Monday, December 2, 2019

How To Minimize Weight Gain Over The Holidays

by Dr. Ann-Marie Regina, ND 

The holidays are a time when indulgence is typical. It's hard to say no when there is a great host of food and desserts.  But how do you feel when the holidays are over? Do you feel guilty? Have you gained a couple pounds? Being strategic about what you eat can still satisfy your indulgences so you can enjoy yourself and keep you on track.

The Basics On How To Minimize Weight Gain

The holidays should be an enjoyable time with your family and friends, and food is what usually brings it all together. The idea is not to be overly restrictive with your foods, while also making sure you don't over do it. Here are some of the basic ways to modify your habits over the holidays that will help you to keep the weight off.

1. Eat Your Protein & Fats! Protein and fat are more satiating, meaning that you will feel more full for longer compared to a meal that is heavy in carbohydrates. Protein and fat also slow down the release of sugar into your blood stream, keeping your blood sugar balanced. So if you have the option of a turkey leg or a plate of pasta, choose the turkey!

2. Eat your vegetables! Vegetables are high in fibre and will also keep you full and regulate your blood sugar. Baking some mixed veggies, such as sweet potato, parsnips, squash, pumpkin and brussel sprouts is an easy and delicious way to get in your veggies and help you feel good. Root vegetables are ideal for this time of year as they are easy to digest and will nourish your body.

3. Chew your food! Chewing your food adequately prevents you from overeating. It takes 20 minutes for your stomach to signal your brain that you are full. If you eat your food too quickly, you don't give your stomach enough time to send that message, resulting in the misguided sensation that you are still hungry. It is also important to remember that digestion begins in the mouth. The mouth has different enzymes that help to break down carbohydrates and protein. Chewing your food gives those enzymes time to take effect and mechanically will assist in the digesting process. Taking your time with your food will allow you to enjoy it and make you feel more satisfied so that you are less likely to add more to your plate.

4. Moderation & Balance! Of course you will be tempted by lavish desserts and 3 cheese lasagnas. It is okay to enjoy your food, but just remember your limits. If you already suffer from digestive issues or conditions that are aggravated by certain foods, be mindful of how much you are eating. If know that you will be having a large meal, the next day you can reduce your caloric intake to maintain that balance.

5. Movement! Try to incorporate exercise into your busy schedule over the holidays. That could mean stretching before bed or when you wake up in the morning. Exercise will help burn those extra calories, improve your digestion and give you more energy. 

6. Reduce your Snacking! Snacking can burden the digestive tract as it is not being given a break. There is a system called the migrating motor complex within your digestive tract that will cause your intestines to keep things moving. However, this function can only work while you are fasting. Making sure you leave 4-5 hours between meals to allow your digestive system to be swept clean by the migrating motor complex. If you tend to snack often, that may be a sign that your blood sugar has difficulty regulating itself. To investigate that symptom, see your naturopathic doctor to perform the necessary tests.  

Why Consider Nutritional Counselling?

If you already struggle with making healthy decisions when it comes to food, most likely the holidays are a challenging time for you. Nutritional counselling can help teach you which foods are right for your body and how you can sustainably make changes at your own pace. Most people have the perception that they can just start fresh in January, but research shows that the weight gained over the holidays is much harder to lose than weight gained at any other point in the year. Further, the habits formed over the holidays can sometimes be harder to kick. Before the holidays, learning your individual nutritional needs based on your food sensitivities, your health conditions, age, sex, activity level and hormones, will more likely keep you on the right path.

Dr. Ann-Marie Regina, ND, focuses on individualized nutritional counselling and helping patients make healthy lifestyle choices that are specific to them. Dr. Ann-Marie is now offering 30 minute nutritional consults focused solely on creating sustainable and effective dietary adjustments that will address your concerns. During a nutritional counselling visit, your nutrition and typical diet will be assessed and modified based on your needs. Dr. Ann-Marie will assess your nutrition with an assessment tool which investigates your water, protein, fat, vegetable, fruit and fibre intake and take special considerations such as individual health concerns into account.

To learn more about what foods work best with your body and nutritional counselling, please call the clinic at 905-940-2727 to book an appointment with Dr. Ann-Marie Regina or to schedule a complimentary 15 minute "meet and greet."

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Self Care...Beyond Bubble Baths

By: Dr. Jessica Nesbitt ND, CFMP

If I were to ask you the question;

"What do you do for self care"?

Would you be able to list one thing that you try to do on a daily basis in order to improve your health?

When I meet a new patient for their initial appointment I spend a lot of time getting to know their story, their medical history and current health concerns. I also make a point of asking if they know how stress effects their body and what they do for self care on a daily basis?

