Why do a Spring Cleanse?

  • As few as 10% of patients with chronic illnesses are responsible for approximately 70% of healthcare costs.
  • Chronic diseases are currently responsible for more than 80% of all deaths and an even higher proportion of total disability after age 50.
  • Up to 90% of all cancer are thought to be related and/or due to the effects of environmental carcinogenic exposure.
  • 6000 new chemicals are listed in the chemical abstracts each week, thus amounting to more than 300,000 new chemicals yearly.
  • One drink drops the liver efficacy by 10% for 16 hours. Stress and smog drop it too.

The Liver

  • THE GOOD NEWS IS OUR LIVER IS 99% EFFECTIVE IN CLEARING TOXINS FROM OUR BODY!
  • The liver filters 2 litres of blood per minute for detoxification and when working optimally. The liver clears up to 99% of the bacteria and other toxins during the first pass.
  • Its capacity to regenerate itself after being damaged is remarkable. The liver can lose up to 70% of its capability and still not show diagnosable liver disease….but functionally contribute to a wide array of problems.

Phase 1

  • Directly neutralizes a toxin, eg. Caffeine or modifies the toxic chemical to form activated intermediates which are then neutralized by one or more of the several Phase 11 enzyme symptoms
  • Detoxification of most chemical toxins involve a group of enzymes collectively named the cytochrome P450.
  • wide array of problems.

Phase 2

  • Activates biochemical conjugation in which various enzymes in the liver attach small chemical structures to the toxin. This conjugation reaction either neutralizes the toxin or makes the toxin more easily excreted in the urine or bile.
  • There are six Phase 11 detoxification pathways, glutathione conjugation, amino acid conjugation, methylation, sulfation, acetylation and glucoronidation.

The Gut-Toxicity Connection

  • Increase intestinal permeability
  • Leaky Gut symptoms: abdominal pain, gas, mood swings, skin rashes, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, bladder infections, anxiety, asthma, allergies and poor immunity.
  • Clinical conditions associated with “Leaky Gut” include: Alcoholism, acne, mental illness, Eczema, Psoriasis, inflammatory joint disease, irritable bowel syndrome, chronic fatigue, and muscular and joint pains.

Chemical Toxins: primarily dealt with by the liver

  • Solvents, cleaning materials, formaldehyde, pesticides, herbicides and food additives
  • Signs and symptoms: many psychological and neurological symptoms, depression, headaches, mental confusion, mental illness, abnormal nerve reflexes, fatigue.

Presentation of a chemically toxic patient

  • More than 20 pounds overweight
  • Diabetes
  • Gallstones
  • Alcohol use
  • Psoriasis
  • Natural and synthetic hormone use
  • Heavy antibiotic use in the past
  • Use of diuretics
  • NSAIDS abuse
  • Thyroid hormone
  • Food sensitivities and allergies
  • Digestive complaints
  • Un-named illnesses

The Health Packed Berry: Sea Buckthorn

Sea Buckthorn

Sea buckthorn is one of the botanical herbs that we use in Naturopathic Medicine. It is also a herb we commonly find in our neighbourhood.

Sea buckthorn has been used for thousands of years, with one of the first recorded being around 600-900 AD. Traditionally, it has been used to help with indigestion, injuries and skin healing, liver issues and cardiovascular issues.

The Sea buckthorn plant is a shrub found in many places around the world including Canada, Tibet, India, Russia, Mongolia and Northern Europe. The plant contains tart, orange-yellow berries which are high in many nutrients. The leaves are also high in nutrients. This makes it an important herb with many different medicinal uses.

Nutrients

Sea buckthorn is high in nutrients such as…

      • Vitamin C – good for immune health and antioxidants
      • B vitamins –  good for stress, cell repair and nerve regeneration,
      • Vitamin K – helps promote wound healing and plays a role in clotting
      • Vitamin A –  a great antioxidant can help with skin and immune health
      • Vitamin E  – can help with liver function, brain health, skin health and immune health
      • Quercetin – helpful in allergies  and is anti-inflammatory

Therapeutic Uses

The primary benefits of the leaves include their action in wound healing and skin health. There are many ways in which sea buckthorn does this. Using sea buckthorn when healing from an injury can reduce inflammation, increase cell regrowth, amplify collagen production,  increase blood vessels to the area, and has some anti-bacterial/ anti-viral effects. For wound healing, Sea buckthorn is usually applied topically, however you should consult your naturopathic doctor for the best way to use this product.

Additionally, Sea Buckthorn is gaining popularity in cosmetic properties because of its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and collagen-stimulating effects.

