Foods to keep you warm this winter

Warm up this winter with a delicious meal!

According to the traditional Chinese medicine philosophy, it is important to eat with the seasons.  As the weather turns colder, it is important to balance the external coldness with warming foods to support your health in the winter.

The temperature of food is also important, so having more cooked meals in the form of soups, stews and chilli rather than cold, raw salads is essential to optimizing winter health.

Eat more foods that warm the body: ginger root, cinnamon, cumin, anise, caraway, garlic, onion, fennel, cloves, rosemary, basil, black beans, oatmeal, quinoa, brown rice, parsnip, sweet potato, squash, leeks, kale, beef and lamb.

Minimize foods that cool the body: peppermint, cilantro, marjoram, cucumber, celery, lettuce, radish, cabbage, broccoli, spinach, eggplant, zucchini, seaweed, citrus fruits, apple, pear, watermelon, tomato, banana, sprouts, mung beans, wheat products, millet, tofu.

Spicy squash and parsnip soup recipe

Feel free to share your warming winter recipes!

FREE Health Talk: Boosting your immune system naturally

This week I kick off a series of FREE health talks on ‘Boosting your immune system naturally in time for winter.’

My goal is to provide  information on how to boost your immune system using naturopathic medicine. You will learn how to prevent the flu and recover faster by strengthening your immune system using clinical nutrition, botanical medicine, homeopathic medicine, traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture and lifestyle changes.

These talks are part of the Ottawa Public Library Program guide.

Click HERE to register and find a library branch in your community.

Looking forward to sharing lots of great info with you, just in time for winter!

5 herbs to eat that will boost your immune system

Do you want to boost your immune system this winter to prevent suffering from the cold and flu?

Here’s 5 herbs you can add to your diet that will boost your immune system, kill bacteria and viruses as well as add some flavour to your meals!

1. Garlic: Known in Latin as Allium sativum, garlic contains an ingredient that kills bacteria called allicin.  Allicin kills both gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria which encompass bacteria like E. coli and Mycobacterium tuberculosis (the bacteria responsible for tuberculosis infections).  Garlic is also anti-viral making it a good defense mechanism against the flu virus and Rhinovirus which causes the common cold-like symptoms. RAW garlic contains more allicin than cooked garlic and 1-2 cloves per day added to the diet can be beneficial.  If your whole family eats garlic hopefully you won’t notice the odour 🙂

2. Onion: Part of the same family as garlic, Allium cepa aka onion, is also anti-microbial which means it kills both bacteria and viruses.  Incorporating raw onions into your cooking can help to fight off the cold and flu this winter.  An onion ear poultice is a traditional remedy for ear infection symptoms that is especially fun for kids!

3. Thyme: Thymus vulgaris is a spice commonly used in cooking.  The oil extract of thyme contains an ingredient known as thymol which is anti-bacterial.  Thyme oil is commonly used in natural cleaning products.  Here’s a delicious ‘Chicken Lime Thyme’ recipe which also includes chopped garlic in the marinade.

4. Oregano: Oil of Origanum vulgare has gained popularity over the past few years for it’s anti-microbial properties.  Drops of the oil can be used acutely to treat sore throats and sinus infections.  Therefore, oregano is another great herb to include in your diet. Here’s an easy recipe for ‘Zucchini and Oregano Pizza‘. Enjoy!

5. Mushrooms! Eating a variety of mushrooms including Shiitake and Reishi mushrooms helps to strengthen your immune system.  The medicinal properties of these mushrooms have been used for thousands of years by traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) doctors.  TCM even has an herbal tonic called ‘Change of Season Soup’ which is meant to support the immune system from fall to winter, prime time for colds and flus!  Traditionally it does not contains mushrooms, however it is a good soup base and you can add in your own mushrooms for added immune support.


Feel free to share your ideas for incorporating these herbs into your diet!

Naturopathic treatments for spring allergies

If you or someone you know suffers from seasonal allergies, check out my article in the April/May 2012 edition of Healthy Directions Magazine.  The article is on page 24 and outlines naturopathic treatments for seasonal allergies including essential nutrients, probiotics, omega-3 fatty acids, botanical medicines, acupuncture and homeopathy.

Here’s the link: Healthy Directions April/May 2012: Natural treatments for spring allergies

If you would like a print version feel free to stop by my clinic to pick one up:

Alta Vista Chiropractic and Massage Clinic

1690 Bank Street

Ottawa, ON, K1V 7Y6


Happy reading!

Natural ways to treat nausea

Nausea is unpleasant no matter what the cause (pregnancy, the flu, being on a boat).  Why not treat it in a safe and natural way!

