Your Healthy Plate

I often hear people claim that “there is nothing left to eat!” when it is suggested to them that they remove refined foods, wheat/ breads, sugar, dairy, etc. from their diets and move to a more whole foods diet. Another common concern is that it takes too much time, effort and planning or is more expensive.

However, I want to assure you that it is possible to eat healthfully and conveniently!

If it weren’t, I would be in trouble!  As my life is rich and full and I do NOT love spending time in the kitchen, meal planning or grocery shopping!  The bulk of my planning goes to ensuring that we have enough healthy foods and ripe produce for the week.   And the bulk of the effort is in the wash and preparation of it, however honestly it can end there for difficulty.

Often my meals are fast and easy as life doesn’t allow me, due to the choices I make, to cook fancy meals from a recipe every day or even on a semi-regular basis.  So I have a “toss together” strategy when building my “healthy plate” for myself and for my family.

Breakfasts are often smoothies packed full of goodness. A handful of greens, some diluted oat or coconut milk, frozen berries, a half an avocado, a heaping spoon full of almond butter or hemp hearts for protein, a couple hearty scoops of ground flax seeds (the best medicine!), some sort of super food: cacao nibs, maca, or lucuma and a chunk of banana or drizzle of maple syrup for some added sweetness, are my favorite things to toss in my blender.

Or if I am looking for something warm some cooked kasha (toasted buckwheat) that I make in big batches, 1.5-2 cups dry at a time, 1:2 seed to water ratio, to make 3-4 cups cooked and store it in the fridge for a few days. My kids love it and we reheat from the batch, then drizzle on some flax oil, sprinkle on some cinnamon, sometimes stir in some natural peanut butter or peanut butter powder and a pinch of sea salt making a quick and easy, delicious and nutritious meal.

Usually once a week I have a carcass in the slow cooker for about 36-48 hours on a low simmer making broth. On a Sunday afternoon (or whenever I have an extra hour or two) I will drain the broth from the bones and make up a big pot of some sort of soup to be used for lunches for the week.

Suppers are a throw together sort of idea, depending on how much time I have.

For a starch (1/3 to 1/4 of your plate) I might lightly fry some plantain in coconut oil, or if I have more time roast some beets, sweet potato or squash in a roasting pan in coconut oil in the oven. Sprinkle with a combo of salt and pepper, some paprika, any dried herbs prior to roasting and they are so good.

Quinoa cooks up in about 15 minutes, rices a little longer so take that into consideration when choosing your starch.

Other non-starchy vegetables will make up about ½-2/3 of your plate.  I personally love a good “meal salad”.  I take 3-4 cups of mixed greens as my favorite, or chopped romaine is the preferred green of my kiddos.  We will often beef it up with added veggies like cucumber, tomatoes, or chopped pepper, sometimes not. I top mine with flax oil or a homemade salad dressing, and when I am making a meal out of mine I will toss in a few spoonfuls of hummus, sometimes some goat feta, often a scoop of basil pesto, definitely a few forkful of kimchi or sauerkraut, and whatever veggie burger I might be enjoying at the time.

I generally also try to steam up a veggie – broccoli or green beans. To make them a little more fun even a drizzle of a good quality oil (my fave is flax) and a pinch of sea salt does wonders.  Or saute some kale and brussel sprouts in some coconut oil.

Top your veggies and grains with healthy oils – hemp and flax oils, chopped avocado, a Tbsp or two of nuts or seeds.

I am currently exploring more vegan eating so my protein (1/4 of your plate) might be some hummus, falafel (little chickpea burgers), tofu, tempeh or a veggie burger.  Some of my favorite veggie burger brands include Dr. Praeger’s, Sol and the local company Back to Your Roots.

My son has liked tofu since he was little and I think his little constitution is much like mine and can thrive quite readily exclusively on plant-based proteins.

My husband and daughter on the other hand are definite omnivores, and I don’t know I would trust being around them too long without them having a good feast of chicken or beef.

I keep my deep freeze well stocked with meat from Pineview Farms, a wonderful family run operation just outside of Saskatoon, near Osler and Warman.  I also love Skipper Otto as my source for fish.  They are a community supported fishery out of BC and the quality of their catch and the integrity of their company is outstanding.

For quick protein recipe ideas for meat eaters, I have lots of yummy go-to recipes in the following cookbooks: Delicious Detox, Whole Life Nutrition, Nourishing Meals, Quinoa 365.

Do yourself a favor and pick 3 or 4 faves and use those in a pinch. When you make burgers or veggie burgers freeze extra so you can pull them out when short on time.

Have ground chicken on hand, it thaws fast and is easily cooked up for sauces or even just used as a crumble in a salad, stuffed into a wrap or stirred into some squash.

So, yes, I do cook different meals for myself and my family and it is a choice I make and I don’t mind it one bit. Sometimes I have people who are concerned that they have to make more than one meal for their family and this can seem quite daunting or “wrong” for some reason. I want to assure you that if this is something you need to do in order to be healthy, then do it! Don’t wait around for your family to want to do the same crazy things you are doing.

Just do it! for you! Maybe they will come around, maybe they won’t. Take care of yourself and lead by example.

