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:, the website of the Ontario Association of Naturopathic Doctors at 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.

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 

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.


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.


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

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  

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 

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. 

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Sleep - Top 5 Things to Remember

By Dr. Iva Lloyd, BScH, BPP, ND

Sleep is the fourth aspect of the Guide to Health. Sleep is essential to health. It is the time when the body heals, repairs and recovers from the stresses of the day.  Getting adequate sleep is associated with better overall health and vitality. It decreases the rate of aging and improves mental and cognitive function. It is also associated with decreased weight gain and a decreased risk of chronic disease and cancer.

Yet, in our society, sleep is often viewed as a waste of time. There are so many other things that people would rather do than sleep. To add to the problem, the more a person has poor sleep habits, the more difficult it is to achieve adequate restful sleep.

If you would like to improve your quality or duration of sleep, I encourage you to follow these five steps:

#1: Track Sleep Patterns

There are a number of reasons why people have disrupted sleep or insomnia.  The reasons include: pain, anxiety or worry, poor sleep hygiene, poor sleep environment, dietary factors, smoking, specific health conditions and others. Sleep apnea, for example, is often associated with food intolerances. By identifying and removing the offending foods, you can often resolve the sleep apnea and achieve a more restful and healthier sleep.

Figuring out the best treatment approach for you starts with tracking your sleep regimen and sleep patterns. Pay attention to what you notice first when you wake up. Some of the questions that you want to ask yourself include:

  • Do you feel wide awake or are you drowsy?
  • Are you in pain?
  • Do you wake up thinking of something?
  • Do you feel uncomfortable?  Are you too hot or cold? Are there any sounds or lights that are bothering you?
  • Do you have to go to the bathroom?
  • How long does it take you to fall back asleep?
  • What did you eat or drink that day?
  • How you started any new medications or supplements?
  • What was going on in your life?
  • How active were you?
Finding the right solution to any sleep concern starts with really understanding what is causing the problem. Working with a naturopathic doctor is generally the best initial step. Your naturopathic doctor will often be able to assist you in figuring out the cause of your sleep problems and prevent you from relying on sleeping pills.

#2: Consistent Schedule

Natural sleep follows the circadian rhythm. There is a time, generally between 9 p.m. and 11 p.m., that the body is programmed to go to sleep. Staying in sync with the circadian rhythm not only improves sleep, but it is associated with better hormone balance and enhanced overall health.

The sleep that you have before midnight has increased health benefits. As much as possible, plan to be asleep before 11 p.m.  If you are night-owl, I encourage you to gradually move your sleep time to before midnight. If you find that you tend to be wide-awake in the evening, request a 4-point saliva test to see if your cortisol is too high. In the evening melatonin, the sleep hormone, rises which is responsible for inducing sleep. At the same time cortisol, the stress hormone and the hormone that is responsible for waking you up, should be at a low level.  If your cortisol level is too high, you will feel awake versus sleepy.

Shift work has been associated with a number of health concerns. If you happen to work shifts, it is best to try and be on the same shift as much as possible.  The constant change in shifts tends to be more disruptive to health than shift work itself. Read more about Sleep Work Disorder and Circadian Rhythm Disorders.

Overall, the goal is to have as consistent a sleep schedule as possible. The more that the body can get into a sleep rhythm, the better.

#3: Limit Stimulants

One of the most common reasons why people wake up in the middle of the night, especially between 3 a.m. and 5 a.m., is because their nervous system is overstimulated. Food stimulants include coffee, tea, chocolate, alcohol, sugar and even fruit. Other things that stimulate the body include intense exercise and excessive worry.

Limit coffee and tea to one in the morning and avoid the consumption of other stimulants after 3 p.m. High cardio workouts are generally best in the morning or early afternoon. The best type of workouts in the evening include stretching, yoga and gentle walking. If you think that worry or an active mind are waking you up, work with your naturopathic doctor to figure out strategies that work for you.

The body's tolerance for stimulants changes with age. For many people, their tolerance is the lowest in their 40's and early 50's.  Perimenopause and andropause are a common time for insomnia and sleep problems to start. It is also an important time to ensure adequate sleep. Dietary and lifestyle changes are often necessary during this time of life.

