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A Diet for Arthritis: Addressing inflammation

diet-for-arthritis-the-allergy-co-ottawa

When considering a diet for arthritis, both rheumatoid (RA) and osteoarthritis (OA), and what foods are good and bad a great place to start it to address those that either create or reduce inflammation (histamine) in the body.

By reducing the overall level of inflammation arthritic conditions can be improved.

There are three important facts to remember when considering a diet for arthritis:

1. Anti-inflammatory diets are not a one-size-fits-all solution. We are all unique in our make up so what works for one will not work for another. This means it will take some trial and error to find what works for you as an individual.

2. When seeking natural ways to improve your condition it is not a quick, short term fix. It is a lifestyle change that will need to be maintained long term if you wish to continue to experience the benefits.

3. A diet for arthritis is only a part of the process, many also find that moderate exercise will increase the positive effect of diet on arthritis pain.

Toxins in food

It is well known that pesticides, herbicides and artificial fertilizers are harmful to us. They interfere with our gut health, and in turn affect our immune system and overall well-being.

In addition, foods that are heated, grilled, fried, or pasteurized will contain toxins called “Advanced Glycation End Products” (AGEs).

These toxins damage certain proteins in the body. To address these AGEs the immune system secretes cytokines which are in themselves inflammatory messengers.

http://icahn.mssm.edu/about-us/news-and-events/study-shows-that-reducing-processed-and-fried-food-intake-lowers-related-health-risks-and-restores-bodys-defenses

High amounts of sugar in the form of processed grains (white flour, white rice, many breakfast cereals), candies, soda etc will also increase the amount of AGEs in the body. If you like sweet snacks try to use natural, fibre rich fruits such as dates and figs, or use stevia instead of sugars.

Fats and Oils: the Good and the Bad

Omega 6

This is found in corn, canola, peanut, sunflower, safflower, and soy oils, and is healthy in small amounts. However, excessive consumption is detrimental as it is converted into pro-inflammatory chemicals called leukotrienes and prostaglandins.

It is important to be aware that many baked goods, commercial snacks and foods contain corn oil, canola oil and other sources high in omega 6.

Omega 3

Omega 3 has been shown by many studies to be beneficial in reducing inflammation in a number of ways. It inhibits the production of other inflammatory molecules and also triggers the production of anti-inflammatory chemicals.

In particular, Olive Oil contains Oleocanthal, which has properties similar to non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs. It contains high amounts of Omega 9, along with some Omega 3 and 6.

Omega 3 can be found in fish, flax, hemp, chia.

Trans Fats

Trans fats are altered by the addition of a hydrogen molecule to increase stability and shelf life.

They are believed to impact inflammation, heart disease, and cause other health problems.

The dangers are becoming better known and they have been removed from many products, but they can still be found in some baked goods, fast-food items, processed snack foods, and many margarines.

Antioxidants

Free radicals will cause oxidative stress in our bodies when their number exceeds our ability to process them.

Creation of these radicals is a normal part of metabolism. However, production is increased by some activities such as smoking and consuming certain foods including alcohol, fats that have been heated to high temperature (including fat in meats) and chlorinated water (let your tap water stand for a while before drinking).

High oxidative stress is linked with arthritic conditions, both RA and OA.

The good news is that there are various antioxidants found in foods, these include those below (just a note that chocolate should always be at least 75% cocoa):

  • Allium sulphur compounds: Leeks, onions, garlic
  • Anthocyanins: Red and purple fruits – Eggplant, grapes, berries
  • Beta carotene: Pumpkin, butternut squash, mangoes, apricots, carrots, spinach, parsley, cantaloupe, sweet potato, carrots, kale
  • Catechins: Tea, dark chocolate
  • Copper: Seafood, lean meat, nuts, legumes
  • Cryptoxanthins: Red peppers, pumpkin, mangoes, papaya
  • Flavonoids: Tea, green tea, dark chocolate, onion, apples
  • Indoles: Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower
  • Lignins: Sesame seeds, bran, whole grains, vegetables
  • Lutein: Leafy greens – includes spinach, kale, chard
  • Lycopene: Watermelon
  • Manganese: Seafood, lean meat, nuts, beans, oats, bran, dark chocolate
  • Polyphenols: Thyme, oregano
  • Selenium: Seafood, offal, lean meat, whole grains
  • Vitamin C: Berries, kiwi fruit, mangoes, broccoli, spinach, peppers
  • Vitamin E: Cold pressed vegetable oils, nuts, avocados, seeds, whole grains
  • Zinc: Seafood, lean meat, nuts
  • Zoochemicals: Red meat, offal, fish

An anti-inflammatory diet cuts down or eliminates foods suspected of causing oxidative stress and encourages the consumption of foods rich in antioxidants.

Know what’s in your food

Many foods contain excessive salt (sodium) and other preservatives to promote longer shelf lives. For some people, excess consumption of salt may result in inflammation of the joints. It may be worth trying to reduce your salt (sodium) intake to as modest an amount as is reasonable.

When determining what diet for arthritis works for you, your local Naturopathic doctor, Functional Medicine practitioner or Holistic nutritionist will be able to help you work out which foods aggravate your arthritis and which help to reduce your symptoms.

One to try at home!

You may wish to sample this anti-inflammatory cocktail.. Enjoy!

1/4 cup raw apple cider vinegar

2 tablespoons freshly grated ginger

1 tablespoon grated turmeric

1 stick cinnamon, crushed

1 jalapeno or 1 habanero, diced

1 tablespoon raw honey

Directions:

In a blender, combine all of the ingredients and blend until smooth.

Pour into your favourite glass and let sit for 30 minutes.

Add ice or club soda, drink, and enjoy!

https://www.arthritis-health.com/video/video-best-tasting-anti-inflammatory-cocktail-youve-never-tried

Foods to Avoid for Arthritis

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Can foods really be a trigger for arthritic conditions? Are there foods to avoid for arthritis?

