• 05-08-2017

    Anti-aging Nutrition: Beat the Clock with These Drinks

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

    Bone Broth

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

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

    Red Wine

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

    Collagen Protein Powder

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

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

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

    • 23-07-2017

    Healthy Eating Starts Early: Helping Teens Eat Right

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

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

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

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

    • 19-06-2017

    A New Member of the Polo Health Family

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    ** Dr. Safia Kassam, Naturopath


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

    • 15-05-2017

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

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

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

    Insomnia is often related to hormonal imbalances

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

    Insomnia has a relationship with cortisol and stress

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

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

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

    Many people who experience insomnia are also struggling with mood imbalances

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

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

    • 25-04-2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



    • 18-04-2017

    Weight Loss Support Group Provides Many Benefits

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Find out more here.

    Francesca Tomas RPC, RTC


    • 31-03-2017

    Coping with Allergies this Spring

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

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

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

    - Try an Air Purifier inside the house;

    - Dust/vacuum regularly;

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

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

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

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

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

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


    Here's to your health, always!

    Dr. Allana Polo & The Polo Health Team

    • 23-03-2017

    Maintaining Mental Wellness While Traveling: A Guide

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

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

    Traveling Is Stressful For Everyone

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

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

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

    Dealing With Depression

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Coping With Chronic Anxiety

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

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

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

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

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

    In Summary: Seek the Guidance of a Professional 

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

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

    • 19-02-2017

    CKNW Health Series with Dr. Allana Polo

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

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

    The Power of Turmeric



    “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.

    • 31-01-2017

    Slow Down - Chew - Enjoy Life!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Problems arising from not chewing thoroughly include:

    - improper digestion from eating too fast and not calmly;

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Susan Kinross

    Certified Colon Hydrotherapist

    • 23-01-2017

    What is Distal Acupuncture and What Are the Benefits?

    Distal Acupuncture

    By Aleksandra Wroblewska

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

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

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


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

    Above are uses for commonly used acupuncture points.

    Learn more about acupuncture at Polo Health here.


    • 13-12-2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Here's to your health, always!

    Dr. Allana Polo & The Polo Health Team

    • 05-12-2016

    Heading into the Holidays - You Need This!

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


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

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

    This is the time you want to feel your best!

    So give yourself the gift of Colon Hydrotherapy this season


    Susan Kinross                                                                                                                                                        

    Certified Colon Hydrotherapist                                                                                                                                   

    Polo Health + Longevity Centre

    • 16-11-2016

    Meal Planning + Why You Should Throw out This Diet Rule

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

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

    Here is an excerpt:

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

    Jot down a few tips when you read this article

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

    Here is an excerpt:

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

    Read the article here.  

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

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

    • 03-11-2016

    8 Essential Tips for Living Well

    Living a healthy lifestyle is about more than just eating well, though that is what you hear about most in the media. Naturopath Dr. Andrew Eberding has provided his essental tips for living your healthiest life; all of this is within your reach.

    By Dr. Andrew Eberding, ND

    Sufficient Water
    Water is really the elixir of life. Unlike the myth it won’t grant you eternal life, but without it you are decidedly reducing your quality of life. Water is the solvent that our bodies run on. You lose it constantly through your breath, sweat and urine production. This corner of BC has high quality tap water and you should not be afraid to drink it. In many cases, it is better than bottled water, which may have extra contaminants from the plastic bottle it comes in. If you are a regular consumer of coffee and/or alcohol then you should at minimum increase your water consumption to compensate for the added requirements these habits contribute.

    Regular Movement
    Your body was made to move constantly. If you are like many of the worker bees in our society, you will find yourself seated for large sections of your day. Look for opportunities to add more movement. This is part of the detoxification process. It pumps the cellular waste from the extremities and prevents them from damaging your tissues. Lack of movement leads to breakdown of muscle tissue. When you lose muscle, your posture suffers and you will develop health issues as a result.

    Breathe fully
    Breathing with the full volume of your lungs is normal, but most people in western society shallow breathe. The act of breathing deeply has a calming affect by transferring energy away from the sympathetic (fight or flight) nervous system to the parasympathetic nervous system. If you have never learned breathing techniques then you might consider finding someone to coach you through this: a qigong master, a yogi, etc.

    Quality Sleep
    It is not possible to heal or retain health without deep restful sleep. Sleep disruptions including noise, light, temperature, stress, alcohol, posture (inadequate mattress or pillow support), family relationships (parenting, co-sleeping, primary care giving), medications, poor air quality, pain, food reactions (heartburn, caffeine, etc), shift work, emotional turmoil, and the list goes on. Your pre-bedtime ritual can make a difference too. Looking into a screen (TV, phone, tablet or computer ) prior to turning in gives your primitive brain the idea that you are staring at the sun, and therefore, it is not time to sleep. Your body registers light even if you wear an eye mask. Your bedroom should be free of all light sources, including clocks; if you get up in the night, opt to leave the light off if possible. Just make sure the pathway to the toilet is clear before climbing into bed.

