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.
What to consider before starting a cleanse.
I won’t lie, when I was studying nutrition, and was introduced to the idea of detoxification back in my undergraduate days I was not convinced that this was something we needed as human beings. By nature, I am an open minded skeptic, and so naturally I didn’t write the entire idea of detoxification off, but I didn’t understand why people did it, or rather, needed to do it.
Moving forward many years later, I realize that my hesitation around detoxification was the cookie cutter nature that I witnessed, the replication of celebrities committing themselves to extreme fasts or juice cleanses, and the use of enemas or laxatives without any assessment or supervision.
It wasn’t the idea of the detoxification that had me turned off, it was the marketing behind it.
In practice I am putting people on detoxes very regularly, but they aren’t called detoxes or cleanses, but are in the form of food elimination diets, IV therapy, hypo-allergenic diets, setting boundaries in relationships, hydrotherapy practices, utilizing botanicals for elimination, regular infrared sauna sessions etc. It is important to recognize that detox comes in many shapes and forms, but an alteration in what you are currently doing is in essence a very gentle detox. However, detox extends beyond diet, it also can mean detoxing from toxic people, toxic habits such as drinking regularly, smoking, using your phone when you are with company and the use of toxic materials such as detergents, cleaning agents, plastics and more.
Detox means, getting rid of unwanted toxins, and frankly in a world that is in no short supply of toxic accessibility in all shapes and forms, labelling something as a detox, to force you to have intention and accountability might be one of the best things you do every year.
So let’s let go of the word, and focus on the why. There are many reasons why our body needs a break. We are ON, 24/7, 365 a year, for our entire lives. This is a beautiful thing, but depending on the life we choose to live, our exposures mount up. On one extreme, pathologies begin to show up when our toxic burden has reached its max, and on the opposite end of the spectrum, the focus on supporting our body regularly can also be highly beneficial. Ultimately our cups are all different so naturally some people can manage a greater toxic burden than others, and some of us just get used to our baseline of feeling a certain way. This is not just about physiology but about environment- physical, environmental (epigenetic,) mental and emotional.
The practice of fasting, which is prevalent in almost all major religions is a form of detox. Lent is a form of detox. Hot and cold therapy is a form of detox. As a society, we have always given our body a break, recognizing that this is what we need.
Detox for a specific concern such as addressing heavy metals may require chelation and more specific directions. Detox as a form of reset, however, can be tailored to you, for your needs, and what your body can handle.
So before you begin a detox, there are a few things to keep in mind that will help you be more successful.
Lastly, always remember that your body truly is on your side. Your body wants to help you, and supporting yourself, is a form of self love.
Most of us don’t admire how resilient we are as human beings, the amount we can handle, how we can be adaptable and so much more. Support that, embrace it, celebrate it and love your body. If you are thinking about a cleanse, take the time to understand why you need it, from all aspects of your life; and even if you cannot think of why, there is no limit to how much love you can give to your self. You don’t need a reason, but if you have one, then better even to be specific about what your needs are at this time. And always remember, if you don’t know where to begin, that is ok, and actually very normal. Seek a health care practitioner that you resonate with, that can help you cleanse appropriately, that is what they are here for.
By: Dr. Mashael Mawji, ND
BSc. FNH (Hon)
Naturally, as men age, their testosterone declines. As human biology dictates, we expect this, and a natural decline in sex hormones occurs in both men and women. Younger men, however, are presenting with symptoms of low testosterone, even in their 20’s. The key word here is symptoms of low testosterone, but when we test their testosterone levels, we often see that they are within the range they should be for age and sex (in many young men.) So why are so many young men showing up with symptoms of low sexual desire, trouble with morning erections or less spontaneous erections, low mood, depression and fatigue?
I have definitely heard my fair share of gym bro talk, and some of this information is harmful and incorrect. Knowledge sharing is important, but when it comes to our health, I do not believe that a one size fits all approach is ideal. General health recommendations are the starting point for good health, but when there are concerns, identifying the cause should be the beginning. Hormones are powerful, which is why when they are out of balance, low, or even high, we often experience symptoms. Keeping that in mind, there are lots of things to consider before starting on testosterone replacement therapy that you should be discussing with your prescribing physician.
So, what are some other reasons you may be feeling symptoms of low testosterone, when in fact your testosterone levels are ok?
We live in a world where our exposure to household products, detergents, fillers in food, diet and plastics, promote an estrogenic state in our body. Often times, we supplement with so many things, but do not take time to address our gut microbiome or liver metabolism which play a strong role in the detoxification and elimination of our hormones. Testosterone has many pathways, and one of them is the formation of Estradiol. This is through a process called aromatization. Some men feel that they don’t have enough testosterone, but hormones behave relative to each other. A higher level of estrogen for a man can definitely make his testosterone feel like its low, when it isn’t.
The main producers of testosterone are the testes and the adrenal glands. During periods of stress, our pituitary gland sends out a hormone called adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) that acts on our adrenal glands to produce cortisol. This helps us cope with stress, but the feedback is to inhibit another hormone called Gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH.) This is the relationship between the HPA (Hypothalamic-pituitary axis) and the HPG (Hypothalamic- pituitary gonad axis.) Recall that stress comes in different forms, and as individuals, our ability to cope is individual. As children we are programmed differently to deal with stress, and some people may have experienced stress earlier in life and now it is impacting them in the present day. Other forms of stress people often don’t think about are when we get sick. Our immune health can also be a cause of stress. Most people today experience stress due to work-life balance and the demands of society. I find many of my patients benefit from support here, particularly using nutrition and botanical medicine!
We are all genetically different but depending on your personal baseline, body fat can be contributing to feelings of low testosterone. One reason is because the hormone androstenedione that is made in adipose, breast and axillary fat, can convert to either testosterone or estrogen. Studies show that peripheral aromatization is favored (in both men and women) which means that the favored conversion is to produce estrogen. This is often why people will say that fat is estrogenic. Extra adipose tissue also has an impact on other hormones such as insulin, adiponectin and leptin. Having a healthy body weight is important for so many reasons, not just your hormones!
The focus here really is on diversity. Our gut and liver really are so important for us to process and eliminate effectively. Most people are not getting enough vegetables, particularly cruciferous and leafy greens. A lack of diversity in our diet also has implications on the beneficial bacteria that support our mental health, hormonal health, immune health, digestive health, skin health and more! Eating late at night influences our growth hormone as well, which affects our ability to build, regenerate and repair. I always tell my patients that it is what we do 80% of the time that shows up in our life- this includes our exercise routine, the food we consume (and I am talking about realfood,) the time of day we are eating, the diversity in our diet and so much more!
There are a plethora of reasons that people are low in different micronutrients. There are micronutrient tests which I will sometimes use to understand exactly what the concern is, especially in the patient that seems like they are doing a lot of things right. However, there are common vitamins and minerals that most people are low in, and this can be for a variety of reasons such as: poor diet, gut health, chronic stress, medications they are taking, age, genetically being predisposed to certain deficiencies, other comorbidities, a lack of dietary diversity and more. Re-building requires the right building blocks, and nutrients play a significant role in our ability to produce hormones.
This article is meant to be educational, and to provide a perspective that I feel is often missing when we approach men’s health. There are many different ways to treat symptoms, but treating symptoms is not always the right approach. Managing symptoms, starting with foundations in supporting the body and trying to understand where the problem is coming from, I believe should be the primary approach.
Written by: Dr. Mashael Mawji, ND
BSc. FNH (Hon)
My Top 5 Nutrients to support your Eye Health
Eye health is a common concern for many people and can include dry eyes, redness, progressively decreasing eye sight, cataracts, age related macular degeneration and more. In fact, my recent visit with my Ophthalmologist is one of many reasons for this blog post (besides popular request!) Apparently my corneal thickness would allow me to undergo a series of laser eye surgeries, which he doesn’t see too often; and he has definitely evaluated a lot of eyes!!! He was impressed, and wanted me to share what I was doing with him, and so this is just some information on a few things you can be doing to help support your eye health.
The focus of this will be on nutrients, but remember, secondary conditions, medications you are taking and your lifestyle play a huge role in eye health.
Your eye contains small blood vessels and relies on tears and certain membranes for nutrients, oxygen, and lubrication. Your body utilizes many of the nutrients you consume for a number of different functions, so lifestyle is extremely important when supporting eye health. Lifestyle habits include a good consumption of fruits and vegetables, wearing sunglasses in bright conditions, proper cleansing of contact lenses, lowering your cell phone brightness, taking breaks from screen time (apply a filter) and not smoking.
1. Vitamin C
Outside of the adrenal glands, the lens contains a higher level of Vitamin C than any other body organ. The aqueous humor supplies the nutrition to the lens of the eye, and can aid in the prevention of lipid peroxidation and regeneration of glutathione. Remember, Vitamin C is well absorbed but is utilized by the body for immune function, collagen synthesis, glutathione regeneration and so much more. Some of my favourite sources of Vitamin C include Parsley, Rose hip tea, Bell peppers, and Kiwi.
