Thursday, January 2, 2020

New Year ... New You?

By: Darryl Gomes  R. Kin., CAT(C), D.O.M.P., D.Sc.O.

Happy 2020 to all of you!!
Image result for gandhi your thoughts become your beliefs

Another year has come and gone. The beginning of the year represents a time for change and renewal. The quote by Mahatma Gandhi is a good way to implement change in your lives:

It takes a lot of willpower and time to cease the old habits and implement the new ones. It is ok to "fall off the wagon" ... you just need to get back on. You can fall once or fifty times, keep getting back up. Your body and mind time to adjust to the changes. This is a natural part of change.  Remember, you need to make the change for yourself ... because you want it.

What Do I Focus on to be Healthier?

Mind: This involves taking the time to plan out your day, so you are not rushing around. Taking the time to organize your closet/kitchen/home office can help not only to de-clutter your living space, but can help to de-clutter your mind. Solving crossword puzzles, memory games or pleasure reading are good ways to keep your mind sharp.

Spirit/emotional: Meditation is a great way to not only calm the mind, but it can help to keep your stress levels down, which will help you to become emotionally centered. Religion is also helpful for enriching our spiritual lives. Making the effort to socialize with friends and family (ideally over the phone or face to face) can also give you that emotional lift.

Body: A combination of cardiovascular exercise, weight training and eating the right foods is ideal for getting the body into optimal condition. Treatment to heal acute or chronic problems you are  dealing with is also important.

Besides Working on the Body, How Does Osteopathy Help Me?

The mind, body and spirit are incorporated into every osteopathic treatment. One cannot exist without the others.

Yes, addressing postural problems will allow the body to function optimally, which can reduce a lot of the acute and chronic problems you experience. Pain can prevent us from living our lives the way we want. Therefore, osteopathic treatment can help to remove those physical barriers that stand in our way. However, osteopathic treatment involves looking globally at all aspects of health. 
  • Receiving the right exercises in your sessions is required to maintain corrected postures and muscle imbalances. The body needs that constant reinforcement, via exercises, in order to work efficiently. 
  • An individual needs to be eating the right foods in order to provide the body with the necessary nutrients and fuel the body requires.
  • Understanding that a person has outlets (eg. hobbies/friends they socialize with/counselor they can speak to about private affairs) that keep them going and motivated
  • Sometimes physical problems have emotional components attached to them that need to be released. Whether through trauma (such as a car accident) or the loss of a loved one, our mind and emotions can stunt our bodies ability to function and heal. Often, people will get emotional releases when they receive osteopathic treatment, big or small. These releases need to happen in order to allow for a healthier mind and spirit.
Remember, your body isn't like a car that just needs mechanical/body work performed on it in order to keep running. All aspects of health need to be addressed for true health.

If you have any questions about how osteopathy can help you, call the clinic at 905-940-2727 to book a free 15 minute consultation or email me at:

Stay active!!

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Keeping the Resolution of Health

Dr. Iva Lloyd, ND

Becoming healthier is one of the most common New Year's Resolutions. It is important to remember that health is a life-long process, not a project that can be accomplished and  then set aside again for a number of months or years. Health is a way of life and a cumulative reflection of your life.

1st Step - Determine Your Areas of Concern
The first thing you want to do if you are on the path to becoming healthier is to take an honest look at your health -- all aspects of your health. Most people have a tendency to focus on the one or two things that are currently bothering them, but in my experience as a naturopathic doctor, many people end up ignoring the aspects of health that are either "feeding" the other areas or those that pose the greatest health risk.

For most people over the age of 30, or for those with a suspected or known health issue, the first step generally involves getting up-to-date blood work and a physical exam. One of the advantages of naturopathic medicine is that laboratory testing it is not controlled by OHIP or other provincial health-care guidelines and we can often offer patients a thorough blood work-up and physical exam. For example, our access to testing for environmental toxins and chemicals and food reactions is very extensive. There are also a range of laboratory tests that can help clarify the best treatment plans for conditions such as high cholesterol, hypertension or diabetes.

