Can you sleep your way to weight loss? Improving sleep quality has been shown to have a positive effect on satiety and appetite throughout the day.Read More
Probiotics may be enjoying their time in the limelight right now but the truth is, probiotic-rich foods have been around for centuries! Most ancient cuisines have some element of cultured food in their regular diets. And why shouldn't they? Not only is it an easy and cheap way to preserve food, but it also provides healthy bacteria to make the gut resilient against disease, all the while supporting healthy elimination (aka, pooping).
Some common foods you may not think of as fermented include: Chocolate, cured sausage, sourdough bread, cheese, wine, beer, fish sauce, even Heinz ketchup was originally fermented. These all go through a process of fermentation that provides shelf stability and the flavour you just can't replicate without that delicious Lactobacillus bacteria.
Lactobacillus is a bacteria that converts sugar into lactic acid. This bacteria inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria but also provide health-promoting benefits which include:
Benefits of Lacto-Fermented Foods
- Increased nutrient and enzyme levels in food.
- Improved digestibility of food
- Improves your immunity/resilience to pathogens
- Improved brain function
- Lower incidence of obesity
By now most of us know we should be getting beneficial bacteria into our bodies for any number of the reasons it can improve overall health.
So, should you be running to the health food store and spending $50+ on that 100 billion probiotic capsule? Or will eating yogurt suffice?
In my opinon, the answer to that is neither. For the sake of nutrient-density (getting as much nutrient value in a single food as possible) I would say yogurt doesn't cut it. Firstly, unless the label explicity says 'contains live active culture' in which case the bacteria is alive and useful, it's most likely that the yogurt has been treated with heat for extended shelf stability, rendering it useless. The second thing to consider is dose. Can you trust that you're getting enough probiotic bacteria in that single cup of yogurt to reap all the benefits that probiotics can offer? Likely not.
This is where lacto-fermented foods come in. Lacto-fermentation as a means of preservation is a beautifully unpredictable way of developing flavour and nourishment that is wholly dependant on the environment in which it ferments. Variants like heat, humidity, light exposure and nutrients provided in the food itself can all produce varying results.
Some of the best Lacto-Fermented foods from around the world include:
- UMEBOSHI PLUMS: From Japan, these beautifully tart plums are lacto-fermented and boost an array of health benefits from liver cleansing to cancer prevention. This is also one of the most alkaline foods available.
- KIMCHI: From Korea, this famous condiment is their national dish for good reason. Made from nutritious napa cabbage, radish and an array of spices.
- SAUERKRAUT: aka Germany's super food. Not only does cabbage do wonders for the liver, but it contains high amounts of probiotic bacteria. Make sure you read the label and it only contains cabbage and salt and is stored in the fridge. If it has vinegar, it is not lacto-fermented.
- FERMENTED PRODUCE: This can be anything fermented with salt, not vinegar: pickles, lemons, garlic, salsa etc. Homemade ferments are rewarding and economical.
- KOMBUCHA: this naturally effervescent beverage from China uses sugar or honey and tea to ferment into a probiotic-rich drink.
- CORNED BEEF: Irish, Italian, German many people have benefited from meat that is cured in a salt brine for preservation resulting in that distinctive flavour.
- FERMENTED EGG: A Chinese delicacy that has found its way into pubs across the UK and fine dining establishments all across Asia. Also called a century egg, it boasts more iron and protein than a non-fermented egg as well as being known to lower blood pressure.
Essential Tips on Homemade Ferments
All you need is salt, fresh produce, water and a vessel. The key is to maintain the proper pH to provide a hospitable environment for beneficial bacteria and more importantly to inhibit harmful bacteria to grow. Similar to pickles, the result is usually crunchy and flavorful. While pickles use the acidity of vinegar to stave off microbial activity, lacto-fermentation forms its own acidity. The key is the concentration of salt and water aka BRINE. You want the brine to have a salinity level of 3 percent.
- Dry Your Produce: If you preserve without thoroughly drying produce, the added water could throw off the salinity of your brine and pH level.
- Be Accurate with Your BrIne: Measure the water with a well labeled measuring cup. Weigh your salt with an accurate scale. This part is key to maintain the pH levels.
- Sanitize Your Container: You don't want to introduce any harmful bacteria in the environment. To be sure its sanitized, boil your glass jar in a big pot for 5 minutes.
- Tend to your Ferments: a daily burping (releasing of gas by opening the lid) and scraping of mold around the top is required for best results.
