Positive Thinking

Positive Thinking

Challenging negative thinking patterns and behaviors
Dr. Alisha Rawji Bsc, ND.

“In the midst of movement and chaos, keep stillness inside of you.” –Deepak Chopra. I absolutely love this quote and I keep it as a daily mantra to remind myself that I am truly in control of how I choose to react to the events that are happening in my life. In a fast-paced and ever-changing world, it is far too easy and very common to get into our own heads. With that, we can often get fixated in ruminating and extremely repetitive thoughts. The most challenging part about it is that it’s difficult to even notice, as our thought patterns and ways of thinking become so ingrained into our psyche, we can often fail to notice that it is actually happening. It becomes our automatic machinery, and we can inevitably be left feeling stuck, trapped, and at times helpless; however, we never truly are. We have the ability to be flexible and malleable in modifying our thought patterns, more so if we have the capacity to recognize what those are.

Hunter et al (2009) from Integrated Behavioral Health in Primary Care explain how to challenge several of these negative thinking patterns, and how to properly catch yourself in them:

1) All or nothing thinking-you can only see things in extreme opposites of the spectrum or in black and white, and there is no room for anything else or no happy medium. “I am either everything, or I am nothing.”

2) Jumping to conclusions-negative conclusions are made with little or no facts to back them up. “My loved one isn’t home yet, the only possible conclusion is that something bad must have happened to them.”

3) Fortune telling-you assume that things can, and will, certainly end badly. “Because I didn’t get a good grade on my exam, I will ultimately fail out of my program.”

4) Should statements-words like ‘I should ‘I must’ ‘I ought to’ can lead to extreme anxiety and dis-illusions of oneself and one’s values, abilities, and self-worth. “I am of a certain age, which means I should be married by now.”

5) Emotional Reasoning-the notion that because you feel a certain way, the assumptions you make about how you feel must be true. “Since I feel anxious, it must mean that there is something seriously wrong going on.”

There are many other disoriented thinking patterns discussed by Hunter et al (2009), however those are the most common ones that I have encountered in practice. Often, we are a subtle combination of many of them, even within a single day. This is why I love sending home Automatic Negative Thought records (or ANTs), as it gives people a chance to see these thought patterns head on, and it really gives an idea of how their thoughts effect their reality.

Having an aptitude to examine upsetting thought patterns is extremely helpful. It gives an individual the chance to really see those patterns for what they are, as well as to really challenge them. Seeing a thought pattern in front of you, and examining evidence for, as well as evidence against it, really helps rationalize something that is usually at a deeper level, very irrational.
It is very common to see stress, and anxiety manifest into physical illness, and I have seen this time and time again. Stress causes inflammation in the body and can cause serious digestive, joint, and even perpetuate autoimmune disorders (Gabor Mate 2003, When The Body Says No). It is truly fascinating to see what stress reduction and increasing positive mental-emotional coping mechanisms can do, not only for better mental health, but physical health and fitness as well.

I also find it very important to examine physical and organic causes which can perpetuate depression, stress and anxiety, and working to heal those triggers at the same time. Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), adrenal fatigue, sleep deprivation, poor diet, cortisol or hormonal imbalances, and vitamin and mineral deficiencies, (often vitamin D3, or B12), as well as ferritin, and iron deficiencies, can all help with identifying any pre-existing states that need to be examined in order to make sure a sincerely holistic and all-encompassing approach is taken.

Adrenal injections, high dose B-complex injections, as well as traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture, homeopathy, botanicals, supplements and diet, all work together to ensure an individual’s ability and resilience to stress is at its truly optimal state.


Hunter et al (2009), Integrated Behavioral Health in Primary Care.

Gabor Mate (2003), When The Body Says No.

Instead of “when”, what about “and”?

Instead of “when”, what about “and”?

By Amanda Delamer, MSc, ACC, CPCC

My family and I just got back from an amazing trip to Argentina. It was so restful and rejuvenating, and I didn’t come back feeling like I needed a vacation following my vacation. Yesterday, I was reflecting on our time away and the joy I experienced, and then remembered that I had experienced some anxiety and panic leading up to our trip.

