Natural Mosquito Repellent Ideas: Banishing Bugs the Eco-Friendly Way

With the arrival of warm weather, the pleasant ambiance of outdoor activities often comes with an unwelcome guest—the mosquito. These tiny yet relentless creatures can turn a peaceful evening into an itchy nightmare. While commercial mosquito repellents are readily available, many of them contain potentially harmful chemicals. Thankfully, nature provides us with a wide array of effective and environmentally-friendly alternatives. In this blog post, we will explore several natural mosquito repellent ideas that will help you keep those pesky insects at bay while maintaining a sustainable lifestyle.

1. Citronella Oil:
Citronella oil is perhaps one of the most well-known natural mosquito repellents. Derived from the lemongrass plant, this essential oil has strong mosquito-repelling properties. To create your own citronella-based repellent, mix a few drops of citronella oil with a carrier oil, such as coconut oil or jojoba oil, and apply it to exposed skin. You can also burn citronella candles or use citronella-based outdoor torches to create a protective barrier against mosquitoes.

2. Essential Oils:
Various essential oils possess natural mosquito-repelling properties. Some of the most effective ones include lavender, eucalyptus, peppermint, and tea tree oil. Create your own DIY repellent spray by combining a few drops of these oils with water in a spray bottle. Shake well and apply it to your skin and clothes before heading outdoors. Remember to patch test any new essential oil on a small area of your skin to ensure you don’t have an allergic reaction.

Source: Trongtokit, Y., Rongsriyam, Y., Komalamisra, N., & Apiwathnasorn, C. (2005). Comparative repellency of 38 essential oils against mosquito bites. Journal of the American Mosquito Control Association, 21(1), 80-83.

3. Neem Oil:
Derived from the seeds of the neem tree, neem oil is a powerful natural insect repellent. It disrupts the mosquito’s feeding and reproductive cycles, making it an excellent long-term solution. Mix neem oil with a carrier oil and apply it to your skin. You can also add a few drops to your body lotion or moisturizer for added protection. Neem oil is safe for both adults and children but should not be used on infants under the age of two months.

Source: Kumar, V., Prakash, S., & Kirti, S. (2012). Mosquito repellent activity of neem (Azadirachta indica) oil. Journal of the American Mosquito Control Association, 28(2), 136-139.

4. Garlic:
While it may seem surprising, garlic is an effective mosquito repellent due to its potent smell. Consuming garlic regularly can make your body produce a scent that deters mosquitoes. Additionally, you can create a homemade garlic spray by crushing several garlic cloves and mixing them with water. Let the mixture sit overnight, strain it, and pour it into a spray bottle. Spray it around your outdoor living areas to keep mosquitoes at bay.

Source: Rajkumar, S., Jebanesan, A., & Pushpanathan, T. (2005). Garlic and neem oil as effective mosquito larvicides. Indian Journal of Medical Research, 121(4), 885-889.

5. Natural Herbs and Plants:
Several herbs and plants have natural mosquito-repelling properties. Planting them in your garden or keeping potted versions on your patio can help create a mosquito-free zone. Some examples include basil, lemongrass, rosemary, catnip, and marigolds. Not only will these plants repel mosquitoes, but they also add beauty and fragrance to your outdoor spaces.

Source: Maia, M. F., & Moore, S. J. (2011). Plant-based insect repellents: a review of their efficacy, development, and testing. Malaria Journal, 10(Suppl 1), S11.

When it comes to protecting ourselves from mosquitoes, there’s no need to rely solely on chemical-laden commercial repellents. Nature provides us with a wealth of natural alternatives that are both effective and eco-friendly. Whether you opt for citronella oil, essential oils, neem oil, garlic, or natural herbs and plants, these natural mosquito repellent ideas will help you enjoy the outdoors while keeping those pesky bugs at bay. Embrace these natural solutions and bid farewell to chemical-laden repellents, knowing that you’re doing your part for the environment and your well-being.

