Join Dr Laura: Tujawellness Meditation Challenge



I have been invited to contribute to another awesome tujawellness initiative!  Last year I participated in their Mediation Challenge.  This year I am participating as a meditation guide.  I will be leading one of the meditations in the first week of the challenge.

I have also signed up and joined the meditation challenge this year.  Meditation benefits the body and the mind in so many ways.  I also love that tujawellness offers a link of the daily meditation to those who join, which makes completing the meditation that day easy.  Participants can meditate any time that works for them.

Last year, the meditation would be the last thing I did before going to bed.  I found that this was the best time for me as it was a great way to clear my mind of the things I did that day and cultivate some calmness and focus.

We can all use more restorative time in our lives.  Try out this challenge and feel the difference it will make!

Join me & learn to meditation for FREE – with daily guided meditation recordings. Sign up here.



We Be Krautin’!


When I was a kid I watched my mom can peaches, pickles and jam.  More recently, I have been intrigued by making homemade preserves.  I can appreciate how wonderful it is to enjoy garden grown food during the cold months when the growing season is over.

Combine this fasciation for canning with my intrigue for probiotic food and … presto… I’m diving into the world of homemade fermented sauerkraut.

I am sharing this post because I just canned my first successful batch of sauerkraut!

Why is it important to eat probiotic food?

In this present moment, our North American diet really doesn’t contain true probiotic food.  Some Canadian families still make their traditional probiotic rich foods, but I can say for certain that I wasn’t getting a serving through my own diet.

Many people eat yogurt and, although toted as “probiotic food,” the yogurt sold in grocery stores is pasteurized to ensure there are no pathogenic microorganisms in the batches.  The down side is that pasteurization also diminishes any therapeutic concentrations of the good bacteria.

Eating probiotic food helps to build the healthy populations of good bacteria in our digestive tract.  This leads to increased gut integrity, decreased food sensitivities and decreased digestive concerns such as bloating, heartburn, indigestion and irregular bowels.  It also helps bolster the immune system.

Probiotic food is what protected our ancestors from illness.  This also is what helped them have an “iron clad stomach.”  This is a health phrase that is virtually unheard of these days with gut issues being a top health concern.

Making Sauerkraut

I have a 5L fermenting crock with weights which I find was a good investment for me because I want to make large batches of kraut that I can store and keep through the year, like my mom did when she canned.  In addition, my family and I can enjoy not only a serving of probiotic food, but we can enjoy a coleslaw-like side dish when the veggies are looking wilted and sad during the winter.

I also have a vegetable tamper, which sped along my kraut making.

There are so many ways you can make sauerkraut WITHOUT these things.  For example, you can make sauerkraut in mason jars.  Also, you can make Kimchi, which is a spicy fermented cabbage that is equally beneficial and delicious.


2 heads of cabbage (yields 4.5L of Sauerkraut)

— remove the outer wilted leaves

— save 3-4 whole leaves

Sea salt

I finely sliced my cabbage.  You can do this with a knife, a food processor (with a single slit slicing blade) or a mandolin.  To every 1.5-1.75 cups of cabbage I added 1 teaspoon of sea salt.  I threw the sliced cabbage and salt mixture in a large bowl.  Once I was done, I mixed everything really well with my hands.

Next I transferred the cabbage to the fermenting crock, about 4 cups at a time.  Then I would use my vegetable tamper to pound down the cabbage.  This released a natural brine.  I repeated this until all the cabbage was in the crock.

Once all the cabbage was in, I pressed down on the cabbage.  This caused the brine to rise about 2-3 inches above the cabbage.  Then I pressed 3-4 whole leaves over the shredded cabbage to keep it submerged in the brine.  Finally I added my stone weights on top to keep the whole thing under the brine.  I added my lid and stored it in my cold cellar.

There is sat for 4 weeks.  Once a week I would open it up and press down on the weights with my tamper to release any trapped gases from the fermentation process.  This prevents any rot from forming in between the shredded cabbage.

Canning The Kraut

Once the four weeks was up it was ready to can.  I washed a number of mason jars in hot soapy water and dried them well.  Then I packed the kraut into the mason jars.


Example of how the brine rises above the cabbage when pressed down.


