Monday, January 31, 2011

Tahini & Sprout Brown Rice Spaghetti with Kale

by Lisa Batson CNP

1 packet brown rice spaghetti
1 cup tahini
1 cup mixed sprouts (alfalfa, sunflower, pea)
½ cup mushrooms, chopped
½ cup zucchini, chopped
1 cup tomatoes, chopped
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 cups kale, chopped
2 cups spinach, chopped
¼ cup coconut oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp sea salt


Bring pot of water to a boil, add brown rice pasta reduce heat and simmer until pasta is tender. Drain. Note: If you have not worked with brown rice pasta before, please note that water becomes starchier than normal pasta, and sometimes it is helpful to dump and replace some water part way through cooking process.

In a saucepan, add coconut oil, onion, and garlic and sautee until onions are translucent. Add zucchini, mushrooms, tomatoes and kale, and sautee for 5 minutes. Once vegetables are cooked to desired texture, add spinach to saucepan for 1 minute, and when it begins to melt, add pasta, tahini, lemon juice and sea salt and mix together. Add sprouts as garnish before serving

Voluntary Simplicity

Voluntary simplicity is not about poverty or self-inflicted deprivation, but about determining what is important and clearing away the rest. It’s about wanting less, working less and spending less. It’s about paring life down to its essentials – those activities and relationships you either need or truly cherish. It’s about improving the quality of life and unburdening it, no longer feeling like there aren’t enough hours in the day. By simplifying, you limit the amount of things that bring you stress, and you become more at peace, relaxed and fulfilled.
These concepts were brought to my attention in the course Nutrition and the Environment at the Institute of Holistic Nutrition and they really hit home for me. Below is a list of simplicity values brought together by Linda Breen Pierce (who started the Voluntary Simplicity notion) that may help you to see where you can start to make some positive changes to improve your life:
·       Eliminating excess possession and activities that produce physical and mental clutter or are incompatible with our highest values
·       Limiting consumption of material goods to items that are truly needed or valued, focusing on items that have the least impact on non-renewable resources and are durable, functional and aesthetically pleasing
·       Applying ourselves to meaningful, satisfying work  that serves as a platform for our unique, creative talents and skills, and which also makes a contribution to the community (whether that work is for pay or volunteering)
·       Living in ways that preserve the earth’s resources such as recycling and reducing (avoiding purchases that are wasteful of the earth’s resources) and sharing of material goods
·       Developing compassion for poor and disadvantaged people, making financial contributions or volunteering our efforts to help those less fortunate
·       Investing time and energy to develop close, rewarding relationships with family and friends
·       Experiencing the splendor of natural beauty, feeling the connection between nature and our inner selves and to the spiritual presence we feel when we are quiet in nature
·       Exploring our spiritual selves, through meditation, prayer, journal writing, mindfulness, yoga or other spiritual or religious practices
·       Developing a deep sense of peace and joy by learning to live in the present moment (not worrying about the future or dwelling on the past) and enjoy the everyday wonder of our lives
·       Taking good care of our bodies by eating a diet rich in healthy, unprocessed foods and by exercising regularly – often by walking, bicycling, running, yoga or other activities which enhance our awareness of the body and are non-competitive in nature
·       Becoming more self-reliant in our daily needs such as repairing our possessions and home or exchanging services with others such as baby-sitting, hair cutting and car repairs…etc.
·       Depending less on the one-car-per-adult form of transportation focusing on alternative methods such as walking, bicycling and public transportation
You can add or remove items from this list as you see fit. As we start to remove clutter and unhealthy habits and relationships from our lives it becomes easier to live a happier, more fulfilling life every day and learn what it is that we truly need, rather than what commercials tell us we need to live happily. When creating my goals and resolutions for the New Year I always refer to this list to help me focus on what really matters in life. There is a lot of self-exploration in this process so enjoy the trip!
Hayley Shwaizer, CNP

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Easy Split Pea Soup in the Slow Cooker

