials You Don't Want To Leave Home Without

    Summer break starts in just a few short weeks and that means that Canadians everywhere will be hopping on planes, jumping in cars and even catching trains to travel the great wide world. New Westminster Naturopathic Physician, Dr. Allana Polo, is here to make sure you make it to your travel destination happy and healthy with her recommendations of her favorite carry on essentials. 

     
    "Spring break, summer break and Christmas break are the busiest travel times of the year," says Dr. Allana Polo, ND. "You want to spend your vacations enjoying time with your family making memories from beginning to end! Nobody wants to get sick or find that they are unprepared for a time when they should be happy, healthy and enjoying life! Naturopathic medicine shines in prevention and as a naturopath I always make sure my travel bag is packed with these essentials for good health!" 
     
    10 Carry-On Essentials You Don't Want To Leave Home Without
     
    - Healthy Snacks: The temptation to load up on airport chips, candy and fast food is high. Avoid it by pre-packing snacks with you like nuts, seeds, dried fruit, granola bars, lara bars and even cut up fruit and vegetables if you are travelling domestically. Pro Travel Tip: If taking a trip where you are going through security, pack snacks in ziplock bags or clear containers so everything can be easily seen if security needs to go through it. 
     
    -Water Bottle: Avoid pop, coffee and alcohol which is sure to dehydrate you while your on route to your destination. Pack an empty water bottle that you can fill once you get through security. Electrolyte packets that you can add to water are also a great thing to pack. If purchasing beverages at the airport look for coconut water which is packed with electrolytes. Pro Travel Tip: If travelling with a filled water bottle, make sure to take a few final sips of water and then dump out the rest before heading into the security lineup. 
     
    -Hand sanitizer/disinfectant wipes: Have you ever noticed that you get sick after flying? Between the recycled air, passing your passport back and forth between multiple hands and people touching everything, it's not uncommon to pick up cold germs. Keep your hands clean and your area germ free with hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes. 
     
    -Aspartame Free Gum: Chewing gum while flying not only helps with the air pressure buildup in your ears, it also tricks your brain into not being tempted to boredom eat and mindlessly snack while you're watching that inflight movie. 
     
    -Zinc Lozenges, Vitamin C Lozenges and/or Elderberry Lozenges: Keep your immune system up, even if you're sitting next to Mr. Sneezy McCoughing by sucking on these immunity boosting lozenges while enroute to your destination. 
     
    -Oil of Oregano: Speaking of boosting your immune system, let us introduce you to our secret weapon-- Oil of Oregano. Take 5 drops before your flight and 5 drops once you land. It will stop those cold germs in their tracks! 
     
    -Shaker Cup With Protein Powder: No one enjoys a hangry traveller! Give yourself a protein boost by being prepared to whip up a shake during your travels! Just add water to your cup already preloaded with protein powder and you'll be good to go! 
     
    -Melatonin: It's not uncommon to find sleep a challenge while traveling. Interrupted sleep leads to a low immune system and no one wants to get sick on vacation. Melatonin helps with circadian rhythms which will help you sleep like a baby once you reach your travel destination. 
     
    -Sleep mask, ear plugs, travel pillow and comfy clothes: Speaking of sleep, if flying overnight be prepared! Block out the light and sound and let the gentle rhythm of travel rock you to sleep as you snuggle up with your travel pillow in your comfy clothes. 
     
    -Rescue Remedy: Last but not least, if you are an anxious traveller, calm those feeling naturally with Rescue Remedy. Rescue Remedy is available in tea bags so you can get a cup of hot water from the airport or flight attendant, enjoy a soothing cup of tea and say goodbye to those bad vibes. 

    • 19-06-2018

    6 Common Summer Health Concerns And How to Prevent Or Treat Them

    The Weather Network is expecting a hot and dry summer across Western Canada. If the last few days are any indication we are definitely in for a hot one! Many of us Vancouverites spend the winter months complaining about rain and counting down the days until we see beautiful blue skies and warm weather. As much as we love the summer, many of us aren't quite prepared and our health can suffer! Luckily, New Westminster Naturopathic Physician Dr. Allana Polo is here to address some summer health concerns.

    "Summertime is my favourite time of year, the sun is shining and people are outdoors getting active," says Dr. Polo. "As fabulous as Vancouver summers are, they also brings quite a few common health concerns that can be dangerous if left untreated. Luckily most of these concerns can be prevented before even happening and if you miss preventing them, there are some great natural remedies that will get you back feeling 100%."

    6 Common Summer Health Concerns And How to Prevent Or Treat Them:

    1. Sunstroke
    Prevent It: Plan out your outside time by looking up the UV index for your city by the hour. This is a great website for doing that. Seek shade or plan to be indoors during peek UV times and enjoy sun time during hours where the UV Index is lower.
    Home Remedy For Sunstroke: Drink lots of fluids including water and beverages like coconut water that are high in electrolytes, potassium and magnesium. Place cold towels on the neck.

    2. Sun Induced Headaches-
    Prevent It: Stay hydrated and wear hats that will block the sun from your eyes and UV protecting sunglasses.
    Home Remedy For Sun Induced Headaches: Rehydrate your body. Spend time in a cool dark room with a cool compress over your eyes.

    3. Mosquito Bites-
    Prevent It: Make natural bug spray using oils that repel mosquitos which include cinnamon oil, lemon, eucalyptus and citronella. Eat foods high in vitamin B1 which are thought to change our smell and repel female mosquitos.
    Home Remedy For Mosquito Bites: Dot bites with oil of oregano or tea tree oil. Rub with a wedge of lemon. Reduce inflammation with ice.

    4. Sunburns-
    Prevent It: Avoid peek UV index times and stay covered in sun shelters, with cool loose clothing and sun hats.
    Home Remedy For Sunburn: Take a cool bath with oatmeal or baking soda. Apply aloe vera gel. Lay cool compresses that have been soaked in black tea on the affected areas of your skin.

    5. Food poisoning-
    Prevent It: Practice food safety and food handling best practices when preparing food for BBQ's and other summertime parties. Take note of how long food has been sitting out and if it's been properly chilled or heated.

    Home Remedy For Food Poisoning: Drink ginger tea. Don't take immodium, let your body pass it. Alkanize your digestive system by mixing 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar with hot water and drinking. Load up on probiotics to restore the harmony of your gut health.

    6. Bacterial Infection from public hot tubs or pools
    Prevent It: Avoid going in the water if you have an open cuts or sores. Know the hot tubs you are using and how they are cared for. If they aren't cared for properly, avoid them.
    Home Remedy For Bacterial Infection: Treat topically with natural antibacterial agents like tea trea oil and oil of oregano. Treat internally by consuming garlic and probiotics.

    • 05-06-2018

    Dr. Polo's Healthy Travel Tips

    Now that summer is almost here, many of us are hitting the road and roaming the world. In all the excitement of booking travel plans, packing and dreaming about adventures to come, it can be easy to forget about sticking with healthy habits. Travelling doesn't mean you have to give up on your health goals! New Westminster Naturopathic Physician, Dr. Allana Polo is here with her favorite tips for staying healthy while on vacation!

    "Going on vacation does not mean you are going on vacation from your healthy habits and lifestyle ways," says Dr. Polo. "If you view vacation as a free for all, you’re more likely to come home feeling lethargic, up a few pounds and not rested from your trip, when you should be returning feeling the complete opposite. Don't be one of those people who comes back from their travels saying that they need a vacation to recover from their vacation. Stay on track with your goals so you're sure to come home feeling energized and motivated that you can be healthy no matter where you are in the world."

    Dr. Polo's Healthy Travel Tips:

    Plan ahead- Scope out healthy restaurants and grocery stores, view menus and create a "meal plan" before heading on vacation.

    Book a place to stay with a kitchen- Preparing some of your meals yourself will allow you the freedom to eat the way you eat at home, eat local produce, and save yourself thousands of hidden calories.

    Scope Out The Hood- The first day you arrive, take a walk around the neighborhood and check out your cafe, restaurant and grocery shopping options. Also ask staff at the hotel about their favorite healthy places to grab a bite!

    Be Active Whenever You Can- It''s tempting to grab an Uber or hop on a sightseeing bus when visiting a new city, but consider doing exploring by foot! Rent a bike or strap on a pair of sneakers and get that calorie burn up while travelling.

    Schedule Workouts- Just because you are on vacation, doesn’t mean you have to skip your workout. Most hotels will offer a pool or gym. Try for 30-minute workouts where your heart rate is elevated and you work up a sweat. That’s all it takes!

    Find the Other Pleasures- Remember why you are travelling in the first place. Whether you are exploring ancient ruins, or lying on a beach in Costa Rica, focus on the pleasures of vacation that have nothing to do with food and everything to do with relaxation and new experiences.

    Kick Your Sight Seeing Up A Notch With Added Weight- Whether your visiting the Eiffel Tower or strolling the beaches of Maui looking for sand dollars, strap on a pair of ankle weights or wrist weights while walking and sight seeing for an extra metabolic boost!

    Practice 80/20... or 75/25- Chances are you've heard of the 80/20 rule. Eat healthy 80% of the time and treat yourself the other 20. When on vacation nutrition is often the first thing to fly out the window, often as soon as we get to the airport. Don't deprive yourself, enjoy your vacation, but treat yourself 25% of the time and make healthy choices the rest of the time.

    Skip Tapas and Appies in Favor of Backpack Snacks- Stock up on healthy snacks at a local grocery store or health food store when you arrive at your travel destination. Pre-plan your snacking for throughout the day. Eat a healthy snack 30 minutes to an hour before you go out to eat. You are much more likely to order too much food an unhealthy choices when you look at a menu while starving versus when you have a bit of food in your tummy.

    Take the stairs- Make a game of taking the stairs wherever you go. Skip the elevator at your hotel and go up and down the stairwell instead. Even if you are staying on a high floor and you can't imagine walking all the flights up, walk down the stairs to burn a few extra calories.

    • 24-04-2018

    Dr. Polo's Tips For Spring Cleaning Your Health

    1. Set S.M.A.R.T. Goals- Specific. Measurable. Attainable. Relevant. Time-based. 

    2. Replace habits, don’t eliminate- Instead of cold-turkey quitting potato chips, replace them with something healthier that satisfies your crunch cravings. Like almonds or roasted chickpeas. This also helps you navigate social settings where there might not be a healthier option. Having a few potato chips at a party is no big deal if you have replaced them in all the places you can control, like your kitchen pantry.

    3. Remember your WHY- Coming back to your ‘why’ in your moments of doubt or deflation can be the thing that sets you back on track. Are you working toward better health so you can enjoy watching your kids grow up? Put a nice family picture up near your treadmill at home. A visual reminder can sometimes be more effective than a mantra or vision in your head. But decide what works to help you remember your why.

    4. Find support- Perhaps it’s an online community, family members, friends or colleagues. Find sources of support that you can check in with or who will check in with you as you journey toward your goal. Better yet, enlist them to join you and be in accountability partnership!

    5. Stay accountable to yourself- Keep track via apps, a diary or a chart to track your progress. I find that those who monitor their own behaviour ultimately do a better job of sticking to their initial plan.

    6. Limit your goals- Choose 1 or 2, not 10. This keeps you from getting overwhelmed and gives you enough time to make progress. Successfully modifying even 1 or 2 areas of your life can have a positive effect on other areas. Your quality of life can change with just a couple simple moves in the right direction.

    • 26-03-2018

    Let's Talk Poo

    Imagine you are handed a note every day with a message about your health. It indicates how well your digestive system is working, if there are signs of growths or other abnormalities in your intestines, if you are drinking enough water and much, much more. Now imagine not even looking at that note and flushing it down the toilet instead.

    You wouldn’t do that, would you? So then, don’t flush your poop without taking a peek! New Westminster Naturopathic Physician, Dr. Allana Polo is here to explain.

    "Your stools tell you a lot about what’s happening inside based on their colour, size, shape, frequency, texture and smell. There are many factors that affect your ‘number two’: your diet, your hormones, medications you are taking, and how much sleep and exercise you’re getting," says Dr. Polo. "Learning what is ‘normal’ for you based on some of these factors is a vital part of living an optimally healthy lifestyle. For example, you don’t need to be alarmed if you have a red tint in your stool if you recently ate a lot of beets, or cranberries or had something that had a red food colouring in it. However, if you are not accustomed to eating those foods and are suddenly finding red in your stools, you should speak to your healthcare professional."

    Take a peek at this poop chart:

     

    If you’re on the constipated side, there are a number of things you can do to soften your stools. Drinking more water and being more active are common options to start with. I would recommend those two action items as overall beneficial for you anyway. As well, take a look at your fibre intake. Are you eating enough fruits, vegetables and legumes to keep your stool soft and easy to pass?

    On the other side of the spectrum, you may have diarrhea more often than you realize. Diarrhea isn’t always just water passing through without any solids. It’s also the solid matter that falls apart when it hits the water and is really mushy. This is saying something as well and it’s important to know what could be going on. Some really common issues could be an overgrowth of yeast in the gut and large intestine, bacterial overgrowth, food sensitivities, difficulties with digesting certain nutrients, eating a diet high in fat or grease, or even a lifestyle that induces too much stress.

    Did you know that the gut is where the immune system ‘resides’? It's true! So that's why it's extra important to take good care of yours.

    A naturopathic physician can get to the bottom of your poop problems by running food sensitivity and IgG blood tests, creating an elimination diet, and suggesting probiotics, digestive enzymes and glutamine which are restorative and healing for this incredibly important system.

    Our body relies on the strength of our digestive system to fuel the rest of it so this is never something we should take lightly. Even when it’s embarrassing to talk about poop, it is an insightful conversation to have with a naturopathic physician. When you’re in the habit of looking before you flush, you have a lot to bring to the table for your own health.

    • 22-03-2018

    Dr. Polo's Take on Ketogenic Diet and Intermittent Fasting

    Halle Berry, Kim and Kourtney Kardashian, Kobe Bryant, Gwyneth Paltrow and Vanessa Hudgins... What do these people have in common (besides being gorgeous, rich, celebrities)? They are all shouting from the rooftops how they've never felt (or looked) better thanks to the popular eating trend-- The Ketogenic Diet. 

     
    The Ketogenic Diet and Intermittent Fasting have taken over the health and fitness world with promises of rapid weight loss without restricting calories-- who doesn't love a diet where you aren't going hungry? Those following the program are touting improved energy, mental clarity, regulated blood sugar levels and a rapid drop in blood pressure among other benefits. 
     
    Chances are you know someone who is raving about the Ketogenic Diet or Intermittent Fasting. It's hard not to jump right in when so many people are seeing such success, but how do you know if these eating trends are right for you?  Thankfully New Westminster Naturopathic Physician and weight loss expert, Dr. Allana Polo, is here break down who should try and who should steer clear of Keto and Intermittent Fasting!
     
    Dr. Polo's Take on Ketogenic Diet and Intermittent Fasting- What it is, who it works for and who should steer clear:

    The Keto Diet is all about getting your body into a state of “ketosis” which is an efficient fat burning state. You shift your calories to a high fat, moderate protein, low carb diet where your body no longer runs of glucose for fuel, but rather fat for fuel.

    Who Keto Works For: Keto is perfect for someone who wants rapid weight loss, hates to be hungry, is tired of counting calories, is ok sticking with the recommended foods without cheat days to keep body in a state of ketosis (aka no going back and forth between carbs and no carbs), is a big meat eater and loves foods high in healthy fat like salmon, avocado, nuts and coconut oil fat. People who love planning meals ahead of time and experimenting with new recipes will love the Keto Diet. It is also recommended for people with blood sugar problems, pre-diabetes or diabetes because it works great for balancing blood sugar levels. 

    Who Should Steer Clear of Keto: If you can’t tolerate fat, are vegan, vegetarian or almost entirely plant based, have a hard time sticking with a list of foods you can and cannot eat, or have issues with gallstones or have had your gallbladder removed keto probably isn't right for you. 

