Welcome to another edition of our What-if series. Written by Amanda Delamer, Life Coach and Dr. Alisha Rawji ND, Naturopathic doctor. We are excited to share another article with you all!
The month of October is mental health awareness month. Most individuals, including myself, have experienced painful bouts of mental health struggles-some short term, others more chronic. It’s no surprise that as the days get shorter-so do our fuses! This is completely normal, and in fact, to be expected. In the winter months, it is completely natural for our mood and temperament to shift a little bit, and more so as the seasons change especially leading closer and closer into the winter months. This, fortunately, can be improved and managed adequately through various naturopathic strategies and treatments- and the most successful treatments we like to use are discussed below:
Vitamin D3: Seasonal Affective Disorder (or ‘SAD’ as it’s accurately shortened to), is a very common ailment which spans across various regions around the world, especially here in Canada. It is most notably seen in countries that are further away from the equator, and therefore have a substantially decreased exposure to sunlight, and as a result, inadequate amounts of vitamin D3. Vitamin D3 converts into an active, hormone-like form after it has been processed through the liver and kidneys. This hormone-like complex aids in the formation and enhancement of many neurotransmitters, such as dopamine and serotonin. Therefore, being diligent with Vitamin D3 supplementation is critical in keeping up levels of these important neurotransmitters, and thus, keeping moods and equilibrium in balance.
Omega 3s/Fish oil: Our brains are largely made of fat, and as such, need to be nourished with healthy fats as well. Omega 3s, especially in the form of fish oils, are one of the best agents for this. EPA and DHA found in fish are critical for proper brain function. It is rather difficult to get an adequate amount of EPA and DHA from food sources (and even from fish itself); therefore daily supplementation is highly recommended. However one needs to be cautious about taking an Omega 3-6-9s, as those may not be suitable for everyone, dependent on their individual health status and situation, type of diet (vegan/vegetarian vs non-vegan/vegetarian), as well as the type of conditions they have such as certain inflammatory disorders. Typically, Omega 3s are more versatile, and generally more widely used for most individuals. Assessing one’s signs and symptoms in an investigative manner is also imperative in order to make a proper recommendation for each individual. As well, since omega 3s are also a type of healthy fat, they’re typically well absorbed and tolerated if taken with Vitamin D3, since it is a fat-soluble vitamin.
Gut health: Research is now becoming clear about the fact that the gut functions as “a second brain”. This is because the majority of serotonin is actually made in the gut, rather than in the brain. This is fascinating because it further proves that an improvement in gut health will greatly increase mood. Cutting out foods you’re sensitive to via IgG food sensitivity testing for example, as well as adding probiotics of various strains, are also very helpful. As well, gut strengthening and serotonin building agents (such as L-glutamine and B6) for example, are also very helpful for strengthening the gut all around. Frequent meals that are generally low on the glycemic index are also important as they will maintain blood glucose levels and insulin, to keep you feeling full, balanced energetic, and not ‘hangry’! Eating seasonal foods (hot foods in the winter for example) are really helpful for balancing Qi and energy in Traditional Chinese Medicine as well.
Acupuncture: Speaking of Traditional Chinese Medicine, this is one of my favorite treatments for promoting stability, a sense of wellbeing, calm, and overall balance. Even the notion of laying down, with meditative music, in itself, is incredibly calming…and extremely grounding. Acupuncture points are based on your current condition, and health goals, and can be tailored specifically to you. There are also set points which, for everyone, promote calmness, stillness, and a smooth flow of Qi, (Chinese medicine term for energy). The most grounding points are those which are the ‘gate’ points, that are used to ‘open the gates’ which in Chinese medicine, allows Qi to flow from top to bottom. Other points which I absolutely love are Qi building and Qi flowing points, blood building and regulating points, and generally the calming and anxiety-reducing points. Some points are used to work with the chakras, which are also 7 energy centers in the body from the top to bottom, all in a midline. One of my absolute favorite points is called Yin Tang, and it is location found in the Third Eye Chakra, which is known to promote calmness and connect us to higher energy centers. Acupuncture needles are extremely thin and cause minimal to no feeling during insertion. As for any other technique offered, feel free to ask any of our naturopathic doctors, or contact reception for more information about this wonderful treatment. In addition to Acupuncture, we also offer cupping which helps move energy, and is also a great treatment for pain; most notable for back pain, sciatica, or any other muscular pain issues.