#4: Avoid Eating Late

Ideally you want to stop eating two to three hours before you go to sleep. Eating too close to bed time not only can disrupt sleep, it also impacts your ability to properly digest your food. Snacking after dinner is also a problem for some people. Late night snacking has a number of health impacts - it contributes to disrupted sleep, it is associated with increased weight gain and it impacts overall digestive function.

On the other hand, going to sleep hungry can make it more difficult to fall asleep. Most people sleep better when they have an evening meal that is easy to digest and filling.

#5: Proper Sleep Environment

Sleep is a time when the body is supposed to be relaxed and is focused on internal processes such as repair and recovery. If there are too many stimuli, including sound, light and extreme temperatures, the focus of the body is on processing the stimuli versus sleeping.

Cellphones, televisions and anything wireless in a bedroom can also affect quality of sleep.  For a number of health reasons, it is best to remove anything wireless from the bedroom.

Most people find that they sleep better when they use their bedroom only for sleep and sexual activity. Avoid watching television, working on your computer or reading in the bedroom, as they generally have a more stimulating affect on the body.

Sleep problems often impact the body's ability to recover or heal from other conditions.  If you are having problems with sleep, work with your naturopathic doctor to determine the best approach to achieving restful sleep.

To learn more about sleep checkout 

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:

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 weekly tweets and 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.  Follow us on twitter  for weekly updates.

If you have any questions about sleep that you would like us to address, please contact us at 

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. 

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Movement - Top 5 Things to Remember

By Dr. Iva Lloyd, ND

When most people think of movement, they relate it to their ability to get around, to physically move. Although that is an important aspect of movement, it is also directly correlated and required for many other functions such as the transfer of nutrients throughout the body and the elimination of toxins. Digestion, respiration, even thinking, communication and thoughts require movement in order to function properly. A person's external movement, that is their ability to physically move, is a mirror of the internal movement within the body.

Being able to move freely is often something that people start to pay attention to once it becomes a problem. The ideal is to ensure that movement, of all types, is part of your everyday life. Of course, if you have any specific health concerns it is important to work with your naturopathic doctor or health care provider and get their guidance on the types of exercises that are best for you.  In general, the top five things to remember about movement are:

#1: Just Move

If you are not that active than the important thing is just start moving. The first type of movement that is important is simply moving your joints through their normal range of motion. This is where basic stretching comes into play. It is important not to overdo it.  Start slow and work on increasing the amount of movement you engage in on a daily basis.  Here are some links to general stretching exercises:

  • Morning stretching:
  • General stretching for seniors:

After you have got the stretching part down pat, the next step is to start walking as it is generally the safest form of movement for most people. Shaking is also a wonderful way to get the body more limber and to "wake it up" from weeks, months or even years of being sedentary.

If your health conditions impact your ability to walk or do all the stretching routines, it is important to engage in movement activities in your chair or on the bed. Stretching any part of the body will provide benefits.

#2: Move Often
Research shows that people that have an active life are generally more fit than those that have a sedentary life and exercise intensely three or four a week for a couple of hours. Bottom line, move often on a daily basis. You don't have to engage in intense exercise routines to reap the benefits,  just  avoid sitting or lying down (other than sleeping) for long periods of time.

#3: Move All The Joints

Every joint has its ideal range of motion. Take time on a regular basis to make sure that you can still reach above your head and behind your back, that you get down on the floor and up again, that you bend forward and backwards with ease.  The goal is to move until all movement is effortless.

Joint health is based on "use-it-or-lose-it." Too often people don't use their full of motion. They don't practice getting on the floor and getting up. They don't reach for things as they have stools and devices that make everything easy. The result is that they lose range-of-motion over time. Maintaining full range-of-motion is pretty natural if you use it.  Regaining range-of-motion once it is lost is a bit more challenging.

Poor posture, whether standing, sitting or sleeping can also impact a person's ability to move their joints freely, especially in the upper body. If you want your joints to move freely and comfortably, you need to provide them with a posture that is aligned.  Weight-lifting and occupations that build up the upper body can negatively affect the range-of-motion of the arms and neck. From an overall health perspective, it is never advisable to choose strength over range-of-motion or flexibility.

#4: Choose Movements That Balance Your Life

The best type of movement or exercise depends on your lifestyle and your job. If you have a job where you are sedentary and sitting a lot than it is best to choose an exercise such as walking to work out the tension in the joints or engage in a more rigorous exercise routine such as dancing, cardiovascular exercises, or movement classes.