I use Zinc a lot, for a variety of concerns including acne, immune dysfunction, taste/smell changes, DNA synthesis, hormone support, and normal growth and development. There is definitely a fine balance between Zinc and copper, so taking the right dose is important. Most of us have been told to “eat carrots” to help with night vision, which is usually focusing on the precursor to Vitamin A, beta-carotene. Zinc, however, is responsible for bringing Vitamin A to the retina from the liver, to make the protective pigment in our eyes called melanin. Often times we don’t link poor night vision, impaired vision or even cataracts to zinc, but this trace mineral is one of my favourites and is so important! My favourite dietary source of Zinc is oysters; it is also one of the highest food sources containing about 74.0mg per serving. Other sources include: pumpkin seeds, shitake mushrooms, squash and beef.
3. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
A lot of people use artificial tears to remedy their dry eyes. Essential fatty acids help for a variety of eye conditions including age related macular degeneration, glaucoma and increased eye pressure. They play a role in promoting proper drainage of intraocular fluid, lubricating the eye and preventing/treating dry eyes. It takes time for omega-3’s to make a significant change in your fatty acid profile, so regular consumption over time is required to notice the benefits. Also, avoiding high omega-6 foods, hydrogenated oils and trans-fats can help improve your omega-3 fatty acid profile. Many sources of omega-3 fatty acids also contain supportive nutrients such as Vitamin A, Vitamin D and Calcium, which are important for our overall health. Dietary sources include herring, sardines, anchovies, and salmon. I find that it can be difficult to obtain therapeutic levels if you are not consuming these regularly, so I often recommend a good quality fish oil supplement if you are treating a condition, not just preventing it!
Haven’t heard of it? Its cousin’s lycopene, lutein, beta-carotene and alpha-tocopherol are in the same family of naturally occurring pigments called carotenoids. Usually emphasized for their anti-oxidant, free radical scavenging activity, astaxanthin really is a bit unique. I chose to include this for eye health because unlike its cousins it can pass the blood-brain and blood-retinal barrier (so impressive!), allowing it to exhibit its effects specifically to support eye health. It is found in algae, and has a wide variety of benefits such as UVB absorber (UVB I like to think of as the UV rays that “burn,”) protecting the skin from radiation and damage, and supporting brain health. Research around astaxanthin focuses on its use in ARMD (Age related macular degeneration,) diabetic neuropathy, central retinal arterial and venous occlusion, inflammatory eye conditions and glaucoma.
5. Vitamin A
Vitamin A really does function best in the presence of other nutrients. Surprisingly, many people lack in Vitamin A which I believe is partly due to overburdening of the liver. Some common conditions associated with Vitamin A deficiency include type I diabetes, liver disease, alcoholism, follicular hyperkeratosis (bumps on the back of the arm), and hypothyroidism. Night blindness is often where Vitamin A plays a strong role, because retinal is a key part of rhodopsin which is the pigment responsible for absorbing light and allowing us to seeing in dim light. I strongly believe that Vitamin A is often overlooked, but its role in our body is extensive. Ensuring you are not trying to conceive, and have a healthy liver, are a few reasons to be careful when supplementing Vitamin A. See your Naturopathic Doctor to ensure you are consuming this nutrient in therapeutic and safe doses for your concerns.
It is always important to keep in mind that when you take a lifestyle approach or even an orthomolecular one, nutrients are vital for many functions in our body. There are symptoms you exhibit that indicate where you may be lacking in nutrients.
Medications can also deplete certain nutrients, for example Metformin and Vitamin B12, Oral-contraceptive pills and Vitamin B6 and B9, and some are known to be side effects for eye health such as statins and cataract development.
So when using nutrition and nutrient therapy to replete, always remember your body needs these important nutrients for a variety of important processes, and there may be areas that will be prioritized first, before you see an improvement. The priority is always the best outcome for you, whether that means, vitamins, diet, herbs or even pharmaceuticals.
Assessing where improvements can be made, safely and effectively, is part of outcome based medicine!
By: Dr. Mashael Mawji, ND
BSc. FNH (Hon)
With tons of supplements on the market, it can be difficult to determine what you need, the brand, the dose, and how long you should be taking it for. When we usually think of fish oil, the sensory effects like taste and burp back are huge considerations when choosing a fish oil brand. With all this in mind, why is fish oil so heavily recommended? Whats the Dish on Fish oil?
Fish oil has been a health recommendation for many years. It is often recommended in conditions ranging from skin health such as eczema, psoriasis, and dry skin to brain health, cognitive improvement/development, ADHD and depression as a therapeutic intervention. Our body has anywhere from 30-60 trillion cells, and each cell has a membrane that is composed of fat and protein. The fat composition in our diet has a tremendous influence on the fat in our cell membranes, which in turn has an influence on our skin, eyes, brain, joints and so much more.
In today’s culture, omega 6 fatty acids are in everything we consume. Packaged foods and conventional cooking predominantly utilize grape seed, palm, soy and vegetable oils which are sources of omega 6 fatty acids. The Standard American diet (SAD) is high in animal foods such as beef, eggs, pork and chicken, and low in cold water fish, nuts and seeds. This leaves many people deficient in omega 3 for a variety of reasons. Omega 3 fatty acids are an essential fatty acid, which means that our body is unable to produce it. A diet that is high in omega 6 fatty acids, such as the SAD, means that we are consuming 20X more omega 6 than omega 3.
Just as with everything in our body, the ratio of fatty acids, proteins, neurotransmitters, and hormones need to be balanced for us to be feeling good and in homeostasis.
So this does not mean that Omega 6 fatty acids are bad, but it means that our high consumption is changing the ratio of essential fatty acids in our body which can show up as inflammation. This inflammation is not referring to pain inflammation, but inflammation on a cellular level. When we consume nutrients and foods, they need to be processed, assimilated into membranes and, converted to other end products. This requires enzymes, but also messengers called prostaglandins. These messengers on the most basic level, tell our body whether we should induce inflammation or reduce inflammation. Thus, this can show up as dry skin, eczema, dry eyes, stiff and painful joints, trouble focusing, poor cognitive function (memory) and depression. What do all these conditions have in common? They are all inflammatory!
If you were to try and consume enough dietary omega 3 for a therapeutic effect this would mean eating 5 servings of salmon or 27 servings of tuna a week (per 3oz serving.)
If you choose plant sources of omega 3 fatty acids the EPA and DHA omega 3 fatty acids need to be formed in the body from alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). Depending on your diet, and if omega 3’s need to be increased to therapeutic levels, it can be difficult to achieve this from diet alone. This is because the delta-6-desaturase enzyme that converts ALA to SDA which goes on to eventually form the omega 3 fatty acid EPA, is inefficient and is also used in the omega 6 pathway. Thus, a diet high in omega 6 fatty acids, makes it difficult to achieve high omega 3 levels in the body from plant sources that require the conversion of ALA to EPA.
Remember, your body cannot make omega 3 fatty acids. There are two main forms of omega 3, EPA(eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexanoic acid.)
They are both omega 3 fatty acids, but they serve different roles in the body. For example the most abundant fatty acid in the brain is DHA, which is why consumption for kids and teens is so important for brain development. EPA alternatively, is typically used for reducing inflammation and may also be used in brain health for inflammatory conditions such as memory and depression. Regular consumption is key, because omega 3’s are not drugs, they are essential nutrients. It takes time for them to assimilate into your body and change the profile of your cells. Understanding how diet may influence your omega 3 fatty acid profile, the type of fatty acid that is best for you and the dose are all conversations you can have with your Naturopathic Doctor. Just as you would consume Vitamin C to prevent scurvy, remember, Omega 3’s are also essential!
Written By: Dr. Mashael Mawji, ND
BSc. FNH (Hon)
As someone who suffered from eczema, psoriasis, hyper-pigmentation and acne for years, I understand how frustrating it is to have no control over your skin. We aggressively cleanse, over medicate, and apply too many products that really don’t remedy the problem as part of the fear response, the fear that if we do not do something it will get worse. Often times we strip the skin or apply so many barriers that our skin can’t even breathe. If the placebo or subtle change of it improving begins, its never to last indefinitely, only for the cycle of skin stuff to start again with any sort of stress, change in lifestyle, change in temperature or even change in soap.
Let me tell you, my skin journey has included everything from top of the line skin care, laser treatments, facials, chemical peels, at home masks, blu-U light therapy, steroids, antibiotics (topical and internal) and even Accutane in my teens. After each treatment, new antibiotics or anything else, I would have hope, that my skin would improve, and stay better. It never did.