In this photo I added fruit in its own circle, off to the side, as it doesn’t combine as well with meals (except for in smoothies!) but it is great for snacks. Choose pure water and herbal teas as your main beverage options.

 

I hope that you found some helpful ideas here to take the pressure off of yourself to make perfect meals every day.  The ‘toss together’ works for me and I hope you can find some inspiration this strategy too!

And remember, the more you follow a clean and balanced diet like this the more you will find your energy levels increase, your weight stabilize, your skin glow and your health issues gradually reverse.

You are worth the effort!

Naturopathic Medicine Week 2021

Have you heard? Naturopathic Medicine Week 2021 is coming up! May 16 marks the start of the annual week that celebrates naturopathic medicine and the positive impact it has on the lives and health of Canadians.

Created in 2000, Naturopathic Medicine Week is an awareness week for advocating on behalf of the naturopathic profession and to promote the benefits of naturopathic medicine to Canadians across the country.

This year’s campaign will focus on Better Health, Together, which emphasizes the patient-ND relationship, as well as naturopathic doctors as part of integrated healthcare teams.

With last year’s exception, your Naturopathic Doctors at Prairie Sky Integrative Health love to host our annual Naturopathic Medicine Week Open House Events.  This year we didn’t want to miss another year, so we decided to… wait for it… go virtual!

Yes, this is another Zoom event and I know many of us are getting a little weary of them.  However we invite you to join us for a fun, free, informative evening on Thursday May 20th from 7:30-8:30.

We will give a little presentation on Naturopathic Medicine, provide you the opportunity to ask questions and initiate discussions with the goal to build community and highlight the profession.

We will still have draw prizes, however sadly no healthy treats to be sampled!  We will email out some healthy recipes ahead of time so you can prepare your own for enjoying from the comfort of your home!

Please call or email us to register and we will send you an email with the zoom link.

Anyone in attendance that has not been a patient of the clinic will receive a special gift. 306-757-4325. 

For more information on the Saskatchewan Association of Naturopathic Doctors or the Canadian Association of Naturopathic Doctors, please visit their respective websites.

Time for a Spring Clean up? The Importance of Cleansing and Detoxification

As a Naturopathic Doctor, one of my main goals in helping my patients work back to a state of health and well being is to address the underlying causes of their health concerns.  At the root of many health issues is a system overloaded and overwhelmed with different stressors – notably toxic stressors in the system.  The simplest way to think of toxins in the system is to compare the blood in the blood vessels of our body to a stream that is polluted with oil, muck, pop cans, chip bags, plastic bags.  This stream will not have a lot of oxygen in it, and the fish and plants living in the stream will suffer due to lack of nutrients and fresh clean water.  If our bodies have become accustomed to living off nutrient poor foods, highly processed foods, foods filled with chemical flavors, preservatives and pesticides, our blood stream begins to look like this stream and the blood we carry to our muscles, organs and brain is sluggish, and filled with toxins.  It becomes easy to see why we might feel tired, sore and achy and have some difficulties with concentration, memory and headaches!

Compare this with a stream (blood in the blood vessels) that is pure clean and unpolluted.  The water has a high oxygen and nutrient content and the fish and plants living in it (our cells) are able to survive and thrive! 

Detoxification or cleansing refers to the process of clearing toxins from the body by neutralizing or transforming them into less harmful particles in the liver and then removing them from the body through our bodies’ “emunctories” – the bowels, the kidneys, the lungs, the menstrual flow and the skin.

Poor digestion, bowel sluggishness, reduced liver function, and poor elimination through the kidneys, respiratory tract, and skin all increase toxicity in the body.  The goal in detoxification is to enhance the body’s ability to remove toxins by improving the health and function of the organs involved in carrying the toxins to the outside of the body.

            Detoxification involves dietary and lifestyle changes that reduce the intake of toxins while improving elimination.  Avoiding chemicals from food or other sources, including refined food, sugar, caffeine, alcohol, tobacco, and drugs, helps minimize the toxin load.  Drinking extra water and increasing fiber by including more fruits and vegetables in the diet are also essential.

Cleansing is best carried out under the care and supervision of a qualified health care provider but there are some simple strategies that you can begin to implement today to set your physical self back on track:

  • Remove all breads and pastas from the diet
  • Eliminate sweets, candies, sugars
  • Cut out milk, cheese or ice cream
  • Avoid red meat and pork
  • Minimize highly sweet fruit like oranges, bananas, grapes and melons
  • Eat lots of high fiber fruit like berries, apples, pears
  • Eat lots of vegetables, especially cleansing are beets and leafy greens
  • Consume whole grains (rice, oats, buckwheat, quinoa)
  • Nuts and seeds are good—eaten raw and unsalted (but avoid peanuts)
  • Eat chicken, turkey and fish and organic eggs
  • Choose organic foods when possible, to limit your exposure to pesticides and other chemical additives.
  • You will want to cut down on your vigorous exercise during this time; your body needs to conserve its energy for the cleansing process.  Walking, swimming, yoga and stretching are good activities.  Try to incorporate saunas a few times a week.
  • Fresh air and sunshine are needed to support cleansing and oxygenation of the cells and tissues.
  • It is very important to cleanse the skin at least twice daily in a bath or shower or sauna. 
  • Start every day with a glass of warm water with the juice of half a lemon to help take a load off your lymphatic system, help cleanse your system and detoxify your liver cells.
  • It is important to be nice to yourself during the cleansing period!  Be gentle with yourself, remind yourself that you are worth the efforts you are putting in to making adjustments to your diet and lifestyle.  Engage in positive and affirming self talk.

I encourage people to slowly reintroduce the foods they have been avoiding, being mindful of the body’s reactions.  This allows us to make the decision to avoid these foods on a daily basis, not out of guilt, but because we don’t like how they make our bodies feel.

Plan to do a full minimum 12 day cleanse at least two to three times per year.  Each time you go through the process, pick one or two healthy habits to incorporate in your day to day life.  Before you know it, the choices you make will be healthier and healthier and it will be second nature to you to choose water or herbal tea over coffee, and you will skip to the fruit and veggie tray at your company luncheon, rather than the dessert tray – just because it FEELS good!

Try some of these recipes during your Spring detox!

Breakfast

Snack

Meals

Dessert

Offerings

I have now been over 15 years in practice (January 2005 to March 2021), and over 45 years in life and every day I learn more, grow more, become more.  We are all on these personal journeys through the human experience and as I sit with all of the amazing individuals I do, day in and day out, I am reminded that we are all far more alike than we are different.

And yet, we all often feel alone, insecure, anxious, depressed, lost, confused and think we are the only ones going through what we are going through.  This has so much to do with our unwillingness to take off our own masks, be vulnerable, be real and share what is truly going on inside of us.  This is one of the reasons I absolutely love the work I do; I get to see people at their most raw and real and thus be able to love and hold space for them in their authentic self.  It is only when we have the opportunity to be our authentic self that we have the opportunity to truly heal.

This is also the reason that I love work group and am so drawn to continually offer the opportunity for individuals to gather in a collective and heal together.  When we are held in a safe container of love, support and non-judgement, our inner work is fertilized.

My two upcoming course offerings: The Artist’s Way and Embracing Your Shadow are designed to help you deepen the most important relationship you have, and that is the relationship you have with yourself.  As we all know this is usually the most neglected relationship we have in our lives and so it stands to reason that was has suffered neglect will degrade.  Think of all the time and energy you spend on your kids, your work, your spouse, your pets, your friends, your home, your yard, etc.  Those things that you care for and invest in, in a truly loving and heart-centered way, flourish!  Caring for your children, listening to them, helping them out, encouraging them, ensuring they eat well, rest, limit their screen time… results in healthy, balanced children.  Watering your garden, picking weeds, giving it the right amount of fertilizer.. results in an abundance of healthy produce.

So?  What about you?  How do you treat yourself? How often do you turn towards yourself? Love yourself? Know yourself, your likes and dislikes, your joys, your hobbies, what brings you contentment, what doesn’t?  Do you tend to yourself? – your nutrition, your physical exercise, your soul through reading, writing, meditation, etc?  Sadly, often the answer to many of these questions results has the flavor of neglect.  Or possibly we answer in the affirmative that we do take care of ourselves… but if we are honest, do we do this somewhat aggressively, from a place of ‘not enough’? or do we actually gift ourselves with the grace of engaging in these life-giving personal practices through self-love?

To me these are fundamental questions as I firmly believe that we want our health to be sustainable and we want our inner worlds to be peaceful.  And that the path to accomplish this is through the path of self-compassion, self-knowledge and self-love.  This is my mission in life, to help others love themselves and in so doing learn to treat themselves, in mind, body and spirit, like the precious gifts that you are to this world.

If you feel called to deepen your relationship to yourself, please visit my website and check out two of my upcoming class offerings.  And reach out if you would like to participate or learn more.

Creating Community

One of my biggest passions is creating community.  In the work I do I have the opportunity to work with the most magnificent folks.  Despite the fact that I am an avid introvert and love my solitude, quiet time and am in love with my own company, I also love people.  People walk into my office and I gift them the welcome opportunity to leave their masks at the door and show up as their truest self.  Vulnerable, hurting, in pain, sad, joyful, in celebration of a success, proud of themselves, disappointed in themselves… I get to take you as you come and in so doing get to see the real you.  The words “you can be perfect and be admired or you can be real and be loved”, said by one of my favorite authors, Glennon Doyle, ring in my head every day in not only my professional, but also my personal life, as I venture on my own road to self-exploration and healing on all levels, right down to what I call soul archeology.

My passion for my own personal growth has led me to many amazing health professionals in our community, and many of these incredible individuals have not only become incredible friends of mine, but also wonderful resources to which I can refer those people that I work with.

I often feel like a cupid.  Connecting patients with other healers and supports I know they will resonate with, as well as connecting them with other like-minded, like-hearted souls by way of the courses I offer and groups that I lead.

OK, so my point of all of this?  Two-fold:

  • I am so excited to see the next step of a dream I have had since the inception of my Naturopathic Medical practice 16 years ago start to unfold. When I began practice in January 2005 I worked with Warren Barry at Regina Rehab and Family Medical Clinic.  This was a multi-disciplinary clinic in northwest Regina and we had massage therapy, physical therapy, family medicine, naturopathic medicine and chiropractic medicine all in one facility.  I loved the space that Warren had worked so tirelessly to create and it was my work home until November 2009 when the birth of my first child led me to crave greater simplicity in my life.  I moved my practice to a small space on College Avenue with two other local NDs and this slower paced environment was exactly what I needed in order to focus on family first, practice second.  In September 2012, re-inventing my work-self yet again after the birth of my second child, Marika Geis and I opened the space we are now operating in on Robinson Street.  Formerly known as Cathedral Centre for Wellness our clinic has evolved over the years as different team members have come and gone, each a season of its own with its own gifts and learnings.  Now that my kids are older (11 and 8!) it has felt the time to reinvest myself in my work and take the next step towards the creation of a multi-disciplinary space of “my” own.  I have “my” in quotes as nothing is our own creation, everything is a co-creation and Prairie Sky Integrative Health is very much a team project.  And becoming more so every day.  This fall we had the opportunity to take over the building and we now occupy both floors.  As such we have more rooms available to rent and have been acquiring new practitioners to our space over the last couple of months.  This manifestation of a centre that services the wider needs of the community and profiles and gives a home to some of the amazing health care providers that Regina has to offer absolutely fills my heart!

Not only do we now have five amazing Naturopathic Doctors, this month we welcomed four new people: Carissa Bell, Christine Stinson Borschneck, Jenine Boser and Ryan Schaffer into our fold.  Starting February 1st we have our first public offering being hosted at our clinic space by Michele Mihial who is leading an 8-week breath work course.  We have spaces for rent daily, weekly or monthly, as well as a boardroom that can be rented for public offerings.  With COVID restrictions in place this area can safely welcome 7 individuals, physically distanced and masked.  The initial stages of a dream come true for me!

  • Here is the additional excitement for community creation: Regina Real is now also operating in our space. Christine Borschneck is one of the founders of this organization that seeks to profile Regina based businesses, again, all in the spirit of building community and connection.  I had the honour of being interviewed for them.  They host a directory of Wellness Professionals, an Events calendar for local events and so much great information.  I love the potential for connection and collaboration that this initiative promotes and I am grateful to be a part of it.  Check them out!  Find a practitioner, or if you are a practitioner, get yourself into their Wellness Directory!
    As I like to remind everyone I work with: even though we are the only ones that can do our healing work, no one else can heal our traumas or eat healthy food for us or exercise for us or meditate for us, the work itself is up to us; we cannot do it alone.  We do require a village, a community of support, of safety and non-judgment, of skills and expertise of others and together we can all thrive!

Can’t wait to see you visiting one of us a Prairie Sky Integrative Health!

Healthy Holiday Feast

From our homes to yours, we wish you a healthy and happy holiday season!

Enjoy the following recipes!

COVID compliant Holiday Turkey: Turkey for 6 and under

From Jamie Oliver – Dr. Marika Geis’ Kitchen guru

Ingredients

  • 4 kg higher-welfare turkey
  • 250 g stuffing, (from meat stuffing recipe: see below)
  • 250 g unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 bunch lemon thyme, (30g)
  • 2 clementines
  • olive oil

Method

GET AHEAD

  1.  Check the main turkey cavity for the bag of giblets; if they’re in there, remove and tip them into your roasting tray, discarding the bag. The added flavour they’ll give your gravy will be incredible – trust me.
  2. Peel the onions, wash the carrots and roughly chop with the celery or the leek tops, then add to the tray with the unpeeled garlic cloves.
  3. Place the stuffing in the neck cavity, then pull the skin back over it and tuck it under the bird. You’ll get a good contrast between the soft, juicy stuffing here inside the turkey, and the crispier stuff you can bake separately in a dish.
  4. Place the softened butter on a board and press down with your hands. Pick over 3 sprigs of thyme, finely zest ½ a clementine and season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, and scrunch all together to make your flavoured butter.
  5. Halve the clementines and place in the main turkey cavity with the remaining thyme – not filling it too full allows hot air to circulate, cooking the bird from the inside out and from the outside in.
  6. Get your turkey and use a spatula to work your way between the skin and the meat. Start at the side of the cavity just above the leg and work gently up towards the breastbone and towards the back so you create a large cavity. Pick up your butter and push it into the cavity you’ve created. Use your hands to push it through the skin right to the back so it coats the breast meat as evenly as possible. Do the same on the other side.
  7. Drizzle the turkey all over with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and generously sprinkle from all sides with salt and pepper.
  8. Cover the turkey snugly with tin foil and place it on top of the trivet in the tray.ON THE DAY
  9. Take your turkey out of the fridge 1 hour before it’s due to go in the oven.
  10. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4.
  11. You want to cook a higher-welfare bird for 25 to 30 minutes per kg and a standard bird is 35 to 40 minutes per kg. For a 4kg bird, pop it in the oven for 1 hour 40 minutes, basting several times with all the lovely juices in the tray and covering with foil when beautifully golden brown.
  12. The simplest way to check it’s cooked is to stick a knife into the thickest part of the thigh – if the juices run clear, it’s done.
  13. Use heavy-duty tongs to lift up your bird so all the juices run from the cavity into the tray, then transfer the turkey to a platter and leave to rest for up to 2 hours while you crack on. You can cover it with a double layer of tin foil and a clean tea towel to keep warm, if you like.
  14. Skim away the fat from the turkey tray, save it in a jar, and leave to cool. When cold, transfer to the fridge for cooking with at a later date.CARVING THE TURKEY
  15. Once the turkey has rested, it’s time to carve. There are two ways you can do this.

– The first method is to remove the wings, slice the skin beside the legs, then pull out and chop the legs off. You can either slice or pull this brown meat – it’s so tasty. Keep it warm while you move on to the breast meat. Use the full length of the knife in a nice smooth action to slice through the breast meat, transferring it to a platter as you go.

– Alternatively, remove the leg as above, then feel where the backbone is and cut with the length of your knife all the way down beside it until you hit the carcass. You can then lift the whole breast off the bone. Remove to a board and slice. Enjoy!

 Tips

“You must let your bird come up to room temperature after being in the fridge. It’ll give you more reliable cooking times, as well as juicier, more tender meat, as the bird isn’t shocked when it hits the heat of the oven.

Don’t be under the illusion that when you remove the turkey from the oven it stops cooking. The residual heat will continue to cook the bird, giving the juices time to travel back throughout the meat, meaning a juicier bird all round. Piping hot meat is not a clever thing – warm, juicy meat, hot gravy and hot plates is the holy grail.”

Best Rice Stuffing for the Holidays

Ingredients

  • 3 ½ cups water, divided
  • 1 ½ cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup uncooked wild rice
  • ⅓ pound bacon
  • 3 cups diced onions
  • 3 cups diced celery
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 cup uncooked long-grain white rice
  • 1 ¾ cups currants
  • ¾ cup dried cherries
  • ¾ cup dried cranberries
  • ½ ounce dried apricots
  • 1 cup diced, unpeeled apples
  • ½ cup chopped Italian flat leaf parsley
  • 6 tablespoons dried mixed herbs

Method

  1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring 1 1/2 cups water and the chicken broth to a boil. Stir in wild rice. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 45 minutes.
  2. Place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Reserving drippings, drain bacon, crumble, and set aside.
  3. In the skillet with the reserved bacon drippings, sauté onions and celery with 1 tablespoon water. Cook until very soft, about 20 minutes.
  4. Stir remaining water, white rice, currants, cherries, cranberries, apricots, and apples into the wild rice. Continue cooking 20 minutes, or until wild rice and white rice are tender.
  5. In a large bowl, mix the bacon and the onion mixture into the rice mixture. Season with the Italian parsley and dried mixed herbs. Proceed to fill your turkey to capacity. Enjoy!

Sweet Potato Casserole

Dr. Julie Zepp’s tried and true holiday side dish

Casserole Ingredients

  • 4-5 boiled and drained sweet potatoes (3 cups when cooked and mashed)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup organic butter
  • 1/2 cup non-dairy milk. (unsweetened almond, rice or oat)
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla

Topping Ingredients

  • 1 cup ground nuts (I like to use pecans)
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup rice flour

Method

  1. Mix together the casserole ingredients and place in a casserole dish.
  2. Mix together the topping ingredients.
  3. Sprinkle the topping mixture on top of the casserole and bake for 30 minutes at 350C.

Winter Salad with Fennel and a Blood Orange Vinaigrette

From Nourishing Meals – A staple in Dr. Allison Ziegler’s home

Salad Ingredients

  • ½ head red cabbage, thinly sliced (about 8 cups)
  • 1 large fennel bulb, sliced
  • 2 large carrots, sliced diagonally then into strips
  • 2 large carrots, sliced diagonally then into strips
  • ½ small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 to 3 blood oranges, peeled and segmented (or chopped), can replace with navel oranges
  • ½ to 1 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • ½ to 1 cup almonds, roasted and chopped

Dressing Ingredients

  • 6 tablespoons freshly squeezed blood or navel orange juice
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons raw apple cider vinegar or champagne vinegar
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt

Method

  1. Place the red cabbage, fennel, carrots, red onion, blood oranges, and parsley into a large bowl. If you are planning on serving the salad right away then add the almonds too. If you would like to extend the salad over a few days then sprinkle the almonds over what you plan on serving (otherwise they get soft and lose their crunch when sitting in the dressing).
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients. Pour over the salad and toss together. Serve. Leftovers can be stored in a glass container in your refrigerator for about 3 days.

Festive Herbal Shrub Recipe

Dr. Brittany Wolfe’s specialty

If you’re a fan of kombucha and tart tonics, then you will love an herbal shrub. A shrub is essentially a fermented herbal-infused vinegar that is often mixed with soda water or champagne if you’re feeling festive! Think fizzy, healing and refreshing! It makes a great base for a delicious and herby mocktail. You can follow the recipe below or get creative and use what you have on hand.

