Enabling you and your family to heal in mind, body & spirit
Nourishing Ourselves And Creating Boundaries To Reduce Stress - Ottawa Holistic

Nourishing Ourselves And Creating Boundaries To Reduce Stress

Chronic stress and anxiety are a reality with most of my clients.

I love my job because I learn so much from people, and something I see over and over again is how willing so many of us are to sacrifice our own time and energy to give to others.

Despite all the negative information we receive on a daily basis about the state of humanity, in my experience, people are innately good and want to help others. Commendable yes, but this can also be very draining if we don’t also practice self-nourishment.

Giving our time and energy to loved ones and others are part of what being human is all about. It makes others feel good, and it makes us feel good to have a positive impact on the lives of others. But balancing how much we give away with how much we give to ourselves, and how much we are willing to receive from others, is very important.

We can only give what we have, right? If we are tapped, what we offer is of a different quality than what we provide when we are feeling full and charged and nurtured. And so often we all keep giving even when we are exhausted and approaching burn out.

Why is it so hard for us to say “no, I can’t right now, I need to take time for myself and recharge.”?

Being hard on ourselves

What has been so fascinating for me to witness when we dive deep into the body-mind to access the tissues that are holding the stress and associated emotions, is that at the root of these tendencies are all these feelings of self-criticism, self-doubt, and self-judgement.

From the client’s experience, these emotions are often unexpected but not necessarily a surprise; we are not consciously acknowledging how hard we are on ourselves. But when the conversation arises, the feelings hit us hard because we know it’s something we have been ignoring and pushing aside, and it resonates deeply.

In reality, a portion of our stress, and the excessive demands we continuously feel, sometimes most of it, is coming from within, and that we have not been exercising our right to personal boundaries!

And so begins the dialogue of how we free ourselves from these inflated expectations of ourselves, and we can start to connect to what it is we need to feel fulfilled and valued in our lives.

Nourishing ourselves for a change

Nourishing the soul is a practice. It requires reflection and awareness, and the strength to make conscious decisions every day to honour and love yourself, to set boundaries and to adopt a slower pace. Connect with what nourishes you. Connect with Nature. Choosing to heal and nurture over working on the to-do list.

Starting small is vital when adopting new lifestyle practices that you start. Make mistakes, forgive the unsuccessful changes, move on from the judgement and criticism. Remember that the voice we hear most frequently is our own, so making it a kind voice is a very genuine and essential piece.

Keys to successful change

In my personal experience, there have been a few key habits that have helped me make real and positive changes.

Firstly, the CranioSacral work I’ve done with a few different therapists has very much helped me to understand my inner diversity better, helping to untangle the truth behind what drives my actions. Also involved in this has been the process of letting go of a ton of personal emotional baggage, leaving way more space for new ideas and better habits.

Secondly, listening to guided meditations on a daily basis has, over time, filled my brain with much more positive language, effectively changing how my mind talks to itself. I cannot emphasise the effectiveness of this practice. It is one that takes time and regular practice, but one that has been well worth the time investment.

And thirdly would be the process of consciously selecting who I spend time with and to whom I give my energy. This process has probably been the hardest, but again, the benefits of this practice are undeniable.

Paying attention to how I feel before and after interactions with friends, colleagues, lovers, acquaintances, and even clients have been my most useful tool for developing loving kindness towards myself. This is the active practice of establishing boundaries, and it takes a lot of practice and sometimes can feel very selfish.

But the better I’ve gotten at this, the better friend, partner, lover, parent, and therapist I have become. And since there is no end point, no peak, no finish line (aside from death I suppose) I’m looking forward to the continued practice, the continued learning, and the increased ability to be kind to both myself and others.

Disclaimer

This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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Somatic Movement for Daily Living - Ottawa Holistic Wellness

Somatic Movement for Daily Living

The capacity to move is a vital aspect of our lives, and we move our body every day.  We walk to our job, run to the bus, work at our desk, stand in lines, workout at the gym, do yoga and play sports.  However, many people don’t understand the mechanics of movement and believe they have to work hard to develop greater mobility or flexibility (i.e., no pain, no gain).   This belief is not the case.  The practice of Somatic movement can help alleviate this misunderstanding as well as correct misaligned muscle tissue. 