2nd Step - Follow the Logic of Healing
Yes, there is a logic to healing and re-establishing health. A lot of frustration, time and money can be spent with very little results if this logic is not followed.  Generally speaking the way the body works is as follows:
  •  Acute Takes Priority -- Acute illness generally take priority.  If you are dealing with an acute situation the "healing energy" of the body will be focused on the acute problem.  This is one reason it is important to allow your body the time it requires to heal acute illnesses, like colds and flus or sprains and strains.
  • Reverse Order - The last symptom will often heal first.  If you have had eczema for years and recently ended up with a cough, it is most likely that the cough will resolve before the eczema improves.  As deeper symptoms "move to the surface", it is common for them to get a little worse before they resolve. 
  • Grouping of Symptoms - Symptoms that started at the same time often are related.  For example, digestive symptoms can cause joint pain, skin issues, mood changes and changes in bowel movements are simultaneously.  Hormone imbalances can contribute to insomnia, anxiety, decreased memory function, dry skin, weight gain and other problems.  One of the main jobs of your naturopathic doctor is to find the core imbalance that is contributing to your symptoms instead of treating each concern as a separate thing. Treating the core imbalance is simpler, more effective and a lot less costly.
  • Top-Down - Symptoms that appear above the waist generally resolve before symptoms that are lower in the body. Chronic patterns are generally held in the lower body, including circulatory problems (peripheral artery disease), or the impact of kidney or liver disease, etc.
  • Inside-Out - The vital organs are located deep within the body. As the body is healing, it will generally heal the deeper organs prior to the joints, skin and other more superficial organs.

3rd Step - Open the Routes of Elimination
Being able to eliminate what the body doesn't require is essential to health.  In traditional systems of medicine, such as Ayurvedic and Traditional Chinese Medicine, opening the routes of elimination is the most important single step to achieving and establishing health.

For example, having proper bowel movements every day and breathing effectively need to be part of every health-building plan. Many people find that once they are able to eliminate toxins from their body, many other symptoms resolve.  Check out my blog on Eliminating Toxins - Top 5 Things to Remember for more information.

4th Step - Regular Movement
Movement is essential to health. Most people are much too sedentary in their jobs and at home.  Regular movement is required not only for proper functioning of muscles and joints, but movement is an integral part of cardiovascular health, blood sugar control, mood regulation and other aspects of health.  Check out my blog on Movement for more information.

5th Step - Eat For Health
What you eat will strongly impact your ability to heal. Knowing how to choose what food is best for you is the single most important factor that a person has to ensuring health, next to positive thinking.

There is no magical healthy diet. It generally boils down to ensuring that you eat more vegetables, adequate protein, complex carbohydrates, good fats and 1 or 2 pieces of fruit a day. Some additional general guidelines are as follows:
  • Identify and address your personal food allergies and sensitivities.  Identifying the foods that your body reacts to and then avoiding or limiting those foods is a great first dietary step to achieving health.
  • Address your personal weakness and indulgences. Most people are aware of their specific weaknesses and the "bad" habits that they have that affect their health. One of the best ways to achieve your health goals is to be honest with yourself and commit to addressing your "bad" habits and making more healthy choices.
  • Avoid the "feast then famine" phenomenon. The solution to eating too much is not to spend the next couple of weeks or months eating too little.  Keep in mind that January and February are often the coldest months of the year. Dramatically changing the amount that you eat will often increase the chance that you will come down with a cold or flu. Major fluctuations in dietary intake often worsen underlying conditions such as thyroid conditions, diabetes and other metabolic conditions.
  • Get rid of the sugar and the "white processed food". Those chocolates, sugary sweets, morning danishes, muffins or bagels are packed with calories, but offer very little nutrients.  The increase in sugar and empty carbohydrates is one of the main reasons for those added pounds that creep on over time.  If you are serious about getting back on track with your diet, it is time to get rid of the sugar and the calorie-dense, nutrient-deficient foods.  To learn more about the health impact of sugar, click here. 
  • Drink water -- lots of water.  Sweets, alcohol and many other "treats" are dehydrating.  Ensuring that you are drinking sufficient water is a safe and effective way of helping the body re-balance and rid itself of the excesses that it has accumulated.  Click here for tips on how much water is ideal for you. 
  • 4 to 6 cups of vegetables a day.  Increasing your consumption of cooked vegetables, especially those dark green vegetables like swiss chard and kale, is a great way to help the body detox. Vegetables are also the primary source of minerals and nutrients.
  • Cut out the snacking.  Only children and those with low blood sugar need to snack between meals.  Unless advised otherwise by your naturopathic doctor, stick to three meals a day.
Check out my blog on Nutrition for more information.

