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Metabolic Syndrome & Cardiovascular Health

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The so-called “Western Diseases” that have become commonplace diagnoses in our societies are particularly frustrating for me because they are so easily prevented. Diseases such as Type II Diabetes (also referred to as “adult onset diabetes” even though it often develops in childhood as well these days), obesity, cardiovascular disease, kidney damage, and eye or nerve dysfunction all have two physiological imbalances at their root: poorly controlled blood sugar, and the consequent inflammation.

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Autism, ADHD, and Developmental delays

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Children are different in so many ways. Medically they are not just “little adults”: they are biologically different from adults as they are constantly growing and developing for the first 18 or so years of life. And they are all different from each other in their personalities, strengths, weaknesses, and vulnerabilities.

 

Some children acquire language quickly and readily, while others are more physically talented. Some come into the world with a full head of hair, while others are bald until well after their first birthday. Some are socially gregarious, while others prefer quiet time and gentler interactions with peers and caregivers.

 

There are internal differences too. Some children metabolize nutrients and detoxify toxins more or less effectively than others. These particular differences make some children more vulnerable to developing autism, ADHD, learning disabilities, and/or put them at risk for developmental delays.

 

Biomedical interventions that assess and address the unique state of each child can have profound effects on their development in life.  This is particularly true when used in conjunction with appropriate support such as behavioural therapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, etc.

 

Individualized treatment for the underlying excesses and deficiencies that contribute to the symptoms and struggles experienced by children with autism, ADHD, and other physical or behavioural issues has proven itself to be invaluable in supporting children who are on the spectrum of Autism (including Asperger’s and PDD/Pervasive Developmental Delays).

 

The biomedical approach optimizes the health and cellular function of the child. The ideal pathway to healing for the individual is guided through thorough and specific lab tests, but ultimately, improvements are initiated through dietary changes, healing of the digestive tract, optimization of nutrient levels, and metabolic support for the body.

 

Appropriate supplements are chosen that work to regulate inflammation in the body and brain, improve cellular energy, and boost detoxification pathways.  This way each cell in the body can perform its functions properly. Finally, hormone and neurotransmitter levels are balanced along with immune function. Results vary but can be absolutely profound in some cases.

 

If your child is on the spectrum, has been diagnosed with ADHD (or you suspect it yourself), has other difficulties in school or social situations, or you simply want support to enhance and maximize your child’s potential, the biomedical approach to individualized medicine for children’s peak performance can help.

 

 


Optimal Fertility and a Healthy Pregnancy

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Fertility is the natural state of the species.  We are designed, hard-wired, to reproduce well for the sake of human kind.

But there are several factors that decrease fertility in both females and males.  The majority of them are environmental, from pollutants to lack of nutrients, and many of the issues against healthy fertility are reversible or treatable.

Eggs and sperm take ~100 days to mature/develop, so in an ideal scenario, a couple will come in for preconception support at least 4 months before they start trying to conceive so that we can work together to put forward the best possible genes from each parent.

No matter where you are at in your conception journey:  trying to conceive for the first time or the tenth time, with or without a history of miscarriage or difficulty in achieving pregnancy, or already pregnant I’d love to support you to produce a healthy, vibrant child.

 

Difficulty with Conception

If you have been trying to get pregnant for more than 6-12 months without success then it’s time to upgrade your efforts!  The answer may lie in underlying hormonal states (from estrogen to thyroid), nutritional status, egg health, toxic load, or it may be down to your and your partners particular genes.  Genetic testing through 23andme.ca can shine the light on hidden issues and allow us to optimize your chances of becoming parents.

 

Health during Pregnancy

While wonderful, pregnancy is a big stress on a woman’s body!  This is a perfect example of when naturopathic medicine can work *with* a body to really maximize the power within.  Nausea, digestive changes, and fatigue can distract from the “glow” of pregnancy, while elevated blood pressure or blood sugar levels can be downright dangerous.  Each trimester has unique nutritional requirements for both mama and baby.

 

Labour and Delivery

Should you choose to deliver at home or in a hospital, and with an epidural or not, there are safe and natural products to support your transition from pregnant to parent.