Sea buckthorn is also believed to be liver protection, anti-bacterial, anti-viral, immune supportive, anti-stress, anti-oxidant and possibly even anti-carcinogenic.

This amazing herb has so many beneficial properties, and you just might be able to spot one in your neighbourhood.

Watch the video to learn more: https://youtu.be/U_7PsHIHRx8

Resources

Suryakumar, G., & Gupta, A. (2011). Medicinal and therapeutic potential of Sea buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides L.). Journal of ethnopharmacology138(2), 268-278.

 

Do your supplements stand the test?

Nutritional-Supplements

By: Dr. Michael Mason-Wood, ND

My cousin keeps telling me, if you buy a cheap drill, you will be replacing it next year. However, spend a little more money and buy a good quality one, it will last you for years. The same can be said about supplements. Just the other day I was looking at a cheap brand of garlic pills. One of the harmful ingredients that I found was hydrogenated oil. With all the bad press about the dangers of hydrogenated oil, why would it be in a supplement? Yet, there it was! There are a couple of simple home tests that can be done with any solid tablet supplement. In the first test, put the solid supplement you are taking into ¼ cup of vinegar. It should dissolve within 30 minutes as vinegar approximates the acidity of our stomach in which we digest food. If it doesn’t dissolve, it is unlikely you are breaking it down properly to assimilate the essential nutrients it contains. What complicates breakdown of supplements is a condition called “hypochlorhydria” where not enough stomach acid is produced. A large amount of people who experience “GERD (Gastro Esophageal Reflux Disease)” or “Heart Burn” have hypochlorhydria, this makes it even more imperative for the supplement to dissolve faster in a lower acidic environment. Another test we recommend is to place the solid tablet onto a piece of tin foil (multiple tablets can be tested at once) on a baking sheet and bake at 350F for 15 minutes. The tablet should change color mildly and look “baked” as food would. Many poor quality products burn into a black mass because of the fillers and sugars used in manufacturing which are not recommended. It is recommended to take properly manufactured products from reliable, reputable companies. It is important to note that at Natural Terrain we only prescribe professional quality products to our patients. If you are taking pharmaceutical medication, it is best to be under the care of a physician who knows as much about pharmaceutical medications as they do about herbs and supplements, such as Naturopathic Doctors who are trained and knowledgeable in both these areas.

 

The Power of the Pomegranate

Pomegranates not only taste great, but they also have lots of medicinal benefits.

The composition of pomegranates is quite unique, being composed as a mixture of different bioactive compounds. The high levels of bioflavonoids, ellagitannins, catechins and anthocyanins give powerful health benefits to pomegranates.

The Benefits of Pomegranates

Here are 5 benefits of this powerful fruit:

  1. Pomegranates are loaded with nutrients. Pomegranates are high in vitamin C, potassium, fibre, vitamin K and folate. These nutrients are needed for the body to carry out regular functions, like digestion, breathing and preventing illness.
  2. Pomegranates may prevent and be used to help treat certain cancers. Some primary research suggests that pomegranates may help prevent cancer development and slow down the spread of cancer, particularly prostate, breast, skin, lung and colon cancers.
  3. It lowers blood pressure. Pomegranates are considered anti-hypertensives meaning that they can reduce blood pressure. Studies have shown that drinking 1 cup a day of pomegranate juice can reduce both systolic and diastolic blood pressure. We love Pom juice! Available at local grocery stores.
  4. It is anti-inflammatory. Pomegranates are great at reducing inflammation. They have been studied in a number of different inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease and cardiovascular disease.
  5. Pomegranates may help with depression. Pomegranate juice contains phytochemical compounds that stimulate serotonin and estrogen receptors, improving symptoms of depression and increasing bone mass in lab animals

The De-Seeding Technique

Taking the seeds out of a pomegranate is no easy task. It can be a messy, sticky scene. When we eat a pomegranate this way, we lose out on some of the nutrition that is in the pomegranate juice.

Luckily, Dr. Mason-Wood ND has a trick for getting pomegranate seeds out while preserving the juiciness and reducing the mess. Cut the pomegranate in half, put the cut half face down into your palm and fingers. Hold your hand over a large bowl. Then, take a wooden spoon and hit the back of the pomegranate. The seeds should fall out of the pomegranate, through your fingers and into the bowl.

Watch the video to see Dr. Mason-Wood’s ND trick for pomegranates in action.

Pomegranate Recipe Ideas

Because pomegranate seeds are so small, they are easy to add to a number of different dishes. Two of the easiest ways is to throw it into your favourite salad for a burst of flavour or add it to your smoothie. Here are 3 dishes we are excited to try.

