Saturday, 24 December 2016 14:59

6 Ways to Avoid the Winter Flu

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Avoid Sugar
Sugar decreases the function of your immune system almost immediately, and as you likely know, a strong immune system is key to fighting off viruses and other illness, including the flu. It is especially imperative to avoid sugar if you feel you are coming down with something, but keeping sugar out of your diet for the long haul will do wonders for your health and make your body stronger, which will make it harder for the flu to bother you.
Get Enough Rest
Just like it becomes harder for you to get your daily tasks done if you’re tired, if your body is overly fatigued it will be harder for it to fight the flu. 
Eat Garlic Regularly
Garlic is a triple-whammy: it’s antibacterial, antiviral and anti-fungal. Garlic is one food that you should be eating every day. 
Don’t Let Stress Become Overwhelming
We all face some stress every day, but if stress becomes overwhelming then your body will be less able to fight off the flu and other illness. It has been estimated that up to 90 percent of illness and disease is stress-related.
When you exercise you increase your circulation and your blood flow throughout your body. The components of your immune system are also better circulated, which means your immune system has a better chance of fighting an illness before it has a chance to spread. In a sense, exercising helps your immune system to be more efficient in weeding out and acting upon viruses and diseases. 
Wash Your Hands
Washing your hands will decrease your likelihood of spreading a virus to your nose, mouth or other people. If your immune system is strong, it should be able to fight off the virus if it does enter your body, but washing your hands provides a bit of extra protection.
Friday, 04 March 2016 19:11

Should I Take Supplements?

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Some people are blessed with strong constitutions. They eat what they like, drink, smoke, don’t exercise, never take supplements and hardly ever get sick. These genetically strong individuals, however, are becoming increasingly rare.

Why Should I Take Supplements?

Food irradiation: is a food processing technique where the food is exposed to ionizing energy and radiation. However, this process also eliminates the essential nutrients, especially water soluble vitamins and antioxidants. Food irradiation is widely used in products like chicken, meats, and vegetables. This technique is approved and used in more than 40 countries worldwide.

Environmental Pollution: Everyday millions kilograms of chemicals are dumped into our environment. These wastes go to the air, water and food that we eat.

Genetically modified (GM) foods: GM foods are created to improve crop protection and improve the nutritional value. Although all GM foods you see from the market passed risk assessment, there is no long-term study indicate that they are safe to human. In fact, GM foods can cause allergic reactions in some people. In addition, rat studies have shown that consumption of GM foods increased intestinal infections and reduce immunity.

Soil depletion: Aggressive farming, acid rains, use or artificial fertilizers and synthetic pesticides have caused soil depletion. These activities deplete the essential nutrients in the soil. As a result, nutritional values of fruits and vegetables are greatly reduced.

Lifestyle: Depending on your lifestyle and behaviour, you may need nutritional supplements. For example, smoking destroys certain vitamins. Excessive alcohol consumption impairs the body's ability to absorb many nutrients and inhibits the production of digestive enzymes. Athletes, pregnant women, people who work in radioactive environment and those who work in physically demanding occupations require additional nutrients.

Stress: Stress can deplete your energy, lead to acceleration of the aging process and degenerative diseases. The symptoms of stress include fatigue, depression, panic, anxiety, loss of appetite, and insomnia.

Pesticides in foods: Pesticides are widely used to control and destroy pests. Pesticides are poisonous and reside in our foods. According to a study by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the health benefits of fruits and vegetables are reduced by use of pesticides.

Food Processing: Processed foods are not fresh and contain fewer nutrients compared to fresh foods. Processed foods do not have live enzymes, which are necessary for digestion and metabolic function. Lack of enzymes can cause degenerative diseases. In addition, many processed foods contain refined sugar, extra salt, unhealthy fat, and chemical additives.

The following table compares the amount of each food item you would have to consume to receive an optimal daily amount of vitamin E, one of the most powerful antioxidants.

