LEAKY GUT, LEAKY WHAT? It May Be The Root Cause of Your Pain, Digestive Issues and Skin Rashes

Did you know that seemingly unrelated symptoms, such as headaches, joint pain, eczema, irritable bowel syndrome and autoimmune diseases may actually be caused by a digestive disturbance called leaky gut? And that by healing that condition, you may become free of these symptoms? abdominal-pain-2821941_640

You are probably wondering just what leaky gut is, what causes it and how you can heal from it.

What is Leaky Gut?

You can picture your digestive system like a large tube with small holes in it, like a net. This net allows the beneficial nutrients from your diet to pass through and enter into your bloodstream, to be delivered to cells, organs and tissues for use. This net should also be able to prevent harmful substances from getting through, thereby protecting your immune system and the rest of your body from negative reactions.

If you are eating foods that you are not digesting properly, these larger food particles cause micro-tears and damage to this net, allowing harmful food particles, toxins and bacteria to pass through and enter into your bloodstream. Your immune system actually sees these substances as threats, like it would to viruses or bacteria, and mounts an immune/inflammation reaction that can impact not only the digestive tract, but other areas of the body. You build antibodies to the food particles, which then can travel around the body and deposit in areas such as the joints, brain, and skin, causing not only digestive symptoms but also joint pain, headaches, brain fog, acne, eczema, and rosacea. It is important to note that digestive symptoms don’t always manifest with leaky gut…your warning sign that you may have it could be your recurrent headaches or arthritic symptoms. Each person reacts in their own unique way and you don’t have to have all of the above symptoms to be diagnosed with leaky gut.

Food Sensitivities vs. Food Allergies

Most people know someone who has an allergy to peanuts. If that person were to ingest anything with even a trace amount, they would go into anaphylaxis; meaning that their airways would constrict, their tongue would swell up and they would struggle to breath. If they didn’t get a shot of epinephrine within minutes, they could even die.

A food sensitivity reaction is much milder but still harmful to health. If you eat a food that your immune system reacts to (in a different way, producing what is called IgG antibodies, as opposed to the immediate-release IgE antibodies in a food allergy), a delayed reaction (up to 3 days after eating that food) occurs. Common food sensitivity reactions include: skin rashes, such as eczema, acne and rosacea; digestive issues, such as bloating, gas, abdominal pain, constipation or diarrhea;  and pain that can manifest in the joints or as a headache or migraine. Food sensitivities can also affect the immune system negatively, making it more likely that you get sick or suffer from an autoimmune condition. If you continue to eat the foods you are sensitive to, over time, you can develop leaky gut.

Additional Causes of Leaky Gut

Eating foods that you are sensitive to is not the only cause of leaky gut. Taking antibiotics can wipe out your good gut bacteria which are there to act as a protective lining to your digestive system. Toxins can damage your protective net, as can stress.

What You Can Do About It

  1. Identify and remove with foods you are sensitive to. This can be done by a simple blood test that your Naturopathic Doctor can order for you. This is the easiest way to determine your food sensitivities. Or, you can complete a month-long elimination diet, after which you would re-introduce the commonly offending foods and note any reactions.
  1. Repopulate your good gut bacteria. This involves eating fermented foods (such as kimchi and sauerkraut), eating organic and plain yogurt (I prefer homemade coconut milk yogurt, but you could eat either sheep or goat milk yogurt if you can tolerate them), and taking a high-potency, human-strain probiotic daily. If you suffer from leaky gut, food sources won’t give you enough; you will need to take a probiotic supplement.
  1. Repair the damage that has been done. Bone broth provides collagen and gut-healing amino acids. Herbs and nutrients, such as collagen powder, slippery elm, DGL and glutatmine are soothing and healing to the digestive tract.

After a period of at least 3 months of avoiding your food sensitivities and following this gut-healing program, you may be able to tolerate the foods you were sensitive to, eating them occasionally without eliciting a reaction. Some people may need to avoid their food sensitivities indefinitely to avoid reactions; each person is different.

Dr. Lisa Weeks, Naturopathic Doctor can order the food sensitivity blood test for you or prescribe an elimination diet and then create a unique gut-healing plan to heal your leaky gut to help get rid of headaches, joint pain, skin rashes and digestive complaints.

CONTACT Dr. Lisa to find out more TODAY.


October Newsletter: How to Be More Mindful; Last Call to Join “The Wild”; My Favourite Warming Drinks; Lower-Sugar Options for Halloween

How often are you living in the present moment? Do you savour a meal or a cup of tea without distractions? Do you sit outside in silence for a few minutes, listening to the birds and feeling the cool breeze on your skin?

So many of us have to rush around, day-to-day, running to the next event or thinking about what’s for dinner, the chores that have to get done, the weekend plans.

