Fall Cleanse - Basic Suggestions

If you didn't get to doing a cleanse in the Spring or New Year make it a priority before things get too busy. Toxicity can affect everything from immune health, to sleep quality to energy levels and mood(irritability, not a lot of patience, being reactive)  to weight gain. There are many ways to help your body's organs of detoxification (liver, kidneys, colon, lymphatics) function optimally. The Wild Rose Diet is a great diet to follow but I'm not keen on the supplements that come with it - I've found there are better, gentler ways to cleanse. See the section below for some of my favourite supplements and this section for general suggestions/tips. 

Some general ideas:

  1. Eat clean and simply. Eliminate all processed foods for a week or two and eat only fresh sprouts, fruits, vegetables, legumes and minimal whole grains and lean meats. The Brown Rice Diet or Anti-inflammatory Diet are both de-congesting, healthy diets to be on. See links on this website.

  2. Drink 8-12 (depending on weight and activity level) glasses of pure water each day. Adding freshly squeezed lemon or lemon slices to hot water is a simple way to promote cleansing.

  3. Move and breathe. Enjoy the extra time outdoors that the longer evenings allow. Breathe deep into the bottom of your lungs.

  4. Dry brush your skin from your toes and fingers toward your core and from your chin to your collarbone. Nice for your lymphatics.

  5. On waking and before bed, drink 1-2 tsp of a good quality greens supplement and human strain acidophilus in a glass of vegetable juice or water.

  6. Treat yourself to some bodywork that will not only further stimulate and support your body's internal janitorial system but will also be wonderfully relaxing. Bowen, Massage, Craniosacral Therapy, Osteopathy, Yoga, Acupuncture and Lymphatic Drainage are all great for this.

  7. Lastly, homeopathic drainage (Undas) takes cleaning up the body to a deeper level and is worth considering as an adjunct to the basics for those interested in experiencing a higher level of well-being. Book in (403) 609-8385 to have undas selected that are best for you.

  8. Special Note for Menstruating Women: the best time to start a detoxification program is the first day after your period is finished or just after the Full Moon.

Top 10 Naturopathic Tips For Times of Stress and Transition

1. Rhythm and Routine - Do what you can to get into a rhythm/routine - especially great for children during times of stress/transition and also excellent for adults as rest, routine and rhythm nourish our stress glands(the adrenal glands).

2. Drink water - helpful in clearing out stress hormones, keeping the brain hydrated and resourceful, grounding and so on ...I've found I really have to be conscious of this daily with having to boil our water. We all know we feel better when we stay hydrated and a hydrated  body sure handles the sun better as well.

3. Food - Eat. and try to eat regularly - eating and sleeping and waking at about the same time every day is a huge support to the body's internal rhythms and innate ability to heal. I have met many people who have commented on how eating food - never mind healthy food got put way down the priority list and also how wonderful receiving food as a gift from a friend is.

4. Rescue Remedy is a gentle, wonderful remedy to help deal with any shock and stress. You can buy this at Nutters/health food store and put it in your water bottle - 5-10 drops and sip on it during the day. Excellent for kids (and if you're flying anywhere this summer).  

5. Adrenal support - B's, Vitamin C, Magnesium, Calcium are nutritional supplements that nourish the adrenals. I like the formulas by Innate that are at Nutters. There are many Gemnos (Sequoia, Ribes) and Homeopathics that support as well (HAD, Surreninum 4CH).   

6. Homeopathic Remedies - Aconite - great for shock. Ignatia and Nat mur - for processing grief. 

7. Breathe. 

8. Bodywork - Yoga Therapy, Bowen, Acupuncture, Massage, Snuggles, Reiki ... whatever you enjoy that gets you out of your head and into your body and the moment.

9. Laugh, Dance, Walk Outside, Sing! Keeps things open and moving. Play with your friends. (-:

10. Yoga in general - especially ones to support 1st, 2nd and 4th chakra.  

Importance of Warm Food for Young Children (Yummy Soup Recipe Included!)

Food Tip for Parents

I’m putting on my Chinese Medicine hat for this blog but actually many other systems of thought that deal with healthy child development (like Waldorf education and anthroposophical medicine) feel the same re: the importance of warmth in childhood.

So the dietary teaching is to limit the raw and cold foods with children and increase the warm foods and drinks. While raw, cold food is a better choice in general in the Summer/in warmer temperatures, too much raw and cold isn’t so great for young children throughout the year especially kids with a weak digestive fire and cold constitution. From a Chinese Medicine point of view it is important to balance the cold smoothies, raw veggies and yoghurts with warm, easy to digest foods. Miso soup/bone broth is a quick one my kids like as a drink or a soup with some bits of steamed carrot/broccoli and chicken in it. Soups and warm teas are an important part of a child’s diet. Baked apple and oatmeal or apple crumble is nice in the morning.

Even though soups in the morning may not be a traditional breakfast in Canada I often recommend in my naturopathic practice to open up the ‘breakfast mindset’ past the more traditional carb-heavy cereals and toast and think about breakfast as any other meal. Soups and teas are such a grounding, nourishing way to start the day …

Is my child getting enough warmth? How to know …

Symptoms such as loose stool, frequent colds, pale complexion and a cold child are cues for you to take a look at the diet from a warm-cold perspective. The nourishment of warmth on a physical and soul level for children is spoken of in many developmental circles  -- children (and many of us) feel more relaxed and associate warmth with comfort.

