This recipe is one of my favourite fall/winter lunch dishes! It’s easy to make, and will serve ~6 meals.
Ingredients: • 1 cup quinoa • 2 chicken breasts • 2 cups arugula • 3 large celery stalks • 1 bunch of green onion • ¼ cup chopped pecans • ¼ cup dried cranberries • ¼ cup olive oil • 1 lemon • 4 tbsp white vinegar • Salt and pepper Note: replace chicken with crumbled goat cheese for vegetarian option.
Directions: Bake the chicken breasts at 350°C for ~30 minutes. While the chicken is baking, cook 1 cup quinoa in 1 ½ cup water – heat to boil, then simmer for 10-15 minutes. Finely chop the green onion and celery. For the dressing combine the olive oil, fresh squeezed lemon juice, white vinegar and salt and pepper to taste. Once the chicken is done baking, cut into bite sized pieces. Combine the chicken, quinoa, celery, green onion, cranberry, pecans, and arugula. Drizzle with your vinaigrette-dressing, toss, and voila, you can now enjoy your delicious and nutritious meal!
Hormones are chemical messengers that communicate between different parts of the body. They are produced by glands and organs, and are secreted into the bloodstream to circulate. Hormones travel in the blood to specific organs and tissues to communicate their message. Only tissues that have receptors for the hormone in question will respond to that hormone. Hormones are one of the main tools our body uses to create balance or ‘homeostasis’ in the body. So, as you can imagine, if we have imbalances in our hormones, this stable environment will be shaken up, and we will not feel well.
The most common hormone imbalances I see in my practice are stress hormone imbalances, thyroid imbalances, and sex hormone imbalances (estrogen, progesterone, testosterone). This blog will specifically be focused on stress hormone imbalance, or what is known as ‘adrenal fatigue.’ In subsequent blogs I will address the issues of thyroid and sex hormone imbalances, so stay tuned!
What is adrenal fatigue? Adrenal fatigue occurs when our adrenal glands cannot keep up with the demands placed on them by the total amount of stress in our lives. The primary role of our adrenal glands is to produce and regulate our stress hormone cortisol. They also produce sex hormones (estrogen, progesterone and testosterone), neurotransmitters (adrenaline and noradrenaline), and a blood pressure regulating hormone (aldosterone). With acute or chronic stress cortisol imbalances are first to be seen. Over time adrenal stress can lead to other hormone imbalances including imbalances in insulin, sex hormones, blood pressure hormones, and even thyroid hormone.
We live in a very busy, stressful, on-the-go society. We work long hours while juggling the demands of family life, we sacrifice sleep, we rely on coffee to keep us awake, and reach for sugary foods for an extra energy boost. Over time these habits affect us physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
When we engage in stressful activities our bodies enter into a ‘fight or flight’ response. Cortisol is released from our adrenal glands to provide us with a burst of energy in order to ‘survive.’ It does so by breaking down our carbohydrate and protein stores, increasing blood sugar, and suppressing the immune system to conserve energy. Over time high cortisol can lead to insulin resistance, weaken our immune system, and lead to muscle wasting, if not properly addressed. It can also impact our thyroid and sex hormone balance. Eventually our adrenal glands may not be able to keep up with the stress in our lives, and cortisol levels will drop, leading to chronic mental and physical fatigue.
What are the symptoms of adrenal fatigue? Symptoms of adrenal fatigue will depend on what type of cortisol imbalance you have, ie. whether you have high or low cortisol levels.
Weight gain around waist
Tired and wired feeling
Loss of muscle mass
High blood pressure
Shaky or lightheaded if a meal is missed
Loss of scalp hair
Aches and pains
Cold/low body temperature
Low blood pressure
Dizziness upon standing
Naturally we have the highest levels of cortisol in the morning, and throughout the day our levels will slowly decline, with cortisol being lowest at night. If we have low cortisol in the morning we’ll have problems waking and will generally feel sluggish. If we have high cortisol at night on the other hand, we may have problems falling or staying asleep.
How do you test for adrenal fatigue? In this stressed out world, I generally assume that most of my patients have some amount of adrenal fatigue. I listen to the symptoms and assess the lifestyle of my patients in order to determine whether or not they have an adrenal imbalance. In some cases I use salivary hormone testing to determine baseline levels of cortisol, and track treatment progress.
How do you treat adrenal fatigue? The best way to treat adrenal fatigue is to address the underlying cause: STRESS. I encourage you to examine your personal daily stressors, slow down, and take your health back into your own hands. If you suffer from adrenal fatigue, the most important thing you can do is to establish a routine. Below are some of my suggestions for establishing an adrenal friendly routine.
