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.

Magic Warming Socks for Headache, Fever, and Stuffiness

Headachy? Feverish? Stuffed up? You're not alone! Everywhere I turn someone is sick! I suppose that time of year is here. To help you through I am sharing with you one of my favourite Cold & Flu recovery tips - Magic Warming Socks! Yep, socks are your best friends when you’re under the weather. Pairing them with hot and cold water is the formula for magic.

Materials:

1 pair of cotton socks 1 pair of wool socks 1 bowl Ice water or very cold water Warm water

To Do:

  1. Place your pair of cotton socks in a bowl of ice water.
  2. Warm your feet in a shower or bath with warm water until they are pinky, red.
  3. Wring out the cotton socks and place them on your feet.
  4. Then cover the cotton socks with a pair of wool socks.
  5. Go to bed!

I know what you’re thinking... ice cold socks!!! Are you crazy? In fact, I’m not. But I ask you to try it first before you judge. Magic warming socks are incredibly therapeutic. They offer a kind of hydrotherapy that redirects blood flow away from your aching, stuffed-up head to your feet. By the time you wake up from a restful sleep your socks will be dry. It’s amazing. And best of all, your aching head will feel a whole lot better.

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.

DIY Household Cleaning Recipes

Making the choice to green up your home is certainly a wise one, especially given the amount of chemical whoknowswhat present in conventionally available cleaning products. Think endocrine disruptors and neurotoxins – Yikes! But where to begin? It can be very overwhelming to figure out how best to green our homes inside and out. In fact, most of us likely stand in the cleaning aisle scratching our head and wondering what to buy (trust me, we’ve been these people). It’s taken us a long time to become well-versed on better options and to avoid greenwashing, but we've finally figure it out. Best of all, some of these can be made at home by YOU! We're sharing DIY household cleaning recipes for 3 common items used in the home. Enjoy & please share your tried-and-true DIY household cleaning recipes in the comments below.

1. All-Purpose Cleaner

Ingredients:

1 part white vinegar

Juice of 1 lemon

1 part water

Baking soda

Method:

Combine vinegar, lemon and water in a spray bottle. If you'd like a little extra oomph to your clean, sprinkle down some baking soda before your spray and scrub away.

2. Laundry Soap

Ingredients:

1 cup soap flakes

1/2 cup washing soda

1/2 cup Borax

Method:

Combine all ingredients. Use 1 Tbsp per load of laundry. If you need a little extra cleaning power you can go for 2 Tbsp.

3. Floor Cleaner

Ingredients:

¼ cup liquid castile soap (like Dr. Bronner's Magic Soap)

Juice of 3 lemons

2 gallons warm water

***Add ¼ cup distilled white vinegar to the bucket for greasy floors

Method:

Combine all ingredients in a bucket and wash away!

So there you have it! You can get started on greening up your home with these DIY household cleaning recipes. We modified these recipes from one of our favourite authors (P.S. she's Canadian, too) Miss Adria Vasil. We highly recommend her Ecoholic series including Ecoholic Home.

Now, greening up the home is certainly one thing, but don't forget the importance of greening up your health. This is where I come in. Chat with me about how I can better your health from the inside out.

Thanks for stopping by, and, as always, I'd be thrilled if you'd share this with someone in need.

Time to scrub the floor now!

The Wedding Workout 2

You seemed to love my first Wedding Workout, so I thought I would hit you with Wedding Workout 2. My wedding is a mere 7 weeks away, and that means it's crunch time in the gym. This workout session even applied during a recent jaunt to the cottage!

The Wedding Workout 2:

Repeat this circuit 3 times to feel the burn!

  1. Jump Rope x 1 minutes
  2. Push Ups (full or modified) X 20
  3. Jump Squats x 1 minute
  4. Bench Dips x 20 (I did these off the edge of a Muskoka chair while at the cottage)
  5. Jump Rope x 1 minute
  6. Walking Lunges x 20 per leg
  7. Bench Bunnies x 1 minute
  8. Mountain Climbers x 40
  9. Jump Rope x 1 minutes

Incorporate it into your exercise schedule once or twice each week. It fits perfectly into the original Wedding Workout schedule, too.

P.S. Don’t forget that exercise can’t undo bad nutritional habits.

How are you getting prepped for your wedding? Comment below.

Like this workout? I’d be grateful if you shared it with your friends and family using the links below

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.

The Wedding Workout

Wedding season is upon us, and within these magical months, I too will be celebrating my wedding. Whether you’re prepping for your own celebration, or participating in or attending the wedding of a loved one, it is definitely a time to get fit! We all want to feel our best, and look our best in photos that last a lifetime. There is no doubt about the value of exercise. In fact, as an ND I tout the benefits of this to my patients on a regular basis. In my previous training as a kinesiology student and personal trainer I developed a strong background in exercise physiology. It’s a passion of mine to help people understand how to train smarter and feel better. I have been working extremely hard over the past few months to get myself in wedding shape, and I wanted to share one of my workout routines with you.

The Wedding Workout:

Repeat this routine 2-3 times each week for 4 weeks.

Intersperse this workout with steady state cardio like swimming, running, Cellercising, or  spin class.

Intervals:

25 minutes on the treadmill

4 minute warm up at a light pace (ex. 3.2 mph)

8 x 30 seconds at a rapid pace (ex. 7.2 mph) and 1.5 minutes at a moderate pace (ex. 5.2 mph)

5 minute cool down at a light pace (ex. 3.2 mph)

Weight Training: 

I like super sets to keep things interesting. Take a 10 second break between each set and 30 seconds between each superset.I choose multi-joint exercises to tone all over. **Be sure to use a weight appropriate for you & avoid exercises that may aggravate injuries**

A1) Box Squats: 4 sets of 8 - Lifts the butt to keep it tight in your wedding dress or suit.

