KNOW THYSELF

BLOG FOR YOUR SOUL

Connect. Love. Heal.

How to cultivate meaningful relationships (in work & life) 

November 29, 2018

How important is feeling seen, heard & supported when it comes to health and healing? In my opinion, it is almost everything. In my work, I really try to create a space that fosters genuine expression and that is because I know when someone bears witness to something is when healing begins. Sometimes that may be half of the proverbial battle to feeling better. I’ve heard over & over again just how alone or disconnected people feel in their day to day lives. The fortunate ones being those that have 1 or 2 people in their lives they open up to but many having none. There is a void in our society. That void being the village, the community or straight up connection. There are many studies that have confirmed this so I feel confident knowing that sometimes the best “medicine” I can offer is my loving & non judgemental presence. A soft place to land. And a place to connect.

Top 5 ways to cultivate meaningful relationships of any kind:

  • Be Present

This is perhaps the most important. People can tell when your mind is somewhere else because your energy isn't with them its in that thing you’re worried about. Any midwife will tell you how mothers know when anyone in the room isn’t focused on them because such an intense moment demands full presence of all involved. Being present is also the “secret sauce”. It is what sparks that person’s own healing because someone was there to see & hear them for all that they are.

  • Don’t take yourself too seriously

If there isn’t a little bit of fun then what’s the point? Life can be serious all on its own we don’t need to add to it. Humour is great for the soul & not to mention the immune & nervous systems. The mind can get real dark real fast and so holding the intention of fun can help to ease those moments. Also, people really do remember how you make them FEEL versus what you actually say so it’s best to leave people with joy in their hearts & pep in their step by not being too serious.

  • Empathize & Connect

In order to empathize, we need to connect with our pain. Not that we have to have gone through exactly what they have but we have to be able to feel into the common thread of universal hurt. That could be betrayal, hurt, anger, grief, sadness etc. That tells the person you see them. And that is such an incredible gift to give. Check out this video from Brene Brown that describes this perfectly.

  • Tell the truth

Building trust is a foundation to any relationship. Trust is required for anyone to be vulnerable & vulnerability is the key to connection. A way to build trust is to simply tell the truth. Be yourself. And speak from the heart. Of course don’t share information that isn’t yours to share but don’t be afraid to speak your mind. It lets them get to know the real you.

  • Love Yourself

This may seem a little out of place but hear me out. When we love ourself we feel worthy for loving & meaningful relationships. We seek them out. We maintain them & let go of relationships that don't feed us. Loving yourself holds a standard to yourself that you can absolutely create those relationships you are desiring while attracting those that are a match in that they too love themselves. How to love yourself?? A great place to start is to cut out any negative self talk and add in the good stuff. For example, speak to yourself you would a loved one. 

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What to do when you get a cold and how to prevent it

October 22, 2018

The cold & flu season is upon us. It seems like most people I know are either getting over a cold or coming down with a cold. There is lots of reasons for the spike in infections at this time; one being the change of season. Change of season means temperatures fluctuating day by day which can mean people not always dressing appropriately for the cooler days which puts our body at risk. Also, children being back to school & the stress & exposure that come with that can take a toll on the immune system.

Top 5 tips for cold prevention:

  1. Wash hands often with soap & water, especially before meals or before touching mouth/face
  2. Keep stress to a minimum with adequate rest & moderate physical activity
  3. Dress warmly, better to be a little warm then get a chill
  4. Drink Herbal Tea to keep immune system supported; some of my favourites are:
    1. Licorice
    2. Ginger
    3. Echinacea
    4. Reishi mushroom
    5. Elderberry
  5. Keep up healthy diet: lots of plants(6-8 servings/day of fruits & vegetables) to include high doses of vitamin C plus 2L of water per day to flush out toxins & avoid sugary treats

Top 5 tips for cold treatment:

