Articles, Uncategorized

Do You Really Need to Detox Your Liver?

The liver is the most important organ in the body when it comes to getting rid of toxins!

Since the liver is responsible for whole-body detoxification, you’re actually detoxifying your entire body when you support optimal liver function.

The liver, known as the master organ of detoxification, needs to be supported on a daily basis. Due to the chemicals we are exposed to every single day, it is sometimes not enough to just rely on your body’s natural processes.

What can overload or impair the liver’s ability to detoxify?

  • High exposure to environmental toxins, alcohol, and heavy metals.
  • An inflammatory diet, trans fatty acids and excess sugar can inhibit both phase I and phase II liver detoxification pathways.
  • Several differet medications can either inhibit or modify detoxification enzymes.
  • Free radicals from immune complexes or viruses.
  • Nutritional deficiencies. Sufficient levels of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, essential fatty acids, and sulphur containing amino acids are required to ensure optimal liver function.

    sluggish liver If you have 3 or more of the symptoms above, you might benefit from the following tips to better support your liver health in our new online eCourse: Everyday Detox – Spring/Summer Edition – An Evidence-based, Whole Food Approach To Detoxification! 




Metabolism Destroyer #1: Negative Self-Talk

You Are The Gatekeeper of Your Mind
Excerpt from Chapter 1: Your Summer Best

Advances in the mind-body sciences are now proving what ancient wisdom traditions have been saying for centuries – the mind-body connection profoundly impact one another.
Specific ways of thinking can literally change the structure of your brain in ways that make you less prone to cravings and overeating.

Feeling, looking and being at our best does not always involve having a weight loss goal. Skinny after all, does not necessarily mean healthy. But with summer now upon us, achieving a healthy body weight and feeling our best is a goal for many of us.

Most of us have been taught to believe that the key to losing weight relies on the simple idea of eat less/move more. Sure, eating the appropriate amount of calories for our individual size, age, state of health and level of fitness is important, but there is way more to the equation. What we eat is only part of the story. The plot thickens when we take into account hormonal imbalances, stress levels, sleep patterns, blood sugar issues, and most importantly, our personal relationship with food and how we view our body. Our daily inner dialogue has a powerful effect on how we feel about ourselves. An unhealthy relationship with food can have an impact on our stress levels. This alters the way we digest and absorb the nutrients from what we eat, and can have a strong effect on our energy levels and metabolism.

In order to achieve and maintain a healthy body weight, we must first establish a healthy relationship with ourselves and the food we eat. The truth is, we don’t lose weight because we’ve found the right diet plan, or achieved super human willpower. We can achieve a healthy body weight when we change the way we think and feel about food, and allow positive thinking to fuel positive actions and lifelong behaviour!

“Your thoughts form your world. What you focus on in your life grows, what you think about expands and what you dwell on determines your destiny.”
– Who Will Cry When You Die, By Robin Sharma

How many times have you said the following to yourself?

“My metabolism is naturally slow.”
“I gain weight just by thinking about food.”
“I will always be overweight.”
“It’s impossible for me to lose weight.”
“Being overweight is in my genes. There’s nothing I can do to control it.”

Our mind has the power to shape our reality. The words we speak to ourselves on a daily basis have a profound influence on our lives. Become aware of your own personal dialogue.

What are you telling yourself every day?

If we can change how we think, we can change how we eat and nourish ourselves. Rewiring your brain to change the way you think about food can impact your health, happiness, and yes, can even have an effect on your metabolism. Norman Doidge, author of The Brain That Changes Itself and The Brain’s Way of Healing, demonstrates through multiple case studies that transforming, or healing the body can be stimulated by conscious habits of thought and action, by teaching the brain to “rewire itself”. It’s called neuroplasticity, and it’s a super power we all are born with. Neuroplasticity refers to the potential that the brain has to reorganize by creating new neural pathways. It is the brain’s way of tuning itself to meet your very own needs. Habitual thoughts and actions over time determine our destiny. If we think negative thoughts that are filled with harsh judgments towards ourselves, our actions will follow our thoughts and we get what we focus on.

