Naturopathic Medicine Week 2012 – Events in Ottawa

Naturopathic Medicine Week is a national event that takes place the second week in May.  Naturopathic Doctors will be hosting FREE events in their communities to educate members about naturopathic medicine, disease prevention and health promotion.

This year’s Naturopathic Medicine Week is from May 7-13, 2012

You are invited to join me for the following FREE events to celebrate Naturopathic Medicine Week:

Naturopathic Medicine for the Modern Woman

Dr. Ellen Simone, ND

Monday, May 7, 2012 at 7-8:30pm

Ottawa Public Library – Alta Vista Branch

2516 Alta Vista Drive, Ottawa, K1V 7T1

Join Dr. Simone as she discusses naturopathic treatments for supporting women through different phases of their lives; to regulate the menstrual cycle, ease PMS symptoms, optimize fertility, provide support during and after pregnancy, maintain breast health and welcome menopause.

 

Spring Cleaning: Strategies for Detoxifying Your Body

Dr. Ellen Simone, ND & Gwen Holm, RHN

Wednesday, May 9, 2012 at 7-8pm

Ottawa Public Library – Alta Vista Branch

2516 Alta Vista Drive, Ottawa, K1V 7T1

Learn about the impact of environmental toxins on your health.  Strategies to decrease exposure to environmental toxins and support your body’s natural ability to detoxify will be discussed.  Find out your level of toxic burden by completing the ‘Detoxification Questionnaire.”

 

Integrative Treatments for Headache

Dr. Ellen Simone, ND & Dr. Kirk Andrew, DC

Thursday, May 10, 2012 at 7-8pm

Ottawa Public Library – Alta Vista Branch

2516 Alta Vista Drive, Ottawa, K1V 7T1

Discover your options for relieving tension headache and migraine symptoms through an individualized and integrative approach using nutrition, herbal medicine, acupuncture, homeopathy, chiropractic care and massage therapy.

All Naturopathic Medicine Week events here in Ottawa:

 http://www.cand.ca/Ontario.nmwon.0.html#743

Naturopathic Medicine Week events across Canada: 

http://www.cand.ca/Naturopathic_Medicine_Week.nmw.0.html?&L=0

The healing power of optimism

This week I was searching through my old naturopathic textbooks for some new blog topics when I came across a chapter in the book, “Mind Body Health: The Effects of Attitudes, Emotions and Relationships’ by KJ Karren, BQ Hafen, NL Smith and KJ Frandsen about the influence of an optimistic attitude on health status.   The chapter was called, “The Healing Power of Optimism” and it reviews how important your beliefs about a situation are in influencing your health status.

This purpose of this post is to highlight and discuss the main points about the healing power of optimism.

What is optimism?

Looking up the definition of optimism on Dictionary.com I discovered that optimism is:

1.  a disposition or tendency to look on the more favorable side of events or conditions and to expect the most favorable outcome.

2. the belief that good ultimately predominates over evil in the world.

3. the belief that goodness pervades reality.

4. the doctrine that the existing world is the best of all possible worlds.

Overall, an optimist actively chooses to believe that good things will happen and their future will turn out in the best possible way for them.  Since optimism is an active choice, this means that you have control over your beliefs and perceptions of reality.

Once you make this powerful realization, that you have a choice, you can change your perceptions from negative  to positive which can have a beneficial outcome on your health status.

“Happiness, in short, turns out to be more a matter of how you regard your circumstances than of what the circumstances are.”

10 characteristics of optimistic people:

1. An optimist sees the good in a situation.

2. An optimist expects things to go their way.

3. An optimist believes they have the power to control the events in their lives.

4. An optimist will take action to ensure things go their way.  When things do not go their way, they re-evaluate their situation and make the necessary plans to take action in an effort to shift the situation in their favour.

5. An optimist displays perseverance and never gives up focusing on the positive things they are able to control.

6. An optimist can dismiss bad events and interpret them as isolated events without blaming themselves for the negative outcome.

