Archive: Energy

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.


relax.natureAre you so busy that you can’t find the time to do the things you need to do to get back your sanity and start enjoying your life?

Then, this FREE gift (webinar) may be just what you need.

REGISTER by clicking on the Date/Time Links below or scroll down for more details.

WHEN: Tuesday, July 12th, 7:00pm-7:40pm 
OR: Monday, July 18th, 6:30pm-7:10pm

I know what it feels like to be burnt out. Ironically, as a Naturopathic student, I was burning the candle at both ends. I had long days of classes, worked part-time and commuted over 2 hours per day. I stopped looking after myself and paid the price.

My mood dropped, I was continually snapping at my loved ones over the littlest things and would have days of total and utter exhaustion, where even walking felt like too much.

It wasn’t until I started to deal with stress by:

  • learning how to eat well to balance my blood sugar levels and hormones
  • incorporating yoga and meditation into my daily routine
  • and realizing that I was over-exercising

That I was able to heal. I can understand what you are going through and want to help you get past your hurdles. To get over chronic stress and give yourself the time and mindset to enjoy life and handle stressors with grace.

I wanted to share with you the first webinar in my “Burning the Candle at Both Ends –Discover Ways to Live Without Stress” Series. I have had amazing feedback on the program and wanted to give you a taste of what it provides. If you want to learn how stress destroys your health and determine just how imbalanced your hormones are, be sure to register. (by clicking on either of the sign-up boxes below).

I will be available for a live Q&A after the webinar viewing, so be sure to stick around (webinar is 20min) to have any of your pressing questions answered.


Tuesday, July 12th, 7:00pm-7:40pm 
Monday, July 18th, 6:30pm-7:10pm


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.

Beat Those Winter Blues

Gone are the days of frolicking in the sun, feeling full of life and carefree…unless you paid a hefty sum to fly south to pretend that it is summer again for one short week.

Unfortunately, with the shorter days of winter, you are more likely to suffer from mood disturbances and energy depletion. These are physiological reactions to a lack of light that can affect you in several ways.

First of all, without the sun’s rays hitting your skin, your body is unable to produce significant amounts of vitamin D. Many studies show an association between low levels of vitamin D in the blood and mood disorders such as seasonal affective disorder, non-specified mood disorder, major depressive disorder and premenstrual syndrome. Talk to your licensed healthcare practitioner to find out just how much and what type of vitamin D is right for you.

Secondly, the longer, dark nights may throw off your natural circadian rhythm, resulting in changes in your melatonin levels. This commonly occurs in the fall and winter, may contribute to a depressed mood, irritability and headaches.

What Can You Do to Beat the Winter Blues?

Embrace winter activities such as cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, skating, downhill skiing and snowboarding. Take brisk walks or jog in the cold, but be prepared with the proper equipment. Even just 20–30 minutes of daily exercise stimulates the release of natural feel-good endorphins, reduces stress and helps us to re-establish a healthy circadian rhythm.

Get your vitamin D levels tested by your licensed healthcare practitioner. He or she can help you find a well-absorbed kind and tell you how much you should be taking to avoid any negative side effects.

Treat yourself to a cup of real hot cocoa. Cocoa contains an abundance of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to boost mood, improve concentration, reduce stress, help protect your heart and blood vessels, and slow aging. Camino is a great brand that offers 100% cocoa powder and various hot chocolate mixes.

Laugh daily. Watch a funny television show or movie. I find Modern Family, 30 Rock and the Comedy Channel are all great for a good chuckle. Go to a comedy club. Subscribe online to a joke of the day or watch funny clips on YouTube. The possibilities are endless. Laughing reduces stress and improves mood.

Avoid caffeine, sugar, white flour and refined carbohydrates. Although they make you feel good in the short term, they will zap your energy later in the day and make you feel guilty, which will only bring you down further.

Get together with friends, family members, loved ones and animals/pets. Social interaction increases the release of mood-enhancing and stress-reducing compounds.

With these simple steps, you can start feeling better now!

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.


The Power of Cleansing

Well, it’s that time of year again…the days are shorter, the temperature is dropping and the leaves are starting to change. Summer definitely flew by!

