My Daily Detox Habits


Happy New Year!! Well, the first few days of 2017 have been pretty beautiful here in Nova Scotia with the sun shining and good vibes flowing! I hope everyone had a wondering holiday and looking forward to the year to come.

As I am sure I am not alone, I did do a little indulging over the holidays. I can never turn down my Mom’s christmas cookies and champagne with my family. However, I did not have any food guilt about these choices as I made sure to do some daily detox rituals while on vacation, then amped them up after the holidays were over, especially on January 1st. These detox habits are part of my daily routine, are not time consuming and make me feel my best! I wanted to share the mains ones with you to start you off on the right foot for 2017! I will be doing a talk downtown on February 1st, at the Four Points Sheraton, on my daily detox habits so be sure to look for more information about that coming soon.  

My Daily Detox Habits:

  1. Drink Lots of Water - Every morning I drink a full glass of water as soon as I wake up, followed by a mug of warm water with lemon before breakfast. Water is vital to every cell in our body. We are even made of 60% water. Without it we can feel dehydrated, dry, fatigued and possibly leave us with a headache or other aches and pains. Water helps to turn on our digestive juices in the morning, especially with added lemon or apple cider vinegar, cleanse us of stagnant toxins accumulated over the day and ultimately wake up our skin and body. I probably drink about 3 litres in a day, but don’t necessary keep track. There are apps now to help remind you to drink water, including growing a garden for yourself if you are drinking enough :)

  2. Eat something green - It is now just habit to eat something green everyday. I usually have lots of fresh leafy greens in my fridge or already prepped to eat in a mixed salad or stew. On New Years Day I amped it up and had a tropical green smoothie as well as a delicious kale salad with beets and carrots. Leafy greens such as spinach, kale, arugula, swiss chard and cruciferous veggies, such as cabbage, brussel sprouts and broccoli, are full of detoxing enzymes and nutrients to support your liver and kidney. Broccoli sprouts are a super food when it comes to liver health and are so easy to grow yourself.

  3. Exercise - I try to do some kind of exercise everyday to get my blood moving and me sweating. Both of these bodily functions are vital to detoxification. It could be a 20 minute walk, an at home workout, or a hot yoga class - my favourite! You can start small, but I promise you will feel the benefits very quickly. Try out apps such as Nike+ Training, MapMyRun or YogaStudio for at home workouts or programs with YogaWithAdriene, Evolve Fitness or Shanti Hot Yoga. 

  4. Breathing - Breathing is another innate detoxification function of our lungs and something I am mindful of everyday. Meditating every morning with my Calm app gets me in the groove to continue to take deep breaths throughout the day. I recommend setting out at least 5 minutes 2x/day to focus on your breath and be thankful for this detoxification process of your lungs!

  5. Dry skin brushing - Before I jump in the shower I use by handy dry skin brush to stimulate lymphatic flow, a system that helps rid the body of toxins and waste, and slough off dead skin. Brushing towards the heart in a circular motion is key as this is the direction of lymph flow. It takes me an extra two minutes while waiting for the shower to warm up. You can find dry skin brushes at most health stores or online. 


Bonus Habit!

Sauna Nova Scotia.jpg
  • Sauna’s - I just recently heard of Sauna Nova Scotia, which is a mobile wood fired sauna set up on Windsor St at the moment for your detox pleasure. I will be trying it out on Wednesday and likely making it a new habit. I will keep you posted via Social Media. 


There you have it, my daily detox rituals, which are easy, make me feel my best and can do the same for you!

Looking for more tips on how to feel your best in 2017? I offer free 15 minute consults for new patients to discover how Naturopathic Medicine and I can best help you (check out your Naturopathic Visit to see all the conditions I address in my practice). Also be sure to check out my Detox Talk on February 1st downtown (more info to come).

In health & happiness,

Dr. Karen 

ps. Some popular posts in the past that might peak your interest - 3 Natural Ways to Improve Digestion, Anxiety - 6 Ways to Conquer Your Mind

Giving the body a break: Spring Cleanse

We recently completed our first Spring Cleanse at Symmetry Wellness Centre and it was a success! The cleanse was two weeks focusing on healthy whole foods, eliminating the more inflammatory and processed foods, including gluten, processed sugar, alcohol and coffee. Although not everyone has repercussions from some of these foods, ie coffee, it is good to give the body and liver a break at least once a year. We stuck to a whole foods cleanse, instead of the more aggressive cleanses, as our bodies still need nutrients and fibre to function optimally and several people participating had never done a cleanse before. 