The kraut needs to be covered with brine in the mason jars, so I pressed down on the cabbage to do so.  This helps preserve the kraut.

I added a little extra homemade brine to bring the level of each jar up.  The homemade brine was 1 tbsp salt dissolved in 4 cups of boiling water.  I let it cool first before adding it to the jars.

Once the jars were sealed with lids, they can be stored in the fridge for up to 6 months as long as it is covered with the brine.


What to do with Sauerkraut?

I was thrilled with this batch.  I found that it tasted great and I especially loved that once it was tossed with a little olive oil and raw unpasteurized apple cider vinegar it tasted like cole slaw.  It makes a great salad side dish that my family loves!  It makes me (and their tummies) happy! lol 😉

If you would like to make your own homemade sauerkraut and would like more information, guidance or tips, feel free to email me at


Spring Health Feature: Constipation


Getting healthy and detoxification are hot topics for the Spring.  Each hot topic post this month will cover a health topic that relates to these themes.

When it comes to digestion, it’s important to have healthy function all year round.  The sooner digestive issues are resolved, the sooner physiological balance can be attained.  This often results in the resolution of other health issues.

Our digestive tract is our main organ of elimination.  We have 5 organs of elimination:

1) The Intestines

2) The Liver

3) The Kidneys

4) The Lungs

5) The Skin

As you can see, the digestive tract makes up 2/5ths of the pie.  When the digestive tract becomes compromised, and it’s roll of elimination is inhibited, health issues can develop in other systems.  Everything is connected and these systems work harmoniously together.  So if one gets bogged down, the others have to pick up the slack in their job as filters and waste eliminators for the body.  If the collateral systems get overwhelmed, they can also become compromised.

This is how, in Naturopathic Medicine, we relate things like asthma, seasonal allergies, eczema, psoriasis, bronchitis and other ailments, to poor digestive function for some patients.  As a Naturopathic Doctor I take a comprehensive history so I can dig deep, understand the root of the problem and connect all the dots (i.e. the symptoms).

Constipation: The Tie that Binds

Healthy bowel function equates to 1-3 bowel movements a day.  I am still taken aback by patients who tell me their conventional doctor assures them that less than this is “normal” for their body.  This is simply not true.

Everyday we are exposed to things our bodies need to filter and eliminate.  Our body constantly takes in elements (e.g ingested, inhaled, absorbed).  Good or bad, those elements are broken down and join the other breakdown products that are naturally occurring in our body every second.  These are our waste products.  They need to be regularly eliminated on a daily basis.  If not, like my old prof used to eloquently say… “People drown in a milieu of their own crud.”  (His words, not mine).

When wastes build up in the bloodstream and in other organ systems, our body’s normal function slows down, our defences drop and our body chemistry shifts.  This sets us up for illness.

Constipation Happens

Some people have years of constipation and never have other health issues.  Some people have health issues that hit them later in life as the natural ageing process sets in.  Others deal with a lifetime of symptoms related to their constipation.

We are all biochemically different, and the way this digestive issue impacts people is different from one to the next.  However, I can confidently say that most of the people I’ve talked who struggle with constipation feel it’s ill effects.

Why Laxatives Don’t Help

Many people try laxatives when all else fails.  It’s a tough situation to be in because people are looking for relief, and the awareness about the dangers of prolonged use of laxatives is high, but when other options don’t help laxative use may be the next step.

As a Naturopathic Doctor, I often visit with people who choose a natural laxative option thinking that it might be a safer route.  However, they can still have a damaging effects to the bowels.

What Does Help?!

Here is what I have found helps.  Remember… everyone is biochemically different.  So as a ND, I customize the suggestions based on what I find a patient’s health history is.  We may include one or a combination of things to restore regular digestive function and resolve constipation.

1) Support Digestion At the Level of the Stomach and/or Intestines

2) Include enough fiber in the diet.  Specifically insoluble fiber.

3) Assess nutrition for food allergens or foods that slow digestion.

4) Address motility and digestive tract integrity using natural remedies.  We want to strengthen the physiology and anatomy of the organ so it can do it’s job.

