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.

Click here to listen


  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!

Click here to listen


  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!

Click here to listen


  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.

Click here to listen


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




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!

Click here to listen


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

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)

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


Deep Immune Soup

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

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

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)

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
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

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.


  • 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 Only Fudgesicle Recipe that you’ll Ever Need (GF/DF)

Who doesn’t crave a cooling treat on a hot summer day? Years ago when my partner and I lived in Vancouver, we embarked on a friendly competition called “The Fudge Off.” We were competing to create the creamiest and tastiest homemade fudgesicle; a way to distract ourselves from the sweltering Vancouver sun and our teeny home that had no air circulation and no air conditioning. I tried many, many different strategies to get the creaminess right; dates, avocado, cream, coconut cream, milk, oat milk, different cans of coconut milk (full fat, half fat), dates AND coconut milk, different ratios of liquid to powder and on..and on it went. We ultimately did not succeed that year in creating the most perfect homemade fudgesicle but we had lots of fun trying.
A few years later, I claimed victory. I would like to say that I was a good competitor – friendly and humble – but I was too excited and perhaps on too much of a sugar high to be gracious. It is equal parts creamy and delicious and – you know me! – it also has some good ole botanical medicine infused into the final product. I would like to say that it was my genius idea to add in arrowroot powder to thicken it but, alas, I found that tip online. Whether or not I confess that to my competitor…we’ll see! And now, I present to you the recipe of all fudgesicle recipes:

Creamy Mushroom Fudgesicles
Makes ~5-6 popsicles depending on your mold.

1/2 cup 5 Mushroom Chocolate Powder from Harmonic Arts
1 tbsp arrowroot powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups mylk – I use Aroy-D coconut milk
1/2 cup honey – my favourite is Keller’s

Combine the mushroom powder, arrowroot powder and salt in a bowl.
Heat up the mylk in a small sauce pan and then add the dry ingredients in
Add honey
Simmer until it thickens
Pour into molds
Freeze for at least a few hours and then enjoy!

On Slowing Down

A week ago I found myself on a small island with limited cell service, an outdoor shower and an ocean view minutes away in each direction. For many people, this sounds magical. I had them at “no cell service” and each additional detail brings about an even deeper sense of peace. And even though the environment itself was conducive to peace, there was another component that was much more subtle: The tempo of the island was slow, thoughtful and intentional. This can be an abrupt contrast to any city life. It is nearly maddening at first to be operating at such a high “speed” and to be surrounded by people, places and nature that are slow and deliberate. However, once you allow the nervous system to settle into this tempo, well…that’s when the real magic begins.


We end up stuck operating at a higher-than-necessary tempo for many reasons. Typically, we get asked to up-level our capacity due to fleeting life circumstances; we have a busy week ahead, our partner is travelling for work so now we are responsible for all things related to home life, we have family to care for or a busy work project. Let’s also not forget that there is external pressure from society to work harder and produce more. We value overwork. We devalue rest. The ability to function at this level serves us and it often initially gifts us with praise and progress. Once our spell of busy-ness is complete, some folks can relax back to their own original rhythm. However, it is very easy to get stuck there; doing more and more while being less and less. We begin to believe that if we stop to rest, we will stop entirely and succumb to our body’s cries to slow down. And then what would happen? We cannot risk the thought. I couldn’t risk the thought.


Fortunately after spending many days in seclusion while learning a deeply energetic and profound modality, my rhythm slowed. In my silence, I had the capacity to observe the contrast between my usual tendencies and my new-found slowness. The space in between them was sobering. My tendency to overwork propelled me through school and beyond. It served me very well and now here it was, at the shoreline, asking me to please just stop and rest. I obliged.


As we approach the yang season of summer, it can be quite challenging to slow down. There are lots of plans, vacations and social obligations. It is only natural that our energy will match that of nature as she blooms and lengthens the sun. However, if you would like to join me, I am committed to carving out time for rest. To slow down this summer, I will be doing the following:

  • Taking more time off and going on my first vacation in years.
  • Taking a social media hiatus to mitigate the constant pressure to create content.
  • Spending entire days reading great books (I have a pretty amazing line up!)
  • Being present with food from selecting ingredients to preparing to cooking to eating.
  • Focusing more on restorative and yin yoga.
  • Carving out more time in my day to slow down my breathing pattern and connect to my body.


Your turn…what will you do to slow down this summer?

Loving Your Lymph

I often say that the lymphatic system is the most underutilized and under-appreciated system of the body. As your own personal waste disposal and recycling system, your lymphatic system spans the entire body and is interconnected with the circulatory and immune system. The lymphatic system consists of various tubes and cleansing stations that move lymphatic fluid or lymph throughout the body along with the spleen, thymus, GALT [gut associated lymphoid tissue] and tonsils. Lymph consists of fluids from cells, minerals, fats, proteins, bacteria, viruses and foreign particles. The cleansing stations – lymph nodes – house white blood cells that mount a response to any infections or cancers brewing in the body. Lymph nodes are typically the size of a kidney bean and yet they are actively surveying the body at all times. When they come across an intruder, the amount of white blood cells increase and the lymph node itself swells as the body fights to keep you well.