My challenge to you (if you don’t already do this) is to carve out even 5 minutes per day to just be in the present moment. Can you stop human-doing and tap into your human-being nature? Read on for ideas on how to incorporate mindfulness into your everyday.

Want to incorporate intentional health habits and mindfulness into your everyday in a fun and supportive environment? Join my last Wild Collective Masterclass happening this Monday, Oct 17th at 7:00pm. Reserve your complimentary seat HERE and scroll down for more details.

In this newsletter:

  • Resources for Mindfulness
  • Warming Autumn Drinks and Recipes
  • Some of my favourite lower-sugar snacks and desserts
  • Recent Perimenopausal Mamas Podcast Episodes
  • Last call for my Wild Collective Masterclass this Mon Oct 17th at 7:00pm

Resources for Mindfulness:

  • I came across this Mindful Directory of online and in-person events (some are in Toronto) to promote wellbeing by incorporating meditation, journaling and mindfulness practices.
  • I love using the Insight Timer app. They have free meditations, online yoga classes and live online virtual events. Try one of their walking meditations.
  • Do you eat slowly, while present and not distracted by TV or your computer? I love this 5-minute Mindful Eating Exercise (you can use a raisin, blueberry, small piece of chocolate or any small piece of food) as a reset to remind me to slow down and savour my food.

Warming Autumn Drinks and Recipes:

  • I have rekindled my love affair with Tulsi tea (aka “Holy Basil”). Some people call it “liquid yoga” (as in yin-yoga, not vinyasa!) since it helps to lower stress hormones, calm the nervous system, and supports a deep and restful sleep. It may also help improve lung function, immunity and blood sugar control. Be sure to steep 1 bag (or 1 tsp of loose-leaf) for at least 10 minutes in boiled water to get the most benefits. I drink ½ mug before bed to support a deep sleep (not a full mug since I don’t want to get up to pee too often). I also enjoy a cup in the afternoon as a reset.
  • Rooibos Chai Hot Chocolate! I steep one bag of Four O’Clock Tea’s Rooibos Chai in boiled water for at least 10 minutes. I then add warm almond, hemp or macadamia nut milk and 1-2 tsp of Giddy YoYo’s raw cacao powder. If I am craving something a bit sweeter, I will also add some Wedderspoon Manuka honey or Lakanto monk fruit sweetener to taste.
  • Chaiwala’s Fresh Herbal Masala Chai tea. Move over, pumpkin spice lattes! This “wet” tea blend is caffeine-free and contains fresh ginger root, freshly ground spices and honey. You simmer it on the stove with water and your choice of nut-free milk (I am loving macadamia nut milk in it right now), strain and enjoy!
  • Instant Pot Chili: Pete has made this twice so far (without the sugar) and the secret ingredient is raw cacao powder! It makes enough for two meals with leftovers to freeze.

Some of My Favourite Lower-Sugar Snacks and Desserts:

  • If you haven’t tried Smart Sweets, I have to warn you: they are addictive. With only 3g of “sugar” (from natural fibres and sweeteners) per 50g serving size, they satisfy those sugar cravings. Flavours range from peach slices, sourmelon bites, cola gummies and sweet fish to gummy worms and gummy bears. They don’t contain sugar, artificial sweeteners/colours/flavours, sugar alcohols, GMO ingredients, common allergens. AND, they are packed with plant-based fiber to boot.
  • I love Zazubean Slinky Paleo Low-Sugar Chocolate which contains inulin and stevia to sweeten it instead of sugar. Giddy Yoyo Dark Chocolate is amazing and they also sell Mid-Day Squares, which are  raw/superfood squares packed with protein. They are organic, vegan, gluten-free, and non-GMO; I love the Peanut Butta flavour and Fudge Yah flavours.
  • To satisfy those salty/crunchy cravings, I love Lesser Evil Popcorn, Paleo Puffs and Power Curls (which contain a decent amount of protein).

Recent Perimenopausal Mamas Podcast Episodes:

Last chance: Calling all “Wild Sisters”! Join me on Monday, Oct 17th (virtually)

My final virtual Wild Collective Masterclass is this Monday, Oct 17th at 7:00pm.

Register to discover how to:

  • Up-level your body literacy and lab testing knowledge
  • Understand how to listen to your gut, hormonal symptoms and signs your body is trying to tell you
  • Unpack and overcome your challenges in a supportive community
  • Understand how to eat in a way that is right for YOUR body
  • Have powerful health transformations that otherwise seem impossible to do on your own


(and see here for a 1-minute video testimonial from Beka, a previous participant)

Are you feeling unmotivated, sluggish and stuck?

Get back on track: book an appointment with me so we can strategize and create a plan that works for your health concerns and your lifestyle. Book your appointment HERE (and in Practice Better). Contact me to book an in-person appointment.

“Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, “I’m possible!”. – Audrey Hepburn

Community Health is the Wave of the Future!

