• 06-09-2023

    The Best supplements for kids, according to a ND

    The vitamin and supplement aisles or shelves can be a very overwhelming place for any parent, especially when it comes to deciding which supplements are best for their kids. 

    As much as we would love our children to eat broccoli and salmon, the reality is quite the opposite. Many of our kids are often picky eaters, which can make meeting their nutritional needs a bit more challenging. Our goal as any parent is to ensure we provide our kids with all the vitamins and minerals needed to thrive and grow through diet alone, optimizing their growing body and minds. But, often certain circumstances and time constraints make that difficult to achieve, so my top recommendations as a Naturopathic Doctor and mom to two young growing boys include:

    1. Multivitamin. A good Multi vitamin acts as an insurance policy, filling in the nutritional gaps that many picky eaters may face. Some kids may not be getting the required amounts of vitamins and minerals that a young growing body needs. Additionally, if your child is on any kind of restrictive diet ( Like dairy or gluten free, vegetarian or vegan for instance) or on certain medications, there may be concern for nutritional values and daily requirements not being met.  Kids Multi Vitamin Spray contains a broad range of vitamins to provide your child with a solid base. It is a quick and easy way to administer these vitamins and is non GMO and Gluten free.

    Make sure you consult with your health care provider if you have any questions about your supplement regimen.


    1. Probiotic. Supporting your child’s immune system starts in the gut, and a probiotic is a very gentle and effective way to support both gut health and immune function. 70% of our immune system is housed in the gut, so as your child grows, it is important to support their gut flora through a multi strain probiotic. Probiotics have been shown to help with many aspect of a child’s health. Probiotics not only help with immune function, but they can also help with a child’s digestion helping to limit tummy troubles and regulating their bowel movements, along with improving mood and mental health concerns.  
    1. Omega 3 Fish oil. Supporting your child’s cognitive ( brain) health can be done through supplementing with EPA and DHA, both found in a good quality omega 3 fish oil. Obtaining enough Omega 3 through diet alone may be quite difficult for kids who don’t particularly love salmon or other fatty fish, and as a result, many kids aren’t reaching their daily requirements. By supplementing, you ensure that both EPA and DHA are formulated in specific ratios for maximum benefit.  For those children who prefer a plant based option, there is one available. Bonus: Omega 3 also helps with inflammatory concerns such as eczema or other skin conditions commonly seen in children.

    2. Kids Calcium with Vitamin D and K2. Support your child’s growth, development, bones and teeth with a good quality supplement. In today’s world especially, where people are opting for dairy free diets, it may pose as a challenge to get enough Calcium. Calcium strengthens bone and teeth development while added vitamins and minerals support additional functions in the body. Vitamins D3 & K2 work together to help with calcium absorption. Vitamin D also supports immune function and overall health. 

    These are a few of my top recommendations, but of course each individual child’s needs are different and vary depending on their given diet and requirements. If your child is vegetarian, you may think about supplementing with an Iron additionally. As mentioned above, speak to a health care provider about your individual situation, and opt for formulas without added sugars, artificial sweeteners, colors, flavorings or preservatives. 


    • 06-09-2023

    Vitamins for kids:  Do they need it? 

    Are you a parent, who like many of us, wonder about the nutritional needs of your child? Do you wonder if taking a vitamin or supplement is necessary to give our children on top of their current diet? 

    If so, you are not alone. This is a common concern amongst parents who want the best for their Children’s health. Child friendly supplements can help fill in the gap for your growing child, especially if they are picky eaters and don’t have the best diet. 

    As children grow, it is important for them to get enough vitamins and minerals to ensure optimal health. 

    Supplements don’t make up for a healthy balanced diet, but they can certainly act as a bridge to help prevent nutrient deficiencies that may arise. 

    Parents should focus on a well-rounded diet to ensure their children meet the daily recommended amount of vitamins and minerals. A healthy plate should be rich in fruits and vegetables, whole grains and fiber, protein rich foods and healthy fats. While all vitamins and minerals are important for growth and development, some are especially critical for children.

