Detoxification

September is RESET Time!

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Every year around this time is it a common theme that we need to reset after a summer of less routine. September 1st, or when the kids go back to school, is usually a set point to do so for many. So if you have fallen off any of your health goals this summer, remember there are many just like you and it IS possible to get back on track! 

With that said, I want to remind you of simple things you can do to optimize your routine, and ultimately your energy, sleep, weight and mood. 

1. Set a wake time and bed time:

There is much research on the benefits of getting up at the same time every morning and going to sleep at the same time every night. Our body LOVES routine so it thrives when this happens. You may notice that after waking at the same time for a couple weeks with an alarm, your body will then naturally wake on its own at that time. Try using the bedtime app on your iPhone, but then put it on the dresser across your bed (not beside your head!) so you have to actually get up to turn it off. Wear earplugs, or a face mask, if need be while you adjust to this schedule.

2. Lemon Water in the Morning:

There are two reasons I love this for my patients. One, the warm water and lemon are wonderful for gut health. It acts as a gentle detoxifier in the morning and stimulates digestive juices. This can initiate a bowel movement or simply prime the digestive system for food. Second, it forces you to sit and relax in the morning (yes, please set out time to do this and not while running to get the kids packed up, or during a workout). Taking a few minutes in the morning for calm sets the tone for the day. We want to carry that feeling throughout the day. Meditation could be this time of calm for you as well if that suits you. 

3. Exercise in the Am:

The best time in chinese medicine to exercise is between 9-11 in the morning. It is the time of the Spleen, which in chinese medicine controls the muscles. I understand this is unreasonable for most but the point to take here is the earlier the better for exercise, especially if you have trouble sleeping. We want to wind down and calm the nervous system in the evening so a gentle yoga class is fine but a vigorous one may not be helpful. I love getting up and working up a sweat in the morning and then be ready to take on the rest of the day without worrying about exercise. 

4. Greens, Greens, Greens:

I always like to challenge my patients to try and get at least one serving of greens in a day (getting two?...even better!). Add spinach to a smoothie, make a breakfast hash with kale, eat a big salad at lunch or roast broccoli for dinner. Just something green, once a day 🙂 

5. Roll Back on Sweets:

Ice cream galore, cold ciders or coolers a plenty…summer staples for some. Let’s roll back on the sweets this September to balance blood sugar and energy as the darker days approach. If you know me, I have a sweet tooth, but I try to limit myself to a healthier treat such as a couple pieces of dark chocolate, a energy ball with dates or a few chocolate chips in the evening or during that 3pm slump. Out of sight, out of mind right! 

6. Blood Work to check:

If you have been feeling sluggish or anxious even during these summer months, I suggest getting some blood work done to assess a couple things. Vitamin D is key to have in a healthy range as we move into fall, as well as thyroid levels (TSH). Both affect your mood and energy and your thyroid controls your metabolism. Hypothyroidism is often missed and TSH is often something I find can be out of an ideal range yet not actual out of range for your MD to catch it yet. 

There you have it, a few basic things to check in with for yourself as we RESET this month! Any questions, I am always here to help. 

In health & happiness, 

Dr. Karen 

Announcing the Follow Your Gut - Spring Cleanse for Gut Health

As you may know by now, I am passionate about gut health and healing the body from the inside out. I also do a Spring Cleanse each year. So...this year I am combining the two to create a wonderful 10 Day spring cleanse focussed on gut healing. In my practice I have seen many health concerns, such as eczema, autoimmune thyroid condition, rosacea, histamine intolerance, basic gut issues and much more, improve when we clear up and heal the gut! This cleanse will focus on the 4 R's in gut healing I have mentioned before while eating delicious and nourishing foods. Click the photo below to bring you to all the details. 

In health & happiness, 

Dr. Karen 

My Secrets to Staying Healthy While Traveling

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Considering I am on vacation at the moment (just finished flying down a snowy mountain…shoop shoop) I wanted to share a few things I do to stay healthy when I am on vacation. 

I’ve learned that it is important to not stray too far away from your usual routine, mostly in terms of food and sleep, to ensure you feel your best while getting some much needed R&R. With the abundance of colds and flus flying around at the moment it is even more important to take care of yourself. When your life is filled with commitments that keep you very busy and stressed, our cortisol is typically higher. A high cortisol level stimulates immune cells to ward off inflammation and infection. When we finally get to relax our cortisol decreases, our immune system is down regulated giving way to potential colds and flus. This is an actual phenomenon! This is why people often tend to get sick when they are on vacation. So without further ado here is what I try to stick to to stay healthy:

Lemon water in the morning:

  • If this means bringing a lemon with me on the plane I will do it. Lemons are filled with vitamin C, helps with detoxification and helps keep those pipes moving. If you suffer from constipation while travelling this could give you that little push. I don’t drink coffee so when my fellow travellers are drinking their cup of joe I don’t feel like I am missing out. 

Immune Tea:

  • Have you ever brought your own tea on the plane with you? Flight attendants are always intrigued when my good friend, and fellow ND, and I pull out our own tea and snacks on a flight. Echinacea tea by Traditional Medicinals or a David’s tea immune blend are great options during the cold and flu season. 

