Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Proclamation of the Naturopathy Act 2007

by Dr. Iva Lloyd, ND

As of July 1st, 2015, naturopathic medicine will now be regulated under the Regulated Health Professions Act (RHPA) which is the umbrella legislation that governs all regulated health professions in Ontario.

The History

Naturopathic medicine has been regulated under the Drugless Practitioner's Act since 1925. The scope of practice for Ontario naturopathic doctors has steadily increased since 1925 and includes gynecological exams, rectal exams, naturopathic manipulation, acupuncture, intravenous therapy, taking blood samples and communicating a naturopathic diagnosis. The Drugless Practitioner's Act was an antiquated Act that did not provide the same degree of regulatory structure as other regulated health professions and restricted the scope of practice. In order for naturopathic doctors to have the level of regulation commensurate with other regulated health professions in Ontario the profession had to move under the RHPA.

In 2007 the Naturopathy Act was passed and the decision to move naturopathic doctors under the RHPA was confirmed. At the time that the Naturopathy Act was passed, naturopathic doctors were informed that they would  maintain their current scope of practice.

Current Status

Proclamation has taken a number of years. But, we are pleased to announce that naturopathic doctors in Ontario have, for the most part, maintained their full scope of practice. Click here for the link to the College of Naturopaths of Ontario (CONO) to access the list of the controlled acts.

One of the positive things that will happen under the RHPA is that the College of Naturopaths of Ontario (CONO) will be able to ensure that anyone who uses the title naturopath or naturopathic doctor has received the training that they require. The terms naturopath, naturopathic doctor, ND and others are now officially protected titles.

There are some changes in the way that naturopathic doctors will have to practice. Some of these changes, we hope will be short term. The changes include:

Laboratory Testing
  • Taking of blood samples: Although naturopathic doctors have been authorized the act of taking blood samples according to the Laboratory and Specimen Collection Centre Licensing Act, they are currently not allowed to take blood samples that have to be sent to a lab for analysis as an inspection program has not yet been developed and approved and the access for standard medical blood testing has not been written into the Controlled Act. The Controlled Act, currently, only allows for point-of-care blood samples for seven laboratory tests that are assessed in-office.  For standard medical blood test naturopathic doctors will, for the time being, have to provide patients with a requisition form and have patients visit an Ontario laboratory facility for the blood draw. Results will still be sent directly to their naturopathic doctor. Although the blood will be drawn at an Ontario laboratory facility, the blood work will not be covered by OHIP.  
  • Range of laboratory tests: Prior to proclamation, naturopathic doctors were able to order any laboratory test. During the consultative process a list has been created which defines what laboratory tests naturopathic doctors are able to order. Generally speaking, the list is fairly comprehensive and includes 194 laboratory tests, but there are some common laboratory tests or test panels that did not make it to the approved list. Click here for the list of approved laboratory tests, or talk to your naturopathic doctor directly. The OAND and the naturopathic profession will continue to work with the CONO and the MOHLTC to seek inclusion of the remaining laboratory tests that are required.
  • Handling of external laboratory tests: Thankfully, naturopathic doctors maintained access to a number of external laboratory tests, but similar to blood testing, the handling of external laboratory testing, such as saliva testing, urine testing for environmental toxins, urinary organic acid testing, will be handled differently than it is now. The process is not completely worked out, but it most likely will involve your naturopathic doctor providing patients with a collection test kit and having them return the kit to an Ontario laboratory facility for shipment to the external lab. Your naturopathic doctor will be able to clarify the new process and any change to fees when they provide you with the test kit.
Prescription Rights and Intravenous Therapy (IVIT)
Prior to proclamation only those naturopathic doctors that were IVIT certified were able to prescribe a select list of drugs and substances as part of their IVIT treatment. The following is the update on prescription rights and IVIT therapy.
  • List of IVIT substances: Most of the substances that naturopathic doctors have been using for intravenous therapy (IVIT) are included on the prescribed list, yet there are a few that have been removed at this time. The OAND and naturopathic profession will continue to work with CONO and the MOHLTC to add back the substances that have been omitted.
  • IVIT treatments: Under the new regulations that requirements for IVIT practitioners are much stricter and ensure optimal patient care. Any naturopathic doctor that meets the new standards and that passes the prescribing course will be able to continue to offer patients IVIT treatments.
  • Prescription rights for non-IVIT naturopathic doctors: The controlled act of prescribing primarily relates to substances that are used in IVIT treatments, but under the new RHPA regulations there are a few substances that non-IVIT naturopathic doctors will have the ability to prescribe once they successfully complete a prescribing course.  The substances that have been added include bio-identical hormones estrogen and progesterone and thyroid hormone, as well as the ability to prescribe high doses of Vitamin D, Vitamin A, Vitamin K and Folic acid.  

