• 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. 

    • 15-05-2017

    Can't Sleep?: The Basics of Coping with Insomnia

    There is nothing quite so terrible as waiting away the night time hours brutally wide awake. It’s an unsettling and frustrating feeling to be incredibly tired, and ready physically and emotionally for sleep to come, and yet to be unable to cross that threshold. If this is continually happening to you, you are suffering from insomnia - a sleep disorder characterized by the inability to fall asleep, or stay asleep.

    I treat insomnia often in my practice; many people suffer (some needlessly suffer in silence) and may also find the transition to a new season a particularly unsettling time. In this season, as all year long, it is important to keep a few things in mind when dealing with chronic insomnia.

    Insomnia is often related to hormonal imbalances

    This is especially true for women experiencing progesterone deficiencies, a common occurrence in peri or post menopausal women. Women at all ages and stages need the right balance of estrogen and progesterone for optimal health; the hormonal surges of menopause can easily throw that balance off. Often it is estrogen that becomes dominant, causing insomnia and other symptoms like decreased sex drive and mood swings. I recommend Bio-Identical Micronized Progesterone to menopausal patients struggling with sleep issues. For most women, this one is a game changer.

    Insomnia has a relationship with cortisol and stress

    When our bodies experience stress we enter what is called “Fight-or-Flight” mode. For our ancestors, the resulting surge of biological processes served a very important function: to mobilize the body to flee real physical threats, like pouncing bears. Today we don’t often encounter these real threats, but nonetheless our bodies launch the same reaction. The cascade of bodily processes, marked by a release of cortisol - our stress hormone - occurs in response to looming work deadlines, partner stress and money worries just as it does when we encounter a bear in the forest.

    Over time, a stressed out individual can experience what is known as adrenal fatigue. Those important glands that work so hard to regulate our stress response just get tapped out. Those experiencing this exhaustion report they often can’t get a good night’s sleep no matter how hard they try, and how long they spend in bed. Stress also has a way of wiring us up, making it hard to shut off mind chatter and get into a deep sleep.

    In this case, it is important to treat the cortisol imbalance. I do this with an amazing supplement called Cortisol Manager, which is a mixture of phosophatidylserine, relora, theanine and ashwaganda. This blend is effective at bringing down cortisol levels at night, helping the body release itself into rest mode.  

    Many people who experience insomnia are also struggling with mood imbalances

    Insomnia can also be a symptom of depression or other mood imbalances, including Seasonal Affective Disorder. When this is the case, it is important that a patient receive specialized care to address the root problem. Once depression, anxiety or other mood imbalance is treated, we often see insomnia disappear. Taking supplements 5 HTP and L tyrosine together before bed can also be helpful.

    If you experience difficulty falling asleep only occasionally, you can try my favourite herbal blend for a more relaxing transition into sleep: valerian, GABA, lemon balm, chamomile, hops, passiflora, theanine and melatonin. These herbs will help you relax and they are also mildly sedative to give you that extra nudge. Look for a tea or capsule that offers these as ingredients. And try my other suggestions for a restful night.

    • 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.

     

     

    • 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?

    • 28-09-2016

    16 Ways to Beat the Cold and Flu this Season

    The cold and flu season is hitting early this year. The rhinoviruses, the most common viral infections, like colder temperature. Here in BC it has been a colder September than usual giving these guys a great breeding ground and causing us to experience an early start to the dreaded sniffles, cough and worse. How do you protect yourself from those germs that are everywhere, as people increasingly head indoors, and treat the cold and flu well so you can get back on your feet sooner? I’m going to share 17 germ-fighting strategies that will keep you healthier this cold and flu season.

    1. Avoid Germs from Surfaces

    Be sure to wash your hands regularly with soap and water to minimize ingested germs from public surfaces like ATM pin pads, computer keyboards, grocery store carts, money and doors. Flu viruses can live on surfaces for 24 hours! At home keep your surfaces clean and free of germs with a regular wipe with hot water and soap. Avoid antibacterial wipes and sprays. These create superbugs, and are unnecessary too as soap and water does a great job.

    2. Stop Eating Sugar

    I know you didn’t want me to say it, but I have to! Put away the sugary treats. Sugar suppresses the immune system. It is why so many kids get sick after Halloween! Try to eat “clean”: reach for whole foods including plenty of vegetables and protein. Avoid processed food (anything that does not occur naturally).

