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Posts by Christine Davis, ND

The Ikkuma Smoothie

ikkuma smoothieI’m always on the hunt for great smoothie recipes.  This recipe is a real super-smoothie with carefully selected functional foods to optimize your health.  Thanks Gary LeBlanc and the team at Ikkuma for sharing!!!

I have been experimenting with smoothies for decades. This recipe may seem daunting but it really isn’t that hard if you stage all the ingredients. I’ll try to make it as clear as possible. First I will list what needs to be staged, and then I will give you the recipe.

To be staged (prepared):

“Fruit & Vegetable” Staging: Clean and chop, beets, apples, purple cabbage, broccoli, celery, ginger, kale and garlic (one clove). You can effectively use whatever vegetables you want but I stress a good variety. Chop enough for about one week’s worth of smoothies (use trial and error for this one). My experience is that chopped vegetables, placed in a sealed container with one or two paper towel sheets at the bottom, can effectively keep relatively fresh for about one week. This will save a ton of time when making your smoothies.

“Seeds of Life” Mixture: Using a coffee grinder, grind sesame, chia, and flax seeds. Place them in a small Ziploc bag and store in your freezer. Try to keep it relatively fresh by only staging two weeks worth of the mixture, though the seeds should stay fresh in the freezer for longer than that.

The recipe:

Add the following ingredients to your high powered blender and blend until desired consistency. One small caveat: if you don’t have a VERY powerful blender, vegetables from the brassica (cabbage, broccoli and kale) family may promote gas. Try to introduce them slowly and if it doesn’t work simply substitute with other fruits or vegetables such as spinach, and avocado.:

¼ cup of organic almond or coconut milk

2 cups of the “Fruit & Vegetable” already prepared

1 heaping tablespoon of the Seeds of Life mixture

25-35 grams of high quality natural whey protein (or a vegan protein powder, such as sprouted brown rice, pea, or hemp)

½ cup of organic frozen berries and 1 tablespoon of shredded coconut

2 heaping tablespoons of organic yogurt (coconut yogurt can be used if you have dairy intolerance)

¼ tsp cinnamon to stabilize blood sugar and ¼ tsp of turmeric powder to load it with cancer fighting compounds

1 tsp of maca root powder for an energy kick (find this at any health food store)

1 heaping teaspoon of glutamine for muscle repair (if desired)

You can also add a serving of your favorite fish oil

2-3 ice cubes (if desired)

Check out the Ikkuma Blog for more great recipes and health tips: http://ikkuma.com/

One word: AMAZING!! This has incredible body repairing, immune system boosting, gut populating, cancer fighting, age reversing, and antioxidant flooding goodness!

What is Naturopathic Medicine?

Christine-1Navigating the world of complementary and alternative health can be confusing and daunting. It’s difficult to understand what different practitioners can offer and how they are trained.  Unfortunately, this gap in education and awareness can lead many people to miss out on the care they want and need.  I will start by breaking down the mystery that is Naturopathic Medicine.

The Premise:

Naturopathic Medicine is a primary health care system that integrates modern science with traditional, natural medical practices. The principal objective is to treat the underlying root cause of disease and to promote health and vitality as a preventative, lifelong goal.  It is also a way to treat common health concerns in a gentle, natural manner.

The Training:

In Ontario, licensed Naturopathic Doctors have at least seven years of post-secondary education, graduate from an accredited educational institution, receive their professional licensing from the Board of Directors of Drugless Therapy-Naturopathy (BDDT-N), and complete and pass rigorous international licensing exams (NPLEX).

Naturopathic Guiding Principles:

The primary goal for a naturopathic doctor is to determine and treat the underlying cause of disease rather than simply managing the symptoms. The symptoms are viewed as expressions of the body’s natural attempt to heal and are important indicators of where the body needs to be supported rather than suppressed.

