Sunday, October 2, 2022

What's New in Consumer Natural Health Products?

 By Dr. Iva Lloyd, ND


Every year the Canadian Health Food Association (CHFA) holds a large conference and tradeshow providing manufacturers and distributors the opportunity to highlight their products.  It is one of the main venues for health care practitioners and owners of grocery stores and health food stores to stay up-to-date on new product offerings and changes in the industry.  

Here is an update on the new products that you may find in your local health food store or grocery store.  Most of the new offerings are focused on improving health and decrease the environmental impact, a few changes are concerning.

Decrease in Packaging of Personal Care Products and Cleaning Products

Over the next little while you will find more personal care products with a focus on decreasing the amount the packaging that is used and a move to recyclable packaging.  With this in mind, many manufacturers are finding new and improved ways to offer their products. For example, I encourage you to try:

  • shampoo that comes a bar (similar to a bar of soap)
  • laundry sheets versus laundry soap
  • paper towels that are machine washable
  • makeup pads that are machine washable
  • beeswax sheets for wrapping up food versus plastic-based wraps

New Milk Offerings

There are a number of new milks (or mylks) that will soon be available on the market.  Look for milks such as flax seed milk, wider range of nut-based milks and pea-based milks to join the non-dairy offers such as almond, soya, oat, rice, coconut and others. This will be helpful for those that need to avoid dairy. When choosing non-dairy milk options please keep in mind:
  • It is important to have at least three milks that you alternate.  Food intolerances are influenced by genetics and how often you consume a product.  Many people are becoming intolerance to foods such as oats and almonds as they are consuming them too often.
  • When choosing non-dairy milks, choose those that have as few ingredients as possible as many people react to the fillers and emulsifiers that are used.

Dairy-free Cheese Offerings

If you are looking for dairy-free cheeses the main offering has been cashew-based soft cheeses and sauces - many which taste great.  There are a number of new plant-based offerings that will be coming to market.  Stay tuned.

New Wheat/Gluten-Free Offerings

The world of wheat-free and gluten-free products has come a long way over the last 10 years. There are a number of not only healthy, but great-tasting wheat/gluten-free options especially as it relates to pasta-based products and crackers.  There are also more wheat/gluten-free bread and wrap options available. When choosing wheat/gluten-free offerings please keep in mind:
  • Choose products with whole grains (millet, buckwheat, quinoa, rice, teff, etc) and avoid a lot of starches (corn-starch, potato-starch, etc.)
  • There are a lot of non-wheat/grain wraps made from coconut and/or vegetables. Great options for those avoiding wheat/gluten.
  • I encourage you to try legume-based pastas, such as green-lentil pasta, as they have a much higher protein level that wheat-based products. 

Less Sugar in Processed Foods, especially Protein Bars

It was great to see that many of the manufacturers are focused on decreasing not only the amount of sugar, but the types of sugar in their products. Expect to see less artificial sweeteners and more products made with honey, stevia, monk fruit sugar and other healthy sugar alternatives.  Although I am not a big fan of protein bars, they are getting healthier.  Here are some things to keep in mind:
  • If you want to learn more about sugar: http://www.ndhealthfacts.org/wiki/Sugar 
  • The aim is to decrease sugar in the diet as much as possible. Some sugars, such as fruit-based sugars and honey, do have health benefits, but it is still important to limit the amount that you consume. A general rule of thumb is to have one serving of fruit for every four servings of vegetables. 
  • When choosing protein bars remember that the grams of protein and the fat should be higher than the amount of sugar and the amount of sugar is best to be less than 10 grams. 
  • Expect to see more protein or health-based bars for kids, especially for breakfast.  This can be beneficial as long as the focus is whole foods and the protein and fat is adequate. 

Plant-based Meats

For many reasons, both health and environment, there is a focus on plant-based meats. Expect to find legume and grain-based options to take the place of chicken, steak, ribs and other meats including cold-cuts.  I encourage you to take the opportunity to try out these options and decide for yourself.

"Health Shots"

Expect to see a number of small-serving drinks being offered at your local health-food store or grocery store. They now have health-shots that promote everything from immune-boosting, energy or focus-enhancing, workout recovery, detoxing, weight-loss, digestive aids, sleep and relaxing, etc.  There are a number of things to keep in mind if you choose to use "health" shots:
  • They are often marketed as a food, yet it is best to consider them as a supplement and as such to recognize that they may contain ingredients that may not be ideal for your health.  For example, it is not always safe for people to detox. 
  • Health shots generally promise a "quick fix" which is not always the best way to approach your health.  The naturopathic approach emphasizes the importance of identifying and treating the root cause of your symptoms or concerns.
  • I encourage you to let you naturopathic doctor or health professional know what "health shots" you are consuming to ensure that they are beneficial for you.  I am not against "health shots", I am just concerned that they are marketed as foods and hence consumers need to be careful with how they use them.

