Monday, September 28, 2009

Sleep for Good Health

I remember even as a teenager not being able to fall asleep, needing to watch Johnny Carson or wanting to read books or whatever to 'lull me to sleep'. Sleep has always been something I have needed to consciously work on over the years. After becoming a naturopathic doctor I realized how important sleep actually is to keep all hormones working efficiently.

I'm definitely not the person that can do work until the last minute before going to bed. I need to have some relaxation time to wind down..... and that is something I have to consistently work at and be conscious of, otherwise forget it - I'm not falling asleep for a couple of hours. So recently I've been excited about my detox cookbook getting closer to being finished and launching plant2body organics Nourishing Serum among other little projects on the go; and sure enough the last two weeks my sleep has been awful. I've hit my point - action must be taken. Back to my restful hour before bed, reading (maybe I'll finally finish that Hillary Clinton biography!), dry skin brushing, castor oil packs, taking my cal/mag before bed etc.

Funny enough yesterday I read a study from the Archives of Internal Medicine that concluded people who sleep well and long enough are less susceptible to viral infections. People who got 8 hours or sleep were approximately 2.94 times less likely to catch colds than those who slept for 7 hours or less AND even more interesting was that people with a 92% sleep efficiency (actual sleep time as a percentage of total time in bed) or less were 5.5 times more likely to develop a cold. Something we all know but now there is one more study to prove it!

Good night!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Swine Flu Vaccine

Necessary? Not necessary? I'm clearly on the not necessary side..... there are definitely certain patient populations that may need a flu shot, whether it is seasonal or pandemic but I do believe having a good lifestyle, eating well (lots of fruits and veggies and little sugar), getting outside everyday, managing stress well, sleeping enough, and of course washing hands frequently are all key.

I thought it was interesting that yesterday it was reported that people who got the seasonal flu shot last year were more likely to contract swine flu (H1N1 virus). These findings are now prompting some people to delay or cancel their seasonal flu shot programs.

If you are concerned or just want a little booster for your immune system come by the clinic for your immune booster/homeopathic flu shot today! Good for any age!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Green Hand Wipes You Make Yourself

Hand-washing is probably the best thing you can do to prevent unwanted bugs, like the H1N1 (swine flu) virus away.

Of course being proactive and keeping your immune system functionally optimally by eating well, sleeping, exercising, getting outside everyday, etc. is also equally important.

Just flipping through a Healthy Directions magazine and I just came across a cute little recipe for 'green hand wipes' that I had to share. Mix 6 drops of tea tree oil with 1/2 cup white distilled vinegar. The oil will cancel the smell of the vinegar and kill bacteria. Dip 10 paper towels in the mixture and wring them out so they are damp, but not dripping. Fold and place in a Ziploc bag for you and your family to use at work or school before eating lunch!

Visiting Zawada Health for your immune booster flu shot should also be high on your flu prevention list!!!!

Medicinal Benefits of Tumeric

Beautiful Saturday so far. After a nice morning bike ride and a breakfast out at High Park, reading the papers, I've settled in, leafing through the September fall issue of InStyle.

While paging through I noticed a new product featured because of its odd ingredient - tumeric! DDF has a new cream that has tumeric, as it is currently being touted as having anti-aging benefits.

Old news to me! Tumeric is something I get all my cancer patients to take either in food/spice form or supplement form. Tumeric is something I remember painstakingly learning about in Year 2 Botanical Medicine. Curcumin is actually the part that gives the herb its therapeutic benefits. Its a powerful antioxidant, fighting free radicals and having strong anti-inflammatory benefits as well as being anticarcinogenic. A study in UCLA has even seen how tumeric may benefit those with Alzheimers, by reducing the build-up of protein plaques in the brain.

Sprinkle a little tumeric in your next stir-fry, in a smoothie, or on your quinoa!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Scones - Acceptable Dinner?

Today in a rare event I left the clinic early and was actually home by 5:30 pm. I also figured out that this is when the majority of my neighbours come home as I never see them when getting home at 7:30!

