There may not be an obvious link between sleep deprivation and your weight, but more and more research is showing just how important sleep is for your mood, mental performance, overall health and wellness, and especially when it comes to maintaining a healthy weight.
Many studies show that people who have a short sleep duration simply weigh more. And, in fact, as the levels of chronic (long-term) sleep deprivation have increased over the past 50 years, so have the growing epidemics of being overweight or obese.
Published in Deanna's Blog
Every time you think of inflammation, the obvious thought that runs in your mind is how it helps to fight harmful bacteria or heal from an injury. Well, it’s not wrong to think in this line because that’s good inflammation trying to keep you healthy. But, if your immune system is very active, it can make you sick.
Most people already know that chronic illnesses such as type-2 diabetes and heart disease are somehow linked to weight gain. Have you ever tried to know how inflammation is intertwined with these diseases?  Understanding bad (chronic) inflammation will go a long way in explaining the link.
Chronic inflammation
Probably you already know that heavily processed foods should be avoided. But, do you know how such foods hurt your health? For people with sensitivities, allergies, including other health issues, some certain foods could be problematic. Experts agree that there are foods that often work against you such as:
Trans fats (donuts, fries, donuts)
Added sugar (juice, soda)
Processed meats (hot dogs, cheeseburgers, sausages)
Refined carbohydrates (pasta, white bread, pastries)
If the fat cells cause chronic inflammation, then it’s expected that weight gain could also cause chronic inflammation. While gaining weight, some of the fat cells tend to expand beyond their capacity as they try to store the extra calories as fat. As they do this, they add to the inflammation that is already present in the body. If this happens, the cells are not just storing fat – they are turned into tiny inflammation factories that keep sending signals for activating the immune system. Losing weight will help in shrinking the fat cells and shut down those signals that activate chronic inflammation.
So, how can you reduce chronic pain? Losing weight and changing your diet are the two main ways to handle inflammation. These tips will guide you:
Take polyphenols and antioxidants
Polyphenol- and antioxidant-rich foods are great when it comes to fighting inflammation. Drink green tea and take as many fruits and vegetables as possible. Suitable vegetables include kale, asparagus, bell peppers, broccoli, spinach, beets and sweet potatoes. Fruits you should look out for include avocado, blueberries, and grapefruits.
Add spices
Studies have shown that spices like garlic, turmeric, cayenne, cinnamon, ginger and pepper have anti-inflammatory properties. Be sure not to overdo it. Sprinkling the spices liberally will work just fine.
Eat essential fats
Omega-3 and Omega -6 fatty acids can help to reduce inflammation when added into your diet. Many people take fewer omega-3 and more omega-6. The key is to balance both. Foods rich in omega-6 like nuts and seeds (including their oils) and refined vegetable oils can stir up inflammation. Omega-3 high foods like flax, salmon, avocado, walnuts and chia seeds will dampen it.
Exercise often
Exercising helps in releasing anti-inflammatory proteins from cells to the entire body. The best way to approach this is by working out moderately.  Examples of moderate exercises are jogging, walking for 45-60 minutes, at least three times a week.
Published in Deanna's Blog
Tuesday, 03 May 2016 15:29

Hypothyroidism Risk/Symptoms Checklist

You’ve gone for blood work and your doctor says your results are “normal”.  Your TSH reading is in the normal range, so your thyroid function is fine.  So why are you still experiencing symptoms? Lack of energy, weight gain, cold hands and feet, hair falling out and low sex drive.

Just because you fall within the “normal” range does not mean that this score is normal for you.  Because we are all bio-chemically unique, one person may feel great with a reading of 4.0 while you may feel best at 1.0.  Some doctors are reluctant to prescribe medication unless your reading is above 5.5, but if you are experiencing symptoms, suspect you are in the early stages of thyroid disease.  

So what is a girl to do when all else seems to fail? Well, there are a few things your Holistic Nutritionist can help you address to hopefully get your body back to a better state of balance.  Thyroid hormones require a balance of macro and micro nutrients.  Cleaning up your diet and identifying food sensitivities can go a long way to reduce the stress placed on the body and in turn the adrenal/thyroid axis.  Addressing mineral deficiencies, liver and digestive disturbances as well as managing other stressors such as lifestyle and exercise can all be beneficial to certain individuals.  