With all the stress in our lives, we often forget how to restore the body back to a stress-free state, one in which the muscles are relaxed and soft, rather than being tight and rigid.  Somatics not only relax muscles and reduce muscle pain, but the exercises also soften and soothe the nervous system.  This is a distinct and essential benefit. 

Somatic movement is useful for everyone: from the physically active to those who are more sedentary.  It prepares the body for activities like walking, running, hiking or playing sports (tennis, basketball, soccer etc.) by lengthening muscle tissue.  For those who spend more time sitting, Somatic movement develops greater flexibility in the hips, back, trunk and shoulders.  It also reduces the debilitating effects of back, neck and shoulder pain.

All Somatic exercises are practised slowly, actively and without force. Because they are slow and deliberate, they are healing and restorative.  The intent of moving slowly and actively allow the student to feel how a muscle contract and relaxes, as well as recognising other muscles that also contract to assist that specific muscle.

Practising Somatic movement, people gain greater sensory motor awareness and body intelligence.  With increased awareness, people learn to use the muscles in their trunk and rib cage more effectively so that when they sit, stand or walk their posture is more aligned.  Just as important, they realise when their muscles are out of alignment and know what to do to correct in this imbalance.  This is the value of body intelligence.

The process of ageing can be either an adaptive or maladaptive process.  It is often a matter of perspective and our awareness.  We learn how to be in the body through our experience, and a Somatic practice can teach anyone to be in their body in a functionally healthier way.

Benefits of Somatic Movement:

  • Feeling more relaxed and improved posture
  • Reduced pain and tension in the body (back, shoulder, hip and neck)
  • Heightened sensory awareness in the body & greater mental clarity

Disclaimer

This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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An Herbal Oxymoron - Anti-inflammatory - Ottawa Holistic Wellness

An Herbal Oxymoron – Anti-inflammatory

Most people know movement is an important part of any health regime. Unfortunately, many people stop moving when it becomes painful. Most pain intensified by movement occurs after an injury and ongoing when inflammation. So let’s explore a few ways herbal medicine can resolve inflammation by looking at herbal medicine helped heal a broken ankle.

If you hang out with herbalist long enough, you will hear someone say, if you have broken leg go to emergency, not the herbalist. Yet, last month I helped someone heal up a broken ankle after she went to emergency, and they could not do anything for her.

There were several concerns with the ankle.

  1. Swelling and bruising that was not going away
  2. Pain
  3. A small bone in the ankle was not healing

The first herb in the formula

Comfrey: A Demulcent Containing Allantion

Comfrey contains a phytochemical called allantion. Allantoin enhances the healing of wounds, tears and breaks in connective tissue. I have used it to help heal tendons, ligaments, bones and skin tears.

During inflammation’s final phase the body makes what is called granulation tissue. Granulation tissue is what knits the wound back together. Allantoin increases the body’s ability to make this unique healing tissue, the final resolution of inflammation.

Please note the safest way to take comfrey.

If you are taking comfrey internally, make a tea with leaves.

If you are applying it topically, use an infused oil of the root.

The second herb in the formula

St John’s Wort – A Nervine with Anti-oxidants and Liver and Nerve Support

St John’s Wort is a complicated herb. What one of the reason inflammation can linger is the debris (toxins) created by the wound, and the healing is not removed promptly. One reason is, the liver is overwhelmed by work! St John’s Wort helps flush toxins from the liver. An efficient liver is essential for good health and healing.

St John’s Wort also contains high levels of flavonoids. Let’s explore quercetin, a flavonoid that is found in St John’s Wort. Quercetin is an anti-oxidant. The inflammatory process creates considerable debris made up bits of dead cells formed during the healing of the wound. Some of this debris are loose oxygen molecules. Oxygen is a very combustible molecule. Think of the flame in a circle on an oxygen tank. In our body, loose oxygen molecules are also explosive. They cause small explosions that damage cell membranes resulting in more inflammation. Taking herbs, like St John’s Wort limits the damage loose oxygen molecules can create and shortens the period of pain and inflammation.

Part of the pain experienced during inflammation is caused by damage to the tips of nerves. St John’s Wort is famous for healing damaged nerve tissue. In this way, the pain is resolved not by shutting down the inflammatory process but by healing the damage that causes it in the first place.