I was determined to finishing testing out a chicken nugget recipe for my detox cookbook and try another recipe from the Babycakes cookbook. So the chicken nuggets were fantastic - I finally figured out the right proportions of herbs and rice crackers for the 'coating'!

I made the raspberry scones and not only was it a super easy recipe with only a few ingredients, but it turned out beautifully. They only had spelt flour, coconut oil, agave nectar, baking powder, salt, and raspberries. Ok soooooooo back to the banana bread..... as many of you can see the author (or someone from Babycakes) commented on my blog and I will email her as suggested about what happened and let you know as my receptionist has also had problems with the banana bread but said the cupcakes were delicious and no problem to make. I'll let you know what I find out!

Anyway so I had the chicken nuggets and had full intentions on making green beans and kale for dinner but the scones smelled so good, so I had one and now have no desire to make my veggies!!!!

Plant2body Nourishing Serum

YAY! What a great feedback from people! Our new skin formulation is a hit. Plant2body is working on a website with more information but for now check out the pic and the information on in the "Shop Online" section. Come in and pick yours up today for $27.99. If you loved the silkia camillia oil, you will go crazy for p2b's nourishing serum. My colleague Anna and I have been working hard over the last year to create this great formula for wrinkles, stretch marks, scars, and uneven skin tone, that is safe to use on all skin types (even cystic acne and rosacea), that is ultra restorative and moisturizing.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Cream The Urban Dairy

Delicious! Yesterday Alexis and I went to the TFC Soccer Game (thanks JG!) -- what a fantastic way to spend a sunny Saturday afternoon. I love those fans! After the game we went to Lemongrass for some tasty thai food (I had my usual thai green vegetable curry) and then Cream The Urban Dairy at Queen and Leslie (1298 Queen St. East) for a little treat.

Alexis had been there before and had had a goat's milk ice cream last time, so I was curious to try it out! No goat's milk ice cream last night but instead they had a sheep's milk banana nutmeg ice cream. Didn't know what to expect but it was great! I would totally go back there AND for all my patients(kids and parents!) that have cow's milk allergies, this will be a great recommendation.

Thursday, September 10, 2009


So annoyed with this cookbook. I've tried 3 different recipes and all 3 I've had to change the bake time. This book is from a bakeshop in NYC that does mostly wheat and/or gluten-free and some celebrities rave about her baked goods. I think she's famous for her cupcakes but her cookbook has scones, tea breads, and pies as well.

The first incident happened over a month ago, the morning we were leaving for our road trip out East. I wanted to bake a gluten-free banana bread for my friend, who we were visiting in New Brunswick, who has Celiac's (allergic to gluten). Chris didn't think it would last the road trip as it would be hard to resist a baked good in the car that he wasn't allowed to eat! However the banana bread didn't even make it in the car - it was raw inside when I pulled it out! I had even left it in the oven an extra 10 minutes. I didn't give it much thought because I was in a rush, maybe I didn't measure something or forgot something so vowed to try it again after the trip. Tried it again and really took my time and same thing! Last week I halved the recipe and kept the same loaf pan and it worked - AND it was delicious - could not tell it was gluten-free. DELICIOUS but how frustrating.

This past Monday night after we got back from Waterloo I wanted to try something else so the apple toastie bread was the next thing that caught my eye. Quite a lot of sugar in the recipe but again gluten-free, this time using chickpea flour, and I kept checking and checking and checking this loaf until finally 30 minutes after the 'scheduled bake time' I took it out and it was done.

Now I've baked quite a lot, especially in the last 5 years, mostly wheat or gluten-free, some from recipes, and some by just making it up as I go along and I have never, NEVER, had any issues before. Sure some of my creations weren't delicious, but were edible and most of the time I knew they weren't going to be moist and wonderful.