You will need

  • 1-quart mason jar with lid and ring
  • Cheesecloth or thin, clean rag of breathable material (with fine holes)
  • Wooden spoon or muddler
  • Raw vinegar (apple cider vinegar – must be raw for fermentation)
  • 1 cup of blueberries
  • 1 tbsp fresh minced rosemary
  • Parchment or wax paper
  • ~1 tbsp of sugar or honey

Method

  1. Place all foods and herbs into a mason jar and muddle with a wooden spoon to release juices, oils and fragrances (and medicine!).
  2. Cover with raw vinegar of choice but leave 1-inch airspace remaining under rim.
  3. Make sure all ingredients are submerged under vinegar or else you will develop mold.
  4. Drape cheesecloth or other breathable cloth over mouth of jar, then screw on the ring portion of the lid only to keep cheesecloth in place.
  5. Leave jar out at room temperature overnight (~12 hours).
  6. Remove the cheese cloth and replace it with wax paper. This time screw both the lid and the ring portion over the wax paper. The wax paper is there to protect the metal from the vinegar.
  7. Leave your mixture out on your counter for about 3-5 days and give it a good shake every day. – Double check to make sure the solid stays below the liquid.
  8. After 3-5 days, strain off the fruit and herbs and store in a mason jar in the fridge. You can always add a little more sweetener if you like.
  9. Use about 2 oz of shrub with sparkling water or champagne!

Grain-free, Nut-free Chocolate Chip Cookies for Santa

 From Oh She Glows – One of Dr. Michelle Sthamann’s favourites

Wet Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup (63 g) natural smooth sunflower seed butter*
  • 2 tablespoons (25 g) packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons (30 mL) pure maple syrup
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons (37.5 mL) coconut oil (room temp) or grapeseed oil**

Dry Ingredients

  • 6 tablespoons (54 g) raw sunflower seeds
  • 3 tablespoons (30 g) cassava flour***
  • 1 teaspoon (2 g) ground chia seed****
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/3 cup (50 g) dark chocolate squares

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C) and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. To a large bowl, add the wet ingredients (sunflower seed butter, brown sugar, maple syrup, and oil) and stir until completely smooth.
  3. Place the sunflower seeds into a food processor and process for about 40 to 60 seconds until a fine meal forms. You want to process the seeds to as fine a meal as possible without them turning into butter!
  4. Add the dry ingredients (ground sunflower seeds, cassava flour, ground chia seeds, baking soda, and salt) to the wet mixture bowl and stir until thoroughly combined. The dough will be very sticky, but this is normal. Chop the chocolate, reserving one heaping tablespoon for later. Stir the remaining chopped chocolate into the dough until combined.
  5. Using a 2-tablespoon (30-mL) cookie scoop (or simply a spoon), scoop small mounds of dough onto the prepared baking sheet a few inches apart. There’s no need to flatten the mounds as they’ll spread out during baking. Now, using the chocolate you set aside, press a few chunks into each mound (this just helps the cookies look a bit more chocolaty when baked!).
  6. Bake for 10 to 11 minutes (I bake for 10 minutes) for a soft and tender cookie.
  7. Remove cookies from the oven and cool directly on the baking sheet for 10 minutes. Using a spatula, gently transfer each cookie (they’ll be very fragile) to a cooling rack for another 10 to 15 minutes. The cookies will be crumbly until they are fully cooled, so it’s very important that you give them some time to firm on the rack (I know, it’s the hardest thing you’ll ever do!).
  8. Serve and enjoy! Cooled cookies will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for 1 to 2 days, or in the freezer for up to 4 weeks. I love the delightful “snappy” texture these cookies get as the chocolate firms up from chilling!

Tips

* The sunflower seed butter should be 100% sunflower seeds without any added sugars or oils. I use Organic SunButter. Be sure to stir the sunflower seed butter before measuring and avoid using the dry/hard butter at the bottom of the jar. If using thicker seed butter, the cookies won’t spread as much when baking.

** If your coconut oil is hard as rock, you can melt it over very low heat and then cool before using. Avoid using warm coconut oil as it’ll melt the chocolate chips.

*** Cassava flour can be a bit tricky to locate. Your best bet is to buy from an online retailer (such as this one on Amazon) or a natural food store.

**** To make ground chia seed, add seeds to a high-speed blender or coffee grinder and blend/grind on high until a flour forms. An equal amount of ground flaxseed also works in place of chia, but it will yield a thicker cookie. I prefer using ground chia. Leftover ground seeds can be stored in the freezer in an airtight freezer bag for future use.

Peace With What Is

I like to say “change is good, it is the transition that is difficult.”

As humans we are incredibly adaptable creatures.  We are, after all, a part of the ever-changing, constantly in flux, natural world, as much as we try to deny, fight against and try to control this reality.  If we look to nature, we see examples aplenty of adaptability and the creation of resiliency through devastation.  A fire rips through a forest and after the burn the vegetation returns, growing healthier in the compost created by the flames.

A wind storm uproots trees and, in the process, offers the opportunity to smaller plants in their canopy to now experience greater light and oxygen and grow up to replace them.

Animals experience sickness, death and surrender to the cycle of life.