I have found that many people are not aware of the effects that stress has on their body and that often times a self care routine is non existent. When self care is mentioned, it usually involves activities like a massage, manicure, wine or a bubble bath. These activities are all enjoyable and can be forms of self care, but sometimes we need to go beyond the bubble baths!!

The Importance of Self Care

Self care can be defined as taking an active role to improve one's health.  We all know physical health is important for us. However, did you know much of our physical health is affected by our mental and emotional health?  Stress alone can have detrimental effects on physical health including fatigue, lowered immune system functioning and high blood pressure.  If we don’t slow down and take care of ourselves – physically, mentally and emotionally – we run the risk of deteriorating our overall wellness. Committing to a self-care routine can improve your health, self-esteem, compassion and empathy towards others. Self-care is saying to yourself, “I deserve to be healthy and feel my best”.  Contrary to popular belief, self care does not make you selfish.  It can be an ongoing challenge to make time for self care. There is often not enough hours in the day to accomplish everything we need to do. When you discover that you're neglecting a certain aspect of your life, create a plan for change.  You don't have to tackle everything all at once. Identify one small step you can take to begin caring for yourself better.  Then, schedule time to focus on your needs.  Even when you feel like you don't have time to squeeze in one more thing, make self care a priority.

Types of Self Care

I have broken down self care into three different categories and listed a few different ways to practise self care.

1. Physical Self Care: getting adequate sleep, individualized nutrition, movement/exercise, rest and annual physical exams with your naturopathic doctor.

2. Mental Self Care: trying to have a daily practice of gratitude, setting short term and long term goals, meditation, changing negative self talk.

3. Emotional Self Care: expressing emotions through talking, journalling, artwork or dance.  Practising forgiveness of yourself and others.  Practising self love which means that you unconditionally accept yourself. 

 Other Ways to Introduce Self Care into Your Life 

→ making difficult decisions that could improve the quality of your life 
→ setting boundaries with loved ones
→ cancelling exciting plans in order to rest when sick
→ down-sizing in order to be able to better afford life's necessities 
One of my goals as a naturopathic doctor is to educate and empower my patients. I encourage all of my patients to try and commit to a ritual of self care on a daily basis. All too often I see people who are constantly rushing through their days only to find that weeks or months have gone by and they are feeling run down or burned out.

If you find that lately you have been feeling run down, tired in the morning when you wake even though you have had a good night sleep or find that you are getting sick often I invite you to reach out and request a complimentary 15 minute "meet and greet" to find out how I can support you.  If you have any questions,  I can be reached at

Friday, November 22, 2019

What Is The Right Nutrition For Your Body?

By Dr. Ann-Marie Regina, ND

Eating can be complex. Getting the best nutrition for your body can be challenging, especially with overwhelming and conflicting resources that are being marketed to you. What works for one person, may not necessarily work for you. And what worked for you at one point in your life, may not work for you anymore. There is a lot of information out there regarding nutrition, but it is important to work with your naturopathic doctor to find out what is best for you, your lifestyle and your health condition(s).

The Basics For Building A Positive Relationship With Your Food

When a food disagrees with the body, some of common symptoms experienced include, but are not limited to: gas, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, joint pain and flare ups of preexisting skin conditions.   Here are some of the basics when building a healthy relationship with your food that will help alleviate the above symptoms to some degree. 

1. Eat Mindfully! It is important to listen to your body's cues while you eat in order to identify when you feel adequately full, or if certain foods are aggravating. Eating in front of the television or computer distracts you from connecting with your body's signals. You will be more likely to overeat and begin to associate technology with meal time. If you are going to reach for that bag of chips, really make sure that you are tasting each chip. The more time you spend really tasting and chewing, the less likely you will overeat and the more satisfied you will feel.  

2. Chew your food! Do you tend to inhale your food? Chewing your food adequately prevents you from overeating. It takes 20 minutes for your stomach to signal your brain that you are full. If you eat your food too quickly you don't give your stomach enough time to send that message, resulting in the misguided sensation that you are still hungry. Also, it is important to remember that digestion begins in the mouth. The mouth has different enzymes that help to break down carbohydrates and protein. Chewing your food gives those enzymes time to take effect and mechanically will assist in the digesting process.  

3. Ask yourself why? Do you tend to snack, not because you are hungry but just because you feel you "need" to have something? Try to explore the emotions behind why you reach for food. Overeating can be rooted in anxiety, stress or depression. Food can be used as a reward for many people and the brain really does see it that way. The more you feed those emotions, the more the brain associates that emotion with "needing" food to soothe. 

4. Enjoy your food! Do you like the foods that you are eating? Do you eat certain foods only because you think they are "good" for you? Developing a healthy relationship with your food also means that you enjoy what you are eating. This doesn't mean that you can eat whatever your heart desires. Remember moderation is key. But finding recipes that you like can make healthy food easier to eat and enjoy. If you live a busy lifestyle, focusing on making better food choices at restaurants can be another option.

