DIY Cough Syrup

Colds and flus are all around us this month! Are you coughing and sneezing along with the rest of us? One of my regular go-to's for this time of year is DIY Cough Syrup. It's easy to make, isn't full up crap and doesn't suppress the symptoms.

Remember, the cure for the cold is the cold itself.

Your body simply needs to fight off the virus, and you can help it by giving yourself lots of antimicrobial support in the form of garlic and onions. These two members of the Allium family are exceptionally high in antimicrobials amongst other things. But it's best to consume them in raw form, which is where this syrup comes in handy. So get out your chopping board and let's get started:

Ingredients:

  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 large yellow or small purple onion, peeled
  • 2 cups honey, divided into 4 x 1/4 cups

Methods:

  1. Quarter the onion.
  2. Coarsely chop 1/4 of the onion and 1 clove of garlic. Place these in a small glass Mason jar and cover with 1/4 c of honey.
  3. Repeat step 2 until you have used up all garlic and onion.
  4. Place in the refrigerator. It will be ready within 1 hour, but it keeps for up to 5 days.
  5. You'll notice a thin liquid forming on top of the mixture. Take 2 Tbsp of this liquid as needed to alleviate your cold.

Optional Additions: 1 tsp cayenne, 1 tsp ground ginger

NOTE: please do not use if you have an Allium family sensitivity or for children under the age of 1.

Thanks for reading & let me know how you feel after trying them out.

Don’t forget to share with a friend in need, too.

P.S. Have questions? Contact me.

Canadian Iced Tea Mocktail Recipe

Prep Time: 15 minutes Cooking Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 8

It’s the Canada Day long weekend, and that means hot weather and cold drinks. Thankfully, there are alternatives to beer, wine coolers, and the other alcoholic beverages that seem to dominate during summer holidays. This Canadian Iced Tea mocktail is a perfect choice. Complete with black tea’s antioxidant power, lemon’s liver cleansing effects, and maple syrup’s satisfying sweetness, you’ve got a super summer sipper. What makes it Canadian? The maple syrup, of course! Happy Canada Day!

How does this mocktail fit into a healthy diet? Since it contains sugar in the form of maple syrup, and dehydrating black tea, it’s best to limit this to occasional enjoyment. Save it for long weekends and the odd patio evening. It shouldn’t be a part of a daily diet.

INGREDIENTS 3 litres of water 2 litres sparkling water, chilled 4-5 black tea bags of your choice 3/4 cup maple syrup 2 tsp pure vanilla extract 2 lemons, juiced 1 lemon, sliced for garnish

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. In a saucepan over high heat, bring 1 cup water and maple syrup to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-high and let simmer for 5 minutes. Note: It doesn't need to reduce to the point of being an actual syrup. Remove saucepan from heat and set aside.
  2. Boil the remaining water in a large pot. Add tea bags to the pot. Let steep for 15 minutes, or longer for stronger tea.
  3. Remove the pot from the heat. Then scoop out the teabags. Add maple syrup-water combination, a splash of vanilla, and the juice of 2 lemons. Stir.
  4. Pour into a serving jug and add chilled sparkling water.
  5. Serve over ice with a lemon garnish.

3 Ways to Stay Healthy While Traveling

My mom and sister were packing for their business trip to Australia when they asked me how they should stay healthy while away for so long. I made a few suggestions based on a few common trouble areas.

Here are 3 ways to stay healthy while traveling:

  1. Sleep: Melatonin is a traveler's best friend. Using it before bedtime after changing time zones will help your body readjust its sleep cycle and ward off jet lag. Magnesium can also be used as a natural muscle relaxant to help encourage sleep, too.
  2. Digestion: Tummy troubles can be a scary thing while on holidays. They can easily put a damper on anybody's good time. I tend to be a bit too adventurous on holidays and have wound up with food poisoning too many times. Aside from encouraging you to play it safe, I will also let you in on a few secrets: Gentiana lutea is one of my favourite herbs and just a few small drops 15-20 minutes before a meal will get your digestive juices flowing to improve resilience and digestion. Magnesium (as mentioned above) not only helps you sleep, it also relaxes the bowels to ease the discomfort of constipation that often occurs when traveling. Shelf-stable probiotics are also extremely helpful for balancing gut flora so your tummy can fight off the bad.
  3. Immunity: A simple increase in Vitamin C with Emergen-C or Sisu to Go can help manage exposure to viruses while you're away on travels. Don't forget to wash your hands, too. But my favorite thing to have in my carry on is a bottle of St. Francis Deep Immune packed full of herbs to keep your immune system chugging along even in the face of travel.