Absolutely!

The saying “We are what we eat..” holds a lot of truth…

Anything that adversely affects our digestion will impact our overall health, our immune system and the level of inflammation in the body.

A 1989 survey of more than a thousand arthritis patients is highlighted by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. It found a number of foods that consistently aggravated arthritis symptoms.

There have been many other studies that support their findings.

So What Foods to Avoid for Arthritis?

There is no one size fits all when it comes to foods, so some trial and error is required to discover what works for you. You may wish to avoid all of the following for at least 2 months then add them back in one at time, consuming each one for at least a week before adding the next one.

The following list is not in any particular order.

Dairy:

Any product that contains lactose OR casein (milk protein), so this includes milk, yoghurt, cheese, ice-cream, whey powder etc whether on its own or as an ingredient in prepared goods.

Eggs:

On their own or in baked goods

Wheat and Corn:

In fact the protein in all grains can be inflammatory for some people. You may wish to start with wheat / corn and then experiment with eliminating all grains (including rice, oats, buckwheat etc) for a period.

These are found in bread, pasta, baked goods, muffins, cookies, pastries etc, and also in many prepared sauces, marinades and ready meals, so read the labels or cook from scratch. 

Sugar:

Foods high in sugar can be obvious (white and brown sugar, maple syrup, honey, candy, sodas and pop) but it is also hidden in many foods.

Some examples are fruit, fruit juice and dried fruits (a slice of watermelon can contain the equivalent of 5 sugar cubes, click here to see..); apple sauce; sauces and marinades such as ketchup, teriyaki, BBQ; ready meals; beer, wine and cider; some milk alternatives e.g sweetened, chocolate or vanilla soy milk; and gluten free products which are generally highly processed.

Meats:

The saturated fat in meat has been linked to arthritis. It may be the fat itself, or the fact that when fat is heated (grilled, fried, baked etc) it contains toxins called “advanced glycation end products” (AGEs), which trigger inflammation.

You may wish to remove all meat or just fatty meat from your diet. 100% grass fed and game meats are generally leaner than commercially produced meats. They also have not been fed on corn.

Night Shade Vegetables:

Tomato, bell pepper, eggplant and potato contain a chemical that is linked to inflammation.

Citrus fruits:

Orange, lemon, lime, grapefruit. For some these can trigger arthritic pain.

Coffee:

Both de-caff and regular coffee have been linked to increased inflammation in the body which can aggravate the symptoms of arthritis.

Alcohol:

The alcohol itself triggers inflammation, however, wine in particular creates a lot of histamine in the body and will aggravate arthritis.

Omega 6 oils:

These are converted in the body into pro-inflammatory chemicals. The oils to avoid would include corn, peanut, sunflower, safflower, palm and soy oils. Canola oil is also best avoided as it has been linked to many health concerns. Check labels on ready meals, gluten free products, chips and crackers, dips (humus, baba ganoush etc), sauces, marinades etc and also on roast nuts and dried fruits.

And finally, where possible, choose organic produce that is in its natural state and not processed. Pesticides and herbicides have a detrimental effect on our gut health which in turn impacts our immune system and levels of inflammation in the body.

To find out more about foods to avoid for arthritis book with your Holistic Nutritionist, Naturopathic Doctor or Functional Medicine Practitioner.

An Allergy Test can also help to identify foods that cause inflammation for you.

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Why So Many Allergies?

The number of allergies is on the rise, but why so many allergies especially in children?

Allergies and auto-immune disorders occur when our immune system mistakenly identifies an otherwise harmless substance as a threat. It then attacks these inappropriate targets. In the case of an allergy this may be a food, dust, mould, pollen etc or in the case of an autoimmune disease the body is attacked.

 So Why So Many Allergies?

The medical profession does not really have any definitive answers as to why the number of allergies is on the rise. There are however several theories.

> The Hygiene Hypothesis speculates that we are not exposed to enough pathogens, parasites and other microbes giving our immune systems too little to do. This hypothesis has been around for several decades.

> Digestive Health and Leaky Gut – around 80% of our immune system is in our gut, if the gut is not healthy, then we will not be healthy.

> Lifestyle factors such as warmer, drier homes and a more sedentary lifestyle.

The Hygiene Hypothesis

Population studies have found that there is a much lower incidence of allergies, asthma and anaphylaxis in developing countries. It is also known that children who grow up on a farm, around animals and spending a lot of time outside have fewer allergies.

The theory is that these children are exposed to parasites and other microbes, which is much more in line with the way that we evolved.

During evolution our bodies adapted to the constant presence of these parasites and other microbes. Now that they have been removed from our environment we have a very active immune system that is effectively itching for a fight.

In other words, our living conditions and food are so clean they don’t offer our immune systems enough to do, so our systems overreact to harmless allergens instead.

Nick Furnham at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and his team have also found similarities between the proteins in parasitic worms and those in pollens. He suggests that our parasite defences will naturally attack the pollen leading to seasonal allergies.

So what can we do?

We are simply too paranoid about GERMS

If your house is generally clean it is acceptable for your child to play on the floor. Allowing your child to play outside and to be exposed to dirt is beneficial for the immune system. (Avoid areas that may be contaminated with animal waste)

Also, exposure to animals including pets will have benefits for their immune system and your child’s mental well-being.

Digestive Health and Leaky Gut

It is estimated that 80% of our immune system is found in the gut.

When damage is caused to our gut lining by food allergies and intolerances, reactions to antibiotics or pesticides, or illnesses such as gastro-enteritis it allows bacteria, metabolic wastes and undigested proteins to enter our blood stream.

These foreign substances in the blood stimulate the immune system into attacking and trigger inflammation, allergies and auto-immune diseases.