For most, summer is a time of indulgence. Barbecues, drinks on the patio or dock, and ice cream are staples of many while at the cottage or camping. The long bright days and warm weather keep us energized and active. Fall is the time for us to prepare for the shorter and colder days of winter, when energy is typically lower and our immune function is greatly depressed. The climate of fall is moderate, which is perfect for a cleanse. If we attempt to cleanse during the extreme heat of summer or the extreme cold of winter; added stress is placed on the body, and we are more likely to get sick or experience unfavourable effects.

Doing a cleanse is ideal to clean out all of the “gunk” that has accumulated over the previous season/year and to get our bodies tuned up for winter. Unfortunately, we are exposed to toxins in our food (pesticides, herbicides), water, cosmetics, body care products, plastic products and in the air that we breathe. In Chinese medicine, fall is the time when the lung and large intestine are most active. If we don’t clean out the toxins from the body before winter, we are more susceptible to illnesses in these organs, such as colds, the flu, bronchitis, asthma flare-ups, and digestive concerns. Not only can a cleanse help to boost energy levels and mood, clear up skin issues, resolve digestive problems, and jumpstart metabolism and weight loss, it will also give the immune system a much-needed boost to prevent those dreaded colds and flus that commonly start as the temperatures drop.

A cleanse typically involves at least 2–3 weeks of dietary changes to give the body a rest from foods that are harder to digest and have negative effects in the body. You will most likely need to cut out all gluten, dairy, non-organic meat, peanuts, shellfish, corn, soy, alcohol, added sugar in any form, artificial colours and flavours, preservatives, and caffeine (except for green and white tea in some cases). Foods that may be avoided include potatoes, tomatoes, eggplants, peppers and mushrooms (as they can cause inflammation in the body). It is advisable to discuss your individualized food plan with your Naturopathic Doctor to ensure you are getting the appropriate nutrients.

In addition to dietary changes during the cleansing period, it is beneficial to include homeopathic remedies, herbs and nutrients to support the body’s detoxification pathways. Be sure to consult with a licensed healthcare practitioner (such as a Naturopathic Doctor), as we all are unique and require different supplements for proper detoxification. The Naturopathic Doctor will make sure that what you are taking will not interact with any medications you take or any conditions you may be suffering from. He or she will also focus on where you need the most support. Some patients may need extra fibre and herbs to help eliminate through the liver and digestive tract, others may need more support for the kidney, lung or lymphatic system. It is really important to make sure you are cleansing in the right ways. If done improperly, you can activate and accumulate toxins in your body, when the goal is to eliminate them completely. Following the right meal plan and cleansing protocol are needed to make sure you reap the most benefits and avoid any negative side effects.

Expect to feel a little cranky and agitated in the first several days. You may notice some digestive changes, mild headaches and some fatigue. After about 3–5 days, you may notice that your energy levels have increased, your mood has improved, and your body is more balanced. Your body and mind will be better suited to deal with the harsh days of winter.

Here are some easy ways to gently detoxify on a daily basis. For a complete and individualized cleanse, please consult with a licensed healthcare practitioner for the best results.

  1. Avoid exposure to toxins in the first place.Eat organic producelow-mercury fish and organic/free-range meats whenever possible. Make sure the cosmetics you are using are safe, limit your use of plastic, and ensure you are drinking pure water and breathing clean air.
  2. Fresh lemon or lime in water 5 minutes before meals.This sounds too simple to help, but the sourness of the lemons and limes really help the liver to detoxify and get the digestive juices flowing.
  3. Sweat it out.Many toxins can be eliminated through our sweat. Plus, exercise has so many other wonderful benefits. Detoxifying is just one more great reason to get out there and get active!
  4. End your shower with 30 seconds to 1 minute of cold water.This stimulates circulation and lymphatic flow to help move toxins out.
  5. Get enough fibre.We eliminate toxins through our bowel movements. If you are constipated, the toxins can be reabsorbed into the body. Increase your consumption of hemp hearts, salba or chia seed, ground flaxseeds, sweet potatoes, and vegetables. Ensure you are having at least one complete bowel movement a day, ideally 2–3 per day.
  6. Drink enough water.Our kidneys are a major route of elimination, so it is important to stay hydrated. Aim for approximately 2–3 L of water per day, more if you are sweating and exercising intensely.
  7. Breathe deeply.Our lungs are a major detoxifying organ. It is important to take complete breaths to fill the lungs with fresh air and to exhale any airborne toxins, including carbon dioxide. Make sure you breathe using your abdominal muscles and diaphragm for maximal effects. Inhale for four counts, hold for four counts and then exhale for four counts.
  8. Deal with emotional issues.Toxins are not only found in our external environment. The body produces toxins as byproducts of many metabolic processes. Negative emotions also act as toxins in the body, impairing hormone balance and interfering with normal physiological functions. Anger, sadness, jealousy and resentment are all emotional toxins that need to be dealt with. Make sure you journal, talk about your feelings, and/or see a psychologist or psychotherapist to work through these emotions.