7. An optimist consistently interprets the circumstances in their favour and chooses to internalize the good events.

8. An optimist chooses to view the world through ‘rose-coloured glasses’ meaning that they believe they will be successful and happy in the future.

9. An optimist believes that if something bad were to happen, they will have the ability to easily fix the problem.

10. An optimist knows when to acknowledge they cannot change a situation and successfully manages their unfavourable circumstances through healthy coping mechanisms.

How many of the above characteristics do you identify with and recognize within yourself? If you are familiar with all of them then congratulations, you are laying the foundation for optimal health outcomes! If you can only identify with a couple characteristics, that is ok too since optimism is a conscious choice in behaviour and everyone has the capability to become an optimist if you choose to do so.

This chapter on optimism goes into great detail about specific circumstances where optimism has improved health outcomes.  Here are a few examples demonstrating the potential power of optimism:

1. Researchers at Harvard evaluated the health records and psychological questionnaires completed 40 years ago of a sample of 99 army veterans.  They found that the veterans who, 40 years ago, displayed characteristics of optimism in their responses were significantly healthier 40 years later in both mental and physical health.

2. Researchers at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center found that the patients with greater optimism had more successful outcomes in a cardiac rehabilitation program where they lowered factors influencing their future risk of a heart attack and stroke.

3.  Studies of university students have found that pessimistic students were sick twice as many days and visited the doctor four times more than optimistic students.  An interesting observation was that most of the illnesses were infectious diseases perhaps providing further support to the field of psychoneuroimmunology.

4.  Optimism may play a role in speeding recovery from surgery in hospitals because optimists are more likely to seek information to improve their recovery after being released from the hospital.

5.  In a survey of physicians who collectively have treated over 100,000 cancer patients, over 90% responded that the most significant factor they have observed in effective cancer treatment was having an attitude of hope and optimism.  An attitude of optimism has also been shown to influence outcomes in women with breast cancer.

A possible explanation for the beneficial outcomes of optimism could be that optimistic people are more likely to pay attention to health risks and behaviours, and then choose to act positively with this information by changing their lifestyle habits in a healthy direction.

Of course, the above examples of optimism influencing health outcomes are extremely complex and the research is in the early stages. Optimism is just one factor in the field of mind body medicine currently being investigated.  Other factors include self-esteem, spirituality, altruism, humour/laughter, guided imagery, the impact of stress and emotional states.

Imagine the power patients would have in influencing their health outcomes by combining the power of their minds with cutting edge medical treatments!

I choose to be an optimist hope that the powerful wholistic approach to medicine which places equal emphasis on the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual aspects of an individual will be accessed and utilized by everyone in the future.

Are you tired ALL the time? Part 2: Hypothyroidism

As a continuation to my first blog post “Are you tired ALL this time? This may be why” I’d like to discuss another reason for constant fatigue: Hypothyroidism!

Hypothyroidism is the underfunctioning of your thyroid gland which leads to a decrease in the production and secretion of thyroid hormones.

Your thyroid gland is located in the front of your throat and is shaped like a butterfly:

Who can develop hypothyroidism?

  • New mothers: post-partum change in hormone levels can trigger the development of hypothyroidism.
  • Family history of thyroid issues: a family member with a thyroid issue increases your risk
  • Advanced age: growing older naturally leads to dsyfunction in organs and can lead to a thyroid condition.
  • Autoimmune conditions: if you have an autoimmune condition which affects your hormones such as diabetes, you are at a higher risk for developing a thyroid condition
  • Nutritional deficiencies: iodine is the primary nutrient to support thyroid function so a deficiency can alter thyroid function. Other nutrients which affect thyroid hormone production and metabolism are tyrosine and selenium.
  • Chronic stress: chronic stress increases your levels of cortisol which can affect thyroid gland function. Chronic/acute stressors increase your risk for developing autoimmune disease in general.
  • Genetic conditions: if you have Down’s or Turner’s syndrome you are at a higher risk for developing a thyroid condition.