5) Address Liver and/or Gallbladder integrity using natural remedies

6) Probiotics

7) Stress Management

8) Essential Fatty Acids


Seems Like A Lot Of Work!

Resolving constipation and digestive strengthening is one of the most important paths to take in the journey of health.  Longstanding constipation can put people at risk for developing countless acute and chronic illnesses.

Acute: Colds, flus, sinusitis, skin rashes, heartburn, indigestion, food allergies, seasonal allergies

Chronic: Arthritis, diverticulitis, gallstones, gastric reflux, inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s or colitis), irritable bowel disease, eczema, psoriasis, viral skin infections, bacterial skin infections, lung infections, obesity, hyperlipidemia, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, cancer.

Although it might seem like a lot of work, optimizing the health of our organs of elimination can provide a lifetime of amazing health and prevent the development of disease.  For more information, feel free to email me at





Caffeine is not our friend


Check out this great article posted online about caffeine.  I am often frustrated by the health articles regularly posted online toting the benefits to drinking coffee.  I just don’t understand how we’ve come so far in misinformation that the media would broadcast that regularly consuming caffeinated and acidifying beverages could be good for us?

This article was refreshing because it hits the nail on the head with regard to the health issues caused by caffeine.  The author talks about her own journey in drinking less caffeinated beverages, and I thought this was great.  With Tim Hortons, Starbucks, Coke, Pepsi and Red Bull abounding, it’s a realistic look at a genuine first world health issue.

Check out the article here: The Five Scariest Things Caffeine Does to Your Body.

The five conditions noted include:

1) Depression

2) Gastritis

3) Infertility

4) Osteoporosis

5) PMS

Share this article with everyone you care about.  It’s important we all know how caffeine can affect us.


How an acidic body chemistry can be an obstacle to your wellness


Good health depends on the balance of our body’s natural internal chemistry.  An important part of that is the balance of our body’s pH.

Just like in the environment, our body’s are forever managing the balance between acidity and alkalinity.  Too much of either is not good, but staying in a neutral pH range is ideal.

I find that most of the people I see are too acidic.  Acidity can be caused by our nutritional choices, stress, medications or health conditions.  In addition, some people are just what I refer to as “acid formers.”  Their more susceptible to the build up of acid metabolites in their bodies because of an overproduction, a slower ability to detoxify acids or both.

An acidic body chemistry, otherwise referred to as “terrain,” can lead to:

– Osteoporosis

– Gastrointestinal Issues (e.g. canker sores in the mouth, GERD, IBS, loose stools)

– Poor immune function

– Bad Breath

– Fatigue

– Headaches & Migraines

– Muscle and Joint Pain (i.e. acids can promote inflammation)

– Skin issues (e.g. dermatitis, chronic itching, skin infections, rosacea, poor skin integrity)

– Hormonal Issues

– Interstitial cystitis

I have patients test their pH.  This is really simple and easy to do.  The best way to do this is through urinary pH.  Special paper strips that test pH are available.  When the paper strip is saturated with a small amount of urine, it will change colour.  This colour will correspond with a numerical pH value.  This number will indicate how acidic a person is.

I usually recommend patients take 3-4 readings per day, for 3-5 days.  This give a good cross-section of values so we can assess how acidic a person is.  Acidity can fluctuate through the course of the day, so it’s important to discover a person’s levels relative to the normal ranges.  For example, we tend to be more acidic in the early morning and later in the evening (see chart below) and this can be part of the normal fluctuation of pH through the day.  However, if a person finds they are getting an acidic value outside the normal range (i.e. normal range = the light blue curve on the graph) more often than not then they have an acidic body chemistry.

Individual pH Assessment and Therapy

I love this pH chart from Pascoe Canada. Pascoe creates a professional line of natural remedies for therapeutic use.

Once we assess acidity, I create an individualized plan to help patients neutralize and detoxify acid metabolites.  This can be done through a number of different ways, depending on each person’s unique needs.

Nutrition strategies can be helpful in promoting a more alkaline state.  For example, the most alkalinizing foods are non-salad green vegetables.  There are a variety of natural remedies that also help to neutralize acidity.  Furthermore, there are very effective remedies that help facilitate a person’s detoxification of excess acid.