With these small changes and an individualized cleansing protocol from your licensed healthcare practitioner, you will be well on your way to a healthier and happier you!

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.

Small Steps to a Healthier You

I was out running yesterday morning in the scorching heat and I had three kilometres left to go. It was one of those days when you just want to hide inside, drink iced tea and chill out near the air conditioner. But seeing as I always tell patients how important exercise is – physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually (especially when it is done outdoors) – I thought I’d better “walk the walk” and avoid excuses. As I was running (more like jogging) along a small side street, a car passed with a lone, elderly man driving. He made eye contact with me, then gave me a huge smile and the thumbs-up sign. It was amazing how much that little gesture boosted my energy levels, made me smile and gave me the push to continue on. My perception shifted, and I was now enjoying my run on this bright and muggy morning.

We often get caught up with our “to-do” lists, appointments, routines and schedules, and we forget how much a small offering or gesture can really make a difference. A smile offered to a stranger, a “Good morning” or “Thank you”, or holding the door open for someone can go a long way. Even just sending a loved one a short email, text or voice message telling them you are thinking about him or her can give a stressed-out, burnt-out person the jolt they need to continue on with the day with a positive outlook.

The smallest things make the biggest differences.

This also pertains to our health. It doesn’t take drastic changes in order to start leading a healthier life today.

I know, I know…time is of the essence. It takes time to add in that little bit of physical activity and stress-relieving exercise. Excuses, excuses, excuses. We actually waste time talking about how much time we don’t have.

I came across this powerful quote, to remind ourselves that we actually do have control over how we use our time:
“All that really belongs to us is time; even he who has nothing else has that.” ~Baltasar Gracian

We all have the same amount of time, but it is up to us to decide how we are going to use it.

So, what are some examples of little things that you can do to live a healthier life?

  1. Get to bed a half-hour earlier…ideally around 10pm, and no later than 11pm. Sleep is a time when our bodies repair themselves. From a Chinese medicine perspective, it is the time when the blood returns to the liver, so that “the eyes can see, the hands can hold, the fingers can grasp, and the feet can walk” (Maciocia). The liver is related to eye function, affects tendon and sinew health, and ensures the free flow of Qi (the vital life force) throughout the whole body.
  2. Eat fresh, organic blueberries and blackberries. They are high in antioxidants and vitamin C, and help to prevent cancer, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, cataracts, macular degeneration, etc.
  3. Practice 10 minutes a day of deep breathing, yoga, tai chi or meditation. Studies show that these activities can lower cortisol, the stress hormone in the body. Cortisol, in high levels, can impair the immune system, disrupt sleep, increase blood pressure, disrupt thyroid and sex hormone levels, increase sugar cravings, decrease energy/sex drive/mood, increase abdominal fat, contribute to allergies, impair cognitive function, decrease bone and muscle mass, the list goes on and on…
  4. Eat breakfast every day! Make sure it includes fibre, protein and healthy fats. Most people are not getting enough protein in the morning. Protein is key to balancing blood sugar levels to provide you with a steady level of energy throughout the day. It also helps to prevent those dreaded afternoon energy dips when most people reach for the nearest coffee and donut.

My favourite sources of protein in the morning are protein smoothies with pumpkinseed protein powder or vegan fermented protein, hemp hearts omelettes and hardboiled eggs (which also make a quick and easy snack).