Thyroid hormones are responsible metabolism in various parts of the body.  Impaired metabolism can result in the following symptoms of hypothyroidism:

  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Forgetfulness
  • Depression
  • High cholesterol
  • Low blood pressure
  • Constipation
  • Swelling, especially in the legs and face
  • Dry and pale skin
  • Fragile and coarse hair
  • Brittle nails
  • Cold intolerance and feeling chilly all the time
  • Menstrual issues: heavy periods or absence of period

Finding out if you have hypothyroidism is done through a simple blood test with your doctor.

Usually this test is done with your annual physical exam which is why it is important to see your doctor on a regular basis for screening.

The important thing to remember if you are tired ALL the time is to see your doctor!

As you’ll see in this blog series, there are many serious causes of being tired ALL the time which need to be addressed or ruled out with testing so that your tiredness can be appropriately addressed.

Stay tuned for my next blog post: Are you tired ALL the time? Part 3…

The ABC’s of skin cancer prevention

By now most of you have watched the viral melanoma prevention campaign video, “Dear 16 year old me” put out by the David Cornfield Melanoma Fund.

If not, you can watch it here:

This video is very powerful and really makes you think about what you can do NOW to prevent a serious disease in the FUTURE.

As a naturopathic doctor, I always advocate for prevention of disease and education on prevention is an important part of my practice philosophy.  Therefore, I feel this is an important issue to discuss.

Prevention of melanoma and other skin cancers can be done by checking your skin for moles and freckles on a regular basis, preferably once a month.

Skin checks are especially important if you are fair skinned, work outdoors, or have a family history of cancer.

The following is a summary of the ABC’s of skin cancer prevention:

A is for Asymmetry

What shape is your mole? Is it a circle, an oval, or just a blob? If you draw a line down the middle do both sides match or is one larger than the other?

If both sides are not the same shape and size, it should be looked at by a doctor.

B is for Borders

Look at the edges of the mole. Is it red, jagged, or poorly defined?

If you answered yes to any of the above, it should be looked at by a doctor.

C is for Colour

Moles are typically an even brown colour throughout.

Is your mole darker in some parts and lighter in others? Is it black, red, white or blue? Does it bleed?

If you answered yes to any of the above, it should be looked at by a doctor.

D is for Diameter

Take a ruler and measure the diameter from one side of the mole to the other.

Melanoma is usually greater than 6 millimetres (the approximate size of a pencil eraser).

If your mole is larger than 6 mm or smaller but has other changes, it should be looked at by a doctor.

E is for Elevation or Evolution

If your mole is flat and unchanging it is less likely to be cancerous.

If it is elevated or is changing in any way mentioned above, it should be looked at by a doctor.

The story of my mole

When I was little, I had a brown mole on my nose. As I grew older, it grew in size as well as elevation.  The borders were always well-defined and it was a perfectly symmetrical circle.  I didn’t pay much attention to it because it was just a part of me.

Except in grade school when my nickname became ‘Holy Moley’. But looking back now even I think this is funny LOL!

Then one day in university I noticed that the mole started to change colour.  It was becoming darker and almost black on one side.

This alerted me to the fact that perhaps I should seek the advice of a medical doctor.  I was referred to a dermatologist who asked me about my history of sun exposure and family history of cancer.  He also evaluated all of my other moles.

He suggested I remove the mole. The procedure took less than fifteen minutes and because he was a cosmetic dermatologist (the ones that specialize in botox and collagen injections) he took extra care so that I would not have a large scar left on my face.  Those who have met me post-mole removal cannot believe I ever had one!

After the mole was removed, the tissue was evaluated and they told me that it was not dangerous and I did not have skin cancer. What a relief!

Checking your moles is very quick and easy.  The 10 minutes you spend checking your moles each month can save you many years of your life so why wouldn’t you check them?