The habit of tea and candles in the Winter is one of our family’s favourite rituals. (-:

 Here’s a really healthy warm spring soup from glorious Quantum Leaps Lodge in Golden, B.C. …

Green Spring Soup

Ingredients

  • 6 cups water or broth

  • 4 medium potatoes

  • ¼ medium onion or leek chopped

  • 2-3 cups kale or spring greens

  • 2 cloves garlic

  • 1 tsp sea salt

  • 1 tsp olive oil

  • Braggs seasoning to taste

What to do …

  1. Bring liquid to boil, add potatoes, onion and salt

  2. Cover, reduce heat and simmer until tender

  3. Add kale and garlic, simmer until kale is tender and bright green

  4. Puree all together in blender

  5. Add olive oil before serving

Serves 6

Vaginal Health Tips - Mini-Overview of Natural Solutions and Supports

This article is for you if your vaginal health isn't where you'd like it to be. A client was interested in how she could support her vaginal health. She was menopausal and on estriol cream but still experienced burning pain with sex and the dryness was getting worse. Here's a summary of some of the resources I gave her.

1. Continue with your MDs recommendations re: the estriol cream (2-3 times a week).

2. Some real basics re: vaginal health comes down to:

a. Blood flow and circulation: sitz baths can support this if you are alternating hot and cold and then there’s obviously sex and anything that increases blood and energy flow to this area - so yoga and yoga therapy, hula hooping, acupuncture, applying healing cream/oil, masturbation, etc.

These three companies have healthy, natural lubricants: 

www.yesyesyes.org, www.yonibliss.com www.pinkforus.com (the pharmacy in Three Sisters Canmore carries this at present)

FYI - www.crystaldelights.com has glass dildos that are high quality and are a great tool to support vaginal health as are the jade eggs (www.yoniegg.com for good quality).

b. Nutrition: oils, water and collagen are all pretty key to skin and tissue health in general as well as fat soluble vitamins like vitamin E and A. This is where your digestion does feed into things - better digestion, more available nutrition. Vital Proteins is my favourite collagen peptide supplement.

c. Hormone and adrenal health: Anything you do to support hormonal health and stress in general will be good. Sepiaplex is an easy to take homeopathic remedy that many women like for any peri-menopausal and menopausal symptoms. The list for this section is long and depends on the nature of the symptoms

3. Extras: Here are some naturopathic favourites I gathered from some colleagues. All of these can be used with no problem if you are using estriol cream as well. I would pick one (maybe Calagel to start) and see what you like best. The Seabuckthorn is taken internally so that’s a good one anytime to provide those key nutrients for skin health.

a. Sea buckthorn oil: start at 2g/day internally for 1-2 months (there is a study that looked at 3g) and then reduce to 1g/day for maintenance. Study link below.

http://www.sciencedirect.com/.../pii/S0378512214002394

b. Calagel by St. Francis Herbs for vaginal dryness - very soothing and since it's from St. Francis chances are big that you can get it at the local health food store.

c. Repagyn which was formulated based on some studies working with hyaluronic acid to support regeneration and vaginal tissue health.

d. EPO (Evening Primrose Oil) 1000mg in a gel cap. Run it under a little warm water then insert vaginally before bed. Recommended to wear a panty liner to bed.

e. Coconut oil is easy and helpful too - will increase the local circulation and moisture. 

Well, I hope this helps! Our vaginal health and sex drive can lose priority/potency as we age or if we are not in a sexual relationship but with some extra attention and care this doesn’t need to be so. Staying connected to this part of our body is important for our emotional and mental health in ways we are just discovering and caring for it is a great way to support our well-being as a woman as a whole.

FYI - as stress contributes to increased dryness, herbs and acupuncture points that support our adrenal glands (stress) as well as yoga therapeutics (now available at the clinic) can be helpful in vaginal health and libido as well. Call the office and book in if you would like support in this area of stress and hormones and natural solutions (403) 609-8385.


Next Level Your Health in 2019 With Our Supported 4 Session Detox Program

A 4 week Detox Program is available through the clinic where I teach you the essentials to getting healthy and staying healthy in regards to detoxification. Bodywork or acupuncture is included to support the process during the 4 weeks.

Why detox?

At the moment we live in a world where we are exposed to a  lot of toxins. The findings of studies where the umbilical chords of babies were tested for toxicity showed over 200 chemicals! Sad.

These toxins affect our brain, hormones and nervous system and basically our overall well-being. Even being a naturopathic doctor and having all the info on what a healthy diet is I find eating clean and optimally to be an 80% of the time thing especially when I am on the road and I am exposed to toxins in my water and my environment just on account of living and breathing.

The good news:

There are many things we CAN do to decrease our exposure to and the accumulation of toxins and we go through this step by step in the 4 week program.

A detox is where we give our organs of elimination specific extra support so it can clear not only the day to day but get working on the backlog … on decreasing our accumulated toxic load.

Giving our system a break by intentionally addressing and decreasing our toxic load really benefits the all of us - mood, skin, headaches, pain, inflammation, energy, memory, hormone balance.

If you are a parent doing this know that your kids would benefit from a reset too.