Today, I go for facials occasionally, take a plethora of supplements, hydrate appropriately, eat well and use very basic skin care. My skin is great, and I often wear little to no makeup, finally being able to show off my skin after envying people for years, who had great bare clean skin. So you might be thinking, is it what I was using that has made this change? Am I seeing a new aesthetician? Was it puberty causing this? (No, this does not last 12 years!) Its none of the above.
I believe that superficial facial treatments can enhance your skin and improve your skin, but they cannot change your skin.
We spend tons of money on these treatments, expecting a full change in our skin. Some of the more aggressive treatments can definitely “change”your skin, by resurfacing or tightening it, but fundamentally, your body supplies the building blocks for this so your final lasting outcome is dependent on you. You cannot achieve good skin if you are toxic, inflamed, don’t drink enough water and have a poor diet or the wrong diet for you (unless you have strong genetics, but trust me that doesn’t last forever.)
There is no quick fix to changing your skin.
There are many quick fixes to improvingyour skin, but when your body is producing new cells daily, what you have available and the internal environment of your body will determine what shows up outside. Your internal environment is everything from genetics, other conditions such as PCOS, asthma, food allergies, hormones and more; but it is most importantly your diet. Antiglycation endpoints also known as AGE’s aren’t great for your cardiovascular health, and they show up in the skin as hyper-pigmentation and uneven tone. High aerobic activity and clean eating but not consuming the right type of fat might show up as thin skin, sunken temples, and hard face that looks dehydrated and aged. Consuming high mucus forming foods might be making you puffy, your features undefined, and having the appearance of poor bone structure. Chronic acne can be due to so many things not limited but including, poor gut health, toxic overload from heavy metals, parasites, too much heat in your body (from a TCM perspective), food sensitivities, chronic inflammation or more.
The approach you take to skin is dependent on you.
Sometimes we need conventional therapies such as accutane, steroids and antibiotics to get things under control, but the burden this puts on the body requires us to also replace, replenish and support what these treatments alter. This can include our liver metabolism, our gut micro biome, nutrient status, and skin thickness and sensitivity to light. Its a double edged sword, where there is no one size fits all approach because the cause of the problem is different for everyone.
I have used a a lifestyle approach to skin, and it works. The benefit of this approach is not only that I no longer have acne, hyper-pigmentation, eczema or psoriasis, but my skin texture has improved, I look radiant, my hair and nails are healthier, my gut is happy and I feel good. On my journey to improve my skin, I improved my overall health. There is no perfect, it takes self awareness and when I burden my body too long, things will start to show up, but its not often, its easier to control, and it doesn’t last long.
So I am not saying don’t use good skin care, or not to have enhancement treatments, but what I am saying is that these are the accessories to your skin.
Anything that you do that is causing skin cell turnover, micro-inflammation, using your own blood products (PRP), or influencing tightening through collagen formation will benefit from supporting your body first.
Ensure you have the right building blocks and co-factors to not only form great skin, but that your body can eliminate waste appropriately so that you look healthy, young and radiant. Take a holistic approach to your appearance, its not a quick fix, and it can take some time depending on the concern,
but in my experience its absolutely worth it.
Written by: Dr. Mashael Mawji, ND BSc. FNH (Hon)
There are a lot of theories why pregnancy cravings occur including hormonal changes, altered sense of smell, and nutrient deficiencies. In reality it’s likely that all three factors play a role and these cravings are trying to tell you something about what’s going on in your body. Some of the more common cravings include:
Usually cravings aren’t concerning (Unless it is pica) but can contribute to unintended weight gain. During a normal pregnancy 25-35 pounds of weight gain should be expected although this will vary from person to person. If too much weight is gained gestational diabetes, high birth weights, and higher rates of cesarean sections can be seen. Because of this it is important to eat nutritious foods that may help prevent cravings from happening in the first place.
Healthy foods for pregnancy:
Getting pregnant doesn’t mean traveling is out of the question and with babymoons becoming more popular it’s important to talk about how to travel during this time. With a growing belly travel can be even more stressful and uncomfortable than usual but there are natural ways to handle it. The general rule for travelling while pregnant is that it’s safest in the second trimester. Make sure you check in with your practitioner beforehand to ensure there are no complications preventing you from going on the trip. It’s also a good idea to check in with the airline to see if they have any rules surrounding pregnancy.
Choosing the destination:
Muscle cramps and swelling
Don’t get sick
Let’s take a trip down memory lane to Junior high biology class. Do you remember learning about our nervous system? Parasympathetic VS sympathetic systems?
These 2 nervous systems explain everything you need to know about weight gain and fatigue! Why when you are stressed, you have digestive problems and get more gassy and bloated. Why, when you are stressed, you gain weight- especially around your midsection and belly no matter what weight loss efforts you have implemented, nothing seems to battle the bulge. Why, you feel and look exhausted no matter how much sleep you get. Why you are constantly getting injured or are in chronic pain and it isn’t healing as it should. And most importantly, what we can do about all of this.
Sympathetic Nervous system otherwise known as “ Fight or Flight”.
When we are stressed, or are put under stressful situations ( Even though we can’t admit we are necessarily stressed, and we are good, and we got this, and we are fine and we will be ok) our body releases cortisol and adrenaline from our adrenal glands. The role of these hormones are to keep us going in the midst of stress. We are however only equipped with so many resources to allow us to keep going for so long, until we crash and burn because our cortisol and adrenaline levels can no longer be kept up with. This is known as the adrenal fatigue we have touched on previously. We are not equipped to run from a bear 24/7. God hasn’t built us that way, to have the organs and hormones on endless supply to accommodate this crazy world we live in. We run out of resources very quickly if we push and push our bodies to no end. This is when we begin getting injured and end up with chronic diseases as a result of too much “stress” on the body without the ability to cope with it. No different than your car breaking down after you ran on it without changing the oil, getting it serviced, etc tec. WHY this is of relevance to you, is because, when we are under stress our blood vessels dilate, our core body temperature increases, our digestive system shuts down, our repairing and restorative mechanisms are halted and we are running on pure adrenaline to survive. When we are surviving, we are hoarding all our resources and food and fuel to store it in times of need for quick energy. Everything we eat becomes stored in case we will need fuel at a later date. We are literally wired to survive.
Parasympathetic Nervous system otherwise known as “ Rest and Digest”. This is the complete opposite of the sympathetic system. This is where we are meant to rejuvenate, relax, repair and regenerate. Our body replenishes nutrient stores, hormone levels, neurotransmitters, growth hormone and more while we are in this state. Our digestive system is working, HCL is flowing, enzymes are working to help us break down our food, our intestines and bowels are undergoing peristalsis and movement and all is well. We are balanced here, calm, our muscles are relaxed, heart rate and breathing rate and pulse rate are low. We aren’t hoarding resources here, our bodies aren’t holding onto food and calories, pressure is taken off our heart and our adrenal glands are having a holiday.
Now, the kicker is, we cannot be in both systems at once. We cannot be running from a bear and eating while we run and expect our digestive system to work for us. This is why when we are stressed and go go go and eat on the run, we get heartburn and acid reflux along with gas and bloating and perhaps diarrhea or constipation. Why when we are stressed we get injured and our body doesn’t heal- because we haven’t given it the restorative and regenerative attention our body needs. Why when you are running on very little sleep or are tossing and turning, that you wake up exhausted. You haven’t allowed the body ample time to get out of 1 nervous system and into the next system properly so both functions of the body and nervous system could be appreciated. It is so important to appreciate the two systems for what they are, and respect the processes and bodily functions that take place in each. We need our bodies to respond under a state of stress, but we also need to place an importance on the value of good restful deep sleep. We must respect our digestive system and the enzymes that are responsible for breaking down our food and assimilating it so we use it for energy. It would be a shame to compromise this process because we are too busy. All this requires is 10 minutes to sit down, focus on eating, on chewing your food properly and give your mealtime the quiet it deserves. In the midst of a stressful situation, simply go to a quiet room, heck a bathroom will suffice if you are out and about, turn the lights off and do 10 deep belly breaths. This calmness will allow a dial down of sympathetic to parasympathetic system and help recharge those batteries.
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.
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:
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.
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.
Now that summer is almost here, many of us are hitting the road and roaming the world. In all the excitement of booking travel plans, packing and dreaming about adventures to come, it can be easy to forget about sticking with healthy habits. Travelling doesn't mean you have to give up on your health goals! New Westminster Naturopathic Physician, Dr. Allana Polo is here with her favorite tips for staying healthy while on vacation!
"Going on vacation does not mean you are going on vacation from your healthy habits and lifestyle ways," says Dr. Polo. "If you view vacation as a free for all, you’re more likely to come home feeling lethargic, up a few pounds and not rested from your trip, when you should be returning feeling the complete opposite. Don't be one of those people who comes back from their travels saying that they need a vacation to recover from their vacation. Stay on track with your goals so you're sure to come home feeling energized and motivated that you can be healthy no matter where you are in the world."