Allergies are also more prevalent in C-section children. Baby’s digestive tracts are sterile.  During a natural birth they will be exposed to the flora found in their mother’s gut. Studies are suggesting that these babies should deliberately be exposed to a swab from their mother in order to populate their gut with the necessary ‘good’ bacteria and other microbes.

So how do we fix this?

“Healing and sealing” your gut has been shown to help alleviate allergy symptoms. The key lies in altering your diet to eliminate any offending foods and introducing healthier choices that will support a proper balance of bacteria in your gut.

It is becoming more generally understood that pesticides in food, processed foods, “junk food”, GMO products and synthetic ingredients in foods can decimate the beneficial bacteria in your gut, thereby having a negative effect on your immune system.

A registered nutritionist can give you individualized advice on which foods to eat.

Antibiotics should be avoided unless absolutely necessary. Following any course of antibiotics it is essential to take a good quality, preferably soil based, probiotic to repopulate the gut with ‘friendly’ bacteria.

Lifestyle factors

Human beings are designed to be active for a greater portion of their day. In our modern world we too often spend many hours sitting down. Our lack of fitness impacts many systems in the body.

We also evolved to be outside in all weathers and temperatures. We live indoors in clean, warm and dry conditions. We are not exposed to challenging conditions and temperature changes that strengthen our bodies.

One study in the UK found that people who took a swim in cold water (sea, river or a lake) daily or several times a week, actually had stronger immune systems, were sick less often and had fewer allergies.

What can we do?

The answer is easy – move more and get out into the fresh air….  If only it were that simple!

Take your child outdoors throughout the year, they will come to no harm in the cold or heat as long as they are properly dressed and protected.

Make sure that they get plenty of exercise and active time – you will benefit too if you play with them.

As an adult, try to make time to be outdoors most days, and plan a time to exercise 5 days a week if you can, even if it is a 30min walk. Find an activity that you enjoy, whether playing ball with your child, building a snow man, going to the gym, a team sport or a regular walking group.

By putting your exercise time into your schedule you will find it easier to achieve. The benefits will be worth the effort!

What Causes IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome)

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Have been diagnosed with Irritable Bowel, or IBS? Or maybe you suspect that you have IBS? Are you seeking answers to the question “What causes IBS?”

You are experiencing one or more symptoms of constipation / diarrhoea / bloating / gas and / or cramping. Your doctor has maybe prescribed some meds to control the symptoms but otherwise been of little help?

The medical profession is beginning to understand more of what causes IBS, such as SIBO (Small intestine bacterial overgrowth), infection, inflammation and abnormalities in the nerves in your digestive tract. However, you may be better to talk to your Functional Medicine Practitioner or Naturopathic Doctor about causes and solutions.

How I First Learned That Food Allergies Cause IBS; My Story

I was 33yrs old when IBS hit me… Up until then I had not had any digestive issues other than cramps if I drank glasses of milk, and suddenly I was in the washroom multiple times, usually at short notice and experiencing terrible diarrhoea, cramps and gas. Everywhere I went the first thing I did was find out where the closest washroom was located.. sound familiar?

When my doctor diagnosed IBS, I asked “So, what causes IBS?”

He said vaguely, “Oh, could be anything..” When I asked about allergies, he stated categorically that there was no possible link between allergies and IBS, and prescribed meds to control the cramping and diarrhoea.

On the suggestion of a friend, I had an Allergy test. It came up positive for yeast, cow’s milk products including cheese (I was a BIG cheese fan) and wheat. I immediately cut these foods out of my diet and within 48hrs felt almost completely normal. What a relief!

My doctor was very skeptical. However, I knew that just a few mouthfuls of bread or one glass of wine, which contains a lot of yeast, and I would be in the washroom for most of the next morning.

Top Food Allergens for IBS

The top food allergens I have found for IBS include wheat, corn, soy, yeast, milk and eggs. However, we are all unique individuals, there is no one size fits all and you can be reacting to any of the foods you are ingesting.

A true allergy causes an immune response and will trigger an almost immediate reaction. Once that food has been eliminated from your system you will likely feel much better.

If you have intolerance to a food the reaction will be slower. There is no immediate immune response, it is more an issues with digesting, breaking down and absorbing the food. The reaction can actually take several days to reach a peak. This makes it quite difficult to work out what is triggering your reactions as it may be nothing you ate today, or even yesterday.

Identifying Food Allergies That Cause IBS

There are a number of ways to test.

Elimination Diet

You can try an elimination diet, removing suspected foods and monitoring the result. After a trial period without the foods you reintroduce them one at a time. It can be difficult to obtain definite answers, especially where you are reacting to several foods – eliminating one brings little relief as you are still reacting to others.

Blood Testing

Your family doctor or a naturopathic doctor can requisition a blood test which looks for antibodies to certain foods. You have to be eating the allergens in your every day diet in order to be tested. This means that if you have removed, say, wheat, and then want to find out if you are Celiac the doctor will ask that eat it for several weeks or even months prior to testing.

I have found blood testing to be reasonably accurate for allergies, but that it can provide false negatives for intolerances and emotional reactions to foods where there is no immune response.

Skin Prick Testing

Skin testing can also provide answers. Your family doctor will need to refer you to a medical allergist to have this done. In my practice I have found this method great for identifying bigger allergies, but have also seen cases where the skin showed no reaction even though there is a strong reaction when eating that food.

Muscle Response Testing, Autonomic Response Testing, Applied Kinesiology

All names for the same thing.. As a Natural Allergist I prefer to use this method. It utilizes the body’s response to potential allergens and can assess allergies, intolerances and emotional reactions to foods. It is an effective way of asking the body to tell us what it likes and does not like. It has the added benefit that you do not have to be eating the allergens in order to be tested and results are immediately available.

Whichever method you choose having an allergy test can provide much needed answers and, as in my case, bring enormous relief from your IBS symptoms.

