The Power of Colour and Phytonutrients

Simply aiming to include a rainbow of colours at each meal can significantly change the way you enjoy your food.  Not only is a colourful plate of food very beautiful and appealing to the senses, but it also will ensure you're getting the wide array of phytonutrients in your diet.  

Plant foods (fruits, veggies, whole grains, nuts, beans, and tea) contain thousands of natural chemicals. These are called phytonutrients or phytochemicals. "Phyto" refers to the Greek word for plant. These chemicals act like a natural pesticide and help protect plants from germs, fungi, bugs, and other threats. Phytonutrients also give plants their rich colour and flavour.  In fact, when crops are sprayed with commercial pesticides it stunts the natural production phytonutrients.  You may have noticed that organic foods tend to be more flavourful and deeper in colour then conventionally grown food.   

Phytonutrients help prevent disease and keep your body working properly.  More than 25,000 phytonutrients are found in plant foods. Some examples include:  Carotenoid, Ellagic acid, Flavonoids, Resveratrol, Glucosinolates, Phytoestrogens.  Check out the list below for top phytonutrient rich foods!

  • Berries
  • Apples
  • Red and purple grapes
  • Red wine
  • Tea (green, black, oolong and white teas)
  • Cocoa - aka dark chocolate (at least 70%)
  • Cruciferous vegetables - cabbage, cauliflower, kale, bok choy, brussel sprouts, broccoli, arugula, collards, radish, watercress, sprouts
  • Yellow onions and scallions 
  • Celery 
  • Turnip 
  • Citrus
  • Garlic
  • Parsley, thyme, mustard, tumeric
  • Chickpeas and legumes 

 

 

Love Your Liver

The liver plays a very important role in cleansing the body. 

In fact, every minute the liver filters 2L of blood.  Everything you eat and drink is absorbed by the intestines and transported directly to the liver via the Portal-Venous System for filtering before it can move into the circulation of the body.  After we absorb food and drink, the liver decides what is excreted through the bowels and urine and what remains in the body.  

When the liver is overloaded, it is simply not able to properly filter and immediately remove toxins. Nor is it able to keep up with general housekeeping in the body.  When we eat clean and reduce alcohol, however, the liver has so much more energy to dedicate to filtering and detoxifying.  

There are many factors that stress the liver and overwork it. 

 

Common environmental and lifestyle factors that put extra strain on liver function include:

  • Food additives/processed foods
  • Alcohol
  • Pesticides
  • Medications
  • Cleaning products
  • Water pollution
  • Air pollution
  • Personal care/beauty products

Your liver is working especially hard during this cleanse to help rid your body of toxins.  In addition to eating clean and reducing alcohol, there are other great tools that you can use to support your liver function.  


Eat foods which supercharge your liver, including: 

keenan-loo-27635-unsplash.jpg
  • Cruciferous vegetables (collard greens, brussel sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, bok choy, kale, cabbage)
  • Glutathione rich foods (avocado, asparagus, walnuts)
  • Garlic
  • Beets
  • Turmeric
  • Lemons
  • Leafy green

 

Teas that support the liver include: 

  • Dandelion
  • Milk thistle
  • Peppermint
  • Turmeric 

 

Castor oil packs and your liver
Castor oil packs over the liver are a great way to draw more blood and nourishment toward your hard working liver.  You can find castor oil at Fiddleheads, and they also sell full castor oil kits.  For instructions on how to do castor oil treatments CLICK HERE.  It's cheap and easy to do!  I recommend doing it while reading, watching your favourite TV show or relaxing.  

For best results, do castor oil treatments 3 - 4/week for 30 - 45 min.  You can continue to do this treatment all year through! For your information, your liver is located under the bottom half of your right ribcage.  