Naturopathic Doctors seek to treat the individual. Rather than treating only one organ or system, the naturopathic doctor treats the whole person. Your physical health, family history, nutritional status, lifestyle, environmental and emotional stresses are all carefully evaluated to devise a treatment plan that is unique to you.

The body has a remarkable ability to sustain and heal itself.  Naturopathic doctors respect the power of the body to heal and seek to facilitate the body’s innate healing capacity. This may include removing obstacles to healing or using tools to strengthen and build up the body.

Naturopathic Treatment:

Naturopaths are trained in lifestyle medicine. By working with you, they can find a nutrition, exercise and lifestyle plan that elevates your health while fitting into your routine. By analyzing your diet, NDs are trained to address areas of deficiency and to find simple, sustainable ways to improve your energy and overall health.

As for treating the individual, naturopathic doctors look at your unique symptom pattern, identify health risks and devise a nutritional plan that matches your constitution. They can augment this by using targeted nutritional supplements to achieve better health.

Naturopathic Doctors have many other “Tools in their Toolbox.” These include: traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture, herbal medicine, homeopathy, hydrotherapy, massage therapy and chiropractic manipulation.  As well, most naturopaths participate in continuing education which may broaden their scope to include other therapies such as intravenous vitamin infusions, Bowen therapy, reiki, dark field microscopy and more.

A common question asked of naturopathic doctors is… what do naturopathic doctors treat? NDs are primary healthcare practitioners, and can treat the same conditions as a family doctor, including acute and chronic health conditions. In the event that an ND is unable to treat your condition, they will refer you to someone who can. Naturopathic Doctors often work on either end of the health spectrum. They are experts at helping those who are proactive and want to achieve optimal well-being by improving their diet and augmenting their health with targeted nutritional supplements and therapies such as acupuncture and hydrotherapy. Naturopathic Doctors also treat many individuals whom the conventional medical community is unable to assist (e.g. chronic disease cases). Naturopaths can be helpful in many different conditions; it is difficult to put them in a box. Instead, I will provide you with an example of how naturopathic medicine can help.

Meet Joe:

“Joe was having stomach difficulties.  For years, Joe had experienced bloating, gas, diarrhea and abdominal cramping.  After extensive medical investigation, his doctor diagnosed him with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). IBS is a diagnosis of exclusion, meaning that he doesn’t have any identifiable organic cause for the symptoms he is experiencing.  As a last resort, Joe decided to visit a Naturopathic Doctor who looked at all of the testing he had already been through and performed an intake and physical exam. During the intake, Joe admitted that many of the symptoms originated when he was at university. Joe’s stress levels rose dramatically and his nutritional intake diminished. Upon further examination, it was determined that two factors were at play here. Joe was identified as having a milk allergy.  All the pizza and ice cream he was consuming in residence was not helping. Secondly, Joe was experiencing a lot of stress, especially around his exam periods. By eliminating dairy, healing his gut, teaching Joe stress management techniques and using targeted nutritional supplements to improve his stress… Joe’s symptoms entirely disappeared. Joe was relieved and shocked that simple changes to his diet and lifestyle could make such impressive changes in the way he felt. Not only were his stomach symptoms resolved, he also slept better and had significantly more energy than he had previously.”

By looking at Joe as an individual, his Naturopathic Doctor was able to address the root cause of Joe’s problems. His symptoms were representative of a multifactorial problem, involving stress and diet.  Given that everybody is unique, the diet and lifestyle strategies had to be catered to his unique constitution. Joe now understands why he is experiencing these symptoms and how to better manage them himself.

How does Naturopathic Medicine fit into my current healthcare?

Naturopathic doctors are considered primary care practitioners, meaning they can be a first contact in any health concern.  However, I believe in integrative care, meaning Naturopathic Doctors can work with your team of healthcare practitioners to augment any treatment you may be receiving.  For example, if you are working with a Medical Doctor, NDs can work with your MD to help achieve optimal health.