5. Be sustainable! Creating strict do's and don'ts when it comes to food can be taxing emotionally. Learning what your body is able to tolerate is more useful and sustainable than completely cutting out a certain food for the rest of your life. Unless you have a specific illness that precludes you from consuming a food (for example, celiac disease and gluten), there is no reason that you should feel like you are "not allowed" to eat that food. In saying that, this is where dose comes into play. Make sure that if you do decide to eat a food that may not always agree with your system, the food is of good quality, you have only the amount that your body can handle and you enjoy it!

6. Moderation! There will be times when the food choices you have are not ideal, but are out of your control. For example at a birthday party or a wedding. Unless you are going to weddings every week, it is completely fine to have a slice of cake! Again, try to stay within your body's limits and enjoy what you are eating! Enjoying your food, no matter what it is, helps to nourish healthy emotions associated with foods.

Why Is It Beneficial To Get Personal Advice?

Have you seen advertisements categorizing certain foods as "bad" or "good"? The kind of language used when talking about food, creates an emotional connection with those foods. When food is labeled as "bad," there is a preconception that it should be avoided and, if consumed, there is an associated feeling of guilt. Foods labeled "good," tend to be over-eaten, leading to intolerances and sensitivities. It is true, food can be medicine or poison, but learning what is the right dose for your body is part of creating a healthy relationship with your food.

Naturopathic doctors are the most trained medical professionals in individualized nutritional advice. All health begins with the digestive system. To achieve optimal health, it is necessary to address nutrition. Ideally, the easiest and most sustainable program will maximize the nutrition you get from food. The goal is to increase the variety of foods you eat while also taking into account your limits and lifestyle. Diets that you may see in the media tend to be aggressive and not sustainable, which can result in low compliance and ultimately make you feel guilty for not following through with them. Naturopathic doctors have the time to spend with you to teach you the skills to eat foods that make you feel good and at your own pace.

If you recognize that you tend to emotional eat, it is important to seek support and the proper tools to address the underlying reasons for the emotions. If you experience guilt, anxiety, depression or shame leading you to over consume or under consume food, speak to your naturopath to create a plan to work through it together. Remember, you are not alone.

Why Work With a Naturopathic Doctor on Food?

The basics are important in order to build a good foundation. However, everyone's challenges are different. Naturopathic Doctors can provide you with individualized care and can meet your nutritional requirements at any stage in your life. Part of maximizing your nutrition is identifying food intolerances through specific testing or food challenges and learning when they are appropriate to avoid and to consume. Further, naturopaths have the knowledge and training to integrate your health concerns and nutrition. Age, hormones and other conditions will be always be taken into account when prescribing nutritional advice. It is imperative to address health holistically and comprehensively. 

Dr. Ann-Marie Regina, ND focuses on individualized nutritional counselling and helping patients make healthy lifestyle choices that are specific to them. Dr. Ann-Marie is now offering 30 minute nutritional consults focused solely on creating sustainable and effective dietary adjustments that address your concerns. During the nutritional counselling visits, Dr. Ann-Marie will assess your nutrition with an assessment tool which investigates your water, protein, fat, starch, vegetable, fruit and fibre intake. The assessment will also take your health concerns, activity level, hormones, food intolerances, age and sex into consideration.

To learn more about nutritional counselling and which foods work best with your body, please call the clinic at 905-940-2727 to book an appointment with Dr. Ann-Marie Regina or to schedule a complimentary 15 minute "meet and greet."

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Five Signs That You May Have an Overgrowth of Candida

By: Dr. Jessica Nesbitt ND, CFMP

Candida / Yeast is a type of fungus that is normally found in the digestive tract, urinary tract, vagina, mouth and skin.  Problems arise when Candida starts to overgrow in these areas and causes a wide variety of symptoms. Well known signs of a yeast overgrowth can occur when women have a yeast infection, and when babies have oral thrush or a diaper rash. In my ten years of clinical practice I have seen and treated many patients that did not realize that they were dealing with an overgrowth of yeast, and suffering unnecessarily as a result. In this article I will review five less common signs that your body may be struggling to deal with an overgrowth of yeast.

1. Joint Pain

Candida arthritis has been studied (PMID:26858961) and found to occur in patients ranging from children to senior citizens. The most common joints affected were the hips and knees. Early symptoms noted were swelling, redness and pain in the joints. A common factor found in many of the patients studied was a pre-existing overgrowth of Candida that spread through the bloodstream to the joints.