How Do I Know What Supplements I Need?

There are no completely reliable laboratory tests for determining nutritional status.

Some blood tests may be indicators for advanced nutritional disease, but none of them can detect the beginning stages of marginal deficiencies, which of course would be the best time to correct them.

Blood tests measure many things, but they can’t tell the whole story, and sometimes they are downright misleading. Why? Because the blood constantly strives to maintain a state of normalcy. Example: Calcium. Blood calcium levels may be normal even in a person with severe osteoporosis; the blood needs calcium so badly, it will rob it from the bones to get it.

Urine tests are also a problem because they only measure what the body excretes. Variations in fluid intake can greatly affect the results.

My recommendations are based on symptoms. By paying close attention to symptoms, a Holistic Nutritionist or other Holistic Health Practitioner is able to detect deficiencies and imbalances long before they show up in laboratory tests.

What You Need to Know About Supplements
Do not self diagnose – taking supplements that your body does not need can cause symptoms. It’s important to get to the root cause of the problem, which a health practitioner can help with.
If you are taking prescription medication you absolutely must work with your doctor before discontinuing any drug, and be sure your doctor has a list of the supplements you are taking
Take a high quality multi-vitamin/mineral supplement
Take extra antioxidants: Vitamins A, C, E, and Selenium or a specific antioxidant formula
Take one tablespoon of flaxseed oil or one teaspoon of fish oil daily
Buy only good quality supplements – you really do get what you pay for
Take your supplements with food and water unless instructed to do otherwise
Supplements cannot take the place of a nutrient dense diet. Ensure you are getting protein with every meal, whole grains, lots of colourful fruits and vegetables, and healthy fats.
No two individuals will respond the same from taking one type of vitamin or mineral. No two metabolisms are the same and no two individuals eat the same foods or exercise the same amount, get the same sleep, are under the same amount of stress or have the same parents.
Only buy supplements from natural sources or “produced by nature”. Synthetic means artificial and anything artificial is foreign to the body.
Don’t waste your money on time-release vitamins. These products cost more and very often end up in the toilet via the stools. Not everyone’s digestive tract is able to break down the layers of waxy coatings on time-release vitamins. It’s usually more effective and cheaper to take regular vitamins several times throughout the day. (Example: Vitamin C)
Chelated basically means "firmly attached", usually to an amino acid or other organic component to aid in absorption. Chelated minerals are sometimes recommended to those who have compromised digestive systems.
Choose capsules over tablets unless otherwise recommended by your health practitioner. Capsules have the advantage of requiring little or no fillers, they are more easily digested and absorbed.
Fat-soluble vitamins are vitamins A, D, E, F (EFAs), and Vitamin K. These vitamins can be stored in the body tissues so we can function for longer periods of time without obtaining them from the diet. If we consume more of these than the body needs, toxic levels can occur.
Water-soluble vitamins include mainly the B vitamins and vitamin C. These are not stored by the body and therefore need to be replenished regularly in the diet or with supplements.
Recommended Daily Allowances (RDAs) are guidelines set by the Food and Nutrition Board of the National Research Council for recommended daily allowances for vitamins and minerals since 1941 originally with the intent of reducing rates of severe nutritional deficiency diseases such as scurvy. Scientific research indicates the “optimal” level for many nutrients are much higher due to factors such as environmental and lifestyle factors.
Conditions That Could Benefit from Supplementation

Nutrient deficiencies
Digestive problems
Weakened immune system
Osteoporosis/Bone health
Muscle cramps
Weight loss
Low libido
Poor memory
Intestinal disturbances
Lack of energy

And many more.

Book a consult today to learn more about what your body requires.

Friday, 22 May 2015 11:52

Are You Getting Enough Fibre? 