Go to bed at the same time every night, and get at least 8 hours of sleep.
Do something relaxing every day (deep breathing, warm bath, nature walk, yoga, meditation, massage, acupuncture, etc.)
Learn to say NO when you’ve reached your limit.
Eat protein with every meal.
Don’t over-exercise. If you feel fatigued, scale down the intensity, or take a day or two off to recover.
Avoid processed foods, simple carbohydrates (cookies, muffins, cakes, white bread, pasta) and sugar.
Decrease or eliminate caffeine.
Consider supplementation with adaptogenic herbs, a vitamin B complex, or intravenous nutrient therapy.
Adaptogenic herbs help the body adapt and cope with stress. My favourite adaptogenic herbs are Licorice Root, Ginseng, Rhodiola, and Withania.
Intravenous nutrient therapy (ie. the Myer’s Cocktail) is a solution of B vitamins, vitamin C and magnesium that is infused directly into a vein. These vitamins nourish the adrenal glands, boost energy and help the body cope and manage stress. For more information on the Myer’s Cocktailclick here.
If you’ve enjoyed this blog remember to SHARE it, LIKE it, and post any comments below! Dr. Meghan Stobbs ND Healing Cedar Wellness
Your best friend is raving about her new raw diet, so you decide to give it a try. But it doesn't work for you. Maybe it made you tired, or gain weight, or more health issues showed up suddenly. Why is that? Because your friend and you are completely different individuals.
Or perhaps, what worked for you in the past ten years, suddenly isn't. Why? Because each of us evolve, our body changes, our lifestyle changes, our jobs, or our location even. All of this plays a major role on our health and our body needs for nutrients.
So here's what you need to consider when it comes to YOUR diet:
What is your ethnic background?
Are you always cold? or always too hot?
Do you produce a lot of mucus and have greasy skin or hair? Or are you more on the dry side?
Where do you live? A damp place or a cold dry one?
What is your lifestyle? Do you exercise, or you sitting at work all day?
How is your health in general? Is your immune system okay?
Depending on your age, by now, you hopefully have figured out a few things that work, when it comes to your digestive system. Maybe you know certain foods give you heart burns, or diarrhea, or headaches. But you're still searching for a healthy diet that works for you. Try to aim for a diet that makes you feel energetic, clear minded and prevent you from getting sick. No matter what, the basic rule is to eat a wholesome real food diet, to buy local and in season.
Now, let's figure out YOUR best diet:
Your ethnic background will determine what foods suit you best. If you're from an asian descent, dairies will probably not agree with you, as the asian diet does not contain dairy. If you're from a danish or german descent, very spicy foods may not agree with your system. So look at your ancestors diet and stay close to it, for the most part.
Are you often cold, when others are just fine, do you live in a cold place? Avoid icy drinks and raw foods, add more warming foods instead. Are you hot all the time? Maybe menopause is playing havoc with your body, then avoid alcohol, and spicy dishes, add cooling foodsinstead.
If you're someone who has tendency to have excess mucus (nasal drip, stuffy nose, greasy scalp & skin, yeast infections, stuffy chest, cysts…), you may need to avoid all mucus forming foods for a while (i.e.: dairy, wheat, sugar). Add clear broth soups, lost of greens, asparagus, and kale. On the other hand, if you're dry (skin, stools, hair, dry mouth especially at night), then you may need watery foods such as cucumber, watermelon, apples, pears, and lubricating foods such as nuts and seeds, fatty fish (Salmon, halibut), and avocado.
Your lifestyle also can dictate what diet suits your body. For sedentary people (desk job, students, bus driver), eating small meals throughout the day is best. But if you're on your feet all the time (landscaper, hairdresser, delivery person), then have 3 sitting down meals/day.
And finally, look at your overall health, are you tired, do you get sick often, are headaches plaguing you daily? If your body is out of balance, you may need the help of a professional to get back into optimum health. Talk to your acupuncturist, naturopath, chiropractor, massage therapist or family doctor. You may need to tweak your diet, add supplements, and/or therapy in order to feel at your best again.
Life is a constant ebb and flow cycle. Adapting to change and listening to our bodies, will in the end benefit us tremendously. If you have any questions regarding this article, feel free to contact Healing Cedar Wellness or Clara via e-mail or phone.
Wow, what a night in Port Moody! The 2013 Spike Business Awards were as fun as last year. We mingled & drank wine. We hugged and laughed. We were again so pleased to be part of such a great event, gathering amazing people. City Council Rosemary Small was the emcee and Bob Elliott was acting Mayor. They made us laugh and cheer, especially when Tyson Venegas belted "it's a wonderful world" with his amazing 8 years old lungs & dancing moves.