Hypothyroidism Risk/Symptoms Checklist

You can use this checklist to bring to your health practitioner to help aid in getting a proper diagnosis of hypothyroidism, or as background information in your discussions regarding fine tuning your dosage so you are at the optimal TSH level for your own level of wellness.

My risk factors for hypothyroidism include:

____ I have a family history of thyroid disease
____ I have had my thyroid "monitored" in the past to watch for changes
____ I had a previous diagnosis of goiters/nodules
____ I currently have a goiter
____ I was treated for hypothyroidism in the past
____ I had post-partum thyroiditis in the past
____ I had a temporary thyroiditis in the past
____ I have another autoimmune disease
____ I have had a baby in the past nine months
____ I have a history of miscarriage
____ I have had part/all of my thyroid removed due to cancer
____ I have had part/all of my thyroid removed due to nodules
____ I have had part/all of my thyroid removed due to Graves' disease/hyperthyroidism
____ I have had radioactive iodine due to Graves' Disease/hyperthyroidism
____ I have had anti-thyroid drugs due to Graves' Disease/hyperthyroidism

I have the following symptoms of hypothyroidism, as detailed by the Merck Manual, the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, and the Thyroid Foundation of America

____ I am gaining weight inappropriately
____ I'm unable to lose weight with diet/exercise
____ I am constipated, sometimes severely
____ I have low body temperature (feel cold when others feel hot/need extra sweaters, etc.)
____ I feel fatigued, exhausted
____ Feeling run down, sluggish, lethargic
____ My hair is coarse and dry, breaking, brittle, falling out
____ My skin is coarse, dry, scaly, and thick
____ I have a hoarse or gravely voice
____ I have puffiness and swelling around the eyes and face
____ I have pains, aches in joints, hands and feet
____ I have developed carpal-tunnel syndrome, or it's getting worse
____ I am having irregular menstrual cycles (longer, or heavier, or more frequent)
____ I am having trouble conceiving a baby
____ I feel depressed
____ I feel restless
____ My moods change easily

____ I have feelings of worthlessness
____ I have difficulty concentrating
____ I have more feelings of sadness
____ I seem to be losing interest in normal daily activities
____ I'm more forgetful lately 

I also have the following additional symptoms, which have been reported more frequently in people with hypothyroidism:

____ My hair is falling out
____ I can't seem to remember things
____ I have no sex drive
____ I am getting more frequent infections, that last longer
____ I'm snoring more lately
____ I have/may have sleep apnea
____ I feel shortness of breath and tightness in the chest
____ I feel the need to yawn to get oxygen
____ My eyes feel gritty and dry
____ My eyes feel sensitive to light
____ My eyes get jumpy/tics in eyes, which makes me dizzy/vertigo and have headaches
____ I have strange feelings in neck or throat
____ I have tinnitus (ringing in ears)
____ I get recurrent sinus infections
____ I have vertigo
____ I feel some lightheadedness
____ I have severe menstrual cramps 


If you check off several of these symptoms and would like to make some positive changes, book an appointment with me and we will create an individualized plan to start addressing the root cause of your symptoms.  

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  519-270-1889

Published in Deanna's Blog

Today I want to talk to you about something I see quite frequently in my practice.

The majority of my clients are coming to me either in the office or online, because they feel helpless and have been unsuccessful with managing symptoms like those I am going to list later on.

You see they go to the doctor and have tests done that come back inconclusive, so therefore they are told that nothing is wrong with them. The problem remains, and they still feel horrible.

Now, I know this may not apply to you.. however, you may know someone who would benefit from this information. Typically my clients are coming to me because someone like you has shared your experience with me. For that I am grateful. When you read my newsletters and share the information or you share with your friends and family about what I do, I am able to help more people feel better.

I am not faulting our doctors, they try to the best of their ability, however time is short, testing methods may be out of date or the parameters are so narrow that certain conditions may go undetected for some time.

I am not able to diagnose as a Holistic Nutritionist, nor do I need to. However, with the use of questionnaires and other assessments, I am able to help certain body systems utilize nutrients more efficiently so the body can do what it needs to do.

With every client we start with Digestion and Gut Health.

If the digestive system is out of balance we do not absorb the nutrients and could develop greater health issues.

Did you know that your small intestine has these little things like tiles and grout that cover the entirety of the intestine? Over time the “grout” like material starts to erode. Perhaps you have heard the term “Leaky Gut”?