The Wild Collective Toronto Enrollment is Opening Soon.

I’m so excited, and I just can’t hide it! I am opening enrollment for the Fall 2021 enrollment of the Wild Collective Toronto.

This will be the third time I am running this unique and revolutionary women’s health community initiative which is being offered in over 35 clinics all over North America. It disrupts the traditional health care model, fosters meaningful connection and community AND is an instruction manual for your body and health.

The intention of the Wild Collective is to connect like-minded women to each other while helping them to reclaim their wild. It empowers and arms participants to up-level their health, life and relationships.

To be “Wild” means: “To live the natural life, one in which the creature, has innate integrity and healthy boundaries.”

I have seen first-hand how this program: brings together a health community of like-minded individuals: educates you on how to connect your physiology (health symptoms) to your intuition; and strengthens your relationship with what we call the divine feminine.

Community and connection are key pieces to your health and are often overlooked.  Social isolation and loneliness are the biggest risk factors for ALL- CAUSE Mortality.  Loneliness poses a greater risk to your health more than smoking cigarettes, consuming alcohol, eating a poor diet and being obese! It is as dangerous as smoking 15 cigarettes per day and can shorten your life expectancy by 8 years!

More positively, strong, social connection can reduce the risk of mortality after a cardiac event by 50% and can prevent cognitive decline by 91%. 

It seems so simple and powerful, yet most of us are feeling socially disconnected, now more than ever. Our health depends upon us prioritizing community and connection.

This is a really wonderful opportunity for our community as this is a transformational and revolutionary healthcare experience.  I am confident that you will find this initiative incredibly valuable.

I wanted to give you the exclusive insider opportunity to be the first to GET ON THE WAITLIST, since spots are limited to 20 women only.

Not sure if this is for you, but are intrigued? I have got you covered!  I will be hosting a FREE information session to educate you on what this experience is all about as well as, give you the opportunity ask all your questions. 


I cannot wait to connect with you soon.

Until then, I will excitedly wait for when it is time to reveal more details.

Stay wild,

Dr. Lisa

The Wild Collective: A Community Health Initiative

Sisterhood is the medicine I never knew I needed.

I had read up on all the research and on an intellectual level it made sense.  But I didn’t realize it was the missing link for my health until I had my son, Stuart, 3.5 years ago, and felt so alone.

I went through some pretty serious breastfeeding challenges, which left me feeling isolated and like a failure as a mom and as a Naturopathic Doctor. The breastfeeding challenges eventually led to severe sleep deprivation, which quickly turned into postpartum anxiety. I remember the thought of getting out of the house was fraught with stress so severe, that sometimes it was just worth it to stay inside all day. I isolated myself from my friends and family and blamed it on being “busy” and “tired”. Eventually, I hit rock bottom when I suffered from burnout and low mood. I remember reading to Stuart before bed, trying to put on a happy face, but really feeling too tired to even read the words on the pages. I would sing him bedtime songs and do my best not to cry.

Eventually, I reached out for support from a psychologist, my medical doctor, my Naturopathic Doctor and my family and friends. I got the help I needed and allowed myself to be vulnerable and supported by others. I also found out that my thyroid was under-functioning and my adrenals were out of whack; things that can be treated using naturopathic medicine. I joined mom groups and devoured “real mom” podcasts, which led me to co-create the Perimenopausal Mamas podcast to support other moms going through challenging times to let them know they are not alone and that there are solutions out there for them.

And then, when I came across The Wild Collective, a revolutionary women’s health and community initiative, I knew I had to become a facilitator.

The Wild Collective is a perfect blend of health education, empowerment and community support. Not only do I get to help women uncover the blockages and imbalances that may be interfering with their ability to live their best life; I also get to facilitate the creation of a community of like-minded women that helps each other out and reclaims their wild.

This is how you can meet your people.  People who love and accept you for who you are, so life can get a little sweeter and a lot more fun. 

Be prepared to be a part of something raw and real and to see transformations in your health and in your life.

As a clinician it is often hard to get women to face the obstacles to cure that are seriously getting in the way of thriving health.  Negative self talk, sadness, projected expectations and hanging out with energy vampires all impede your ability to heal. It is my experience that sisterhood is the answer.

It is such an honour to be a part of the Wild Collective. I look forward to travelling on this journey with you, in sisterhood, as we each allow each other to stand in our light, gain clarity on purpose, and take bold action. 

When I say sister you are home, I take that very seriously.

When I say reclaim your wild, I mean that wholeheartedly. ‘

When I say your community awaits you, I mean it. 

You deserve sisterhood that feels like soul food; you deserve a safe space to grow and thrive.

The Wild Collective is starting very soon. Join me for the info session and learn why this is the medicine you never knew you needed.

Space is limited. Sign up for one of the free Info Sessions (the week of Jan 25th, 2021) HERE.There are some EPIC bonuses if you attend live!