More than 450 people voted this year, a record for the city. 1300 businesses make Port Moody a busy hub. We wanted to congratulate this year's winners: Gibson MMA (We really loved your thank you speech!), Rocky Point Ice Cream (So happy you have a kiddy & a doggy door to your beautiful new building), Chomp Vegan Eatery (Your sliders are our favourite meal), Leading Edge Consulting (So happy to live and work in Port Moody, as you do), Pajo's Fish & Chips (Definitely our favorite Tourism destination!), Brown's Social House (Thank you for inviting all of us to come to your place for the after party) and of course Knight Shutter Photography (We are so happy for you, thank you for supplying all the photos for this blog,)
For the second year in a row, we won "Best Customer Service"! Thank you all who voted, thank you friends, family, patients, and the Port Moody community for your constant support. This award is a testimony of our amazing team, who works in great harmony, and thrives to give their best to each person they come in contact with. You rock: Beckie, Meghan, Jen, Lisa, Amber, Tyler, Kristen, Jenna, Maria, and Chloe. You are the Healing Cedar Wellness family, and we're so blessed to have you with us in this amazing journey. Thank you for your constant dedication & passion!
I often have a similar conversation with my patients, whereby they want to know how I got into acupuncture. They see how I really love what I do and the passion I have in educating people about the benefits of Chinese medicine, and what it has to offer. And this is what I tell them.
I had been working in the fitness industry for over 10 years, managing 2 fitness clubs, personal training and teaching aerobics. Life was good. I was doing triathlons, adventure races and running marathons. My friends were all fitness buffs and we spend our time hiking, training or eating!
But somehow I felt this wasn't enough! I was meant for something more... I've always been drawn to anything connected to health improvement. I constantly devoured magazines and books on natural health. I treated myself to good food, supplements, and the use of practitioners such as chiropractors, massage therapists, naturopaths, homeopaths, and acupuncturists, to keep my body and mind in balance.
When personal training, often clients would complain about having a migraine, or not sleeping, or having painful periods. I was frustrated because I wasn't sure how to help them. So one quiet Friday night, I sat at work and decided to change my career path.
I love my what I do!
It took me almost 2 years! Yes, you read it right, 2 years of research before taking the plunge. I visited and read about many colleges, talked to different practitioners about their craft, their burn out rates, their incomes, the good, the bad and the ugly of their fields. In the end, Chinese medicine really called out to me.
I hadn't told anyone of my decision and my research. Now that I was sure, and had a plan to start school in 4 months, it was time to share my exciting news. Well, let me tell you, my balloon deflated real fast! Everyone, I mean everyone, my family, my friends and long time clients, all thought I had lost my mind. This is what I was told: - Acupuncture? Seriously? - Why rock the boat? You have such a great job. - You're too old (I was 33 at the time) to go back to school. - 5 years? How will you support yourself and pay for tuition? - Have you lost your mind? - Why would people get acupuncture from you, you're not Chinese!
Not one person supported me in this choice. I panicked. Maybe they were right, I was crazy! I started doubting myself and rethinking the whole thing. But in the end, I followed my heart and my gut, and took the plunge anyway. I went to school full time while working part time, had not much of a social life (my free time was spent studying), and didn't travel (no money) to France. But it was all worth it.
THIS was the best decision I have ever made, bar none!!! I love what I do so much. I teach it to eager students, who I hope I can inspire to become as passionate about Chinese medicine as I am. I help patients on a daily basis and feel blessed to have such a great fulfilling career.
Follow your gut, dream without limits, don't be afraid. It won't be easy, but the reward is that much sweeter.
Almost all mothers worry about their milk supply, especially when they first begin breastfeeding. This is normal. In fact one of the most common reasons why women stop breastfeeding is because they feel like they don’t have enough milk for their baby. If you are worried about your milk supply, it is important to determine first and foremost if your milk supply is in fact low. This article will help you work out if your milk supply is in fact low. It also nicely summarizes common causes of breast milk insufficiency, and gives practical tips on how to boost your milk supply if needed.
HOW CAN I TELL IF MY MILK SUPPLY IS LOW? Often mothers think that their milk supply is low when it really isn’t. Here are 4 tell tail signs that your baby is getting enough milk.
1- Weight Gain If baby is gaining weight well on mom’s milk alone, then baby is getting enough milk. A 5-10% weight loss during the first 3-4 days after birth is normal. Baby should regain birth weight by 2 weeks. Baby should gain an ounce per day in the first three months of life and half an ounce a day from age 3-6 months.