    What a Keto Day Looks Like:  A typical day may begin with eggs and bacon, with a side of avocado or tomato, along with a bulletproof coffee. Lunch may be a salad or steamed veg with a piece of protein and an olive oil dressing with shredded cheese on top. Dinner could be roasted salmon and broccoli with a low carb cheesecake for dessert!

    Intermittent Fasting (also known as IF) IF is very different than Keto, but may offer the same benefits. Your sleep is better, your skin clearer, your mood happier, your digestion smoother, but it always involves some level of shortening or restricting your daily “eating window” so that your body is constantly pulling energy from the food you are taking in, forcing your body to use stored fat for energy. 

    Who Intermittent Fasting Works For: Intermittent fasting is perfect for someone who wants to lose weight rapidly, is tired of counting calories, tends not to be hungry in the morning and skips breakfast most days, who prefers to eat a few larger meals instead of grazing on smaller meals and snacks throughout the day, is ok being hungry and not giving into the temptation of nighttime grazing in front of the tv.  

    Who Should Steer Clear of Intermittent Fasting: Steer clear of IF you have blood sugar or hypoglycaemia problems or concerns, if you have a high metabolism that needs to be fired with small meals and snacks throughout the day, if you can't imagine going without breakfast, if you tend to get hangry or have a hard time going hungry. Night owls might also struggle with this way of eating if they tend to consume a large amount of calories in the late evening and very early morning.

    What an Intermittent Fasting Day Looks Like: The most popular way to intermittent fast is called the 16/8 MethodMost people do this by fasting (aka not eating) after 8pm. They would skip late night snacking along with breakfast the next morning and then start eating again at 12:00pm with lunch and then dinner. All calories would be consumed within a 8 hour window between 12:00pm and 8:00pm. You can drink water, black coffee and other non-caloric beverages during your fasting window which can help with the hunger. People who do best with intermittent fasting tend to eat low carb, healthy meals during their eating window. 
     
    Other IF methods are the 5:2 method where you eat 5 days of the week and fast 2 days of the week, consuming just 500-600 calories on those days. The Eat. Stop. Eat. Method involves eating normally for 5-6 days a week and fasting by consuming no calories for 1-2 days of the week. The Alternative Day Method has you alternate between eating eating normally one day and consuming just 500 calories the next. 

    • 15-03-2018

    Spring cleaning your health goals

    January is a promising month, isn’t it? We check out of reality before Christmas and indulge, indulge, indulge during December, while looking forward to the new year the whole time. We know we have a fresh start when we switch out the calendar, and that extra reassurance gives us the confidence we need to jot down all the changes we will make to live healthier, happier lives. Whether you wrote down your thoughts secretly in a journal, shared them with an online accountability group or declared them to your loved ones on New Year’s Eve, there was something magical about anticipating the best year ever.

    And then came January. You fought in frustration for a parking spot at the gym (where did all these people come from?), made a meal plan the first week but by Wednesday realized you didn’t have enough ingredients, and signed up for a language class only to feel stressed out by this extra commitment in your daytimer. And on it goes.

    Did you know that 92% of people who make New Year’s resolutions break them within weeks? https://www.forbes.com/sites/dandiamond/2013/01/01/just-8-of-people-achieve-their-new-years-resolutions-heres-how-they-did-it/#71dba3e4596b So, if you’re on the brink of abandoning yours at this point in February, you are there with a lot of other people. But crumpling up your page of resolutions isn’t something to be ashamed of. The problem isn’t you but likely the types of goals you are setting! Before you throw in the towel, hit the reset button and be smart about it. Make sure the goals you set are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based. Apply each term to your goals, and read my tried-and-true tips below for a greater chance of success this year.

    Specific – Know exactly what you would like to achieve. Be specific when you describe it. For example, “I want to be stronger” becomes “I want to increase the weights I lift by 5 lb every 8 weeks for the next 12 months by training 3 days a week (Mon, Wed, Fri) with my trainer. I will re-evaluate this goal after 6 months.”

    Measurable – How will you know you have achieved this goal? In the above example, there is a clear outcome. If you are lifting 30 pounds more by the end of the year, then you have achieved this goal.

    Attainable – If you were to implement this goal, what is the cost to you? Do you have to sacrifice too much? Is it too much of a leap from where you are right now? It’s not a bad thing to aim high because as you work toward that goal, you will moving forward from where you are right now and therefore, still ahead of the game at the end of the year. But, being too far away from the end goal can be discouraging.

    Relevant – Is this what you actually want? Is this really important to you in YOUR life? Just because ‘reading more’ is on the list of Top New Year’s Resolutions of 2018  https://www.statista.com/chart/12386/the-most-common-new-years-resolutions-for-2018/, it doesn’t mean it’s for you. Before coming up with resolutions, come up with a list of your values and then choose goals that suit you.

    Time-based – Set a realistic timeline for when you want to accomplish each goal and sub-goal. This spurs action. However, the emphasis here is on ‘realistic.’ Setting a timeline that is stressful can negate any of the positive outcomes you want to see. The whole idea is to make your year more enjoyable, healthy, and prosperous. Give yourself a deadline but also enough time.

    5 Tips For Greater Success In Achieving New Year’s Resolutions

    Replace habits, don’t eliminate. Instead of cold-turkey quitting potato chips, replace them with something healthier that satisfies your crunch cravings. Like almonds or roasted chickpeas. This also helps you navigate social settings where there might not be a healthier option. Having a few potato chips at a party is no big deal if you have replaced them in all the places you can control, like your kitchen pantry.

    Remember your WHY. Coming back to your ‘why’ in your moments of doubt or deflation can be the thing that sets you back on track. Are you working toward better health so you can enjoy watching your kids grow up? Put a nice family picture up near your treadmill at home. A visual reminder can sometimes be more effective than a mantra or vision in your head. But decide what works to help you remember your why.

    Find support. Perhaps it’s an online community, family members, friends or colleagues. Find sources of support that you can check in with or who will check in with you as you journey toward your goal. Better yet, enlist them to join you and be in accountability partnership!

    Stay accountable to yourself. Keep track via apps, a diary or a chart to track your progress. I find that those who monitor their own behaviour ultimately do a better job of sticking to their initial plan.

    Choose 1 or 2, not 10. Limit the number of goals you set so that you give yourself enough time to make progress. Successfully modifying even 1 or 2 areas of your life can have a positive effect on other areas. Your quality of life can change with just a couple simple moves in the right direction.

    Yes, January is a fresh start. But really, so is today. If your resolutions aren’t coming together for you, today is a great day to sit down and figure out why. Use the smart method and the above tips to really nail your goals this year. Good luck and may 2018 be your best year yet!

    • 05-03-2018

    Food Sensitivity with Dr. Allana Polo

    I'm going to start this off by saying that what works for me, may not work for you, and it's best to work with a certified naturopath if you want optimal results with your overall health. Most of the procedures at Polo Health are covered by extended health if you have insurance!

    Although I've done a food sensitivity test years ago a lot has changed since then (I'm no longer a Paleo Crossfit Competitor for one) and I knew it was time to visit Dr.Allana Polo again for another check on my digestion. The thing about food allergies is that they don't always present themselves as a typical "rash" or visible inflammation. I noticed my food allergies presenting on my skin. 

    Skin is the largest organ and the toxins created by my inability to digest certain foods were unable to escape and cleanse my body properly. I noticed severe acne to the point that it physically hurt to touch my skin. I saw dermatologists and specialists, but I neglected to look within. I tried all the expensive lotions but I had to look at what was going on inside my body to properly take care of myself. 

    There are two ways you can determine what foods you may be sensitive to. One way is the Food Sensitivity test. It's a simple test where Dr.Polo pricks your finger, collects a small amount of blood, sends it away, and results are back in 7 days. Your blood is then tested against 120 of the most common allergens. 

    The second way is an "Elimination Diet", which is exactly as it sounds. You eliminate all foods that are known to cause issues in our digestion, then you reintroduce them one at a time for a duration of three days to see how you feel. 

    Whichever route you go, the most important part of the equation is that you're committed. That's the only way to achieve results with either of these options. Success meaning that you're feeling your absolute best. Digestive issues can present themselves as headaches, skin problems, gas, bloating and more. 

    Another tip I learned after my visit with Dr.Polo is that you can develop digestion issues if you keep eating the same food over and over again. A huge crutch for people who are heavily involved in the fitness industry is to meal prep, creating the same meal every day. Maybe your taste buds aren't getting bored, but your digestive track sure is. Make sure you keep things interesting when cooking for yourself or you may find that your "go to" meal is now making you feel sick your body isn't absorbing the nutrients it needs to. 

    The two most common procedures that Dr.Polo does at Polo Health is the Food Sensitivity test and hormone testing. Click HERE to book an appointment with Dr.Polo. I have a few more appointments lined up with Dr.Polo and I'll keep you posted on my journey. I'm looking forward to showing how you can let food by thy medicine. 

    Health is Happiness!
    Mandy Gill

     

    • 05-08-2017

    Anti-aging Nutrition: Beat the Clock with These Drinks

    With no proven effective way of stopping the aging process, those of us concerned with the toll time takes on our body’s functioning and features have to turn to how we care for our body to slow the process. While there may be no magic potion, there are drinks you can make part of your nutrition plan that will provide anti-aging properties, strengthen the body and offer beauty benefit as well. Here are three that are hot in 2017, and for good reason: they deliver antioxidant and healing properties that improve your immune system and benefit your skin, nails and hair.

    Bone Broth

    Bone broth is enjoying a moment in the spotlight, but we’ve always known it to be a drink that offers healing and strengthening properties: remember your grandmother’s chicken noodle soup? Chances are that delicious broth was made by boiling chicken bones to release the beneficial marrow from inside.

    Bone broth’s rich mineral composition strengthens the immune system. It contains beneficial collagen, which helps heal the lining of the gut and which strengthens and improves your skin and hair. Bone broth also contains a healthy serving of glycine, proline and glutamine. Glycine has been shown to slow the effect of aging. Proline supports the production of collagen, which aids in tightening the skin to avoid wrinkles. Glutamine helps remove toxins from the body, supports the immune system and aids the body in producing an essential antioxidant. As we age, our store of glutamine can deplete and when the body needs to tap into reserves, it has a drying effect that can be seen in the tone of our skin (muscle tissue thins, skin loses elasticity).

    Red Wine

    If a glass of wine at the end of a workday is your go-to for relaxation, you will rejoice in the news that a glass of red wine is actually good for you - from lowering cholesterol, supporting your heart to fighting cancer and stabilizing blood sugar. Red wine also has anti-aging benefits, thanks to it’s healthy dose of antioxidants called polyphenols, like resveratrol. Resveratrol acts to protect the body from damage by engaging a healthy inflammatory response, which can act to protect the skin from the effects of aging. Some of the effects of red wine can also be found in the very reason we turn to it after a long day: putting your feet up with a glass promotes relaxation. Stress has a lot of impact on the tone of our skin, and health of all our organs. So raise a glass, but be sure to practice moderation: one glass a day for women is recommended, and two glass for men.

    Collagen Protein Powder

    You may be familiar with collagen in skin care products for improving tone and suppleness. Ingestible collagen powder also has similar effects. Collagen is an insoluble protein, the most abundant in the human body and what holds the whole body together. As we age, our body’s production of collagen slows and the effects of aging can be directly tied to this reduced output - wrinkles, sagging skin. Women who consumed collagen once a day for eight weeks saw notable improvement in their skin’s elasticity and moisture. By fighting the loss of elasticity, collagen can also reduce cellulite and stretch marks.

    Collagen is found in bone broth, but can also be ingested in a power form. This can be dissolved in warm or cold drinks for easy consumption.

    Fight time with these powerful elixirs and reap the rewards of that glow from the inside out. Drink up to better aging!

    • 23-07-2017

    Healthy Eating Starts Early: Helping Teens Eat Right

    We all know the myths of adolescence: they sleep too much, party hard and indulge in fatty, fried and sugar-filled foods. As parents, we may feel our ability to control their lives, including their nutrition, is suddenly diminishing. While kids may be able to make unhealthy choices outside of the home, it is still very much advised that we try our best to instill healthy values in them within our control. And now science is underlining why this is so important.

    A study from the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health found that a higher intake of dietary fiber in girls during adolescence, reduced their breast cancer risk later in life. The greatest apparent benefit, as revealed by a large and long-running study of women’s nutrition, was found amongst women who ate larger quantities of fruits and vegetables in adolescence. The high intake of fibre during adolescence was found to reduce overall risk of breast cancer by 16%, and to reduce the risk of breast cancer before menopause by 24%.

    This is an important finding that goes to underline why it is crucial that parents provide their kids with a foundation of healthy nutrition. Not only does it guide their own choices as they are afforded more agency in adolescence and young adulthood - it sets them up for a lifetime of healthy choices -  but it is now increasingly clear that early lifestyle factors influence long-term health outcomes.

    More research is clearly needed to tease apart why an increase in beneficial fiber reduces breast cancer risk. The authors suggest fibre-rich foods may reduce estrogen levels in the blood, which are linked with the development of breast cancer. What I find most interesting about this study; however, is the importance it places on nutrition choices starting at a young age. I encourage parents to gather the resources and support systems they need in order to provide healthy and balanced food options beginning in babyhood, through childhood and into adolescence. Bring only healthy and nutritious food into the home, and provide balanced meals that can be shared together as a family. Children will come to love the food that is provided to them most often (yes, they will request carrots) and there is a place for treats as occasional indulgences. Foster a healthy relationship with food yourself, and model nutritious choices. Always be aware that they are watching! And that your choices as parents today, and their choices from adolescence onward, affect and shape their future health outcomes. 

    • 19-06-2017

    A New Member of the Polo Health Family

    We are used to welcoming new practitioners to our professional team, but this summer we welcome a smaller sweeter addition: a new baby in our family.

    Dr. Allana Polo is expecting her first child this August, and will be leaving for maternity leave on July 20th.

    During her absence, which at this time will be through the fall, Dr. Safia Kassam will take over working with all of Dr. Polo’s patients and any new weight loss referrals.

    If you would like to see Dr. Polo for an appointment about your health, before she leaves to have a baby, please book your appointment now (they are filling up fast).

    After July 20th, Dr. Kassam looks forward to working with you to meet all of your health needs. The rest of the team is also available, and while Dr. Polo takes care of her family, others will be taking care of patients and the clinic. Business is as usual, with our regular hours and services being offered.

    Please join us all in congratulating Dr. Polo and her husband on this impending arrival!

    To make an appointment with Dr. Polo, Dr. Kassam or another team member, call our office, or use the button below to book your appointment online. 604-544-7656.

    ** Dr. Safia Kassam, Naturopath

    ------------------------------------------------------------

    Dr. Safia Kassam is a licensed Naturopathic Physician certified in intravenous therapy, Bowen therapy, acupuncture, and holds pharmaceutical prescription rights in BC. At present, Dr. Kassam has a focus in digestive disorders, including SIBO, as well as hormone imbalances, and weight management. Dr. Kassam is a professional member of the Canadian Association of Naturopathic Doctors (CAND) and BC Naturopathic Physicians Association (BCNA). Dr. Kassam is a sports enthusiast. She grew up playing competitive fastpitch softball, floor hockey, and basketball and is an avid Vancouver Canucks and Seattle Seahawks fan. She also enjoys spending time with her nieces and nephews, and traveling.

    • 25-04-2017

    Grains Making You Gain? Why These Superfood Grains Are Making You Gain Weight

    Most people have heard it: “Stay away from gluten!” The rise in gluten-free products, and mainstream accommodation of this common food allergy, sensitivity and now life choice, has us all aware of how gluten can be harmful for some, and cause discomfort and repercussions for others.  In our world today, gluten has been given a bad name. I am not at all surprised or disappointed gluten has a bad rap: I think many people show signs of gluten-intolerance, undetectable on even our most sensitive tests of intolerance. For example, people who show unexplained weight gain, or difficulty losing weight, have seen a lot of improvement on a gluten-free diet. Gluten intolerances may show no symptoms, but cause water retention and bloating.

    Move over wheat, thanks to your demise there are other grains enjoying time in the spotlight. And not to rain on this grain parade, but I do want to point out that these so-called super grains may not be all good, for all people.  

