Your Healthy Colon Guide

Hippocrates said it best “All disease begins in the gut”

Do you suffer from digestive issues? Chronic gas and bloating, constipation, loose stools, food sensitivities?

Good health is not only a reflection of the food we eat, but of how well we are able to absorb the nutrients from our food and eliminate waste. Poor digestive health affects every system in the body. If your body isn’t able to efficiently absorb the vitamins and minerals from your food, you could still face nutritional deficiencies, despite eating a healthy diet. Deficiencies due to lack of absorption can lead to chronic fatigue, poor intestinal health, head aches, joint pain, osteoporosis, and a weakened immune system.

There are many factors that contribute to poor digestive health.


If you have answered YES to any of these questions, you could benefit
from the information provided in the first module of our new Holistic Health Series: Your Colon Health.

This 32 page PDF offers advice on how to achieve and maintain optimal digestive health, and addresses areas such as: Chronic constipation and diarrhea, fast and slow bowel transit times, candida, food sensitivities, the importance of probiotics and prebiotics, digestive enzymes, and the benefits of following a hypoallergenic diet.

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Deficiencies and Imbalances Related to Skin Issues

Deficiencies and Imbalances Related to Skin Issues

Are you Getting Enough Vitamin D?


Most of us in North America have heard about the importance of vitamin D, but do you know the signs and symptoms of deficiency, and when to know if it’s something you should be supplementing with?
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin and while a small amount can be found in the diet, most of it is made in the body in response to sun exposure.

A Few Facts About Vitamin D
• Required for the absorption of calcium
• Needed for the proper formation of bones & teeth
• Assists in regulation of the heartbeat
• Aids in healthy thyroid function
• Important for proper blood clotting
• Essential for healthy neuromuscular function
• Helpful in maintaining healthy eyesight
• Enhances immune function (cancer prevention)
• Helps with depression and anxiety

Symptoms of Deficiency
• Muscle aches and pain, weakness
• Bone aches and pain. Bones can feel painful to moderate pressure.
(often more noticeable in the ribs or shin bones)
• Malformation of bones
Osteomalacia (weakening of the bones – demineralization)
• Osteoporosis (thinning of bones, loss of bone density)
• Insomnia
• Myopia (nearsightedness)
• Depression
• Children with severe deficiency may have soft skull or leg bones. Their legs may look curved (bow-legged).
They may also complain of bone pains, often in the legs, muscle pains or muscle weakness. This condition is known as rickets.

A lack of vitamin D over a period of just a few months can cause the beginning stages of osteomalacia; skeletal demineralization of the spine, pelvis and lower extremities. Signs and symptoms of osteomalacia include: burning in the mouth and throat, bone tenderness, muscle  weakness, nervousness, diarrhea, and insomnia.

Causes of Deficiency
• Metabolic abnormalities with absorption or metabolism of vitamin D
• Sedentary indoor lifestyle
• Those who always cover up when outside, including those who wear traditional veils or burqas.
• Regular use of sunblock
• People over the age of 65. The elderly tend to have thinner skin which means it contains less fat/cholesterol to be turned into vitamin D by the sun.
• Having dark skin (darker skin absorbs less vitamin D)
• Liver of gallbladder dysfunction
• Kidney and liver disorders
• Intestinal ailments such as IBS, Crohn’s and celiac disease
• Low fat diets

Types of Vitamin D
There are several forms of vitamin D. D2(ergocalciferol) comes from food sources such as: fish, cod liver oil, eggs, dandelion greens, mushrooms, potatoes, sweet potatoes, alfalfa, nettle, and parsley. Vitamin D3(cholecalciferol) is synthesized in the skin in response to sun exposure. Both types are available in supplement form, D3 being the most active and bioavailable.

Vitamin D has a potential for toxicity. Unless diagnosed with a vitamin D deficiency, supplementing more than 1,000 IU for adults and 400 IU for children is not recommended.  Vitamin D is fat-soluble, which means your body has a hard time getting rid of it if you take too much. When you take large amounts of vitamin D, the liver produces a chemical called 25-hydroxy-vitamin D [25(OH)D].

Excess vitamin D increases calcium buildup in the blood and can increase the risk of kidney stones. High blood calcium is a condition called hypercalcemia.
Symptoms of hypercalcemia include: poor appetite or loss of appetite, thirst, frequent urination, abdominal pain, confusion, fatigue, and muscle weakness.