I don’t know about you, but every time before we go on vacation somewhere hot (i.e., where wearing a bathing suit is involved) a lovely little voice likes to pop into my head and say…”okay, you’ve got X amount of days/weeks to lose X amount of pounds. When you lose some weight you will be ready to have an amazing time on vacation. When you drop 10 pounds you will be happy.”

This voice is certainly not coming from my inner leader, but instead a sneaky saboteur trying to convince me that I will be happier “when”. A few days before our trip to Argentina (where we have family and friends who I will see again) the lovely voice was back letting me know that “you’ll be okay this trip, but think about next time when you have lost some of your baby weight.” Yep, the voice is good, it’s so positive and optimistic, NOT!

With so many years of experience with this lovely little voice…I witness myself moving quite quickly from “when” to “and”. I love my life, I love me as I am, in this moment AND I will continue to live a healthy lifestyle. If that results in dropping a few pounds, great, but the joy I experience in my life and my love for myself, in this moment, is not dependent on it.

So what’s your “when”? When I…lose 10 pounds, get that promotion, have children, finish this big project at work, move into a larger home…Whatever it is, what would it be like to feel joy now, in this moment AND commit to goals that are important to you? You might even find that finishing a project or dropping 10 pounds – that goal that has the “I will be happy when…” attached to it – is really not what is most important, you just have it on your “to do” list because you’re supposed to or you think you should.

What if you experienced joy in your life, loved your life and loved who you are, as you are today, in this moment?

I’m not saying drop your goals, go after them if they are important to you. I’m just throwing out there that experiencing joy and fulfillment is something that is available to you in this moment, if you are willing to let it in. And you can have goals and create change in your life.

Amanda Delamer is a self-awareness and fulfillment coach. Amanda coaches and supports people in living healthy, balanced and fulfilled 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.

Book in for your complimentary coaching session with Amanda Delamer. Call 403-452-6262. NEW CLIENT PROMOTION – 4 months of Coaching for the price of 3! Create space for joy, fulfillment and self-awareness!



by Dr. Michelle Hagel ND

It is a pleasure to share my new love…homemade coconut yogurt! I have had an intolerance to dairy since I was a child, but still consumed it up until a few years ago when symptoms got worse with dairy consumption. I find dairy intolerances and allergies in many patients, so I love to be able to provide alternatives. Coconut yogurt is a wonderful alternative to regular yogurt if you are experiencing negative reactions to dairy or even lactose intolerance. Store bought coconut yogurt can be expensive and have added sugar and flavours. So I have been wanting to try to make my own but the task seemed quite daunting until I borrowed an Instapot. I was sceptical about how ‘amazing’ this pot really could be, but wow did it exceed all expectations.

My favourite thing about yogurt is it contains healthy bacteria or probiotics. I am a huge fan of healthy gut bacteria, probiotics, and fermented foods. When we are able to get the healthy bacteria we need from the foods we eat rather than supplementing, GREAT! Fermenting foods improve the absorbability of nutrients in the yogurt because they are partially broken down by the bacteria.However, when we are consuming flavoured yogurt the additional sugar can counteract the benefits of the healthy bacteria. If you are dairy intolerant I also don’t recommend getting your healthy gut bacteria from traditional dairy yogurt. Try the coconut yogurt, it won’t disappoint. It tastes just like plain yogurt with a hint of coconut, but it isn’t a strong coconut flavour. It is also a great source of healthy fats, to keep you full and satisfied.

Coconut yogurt in a Instapot– This was so easy I can’t believe it.

2 cans coconut cream
1tbsp gelatin (grass fed preferable)
1 package of yogurt culture (can get at health food store)

1. Bring the coconut cream to a boil, there is a boil function in yogurt settings.
2. Let it cool to 100 degrees F (ensure not warmer as it can kill off the good bacteria)
3. Mix in yogurt culture (I have used probiotic capsules and just broken the capsule apart and poured in. My understanding is that this isn’t the best method as some of the bacteria may not survive so it won’t be as high in probiotics as if you were to use a yogurt culture, the taste was identical)
4. Set Instapot to yogurt and leave for about 8 hours
5. After the 8 hours, add 1tbsp gelatin and mix well. Refrigerate overnight (about 8 hours)
6. Enjoy, can add toppings to it if desired

NADA Protocol for Smoking Cessation and Addictions

NADA Protocol for Smoking Cessation and Addictions

Dr. Alisha Rawji BSc, ND

The NADA protocol stands for the National Acupuncture Detoxification Association protocol which promotes detoxification and aid and recovery of addictions, smoking as well as mental calming (and relaxation), using auricular, or ear, acupuncture. Five standard points are used in the outer ear, which systematically and energetically correspond to organ systems in the body, and thus, help promote and engage detoxification pathways.

