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.

Simple Lemony Lentil Soup

Lemony Lentil Soup

1 onion, chopped
3-4 cloves of garlic, chopped
6 carrots chopped (or 1 yam)
2 cubes of organic vegetable cubes
1-4 cups of water
1 cup red lentils, rinsed
1 lemon, zest and juice
salt and pepper to taste

1. Saute onion and garlic in butter/ghee/coconut oil or grapeseed oil.
2. Cook everything until soft, then puree.
3. Yummy.

3 Tips to Healthier Eating for Newbies

In the CLEAR module of my Naturopathic Coaching Foundations 3 Part Program we work on creating space, releasing what we don’t need and getting the foundations of gut health and detoxification sorted out. This foundation is important and the food piece can be challenging at first as we have our default habits including which things we throw into our grocery carts.

When you are just starting out it helps to have some healthy foods that don’t go bad and that can be prepared quickly around.

Here are 3 ideas to support you in being successful with creating the daily challenges that will lead to a healthier you.

1.Frozen Veggies and Berries: Here’s a picture of some of the frozen foods I keep on stock to help. Frozen vegetables are a good option especially in the winter months. Of course local and organic is best but these are a really good start and are all ones I am ok with and don’t seem to get freezer burn.

Squash, kale., sweet potatoes, cauliflower rice, avocado, blackberries. Pick a couple to try this week!


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


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



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.

Thai Coconut Soup

Inspired by Soups 70+ Nourishing Recipes by Hearst Books

4 ounces bean-thread noodles (rice vermicelli works too)

1 can coconut milk

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1/2 tsp coriander 

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

3 chicken breasts/3-5 fillets of a white fish

4 cups chicken or veggie broth

2 green onions, thinly sliced

2 carrots, cut into thin strips

1/2 bell pepper, thinly sliced 

1 Tbsp asian fish sauce (optional)

2 Tbsp lime juice

1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped


In large pot heat 3 liter water to boil, place noodles in water, soak until transparent 10 to 15 min.

Heat 1/2 cup coconut milk to boil over medium heat, add garlic, ginger, coriander, cumin and cayenne pepper, stirring for 1 minute. Increase heat to medium high. Add chicken/fish (or tofu) and cook, stirring constantly, just until chicken looses it's pink colour or until fish is cooked.

Drain noodles. Rinse with cold water.

Add broth, green onions, carrots, red bell pepper, fish sauce , 1 cup water, remaining coconut milk  and the cooked noodles. Heat just to simmer over medium heat . Stir in lime juice and cilantro just before serving. Enjoy! (-:

DeeYAMarammalicious Dessert! (No sugar)

This is an oldie but a goodie.

When I first graduated from Naturopathic Med School I loved teaching cooking workshops and my partner in teaching, Cathy Maniwa and I came up with this dessert's name one evening ... and it has stuck ... let us know if you agree with the name after giving it a taste. (-: 

 I had never used cardamon in a recipe before this and since have loved adding it to smoothies and stirfries --- this dish is where I still like it the best though ... you?

1. Preheat oven to 400 F

2. Grate 2 cups orange sweet potatoes (we're going to say these are 'yams' because of the dish's name and all)

3. Melt 1/3 cup ghee/coconut butter (ghee is our favourite by far for this one)

4. Add the grated yams to the pan of heated ghee, stirring to coat.

5. Transfer ghee and yam mix to a large casserole and stir in 1 cup rice/coconut/nut milk, 3/4 raisins and 1-2 tsp ground cardamom.

5 Bake at 400F approximately 30 min.

6. Remove from oven and stir in 1/2 cup ground almonds and 10 strands saffron.

7. Let everything in that casserole mingle for as long as you can take it before jumping in and enjoying the goodness. This does taste really good the next day too (apparently) but  yeah ... in our house we wouldn't know!  (-: Yummy x 100 folks ...



Simple Black Bean Dip for After School Snack

A healthy, quick, and easy dip that serves 4.

15 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup fresh salsa
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
2 tablespoon lime juice
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon celtic/himalayan salt

Blend ingredients adding up to a tablespoon of water as blending if necessary.
Serve with vegetables like bell pepper strips, cucumbers, zucchini, celery, snap peas, or carrots ... or tortilla chips.