If your daily life is hectic, you may find that yoga, pilates and exercise programs that encourage the body to relax and settle are more suited for you and are more beneficial in helping you achieve health.

Tai chi, Qi Gong and other forms of slow, continual movement exercises are ideal for most people. These forms of exercises look easy, but they actually provide a great cardio-workout, help with building muscle tone and most importantly work to integrate all aspect of the body and improvement overall movement, coordination and balance.

There is no one type of exercise that is suited to everyone. The goal is to ensure that your movement and exercise regimens work on all types of movement - flexibility, balance, cardiovascular health, strength training and range-of-motion.

#5: Balance and Flexibility

When many people think of exercise they thing of weight training or intense cardio.  Although there is value to those forms of exercise, if you are truly looking at exercise as a way of achieving long-term health I encourage you to put the greatest emphasis on balance and flexibility.

As a person ages one of the risks to health is falling. The better your balance and flexibility, the less likely you will fall.

A great, simple exercise is to practice standing on one foot. Most falling occurs because your weight shifts to one side and you can't compensate fast enough. Being able to stand on one-foot for 5 to 10 seconds will help not only your balance, but your bone density as well.

As with any exercise regimen, it is important to start slow. Check with your naturopathic doctor if you are concerned about being injured or if you want specific guidance on what is best for you.

To learn more about the benefits of movement and different types of movement checkout

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:

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 weekly tweets and 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.  Follow us on twitter  for weekly updates.

If you have any questions about breathing that you would like us to address, please contact us at We will be posting all answers on the "Breathing" page on our website.

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. 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Breathing - Top 5 Things to Remember

By Iva Lloyd, ND

Breathing is the second part of our Guide to Health. Breathing defines life.  It is the first sign of life when you are born and the absence of breath is generally what defines the end of a person's life. Breathing is linked to every function of the body and its importance is often overlooked.

There are a number of conditions that are associated with improper breathing, including: insomnia or poor sleep, decrease in energy, poor concentration, wheezing, coughing, snoring, anxiety, ADHD, hypertension, stress incontinence and others.

Proper breathing involves the following: breathing into the belly, slowing down the rate of your breath, decreasing the volume of your breath and breathing through your nose instead of your mouth. The top five things that you want to remember about breathing are the following:

#1: Slow down your breathing.

Over-breathing has become as habitual as over-eating.  Increased respiration rate or rapid breathing causes an imbalance in the oxygenation of tissues. There is a false belief that when you breathe more rapidly you are taking in more oxygen, when in fact you are limiting the body's ability to properly use the oxygen that you are inhaling.

Learning to slow down the rate of your breathing is beneficial in a number of ways. It helps the nervous system relax which decreases anxiety and stress and provides increased emotional control.

The rate of your breathing should match the rate of your activity. When you are sedentary your breathing rate needs to be slow and your volume needs to be low. When you are more active it is natural for your breathing rate and volume to increase. The goal is to return to a slow regular breathing pattern as quickly as possible after exercise.  By learning how to control the rate and volume of your breathing you can alleviate a number of chronic health conditions.

#2: Breathe through your nose.

Breathing through your nose is the optimal way to breathe. The hairs in the nose are designed to filter the air and ensure that toxins do not get into the lungs. Nasal breathing also warms the air before it hits the lungs, resulting in relaxation of the lungs and improvement in respiratory conditions such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Breathing through your nose, with your mouth closed, ensures that your blood is saturated with oxygen. Mouth breathing increases the exhalation of carbon dioxide, but it can often be too much. Carbon dioxide is important in that it helps to regulate the rate of breathing and also plays a role in relaxing smooth muscles.

Mouth breathing is often a vicious cycle. Nasal or sinus congestion contributes to the tendency to mouth breathe.  The concern is that mouth breathing also increases the amount of nasal congestion. Another cause of nasal or sinus congestion is food intolerances, especially to dairy and/or wheat or yeast. If nasal congestion is a concern, identify the foods that may be contributing, ensure that you are drinking adequate water, use a nasal salt rinse and ask your naturopathic doctor about herbs or homeopathics that may be beneficial. Click on this link for a breathing exercise that is also very beneficial in relieving nasal congestion.