Great tools on how to check your skin can be found on the DCMF website

I’d love to hear your experience with your mole and skin cancer prevention. Please share your stories in the comments section!

What is the difference between a naturopath and a homeopath?

What is the difference between a naturopath and a homeopath? Now that I have designations as both a naturopathic doctor and a homeopathic doctor, this question seems to be popping up a lot more frequently.

Here`s a video by my colleague Seth Yates explaining the basic concepts of naturopathic medicine, treatment methods and education of a naturopathic doctor, I especially like the funky background music:

Now that you`ve familiarized yourself with naturopathic medicine, watch this video of my mentor Julie Henry explaining the basic concepts of homeopathy as well as the difference between homeopath and a naturopath:

Next, let`s summarize some of the key similarities and differences between a naturopath and homeopath:

Philosophy of health

Both naturopaths and homeopaths work under a wholistic view of health.  They strive to do no harm and treat using the most least invasive method available.  Health is considered to be influenced by physical, mental, emotional, social, and environmental factors which are all taken into account when deciding on a treatment plan.  Symptoms are an expression of an imbalance within a person and the different systems of the body are interconnected.  Both a naturopath and homeopath work to heal the root cause of a person`s health issues, rather than suppress symptoms.

For more information on the guiding principles of wholistic medicine: http://www.drellensimone.com/guiding-principles.html

Types of treatments

A naturopath uses homeopathy as part of their overall healing toolkit.  They also use nutrition, supplements, lifestyle counseling, botanicals, Chinese medicine and acupunture, and physical medicine when treating their patients.  A homeopath is considered a specialist in using homeopathy and this is the primary treatment method used.  Both use their tools to provide specific and individualized care for their patients.

Education

A naturopath and a homeopath both have knowledge of the core health sciences such as anatomy, physiology, pathology, immunology and pharmacology as well as training in physical examination, appropriate assessment, and knowledge of when to refer to another practitioner if warranted. Both professions undergo rigorous clinical training and examinations to ensure graduates meet the standards required to practice their form of medicine.

Educational institutions in Ontario:

Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine

Ontario College of Homeopathic Medicine

Regulation in Ontario

Currently, both naturopathic medicine and homeopathic medicine are in a transition process to become regulated in Ontario under the Regulated Health Professionals Act (RHPA).  Naturopaths were previously regulated under the Drugless Practitioner Act and the Board of Drugless Therapy-Naturopathy.  Homeopaths have not been regulated in Ontario for a number of years and this re-regulation follows a renewed use of homeopathic medicine as a form of alternative medicine treatment.

Regulation resources:

The Transitional Council of the College of Naturopaths of Ontario

The Transitional Council of the College of Homeopaths of Ontario

Integration with other healthcare professionals

Regulation under the RHPA will hopefully lead to an increasing number of naturopaths and homeopaths being included in a patient`s current health team.  Integrating homeopathic and naturopathic medicine can effectively augment a patient`s conventional treatment plan leading to higher patient satisfaction and more comprehensive patient care.

Insurance coverage

Homeopathic and naturopathic medicine are currently not covered under OHIP and patients pay for these services.  However, the majority of private insurance companies like Great West Life and Sunlife provide coverage for these services to assist patients in seeking complementary forms of healthcare. Your employer decides what services are covered in your insurance plan and if naturopathic and homeopathic medicine are not currently covered, you may ask your employer or human resources office to explore the option of including these services.

Resources to help you find a qualified naturopath or homeopath:

Ontario Association of Naturopathic Doctors

Canadian Association of Naturopathic Doctors

The Canadian Naturopathic Foundation

Ontario Homeopathic Association

The National United Professional Association of Trained Homeopaths

I hope this post provided you with answers to this very common question. If you have other questions you would like answered let me know and I will try to address them in future blog posts.

Feel free to share your thoughts about naturopathic and homeopathic medicine, as well as resources you think others would find useful!