Simple Test to Short-cut Your Path to Weight-loss and Adrenal Health Recovery

Adrenal health is an area I work with every day in the office and preventatively in the work I do with my group mindfulness and yoga nidra programs and kids programs. Basically we are working with moving the body out of habitual patterns that favour 'survival mode' as the mode of operando and into a better balance of our rest, digest and restore physiology. Age better, think clearer and feel good. Do I hear a "Yes please!!!!!"? (-;

Bigger picture is that our current society-at-large lifestyle is depleting and overstimulating for our adrenal glands and nowadays being intentional about incorporating ways to destress our lives and nourish ourselves is essential to our physical, mental and emotional health. From fluorescent light to processed foods to increased screen time to increase toxin exposure and electromagnetic radiation on a daily basis it's kind of no surprise adrenal health is a key area to incorporate self-care for those wishing to thrive in their work, play, parenting, relationships ... life.

One of the easiest, most powerful ways (aside from mindfulness practices like yoga nidra!) to keep ourselves well and able to do the things we love for a long time is through diet.

Good fats, fiber, healthy proteins and resistant starches are key in this for most people.

To really get your daily diet dialled in your favour (short and long term) IgG Food Sensitivity Testing is super helpful in identifying the foods you are eating on a regular basis that are affecting your metabolism and adrenal cortisol rebalancing.  Those foods are good to identify and ditch from your diet as they can cause inflammation in your body leading to sleep disruption, contributing to difficult fat loss (especially abdominal), joint pain, headaches, and low energy. They really affect adrenal health and our ability to deal with the normal stresses of life.

The good news is that this blood testing is available through a lab in Calgary so it only takes 10 days to get your results. We usually have a full stock of kits at the office (403)609-8385 and it doesn’t take long to do. For many clients we fit it into the initial naturopathic consult as nutrition is a foundation on wellness and this way we can get specific about what foods are best for your body at this time.

FYI - Pregnant moms and moms planning to breastfeed are especially great candidates for this test as knowing your IgG reactive foods and avoiding them will prevent the passing on of these immune responses to babe and I’ve noticed has decreased digestive discomfort in babes of moms who have this information. Yah! (-:

Important New Info for Moms and Moms-to-be : Top 4 Essentials for Pregnancy and How to Choose the Best one for You and Your Growing Babe

The time pre-conception all through to weaning is a potent time to create and maintain conditions for optimal development to optimize your and your growing babe’s life. Although I work with clients of all ages I find the younger years to be by far the most obvious time when health education, a supportive environment and good nutrition reaps enormous benefits.

Nutritional supplementation is an easy way to impact your growing babe. This is a time to go for the best quality you can find – you are investing in your child’s future and it doesn’t take much to cover the essentials once you know what they are.

 When looking for what supplements to include at this time here’s the Core Four (plus 1) and what to look for when choosing:

1.    Prenatal Multi – we have known for a long time about the importance of Folic acid in healthy development and how important it is to have good levels of this at conception. As long as you and your partner are open for the business of making babies taking a prenatal supplement is wise. Here’s the thing you may not know: new research is showing that the form of folic acid is important. Many supplements are still using the non-active form of folic acid which means you may not be able to utilize it. 1 out of every 6 people are being found to have difficulty utilizing folic acid in the traditional form so what you want to be looking for is a prenatal supplement with the biologically active form of folate which is 5 MTHF. It’s the form that is present in your folic acid rich foods – the supplement will have therapeutic levels to prevent complications from a deficiency. Having some extra doses of key minerals like calcium and magnesium can help prevent leg cramps in pregnancy and are key nutrients to make sure you have enough of at this time. Make sure your supplement is giving you this especially if your diet is low  or you are showing any signs of being deficient - you want to come into motherhood bursting with health and extra reserves ! (trust me on this one …(-:  )
2.    Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) – in the last 16 years since I graduated from Naturopathic Medical School the importance of EFAs in creating and maintaining health at all ages as stages has become pretty common knowledge. The value of it in pregnancy, infancy and early childhood to support healthy growth and neurological development is well-researched and common practice – now you see DHA in baby formulas and as a core piece of pregnancy wellness protocols. It is a key nutrient for healthy eye development too – really effects those highly innervated tissues in the body like our eyes and of course our brain and whole nervous system. With EFAs, the two pieces I am looking at when looking for a supplement are: 1. Quantity- good levels of EPA and DHA and 2.Quality: I am super picky about this point especially at this time of development and only choose companies where extensive testing is part of their manufacturing practices to ensure no heavy metals, PCBs, pesticides, etc.  are present – the best companies have their EFA supplements tested at many stages of development and by third party labs. You can ask whatever fish oil company you order from for a third party lab assay for the batch you bought– not that you’re really interested in seeing a lab assay (beyond boring in my opinion) but it will give you an idea of the company’s attention to this – you just want it to be clean.
3.    Vit D – well this nutrient has stepped into its own limelight in the last years and a common opinion among health professionals is that you are deficient unless proven otherwise! I am an advocate of the healing power of the basics and recommend you do what you can to get outside in nature and sun every day and make sun and forest exposure a regular part of your life – our eyes need that sunlight too so take those sunglasses off  for a period of time too to reap those extra benefits. The new recommended, dose in the literature in pregnancy is 1,000 iu but many suspect this will go up as safety levels for vitamin D have been going up in all populations. We always err on the side of caution with pregnancy as this is such a influential time.
4.    Choline – this is one you may or may not have heard about yet. This has jumped into the Core 4 based on the research and its impact on health fetal brain development, cell signaling and membrane structure – key for healthy early development. 
5.    Plus: Probiotics – again, the value of probiotics has become common knowledge and is a common supplement I recommend to pregnant moms if it tests well and client history or symptoms suggests it. If there are any digestive symptoms, allergies in the family, tendency to depression for example then I recommend it. There are many different probiotic supplements out there and through a device I have at my clinic that can test compatibility I have seen a broad range of probiotic supplements test well and be beneficial for clients. My favorite are the supplements based on human strains (rather than cow) – Human Micro Flora(hmf) by Seroyal and the Ultra Flora brands by Metagenics are well loved by my clients as are the Natren brands available at our local health food stores. 

Keeping things simple is a priority for me and something I am always striving for in my family and work life. With that in mind I want to share with you a supplement I love for its simplicity at covering the basics …well. It is called Wellness Essentials for Pregnancy and is an excellent product if you are a mom who wants to keep it simple and relax in knowing that your and your babe’s extra and specific nutrient needs are met at this time. Basically the company who  put this together are impressively on top of what is nutritionally best for pregnant moms and their growing babes and know that very few of us enjoy taking supplements – so they make it super easy. They have packaged the essentials into an easy one little packet per day – a mom must have been part of their product planning!
Aside from the easy delivery, I like it because it provides the Core 4 in exactly the way I would like to see it.

Here’s a summary of what I like:
1. Their multi has extra calcium and magnesium and the folic acid content is 600 mcg active form, 400 mcg standard folic acid – again, they are right up there incorporating the latest research into their products.
 2. They have optimal levels of EPA and DHA (600mg) in their EFA caps and their quality control for the fish oils is way beyond what is necessary by industry standards – i.e. they do more testing than they are required to do and the level of testing also far exceeds what they need to do – they test for over 250 contaminants and use technology that again exceeds the requirements - all this  lets me know that they know (and care) a lot about the importance of a clean product for mamas like you and growing babes.
 3. Vit D is in the D3 form and is at the new recommended dose of 1,000 iu.
 4. Choline is in  there too at the dose of 175g choline – perfect. 

Obviously a lot of care went into this product. It can carry you and your babe from preconception to weaning.  It is available in Canada and the States. To order through my clinic call 403 609-8385 or email healthyfoundations@opentowellness.ca – it can be picked up or shipped to your home (Canada only).  1 month supply - $77.00 for office pickup option. $87.00 to have it delivered.

I hope this helped give you some practical info to help in the area of nutritional support and wish you a WONDER full day.

 Shine on mama. (-:

Dr. Monika Herwig BSc ND

Open to Wellness Naturopathic Clinic in the Canmore, Alberta

403 609-8385

4 Favourite, Healthful Breakfast Ideas - great for Blood Type A

1. Immune Support Breakfast - great for Blood Type As

This recipe has given me so many referrals over the years - I can't count the amount of times when folks would come with a stained photocopy of this and say that their friend recommended this and they feel great on it and  … what else do I have?