Homeopathy: This is another wonderful gentle, safe and energy-balancing treatment. Both acute homeopathics are used, (either single dose remedies), or complex remedies such as Undas. They help balance energies, based on one’s condition, with their mental, emotional and physical state in mind. Furthermore, another category of homeopathic treatments are constitutional homeopathic remedies. These delve a lot deeper into one’s structure, make-up, or ‘constitution’ and focus on the person experiencing the symptoms, rather than the symptoms themselves. In constitutional homeopathy, a remedy is given after an extensive course of interviewing and getting to know and individual extremely well, in addition to their condition. I’ve seen, (and experienced myself), significant movement, with this type of treatment, and it also allows the patient to share their experiences and their health struggles in a deeper, more significant way; and likely in a way in which they have not been able to do before.
Vitamin and Mineral support: B6, as mentioned before is important for gut health, as it is an important cofactor (building block) of serotonin production. B12 being dosed adequately is also important for improving energy, fatigue and sluggishness, as it’s helpful for building ferritin and iron. B-complexes, magnesium, and SamE are also some of the supplements used to help with mood and anxiety concerns.
Injections: As mentioned above, vitamin and minerals are wonderful for helping with mood, anxiety and energy. Injections offer quick boosts of vitamins at high absorption rates. Some of the vitamin and mineral injections include B12, B-complex, PMS cure, Adrenal support (to help balance cortisol), as well pain relief, glutathione and immune boosters, and many more. Visit the Docere Wellness Centre website or call reception for more information of our vitamin and mineral ‘shot bar’. These injections can be done as one-offs, for quick boosts of energy and vitamins, or most commonly done 1x/week, for roughly a month as a loading phase, and then taper off as needed. Dosing depends on one’s vitamin and mineral status, and their health goals.
IV Therapy: IV therapy offers vitamin and minerals at 100% absorption, as they are administered straight into the body, intravenously. This offers a mega-dose of many different agents which fully flood the cells at an intercellular level including B vitamins, vitamin C, magnesium, calcium, trace minerals, taurine, glutathione and others. IV therapy treatments are wonderful for fast and widespread dosing of vitamins and done in a safe and comfortable environment. The IVs that are currently offered at Docere are the very popular Meyer’s cocktail, as well as the Love Your Liver IV and the Immune Enhancement IV. Typically, similar to injections, IV treatments can be one-off treatments for simple vitamin replenishment and energy enhancement; or for many can be done 1x a week, every other week, 1x/month, or more depending on one’s condition and treatment goals. This can be determined based on an intake or existing protocol, or after discussing your needs and circumstances with a naturopathic doctor. Similar to naturopathic visits, injections and IV therapy are covered under health care plans.
Botanical Medicine and Herbs: Herbs and Botanical Medicine are also incredible for increasing mood, diminishing anxiety, regulating cortisol, managing fatigue and boosting energy. Herbs, as in everything else in naturopathic medicine, must be used accurately, and best when under the care of a naturopath. Some of the most commonly used herbs used for mental balance and clarity are St. Johns Wart, passionflower, valerian, avena sativa, and ashwaganda, to name a few. It is always important to check with a professional, and more so with respect to herbal and medicine in order to check for any major interactions between herbs and pharmaceutical medications.
Testing: As mentioned, testing is remarkable for naturopathic doctors to assist in identifying any of root causes of one’s low mood, anxiety, fatigue, restlessness, gut disturbance, or many other medical concerns. Some of the most common tests that we run are the IgG food sensitivity test, candida, SIBO, and cortisol testing, as well as full male and female hormonal panels. All of which are suggested based on the signs and symptoms that an individual presents, or if any previously diagnosed conditions exist, which need further investigation.
Analysis Paralysis and the role of Life Coaching:
Alisha provided so much amazing information to take-in and consider, from our last article. Now here’s the hard part – don’t over think it! I know when I get excited about incorporating new information and ideas I can sometimes find myself in a state of analysis paralysis. I transition from excited to completely overwhelmed.
For me, taking a deep breath and a step back to consider my bigger picture gets me grounded and helps me to identify and prioritize those things I want to “move” on – those areas where I want to make change happen. You might find a few aspects from your life that you are curious about working on, or want to address. Choose one. Ask yourself, “what one thing would take my health to the next level?” There is nothing saying you cannot go after every item on your list, but what if you gave yourself permission to take on one at a time, and take it day by day?
And please know, you don’t have to go it alone. Ask for help. Connect with Alisha to set up a naturopathic consult, and reach out to me, Amanda Delamer for support to prioritize, process and align your actions with your being, with who you are.
We sincerely hope these strategies can help during this change of season and we’re wishing you all a very happy, healthy fall!