  1. Rest & water: This one is a no brainer. YOU NEED to rest!
  2. Warm, well-cooked, high nutrient foods: Soups, stews & chillis are great options when your sick because they are easily digested & absorbed. They also are inherently ‘warming’ which is what your body needs to fight off the infection.
  3. Echinacea: This super powerful herb is antiviral & antibacterial. It stimulates the immune system allowing you to fight off what you need to. I use the brands A.vogal (throat spray) or St. Francis (liquid). It's my go-to! 
  4. Vitamin D & Probiotic: Vitamin D is crucial for immune health. A multi-strain probiotic is great idea to support your immune system. It introduces good bacteria to your gut. Make sure you get it from the re fridgerator and be sure it is atleast 10 billion CPU with multiple strains.
  5. Hydrotherapy: Trust me with this one 🙂
    1. Contrast showers: To improve circulation/vitality finish your showers with alternating hot & cold. Start with 15 seconds hot, 5 seconds cold, repeat 3X. Always end on cold. Its invigorating!
    2. Steam Inhalation: Fill a large ceramic bowl half way with boiling water, place a few drops of eucalyptus essential oil in the water. Place head over bowl & towel over head and bowl. Allow yourself to breath in the steam deeply. This will work to break down mucus in the respiratory tract.
    3. Warming socks treatment: You will need 1 pair of 100% cotton socks and 1 pair of 100% wool socks. Before bed, run the cotton socks under warm water and wring out completely. Put these socks on your feet and put the dry wool socks over top, and then go to sleep. Throughout the night you receive the benefits of an alternating hot/cold hydrotherapy treatment, since your feet cool off as the water evaporates and then your body works to warm your feet up again. This increases circulation, improves the body’s ability to cope with temperature changes and strengthens the immune system.

Bonus: 

  • Ginger, Lemon & honey cold fighter: Peel & cut a large piece of fresh ginger, steep in a large cup of boiling water. Add ½ lemon & 1 large tbsp. of unpasteurized honey. Consume liberally when fighting infection to fight infection while soothing a sore throat. (Not safe for infants 1 year & younger due to honey). 

 

  • Yoga for when your sick :  One of my fav yogis, Yoga with Adrienne will guide you through a gentle 20 min class to ease your body and help you fight off the infection. 

Disclaimer: The information above is not intended for medical diagnosis or treatment. Reach out to a health care provider when making changes to your own health regime. 

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Anxiety: Holistic Approach to Healing

October 9th, 2018

Anxiety is an important topic to address as it is an extremely common concern in today’s society. According to the Anxiety Disorders Association of Canada, 1 in 4 Canadians will experience at least one anxiety disorder in their lifetime. It is the most common mental health concern in Canada. In practice I see it frequently and know first hand how debilitating it can be. It's been my experience that there is no one size fits all when it comes to addressing anxiety and because its origin is so personal & multi-factorial it's treatment requires the same. One of my favourite definitions of anxiety is: "an overestimation of a potential threat combined with a perceived inability to handle said threat". There is still much to learn about anxiety but we are beginning to understand where it comes from & what to do about it.

What causes anxiety?:

Anxiety (& mental health concerns in general) are widely accepted to be multi-causal. We can understand that it is likely a combination of factors such as experienced traumas, family history, dietary, genetics, life circumstances etc. that lead to a state of anxiety for any one person. It is also important to note that there are several medical conditions associated with symptoms of anxiety such as: irritable bowel syndrome, thyroid imbalance, menopause & asthma to name a few. So those cases, there may be a physiological reason behind their experienced symptoms of anxiety, such as hormone imbalance. 

The important thing to note is that although we may not be able to control your past trauma or family history, there is very real factors that your Naturopathic Doctor can explore with you that can alleviate or reduce your anxiety. For example, blood sugar regulation, stress/burnout concerns, food intolerances, hormonal imbalances, nutrient deficiencies can all contribute to your anxiety and these can all be addressed in a holistic manner with nutrition, supplementation, lifestyle changes & stress management. 

Lab Testing: Getting an idea of physical markers of health such as ferritin & B12, will help to rule in or rule out the organic causes of anxiety. For example, if your iron is low - that could be affecting red blood cell formation which in term could affect your energy levels which could cause fatigue thereby causing you to doubt your ability to cope or handle life demands which can directly contribute to increased anxiety. The tests below are some great options to consider with your Naturopathic Doctor or medical doctor. 

