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Monday, April 27, 2015

Do You Have Metabolic Syndrome?

Metabolic Syndrome is a cluster of conditions when combined together increase your risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes.  These conditions can include increased blood pressure, elevated insulin levels and excess body fat around the waist and/or abnormal cholesterol levels.

If more than one of these conditions occur in combination, your risk is even greater than usual of having a heart attack, stroke or developing diabetes.

The causes of metabolic syndrome are generally interwined with a less than healthy lifestyle including smoking, drinking, eating a diet high in sugar, refined carbohydrates, fat and lack of exercising.  Metabolic syndrome also becomes more common in women around peri-menopause, menopause and is also more common in people with a sedentary livestyle/ work environment.

Symptoms To Watch For!

The symptoms of metabolic syndrome that every person should watch for:

  *   Obesity, particularly around your waist (apple shape)
  *   Elevated blood pressure
  *   An elevated level of the blood fat called triglycerides and a low level of high-density lipoprotein
  *   Resistance to insulin, a hormone that helps to regulate the amount of sugar in your body

Having one component of metabolic syndrome means you're more likely to have others and the more components you have the more likely you are to suffer from a serious, life-shortening disease in the future.

Blood tests to detect the amount of fatty deposits in your blood and your resistance to insulin can be conducted at our Pinewood clinic on Duncan Mill Road in Toronto, this test will help determine whether or not you may have Metabolic Syndrome.

Aggressive lifestyle changes and, in some cases, medication can improve all of the different conditions that characterize this condition.
In general the person will be advised to be more physically active, lose weight and quit smoking. This can help reduce blood pressure, improve cholesterol and reduce blood sugar levels.

Walking half an hour to an hour a day is initially recommended to help you lose five to ten percent of your body weight, reduce insulin levels, lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of diabetes.

Smoking cigarettes increases insulin resistance and worsens the health consequences of metabolic syndrome. A naturopath can help you kick the cigarette habit.

If you have metabolic syndrome or any of the components of metabolic syndrome, you have the opportunity to make aggressive lifestyle changes. Making these changes can delay or derail the development of serious diseases that may result from metabolic syndrome. Our naturopaths and dieticians can recommend weight loss plans for reducing that apple belly as well as help you rethink your diet and lifestyle so you are less prone to developing diabetes or experiencing a cardiovascular related health crisis.

For more information or to book a consultation about anti-aging, diet and weight loss programs or any health issue you may be experiencing, visit the Pinewood Natural Health Clinic website that has a list of full services and products at www.pinewood.ca or call our Toronto Office at  (416)-656- 8100.  We also have an office in Pickering, Ontario at (905)-427-0057. You can also email us at info@pinewoodhealth.ca and we would be happy to answer any question that you have about our holistic health services.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Spring is the Time to Be Active

By Alisa Blumberg, BSc, DC
Doctor of Chiropractic 

As summer approaches we might want to think about the keywords -'Be Active' 'Be Active" brought two things immediately to mind for me whenI stopped to think about what I'm talking to my patients about in this realm. As chiropractors we are nervous system specialists (and not just 'bone-crackers' as much of the media would like to have us believe) you can bet that where my mind goes is to how to keep that all-important control system functioning freely
and robustly.

To Be Active is to Exercise

The first way is the third (rarely talked about) essential category of exercise. We
are all familiar with the necessity for cardio-vascular exercise (getting our heart
rate up and blood pumping to burn calories and stay fit) and muscle strengthening
exercise (to keep up or muscle mass and maintain healthy bone structure) but do
you ever incorporate neurological balancing exercises? What we technically call the cross-crawl pattern is a skill most of us learned well before our first birthday and 8s essential to neurological development and maintenance throughout our lives.

As a baby first learns to be mobile they learn that the only way to keep from tipping over is to symmetrically extend left leg with right arm, and then right leg with left arm (yes, I just decoded successful crawling). If you remember back to high-school science - the left brain controls right sided body movement and the right brain controls left side movement. So by activating both sides equally and in a pattern the baby is stimulating its growing brain to work in a balanced, symmetrical pattern.

A balanced symmetrical brain is a healthy brain. The next time you're
sitting in the mall or watching people walk down the street take a moment and
notice how many of them have lost the symmetry of their walk (left leg swings with left arm and right with right, there is no clear pattern, or the arms aren't swinging at all) - they've lost the symmetry they learned as babies! An unbalanced brain pattern is being reinforced every time they're out for a stroll!

Make it a point to do simple neurological pattern exercises such as cross-crawl walking or stop by the next time you're in the clinic and I can show you a 2-minute exercise you can do at home.