With my kids I have less control as they age over the sugar and foods they eat away from home but try to keep some foundational health supplements in our home routine: daily greens superfood, fish oils, vit D and probiotics. I do a child friendly detox with my kids yearly which just consists of me adding in some homeopathic drainage remedies to support their organs of elimination —- it’s in liquid format which works well for my 12 year old who has a tricky time with capsules/pills.

There are many cleanses and the best cleanse for you depends on you! 

Call the office (403) 609-8385 and book in to reset your system and decrease your toxic load with our 4 Session Detox Program or if you are a client already and want to figure out an unassisted cleanse to do for yourself book in for one session. In our time together we’ll find the cleanse format that works best for you and lighten your load. (-: xo

My 2018 Personal Recap and Reflections

If you haven’t reflected on 2018 there’s still time! Reflection helps integrate our experiences and see things in a different way.

2018 was the year …

-I fell in love
-The kids and I got caught in the 100 years storm while camping in Kauai
-I took my first level yoga therapy training
-My wuzband remarried
-My uncle Bruno died
-My mom's Parkinson took a turn for the worse
-I started writing songs again 
-I took my Booty Leader dance training
-The new relationship that began changed form
-My dog got into some dark chocolate and needed veterinarian intervention
-My daughter discovered a love of rock climbing 
- I took surfing lessons
- I saw a black cougar in a tree outside of Salmon Arm
- My 15 year old grew 3 inches and started teaching himself  piano and now my home is full of music
- I drove up the Ice fields - Jasper Parkway for the first time (blown away by the beauty!)
- I finished the Camino! My soul sistah Dr. Zhiish McKenzie MD met me at the ocean on the coast of Spain at the end of my 220 km final stretch of the Camino de Santiago Pilgrimage and bought me a plate of huge prawns to celebrate!
-I hired a retreat planner to make my dream of facilitating wellness/empowerment retreats in gorgeous locations a reality and booked the venue!

Change and the unexpected are pretty much guaranteed aren't they  ... NONE of these were planned or anticipated this time last year but they made for a rich year!

How we flow (or don't) with the changes and surprises life naturally offers really affects our ride and our mojo ... 

I value and appreciate my health more than ever  since not having it for a period of my life and do my best to prioritize the things that nourish me on all levels.

Mindfulness practices, self-compassion, dance, addressing limiting beliefs with theta healing, acupuncture, yoga, time with friends, travel, music and time in nature have all helped me grow and flow this last year.

What about you? What helps you ride this crazy, wonderful ride of life AND get back on when you feel like you've fallen off?!

Here’s to a full, rich, healthy 2019! Much love, xo


Replenish Your Energy and Claim Some Calm With This Simple Mindfulness Technique

For those of you feeling a bit pooped from late nights and go-go during the holidays or just general busyness here's a link to my favourite, super short yoga nidra.

30 minutes of yoga nidra has the restorative impact of 4 hours of sleep! These guided meditations that you do lying down or in a chair help you recharge and at the same time rewire your brain to the positive change you desire in terms of your health, life and relationships.

Pretty powerful stuff!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tDNCBWZ_EN4

Enjoy!

* keep in the loop of group yoga nidra classes in Canmore and as part of retreats through our facebook page Open To Wellness Canmore … xo

Food Ideas To Help You Transition Out of A Wheat, Dairy, Sugar, Corn Based Diet

Here’s a list for you clients who have had multiple food sensitivities show up on your IgG test. Having many foods come up is usually pointing to gut problems that have led to inflammation and increased permeability. Basically the take home is that you won’t be sensitive to ALL those foods for your whole life but right now as we work to repair the gut here are some foods that tend to be well-tolerated that you could try:

  • Hemp hearts - put them on anything and make nut milks with them. The cool thing is that they do not need to be soaked overnight like the other nuts when making nut milk.

  • Pumpkin seeds

  • Ground flax - nice in smoothies

  • Squash, sweet potato - great baked with ghee, spiralized as sphagetti and in soup

  • Pears, blueberries

  • Slippery Elm Powder with applesauce

  • Bone broth with veg and bits of meat

  • Avocado - you can make a big batch and freeze small portions

  • Ghee (clarified butter)

  • Nut thins - pecan is our favourite - it’s a cracker that is easy to find at grocery stores in general

  • Organic turkey or chicken

  • Vegetables in general (not tomatoes and corn though)

  • Coconut Sourdough Rice Bread from Just Pies in Penticton - this is the best gluten free bread I currently know of. Just Pies ship all over Canada. Order early and know it can take a couple months to get product because it is so well-loved …worth the wait!

  • Think whole foods, think soups, think easy to digest

  • Spices can help turn blah into yum. Cardamon is a lesser known spice that is tasty in smoothies and is found in the Deeyammaramalicious Recipe on this website.

  • If you are having any grains/nuts do soak them over night to increase their absorption and decrease irritation for your gut

Some Food-based Supplements That Bring Good Nutrition in Easily:

  • Vital Proteins - collagen peptides - you can add these to hot/cold liquid as easy to digest protein

  • Organik - Bone Broth Powder - it tastes ok actually (-:

  • MCT oil/powder - nice to add to smoothies

  • Wheat grass - you can get frozen wheat grass cubes at Nutters/health food stores or powdered to add to smoothies

Final Tip: Meal plan and getting some support from businesses that make healthy, ready to go meals is very helpful as you find your way. Edible Life in Canmore is one option and we have many cafes that are health conscious such as Communitea, Bagel Co. and Tonic. xo

Acne, Mood Swings, PMS, Period Cramps May be Optional for Your Tween/Teen: Simple Naturopathic Pre-Puberty Strategies that Can Make All the Difference

I have a 10 and 13 year old as I write this. I love these ages and with puberty coming have been giving it some thought on how to support them naturopathically. 

