Preventative Medicine: Cardiologist Breaks Away From Convention

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I recently read this account from Dr. Columbus Batiste, a cardiologist who has embraced proactive heath care and preventative medicine in his approach to Cardiology.  His concise recollection of his journey towards holistic health that breaks away from conventional medicine to better the health of his patients is refreshing and timely.

As the number of people being diagnosed with Heart Disease in North America continues to soar, we need to recognize that a broader approach to heart health, in addition to other chronic illnesses, must be considered.  Dr. Batiste’s concise personal and professional story of taking up a new path in heath is a must read!

Check out Dr. Batiste’s story here:  Why I Abandoned Traditional Cardiology to Become the “Healthy Heart Doc”

Colitis and Kids

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I just saw a billboard from Crohn’s and Colitis Canada that stated Colitis is on the rise among Canadian children.  As a mother of two young children, and a Naturopathic Doctor, this latest “disease on the rise” in Canadian children saddens me.

With reports of autism, allergies and obesity on the rise in paediatric populations, Inflammatory Bowel Disease (i.e. Crohn’s and Colitis) is another preventable illness that is compromising the health of our youth.

Crohn’s and Colitis Canada states that diet is not a cause of the condition, although it notes certain foods can aggravate symptoms.  However, after years of working with children and adults with IBD I have seen first hand that eating a high frequency of certain foods can certainly start people of all ages down the path of chronic gut irritation, inflammation and injury.

As a Naturopathic Doctor, I recommend taking a therapeutic approach to nutrition for kids with IBD.  This can be difficult for many parents who find their kids are resistant to nutritional changes.  As I parent I realize this can be a challenge.  So while I work with parents and children to address nutritional concerns, there are natural remedy recommendations that I give to help reduce inflammation and increase gut healing.  These remedies are safe for children to take.

Selecting remedies that neutralize inflammation, restore the gut environment and repair the lining of the digestive tract have helped many patients overcome IBD naturally.  My recommendations can be used safely with medication that may have been prescribed by a doctor.  I have found that as we build back the integrity of the gut, patients have been able to use less medication as they have less symptoms.  We continue our work until they regain optimal digestive health.  Then from there, even natural remedies can be streamlined to basic support while we use nutrition and healthy lifestyle to prevent a return of the inflammatory process.

My passion is to teach others about proactive health care and preventative medicine.  This is especially important for parents raising the children of today.  We want to grow healthy and happy children.  Preventative medicine can help stop the rising rates of chronic illness in kids.

For more information, feel free to email me at drlaura@winhealth.ca.

The Poop Scoop

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There is something Naturopathic Doctors are well known for among their patients.  Our discussions around digestion.  Healthy digestion is paramount for optimal health.  So… we want to know all about your poop.

Constipation is a common problem but it is very important to resolve this condition.  Sluggish gut function ultimately leads to the pooling of toxicity in the body.  If you can’t get it out, it re-circulates.  Makes sense.

This can lead to further deterioration of the gut, congestion of the liver, bad breath, water retention, skin problems, immune weakening and much more.

Many people feel squeamish talking about it.  In my office, we go there.  The more we understand the health of what’s going on in there, we can more easily uncover what each person needs and give health education to help them feel amazingly healthy.

Here’s my TOP 5 Poop Solutions:

  1. Free Your Mind
    • Stress is a major contributor to constipation.  Have you ever heard of the term “rest and digest”?  The digestive tract depends on downtime (mental and physical) to get it’s job done.  When we are all tied up being busy and important, blood flow to the digestive tract can be restricted and the musculature that is part of this organ constricts.
    • Hmmm… let’s see… contraction, restriction… that doesn’t sound like an environment for flow.
    • Also holding on to negative emotions (i.e. anger, grief, hatred, fear, resentment) can also restrict and constrict the gut.  Finding ways to let this go through healthy outlets like exercise, yoga, counselling, deep breathing, qi gong, tai chi, prayer or meditation is a top priority for gut health.

2. Hydrate

  • Drinking enough water cannot be understated.
  • Health Canada recommends 8-10 glasses of water a day.  This equal 2.0-2.5 LITRES of water.  Remember to drink clean filtered water.  Herbal teas count, too.
  • Water helps to flush the colon of stool.   ‘Nuff said.