The points used are: Shen Men, Kidney, Lung, Liver and Sympathetic. These auricular points correspond with the various organ system, based on their location on the ear. Because of this, practitioners differ in their administration of the treatment; some will needle both ears in one treatment, others will needle one ear at each treatment (switching sides each time), and both variations have been proven to be effective.

What the points do:

1. Shen Men is also known as the ‘spirit gate’ point in Chinese medicine. It is the central grounding point, calms the mind, and centres the core of the person.

2. Kidney: Encourages trust, self-worth, inner confidence, will power, and calming of fears.

3. Lung; Balances and encourages healthy lung function, as well as helps with feelings of grief and letting go.

4. Liver: Regulating and harmonizing adequate Qi and blood flow, for detoxification. It also aids in promoting acceptance, smooth energy flow, depression, and feelings of stuck or frustration.

5. Sympathetic-it is meant to balance the autonomic nervous system, and the immediate stress reaction known as the fight or flight response.

A typical treatment will last roughly 30-45 mins, on a weekly basis for about 6-8 weeks. Patients who receive the treatment report feeling lighter, and more energized, and a reduction in cravings and anxiety, improved sleep and greater optimism towards quitting. It is most effective when used along with other treatment protocols or smoking cessation programs.

Naturopathic Doctors Calgary

In naturopathic medicine, herbs such as Passiflora, Avena Sativa, and Lobelia for example, are used to both relax the mind and reduce cravings. Also, when used alongside already existing protocols, have high rates of long-term success. CBT or Cognitive and Behavioral Therapy such as daily thought records are also fundamental pieces to treatment to be used alongside acupuncture and botanical medicine, especially for understanding stressors and triggers.

Acupuncture use for additions has been longstanding for many years, dating back to the 1970s. The NADA protocol was developed and at this time, at the Lincoln Hospital in New York. It was originally used for drug and opioid addiction, and still is used as a detoxifying program today. It was known afterwards as the Lincoln Detox Center, and now as the Lincoln Recovery Centre. It was developed within the Acupuncture Clinic and Substance Abuse Division of the Department of Psychiatry at this established hospital. It was soon realized that it was a highly effective treatment for smoking cession as well, in addition to drug and opioid addictions, and is still used prominently today.

It has also been shown to be used in the adjective care of post-traumatic-stress-disorder for the US Department of Defence and Veterans Affair (2010), as well as recognized by the US Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (2007). Guidelines and best practices of this protocol have been recognized by the United Nations (2006).

Detox treatment Northwest CalgaryThe NADA protocol has been shown to increase effectiveness of existing treatments as well, especially when on a smoking cessation protocol or support group. Often times, NADA has been known to be used in a group setting or at group therapy sessions as well as support groups. In addition, working alongside an established practitioner can enable individualized care and progress and to make sure that all aspects of the person’s experience is being accurately assessed and thoroughly investigated for maximum success. However, group settings do offer a sense of support and accountability amongst groups of individuals who are determined to quit together. Having accountability, whether it be in the form of a clinical or practitioner, or from peers, family and friends, or other support systems, is highly valuable and highly recommended for the greatest success in quitting and for long-term and lasting results.







Start your smoke-free life with Docere Wellness Centre. Contact us for more info!

Understanding Detoxification and It’s Impact

Understanding Detoxification and It’s Impact

By Dr. Michelle Hagel, ND

We live in a toxic world in fact we are born toxic, as chemicals can cross through the placenta and umbilical cord from mother to child. We are then exposed to unavoidabletoxins daily, toxins from environmental pollution, food sources exposed to pesticides, even toxic thoughts that we have about ourselves. Toxin build up can cause symptoms like fatigue, brain fog, weight gain, headaches, joint pain, skin and digestive issues. Toxins contribute to many diseases such as dementia, Parkinson’s, chronic fatigue, infertility and other mental disorders. Children with increased toxic burden showed changes in mood, aggressive behavior, problems with attention and focus, sleep problems and reduced intellectual performance. Toxins change our health dramatically, increasing our risk of disease, impact our hormones and altering our appetite signals leading to weight gain.

