Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Currently on Maternity Leave and Relocating to Vancouver

I am currently on maternity leave and also relocating to Vancouver. I hope to begin practicing again in early 2011. I plan to continue my blog at that time.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Moroccan Spicy Lentil Soup

Here is one of my favourite soup recipes. It's filled with tons of natural ingredients and offers a nice kick for those who like some spice in their food. Enjoy!

2 tbsp olive oil
2 onions, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tsp minced fresh ginger
1 tsp each: paprika, turmeric
¼ tsp cayenne
One 3 inch cinnamon stick broken in half
1 cup dried red lentils, rinsed, drained
4 to 5 cups vegetable or chicken stock
28 oz can diced tomatoes
¼ tsp each: salt, black pepper
1 bay leaf
19 oz can chickpeas, drained, rinsed
¼ chop-ped fresh parsley\2 tsbp fresh lemon juice
½ cup plain yogurt (optional)

Preparation: In large pot or Dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add, onions, garlic and ginger. Cook, stirring 3 to 5 minutes, until onion is softened but not brown. Stir in paprika, turmeric, cayenne and cinnamon. Cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Stir in lentils until well coated. Stir in 4 cups stock, tomatoes, salt, pepper and bay leaf. Raise heat to high and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low. Simmer, covered, 30 to 40 minutes, until lentils break up. If soup is too thick, add some or all of remaining 1 cup stock. Stir in chickpeas, parsley and lemon juice. Simmer, uncovered, 1 minute. Discard cinnamon stick and bay leaf. Adjust seasonings if needed. Ladle into warm soup bowls. Swirl yogurt, if using into each.

Makes 6-8 servings.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Feeling overworked, stressed and burnt out?

Then likely your adrenal (stress) glands are exhausted. Your adrenal glands release your stress hormones – adrenaline and cortisol. Under mild to moderate stress, small amounts of these hormones are released, which is normal. However chronic, severe or long-term stress can cause the release of large amounts of these hormones and eventually the adrenals are overworked and shut down. Stress management like exercise, deep breathing, meditation and massage is extremely important. Eating a healthy diet and ensuring you get enough B vitamins are also helpful. These measures are often not enough and so, as a naturopathic doctor, I will prescribe supplements that contain a combination of herbs and nutrients that are formulated to directly target the adrenal glands. The result is more energy and vitality, better sleep, a greater capacity to deal with problems and less anxiety.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

A Naturopathic Approach to Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, or PCOS, is one of the most common causes of menstrual irregularities. Studies have shown that it affects about 4%-10% of women of reproductive age. Other symptoms of PCOS include multiple small cysts on both ovaries, infertility, insulin resistance, obesity, excess hair growth and acne. Women with PCOS might have regular periods, irregular periods or no periods at all and often have problems with ovulation.

PCOS can be diagnosed through an ultrasound, which would most commonly show multiple small cysts on both ovaries. Further lab tests might also be helpful in assessing the severity of the condition. Blood tests that might be requested include prolactin, LH, FSH, testosterone and glucose. Prolactin, LH and FSH are hormones that are involved in a female’s menstrual reproductive cycle. Glucose is affected by insulin which can be abnormal in women with PCOS. Another test that can be done at home involves taking your basal body temperature. If your temperature (taken immediately upon waking) is consistently low throughout the month, it might indicate an elevated estrogen/progesterone ratio, which could mean that there is a problem with ovulation.

Conventionally, patients with PCOS are often put on the birth control pill. This typically helps to eliminate many of the symptoms. However, if a patient is trying to get pregnant and depending on how severe the case, the patient might need to go on fertility drugs.

Naturopathically, there is a lot that can be done to treat PCOS. Naturopathic medicine addresses the root cause of a condition, so rather than just removing the symptoms temporarily, it would work to correct the underlying problem. Simple diet changes, such as reducing sugar consumption can make a huge difference. Increasing nutrients such as vitamin B6, magnesium and essential fatty acids can also be beneficial. Herbal remedies such as Vitex, Eleutherococcus, Dioscorea, Mitchella and Saw Palmetto have shown to correct an imbalance of the female hormones. Acupuncture is also an excellent treatment option when it comes to addressing woman’s health issues, especially PCOS. Acupuncture is based on the idea of energy channels, whereby in a “healthy state”, energy is freely flowing. It also helps to increase blood flow and nourish the uterus and break down cysts.

Many women are not aware of their menstrual cycles and if they are, they simply ignore the signs of a possible underlying medical issue. Generally speaking, a “normal” menstrual cycle should be between 26 to 35 days with ovulation in the middle of the cycle. Extremely heavy periods with or without clotting, light periods or spotting are all possible signs of a hormone imbalance. Whether or not you want to get pregnant, it is important to regulate your cycles as soon as possible. Untreated PCOS is associated with an increased risk for cardiovascular disease, lipid metabolism abnormalities, insulin problems, estrogen-associated cancers including breast and endometrial cancer, type 2 diabetes and infertility. Therefore, it is important to take matters into your own hands, get to know your body and your menstrual cycles, so you can be as healthy as you can be.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Digestive problems? How Naturopathic Medicine Can Help You!

Do you suffer from bloating, constipation, diarrhea, heartburn or general digestive discomfort?

If you do, then your digestive system is not functioning optimally which means that you may be deficient in vitamins, minerals and/or protein, your digestive tract may be toxic and your immune system may be compromised. Focusing on the root cause from a naturopathic standpoint there are many potential reasons for these symptoms:

  • Food allergies/sensitivities
  • Lack of good bacteria within the gut lining
  • Stress
  • Lack of digestive enzymes
  • Lack of stomach acid
  • Yeast/bacterial overgrowth

Our solutions:

  • Simple diet changes such as cutting down on your dairy intake

  • Nutritional supplements like good quality digestive support such as Intenzyme or Betaine Plus HP by Biotics Research

  • Herbs like Allimax and Oreganum Plus to cleanse the digestive tract

  • Acupuncture to balance the organs of digestion

  • Lab testing such as food sensitivity testing or digestive stool analyses can also provide valuable information about the environment in the digestive tract and food allergies. On testing, 99.9 % of our patients have food allergies that they were unaware of and that were adversely affecting their health.

Keep Those Bones Strong

Did you know that the highest rates of osteoporosis are in developed countries (like Canada) and that 1 in 4 women and 1 in 8 men over the age of 50 are diagnosed with osteoporosis? Did you also knowthat it is possible to reverse osteoporosis and even though aging and menopause are risk factors, diet and lifestyle play a huge role in optimal bone health? It is never too early (or too late) to start takingcalcium, both from food sources and supplements. When choosing a calcium supplement it is important to choose one of good quality as these contain the highest amount of elemental calcium (the calciumthat your body absorbs). Avoid calcium carbonate. Make sure your calcium supplement also contains Vitamin D as calcium will not be absorbed without it. A full range of other minerals and vitamins are important to bone health as well such as boron, magnesium and vitamin K. Stress reduction and keeping active are extremely valuable in keeping your bones strong as well.