The third herb in the formula

Yarrow – The Healer’s Herb

If a wound, break of inflammation will not heal, think of yarrow. Remember part of the inflammatory process is cleaning up the debris from the injury. Yarrow excels at this. I have seen yarrow clean up 10-year-old bruising. “It just never healed properly,” she said and was amazed at what taking yarrow for three weeks did. Yarrow brings completion to the inflammatory process.

Also like St John’s Wort, yarrow is high in flavonoids and limits the inflammatory activity of free radicles.

The fourth herb in the formula

Poplar – For the Pain

There are many different analgesic herbs. Poplar like so many other herbs, willow, birch, meadowsweet, is high in salicin. It was from salicin that the first NSAID drug aspirin was made. But in that case, salicin was turned into salicylic acid and then into the over the counter painkiller. In a plant, salicin does not become salicylic acid, the analgesic, until it is absorbed through the gut and into the bloodstream. Once in the blood, it becomes salicylic acid. Interestingly, while moderating the experience of pain at the site of inflammation, it does not like NSAID stop the completion of the inflammation process nor carry the harmful side effects. It is however very bitter medicine, so prepare your palate.   

Final Words

These for plants relieved the swelling and bruising, eased the pain and healed up the bone. They supported the efforts the body made to heal. They did not stop the inflammation; they brought it to resolution.

Disclaimer

This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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Physical Activity Beneficial for all Cancer Patients - Ottawa Holistic Wellness

Physical Activity Beneficial for all Cancer Patients

People who are physically active before and after a cancer diagnosis are 40% more likely to survive when compared to their sedentary (little to no exercise) counterparts.

A recent study from April 2018 found that exercise holds a benefit for all types of cancer. The researchers looked at pre- and post-diagnosis physical activity in over 5000 cancer patients who received their diagnoses between 2003-2016. There were more women than men in the study, and the average age was around 60 years old.

According to the authors of the study, the most significant increase in survival was observed in people who exercised 3 to 4 days per week both before and after diagnosis. Interestingly, people who chose to exercise every day did not fare much better, a boon to the weekend warriors among us!

Interestingly, people who were sedentary ten years before their diagnosis but who decided to become more active after their diagnosis had a 25% increased chance of survival when compared to people who remained inactive after diagnosis.

As the authors stated, “The message is that it’s never too late to start exercising”.

Exercise can help people improve strength, heart and lung function, and overall quality of life.

So what is stopping you from exercising? It’s probably a complicated answer, and that’s okay. Exercise should be fun, and something that you can fit into your schedule without adding a high burden of stress. Even something simple like daily walks and stretching can be beneficial for the most sedentary among us.

If injuries are preventing you from meeting your exercise goals, perhaps it’s time for a tune-up with your chiropractor or osteopath. If the issue is due to your mood, maybe it’s time to find ways to address your mental health through diet, lifestyle, and therapy.

Our bodies were made to move, so ensuring that you are taking care of your body’s needs will go a long way to improve your energy levels, stress resilience, and exercise capacity!

Disclaimer

This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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Exploring Expressive Movement through Ecstatic Dance - Ottawa Holistic Wellness

Exploring Expressive Movement through Ecstatic Dance

For as long as I can remember, I have longed to spend more time dancing.

My mother loves to tell the story of how much she would look forward to Sunday mornings when I was a baby. She could turn on the Gospel channel plop me down, where I was happy as a clam for a good hour or so, bopping away to the upbeat hymns, swaying with the same movement I saw on the screen, while she would sip her coffee, read and take it easy.

Having been raised in white middle-class Canadian society, dance, and expression through movement, in general, has not played any significant role in my cultural experience. I took some dance classes as a kid, but they were very structured and performance-based. I was a shy kid, and eventually, I asked if I could stop, since the classes caused more anxiety than they were worth.

I remember how excited I was when I would get new records and cassettes. I would play them over and over again, jumping up and down on my bed and dancing for hours, by myself or with friends.

At an early age I became fascinated with a Baptist church we used to walk by when visiting friends. Having been raised in a secular household, I had no concept of religious beliefs and practices until I was much older. But this church sounded like THE PLACE TO BE on the weekends. I was curious, fascinated, and so very drawn to the concept of getting together with other people in the community and singing and dancing.

