Saturday, October 3, 2020

Autumn: the Season of Facial Rejuvenation and Detox

 by Parisa Wang

The traditional Chinese lunar calendar divides the year into 24 solar terms. Cold Dew, (Chinese: 寒露), the 17th solar term of the year, begins this year on Oct 8 and ends on Oct 22. In China, the 24 solar terms were created thousands of years ago to guide agricultural production. But solar term culture is still useful today to guide people's lives through special foods, cultural ceremonies and even healthy living tips that correspond with each term.

Autumn is the season of autumn harvest. The yin and yang atmosphere is relatively peaceful, presenting a pleasant and refreshing scene, and it is also the most suitable season for beauty and detox. In terms of yin and yang and five elements corresponding to the five internal organs of the human body, regulating and nourishing the five internal organs will naturally get our body better.

So how should we detoxify and maintain health in autumn?

Fall Detoxification: Focus is the Lungs

From a Chinese perspective, autumn is the golden rule of the lungs, which means that during the year, the lungs act as executive officers in the meridians of the human body. During the autumn season the following symptoms tend to be more common:

1. The skin is rusty and dull. Traditional Chinese medicine believes that the lungs manage the skin of the whole body, and whether the skin is moist and fair depends on the good function of the lungs. When there are more toxins in the lungs, the toxins will be deposited on the skin along with the action of the lungs, making the skin color look dull.

2. Constipation. Traditional Chinese medicine believes that the lungs and large intestine are a connected system. When there are toxins in the upper lungs, there will be abnormal stasis in the lower intestines, and constipation will occur.

3. Sentimental and easy to be sad. Toxins in the lungs will interfere with the circulation of qi and blood in the lungs, making the lungs unable to smooth the suffocation in the chest normally, and feeling depressed much more sentimental.

How to detoxify lungs smoothly?

The ideal strategy for each person varies based on health status and constitution.  It is always best to work with a practitioner when you are starting any form of detox, but here are a few recommendations that may apply:

1. White radish is a detoxification food for lungs. In TCM opinion, the large intestine and the lungs are the most closely related. The degree of toxin excretion from the lungs depends on whether the large intestine is unobstructed. White radishes can help the large intestine to excrete stool. It can be eaten raw or mixed with cold dishes.

2. Lily improves lung resistance to poison. The lungs have always disliked dry air. In dry conditions, it is easy to accumulate toxins. Mushrooms and lilies have a good effect of nourishing the lungs and nourishing yin, and can help the lungs to fight toxins. Do not process them for too long when eating, otherwise the juice in the lily will be reduced and the anti-virus effect will be greatly reduced.

3. Your practitioner can show you the meridian points of lung detoxification. The acupuncture point beneficial to the lungs is He Gu, which is located on the back of the hand, between the first and second metacarpal bones. At the midpoint of the radial side of the second metacarpal bone, you can pinch this part with your thumb and index finger and press hard.

4. Perspiration and detoxification. The lungs manage the skin, so we sweat smoothly, allowing the sweat to take away toxins from the body and refreshing our lungs. In addition to exercise, the method of sweating can also be a hot bath. Add some ginger and peppermint essential oils in the water before the bath to make the sweat secrete more freely and expel toxins deeply in the body.

5. Take a deep breath. Every time you breathe, there are residual exhaust gases in the lungs that cannot be discharged. Compared with those fresh, oxygen-rich air, these exhaust gases are also a toxin. Just a few deep breaths can reduce the residual exhaust gas in the body.

6. Good sleep. TCM believes that the movement of the twelve meridians begins with the lungs, and the yin and yang alternate time of the day in the human body is at yin every day, at 3 to 5 in the morning, starting with lung qi. At this time, if you can sleep soundly, it will have a cosmetic effect, which will help the lung meridian to smooth the distribution of qi and blood.

7. Also, because of the dry climate and low air humidity, especially after the Mid-Autumn Festival, people’s skin is prone to dryness. You can choose plants that can moisturize the skin. You can blend one or two kinds of fungus, almonds, pine nuts, yam, mulberry, and honey. If you want to make your skin look more delicate. You can choose pear juice, orange juice, grapefruit juice, loofah water or barley juice, one of which is used to wipe the face (double dilution with water).

