Sick Again! Supporting Your Immune System When It’s Down

I don’t know if it has been the same in your house, but since the Fall, my little guys have been sick with a cold or stomach bug, what seems to be, every few weeks.  Masking and social distancing over the past 3 years has left our immune systems vulnerable.  Successful immune function is shaped by microorganisms (viruses, bacteria, and fungi) we encounter in our environments.  By being exposed to a broad variety of organisms, the immune system learns to fine-tune the balance between attack and tolerance mechanisms and can develop the regulatory pathways needed to avoid increased immune responses to self or harmless allergens. Nature is one of the richest sources of microbial input, and reduced exposure to natural environments adversely affects the good microorganisms in the body and its capacity to regulate the immune system. With a reduced exposure to common microorganisms over the past 3 years, our immune systems have suffered, resulting in more frequent illnesses.

Although the key to a more efficient immune system is time for natural exposure to common microorganisms, the following are some things you can do to support your immune system in the meantime.

  • Probiotics – a high dose, multi strain probiotic helps to replenish the healthy gut flora.
  • Immune support – St. Francis Deep Immune – This is a herbal combination that contains Astragalus and Codonopsis.These immune enhancing herbs help to increase the production of white blood cells and enhance immune attack.
  • Spirulina – An algae that is high in protein, which is an essential part of immune system and is nutrient dense, high in B vitamins and minerals. All these features of spirulina help to significantly improve the immune system.  Try mixing it with apple juice to mask the taste : )
  • Decrease sugar and processed foods and increase greens in the diet. Harmful bacteria flourish in the presence of sugar. Eating a diet rich in green leafy vegetables promotes the growth of the beneficial gut flora, improves the immune system, and replenishes a healthy gut environment.

Art of Listening

Are we really listening, or just waiting for our turn to speak?

 

Listening is a craft, gifted to some, while refined by others.  Ego drives a superior response, while humility allows open mutual dialogue. Multi-tasking and distraction are enemies for listening effectiveness and erode connection.

 

Health practitioners are trained in the art of listening to get ourselves; 1. Grounded, 2. Centred, and 3. Present.  No distractions, only purposeful listening when a client is speaking.  When conducting a client intake we intently listen to the verbal and non-verbal dialogue from a patient hoping to catch little clues in their history that may give us insight into their situation and ultimately assist in creating a treatment plan.

 

Demonstrating empathetic concern builds trust and strengthens both personal and professional relationships.  When you are a good listener, people want to talk to you.  Good listeners are patient, are generally better at taking directions, make fewer mistakes and process information more succinctly.

 

The sharing of knowledge is a double-lane expressway between individuals.  Listening opens the door to learning and expanding our base of knowledge.  Be mindful in your next conversation as to the listening skills you use.

Recipes to Get You Back on Track

It is more likely than not that you allowed yourself to indulge this holiday season!  And good for you, there is no such thing as ‘perfection’ and food and drink are often a part of our traditions at this time of year.  So don’t beat yourself up, just commit to some healthier choices in the days and weeks to come.  Long lasting nutritional changes start with small steps.

Included in this blog post are a few recipes to help get you started.

The Apple Cider Vinegar Mocktail will curb your cravings for sugary and salty foods, stimulate your digestive function, including both activating your digestive enzymes and also promoting healthy bile flow to drain your liver and gall bladder.  Taken after meals, studies have shown ACV will help balance blood sugar levels, and stimulate healthy metabolism.  ACV is truly a miraculous super food.  Purchase a good quality brand like Bragg’s, and be sure it contains a healthy amount of the “mother”: the floaty stuff.  This way you know the product is still “live” and active.  Avoid the “sterile” brands like Heinz that will more likely irritate than assist your digestive functioning.  If you like, omit the maple syrup, add lemon or use flat water vs. sparkling.