Amanda Delamer is a self-awareness and fulfillment coach. Amanda coaches and supports people in living healthy, balanced and joyful lives. She coaches and honors the whole person – mind, body and spirit. Her clients experience fulfillment in all parts of their lives – health, family, relationships, career, and beyond – and they value and appreciate that all parts of their lives are connected, and that we all have responsibility in and for the world around us. She lives in Calgary, Alberta, Canada with her husband and three children.
Dr. Alisha Rawji ND is a naturopathic doctor born and raised in Calgary Alberta. She is devoted to the understanding of the body as a whole, and works with her patients in a holistic manner, with a mind, body and soul approach to health and healing. She loves to delve deep into getting to the root cause of disease as well as the science behind one’s symptoms. She has taken part in a volunteer group to Haiti with an organization called Naturopaths Without Boarders (NWB), and has obtained additional training in constitutional homeopathy from Mumbai India, as well as in high dose vitamin and mineral IV (Intravenous) Therapy in San Diego, United States.
by Dr. Michelle Hagel ND
Thanksgiving dinner doesn’t mean that we have to gorge ourselves at the dinner table. There are a lot of healthy choices when it comes to leftovers after Thanksgiving dinner. Turkey is an excellent source of protein, b vitamins, choline, phosphorus and potassium. Then just skip the gravy, potatoes, and stuffing and load up on the veggies! I have included a recipe for a turkey bowl, a great leftover alternative. The best of all it’s not about saying no to dessert it is about finding a good alternative like the black bean brownies recipe below – I bet you won’t be able to tell the difference!
Enjoy the holiday weekend it is a great time to practice thanks and gratitude to yourself and others.
Turkey Squash Bowls
- 2 Delicata Squash (small)
- 2 tbsps Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 lb Extra Lean Ground Turkey
- 1 tbsp Poultry Seasoning
- 1 tsp Sea Salt
- 1/2 cup Frozen Cranberries (thawed, or use fresh)
- 4 cups Microgreens
- 2 tbsps Balsamic Vinegar
- Preheat the oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Rinse the outside of the squash and slice in half lengthwise. Brush the flesh with a small amount of olive oil and place face-down on the baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the turkey and saute until cooked through and browned. Break it up into tiny pieces as it cooks.
- Once the turkey is cooked through, stir in the poultry seasoning, sea salt and cranberries. Turn the heat to the lowest setting to keep warm until your squash is cooked.
- Remove squash from oven and stuff each half with the turkey/cranberry mix. Serve with microgreens and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. Enjoy!
Black Bean Brownies
- 2 cups Black Beans (cooked)
- 3 Egg
- 1/4 cup Coconut Oil (melted)
- 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
- 1/4 tsp Sea Salt
- 3/4 cup Cocoa Powder
- 1/4 cup Coconut Sugar
- 1/4 cup Raw Honey
- 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
- 100 grams Dark Organic Chocolate (chopped and divided)
- 1/4 cup Sliced Almonds
- Preheat oven to 350 F and line a 8 x 8 baking dish with parchment paper.
- Add the cooked black beans and eggs to a food processor. Turn it on and add the coconut oil. Let the food processor blend until the black beans are very smooth.
- Add vanilla, salt, cocoa powder, coconut sugar, honey and baking powder to the black bean batter. Blend until all incorporated.
- Add half of the chocolate to the brownie batter and pulse until it is mixed in.
- Transfer brownie batter to the prepared baking dish and smooth into an even layer. Sprinkle the remaining chocolate and the sliced almonds evenly over top of the brownies.
- Bake for 30 to 35 minutes. Let the brownies cool completely before transferring to the fridge for at least 4 hours before cutting into squares. Enjoy!
by Dr. Michelle Hagel
See Below for our Upcoming Breast Thermography Clinic
Breast cancer has received a lot of attention in the media lately, and rightfully so. 1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime; an estimated 19,200 women in Canada. The same risk as a heavy smoker developing lung cancer. In North America, breast cancer is the 2nd leading cancer killer among women, with an alarmingly increased rate of young women being diagnosed.
Screening for breast cancer involves a low-dose x-ray of the breast or mammography every 2 years. Current screening recommendations for women in Canada occur between the ages of 50 and 69, this is due to half of new breast cancer cases being diagnosed during this period. It was also found that this age group had larger benefits from screening than the risks associated with screening. Screening of those aged 60-69 has a 32% reduction in mortality, while other age groups had significantly less reduction. Risks associated with mammography include radiation exposure and false positive results, meaning the test indicate they have cancer when they do not. False positives can cause a lot of anxiety, and lead to further unnecessary testing. These recommendations vary if an individual has signs/symptoms of breast cancer or is at increased risk.
