Friday, November 27, 2015

Are You A Good Candidate For Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement Therapy?

By Dr. Pearl Arjomand, ND

Are you a middle-aged woman struggling with hot flashes, insomnia, low sex drive or uncomfortable vaginal dryness?  Have you tried a number of therapies to find relief but have not found sustainable improvement in your symptoms?  As we age, hormone production and metabolism change.  Between the ages of 40-55 there begins to be a natural decline in the production of estrogen and progesterone and these hormonal shifts often contribute to these unpleasant symptoms.

Bio-identical Hormone Therapy (BHRT) is a safe and effective option that is now available through prescription from some naturopathic doctor to help you through this transition.

Do any of these signs and symptoms relate to you?  If so, hormone imbalance may be a contributing factor.

Bio-identical Hormones - What are they?

Bio-identical hormones refer to natural hormones that have a molecular chemical structure identical to that of the body's own hormones.  This is very important since the structure of each hormone will define the reaction it has at the cellular level.  The identical molecular structure of these hormones allows a "key in lock" reaction causing a more natural and physiological effect from the body.  These natural hormones are most often extracted from plants such as soybeans or Mexican wild yam root.

Benefits from using Bio-identical Hormones vs. Synthetic Hormone Replacement

1. How they're metabolized.

The body innately knows how to metabolize its own estrogen over a synthetic form.  Natural estrogen is not only broken down and eliminated from the body much faster than its synthetic counter-part, but we also know now that the by-products from this metabolism are less harmful to the body.

2. Fever side effects.

Natural hormones have fever side effects than synthetic hormone replacement (HRT), especially in the case of progesterone.  Bio-identical progesterone balances the effects of estrogen in the breast tissue and, in some cases, is used to reduce breast cancer risk.  Other benefits include reduction in anxiety, irritability, help with sleep, lower cholesterol and reduced water retention.

3. Individualized dosages.

Bio-identical hormones are compounded at your local pharmacy.  Therefore, your naturopathic doctor can create a customized dosing regimen and potency to fit your individual needs.  This allows us to adjust and taper dosages when necessary.

4.  No additives, preservatives or fillers.

Any drug that is patented contains preservatives, binders, fillers and dyes.  Individualized compounded formulas are often free of these agents.

Would Bio-identical Hormone Therapy be good for you?

Bio-identical Hormone therapy (BHRT) can be very effective if you are suffering from hot flashes, vaginal dryness contributing to pain with intercourse, increased frequency of vaginal and urinary infections, insomnia and anxiety related to menopause. BHRT is often considered an effective therapy when perimenopausal and menopausal symptoms are extreme.  There is evidence that BHRT may provide some benefit to women who are at mild risk of osteoporosis and heart disease.

Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement Therapy is not a stand-alone therapy.

Our physiology depends on balanced hormones, neurotransmitters and chemical reactions to take place in order for proper functioning. The building blocks from all these reactions come from proper nutrition, optimal digestive function and a balanced lifestyle.  The naturopathic approach takes into account the whole person, addressing not only the hormonal component of our health, but also other essential tenants such as our nutrition,  influences from our environment and mental/emotional aspects.  Further, your naturopathic doctor will often combine hormonal support through the use of bio-identical hormones together with nutritional, herbal, dietary and lifestyle recommendations for a comprehensive treatment plan.  We will also work with you to support optimal functioning of different body systems such as our liver, digestion, nervous system and immune system.  This will allow treatments to be more effective and sustainable.

To prescribe bio-identical hormone therapy, a naturopathic doctor must first pass a board-certified pharmacy exam.  At Naturopathic Foundations Health Clinic, Dr. Arjomand is one of the licensed naturopathic doctors that can prescribe bio-identical hormones and has a special interest in women's health.