  • CBC (complete blood count)
  • Ferritin
  • Serum B12
  • Thyroid Panel
  • CRP & homocysteine
  • Sex hormone panel

How do I know if I have anxiety?: 

When people come in for a session with me, a lot of people can already say confidently: "I have anxiety"; this may be because they were diagnosed via their family doctor or a psychologist or they have enough of understanding of what anxiety is to know they struggle with it. As stated above, there is no one clear blood test that states whether a person has anxiety or not, instead a diagnosis is based on what we call "clinical presentation" also known as what symptoms you're experiencing. Below is an example of a professional questionnaire that can be used to decide if some one is experiencing anxiety or not.

  • Beck Anxiety Questionnaire (see below): 
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Healing Defined

September 25th, 2018

Healing is so personal & so universal at the same time. Over the years, having spent over a decade studying, teaching & working in health I've learnt that there are some key factors involved when it comes to true healing. Most of us want to feel good, prevent/cure disease and have the ability to live our lives as we desire but how do we get there? 

 

It's my opinion that healing comes from being aligned with who we truly are. That is reflected in the choices we make from diet and supplements to relationships and self care. I’ve seen healing take place when people take the time to explore who they are and asking those deeper questions about what they’re experiencing. For instance, if you are experiencing migraines a great question is “what is this pain trying to teach me?” or “what emotion or feeling does this pain bring out in me?”. Even throughout my training as a Naturopathic Doctor, I kept coming back to the fact that there isn’t a perfect supplement out there that we're missing. Or the perfect diet to take you to the next level. It really starts & ends with you. It starts with your capacity to look within & ends with your dedication to be true & love who you are. Of course there has been times in my life where something "external" like a supplement, herb, vitamin or diet change has done wonderful healing for myself or another but I think true healing can go even deeper than that.

 

What I see in practice is that most people need to achieve a certain level of physical wellbeing to have the energy, motivation and straight up vibe to be able to dive into themselves. That is what I do. On meeting a patient, I’m getting a sense of where they are at on their healing journey. How much are they ready to have that mirror reflected back to them & how much does their physical body need support to do this work. Most often, people are ready for a combination. It's beautiful when we can support their physical body via diet or supplements and they return with some additional vitality and perhaps more trust in the process. This can open a door to diving deeper and really bringing a gentle curiosity to who they are.

 

So what is healing? Healing is a fierce internal listening & responding to one’s body & heart. Healing is recognizing the beauty, strength & capacity to heal. Healing is making choices from a place of love & gratitude. Healing is living authentically & allowing yourself to be who you were truly meant to be.

 

Top three things you need to know about how to heal:

  1. You have and innate capacity within you right now to heal.
  2. A healer’s job is to be a mirror to reflect the truth who you are back to you. (If you have yet to experience this find a practictioner that does this for you, it's a game changer
  3. Compassion & love are usually behind you starting to feel better
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Top 10 herbal teas for your health

September 19th, 2018

I love using teas in practice & in my own life. They are gentle yet effective and offer a built in self care aspect. Think of it, coming home from a long day to make yourself some tea or perhaps before a Sunday journal session. My favourite occasion may be brewing a pot for friends & family to be shared over good conversation. Tea is nourishing for your soul & your body. When it comes to herbal tea, there is a few things to know:

10 things to know when it comes to herbal tea:

  1. Choose organic when possible
  2. The longer the steep, the more nutrients
  3. The larger the amount of actual herb, the more the nutrients
  4. Herbal tea counts towards your water intake for the day
  5. Teas with caffeine are still very beneficial. Those teas include green & black teas.
  6. Tea can interfere with absorption due to containing a plant constiuent called tannins. That is why its best to take supplements & medications away from your tea, certainly black & green teas.
  7. Some teas have cautions with them for example licorice can raise blood pressure
  8. Tea can be served warmed or cold depending on season & preference
  9. Natural sweeteners like honey, agave or even a little bit of maple syrup are fair game 
  10. Tea is not a replacement for required medical treatment etc. 

Now lets talk about the good stuff. Therapeutic uses for tea.

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See This Through 

A poem by: Dr. Bridget Ross, ND

Thank-ful as it’s your time to shine,

No more doubts with the riddle & rhyme.

Time to step up and show all your worth,

rent is due as tenant to earth.

Don’t let me down, don't you dare look back,

Rise up –and know, in no way you lack.

Just know I love you, no matter what you do,

Now go and be free & see this thing through.