This is a great tasting soup which is easy on the pocket, totally nourishing and very warming on a cold winter’s night. One of the best parts of slow cooking - a nice hot supper already made for you when you get in from a hard day of work! For a complete protein I recommend dipping a crispy whole grain dinner roll into this hearty meal.
-        2 cups of dried split peas
-        6 cups water or vegetable stock (preferably homemade)
-        1 small yellow onion, chopped
-        2 carrots, peeled and chopped
-        2 celery stalks, chopped
-        Some salt and pepper to taste

1.     Rinse and sort through the split peas
2.     Place everything in the slow cooker for 8-10 hours on low or 4-6 on high
3.     Serve with whole grain crusty rolls or fresh French baguette with organic butter

Hayley Shwaizer, CNP


By Ilona Napravnik C.N.P 

In the modern world, the sheer number of individuals who describe themselves as depressed or seek medical treatment for “depressive” symptoms have skyrocketed to epidemic proportions.

The medical explanation for depression is a chemical imbalance in the brain which has many causes, ie. hormone imbalance in post partum depression, serotonin increase in individuals, lack of sunlight in seasonal attention disorder, etc.  This article is not intended as a discussion of the merits of any of the theories but a guide to dietary changes which alleviate symptoms of depression in individuals. 

To tackle depression one must realize avoiding dietary missteps is far more important than adding substances to the diet.  Forefront on the list of foods to avoid is sugar.  In the very short run, sugar boosts mood and increases energy but this reaction is only temporary.  Once the sugar is in the blood stream, the body signals an insulin increase to lower blood sugar, this insulin is the reason for the inevitable crash following an intake of sugar.  Within a short while after consuming sugar, the body is more drained than prior to it’s ingestion.  Secondly, but not insignificant is the addition of caffeine and alcohol in modern diets.  Again these substances appear to enhance mood but are in fact suppressing in the long run.  This is a hard transition, as most individuals have a coffee with sugar first thing in the morning, but is of vital importance to regain appropriate mood and energy balance.

Foods good to consume are in the Omega 3 fats category, ie. salmon, walnuts, cold water fish.  As many studies have observed, the reliance on Omega 3 fats in the diet is related inversely with depressive tendencies.  The highest fish consuming countries, ie. Japan and China, have substantially lower incidence of depression compared to North American or “Western” societies. 

The other important nutrient for depression is folic acid.  Folic acid is deficient in individuals with depression and the common belief is with adequate folic acid levels, the brain will react appropriately to external stimulus. 

Both of the above nutrients are known as “brain food” and in this regard can be viewed as balancing the chemicals in the brain. 
Of outmost importance in the battle with depression is an adoption of a healthy diet with a heavy emphasis on fish sources. 

*This article is not intended as a replacement for medical advice but merely a balanced diet to aid in the pursuit of health.  If your symptoms are severe and your depression prolonged, please seek medical advice.*