8 key factors for successful weight loss that CANNOT be ignored

It is well established that weight management consists of a balance between calories spent during exercise and calories eaten from food.  Increasing your exercise levels while decreasing your food intake will shift the scale in your favour, leading to weight loss.

But exercise and decreasing food intake will only get you so far in the battle to lose weight.  Weight loss is influenced by a comprehensive list of factors and each person’s weight loss challenge is unique.

The following 8 factors CANNOT be ignored because they are essential to SUCCESSFUL weight loss and maintenance:

1. Essential nutrient intake: Decreasing the amount of food you eat will only get you so far if you do not address your diet’s nutrient composition.  Calories from processed foods are considered ‘empty calories’ because these foods provide calories yet are severely lacking in nutrients.  Therefore, your body will never feel full and you will be hungry soon after.  Changing your diet to include more nutrient-rich foods is necessary to prevent overeating.

2. Digestive tract function: Once you start eating nutrient-rich foods, a healthy digestive tract is necessary to optimize absorption of these nutrients.  Having low stomach acid, inadequate digestive enzymes and an imbalance of bacteria in the digestive tract lead to decreased absorption rates leaving you still feeling hungry for more. Nutritional and herbal supplements are effective at restoring optimal digestive tract function.

3. Food sensitivities: Sub-optimal digestive tract function will lead to the absorption of inadequately broken down food particles.  These particles travel through your bloodstream where they meet with immune cells. The immune cells do not recognize these foreign articles and react to them by making immunoglobulins that deposit in tissues causing a variety of symptoms including further weight gain, water retention, inflammation, acne/skin rashes, bloating, gas, constipation and diarrhoea.

4. Blood sugar management: Every time you eat your blood sugar levels rise and your body releases insulin to help use the sugar for fuel.  If you have poor blood sugar and insulin control (any form of diabetes) the extreme fluctuations in these hormone levels lead to increased cravings and storage of calories in the body.

5. Cortisol management: Cortisol is the primary hormone released from your adrenal glands in response to stress.  Stress can be caused by anything such as work, family, positive or negative life changes (eg. marriage or divorce), physical trauma/injuries, lack of sleep,  poor nutrition habits or a pre-existing health condition.  Chronic stress and high cortisol levels are correlated with weight gain.  Therefore, stress management is a key component of any weight loss program.

6. Other hormone levels: An imbalance of other hormones such as estrogen, progesterone, testosterone and most importantly thyroid hormones can negatively influence metabolism and slow it down.  Therefore, any health condition (eg. hypothyroidism, polycystic ovarian syndrome, etc.) where these hormones are affected can be a barrier to weight loss and needs to be addressed before the weight will be lost.

7. Mental and emotional health: Anxiety, depression, grief, and trauma are common
issues leading to ‘emotional eating.’  In these cases, ‘emotional eating’ is a symptom of an underlying emotional issue.  Emotional eating will continue until the emotional cause is addressed and healed.

8. Prescription medications: Certain medications can affect metabolism and lead to weight gain.  Some examples include anti-depressants, the birth control pill, hormone replacement therapy and anti-inflammatory drugs.  Treating the reason you are taking these drugs may allow you to reduce or eliminate their use, thus eliminating this barrier to weight loss.

How can you address all of these weight loss factors and still have time for exercise?

Join our ‘Clean Slate’ weight loss program at Totum Life Science!

My education as a naturopathic doctor combined with Sarah Maughan’s education as a holistic nutritionist make us superiorly equipped to provide you with the necessary tools to ensure success in achieving your exercise and weight loss goals.

We invite you to meet with us for a complimentary 15 minute consultation to discuss how the
‘Clean Slate’ Program can specifically benefit you!

***Please Note: I am currently doing a locum at Totum Life Science and as of September 1, 2011 I will be relocating to Ottawa.  If you are interested in the ‘Clean Slate’ weight loss program,  feel free to start now with me, as the program will be carried on after I leave by Totum’s new naturopathic doctor.