    3. Get Your Sweat On

    Physical activity that raises your body temperature and induces that amazing sweat response is so great for strengthening your immune system. It helps to kill off bacteria, and the sweating releases toxins from your body. I recommend you get your heart rate up for more than 30 minutes each session.

    4. Avoid Dairy

    Dairy creates mucous and phlegm in the body. Say no to milk, cheese and yogurt while you are experiencing symptoms.

    5. Increase Your Protein Consumption

    Increase your protein consumption to give your body more of the building blocks it needs to fight the bad guys and keep your immune system in fighting form. Protein is needed for xx and this is why it is even more important when facing cold and flu bugs.

    6. Watch What You Drink

    You want to reach for hydrating beverages like water and herbal tea to flush the system. Stay away from dehydrating beverages like caffeine and alcohol.

    7. Get a Good Night’s Sleep

    Tired people are more susceptible to developing colds and flu symptoms from the germs they encounter. If you are not getting adequate sleep, your immune system will be weakened. When the bad guys attack, your good guys don’t have a chance. Strengthen your immune system by getting plenty of sleep and see our post here for tips.

    8. Control Your Stress

    Stress can also decrease the immune system, making you more susceptible to infections; it prevents healing and slows recovery. Look for outlets for reducing stress, like exercise, yoga, meditation or any soothing rituals (not food please) that help you to relax. Build in plenty of time in your schedule for alone time, romantic time with your partner and play time.

    9. Try Oil of Oregano

    It tastes awful but it works! At the first sign of cold or flu symptoms, take Oil of Oregano.

    10. Eat Immune-Boosting Foods

    Stock up on the following immune-boosting foods and let yourself overindulge in them! Echinacea, foods that are high in vitamin C like oranges (or try a supplement), ginger, garlic, oregano, onion and hot sauce.

    11. Try Natural Lozenges or Cough Syrup

    A lozenge or natural cough syrup can help you alleviate symptoms in the short-term. I recommend elderberry lozenges or cough syrup and zinc lozenges.

    12. A Spoonful of Honey Helps the Symptoms Go Away

    Honey contains anti-bacterial properties and helps combat germs when inside the body. Try a spoonful of honey on it’s own or with a spoonful of crushed garlic.

    13. Salt Water Gargle

    Gargle for a few minutes with salt water. It will help clear mucous and bacteria from the mouth and throat.

    14. Try Contrast Showers, Dry Skin Brushing and Steam Inhalation

    Not only are these three things very good for helping your body shed bad toxins, they also feel really good. A contrast shower involves switching from a hot temperature to a cold temperature during the duration of the shower. Dry Skin Brushing is completed with a loofah brush used in a circular motion on the skin while it is dry. And anything from a sauna (try our infra-red sauna) or simply inhaling steam over a bowl with eucalyptus will help evict the bad germs.

    15. Try Warming Socks

    This is a wonderful treatment for clearing congestion. The first step is to warm your feet, such as in a bath of warm water for 5 to 10 minutes. Soak a pair of socks in ice cold water and put them on your feet (stay with me, you will enjoy this I promise). Put dry heavy, preferably wool, socks over the wet ones and leave on as you go to bed. This treatment helps to clear congestion and increase circulation. It can also be quite soothing and sedating, making it effective for pain relief as well.

    16. Avoid Pain Relieving Medication

    These medications work to suppress a fever. But fevers are actually good for us; they work to kill off bacteria and they signal that the immune system is working. To find pain relief, try a cool bath, followed by lying down in a dark room.

    With these 16 tips you are well armed to face cold and flu season head on! Remember to make investments in wellness everyday; it’s the best preventative medicine. If you do become sick, try our tips here and be sure you rest. Sometimes we do need to take a day off.

    • 08-09-2016

    Back to Routine Tips for Healthy Living

     
    It's time to get back into the swing of things. Summer is over, fall is here and with it the return to some order and structure. Try these tips from Dr. Allana Polo for making this your healthiest fall yet.
     
    Sleep
    Try to get in the habit of going to bed at the same time each night, and always waking at the same time each morning. It may feel great to sleep in on weekends, but it will be far easier to wake at an early hour if that is what your body always expects.
     