Turmeric Latte aka Golden Milk

  • 1 tbs turmeric
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • 1 cup milk alternative
  • Sprinkle of ground pepper (to help absorb the turmeric)

 

Liver Juice
If you have a juicer this is a great liver-loving recipe!  If you don't have a juicer, a high powered blender can allow you to create the same recipe - just add approximately a cup of water to create a juice.  

  • 1 large beet root
  • 4 leaf red cabbage
  • 3 medium carrots
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 1 apple
  • 1/4 pineapple - 1/4 fruit
  • 2 handfulls spinach

 

Sweat to Your Health

Whether you're participating in the Annual KW Cleanse or you're looking to optimize your health all year round,  getting your sweat on is essential to support your body's inherent need to cleanse and eliminate toxins.

Skin is the body's largest elimination organ. It plays a very important role in the elimination of toxins from the body.  Some toxins can only be released through sweat and sweating is especially beneficial for the release of heavy metals such as mercury.

Enjoy the many benefits of a good sweat: 

bruno-nascimento-149663-unsplash.jpg
  • Eliminates toxic from the body
  • Boosts endorphins 
  • Prevents colds and the flu
  • Pain relief and treatment for arthritis
  • Weight loss 
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Purifies skin
  • Stress reduction
  • Temperature tolerances (it's actually great to sweat during the summers to help you handle the ambient temperature better)

 

Boost Your Health with Sweat

Wondering how you can get your sweat on? There are a few different ways you can go about this, for example: infrared saunas, hot yoga, and fitness training.

 

Why infrared saunas?
Infrared saunas have been shown to have even greater health benefits than conventional saunas because of infrared's ability to stimulate a greater effect on circulation and the sweat response so you are able to sweat out even more toxins.  

In the KW community, Moksha Yoga Waterloo powers its hot yoga rooms with infrared heat! This yoga practice activates your sweat as well as supporting resistance exercise and stretching. All wonderfully beneficial to optimal health! 
 


What if you don't have access to a sauna? 
No sweat, you just have to go back to good old exercise!  Sweating is so important for good health. If you don't have a sauna, then do other activities which you enjoy and help you to get your sweat on - like dancing, resistance training, or cycling. 
 


Remember to monitor your hydration levels!
In addition to your daily water needs (approx 2L/day), when you're working up a good sweat aim to consume an extra 220 ml of water for every 15 minutes of sweating! 

Vitamin N: The New Prescription 

Today's cleanse tip is brought to you by Dr. Jen!
 

christopher-campbell-37569-unsplash.jpg

Cleansing is a time to restore our bodies and remind ourselves how good we can feel.  

It's also a great time to start some new habits that will keep you healthy all year round.  This year, we want you to consider adding some vitamin N to your daily prescription.  Some of the benefits you can expect are increased feelings of calm and peacefulness, improved focus, a sharper short-term memory and even lowered mortality rates.  

If fact, the results are so staggering that this vitamin is starting to make the most savvy doctors prescription sheets. The best part is that this one is side effect free and costs nothing. 

As you may have guessed, vitamin N is Nature.  Research shows that spending regular time outside in a park, green space or the forest can boost our wellbeing more than a $20,000 raise and the spring is a perfect time to start this healthy, stress busting habit.  

Become aware of how much time you spend in natural environments and you will see that most of us actually spend more time in our vehicles than enjoying this precious commodity.   It's no wonder that depression is now the leading cause of illness and disability worldwide.   In our over-stressed society, consider giving yourself the gift of a walk through the trees as often as possible!

4 Ways to Stimulate Your Lymphatic System

Don't know much about the lymphatic system?  Don't worry, you’re not alone! It's a new concept to most people.

The lymphatic system is a network of tissues and organs that primarily consists of lymph vessels, lymph nodes and lymph. The tonsils, adenoids, spleen and thymus are all part of the lymphatic system.  

lymphatic system.jpg

The primary function of the lymphatic system is to transport lymph, a clear, colourless fluid containing white blood cells that helps rid the body of toxins, waste and other unwanted materials.  The lymphatic system is vital to cleansing the body.  

