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Plug Into Nature – Guest Post by David Graham of EDGE3

In preparation for our upcoming EDGE 3 retreats this September, I thought I’d explore some ideas about nature from my most trusted source…my family! While recently enjoying a ridiculously lazy day at the cottage, I asked them why nature is important to each of them. I wanted to discuss “How nature moves us forward in our day-to-day, and how can it change the way we show up at work?”EDGE3

What fascinated me was that from 10 to 80 years old, we all had a similar perspective.  Here’s what I discovered…

Nature clears our mind…

  • It can bring peace and balance to our over-scheduled lives and allows us to focus on the things that are most important to us.

Nature leads to self-discovery…

  • The simple moments outdoors quiets our emotions and allow us to hear our inner voice.  Being in touch with nature means that we are in touch with ourselves.

Nature gives a fresh perspective…

  • Once we place ourselves in a tranquil setting, we recognize the power of “now” which allows for new insights and enlightened perspectives.

Nature connects us…

  • We are more similar than we are different. Nature levels the playing field and helps to connect with each other on a deeper level.

As I pack my bags and prepare for departure back to the city, I take a piece of nature with me.  The challenges may remain the same, but I face them with a renewed sense of self, and an energy that I intend to share with others.

How do you plan to reset your inner compass? 

What would a renewed sense of self do for you? 

Where can you go to unplug from your work setting?

Consider one of our EDGE 3 retreats.  We want to help you reignite your inner passion!

David GrahamDavid Graham is a Leadership Coach and the Founder of EDGE 3.  He offers one-on-one coaching, team building workshops and for transformational experiences, he takes executives out of the boardroom and into nature. What inspires you as a leader?

www.edge3.ca

Take the Plunge: Benefits of Hydrotherapy

Whenever I tell a patient what I do in the shower daily, they shoot a disturbed look my way and cringe: “How could you do that?” they ask, followed by: “I couldn’t imagine willingly putting myself through that torture every single day!” hydrotherapy

You might be wondering what I am talking about. You may be surprised by the answer: Cold Water Immersion, a form of Hydrotherapy that dates back to ancient times.

In its simplest form, ending your shower with 30-60 seconds of a cold water spray stimulates immunity, energizes and revitalizes the body and mind, improves: circulation and detoxification, skin and hair vibrancy and overall wellbeing.

On days that I have a little more time, I alternate hot and cold sprays in the shower using 3 minutes of hot water, followed by 1 minute of cold water and I repeat that for a total of 3 cycles.

Cold water immersion is now all the rage, with top-levels athletes, executives and even Tony Robbins on board.

Is there proof that it works? Yes. I swear by it for myself and my patients to ward off colds and the flu and to jump-start each day.

Immunity and the Common Cold

According to the Natural Standards Database, preliminary clinical evidence shows that taking alternating hot and cold showers, at least five times per week, decreased the frequency of the common cold. It works by increasing not only the circulation of blood and lymphatic fluid, but also by increasing the number of white blood cells to fight off infection.

By increasing the flow of lymphatic fluid and white blood cells, alternating hot and cold showers support detoxification, reduce joint pain and boost immune function.

Muscle soreness and inflammation

Cold water soothes sore and achy muscles post-workout. It reduces inflammation and can decrease the need to take pain-killers.

Happiness Levels, Energy and Mental Alertness

Those that took cold showers for at least 2-3 minutes daily for several weeks reported an improvement in mood and a reduction in pain. Cold water activates cold receptors in the skin, which in turn activates our sympathetic nervous system, increasing the release of our natural endorphins and brain-boosting neurotransmitters.

Try it – you just may be surprised at how invigorating it is. And, for the morning-afters when you polished off most of the wine, it can be a life-saver.

Note: Those with heart conditions, diabetic neuropathy, nerve or sensation loss or other serious medical conditions should always consult with a licensed healthcare practitioner before starting cold water therapy.

NOW Available! Webinar Series: Burning the Candle at Both Ends? Discover Ways to Live Without Stress

meditation.womanI was fed up. I ‘d had enough. I was sick of feeling stressed out and wanted to take back control of my life.

It started in university when I was out of my comfort zone. I drank too much coffee to wake me up, ate too much sugar to keep me going, and drank too much alcohol to “relax” and fit in at night. This vicious roller coaster ride led to further anxiety, weight gain, fatigue and acne. I didn’t feel comfortable in my own skin.

