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.

Veggie Sushi

 Veggie Sushi

(modified version of recipe by Julia Gonen ND) 

Serving size: 4 sushi rolls (24 pieces) 
Cooking time: 45 minutes (to cook the rice) 

Basics you need: 
Bamboo rolling mat, stiff piece of cardboard/little hand fan, sharp knife. 

Ingredients: 
3 cups short grain brown rice (I had a great quinoa roll the other day – once you’re comfortable
making this experiment with other grains!) 
4 sheets nori - seaweed
4-5 tbsp rice vinegar (can also play around with apple cider vinegar) 
1 tbsp finely granulated sugar (optional) (maple syrup is an option too) 
2 green/spring onions (white part only) 
2 tbsp toasted black or brown sesame seeds
Filling ideas – here are some ideas – the sky is of course the limit – fill the roll with any
filling/veggie you and your family like. E.g. Carrot, Cucumber, Avocado, Sweet Potato, Umeboshi
plums/plum paste (if you like sour – great food for the Spleen and digestion), Spinach, Asparagus, 
Cilantro. 

Preparation:
Cook rice. Use 2 cups water per cup rice. Bring to boil. Turn to low and cover. Cook ~ 45min. 

Meanwhile prepare fillings.
Steam sweet potato until just soft, but not mushy. Slice into long thin sticks.
Cook spinach and mix with toasted sesame seeds.
Cut cucumber and carrot into long thin sticks.  (May soak carrots in rice/balsamic/apple cider vinegar).
Cut avocado into long thin strips.
Chop fresh cilantro finely.
In small bowl mix vinegar and sugar (optional).
When rice is cooked, transfer into large glass bowl.

Put in the fridge for a little bit to cool it down. Add vinegar and sugar mixture. Stir well.
Stir in green onions and sesame seeds. 
Hold a sheet of nori with tongs and toast it by waving it above an open flame, or place it in a frying pan
over high heat until crisp and fragrant (not very long).

Place nori, shiny side down, on a sushi mat or dish towel.

With fingertips, spread approximately 3/4 cup rice over nori to make a thin layer, leaving
1/2 inch around edges uncovered.
Make a lengthwise groove in center of rice; place fillings in groove. 
Lift edge of mat or towel; roll nori away from you, tucking firmly as you go and taking are not to catch
mat or towel in roll. When rolled, slightly moisten edge of nori; press to seal. 
Place roll, seam side down, on a firm surface and cut into 6 pieces with a sharp, moistened knife. Serve
the rolls with natural pickled ginger, tamari. 
You can prepare these rolls up to one day ahead, but no more.

Do not cut the completed rolls; wrap them in plastic and cut just before serving. Enjoy! 

Sweet Breakfast Ideas

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

Ingredients:

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
 

Preparation:

-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.
 

Immune Support Breakfast
 

 Ingredients:
(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

 Preparation:

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!

 

Oatmeal Waffles

Ingredients:

7 c. quick oats
7 c. soy or nut milk (see recipe below)
1/3 c. good quality oil
2 tsp. salt

Preparation:

Combine in a large bowl, Mix and let stand 8 hours or until thick.  Bake 6-9 minutes in hot waffle iron.

 

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.

Ingredients:

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

Preparation:
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.

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.

Preparation:

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 !

 

 

 

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.

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..
 

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.