Here’s a simple and effective recipe for a natural mosquito repellent spray using essential oils:

• 10 drops of citronella essential oil
• 10 drops of lavender essential oil
• 5 drops of eucalyptus essential oil
• 5 drops of peppermint essential oil
• 2 tablespoons of witch hazel
• 1 tablespoon of pure vegetable glycerin (optional)
• 1 cup of distilled water
• 1 spray bottle

1. Begin by preparing your spray bottle. Make sure it is clean and sterilized to avoid any contamination.
2. In the spray bottle, combine the witch hazel and vegetable glycerin. Witch hazel acts as a dispersing agent and helps the essential oils mix well with water, while glycerin helps the spray adhere to the skin for a longer-lasting effect. If you don’t have vegetable glycerin, you can omit it from the recipe.
3. Add the drops of citronella, lavender, eucalyptus, and peppermint essential oils to the mixture in the spray bottle. These oils have strong mosquito-repelling properties and will create a potent repellent blend.
4. Gently swirl the spray bottle to mix the ingredients together.
5. Fill the rest of the spray bottle with distilled water, leaving a little space at the top to shake the mixture before each use.
6. Close the spray bottle tightly and shake it well to ensure all the ingredients are thoroughly combined.
7. Your natural mosquito repellent spray is now ready to use! Before heading outdoors, give the bottle a good shake and spray the solution onto exposed skin, clothing, and any areas prone to mosquito bites.
Note: It’s always a good idea to perform a patch test on a small area of your skin before applying the spray to ensure you don’t have any allergic reactions to the essential oils. If you experience any irritation, discontinue use.
Remember to reapply the spray every few hours or as needed, especially if you’re sweating or spending an extended period outdoors.
Enjoy your time outdoors with this natural and effective mosquito repellent recipe!

Recharge Your Body the Healthy Way: Say Goodbye to Sugary Sports Drinks and Hello to Nutrient-Rich Electrolyte Options!

Electrolytes are electrically charged particles that are dissolved in body fluids, such as blood and urine. They play a critical role in many physiological processes by helping to maintain the balance of fluids inside and outside of cells, and by carrying electrical impulses that control muscle contractions and nerve functions.

The most important electrolytes in our body are sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, chloride, bicarbonate, and phosphate. Each of these electrolytes has a unique function and concentration within the body, and imbalances in their levels can cause a range of health problems.

Sodium (Na+) and chloride (Cl-) are the primary electrolytes found in extracellular fluid, while potassium (K+) is the primary electrolyte found in intracellular fluid. Sodium and chloride help to maintain fluid balance by controlling the movement of water across cell membranes, while potassium is essential for nerve and muscle function.

Calcium (Ca2+) is also important for nerve and muscle function, as well as bone health. It helps to regulate the heartbeat, blood clotting, and the release of hormones and enzymes.

Magnesium (Mg2+) is involved in hundreds of biochemical reactions in the body, including the metabolism of carbohydrates and fats, the synthesis of proteins and DNA, and the regulation of blood pressure.

Bicarbonate (HCO3-) is a key component of the body’s buffering system, which helps to maintain the pH balance of the blood. It is produced by the pancreas and kidneys, and helps to neutralize acids that are produced during normal metabolism.

Phosphate (PO43-) is important for bone health, energy production, and the metabolism of nucleic acids and proteins.

Electrolytes are absorbed from the foods we eat and the fluids we drink, and are excreted by the kidneys and other organs as needed to maintain balance in the body. Imbalances in electrolyte levels can occur due to a variety of factors, including dehydration, kidney disease, certain medications, and hormonal imbalances. Treatment typically involves rehydration and, in severe cases, intravenous electrolyte replacement.


While Gatorade and other sports drinks are marketed as healthy options for replenishing electrolytes lost during exercise, they may not always be the best choice.

One issue is that many sports drinks contain high levels of added sugars, which can contribute to obesity, type 2 diabetes, and other health problems when consumed in excess. A typical 20-ounce bottle of Gatorade contains 34 grams of sugar, which is equivalent to more than eight teaspoons.

Additionally, many sports drinks contain artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives that can have negative health effects. For example, some artificial colors have been linked to hyperactivity and other behavioral problems in children.

Another concern is that Gatorade and other sports drinks may not be necessary for most people. While electrolyte replenishment is important for athletes and individuals who engage in prolonged or intense exercise, most people can obtain the electrolytes they need from a healthy diet.

For example, sodium can be found in many foods, including salt, canned soups, and processed meats. Potassium is found in fruits and vegetables such as bananas, oranges, and spinach, while calcium is abundant in dairy products and leafy greens. Magnesium is found in nuts, whole grains, and green leafy vegetables.

In summary, while Gatorade and other sports drinks can be beneficial for athletes and individuals engaging in prolonged or intense exercise, they should not be relied upon as a primary source of electrolytes. For most people, a balanced diet that includes a variety of fruits, vegetables, and other nutrient-rich foods is sufficient to maintain electrolyte balance.