The Detox Salad contains a  number of different cruciferous vegetables.  The cruciferous vegetables are all part of the Brassica family of veggies and include broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, brussel sprouts, arugula, kohlrabi, turnips, mustard greens, collard greens and kale.  This powerful family of foods contains some of the most nutritious foods that exist on the planet.  They contain plenty of fiber, act as a “prebiotic” source of fuel for good bacteria, are filled with Folate, a B vitamin good for building healthy blood and supporting the nervous system, and Vitamin K which helps blood clotting and bone health.  They also contain something called Indole-3-Carbinol and D-I-M, constituents that activate liver detoxification, especially of hormones and xenoestrogens from the environment.

The Salmon Cakes are high in Vitamin D and Omega-3 essential fatty acids, which are all critical for healthy brain function and mood, building strong bones, reducing inflammation in the body, and creating a robust immunity

I really like the Cleansing Broccoli Lentil Soup for getting myself back on track after a time period of indulgence.  This is a tasty and satisfying fiber-rich soup to nourish the body and soul.

Using just these four recipes you could build yourself a simple little three day cleanse.

Give yourself a nice 12 to 16 hour overnight fasting window before you consume your first solid food of the day, with at least a 3 hour window before bed of no solid food, and minimal drink – other than some sips of water or a small amount of herbal tea.

So if you normally go to bed at 10, ensure your last food/ beverage is consumed by 7 pm.

Then spare yourself of food until at least 7 am the next day.  Better yet, aim to bump your first meal to 9 or 10 am.  This allows your body to detoxify, digest and repair over night and well into the morning.

Feel free to start your day with a glass of the ACV beverage upon waking, to complete the digest/ detox/ repair process that was happening over night.  This can be consumed within your fasting window.  You may want to make this one with warm flat water, a small amount of honey or maple syrup (or none at all), and a tablespoon of ACV.

Consume a serving of this at least three times during the day, for a total of 3 to 6 Tbsp of ACV spread through the day.

Make yourself a batch of the soup, and have a bowl for lunch for each of the three days of your mini-cleanse.

And for dinner have a salmon burger with some salad.

It may seem dull, however it is only for three days and the less complex, the better the compliance, in my experience.

If you are hungry outside of these meals, consume fresh fruit and vegetables.  Maybe some apple and almond butter, or hummus and chopped veggies.  Keep it light, and always be sure to ask yourself if you are actually hungry before you eat.  Often we eat because of loneliness, boredom, anxiety, sadness, frustration, etc. vs. true hunger.

if this is the case for you, ask yourself: what do I need more than food in this moment?  so if you are feeling sad.. perhaps the answer to this question is: “a good cry”.  In which case, take yourself to a cozy corner of your home and let yourself feel your tears and sadness.  If it is “bored”, ask yourself what might serve better, and see what answer arises “Go for a walk”, “Call a good friend”, “pick up your journal and start writing”.

Getting still and mindful, asking curious questions of ourselves has the potential to bring us great insight.  So have fun with this!

Good health starts with good nutrition and mindful awareness, and small changes and baby steps go a long way towards promoting health.

Holiday Menu

From our homes to yours, we would like to share our favourite recipes as you prepare for your holiday feast.  

From all of us, we wish you a very happy Christmas season and many blessings in 2023!

With love, Allison, Brittany, Garret, Julie and Michelle.

Vegan Mushroom Wellington with Rosemary and Pecans

I am all for a hearty Beef-Wellington Christmas meal, however after a few days of holiday eating and socializing I enjoy a flavourful vegan dish for dinner.  ~Garret Woynarski

 INGREDIENTS

1 box -2 sheets vegan puff pastry, thawed in the fridge overnight. (Use cold-not at room temp)

2 tablespoons olive oil (or butter)

2 pounds mushrooms, sliced, stems OK (except Shiitake stems)

1 large onion, diced

4–6 garlic cloves, rough chopped

1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary (or sage, or thyme)

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 cup sherry wine, red wine or white wine

1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

1 cup chopped, toasted pecans (or feel free to sub hazelnuts or walnuts)

½ teaspoon pepper

2 teaspoons truffle oil (optional)

OPTIONS

-If you want to add cheese, add ½ – 1 cup grated pecorino, gruyere, goat cheese or cream cheese- or use a meltable vegan cheese- or make vegan ricotta!

-Egg wash – use nut milk, cream or melted coconut oil to brush on the pastry.  If you’re not worried about it being vegan, whisk an egg with a tablespoon of water.

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Make sure the puff pastry is thawed before you start – cold, but thawed. (Note if it is too warm, it may fall apart, if too cold, it will be too stiff to roll.)
  2. Preheat oven to 400F
  3. MAKE THE FILLING: Heat oil in an extra-large skillet or dutch oven, over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms, onions, garlic, salt and rosemary and sauté, stirring often, until mushrooms release all their liquid. Turn heat down to medium, and continue sautéing until all the liquid has evaporated, be patient, this will take a little time! Once the mushrooms are relatively dry in the pan, splash with wine and balsamic vinegar and again, sauté on medium heat until all the liquid has cooked off. This is important- you absolutely do not want a watery filling (it will turn into a mess!).  Add the toasted chopped pecans, pepper, truffle oil. Taste, adjust salt to your liking. At this point, you could fold in some cheese if you like.
  4. Let the filling cool 15-20 minutes (you could make the filling a day ahead and refrigerate).
  5. Fill 2 Puff Pastries:  Carefully unroll the puff pastry onto a parchment-lined baking sheet (if it seems stiff, let it thaw a few more minutes until pliable).  Place half the filling in a mound along the center (see photo) and working quickly, roll the pastry up, and over, seam side down. Fill and roll the second sheet.
  6. Brush with the egg or eggless wash.
  7. Score the pastry using a razor blade or sharp knife with your choice of design – cross-hatch, herringbone, leafy vine or just simple diagonal slits.
  8. Bake: Place the sheet pan on the middle rack in the oven for 35 minutes, checking at 20 mins, and rotating pan for even browning if necessary. Let the pastry bake until it is a really deep golden colour – to ensure it’s done and flaky all the way through. You may need to add 5 more minutes depending on your oven. Convection will help achieve a golden crust, (use it for the last 5-10 minutes).
  9. Cool for 5-10 minutes before cutting and serving. Garnish with Rosemary Sprigs. It’s OK to serve at room temp, but warm is best.

Adapted from: https://www.feastingathome.com/mushroom-wellington-rosemary-pecans/

Wild Rice Pilaf

From Allison Ziegler’s kitchen

INGREDIENTS

1 tablespoon olive oil

½ cup diced celery

½ cup carrots

¾ cups diced onion

1 ½ cups wild rice blend

2 2/3 cups vegetable broth

1-2 tablespoons fresh parsley

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Heat a large skillet to medium-high and add olive oil.Add celery, onion, and carrot to the pan.  Sauté, stirring occasionally until the onions are translucent and the vegetables have softened – about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the rice and stir to combine.Allow the rice to toast until the oil is absorbed.
  3. Por in the broth and cover the pot.Bring the rice to a boil and then immediately reduce heat to low.  Allow the rice to simmer for 45-50 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat and allow the rice to set for 5-10 minutes to allow the rice to absorb any remaining liquid.
  5. Fluff the rice with a fork and garnish with fresh herbs before serving.

Cranberry, Goat Cheese, and Pecan Salad

Julie Zepp’s pick

INGREDIENTS

For the Salad:

4 cups baby mixed greens or spring mix, arugula, spinach (about 2.5 oz.)