    Time spent outdoors helps in several ways. The fresh air invigorates your mind and stimulates your nervous system. Exposure to summer sun promotes Vitamin D production. The bright light, especially in the morning, helps to regulate the circadian rhythm thereby improving sleep.

    Promote Digestive Health
    We only function well if we are absorbing our food adequately. If you are uncomfortable after eating (bloating, gas, heartburn, cramping) then you are likely not getting the most of the foods that you are eating. If you are not having a well-formed bowel movement 1-3 times daily you are not removing toxins well from your body.

    Laugh and Play
    These activities improve mood. A strong social network that allows you the opportunity to experience happiness drives away long-standing undesirable moods (depression, anxiety, irritability) from your life.

    Complete Diet
    A healthy diet consists primarily of whole foods (not packaged or processed). If you prepare them yourself in your home then you have the most important part of a healthy diet in order. The rest is about balance of nutrients and moderating excesses.

    At the end of each day if you have taken care of these areas of your life you can expect to be moving your health in a positive direction.  These things underlie all others components of healthy living. If you feel you could use help with any or all of these items or other health challenges please arrange an appointment with me and we will work through your challenges together.

    This blog originaly appeared on Dr. Eberding's website.

    • 19-10-2016

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

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

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

    Candy to Avoid:

    Candy Corn


    Crispy Crunch





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

    Healthier Alternatives:

    Real Fruit Gummies

    Glosette Raisins or Peanuts

    Seaweed snacks

    A Juice Box (100% fruit)

    Apple Sauce in pouches

    Lara Bars

    Cliff Bars (they even make mini ones)

    1 bag Skinny Pop Popcorn

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

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

    3 Musketeers

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

    Tootsie Roll

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

    Peanut M & M’s

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

    Reese’s Mini Cups

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


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

    Kit Kat Chocolate Bar

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


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

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


    Dr. Allana Polo'sThink Before You Treat.jpg


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

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

    • 05-10-2016

    Happy? Avoid S.A.D

    Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D) affects many people each fall and winter. Dr. Andrew Eberding explains what this is, what symptoms you might be experiencing and what to do to help yourself.

    You have probably noticed that the days are shortening rapidly. This decrease in daylight can lead to something that you might have heard of called Seasonal Affective Disorder, otherwise known as SAD.  The long dark winters in our great northern country can be associated with particular feelings like fatigue, low moods, increased irritability, decreased sex drive, indifference to life and overeating. Then, almost magically, when spring comes, all of these negative feelings fall away.

    This occurs so commonly that it is recognized within the medical field with a well-defined diagnostic set of parameters.  For some, the feelings are so strong that they can be admitted to hospital.  Most people, fortunately, experience it to a much lower extent.  It is best to take a proactive approach and do what you can to minimize these feeling before they become overwhelming.  The time to do that is now.  Here are some things that I recommend to ward off SAD.

    Get Some Light

    If you know that winter brings an great sense of gloom, you should be strongly considering light therapy.  Not everyone needs this degree of commitment, but for those who do suffer every winter, light therapy can make a world of difference. The following factors are important considerations:

    - Lux Level: try to get 10,000 lux (equivalent of full daylight).

    - Spectrum: Full-spectrum (visible wavelength) light is also crucial

    - Size and proximity: small lamps may have 10,000 lux light but may not work at a comfortable distance.

    - UV Output: UV light is important to generate Vitamin D excessive amounts are damaging in several ways. Balance is the key. Know what you are getting.

    Eat a Supportive Diet

    Comfort foods (simple carbohydrates, salt and processed fats) are detrimental and are not beneficial any time of year, but are the worst possible choice in the dead of winter.  Instead choose to eat soups and stews with plenty of protein and vegetables. Beans, legumes, nuts, healthy lean protein and hearty fruits should also be regular fare.

    Promote the Release of Endorphins

    Endorphins are the feel good chemicals that your body produces.  There are many ways to promote production:

    - Vigorous exercise: If you can do something that gets your heart pumping and quickens your breath. Simple walking may help, but if you can push a little harder the results will be much greater.

    - Laugh: Along with laughing comes positivity, so spend time with your joyful friends, watch a comedian or join a laughter therapy group.

    - Strengthen your social network, support others and be supported. Share caring interactions.