Next Steps

There are a lot of positives about the move to the RHPA, but there will be some challenges during the transitional period.  Generally speaking, patients that are working with naturopathic doctors will primarily experience changes with respect to the handling and access to laboratory testing.

If you have any questions about these regulatory changes, I encourage you to visit the CONO website at: www.collegeofnaturopaths.on.ca/, the website of the Ontario Association of Naturopathic Doctors at www.oand.org or talk directly to your naturopathic doctor.

This is an exciting time for the naturopathic profession.  These regulatory changes will ensure greater patient safety, increased clarification as to the scope of naturopathic doctors and will increase the opportunity for intra-professional collaboration and support.

It is a great time to work with a naturopathic doctor to optimize your health.





Thursday, May 28, 2015

Summer Sprains & Strains

by Dr. Jacqueline Cooper, ND

For many people, injury or pain management involves some combination of pharmaceutical pain killers, topical applications of ice and modified or minimized movement. The inherent problem with this approach is that it does not address the underlying cause of the pain, and, in many cases, can aggravate the issue in the long run.

Seasonally, this is an important time to give thought to your injury/pain management strategies. The reason being, for many people the spring/summer season brings with it greater involvement in activities after a sedentary winter. Golf, tennis and gardening are all popular activities that commonly result in injuries to the upper limbs.
For some tips on how to best manage pain resulting from acute or chronic injuries, read the tips below.

Avoid taking pharmaceutical anti-inflammatories

Inflammation is part of the healing process and it's important not to suppress it. Taking pharmaceutical anti-inflammatories may decrease pain, swelling and improve range of motion. However, it hinders the body's ability to fully recover. Recent research suggests that the use of anti-inflammatories increases the likelihood of an injury reoccurring at an affected joint, which is left weakened due to incomplete healing. As an alternative, there are many supplements and homeopathic remedies that will optimize the inflammatory process. A more efficient inflammatory response results in a quicker more complete healing process. Bromelain, glucosamine, MSM, turmeric and vitamin C,  are examples of supplements that work synergistically to modulate inflammation and facilitate healing. Arnica is a great homeopathic for acute injuries. The homeopathic Rhus-tox is ideal for acute or chronic injuries that feel better with motion and are worse after resting. Conversely, Bryonia is indicated when symptoms are aggravated by even the slightest motion. 

Use Ice and Heat Appropriately

When ice or heat are bested used depends on the time frame of when the injury occurred. Applying ice is only therapeutic for the first 48 hours after an injury occurs. After 48 hours you want to start alternating ice with heat. This helps by encouraging blood flow to the injured area. 

When pain becomes chronic (lasting more than 6 weeks), you should generally only use heat. Using ice after 6 weeks may feel good but it is not therapeutic. In fact, it can worsen musculoskeletal issues by causing muscles to contract and become tighter. It is this contraction (hypertonicity) of muscles that creates "knots". When muscles are chronically hypertonic (tight), they can compromise structure by pulling the bones out of alignment. When this happens, it can further worsen the stress on the joint, thereby increasing pain and causing one to compensate with other muscle groups (which can then go on to develop issues as a result).

Take Regular Alkaline Baths

Taking alkaline baths regularly, particularly following physical activity, helps keep joints healthy and minimizes pain in a number of ways. Alkaline baths are similar to epsom salt baths in that they help the muscles relax.  However, alkaline baths have additional therapeutic effects that epsom salts do not. Alkaline baths also speed muscle recovery by increasing the body's ability to process lactic acid and also help lower the body's toxic load by facilitating elimination through the skin which is important for healing and prevention of future injuries. 

For more about the benefits of alkaline bathing and tips on how to incorporate it into your regimen, read my blog 'Alkaline Hydrotherapy - Cultivating Health From the Inside Out'.

Incorporate Movement into Your Daily Routine
Incorporate movements into your daily routine. There is a fine line between resting an over used joint and limiting movement to such a degree that it impedes recovery. Every joint in the body has an ideal range of motion. The goal of movement should be to preserve optimal, pain free range of motion for all joints. 