    Given the reality of our busy and fast paced lives, we don’t get as many well rounded home cooked meals as we would like to. As a Naturopathic Doctor and mom of two young growing boys, I recommend certain child friendly supplements as a welcomed addition to help ensure strong growing body’s and minds for the development of healthy children.  


    Kids who may benefit from the addition of vitamins may include:

    1. Kids who aren't eating regular, well-balanced meals made from fresh, whole foods including a variety of fruits and vegetables, proteins and healthy fats 
    1. Picky eaters who simply just aren’t eating enough or enough variety.  
    1. Kids with specific medical concerns or digestive problems, or kids taking prescription medications that may cause nutrient deficiencies. 
    1. Kids eating a lot of fast food, processed or convenience food in packages. High sugar or carbonated beverages also deplete the body of key nutrients. 
    1. Kids on a vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, dairy free or other restrictive diet, who may need an iron, calcium or other specific nutrient or supplement.

    It’s best for kids to get all the vitamins and minerals they need from a well-balanced diet. And generally, they do. But it can be more challenging to get adequate levels of certain nutrients, which is where a good quality supplement can be a great addition. Good quality supplements should be non GMO, and free of artificial colours, preservatives, and sweeteners.


    • 11-10-2022

    Halloween & Staying Healthy: Can they go hand in hand?

    There is no shortage of food celebrations to enrich the fall season. With Thanksgiving dinner behind us we are quickly approaching another celebration that involves loads and loads of sweets.  Celebration and food often go hand in hand and that can make for a whole lot of fun. And that’s a good thing! And with some attention to our actions, the event can fun and balanced too!

    With Halloween just around the corner, how do I make it through without any “scary” consequences. We are bombarded with temptations even before the day, with a plethora of candy on display at the stores and at school or office parties.  How does one navigate between the scary costumes and the onslaught of empty calories from the candies, chocolate bars and sweets that are connected to this celebration? 

    The overall message is to keep the enjoyment high, find the “better for you” sweets in hopes of avoiding the dreaded shame (that my clients often talk).  Here are some tips to help you on your way to have fun and stayed healthy too: 

    1. Set yourself up for success. Eat a balanced meal before you trick or treat with your little ones, dish out the candy at the door or venture out to a costume party.  Creating a balanced plate of at least half vegetables, quarter protein and quarter carbohydrates will help to feel satiated, dropping the temptation to over reach for the sweets. A satisfying meal before any alcohol consumption is also a good plan. 

    2. Try alternative types of treats. A visit to the local craft store can help you find non-candy treats, such as cut ‘n paste booklets, stickers or fun stationary.  Or stock up on treats that support movement such as jump ropes, bouncy balls or sidewalk caulk.

    3. Out of sight. Out of mind.  I will never forget when I tried this one when the kids were young.  I even locked the stash in a cabinet and then inadvertently lost the key!  Much to my surprise the aftermath was not bad as they quickly forgot about the candy, proving to me that the evening of fun was plenty for them. However, as they grew older the strategy did have to change a bit.  Sometimes I removed some candy from their bags and used them at birthday parties.  Trial and error.  Personally, now we only buy Halloween candy just days before and only open the box on the evening of the 31st. 

    4. Staying well hydrated can help you control your sweet cravings.  Instead of letting the favour stay in your mouth only to tempt you to have another, try drinking some water instead.  You might be surprised now this can take your mind off the thought of “just another”.  

    5. Last but not least, celebrate!! I often get asked if I let my kids eat candy on Halloween. Afterall, a dietitian mom should have “rules”. I settled into the idea of letting them monitor their own intake without imposing limitations. They learned the very important skill of self regulation. I do believe in experiential learning and if they consumed too much and felt sick from sugar overload, they learned quicker than me trying to control their every last move.  With the habits of a healthy balanced plate already established, it was easy to step back into this way of eating.  One or two (or three) days of eating treats will not undo the years of healthy habit building. Self management of treats without feeling the guilt of consuming too much goes a long way to building healthy, happy lifetime eaters. 