- Weights are key: To ensure your produce is submerged in the brine, you need to weigh it down. Place a plastic lid ontop of the ferment. Then fill a heavy duty ziplock bag with brine and place over the lid to submerge. This way if it leaks, it won't throw off your pH balance.
The growing need for Naturopathic Doctors is becoming increasingly apparent to the general public, and here’s why:
This means the main Chronic Illnesses leading to death in North America: Cancer, Heart Disease, Diabetes, are PREVENTABLE.
Here’s where both Naturopathic Doctors and Nutritionists shine. While modern medicine works on moderating symptoms of a disease through medicine, naturopaths and nutritionists help the client make lasting lifestyle changes to battle - and in cases reverse - chronic disease .
What is a Naturopathic Doctor, and What Do They Do?
According to the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine “Naturopathic doctors address the fundamental causes of disease, heal the whole person through individualized treatment, and teach the principles of healthy living and preventative medicine.”
Both naturopathic and conventional doctors attend full-time four-year accredited medical schools. They are evidence-based practitioners, heavily founded science based practices.
Naturopathic doctors can be seen along side or in place of your family doctor. They can order tests, give yearly physical examinations and advise on treatment plans for preventative conditions.
Naturopaths will likely give you a protocol that is often a mix of herbal medicine, nutritional supplementation, lifestyle changes and some dietary guidelines.
What is a Nutritionist, and What Do They Do?
Nutritionists are trained in evidence-based science, anatomy, physiology and biology. They understand the pathology of disease and have functional nutritional protocols to address these ailments.
The main focus of a Nutritionist is to address chronic disease mainly through dietary changes, with some herbal and nutritional supplementation for support. Nutritionists have an extensive knowledge of the digestive system and are true believers of Hippocrates when he said “all disease begins in the gut”.
So, if 85 percent of chronic disease is caused by diet and lifestyle factors, then nutritionists play a very big role in reducing the burden of chronic disease and the future of healthcare.
HOW CAN A NUTRITIONIST HELP YOU?
The best way to see lasting change in a particular condition or disease is through behavioural changes and frequent support.
Often clients have very detailed questions, needing support on sticking with a protocol or even modifications / alternatives if a particular aspect to the program isn’t working.
Naturopaths are often busy with other patients to provide this intensive level of care, but it's the perfect role for a nutritionist with the proper training. In many cases, dietary , lifestyle and behavioural changes may be all you need to resolve your symptoms.
- Recipes: Nutritionists can provide specific details, recipes and meal plans in adjunct to a Naturopaths dietary guidelines.
- Support: Provide practical support, problem solving and answering detailed questions during the course of a Naturopath's program. For example: how do I battle cravings now that I’m off sugar?
- ·Accountability: Weekly 30 minute follow ups or online sessions provide extra client care to keep clients accountable and on track with their goals.
In conclusion, there is a difference between Naturopaths and Nutritionists with a unique approach for each practitioner. But the great thing is Nutritionists work wonderfully as complimentary therapy to a Naturopath’s program with a specialization on food and nutrition. So if you’re determined to make a change in your health, whatever your goal is, contact a Nutritionist to give you the tools and motivation on your health journey.
To be happy. Coupled with health, this is the most common aspiration in life. It's a desire that we all share, regardless of class, culture or origin. The happiness effect can be measured by Serotonin – one of the main neurotransmitters responsible for happiness. Did you know that 70-90% of serotonin can be found in the gut! It's used in the brain, but must be produced in the gut first. In this article, I will be looking at happiness at a cellular level with the perspective of a Holistic Nutritionist. Investigating what nutrients are at the core of that 'happy' feeling, the neurotransmitters and hormones involved and how effective nutrition can be in contributing to happiness.
EATING THE BUILDING BLOCKS OF HAPPINESS
Unfortunately, serotonin is not found in food. But the good news is, its precursor Tryptophan is highly attainable. There are four major hormones and neurotransmitters which govern happiness: Dopamine, Serotonin, Oxytocin and Endorphins. For the purpose of this article, we will focus on Serotonin: a neurotransmitter which balances mood and is largely responsible for the feelings of happiness and wellbeing. Those who are depressed are found to have low levels of serotonin. Western medicine deals with depression and anxiety by prescribing SSRI's (Selective Serotonin Re-Uptake Inhibitors) – which basically means they encourage the circulation of serotonin in the body.
