For more great videos on health and wellness, visit our YouTube Channel!
Posted: 2017 May 24
Brassica vegetables, or cruciferous vegetables, are an extremely important part of a well-balanced and disease preventing diet. Like all vegetables, they’re low in calories, fat, and sodium. They’re also a good source of fibre and contain a variety of other essential vitamins and minerals.
In addition to these health promoting substances, they contain phytochemicals which occur naturally in the plants. These phytochemicals have a variety of health benefits for our bodies. One of the best known benefits is their cancer-fighting properties. Vegetables in the brassica family contain glucosinolates, sulfur-containg phytochemicals, such as indole-3-carbinol (I3C) and 3,3”-diindolylmethane (DIM). In studies, these phytochemicals have been shown to reduce the risk of multiple types of cancer, including lung, stomach, colon and rectal, prostate, endometrial and ovarian cancer.
Where can you find these super-star vegetables? Easy! Just browse the produce department at your local grocery store. Members of the brassica family include Cauliflower, Kale, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Collard Greens, Mustard Greens, Rapini, Bok Choy, Arugula, Turnip and Radish.
Curry Cauliflower Saffron Soup is a great way to get a healthy dose of these powerful phytonutrients. This creamy, dairy-free soup will keep you warm in the cold winter months and healthy for years to come!
Posted: 2015 January 29
You’ve asked and we will answer!
As we accumulate frequently asked questions, we will answer in “Ask the Doctor” posts (obviously after responding immediately to the persons asking the questions originally)!
We look forward to hearing from you!
A little, and only for a few seconds.
Acupuncture involves using fine hair-thin needles inserted through the skin. Because we are breaking through the skin, you will feel a small pricking sensation. The vast majority of acupuncture patients report that this is the only time that they feel discomfort, if they feel it at all.
Some acupuncture points elicit more sensation due to where they are located, for example, points in the feet and hands tend to be more sensitive. Also, some acupuncture points create tingling or radiating sensation because of the nature of the point – we expect to elicit this response if we are needling the correct location.
Specific treatments may also elicit more discomfort than others. For example, treatment of acute injuries having inflammation and swelling such as sciatica or ankle sprain will have some discomfort, as almost any treatment of a condition involving active inflammation would.
Another common example in my practice where people will sometimes comment on sensitivity us in natural labour induction. There are points that need to be stimulated to encourage labour and contractions to begin: these points may be tender.
The pain is so subtle and short-lived and acupuncture is so effective that I would highly recommend it for anyone to try. I use it every day with more than 60% of my patients.
Posted: 2014 July 16
Ginger is one of our favourite herbs, not only for cooking but also as a natural remedy for fevers, colds, chills and nausea. It stimulates circulation supporting immune system activity; “loosens” congestion; and promotes a “good” sweat (releasing “heat” in the Traditional Chinese Medicine paradigm). It is an exceptional remedy for stomach-aches and nausea whether from pregnancy or motion sickness; and is recognized as the most useful herbs for reduction of nausea caused by chemotherapy.
Getting children to take medicines can be a challenge. Ginger is great because it is one of the few medicines they actually enjoy, especially when paired with honey.
One of our favourite home remedies is ginger syrup. It’s not only a medicine, but can be used as a base for homemade ginger tea, or ginger ale in hot summer months.
add sparkling water to ginger syrup to taste (approximately 3 tablespoons syrup in a cup of water). Add ice cubes and garnish with lemon or lime slices.
Simply add approximately 3 tablespoons of ginger syrup to a cup of boiled water. Sprinkle with a pinch of freshly ground cinnamon or add a few cracked cardamom pods.
Do not strain ginger slices from the decoction. Add honey as above, together with 2-3 cinnamon sticks and 10 or so cracked cardamom pods.
Refrigerate for 1-2 weeks and strain before use.
A digestive cordial can be had on it’s own (1 teaspoon at a time when having abdominal bloating or fullness), or as a sparkling drink or tea.
We hope this simple recipe inspires you to add this great medicinal food to your lifestyle!
Posted: 2014 August 27
Looking for a healthy snack to pack for lunches? Look no further! We love these nutty, grain-free granola bars that are so easy to make and kid approved.
Forget the sugar-ladened granola bars and try these homemade healthy treats.
Following our Wellness Wednesday video from yesterday, Du La, ND, shares with us one of her favorite, healthy, kid approved snacks.
Posted: 2015 March 5
It’s rhubarb season, and if you’re lucky enough to grow a patch (or have a wonderful patient who brings you an armful), you might be looking for a good recipe.
My favourite is a super-simple and tasty Strawberry Rhubarb Compote. You only need 5 ingredients and around 15 minutes of time to make it.
Enjoy with organic yogurt, hemp hearts and chia seeds for a healthy and delicious breakfast or snack.