In Sisterhood,

Lisa xo

If you have any questions about the Wild Collective, or want to reserve your spot, contact me HERE (even if you can’t make the info session).

Is It Anxiety? How to Find Out and Deal With It, Naturally.


Is your mind constantly racing?stress-2902537_640

Do you feel overwhelmed by the day-to-day tasks and unable to cope?

Do you feel like you can never get ahead and never have time for yourself?

Then you may be suffering from anxiety.

Common symptoms include: sleep problems, difficulty concentrating, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, a rapid heart rate, sweating, constant worries, heartburn/reflux and IBS symptoms.

It is more common than you think: In Canada, by age 40, 1 in 2 will have –or have had – a mental illness. Only about 50% of those will tell a friend or co-worker about it.

Anxiety can be caused by or worsened by a number of medical conditions. It is important to see your primary health care practitioner to rule out such causes as: hyperthyroidism, anemia or low iron/B12, hypoglycemia, or drug-induced anxiety (from the abuse of stimulants, caffeine, cocaine, steroids, etc.).

When you are anxious, your body is on high alert, responding as if it was fighting for your life, even if you are just rushing to get the housework done or thinking about that big project at work whose deadline is quickly approaching.

The effect on the body is the same, regardless of the situation or perceived threat. Digestion and reproductive functions shut down, since the priority is to increase blood flow to the muscles to physically run away from the threat (real or perceived). Your heart rate, blood pressure and blood sugar levels increase to supply the body with extra energy to survive. Over time, chronic stress can lead to weakened immunity, diabetes, heart disease, weight gain, headaches, digestive issues, fatigue, burnout and insomnia.

Here is one of my favourite quotes about depression and anxiety:

“If you are depressed you are living in the past.
If you are anxious you are living in the future.
If you are at peace you are living in the present.”

― Lao Tzu

This is not to say that anxiety and depression are just in your head; commonly recognized causes in Naturopathic Medicine include: hormone or neurotransmitter imbalances, inflammation, leaky gut/dysbiosis (did you know that most of your serotonin receptors are in your gut?), nutrient deficiencies and heavy metal toxicity.

But it is important to recognize possible psychological triggers for these conditions.

As a new mom, some of my anxiety came from the realization that I could only accomplish a fraction of what I saw as “productive work” in a day compared to before I had another human to care for. The routine daily tasks could leave me, at times, feeling unfulfilled, drained and anxious that I hadn’t done enough for my business or my family.

I started to suffer from difficulty sleeping, palpitations and trouble concentrating. It was hard to live in and enjoy the present moment.

Don’t get me wrong; I love being a mom; but there were times when I would feel overwhelmed and depleted by it all.

What helped me to cope and accept my new reality was by following a few simple (yet effective) steps:

  1. To identify which daily activities drained me. I soon realized that multi-tasking was zapping my energy. I felt energized if I set a timer for 30 minutes and worked on one thing at a time, taking a break once the timer went off.
  2. To identify which daily activities energized me: getting outside for a walk allowed me to come back refreshed and with a clear head. Meditating for 10 minutes helped me get focused and feel more present. Writing blog posts filled me up and became a source of enjoyment.
  3. To receive help. This sounds so simple and obvious, but how often do you actually accept help when it is offered to you? If someone offered to feed Stuart or change his diaper, instead of turning them down, I would take them up on their offer, freeing up more time and space for myself. Pay attention to how often you receive help and how often you turn it down; it may surprise you that you are passing up on opportunities to take things off your plate.
  4. Create a “ta-da” list, a concept I heard about from Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project. At the end of each day, write down all of your accomplishments, however seemingly “small”. Even making homemade food for Stuart or doing 2 loads of laundry, in addition to seeing patients and working on social media, became a source of accomplishment. Often we don’t reflect on our successes and end up focusing on what we weren’t able to complete. The “ta-da” list is a great way to flip that bad habit on its’ head.

As a Naturopathic Doctor, I have some tools up my sleeve to help with the physical manifestations of anxiety.

Holy basil, otherwise known as tulsi, is one of my favourite herbs for stress, overwhelm and insomnia. I enjoy it regularly in tea form (I steep 1 tbsp of loose leaf tea in boiling water for at least 10 minutes) and enjoy before bed. When I was waking up to attend to Stuart in the middle of the night and having a hard time falling back asleep, I would take the tincture form to knock me out. It worked like a charm.

Avoiding, or at least limiting, sugar is crucial when you suffer from anxiety. It can put you on a blood sugar roller coaster. Initially, after consuming a sugary treat, your blood sugar spikes. Then, it crashes a few hours later, triggering the release of cortisol, worsening anxiety. By eating a balanced breakfast with healthy fat, protein and minimal carbs, you can greatly reduce anxiety during the day. I like to reach for either a protein smoothie with coconut milk; coconut chia pudding with collagen powder added; or eggs, avocado, baby carrots and hummus for breakfast to keep my energy and mood stable. If I am craving sweets, I choose Zazubean “Nudie” 80% dark chocolate, which uses coconut sugar as a sweetener, instead of the blood-sugar-spiking refined or cane sugar.