It is rare that parents come to me for support their children pre-puberty but I'm realizing its actually a great time to pause and do a full systems check to see where the key body systems/organs/glands that impact their hormonal health - digestive system, detoxification system, adrenal glands are at.

Prevention is seriously worth a pound of cure - there seems to be a little more space and groundedness at this time in their life age-wise to get a cleanse or whatever is needed in without a lot of pushback. A little well-planned support at this time can make a huge difference in how your child navigates puberty and can give them a stronger, healthier foundation to thrive from.

The protocol I work with is based on a protocol I use when teenagers come to me with acne, PMS and painful periods.

Primarily we look preventatively at and address as needed the digestive and detoxification systems and their ability to deal with stress. Food sensitivity tests can be very helpful in many cases.

Stress.  It's not so commonly known but stress has a huge effect on skin and hormonal health and making sure your teenager has some healthy outlets/habits during this time helps. Yoga nidra is easy to do for anyone - teens included - and actually from a yogic perspective it not only works on providing deep restorative relaxation for their growing body, but it also is involved in balancing the systems in the body (ida and pingdala) that get thrown off during puberty. Doing a nidra together with your tween/teen is a way some families are getting in some R & R and parent-child co-regulation at the same time.

Ted Grossbart, a psychologist on the faculty of Harvard Medical School and in private practice in Boston, works with the mind-body connection in skin diseases. He is co-author of Skin Deep: A Mind/Body Program for Healthy Skin (Health Press, 1992).

Grossbart points out that the skin is intimately connected with the nervous system. With acne, emotional issues can trigger an outbreak or make it worse, even when there’s a clear physical cause.

In addition to working with teen-age acne patients, he is seeing patients between 20 and 40 years old with very difficult acne problems. He has found that each of these patients is dealing with adolescent issues, i.e. sexual or professional identity, separation from parents, and anger. As he works with these adults on their teen issues, their skin clears up.

So why does emotional stress trigger and exacerbate acne? Stress and/or sleep disturbance can induce higher levels of hormones and adrenaline, which increases sebum production, leading to clogged pores.

Severe acne outbreaks have been reported after prolonged sleep deprivation.

Skin cells are nourished during sleep so it’s important to educate and encourage teens to go to bed early and get their “beauty sleep”.

Regular exercise is also important in regards to skin health to helping to increase blood circulation and bring more oxygen to the skin.

In addition to plenty of sleep and exercise, it’s important for teens to find a good relaxation technique that works well for them. Relaxation includes breathing exercises, yoga, self-hypnosis, meditation, or listening to relaxing music.

Whatever they choose, they must do it every day to be effective, not just when they are stressed. We know as adults self care can be the first to go when we feel overwhelmed!

When acne is severe, it can be very traumatic to a teen-ager, leaving life-long physical and emotional scars and impact the way teen-agers view themselves. Effects can include social withdrawal, low self-esteem and self-confidence, embarrassment, depression, poor body image, anger and discouragement. Unless it is treated in a holistic way, severe acne will most likely not disappear when entering adulthood. It is a sign that there is something happening within the teen that needs to be addressed on a physical as well as an emotional level."

This age range is a great time to pause and give your child's system a reset so they can navigate puberty with the underlying systems that impact hormonal health in better form.

In my practice I use the REBA testing device to see what your tween/teen needs to start the process of rebalancing. We look at liver, nutrients (Vit A, probiotics and Zinc are commonly needed) and/or digestive remedies. It doesn’t need to be complicated and I find the REBA helps narrow down what is best.

Whatever you do to support will help and be better than nothing … (-:

On the island of Kitavan, acne is nil so researchers have looked at diet to see what they can learn.

1. The consumption of coffee, tea, and alcohol is close to nil.

2. Kitavans follow a low GI diet. Sample foods they eat are sweet potatoes and yams.
These are low on the Glycemic Index (GI). Foods that have a low GI rating help prevent rapid spikes in blood glucose and insulin levels. Avoiding excess insulin in the bloodstream is important for anyone battling with acne as large amounts of insulin can lead to sharp increases in the levels of circulating androgen. Androgen is a male hormone that is associated with acne in both men and women as well as with PCOS in women.

3. They take in a high consumption of Omega 3 Fatty Acids.

Fatty fish and especially fish eggs are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids which decrease IGF-1 levels and prevent hyperkeratinization of sebaceous follicles, thereby fighting acne. Several studies conducted to date around the world have shown a direct link between a high consumption of fish or omega-3 fats and a low incidence of acne.

Essential Fatty Acids are key. Not just skin and hormone wise but with all that restructuring in the brain happening as well the body benefits greatly by having primo materials to work with. Essential Fatty Acids are excellent foundations for health all life long!

4. Kitavans eat hardly any dairy. Dairy (except for yoghurt) is known to induce or worsen acne symptoms in some individuals. According to researchers the apparent acne-causing properties of dairy may be linked to the hormones contained in milk. These hormones include IGF-1, 5a-reduced steroids, and a-lactalbumin which may cause acne by affecting the pores.