If you want to find out more about the triggers for IBS come for a complementary discovery session with me or one of my colleagues at Ottawa Holistic Wellness.

Seasonal Allergies and Anxiety

Is there a link between Seasonal Allergies and Anxiety?

So, as an allergist, I see a lot of clients for seasonal allergies. Spring and fall are especially busy. The seasonal allergies will be the main reason for their visit so they are often surprised to discover between seasonal allergies and anxiety, depression and other mental health issues.

Commonly, whilst taking the health history during the initial assessment, they will mention that they have mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. Their anxiety and depression frequently getting worse in the spring or at the end of the summer, just when most people are feeling at their best.

This is a factor that the medical profession is beginning to understand. This peer reviewed article states: the majority of published studies indicate some type of indistinct relationship between allergies and anxiety and mood syndromes.

Linking Seasonal Allergies and Anxiety

In a 2002 study, a team of scientists led by Paul S. Marshall, PhD, a clinical neurophysiologist, found that people with seasonal allergies experienced more sadness, apathy, lethargy, and fatigue in late summer, when ragweed season peaks.

His report states that seasonal allergies are known to cause specialized cells in the nose to release cytokines, a kind of inflammatory protein.

Animal and human studies alike suggest that these cytokines can affect brain function, triggering sadness, malaise, poor concentration, and increased sleepiness.

In 2005 Teodor T. Postolache, MD, led a study that found peaks in tree pollen levels correlated with increased levels of suicide in women.

Other studies have shown that adults with seasonal allergies were twice as likely to have been diagnosed with major depression in the previous 12 months, and that children who had suffered from these allergies at age 5 or 6 were twice as likely to experience major depression over the ensuing 17 years.

Addressing Allergies

In the case of food allergies the easy answer is to avoid those foods, however, this is not so easy for moulds, pollens, dust and other environmental allergens!

Conventional medicine can offer immunotherapy (allergy shots or sublingual drops) to reduce allergy symptoms. This a time-consuming process, involving frequent visits to the doctor’s office over 5 or more years and can become expensive.

There are other, alternative therapies.

Allergy Treatments

I personally recommend the use of NAET (Nambudripad’s Allergy Elimination Technique). This is an effective, natural, non-invasive treatment that works with your body to permanently ‘turn off’ the reaction. It teaches the body that it can be non-reactive in the presence of the allergens, and can be used to treat allergies to foods and environmental factors.

Since 2004, I have used a Natural Allergy Treatment method based on NAET to treat seasonal and environmental allergies and have had great results in people of all ages from infants to seniors, including those with Alzheimer’s.

This process does not take many sessions and costs significantly less than regular use of over the counter allergy meds.

Acupuncture

Another option is Acupuncture which works to rebalance the body and relieve symptoms. A good Traditional Chinese Medicine acupuncturist will be able to significantly reduce inflammation and reactions in your body. This has the added benefit of being able to address the anxiety and depression as well.

To find out more about NAET and Natural Allergy Therapy or acupuncture book now for a complementary discovery session with me.

can-food-allergies-cause-anxiety-and-depression-the-allergy-co-ottawa

Can Food Allergies Cause Anxiety and Depression

If you suffer from mental health issues such as anxiety and depression I recommend you ask “Can food allergies cause anxiety and depression and other mental health issues?”

As an allergist and energy healer I see many clients who have anxiety, depression and other mental health issues. For most, the medical profession simply want to prescribe meds without addressing any of the underlying causes.

I find that two of the most overlooked factors in these conditions are allergies and intolerances to foods.

Meet “Rachel”…

She discovered that in her case, very clearly, Food Allergies cause anxiety and depression 

Rachel had been experiencing anxiety issues since around 7 years old. As she passed through puberty into her late teens the symptoms became much worse and included severe anxiety, depression, along with lethargy and fatigue, an inability to concentrate and migraines.

By the time she was 17 years old she had been on medication for a number of years. These meds helped her to function, but the side effects had a negative impact on her quality of life.

When she came to me she was seeking an alternative approach that could help her eliminate the necessity for her to take meds.

Using Natural Allergy Testing we determined that the protein casein found in cow’s milk products, wheat, tomatoes and bell peppers were big issues for her.

I have found these to be important allergens that can cause anxiety, depression and other mental health issues in many of my clients.

Frequently anxiety and depression go hand in hand with irritable bowel and other digestive complaints, however it is important to remember that it is not necessary to experience these digestive issues to have food allergies and intolerances.

Nutrition

Food allergies and intolerances also impact the digestion of foods and absorption of nutrients. This is why I recommended that Rachel ask her MD or to test her blood levels of Vit D, B12 and iron (ferritin). These nutrients are essential in supporting mood and mental health. Her Naturopathic Doctor could also provide blood testing for nutrients and food allergies.

The levels came back at the within what an MD will consider to be the ‘normal’ range, but at the very bottom and where I would consider them to be sub-optimal.

The solution

In Rachel’s case she removed the milk products, wheat and night shade vegetables including tomatoes and peppers from her diet. After an initial detox period, of less than a week, when she felt even more tired and depressed, her mood lifted significantly, her energy levels steadily increased and her migraines became less frequent and severe.

She started taking Vit D and B12 supplements along with some iron glycinate.

Within a month she had improved significantly and was able to discuss coming off her meds with her MD.

Going forward

Now, several years later, she feels great, no longer has migraines and is not taking meds. She uses meditation to release the stress everyday life causes her.

In her own words, she has ‘Never felt so balanced and well”.

Are suffering for anxiety and depression? Contact me for more information on how food allergies cause anxiety and depression along with other mental health issues.

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Are Allergies Causing Your Headaches?

Are you one of the many people who suffer from chronic or severe headaches? Perhaps you have been through the medical profession and have no answers? Perhaps you should ask “Are Allergies Causing Your Headaches?”