    - Experience sexual pleasure: the sensation of having an orgasm is primarily due to endorphins

    Plan a Vacation

    If you can financially and realistically afford a getaway to a tropical region then strongly consider taking one. This provides two different benefits.  Firstly, this gives you a boost of mid-winter sunlight. Secondly, it gives you something to look forward to in dark days of winter.  I find most people do best taking this trip between mid-January and mid-February.  After the holiday season has past, but spring is not too far away once you return.

    If Necessary Supplement

    Certain nutrients, especially if they are lacking in your diet, can be useful to include in your regimen.  Consider adding Vitamin D, Vitamin B complex, Polyphenols, Omega 3 oils, L-Theanine and Tryptophan.  There are herbals that can also be supportive like Licorice root, Rhodiola, and Ashwaganda.

    Don’t wait until you get down before you do something to support yourself, especially if you have a history of low moods in the winter.   Take care of yourself because you deserve it!

    • 28-09-2016

    16 Ways to Beat the Cold and Flu this Season

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

    1. Avoid Germs from Surfaces

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

    2. Stop Eating Sugar

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

    3. Get Your Sweat On

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

    4. Avoid Dairy

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

    5. Increase Your Protein Consumption

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

    6. Watch What You Drink

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

    7. Get a Good Night’s Sleep

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

    8. Control Your Stress

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

    9. Try Oil of Oregano

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

    10. Eat Immune-Boosting Foods

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

    11. Try Natural Lozenges or Cough Syrup

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

    12. A Spoonful of Honey Helps the Symptoms Go Away

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

    13. Salt Water Gargle

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

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

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

    15. Try Warming Socks

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

    16. Avoid Pain Relieving Medication

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

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

    • 20-09-2016

    What is Acupuncture and How Does It Work?

    By Aleksandra Wroblewska, Reg. Acupuncturist

    Acupuncture’s Broad Reach

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

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

    The Art of Diagnosis

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


    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. 



    • 08-09-2016

    Back to Routine Tips for Healthy Living

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

    • 08-09-2016

    Get Started with a Fall Detox - Two Recipes to Try

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

    Here are a few recipes to get you started.

    Chicken Garden Soup


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

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


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

    Baked Salmon with Sautéed Kale

    How to Bake Fish:

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

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

    How to Sauté Kale:

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

    • 25-08-2016

    Why Exercise Is About More than Looking Good

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

    Photo Copyright: ammentorp / 123RF Stock Photo

    • 12-08-2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Learn more.

    Make an appointment by calling 604 544 7656.

    • 28-06-2016

    Summer Ready Skin

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

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

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


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

    Learn more.


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

    Learn more.

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

    Learn more.


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

    Learn more.


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

    Learn more.


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

    Learn more.


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

    Learn more.


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

    Learn more.

    Book Your Appointment

    • 24-05-2016

    Is Colon Hydrotherapy for me?

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

    What is Colon Hydrotherapy?   

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


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

    Who is it for   

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

    How I can feel after  

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

    About myself  

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

    Susan Kinross, Certified Advanced Colon Hydrotherapist                                                                                                             National-Board Certified

    Book an appointment. 




    • 05-05-2016

    Food Behaviour: Is Your Child's Behaviour Linked to the Food They Eat?

    When I sit with parents in my treatment room I repeatedly hear the same themes:

    -   How do I get my child to stop arguing about everything?

    -   I just do the chores because I am tired of asking my child to do them.

    -   I see my child irritating other children by teasing and poking at them.

    -   Little things seem to make my child so angry, even violent.

    -   My child doesn’t take responsibility, always blaming others.

    There are many reasons a child may display these behaviours.  I would like to focus on just one component though: food.

    What a child consumes can have a huge impact on the way that they act and respond to others.

    Food Ingredients to Watch For

    Most people will start by blaming sugar and undoubtedly sugar can be involved, but it is not the only culprit.  But let’s start by looking at sugar. 


    The human body does not have the ability to receive large amounts of sugar in short amounts of time – such as is what is found in sodas.  When excessive sugar is eaten, the brain reduces the production of a signaling chemical (BDNF) thereby lowering the ability to focus, reason and form memories.  Mental communication pathways can literally slow down.  Free radicals can increase and result in cell death. High blood sugar can cause neurons to misfire leading to inappropriate messages.  Abnormal brain waves are produced.  As well, an increase in stress hormone production is seen after consuming high amounts of sugar, which can lead to agitation and anxiety.

    As big a problem as sugar is, it may actually be low on the list of ingredients that negatively affect behaviour. Many of the foods that are readily available, easy to pack and preferred by kids (and many adults) are loaded with perfectly legal and highly questionable additives. Let's look at a few.

