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.

3 Simple Ways to Help Raise Healthy & Happy People Who Want to Come Home for Thanksgiving

#3. Understand their development.

This will inform your interaction and communication with them. It will let you meet them where they are at and allow you to be more compassionate and present with them.

Not many parents know that children under 7 live predominantly in the theta brain wave state and learn by imitation and by doing. They think in pictures and are physical. Modelling what you want them to do speaks louder than explanations. When you do explain pair the words with actions.

Their brain is not developed to include the higher executive functions and abstract thought yet so talking to them about things will not foster the close connection we desire. Storytelling that brings in their picture consciousness does.

#2. Love them the way they want to be loved.

Take time to figure out what their love language is and schedule something regular – even just once/month - where you are especially conscious about honouring that. My 15 year old’s love language is quality time & words of appreciation (and food lol!) so I take him out to dinner once a month – just me and him and in our time I am mindful of letting him know what I appreciate about him.

3. Be well yourself.

Children love to see their parents thriving. If you think about your own parents you’ll notice this might be true even still for you!

As moms we teach by how we are and when a mom is well she teaches wellness.

Self-care and self-love is getting lots of air-time these days! (-: Let it not turn into a ‘have to’ on the to do list. Self-love can take time to develop - just like any relationship. Find little ways in your day to nourish you and be curious as to what truly sparks joy and uplifts you. I have a lift list that helps . A hot cuppa Chaga tea to support my adrenals, a walk in nature, time with girlfriends, Epsom salt bath ... whatever warms your heart or gives you that home/cozy feeling will be your clues to the things that support nurturing a relationship of warmth and kindness with yourself. Our inner dialogue is a potent area where we can bring our kindness to our self as well with great effect.

Our adrenal health affects our mood, weight, energy and all our relationships so it’s worth keeping it healthy. I specialize in adrenal wellness in my practice as this is an area that is out of balance in some degree with 90% of the women I work with.

One of my favourite, yummy ways to support women’s wellness in my office is through the restorative practices of Yoga Nidra and Yoga Therapy. 30 minutes of Yoga Nidra is said to have the restorative equivalent of 4 hours of sleep.

Below is a Yoga Nidra meditation for you. It’s basically a ‘can’t-do-it-wrong’ lying down guided mindfulness meditation that I’ve found so helpful in restoring adrenal wellness and capacity to parent in a loving, peaceful way (i.e losing your %$#@ less and recovering connection faster when you do). (-:

Yoga Therapy is really about releasing tightness and softening, letting stuck emotions of anger, fear or shame move through and out. Flow is essential for wellness and these practices are decluttering us emotional and tension wise. (-:

Out of all the practices I do Yoga Therapy is the one that clients tell me helps them truly feel love for themselves. The first time I heard a client say that I didn’t associate that with Yoga Therapy itself but since then it’s not uncommon for clients to say that at the end of a session. I think any practice that supports someone to hold loving presence for the unmet/tender parts of their self will do this. I love how simple and easy it is and how obvious the shift isWant to next-level-replenish yourself and live more present and centered with your family?

Getting away for a retreat and reconnecting to You (yes that’s a capital Y!) is a powerful gift to give yourself and those you love.

Consider our November 23-30, 2019 retreat where we will be heading south and sunny for a week of truly next-level-replenishment at Xinalani Eco-Yoga Centre. The theme of the retreat is of coming home to ourselves (in love, calm, clarity, confidence, simplicity, beauty and joy). Yoga Nidra and Yoga Therapy sessions will be part of our time together.

To learn more about She Shines 2019: Eat. Play. Love. Retreat click link below.

To your health and happiness! (-: xo, Dr. Monika


Dr. Monika Herwig ND is a Naturopathic Doctor, Yoga Nidra and Yoga Therapy Facilitator, mother of 2, and a Trailblazer with Happy Healthy Women in Canmore, Alberta. She practices Mind-Body Medicine especially around Adrenal, Gut, Hormonal and Mental Health in her clinic and leads Wellness Workshops and Retreats locally and internationally. Dr. Monika supports heart centered women shine their light and share their gifts with the world without burning out. She is especially passionate about supporting moms and runs yearly Fairy Nature Camps for her clients’ children (and herself!). (403) 609-8385 to call to book or www.opentowellness.ca to book online.