Turkey Tacos with Pear Pomegranate Salsa Taco

Adapted from Ali Martin’s Pear Pomegranate Salsa and Dr. Chris Bjorndal ND in The Essential Diet:  Eating for your Mental Health. 

INGREDIENT:

Pear Pomegranate Salsa

      • 2 fresh pears (any kind), cored and diced
      • 1 fresh pomegranate, seeded
      • half a red onion, diced
      • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
      • juice of half a lime

Jack’s Taco Seasoning 

      • 1 tsp ground cumin
      • 1 tsp ground oregano
      • 1⁄2 tsp onion powder
      • 1⁄2 tsp garlic powder
      • 1⁄2 tsp paprika
      • 1⁄4 to 1⁄2 tsp cayenne pepper (ground) 1⁄4 to 1⁄2 tsp cayenne pepper flakes

Turkey filling

      • 1 tsp olive oil
      • 1 lb. ground lean turkey
      • ¼ cup crumbled cotija cheese
      • 3⁄4 C water
      • Whole-wheat tortillas
      • Optional: fresh lime wedges, extra chopped fresh cilantro, sour cream,  diced scallions, and tomatoes.

DIRECTIONS:

    1. Make the seasoning by tossing all the ingredients together
    2. Make the salsa. Toss the pears, pomegranates, red onion, cilantro leaves and lime together until combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
    3. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Break up the ground turkey into small pieces and cook thoroughly (5 minutes). Drain the fat and reduce the heat. Add the taco seasoning mix and water, then stir to blend the spices with the meat. Reduce the heat to simmer.
    4. Lay one tortilla out on a serving plate.  Place a few slices of turkey in a line down the center of the tortilla.  Then add a few spoonfuls of salsa and a sprinkle of cotija cheese on top of the Turkey.  Serve immediately.

 

Pomegranate and Orange Salmon from Taste of Home

Taken from https://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/orange-pomegranate-salmon/

INGREDIENTS:

      • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
      • 1 skinned salmon fillet (about 2 pounds)
      • 1/2 teaspoon salt
      • 1 medium navel orange, thinly sliced
      • 1 cup pomegranate seeds
      • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
      • 1 tablespoon minced fresh dill

DIRECTIONS:

      1. Preheat oven to 375°. Place a 28×18-in. piece of heavy-duty foil in a 15x10x1-in. baking pan. Place onion slices in a single layer on foil. Top with salmon; sprinkle with salt. Arrange orange slices over top. Sprinkle with pomegranate seeds; drizzle with oil. Top with a second piece of foil. Bring edges of foil together on all sides and crimp to seal, forming a large packet.
      2. Bake until fish just begins to flake easily with a fork, about 25-30 minutes. Be careful of escaping steam when opening packet. Remove to a serving platter; sprinkle with dill.

 

Pomegranate & Pear Green Salad with Ginger Dressing by Cookies and Kate

Taken from Cookies and Kate  

INGREDIENTS:

Salad

      • ½ cup raw pecans (halves or pieces)
      • 5 ounces baby arugula
      • 2 ounces (about ½ cup) goat cheese or feta, crumbled
      • 1 large ripe Bartlett pear, thinly sliced
      • 1 Honeycrisp or Gala apple, thinly sliced
      • Arils from 1 pomegranate

 

Ginger dressing

      • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
      • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar, to taste
      • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
      • 1 tablespoon maple syrup or honey
      • 1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger
      • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
      • About 10 twists of freshly ground black pepper

DIRECTIONS:

  1. To toast the pecans, place them in a skillet over medium heat. Toast, stirring often, until they’re fragrant and starting to turn golden on the edges, about 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the pecans from the heat and roughly chop them (no need to chop if you started with pecan pieces). Set aside.
  2. Arrange the arugula across a large serving platter (or bowl, but the salad looks prettiest on a platter). Sprinkle the chopped pecans and crumbled goat cheese over the arugula. Fan out your slices of pear and apple and arrange them across the salad in sections (see photos). Sprinkle all over with fresh pomegranate seeds.
  3. To prepare the dressing, combine all of the ingredients and whisk until blended. Taste, and if it isn’t quite zippy enough, add another teaspoon of vinegar.
  4. Wait to dress the salad until you’re ready to serve (the dressing will wilt the greens over time). When you’re ready, drizzle the ginger dressing lightly all over the salad (you might not need all of it). Serve promptly.

