ADHD and Obesity

 Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a disorder that can cause much turmoil in a young person’s life. The difficulties associated with this disorder can last a  lifetime if left untreated, leading to more problems later on in life. If left untreated, ADHD can lead to a lack of development in the brain, immaturity for age, social disconnectedness, and it puts them at higher risk to develop an addiction.

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ADHD causes problems in the child’s home, school, and social life, which can in turn lead to a variety of other disorders. It is important that parents, doctors, and educators are aware of the symptoms and ask the questions that need to be put forth.

A significant number of cases are diagnosed each year, leading to more and more children being put on medications and families seeking therapy. There are a significant number of interventions that can be used to treat ADHD, medication being recommended for the most severe cases. A combination of counselling and lifestyle changes can often make a large difference in the child’s life. ADHD may carry over into adolescence and adulthood, however, many develop coping strategies to combat the symptoms.

There have been links made between ADHD and obesity. Links have been made to obesity and the use of medication, as well as the impulsive nature of some of those diagnosed with ADHD. ADHD and obesity in childhood can predispose you to obesity in adulthood. Dieting and children are not something that go hand in hand, so what can you do to help your child?

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Making healthy lifestyle choices (i.e. eating right, exercising, etc.) is an easy and effective way to combat obesity in your family. Choosing to educate your child about eating habits and awareness of eating choices can help them develop a better sense of themselves and their choices. Allowing enough time for sleep, meals, and exercise will contribute to a happier and healthier child. Often times we may choose to stimulate our children with things like television and the computer. But everything has their time and place. Finding a balance between physical activity and time spent indoors is important.

We all want our children to grow up feeling happy, healthy, and loved. Let’s work together to make the next generation stronger, more aware, and empowered.

Inflammation and Nutrition

Julie Daniluk RHN, NNCP, is a nutritionist, television co-host, and an award winning author. Julie is the author of Meals That Heal Inflammation (Random House Canada), a book based exploring the causes of inflammation while teaching about nutrition and its connection  to inflammation. In addition to her book, Julie has a blog containing information on food and health as well as delicious recipes. Julie also co-hosts Healthy Gourmet on OWN, a show that explores the choices we make about food and the ongoing struggle to produce meals that not only taste great but are great for you as well. Julie has been recognized as an author and nutrition expert. She received the prestigious awards  in 2012 for Organic Achievement and ‘Healthiest Cookbook’. She is a guest on Mind Matters discussing the Anti-Inflammation Diet.

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Pain. Heat. Redness. Swelling. Loss of function.

These are some of the more common signs that you are experiencing inflammation. So what is inflammation? Put simply, inflammation is your body attempting to protect you from harmful stimuli. These harmful stimuli can be anything from a sliver in your foot to the food that you eat. Inflammation can occur in many different parts of the body. Not only does the inflammation affect your body, it also impairs your cognitive abilities and can lead to a decline in mood. The important thing to remember about inflammation is that it is preventable and treatable.

There are some foods that can cause inflammation. Foods that are processed, packaged, and prepared are just the tip of iceberg when it comes to foods that cause inflammation. Some other types of foods that cause inflammation include:

  • Dairy

  • White Sugar and Sweets

  • Alcohol

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The anti-inflammatory diet is comprised of foods that will help heal your body. These foods are healthy, wholesome, and unprocessed. Fruits and veggies, the cornerstones of any healthy diet, are part of the anti-inflammatory diet, as are proteins that are rich with omega-3 (salmon, walnuts, etc.). That being said, taste does not have to be sacrificed in the name of the nutritional quality. Julie Daniluk’s blog showcases some great and tasty recipes, as well as meal ideas for those new to the anti-inflammatory diet.

Natural supplements are a great addition to the anti-inflammatory diet. It is important to consult your healthcare professional before taking any supplements as they may interact with other medications or aggravate other current conditions.

Whether it is caused from diet or other factors, inflammation is a natural response from your body. However, it is not a necessary one. By modifying your diet and being aware of what you are putting into your body, inflammation does not have to be a persistent and recurring issue.

For more information, please visit Julie Daniluk’s website.

An In Depth Look at Carbs and Cravings: Part 2

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There are many factors that influence our need to feed and overeat. The current obesity epidemic has experts exploring these factors. So what influences our need to feed? Being able to see and smell the food tempts us to eat, even if we are eating outside of meals and snacks. Dehydration and alcohol consumption also plays a part in our need to eat outside of mealtimes. Brain chemistry (unbalanced) also increases our need to eat excess, all in an attempt to increase the serotonin and dopamine in our brains. Excess eating may also be due to a lack of control over emotional distress (loneliness, stress, depression, boredom, etc). So what can be do to curb our cravings?