(makes a big batch)
4 cups rolled grain*
2 cups oat bran
½ cup dried fruit*
1 cup raw nuts*
1 cup sunflower seeds*
1 cup milk thistle seeds
1 cup lecithin


Grind nuts and seeds. Mix all ingredients. Soak serving in rice milk, soy milk, nut milk, cow’s milk or water for at least 30 minutes before serving. Store unused portion in the refrigerator.

For additional protein, add yogurt or tofu.

*Vary the types of seeds, nuts, dried fruit and rolled grains you use till you create a mix you absolutely love!

2. Oatmeal Waffles


7 c. quick oats
7 c. nut milk 
1/3 c. good quality oil
2 tsp. salt


Combine in a large bowl, Mix and let stand 8 hours or until thick.  Bake 6-9 minutes in hot waffle iron. Serve with ghee and berries - sprinkle hemp seeds on … be creative!

3. Nut Crust Berry Pie for Breakfast! 

Gratitude to the Folks at The Green Door Restaurant for the base recipe and to Dorise for introducing me to it!


Preheat oven to 350

Nut Crust
1 cup large flake rolled oats
½ cup almonds
1 cup barley/millet flour – you can use less flour and add more ground almonds too – experiment! (-:
¼ tsp cinnamon
a pinch of salt
1/3 cup coconut oil
1/6 - 1/3 cup maple syrup (modify as needed)

Oil and flour one 10 inch pie plate. Grind oats, almonds, salt and cinnamon and put in a bowl. Add the oil and maple syrup and mix it into a soft dough. Press into pie plate. Bake at 350F for 25 minutes until golden brown. Allow to cool while preparing filling.


4 cups berries, fresh or frozen
¼ cup agar flakes (high in calcium – in seaweed section at stores)
2 cups juice (I usually add a little water to the frozen blueberries/strawberries and then use that liquid)
1/3 cup arrowroot
¼ cup maple syrup – I’ve used half this and it’s still super yum.


Mix the arrowroot and maple syrup in a small bowl and set aside. Heat the liquid and add agar and stir. When the agar dissolves fully, add arrowroot and maple syrup mix.  Stir until slightly thick and then add the blueberries and mix well. Pour into baked crust and refrigerate until set: about 2 hours.

Enjoy !

4. Pear Crisp
A delicious and easy recipe that can be served as a breakfast dish or even dessert.


1 cup flour (rice, amaranth, millet) 
½ tsp. sea salt 
¼ cup oil 
¼ cup maple syrup 
1/3 cup chopped cashews 
2 Tbs. water 
2 Tbs. maple syrup or brown rice syrup 
2 tsp. vanilla 
5 cups bite size sliced pears 


-Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 
-Mix flour and salt together in a bowl. Add oil and sweetener; mix well. Stir in nuts and set aside. 
-In a small bowl combine water, syrup and vanilla; set aside. 
-Slice fruit and place in a lightly oiled pie pan or an 8 by 8 inch baking dish. 
-Pour the liquid mixture over the fruit and toss gently. 
-Spoon the flour nut mixture evenly over the top of the fruit. 
-Cover and bake 45 minutes. Uncover and bake 15 minutes more to crisp the topping.

Food sensitivity testing Spotlight and why I recommend it to pregnant and breastfeeding mamas...

OK, we all know that a healthy diet is a key component to overall health and well-being.  Working with you to make sure that your diet supports your health is foundational for Naturopathic Doctors. Many of you have been hearing about Food Sensitivity Testing and I often get a lot of questions that I thought I'd answer here.

There are a lot of ways to find out what foods your body is not agreeing with. Reacting to a food can be a digestive issue (not enough enzymes to digest - 3 common contributors to this are age, fast eating and eating under stress) or an immune reaction (body is reacting to food as if it were something foreign to get rid of rather than use it to make/keep you fit as a fiddle). This test tells you which foods are eliciting an IgG reaction - a delayed food sensitivity reaction. Here's a scenario: Jill eats an egg on Saturday and her headache flares on Monday - we do the testing and it reveals that one of her IgG sensitivities are eggs. Her headache was in part a response to her sensitivity to the egg. Arrgh..so frustrating and hard to pinpoint the food connection in cases like this and this test is brilliant in uncovering this.  IgG reactions are delayed - sometimes 24, 48 -72(!) hours after eating it. Your typical IgE allergic reaction would be more what we think of when we hear food allergy - it is immediate - like a peanut allergy or something that you react to right away with a rash, swelling or increase in other symptoms.