The fat content of milk does not appear to play a role as observational studies show that also skimmed milk was consistently associated with acne.

5. Eat an abundance of fresh veggies and greens. I think having a greens supplement to add to the diet is an easy way to increase the nutrition. There are many superfoods that would work to keep the body more alkaline and less inflammatory. Such a simple potent way to get the recommended veg and fruit in for the day. Studies show that the habits we have in the a.m. are easiest to maintain so getting some green superfoods in is simple but potent. If you need help finding a good one ask me at our visit. (-:

So, it was a longer article than I planned but if you’ve made it to here you’ll have a good idea of how naturopathic medicine could work to support your child at this time of immense, amazing change. And know that I am here to help you streamline/customize it to your child. It can be surprisingly simple but with large impact. (-: xo

Simplicity Parenting - Simple Tips to Declutter and Create Space for What Matters

If simplifying at all intrigues/calls out to you in the middle of the night please pick up Kim Payne's book - it will change your life and help you chip away in a very manageable way at the clutter of your life - the too much, the hurry, the over-scheduling, over-buying, over-keeping. This is one of my Bible's for my life and a key piece in the work I do with parents who are wanting to decrease the amount of stress that they and their family experience on a daily basis. Often clients come in when the stress has overloaded the system resulting in any symptom really from fatigue, impatience, overwhelm, poor sleep, worsening PMS, headaches, skin or digestive symptoms, increased worrying.

Making this a priority and getting the support (if needed) to simplify/declutter tangibly decreases stress by creating some breathing space in what can be a rushing, busy life. For all members of a family space is essential - space and ‘do nothing’ time creates room for communication, integration of the day’s experiences, time for nurturing relationships and being able to take the time that listening sometimes takes.

Parenting is first and foremost a relationship and simplicity creates room for that foundation. (-:

Less is more. 

Here are some places to start with your decluttering of your physical space (such a rewarding place to start as it’s such an immediate ‘ahhhh’ after!) and some hot tips for you …

  1. Tips for toys - three bags: 1. garbage (broken toys that can't be fixed), 2. toys they love. 3. toys you haven't seen them play with for ages. Any toy that doesn't have a home - make a home or give away. Hot tip: Do NOT do this with your children and be amazed at how deeper your child’s play becomes when he/she is not distracted by too many toys to choose from.

  2. When decluttering set a timer instead of deciding to clean up a certain space. We know that it can take longer than we think to clean a room and that in the middle of the clean up the place looks worse than before. Setting a timer lets you feel your success and progress and a mini-completion feeling. “Yah! I cleaned the kids room for 30 minutes. I have done what I set out to do.” I like to hit the Easy Button at this point! Using time this way has helped me so much chip away at bigger projects 30 minutes at a time and decreased procrastination.

  3. “Like goes with like.” My initial goal for myself was to at the end of my decluttering and reorganizing to be able to love whatever was in my house and find whatever I wanted in the house in 30 seconds. The ‘like goes with like’ maxim has made this possible. All of the stuff that attaches things goes together so I have a drawer that has glue sticks, tape, paperclips and stapler in it. All the baking stuff is in one drawer. All the tools are together in a bin. The books are mainly in one area too. The bonus of this is that when you do this you start to see how much you actually have. Recently I worked with a mother doing some simplicity coaching in her home and what’s cool about doing this with someone you trust is that they can help you see where you are holding onto things for reasons that aren’t actually aligned with YOU! She held something up to me and I asked, “do you use it, do you love it?”. “In a pinch it would be helpful. If I was desperate I would wear it.” That’s when I could lovingly ask, “And tell me, is that how you would like to live? In a pinch …desperate? …” We both had laugh attacks right there and she had a mindset shift that connected her to what she does actually want in her home and in her life. I have hired professional organizers in the past for just the reason that they help me to see the bigger picture and make decisions based on what I actually want in and for my life right now - the decluttering is funner and goes quicker! (-: (Contact me if you want a couple hours of help - I am enjoying doing a couple 2-3 hour simplicity coaching/decluttering sessions a month in clients home - so fun and productive and liberating … immediate energy boost for everyone and practical way to decrease stress!

  4. Getting rid of presents or art from the kids or heirlooms. Yikes … this can be tricky except if you have this mantra in your pocket: “It’s the thought not the thing.” I love this for so many reasons. One reason is it brings awareness to what giving and receiving gifts is even about. It’s the intention to share a connection, a moment of kindness, an acknowledgment that we mean something to the giver. It’s this moment that is the most precious thing —- in our busy culture it’s actually a moment that is still quite sacred - that giving and receiving moment is special and most people (giver and receiver) are usually quite ‘present’ for the present exchange. Learning this has made it way more easy for me to let things go that are not sparking joy for me or needed by me. The additional benefit is that I really enjoy the moment of receiving a gift and all the good intentions that come with it way more.

  5. ‘Three surfaces clear’ strategy. Hello! Game changer.This little joyful, peaceful home hack is priceless. It means that I commit to having three surfaces clear … clutter free … well free of everything actually. I have chosen my bed, our long narrow breakfast table and the top of the dog’s kennel. If they are cluttered it takes me less than 5 minutes to move the stuff to another shelf or depending on how much is there to where the stuff lives. This is doable and will let you breathe even when the rest of the house has seemed to fall apart … please try this, we have to set realistic goals and this is a way to feel peace no matter what the state of your home. (-:

  6. Getting stuck on making decisions on keeping/letting go of little things. Cure: Nowadays my go-to is to check in to see if it sparks joy for me but in the past when I was on the fence with an item I’d ask “if I get rid of this can I replace it for less than $20 in 20 minutes?” That helped me let go.

  7. My soul sistah, intuitive life coach and Feng Shui Master, LeighAnn Betts in her 30 Day Online Declutter Your Life Course told us that even from a Feng Shui Energy flow point of view having one junk drawer is a-ok … just thought you’d like to know that fun fact.

I realize I could go on and on with tips in this area! I was not born perceiving things as being messy. I do appreciate beauty though and loved cleaning my dad’s messy garage and my friend’s rooms as a kid but the day to day “put your own stuff away when you are done” habits never stuck to me. It has been a journey of much learning keeping my place organized and tidy and filled with things I love. Now I have habits in place and get to feel the light feeling of being in my cozy home and able to find things within 30 seconds (most of the time!). I have come to create systems that are manageable and intuitive for me and know that even if the house has gotten temporarily out of hand (which it definitely does get at times!) things have places they live and there are at least 3 totally clear areas in the house that I can go to to let my eyes and mind empty and reset …

I hope some of these ideas helped and please pick up Simplicity Parenting by Kim John Payne and Marie Condo’s The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up —- two of my favourite books on this topic. If you haven’t seen any of Marie’s Netflix episodes please check them out. Children - especially under the age of 7 - are very affected by whatever is in their environment. Decluttering and simplifying affects their space and our state of mind and level of joy and peace and clarity … it’s worth making this a priority and please reach out if you would like some support in the process. xo, Dr. Monika

Simplicity Parenting by Kim John Payne is one of my most bookmarked, underlined books of all time. A true keeper! Whether you are beginning the journey of mamahood or you're somewhere along in the trenches this will be a refreshing, inspiring read that you come back to time and again.” Mama of 6

Do I have candida? How do I know for sure?

This is a common question in my practice and fair enough - a candida treatment protocol and diet have a reputation for being challenging to follow and for many it's easier to stay motivated to do the work if you are sure you have it.

 Stress, sugar, antibiotics, undiagnosed food allergens, and birth control pill use are a couple of the culprits that contribute to the high prevalence of candida in our society. 

There are two lab tests that I use to diagnose candida:

a. IgG Food Panel - an IgG test that tests for IgG antibodies to candida - as well as a variety of foods. The food test starts at $275 (for 120 foods). There currently is a Candida Panel available through this lab www.rmalab.com that is available by order through our clinic.

b. A Digestive Stool Analysis - the Microbiology portion of this test runs from $150 - $500 depending on how in depth you want to go. For more info go to www.doctorsdata.com or come in to discuss if it’s a fit for you on your next appointment.

A Favourite Wellness Prayer from Annie at DNR (Dynamic Neural Retraining Program)

There is a Divine Intelligence that permeates every cell that I am

This boundless energy is always seeking its natural state of growth, love, harmony and joy

Just like a flower that blooms in the spring

This natural intelligence of life expresses as me and through me

I relax in my knowing of this innate power of life,

And I open myself completely to this Source in full surrender.

I feel nurtured, loved and cared for,

I feel peaceful and calm

Like an infant being rocked in the arms of an all knowing and all loving mother

My consciousness of this Greater Good motivates me

To be aware of and modify my thoughts, feelings and behaviours

To match this state of growth, love, harmony and joy

I consistently remind myself that my personal choices

assist me in creating this state

In recognition, I feel a warm and joyous energy in my heart

and I expand it easily and effortlessly.

I easily apply the tools to rewire my brain, transform my health and reclaim my life

I go anywhere I want to

I do anything I want

With ease and grace

I dance through life with boundless energy and unbridled joy.

I clearly see myself living a vibrant and engaging life

I feel connected to Spirit, to myself, to others and to the planet

I jump for joy as I hear the sound of my own voice celebrating my life

Of abundant energy and good health

Like a determined athlete

I have emerged a champion in my life.

I feel strong and confident

Knowing that my commitment to practice this new way of being

supports me in my Highest Good

Like seeds being blown by the wind

I spread my message of joy, hope and faith everywhere I go.

I open my heart and hands to the world in complete gratitude

I am blessed to live my life in vibrant health with an abundance of

Love, comfort and joy.

In every moment I choose to live in alignment with my knowing of vibrant health

I give thanks for all that is and release my knowing of this Greater Truth

Into the Universe

And so it is.

Conscious Eating - 12 Tips for Increasing the Goodness You Get From Your Food

You may have heard that “you are what you eat” … closer to the truth is that “you are what you absorb”! Here are some practical tips that increase what you get from your food. A lot of these suggestions are based on the fact that we digest better when we are relaxed and in the parasympathetic nervous system (as opposed to the fight-flight-freeze sympathetic nervous system).

  1. Eat in a quiet, settled, comfortable environment.

  2. Take a moment before eating to give thanks.

  3. Never eat when you’re upset.

  4. Always sit down to eat.

  5. Minimize ice cold foods and beverages. Digestion happens at an optimal temperature and just like putting something in the fridge decreases it’s breakdown the same thing happens when we have super cold foods - breakdown (which we want) can be deceased.