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


by Denise Ann Rodrigues, R.N.C.P, R.O.H.P
Moving in to the winter months, longer nights and shorter days in winter arrives while longer days and shorter nights in the summer approaches which means less sunlight throughout the winter months and varying changes in the amount of sunlight we receive throughout different seasons.  This will of course affect our natural circadian rhythm (sleep and wake cycles) and the feel good hormone “serotonin” responsible for mood regulation.  The sleep hormone “melatonin” released by the pineal gland is decreased and stress hormone “cortisol” released by the adrenal glands is increased. Hmm, no wonder why we appear to be more stressed in the winter months and our adrenals are out to toast.
SAD is just another form of “seasonal depression” for which the causes are unknown by scientists but it has been acknowledged that sunlight reduction is a major contributor.  It can be very challenging to determine the difference between seasonal depression and other depression related conditions.  Serious cases involve substance abuse, school and work problems, suicidal thoughts.
·        Depression
·        Hopelessness
·        Anxiety
·        Loss of energy
·        Social withdrawal
·        Oversleeping
·        Loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed
·        Weight gain
·        Difficulty concentrating and processing information
·        Appetite changes, especially a craving for food high in carbohydrates
Reverse seasonal affective disorder (hypomania) can occur in the spring and summer months as well.  These symptoms can result in bipolar disorder and includes:
·        Persistently elevated mood
·        Increased social activity
·        Hyperactivity
·        Unbridled enthusiasm out of proportion 
Get tested to see if there is a possible diagnosis if you believe you have SAD.  Clinically, antidepressants are used for seasonal depression, be open to other “natural alternatives” as well.
Cognitive behavioral-therapy has shown to provide emotional support to patients suffering from this condition.  Psychotherapy is another option to treat this imbalance as moods can also affect how a person reacts and psychotherapy can teach someone how to let go of negative thoughts and manage stress.
Lifestyle Changes
Spending more time with loved ones and making your living and working environment brighter and sunny is beneficial. Positive thoughts and things, taking long walks and being in nature and sitting under a tree helps, regular exercise such as walking and biking has therapeutic benefits.  Acupuncture, yoga, meditation, massage therapy and guided imagery can be very helpful in managing SAD.
Melatonin supplementation helps regulate mood, seasonal changes affects melatonin level in the body as we talked about earlier.  Please consult a health care specialist before doing so.   
Light Therapy
Full spectrum light therapy is designed to replicate natural sunlight and known to be effective since controlled studies concluded that it works by restoring proper melatonin synthesis and secretion, stimulating normal circadian rhythms (natural 24 hour release of the body’s hormones) One can also try replacing standard light bulbs at home with full-spectrum light bulbs.  And don’t forget your Vitamin D, at the least 2000 IU’s per day.  You can double the dose in winter months by supplementing and maximize on food therapy.  Yes, fresh fruits and vegetables, at least 2 – 3 liters of water per day, 25-40g of fiber, optimal protein and carbohydrate intake.
St John’s Wort ( Hypericum perfoliatum )
St. John’s Wort extract given at a dosage of 300 mg three times per day has had positive effects at relieving SAD on its own.  Studies show a higher potency when used with the combination of light therapy.
Stick to the plan, no more winter blues!
·        Nurture yourself
·        Practice stress management
·        Always socialize and share feelings with loved ones
·        Take regular vacations to warm sunny areas and countries if you can
*Murray, Michael, N.D and Pizzorno,Joseph, N.D-Enclopedia of Natural Medicine, revised 2nd Edition: Three Rivers Press1997. pgs 792-793
*N. Rosenthal et al, Antidepressant Effects of Light in Seasonal Affective Disorders, Am J Psychiatry 142 (1985): 163-170

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

To D, Or Not To D

On November 30, 2010, the Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) Food and Nutrition Board (FNB) revealed in a report requested by the Canadian and American governments, that North Americans are receiving acceptable levels of vitamin D.   This statement is in complete opposition of past and recent reports that state large percentages of Canadians and Americans are in fact deficient in this vitamin. The headline “Vitamin D deficiency soars in the U.S., study says”, appeared in Scientific American March 23, 2009.  Quite simply, it states that three-quarters of teens and adults are deficient in vitamin D correlated with diseases from cancer to diabetes.  These findings were published in the Archives of Internal Medicine.  

The IOMs New Guidelines
Determining daily dietary reference intakes (DRIs) for vitamin D has been assessed by a committee chosen by the IOM.  Taking into consideration dietary vitamin D levels in the body as well as the synthesis of vitamin D from sunlight exposure, it was concluded North Americans require 400 IUs daily while the recommended daily dietary allowance was                                     increased to 600 IUs, specifically for bone health.  They also set the acceptable level of vitamin D in the blood at 20 ng/m, ascertained by a specific test called 25 (OH) D3.  They also raised the upper limit or the amount one can take without side effects to 4,000 IUs of vitamin D.  Although the new guidelines are a move in the right direction, those who relentlessly study this precious vitamin feel disappointed with the narrow vision of the report (bone health only) along with the low values.