    I’m talking quinoa. I’m talking rice (white, whole grain or wild).

    These grains have been called superfoods, and they are healthy for many people. Quinoa is the only grain that is also a complete protein, making it a balanced choice for vegetarians or those who wish to have less meat in their diet. And rice has been a staple in cultures around the world for centuries. Both of these grains, however, can create digestive difficulties for some people. And this really isn’t talked about, like it should be.

    People who are unable to properly digest gluten may find they are also unable to properly digest quinoa and rice. The inability for the body to break down these foods can cause conditions like leaky gut - where a worn-down then porous gut lining allows food particles to escape into the bloodstream. The body’s response to foreign particles is to launch into attack mode. People with leaky gut can develop auto-immune conditions.

    Those people who experience leaky gut are also likely to show digestive upset from many foods, which they were otherwise able to eat with ease. We know that the body’s inability to break down certain foods leads to water retention and bloating. This excess water looks and feels like weight gain, leaving many people puzzled why their “healthy” diet means they are gaining weight, or can’t shed the excess pounds.

    If you suspect your body is not tolerating quinoa or rice - either because of chronic digestive upset, unexplained weight gain, a difficulty losing weight or auto-immune symptoms, switch to a paleo diet, which includes meat, vegetables and fruit. Give your body at least 6 weeks to show improvement. If this does the trick, it’s best to stay away from grains and adopt a diet that better suits your body. If you don’t see any improvement, go ahead and enjoy your quinoa. It might just be your superfood. Learn more about weight loss.

     

     

    • 18-04-2017

    Weight Loss Support Group Provides Many Benefits

    On the second Monday of each month, Polo Health + Longevity holds a FREE Weight Loss Support Group. The group is led by me, Francesca Tomas, RPC. I am one of the counsellors here at Polo Health + Longevity. I specialize in depression, addiction, and disordered eating, which is why I wanted to create this group.

    If you are already part of the Facebook group, Polo Weight Loss Group, you may have found support online among the members there. But regardless of whether or not you are on Facebook, coming to the in-person meetings is a great way to tangibly meet others who are on a similar journey, where you not only receive support, but have a chance to offer support to your peers as well.

    Anyone who is on a journey toward better health through weight loss is encouraged to join. There are countless benefits to attending a support group, that extend beyond what you might think of when you hear the words “support group” and in particular this group has grown into something so much more.

    Studies show that a support group can reduce stigma and feelings of isolation. Many members who come to the group talk about hearing their own struggles in another person’s story, or about how they did not realize other people thought or acted the same way they did. It is comforting to know that you are not alone. 

    Not only do you have the support of your peers, but as mentioned, the Weight Loss Support Group is facilitated by me, so when you come to these sessions, you receive professional guidance and care from a certified counsellor as well.

    The Weight Loss Support Group offers the opportunity to learn new things about yourself as well as your peers. We often hear that individual realizations are made when listening to someone else’s story. Something they say might resonate with you or “click” in a way that didn’t make sense before. Being part of the Weight Loss Support Group may be able to give you valuable insight that you may not have reached on your own. 

    When you feel supported by your peers, you feel less alone in your goals, fears, and struggles. Often this gives you a much needed lift that can really help propel you on your journey. One client said that being part of the Weight Loss Support Group, has helped her make recognitions within herself that have made the difference in her success, after years of trying to lose weight on her own. 

    The Weight Loss Support Group acts as a sounding board for the members who attend. Peers share their successes, struggles, and the lessons they’ve learned. Members often are able to shift their thinking from using words like “failure”, to talking about the lessons that are born from any setbacks. It is motivating to see the great ideas and healthy coping skills that group members come up with during these sessions.

    All in all when you share your story with others, you find that you are able to put your struggles and your successes into words, which may have been difficult to do on your own. You make realizations and find insights that you hadn’t before, and you may even be able to finally pinpoint the very reason you struggle with food. But most importantly, in a Weight Loss Support Group session, you are likely to discover that the struggles you have been facing are less about dieting or food itself, and more about how you view or feel about yourself deep down.

    Once you’ve identified the reason through the Weight Loss Support Group, you will have a built-in network to sound off on ideas for creating healthier habits and coping skills, which is more likely to lead to permanent results. 

    If you’re ready to meet people who are in the same struggle, share ideas, and create a healthier way of living, sign up for the next Weight Loss Support Group by calling the clinic! 604-544-7656.

    Find out more here.

    Francesca Tomas RPC, RTC

     

    • 31-03-2017

    Coping with Allergies this Spring

    The cold and wet weather we've experienced this winter has caused early allergy symptoms for some people. You don't have to suffer through the season. Here are my tips for coping with spring allergies:

    - Use Netti pots and saline rinses to keep the nasal passages clear and to prevent sinus infections and pressure build up, which can lead to headaches;

    - Keep windows closed to prevent pollen from flying in, and dust from outside;

    - Try an Air Purifier inside the house;

    - Dust/vacuum regularly;

    - Avoid dairy as it is mucous producing and can exacerbate congestion;

    - Avoid Sugar. Sugar causes inflammation and weakens your immune system;

    - Try Quercetin and Vitamin C. Both are natural anti histamines.

    - We sell supplements that will help! Come on in and see us.

    Dr. Allana was also on Roundhouse Radio recently talking about seasonal allergies. Did you miss it? Have a listen here.


    If you have tried these tips but still struggle with your symptoms, book an appointment. Call our office, or book your appointment online. 

    604-544-7656. 

    Here's to your health, always!

    Dr. Allana Polo & The Polo Health Team

    • 23-03-2017

    Maintaining Mental Wellness While Traveling: A Guide

    Spring break season is upon us, and summer is quickly approaching. With the promise of warmer weather comes the tantalizing dream of getting away for a few days on a sun-soaked vacation. However, the allure of seasonal travel hides the reality that going on vacation is never as simple as the commercials make it seem, especially for those that struggle with chronic anxiety or depression.

    The idea of going on vacation may leave you with questions. Is it safe to go on a trip that keeps you away from your regular support group? Can you cope with the changes in your routine that travel will cause? Let's look at some of the ways that traveling can trigger anxiety and depression, and look at what you can do to ensure you experience the best trip possible, no matter what.

    Traveling Is Stressful For Everyone

    As much as we all go on vacation to get away from the stress of our daily lives, there's no denying that the process of traveling comes with its own set of difficulties. Leaving your daily routine to travel is full of uncertainties for everyone, but the things that stress one person out might have little effect on another, meaning that the pressure of catching flights, navigating an unfamiliar city or trying to speak a new language might heighten your stress levels to the point that your anxiety or depression might become worse. 

    For this reason, if you know that you're susceptible to anxiety attacks or are familiar with days when getting out of bed feels like too much effort, it's important to take some extra planning steps before leaving on your vacation to ensure you stay healthy and happy.

    If this sounds like you, here are some important considerations you should make for your health before starting your trip.

    Dealing With Depression

    When you suffer from depression, it can quickly take over much of your life. You don't have to let it control your travel dreams too. About eight percent of Canadians experience bouts of depression throughout their lives, but there is plenty you can do to keep it from compromising your trip. Below are some tips that will help you keep your spirits high while traveling to prevent a depressive mood from settling in. 

    - Travel during the day: Depressed people often find it hard to motivate themselves in the mornings and evening, so plan your trips during the daylight hours as much as possible. Not only does this match your body's natural rhythms, it also helps you adjust better to time zone differences.

    - Stay away from excessive alcohol: Nothing can wreck your travel mood more than overdoing it on alcohol, especially if you mix your booze with anti-depression meds. Work hard to moderate yourself, and you'll feel better throughout your trip.

    - Be realistic about your energy levels: If If you've been struggling to find the energy to get out of bed at home, don't book a busy trip that never allows time for a break. Instead, keep your schedule manageable and focus on living in the moment. You'll get the recharge you need without pushing yourself beyond what you can handle.

    - Stay on a routine: Routine is essential for staying healthy, but traveling can quickly throw your daily schedule out of whack. If you struggle with depression you need to go the extra step to keep their routines as functional as possible. Make sure you bring all your medications with you, and set alerts on your phone to remind you to take them at your normal time.

    - Bring enough medicine with you: Careful planning beforehand will prevent you from experiencing an antidepressant shortage later on. Make sure to bring all the medication you need beforehand and have a letter on you from your doctor explaining that you need it for medicinal reasons. This will make it easier to get through security.

    Coping With Chronic Anxiety

    While travel can be a stressful experience for just about anyone, it can be positively paralyzing for those that suffer from chronic anxiety. Roughly twenty five percent of Canadians will suffer from an anxiety disorder during their lifetime, and many people allow it to control what they can do. You don't need to live like this. It's more than possible to enjoy a trip if even the idea of stepping on a plane fills you with dread, but you'll need to take some important steps to keep your anxiety under control.   

    - Visualize Your Trip Beforehand: If the idea of navigating an unfamiliar city leaves you in a panic, take the time to think through every step of the process before you even leave. This creates circuits in your brain that it will rely on during the real time, making it a less stressful experience in the long run.

    - Practice Breathing: It's easy to start hyperventilating without even realizing it, so work to keep your anxiety under control by taking slow, deep breathes every time you feel your pulse start to quicken.

    - Pay For Stress-Reducing Services: No need to feel guilty if you opt for a fancier hotel or fast track passes to get to the front of lines; any money that you spend to reduce your travel anxiety is money well spent. Opting for a massage or exercise class is also a great idea.

    - Bring Your Comfort Clothes: Looking classy while traveling is overrated. Instead pack your favorite pair of sweats and the big blanket that always keeps you feeling safe. Not only will you stay more comfortable on the trip, you won't have the pressure of putting an outfit together.

    In Summary: Seek the Guidance of a Professional 

    Everyone can benefit from a break away from their daily lives, and you shouldn't let your concerns about depression or anxiety keep you from taking the trip you crave. These common conditions are no reason to not take a vacation, so long as you carefully plan out a strategy for staying healthy.

    Before you make your travel plans, it's always smart to talk with your mental health care provider to get tips and advice. If you live in the New Westminster and Surrey, BC area, I am more than happy to meet with you and discuss some health solutions for traveling. To learn more about Follow Your Own Star Counseling or to schedule an appointment, you can get in touch at http://www.followyourownstarcounselling.com/contact/

    • 19-02-2017

    CKNW Health Series with Dr. Allana Polo

    CKNW is celebrating wellness with a health series and they've turned to Dr. Allana Polo for help and advice. 

    You can listen to each interview on CKNW. Here is an overview of Dr. Allana's appearances.

    The Power of Turmeric

    Listen

    Excerpt:

    “Turmeric is the new buzzword food,” explains Dr. Polo, who says you can get it both in powder form for cooking or as a capsule as a supplement.

    The substance is derived from a plant in the ginger family.

    “The active ingredient that we’re also concerned about – or really interested in – is actually curcumin. It’s the main active ingredient which holds the most inflammatory and anti-oxidant potential. The beautiful thing about turmeric is that in all the recent studies and journalism [and] medical information that we have, it’s really effective against inflammatory conditions, like arthritis.”

    Polo says research shows it can actually match the effects of some specifically anti-inflammatory medications people are taking.

    Nutrients for Brain Health

    Listen

    Excerpt:

    Another, she says, are Omega 3s.

    “Which are fatty acids like salmon or fish oil capsules. The beautiful thing is your brain is 60 per cent fat. By incorporating good fat into your body, you’re just helping the neuronal connection and communication within the brain.”

    Another good option are antioxidants, says Dr. Polo.

    “You can take antioxidants through a capsule, or you can do it through food: dark, rich, colourful fruits and vegetables. Antioxidants are really important because your brain requires oxygen to function, and if you have a lot of free-radical damage, or if there’s a lot of oxidative stress in the brain, then these antioxidants are really helpful for brain function.”

    Fruits like blueberries and strawberries and vegetables like spinach and broccoli are all rich in antioxidants.

    Beyond simply boosting your brain function, Dr. Polo says nutrients like Omega 3s and antioxidants can have both preventative and restorative effects on your grey matter.

    Reduce Your Meat Intake

    Listen

    Excerpt:

    People say one of the best ways to improve your overall health is to reduce the amount of meat that you eat. For a lot of people, that is difficult. But is that even true? Do we eat too much meat?

    Dr. Polo says the short answer is… not necessarily.

    “It’s not that we’re necessarily eating too much meat; it’s the quality of meat that we’re eating. So it’s too much red meat that we’re eating. It’s saturated fat, and it’s also now pumped full of hormones and chemicals, and growth factors that we weren’t eating years ago. So I think the quality of the meat has changed, and I do think the studies that are coming out are showing the importance of a plant-based diet for longevity and health and heart disease and obesity…high cholesterol and diabetes,” she says.

    What are superfoods?

    Listen

    Excerpt:

    “Society is becoming so much more mindful about what the nutrition of food is, what we’re putting into our body, and how helpful that is. I think last year it was kale; kale was on the map for a while. And then it was chard, then cauliflower, goji berries, acai berries… basically these are all fresh, colourful vibrant fruits and vegetables. They’re rich in antioxidants..."

    Incorporating Healthy Oils into Your Diet

    Listen

    Excerpt:

    “There are some oils that are saturated, so we don’t want to use that,” says Dr. Polo.

    But while you stay away from those, she says there are a group of healthy, unsaturated oils that are both delicious and good for you.

    “The really great ones to incorporate into your diet, because they’re a lot higher in Omega 3s and Omega 9s – which are anti-inflammatory – are avocado oil, flax seed, macadamia nut, olive and coconut oil,” Dr. Polo says.

    • 31-01-2017

    Slow Down - Chew - Enjoy Life!

    I had an “aha” moment last night while eating my dinner. I caught myself with too much food in my mouth at one time, and realized that I needed to slow down and chew my food more thoroughly.

    This is a microcosm of my life lately. Last fall, after a particularly busy few months, my body started to give me signals that I needed to slow down my pace of life. Thankfully, I have listened to my body – I took a week off, and have upped my self-care with walks, relaxation, baths, reading, meditation, and eating slowly.

    And, very importantly, I am making sure to incorporate these self-care gems into my everyday life.

    Back to chewing. Chewing our food is very under-rated in our society. Life seems to be about moving fast - rushing to and from work/activities, fast food, eating breakfast on-the- run, lunch at the desk, etc.

    With such busyness in life going on, it seems like there is no time to eat. Well guess what? These priorities are screwed up!

    Eating is the sustenance of life, and deserves to have a place of high priority with mealtimes carved out as part of our day. As a colon hydrotherapist, I constantly get to see, through the view tube in the equipment, what comes out of the other end of the digestive tract.

    And, just like your dentist knows if you have been flossing or not, I know if you have been chewing your food thoroughly or not! I have to say that I see a lot of undigested food, or rather ‘unchewed food’, sometimes very identifiable like mushrooms, nuts, seeds, red pepper.

    I so often find myself talking to clients about their chewing habits. It is amazing how people pay attention when they see for themselves their own unchewed food being eliminated!

    Problems arising from not chewing thoroughly include:

    - improper digestion from eating too fast and not calmly;

    - lack of digestive enzymes from the saliva because food is not staying in the mouth long enough;

    - not getting the nutrients from these pieces of food that are not breaking down;

    - undigested food in the GI tract can lead to a condition called ‘leaky gut’ which can also contribute to allergies;

    - the ileocecal valve between the small and large intestine is forced to stay open wider to allow these foods through which can lead to intestinal problems.

    We CAN slow down our chewing, and we do this by retraining ourselves.

    Here are the chewing tips that I have taught to thousands of people:

    1. Look at the size of the bite of food that you are about to put into your mouth. It should be approximately 1- inch in diameter, no bigger than a loonie. If you put in a huge mass of food, there is no way that you can chew it all thoroughly!