The direction of lymph is a one-way street that relies on nearby blood vessels, deep breathing or muscle contraction for movement. Lymph naturally tends to move slower however, if there is too much debris and not enough movement, lymph can become congested. This is best explained by using the metaphor of a bus route; we ideally want just as many people exiting the bus as people entering the bus. If there are too many people on the bus, your lymphatic system becomes overwhelmed and congested. This can also cause lymph nodes to swell and it can lead to any of the following:

  • Acne and other skin concerns like rashes or itchy skin
  • Muscle and joint pain
  • Constipation
  • Clogged ears or chronic earaches
  • Brain fog
  • Bloating and water retention
  • Fatigue
  • Sore throats
  • Chronic sinus congestion
  • Weight loss resistance
  • Puffiness


Ways to support your lymph:

  • Deep breathing
  • Contrast showers (alternating hot and cold in the shower)
  • Castor oil packs
  • Jumping into cold lakes (my personal favourite)
  • Dry skin brushing
  • Rebounding
  • Exercise
  • Using herbs to move lymph – top choices are cleavers, calendula, dandelion
  • Lymphatic massage


Neither of the above are exhaustive lists as lymphatic congestion and release is a really rich area of discussion. However, I hope this intrigues you enough to consider this amazing system that harbours amazing healing potential.  As we…eventually…move into spring, show your lymphatic system some love and thank it for its endless work in keeping you well!

Play with the Bitter Principle this Spring!

Call me optimistic but I am choosing to believe that spring is here. Although I had a wonderful winter, as they go, I am fully ready to embrace a new season. And with a new season, comes a classic spring culinary friend – dandelion greens! If you’ve ever tried them, you know that they are quite bitter and if you happen to know me, you know that I LOVE bitter foods and herbs.


Aside from the bitter receptors that reside on our tongue, we have bitter receptors all through our bodies including the gonads and the heart. This should raise a curiosity: Why would this be? We evolved from eating bitter foods such as berries and roots. Bitter foods are very much a part of our ancestral diet. However, as the food industry evolved, they favoured flavours that were addictive like sweet and salty leaving our bitter taste receptors untouched.


Whether or not we flock to bitter foods, there is a series of physiological changes that happen when we engage with bitters. In botanical medicine, we call this the bitter principle. When we taste bitterness, it automatically shifts us into parasympathetic or rest and digest mode; saliva increases, enzymes increase and peristalsis begins. What this ultimately means is less gas and bloating and better bowel movements. Oh, and of course a more relaxed nervous system.


Dandelion is one of the first “weeds” that peaks through the earth in spring. The greens also happen to be a wonderful choice for a bitter food. Below are three of my favourite ways to eat dandelion greens.


  1. Dandelion Greens Pesto

2 cups dandelion greens, packed, chopped, and washed
½ cup olive oil
1-2 cloves garlic
1-2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds, pine nuts, or walnuts
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast, parmesan or pecorino (my favourite!)
A squeeze of lemon juice or 1 teaspoon of balsamic vinegar

Add into a small blender in this order:


Nuts or seeds


Half of the oil

Lemon or balsamic

The remainder of the oil; if you have the option to drizzle in slowly as the blender runs – please do!

Add in cheese and give one final blitz.


Enjoy this pesto on crackers, drizzled on meat, tofu, fish, with pasta or drizzled over a yummy soup!


  1. Sauteed in a salad and sprinkled with sheep or goat cheese like this awesome recipe here 


  1. Dandelion Juice

To mellow out the bitter (if you must!) of dandelion greens, you can always juice them with citrus and apples. I prefer that folks add in some ground flax seed to their fresh pressed juice to stabilize blood sugar!


I typically do some variation of the following:

1 apple

1 large bundle of organic dandelion leaves

Small chunk of ginger

1 lemon

And sometimes I add a little pineapple for some more flavour


Please do enjoy playing with all of the above. I promise that if you welcome bitter herbs and foods into your life, you’ll grow to love them! Another promising tidbit for you is that your bitter receptors will change over time. What this means is this: The first time you have something bitter, you will have a wicked response (make a funny face, announce how much you disliked it, etc) but over a few weeks, you’ll notice that even though it is still bitter…you can handle it much better. The body adapts beautifully to old friends like the bitters.


P.S. – Do not harvest your own dandelion greens unless you know for sure that they were not sprayed!


P.P.S – If you’re looking for some tips on how to support the body this season, check out this freebie on my website.