There are 600 to 700 lymph nodes in the human body, and these nodes filter the lymph before it returns to the circulatory system.  The volume of fluid in the lymphatic system is twice the volume of blood and it consists of 80% water.  Proper hydration is essential for optimal function of the lymphatic system.  

An unhealthy lymphatic system can lead to an impaired immune system and serious health problems such as fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, chronic fatigue syndrome, cancer, obesity, aches and pains, bloating, digestive problems.

 

Why you Need to Stimulate the Lymphatic System


Unlike the cardiovascular system, which has the heart to pump the blood through the blood vessels, the lymphatic system has no pump so it needs to be stimulated manually to work properly.  

The lymphatic system works best through regular muscle contraction.  The pumping of the muscles help to move the lymphatic fluid through the body and ultimately removing toxins from the body.  

 

How to Stimulate your Lymphatic System

 

1. Exercise 30 minutes daily
The skeletal muscles are particularly important to stimulate the lymphatic system.  All forms of exercise help to move lymphatic flow, even brisk walking!

2. Trampolines are not just for kids
Light bouncing on a trampoline is fantastic for lymphatic stimulation.  This is also know as REBOUNDING.  You can use any size trampoline and just 5 minutes daily is a great place to start. This is a fantastic way to jump-start your day and bring energy to your morning routine.  

If you don't have a trampoline and want to get started right away, skipping rope, jumping jacks and running give similar results.

3. Dry skin brushing
This not only stimulates your lymphatic system but is also great for your skin!  CLICK HERE  for instruction on how to make your skin glow and lymphatics flow.

4. Lymphatic massage
Lymphatic message is a special techniques that supports healthy lymphatic drainage.  Ask your massage therapist about lymphatic massage at your next appointment. 

Cleansing your Makeup Bag

Today's cleanse tip is brought to you by Dr. Ben!

DetoxMe App

wang-xi-468747-unsplash.jpg

Download this app to help track your paraben exposure - find it on your smart phone and start your journey to reducing your toxic exposure to parabens and other common chemicals found in cosmetics.   

Here are some tips to making a smooth and cost-effective transition to chemical free cosmetics:

  1. Take inventory of your makeup bag and get rid of toxic items that you rarely use.
  2. Replace frequently use items as they run out with less toxic options.
  3. Take advantage of the amazing deals our cosmetic and beauty sponsors are offering!  15 - 30% WOW!  And treat yourself to a couple of new products! CLICK HERE to check out the deals

Dr. Ben speaks on parabens - their danger, how we're exposed and how to protect yourself!

This Spring, Give Your Sugar Cravings the Boot

If you’ve ever grooved to Nancy Sinatra’s 1966 hit, These Boots are Made for Walkin’, you have probably taken to heart the message to walk out on something (or someone!) that is hurting you.

This spring, put on your walkin’ boots, and break up with sugar.

The average North American consumes 26 teaspoons each day. This figure should scare you! The World Health Organization (WHO) has released a new guideline which recommends that adults and children reduce their daily intake of free sugars to less than 10 percent of their total energy intake.

A further reduction to below 5 percent or roughly 25 grams (6 teaspoons) per day would provide additional health benefits. Reducing to six teaspoons of sugar includes any refined, added sugar, as well as naturally occurring sugars.

Sugar has proven to be eight times more addictive than cocaine. This means that cutting back on sugar consumption will result in some obvious withdrawal symptoms.

Are you ready to start walking a new direction in your life, away from your sugar habit? Here are 5 steps to helping you kick your sugar addiction.

 

1.Quit cold turkey

Remember that sugar is proving to be the most addictive substance in the world!

To break you sugar addiction, it is best to go cold turkey for three weeks. You will likely experience some withdrawal symptoms (e.g. headaches, sugar cravings). You may find your cravings are most frequent during the three to five days after cutting out refined sugar.