  6. Finish chewing and swallowing what is in your mouth before taking another bite. Eat at a comfortable pace: stay conscious of the process.

  7. Listen to your appetite: digest the previous meal before starting the next one.

  8. See if you have a tendency to overeat. Try stopping eating before you feel full and see how you feel.

  9. Eat freshly prepared foods. Lightly cooked foods axe preferable to raw or over cooked food.

  10. Include all six tastes during the day.

  11. Sit quietly for a few minutes after finishing your meal. Focus your attention on the sensations in your body.

  12. Go for a short walk to aid in digestion after your meals.

What Women Should Know About Mercury In Fish - Summary from EWG.org


EWG does a lot of work around researching toxicity levels in our food and home products. This is a great list to help you in the fish department.

AVOID IF PREGNANT:

  • Shark

  • Swordfish

  • King mackerel

  • Tilefish

  • Tuna steaks

  • Canned tuna

  • Sea bass

  • Gulf Coast Oysters

  • Marlin

  • Halibut

  • Pike

  • Walleye

  • White croaker

  • Largemouth bass

 

EAT NO MORE THAN ONE SERVING FROM THIS LIST PER MONTH:

  • Mahi mahi tuna

  • Blue mussel

  • Eastern oyster

  • Cod

  • Pollock

  • Great Lakes salmon

  • Gulf Coast blue crab

  • Channel catfish (wild)

  • Lake whitefish

LOWEST IN MERCURY (recommended) :

  • Blue crab (mid-Atlantic)

  • Croaker

  • Fish Sticks

  • Flounder (summer)

  • Haddock Trout (farmed)

  • Salmon (wild Pacific)

  • Shrimp *

* Shrimp fishing and farming practices have raised serious environmental concerns.
** Farmed catfish have low mercury levels but may contain PCBs in amounts of concern for pregnant women.

Data From The 1970s Show High Concentrations (No Recent Data Available)

  • Porgy

  • Orange Roughy

  • Snapper

  • Lake Trout

  • Bluefish

  • Bonito

  • Rockfish

Download this list as a PDF.

Tip to Making Changes in Eating Habits Stick (and be doable and enjoyable!)

"What CAN I eat?!"

Sooooo much actually!

AND it can taste great and be healthy for you. (-: 

You are wishing to feel better and have more energy, less extra weight, better skin, no more x, y, z symptoms and you know that you need to make some changes in your eating habits.

Moving to a cleaner, less inflammatory diet can be overwhelming to start!

I work with clients daily to support them with this transition and want to share a couple things that have helped …. (-:

One thing my clients tell me that helps them make and stick to the changes is the mindset approach I invite them to take in this process. I suggest they let CURIOUSITY be their guide and to look at this 'changing of eating habits' as a project of 'building" something. 

Basically I recommend taking a piece of paper (can be a week long meal planning sheet) and writing a heading like, "Foods My Body Loves" on it or "Foods That Make Me Feel Good" with this sheet being the work-in-progress sheet that they add foods/meals/snacks they like on it during the process of discovering ones they enjoy …

I let the urgency drain out of the process by getting us to imagine that in “6 months” or “in a year” we will be eating healthier than now and we’ll as a habit … and enjoying it! …. often it happens quicker and more sustainably when people are relaxed about it and they are more likely to in the process not feel like they are falling off a wagon …but instead know that they are in the normal process of learning …

Working with one sheet like I mentioned helps clients see that they are making progress and it's centering to have one sheet vs big recipe books and lots of sheets all over/ideas written on the phone/computer.

 #simpleworks

My goal with you and your daily food choices is that what you eat be tasty (tasty food actually digests better) AND create the level of health you want for yourself … (-: xo, Dr. Monika

#itdoesn’thavetobehard

Our Family's Favourite Way To Eat Kale: Delicious Kale Salad (you gotta try it!)

My kids were not fans of kale (aside from kale chips) until this came to us. Our friend Cheryl brought it to a party as her potluck item and we have never looked back. Whoever tastes it seem to want the recipe so here you go! (-:

Kale Salad

Ingredients:

1 bunch kale (black kale is especially good), stalks removed and discarded, leaves thinly sliced
1 lemon, juiced
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
Kosher/Himilayan Salt 
2 teaspoons honey
Freshly ground black pepper
1 mango, diced small (about 1 cup)
Small handful toasted pepitas ( pumpkin seeds), about 2 rounded tablespoons

 

Directions:

In large serving bowl, add the kale, half of the lemon juice, a drizzle of oil and a little kosher salt. Massage until the kale starts to soften and wilt, 2 to 3 minutes. Set aside while you make the dressing.

In a small bowl, whisk remaining lemon juice with the honey and lots of freshly ground black pepper. Stream in the 1/4 cup of oil while whisking until a dressing forms, and you like how it tastes.

Pour the dressing over the kale, and add the mango and pepitas. Toss and serve.

Healthy Snack Ideas & Chia Chip Recipe

My Snack Standbys:

Hummus with carrots, peppers, apples, rice cakes with canned salmon and mayo, goat cheese,  raw cheese, yoghurt with berries, fruit, almond butter and coconut oil on rice sourdough/coconut flour toast, raw food goodies, olives, smoothies, pickled beets, nut muffins, savoury seaweed, Mary’s crackers, avocado, nut balls, nut thin crackers, smoothie, miso soup, cup of bone broth. 