    2. Put your fork down between each bite, and do not pick it up again until we have swallowed this bite. Simple but not easy! We are so busy getting our fork ready with the next bite and drooling over how good it is going to be. Think about it though – we are so NOT in the moment, we are actually trying to be in the next moment by anticipating it. Putting our fork down forces us to pay attention to what is in our mouth right now, the texture, how much it is chewed. Believe me, by staying mindfully in the present moment, you will even taste the food more! That is a fabulous benefit.

    3. Do an experiment and Count Your Chews. First of all, put a bite into your mouth, and count how many times you chew it by doing your regular way of chewing. Secondly, put another bite into your mouth, and this time count to 40 chews. I have heard anywhere from 25-50 chews, so experiment with how many you need. The food in your mouth ought to be chewed to a consistency of a paste or a liquid before swallowing.

    “How we digest food is how we digest life” Have you heard this before? I felt shocked when I read this statement. Having had my share of digestive challenges in my life, I immediately knew it was true. Helping our digestive system by slowing down and chewing thoroughly extends health and well-being to every area of our life. So let me ask you, “How are you digesting life?”

    Susan Kinross

    Certified Colon Hydrotherapist

    • 23-01-2017

    What is Distal Acupuncture and What Are the Benefits?

    Distal Acupuncture

    By Aleksandra Wroblewska

    Occasionally when I treat patients, confusion arises over why I am not placing needles in an area of pain.  For example headaches and other head pain are often treated by needling the hands and feet. 

    Traditional Chinese Medicine has different systems of treating patients' concerns. Local acupuncture points can be chosen, other times your acupuncturist will use a logic behind the meridian pathways in how to treat you.  Using points that are at the periphery of our limbs to treat areas closer into the body is referred to as distal acupuncture.

    Placing needles in your body communicates to your body tissues and encourages the body to function in a healthy way.  Think of how many structures are at work inside of you: skin, fascia, the nervous system, the lymphatic system, the electrical system, the endocrine system, muscles, connective tissue, blood vessels, bones and so on.  This network of tissues is why we can have influence on one part of the body by working on another.  Acupuncture needles direct Qi and blood to areas where it is needed.  Qi is often translated as energy or life force.  Consider how we need food and oxygen to stay healthy.  Healthy blood and energy is necessary to move the nourishment to all of the tissues in our body.  Our cells also conduct electricity.  These are all the different ways in which Qi plays out inside of us.

    Benefits

    Practitioners may favor using a distal needling style for a few reasons.  Primarily treating from the elbows and knees towards the digits gives ease of access to the working areas of a patient's body.  For newly aggravated injuries such as a sprained ankle, needling away from the inflammation is best to avoid re-injuring the area.  Distal needling is very effective at relieving pain quickly as well as treating chronic and internal conditions.

    Above are uses for commonly used acupuncture points.

    Learn more about acupuncture at Polo Health here.

     

    • 13-12-2016

    Use Them Before You Lose Them! Are Your Benefits Expiring?

    It is hard to believe that the end of 2016 is almost here. With the close of another year, this is an excellent time to remind you to use your benefits ... before you lose them! This is also a great time to remind you about all of the services Polo Health has to offer, and how we can make you feel good throughout the holiday season and into 2017.

    - Avoid the New Year rush and jump start your weight loss today. We offer Naturaopath supervised weight loss programs and hormone balancing;

    - Get rid of built up waste with a colonic: now just $85. 

    - Get your skin holiday ready with our Medical Aesthetics services - Botox, Fillers, Microneedling, Microdermabrasion, Chemical Peels, Latisse, Clarisonic, IPL Laster and PRP (not currently covered by your benefits).  

    - Get an energy and immune boost with our IV Therapy. You need it this time of year!

    - Address the underlying emotional causes for your mood, disordered eating or illness. Make an appointment with our Clinical Counsellors.

    - Try Accupuncture and cupping for a variety of conditions. It will make you feel great, and improve your health.

    - And more including pain management, childhood disorders, women's health and skin conditions.

    There are so many great reasons to come in and see us! Book your appointment now to avoid disappointment. We book up fast at the end of the year, as so many people know just as you do now that benefits are running out! Call our office. 604-544-7656. 

    Here's to your health, always!

    Dr. Allana Polo & The Polo Health Team

    • 05-12-2016

    Heading into the Holidays - You Need This!

    Heading into the Holidays……. feeling.....

    BLOATED?     GASSY?     DIGESTIVE DISTRESS?

    With the holiday season upon us, life gets busier and full with more shopping, cooking, baking, eating, drinking, socializing, parties and family celebrations.  While all of this is done in a spirit of festivity, it can often take a toll on our health – making us feel not only tired or stressed or overwhelmed, but also can easily lead to digestive discomfort.  Indulging in fatty and sugary foods and drinks we don’t regularly consume, overeating at holiday meals, plus the faster pace of preparing for the holidays – these are all stressors that affect our digestive system.

    At this time when it is probably most important, self-care often goes out the window.  One way to help ourselves prepare for healthier holidays is to have Colon Hydrotherapy.  Many people have been helped by this method to feel lighter, to reduce or eliminate bloating, gas and abdominal discomfort, and to feel renewed well-being.  An added benefit of colon hydrotherapy is that it makes us more aware of our “insides”, and of what our body really wants us to feed it.  This is a huge bonus at this time of year as we are inundated with foods and treats that are tasty yet are unhealthy and make us feel yucky.  I often hear from people who say that Colon Hydrotherapy is the best thing they ever did, that it has changed their life.   

    This is the time you want to feel your best!

    So give yourself the gift of Colon Hydrotherapy this season

      

    Susan Kinross                                                                                                                                                        

    Certified Colon Hydrotherapist                                                                                                                                   

    Polo Health + Longevity Centre

    • 16-11-2016

    Meal Planning + Why You Should Throw out This Diet Rule

    Dr. Polo has written two articles that now appear online at HuffingtonPost.com.

    In the latest article, Dr. Polo gives you a refresher course in meal-planning and how it can help you manage a busy winter schedule. Many families find themselves running from activity to activity in the winter. It is also a time when we can become less creative around breakfast and packed lunches, after months of using up our energy there. 

    Here is an excerpt:

    Whenever possible, cook more than you need at dinner time so you have easy to grab lunches the next day. Casseroles and soups can be toted to school in a thermos and extra grilled meat is perfect for a rice bowl or ploughman's lunch. Extra rice can be rolled into seaweed for sushi. Moving your lunch prep to dinner time will also smooth out the hectic school routine.

    Jot down a few tips when you read this article

    In another article, Dr. Polo is sharing weight loss strategies based on her work in-clinic helping hundreds of patients each year shed substantial amounts of weight. One myth she confronts often, as it is ingrained in her patient's belief system, is that breakfast must be eaten immediately upon rising. Dr. Polo challenges you to consider what you need over when you eat, saying our food choices and listening to our own bodies is more important. This is a must-read for anyone who is currently facing weight loss or maintenance challenges, or really a primer for anyone on the way habits and associations govern us.

    Here is an excerpt:

    If you are trying to lose weight, intermittent fasting may be helpful and valuable, too. In this case, and if your body responds well, I suggest aiming for a 12-hour period in which you abstain from food. What does this look like? The exact timing depends on your individual body -- for some this might mean ceasing food at 6 p.m. and not hitting the breakfast table until after 6 a.m., but for those who eat dinner later, this might mean 7 p.m. to 7 a.m., or even 9 p.m. to 9 a.m. The key is to find YOUR ideal schedule, and this isn't something a health-care provider or diet book can tell you.

    Read the article here.  

    Read all of Dr. Polo's articles on Huffington Post. 

    Do you have a topic you want Dr. Polo to address in her articles? Please reach out with your idea.

    • 19-10-2016

    Surviving the Sugar Binge this Halloween: The Best and the Worst Halloween Treats

    Halloween is just around the corner; for many kids and adults alike it has become a holiday that offers an excuse to eat candy - lots of it. 

    So what’s wrong with all of that sugar? Lots, actually, including increased risk for diabetes, heart disease and cancer, mood-altering effects and suppression of the immune system. You know how kids can seem to bounce off of walls when they have too many treats? Sugar is supplying them with artificial energy but what goes up, must also come down. The sugar crash post-Halloween should give us all concern. Here are some of the worst offenders, which are chock full of glucose fructose, dyes, colouring, sugar (of course) and no nutritional value like fiber and protein.

    Candy to Avoid:

    Candy Corn

    Twizzlers

    Crispy Crunch

    Starburst

    Skittles

    Butterfinger

    Caramilk

    What can you do instead of indulging, or letting kids indulge in the treats? You can choose healthier alternatives to candy. We’ll share a few ideas with you here. And if you are going to have a few or many (we know it’s hard to resist), there are some less sinful choices. We’ll give you the lowdown on that too.

    Healthier Alternatives:

    Real Fruit Gummies

    Glosette Raisins or Peanuts

    Seaweed snacks

    A Juice Box (100% fruit)

    Apple Sauce in pouches

    Lara Bars

    Cliff Bars (they even make mini ones)

    1 bag Skinny Pop Popcorn

    The switch technique: Ask kids to save a few of their favourites and then turn in the rest in exchange for a toy instead. Donate the unused candy items.

    And if you really must indulge, try the least sinful of the bunch:

    3 Musketeers

    • At 63 cals a small bar, it also isn’t filled with caramel or peanuts. The inside is lighter and fluffier and therefore has less sugars and calories than other candy bars.

    Tootsie Roll

    • At 50 cals a roll, it can satisfy the chocolate fix with fewer cals than a chocolate bar

    Peanut M & M’s

    • At 90 cals a pack, these peanuts are loaded with protein and fats that keep us full and energetic plus fiber in the peanuts make it a better choice than plain M & M’s

    Reese’s Mini Cups

    • These have 88 cals for 2, fewer calories than a Reese's cup. Plus the small wrapping makes it harder to open (so you might eat fewer). The peanut butter provides protein

    Raisinettes

    • At 67 cals per serving, the sweetness of the raisins give you a sugar fix, plus the fiber in raisins make it a healthier choice

    Kit Kat Chocolate Bar

    • Each has 70 cals. The wafer middle gives you a satisfying crunch, with less calories for a lighter choice

    Crunch

    • With the rice krispy pieces it is a lighter option and comes in at only 60 cals

    For adults, those little candy bars can haunt you everywhere - at the grocery store they beg to be bought, someone has put them out at work. Because they are little, you think one, two or a dozen can’t hurt! I was on Global TV recently sharing how many calories are in some of your favourites, and what you have to do to burn those excess calories off. In case you don’t want to add 150 situps and 490 Jump Rope Jumps each time you reach for 2 bars, it’s best to keep them out of your sight and reach as much as possible.

     

    Dr. Allana Polo'sThink Before You Treat.jpg

     

    If you do plan on indulging, be sure to increase your vegetable and water intake pre and post Halloween, and to increase your level of activity to counteract increased calorie consumption.  Get plenty of sleep as well to support your immune system, which will take a hit with all of that sugar. Post-Halloween get right back on track with a balanced and healthy diet.


    Do you have a candy soft-spot at Halloween? What are some of your strategies for avoiding a sugar-overload in your house?

    • 20-09-2016

    What is Acupuncture and How Does It Work?

    By Aleksandra Wroblewska, Reg. Acupuncturist

    Acupuncture’s Broad Reach

    Traditional Chinese Medicine has been in existence for over 3 000 years.  The combination of acupuncture, herbal medicine, food therapy, Qi Gong and Tui Na massage are each intended to facilitate homeostasis.  When we look at illness as a departure from a balanced place in one’s body, we can see how supporting the body’s systems would aid in its recovery.   

    A common inquiry into acupuncture has people asking: What is acupuncture for?  Acupuncture is widely known but its applications aren’t.  Pain relief is most commonly associated with treatment. Although pain relief is a common treatment, acupuncture has wider applications such as: allergies, insomnia, headaches, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, constipation, conception support, digestive problems, Bell’s Palsy, stress management, seasonal attunement.  

    The Art of Diagnosis

    When a patient comes in for an acupuncture treatment, their tongue, pulse and general appearance will be observed.  Along with this, the group of symptoms displayed will be taken into consideration for their final diagnosis and treatment.  The key to Chinese Medicine is a precise diagnosis. 

    Treatment

    Once a treatment plan has been constructed specific to the patient’s concerns, hair-fine needles are gently inserted into various acupuncture points around the body.  Clients have a chance to rest for 20-40 minutes while the needles do their work.  People often report different sensations in their body and a general feeling of relaxation. 

    The number of treatments depends on whether an issue is acute or chronic.  For more acute cases, 2-3 treatments a week for 2 weeks may resolve their concerns.  Some patients choose to come in for a tune up once or twice a month.  This is an opportunity to give the body some time to recalibrate and address any issues that may have come up since their last visit. 

    If you would like to learn more about acupuncture, or to book an appointment, please call the clinic. 

     

     

    • 28-06-2016

    Summer Ready Skin

    The long hot days of summer are here and all that sunshine has us thinking about helping you get and maintain that healthy sun-kissed glow. Sometimes though summer can wreck havoc on our skin: creating breakouts, signs of premature aging (from over sun exposure) and sunburn from too much sun. Protect your skin all summer long by investing in a good skin care routine that includes cleansing, exfoliation and sun protection (Read tips here).

    It is also a good idea to look at ways you can ease damage already done, such as if you have signs of aging on the skin or are concerned with skin blemishes and conditions. We offer many services - from wrinkle reduction to Clairisonic deep cleansing to combating problem skin with naturopathic remedies. Ask us about tattoo removal too!

    Here's a sample of the Aesthetic procedures and support for summer ready skin you can find at Polo Health.

    BOTOX

    This is an extremely effective procedure for reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, in particular those caused my facial movement (crow's feet, forehead wrinkles).

    Learn more.

    RENEVA DEPIGMENTATION TREATMENT

    Treat hyperpigmentation, sunspots, melasma and promote even skintone with this microdermabrasian chemical peel system with antioxidant and exfoliant properties. It will reduce fine wrinkles, improve skin tone and reduce pore size.

    Learn more.

    DERMAL FILLERS Dermal fillers are a popular anti-aging treatment because of their range of application and ability to ‘reverse’ signs of aging such as volume loss, deep wrinkles, and sagging skin.

    Learn more.

    PLATELET RICH PLASMA

    Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy is in high demand as an anti-aging procedure that mingles advanced technology with the body’s natural capability to heal itself. In this procedure, the very own patient blood is separated into its active serum and platelet parts, that are then mixed with Calcium Chloride and injected into the wrinkles, folds and areas that need to be corrected.

    Learn more.

    LATISSE®

    Allergan, the makers of Latisse®, has created a wonderful product that can extend length and volume to thin and sparse lashes. Latisse® solution is the first FDA approved easy-to-use at home treatment, to improve eyelash growth. When Latisse® is applied on a daily basis, eyelashes can become longer, fuller and darker. There has been a growing interest in this product ever since it was introduced due to its extraordinary results. Latisse® is a safe, convenient and non-invasive cosmetic procedure. It is the only lash growth product of its kind and is available by prescription only.

    Learn more.

    LASER/IPL

    Photo Rejuvenation – Intense Pulse Light (IPL) uses a visible light that very effectively improves many of nature’s imperfections. Treatments can be done on the face, neck, chest, arms, hands and back.

    Learn more.

    CLARISONIC

    We sell the Clarisonic skin cleansing device, which can cleanse your skin 6x better than your hands alone. It is gentle for everyday use.

    Learn more.

    FOR COMPLICATED SKIN CONDITIONS

    Our team of Naturopaths and Integrated Medicine Doctors are also available to help you heal from acne and other skin conditions.

    Learn more.

    Book Your Appointment

    • 24-05-2016

    Is Colon Hydrotherapy for me?

    You’ve heard of Colon Hydrotherapy….yet don’t really know what it is.  Or, maybe you have never heard of it.  Most people cringe the first time they hear about it.  Yet by the time they have heard the words ‘colon hydrotherapy’ three times, often their curiosity is piqued and they start to wonder….hey, maybe that would help me!  My mission is to educate people, just like you, about colon hydrotherapy – what it is and what the benefits are for you. 

    What is Colon Hydrotherapy?   