Like many young girls of my generation, I was pretty in love with the movie ‘Dirty Dancing.’ I longed to belong to a group of cool people who would get together to dance and express themselves with movement and style. I could relate to the fact that they had to do it in their “off” time, having to portray a much less colourful version of themselves to be accepted by their families, co-workers and employers. 

When I hit the bar scene as a young adult, for a short while my love for dancing was more adequately satisfied. But eventually the “pick-up” scene, late nights, and copious amounts of alcohol no longer suited my lifestyle. Not to mention dancing at the local clubs always seemed to be more about showing off, or being seen, than about movement and expression. And ever since, I have been at a loss for places to go out dancing that doesn’t involve getting hit on, drinking, and late evenings (maybe I’m lame, I don’t know…).

But what I do know is that I still CRAVE dancing!

My body wants to move!

Sometimes I wonder if there is a very voluptuous latino woman trapped inside this tall skinny white girl; a woman who was born knowing how to move her body, who is entirely at ease with giving in to the impulses the music asks of her, with confidence. Here I am trapped in a culture that Just Doesn’t Dance.

It’s a little stifling. It’s unlikely that there is a latino lady trapped inside of me, but I find it interesting that it is the imagery my psyche has conjured up. I have no examples of my own family, anyone from my earliest experiences of community, or white people in general, dancing for the pure joy of it! So I’ve looked to other cultures, cultures that use dance and expressive movement so much more than the one I was raised in and longed to be a part of a community that feels more comfortable with the body and it’s role in expression.

Earlier this year I was down in Peru on an intensive retreat. During the retreat, movement was introduced to us as a way to work through, and MOVE, a lot of the emotions and experiences that were coming up for us. In fact, many of us were experiencing a lot of physical discomforts, which was likely due to all the emotional work that we were doing.

Emotions take up space, just like anything else. And as we delved into ourselves, from deep in our being, we were suddenly much more aware of the physical space that our emotions, memories, traumas, and stress, were taking up.

Yoga was a daily activity, as was spending time in nature and swimming in the jungle river. These were immensely helpful, but there was nothing about them that especially came from within our body. And then one day, one of the facilitators announced there would be Ecstatic Dance in the Maloka (ceremonial hut) that afternoon. It was not mandatory, and I was wiped, but I do love to dance…

So, I dragged my butt over to the Maloka where our guide, Mel, explained a little about what Ecstatic Dance was. The point was straightforward; to connect with our bodies, and to allow ourselves to respond to the music in any way we feel. She had compiled a playlist that reflected the elements; earth, water, fire, air and ether. As she explained, each element posses a specific type of energy, a kind of energy that every one of us has a connection with, as we are amazing, beautiful beings of this earth and universe.

For example, earth energy tends to be somewhat heavy, dark, and slow,  whereas fire energy would be in direct contrast to that; fast, hot, and jumpy. Using the music, our breath, and intuition, we were invited to connect with the music and let it move us.

All of us had been through quite a bit together at this point in the retreat, so it was a great place to be introduced to this, as worrying about what we looked like was just no longer an issue. Mel suggested we close our eyes if we feel ourselves getting anxious about what others are thinking. “Dance like no one is watching.” I think we have all heard that before…

Many of us lay down on the floor as she started the music. The low grumblings and heavy bass began to pull at me. I tried not to think about anyone. I closed my eyes and dropped into my body to start connecting to the ebb and flow of my breath. The music was heavy, and as I let it into my being, I could feel myself be heavy with it.

I started to wonder what it felt like to be dirt or to live in the soil. What would it be like to be so close to minerals all the time? What would it be like to be beneath all the action happening above and to feel it move the ground? What would it sound like? What temperature would it be? I started feeling the urge to roll around on the Maloka floor.

And then the most amazing thing happened; I started to roll around on the floor! I didn’t care what I looked like. I imagined that everyone was feeling more or less the same level of self-consciousness that I was and that they likely weren’t giving me, or what I was doing much thought. I decided to do myself a favour, and block out any negative or self-conscious mental talk. The goal was to be in my body and to give my mind a break.