         Artificial Sweeteners

    Researchers have shown that diet sodas, when compared to sugar-based drinks, produce a distinct decrease in the ability to delay gratification (seen in daily life as a child who is not able to wait their turn).  

    Artificial sweeteners are implicated here. The brain expects a rise in blood sugar that never arrives. The result is increased impulsiveness as the body seeks to rebalance its unfulfilled biological expectations.  There is evidence that artificial sweeteners act as excitotoxins. This means that they excite the nerve cells in the brain to such a degree that they cause either damage or cause death of those cells. Gut bacteria is negatively altered by artificial sweeteners and imbalanced digestive bacteria can have indirect adverse nervous system effects.

         Artificial Colouring

    Children both with and without Attention Deficit Disorder diagnosis are equally affected by artificial colours in foods; all children’s attention and behaviour suffered after consuming common artificial food dyes. In Europe, some of the common dyes we use have been banned or must have warning labels.  One of the most highly used dyes is simply listed as caramel coloring and has been shown to cause high blood pressure (and more insidious problems), which many people can only perceive as anxiety.

         Sodium Benzoate

    A preservative called sodium benzoate found in drinks and salad dressings has been shown to increase hyperactivity.  There is some evidence this chemical also increases skin sensitivity and reactions.  Flavor enhancers such as MSG (and other deviously hidden similar chemicals) work by acting directly on brain receptors that trigger excitability. Australian research into flavor enhancers’ effect has led the development of the Feingold diet which can be used as a guide to minimize exposure.

    Combining Additives

    One thing that is often overlooked is the effect of combining additives.  Science requires an isolation of factors to determine proof of a theory: simply put, minimizing the variables can lead to an increased value of the research findings.  This becomes an obstacle, however, as it is possible, (even likely) more problems can occur when we mix additives, drugs, chemicals and allergens than when we consume additives alone.  Most reports of these combining effects look at dangerous or challenging drug interactions because drugs are easy to track. However, it is likely that consuming highly processed foods could produce similar results, but there is no mechanism for tracking them as many of them are not even listed on consumer labels.

    What's The Solution

    I hear you asking, “What then is the answer to these challenging behavioural problems?”  From a food perspective, it comes back to simplified eating habits.  The guidelines I give most of my patients are straightforward.  If you are eating something that your great-grandparents would have recognized as a food then you are off to a good start.  The closer a food looks to the way that it did when it was harvested the greater the chances that it is good for you and has fewer of these harmful added chemicals.  Processing food rarely makes it healthier. Mostly, processing makes it more appealing, both in appearance and in flavor while increasing shelf life.  Food science has worked at finding the ultimate palate pleasing, brain stimulating concoctions with no regard to how challenging the products are to the consumers. 

    It is often difficult to get children to eat healthy foods, but healthy foods can taste good. Over time they will develop a palate for a broader spectrum of flavours than salty, sweet and fat (which are the basis of most processed foods). 

    Have a look at this video clip which distinctly shows the difference in behaviours of groups of children who were fed either highly processed foods or more whole foods.

    The results are evident and dramatic. Which of these two groups do you want to deal with every day? 


    Photo Copyright: sifotography / 123RF Stock Photo

    • 18-04-2016

    Polo Health + Longevity Centre Supports the Purple Lights Campaign

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

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


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

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

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

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


    • 13-04-2016

    What is Integrative Cancer Care?

    Welcome! I'd like to quickly introduce myself.

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

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

    What is Integrative Oncology?

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

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

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

    These therapies are (but are not limited to):

    Intravenous vitamin C (IVC)

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

    Mistletoe therapy

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

    Clinical Nutrition

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

    Dietary counselling

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

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

    • 24-03-2016

    Inflammatory Foods to Avoid

    We hear about foods like strawberries being a super food and yet for many people, they are causing inflammatory conditions in the body that leads to health concerns: arthritis, bursitis, colitis, conditions that can affect your joints and gut. These kinds of inflammations in the body need an anti-flammatory diet. Dr. Polo was on The Jill Bennett show on CKNW to talk about an anti-inflammatory diet, including what foods to avoid, for how long and how to re-introduce the food.

    You should avoid these foods for a good 3-6 weeks before you see a hint of improvement. Most people see improvement within a few weeks. Does this mean you have to always avoid those foods? It depends on the condition. You might notice that bringing the foods back in will create symptoms again. Pay attention to that concern and decide whether it is a food you can continue to eat.

    In this radio clip, Jill Bennett also asks about gluten. Most people that have inflammatory concerns do find an imporovement when gluten and dairy is removed. The key is to experiment. 