References

1. Zarfeshany A, Asgary S, Javanmard SH. Potent health effects of pomegranate. Adv Biomed Res. 2014;3. doi:10.4103/2277-9175.129371
2. Pomegranates, raw Nutrition Facts & Calories. Accessed December 10, 2020. https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/fruits-and-fruit-juices/2038/2
3. Sharma P, McClees SF, Afaq F. Pomegranate for Prevention and Treatment of Cancer: An Update. Molecules : A Journal of Synthetic Chemistry and Natural Product Chemistry. 2017;22(1). doi:10.3390/molecules22010177
4. Asgary S, Keshvari M, Sahebkar A, Sarrafzadegan N. Pomegranate Consumption and Blood Pressure: A Review. Curr Pharm Des. 2017;23(7):1042-1050. doi:10.2174/1381612822666161010103339
5. Sahebkar A, Ferri C, Giorgini P, Bo S, Nachtigal P, Grassi D. Effects of pomegranate juice on blood pressure: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Pharmacol Res. 2017;115:149-161. doi:10.1016/j.phrs.2016.11.018
6. Danesi F, Ferguson LR. Could Pomegranate Juice Help in the Control of Inflammatory Diseases? Nutrients. 2017;9(9). doi:10.3390/nu9090958

https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/fruits-and-fruit-juices/2038/2

Fire Cider Health Tonic

 

As a family with two naturopathic doctors, we love to explore new recipes, especially ones that have added immune benefits. We found this recipe from Rebecca Lindamood at Foodie with Family and have been taking a shot of it daily to prevent illness.

What is Fire Cider?

Fire Cider is a concentrated liquid mixture of different herbs and foods. It is beneficial to the immune system and is traditionally used for the prevention of different illnesses such as colds and flu’s  and viral infections.

What are the benefits of fire cider?

Fire cider has a number of different herbs that are beneficial to your health. When herbs are used in combination, they can enhance the benefit of others in the mixture. This is called a synergistic effect.

Several of the herbs in this recipe, such as ginger, turmeric, onion, orange, rosemary, parsley and lemon are both anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory. Anti-oxidants help to promote healthy cells, including immune cells, and anti-inflammatories help to reduce underlying inflammation in the body which can lead to an increased risk of illness.

Garlic and horseradish are great anti-microbials meaning they help to fight off bacteria, viruses and even fungal infections.  Horseradish is traditionally used for sinus issues. Garlic has added benefits of helping control blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

The spicy habanero pepper increases circulation which can help the immune cells get to a site of infection faster.

Thyme is antimicrobial, but it is also great at helping to reduce the amount of coughing and helping to remove any phlegm from the lungs.

Apple cider vinegar is a great digestive aid.

Honey helps to soothe inflamed tissue and helps to add a little sweetness to this recipe.

Recipe

Taken from: https://www.foodiewithfamily.com/fire-cider-health-tonic-and-homeopathic-remedy/

Ingredients:

·       1 large horseradish root scrubbed very well, ~7” long

·       1 large ginger root ~7” long

·       1 large onion root and stem end removed & peeled

·       1 large orange do NOT peel. Use the whole fruit.

·       1 lemon do NOT peel. Use the whole fruit.

·       16 cloves of garlic peeled

·       2-4 habanero peppers stems removed

·       1 tablespoon ground turmeric

·       2 tbsp rosemary leaves (optional)

·       ¼ cup parsley (optional)

·       2 tbsp thyme (optional)

·       1 tsp black peppercorns (optional)

·       raw apple cider vinegar

·       raw honey

Instructions:

  1. In a well-ventilated area, grate the horseradish and ginger roots.
  2. Roughly chop the peeled onions and garlic, whole oranges, lemons, and habaneros. Keep the peels on the lemons and oranges!
  3. Add these prepared ingredients into a large container that has a lid, such as a large mason jar.
  4. Sprinkle turmeric into the container.
  5. Slowly, pour the raw apple cider vinegar in allowing it to settle in through the crevices and adding more so the contents are fully submerged.
  6. Lay a piece of parchment paper over the rim of the jar, then screw the lid tightly in place.
  7. Let the mixture sit in a dark, cool place, allowing it to infuse, for 4 weeks, shaking once daily when you remember it.
  8. Replace the parchment paper once weekly to prevent rusting of the mason jar lid.
  9. After 4 weeks, pour the contents into a muslin or cheesecloth-lined colander over a stable pot. Let it drain for 30 minutes, then gather the corners and twist to wring out as much goodness as possible.
  10. Add approximately 1/4 cup of raw honey to the liquid to taste and pour into a sterilized wine bottle or canning jar. Store in a cool, dark place for up to a year, shaking well before using.

How much fire cider vinegar should I have?

