Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Delicious Detox Back at Me!

Oh wow Saturday night was fun and surprising! Chris and I went over to our friends Anne-Marie and Dave's house for dinner (Nor and Kris joined us as well!) on Saturday. The 6 of us always have a great time together and this time was no different.

As we sat down for dinner and the first course - a soup - was being served I was impressed. This soup was delicious... very familiar.... Hmmmmm.... it was my Squash Soup recipe from the cookbook I realized!! How fantastic! Anne-Marie and Dave decided to cook us a feast from Delicious Detox.

They did a wonderful job - the main course was the Sesame-Lime Chicken, Crunchy Broccoli, and Sweet Potato Fries - it was so strange being served my food, yet so flattering. Thanks guys! :)

I'm attaching the Crunchy Broccoli recipe straight from the cookbook, as it is definitely a fan favourite among many patients (and practitioners at the clinic).

Crunchy Broccoli

Yield: 2 servings

Mom was always right in making you eat your broccoli! It truly is a super food, filled with vitamins C and A and folic acid. A serving of broccoli contains almost as much calcium as a glass of milk! You can save the broccoli stalks trimmed from the florets in this recipe and use them in a soup or stock.

1 head of broccoli
2 tablespoons (30 mL) ground flaxseed
2 tablespoons (30 mL) sesame seeds
3 tablespoons (45 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon (2 mL) sea salt
½ teaspoon (2 mL) freshly ground pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 450°F (230°C).
2. Cut the broccoli into bite-sized florets and soak in a bowl of water for 5 minutes.
3. Drain the water from the bowl and add the flaxseed, sesame seeds, olive oil, salt, and pepper and mix thoroughly.
4. Place the mixture on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for 15 minutes.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Beautiful Book

On my way home today (after a lovely country drive) I stopped at Indigo to pick up a few books and get inspired to bake something special for a dinner that we are going to tomorrow night. I was rummaging through the cooking section and stumbled upon this beautiful book: Wholefood For Children by Jude Blereau: Nourishing Young Children with Whole and Organic Foods. I just got home and have been noodling around the web to get some more information on this natural food chef. Here's her blog:

Looks like she's from Australia. Anyway just leafing through I was really impressed and haven't seen a resource like this.

Oh and if you haven't had a chance to pick up my cookbook yet, Delicious Detox is on sale now! You can come to the clinic to pick it up, or buy it online on our shop online section at I'll post something when the cookbook's official website goes live. Bookmark

Drive Through SW Ontario

What a beautiful day. I have to always remind myself that I did not grow up in the city and that I have to return to my roots more often and take in the country air. With my parents not living in Tillsonburg anymore there is really no reason for me to drive out that way very often.

Today I went to visit a few friends and colleagues (Armstrong Clinic for Naturopathic Medicine) and also just to get out of the city and relax. There is no work to do during a 2 hour car ride and thanks to the Ontario government I can't really talk on the phone either! :)

Beautiful sky and sun, the rolling green hills driving back roads through Hamilton, Brantford, Oakland, Scotland, and Otterville was amazing. Seeing all the old tobacco fields and my old home.... ahhhhh. It was the first time I had been back since my parents sold the farm and saw some of the changes the new owner has made. The new owner really changed alot so it was a bit of a shock driving by. A flood of memories ....

I love the Spring air in the country, with the tractors out, getting the fields ready for planting ... it nourished my soul.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Gallbladder Season!

My colleague and friend Auromira Banga is a naturopathic doctor and busy mom in the UK. Here is an interesting post from her blog today that may give you a better sense of all the things running around in our heads as naturopathic doctors.

Yes we are primary care practitioners and we can do physical exams and pap smears and prostate exams and in British Columbia our scope has increased to be able to prescribe a list of pharmaceuticals like antibiotics.... but we also are always looking at the whole person and everything that is going on in their life that could be contributing to their health concerns. We have a lot of different tools in our tool belt including herbs, homeopathy, nutrition, and of course Chinese medicine to treat an individual. In Chinese medicine each season has a different organ associated with it and Spring is associated with the liver and gallbladder. And this is where Auromira's blog post comes into play.

So when I'm looking at someone and trying to figure out (like a detective!) what is going on, not only do I look at their physical symptoms from a conventional perspective I'm also looking at their personality and characteristics and how they react to stress..... It really truly is a holistic approach. Love it.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Food Inc. and Cheap Healthy Food

Last night we watched Food Inc. on CBC. I had seen parts of it in the past but never the whole thing at once. Definitely worthwhile to take a look where our food really comes from and how the big food companies shape how the majority of society eats.

What made me really sad was an interview with a family that was eating $1.00 burgers for dinner because they couldn't afford much more. They were pictured in the grocery store, wanting to buy fruits and vegetables but foregoing them because they were too expensive. I really wanted to call them up and say you can eat healthy on a budget.

At least once a week at the clinic I have patients that say they can't afford to eat healthy. I think a lot of people think it is expensive to eat healthy because they associate healthy with organic. Eating healthy can mean a lot of different things to different people but it comes down to eating clean and as close to the original food as possible i.e. the grain instead of bread or an apple instead of a 'fruit-to-go'. Yes I know that some fruits and vegetables are pricey, especially out of season, but some are very affordable. Cabbage, carrots, apples are just some examples of less expensive yet healthy foods. What about rice? What about beans?