6th Step - Adequate Sleep
The body heals while you sleep. Ensuring adequate restful sleep is essential to establishing and retaining health.  There are many reasons why sleep can be a concern.  It is important to identify the reason before engaging in any treatments.  Check out my blog on Sleep for more information.

7th Step - Work with Your Naturopathic Doctor
If you are serious about becoming healthier, then book an appointment with your Naturopathic Doctor. They will be able to help you determine what steps are best for you and will help you stay on track. For more information visit our website at:

Achieving Optimal Digestion

By Dr. Ann-Marie Regina, ND

Proper functioning of the digestive system is essential for achieving optimal health. The digestive system is much more then just a place where your food gets broken down and absorbed.

Hormones and enzymes necessary for health are activated during the digestive process. Your digestive system can protect you from infections and detoxify your body from harmful chemicals that are being ingested.

If you experience digestive concerns regularly, you are at risk of developing nutrient & mineral deficiencies, hormone imbalances, increased toxic burden, aggravations of preexisting conditions and the triggering of new symptoms.

Signs and Symptoms of Suboptimal Digestion

The following are some of the typical signs and symptoms experienced when digestion is not functioning optimally:
  • Gas & bloating
  • Abdominal pain
  • Poor appetite 
  • Constipation &/or diarrhea
  • Nausea &/or vomiting
  • Low energy & weakness 
  • Low immunity & frequent colds and flu's
  • Hormone imbalances
  • Anxiety & depression
  • Joint pain & inflammation 
  • Autoimmune conditions 
  • Skin conditions such as acne, eczema or psoriasis 
  • Diabetes 

The Basics for Promoting Healthy Digestion

1. Brain Gut Connection. During times of stress or anxiety, your body shunts blood and resources away from the digestive tract towards your muscles. Your brain perceives that there is a threat and is preparing the body for fight or flight. In this state, when you eat, digestion is not as effective since your body's natural mechanisms for breaking down food is diminished. You can stimulate digestion by relaxing your mind as your gut is connected to your brain by the vagus nerve which promotes rest and relaxation.

You can help your digestion by relaxing before meals and taking deep breaths to soothe the nervous system. Also, take time to smell your food as this stimulates the salivary glads to secrete enzymes that are a part of the digestive process. Lastly, chewing your food adequately helps to break down food and to prevent you from overeating. Overeating can slow down and put stress on digestion, not to mention contribute to excess fat storage in the body. By creating a soothing environment during meals, you can promote healthy digestion.

2. Elimination. An essential aspect of digestion is the elimination of waste. The aim is to ensure proper bowel movements every day.  Constipation leads to the re-absorption of toxins. This can result in symptoms such as gas, bloating and abdominal pain.  It can also lead to hormone dysregulation and other metabolic imbalances.  To address constipation it is important to stay hydrated, and to ensure adequate fats and fibre are part of your diet. Adding healthy oils such as olive oil, avocado, coconut and fish oil to your diet helps to lubricate your digestive tract. Foods high in fibre such as vegetables, psyllium, chia seeds, flaxseeds bulk up stool and stimulate the stretch receptors in your intestines which will trigger a bowel movement.  Fibre in the diet also can bind to excess cholesterol and hormones helping eliminate them from the body.