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Most of us are getting nowhere near enough fibre in our diet.  This can lead to incomplete bowel movements and toxin buildup in the colon.  A general recommendation for adults is 25-35 grams of dietary fibre per day. Children need fibre too, different amounts depending on the child's age and how much they eat.
When increasing the fibre in your diet, start gradually. Too much fibre too quickly can cause discomfort.  
Remember to drink plenty of fluids daily with a high fibre diet, fluids help your body to use fibre properly. You should be drinking about half your body weight in ounces per day, of clean mineral rich water.
Here are some quick and easy ways to boost your fibre intake:
1. Start your day with a fibre-rich cereal: oat bran, bran flakes or steel-cut oatmeal.
2. Top off your high-fibre cereal with a scoop of chia, a sliced banana or some orange sections.
3. Take a high-fibre bran or oatmeal muffin to lunch. It's even better if it contains fruit like apples, apricots, raisins or dates.
4. Fibre-boost your salads with carrots, apple slices, dried fruit, raw broccoli and cauliflower pieces, chickpeas (garbanzo beans) and kidney beans.     You can also add ground flax seed or Chia seeds as a topper.
5. Choose whole grain breads as often as possible.
6. Load up your plate with extra vegetables.
7. Work some beans and peas into your meals; try split pea soup, baked beans, three-bean salad or chili.  Beans are high in fibre and protein.
8. Try hummus (chickpea spread) in a pita pocket; have lima beans for dinner.
9. Add green peas to casseroles, stir-fry meals, rice or noodles.
10. Boost the fibre in casseroles and mixed dishes by tossing in a handful of oat bran, ground flax or a crunchy high-fibre cereal.
11. Snack on fibre-filled fruits: pears, raspberries, apples, oranges, nectarines and bananas.
12. Have a sweet tooth? Cookies such as sultana raisin cookies or fig bars offer some fibre. A real winner is a homemade oatmeal and raisin cookie.  See my Strawberry Breakfast Cookie Recipe
13. When a recipe calls for 1 cup of flour, use whole grains like spelt, kamut or whole wheat. 
14. Whenever possible, for maximum fibre, eat the whole fruit or vegetable (including its skin).
* Increase the fibre in your diet slowly. Eat fibre often to reduce gas and bloating.
* Drink at least six to eight cups (2 L) of fluid such as water, fresh juice, unsweetened almond milk or soup each day. Fibre holds fluid, which        keeps stools soft.
* Eat regular meals and snacks to keep food moving through your bowel.
* Establish a routine and allow enough time for bowel movements.
* Exercise - physical activity promotes regular bowel function.
Fibre is important to eliminate constipation, and increase our feeling of satiety so we don't eat as much.  It will also aid in sweeping the colon of toxins. 
Monday, 23 November 2015 18:54

Echinacea and Vitamin C- Do they work?

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This is the time of year when everyone is rushing out to get the Flu shot. Doctor's offices are filled with people who are scared of getting sick. Getting a needle is much easier than changing your diet and making healthier choices…right?

Your immune system works hard for your 24/7, 365 days per year. It doesn’t get a break or a chance to take a vacation. Are you doing what you can to support your hard working immune system?

Ever wondered how your immune system actually works and what specific foods or nutrients can strengthen it. I can tell you one thing for sure…all the Vitamin C and Echinacea in the world won’t do it!

Grab a cup of Green Tea and read the story of your good ol’ immune system.

The immune centres of your body are located in the tonsils, thymus, spleen, and bone marrow. These are like the army command stations housing the first line of defense soldiers ready to fight against the enemy invaders (bacteria).

From these command centres the soldiers (immune cells) cruise around your body, looking for the enemy invaders. The evil enemies are foreign bodies or antigens commonly disguised as viruses, bacteria and even pollen. 

When the enemy (disease) is found by your army of immune cells, the method of attack depends both on the disease and on the particular immune cell.

Phagocytes, a type of white blood cell, are the front line killers and are sent to engulf, absorb, or eat the enemy invaders. Phagocytes make the enemy disappear by consuming the dead cells and play an important role in allowing the war wounds to heal.

