Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Spring Cleaning: Your Home

by Dr. Leena Sripada (Athparia), ND

During spring, the body starts to detoxify. Externally, it is also a good time to clean up your environment – at home, work or even in the car. For many people, this has been a long winter with lots of time spent indoors. Whether you are working from home or doing online school, one major message during the pandemic is to 'stay home'. With increased indoors time, it is even more important to keep your space clean and organized as we move into spring. 
Removing old clutter makes space for new things and can help you feel more at ease in your space. Physically cleaning your environment can go a long way in helping you feel reenergized this season.

When you clean with conventional products, unfortunately you are exposing yourself to chemicals that interfere with health - often unknowingly. Common products that contain chemicals are laundry detergent, softeners, dish soap, air fresheners, bathroom cleaners, drain cleaners and many more common household cleaners. These chemicals can enter through your skin, eyes or respiratory tract and can be very toxic to adults, children and pets. You can read more on common contaminants here.

During spring, the body is naturally trying to detoxify so you want to minimize toxins in your food & environment. Even if you are eating organic, exercising and keeping up with a healthy lifestyle, you could be getting unhealthy chemicals through household cleaning products. At Naturopathic Foundations, we use natural cleaning products and techniques, and thought we would share some healthy and easy spring cleansing tips that you can use at home.

Natural Cleaning Tips


Fridge Cleaning:
While your fridge may store many of your nutrient-rich foods, it is one of the most common places that harbours rotting food and unhealthy mold. Start by clearing out food shelf by shelf. Check for expiry dates, and throw food in compost and recycle glass jars in the blue bin.
  • Wipe shelves and inside of fridge with a touch of natural dish soap and baking soda on a damp cloth. This lifts and softens hardened drips and spills. Rinse with white vinegar and water solution (1/2 c. vinegar to 1 c. water) which will deodorize and disinfect your fridge.

Laundry solutions:
Washing your clothes with conventional detergents and softeners leaves residue on clothing and bedsheets which gets absorbed through the skin. This increases the toxic burden on the body and can eventually lead to hormonal imbalance, autoimmune conditions, cancer, and more.
  • 1/2 c. white vinegar in the rinse compartment to soften and deodorize your clothes and replace softeners. This is especially great for baby clothes and will not leave a vinegar smell. Choose natural laundry detergents which are environmentally safe and natural (unscented is best).
  • Essential oils placed on a damp cloth and placed with clothes in the drier will give a natural scent to your clothes. Choose essential oils such as lavender, jasmine, eucalyptus or any other blend you like. Check out the wide variety of essential oils in the clinic that you can use for this.
  • Drier balls can be used to reduce the time of your load by creating more space in the load. 

Surfaces & floor cleaners:
Tables, counter tops, floors pick up dust, grease and grime and cleaning with water won't always cut it. When you use conventional surface cleaners, chemical residue sticks to the surface and can be picked up by crawling infants, pets and adults through the skin. Keeping a bottle of homemade surface cleaner in a spray bottle will come in handy for regular use.

  • 1/4 c. hydrogen peroxide (as a disinfectant) and 10-15 drops of essential oils (such orange, grapefruit) and few drops of natural dish soap in 1 bucket of hot water. Use a mop or cloth to clean floor surfaces. (If cleaning granite or stone surfaces, rinse again with warm water.)

Home-made drain cleaner:
This non-toxic solution can clear drains clogged with grease and residue and is much safer than corrosive drain cleaners.
  • 1/2 c. of baking soda sprinkled in a clogged drain, followed by 1 c. of white vinegar. Let the mixture bubble for a few minutes and then pour boiling water. 

Natural Air Freshener:
Essential oil diffusers break up aromatic oils into small volatile particles in the air and add a wonderful fragrance on the home that is non-toxic. You can choose oils that you like for their scent or even their therapeutic properties. Lavender and floral scents tend to be calming, while citrus scents tend to be energizing and invigorating. We carry diffusers in the clinic that you can use at your home or office.


You will find that if you can replace your conventional household cleaners with natural alternatives, you will reduce the toxic burden in your home and support the healing of you and your family - and you will feel better too! We carry a variety of natural cleaning products and essential oils at the clinic which you can come in to learn about anytime. You can speak with any of the naturopathic doctors at Naturopathic Foundations to find out more about ways you can help reduce toxins in your home, food and body care products, and improve your body’s ability to detoxify.



Saturday, January 9, 2021

What Is Your Word For 2021?

 by Dr. Iva Lloyd, ND


What are you hoping to achieve or experience in 2021?  The one thing that 2020 has reminded us is that ultimate control of your life is an illusion, so it is important to focus on those things that you can directly influence.

There is no doubt that we are in a time of extreme chaos and change.  Even if you are fortunate enough not to be caught up directly in the chaos, it is all around us. We are in a time of crisis and change on so many levels - health and healthcare, government, financial security, environment, technology, etc. The time of holding our breath and waiting for things to return to 'normal' is over.  It is time to learn how to adapt to this new normal and how to move forward the best way we can.

From a health perspective, times of chaos and change can be an opportunity and a reminder to refocus and to pay attention to what really matters to us.  It can be a reminder of the fragility of life and the need to address what we call the 'health basics' - how we breath, what we eat, movement and posture, sleep, stress management, hydration, spending time outside and the time that we spend with family and friends. 

Do You Need To Detox 2020?

2020 was a year of profound change. For some, it was a year of relaxation with more down-time and the opportunity to spend time at home attending to all the things that we never had a chance to get to.  For others, it was a time of relentless upheaval, loss and uncertainty filled with feelings of overwhelm, fear and anxiety, exhaustion, or anger and frustration. If this is your experience, it is often not possible to move forward without addressing those emotions.