The Nocebo Effect

Most of us have heard of “the placebo effect,” a phenomenon in which a placebo, or fake treatment improves a patient’s condition simply because the person has the expectation that it will be helpful. But sometimes the effect goes the other way, and a placebo can cause unpleasant symptoms. The same mind-body power that can heal, can also do harm. When patients in double-blinded clinical trials are warned about the side effects they may experience if they are given the real medication, approximately 25% experience severe side effects, even when they are only taking the placebo. This is called the “nocebo” effect.

Both the placebo and nocebo effect are two types of outcomes referred to as “expectation” effects. This means that the person taking the placebo may experience a side effect they expecting to happen. If a person expects to feel better, they often do. If the person believes they are taking a medication that may cause side effects, studies show, negative side effects are more likely reported. The placebo does not cause any of these effects directly. Instead, what the person believes creates a reaction.

Negative Thoughts Really Do Harm Your Health!

Researchers in San Diego examined death records of 28,169 Chinese-Americans and compared them to over 400,000 randomly selected matched controls. What they found was that Chinese-Americans die significantly earlier than normal (by as much as five years) if they have a combination of disease and fall within a birth year which Chinese astrology and Traditional Chinese Medicine consider ill-fated.

The researchers found that the stronger the Chinese-Americans attached to their traditional beliefs, the earlier they died. When the data was examined, they concluded that the reduction in life expectancy could not be explained by genetic factors, lifestyle choices or behaviour of the patients, or any other variable. The researchers could only conclude that the early death rates were not due to their genes, but because of their beliefs. They believe they will die younger because it is their fate, and those negative beliefs manifested as a shorter life span.

Medical School Syndrome

Another study shows that 70 to 80 percent of medical students report developing symptoms suggestive of the illnesses they are studying. Focusing your attention on health problems has been scientifically proven to predispose the body to illness. Excessive knowledge about what can go wrong with the human body can create paranoia and the body complies by getting sick. Although some might consider medical school syndrome trivial, mental health experts insist it is not a light matter. Imagined health problems can lead to real anxiety and manifest actual symptoms.

Every thought we have and self-judgment we make, impacts a field of energy around us. If every thought we have about ourselves is focused on the negative, we are ensuring and reinforcing that is how we feel. Dwelling on the things we do not like about ourselves, prevents us from focusing on all the positive attributes and beauty within us. The food we eat, as well as the thoughts we think are infused and flavoured with energy. We must work WITH positive and life affirming energy instead of against it.

Beware of your thoughts, they become your words.
Beware of your words, they become your actions.
Beware of your actions, they become your habits.
Beware of your habits, they become your character.
Beware of your character, it becomes your destiny.

Next Section: The Self Love Challenge – Silencing Your Inner Critic.
Available for instant download below!

Form a better relationship with food. Boost your metabolism. Radiate health from the inside out!
Download your copy of Your Summer Best: A Holistic Approach to Achieving Radiate Health!
Price: $18.00

Add to Cart




How Much Fiber Do We Really Need?

According to statistics, the average adult consumes roughly 15 grams of fiber each day, yet in order to prevent digestive and intestinal tract related health concerns and avoid constipation, the Institute of Medicine advises the average adult to consume between 25-38g of fiber every day.

It is important to keep in mind that each and every one of us has unique dietary needs. In some cases, those with acute digestive problems such as loose stools, diarrhea, stomach pain, and chronic gas and bloating are sometimes advised to reduce the amount of fiber in their diet temporarily—until the root of the problem is properly addressed by a qualified health practitioner.

There are several types of fiber that function differently and provide us with distinct health benefits, but we can categorize them into two main categories – soluble and insoluble fiber. Both types of fiber are found in varying degrees in fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans and whole grains.

Soluble Fiber helps slows digestion and allows the body to absorb nutrients from food. This type of fiber can help lower blood cholesterol and control blood sugar levels.