8. The best time to detoxify the lungs is from 7 am to 9 am. At this time, it is also better to detoxify through exercise. Performing aerobic exercises such as jogging when the lungs are at their strongest can strengthen the lungs to discharge toxins.

We have talked about Lung detoxification in autumn. I will continue to discuss the detoxification of other organs (kidney, liver, heart, and spleen) in winter, spring, and summer.

According toHuang Di Nei Jing (an ancient Chinese medical text that has been treated as the fundamental doctrinal source for Chinese medicine for more than two millennia), there are two types of toxins in the human body, endogenous and exogenous. If the toxins in the body exceed the ability of the body's detoxification system to interpret, it will easily lead to various diseases, and also easily lead to premature aging and accelerated aging. Strengthen detoxification and timely removal of toxins from the body, which can protect the body from disease and prolong life.

Working on different aspects of your health by season can often yield better results.  If you have questions about what type of detoxification or nutritional plan is best for you, I would welcome the opportunity to work with you. For more information, please follow my blog post on Yin Yang theory and detoxification.

Please contact Naturopathic Foundations Health Clinic at 905-940-2727 to book an appointment.

Friday, October 2, 2020

Easing the transition into Fall

In Ayurvedic medicine a person’s body can be predominant in one of 3 body types Vata (Air), Pitta (fire), and Kapha (earth).

Fall carries with it qualities of vata. The vata body type contains elements of ether and air. Vata is responsible for movement, digestion, and circulation. Vata minds are creative, quick to learn and enthusiastic. In the fall season we experience the cold dry wind picking up and causing movement of the air element that can aggravate Vata types.

A vata imbalance can show up as cold hands and feet, dry skin and hair, excessive worry, scattered thoughts, fear of the unknown, irregular appetite, and constipation. This year we face the added challenge of worry that aggravates vata further. 

Keeping your vata in balance is good for overall health to balance the immune system, keep you grounded, and energized. These physical and mental-emotional signs also show up in all body types. Here are some guidelines to keep your Vata balanced into Fall:


The following lifestyle factors can help keep your Vata in balance:

  • Waking up early when the air is calm and still.
  • Eat at roughly the same time everyday, routine is key to ground Vata types.
  • Dress warm and in fall colours- oranges, red, yellow, white as these colours are grounding. If you tend to feel depressed avoid dark colours, such as black and grey.
  • Avoid fast movements- driving fast, loud music, running in wind. These movements create more movement of the air element and worsen anxiety and restlessness.
  • Gentle and strengthening exercises- hiking, swimming, biking, yoga and tai chi.
  • Abhyanga/self massage with warm sesame oil before shower can go a long way to ground Vata.
  • Pranayama/alternate nostril breathing and meditation- helps ground and control the air element.
  • Vata types need to avoid fasting during this season to prevent undernourishment.
  • Apply ghee to navel and soles of feet at bedtime if suffering from dry skin and lips.


In general eating warm, oily and grounding easy to digest foods (such as kitchari- recipe below ). Adding warming spices and favouring sweet, sour and salty tastes will help keep vata stable. Reduce raw, cold and bitter vegetables. Increase protein and fat sources

  • Breakfast- oatmeal, cream of rice, stewed apple or pear- cook in ghee and/or milk.
  • Lunch and dinner- grains, steamed or cooked vegetables, soups, stews.
  • Protein: eggs, meat, tofu, legumes and lentils.
  • Fats: nuts and seeds, coconut or olive oil, avocado

Increase Underground Vegetables: sweet potato, turnips, beets, squash, pumpkin, carrots
Reduce bitter vegetables: kale, broccoli, brussel sprouts, bitter melon, arugula, cabbage, cauliflower- ensure they are cooked with warming spices.

Fruits- apples and pears (cooked), peaches, grapes, avocado, mango, dates, figs, banana

Spices- asafoetida, anise, bay leaf, cinnamon, clove, cumin, cardamom, black pepper, ginger, garlic, mustard seeds, nutmeg, oregano, parsley, rosemary, turmeric, saffron, dill,

Oils to favor- ghee, sesame oil, olive oil, flax oil, almond oil.

