• 08-09-2016

    Get Started with a Fall Detox - Two Recipes to Try

    Our Naturopathic detox program is a powerful whole body cleanse to fight fatigue, increase your metabolism for weight loss and reset your body for the start of fall. Book an appointment to discuss the 7 or 21 day options available to you. You will be provided with a diet plan, recipes, an information package for your frequently asked questions and more!

    Here are a few recipes to get you started.

    Chicken Garden Soup


    6 carrots
    6 sticks celery
    2 onions, peeled and roughly chopped
    2 bay leaves
    sea salt
    freshly ground black pepper
    4 whole peppercorns
    1 organic/free-range roast chicken carcass, with leftover chicken attached

    olive oil
    2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely sliced
    4 shallots, peeled and finely sliced
    a few sprigs of fresh flat-leaf parsley, leaves picked, stalks finely chopped
    2 handfuls seasonal greens, such as kale or cavalo nero, washed and shredded
    200 g spinach, roughly shredded
    1 lemon


    Even the chicken carcass can be used as the base for a lovely and satisfying meal – I've used it here to make stock. Adding just a few extras will result in a comforting soup. Wash 2 of your carrots and 2 of your celery sticks and roughly chop them. Add them to a large saucepan with the onions, bay leaves, peppercorns, a pinch of sea salt and the chicken carcass. Fill the pan with cold water so that everything is covered, then place on the heat and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 1 hour, skimming off any scum that rises to the surface from time to time. About 20 minutes before your stock is ready, crack on with the base for your soup. Peel your remaining carrots, wash your remaining celery, and slice them nice and evenly, about ½cm thick. In another large saucepan on a low heat, melt your butter with a good lug of olive oil. Add the garlic, shallots and chopped parsley stalks and cook for 5 to 10 minutes until soft but not coloured. Add the carrots and celery and cook for a further 5 minutes. When your stock is ready, remove the chicken carcass, pull off any remaining pieces of meat and leave to one side, then discard the carcass. Strain your stock through a sieve into the pan with your softened veg. Bring to the boil then simmer for 20 minutes. Add your seasonal greens and cook for a further 10 minutes, adding the spinach for the last minute. Finish the soup by squeezing in the juice of your lemon, then taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Divide between bowls and top with any leftover shredded chicken, a sprinkling of parsley leaves and a good bit of freshly ground black pepper.

    Baked Salmon with Sautéed Kale

    How to Bake Fish:

    Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Rinse your fish fillet and place into a baking dish (I use an 8 x 8 glass dish). Generously sprinkle the top with Herbamare or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Drizzle the top with olive oil. You can add other dried herbs if you wish, but with the sauteed garlic scapes for a topping, salt and pepper are all you really need. Place fish into your preheated oven and bake for 10 minutes per inch of thickness. I actually never calculate this or even watch the time, I know when the fish is done by the smells in my kitchen. If you are not sure if it is cooked all the way through, simply remove the pan from the oven and pull away some of the flesh with a fork in the thickest part of the fillet. If it is very pink it still needs some time, if it is opaque pink, then it is done. Remember, fish still cooks after you remove it from the oven, so be careful not to overcook.

    Add steamed or sautéed veggies of your choice. Top choices: Broccoli, kale, green beans etc. 

    How to Sauté Kale:

    Rinse the kale leaves but do not dry them off. Finely chop them with a sharp knife. Heat a large pot over medium heat, add a few tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and a few dashes of sea salt to the bottom of the pot. Add your wet greens. Saute for a few minutes (tender spring greens don't take long), add as many cloves of crushed garlic as you can tolerate and continue to saute until the kale is tender and wilted but still bright green. Add a little more sea salt to taste.

    • 07-11-2015

    How to Survive Cold & Flu Season: Immune Boosting Tips

    The cold and flu season is here and it is important to protect your body from invading germs. There are many natural ways to boost the immune system, and to treat your symptoms if you do become ill. Dr. Andrea Gansner has put together a terirrific handout with everything you need to know to survive the cold and flu season, naturally.

    Causes of impaired immune function

    • High stress

    • Lack of sleep

    • Decreased physical activity

    • Poor diet

    • Impaired digestion

    • Lack of exposure to sunlight General Tips

    • Wash your hands frequently throughout the day – this may sound simple but it is really important! Especially after blowing your nose. Washing your hands frequently greatly decreases the risk of viral spread. Avoid touching mucous membranes (eyes, nose, mouth) with unwashed hands. Avoid close contact to those you know are sick

    • Avoid sharing food and drinks with others

    • Sneeze & cough into your elbow crease

    • Work to manage stress

    • Avoid cigarette smoke

    • Drink alcohol in moderation


    Herbs to BOOST immune function

    Echinacea purpura (Echinacea) at the first sign of Cold:

    • Tincture or capsules best

    • There are children’s formulas available in glycerin form (sweet) of Echinacea and Goldenseal

    • Take for 2-3 days, to help fight off cold before it takes hold

    • Follow instructions on the supplement label for dosage or talk to your naturopathic doctor


    Astragalus membranaceus (Astragalus)

    • Is used to strengthen and support the immune system to better prevent colds and flus.