    Eat
    Make time for meal and snack planning, and get into the habit of shopping once a week, cutting and preparing foods in advance. Always leave the house with a little something in your purse, to curb hunger on the road which can lead to bad choices. Try a menu board in the kitchen and stick to it! Having a plan for what you will eat saves you from stressing over what's for dinner. Always having the right ingredients on hand will help you stick with healthy eating, even when you are tired and would rather order out. 
     
    Love to eat out? Don't deprive yourself, but rather set this date in advance so it is a choice and not an impulse. 
     
    Rest
    Take advantage of starting into a routine again to create some new habits. Rather than always turning to television, if this is you, to unwind at night, try taking in some new hobbies and interests. Create a lovely before-bed ritual of a hot bath, soothing tea and a few chapters of a really good book. Try relaxing Yin style yoga to prepare the body for sleep, and keep a journal beside your bed so you can "download" all of those clutter-thoughts that keep you awake at night.
     
    Move
    Many new classes are starting up at your local gym and rec-centre. Fall is a great time to try a new activity. The secret to committing to regular physical activtiy is finding the sport or class that you absolutely love. You won't know exactly what that is until you try many different things. Don't want to go it alone? Set a few challenges to compete with a friend - like trying two new classes together, joining a new gym or even getting together after dinner for a walk and a chat.
     
    Make time for the things that keep you healthy and happy. There shouldn't be any excuse for missing out on these life essentials in your day. If you feel overwhelmed, try stacking activities together. Rather than sitting in the lunch room, walk with a friend to combine socialization and walking. Meal plan with your partner to enjoy some time together! Find ways to construct a healthy, happy routine that works for you.
     
     

    • 25-08-2016

    Why Exercise Is About More than Looking Good

     
    Regular Physical activity is part of my prescription for healthy weight loss, but it's not the only time I prescribe it: it is part of nearly every whole health recommendation that I make. In order to strengthen vital organs of your body, you need exercise.
     
    Think it's only about fitting into your skinny jeans? Change your mindset and learn about how beneficial daily exercise is for your heart, lungs, brain .. really your whole body. And of course, losing weight feels great too.
     
     
     

    Photo Copyright: ammentorp / 123RF Stock Photo

    • 12-08-2016

    What Are Those Marks on the Skin of Olympic Athletes? The Health Benefits of Cupping

    Cupping is enjoying a moment in the spotlight and we are thrilled to see so many people now curious about this ancient Chinese healing practice. Our own Dr. Drew Jamieson was on Global TV recently to demonstrate cupping on Dr. Allana. Cupping leaves behind superficial markings on the skin, as blood is drawn to the surface much in the same way a hickey might leave a trace. And seeing these telltale red dots on athletes has many people talking about what cupping is. Here’s some information, should you be looking for techniques to manage your own muscle pain or soreness.

    Cupping has been a part of both eastern and western medical practices for centuries, with evidence of it existing in Egyptian and Ancient Chinese cultures. It involves specialized cups, which are placed on the skin. Either through heat or an air pump, the cups create a suction drawing the skin up and away from the muscles under the surface. The cups remain on the skin for a few minutes and this is enough time to encourage blood flow to the affected area.

    As Dr. Jamieson explains in this video, we need blood in order to heal. The movement of blood and fluid to the affected area helps speed recovery and reduces muscle soreness from overuse and even injury.

    After a cupping session you will find the telltale marks of redness, but these should disappear within a few days. Cupping is not painful, feeling more like a deep tissue massage and therefore the marks left behind are not considered bruises; a bump on your leg for example hurts because muscle or fascia has been damaged. With cupping there is no damage to the underlying tissues just a movement of very beneficial blood and fluid to the site to speed healing and recovery. It is for this reason that so many athletes find benefit in cupping - it allows them to recover and get back into their sport. It is also a great tool for pain prevention and management.

    If you want to learn more about cupping, and to discuss if it is right for you, come and see us in the clinic! This service is provided by Dr. Drew Jamieson and Dr. Andrew Gansner.

    Learn more.

    Make an appointment by calling 604 544 7656.







    • 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

    • 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? 

    • 24-02-2016

    How to Sleep Better: Advice for When You Are Having Trouble Falling and Staying Asleep

    There is nothing worse that the feeling of frustration that comes over you when you can't fall asleep. Tossing and turning all night long, only to wake the next morning feeling depleted and exhausted, it is not the prescription for good health. What can you do to make for a better night's sleep? Here are my tips for giving yourself the best chance at catching deep and restful sleep.