I like finding new healthy snacks ... welcome Chia Chips! Now you may have noticed that Chia (remember chia pets!) is back and is hanging with the cool, trendy, health-giving kids on the block - hemp seeds, raw chocolate, gogi berries, kale chips, sprouted grains...  

I found this chia chip recipe onwww.earthbabyyogamama.com

 Chia Chip Recipe 

1 cup coarsely chopped carrot

1 cup coarsely chopped celery

1 cup chopped red pepper

1/4 cup chopped red onion

1/3 cup chopped parsley

1 tsp dried basil

1/2 tsp dried oregano

2 Tbsp lemon juice

1/4 tsp pink himalayan salt (or sea salt)

1 cup of chia seeds


Combine all ingredients except the chia in Vitamix or food processor. Pour smooth mixture into a bowl and combine with chia seeds. Mix until chia seeds are evenly coated. Spread the mixture, a spoonful at a time, into thin circles on a dehydrator sheet or cookie sheet. Dehydrate at 115 degrees for 4 hours or bake in the oven at the lowest temperature possible until crispy.

 

Which Fruits and Veggies to ALWAYS buy organic

Below are the 12 with the most pesticide residue and the 15 with the least. Because I believe the health of the planet and ourselves is interrelated and that chemicals can have a cumulative effect I like to only support organic farmers. It isn’t always possible --this list is great to have and to share with friends/family who would like to eat cleaner but are overwhelmed and need a place to start. 

Good news is that organic doesn’t always mean more expensive, often it will be the same (green peppers last week at Safeway) and I have certainly seen over the years prices come down as the demand and awareness has grown. I remember in 1997 seeing an organic mango for sale at a little health food store in Whitehorse for $9! It was delicious ---I’m kidding (!) …I opted for the apple…student budget. (-:

Best case scenario is to buy organic and local whenever possible.

DIRTY DOZEN – BUY THESE ORGANIC …

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CLEAN 15 – LOWEST IN PESTICIDE RESIDUES …

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Take a screen shot so you have it with you when you are out shopping! To your health and a healthier, toxin-free world (-: xo, Dr. Monika

The "why I am telling you all my favorites!?" shopping list - I'll have to stock up early I guess! (-:

2018  Top Twelve at Nutters/Healthfood Store List:    

1. St. Francis Herb Farm's Coconut Oil /Ghee - a great oil to use if you're heating/frying something up. It won't go rancid at the high temperatures like olive oil does. 

2. Nut-thins  - yummy crackers made from pecans, almonds...

 3. Stir-fry Organic Bison - comes frozen and is already cut up. Super easy! 

4. Nutritional Yeast - tasty on kale chips, popcorn, tofu melt

5. Greek Honey and Greek Plain Yoghurts - organic. This is the organic version of the thick Liberte yoghurts - thick and creamy and amazing. If you're ok with yoghurt you have to try this it! We often buy the plain one and add honey in ourselves. 

6. Essential Oil Blends by Blaine Andrusek - the anti-inflammatory oil is great.

7. Namaste Foods Waffle and Pancake Mix - gluten free yummy mix. Namaste has a whole gluten-free product line. The muffins are good with banana added. 

8. Agar Agar - nice for making pie fillings or healthy jello, high in calcium.

9. Happy Planet Soup Mixes for that busy day - the Curry Coconut one is tasty but too spicy for kids.

10. Almond Milk - large containers now available of unsweetened, vanilla almond milk.  

11. Frozen Wheat Grass - so easy to add to a smoothie or glass of water.

12. Sauerkraut - just add a bit to a meal to support healthy digestion (-:

 

And of course fill your cart up with every color of the rainbow! Kale, garlic, beets (to grate fresh on your food), red and orange peppers, carrots, chard .... Yum! xo

 

Warmth and Our Growing Children

5 Simple Ways to Bring More Warmth in Your Homelife and The Benefit of Doing So …

How do you feel when you are cold? More contracted? A bit more tense?

How do you feel when you are warm? Most people say they feel more relaxed and open.

Children (like elders) have a limited capacity to maintain/regulate their body temperature. This means that as parents we can do a great service in providing the clothing and the reminders to keep hats on/get hats back on!

Placing a high importance on keeping our young children warm is actually a big deal! When our children don’t need to expend their core energy to regulate their temperature because we’ve set them up, then this energy is available in abundance to complete key body processes that are happening at this time. Examples of these processes include the maturation of their organs and the developing the organ rhythm - both of which the body works on after birth and in those first 6 years of life.

5 practical ways …

  1. For babes, cover head in all weather to protect the fontanelles and developing nervous system that lies beneath it.

  2. Children need especially to have warm hats on in the Fall/Winter as they will lose a lot of heat through their head.

  3. Invest in good clothing - natural breathable materials. Dress in layers. Merino wool is our favourite for the light weight and comfort.

  4. Foods – miso soup, soups, oatmeal.

  5. Others: herbal teas, oil dispersion baths, water bottle to bed, storytelling, snuggling, laughing together ….(-:

    * By knowing the importance of warmth we can help our children develop a capacity for warmth to carry them through their life – warmth physically and also warmth emotionally.