Conditions such as (but not limited to) hypothyroidism, diverticulitis, leaky gut, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), hypochlorydria (low stomach acid) and irritable bowel syndrome can result in constipation. Speak with your naturopathic doctor if you have any of these conditions as they often require additional treatment recommendations.

3. Healthy Gut Bacteria. The human gastrointestinal tract (GIT) alone contains 10x14 microorganisms including bacteria, viruses and fungi. That's approximately 100 times more bacterial cells than human cells which shows how much of an impact they have on human health. The human GIT provides a home and food for the bacteria and in return the bacteria protect the lining of the gut and regulate your immune system by turning carbohydrates into byproducts that are anti-inflammatory and even anti-cancer. Your gut bacteria also plays a role in regulating blood sugar by promoting insulin release, satiety and reduced gastric emptying. This is just the tip of the iceberg, the microorganisms residing in your digestive tract, have significant impact on your health and disruptions to them can result in a wide host of symptoms. Some factors influencing the state of the microbiome found in your digestive tract include: the type of food you consume as it will also feed the microorganisms, antibiotic use and GIT diseases such as ulcerative colitis, Crohn's, celiac disease and IBS. To mitigate the negative impact of healthy bacteria disruption, follow the three P's: probiotics, prebiotics and polyphenols.

Oral probiotics are live microorganisms supplemented to the GIT that confer the same benefits of the microorganisms already in your gut. There are strain specific probiotics for particular conditions or multi-strain options, but please discuss which is best for you with your naturopathic doctor as your body's needs are individual. Fermented foods such as tempeh, miso, kimchi and sauerkraut are also another source of live microorganisms and are considered to be probiotics as they confer the same benefits to health. Prebiotics are a type of dietary fibre that feed the gut bacteria that are already present and contribute to increasing the abundance of the healthy bacteria. Polyphenols such as flavanols are found in vegetables and fruits. They too will increase the abundance of bacteria with a "health promoting profile" such as Bifidobacteria and lactobacilli. Vegetables and fruits also contain dietary fibre that can also act as prebiotics as well as provide minerals and nutrients that are necessary for optimal health.

To learn more about the gut microbiome here's a link to my blog on "The Gut Microbiome and Health."

Other Considerations

Though the basics are important for maintaining a healthy digestive system, the human body is complex. There are so many factors that can affect your digestion. Your hormones, age, mental health, diet, sleep regiment, health conditions can impact and be impacted by your digestive system so it is also important to address other aspects of health as well. Digestive concerns are not treated the same, for example conditions such as SIBO can be aggravated by probiotics and IBS can be aggravated by prebiotics. Exploring any underlying food sensitivities that stimulate an immune reaction locally in your digestive tract and distally throughout the body can cause many different symptoms and aggravate preexisting conditions. Even environmental exposure to things like heavy metals, plastics, pesticides, antibiotics and hormones in meats, dyes in food and many more can disrupt your digestive health. Naturopathic doctors have the training and medical knowledge to look at your health comprehensively and find the root cause of your concerns, as there are many factors that influence health.

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."

The S.M.A.R.T. way to achieve your health goals in 2020!!

By: Dr. Jessica Nesbitt ND, CFMP 

Happy New Year, and welcome to 2020!!

It’s that time of year again! Time to start thinking about what you want for this new year ahead.

Making New Year's resolutions seems to be the "in" thing to do each year, but do they really work? The answer depends upon how serious you are when you make the resolution. Sometimes it can be hard to settle on just one resolution, which often leads people to make lots of small ones. The problem with this is that it's too difficult to truly focus on so many resolutions, and by the end of January, your motivation will be sorely lacking. 