Carbonated Drinks

The biggest concern that the CHFA this year was the tremendous increase in carbonated drinks.  Quite concerning actually.  I encourage you to check out my "Notes from the Field - May 2022" for a better understanding as to why this may not be a good thing for health. I personally hope the focus on carbonated drinks is a very short-lived fad. If you choose to enjoy carbonated drinks, I encourage you to do the following:

  • Limit them to meal time and only when have a larger meal.
  • Don't consumer carbonated drinks in place of water.  The body needs still water in order to perform the numerous functions that it needs to do in the body.
  • If you have been consuming a high amount (more than twice a day) of carbonated drinks for awhile than I encourage you to have blood work done to see if there are any changes in key metabolic markers.
A lot of new offerings.  I do encourage you to stay informed.  If you have any questions as to the health benefits of any of these offerings for you or your family, ask you naturopathic doctor.



Thursday, September 29, 2022

The Value of Bone Broth

 By Dr. Aisha Durrani, ND

We've officially moved into the fall season.  I've welcomed fall by moving warming spices to the front of my spice cabinet- ginger, cumin, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and turmeric.

Another Fall favorite is preparing Bone Broth for the season. It's a protein rich warm liquid that can be drunk in the morning or anytime of the day. It's rich in Collagen that is protective for joint health, gut health, immune health and skin health. It's packed with so many other nutrients, such as glucosamine and chondroitin (shown to lessen symptoms of osteoarthritis), calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus and more.

Bone broth is made by slow cooking animal bones over 8-24 hours.

Here's the recipe:

  1. Add 2-4 lbs of chicken or beef bones (organic, grass fed, pasture raised) to either a slow cooker or a stock pot. Blanch to remove any impurities- first add enough water to the bones and bring to boil. Turn to low heat and let it simmer for 15-20 minutes. Then drain the water and rinse bones.
  2. Roast- This step is optional, but it does improve flavour and give the broth a golden colour. Preheat your oven to 450F and transfer the bones to the baking tray and roast for 30 minutes. You can add vegetables to the tray as well- garlic, onion, celery or carrot.
  3. Add the bones and vegetables back to the pot or cooker with 4L of water and 1-2 Tbsp of Apple cider vinegar. The acidity of the ACV breaks down the collagen and makes it more available in the broth. If you've skipped the roasting step you can add your unroasted vegetables to the pot.
  4. Add Salt, pepper, Bay leaves, star anise and cinnamon sticks.
  5. Now bring to boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 8-12 hours or up to 24 hours. Add additional water as needed to make sure bones are always submerged.
  6.  Remove from heat,  Strain (once or twice) and let cool. Then place in refrigerator.  Once it solidifies, remove the top fat layer (optional). What remains is the bone broth.
  7. Store in fridge for up to 5 days or freeze.

While its easier to cook boneless meat, you're skipping out on an opportunity to get collagen in your day to day cooking. By incorporating meat that has bones and skin in regular cooking, you can make sure you're getting some of that liquid gold.

To book an appointment with Dr. Aisha Durrani, ND, call the clinic at 905-940-2727.

Friday, May 13, 2022

Notes from the Field - May 2022

 by Dr. Iva Lloyd, ND


Although there is tremendous variability in people and how their body "talks to them", there are times in practice when specific symptoms or conditions seem to be more prevalent.  Part of this is a reflection of the season or the focus of media, but sometimes it is a reflection of a change in the environment or other external factors that are at play.

Here is a snapshot of a few of the common symptoms and health issues over the last few months:

Vertigo and Dizziness

More patients have complained of vertigo and dizziness in the last few months than in the last twenty-years of practice. That to me is both interesting and concerning.  When someone presents with vertigo or dizziness the general factors to consider are:

When a number of people end up with vertigo and dizziness at the same time we would also consider other factors such as:
Generally vertigo lasts for a couple of days. If it comes on suddenly, is extreme or is lasting longer than a few days, it would be beneficial to have a naturopathic doctor or medical doctor do a more thorough assessment.

