• 29-03-2019

    Does My Child Have Food Allergies or Food Sensitivities? What's the difference?

    In the eighties and nineties, going to school with a peanut butter sandwich in your lunchbox was the norm. Now most schools are nut free and parents are hyper vigilant following baby first food best practices to avoid future allergies and food sensitivities. Most of us know a child who has a life-threatening food allergy or some kind of reaction to a particular food. A question that many of us are used to asking when other children to come over to play is, “Does your child have any food allergies?” 
     
    Here to weigh in on food allergies and food sensitivities is New Westminster Naturopathic Physician, Dr. Allana Polo. 
     
    "It’s good that we are aware of the different types of reactions but with the overlap of some of the symptoms, things get a little confusing," says Dr. Polo "One of the biggest questions I get from my patients who are parents is: how do we know if our child has an actual food allergy or if they are just sensitive to a particular food?"

    Food Allergies

    A food allergy is when the body’s immune system reacts as though it needs to fight off disease. The first exposure to the offending food has no outward effect on the body. But on the inside, an antibody called IgE is created against that particular food. The next time that food is ingested, it binds to the antibodies that are now floating around in the system and triggers an actual reaction like cramping, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, gas, hives and even difficulties breathing.

    An allergic reaction takes place immediately after eating or can take up to several hours to manifest. If the reaction is going to be as severe as an anaphylactic shock, it will usually occur within the first hour after ingestion. Anaphylactic shock is deadly and requires immediate medical attention. The symptoms are wheezing, difficulty breathing, swelling of the tongue and throat, and fainting. Usually if someone knows they have an anaphylactic reaction to a certain food they will carry an auto-injector of epinephrine with them to counteract the reaction.

    Some of the more common food allergies in children include peanuts, soy, milk, wheat and eggs. 

    Food Sensitivities or Intolerance

    Generally, the words sensitivity and intolerance are used interchangeably. A sensitivity actually has nothing to do with the immune system. The symptoms in this case stem from an inability to digest the food. Symptoms (commonly nausea, abdominal pain, diarrhea and bloating) usually appear about half an hour after ingestion but can also take up to 48 hours to really show themselves. Heartburn and headaches are also indications of food sensitivity or intolerance.

    Two of the most common food intolerances are dairy and gluten. That’s why, in my practice, dairy and gluten are two substances I ask my patients to eliminate when we are testing to see how their body responds on and off these foods. Not everyone who has sensitivity to gluten has Celiac disease. The latter is completely different, where any gluten consumed actually damages the intestinal lining. 

    Some Key Differences Between Food Allergies And Sensitivities

    An allergic reaction can occur even when only a tiny amount of the allergen is present. For a sensitivity to be detected, generally a normal portion size needs to be consumed. 

    An allergic reaction happens more immediately, whereas a sensitivity can make itself known days later.

    An allergic reaction can be life-threatening but a sensitivity is not.

     
    You can work with your naturopathic doctor to determine what your child is sensitive to and even the extent to which the food needs to be avoided. In some cases, by using an elimination diet and then slowly reintroducing a food into your diet, a food sensitivity can be eliminated! 

    • 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!

    • 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.

    • 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.

    • 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

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