Spring Salad Goodness - Two Favorites

Salmon and Spinach Salad

Serves 4 
Preparation: 15 minutes 
Cooking: 15 minutes 
Recipe: Mary Bowman 1997


1 Pound wild salmon fillet 
1 Large organic fennel bulb with greens still attached 
1 Bunch organic spinach, washed and tom into bite sized pieces 
1/4 Cup organic red onion 
Zest of one organic orange 
2 Tablespoons organic orange juice 
4 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar 
2 Tables poons extra virgin olive oil 
1 teaspoon sea salt 
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground cinnamon 
1/4 cup fresh basil, minced 


. Cut the greens from the fennel, and place them in a steamer. Lay the salmon on top. Steam the fish for 10 to 15 minutes or until the flesh is pink throughout. 
. Meanwhile, cut the fennel into 1/8 inch strips diagonally. Then cut the resulting pieces into sticks. 
. Combine the fennel in a large bowl with the spinach and red onion. 
. Combine the next 6 ingredients in a small bowl, and whisk together. 
. Remove the salmon from the steamer, and cut into bite sized pieces. Discard the greens used to steam the fish. 
. Add the salmon to the spinach. 
. Pour the marinade over the salad, and add the minced basil. Gently toss all together. 

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

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

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

Healthy Tasty Treats

Carob Almond Bark  

Gluten Free, Sugar Free


1/4 cup Coconut Oil (virgin or regular)
1.5 tbsp Carob Powder
1/4 cup Almonds (Any nuts, whole or chopped)
1/2 tsp Stevia (powdered extract)


Line small metal pan with waxed paper and chill in freezer.
Melt the coconut oil to liquid, add carob powder and stevia. Stir to combine, blend well.
Stir in nuts and pour into chilled pan. Spread evenly. Put in fridge or freezer. Enjoy!

Bark melts easily when not refrigerated. You can adjust Stevia and carob amounts to your liking.

Dream Cookies 

Super yummy cookies that are super easy to make!! 

1 cup ground nuts (walnuts, cashews, pistachios, pecans, etc. Whatever makes your mouth water) 
¼ cup maple syrup or honey
1 tsp. vanilla
¼ tsp. nutmeg
Makes 20-24 cookies

Mix ingredients. 
Drop rounded half teaspoons of batter onto a cookie sheet lined with foil (shiny side up). 
Bake at 300° for 12-20 minutes. 
Watch carefully to prevent burning. 
Allow cookies to cool and then peel foil carefully. 

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. 

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, 

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! 

Healthy Muffins to Have on Hand

No Grain Muffins (Favorite)
Great, easy to make non-gluten, protein snacks for home or for hikes!


2 ½ cups ground almonds/pecans
½ tsp. Baking soda
¼ cup melted ghee
3 eggs
¼ cup of honey
1/8 tsp. unrefined sea salt
¼ cup unsweetened applesauce/apple butter, grated wet veggies – carrots, zucchini or mashed bananas, blueberries, etc.


** Combine all ingredients to make batter. Grease muffin tin with ghee.
Bake at 375 F for 15-20min. Makes 12.

Spice Muffins

Gluten Free, Sugar Free. Perfect for candida diets.


1 Egg
1 tbsp  Almond Butter
3/4 tsp  Stevia (powdered extract)
1/8 cup  Butter or oil
1/2 tsp  Vanilla (or almond flavour)
1/2 cup Plain Yogurt ( can substitute cream)
1/2 cup Water    
3/4 cup Brown Rice Flour ( can substitute any flour)
1/4 cup Rice Bran (can substitute with almond meal or flour) 
1/2 cup Almond Meal (whole almonds put through a coffee grinder)
3/4 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp All Spice
1/2 cup Favourite Fruit 

Whip egg until frothy. Add almond butter, stevia, butter or oil, vanilla, yogurt and water. Mix on med/high for about 1 minute. Add remaining ingredients (except fruit) and mix slightly. Add fruit, gently stir. Pour or spoon into greased muffin tin about 2/3 full. Bake at 375 for 20-25 minutes.