TOP 3 NUTRIENTS
Tryptophan – main precursor to serotonin (happy neurotransmitter)
Vitamin D – think SAD (seasonal affective disorder). Without it, we're sad.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids – Provides many key nutrients
Tryptophan is an amino acid (building blocks of protein). Tryptophan is our key into eating for happiness because it is a direct precursor to make Serotonin – one of the main happiness neurotransmitters. Remember, serotonin is responsible for feelings of overall happiness and well being. Western anti-depressants (SSRI's) work by recycling serotonin in the brain. But if we eat foods high in tryptophan, we're able to encourage the production of more serotonin. If depression is linked to LOW serotonin in the body, then eating foods high in it's main building blocks can help to increase levels of serotonin. Tryptophan is also a precursor to melatonin, the hormone responsible for your body's internal clock (circadian rhythm) and controls sleep patterns. This is what is responsible for feelings of sleepiness after eating a lot of turkey on Thanksgiving because turkey is one of the highest sources of tryptophan.
OMEGA 3 FATTY ACIDS
Omega 3 fatty acids are essential fats that cannot be manufactured by the body and must be consumed in our food or through supplementation. Along with being highly anti-inflammatory, these fats are shown to be protective for the brain against free-radical damage. Many studies have been conducted on the treatment of depression with Omega-3 supplementation. Certain types of EPA and DHA – which are TYPES of Omega 3 fatty acids - have been strongly linked to mental health conditions. The only way to obtain these types of Omega 3 fatty acids is through fish and some algae. If you want to obtain the benefits of Omega 3 fatty acids in a plant-based diet, the only way to do this is through ALA Omega 3, which is a precursor to EPA and DHA (the key Omega 3's). One of the highest plant based forms of ALA is in flaxseed.
Vitamin D is a very important nutrient for health. Along with other amazing traits, it has been used as treatment in the prevention of depression. A deficiency of vitamin D has been linked to depression.
The problem is, Vitamin D is difficult to obtain in food. It is found naturally in eggs and fish, but that's about it. Some foods may be fortified with vitamin D, but it would be the same as taking a supplement. If you're going to supplement with Vitamin D, which is highly suggested if you don't live in a warm climate, make sure you buy Vitamin D-3 which is more bio-available than D2.
3 FOODS TO EAT FOR HAPPINESS
Turkey is one of the highest food sources of tryptophan. To treat depression it is recommended to take 150-300mg / day of tryptophan (5-htp). Yet 1 serving of ground turkey provides 250mg !
Omega - 3
Mackerel is a small, fatty, cold-water fish that boasts some of the highest levels of omega-3 Fatty Acids. It is also considered a sustainable fish and has relatively low toxicity due to its small size.
Salmon. 1 portion can provide up to 360 of the recommended 1000 IU of vitamin D per day. Always opt for sustainable, wild salmon.
FOODS NOT TO EAT
It's important to look at the foods that we should avoid so that the beneficial foods can do their work in increasing happiness. As a general rule, it is important to avoid artificial stimulants that have a rollercoaster effect on our mood, energy levels and blood sugar balance. Think about the highs and lows of coffee. You drink it, you feel focused and alert, then a few hours later you feel exhausted and cloudy. Then you drink another coffee and you feel alert again! This rollercoaster ride can cause an emotional dump, which is what we're trying to avoid. To maintain an even sense of calmness, overall well being and happiness, you need to aim for balance. Below are some of the top foods to be avoided for optimum happiness:
Caffeine: Coffee, green tea, black tea, energy drinks or anything with an artificial stimulant. These are some of the key perpitrators in producing highs and LOWS of depression.
Sugar and Refined Foods: foods that are high in refined sugars and flours have a way of getting into the bloodstream very quickly. They produce increased energy and then the inevitable crash. This does not just mean table sugar. Think about all the places that sugar can hide. Even 2 slices of whole wheat toast can have the same effect on your blood sugar as 6 teaspoons of sugar! The way to avoid these foods is to eat clean: whole vegetables, fruits, grains, legumes, meat and fish. Real food does not have ingredients, real food IS ingredients.
Alcohol: this has the same effect on your body as caffeine. You feel good, then you feel REALLY bad. Avoid this bodily toxin if you want to work on a balanced mood and sense of well being.
Making sure you aren't deficient in the main building blocks to create happy hormones is key in leading a happy and healthy lifestyle. As the majority of serotonin is made in your gut, it's important to feed yourself all the goodness needed to be happy. Follow these tips and tricks on a consistent basis and you'll see for yourself how your mood can be lifted through food.
Life without Caffeine
3 Reasons Why
For many people, coffee is their Achilles' Heel. The aroma, the dark taste, the way it makes you feel. I get it. It can be great. What I don't love is the inevitable crash. About an hour later your energy plummets and you feel drained. And so you go searching for another coffee or sweet, chocolate, anything that will give you a boost to get through your day. The high you get from coffee comes with a price.