John has been diagnosed with high blood pressure. His medical doctor is recommending medication, but John wants to examine if there are other ways to improve his condition. By working with a Naturopathic Doctor, John has addressed his diet, exercise regime and stress concerns which were contributing to his high blood pressure.  John’s Naturopathic Doctor was able to coordinate care with his Medical Doctor and slowly reduce his need for medication.

For more information on naturopathic medicine and how it can help you attain optimal health for life, visit the Canadian Association of Naturopathic Doctors (CAND): www.cand.ca; Naturopathic Doctors Ontario (NDO): www.ndontario.com; The Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine (CCNM): www.ccnm.edu; The Board of Directors of Drugless Therapy – Naturopathy (BDDT-N): www.bddtn.on.ca

– See more at: http://www.ottawalife.com/2013/03/what-is-naturopathic-medicine/#sthash.kKN42NN9.dpuf

The Ottawa Integrative Cancer Centre

By Dr. Christine Davis, B.Sc., Naturopathic Doctor, Magna Health Centre, Aurora, Ontario

Today, it is challenging to find someone whose life hasn’t been touched by the effects of cancer.  Cancer is immensely prevalent and it permeates all cultural and social divides.  The Canadian Cancer Society estimated there were 177,800 new cases of cancer (excluding 74,100 non-melanoma skin cancers) and 75,000 deaths from cancer in Canada in 2011.[1]  Despite this immense impact, cancer still poses a massive health risk. Not only is cancer a debilitating disease, but cancer treatments are often uncomfortable and incapacitating.

Are we doing all we can to help to prevent cancer and keep those people with cancer as healthy and comfortable as possible? Are we taking the necessary steps to prevent cancer before it takes hold?

There are ways that we can help to make cancer treatment less debilitating and cut down the probability of recurrence. I think we need to look outside the box of traditional cancer prevention and cancer care and ask how we can better serve this population.

“Integrative cancer care enhances conventional therapies and bolsters the prevention of recurrence. In addition, integrativeoncology provides systematic strategies to prevent cancer through lifestyle modification, such as nutrition and exercise. Recognizing synergy from a whole systems approach, integrative oncology provides new models for dealing with the epidemic of cancer.”

-Stephen Sagar, BSc (Hons), MB, BS, MRCP, FRCR, FRCPC, Radiation Oncologist, Past President, Society of Integrative Oncology, Professor of Oncology, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario

In November 2011, the first oncology center in Eastern Canada was opened: the Ottawa Integrative Cancer Centre (OICC), a not- for-profit organization that is governed by the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine. The OICC seeks to treat the whole person, using complementary therapies alongside conventional treatments. It works to provide education about prevention, support during treatment and prevention of cancer recurrence. The OICC works to optimize patients’ wellness, using innovative integrative treatment approaches.

The OICC provides evidence-informed integrative and preventative cancer care, research and education across the spectrum of prevention and survivorship. OICC emphasizes quality of life, care of the spirit, and active prevention of the disease.

The OICC is not only a center for clinical practice and education, but also a research facility striving to find the most effective and innovative evidence-based strategies to manage cancer.  Unlike pharmaceutical companies, natural health product manufacturers and practitioners of alternate therapies do not have the money to fund large clinical trials. This has often been a major deterrent, as the language of the conventional medical community is based on Randomized Clinical Trials.

The OICC is taking the lead on this, providing clarity and confidence to those searching for alternatives and sifting through the maze of alternative options to better improve patients’ well-being and to optimize their health. The OICC is also a trusted resource for health care practitioners looking to provide answers to their cancer patients on the safety and efficacy of the complementary treatments they are undergoing. Lack of understanding and often fear in the conventional medical community can deter patients from getting the alternative treatments they desire. The OICC is providing a model of integration that can be extrapolated to the entire medical community.

“I applaud the OICC’s commitment to being a leader in integrative oncology research. From interactions with mutual patients, I realize that the clinical care provided by the OICC has real value to the people under our care, and that this care can and should be expanded to others. With the research that we’ve done together already and the approach you take in science and clinical care, I believe the OICC will achieve great prominence as a valuable resource for patients.”

