Shift Your Sex Into Drive

lovers_by_spokojnysen

Has your intimacy become a shadow of what it was?

A healthy sex life is important for increased immune system, hormone balance, improved prostate and heart health, reduction of stress and promotes great mood. You know, that sparkly happy feeling…Who can argue with that? ūüôā

However, many people struggle with a low libido. ¬†This is a concern that affects women and men of all ages. ¬†There are many things in our daily lives that interfere with our mojo. ¬†Working with a Naturopathic Doctor can help people get the mojo back. ¬†Having the energy, the sex drive, the good mood and the good health for intimacy with your partner is the foundation for enjoying (yes…to all those tired mamas out there… I said enjoying) a healthy sex life.

Here’s my top considerations for helping my patients shift their libido¬†from “Park” to “Drive.”

1) Nutrition

Did you know that all of our hormones are made from fat?  Many patients are always surprised to learn this tidbit of nutrition information.  The body requires good fat to make the hormones necessary for our libido, in addition to all the other hormone driven processes.   This is another reason why we need the right kinds of healthy fat in our diet, and in adequate quantities.

Many patients will tell me they eat salmon or nuts and seeds, so they feel they are getting their healthy fats, or essential fatty acids (EFAs), however most of us benefit from the use of specific EFAs in therapeutic concentrations.  Our current pace causes our bodies to rapidly use up good fat.  Good fat is in high demand for our biochemistry but it also protects us from stress.

There are so many varieties of supplemented essential fatty acids that can help with sex hormones such as omega 3s, GLA and plant sterols.  When I put a plan together for a patient I consider their picture of health, select an EFA that is a good fit and then discuss the benefits with them.

While we are on the nutrition note, of course clean eating is essential as it improves energy.  This energy goes toward improved sex drive but also helps people feel interested and energetic enough to have sex.

2) Medication

Certain medications such as oral contraceptives and antidepressants can decrease sexual desire. ¬†Talking with your prescribing doctor about your change in libido may lead to an option that has less side effects. ¬†My role in a case like this is to help support the body’s detoxification pathways to minimize medication side effects. ¬†Also, building up health in other ways, such as the ones listed here, can help people get the best of both: continue their medication and experienced improved libido.

3) Self Care

Are you gunning through the day on low reserves? ¬†Guess what… the tank is destined to be empty when you or your partner is wanting to be intimate.

Life is busy. ¬†This seems to be the perfect caption for the lives of many of us. ¬†When we go about our day and we are constantly tending to things¬†(i.e. work, home responsibilities, kids, pets, family, friends, the internet, text messages, email, social media) we spend our energy. ¬†Simply resting on the couch at the end of the day does not put energy back in the bank. ¬†It may feel good, but it doesn’t build¬†up our reserves.

What builds are reserves?  Doing things that you love, that makes your soul sing, that calms your brain.

In a world of crunch time, stretched schedules and hurry-ups we can find time for this. ¬†It doesn’t have to be everyday, it doesn’t have to be for long. ¬†Doing little things to replenish at different times during the week WILL build our reserves over time. ¬†Self care also makes ¬†us feel calmer, happier and resilient.

Some examples of self care that I recommend: a couple minutes of meditation, a bath with epsom salt, 30 seconds of deep breathing, doing something creative that you love, a fun outing with friends, a fun outing with your kids, music, dancing, a yoga class, time outdoors, time with your pet, and so many more.  I often talk with my patients about what things they like to do for enjoyment and then we build a plan for Self Care.

4) Resolve Hormonal Imbalances

It’s true… when PMS lasts two weeks out of four even the thought of having sex can be a turn off. ¬†A hormonal imbalance or reproductive tract tissues changes that cause PMS, menstrual irregularities, ovarian cysts, uterine fibroids, endometriosis. menopause or prostate issues can be addressed. ¬†Working on a root cause solution to these concerns can readily resolve them for most people. ¬†A balanced system leads to an increase in interest in sex and libido.