2- Wet Diapers Expect one wet diaper on day one, increasing to 5-6+ sopping wet disposable diapers after the first week (7-8+ cloth diapers). To feel what a sufficiently wet diaper is like, pour 3 tablespoons (45mL) of water into a clean diaper (if baby wets more often, then the amount of urine per diaper may be less). Urine should be pale and mild smelling.
3- Dirty Diapers Expect 2-3+ dirty diapers per day (after day 4). After the first month the stools may become less frequent. Some babies will even go a day or two between stools. Stools should be yellow (no meconium) by day 5 and the size of a quarter (2.5cm) or larger. The normal stool of a breastfed baby is usually yellow and is loose.
4- Other Positive Signs After feeding, mom’s breast feels softer and baby seems reasonably content. Baby is alert, active and meeting developmental milestones.
If there are problems in any of these areas you may have a low milk supply. In these cases it is important to get evaluated by your health care provider so they can help determine the next course of action. It is important to address low milk supply issues as it can lead to malnutrition, and growth/developmental delays.
WHAT CAUSES INSUFFICIENT MILK PRODUCTION?
Waiting too long to start breast-feeding.
Not breastfeeding often or long enough (ie. due to nipple pain, lethargic nurser, poor latch-on technique).
Large blood loss during or after labour.
Previous breast surgery.
Insulin dependent diabetes.
Medications containing pseudoephedrine.
Alcohol and nicotine.
WHAT CAN I DO TO BOOST MY MILK SUPPLY?
Increase feeding frequency. Remember breast milk production works by supply and demand – the more demand, the greater supply. Breastfeed your baby at least every 2 hours during the day. If your baby has been napping for more than 2 hours, wake her up for feeding. Consider waking your baby for at least one extra feeding during the night, especially if you have a baby who sleeps for more than a 4 or 5 hours straight.
Undress baby to his diaper during feedings. Skin-to-skin contact helps awaken sleepy baby and stimulates less enthusiastic feeders.
No pacifiers, no bottles. When there are concerns about weight gain, all your baby’s sucking should be done at the breast. Bottles of formula will interfere with the balance between your milk supply and baby’s need, so will satisfying baby’s sucking need with a pacifier. If it is medically necessary to give you baby supplementary feedings, try alternatives to bottles that don’t involve artificial nipples (ie. cup feeding, spoon-feeding, using an eyedropper or feeding from a syringe).
Nurse longer. Allow baby to finish the first breast before switching to the other side (ie. continue as long as your baby is actively nursing). This allows baby to fill up on the high fat hindmilk brought down by the milk ejection reflex.
Switch nursing. This is helpful for the sleepy baby, or for babies who suck at a leisurely pace. Switch sides 3 or more times during each feeding, every time the baby is about to fall asleep, switches to comfort sucking, or loses interest. When switching sit him up, burp him, or change his diaper to help wake him.
Double nursing. This is an alternative to switch nursing. After you feed your baby and she seems finished, hold or carry her upright and awake for 10-20 minutes, allowing any trapped air or bubbles to be burped up. This makes room for more milk. Then feed her again on both breasts before you let her go to sleep. Double nursing, like switch nursing, stimulates more milk ejection reflexes, thus increasing the volume and calorie content of you milk.
Night and nap nurse. One of the most powerful things you can do to stimulate breast milk production is to take your baby to bed and nurse. This relaxes both you and the baby, stimulates longer and more frequent nursings, and increases your milk-producing hormones.
Contact your local lactation consultant to evaluate your baby’s latch-on and suck so you can be certain your baby is nursing effectively.
Consider pumping. Adding pumping sessions after or between nursing sessions can be very helpful – pumping is very important when baby is not nursing efficiently or frequently enough, and can speed things up in all situations. Your aim in pumping is to remove more milk from the breasts and/or increase the frequency of breast emptying. When pumping to increase milk supply, to ensure that the pump has removed an optimum amount of milk from the breast, keep pumping for 2-5 minutes after the last drop of milk.
Self care. Rest. Sleep when baby sleeps. Have your partner share in non-feeding infant care. Take a walk. Take a shower. Let go of other responsibilities for a while.
Drink fluids and eat a balanced diet. Foods that have historically been used to enhance milk supply are oats, barley, peas, legumes, walnuts, almonds, sunflower, sesame, flax seed, pumpkin and hemp seed/oil. Avoid coffee, black tea, pineapple and sage, as these foods tend to decrease supply.
Try herbal medicine. I use two different classes of herbs in my clinical practice to help women enhance their milk supply – galactogogues and nervines. These herbs are most often dispensed as teas or capsules. Talk to your naturopathic doctor, midwife, or herbalist about safe and effective dosing strategies, and formulas!