-Andrew J.E. Seely, MD, PhD, FRCSC, Associate Scientist, Ottawa Health Research Institute, Associate Professor of Surgery, University of Ottawa, Research Director, Division of Thoracic Surgery and Critical Care Medicine, The Ottawa Hospital

Seminars focus on information about nutrition, lifestyle factors, and stress management. OICC also works with the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation, providing workshops, seminars and online learning.  As well, the OICC has a special focus on environmental contributors to cancer and educates people on how to avoid this exposure.

The team of regulated health care practitioners at the OICC is truly integrative.  Specialties include naturopathic oncology, family therapy, physiotherapy, psychiatry, nutrition, acupuncture, massage therapy, exercise therapy and yoga. The OICC helps to decrease the side-effects of cancer treatment; improve energy, well-being and overall quality of health; balance the body’s immune system; and support the mind, body and spirit in the healing process. The OICC uses natural non-toxic therapies in collaboration with allied health care providers, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists and surgeons.

As well, the OICC seeks to bridge the gap between conventional and complementary oncology services. It is estimated that over 50% of cancer patients embrace complementary therapies, but most don’t communicate choices with conventional oncologists. The OICC has partnered with the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation and the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute to make integrative medicine a reality.

An Overview video of the OICC

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pWg6QM3xRLs

For more information on how to become a patient at the OICC, cancer resources or cancer research, visit www.oicc.ca

Published by Ottawa Life Magazine: http://www.ottawalife.com/2013/02/the-ottawa-integrative-cancer-centre/

Berry Sneaky Green Smoothie Recipe


Smoothies are a great way to pack in the nutrients. They are chock full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. As well, adding a protein supplement will improve blood glucose control and keep you satisfied until your next snack. Flax seeds will also reduce hunger, keep you regular and can improve hormonal imbalances. Once you get the hang of it, smoothies are a quick, ready-to-go breakfast that is easily digestible great tasting, and satisfying. This recipe requires a good blender. I recommend the Vitamix or Blendtec. If you have a sub-par blender, try substituting the spinach with a greens supplement.

Ingredients:
1 cup baby spinach (or more if you like)
1 cup of almond milk (water, rice milk, soy milk can be substituted)
1 cup of berries (blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, or a mix)
½ frozen banana
1 Tbs. of ground flax seeds (or 1 Tbs. flax oil)
1 serving of a powdered protein supplement

Directions:
1. Blend the flax seeds until ground
2. Add the almond milk and baby spinach, starting with the blender at low speed and increasing until smooth
3. Add berries and frozen bananas and blend until smooth
4. Add powdered protein and blend briefly
5. If smoothie is too thick, more almond milk, water or ice can be added to achieve your desired consistency.
6. Enjoy as soon as possible to maximize nutritional benefits

Optional additions:

1 Tbsp. coconut oil (great source of healthy saturated fats)
1 Tbs. almond butter (great source of monounsaturated fats, vitamins, minerals, protein and fiber)
2 open capsules of probiotics (for healthy digestive and immune function)
liquid vitamin D (especially important in the winter for healthy immune function)
ice (helps to make the smoothie more palatable)
¼ cup cranberry or pomegranate juice (packs a fruity punch)
Pinch of cinnamon (for blood glucose control)

Great Green Smoothie Recipe

Try this amazing Green Smoothie recipe to kick-start your day and your life! Green drinks get their vibrant colour from chlorophyll, a nutrient-rich pigment found in all leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale, celery and lettuce, that cleans the body of harmful toxins, oxygenates the blood and helps boost energy levels. Green drinks are also chock full of nutrients including vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytonutrients. Blending fruits and vegetables together breaks down the cells of plants and improves digestibility. As well, unlike juices, green smoothies contain all the fiber essential for good colon health. Fruits and vegetables also help to alkalinize the diet and therefore the body. Green smoothies improve energy, mental clarity and overall emotional and physical health. You’ll need a good blender (such as the Blendtec or Vitamix blender to really achieve optimal consistency with this smoothie)