We offer the delayed food sensitivity panel (IgG) by Rocky Mountain Analytical lab. It tests 97 foods for their IgG reaction - takes about 10 minutes and the blood sample is sent away to the lab and results received in about 3 weeks. The ALCAT is an excellent test too - I have found great results with the IgG test (i.e. patient's symptoms decrease/clear when off the specific foods) so I primarily use this unless I have a request for the ALCAT.

What it tells you: assesses what foods might be stressing the body creating symptoms of overload such as inflammation, seasonal allergies, frequent colds, fatigue, mood swings, colic in young ones, skin conditions and of course digestive issues. It is important to be eating the foods you want tested the 3 weeks before the test in order to be able to assess their effect. Important note:  if you know a food doesn't agree with you that's your proof so no need to eat a food that you clearly know isn't contributing to you feeling fabulous - your experience outweighs any test.

Common foods that come up high in the testing are gluten, dairy and eggs but we've seen garlic and sesame seeds and some fruits and vegetables come up also. This is our clients favorite test and so helpful in customizing your diet for your well-being.

 Everyone can benefit from knowing what foods are best for their body - and most people when they get their results aren't too surprised and had a gut feeling. "Garlic is supposed to be so good for you so I've been eating it but I had a hunch that it wasn't agreeing with me - this test confirms my hunch!"

 Why mamas?

Since setting a good foundation for wellness early is preventative medicine at its best, I encourage mothers to take this test. Especially recommended for breastfeeding mothers and mothers-to-be as improper foods and immune-mediated responses can be passed on to the baby in utero and through breast milk. Knowing what foods your body loves best and decreasing the foods that are creating inflammation/disonance is so helpful in creating a good start for babe.  It takes energy to prepare good food for you and your family - this is one way to take some of the guess work out of your family's healthy food choices and find out which foods are contributing to your well-being.

This is one page of an example of the report you will receive. 97 foods are testing. As you can see pineapples, cranberries and bananas are creating an IgG immune mediated inflammatory response for this individual at this time.

This is one page of an example of the report you will receive. 97 foods are testing. As you can see pineapples, cranberries and bananas are creating an IgG immune mediated inflammatory response for this individual at this time.

**For some of you your insurance company may even cover some of the cost through extended insurance plans and health spending accounts such as through Teacher Associations and many company health plans. Regardless, that's just a bonus - this test is a great investment in your family's health -  worth every penny.

Another Free Superfood - Time to Harvest Raspberry Leaf Tea!

The berries are ripe for enjoying and I take this time to collect some of the nutritious leaves.  Picking the leaves before the plant flowers is best but anytime is good. If you are drying them for later use spread them out so they dry well and don’t get moldy.
Harvesting the raspberry leaves are something less people know about but worth it. Many women may remember drinking raspberry leaf tea during pregnancy – 1 cup per trimester. The leaves are rich in calcium, iron and other minerals and can be used by all members of the family. It doesn’t taste like much (tea and grass to be precise!) - the dried leaves can be steeped in cold water for a less tea flavor and hot water to bring more of the tannins and tea flavor out. If you’re growing some Mint or Lemonbalm this makes a great combo. A Summer favorite is adding a fruity tea, some fresh lemon and some honey to the raspberry leaf tea and chilling it for a refreshing mock-iced tea. Ahhh...


Nutritional Yeast - The New "Ketchup"

There are certain foods I wish my kids would eat more of.

Quinoa for example.

My 10 year old loves savoury foods and is keen to try new foods but quinoa got a big thumbs down from the get go and so he ends up eating rice when we have quinoa.

Well, not anymore.

He's actually eating and enjoying quinoa on a regular basis now.

No, no bribes were involved. And no, no ketchup either this time.

I have good ol' nutritional yeast to thank for this.

We love putting this vitamin B rich seasoning on our popcorn but I never thought of adding it to grains and with a bit of tamari and ghee  … well this would be the perfect time to throw in a quote from him,   "Seriously mom this is soooo delicious, let's make sure we make this again.

Win for the naturopathic mama! (-: