Special Announcement from Dr. Wolfe

I’m happy to announce that I am expecting a baby this summer. I wanted to let you all know about my practice plans so that you can make arrangements to see me prior or upon return. At this time, practice is looking like this:

– As of June, I will be pausing initial intakes so that I can make sure my current clients have access to me before I go on a short mat leave.
– If all goes according to plan, I will be out of office from June 24, 2024 – Oct 1, 2024.
– I will be returning with slightly reduced hours in October. initial intakes will be available again in October.

Please help me by making good use of the waitlist during this time on Jane or ask reception to add you to the list. This is how I know that you need an appointment with me. I will be scanning my waitlist a few times per week from here on and will be accommodating my current clients as fast as I can with the hope that I can see whoever needs to be seen before I venture off into new mama-hood.

I want to say the deepest, most sincere thank you to those of you who already know and who have been so very kind and supportive.

Drink your Medicine: 4 Nutrient-Rich Herbs to Consider

It may be a rather controversial thing to say however I admit it: I rarely prescribe multivitamins. However, this doesn’t mean that I am laissez-faire about nutrients and the body having all that it needs to run smoothly. Instead, I prefer to take a food-forward approach and lean into nature because – regardless of whether or not we want to admit it – nature is so much better at creating highly absorbable nutrient-rich options. If I am not recommending liver capsules and/or a greens powder for those who struggle to get in enough veggies in the day than I am touting some of my favourite nutrient-rich herbs.

 

These herbs are known as nutritives – a nod to only one of their main purposes: Fueling the body and all of its marvelous processes. Naturally, all of these herbs also have secondary actions that vary from gentle hormone support, nervous system regulation and uterine tonification. Despite their many actions in the body, they are generally safe for all folks. However, it is always best to speak with your healthcare provider!

 

Meet the Medicine:

 

  1. Avena sativa (oats) – One of the most gentle yet potent herbs that we have and lucky for us, it grows local! There are two main components to this herb: The milky oat top and the straw. The oat tops are best used in tincture to soothe anxiety. However, oat straw is a great herb to infuse into water. With a fairly mild taste, it makes getting your nutrients incredibly easy.

 

  1. Equisetum arvense (horsetail) – If you are familiar with this herb, there’s a slight chance you may dislike it. I say this because it will take over land rampantly and without mercy. Most seasoned land owners give up on plucking this herb and instead trample it down to offer a potent dose of minerals to their soil. Just as it can nourish depleted soil, it can nourish us too. It is particularly rich in silica and is traditionally used to strengthen all connective tissues.

 

  1. Rubus idaeus (red raspberry) – Although this herb is most known for its ability to support a smooth labour and delivery experience and expedite recovery after the fact, it is a source of iron, magnesium, calcium and selenium. A nice little bonus is that it is also high in vitamin C aiding the absorption of iron in the body.

Although the first two herbs are quite subtle in flavour profile, red raspberry is pungent. It pairs well with our next herb: Nettle.

 

  1. Urtica dioica (stinging nettle) – I will admit my bias right off the hop: This might be my most favourite herb. It is always the first one that comes to mind when someone asks about a multivitamin. It is jam-packed with nutrients and has many secondary actions ranging from prostate health to allergy control. It tastes earthy and mixes well with lemon.

 

Although experimenting with one herb at a time can be a great way to learn more about that particular herb’s magic, I am usually blending the above for a full profile of flavour and nutrients. Think of it like a well-rounded diet: We want to eat a good variety of foods to get the most nutrients that we can. The same goes with herbs; we can rotate seasonally, based on the body’s needs or based on what you have the most available in your own backyard.

 

As is always the case with botanical medicine, the world is your oyster! If you dislike tea, you can always use dried herbs and mix with mineral salt (to get even MORE nutrients!) or infuse in vinegar to use as a salad dressing. If you want to jazz up your tea, play around with adding fruit or other culinary herbs. May 2024 be the year that you get acquainted with herbs in the kitchen!

Holiday Menu 2023

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 2024!

With love, Allison, Brittany, Julie and Michelle.

Life Affirming Vegan Nacho Cheese Dip

Shared by Dr. Julie Zepp, ND

“I always like to create new traditions for my family and friends when we come together during the holiday season.  Which includes making some “out of the box” contributions to my festive gatherings.  This year a favorite contribution to my potlucks was this Life Affirming Vegan Nacho Cheese Dip, from Angela Liddon’s Oh She Glows cookbook, a staple in my kitchen.

This was a big hit, and everyone was suitably impressed when I told them it was protein dense, filled with healthy essential fatty acids, vegan, gluten-free and very healthy!

I served it with the options of corn taco chips, rice crackers, and Mary’s gluten-free crackers.”

 1 cup (250 mL) raw cashews (best soaked for minimum two hours) in warm water
1 cup (250 mL) peeled/chopped carrots
6 tbsp nutritional yeast
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 garlic clove
1 1/4 tsp sea salt
3/4 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

1 cup chunky salsa or marinara sauce
1 cup finely chopped sweet onion
1 chopped jalapeno pepper (optional)
4 handfuls of chopped spinach
1/3 cup crushed corn chips or GF crackers for topping
1-2 green onion for garnish
Chips or crackers for dipping.

 

  1. Place the cashews in a bowl, add water and cover for 2
    hours or overnight. Drain and set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 400F (200C). Lightly grease a
    casserole dish or 2-quart cast iron pan. Place carrots in a small sauce pan and add water to
    simmer for 5 minutes until tender. I added some garlic powder, salt, and pepper for flavour.
  3. In blender, combine soaked cashews, nutritional yeast, carrots, lemon juice, cayenne pepper, garlic, salt, chili powder, onion powder, and 2/3 cup water or coconut milk and blend until silky smooth. You may need to add more water if too thick. Pour into a large bowl.
  4. Stir salsa, onion, spinach, and jalapeno into the cheese sauce until fully combined. Pour into baking dish and smooth out the top. Sprinkle corn chips or breadcrumbs on top.
  5. Bake for 25-30 minutes, uncovered, watching closely toward the end of the cooking time to make sure the corn chip topping doesn’t burn. Garnish with sliced green onion and serve once cooled.
  6. You can store this dish for about 3-5 days in an airtight container in the fridge.  IF there is any left 🙂  Happy eating!!

Shaved Brussel Sprout Salad

Shared by Dr. Julie Zepp, ND

 4 cups Brussels sprouts, uncooked

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling

¼ cup fresh lemon juice

½ cup pine nuts, toasted

⅓ cup dried cranberries

⅓ cup grated pecorino cheese, optional

⅓ cup chopped chives

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

 

  1. Thinly slice the Brussels sprouts using a mandolin if you have one.
  2. Place them into a medium bowl and toss with the olive oil, lemon juice, pine nuts, cranberries, pecorino cheese, chives, and pinches of salt and pepper.
  3. Let the salad sit at room temperature for 15 minutes, then taste and adjust the seasonings. Finish with an additional drizzle of olive oil if you like.

 

Roast Chicken

Shared by Dr. Brittnay Wolfe, ND

 

1 x 3.5 lb chicken
2 medium onions
2 carrots
2 sticks of celery
1 bulb of garlic
olive oil
1 lemon
1 bunch of mixed fresh herbs, such as, thyme, rosemary, parsley.

 

  1. Remove the chicken from the fridge 30 minutes before you want to cook it, to let it come up to room temperature.
  2. Preheat the oven to 475°F
  3. Wash and roughly chop the vegetables – there’s no need to peel them. Break the garlic bulb into cloves, leaving them unpeeled.
  4. Pile all the veg, garlic and herbs into the middle of a large roasting tray and drizzle with oil.
  5. Drizzle the chicken with oil and season well with sea salt and black pepper, then rub all over the bird.
  6. Carefully prick the lemon all over, using the tip of a sharp knife. Put the lemon inside the chicken’s cavity, with the bunch of herbs.
  7. Place the tray in the oven, then turn the heat down immediately to 400°F and cook for 1 hour 20 minutes.
  8. If you’re doing roast potatoes and veggies, this is the time to crack on with them – get them into the oven for the last 45 minutes of cooking.
  9. Baste the chicken halfway through cooking and if the veg look dry, add a splash of water to the tray to stop them from burning.
  10. When the chicken is cooked, take the tray out of the oven, and transfer the chicken to a board to rest for 15 minutes or so. Cover it with a layer of tin foil and a tea towel and leave aside while you make your gravy.
  11. To carve your chicken, remove any string and take off the wings (break them up and add to your gravy, along with the veg trivet, for mega flavour). Carefully cut down between the leg and the breast. Cut through the joint and pull the leg off.
    Repeat on the other side, then cut each leg between the thigh and the drumstick so you end up with four portions of dark meat. Place these on a serving platter.

You should now have a clear space to carve the rest of your chicken. Angle the knife along the breastbone and carve one side off, then the other.
When you get down to the fussy bits, just use your fingers to pull all the meat off and turn the chicken over to get all the tasty, juicy bits from underneath. You should be left with a stripped carcass, and a platter full of lovely meat that you can serve with your piping hot gravy and some delicious roast veg.

Cinnamon apple scones

Shared by Dr. Michelle Sthamann, ND

2 tbsp Ground Flax Seed

3/4 cup Water
2 cups All Purpose Gluten-Free Flour

1 tbsp Baking Powder

1/4 cup Coconut Sugar

1/2 tsp Sea Salt

1 tsp Cinnamon

1/3 cup Coconut Oil (room temperature)

1 Apple (medium, diced)

 

  1. Preheat oven to 400 F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a mixing bowl, mix the ground flax with water. Set aside to thicken.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, coconut sugar, salt and cinnamon.  Mix well, then add in coconut oil and mash with a fork until it is broken up and distributed evenly. Add flax mixture and diced apple. Stir well until combined.
  4. Transfer the dough onto your parchment lined baking sheet. Use your hands to form a round shape, about 1 inch in height. Then use a large wet knife to cut it into 6 or 8 even wedges.
  5. Sprinkle the top with a bit of coconut sugar and cinnamon and bake for 25 minutes, or until edges are golden brown.
  6. Remove from oven, let cool slightly and enjoy immediately.

 

 

Hot Mulled Cider

Shared by Dr. Allison Ziegler, ND

6 cups organic apple cider

2 large organic orange slices

4 to 5 slices fresh ginger

5 cinnamon sticks

2 tsp whole cloves

 

  1. Place all ingredients in a large pot. Simmer, covered, over low to medium-low heat for about 1 hour.
  2. Strain out spices by pouring contents through a fine mesh strainer into another pot.
  3. You can keep the pot on the stove on warm if you would like to serve it over an extended period of time.

Self Compassion in Unhealthy Circumstances

The other day I was listening to a podcast and I was struck by something the host had said

 

“It is healthy to be unable to adapt to unhealthy circumstances”

 

If you have to read that a few times to let it sink in, please do! I certainly had to rewind and listen to it again. So often, we are disappointed or hard on ourselves when we are struggling to get it all done; our workload increases, a family member falls il, we fall ill, the kids activities are at an all-time high, our relationships are suffering, we don’t have capacity to meal prep, we lean more on convenience foods, we haven’t been to the gym in weeks, etc. I’m sure you have your own list that you are tallying. During these life seasons of higher demand, our bodies can start to feel the wear and tear. Perhaps we are sleeping less, resting less or eating less of the foods that serve us well. I am a firm believer that the only thing that can make these moments worse is guilting yourself for NOT being capable of “doing it all.” So often I hear people say “I should be able to handle this, I should be able to do this, why am I failing at this?” and most times, the better question is this: Why do you think that you should be able to do this? Why do you think that you are failing?

 

Again, “It is healthy to be unable to adapt to unhealthy circumstances”

 

There are seasons of life that simply demand more and our capacity shifts. Sometimes we can change these demands by asking for help or placing strict boundaries and sometimes we simply cannot. We are humbly reminded that we are actually in the passenger seat. If you are finding yourself in a season of life where the circumstances are not conducive to health, instead of self-criticism, try self compassion. The research on self compassion and health outcomes is truly astonishing. The research on self compassion and healing burn out (the byproduct of a very prolonged and untended hectic season of life) is even more so. Here are some of my favourite free resources on self-compassion to get you started.

Simple Supports to Survive Cold and Flu Season

Welcome to the season of the lungs! As we know, with the change of seasons, we become more vulnerable to cold and flu season. Aside from all of the other great advice and support from your naturopathic doctor, here are my favourite lifestyle recommendations to keep your lymphatic system and immune system in tip-top shape this season:

Dry Skin Brushing 

Dry skin brushing is a really amazing way to support the movement of your lymph. The benefits include: exfoliating and removing dead skin cells, stimulating and draining the lymphatic system, increasing circulation, promoting detoxification and elimination, aiding digestion, as well as strengthening the immune system.

Dry Skin Brushing Instructions:

Ideally done in the morning before you shower
use a long handled, natural bristle brush, preferably with a long handle to help with hard to reach areas of your body
Use a gentle pressure and sweep the brush in strokes or circular motions on the skin, approximately 3-5 strokes per area
Start at your feet and work your way up your legs towards the groin
The abdominal area can be treated in a clockwise motion
Then brush your hands and move up your arms, always brushing towards your heart
Avoid the face, broken skin, rashes and any other sensitive areas
Dry skin brushing is most effective before your morning shower (especially alternating hot-cold shower) and/or before you go to bed.

At least 5 minutes of skin brushing daily for 3 weeks every month is recommended.

Warming Socks Treatment

Warming socks works by stimulating the body’s natural healing responses during acute infections. This treatment encourages the body to increase overall blood circulation in order to warm up the cold socks. In doing so, it draws from areas of congestion in the upper respiratory passages, head, and throat.

As a safe treatment for the whole family, warming socks is perfect at bedtime, or nap time, as it has a soothing and sedating effect, helping you to sleep through the night even when you’re feeling under the weather.

Items needed:

1 pair of medium weight 100% cotton socks
1 pair of thick 100% wool socks
Access to cold water, maybe warm water and a towel

Method:

If your feet are cool or cold, warm them by running under warm water for a few minutes and dry off with a towel.
Soak cotton socks in cold water. Wring out excess water until wet but not dripping.
Put on wet cotton socks.
Put dry wool socks on top.
Cover well with blankets and go to bed. Stay warm in bed with feet covered overnight. When you wake in the morning, your feet will be warm and the socks will be dry.
Repeat for 3 nights in a row or as directed by your naturopathic doctor.

*Caution: People with chronic health concerns or conditions, or those with compromised immune systems, should consult with a health professional before starting the above treatments.

A Fall Reading List

As we settle into the season of cozy, I wanted to share some book recommendations with you. I tend to be a non-fiction kind of gal so you’ll find some beautiful thought-provoking reads listed below.

 

  1. How We Show Up by Mia Birdsong – A truly wonderful book for those who are interested in creating more community.
  2. The Care We Dream Of by Zena Sharman – A read for everyone but a great book for those of us in healthcare. A chapter in this book ponders what healthcare might look like if we had healthcare practitioners who were truly landed in their own bodies before they tend to the bodies of others and that’s when I was hooked!
  3.  Losing Eden by Lucy Jones – A compilation of research and personal stories reflecting on the important connection between us and nature. If you have any doubt how much we rely on nature, please do consider reading this book!
  4. Rest Is Resistance: A Manifesto Hardcover by Tricia Hersey – I can’t think of a better book to sink into as we reach the season of slowing down.
  5. Belonging by Toko-pa Turner – I reread this book every winter and every time, I find a new gem. It is a balm for the soul. I recommend it especially if you are feeling a little lost [aren’t we all from time to time?]

 

If you’re looking for more, head here to my website to check out my ever-evolving resources page. I also have a podcast playlist that I add to regularly. Feel free to share any of your current favourite reads with our community in the comments below.

 

Welcome to Patio Season: The New Alcohol Intake Recommendations

Although conversations about alcohol use have always been lurking around the doctors office, it is a topic that is getting more and more attention post-pandemic. Not only has alcohol intake increased but amongst primary healthcare providers, there has been some confusion around who exactly should be screening for alcohol intake. Sadly, the result has been increased alcohol intake under the guise of the once well-touted “a glass of wine per day is great for you!” with no one to properly screen and then be the bearer of bad news: No alcohol is actually the best way to improve your health.

In the blog to follow, I’ll share some spark notes of the new 2023 guidelines so that you can make an informed decision regarding your alcohol intake. If you think that perhaps you should be drinking less then I’ll share some tips and tricks to get you started.

 

TLDR; How much should I be drinking?