1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion

1/4 cup dried cranberries

1/4 cup candied pecans*

2 oz. soft goat cheese (chèvre)

For the Dressing:

1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1.5 tablespoons mayonnaise

1/2 tablespoon pure maple syrup

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

black pepper to taste

*For the candied pecans:

INGREDIENTS

2 cups pecans

3 tablespoons butter

1/3 cup coconut sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 pinch sea salt

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Melt butter (3 tablespoons) in heavy bottomed skillet
  2. Add pecans (2 cups); stir to coat
  3. Add coconut sugar (1/3 cup), and cinnamon (1/2 teaspoon); stir to coat.
  4. Continue stirring until sugars caramelize- they should not be grainy anymore, and begin to darken in color (about 3-4 minutes).
  5. Spread nuts out on a parchment covered baking sheet, sprinkle with sea salt, and allow to cool for at least ten minutes. If nuts are difficult to separate, you can break them apart after they’ve cooled for a bit.

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. In the bottom of a large mixing bowl, whisk all the ingredients for the dressing together until well emulsified.
  2. Add the baby greens (4 cups) and toss together well with tongs to coat in the dressing.
  3. Add the sliced red onion (1/4 cup), the dried cranberries (1/4 cup), and the candied nuts (1/4 cup) to the bowl on top of the greens. Use the tines of a fork to crumble the soft goat cheese (2 oz.) directly into the bowl.
  4. Toss everything gently together. Divide into two serving bowls or plates and serve.

Beverage: Beet Kvass

Brittany Wolfe’s Specialty

This unique and mineral-rich beverage is great for digestion. It equal parts salty, tangy, warming and satisfying.
Note that this is a fermented beverage so if you’re interested in adding it onto the menu, start prepping now! Due to the fermentation, it is also naturally high in probiotics giving you and yours a sweet little blast of gut health this holiday season.

INGREDIENTS

2 cups beets, rinsed and roughly chopped

2 tbsp fresh ginger, roughly chopped

4 cups filtered water

2 tsp sea salt

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Sanitize your jar and lid with boiling water.
  2. Place beets, ginger, salt and water in the jar.
  3. Stir until salt is dissolved.
  4. Cover with an airtight lid and store in a dark place at room temperature.
  5. It should ferment for 4-15 days.
  6. Strain and store in the fridge until you are ready to use.

Healthy Sugar Cookies by Vani Hari

Michelle Sthamann’s holiday treat

INGREDIENTS

2 cups blanched almond flour

¼ cup coconut oil melted (or grass-fed butter at room temp)

½ cup coconut palm sugar

1 egg

1 tbsp vanilla extract

¼ teaspoon fine sea salt

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Mix all wet ingredients together and combine well
  3. Slowly pour dry ingredients into wet ingredients and mix well
  4. Drop a tablespoon of dough on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet
  5. Bake cookies for 8-10 mins (until edges are golden brown)
  6. As cookies are cooling, sprinkle with a little coconut sugar after baking if desired
  7. Cool cookies for at least 5 mins before serving
  8. (Alternatively, if you are cutting out shapes, refrigerate dough for at least 1 hour and then roll out using a rolling pin and additional almond flour and bake the same way)

Strengthen Your Wei Qi

If you have been reading our blogs for a while, there is a good chance that you have been introduced to the concept of “qi” by now – the life force that is flowing throughout our meridians from a chinese medicine perspective. But perhaps you don’t know that there are actually different types of qi one of which being “wei qi” which is a key component to our immunity.
Wei qi is our defensive qi. It is our armour against external pathogens such as cold and flu. Wei qi should be most active in the skin and muscles and manifests as fevers, chills and shivering. It is believed that the stronger the wei qi, the stronger the fever. Thus, chinese medicine and naturopathic medicine are not quick to suppress fevers. From a chinese medicine perspective, the sweating brought on by a fever is escorting the intruder out through the pores.
Aside from the physical manifestations of wei qi, it is also believed that there are psychological components of this qi. Wei qi is connected to our interpersonal boundaries. If we often find ourselves saying “yes” at times when we really want to be saying “no!”, our wei qi is likely weak.

  • Here are some ways to strengthen your wei qi (& your immune system!) this winter:
  • If it is not a “heck ya!”, say no.
  • Wear layers.
  • Sleep!
  • Talk to your ND about supplements and acupuncture to support your wei qi

and….lastly….