    For more information on foods to avoid in an anti-inflammatory diet, and how to go about removing these foods and potentially re-introducing them, listen to Dr. Allana's interview on the Jill Bennett show.

    Listen here.

    • 09-03-2016

    Releasing the Weight

    By Dr. Allana Polo, N.D.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • 24-02-2016

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

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

    Getting ready for bed

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

    - Turn off the TV

    - Use your bed for sleeping and sex only

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

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

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

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

    - Think about a comfortable mattress.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    READ: Stress Relief Strategies


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • 02-02-2016

    Healthy Snacks for Superbowl Sunday

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

    Healthy Snacks for Superbowl Sunday

    Chocolate Football Bliss Balls

    1 cup raw almonds or Cashews or a mix of both

    2 tbsp cacao powder

    1 cup pitted medjool dates

    1 tsp vanilla extract

    ½ cup dark chocolate chips

    2 tbsp coconut oil

    1/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

    Honey or agave syrup to taste

    3 tbsp all Natural Peanut Butter

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


    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 egg

    1 teaspoon chopped garlic salt and ground black pepper to taste

    Extra shredded cheese for the topping

    Marinara sauce for the topping

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


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

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

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

    4. Preheat an oven to 450 degrees F.

    5. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

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

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

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

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

    Quinoa Pizza Bites

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

    1 cup cooked quinoa

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

    1 egg

    ½ teaspoon salt (to taste)

    ½ teaspoon ground pepper

    5 tablespoons of marinara sauce

    ½ teaspoon garlic powder

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

    Marinara Sauce, for dipping


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

    2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

    3. Grease a 12 mini muffin tin pan.

    4. Mix all of the ingredients together.

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

    6. Bake for 12-15 minutes.

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

    8. Serve with Marinara Sauce.

    Enjoy the game! And the delicious food.

    Photo Copyright: fahrwasser / 123RF Stock Photo

    • 25-01-2016

    How to Avoid Xenoestrogens for Healthy Hormones

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


    • 17-12-2015

    Reduce Stress and Enjoy the Real Spirit of the Holidays.

    By Francesca Tomas

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

    Do less, enjoy more

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

    Don’t try to be perfect

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

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

    Be Present

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

    Eat and Drink Mindfully

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

    Think Positive

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

    Be Grateful

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

    Appreciate the Thought Behind the Gift

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

    Be a Giver

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

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

    You might also like to read: 

    Holiday Wellness Tips

    Stress Relief Strategies

    How Stress Causes Weight Gain


    ©Francesca Tomas 2015




    Photo Copyright: citalliance / 123RF Stock Photo

    • 11-12-2015

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

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

    Possible Causes:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Natural Remedies

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Potato/Cucumber combinations are helpful.

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

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

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

    • Lemon/Tomato combinations are helpful.

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

      • Make a paste out of the following:

        • 1 tsp. tomato juice,

        • 1/2 tsp. lemon juice,

        • a pinch of turmeric powder, and

        • 1 tsp. of flour.

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

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

    • Apply crushed mint around the eye.

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Find out more about our medical aesthetic services.


    Photo Copyright: sergeyp / 123RF Stock Photo

    • 02-12-2015

    Holiday Wellness Tips from Vancouver's The Wellness Show

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


    Photo Copyright: sarunyufoto2010 / 123RF Stock Photo

    • 25-11-2015

    Body Composition is More Than Just the Number on the Scale

    By Dr. Allana Polo

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

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

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

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

    Consequences of an Unhealthy Body Composition

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

    - Heart disease

    - Stroke

    - High blood pressure

    - High cholesterol

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

    - Type 2 Diabetes

    - Joint and Back pain/ Arthritis

    - Respiratory problems

    - Kidney and liver and Gallbladder problems

    - Hormonal imbalances due to estrogen being produced in fat tissues

    - Sleep Apnea

    - Excess fatigue 

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

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

    Achieving a Healthy Body Composition

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

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

    • 09-11-2015

    Dr. Polo's Liver Detox Guidelines


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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

    Consume at least 6 servings of fruit and vegetables daily.

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • 07-11-2015

    How to Survive Cold & Flu Season: Immune Boosting Tips

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

    Causes of impaired immune function

    • High stress

    • Lack of sleep

    • Decreased physical activity

    • Poor diet

    • Impaired digestion

    • Lack of exposure to sunlight General Tips

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

    • Avoid sharing food and drinks with others

    • Sneeze & cough into your elbow crease

    • Work to manage stress

    • Avoid cigarette smoke

    • Drink alcohol in moderation


    Herbs to BOOST immune function

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

    • Tincture or capsules best

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

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

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


    Astragalus membranaceus (Astragalus)

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

    • Immunostimulant/modulator

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

    • Slows replication of viruses


    Lentinula edodes (Shitake)

    • Protective/prophylactic against most strains of influenza

    • Increases phagocytotic activity


    Eleutherococcus senticosus (Siberian ginseng)

    • Used for 4000 years in TCM to improve general health

    • Treats fatigue and stress

    • Immunomodulatory, and increases resistance to stress

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


    Immune Boosting tea

    - 4 cups water

    - 6 peeled garlic cloves, cut in half

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

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

    – Add honey to taste.