2. Chronic Infections / Weak Immune System

When I have patient report that they suffer from reoccurring infections such as sinusitis I am suspecting that candida/fungus may be to blame and not bacteria (PMID:19008573).  When patients are treated with antibiotics for an infection, most times it does a good job of killing the bad bacteria, and the patient feels better. But, in some patients the antibiotics set up a situation where Candida can overgrow and weaken their immune system. When this happens I often see patients who have reoccurring ear infections, sinus infections, respiratory infections and yeast infections - sometimes on a monthly basis.  It can be a difficult cycle to break, but I have successfully helped patients of all ages to break the cycle of chronic infections, strengthen their immune system and treat their yeast overgrowth.

3. Digestive Upset

Candida can potentially cause a number of different symptoms of indigestion, starting with intense sugar cravings. Candida's main food source is sugar, and when my patients notice they are craving sugar daily, it is a red flag for me that they may have an overgrowth of Candida in their intestines. Other common digestive complaints associated with Candida are: bloating, gas and irritable bowel disease (PMID:31648369).

4. Brain Fog

This is described by some of my patients as having a cloud or fogginess when trying to think or read. It can manifest in daily life as experiencing problems with memory and lack of focus.  These symptoms  occur when Candida is metabolized. It is broken down into chemical by-products that are normally filtered through the liver. But when Candida has overgrown, the liver is unable to keep up with filtering large amounts of chemical by-products, and as a result symptoms affecting brain function can occur.

5. Skin Rashes

For many skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, toe nail fungus and jock itch,  Candida is a common root cause that needs to be addressed. Common areas that are affected by Candida are: under the breasts, armpits, groin and skin folds on the belly or thighs. The skin will appear red and may have small pimple-like bumps and be itchy.

An overgrowth of Candida can be a potential root cause for many health complaints that you may be experiencing. In my practice I screen all new patients for an overgrowth of Candida on their first visit, and find up to 80% of people do have some amount of a yeast overgrowth. 

If you suspect that you may have an overgrowth of Candida, I am pleased to offer a 45 minute Yeast/Candida focused appointment where you will be assessed for yeast and provided treatment. The cost of this visit is $135.

If you would like to learn more,  I also offer a complimentary 15 minute "meet and greet". Please note, no assessment or treatment is given during this visit. If you have any questions,  I can be reached at

Are the changing seasons causing your anxiety?

By Dr. Ann-Marie Regina, ND 

How does change effect anxiety?

With the days becoming shorter, the human body and mind is beginning to prepare for the transition.  Change is occurring constantly in our lives. Whether it be a new season, new job or relationship, a change in lifestage (ie. puberty or menopause) there is always a period of adjustment and transition which can be challenging for some. How do you cope with change? Does it make you feel overwhelmed or off kilter? Does change make you fearful?

Change for some can result in anxiety. Fear of the unknown can be disruptive to our comfortable lives. Anxiety for a short period of time is normal. It acts as motivation to accomplish our goals or tasks. The issue is when anxiety becomes chronic. Chronic anxiety can worsen pre-existing conditions or even contribute to new ones. Conditions such as insomnia, irritable bowel syndrome, depression and many more can be triggered by anxiety. As anxiety persists, quality of life decreases and has a negative impact on overall health.

Symptoms of Anxiety

Common symptoms of anxiety include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Running or racing thoughts
  • Abdominal pain & bloating
  • Muscle tension
  • Insomnia
  • Fatigue
  • Heart palpitations 
  • Restlessness & excessive worrying
  • Panic attacks 
  • Depression 
It is important to consider that there may be other health conditions causing the above symptoms. Consult with your naturopathic doctor or health care provider to rule out conditions other than anxiety.

What can you do to decrease anxiety in the fall & winter months?

1. Get your sleep Research consistently shows how important sleep is for mood. Having a good night's sleep allows your mind and body to rest and heal. Sleep is also a necessary factor in modulating hormones which can contribute to anxiety if your hormones are imbalanced. If your anxiety is keeping you up at night, you can add some relaxing hobbies to your bedtime routine such as meditation, a warm bath, light yoga or stretches, reading a book, or practise journaling.

2. Be Active As we know, getting a daily dose of exercise can help reduce anxiety. But how? You've probably heard of the "fight or flight" response, which is activated when anxiety or fear is present. The body and mind are trained to want to run or fight, which now can be translated into exercise. So when feelings of anxiety are overwhelming, give in to your body's desire. About 20-30 minutes a day of exercise, whether it be a walk outside or lifting weights, will have a significant impact on your mental health.