Deep Immune Soup

– This soup features herbs that are known to strengthen wei qi.

Ingredients:
1 Tbsp Avocado oil
1 quart miso, chicken, or vegetable broth
1 small yellow onion, chopped
3 tbsp grated fresh ginger root (or to taste)
5 clove garlic, chopped or crushed (or to taste)
1⁄2 cup fresh medicinal mushrooms (Maitake, Shiitake)
2 sticks Astragalus and/or Reishi mushroom **
1⁄2 lemon, juiced
1 carrot, grated
3 tbsp fresh, minced parsley
1⁄2 tsp Cayenne pepper (Capsicum sp.) or to taste

Method:
Add the avocado oil to soup pot on medium heat
Add garlic, onion, ginger and saute until soft
Add the carrots and saute for 3-5 minutes
Add the mushrooms and saute for 3 minutes
Add in the cayenne, salt and pepper and mix all together and let the flavours meld for 2 minutes
Add the broth and bring to a boil
Once boiling, reduce the heat, add the dried mushrooms and cover with a lid
Simmer for 20-25 minutes or until carrots are soft
Remove mushroom sticks and dispose
Add lemon juice and parsley
Add salt and pepper to taste

Use this as a base for an immune-boosting soup. You can add protein, change out the vegetables, serve over rice or change it to suit your family’s needs.
Note that astragalus is not to be used if you are currently sick as it could potentially block pathogens from being released.

** These herbs are usually the easiest to find however here is a list of the herbs traditionally used in deep immune soup:
Shan Yao (Dioscorea opposita)
Sheng Di (Rehmannia glutinosa)
Gou Qi Zi (Lychee Fruit or Lycii fructus)
Dang Gui Pian (Angelica sinensis)

Expanded IV Menu

Come check out our IV suite and optimize your health this winter! 

In order to offer you more choices to fit your lifestyle and to help you meet your health goals, I am now offering an expanded menu of IV services. To learn more about intravenous therapy, click here.

To learn more about ozone therapy, click here.

 

Now Offering Allergy Testing with USBiotek

Both IgE (allergy antibody) and IgG (delayed response antibodies – consistent with sensitivities) are antibodies which make up a portion of the immune system. When IgE antibodies react to antigens on foods, this will result in an immediate allergic reaction causing mild to severe symptoms that may be life threatening. When IgG antibodies react with food antigens they create complexes that are not removed properly from our body and accumulate to cause chronic inflammation resulting in various symptoms.

With reactions ranging in severity from mild to life-threatening, accurate identification of IgE-mediated food allergies is critical. Instead of solely waiting for a referral and test to be run by an allergy specialist which could take up to two years in Sask, we offer serum-specific IgE testing of up to 295 Foods and Inhalants that can be processed and reviewed within a week ordered by your Naturopathic doctor. Sample collection requires a blood draw that can be performed at the clinic. These tests can be ordered independently or bundled with any IgG/IgG4/IgA food sensitivity panels for more comprehensive information to support your treatment protocol.

The allergy tests are run on IgE panels on an FDA-approved immunoassay analyzer that utilizes enzyme-amplified chemiluminescence technology. Chemiluminescence provides lower detection limits than conventional ELISA, making it particularly suitable for IgE detection.

For more information please check out www.USBiotek.com.

Sample report provided below.

** With the help of your Naturopathic Doctor it is crucial to assess the health of your microbiome otherwise known as the bacteria/environment of the gut. The status of your gastrointestinal system has a key role in your body’s sensitivity/allergy response, and should therefore always be worked on in conjunction with elimination protocols to reduce the frequency/intensity of reactions.  Now Offering Allergy Testing with USBiotek

The Kidneys Relating to Pelvis and Low Back Pain

As I return from another week of 4th year Osteopathy classes in Vancouver, I am fascinated by the complexities and opportunities for treating low back pain.  We can get stuck in a groove of treating low back pain as purely mechanical in nature, when consideration of the visceral organs may result in a different conclusion and can provide advantages.