    – Add juice of 1 lemon.

    – Add a tiny pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)

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


    Herbs to take when you are sick!

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

    Sambucus nigra (Elderberry)

    • Anti-viral and anti-inflammatory

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

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

    • Reduced mucous production, and improved sx of influenza


    Berberis aquifolium (Oregon Grape)

    • Antibacterial, anti-inflammatory


    Plantago lanceolata (Plantain leaf)

    • For cough (anti-tussive), also antibacterial

    • Soothes irritation of the throat and bronchi


    Eupatorium perfoliatum (Boneset)

    • For cough, also antibacterial

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

    • Immune stimulatory


    Inula helenium

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

    • Good for chest pain, persistent wet cough


    Recommended Supplements

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

    Food sources include carrot, squash, broccoli, kale

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

    May cause loose stools

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

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



    • Gargles – are antimicrobial and astringent

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

    • Steam inhalation

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

    Eucalyptus, tea tree, rosemary, thyme

    o Helps reduce congestion in the nose and sinuses

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

    o Can use in children only with supervision 

    • Humidifier w/ eucalyptus oil: Hydrates dry irritated throat

    o Great for children at night for cough and congestion

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

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


    Dietary recommendations for good immune health

    • Eat regular meals to stabilize your blood sugar

    • Never skip breakfast

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    – Kefir

    – Sauerkraut (fermented cabbage)

    – Kimchi (Korean spicy cabbage)

    – Tempeh (a fermented soybean product)

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


    I hope these tips help keep you healthy this season. 

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

    Photo Copyright: pressmaster / 123RF Stock Photo

    • 27-10-2015

    Treatments for ADHD

    By Dr. Andrew Eberding, N.D.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


    • 21-10-2015

    How to Overcome Emotional Eating

    By Dr. Allana Polo, N.D.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • 13-10-2015

    One Thought Away - Stress Relief Strategies

    By Francesca Tomas, RPC                                   

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

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

    This is where I’d like to start.

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

    Here are a few of his most frequently quoted teachings:

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

    This is the real law of attraction.

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

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

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

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

    My favorite Wayne Dyer quote is:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Photo Copyright: bialasiewicz / 123RF Stock Photo

    • 31-08-2015

    5 Ways to Make Summer Last All Year Long

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

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

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


    Photo Copyright: geraldas / 123RF Stock Photo


    • 06-08-2015

    Four Summer Foods Disguised as "Healthy" Choices

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

    Read Four Summer Foods Disguised as "Healthy" Choices.


    • 18-06-2015

    The Do's and Dont's of Summer Eating

    By Vanessa McKay, CNP

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

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

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

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

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

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

    You might also like to read:

    Are You an Emotional Eater? 

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


    Photo Copyright: mblach / 123RF Stock Photo

    • 04-06-2015

    Are You an Emotional Eater?

    By Francesca Tomas, RPC RTC

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

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

    Emotional eating can temporarily suppress or soothe negative emotions including: 





    Anger; and


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

    These triggers include:

    Work and or family stress;

    Relationship difficulty;

    Health problems;

    Sleeplessness; and

    Financial pressure.

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

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

    Here are tips for breaking the cycle of emotional eating 

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

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

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

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

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

    Have healthy food available to snack on;

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

    Pack your own healthy lunch and snacks for work;

    Get support from friends, family, or support groups;

    Learn from your setbacks;

    Keep a journal to release emotions; 

    Seek professional help.

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


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

    Photo Copyright: bds / 123RF Stock Photo

    Copyright © Francesca Tomas RPC, RTC 2015

    • 22-05-2015

    Iodine Deficiency and Weight Loss

    By Dr. Allana Polo

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

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

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


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

    Photo Copyright: / 123RF Stock Photo

    • 19-03-2015

    Eat Healthy During Your Workday

    By Jess Pirnak, Registered Dietitian

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

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

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

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

    ·         Variety of nuts or seeds;

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Photo Copyright: / 123RF Stock Photo

    • 11-02-2015

    9 Ways to Reduce Stress

    By Francesca Tomas, Registered Professional Counsellor

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

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

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

    Healthy Diet

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


    Exercise 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.