    • Immunostimulant/modulator

    • Activates T cells, increases T cell cytotoxicity, increases phagocytosis

    • Slows replication of viruses


    Lentinula edodes (Shitake)

    • Protective/prophylactic against most strains of influenza

    • Increases phagocytotic activity


    Eleutherococcus senticosus (Siberian ginseng)

    • Used for 4000 years in TCM to improve general health

    • Treats fatigue and stress

    • Immunomodulatory, and increases resistance to stress

    • Antiviral, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antifungal


    Immune Boosting tea

    - 4 cups water

    - 6 peeled garlic cloves, cut in half

    - Approximately 1 ½ - 2 inches of peeled fresh ginger, sliced into ¼ inch rounds

    • Bring to boil, cover, turn down and simmer for 5-8 minutes.

    – Add honey to taste.

    – Add juice of 1 lemon.

    – Add a tiny pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)

    • NOT for children under 1 year of age, contains honey *


    Herbs to take when you are sick!

    When looking for herbal treatments, choose formulas with these herbs – combinations of immune boosting and antimicrobial. Can use in pills, tinctures or teas.

    Sambucus nigra (Elderberry)

    • Anti-viral and anti-inflammatory

    • Study found it resolved flu sx in 2-3 days vs. 6 days for controls

    • Prevented replication of several strains of Influenza types A and B

    • Reduced mucous production, and improved sx of influenza


    Berberis aquifolium (Oregon Grape)

    • Antibacterial, anti-inflammatory


    Plantago lanceolata (Plantain leaf)

    • For cough (anti-tussive), also antibacterial

    • Soothes irritation of the throat and bronchi


    Eupatorium perfoliatum (Boneset)

    • For cough, also antibacterial

    • For deep muscle/bone pain, intermittent or constant fever

    • Immune stimulatory


    Inula helenium

    • For cough (anti-tussive), expectorant, immunostimulant

    • Good for chest pain, persistent wet cough


    Recommended Supplements

    • Vitamins A, C, E: Mucous membranes, immune support, antioxidant. Vitamin A (caution in pregnancy)

    Food sources include carrot, squash, broccoli, kale

    • Vitamin C: Adults 500 mg 1-4 times daily, Children 200-300 mg 1-3 times daily. Can have up to 5 grams per day to boost the immune system.

    May cause loose stools

    • Zinc lozenges: great for relief of sore throats. Antiviral, MOST people deficient

    • Intravenous multi-vitamin, multi-mineral infusion to optimize health which we offer at our clinic



    • Gargles – are antimicrobial and astringent

    o Salt water gargle: gargle with 1 tbsp salt in warm water to help clear mucous and bacteria from the mouth and throat

    • Steam inhalation

    o 2-3 drops of essential oil in bowl with boiling water

    Eucalyptus, tea tree, rosemary, thyme

    o Helps reduce congestion in the nose and sinuses

    o Create a tent by draping a towel over the head to prevent the escape of vapours, and inhale for 5-10 mins

    o Can use in children only with supervision 

    • Humidifier w/ eucalyptus oil: Hydrates dry irritated throat

    o Great for children at night for cough and congestion

    • Contrast hydro on the chest: to assist in mucus expectoration and cough productivity

    o 2 mins hot, 1 min cold, ending on cold


    Dietary recommendations for good immune health

    • Eat regular meals to stabilize your blood sugar

    • Never skip breakfast

    • Limit simple sugar consumption. Bacteria love to feed on simple sugars! Weakens immune system, decreases number of WBCs and reduces their ability to kill viral or bacterial infections.

    • Maintain an ideal body weight. Obesity is a risk factor for influenza

    • Increase intake of bright/colourful veggies: Fruits and veggies are high in antioxidants (Vit A, C & E), Zn, bioflavonoids o A lack of nutrients decreases the immune response

    • Incorporate garlic and onions into your diet: Contain alliin and quercitin, two immune-modulating and immune boosting phytochemicals that are scientifically proven to contain antiviral and antibacterial properties

    • Remove preservatives, artificial sweeteners and colourings, flavourings, sodium

    • Avoid refined/allergenic foods – can increase inflammation in the body

    • Get plenty of fluids. Allows for improved lymphatic circulation. Dry respiratory tracts have been shown to produce a much more hospitable environment for viruses to invade than a moist environment. o Water is also very important in the function of white blood cells o Optimally you need to drink half an ounce of water for each pound of body weight to thin mucus secretions. (at least 8 cups/day)