So I was rolling around on the floor. It felt amazing. It was so silly and was what I felt like doing, and it was the best!

I instantly connected to my little girl, my five-year-old daughter who often dances without thought or worry, who blurts out visceral expression, be it yelling incoherent verbal speech, dance moves, or just falling on the floor for no apparent reason.

And I connected to my childhood self that used to do that too.

The pace started to pick up, and my movements got faster. Parts of my body started leaving the floor and reaching for the sky. Soon I was on my feet, and I was moving, a lot. Every part of my body that I became conscious of, I would connect with it and explore what moving it would feel like. Did it like rotation? Contraction? Dangling? What was it that made my parts, my body FEEL good.

Eventually, there was a lot of jumping, and the whole Maloka floor was bouncing and vibrating with everyone’s movement. The energy quickly increased, and Linda let loose and screamed out in Joy. Several others (including myself) followed suit. We were hooting and hollering and screaming and grumbling.

This was AMAZING!

After an hour or so the music started to slow down again. Everyone began moving closer to the floor, feeling a pullback towards the ground, connecting to the rock and mineral energy of the earth, and the gravitational pull from our planet’s core. At last, we were all still, laying on the floor once again, covered in sweat, happy as clams. I couldn’t believe how energised I felt. I had been EXHAUSTED before we had started. But the dance had shifted it all. I had pushed it all out of my body, having moved my body from my inner self, and had left it all on the dance floor. I felt so much lighter, and I couldn’t stop smiling.

It turns out there is a small Ecstatic Dance community in Ottawa. They meet 2-3 times a month, with rotating DJ’s. The drop-ins are affordable, and the crowd is very welcoming and non-judgemental. The dancers are diverse, young and old, tall and small, round and ruler like, a representation of all shapes, sizes and genders. There is no pressure to socialise, and chit-chat on the dance floor is discouraged, yet auditory expression is encouraged.

There is a woman I see there often, who about halfway through the set, starts to bubble up with laughter. She laughs and dances and dances and laughs. She’s my favourite. I try to dance close to her, as her energy and joy are utterly infectious. I often find myself giggling along with her. I always love being reminded that it is not only ‘negative’ emotions or energy that take up space in our tissues. It is all emotion, as really, they are just all the same emotion at different places on a single spectrum. It is all one. She reminds me of this every time.

Slowly as I’m attending more and more evenings, I’ve started talking with some of the other dancers before or after the dance. They are an amiable, lovely bunch. But generally, I go there to dance. These nights have the power to change your day, even your week. Bust out some gymnastic moves, roar like a lion, bring your bongo drum, or bop around like your at the club. The only rules are that you must exercise respect for others and their space.

Other than that, you are free as a bird!

There’s a lot of reasons why dance is good for us. The more I work with people, with my clients, there is just no longer any place for me to deny how linked our body’s are with our psyche, and even our environment. A release of emotion, both positive and negative sentiment, will often follow a discharge in the tissue, and vice versa. Our feelings, our stress’, they take up space, and not just in our minds.

Physical restrictions and tensions pull at the psyche too, affecting our moods, temperament, and patience. In the same way, a river needs space to flow, or it will bubble over the edge, our body/minds need the same. Or if there is no place to boil over, the water will sit there and become a stagnant and stinky pool. We are not much different.

With too much stillness our bodies will begin to cause us discomfort and disease because we need movement to maintain proper function, nourishment and oxygen. In Movement, there will be space, growth, evolution and a place to return to our natural state, that of Joy and Love.

Disclaimer

This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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4 Best Supplements To Alleviate Seasonal Allergy Symptoms - Ottawa Holistic Wellness

4 Best Supplements To Alleviate Seasonal Allergy Symptoms

As a child, I suffered from terrible allergy symptoms. My mother did not know about supplements that may alleviate seasonal allergy symptoms. Instead, she would take me to the doctor who wrote out various prescriptions to mask my multiple symptoms.