3. Meditate The research on meditation is profound in terms of its effects on reducing anxiety and other mental health disorders. Meditation creates an attitude of non-judgement and self love, which are attributes that can seem scarce while experiencing anxiety. The key to meditation is the ability to live in the present moment, which is a major way to combat anxiety. Anyone that feels anxiety knows that their feelings are either tethered to some future event or something that has happened in the past. Living consciously keeps the worries or fears about the past or future at bay, and it only takes 10 minutes each day.

4. Address lifestyle factors Anxiety is a complex emotion with multiple factors contributing to its presence. Lifestyle factors such as dietary changes are typically one aspect that is addressed when treating anxiety. Eliminate stimulants such as caffeine, alcohol and sugar that aggravate anxiety. Other stimulants such as technology are taxing on the nervous system. Remember to take time out of your day to be in nature and experience the restorative effects it has on the mind and body.
5. Vitamin D Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin that is activated by the sun and made in your skin, liver and kidneys. Unfortunately, the amount of sunlight we get in the winter is very limited. It also doesn't help that most jobs keep us indoors all day, so even in the summer our sunlight exposure is reduced. Vitamin D has an essential role in mental health. It plays a role in modulating hormones, the immune system, bone formation and energy. Vitamin D deficiency or insufficiency is common in Canada, which is why it is so important to supplement. Before supplementing however, make sure you talk to your naturopathic doctor or other health care provider to find out what dose is right for you as toxicity is possible.

6. Know your triggers Your body goes through transitions of its own to accommodate the change of seasons. Recognizing what your triggers are will help to address the root cause of your anxiety. Are you being exposed to new allergens? Is this time of year difficult with school or work? Is your body having trouble adjusting to the change in weather? Did you want to accomplish more over the summer months? Transition can be a time for self reflection. Investigate your anxiety on a deeper level, recognize patterns, and then you will learn to address it.

When to talk to your naturopathic doctor about anxiety?

There are many contributing factors that can aggravate or trigger anxiety. If you are finding that your anxiety is becoming too overwhelming, make sure to always seek help. Naturopathic doctors have the unique ability to treat patients on an individual level. Our treatments are specific to what you need on your healthcare journey. 

Dr. Ann-Marie Regina is a Naturopathic Doctor at Naturopathic Foundations Health Clinic with a focus on helping patients make healthy lifestyle choices that are specific to them. If you want to learn more about what your body and mind need, Dr. Ann-Marie Regina, ND can help you. Please call the clinic at 905-940-2727 to book an appointment or to schedule a complimentary 15 minute "meet and greet."

Healing Headaches & Migraines Naturally

By Dr. Leena Athparia, ND, AAWC 

Almost everyone has had a migraine or headache at some point in their life, but for many individuals chronic migraines can be debilitating and impact daily life. Conventional medicine has several tools to help ease the pain of migraines – though not without side effects. While these medications are commonly prescribed or taken over the counter, they don’t necessarily address the root of the issue. In this article, the words migraine and headache may be used interchangeably; though they manifest slightly differently, the treatment approach is similar.

Ayurveda and other systems such as Naturopathic medicine or TCM have developed thorough systems of assessments to help identify various types of migraines stemming from a variety of causes.  The first step to healing headaches is to understand why they are manifesting in the first place. Once the imbalance is identified, a treatment plan can be laid out.

Causes of Headaches & Migraines

Pain is your body’s way of telling you that something is not right. Headaches could be a sign of dehydration or lack of sleep – a signal to get some rest. Chronic headaches can also be a sign of a more serious or underlying issue such as inflammation in the brain due to food sensitivities, auto-immune diseases or from chronic structural issues such as poor posture or injuries. Some common causes of migraines and headaches:
  • Stress
  • Insomnia
  • Food allergies
  • Weather changes
  • Dehydration
  • Overwork
  • Postural imbalances
  • Eye strain
  • Hormones
  • Medications

According to Ayurveda, headaches are seen as a sign of dosha imbalances – when the equilibrium of the 5 elements is lost, there is an accumulation of vata, pitta or kapha leading to symptoms. The location, quality, severity, duration and characteristics of the migraine can give clear information on the specific dosha imbalance. Tongue & pulse assessments can further reveal the individual’s prakruti and vikruti.

Types of Headaches & Migraines

According to Ayurveda, headaches are seen as a sign of dosha imbalances – when the equilibrium of the 5 elements is lost, there is an accumulation of vata, pitta or kapha leading to symptoms. The location, quality, severity, duration and characteristics of the migraine can give clear information on the specific dosha imbalance. Tongue & pulse assessments can further reveal the individual’s prakruti and vikruti. Migraines can be classified into 3 major types:

Vata Headaches

Vata headaches are often caused by fear, stress, anxiety and chronic muscle tension in the neck and shoulders. These headaches are often triggered by travel and having too many activities or commitments. Pain is often felt in the back of the neck and head and may come and go. These headaches are generally relieved with warmth, rest, quiet and massage to release tension.