Other tips to reduce anxiety include: limiting or avoiding caffeine, taking a good quality magnesium supplement, meditating, practicing yoga, and calling up a friend or family member.

I offer lab testing to assess cortisol (stress hormone) levels, which can be done by collecting samples of your urine or saliva. Based on your results, I can individualize a treatment plan using nutrition, herbal medicine, acupuncture, lifestyle counselling and even exercise recommendations to prevent the harmful effects stress is having on your body. CONTACT ME to book an appointment for cortisol testing and/or anxiety support.

Another tool I offer is an 8-week stress-reduction online course called “Burning the Candle at Both Ends: Discover Ways to Live Without Stress”.

From now until the end of February, I am offering a limited-time discount on this online course: the cost is only $49 (a $200 savings!). Don’t miss out on this exclusive offer!

See HERE for more info and to sign up.

Here’s to living in the present and celebrating your accomplishments!

Health Hacks of a New Mom

girl yogaTen glorious, exhausting, joyful, challenging and life-changing months have come and gone in a blink of an eye since little Stuart was born.  My early days revolved around feeding, sleeping (whenever I could) and diaper changes. I felt drained and overwhelmed; no one can prepare you for the sleep deprivation and challenges of motherhood. My “to-do” list was endless and I feared I would face absolute burnout.

During those first few months, my self-care was limited to the basics of showering (most days), enjoying a nice cup of tea and a few squares of dark chocolate, and eating a healthy diet (my quick go-tos in a bind where hard-boiled eggs, pre-washed organic greens, canned salmon, organic baby carrots and hummus).

Once we were in a bit of a routine with Stuart, I knew it was time to get back to taking care of myself to boost my energy and allow me to continue to give so much.

I started out small, so as to not add further overwhelm. Before Stuart was born, I had a set morning routine that I relished doing each day, starting off with 20-30 min of yoga, followed by 10 minutes of meditation and 5 minutes of journaling.

Carving out that much time for me was no longer in the cards. I felt it was reasonable to aim to do 10 min of yoga per day (while Stuart was sleeping) and get out for long walks whenever possible (which was easy to do, because during the first several months, the only place that Stuart would nap was in the stroller or carrier). Boy did it feel good to get back to movement and exercise!

As time marched on, I added in the following self-care rituals into my day:

  • Meditating (for 10 minutes) and journaling (for 3-5 minutes) while pumping, since finding extra time was next to impossible. I used the Calm Meditation app and journalled using the template from The Five Minute Journal. Meditating helps me to be more mindful and present in my day and with my loved ones. Journaling helps me to find gratitude and appreciation for the small stuff, even if I am going through difficult times. I can’t stress enough how profound these practices have been in shaping my perception of and intention for each day.
  • Making breakfast ahead of time, enough to last me for 3 days. I would prepare a large chia coconut pudding or overnight oats that I kept in the fridge. Each morning, I would portion out a serving size and add organic, frozen blueberries and a scoop of protein powder.
  • Keeping a glass and/or bottle of water on each floor of the house: one upstairs to stay hydrated while breastfeeding, one at the kitchen table to sip on while eating or working away on my computer, and one in my basement clinic office to drink while treating patients. Staying hydrated energizes me, supports regularity and was crucial since I was breastfeeding Stuart every 2-3 hours.
  • Listening to podcasts when out for walks while Stuart napped in the stroller, to stimulate my brain and to hear other moms going through similar challenges. My favourites included; Totally Mommy, Balanced Bites, The Tim Ferriss Show and The Goodlife Project. I also enjoy listening to audiobooks since sitting down and reading a book seems like a pipe dream now.

If you are feeling overwhelmed with your responsibilities and have neglected your self-care, don’t beat yourself up. It is never to late to put yourself on your “to-do” list and make self care a priority. Start out small; choose from a short walk, a tea break where you actually savour each sip, or 5 minutes of dancing to your favourite song. It can feel like a luxury, but at the end of the day, your cup has to be full before you can give to anyone else.

How to Savour the Holidays While Still Staying Healthy

journalMy friend just gave me an inspiring book to read: Start With Why by Simon Sinek.

I watched Simon’s TED Talk and was inspired to add the book to my growing pile of holiday reads (including too many baby books to count!).

The TED Talk got me thinking; am I consciously aware of the WHY behind everything I am doing on a daily basis?

I do believe that I have incorporated more mindfulness and gratitude in my day-to-day life than even a year ago, especially since hearing about The Five Minute Journal from Tim Ferriss. He inspired me to incorporate a daily journaling practice into my morning routine, which has been crucial in allowing me to set intentions for and aim to get the most out of each day.