What are your favourite ways to stay healthy while on vacation?

You can find more travel tips here.

 

3 Nausea & Vomiting Remedies

There aren't many things worse than an upset stomach. From pregnancy, to flu bugs, nausea and vomiting come on fast and furious and leave you in their dust.

I am just recovering from a stomach bug myself and thought I would share some of my favorite tips with a naturopathic spin:


  1. Hydrate! With so much fluid leaving the body it's important to make sure it's getting back in. Sipping water slowly can be helpful, but if you can't keep it down try sucking on ice. Electrolytes from coconut water or Endurlyte can also be helpful and very important if vomiting is frequent and signs of dehydration are present. Ginger & peppermint tea are two of my favorite teas to sip when I'm nauseas. Studies show ginger is both helpful (and safe) for nausea and vomiting of pregnancy, too. I love the Ginger Aid and Eater's Digest offerings from Traditional Medicinals.
  2. BRATT! Once you can finally keep food down it's best to keep it simple. The BRATT diet is the way to go - B- bananas, R- rice,  A- unsweetened applesauce, T- clear tea and T- plain toast. Saltines can fit the bill, too. All of these ingredients contain tannins which help make the stomach more resilient to any further invaders, while also settling the stomach.
  3. Acupuncture, Homeopathy & More: There are many acupuncture points on the body, like PC 6, that can help relieve nausea. Homeopathics, like Arsenicum album, can be helpful, too. For more information on acupuncture, homeopathics or herbals that might help you it's best to visit your local naturopathic doctor. 

Don't forget to rest and let it flow. Vomiting is your body's way of getting rid of the bad guys. Let your body do its thing...


But if your vomiting is producing (sorry for the details) blood, "coffee-ground" like substances, is perfuse and persistent, and/or there are signs of dehydration like dizziness and low urine please visit your medical professional.

Top 5 Hydrotherapy Aids for Colds & Flus

I've touched on a few easy hydrotherapy options for reducing the symptoms of colds & flus a couple of times on my blog, but since having just had an invasion of the flu in my house I thought it would be helpful to round up the top 5 hydrotherapy aids for colds and flus help you recover.

  1. Steam Inhalation - The inevitable headache and congestion that comes along with a cold or flu can really send you off the handle. No one like to breathe through their mouth for days on end. Using 3 dashes of eucalyptus or thymus essential oil in a bowl of steamy hot water can work wonders. Cover your head with a towel and breathe deeply. Just be sure not too burn yourself. You can also dash a few drops of the oil in a hot steamy shower, too. Repeat as needed throughout the duration of your cold or flu.
  2. Neti Pot - If your cold or flu comes with lots of nasal congestion it's time to employ your neti pot. This magic-lantern like tool drains yours sinuses with a steady flow of water in one side and out the other. Fill your neti pot with 1/8 tsp of sea salt and dilute with warm water. Run 1/2 the water through one side and then repeat on the other. Make sure your netty pot is cleaned thoroughly after use. For more details check out this informative video. Repeat as needed throughout the duration of your cold or flu.
  3. Warming Socks - Headaches, nasal congestion, and discomfort from fever aches can be remedied with a simple warming socks treatment. Prepare to do this before bed. Learn how here.
  4. Neutral Bath - Fevers can be managed with a lovely neutral bath. Fill your tub with tepid water. Sit in it for as long as you can manage. Simple, easy, and effective!
  5. Humidify - The dry air in our homes due to blasting furnaces can make colds and flus worse. Find a good-quality humidifier and put it to good use in your home each and every night. Better yet, dash more eucalyptus or thymus in the humidifier for easy breathing. Just be sure to follow the cleaning instructions that come with your humidifier - we don't want any hold outbreaks!

More advanced hydrotherapy techniques, like a constitutional hydrotherapy treatment or a wet sheet wrap can be done in the clinic by your naturopathic doctor. They are extremely effective & feel really, really good!

And don't forget the most basic hydrotherapy tool - stay hydrated! You can supplement your water with a dash of sea salt and a squeeze of lemon to help rebalance your cells, too.

Looking for more help overcoming your illness? Check out these great posts for the Top 6 Naturopathic Cold & Flu Remedies and DIY Cough Syrup.

Sleep Soundly

What the heck is going on these days? No matter where I turn I have a patient walking in my door who just can't sleep soundly. Certainly daylight savings time can throw a wrench into normal sleeping patterns, but this should clear up after a few nights. If it's persisting there might be something else going on.