Many people focus on strength building when they should be prioritizing flexibility, balance and maintaining or achieving optimal range of motion. Doing strengthening exercises without having optimal range of motion can actually worsen the issue over time. Maintaining good posture while sitting or during activity is another imperative component of healthy movement. For more on healthy movement, read Dr. Iva Lloyd's blog - Top 5 Things to Remember about Movement.  

Seek Professional Health When Needed

Some musculoskeletal issues will resolve with time and the diligent application of the above-mentioned factors. However, when healing doesn't occur as planned treatments such as massage, acupuncture and light therapies can be exceptionally helpful in accelerating the healing process. 

One of the treatments that I have found most effective in treating injuries of the joints is the MILTAPOD. This is a device that our clinic brought in from France. It combines the therapeutic effects of magnet, LED light therapy, with infrared waves. Regardless of the type of treatment chosen, best results are typically seen when clustering a number of treatments in close proximity to one another as opposed to several done sporadically over a longer duration of time. This helps the body to build momentum with respect to healing. 

If you have acute or chronic pain and are interested in receiving treatment or learning more about the options available to you, please do not hesitate to email me at jcoopernd@naturopathicfoundations.ca

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Eliminating Toxins - Top 5 Things to Remember

By Dr. Iva Lloyd, BScH, BCPP, ND

In its most basic form, the body is like a bucket. The "bucket" stays healthy when it can sort through whatever is put in and keep what it needs and eliminate what it doesn't. Generally speaking, there are really only two problems that affect health. One- you don't get what you need to be healthy. That is, you are lacking nutrients, clear air, nurture and other essentials to health. Or two- you cannot or choose not to eliminate what you don't need.

The ability to eliminate toxins is a reflection of the body's ability to sort through what it needs and what it doesn't-to keep anything that is essential to health and to excrete what is harmful or unnecessary. The better you are at living a clean life and being an efficient eliminator, the better.

The primary routes of elimination in the body include:

Secondary routes of elimination include nasal discharge, coughing, ear wax, tears, hair, vaginal secretions, phlegm, mucous or blood in the stool, gas or flatulence and sneezing. 

Eliminating waste and toxins is important in order to prevent chronic disease, to aid in the treatment of acute diseases, to support organ function and to decrease aging and the slowing down of metabolic processes.

Proper daily hygiene is an important habit to support the body's ability to eliminate toxins.

Factors that affect an individual's ability to eliminate toxins include:

  • Water is the primary carrier for all toxins. Bowel movements, urine, sweating, menses and even breath require water. If a person is dehydrated, their ability to eliminate toxins is greatly reduced. 
  • Breathing is one of the innate ways that the body eliminates the waste products of cellular metabolism, including carbon dioxide. Learning how to breath properly and efficiently aids the body in eliminating and reducing phlegm, nasal mucous and will help to protect the body from inhaling environmental toxins found in the air.
  • Movement helps to eliminate toxins. Regular movement is associated with better bowel movements and with circulation. When an individual is too sedentary, toxins or waste products are more likely to "sit" in fat, lymphatic tissue, muscles and organs.
  • Lifestyle determines your exposure to toxins. Smoking, alcohol and drugs add to the toxic burden of the body and can consume a lot of energy and nutrients as the body tries to negate their toxic effects. Many people have jobs that expose them to toxins, such as mining, construction, certain types of manufacturing, farming and others. Where you live also determines your toxic exposure. Living in the country with a lot of trees and clean air is less toxic than if you live in a densely populated city. The important thing is to understand what your exposure is, and to work with your naturopathic doctor to determine how to support your body's ability to eliminate the toxins.
  • Mood and emotions impact health. We are all going to have good days and bad days.  Having negative emotions or periods of stress primarily affect health when we hold them in. The important thing is to learn how to express emotions and how to eliminate holding onto negative situations.
  • The environment that you live in greatly affects both your toxic exposure and your ability to eliminate toxins. Spending time in nature is beneficial and helps the body to eliminate toxins. Spending a lot of time indoors or exposed to urban life can increase your exposure to toxins. Taking measures to minimize exposure in your direct environment is a beneficial way to decrease your toxic burden.
  • Personal care products, such as cosmetics, perfumes, soaps etc. often contain synthetic chemicals which can be toxic to the body. These toxins accumulate over time and put stress on the body. Choose natural, chemical free personal care products as a way of decreasing your exposure to toxins and ensuring that your skin is free to work as an organ of elimination.
  • Drugs, such as prescription medications, influence the body's ability to excrete toxins and they, themselves, are often toxic to the body. Most drugs put added stress on the liver and the kidneys, two of the key organs for filtering out toxins in the body.
  • Supplements are often beneficial in assisting the body in eliminating toxins. Unfortunately, many supplements are designed to circulate toxins within the body.  To determine what supplements you require to actually support the elimination of toxins, work with your naturopathic doctor to find what supplements are best for you.