Top 3 Reasons to Limit Caffeine
- SPIKE AND CRASH ROLLERCOASTER. As caffeine is an artificial stimulant, it can give you a wonderfully high energy boost (sometimes too high... I'm looking at you twitchy). Inevitably the crash follows and nobody wants to feel that low. Most people just accept it as normal because they've been drinking coffee for so many years, they just accept the 3pm slump as a normal part to your day. But it doesn't have to be!
- STRESS BOMB. As caffeine artificially stimulates your energy, it also releases higher amounts of cortisol than your body would do naturally. If you're not living on a beach somewhere, you likely have enough things causing stress in your day. Contributing to the overall stimulation of cortisol isn't exactly what your body needs.
- LEADS TO POOR FOOD CHOICES. I'm talking about when your energy tanks, your blood sugar tanks and you look for anything to give you a boost. When you're in this state, self control usually goes out the window, as your brain is searching for quick energy. And what's the brains preferred form of energy? GLUCOSE. Quick sugar.
For all these reasons, I have developed a drink recipe that allows me to engage in the social and warming aspect of a cup of coffee, without the caffeine. You may be asking at this point ' But Nicole, what about DECAF?". Decaf still has remnants of caffeine and is further processed to remove the caffeine from it. Anything that goes through such processing isn't ideal for our body to break down. So here is my super foods, mood and energy regulating recipe for a gentle lift of energy. Use this drink to replace your morning coffee or as a pre-work out.
I've utilized Maca in this recipe because it is a superfood like no other. It comes from Peru as a root vegetable, but carries infamous medicinal properties.
For this recipe you need a blender. Make sure you don't use a magic bullet or a blender that doesn't have a place to release steam, as it might explode (trust me!).
- 1 tsp coconut oil
- 2 tsp chicory coffee substitute powder (i like Bambu)
- 1 tsp maca powder
- 1/2 tsp raw cocoa powder
- 2 cups warm milk or alternative
- 1-2 tsp maple syrup (optional)
- Heat milk on a stove top until warm.
- Place all ingredients in a blender including milk and blitz until frothy (about 20 seconds).
Save Your Tree From the Bin !
Growing up, we've always had a fake Christmas tree in the house. Sure it didn't smell like the real thing, but it always brought with it the warm feelings of Christmas. The excitement of decorating it with all of the little crafty ornaments I made from school, mixed with mini brass horns, drums, and christmasy characters all dangling on string.
I never subscribed to the tradition of going to buy a chopped down tree and decorating it for Christmas, only to have it thrown on the side of the curb destined for the dump. It made me sad that a tree with potential to live decades is chopped down in its prime for a short period of our enjoyment, then wastefully thrown away. To quote Marla Singer from Fight Club analogizing a vintage dress :
"It's a bridesmaid's dress. Someone loved it intensely for one day, and then tossed it. Like a Christmas tree. So special. Then, bam, it's on the side of the road. Tinsel still clinging to it."
This year my partner and I wanted to get a real tree. We looked at options of living trees, the ones that you can water and then replant at the end of the holidays, but they were out of our budget. We decided on a small real tree and instead of throwing it away we would use it for all that it can offer.
How to Harvest Your Christmas Tree
- To begin your tree must be dried aka dead.
- Using a large sharp pair of scissors or garden shears, cut off the younger, smaller branches , then cut into smaller pieces and place into a large bowl.
- After you've cut as much as you'd like to harvest, squish down with your hands to begin to release the needles from their branches.
- If you have an oversized pestle and mortar like I do here, you can use the pestle to press down on the needles which will make more room and release a lovely balsam fir aroma.
- Grab another large bowl. Working in batches, grab a large handful of branches and rub between your hands over the new bowl, releasing the needles into the bowl.
- Pick out the branches that now have no needles on them and discard, or use for kindling.
- Once you've rubbed all the little branches into the new bowl, with clean hands, start to crush the needles between your hands.
- Transfer into a clean mason jar. It is now ready to be used for tea, crafts, bath soaks etc.
Christmas Tree Tea Recipe
Yield: 2 cups or 32 single servings
- 1 cup Balsam Tree Needles (Immunity)
- 1/4 cup Schisandra berries (Immunity)
- 1/4 cup Hawthorn berries (heart health)
- 1/4 cup Lavender (nervous system relaxant)
- 1/4 cup Hibiscus (Heart Health)
- Add all herbs and berries into a bowl and mix well with a spoon.
