The Wisdom of Summer Eating

By Dr. Kathleen Regan, ND

Summer is ruled by the fire element in Traditional Chinese Medicine. It is the height of ‘yang’ energy, which rules expansion, growth, and creativity. Nature is at its peak in terms of growth and the motion of natural energy is moving upwards – meaning that this is the perfect time to harness that natural high in your energy levels! Being mindful to match your eating habits to the movement of this season can help maintain health and energy all year round.

Enjoy beautiful meals with colorful fruits and vegetables. Not only are these foods inspiring and fun but they are full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

Avoid COLD foods but consume COOLING foods. Cold foods cause contraction in the stomach and interfere with digestion. This includes overconsumption of raw fruit/vegetable juice*, salads or raw greens, iced drinks and ice cream. On the other hand, cooling foods are ones that disperse heat without creating coldness in the stomach. These include: salads, sprouts, fruit, cucumber, tofu and many herbal teas (see our Cooling Chrysanthemum Tea recipe). […]

3 Simple Steps to Weight Loss

By Dr. Kathleen Regan, ND

1. Choose a weight loss goal that is realistic for you. Bring into mind your ideal weight. Or, use a Body Mass Index calculator to determine your healthy weight. Remember that lasting weight loss occurs at about 1 pound per week. If this seems like it will take too long, plan your weight loss goals in steps. If your healthy weight is 150 and you are currently 200lbs – this could take 50 weeks. So set your first goal at 190 for 10 weeks and when you reach this goal – celebrate! Our best achievements in life do not happen all at once. They are the accumulation of many small victories.

2. Identify the habits that are holding you back BEFORE you choose a weight loss plan. Bad habits are one of the biggest barriers to weight loss. They say it takes 21 days to change a habit. Pick a habit that needs to change and work at it until you can maintain the routine for a month. Yes, this may delay your weight loss plan but it will make you more successful in the long run. ‘Slow and steady wins the race.’

What kind of habits are we talking about?

TIME MANAGEMENT. Eating well means planning well so that you can prepare meals at home or at least plan for healthier options. Taking some time on Saturday or Sunday to grocery shop & cook can set you up for the week. Or in today’s world, we have services like Grocery Gateway that bring the groceries right to you, or Blue Apron that bring you the prepped food for healthy meals. There are also healthy meal delivery services that provide you with healthy, cooked meals. […]

Porridge Two Ways

By Dr. Angelina Riopel, Naturopathic Doctor

Porridge is a delicious and healthy winter staple. It is rich in fiber and a great way to balance blood sugar and help keep your appetite and cravings under control throughout the day.

The health benefits of porridge can vary depending on the type of oats we use and what we serve it with. The traditional milk and brown sugar, although delicious, can have a negative effect on blood sugar and digestion. Oats are naturally gluten free, although can become contaminated during processing, so it is best to choose a gluten-free brand. Whole oats are preferable to quick oats, as they are lower on the glycemic index, meaning a more favorable effect on blood sugar levels.

Try adding different combinations of the following power-foods to improve the nutrient content and flavor of your porridge. Oats themselves are a medicinal food known to strengthen and calm the nervous system.

Cinnamon to help balance blood sugar
Chia or flax seed will increase the fiber content
Dried fruit (organic and sulfite –free) such as apricots, dates, prunes or raisons or Fresh fruit such as berries or bananas for flavor, fiber and nutrients
Unsalted, raw nuts and seeds will increase the protein content of your porridge. You can also mix nuts and seeds together, in equal parts, and grind in a coffee grinder, then store in the freezer. This is an easy way to have all that nutrition ready to go!
Try nut milk such as almond milk or coconut milk (I prefer canned), as a dairy alternative […]

By |December 13th, 2016|Nutrition, Recipes|0 Comments

Keep Your Hand Out of the Cookie Jar this Holiday Season

The holidays are often a busy and stressful time. The fast pace can lead to an increase in stress hormones, blood sugar fluctuations, cravings and over-eating. The following are some simple strategies that can help you stay grounded and keep your hand out of the cookie jar.

Schedule Your Self-Care

Creating a self-care plan BEFORE the madness begins can help keep stress hormones such as adrenalin and cortisol in check! Stress hormones affect mood, blood sugar levels, appetite and food cravings – tempting us to overindulge in sweets, treats and alcohol.

Self-care is often something that is prioritized when we have time, but then let go when we need it most. Keep it simple and enjoyable! Examples may include taking time every morning to enjoy a healthy breakfast, a bath at the end of the day, an acupuncture session, a morning walk or going to bed early 1-2 nights per week. Your self-care should keep you in balance and help relieve stress. […]

By |November 29th, 2016|Digestion, ND Editorial, Nutrition|0 Comments

Fitness, Nutrition & the Menstrual Cycle

By Dr. Kathleen Regan, ND

When it comes to fitness and nutrition, women have different needs than men. Fitness-based nutrition programs & training schedules have long assumed that men and women are the same. Modern research has taught us that there are important differences between the sexes and understanding our uniqueness can help maximize female performance.