For most individuals, the recommended dose is 1 tbsp per day in the morning. You can also try adding the vinegar to salad dressings and on top of cooked vegetables.

 

The Foundations of Immune Health: Part 3- Diet

Optimizing the immune system requires more than taking a simple pill. It is an interplay between lifestyle and diet.  The foundations of the immune health require special attention to different aspects of your life such as

 

This week we will be discussing how diet plays a role in immune health and tips to make sure your diet supports your immune system.

The Connection Between Diet and the Immune System

Throughout the whole immune process, the body requires certain micronutrients to help fend off invading microbes. One of the best ways to get these micronutrients is through the diet. Food provides energy and nutrients to help our immune cells work effectively in prevention and recovery.

Diet also plays a major role in regulating the gut microbiome. The gut microbiome helps to breakdown and present the infectious agents to the immune cells in specialized tissue called the gut association lymphoid tissue (GALT). If we eat unhealthy food, we can experience something called “dysbiosis” which is an imbalance of our good microbiome bacteria and bad bacteria. The bad bacteria cause the body to go into an inflammatory state. When there are high amounts of inflammation in the gut we can develop something called leaky gut. This means that instead of food particles and bacteria entering the body in controlled ways and being checked by immune cells in the GALT, it now can enter your bloodstream unchecked. This can cause an immune reaction throughout the whole body and cause you to get sick.

Dietary Tips for Immune Health

You may be thinking “well then what should I eat?”. The answer is not as simple as you probably thought. The ideal diet should be individualized for every patient, their health concerns, values, beliefs and lifestyle. The best diets come from a partnership with our naturopathic doctors and their patients. Dietary changes should be reasonable and be able to be sustained for a long time.

In terms of immune health, here are our top dietary recommendations

1. Eat a variety of foods

The best way we like to explain this to patients is by telling them that they should “eat the rainbow”. Basically, this general rule suggests that when you look at your plate, you should see 4-5 different colours of food. Colours represent different nutrients that are in the foods. The immune system requires lots of different vitamins, minerals, proteins and fats to function optimally. The gut microbiome also thrives when exposed to a variety of different foods (see below for more suggestions on how to support your microbiome with food). Some other ideas include switching up your meals at least a couple of times a week, experimenting with cooking new foods and ensuring that all your meals have a protein, vegetables and a fat source, such as olive oil.

2. Eat your veggies and fruit

Vegetables are dense in nutrients. They can help provide your body with different vitamins and minerals. Fruits and vegetables have antioxidant properties which help to reduce damage to our cells and optimize the immune system.  Almost all vegetables and fruit have benefits to the immune system. Some examples of particularly great immune supporting fruits and vegetables are; berries, spinach, citrus fruits such as oranges, grapefruits, lemons and limes and cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, cabbage and arugula.

3. Reduce inflammatory foods

During acute illness, inflammation is a good and natural process that helps the immune system fight off infections. However, if we are already in an inflammatory state when we get sick, then we are already using the immune system’s resources on other parts of the body that may not require as much energy. Inflammation leaves our bodies more susceptible to illnesses. The number one inflammatory food is SUGAR! It is also a good idea to avoid processed foods and excessive alcohol as they are also highly inflammatory.

4. Spice up your meals

There are a lot of great spices out that don’t just add a bunch of flavour to your meals, but they also have immune-supporting effects. Garlic has a lot of antimicrobial properties that assists the immune system in preventing you from getting sick. Turmeric is highly anti-inflammatory and is a good antioxidant. Ginger is also good for bringing down the inflammation. These foods will help to improve your immune function. Try adding at least one to every meal.

5. Eat probiotic rich foods

Because a lot of our immune cells are in our gut, it only makes sense that taking care of the gut is an important part of immune health. Probiotics help to populate the intestinal lining with bacteria that are helpful for nutrient absorption. Eat probiotics rich foods such as kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi and miso frequently.

To get more information and to individualize a diet for your health needs, book an appointment with a Naturopathic Doctor today!

 

Dirty Dozen Chemicals to Avoid for your Hormones, part 2

This is part 2 of the endocrine dirty dozen list: a deep dive into the 12 most toxic substances we are exposed to, and how to reduce your exposure. Check the blog for part 1! Also download the Healthy Home & Body Detox Guide to really get a good handle on cleaning up your health.