Healthy Snacks:

  • My family knows that while traveling it is important to keep me fed to keep my energy and mood up. I usually always have healthy granola bars or nuts with me (homemade trail mix on the ski hill? Yes please!). If I am staying somewhere with friends, making a batch of hummus or energy bites always helps. This curbs the craving to grab Timbits, a sugary latte or chips. 

Greens:

  • This is something I definitely try not to stray from. When I am at home my goal is always to have at least one meal, hopefully two, with greens. Greens provide so much healthy nutrients and help with detoxification. When I’m traveling I let this slide to one meal a day if more difficult. If eating out, I grab a big salad for lunch, grab a green juice or have salad as a side for dinner. When staying at someones place, this may be a green smoothie for the group, or salad with dinner. 

Supplements:

 That's me in the pink pants :) 

That's me in the pink pants :) 

  • This will vary for everyone but I bring the essentials with me to keep energy up, bowels healthy, and immune system supported. I sometimes think I am going to jinx myself if I bring my Cold-Pro supplement, but will wish I have it in case anyone including me gets sick. Sproos collagen even has little daily packs for gut health. 

Get Moving:

  • I want to keep my blood and lymph moving during vacation and my muscle strong. I try to search out some activity to do, whether skiing, playing tennis, or simply walking and stretching. Don’t be surprised if you finding me stretching in the airport or on the plane by the bathroom. 😃 

There you have it, my tips to stay healthy while on vacation. What are yours?

In health & happiness, 

Dr. Karen

How To Holiday Right - Tips to Enjoy the Holidays Without the Side Effects

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As the Holidays approach it is usually hard to avoid overindulging, over drinking, under sleeping and over stressing! Routines may go out the window to make way for holiday parties, last minute shopping or hosting family. On average people gain 1-2 pounds during the holidays and while this doesn’t sound like much, if we are not careful these 1-2 pounds can start to accumulate. Our liver and gut also tend to take a beating this month which ultimately suppresses our immune system and ability to detox. I want to share some simple tips and reminders to keep you on track with your health. 

1. Remember it is a Holi-DAY not Holi-MONTH!

Even though your holiday parties may have already started or coworkers are bringing holiday baking to the office, be careful not to overindulge throughout the whole month and reserve that to the actual holiday you are celebrating. Cave into small cravings but keep a mental record of how many sweets or drinks you’ve had that day or week. Writing it down could be helpful. Festive alternative could be pomegranates or clementines and don't forget that there are actually health benefits to eating a few pieces of dark chocolate! 


2. Find Balance!

Holding out for the party food this evening and avoiding calories during the day? That is setting you up for disaster as you will be starving when you actually get there and end up eating much more than your body needs. I suggest sticking with balanced meals throughout the day and even eating something small before a party to avoid the ravenous hunger hands. For example, an omelet with veggies in the morning, a protein shake or bar late morning, a healthy salad or soup with hummus and crackers for a late lunch, then a handful of almonds before the party. Sound delicious?! 


3. Don’t stray from your Routine.

I say it time and time again, our body LOVES routine and when we stray from that for late nights out, or missed exercise for family or shopping our body suffers. I see this leading to fatigue, depression, weight gain etc. Commit to a brisk walk, a 20 minute HIIT workout or yoga in the morning to start your day off on the right foot. Exercising on an empty stomach can help boost metabolism and aid in weight loss. Try to head to bed at a decent time as well even though I know another Christmas movie is tempting. You may want to try magnesium bis-glycinate, melatonin or cortisol reducer to help you sleep, which I carry at the clinic.


4. Save your Gut.

For those bigger holiday meals we don't want to avoid try boosting enzymes and stomach acid to aid in digestion and prevent bloating. Some things that could help are a basic digestive enzymes, bitters in liquid tincture form, or simply sipping on apple cider vinegar before your meal. These things will help with detoxification as well! If you have strict food sensitivities, stick with them as best you can to ensure you feel well for the rest of your holidays. 


5. Day after support.

I am not immune to a few too many drinks over the holidays but I make sure to support my body before and after. If you are heading out to a holiday party, think about drinking more clear liquids instead of heavy booze and sugary drinks. The less sugar the better. Enjoy cocktails? Have 1 then switch to something lighter. During that night be sure to drink plenty of water. For food, instead of reaching for greasy food the next day, make yourself a big salad filled with healthy greens, cruciferous veggies and fat, such as olive oil, nuts and seeds, or avocado. Join me January 2nd-5th for a short Holiday cleanse! (Details will be posted on Facebook and blog soon!) Some supplements I suggest the day before and after are B vitamins, liver support and antioxidants! 


6. Pamper yourself!

There are 2 reasons I suggest this. One is to ensure stress levels do not rise too high, which suppresses our immune system. The other is to aid in detoxification after our Christmas cocktails. Find a hot sauna (infrared is best), a hot yoga class, take a hot bath with epsom salts, or invest in a dry skin brush to create a mini spa experience before jumping in the shower. These ideas increase circulation, sweating and ultimately detoxification - they are relaxing as well!

There you have it, my top solutions to survive the holidays and support your body! Any questions, let me know! 


Happy Holidays! 
Dr. Karen