These Muffins actually rise.

Feel free to experiment, as long as the liquid to dry ratio remains some what the same; many different substitutions will work.

Anti-Inflammatory Diet Guidelines

Everyone is unique and there’ s not really one size fits all diets. This anti-inflammatory diet guideline summary is a standard one that is then modified depending on the individual’s needs, gut health, pain level, etc.

Anti-Inflammatory Diet Guidelines

Try and eat only the following organically grown foods for the next 28 days. There is no restriction on the amount of food you can eat. The foods listed are only examples of foods to eat. Any food that is an allergen must also be avoided due to the inflammatory component of allergens.

 Steamed vegetables

Steaming veggies improves the utilization of the food substances and reduces the initiating residue in the gut, allowing the GI mucosa to restore itself. Use minimal raw vegetables except as a salad.
Eat a variety of any and all vegetables (except tomatoes, potatoes) that you tolerate. Yams, sweet potatoes, squash are allowed. Add your favorite spices to enhance the taste of these vegetables.
Do not use aluminum cookware.


Eat one to two cups of cooked grains per day of those you can tolerate.
Allowed grains are: millet, basmati or brown rice, quinoa, amaranth, oatmeal, barley, buckwheat, rye, teff
Other grain foods that may be eaten are rice crisps and wasa crackers


Eat a variety of any legumes that you are able to tolerate: split peas, lentils, kidney beans, pinto beans, soy beans, mung beans, garbanzo beans, aduki and azuki beans.


Deep-sea fish (salmon, halibut, cod, sardines, tuna, mackerel) is preferred – no shellfish
The fish should be poached, baked, steamed, or broiled.


Eat only white meat and do not eat the skin.
The free-range or organically grown chicken/turkey should be baked, broiled, or steamed.


Eat only 1 or 2 pieces of practically any fruit except citrus. If possible, it is preferred to eat the fruit baked (such as a baked apple or pear).


Very small amounts of maple syrup, rice /barley syrup, honey or stevia(1/4tsp=1c.sugar).
Absolutely no sugar, NutraSweet, or any other sweetener is allowed.


    For butter, whip 1 pd butter and 1 cup extra virgin olive oil.
    Incorporate 2 Tbsp of Flaxseed oil / Udo’s oil into diet/day.

Herbal Teas & Good Water to Drink

    Minimum of 6-8 glasses of spring, bottled, filtered or reverse osmosis water/day
    Herbal teas – 2-4/day – best taken in evening and sipped slowly.

For the time being, avoid the following inflammatory foods:

Milk, cheese, eggs
All wheat products, including breads
Citrus fruits
All caffeinated teas, coffee
Sugar, Nutrasweet
Corn Products
Peanuts and peanut butter
Red meat – esp. pork
Fried and processed foods


Not Sure Which Foods, Supplements or Herbs Are Best For You? You Are Not The Only One ... Here Are Some Tools I Use to Break It Down For Clients

There is SO much info out there on helpful health products and foods! Having some easy assessment systems in place to determine what is best for each patient has been a work in progress over the last 23 years I've been in the naturopathic medical field. 

Here's  the 5 tools I turn to regularly these days to fine tune how to optimize energy and overall health through nutrition in a customized patient by patient way ... (-:

1. The Nutri-body Questionnaire - Snapshot of Health
Clients receive a link to an extensive online questionnaire and answers are analyzed and reported in the form of a graph highlighting the top deficiencies or hormonal/digestive/immune system imbalances. I love this as it is an efficient way to see your whole health picture and have a grounded place to start from. Added bonus is that the patterns that show up give good insight as to what is at the root of symptoms so you can really improve your health for good. Here's a couple examples  ...