For more information about bio-identical hormone therapy or to book a consultation with Dr. Arjomand, ND please call Naturopathic Foundations Health Clinic at 905-940-2727.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Healthy Relationships - What's Sex Got to Do with It?

by Dr. Jacqueline Cooper, ND

Healthy sexual expression is an important facet of establishing and maintaining a healthy romantic relationship. A lack-lustre sex life is often an indicator that something is amiss in the relationship. The underlying problem may stem from an issue one partner is struggling with. Perhaps, they are self-consciousness about their body and shy away from sex as a result. Age and weight-related body changes are often cited among the most common reasons for lowered libido. Conversely, it may be something more directly related to the dynamic between the couple. For example, there may be built up resentment over the division of household chores - unaddressed, ongoing resentment is a huge obstacle to sexual desire. While dissatisfaction or disinterest in sex is typically a lagging indicator of an already existing problem, if left unaddressed, it creates a new subset of issues. Hence, the cyclical causation for cultivating healthy relationships and healthy sex lives - each relies on the other’s existence.  An optimal romantic relationship  requires an optimized sex life and vice versa.

Benefits of Sex & Orgasm

Regular sexual activity and frequent orgasms have health benefits for both the individual and the couple as a whole. With respect to the health of the couple, satisfying sexual intimacy reduces stress and brings with it feelings of overall well-being and connectedness. This, in part, is due to the release of oxytocin during orgasm; when released, oxytocin facilitates bonding between partners. It is the same neurohormone that is released post-birth to help bond mother and child.

From an individual perspective, health benefits associated with frequent sexual activity and/or orgasms include:

  • Decreased sensation of pain, including headaches and migraines
  • Increased ability to manage stress 
  • Reduced levels of anxiety
  • Improved sleep 
  • Increased incidence of carrying a pregnancy to term
  • Suspected to convey protective effects against breast cancer
  • Decreased incidence of prostate cancer

I always tell patients, “A healthy relationship starts with you being the healthiest and happiest version of yourself.” Therefore, working to maintain a healthy sex life helps to maintain a healthier you, which subsequently feeds back to foster a healthier sex life.

What Does a 'Healthy Sex Life' Look Like?

Many people ask how much sex you need to have for your sex life to be considered healthy. I tell them there is no quantifiable answer to this question. Every individual is going to have a unique answer as to what is right for them. The most important question to start with when assessing the health of your sex life is, “Are both you and your partner’s sexual desires and needs being met?” You may think you know how your partner feels about the status of your sex life, but never assume. Good communication is paramount to the health of any relationship. One of the golden rules of good communication is never make assumptions. This is a simple thing to say but  can be incredibly difficult to practise, and yet, the importance of it cannot be emphasized enough. For example, if your partner is self-conscious about their body, they may avoid intimacy or signal their discomfort via non-verbal cues. It is easy to misinterpret these cues and project inaccurate meanings onto them. You may take their non-verbal cues to mean that your partner is no longer attracted to you and, as a result, feel hurt and rejected. You then modify your behavior which is then subject to their interpretation. You can imagine how a few simple misread cues can quickly escalate a situation that could be avoided by simply checking in with your partner to see how they feel.

If the thought of having a conversation with your partner about your mutual sexual satisfaction makes you cringe, it is a good indication that your sex life is not thriving the way it could be. If this is you, you are not alone. Many people find that after years in a long term relationship, their interest in sex begins to wane. In some cases, it is merely an absence of desire. For others, an aversion to sex can develop - it begins to feel like a chore; just one more obligation in a day that already feels too busy. There are many factors that can contribute to a loss of interest in sex. Libido is a complicated thing that is influenced by both physical and emotional elements of health. More often than not, there is not just one, but multiple factors contributing to a decline in sexual desire and physical intimacy in a relationship.  Investigating and identifying the mental, emotional and physical factors that are at play for you and your partner are necessary steps required to optimize your sex life and improve the overall quality of your relationship.

You can start this process with some inward reflection and communication with your partner, but most people find that speaking with a practitioner (either alone or as a couple) helps to highlight and address the existing issues. Breathing is also a helpful strategy you can put into practice right away. By focusing on your breathing it helps you stay present in the moment, an important component of cultivating a healthy sex life.