What the Experts Say 
 The IOM committee makes the assumption that due to cancer risk, most people endure little sun.  Dr. John Jacob Cannell MD, the executive director of The Vitamin D Council in the United States and a well known researcher specializing in vitamin D makes an interesting point.  He declares the report cautions against natural vitamin D – the sun, considering a range of up to 30 minutes of sunshine without sunscreen can produce 10,000 IUs.   He humorously indicates that the Food and Nutrition Board “is implying that God does not know what she is doing”(6).  Dr. Heaney MD, considered a leading vitamin D researcher says, “there were no day to day vitamin D scientists on the panel, and the working vitamin D community says they’re off base”(3), referring to the IOM committee and their findings.  Both Dr. Heaney and Dr. Cannell state that many studies showing a correlation between higher vitamin D intake and its health benefits beyond just bone health were ignored.  Carole Baggerly, founder of Grassroots Health weighs in adding, the committee excluded decades of epidemiological studies that had backed up the connection between multiple diseases, subsequent deaths and vitamin D use.

What Vitamin D Level Is Considered Deficient?
The IOM characterizes a deficiency as less than 11 nanogram/millilitre.  In Canada, 2 laboratories that measure vitamin D levels claim deficiencies at either less than 25 or less than 30 ng/mL.  Dr. Cannell claims a 25 (OH) D of 30 ng/mL is too low.  He would like to see winter and summer values remain between 50-80 ng/mL.  It is important to understand that this optimal range does not happen overnight.  Dr. Heaney regards the IOM as not having met the standard explaining that vitamin D intake should equate to maintaining blood levels between 40-60ng/mL.

The Individual Approach           
Stipulating a standard dose for an entire population is a cookie cutter approach, an approach that defies the unique biological makeup of the Homo sapien species.  Personal factors such as illness, skin colour, age, sun exposure, sunscreen usage, diet, residence, weight and body fat percentage, should play a role in deciding dosage because quite frankly vitamin D benefits go beyond just bone health.

Things That Make You Go Hmmmmmmmm?
· the chairman of the IOM committee was a vitamin A expert?
· 15 vitamin D experts reviewed the report, their opinions have been suppressed!

1. The Institute Of Medicine - Vitamin D Report
2. The Vitamin D Council:
4. Special interview with Dr Cannell:
5. Special interview with Carole Baggerly:
6. The Health Journal Club:
8. CML Healthcare/Gamma-Dynacare

Yvette Rochelle Pritchard
Yvette Rochelle Nutrition
Holistic Nutritionist, CNP, NNCP

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Kim’s Butternut Squash Soup

by, Kimberly Davidson, CNP 

Winter is a difficult time for me. Yes, I may be from Montreal but I am a wuss when it comes to
cold weather! With Blue Monday just behind us (and maybe still lingering for many) this can be a hard time of year. As the credit card bills from your over-spending during the holidays begin to trickle in, new year’s resolutions completely forgotten and no cash to do much this weekend, cooking is a great way to conquer those any day blues.
 My Butternut Squash soup is the prefect meal to keep you warm and cozy without hurting your already injured wallet.

Kim’s Butternut Squash Soup
1 medium butternut squash (approx. 2.5lbs)
1 medium onion, diced
1 Tbsp ginger, freshly grated
3 Tbsp unsalted butter or coconut oil
3 cups vegetable broth
1 can coconut milk
Dash of cinnamon
Salt & pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Cut squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds (can save seeds and roast just like pumpkin seeds – yum!). Brush squash halves with some melted butter or coconut oil and arrange cut side up in a roasting pan. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until tender. Set aside and cool.
When squash is cool, scoop flesh from the skin and set aside. In a large cooking pot, cook onion in butter or coconut oil until tender. Add ginger and cook for a few more minutes. Add broth and simmer for 5 minutes. Add squash, cover and let simmer for 5 more minutes. Turn off heat and either transfer to food processor or using a hand blender, puree until smooth. Add coconut milk, stir and return to low heat. Add cinnamon, salt & pepper. Serve and enjoy!