    Getting ready for bed

    - Make your room as dark as possible. You shouldn’t be able to see your hand in front of your face. If you use an alarm clock, turn it away from you. Why? When light hits your skin, it disrupts the circadian rhythm of the pineal gland. As a result, this hinders the production of melatonin. Use low lighting in your bedroom and avoid using overhead lights and lamps with high-wattage bulbs.  Be aware of electromagnetic fields in your bedroom as they disrupt the pineal gland and production of melatonin and serotonin. EMFs are emitted through digital alarm clocks and other electrical devices. If you use them, leave them three feet away.

    - Turn off the TV

    - Use your bed for sleeping and sex only

    - Create bedroom “Zen” by trying to remove clutter, homework/work, calendars etc. If you can, think about painting the room earthy or soft tones. Making it your relaxing place: diffuse lavender essential oils, or peppermint.

    - Choose comfortable, soothing bedding, nothing that makes you too warm or itchy

    - Avoid using a loud alarm clock to wake you up suddenly. This can be a shock to your body; you’ll also find you’ll feel groggier when you are roused in the middle of a sleep cycle. If you get enough sleep on a regular basis, an alarm clock will not be necessary. If you do use an alarm, you should wake just before it goes off. Try a sunrise alarm, an alarm clock with natural light build in that simulates a sunrise, OR an alarm that gradually gets louder, or emits soothing classical music.

    - If you go to the bathroom during the night, keep the lights off. Brief exposure to light can shut down the melatonin production. If you really need a light, get a flashlight, or a nightlight.

    - Think about a comfortable mattress.

    Now that your room is ready, let’s talk about sleep!

    - Establish regular sleeping hours: try to get up each morning and go to bed every night at roughly the same time.

    Over sleeping can be as bad as sleep deprivation, how you feel each day is an indication of how much sleep is right for you.

    - Sleep nude (or as close to it as possible) wearing tight clothing (bras, underwear, girdles) will increase your body temperature and interfere with melatonin release while you sleep. You can also try a loose t-shirt and shorts, or a nightgown.

    - Get to bed by 11p.m: stress glands, the adrenals, recharge or recover between 11pm and 1am. Going to bed before 11pm is optimal for rebuilding your adrenal reserves. Start by going to bed 15-30 minutes earlier each night until you reach this goal.

    - Sleep 7-9 hours a night consistently. Needing more than 9 hours of sleep every night warrants a visit to your doctor for further investigation as this may indicate, hypothyroidism, depression or a deficiency of folic acid, vitamin B12. If you can wake with an alarm and feel rested, you’re probably getting the right amount of sleep for you.

    - See the light first thing in the morning. Daylight and morning sounds are key signals that help waken your brain. Turning on lights or opening the blinds is the proper way to reset your body clock and ensure that your melatonin levels drop back to “awake” mode until the evening. Also the exposure to morning light is one of the easiest ways to get a boost of energy.

    - Keep household lighting dim from dinnertime until you go to sleep. Believe it or not, this simple step not only prepares your body and hormones for sleep, but it also helps your digestion.

    Now you’re sleeping, but if you’re having trouble staying asleep, read on...

    - Avoid stimulating activities before bed, such as watching TV or using the computer. Computer use in the evening raises dopamine and noradrenalin, our brain-stimulating hormones that should be higher during the daytime.

    In the evening you need do engage in activities that make you more serotonin dominant, such as reading or meditation. Choose relaxing reading materials that have nothing to do with work!

    Stop all your work-related activities at least 2 hours before bed.

    - Develop a calming bedtime routine. Breaking bad habits often requires making good ones instead. Try reading something spiritual or listening to soft music. This can become cues for your mind to relax.

    READ: Stress Relief Strategies

     

    - If you cannot sleep, get out of bed and do something else until you feel the urge to sleep. Tossing and turning in bed will only make you feel frustrated. Try getting up for a while, but keep the lights low and the TV and computer off. Make a to-do list or try writing in a journal if you have problems sleeping because you feel that you have one million things to do. Write everything! Emptying those thoughts onto paper, but knowing that they are somewhere you may access them when you are ready, may create relief.