I created my own questions to answer each morning in my journal, with inspiration from The Five Minute Journal that you can buy online. I printed off a word document with these questions and pasted them into the front of a regular notebook to answer daily:

1. What would make today great?
2. List 3 amazing things that happened yesterday.
3. What are your weekly challenges?
4. What are you grateful for:

a. Relationship? Name one person.
b. Opportunity you have today?
c. That happened/you saw yesterday?
d. That is simple and near you?

5. Affirmation/Intention
6. How could you have made yesterday better?

I have recently added 2 more questions:

7. What do you love about yourself?
8. What is the message of the day for baby (since I am 27 weeks pregnant)?

It literally takes me less than 5 minutes to answer these and I feel armed and ready to take on my day in a way where I am more proactive and less reactive to any drama that may arise. It does make it easier to savour the small things that happen and not dwell on the negative parts.

So how can we apply “Start with Why” for the holidays?

Many of us get stressed out about hosting a party. We want everything to be perfect, from the linens and table setting, to the h ‘or d’oeuvres and wine selection. It is often easy to get caught up in these details and forget about the WHY of the party in the first place, which is a gathering of loved ones to share a fun, relaxing and entertaining collective experience. Instead of mulling over hundreds of recipes (unless that is something you truly enjoy), you could spend that time visualizing and planning what would make the party meaningful and memorable. You could have everyone at the table stand-up, one-at-a-time, and say one thing that they are grateful for/one good memory together from the past year. You could all play a fun game of charades or look over pictures of past holidays for a good laugh or cry. Yes, people may remember if the meat is overcooked, but the emotions and memories will last much longer and leave a bigger imprint on the guests’ hearts.

How can we apply “Start With Why” to stay healthy over the holidays?

Many of my patients struggle with keeping up their health habits over the holidays. They may exercise less or stop completely; they may eat out too often or get too busy and end up skipping meals. They may overindulge in alcohol, sweets, or that tempting cheese tray.
In these moments or struggle, the WHY may be: to get through a busy time, to treat ourselves, to save time. But, if we can remember WHY we started these health habits in the first place, we are more likely to stick with them.

If someone is aware that they are going to get heartburn (that will keep them up most of the night) from having too much alcohol or eating dessert, then they may be able to step back and moderate their intake, realizing that a lost night of sleep is just not worth it. If they just think of the short-term reward, then they may overindulge and suffer later.

If someone forgoes their workout to sleep in after being out too late, then they may not sleep as well that night and have less energy to exercise the next day. The vicious cycle can continue.

I recognize that we can’t be perfect over the holidays. You can modify your health habits over the holidays to avoid the “all-or-nothing” mentality. Even if you get up earlier to do a 10-minute workout (as opposed to your regular 30-60 min one), then you have succeeded.

If you set the intention before going to a party to not allow yourself more than 2 drinks (as opposed to several cocktails plus a half bottle of wine), you have won the battle.

Here are some simple tips to stay healthy over the holidays (and always remember the WHY!):

1. Don’t go to a party hungry. Have a snack before, such as a hardboiled egg, some nutbutter spread on a sliced apple or pear, or have some vegetables and hummus. You will be less likely to overindulge and make poor food choices when presented with the bread basket and dessert platter.

2. Always keep a non-alcoholic drink in your hand, such as sparkling water, herbal tea, or water with splash of punch/juice if you are craving something sweet. Staying hydrated will make you feel full and prevent you from picking at the endless trays of appetizers.

3. Continue to exercise. You may not be able to get to the gym, but ask your trainer for a short workout that you could do at home several times per week. Or, schedule a family or friend get-together around a physical activity such as a walk, building a snowman, playing Wii fit, snowshoeing or skiing.

4. Don’t skimp on sleep. The less sleep you get, the more stress hormones are released the next day, leading you to feel anxious and irritable, tired and wired, and reaching for more sweets than usual. Do your best to have a set bedtime and don’t feel bad about leaving a party early.

5. Say no to parties or get-togethers that you are not going to enjoy. Don’t spread yourself too thin and over schedule. Choose those activities and gatherings that will feed your soul.

And, before each day starts (and before each party), ask yourself WHY to remember what is truly important so you can get the most out of it.

Free Webinar: “Sick of Getting Sick? Natural Prevention of Colds and Illnesses”

SickSign up HERE for my FREE Webinar on Tues October 25th at 7:00pm. 
If you are you:

  • Sick of getting sick and want to get to the root cause
  • Fed up from having to take antibiotic after antibiotic
  • Tired of looking after loved ones who keep falling ill
  • A business owner who can’t afford to take sick days off work
We often think of getting sick as something that happens TO us, out of our control. To some extent, this is true. You are exposed to a virus or bacteria on the subway, from your child coughing in your face, or from using public bathrooms.We can’t stop ourselves from being exposed to all germs, but in this webinar I am going to talk about ways to:
  • limit exposure to germs
  • enhance what is called your “terrain” (which helps determine if you do succumb to an illness after being exposed to a virus or bacteria)
  • help you recover quicker and with less symptoms if you do get sick.


