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.

Grain-Free Protein Pumpkin Loaf Recipe

Mmmm. Is there anything better than the smell of baked goods rising in the oven? I have fond memories of learning to bake at my mother's elbow as a child. Unfortunately, baking often takes a back seat to healthy eating regimes because processed goods are often packed with white sugar, chemicals and bad fats. Thankfully there are options for those of us with a serious need to "knead" (hehe!).

I developed this loaf recipe after testing out a few recipes I found floating around the internet. I finally seemed to have achieved the perfect amount of fluffiness, moistness and spice, while maintaing lots of nutrition.

I nearly melted from the smell wafting from the oven this morning. Give it a try. I'd love to know what you think.


Yields: 10 slices

Helpful Tools:

  • 2 glass mixing bowls (1 small, 1 large)
  • 1 hand mixer
  • Spoon measures
  • Cup measures
  • 1 loaf pan
  • 1 fork
  • 1 spatula

Ingredients:

  • 3 free-range, large eggs
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp honey (or maple syrup)
  • 2 cups pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling - way too sweet)
  • 2 cups ground almonds (Bob's Red Mill or JK Gourmet)
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 2 scoops Sun Warrior Warrior Blend Vanilla protein powder (or protein powder of your choice) - 1 scoop = 21g
  • 2 Tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • Coconut oil (for coating the pan)

Methods:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a baking loaf pan with coconut oil.
  2. In large bowl beat eggs with a fork until well combined. Stir in vanilla.
  3. Add pumpkin puree and honey and beat with the electric mixer until well combined. About 1 minute.
  4. In small bowl combine ground almonds, sea salt, baking soda, baking powder, protein powder and spices.
  5. With the mixer set on low, slowly combine the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients periodically stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Mix until everything is well combined.
  6. Scoop the mixture into your prepared loaf pan and smooth out the top with a spatula.
  7. Bake in he oven for 1 hour or until a toothpick comes out dry.

Let cool & enjoy. Best served with apple butter (like Wellesley's), almond butter or remaining pumpkin puree.

Peanut Butter, Banana & Chocolate Smoothie

Most mornings of the week I prepare breakfast for my husband and myself & it is usually a smoothie.

This morning I was especially inspired to whip up something delicious because I had just had a seriously hard leg workout. My body was screaming for nutrition! So a Peanut Butter, Banana & Chocolate Smoothie it was! It definitely helps that it tastes like dessert, too.

Benefits: An awesome dose of protein to feed your muscles post-workout, lots of clean fuel to keep you going all morning, more than half of your daily fiber intake, trans-fat free & packed full of magnesium & potassium for more post-workout recovery.


Peanut Butter, Banana & Chocolate Smoothie

Ingredients

  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 Tbsp organic peanut butter (I like Nuts to You, but use whatever brand you like)
  • 1 scoop Sun Warrior Warrior Blend Vanilla protein powder (or protein powder of your choosing)
  • 1.5 Tbsp raw cacao powder (this is the chocolatey, good-for-your-brain & muscles part)
  • 2 Tbsp flaxseed
  • 1.5 cups unsweetened, almond milk

Method

Blend all ingredients together in your blender, Vitamix or Magic Bullet and enjoy!

Let me know how yours turns out in the comment section below.

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.

Authentic Masala Chai Tea

Two years ago I trekked to India for a 9-day intensive homeopathy course led by the great Rajan Sankaran and his compatriots. I spent 3 days in Mumbai, 9 days in Varca, Goa and 4 days travelling the Golden Triangle: Delhi to Agra to Jaipur and back again. It was a remarkable experience, and one which I will not soon forget. One of my favorite parts of the journey was drinking authentic masala chai tea. I had discovered chai at Starbucks long ago, but now I had the opportunity to try the real deal. And boy was it everywhere – from the local chai wallah trekking his Thermos through the streets, to the multitude of restaurants, and even from the caterers at snack time during our course. I had gallons of the stuff while I was away from home and the warm beverage provided me great comfort especially during bouts of homesickness.