    - Exercise at the right time: exercising fewer than 3 hours before bedtime may be too stimulating and can impede your ability to fall asleep yoga and strength training are exceptions to this rule because they are less stimulating than cardiovascular exercise. Work out 3 to 6 hours before bed – this can help maximize the benefits of exercise on sleep, since the body actually increases deep sleep to compensate for the physical stress of your workout exercise. Exercise promotes healthy sleep patterns because of its positive effect on body temperature (after a workout, our body gradually cools down, which naturally makes us feel sleepy)

    - To relax muscles and trigger the sleep response after exercise, try a hot bath with Epsom salts. Soak in water as hot as you can stand with 1 to 2 cups of Epsom salts for at least 20 minutes. Place a cold towel around your neck if you feel too warm while in the bath.

    - Exercise your mind too. Try Sudoku or a daily crossword. People who are mentally stimulated during the day feel a need to sleep in order to maintain their performance.

    - Avoid napping. If you are getting enough sleep in the night, you shouldn’t feel the need to sleep in the day.

    - Avoid caffeine at any time of the day. Caffeine may be metabolized at different rates. A dose of caffeine usually takes 15 to 30 minutes to take effect and lasts for 4 to 5 hours. In some people it may last much longer, making usage in the afternoon a bad idea. If you must have it, have it in the morning. Caffeine may also negatively affect the natural release cycle of cortisone, which is generally highest in the morning and lowest in the evening. Cortisol release rises slightly at 2am and 4am, and then hits its peak around 6am. If this pattern is disrupted, you may awaken at these times and find you are unable to fall back asleep.

    - Avoid bedtime snacks that are high in sugar or simple carbohydrates like breads, cereals, muffins, cookies, or other baked goods. These prompt a short-term spike in blood sugar, followed by a sugar crash later on. A blood sugar drop means adrenalin, glucagons, cortisol and growth hormones are release dto regulate blood glucose levels – all of these stimulate the brain, making you become more awake. Try to avoid eating for at least 2 hours before going to bed and if you do need to eat, go for protein-rich (source of tryptophan that will be converted to serotonin and melatonin), high-fiber snacks like a few almonds and half an apple, sugar from the fruit may help the tryptophan reach your brain and take effect more readily.

    - Try to avoid fluids in the 2 hours before bedtime avoiding the drinks may help you avoid the washroom at night. Go easy on the alcohol, the body metabolizes alcohol as you sleep, which can result in sleep interruption. It appears to affect brain chemicals that influence sleep and to shorten total sleep time. Alcohol can prevent you from failing into deeper stages of sleep (where you do most of your healing!)

    If you try these tips and still struggle to fall or stay asleep, or to get a restful rejuvenating sleep, please reach out for help. We might need to take a look at what's happening for you.

    • 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

    • 25-01-2016

    How to Avoid Xenoestrogens for Healthy Hormones

    Xenoestrogens and many other hormones become deposited and stored in our body, particularly in our fat reserves. With the amount of pollution in our air, water and general environment and surroundings, we are constantly exposed from unavoidable sources. If you can avoid known sources and keep your body from accumulating with toxins, it would be a great investment in your health, wellbeing, hormonal balance and much more.

    Below are simple ways you can help decrease your exposure to these “bad estrogens”

    - Check your cosmetics, soaps, lotions, dish detergents etc. for synthetic chemicals such as parabens, petroleum products (mineral oil is petroleum based) and “fragrance.” Many ingredients for sunscreen protection show estrogenic activity as well. The skin is very effective at absorbing what you put on it. A woman on average swallows 8 pounds of lipstick in her lifetime. Read labels and if there are words too complicated to pronounce or you don’t know what they are, they are most likely toxic. Ideally your cosmetics should be as organic as possible since pesticides are another source of xenoestrogens. Try this resource to better understand what to avoid in your cosmetics and skin care products. Try natural solutions to common beauty problems.

    - Avoid eating and storing foods in plastic. The softer the plastic the more will leach into foods and drinks. Plastic wrap, plastic bags (Ziploc), plastic water bottles (plastic bike bottles are some of the worst sources) are much more harmful than harder plastic containers such as Tupperware, and Nalgene bottles. Use wax paper, glass storage containers and jars or even aluminum foil as an alternative (glass is best). Never microwave or heat anything in plastic. The more oil or fat content in the food, the more toxins will leach into it from the plastic—try your best to avoid buying oils, nuts or cheeses stored in plastic bottles or packaging. If you purchase something in plastic packaging such as flax seeds or other nuts, immediately transfer them to a glass jar for storage since the amount of time the food has contact with the plastic also affects the amount of toxins passed into the food. Store food and drink in glass or stainless steel containers. 