My friends could see I was suffering and helped me embark on an exercise and healthy eating regime. I learned how to cook real whole food and reduced my intake of sugar, alcohol and caffeine.

I noticed huge increases in my energy level, mood and quality of sleep. This formed the basis of my motivation for becoming a Naturopathic Doctor.

Ironically enough, my anxiety came back after I graduated and started practicing Naturopathic Medicine. I was overwhelmed and lacked confidence. My Naturopathic Doctor at the time prescribed journaling, yoga and stress-balancing herbs to heal my adrenal glands. After about 6 months, I felt like a new person.

Since I was feeling better, my stress-reducing habits dropped off.

Eventually, my anxiety came back when I was juggling too many roles. My warning signs were acid reflux and insomnia. This reality-check reminded me to incorporate daily stress-reducing habits to prevent this from happening again. I now incorporate yoga, meditation and journaling daily. I make sure I eat enough healthy protein and fat, avoid grains and sugar, limit fruit and keep caffeine to 1 tea per day (with the occasional 1/4 cup of coffee on the weekends). This ensures I am not put on a blood-sugar rollercoaster that can trigger the release of stress hormones.

Feeling back in control of my life and my emotions, just by making a few simple lifestyle changes, is what motivated me to develop this webinar series. I wanted to share what I have learned over the years so you can take back control of your life, find your inner sparkle and live your dream life, STARTING NOW.

Have questions about the program? You can contact me for more details or click the “Get More Info” tab.

Are you Suffering From Nature-Deficit Disorder?

autumn2I was sitting inside as I started to brainstorm for this post after being cooped up all morning. Since I work from home most days, I have to make an extra effort to schedule in outdoor time to avoid getting cabin-fever at night. Even in winter I find myself braving the cold to clear my mind after a long day, all bundled up like the abominal snowman.

(pause for a few seconds as I head outside)

I am now sitting on my back deck to take advantage of this last mild November day. Almost immediately I feel more at ease and mindful as I listen to the wind blowing and appreciate the mild warmth of the sun on my skin. The neighbours’ wind chimes and the last few bird calls are lulling me into a sense of calmness I wasn’t experiencing inside.

Is this a placebo effect? No. Science tells us that Nature can impact our mental and physical health in profound ways AND help us to live longer.

Before we delve into the research, I want you to step back and think about how much time you spend outside each day. You may walk to the subway or bus for 5 minutes on the way to and from work. You may walk 10 minutes to grab a coffee or a grab-and-go lunch during the week. But, are you cooped up inside the rest of the day for meetings and computer work, followed by chores and watching TV at night?

A survey conducted by the David Suzuki Foundation in 2012 found that 70% of youth spend an hour or less outdoors every day. The average American spends only 7% of their time outdoors (and a whopping 93% of time indoors!) according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

This is detrimental to your health and I only see the numbers getting worse as technology (and Netflix) improves.

Why Should I Get Outside?

How close you live to outdoor green space will significantly impact your mental and physical health and longevity.

People who live within a 1km radius of outdoor green space have significantly reduced rates of depression and anxiety, asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), diabetes, and coronary heart disease. And more green space is better: there was a 30% increased risk of anxiety and a 25% increased risk for depression in residents with only 10% green space within 1 km of their residence (as compared to those with 90% green space).

A Canadian study of 575,000 adults, all urban-dwelling, found that those who had access to urban green space lived longer, had less non-accident deaths, especially reduced respiratory-related deaths. In Florida, those who had more green space were less likely to die of stroke.

Do you need any more convincing evidence to lace up those runners and get out for walk?

People who are exposed to nature exercised more, experiences less stress and had more meaningful social relations.  These factors boosted self esteem, improved immune function and reduced the incidence of chronic disease and mortality. You can really live a longer, healthier life if you get outdoors.

This Is Your Brain on Nature

When researchers induced cognitive fatigue by presenting study participants with mentally-challenging tasks, those who got outside for a nature walk afterwards (for 30-60 minutes) were able to focus and concentrate more effectively than those who didn’t (as measured by neuropsychological tests). The results were not merely due to an acute positive mental outlook from being outdoors. So, to be more productive, take a Nature break.