Teas: CCF tea (Coriander, Cumin, Fennel equal parts), or ginger-cinnamon tea.Warming and soothing bedtime tea- warm milk with a pinch of nutmeg, cinnamon, and cardamom.

Herbs: dashamoola, ashwagandha, haritaki, triphala, vidari.

Kitchari Recipe: 

To book a consultation with Dr. Durrani, ND and to find out about more about your body type and the recommended diet and lifestyle for you, please call the clinic at 905-940-2727.

How To Improve Iron Absorption For Pregnancy

by Parisa Wang, Nutritionist

After the initial excitement or shock of seeing a positive pregnancy test, how many of us are aware that mom’s nutritional foundation sets up the future health of our babies. Pregnancy nutrition matters for baby and mum as it:

  • Supports skeletal development
  • Supports brain development
  • Reduces risk of birth defects
  • Prevents low birth weight
  • Reduces preterm delivery
  • Reduces risk of gestational diabetes
  • Reduces risk of obesity later in life
  • Reduces risk of chronic disease later in life
  • Decreases nausea and other symptoms associated with pregnancy
  • Decreases unnecessary weight gain

When you are pregnant, eating the right balance of carbohydrates, proteins, and healthy fats, as well as micro-nutrients like iron, folate, calcium, and vitamin D is crucial!

The average female adult requires between 10 and 18 mg of iron a day. During pregnancy, Iron needs are increased by 1.5 times. This increase can be even higher and even higher for vegetarians. The increase need for iron is because of the large increase in red blood cell production which is necessary to support the growth and development of baby, and the placenta. Low iron is linked to preterm delivery, low birth weight, and impairs the mother’s thyroid function. However, everyone’s iron needs can be variable depending on their constitution, their iron level at the time of getting pregnant, how many pregnancies have had, how close together they have been and the symptoms that they have during pregnancy.

The symptoms that you may experience during pregnancy that are associated with iron deficiency include:

  • Constipation
  • Nausea
  • Anemia
  • Fatigue
  • Heartburn

Food Sources of Iron

It’s always best to get your nutrients from food first.

Iron can be found in animal foods that originally contained hemoglobin, such as red meats, fish, and poultry (meat, poultry, and seafood contain both heme and non-heme iron). Your body absorbs the most iron from heme source. Iron from animal foods have the highest absorption rate and bioavailability. The amount of iron in animal foods include:
  • chicken liver (12.8 mg / 100 gm)
  • beef liver (6.2 mg / 100 gm)
  • ground beef, 75% lean (2.36mg/100 g)
  • turkey, dark meat (2.30mg/100g)
  • lamb, shank (2.11mg/100 g)
  • haddock (1.35mg/100 g)
  • halibut (1.07mg/100 g)
Even though if you’re a vegetarian or vegan, don’t worry. Iron can be found in grains, beans, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds as well. Vegetarian food sources of iron contain non-heme iron, which takes a little longer time to convert in your body.  The amount of iron in vegetarian sources includes:
  • lentils (6.6 mg/ cup)
  • soybeans (8.8 mg / cup)
  • dates (1.8 mg / cup)
  • spinach, boiled (6.43mg/cup)
  • olives (4.44mg/cup)
  • shiitake mushrooms (3.59mg/cup)
  • brussel sprouts, boiled (1.87mg/cup)
  • broccoli, steamed (1.37mg/cup)
Iron is a key aspect to healthy pregnancy, but there are other nutrients that are also important. Working with a nutritionist during this important time of your life will help you: 
  • Optimize your nutrition
  • Understand whether you’re getting enough iron and other nutrients in your diet
  • Ensure that your weight gain is optimal – not too little; not too much
  • Relieve fatigue and other iron deficiency symptoms
As a nutritionist, I can assist you in figuring out how to balance your overall nutrition levels, and provide you with individualized, personalized, customized nutrition plans. 

To book an appointment, call the Naturopathic Foundations Health Clinic at 905-940-2727