    • 05-10-2022

    A Sign of the Times: Enjoying your local fall harvest.

    A Sign of the Times: Enjoying your local fall harvest. 

    Written by Caroline Klemens, Dietitian

    While the local weather is breaking all time high temperature records, we have a chance to enjoy even more time outdoors, as it seems as if summer is hanging on. The days are sunny and dry but the colder, wetter weather is undeniably around the corner.  The change in weather is a perfect time to move from summer types of fruits and vegetables to a heartier fall bounty.  This change in weather is an indication of the change of what can land on our plates. And for that we can be very grateful, as we have the opportunity to experience more diversity. 

    A healthy and enjoyable diet includes diversity.  As we move away from ultra processed foods in the grocery shelves and step into the fall bounty at the local farmer’s markets it is easy to see the array of colour and textures available at this time of year.  Recently I was pleasantly surprised as I cycled by a farmer’s market and caught sight of the beautiful vibrant oranges, reds and greens in the all too familiar shapes of squashes, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, and beets.  A sudden urge to make a large batch of chicken vegetable soup got triggered. 

    I often get asked if these local foods really make a difference and if so how! The first advantage is taste. But can it really make a difference? Produce that travels less kms to reach your plate naturally has more freshness and flavour. 

    Have you ever had an imported peach in the middle of the winter and a peach harvested in the summer and brought to your table within a week? I bet you’d agree that the flavour does not compare.  Fresh fruits and vegetables that are transported far distances will be picked before they are naturally ripened on the vine or tree. When this happens there is less flavour. When you enjoy the taste sensation of produce harvested at the right time you will never trade that experience for anything!

    Local produce has more nutritional value. Anytime fresh fruits or vegetables are exposed to light, sit longer after being harvested or are exposed to heat the vitamins and mineral get effected and the nutritional value naturally decreases. Aim to eat the foods that are grown closer to where you live. 

    Locally-grown seasonal foods also have a benefit of matching to our nutritional needs. For example, the beta carotene in the orange pigment of pumpkins and other squash will help boost your immune system just in time to stay healthy for cold and flu season. 

    It can be argued that locally produced foods have a lower cost, due to reduced transportation cost.  Catch those savings and visit a market or your local neighbourhood grocer and pick a locally grown vegetable that you’ve never had before, search online for a recipe and experiment! Roasted vegetables make a wonderful salad, drizzled with balsamic vinegar and olive oil. 

    From the wise words of Michael Pollen “Eat foods, mostly plants, not too much”.  I’m sure he would agree with adding “eat foods, mostly seasonal plants, not too much”!  And remember let Mother Nature be your guide, as we know she knows best”!  Enjoy the fall season. 


    • 06-09-2022

    Top 3 Back-to-School tips from a Dietitian Mom

    Top 3 Back-to-School tips from a Dietitian Mom

    After experiencing over 25 years of back-to-school excitement and wows I can confidently say experiencing it first hand has given me the insight to help other caregivers do the same.   Getting your little ones out of the house, for a successful day away from home, is an important role we have as a parent.  More success in achieved in this area when we approach it in an organized manner. 

    With the unstructured flow of summer time behind us, in a moment we are faced with a whole new world.  Flying by the seat of our pants may not give us the peace of mind needed to get through this transition time.  Lists of action steps to take seem to never end. New school gear purchased. Check. Lunches made.  Check.  Books in knapsacks.  Check.  So, the key to success is to approach this time with a myriad of tools to help us stay organized, and to create routines that allow for this time to be stress free and fun! Your kids do model your behaviour and pick up on how you feel, so why not be calm and happy, even if on the inside you may not totally feel that. 