ARSENIC

Arsenic isn’t just for murder mysteries anymore. In fact, this poison is lurking in your food and drinking water. If you eat enough of it, arsenic will kill you outright. In smaller amounts, arsenic can cause skin, bladder and lung cancer. Basically, bad news. Less well known: arsenic messes with your hormones! Specifically it can interfere with normal hormone functioning in the glucocorticoid system that regulates how our bodies’ process sugars and carbohydrates. What does that mean for you? Well disrupting the glucocorticoid system has been linked to weight gain/loss, immunosuppression, insulin resistance (which can lead to diabetes), osteoporosis, growth retardation and high blood pressure. Recent discoveries show that it is in chicken, due to it being placed in their feed to increase their growth more quickly.

HOW TO AVOID IT?

Eat organic chicken and avoid chicken raised on factory farms. Reduce your exposure by using a water filter that lowers arsenic levels. For help finding a good water filter, check out EWG’s buying guide

LEAD

You may or may not like heavy metal music, but lead is one heavy metal you want to avoid. It’s well known that lead is toxic, especially to children. Lead harms almost every organ system in the body and has been linked to a staggering array of health effects, including permanent brain damage, lower IQ, hearing loss, miscarriage, premature birth, increased blood pressure, kidney damage and nervous system problems. But few people realize that one other way that lead may affect your body is by disrupting your hormones. In animals, lead has been found to lower sex hormone levels. Research has also shown that lead can disrupt the hormone signalling that regulates the body’s major stress system (called the HPA axis). You probably have more stress in your life now than you want, so the last thing you need is something to make it harder for your body to deal with it- especially since this stress system is implicated in high blood pressure, diabetes, anxiety and depression.

HOW TO AVOID IT?

Keep your home clean and well maintained. Crumbling old paint (prior to 1978) is a major source of lead exposure, so get rid of it carefully. A good water filter can also reduce your exposure to lead in drinking water. Check out this link by the EWG for better help finding a filter. If you need another reason to eat better, studies have also shown that children with healthy diets absorb less lead.

MERCURY

Caution: that sushi you’re eating could be hazardous to your health. Mercury, a naturally occurring but toxic metal, gets into the air and the oceans primarily through burning coal. Eventually, it can end up on your plate in the form of mercury contaminated seafood. We also get mercury from some vaccinations and amalgam fillings. Pregnant women are the most at risk from the toxic effects of mercury, since the metal is known to concentrate in the fetal brain and can interfere with brain development. Pregnant women are cautioned not to eat more than one can of tuna a month, as tuna is one of the highest fish with mercury contamination. Mercury is also known to bind directly to one particular hormone that regulates women’s menstrual cycle and ovulation, interfering with normal signalling pathways. In other words, hormones don’t work so well when they’ve got mercury stuck to them. The metal may also play a role in diabetes, since mercury has been shown to damage cells in the pancreas that produce insulin, which is critical for the body’s ability to metabolize sugar.

HOW TO AVOID? For people who still want to eat (sustainable) seafood with lots of healthy fats but without a side of toxic hormone disrupting mercury, wild salmon and farmed trout are good choices. See our fish handout for more options of fish with low mercury content. Try to avoid or replace silver fillings, which are 50% mercury. Also avoid vaccines that contain mercury, the “flu shot” for example.

GLYCOL ETHERS

Shrunken testicles: Do we have your full attention now? This is one thing that can happen to rats exposed to chemicals called glycol ethers, which are common solvents in paints, cleaning products, brake fluid and cosmetics. Worried? You should be. The European Union says that some of these chemicals “may damage fertility or the unborn child”. Studies of painters have linked exposure to certain glycol ethers to blood abnormalities and lower sperm counts. Children who are exposed to glycol ethers from paint in their bedrooms have substantially more asthma and allergies.

HOW TO AVOID?

Start by checking out EWG’s Guide To Healthy Cleaning (ewg.org/guides/cleaners) and avoid products with ingredients such as 2-butoxyethanol (EGBE0 and methoxydiglycol (DEGME) Source

ORGANOPHOSPHATE PESTICIDES

Originally produced for warfare. Luckily, neurotoxic organophosphate compounds that the Nazis produced in huge quantities for chemical warfare during World War II were never used. After the war ended, American scientists used the same chemistry to develop a long line of pesticides that target the nervous system of insects. Despite many studies linking organophosphate exposure to effects on the brain development, behaviour and fertility, they are still among the more common pesticides in use today. A few of the many ways that organophosphates can affect the human body include interfering with the way testosterone communicates with cells, lowering testosterone and altering thyroid hormone levels.

HOW TO AVOID?