It’s time to take a “forest-bath”

The Japanese practice of “forest bathing” (which literally means to have a short, leisurely visit to a forest) has been shown to lower: oxidative stress, inflammation, blood pressure, pulse rate and the release of cortisol, a stress hormone. It improves natural killer cell immune count and activity to ward off infections. You don’t need to spend all day in the forest/nature; even 10 minutes can have huge benefits.

What you can do to inject more nature into your daily routine

Awareness is the first step. Create a nature journal and track how much time you spend outdoors every day. Record how you felt before you went outside and then how you felt once you returned. You could even rate your stress levels before and after (ie 0 = no stress; 10 = maximum stress).

Step back from your daily routine and see how you can incorporate more time in nature. Instead of using your 20-min break to surf the internet, use that time to get out for a short, brisk walk or to do some yard work if you work from home.

Plan an evening or weekend social or solo activity that revolves around nature. Try hiking, biking, cross-country skiing or snowshoeing. Instead of meeting a friend for a drink or coffee, make a point of grabbing a coffee or tea to go so you can walk and catch up at the same time.

Leave the car at home. Walk or bike to run your errands or get to that meeting. Your mind and body will thank you (and so will your boss!).

 

RESOURCES:

http://www.chgeharvard.org/sites/default/files/resources/Paper-NaturalEnvironmentsInitiative_0.pdf

http://snowbrains.com/brain-post-much-time-average-american-spend-outdoors/

http://www.davidsuzuki.org/media/news/2012/09/majority-of-canadian-youth-spend-an-hour-or-less-outside-each-day/

NOW Available! 8-part Webinar Series: Burning the Candle at Both Ends: Discover Ways to Live Without Stress

Make Health Goals Stick

When: Janaury 31st, 2013

Time: 7:00 – 8:30pm

Where: The Big Carrot Toronto

Cost: Free

Are you constantly making resolutions or health goals that you just can’t keep or attain? Do you feel overwhelmed and don’t know where to start when it comes to healthy living?  If you want work towards a goal that you can stick to and see results with, then join us: Dr. Lisa Weeks, HBSc., ND and Greg Carver, Movement Coach & Founder, StrengthBox to find out how you can succeed.

Winter Seminar Series 2015: Burning the Candle at Both Ends? Discover Ways to Live Without Stress.

WINTER SERIES

Learn how you can re-energize and rediscover your motivation to live, work and play better and happier, with Lisa Weeks, Naturopathic Doctor and Maryanne Nicholls, Holistic Stress Coach and Psychotherapist.

Dates: Sunday January 11th and Sunday January 18th, 10:00am-2:00pm

Location: 98 Marlow Ave., Toronto

Cost: $90 + HST for both days; OR $50 + HST for each individual workshop. Space is limited: sign up early to secure your spot.
Payment Options:

1. You can send an email transfer payment to: lisaweeks.nd@gmail.com

2. You can pay online using paypal  HERE. Scroll down and click on the “BUY NOW” button.

Sunday, January 11th 2015: 10:00am – 2:00pm

REST/SLEEP

  • Introduction and outline of seminars
  • Stress: Negative effects and how it manifests in your physical body and actions
  • Sleep: importance, what controls it and what interferes with it
  • Circadian rhythms
  • How to get a good night’s rest using food, herbal tea, stress reduction
  • How to be in a good place and not take issues to bed
  • Dreams: The importance of REM sleep and what happens when we don’t get it

MOVE

  • The essential nature of movement
  • Movement and emotional health
  • The physical benefits of exercise
  • How much, how often, how intense?
  • How to start exercising today

Sunday, January 18th, 2015: 10:00am – 2:00pm 

RELAX/TURN OFF

  • Negative effects of technology
  • How to tune out/relax with and without technology (issues and benefits)
  • Mindfulness techniques
  • How to “change the figure-ground” (perception/reality) by Tapping

CONNECT

  • Relationship with Nature (the wheels of directions, elements, worlds, qualities, human balance)
  • Birth totem animals
  • What feeds your soul – what grows corn?
  • How to connect with yourself and listen to your body
  • Self care demonstrations
  • Final review and feedback

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to call or email Lisa at:

lisaweeks.nd@gmail.com  ; 647-667-2209

See Lisa’s website here: www.drlisaweeks.com
See Maryanne’s website here: www.thejoyofliving.co

 

Fall Seminar Series 2015: Burning the Candle at Both Ends? Discover Ways to Live Without Stress.