Looking At The Full Thyroid Lab Picture

Great, easy to understand article from a colleague of mine explaining the various thyroid blood tests and why testing TSH alone doesn’t give the full picture.

The full bloodwork thyroid panel with TSH, free T4, free T3 and TPO is currently available to clients through our clinic in Canmore for under $100. (403) 609-8385.


Dr. Monika Herwig ND has lived and practiced Naturopathic Medicine in the beautiful Rocky Mountains of Canmore, Alberta for over 20 years. She supports heart-centered women to share their gifts and shine their light in the world without burning themselves out. Individuals who are interested in long term wellness and living a life of freedom, peace and joy while staying true to themselves and what they hold dear. Dr. Monika uses a holistic, functional medicine East-West approach in addressing (and getting rid of for good) superficial symptoms. Dr. Monika views symptoms as just a sign that one of the three main foundations in the body is out of balance. These 3 foundations are CLEAR , CALM, CREATIVE. Symptoms whether they be constipation, low energy, weight gain abdominally, frequent colds, PMS, anxiety, allergies, headaches, infertility, digestion being off, adult acne, eczema, low thyroid are all a call to action from our beautiful bodies pointing us to what area/s are out of balance so we can take the first next step to get those foundations back in place. Dr. Monika has created Naturopathic Foundations Coaching Programs around these three principles to give you the support that she has found creating change and changing habits needs. (403) 609-8385 to call in to book.

Menstrual Awareness as a Game changer for Energy, Clarity, Calm & Women's Wellness: Link to Tracker




The 3 keys to adrenal gland and hormonal wellness from a lifestyle perspective. These sound so darn simple but in today’s busy world filled with lots of distractions and calls for our energy and time it usually has to be a very conscious effort to get these into our lifestyle.

Naturopathically there are many effective ways to support our adrenal glands (these resiliency glands that when balanced have us feeling energized, calm and balanced). Sometimes good herbal and nutritional formulas are enough to replenish them when we feel overwhelmed and pooped but I find that if the root hasn’t been addressed it is not enough.

The root cause could be a way of daily thinking, eating or living. Working with the daily habits is an important piece of long term health.

For ambitious, creative mothers, leaders and women in general, working and living out of a foundation of self-connection and inner knowing is actually key to sharing their gifts and light with the world without burning out.

OK but how do we actually do that?

Some kind of daily practice is helpful in this.

The game changing piece of cycle awareness is that we can build our habits in a way that aligns with the cyclical beings we are. Looking at the bigger cycles of nature and our monthly menstrual cycle allows us to, as a friend of mine pointed out, “fine-tune things with a ‘done-4-you’ pattern to draw on! “

Working with and understanding our cyclical nature is a simple, potent way to be held by an age old, sustainable, universal pattern in our self-care and our outward contribution of sharing of our gifts and light with our family and world. These cycles hold a lot of practical wisdom in touching into a sustainable rhythm for ourselves.

Here’s a simple tracker to use as a guide to finding your unique rhythm within this ‘done-4-you’ rhythm the Earth herself and women have been influenced from from the beginning.

Creative Discipline: Tips for Parents of Children 2 - 7 years old

Here's an article that some moms were curious about that I wrote when my kids were younger that I thought I'd repost.

Sometimes it is hard to maintain a sense of connection and warmth with our children when they are not doing what we want them to be doing. It is plain frustrating for us. Young children are by nature imaginative, messy, immature, unreasonable, in the moment, energetic and emotionally unregulated - their brain doesn’t have the capacities of an adult brain and won’t for some time …

Understanding where children are at developmentally and how they learn can help the loving AND guiding (disciplining) of your child to come from the SAME gentle place in your heart.

Here are some principles that take into account how they best learn to support you in this:

And remember it's about connection not perfection!

# 1. Use movement and redirection at the same time.  Since children are in an imitative stage of learning adding movement to a request helps them do what needs to be done. For example, instead of standing still and saying “let’s go”, walking a little as you reach your hand out and say “we’re heading out now” can work better. Kids like things that look fun so make it look inviting and engaging. I found sometimes that singing what we needed to do worked well to make it seem inviting and have them want to join along without so much resistance. (Using the tune "Here we go 'round the mulberry bush" to whatever we were doing seemed to work like magic in the younger years!)