No Simple Answers or Silver Bullets

Sexual health is a vast and complicated subject that is not talked about nearly enough. Even in medical school, the amount of training doctors receive about sexual health, outside of reproductive health and STIs is relatively minimal.  For example, it wasn't until I attended a workshop at Good For Her that I learned about the anatomy of the female orgasm. I remember being blown away and thinking, "Why on earth didn't they teach us this in school - this is basic physiology, for goodness sake?" Our sexuality is intrinsically linked to the core of who we are. Cultivating a healthy relationship with our own sexuality and sexual expression is a keystone of health and a foundational component of intimate relationships.

This blog post is the first of many to delve into this area of health. If you would like to be notified of future blog posts on topics pertaining to sexuality simply email me at with 'Healthy Sexuality Blogs' in the subject line.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease: The Gut-Brain Connection

By: Dr. Kimberley Ramberan, ND

Have you ever felt "sick to your stomach" or had a "gut wrenching" experience?  As a naturopathic doctor, I often encourage patients to explore their "gut feelings" and trust their "gut instincts" especially when  making a difficult decision.  This is one example of the "Gut-Brain Connection".

The connection between the gut and the brain goes both ways.  A "distressed" intestine sends signals to the brain, just as a "distressed" brain sends signals to the gut.  Therefore, your digestive symptoms can both be the cause and the product of anxiety, stress and depression. When emotions are causing your gastro-intestinal (GI) symptoms there is often a delay between physical findings, such as a colonoscopy or abnormalities found in a physical exam.  This delay, in turn, can delay the treatment for a developing disease.

As naturopathic doctor is trained to treat the whole person and to recognize the link between the gut and the brain. As such, a naturopathic doctor, particularly when there is an absence of physical findings, would often indicate that a patient's emotional and physical state needs to be examined to address the cause of the symptoms and to prevent the progression of any disease.

On a personal level, I recall that when I was young whenever I got really upset or nervous my stomach would start to hurt and I would end up having to go to the bathroom more frequently.  As I got older I noticed these symptoms occurred more quickly whenever I was frustrated or overwhelmed. What I also realize now was that my symptoms became more easily triggered by small stressors. When my doctor would ask me if I felt stressed I would often answer "I don't feel stressed" because I had yet to make the link between my digestive symptoms and what was going on in my life.  As time went by my physical tolerance for stress decreased.  The build up of stress culminated in even more significant symptoms such as blood appearing in my stool.  When my doctor did the initial scope and blood work it indicated that everything was fine as he was looking for a physical cause.  It wasn't until months after I started have blood in my stool that the physical manifestation of my emotional stress presented itself. 

File:Breathing.jpgWhen stress and suppressed emotions are the cause of physical symptoms they must be dealt with directly. The nervous system should always be worked on in-conjunction with any digestive symptoms. It is interesting to look at the intestines as the organ that "lets waste go".   Although our gut has the physical capacity to store and rid our body of waste it can also be affected when we choose not to let emotions go.  This could result in you becoming "emotionally constipated"!  Having strong emotions is not a problem.  It is when we have them and we hold them in or suppress them. Our body and our emotions always find a way to be heard and felt.  So, if you are not addressing the emotional distress in your live, your body may consequently become effected physically and pathologically. The bright side is - our gut "feelings" can become another important instrument in our IBD healing tool box.  If we start listening to our gut "feelings" and acknowledge and learn to "let go" of unhealthy emotional patterns we can control another aspect contributing to our gastrointestinal symptoms.  

Just as there is an inflammatory response to stress there can be an anti-inflammatory response to peace within one's self.

Is stress causing your symptoms? 