Let me first respond with everyone’s least favourite response – it depends! It depends on your risk factors, your personal health history and your health goals. Before we get into the nitty gritty numbers, let’s define what a serving of alcohol actually is.

A standard drink (1 serving) is defined as:

341 ml or 12 oz of beer, cooler or cider (5% alcohol)

142 ml or 5 oz of wine (12%)

43 ml or 1.5 oz of spirits defined as whiskey, vodka, gin etc. (40%)

As previously mentioned, the most current guidelines would indicate that the “safest” intake would be none.

  • At zero drinks per week, not only has cancer risk decreased (more on that later) but you’ll likely also sleep better and experience overall well being.
  • If that simply does not fit with your lifestyle, then fret not because 1-2 servings per week likely does not influence your health too negatively depending on your personal health history.
  • At 3-6 servings per week, your risk of developing at least seven different types of cancer including breast and colon increases.
  • At seven or more servings per week, not only has your cancer risk increased but so has the risk of heart disease. Each drink beyond this limit radically increases the risk of negative health consequences. If you are a cis-female, these risks are automatically higher. This is a byproduct of enzymes, genetics, body weight and size, organ function and metabolism. Evidently, cis-females in this bracket of consumption are at increased risk for breast cancer and liver disease and/or failure.

 

What about binge drinking?

Binge drinking is defined as consuming five or more standard drinks in one setting for cis-males and four or more standard drinks in one setting for cis-females. Binge drinking is a well-known risk factor for death from any cause (i.e. injuries, violence, heart disease, etc) and alcohol dependance.

 

Looking to decrease your alcohol intake? Here are some tips to get you started!

First, it is helpful to know how much you are actually drinking. You can refer to the chart above or you can check out this website. Once you have your number, come up with a realistic goal. If you have a health care provider and/or mental health provider, it can be helpful to create a plan together. Some examples of a goal might be:

  • I won’t have any alcohol before 5 PM at the cabin this summer.
  • I won’t have any alcohol without a meal.
  • I will drink socially and have 1-2 drinks only. I won’t drink alone.

A gentle reminder that all goals should not be too daunting but this is particularly true when it comes to alcohol intake. Create goals that decrease your alcohol intake but that are still within your comfort zone. As you reach your goals, you will build confidence and get closer and closer to your happy spot with alcohol use.

 

Since it is patio season, let’s chat about some delicious alcohol-free options:

  1. Kombucha – All of the fizz without any of the booze. There are so many different options these days but I’m a big fan of Good Spirit Kombucha.
  2. Soda water – A great fizz and a versatile base. You could add simple syrups, citrus, berries, fresh herbs, fruit juice, etc. I’m a fan of lime and mint or lemon and lavender.
  3. Ginger beer – If you’re looking for a fun fermentation project, creating aginger bug is really easy to do and will gift you delicious ginger “beer” all season and beyond.
  4. If you end up with a surplus of beets, don’t forget aboutthe beet kvass.
  5. Water kefir is a great probiotic-rich option that is caffeine-free. My favourite is the Kevita Lemon Cayenne found at SuperStore.
  6. Drinking vinegars come in a lot of different flavours and can also be a nice lil’ digestive boost.

And, of course, there are always mocktails available at our great local restaurants.

 

I’m wishing you the best patio season filled to the brim with whatever you determine should be in your cup. If you need further support determining your risk and/or you have concerns about your alcohol use, please do reach out to your primary care provider and/or naturopath. We are here to support you! For those who are interested, there is a free alcohol support program offered through the U of R.

 

To look at the 2023 guidelines referenced above, click here.

For more information on current treatment options in the province of Saskatchewan, please contact Saskatchewan (HealthLine, Ministry of Health) 811 or 1-877-800-0002.

How to Choose a Naturopathic Doctor

When you first begin your journey with naturopathic care, you will need to find someone that you want to work with. There are many different factors to consider when making this decision; do they have experience with my condition? Do they like treating my condition? What is their approach? Do they do testing? Do I want testing? This post will provide guidance on the most and least helpful ways to build your healthcare team.

Let’s start with the least helpful ways to choose an ND:

1.The busiest schedule. 