# 2. Talk less. Try to get in the habit of stopping yourself with your speech when you are getting into a lot of explaining. Slow down and ask yourself, "Is it necessary?" and when you do speak to say what your child needs to do keep it simple with only one request at a time. In general, remember that your child lives in their imagination and so speak in this picture language really meets your child. They live in the dreamy theta brainwave state and think in pictures and story consciousness. “Let’s put the toys to bed now” and go around together cleaning up/”putting toys to bed’. Again, remember that they learn by imitation (copying) so work with this by simply modelling what you want them to do rather than a lot of explaining.

# 3. Stay close - "2 feet by 2 feet by 2 feet". This was a mantra from one of my teachers reminding us of the importance of staying close when making requests. Their attention span isn’t like ours - again, they are in the theta brain wave state - so be ‘2 feet in front of them’, ‘2 feet high’ (basically a reminder to crouch down to their level) and lastly, with you ‘feeling your 2 feet on the ground’ to ground you and bring you fully here. (They feel this.) Get down to eye level and give simple guidance/directions from your heart from that place. Simple. Clear. Move. Follow through.

Staying close and sticking with requests is so key in the younger ages. I have found myself feeling quite ridiculous picking up half of a boot or toothbrush with my 4 year old at the other end in an effort to help her join in and learn how to put things away but sometimes this is what it takes to get the job done. When you emit the energy, “This is what is happening.” lovingly but with certainty (and make it kinda fun) our kids pick up on this. Use imagination to connect, stay close and help them follow through. 

# 4. Consider Nixing time-outs - Young children don't have the capacity yet to "reflect on their poor choices". The more I learn about child development - that they live in the theta brain wave state and their prefrontal cortex is not online yet - the less time-outs make any real sense. They do come in handy sometimes for me to give to myself though when I feel stretched to my max and need a moment or ten to breathe and regroup! (-:

# 5. Rhythm. This is a topic unto its own. It is an absolute game changer. When I work with moms with low energy/overwhelm to create rhythm in their days and weeks good things happen. Everyone can breathe easier and balls don’t get dropped as easily when what has to get done is on a schedule. Less stress for adults translates to less stress for kids, better health overall and more connection and joy.

When things are done in a certain way with regularity and children (whose relationship to time is very different than ours) know what is coming next they are also less resistant to doing what needs to be done as the rhythm (and repetition that is wired in the brain) eventually just carries them ... “it’s just the way things are done.” It builds a sense of trust in them as well.

Rhythms in Waldorf Schools are based on a concept called ‘breathing in and breathing out’ and in the lower grades especially this concept is woven into the day where activities are put in an order that alternates a ‘breathing in’ activity with a ‘breathing out’ activity. One example of this is: Circle time followed by Free play. In the homes of families I have worked with even being aware of this ‘in breath’- ‘out breath’ and the different nature of activities has helped. They would play with creating a flow that felt balanced - such as getting kids outside after sitting for a craft and then coming back in for lunch and out for a walk after.You get a feel for this wants you are tuned into it. This helps us adults too for example when we balance focus time with movement, inside with out, doing with free time, quiet time with social … it teaches balance and is a pretty cool non-burnout way to flow through our days.

#6. Have realistic expectations. They are learning so much during this time! From social engagement to talking to moving their body with coordination to being safe, etc . The way they learn and create new neural pathways for the things we’d like them to do is in part through good ol’ repetition. We have to repeatedly model what we’re trying to teach them.

Our children in these ages are ‘in learning’. The centers of the brain responsible for impulse control, empathy and decision making are not even close to maturity (25 years of age and upwards is the latest neuroscience update on this!). This ‘upstairs brain’ as Dr. Daniel Siegel calls it is just being constructed so it will be messy being in relationship with children as they find their way to these upper brain functions. And for now they are learning their upper brain functions/capabilities through watching you and through stories!

It takes time for them to learn all these things we want them to learn. This is where the next point comes in. It helps keep our patience more or less replenished …

#7. Self-care. Prioritizing it. Children pick up all the non-verbals. As we know they are watching us more than listening as as I’ve been sharing that is the way they are set up to learn in the younger years. Imitation.

