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.

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Who Knew? Raw Apple Cider Vinegar: For Warts & All!

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I’ve blogged about the uses of raw unpasturized apple cider vinegar in the past so many of you know how therapeutic it is.  Recently, one of my favourite health websites featured the health benefits and uses of this old school natural remedy.  The great thing is raw unpasturized apple cider vinegar is easy to find in virtually any grocery and heath food store.  Remember to look for the “RAW” stuff…. you know… the one with the floaty sediment in the bottom.

Still not sure you’re convinced about it?  Check out POPSUGAR’s article here: 5 Things You Didn’t Know Apple Cider Vinegar Could Help With

Live Dirty and Eat Clean

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Early in my practice I was so fortunate to learn about the importance of the body’s terrain, now commonly referred to as “THE MICROBIOME”, from my mentors in Naturopathic Medicine, the outstanding Dr. Gerard Guinot, Dr. Robert Abell, Dr. Dickson Thom and Dr. Mikhael Adams.  If you haven’t already heard, the next hot health topic is the microbiome, more specifically the gut microbiome.  We are going to hear more about this and there will be plenty of studies proving that our body’s terrain is an essential component to excellent health and illness prevention.

As a student, I first learned about the body’s ecology from one of my first professors in Naturopathic Medicine, Dr. Denis O’Hara, who introduced us to the teachings of one of the first Naturopathic Doctors, Dr. Henry Lindlahr.  Dr. Lindlahr was talking about the microbiome way back in 1904!!

He wrote about his findings in which the microbiome of his patients were being bathed in a milieu of their own toxic excretions, which Dr. O’Hara would affectionately translate as “drowning in their own crud.”  This is as much of a problem now as it was then.  Food quality, environmental pollution, medication, physiological toxicity and a myriad of other things changes our gut terrain, which is leading to disease in so many people.  Moreover, the modern day focus on “killing germs” and germ phobia has decreased exposure, reduced tolerance to microbial diversity and limited immune development.  This has become a big obstacle for health in adults and an even bigger obstacle for the health today’s children.

This is not something that can be tested for in a lab, however when we build the terrain back up people feel better, their immune system gets stronger and physical symptoms disappear.

I always strive to educate patients about the value of supporting a healthy gut environment through nutrition and treatment.  Recently, I came across this video featuring Dr. Roynne Chutkan, an integrated gastroentrologist, that I had to share.  She eloquently and succinctly speaks to the the health philosophy that I am so passionate about and integrate in my health educating.

Time and time again, I have witnessed what my mentors and Dr. Chutkan have witnessed with regard to what it takes to live our healthiest lives.

Take some time to learn more about how gut health, clean eating and exposure to bacterial diversity can help prevent adults and children from developing chronic illness by watching Dr. Chutkan’s video.

For more information or to learn what you can do to strengthen the foundation of your health feel free to email me at drlaura@winhealth.ca.

 

 

Join Dr Laura: Tujawellness Meditation Challenge

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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.

 

Dr. Mom: Immune Boosting Veggie Soup

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Over the last four weeks I’ve talked to numerous patients each day who have battled, or are battling, a respiratory infection or gastroenteritis (aka the stomach flu).  For many of them, it’s been passed around from family member to family member.  It’s high time for cold and flu season.

Things aren’t much different at my house right now.  At bedtime last night my oldest son had a stuffy nose and started a long night of tossing, turning and searching for kleenex.  At around 3:00am my youngest son woke with a croupy cough; his classic way of letting me know he’s sick.  I met him in the hall as he was looking for me to get him his “crunchies” (aka the homeopathic remedies) that we use to treat his cough.

We were all up for the morning around 7:00am.  The first thing that came to mind was to make my immune boosting soup before heading off to work.  This soup was done by 7:40 and we were good to go!

***I know this might sound completely unrealistic to some… but it really is the simplest, easiest, take-care-of-itself, kinda soup you can make.***

Having a few simple common ingredients stocked in your fridge, this soup can be made anytime, especially when you are short on time.  It’s a soup that you can then have ready for dinner, send off with the kids for lunch, take for your own lunch or even drink as a light breakfast for those who don’t have an appetite after being sick.  Eat it when you feel sick or if you feel well but want to keep your immune system boosted.