Monday, January 17, 2011

My Experience with Meditation

By Maria E. Roldan, RNCP, ROHP, NNCP
This is not an article to explain to you how to meditate. I just want to share my experience and hopefully capture your interest so that one day you give meditation a try. It made a big difference in my life once I started practicing it and I truly believe that we can all benefit from this simple yet profound practice.
When I first started meditating, I just wanted to relax. I had the idea that my mind needed to get to a state of perfect quietness. I thought that my mind would go “blank”, my body would relax completely, and then I would finally be able to say that I experienced that wonderful feeling a lot of my yoga teachers where talking about.
I know that a lot of people have the same expectations when they decide to give meditation a try. We think that we have to be like the yoga sages or Buddhist monks that stay in lotus position meditating for hours . Well, let me tell you that this is not necessarily true. Anybody can meditate. Anytime is good to meditate. And no, your mind does not have to go blank, nor does your body need to be perfectly relaxed to meditate. You can achieve relaxation while in meditation but being relaxed does not mean that you are meditating.
I learned all this when I was introduced to “Mindfulness Meditation”. A concept introduced to the West by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn but that has been in the core of the Buddhist tradition for centuries.
In 2009, in an effort to fight the battle of stress, I took a program that was suggested to me by my psychotherapist. It is called the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Program (MBSR) and was also designed by Dr. Kabat-Zinn. It was life-changing. Two exhausting months where I would have to meditate every day for at least 45 minutes, do some homework, read a book the size of a brick and go to a weekly 3-hour group session. Lots of work but it totally paid off.
The definition of meditation that I was given at the orientation session of the program was: to pay attention, on purpose, focusing in the moment, and using the breath as the anchor. Yes, the present moment is the only true and powerful reality we own. It is a simple concept but we make it difficult because our minds don’t like the present moment. Our thoughts constantly wander between the past and the future. Those “what ifs…” that love to hunt us.  
I learned that it is in the nature of the mind to wander. We cannot stop our thoughts from happening but it is what we do with those thoughts that matters and that is exactly what you learn when you practice mindfulness meditation. By paying attention to those thoughts, you take away their power. You come back to your core, to your essence.
In one of his books Dr. Kabat-Zinn says:
"The habit of ignoring our present moments in favor of others yet to come leads directly to a pervasive lack of awareness of the web of life in which we are embedded. This includes a lack of awareness and understanding of our mind and how it influences our perceptions and our actions. It severely limits our perspective on what it means to be a person: how we are connected to each other and the world around us."  
Try to sit still for 10 minutes and focus only on your breath. Very soon you will discover that your mind is constantly bringing to you either memories, or things you need to do, people you have to call, groceries you need to buy, etc. Once again, think of meditation as the training that will teach you what to do with your thoughts. Actually, I can tell you right now what to do with them: nothing. Yes, you read it right – you don’t do anything, you just acknowledge them as thoughts and then move on to focus on your breath again, on your present. You do this one hundred times if needed….two, three hundred times. It does not matter. Trust me, with time you will see how this practice of mindfulness helps you live to the fullest without worrying too much about everything.
I could go on and on about this subject but I don’t want this post to be too long. I invite you to do some research (there is a lot of information online), find a class, a book (that’s how I started) or go back to it if you’re one of those that like me in past, had failed to meditate by having the wrong expectations. Let me say it again: it was life-changing for me. I hope one day it makes a difference for you as well.
My favourite mindfulness meditation books by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn:
“Wherever You Go There You Are”
“Full Catastrophe Living – Using the Wisdom of your Body and Mind to Face, Stress, Pain and Illness”
Link to the MBSR Program I took in Toronto:
For meditation classes, check with a yoga studio as most of them offer them on regular basis.

Maria E. Roldan, RNCP, ROHP, NNCP

Friday, January 14, 2011

GABA – One girl’s cure for stress cases everywhere!

It seems as though stress levels just keep on climbing year after year in our fact-paced world. Technology has made us accessible 24/7, and the world is getting faster and more intense every day. So, how is it possible that we, being only human, can keep up with the demands? Well, as we all know, it is a constant challenge. Rates of existing and new chronic illnesses are on the rise with every passing year, and sometimes it feels that there aren’t tons of things we can control. But luckily for us, our health is one of the most important things we have control over. And even luckier for us, there are some natural treasures that can help us deal with the world when stresses are high and we just can’t keep up.