Dr. Polo's Healthy Travel Tips:
Plan ahead- Scope out healthy restaurants and grocery stores, view menus and create a "meal plan" before heading on vacation.
Book a place to stay with a kitchen- Preparing some of your meals yourself will allow you the freedom to eat the way you eat at home, eat local produce, and save yourself thousands of hidden calories.
Scope Out The Hood- The first day you arrive, take a walk around the neighborhood and check out your cafe, restaurant and grocery shopping options. Also ask staff at the hotel about their favorite healthy places to grab a bite!
Be Active Whenever You Can- It''s tempting to grab an Uber or hop on a sightseeing bus when visiting a new city, but consider doing exploring by foot! Rent a bike or strap on a pair of sneakers and get that calorie burn up while travelling.
Schedule Workouts- Just because you are on vacation, doesn’t mean you have to skip your workout. Most hotels will offer a pool or gym. Try for 30-minute workouts where your heart rate is elevated and you work up a sweat. That’s all it takes!
Find the Other Pleasures- Remember why you are travelling in the first place. Whether you are exploring ancient ruins, or lying on a beach in Costa Rica, focus on the pleasures of vacation that have nothing to do with food and everything to do with relaxation and new experiences.
Kick Your Sight Seeing Up A Notch With Added Weight- Whether your visiting the Eiffel Tower or strolling the beaches of Maui looking for sand dollars, strap on a pair of ankle weights or wrist weights while walking and sight seeing for an extra metabolic boost!
Practice 80/20... or 75/25- Chances are you've heard of the 80/20 rule. Eat healthy 80% of the time and treat yourself the other 20. When on vacation nutrition is often the first thing to fly out the window, often as soon as we get to the airport. Don't deprive yourself, enjoy your vacation, but treat yourself 25% of the time and make healthy choices the rest of the time.
Skip Tapas and Appies in Favor of Backpack Snacks- Stock up on healthy snacks at a local grocery store or health food store when you arrive at your travel destination. Pre-plan your snacking for throughout the day. Eat a healthy snack 30 minutes to an hour before you go out to eat. You are much more likely to order too much food an unhealthy choices when you look at a menu while starving versus when you have a bit of food in your tummy.
Take the stairs- Make a game of taking the stairs wherever you go. Skip the elevator at your hotel and go up and down the stairwell instead. Even if you are staying on a high floor and you can't imagine walking all the flights up, walk down the stairs to burn a few extra calories.
1. Set S.M.A.R.T. Goals- Specific. Measurable. Attainable. Relevant. Time-based.
2. Replace habits, don’t eliminate- Instead of cold-turkey quitting potato chips, replace them with something healthier that satisfies your crunch cravings. Like almonds or roasted chickpeas. This also helps you navigate social settings where there might not be a healthier option. Having a few potato chips at a party is no big deal if you have replaced them in all the places you can control, like your kitchen pantry.
3. Remember your WHY- Coming back to your ‘why’ in your moments of doubt or deflation can be the thing that sets you back on track. Are you working toward better health so you can enjoy watching your kids grow up? Put a nice family picture up near your treadmill at home. A visual reminder can sometimes be more effective than a mantra or vision in your head. But decide what works to help you remember your why.
4. Find support- Perhaps it’s an online community, family members, friends or colleagues. Find sources of support that you can check in with or who will check in with you as you journey toward your goal. Better yet, enlist them to join you and be in accountability partnership!
5. Stay accountable to yourself- Keep track via apps, a diary or a chart to track your progress. I find that those who monitor their own behaviour ultimately do a better job of sticking to their initial plan.
6. Limit your goals- Choose 1 or 2, not 10. This keeps you from getting overwhelmed and gives you enough time to make progress. Successfully modifying even 1 or 2 areas of your life can have a positive effect on other areas. Your quality of life can change with just a couple simple moves in the right direction.
Imagine you are handed a note every day with a message about your health. It indicates how well your digestive system is working, if there are signs of growths or other abnormalities in your intestines, if you are drinking enough water and much, much more. Now imagine not even looking at that note and flushing it down the toilet instead.
You wouldn’t do that, would you? So then, don’t flush your poop without taking a peek! New Westminster Naturopathic Physician, Dr. Allana Polo is here to explain.
"Your stools tell you a lot about what’s happening inside based on their colour, size, shape, frequency, texture and smell. There are many factors that affect your ‘number two’: your diet, your hormones, medications you are taking, and how much sleep and exercise you’re getting," says Dr. Polo. "Learning what is ‘normal’ for you based on some of these factors is a vital part of living an optimally healthy lifestyle. For example, you don’t need to be alarmed if you have a red tint in your stool if you recently ate a lot of beets, or cranberries or had something that had a red food colouring in it. However, if you are not accustomed to eating those foods and are suddenly finding red in your stools, you should speak to your healthcare professional."
Take a peek at this poop chart:
If you’re on the constipated side, there are a number of things you can do to soften your stools. Drinking more water and being more active are common options to start with. I would recommend those two action items as overall beneficial for you anyway. As well, take a look at your fibre intake. Are you eating enough fruits, vegetables and legumes to keep your stool soft and easy to pass?
On the other side of the spectrum, you may have diarrhea more often than you realize. Diarrhea isn’t always just water passing through without any solids. It’s also the solid matter that falls apart when it hits the water and is really mushy. This is saying something as well and it’s important to know what could be going on. Some really common issues could be an overgrowth of yeast in the gut and large intestine, bacterial overgrowth, food sensitivities, difficulties with digesting certain nutrients, eating a diet high in fat or grease, or even a lifestyle that induces too much stress.
Did you know that the gut is where the immune system ‘resides’? It's true! So that's why it's extra important to take good care of yours.
A naturopathic physician can get to the bottom of your poop problems by running food sensitivity and IgG blood tests, creating an elimination diet, and suggesting probiotics, digestive enzymes and glutamine which are restorative and healing for this incredibly important system.
Our body relies on the strength of our digestive system to fuel the rest of it so this is never something we should take lightly. Even when it’s embarrassing to talk about poop, it is an insightful conversation to have with a naturopathic physician. When you’re in the habit of looking before you flush, you have a lot to bring to the table for your own health.
I'm going to start this off by saying that what works for me, may not work for you, and it's best to work with a certified naturopath if you want optimal results with your overall health. Most of the procedures at Polo Health are covered by extended health if you have insurance!
Although I've done a food sensitivity test years ago a lot has changed since then (I'm no longer a Paleo Crossfit Competitor for one) and I knew it was time to visit Dr.Allana Polo again for another check on my digestion. The thing about food allergies is that they don't always present themselves as a typical "rash" or visible inflammation. I noticed my food allergies presenting on my skin.
Skin is the largest organ and the toxins created by my inability to digest certain foods were unable to escape and cleanse my body properly. I noticed severe acne to the point that it physically hurt to touch my skin. I saw dermatologists and specialists, but I neglected to look within. I tried all the expensive lotions but I had to look at what was going on inside my body to properly take care of myself.
There are two ways you can determine what foods you may be sensitive to. One way is the Food Sensitivity test. It's a simple test where Dr.Polo pricks your finger, collects a small amount of blood, sends it away, and results are back in 7 days. Your blood is then tested against 120 of the most common allergens.
The second way is an "Elimination Diet", which is exactly as it sounds. You eliminate all foods that are known to cause issues in our digestion, then you reintroduce them one at a time for a duration of three days to see how you feel.
Whichever route you go, the most important part of the equation is that you're committed. That's the only way to achieve results with either of these options. Success meaning that you're feeling your absolute best. Digestive issues can present themselves as headaches, skin problems, gas, bloating and more.
Another tip I learned after my visit with Dr.Polo is that you can develop digestion issues if you keep eating the same food over and over again. A huge crutch for people who are heavily involved in the fitness industry is to meal prep, creating the same meal every day. Maybe your taste buds aren't getting bored, but your digestive track sure is. Make sure you keep things interesting when cooking for yourself or you may find that your "go to" meal is now making you feel sick your body isn't absorbing the nutrients it needs to.
The two most common procedures that Dr.Polo does at Polo Health is the Food Sensitivity test and hormone testing. Click HERE to book an appointment with Dr.Polo. I have a few more appointments lined up with Dr.Polo and I'll keep you posted on my journey. I'm looking forward to showing how you can let food by thy medicine.
Health is Happiness!
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 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).
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.
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!
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.
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.
The cold and wet weather we've experienced this winter has caused early allergy symptoms for some people. You don't have to suffer through the season. Here are my tips for coping with spring allergies:
- Use Netti pots and saline rinses to keep the nasal passages clear and to prevent sinus infections and pressure build up, which can lead to headaches;
- Keep windows closed to prevent pollen from flying in, and dust from outside;
- Try an Air Purifier inside the house;
- Dust/vacuum regularly;
- Avoid dairy as it is mucous producing and can exacerbate congestion;
- Avoid Sugar. Sugar causes inflammation and weakens your immune system;
- Try Quercetin and Vitamin C. Both are natural anti histamines.