I have had numerous clients who experience headaches and migraines, who have been to a whole range of doctors, had multiple tests performed only to receive no answers as to the cause of their pain.

An aspect that is often overlooked by the medical profession is that it may be food intolerances and allergies causing your headaches.

I speak from personal experience; if I eat any corn products I suffer for several days with what I would describe as a ‘clamping’ headache – my head feels like it is in a vice and I cannot think straight. No corn, no pain!

Determining Whether it is Allergies Causing Your Headaches

Some doctors may suggest that you avoid certain common food triggers such as coffee, chocolate, wheat, corn, cow’s milk, eggs, citrus, sugar, alcohol, artificial additives, colourings, sweeteners (especially aspartame) and MSG. However, these are just that, ‘common’ triggers; every one of us is a unique individual, and as such we all react to different things.

If you don’t feel well, get bloated, or tired after a meal it is a good indication that the food that you are eating is not suiting your body and may be a factor in your headaches.

An elimination diet

This is where you remove the common food triggers and any others that you suspect and can help you to determine whether they are actually a factor for you. Remember that if your headaches only occur periodically then you may need to remove the foods for several weeks or even a month or more to determine their effect.

Once you have established that you are better without the foods you can reintroduce them, one at a time. It may take a few days or more for any reaction to become apparent so I recommend that you wait 2 weeks before adding another food back in.

And when you find the allergies causing your headaches and eliminate them you will probably notice a range of other improvements too, including your digestion, energy and stamina, muscle function, sleep, memory, concentration and others.

Allergy testing

You can also have allergy testing. This can take the form of blood or skin tests, however, I find these to be of limited use when looking for the cause of headaches as they provide a general list of allergens, and do not identify the specific triggers for your headaches.

I usually recommend muscle testing with an experienced practitioner. You will get the results at the time of the test and it is possible to identify specific triggers for your headaches including allergies, intolerances, nutritional deficiencies and any emotional or structural components.

Once you have identified the food triggers it is easy to then avoid them.

Diet options

Diet in general will play a huge role in relief from headaches and migraines and in general wellness. One of the biggest things you can do is try to return to a more natural, ‘real food’ diet. So, cooking from scratch, using organic produce where possible and sticking to grass fed, free range meats and poultry or wild fish. It can actually be cheaper to eat this way, and you will be surprised how good you can feel.

Of course this has to be balanced with reality, so it is equally important to accept that it is not always possible to eat this way, and not to stress about those occasions when you ‘cheat’!

And, finally, water is an essential part of that natural diet. Dehydration will ALWAYS cause headaches..  so try to get 2 litres or more a day.

Contact me for more information, or book a complementary discovery session.

Causes-of-Fatigue-The-Allergy-Co-Ottawa

Causes of Fatigue

There are many causes of fatigue.

It may be caused by a physiological issue such as impaired thyroid function, lack of nutrition, hormone imbalance, lack of sleep, chronic pain or allergies among others.

Emotional stresses and past traumas can also be a part of the causes of fatigue.

Whether the reason is physiological or mental / emotional, or, more often, a combination of both we can all benefit from some help to identify and resolve the underlying issues.

Physiological Causes of Fatigue

The first step might be to investigate any physiological issues.

Family Doctors and Western Medicine.

Your family doctor can order various tests to rule out certain diseases and to identify nutritional deficiencies such as Vit D, B12 deficiency and anaemia (low iron). It is important to remember that they are most often testing for symptoms, not the root causes of fatigue. They are not always able to get to the cause of your fatigue but can help to alleviate it.

For example, if tests show that your fatigue is the result of an under-active thyroid, the next question should, to my mind, be “why is my thyroid low?” There is always a reason…

I am a good example of this. I was diagnosed in 2001 with low thyroid and given replacement hormones (synthroid). This certainly made me feel way better, but it did not resolve the reason why I had low thyroid. In 2010 I started to change my diet (grain and dairy free, reducing inflammation in my body and improving digestive function), and to address nutritional deficiencies such as iron and Vit D. In 2011 I was able to reduce and then stop taking the synthroid.. and I still do not need it in 2019. Read more about this in my blog “Can you Heal Hypothyroidism?

The same goes for nutritional deficiencies.. why are you not absorbing what you need? Perhaps you are vegetarian / vegan and need to supplement with omega oils, iron and B vitamins; or perhaps your digestion is not working as it should and you are not digesting / absorbing nutrients.

Naturopathic Medicine or Functional Medicine. These doctors work with your family doctor. They look deeper, at root causes of ill health, and address issues such as lifestyle, diet, hormone imbalance, insomnia, allergies, celiac disease and digestive health. They use natural healing methods including diet, nutrition, lifestyle modification, acupuncture, homeopathy and herbal remedies.

Allergy Testing

Allergies and intolerances can affect sleep, digestion, mood, inflammation in the body and energy levels. Medical doctors and Naturopaths can requisition or refer you for allergy testing to determine whether this is a part of your fatigue. In addition there are alternative methods such as NAET and Natural Allergy testing.

Physical / Structural Causes of Fatigue

Misalignment and imbalance in your body will upset the correct functioning of many of the body’s systems. In addition, living with chronic pain can lead to fatigue, so reducing pain levels can go a long way towards improving energy levels.

Chiropractic, Massage and Osteopathy all work with the physical body; the muscles, ligaments, spine, joints and organs, releasing tensions and bringing balance to your structure. This will allow your body to work in the most optimal way and healing to take place.

Emotional Causes of fatigue

Once physiological causes have been dealt with or ruled out you may wish to consider emotional causes of fatigue. Whether it is from past traumas, genetic memories from previous generations or current stresses in your life, we can all benefit from some help to release these.

Some modalities to consider are as follows:

Counselling and Psychotherapy can approach these emotions from the conscious mind. Make sure to choose someone that you are completely comfortable with, and that is suitably experienced in your type of issue.