Ask yourself - " When I'm stressed, where do I feel it my body?"  When you are upset, frustrated or emotional about something what do you do?  Do you release the emotion, or do you distract yourself and focus on something else. Distracting yourself and focusing on other things versus what is bothering you can often result in emotions being held in the body. Emotions that are held in or suppressed can often manifest as: 

Physical symptoms:

Behavioural symptoms:

  • Procrastination
  • Grinding teeth
  • Difficulty completing work
  • Changes in amount of alcohol or food you consume
  • Taking up or increase smoking
  • Increase desire to withdraw from others
  • Racing thoughts

Emotional symptoms:

  • Crying
  • Overwhelming sense of pressure or tension
  • Trouble relaxing
  • Nervousness
  • Anxiety
  • Quick Temper
  • Depression
  • Poor Concentration
  • Trouble remembering things
  • Loss of sense of humour

Understanding the gut-brain connection can provide a valuable approach to any health condition, especially digestive symptoms. To find our more about the gastro-intestinal relationship with the brain please call Naturopathic Foundations Health Clinic at 905-940-2727 to book an appointment with Dr. Kimberley Ramberan, ND.
This is the fourth in a 12-part series on the Irritable Bowel Disease.  We encourage you to check out the other blogs by Dr. Kimberley Ramberan, ND.

Friday, October 30, 2015

The Do's and Don'ts of Detoxification

By Dr. Iva Lloyd, ND

Many associate Spring and Fall with a time to detox and cleanse. Although detoxification can be a wonderful healing tool, it is not for everyone and can actually be harmful if done inappropriately.

The body often struggles in eliminating environmental toxins, especially when the exposure is high or prolonged. Detoxification can be an effective way of decreasing the body's burden of environmental toxins such as heavy metals and chemicals.

The theory behind detoxification is that the body consumes (through food, air, soil, water, personal care products, household and garden products, the environment and the senses) substances, particles and energies that it can't always process and eliminate. These toxic waste products, when not eliminated, build up in the body and can contribute to symptoms and disease. The body has six main routes of elimination of toxins: bowel movements, urine, breath, sweat, menses or ejaculate and voice.

The aim of detoxification is two fold:
  1. Reduce or eliminate a person's exposure or consumption of food, substances or energies that do not contribute to health.
  2. Assist the body in the removal of toxins through one of the routes of elimination.

The following are some detoxification guidelines:
  • First rule of thumb, only those in a state of excess are candidates for detoxification. If you are deficient (chronic illness, recovering from chemotherapy or radiation, weak or frail) then detoxification is typically not advised for you. You probably need to build your system up, not detoxify.
  • During any detox (ideally all the time) ensure that you drink adequate water, get sufficient sleep and engage in regular exercise and breathing or meditation to assist in moving toxins out of the body.
  • Spending time outside supports detoxification and healing. It is advised to reduce your exposure to cell phones, television, computers and generally to external "noise" and EMF radiation as part of your detox program.
  • The body part that is most important to detox is the one that is struggling or showing signs of toxicity. For example, if your are constipated it is important to support your bowels; if you have shortness of breath, asthma or environmental allergies you want to support your lung function; if your skin is breaking out or has a number of moles or discolouration you want to focus on detoxifying the skin.
  • If you are dealing with any concerning symptoms or a specific disease or condition it is always recommended to work with a naturopathic doctor or other trained health care professional before engaging in a detoxification program -- especially if doing so using herbs or other supplements.
The different types of detoxification include:
  • Dietary. The most gentle "detox" that is safe for most people involves adopting a clean diet:

    • removing any junk or processed food
    • eliminating food intolerances and sugar
    • reducing alcohol and caffeine 
    • increasing fruits and vegetables
    • choosing healthy sources of protein (legumes, nuts and seeds, lean protein)
    • ensuring adequate water intake.
  • Saunas or Alkaline Baths. Sweating out toxins is an effective and safe way to assist in the
    removal of environmental toxins and chemicals. It also provides relief for the kidneys and can improve the overall tone, texture and health of the skin.  Infra-red saunas are preferred over conventional saunas. If you haven't tried the alkaline bath salts, come into our clinic for a free sample of the salts (during the month of May).
  • Homeopathic Detox. There are a number of homeopathic options designed to stimulate detoxification at a cellular level in a gentle and effective way. 
  • Herbal Detox. Herbs can either provide a gentle detox or can initiate a more intense detoxification process, depending on the herbs chosen, the daily dose and the organ systems involved. It is always best to initiate the detoxification of one or maybe two complementary systems simultaneously. Off-the-counter herbal products that work on detoxifying multiple organ systems at once are seldom advised and can cause more harm than good.  Herbs are truly remarkable in their healing and detoxification ability, yet it is advised to work with a naturopathic doctor versus self-prescribing.
There are many different ways to detox. As a general rule of thumb, the more gentle the detox the more it can be done for an extended period of time; the more intense the detox the shorter the time frame. The idea goal is to establish a lifestyle where what you ingest on a daily basis you can process and eliminate. To figure what type of detoxification is advised for you, talk to one of the naturopathic doctors in our clinic.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Detoxing 101

by Dr. Jacqueline Cooper, ND

As I sit down to write this blog, I sip on a glass of my favourite red wine. This may seem  ironic, but in fact, it serves to highlight the importance of the message I am trying to convey by writing this blog. Ultimately we are all exposed to toxins on a daily basis. In some cases we knowingly choose to ingest or apply a substance that may impair our health. We may do this for a multitude of reasons. Perhaps, like in the case of my wine, we really enjoy the taste and experience of consuming it. Or perhaps, in the case of some personal care products, we may know that a product contains toxic chemicals, but choose to use it anyways. I know many women who live incredibly ‘clean lives‘ but refuse to ‘give up’ highlighting their hair. This is a toxic hit they are willing to take.

Living a ‘clean and green life’ can at times feel overwhelming. No matter how many things you change or eliminate, there seems to be an endless source of toxins. You may sigh with relief at finally eliminating most of the chemicals in your home, only to be told you need to worry about EMFs from your cell phone, electronics, WiFi, etc.  This constant barrage of things to worry about can result in an apathetic acknowledgement of inevitable defeat. However, this does not have to be the case.

It is always good to take stock of your daily sources of toxic exposures and consider where and how you can decrease it. However, it is equally as important to implement practices into your daily regimen that assist your body in clearing toxins. Your body is constantly working to maximize the outward flow of the toxins. When working optimally, your detoxification organs are able to eliminate whatever comes into the body. It is important that the body eliminate what comes in on a daily basis because whatever it cannot eliminate, ends up being stored. The body will try to store toxins in places that will minimize their negative effect on the tissues (for example- in fat or connective tissue). Almost everyone has some degree of accumulated toxic burden in their body. Giving your body’s detoxification abilities a boost can go a long way toward maintaining or re-establishing health.

Physical Detoxification

While intensive targeted detoxes are an important aspect of health, incorporating small but powerful actions into your weekly or daily regimen is arguably more important in the long run. The list below highlights some key steps you can implement to boost detoxification.

To improve hydration...

  • Avoid bottled water. Instead, drink filtered water or reverse osmosis. 
  • Optimize your water intake; 64 ounces/day is the standard advice, but a more appropriate guideline is to drink half your weight in pounds.  So, a 150 lb person should drink 75 ounces, which is approximately 9 glasses of water. 
  • Incorporate coconut water into your daily regimen to balance electrolytes. This is particularly helpful if you find when you drink water it "runs right through you".

To increase minerals...

  • Increase daily servings of vegetables
  • Drink Nettle tea infusions
  • Incorporate mineral supplements into your health regimen (speak with an ND to determine which supplements are most indicated for you)
  • Use tissue salts to assist with absorption and assimilation of minerals

To assist the body in the removal of toxins...

