When Your Oncologist Says “No”

A cancer diagnosis can be overwhelming. On top of the stress and worry is a near-endless supply of internet advice, and tips from well-meaning friends and family. Almost everyone seems to have a story about how the chemo killed Joe’s sister’s, brother, or how some natural product saved the day.

A large percentage of patients explore alternatives, doing their best to sort through the stories, rumours, and research. When they feel they’ve found a solution, however, they check with their oncologist only to be told “no” because the treatment doesn’t work, or worse yet, it will interfere with their current treatment.

Sometimes the oncologist is right. There are many ineffective approaches, and many other powerful ones that will indeed interfere with conventional tools.

But sometimes they oncologist is wrong, too.

This isn’t for lack of knowledge, mind you, but lack of specialized knowledge. Oncologists know their tools and how they work; they don’t necessarily know the research around alternative and complementary approaches. That makes it far easier to say, “Don’t do anything,” than to dig through the evidence. They are simply erring on the side of being cautious.

There are two problems with this, and they’re big ones:

  1. The patient decides to engage in “alternative medicine” for cancer treatment without telling their oncologist. If they are getting their advice solely from Dr. Google or their neighbour’s cousin, it really could be interfering with their conventional therapy. Cowboy cancer care is risky.
  2. The patient doesn’t engage and misses the real benefit of complementary therapies which, when applied properly, can increase quality of life, decrease side-effects, increase the efficacy of conventional care plans and/or prolong life in conjunction with conventional care plans.

What to do?

The Ottawa Integrative Cancer Centre, or OICC, is a not-for-profit regional centre of the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine. It’s a registered charity providing education and research in naturopathic and complementary medicine since 1978.

They have put together research monographs for some of the best studied complementary cancer treatments. These are easy to read and are in patient-centered and doctor-centered formats. Patients can do their own reading, but they can also share research with oncologists who simply won’t have the time to go digging for it.

Knowledge is power. As our patients who are dealing with cancer know, the more information that they have to feel strong and centered in the treatment plan they choose, the better their outcomes can be.

StoneTree Clinic is happy to have Dr. Ehab Mohammed, ND on our team. Dr. Ehab brings with him over 20 years as an oncologist and researcher at the University of Cairo. In his new career as a naturopathic doctor here in Canada, he employs the best evidence to use complementary therapies in conjunction with conventional care plans to maximize treatment efficacy while minimizing treatment side-effects. You can book a free appointment to have all your questions answered here.

Sleep: The New Science of Slumber

As our patients head out on their summer holidays, one of the things we hear most often is, “I can’t wait to sleep.”

If you’ve found yourself feeling the same way and are wondering why, this month’s National Geographic has a long article about sleep that is very much worth the read.

Some interesting and important takeaways:

  • The average American gets 7 hours sleep. That’s 2 hours less than a century ago.
  • The WHO has described night shift work as a “probable human carcinogen”.
  • When the circadian rhythm breaks down there is an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, and dementia.
  • Blue light at night is bad for sleep. Red light is better. Blue light at night comes from things like screens.
  • If you can fall asleep anywhere anytime, especially if you are under 40, that’s a sure sign you are sleep deprived.
  • Our brain cells shrink bring sleep, allowing space for the cerebral fluid to wash away the waste products, including beta–amyloid, a protein associated with Alzheimer’s.

There’s plenty more in the article, but the biggest takeaway is that sleep is wildly important to our overall health. It is worth doing, and worth doing well. Reclaiming it as an important part of your overall health regime–as important as eating right and exercising.

::Sleep: Inside the new science of slumber

Calling All Teachers!

Dealing with kids can put a real tax on stress glands and immune systems–it’s the kind of thing that can lead to constant colds and flu, sleep and mood issues, or that overall “tired” feeling that is so tough to shake.

For our patients who are teachers, the hustle and bustle of the school often has them completely worn out by the end of June. They rely on summer to rest and recharge.

The magic of summer, however, isn’t just in recovery. It’s in building a strong base for the coming year. Prevention really is the best medicine, and for teachers, summer is the best time to put that in place. Supporting the stress glands and boosting the immune system before school starts almost always makes for a healthier school year.

Simcoe County teachers have a wonderful extended health plan for naturopathic medicine, and the benefits restart at the start of their new year, which is September. Getting in during the summer months prepares you for the upcoming year, but also ensures you maximize the coverage you are entitled to.

We now make it even easier for our teachers to access care with direct billing to your extended health plan. This ensures you can come in without having to worry about cash flows during the summer months.