Hypnotherapy works with your subconscious mind. During a session, you work together to access the subconscious, let go of the restrictions and limitations provided by the conscious mind, and bring about the release and shift of those trapped emotions. The majority of people will remain aware of their surroundings to some degree during the process, this is normal.

CranioSacral Therapy accesses these traumas and emotions from the body level. A good CS therapist will sense the shock and trauma resonating in your body even after your conscious mind thinks it has been resolved. They work extremely gently, facilitating the release of these emotions and bringing the body back into balance.

Reiki, Chakra Balancing and Energy Healing all work with your body’s energy to rebalance, release trapped emotions, bring calm and deep relaxation. During a healing session the body enters a parasympathetic state, also called the rest and digest state, which is responsible for long-term health, improved digestion, conservation of energy, and maintenance of a healthy balance in your body’s systems

Emotional Blueprint Reflexology. A unique combination of reflexology to identify and release emotions from the body and counselling / journeying / coaching to work with the mind.

Acupuncture is one modality that can help both physiological and emotional issues. It is an ancient method that rebalances the body, allowing correct function of all your body’s symptoms and healing to take place. It can be used initially for symptom relief and longer term to bring lasting healing.

Conclusion

There can be many causes of fatigue. You may wish to simply address symptoms or to look deeper into those causes. One thing is for sure, unless we do deal with causes we will be stuck addressing symptoms over an extended period of time, possibly our whole lives.

Want to know what’s best for you?

Book for a free, no obligation introductory health coach session with me or at Ottawa Holistic Wellness to discuss your needs.

Lose Weight for Type 2 Diabetes: Making the Changes

Lose Weight for Type 2 Diabetes: Making the Changes

When asking “How do I lose weight for type 2 diabetes?”, a better question might be to ask “How do I make the necessary changes to fix the underlying cause(s) for my weight gain?”

It is definitely a fact that being overweight or obese does greatly increase your risk of being diabetic or pre-diabetic. 9 out of 10 people who have diabetes are overweight or obese.

But does the weight cause type 2 diabetes?

What can cause type 2 diabetes?

Humans are truly complex beings.. there is never a one size fits all cause or solution for our health.

Genetics

For sure, genetics are extremely important. However, even if your parents both had diabetes, there is no certainty that you will develop this disease. There has to be one or more triggering factors. This is the science of Epigenetics, the expression of the genes.

The other element that must be considered is lifestyle, including the following:

Activity Levels

We all know that we need to move to be healthy. Just introducing 30mins of walking every day is a great start. Steady, gentle to moderate exercise is best, and several times a day. Short bursts of intense activity can actually increase blood sugar as the body believes it is under threat and resources are mobilised.

Food Choices

It is really easy to get caught up in poor food choices. We know we need to eat a diet high in fibre, in vegetables, good fats, to moderate carbohydrates (especially sugars) and to ensure adequate protein, whether animal or vegetarian options. However, our fast paced, busy lifestyles get in the way.

Stress Management

When we are stressed our bodies will secrete the hormones glucagon, adrenalin and cortisol. These hormones cause blood sugar levels to go up. Stress causes the body to believe it is under threat, and that we need the extra energy available to fight or to run away. In our modern life the stress is less concrete or physical in nature.. it is not the sabre tooth tiger, it is our boss, our work deadline, money worries or a fight with our spouse..

So, its simple to lose weight for type 2 diabetes.. isn’t it? 

You just need to make changes in diet, lifestyle, stress management and lose weight .. ! 

If only it were that easy..

Lose Weight for Type 2 Diabetes: Making Changes

I want to introduce you to Michelle.

When she came to me for an Allergy test she was obese, was on medications for diabetes and was suffering from anxiety. As she had been unable to shift the weight she was scheduled for gastric band surgery.

She knew she needed to make changes but found the whole process to be overwhelming leading to repeatedly trying and failing.

My approach was to set about discovering why Michelle had failed to make the changes and to lose the weight.. why did her body / mind feel the need for the extra weight?

It turned out that she had been as shy child, bullied at school. Then in her early teens her father walked out and never contacted the family again.

In her late 20s Michelle became the primary care giver to her mother for 4 years when she became terminally ill and died.

It was after her mother died that the weight simply piled on and her overall health declined.

I recommended she seek professional mental / emotional help for the traumas in her life before tackling the weight directly. She chose to see a counsellor for talk therapy, combined with some Energy healing / Reiki.

The Counselling helped her work through her experiences, put things in perspective and to create coping strategies. It also helped her release the sense of guilt that she had not done enough, and that she was partly to blame for her mother’s death.

The Energy Healing, apart from being deeply relaxing, helped the body to release its fear and trauma, allowing her to feel safe at a subconscious level and no longer in need of the weight.

The final piece was Clinical Hypnosis to provide a Virtual Gastric Band.

Result?

Michelle felt able to tackle her diet and lifestyle and the weight began to reduce.. She is happier than she has been in a long time and way more confident in herself, her abilities and her appearance..

Conclusion:

If you are struggling to make the changes and lose weight for type 2 diabetes, ask yourself “Why?”

I find with clients that the predominant reasons have to do with mental / emotional health.

Valuing yourself.

So many of my clients have a belief that you are not worth it, a sense of guilt or shame. A need to please and to put others first. If we do not look after ourselves who will? And taking care of ourselves first only makes us better able to take care of others.

Trauma.

Where there is a history of trauma, whether sexual, physical or emotional abuse, the body will often pile on the weight. The subconscious wants to be unattractive, to be big and strong, to wrap itself in layers of protection..

Being honest with yourself and seeking the reasons why you make poor choices and struggle to improve your diet and lifestyle is the first and biggest step. It is the start of your journey to move past what holds you back and to reclaim your health!