- We sell supplements that will help! Come on in and see us.
Dr. Allana was also on Roundhouse Radio recently talking about seasonal allergies. Did you miss it? Have a listen here.
If you have tried these tips but still struggle with your symptoms, book an appointment. Call our office, or book your appointment online.
Here's to your health, always!
Dr. Allana Polo & The Polo Health Team
Spring break season is upon us, and summer is quickly approaching. With the promise of warmer weather comes the tantalizing dream of getting away for a few days on a sun-soaked vacation. However, the allure of seasonal travel hides the reality that going on vacation is never as simple as the commercials make it seem, especially for those that struggle with chronic anxiety or depression.
The idea of going on vacation may leave you with questions. Is it safe to go on a trip that keeps you away from your regular support group? Can you cope with the changes in your routine that travel will cause? Let's look at some of the ways that traveling can trigger anxiety and depression, and look at what you can do to ensure you experience the best trip possible, no matter what.
Traveling Is Stressful For Everyone
As much as we all go on vacation to get away from the stress of our daily lives, there's no denying that the process of traveling comes with its own set of difficulties. Leaving your daily routine to travel is full of uncertainties for everyone, but the things that stress one person out might have little effect on another, meaning that the pressure of catching flights, navigating an unfamiliar city or trying to speak a new language might heighten your stress levels to the point that your anxiety or depression might become worse.
For this reason, if you know that you're susceptible to anxiety attacks or are familiar with days when getting out of bed feels like too much effort, it's important to take some extra planning steps before leaving on your vacation to ensure you stay healthy and happy.
If this sounds like you, here are some important considerations you should make for your health before starting your trip.
Dealing With Depression
When you suffer from depression, it can quickly take over much of your life. You don't have to let it control your travel dreams too. About eight percent of Canadians experience bouts of depression throughout their lives, but there is plenty you can do to keep it from compromising your trip. Below are some tips that will help you keep your spirits high while traveling to prevent a depressive mood from settling in.
- Travel during the day: Depressed people often find it hard to motivate themselves in the mornings and evening, so plan your trips during the daylight hours as much as possible. Not only does this match your body's natural rhythms, it also helps you adjust better to time zone differences.
- Stay away from excessive alcohol: Nothing can wreck your travel mood more than overdoing it on alcohol, especially if you mix your booze with anti-depression meds. Work hard to moderate yourself, and you'll feel better throughout your trip.
- Be realistic about your energy levels: If If you've been struggling to find the energy to get out of bed at home, don't book a busy trip that never allows time for a break. Instead, keep your schedule manageable and focus on living in the moment. You'll get the recharge you need without pushing yourself beyond what you can handle.
- Stay on a routine: Routine is essential for staying healthy, but traveling can quickly throw your daily schedule out of whack. If you struggle with depression you need to go the extra step to keep their routines as functional as possible. Make sure you bring all your medications with you, and set alerts on your phone to remind you to take them at your normal time.
- Bring enough medicine with you: Careful planning beforehand will prevent you from experiencing an antidepressant shortage later on. Make sure to bring all the medication you need beforehand and have a letter on you from your doctor explaining that you need it for medicinal reasons. This will make it easier to get through security.
Coping With Chronic Anxiety
While travel can be a stressful experience for just about anyone, it can be positively paralyzing for those that suffer from chronic anxiety. Roughly twenty five percent of Canadians will suffer from an anxiety disorder during their lifetime, and many people allow it to control what they can do. You don't need to live like this. It's more than possible to enjoy a trip if even the idea of stepping on a plane fills you with dread, but you'll need to take some important steps to keep your anxiety under control.
- Visualize Your Trip Beforehand: If the idea of navigating an unfamiliar city leaves you in a panic, take the time to think through every step of the process before you even leave. This creates circuits in your brain that it will rely on during the real time, making it a less stressful experience in the long run.
- Practice Breathing: It's easy to start hyperventilating without even realizing it, so work to keep your anxiety under control by taking slow, deep breathes every time you feel your pulse start to quicken.
- Pay For Stress-Reducing Services: No need to feel guilty if you opt for a fancier hotel or fast track passes to get to the front of lines; any money that you spend to reduce your travel anxiety is money well spent. Opting for a massage or exercise class is also a great idea.
- Bring Your Comfort Clothes: Looking classy while traveling is overrated. Instead pack your favorite pair of sweats and the big blanket that always keeps you feeling safe. Not only will you stay more comfortable on the trip, you won't have the pressure of putting an outfit together.
In Summary: Seek the Guidance of a Professional
Everyone can benefit from a break away from their daily lives, and you shouldn't let your concerns about depression or anxiety keep you from taking the trip you crave. These common conditions are no reason to not take a vacation, so long as you carefully plan out a strategy for staying healthy.
Before you make your travel plans, it's always smart to talk with your mental health care provider to get tips and advice. If you live in the New Westminster and Surrey, BC area, I am more than happy to meet with you and discuss some health solutions for traveling. To learn more about Follow Your Own Star Counseling or to schedule an appointment, you can get in touch at http://www.followyourownstarcounselling.com/contact/.
CKNW is celebrating wellness with a health series and they've turned to Dr. Allana Polo for help and advice.
You can listen to each interview on CKNW. Here is an overview of Dr. Allana's appearances.
The Power of Turmeric
“Turmeric is the new buzzword food,” explains Dr. Polo, who says you can get it both in powder form for cooking or as a capsule as a supplement.
The substance is derived from a plant in the ginger family.
“The active ingredient that we’re also concerned about – or really interested in – is actually curcumin. It’s the main active ingredient which holds the most inflammatory and anti-oxidant potential. The beautiful thing about turmeric is that in all the recent studies and journalism [and] medical information that we have, it’s really effective against inflammatory conditions, like arthritis.”
Polo says research shows it can actually match the effects of some specifically anti-inflammatory medications people are taking.
Nutrients for Brain Health
Another, she says, are Omega 3s.
“Which are fatty acids like salmon or fish oil capsules. The beautiful thing is your brain is 60 per cent fat. By incorporating good fat into your body, you’re just helping the neuronal connection and communication within the brain.”
Another good option are antioxidants, says Dr. Polo.
“You can take antioxidants through a capsule, or you can do it through food: dark, rich, colourful fruits and vegetables. Antioxidants are really important because your brain requires oxygen to function, and if you have a lot of free-radical damage, or if there’s a lot of oxidative stress in the brain, then these antioxidants are really helpful for brain function.”
Fruits like blueberries and strawberries and vegetables like spinach and broccoli are all rich in antioxidants.
Beyond simply boosting your brain function, Dr. Polo says nutrients like Omega 3s and antioxidants can have both preventative and restorative effects on your grey matter.
Reduce Your Meat Intake
People say one of the best ways to improve your overall health is to reduce the amount of meat that you eat. For a lot of people, that is difficult. But is that even true? Do we eat too much meat?
Dr. Polo says the short answer is… not necessarily.
“It’s not that we’re necessarily eating too much meat; it’s the quality of meat that we’re eating. So it’s too much red meat that we’re eating. It’s saturated fat, and it’s also now pumped full of hormones and chemicals, and growth factors that we weren’t eating years ago. So I think the quality of the meat has changed, and I do think the studies that are coming out are showing the importance of a plant-based diet for longevity and health and heart disease and obesity…high cholesterol and diabetes,” she says.
What are superfoods?
“Society is becoming so much more mindful about what the nutrition of food is, what we’re putting into our body, and how helpful that is. I think last year it was kale; kale was on the map for a while. And then it was chard, then cauliflower, goji berries, acai berries… basically these are all fresh, colourful vibrant fruits and vegetables. They’re rich in antioxidants..."
Incorporating Healthy Oils into Your Diet
“There are some oils that are saturated, so we don’t want to use that,” says Dr. Polo.
But while you stay away from those, she says there are a group of healthy, unsaturated oils that are both delicious and good for you.
“The really great ones to incorporate into your diet, because they’re a lot higher in Omega 3s and Omega 9s – which are anti-inflammatory – are avocado oil, flax seed, macadamia nut, olive and coconut oil,” Dr. Polo says.
I had an “aha” moment last night while eating my dinner. I caught myself with too much food in my mouth at one time, and realized that I needed to slow down and chew my food more thoroughly.
This is a microcosm of my life lately. Last fall, after a particularly busy few months, my body started to give me signals that I needed to slow down my pace of life. Thankfully, I have listened to my body – I took a week off, and have upped my self-care with walks, relaxation, baths, reading, meditation, and eating slowly.
And, very importantly, I am making sure to incorporate these self-care gems into my everyday life.
Back to chewing. Chewing our food is very under-rated in our society. Life seems to be about moving fast - rushing to and from work/activities, fast food, eating breakfast on-the- run, lunch at the desk, etc.