Example #1: She was clearly low in iron and other minerals yet through the testing and seeing the bigger health picture it was evident that it was more of an absorption issue that needed to be addressed. So rather than giving supplements to replenish, the focus was directed on gut health with key gut healing supportive remedies, yoga nidra to balance the gut-nervous system connection, and diet tweaks.(-:

Example #2: Someone with medicated low thyroid shows up on the Nutri-body Analysis with the adrenal gland health score being below normal (common pattern with moms these days!). This tells me that we won't go far if we focus solely on the thyroid as these hormonal glands work together and both need the support to ultimately feel better overall. 

2. Blood type!  Highlights Beneficial Foods and Much More
Knowing our blood type and your children's blood type is so helpful. I wrote a article on this a way back - if you are interested you can search it on this site. Our body truly has its own operating manual as we figure out what we need as we age. Knowing your blood type is like having a chapter of that operating manual in your hand - it gives insight into key foods that aggravate the system and cause weight gain as well as best practices for exercise. Worth checking out yours to see if you get some 'ahas' that can lead to better health for you. PS - Blood typing is included at no cost as part of consults at the office.

3. Food Sensitivity Testing - Fine-tuning Your Diet & Decreasing Inflammation
Many of my clients - if not all - put a good amount of effort into eating well. When you don't feel well despite making changes it's a serious bummer! Food sensitivity testing is an easy test to rule out food sensitivities as contributing to the current inflammation/symptoms you are experiencing in your body. Figuring them out can, as a client who had an inflammatory skin condition all her life pointed out, "change things in as little time as a month." 0-: I know right.  The results aren't always so dramatic but often they are if there aren't a lot of other things going on. I had a client who could barely breathe, and was sick constantly from consuming a lot of the 2 foods he was unknowingly reacting to, who is now living his dream doing physical activities he never thought were possible for him and feeling better than ever. I love being able to witness these transformations ...

4. The REBA Device - Compatibility
What I love about this  machine is that it assesses compatibility of supplements (and foods) so you only end up taking supplements that are beneficial for YOU. There are so many supplements and brands out there (it really can make your head spin). The REBA makes simplifying simple and oh yeah ... VERY easy to use with kids. (-:

5. Seasons and Body Type Assessment
This piece is pretty obvious once you learn about it. Someone who is freezing cold all the time and has loose stool won't do great drinking cold smoothies and eating lots of raw foods ... especially in the Winter. Healthy oils, warm medicinal teas, ghee, soups and easy to digest protein work better here as we work to get the digestion stronger in many naturopathic ways often including calming the nervous system.

What trumps it all? How you feel on and off certain foods or certain supplements. My checking in with you can help figure that out. Supplements and foods are just one piece of what contributes to our level of health and well-being -- when they are on track it can be a huge positive contributor and help you have the energy and clarity for bigger changes that may be up. New patients often come in saying they don't know where to start with all the options and info out there. These tools come in handy to 1. get you clearer quicker and 2. uncover pieces of your healthcare puzzle that you might not have thought of ... xo, Dr. Monika

PS - I am available for tele-medicine phone/skype wellness consultations as well now (-: monikaherwignd@opentowellness.ca to set this up.


Sore Belly/Diarrhea Recovery Food Ideas and Practice Pearls

Basic recommendations and some favourite recipes to get you nourished and feeling better after diarrhea or if you have weak digestion/"digestive fire".

Everyone is unique but a couple general recommendations to start is to 1. really chew your food so your body gets it in a very broken down absorbable form 2. limit raw food (warm food time) and 3. soak nuts or grains overnight to - as with the chewing - decrease the work the digestive system needs to do at this time. 

Here are some other favourites:

1. Ginger and high quality probiotics are my first line go to's. Keep some whole ginger root in your freezer at all times as this is so helpful to have at the start of digestive and immune symptoms. The HMF Intensive at the clinic is the probiotic has been a best seller for over 15 years so we recommend that as our first choice - with diarrhea I recommend avoiding probiotics tat have FOS (fructo-oligosaccharides) as part of it - it will say so on the label.

