Fall 2017

Five Easy Food Swaps for a Healthier Diet

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Healthy eating doesn’t have to be hard. It’s just a matter of having the right information, doing a bit of planning, and being open to trying new foods. Here are some easy swaps you can make to get you started.

Greek Yogurt instead of Regular Yogurt
It contains twice the amount of protein. Don’t be tricked into the no-fat versions. Fat is part of what makes our food taste good, and also helps to keep us full. If we take it out, then often more sugar is added to make it taste better, and we end up eating more food because we are still hungry. Look for a brand with no more than 10 grams of sugar in 125 ml. I suggest buying plain yogurt, and then drizzle it with honey or maple syrup to please adult and kids’ sweeter palates.

If you need to be on a dairy-free diet for leaky gut or for anti-inflammatory reasons, try plain dairy-free versions like coconut yogurt or buffalo milk yogurt.

Minced Cauliflower instead of Rice
Rice is great if you trying to eat gluten-free, but not if you are trying to lose weight. Once digested, one cup of rice contains approximately 50 grams of sugar. Compare that to cauliflower that only has 5 grams. Cauliflower is also going to have more fibre, vitamins and minerals overall. If you’re looking for a way to save time, you can pulse a few heads of cauliflower in your food processor all at one time (especially if they are on sale) and then freeze it using freezer bags. Then you can pull out a bag whenever you need it during the week.

Coconut Oil instead of Cream

This was a great new discovery for people who love cream in their coffee. Many patients have reported drinking their coffee black just wasn’t the same. Blend your coffee with 1 teaspoon of coconut oil and a splash of pure vanilla, and then sprinkle it with cinnamon. So tasty, plus coconut oil has lots of health benefits, and there are no artificial flavours or additives.

Carbonated Water instead of Juice or Pop
This is for those of you who complain that water is boring, try a Soda Stream. It is super easy to use (just a few pumps of CO2 into the water), and a new CO2 cartridge only costs about $25 (one cartridge can last a year or more). If you like a bit of flavour, you can add some lemon or lime – either the real thing or an essential oil, or you can infuse a fruit of your choice.

Protein Smoothie instead of a carbohydrate-rich Breakfast or Afternoon Snack
It’s so easy for breakfast and afternoon snacks to be really carbohydrate rich – that means we digest them quickly, spike our blood sugar, and then we crash and want something else to eat. Over the years, I have used various types of protein powders, and there are lots of good ones and not so good ones out there. For the last several years, I have been drinking medical foods like UltraMeal360, UltraInflamX360, and Synerclear (chocolate is my favourite flavour). Medical Foods are protein powders that treat specific medical conditions (eg. leaky gut, inflammation, liver toxicity, or insulin resistance). They are hypoallergenic and also replace your multivitamin.

For patients who prefer to eat, rather than drink their breakfast, I have them switch to having their protein shake in the afternoon. If I am at home, I blend it with leafy greens, some berries and/ or a nut milk (almond milk or coconut milk are my favourites). If I’m at work, I just mix it with water in my shaker cup. Easy peasy – tastes great, fills me up and is super convenient.

So, there you have it, five easy swaps I have found to make healthy eating easier. I’m sure there are many more great ideas out there. I would love for you to share what you have found has worked for you.

 

Originally Published: December 18, 2017

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Dr. Michelle Durkin, BSC(H), ND, Contributor and Bowen Practitioner at Quinte Naturopathic Centre

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Dr. Michelle Durkin attended the University of Guelph and obtained a Bachelor of Science with honours in Biomedical Science. With this medical background, she went on to study at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine in Toronto and graduated as a licensed doctor of naturopathic medicine in 2003. Dr. Durkin founded her clinic, the Quinte Naturopathic Centre. As a Naturopathic Doctor she is very committed to providing excellent individualized health care in a warm and professional environment. Michelle is also a professional Bowenwork® practitioner. In addition, Dr. Durkin holds professional memberships with the Ontario Association of Naturopathic Doctors (OAND), the Canadian Association of Naturopathic Doctors (CAND), and the Association of Perinatal Naturopathic Doctors (APND).



National Food Policy Consultations

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Everyone needs to eat and we all should be able to eat enough nutritious, affordable, diverse food for good health.

What could be more important than supporting the development of national policies that make that possible?

In the fall of 2015, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Lawrence MacAulay received a mandate from Prime Minister Trudeau to develop a national food policy for Canada.

Develop a food policy that promotes healthy living and safe food by putting more healthy, high- quality food, produced by Canadian ranchers and farmers, on the tables of families across the country.

Every Canadian has the opportunity to contribute to the development of this food policy. Here’s how you can get involved:

1. Get involved in the federal government’s process
On May 29, 2017, the ministry launched an online survey (canada.ca/food-policy) to support the development of the food policy, encouraging Canadians to give input regarding a food policy that will cover the entire food system, from farm to fork.

Canadians were asked to share their views on four major themes:

  • increasing access to affordable food;
  • improving health and food safety;
  • conserving our soil, water, and air; and
  • growing more high-quality food.

The online consultation closed on August 31, but during September, Canadians can submit their ideas directly to the food policy team, or can attend local and regional sessions aimed at understanding citizens’ priorities related to food. Go to canada.ca/food-policy to learn more about the federal government’s food policy process.

2. Get involved in Food Secure Canada’s process
Food Secure Canada (FSC), a national alliance of organizations and individuals working to improve food security and food sovereignty in Canada, is supporting the hosting of local events to discuss what should be in a national food policy.

FSC has three inter-connected goals: zero hunger, healthy and safe food, and sustainable food systems. It has developed its food policy campaign under the title, Five Big Ideas for a Better Food System. The five big ideas are:

  • realize the right to food
  • champion healthy and sustainable diets
  • support sustainable food systems
  • make food part of reconciliation
  • invite more voices to the table.

Go to foodsecurecanada.org and check out its food policy link for more details about how to get involved, responding as an individual or working to organize a local event to gather opinions and feedback of people in your area.

(By the way, FSC’s website is an excellent source for information about food issues in general and is well worth a visit. Individuals can be members of FSC, and membership is a good way to support FSC’s work.)

3. Contact Your Member of Parliament
Let your MP know that you care about the development of a broadly-based, effective national food policy that helps all Canadians eat healthy, and make sure the food policy is on his/ her agenda.

4. Talk to others about the importance of a national food policy
As I said at the beginning, everyone needs to eat, and we all should be able to eat enough nutritious, affordable, diverse food for good health. What could be more important than supporting national policies that make the food system right for everyone?

 
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Originally Published: November 25, 2017

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Dianne Dowling, Contributor and President, Local 316, National Farmers’ Union (Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox-Addington Counties)



Tips for Staying Healthy on the Road

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There is perhaps no greater test of how committed you are to your health habits than travelling. Being out of your regular routine, eating

in restaurants and socializing with others — all without the comforts of home — can be a perfect storm for eating junk food, skipping workouts and staying up way too late.

If this sounds like you, please know you’re not alone! Maintaining good eating, moving and sleeping habits while on vacation or away from home is one of the biggest stumbling blocks I hear about from clients. And I’ve experienced it, too.

Luckily, there are some creative ways to feel well on the road. Pack a cooler and utensils. It may sound obvious, but access to healthy snacks can either make or break your experience. Fill it with whole foods that travel well like raw veggies, muffins, pancakes, energy balls, hard-boiled eggs, jerky, apple chips, cheese, Greek yogurt, trail mix, fruit and dark chocolate. Throw in some condiments like guacamole, salad dressing, mayonnaise and salsa for ready-made meals or snacks on a moment’s notice.

Eventually you will have to eat at a restaurant. Do not panic. There are always healthy options, even if it means having to ask for them.

Here are my favourite “special requests” at restaurants.

  • Can the kids please order off adult menus? (Let’s face it, grilled cheese sandwiches, pizza, chicken fingers, spaghetti and fries that comprise nearly every kids’ menu don’t exactly scream nutrient density!)
  • Can you please hold the breadbasket? Ditto for croutons?
  • Is it possible to have a grilled chicken breast instead of the breaded one?
  • Do you have oil and vinegar dressing? And could I please have that on the side?

As for staying active, try these tips.

  • Get a hotel with a pool. Particularly for those with young children, this tip will keep you active for hours!
  • Check out your hotel’s exercise room for a brief, high-intensity weight workout or long, slow cardio session.
  • Discover your surroundings. Is there a mountain to climb? A trail to jog or hike? A beach to sprint or toss a flying disc? A lake to swim in? A park to chase your kids around
  • Checkout the city on a bike or on foot. Most cities now have affordable bike drops that allow you to do your own exploring on wheels powered by you. Or kick it back old school with a comfortable pair of walking shoes. It’s always surprising how much ground can be covered on foot.

    Once you know a few simple tricks of the trade, you’ll be able to return home from stints away feeling just as amazing as when you left.

Road Trip Recipe 101

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PRIMAL POPPERS

Prep time: 15 mins

Total time: 15 mins

Serves: 3 dozen

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup sunflower seed butter (or almond butter if no nut allergies)
  • 1.5 cups unsweetened coconut, shredded
  • 8-10 figs or dates
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup ground flaxseed
  • 4 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp cocoa
  • 1-2 scoops protein powder (chocolate or vanilla)
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence

INSTRUCTIONS

Mix all ingredients in food processor until paste forms. Form into bite-sized balls.
Eat immediately or freeze to make them last longer!

 

Originally Published: October 14, 2017

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Carolyn Coffin, Contributor and Health Coach at Eat Real Food Academy

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Carolyn Coffin empowers people to crave the foods that help them thrive. A former physiotherapist turned health coach and educator, Carolyn uses a unique blend of nutrition, lifestyle, and mindset coaching to help her clients feel their best. She works privately with people all over North America and offers an engaged online community and affordable group coaching through her website eatrealfoodacademy.com. Carolyn enjoys going for a run in the great outdoors, visiting her local farmers’ market, and living a healthy lifestyle with her family.



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Chocolate Cravings? You might be low in magnesium (the miracle mineral)

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It’s that time of day again, when your craving for chocolate presents itself and nothing else will do. But with your fall health routine beginning to pairing back after summer– what can you do about it?

Although cocoa is touted as healthy because of its antioxidant properties, most of us experience guilt or frustration when we give in to our cravings for rich, delicious chocolate. Well, feel guilty no longer, there may be a solution for you—and it’s as simple as a magnesium supplement that has no calories at all. But pay attention to your cravings! They are a very good sign magnesium is just what your body needs since chocolate is, in fact, one of our richest dietary sources.

Studies have found, and my clinical experience has confirmed, that chocolate cravings and PMS symptoms improve with daily magnesium supplements. But that’s not all this mineral can help you with.... keep reading to discover the many benefits of magnesium.

Beats fatigue

... chocolate cravings and PMS symptoms improve with daily magnesium supplements.

For a long time now, it has been suggested that chronic fatigue syndrome is related to persistent magnesium deficiency, which may improve with magnesium supplements. Magnesium is a wonderful mineral that is involved in over 300 enzymatic reactions in the body. When we are magnesium deficient, our bodily functions slow down at the cellular level, causing everything to become sluggish until eventually physical or mental fatigue eventually ensues.

Eases anxiety, improves sleep and stabilizes mood

Individuals with anxiety have been found to have lower levels of magnesium. This may be linked to the fact that a magnesium deficiency causes the release of adrenalin. Also, other studies have found that magnesium supplements reduce the release and effect of stress hormones on the heart, which is an indirect measure of the mineral’s effect on the brain.

In the elderly, magnesium supplements were found to improve sleep by decreasing the release of the stress hormone cortisol, which is known to cause sleep disruption. Magnesium glycinate (400 to 600mg) at bedtime is my favourite starting place for most cases of sleep disruption, for all ages.

Reduces muscle cramping

Ever get those irritating little twitches in your eyelid? Or maybe painful muscle cramping, waking you at night or ruining your workout? These are both possible signs of magnesium deficiency since it is closely involved in proper muscle relaxation and contraction. Try taking 200 to 600mg of magnesium at bedtime and you may be surprised at how quickly these symptoms may respond to your efforts.

Athletes can be especially prone to magnesium loss from sweating. Meanwhile, an athlete prone to loose stools will have an even greater risk of deficiency. I once treated an adventure racer with this exact condition. He used to develop cramps so severe his teammates would have to carry him during competitions. I fixed his digestive issues, supplemented minerals and he was back in action in no time. I recommend mineral supplement containing magnesium and foods high in the mineral-like seeds, nuts and green leafy veggies to all of my athletes to maintain their performance.

Magnesium and blood pressure

Evidence suggests that magnesium may play an important role in regulating blood pressure, due to its natural muscle relaxant ability. When blood vessels are relaxed there is less resistance to the flow of blood and as a result, lower blood pressure.

Diets that provide high sources of potassium and magnesium— such as those that are high in fruits and vegetables—are consistently associated with lower blood pressure.

The DASH study (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) suggested that high blood pressure could be significantly lowered by consuming a diet high in magnesium, potassium and calcium, and low in sodium and fat. In another study, the effect of various nutritional factors on high blood pressure was examined in over 30,000 U.S. male health professionals. After four years of follow-up, researchers found that a greater magnesium intake was significantly associated with lower risk of hypertension. The evidence is strong enough that the Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Pressure recommends maintaining an adequate magnesium intake as a positive lifestyle modification for preventing and managing high blood pressure.

Magnesium and heart disease

Magnesium deficiency can cause metabolic changes that may contribute to heart attacks and strokes, while higher blood levels are associated with a lower risk of these conditions. There is also evidence that low body stores of magnesium increase the risk of abnormal heart rhythms, which in turn may increase the risk of complications associated with a heart attack.

Magnesium and osteoporosis

Calcium isn’t the only mineral we need for strong, healthy bones.

It appears a magnesium deficiency may also be a risk factor for osteoporosis. This may be due to the effect of magnesium deficiency on calcium metabolism and the hormone that regulates calcium balance in the body. I normally recommend 600 to 800mg of magnesium along with 1000 to 1200mg of calcium daily to all adults to treat and prevent bone density loss.

Magnesium and diabetes

Magnesium is important to carbohydrate metabolism. It may influence the release and activity of insulin, the hormone that helps control blood glucose levels. Elevated blood glucose levels increase the loss of magnesium in the urine, which in turn lowers blood levels of magnesium. This explains why low blood levels of magnesium are seen in poorly controlled type 1 and type 2 diabetes. These low levels of the mineral may also contribute to hypertension commonly found with many diabetics.

Okay, if, after all of this fantastic news about magnesium, you just can’t get past your chocolate craving, then at least choose the best chocolate. Look for a minimum 70 percent or more cocoa solids. It’s the healthiest way to satisfy a craving for chocolate, without consuming all the sugar and saturated fat common with milk chocolate.

Originally Published: September 28, 2017

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Dr. Natasha Turner, NDContributor and Founder & Director of Clear Medicine Wellness Boutique  

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Dr. Natasha Turner, ND is a regular contributor to various publications and television programs as a natural health expert. Shows like The Dr. Oz Show, The Marilyn Denis Show, Canada AM, CP24, CTV News, Breakfast Television, Rogers TV, Shaw TV, and more have used her expertise to educate audiences. Print publications include SELF, ELLE, Glow, Canadian Business, Health, Today’s Parent, Lush The Magazine, Alive, National Post, Metro, Tonic, Vista, Fit Life, Cocoa, Viva, Healthy Living Now, Get Outside, and several websites, including a regular column for Chatelaine.com, Blisstree.com, and Huffingtonpost.ca.



Is Intermittent Fasting for You?

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Our fasting bodies change how they select which fuel to burn, improving metabolism and reducing oxidative stress. Today’s intermittent fasting regimens are easier to stick to, and proven to help excess pounds melt away. Studies have clearly shown that our bodies respond to fasting by boosting glucagon, adiponectin and growth hormone - the hormone that helps build muscle. A scientific review in the British Journal of Diabetes and Vascular Disease suggests that fasting diets may also help those with diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Intermittent fasting involves avoiding food intake for one day per week. During your cleanse day, you should drink at least four quarts of warm or cold herbal teas to support the cleansing process. I recommend a combination of herbs with anti- inflammatory and diuretic effects, such as ginger, lemon, blueberry, hibiscus, dandelion, green tea, and parsley. Alternatively, you can use an intermittent fasting support mixed into four quarts of water to drink throughout the day. If you feel overly hungry, you can consume one or two hard boiled eggs in the morning or a serving of nuts in the afternoon, but try to last the day.

You can also try your cleanse day by first consuming breakfast and then embarking on the cleansing drinks for the next 24 hours. Alternatively, you could fast all day and have a high protein meal in the evening. Lots of good options!

The benefits of fasting extend beyond just the 24 hour period, and it does get easier with time and experience. You can do this once every seven to ten days, or even more than once a week if you want to accelerate your plan. I recommend doing your cleanse days on Tuesday or Wednesdays. If you have your cheat meal on the weekend as so many of us do, this will give you a day or two of clean eating to get your insulin back in balance, lessen cravings and steady your appetite.

 

Originally Published: September 25, 2017

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Dr. Natasha Turner, NDContributor and Founder & Director of Clear Medicine Wellness Boutique  

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Dr. Natasha Turner, ND is a regular contributor to various publications and television programs as a natural health expert. Shows like The Dr. Oz Show, The Marilyn Denis Show, Canada AM, CP24, CTV News, Breakfast Television, Rogers TV, Shaw TV, and more have used her expertise to educate audiences. Print publications include SELF, ELLE, Glow, Canadian Business, Health, Today’s Parent, Lush The Magazine, Alive, National Post, Metro, Tonic, Vista, Fit Life, Cocoa, Viva, Healthy Living Now, Get Outside, and several websites, including a regular column for Chatelaine.com, Blisstree.com, and Huffingtonpost.ca.