Common Seasonal Allergy Symptoms

Common seasonal allergy symptoms include:

  • Congestion.
  • Post-nasal drip.
  • Excess mucus production.
  • Sneezing.
  • A runny nose.
  • Itchy, watery eyes.
  • Scratchy throat.
  • Tickle/irritation in the ears.
  • Wheezing

Supplements To Alleviate Seasonal Allergy Symptoms

Back in the 1970’s, when I was a child with allergies, natural remedies and supplements were available, but a minority of people knew about them, and they received minimal scientific scrutiny. Thankfully, things are beginning to change, and researchers are showing that supplements work. The following is a list of the four best supplements demonstrated through high-level scientific research to alleviate seasonal allergy symptoms.

1. Probiotics

Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that are good for your health, especially your digestive system. We usually think of these as germs that cause diseases. But your body is full of bacteria, both good and bad. Probiotics are often called “good” or “helpful” bacteria because they help keep your gut healthy.

A placebo-controlled, double-blinded, and randomised study demonstrated that a probiotic containing a Bifidobacteria longum bacteria was able of significantly improving Allergic Rhinitis symptoms and Quality of Life in children with pollen-induced AR and intermittent asthma.

A randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial results suggest that Lactobacillus acidophilus can alleviate the symptoms of perennial allergic rhinitis

I recommend trying Probiotic Supreme DF™ which contains both Bifidobacteria longum and Lactobacillus acidophilus.

2. Black Cumin (N.sativa)

Nigella sativa (black caraway, also known as black cumin, nigella, and kalonji) is an annual flowering plant in the family Ranunculaceae, native to south and southwest Asia.

A double-blind clinical trial showed that N. sativa could reduce the presence of the nasal mucosal congestion, nasal itching, runny nose, sneezing attacks, turbinate hypertrophy, and mucosal pallor.

I recommend trying Life Extension Black Cumin Seed Oil.

3. Curcumin

Curcumin is a bright yellow chemical produced by some plants. It is the principal curcuminoid of turmeric (Curcuma longa), a member of the ginger family, Zingiberaceae.

A randomised double-blind study showed that curcumin alleviated nasal symptoms (sneezing and rhinorrhea) and nasal congestion through reduction of nasal airflow resistance.

I recommend Curcum-Evail™ by Designs for Health.

4. Tinospora cordifolia

Tinospora cordifolia, which is known by the common names heart-leaved moonseed, Guduchi and giloy, is a herbaceous vine of the family Menispermaceae indigenous to the tropical areas of India,

In a randomised double-blind placebo-controlled study, Tinospora cordifolia significantly decreased all symptoms of allergic rhinitis.

I recommend HistaEze™ by Designs for Health that contains Tinospora cordifolia.

Disclaimer

This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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How to Get Your Children to Eat More Veggies - Ottawa Holistic Wellness

How to Get Your Children to Eat Veggies

Children can be very stubborn about eating vegetables. I don’t have children myself, only cats, but I do see many children in my practice. Parents often ask me for tips to get their kids eating less junk food and more vegetables. In this regard, I have been studying the scientific literature and talking to my clients with kids to reveal the secrets of how to children to eat veggies.

The great news is it is not mission impossible. The bad news is that it is not easy, but if you are willing to be persistent in your efforts, you should succeed in the end.

In this article, you will learn about 10 different strategies that you can try to get your kids to eat veggies.

10 Strategies To Get Your Kids To Eat Veggies

1. Walk the Talk

Studies show by far the best predictor of a child’s eating behaviour is the eating patterns of her parents. If vegetables are not a stable in your diet, then how do you expect your kids to eat them. A child will eat what they know, and will not ask for something else if they do not appreciate it is an option.

2. Make food more appealing

Children like to use their imagination and play make-believe.

Carrots can be unappealing to a child wishing for burgers and fries.

But if they can imagine a rabbit who needs to eat five carrots to outrun a fox, suddenly those carrots are a lot more attractive.

Another interesting idea is to give foods fun names.

In a 2012 study, researchers tested the effect of re-labelling familiar foods.

The researchers found that American elementary school students ate more carrots, broccoli, and green beans when cafeteria menus called these vegetables X-Ray vision carrots,” “Power Punch Broccoli,” and “Silly Dilly Green Beans.”

Associating wholesome food with fun stuff the child already loves and transforming it into a game is an excellent way to get them to eat more veggies.

3. Get kids involved in the kitchen

Engaging kids in the kitchen at home may make them more likely to choose healthy foods, according to one research study.