We love working with teachers and keeping them healthy and well during the school year. Teaching our kids is important work–please pass this on to the teachers in your life!

Book your appointment online here, or call the clinic at 705-444-5331.

Natural Solutions for Summer Kid Challenges

Summer is in full swing. and what a summer it is turning out to be!

Lots of sun and heat make for great cottage or beach days, but they can also bring little health annoyances that can ruin the fun for kids. Here are some natural solutions to a few of summer’s nagging problems.

Sunburn

  • Prevention is the best medicine here. Cover up or look for shade, and avoid the sun from 11AM-3PM.
  • For a look at the best sunscreens, check out the Environmental Working Group’s top picks.
  • Eat foods containing lots of antioxidants like berries, watermelon, peaches, and citrus. This can help little bodies deal with the oxidative damage of the sun. And if little ones do get burned, aloe gel applied often and liberally is soothing and helpful!

Bug Bites

Prevention is difficult here without staying indoors or using toxic chemicals, but here are a few suggestions to manage bug populations:

  • Drain sources of stagnant water sources
  • Plant marigolds around your yard.
  • Install bat boxes

For natural repellents, you can try Dr. Mercola’s list, which includes: Vick’s Vaporub®; cinnamon leaf oil; clear liquid vanilla extract mixed with olive oil; citronella soap and 100% pure citronella essential oil; catnip oil.

When the bug bit happens we love Orange Naturals Bites + Stings cream. It works great!

Swimmer’s Ear

Lots of swimming means lots of opportunities to collect water in the outer ear canal. Add that to the heat-driven increase in the number of critters growing in the ponds, lakes, and pools kids swim in, and the conditions are ripe for a case of swimmers ear. Some tips:

  • Prevent swimmers ear with a couple of drops of part rubbing alcohol part vinegar after swimming.
  • If an infection has already taken hold we love St. Francis Ear Oil. This lovely natural remedy combines the herbs mullen, St. John’s wort, and garlic. It’s anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial and provides pain relief–great for getting on top of swimmers ear.
  • More info for treating this naturally check out Dr. Axe’s guide.

If ear symptoms persist for more then 3-4 days, it’s best to have a regulated health professional have a look to make sure things aren’t getting out of hand and antibiotics are not needed.

Athlete’s Foot and Other Fungal Infections

This summer’s heat is making lots of sweating a given–the perfect environment for fungal infections. Again, prevention is the best medicine:

  • Always wash hands and feet after playing.
  • Change sweat-stained clothes frequently during a day.
  • Make an anti-fungal spray of diluted apple cider vinegar. Spritz it on clean, dry feet (or other areas) and allow it to dry. Fungus hates acid and will die off.

Dehydration

Kids are so in the moment. They’re just so happy playing around they forget to drink! Dehydration is a pretty common problem, so remind them to drink regularly during the heat waves. If you want to avoid Gatorade or other sugary electrolyte drinks, try all-natural coconut water. It’s delicious and full of electrolytes without all the sugar of a Gatorade. You can even make your own sports drink!

For more serious concerns, remember that Dr. Bronwyn is StoneTree Clinic’s resident child health guru, with a love for treating all things kid-related!

Food as Medicine: Chia Seeds

These tiny little nutritional powerhouses were prized by the Mayans for providing them with “sustainable energy”. In fact, the word chia is the ancient Mayan word for strength!

Check out what’s inside just two tablespoons of these little seeds:

  • Fiber: 11 grams
  • Protein: 4 grams
  • Fat: 9 grams (5 of which are Omega-3s)
  • Calcium: 18% of the RDA
  • Manganese: 30% of the RDA
  • Magnesium: 30% of the RDA
  • Phosphorus: 27% of the RDA

They also contain a decent amount of Zinc, Vitamin B3 (Niacin), Potassium, Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) and Vitamin B2.

The calcium content is particularly impressive. A whopping 18% of the RDA in a single ounce! Gram for gram, this is higher than most dairy products.

Happy Guts!

Chia seeds are one of the foods being showcased here at The Pantry in the month of July when we are focusing on gut health.

Chia seeds can absorb up to 12 times their weight in liquid. When soaked, they develop a mucilaginous coating that gives chia-based creams and beverages that distinctive gel texture. This gel-forming action is due to the soluble fiber in chia seeds, and it can work as a prebiotic that supports the growth of probiotics in the gut.