 

This latest set of classes on the Kidneys and Gynaecological structures opened my awareness and palpation to alternatives for treatment of pelvic and low back pain.  I have previous training courses in Visceral Manipulation from over a decade ago, however my studies in Osteopathy have enhanced my approach.

 

Low back pain, inclusive of anterior pelvic and sacral regions, can be structural in nature.  Misalignment of joint articulations, muscle tightness and/or weakness, nerve irritation and asymmetrical work/life/movement patterns are common reasons for pain.  When low back pain is treated as musculoskeletal in origin, and the pain resolves, perfect.  Case closed.

 

What if the pain isn’t being resolved?

 

Here I believe lies an opportunity.  An opportunity to think differently, ask different questions about the same pain presentation to arrive at a potentially superior conclusion.

 

For instance, the uterus rotates in a torsional pattern during the gait cycle.  When walking or running, as one leg moves forward and one side of the pelvis rotates, the uterus moves in its torsional patterns because of the fascial attachment to the inner iliac crests and the utero-sacral ligaments that anchor onto the sacrum.  As the sacrum moves, so does the uterus.  A sacrum that doesn’t move properly will cause a cascade of compensatory patterns through the pelvis and spine.

 

Patient symptoms to consider the Uterus:

  • Pre and post pregnancy
  • Painful menstruation
  • Lumbar, pelvic and sacral pain that won’t resolve
  • Lower abdominal tension
  • Hard fall/impact on the hips or sacrum
  • Post-surgery
  • Bladder pressure

 

Another example are the kidneys.  The kidneys are situated lateral to midline of the body near L2 and L3 vertebra, housed within rib 11 and 12.  During the gait cycle, the kidneys can glide approximately 3cm in motion along the rail of the psoas major muscle. Tightness and cramping in the low back during exercise can be muscular, but other considerations for the origin of the pain could be the diaphragm that also anchors onto L2/L3 vertebra, and the kidneys which are housed within the adipose and fascia layers of the lumbar spine region.

 

Patient symptoms to consider the kidneys:

  • Thoracic, lumbar and sarco-iliac pain that won’t resolve with treatment
  • Medial knee and ankle pain (kidney meridian in acupuncture)
  • Flexion of the hip and knee when sneezing
  • Lower limb swelling and/or poor circulation
  • Abdominal bloating
  • Hard fall/impact on the hips or sacrum

 

In summary, a multitude of considerations can be made for treatment of low back pain.  The end goal with any treatment is to improve structure and function, promote circulation, reduce pain and enhance the vitality of the individual.

DIY: Immune Support in the Kitchen

Tis the season for cozy creativity and for cold and flu. If you’re looking for a fun and easy way to support the whole family’s immunity this season…take a peek in your kitchen cupboards and fridge. I guarantee you’ll find some ingredients for a tart, spicy and sweet immune boosting fire cider!

Fire cider is a traditional herbal infused vinegar that is commonly made in fall for the upcoming cold and flu season. Herbs and foods are first infused into apple cider vinegar for several weeks and then strained out and replaced with honey to create a beautiful oxymel. The end result is an effective homemade immune booster that is meant to be taken daily.

 

How to use Fire Cider:

  • Add to warm water and drink as a tea
  • Add to your favourite tea
  • Use as a base for salad dressing
  • Use a base for a marinade
  • In soda water
  • In soups
  • Use to make a syrup
  • Drizzle over baked vegetables

 

Rosemary’s Fire Cider Recipe

(Named after Rosemary Gladstar; a well-known herbalist)
Use daily as a general immune tonic or use it if feeling under the weather
Ingredients:
1/2 cup fresh grated horseradish root
1/2 cup chopped onions
1/4 cup chopped garlic
1/4 cup or more of grated ginger
1-2 cayenne peppers, fresh and chopped
ACV

Method:
1. Put the contents into a mason jar
2. Cover with ACV by 3-4 inches
3. Place a plastic lid on the jar as the vinegar will act as a corrosive to metal
4. Store in a sunny spot and shake the jar once a day
5. After 3-4 weeks, give it a taste and see if it is to your liking; if it is, strain out the herbs
6. Combine 50:50 infused vinegar with honey in a sterilized glass jar. Mix well with a clean, dry spoon until both preparations are fully combined.
7. Label and store in a cool place free of moisture for 6 months.