Galactogogues are a class of herbs that safely aid in initiating and maintaining adequate milk production, and are particularly useful for women who are unable to produce adequate breast milk. Common galactogogues are Fennel, Goat’s Rue, Blessed Thistle, Chaste Berry, Milk Thistle, Nettle and Fenugreek.
Nervines are relaxing herbs that help promote milk ‘let down.’ Common nervines are Lavender, Motherwort, Chamomile, and Blue Vervain.
Try Acupuncture. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), insufficient milk supply is viewed as insufficient energy (Qi) and blood supply in the mother. Problems with let-down on the other hand are viewed as stagnation of energy (Qi) which prevents the flow of milk through the ducts and out of the nipple. During acupuncture treatments, specific acupuncture points will be selected based on your TCM diagnosis. Treatments range from 30-60 minutes in length. You may need 4-6 treatments depending on your individual case. Qualified health care practitioners that offer acupuncture are naturopathic physicians, licensed acupuncturists and TCM doctors.
Sometimes medication is needed. In certain cases your midwife, family doctor, or naturopathic physician may recommend a medication called Domparidone. This medication increases milk production by increasing prolactin secretion from the pituitary gland. For more information on Domparidone please see Dr. Jack Newman’s link http://www.breastfeedinginc.ca/content.php?pagename=doc-DGS.
Best of luck to all you mommies out there! Remember, worrying about your milk supply is common, you’re not alone! Working with a qualified health care professional is key during this time, as they will help ensure that your baby is an efficient feeder and gaining weight, and that you’re doing everything you can to boost your milk supply.
What are LH Ovulation Strips, and why should I be using them? The LH Ovulation Strip is a fast and easy home-use test to predict when you are having your LH (Luteinizing Hormone) surge. This test is a preferred method of tracking when the most fertile days of your cycle occur, and is one of the most reliable predictors of ovulation.
Besides their common use for timing of intercourse, LH strips are used in a few other applications. They can help determine when eggs are at their prime for surgical removal in IVF procedures, and they can conversely help verify a lack of ovulation to assist in diagnosing polycystic ovaries, premature ovarian failure, and menopause.
In terms of helping you track your fertility, the best way to explain the strip is to explain a bit about what biological event it is measuring, and why this makes it a preferred method.
The old way of monitoring your most fertile days for intercourse was to tediously chart your basal body temperature, to see when you were ovulating. This involved taking your temperature every morning before getting out of bed, and charting it to observe any fluctuations. A definite spike meant you probably ovulated. Unfortunately there were a few short-comings with this method. Firstly, there are a few things that could cause a temperature spike (stress, fever, poor sleep, etc). But more importantly, the temperature spike usually occurs 12-24 hours after you ovulate, and herein lies the issue with using this to monitor your fertility.
You are actually considered to be at peak fertility in the 2 days preceding ovulation, which is why you may have noticed your body producing cervical mucus before the event. Sperm can survive inside your body for about 3-5 days, and so having intercourse in these 2 days before egg release can make for the best chances of having sperm and egg meet. After being released, an egg lives for about 12-24 hours, after which it will dissolve if it isn’t fertilized. So if you are getting your important message indicator 12-24 hours after the fact, as with basal temperature monitoring, you can see the problem!
In contrast, the LH ovulation strip is monitoring your LH surge, which is a much more timely (and therefore much less stressful), prediction. When your body is getting ready to release an egg, your hormone system is triggered to release a surge of Luteinizing Hormone (LH). This is a consequence of the changing hormone levels in a maturing egg signalling the pituitary to increase LH production (basically telling the body -“I’m ready to go!”). It is the increased LH that actually triggers ovulation, which occurs about 24-36 hours after the surge. Important to note that nothing other than this “impending ovulation” should trigger a LH surge, so it provides a clear message that your most fertile days have arrived.
Luckily, this marked increase in LH is detectable in the urine, and in steps your home-use LH Ovulation Strip test. For complete instructions on how to use your strips and interpret your results, please clickhere
Please note that some drugs can affect the test, and you should talk to your practitioner if you have any questions regarding this. Although using the LH ovulation strip is a great way of finding out when your “best chance” intercourse may be, having regular sex (i.e. a few times per week, or every other day) is always the most reliable way of maximizing your chances of conception.
Our fantastic team of practitioners contribute to our blog articles. Together we aim to restore balance within the body, educate each patient and guide them on their journey to optimum health. Our clinic offers natural health for the entire family, from babies to older adults and everyone in between.
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