My #1 go-to supplement when the world is kicking my butt and I just can’t keep up with the physical and mental demands is my best friend GABA! Its full name is Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid, and although it is chemically an amino acid produced in the body, its chief function is acting like an inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain. In simple speak, this means that GABA regulates the excitability of our nervous system response, acting to basically disconnect our mind from mental stress and anxiety. In my own experience of particularly stressful and overwhelming times, I find that GABA really helps to take the edge off when you feel like your nerves just can’t take a minute more.

Now, you may be wondering if it’s alright to take GABA on a regular basis during a stressful period - and it is! As GABA is naturally produced in our bodies, we are well acquainted with its actions, and taking it in excess of what our body makes is perfectly acceptable. Daily dosages for GABA range from 200-1000mg per day depending on the need. I would highly recommend spending a few extra bucks on a good brand, as it can – literally – make all the difference.

So, when your life seems a bit out of control and you need a little mental vacation, pop a GABA before bed or whenever you need to take a breath throughout the day. Although some of us are more sensitive than others, I feel GABA’s smooth effect within minutes.
So, make room in your bathroom cupboard, GABA’s coming to stay! 

Lisa Batson, CNP
Holistic Nutritionist &
Wellness Consultant
Live Dynamic


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Spaghetti Squash Medley

1 Medium Organic Spaghetti Squash (feeds 4-6)
2 Cups Organic Kale (avoid center stalk)
1 Bunch Organic Asparagus
1 Large Organic Hot Pepper
4 Organic Brussels Sprout
1 can organic diced tomatoes
2 Cups Organic Black Beans
1 Organic Sweet Onion
2 Cloves Organic Garlic
½ Cup Mushroom Stock
3 tbs Organic Cold Pressed Olive Oil
1 Strip of Kombu (seaweed)
1 tsp Himalayan Sea Salt
Pepper to taste
Fresh parmesan if desired

*Prick spaghetti squash all over with a skewer, place in shallow baking dish, bake at 350 for 1 hour.
*Rinse black beans, cover with pure water (2 inches above beans), add Kombu, cover with tight lid, bring to boil over high heat.  Once boiled, add ½ tsp Himalayan sea salt and transfer to oven at 325 for 75 minutes – check at 40 minutes to be sure there is enough water – add water if needed.
*Chop onion into small pieces, press garlic and sauté on medium light with 1 ½ tbs olive oil until onions are translucent.
*Add 1 ½ tbs olive oil to onion mix along with thinly sliced Brussels, chopped asparagus, thinly sliced kale, tomatoes, and whole hot pepper with wider end chopped off and sauté for 10 minutes
*turn heat down to simmer – add ½ cup mushroom stock, ½ tsp sea salt, pepper – 20 minutes
*once spaghetti squash is baked cool and cut in half – scoop out seeds and place on cookie sheet – scoop out spaghetti like strands and add to simmering vegetables
*once black beans are done, add to mixture, simmer for another 10 minutes
*mix and serve
*really nice to make on a Sunday afternoon
*add parmesan

*clean seeds, dry, sprinkle with Himalayan sea salt, little olive oil and bake on lower shelf at 375 for 5-10 minutes

Yvette Rochelle Nutrition
Yvette Rochelle Pritchard, CNP, NNCP

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Have you started your resolutions yet?

By Kimberly Ignas

It is January 2011!!!  After spending the past month or so saying…” I’ll start in the new year”… it is time to face the music, it is the new year and you cannot put it off any longer.  Have you started your resolutions yet?  I have I’m doing squats right now as I type.

New Years resolutions are always being made and then always being broken, eventually being morphed into goals that will start next Monday or start in the spring.  If you really want to do something you must make it a habit and habits can take 21 days or more. 

I thought it would be fun to google what was the top resolution for this year and a few links came up with the same thing…. “Weight Loss: Top New Year's Resolution for 2011 is Weight Loss”.  I am sure if I looked further this has most likely been the top resolution for many years now. 