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

    Photo Copyright: / 123RF Stock Photo

    • 09-02-2015

    Why Sweating is Good for You

    We’ve been sharing the secrets to a healthy detox, from prepping for the week with healthy food to what to eliminate from your diet to stay well. We’ve got more up our sleeves as we roll out the top advice for making you your healthiest yet. Now, let’s focus on sweat. Yes, it may make you nervous in an important meeting - do I have sweat stains under my arms? - but sweating is an important part of your body’s processes. Here’s why, and here’s how to get your sweat on.

    Why Your Body Needs to Sweat

    Your body’s way of releasing toxins

    Sweating is your body’s way of releasing toxins, such as heavy metals you are exposed to in the food that you eat, and chemicals that get in through the air that you breathe. This study showed a high concentration of heavy metals in the perspiration of research participants (compared with urine), suggesting sweat as a means for reducing the body’s toxic load.

    Sweating also helps clear the lymphatic system, which supports your immune system. It helps ensure there aren’t toxic blockages in the lymph nodes, which can affect your overall health.

    Opens up pores

    In spite of your rigorous cleansing, your skin’s pores are holding on to dirt and grime. Sweating is an amazing way to open up the pores and deeply cleanse the skin towards greater skin tone and clarity (goodbye acne).

    Sweat is a natural antimicrobial

    Getting sweaty from head to toe actually makes you a superhero, with the superpower of fighting germs so they don’t enter your body. Yes, research shows that sweat is a natural antimicrobial. Sweat contains dermicidin, an antibiotic that has been shown to fight tuberculosis and other dangerous bugs.

    So now that we’ve convinced you that sweat is good for you, what are the best ways to get your sweat on?

    • You should be moving to produce a sweat at least 20 minutes, 3 times a week;

    • Hit the sauna - our infrared sauna is a therapeutic way to get sweaty;

    • In a pinch, allow the face to sweat by filling a basin with boiling water and hang your head over top with a towel draped around you.

    Sweating is a natural part of ridding your body of toxins, and is therefore essential to any detox plan. Let us know when you want to jump in the sauna!

    Photo Copyright: / 123RF Stock Photo

    • 30-01-2015

    Eating Well on Super Bowl Sunday

    The Super Bowl is synonymous with chilli and cheesy nachos, sausage rolled in wheat and other fried and not exactly healthy foods. So how can you survive the day without going overboard and packing on the pounds? I’ve got a few tips to share with you.


    Balance Alcohol Consumption with Water

    Beer and football go hand in hand. No matter what your choice of alcoholic beverage, balance your intake with water to stay properly hydrated (alcohol can dehydrate you) and to keep your system well-flushed. Water can also fill you up just a little bit more, so you tend to eat less.

    Bring Your Own Healthy Option

    If you are attending a party, you can probably expect a great spread of fat-filled, unhealthy treats. Bring something you can share with everyone that offers a nice alternative. You can reach for this instead when you want something to snack on. Some healthier options include,

    Eat Before Arriving So You Aren’t Starving

    When our bellies are empty, we are more likely to make poor choices, as our body naturally just wants us to get food in there fast. Eat a healthy, protein-rich snack before you head out to the party, or start the game. You are less likely to overeat and more likely to choose consciously.

    When You Do Indulge, Detox

    When you do overeat and overindulge the important thing is to not beat yourself up over it. Recognize it wasn’t your finest hour and then move on. The next day you can mitigate damage by having a detox day. Our blog has great resources for how to do this, but a detox day might include drinking tons of water (with lemon would be great!), some light fasting, saying no to white sugar, white flour and white rice, steering clear of alcohol and caffeine and focusing on eating a lot of protein and vegetables.

    Photo Copyright: / 123RF Stock Photo

    • 29-01-2015

    The Benefits of Colon Hydrotherapy

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

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

    Hello Detoxers and Cleansers!

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

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

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


    Susan Kinross

    Certified Colon Hydrotherapist


    Photo Copyright: / 123RF Stock Photo

    • 21-01-2015

    Foods to Eliminate During a Detox

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

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

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

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


    Read labels thoroughly;

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

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

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

    Foods to eliminate during a detox:

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

    Avoid anything with added colour, flavouring, preservatives;

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

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

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

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

    Avoid shortening, margarine, and refined oils;

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

    Avoid canned fish, tuna, catfish, shellfish; 

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Follow the Polo Health Detox on Facebook!