Who we are being and how we are being as we are doing things is what our children are taking in the most. Self-care is not selfish. It is essential. When we are resourced we are more patient, creative, clear, calm, playful, kind and have energy.

We may not have grown up seeing self-care modelled so it may not come natural but we can model it for our children and give them the gift of its importance so they have it and can then model it to their children … (-:

Lastly, here’s a little mantra that came to me this year that might help you. “You’re not in trouble, you’re in learning.” I use it with my kids and other kids and actually I’ve used it with myself too! Many of us grew up in the paradigm of punishing and shaming and control over and this mantra helps rewire our brains to the new understanding that we are all actually ‘in learning’ and growing and doing the best we can.

The growth and learning we desire for our children or ourselves can come with kindness.

Hope you found something in there to help you enjoy parenting more and to help you be a loving nourished leader for your bambinos!

Warmly, Dr. Monika xo (-:

If you are interested in some self-care and supportive learning, Dr. Monika has Yoga & Learn weekly classes, series and retreats around Conscious Parenting, Simplicity Parenting and Mothering from Your Centre. Email courses@opentowellness.ca to get the next class times and/or join Mindful Mama Connection FB to see updates there.

PS - Kim John Payne - author of Simplicity Parenting and The Soul of Discipline has some great insight on this topic of Creative Discipline..

Winter Crafts for Conscious Mamas: Wet-on-Wet Watercolor Painting for the Whole Family

Wet-on-Wet Watercolors 101 - beautiful activity for children to do with parent/s 4 years and up

1. Soak watercolor paper in cold water in your sink or a basin for 5-10 minutes (longer for heavier paper and the heavier the paper the better is what we prefer).

2. Gently sponge off the excess water. 

3. Mix watercolor and water about 1:1 in a little baby jar --- if you buy the bigger stockmar paints I recommend getting crimson, cobalt blue and lemon yellow or golden yellow and putting each in a mason jar with water and then keep it in the fridge. This way you can  just stir and pour what you need in a little jar as you need it - this makes it easy to get painting when you are inspired to - otherwise the thought of a big set up makes it just not happen

4. Have clear water to clean brush so you don't muddy the colors going from one to the other. A cloth/sponge to wipe brush on helps.  

5. Enjoy!  The creations can be used for cards, wrapping paper, to hang … the cool thing is that the young child is able with this medium to produce something that is truly beautiful (not just to mom and dad’s eyes!) (-:

Helpful to know: Watercolor painting for kids is not a long activity - prep is longer than painting but it's worth it ... meditative and connecting (-: 

FYI - Dr. Monika has mini-classes on how to do this - if you and 3 - 4 friends would like a hands-on experience text Monika at 403 678-7901 to set something up.

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

Sighs and Dropping Shoulders - Letting go and Letting Be ...

Sweet morning to you.
My intention when I heard this poem was to send it out to all the mamas I know going through transitions and open to receiving maybe a little healing and empowerment from these words …maybe peace from these words … maybe a smile/sigh. But you know, it's bigger than just mamas going through transitions isn't it.  Would it be fair to say probably all of us - women and men - have something to let go of or are in the process of that letting go of … right now … life is always in this process of change and letting go comes with change doesn't it.  Some bigger changes than others - some seemingly harder. Sometimes the letting go feels so heart wrenching and seems so darn complicated and pretty impossible ... Please receive these words into your heart if they help at all and send this feeling of ease ... of acceptance - with me to the hearts of all those who may need it at this time and let this create a ripple of sighs and dropping shoulders.  I  love Rev. Saffire Rose's simplicity and send you great love and great peace with her poem.

She (He) Let Go - Poem by Rev. Safire Rose 

She let go. Without a thought or a word, she let go.

She let go of the fear. She let go of the judgements. She let go of the confluence of opinions swarming around her head. She let go of the committee of indecision within her. She let go of all the 'right' reasons. Wholly and completely, without hesitation or worry, she just let go.

She didn't ask anyone for advice. She didn't read a book on how to let go. She didn't search the scriptures. She just let go. She let go of the memories that held her back. She let go of all of the anxiety that kept her from moving forward. She let go of all the planning and all of the calculations about how to do it just right.

She didn't promise to let go. She didn't journal about it. She didn't write the projected date in her Day-Timer. She made no public announcement and put no ad in the paper. She didn't check the weather report or read daily horoscopes. She just let go.