Pitta Headaches

Pitta Headaches are triggered by heat, dehydration, anger, impatience and overwork. When you are under pressure or take on too many responsibilities, this is your body’s way of telling you to ease up. The quality of these headaches are throbbing and pounding and are often felt at the temples or behind the eyes. These types of headaches resolve with relaxation, slowing down and cooling therapies.

Kapha Headaches

Kapha Headaches are perpetuated by heavy foods, sleeping in, colds and sinus infections. They are characterized by heaviness and dullness in the frontal and sinus areas and mucus congestion. These types of headaches get better with heat, movement and light food.


Healing from headaches involves understanding the cause, relieving discomfort and preventing reoccurrence. There are many ways to do this using natural approaches once the type of headache has been identified. Someone with pitta headaches will need a different approach than a kapha headache for example. Below is an outline of some of the common treatments for headaches and migraines.


Eating according to the season and one’s dosha type is an essential foundation to healing headaches. In addition, it is very beneficial to identify food sensitivities and migraine triggers: this can be through keeping a food diary, or doing IgG/IgA food sensitivity testing with a practitioner. Some common triggers are: caffeine, alcohol, cheese, dairy, wheat, eggs, citrus and preservatives, though it will vary for each individual. You can do a food sensitivity test through your ND to identify your specific sensitivities or do an elimination diet where you remove all the common triggers for a month and slowly introduce one new food item at a time and record your symptoms.


Ayurveda has always emphasized the importance of dinacharya – the concept of healthy daily routines as part of a healthy lifestyle. Many people have lost touch with the cycles of nature and healthy routines, yet they are a foundation for health. Waking up by sunrise, drinking a glass of water first thing in the morning, tongue scraping, dry skin brushing or self-massaging and incorporating yoga and meditation before eating a balanced breakfast is an outline of a healthy daily morning routine. In the evening, eating dinner before sunset and winding down with bedtime routines (such as aromatherapy massage and light reading or meditation) can help reset the body for a restful sleep. There are many routines in Ayurveda that can be customized based on your dosha type and lifestyle. More than a medicine, it is a way of life.

Botanicals & Supplements

A mainstay of naturopathic, supplements play a key role of delivering concentrated nutrients to the body – especially when there are deficiencies. Common supplements that can benefit individuals with headaches are: Magnesium, omega-3 oils, B vitamins, and antioxidants. Many nervine herbs help to relax muscle tension and support relaxation, especially in vata headaches. Some common herbs used in botanical medicine are: skullcap, passionflower, lavender, brahmi and jatamansi. It is always advised to work with your practitioner before taking supplements and herbs so that they can be adjusted to your individual needs.


When your head is pounding with a headache what brings the most relief? Many will enjoy a massage around the temples or forehead with a warm or cold compress. Receiving treatment is one of the most effective ways of dissipating pain. Some of the most effective treatments for relief of migraines (acute or chronic) are acupuncture and massage. These therapies reduce tension in the body and promote circulation. They also help your mind to slow down and break the pattern of stress and overwork.  Abhyanga or Ayurvedic massage along with essential oils can bring instant relaxation and you can learn which oils to keep handy. Lavender or rose oils cool down a pitta headache, eucalyptus or pine helps with kapha headaches, and lavender or frankincense helps with vata headaches.  There are many other oils and techniques that your practitioner can show you.

The body has the remarkable ability to heal. Migraines and headaches are not something that you have to live with. Once the cause has been identified it is much easier to treat them with a combination of diet, lifestyle, herbs and therapies according to dosha type. Before you pop that painkiller – take a moment and tune into what your body is telling you. With chronic migraines, a significant change in terms of diet or lifestyle is usually needed for lasting effects and best done under supervision by your practitioner. Once your headaches are addressed, you will feel better, have more clarity, productivity and energy in your day!

Dr. Leena Athparia is a Naturopathic doctor & Ayurvedic practitioner at Naturopathic Foundations with a focus on joint health, pain and chronic disease. If you are healthy and looking into preventing disease or learning more about your constitution, Dr. Athparia can help you. Please call the clinic at 905-940-2727 to book an appointment.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Blood Pressure - Risks and Concerns

by Ann-Marie Regina, ND (pending)

File:Bloodpressurecuff.jpgWhen your heart pumps to circulate blood throughout your body, it creates a pressure on your arteries, this is called blood pressure. This pressure is necessary to force blood to areas of your body that are farthest away from your heart like your fingers and toes.

So what is a healthy blood pressure reading for you? Everyone is different and there is a healthy range that is acceptable for each individual person. To determine if your blood pressure is at the right level for you, weight, height, level of exercise, family history, diet and any medical conditions that you may have, are necessary for a customized and accurate measurement.