Warriors Within

SickYou know it is cold and flu season when…you are on the subway and the person behind you starts to cough uncontrollably. You wish you could avoid public transit altogether, but driving to work takes way too long.

You are reminded again that everyone around you is getting sick when you get to work. Your cubicle neighbour comes by to update you on the new guy she is dating. She puts her fingers all over your computer to show you his photos on Facebook after you just saw her sneeze into her hands.

Yuck! Germ overload!

No matter how many times you wash your hands, no matter how many times you try to avoid touching door handles in public, you ARE going to be exposed to illness-causing viruses and bacteria.

It may seem impossible not to get sick, but you can take action to prevent yourself from coming down with colds and the flu.

Luckily, we have an army within us, circulating from head to toe, ready to attack any invading virus or bacteria at a moment’s notice. This white-blood-cell brigade called the immune system is always working behind the scenes to keep us healthy. But we have to give these warriors the rest they need, along with the appropriate supplies, route maps and a hospital/place to live.

Just how can we do that?

See below and/or JOIN ME on Tues Oct 25th at 7:00pm (EST) for my Free Webinar: Sick of Getting Sick? Natural Prevention of Colds and Illnesses. Sign up HERE

First of all, get some sleep! A good night’s rest reduces our susceptibility to colds. Mammals that get the most sleep have been shown to have higher numbers of disease-fighting white blood cells. In a study published in The Archives of Internal Medicine (2009), participants who slept an average of less than seven hours a night over a two-week period were three times as likely to get sick as those who got at least 8 hours a night. They figured this out by tracking the sleep patterns of 153 men and women for two weeks, and then exposing them to the cold virus for five days following while in quarantine. It turns out that extra hour can really pay off!

What else can we do?

These warriors have very specific nutritional requirements to be able to work their hardest. If we are overweight, they slow down and get lazy. Consuming sugar and processed food robs them of vital nutrients while fruits, vegetables and good-quality protein sources keep them marching around the body ready for action.

Foods that particularly keep them going include:

  • Ginger, garlic and turmeric.
  • Zinc-rich foods such as cremini mushrooms, pumpkin seeds, spinach, sea vegetables, oysters.
  • Vitamin C-rich foods including blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, oranges, papaya, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kiwi, cauliflower, kale, parsley, lemons, limes, spinach, snow peas and rose hip tea.
  • Beta-carotene-rich foods including carrots, spinach, turnip, kale, sweet potato, cayenne pepper, cantaloupe, winter squash, apricots, broccoli, collard greens and asparagus.
  • Supplements and herbs that give them the mojo they need include zinc, vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin D, probiotics, bioflavonoids, astragalus, garlic, sambucus nigra, ginseng, andrographis, cordyceps, reishi, shiitake and maitake. Be sure to consult with your licensed healthcare practitioner to ensure you are taking safe, effective herbs and nutrients that will not interact with any medical conditions you may be suffering from or with any medications you may be taking.

Now that they are armed and ready to go, they need a route map to find their way and some sturdy vehicles to help them race around. Exercise and hydrotherapy are crucial to keep them moving around the body and prevent them from getting side-tracked. Muscle contractions during exercise pumps the fluid that carries them around the body so that they can provide surveillance from head to toe. Taking alternating hot and cold showers (three minutes hot, one minute cold, repeat two more times OR end your shower in 30 seconds to one minute of cold water) keeps their jeeps moving along the road to health. If we aren’t moving, neither are they!

We also want to provide a hospitable environment for them to live in. If we are stressed out or angry, they won’t perform at their optimal level. Stress-relieving techniques such as yoga, meditation, exercise, journaling and counselling are great ways to support these natural warriors. If we talk about our emotions and get them out, then we are less likely to succumb to that cold or flu virus.

With the right preparation, when you hear that stranger on the subway start to cough, you will know that you have done all you could to get those warriors within ready for action!

If you want further support for boosting immunity naturally, book an appointment with me for an individualized program to keep you healthy throughout the fall and winter.

You can also sign up for my FREE WEBINAR on Tues Oct 25th at 7:00pm: “Sick of Getting Sick? Natural Prevention of Colds and Illnesses”. SIGN UP HERE.

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.

Big Announcement

announcementI’ve been keeping a secret from you.

I knew I could only last so long until I just couldn’t keep it in anymore.

Anyways, if I didn’t tell you, you would probably have guessed what it was, eventually.


