Our Favourite Health Tips

I often get comments about how healthy everyone looks here at the clinic. And considering we work with sick people all day, it’s amazing that we rarely if ever get sick.

Part of our job is certainly to walk the talk. We take our own advice and our own medicine, and we work hard to stay healthy. I thought it might be interesting to dive into that, so recently I asked the StoneTree team for their favourite health tips. I hope you find a few here that resonate with you!

 – Dr. Tara

 

“I keep a gratitude journal and try to make entries in it regularly. It helps me stay positive and appreciate the little things in life. My goal is to write down 3 things that happened in the day that I am grateful for. I can’t say I remember to do it every single day, but the more I do it the better I feel. I think I started this after reading Brené Brown’s work showing that the most joyful people are those who actively practice gratitude.”

–Dr. Candice


“The most important thing I do for optimal health is moving my body every day–exercise always improves my mood, attention and overall health. Throughout the week I will change up my physical activity so it doesn’t get boring or repetitive. This is something I have done for a while as I would find myself unmotivated and bored after going to the gym every day and almost dreading it. One night will be a high-intensity workout at the gym, one night a yoga class at a studio in town, another night a spin class, another night a Zumba video at home or an at-home circuit, one day I might swim and the next I might go for a walk or hike. This way of exercise keeps me motivated and excited, there is so much you can do with your body to keep you engaged!”

–Bridget


“To anyone who knows me this is going to be repetitive, but GREEN SMOOTHIE EVERY SINGLE MORNING.

I have been religious about this for the better part of a decade. It covers at least 3 to 4 servings of vegetables and fruit right out of the gate, gives me an energy boost, and all the fibre keeps my digestive tract happy and regular.

Without my smoothie, I would have a hard time reaching my vegetable servings for the day (my goal is 6 servings of veg). Each morning we blend up a big batch in our Vitamix and everyone gets one, including our toddler, he loves it!

Here’s the key: at least HALF of the blender should be greens ex. Spinach/kale/zucchini etc.”

–Dr. Kendra


“I take my T3 pills every morning which is the most important thing for my health!”

–Dr. Harry


“Being balanced is important for me. This means having some quiet time to balance stress, getting things done but having time to enjoy family and friends, eating right but also enjoying “splurge’ foods. Balance in all aspects of my life is key for me to be happy and healthy.”

–Lisa


We saw a facebook message once that stated, “children need 8 snuggles throughout the day”. My morning routine is big squeezes/hugs/kisses with my boys when they wake up. As they get older this is somewhat of a challenge–some days we are doing tons of extra hugs at the end of the day to even get that. So making sure my morning always starts with physical snuggles helps.”

-Angela


“I prioritize good quality sleep. I know this can be a challenge with babies, children, and life in general, but optimizing whatever amount of sleep you do get is so foundational for health. I turn off the screens at least an hour before bedtime, take my magnesium, have an Epsom salt bath, and then it’s off to dream-land. Having a routine is very helpful!”

–Dr. Bronwyn


“Since I changed my career from the medical and radiation oncology profession to Naturopathic Medicine, I changed my whole life. I keep my clear water intake to 3 litres every day, eating a lot of cabbage and broccoli, giving up the bread and pasta (most of the time). I feel much better, with high energy and focus. Even my sleep gets better.”

–Dr. Ehab


“Starting my day out with a green smoothie gets me going. I’ve been doing it every day for 8 years.”

–Julie


“I start my day with a 30 min walk up a hill with my husband. This gets me outside for fresh air and sunshine, it gets me my cardiovascular exercise AND weight-bearing because I am lugging my body uphill, and it gets me connected to my best guy every day.”

–Dr. Tara.


“I am not a very good water drinker, so to stay on top of my hydration I have 3 strategies that I do daily:

1) I bring a water bottle with me every time I leave the house

2) I keep a jug of water and a glass on my desk at work with a sign that says ‘drink me’

3) I bring a glass of water to bed with me every night. Whatever I don’t drink before bed/throughout the night I make sure I drink in the morning when I get up.

By sticking to these strategies every day I am guaranteed to drink more water than my body would ‘naturally’. It’s amazing what staying on top of my hydration has done for my energy, my mood, my concentration and my ability to distinguish hunger from thirst.”

–Dr. Maggie


“Packing a good lunch for work. Whether it’s leftovers from dinner, or a medley of what I find in the fridge (today it was layers of napa cabbage, tahini sauce, adzuki beans, spicy salad mix, roasted beets, kimchi, avocado, chipotle flakes), or simply running out the door with an avocado (knowing I have a can of quinoa & black bean chili in my locker for emergencies)… I am prepared. Eating a good lunch leads to making better choices when it comes time for dinner.”

–Dr. Shelby


“My favourite advice or health hack would have to be to ‘Sweat More’! Even though “you are what you eat”, the times I have felt the greatest in my life are those when I have been working out and SWEATING regularly.

Strength training has been shown to improve muscle strength, bone density, metabolic rate, cognitive function and reduce the potential for functional decline. In combination with cardiovascular workout activity, it can improve muscle tone, lung capacity, and cardiovascular health. All of this resulting in less risk of metabolic syndrome, inflammatory processes, peri-menopausal symptoms, and improved insulin sensitivity. The SWEAT that comes along with activity is a wonderful pathway of detoxification for the body – after all our skin is our largest organ. So to all our clients … I say “SWEAT MORE” and try to welcome every drop of it.”