High blood pressure (Hypertension)

When the pressure of blood on your arteries is too high, damage occurs resulting in an immune response. Immune cells try to fix the damage by covering the area with a plaque and cholesterol deposits, almost like a bandaid. The plaque may fix the damage, but it causes the artery walls to stiffen and become narrow. This process will continue as long as the blood pressure remains high. The more narrow the artery becomes, the more likely it can become clogged leading to heart disease.

So how do we recognize the symptoms of high blood pressure? The only way to know if you have high blood pressure is to have your blood pressure taken. High blood pressure is typically silent, meaning there are no symptoms.

Common risk factors for high blood pressure include:
  • Smoking
  • Stress especially is unrelenting or if poor coping skills
  • Family history or personal history of cardiovascular disease
  • Obesity, especially if carrying the weight in the abdomen or waist
  • Lack of exercise or too much strenuous exercise
  • Poor diet or imbalanced diet

Low blood pressure (Hypotension)

Making sure that your blood pressure is in a healthy range is important to your cardiovascular health. This also includes checking if your blood pressure is too low. Symptoms such as weakness, fatigue, dizziness, headache or feeling faint can be signs of low blood pressure and will have significant consequences on your health. If your blood pressure is too low, areas of the body such as the hands, feet and brain are not getting the blood and nutrients they need to function optimally. This will increase your risk of a stroke, dementia, peripheral neuropathy, erectile dysfunction, severe fatigue, hemorrhoids and varicose veins.

Common risk factors and diseases that can cause problematic low blood pressure include:

How often should you monitor your blood pressure?

If you have been on medication for blood pressure for awhile, you would check your blood pressure about once a week. If you are changing any medications, blood pressure or otherwise, ideally monitor your blood pressure once or twice a day for 10 days, or as advised by your healthcare practitioner.

If your blood pressure is generally stable and you aren't on any medications, we recommend checking your blood pressure at least every month or if there is a reason to be concerned. Changing your  routine significantly such as beginning a new exercise regime, major changes to your diet, stopping smoking or other changes may impact on your blood pressure and therefore it is best to check your blood pressure more frequently so that you know the impact.

Another good reason to check your blood pressure is if you experience any new symptoms that are out of the ordinary for you or are concerning.

Complimentary Blood Pressure Check!

We are pleased to announce that every Friday between 12-4, you are able to come into our clinic for a complimentary blood pressure check. This will be a drop in service, so you do not need to book an appointment.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Do you have ear pain, itchiness, hearing loss? You need your ears checked!!

by Dr. Jessica Nesbitt, ND

Ear wax (cerumen) is a normal substance made by the cells lining the ear canal that helps to protect, clean, and keep the ears healthy.  When dust or dirt enters the ear, the ear wax provides a sticky substance that traps the debris and prevents it from travelling deeper into the ear canal.

Ear wax will normally make its way to the outside of the ear canal through the motion of our jaw, and by chewing food. At this point, it can flake off or be washed off.

Sometimes this natural process can be uninterrupted, and a build up of ear wax can occur. This is called impaction.  When this occurs, the ear canal will be either partially or full blocked and lead to symptoms such as:

  • ear pain
  • itching
  • sense of fullness in the ear
  • hearing loss
  • change in hearing aid function
  • odour coming from the ear

Keep in mind that it is possible to not have any symptoms at all. I have found throughout my years of practice that on routine physical exams many patients did have impacted ear wax and were not aware of it all.  It is important to have your ears checked yearly, or if you start to experience any of the above symptoms. 

In my clinical practice I have found that anyone of any age can have impacted ear wax. But, more commonly I have found it in children 2-6 years old, senior citizens and those who use hearing aids, or ear plugs. Other risk factors associated with impacted ear wax are; yeast/candida overgrowth,  having hairy ear canals, a narrow ear canal, people with re occurring ear infections, and swimmers.

Although you may be tempted to clean out your ears, it is important to remember not to stick items such Q-tips, keys, or bobby pins in your ears as they may push the was build up deeper into the ear canal.  

I am pleased to announce that I will be offering complimentary ear checks at the clinic. This will be a drop in service available on Wednesdays from 10am - 2pm. 

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

The Importance of Hormones after Age 50

By Dr. Iva Lloyd, ND

Hormones affect every aspect of life. Unfortunately, the importance of adequate and balanced hormones is often ignored as someone ages.  But hormones play a significant role in healthy aging and treating a hormone imbalance can often make a significant difference on how a person feels.

If you are creeping close to 50 years of age or if you are older, I encourage you to examine whether or not your symptoms are actually due to hormone imbalances.

Impact of Hormones after the Age of 50

The following is a summary of the key roles of the main sex hormones.