Benefits of incorporating electrolytes into your routine:

  1. Improved Athletic Performance

One of the most well-known benefits of electrolytes is their ability to improve athletic performance. During exercise, the body loses fluids and electrolytes through sweat. If these electrolytes are not replenished, it can lead to dehydration, muscle cramps, and fatigue. By consuming electrolytes before, during, and after exercise, athletes can improve their endurance, reduce fatigue, and enhance their overall performance.

  1. Better Hydration

Electrolytes play a critical role in maintaining fluid balance in the body. They help regulate the amount of water that is absorbed and excreted by the body, which is essential for proper hydration. Consuming electrolytes can help prevent dehydration, particularly during intense exercise or hot weather conditions.

  1. Improved Muscle Function

Electrolytes are essential for proper muscle function. They help regulate muscle contractions and prevent muscle cramps. Potassium, in particular, is important for muscle function, as it helps regulate the transfer of nutrients into muscle cells.

  1. Balanced pH Levels

Electrolytes are involved in regulating the body’s pH levels, which is essential for proper cellular function. They help maintain a balance between acid and alkaline levels in the body, which is important for overall health.

  1. Improved Cognitive Function

Electrolytes also play a role in cognitive function. Sodium, in particular, is important for proper brain function, as it helps regulate the flow of fluids in and out of brain cells. Consuming electrolytes can help improve cognitive function, particularly in situations where mental performance is critical.

In conclusion, electrolytes are essential minerals that play a variety of critical roles in the body. They are important for athletic performance, hydration, muscle function, pH balance, and cognitive function. By consuming electrolytes through foods and beverages or supplements, individuals can improve their overall health and well-being.


The recommended daily intake of electrolytes varies depending on age, gender, activity level, and other factors. However, in general, the following are recommended daily intake levels for adults:

  • Sodium: 2,300 mg or less per day (ideally 1,500 mg per day for most adults)
  • Potassium: 4,700 mg per day
  • Calcium: 1,000 mg per day (1,200 mg per day for women over 50 and men over 70)
  • Magnesium: 320-420 mg per day for women and 400-520 mg per day for men
  • Chloride: 2,300 mg or less per day


  1. Lemon-Lime Electrolyte Drink


  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons honey


  1. In a large pitcher, mix together the lemon juice, lime juice, water, salt, and honey.
  2. Stir well until the honey is dissolved.
  3. Serve chilled.


  1. Coconut Water Electrolyte Drink


  • 1 cup coconut water
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon honey


  1. In a blender, combine the coconut water, orange juice, lemon juice, salt, and honey.
  2. Blend until smooth.
  3. Serve chilled

Gut-Healthy and Breastfeeding-Friendly: How Chewing Fennel Seeds Can Benefit Both Mom and Baby

Fennel seeds have been used for centuries in many cultures to support digestive health. The small, oval-shaped seeds are often consumed after a meal as a natural digestive aid. Fennel seeds are a rich source of fiber, minerals, and vitamins that can help regulate digestion and improve overall gut health.

One of the key benefits of chewing fennel seeds is their ability to relieve bloating and gas. Fennel seeds contain a compound called anethole that helps relax the muscles in the digestive tract, allowing gas to pass more easily. This can provide quick relief from uncomfortable digestive symptoms.

In addition to relieving bloating and gas, fennel seeds can also stimulate the production of digestive enzymes. Enzymes are essential for breaking down food and absorbing nutrients, and a deficiency can lead to a range of digestive problems. By promoting enzyme production, fennel seeds can help improve digestion and nutrient absorption.

Another benefit of chewing fennel seeds is their ability to soothe inflammation in the digestive tract. Fennel seeds contain anti-inflammatory compounds that can reduce swelling and irritation, which can be especially helpful for those with conditions like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

Overall, incorporating fennel seeds into your diet can be a simple and effective way to support digestive health. You can chew on a small handful of seeds after a meal, or try brewing fennel tea for a warm, soothing drink. As with any new supplement, it’s always a good idea to check with your doctor before adding fennel seeds to your routine.