    Let’s lay the groundwork by discussing the power of organization and planning. Any of the tips discussed below work when there is organization and a routine. There is nothing more stressful then standing in front of the fridge, with the door wide open, wondering what everyone will eat. A little investment of time and thought at the beginning of the week can help ensure that our kids are well fed.

    Tip #1 Start them off right at home

    We have little (let’s face it…no control) on what, how or even if, food gets eaten during the day while our children are at school.  Whether we accept it or not, children having independence over their food choices during the day is an important part of their development. We provide the food and the children use their intuitive hunger cues to decide how much, or even if, to eat. 

    Many influences can present themselves at school – the contents of the lunch box of the student sitting beside your child can tempt them so much so that they do some sort of swap.  I remember the stories my kids had about “who traded who”!  Counter act the peer group influence by ensuring breakfast, after school snack and dinner options are balanced.  

    Try batch cooking breakfast items and freeze them to be ready at a moment’s notice.  Muffin tin omelets are an easy choice for a quick breakfast.  Prepare a couple of large batches and freeze them for later use. 

    Allow time and an appropriate environment to eat. While it may be tempting to have the kids eat in the car, dashboard dining is no way to start the day.  Allow 10-15 minutes of time in the morning where everyone sits at the table.  Resisting the urge to multi-task as the kids are sitting at the table will backfire. Your intentions may be valid but the time you take to model good eating behaviour by sitting with your child does more than one can imagine. 

    Breakfast ideas: Overnight oats (steel cut oats, choice of milk, frozen strawberries, walnuts, sprinkle of hemp seed on top).  Kids can be encouraged to put together all the ingredients in a Mason jar as an evening activity the night before. 



    Tip #2- Add Protein

    The fact is, we live in an easily accessible carbohydrate world.  There is no shortage of carbs as commercially prepared school snacks can be loaded with carbs and often times very processed and high in sugar. More on this topic in a future post. As a result of the prevalence of carbohydrates, protein may take a back seat.  Protein in our diet is very important and is the “driver of the bus” that help us feeling full from one meal to the next and provides us with sustained energy throughout the day.  Highly processed carbohydrates can cause swings in energy and peaks and crashes in blood sugar levels. While kids don’t need a lot of protein, it is best to offer them protein at every meal and snack. 

    Protein type snacks: Try pairing a good protein source with a fruit or vegetable. For example, nut butter + celery sticks, fruit smoothie, hummus dip and cucumbers, boiled egg and banana, blueberries and Greek yogurt, cheese and apple sections.  

    Tip #3 Involve the kids!

    As children grow, their involvement in the kitchen can grow too as they take on more responsibility.  At a younger age it might be as simple as setting the plates on the table. 

    Consider a challenge at the grocery store. Have you child pick out a veggie, a fruit and one snack item for their lunches. If the snack item isn’t the most nutritious you can always balance it with your choices the rest of the week!

    While I was busy with my younger daughters, by default, in grade 1 my older daughter started making her own lunch.  Kids are more likely to eat something they had a role in preparing and then they have no surprises either. 

    Caroline Klemens,  Registered Dietitian

    • 13-02-2020

    Reacquainting yourself with Healthy hunger

    Did you know that as babies we were actually born with these hunger and satiety cues? Babies naturally eat when they are hungry. They cry asking for food and innately stop when they are full. Along the way, as adults, these cues have been lost or forgotten, and now we need to reacquaint ourselves with them. Lets bring it back to Healthy Hunger