Ingredients:

2 cups spinach
1 cup water
1 apple, peeled, cored and chopped
2 stocks celery
½ cup cucumber chopped
1 small beet, chopped
1 lemon, squeezed
1 small cube (1 by 2 inch) ginger chopped
Ice as needed

Directions:

1. Start with the water and spinach and blend until smooth
2. Add the apple and lemon and blend
3. Add celery, cucumber, beet and ginger and blend
4. Add ice to cool it off and make it more palatable
5. Enjoy!!!

Optional ingredients: Pear, Cayenne, Parsley, Cilantro, Watercress

Probiotics for the Athlete

Physical training is understood by almost everyone as a positive, health-related activity. However, extreme athletes undertaking regular strenuous training walk a fine line between physical well-being and impaired immune function. This is likely due to the immunosuppressive effects of stress hormones such as adrenalin and cortisol. Competitive athletes have to take extra precautions to keep their immune system strong; eliminating the chance of getting sick and losing valuable training time. Probiotics can play a key role in maintaining healthy immune function.

Probiotics are “live microorganisms, which when administered in adequate amount confer a health benefit on the host (FAO 2001).” In each normal and healthy gut, there are approximately 100 trillion microorganisms (bacteria). These gut-friendly bacteria help to keep harmful bacteria in check. It can be likened to a healthy gut bacterial army, fighting off unwanted invaders.

Probiotics enhance the immune system. Probiotics have been found to modulate the functions of epithelial cells, phagocytic cells (monocytes, macrophages, and neutrophils), and natural-killer cells (NK-cells). This interaction could impact anything from infectious diseases, inflammatory disease and allergies to autoimmune disorders and cancer. Different types of probiotics are able to stimulate or moderate many aspects of innate and acquired immune responses. Therefore, choosing an appropriate probiotic for your condition is important.

Several probiotics have been shown to increase antimicrobial compounds including organic acids (lactic acid and acetic acid), hydrogen peroxide, carbon dioxide, and bacteriocins. These substances decrease intestinal pH (therefore inhibit bacterial metabolism), inhibit both gram negative and gram positive bacteria and kill bacteria. This immune protection happens systemically. It can aid in protection of upper respiratory tract infections, gastrointestinal infections, genitourinary infections and skin conditions.

Almost everyone can benefit from the use of probiotics to enhance digestion and nutrient absorption.
Probiotics play a key role in maintaining digestive health. In hard-training athletes, you need every inch of that body functioning at peak capacity. Digestive difficulties, including; acute diarrhea, Chrohn’s disease, Colitis, Celiac disease, IBS, antibiotic-induced diarrhea and food intolerances can all be assisted by a therapeutic dose of probiotics. Even those with apparent healthy bowel function, can benefit from the use of probiotics to enhance digestion and nutrient absorption. In addition, probiotic bacteria are capable of delivering enzymes or other function­al proteins to help with digestion. For example, intake of probiotics has been shown to increase the delivery of enzymes, therefore improving the digestibility of lactose in those with difficulty digesting this sugar.

Probiotics enhance the immune system and play a key role in maintaining digestive health.
Probiotics also stimulate mucin (a gel-like mucous layer in the intestine) which provides a slippery shield, protecting the gut surface from direct contact with pathogenic organisms and toxins. The integrity of the gut lining can be compromised by bacteria, toxins, inflammation and stress, leading to intestinal permeability. This allows substances that would normally pass through the gut, to pass across the gut membrane and into the body. Probiotics preserve the integrity and function of the mucosal barrier, therefore decreasing autoimmunity and allergies.
When looking for a probiotic supplement, there are three characteristics you need to look for:

  • Look for a high dose, multi-strain probiotic blend.
  • Aim for a 10-20 billion bacterial count in adults.
  • A high-quality, pharmaceutical grade manufacturing process.

http://strong-athlete.com/probiotics-for-the-athlete.html

Cosmetic Acupuncture now being offered at the Magna Health Centre!