- Transfer to a mason jar.
- Add 1 tbsp to a cup of boiling water.
- Cover and let simmer for 15 minutes. Make sure to cover in order to retain the medicinal volatile oils.
- Strain and enjoy!
Medicinal Properties of Balsam Fir Tree
Balsam Fir an Evergreen tree variety and the most common tree used for Christmas in North America. Click here to identify your tree. Believe it or not, Balsam Fir is very high in many minerals and vitamins, the ones most needed for cold weather seasons.
- Very High in Vitamin C. By weight, Balsam Fir has 10x as much vitamin C as an orange. Great for boosting immunity when sick.
- Expectorant. This is a class of herbs that improves the action of relieving phelgm and excess mucus from the respiratory system,
- Antiseptic. It has healing properties and works great as a topical application.
- Immune Support: It has anti-microbial and anti-bacterial properties great for helping to kick that bacterial cold infection you've been fighting off.
- Anti-Inflammatory: Helps reduce the inflammation often associated with common colds.
- Decongestant: helps to relieve congestion in the sinus tract.
Other Uses for Christmas Tree Needles
- Add to epsom salts for a healing bath.
- Infuse your soap for ant-micorbial properties
- Make an Balsam Fir infused oil to produce a cream or salve.
- Drink tea!
If you're an athlete, you know big games can be full of excitement but also coupled with anxiousness. Thankfully there are habits you can implement in order to arrive clear and composed on the pitch which gives you a competitive edge.
The fuel you put in your body is just as important as training sessions. Getting into a pre-game routine can ensure you're performing optimally when it counts.
Here are Top 10 Tips that will ensure your body and mind are as fit as possible:
- Hydrate well with water the day before the game as well as game day in order to saturate your muscles. Strive for clear urine. Dehydration can lead to fatigue and poor reaction time.
- Eat a Home-Cooked Meal of complex carbohydrates and protein about 3 hours before the game for optimum stomach emptying time and top energy levels. Complex carbs can include root vegetables, beans, legumes or brown rice.
- Proper Sleep before a game is imperative to top performance. Avoid electronics and anything with a blue light at least 1 hour before bed to achieve the most restorative sleep.
- Avoid Artificial Stimulants such as energy drinks which will inevitably cause an energy crash. This can be devastating, especially in the second half of a game. For sustained energy rely on protein and monounsaturated fats such as almonds.
- Pre-game Clarity can be achieved by arriving prepared and calm. Avoid mental exertion before the game such as playing video games. Getting into a routine can put you in control and reduce pre-game jitters. Soccer is a very mentally draining sport, so don't waste mental energy on worrying.
Nicole Di Nardo CNP
You may have asked yourself,
Are you eating fish for it’s health benefits and want to maximize on Omega 3 fatty acids ? Here is a list of carnivorous fish that eat smaller fish that eat plankton, which is where all that sexy alpha-linolenic acid comes from.
Why do we need Omega-3 again?
It’s ESSENTIAL for proper brain function, affects vision, learning co-ordination and mood. Also, cultural diets with a high level of Omega 3 like the Japanese, have low rates of cardiovascular disease. To be exact, they have 3 times more omega 3 in their diet than the average American.
Tip #1 make sure it’s a wild COLD WATER fish.
Tip #2 Always opt for sustainable. Avoid the salmon or swordfish if you can choose the mackerel. Mackerel has 10 times more omega 3 than swordfish. Here is a list in order of highest to lowest:
Fish highest in Omega 3
- Lake Trout
Source: “New Optimum Nutrition Bible” Patrick Holford 2004
Here is some food for thought: I have made some connections lately with my self worth as a direct reflection of thought patterns. I’ve learned how destructive ‘self talk’ can be and have tried to stop being mean to myself in my own head.
I have also been thinking (as a Nutritionist does) about ways to improve digestion as I believe it to be the most valuable aspect to our health when it is performing optimally.
But then I look in the mirror every morning after a shower or when I try on an outfit and think “I hate my belly fat”. Every single day, and often many times in a day, I send a little message of hate to my core. I’ve learned that, not only will this thought pattern diminish my digestion, but my belly is the site of so much more.
Belly Love : 5 Reasons to Stop Throwing Shade on your Core
1) Solar Plexus: Your belly is the site of the third chakra called the Solar Plexus. It is located in your upper stomach and above the navel. This Chakra is the core of your identity as it governs personality, identity and ego. It is the center of your self-esteem, confidence, self-worth and personal power. If you look in the mirror every morning and tell yourself you hate your ‘belly fat’, you are diminishing the power of your Solar Plexus and effectually breaking down your self worth on a daily basis. Please stop doing this. More on this.