All this to ask you to look back on your past 9 months.  This period of time since March 2020 and the coronavirus was first identified as a new, often considered unwelcome, guest that moved into our neighbourhood here in Saskatchewan.  Think of all of the things that you felt you weren’t going to be able to handle, and that you did!  Working from home, taking an online yoga class (and actually enjoying it!), learning to visit from 6 feet away, having to wear a mask every where you went.  This is evidence of how adaptable we are and how we can healthfully move through any situation we are faced with when we can adopt a mindset of surrender.  This is not to say that on the road to acceptance of our new reality there might not be the need for some (or lots) of sadness, fear or anger (or a wild combination thereof), as healthy transition does necessitate the honoring of the natural normal feelings of grief as we let go of the old in order to be able to welcome the new.  Working through the stages of griefas identified by Elizabeth Kubler Ross (Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression & finally Acceptance) are instrumental on our passage through to change.  In this way we can greet change without the resistance that causes us to suffer.

We are able to relate to our new reality in a way that is healthier for ourselves and our nervous systems.

A really specific example of this in our current times that I felt called to speak to is the wearing of masks.  I will say that this was likely the hardest part about this whole pandemic for me so far.  I was okay with the isolation of the spring.  I love my alone time, I do have a family so have the grace of having people around when I want them, I love nature and walking outdoors so I was able to roll with not being able to go to my gym for my fitness and yoga classes.  I have a strong network of friends and family and as our bonds run deep connecting over the phone or via zoom worked for me.  My work was able to continue and I was able to run my classes and see my patients virtually.  I truly am blessed, not only with a great system of external support but also many inner tools that have helped me weather these months and come through with a decent amount of grit and grace.

However… masks have been my biggest challenge.  I hated masks at first.  I am still not a big fan of them.  And may never be.  But they are here, mandated, they are helping to control aerosol spread of the virus, they are important tools for allowing us to continue on with a semblance of normal life.  So, for my own benefit I am making peace with them.  Of course, I have had to wear them in the office for quite some time.  That hasn’t bothered me so much as it has to wear one when I go grocery shopping or out in the public.  The biggest kicker for me was when they were mandated for indoor exercise classes.  At first, I went into total panic mode.  How was I going to work out like I like to – intensely – wearing a mask?  I have suffered from anxiety and panic attacks in my past, notably my late teens/ early twenties when claustrophobia was one of my triggers.  When I first put on a mask to work out, I was taken right back to a huge panic attack I had standing in the middle of a very crowded Rider Fan bus when I was about 20.  Trauma!  I quickly reminded myself of how I had overcome this panic in my early 30s by going into sweat lodges.  The ultimate potential trigger for panic: small, cramped, pitch black, hot, no exit to access…  I used these experiences to train my brain to be fully present and regain control over my body, my thoughts, my breath and thus to shift my reality back to the present moment where I actually was not in any danger.  I learned from these experiences that mindset is everything and it is our thoughts that create our suffering.  With repeated mental training and practice I have been able to get through the anxiety and panic that I have experienced in my life, leaving me more adaptable and resilient.  Victor Frankl and his book Man’s Search for Meaning have been a huge influence on me in this regard.  If he can use mindset to not just survive, but actually thrive in a concentration camp then I surely can learn a thing or two of creating my own peace while simply wearing a piece of cloth over my face.

I do know it is “easier said than done” but that is why practice and repetition, working on releasing past traumas and working with good therapists, naturopathic doctors, energy workers, etc. are all so helpful as we gain tools when we seek professional support.

There are other fabulous tools that I use both personally and professionally when dealing with anxiety, some of which I will include here as I know we are all in this same boat, needing some good nervous system support:

  • Regular daily exercise, especially outdoors;
  • Avoiding sugar and refined carbohydrates, especially those containing wheat/ gluten, minimizing caffeine, reducing dairy;
  • Eating lots of fruit and veggies and whole grains like rice, oats, quinoa and good quality protein like humus, chicken, fish;
  • Taking a good multivitamin-mineral, fish oils, vitamin D daily;
  • Supplementing my nervous system with balancing herbs like Rhodiola, Ashwaganda, Siberian ginseng;
  • Taking time for self-care: reading, long baths in Epsom salts, meditating, journaling… every single day first thing in the morning I spend some “soul care” time.

And specific to making peace with my masks I have come to love using essential oils to spritz the inside of them, making my mask wearing experience delightful!  Some of my favorites include:

Lavender – when I need to relax and zen out;

Lemon/ grapefruit/ orange – as antimicrobials to help keep bacteria and viruses at bay and also because these are stimulating and awakening to the mind;

Mint/ eucalyptus – these ones are great for helping to increase breath/ oxygenation so fantastic if you feel like you have a tough time breathing with a mask.

There are some great blends available through shops like Sage and through companies like Doterra and Young Living.  So, experiment with blends that you like and create your own.  Giving a little spritz to the inside of your mask several times a day will completely change your mask wearing experience.

And if you like what you read here and want any mind, body, spirit… or essential oil.. support for your health, please reach out!  I would love to work with you.

Your Best Defense

All right, it’s time to talk immune health!