If this is a new concept in health, the best and most fascinating place to start is to test your pH.  It’s simple and it can be a really enlightening experience!

I have often seen acidity be an obstacle for many patients in their health.  We can take a boat load of herbs, supplements, homeopathics, etc., but if we have a build up of acidity it will block our body’s ability to utilize these therapeutic agents.  When we neutralize and detoxify the acids, the body works more efficiently and health issues begin to resolve.  If natural remedies are given to speed healing, the body can actually make use of them on a biochemical level without acid metabolites getting in the way.

Believe it or not, the concept of “Terrain” as it relates to the health of the human body is a very historical one, yet it is not given any consideration in modern day conventional medicine.  However, the consideration of body ecology, microflora and pH, otherwise known as all things “Terrain,” is the future of medicine.  I’d like to think it’s best we all learn about this health information now, so we don’t have to wait for the future of medicine to feel our best and live our best life.  After all, the future is now.

GAPS in Infant & Child Health: How this affects us and our most vulnerable population


On the heels of the blog post about the link between gut flora and mental health I did a couple of weeks ago, I received my weekly e-newsletter from Dr. Mercola that contained an article reviewing how healthy microflora in our gut is linked to health.  I truly believe that the understanding and support of bacterial microbiology of the human body is the future of medicine.  Rather than kill off “bad” bacteria, mainstream medicine will inevitably realize that to restore health we must balance the naturally occurring microorganisms in a sick person’s body if we want to make them well again.

I’m not a huge fan of “syndrome” type labels, because they always seem to me like an umbrella term.  However, I do like Dr. Mercola’s explanation about the health implications if gut flora is not supported.  He reviews this at the beginning of the article and as he discusses Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride’s research on “GAPS” (Gut and Psychology Syndrome and Gut and Physiology Syndrome).

With this understanding, we can individualize the way a person’s primary health concerns are associated to their digestive health and the balance of their gut flora.  I agree with Dr. Mercola that it is imperative that we educate young women who want to have children, or who are expecting a baby, to optimize their own digestive health so they can set up their baby’s health.  In addition, we need to support babies from day one to ensure their digestive health is the strongest it can be.  It is true that the health of our children is greatly influenced by their digestive health.  It is also true that so many health issues in the years to come can be prevented if digestive health is optimal.  Isn’t it mind bending to think that an adult health issue could be rooted in poor digestive health from childhood?

Dr. Mercola also reviews the link between digestive health and risk for ADHD, autism and other neurological disorders that are common in childhood these days.  In addition, he addresses the rise in severe and life-threatening food allergies in kids that we also now often see.

Read Dr. Mercola’s article here: Four Dangers to Infants You Need To Be Aware Of

This is a really well written article that is providing crucial information about health that we do not get in conventional medicine.  After ten years of practice I know what Dr. Mercola is writing is true because I’ve had the privilege of seeing it first hand in my own practice.  This article is a keeper.  In the years to come we will hear more about this in the media through gradual leaks of information until it becomes mainstream.  However we all need to understand the importance of this now to help ourselves and the children in the generations to come.  Pass it on to friends and families!  Especially those with newborns and children.

It’s always my sincerest pleasure to help educate and empower others.  If you have any questions or concerns after reading this article, please feel free to email me at anytime!

9 Natural Foods That Aren’t So Healthy


A little while ago, I did a post that featured Dr. Mercola’s “9 Foods To Avoid.”  This list of foods contained foods with mostly obvious reasons for why we would want to avoid them.

Over the last ten years, as I have worked with people on a daily basis to give them customized healthy nutrition advice, I have seen trends in people’s diets where they think they are eating a “healthy” food but in actual fact it’s not so healthy.

There are foods that are very strongly marketed as “healthy.”  They appear to be what a healthy food would look like, they taste good, people feel good having them every day because they think they are doing a good thing.  However, we need to remember that manufactured food is big business and there is a sleek marketing team behind every healthy food product.

I recently came across this great article that I wanted to share with all of you.  It just so happened to also be a list of “nine” foods… Read the article here: “9 All-Natural Foods That Aren’t.”   

It’s a really good reminder of things that appear to be healthy and natural, and are strongly marketed as healthy and natural, but actually aren’t the greatest for our bodies.