Carbonated Water

There has been an increase focus in carbonated water and drinks. Soda-stream, non-alcoholic beer, and other carbonated drinks are a new fad. Drinking carbonated water can have some benefit when consumed with a meal, especially a larger or heavy meal, but, drinking carbonated water frequently and throughout the day is not a good idea. Here are some pros and cons of carbonated water:

Pros

  • increased sense of feeling full
  • may decrease overall appetite
  • because carbonated drinks are acidic they don't decrease the acidity of the stomach acid as much as plain water and may be more beneficial when consumed during a meal, especially for those individuals with low stomach acid 
Cons
  • carbonated drinks are acidic and when consumed frequently can disrupt the acid-alkaline balance of the body
  • there is a concern that carbonated drinks, especially those that have added flavoring, may cause dental erosion
  • frequent consumption of carbonated water can actually add to dehydration 
  • carbonated drinks are high in phosphates which are known to decrease overall bone density as they leach calcium from the bones - especially when consumed often by children and younger adults
  • the increased consumption may contribute to other changes in blood markers - such as high ferritin levels.
Bottom line - carbonated water is fine if consumed infrequently and with a meal. Carbonated water is NOT a replacement for water.  

Vitamin D

We have gone from a point-in-time when the focus and concern was that most people were deficient in Vitamin D, to one where the concern is that people have taken so much vitamin D- sometimes 5,000 to 10,000 iu for an extended period of time - that they now have high levels or toxic levels of vitamin D.  Here is a quick look at the benefits and cautions of Vitamin D.

Benefits of Vitamin D

Some of the symptoms and conditions associated with Vitamin D deficiency include:
  • Rickets
  • Osteomalacia
  • GERD
  • Hypertension
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
  • Cancer

Concerns with Excess Vitamin D

Excess intake over an extended period of time can contribute to:
  • headaches
  • kidney stones
  • atherosclerosis
  • diarrhea
  • increased thirst and urination
  • irritability
  • and others.

Yes, Vitamin D is important, but if you have been taking high doses of Vitamin D for more than three months, I encourage you to have your Vitamin D level checked by your naturopathic doctor or medical doctor.

Nutrient Deficiencies Due To Special Diets

At no point in time has there been such a concern with nutrient deficiencies due to special diets. Too often, there is a lack of understanding that all food groups are essential. The body needs good fats, adequate protein, lots of vegetables, fruit and grains.  A number of health issues arise when diets are deficient in grains, or when vegetables are lacking in the diet or when there isn't adequate fat or protein. Here are some resources that help explain why a balanced diet is essential:



Monday, March 21, 2022

Healthy Elimination

By Dr Leena Sripada, ND, AAWC


When we think of spring detox, what comes to mind for many people are liver detoxes, weight loss diets and giving up unhealthy food. One key element to detoxing is proper elimination. Your body eliminates toxins through many routes but what I want to focus on in this article is healthy bowel elimination.

There is often a tendency of thinking we will be healthier if we eat more healthy food, take supplements and herbs. While this is true, one critical foundation of good health is the elimination of toxins through the digestive tract. According to Ayurveda, this is one of the 'malas' or excretion paths which is essential for healthy digestion, agni and state of mind. When this channel is blocked, this leads to issues such as constipation, poor digestion, heartburn, weight gain, lethargy, irritability and many more concerns that can lead to disease over time. This is called 'ama' in Ayurveda.

Talking about bowel movements is not usual practice for most people, so it's common to assume things are normal when they actually aren't. In naturopathy & Ayurveda, details on elimination are very important to a good assessment of health.

A healthy bowel movement should be about 2-3 times a day, ideally first thing in the morning and should be the consistency of a ripe banana. Sluggish bowels can be caused by many factors. While hydration (drinking more water) and fibre are common advice, there is often more to it than that. If you struggle with constipation and water & fibre are not helping, it's time to delve deeper into understanding the specific imbalances happening. We will look at some of the common and not-so-common causes of constipation and Ayurvedic & naturopathic tips to help support healthy elimination.


1. Dryness


Lack of water is a very common cause of constipation. Not only how much you drink but also when you drink is important. Starting the day with at least 1-2 glasses of (warm) water can help signal the body to eliminate, in addition to ample amounts of water between meals. Drinking water only with meals dilutes your stomach acid and can weaken digestion, so focus on drinking at least 1 hour after meals. Dryness is very common in vata type individuals and also pitta individuals where too much heat leads to dryness.