–> Foods High in Soluble Fiber Include: Oatmeal, blueberries, cucumbers, beets, quinoa, strawberries, celery, squash, nuts, apples, carrots, flax seeds, chia seeds oranges, apricots, kidney beans, black beans, chickpeas, hemp seeds, pears, asparagus, sunflower seeds, almonds, lentils

Insoluble Fiber is considered “gut-healthy fiber” because they add bulk to the stool and can help prevent constipation. Insoluble fiber also helps us feel fuller longer and can help cut cravings.

–> Foods High in Insoluble Fiber Include: Whole grains, barley, dark leafy vegetables, kale, spinach, nuts and seeds, oats, flax seeds, broccoli, zucchini, turnip, cabbage, celery, carrots, Brussels sprouts

In order to maintain optimal health and bowel regularity, these are the amounts of fiber we should aim for each day.

Children 1-3: 19g
Children 4-8: 25g
Girls 9-13: 26g
Boys 9-13: 31g
Girls 14-19: 26 g
Boys 14-19: 38g

Women 50 and younger: 26g
Men 50 and younger: 38g
Women 51 and older : 21g
Men 51 and older: 30g

Why Fiber Needs Vary
Both adults and children should aim for 14 grams of fiber for every 1,000 calories consumed. In general, men need more fiber than women because their calorie requirements are often higher. An adult woman’s calorie needs may only be 1,800 – 2,000 calories per day, which puts her fiber requirements between 26-28 grams a day. As a person ages, their calorie intake is often lower. Therefore, fiber requirements might decrease as a person gets older, depending on how active they are and their state of health.

Here is an example of what 26 grams of fiber would look like in one day.

1/2  cup rolled oats = 4.5g
1 apple = 3.8g
1/2 cup of blueberries = 2g
3 brazil nuts = 1.2g
1 Tbsp. ground flax seeds = 2g
1 cup of broccoli = 4g
1 medium, raw carrot = 1.7g
2 Tbsp. hemp seeds = 2g
1/2 cup of long grain brown rice = 2g
1/2 cup of green beans = 2g
1 cup of romaine lettuce = 1.5g

To put this in perspective, a high fiber meal plan might look something like the example below. Keep in mind, this is only an example of how to add more fiber to each meal, and does not take into account any other nutritional needs, or foods you might add to the meals.


Rolled oats with blueberries, almond milk and flax seeds
1 apple with 3 brazil nuts
Broccoli salad with shredded carrot and hemp seeds
Brown rice with green beans and a leafy green salad
Total: 26 grams of fiber

– Fiber helps stabilize blood sugar levels
– Promotes weight loss
– Supports good gut bacteria
– Prevents constipation
– Reduces the risk of colon cancer, hemorrhoids, diverticulitis and heart disease


Articles, Uncategorized

Deficiencies and Imbalances Related to Skin Issues



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 every day 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. In the remaining 90–95% of cases, the underlying cause can be related to environment and lifestyle factors. These include environmental toxins, long-term chemical exposure, infections, cigarette smoking, an inflammatory 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 will also be protecting yourself from other degenerative and fatal conditions like cardiovascular disease, stroke, diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease.

Increase Your Fiber
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, white rice and white 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 the fiber and protein and processing it into white bread, rice, pasta, pizza dough, pastry, cookies, donuts, cakes and other processed foods  reduces grains to a simple carbohydrate. These foods are known to quickly spike 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 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 GMOs
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 has been charred or grilled have been linked to increased cancer risk. If grilling, marinate 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 flax seeds and have been known to reduce the risk of breast and other hormone related cancers. The lignins in flax seeds 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, whole 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.  They 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.


*** Win This Amazing Health Food Gift Basket ***

Good afternoon everyone! What better way to start the weekend than by having a giveaway! In celebration of reaching 5,000 Facebook LIKES, I’m giving away this amazing gift basket filled with some awesome goodies generously donated by Market Fresh Guelph.

To enter, simply LIKE our Facebook Page and leave a comment on the gift basket picture. The winner will be chosen at random and announced on Sunday Nov.24th.

