How-To’s

Vitamin D to the Rescue! Your Secret Weapon During the Cold & Flu Season

Posted by on Jan 8, 2013 in Featured, Health, How-To's | Comments Off on Vitamin D to the Rescue! Your Secret Weapon During the Cold & Flu Season

Vitamin D to the Rescue! Your Secret Weapon During the Cold & Flu Season

(Image: “sunflowers” by Exsodus / FreeDigitalPhotos.net) We have been hearing more and more about the impressive benefits of Vitamin D intake. In particular, we are now finding out that Vitamin D can help boost your immune system to better ward off colds and flu, especially important for Canadians during the winter months. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is actually more like a precursor to steroid hormones. It is made by our skin from exposure to UV light from the sun. Decreased exposure to sunlight in the fall and winter months in Toronto means that our bodies are producing less Vitamin D naturally. There are multiple forms of Vitamin D, but the one that is best used in the body is Vitamin D3. Recent research supports the theory that low sunlight exposure and secondary deficiencies of vitamin D underlie susceptibility to colds and influenza. It turns out that the anti-microbial cells that line the respiratory tract are dependent on Vitamin D. As a result, by acting on these immune cells, Vitamin D prevents lung infections associated with influenza. So how to do you make sure that you’re getting enough Vitamin D? Individual Vitamin D requirements can vary considerably so it’s best to have your Vitamin D levels tested through a simple blood test done by either your Naturopathic or Medical Doctor. The best lab test is 25-hydroxy-Vitamin D. Based on your blood testing and medical history, your Naturopathic Doctor can assess and make recommendations to meet your individual Vitamin D needs. Once you have determined your Vitamin D status, there are several options to increase your levels. These include sunshine exposure, food sources and supplementation. Most people meet at least some of their Vitamin D needs through sunlight exposure. UV radiation penetrates the skin and is converted to Vitamin D. The amount of Vitamin D made by your body can depend on the level of cloud cover, sunscreen use, time of day and season. It has been suggested that for the average person, without an existing Vitamin D deficiency, 30 minutes, 2-3 times per week of sun exposure between 10am and 3pm leads to adequate vitamin D synthesis. In addition to sunshine, fortified foods tend to provide most of the Vitamin D in the Canadian diet (milk and margarine are fortified by), but the best natural food sources are fatty fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel) and fish liver oils. Small amounts can also be obtained from beef liver, cheese, egg yolks and mushrooms. In some cases, food sources and sunshine are not adequate and supplementation with Vitamin D3 may be required. There a number of good Vitamin D3 supplements available. The dose can range from 2000IU to 5000IU per day. Drop form is more convenient and slightly better absorbed than capsules or...

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Healthy Habits for Travel, Office and Home

Posted by on Jan 4, 2013 in Featured, Health, How-To's | Comments Off on Healthy Habits for Travel, Office and Home