IMMUNE BOOSTING SOUP

Simple Common Ingredients = Carrot, Onion, Celery, Potato, Raw Ginger, Raw Garlic, Lemon juice

Carrot –  Rich in beta carotene and immune boosting antioxidants.

Onion – High in antimicrobial (i.e. antibacterial, antiviral, anitparasitic) phytonutrients.

Celery – Alkalinizes body chemistry and aids in detoxification.

PotatoContributes a natural source of sugar and starch to support energy needs.

Raw Ginger – Eases digestion; reduces nausea; warms the body to help fight off infectious microorganisms; high in antimicrobial phytonutrients.

Raw Garlic – Exceptional antimicrobial.

Lemon Juice – Alkalinizes the body; aids digestion; supports detoxification; high in immune boosting antioxidants.

For this recipe:

1) Fill a soup pot with water and bring to a boil.

2) While water is starting boil, chop: 1 carrot, 1 onion, 1-2 celery stalks, 1 potato, raw ginger (2 inches long).  Option to add a few cloves of garlic here if you like garlic.  Garlic has significant antibiotic properties.

3) Throw everything into boiling water.  Let boil for 15-30 minutes, until veggies are tender or soft depending on your preference and time allowances.

** As soup is cooking you can tend to other things… Eat breakfast, Get ready for work, get kids ready for the day, feed the cat, make a smoothie, make lunch, etc, etc, etc.

4) Once done cooking, take out the ginger pieces and season with sea salt to taste.  Drizzle in a little bit of olive oil.  Stir.  Set aside to cool or pack in a thermos to take.

5) Optional: Squeeze in some lemon juice.

Ways to enjoy this soup:

1) This is a great light soup and can be eaten as is for those with a queazy stomach.

2) Crackers can be added to it.

3) While the soup is cooking, noodles can also be prepared if desired.

4) Strain off all the vegetables and consume just the broth as a light drink or with just crackers.  Save the vegetables for later as they will have a lot of flavour and nutrition.

5) Freeze any soup that isn’t eaten to defrost at the time of a cold or flu.

A quick and easy soup like this one is so easy and is very useful during this time of year.  These ingredients are common cooking vegetables that also keep for a long time in the fridge.  So get stocked and use food as medicine.  It’s simpler than you think!

If you have any question or need more information about the highly effective natural ways to boost your immune system or fight off an infection feel free to email me at drlaura@winhealth.ca or book your visit with me to discuss more at WIN Health Solutions.

Dr. Laura’s Health Goals for 2015

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Do yoga on a tree stump in the mountains? That would be nice… I’m starting with just doing more of it. 🙂

 

I believe that it is the little things we do 365 days a year that keep us feeling great – body, mind and spirit.  However, it is always fun to consider a few attainable health goals for the new year.  It’s hard to not think of a new year as a fresh start.  So why not recycle, restart, refresh or renew some healthy habits?

Here are the simple healthy little things I’ve resolved to continue working on this year…

1) Drink More Water

Ahhh… water.   You and I are best buds.  Let’s keep it going this year.

2) Get A Regular Shot Of Yoga

The deep breathing and stretching from yoga significantly impacts how I feel physically and emotionally.  I find my joints feel better, my posture is better, my mood feels lighter and I can more easily adapt to the ups and downs that come my way each day.

Before having my first child five years ago I did yoga almost everyday.  After having my darling eldest, I lost that thread for a while and I have been working my way back to a regular practice.  In 2014 I did more yoga than in prior years and I noticed that I felt significantly better when I consistently practiced.

So here’s to 2015… more yoga for me… My Sunshine Vitamin.

3) Skin Brush Before Bed

I have had such positive feedback about those who have taken up skin brushing since reading my blog posts about it or my latest WO Magazine article.  I’m with you!  It’s such a great thing for our health.  This one’s staying in the mix with my bedtime routine.