Fennel seeds can also be used by breastfeeding mothers to support their infant’s digestion. When consumed by the mother, the active compounds in fennel seeds can be transferred to the baby through breast milk. Here are some tips on how to use fennel seeds to support infant digestion:

  1. Drink fennel tea: The easiest way for a breastfeeding mother to consume fennel seeds is to make fennel tea. Simply steep 1-2 teaspoons of crushed fennel seeds in hot water for 10-15 minutes, then strain and drink. This can be done several times a day to support milk production and aid in digestion.
  2. Eat fennel seeds: Chewing on fennel seeds after a meal can help both the mother and the baby with digestion. A breastfeeding mother can also add fennel seeds to soups, stews, or other dishes for a boost of flavor and digestive benefits.
  3. Use fennel oil: Fennel essential oil can also be used topically to support infant digestion. Dilute 1-2 drops of fennel oil in a carrier oil, such as coconut or olive oil, and gently massage onto the baby’s abdomen in a clockwise motion.

It’s important to note that while fennel seeds are generally considered safe for breastfeeding mothers and their infants, it’s always best to consult with a healthcare provider before incorporating any new supplements into your routine. Additionally, some infants may have an allergy or sensitivity to fennel, so it’s important to monitor your baby’s reactions and discontinue use if any adverse effects are observed.


Here’s a recipe for a fennel salad that incorporates fennel seeds for added flavor and digestive benefits:


Fennel Salad Recipe


  • 1 large fennel bulb, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  1. In a large bowl, combine the sliced fennel, red onion, and parsley.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, crushed fennel seeds, salt, and pepper.
  3. Pour the dressing over the fennel mixture and toss to combine.
  4. Serve chilled as a refreshing side dish.

This salad is not only delicious, but it also incorporates the digestive benefits of fennel seeds in a tasty and easy-to-prepare dish.


Give these tiny licorice flavoured seeds a try for optimal gut 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


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)


-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.


  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:

Wild Rice Pilaf

From Allison Ziegler’s kitchen


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


  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


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:


2 cups pecans

3 tablespoons butter

1/3 cup coconut sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 pinch sea salt


  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.


  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.


2 cups beets, rinsed and roughly chopped

2 tbsp fresh ginger, roughly chopped

4 cups filtered water

2 tsp sea salt


  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


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


  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)

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

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

PSA: Importance of taking a Hiatus from Caffeine

Our society is indulging in caffeine more than ever before. Whether it’s coffee, lattes, matcha drinks, chocolate, teas, or pop, there is typically no shortage of the aforementioned ingredient in our daily routines. Although there have been studies providing evidence drinking moderate amounts of caffeine may reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s, act as a nootropic (support brain energy/focus), and improve metabolism, there are a tremendous list of reasons why we should reduce our intake or at least take breaks intermittently to reduce dependency.


What does caffeine do in the body?

  1. Caffeine is absorbed within about 45 minutes after consuming, and peaks in the blood anywhere from 15 minutes to 2 hours later. However, caffeine can linger in the body many hours after that… It is processed by the liver, and therefore may interact or affect the concentration of other ingredients processed by the liver such as medications/alcohol/birth control.
  2. Caffeine is a widely consumed pharmacological substance that alters cortisol (stress hormone) responses at rest and in response to various stressors. It has a stimulatory effect it has on the nervous system similar to stimulant medications.
  3. Caffeine affects absorption of nutrients. If you’re not a caffeine drinker, your body may absorb some nutrients better than those who do partake. The tannins in caffeine can possibly inhibit the absorption of: calcium, iron and b vitamins.


Benefits of going caffeine free:

  1. Less anxiety- due to less cortisol (stress hormone) stimulation.
  2. Better sleep- an opportunity for better quality REM sleep that is suppressed with caffeine intake.
  3. Stable immune health- less cortisol secretion and nutrient depletion to support optimal immune function.
  4. Regulates blood pressure- a focus on the “rest & digest” nervous system response in contrast to fight or flight nervous system response causes shift from a focus on dilation of blood vessels throughout body to lower blood pressure.
  5. Improved stool consistency- a focus on the “rest & digest” nervous system response in contrast to fight or flight nervous system response causes shift from erratic stool excretion to proper digestion and bowel movement quality.
  6. Better mood- Prolonged and overuse of caffeine may cause serotonin levels to become depleted. Low levels of serotonin have been associated with depression. Irregulated serotonin levels can affect your sleep patterns, your control of pain, and your appetite cravings.
  7. And much more!


Good quality caffeine free options:

  1. Foursigmatic mushroom coffee
  2. LMNT electrolyte powder
  3. Pique Teas
  4. Herbal teas
  5. Decaf coffee


Tips for reducing caffeine:

  1. Consider an espresso (60mg caffeine/cup) versus drip coffee (100mg caffeine/cup)
  2. Only allow for one cup of caffeinated beverage per day and limit intake beyond 12pm.