The Top 5 Things to Remember With Respect to Eliminating Toxins

1. Ensure daily bowel movements

Bowel movements are a major route that the body uses to eliminate toxins. As food is ingested, it passes through the digestive tract and is continually broken down. Ideally, the nutrients that are required for health are absorbed while anything that is not essential is eliminated through the stool. The elimination of toxins and wastes protects the body from accumulating or storing the toxins.

Ideally you want as many bowel movements as you have meals. Aim for at least two bowel movements a day. A normal bowel movement should be shaped like a banana, not too hard, not too soft.  Your bowel movements will fluctuate with your diet.  The aim is to achieve a healthy diet that supports normal and regular bowel movements. An active mind, dehydration and prescription medications are common causes, outside of diet, that affect bowel movements. If these factors are a concern for you, work with your naturopathic doctor to determine a healthy solution.

2. Sweating is good for you.

Sweating is a very efficient way to rid the body of toxins that are stored in adipose or fat tissue. As most environmental toxins are stored in fat, sweating is something that you want to support. Sweating is stimulated by exercise, fever, warm temperatures and saunas or steam rooms. Encouraging the body to sweat is a great way to achieve healthy skin.

During perimenopause it is common for women to have hot flashes or night sweats. As one route of eliminating toxins is shut down, i.e., menses, the skin will often act as the overflow route. Similarly, if your kidneys, liver, lung or digestion system are taxed or stressed, you will often find that the body reacts with skin lesions or itchiness on the skin. The skin is the largest organ of detoxification. Encouraging sweating, taking Alkabaths, doing hydrotherapy, doing saunas or steam baths are all beneficial at helping the skin support overall health.

3. Express Your Emotions.

Emotions themselves are neither healthy nor unhealthy. Healthy emotions are those that are felt and expressed. Unhealthy emotions are those that are held in or suppressed. The expression of true emotions and organic feelings through voice allows the body the opportunity to share experiences and to release anything that is "toxic".

Expressing emotions does not always mean talking to (or yelling at) the person that you have an emotion about. Expressing emotions can be done by through breathing, writing, painting or other forms of art, physical activity and emotional release activities. A cleansing breath can be effective in releasing the tension associated with frustration or anxiety. Learning to talk out loud, when you are alone is quite effective. For your health, the person that you have emotions about doesn't have to be in front of you when you express. For your emotions to have less of an impact on your health, you just need to focus on releasing them.

Using voice as a route of elimination is often forgotten when health professionals are listing the routes of elimination for the body. My experience is that emotions are one of the key toxins that people hold on to. Holding onto emotions can subsequently result on holding onto other toxins, resulting in constipation, urinary urgency or increased risk of urinary tract infections (UTIs), chronic cough and other conditions. Working with a health practitioner who can assist you in finding effective ways of releasing your stored up emotions is an essential aspect of overall health.

4. Eliminate Your Exposure to Toxins

In today's society one of the main concerns is the amount of toxins to which we are exposed. There are toxins in food (herbicides, pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, food colouringsadditives, genetically modified foods, etc), environmental toxins (heavy metals, chemicals, EMF radiation, polluted water and air, etc), toxins in personal care products (thousands of chemicals, preservatives, fragrances,etc), and then there are toxins or waste products that the body produces through its metabolic and biochemical processes.

Neutralizing, balancing and eliminating toxins requires a lot of nutrients and energy. Many people today are exhausted simply because their body is overwhelmed with dealing with all their toxins. In order to achieve optimal health and to prevent chronic diseases or cancer, the best thing you can do is to eliminate your exposure to toxins as much as possible.