FALL SERIES
Stress flyer 3-page-0

Discover how you can re-energize and rediscover your motivation to live, work and play better and happier with Lisa Weeks, Naturopathic Doctor and Maryanne Nicholls, Anxiety Therapist.

Beginning Wednesday evening, October 22nd, 2014 (from 6:30pm to 8:30pm) and running for 4 consecutive Wednesdays, join us to find out:

  • What causes you stress physically, mentally and emotionally
  • How stress in these areas impacts you
  • What you can do about it.

Space is limited. Sign up today to secure your spot.

Dates: Wednesday Oct 22nd, Oct 29th, Nov 5th, Nov 12th, 2014 from 6:30pm to 8:30pm

Location: Gerrard St. East and Greenwood Ave., Toronto

Cost: $90 + HST for the 4-part series; OR $25 + HST for each individual workshop.

 

WEEK 1: Wed Oct 22nd: Introduction: The Effects of Stress

  • —How stress affects us mentally, physically, emotionally
  • —Ways to cope
  • —Stress assessments

WEEK 2: Wed Oct 29th: Breathe

  • —Acupuncture benefits and demonstration
  • —Benefits of meditation
  • —How to meditate and guided meditation

WEEK 3: Nov 5th: Detoxify

  • —Body scan
  • —Detoxify your thoughts and your body
  • How toxins affect our hormones

WEEK 4: Nov 12th: Nourish

  • Comfort food vs. Soul “food”
  • —Stress-busting foods: —Healthy snacks and meals demo
  • —Reassessment

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to call or email Lisa at:

lisaweeks.nd@gmail.com  ; 647-667-2209

See Maryanne’s website here: www.thejoyofliving.co

You Give Me Fever

I was watching a show on the National Geographic channel and I saw nature at its best. An anaconda snake was swimming in a river in South America. It had a large mouth abscess (infection) and it knew it had to do something to get rid of it in order to survive (and antibiotics were definitely not nearby!). The anaconda’s natural instinct was to swim in shallower, warmer waters to increase its body temperature to induce a fever. Amazing! It did this in order to make its body inhospitable for the bacteria that were causing the infection and to stimulate a natural immune response to kill them off.

What do we do in the Western world when we have a fever? Suppress, suppress, suppress…

And why?

We have been taught that fever is a dangerous response to an infection (viral or bacterial) that can cause brain damage and seizures. We feel the need to react right away, and give or take that fever-suppressing medication to bring it down. But, are we really doing the right thing?

Fever is a natural response to an infection. Bacteria and viruses thrive at normal body temperature (98.6°F or 37.0°C). A fever changes this set point so that the bacteria and viruses are less likely to survive. It also induces an immune response to get the body to fight off infections.

Many infants and children develop high fevers with minor illnesses. Brain damage from a fever will generally not occur until our temperature is over 42°C (107.6°F). Untreated fevers rarely go over 40.5°C (105°F) unless the child is overdressed, trapped in a hot area or placed in a cold bath. A cold bath induces shivering, which can raise body temperature even further. Be sure not to overdress anyone with a fever and never put them in a cold bath. A lukewarm bath is best.

Seizures associated with fever may occur. They are generally short-lived, do not cause any permanent damage, and they do not mean that your child has epilepsy.

There are several instances when to get concerned if your infant or child has a fever. You should call your healthcare practitioner if:

  • a child under three months of age has a fever.
  • a child under 12 months of age has a temperature of 38.3°C (101°F) or higher.
  • a child under the age of two has a fever that lasts longer than 24–48 hours.
  • a child over the age of two has a fever that lasts longer than three days.
  • an infant, child or adult has a temperature greater than 40°C (104.5°F).

Make sure your child is responsive and drinking fluids. For a complete list of when to get concerned when you or your child have a fever, see: Mayo Clinic.

See your licensed healthcare practitioner to prescribe individualized homeopathic remedies, herbs and vitamins to help support an efficient fever and to give your immune system a natural boost to fight off infections.