Well the first thing is to identify what is causing the craving in the first place. It could vary widely from person to person. However, commonly it is a hormonal imbalance (low blood sugar, low serotonin levels) brought on by stress, poor eating habits, and a variety of other things. Regulating blood sugar levels by being healthy and taking care of yourself is an easy way to ease these cravings. Other lifestyle changes like sleeping well and managing stress are good ways to also help eliminate cravings.

Preventing the craving from happening in the first place is quite clearly the goal, first and foremost. This can be done by ensuring that your meals are balanced and nutritious. Making sure that you are getting the appropriate amounts of protein is important for every meal, as well as making sure you never miss an afternoon snack. This is an easy way to prevent cravings in between meals and get you through the afternoon until dinner time.

If you are having a craving, it is better to choose a healthy sweet alternative rather than reach for the sweet cupboard. Having berries and other naturally sweet treats is a great way to get rid of your craving.

giving up carbs

Giving up carbs is a hard thing to ask anyone to do, but even reducing your carb intake can make a huge difference. A few ways that you can cut back on your carbs include:

  • Making sure that you are well rested and can manage your stress well

  • Have a healthy digestive tract

  • Have supplements on hand to balance your brain chemistry and to help manage stress.

Say no to the unhealthy carbs and yes to an overall healthier and happier you!

An In Depth Look at Carbs and Cravings: Part 1

Dr. Natasha Turner ,founder of the Clear Medicine Wellness Boutique in Toronto, is a best-selling author, clinician, and highly sought after speaker.  Dr. Turner’s book, The Hormone Diet, was #1 bestseller a week into its release in 2009. Dr. Turner has made appearances on The Dr. Oz Show (as well as many others) to educate people on the importance of hormonal balance.

Insulin is an essential part of the human body. Insulin is central to regulating carbohydrate and fat metabolism in the body. It is so important to carefully consider what you are putting into your body.

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We all have habits that are detrimental to our insulin levels. An insulin overdose can cause type-2 diabetes. So what causes insulin overload?

Overeating causes a surge of insulin in the body to deal with the incoming carbs and fats. Late night eating is also a cause of insulin overload. The habit of eating late at night is disruptive to regular sleep patterns. Failing to eat a balance of proteins and carbohydrates is also going to cause an insulin overload. Long term these things can lead to an excessive appetite, overeating, as well as weight gain. A hormonal imbalance will ensue, leading to insulin resistance (type-2 diabetes).

Things that we eat can also cause an insulin overload. Foods heavy with sugars and white flours are very likely to cause a spike insulin, spur inflammation, and increase leptin resistance (the hormone responsible for regulating energy intake and expenditure). Products containing high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) as well as an increased intake of alcohol can result in insulin resistance and obesity.

So what can we do? Switching out our sweets for insulin-sensitizing foods is a great way to reduce the risk for an insulin overload. Some of these foods include:

  • Blueberries
  • Whey Protein Isolate
  • Avocados
  • Chai seed and Flaxseed
  • Spices
  • Olive Oil
  • Cinnamon
  • Eggs
  • Cherries
  • Vinegar
  • Nuts & Nut Butters

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Some may even reduce the risk of developing type-2 diabetes for those who are already at a high-risk. There are many health benefits to consuming these types of foods that will stretch not only to your body, but your mind and soul as well.

Alternative Solutions and Mental Health: Part 2

GutBrainConnection

The Brain-Gut connection is one that many people take for granted. Stress, anxiety, anger, happiness, and all other emotions effect the gastrointestinal tract, as it is sensitive to emotion. This is where feelings in your stomach like “butterflies” come from. It is a direct reaction from your emotional state, triggered by your brain and received in your stomach.

  • The brain and stomach have direct effects on each other. This is presented in many different ways.
  • Troubled intestine sends messages to the brain which can lead to emotional turmoil (stress, anxiety, depression).
  • Troubled brain sends messages to the intestines and stomach causing intestinal trouble (nausea, stomach aches and pains).
  • Brain notifies the stomach that you are hungry, stomach provides the digestive juices needed to digest the food before it arrives.

With the above things considered, it is often times hard to determine whether the intestinal problems are a product of emotional turmoil or the cause of emotional terminal. This is especially evident when you experience gastrointestinal upset without obvious physical cause.