As a society we want convenience so packaged foods are easy to buy for many people. "Organic" packaged foods are ridiculously expensive... these aren't necessarily healthy. Still in a box! If we all attempted to cook more, making creative meals out of basic food staples that aren't expensive, eating healthy on a budget becomes a reality.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Ear Infections

After the excitement of having my cookbook (Delicious Detox) finally in my hands on Friday, I went to a wonderful seminar on Saturday and Sunday on common pediatric or childhood health concerns.

It was a good review of my third year pediatrics course but introducing some new concepts on treating childhood ailments with drainage remedies and homeopathy.

One concern that I see at least once a week is chronic ear infections in children. Parents will bring their little ones in because they've had a few ear infections in a short amount of time and their medical doctor wants to put tubes in their ears. So I'm usually the last option before this stage. It's wonderful because naturopathic medicine has so much to offer when it comes to treating ear infections acutely or if the child has a chronic problem.

The first thing I usually do is take the child off dairy for at least a month along with some other tricks of the trade like probiotics. Any naturopathic doctor will usually eliminate one of four common food allergens - dairy, wheat, sugar or soy.

The one thing that surprised me the most in the discussion of this topic was that even the American Pediatric Association knows otitis media (ear infections) is an immune reaction of the body typically to a food intolerance. There was an article in their journal in 1995. Elimination of these foods addresses about 90% of ear infections! So why do pediatricians or family medical doctors never mention this to parents as a first line?

Evidenced-based medicine eh?

Monday, April 5, 2010

Fiber for Weight Loss

Fiber, fiber, fiber.... what do you most people think of when they hear the word fiber?
Good bowels so decreased constipation! Decrease in risk of colon cancer and diabetes! Lowers risk of heart disease!

Why fiber for weight loss?

Fiber helps you feel full sooner, while it also slows down your rate of digestion, keeping you feeling full longer. It also moves fat through your digestive system faster, which means less fat is absorbed.

Women should try to get over 20 grams of fiber in their diet a day, while men should strive for over 30 grams. Just to give you an idea... an medium sized apple with the skin on has about 4 grams of fiber as does a cup of cooked spinach while 100 grams of cooked black eyed beans has 7 grams of fiber.

Once in a while try to write down what you had during a day and check with the many different fiber charts online to see how much fiber you are getting! Alternatively give me your diet diary and I'll check your fiber levels as well as calcium and iron and protein in your typical day... most people are pretty surprised how little their levels of these nutrients they are consuming!

Lack of Breastfeeding Saves Lives and Lots of Dollars

A study in the Journal of Pediatrics published on Monday revealed that breastfeeding exclusively in the first 6 months of life would save 1000 lives and billions of dollars. Specifically in the US, 911 preventable deaths and $13 billion dollars. Researchers included the cost of health care as well as parents time away from work.

The World Health Organization says infants should be exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life "to achieve optimal growth, development and health." The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Family Physicians and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention all agree that breast milk alone is sufficient for newborns and infants until they are 6 months old.

Nearly 95% are due to premature deaths because of SIDs (sudden infant death syndrome), lower respiratory infections like pneumonia, and necrotizing enterolitis (intestinal walls die). Breastfeeding has been shown to decrease the risk of these illnesses as well as 7 other.

A lot of contributing factors were discussed by the researchers such as lack of education in hospitals, pressure from grandparents and parents to stop breastfeeding when it's not going well (because they grew up in a 'formula' time), and a delay in immediate skin-to-skin contact between mother and baby making it harder for the baby to develop its sucking instinct.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Enjoying the Beautiful Weather and Quick Exercise Tip

What a beautiful weekend! I went for a run yesterday morning and then Chris and I walked through High Park to enjoy the mid-day sun. Today we went to some of our favourite places in Toronto including St. Lawrence market and Kensington market to pick up some things for Easter! I had to stop in to Urban Herbivore for a apple cranberry spelt muffin too.... delicious.... some weekends I think of ways how I can incorporate a trip there with other errands I have to do.

This afternoon I went for another run followed by a great little 20 minute yoga session in my room. Some mornings I`m crunched for time to get to moksha or it`s raining outside so I`ll listen to one of the 15 or so yoga downloads I have from either itunes or my sister, the best yoga teacher ever :) and do an hour session in my room or a quick 20 minute power yoga. This is a great little tip for those crunched for time in the morning or those looking for little ways to get some exercise into their daily life. Now if you`ve never done yoga before this isn`t going to work for you as I recommend that you start off in a studio until you feel comfortable with the postures. You could also work on a yoga dvd to get into the flow of things before you work your way into an audio version.

I remember there was a time when I thought the longer I spent in the gym the better. Oh those McMaster days..... As I get older, I`m wiser, (and busier), and realize that even if I do something small everyday I can stay on track and be fit. Of course this doesn`t work great if you are training for something, but for general health and wellness this is perfect. Whether it`s getting up 5 minutes earlier and skipping rope, or doing 5 minutes of jumping jacks and pushups, every little bit counts!