People that breathe rapidly or through the mouth often end up over-breathing. This condition is referred to as hyperventilation syndrome (HVS) or breathing pattern disorder. Over-breathing results in a lack of carbon dioxide in the blood, which in turn results in constriction of smooth muscles and the airways. Over-breathing can lead to a number of health issues, including: sleep apnea, snoring, insomnia, wheezing, irritable bowel syndrome, stress incontinence, anxiety, panic attacks, pain, asthma, allergies, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, angina and other cardiovascular conditions. People that engage in a lot of sports and/or yoga activities are more likely to over-breathe. Below are some research articles showing the link between breathing and symptoms:

#3: Breathe into your low abdomen.
It is important to remember that "taking a deep breath" is about breathing deep into the body; not about taking a big or large breath.

When you breathe into the belly the diaphragm drops, which in turn pumps the liver and gallbladder ensuring that bile doesn't build up and also helps keep the stomach in the correct position. Chest breathing causes a number of problems. First, it uses the neck and shoulder muscles to breathe versus the diaphragm contributing to chronic neck tension. Second, it pulls the stomach and the liver / gallbladder too close to the diaphragm. The result is an increase risk of heartburn, GERD, gallstones and liver congestion.

Check out this link for a guide on how to breathe properly, or better still, plan to join us for our monthly seminar on proper breathing.

#4: Breathing can reduce anxiety and stress.

Incorporating breathing exercises into your regimen is extremely important, especially if you suffer from anger, anxiety, panic attacks, or a feeling of breathlessness. Breathing through the nose with a focus on slowing down the breath is often the most effective way of calming the nervous system. Breathing exercises that intentionally focus on increasing the length of the exhalation can be beneficial in helping a person let go of whatever they are hanging onto. Meditation and other mindfulness exercises focus on increasing the length of the rest period which helps a person become more relaxed and more settled.

To learn more about the mechanism of breathing, check out this link. I personally find that the cleansing breath is a wonderful way to let go of the tension in a day.  It is also helpful in increasing the depth of breath that you can take. There are a number of breathing techniques that are helpful to learn. The Buteyko breathing technique is useful as is mindfulness breathing.

#5: Recognize the lifestyle factors that affect your breathing.

Breathing is influenced by a number of factors, including what you eat and drink and your posture. Being well hydrated and eating fruits and vegetables are required for proper breathing and only impact breathing if you are intolerant to them. Foods that are acidic, such as processed foods, fried food, junk food and diets high in protein and grains, often contribute to over-breathing and an increase in respiration rate. The lungs are responsible for helping to maintain the proper pH in the body. If your diet or lifestyle is acidic, it requires the lungs to work harder to help blow off the excess acid. Caffeinated beverages or drinks high in sugar affect breathing in two ways. First, they are acidic and impact the pH of the blood and second they stimulate the nervous system, resulting in an increase in the rate of breathing and other potential changes, such as an increase in blood pressure, dehydration or feelings of anxiousness or being unsettled. I recommend that you pay attention to how your breathing changes based on what you eat and drink. Check out this link to learn more about the importance of breathing and the factors that affect breath.

Rounded shoulders and a slouched posture affect breathing as they limit the ability of the lungs to expand when you are inhaling. If there is limited space to expand, due to a contracted or rigid posture, it can affect your ability to take a full breath. The body works as a unit.  When the chest is concave and is limited by a person's posture, it reduces a person's ability to breathe easily. Improving breathing often includes addressing postural imbalances at the same time.

    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:

    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 weekly tweets and 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.  Follow us on twitter  for weekly updates.

    If you have any questions about breathing that you would like us to address, please contact us at We will be posting all answers on the "Breathing" page on our website.

    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. 

    Thursday, January 1, 2015

    Water - Top 5 Things to Remember

    By Iva Lloyd, BScH, BCPP, ND

    Water is the first part of our Guide to Health. 3/4 of the earth's surface and about 65% of the human adult body is composed of water. When we are born we are about 90% water. Water is one of the most fundamental aspects to health and healing.

    The top five things that you want to remember about water are the following:

    #1: Start and end your day with water 

    During the evening the body detoxes and cleans up the waste and toxins that have accumulated throughout the day and over time. To assist the body in eliminating the toxins and waste products, it is beneficial to start your day with water.