She didn't analyze whether she should let go. She didn't call her friends to discuss the matter. She didn't do a 5-Step Spiritual Mind Treatment. She didn't call the prayer line. She didn't utter one word. She just let go.

No one was around when it happened. There was no applause or congratulations. No one thanked her or praised her. No one noticed a thing. Like a leaf falling from a tree, she just let go.

There was no effort. There was no struggle. It wasn't good and it wasn't bad. It was what it was, and it is just that.

In the space of letting go, she let it all be. A small smile came over her face. A light breeze blew through her. And the sun and the moon ….

- Rev. Safire Rose

Sceptres & Staying Centered - Simple, and very Usable Winter Creation For Forest Loving Families

What's keeping you centered these days? What helps you feel even an inkling of inner calm - your go to if you're feeling overwhelmed to bring you back? 
I love to walk outside in the woods to clear my mind and discern the important things from the not (seem to get clumped altogether at certain times of year more than others) but with the ice it's been a fair bit of woah waw eek ah … and then finally … I have to admit some pretty cool dance moves have emerged trying to stay upright while walking but has it been relaxing ... not so much! These sceptres/staffs have helped me enjoy a more peaceful walk. (-:

Last weekend I was with 10 star children for a Winter Fairy Camp. It was an honour and absolute joy to be with these nature/fairy loving children. The second morning there was a note that revealed that Fairy Queen had a winter gift for us - we later found wooden staffs/sceptres - with just 1 moonbeam threaded ribbon  tied at the top of each to help us find them - all through the nearby forest - up in trees even - we found the one that fit us best and later decorated these further with nature/herbal treasures. Some sceptres were crowned with a piece of the giant geode the Queen had gifted us with that we worked together to break open and that was just the beginning - the children's imagination and creativity and crafting was wonder full -  adding a bell here, wolf willow berries there, sprig of spruce, grasses, etc. as they made each their own. 
It was glorious to see the group of them trekking through the snow and ice with their sceptre … it made me appreciate the images of St. Nicholas carrying a staff -- this was a practical thing to help him on his way...

I share this as an invitation for you to take a breath (right now) with me and to to tune into what's keeping you grounded and centered and feeling your strength - I guess I'm wondering what is the nature of the sceptre you want to carry inwardly through these next particularly exciting weeks? A long slow exhale with peace written all over it, a feeling of gratitude, spaciousness, warmth, playfulness, some lightheartedness/humour, presence, curiousity, wonder, a mantra? 

And is there anything that you need mama externally (think simple) that you can set as a priority for yourself - a gift to you - to place in your week/space that will support this inward intention? Daily enjoying cup of tea sitting down, daily walk in nature, bath and book break, karaoke machine, 5 min. meditation before bed, get out for a yoga class/a massage? What is it for you ... that would be yummy? No 'have-to' here - just know how important you and plan to nourish you! (-:

The second reason I am sharing this with you is because it was such a hit for the boys and the girls at the Fairy Camp and  I know that sometimes during the holidays having a fun, simple forest activity for the family to get everyone outside moving is just what is needed --- who knows, maybe the Fairy Queen has them hidden for you in the forest like she did for us - and (who knows) maybe you find a little burnt edged note on your door and that starts your little adventure ... whatever the case - here you have the idea in your back pocket -  find stick that fits,  spend time in nature gathering and decorating this and then (best part) use it for your winter hiking/walking sojourns… happy trails families! 

Mom, Dad, how do you really want things to roll? 3 areas where small changes NOW (beg. of November) can impact your day-to-day BIG

The beginning of November is a great time to get more conscious about how you want things to roll - the school year is underway and with the extra hour of the time change it is a golden time to take a little inventory and implement some of those good intentions you have for your health and your life. 

Three powerful areas to make even little changes in:

1. Physical space - sit back with a cup of tea, take some breaths, put on some fav tunes and take a conscious look around you at your space. Walk around your space and get conscious to the items in your space that you haven't used or you don't love. We've all heard this many times and we know how good it feels to let go - get creative and do it in a way that nourishes you - it will give you more energy.

We've all been to parents/friends homes that look exactly the same for decades - switch it up and add something inspiring and uplifting to balance the increasing darkness. When I look at the yellow basket in my bathroom I feel myself breathe a bit deeper - colours impact our moods - where could you add a bit of a colour that you love?