Lack of healthy oils is also a very common cause of constipation, especially in vata types. Adequate lubrication of the digestive tract is essential for healthy bowel movements. Healthy oils such as olive oil, butter/ghee, avocado oil, coconut oil, etc. can be added to soups, salads or on your food. A simple Ayurvedic drink to help with bowel movements is a glass of warm milk (dairy or non-dairy) with 1 tsp of ghee before bed to help lubricate the digestive tract.


2. Fibre


Fibre is critical for bowel movements and helps keep things moving. A diet rich in vegetables & fruits will have adequate fibre, but nowadays many people are eating refined foods which lack fibre. Try increasing your vegetables to half of the portion on your plate, including a variety of leafy green veggies. Chia seeds, flax seeds and psyllium can be beneficial for some people. Keep in mind, Kapha individuals often respond well to increasing fibre. For vata individuals, increasing the fibre without enough water & oils in the diet can increase dryness and worsen constipation in some cases. Always check with your ND for an assessment to find the right treatment for you.


3. Nervous system


The digestive tract is well integrated with the nervous system. For example, have you noticed you will eat and digest much better when you are happy and at ease versus when you are on the go or anxious? The digestive system works best in parasympathetic mode (when you are relaxed). When the nervous system is in fight-or-flight mode, the body prioritizes resources to other parts of the body, away from the digestive system.

I can't emphasize how important it is to create the right kind of environment to eat on a daily basis. Avoid walking, standing, driving while eating and also avoid TV and other distractions. Create a committed space at the dinner table which is screen free and avoid heavy discussions at mealtimes. If this is challenging for you, try playing some enjoyable music or explore simple meditation or mindfulness techniques to help you settle before you start eating. If you struggle with anxiety, ongoing stress and other imbalances, then there are many other ways your ND can support you with herbs, relaxation techniques and other treatments to support your nervous & digestive systems.


4. Gut bacteria


If you struggle with constipation in addition to gas, bloating and other digestive concerns, it is likely there is an imbalance in your gut bacteria. This can be caused by chronic antibiotic use, candida, parasitic infections or low stomach acid to name a few. Many individuals in this case respond to a good quality probiotic that supports gut bacteria,  In some cases, antimicrobial herbs are first needed as a cleanse to reset the gut bacteria in addition to probiotics. Each individual is different, so a customized approach is best to resolve constipation in the long term.


5. Food sensitivities


Many individuals have food sensitivities (different from allergies) that can lead to constipation or loose stools and long term inflammation. Wheat can be a trigger for some people as can soy, dairy, eggs, nuts or other foods. It is sometimes difficult to establish a clear connection between a specific food and a digestive reaction because food sensitivities are often delayed - it can show up a few days later. There are food sensitivity tests that you can do through your ND that test a variety of foods.  So if you struggle with constipation and have tried many of the suggestions above, speak with your ND on what options are available. Often once food sensitivities are identified and removed from the diet, digestion and energy improve significantly.


Constipation is common but not something you should ignore for long. There are many natural laxatives that can be used in the interim to help bring relief while identifying and treating the root cause. If you have concerns regarding elimination or if you simply want to support a healthy digestive system, speak with your naturopathic doctor. There are many safe ways to get your bowels in better shape without relying on OTC laxatives. Get a head start on cleaning up your digestive system and feel better!




Dr. Leena Sripada is a naturopathic doctor & Ayurvedic practitioner at Naturopathic Foundations. If you are looking into addressing health issues or learning more about your Ayurvedic constitution, Dr. Sripada can help you. Please call the clinic at 905-940-2727 to book an appointment.

Tuesday, January 4, 2022

Are You Focusing on What You Want to Achieve?

 by Dr. Iva Lloyd, ND

It is always a good idea to check in every now and then to determine if your focus and actions are aligned with goals and desires. Many people desire to be healthy, for example, but they actually spend very little time on activities that support health.  

One thing is true, everyone has the same amount of time - 24-hours in a day, 7-days in a week. Being able to see the connection between what you do and where you are in life is a worthwhile exercise and can help you live more consciously.

Step 1: List of Roles and Activities

The first thing to do is make a list of all the things that you do and the roles that you have in life. Most people are surprised at the number of activities and roles that they do on a daily or weekly basis.  Some examples are:

Roles:
  • mother or father
  • sister or brother
  • aunt, uncle or cousin
  • friend
  • student or co-worker
  • volunteer
  • community work
  • etc. etc.

Activities:

  • self-care
  • exercising
  • food preparation and eating
  • working
  • sleeping
  • mindfulness and meditation
  • social media
  • web searching or watching television / movies
  • spending time in nature
  • healthcare
  • reading
  • hobby or project
  • spending or saving money
  • etc. etc.