If any of the above symptoms are health issues you are currently struggling with it is always worth evaluating what we are putting in the body and how that is affecting our various organ systems prior supplementing with various treatments/products. A reduction in caffeine consumption can dramatically alter your health path and should be worth investigating. Although you may be worried after reading this that you should never drink caffeine containing products again, I would like to remind you that minimal amounts of caffeine can be beneficial. Having a drink that contains caffeine is fine in moderation but should not be something we require to get us out of bed in the morning, or that affects our biofeedback system so drastically that we have withdrawals when not indulging! It is a stimulating drug and should be used sparingly. Any substance you put in the body will have benefits and/or consequences, and thus we need to respect our bodies to let them work without constant stimulation. Sometimes just by adjusting this aspect of our health routine, we can see tremendous shifts in our health before spending time/money experimenting with other healing options. Give a “caffeine hiatus” a try!


Becoming Adventurous in the Kitchen for Optimal Health and Longevity!

If you have been a patient of mine, you probably are familiar with our chats about the importance of quality and variety when it comes to your food, especially in regards to animal proteins. If we haven’t had a chance to have this talk, be prepared… as we will soon enough! I am becoming ever more passionate about exploring different traditional foods – and more specifically, organ meats.


As a society of indulgence and caloric excess, but we have never been so nutrient deficient and restricted! Recent studies have shown that up to 60% of the average American’s caloric intake is from ULTRA processed food. This is the largest quantity of fake food devoid of nutrients our society has ever consumed, and it is due to access, convenience, and the addictive nature of these foods. We are also subject to taglines like “fat free” which do more harm than good. Without the actual building blocks to support our hormones and organ systems, the risk of disease is not a matter of if, but when. With proper education and access to these other options we will be able to flourish in the kitchen and use a wide variety of food items to better nourish our families. It is never too late to change your diet and improve your health. For example we now know we can alter the microbiome of the gut within just a few days dramatically impacting the state of our immune health, hormonal regulation, and much more! That is the miracle of food – it is the real medicine and will produce the most dramatic results.


As intimidating as bringing liver or chicken hearts into the kitchen may sound, many Traditional cultures prized organ meats for their ability to build reserves of strength and vitality. Organ meats are rich in vitamin A and D (which are difficult to obtain in whole food form), as well as fatty acids, and the whole gamut of macro and trace minerals. They are some of the most nutrient dense foods you could have in addition to herbs, fruits, and vegetables. Various cultures around the world regularly incorporate this rich food source into their diet – especially to optimize fertility.  Mothers are also fed various organ products to support a healthy pregnancy, and the first thing some native African tribes feed their babies is liver! Another interesting fact: wild animals eat the organs of their kill first, and in the absence of access to organ meats big cats in particular cannot reproduce in captivity. These organs are nutrient dense game changers!


Take liver for example, its high quantity of vitamin C, B vitamins, and iron are the perfect nutrient combination for supporting healthy red blood cell formation to avoid the risk of iron deficiency or anemia – there is no other food or supplement quite like it!


I highly recommend looking into the resources provided below to learn more about how to prepare, cook, and best utilize these perplexing products in the kitchen! I will provide the recipe for chicken heart stew below that I personally really enjoy, but my journey isn’t quite over! I plan to try chicken foot stew and fish eggs next. The more I learn, the more I feel this is crucial for improving our health while also supporting regenerative farming practices, reducing waste, and building community while learning ancestral practices and spending time together cooking.


If this all seems too daunting, I would encourage eating different cuts of meat for nutrient variety. If you are used to having chicken breast for most meals, I challenge you to switch it out for chicken thighs! Don’t worry about the increase of certain macronutrients like fat and focus on all the wonderful micronutrients you will be ingesting.


**Next up in this kitchen adventure series- fermented foods and herbs…


Good luck and enjoy!