Factors that increase the risk of breast cancer include extended exogenous estrogen exposure (sources like hormone replacement or birth control pill), family history, radiation exposure, uterine or contralateral breast cancer, a diet high in processed foods, obesity and sedentary lifestyle, smoking or exposure to other toxins such as plastics.
So what can every woman do to ensure their breasts are healthy?
Increase fruit and vegetable intake, they are high in antioxidants, fiber and other important cancer-fighting nutrients. Increase fiber to ensure normal bowel habits, this will help decrease the extra circulating estrogen and other toxins by flushing them out of our system. Exercise regularly, 20-40mins/day will increase our lymphatic circulation and contribute to estrogen metabolism. Specifically arm movement, because most of our lymph nodes associated with the breasts are located under the armpit, so motion in this area will help with circulation locally. Lastly, avoid risk factors to the best of your ability.
Get to know your breasts. Understanding what is normal for your breasts and notice changes in the look or feel. Look for lumps in the breast and armpit, that do not fluctuate based on your cycle, changes in breast shape/size or changes to the skin or nipple.
Thermography is another assessment tool; we are now offering at the clinic. It works by assessing the temperature variations of the breast tissue and surrounding areas. This is able to detect tumours, as they require an increased blood supply and therefore will show an elevated temperature in the area. There is no radiation exposure to the individual.
Docere is excited to bring you this ONCE A YEAR opportunity hosted at our clinic!
Can detect changes in breast tissue function before mammograms detect structural changes or lumps. No touching, squeezing, radiation or pain!
- Cost: $250
- Date: Sunday September 30th 9AM-5Pm
- Call: 1-866-242-5554 to book an appointment
Breast Thermography is applicable to all women, especially the group between 40 and 50, and for those who have dense, fibrocystic breasts or implants. It is a completely safe, non-invasive screening method that has been proven to be effective. An abnormal infrared image is the single-most important marker of high risk for developing breast disease.
By Amanda Delamer, MSc, ACC, CPCC and Dr. Alisha Rawji ND
Alisha and I met for coffee the other week and got talking about what commonly motivates people to seek out our supports – that of a Life Coach and Naturopath. One common topic that seems to drive motivation is weight loss – and losing pounds as quickly as possible.
While we totally appreciate that carrying extra pounds can be unhealthy, we often find ourselves being curious with clients, and asking, what if it wasn’t about the weight? What if your focus wasn’t just about the number on the scale? What if it wasn’t about cursing yourself about that cookie you just ate? What if, it wasn’t about looking in the mirror and being unhappy with how you look? What if we didn’t beat ourselves up for simply honouring one of our most basic and fundamental needs: eating.
What if we shifted our focus from losing weight to making intentional and consistent choices that support our overall health – mind, body, and soul?
Mind – Decrease stress and increase fulfillment.
What if we treated ourselves in a loving and accepting manner, channeling our energy away from frustration about the number on the scale towards healthy curiosity? In this moment, what do you want less of? What things are draining you? Ask yourself, am I making this choice because I think I should/could/__wants me to? Or am I making this choice because I want to? Stress shows up in so many ways, and takes up so much space in our minds. What if you shifted your energy from those things that drain you, to those things that fill you up? If losing weight is just one more thing on your “to-do” list, it likely feels draining. What happens if you shift the focus?
Body – Fuel your body with good nutrition and supplements, and move your body.
What we eat and how much we exercise are only small pieces of the larger puzzle which, quite literally, shape us. Our weight and body type have so much more at play than simply calories in and calories out. Understanding a little bit more about the basic science of how our bodies work, and how they work for us, can take us leaps and bounds further.
- Hormones (namely insulin and cortisol)
- Insulin gets released when sugar is increased, or when food gets broken down into simple sugars such as glucose. This is a normal
- Cortisol gets released from the adrenal glands during times of stress. This is also normal.
- The key is to support your body in not producing too much of these hormones.
- High carbohydrate and sugar intake
Insulin tells your body to store excess sugar as fat. When our bodies are introduced with excess sugars, or carbohydrates in the form of complex sugars, it will eventually be stored in the form of fat.
- Diet, Exercise and Lifestyle
Inactivity and unhealthy eating habits will not support you in weight loss. Beating yourself up , over the one cookie you ate yesterday or not making it to the gym seven days a week is not so beneficial either. Healthy balance is essential in all aspects of life, and the 80-20 rule can help maintain an ideal, and very achievable ratio (Refer to Andrea Thatcher, Never Diet Again Program: http://www.andreathatcher.com).