Sugar List 2.png

After the three-week sugar detox, you can reintroduce sugar back into your diet for a maximum of six (6) teaspoons per day.

Avoid the foods in the list at right. Reintroducing sugar in moderation to the diet gives you the flexibility you need to enjoy an ice cream cone on a hot summer day or a crème brule at your favourite restaurant.

You may also find that some days you need no sugar, and that’s great. Moderation is always key to living a balanced and healthy life.

 

2.Rethink your drink and avoid liquid sugar

Liquid sugar is where most of us get our ‘discretionary’ or ‘empty’ calories. Sugar is hiding in the following beverages: flavour shots for coffee, pop, fruit juices from concentrate, chocolate milk, energy drinks, smart water, sports drinks, alcohol, and more! Instead, choose water, carbonated water, and caffeine-free herbal tea.

 

3.Avoid artificial sweeteners

Although artificial sweeteners don’t contain any sugar, they do increase insulin levels and have shown to contribute to weight gain.  Artificial sweeteners are chemicals. They are known to poison the brain and contribute to cognitive decline (e.g. Dementia and Alzheimer’s).

Natural alternatives include Stevia and Xylitol.

 

4. Read your labels

Sugar List.png

When choosing convenience foods (e.g. cereal, snacks, crackers), make sure to read the label for total sugar content. Cross-reference this with how many times sugar is mentioned in the ingredient list.

You must check all foods that come packaged and have a label to read. You’ll be surprised how many foods have unexpected amounts of sugar. Remember four grams is equal to one teaspoon of sugar! Check the list of ways to say sugar at right for more information.

Start with inventorying what is currently in your pantry and fridge. When at the grocery store, critically consider whether you want to bring sugar-rich foods into your home.

 

5.Make sure your first meal of the day is high in protein

Eating a high-protein breakfast will help you stabilize your blood sugars and insulin at the start of your day. This means fewer sugar cravings and over eating later on.

People who eat a high-sugar breakfast are likely to eat 80 percent more throughout the day.

 

This spring, put on your walkin’ boots, and break up with sugar. You will find it results in plentiful health benefits and gives you more natural, sustainable energy levels.

Digital Detox

Today's cleanse tip is brought to you by Dr. Ben!

The tip of the day is the power of Digital Detox!

dig-it-al de-tox 
noun informal
noun: digital detox; plural noun: digital detoxes

  1. A period of time during which a person refrains from using electronic devices such as smartphones or computers, regarded as an opportunity to reduce stress or focus on social interaction in the physical world. 
"Break free of your devices and go on a digital detox"

Meditation

Today's cleanse tip is brought to you by Dr. Jen!

natalia-figueredo-350529-unsplash.jpg


Meditation is a technique that has been used for thousands of years and its effectiveness has now been proven by an impressive stack of research. And yet, when I tell my patients that meditation can provide extensive health benefits I often get the same responses: 'I don't have time', 'I can't quiet my mind', 'It's too hard to stay still'. 

Interestingly, these are the exact reasons I have prescribed a dose of meditation in their otherwise busy lives. 
 
Taking the time to sit still, take a few deep breaths and focus on how we feel can have wonderful health benefits. I have seen this practice drastically improve the wellbeing of my patients.  In fact, we now know that meditation doesn't just help us feel calm, it actually changes the structure of the grey matter in our brains and reduces our stress response, protecting us from future stress.
 
Not to worry if you're short on time or struggle to quiet the busy chatter in your brain.

Meditation takes practice and can be started in very small doses.  You can begin by taking five deep, slow breaths as you transition between the parts of your day, reducing that busy feeling we often consider 'normal'.  You can also try a meditation app like Headspace or Insight Timer that provide lots of options for short, guided practice.