Buy organic produce and use EWG’s Shoppers Guide to Pesticides in Produce, which can help you find the fruits and vegetables that have the fewest pesticide residues. Check it out here

PERFLUORINATED CHEMICALS (PFCS)

Chemicals used to make non-stick cookware can stick to you. Perfluorinated chemicals are so wide spread and extraordinarily persistent that 99 percent of Americans have them in their bodies. One particularly notorious compound called PFOA has been shown to be “completely resistant to biodegradation” In other words PFOA doesn’t break down in the environment-EVER. That means that even though the chemical was banned after decades of use, it will be showing up in the people’s bodies for countless generations to come. This is worrisome, since PFOA exposure has been linked to decreased sperm quality, low birth weight, kidney disease, thyroid disease and high cholesterol, among other health issues. Scientists are still figuring out how PFOA affects the human body, but animal studies have found that it can affect thyroid and sex hormone levels.

HOW TO AVOID?

Skip non-stick pans as well as stain and water resistant coatings on clothing, furniture and carpets.

If you want to know more about how to know your levels or how to detox your exposures, download the Healthy Home & Body Detoxification Guide from Natural Terrain. Click here to download.

Sources for this article include: http://www.ewg.org/research/dirty-dozen-list-endocrine-disruptors http://www.globalresearch.ca http://www.naturalnews.com/029720_hormones_health.html

Photos by tian kuan on Unsplash, by Ibadah Mimpi on Unsplash, by Alison Marras on Unsplash

 

What is the Mediterranean Diet? And Is It Good for You?

Nutrition is one of the foundational building blocks of health. What we eat plays an incredibly important role in our digestion, mental health, hormone production and energy levels. At Natural Terrain, assessing a patient’s diet and nutritional intake is a common occurrence. Diet is an important way to make sure you are getting all the vitamins, minerals, proteins and nutrients you need to be healthy. The diets that are prescribed are often well-researched diets that are tailored to the needs of the patient. One diet that has a lot of good research behind it is the Mediterranean diet.

What is the Mediterranean Diet?

The Mediterranean Diet is a diet based on the daily servings of food groups. Often the Mediterranean diet is described in a pyramid, with different food groups put into different levels. The bottom of the pyramid is what should be eaten at every meal and the top of the pyramid are foods that should be eaten the least.

Base Level

On the base of the pyramid is vegetables, fruits, whole grains, herbs, legumes and healthy fats. Olive oil is encouraged as the main healthy fat, but nuts and seeds are also placed in this category. Legumes, such as beans, peas and lentils should replace meat products in at least 3 of your meals each week. Every meal should focus on this main category.

Level 2

The next level of the pyramid is fish and seafood. Fish is the main source of animal protein in the Mediterranean diet. It is high in Omega-3’s which are anti-inflammatory and great for your health. When selecting which types of fish to eat, it is best to choose fish with lower levels of mercury. You can look here for low mercury fish. In Edmonton, we recommend buying your fish from Ocean Odyssey Inland for some of the freshest, high-quality fish.

Level 3

The third level is Poultry, Eggs and Dairy which should be consumed in small amounts. Eat these types of foods once every couple days.

Top of the Pyramid

The last category, which should make up the lowest proportion of your diet is red meats and sweets. Choose lean cuts of meats when possible and consume these only a couple of times each month. Leave sugary foods for special occasions only.

Water is encouraged to be drank throughout the day. Moderate intake of red wine is allowed, with the maximum drinks per day being 1 for women and 2 for men.  While the emphasis is on food group selection, the Mediterranean Diet also suggest daily exercise and eating with others, which are good practices to start.

What are the health benefits?

The health benefits of the Mediterranean has been well studied. One of the most studied link is between the Mediterranean diet and the prevention of cardiovascular disease. Studies show that following a Mediterranean diet can reduce your risk of stroke, heart attacks and death from cardiovascular disease. It has also been shown to significantly reduce blood pressure.

Mediterranean diets also have been useful in preventing and treating diabetes. The Mediterranean diet can help lower glucose levels and improve insulin sensitivity.

Besides diabetes and cardiovascular disease, the Mediterranean diet has been helpful to improve sleep quality, manage PCOS, prevent cognitive decline, decrease the risk of depression and prevent some cancers.

Although the Mediterranean diet is considered a ‘diet’, it does not require any change in the amount of food intake. Working with a naturopathic doctor to tailor a diet like the Mediterranean diet can be an important step in preventative medicine and building the foundation of health.