There is nothing better for your mind, body, soul and adrenals than some relaxation techniques. Meditation, Yoga, Tai Chi, tea with a friend, taking a walk out in nature – these are wonderful methods to lower our stress, feel grounded, and help our cortisol regulate to less erratic ups and downs.
Head over to Part 2 of this article, where we will dive a little deeper into the science of hormones, diet, and lifestyle.
Soul – Honour your heart, your inner knowing, your values and your purpose.
Dig a bit deeper. What do you value? What is most important for you? What is your bigger picture? Taking time to get clear on these questions can support that part of you, your inner leader, that knows your life is as it should be in the moment, and at the same time can want more for you. Wisdom, compassion, courage and clarity…This is the part of you that can let go of going after a quick fix and instead make intentional and consistent choices that will bring you more joy and fulfillment. If you have clarity that dropping weight is in line with what you value, go after losing that 20 pounds and give yourself permission to enjoy your life in this moment and all the moments leading up to. Decisions can seem easier to make as we make choices from a place of who we are, not who we would like to be or think we should be.
In addition to all of the benefits listed above, as we tune in and pay more attention to all parts of us – mind, body and soul – we can’t help but experience a decrease in stress and our bodies reaching a healthy weight.
Both Alisha and I, along with our amazing Docere Wellness team, strive to support the whole person – mind, body and soul. Please visit www.docerewellness.ca to learn more about us, our coaching and naturopathic services, along with information about all of our wellness services and practitioners.
Call 403-452-6262 to book in for your complimentary one-hour coaching session with Amanda Delamer, and visit the Docere Wellness Centre website or Facebook group to check out our seasonal promotions with our Naturopathic doctors Dr. Alisha Rawji, Dr. Michelle Hagel and Dr. Rabia Meghji.
Amanda Delamer is a self-awareness and fulfillment coach. Amanda coaches and supports people in living healthy, balanced and joyful lives. She coaches and honours the whole person – mind, body and spirit. Her clients experience fulfillment in all parts of their lives – health, family, relationships, career, and beyond – and they value and appreciate that all parts of their lives are connected, and that we all have responsibility in and for the world around us. She lives in Calgary, Alberta, Canada with her husband and three children.
Dr. Alisha Rawji is a naturopathic doctor born and raised in Calgary Alberta. She is devoted to the understanding of the body as a whole, and works with her patients in a holistic manner, with a mind, body and soul approach to health and healing. She loves to delve deep into getting to the root cause of disease as well as the science behind one’s symptoms. She has taken part in a volunteer group to Haiti with an organization called Naturopaths Without Boarders (NWB), and has obtained additional training in constitutional homeopathy from Mumbai India, as well as in high dose vitamin and mineral Intravenous Therapy (IV) in San Diego.
by Dr. Michelle Hagel ND
Back to school can always be a busy time for parents and children. The last thing you want to do is spend a long time making breakfast and lunches. Here are a couple of great, quick and easy recipes that can be made ahead of time to save you time when the kids are trying to run out the door. It is important to remember that the food we feed our family is the fuel to perform throughout the day. Ensuring that the food is whole food, not processed, with healthy fats and proteins and low sugar. Enjoy
Chocolate Berry Chia Pudding
1/4 cup Chia Seeds
1 tbsp Cocoa Powder
1 cup Unsweetened Almond Milk or Coconut milk
1 tbsp Maple Syrup
1/4 tsp Vanilla Extract
1/2 cup Blueberries
1/2 cup Raspberries
In a mixing bowl whisk together chia seeds, cocoa powder, milk, maple syrup, and vanilla extract. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours (or overnight) and serve with berries on top.
Sesame Chicken Salad – Easy
16 oz Chicken Breast (cubed)
1 tbsp Chinese Five Spice
Sea Salt & Black Pepper (to taste)
8 cups Coleslaw Mix (pre-sliced, from the bag)
2 Navel Orange (peeled and cubed)
4 stalks Green Onion (sliced)
1 cup Cilantro (chopped)
1/4 cup Sesame Seeds
1/4 cup Coconut Aminos
1/4 cup Sesame Oil
1 Garlic (clove, minced)
1 tbsp Ginger (peeled and grated)
Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat, add the chicken with the Chinese Five Spice and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook for about 10 minutes or until chicken is fully cooked.
Mix together Coleslaw, oranges, onion, cilantro in a large bowl
In a small mason jar mix together coconut aminos, sesame oil, garlic, and ginger. Shake to blend
Add chicken over the salad then pour dressing over. Great leftover too.