Let your space reflect your life NOW - what nourishes you now, what you enjoy now and what inspires you in the dreams you have. Want to get better at guitar? Put it somewhere you can easily see it - print off some songs you want to learn and have it all together - find a time - even short that works to include it. Interested in starting a regular meditation practice? Create an inviting space with a candle/timer/whatever you need. 

2. Sleep  - often children (and adults) are not getting enough sleep. It is easier to get to sleep as the daylight shortens but still I feel like when all is said and done we are getting to sleep later than we'd like. Since waking a sleeping child is one of my least favourite things to do I sometimes let them sleep in a bit longer but rushing in the a.m. isn't worth it either.

Solution: When they were younger I started to follow the advice of a mentor to use the time change in November to start an earlier bedtime. What I noticed was that even though they went to bed technically an hour early they didn't get up earlier and they were generally more rested and cheerful in the morning. As they get older children need less sleep so we'll see what happens tonite...

3. Exercise  - We are meant to move our bodies daily and the shoulder seasons can be tricky for our well-being without some regular, joyous movement alternatives. If you, like myself, love to predominantly exercise outside create some easy backup plans for when it's too icy/cold - it happens (-:  and physical exercise is key for mind, body and spirit wellness.  Swimming, dance, rebounding, spin, yoga  - we are lucky where I live to have lots of options - with young kids I find that the rebounder/ yoga are great easy at home fall backs when its too icy to jog. As a mamapreneur I  do some of my tedious - on hold for ages business calls - while rebounding. "Sitting is the new smoking" apparently so I try to mix up my work day as best I can. What little new habit can you include and where?



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.

Singing in Love - The Power of Lullaby - Lavender Blue

“Lavender Blue” my daughter murmurs, eyes closed, her breath lengthening towards sleep. I start singing and without opening her eyes I hear her softly add, “It never gets old.” I’m not sure if she’s sharing this reflection with me or just to herself but no matter, I know what she means and I smile and continue singing. How many times have I sang Lavender Blue? Many. Oh yes, so many times. I know she will not always feel like this about me singing this song to her and I cherish this moment – my son who is 10 groans before I get through the first line – he used to love it too. When I sing this song I feel myself enter more deeply into my body, the vibration of my voice dropping me gently into the moment. This lullaby has soothed me when my nervous system has felt frayed/spent – the melody knits me deeply back together --- it mothers me …. has been a resource for me to draw on.

What song warms you so you feel yourself fully here – embodied, calm, bathed in a quiet joy?  Singing is such a great habit to bring into our lives as mothers – its rhythmic quality nourishes and supports the growing child and ourselves. Many moms who can’t find the time or desire to do a sitting practice of daily connection like meditation benefit greatly from bringing singing into their homes. 

Singing has some similarities to meditation that are worth noting: the breath – a longer exhale moves us out of the fight – flight wing of the nervous system into rest and digest and calm. Singing often has our exhale be longer. Also, we are focusing on our breath and the moment. Ahhhh. (-: Bingo, another lucky winner. Lastly, if you’re singing songs you enjoy (which I would highly recommend you stick to) you’re tapping into appreciation, delight and joy.

“But I can’t si…” stop …don’t say it. It’s just not true. We can all sing and our kids are the best audience to encourage us to open up that throat chakra and express ourselves …the more you do it the better it feels and the more range of notes you can play with. To the magic of you! xo Dr. Monika

Singing is nourishing for both mama and babe - studies are now showing many benefits especially in the area of brain development, bonding and nervous system health for all participants. Mmmm.

Singing is nourishing for both mama and babe - studies are now showing many benefits especially in the area of brain development, bonding and nervous system health for all participants. Mmmm.

Would you love support with this? I would love to help you! This is a part of the lifestyle piece of mothering resourced - i.e. finding things to do together that nourish you and your child at the same time.

Twice a year I host a Nourished Mama Project class on lullabies and some mantras that have been game changing for moms and children in the peace, joy and connection department. Join the Facebook group ‘Mindful Mama Connection’ to be kept in the loop of those or email me if you have a group of moms who are keen. Also, if you feel quite blocked/tight in the throat area or have any physical throat issues like chronic sore throats or thyroid issues and would like to experience more freedom and health and less stuckness there book into the office for a yoga therapy session where we can create the conditions for healing to happen. (403) 609-8385. I address symptoms physically as well as at the root level so you can have more freedom, connection and joy in your life and express yourself with ease!