2. Slippery elm powder - as a tea or mixed with yoghurt or applesauce - very soothing. You can purchase this bulk at health food stores.

3. Congees - there are many 'congee' recipes out there - comes from traditional chinese medicine. A simple one is 1 cup of rice to 9 cups water. Add grated ginger to it and bring to a boil. Then turn it way low and let it simmer covered for a couple hours. This is as unfancy as you can get with cooking but your digestive system will more than likely love it! Adding some very finely cut up chicken or turkey in there is an easy protein variation excellent especially if you are Blood type O.

4. * KEY Soup for diarrhea: The Electrolyte Replacement Soup - zuccinni, potato peels. celery. Chop it all up, boil it for a bit till the water gets brothy looking. Strain, add a whole salt  to taste (i.e. Celtic or Himalayan) and drink up. Warm beverages are excellent for the digestive system and this one is packed with the very nutrients you lose with diarrhea. This will help your brain come back online after repeated diarrhea. I've been there during my India trip and can attest to how important replenishing electrolytes are when you have diarrhea!

5. Miso soup - 1 tsp - 1 Tbsp miso paste in 1 cup hot water and boom you have a super digestible protein rich meal. You can find the containers of miso paste in the refrigerator section of most health food stores. It is made from soy so I would recommend sticking with nonGMO soy. As it is fermented it is the top soy product I recommend. Soooo easy! 

6. Bone broth - our favourite is the Osso brand. We often have some in the freezer at the office at a special client rate because myself and the staff like to have some for backup when we haven't had time to make some from scratch ... it happens! Bone broth is packed with nutrients easily absorbed and utilized for healing by the digestive tract.

7. The unda drainage and repair medicines are what I find works best for chronic digestive issues that need a bit more than the basics above. These can be used even for very young children with good results and are thankfully easy to take.

"I love the undas!" Jill, mom of 3

8. Lastly, figure out your food sensitivities either by an elimination diet or blood test. Figuring out your food sensitivities is a simple way to decrease inflammation in the gut and body in general. We offer several kits at the office. The 120 food assessment is the most popular and it takes 10 days to receive results. This test is highly recommended if you have chronic inflammation of any kind or poor digestion. For more info click on the link below ...

2 Simple Tasty Healing Drinks For Hormonal Health

Starting the day the night before is one of the hacks that help my day flow smoother (when I do it! lol). So, I'm starting the drink list with an evening fave.


Warming, anti-inflammatory and hormone balancing - great evening tea for women. (-:

Here's how to be most efficient in making this ...

First step is to make a paste by combining 5 tablespoons coconut oil, 1/2 cup turmeric powder, 1 cup water, and 1.5 teaspoons black pepper in a pot and simmer for about 10 minutes.

This paste will keep fresh for 2 weeks in the fridge and makes it easy peasy for you to make a couple cups of Golden Milk in no time at all by warming 2 cups of milk (coconut/almond milk/raw organic milk (pick one) ) with 1 tsp of the paste and mixing. Add cinnamon and honey to taste, Stevia isn't great for hormonal balance so stick to these to sweeten.

Combine and warm up (on low heat) 2 cups almond/other milk, 1 tsp ghee or coconut oil, 1 tsp honey (as needed), 1 tsp tumeric powder, 1 tsp ginger powder, 1 tsp cardamon, sprinkle of black pepper, 1/2 tsp nutmeg. Stir so it doesn't stick to the pot and enjoy! (ps - a hand-blender can give it some frothy yumminess ... I throw it in in vitamix when I'm craving this ...)


Pretty straight forward mama. First thing in the a.m. squeeze 1/2 lemon in a cup of warm water and that is it! Your liver loves lemons and your bowels love warm water. A healthy digestive system and happy liver are key to the foundation of a healthy hormonal balance. The little things we do every day add up ...



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.