Let’s take a peek inside!
I found:
Lemon Ginger Green Tea
Enerjive Quinoa Crackers
Granola from Live Organic Raw
Tri-colour Quinoa
Sesame Chia Snacks from Live Organic Raw
Giddy Yoyo Raw Organic Chocolate Bar
Qia Chia Buckwheat Hemp Cereal
Stainless steel water canister

Good luck!
>>> Enter The Contest Here <<<



A Hormone That Stimulates Fat Loss and Improves Mood and Energy Levels?

DHEA: The anti-stress, anti-aging, feel-good hormone!

DHEA is one of the most abundant hormones in the body. It’s produced by the adrenal glands and is a precursor to the hormones estrogen and testosterone. It plays many roles in the body including supporting the health of the immune system, in particular, autoimmune imbalances. It also aids in tissue repair, improves sleep, and counteracts the effects of cortisol (stress hormones). DHEA also influences the body’s ability to lose fat and gain muscle and is famous for boosting the libido. It’s also a hormone that contributes to us feeling motivated, youthful and energetic!

The body’s natural production of DHEA varies dramatically with each stage of life. Very low levels are produced before puberty, peaks in our late 20’s or early 30’s, followed by a steady decline with advancing age or during long periods of stress or illness.

Sub-optimal levels of DHEA have been associated with many age-related degenerative conditions including: chronic inflammation, immune dysfunction, cognitive decline, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis and an increased risk for certain cancers.

Symptoms of Low DHEA

• Poor ability to handle stress
• Difficulty staying asleep at night
• Excess fat over the triceps
• Loss of motivation
• Lost sense of well-being, depression
• Reduced underarm or pubic hair growth
• Lack of hair on lower legs
• Dry skin
• Extreme Fatigue
• Aching joints
• A decrease in muscle mass
• Decreased bone density
• Low sex drive

Causes of Depletion

• A major cause of dwindling DHEA is high sugar and refined carbohydrate consumption, which increases blood sugar and insulin levels resulting in decreased production of DHEA in the adrenal glands. Blood sugar imbalances also create vitamin and mineral imbalances which puts further stress the adrenals and reduces DHEA production.
• Vitamin deficiencies
• Chronic stress
• Anger and unresolved emotional issues
• Poor sleeping habits
• Uncontrolled blood sugar
• Excess alcohol and caffeine
• Use of corticosteroids
• A sedentary lifestyle

Ways to Boost DHEA Naturally

The body produces DHEA all the time and it is possible to boost your body’s own production of DHEA naturally. The best way to make more DHEA in the body is to cultivate joy. Studies have show that people with a positive outlook actually create a self-sustaining cycle of DHEA production, which affect serotonin levels (our happy neurotransmitter) and in turn increases DHEA. One proven way to boost levels of DHEA is to find ways to express and create joy in your life. This of course can mean different things to different people. Discover and pursue what makes you happy in life and share this joy with family and friends.

Make Meaningful Connections
Human beings are social creatures — we like companionship. Connecting with family and friends in a healthy and loving way is one of the best ways to cultivate joy and happiness. Make a list of social activities you have always wanted to do. Take a class or join a group that shares your interests. Spend quality time with friends and family and enjoy meeting new people and making new connections.

Exercise Regularly
Regular exercise plays an important role in increasing DHEA production in the body. Moving the body, even through deep breathing and light stretching helps to reduce stress, sends oxygen to the cells and released mood-elevating endorphins though the bloodstream. If working out at the gym isn’t your thing, join martial arts, Tai Chi, go hiking, enjoy walks in nature or take a dance class.

Reduce Your Stress
Since stress lowers DHEA, it’s important to employ stress reducing practices like yoga, meditation or mindful reflection. Staying organized, writing to-do lists or journal writing are also ways to make life easier which can help ease stress caused by a busy and hectic lifestyle.
Don’t forget that laughing also helps lower stress and promotes the release of endorphins so have fun, which brings me to my next point…

It’s interesting that levels of DHEA decline as we grow older and enter the grown-up world of work and responsibility. Playtime shouldn’t be just for kids. Make time to spend with your partner,friends and your family. Hold pot lucks, sing karaoke, let loose and kick up your heels every once in a while! It’s good for your health!

