Building Blocks for Strong Bones

Posted in: Aging     Nutrition    

Bones are the framework of the body.  Just like with the three little pigs the building materials you choose will dictate the strength of your physical foundation.

Diets rich in fruit and vegetables (particularly green leafy vegetables) have been positively associated with stronger bones.  Raw nuts and seeds, sea vegetables, and a moderate intake of protein are also necessary since bones are part protein and part mineral.  Lack of minerals from the diet will deprive the body of the nutrients required for laying down new bone tissue.


NICU essentials

Posted in: Immune Support     NICU     Nutrition     Pediatrics    

There are lots of subtleties and individualized elements to NICU life, but some of what I found through my experience and through speaking with others over those pivotal few months are summarized below.  For the most part I’m speaking to my fellow mamas because that is what I know best, but there’s no denying that the NICU impacts the dads and extended families too. Please don’t feel left out dads!  Maybe one day I’ll be able to twist my hubby’s arm into jotting down his own lessons learned for your benefit.


Nutrition (SO important)

  • Stock your locker with good quality bars that will sustain your energy when you choose a kangaroo cuddle over eating lunch.
  • Omega 3 fats are well researched for their benefit to preemies and infants in general.  From brain and eye development, to immune health, to inflammatory balance.  They are also useful for hormone balance and mood regulation…think avoidance or management of postpartum depression! and therefore also really good for the mama bears.  Your milk is their only source of omega 3 fats so a fish oil supplement is a very good baseline supplement.
    • TPN (Total Parenteral Nutrition – the IV drip that supplies nourishment until they are able to get enough goodness through their feeding tubes) contains omega 6, one of the essential fats but not omega 3, so the only omega 3 that they will get is from your (or donor) breast-milk.
    • Look for fish oil liquids that are molecularly distilled and in triglyceride form.  The cheat sheet is:  Botanica Omegalicious (delicious and very easy to take, even if you don’t like fish!), Ascenta/NutraSea, Karleans, Genestra.



Immune health (so SO important!)

  • Your hands will never be so scrubbed as they are during the time you spend in the NICU, and for good reason.  Keep a little bottle of hand sanitizer around as well.  I like CleanWell for the ingredients.  You get used to smelling like thyme 🙂 but at least there’s no potentially harmful compounds like triclosan in it.
  • If you’ve never used a neti pot now might be a good time to pick one up and keep it in the shower.  A quick saline rinse of the nostrils from time to time to wash away viruses is easy.
  • Get those loving and supportive friends and family of yours to make soups and stews that are predominantly veggies with yummy spices such as garlic, thyme, oregano, cumin, rosemary, chili, and turmeric.  There are good medicines in a well stocked spice rack!
  • I can put together a custom tincture for you of herbs that can be used in low doses for illness prevention, or ramped up at the first sign of sniffle.  Of course, all herbs chosen will be breast-feeding friendly!



Milk making

  • Hydration!  Most lactating mamas produce between 700-900mL per day which means that you need an extra litre of water (not coffee, not pop, not juice) every day.  The NICU has a good water station so get your pretty refillable bottle and keep drinking that water.
  • There are a few herbs that support milk production but like all herbs they have multiple uses.  You can try some of the pre-made teas available (Traditional Medicinals Mother’s Milk, Earth Mama Angel Baby Milkmaid tea) but if they aren’t enough for you then don’t despair!  There are stronger (but still safe) options that may be more specific to you and your milking needs.  That’s where I can help.
  • Do yourself a favour and make a hands-free nursing bra.  I made mine from a cheap bra from Costco that was already in my drawer by putting it on, poking my index finger beside my nipple, marking the outside with a pen, and then snipping a cross through the fabric.  Tah dah!  It made time in the pump room more useful by giving me my hands back.  I actually made two and kept one in my locker at the NICU and one at home for night pumping.
  • If you can donate milk then PLEASE DO!!

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Osteoporosis: Beyond Calcium

Posted in: Aging     Lifestyle counseling     Men's Health     Women's Health    

Osteoporosis is due to many factors and as such, there are many factors to consider in preventing it!

Bone is living, dynamic tissue that is constantly breaking down and rebuilding.  It is the balance, or the ratio between the removal of old bone tissue and the laying down of new bone tissue that determines the long-term health of the bone.  From before we are born until our mid-twenties there is more mineral being deposited in the bone than there is bone being removed – it is part of our growth into adulthood followed by a few years of increasing bone density in early adulthood.  By age 30 the scales tip, our bodies stop adding to bone stores as effectively, and bone becomes increasingly less dense over the following decades.