Be Proactive Not Reactive

The second place my mind goes when a 'Be Active' discussion comes up is to our thoughts. We live in a thinking world now. Most of us spend our work days at a desk rather than in a field, and our brains do a lot more work than our bodies. We live in a soup of thought about what we've done, what we have to get done, where we've been and where we're going. We are so busy that we tend to be reactive rather than proactive with our thoughts. Let this little column be a reminder to you to 'Be Active' with your thoughts. Make a plan and set aside time each day to actively set a positive intention.

Dream. Don't just set a goal - put yourself in the moment. Monitor your thoughts - we all have negative ones - let those go as soon as you recognize them and hold onto thankfulness and gratitude. Watch the change that makes in your mood, celebrate that win and move onto the next one.

Have a fantastic, active spring and summer!

Dr. Alisa Blumberg is proud to be bringing her passion for holistic, natural, self-directed healing to the north-Toronto area through her work at Pinewood Natural Health Centre.</>As a Chiropractor and Master level B.E.S.T. Practitioner, Dr. Blumberg's mission is to educate and empower patients of every age, symptomatology and health goal on their unique journey towards optimal health and absolute wellness.You can book an appointment with Dr. Alisa Blumberg by calling (416 ) 656-8100.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Has cancer touched your life?

Unfortunately, I think we can all say we know someone close to us who has or has had cancer. Researchers believe that the foods people eat over their lifetime can increase or decrease their risk for developing some types of cancer. Just a few weeks ago the New York times published an article
(http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/03/11/vegetarian-diet-may-cut-colon-cancer-risk/?_r=0) about colon cancer risk and a vegetarian diet. 'Pescovegetarians' who ate fish one or more times a month and other meats less than once a month, reduced their cancer risk by 42 percent compared with nonvegetarians.

There is scientific evidence linking some foods to cancer risk. Researchers believe that everyone harbours cells that will not become cancerous if they are destroyed or kept in check by the immune system. In most cases, the body's immune system recognizes and destroys these strange cells. However, cancer cells may develop when the immune system becomes overwhelmed or loses its ability to recognize the foreign cells, allowing them to escape destruction and multiply.

Here are some suggestions that could reduce your risk:

Eat a variety of foods. Many foods contain immune boosting substances, some that researchers are still discovering. And, getting nutrients from a varied, balanced diet will prevent you from getting too much of a potentially harmful substance.

Eat more organic fruits and vegetables. Aim for at least three servings of vegetables and two servings of fruits daily. Think color; deep green and yellow, orange. Choose organic to reduce your risk of toxic pesticide exposure.

Choose high-fiber foods. Besides fresh fruits and vegetables, add whole-grain breads and cereals and legumes to your diet.

Eat regular meals, especially breakfast, to limit your chances of overeating throughout the day. Overeating may lead to weight gain and being overweight is a risk factor for cancer.

Re-think your plate. Fill half your plate with vegetables, a quarter with grain products and a quarter with lean protein such as meat, fish or legumes.

Looking to find out more? Book a nutritional consultation today and we'll create a personalized meal plan of cancer-fighting foods.  Email Karen@nutrilicious.ca.

Don't forget to sign up for Farms and Forks, (
www.orgainicfooddelivery.com)  and get organic food delivered right to your front door.  Use the code nutrilicious15 to save 15%.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Do you think your hormones are out of whack?

Do you have any of these symptoms:

  1. You feel tired all the time.
  2. You can't lose weight.
  3. You suffer from severe pms.
  4. You have intense food cravings.
  5. You're bloated and constipated.

 Here are a few simple things you can do to help balance your hormones:

Eat at least three meals a day and always eat breakfast. Our metabolic rate naturally peaks at noon and slows after that. By eating breakfast you stimulate your metabolism. If you skip it, your metabolism will slow down into conservation mode and this can lead to weight gain.

 Eat at least three servings of cruciferous vegetables a day like broccoli, kale or cauliflower. These veggies help bind excess estrogen and flush it out. Raw is best, though lightly boiled or steamed is ok, too. If you can find organic, pesticide-free vegetables that would be ideal as pesticides are also hormone disruptors.
Avoid parabens like methylparaben or propylparaban. These are found in cosmetics, shampoos and other personal care products. They are also known to be hormone disruptors. Read labels carefully.

Join me on Monday April 27 at 12:00 noon for a Healthy Hormones Workshop. Cost is $20 per person. Space is limited. Email karen@nutrilicious.ca to reserve your spot.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

OSTEOPOROSIS - ARE YOU AT RISK? by Karen Gilman, Registered Holistic Nutritionist

Some of the more obvious symptoms of menopause include hot flashes, sleepless nights and mood swings. However, menopause can also result in bone loss. This 'silent symptom'  of menopause is osteoporosis and is a direct result of dropping estrogen levels. It is important to talk to your doctor about doing bone scans to check for bone density. To help counter the impact of bone loss, we need to focus on getting the right nutrients for bone health.