 

Lactation

There is no doubt that breast milk is the ultimate best food for a newborn, however, some women are naturally less able to produce milk than others.  There are SO many options for promoting breast milk (one day I’ll write a blog post about my aunt who breastfed both of her adopted children!  It is possible).  If you want to breast feed but find it to be a struggle, or painful, and you’re losing hope please don’t give up until we’ve had a chance to run through your options!  Not all formula is created equally so if formula turns out to be the best option for your baby then you should know the pros and cons of each.


Naturopathic Support for NICU Families

Posted in: Immune Support     NICU     Pain management     Women's Health    

Without choosing it, and without knowing much about it until I knew too much about it, I have been given the opportunity to use naturopathic medicine to support families whose universe now centres around a tiny bundle in the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit).

I met amazing, strong, and resilient people while in the NICU and I am truly honoured to help in any way I can.

In the early days I cried a lot (a LOT!) while asking “Why me?”.  I was in the depths of my own personal pity party.  As time passed and I slowed my thoughts enough to accept the reality of our bumpy and scary introduction to parenthood, I was finally able to hear that the answer to my lament of “Why me?” was “Because now you can help”.

I heard “Here is a population of good people, with incredible babies, and they are going through hell. Here is empathy so that you can resonate with their concerns, and experience as a NICU parent so that you can use your knowledge of naturopathic medicine to maximize their health while they are in the bubble of fear.”

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In July 2014 my son arrived (very) early and we spent 3.5 months visiting him in the NICU before he was discharged home in November.  It was a crazy and emotional time.  I was fine, healthy, happy, glowing, and loving my first pregnancy – and 28 hours after the first symptom started I was on an operating table with my 2 lb son being handled and stabilized by 5 members of the NICU.  It happened SO FAST!  He was 26 weeks gestation, just one week shy of starting the third trimester.

Stress was high, self-care became a low priority (food prep was less important than a kangaroo cuddle!), but getting a sniffle or worse was simply not an option.

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Family and friends were amazing but the support from fellow ND friends and colleagues was crucial in keeping me duct-taped together long enough and well enough that I didn’t have to even consider missing a day of visiting my babe in the NICU. I needed him as much as he needed me…if not more.

Your journey through the NICU is likely a marathon and not a sprint. Let me help you to be as physically and emotionally strong as is necessary during this time (and beyond!) so that you can focus your energy where it belongs – on your child/ren.

I want to help NICU families to feel supported and as strong as possible while on their personal roller coaster.  You need all the energy you can get for when they do finally come home!

Using methods and resources that are all lactation-friendly (unless you’re a dad!), or kid-friendly for siblings I can help your family navigate the NICU journey in a number of ways.

  • Stress:  I can’t make it go away but I can support you physically, mentally, and emotionally so that the stress doesn’t win!
  • Immune function:  essential for regular visits.  I know a dad who missed a week of visits due to a cold.
  • Milk production:  if that’s a concern.
  • Pain management:  post labour, post C-section, sore nipples, etc.
  • Post-partum depression:  it can affect healthy women with term babies!  Add in stress, fear, and worry, maybe surgery, and it can hit HARD.

It’s my job to find the best treatment(s) for you, considering both where you are at, and where you need to be.

Support may include:

  • Herbs (I’ve ensured that all herbs I work with are safe in breastfeeding!  “First, do no harm”)
  • Nutrient supplements
  • Nutritional support that is quick, nourishing, and realistic when you’d rather not spend time on food prep
  • Acupuncture
  • IV nutrition
  • Bowen therapy (sooo nice and gentle)
  • or other tools in my kit that may be more appropriate for you as an individual

The bottom line is a resilient you who can process the stress of NICU life, sleep as well as possible (which is hard with around the clock pumping!), and fight off any illness that dares you to miss time with your baby.

 

As for the babies themselves I cannot and will not treat them directly.  They are under the *absolute* best care that you could possibly hope for for them.  You likely envisioned a different start for them in life, and if you’re like me there was a lot less plastic tubing and medication involved.