    • Decrease caffeine intake – causes increase in cortisol leading to a decreased immune system

    • Incorporate good sources of protein into your diet: o Lean meats, eggs (if not sensitive), and legumes o Ensuring adequate protein is essential to produce antibodies and white blood cells that are responsible to fight off bacteria

    • Nuts are a good source of protein and also contain high amounts of arginine, an amino acid responsible for regulating immune function • Eat fish 2-3xweek: especially cod, contains high amounts of vitamin D, a nutrient that is key to optimal immune function

    • Incorporate food sources of probiotics: Fermented foods help to feed the good bacteria in the gut:

    – Plain yogurt: contains acidophilus and lactobacillus for optimal digestive health and thus immune function.

    – Kefir

    – Sauerkraut (fermented cabbage)

    – Kimchi (Korean spicy cabbage)

    – Tempeh (a fermented soybean product)

    - Should say contains “Live” or “Active” cultures


    I hope these tips help keep you healthy this season. 

    All recommendations and tips are suggestions only. In order to follow-up with the advice given, it is strongly suggested that you contact your health care practitioner regarding your specific health and concerns.

    Photo Copyright: pressmaster / 123RF Stock Photo

    • 21-01-2015

    Foods to Eliminate During a Detox

    Welcome to part 2 of our detox series! Missed part 1? You can read about it here. This post comes to us from Dr. Andrea Gansner, ND and it takes you through the second pillar of a great detox: eliminate! Dr. Andrea wants to teach you how to follow a diet that is focused on optimal nutrient intake, and a detox that removes common allergens, towards building healthy habits and keeping these changes for the long-term. Here is what you need to know:

    An elimination diet is commonly used in order to identify hidden food allergies, sensitivities and intolerances that may be contributing to your symptoms. This break from the common allergenic foods enables the body to heal and decreases potential sources of inflammation in the body. It is also great for a detox period, because it gives the body a break from common triggers.

    If you have any known allergies or sensitivities, work to eliminate them entirely from your diet and minimize environmental exposures. Eliminate all forms of the food by carefully reading food labels and inquiring as to how foods are prepared at restaurants to avoid triggers if eating out.

    Prior to beginning a detox, I recommend my patients remove the following list of foods from their kitchens and replace them with healthy whole food alternatives.


    Read labels thoroughly;

    Try to eat fresh organic fruits and vegetables whenever possible. If cost is an issue, begin by eliminating the Dirty Dozen These are the most pesticide residue laden fruits and vegetables so buy organic to minimize exposure;

    Avoid foods high on the glycemic index. The glycemic index of a food calculates the carbohydrate and fiber content and determines how much the food will increase blood sugar. Aim for foods that are lower on the glycemic index and do not spike blood sugar;

    Avoid deep fried foods, canned vegetables, and frying vegetables. Instead, bake, steam or eat your vegetables raw to ensure optimal nutrient density/concentration.

    Foods to eliminate during a detox:

    Processed foods, the common allergens, sugar, alcohol, caffeine (exception: green tea);

    Avoid anything with added colour, flavouring, preservatives;

    Avoid all sweeteners, including: honey, molasses, glucose, fructose, maltose, maltodextrose, brown rice/corn/maple syrups, white/brown sugar;

    Avoid all carbonated beverages such as pop, fruit juices high in refined sugar and processed vegetable drinks;

    Grains that contain gluten (wheat, rye, spelt, kamut, barley, oats). These are usually found in pasta, bread, products made from refined flour, but can be found in hidden sources such as soy sauce. Avoid yeast containing bread and crackers;

    Avoid eggs and dairy products, such as: milk, cheese, yogurt, cream, butter;

    Avoid shortening, margarine, and refined oils;

    Avoid red meats such as beef, pork, deli meats, sausages, hot dogs, canned and smoked meat;

    Avoid canned fish, tuna, catfish, shellfish; 

    Tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, eggplant, corn, which are common allergens;

    If you have a ragweed allergy – remove sunflower seeds and oil, safflower oil, dandelion, chicory, chamomile, iceberg lettuce and artichokes;

    Avoid peanuts, cashews and pistachios, salted or flavoured nuts;

    Soy products (soy milk, soy beans, tofu, tempeh, miso, soy sauce, TVP) because they are common allergens;

    Avoid bananas, oranges, grapefruits, strawberries, melons and dried fruits. 

    I hope this food elimination list helps you navigate the sometimes confusing information available and instead makes these changes ones that will last a lifetime. After the detox period, or after checking that you are not sensitive to these foods, please feel free to slowly add them back in (using moderation for some, or eliminating entirely for others - ie. processed foods).

    Follow the Polo Health Detox on Facebook!


    Dr. Andrea Gansner, ND 


    Photo Copyright: / 123RF Stock Photo