A 25-hydroxy vitamin D test is the most accurate way to measure how much vitamin D is in the body. Testing should be done at least once a year, especially at the beginning of winter. If you are supplementing, monitor your vitamin D levels approximately every 3 months until you are in the optimal range. If you are taking high doses as recommended by your doctor, ask to also have your calcium, phosphorous, and parathyroid hormone levels checked every 3 months.

Since everyone is different, Vitamin D toxicity can happen even at low levels of supplementation. (1)
As a Registered Holistic Nutritionist, my professional opinion is that we should all be supplementing wisely when it comes to fat-soluble vitamins.

Optimal Levels
•  Dangerously Low Levels = Less than 12 ng/mL: Vitamin D deficiency, leading to rickets in infants and children and osteomalacia in adults
Low Levels = 20-30 ng/mL: Vitamin D insufficiency
Normal = Greater than 30 ng/mL: Sufficient
Optimal = 50-80 ng/mL: Recommended
High = Greater than 100 ng/mL: Emerging evidence links potential adverse effects to such high levels

Vitamin D and Thyroid Conditions
Vitamin D plays an important role in maintaining proper thyroid function and  balancing the Th1 and Th2 cells of the immune system. It behaves as a co-hormone, as sufficient levels of vitamin D are essential for proper uptake of thyroid hormones by the cells. Studies show that vitamin D deficiency goes hand-in-hand with hypothyroidism.(2)

Vitamin D and Multiple Sclerosis
Vitamin D deficiency has been associated with numerous autoimmune diseases, including MS. Since vitamin D is absorbed in the small intestine, an inflamed GI tract, which is extremely common in people with multiple sclerosis, reduces its absorption. Many medical doctors prescribe megadoses of vitamin D to patients with MS.  It is always wise to have blood serum levels checked before taking high doses of any fat-soluble vitamin.


Stress and High Cortisol
High cortisol levels caused by stress or medications are also associated with lower vitamin D levels. The synthesis of active vitamin D from sunlight depends on cholesterol. Stress hormones are also made from cholesterol. When the body is in an active stress response, most of the cholesterol is used to make cortisol and not much is left over for the production of vitamin D. (3)

Obesity reduces the bioavailability of active vitamin D. Those who are overweight typically have lower serum levels since it’s extracted from the blood by fat cells, altering its release into the circulation. People with a body mass index of 30 or greater often have low blood levels of vitamin D. (4)

Poor Fat Metabolism
Poor fat metabolism is another factor contributing to malabsorption of this important vitamin. Vitamin D is fat-soluble, which means it requires fat to be absorbed. It also requires conversion by the liver and kidneys before becoming fully active. Those on low-fat diets and people with conditions that impair fat absorption like IBS, IBD, gall bladder dysfunction, liver or kidney disease are more likely to have low levels of vitamin D and are at higher risk for osteoporosis.

Some medications are known to reduce absorption or biologic activity of vitamin D such as antacids, replacement hormones, corticosteroids, anticoagulants, blood thinners and laxatives.

Inflammation of any type reduces the utilization of vitamin D, which is why those with any inflammatory health condition should be following a well balanced, hypoallergenic, anti-inflammatory diet! (5)


Signs & Symptoms of Nutritional Deficiencies

Of course this isn’t a full list, just a few basic examples of different imbalances that can occur when the diet is limited or lacking in specific vitamins and minerals.

Nutritional Deficiencies

Shredded Broccoli Stem Salad With Fresh Cucumber Dressing

Did you know the broccoli stalk or stem is just as nutritious as the crown?

Broccoli Stem Salad

1 Broccoli Stalk (approx.114g) Contains:
- 456 IU of vitamin A (for good vision and a healthy immune system)
- 81.0 mcg of folate (necessary for proper brain functioning, helps with depression)
- 28.5 mg of magnesium (required for more than 300 biochemical reactions in the body)
- 54.7mg of calcium (strengthens bones and teeth, wards off PMS)

* When broccoli stems are shredded and added to a salad like this, it almost reminds me of coleslaw!

Shredded Broccoli Stem Salad With Fresh Cucumber Dressing
• 1 broccoli stem, peeled and shredded
• 1 head of broccoli, chopped into florets
• 1 carrot, shredded
• ½ cucumber, chopped
• 1 clementine orange, sectioned and sliced

Cucumber Dressing
• ½ cucumber
• 1 tsp. dill
• 1 scallion
• 1 Tbsp. hemp seeds
• ¼ tsp. garlic powder
• 2 Tbsp. nutritional yeast
• Pinch of Himalayan salt
• Squeeze of lemon juice
In a food processor, blend ingredients thoroughly until smooth. Add a touch of water, if necessary.
This salad will stay fresh in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Everyday Cancer Prevention Tips

Two years ago today my father lost his battle to cancer. I can’t believe it’s been two entire years. I often hear from others who have lost a loved one that it can often feel like it just happened, and it’s true. I don’t think a day goes by that I don’t think about him. Despite the personal health challenges I have faced in my life, he was in fact my true motivation for going back to school to become a holistic nutritionist.

In memory of him, here is a little post I wrote about things we can do everyday to help prevent this terrible disease. Cancer is a multifaceted illness with no singular direct cause but perhaps by following some of the tips below we can help protect ourselves from this deadly illness.

According to statistics, only 5–10% of all cancer cases can be attributed to genetics. The remaining 90–95% have their roots in the environment and lifestyle. Lifestyle factors include environmental toxins, long-term chemical exposure, infections, cigarette smoking, diet, chronic stress, obesity and physical inactivity.

By implementing some of the tips below, not only will you be well on your way to preventing one of the most common killers worldwide, but you’ll also be protecting yourself from other degenerative and fatal ailments like cardiovascular disease, stroke, diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease.

Increase the Fiber in Your Diet
A well-balanced, cancer-fighting diet should focus on fruit, vegetables, whole grains, raw nuts, seeds and legumes. Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage and cauliflower, as well as foods high in beta carotene like carrots, orange and yellow peppers, squash, sweet potatoes and yams offer amazing antioxidant protection that helps fight against cancer. Eat vegetables raw or lightly steamed to preserve the nutrient content, as heating food at high temperatures (above 118° F) destroys precious vitamins and health enhancing enzymes.

Avoid Processed and Refined Grains
Eat grains in their whole form, avoiding refined flours like white bread, rice and pasta which are made with bleached, polished grains that have been stripped of their fiber, protein and vitamin content.

The way the body metabolizes white flour, bread and pasta is not too different from eating sugar. Stripping a grain of all of it’s fiber and protein and processing it into white bread, rice, pasta, pizza dough, pastry shells, cookies donuts, cakes etc. reduces it to a simple carbohydrate, which enters the bloodstream very quickly and spikes the blood sugar. Increased amounts of sugar in the blood has been well established to be a primary fuel that cancer cells use to grow and multiply.

Researchers conclude that the correlation between the consumption of refined carbohydrates and cancer growth can be related to elevated levels of insulin, a result of increased blood sugar levels. It has been found that cancer tumors are encouraged and supported by high levels of insulin in the body.

Eat a Large Variety of Different Food
Nutritional deficiencies result in a weakened immune system, which gives cancer cells the perfect breeding ground for survival. Our immune system is continuously fighting off cancerous cells throughout our entire lives, killing them as they develop. We have specialized cells called Natural Killer cells, and their only job is to kill cancer cells and viruses.

For cancer cells to develop and multiply, the immune system must be in a weakened state, unable to kill cancerous cells as fast as they normally develop. Cancer risk also increases when we are exposed to cancer causing toxins or radiation, which increase the rate that cancer cells develop to an abnormally high level that the immune system can’t handle.

Therefore, by increasing the variety of whole foods in your diet, you can avoid nutritional deficiencies and strengthen your immune system so that all the intricate systems we were designed with to naturally fight off cancer remain optimized.

Choose from a variety of whole grains such as millet, amaranth, quinoa and kamut. Variety in the diet provides the body with amino acids, enzymes, minerals and phytonutrients, which might be lacking if the diet is limited. Take a look at your grocery shopping list. Are you buying the same foods all the time? Expand your variety and try new foods in the produce section that you’ve never had before.

Avoid Pesticides and GMO’s
Research shows that genetically modified foods along with pesticides use have been linked to liver damage, digestive problems and tumour growth.

By law, food bearing a certified organic logo guarantees that food is 100% organic and has not been genetically modified.

Avoid Processed Meat Products
Studies have shown that a high intake of processed meat such as bacon, sausage, ham and lunch meat have been linked to increased risk of cancer.

Limit Your Intake of Charred or Grilled Foods
Food that have been charred or grilled have been linked to increased cancer risk. If grilling, marninate and spice foods with antioxidant rich herbs like rosemary,  cloves, turmeric and oregano to reduce or prevent the formation of HCAs (Heterocyclic amines) that are formed when cooking meat at high temperatures.

Know the Facts, Eat Your Flax
Lignins are a class of phytoestrogens (plant estrogens) found abundantly in flaxseeds and have been known to reduce the risk of breast and other hormone related cancers. The lignins in flaxseeds have the amazing ability to bind to excess estrogen in the body and sweep it away, along with other harmful substances like toxins and LDL cholesterol. Other sources of lignans include sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, wholes grains, berries, broccoli, sprouts and nuts.

Limit Your Exposure to Xenoestrogens
Xenoestrogens are a class of endocrine disrupting synthetic compounds that mimic estrogen in the body and are widely used in industrial compounds such as PCBs, BPA and phthalates. Xenoestrogens disrupt hormonal function, contributing to estrogen dominance and increased risk of cancer.

Tips to Avoid Xenoestrogens:
• BPA (Bisphenol A) is an industrial chemical that has been used to make certain plastics and resins since the 1960s. To cut back on your exposure to BPA, limit or avoid the use of canned food and plastics and look for prodcuts labeled as BPA-free.
• Do not heat food or water in plastic in the microwave.
• Don’t drink hot liquids in foam styrofoam cups.
• Avoid storing warm food in plastic bags.
• Use glass or ceramic whenever possible to store food and water.
• Do not use anything on the skin that contains parabens or phenoxyethanol. This includes shampoo, soap, makeup, hand lotion, body lotion, and toothpaste. Studies have found that our bodies can absorb up to 60% of what is applied to the skin directly into the bloodstream.
• Avoid commercially-raised, non-organic meats such as beef, chicken, and pork that has been grown with hormones.

Eat Onions and Garlic on a Daily Basis
Foods of the allium family which includes, onions, garlic, leeks, chives, scallions and shallots have been shown to have antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, immune boosting, cancer fighting qualities. Studies show that although some of the anticancer benefits of garlic are retained during cooking, raw garlic appears to have the most benefits.

Drink Purified Water
Drink water that has been steamed distilled or purified with a reverse osmosis filtering system. Although tap water has been treated to kill viruses and bacteria, the very chemicals used can react with other organic chemicals to produce chlorinated hydrocarbons, a probable carcinogen.

Over the past decade, researchers have been detecting trace amounts of pharmaceutical products in lakes, rivers, streams and tap water. Other chemical ingredients from cosmetics, toiletries, food additives and veterinary drugs, have also been found in the water supply. As a group, these chemicals have been dubbed “PPCPs” (pharmaceuticals and personal care products). Even though the amounts detected are minute, scientists and policy makers have begun to worry about possible harm to human health and the environment.



A New Year, A New You!

Wishing you all a very happy and blessed New Year!  Let’s enter the new year with an open and conscious mind. Act out of love, respond with kindness and choose healthy thoughts & food that nourish you on a cellular level. May all of your dreams come true in 2014! ♥

Looking to improve your health and diet but not sure how to go about it? Kick off the new year with a fresh and healthy start with a personalized nutrition consultation.

This Consultation Package Includes:

• A custom designed wellness plan, based on your unique nutritional needs and goals
• Full nutritional and health history analysis
• Written dietary and lifestyle recommendations
• Two-week meal plan with recipes
• Vitamin, mineral and herbal supplement suggestions best suited for your individual needs
• Natural pain and symptom management tips

Goals of The personalized Holistic Nutrition Consultation

• To promote overall wellness and balance all systems in the body
• To address the underlying cause of imbalances, not merely treat symptoms
• To correct nutritional deficiencies
• To improve digestion and the way the body absorbs nutrients
• To gently and safely cleanse the body of toxins
• To show you a new way to cook and prepare meals to reduce inflammation & free radical production and slow the aging process
• To educate, motivate and inspire you to pursue the best health possible, regardless of any health condition!

For a general health Personal Nutrition Consultation Package book >>HERE<<
For the Living and Thriving with Multiple Sclerosis Package book >>HERE<

Interested in booking a consultation but not living in the Guelph area, no problem! Most of our consultations are handled online. Communication is handled through email, telephone or skype and all information, meal plans and recipes are sent to you through email.