Many people will set a New Year's resolution that focus on health, wellness and fitness goals.  Today, I want to share with you the SMART system of goal setting, in order to help you stick with your New Year's resolutions and accomplish your health goals.

Why Do We Set a Goal?
Studies show that having a defined goal that you can plan, measure the progress of and eventually achieve gives a sense of accomplishment and raises our self-esteem.

Avoid the Biggest Goal Setting Mistake
The most common goal setting mistake people make is setting a goal but not thinking about how to achieve it. Now that you know that, you can avoid becoming part of the group of people who break their New Year’s resolution! 

The 3 Keys to a Successful New Year’s Resolution:
  1. Clearly defining your goal
  2. Creating an action plan
  3. Measuring your progress

How to Set a SMART Goal
Since its inception in 1981, George T. Doran’s SMART acronym has taken on many different meanings, but the main logic still stands - make goals that you can achieve! Here’s how you do it.

S – Specific
Your goal should be clear and precise so you can focus your energy and efforts on achieving it.  Think about:
  • What you want to achieve
  • Why it’s important to you
  • What resources you’ll need
  • If there are any limits
Thinking about these points will mean the difference between a vague goal like “I want to be healthier” and a specific goal like “I want to increase my daily activity so that I get a clean bill of health at my next physical”. One sets a clear path to get to your end goal.

M – Measurable
You need to track your progress to stay motivated, meet your deadlines, and in the end celebrate achieving your New Year’s resolution! When setting your goal, think about:
  • How will I know I’ve reached my goal?
  • How much or how many?
  • Do I have a way to track this?
Thinking about how you’ll measure success will help you come up with an action plan. For example, if your goal is to walk 10,000 steps a day, you’ll need a pedometer or other way of tracking your steps. Don't forget that many goals can be measured with non-scale victories. If you are wanting to eat cleaner foods you will know that you are on the right track by how much better you sleep, improved digestion, clearer skin, etc. 

A – Attainable
One of the most critical elements of goal setting is being realistic about your abilities and setting an achievable goal for yourself. That doesn’t mean choosing a ridiculously easy target. It means thinking about the following:
  • Do I have the mindset to achieve my goal?
  • Is my goal realistic based on my current situation?
  • Do I have the resources or support needed to achieve my goal?
  • Is this goal directly influenced by me and my actions?

R – Relevant
Choosing a goal that is exciting and relevant to you is important as well. You must be motivated by your target to work towards it. Ask yourself these questions about your goal and see if it’s still relevant to you:
  • Is achieving this goal a worthwhile effort?
  • Is it the right goal for me at this point in time?

T – Time-bound
Finally, you want to make sure you set a deadline to meet your goal. It helps you to plan out how you’ll achieve your goal and set priorities if needed. You want to consider thinking about:
  • When do I want to achieve my goal by?
  • What can I do today to meet my goal?
  • What can I do in the next six months to meet my goal?

Now that we’ve gone through the SMART system let’s look at our starting goal of “I want to be healthier”. After applying the SMART system, a more specific goal might be “I want to lower my blood pressure and cholesterol to recommended levels by August 31st".  "In order to do this, I will walk 10,000 steps a day”.  By using the SMART system, you now know what you’re aiming for and what you need to do to achieve the goal set.

Want Help to Achieve Your Goals?
Weather you want to lose weight, improve your energy, sleep, mood and more in 2020, I can help you make your goal a reality more quickly, easily and effectively than trying to do it alone.  A very common underlying issue that contributes to issues with low energy, sugar cravings, bloating/indigestion, PMS/hormonal imbalance, weight gain and low immunity is an overgrowth of Candida in the intestines. After the holiday season many of my patients take the time to book a Candida Check with me to make sure that their normal healthy levels of Candida have not overgrown from indulging in sweets and alcohol.

If you would like to learn more about Candida you can read my previous blog here. If you are ready to get the New Year off to a fresh start, I invite you to book your 45 minute Candida Check where you will be tested and given a personalized protocol to lower yeast so that you can feel better faster.