 

 

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How to Prevent Burnout (25 Powerful Strategies)

September 7th, 2018

Who has been there? Feeling tapped out & tired. Our culture very openly values busy schedules. Most of us operate in what we call the “fight or flight” response; this causes the body to release adrenaline & other stress related hormones. I call this state the “gotta get done”. This is the mindset that we are operating in most days, get to work, get groceries, get to gym, pick up kids, make dinner – doing things as a means to an end not simply for the sake of that thing. In this state, our heart rate is increased, blood is shunted away from internal organs & towards muscle/heart/lung.

Digestional mechanisms reduce & blood sugar levels rise. All of these things will work to help you run from that proverbial bear (AKA your stress ful job). The only issue with this response is when it becomes prolonged. In that case, we move into what is called: resistance phase & then exhaustion (burnout). Exhaustion (AKA burnout) comes with depletion of ions & hormones required to mount stress response leading to you bodies inability to adapt. That can take the form of blood sugar, blood pressure, muscle repair, hormonal function & much more.

In naturopathic practice we refer to this state as adrenal fatigue. Adrenal being your adnreal glands which sit on top of your kidney & release hormones related to stress like cortisol & adrenaline.

Wondering if you are indeed burntout? Check to see if these 10 key signs & symptoms of burnout are true for you:

  • My ability to handle stress and pressure has decreased
  • I seem to have decreased in cognitive ability. I don’t think as clearly as I used to
  • My sex drive is noticeably less than it used to be
  • I suffer from nervous stomach indigestion when tense
  • I get lightheaded/dizzy when rising rapidly from a sitting or lying position
  • I am chronically fatigued; a tiredness that is not usually relived by sleep
  • My muscles sometimes feel weaker than they should
  • I have become allergic or have increased frequency/severity of allergic reactions.
  • I have low blood pressure
  • I have decreased tolerance. People irritate me more.

25 Powerful Burnout Recovery Strategies

Read More Here

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Self Love: The game changer for health

How to get more of it. 

August 28 2018

Having been in practice for a few years now, I’ve been able to hone in on what is important when it comes to people healing. What I’ve found to produce the most consistently positive result is: SELF LOVE. Conversely, if self love is missing, the perfect diet plan or supplement regime will only take you so far in terms of getting results & maintaining sustainability.

What is self love?: It is a verb; it's the way in which we show up & honour ourselves. It is the act & intention of putting ourselves first in the name of love. 

Why is it important?: When we love ourselves; we make life choices based on integrity & serving us; that not only puts us on the path toward health (i.e. right job, right relationship, right food choice), it helps teach those around us to do the same. It also indirectly teaches boundaries (when we say no to that event that doesn't feel good – in a way its giving others permission to do the same). Some people may be thinking.. putting myself first.. sounds a little selfish.. Im here to say: NOPE! I can guarantee you; as you profoundly love yourself that will radiate out in your actions & how you show up in the world; there will be that much more of you to share. Think of the oxygen mask analogy, when a plane is going down, passengers are told to secure their own mask FIRST before attending to anyone else's. We need to pour from a full cup. Self love frees us up to BE who we are. Every single person I work with; if we can work together to foster even a sliver more self acceptance, self love, self empowerment; big things happen for them; pursuing dream career, making better food choices & enjoying life more. What's better than that? 

10 ways to get more self love

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Stress Management: 6 Things you need to know

August 13 2018

Stress is such a big topic as it ties into so many other issues. When speaking with people, most of them have an innate awareness that whatever issue they are experiencing in some real way relates to stress. And often, I couldn't agree more. I find that with most health concerns be it: migraines, insomnia, pain, digestional upset, hormonal & of course anxiety/depression – there is a combination of factors that led to it but stress is indeed involved. That is why I appreciate how naturopathic medicine can take a multi-pronged approach addressing each layer as needed. If someone catches a cold after a stressful period; we may do some things to fight the infection but also to calm the stress response.

Rarely, if ever, do people come into my office with simply the chief concern of stress, but almost everyone can recognize in the ways in plays a role in there symptoms & overall wellbeing. That is why I wanted to talk about some tangible ways to decrease stress or at least change your attitude around it & help you feel you again.