Masala chai tea combines a number of warming, aromatic spices with black tea and milk. It’s the perfect tea to warm you up on a cold wintery day, comfort you from nausea, and give you a dose of inflammation-fighting, antioxidant-heavy, digestive-friendly spices. I swear it kept me healthy while I was in India.

Since my love for masala chai became very apparent in India I decided I needed to stock up on my own Indian spices so I could take the experience home with me to share with my family. I visited Sahakari Spice Farm in Goa and stocked up on the most incredible spices (I highly recommend visiting this spot when you are in India). Then, with the help of my friend and travel partner, Tehseen, I made my own masala chai tea, which I have shared with you today:

Masala Chai

Yield: 2 servings

Ingredients:

4 cloves

4 cardamom pods

2 sticks cinnamon

4 whole black peppercorns

½ inch ginger root

2 tea bags (black tea)

¼ cup evaporated milk, ½ cup homo milk, ¼ cup cream (this can be replaced with soy or almond milk)

2 cups water

2 tsp sucanat (this can be replaced with maple syrup or honey)

Directions:

  1. 1Add 2 cups of water to a saucepan.
  2. Smash cardamom pods slightly with back of spoon, and peel ginger root.
  3. Add cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, black peppercorns, ginger root and tea bags to the saucepan with water.
  4. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally (for strong tea boil longer than 5 minutes).
  5. Once spice aroma is present from steam, add milk and sucanat to desired taste.
  6. Stir quickly and frequently for another 2-3 minutes, ensuring foam created from heat does not spill over.
  7. Using a strainer to strain tea into mugs.

Note: Fennel, lemongrass and star anise are other amazing spices to add to the mix.

Chai… er… try it out and see how you like it.

Enjoy!

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.

Perfect Raw Brownies

Yep! You heard me - brownies. Yum! But these raw brownies are healthy with brain-beneficial cacao, heart-healthy nuts and coconut oil, and poo-friendly dates. Believe me - they taste just as good as the real thing. I wouldn't lie about that as I am a brownie lover!

I have spent the past week trying out recipes to come up with the perfect, no-bake, chocolatey, gooey treat so I could share it with all of you.

And here it is - Enjoy!


Ingredients:

  • 12 Medjool dates, soaked (soak them by covering them in water for 10 minutes)
  • 3/4 cup almonds
  • 3/4 cup hazelnuts
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 4 Tbsp raw cacoa powder (I really like this one from Organic Traditions)
  • 2 tsp melted coconut butter
  • 1/2 cup almond butter
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup (leave out if your diet is sugar-free)

Method:

  1. I like to start out by grinding the dates into a paste. They can be tricky to deal with so add them into the processor 2 at a time until a paste has formed. Now, use a spatula to scrape out the paste into a bowl and set it aside.
  2. Grind the hazelnuts and almonds on high until they have formed a nut flour.
  3. Add in the sea salt and cacao powder. You'll begin to notice the chocolately flavor now.
  4. Gradually add in coconut butter, almond butter and dates allowing the food processor time to catch up with the thick mixture. If you need to, use the pulse setting until well mixed.
  5. Use a spatula to scrape this mixture either into an 8"x8" square baking dish or roll the mixture into tablespoon-sized balls. Serve & enjoy. Any leftovers can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days.

NOTE: I recommend a really good food processor for this recipe!

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?

Grain-Free "Corn" Bread Recipe

It's a hot summer day and I'm busy preparing a delicious meal for me and my significant other. Spicy, barbeque chicken is on the menu along with roasted sweet potatoes and a vibrant green salad. But something is missing from this mid-August meal. Something - warm and soft. Southern. Sweet. Corn bread!

I sigh as I remember I've been following a grain-free diet for the past 2 months, and treats like corn bread fall right into that category - corn and all.

Then I remember almond flour makes a pretty fantastic replacement for grain flours in most baked goods. There must be a recipe out there. I search, and indeed there are a few. I meld them together into my own little creation and here's what happened...


Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups almond flour (try JK Gourmet or Bob's Red Mill)
  • 1 tsp baking power
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • Coconut butter (for greasing the pan)

Methods:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 6" round pan or 8" square pan with coconut butter.
  2. Combine all ingredient in a large bowl and mix at until fluffy for about 2 minutes.
  3. Pour into your baking pan. Bake for 30 minutes or until the edges are golden brown, the center is springy and a knife comes out clean.
  4. Spoon out hot and steamy and enjoy with your meal.

30-Day Alcohol-Free Challenge

You  may think I am completely nuts for having gone alcohol free in the middle of the summer months, but it was an excellent challenge which I am glad I accepted. Leading up to this challenge I was given some perspective by my patients. As a primary care provider it is crucial to ask my patients about alcohol intake. I noticed that a majority of them had a lower intake than me. This realization certainly got me thinking.

I knew I had come to rely on alcohol during challenging times while heavily studying and dealing with lots of family matters that had cropped up this year. A glass of wine or 2 at the end of the day just seemed to ease my worries. But 14 drinks a week is right on the borderline of healthy and not-so-healthy... and somehow this (future) naturopathic doctor wasn't taking a dose of her own medicine.

In comes trainer, Rita Catolino, who has been helping me get back into the shape I lost during some of my most challenging times. She encouraged me to ditch alcohol for 1 month.

Hmmm... I thought she was crazy, too. But why not give it a try.

It all began on July 15th. I spoke to my significant other about the changes, and he fully supported me & even decided to join in the fun by cutting out alcohol during the week. I made it through a bachelorette party, a wedding, and 5 days at the cottage all without indulging.

Amazingly enough, going cold turkey has made me desire alcohol much less, and it certainly left a lot more room in the budget for... shoes... I mean, um, not shoes.

Alcohol is a sugar that often has no benefits. In days gone by beer was considered a food and was extremely nutritive, but with today's heavy processing this isn't the case. And even though red wine has heart-healthy antioxidant powers like those from resveratrol it should still be enjoyed in moderation.

What is moderation? Less than 7 drinks/week for women and less than 14 drinks/week for men.

Now, I am thrilled to say I am done the challenge (see my countdown calendar above). I celebrated with 2 glasses of sparkling wine. And I won't have another drop until the weekend.

Care to try it yourself? Try alternatives like Rise Kombucha, my Sparkling Kombucha Iced Green Tea, or anything with soda water, lemon, lime and mint to give your water a kick.

Packing for a Triathlon

Obviously travel is a large part of my life - and adventure travel is certainly one of the best ways to accomplish my desire to GO GO GO! So why not race & travel at the same time. This weekend I will be travelling to Michigan to compete in the He Tried/She Tried triathlon. This is a couple's event & I will be joined by my significant other, Mat (poor guy - he was kinda' forced into it). My Aunt Tammy will also be racing (she's an Iron Woman) & we'll be cheered along by my uncle and cousins. How fun!

Mat & I will be able to race together and our times will be combined to determine the winning team. This is great since it is Mat's 1st triathlon (and my 3rd). We've chosen the Sprint Distance length - approximately 800m swim, 20k bike, 5k run.

Of course, like any other travel event - this requires a lot of packing.

Here's my list of must-haves for triathlon success:


Swim:

  • Goggles
  • Swimcap (it will be provided to us to separate our waves)

Bike:

  • Bike (I'm borrowing my mom's lovely Kuota & Mat is using my dad's Specialized)
  • Helmet (they won't let us race without it!)
  • Glasses (otherwise bugs fly in your eyes) - I like Oakley's

Run:

Overall:

  • Tri Suit (I chose this cute one from Craft) - it has padding in all the right places & it dries quickly so I can wear it swimming, biking & running without having to change
  • Tri Bag - love my TYR bag - it has nooks and crannies for everything!
  • Shammy for quick drying
  • Old towel for laying out my transition area
  • Water bottle in transition area & on bike full of Sisu Ester-C To Go Energy water (the race course will also have HEED)
  • Clothes to change into after the race (no one likes to hang around in wet clothes)