    For one month have a large glass of water before breakfast and before any coffee, tea or juice and notice the difference that it makes to how you feel. Ending your day with water assists the body in detoxing and cleaning up during the night. Ending your day with water can also add to a more restful sleep. Ensuring that you have adequate water consumption is one of the most important steps to ensuring that the body can eliminate toxins. Starting and ending your day with water is one of the simplest and most effective steps you can take towards health.

    #2: Consume 1/2 your body weight in ounces

    Water serves a number of functions in the body including moistening tissues, protecting organs and tissues, increasing overall energy of the body, cellular transmission of nutrients, cellular communication of thoughts and emotions, regulation of body temperature and the elimination of toxins. Every cellular and metabolic function relies on water. One of the most common questions that I am asked as a naturopathic doctor is "how much water do I need to drink?". The accepted rule-of-thumb is that you require 1/2 your body weight in ounces. So, if you weigh 160 pounds you would need to consume 80 ounces or equivalent to 10 glasses of water a day.

    1/2 to 1/3 of your water consumption can come from food, if you are consuming foods high in water such as fresh fruit (dried fruit and fruit that has a high sugar content - bananas, pineapple, mango, etc - can actually be dehydrating), fresh vegetables that grow on a vine or that grow above the ground (i.e., tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, swiss chard, lettuces, celery, etc) and broth-based soups and stews (soups with dairy are less hydrating). The main beverages that are dehydrating include caffeinated drinks (coffee, tea, cola and other soft drinks), juices and other beverages that have added sugar. The main food that is considered dehydrating is sugar and foods high in sugar such as pastries, cookies, candies, chocolate, etc. Diets that are high in grains and protein without adequate fruits and vegetables can also result in dehydration.  The more dehydrating drinks or food that you consume, the more likely you will be dehydrated unless you are compensating by increasing the amount of water that you drink. Check out this link to learn more about the importance of water on overall health.

    #3: Avoid drinking water with your meals

    One of the worst habits that people have is drinking water with their meals. The stomach secretes hydrochloric acid which is responsible for breaking down food. The hydrochloric acid has a pH of 3.5, which is necessary to ensure that the food is properly broken down. When you drink water with your meals two things happen - first, the pH of the stomach acid rises as the pH of water is higher than the stomach acid and second, the water dilutes that stomach acid. Both of these can give rise to hypochlorhydria which is a condition that causes poor digestion, malnutrition and is associated with a number of other conditions.

    One of the signs of of hypochlorhydria is heartburn or reflux.  Many people associate heartburn with high stomach acid when, in effect, both high stomach acid and low stomach acid have similar symptoms especially as one ages. Taking a prescription for heartburn increases the likelihood and degree of hypochlorhydria, Check out this link for more information on hypochlorhydria. If you feel that you need to drink something with your meals, consider tomato juice, or even better still, increase the amount of water-based foods in your meal and you will often find that you don't need to drink water.

    #4: Drink water before and after exercise 

    Dehydration due to extensive exercise is quite common. Any activity that results in sweating not only can contribute to dehydration but to a loss of electrolytes. It is important to ensure that you increase your water consumption and you replace electrolytes before and after exercise.

    #5: Avoid drinking water that has been stored in plastic 

    Plastic containers, especially those that have Bisphenol-A (BPAs), will breakdown whenever there is a change in temperature.  Historically, most soft plastics contained BPA - even baby bottles and baby toys were high in BPA. BPAs are one of many environmental chemicals that are known to disrupt health and to contribute to disease. The link between BPA and hormone disruption and breast cancer has been proven and has resulted in many BPA-free choices, especially as it relates to baby bottles and baby products.

    An area that is lagging behind is bottled water. Between when the water is bottled and when you buy it, it probably has withstood many changes in temperature and hence, the BPA in the water bottles is continually being leached into the water that you drink. Besides the terrible environmental impact of millions and millions of plastic bottles, I encourage you to avoid drinking water that has been bottled in plastic that is not BPA free and ensure that whatever you choose to carry your water in does not contain BPA.  Good choices for carrying water include glass or stainless steel containers.

    2015 Monthly 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 - Hygiene and the Ability to Eliminate Toxins
    May - Healthy Eating
    June - Sleep
    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 weekly tweets and 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.  Follow us on twitter  for weekly updates.

    If you have any questions about water that you would like us to address please contact us at We will be posting all answers on the "Water" page on our website.

    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.