Keep Reading Here

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Grow your Happiness (10 Tips)

August 7 2018

How do we cultivate it within us? How do we hold on to it once its here? So many people when asked what they want out of life will reply: “ I just want to be happy”. When I think about the happiest moments of my life. It is almost always experiential. I am completely in the moment. I am just being. Playing in a pool. Getting married. Riding my bike for the first time. Dancing with friends. Watching a sunset. So completely in the moment. And bam! Happiness arrives. If I had to break down some sort of equation it would be:

Being in the moment + inspiring experience + connection to self/others = happiness 

What is happiness? Happiness is a feeling like a spark of light bathed in joy, contentment & relaxation. Read full article on

10 Tips for more happiness in your life

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Periods 101

July 16 2018

Menstruation is an experience that many women don't look fondly upon. From a young age we are told that periods are an inconvenience & something to be hidden. Women often feel dirty while menstruating & consider periods to be a tremendous burden. I totally get it. It's valid to feel like things can can be messy & cramps are a total buzz kill. That being said, I’d like to change some of the story we have around periods being something to be ashamed about. Read More

Information above is not a substitute for medical advice and is not intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment. Please seek medical advice before implementing changes to your own life.

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What to eat to stay cool: easy summer eats

July 9 2018

It’s a hot one! Which is all the more reason to choose wisely by consuming foods that are “cooling” by nature and easy in preparation. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, for these hot summer days choose cooling foods like: cucumber, watermelon, mint, tomato & lots of water are some of the most cooling foods/drinks we can get, especially if they're uncooked.

As with anything, everything in moderation, if you are typically a person that runs cold naturally it may serve you to consume more warm well cooked foods versus raw foods, especially if its winter. In contrast, if you are heating up in this summer heat & tend to run hot naturally, consuming cooling foods will be ideal. All that being said, the salads listed below are cooling for your body, easy, quick & delicious. They are so good that they’re a weekly staple in our home in the summer. Read More

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Top 10: things to know before you get pregnant

July 3 2018

It’s on the mind of many women as they approach that time of feeling ready to start trying. If you want to have a baby some time soon, you want to do everything possible to ensure you & your baby are as healthy as possible.

Here is a list of what to know before getting pregnant.

Of course, speak with a licensed health care provider before implementing any changes here to make sure you find a plan that's right for you.

Information above is not a substitute for medical advice and is not intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment. Please seek medical advice before implementing changes to your own life.

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How to have better Emotional Health 

June 25 2018

I would have to say one of my main passions is emotional health. I love when I am working with someone & they feel heard and seen (and loved) for who they are. In that moment, time almost stands still. There may be tears, there may just be tangible weight lifted or maybe just a deepening of their breath. Most the time followed by a smile and sense of relief. It's one of my favourite things to witness & facilitate.

So many of us walk around our daily lives with emotional burdens. Emotional burdens can be from not feeling accepted by your family, to growing up without a close friend or never feeling ________ (fill in: smart, pretty, lovable, thin, funny, out going, confident etc.) enough. We walk around with these burdens and they shape every decision we make; how we show up in the world, the people with which we spend our time and even how we care for ourselves. Here is the full article on Top 6 Strategies For Emotional Health

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Proactive vs. Reactive. 

June 18 2018

I am realizing more & more just how much proactive vs. reactive, plays a role in every choice we make, especially those related to health. In our daily lives, we often make choices from a reactive place. We are reacting to what is coming at us. For example, 6pm dinner time - "ok, let me whip something together" or "lets just grab take out". Or how about exercise; waiting until we feel really "blah", pushing us to react with an impromptu spin class. Read More on Proactive Vs Reactive

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Stress and Health

June 11 2018

When patients come to see me for the first time, it is often the case that they are unaware of how much their stress is playing a role in how they feel physically. Believe it or not, your emotions have very real implications on your physical body. You will never catch me saying: "it's JUST stress". Stress should never been downplayed or undervalued. When our body is in a state of stress, our nervous system is interpreting its environment as a real threat. Read More

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From My Heart to Yours. 

June 5 2018

 

First Time For Everything. 

This is my first ever blog post & I am so excited to be able to share with you. 

Welcome. I hope to share some knowledge & maybe even inspire. 

This is me. From my heart to yours.

 

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