While there are no direct food sources of DHEA, an anti-inflammatory diet is a critical aspect to alleviating stress in the body in order to naturally boost DHEA levels from the adrenal glands. An anti-inflammatory diet is one that is low in sugar, refined carbohydrates, rancid/heated oils and rich in phytonutrients and trace minerals from fresh, raw or lightly steamed vegetables. Anti-inflammatory herbs are also beneficial such as turmeric, ginger, rosemary, thyme, oregano and cinnamon. Try adding them to your meals on a daily basis. Healthy fats are also is needed to produce DHEA. Include coconut products, avocados, olives, flax, hemp, chia seeds and other raw nuts & seeds.
Increasing your levels of magnesium, a calming and relaxing mineral can also help manage stress levels.

Getting 7-9 hours of sleep each night will allow the adrenal glands to effectively heal and repair from lifestyle stress and regulates our natural biological circadian clock and reduces cortisol.

DHEA Supplements
Many people opt to take DHEA supplements however, lifestyle factors that deplete DHEA levels should be addressed first. The most important factors include reducing/eliminating adrenal stressors such as chronic inflammation, physical & emotional stress, leaky gut syndrome, candida, infections, nutritional deficiencies, poor sleep and blood sugar imbalances.

While some natural health practitioners support the use of supplementing with DHEA supplements, I find it comes with too many risks and unwanted side effects.
An inappropriate amount of supplemental DHEA can trigger further hormonal imbalances which has been linked to wide range of health complications.


Cold and Flu Prevention and Recovery Guide

Coughing, sneezing, sore throat, stuffy nose, watery eyes,
muscle aches and pains, fatigue.
It’s that time of year again!


Fortunately, there’s a lot we can do to keep our immune systems strong to prevent us from getting sick this season. Giving the body what it needs to function at its optimal best and keeping a constant supply of nutrients in the body will help ensure we can resist any pathogen we might encounter. Every year I see the same well-meaning advice; wash your hands, don’t touch your face, sneeze into your sleeve. While these are some helpful tips, let’s take things a few steps further!
Although there isn’t one singular food or nutrient that will provide an instant boost to your immune system, developing the habit of eating a balanced, healthy diet with a large variety of nutrient dense foods will help keep your immune system in tip-top shape. It’s also important to avoid substances and factors which suppress immune function like refined sugars, processed food, inadequate sleep, chronic stress, lack of exercise and poor digestion.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!

Reduce Your Sugar Intake
With Halloween just around the corner and an abundance of sugary treats everywhere, many people often get sick this time of year due to overloading their systems with refined and processed sugars. Multiple studies have shown 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.
• Use lower glycemic sweeteners in your baking this season, like stevia or coconut sugar.
• Replace heavily sweetened and processed candy and sweets with fruit or homemade, low sugar treats.
• Try 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.

Increase Your Consumption of Whole Foods
Limit your consumption of refined, processed and prepackaged foods and replace with fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, beans and legumes, which contain vitamins, minerals, enzymes and other phytochemicals that help support the immune system.
• Aim to eat at least 5 different nutrient dense foods a day. Start by having a fresh, homemade vegetable juice or green smoothie in the morning and a large, colourful salad or veggie soup at lunch.
• Add veggies to whole grain pasta, try roasted root vegetables, spaghetti squash pad thai, asparagus soup, sautéed kale with garlic, veggie stir-frys, sweet potato burgers.

Vitamin D
For those of us living in North America, shorter days means less exposure to sunlight and greater odds of suffering low vitamin D, which can lead to seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and lowered immunity.
• 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.
• Use full-spectrum lighting.