    Just as the name implies, colon hydrotherapy is a safe and gentle cleansing of the colon (or large intestine) using body-temperature purified water.  The water flows in and out of the colon, softening congested material and then flushing out the accumulated waste and toxins.  The process is administered by a professionally trained and certified therapist.  Your privacy is always respected, and most people find this to be a relatively comfortable experience.

    Detoxification   

    The colon is one of the main channels of elimination of toxins from our body.  In our world today, we are exposed to many sources of toxins – from the food we eat, the water we drink, the air we breathe -eg: vehicle exhaust for one, medications, food additives, and the list goes on and on……..so many harmful chemicals.  It is important that our colon be clean and functioning optimally, to be getting rid of this onslaught of chemicals that are all around us in our society.  A lot of toxins end up in the colon, and colon hydrotherapy is an extremely beneficial detoxification method.

    Who is it for   

    People come in for colon hydrotherapy (also called a “colonic”) for a variety of reasons. Certainly a fair share of people with less-than-ideal bowel function seek it out, and do find relief and improvement, ie: constipation, diarrhea, bloating, gas, IBS, yeast overgrowth, parasites, etc.  Many others choose to use this process as an aid to cleansing.  Whether following a structured cleanse, a weight-loss program, or simply cleaning up the diet by eating only clean, whole foods, colon hydrotherapy helps to rid the body of unwanted toxins.  Other reasons include skin rashes/conditions, lack of energy and for pre-colonoscopy preparation.

    How I can feel after  

    People report feeling more hydrated, lighter, cleaner, improved bowel regularity, more energy, mental clarity, clearer skin, and an overall sense of well-being.  Many people say it is like a RESET for health.  An added bonus is that it also makes people feel more aware of their ‘insides’, and aware of what they are putting into their body.

    About myself  

    I am now in my 10th year of practicing Colon Hydrotherapy, and it has been such an incredible gift.  It was over 20 years ago that I first received a series of colon hydrotherapy sessions for myself, and it literally changed my life.  After decades of a constipation tendency, I finally found out how vital, light and alive I was supposed to feel!  I have never looked back and still have colonics in a maintenance way.  And as a colon hydrotherapist, I feel grateful and fulfilled every day as I assist and support others in being able to free themselves up to live their lives with a renewed sense of vitality and well-being.

    Susan Kinross, Certified Advanced Colon Hydrotherapist                                                                                                             National-Board Certified

    Book an appointment. 

     

     

     

    • 18-04-2016

    Polo Health + Longevity Centre Supports the Purple Lights Campaign

    The week of April 18-25 is designated as ‘Violence Against Women Awareness Week’ and you will see purple lights in Polo Health + Longevity Centre as well as several businesses in downtown New Westminster.  The Purple Lights campaign is put on by Monarch Place Transition Place – a transition house for women and children fleeing domestic violence under the organization W.I.N.G.S. (Women in Need Gaining Strength).

    This week long campaign is held to bring awareness of the impact of domestic violence on women, children, families and ultimately on the community of New Westminster.  Every year the mayor of New Westminster makes a declaration in City Hall that New Westminster stands against Violence against women and as a community will support women and children fleeing domestic violence.  The week culminates with a vigil on the steps of City Hall.

    COME AND BE A PART OF CHANGE IN OUR COMMUNTY!  

    Given the statistics of domestic violence, this proclamation may seem like a small action in the face of such an overwhelming problem BUT all change is incremental in the beginning.  The phrase “nothing changes until something changes; once something changes, everything changes” certainly applies here.  By bringing awareness to the need for services for women and children, we as a community begin the process of meeting those needs. 

    You can support the Purple Lights Campaign by making donations directly to Monarch Place or you can leave a donation with the receptionists at Polo.  Also, please consider joining us at the vigil on  April 25th 2016 at 5:30pm on the steps at New Westminster City Hall

    There are strings of Purple lights available for a donation of $20 and bracelets are available for a donation of $1.00 at Polo Health + Longevity Centre. 

    Two of the clinical counsellors who work at Polo Health + Longevity Centre also work at Monarch Place.  Marianna Kavanagh is a Child Support Worker and Margaret Hearth is a Multicultural Outreach Worker.  Both of these counsellors have also worked to facilitate groups for women. Bringing the skills of working with families in crisis into their repertoire in working at Polo is yet another aspect of meeting the vision of Polo Health + Longevity Centre – to provide multidisciplinary, holistic care to the community.

     

    • 13-04-2016

    What is Integrative Cancer Care?

    Welcome! I'd like to quickly introduce myself.

    I am Dr. Crystal Wells, a naturopathic physician, and I have recently joined Dr. Allana Polo and her team as an associate at Polo Health. I spent the last 3 years practicing in Toronto and am very excited to be settling into a practice on the beautiful west coast!

    One of my key focuses in practice is in Naturopathic Oncology. I was trained by members of FABNO (Fellows of the American Board of Naturopathic Oncology) to provide adjunctive cancer care for patients before, during and after their conventional treatments. Cancer, being very near and dear to me, has inspired me to build a career focussed on offering those with cancer a sense of hope, empowerment, and control over their lives and the treatment they choose to follow. During my time in Toronto, I held a discussion series at Wellspring Cancer Centre, a community-based centre for cancer patients and their families to receive support and awareness of available complementary cancer care treatments.


    What is Integrative Oncology?

    The goal is to improve quality of life for the patient at any stage in their cancer. I believe in treating the whole person- mind, body and spirit, and providing this support to both the patient and their families. Treatment is evidence-based, non-toxic, and patient-centred. Care is collaborative, and communication with other members of the patient's healthcare team allows for the best outcomes.

    At Polo Health, I have designed a cancer care program. Although all patients receive an individualized treatment plan, our program provides the tools to optimize patient-centred care (the patient is at the centre and their values, needs and preferences guide the clinical decisions).

    On their first visit, my patients usually come with one or a number of loved ones. We go through a thorough assessment, review reports, and go through some of the treatment options. As their complementary cancer care provider, I will always suggest what I feel is best for the patient, however the patient is always in the driver's seat when it comes to making treatment-based decisions. The therapies offered within the program are evidence-based and non-toxic to support the healing power of the body. Therapies and dosing will depend on where patients are in their conventional treatment (chemo, radiation, surgery) so as to not negatively impact this treatment.

    These therapies are (but are not limited to):

    Intravenous vitamin C (IVC)

    High doses of vitamin C are administered directly into the bloodstream to achieve larger concentration in the blood as we by-pass gut absorption. At high doses, vitamin C accumulates in the cancer cells and acts as a pro-oxidant. Hydrogen peroxide accumulates in the cancer cell, causing the cancer cell to burst (apoptosis). The outcomes include: - slow cancer progression - improved energy and sleep - decreased nausea and improved appetite - improved quality of life.

    Mistletoe therapy

    European mistletoe is the most unconventional cancer treatment used in Europe. Through direct cytotoxicity (cancer cell death) and inhibition of tumor growth and metastasis, the most significant outcome is increased survival. Additionally, we see improved quality of life (appetite, sleep, energy, pain, mood, and tolerability to chemo), and decreased side effects to conventional treatment.

    Clinical Nutrition

    Patients are offered a specific supplement regime with goals of improving tolerance to conventional treatment, decreasing side effects, improving cytotoxicity (cancer cell death), and improving overall quality of life.

    Dietary counselling

    All patients receive an individualized diet plan based on their needs and their presentation. 

    If you or a family member have at any point been diagnosed with cancer, please feel free to contact us at Polo Health. I offer 15-minute complementary consults as a meet and greet to discuss options that best suit you from within our program! I look forward to meeting and journeying with you on the road to cancer wellness!

    • 09-03-2016

    Releasing the Weight

    By Dr. Allana Polo, N.D.

    A good friend of mine and I had a discussion about this topic, and I can truly say this was an “A-HA” moment for me. It makes so much sense and is so inspiring and motivating,  I just had to share the concept with you to help us better understand weight and weight loss. This post is about changing your mindset about weight loss, along with dealing with the judgement from others that comes when you mention you are “losing weight.”

    Weight “Loss” has a negative connotation. Loss itself has a negative meaning. It suggests you have no control over what has been done. You lose your keys, you lose the remote, you lose your favorite scarf, and as a result you lose your mind! This word not only denotes a lack of celebration, but it amplifies a total lack of control. When you lose something, it is without thought, intention and usually more often than not, by accident. You lose something, you don’t know where it went, you are often upset and bothered. Why are we using this word to support a change in weight!?

    The choice to drop pounds is a very intentional one, a process that requires strength, determination, hard work and, in fact, complete and total control. The highest level of control actually. This should be celebrated with positive words and denote that YOU are the one that made the change and success happen. Perhaps if we did this, weight loss wouldn’t be viewed as such a negative thing and in fact, more people would celebrate it as opposed to pass judgment, when you are able to relay how proud you are of the results. It was by choice, intention and control.

    Releasing the weight is a much better expression in my opinion. Why? Because it is a personal choice, that you have decided that you no longer want to hold on to the excess weight you have on your body, and have consciously decided to release something that no longer serves you or benefits you in your life. 

    I have chosen to release the weight. Release the shame, release the burden that comes along with being overweight, release the stress and emotion linked to the weight, release the physical heaviness from your shoulders. Release is such a positive word, letting something go is so refreshing and unburdening and freeing. It means releasing something into the universe that you are letting go of and all that comes with it.

    What have you been doing? “I am changing my body”. I have decided to change the shape of my body. Again, you are in control of your shape and wanting to change what the shape looks like as opposed to losing the weight.

    Numbers are merely that, it's a number. Yet we are so controlled by this number. Nobody cares if the 1.5L of water you just drank weighs 3 pounds, or that you haven’t had a bowel movement in a couple days, or that you ate a large meal and have the weight of the food in your stomach. People are judged by a number and a loss of that number dictates success.

    We need to change the focus and take control back of the intention and work and dedication and power it takes to embark on a weight releasing journey. Are you with me? 

    • 02-02-2016

    Healthy Snacks for Superbowl Sunday

    Yes you can eat healthy, even on Superbowl Sunday! This celebration of sport and good company may seem like the perfect excuse to get "off the healthy train" and indulge in some bright orange cheese sauce or chips galore, but partying hard for your favourite team doesn't have to derail your commitment to healthy eating. Here we are sharing some delicious recipes for nourishing and healthy food perfect for the big game.

    Healthy Snacks for Superbowl Sunday

    Chocolate Football Bliss Balls

    1 cup raw almonds or Cashews or a mix of both

    2 tbsp cacao powder

    1 cup pitted medjool dates

    1 tsp vanilla extract

    ½ cup dark chocolate chips

    2 tbsp coconut oil

    1/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

    Honey or agave syrup to taste

    3 tbsp all Natural Peanut Butter

    Water or unsweetened almond milk if necessary to get to desired consistency

    Instructions

    1. Place the dates, vanilla extract and cacao powder into a food processor and blend until the mixture resembles a paste.

    2. Add in the almonds and pulse several times, until your desired texture is achieved.

    3. Add in the chocolate chips, shredded coconut, coconut oil and natural peanut butter and mix through with a spoon.

    4. Add in water or almond milk if necessary to get to desired consistency

    5. Roll into tablespoon sized balls and pop into an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.

    6. Roll into Football shapes and use white icing for the decorative lines on top.

    Crockpot Mexican Pulled Chicken with Lettuce Wraps

    This recipe is one of my favourites. it is quick, easy and delicious. Cooking with a crockpot means it is no fuss for game day!

    Pack of 8-10 boneless, skinless chicken breasts and thighs

    1 large jar of Salsa (I prefer Spicy for a bit of a kick)

    1 pack of low sodium taco seasoning, or a homemade blend of chilli powder, paprika, onion powder, fresh garlic and a pinch of cayenne pepper

    Optional: Chopped green peppers, Black beans or Canned corn

    Romaine lettuce leaves for your “wrap” (Can substitute with soft Corn Tortillas if preferred)

    Optional toppings: extra salsa, guacamole, shredded cheese, low fat sour cream

    Instructions

    1. Line the bottom of the crock pot with your raw chicken

    2. Pour the entire large jar of salsa over top the chicken breasts making sure to evenly coat the chicken.

    3. Add your pack of taco seasoning or individual spices to the mix

    4. If you want, add beans, corn or green peppers.

    5. Set your crockpot to low for 8 hours or high for 6 hours

    6. With an hour left in the total cook time, begin testing the chicken by taking fork and beginning to shred it. When done, it will naturally pull apart. If it is still too tough to pull apart, come back to it 30 minutes later until it easily shreds.

    7. Pull apart your lettuce into small cup size lettuce bowls.

    8. Prepare your sides of guacamole, sour cream and shredded cheese Remove the shredded chicken from the crock pot and serve in the lettuce wraps.

    Cauliflower Crust Pizza

    This pizza recipe has become incredibly famous for 2 reasons! It’s a healthier low carb option to traditional pizza and it actually tastes like the pizza you know and love! The key to making this pizza successful, is removing as much liquid as possible from the cooked cauliflower before baking it into a crust. Use cheesecloth if you need to, and drain the liquid a few times until it is as dry as possible. Make a healthy and light vegetarian pizza or throw on some delicious chicken breasts and BBQ sauce for a spin on your favorite BBQ chicken pizza.

    1/2 head cauliflower, coarsely chopped

    1/2 cup shredded Italian cheese blend

    1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley and oregano

    1 egg

    1 teaspoon chopped garlic salt and ground black pepper to taste

    Extra shredded cheese for the topping

    Marinara sauce for the topping

    Toppings you prefer (Mushrooms, spinach, tomatoes, chicken, peppers, onions)

    Instructions

    1. Place cauliflower pieces into the food processor and pulse until all the cauliflower is shredded creating a “rice like” texture.

    2. Place a steamer insert into a saucepan and fill with water to just below the bottom of the steamer. Bring water to a boil. Add cauliflower and steam until tender, about 12 minutes.

    3. Transfer cauliflower to a large bowl and refrigerate, stirring occasionally, until cooled, about 15 minutes.

    4. Preheat an oven to 450 degrees F.

    5. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

    6. Stir Italian cheese blend, parsley, egg, garlic, salt, and pepper into cauliflower until evenly incorporated.

    7. Pour mixture onto the prepared baking sheet; press and shape into a pizza crust.

    8. Bake in the preheated oven until lightly browned, about 15 minutes.

    9. Add your favorite toppings and marinara sauce and place back in the oven for another 10 minutes or until cheese is melted. 

    Quinoa Pizza Bites

    These healthy and delicious pizza bites are great for any super bowl party other fun get-togethers! You will never know these bite size treats are full of protein, fiber and other key vitamins and minerals.

    1 cup cooked quinoa

    ½ cup shredded cheese (I prefer tex mex with a slight kick)

    1 egg

    ½ teaspoon salt (to taste)

    ½ teaspoon ground pepper

    5 tablespoons of marinara sauce

    ½ teaspoon garlic powder

    3 teaspoons each oregano and basil seasoning (Fresh and chopped is ideal)

    Marinara Sauce, for dipping

    Instructions

    1. Cook the quinoa: Mix ½ cup uncooked quinoa with 1 ¼ cups water and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil first and then lower heat and cook on medium. Cook the quinoa for about 15 minutes until fluffy.

    2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

    3. Grease a 12 mini muffin tin pan.

    4. Mix all of the ingredients together.

    5. Put a tablespoon into each muffin tin, packing them in. Sprinkle extra shredded cheese on top with a dash of oregano

    6. Bake for 12-15 minutes.

    7.After baking, allow to cool on a wire rack for about 15 minutes and then remove from pan.

    8. Serve with Marinara Sauce.

    Enjoy the game! And the delicious food.

    Photo Copyright: fahrwasser / 123RF Stock Photo

    • 17-12-2015

    Reduce Stress and Enjoy the Real Spirit of the Holidays.

    By Francesca Tomas

    There are lots of distractions at this time of year. However, the real celebration of the holidays occurs when family, friends, and communities get together and share quality time. Try to simplify your preparations, minimize your stress, and maximize your enjoyment of this really special time.