Taking your children with you to the grocery store and letting them choose one or two veggies to cook for supper can make them far more likely to eat it later.

Better yet, start a vegetable garden in your backyard and show them how to grow and harvest their own.

Studies submit that kids may eat more fruits and vegetables when the produce is home-grown

Getting them to clean parsnips and peel onions will give them a sense of pride and will make mealtime more appealing.

4. Be consistent and persistent

We know that kids are more likely accept foods after regular exposure.

One study found a correlation between the number of different fruits and vegetables that parents bring home and their preschoolers’ willingness to eat fruits and vegetables.

Another study found that kids grow their desire for and consumption of vegetables after they are invited to taste them every day for two weeks.

5. Don’t force them to finish

One of the biggest myths among parents is that pushing their child to eat food they do not like will get her to alter their behaviour.

On the contrary, enforcement will create an unsatisfactory meal experience, and the child will associate food with the negative feelings.

Negative food encounters have the opposite of the aspired effect and increase picky eating tendencies.

For instance, one study found that kids who were made to eat fewer fruits and vegetables and more unhealthful snacks.

6. Rewards

Creating positive food experiences through giving non-food rewards can reduce picky eating bents.

Research has shown that rewarding a child for attempting one bite of a rebuffed food with stickers may make it easier for them to try the food.

7. Understand your child’s values

Kids don’t see the world as adults do. Consequently, they have very different values.

Children do not care about health. Most kids think they’re invincible.

Therefore, explaining that a vegetable is healthy, is unlikely to motivate them.

On the other hand, most kids feel checked by their size and yearn to be bigger and stronger.

Explaining that sprouts “will help you grow big and strong” is hence more compelling than, “sprouts are healthy.”

8. Offer diverse food colours

One thing you have working in your favour is that children like colourful foods.

You can achieve this by putting vegetables of different colours on their plates.

While adults tend to like flavours mixed, kids frequently prefer them separate.

9. Arrange food in fun patterns on the plate

Another motivation to eat veggies that children enjoy is when you place their food into patterns on their plate.

Unlike adults, who favour foods near each other in the centre of their plate, kids like their food separated into piles around the edge.

If you shape food into a smiling face, kids will like it even more.

This strategy is another way to make food fun.

10. Pair new foods with old favourites

If your child resistant to trying new foods, you can try tricking them by pairing new foods with the flavours they love.

Researchers tested this idea by offering kids with a choice of two kinds of chips one familiar and one new.

The kids who eat the familiar dip were more likely to try tasting the new chips.

If you are feeling overwhelmed by your efforts to get your child to eat veggies, I would suggest you find a good health coach to help you. I use a health coach in my practice when clients, both kids and adults, need help in changing their diet and lifestyle habits.

Disclaimer

This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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7 Overlooked Causes of Infertility in Men - Ottawa Holistic Wellness

7 Overlooked Causes of Infertility in Men

Did you know that approximately 16% (or 1 in 6) of couples in Canada experience infertility? This number has doubled since the 1980s.

Some people still think that infertility is purely a female issue; however, you can trace infertility to either the man or woman or a combination of both.

In fact, statistics show that three times out of 10, the cause is in men.

According to the Government of Canada, the 3 out of 4 causes of infertility in men include poor quality, low sperm count, and hormonal imbalances. But what is causing these changes?

Fortunately, scientific researchers have been begun to uncover previously overlooked causes of infertility in men.

Read on to learn about how diet and exposure to environmental toxins may be having a detrimental effect on sperm count, quality and hormonal imbalances.

Overlooked Causes of Infertility in Men

1. Soy

Soy or soya is a common ingredient in processed foods. Researchers have found an association between Soy intake male infertility in one human study.

In the human study published in the journal of human reproduction in 2008, researchers found that an association between higher intake of soy foods and lower sperm concentration.

2. Benzene

Benzene is a common industrial chemical made from crude oil that has been linked to leukaemia and other blood disorders as well as causing infertility in male offspring.

In a study published in 2010, researchers concluded that Benzene appeared to increase the frequencies of aneuploid sperm for chromosomes associated with chromosomal abnormality syndromes in human offspring.