–Lori Prest, RN

Lavender: Reduced Anxiety with No Side-Effects

Lavender has long history of use for its calming effect. Anxiety, insomnia, restlessness—they’re all challenges that can often be helped with lavender.

In 2014, a double-blind, placebo-controlled study looked at the impact of the orally administered lavender oil preparation Silexan.

The study divided 539 adults into four groups.

  • A placebo group
  • A paroxetine group (a prescription anti-depressant, commonly known as Paxil)
  • An 80mg dose lavender group
  • A 160mg dose lavender group

The study measured results using the Hamilton Anxiety Scale before and after.

Great Results, No Side-Effects

After ten weeks of treatment, there was a reduction in anxiety in all groups, but lavender was the clear winner:

  • 63.3% in the lavender 160mg group
  • 51.9% in the lavender 80mg group
  • 43.2% in the paroxetine group
  • 37.8% in the placebo group

The best part? Unlike Paxil, which has many demonstrated side-effects, the lavender had none.

Another study comparing lavender to lorazepam showed similar results, and at the end of the trial, the remission rates were higher for the lavender group (40% for lavender, versus 27% for lorazepam).

A great, research-backed win for lavender!

If you’d like more information on the safe and effective use of lavender, contact the clinic.

Food as Medicine: Moonshine Mama’s Turmeric Elixir

Turmeric has received a lot of coverage in health media of late, and for good reason. The active ingredient in turmeric, curcumin, has been shown in studies to be useful for a wide variety of health concerns, from inflammation, arthritis, and mood to heart disease and even cancer.

The trick is getting enough in you in the right form to make a difference.

To get the benefit of the active ingredient in turmeric, the supplement companies extract the curcumin out of the root using ethanol. They then package the curcumin in fats to increase absorption.

However, if you want to do it the old-fashioned way, you can add turmeric to coconut oil with some black pepper, and heat it up. This releases the curcumin and increases the absorption of it.

The maker of Moonshine Mama has a personal reason for its development–she was diagnosed with Stage 3 cancer.  During exhaustive research, she kept finding four foods that were consistently connected with good outcomes for cancer patients: ginger, lemon, honey, and turmeric.

She wanted an easy and delicious way to get this into her diet every day, and voila, the Moonshine Mama’s Elixirs & Tonics brand was born. They are available in many locations around the Collingwood – Press Market, Wild Stand, Farm to Table Market and, of course, here at StoneTree.

Wanna try one? Come into the clinic and sample one of the 4 delicious flavours we have in the fridge!

Back to School Advice from the StoneTree Naturopaths

It’s that time again! We asked each of our ND’s for their best tips for a successful school year. Here’s what they had to say.

From Dr. Bronwyn:

My tip is to be thoughtful about how much sleep your kids need (depending on age anywhere from 8-11 hours per night), and get to an earlier, consistent bedtime by working back in increments of 15-20 minutes per day/every few days.

Include a consistent pre-bedtime routine that does not include screens, rather quiet activities like reading/stories/coloring.

From Dr. Kendra:

No sugar cereal or juice for breakfast (replace with eggs or oatmeal and a green smoothie) and get back on your vitamin D supplement!

From Dr. Candice:

Ditch the plastic! Plastic containers can leach toxic chemicals into our food especially when heated. Use glass or stainless steel to pack lunches, snacks, and water for the day. Additionally, BPA (a known hormone-disrupting chemical) is found in the lining of many canned food items; when buying lunch supplies look for cans that say BPA free, cook your own legumes at home, and/or buy foods packaged in glass jars.

From Dr. Shelby:

Mornings are busy enough… pack lunch boxes/bags after dinner! Always include 2 colours of veggies (Eg cherry tomatoes, green beans, carrot sticks, sliced cucumber &/or red pepper, etc.)

From Dr. Maggie:

As tempting as it can be, don’t over-schedule your kids. Keep at least a few days/week free from scheduled activities to let them engage in creative play, activities of their choosing, or simply rest. And remember that September is overwhelming for everyone, especially school-aged children, so keep activities and extra-curriculars to a minimum at the beginning of the school year as they adjust to their new routines.

Have a great and healthy September!

Air Quality: How to Protect Yourself

This summer’s high heat and humidity have been great for those vacationing by the lakes, but it has created the perfect storm for poor air quality. Forest fires and the hot, heavy air that traps pollution from industry and cars have made air quality a real health risk.

What to do?

1. Prevention – limit your overall exposure

  • Avoid the outdoors when pollution is highest, especially heavy outdoor exercise
  • Get out of urban environments and into nature
  • Quit smoking and avoid second-hand smoke

2. Improve your indoor air quality

We have written lots about this before:

3, Support your body’s ability to detoxify

Many pollutants are “fat soluble” toxins, which means they are detoxified through the liver, where they become water soluble so the kidneys can dispose of them, or they are emulsified in the bile of the liver and removed through the bowel. Either way, supporting the kidney and liver to get rid of those nasty chemicals is worth doing. Here are a few strategies:

  • Drink LOTS of water. This is important in the heat, but also in helping the kidneys flush out toxins.
  • Eat lots of FIBER. Fiber will bind the bile and its toxic components to ensure you don’t recycle this garbage out to your liver.
  • Eat LOTS of broccoli. Broccoli is a member of the brassica family, which also includes kale, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower. This family of plants supports your liver’s detox systems, especially those pathways associated with environmental pollutants.
  • Work with your ND to develop a more aggressive detoxification plan. The first day of fall is around the corner and the change of season is a great time to support your body!

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

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