Leaky gut allows undigested food particles to pass through the intestines into the blood stream causing inflammation and immune system responses like allergies and inflammation. The body goes on full alert and may start to attack itself, think Rheumatoid Arthritis, Ulcerative Colitis, Hashimoto’s etc.

If you have food sensitivities you have Leaky Gut and vice versa.

Often times when the digestive system is out of balance we can develop an overgrowth of bad bacteria, parasites and mycotoxins. The enzymes in the stomach become depleted and they are unable to keep the bad bacteria in control and the good bacteria becomes outnumbered.

If you have had chronic yeast infections, UTIs, athlete’s foot, jock itch, fatigue, depression, weight gain, nail fungus, irritability, uncontrolled sugar cravings keep reading.

Candida is an opportunistic fungus (or form of yeast) that takes many forms and is the cause of many undesirable symptoms ranging from fatigue and weight gain, joint pain and gas.

The Candida yeast is a part of the gut flora, a group of microorganisms that live in your mouth and intestines. When the Candida population starts getting out of control it weakens the intestinal wall, penetrating through into the bloodstream and releasing its toxic byproducts throughout the body.

As they spread, these toxic byproducts can damage your body tissues and organs, and weaken your immune system. The major waste product of yeast cell activity is Acetaldehyde, a poisonous toxin that promotes free radical activity in the body. Acetaldehyde is also converted by the liver into ethanol (drinking alcohol) so some people even feel like they are drunk or hungover, along with debilitating fatigue from the high amounts of ethanol is their system.

You should be concerned about this because an increase in free radicals may lead to disease.

Candida is usually kept under control if our immune system is in balance, however the overgrowth can occur when healthy gut flora becomes altered by the following factors:

  • Diet: a high sugar or refined carbohydrate diet will feed the yeast
  • Alcohol
  • Stress
  • Use of antibiotics, steroids or birth control pills
  • Decreased immunity

Symptoms of Candida

  • Gas and bloating
  • Intestinal disturbances like belching and bloating, flatulence
  • Sugar cravings and fruit intolerance
  • Allergies
  • Itchy ears, nose
  • Autoimmune disorders like Rheumatoid Arthritis, Ulcerative Colitis
  • Chronic yeast infections
  • Bladder infections and UTIs
  • Fatigue
  • Brain fog
  • Depression
  • Nail fungus
  • Skin issues like eczema, athlete’s foot and jock itch, nail fungus

"A healthy gut & balanced intestinal flora will lead to proper digestion and a strong immune system." Heather Schoffield, BioMed

There are several methods available for testing: Candida questionnaires, blood testing, stool testing and urine dysbiosis testing.

Several factors can damage our gut micro biome, and being aware of the effect it can have on our body can help us prevent overgrowth. The type of delivery at birth is the first major factor. Beneficial bacteria are passed to us via a vaginal birth. Of course, if the mother is deficient, then the child will also be deficient in good bacteria. As well, beneficial bacteria are passed to us through the mother’s breast milk. Therefore, bottle fed babies will not have this added benefit.

Chronic infections, heavy metals, the types of foods we eat, chronic stress, over-acidity of the body, food allergies and sensitivities as well as various medical interventions and medications can all have an effect on our intestinal flora.

In order to bring back balance we need to Restore, Regenerate and Regulate the gut bacteria.

We likely all have heard of someone on a Candida diet. They are not fun for sure, and limit many different foods making it difficult to maintain.

By following a comprehensive approach with a health practitioner, gut flora can be restored through diet, the addition of good bacteria supplements to heal the mucous membrane lining of the gut and bring down the number of bad bacteria. It is also imperative to identify food sensitivities so the body is not subjected to further stress and is able to regenerate healthy balance. Following which, regulation of foods, beneficial bacteria and enzymes resident in the body to keep the body in balance.

A word of caution: if you have had treatments in the past for Candida either natural or pharmaceutical, the type of Candida then change into a cell wall deficient form and will then go systemic. Dealing with this type of Candida will require different tactics. Please consult with your Natural Health Practitioner.