3. Plastics

Human exposure to plastics in widespread Researchers have found an association between BPA, altered hormonal levels and reduced sperm count in two human studies.

In a study published in 2010, researchers concluded that their results suggest that there may be an association between BPA and altered hormone levels in men.

In a later study published in 2015, researchers found a modest but a significant association between serum BPA and sperm count.

3. Pesticides

Pesticides are pervasive in the modern world. You can find pesticides in our food, water and in our homes. Researchers have identified an association between pesticides, reduced sperm count and quality.

In a study published in 2015, the researchers concluded that there might be an association between exposure to pesticides, decreased sperm counts and motility and altered reproductive hormone levels in male partners of couples seeking for infertility treatment.

In a later study published in 2017, the researchers found that exposure to pesticides may result in alterations of sperm structure and function thus contributing towards deteriorating in human semen quality triggering infertility.

4. Lead

Lead can still be found in lead-based paint used in older homes, contaminated soil, household dust, drinking water pumped through leaded pipes, lead crystal, lead-glazed pottery, aeroplane fuel, some toys, and some inexpensive metal jewellery.

In a study published in 2007, the researchers found a link between lead and an increase in the concentration of immature sperm.

5. Triclosan

We use Triclosan widely in personal care, household, veterinary and industrial products.

In a study published in 2016, researchers found that Triclosan may affect human sperm production and normal morphology.

6. Phone and Wifi Radiation

Virtually every man I encounter has a mobile phone and usually carries it in their pants pocket. Radiation is not a good thing so could close exposure to a mobile telephone hurt male fertility.

In a study published in 2014, researchers found a correlation between mobile phone radiation exposure and decreased sperm motility.

When you use a laptop computer, do you rest it your lap? If you do, you may be having a damaging effect on the health of your sperm.

In a study published in 2011, researchers found that exposure of sperm to a wifi connected laptop decreased sperm motility.

What does this mean?

From the studies highlighted above, there does appear to be a definite association between soy, environmental toxins and decreased male fertility. An association does not mean a direct cause, but exposure to these toxins could be considered a definite risk factor. If you are a man experiencing fertility issues such as reduced sperm count and quality then decreasing soy consumption and exposure to the above toxins would be advisable.

Disclaimer

This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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Shovelling Snow Tips - Winter Health - Ottawa Holistic Wellness

Shovelling your way through winter: Tips on how to do it right!

Winter weather has officially arrived! As the snow continues to pile up, shovelling can seem like a full-time job. Most of us have shovelled at some point in our Canadian lifetime, but many are unaware of the tiresome effects it can have on our bodies if done incorrectly.

Incorporating physical fitness into your weekly routine will help keep your body healthy and able to comfortably withstand winter tasks such as shovelling. 

Did you know that the average shovel weights 6 pounds? That may not seem like a lot, but if loaded with snow and lifted over-and-over, the body is put under a lot of stress.

My Shovelling Snow Tips

Before you start Shovelling:

  1. Dress warmly and in layers: once your body warms up, you can quickly shed a layer.
  2. Hydrate: Even though we don’t sweat as readily, we can still get dehydrated in the winter. The cold weather causes a decreased thirst response, so, remember to drink up!
  3. Active Stretching/Warm-Up: It is a good idea to warm up your body before starting. For example, take a 5-minute brisk walk around the block before embarking on your snow mountain.
  4. Don’t let the snow Pileup: The less snow you have to shovel, the better.

Proper Shovelling Techniques:

  1. Use a lightweight shovel: you want a shovel that you can push. Metal shovels are heavy, and snow tends to stick to them.
  2. Push, don’t lift! : Push the snow forward and to the sides. Trying to pick up and throw a hefty pile of snow can be dangerous.

Pushing will minimise the amount of bending and twisting your back has to do. If you must pick up the shovel then here are some more useful shovelling snow tips:

  1. Make sure you flex your knees to take stress off your joints.
  2. Switch Sides: Switching from left to right will help prevent one-sided muscle fatigue.
  3. Take a Break: Regular breaks will prevent your body from getting too tired and avert next day soreness.
  4. Cool Down: do a similar cool down as you did warm up. Another short walk around the block is a great idea.

Happy Shoveling!

Disclaimer

This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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