Step 2: Current Satisfaction Level


The 2nd step is to take some time and assess how satisfied you are with your life. How much joy and happiness do you experience.  Are you healthy and fit?  How are you handling the ups and downs of life?  What are your goals and your plans?  Do you have health concerns that you need to address?  Where are you financially?  How is the external stress of life affecting you?  Are there external factors that may impact your life and are you ready for them?

Spending time to reflect is an important aspect of life.  As we all know, there are aspects of life that are not within our control and it is important to reflect on how they have impacted us and in what ways have they affected our life and our choices. If your aim is to live life more consciously, than it is important to spend time reflecting on what you do and whether it matches with who you want to be.  Living consciously also helps to adjust and accommodate the stressors of life that cross our path.

Step 3: Mapping of Activities and Goals


Once you have an idea of what aspects of your life are working for you and which aren't, the third step is to look at how much time you are spending in each aspect and to determine what needs to change.  The aim is to decide what activities you need to increase and which ones you need to decrease. For some activities, it may be about changing how you are doing them. For example, you might find that you still want to make exercise an important aspect of your life, but you are going to spend more time exercising outside and focusing on cardiovascular versus doing weight training in a gym.  

We change and our life changes when we make conscious choices to do something differently.  It can help to:
  • Keep in mind that you only have 24 hours in a day; 7 days in a week.
  • Recognize that if you are overwhelmed then you likely have too many things on your plate and it would be helpful to look at those activities you can decrease or remove.
  • Whatever you focus on increases in intensity and importance. Living consciously is about being more aware of your choices and choosing more intentionally.

Step 4: Make Strategic Changes

Once you have decided what needs to change, start making the changes one at a time.  Generally, it is not about changing everything at once.  It is about starting slowly and moving forward in the direction you want. It is always helpful to check in on a weekly or monthly basis with your plans to ensure that you stay on track. If you struggle with staying true to your goals, it may help to work with someone else - a naturopathic doctor, nutritionist, personal trainer, etc. - to support the specific changes that you desire.

Other blogs that you may find helpful:





Monday, January 3, 2022

Tips for Self-Care this New Year

 By Dr. Leena Sripada, ND

Self-care has always been a foundation of naturopathic & Ayurvedic wellness. Self-care is not only about taking care of our physical wellbeing but is also about nurturing physical, mental, emotional and spiritual wellbeing. In these past 2 years over the pandemic, for many people there has been a different kind of stress and strain due to fear, uncertainty and reduced connection with people. With the dawn of a New Year, this is a time to refocus, prioritize and set a positive mindset of what you want to work towards and how you want to be.

Do you want to take your stress out on your loved ones or do you want to be a happier person to be around? Do you want to be worried about the future or focus on what you are grateful for? Do you want to worry about your health or focus on things you can do right now, daily to stay healthy? Maybe you want to lose weight, exercise more, eat a healthier diet, feel better or have more time for yourself. When you start integrating simpler, more manageable healthy habits into your daily routine that you do consistently, it is much easier than making ambitious goals. The small things that you do for your health add up, allowing you to prevent disease and feel better every day.

There are many self-care routines that you can incorporate this year. These are practices that you can do on your own such as: self-oil massagedry skin brushingbaths with therapeutic salts or morning stretches. Self-care also means tune-ups with your naturopathic doctor.  Depending on your state of health, this could mean monthly acupuncture sessions, regular massages or body work to realign yourself. Just like you go to the dentist every 6 months and brush your teeth daily for oral health, self-care is essential for optimal health and prevention of disease. Many people often go to the doctor when they are sick or have pain.  However, the naturopathic approach helps identify and prevent illness before you feel symptoms, saving you time and money in the long term.

When you take care of yourself, you will naturally be able to take care of the things around you that matter most: kids, family, career etc. Some people feel guilty taking time for themselves; it's not about being selfish, but instead it's about nurturing yourself. When your body, mind, emotions and spirit are in harmony with each other, you will not only feel great, but you will feel fulfilled with your life purpose.

Self-Care Tips

According to Ayurveda, dinacharya is a term used to describe daily routine and self-care practices which restore balance and attune ourselves to the natural fluctuations of nature. Below are a few suggestions for you in the new year and beyond.

1. Start the day with a warm glass of water. Sounds so simple, but how many of us actually do it regularly? This will help flush out accumulated toxins after the night and stimulate the digestive system to cleanse. For some individuals, lemon-water or light ginger or herbal teas may be advised.