Role of Progesterone

Role of Estrogen
Role of Testosterone
·         Precursor of other hormones
·         Higher progesterone levels decrease risk of cancer
·        Slows down the aging process
·         Facilitates thyroid function
·         Normalizes blood clotting
·         Regulates blood sugar levels
·         Helps use fat for energy
·         Natural antidepressant
·         Restores cell oxygen levels
·         Stimulates bone building
·         Decreases cholesterol, LDL and homocysteine levels
·         Protects against heart disease and decreases blood pressure

·         Regulates fat storage and speeds up metabolism
·         Stimulates vaginal thickness
·         Increases sex drive
·         Assists with joint formation/ decreases calcium deposits in rheumatoid arthritis
·         Facilitates the production of the neurotransmitter serotonin
·         Protects against dementia and Alzheimer’s disease

·     Preserves muscle mass, bone growth, bone density and strength
·     Ensures strong sexual desire and sense of well being
·     Ensures adequate red blood cells
·     Protects against breast cancer and heart disease in menopausal women

Symptoms Associated with Hormone Imbalances

The following are common symptoms associated with hormone imbalances as you age:
  • Depression and anxiety are symptoms of low progesterone, low testosterone and both estrogen deficiency and excess.  If you feel sad and you don't know why, check out your hormones before you start addressing your symptoms with medication for depression or anxiety.
  • Difficulty remembering can be attributed to either low estrogen or low testosterone.  
  • Painful intercourse and vaginal dryness is often associated with low estrogen levels.
  • Lack of sex drive or sexual performance is too often just associated with aging when it can be due to low progesterone or testosterone or high estrogen levels.
  • Frequent urinary tract infections or incontinence can be due to low estrogen and, if so, can be greatly reduced by addressing estrogen levels.
  • Arthritis, especially when it affects the hands and causes deformity in the joints, is a symptom of low estrogen levels.
  • Weight gain since your 40s is often due to hormone deficiencies or imbalances.  If your estrogen levels are high it can often result in weight on the hips and thighs. If testosterone is low it will result in increased abdominal fat, Low progesterone will cause an overall increase in weight in the midsection.
  • Fatigue can be caused by low estrogen or low testosterone.

Causes of Hormone Imbalances

Hormone levels are naturally lower as you age, but the following factors can increase the rate of decline:
  • Genetics plays a role, but it is not overly significant for most people
  • Stress, especially when it is chronic and unrelenting
  • Sleep deprivation over a long period of time
  • Nutrient deficiencies or dietary imbalances - especially if your diet has been lacking protein, fat and/or minerals
  • Environmental toxins are known to disrupt hormone levels and how the body metabolizes and uses hormones
  • Trauma, especially head trauma can result in hormone changes
  • Chronic pain impacts hormone levels
  • Medications play with hormones.  Some of the most significant disruptors are SSRIs and birth control pills.

Assessing Your Hormone Status

There are a number of ways of assessing your hormone status.  For many, you can determine hormone deficiencies and excesses simply based on a detailed symptoms and health history.  Blood tests are seldom very accurate to assess hormone levels, but they become even less reliable as you age.  

The most accurate way to assess hormone levels, especially as you age, is via urine testing as urine is able to more accurately assess whether the body is able to metabolize hormones appropriately.

Treating Hormone Imbalances

There are a number of different ways to treat hormone imbalances.  For some individuals, hormone levels can be normalized by simply improving one's lifestyle -- getting more sleep, decreasing stress, improving diet, and exercising more.  For others, nutraceuticals, herbs and homeopathics can be beneficial in addressing hormone imbalances.  For those that have severe or unrelenting symptoms, bio-identical hormone therapy can be a wonderful option.

The benefits of bio-identical replacement therapy include:

  • relief of menopausal symptoms
  • reduced risk of heart disease and cardiovascular events
  • improved cholesterol profile
  • prevention of osteoporosis
  • prevention of memory disorders
  • maintenance of nervous system
  • maintenance of skin health
  • maintenance of oral health
  • maintenance of eye health
  • prevention of urogenital and vaginal atrophy
  • relief of arthritic symptoms

Bio-identical hormone therapy (BHT) is a safe option for treating hormone deficiencies. Bio-identical hormones are derived from plant sources and are modified to replicate the hormones found in the body. Naturopathic Doctors in Ontario and British Columbia are able to prescribe bio-identical hormones.

If you suspect that your symptoms are related to your hormones, talk to your naturopathic doctor. The NDs at Naturopathic Foundations Health Clinic offer a range of options for assessing and treating hormone imbalances, including bio-identical hormone therapy.  Dr. Iva Lloyd, focuses on hormone issues, especially those related to peri-menopause and post-menopause.