Each year we gorge on everything we can get our hands on, either at the office Christmas party, family get together or even just because there is so much food around us. People can gain a lot weight over the holidays with the intention of losing it in the New Year, but have you noticed that each year you gain a little more or it is harder to get it off?  The truth is once you make a fat cell you have that bad boy for life.  You can shrink the cells so they are smaller but they are there waiting in the wings to get large again.  YIKES!!!  BUT no matter what stage you are at it is never to late to start fresh and make a positive change, the body is one smart cookie and responds well to positive change.  So lets stop being so hard on our bodies and give them a little loving as well. 

With weight lost what you eat and how you eat is about 60% of the equation if not more, exercise, sleep and mood are the rest.  Sure you need to eat more when you are working out but quality out weights the quantity.

Start off easy, go to the gym and only do the classes you love, as you gain strength and energy you will want to move onto something more challenging.  Go for a walk when you can, then start planning more days when you can go and keep adding time and distance.  You should not start off doing a triathlon; you may fail (maybe) and never go back to it.  Start slowly and work your way up.  As your bum looks better in jeans you will be motivated, but as you lose weight or tone up you want to burn off the fat not the muscle, no one wants to be a skinny fat person.  So keep the resistance training up.  Even if its push-ups while watching TV or you could borrow my 20lb cat and do some bicep curls.    As you lose weight, toxins that are stored in the fat are going to start being released so make sure you are flushing them out.  This means good fiber choices, a good working liver, kidneys and gallbladder and frequent bowel movements.

With food it is tricky because we love what we love but as you change over to a healthier nutrition plan (not a diet but a lifestyle change) your tastes change.  One step at a time and remember we ALL trip, or run into screen doors…or is that just me?   When you start a nutrition lifestyle change start slow, start by adding in something like extra fiber, more water and some warm lemon water in the morning and go down to one coffee a day, then try a day without coffee. 

They say (whoever “they” are) that you cannot train an old dog new tricks but I call bull on that.  Also remember it is not always how you appear on the outside but what is going on inside.  Take care of yourself from a cellular level and everything will fall into place.

For more information on help with a nutrition plan or a lifestyle change email Kimberly at  Kimberly uses many tools to help you with your weight loss goals including the proven system from Metagenics FirstLine Therapy®.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Immune Boost Soup

Recipe from Ilona Napravnik CNP

Serves 4


1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 clove of garlic, coarsely chopped
½ small onion, diced (about ¼ cup)
1 small carrot, cut into rounds
½ teaspoon paprika
¼ teaspoon ground coriander
1 small head broccoli, trimmed and coarsely chopped (about 5-6 cups)
4 cups water **
Pinch of salt
Fresh ground pepper to taste


  1. In a medium pot, heat oil on medium.  Saute garlic, onion, carrot, and spices for 3-5 minutes, until soft.
  2. Trim and coarsely chop broccoli.  Add broccoli and water to pot and simmer, covered, on low for 15 minutes (until broccoli is soft).
  3. Uncover and cool for 5-10 minutes.  Place in blender and puree until creamy.
  4. Season with salt and pepper.

 **for an extra immune boost, instead of water use alkalizing broth, as follows:


One cup of the following, cut in small pieces – organic celery, green beans, zucchini and potatoes (all organic). 


1) Bring to a boil for 3 minutes in 1 litre of water. 
2) Simmer for 20 – 30 minutes. 
3) Strain & throw away vegetables

“The Source: Beat Fatigue, Power Up your Health and Feel Ten Years Younger”
Woodson Merrell,  M.D. with Kathleen Merrell Random House Canada 2008 p. 303

Monday, January 3, 2011

Nutrition to Help You Butt Out

It’s the beginning of January and already there are cracks appearing in your New Year’s resolution. Even though you grasp a little tighter, as each day goes by your will power seems to be slipping further through your fingers. You knew quitting smoking would be hard but had no idea it would be this hard. As challenging as quitting is though, it is a piece of cake compared to some of the possible health complications you most likely will face down the road if you continue smoking.
You know it and I know it. There is no such thing as a healthy smoker. So you made your choice: You want to be healthy. You want to be a non-smoker.