    Dr. Andrea Gansner, ND 


    Photo Copyright: / 123RF Stock Photo

    • 14-01-2015

    7 Pillars of a Great Detox: #1 Prepare with Soup Recipe

    Have you joined our detox challenge? And are you following along on Facebook as participating practitioners share what they've been up to, and how they are coping with the challenge of ridding the body of excess toxins, and cutting the crap? Last night we held our information night and Dr. Andrea introduced the concept of "detox" to all who attended. If you missed it, don't worry!, we'll be sharing resources on the blog all month long!

    We'll cover the 7 Pillars of a Great Detox .. that's right; we've boiled it down to the top 7 things to do or keep in mind when taking on the detox challenge, and we will share resources on how to support these 7 topics as we go along.

    So without delay, what are the 7 pillars of a great detox? 

    1. Prepare;

    2. Eliminate;

    3. Cleanse;

    4. Sweat;

    5. Rest;

    6. Move;

    7. Transition.

    First up, prepare....

    On a detox program you need to fuel the body with foods that heal and nurture, and eliminate those foods that are toxic, counter-productive and hard for your body to process. When switching to a new diet, or starting a new habit, the hardest part can be process of learning how to integrate new practices into your daily life. So when you can't reach for your regular sugar-fix at 3pm, what do you reach for instead? We might shout: "Carrot sticks and hummus" from the rooftops, and you might respond, "Who has time to cut up carrots and to make homemade hummus?" Well, you do! Here's Dr. Polo's secret for always having healthy food on hand.

    Every Sunday morning (well, almost) I head to the grocery store and pick out fresh fruits and veggies, as well as kitchen staples and meat. I stock my fridge and freezer with only nutritious food, so I am never tempted to eat anything that isn't the best for me. I prepare a big bin of fresh cut veggies, for snacking all week long, and then make sure to have a few other dips and meals on-hand for busy nights.

    I also pack a lot of meals - sometimes I eat lunch and dinner at the clinic. While it is always tempting to get take-out, I know that I can stick to my healthy eating goals if I make food at home that is just as good, and just as portable, as take out.

    I make up big salads, grill chicken breasts, hardboil a few eggs (makes a quick protein-rich snack) and set aside small portions of nuts and seeds. Another thing I love to make in batches is soup! And to prepare for this detox I made a big batch of detox soup.

    I don't have a recipe, because I make it up as I go, but here are the ingredients for you to mix and experiment with!













    And gluten free chicken broth

    Added 1 cup of quinoa.

    Let cook for a few hours and purée it!


    Do you prepare meals and snacks in advance? What do you like to make?

    • 09-01-2015

    Take the Polo Health Detox Challenge!

    January is a popular time to set health goals and to start new weight loss or healthy eating programs. But so many of us approach the new year confused about how to get started eating better, cleansing the body (inside and out!) and moving toward wellness.

    At Polo Health + Longevity Centre we have decided to challenge each other to a little workplace fun! Several of our practitioners have all decided to embark on a detox program. And we hope you will join us; it is a great way to learn more about lasting lifestyle changes! A detox is an opportunity to be kind to your body, to cleanse from the crap you may have consumed over the holidays and to start your new year with a fresh mind, and feeling great. 

    So just what is a detox? 

    Our bodies are built to naturally remove impurities and foreign junk via the liver but also the kidneys, intestines, lungs, lymph and skin. But our exposure to toxins (in food in the form of pesticides and preservatives, in plastic products that leach into our food or water, and all around us in the air) can sometimes load up our body and make it hard for the liver and other organs to keep up. A detox is a way to help the body better eliminate the stuff that invades it, towards a better and more vibrant system all around. By following detoxification principles, you can...

    - Kick start weight loss, or move stubborn pounds;

    - Improve the tone and clarity of your skin;

    - Enjoy increased energy and a brighter mood;

    - Overcome pain and inflammation;

    - Experience stress relief;

    - Fix chronic digestive problems.

    A detox can take many forms and some popular (even ancient) forms include:

    - Fasting;

    - Eliminating certain foods;

    - Juice cleanses;

    - Supplement protocols;

    - Sauna, hot baths, steam;

    - Colon hydrotherapy.

    Our program at Polo Health will include a couple of different components - including giving up certain foods, adding in key supplements and taking advantage of our Infra Red sauna and colon hydrotherapy. If you want to join us, come to our info night happening January 12 at 6pm at 711 Columbia Street. Click here for more info. And follow along on Facebook, and here on the blog, as we share resources.

    Anyone can detox, anytime. But it is best to seek medical guidance when embarking on one, and when finishing a detox. We can help you smoothly transition, while making lasting lifestyle changes.

    Photo Copyright: / 123RF Stock Photo

    • 08-01-2015

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

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

    Fat-Free Sugar-Free Yogurt

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

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

    Power Drinks and Mineral Waters

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

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

    Protein Bars

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

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

    Dried Fruit

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


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

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