Deanna Trask RHN

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Sayer Ji, Green Med Info

Dr. Elson Haas, Staying Healthy with Nutrition and The Detox Diet

Heather Schofield B.Sc, DHMHS

Published in Digestion
Wednesday, 20 May 2015 19:04

How Stress Can Affect Your Weight

A More Amazing You:  Health Strategy- Reduce Stress 

I realize this is not always an easy thing to do.  Most of us are juggling way too much and going through the day at warp speed, trying to get more and more accomplished.  By having a high stress level, not only is it harmful to your health, it’s harmful to your waistline as well. When you are constantly under stress, hormone levels, like cortisol and insulin are elevated.  The elevation of these 2 hormones can sabotage your weight loss efforts and actually cause weight gain.  

‘Feeling stressed can create a wide variety of physiological changes, such as impairing digestion, excretion of valuable nutrients, decreasing beneficial gut flora populations, decreasing your metabolism, and raising triglycerides, cholesterol, insulin, and cortisol levels.’  –

So, while you may think you can “handle it” as far as your stress level goes, we aren’t meant to be under constant stress and it takes its toll. If you are doing everything right as far as diet and exercise, but you’re under stress every day, you’re not going to see or feel the results you want. 

What are some ways you can reduce your stress level? 

Is there something you can start with this week? 

Published in Stress
Monday, 27 April 2015 21:27

What You Should Know About Sugar

It tastes great, but...
Would your friends describe you as having a sweet tooth? 
Do you need your daily fix of candy, soda, chocolate or sweets? 
People all over the world love the taste of sugar.
So it’s no wonder sugar is an ingredient in so many foods and drinks. But did you know you’re probably consuming more sugar than you think? And that translates to more calories than you realize. 
While sugar has gotten a bad rap, it can’t be all bad, can it? Keep reading to get the sweet down low on your sweet tooth’s best friend.
Sugar: The Good
Sugar is a simple carbohydrate that your body needs for energy. Some foods naturally contain sugar, such as dairy (lactose) and fruit (fructose). Other foods and drinks contain added sugars and syrups. Some of these - sodas, desserts, energy drinks, and sports drinks - contain high amounts of added sugar, making them more appealing. 
Sugar has many purposes. It improves the flavour of food, gives baked foods colour and texture, helps preserve foods like jelly and jam, works with yeast to help bread rise, gives food bulk, and balances the acidity found in foods containing tomatoes or vinegar. 
Contrary to popular belief, one sugar is no healthier than another. Brown sugar and fruit juice concentrate has no more nutritional value than plain white sugar. 
Sugar: The Bad
Eating foods high in added sugars and syrups puts you at higher risk for developing certain health problems including poor nutrition, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and tooth decay. 
Think about the foods that are filled with added sugar: cookies, cakes, candy, packaged snacks, sweetened cereals, and sodas. The main problem with eating foods like these is that they’re low in nutritional value but high in calories. 
As if extra calories aren’t bad enough, eating sweetened foods like these displaces the health foods filled with vitamins, minerals, and other vital nutrients your body needs. Drink sodas or sweetened juice at every meal, and you’ll miss out on the nutrients provided by milk or the water your body needs to function.
Foods high in sugar are also high in calories. As you know, a high-calorie diet contributes to weight gain and obesity. When you begin to gain weight or become obese, you put yourself in the line of fire of a long list of health problems: diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, abnormal blood fats, stroke, and cancer to name a few. 
But don’t blame sugar! It’s not sugar’s fault. It’s the excess weight brought on by your inability to stop eating the sugar.
Also, frequently filling your mouth with sweetened snacks and drinks leads to tooth decay. Don’t practice good oral hygiene (and many kids don’t), and you can expect cavities sooner rather than later.
How Much Sugar?
Does this mean you should completely avoid all added sugar? No. Sugar is not necessarily the enemy. Moderation is the answer. 
Women should limit their sugar intake to six teaspoons a day, which equals about 100 calories. Men should limit the amount of sugar in their diet to nine teaspoons a day, which is about 150 calories. 
To give you an idea of what this means, a 12-ounce can of non-diet soda has eight teaspoons of sugar and about 130 calories.
On a food label 4 grams of sugar = 1 tsp.
Real world examples:
Quaker Instant Oatmeal Maple Syrup Packet = 2 tsp sugar
1 cup Raisin Bran cereal = 4.4 tsp sugar
Odwalla Superfood Juice 12 oz = 9.25
1 banana = 3 tsp 
1 cup skim milk = 3 tsp
Published in Weight Loss