Nutrition: I am hoping to be done the race in 1.5 hours. Since it isn't too long I won't need a lot of fuel during the race, but I will need a good shake before. I've packed my trusty shake mix in my tri bag: SunWarrior Warrior Blend vanilla protein powder, Greens+ & Thorne L-Glutamine. I'll combine this with berries, almond milk and a scoop of almond butter a few hours before the race.

Recovery: I'll dose up on 30CH of homeopathic Arnica montana for accelerated recovery before & after the race & slather myself in Traumeel after a warm Epsom salts bath.


Interested in more race info? Check out this informative post.

Keep your eyes peeled for Team Tough Love!

I'll post next week with the results!

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.

Caesar Dressing Recipe

It's summer & with that comes the desire to enjoy delicious, crunchy & cool salads. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine principles, changes of season like going from winter to spring/summer and summer to fall/winter signals our body to a change in cravings. Soups and stews (unless chilled) take a back burner to salads and raw veg. Unfortunately, many of us know how laden with crap regular salad dressings can be. I encourage you to try out a homemade dressing like the Caesar Dressing recipe I have included here. I Cleaned it up from my favourite Joy of Cooking selection.

From my kitchen to yours...

Caesar Salad Dressing

Serves 6 – 8


Ingredients:

  • 5 anchovy fillets, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and black pepper to taste

Method:

  1. In a small bowl well combine 5 anchovy fillets, 2 cloves minced garlic and ½ tsp salt.
  2. Then whisk in lemon juice and Worcestshire sauce.
  3. Add olive oil in a slow, steady stream while constantly whisking.
  4. Serve with loosely chopped Romaine lettuce and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese (optional).

Tip: Looking for an extra crunch, but don't want to resort to croutons? Try breaking up Mary's Gone Crackers overtop of your salad or use roasted sunflower seeds or chickpeas.

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!

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.

Quinoa Dessert Recipe

I’m sure by now you all have heard of quinoa (keen-wa). It is that little grain/seed that everyone in the health world seems to fawn over. Quinoa does indeed deserve a lot of praise. It is a grain-like crop harvested for its seeds. Did you know you can even eat quinoa greens? You can, but they are very difficult to find commercially. For now let’s stick to learning more about quinoa seeds. In ancient Peruvian times it coined its funny name, which means “mother of all grains”. It provided a great deal of nutrition to these people and has now resurged amongst the healthy crowds of North America.

½ c of quinoa contains half of your recommended folate (B9), magnesium and phosphorus and a third of your thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), B6, iron, and zinc. Wow! That is impressive. Better yet, it also contains 14g of complete protein, meaning all of the essential amino acids are present. This is a rare find in plant form.

Best of all, quinoa is gluten-free. No wonder it is so popular.

Quinoa is best-prepared like rice or couscous. But one extremely important tip is to remove the saponin coating on the quinoa before using. To do this, strain quinoa under cool water for a few minutes until all of the bubbles disappear. Now you are ready for cooking. Do 1 part quinoa to 2 parts water, bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium and let simmer for approximately 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand until all of the water has absorbed. Now you are ready to use quinoa in whatever way you would like – as a breakfast food, in quinoa cakes, as a side dish, or as a main.

Scouring the internet will lead you to lots of quinoa recipes, but here is one of my favorites specially donated by Tosca Reno, author The Eat-Clean Diet.


Ingredients:

  • 1 cup / 240 ml quinoa, rinsed and drained
  • 4 or 5 dates, chopped
  • 2 cups / 480 ml no-sugar-added grape juice
  • ½ cup / 120 ml raisins

Method:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a pot and cook on medium heat for 15-20 minutes or until quinoa grains are cooked.
  2. Serve hot or cold.