You may have noticed that my waistline was starting to get bigger. Perhaps I was looking a little more run down. No, I wasn’t over-indulging (more than normal) over the summer or neglecting my health– although my appetite definitely has definitely increased lately and my tastebuds have changed!

So, here goes…time it get it off my chest…

I am 18 weeks pregnant! My husband and I are expecting a baby the first week of March! It is our first child, so I know we are in for a shock.

We have just started to spread the word to family and friends. I didn’t want to leave you out of the loop.

Being my first pregnancy, I have a new-found respect for what expectant moms go through. I have always treated women in my Naturopathic practice who were: trying to get pregnant, wanted to feel their best while pregnant, needed support recovering post-labour, had challenges breastfeeding, or wanted help choosing the best formula for their infant. But, I had never gone through it first-hand. The recurrent nausea I experienced in my first trimester had me shunning salads and raw vegetables in the dead heat of summer. The thought of drinking green tea and eating dark chocolate made me shudder (I used to love having a few squares per day of the Giddy YoYo raw, dairy-free dark chocolate). Where I used to be able to eat every 4-5 hours, I now had to eat smaller meals and snack between. If I got hungry, the nausea hit like a ton of bricks. Before pregnancy, I would do mini intermittent overnight fasting periods for 12-14 hours (by not snacking after dinner and by eating my breakfast after my moderate workouts in the morning). But, in the first trimester, if I didn’t eat right when I woke up, my stomach rebelled.

I had to get creative to ensure my body still got the nutrition it needed to support the growing life inside of me.

I steamed and roasted vegetables or ate them in the form of soups (yes, even on those 35C + days!). Scrambled eggs, avocado and tomato were my go-tos, and I was even starting to crave comfort foods from my past. These included pizza, yogurt, pancakes and cereal. Eating mostly Paleo in my day-to-day before pregnancy, I was shocked at how my taste buds had changed.

I still wanted to avoid gluten and discovered that Queen Margarita Pizza had the best gluten-free crust I have tasted (for the occasional treat). Udi’s brand also carries a frozen one that we use for pizza night at home. If I have avocado toast in the morning, I have it with one slice of gluten-free bread – either the Queen St. Bakery’s Romano bread or the Silver Hills’s Chia Bread. I love slathering olive oil on top, adding avocadoes and tomatoes and having it with a side of 2 scrambled eggs cooked in coconut oil. The only raw vegetables I could tolerate at the end of the first trimester was organic carrots, celery and cucumber (I was craving savoury breakfasts with vegetables).

I have avoided dairy for the past 12 years (with the occasional indulgence on the weekend), so I first opted for a coconut milk yogurt. I found it too sweet, so I switched to either a sheep’s milk yogurt or a goat’s milk yogurt that were nice and tangy without added sugar. I love sprinkling hemp hearts and organic berries on top for a filling snack. Since I did a lot of gut-healing before pregnancy, I was able to tolerate some cheese and goat/sheep yogurt without the typical reaction I would get of brain fog, acne, bloating and stool changes.

For those pancake cravings, I make Paleo Coconut Pancakes, which satisfy my cravings without the guilt. I slather on almond butter or coconut oil and bit of maple syrup, or make a reduction of cooked apples/pears and cinnamon to put on top. Delicious!

As for cereal, I make my own version by adding banana, chopped nuts, hemp hearts and shredded coconut to a small bowl with coconut or almond milk.

Now that I am in the second trimester, I am back to eating salads and raw vegetables (and loving them!). But, I still can’t eat chocolate and green tea can be hit or miss. I no longer feel nauseous and my energy definitely has increased. I feel great in the day but crash at night. My bedtime is now 9:30pm if I am lucky, sometimes earlier, but I still manage to wake up at 5:30am or 6:00am to do my morning yoga, meditation and journaling.

Perhaps you are wondering what this means for my Naturopathic practice? I can reassure you that I plan to keep seeing patients during my regular clinic hours as long as I can before my due date of March 1, 2017. I am planning on taking a 6-8 week maternity leave from practice after which I will resume part-time hours (most likely 2-3 half days/week, including an evening and every other Saturday). I plan to have a back-up Naturopathic Doctor to refer you to during my 6-8 weeks off if you require treatment before I resume my clinic hours.

I will also still be accepting new patients up until I go on my short maternity leave (if the space is available).

My husband and I are excited to open this new chapter in our lives! I look forward to the journey and sharing the tools and tricks I pick up along the way to get through what I hope is a healthy pregnancy, delivery and post-partum period. Stay tuned for my next blog post where I will cover how acupuncture/acupressure can enhance fertility and reduce nausea/pain in pregnancy. I will also give you a brief overview of some super-nutrients that are key in pre-pregnancy, during pregnancy and post-delivery.

Feel free to reach out to me to book in for your Healthy Fertility (for males and females), Healthy Pregnancy or Healthy Baby appointments.

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