3 things you didn’t know about dandelions

Dandelions are usually considered a pesky, unwanted and dreaded weed, forever cluttering up our lawns.  It seems the more we pull them up the faster they sprout from the ground!

And even though we know we shouldn’t do it, who can resist blowing at one of those little puff balls and assisting their spread to your neighbours’ lawns?

I sure can't!

Thanks to my friend and fellow naturopathic doctor Sylvi Martin for taking this photo.

However much you might HATE dandelions, you may actually need their ASSISTANCE at some point of your life!

Here’s 3 things you didn’t know about dandelions:

1. You can drink them as a tea!

Dandelion leaves are packed full of good vitamins and minerals like vitamin A, magnesium, and zinc

Here’s everything you need to know about dandelion tea and recipes to make your own dandelion tea!

2. Dandelions can help you stay regular.

Phytochemicals found in dandelion support digestive tract function and have a mild laxative effect which keeps your bowel movements on track.  Going to the bathroom at least once a day is ideal, if you are going less than that you are considered constipated 😦

3. Dandelions are considered the earth’s ultimate detoxifier, and they can also help YOUR body to eliminate toxins.

The leaves support the function of the kidneys which filter your blood, pull out toxins and waste products and eliminates them from your body in the urine.

Dandelion leaves and roots support your liver which eliminates toxins and bodily waste products, makes bile (a substance that helps you absorb fats and nutrients from your food) and makes a healthy balance of hormones.

Next time you’re in the garden weeding out the dandelions, stop and say hello to them because you may need them in the future to help you stay healthy.

FUN FACT: If you can pronounce the latin name for dandelion: Taraxacum officinalis then you are on your way to being a herbalist! To learn more about the taraxacum officinalis species and its medicinal properties visit this great site: http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/d/dandel08.html

Are you tired ALL the time? This may be why…

In addition to lifestyle factors like inadequate sleep, poor nutrition and chronic stress which can contribute to feeling tired ALL the time, Iron Deficiency Anemia is a common cause of fatigue that is important to rule out.

Having enough iron will help you feel strong and energetic like this guy:

What is iron-deficiency anemia?

Having low iron levels leads to an inadequate number of red blood cells which are needed to deliver oxygen to your tissues to provide them with energy.

What causes iron-deficiency anemia?

Lack of iron in the diet:

Vegetarians/vegans lack sources of highly-absorbably heme-iron found in animal products

In children, being picky eaters can lead to a decreased consumption of foods containing iron

High intake of cow’s milk in children is also a factor because calcium and iron compete with each other for absorption

Poor absorption of iron due to:

Having low stomach acid

Taking certain medications such as ant-acids which reduce stomach acid

Gastrointestinal surgeries

Bleeding:

Heavy menstrual periods

Stomach ulcers

Hemorrhoids

Frequent blood donations

Increased demands for iron:

Pregnancy

Lactation

What are other symptoms besides tiredness which can indicate iron deficiency anemia?

Pale skin and conjunctiva (the inside of the lower eyelid)

Easy bruising

Dizziness

Difficulty breathing on physical exertion (for example, climbing the stairs)

Some form of blood loss (contributing to the anemia)

Brittle nails

Angular stomatitis (cracks and fissures in the corners of the mouth)

Low blood pressure

Muscle weakness

There may be NO signs and symptoms in early iron-deficiency anemia which is why it is very important to go for regular check-ups with your medical doctor!

This guy does not look like he’s having fun:

The following two blood tests need to be done to confirm a diagnosis of iron-deficiency anemia:

Complete blood count: assesses the health of your red blood cells

Ferritin: assesses the level of iron stored in your body

It is NOT SAFE to take iron supplements until you have confirmed a diagnosis of iron-deficiency anemia.

However, it is SAFE to look at your current diet and try to incorporate more iron-rich food sources into your meals.  This will help prevent iron-deficiency anemia and maintain your iron levels.