Healthy Habits for Travel, Office and Home

In my previous two posts [ post 1 | post 2 ], I wrote about my amazing experience of Beijing. I still think fondly of my 45 degree climb up the Great Wall of China. Reconnecting with family on our walking tours and over meals was wonderful and rejuvenating. Sharing meals with my new friends made the trip even more joyful. And practising simple healthy habits made it possible to enjoy the experience and feel energetic, happy and relaxed. On my previous post, I mentioned regular Network Spinal Care, daily yoga and healthier food choices were 3 ways that I stayed healthy on my trip. With NSA, I arrived in Beijing with a healthy nervous system and a healthy spine. Daily yoga helped me limber up and start my day with more energy. Healthy meals provided clean-burning fuel to sustain my well-being. The key to health was to continue practising my daily healthy habits and modify them to suit my day. Without further ado, the last of my healthy habits during my Beijing trip!   Early to bed Our days usually started with rising early at 6:00am. I typically need 8 hours of sleep nightly to feel refreshed the next day which meant I was in bed by 10:00pm. This was not the easiest goal as we would return to our hotel room as late as 8:30pm. I got to bed quickly by cutting down on the electronics: namely the television and cell phone. This helped me to maximize my time to wind down from the day with a nice slow shower and personal care. Stay hydrated Experts say that we need at least 2-3 litres of water every day to stay properly hydrated. When counting your intake, remember that beverages and foods are both sources of water. Our tour guide and bus driver provided bottled water during our trip which was very considerate in light of Beijing’s questionable drinking water safety (http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/722561.shtml). A combination of bottled water and lots of fruits and vegetables – both water-rich foods – made it easy for me to stay hydrated.   Keep moving, especially when seated! Do you know what children do after they sit for more than a brief moment? They get restless and move around! This is a perfect reflection of our body’s intelligence to keep tension under control. Every few minutes on my trip, I would lean from one side to the other. Then I’d slouch forward for a few minutes, and then sit upright. I would twist one way, and then twist the other. And of course, if I could safely stand and move around I would do that too. Moving around is important to manage tension. Whether it be on vacation, at home or at the office, if you sit still for more than a few minutes certain tissues in your body will start to compress, stretch and strain. The only way to counteract the load is to switch positions regularly so that the strained tissues get a break and share the load with other parts of your body.   SRI SRI stands for Somato Respiratory Integration (click to read more) and is an incredibly effective tool for enhancing the breath and releasing built-up tension. It’s so simple and that anyone could learn it in a single session and enjoy right away the benefits of regular practice. I used it to help me to sleep each night as well as whenever I felt tension build up. There are 12 different stages of SRI that can be practised, and the simplest and most frequent stage I practice is stage 1. See below...

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When It Rains It Pours

Posted by on Dec 10, 2012 in Featured, Health, How-To's, Quotes & Thoughts | Comments Off on When It Rains It Pours

When It Rains It Pours

I have personally been dealing with a lot of potentially stressful challenges  lately.  Now, the reason I say “potentially” is because nothing is actually stressful until it is perceived by the nervous system as stress.  That said, I have also noticed that many of my clients and friends have been experiencing an abundance of potential stressors recently.    The expression “when it rains it pours” comes to mind in these situations.  It is interesting how this can often be the case in our lives where challenges are concerned.  They can often pile up leaving us feeling overwhelmed, helpless, anxious or drained of energy.  The cumulative effect of compounding experiences can have a significant impact on our health and wellbeing and on our ability to manage our stress  When I have a lot to deal with, I am especially grateful to be able to call upon the strategies I have learned in my body and life through my process of healing.     What I know about stress in the body is that if we want to be able to handle stress and actually process and learn from our experience of it, we need to create an environment of peace within the body.  When the body is at ease then it has the chance to be able to process stress.  If the body is in a state of overwhelm, this capacity is significantly diminished.  It is also very difficult to process things with only the mind.  When we can use the whole bodymind to process we have much more capacity.  This is why choosing actions to help us move into our bodies at times like these are especially valuable.   When I am faced with a lot of potential stress, it is vital for me to choose actions that will help me stay present and connected to myself and my body, which takes me out of thinking and worrying and into feeling and processing.  Here are some strategies I use for connecting with my body and processing potential stressors:    Increase my frequency of Network Chiropractic Entrainments Increase my frequency of Somato Respiratory Integration Exercises Doing whatever actions are necessary to deal with the practicality of my situation(s) Practice other body centered techniques I have learned (i.e. meditation, focusing, body scan, pelvic awareness, grounding) Practicing faith, trust and surrender Exercise Yoga, especially restorative yoga Journaling Spending time in nature Connecting with family and friends and sharing my situation and feelings with them Dancing Playing guitar Doing anything creative Getting good rest Eating clean and healthy food   Certainly, there can be times when I am so overwhelmed that I feel like I don’t have access to any strategies.  This is when it is the most difficult to take actions like I am suggesting above because when we are in overwhelm, or fight or flight, we do not think clearly.  However, when I choose to utilize my strategies I am more able to harness the pouring rain and use it to nourish my healing process to allow myself to...