Cosmetic acupuncture helps to eliminate fine lines and makes deeper lines appear softer.  It can also help to minimize dark circles, puffy eyes, double chin, sagging skin, and drooping eyelids.

Other benefits include:

  • Increases circulation and therefore oxygenation of the skin
  • Increases collagen production
  • Tightens the pores, and brightens the eyes
  • Keeps acne skin under control
  • Nourishes the skin, giving you a healthy complexion with a natural glow
  • Moisturizes the skin from the inside, and gives rosy cheeks to people with dull, tired looking skin

The course of the treatment is between 10-12 sessions.  This will be done 1-3 times a week for best results.  Each individual will respond differently to the treatment depending on their age and lifestyle.  Visible results will be noticeable after 6 -7 sessions.  Maintenance maybe needed once every month.  In addition, Cosmetic Acupuncture will maintain the effectiveness of Botox, so it will save you a couple injections per year.

For more information, call the Magna Health Centre at (905) 726-7470.  Or come in for a free 15 minute consult to learn more!

Keep Cortisol at Bay for Better Health

Christine Davis, Naturopathic Doctor

We all know that stress isn’t good for our bodies… so what can we do about it? Stress can come in many forms. Many of us think only of the psychological stress, caused by family, work, life events or persistent worrying. However, physical stress is just as real and just as dangerous for our bodies. Lack of exercise, poor diet, food allergies or even weather changes can be a physiological stressor for our bodies. In contrast, excessive exercise can also be a major stressor for our bodies.

So why is stress bad for us? Stress can impact a multitude of physiological reactions in our bodies. Symptoms of excessive stress can be; insomnia, fatigue, weight changes (especially an accumulation of fat around the abdomen), headache, respiration problems, heart irregularities, digestive disturbances (e.g., bloating, gas, diarrhea, constipation), and psychological upsets (e.g. anger, irritability, rage, depression, anxiety). These stress responses can result in further complications. For example, stress can disrupt sleep, which can result in hormonal imbalances and will also trigger more stress. Many hormones are up-regulated during sleep, including growth hormone and melatonin. Growth hormone is an anabolic hormone that helps to build muscle and decrease fat mass.

Acute stress produces the hormone cortisol in the adrenal glands. Cortisol serves the body in non-stressful times and when called to respond to an acute crisis, however, it can cause damage when levels are high during chronic stress. Cortisol suppresses the immune system, in particular white blood cells, which is why it is used as an anti-inflammatory medication. Cortisol is also a catabolic steroid hormone, meaning it breaks things down (versus anabolic hormones, which are building hormones). It is known to break down collagen, bone and muscle. This can result in osteoporosis, joint pain and in severe cases, abdominal obesity and loss of muscle mass in the extremities.

How do we combat stress? There are many strategies to help cope with stress. Firstly, it is important to recognize what causes you stress and try to reduce or manage this stressor. If the stress is modifiable (e.g. time management), then take steps to manage this. For example, if your stress is caused by a busy lifestyle, make sure to create lists, assume tasks to reasonable expectation and to delegate whenever possible. Participating in relaxing activities, such as yoga, pilates, baths, singing, baking, laughing, and journaling can also help. Seek out care when necessary including massage, acupuncture or body-work. Take regular vacations, even media vacations from blackberries and e-mail can be helpful.

Another useful relaxation practice is deep breathing. Breathe in for a count of 7, and out for a count of 11. Breathe into your belly and expand you diaphragm, rather than your chest and shoulders. Repeat as often as needed- ideally 10-15 min 3 times per day.