A2) Lat Pull Down: 4 sets of 8 reps - Balances out the upper body to make the waist appear smaller, while defining the back and arms for strapless dresses. 

B1) Walking Lunges: 4 sets of 10 reps per leg - Tones the entire thigh and the butt for strong, but elegant legs.

B2) Push Ups: 4 sets of 6-10 reps (work up to 10)- Tones the pectorals, triceps, deltoids, and core. **Modify to knee push ups if needed**

C1) Sumo Deadlift4 sets of 10 reps - Tone up the back of your legs and glutes. 

C2) Dumbbell Suitcase Carry: 4 sets of 12 reps - Tone your abs while prepping for your honeymoon baggage ;)

If you're looking for an extra boost during your workout, mix 1 minute of jump rope between each super set.

P.S. Don't forget that exercise can't undo bad nutritional habits.

How are you getting prepped for your wedding? Comment below.

Like this workout? I'd be grateful if you shared it with your friends and family using the links below :)

Castor Oil Packs for Inflammation

One of my favorite things in the world is a castor oil pack. It sounds like a totally naturopathic thing (and it definitely is), but it's great for so many things that I can't help but share it with you.

Castor oil is made from the castor bean (Ricinus communis). When eaten it can cause major gastric upset (such as crazy diarrhea) so we'll focus on the external uses.

The major benefit of castor oil is anti-inflammation. It can be used for arthritic pain, liver cleansing, inflammatory bowel conditions (like Crohn's & colitis), gallbladder conditions, skin inflammation and more. You can even throw in herbs for added benefit. Book an appointment with me to learn which castor oil pack is best for you.

Here is a step-by-step guide for you brave folks willing to give it try at home:

What You Need

  • castor oil (I like Palma Christi best)
  • piece of flannel
  • old cotton T-shirt
  • heat pack

What You Do

  1. soak flannel in castor oil
  2. place flannel over your abdomen (or whatever you are treating)
  3. put on an old cotton t-shirt because the castor oil can stain
  4. heat up your heat pack and rest it over the castor oil pack to increase absorption
  5. rest for at least 20 minutes (up to 60 would be best)
  6. wash off any excess oil from your skin
  7. store the castor oil pack in a plastic bag and leave in the fridge for future use

Castor oil absorbs through the skin and reduces inflammation.

A few weeks ago I overindulged at dinner and had terrible stomach pains afterwards.

The winning combination of a castor oil pack and peppermint tea had me back to normal in no time.

Give it a try! It's just what the Naturopathic Doctor ordered!

Chocolate is on the Naturopath's Menu

There is a little café down the street from my apartment that offers the best accompaniment to any hot drink – dark chocolate! Don’t you agree? But the best part about chocolate really has to be that it’s good for you. Before I move onto the health benefits, let me clarify – I’m talking about dark chocolate. Not milk and not white. These are impure forms of chocolate and sugar that do nothing but cause trouble. Dark chocolate, on the other hand, does wonders because it is full of antioxidants and minerals.

Chocolate comes from cacao – a seed pod harvested from deep in the tropics. It is used to make cocoa powder and chocolate after a process of fermentation and roasting. From there cocoa solids and cocoa butter are used in varying amounts to create different forms of chocolate. Dark chocolate contains a very high amount of these solids.

Flavanoids, like theobromine and phenylalanine, and minerals, like magnesium, are the main special elements of chocolate providing benefit to your circulatory system, brain function and energy levels. The key is to use it in moderation. Try 1 square of dark chocolate each night.

Just be careful about the brand you buy. Chocolate has history of corrupt and unethical treatment of its farmers and workers. Here is a list of Fair-Trade, Slavery-Free Chocolate brands.

My favorite brand is Green & Blacks.

Chocolate – Just what the naturopathic doctor ordered!

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.

How to Manage Long Flights and Travel

My journey just so happens to involve a lot of travel. In fact, today as I write this post I am sitting on a plane on my way to Atlanta to accompany my mother, Tosca Reno, to one of her many speaking engagements around North America. My job as a student and future physician is to teach you how to travel through the journey of health with all of the tools of a naturopathic lifestyle. Today's topic? Early morning, long flights. It's the reality of our world these days - early flights to business destinations, conferences, vacations, etc so how can you make the most of the experience without damaging your health? Here are my tips.


  • First of all, pack the night before.
  • Get as much sleep as you can.
  • Nix the coffee for 1 liter of water or a hot cup of water with lemon.
  • Pack snacks. If you're traveling domestic you can bring nuts, seeds, and fruit along the way. If not, stick to oatmeal.
  • Long flight? Take some melatonin to knock you out.
  • My most naturopathic tip? If you're changing time zones you can prevent jet lag by lying on the ground for 10-30 minutes after arrival. Sounds crazy, but it works. Trust me!

Portable Exercises for Those on the Go

On-the-go is the way most people describe their days in our crazy, supercharged society. This often involves business trips to any number of locales throughout North America and beyond. Traveling like this can throw a wrench into many a burgeoning activity schedule. If you’re training for a specific event, like a marathon, triathlon or fitness competition, you have special adjustments to make, but for the average person just trying to stay fit, portable exercises are the way to go. Here are a couple of things to try while you are on your next trip:

  1. Morning Workouts. I think this rule applies to most activity routines, but it especially applies on business. Most evenings on business trips are filled with dinners out or late meetings. Don’t miss your workout by scheduling it in the morning.
  2. No gym? If a gym doesn’t exist be sure to bring along your therabands for quick resistance training in your room. They don’t take up much room in your bag and they provide a great work out.
  3. No excuses. Always remember that travel isn’t an excuse to indulge and get lazy. It’s a great time to try something new, enjoy new sites, and stay energized and healthy during your trip.