Gluten-and-Dairy-Free-The-Allergy-Co-Ottawa

Gluten and Dairy Free Recipes For the Holidays

Looking for gluten and dairy free recipes for the holidays?

It seems that many of our friends and family are now choosing to be gluten and / or dairy free. 

This can be tricky during the holidays so I have put together some alternative ingredients and some gluten and dairy free recipes. Most of these are Paleo, so actually grain, dairy, bean and sugar free (and still Delicious!)

Of course, should you wish to cheat with the gluten it is possible to take specific enzymes, available from most health food stores, to reduce the reactions you may have.

Gluten and Dairy Alternatives

There are now many alternatives for the standard ingredients used in recipes. It is often possible to simply switch them over. It is good to try different products to work out what you like.

Many of these products are available in grocery stores such as Loblaws and Independent where they may be found in the natural / organic section, and in health food stores.

Alternative Milk Products:

Soy is now considered by many to not be a great food – it contains phyto-estrogen which has been linked to various health concerns including adversely affecting your thyroid.

An article on Web MD

An article by Dr Axe

So what do you choose instead?

Milk: a wide variety of cartons – coconut, almond, hemp, rice, pea etc. 

Butter and oil: coconut (great for frying and baking), olive, avocado, flax, hemp, sesame etc

Cheese: Deiya cheese is tapioca based, cashew or rice based cheeses

Cream in cooking: Coconut milk or cream (organic tins are best), or cauliflower puree

Yoghurt: coconut yoghurt

Ice cream: coconut and rice ice cream

Wheat, gluten and corn

Many gluten free options contain corn instead. Most corn is now GMO, in addition to which many of us do not digest corn well. You may feel better using other alternatives.

Flours: Oat, buckwheat, arrowroot, sorghum, potato, arrowroot, rice, coconut, almond etc

Gluten and Dairy Free Recipes For The Holidays

I hope you enjoy the following recipe ideas. There is a link to the original source for each one. The linked websites do provide many equally delicious recipes!

Stuffing – Savoury sage and sweet apple

Cornbread (grain free) for the stuffing

Turkey gravy

Easy gravy

Christmas Pudding – Raw quick

Christmas Pudding – Steamed

Pumpkin Pie – a nice option for Boxing Day or New year!

SAVOURY SAGE & SWEET APPLE Stuffing

3 ½ cups onion, diced

2 ½ cups celery, diced

1 cup apple, cored and diced

1/4 cup dates, chopped into small pieces (raisins or dried cranberries would also be good)

2 cups almond flour

2 teaspoons sage

2 teaspoons thyme

1/4 teaspoon marjoram

1/4 teaspoon rosemary

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons butter, ghee or coconut oil

3 eggs, whisked

Preheat oven to 350F

Grease a medium-sized baking dish (If you’re using a cast iron skillet or pan that can go from stovetop to oven, skip this step

Add 2 tablespoons butter/ghee/coconut oil to a saucepan and warm over low/med heat.

Add onion, celery, apple and herbs and sauté over medium heat for 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

In a large bowl, add almond flour and dates and mix. (Note: If you have a cast iron or pan that can go from stovetop to oven, you can just mix everything in the pan.)

Add the lightly beaten eggs to the bowl and mix well.

Add mixture to baking dish if using, or simply place the pan in the oven. Bake at 350F for 45 minutes for 1 hour

 

CORNBREAD – grain free

2 cups almond flour

3 tablespoons coconut flour

3 teaspoons baking powder or baking soda (make sure it’s grain-free )

1 teaspoon sea salt

2 teaspoons coconut sugar (or 1 teaspoon honey)

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, ghee or coconut oil melted and cooled slightly

1 cup plain, whole coconut yogurt

2 medium jalapeños, minced (optional)

Shredded cheese (optional), Deiya cheese will work

1/2 yellow onion, minced

Preheat oven to 425°F and adjust rack to middle position of oven. Butter an 8 x 8-inch baking dish.

Whisk almond flour, coconut flour, baking powder, sea salt, baking soda and coconut sugar together in a large mixing bowl.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, butter or coconut oil, and coconut yoghurt. Pour this mixture, jalapeños if using and onions into flour mixture and gently fold all ingredients together. Pour half of the cornbread batter into the baking dish and spread out evenly.

Sprinkle the shredded cheese on top if using, and then pour the remaining batter on top. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the top is golden brown.

 

TURKEY GRAVY

1 set of turkey parts (neck, heart, liver, giblets)

1 tbsp butter or coconut oil (for browning)

1/2 onion, chopped

1 bay leaf

2-5 cups chicken or turkey broth – allow about 1/2 cup per person

turkey pan drippings and trimmings from carving

1/2 cup whole cream or coconut cream

salt and pepper to taste

3 tbsp potato or arrowroot starch

Melt the butter / coconut oil in a pot on medium heat.

Add the turkey parts and brown them for a few minutes. Next, add the chopped onion and simmer until the onions soften, about five more minutes. Add the broth and bay leaf, and bring it to a gentle boil; reduce the heat to low and let it simmer while the turkey cooks (at least two hours).

Once turkey is cooked and resting add any pan drippings to the broth. Use a fat separater to remove as much fat as possible. Return the broth to the pot, add chopped up turkey parts (optional). Bring the broth back to a gentle simmer as you carve the turkey.

Carve the turkey, chop up any leftover turkey trimmings and add to the broth, as well as the cream. Allow it to simmer for about five minutes, stirring often. Add salt and pepper to taste.

To thicken, mix the potato / arrowroot starch with a little water, and stir about half of it into the gravy.  Simmer stirring continuously for a few minutes. If it isn’t thick enough, add more of the starch and let it simmer again.

When done – serve immediately.