Lymphocytes, second in command, attack and destroy the disease enemy by creating antibodies and tag the cell with an antigen to be attacked later should there be another enemy invasion.

After defeating a particular disease, the lymphocytes will keep a profile of the enemy and remember the disease throughout your life. Should it appear again, they will quickly eliminate it.

The memory effect of immune cells is the premise behind vaccines. A vaccine injects weakened antigens into the body so your immune system can practice remembering and attacking this weakened form of defense.

Vaccines are effective because whenever the same type of enemy disease enter your body; your immune system draws upon its memory to send out second in command lymphocyte soldiers to quickly defeat it. At some point, though, the soldiers are replaced and the profile isn’t passed down. It’s like your immune system gets a bit of dementia and forgets about the antigen. Vaccines are not life long!

In addition to quality sleep, reducing stress levels and exercising, there are certain micronutrients that can help your army of immune fighters. Unfortunately, there is not one single vitamin or mineral; contrary to popular belief that will strengthen your immune system so drowning yourself in Vitamin C this winter won’t work.

Vitamin A plays a key role in production of white blood cells, vital for fighting off infection. Vitamin A foods include carrots, butternut squash, and sweet potatoes.

Vitamin C can help boost the immune system, particularly in endurance athletes and those undergoing physical stress. Vitamin C foods include chilies, guavas, bell peppers, broccoli, papayas, and strawberries.

Zinc, among other immune functions, is necessary for the creation and activation of lymphocytes. Zinc has also been shown to help alleviate symptoms of the common cold, and may even accelerate the time to recover. High zinc foods include Oysters, wheat germ, sesame , pumpkin seeds and squash seeds, peanuts, and dark chocolate.

Vitamin D. Vitamin D, which is produced by the skin when exposed to sunlight, signals an antimicrobial response to bacteria. Foods high in vitamin D are white mushrooms, cod liver oil, fish, Oysters and eggs. Vitamin D is fat-soluble which means you need fat to absorb it.

Probiotics Beneficial bacteria have a lifelong, powerful effect on your gut's immune system and your systemic immune system as well.  The bacteria play a crucial role in the development and operation of the mucosal immune system in your digestive tract.  They also aid in the production of antibodies to pathogens.

Friday, 22 May 2015 11:58

Healthy Lunch Ideas

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Are you stuck in a lunch time rut?  Here are several tasty ideas to break the brown bag monotony.
  • Thermos ideas:  left over homemade soup, pasta/Mac and cheese, or stews
  • Sandwiches made with veggies, leftover chicken/turkey/fish/roast beef or preservative free lunch meats
  • Fresh fruit instead of canned
  • Buy the big containers of plain yogurt and sweeten with honey/agave nectar/ maple syrup, add some cinnamon and fresh grapes/raisins/cantaloupe etc.  Could dip apple slices into the yogurt as well.
  • Fresh veggies and hummus (homemade of course- so easy to do) or any other kind of dip (could use plain yogurt instead of sour cream)
  • Wraps with hummus, grilled or fresh veggies, cheese,  left over meat, rice, beans -- the combinations are endless.
  • Cheese, crackers, lunchmeat.  Make your own "snackables" since the store bought versions are full of preservatives and food colouring.  Buy preservative free lunch meat or use leftovers.
  • Sprouted grain breads, ezekial, twelve grain or multi-grain breads in place of white or whole wheat
  • Quinoa and beans/lentils and loads of veggies for a salad
  • Lentil or split pea soup
  • Wraps spread with cream cheese and some sliced meat rolled up and then cut into pinwheels are fun 
  • Thermos or reusable bottle filled with 100% juice, water or milk substitute ie. rice, almond or hemp
  • Homemade iced tea (we prefer green sweetened with stevia or a little raw honey
  • Homemade pizzas on english muffins or pita bread, these are great when cooked on the grill
  • Pumpernickel bread and spinach dip
  • Cheese cubes from the big slab instead of processed cheese
  • Smoothies with a little spinach and added protein for a balanced snack
  • Lentil loaf
  • Vegetarian lasagna
  • Green salad with homemade dressing on the side
Thursday, 21 May 2015 14:22