2) Your Core: Muscularly speaking, it is common to refer to the centre place of strength and energy as your ‘core’. We see this in fitness instruction and exercises that remind you to ‘Strengthen your Core’ or ‘Pull in your Core’ when doing exercises. I believe they are on the right path anatomically, noting how central the core is for overall strength, but something is missing. There is an obsession to have ‘six-pack abs’ and the media presents this as the only way to be proud of your core. What is the result of this mentality? If you DON'T have ‘six-pack abs’ then you are inferior. Further propagating core hatred. So I say love your rolls. The effect of sending love to your core will go far beyond muscle strength…
3) Digestion: Your ability to break down and assimilate food is reliant on a properly functioning digestion. Assimilated food literally turns into ‘YOU’. It is the building blocks of every bodily process from hormones to blood cells and skin. If your digestion is sluggish, so is your metabolism. Weight gain can be the result of impaired digestion as we need the building blocks of vitamins and minerals to burn fat and remove it from the body. So send your belly some love, if not for an improved metabolism, then for your overall health…
4) “All disease starts in the gut”. It was the ancient philosopher Hippocrates who said nearly 2000 years ago that we can trace all elements of disease to the gut, which is the small and large intestines located in the lower part of your abdomen. The same place as your ‘Solar Plexus’ and your ‘Core’. This may seem obvious in conditions such as Type II Diabetes and Liver Disease, but can be linked to so many others such as Auto-Immune Disease, Heart Disease, Cancer and more. Digestion is the key to preventing these illnesses, so eat something today that is good for your gut.
5) The Gut-Brain Connection: The gut is the source of our microbiome: billions of beneficial bacteria working together to influence immunity and defence, digestion, mental health and so much more. As this topic extends the scope of this article I will just say this: digestion can influence mental health. Think of it this way: your happy hormones, called Serotonin, are made up of amino-acids. One of the most important amino-acids is Tryptophan, which cannot be made by the body so it needs to come from our diet. Tryptophan comes from broken down protein such as turkey meat, spinach etc. If your gut is not breaking down protein efficiently, then there won’t be enough Tryptophan to create the happy hormone Serontonin. The result can lead to depression, anxiety, emotional instability, inability to manage stress and so on. So love your gut, it’s the only one you have.
A growing concern these days is feelings of anxiety and depression. Anxiety seems to always sneak up when it is least wanted, during social events, going out for dinner, even taking a walk. Many people suffer in silence for fear of judgment. But often times you'll find if you open up and tell people about it, you'll see how common anxiety actually is.
One of the oldest treatments in traditional medicine of anxiety is periwinkle tincture. Periwinkle is the covering plant that grows wild in many gardens during the spring. The colour of their flower, a cool bluish purple is famous, yet the leaves are incredibly beneficial for a number of ailments. The leaves are a dark forest green, pointed and slightly rubbery.
Because of its amazingly gentle tranquilizing properties is has the ability to calm during an acute panic or anxiety attack. It can also be used daily as a preventative. This is also a well researched treatment in helping the elderly with memory retention. Because it is a vasodilator, it can increase blood flow to the brain, not only improving memory, but promoting focus and alertness.
Here is how easy it is to make a periwinkle tincture:
- Collect the plant: using shears, cut off the whole top of the plant, leaves flowers and all. Collect enough to fill medium sized bowl. Make sure there has been no pesticide use on the plant.
- Next, rinse the plant thoroughly. This can take up to three times, removing twigs and other non-periwinkle parts as you go.
- Sort the plants on a sheet pan and thouroughly remove any leftover material that you don't want in your tincture.
- Next, finely chop the plant. The same way you would chop parsley , continually going over the plant with a sharp blade until fine.
- Place the chopped plant into a sterilized mason jar. To sterilize just place in a pot of boiling water for 10min. Make sure to use a new lid. The plant material should fill just over half of a regular sized mason jar.
- Lastly, fill the jar with regular 40% vodka until just covering the plant.
- Place in a cupboard that you use often. Shake the jar every day for 2 weeks.
- Place in a cold dark place for 3 months. After this time your tincture will be ready !
- Strain and place in a amber coloured glass dropper bottle.
- Dose 5-8 drops in water up to 3 times a day.
This tincture will last upwards of 20 years !
Be aware of some contraindications of this tincture.