I'm here to remind that you it's not normal to not sleep. Sleep is a vital to life as food and water.

I'm sure you know most of the reasons why sleep is so crucial, from better energy to better hormone balance to better weight control and more. So let's investigate a few ways to improve your sleep hygiene (which means preparing for sleep):


  1. Turn off the Technology. The backlighting from your screen (whether it be iPad, computer or TV) messes with your brains understanding of night time. It won't produce as much melatonin, which means you won't stay asleep.
  2. Turn off the Lights. For the same reasons as above, it's best to turn off all lights, even the ones flashing from your alarm clock, and turn down the blinds. Things like black-out screens or eye masks can be helpful in brightly lit cities.
  3. Turn off your Brain.  Yet another reason to turn off the TV, computer and iPad is to avoid reading stressful things like news headlines before bed. Put yourself in a better state of mind with a light read.
  4. Turn Down your Temperature. Turn down the temperature of your room to a cool 68 degrees Celsius, and change duvets according to summer and winter temperatures. These will all help to encourage a restful sleep.
  5. Turn Up the Mood. Prepare for sleep with a restful routine including calming teas, proper supplements and even hydrotherapy treatments like Warming Socks. Botanicals like Chamomile, Hops, Oats, and Valerian can all be helpful, as can supplements like melatonin, 5HTP, GABA, and magnesium glycinate, but it's best to speak to your physician about the best options and doses for you. Even meditations, like this one from Andrew Johnson, can be helpful for preparing for sleeping.

In my opinion, the bedroom should undergo a name change to the S-room. Only Sleeping, Sex and Snuggling should happen in this room. Nothing else!

If things aren't getting better, it's time to consider visiting your physician. Things like waking up withs pains in the night, persistent night sweats, constant night terrors, and persistent insomnia all require a visit to the doctor to figure out what else could be going on.

Sugar Pumpkin Smoothie

With Thanksgiving greeting us this weekend in Canada I am excited to share a Sugar Pumpkin Smoothie Recipe with all of you. Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving to recognize the harvest, and with harvest time comes a whole host of goodies from the earth. Sugar pumpkins are just one of these delicious offerings. Nutritionally, sugar pumpkins are loaded with Vitamin A (notice their orange colour), Vitamin C, fiber, potassium and even a little bit of protein.  They also boast a sweet taste, which makes them the perfect addition to most fall meals.

So after you've spent Thanksgiving weekend pureeing sugar pumpkins for pumpkin pie, why not save some for a delicious protein smoothie perfect for post-workout refuelling:


Ingredients:

Methods:

  1. Blend in your blender or Magic Bullet (my kitchen saviour) for 1 minute.
  2. Enjoy within 1 hour of your workout for optimal muscle uptake and recovery.

What are your favourite pumpkin recipes for fall?

Sparkling Kombucha Iced Green Tea

Nothing says summer like iced tea and boy does my significant other make a good one!

I have embarked on a 30-day no alcohol challenge this summer and in light of this Mat decided to make me a fun summer drink - Sparkling Kombucha Iced Green Tea.

It's a perfect after-dinner drink for sipping on the balcony, porch, beachside or on the dock. Lemon stimulates liver detoxification, spearmint aids digestion and cools, lemongrass & kombucha aid immunity & green tea boasts major antioxidant properties.

Here's how to whip up this delicious, refreshing drink in no time:


Ingredients

Methods 

  1. Brew 8 tea bags in 2 cups of boiling water. This may seem like an odd ratio, but iced tea has a tendency to lose strength of flavour so using more teabags is crucial. Add honey. Let cool for 1 hour.
  2. Combine brewed tea and honey and sparkling water.
  3. Cut lemon in half crosswise. Squeeze the juice of 1/2 the lemon into the iced tea. Cut the remaining lemon into thin wheels for garnish. Top with mint & enjoy.

Tip: Replace the sparkling water with ice to make a slushy iced tea instead.

5 Healthy Travel Tips

Finally, vacation is upon me. I have 1  more shift in clinic and then I am off to Portland and Santa Monica for my summer vacation. I'll certainly be missing my patients, but 1 week of vacation is definitely what the doctor ordered for this tired intern! I'll be packing my things tonight and wanted to share with you a couple of my favourite, healthy travel tips.