    - It should also be noted that non-organic meat and dairy can be sources of xenoestrogens in that steroid hormones are used to fatten cattle and poultry. Try to buy organic meats and dairy products as best as you can to avoid getting extraneous hormone sources. Grass-fed beef has up to 5x more Omega-3, 2x more CLA fatty acids; more Vitamin A, Vitamin E, Zinc, and Iron. 

    - Try to buy organic produce whenever possible, as xenoestrogens are found in pesticides used to grow conventional produce. If you can't afford or don't want to buy organic everything, try to steer clear of the dirty dozen.

    If you are concerned about xenoestrogens, or your hormonal health, please make an appointment to come and see me. There are so many effects on our health when hormones are out of balance.

     

    • 11-12-2015

    How to Treat Dark Circles or Bags Under the Eyes with Natural Remedies

    Do you have dark circles or bags under your eyes? It can be frustratingly common for many of us. Here Dr. Polo shares tips for understanding what's going on here and what to do.

    Possible Causes:

    Black or dark circles under or around the eyes can be caused by many different factors. Most people inherit the tendency for dark circles. The following are the most common causes of those unattractive dark circles.

    • Fatigue, lack of sleep: A lack of sleep or excessive tiredness can cause paleness of the skin, which again allows the blood underneath the skin to become more visible and appear more blue or darker.

    • Nutrition: The lack of nutrients in the diet, or the lack of a balance diet, can contribute to the discoloration of the area under the eyes.

    • Stress: A fast-paced lifestyle, especially if you spend long hours on the computer can contribution to black bags under your eyes - perhaps mostly because you don't get enough sleep.

    • Heredity: Like varicose veins, dark circles under the eyes are usually an inherited trait. If you have dark circles, there is a good chance that others in your family also have them. The skin under the eye is very thin. When blood passes through the large veins close to the surface of the skin it can produce a bluish tint. The more transparent your skin, also an inherited trait, the darker the circles appear.

    • Exposure to the Sun: Even in darker skinned people, exposure to sunlight, especially during the summer months, can cause a higher-than-normal level of skin pigmentation (melanin) under the eyes. People get suntans because exposure to the sun increases the natural pigmentation of the skin and draws that pigmentation to the surface. The same principle applies to the skin under the eyes.

    • Allergies, Asthma and Eczema: Any condition that you have that causes your eyes to itch can contribute to darker circles under the eyes because rubbing or scratching the skin can darken the skin. Hay fever sufferers particularly will notice under-eye "smudges" during the height of the allergy season. Some food allergies can also cause the area under the eyes to appear darker.

    • Medications: Any medications that you are taking that causes blood vessels to dilate, can cause circles under the eyes to darken. Because the skin under the eyes is very delicate, any increase blood flow shows through the skin.

    • Pregnancy and Menstruation: The skin can also become more pale during pregnancy and menstruation, which again allows the underlying veins under the eyes to become more visible.

    • Age: If you have a propensity to have dark circles under you eyes, as you grow older, they are likely to become more noticeable and permanent. Excess folds of skin under the eyes will also make dark circles more pronounced.

    • Adrenal exhaustion: This one needs the support of your naturopath.

    What can you do to minimize dark circles or bags under the eyes?

    Natural Remedies

    • Eight hours of sleep is a must for all of us, especially for people who naturally have dark circles under their eyes.

    • Diet: Eat a whole-foods, plant-based diet, drink plenty of water (eight 8-ounce glasses daily), and avoid alcohol, coffee, tea and caffeinated soft drinks. These go a long way in preventing bags, circles and wrinkles.

    • Tea Bag Treatment: Try applying a cold compress of rosemary tea to increase circulation, which helps reduce swelling around the eyes. Make tea by bringing a half-cup of fresh rosemary and a quart of water to a boil. Steep for 20 minutes, then strain and chill. Soak a washcloth in the tea, ring out extra liquid anal place over eyes for 15 to 20 minutes, once a day, as needed.