Nutrients that are important for bone health include:
 a) Calcium – The most abundant mineral in the body, necessary for maintaining strong bones
b) Magnesium – Important for calcium absorption
c) Phosphorus - Works with calcium to increase bone strength
d) Vitamin D – Needed for calcium absorption
e) Vitamin K – Essential for calcium breakdown
f) Zinc – Important for calcium absorption

These nutrients work together. If consumption is extremely high of one particular nutrient the other nutrients may not be absorbed as well.

 Good sources of bone strengthening foods include:
Almonds, avocados, broccoli, beans, leafy greens, oranges, pumpkin seeds, quinoa, chia seeds, sesame seeds, tofu or lentils. 

Make sure you are eating some or all of these foods every day.

A few ways to make meals ‘bone-healthy:’
Grind up sesame seeds or pumpkin seeds and sprinkle on top of yogurt and salads, or use whole seeds in stir fries.

Add soy to your daily routine. Drink soy milk. Add tofu to soups, salads and stir fries.

Add tofu, yogurt or greens to smoothies.

Here's a 'bone healthy' sweet treat:
Tahini Almond Dates Bites
12-14 large dates, pitted
½ cup almonds
1/3 cup tahini
Pinch sea salt
1-2 tbsp water
¼ cup sesame seeds or cocoa, to coat

In a food processor, pulse almonds until crumbly and partly smooth.  Add dates, tahini and salt and continue to process. Texture will be crumbly so add water, 1 tbsp at a time, until dough forms in to a ball.  Form 1 inch rounds and roll in sesame seeds or cocoa to coat. Cool in refrigerator to firm.
For more information on how to manage osteoporosis through diet, email me at karen@nutrilicious.ca

Friday, April 3, 2015

Vegans! Make Sure You Are Getting Enough Protein!

One of the biggest concerns of vegetarians is getting enough protein. Thankfully most foods that exist have a great deal of protein in them. Foods that do not provide protein are alcohol, sugar and fats.
Excellent sources of protein for vegans include lentils, chickpeas, peanut butter, almonds, spinach, rice, potatoes, broccoli, kale and quinoa.
The following food vegan food suggestions meet the daily recommended daily amounts for protein for a grown adult male if eaten on their own:

·      1 cup oatmeal with almond milk
·      2 tablespoons peanut butter
·      1 cup beans
·      1 cup broccoli and 1 cup brown rice

Although strict protein planning and food combining to make proteins is not necessary on a vegan diet you may want to combine foods that they have a complete amino acid profile into one meal. Amino Acids are the building blocks of protein.

The amino acids necessary to stay healthy are –

·       Histidine
·       Isoleucine
·       Leucine
·       Lysine
·       Methionine
·       Phenylalanine
·       Threonine
·       Tryptophan
·       Valine

Animal proteins contain every single one of these essential amino acids, which is why meats and eggs are considered to be whole proteins.
Plant proteins are a bit different because they can be high in some amino acids and low in others. For instance, grains and cereals are low in lysine but if you throw a few lysine rich nuts or legumes into the mix then you end up with a complete amino acid profile.
As a general rule all grains and legumes are called complementary proteins because once combined you get a full protein.  Nuts and seeds are also complementary to legumes.
You do not have to eat these nuts and grains or nuts and legumes together at every meal. You just have to consume at least all of this once a day.
However if you do choose to food combine then here are the vegan solutions –

Combining grains and legumes to get a full protein -
·      Black beans and rice
·      Pasta and peas
·      Bread and peanut butter
·      Beans soup and bread or crackers

Combining nuts and seeds to get a full protein –
·      Seeds, nuts and peanuts
·      Hummus (chickpeas and sesame seed paste a.k.a. tahini)
·      Lentils and almonds

Both soy and quinoa contain all of the amino acids and qualify as complete plant proteins.  Soy is also sold as tempeh, tofu or soymilk. However of the two sources quinoa is a bit healthier as it less likely to be contaminated with GMOs. 

For more information or to book a consultation about anti-aging, diet and weight loss programs or any health issue you may be experiencing, visit the Pinewood Natural Health Clinic website that has a list of full services and products at www.pinewood.ca or call our Toronto Office at  (416)-656- 8100.  We also have an office in Pickering, Ontario at (905)-427-0057. You can also email us at info@pinewoodhealth.ca and we would be happy to answer any question that you have about our holistic health services.