Over the past few weeks, I have been asked repeatedly, repeatedly: “Do you think I should get the flu shot?”

Now please realize this is a question I am asked every year around this time, this year however it seems it is coming faster and more furious than ever before.  We are seeing the rise in the cases of the coronavirus around the world, and in our local population as well.  I am assuming that because of this, and due to increasing pressure tactics to scare us into getting this vaccine, more of you seem to be wondering if it would be of benefit to get the “regular” (seasonal) flu shot.

My response remains as it is every year, that is “a good offense is the best defense.”  I still maintain that the healthier and more robust we can maintain our bodies, the more resilient we will be to whatever pathogen we may be confronted with.  That is what our immune system is for!

Just because there is this “new” virus that has been wreaking havoc in our lives since late 2019, does not, in my mind justify getting the seasonal flu vaccine.

Plus, as we all know, the flu vaccine only ‘protects’ us against a very small handful (3 to 5) viral strains out of the hundreds of thousands that exist today.  When we build our immunity, our innate and adaptive immune systems are primed to be able to handle far more strains.

Besides that, there is actually little evidence to show that the flu vaccine reduces transmission of the virus or prevent complications like pneumonia and hospitalization.  The NIH did a Cochrane review (a meta analysis taking all the clinical trials done on the influenza vaccine) and that is precisely what they found.

The review article can be found here:https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20614424/

Additionally, it shows that there is no measurable health benefit for children or the elderly (the population you most commonly hear are in need of it). The only population that benefited was males 45-65 males and what they found was that this group didn’t contract any less cases of flu, the only benefit was a reduction in their symptoms by 6 hours. 6 hours! And we have somehow been convinced that we need to line up to receive this so-called protection.

Now please hear me that I am not telling you one way or the other whether or not you should get the vaccine for the seasonal flu.  This is an individual decision that is best made with an open-minded health care provider that knows your unique situation.  There are certainly times when I might recommend this option for my patients, and I generally do this on a case by case basis.  Though I will say that globally I advocate for building a healthy immune system, first, without turning to an external stimulus to assist in this process.

More general influenza information and detailed immune support suggestions can be found in this article I wrote several years ago that I continue to stand behind, even within this current pandemic: http://www.drzepp.com/uploads/3/4/5/4/34546637/the_flu_prevention.pdf

Maintaining a healthy body involves getting adequate sleep, learning how to manage stress and getting regular exercise especially outdoors.  Nutrition of course plays a pivotal role in the proper functioning of our immune systems and I wanted to outline, in point form, a few of my favorite nutrition and supplement strategies for you here, and if you read the linked article more details can be found as to their specific benefits.

  • Echinacea, Elderberry, Reishi mushroom
  • Zinc, Vitamin D
  • Increase your intake of organic fruits and veggies, along with Vitamin C rich foods and foods that have natural anti-microbial and immune boosting properties.
  • Reduce foods that promote inflammation and mucous production and that lower immunity.
  • Use green drinks and keep hydrated.
  • Keep your microbiome healthy through the consumption of organic foods, fermented foods, a fiber-rich diet, and by taking extra probiotic supplements.

This is but a small handful of all the amazing tools available to you, courtesy of mother earth, and through your own disciplined health practices.  For any specific guidance on building your immunity this cold and flu season and beyond, please come in for a visit!  Any of the amazing NDs at our incredible clinic would be happy to guide you in creating a plan that is just right for you.

From all of us at Prairie Sky Integrative Health, we look forward to assisting you on your health journey.  Call us to book your appointment 306-757-HEAL [4325].

Awaken your Sovereign Soul

The most important relationship we have is the one we have with ourselves.  This is also the most under-nourished relationship in most of our lives, and yet it impacts all others.  When our relationship with ourselves is faulty all aspects of lives are challenged from our physical to our emotional health, right down to how we nourish and care for ourselves and the ease at which we do so.

Join Dr. Julie Zepp Rutledge ND, this fall for an 8 week class offering that assists you in deepening the relationship you have with yourself.

We will use tools that include reading, writing, journey work, meditation, conversation & sharing
This class will run afternoons from 1 to 3pm, with in-person and zoom options available and the option for registration in a Tuesday OR Friday afternoon session.
Classes begin the week of October 19th. Your personal investment is $375 for the 8 week class.
*These classes are almost full so inquire now if you are interested*

An Exploration of A Course in Miracles

A Course in Miracles is a book that changes lives.  It is a textbook, workbook, and a guide book to practical ways of living life in connection with Spirit, by whatever name you use, allowing you to reap the miraculous benefits that come with doing so.

Well known authors and speakers, teachers and healers such as Marianne Williamson, Wayne Dyer, Gabby Bernstein, among many others, credit their emotional, psychological and physical healing and well-being to this work.  This work positively impacts our relationships, our life purpose and our sense of peace in the world.

Beginning Wednesday, November 11th, join Dr. Julie Zepp Rutledge ND for this 10-week journey that explores this life-changing work in a group setting.

This class is suitable for anyone with or without previous experience with ACIM.
We will meet Wednesday evenings, from 7 to 9 pm, with in-person and zoom options available.  Investment in you is $425 for the course, including instruction and handouts.