Get this yummy, gluten-free, high protein, high fiber seed into your diet daily!  Your gut and bones will love you for it. Here’s a great recipe to start you off. 🙂

Chia Pudding

Ingredients

  • 6 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 2 cups unsweetened coconut, almond or cashew milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup, honey or sweetener of choice (optional)
  • blueberries and strawberries, for topping

Instructions

  • In a bowl or mason jar, mix together chia seeds, milk, maple syrup and vanilla. If you’re using a mason jar, you can put the lid on and shake the mixture to combine everything.
  • Once the chia pudding mixture is well combined, let it sit for 5 minutes, give it another stir/shake to break up any clumps of chia seeds, cover and put the mixture in the fridge to “set-up” for 1-2 hours.
  • You can also prep your pudding the night before and let it sit in the fridge overnight if that’s easier. When ready to serve, divide the mixture between two bowls, top the pudding with berries and enjoy.

Enjoy!

Recipe and image courtesy of Eating Bird Food

3 Great Natural Health Resources for Canada Day

Hurray! It’s the long weekend!

It’s going to be a hot one as we celebrate our nation’s birthday this weekend. Here are a few all-natural resources for your long weekend needs:

  • Fruit infused water: This delicious water is a tasty and beautiful way to get fluids into you on a hot, summer day. There are a few options there, but there is really no end to the combinations you can come up with. Our very own Julie is the “fruit-infused” water guru at the clinic–her creations show up in the IV suite every week!
  • All natural bug spray: Want to avoid the chemicals in bug sprays but can’t STAND those little bitey critters? Try this great recipe to keep them away.
  • Environmentally responsible sunscreen: The EWG released it’s 2018 sunscreen report. A great resource to manage both your skin health and the environment.

Happy Canada Day! Be safe, be healthy and have fun!

June 22nd is #Eat Together Day

“It’s at the table where we can turn a house into a home, a stranger into a friend, and a village into a community. But more than anything, eating together simply connects us. And our world can use a little more connection right now.

This year, let’s eat together on June 22nd

Thanks President Choice. We couldn’t have said it better ourselves. Spread the word and spread the love.  #EatTogether this Friday, June 22nd.

 

Candid Conversations with Teens

I recently came across this video from CityLine–it’s worth a watch if you have a teen in your life.

How much do you think you know about your teenager? Host Tracy Moore sits down with 12 teens for a candid conversation about what’s really happening in their lives.

Whether you are a parent, coach, auntie, uncle, grandparent or other interested adult, this show will give you some insight into what’s going on in the life of today’s teens and how you can help.

Teen CityLine Real

Keto Diet Info Night

With all the media coverage around the ketogenic diet, we get a lot of questions about this somewhat confusing and potentially overwhelming diet. Studies seem to show some promising health results, but that doesn’t make it any easier for people to understand it. Fortunately, we have Dr. Maggie for that!

Dr. Maggie will be answering all your questions on June 19th at 7 PM at StoneTree Clinic in Collingwood. Plan to get lots of information that you can use, along with recipes, and samples of great keto options. A delicious and insightful way to spend some time on a Tuesday!

If you’ve been wondering:

  • Isn’t too much fat bad for you?
  • Is this just the Atkins thing all over again?
  • Aren’t ketones a bad thing?
  • What are ketones, anyway?
  • How the heck do I eat this way and not be starving?

Or anything else about the ketogenic diet, then this is the session for you.

Register at by emailing feelbetter@stonetreeclinic, or calling 705-444-5331. Bring a friend!

Bronwyn Hill - Collingwood Naturopathic Doctor

Welcome Dr. Bronwyn!

Once upon a time…

Some of you who have been patients since our early days in Collingwood will remember our office over in the Erie Street Medical Centre. Some of you may even remember a keen and shiny young university student helping us out one summer.

That young student’s name was Bronwyn Hill. At the time, she was very interested in health care but didn’t know much about naturopathic medicine. Determined to fix that, Bronwyn volunteered for a summer at the office, helping us in the IV suite and at the front desk, and anywhere else she could be helpful and learn more about naturopathy at the same time.

Flash forward a dozen years, and our young summer student Dr. Bronwyn Hill is now a skilled naturopathic doctor with more than six years of experience under her belt!

Bronwyn Hill, ND graduated from the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine in 2011 (in the same class as Dr. Maggie),  and after six years of practice in Toronto, she’s recently relocated to Creemore with her husband and golden doodle. We’re delighted to welcome her to the team at StoneTree, right here in her hometown of Collingwood.

Dr. Bronwyn has a general family practice, with a special interest in pediatrics–she loves working with kids of all ages. You can learn more about Dr. Bronwyn here, or click here to book an appointment.

Welcome home, Dr. Bronwyn! You haven’t changed a bit. 😉