Local animal products:

  • Pineview farms
  • Dad’s Organic Market
  • Bodyfuel organics
  • Box H farms
  • Coolsprings ranch


Chicken Heart and Sweet Potato Stew


  • 2 pounds grass-fed bison stew meat
  • 1 pound grass-fed beef heart
  • 1 large sweet onion, diced
  • 3 cups celery, diced
  • 10 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 medium sized sweet potatoes or yams (you could also use approx. 2-3 cups of cubed butternut squash)
  • 2 quarts beef stock
  • 2 tsp. dried thyme
  • 8 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp. dried rosemary leaves
  • 1/8 – 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 3-4 cinnamon sticks
  • 1/2 cup fresh chopped parsley
  • 1 tsp-ish each sea salt and course ground pepper
  • coconut oil


  1. I use my big dutch oven for this, but a large soup pot will work fine.
  2. Cut all of your meat (heart included) into bite sized pieces and set aside. I like to place my meat in a colander to let it drain out any extra juice that is lingering.
  3. Chop your onions, celery, and sweet potatoes (or yams, squash, etc.) into bite sized chunks and set aside (keep your sweet potatoes separate from the other veggies).
  4. Mince your garlic and add to the onions and celery.
  5. Mince your parsley and set aside.
  6. Heat a couple tablespoons of coconut oil over medium heat and add some of your meat. You want to make sure not to overcrowd the pan, because you want to get a good browning on the meat. This really helps develop the flavor of the stew.
  7. Turn the meat several times, so that it can brown all the way around. Tongs are handy for this.
  8. Remove the meat from the pan and place on a separate dish. Repeat until you have all of your meat browned. You may need to keep adding a little coconut oil for each batch.
  9. Once all of the meat is browned and removed from the pan, add your onions, celery, and garlic and cook until the onions are slightly caramelized.
  10. Add the meat back in, as well as your chopped sweet potatoes, yams, or whatever starch you are using.
  11. Deglaze the pan with the balsamic vinegar and then add the salt, pepper, rosemary, thyme, bay leaves, and cinnamon sticks. Stir.
  12. Pour your beef stock over the mixture and bring to a simmer.
  13. Lower heat to low and cover. Let simmer for 45 minutes, or until the potatoes are done. Stir in your parsley and remove from the heat. Done!
  14. This stew freezes and re-heats nicely, so I like to make double and sometimes triple batches and stock up the freezer!

Benefits of Hydrotherapy or “Water” Therapy

Although it may sound like a simple, basic approach to healthcare in the midst of fancy, complicated, expensive technologies, we constantly find ourselves resorting to the important role water has as a treatment for optimizing our bodies functioning.  It is a foundational and necessary piece of the puzzle for optimal health.

Just as the quantity & quality of water we ingest is paramount to properly influencing all the biochemical processes that go on inside our bodies, why not play around with the temperature of the water we subject ourselves to externally?

I am a sucker for a warm bath or a warm shower. The heat can do wonders for promoting relaxation and relaxing tight musculature. However, have you tried cold water therapies??

Influence of cold external temps on our body system:

  • Decreased inflammation and pain regulation related to various chronic diseases
  • Increased brain activity and alertness due to increased oxygen intake, & increased heart rate
  • Regulation of autonomic nervous system
  • Decreased uric acid and increased glutathione levels
  • Supports the immune system & reduces oxidative stress
  • Increases brown fat – metabolically favourable tissue that can generate heat by burning fat supportive for optimal body composition
  • Improves circulation due to the constriction of distal blood vessels in the limbs increasing the circulation rate of the blood in the deeper tissues to maintain ideal body temperature.
  • Improves skin complexion due to tightening and constricting blood flow which gives your skin a healthy glow
  • Closes and strengthens your hair cuticles and doesn’t dry out the sebum layer

Something to try…

Daily Hot/cold contrast shower challenge:

Try 30 seconds cold, 1 minute warm water; alternate three times and end on cold.

Give it a try and enjoy the benefits!

Some of the other ways I like to incorporate water therapy into my patient’s protocols:

  • Evaluation of quantity & quality of drinking water- bodily water quantity can be assessed by results recorded after a full body composition analysis which I offer complimentary in office
  • Optimizing electrolyte intake
  • Contrast water showers with or without breathing exercises
  • Ice baths
  • Warming socks for kids during illness
  • Heating packs
  • Foot baths
  • Epsom salt baths
  • Cold plunge outdoors
  • Hot/cold plunges

I usually incorporate at least one of these techniques into my client’s protocol, but the reality is that all of these things CAN be used to optimize our health in general. It just may be a bit overwhelming to do them all at once each and every day so we may try to prioritize the tool with the biggest effect depending on our specific health goals. The health benefits of water therapy are endless and crucial to our wellbeing.

Just like the great Bruce Lee once said… “Be like water, my friend.”

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 2022!

With love, Brittany, Michelle, Julie and Allison


Apple Cider & Herb Brined Turkey 

From Nourishing Meals, one of Dr. Ziegler’s favourite cookbooks.