Top 10 Foods High in Iron

A more comprehensive list of foods containing iron

Recipes for foods high in iron:

1. http://www.soscuisine.com/en/recipes/search/basic/special-consideration-diet/high-iron?sos_l=en

2. http://www.canadianliving.com/health/prevention/iron_101_all_about_low_iron_levels_iron_deficiency_anemia_and_iron_in_foods_2.php

3. http://recipes.sparkpeople.com/great-recipes.asp?food=food+rich+in+iron

Overall, be sure to eat your leafy green vegetables, especially spinach!

Explore another reason you may be tired ALL the time:

Are you tired ALL the time? Part 2: Hypothyroidism

 

Rubber ducks, shampoo and bubble tea oh my! What harmful chemical do these 3 have in common?

What do rubber ducks, shampoo and bubble tea all have in common?

PTHALATES!

Pthalates are chemicals which are added to plastic-based products to make the material softer and more flexible.

What types of products contain pthalates?

Rubber ducks and other children’s toys, body care products such as shampoo, conditioner, body lotion and fragrances, electronics, PVC shower curtains, wallpaper, furniture, plastic containers and plastic wrap, household cleaners, and now most recently discovered in the ingredients from bubble tea products.  List of recalled bubble tea products by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency 

How do pthalates get into your body?

Ingestion: Children who chew on toys (like those really cute rubber duckies!), eating food which was wrapped in plastic packaging material or stored in containers which contain pthalates. Recently, the Canadian government decided to reduce the pthalate content from children’s toys: http://www.cbc.ca/news/story/2011/01/18/health-phthalates-restrictions-children-toys.html

Absorption: Applying personal hygiene products to the skin allows for daily absorption of pthalates.  Some products specifically add pthalates because pthalates aid in the skin’s absorption of the product.

Have I been smearing chemicals on my body for the last 25 years? Luckily, once you start using these products the pthalates are eliminated from your body in about 24-48 hours.

***One of the key things I recently learned is that companies are NOT required to list pthalate content in their products.  However, products that list the ingredient `fragrance`or `parfum`most likely contain pthalates.

Inhalation: Pthalate fumes from household products, electronics and furniture pass through the air and we inhale them on a daily basis. Air fresheners are a key culprit in the inhalation of pthalates.

Why should you reduce your pthalate exposure?

Preliminary studies are showing pthalates have potentially negative effects on the body by disrupting hormone balance and affecting male and female reproductive organs. There is also a potential relationship between pthalates and cancer, obesity and diabetes.

5 Resources for pthalate content in products:

Pthalates: what you need to know

Chemical Body Burden: Pthalates

Environmental Defence

Environmental Working Group

Slow Death by Rubber Duck

Please share your tips to reduce pthalate exposure and help others reduce their chemical body burden.

A quick and easy after workout smoothie recipe

It is that time of year again when the sun comes out and you start thinking, “I really need to get outside and get active!” I thought I’d share a quick and easy after workout smoothie recipe which delivers adequate nutritional requirements to help you recover from your summer workout:

Blueberry Passion Smoothie

Ingredients:

  1. 1 cup fresh blueberries
  2. 1 serving of whey/soy/rice protein (serving size is indicated on the container)
  3. 1 ½ cups milk (dairy, almond, soy, rice)
  4. ½ cup of passion fruit juice
  5. Honey/stevia to sweeten

Combine ingredients and mix in a blender. (I personally love my magic bullet!)

VOILA! You have a post-workout smoothie with the correct ratio of approximately 75% carbohydrates, 15% protein, and 10% fat to optimize recovery.  The ratio will vary slightly depending on the type of protein powder and milk you use.

Blueberries are also a super source of vitamin C and fibre.  For more info on the health benefits of blueberries check out the World’s Healthiest Foods.

There are many substitutions and smoothie combos to enjoy, feel free to share your favourites with me!