A Comprehensive Approach to Weight Management

Posted in: Aging     Detoxification     Digestion     Energy and Fatigue     Men's Health     Weight loss     Women's Health    

The old thinking is that weight balance is a simple case of calories in and calories out.  But research shows that that just isn’t the case.  Those struggling with excess weight are not simply lazy or gluttonous (well, some might be but then so are some slim people!).  Not everyone is built to look like the current cultural ideal but considering the health risks associated with too much or too little weight, if you fall on one end of the spectrum or the other then there is room to improve.

The paradigm of excess weight being the result of excess caloric intake coupled with lack of activity fails to explain why some individuals can avoid exercise and eat a bag of cookies daily yet stay slim while others eat well and exercise regularly yet can’t shift unwanted weight from their bodies – it’s so frustrating!  A deeper understanding of weight control requires a more holistic view of the body and the conditions that stimulate weight conservation, and those that support weight reduction. Effective and permanent weight management is the result of lifestyle and dietary modifications, hormone balance, effective detoxification, sufficient amounts of quality sleep, and functional stress management. READ MORE

Avoid Back Pain At Your Desk Job

Posted in: Aging     Athletic Performance     Lifestyle counseling     Pain    

Back pain is unfortunately a new “normal” among many of us who work at a desk.  But it doesn’t need to be…

Be Kind to Your Spine

Whether we sit at a desk as part of our work, sit in front of the computer or TV as part of our downtime, or sit in a bus, train or car as part of our commute, we are spending more time sitting down in our lives than ever before in human history.  Add in the stress of typing on a keyboard all day and the list of potential problems and areas of pain is endless.  As the saying goes: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure! so take a few moments out of each day to be kind to your spine.


Using Acids to Support Alkalinity

Posted in: Aging     Detoxification     Digestion     Nutrition     Weight loss    

It might sound counter-intuitive but most of us need more acid (in the right place) to prevent painful acidity, and promote appropriate alkalinity in the body!

There is an increasing awareness of the role that bodily pH plays in supporting optimal health.  Increased acidity of body tissues has been linked to inflammation, allergies, and osteoporosis to name a few.  Promoting a healthy balanced pH throughout our tissues is not difficult, but to get to the root cause of why the tissues are too acidic in the first place, and how to correct that imbalance for life, we must consider stomach acid. READ MORE

Warming Socks Treatment

Posted in: Detoxification     Energy and Fatigue     Immune Support     Pediatrics    

The warming socks treatment is used to gently stimulate the immune system and move lymph in the body.  It is a useful adjunctive treatment for coughs, colds, flus, fevers, but can also be used in times of health as immune support for the prevention of illness.  An RMT friend said that they learned about “cold foot therapy” in her school as a treatment for insomnia.

After an online search I found the poem about warming socks below and have since used it for teething pain in my baby.  It works!


Menopause: From Rose to Rosehip

Posted in: Aging     Women's Health    

I’ve met women who barely noticed “the change” of menopause and those for whom life became a misery for years.  It seems that there are as many different presentations of menopause as there are women!

There are some common symptoms that can become sufficiently uncomfortable as to drive a woman into a doctor’s office for help.  These include hot flashes, night sweats, anxiety, insomnia, foggy brain, weak bladder, and vaginal dryness.  Once in menopause (defined as 12 consecutive months without a menstrual flow) the risk of cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, and some hormonally linked cancers increases, so even for those women fortunate to have minimal discomfort during the shift into menopause it is necessary to revisit health and wellness goals and set a renewed course for long-term wellness and disease prevention.


The Power of our Breath

Posted in: Aging     Athletic Performance     Detoxification     Energy and Fatigue     Lifestyle counseling    

Why think about your breath?

Considering how fundamental breathing is to our very existence, it is remarkable how many of us fail to breathe properly!  Breathing is a means of obtaining the oxygen that our body needs and excreting the carbon dioxide that we produce, but gas exchange is not the sole benefit of respiration.  The very act of breathing moves lymph in the abdomen and throughout the body, relaxes the mind, and delivers necessary oxygen to every cell in the body. READ MORE

Dealing with Sinusitis

Posted in: Immune Support     Pain management     Seasonal Health    

The pain of sinusitis can be quite severe, and finding relief from it can feel elusive at times.  Thankfully, there are some simple treatments that can be done at home to alleviate the pain and speed the recovery from the inflammation deep in the bones of the face and skull.  More investigation may be necessary to identify and treat the root cause of the sinusitis if it is a chronic condition. READ MORE

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