10 Super shopper tips to get you in and out of the grocery store!

Check out my latest blog post for the Ottawa Mommy Club!

  1. Shop with a list! Writing a list beforehand based on the meals you have planned for the week saves a lot of time and extra thinking. It also avoids you forgetting a crucial item and having to spend more time making a second trip to the store.
  2. Organize your list. Write down the items you need based on the section they are located in the store.  For example, itemize all your fruits and vegetables together, then your protein, then your extras like spices and packaged items.  This way, you only have to visit each section of the store once and in an orderly manner, without any backtracking keeping your route efficient.
  3. Shop with a full stomach. If you shop hungry, you are more likely to purchase items like frozen meals and snack foods which you can crack open or heat up with little effort as soon as you get home.  Once you add one of these items to your cart it can be easy to get carried away with more.  If you are hungry, shopping can turn into a frustrating experience since anxiety and irritability emerge when your blood sugars dip.
  4. Shop the periphery. Avoid the aisles as much as possible since they contain processed, sugary, high calorie but low nutrient foods.  Shopping the periphery is where the whole foods like produce, meat, eggs and dairy are.  Remember to choose fresh as much as possible to supercharge your meals.
  5. Stock up on bulk items. Products such as brown rice, pasta, quinoa, chickpeas, lentils, beans, nuts and seeds come in bulk.  Often they are less expensive if bought in bulk and they have a long shelf life.  Always having these on hand in your cupboard allows you quick access to hearty meal ingredients and decreases the number of trips and time spent in the grocery store.
  6. Check for discounts and cut out your coupons. Do this before you get to the store so that you only use the coupons for the items on your list and don’t end up spending more than you intended with spontaneous purchases due to in store marketing.
  7. Change your shop time. Instead of going right after work or on weekends which tend to be the busiest times, try going later in the evening after dinner or mid-day if you can.  Less people in the store means less irritation, clear aisles and faster checkout times.
  8. Shop alone. If possible, grocery shop without your spouse and your children. Shopping with others can be distracting and cause you to waste time.  They can also cause you to spend more on items that appeal to them but were not on your original grocery list.  If you do shop with others, try as hard as you can to stick to your list and not give in emotionally to their desires for chocolate bars!
  9. Plan to grocery shop only once per week at one store that is familiar to you.Shopping multiple times at multiple locations will cost you more time and lead to more spending. Know your way around your favourite grocery store with your eyes closed so that if you are tired, you can spend less energy on figuring out where items are.  If you do this grocery shopping will become as automatic as breathing.
  10. Join a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) group. Fresh, local and organic fruits and vegetables can be delivered right to your door or close by at a central location. Often CSA’s have options where you can add meat, eggs, grains and other food items to your delivery for one stop shopping that avoids the headache of the crowded grocery store.  Participating in a CSA allows you to eat in season as well as experiment and be creative with your meals.
Image purchased from www.dreamstime.com

Image purchased from http://www.dreamstime.com

5 natural tips for poison ivy

Check out my upcoming post for the Ottawa Mommy Club! Great tips for kids but they all apply to adults too.

Contact with poison ivy leads to itchy, fluid filled pimples on the skin.  This blistering red rash is very unpleasant for kids.  One of the key things to teach your children is how to identify what poison ivy looks like and to obey signs that warn of poison ivy  in order to minimize their risk of contact.

If your child does come into contact with poison ivy, here are 5 natural solutions to help ease their discomfort:

1. Apply pure aloe vera gel to the skin 3 times per day.  This will have a cooling, soothing effect on the irritated skin.

2. Alternate aloe vera gel with calendula cream.  Calendula is anti-inflammatory which will help relieve redness and swelling.  Calendula is also anti-microbial and will help to prevent the spread of infection due to scratching and open blisters.

3. Boil chamomile tea, allow it to cool and add it to your child’s bath water.  Chamomile is soothing and when absorbed through the skin has calming effects which are helpful for irritable children.

4. Slice up some cucumber and store in the freezer for 10 minutes.  Apply cool cucumber slices to hot skin for a soothing effect.

5. Use the homeopathic remedy Rhus toxicodendron 30 CH.  Let 3 pellets dissolve under the tongue up to 5 times per day to relieve poison ivy symptoms.  Homeopathic Rhus tox is made from diluted poison ivy and utilizes the principle of ‘like cures like.’  Essentially you are giving the body a small, diluted amount of a substance to stimulate a healing response to the effects of the same substance at a higher toxic amount.  Homeopathic remedies are easily found at your local drug or health store.

If your child has poison ivy on their face or if they are having signs of an allergic reaction such as breathing difficulties and extreme swelling call your primary health care provider immediately.

3 essentials for summer outdoor adventures!

Summer is here! Here’s a list of 3 essentials for healthy summer outdoor adventures:

1. A glass or stainless steel water bottle.  A re-usable water bottle helps the environment and keeps kids hydrated.  You will also avoid excessive bisphenol A (BPA) exposure from plastic water bottles that are left sitting in the hot sun for too long.  BPA is a hormone disrupter and linked to cancer.  Add some lemon, lime, cucumber or berries to your water to keep it fresh and tasty!

2. A natural sunscreen with zinc oxide as the active ingredient for preventing exposure to harmful UV rays.  Check out the Environmental Working Group’s 2015 Guide to Sunscreens to see where your sunscreen ranks in terms of safety and effectiveness.  Remember to reapply after swimming and don’t forget the ears, hands and feet! Check out my post on the ABC’s of Skin Cancer Prevention.