    Do less, enjoy more

    Rethink your holiday habits. Be more selective this year if you normally overdo it with the shopping, cooking, sending cards, and going to every event. Focus more on the enjoyment and celebration and less on the minutia.

    Don’t try to be perfect

    Stop obsessing over making everything perfect. Focus on enjoying the people in your life. Don't worry about the small stuff and your holiday will be much more enjoyable.

    Don't focus on "the perfect Christmas day." It's a day to relax with your family or friends. Spend some time being present.

    Be Present

    Remind yourself "It's one day." For just one day, relax and be happy. Don't worry about debt, work, or anything else. It's one day, so just enjoy it. Today's moments are tomorrow's memories. These days will be your children's childhood memories and your memories of them as children.

    Eat and Drink Mindfully

    Enjoy the holiday decorations, the special dinner, and the holiday baking. Try to eat and drink within your concept of moderation. 

    Think Positive

    Don’t focus on any bad behavior around you. Celebrate with your family and friends even if they stress you out. You can't control what others say or do. You can control how you react. React calmly and smile. Commit to optimism and you can cope with the temporary challenges.

    Be Grateful

    Focus on the positive. Focus on what's going right in your life. Be aware of what you have to be grateful for.

    Appreciate the Thought Behind the Gift

    Keep your focus on thoughtfulness and caring instead of material goods. Open your presents with no expectations. It doesn't have to be an item that was on your list. Say something appreciative about everything. It’s the thought that counts.

    Be a Giver

    Give your time, items, or cash donations to people who have less. Sharing goods and goodwill brings us all together in the spirit of the holiday season.

    I hope that all of you have a very Happy Holiday!

    You might also like to read: 

    Holiday Wellness Tips

    Stress Relief Strategies

    How Stress Causes Weight Gain

     

    ©Francesca Tomas 2015

     

     

     

    Photo Copyright: citalliance / 123RF Stock Photo

    • 02-12-2015

    Holiday Wellness Tips from Vancouver's The Wellness Show

    Our own Dr. Andrea Gansner will be talking about skin health at the upcoming Wellness Show in Vancouver. What a great event for learning more about bringing health into your life. We are pleased to share wth you some tips for the Holiday Season, provided by other practitoners and businesses involved in The Wellness Show.

    Traditionally, December 1st kicks off the official beginning of the Holiday Season. This is a wonderful time of the year filled with family gatherings, parties, special events and wonderful food and drink. However, there can be stress associated with this time of the year. For some, stress and tension between family members and friends becomes more prevalent. There is also the temptation to spend more than we had planned on gifts and end up with huge credit-card bills in January. Additionally, we exercise less, eat and drink more throughout the month of December, leading to holiday weight gain. 

    We asked some of our 2016 Wellness Show exhibitors to share some tips to help you get through the holiday season unscathed. Here are some Healthy Holiday Tips from all of us here at The Wellness Show: 

    Get plenty of rest: Sleep-deprived bodies tend to gain weight more easily. This means not having alcohol later in the evening as it disrupts your sleep flow; avoid caffeine later in the day, and also foods that are high in protein, since your body has to work harder to digest them.

    Alcohol in moderation: When you decide you want a glass of wine or a rum-and-eggnog, drink a large glass of water first. For a festive cocktail, we love this holiday-themed Matcha Madness Martini, made with green tea powder from My Matcha Life. Matcha has been proven to aid in weight loss as it is packed with antioxidants and may also help to reduce stress. 

    Keep your exercise routine: Even if you're too busy to hit the gym or your yoga class, you can still exercise in other ways. Go for a brisk walk with the family or hike up in the hills in search of a Christmas tree. Lift bags of groceries! If you can stay active 3-4 days a week throughout the month of December, you will be light years ahead of those who don't, says Jennifer Browne of Fresh + Fit Vancouver. And you'll already be in a great routine in time for January's inevitable health kick.

    Portion control: Everything over the holidays looks delicious and we want to eat everything, says Kim Szymanski, in-house nutritionist for Nesters Market. The trick is to take smaller portions and then you can try a variety of foods.

    Eat a good breakfast: It really is the most important meal of the day! On days when you have a party to go to, feeling full of good, healthy foods will help you to stay on track at the buffet. These Banana Walnut Chocolate Chip Muffins are refined sugar free, vegan, and gluten free. The recipe comes from our friends at Hooray Truffles. As a bonus dark chocolate is packed with antioxidants and may help with depression.

    Supplement: With the lack of natural light and the incessant rain this time of the year, it's easy to get a case of the blues. Try supplementing with Omega-3 fatty acids (found in fish oil, avocados and Alligga Flaxseed cooking oil) and Vitamin D. Great for your brain, and will elevate your mood!

    Tame the frizzies: Cold, dry winter air can play havoc on our hair at a time of the year when we really want to look our best! Here's a tip from Carina Organics: Warm water opens your hair cuticles, enabling shampoo and conditioner to enter so that it can do its job. On the downside, too much heat can strip your hair of its natural oils and cause frizz. It will also leave your cuticles open, making them more susceptible to damage. A better idea is to start your shower with warm water and finish with a blast of cold. This helps to close the cuticle after you have washed your hair and seals in the moisture from your conditioner. It also helps to use a leave-in conditioner, such as Carina Organics Sweet Pea Leave-In Conditioner. 

    Moisturize: Our skin also suffers in the cold, dry air. Argan oil is truly versatile and can be used in many ways as a simple solution for all your rehydration needs, says Elizabeth Lesztak, Pharmacist at Pure Pharmacy. Naturally rich in antioxidants, essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals, it can be used as a facial serum, or add a drop to your favourite foundation or bronzer to add a more dewy glow to your holiday look. You can also use it as a hydrating exfoliator for dry lips: add a few drops to a sugar scrub, gently massage on the lips and rinse off. Instant silky smooth lips!

    Give the gift of experience: It's easy to get caught in the 'need more stuff' trap, but it creates more waste and is not good for the environment. Set budgets around Christmas gifts and stick to them. Consider giving the gift of an experience rather than an object; take your loved ones skating on an outdoor pond and bring along a thermos of hot chocolate. Time and attention are also powerful gifts focus on fun!

    Plan healthy meals in advance: When your schedule heats up in December, making sure that you are getting healthy meals on the table can be a big challenge. Take some time earlier in the month to plan, shop for and prepare healthy dishes that you can freeze. All you have to do is take one out and pop it in the oven. Alternatively, create pre-bagged and frozen ingredients for your slow cooker. Soups, casseroles and stews are all great options.

    If healthy living is on your 2016 to do list, we'd love to see you at the Wellness Show!

    The Wellness Show, Western Canada's biggest trade show dedicated to holistic living, takes place from February 12 to 14, 2016, at the Vancouver Convention Centre East, Exhibit Hall B & C, 999 Canada Place in downtown Vancouver. Tickets are $14.50 General Admission, $12.50 Seniors 65+ / Students with valid ID, $6.00 Children (5 and under free), and $30.00 3 ­ day pass. Tickets will be available online at thewellnessshow.com, or at the door.

     

    Photo Copyright: sarunyufoto2010 / 123RF Stock Photo

    • 25-11-2015

    Body Composition is More Than Just the Number on the Scale

    By Dr. Allana Polo

    What the scale shows as your body weight is not a definitive assessment of body composition.

    Body composition is used to describe the percentages of fat, bone and muscle in the human body. Because muscular tissue takes up less space in our body than fat tissue, our composition, as well as our weight, determines how lean we are. Two people of equal height and weight may look completely different from each other because their body composition varies greatly. In my practice I measure body composition using a bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA), which uses the resistance of electrical flow through the body to estimate body fat. These measurements are not only more accurate than various other methods of testing used, but they are extremely reproducible, making them excellent for monitoring weight loss programs, nutritional or exercise intervention, sports training or other body composition altering programs.

    Even after losing weight, you may be an ideal “number” on the scale, however your fat percentage may be too high and subsequently muscle mass too low, therefore producing unhealthy body composition. The excess fat is most likely visceral, meaning around the organs, and potentially the most dangerous kind of fat to have in terms of increasing risk factors for a cardiovascular disease.

    Having excess fat on the inside but looking normal on the outside may result in disease risks that are similar to those who appear overtly overweight. Where fat accumulates also impacts the degree of risk. Excess fat that is concentrated near the waist or abdomen—generally referred to as an “apple” shape— greatly increases the risk of disease. Just because you look thin doesn’t mean you are healthy! I have seen many “skinny” people huff and puff trying to get up a flight of stairs!   

    Consequences of an Unhealthy Body Composition

    Being obese or having an unhealthy body composition is often associated with serious health risks and consequences such as:

    - Heart disease

    - Stroke

    - High blood pressure

    - High cholesterol

    - Metabolic syndrome/ insulin resistance ( including high blood pressure, insulin and cholesterol)

    - Type 2 Diabetes

    - Joint and Back pain/ Arthritis

    - Respiratory problems

    - Kidney and liver and Gallbladder problems

    - Hormonal imbalances due to estrogen being produced in fat tissues

    - Sleep Apnea

    - Excess fatigue 

    As a general rule, a waist circumference greater than 40 inches for men and greater than 35 inches for women significantly increases the risk of metabolic syndrome.

    An Unhealthy Body Composition is easily reversible and can be changed with simple lifestyle modifications. It is not caused by solely one thing. Excessive fat accumulation can result from the imbalance between the calories ingested and the calories burned, a sedentary lifestyle or lack of physical activity, dietary habits such as a high-fat, high-sugar diet, overeating, excessive alcohol intake, hormone imbalance and other metabolic factors.

    Achieving a Healthy Body Composition

    A traditional approach to improving body composition includes exercise and reduced caloric intake, but nutritional supplementation may also offer additional, significant benefits. For example, one study comparing a doctor-supervised, nutrition-based body composition program to a popular, over-the-counter diet drink showed dramatically different results. Patients on the doctor-supervised program achieved 11 pounds of weight loss from fat and they actually increased their muscle mass. The patients on the over-the-counter diet drink lost the majority of their weight from muscle rather than body fat—despite being prescribed the same foods and exercise routine as those on the doctor-supervised program. This is a great reason to talk to your health-care provider about a program that helps you lose excessive weight.

    You have the power to shape your body for better health. Take the first step to achieving healthy body composition. 

    • 27-10-2015

    Treatments for ADHD

    By Dr. Andrew Eberding, N.D.

    For years people have been expressing concern about the number of children who are now prescribed Ritalin or Adderall for managing behaviour and concentration.  A question that should be kept in the back of every parent’s mind is, “Do these drugs really work?”

    When I ask this question, the parents of my patients often look at me stunned.  They tell me how much better behaved and focused their child is when medicated.  I think it is obvious in the short term children do have better attention and impulse control.  These are the facts that get distributed to doctors and patients’ parents, but is it the complete truth of the matter? 

    It is the long-term results which matter the most for the child and everyone around them. What most parents and patients have not been told is ongoing tracking of behaviour and academic achievement has shown disappointing results. Comparisons between treated and untreated groups show equivalent educational success and comparable behaviour after several years.  To make matters worse, people treated as children with these medications are smaller in adulthood compared to their peers and are subject to numerous other side-effects along the way (depression, high blood pressure, headaches and numerous others). 

    These drugs are actually stimulants, bringing up the question, “How does stimulating someone’s brain calm them down?”  Originally, experts theorized ADHD patients had different brain connections resulting in this contradictory effect.  But we now know this is not true as many healthy people (especially studying college students) have similar effects when they self-medicate to help focus.  Studies have shown that all children respond the same when medicated.  Basically, when given a boring or repetitive task to do people are more successful if they take a stimulant. However, the treatment does not improve a person’s ability to learn material.

    The problem that I see is the positive effects fade over time; the medication simply becomes less and less effective at making any difference in a helping a person function.  This is similar to the effects of caffeine; initially, it gives an energy boost but eventually, with prolonged use, you are boosting from a lower energy state than your original one. Indeed, you may be worse off then when you started, because you have adapted to its presence.  Stimulants’ effectiveness in treating ADHD is gone after 3 or more years when tracked by research.

    So where does this leave patients and parents who feel they need do something?  Giving children medications does not help manage the cause of the condition, yet the vast majority of research that is funded is targeting drug development.  This is not because there is a lack of interest in other treatments but designing and managing studies of other interventions is inherently more complex and costly.  Clinical experience has shown other changes, such as counselling, lifestyle and nutrition can make a big difference.  The challenge is the condition is caused by a single factor and without professional training it can be very difficult to determine what changes are going to have the greatest impact.

    As a Naturopathic Doctor who treats ADHD patients some of many issues I find in need of correction may include:

    -   Body Chemistry: This can only be determined through laboratory testing. Some examples are iron levels, electrolytes, excesses of metabolites, blood sugar management and thyroid hormone levels.

    -   Nutrition: Food sensitivities, imbalance in types of fats available, overexposure to food additives, insufficient individual vitamins and minerals and a deficit of healthy flora.

    -   Inadequate Detoxification Pathways: often due to constipation, overexposure, genetic vulnerability or organ dysfunction.

    -   Lifestyle factors: Sleep inadequacy, anxiety and stress management, activity levels and counselling may need to be addressed; these changes require more time and effort from the patient, the family and the society in general.

    This is just a framework and by no means covers off all the possibilities of changes that may be required.  As with any medical intervention, no two patients are ever identical.  Each patient presents a new puzzle to solve before a patient can achieve their optimum mental and physical state.  From my perspective, medications are simply a bandage that needs to eventually be removed; if you are not treating the underlying problem you might discover you are just masking the real challenge.

     

    • 21-10-2015

    How to Overcome Emotional Eating

    By Dr. Allana Polo, N.D.

    I always tell my patients dieting is just one piece of the puzzle. Anybody can follow a strict regimen if they really focus on it, but treating the underlying cause of WHY you are overweight, WHY you are turning to food when you are stressed out, sad, angry or bored is really the issue. WHAT void is that food filling? WHAT feelings do you experience when you overeat? These are all questions that need to be addressed in order to see lasting weight loss for a lot of people.

    You can take steps to control emotional eating and related cravings. Most communities have therapists or psychologists that specialize with disordered eating (and we do here at Polo Health). There are also programs like Overeater’s Anonymous that help target these issues. To help curb emotional eating, try some of these helpful tips:

    • Manage your stress- If you find yourself turning to food when you are stressed out, try something to relax such a meditation, exercise or yoga;

    • Stop and think about your hunger before eating- Is your hunger physical? Will eating something healthy curb your hunger? Or are you craving something bad for you?;

    • Keep a Diet Diary- Write everything down, no matter how small or how unhealthy. If you track your food along with your mood and hunger levels, it may help you see long-term patterns of how your mood affects your eating habits;

    • Reach for support- You may be more likely to give into urges if you don’t have a support system. Talk to friends and family and get them involved in your healthy lifestyle, let them help you make healthy choices. Call them if you feel the urge to eat and let them talk to you to help you through it;

    • Keep busy- You may notice that you snack when you are bored or distracted. Instead of mindlessly snacking, immerse yourself in something. Get busy around the house, or leave and go outside away from the kitchen and for a walk. Call a friend and do something enjoyable, but do not pace around the house and in and out of the kitchen;

    • Avoid Temptation- If you are known to give into cravings, get rid of junk and comfort foods from the house. If you do not have them on hand, they can’t be a problem. If you feel emotional, do not head for the grocery store. Make sure you are feeling calm and in control before being placed in front of snacks;

    • Avoid depriving yourself- When people begin to lose weight, they cut out major food groups, avoiding them like the plague and they end up eating the same thing over and over again. Does that sound like you? Unfortunately, this may make your cravings stronger and harder to ignore. If you let yourself enjoy an occasional treat along with more variety, you may find carvings easier to ignore when they happen;

    • Get adequate sleep- If you are not getting at least 6-8 hours of sleep, you may be turning to food for an energy boost. Take a nap or start looking at your sleep patterns;

    • Change your mindset- if you are craving something and can’t get it out of your head, switch your focus to something else. Look outside your window, glance at a picture on the wall, notice the flow of traffic outside, and watch a tree blowing or swaying, listen to your favorite song, or try to hear something laughing down the hall. This sensory input can help curb cravings by removing your focus on food in that moment;

    • Don’t beat yourself up- If you do have an episode of emotional eating, forgive yourself and start fresh the next day. Try to understand the experience and prevent it from happening again. Give yourself credit for making changes that will lead to better health, and understand that it is a process that will take time;

    • Try therapy- If you have tried self-help and other options, it may be time to consider seeking help from a medical professional who specializes in emotional or disordered eating. Therapy can help with a number of issues, including your motivation and coping skills.