Vitamin C
Multiple studies have shown vitamin C is capable of reducing the duration of the common cold. Vitamin C is best taken in conjunction with other antioxidants and bioflavonoids, as isolated vitamin C supplements may actually act as a pro-oxidant in the body.
• Vitamin C is best consumed from whole food sources like lemons, limes, red peppers, broccoli, cantaloupe, papaya and leafy greens like kale, spinach and swiss chard.
• Avoid orange juice, eat the entire orange instead! Despite what many of us have grown up to believe, orange juice is not the best source of vitamin C since both glucose and vitamin C have the same receptor sites for absorption. Orange juice is a concentrated form of sugar. Higher levels of circulating blood sugar means less vitamin C will enter the cells. Therefore, it’s best to eat the entire orange, which contains fiber and slows the release of sugar into the bloodstream, allowing more vitamin C to be absorbed.
• Camu camu berries are an excellent source of vitamin C, containing 60 times more vitamin C than oranges! Dehydrated camu camu powder can be found in many health food stores and are an excellent addition to any smoothie.

Foods rich in beta-carotene are converted to vitamin A in the body, which is essential for maintaining a strong immune system. Vitamin A is especially important to help keep the mucous membranes that line the nose and throat (one of the body’s first lines of defense), healthy and functioning properly.
• Enjoy foods such as dark green and orange fruit and vegetables, carrots, sweet potatoes, yams, winter squash, pumpkin, spinach, collards, kale, turnip greens, beet greens, apricots, asparagus, peas, peppers, plums, cantaloupe, mangoes and peaches.
• Rev up the immune enhancing power of these foods by combining them with garlic, onions and turmeric in soups and stews! Have you tried our Ginger Carrot Parsnip Soup yet?

Sulfur Containing Foods
Sulfur is required for the synthesis of glutathione (the body’s natural antioxidant), which helps to support detoxification pathways.
• To strengthen and support the immune system during cold and flu season, try increasing your consumption of sulfur-rich foods such as: broccoli, cauliflower, garlic, onions, brussels sprouts, cabbage, asparagus, kale, bok choy, leeks, spinach, okra, shallots and eggs.

Garlic and Onions
Aside from their sulfur containing component, garlic and onions both possess natural antibiotic and anti-microbial properties. Use them in your everyday cooking to keep cold viruses at bay.
• 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 twice a day.
• For extra immune system protection, try combining fresh garlic, onions and ginger in recipes for an increased synergetic effect!

Probiotics support the immune system by improving digestion and absorption of nutrients and by reducing inflammatory responses in the body. They are also important during and after a round of antibiotics to replace the beneficial bacteria in the gut that is destroyed during antibiotic therapy.
• Supplement with a high quality multi-strain probiotic.
• Consume cultured and fermented probiotic foods such as sauerkraut, miso, tempeh, kimchi, kombucha and unsweetened yogurt.
Prebiotics, which are indigestible forms of dietary fibre that triggers the growth of beneficial bacteria in the digestive tract are also supportive of a healthy immune system. Foods that act as prebiotics include whole grains, bananas, apples, onions, garlic, honey, green beans, leeks, artichokes, asparagus, oats, chicory, flax seeds, burdock and dandelion root.

Stress Reduction and Relaxation
Studies have shown that 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.
• Try deep breathing exercises to lessen the effects of stress.
• Practice guided imagery, meditation or yoga.
• Listen to your favourite music, go dancing, spend time with good friends.
• 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 of being able to jump-start the immune system and can help 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.
• Explore walking or biking on park trails, rake the leaves
• 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., take a dance class, join a mall walking program

Cold and Flu Recovery Diet

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

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.
• Oil of oregano drops can be placed under the tongue or added to a tiny amount of water.
• It also comes in capsule form and as a mouth spray.

Ginger has been used for thousands of years as a natural treatment for colds and flu around Asia.
• A soothing ginger tea can be made to help clear nasal congestion and is helpful for relieving nausea and vomiting associated with the flu.
• Honey added to ginger tea can be used for reducing coughs and sore throats.

A long time remedy to soothe an irritated throat and reduce coughs.
• A cup of warm almond or rice milk milk mixed with honey before bed is effective for relieving night time cough.
• Crushed garlic covered in honey can help sooth a cough and reduce the duration and severity of a cold or flu.