5 Hydrating Foods for Summer

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Water is your body's principal chemical component and makes up about 60% of your body weight. Every system in your body depends on water. Water regulates body temperatures, eliminates toxins, carries nutrients and oxygen to the cells, and provides a moist environment for body tissues and joints.
In this article we will share the top 5 hydrating foods along with how to stay hydrated, energetic and headache free this summer.
An appropriate water and electrolyte balance are critical for the function of all body systems. Ensuring your electrolytes are balanced means that you need more than just water to stay hydrated this summer.
What Are Electrolytes? Electrolytes are vital minerals that are electrically charged (sodium, calcium, potassium, chlorine, phosphate and magnesium) and play a role in muscle contraction and various other physiological processes.
Did you know that 20% of your hydration could come from fruits and vegetables, reports The Institute of Medicine.
Staying hydrated is of top importance, especially during hotter months. If you are exercising in the heat, dehydration can cause blood volume to drop, which lowers the body's ability to transfer heat (sweat) and forces your heart to beat faster, making it difficult for the body to meet aerobic demands. You can also experience fatigue, headaches and constipation from being dehydrated.
Fact: During exercise, especially in the heat, individuals can sweat as much as 1.5 liters of water per hour.
It is very important to avoid dehydration and maintain electrolyte balance. Always try to match fluid consumption with sweat loss.
Don’t wait to drink until you feel thirsty. Unfortunately, thirst is usually perceived too late. You may not feel thirsty until you have lost approximately 1-3 pounds of body/water weight.
If you are concerned about fluid loss the best way to ensure you are properly hydrated is to weigh yourself before and after exercise.
Hydration Equation: Approximately 16 ounces or 0.5 liter of water should be consumed for every pound lost.
We can all agree that water gets boring sometimes, however, it’s essential to drink 8 to 10 glasses of clear, decaffeinated, uncarbonated water throughout the day to maintain proper fluid levels. Include these top 5 hydrating fruits and vegetables into your day to stay well hydrated and also provide your body with essential minerals, natural sugars, amino acids and vitamins that are all lost when you sweat.
Watermelon contains 92% water, 8% natural sugar, and essential electrolytes such as calcium, magnesium, potassium and sodium. Watermelon is rich in Vitamin C, beta carotene and lycopene which will give the body protection from UV light.
Cucumbers have 96% water content and a good balance of electrolytes such as, calcium, magnesium, potassium and sodium.  The mineral, silica, also found in cucumber is essential for healthy, lubricated connective tissue, which includes muscles, tendons, ligaments, cartilage, and bone.
Celery is considered to be a powerful electrolyte food. As little as two to three mineral-rich stalks of celery can replenish an athlete's sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, iron and zinc levels after intense exercise.
Broccoli is part of the cruciferous vegetable family. It contains 90% water and many health supporting compounds which are anti-inflammatory, others protect DNA with their antioxidant capacity, anti-cancer nutrients are found in broccoli and those that help to detoxify the vast number of potential toxins that we encounter each day.
Potassium is important for muscle contraction and the rhythm of the heart. The majority of potassium in the body is stored within the cells, so small changes in the concentration of potassium in the bloodstream can have serious health consequences. Cantaloupe, a potassium rich fruit provides 29 calories and is made up of 89% water. Cantaloupe is an exceptionally good fruit for supporting energy production through its efficient carbohydrate metabolism and ability to keep the blood sugar stable.
Hydration Tip: Drink water through a straw. There’s no scientific research to back this theory up, but it’s much easier to consume water when you drink through a straw. Add some cucumber and lemons to your water to boost the flavour.