4) Daily Dose of Fermented Food / Probiotic Supplement

This fall I made my first batch of probiotic rich, homemade fermented sauerkraut.  I’ve been enjoying a serving of it almost daily.  I just picked up two more healthy looking cabbages from the grocery store for my next batch.  My hope is to keep it going year round.

If sauerkraut isn’t your thing, taking a good quality (health food store variety or professionally recommended) probiotic is a great alternative.

5) Stay In The Moment

A patient told me today “Some days seem to go by so slowly until we look back and we realize how fast time has gone.”  Ferris Bueller once said “Life moves pretty fast.  If you don’t stop and look around for a while you might miss it.”  I truly feel that savouring the moment and being in the present is so important.  There is so much beauty in the world and in our lives that is ever so subtle.  It is easily missed when we are hurried or caught up in our day.  When we slow down and clear our minds of the “static” we can take this beauty in and be part of it.

This goes beyond the awesome moments.  Enjoying the easy, breezy, fun in life is a given.  It is equally important to stay grounded, aware and appreciative of even the difficult or mundane things in life rather than rushing through or wishing these moments away.  Even these moments have purpose.

Slowing down and staying in the moment is a very challenging path, but I am going to keep working on it this year.

What are the healthy little things that you are working on this year?  I’d love to hear from you, so post a comment and let’s support each other in our journey toward our best health.

Making Old School, New School: Warming Sock Treatment

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There are so many amazing old school therapies that I was taught and still recommend in my practice.  Before the advent of antibiotics, people knew how to stimulate the immune system using some pretty basic things.  They knew what they were doing to prevent infections from festering, let alone from happening in the first place.

One such old school therapies that I recommend is known as the Warming Sock Treatment.  It is also referred to as the Wet Sock Treatment.  I discussed this great prevention and treatment for the common cold in my WIN Webinar last week on Boosting The Immune System Naturally.

The Warming Sock Treatment is profoundly effective and can be done at home by virtually everyone.  It’s rooted in the ancient practice of Hydrotherapy, or water therapy.  Patients who have done this home therapy at the first sign of a cold or flu can often prevent its onset.  In addition, using it during a cold or flu will help resolve the condition more quickly and often promotes less congestion and better sleep.

Here’s how it’s done:

*You are feeling:

a) Early sign of a sore throat

b) Start of a runny nose

c) Head congestion

d) Run down

e) All of the above

What you need:

1) A thin pair of cotton socks

2) A thick pair of wool socks

3) Water

Warming Socks Treatment – Done Before BEDTIME

1) Optional – fill a tub with very warm water and soak your feet for 10-15 minutes.

2) Take your thin cotton socks, soak them with cold water and then wring them out really well.  Put them on.

3) Take your thick wool socks and put them overtop of the cotton socks.

4) Go straight to bed and get warm.  Put extra blankets on top if needed.

5) While laying there you will notice your feet start to warm up. More on this later!

6) When you wake up in the morning the socks will be dry.  Most people feel very rested and have less symptoms, or resolved symptoms from night prior.

7) Repeat for 2-3 more nights, as needed.

How / Why Does This Work?

The body is always working to maintain balance, also known as homeostasis.  When the socks are worn, the body moves a higher volume of blood to the feet to warm them up.  This strongly supports blood circulation.  When blood circulation is strong, this also influences strong lymphatic circulation.  The movement of blood and lymph is the best way to boost the immune system.  This is all happening while we are at rest, so our body can deal with infectious organisms and inflammation of the mucus membranes, which is the cause of our symptoms.

When this is done at the earliest signs of a cold, the immune stimulation is so great that people can wake up symptom free.  Warming socks are really best done during this stage, before an infection has taken a good foot hold.  However, like I mentioned earlier, this can still be used to help clear congestion in a developing cold.  Furthermore, this home therapy can be helpful for headaches, migraines, ear infections and cold hands and feet.

 

*For an encore of my WIN Webinar on Boosting The Immune System, feel free to email me at drlaura@winhealth.ca.

 

** Tune in tonight for my final WIN Webinar of 2014 on Female Health.  Register here: Solutions For Female Health Concerns