With such busyness in life going on, it seems like there is no time to eat. Well guess what? These priorities are screwed up!
Eating is the sustenance of life, and deserves to have a place of high priority with mealtimes carved out as part of our day. As a colon hydrotherapist, I constantly get to see, through the view tube in the equipment, what comes out of the other end of the digestive tract.
And, just like your dentist knows if you have been flossing or not, I know if you have been chewing your food thoroughly or not! I have to say that I see a lot of undigested food, or rather ‘unchewed food’, sometimes very identifiable like mushrooms, nuts, seeds, red pepper.
I so often find myself talking to clients about their chewing habits. It is amazing how people pay attention when they see for themselves their own unchewed food being eliminated!
Problems arising from not chewing thoroughly include:
- improper digestion from eating too fast and not calmly;
- lack of digestive enzymes from the saliva because food is not staying in the mouth long enough;
- not getting the nutrients from these pieces of food that are not breaking down;
- undigested food in the GI tract can lead to a condition called ‘leaky gut’ which can also contribute to allergies;
- the ileocecal valve between the small and large intestine is forced to stay open wider to allow these foods through which can lead to intestinal problems.
We CAN slow down our chewing, and we do this by retraining ourselves.
Here are the chewing tips that I have taught to thousands of people:
1. Look at the size of the bite of food that you are about to put into your mouth. It should be approximately 1- inch in diameter, no bigger than a loonie. If you put in a huge mass of food, there is no way that you can chew it all thoroughly!
2. Put your fork down between each bite, and do not pick it up again until we have swallowed this bite. Simple but not easy! We are so busy getting our fork ready with the next bite and drooling over how good it is going to be. Think about it though – we are so NOT in the moment, we are actually trying to be in the next moment by anticipating it. Putting our fork down forces us to pay attention to what is in our mouth right now, the texture, how much it is chewed. Believe me, by staying mindfully in the present moment, you will even taste the food more! That is a fabulous benefit.
3. Do an experiment and Count Your Chews. First of all, put a bite into your mouth, and count how many times you chew it by doing your regular way of chewing. Secondly, put another bite into your mouth, and this time count to 40 chews. I have heard anywhere from 25-50 chews, so experiment with how many you need. The food in your mouth ought to be chewed to a consistency of a paste or a liquid before swallowing.
“How we digest food is how we digest life” Have you heard this before? I felt shocked when I read this statement. Having had my share of digestive challenges in my life, I immediately knew it was true. Helping our digestive system by slowing down and chewing thoroughly extends health and well-being to every area of our life. So let me ask you, “How are you digesting life?”
Certified Colon Hydrotherapist
It is hard to believe that the end of 2016 is almost here. With the close of another year, this is an excellent time to remind you to use your benefits ... before you lose them! This is also a great time to remind you about all of the services Polo Health has to offer, and how we can make you feel good throughout the holiday season and into 2017.
- Avoid the New Year rush and jump start your weight loss today. We offer Naturaopath supervised weight loss programs and hormone balancing;
- Get rid of built up waste with a colonic: now just $85.
- Get your skin holiday ready with our Medical Aesthetics services - Botox, Fillers, Microneedling, Microdermabrasion, Chemical Peels, Latisse, Clarisonic, IPL Laster and PRP (not currently covered by your benefits).
- Get an energy and immune boost with our IV Therapy. You need it this time of year!
- Address the underlying emotional causes for your mood, disordered eating or illness. Make an appointment with our Clinical Counsellors.
There are so many great reasons to come in and see us! Book your appointment now to avoid disappointment. We book up fast at the end of the year, as so many people know just as you do now that benefits are running out! Call our office. 604-544-7656.
Here's to your health, always!
Dr. Allana Polo & The Polo Health Team
Heading into the Holidays……. feeling.....
BLOATED? GASSY? DIGESTIVE DISTRESS?
With the holiday season upon us, life gets busier and full with more shopping, cooking, baking, eating, drinking, socializing, parties and family celebrations. While all of this is done in a spirit of festivity, it can often take a toll on our health – making us feel not only tired or stressed or overwhelmed, but also can easily lead to digestive discomfort. Indulging in fatty and sugary foods and drinks we don’t regularly consume, overeating at holiday meals, plus the faster pace of preparing for the holidays – these are all stressors that affect our digestive system.
At this time when it is probably most important, self-care often goes out the window. One way to help ourselves prepare for healthier holidays is to have Colon Hydrotherapy. Many people have been helped by this method to feel lighter, to reduce or eliminate bloating, gas and abdominal discomfort, and to feel renewed well-being. An added benefit of colon hydrotherapy is that it makes us more aware of our “insides”, and of what our body really wants us to feed it. This is a huge bonus at this time of year as we are inundated with foods and treats that are tasty yet are unhealthy and make us feel yucky. I often hear from people who say that Colon Hydrotherapy is the best thing they ever did, that it has changed their life.
This is the time you want to feel your best!
So give yourself the gift of Colon Hydrotherapy this season
Certified Colon Hydrotherapist
Polo Health + Longevity Centre
Dr. Polo has written two articles that now appear online at HuffingtonPost.com.
In the latest article, Dr. Polo gives you a refresher course in meal-planning and how it can help you manage a busy winter schedule. Many families find themselves running from activity to activity in the winter. It is also a time when we can become less creative around breakfast and packed lunches, after months of using up our energy there.
Here is an excerpt:
Whenever possible, cook more than you need at dinner time so you have easy to grab lunches the next day. Casseroles and soups can be toted to school in a thermos and extra grilled meat is perfect for a rice bowl or ploughman's lunch. Extra rice can be rolled into seaweed for sushi. Moving your lunch prep to dinner time will also smooth out the hectic school routine.
Jot down a few tips when you read this article.
In another article, Dr. Polo is sharing weight loss strategies based on her work in-clinic helping hundreds of patients each year shed substantial amounts of weight. One myth she confronts often, as it is ingrained in her patient's belief system, is that breakfast must be eaten immediately upon rising. Dr. Polo challenges you to consider what you need over when you eat, saying our food choices and listening to our own bodies is more important. This is a must-read for anyone who is currently facing weight loss or maintenance challenges, or really a primer for anyone on the way habits and associations govern us.
Here is an excerpt:
If you are trying to lose weight, intermittent fasting may be helpful and valuable, too. In this case, and if your body responds well, I suggest aiming for a 12-hour period in which you abstain from food. What does this look like? The exact timing depends on your individual body -- for some this might mean ceasing food at 6 p.m. and not hitting the breakfast table until after 6 a.m., but for those who eat dinner later, this might mean 7 p.m. to 7 a.m., or even 9 p.m. to 9 a.m. The key is to find YOUR ideal schedule, and this isn't something a health-care provider or diet book can tell you.
Do you have a topic you want Dr. Polo to address in her articles? Please reach out with your idea.
By Aleksandra Wroblewska, Reg. Acupuncturist
Acupuncture’s Broad Reach
Traditional Chinese Medicine has been in existence for over 3 000 years. The combination of acupuncture, herbal medicine, food therapy, Qi Gong and Tui Na massage are each intended to facilitate homeostasis. When we look at illness as a departure from a balanced place in one’s body, we can see how supporting the body’s systems would aid in its recovery.
A common inquiry into acupuncture has people asking: What is acupuncture for? Acupuncture is widely known but its applications aren’t. Pain relief is most commonly associated with treatment. Although pain relief is a common treatment, acupuncture has wider applications such as: allergies, insomnia, headaches, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, constipation, conception support, digestive problems, Bell’s Palsy, stress management, seasonal attunement.
The Art of Diagnosis
When a patient comes in for an acupuncture treatment, their tongue, pulse and general appearance will be observed. Along with this, the group of symptoms displayed will be taken into consideration for their final diagnosis and treatment. The key to Chinese Medicine is a precise diagnosis.
Once a treatment plan has been constructed specific to the patient’s concerns, hair-fine needles are gently inserted into various acupuncture points around the body. Clients have a chance to rest for 20-40 minutes while the needles do their work. People often report different sensations in their body and a general feeling of relaxation.
The number of treatments depends on whether an issue is acute or chronic. For more acute cases, 2-3 treatments a week for 2 weeks may resolve their concerns. Some patients choose to come in for a tune up once or twice a month. This is an opportunity to give the body some time to recalibrate and address any issues that may have come up since their last visit.
If you would like to learn more about acupuncture, or to book an appointment, please call the clinic.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
We sell the Clarisonic skin cleansing device, which can cleanse your skin 6x better than your hands alone. It is gentle for everyday use.
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.
The week of April 18-25 is designated as ‘Violence Against Women Awareness Week’ and you will see purple lights in Polo Health + Longevity Centre as well as several businesses in downtown New Westminster. The Purple Lights campaign is put on by Monarch Place Transition Place – a transition house for women and children fleeing domestic violence under the organization W.I.N.G.S. (Women in Need Gaining Strength).