5. Look, Listen and Investigate

The body is designed to naturally release toxins. Symptoms are a way that the body gets your attention.  Paying attention to how your body talks to you is your best strategy. If you are constipated, have skin rashes or lesions, a chronic cough, nasal congestion, difficulty breathing, chronic fatigue or a chronic disease, then you are best to work with a naturopathic doctor to figure out the cause of these symptoms.

On an acute basis, look for the cause of periodic symptoms. The acne, cough, itchy skin or constipation that wasn't there today, but has now shown up, is probably a reflection of what you ate yesterday. Any symptom that you have periodically is going to be in response to something that overwhelmed the body. Mentally go through a checklist - what was different in what you ate, what you put on your skin, your activity level, your stress, your environment - to help determine what your body is trying to tell you.

 Unfortunately, it is not possible to live a life that is completely clean of toxins. Achieving and maintaining health involves always supporting the body's ability to eliminate toxins on an ongoing basis.

Naturopathic doctors excel at assessing and supporting the elimination of toxins in the body. In our clinic, all of our practitioners focus on this aspect of health.  If you have any questions, please give us a call.

2015 Guide to Health Series

Check out the other topics on our Guide to Health Series. Each month we will he highlighting the top five things you need to know about each topic. The topics that will be covered include:

January - Water
February - Breathing
March - Movement
April - Sleep
May - Healthy Eating
June - Elimination of Toxins
July - Alignment and Posture
August - Alkaline lifestyle and personal care products
September - The Power of the Mind
October - Time Spent Outdoors
November - Addressing Environmental Factors
December - Healthy Relationships

As part of our Guide to Health Series, we will be offering in-house seminars on each topic. If you are unable to attend our seminars, we will be providing video highlights of some of the seminars on our website.

If you have any questions about nutrition that you would like us to address, please contact us at info@naturopathicfoundations.ca. 

Let us know if you are joining us on the Guide to Health Series by sending us an email or by hitting the "like" logo on our blog. 

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Update on Naturopathic Move to the RHPA

by Iva Lloyd, ND

In the next few months naturopathic medicine will be moving from the Drugless Practitioner's Act (DPA) to the Regulated Health Professions Act (RHPA) under the College of Naturopaths of Ontario (CONO). The decision to move naturopathic doctors under the RHPA was made in 2007 when the Naturopathy Act was passed.

History

Naturopathic medicine has been regulated in Ontario since 1925. Since that time it has been regulated under the DPA.  In 1991, the RHPA was created. Most health professions, both those that were previously regulated under a different Act and those newly regulated health professions, have been moved under the RHPA. Naturopathic doctors are one of the last health professions to move under the RHPA.

Naturopathic doctors have been looking forward to moving under the RHPA. There are many advantages and opportunities for intra-professional collaboration; and the move should benefit patient care. The Naturopathy Act, 2007 was passed with the understanding that naturopathic doctors would maintain their full scope of practice.

Current Status

The Transition Council for the College of Naturopaths (tC-CONO), the Ontario Association of Naturopathic Doctors (OAND) and the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MOHLTC) have spent a tremendous amount of time over the last eight years, with input from various stakeholders, on ensuring that naturopathic doctors maintain their scope of practice and that their regulations fit within the framework of the RHPA.

When proclamation happens in the next few months we will have a clear definition of the scope of naturopathic medical practice and the parameters under which naturopathic doctors will be allowed to practice. Under the current draft Controlled Acts Regulation naturopathic doctors will continue to be able to do the following:

  1. Naturopathic diagnosis
  2. Gynecological exams
  3. Rectal exams
  4. Naturopathic manipulation
  5. Acupuncture
  6. Administering, by injection or inhalation, a prescribed substance
  7. Taking blood samples for the purpose of prescribed naturopathic examinations
Overall, naturopathic doctors are being recognized as primary care practitioners under the RHPA and the draft Controlled Acts Regulation includes all the controlled acts that naturopathic doctors require in order to maintain their scope of practice.

Concern

The concern is around access to laboratory tests and drawing blood samples in the clinic. For the last 50 years, naturopathic doctors have had full access to all laboratory tests provide by external laboratory companies. Additionally, they have had access to the full list of laboratory tests offered by Ontario licensed laboratories for the last 20 years.

Although naturopathic doctors will have the controlled act of taking blood samples, the recommendation of the MOHLTC is that there be a defined list of laboratory tests that naturopathic doctors will be able to access.  Instead of having full access to all laboratory tests, NDs will be restricted to a limited number of laboratory tests.