    Always reach out for help when you feel overwhelemed by your relationship with food. Talking with your naturopath can help clarify your concerns and issues, so that a plan can be made for how you will meet your healthy life goals. You can overcome emotional eating.

    • 13-10-2015

    One Thought Away - Stress Relief Strategies

    By Francesca Tomas, RPC                                   

    According to the US National Safety Council, stress contributes to as much as 80% of all diseases and illness!  

    In our fast paced lives, it’s difficult to identify what triggers the unrelenting stress in our lives. We often contribute to our own stress by not questioning the filters we use to see and judge everyone around us.

    This is where I’d like to start.

    Dr. Wayne Dyer was a prolific speaker and a writer who challenged us to adjust our filters, and to lose our kneejerk thoughts and reactions. He asserted these patterns ultimately set us up for stress and misery. Wayne passed this August 30th.  His insightful lessons on how to live a happier more fulfilling life continue to inspire internationally.

    Here are a few of his most frequently quoted teachings:

    “You don’t attract what you want. You attract what you are.”

    This is the real law of attraction.

    “How people treat you is their karma. How you react is yours.”

    This encourages us to drop grievances quickly, to stop telling stories; to let go of the past, and to focus on what we know is real.

    “When you judge another, you do not define them, you define yourself.”

    It’s only when we stop judging that we can see, understand, and appreciate each other. 

    My favorite Wayne Dyer quote is:

    “You’re only one thought away from changing your life.”

    Wow! Many of us would love to change our lives. How do we choose that powerful one thought and change our life for the better?

    I challenge you to start this journey today. Here are some simple techniques you can start now to lose stress quickly and move yourself toward a more optimistic and promising future. Choose at least five of your favorites to do every day.

    - Call a close friend. – A quick conversation with someone you care about is often an instant mood booster.

    - Stretch. – When you feel stressed, get up, reach toward the sky, bend down and touch your toes, then stretch from side to side.

    - Go outdoors. – Get some fresh air outdoors to perk you up and clear your mind.

    - Take a light exercise break – Do a few of your favorite exercises to get your blood moving, or take a walk.  Even very moderate exercise reduces stress and re-energizes your mind.

    - Play your favorite song – Listening to music releases endorphins and makes you happy. It’s that simple.

    - Have a good laugh. – Watch a funny movie or your favorite stand-up comedian.  A good laugh stimulates your mind and gives you a renewed sense of optimism.

    - Take a few really deep, controlled breaths. – Deep breathing reduces stress, a source of fatigue, and increases the oxygen level in the blood. Inhale for five seconds, hold your breath for four seconds, and exhale slowly for five seconds. 

    - Smile more!! – Smiling, even if you’re not in a good mood, makes your brain THINK you’re in a good mood, and releases happy endorphins. Smile at strangers!

    - Express gratitude. – Expressing gratitude changes your brain chemistry! When you pay attention to the good things in your life, you experience a powerful effect.

    - Raise a real sweat - Exercise increases both dopamine and serotonin levels in the brain! Exercise daily to experience radical positive effects on your anxiety symptoms.

    - Help someone in need. –When you help improve someone else’s life, you improve your own life too.  

    - Act like today is an awesome day! – If you act like it’s awesome, it will be. Research shows that we often feel the way that we act. A great attitude always leads to great experiences.

    Try to integrate at least five of these stress busters into your daily life. I'd love to hear how it works for you.

    Greek philosopher Epictetus said "It's not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters."

    Most of us have experienced personal ups and downs. You can let this failure or upheaval derail you. Or you can take the healthier path, move on, and try a different more upbeat approach to accomplish your goals. I encourage you to take the upbeat path.

    Remember Dr. Wayne Dyer's advice: "You are only one thought away from changing your life."

    Photo Copyright: bialasiewicz / 123RF Stock Photo

    • 31-08-2015

    5 Ways to Make Summer Last All Year Long

    As our kids get ready to head back to class, summer and all of its fun is coming to a close. Soon we'll be warming up by the fire, and firing up our crockpots for harvest-inspired meals. 

    Don't worry! You don't have to lose the feeling of summer; keep it with you all year long with Dr. Polo's tips. She shared these recently on The Huffington Post.

    Read "5 Ways to Make Summer Last All Year Long"

     

    Photo Copyright: geraldas / 123RF Stock Photo

     

    • 06-08-2015

    Four Summer Foods Disguised as "Healthy" Choices

    You might think you are eating healthy ... but wait! Are you noshing on these four summer foods disguised as "healthy" choices? Dr. Allana's latest Huffington Post article is now published. Go and check it out!

    Read Four Summer Foods Disguised as "Healthy" Choices.

     

    • 15-07-2015

    How Stress Causes Weight Gain

    By Francesca Tomas

    Have you been trying to lose weight but you just aren’t seeing any results?

    This may be because of a culprit called stress. If your life is full of stress, your body is responding by cranking up your stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol can undo all of your weight loss efforts. It increases your appetite and cravings, it causes you to lose muscle mass, impacts your sex drive, and your bone density. It also can contribute to depression and memory loss. What's the take home message? Chronic stress makes you soft, flabby, and old before your time.

    Can you actually see the effects of cortisol? Yes, take a look at your waist. Cortisol causes abdominal fat – even in people who are usually thin. The link between cortisol and increased storage of abdominal fat has been confirmed by science.

    Extra belly fat is not just a bad fashion statement. It slows your metabolism and increases your risk for heart disease and cancer.

    The good news is that the answer to this problem is easy and it costs you nothing.

    Make A Commitment Today to Begin One or More of These Proven Daily Relaxation Techniques

    If you practice at least one of these techniques daily, you will begin to shift your body from the stress response to the relaxation response. When you do, your cortisol levels will drop and your body’s self-repair mechanisms get back to work healing you. You'll be able to say goodbye to abdominal fat.

    Set Up A Healthy Sleep Schedule

    Decide on a bedtime that will guarantee you will sleep 7.5 to 9 hours per night. Sleep deprivation makes us wake up with higher amounts of cortisol. Cortisol fuels appetite and increases our cravings, particularly for refined sugar and carb-laden treats, even when we've eaten enough. Poor sleep packs on the pounds.

    Researchers at the Stanford School of Medicine found that subjects who slept only five hours per night experienced an increase in their Body Mass Index regardless of diet and exercise. Good sleep actually helps you to lose weight by influencing the hormones that control your appetite and increase your metabolism. Sleep boosts leptin, the hormone that tells you it's time to stop eating.

    Laugh More

    Laughter and humor increase the release of your feel good hormones – endorphins and dopamine. Laughing increases relaxation and reduces pain, stress, and depression. Think of what tickles your funny bone and plan to see it, do it, or read it.

    Play with Animals

    Getting up close and personal with your pets releases your oxytocin, endorphins, and other healing hormones that support your body’s healing mechanisms. This is why pet therapy is so effective, both mentally and physically. It's now been proven to have the same positive effect on our pets. Pet your kitty or brush your dog every day to lower your cortisol dramatically. 

    Move Your Body

    Exercise is a powerful, well-studied way to burn off stress chemicals and heal the mind, so commit to the exercise you can stick with. A good workout has been proven to be better than or equal to prescription meds for treating depression. If you have physical issues that prevent you from vigorous exercise, you're not off the hook. Other powerful stress busters include body massage, yoga, meditation, and guided imagery.

    Optimize Your Nutrition

    Commit to a healthy diet. Make a list to take with you when you buy groceries. Avoid junk food, refined sugar and carbs, and fast food. Eat regularly to avoid the short-term stress of starvation on your body.

    Express Yourself Creatively

    Creative expression releases endorphins, improves your immune function, relieves physical pain and depression. It also lowers your cortisol, your heart rate, and your blood pressure, and slows your breathing down.

    Have a Healthy Sexual Relationship

    Those with healthy sex lives have lower cortisol levels. They also tend to live longer, have lower risk of health problems, look younger, have higher fitness and less pain, and enjoy an improved quality of life.

    Strengthen Your Social Network

    Connect with others by taking a class, joining a support group or an organization. Research suggests that having friends and a social network is more important to a healthy lifestyle than quitting smoking or starting to exercise. Joining a group is an easy first step to reduce your stress.

    Try to Resolve Stressful Situations 

    Don't let stressful situations continue on and on. This includes present dilemmas and remnants from your past. Decide to let go of grudges and past conflicts even if you were wronged. Forgiveness is a powerful stress reliever. 

    Practice Gratefulness

    Keep a gratefulness journal and use it every day. Write down three things you're grateful for in your life. Research has now shown this simple practice can reduce your cortisol by 23%.  

    These are a few ideas to get you started.  I hope you commit to practice one or more of these to ramp up your health and to accelerate your weight loss. 

    If you think one-to-one counseling might help you to transition to a less stressful lifestyle, I invite you to have a counselling session with me.

    Contact me anytime:

    Francesca@polohealth.com

    604-544-7657 or 604-314-8063

    Also by Francesca: Are you an emotional eater?

    9 Ways to Reduce Stress

     

     

    Photo Copyright: rostislavsedlacek / 123RF Stock Photo

    • 08-07-2015

    3 Embarrassing Summertime Problems

    As health professionals, we've heard it all. There isn't a question that hasn't been asked, or a way you can make us feel squeamish. There is no reason to be embarrassed to come with all of your questions, about chafing, gas and all perfectly normal bodily processes.

    Dr. Allana Polo shared a post on Huffington Post recently that features solutions to three common (and often embarrassing) summertime problems. Be sure to check out her tips for dealing with gas, chafing and foot odour.

    Read: How to Manage 3 Embarrassing Summertime Problems

     

     

    Photo Copyright: jannoon028 / 123RF Stock Photo

    • 29-06-2015

    Now on the Huffington Post: Secrets to Glowing Skin

    Welcome to summer! And to the renewed opportunity to embrace healthy eating, an active lifestyle, and healthy glowing skin. Not quite sure how to get that glow? Allana is sharing tips for summer skin care over at Huffington Post Living. It is her first submission there, but stay tuned for more great articles featured on the Huffington Post.

    Find out how to care for your skin this summer and achieve that glow! Read the post.

    Photo Copyright: rido / 123RF Stock Photo

    • 18-06-2015

    The Do's and Dont's of Summer Eating

    By Vanessa McKay, CNP

    Summer is here and if we are lucky that usually means tons of bbq’s, camping and beach days. Even for those of us that try to be conscientious about what we consume these settings can present some challenges. The traditional fare can include hamburgers, hotdogs, potato and pasta salads, soda pop, ice cream and popsicles, just to name a few. Now, I’m not suggesting you eat like a rabbit and avoid your favourite summer foods at all cost but there are some tips I can share to help you to stay healthy, hydrated and energized for the warm months ahead.

    Staying hydrated is paramount! It’s not just the heat; we tend to be more active with hiking, biking and water sports too.  Let’s take a look at some things we consume that may be dehydrating us:

    Alcohol: I’m all for a little summer fun! A cup or two of water for every alcoholic beverage you consume will keep your body hydrated, which can prevents headaches and lethargy. The sun mixed with the dehydrating effects of alcohol can really wipe you out so be prepared!

    Sugar and Processed Foods: Your body requires a lot of water to process sugars and/or preservatives found in foods like pop, pastas, ice cream, chips, muffins, and potatoes. Having your sweet tooth satisfied with fruits that have the sugar you crave and the water required to process it is a better option. Fruits like watermelon, strawberries and cantaloupe are in abundance this time of year so enjoy what’s being harvested locally. Crunchy vegetables served with a bean dip is another great alternative: cucumbers, peppers, celery and radishes all have over 90% water. Kicking your craving for pop with fruit juice cut with sparkling water or kombucha will give your taste buds the fizzy feeling it likes, but with far less sugar, caffeine. Kombucha has great digestive health benefits!

    Caffeine: While coffee and tea both contain caffeine, they also contain a lot of water. Having an iced coffee or tea isn’t such a bad thing in my opinion. Just be mindful of having more than one or two. Make sure you are alternating with fresh water and try to avoid sugary iced coffee beverages by drinking your brew black instead or with a little stevia and your favourite milk substitute.

    I hope this gives you some good strategies to implement for a happy and healthy summer. For further interest in adapting your diet to accommodate health conditions, dietary restrictions or general health improvement you can contact me, Vanessa McKay, CNP @ (604) 544-POLO (7656).

    You might also like to read:

    Are You an Emotional Eater? 

    5 Foods that You May Think Are Healthy, But Are Not Actually That Good for You

     

    Photo Copyright: mblach / 123RF Stock Photo

    • 04-06-2015

    Are You an Emotional Eater?

    By Francesca Tomas, RPC RTC

    When you crave food, you're often at your weakest point. You feel stressed, bored, tired, depressed, or like you are in a difficult situation. When these feelings trigger your need to eat, you are experiencing emotional eating.

    When you eat because of emotions instead of hunger, it's common to eat too much and to reach for starchy and sugary foods that give you a temporary mood lift. You can end up consuming an enormous amount of calories and unhealthy fats. This frequently triggers the cycle of weight gain, depression caused by poor body image, and an increasing need to eat more emotionally. This is a really tough cycle to be caught up in.

    Emotional eating can temporarily suppress or soothe negative emotions including: 

    Stress;

    Sadness;

    Loneliness;

    Boredom;

    Anger; and

    Fear.

    Everyday life and major life events can trigger these negative emotions. They can spiral you into emotional eating and can sabotage your weight loss efforts.

    These triggers include:

    Work and or family stress;

    Relationship difficulty;

    Health problems;

    Sleeplessness; and

    Financial pressure.

    When you eat emotionally, you are trying to cope. This binge eating or rapid eating may help push down the uncomfortable emotions that you're trying to escape. What began as a single bout of overeating can easily become a pattern. You may begin to use food automatically whenever you feel an uncomfortable emotion like sadness, anger, or fear.

    When your emotions drive you to overeat, it only provides brief relief. But you'll always end up in the same place. You'll feel guilty, helpless, hopeless, and predictably gain weight. So, you overeat again. Are you ready to break this unhealthy cycle?

    Here are tips for breaking the cycle of emotional eating 

    Keep a food diary. This requires you to honestly track your caloric intake;

    Manage your stress through better sleep, diet, and exercise;

    Fight boredom - analyze when and why you feel bored and plan alternative activities;

    Keep unhealthy foods that are high in fat and sugar out of your house;

    Have an occasional treat if you can really keep it an infrequent pleasure;

    Have healthy food available to snack on;

    Find alternative ways to feel better quickly such as exercise, socializing, and watching comedy;

    Pack your own healthy lunch and snacks for work;

    Get support from friends, family, or support groups;

    Learn from your setbacks;

    Keep a journal to release emotions; 

    Seek professional help.

    If you still can’t end your emotional eating, consider therapy with a professional mental health provider. Therapy can help you work through negative emotions that keep you stuck. It can also help you develop a plan to end the behavior successfully. 

     

    Francesca is hosting a 2-session workshop June 2015, "End Your Battle with Food and Lose Weight." Learn more here.

    Photo Copyright: bds / 123RF Stock Photo

    Copyright © Francesca Tomas RPC, RTC 2015

    • 22-05-2015

    Iodine Deficiency and Weight Loss

    By Dr. Allana Polo

    A lot of patients I see are frustrated with their weight loss efforts. Many have tried fad diets, and been promised by a billion dollar industry that they can lose weight quickly and effectively with a magic pill. I do offer a quick and effective weight loss method (our Pound a Day program - ask me about it!) but I caution patients at the start of the program, it isn’t always going to be easy. Weight loss takes some effort; I wish there was some magic to it instead.