Posted: 2014 July 9
In October, I had the privilege of meeting with a group of parents to discuss strategies for optimizing their children’s health. The discussion centered around four “pillars” of health that form the strong foundation for future health.
The first “pillar” of the foundation is “Whole Family Health”. By “whole family health”, what I refer to, is the state of harmony in the family unit as a whole, a concept absent from most discussions on “personal health”. Parental stress has an enormous impact on our children’s well-being. In this video Dr. Gabor Maté, a leading authority in the area, gives a great overview of this concept.
The majority of brain development and maturation occurs from birth to the age of three. Over this period our brain weight increases from 18% to 80% of our adult brain weight. One of the ways parental stress directly affects children is through the creation of anxiety, which in turn affects their brain development during this crucial time.
Uncontrollable, chronic adversity experienced early in life may cause detrimental effects in developing brain architecture, as well as the chemical and physiological systems that help an individual adapt to stress, setting the stage for a lifetime of anxiety.
Two common stressors for most of today’s parents are:
A better goal (for you, and your child) is striving to be a “happy, healthy parent”. Here are some guidelines to help with this concept, offered by renowned herbalist and women’s health expert, Aviva Romm, MD.
In our family, we address this by limiting our children’s involvement in extra-curricular activities, even if this means they will never be a multi-lingual, prima ballerina, concert pianist, with black belt in karate, who will attend Oxford on a Rhodes Scholarship.
We tend to forget that even without extracurricular activities, our children have nearly the equivalent of a full-time job with their regular schooling.
We commit to a “family day” on week-ends, on which we schedule no activities, but rather spend time together allowing the day to unfold as it will, and lastly, are open to giving them a day away from school if we feel they need it.
These relatively simple steps have allowed us to be more relaxed, and therefore “present” as parents, and resulted in more relaxed and happy children.
In my next posting, I will elaborate on the second “pillar” of health we discussed, “Family Nutrition”.
Please join us in moving our families towards better health and improving the health of our children and future generations!
Until next time,
Posted: 2014 December 4
My third Pillar of Health for families relates to a relatively new area of medicine, the microbiome.
The microbiome, as it turns out, plays a role in a wide range of chronic health conditions, including food, environmental and seasonal allergies, eczema, asthma, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
What is the microbiome? Essentially, the human body is an ecosystem supporting over 100 trillion microorganisms.
“We” are 90% microbiome and only 10%” body cells”. A healthy microbiome is one that is in balance and diverse.
Antibiotic use. Since the introduction of antibiotics, we have lost approximately 30% of microbiome diversity. It is not a secret that antibiotics are over-used: for example, 2/3 of respiratory tract infections are ultimately treated using antibiotics even though 80% of these infections do not meet the Centres of Disease Control (CDC) requirements for antibiotics use.
Posted: 2015 January 15
In our family, and for the families we work with, we emphasize nutrition as essential for optimal health. Eating a well-balanced, whole foods diet will improve most health issues and prevent a myriad of chronic health problems.
We also feel better when we eat better!
We do not feel there is one diet for every person, but we do think there are important guidelines that will get most of us, most of the way there.
With so many different diets and eating ways, it is easy to get lost in all the details.
Michael Pollan sums it up so well: “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.”
This basically means to eat real food.
Avoid packaged, pre-made, fast food that is so convenient but so unhealthy. If you can eliminate most pre-packaged, prepared or take-out foods from your diet, you are eliminating most of the excess sugar, salt, unhealthy fats, food additives and preservatives you are presently eating. We encourage all of our patients to eat real food, whole foods and get in the kitchen more. Getting in the kitchen with your kids will help them learn to to eat more sensibly as well, setting an example for a lifetime of healthier eating habits.
This reminds me of the Japanese concept “Hara hachi bu”. This translates, loosely, to: eat until you are 80% full.
Most of us are simply eating too much food. If you cut back on your intake, you will likely strike a better balance with what your body actually needs to be healthy. This is particularly important for those of us who are sedentary and not striking the right balance of calories in versus calories out, and consequently gaining extra body-fat/weight as we age.
On our home, we structure our food intake according to the Harvard School of Public Health’s “Healthy Eating Plate”: a simple, visual approach to balanced eating. To ensure a balanced intake of foods, including having “mostly plants”, ensure each major meal consists of:
By eating this way, we are eating about 75% plants, most of which are of the healthier “non-starchy” variety.
Once you’re in the routine of using these simple guidelines, you will actually have, in most cases, dramatically changed the way you are eating, and will notice it in the way you are feeling! Importantly, by modeling healthy eating, we will also be fostering in our children healthy habits they can carry with them through their lifetimes.
If you need more help, we have quick, simple healthy meal ideas and tips and are happy to support you along this journey towards better nutrition! Ask us for help!
Tune in to my discussion of the next pillar, the microbiome.
Until next time,
Posted: 2015 January 8