The focus of the MOHLTC has been on laboratory tests already offered by Ontario licensed labs. These tests include labs such as Complete Blood Count (CBC), testing for cholesterol, blood sugar, inflammation markers, liver enzymes, etc; general blood work that NDs use all the time.

Our concern, and where we need your help, is the following:
  1. External laboratories offer a full range of testing for environmental toxins, metabolic testing, detailed hormone testing and leading-edge tests. We are concerned that the access to external laboratory testing will either be extremely limited, or will be removed altogether.
    • Without these tests naturopathic doctors are limited in their ability to access testing required for a full assessment, to properly diagnose the causal factors of disease and to create and monitor an effective treatment plan.
    • Patients are limited in their ability to work with their naturopathic doctor to determine the role that environmental toxins are having on their health and how they can improve their overall health. Patients will also be extremely limited in their access to testing for cancer risk or aging factors.
  2. Naturopathic doctors currently have the ability to take blood samples in their clinic and then send them directly to either an Ontario licensed lab or an external lab for analysis. There is a concern that drawing blood and taking specimen samples will be taken away.

Our Ask

What we now require is your support to influence government so that your rights and your access to the full spectrum of naturopathic care are protected.

Please sign the petition from the Ontario Association of Naturopathic Doctors and let them know that you support our concerns. Link to the OAND Petition


There has been a lot of tremendous amount of work done to move the naturopathic profession under the RHPA. Please support us in this last step.

If you have any questions, please give me a call or email us at info@naturopathicfoundations.ca.

Thank you for your support,

Iva Lloyd, ND

Friday, May 8, 2015

Nutrition - Top 5 Things to Remember

by Dr. Iva Lloyd, ND

It really should not be this difficult to figure out how to eat. Yet for many individuals, it is an ongoing struggle. Part of the problem is that food and eating have been driven more by media and marketing lately than research or common sense.

Although there are a lot more factors impacting the quality of food, the basics of how to eat healthy and how to ensure that you get the required nutrients from food have remained the same for years. They are:

#1: Eat Primarily To Be Healthy

To a large degree, many people associate food and eating with socializing or cravings, more so than with health. Too often food choices are made based on convenience, calories, colour, design and taste versus the nutritional value of the food.  It is very rare to find a cooking show or any food advertisements that highlight the nutritional value of the food, and often when they do it is more marketing than it is fact.

Food is the fuel for the body. It is the building block for every muscle, cell, tissue and fluid within the body. The saying "You are what you eat" is quite true.

The social aspect of eating is important, yet I encourage you to make the nutritional value of food as the most important quality. To eat for health involves following the other 4-guidelines and it involves listening to your body. If a food causes you gas, bloating, acne, diarrhea or other physical symptoms, it is probably not the best thing for you to eat.

#2: Eat From All The Food Groups

One of the most common trends right now involves people avoiding a specific food group, such as grains, vegetables or fats. This is especially true for younger children who are fussy eaters. Every food group has its value and the different food groups are not interchangeable.

It is virtually impossible to achieve overall health if you completely remove one of the main food groups. Healthy eating, at its most basic, involves eating food from all the different food groups. These different food groups include:

  • Protein
    • sources of complete protein include meats, eggs, dairy, nuts and seeds
    • incomplete sources of protein include legumes (beans), rice and some grains
    • required for structural component of cells and tissues, hormones, enzymes, immune system and basic building block of DNA. 
  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
    • include pears, apples, berries, grapes, bananas, oranges, etc.
    • provide the body with the required vitamins and minerals, especially the vitamins, which are required for every cellular function.
    • provide needed fiber for the body
  • Grains
    • include rice, wheat, oats, rye and other grains 
    • provide needed fiber and other nutrients
    • whole grains are healthier than refined grains (in other words - "avoid white flour and processed foods made from white flour")
  • Fats and Oils
    • good sources include nuts, seed, fish, butter and plant-based oils such as avocado oil, coconut oil, olive oil.
    • choose unsaturated fats and oils and avoid trans fats (mostly in processed foods)
    • oils are essential for joint health, healthy skin, brain function and many other essential bodily functions.