A strong foundation of health and correcting imbalances in the function of our physiology can significantly improve sex drive.  If you want more information about hormone help and want to understand more about what can be done to boost libido feel free to email me at drlaura@winhealth.ca.

Mindfulness + Marriage

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The way mindfulness connects to health concerns is always on the forefront of my mind when I talk to patients.  So naturally, I was intrigued when I read an article about how mindfulness impacts a marriage.

This article, “Why women leave men they love – what every man needs to know”¬†was written by a counsellor named Justice Schanfarber, who is located in British Columbia. ¬†It was a fascinating piece about the husbands and wives who have no major dysfunction in their relationships yet find their bond eroding. ¬†The article focused on why people who love each other find they drift apart and¬†lose connection along the way. ¬†As distance grows there is a lack of togetherness and over time a marriage can fall apart.

This is a¬†prominent marital concern given our modern day pace. Some marriages make it through and some do not. ¬†His article is a reminder about how it’s the little things that happen every day that can hold something bigger¬†together, like a marriage, just like it does health.

Schanfarber writes:

“While many situations are complex, there‚Äôs one profoundly simple truth that men need to know. It‚Äôs this ‚Äď Women leave men they love.

They feel terrible about it. It tears the heart out of them. But they do it. They rally their courage and their resources and they leave. Women leave men with whom they have children, homes and lives. Women leave for many reasons, but there’s one reason in particular that haunts me, one that I want men to understand:

Women leave because their man is not present.”

let go

Although this article is directed towards husbands, it certainly can certainly apply to both husbands and wives.  Mindfulness between spouses can contribute to the glue that keeps them together and the nourishment needed for the love they have.

This is a great article to read, share with your spouse, read with your spouse or share with a friend or family member who may relate.  It could make a difference in your life or theirs.  To read the whole article, click here: Why women leave men they love Рwhat every man needs to know.

If you want to work on mindfulness with me, join me for tujawellness’ 30 Day Meditation Challenge. ¬†Just like healthy eating, learning to be present and mindful requires practice. ¬†The more familiar we become with mindfulness the easier it is to make it part of everyday.

The Daily Health Habits I Swear By

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My colleague Dr. Natasha Turner was recently on Dr. Oz discussed her 9 daily health habits that she swears by. ¬†This appearance was featured by Chatelaine magazine. ¬†I thought it would be fun to share with all of you what my top picks would be. ¬†Some of them are similar to Dr. Turner’s however, in my usual style, I tweak things a bit in my life to resonate with me.

Here’s my TOP Daily Health Habits — do these as often as possible each day and feel fantastic!

#1 DRINK REVERSE OSMOSIS WATER

This came in at #9 on Dr. Turner’s list but I put it up front and centre in my life. ¬†If I have a day that I don’t drink enough water I feel it. ¬†It’s important to drink clean water. ¬†The cleanest water we can get these days is reverse osmosis water. ¬†Many people ask me if drinking RO water is unhealthy for teeth and bones because it lacks certain minerals and I would disagree. ¬†RO water can be re-mineralized and re-vitalized by adding a lemon wedge, some crushed mint leaves, a few cucumber slices or some liquid chlorophyll.

Bottom Line: Drink RO water to support detoxification and your body’s most essential needs.

#2 GET MOVING

Keeping my bones, muscles and mind strong by staying active is something that I highly value as the years go on. ¬†More than ever before I really believe the old adage “Use it or lose it.” ¬†I try to do something everyday that stretches and/or challenges my muscles and my bones.

Bottom Line: Regular activity is healthy for mind, body and spirit.

#3 EAT CLEAN

This can be easier some days than others due to my home and work life balance, but I always return to the basics each day. ¬†Since I’ve been starting my day with a green smoothie I find this helps me get a good dose of greens at least once a day. ¬†It’s also a great way to jump start my energy in the morning. ¬†At lunch and dinner I try my best to incorporate veggies of some kind. ¬†It’s all about a balance, and making healthy choices with nutrition always helps my body feel its best.

Bottom Line: Plant foods can help support regular healthy eating.  Choose whole foods when planning your meals.

#4 EAT GOOD FATS

My go to is olive oil when I’m cooking. ¬†I drizzle it over everything. ¬†I also often get a daily dose of¬†coconut oil, flax seed oil, avocado, nuts and/or seeds in my day. ¬†As time goes on I realize how good fats are important for the way my skin looks and how my joints feel. ¬†Healthy fats are the body’s natural moisturizer and band-aid. ¬†We also need fats to support the formation of all the hormones in our body.

Bottom Line: Don’t shy away from healthy fats. ¬†Include them as often as possible. ¬†I’d take a bath in olive oil if I could. JK. ūüėČ

#5 BRUSH YOUR SKIN

I keep piping on and on about skin brushing… I am a true fan! ¬†It is tremendously supportive of detoxification, breast tissue health and the immune system. ¬†I find a place for skin brushing before bed. ¬†I brush my teeth, floss my teeth and I brush my skin. ¬†Not at the same time, of course. ¬†But this is the best way I find I can get it done on a daily basis.

Bottom Line: Skin brushing is awesome!  It helps tone our skin, keep breast tissue healthy, detoxifies our cells and strengthens our immune system.

#6 EAT AT REGULAR TIMES

When I eat at regular times I find I have better energy, mental focus and mood. ¬†Going too long between meals can cause dips in blood sugar, and I find I’m susceptible to feeling these. ¬†Moreover, regular meals help keep metabolism sharp. ¬†Our bodies favour routine and this goes for the way we nourish our bodies and how this support our metabolic needs.

Bottom Line: Eating regular meals provides better energy, mental focus and mood.

#7 I AVOID ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS, TOO!

I agree with Dr. Turner on this one.  Artificial sweeteners are nothing but trouble for our physiology.  Dr. Joseph Mercola talks in great length about how Artificial Sweeteners are a toxin for our body.  A long time ago I used to eat and drink things that contained artificial sweeteners and never gave it a second thought.  Over the years I have swapped them out for healthier options.

Bottom Line: Read labels to avoid artificial sweeteners.  Use natural sweeteners (honey, maple syrup or stevia) in food and beverages.

#8 SLEEP!

I find I feel my best when I am asleep before midnight. ¬†I have had instances in my past where I’ve¬†had one too many late nights and I’ve come down with a cold. ¬†Aside from depleting energy stores, lack of sleep impact the immune system, memory, hormone balance and metabolism. ¬†Like many people, I can sometimes feel tired but wired at night. ¬†There are times when I take natural sleep support before bed so I can get a solid restorative sleep without feeling drowsy in the morning. ¬†I feel the most productive when I get to bed at a reasonable hour and have quality sleep.

Bottom Line: Regular bedtimes and quality sleep can help us feel like Wonder Woman (Guys: Insert superhero of choice here)!

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Kick Food Cravings: 4 Satisfying Solutions

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I think of the October to December stretch as one big non-stop Festive Season. ¬†Thanksgiving, Halloween, Christmas, New Years and all the celebrations in between can be one heck of a party gauntlet. ¬†As with any gauntlet, the challenge is thrown down when it comes to food cravings during this time of year. ¬†We often crave sugar, salt, carbohydrates or rich comfort foods. ¬†My biggest food crush craving is chocolate! ¬†With all of festive foods in circulation (…Cue the aps, dips and holiday baking…) it can set us up for a cycle of eating our greatest indulgences.

It’s alright to enjoy our favourite treats every now and then, however when cravings become incessant and a daily struggle, this can¬†throw off our efforts in healthy eating. ¬†Unchecked food cravings can leave us wanting more feel good food and this cycle is tough to break.

Luckily we can build a strong foundation for balance within our bodies to quell cravings. ¬†Here’s my top four¬†solutions to satisfy food cravings.

 

SOLUTION #1 – REGULAR NUTRIENT DENSE MEALS

Let’s start with the frequency of our meals. ¬†If we skip a meal, or don’t eat enough nutrient dense foods at a meal, we feel hungrier as the day goes on because of a blood sugar imbalance. ¬†It becomes easier to succumb to a craving¬†and make food choices that will help us feel good and give us a little burst of energy. ¬†In addition, we are more susceptible to experiencing stronger cravings later in the day and in the evening when our meals are not balanced.

To prevent this from happening, eat regular meals through the day and add snacks between meals if needed.  Choose nutrient dense foods like non-salad veggies, nuts, seeds, lean protein (i.e. eggs, fish, poultry), beans and healthy fats like avocado and nut/seed butter.

 

SOLUTION #2 –¬†EXERCISE REGULARLY

There is something really special that happens biochemically when we exercise.  The body releases hormones and mediators that help control our appetite, balance blood sugar, improve energy and optimize our mood.  These physiological responses significantly diminish cravings and give us the grit to sail through our day without that hankering for something more.

Exercise routinely (at least 3 times a week) and ensure you are working up a good sweat each time.  This is a sure sign that you are hitting an effective intensity level for your body.

 

SOLUTION #3 – HORMONE HELP

There is a significant amount of influence our hormone balance has on the intensity of food cravings we experience.  Most women experience heightened food cravings with PMS, while pregnant, after having a baby or during menopause.  However, both men and women can struggle with food cravings if they are not sleeping well, if they have Thyroid and/or Adrenal imbalances, or all of these.

Maintaining proper hormone balance is tremendously helpful in the resolution of food cravings.  There are many safe, natural and effective options that address hormone balance.  This is something that is best done during a visit with me.

You can also learn more about hormone balancing through one of my November Webinars:

Click Here to Register: OPTIMIZING METABOLISM: THYROID & ADRENAL BALANCE

Click Here to Register: SOLUTIONS FOR FEMALE HEALTH CONCERNS

 

SOLUTION #4 – SHAKE IT OFF

Stress can be a major influence for cravings. ¬†The cravings can be governed by our mind. ¬†Indulging may make us¬†feel good¬†but it is always a temporary fix. ¬†If the stress is still there the cycle can continue. ¬†It’s important we find ways to manage our stress and negative emotions, experience authentic¬†happiness within and feel comfortable in our own skin. ¬†This is no easy feat, but there are ways to work our way along this path.

 

Health is a work in progress.  By starting now you can start resolving your food cravings and create a good balance to help support healthier eating now and over the holidays.  If cravings have thrown you off track, or seem to be in the way of your health goals, remember that every passing moment is a chance to start over and there are many options to build your resilience.

Bottled Water & Toxicity

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There is a new study that shows that plastic water bottles contribute a plethora of chemicals into the water they contain even if the plastic is BPA free.  Natural News published an article about the research, which was done in Germany.  You can read the Natural News article here:  Bottled Water Contains Thousands of Chemicals. 

The researchers found an astonishing number of chemicals, among which were a class of chemicals known as “Endocrine Disruptors.” ¬†The study, which can be read here,¬†looked at “antiestrogenic” and “antiandrogenic” chemicals. ¬†These are synthetic molecules that mimic our body’s natural estrogen and androgens, can bind to our body’s receptors for these hormones and subsequently block the natural hormone from binding to it’s receptor site in hormone sensitive tissue (i.e. breast, uterus, ovaries, thyroid, prostate). ¬† Endocrine disruptors alter the delicate balance of communication and feedback that our hormonal system relies on for proper function. ¬†This contributes to issues such as PMS, painful periods, irregular periods, thyroid issues, symptoms of menopause, infertility and cancer.

The final line in the article from Natural News suggests drinking water from glass or steel water bottles. ¬†I agree that this is an ideal option when it comes to our hydration. ¬†Whether you rock a mason jar, Sigg or reuse a non-plastic vesicle of your choice, it’s becoming more clear how important it is to limit plastics as much as possible. ¬†Side note… if we’re choosing a clean canteen we also need to remember that drinking clean filtered water such as reverse osmosis water or distilled water is equally important.

It’s not always possible to tote our reusable non-plastic water bottles with us, for example when we are on the go, just forget it in the rush of everyday life or if we are travelling. ¬†In these moments hydration is still important so a good choice is to find a water bottle made out of hard plastic, like the Smart Water or Aqua Fina brands. ¬†The more malleable, soft and flexible the plastic, the more likely it is to have its chemicals leeched into the water it contains. ¬†It would be even better to purchase water in glass bottles, which we are seeing more of now (i.e. Voss, Aqua Panna, Evian — these European water companies have the right idea!), but in a pinch we gotta do what we gotta do. ¬†Getting back to the non plastic water bottle as soon as we can, and consistently avoiding plastics is a healthy little goal that is worth setting each day.

Pumpkins and Prostate Health

It’s pumpkin season!¬† Pumpkins are everywhere as Halloween approaches, and so I can’t help but find today’s inspiration for my post in pumpkins.

In natural health care, pumpkin seeds and pumpkin seed oil are synonomous with helping to support prostate health.  The phytonutrients and essential fatty acids that are specific to pumpkin seeds have a profound effect on male hormone balance and prostate tissue health.

Phytonutrients, such as zinc, helps with the keeping the prostate healthy.  The naturally occuring fiber from the pumpkin seeds helps wtih binding any exogenous hormone and moving them out of the body.  Exogenous hormones can cause the prostate to enlarge.  Finally, the essential fatty acids, or good fats, from pumpkin seeds will help contribute to proper hormone formation.  Hormones are all fat based, so men and women need good fats to aid in the healthy and balanced creation of hormones.

For pumpkin seeds, just like flax seed, it good to know that taking the seed will provide more fiber than essential fatty acids.  When looking to get a good dose of the healthy oils from pumpkin seeds, this can be done by taking capsulated pumpkin seed oil or adding liquid pumpkin seed oil to the diet.

Eating pumpkin seeds, adding pumpkin seed oil to the day, eating a nutritious diet and having a healthy lifestyle can help to prevent Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy (BPH) in men and can ward off prostate cancer.¬† For more guidance, and natural support for men’s health issues, visit a licensed Naturopathic Doctor.

WIN-ning Wednesday: Environmental Medicine

Space Pollution! Seriously?!

There is a cutting edge field of medicine emerging known as Environmental Medicine.  This is the study of how our modern day environment is impacting our physical health.

Licensed Naturopathic Doctors have long been aware of the way the environment can create a “body burden.” ¬†Due to modern industry, environmental disasters (like oceanic oil leaks and Nuclear Plant Meltdowns) and waste disposal (water, land, air and space) we have expelled contaminants into our environment that do not break down. ¬†The most well known contaminants include heavy metals, chemical compounds, plastics and pharmaceutical agents.

Contaminants that do not break down easily once disposed of are known as “pervasive chemicals.” ¬†These contaminants hang around in the soil, water and air.

Researchers in Environmental Medicine investigate how pervasive chemicals influence the physiology and anatomy of the living species exposed to them.

One of the best evidence based journals publishing articles related to Environmental Medicine is “Environmental Health Perspectives (EHP).” ¬†EHP has a website that posts articles for free. ¬†Under the “Featured News” heading (or tab) journalistic style articles can be accessed. ¬†Under the “Featured Research” heading articles in scientific journal format can be reviewed.

There is also a “Search” feature that will pull up articles related to a topic of interest. ¬†For example, I typed in “Thyroid” and interesting articles that came up included:

Mother’s Thyroid, Baby’s Health by M. Nathaniel Mead

Disrupting A Delicate Balance: Environmental Effects on the Thyroid by Valerie J. Brown

Lithium in Drinking Water and Thyroid Function by Karin Broberg et. al.

You can visit the EHP website here: Environmental Health Perspectives

Some of the most recently posted articles include:

Climate Change and Infectious Disease: Is the Future Here?   by Catherine M. Cooney

Does the Smoke Ever Really Clear?  Thirdhand smoke exposure raises concern.  by Adrian Burton

Most Plastic Products Release Estrogenic Chemicals: A Potential Health Problem That Can Be Solved.  by Chun Z. Yang, et. al.