Who should cleanse? Everyone! Even if our diet is super clean, we are bombarded with toxins everyday from multiple sources. Some examples are processed food, pesticides, pollution and radiation. It is a good idea to do a cleanse at least once a year to support your body's natural detoxification processes and empty our "bucket". 

Body as a bucket: Think of our bodies as a bucket. When we are born, is it a empty - a clean state - then we start to fill up the bucket. If we are not careful, overtime it will overflow, creating symptoms. These could be eczema, asthma, high blood pressure or cancer, to name a few. What we want to do is promote an ebb and flow to the bucket, preventing it from overflowing. To do this we need to decrease the amount of stress we put on our bodies, food stressors and/or emotional stressors, but also ensure the healthy functioning of our "organs of elimination" - liver, bowels, kidneys and skin. This means, eating a whole foods diet, exercising and focusing on emptying our bowels at least once a day. What comes in...must come out (except for the nutrients that we DO absorb)! If this is an issue for you, consider liver support, more fibre or water. Consult an ND if more support is needed. 

Why Spring? In chinese medicine, spring is the time of the liver, therefore the perfect time to support its detoxification function. The change of the seasons is a new beginning for the nature around us. We can implement this new beginning to our bodies as well, giving it a fresh start. Nature is helping us do this with new buds, sprouts and herbs flourishing. Nutrients is more concentrated in light, fresh foods. No need for larger, heavier meals to hibernate for the winter, but fresh salads and cooler foods to put a "spring" in your step :)

Healthy habits: During a detox, one goal of mine is to help implement healthy habits to carry forward into the summer. Here are some easy ones you'll hear me mention a lot:

  • Drinking more water! Especially during the hotter months to replenish that which we have lost during the day. Hungry? Reach for water first.
  • Warm water with lemon and castor oil packs - The pack at night over the liver and lemon water in the morning helps to get those bowels moving and stimulate digestion. 
  • Apple cider vinegar and honey - 1 tsp ACV + 1 tsp local honey in 1 cup hot water. The bitter and sweat together is the perfect combination to use food as medicine to stimulate the liver, and even combat seasonal allergies.
  • Tumeric - The spice of many names. "Curcuma longa" in latin, is a powerful spice with many actions including anti-inflammatory, immune regulating and liver supporting. I higher dose taken in capsule form has the best results. 
  • Light fresh meals - Click on the photos above for some fresh ideas.

What have you done to support your liver this spring?

Join us next year for our 2nd annual spring cleanse!

In health & happiness,

Dr. Karen


Food Friday: Turkey-Sweet Potato Hash

The 2015 Spring Cleanse we are doing at the clinic is weeks away (May 25th-June 7th), so I wanted to share a taste of the type of recipes I will be sharing with the group. Spring is a great time to do a gentle cleanse or reboot. In chinese medicine, spring is the time of the liver, and the liver is responsible for cleansing and detoxing the body. By eliminating the more inflammatory foods, such as gluten, dairy and sugar, and supporting the liver to work optimally, we will begin to feel more energized, less bloated, see clearer skin and shed some winter weight. 

This recipe comes from the authors of The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook, and is suggested during an elimination diet for breakfast. The ground turkey provides adequate morning protein for the day ahead, and is a less inflammatory meat. Sweet potatoes are also anti-inflammatory, with antioxidants and help balance blood sugar. Great for a detox and taste delicious. You can make a big batch of this recipe ahead of time, for a quick, nutritious breakfast. I like adding a side of sauteed greens, such as kale. I added fried plantains one morning to curb my craving as well! 

(If you want to join in on the cleanse, check out my facebook page here, for more information.)


  • 1 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 3-4 green onions, cut into large pieces
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3/4 pound ground organic turkey
  • 1/2-1 tsp dried marjoram (can substitute half the amount of oregano, if needed)
  • 1/2 tsp Herbamare (or sea salt)
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 3-4 tbsp thinly sliced fresh sage leaves - garnish
  • 2-3 green onions, thinly sliced - garnish


  1. Place the sweet potatoes and green onions into a food processor/blender. Pulse/process until chopped into small pieces, being careful not to over process.
  2. Heat a 12-inch cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add the oil. Saute sweet potatoes and green onions for 10 to 12 minutes then push them to the side of the pan. Add the ground turkey to the empty side of the pan, sprinkle with marjoram, Herbamare, and pepper. Saute for about 5 minutes or until cooked. Add a dash more olive oil if needed. 
  3. Stir the sweet potatoes and turkey together; saute a few minutes more. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary. Sprinkle with fresh sage and green onions. Serve and enjoy! 

In health & happiness,

Dr. Karen