#3: Ensure Proper Portions of Each Food Group

The ideal portion for each food group is roughly the same for everyone. It is based on the nutrients that the body requires to function, repair, build and support health. The guideline is:

  • Breakfast: 1/2 carbohydrates, 1/4 lean protein, 1/4 fruit
  • Lunch: 1/2 vegetables, 1/4 lean protein, 1/4 starch (grains or starchy vegetables)
  • Dinner: 1/2 vegetables, 1/4 lean protein, 1/4 starch (grains or starchy vegetables)
  • Snacks, if needed, should be focused on vegetables, nuts and seeds. As much as possible, avoid snacks, especially for children, that are mostly grains or sweets.
  • You also require adequate water and the consumption of healthy fats and oils each day.
There are some health conditions that may require a different ratio of the food groups. Your naturopathic doctor will tell you if you require different portions of the food groups.

#4: Eat Regular Meals

Eating regular meals is required to balance blood sugar, to sustain energy and to assist with metabolism. The body functions better when it can count on you eating on regular schedule.

Ideally, most adults should eat three meals a day.  Snacks are primarily required for growing children, active younger adults and those individuals that require additional support balancing blood sugar. Older adults, and those that have difficulty digesting food, may require smaller meals, more frequently throughout the day. Some other general guidelines:

  • Keep the timing of your meals as consist as possible.  It can vary within a week, i.e., you always eat late two nights of the week, but week-over-week, try and maintain a schedule that the body can rely on.
  • Avoid "unconscious eating".  You know, the snacking that happens when you are bored or reading.  Many extra calories can be attributed to "unconscious eating".
  • Stop eating at least two hours before bedtime.  The body needs sufficient time to digest the food.  Late eating and unconscious eating are probably the two biggest factors associated with weight gain. Eating late is also associated with insomnia, disrupted sleep and heartburn.
  • Eat breakfast. Some people never eat breakfast and they seem to do just fine, but the majority of people will have more energy, will think better and will be more productive, if they eat breakfast AND if the breakfast is balanced (i.e,, has healthy grains, protein and fruit). 
  • For many reasons - weight, blood sugar, balance mood and nervous system, overall health - do NOT start or end your day with sugar.  


#5: 75% Whole Food

Ideally 75% of the food you consume should consist of whole foods. Whole foods include fresh fruits and vegetables, using the raw forms of grains and legumes (i.e., cooking rice from scratch) and choosing non-processed meat.

Packaged food generally will contain more additives, more salt or more sugar- things you don't want!
As much as possible avoid the following:
As much as possible choose foods that are;
  • Local. Food that is locally grown will be fresher and will have higher nutritional value. The nutritional value of fruits and vegetables decreases the longer the time between when the fruit and vegetables are picked/harvested and when they are consumed.
  • Organic. Organic food will always have less pesticides and herbicides and will not have added hormones or antibiotics.
There is a difference between healthy food and food that is healthy for you. Each person has their unique constitution and health concerns.  If you are allergic or intolerant to any foods, you are best to avoid them. If you are unsure of the foods that you react to, ask your naturopathic doctor for a blood test to determine the foods your body reacts to.

Nutrition provides the needed building blocks for health. If you would like to learn more about what you can do to eat for health, work with your naturopathic doctor.  To learn more about nutrition, checkout  http://www.ndhealthfacts.org/wiki/Nutrition  

Check out our website for a number of additional handouts on food and healthy eating. Including handouts on acid-alkaline diet, energetic properties of foods, food introduction schedules for infants, and many others.


2015 Guide to Health Series

Check out the other topics on our Guide to Health Series. Each month we will he highlighting the top five things you need to know about each topic. The topics that will be covered include:

January - Water
February - Breathing
March - Movement
April - Sleep
May - Healthy Eating
June - Hygiene and the Ability to Eliminate Toxins
July - Alignment and Posture
August - Alkaline lifestyle and personal care products
September - The Power of the Mind
October - Time Spent Outdoors
November - Addressing Environmental Factors
December - Healthy Relationships

As part of our Guide to Health Series, we will be offering in-house seminars on each topic. If you are unable to attend our seminars, we will be providing video highlights of some of the seminars on our website.

If you have any questions about nutrition that you would like us to address, please contact us at info@naturopathicfoundations.ca. 

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Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Therapeutic Role of Diet in Patients with Cancer

by Dr. Kimberley Ramberan, ND

Individuals living with cancer  or actively going through conventional cancer treatment (surgery, chemo and radiation), will often find that they have to stop their cancer treatments because their body is not able to tolerate the treatment.  An integrative naturopathic approach offers additional complementary strategies that can improve both toleration and efficacy of conventional cancer treatment and further improve survival statistics.  