The author and owner of the store, Erin, does a beautiful job with the look of the cookbook, the pictures, the little stories, but maybe there is a little trick I'm missing..... I've even read all the preamble at the beginning but there is nothing I don't know. I'm going to try one of the scone recipes this weekend and maybe a cupcake recipe but if it doesn't work out, I'm not wasting any more ingredients on this cookbook!

Friday, September 4, 2009


I had full intentions to come home after yoga this morning, quickly clean the house and then get groceries to test out a few more recipes for my cookbook. It was also supposed to be day 1 of no cable so I thought it would be easy to focus and get things done. (YES I said no cable.... we're trying it out ... we'll see how long we last!)

Well before starting to clean I instinctively turned on the tv and much to my surprise we still had cable. Trouble. I watched Cityline and then a bit of Ellen before getting to my toilets. Finished cleaning, and made a quick grocery list before remembering my brother-in-law Dave was coming this weekend and staying with us next week. I wanted to bake and freeze a few things so there are a few healthy treats around, so I added a few things to the list and headed out.

Made cosmic cookies from the Planet Organic cookbook but substituted a few things. I did coconut flour instead of spelt flour, sunflower oil instead of canola, and the oats weren't quick cooking oats as I usually use. I baked half the recipe and put the rest of the dough in the freezer. They weren't bad but not delicious; a touch too crumbly. I also made a gluten-free apple toastie bread from the Babycakes cookbook which turned out great.

While I was baking I had the US Open Tennis tournament on in the background. I got wrapped up in a game for half an hour before starting my chermoula for our halibut tonight. Chermoula is a blend of spices, almost a paste that originates from Northern Africa. The blend of spices varies between countries but garlic, olive oil, and lemon juice are always in there. Chermoula is typically paired with fish but upon doing some research, it is also used with roasted cauliflower or chicken from time to time.

After making the chermoula I put it on the halibut fillets and then in the refrigerator. Tonight I'll bake it in the oven (350) for 15 minutes or until the fish flakes. We're having sauteed fennel and roasted brussel sprouts with the halibut.

Here's the recipe for the chermoula:
2 cups fresh cilantro, chopped
1 cup fresh parsley, chopped
3 cloves garlic
½ tsp sea salt
2 tsp cumin seeds, toasted
1/2 tsp coriander seeds, toasted
1 tsp paprika
½ tsp cayenne
¼ cup - ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
Juice of 1 large lemon

1. In a food processor, puree cilantro and parsley. Remove and set aside.
2. In the same food processor, puree the garlic and sea salt. Slowly add spoonfuls of the cilantro and parsley mixture and pulse until everything is blended together.
3. Add the remaining spices, lemon juice, and olive oil and puree.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Plastic Surgery for Migraines

Come on?!? Really? No I'm not a migraine sufferer and maybe if I was I wouldn't think this was so outrageous but....

The Journal of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, recently reported a double blind study where more than 80 percent of patients who underwent surgery in one of three “trigger sites” significantly reduced their number of headaches compared with more than 55 percent of the group who had sham surgery. More than half of the patients with the real surgery reported a “complete elimination” of headaches compared with about 4 percent of the placebo group.

The lead author of the study, a plastic surgeon, found some of his patients migraines were improving post-forehead lift (typically for smoothing furrowed brows). He began searching for a surgical answer to migraines, hence the study.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

SIGG Water Bottles

Rats. I have to throw out my SIGG water bottles. I have 3 or 4 of them that I love from my sister Angela that have her Moksha Yoga Edmonton logo on them.

What irritates me about this is not that I have to throw them out, but because I have told many patients, family, and friends that SIGG do not have BPA in the bottles or liners. SIGG has finally confirmed their "water-based" epoxy liners in bottles made prior to 2008 have BPA. In their past statements they have always maintained that their liners have 'never leached BPA', never lying to consumers, but deceiving or in my husband's lingo, spinning the story. UGH. Apparently they switched to an 'eco-care' liner quietly in 2008.

There are countless other options including glass or stainless steel. Time to go shopping.