You will want to have your turkey thawed and ready for brining 24 to 72 hours before you plan on cooking it. Pictured here is a 15-pound turkey. The larger the turkey, the longer it will need to soak in the brine. I add all of the ingredients to the pot, except for the water, then add the turkey and add water to cover. It will be about a gallon, give or take some, depending on the size of your turkey. If you add more than a gallon of water (say for a larger turkey), you will want to add 1/4 to 1/2 cup more salt, otherwise the brine may not be strong enough.

1 gallon apple cider
1 cup coarse sea salt
2 onions, chopped (I leave the skin on)
2 oranges, sliced
1 head garlic, cut in half crosswise
1 small bunch fresh rosemary
1 small bunch fresh thyme
1 small bunch fresh sage
2 to 4 bay leaves
1 to 2 tablespoons whole black peppercorns
1 whole turkey (12 to 24 pounds)
1 gallon filtered water (or just enough to cover)

Place the apple cider, salt, onions, oranges, garlic, rosemary, sage, bay leaves, and black peppercorns into a large pot or container, stir well, and then place the turkey into it. Cover with filtered water. Place a weight on top of the bird to keep it submerged in the brine (like a glass bowl with a rock or a bag of water in it). If you don’t use a weight you will need to flip the turkey once or twice during a 24 hour period. Cover and refrigerate for 24 to 72 hours.

When ready to cook, preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Pull the turkey out of the brine and place into a roasting pan. Pull some of the onions, herbs, and orange slices out and stuff them into the cavity of the turkey. At this point I like to truss the bird with cotton butcher’s twine (you should be able to find this at your local kitchen or grocery store).

Next, remove the remaining solids from the brine and place them around the turkey in the bottom of the pan. This will flavor the bird even more during cooking and create an amazing gravy! Take about 4 cups of brine, along with about 2 cups of filtered water, and add it to the bottom of the pan.

Season the top of the bird with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Then drizzle the top with extra virgin olive oil.

Place in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes. Then reduce heat to 325 degrees F and continue roasting until juices run clear. I like to baste the turkey a few times during cooking as well. Brining can reduce total cooking time by a little, but you can use these guidelines from for average cooking times (since I am not fully stuffing the cavity, I use the guidelines for an unstuffed turkey). Use a meat thermometer if needed to test for doneness. It should read about 165 degrees F when inserted into the thickest part of the thigh, though I usually take it out of the oven when the temperature is a little lower to prevent overcooking.

8 to 12 pounds: 2 3/4 to 3 hours
12 to 14 pounds: 3 to 3 3/4 hours
14 to 18 pounds: 3 3/4 to 4 1/4 hours
18 to 20 pounds: 4 1/4 to 4 1/2 hours
20 to 24 pounds: 4 1/2 to 5 hours

Once the turkey is done, let it rest in the pan for about 30 minutes before carving. This allows for the juices to go back into the meat. You can then remove the turkey and place it on a large cutting board to carve. Pour the pan juices through a fine-mesh strainer into a 2-quart saucepan. Follow these directions to make Gluten-Free Gravy with them!

Once you have pulled all of the meat from the bones, use the carcass to make a rich, nourishing Turkey Stock

Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Cranberry Brown Butter

One of Dr. Zepp’s holiday favourites

4 pounds brussels sprouts, halved lengthwise
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 pound fresh or thawed frozen cranberries
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest
2 sticks (1/2 pound) unsalted organic grassfed butter
1 large shallot, minced
1 teaspoon chopped thyme

Preheat the oven to 400°. On 2 large rimmed baking sheets, toss the brussels sprouts with the oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for about 40 minutes, stirring halfway through, until the sprouts are tender and browned in spots.
Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine the cranberries, maple syrup, ginger and orange zest. Cook over moderately low heat, stirring, until the cranberries break down and thicken, about 10 minutes.
In a medium skillet, cook the butter over moderately high heat until deep golden, about 4 minutes. Remove from the heat, add the shallot and thyme and stir into the cranberry sauce. Transfer the butter to a bowl, add the brussels sprouts and toss. Season with salt and serve.