    Through these patient interactions, I have learned a lot about what promises are out there: herbs and supplements that promise nearly instantaneous results. While it is true that some vitamins, minerals and foods are highly effective at promoting healthy weight loss, and that some people are stuck in the efforts because of deficiencies or food sensitivities, it rarely happens that we see results just from supplementation alone. I don’t recommend diet pills.

    It was in one of these patient interactions that I learned that some people are talking about iodine supplementation in the context of weight loss. I felt compelled to set the record straight: supplementing with iodine does not promote weight loss (unless you have a thyroid problem). Here is the article I wrote for Green Med Info.

     

    Read Iodine Deficiency and Weight Loss: Is it the Next Big Thing?





    Photo Copyright: / 123RF Stock Photo

    • 28-04-2015

    How to Get Rid of Foot Odour

    by Dr. Allana Polo, ND

    Mother Nature is turning up the heat here in New Westminster, BC and with the warmer weather comes sandal season. Baring your toes, and getting sweaty under the sun, also means that a certain something else can surface … embarrassing foot odour. This topic came up recently when a patient asked me this question,

    My son has the worst foot odour I have ever experienced! What can we do to help keep his feet, stuck inside runners all day, smelling a little bit sweeter?

    I shared the following prescription with this hopeful mom, and I know it can work for you too. Get rid of foot odour, for good, with these tips.

    Wash the shoes.

    I recommend putting the shoes through the dishwasher for a cycle. This will cleanse the shoe of existing odours and they should come out smelling quite fresh. Once you eliminate the existing odour, it is time to ward off future stink.

    Wash the feet.

    Soak the feet in diluted apple cider vinegar. The acidity of the vinegar will neutralize odour and cut through the bacteria that is causing the stench. You can do this every night as part of a maintenance routine.

    Coat the feet in a natural deodorant, coconut oil combination and try natural tea tree oil powder.

    Right out of the soak, I recommend coating the skin in coconut oil. This is a natural way to boost the skin’s own defenses against odour-causing bacteria. Each morning you can also coat the feet in a natural deodorant which will, in a similar way, work to protect the skin from the bacteria that causes a smell. Tea Tree Oil in a powder form is also a natural odour-fighter because it combats the bacteria. I recommend coating the skin in this powder each morning.

    Grab some off-the-shelf foot odour solutions for your shoes.

    Having your feet stuffed inside the same shoes all day creates the growth of odour-causing bacteria. Keeping the shoes smell-free is another good way to make sure you are protected from embarrassing smell. There are a lot of over-the-counter solutions at the drugstore, like sneaker balls, which fit into the shoe and act as a kind-of air freshener.

    There really is no secret to combating odour, on any part of the body. Regular cleansing, and the help of natural odour-fighting products like coconut oil and apple cider vinegar, will keep any embarrassing stench at bay. The best part of this prescription, I haven’t recommended anything that may contain harmful chemicals not right for yourself, or your children.

     

    Have any tips of your own. Be sure to share them with me!

     

    Photo Copyright: / 123RF Stock Photo

    • 17-04-2015

    hCG Cooking Series

    You may have recently stumbled upon a notice about an upcoming cooking series for clients following Dr. Polo’s Pound a Day Weight Loss Program. Before talking about the cooking series and some tips for being successful in the kitchen on a calorie-reduced diet, I thought I should briefly explain this weight loss program in case you have no idea what we’re talking about!

    Dr. Polo’s hCG weight loss program is designed to help reshape and redistribute the body’s fat deposits. It also establishes a new set point for the body, making one less likely to return to their previous weight only if new dietary choices and lifestyle changes are implemented. The most controversial part of the program is the actual 500-calorie per day diet that consists of regular food that can be found at any local grocery store. Don’t be afraid of this! Because of the hCG, which is consumed as part of the program, your body is actually mobilizing up to 3000 calories a day. You won’t feel hungry, and your body won’t experience the symptoms you would go through if doing only a 500-calorie per day diet. Please also know this program is medically supervised. Don’t try anything like this alone. Here’s a link to someone (Crystal) who has done the program, and shared information about it. She’s also my partner in the cooking series!

    Eating delicious foods on just 500-calories a day requires some creativity. Here’s where the cooking series comes in…

    Crystal and I teamed up to host several cooking classes that tap into where clients are in the weight loss program, as there are different phases throughout the plan. In other words, depending on where you are in the program, we have a class for you! One of the main frustrations clients report while being on the diet is the lack of variety, which is why variety is the main focus of the cooking series. Crystal’s brilliant and creative recipes allow taste buds to soar on a very restrictive diet. The cooking series also allows clients to meet other people following the same weight loss program so they can form connections and support each other through tips and tricks, or even provide emotional support for one another, as clients can feel isolated while following this program.

    Whether or not you’re following Dr. Polo’s weight loss program, here are 5 general tips for being successful in the kitchen on a calorie-reduced diet.

    1. Play with spices.

    2. Drink lots of water! Sometimes we think we’re hungry, but in fact we’re actually thirsty.

    3. Homemade all the way – your wallet and heart will thank you, as you’ll be decreasing your salt consumption considerably.

    4. Avoid temptation while cooking as we tend to munch while in the kitchen, so get rid of all the junk and comfort foods that are easy to grab.

    5. Ice, gum or mints can be your friend (no gum or mints if on hCG) as this will prevent munching.

    If you’re in the neighbourhood feel free to drop by the clinic to check out our kitchen where all the magic happens, or to ask any questions you might have about the cooking series. Click here for information about the classes and how to register.

    See you soon!

     

    • 19-03-2015

    Eat Healthy During Your Workday

    By Jess Pirnak, Registered Dietitian

    Eating 9 to 5 is this year’s theme for nutrition month, and what an important topic. Since most people spend the majority of their day at work, we might as well eat our best while we’re there! Despite how well you’re doing, that 3:00pm slump can still hit hard and our heads think an extra cup of coffee will get us through the afternoon. But coffee doesn’t have to be the answer.

    Too much caffeine can make you lose sleep, cause jitters, upset your stomach, and increase your heart rate, so Health Canada recommends that adults have no more than 400 mg of caffeine a day. Two cups (a total of 500 mL) of coffee a day actually puts you right at this amount, and a lot of people drink that for breakfast alone! So, what else can you grab instead of a caffeinated beverage?

    Snacks that contain lots of fibre and protein can keep you satisfied, regulate your blood sugar and provide you with some much-needed energy! Try:

    ·         Hummus with added hemp seeds and a variety of crunchy veggies like carrots, celery, cucumber or zucchini;

    ·         Variety of nuts or seeds;

    ·         Dried fruit like figs with peanut butter (sounds weird but it’s delicious);

    ·         Smoothie with almond milk, flax seeds and a banana.

    Even perking up your packed lunch with some tasty energizing options can make a difference to your energy levels in the afternoon. Try these quick, simple, and tasty make-and-take lunches from Dietitians of Canada:

    ·         Layer black bean dip, avocado and peppery arugula on a rustic whole-grain baguette for a simple sandwich with big flavor;

    ·         Pack hard-boiled eggs, cheese, fresh veggies, a few olives and whole grain crackers for a super snack-like lunch;

    ·         Mix lentils, roasted sweet potato and red peppers, quinoa and a drizzle of lemony dressing for a protein-packed salad bowl;

    ·         Toss light tuna, snow peas and grape tomatoes with leftover whole grain pasta, basil-filled pesto and a pinch of chili flakes – this dish is great cold or heated.

    Not only will these changes get you over that 3:00 hump, but you’ll also have more energy to take the kids to the park after work or hit the gym for some ‘me’ time.

    You might also like to read about preparing for the work week through Sunday meal prep.

    Photo Copyright: / 123RF Stock Photo

    • 11-02-2015

    9 Ways to Reduce Stress

    By Francesca Tomas, Registered Professional Counsellor

    Sometimes a little stress can be helpful. However, many of us frequently experience stress overload. Remember, stress puts your health at risk. Stress is linked to the leading causes of death including heart disease, cancer, and lung disease. Stress causes headaches, muscle tension, depression, and anxiety. Stress also takes a big bite out of your productivity, creativity, and motivation. So, what can you do? 

    You can't just walk away from your job or responsibilities. But you can put into action a personal stress reduction plan, and I am here to help you do just that.  

    Here's my short list of 9 easy ways to reduce stress.

    Healthy Diet

    Stick to a healthy diet. Eat more leafy greens, fruits, and vegetables. Eliminate or cut back on refined carbohydrates, like sugary cereals, chips, and desserts. Read labels on cans and packages. Avoid saturated fats and trans fats. If you have emotional eating issues, get these under control to feel the rewards of a balanced diet. 

    Exercise

    Exercise 20 minutes daily to brighten your mood and relieve your stress. For optimal health benefits, try to raise your heart rate while you exercise. Do something you enjoy like brisk walking, playing tennis, or swimming. An indoor treadmill, elliptical, or stationary bike can be handy in cold weather.

    Sleep

    Yes, sleep. The sweet spot is 7.5 to 8 hours per night. Sleep lets your body rest and repair, and helps reboot you for the next day. Not enough sleep can make you irritable and slow your thinking.

    Take Care of Your Emotions

    Be present in the moment. Check your body several times a day. How do you feel? Is your neck tight? Are your shoulders tense?

    If you feel tense, take a break or a short walk. Breathe deeply and exhale slowly to help release the tension. Be concious of your feelings and work with someone to better understand how they are affecting your life in the big picture.

    Write a Daily To-Do List

    Trying to remember everything you need to do each day increases your stress. Writing a list simplifies the process and helps you prioritize your tasks. This avoids stress. 

    Laugh 

    Laughter releases feel-good hormones that help you release stress. Watch a comedy, read funny books or get together and share funny stories with a friend or family member. 

    Pay Attention to Your Self-Talk.  

    What are you saying to yourself? Is your self-talk negative? 

    If it is, you will feel worse if you listen. It will also ramp up your stress. Practice stopping the negative self-talk when it begins and finding positive things to say to yourself instead.

    Keep a Journal. 

    Before you go to bed at night, write down anything that comes to your mind.

    How was your day? Debriefing at night helps you get a better night's sleep. It's therapeutic to clear your mind of stressors and put in on paper. Once out of your head, negative thoughts no longer have a place to expand. 

    Write Five Things You are Grateful For

    This could be a daily gratitude journal or a once a week practice. Writing gratitude statements has been closely linked to increased happiness and contentment. Statements can range from someone holding the door open for you to someone taking the time to listen to your story. 

    Implement these 9 strategies for reducing your stress, and be sure to be honest with yourself. If you are consistently overwhelmed by life, perhaps you need to work with someone to target the root of your troubles. It is always good to get in touch with your feelings and thoughts, which itself can reduce a lot of stress.

    This has been one entry in our detox series. See our 7 pillars of detox, of which "rest" and living stress-free is one pillar. You might also like to read: eliminate, and sweat.

    Photo Copyright: / 123RF Stock Photo

    • 29-01-2015

    The Benefits of Colon Hydrotherapy

    Susan Kinross, one of our Certified Colon Hydrotherapists, would love to talk with you about how amazing Colon Hydrotherapy is. And it is an integral part of your detox process. Have you been following along as we talk through the 7 pillars of a healthy detox? We've talked about the importance of being prepared, and the foods you need to eliminate to be successful in this process.

    Now Susan is here to share with us the benefits of Colon Hydrotherapy. We'll include a link to more information on our site, and of course to book - because you'll feel inspired!

    Hello Detoxers and Cleansers!

    In my experience for myself and in working with others, colon hydrotherapy is a fantastic aid to cleansing - before, during or after a cleansing diet.  It’s a gentle yet powerful detoxification treatment.  So as your body is going through a time of detox with your cleansing diet – your organs and cells are letting go of toxins through the various channels of elimination from the body.  The colon is a major channel of elimination.  Although ideally the colon would always move all of its toxic waste out of the body, the reality is that it is very common for fecal material and toxins to become stuck and congested, accumulating in the pockets of the colon.

    Having a colonic (short term for colon hydrotherapy session), or a series of them, during your cleansing diet helps to ensure that those toxins that you are eliminating from your organs and cells are getting out of your body!

    Of course you can only know the benefits if you try it for yourself!  Once you try a colonic and experience the results, you will know what a gift this is to you.

     

    Susan Kinross

    Certified Colon Hydrotherapist

     

    Photo Copyright: / 123RF Stock Photo

    • 08-01-2015

    5 Foods that You May Think Are Healthy, But Are Not Actually that Good For You

    Clever marketing by big business food manufacturers may have tricked us into thinking that a lot of their products are good for us, when in fact they offer very little in terms of nutrition, or serve up too much sugar or sodium. At this time of year, when so many people are turning to “low-fat” or “diet” alternatives to try and shave off a few pounds, it is even more important to know how to make healthy choices. Here are 5 foods that you may think are good for you, that are in fact on my no-no list.

    Fat-Free Sugar-Free Yogurt

    Remember the ‘90s?! That decade was huge for the “fat-free” trend and it seems a lot of this mentality still lingers with us. First of all, as I teach my patients, fat is not bad for you in fact your brain needs fat in order to function properly. You just need to know which fats fuel your body, and which ones are to be avoided. The thing I hate about fat-free, sugar-free yogurt is that when you take out the fat and sugar, you need to add something else in to make it tasty. Manufacturers want you to keep buying it so they add artificial sweeteners. You shouldn’t eat anything “artificial” and certainly not substances that are currently being researched for their harmful effects on the body.

    Instead try …. Plain Greek Yogurt, with a little fat in there, or for a dairy-free alternative try Almond Yogurt or Coconut Yogurt.

    Power Drinks and Mineral Waters

    This is another source for artificial sweeteners or plain old sugar. People think that sports drinks are healthy for them because marketing encourages them to consume them after working out. They do contain electrolytes, which are important to replace after a tough workout and water-loss, but they also contain food dyes and sugar. Avoid. Avoid. Avoid.

    Instead try …. Coconut Water! Mix it with a little maple syrup and lemon or lime juice if you like added flavour. Coconut Water is a great electrolyte-rich drink which really replenishes you after or during a workout. You can also make it the base of a protein-packed smoothie.

    Protein Bars

    Again, people see ads with bodybuilders eating these bars and they assume they must be healthy! A lot of these bars contain added sugars, even high fructose corn syrup and other mystery ingredients I can’t even pronounce!

    Instead try … If you need a source of fuel to get you through the 3pm slump, or after a tough workout, turn to dates and date-based protein bars. Lara Bars are an example of one on the market that contains dates and other all-natural ingredients. You can also make your own bars or balls. We have a great recipe on our Facebook page for Polo Health. Crystal, is this true?

    Dried Fruit

    It is easy to get swept up in the idea that the dried mango you are munching on is fruit, so it must be good for you. While I agree it is better than a pack of licorice, there are a few things to know about dried fruit. These pretty apricots actually contain sulphur dioxide, which makes them look nicer and last longer on the shelf. Sulphites can be dangerous for people with asthma or who show a sensitivity to sulphites. I encourage my patients who like dried fruit to stick with sulphur free versions of their favourites. Also avoid added sugar. People love craisins and think they are eating well with them. There is a lot of added sugar in these. Look for those fruits that haven’t been sweetened. 

    Cereals

    I have a thing with cereals! I encourage my patients to think outside of the box at breakfast time; a bowl of cereal just doesn’t fill you up enough, then you succomb to late afternoon snacking. Plus, a lot of cereals contain added sugars, and just plain don’t deliver much nutrition because they use highly processed grains. But cereal marketing is so big! All of these companies want you to believe their product is healthy!  If you want to have cereal, as a meal or snack, I recommend a more natural version like this one. Also, steer clear of store-bought granolas which contain a lot of added sugars and bad fats. Make your own so you can control what goes into it: coconut oil, wheat-free oats, walnuts or almonds, unsulphured and unsweetened dried fruit. 

    Dr. Allana was on Global TV recently talking about this very topic!

     

     

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