“Thank you Dr. Monika for helping me find my voice. “ M.G. Canmore , AB

Essential Oils Helping us to Create a Healthy, Sane Family Life!

Our olfactory system is so tied to our nervous system and memories.  We all know that scents can have a profound effect on our mood - freshly baked bread, vanilla, ocean, puppies, coconut oil suntan lotion …. we all have our favourites that truly can align our nervous system to peace and bring us to our happy place very quickly. They are powerful. Using essential oils is one of my families favourite, most welcome ways to heal - from burns to warts to imaginary fears that are preventing sleep - there's an oil for everything! One added benefit is to the breath - stress and anxiety can often accompany childhood challenges - for the child and his/her discomfort and for the parent  …well you know … we love 'em, we can worry and a lot of the work of parenting can be learn as you go. Staying centered and calm is key and I like how the essential oils help me get there - they calm me and allow me to be there more fully with my breath and act more intentionally and intuitively. The beautiful smells have my kids automatically breathing deeper and a fuller, deeper breath is one gateway to creating a relaxed state in the body that is very conducive to healing.

Aside from inhaling the oils directly or applying them for specific ailments I put them in my diffuser. It's a great home health enhancer - cleaning and oxygenating the air to prevent a cold from spreading to the whole family and great at uplifting moods - making grump bumps less sticky! I have 2 diffusers and lots of essential oils - the best quality, best deal I've found that I recommend if you're wanting to get started but not sure where to start is the intro kit by Young Living Essential Oils (Option 3 on their website).  You get  9-10 of their most popular oils plus a great quality diffuser for only $173 CAD - good diffusers can cost around this so this is a steal of a deal - and of course the diffuser can be used for any essential oils you have.  I have enjoyed Blaine Andrusek's oils for years.

Good news  

Another mom and good friend in town set me up so I can get wholesale prices on my next essential oil orders and act as a rep so you can too.  To maintain the ability to get the wholesale prices each individual needs to buy $50 of the oils per year. There are other plans in the company that if your passion takes you further with this you can look into but this one is the option I started with. You can contact local mom Shonna at essentialoilscanmore@ gmail.com if you're keen to get the diffuser and kit/have any questions. To go right to ordering/seeing more of their products - my link is Essential Oils Family Home Kit  . This summer Alpenglow and Bring Love In are the beneficiaries when you sign up under me.

My favourite Young Living products

The blends: Joy (a little on the heart nice to lift the mood), Peace and Calming - so delicious, Valor - wow - great for emotional healing and courage!, Lavender (good for so much from burns, to restlessness, to cold sores, to infections - as I mentioned in previous newsletters, Lavender is one of those oils where you only need a little bit - less is more!) , Thieves - an excellent blend for viruses and bacteria - put it in the diffuser when cold season is around to keep you healthy with its immune enhancing properties.

There is a booklet that teaches you over 100 uses of the 9 oils in the Basic Home Kit and allows you to feel confident right away in supporting yourself and your family in staying healthy and healing quickly.  It's such a welcome medicine for kids and to see and feel one's confidence of being able to offer some comfort and relief when they are not well, going through transition or injured goes beyond anything else. Go mama go! 

If there's  particular oil you would like to try, let me know because I order monthly and often can add your request to my order. Email inspired@opentowellness.ca for this.

How's Your Iron Mama?

I had a great mentoring call with a colleague of mine from B.C. who has been a Midwife and a Naturopathic Doctor for ages. We were talking about iron and some new research about iron needs in pregnancy and post-partum and how much more common low iron is then is treated. And, how important it is for women to get a well-absorbed, non-constipating form. She has noticed and the studies are backing it that it can take mamas 2 years to get their iron levels back postpartum if not attended to and of course this really affects your energy levels (and what mama couldn't use a bit more of dat!). Check your Ferritin levels (your iron stores) regularly (not more than every 3 mths though) and especially if you have hair loss or fatigue, get a copy and bring it in to your next visit to make sure you're in a good part of the range and we can get on top of it if need be. (-: