Articles, Living with MS

Living with Multiple Sclerosis For 20 Years – Opening my Vault of MS Stories

This September 2021 is my 20 year MS-iversary and I’ve decided to open my vault of personal stories and share what life has been like for the past 20 years living with this illness – stories I’ve never told publicly before!

Some of the things I’ll be talking about in this video series:

  • how I was diagnosed with MS
  • tests I was given to diagnose MS
  • multiple sclerosis medications I’ve been on
  • being relapse-free for 10 years
  • how I eat to manage MS
  • funny, sad, embarrassing MS moments
  • different MS symptoms I’ve had

If you’re interested in this type of content, please subscribe to my YouTube channel so you don’t miss any of these videos!

Articles

How to Fight a Cold or Flu – Holistic Tips-Autoimmune Safe


In order to give your body the best chance of fighting off a cold or flu virus, it’s very important to be in tune with your body. Oftentimes, right before a cold or flu virus takes hold, you might feel more tired than usual. You might experience fatigue, or body aches and pain. Listen to the clues your body gives you!

In this video, I share strategies I’ve been using for the past ten years to ward off illness during cold and and flu season.

There are so many ways we can support the immune system and provide protection against catching a cold or flu. Reducing stress and eliminating certain things from your diet can have a huge impact on the body’s ability to stop a virus from taking hold of your body (backed by science). Before doing the things I share in this video, I used to get sick quite frequently. Growing up I had chronic throat infections (even into my early 30s) before changing my diet and lifestyle habits

But did you know, even if we’re exposed to a virus, there are 6 stages that are essential for that virus to replicate. If you act immediately and don’t delay, you can halt the process before it takes hold. But you have to be in tune with your body and recognize the first signs so you can take action as soon as possible. These days, even if I feel like I’m about to get sick, I immediately jump into action and my symptoms end up being very mild and only last a few days at most. Please stay safe and healthy!



Articles

6 Nutrients That Help Repair Myelin-Multiple Sclerosis

When the myelin sheath is damaged, nerves do not conduct electrical impulses normally. This results in sensations like: muscle weakness, tingling pins and needle sensations, memory problems, and fatigue. Yes, all the symptoms of MS! The good news is that with the help of certain nutrients, the human body has an amazing natural ability to repair myelin. In the video, I talk about 6 of them.

Articles

How to Follow an Anti-inflammatory Diet

My entire 6-part video series on how to follow an anti-inflammatory diet is now up on my YouTube channel!
This is probably some of the most important information I have to share because inflammation is connected with so many different health conditions, including multiple sclerosis, which I have been living with for 19 years now. As long as the body is inflamed, it will be very difficult to manage any health condition.
Excessive levels of inflammation has also been found in people diagnosed with Covid-19. In severe cases, hyper-inflammation, also know as a cytokine storm can exacerbate breathing difficulties.

Watch the first video in this series below, which will help you assess your levels of inflammation.

Part 1: Are you Inflamed?
Part 2: Lifestyle Factors That Contribute to Inflammation
Part 3: Digestive Inflammation
Part 4: Inflammatory Foods
Part 5: Anti-inflammatory Foods
Part 6: Anti-inflammatory Herbs and Supplements

* If you would like a copy of all the notes from this series, which includes a list of both inflammatory foods, anti-inflammatory foods and supplements plus some bonus information, it can be found HERE.

Articles

COVID-19 Prevention and Recovery Guide

Disclaimer:
I am not a doctor. I am a holistic nutritionist.
This information is intended for general wellbeing and educational purposes. It is not meant to substitute for the advice of a medical professional. Never take any nutritional supplement before talking to your primary health care provider. Please follow public health advisories.

Scroll down for holistic tips.
Also see: What to do at the first signs


An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!

As the number of cases of COVID-19 continues to grow, I thought I’d put together a holistic protocol that covers both prevention and recovery.

How the Virus Spreads
Human coronaviruses cause infections of the nose, throat and lungs. They are most commonly spread from an infected person through:

  • respiratory droplets generated when you cough or sneeze
  • close, prolonged personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands
  • touching something with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose or eyes before washing your hands

Standard Prevention Protocol

In general, the following advice can help reduce the risk of infection or spreading infection to others:

  • stay home if you are sick
  • when coughing or sneezing: cover your mouth and nose with your arm to reduce the spread of germs
  • dispose of any tissues you have used as soon as possible and wash your hands afterwards
  • wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands

Source:
https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/prevention-risks.htm


Holistic Strategies for Added Protection

Reduce Your Sugar Intake
Studies show that sugar compromises the immune system by decreasing neutrophil activity (cells in the immune system that fight infection and pathogens). Sugar also makes our bodies more acidic, which is the perfect breeding ground for bacteria and viruses to thrive. The more sugar we have in our bloodstream, the less immune protection we have.

Tips

  • Use lower glycemic sweeteners such as stevia.
  • Replace heavily sweetened and processed candy and sweets with fruit or homemade, low sugar treats.
  • Healthier treats: baked apples sprinkled with cinnamon, zucchini banana muffins sweetened with apple sauce or homemade pumpkin spice oatmeal cookies.
  • Kale, zucchini or apple chips and baked chickpeas make delicious and nutritious snack options.

Vitamin D (antiviral)
Multiple studies have shown that vitamin D deficiency can harm immune function and increase your risk of developing respiratory illnesses. Vitamin D is necessary for the proper functioning of your immune system, which is your body’s first line of defence against infection and disease. Studies provide evidence that vitamin D deficiency may lead to an increased risk of viral infections such as influenza and respiratory tract infections. For those of us living in North America, shorter days during these winter months means less exposure to sunlight and greater odds of suffering from low vitamin D, which can lead to lowered immunity.

Tips

  • If you can’t spend at least 20-25 minutes in direct sunlight each day, try supplementing with vitamin D3.
    Increase your consumption of vitamin D rich foods like fish (salmon, trout, mackerel, tuna), eggs and mushrooms.
  • Be sure to also get enough magnesium. Vitamin D needs magnesium to activate.

Zinc (antiviral)
Zinc is important for a healthy immune system and is known to stop viral replication and is useful in relieving respiratory symptoms and sore throats.

Tips

  • Zinc supplements and lozenges are available in most health food stores or pharmacies.
  • Food sources include: pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, kelp, legumes, lima beans, pecans, whole grains, eggs, liver, and oysters.

Vitamin C (antiviral)
Vitamin C for is important for immune support because of  its strong antioxidant and antiviral properties.
A lack of vitamin C has been long known to increase susceptibility to viruses. In fact, studies have shown that vitamin C deficiency is related to the increased risk and severity of influenza infections.
However, not all vitamin C is created equal! Vitamin C in tablet form does not deliver the full range of benefits since they poorly absorbed.
For optimal immune support against viruses I recommend at least 1,000 to 3,000 mg of liposomal vitamin C  a day. Liposomal delivery allows the vitamin C to bypass through the digestive system for better absorption into the bloodstream.

Tips

  • Increase vitamin C from whole food sources like lemons, limes, red peppers, broccoli, cantaloupe, papaya and leafy greens like kale, spinach and swiss chard.
  • Avoid drinking orange juice. Eat the entire orange instead! Orange juice is not the best source of vitamin C since both glucose and vitamin C have the same receptor sites for absorption (glut-1 receptor transport system). Orange juice is a concentrated form of sugar. Higher levels of circulating blood sugar means less vitamin C will enter the cells. The Glut-1 receptor transport system has a preference for glucose, which means it will choose sugar over Vitamin C when given the opportunity.

Garlic and Onions
Garlic and onions possess natural antibiotic and anti-microbial properties. Use them in your everyday cooking to keep colds and viruses at bay.

Tips

  • Use daily in meals by adding fresh garlic and onions to soups, salads, pasta sauces and stir-fry recipes.
  • For acute cold and flu symptoms, crush one clove of garlic on a spoon, cover with manuka honey and swallow with a tiny amount of water before bed.
  • For extra immune system protection, try combining fresh garlic, onions and ginger in recipes for an increased synergetic effect!

Turmeric
Turmeric has potent anti-microbial properties to help the immune system fight off bacteria and viruses and acts as a potent pain reliever. Fermented turmeric optimizes its potency and is 1.5 times stronger than the regular turmeric.

Tips

  • Add to soups, stews, stir-fry or smoothies.
  • For acute pain, mix 1/2 tsp. of turmeric to one cup of almond milk with 1 tsp. honey.
  • Turmeric can also be purchased in capsule form.

Elderberry Extract
* Use caution if you have an autoimmune condition.
Scientists have identified a chemical compound in elderberries that immediately immobilizes the flu virus. The unique phytochemicals found in elderberries block the virus from entering, or even attaching to, our healthy cells, when taken preventatively during flu season.
Even if the flu has already taken hold, the compound prevents the virus from replicating, eliminating symptoms within 48 hours.
The high antioxidant, antiviral properties of elderberry extract is useful for treating coughs, colds, flu, tonsillitis and bacterial & viral infections . It is also recommended for upper respiratory tract infections and headaches associated with the common cold and helps to promotes sweating, which can help break a fever.

Oil of Oregano
Numerous studies have shown oil of oregano to be a potent antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal agent. Remarkably, it accomplishes this without promoting the development of drug resistant viruses and other problems often attributed to the use of standard antibiotics.

Tips

  • Oil of oregano drops can be placed under the tongue or added to a tiny amount of water.<
  • It also comes in capsule form./li>

Echinacea
* Use caution if you have an autoimmune condition.
There have been over 300 scientific investigations into the immune-enhancing effects of the echinacea purpurea root. Unlike traditional antibiotics or natural herbs that kill bacteria directly, echinacea works indirectly by stimulating the body to produce more infection-fighting white blood cells. It may also stimulate the release of interferons, one of the body’s most potent infection-fighting weapons which prevent bacteria and viruses from reproducing.

Probiotics
Probiotics support the immune system by improving digestion and absorption of nutrients. They also reduce inflammatory responses in the body. Probiotics are also important during and after a round of antibiotics to replace the beneficial bacteria in the gut that is destroyed during antibiotic therapy.

Tips

  • Supplement with a high quality multi-strain probiotic. 50 Billion strength is ideal if you have taken antibiotics.

Stress Reduction and Relaxation
Ongoing stress can make us more susceptible to illnesses. Reducing the amount of stress in your life and improving your ability to cope with stress can help improve the immune system. There’s evidence that when you put your relaxation skills into action, interleukins (leaders in the immune system response against cold and flu viruses) increase in the bloodstream.

Tips

  • Try deep breathing exercises to lessen the effects of stress.
  • Practice guided imagery, meditation or yoga.
  • Enjoy a warm bath with lavender or clove essential oils at the end of a long day.

Exercise Regularly
Regular exercise appears to have the ability to reduce the frequency of colds and flus. With exercise, the number and aggressiveness of certain immune cells, such natural killer cells, increase by as much as 50% to 300%. If you exercise regularly, this increase can help make the immune system more efficient at destroying intruders that cause illness.
During the winter months, take advantage of the wonderful activities the cooler weather can bring.

Tips

  • Explore walking or biking on park trails
  • In colder weather try ice skating, tobogganing or skiing, build snowmen
  • Indoor activities: listen to music and dance while doing house chores, take the stairs instead of the elevator, run or walk in place while watching t.v.

Cold and Flu Recovery Diet

What if you’ve already caught the virus and want to recover faster? Follow these diet and lifestyle tips to boost your recovery.

Lung Healing Protocol
Avoid Lung Irritants: Smoking, chemicals, bleach, fragrances, dust, pollution
These increase the risk of lung infection by irritating the nose, throat, and lower airways. This causes the body to produce more mucus.

Helpful Herbal Tinctures
Respirafect by St. Francis Herb Farm

  • Contains a combination of antiviral, anti-inflammatory herbs. Combats lung and bronchial infections, especially when accompanied by sputum coughed up from lower airways.
  • Demulcent anti-inflammatory that helps the lungs eliminate the burden of excess mucus.

Dealing With a Cough
A cough may develop when the body is trying to expel fluid from the lungs to get rid of the infection. Therefore, using a cough suppressant is not the best idea. It is still possible to reduce the severity of a cough using natural methods.

Saltwater Gargle
Mucus sitting in the throat and chest can lead to more coughing and irritation. A warm saltwater gargle may help eliminate mucus or germs in the throat, which may provide some relief.

Herbal Teas to Treat A Cough
Peppermint, eucalyptus, ginger,  licorice root, marshmallow root, mullein

Consume Mucus-Reducing Foods
Warm fluids help break-up mucus, flush your system of toxins and promote hydration.Stay hydrated with herbal teas, vegetable soups and bone broth.
Vegetable soups, bone broth, leafy greens, broccoli, kale, romaine lettuce, celery, onion, garlic, ginger salmon, tuna, nuts and seeds

Avoid Mucus Forming Foods
Milk, bread, pasta, cereal, bananas, potatoes, corn, soy products, sweet desserts, candy, coffee, soda, alcoholic beverages

Dealing With a Fever
Allowing a low-grade fever (up to 102° F) to run it course may actually be beneficial. An elevated temperature is the body’s way of fighting infection.

Tips

  • Stay Hydrated. Replace fluid loss by drinking water, herbal tea, fresh juices and broths.
    Get plenty of rest.
  • Take a cool sponge bath.

* If you are living with an autoimmune condition or any other serious health condition, please consult your primary health care provider before taking any herbal supplement.

Flu-Fighting Essentials
Natural Factors Vitamin D3 Softgels
Liposomal Vitamin C 

Elderberry capsules
Oil of Oregano

Fermented Turmeric 
Echinacea Super Concentrated Softgel Capsules
Advanced Gut Health Probiotics
Zinc-Copper Balance Capsules 
Stop It Cold Throat Spray
Respirafect for Lung Infections 

 

Uncategorized

Chocolate Avocado Pie

Chocolate Avocado Pie
Gluten-free * Dairy-Free

Ingredients
283g bag Chocolate chips, semi-sweet (Enjoy Life- Dairy-free chocolate chips)
2 Ripe avocados
½ cup Peanut butter (unsweetened, creamy)
½ cup Almond milk, unsweetened
1 Graham cracker pie crust, store-bought or homemade
1 Tbsp. coconut oil

Directions:
1. Melt the chocolate chips and coconut oil in a double boiler on the stove or in the microwave, stirring frequently.
2. Peel the avocados and add them to a food processor with the almond milk, peanut butter and melted chocolate.  Blend until smooth.
3. Pour into a prepared graham cracker pie crust and spread it evenly.
4. Cover and refrigerate overnight, or until firm

If you don’t want to use a premade pie crust, below is my favourite homemade pecan pie crust.

Homemade Pecan Pie Crust
Crust Ingredients:
2 cups raw pecans
2 cups rolled oats, processed into flour
12 dates, pitted
1/2 tsp. Himalayan pink salt
2 Tbsp. coconut oil

Method:
Preheat oven to 350° F.
1. Grind the oats into a fine powder using a food processor, then transfer to a bowl.
2. Add the pecans to the food processor and grind until finely chopped. If the mixture becomes too dry, scrape down the sides of the food processor, add a bit of coconut oil and continue.
3. When the pecans are fully ground, add the dates and process until finely chopped.
4. When the dates are broken down, add the previously made oat flour and salt. Process until well combined.
5. Press the mixture into bottom of a lightly greased pie pan.
6. Bake for 10 minutes and allow to cool before continuing.

Videos

What Does it Mean to Hold Space? Part 2-How to Beat Fatigue

This is part 2 to my video on How to Beat Fatigue, which can be found here: https://youtu.be/1e2uDvt1lLU

In the video I made about how to beat fatigue and improve energy levels naturally, I touched upon the idea of “holding space” so I thought I’d expand on that idea. Holding space for ideas, belief systems, or unhealthy relationships where do we not feel understood or supported, can deplete us of life vitality and energy.
Everything we think, eat, and experience can either give us energy or take it away. If you’re struggling with chronic fatigue, it’s important to pay attention to what makes you feel drained and depleted, and the thoughts, situations and experiences that uplift you.

Whenever I’m trying to make a decision about what I might need to cut out, eliminate or include in my life, I reflect on the following.

How does this make me feel?
Heavy or light
Inspired or discouraged
Heard & understood or dismissed
Uplifted or sunken
Free to express or suppressed 
Expanded or contracted

Below is a daily affirmation I have been using to help improve my energy levels during the heaviness of the past year, where I have struggled off and on with feelings of unbearable hopelessness and fatigue.

Daily Affirmation for Manifesting Abundant Energy
Video: https://youtu.be/e8ZhN0AauW0

Videos

How to Improve Sleep Naturally – Holistic Diet and Lifestyle Tips

There are many factors that can interfere with our ability to fall asleep and stay asleep. When addressing any health concern, I always like to start with discussing what the body actually needs in terms of nutrients and lifestyle habits to promote balance, so I’ll talk about that first, then I’ll offer additional tips in the form of helpful supplements and herbs.

3 Important Sleep Habits that can Help Improve the Quality of Your Sleep:
1. Stick to a schedule
2. Limit your exposure to light at night
3. Keep your bedroom cool

Helpful Supplements
Tart Cherry Juice: helps increase melatonin naturally (also helps reduce pain and inflammation) Available in capsule form as well. https://amzn.to/3g094Tn 

Magnesium: A natural relaxant for both the body and mind. Regulates neurotransmitters like GABA https://amzn.to/3CJuFZR

Relaxation Blend by Sisu: Contains a great combination of magnesium, GABA and L-Theanine, which when used together helps promote relaxation so you can fall asleep easier and stay asleep. https://amzn.to/3m2Ofuj 

Herbal Teas:
Chamomile
Nighty Night Tea (chamomile and passion flower)
Valerian Root (for occasional use only)

* When taking supplements for sleep, 8 full hours of sleep is recommended to prevent drowsiness in the morning.

Videos

A Pill That Cures Multiple Sclerosis

This is an excerpt from the full interview I did with Peggy about her experiences living with multiple sclerosis. Whenever I do these interviews, the conversation tends to last long after I’ve finished asking the initial questions so I usually keeping the camera recording in case anything interesting comes up.

At one point I asked her, “if there was a magic pill to cure MS, would you take it?”
This is where the conversation became really interesting.

Videos

Peggy’s MS Story

I met Peggy several years ago when she came to one of my health and nutrition lectures. She was diagnosed with MS in 2016 and has a lot of really insightful things to share about her journey living with multiple sclerosis! Her story is one of inspiring perseverance and determination to beat this disease.

Videos

Low Fat Diets and High Cholesterol

The question about low fat diets comes up a lot when talking about multiple sclerosis. I admit, the topic can be really confusing because different sources often give completely different advice. In this video, I’ll explain the role of fat in the body, the benefits of “good” fats and what types of fat we should limit.

Living with MS, Videos

Steve’s Multiple Sclerosis Story

Steve was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 2004 at the age of 23.
When I came across his YouTube channel where he talks about how he manages his MS with diet and lifestyle, I knew I had to hear his story! We ended up having an amazing conversation that lasted over 2 hours and in the process, I made a great new friend!

Articles, Videos

5 Signs Your Diet Isn’t Working For You

Confused about which type of diet is most suitable for you? It can be extremely frustrating to weed through all the health and nutrition info out there, especially if you’re living with a chronic health condition. In this video I list 5 things that might be going on in your body, which might help lead you in the right direction as far as your food choices. 

Living with MS, Videos

MS Stories – Meet Ashleigh

Meet Ashleigh, a friend of mine who was diagnosed with MS at the age of 33. She kindly agreed to share her MS story.

We all have a story to tell and yours is important. If you’d like to tell your multiple sclerosis story, I’d love to hear it! Please don’t hesitate to contact me.