For me, a few quiet minutes before I pick up my kids, start a busy day at the office or sit down to answer emails helps me stay present and connected with the people and experiences I am giving my time to and makes a world of difference in my wellbeing.

jen-loong-552269-unsplash.jpg

Simple steps to avoid the problem with plastics in your healthy house

It’s so easy to use plastic, and re-use it – again, and again – without conscious thought. Plastic is a part of our daily modern lives when it comes to convenient food storage, preparation, and purchasing.  

alexander-mils-instagram-com-alexandermils-320031.jpg

However, many of the chemicals used in plastic are hormone altering and have been found to cause adverse health effects in pregnant mice and their babies (Yang et al., 2011). The risk of endocrine disruption from plastics is greatest during prenatal and early postnatal development when organ and neural systems are forming (NIEHS, 2017). Production of plastics also generates air pollution, while discarded plastic contributes to our ever-growing landfills.  

Chemicals are most likely to migrate into our food when exposed to high heat, harsh soaps, and fat. How can you be cautious with your use of plastics in your household? Below are some easy steps, which additionally have the benefit of encouraging other healthy behaviours!

  • Do a catalogue of your plastic inventory – e.g. plastic wrap bags, plastic coffee containers – and try to replace with alternatives such as waxed and brown paper bags or metal canisters (i.e. a thermos).
  • Reduce how frequently you purchase take-out and fast food in plastic containers. Instead, replace with more fresh food from local producers, if possible, and carry it home in glass, paper, or ceramic containers.
  • Purchase glass bottles for drinking water and baby bottles. Avoid drinking water from 5-gallon plastic water coolers.
  • Don’t microwave your food in plastic! Replace instead with ceramic or glass containers.
  • Discoloration, cracks, or other signs of wear suggest that the plastic is degrading. Try replacing with glass or Pyrex.  
  • If you keep your plastics – wash them by hand in warm water and mild detergent to avoid the possibility of chemicals ‘leaching’ out of plastics.
  • Avoid plastics #3 (Vinyl or PC), #6 (Polystyrene), and #7 (Other – Polycarbonate) as the biggest-risk types of plastic.

Use these strategies to help put you on track for cutting back on the presence of plastic in your healthy house. For some further reading on avoiding hormone-disrupting chemicals in your home, check out this NRDC article.

We are so excited to be hosting the 10th Annual KW Cleanse kick-off event on Tuesday April 24th. Consider joining us to learn more about avoiding toxins in your daily life!  

diego-botero-428971.jpg

References:

Yang, Chun Z.; Yaniger, Stuart I.; Jordan, Craig V.; Klein, Daniel J.; & Bittner, George D. (2011). Environmental Health Perspectives 119(7): 989-996. Available for viewing at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3222987/

National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. (2017). Endocrine Disrupters. Available for viewing at: https://www.niehs.nih.gov/health/topics/agents/endocrine/index.cfm

Sneaky toxins lurking in your personal care products and in your home

On average, women in North America use 12 personal care products per day. It is easy to assume that these personal care products are all safe to use in any amount.

It is also easy to take for granted the health of our home environment. However, poor ventilation and air quality in homes can be the cause of headaches, dizziness, nose or throat irritation, dry cough, dry or itching skin, and many more problems. Using chemical cleaning products to tackle the issue of dirt and dust in our homes further compounds the problem.

Our bodies absorb the ingredients in our personal care products and the chemicals we surround ourselves with in our home environment. When we absorb these chemicals, our system reacts with inflammation and increases its production of free radicals.

This increases our likelihood of developing chronic health problems.

Today we are going to share some simple actions that you can take in your daily life to reduce your exposure to these exogenous toxins in your environment.

 

Tips to Reduce Toxins in Your Personal Care Products

You can reduce your body’s exposure to toxins in your personal care products by making educated purchases.  

Hair products containing alcohol, sodium lauryl sulfate, paraben, phthalate or other petrochemicals are all problematic.

Parabens, for example, act as a preservative to prevent the growth of bacteria, mold, and yeast in cosmetic products. Parabens absorb into our skin and have estrogen-mimicking properties which can increase our risk of breast cancer.