Broths, soups, water, fruit, and diluted unsweetened fruit juices are the best things to consume during a fever in order to maintain hydration and to give the digestive system a break. I made this great chicken soup last weekend when I was feeling run-down and it gave me the immune boost I needed from the garlic, ginger, turkey broth and chilies that I desperately needed.

It is a great soup to share with your loved one(s) on a cold and rainy/snowy afternoon, or to keep in the freezer just in case you start to feel sick. It will help to get you back on your feet in no time!

Chicken & Ginger Root Broth with Mango

  • 1–2 tbsp olive oil or coconut oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 large onion, halved and sliced
  • 1 ½ oz. fresh ginger root, peeled and shredded
  • 1–2 fresh chili peppers, left whole
  • 1 (2–3 lb) whole organic chicken, trimmed of fat and broken down into pieces with the bone in (or you can purchase chicken thighs and/or breasts)
  • 2 ½ cups of organic turkey or chicken stock
  • 2–4 cups of water
  • Sea salt and ground black pepper
  • 1 mango or 1 small green papaya, cut into fine slices
  • ½ cup–1 cup of fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
  1. Heat oil in wok or deep pot.
  2. Add garlic, onion and ginger root. Stir until the onion becomes clear.
  3. Mix in chili peppers and chicken, lightly browning the skin.
  4. Pour in stock, water (just enough to cover the chicken; add more if necessary) and bring liquid to a boil.
  5. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer gently for about 1.5 hours, until chicken is very tender.
  6. Season stock with sea salt and pepper, and add sliced mango or green papaya.
  7. Continue to simmer for 15 minutes more, then add in parsley leaves.
  8. Serve as is or ladle over steamed rice.

Enjoy!

Source:
Basan, Ghillie. 500 Asian Dishes. Apple Press, 2010.  

Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is not meant to replace treatment with a licensed healthcare practitioner. It is for informational purposes only. Consult with a Naturopathic Doctor or other licensed healthcare professional to determine which treatments are safe for you.

Boost Immunity with Change of Season Soup

Many of my patients are suffering from the “Daycare Curse” lately. At school or daycare, their kids are passing around germs, left, right and centre. Little Sarah then comes home, sneezes or coughs in your face and wipes her snotty hands on you. Before you know it, everyone in the household is infected, including you, who is still expected to care for all the other sick and whiny family members.

You and your family don’t have to suffer through repeated colds, flus and sore throats. Naturopathic Medicine provides treatment to boost immunity, prevent illness, speed recovery and reduce your symptoms once you do get sick.

This Change of Season Soup is a great way to help keep the adults and teenagers in the family healthy for the coming winter. Drink 1–2 cups every day for 5–14 days. It can be enjoyed as a tea (you may add honey and/or cinnamon sticks) or as a soup with vegetables, chicken and chicken broth.

Ingredients:

  1. Codonopsis pilosula root (Dang Shen)
  2. Astragalus root (Huang Qi)
  3. Dioscorea villosa (Wild Yam)
  4. Chinese Lycii berries (Lyceum/wolf berries/goji berries)

Use equal parts of each herb (2–3 oz each). You can combine in one batch, or purchase individual prepared packs from your local specialty health food store or trusted Chinese herb market.

Directions:

Fill a large pot with water. Add the herbs and place the lid on. Bring to a boil and simmer for 1–4 hours, adding more water if needed.

Allow to cool, strain and enjoy 1–2 cups per day for 5–14 days.

Alternately, add herbs to chicken broth and simmer for 1 hour. You can enjoy it as is or make a soup out of this broth.

Additional information:

Codonopsis pilosula root (Dang Shen)

  • Enhances energy (Qi), builds blood, nourishes body fluid, and tonifies the spleen and lungs

Astragalus root (Huang Qi)

  • Boosts immunity, strengthens your defenses, enhances energy (Qi), tonifies the blood and lungs, nourishes the spleen and stimulates the immune system

Dioscorea villosa (Wild Yam)

  • Supports the health of the lungs and kidneys

Chinese Lycii berries (Lyceum)

  • Contains vitamin C, supports lungs and kidneys

If you or any of your family members need a little extra immune TLC, feel free to contact me to book in for my Immune Boosting Program.

Have a healthy and happy winter!

Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is not meant to replace treatment with a licensed healthcare practitioner. It is for informational purposes only. Consult with a Naturopathic Doctor or other licensed healthcare professional to determine which treatments are safe for you.

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