  • Alkaline bathe regularly (draws toxins out via the skin, read my other blog for more details)
  • Dry skin brush daily (moves the superficial lymphatic circulation)
  • Walking (this helps improve lymphatic circulation)
  • Deep stretching upon waking and/or before bed (helps to release toxins stored in muscles and joints) 
  • Sleeping on your side (read this article for more details)
  • Castor oil packs over the breasts, liver and abdomen

Emotional Detoxification 

'Emotional detoxing' is much less talked about but equally as important as physical detoxification. Emotions themselves are never the problem. It is the way we choose to handle them, or perhaps avoid them, that can be problematic.

Healthy emotional processing involves:

  1. Acknowledging how you are feeling - What's the emotion? Sadness? Abandonment? Anger? Betrayal? Shock? Anguish? Numbness? Where do you hold it? In your chest? Stomach? Shoulders? Temples? Back?
  2. Viewing it in the context of your life - Does the emotion you're feeling match the circumstances? If yes, then it is healthy. It may be uncomfortable, but it is not pathological. While negative feelings are not inherently pathological, the avoidance of these often uncomfortable feelings (or maladaptive ways of coping with them) absolutely contributes to  the development or progression of illness. For example- experiencing grief after the loss of a loved one. This is a natural, healthy response.
  3. Diffusing the emotion - To be clear, diffusing is different from suppressing. Once you have acknowledged your emotions and spent some time reflecting on how they are connected to your present circumstances, you want to let them go (as opposed to holding on to them and marinating in them). Below are some healthy strategies you can use to effectively 'diffuse' your emotions.  
  • When looking for a quick release, hand washing is a great option (hence, the cliche "wash my hands of it"). Simply run your hands under cool water and envision the emotion or trigger for the emotion slipping off your hands and sliding down the drain with the water. I appreciate this may sound a bit 'airy fairy' but pairing an intention with a visualization and action is hugely powerful. And besides, what do you have to lose? Add a little chemical-free soap into the equation and, at very least, you are practising good hygiene and germ avoidance. 
  • Breathing - When we are stressed, our natural response is to start shallow breathing. This is the exact opposite of what we should be doing. To decompress, take a slow inhale through the nostrils. You should feel your stomach expand OUT on the INHALE. Then return back IN on the EXHALE. This is the reverse of how most people breathe. For further guidance with instructions on how to do specific exercises, visit our website and download our clinic handout.
  • Writing - Stream of consciousness writing is the best type of writing to assist in clearing emotions. Stream of consciousness writing is essentially writing whatever comes to mind. Write at least three pages and once done, shred or burn what you have written. 
  • Walking/Running - It is important to do this outside, as the effect is not quite as powerful when you are stationary on a treadmill.  The 'emotional detoxing' is amplified by pairing an intention with your walk i.e. 'walking away' from an experience or 'walking toward' a new state of mind. 

Intensive Detoxifications

It is ideal to do an intensive detox over the course of 3-4 weeks once or twice a year. To maximize the benefits and minimize the risks of an intensive detox it is important to work with a naturopathic doctor who can help you identify what individual dietary strategies are most appropriate, which of your elimination organ or organs require support. Organ systems that can be detoxed: liver, kidney, skin, lungs, brain, nervous system.

While there are huge health benefits to be gained by doing a detox, it is not always safe.  For example, no one should do a detox during the winter - it is too hard on the body. It can leave you weakened and more susceptible to illness. A detox done wrong can worsen the symptoms you are hoping it will alleviate. The potential harmful effects to health is another reason why it is so important that you consult a naturopathic doctor before deciding what kind of detox, if any, is right for you. 

For more information about how to optimize your health by increasing your ability to clear toxins, reach out to me via email at I can help you find the approach that best fits your needs.

Balancing Vata in Fall

As the seasons change, and the climate shifts to cooler days, you may notice changes in your body, your thoughts and your emotions.  The change of seasons influences people differently depending on the individual constitution that they were born with.  According to Ayurveda there are 3 vital bio-energies (doshas) that make up a person's constitution: vata, pitta, kapha - each made up of a combination of the 5 elements (earth, air, fire, water, space). 