    1. Establish your why.  This is a very crucial step in your ability to get back to healthy hunger. “why” do you want to do this? It has to go beyond the “ I want to lose weight” piece. Specifically, why do you want to lose weight? This “WHY” will becomes your motivating force and the difference between eating the cooking or leaving it alone. People with a strong why will always be more successful than people who don’t. once you have your “why” determined, write it down and place it somewhere where you can be continually reminded that it is more than just looking good.
    2. Keep a Diary.  I want you to record what you are eating. Everything ranging from breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks and beverages.  It would be extra beneficial to write down what times you are eating at as well. Studies show over and over again that people who keep a food diary not only consume fewer calories, but are more accountable to themselves and in tune with their bodies. I want you to take it one step further, and record your moods and emotional responses to the changes you are making. This will help you when you start doing the deeper work to get you through ‘Heart Hunger’. 
    3. Practice mindful eating. Stop and literally chew your food aiming for 20 complete chews. Put your fork down in between bites. Take a breath. Taste the food. Enjoy the textures. Stop eating on the go, on the run, in front of the tv, in front of the computer screen or when talking on the phone. Be present in the moment as you are eating. When you are eating, try making it the only activity you are engaging in. When you make your first sigh of being full, that is your cue to stop. 
    4. First Raid the Kitchen. You are tasked to go through your kitchen with a big old box and a giant garbage bag. In your box goes your unopened canned and perishable goods which you can provide to those in need, a local shelter or community centre or charity. Into the garbage bag goes the stuff that has already been opened and that you now need to get rid of. It isn’t enough to say “ oh my daughter will eat that box of cookies”. Nope! You will! One night four nights from now, when this shift just seems too hard, you will think just one is ok or maybe two. Maybe you will eat the whole bag, maybe you wont, but we want this stuff out of your house, out of your body and out of your life, so throw it out now instead. By not having temptations around you, you will better be able to remain focused and in control and making and sticking to these necessary changes. 
    5. Then love the kitchen. My hope is that your transition to a whole foods sparked a love for being in the kitchen. To stay healthy, you must really make your own food from whole ingredients from the earth. Processed foods contain so much added preservatives, sugar, salt and unnecessary preserving agents, additives and chemicals that we should not be consuming them in the quantities we are. In fact, I can argue that these foods really are the reason we are facing the obesity epidemic we are today. Please take the time to cook homemade meals. They do not need to be elaborate or fancy, all I ask is that they are made from real food and real ingredients that you can pronounce and recognize. It may seem overwhelming at first as we are all busy people with a lot going on, but that is definitely no excuse to frequent a drive through 5 times a week, or indulge in takeout or delivery on a regular basis. It is possible to eat healthy and wholesome every meal of every day, it just requires getting organized and planning a bit at first, until it becomes easier and more manageable to carry out on a regular basis. My trick is to cook up a storm at one time, allowing extras to be frozen and placed into portioned containers for another day that you may in fact be too busy, or too lazy and don’t feel like making something from scratch. I always recommend meal prep on the weekends, when you have one hour, instead of watching tv or while the laundry is running, to make the time. If you wait to find the time, it wont happen. You have to make the time, make it a priority so it actually gets done. Here are a few ideas to prep for the week: 
    • Boil a pot of quinoa- it makes for a great protein rich salad topper in the week
    • Salads in a jar. For quick lunches at work, layer salad dressing, lettuce, kale, veggies and toppings in a mason jar.
    • Hardboiled eggs
    • Chicken breasts sliced for salads or stirfrys
    • Salmon cakes
    • Bean burgers
    • Bean salads
    • Homemade guacamole
    • Homemade hummus
    • Nut butters
    • Sliced fruit and veg 
    • Roasted vegetables
    • Stews
    • Soups
    • Chilis

    These all make for quick and easy meals or snacks that you can take on the go, or freeze for a lunch or dinner at a later time. Making meals ahead of time, grocery shopping, chopping, planning and prepping both meals and snacks will become an extremely important factor in your success. When we are busy, and don’t have anything prepared, we reach for what is quick, easy and convenient. 