This week long campaign is held to bring awareness of the impact of domestic violence on women, children, families and ultimately on the community of New Westminster. Every year the mayor of New Westminster makes a declaration in City Hall that New Westminster stands against Violence against women and as a community will support women and children fleeing domestic violence. The week culminates with a vigil on the steps of City Hall.
COME AND BE A PART OF CHANGE IN OUR COMMUNTY!
Given the statistics of domestic violence, this proclamation may seem like a small action in the face of such an overwhelming problem BUT all change is incremental in the beginning. The phrase “nothing changes until something changes; once something changes, everything changes” certainly applies here. By bringing awareness to the need for services for women and children, we as a community begin the process of meeting those needs.
You can support the Purple Lights Campaign by making donations directly to Monarch Place or you can leave a donation with the receptionists at Polo. Also, please consider joining us at the vigil on April 25th 2016 at 5:30pm on the steps at New Westminster City Hall
There are strings of Purple lights available for a donation of $20 and bracelets are available for a donation of $1.00 at Polo Health + Longevity Centre.
Two of the clinical counsellors who work at Polo Health + Longevity Centre also work at Monarch Place. Marianna Kavanagh is a Child Support Worker and Margaret Hearth is a Multicultural Outreach Worker. Both of these counsellors have also worked to facilitate groups for women. Bringing the skills of working with families in crisis into their repertoire in working at Polo is yet another aspect of meeting the vision of Polo Health + Longevity Centre – to provide multidisciplinary, holistic care to the community.
Welcome! I'd like to quickly introduce myself.
I am Dr. Crystal Wells, a naturopathic physician, and I have recently joined Dr. Allana Polo and her team as an associate at Polo Health. I spent the last 3 years practicing in Toronto and am very excited to be settling into a practice on the beautiful west coast!
One of my key focuses in practice is in Naturopathic Oncology. I was trained by members of FABNO (Fellows of the American Board of Naturopathic Oncology) to provide adjunctive cancer care for patients before, during and after their conventional treatments. Cancer, being very near and dear to me, has inspired me to build a career focussed on offering those with cancer a sense of hope, empowerment, and control over their lives and the treatment they choose to follow. During my time in Toronto, I held a discussion series at Wellspring Cancer Centre, a community-based centre for cancer patients and their families to receive support and awareness of available complementary cancer care treatments.
What is Integrative Oncology?
The goal is to improve quality of life for the patient at any stage in their cancer. I believe in treating the whole person- mind, body and spirit, and providing this support to both the patient and their families. Treatment is evidence-based, non-toxic, and patient-centred. Care is collaborative, and communication with other members of the patient's healthcare team allows for the best outcomes.
At Polo Health, I have designed a cancer care program. Although all patients receive an individualized treatment plan, our program provides the tools to optimize patient-centred care (the patient is at the centre and their values, needs and preferences guide the clinical decisions).
On their first visit, my patients usually come with one or a number of loved ones. We go through a thorough assessment, review reports, and go through some of the treatment options. As their complementary cancer care provider, I will always suggest what I feel is best for the patient, however the patient is always in the driver's seat when it comes to making treatment-based decisions. The therapies offered within the program are evidence-based and non-toxic to support the healing power of the body. Therapies and dosing will depend on where patients are in their conventional treatment (chemo, radiation, surgery) so as to not negatively impact this treatment.
These therapies are (but are not limited to):
Intravenous vitamin C (IVC)
High doses of vitamin C are administered directly into the bloodstream to achieve larger concentration in the blood as we by-pass gut absorption. At high doses, vitamin C accumulates in the cancer cells and acts as a pro-oxidant. Hydrogen peroxide accumulates in the cancer cell, causing the cancer cell to burst (apoptosis). The outcomes include: - slow cancer progression - improved energy and sleep - decreased nausea and improved appetite - improved quality of life.
European mistletoe is the most unconventional cancer treatment used in Europe. Through direct cytotoxicity (cancer cell death) and inhibition of tumor growth and metastasis, the most significant outcome is increased survival. Additionally, we see improved quality of life (appetite, sleep, energy, pain, mood, and tolerability to chemo), and decreased side effects to conventional treatment.
Patients are offered a specific supplement regime with goals of improving tolerance to conventional treatment, decreasing side effects, improving cytotoxicity (cancer cell death), and improving overall quality of life.
All patients receive an individualized diet plan based on their needs and their presentation.
If you or a family member have at any point been diagnosed with cancer, please feel free to contact us at Polo Health. I offer 15-minute complementary consults as a meet and greet to discuss options that best suit you from within our program! I look forward to meeting and journeying with you on the road to cancer wellness!
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
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
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 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)
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)
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
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
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
By Dr. Andrew Eberding, N.D.
For years people have been expressing concern about the number of children who are now prescribed Ritalin or Adderall for managing behaviour and concentration. A question that should be kept in the back of every parent’s mind is, “Do these drugs really work?”
When I ask this question, the parents of my patients often look at me stunned. They tell me how much better behaved and focused their child is when medicated. I think it is obvious in the short term children do have better attention and impulse control. These are the facts that get distributed to doctors and patients’ parents, but is it the complete truth of the matter?
It is the long-term results which matter the most for the child and everyone around them. What most parents and patients have not been told is ongoing tracking of behaviour and academic achievement has shown disappointing results. Comparisons between treated and untreated groups show equivalent educational success and comparable behaviour after several years. To make matters worse, people treated as children with these medications are smaller in adulthood compared to their peers and are subject to numerous other side-effects along the way (depression, high blood pressure, headaches and numerous others).
These drugs are actually stimulants, bringing up the question, “How does stimulating someone’s brain calm them down?” Originally, experts theorized ADHD patients had different brain connections resulting in this contradictory effect. But we now know this is not true as many healthy people (especially studying college students) have similar effects when they self-medicate to help focus. Studies have shown that all children respond the same when medicated. Basically, when given a boring or repetitive task to do people are more successful if they take a stimulant. However, the treatment does not improve a person’s ability to learn material.
The problem that I see is the positive effects fade over time; the medication simply becomes less and less effective at making any difference in a helping a person function. This is similar to the effects of caffeine; initially, it gives an energy boost but eventually, with prolonged use, you are boosting from a lower energy state than your original one. Indeed, you may be worse off then when you started, because you have adapted to its presence. Stimulants’ effectiveness in treating ADHD is gone after 3 or more years when tracked by research.
So where does this leave patients and parents who feel they need do something? Giving children medications does not help manage the cause of the condition, yet the vast majority of research that is funded is targeting drug development. This is not because there is a lack of interest in other treatments but designing and managing studies of other interventions is inherently more complex and costly. Clinical experience has shown other changes, such as counselling, lifestyle and nutrition can make a big difference. The challenge is the condition is caused by a single factor and without professional training it can be very difficult to determine what changes are going to have the greatest impact.
As a Naturopathic Doctor who treats ADHD patients some of many issues I find in need of correction may include:
- Body Chemistry: This can only be determined through laboratory testing. Some examples are iron levels, electrolytes, excesses of metabolites, blood sugar management and thyroid hormone levels.
- Nutrition: Food sensitivities, imbalance in types of fats available, overexposure to food additives, insufficient individual vitamins and minerals and a deficit of healthy flora.
- Inadequate Detoxification Pathways: often due to constipation, overexposure, genetic vulnerability or organ dysfunction.
- Lifestyle factors: Sleep inadequacy, anxiety and stress management, activity levels and counselling may need to be addressed; these changes require more time and effort from the patient, the family and the society in general.
This is just a framework and by no means covers off all the possibilities of changes that may be required. As with any medical intervention, no two patients are ever identical. Each patient presents a new puzzle to solve before a patient can achieve their optimum mental and physical state. From my perspective, medications are simply a bandage that needs to eventually be removed; if you are not treating the underlying problem you might discover you are just masking the real challenge.
By Francesca Tomas, RPC
According to the US National Safety Council, stress contributes to as much as 80% of all diseases and illness!
In our fast paced lives, it’s difficult to identify what triggers the unrelenting stress in our lives. We often contribute to our own stress by not questioning the filters we use to see and judge everyone around us.
This is where I’d like to start.
Dr. Wayne Dyer was a prolific speaker and a writer who challenged us to adjust our filters, and to lose our kneejerk thoughts and reactions. He asserted these patterns ultimately set us up for stress and misery. Wayne passed this August 30th. His insightful lessons on how to live a happier more fulfilling life continue to inspire internationally.
Here are a few of his most frequently quoted teachings:
“You don’t attract what you want. You attract what you are.”
This is the real law of attraction.
“How people treat you is their karma. How you react is yours.”
This encourages us to drop grievances quickly, to stop telling stories; to let go of the past, and to focus on what we know is real.
“When you judge another, you do not define them, you define yourself.”