2. Eliminate. No matter how much good food you eat or quality supplements you take, if you are not emptying your bowels in the morning regularly, you are accumulating waste material. Spending the time in the morning to eliminate is a basic healthy habit. If you struggle with constipation, you should speak with your naturopathic doctor as it is a sign of imbalance.

3. Care for your body. Depending on your constitution and the season, self-oil massage or dry skin-brushing can help nourish and cleanse your skin. For example, if you have a vata constitution, a warm oil self massage prior to showering can promote circulation and be a grounding to start the day. If you have a kapha constitution, dry skin brushing can also help stimulate lymphatic drainage.

4. Exercise and/or meditate. It may initially seem difficult to do, but starting the day consciously with even 5 minutes of meditation will enhance the quality of your day. Kapha body types need more vigorous exercise, while vata types need gentler movement or meditation and pitta types need moderation.

5. Start the day with a nourishing breakfast balanced with enough protein - don't skip it before rushing out the door or replace it with a sweet beverage that will spike your blood sugar levels and leave you feeling depleted. Aim for lunch to be the largest meal of the day, and dinner to be early and lighter for digestive health. Try to learn more about your Ayurvedic constitution so you can make dietary choices more aligned for your body. (Learn more about seminars on this topic here).

6. Hydrate! Seems easier said than done, but it is crucial to have adequate water during the day to keep your skin soft and support cellular detox.  Aim for 7-9 glasses of water per day. Drinking warm water or adding lemon, ginger or other herbs can make it more palatable for those who don't like to drink water. There are also many herbal teas in the clinic that are therapeutic. Preparing a warm cup of tea can be very healing in itself, in addition to the therapeutic benefits of the herbs which work gently but effectively.

7. Schedule in appointments for self-care ahead of time rather than waiting until symptoms come up. If you struggle with body pain, regular bodywork can be very effective at preventing issues from worsening. For example if you suffer from tension headaches, monthly acupuncture can keep them at bay. If you have arthritic pain, regular massages can nourish the joints and prevent poor circulation in the winter. These treatments can be done weekly, monthly or at every season transition. Cupping can also be done monthly or every 3 months for maintenance for muscle tension, scar tissue or detox. Speak to your naturopathic doctor on what would be the best maintenance treatment frequency for you depending on your health status.

8. Castor oil packs are very effective for reducing inflammation and detoxifying the liver. If you struggle with digestive complaints, menstrual issues or have a sluggish liver, speak with your naturopathic doctor on how often you can do castor oil packs. Adding this to your daily routine will feel good.

9. Treat yourself to a hot bath with alkaline salts and essential oils. Your skin is the largest organ of elimination, and in winter time we barely sweat. Soaking in a hot tub will ease tight muscles, allowing minerals to nourish your skin and eliminate toxins. If you have skin issues, you may need to soak 3x/week.  Otherwise a weekly bath can wash away physical and mental emotional residue. 

10. Sleep on time. Most people find themselves in a vicious cycle of struggling to get up and get everything done in the day, and sleeping later than planned. Quantity and quality of sleep are equally important, and can be promoted by simple sleep self-care routine such as: foot baths or massages before bed, screen-free time, meditation or listening to soothing music. If you end your day with a restful sleep, you will find your quality of day will improve, leaving you more time to do the things you love to do.

11. Schedule regular appointments with your Naturopathic Doctor. Remember that the conventional medical system is geared to treat disease and, while it can be effective in acute situations, it is not as preventative in nature. The naturopathic approach involves identifying signs of imbalance even before you feel symptoms or before your bloodwork results come out abnormal. Regular wellness checks are an important aspect of self-care and will enable your ND to work with you to identify imbalances early on and guide you on how you can prevent certain diseases to which you may be susceptible . For healthy individuals, yearly wellness checks that include a physical exam may be sufficient for health promotion, just like you would with your family doctor. For most people though, appointments every few months may be required just like you would with your dentist or any health care provider.

Try introducing 1-2 of the self-care tips into your day this week until it's established and before introducing another routine. Once healthy routines become healthy habits, it will seem less daunting and easier to do. Remember, when you take care of yourself, you will be able to improve the quality in many aspects of your life, so it pays off. If you are feeling challenged with any of the tips above or want to know what self-care routines are best for you, speak to your naturopathic doctor. Support and guidance can help you stay on track and keep you inspired to make this year healthier than ever before!

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