  1. Journal.Keep a diary near your bed. Write down all of your thoughts and feelings before bed, not worrying about punctuation and spelling. Just let all the of thoughts (negative and positive) flow out of you. If you find you are waking up in the middle of the night with your mind racing, pull out your journal, jot down your thoughts, and make a “to-do” list for the following day or week. If you can get all of your thoughts out on paper, you are more likely to have a deep and restful sleep.
  2. Have alternating hot and cold showers.Aim for 3 minutes of hot/warm water, followed by 30 seconds to 1 minute of cold/cool water. Repeat three times. People always look at me like I am crazy when I tell them to do this, but the benefits are huge. The alternating temperature helps to increase lymphatic flow, meaning that your immune system gets a boost. It also increases circulation throughout the body, makes your hair shinier, rejuvenates you, and makes it easier to get out of the shower when you are done. At the very least, end your shower with a 30-second to 1-minute burst of cold/cool water. You’ll feel great afterwards!

Remember, it is the small things that count…and time really does belong to us!


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.

The Negative Effects of Acidity in the Body

Hearing the word “acid” evokes images of chemical skin burns, and liquids dissolving cans and various metals. It sounds like something we definitely want to stay away from!

That can be hard to do. Our body actually produces various acids every single day from the food we eat, from shallow breathing, from exercise (lactic acid) and from numerous other normal metabolic processes. Foods such as non-organic grain-fed meat, cheese, milk, grains and carbohydrates increase acid levels in the body. Medications, soda pop, processed meat and foods, artificial colours and flavours, and preservatives make us more acidic, too. Excess stress, inflammation in the body (such as arthritis) and lack of fresh air increase acidity even more!

Mind you, the effects are not quite as extreme as my first two examples, but acids in our body take their toll on our bones, teeth, muscles, joints, connective tissues, and various organs and systems. When we are too acidic, extra stress is placed on the body, which further aggravates various health issues. The body has to work overtime to reduce and buffer these extra acids. Our digestive system, lungs, liver and kidneys may all be taxed using their special mechanisms to buffer acidity in the body. When these systems are overloaded and acidity is still too high, calcium leaves our bones to buffer acidity in the bloodstream. This greatly reduces our bone integrity and increases our risk of fractures, osteopenia and osteoporosis. Excess acids can also deposit in the muscles, joints and connective tissue, increasing pain and inflammation, and contributing to arthritis, fibromyalgia, various chronic diseases, fatigue, generally feeling unwell and early aging.

You are probably now wondering how to decrease acid and increase alkalinity in the body to optimize your health!

First of all, we need to know just how acidic you actually are. Under the supervision of your Naturopathic Doctor, you can measure your urine and salivary pH at various times during the day to see how much acid you are exposed to and producing, as well how much acid your body is able to get rid of. This will give you a good yardstick to measure progress with your treatment plan.

To reduce acidity in the body, follow these 5 simple and easy tips. You may need to take alkalinizing minerals, herbs or nutrients to further reduce acidity, but be sure to discuss that with your Naturopathic Doctor before starting any natural prescriptions. The following 5 tips will get you well on your way to reducing acidity!

  1. Increase your consumption of spinach, potatoes, raisins, cauliflower, radishes, celery, eggplants, miso soup, dark leafy greens and berries. All fruits and vegetables are alkalinizing and buffer acidity in the body.
  2. Be sure to exhale fully to expel carbon dioxide from the lungs. If we are shallow breathing, then carbon dioxide is retained in the lungs and converted to an acid. Use your diaphragm and abdominal muscles to fully inhale and exhale. Count to 4 as you inhale, hold for 4 and then exhale fully for 4.
  3. Take Epsom salt baths. This helps to pull acids out of the body and introduce alkalinizing minerals into it.
  4. Eat less meat, cheese, processed foods, processed grains and carbohydrates. If you do eat something that is more acidic, be sure to get in dark leafy greens or other vegetables to counteract it.
  5. Ensure that your liver, kidneys, lungs and digestive system are working properly.It is advisable to see your Naturopathic Doctor to be put on specific drainage, detoxification and supportive remedies for these organs to function optimally.

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