  1. BYOP. Bring your own protein, that is. I purchased a new bag of Sun Warrior Chocolate Warrior Blend just for the trip. This will help me stay on track during my travels. I never want to wind up hungry!
  2. Double Up on C. I'm sure to get 1000mg of vitamin C each day, but with travel on the horizon I will be sure to double that dose. Little travel packets, like these by Sisu, are the perfect solution. They even include other important vitamins and minerals and taste yummy without added sugary junk.
  3. BYOO. As in - Bring Your Own Oatmeal. Once again, you don't want to get stuck hungry so bringing your own little oatmeal bags is a sure-fire way to make sure you've always got something on hand. Just mix with water & you're set.
  4. Boost your Immunity. Concerned about catching something while you're away? Take an adrenal support along with you. This will help you manage your sleep, better handle stressful travel situations (they're inevitable), and stay healthy. I like Deep Immune by St. Francis. They even have a travel-size bottle.
  5. Watch your Portions. Somehow vacation becomes an excuse to eat whatever, whenever, however. I see no harm in trying new foods (trust me, food-truck fish tacos will be on the menu in Santa Monica), but watch your portion sizes. Do your best to stick to your healthy eating plan and your system will thank you!

Interested in more ways to travel well? Check out this post on long flights and travel.

Bon voyage!

6 Naturopathic Cold and Flu Remedies

If I had a nickel for every time someone asked me what to do for a cold, I would be a very wealthy woman. This has to be one of the top health inquiries... it offers up 14.5 million hits on Google alone. Wow! My biggest issue with conventional cold remedies acting as decongestants, antihistamines and cough suppressants is that they leave you feeling like you are walking with your head in the clouds. This is no way to travel about life. So what can you do about it? Lots!

The common cold, typically caused by the rhinovirus, crops up every winter (and in summer, too).

It's easy to catch, but once you've got it it's best to realize one simple thing - the cure for the cold is the cold itself. This means that every cough, sniffle, and sneeze serves a purpose. Your body is trying to get rid of that darned virus. Of course, no one really likes feeling under the weather so here are 6 Naturopath Approved cold and flu remedies  support yourself through it.


  1. Rest - I really can't state it enough and you know it to be true. Listen to your body. It knows what to do.
  2. Avoid Sugar - Yes, I know you've heard it a zillion times, but I mean it! Sugar has the incredibly awful ability to toss your immune system into the toilet for 3+ hours after consumption. This means orange juice is out, too.
  3. Vitamin C - "But how am I supposed to get this without my orange juice" you ask? Easy. Grab some Sisu or EmergenC packets to toss into your water, by a good-quality brand, like Biotics C-1000, or nosh on almonds, broccoli and quinoa, which are all packed with this beautiful antioxidant vitamin.
  4. Vitamin D - of course!
  5. Steam Inhale - dash eucalyptus oil into a hot, steamy shower and inhale.
  6. DIY Cough Syrup - you'll think I'm crazy, but I'm not. This stuff really works - just like Mr. Buckley said. 1 onion, 4 cloves of garlic and I could go on and on forever, but these 6 tips are the perfect place to begin.

5 Tips for Sugar Substitutes

Sugar, sugar, sugar, sugar, sugar, sugar, sugar! We love the stuff and it’s practically everywhere. In fact, it’s hard to find a processed food without sugar in it. Even salt and cigarettes contain sugar. Wow! One of top things a naturopathic doctor will likely include in your treatment plan at one point or another is cutting out sugar. It’s damaging for hormone balance, weight management, blood vessel health, energy levels and more.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine excess sugar intake is considered to be damaging to the Spleen – the organ that builds Blood.

I could go on forever with all of the bad things it can do to you, but what I really want to share is how to cut down your intake.

Here are my top tips:

  1. Get it out of the house. Remove all sugar products from your home – white sugar, brown sugar, sugar-laden peanut butter, ice cream, cereal, yogurt, etc.
  2. Replace it with sweet vegetables. Carrots, peas and sweet potatoes are some of the sweetest vegetables out there. Include one of these in your meal to satisfy a need for sweet without reaching for the sugar bowl.
  3. Use replacements in moderation. Options like honey, molasses, and maple syrup have their place, but they should not be a direct replacement for white sugar. Try to limit this to once per day.
  4. Choose herbs. Herbs can help reduce your sugar cravings.
  5. Get to the root. Sugar cravings can also be rooted in deeper emotional, nutritional or energetic issues.

You’ll be amazed how your taste buds will adjust. Nature’s most natural sweetness will prevail on your tongue and you’ll reach for the sugar-bowl much less often.

Sugar-free habits are just what the naturopathic doctor ordered.

P.S. Check out this funny video I did with my sisters and mom all about getting sugar out of your diet.