Dose:

  • Take 1 shot glass every day
  • Take 3-4 shot glasses per day if feeling unwell

 

What can you infuse into apple cider vinegar to make fire cider?

  • Rosemary
  • Parsley
  • Jalapeno
  • Elderberries
  • Cardamom
  • Dandelion root
  • Burdock root
  • Bee pollen
  • Thyme
  • Oregano
  • Nasturtium
  • Turmeric root
  • Black peppercorns
  • Lemons
  • Orange
  • Allspice
  • Coriander
  • Grapefruit
  • Cloves
  • Sage
  • Hawthorne berries, dried
  • Hibiscus petals, dried
  • Lime
  • Pomegranate
  • Apple
  • Cranberries
  • Dill
  • Fennel
  • Practically anything that you desire!!

 

Remember, you cannot do this wrong so long as you are not growing mold in your fire cider!

 

Happy brewing!

The Importance of Self-Care

This summer my husband and I welcomed our third child into the world.  Although having a third precious little guy to love has been so wonderful, it is easy to get overtired, impatient, and overwhelmed with the demands of a busy household.  It is easy to forget about myself as I prioritize the needs of my family.   This summer I came across the following quote at the perfect time!  It is a beautiful reminder of the importance of taking time for myself and in doing so, it has allowed me to be a better mom and better doctor.

 

“Self-care is giving the world the best of you, instead of what’s left of you.”

– Katie Reed

 

Self- care is an essential daily practice! Self-care is taking steps toward caring for your physical, emotional, spiritual, and mental health. In doing so, it allows you to better cope with daily stressors, reduce anxiety and depression and improve overall wellbeing so you can be healthy, do your job, and care for others without becoming burnt out and exhausted.

Whether you are a new parent, a businessperson working long hours or simply wishing to improve your health, the following 5 simple tips are for your self-care.

 

  1. Move Your Body

At least 20 minutes of physical exercise a day is one of the best things you can do for yourself.  Among improving cardiovascular health, regular exercise improves mental clarity and focus, reduces anxiety and depression, and improves sleep and energy.  If you are finding it hard to fit it in, try going for a brisk walk at lunch.  Not only will you get your 20 minutes of exercise, but you will also have more energy for the afternoon.

If you are postpartum, the Pregnancy and Postpartum TV channel on YouTube is a wonderful resource for appropriate physical activity to help you feel like yourself again.

 

  1. Stay Hydrated

The brain requires adequate amounts of water to make energy.  Chronic dehydration leads to fatigue and poor concentration.  Dehydration also leads to muscle stiffness and pain.  Aim for half your body weight in ounces of water every day.  Your body will thank you!

 

  1. Prayer/Meditation

Prayer and meditation increase serotonin, achieves relaxation, and reduces the amount of time your body is in the sympathetic nervous system/fight-or-flight state.  Furthermore, prayer/meditation strengthen spiritual health which gives a sense of purpose, happiness, and joy.

Some apps that you can try are Headspace, Calm and Hallow.

 

  1. 3-Gratitudes

Write down 3 new things each day, for at least 21 days, that you are grateful for.

This helps the brain transition to automatic positive thought instead of focusing on the negative or what went wrong.

 

  1. Eat Well

Eating good quality food allows nourishment for energy production, reduced inflammation and improved mood.

Avoid processed foods and eat a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, protein, and whole grains.  A good rule of thumb is ½ your plate should be veggies, ¼ of your plate protein and ¼ of your plate whole grains.

If you are having trouble transitioning to whole foods from a processed food diet, the 100 Days of Real Food website is a great resource.