- You're pregnant or breastfeeding
- Have liver, lung or kidney disease.
- Have low blood pressure.
- Avoid before surgery
The leading cause of childhood acquired heart disease in North America is KAWASAKI DISEASE. Know the symptoms of this common childhood illness to detect KD early and prevent the chance of heart attack.
What is Kawasaki Disease?
Kawasaki Disease (KD) is an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation in the walls of the arteries throughout the body, known as vasculitis. Most importantly, it can affect the medium-sized coronary arteries that supply oxygenated blood to the heart. KD is also referred to as 'Mucocutaneous Lymph Node Syndrome' as it also affects the lymphatic system including lymph nodes, skin, mucous membranes in the mouth, nose and throat (MayoClinic.org).
It is most common in infants and young children under the age of five, usually of Asian decent. KD is considered the leading cause of childhood acquired heart disease in developed countries. Although the cause is unknown and doctors believe it is not contagious, it is hypothesized that a virus or other microbial agent may be the root cause (kdfoundation.org).
The acute stage involves hyperactivity of the immune system. In response to an unknown trigger, immunoregulatory abnormalities can be found as well as an increase in cytokine secretions which target the endothelial cells of the arteries, which produce antigens. Antibodies are produced in reaction to these antigens which target the vascular endothelium resulting in various events that lead to vascular damage (Taulbert, Shulman, 1999).
Know the Signs and Symptoms:
KD can be diagnosed based on these principle clinical findings, the main symptom being a long-term fever:
- Fever that lasts for five days or more (peak 102-104˚F or higher)
- Red bloodshot eyes (conjunctivitis) , without drainage or crusting
- Rash, often worse in the groin area
- Bright red, swollen, cracked lips, "strawberry" tongue, which appears with shiny bright red spots
- Swollen hands and feet and redness of the palms and soles of the feet
- Swollen lymph nodes in the neck
Kawasaki is classified by vasculitis, making the cardiovascular system the main target. The heart is the main organ affected as myocarditis occurs in the acute phase of 60% of patients and coronary aneurysms pose the greatest risk. The second major system affected is the lymphatic system, causing swelling in the mucous membranes and lymph nodes. The immune system is affected as one form of diagnosis is marked by increased number of white blood cells. The gastrointestinal tract is affected as diarrhea and abdominal pain are common symptoms. The liver is affected as 40% patients experience mild hepatic dysfunction. The neurological system is affected as 90% cases show extreme irritability (hearing loss, cranial nerve VII palsy and seizures pose a rare risk). Urethritis and enlarged kidneys may be seen. Inflammation of the joints can lead to arthritis in the subacute phase and inflammation of the lungs may also occur (Lang, 2001).
Acute Phase: Approximately 7-14 days. Mainly the mucocutaneous changes and the lymph system are most evident. Edema and inflammation of hands and feet develop at the end of this stage.
Sub Acute Phase: Week 4-6. Fever has abated and peeling of the skin on hands and feet begin. Coronary aneurysms develop at this stage. Arthritic symptoms of joints and lasting irritability occur.
Coronary artery aneurysms, calcification and stenosis. Atherosclerosis, stroke (due to scaring and thickening of the arteries), aorta root dilation, scarring of the heart and dysrhthmia (Gordon, Kahn, Burns 2009).
2. Causative Factors
a) Contributory Causes: Diet
In the functional medicine community, a leaky gut has been associated with the exasperation of autoimmune disease symptoms. The lining of the small intestines has a selective permeability which is integral in moving pathogens out through excretion and releasing nutrients into the bloodstream. If the lining becomes inflamed and damaged by harmful bacteria or irritating food substances such as gluten, it becomes more permeable. 'Holes' in the gut lining will prematurely leak large food molecules into the bloodstream, causing the immune system to react and attack them as a foreign invaders. If the immune system is up-regulated due to constant attacks, it may begin to identity and attack self tissue as foreign as well (autoimmunity). This is the basis behind the leaky gut and autoimmunity connection. Dr. Terry Wahls has a theory that autoimmune disease can be cured by a very strict diet which is focused on the increased production and regeneration of mitochondria through nutrient dense foods. Her diet removes common allergens such as grains, legumes and dairy to reduce inflammation. It is very high in anti-inflammatory fats from nuts and seeds, fish and liver. It is considered a version of the paleo diet, as nutrient dense organ meats play a big role in providing certain nutrients which regenerate the mitochondria. Lastly, an immensely large amount of anti-oxidant rich fruits and vegetables are consumed to further reduce damage on cells. (Wahls, 2014)
A recent theory is held that there may be a strong environmental contributing factor to the development of this disease in susceptible patients. 'The Windborne Theory' was initiated by the discovery of a consistent pattern between seasonal shifts in winds coming from Central Asia and fluctuations in the numbers of KD cases in Japan, Hawaii and San Diego. The wind is thought to carry certain fungus and bacteria which can sustain the temperature and travel time across the ocean, although the specific infectious agent is yet to be identified.