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Healthy Travels

Posted by on Dec 3, 2012 in Featured, Health, How-To's | Comments Off on Healthy Travels

Healthy Travels

Want to enjoy the sightseeing, the company with fellow travelers, and the local cuisine while staying healthy along the way? I found myself in this very scenario while travelling to Beijing in October 2012 (and wrote about it on my previous blog post here). Beijing is an amazing place full of countless opportunities for touring, shopping and enjoying the local food and culture. There’s the Great Wall of China, numerous palaces and tombs of emperors and empresses past, Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City and more. For the destinations that were nearby, the commute was swift and effortless. The destinations that were further off, however, were much more of a challenge and needed a little more attention.  Add the 12 hour flights to and from Beijing, and you can really imagine what impact such a vacation could have on well-being! Staying healthy in Beijing was easy, simple and rewarding. The key was to continue practicing my daily healthy habits and modify them to fit the circumstances. Here’s are 3 ways I stayed healthy during my week-long trip through Beijing:   Regular Network Spinal Care before and after the trip Drs. Allison, Anita, and I all benefit from getting regular Network Spinal Care. Kiva Bottero, Natural News (link), calls Network Spinal Analysis (NSA) “an innovative approach to chiropractic that focuses on communicating with the nervous system in order to release the underlying tension that keeps the spine misaligned.”  NSA is a powerful way for us to have a well-functioning nervous system and a body that is resilient, flexible and free to heal itself naturally (read more from our website here). During my week of travels, I still benefited from all the NSA Care that I have received. My body-mind has strategies to stay calm and connected, and to practice healthy travel habits needed by my body.   Yoga during the trip During the trip, I practiced 15-20 minutes of yoga each morning before breakfast. I performed a short routine that includes standing postures and floor poses for strength, endurance and flexibility. Yoga is great for awakening our bodies and for preparing us for our first meal of the day. I find it always helps me clear out my lungs and airways of anything accumulated the day before. It’s also easier for me to be still physically and mentally on long bus trips after moving my joints, breathing deeply and stretching my tissues in yoga. With a bit of practice it can be very easy to do your own yoga practice! Stay tuned for a future article on building a personal yoga practice. In the meantime, our Monday night yoga class (click here for schedule) with Rupel Pandya is a great step to having more yoga in your life.   Make healthier food choices Beijing is brimming with food choices that span the entire spectrum of healthy nutrition. I looked for plant-based whole foods wherever possible – vegetables, fruits, legumes and grains and leaned towards dishes that were lightly seasoned and oiled (or even better unseasoned and un-oiled). That meant I was enjoying dishes such as millet congee, freshly made unsweetened hot soy milk, stir-fried vegetables and tofu, and plain white rice. On some days, I’d eat a meal of simply watermelon, Chinese Hami Gold melons, Chinese fresh dates, and mandarins / clementines. Eating whole foods helped me maintain steady energy levels and regular elimination. It also helped me ensure I was getting all the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that are so abundant in plant-based foods.   Staying active, eating well and getting regular Network Spinal Care are 3 of the ways I got the most out...

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On Loving the Cold!

Posted by on Nov 26, 2012 in Featured, How-To's, Quotes & Thoughts, Uncategorized | Comments Off on On Loving the Cold!

On Loving the Cold!