I am not writing today to inform you of how bad cigarettes are for you. Unless you have been living in a bomb shelter, you are well aware of the risks. I am here to help you through one of the most challenging transitions of your life. I am here because I know you can do this! No, I have not created a magic pill. If I did, I would probably be lying on the beach of my own privately owned island somewhere in the south, reaping the fortunes of my invention. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Fortunately however, I do know a few diet changes that can make your transition to healthiness a bit easier.

Among the many side effects related to smoking, smoking causes the body to become more acidic. An acidic state is not ideal because it is only in an acidic body that disease can manifest. Ideally, we want to be more alkaline. Evidence has shown that consuming a diet high in alkaline foods while reducing acidic foods can not only restore damaging effects caused by smoking, but also reduce cravings.

Alkaline Foods
Acidic Foods
·      Fresh fruits
·      Vegetables
·      Greens
·      Some dried fruit (figs, raisins)
·      Almonds
·      Millet
·      Beans
·      Meats
·      Wheat
·      Sugar
·      Bread & baked goods
·      Eggs
·      Dairy products

Ideally, a detox would be most beneficial when quitting smoking. Some of you may already feel overwhelmed with the changes you are making and think it will be too much to do a detox as well. However, I found when quitting smoking I needed distraction and a change of routine. A detox is a great place to re set your focus while reclaiming your health. A detox diet consists primarily of vegetables, fruits and whole grains (preferably gluten-free), low-fat, high fiber foods, while increasing water consumption. 2 to 3 liters of water should be consumed per day to reduce the dehydrating effects caused by smoking. Reducing caffeine is also a good idea due to its acidity. Green and herbal teas are a great replacement. Lightly steaming your vegetables is recommended as they become easier to digest.

Weight gain is a big concern for many when quitting smoking. We often look for something to replace that hand-to-mouth action and often turn to compulsive snacking. This action is hard to avoid but does not always have to result in higher numbers on the bathroom scale if our snack choices are healthy ones. Following a detox will prevent weight gain. When craving, choose something that has multiples to fulfill that repetitive motion. Carrot sticks, celery sticks, grapes, sunflower or pumpkin seeds are great options. Really, any fruit or vegetable chopped or diced into small pieces should help deal with those munchies.

Supplementation of certain nutrients is beneficial when quitting smoking as smoking diminishes many nutrients in the body. Antioxidants are especially important as smokers are constantly exposed to toxins. The ACE’s (vitamins A,C,E) along with Beta-carotene, Zinc & Selenium make up a nutrient plan for quitting smoking (please contact me for proper dosages). Sodium or potassium bicarbonate tablets have also proved to be helpful with cravings because of their alkalizing effect on the body. The herb Lobelia has also shown to help let go of the cancer stick as it has shown to actually reduce the effects of nicotine on the brain. Because there is not enough research done on Lobelia used for quitting smoking, please consult your physician and or a professional herbalist before using.

Some other helpful tips to butting out would be to start an exercise regime. Regaining focus on positive health changes while changing up your routine helps one forget about their addiction while restoring health. Deep breathing exercises have also proven to help deal with those nasty cravings while detoxifying the body. Hot tubs, saunas or simply taking a hot shower help to detoxify the body, therefore can be beneficial when quitting.

Whatever method you choose when quitting smoking remember, you must believe in yourself. These tips will be helpful but will power will still be greatly required. You must remember why you chose to quit in the first place. If doing it for yourself is not motivation enough, carry a picture of your loved ones (your kids, spouse, parents) and look at that picture whenever you crave a cigarette. Realize that every time you light up, you are choosing cigarettes over your loved ones. And most importantly, when you light up you are choosing cigarettes over yourself. You know you deserve more than that. It’s 2011. It’s the year of YOU!

For further inquiries, please feel free to contact me: or by phone at 416-803-7327

By Kimberly Davidson CNP