Festive Kale Salad

From Oh She Glows, Dr. Wolfe’s pick


2 bunches of finely chopped green curly kale
Hefty sprinkle of pecan parmesan (see below)
1 cup pomegranate arils
Optional additions but highly recommended: goat feta, one apple peeled, cored and finely chopped
DRESSING (Sweet apple cinnamon vinaigrette)
6 tbsp apple cider vinegar
~4.5 tbsp lemon juice
4 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp unsweetened applesauce
1 tsp fresh ginger, minced
1 cup pecans toasted
3 tsp nutritional yeast
3-6 tsp olive oil (start with 3 and work up slowly)
1/2 tsp salt
Preheat the oven to 300°F (150°C). Spread the pecans onto a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 8 to 10 minutes until fragrant and lightly golden.
Remove the stems from the kale and discard. (Save the stems for a stir fry, broth or smoothie!)
Wash the kale and spin dry. Finely chop the leaves if needed otherwise place them in a large bowl with a glug of olive oil and a splash of lemon juice then massage the leaves until softened.
Make the dressing in a small bowl by mixing all of the ingredients together.
For the Pecan Parmesan: Add the pecans into the processor and process until the pecans are the size of peas or a bit larger. Now add in the nutritional yeast, oil, and salt and process again until it has a coarse crumb texture. Go slowly on this one so as not to overprocess into a fine powder.
Arrange your salad by adding all ingredients into the bowl, top with a hefty serving of the parmesan and serve the dressing on the side.

Super Seed Chocolate Bark

Dr. Sthamann’s delicous dessert

2-3/4 ozs dark chocolate
2 tsps cocnut oil
¼ cup pumkin seeds
¼ cup sunflower seeds
2 tbsps hemp seeds

Line plate or baking sheet with parchment paper.
Fill a medium pot with an inch of water and place a small pot or heat-safe bowl on top ensuring the water is not touching the bottom of the smaller pot or bowl. The smaller pot or bowl should rest tightly on top of the pot and any water or steam should not be able to escape. Bring water to a boil then reduce heat to low.
Add the chocolate and coconut oil to the double boiler and stir occasionally until the chocolate has melted completely.
Remove the bowl for the double boiler and stir in the seeds. Mix well until the seeds are completely covered in the chocolate.
Transfer the chocolate and seeds to the prepared parchment paper and spread into an even layer. Place the bark in the freezer for about 30 minutes or until solid.
When solid, break into pieces and store in an airtight container in the freezer or fridge until ready to eat.

Are you experiencing postnatal depletion syndrome?

Postnatal depletion syndrome is a variety of symptoms caused by nutrient insufficiency, sleep deprivation, and the mother’s role change, that can occur after she gives birth.

Common symptoms include:

  • Anxiety
  • Baby brain
  • Depression
  • Easily Bruised
  • Fatigue
  • Hair loss and brittle nails
  • Inflammation
  • Insomnia
  • Irritable
  • Joint aches and pains
  • Loss of self-confidence
  • Low libido
  • Overweight
  • Sensitivity to light and sound
  • Thinning and loose skin
  • “Tired but wired”

Do any of these symptoms describe your fourth trimester experience? If so, you are not alone. Without appropriate support, these symptoms can last up to ten years. Many considerations need to be taken into account such as:

  • Babies’ health status
  • Breastfeeding
  • Diet and nutrition
  • Pregnancy related complications
  • Social support system
  • Sleep
  • Stress management

However, with the right treatment, the severity, duration, and onset of these symptoms can be minimal or non-existent.

So let’s talk more about nutrition… Post natal nutrition is of paramount important in supporting a healthy recovery post birth and for sustaining energy demands that come with raising a new baby.

Common nutrients that can become depleted include:

  • Iron
  • Zinc
  • Vitamin B12
  • Vitamin D
  • Copper
  • B-Vitamins
  • Magnesium
  • Trace Elements
  • Vitamin C
  • Fat-Soluble Vitamins

For instance iron is well known to become easily depleted with pregnancy and can remain low during the postpartum period if not properly supplemented. However, did you know that inadequate Vitamin C, and B vitamin intake can impact the absorption of iron and red blood cell formation? Iron can be toxic in high doses, and therefore it may be crucial to analyze other nutrient needs to best support healthy blood quality before automatically upping the iron dose.

Most times with the help of your medical practitioner, after a thorough review of your current health state we can create a specific nutrient plan for you during these trying times. However, depending on the situation it may be beneficial to implement functional testing options to determine your true nutrient requirements. Metabolomix testing is just one of the tests I find useful in this situation to determine nutrient, antioxidant, heavy metal, omega 3’s, etc requirements.

If you are concerned with any symptoms post baby, please reach out! There is plenty we can do to support you during this life changing time in your life, so that you can enjoy your time with your littles.