(Image: “winter landscape” by dan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net) As the temperature begins to drop and the days get darker, I begin to hear a lot of complaints about the cold weather and impending winter. Granted, it’s often coming out of my mouth, however certainly not exclusively so. ..( You know who you are. And what are we doing living in Canada anyway if we have a problem with winter ;)) In the spirit of gratitude that we aim to cultivate and grow every day, here are some things that I enjoy about these cooler seasons that I like to remember, and would like to share (so you can remind me when I go off again!): *Persimmons are back, cheap and delicious. If you missed it last year, here is my ode to this delicious fruit. *Now is truly the best time to eat spicy foods. I take this time to enjoy hot spiciness on most everything. Warms you up right from the inside and keeps your nasal passages clear. *Drinking tea especially brewing homemade chai tea right on the stovetop. The intoxicating scent of ginger, cloves, cinnamon, cardamom wafting through the house is heavenly. Apple cider and mulled wine is nice too! And what about soup and freshly baked bread? There’s nothing like making your own food and feeling the heat and enjoying the anticipation of a hot, delicious, nourishing meal. Mmmmm mmmmm mmmmm! Lest you think all that I enjoy about fall and winter is food, let me tell you about: *Bundling up in the long, precious scarf my mom lovingly knit me, knowing that she spent many hours and put so much care into it to keep me warm. *Snowy nights and the crisp air. How beautiful and peaceful! Consider a winter morning after a snowfall and the beauty of the snow draped branches. *How about slip-sliding on the sidewalk? Snowball fights with friends? One is never too old to toboggan and just get totally dunked and covered in snow, not caring about being dry or dignified.  What of the beauty of rosy cheeks? *How about curling around a fireplace and feeling its light and warmth? How about holidays and parties and red wine and cheese trays (oh, guilty pleasures!)? *Cuddling under warm covers and watching a movie or reading a great book.   I feel the winter is a great time to commit to a lengthy classic. This is how I finally read War and Peace (particularly recommended for those who complain about winter and the cold – get a taste of Russian winter as experienced by the unknowing  troops of Napoleon! BRRRRRR!!!). *How about skiing and snowboarding and skating and hot chocolate?   *How about trying something new? A friend of mine was just talking about her plans to go dog-sledding in Algonquin Park this winter for the second time. She said it was such a rush… You in? How are you making this fall/winter...

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Beautifying the Workplace

Posted by on Aug 22, 2012 in Featured, How-To's | Comments Off on Beautifying the Workplace

Beautifying the Workplace

(Image: Cup Of Coffee With Red Roses by domdeen / FreeDigitalPhotos.net) Some of our favourite compliments at Source Centre are hearing how great it feels to be here or how lucky we are to work here. We feel that way too, very blessed to be here and to share our lives with the wonderful people who step through our door. It is important to us to keep a sacred, beautiful and nurturing space.  Work is where most of us spend a good, if not the better, chunk of our waking life. If we don’t enjoy being at work, it can take a toll on our health and well-being. Some aspects of our job are going to be unchangeable, however, much of our experience can improve with some simple beautification steps. I believe the trick is to engage our senses in appealing ways. It’s a part of why it feels great to be at Source Centre (click here for pictures of our space). We actively work to bring in and share what’s meaningful and beautiful to us. Here are some ideas: Plants or fresh flowers. Having something alive, vibrant and colourful can do wonders for lifting spirits (and cleaning the air). There are also so many varieties to choose from that it needn’t be too difficult to find one that can grow in whatever setting you find yourself in. Sure, they need to be watered but it’s not as often as you might think and, anyway, what better reason to take a break and a stretch? Pictures. It’s fairly common to see family photos on or around our desks but I say go beyond! (especially if you find that family is in itself a source of stress!) How about pictures of beautiful landscapes or places you’ve visited that have a particular resonance for you? How about inspirational quotes where you can see them? Don’t forget to change the pictures every so often so that you continue to notice them and be inspired or transported. Meaningful objects. This could be treasured gifts or natural items such as unique rocks. Potpourri or essential oils for the scent. Do you have a favourite? Lavender is very relaxing and peppermint can be invigorating. A few drops on a handkerchief, inhale, and you’re set. Try it in place of an afternoon coffee or sugar fix. Crystals. They are beautiful and can diffuse negative energy.  You can’t go wrong with finding a crystal that “speaks” to you. Alternatively, there are many that are great at diffusing negative energy: black tourmaline, amethyst or rose quartz are just a few examples.  Music or soothing sounds. This one may be the most difficult to implement depending on your work set-up but you never know! If the sounds are soothing enough – think gentle piano or natural rushing water sounds – it may be possible that your neighbours don’t notice or that it subconsciously changes behaviour in a positive way. Or maybe you can get away with an ipod now and then. Finding music or sounds that uplift and inspire can work wonders in improving mood and regulating blood pressure. Got any ideas or things you use? We’d love to hear...

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