I will listen to your concerns, work to mitigate your fears, and I’ll be happy to support their ongoing health with naturopathic medicine once they are released from the NICU.  That being said, I truly believe that my son was helped over his first major hurdle through an energetic treatment at two weeks old.  Here’s that story…


Pediatric Health Support

Posted in: Digestion     Immune Support     Pediatrics    

Areas in which I offer support for all pediatric patients (including the powerful preemies):

 

Mental/Emotional/Behavioural concerns

 

Digestive health (health begins in the gut!)

  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Colic
  • Diaper rash
  • Pinworms

 

Immune health

  • Fever
  • Cold and flu
  • Cough
  • Ear infection
  • Sore throat

 

Allergies

  • Food allergies
  • Seasonal allergies
  • Asthma
  • Eczema
  • Allergic conjunctivitis (pink eye)

 

Skin and hair/scalp conditions

  • Cradle cap (seborrheic dermatitis)
  • Ringworm (tinea or other fungal infections)
  • Impetigo (or other bacterial infections)
  • Lice (pediculosis)
  • Eczema (or other skin inflammation)

 

Developmental stages and challenges

  • Teething
  • Crawling
  • Growth – weight and length
  • Picky eating
  • Global Developmental Delay (missing milestones)

 

Common (and uncommon) rashes

  • Hand, foot, and mouth disease
  • Chicken pox
  • Fifth disease (aka “Slapped Cheek”)
  • Rubella
  • Measles

SIBO, IBS and You

Posted in: Digestion    

Is your digestion anything less than a smooth sailing system? Food accepted kindly by your body with appreciation, and waste removed comfortably and predictably like a well oiled machine? Effortless digestion is a reality for many people and is a worthy goal. Unfortunately, uncomfortable or downright painful digestion is the norm for too many people, and since we eat 3-7 times each day that makes me sad.

 

For those of you who dread eating and have been diagnosed with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) fear not! You may or may not have SIBO, and whether you have it or do not your IBS is totally treatable.

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The Effects of Diseases and Medications on Bones

Posted in: Aging     Lifestyle counseling    

As mentioned in “Digestion and dem Bones” the ability to absorb minerals, vitamins, and amino acids from food directly affects the strength of your bones.

Afflictions that affect digestion, such as inflammatory bowel conditions, impair nutrient absorption.  And those that cause prolonged inflammation in the body result in weaker bones over time and therefore must be addressed at the root and nipped in the bud.  Nutritional considerations may change based on the underlying disease itself, how it heals or progresses, and the overall nutritional needs of the body.

Be sure to address bone health if you have:  Celiac disease, or an Inflammatory Bowel Disease such as Crohn’s or Ulcerative colitis, Hypochlorhydria (lack of stomach acid), Dysbiosis (bacterial imbalance in gut a.k.a. ANY digestive issues such as bloating, excess gas, abdominal pain or discomfort, variable stool, heartburn), and/or Liver disease.

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Lifestyle Choices and Healthy Bones for Life

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Are you living your life with an eye for the future as well as the present?

Smoking has a long list of bad health associations and that extends right through to damaging bone density.

Lack of vitamin D from complete avoidance of sunlight exposure (including excessive use of sunscreens), or from a poor diet or weak digestive tract will also contribute to poor bone health.

Weight bearing exercise stimulates bone remodelling and encourages the deposition of new, healthy bone tissue, while a sedentary life is associated with reduced bone mass.

Chronic stress will also negatively affect bone health.

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Hormonal influence on Bone health

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Sex hormones and stress hormones all have effects on bone health. No surprise really…is there anything that hormones don’t influence?

Post-menopausal status is associated with bone loss because of the change in hormone levels.  High stress jobs and lifestyles decrease bone mass because the minerals are needed elsewhere to survive that (perceived or real) immediate danger. Identifying hormone imbalances is an essential step in maintaining strong bones throughout life. READ MORE


Digestion and dem Bones

Posted in: Aging     Digestion    

You are not necessarily what you eat, but you are what you absorb!

In order to liberate the minerals in our food for absorption there must be adequate stomach acid.  Stomach acid is also necessary for protein digestion (and remember that bones are half protein).  A lack of stomach acid, known as hypochlorhydria, will lead to poor mineral absorption, poor protein digestion, and can contribute to overall acidity in body tissues.

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