References

  1. Schwingshackl L, Hoffmann G. Adherence to Mediterranean diet and risk of cancer: an updated systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies. Cancer Medicine. 2015;4(12):1933-1947. doi:10.1002/cam4.539
  2. Shafiei F, Salari-Moghaddam A, Larijani B, Esmaillzadeh A. Adherence to the Mediterranean diet and risk of depression: a systematic review and updated meta-analysis of observational studies. Nutr Rev. 2019;77(4):230-239. doi:10.1093/nutrit/nuy070
  3. Martini D. Health Benefits of Mediterranean Diet. Nutrients. 2019;11(8). doi:10.3390/nu11081802
  4. Campanini MZ, Guallar-Castillón P, Rodríguez-Artalejo F, Lopez-Garcia E. Mediterranean Diet and Changes in Sleep Duration and Indicators of Sleep Quality in Older Adults. Sleep. 2017;40(3). doi:10.1093/sleep/zsw083
  5. Georgoulis M, Kontogianni M, Yiannakouris N. Mediterranean Diet and Diabetes: Prevention and Treatment. Nutrients. 2014;6(4):1406-1423. doi:10.3390/nu6041406
  6. Rees K, Takeda A, Martin N, et al. Mediterranean-style diet for the primary and secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease. Cochrane Heart Group, ed. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. Published online March 13, 2019. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD009825.pub3
  7. Benson G, Pereira RF, Boucher JL. Rationale for the Use of a Mediterranean Diet in Diabetes Management. Diabetes Spectrum. 2011;24(1):36-40. doi:10.2337/diaspect.24.1.36

 

Korean-style Dandelion Salad

It’s hard not to notice the amount of yellow dandelions out there right now. Dandelions are more than a colourful addition to the yard, they are also great botanical herb and make a delicious salad.

Recently, we spent some time weeding, and instead of throwing away or composting the weeds, we were able to use the leaves for this salad. We love that this salad is environmentally friendly and that it had a delicious taste.

We hope you try and enjoy this salad.

Ingredients

  • Leaves of 4-5 large (8-10 small) dandelions washed and rinsed
  • 1 cup of chives (or green onions) thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1-2 tbsps toasted sesame seeds (crushed or whole)
  • 3 tbsps soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 tsps cane sugar
  • 1-2 tsps Korean red pepper powder (Gochugaru) – depending on how hot you like it
  • 2 tbsps apple cider vinegar

Instructions

  1. Wash and rinse the leaves thoroughly.
  2. Blanche 1-2 minutes and soak in cold water for 3-4 hours, the longer you soak, the less bitter it becomes.
  3. Wring out excess water in hands until most of the water is gone.
  4. Finely Chop.
  5. To make the dressing, mix together the soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, Korean pepper powder and vinegar.
  6. In a large bowl, toss the greens, garlic and sesame seeds with dressing right before serving.

Recipe: Cauliflower Sheppard’s Pie

This is a hearty and wholesome meal that our whole family loved. We always get excited when we find recipes that are both delicious and packed with nutrients that will keep us healthy. We found the recipe from Dr. Raza Shah, ND, we made some tweaks and came out with a beautiful Sheppard’s pie.

To limit exposure to toxins, we suggest buying organic vegetables. It is good to refer to the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen to identify which vegetables and fruits are typically high in toxins. These are the vegetables and fruit which we prioritize when buying organic.

One of our favourite places to get our meat is from TK Ranch. They are an Albertan company, animal welfare approved, certified grass-fed and focus on environmental sustainability.

We hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we did!

 

Serving Size: 4

Time: 1 hour

 

Ingredients

  • 1 head of cauliflower (chopped into florets)
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion (diced)
  • 2 cloves of garlic (minced)
  • 16 ozs of extra lean ground beef
  • 3 cups mushrooms (sliced)
  • 2 cups carrot (diced)
  • 2 stalks of celery (diced)
  • 1 tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF (177ºC)
  2. Place cauliflower florets in a saucepan, cover with water and bring to a boil. Let the florets boil until they are soft, about 15 minutes.
  3.  Heat a large pan with 1 tbsp of olive oil. Add in onions and garlic, until translucent and fragrant, about 5 minutes.
  4. Next, add the meat, and cook until browned
  5. Add the mushrooms, carrots, celery, Italian seasoning and salt. Cook for a few minutes, until the meat is cooked through. Remove from heat.
  6. Drain the cauliflower. In the same pot, add 1 tbsp of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt to the cauliflower.  Mash well until the cauliflower becomes almost like a puree
  7. Transfer the meat mixture to a casserole or pie dish and distribute it into an even layer. Top with the cauliflower mash and spread it evenly across the top.
  8. Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Turn the oven to a low broil and broil for 10 minutes or until golden. Remove from oven and serve. Enjoy!

Note:

  • If you are following a vegan or vegetarian diet you can substitute the ground meat for cooked lentils.