Phthalates are another example of problems lurking in your personal care products. They are a group of chemicals used to increase the flexibility and softness of plastics. They appear in our nail polish, perfumes and lotions, as well as hair spray. They are endocrine disruptors and have been linked to reproductive birth defects in males and females.

It is also important to avoid fragrances. The fragrance mixes in some of our personal care products cause allergies, dermatitis, respiratory effects, and potential effects on the reproductive system.

Consider purchasing your makeup and skin creams from health food stores and try to find a hair salon offering more natural products. Read the label before purchasing a new product and refer to the Environmental Working Group’s handy resources on safer personal care products.

 

Tips to Reduce Toxins in Your Home

volha-flaxeco-552385-unsplash.jpg

Modern homes aim to reduce energy loss for heating and cooling purposes. This often means that they are not very well ventilated. When we do our spring cleaning to get rid of the dust and dirt, it is important to avoid overusing cleaning products.

Cleaning products are full of chemicals which our bodies will absorb. Disinfectants, bleaches, oven and drain cleaners, floor wax, and more all have harmful chemicals. Even air fresheners can be problematic for our bodies!

Replace these cleaning products with non-toxic household cleaning agents such as baking soda, white distilled vinegar, or tea tree oil.

It is also important to change your home’s air filters often and consider purchasing an air purification system to help prevent the build-up of stale air in the home.

 

We are so excited to be hosting the 10th Annual KW Cleanse kick-off event on Tuesday April 24th. Consider joining us to learn more about natural, healthy products available for your personal care regime and home!   

These tips will help you to reduce toxins in your daily food and water consumption

Our bodies absorb toxins in every arena of life. We apply chemicals to our skin or absorb them from the air around us. This can cause inflammation. It also increases the body’s production of free radicals, thus increasing our likelihood of developing chronic health problems.

There are two classes of toxins. The first is exogenous, which are toxins originating from our surrounding environment. The second is endogenous, and we make these in our body.

Today we are going to share a few tips to help you reduce the exogenous toxins which you absorb through your daily food and water consumption.

We will also outline how filtered water plays a role in cleaning toxins in the body.  

 

Tips to Reduce Toxins in Your Food and Water

You can reduce your body’s exposure to pesticides by switching to organic food products. This includes dairy products, as well as free-range meats and eggs.

Refer to the Environmental Working Group’s Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce to educate yourself before your next trip to the grocery store. Although there are various fruits and vegetables which may be more important to eat organic, strawberries and apples tend to be bad culprits for pesticide residue.

Article_Water Toxins.jpg

It is also important to note that water can have many toxins in it. Consuming unfiltered water can increase the toxic load on your body. Water quality will vary from city to city, but in general, it is better to filter your tap water with a multi-stage carbon filter or reverse osmosis filter.

Try to avoid bottled water in soft plastic containers, or plastic water bottles which have been in a hot car. In both cases, the plastic can leach into the water and contribute to your body’s toxic load.

Instead, replace your plastic water bottles with glass when possible. Do not store or microwave your food in plastic containers. While it is easy to use (and reuse) plastics without conscious thought, they can also disrupt hormones in your body.

 

Cleansing and Water

Cleansing increases the mobilization of toxins in our bodies. It’s important that we do everything possible to support the elimination of these toxins. Otherwise they remain in our system.

Normal detoxification and elimination pathways include our skin, kidneys, urinary tract, liver, bowel, and lungs.

There are a few ways that you can ensure that your detoxification and elimination pathways are working well. Drinking plenty of filtered water, sweating often through exercise and in a sauna, and regular physical movement help to keep our kidneys functioning well and helps to flush the toxins out of our lymphatic system.

 

We are so excited to be hosting the 10th Annual KW Cleanse kick-off event on Tuesday April 24th. Consider joining us to learn more about cleansing and reducing your toxic burden!