It’s only when we stop judging that we can see, understand, and appreciate each other.
My favorite Wayne Dyer quote is:
“You’re only one thought away from changing your life.”
Wow! Many of us would love to change our lives. How do we choose that powerful one thought and change our life for the better?
I challenge you to start this journey today. Here are some simple techniques you can start now to lose stress quickly and move yourself toward a more optimistic and promising future. Choose at least five of your favorites to do every day.
- Call a close friend. – A quick conversation with someone you care about is often an instant mood booster.
- Stretch. – When you feel stressed, get up, reach toward the sky, bend down and touch your toes, then stretch from side to side.
- Go outdoors. – Get some fresh air outdoors to perk you up and clear your mind.
- Take a light exercise break – Do a few of your favorite exercises to get your blood moving, or take a walk. Even very moderate exercise reduces stress and re-energizes your mind.
- Play your favorite song – Listening to music releases endorphins and makes you happy. It’s that simple.
- Have a good laugh. – Watch a funny movie or your favorite stand-up comedian. A good laugh stimulates your mind and gives you a renewed sense of optimism.
- Take a few really deep, controlled breaths. – Deep breathing reduces stress, a source of fatigue, and increases the oxygen level in the blood. Inhale for five seconds, hold your breath for four seconds, and exhale slowly for five seconds.
- Smile more!! – Smiling, even if you’re not in a good mood, makes your brain THINK you’re in a good mood, and releases happy endorphins. Smile at strangers!
- Express gratitude. – Expressing gratitude changes your brain chemistry! When you pay attention to the good things in your life, you experience a powerful effect.
- Raise a real sweat - Exercise increases both dopamine and serotonin levels in the brain! Exercise daily to experience radical positive effects on your anxiety symptoms.
- Help someone in need. –When you help improve someone else’s life, you improve your own life too.
- Act like today is an awesome day! – If you act like it’s awesome, it will be. Research shows that we often feel the way that we act. A great attitude always leads to great experiences.
Try to integrate at least five of these stress busters into your daily life. I'd love to hear how it works for you.
Greek philosopher Epictetus said "It's not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters."
Most of us have experienced personal ups and downs. You can let this failure or upheaval derail you. Or you can take the healthier path, move on, and try a different more upbeat approach to accomplish your goals. I encourage you to take the upbeat path.
Remember Dr. Wayne Dyer's advice: "You are only one thought away from changing your life."
Photo Copyright: bialasiewicz / 123RF Stock Photo
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.
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As health professionals, we've heard it all. There isn't a question that hasn't been asked, or a way you can make us feel squeamish. There is no reason to be embarrassed to come with all of your questions, about chafing, gas and all perfectly normal bodily processes.
Dr. Allana Polo shared a post on Huffington Post recently that features solutions to three common (and often embarrassing) summertime problems. Be sure to check out her tips for dealing with gas, chafing and foot odour.
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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.
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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!
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By Jess Pirnak, Registered Dietitian
Eating 9 to 5 is this year’s theme for nutrition month, and what an important topic. Since most people spend the majority of their day at work, we might as well eat our best while we’re there! Despite how well you’re doing, that 3:00pm slump can still hit hard and our heads think an extra cup of coffee will get us through the afternoon. But coffee doesn’t have to be the answer.
Too much caffeine can make you lose sleep, cause jitters, upset your stomach, and increase your heart rate, so Health Canada recommends that adults have no more than 400 mg of caffeine a day. Two cups (a total of 500 mL) of coffee a day actually puts you right at this amount, and a lot of people drink that for breakfast alone! So, what else can you grab instead of a caffeinated beverage?
Snacks that contain lots of fibre and protein can keep you satisfied, regulate your blood sugar and provide you with some much-needed energy! Try:
· Hummus with added hemp seeds and a variety of crunchy veggies like carrots, celery, cucumber or zucchini;
· Variety of nuts or seeds;
· Dried fruit like figs with peanut butter (sounds weird but it’s delicious);
· Smoothie with almond milk, flax seeds and a banana.
Even perking up your packed lunch with some tasty energizing options can make a difference to your energy levels in the afternoon. Try these quick, simple, and tasty make-and-take lunches from Dietitians of Canada:
· Layer black bean dip, avocado and peppery arugula on a rustic whole-grain baguette for a simple sandwich with big flavor;
· Pack hard-boiled eggs, cheese, fresh veggies, a few olives and whole grain crackers for a super snack-like lunch;
· Mix lentils, roasted sweet potato and red peppers, quinoa and a drizzle of lemony dressing for a protein-packed salad bowl;
· Toss light tuna, snow peas and grape tomatoes with leftover whole grain pasta, basil-filled pesto and a pinch of chili flakes – this dish is great cold or heated.
Not only will these changes get you over that 3:00 hump, but you’ll also have more energy to take the kids to the park after work or hit the gym for some ‘me’ time.
You might also like to read about preparing for the work week through Sunday meal prep.
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Sometimes a little stress can be helpful. However, many of us frequently experience stress overload. Remember, stress puts your health at risk. Stress is linked to the leading causes of death including heart disease, cancer, and lung disease. Stress causes headaches, muscle tension, depression, and anxiety. Stress also takes a big bite out of your productivity, creativity, and motivation. So, what can you do?
You can't just walk away from your job or responsibilities. But you can put into action a personal stress reduction plan, and I am here to help you do just that.
Here's my short list of 9 easy ways to reduce stress.
Stick to a healthy diet. Eat more leafy greens, fruits, and vegetables. Eliminate or cut back on refined carbohydrates, like sugary cereals, chips, and desserts. Read labels on cans and packages. Avoid saturated fats and trans fats. If you have emotional eating issues, get these under control to feel the rewards of a balanced diet.
Exercise 20 minutes daily to brighten your mood and relieve your stress. For optimal health benefits, try to raise your heart rate while you exercise. Do something you enjoy like brisk walking, playing tennis, or swimming. An indoor treadmill, elliptical, or stationary bike can be handy in cold weather.
Yes, sleep. The sweet spot is 7.5 to 8 hours per night. Sleep lets your body rest and repair, and helps reboot you for the next day. Not enough sleep can make you irritable and slow your thinking.
Take Care of Your Emotions
Be present in the moment. Check your body several times a day. How do you feel? Is your neck tight? Are your shoulders tense?
If you feel tense, take a break or a short walk. Breathe deeply and exhale slowly to help release the tension. Be concious of your feelings and work with someone to better understand how they are affecting your life in the big picture.
Write a Daily To-Do List
Trying to remember everything you need to do each day increases your stress. Writing a list simplifies the process and helps you prioritize your tasks. This avoids stress.
Laughter releases feel-good hormones that help you release stress. Watch a comedy, read funny books or get together and share funny stories with a friend or family member.
Pay Attention to Your Self-Talk.
What are you saying to yourself? Is your self-talk negative?
If it is, you will feel worse if you listen. It will also ramp up your stress. Practice stopping the negative self-talk when it begins and finding positive things to say to yourself instead.
Keep a Journal.
Before you go to bed at night, write down anything that comes to your mind.
How was your day? Debriefing at night helps you get a better night's sleep. It's therapeutic to clear your mind of stressors and put in on paper. Once out of your head, negative thoughts no longer have a place to expand.
Write Five Things You are Grateful For
This could be a daily gratitude journal or a once a week practice. Writing gratitude statements has been closely linked to increased happiness and contentment. Statements can range from someone holding the door open for you to someone taking the time to listen to your story.
Implement these 9 strategies for reducing your stress, and be sure to be honest with yourself. If you are consistently overwhelmed by life, perhaps you need to work with someone to target the root of your troubles. It is always good to get in touch with your feelings and thoughts, which itself can reduce a lot of stress.
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Susan Kinross, one of our Certified Colon Hydrotherapists, would love to talk with you about how amazing Colon Hydrotherapy is. And it is an integral part of your detox process. Have you been following along as we talk through the 7 pillars of a healthy detox? We've talked about the importance of being prepared, and the foods you need to eliminate to be successful in this process.
Hello Detoxers and Cleansers!
In my experience for myself and in working with others, colon hydrotherapy is a fantastic aid to cleansing - before, during or after a cleansing diet. It’s a gentle yet powerful detoxification treatment. So as your body is going through a time of detox with your cleansing diet – your organs and cells are letting go of toxins through the various channels of elimination from the body. The colon is a major channel of elimination. Although ideally the colon would always move all of its toxic waste out of the body, the reality is that it is very common for fecal material and toxins to become stuck and congested, accumulating in the pockets of the colon.
Having a colonic (short term for colon hydrotherapy session), or a series of them, during your cleansing diet helps to ensure that those toxins that you are eliminating from your organs and cells are getting out of your body!
Of course you can only know the benefits if you try it for yourself! Once you try a colonic and experience the results, you will know what a gift this is to you.
Certified Colon Hydrotherapist
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