The 3 doshas are not only found within us, but also exist around us in nature. As we prepare for fall, it is helpful to understand the impact that the change of the seasons can have on your health.  Fall is considered vata season because the qualities that characterize vata - dry and cold - are dominant at this time of the year.  The weather changes are apparent with colder days, dry wind, lightness in the air and crackling leaves. 

Characteristics of Vata

Vata is made up of the air and space elements and has the qualities of dry, cold, light, moving, irregular, subtle, rough and quick.

Vata loosely translates as "wind" and its function is movement - one can think of vata being their internal wind that keeps things moving. Vata body types are active and mobile, and they often find themselves doing many activities at once. Physically, those with a vata constitution tend to be thin with a light frame and energetic in bursts. They tend to be lively and creative when in balance. 

Functions of Vata

As vata is responsible for movement, some of the functions in the body include:
  • Circulation
  • Movement in the digestive tract
  • Sensory perception
  • Speech
  • Nerve impulses
  • Breathing
If any of these functions are not functioning optimally, it is likely that an imbalance with vata is involved.  Due to vata's mobile nature, it is the easiest dosha to experience imbalance. 

Common Health Conditions

Vata tends to become unbalanced and accumulates in the body and mind when there is too much Vata in our life. Irregular eating or sleeping, concerns with stress, erratic schedules, overstimulation and excess worry can contribute to a vata imbalance.  In addition, seasonal and weather changes can impact the balance of vata, pitta & kapha.  An excess of Vata can manifest in a variety of health concerns which include (but are not limited to): 
Though all individuals are susceptible to the changes brought on by fall, individuals with a constitution that is vata dominant, are more susceptible to aggravation as the environmental factors add to tendencies that already exist internally.  

To help keep vata in balance during fall, incorporating daily lifestyle routines and eating according to your constitution can ease the transition into the cold season. 

5 Suggestions to Balance Vata in Fall

The following suggestions are important for those with a Vata constitution, but are also valuable for other constitutions during the Vata seasons of fall and winter.

  • Stay warm: Dressing in layers and drinking warm liquids can help keep us warm as the temperatures dip.  Drink herbal teas during the day and incorporate nourishing soups, stews and broths. Avoid cold foods and excess raw food.
  • Eat a Vata-balancing diet: Choose seasonal foods that are organic and local, such as apples, squashes and root vegetables.  Warming spices, such as cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger and black pepper, can also be a great addition to your meals.  Flavours that are naturally sweet, salty & sour help pacify vata.
  • Establish routine: Fall can get busy and we are soon swept off our feet and find our heads buzzing with erratic schedules.  Waking up and sleeping at consistent times and eating meals at the same time each day can bring stability and help keep us grounded during fall.
  • Choose rejuvenating activities: Plan time in your schedule to get sufficient rest and relaxation time. Activities that are relaxing and rejuvenating, such as curling up with a book as you sip ginger tea, taking a hot bath with essential oils in the evening or embracing meditation into your routine, are valuable at this time. Plan to get to sleep earlier as the body needs more sleep in the winter than in the summer.
  • Enjoy oils: Healthy oils are essential in counteracting the dryness associated with fall. Internally, oils such as ghee (clarified butter) or olive oil, can pacify vata when added to your meals. Externally, warm oil massage (abhyanga) with oils can be a wonderful way to relax and nourish the skin. This can be done in the morning or evening on your own, or abhyanga can be done by a qualified practitioner with customized oils to suit your constitution.

Keeping the 3 doshas balanced within ourselves is vital in staying healthy as seasons change.  Ayurveda offers many tools to balance vata dosha.  Only when we understand our unique constitution can we do the necessary groundwork to stay healthy in fall.  When we can make changes that support our constitution, we can enjoy fall while staying healthy and energized ! 

If you would like a comprehensive healthcare plan which includes understanding your Ayurvedic constitution and how that impacts your health, you can book an appointment with Dr. Leena Athparia, ND, at Naturopathic Foundations Health Clinic: 905-940-2727.