What is detoxification and how does it work?
When we get down to the physiology it all starts with the mitochondria, these are cell components that provide energy for the body by converting from our food stores. Mitochondria are the metabolism engines of the body. Toxins can damage these components, resulting in buildup of fat and poor energy or exhaustion. When we detoxify we eliminate the toxins and wastes from our body so we can promote the mitochondrial function. This helps reduce the burden on the body specifically through 5 elimination pathways. The number one organ of elimination is the liver, the liver deactivates toxins and then eliminates the toxins. Second are our kidneys which filter and eliminate toxins through urination. We can eliminate through our skin through sweat. Lastly our lungs and circulatory system including blood and lymphatics will flush toxins out of the body. Supporting all these systems we can increase the body’s healing ability, improve immune system and live to our true ability.

detoxification Calgary

Overweight = Toxic
Signs of toxic overload according to environmental medicine expert Dr. Walter Cinnion include: if you are more than 25lbs overweight and suffer from: allergies, asthma, autoimmune disease, bone marrow cancer, chemical sensitivity, chronic fatigue, chronic infection, diabetes, fibromyalgia, infertility, or Parkinson’s. Toxic burden will make us tired, make us sick and make us fat. Studies have shown a strong correlation between toxic burden, elevated body weight and increase risk of diabetes. It is more difficult to lose weight than it was 100 years ago, as our toxic burden has increased. We accumulate fat because fat acts to protect us from fat soluble toxins, it stores the toxin in fat cells. By detoxifying you allow your body to release the fat it has been holding on to protect itself from the toxins. Detoxification is vitally important for weight loss, as fat-stored toxins are factors in becoming overweight. When you break the fat down (lipolysis) you allow the toxins to be released into the blood stream, which can cause headache, low energy or flulike symptoms. Individuals that lost 46% body weight loss showed an increase in pesticide level of 388%, because these toxins are no longer held in protection by our fat cells. It is important to lower toxic burden to avoid these symptoms and once you eliminate the toxins you can watch the fat melt away. Detoxing will help your body burn fat and reduce inflammation. Detoxing will also align the good bacteria in the gut, and these healthy bacteria will contribute to a healthy weight and appetite. Unfriendly bacteria or dysbiotic flora will cause sugar cravings and weight gain.

Healthy Detox Calgary

How to safely and effectively detoxify?
The goals of detoxification are to stop new toxins from accumulating in our bodies and get the current toxins out. Clean up home environment, diet and improve elimination. We can do this by:
– Supporting the liver by reducing/eliminating alcohol, smoking, and refined sugar.
– Pee your way to good health by increasing filtered water consumption and urinating every hour.
– Ensure adequate fiber and filtered water intake to ensure regular bowel movements.
– Exercise will increase circulation, lymphatics and lung function as well the toxins can be eliminated through the skin by sweating. It is important to wipe the sweat away within 15 minutes of workout to ensure those toxins do not get reabsorbed into the skin.
– One of the easiest techniques for detoxification is breathing, all too often we breath shallowly especially in a stressful state, so take a deep breath in and exhale out those toxins.
– Avoid exposure in the diet by eating clean (organic- especially dirty dozen), filtered water, using organic personal care products and cleaning supplies. Do not use anything topically that you wouldn’t consider consuming internally, consider that these ingredients are absorbed through the skin.
– Incorporate phytonutrient rich foods especially flavonoids- broccoli/cabbage, parsley, strawberries, blueberries, kale, and onions.
– Reduce stress, as stress is held in the gut, inhibiting our ability to properly digest our food which can increase toxic burden.
– Ensure healthy gut bacteria, with probiotics or fermented foods.
– Add some air purifying plants in your home: Spider Plant, Lucky Bamboo, Aloe Vera, Peace Lily, Rosemary to name a few.
– Speak with a naturopathic doctor about supplementation to aid in detox process, avoid low quality vitamins.

We are offering a $99 detox meal plan with kit. There are 2 options for kits one is a combination of both herbs and supplements. While the other is a complex homeopathic kit, both very effective addressing all the important organs of detoxification. Ask your Naturopath which would be best for you. Contact us today!