Female body composition is naturally higher in fat. The upside is that women use fat as their primary energy source. Women use dietary fats more efficiently than men but tend to lose fat less readily. How is that fair?! Estrogen seems to play a large role in this paradox. It has been shown that estrogen enhances fat use during exercise BUT reduces a woman’s ability to burn fat as energy after eating. Therefore, women may be better off to consume food before exercise but avoid food for 90 minutes after exercise to allow for the body to reach the maximum benefits of exercise induced fat burning.

Women’s bodies tend not to burn carbohydrates as fuel until they reach very high levels of exercise intensity (~80-85% max effort). Carbohydrate loading may not be appropriate for the female fitness routine unless she is training at max effort (80-85% VO2max). If a woman is carbohydrate loading during moderate exercise she may not utilize this macronutrient. Worse, these unused carbs are ultimately converted and stored as fat. Therefore, unless a woman is training at a regular high intensity, she will benefit from keeping carbohydrates more moderate or approximately 30% of daily nutrient intake.

The menstrual cycle and hormonal fluctuations women experience throughout the month influence their physical response to training as well as their metabolism of carbohydrates and fats. This mean that women need to vary nutrition and fitness schedules based on where they are in their cycle. Ignoring this important variable can lead to fatigue, delayed onset of muscle soreness, injury and ‘hitting the wall’ with a thud.

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Healthy Weight Loss

By Dr. Angelina Riopel, ND

 

Weight loss is a big business. It is confusing and we have been sold the idea of quick fix, dramatic weight-loss that is often not healthy nor sustainable.   Unfortunately this often leads to yo-yo dieting, dramatic weight-loss then the inevitable weight gain, and do it all over again.   So what is a healthy diet? How does one achieve a healthy weight?

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By |April 27th, 2016|Digestion, ND Editorial, Nutrition|0 Comments

Naturopathic Preconception Planning

By Dr. Angelina Riopel, ND

 

Preconception is an important, but often overlooked step, in pregnancy preparation. Naturopathic preconception planning can improve chances of conceiving and help ensure a healthy pregnancy, delivery and baby.

Ideally preconception work should begin one year, to a minimum of three months before desired conception. During this time the menstrual cycle and ovulation will be tracked, helping us understand when ovulation is occurring. Factors influencing the menstrual cycle will be addressed, along with general health and nutrition. A period of detoxification may be necessary for some.

The following is a detailed outline of areas that will be addressed during Preconception Planning: […]

By |March 1st, 2016|Fertility, ND Editorial, Nutrition|1 Comment

The Damiana Chocolate Love Liquor

By Dr. Kathleen Regan, ND

I am a huge fan of herbal medicine. And sometimes I like to have a little fun with special herbs! With Valentine’s Day around the corner I thought we might spice up your evening with a homemade remedy. This natural aphrodisiac is tasty and easy to prepare ahead of date night. Adapted by one of my favourite herbalists, Rosemary Gladstar in her Family Herbal book.

The main medicinal ingredient is ‘Damiana’, a herb known to relieve anxiety, improve libido and treat erectile dysfunction or even female impotence.

1 Ounce of Damiana Leaves
2 Cups of Brandy
1.5 Cups of Spring Water
1 Cup of Honey
Vanilla Extract
Almond Extract
Rose Water
Chocolate Syrup

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By |February 4th, 2016|Nutrition, Sexual Health|0 Comments

Healthy Heart Superfoods

 

‘Prevention is definitely the best medicine when it comes to heart health’.

 By Dr. Kathleen Regan, ND

Healthy hearts are predicted by:

Normal blood pressure (~120/80mmHG),
Balanced lipid profile (Low Total Cholesterol, Low LDL, High HDL, Cholesterol Ratio)
Body mass index between ~18 and 24.

Cardio-vascular problems such as hypertension, high cholesterol and obesity are caused by a perfect storm of poor nutrition, high inflammation and poor immune function. Much of this can be avoided or even remedied with diet and lifestyle.

Balanced consumption of carbohydrates, protein and fat feeds a hungry heart, fights inflammation and balances the immune system. Specific vitamins and minerals are required daily for the heart to function and most of these can be found in food. But what do these ‘heart friendly’ foods actually do to protect our hearts? Whether you are in wellness mode or struggling with cardiovascular issues, understanding how your foods work will help you to make the right choices.

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By |February 4th, 2016|Cardiovascular Health, Nutrition|0 Comments

Herbal Bitters for Digestive Drama

With Dr. Angelina Riopel, ND

As we move into holiday season restrictive diets go out the window, and rightfully so. Unfortunately with holiday indulging many are plagued with digestive drama, such as gastric reflux, gas, bloating and bowel changes such as constipation and diarrhea. Alcohol, fatty foods and excess sugar put stress on the liver, leading to “liver stagnation” and large, complex meals can lead to incomplete digestion, due to insufficient gastric juices.

Traditionally herbal bitters and digestive cordials were taken to prevent indigestion and improve digestive efficiency. The flavor of bitter is one that the western diet is lacking, culturally our preference being for sweet, salty and fatty. Traditionally and in many other cultures bitter herbs, bitter greens and bitter aperitifs are taken before or after meals to improve digestion and avoid the unpleasant digestive symptoms that follow heavy meals. […]

By |December 8th, 2015|Digestion, Nutrition|0 Comments