Diet


Modifying your diet during active cancer treatment can often help increase the tolerance to the treatment. Diet is also an important health aspect to consider in regards to improving cancer outcomes and quality of life for individuals with cancer. Cancer is now viewed as a symptom of abnormal cellular processing and signalling rather than as a static lump of abnormal tissue. This is why dietary changes can help to normalize cellular function in order to reduce or reverse dysfunctional cell changes, which in part can yield more favourable outcomes for patients.

Optimizing diet also has the potential to enhance tolerance to conventional cancer therapies which assist patients in being able to physically complete treatment.  There is evidence that suggests patients who undergo conventional treatments without receiving nutritional support have higher complication rates.  

Diet can be used to:

1. Support optimal weight
2. Prevent weight loss during treatment
3. Support bowel regularity 
4. Reduce pain & inflammation that cause symptoms like headache, muscle and joint pain, and inflammation of mucous membranes which all happen as side effects of chemo and radiation.

Dietary Patterns

The optimal diet for each patient with cancer differs based on current health status, the type of treatment they are undergoing, blood markers, other health conditions, food sensitivities and a person's overall ability to digest what they are eating.  A naturopathic doctor will take a  look at ALL factors affecting a person's health and put together a comprehensive therapeutic diet plan that is individually tailored for desirable outcomes.  

As a start point, plant-based diets have been shown to be very important in cancer treatments.
Fruits, vegetables and certain components of plant foods, such as fiber, have significant research supporting the anti-cancer effects.

An increase in fiber has been shown to alter the enterohepatic recirculation of estrogens, leading to lower concentrations of circulating estrogens.  This is especially important for people who are at risk of developing, or who have already developed, a hormonally driven cancer, like breast, uterine or ovarian.  

Another beneficial effect of fiber shown in clinical research is its ability to decrease inflammatory markers.  One study showed that women, after being diagnosed with breast cancer and increasing their dietary intake of fiber, had a 49% decrease in likelihood of having elevated  CRP levels. This suggests an anti-inflammatory effect of fiber consumption which, in turn, improves treatment toleration and is associated with improved survival.  

In males, a dietary reduction of saturated fats and an increase in consumption of vegetables has been shown to slow PSA doubling time which reflects a decrease in cancer progression.

Colon cancer development and progression is also heavily influenced by our diet.  The SAD diet, which stands for the standard american diet, is high in red meat, refined carbohydrates, dairy and eggs.  This type of diet is associated with an increased risk for developing colorectal cancer.  In the case of colon cancer, vegetable fiber seems to be more protective than fruit or grain fiber.  

Obesity

It is now estimated that 2.4%-3.9% of cancer deaths can be attributed to obesity. The role of obesity in the progression and mortality risk of several cancers, including breast, prostate, and colon , is becoming well established and supported by emerging research.  

Work with an ND to bring down your body fat percentage and address insulin resistance (which is a problem that can affect people at any weight, but affects a high incidence of those who are overweight).  Optimizing your weight, body fat percentage and insulin activity all decrease your cancer risk.

Insulin Resistance

One of the main drivers of malignant cancer cell growth is an increased expression of insulin and insulin growth factor (IGF-1). The levels of both of these hormones in the blood are largely determined by dietary patterns. Insulin and IGF-1 stimulate cellular proliferation in malignant cells. Some cancers rely exclusively on insulin and IGF-1 for their growth, including an estimated 27% of breast cancer cases.  As a consequence, patients' diets should centre around decreasing the release of insulin by decreasing dietary glycemic load.  This means keeping dietary sugars and simple carbohydrates to a minimum.   This can be done by looking at meal composition and timing, which can be determined by your naturopathic doctor based on individual needs.  Insulin levels and blood sugar levels should be monitored as a starting point and then monitored during and after treatment.

Dietary strategies vary from patient to patient,  but the overall concepts remain constant. A diet high in fiber intake, rich in whole foods and that is low in high glycemic load needs to be the foundation of a cancer-fighting approach.

For guidance and advice on the dietary strategy best suited to you, or someone you know who is dealing with cancer, contact Dr. Kimberley Ramberan, ND.  Dr. Ramberan, ND has a special focus on cancer care and her approach involves addressing the dietary, lifestyle and emotional factors. Dr. Ramberan, ND is certified in Intravenous Therapy and offers a range of complementary cancer care treatments.