There are also nutrients and supplements that can help. Magnesium supplementation can help to reduce cortisol after aerobic exercise. Omega-3 Fatty acids can help manage psychological stress. Vitamin C and B-vitamins dampen cortisol release in response to mental and physical stressors. Licorice (glycyrriza glabra) can help to build up the adrenals after chronic stress (don’t take this if you have high blood pressure). Herbs such as Ashwaganda and Rhodiola are known as adaptogens, meaning they can help you adapt to stress. L-Theanine supports normal brain alpha-wave activity, resulting in a calming effect to the sympathetic nervous system. It is always best to consult a medical professional when beginning a new supplement regime.

Water, Your First Step Towards Optimal Health

Proper hydration is imperative for optimal health. Without proper hydration, your body will become dehydrated, which means your body does not have enough water to function at peak capacity. You lose water every day when you breathe, sweat and go to the bathroom. The water content in the foods you eat and the beverages you drink combine to hydrate your body. Drinking 8 cups of water each day is usually sufficient, but more may be needed if you are participating in vigorous activities.

Drinking water keeps your body tissues moist, flushes out harmful toxins and makes nutrients more readily available. It is also involved in getting oxygen to cells throughout the body and regulating temperature. This is why staying hydrated is so vital when playing sports or exercising. Your body’s demand for oxygen increases during physical activity and your internal temperature rises. In fact, even a minimal fluid loss can affect aerobic performance and reduce your level of physical endurance. Inadequate hydration can fatigue your muscles, reduce your coordination, make you dizzy and cause muscle cramps. The goal during exercise is to drink before signs of dehydration occur. Ideally, try to drink 2 cups of water two hours before exercising and continue to drink 1 cup of water every 20 minutes while you’re exercising.

Fatigue is the most common symptom of dehydration. Other common dehydration symptoms include; muscle cramps, fogginess, dizziness, light-headedness, headache, thirst and dry mouth/skin/lips. If you are unsure about whether you are currently drinking enough fluids each day, the color of your urine can be a good guideline. If you’re well-hydrated, it should be light yellow in color. The darker in color it gets, the more dehydrated you may be. Keep in mind, other medical conditions can alter this (such as kidney disease). Another test is to pinch the skin on the outer part of your hand or forearm. If the skin tents, meaning it stays in place and doesn’t quickly bounce back then this is a warning sign that you are dehydrated.

When choosing fluids to help you meet your daily hydration requirements, water is the ideal choice. Water will help keep you properly hydrated without the empty calories found in sports drinks, sodas or juices. However, very vigorous activities can warrant the use of carbohydrates and electrolyte replacements. To keep it interesting and add some zest, use slices of lemon or lime. Herbal teas, such as peppermint, berry or chamomile can “count” towards your daily fluid intake. Sipping water throughout the day is the best strategy. Drinking too quickly will reduce absorbability. As well, drinking water at meals might not be ideal. It can be beneficial for weight loss as it can make you fuller, however, it will also dilute your digestive juices. Drinking in-between meals is a better strategy.

Use strategies to help increase your fluid intake. Carry a stainless steel water bottle with you wherever you go and make sure you finish it by the end of the day. Set reminders on your phone to drink water, or use post-it-note reminders. If you’re feeling groggy during the day, try drinking a glass of water instead of reaching for coffee or tea. Coffee and tea are diuretics, meaning they increase water loss from the body, and can actually be more dehydrating. For every caffeinated cup of tea or coffee, make sure you add an extra cup of water. Try drinking at least 2 cups of water first thing when you wake up.

Cheers to better health!

Dr. Steve Rallis’ Chocolate Banana Protein Smoothie

Written by: Dr. Christine Davis, Naturopathic Doctor

Great source of Magnesium and Antioxidants!

1 Cup Almond Milk
10 Almonds/ 1 Tablespoon Almond Butter
1 Tablespoon Ground Flax Seeds
1 Tablespoon Raw Cacoa
1 Frozen Banana
15-20 g Protein Powder

Blend until Smooth!

Dr. Steve Rallis- Chocolate Banana Smoothie