    • Acupressure: Another circulation-boosting treatment is acupressure. This is an easy exercise that you can also do every day. Close your eyes and gently press your ring finger underneath one eye, moving from the inside corner to the outside corner. Do this 10 to 15 times. Then repeat on the other eye. Learn about our acupuncture services.

    • Cold compress: Close your eyes and cover them with a cold washcloth for about five minutes. Repeat several times throughout the day. That will help constrict your blood vessels, minimizing darkness, and it may help minimize tissue swelling and eliminate some of the darkness.

    • Freeze some parsley in ice cubes. Use the parsley cubes instead of eye creams to diminish dark circles and puffiness. Parsley is packed with chlorophyll which helps fade darkness, while the ice cubes reduce the swelling.

    • Potato/Cucumber combinations are helpful.

      • Close your eyes and cover eyelids with slices of raw potato or cucumber for 15-20 minutes. Wash with warm water and apply a cream.

      • Grate a cucumber, squeeze to take out its juice and refrigerate. Make a mixture of lemon juice, lanolin cream and cucumber juice and apply around the eye for 10-15 minutes.

      • Dip some cotton in a 1:1 mixture of potato and cucumber juices. Put the cotton on your eyelids and keep for 20 minutes. Wash your eyes with cold water.

    • Lemon/Tomato combinations are helpful.

      • Apply a mixture of lemon and tomato juice (equal parts) on the black circles 2 times a day.

      • Make a paste out of the following:

        • 1 tsp. tomato juice,

        • 1/2 tsp. lemon juice,

        • a pinch of turmeric powder, and

        • 1 tsp. of flour.

          Apply around eyes. Leave on for 10 minutes before rinsing.

    • Apply a paste of turmeric powder with pineapple juice for dark circles under the eyes.

    • Apply crushed mint around the eye.

    • Massage with almond oil under and around eyes at bed time daily for 2 weeks and see the improvement. Almond helps to remove dark circles, and is an excellent "skin food".

    • Vitamin E Rub the area with a powdered Vitamin E capsule and wipe off with a mixture of honey and egg white.

    • Put hot and cold cloths alternatively under eyes for 10 minutes. Then apply some almond oil on the dark surface before going to bed.

    • Smooth Puffy Eyes with Egg White: Astringent egg white tightens your pores and reduces puffiness. Additionally, its high concentration of the B vitamins promotes circulation and reduces inflammation. Use your fingers to dab 1/2 teaspoon of one raw egg white onto the clean, dry skin around your eyes, avoiding your eyes themselves. Leave it on until it dries, about 15 minutes. Then rinse the area well with warm water and wash your hands with soap and water.

    If you are worried that your dark circles or bags mean something more, be sure to make an appointment with your naturopath.

    You might also like to read: Secrets to Glowing Skin.

    Find out more about our medical aesthetic services.

     

    Photo Copyright: sergeyp / 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. 

    • 09-11-2015

    Dr. Polo's Liver Detox Guidelines

    WHAT IS DETOXIFICATION?

    Detoxification is the process of clearing toxins from the body and neutralizing or transforming them. Poor digestion, sluggish or dysfunctional bowels, decreased liver function, and poor elimination through the kidneys, respiratory tract, and skin all increase toxicity.

    Detoxification, in theory, is a process that occurs naturally in our bodies, by organs that physiologically function to carry out such processes, but due to the number of toxins and chemicals in our food, water, air and through processing/metabolism, these toxins build up over time.

    Detoxification involves dietary and lifestyle changes that reduce the intake of toxins while enhancing elimination.

    WHAT ARE TOXINS?

    Toxins can be both external (environmental such as alcohol, pesticides, tobacco, heavy metal, medication, oral contraceptives) and internal (the body through its normal metabolism forms by-products which are toxic if not neutralized or excreted).

    The liver is the main and most important detoxifying organ in our bodies, acting as a blood filter. It not only breaks down, neutralizes, and detoxifies, but it also removes chemicals, dead cells, wastes, drugs, particles from the blood, bacteria, and undigested food from our bodies. Special liver cells call Kupffer cells ingest and break down toxic materials like the body’s waste products, alcohol, xenobiotic chemicals, medications and drugs, artificial chemicals that are found in foods, air and drinking water.

    A poorly functioning liver can lead to toxin overload and contribute to ill health and chronic diseases.