1. Ginger: Also known as Zingiber officinalis, this botanical is regularly used in cooking and has three active ingredients named gingerol, shogaol and zingerone that help to relieve nausea.  Drinking ginger tea can help calm your stomach.  Here is an easy recipe for homemade ginger tea: or you can buy it pre-made in teabag form.  There is also a ‘natural’ Gravol on the market that is ginger based if you cannot tolerate the actual ginger flavour.

2. Acupressure: There is a great acupuncture point located on the inside of your wrists called Pericardium 6 that helps relieve nausea.  You can apply pressure to this point for 10-30 seconds as needed for nausea.  Closing your eyes and focusing on your breath while you press the point can also help.  Check out the instructions in this video to locate the Pericardium 6 point on yourself:

If you suffer from nausea consistently, for example in your first trimester of pregnancy or you are on a cruise ship, an alternative option is to wear Sea bands.  These are bracelets with a metal ball that supplies consistent pressure on Pericardium 6 and can be worn as long as they are needed.

3. Homeopathy: There are many homeopathic remedies which can treat nausea without interfering with medications and that are safe for children, pregnant women and the elderly.  Two remedies readily available at health food stores are Arsenicum album and Colubrina aka Nux vomicaArsenicum album is useful for nausea after eating spoiled food and nausea that is associated with vomiting, diarrhea, burning pains in the stomach and a desire for small sips of water. Colubrina is useful for nausea after excessive alcohol intake or in the morning after eating that is associated with gas, bloating, headache and irritability. 

Although these natural methods are helpful, it is always advisable to see your primary healthcare practitioner, especially if nausea is persistent and worsening which may be a sign of a serious health condition.

Cosmetic acupuncture: a safe, inexpensive, and non-invasive alternative to botox injections and cosmetic surgery

Do you want to eliminate fine lines from your face and have younger looking skin?  Cosmetic acupuncture is a safe, less expensive, and non-invasive alternative to botox injections and cosmetic surgery.

What is cosmetic acupuncture?

Cosmetic acupuncture (also known as facial rejuvenation acupuncture) is a safe, non-surgical treatment designed to reduce the signs of aging.  It is based on the principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine.

This highly effective treatment involves inserting very thin disposable needles into various points in the face and body for a treatment which addresses the whole person and the underlying issues contributing to skin health.

One cosmetic acupuncture treatment increases circulation to the face thus providing nutrients and stimulating the growth of new collagen.  Each treatment has additive effects with the end result being a healthy, younger looking complexion.

Combining cosmetic acupuncture with strategies to look younger from the inside out such as  nutritional supplementation, herbal medicine and stress management is a comprehensive approach to optimal skin health.

Benefits of Cosmetic Acupuncture

  • Increases collagen production to fill in fine lines of the forehead, crow’s feet, wrinkles around the upper/lower lip and laugh lines
  • Reduces bags under the eyes
  • Lifts droopy eyelids/eyebrows
  • Lifts sagging cheeks/jowls
  • Tightens and shrinks enlarged pores
  • Moisturizes the skin by increased circulation and nutrient delivery to the face
  • Eliminates puffiness
  • Improves facial colour by reducing redness
  • Improves muscle tone and tightens the skin
  • Reduces stress evident in the face
  • Brightens the eyes
  • Treats hormonal imbalance leading to acne, oily skin and dry skin
  • Slows the aging process from within
  • Brings out a person’s innate beauty and radiance
  • Promotes overall health and well-being

Who performs the cosmetic acupuncture procedure?

A naturopathic doctor or licensed acupuncturist can perform the cosmetic acupuncture procedure after completing additional training in the cosmetic acupuncture technique.

What is a typical course of treatment?

A 12 session course of treatment is recommended at a frequency of 2 times per week for optimal results. Visible, lasting results are typically noticeable after only 6 sessions.

After a course of treatment, maintenance sessions are recommended approximately every 4-6 weeks as required.  Each individual’s response is unique depending on age and lifestyle.

Is cosmetic acupuncture painful?

No, the needles used are finer than the hair on your head and are coated with silicon for smoother insertion.  Common sensations felt during the procedure are tingling, pressure and tightness.

What are potential side effects?

Redness and slight bruising at the site of needle insertion occurs occasionally.  Practitioners will recommend strategies for reducing redness and bruising at the time of treatment.

When is cosmetic acupuncture contraindicated?

  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Cancer
  • Hepatitis
  • Blood clotting disorders
  • Pituitary tumour
  • Migraine
  • Pregnancy
  • Acute cold/flu
  • Acute cold sore outbreak
  • Acute allergic reaction
  • Restylane and other fillers
  • Within 3 weeks of a laser skin treatment or chemical peel
  • Within 6 months of a botox treatment
  • Former cosmetic surgery

Health conditions such as high blood pressure and migraines can be treated with body acupuncture and other natural therapies prior to starting the cosmetic acupuncture treatment.

Your health care practitioner will assess your individual situation to determine if cosmetic acupuncture is the best option for you to achieve healthy, younger looking skin!