When dealing with the emotional impact of a situation the first thing you have to do is to name the feeling or feelings. Naming it allows you to start dealing with it.  It acknowledges the significant impact that the situation has had on you. We have spend a year on-hold, waiting for the promise of things to return to normal -- but they never did and they never will return to the old normal.

The emotional states that are the hardest on the body are secrets, being 'on hold', feeling 'trapped' and being 'on the fence'.  These states block the flow of energy in the body.  They impact how we breath, how we move and every function in the body.  Emotions, when not expressed, get stuck somewhere in the body and can start to manifest as various symptoms such as disruptions in sleep, muscle pain, heartburn, headaches, increases in blood sugar or blood pressure, feelings of numbness or tingling and can result in the worsening of underlying conditions or in the manifestation of other more significant symptoms and conditions.

If you need to detox 2020, I encourage you to work with your naturopathic doctor or other health professionals that can provide you with the support and guidance that you need.

What Is Your Word For 2021?


2021 promises to be memorable. There is an expectation of tremendous change - hopefully for the better.  When in a time of chaos and significant upheaval it is even more important to set goals and to be conscious of how you live your life.

If you were to define your focus for 2021 in a single word or two, what words would you choose?  The words that jump out for me are Adaptability and Movement.

Adaptability

In a time of chaos, it is often a person's (or businesses') ability to adapt that determines how well they get through the change. Adaptability is tied to a person's resiliency and increased resiliency is often linked to a greater level of health or success. A number of things, such as chronic stress, nutrient deficiencies, lack of movement and time in nature, and lack of support of can weaken a person's resiliency and their ability to adapt. The following can help a person adapt:
  1. Detox the Old: Before you can adapt to what's new it is often important to identify, express and process the emotions that you have, especially if the change was forced upon you or unexpected.  It is important to process destructive emotions and regrets. If expressing your emotions and letting them go is not a strength of yours, it is often helpful to find the support that you need. Be patient with this phase as it can sometimes awhile. You do not need to complete this phase completely before starting the next.
  2. Willing to Change: Adaptability requires the desire to change and the willingness to embrace new things.  This is not always easy, but it is important. This step requires acceptance, a change in perspective and a recognition that change is a fact of life.  Sometimes the change is gentle, and sometimes not. I encourage you to ask yourself how willing you are to change?  
  3. Know Your Limits.  Adapting to change is important, but it is not necessary to embrace all change. Sometimes the best solution is to slow down, go back to the basics and regroup.  Achieving health is often about doing less and being more conscious of your choices.  It is seldom about embracing the latest technology, such as smart watch or devices.  Instead it is about doing less, eating whole foods, spending more time in nature and less time on devices and gentle versus intense exercise.
  4. Set Goals. Goal setting helps to focus the mind and it helps to remind a person what is important. The goals may be about changes to lifestyle, address health concerns or financial concerns.  It may include spending more time with loved one or learning a new skill. Goals help a person connect more with their life and can be the anchor that we need to get through stressful times.
  5. Make A List of Things To Do. Once you have your goals, the next step is to make a list of things that you need to do to achieve them. Remember the saying, 'whatever gets measured, gets done'.  The mind likes a 'to-do' list. There is satisfaction in crossing off things that you have accomplished. Affirmations can also be helpful in reminding us and reinforcing the desire to change. 
  6. Follow the Energy.  If you feel that the change that you want is meeting with a lot of resistance, you may need to relook at your goals. Moving through life and adapting to change is a 'dance' between what you want and what the world around you will allow. The more you pay attention to this dance, the easier it can be.
  7. Ensure You Have Support. We weren't meant to walk through this world alone. The dance of life is not a solo performance. The journey is easier with support.  Reach out.
Check out some of my other blogs that talk about the impact of the mind on health:

Movement


We often associate movement with physical health of muscles and joints, but physical movement is required for all aspects of health, even mental and emotional health.

Movement is especially important after a year where so many people were encourage to stay home, stay indoors and to limit their activities.  Gyms were closed, there was a focus on home delivery, there were even times when people were discouraged from walking outside. 

Movement is essential to health - all aspects of health.  If you plan to move forward and to make changes in 2021, you will find that easier if you incorporate movement into your regimen.  Walking outside is better for the mind than walking on treadmill as when walking outside you are actually moving forward, when on a treadmill you are staying in the same spot - similar to a mind that continually recycles the same thoughts. If walking outside is not advisable because of movability issues or the concern about weather, then indoor exercises are a good start. If you have been more sedentary during 2020 then start gently.  I encourage people to shake and to stretch.  
  • Shaking is a great exercise. Simply shaking a couple of minutes two or three times a day can helpful to loosen areas of congestion.  Shaking also helps regulate the stress response and can improve how you manage stress. Gently shaking, whether standing, sitting or lying down, is a great way to start when you want to 'shake off' the old and embrace the new.
  • Stretching. After a year of being on-hold, in isolation and waiting for something to change, it is important to recapture our own space. Stretching is our way of holding your own space in this world.  Stretching doesn't have to be extreme, gentle stretching is all that is needed.  Reach for the stars and gently move the body in all directions.

A friend sent me this video on movement, and I would like to share it with you.  Check out other blogs that talk about the importance of movement:

We wish you success in achieving your goals in 2021. If you need any support, please reach out to your naturopathic doctor or to other health professionals.  Website: naturopathicfoundations.ca