    The liver uses 2 phases of detoxification to perform this function, therefore, we need to ensure that both phases are functioning optimally.

    LIFESTYLE

    Your current lifestyle practices play a huge role in liver function and overall health.

    Plenty of fresh air is needed to support cleansing and oxygenation of the cells and tissues, while exposure to vitamin D and sunshine is needed to revitalize our body.

    Exercise - very important to support the cleansing process. It helps to relax the body, clears wastes, and prevents toxicity symptoms.

    Hydrotherapy in the form of contrast Showers - alternating hot and cold showers provide cleansing, increases circulation and is a simple, effective way of improving metabolism. Start with three minutes of hot water (or as warm as you can tolerate) followed by less than one minute of cold water (or as cool as you can tolerate). Repeat pattern at least once, and always finish with cold.

    Dry skin brushing - with a soft brush or loofah prior to bathing, start at the feet and hands, working your way up, and always stroking towards the heart. This can be done every day, year round. This helps to clear toxins from the skin (the largest detoxifying organ of the body!).

    Rest - an important component of allowing body to detoxify and heal. Ensure at least 8 hours of sleep per night.

    AVOID FACTORS THAT CAN INCREASE STRESS ON THE LIVER

    Heavy fats that cause extra work for the liver and gallbladder: dairy products, foods high in heavy saturated fats such as preserved meats, smoked meats, sausages, deli meats, and hot dogs, processed vegetable oils (such as hydrogenated oils or trans-fats), fried foods. Artificial chemicals, artificial sweeteners, artificial flavours, artificial colours, pesticides and artificial preservatives that can be found in food also place tremendous pressure on the liver, forcing it to work harder to process these chemicals.

    Read product labels carefully to detect unnecessary chemical additives. Consider purchasing bodycare lotions that don’t contain synthetic ingredients, after all, your skin is highly absorptive and these chemicals eventually end up inside your body’s bloodstream to be processed by the liver and other organs.

    Alcohol causes stress on the liver and damages many cells in the body. Reduce your alcohol intake as much as possible.

    Prescribed and over-the-counter medications need to be processed by your liver once they’re absorbed. Use them only as directed by your medical doctor or pharmacist.

    Storing and heating food and beverages in plastic containers causes chemicals to leach into the food; store and heat your foods in glass or stainless steel as much as possible.

    Avoid drinking water in plastic bottles, as the bottles leach chemicals known as xenoestrogens into the water. Store your water in glass or stainless steel bottles.

    SUPPORT YOUR LIVER WITH THE FOLLOWING FOODS and HERBS:

    Fruits and vegetables that are rich in color and variety are high in antioxidants and are helpful for preventing cell damage and providing vitamins and nutrients to assist with healthy body function. As a rule of thumb, the darker, deeper or richer the color, the better the food is for you. Dark leafy greens, as well as orange, yellow and red coloured fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants. Berries are also a rich source of antioxidants.

    Consume at least 6 servings of fruit and vegetables daily.

    Fresh squeezed lemon added to water can be helpful to gently promote liver function. Lemons are bitter, and work to gently stimulate the liver and digestive juices in the stomach. Fresh lemons are also abundant in vitamin C, which is a useful antioxidant to support liver detoxification.

    B vitamins are vital for optimal liver function, by helping with energy and fat metabolism in the body. They also aid the liver with congestion that can be caused by alcohol, birth control pills and toxin exposure. B vitamins are found in dark leafy green vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, fish, egg yolk, milk and eggs.

    Milk Thistle (Silybum marianum) is an herb that helps to protect and regenerate the liver. It has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. There is much research that demonstrates Milk Thistle’s ability to benefit a variety of liver diseases. You can find this herb in a tea form, or for more concentrated extracts, consult with your naturopathic doctor for effective product and dosing recommendations.

    Dandelion (Taraxacum officinalis) is a bitter herb that stimulates digestion and the flow of bile. It is helpful for liver and gallbladder congestion. Consume young dandelion leaves (if harvesting at home, make sure they haven’t been contaminated with pesticides). They may be used fresh in salads, served lightly steamed or added to stir-fry. Dandelion root may be drank as a tea or served roasted as an alternative to coffee.

    Support your liver with these liver detox guidelines. Your liver will thank you!

    You might also like to read: Foods to Eliminate During a Detox.

    • 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.

    • 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

     

    • 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

    • 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

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