c) Infectious Cause:
Because cases of the disorder tend to cluster geographically and by season, researchers have suggested that an infection may be involved. However, no infectious agent (such as a virus or bacteria) has been identified.
d) Predisposing Cause:
KD was originally discovered in Japan by Dr. Tomisaku Kawasaki, and today the Japanese see ten times more yearly diagnoses than the US, with 10,000 new cases per year in Japan (Gordon, Kahn, Burns 2009). A recent study analyzing 2,544 Japanese KD patients found that there is a susceptibility gene called ITPKC which has a significantly higher rate in those of Japanese decent, that can be attributed to pathogensis of this disorder (Onouchi, Fukazawa, Yamamura 2016). The ITPKC gene provides instructions for the production of the enzyme inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate 3-kinase C. This enzyme limits the activity of T cells in the immune system. (T cells are attributed to identifying foreign substances which defends the body against infection). Inositol is important because it reduces overproduction of T cells which can lead to excess cytokines (immune proteins) which lead to excess inflammation and subsequent tissue damage. If there is a variant or defect in this enzyme inositol as seen in a variation of the ITPKC gene, there may be an interference with the body's ability to reduce T cell activity, which can lead to inflammation and damage of blood vessels and result in the symptoms of Kawasaki. This is one of many suspected gene variations and causes of KD (US National Library of Medicine).
There is hereditary link in the prevalence of KD. This familial predisposition can be passed on through family members, and it is considered that children of parents who have had KD are twice as likely at risk of developing the disease. Those with a sibling affected with KD are ten times as likely in developing the disease. (US National Library of Medicine).
On average, a soccer player can cover 12-16 km within a 90 minute game. With little to no shift changes, soccer players must ensure they're well hydrated before the game starts. This means hydrating not only the day of a game, but also several days before and after to make sure your stores are replenished.
Why is hydration so important?
Water is needed to cool the body down by sweating to prevent heat stroke.
Fancy footwork requires proper hydration. Dehydration can lead to fatigue, diminished focus and slowed muscle reaction time. Electrolytes such as sodium and potassium are essential for muscle movement.
Prevent Injury: fatigued players are more prone to injury. Dehydration and sodium loss can also contribute to cramping.
Hot temperatures contribute to dehydration and potential heat stroke. Increase volume of hydration on hotter days.
Signs of Dehydration:
Urine colour is the best indicator of hydration. The clearer the urine, the more hydrated you are. Dark urine is an indicator of dehydration, drink water immediately if this happens. Hypo-hydration (too much water intake) can also occur, use urine colour as an indicator and pace your intake.
Skin Turgor, a sign of dehydration: skin with decreased turgor will remain elevated once it is pulled and released. This can be tested on the back of the hand.
• Chocolate milk is a good way to replenish your energy stores and increase fluid intake, although it also comes with a high dose of added sugar. Limit consumption to 8 oz maximum (a small bottle) or make your own to reduce added sugars: blend raw cocoa powder, raw honey, vanilla extract and organic milk.
• Coconut water makes an excellent electrolyte replacement drink due to its potassium content. If a lot of sweat has been lost, add a sprinkle of pink salt for complete electrolyte replacement.
• Sports drinks such as Powerade contain high fructose corn syrup, which is so heavily processed it’s detoxified like a poison by the liver. Not to mention the inflammatory synthetic dyes used. Try this recipe that provides all the correct ratios of quick-absorbing carbs (for energy), electrolytes and hydration:
Homemade Sports Drink Recipe
500ml water (infuse with hibiscus flowers for flavour)
2 tbsp unpasteurized honey
¼ tsp Pink Salt (contains more minerals)
¼ cup lemon juice
Make in a large batch, store in the fridge (up to 4 days) to drink throughout the week. You’ll save money and improve your performance!
Nicole Di Nardo CNP
iNutrition for Football: Hydration Strategies. Zurich: FIFA: Fédération Internationale De Football Association, n.d. A practical guide to eating and drinking for health and performance.
ii"Coaching Association of Canada." Fluids for Athletes. N.p., 2016. Web. 24 Sept. 2016.