3. Eat Roughage – Non Salad Veggies & Chia Seed

  • I’ve posted before and I’ll post it again… including a healthy dose of non-salad veggies such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, green beans, asparagus, zucchini, cucumbers, celery, and so on, has way more clout that lettuce.
  • Salad greens are mainly water and do not contain much fiber.  Non salad greens contain lots of fiber and a little bit of water.  To strengthen your gut and provide the roughage needed to push the stool through we need a healthy dose of plant fiber.
  • Not to mention, choosing plant fiber from real food over taking a fiber supplement like metamucil will also provide us with a plethora of nutrients.
  • I also recommend adding 2 tbsp chia seed everyday for people who are chronically constipated.

4. Probiotics

  • Introducing health gut flora back in to the system can help relieve constipation.
  • Buyer beware: not all probiotics are effective.  Email me for more information.

5. Follow a Routine

  • Meal routine, sleep routine, exercise routine = poop routine.
  • Many people who find themselves out of synch will inevitably find their bowels out of synch.
  • Our bodies CRAVE routine.  We may not realize it when we have lost that in our lives, but once we get back to it, we feel so much better and things fall into place.

If you are already doing these things, have tried them and haven’t had success or aren’t sure were to start, talk with a Naturopathic Doctor to explore other safe, effective and balancing treatment options that are the best fit for you.  For more information, feel free to email me at drlaura@winhealth.ca.

 

 

Hair Loss: A Common Female Health Concern

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Did you know that hair loss is a common female health concern.  This is something that I find many women that seek my help for the first time are struggling with.

Normally we should lose about 100-150 strands of hair a day.  Some women notice that the number of hairs they are shedding gradually increases to an amount that is not typical for them.  Other women notice their hair volume feels less, or thinner, than in the past.

The clinical term for an alteration in the hair cycle, leading to excess shedding is known as Telogen effluvium.  The causes of this state include excess emotional or physical stress, hypothyroidism, dieting or malnutrition, anemia, adverse effect from some pharmaceutical drugs and chronic illness.  Having a diagnosis of telogen effluvium does not necessarily lead to an effective hair loss prevention pill.

Many women wonder if taking vitamins will help slow the progression or prevent hair loss.  However, most women need an individualized approach to find an effective solution.

Here’s a review of why digging deep and getting to the fundamentals of health is the best way to cure, reverse and address this concern.

  1. Emotional or Physical Stress 
    • Hi, I’m a North American Woman.  I’m certain we’ve met.  You, know… I’m the multi-tasking juggernaut.  I got 99 daily duties and a bubble bath ain’t one.
    • The daily demands that women face are at an all time high.  The emotional and physical stress this puts on our bodies can alter our body chemistry, the way we absorb nutrients and the balance of our physiology.  This has many inward implications with regard to health, and an outward expression of that can be hair loss.
  2. Hypothyroidism
    • An underactive thyroid can result in increased hair loss.  However, women who have not been diagnosed with a thyroid condition, or who have normal thyroid tests, can also experience hair loss related to thyroid health and function.  There are many effective non-prescription options for thyroid support.
  3. Dieting, Malnutrition, Anemia
    • A deficiency in the amount of nutrients taken up by the body can cause structural components, like hair and nails, to become weak.  When calories are restricted, this can lead to a reduction of the supply of the essential building blocks required for hair structure.
    • Anemia can be a symptom of poor nutrient absorption due to poor digestive function.  Women with poor nutrient uptake can also lack the essential building blocks for hair structure.
  4. Pharmaceutical Drugs
    • Certain prescribed and over the counter (OTC) medications can cause hair loss as a side effect.  If you are required to take a prescription medication due to a health concern, there are often natural options that can be safely done alongside a prescribed medication to lessen their side effects.  When it comes to OTC medication, consider consulting a Naturopathic Doctor to discuss natural alternatives that can reduce the need for OTCs.
  5. Chronic Illness
    • Many women suffer with chronic health concerns such as arthritis, irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel syndrome, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, migraine headaches, skin conditions and/or allergies.  Did you know that the root cause of these illnesses can also be the cause of hair loss.  Tackling a chronic health concern may seem daunting, but there are ways to help optimize health.  Improved hair quality is just one reflection of balanced health.

If you are seeking a non-prescription approach to improving the quality of your hair, or if you have any questions or would like more information about this topic, feel free to email me at drlaura@winhealth.ca.

Exhaustion & Burnout: Accepting New Lows?

tired woman with coffee and air horn

tired woman with coffee and air horn

Was your summer restful?  Did you recharge your batteries while soaking up the sun and enjoying time in the great outdoors?  Feeling ready for the change of seasons and change of routine that September brings?

Hopefully your answer to those questions is: Yes!  Bring on Back To School and the Canadian Winter!!  But for some, that might not be the case.