    1. Use the Hunger scale daily. The hunger scale is a tool that will help aid you and guide you toward your goals by avoiding mindless eating. This should keep you in touch with your hunger and satiety centres. 
    2. Starving- weak, lightheaded, irritable
    3. Uncomfortably hungry- hard to concentrate
    4. Very hungry- ready to eat now, stomach is rumbling
    5. Slightly uncomfortable- starting to feel signs of hunger
    6. Comfortable and satisfied
    7. Perfectly comfortable
    8. Full- a little bit uncomfortable
    9. Uncomfortably full- starting to feel bloated. “I ate more than I should have”
    10. Too full- need to loosen pants
    11. Stuffed - food coma, thanksgiving dinner full, Christmas dinner full, cant breathe full


    Realistically, you should only eat if you are feeling 1, 2 or 3. Put your fork down at 5 and wait until the next meal to eat again. If you are trying to lose weight, stopping at 5 allows you to eat less than your body is burning. Don’t wait for 1 or 2 to start eating. By this point, all rational decision making has gone out the window and the likelihood of you reaching for a salad is overwhelmed by a biologically propelled craving for calorie dense food. Start eating at number 3, when you are very hungry and ready to yet, yet not desperate enough to eat anything and everything in your path. You want to have enough hunger pangs that your cue to eat is evident and clear, but still being able to stay in control of what and how much you are eating, making the right choices for both. Once again, don’t wait until you are weak, light headed, dizzy, shaky or irritable. If you do, your next steps will take you further away from your goals and habits that we are trying to positively change. Always ask yourself, is this taking me steps closer to my goal or taking me backwards away from my goal? Is this helping me or hurting me? Is this in alignment with what I want? 

    Now, the next part of this hunger scale. When to stop? Stop eating at number 6, when you are perfectly comfortable and satisfied. You may feel like you could or would want to eat more, but could quickly shift to too full, bloated and reach to loosen your pants. It takes 20minutes after you have eaten, for your brain to register full and have the satiety signals kick in. so if you stop eating slightly before you are too full, 20 minutes later you will likely be there. Staying on the hunger scale between number 3 and number 6 should be your goal. This will ensure you don’t starve and don’t stuff, it will also ensure that you feel lighter and more energetic as opposed to lethargic and heavy. If you need to check in mid meal, and see where you are at on the scale, go for it. Actually, I encourage you to do so. Put your fork down, take a breath, and check in with yourself. Over time, practicing this routine will become a sure habit and healthy hunger will be established. 

    • 29-03-2019

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

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

    Food Allergies

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

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

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

    Food Sensitivities or Intolerance

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

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

    Some Key Differences Between Food Allergies And Sensitivities

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

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

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

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

    • 24-04-2018

    Dr. Polo's Tips For Spring Cleaning Your Health

    1. Set S.M.A.R.T. Goals- Specific. Measurable. Attainable. Relevant. Time-based. 

    2. Replace habits, don’t eliminate- Instead of cold-turkey quitting potato chips, replace them with something healthier that satisfies your crunch cravings. Like almonds or roasted chickpeas. This also helps you navigate social settings where there might not be a healthier option. Having a few potato chips at a party is no big deal if you have replaced them in all the places you can control, like your kitchen pantry.

    3. Remember your WHY- Coming back to your ‘why’ in your moments of doubt or deflation can be the thing that sets you back on track. Are you working toward better health so you can enjoy watching your kids grow up? Put a nice family picture up near your treadmill at home. A visual reminder can sometimes be more effective than a mantra or vision in your head. But decide what works to help you remember your why.

    4. Find support- Perhaps it’s an online community, family members, friends or colleagues. Find sources of support that you can check in with or who will check in with you as you journey toward your goal. Better yet, enlist them to join you and be in accountability partnership!

    5. Stay accountable to yourself- Keep track via apps, a diary or a chart to track your progress. I find that those who monitor their own behaviour ultimately do a better job of sticking to their initial plan.

    6. Limit your goals- Choose 1 or 2, not 10. This keeps you from getting overwhelmed and gives you enough time to make progress. Successfully modifying even 1 or 2 areas of your life can have a positive effect on other areas. Your quality of life can change with just a couple simple moves in the right direction.

    • 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