 

EASY GRAVY

2 tablespoons turkey fat from pan drippings, ghee or coconut oil

1/2 cup chopped onions

2 cups chopped cauliflower

pan drippings

1-2 cups chicken or turkey stock

several sprigs fresh thyme or other herbs

sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Heat fat over medium heat in sauce pan. Add onions and cook until onions start to brown. Stir in cauliflower and thyme sprigs.

Measure pan drippings and add enough stock to equal 2 cups of liquid. Add pan drippings/stock mixture to pan with vegetables. Simmer until cauliflower is fork tender, about 10 minutes. Remove herb stems.

Place in a blender on high until smooth and creamy.

Return gravy to pan to reheat. Add more stock to thin to desired consistency, if needed.

Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serve and enjoy

 

RAW QUICK CHRISTMAS PUDDING

These are made into individual puddings. Ideal for family times. This recipe makes 8.

60g dried figs

2 tbsp orange zest

50g flaxseed meal

2 tbsp dried sour cherries

1 tsp fresh ginger, grated

100g dried apricots

250g fresh dates, pitted

170ml almond meal / flour

1 tsp vanilla extract

¼ tsp allspice

1 tsp ground cinnamon

¼ tsp ground nutmeg

¼ tsp ground ginger

¼ cup orange juice

1 tbsp coconut oil

FROSTING

100g raw organic cacao butter, chopped (available from health food stores)

100ml coconut cream

40g maple syrup, good quality

1. Line 8 x 5cm (2-inch) diameter moulds, 50ml capacity small cups or any other oven proof suitable containers with plastic wrap.

2. Combine all the ingredients, except for the orange juice and the coconut oil, in a food processor and blend until the mixture forms into a crumb-like consistency. Transfer to a large mixing bowl, add the orange juice and coconut oil. Knead the mixture until it comes together into a large ball.

3. Divide the pudding mix into 8 portions and pack into the moulds firmly. Refrigerate for 15 minutes to firm. Remove from the moulds, peel off the plastic wrap and place on a tray.

4. Make frosting – melt the cacao butter in a bowl over a saucepan of boiling water. Remove from the heat, thoroughly mix in the coconut cream and maple syrup. Cool at room temperature to thicken the frosting, stirring occasionally.

5. Spoon the frosting over the puddings and refrigerate for 10 to 15 minutes or until the frosting is firm.

6. Decorate the puddings with some fresh raspberries and serve.

 

STEAMED CHRISTMAS PUDDING

150g sultanas

80g dried sour cherries or dried unsweetened cranberries, plus extra for garnish

100g currants

30g raw almonds, roughly chopped

200g kombucha or freshly squeezed orange juice

zest of 1 orange

40g almond meal / flour

20g coconut flour

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp mixed spice

1/4 tsp cinnamon

55g coconut oil

40g apple, peeled & cored

2 eggs

1/4 tsp fine salt

1/4 tsp bicarb soda

Simmer dried fruit and almonds with kombucha or orange juice for 6 mins and set aside to cool.

Place orange zest, almond meal, coconut flour, spices, salt, soda, apple, eggs and coconut oil into a blender and mix. Scrape down sides of bowl.

Add soaked fruit and nuts into bowl and mix.

Scoop mixture into cupcake cups or small ramekins and place into a steamer, with lid on. Cups / ramekins should be about 3/4 full.

Steam for 25 mins.

Allow puddings to cool, covered, and store in fridge until needed.

Drizzle with Coconut Vanilla Custard, with a dried cranberry or sour cherry on top for decoration.

 

PUMPKIN PIE

Paleo pie crust:

1 cup blanched almond flour

2 Tbsp coconut flour sifted

2/3 cup tapioca flour

1/2 cup palm oil shortening cold, or grassfed butter, or a combination of both

1 Tbsp Maple Sugar or coconut sugar*

1/2 tsp fine grain sea salt

1 egg

Filling:

15 oz can pumpkin puree

2/3 cup full fat coconut milk blended

6 Tbsp pure maple syrup or more if you’d like it sweeter

2 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 Tbsp pumpkin pie spice

1 tsp cinnamon

Pinch salt

2 large eggs room temp

1 egg yolk room temp

(pumpkin pie spice: 1/4 cup ground cinnamon 4 teaspoons ground nutmeg 4 teaspoons ground ginger 1 tablespoon ground allspice)

Make the Crust:

Preheat oven to 375F. 

In a food processor pulse all crust ingredients EXCEPT egg to create thick crumbs, then pulse/process in the egg until a dough forms.

Gather the dough into a ball, wrap in plastic, chill in the refrigerator at least 20 minutes prior use.

To get your dough into a 9in pie dish:

Either roll out dough into a circle between two sheets of parchment. Place pie dish upside-down over the dough, then using the bottom parchment paper, flip the dough into the dish. Press into the bottom and sides of the pie dish to fit. The dough will break easily, however it also repairs incredibly easily, just patch and pres into place as needed.

Or simply press evenly into pie dish using your hands.  Be patient and refrigerate dough as needed to make it easier to work with**

Once in the pie dish, gently pierce the dough with a fork all over so it doesn’t puff up while baking.

Bake pie crust at 375F for 12-15 mins until bottom is set, remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes.

Make the Filling:

Whisk all ingredients together except eggs, then whisk in eggs and egg yolk 1 at a time, don’t over mix.

Pour filling into the baked crust, spreading it all around to seal edges. Cover top with aluminum foil and bake at 375F for 40-45 minutes or until centre is nearly set (still a bit jiggly) and crust is deep golden brown.

Allow to cool completely at room temperature to avoid excessive cracking of the filling.

Serve, or cover and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. 

Serve topped with whipped coconut cream if desired. 

Enjoy!

Recipe Notes

*Coconut sugar will cause the crust to darken more than maple sugar

**Unlike a traditional gluten-containing crust, you can’t “overwork” the dough, so take your time as needed pressing it into the pie dish.

 

Happy Holidays!