3. A natural essential oil bug spray.  Bug bites can lead to unpleasant itching and discomfort.  Prevent them with these Essential oils!

Image purchased from www.dreamstime.com

Image purchased from http://www.dreamstime.com

Natural remedies for ringworm

Sneak peak at my upcoming blog post for the Ottawa Mommy Club!

Ringworm is not actually a worm!

It is a fungal infection of the skin known as a ‘tinea’ infection, commonly contracted from close contact with others such as at day cares, swimming pools and the gym.

Tinea can occur anywhere on the body and starts off as red, raised, very itchy bumps.  Then it becomes dry and scaly as it heals from the inside out creating the appearance of a bright red ring, hence the common name ringworm.

How can you prevent a tinea infection?

1. Keep skin clean and dry.  Be sure to towel off thoroughly after a shower and to change wet, sweaty clothing as soon as you can.  Tinea thrives in dark, warm and moist environments.

2. Minimize sugar intake.  Often internal imbalance of yeast can manifest as tinea outwardly on the skin.  Sugar feeds the tinea and supports its growth.

3. Support a healthy immune system through a diet high in fruits and vegetables, ensuring your child has adequate sleep and exercise.  A strong immune system will deal with tinea exposure before it has a chance to manifest as ringworm.

Once my child has a tinea infection what can I do?

1. Avoid direct contact with others as much as possible to avoid the spread of tinea.

2. Mix 2-3 drops of tea tree essential oil into 1 tbsp of coconut or olive oil. Apply 2-3 times per day until the rash disappears and store the remainder in the fridge to use as needed.  Tea tree is anti-microbial, meaning it has the ability to kill fungus, bacteria and viruses.

3. Botanical tinctures of echinacea and goldenseal help support your child’s immune system so it can deal with the tinea infection.  Botanical tinctures are available at health food stores, be sure to use as directed based on your child’s age and weight.

4. Eat more raw garlic, raw onions and oregano.  These are natural anti-microbials and support the immune system to balance yeast levels from the inside out.

5. Incorporate omega-3 containing foods to the diet for their anti-inflammatory and skin healing properties.  Small fish such as anchovies, sardines and herring are super packed with omega-3 fatty acids.  Or you could add a tablespoon of chia seeds, hemp hearts or freshly ground flaxseeds into your child’s cereal, otameal or smoothie for a plant based omega-3 boost.

Feel free to share your experience or tips for other natural methods for resolving tinea!

Image purchased from www.dreamstime.com

Image purchased from http://www.dreamstime.com

3 nutrients that help with post-partum depression

Check out my latest blog post for the Ottawa Mommy Club!

3 nutrients that help with post-partum depression


Image purchased from www.dreamstime.com

Image purchased from http://www.dreamstime.com

3 reasons to supplement with vitamin D this winter

Check out my latest blog post for the Ottawa Mommy Club!

3 reasons to supplement with vitamin D this winter


Stock image purchased from Dreamstime.com

Stock image purchased from Dreamstime.com

10 simple ways to reconnect with yourself

Check out my latest post for the Ottawa Mommy Club!

10 simple ways to reconnect with yourself


Healthy nut-free snacks for back to school

It’s back to school time and lots of parents are asking the question, “What nut-free snacks can I pack for my child?”.  Having a nut-free policy is essential to ensuring the safety of those children with nut allergies.  However, removing nuts can make it challenging to provide snacks that are high in protein.  Protein is essential for maintaining your child’s energy level and cognitive function.

Here are 5 nut-free high protein snacks:

1. Nut-free trail mix: Make a baggie of sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, pretzels, toasted soy beans and dried fruit.  Easy to prep and portion in advance.

2. Hard-boiled egg: To make this boring snack a little more interesting, provide turmeric, curry spices, cayenne, paprika, chopped dill or sage to sprinkle on the egg or to dip the egg into for extra flavour.

3. Edemame: These are whole soy beans in their pods.  Easy to find in the frozen vegetable section, they can be pre-boiled and portioned for the week.  Sprinkle a little salt on them them the morning of to enhance their flavour.  Edemame make a fun snack as kids love to pop the beans out of their pods.

4. Greek yogurt: Greek yogurt is high in protein and easy to find in pre-packaged containers for convenience.  For a healthier option, purchase pure, unsweetened, unflavoured Greek yogurt in a larger bulk container.  Divide into individual portion and add honey, cinnamon, berries, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds or hemp hearts for added flavour and protein.

5. Mixed bean salad: Mixed beans are readily available canned.  Be sure to rinse the beans thoroughly before use.  You can also purchase the beans you like in dried form and make your own personalized mix.  Dried bean require soaking and boiling before use so will add to your prep time. Mix all beans and flavour with olive oil, lemon, salt, pepper, ginger, garlic, chili flakes, balsamic vinegar, basil, dill, thyme, cumin, etc.  Bean salad is easy to make and you can basically flavour it however you like.  An even simpler option is to mix a vinaigrette salad dressing into the beans for flavour, therefore no chopping/crushing of herbs required!

Involve your children in the snack decision making and preparation to figure out what flavours and textures they like!

Image purchased from: www.dreamstime.com

Image purchased from: http://www.dreamstime.com

The ABC’s of skin cancer prevention

Check out my latest blog post for the Ottawa Mommy Club:

The ABC’s of skin cancer prevention



A naturopathic approach to fertility and pregnancy

Check out my latest blog post for the Ottawa Mommy Club:

A Naturopathic Approach to Fertility and Pregnancy