It’s not uncommon for patient’s to request the ND that is booking the farthest out. The rationale? They must be good if they are that busy. The flaw in this thought? Not all NDs work the same hours. We are self-employed which means we are free to set our hours. Some NDs work only one day per week while others work five days per week. Those who work less days in a week see less patients in a week which means it takes longer to see them. Those who work more days have more available hours which means it is faster to see them. However, there is not necessarily a difference in their experience. They are simply just working the hours that best suit their individual lives.

2.Testimonials & Reviews (including Google Reviews)

You likely did not know this about me but I sit on the regulatory board of Saskatchewan Naturopathic Doctors. This means that, in my spare time (haha!), I volunteer to keep the practice of naturopathy safe for the community. An important part of keeping folks safe is ensuring that reviews are kept to a minimum*. I know that probably seems really odd. But here’s the deal: NDs are not permitted to ask for and/or post reviews of any kind. Why? The answer is simple. We cannot know if those reviews are coming from actual patients or friends of the ND. In other words, there is a chance that the reviews that you are reading to determine whether or not you should see that ND are not true reviews from patients. Further, NDs are not permitted to respond to reviews as this breaks patient confidentiality. Since the regulatory board is here to protect the public, we simply cannot allow reviews without knowing if it is truly a patient (and also not a friend with bias) and we cannot know this because of patient confidentiality. Whew, right?

*Google reviews are a grey area because – at this time – they cannot be turned off and they cannot be deleted. However, NDs are still not permitted to ask for Google reviews. Since they cannot be deleted, it may also happen where providers will receive negative reviews from folks who never actually enter the clinic. They are highly unreliable.

Okay, so then….what should you consider?

I always tell potential patients: You need to choose someone who provides an approach that resonates with you. Period. If you love biohacking, find an ND who offers biohacking protocols. If you like evidence-based medicine and research, find an ND who offers evidence-based medicine. If you adore homeopathy, find an ND who offers homeopathy. If you want IV therapy, find an ND who provides IV therapy. If you know that you want to do advanced testing, find an ND that offers it. We have a wealth of practitioners with different approaches in our community. Look at their websites, ask your friends or family for feedback and if you want to know if they have the experience to treat your condition, call the clinic and ask.

And if it is helpful, here is how I source my healthcare providers as someone who is a healthcare provider:

1.I ask around. And then I ask some more. Some questions might be:

What do you like about them?

Were you able to follow through on their recommendations?**

Did you feel comfortable to ask questions? Were you given space to ask questions?

** I’ve come to realize that this question is a very important one. People will often say “it did nothing for me” however, upon questioning, you might realize that they didn’t actually implement any changes. Or they might have tried a couple of things and then never went back. Healthcare is an ever-evolving journey. It truly requires dedication, depth and effort. For this reason, I always ask folks about the long game. 

2.  I look at their website and social media if they have it. 

I’m not really interested in their credentials unless I am looking for a specific modality. Rather, I want to know what kind of person they are. Could I jive with them? Would I feel comfortable with them? I ask these questions lightly knowing that building rapport takes time.

 

If you are in the market for an ND, I hope the above will help you find one that suits your needs. Since the definition of health and wellness can vary for every single one of us, it is ideal that you craft your unique team that will help you meet your wellness goals. We truly have a diverse and talented crowd of NDs in the province of Saskatchewan. I wish you all luck in building the healthcare team of your dreams!

Simplifying Movement

When we first start thinking about incorporating a new exercise regimen or movement practice, there is often a lot of noise from the mind about what is “good enough.” We start to believe that – in order to be successful – we really ought to be at the gym 7 days per week doing a mixture of weights and cardio that will take up at least an hour of our day. Overwhelm follows quickly when it becomes apparent that we don’t actually know what to do with the equipment and we’re not even sure where we would carve an hour out of our day. Why start in the face of so many unknowns? Why start if we have already let the mind convince us that we will fail? I hope that the following broadens our thoughts around movement and removes the intimidation factor. What if all you really needed was your body, some creativity and a little sliver of motivation?

How to Move
There are so many ways to move your body. As I always say in practice, I truly don’t care what you end up doing as long as you enjoy it. Movement should be rejuvenating, stress-reducing, pleasureful and it should also support the mind-body connection. Perhaps you already have your most loved ways to move your body but if you do not, here are some lesser-thought of options: Badminton, dancing (there are some great Youtube videos!), gardening, geocaching, hula hooping, jump rope, trampolining, playing with your pets or kids, Wii fit…and let us not forget my most favourite form of movement: Walking. When the weather is particularly problematic, you can always walk indoors on the treadmill or check out Walk at Home.