Is it possible that some North Americans find the summer to be more stressful?  That’s what this report claims.

The media often reports on how stressed, burnt out and exhausted we are.  People often admit their busy schedules make them feel tired and run down.  This can happen even during our warmer summer months, and is typically worse in the winter.

Seeking help for fatigue with the medical doctor can be lost in translation because there is often not enough time for this discussion and/or unless there is a treatable concern there isn’t a medication for fatigue.  That being said, many people who are on medication for a treatable concern can still struggle with nagging fatigue.  In addition, many people are found to have normal test results and are otherwise healthy but also fight exhaustion.

It seems that we have come to accept fatigue as a new normal.  Surrendering to it as we continue to take on the go-go-go of our lifestyles.  Is this really how it has to be?  Drag ourselves out of bed, feel that mid-day slump, count on that coffee as a pick me up and then crash at night* (* but chances are many exhausted people don’t sleep well, either).

What do I say to all of this… a loud and resounding: SNAP OUT OF IT EVERYONE!  

Living in an exhausted, fatigue, sleep deprived, hair falling out, burned out state does not have to be your new normal.

Create a state for yourself that includes optimal health.  This is possible for everyone.  If you have a lot to do in your life and want to live life to the fullest, your energy level is a game changer.  There are many factors that can help optimize energy and improve resiliency.

Here are my TOP 5 focal points for fatigue:

  1. Nutrition
  2. Body chemistry (i.e. acidity levels vs alkalinity levels)
  3. Digestive Strength & Nutrient Absorption
  4. Stress Protection
  5. Thyroid/Adrenal Balance  (Note: Did you know that people who have had normal thyroid tests can still need thyroid support?)

Putting these focal points into perspective and determining how they fit into your health picture is something Naturopathic Doctors do everyday with their patients who suffer from ongoing fatigue.  We are a pretty unique group of health care provider who will take on this comprehensive approach to help you.  From there, designing strategies that are a good fit, and providing guidance along the way as people work towards optimal health, is how we help reclaim their best expression of health.

Feeling like you need a boost?  Feel free to email me at drlaura@winhealth.ca for more information about how Naturopathic Medicine in your health care can help.

 

Cold & Flu Plan

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A blend of western and eastern herbs can be helpful at boosting the immune system.

With the change of season only weeks away many people are starting to think about cold and flu prevention.  I’ve met with a number of patients looking to get their cold and flu prevention plan in order now so they are set to start once September comes.

Immune health is something that can be built up prior to catching a pesky cold.  In addition, acute infections, like sinusitis, strep throat, ear infections, upper respiratory tract infections, fevers and gastroenteritis can be treated very effectively with natural remedies.

Taking a proactive approach to immune health, and using natural remedies as a first line therapy at the start of an infection, can reduce the need for antibiotics or over the counter medication.

When working with patients, I talk with them about the things they can do to boost their immune system through the cold and flu season.  This includes nutrition, lifestyle and natural remedy options.  Recommendations are always individualized based on each person’s unique needs.

We also discuss how often they get sick over the cold and flu season.  Then we develop a plan of action to start at the very first sign of an infection.  Everyone is unique and we are even unique in the way we get sick.  What are your first signs of a cold?  Some people experience a scratchy, sore throat, others may get achey and tired, while others may feel congestion in their head, nose and sinuses.  Each scenario responds beautifully to natural treatment when specific remedies are used.

Feel free to contact me at drlaura@winhealth.ca if you would like to work on an individualized immune boosting or cold and flu prevention plan.

Refuel With Whole Foods

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I’m on a nutrition kick.  Last week I posted about nutrition reporting that can go horribly wrong.

This week I’m featuring an article that gets it right.  I came across this great article that looked at how to properly refuel after exercise.

Check it out here: How To Properly Refuel Your Body After Working Out

This article offers great guidance about what we want to achieve after a work out and what foods address:

  1. Reducing Inflammation
  2. Immune Support
  3. Muscle Replenishment
  4. Tissue Repair
  5. Hormonal Support
  6. Re-Hydration

I am often asked about what to eat before and after exercise.  This is so important.  I’ve had just as many conversations with people who exercise and feel it’s counterproductive to eat before or after.  This couldn’t be farther from the truth.  Your body needs specific nutrients as fuel for your body.

If you are looking for guidance with your exercise nutrition free free to email me at drlaura@winhealth.ca.  Providing individualized nutrition strategies is something that I am passionate about, as I believe that the foundation of optimal health comes from diet and exercise.  I’m always happy to help answer questions and lend clarity through health education.