Turmeric, an orange-colored spice native to India, is part the ginger family and has been a staple in Middle Eastern and Southeast Asian cooking for thousands of years. In has been used throughout history as a condiment and healing remedy in ayurvedic and Chinese medicine to clear infections and inflammation in the body.
Turmeric has potent anti-microbial properties to help the immune system fight off bacteria and viruses and acts as a potent pain reliever.
• 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 also be purchased in capsule form.

Zinc is important for a healthy immune system and is needed by the human body to activate T lymphocytes. It’s can also help prevent a cold or flu virus from reproducing and is useful in relieving respiratory symptoms and sore throats.
• 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, alfalfa, cayenne, parsley, sage, chamomile, chickweed, dandelion, fennel seed, milk thistle, wild yam, eggs, liver, and oysters.
• Zinc supplements should not be used if one has a fever, as it is not properly absorbed in the presence of a fever.

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.
There are many proprietary blends of echinacea that have been developed which contain other immune enhancing herbs.

Grapefruit Seed Extract
Grapefruit seed extract was originally developed as an anti-parasitic, but studies quickly showed that it had the ability to inhibit the growth of not only parasites, but fungi and over 800 types of viruses and bacteria. The active ingredients of grapefruit seed extract contain extremely potent compounds that are useful in killing strep, staph, salmonella, E. Coli, candida and herpes.
Available in liquid form, you can gargle with a few drops of it diluted into water to help alleviate a sore throat or it can be taken in capsule form.

Both an adaptogen (a substance which increases the body’s ability to resist the damaging effects of stress and promote or restore normal physiological functioning) and an antiviral, this herb has been shown to stimulate and raise white blood cell levels, which are vital for fighting infection, thus helping to reduce the duration and severity of symptoms related to the common cold and flu viruses.

Cat’s Claw
Named for the hook-like thorns that grow along the vine of this medicinal plant, compounds found in this potent antioxidant, anti-inflammatory herb naturally boosts the immune system and possesses anti-bacterial and antiviral properties. In clinical studies, cat’s claw has shown useful for fighting symptoms of a cold, helps to relieve pain and inflammation and provides protection against pneumonia.

Elderberry Extract
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.

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.
• Stay Hydrated. Replace fluid loss by drinking water, herbal tea, fresh juices and broths.
• Get plenty of rest.
• Take a cool sponge bath.
• If fever rises above 102°, consult your health care provider.
Beneficial Herbs: Elderberry, catnip, yarrow, feverfew, ginger, echinacea
Homeopathic Remedies: Belladonna, aconite nappellus


Whether you’re looking to strengthen your immune system to protect yourself from catching a cold or the flu this season or you’re already fighting something off, the following tips will help support your immune system and allow your body to recover faster.

• Follow a whole foods diet, low in sugar and processed food
• Avoid nutritional deficiencies, getting adequate vitamin C, D, beta-carotene
and zinc
• Consume sulfur containing foods
• Add garlic, onions and ginger to your meals on a daily basis
• Maintain healthy digestive and intestinal health
• Stay hydrated
• Get adequate sleep
• Exercise, walk or stretch daily
• Practice stress reduction techniques
• Laugh, sing, dance, play, eat heal love ♥

* Before taking any vitamin or herbal supplement, consult your primary health provider and ask your pharmacist to check for drug/herb interactions.


Tips on Following a Whole Foods Diet!

Whole foods are unprocessed food in their natural state. They are fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, beans and legumes that haven’t been stripped of their fiber, protein and other vital nutrients. They are full of
vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, live enzymes, healthy fats and fiber, as well as hundreds of phytonutrients that work together to give the body exactly what it needs to function at its optimal best. Whole foods do not contain chemical additives, preservatives, artificial flavors or colors.

Many studies have found that a whole food, plant-based diet is associated with a reduced risk from conditions such as: cardiovascular disease, diabetes, many types of cancer and even autoimmune conditions.