Release the Hope Molecules 

When we contract and release our muscles in any way, we release myokines. These myokines are little messengers that influence our health, our hormones and our happiness. They allow our muscles to communicate with every other organ and cell in our bodies. Their impact is so widespread and so beneficial that they are often called “hope molecules.” In my opinion, one of the coolest impacts of myokines is their ability to cross the blood brain barrier and support our learning, memory and mood. There are many positive studies highlighting how myokines can ease depression symptoms and increase our resilience in times of stress. And, please note, you need not be at the gym for an hour every day to release myokines. A simple walk around the block or a few calf pumps will get them flowing.

 

Moving with Pain

The leading research on chronic pain conditions recommends novel movement practices. What does this really mean? When we move in new ways, we don’t give the brain a chance to siren the alarm; the new pattern is carving a new pathway in the brain in real time. This is unknown territory which means that the brain doesn’t know what to expect and therefore cannot predict if and when it will hurt. When the brain lets the body lead and the body leads into a safe and nourishing practice, the pain response lessens. Over time, this pathway becomes the dominant pathway. The standard recommendations for new movement practices in the Americas are usually yoga or qigong; however practices such as Feldenkrais or Mitzvah can be beautifully supportive as well.

Sedentary Life? Try NEAT.
If you are incorporating some joyful and fun movement into your day to day life but you do still work a desk job, take note that when the body sits for an hour or more, there is a physiological stasis effect in which your metabolic health comes to a standstill. In other words, you can still be classified as sedentary even if you exercise consistently. I know that seems cruel, however there is a very simple way to support your metabolic health at your desk job without breaking a sweat. These types of activities are classified as Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT) and they include any of the following: Stretching, maintaining proper posture, standing up during a phone call, pumping your calves a few times on the floor, etc. I know that workdays can be hectic but consider setting an alarm on your computer or phone for every 20-30 minutes to remind you to take a quick NEAT break – stretch, shake out your wrists, wave to a coworker. Interestingly enough, these quick little breaks can decrease your risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.

 

Although the concept of exercise or movement can be intimidating, there are so many ways to move. Whether you are playing with the dog, stretching at your desk, cleaning the kitchen or walking with Youtube, you are still reaping the benefits of movement. Now that the weather has finally started to turn, I wish you a fun and nourishing spring movement regimen. Now go blast out some hope molecules!

5 Podcasts for your Body, Mind and Soul (or Soil!)

  1. Dorology (PAIN) with Dr. Rachel Zoffness

This is a podcast that I recommend to every patient who experiences chronic pain as she beautifully explains what is actually happening and therefore how we actually support our bodies.

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  1. home | body with Mary Grace

Burn out is hovering just below the surface for most folks these days. In this podcast, the host explains burn out from a Traditional Chinese Medicine perspective and then offers solutions. Her explanation is very easy to understand and the recommendations provided are heart-soul-medicine. Check it out!

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  1. What Does the Soil Say About What is Possible? From Soil to Spirit to the Feminine with Molly Haviland

Even though I knew what to expect in this discussion around soil health and microbes…it still blew my mind and my heart wide open. If you are new to the concept of microbiome and soil health, please do listen. And if you’re well-versed in our little microbe friends, there is still plenty to marvel over in this podcast!

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  1. TRICIA HERSEY on Deprogramming from Grind Culture /318 with

Admittedly, it took me a long time to get through this podcast because I had to keep pausing it to write down little pearls*. Oh, it’s a good one. I hope you enjoy it and then make a pact to rest more.

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*“You’re divine, you’re not a machine.”

— TRICIA HERSEY

 

  1. Food Pysch #127: INTUITIVE EATING & HEALTH AT EVERY SIZE FAQS WITH ASHLEY SERUYA & CHRISTY HARRISON

If you’re familiar with my practice, you know that I strive to incorporate HAES and IE tenets in my practice. At this moment, I’m actually taking some more courses in IE and if one thing is for sure – there is a lot of confusion around what IE actually is. This podcast does a great job of breaking it all down!

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BONUS: If you happen to have Netflix, check out Stutz.