Stress has a large part to play with GI upset. It might explain the nausea before giving an important presentation, or the stomach pains during times of high stress. This does not mean that all GI illnesses are just “all in your head”. They are however linked. Psychological symptoms influence the physiological symptoms and the physiology of the gut itself.

environmental-toxins

Environmental toxins also play a large role in the overall wellbeing as well as the wellness of the brain and mood. Many toxins in our environment are able to pass the blood-brain barrier, making the brain more susceptible to their toxic effects. Chemical toxins, drugs, radiation from cell phones and cell phone towers all cross the blood-brain barrier and cause toxic stress. Toxic stress leads to mood changes and disorders caused by the imbalances in the brain because of the excess or lack of the proper hormones.

So what does all of this information mean? The important thing to remember is that there is a strong mind-body connection. With this connection comes many ways in which the mind and body effect each other. It is also important to remember that because of this mind-body connection, it is important to look after the entire self, not just the physical or psychological separately.

For more information, please visit http://www.wyldeonhealth.com/ .

Alternative Solutions and Mental Health: Part 1

Bryce Wylde is a leading expert in alternative medicine. In addition to being a clinician, Bryce is also a highly sought after television host, educator, author and philanthropist. Revolutionizing the way we think about alternative medicine, through his writing and other endeavors, Bryce has made a significant contribution to the medical community.

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In July of 2011, along with 18 dedicated supporters of Markham Stouffville Hospital, Bryce and I were on a journey of a lifetime. We climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, in Africa to raise money for the expansion of the mental health department at Markham Stouffville Hospital. Our children and adolescents are suffering from depression, anxiety, eating disorders and substance abuse. Youth suicide is a growing concern. The stigma surrounding mental illness keeps many people from seeking help. Raising awareness is key to overcoming the stigma.  The goal of the Climb to Conquer was to help improve the quality of life for children and adolescents struggling with mental illness by raising money for the hospitals Mental Health Program and by raising public awareness.

Mental health is an essential part of overall health. It is a part that is often overlooked until our mental health comes into question because of persistent and debilitating symptoms. In order to achieve overall wellbeing, it is important that we take a look at not only our physical health, but our mental health as well. The study of the interaction between psychological processes and the nervous and immune systems of the body is referred to as Psychoneuroimmunology (PNI). PNI links psychology, neuroscience, immunology, physiology, pharmacology, molecular biology, psychiatry, behavioral medicine, infectious diseases, endocrinology, and rheumatology, in such a way so that the connections
between the various systems in the body can be made.Brain

The link between mental health and physical health is very strong. The aches and pains of depression are just one sign that our brain is telling the rest of the body that it is in pain. Many times the aches and pains just get grouped together with the rest of the illness, but what if they are caused by something else all on its own? Part of Bryce Wylde’s practice is to take a look at the connections between the brain and the rest of our body, to identify the cause/effect relationship, and work on developing a strategy to work towards overall wellbeing.

An important part of our physical health is nutrition, and nutrition can also have a huge effect on overall mood and manner, as well as mental health. Bryce developed The Dopamine Diet, a list of dopamine rich foods that can help to lift your mood. There is a link in between your dopamine level and obesity, as explained in Bryce’s article (http://www.wyldeabouthealth.com/articles/view/59). Just simply eating healthier and being conscious of what is in your food is not something that your body will thank you for, but your brain will thank you for it as well.
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Dopamine is just one of the many important things that your brain needs to remain healthy. DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid, makes up a large amount of our brain and has been shown to improve intelligence and cognitive functioning, as well as mood. There has also been a link between DHA and a reduced risk for Alzheimer’s and dementia.

For more information, please visit http://www.wyldeonhealth.com/ .

7 Ways to Beat Depression Naturally


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Depression is a state of mood characterized by negative effects in our life that continue to spiral, depression can be reflected in one’s physical, emotional and mental well-being. The onset of depression can be marked by an array of causes; perhaps you have reached a hiccup in a relationship with your significant other, or perhaps you are undergoing the loss of a loved one.

What was once the focus of intrigue and marvel in life may quickly and abruptly lose its enticing properties for the depressed individual.

If you identify with several of the following signs and symptoms, and they just won’t go away, you may be suffering from clinical depression.

1. You can’t sleep or you sleep too much

2. You can’t concentrate or find that previously easy tasks are now difficult

3. You feel hopeless and helpless

4. You can’t control your negative thoughts, no matter how much you try

5. You have lost your appetite or you can’t stop eating

6. You are much more irritable, short-tempered, or aggressive than usual

7. You’re consuming more alcohol than normal or engaging in other reckless behaviour

8. You have thoughts that life is not worth living (Seek help immediately if this is the case) 

7 Ways to Beat Depression Naturally

1)     Exercise on a regular basis, I highly recommend it.  There are so many different forms of exercise (Yoga, walking, tai-chi, weight lifting) begin slowly.  Begin outside if you can, fresh air is the surest way to get the blood flowing and change-up your energy.  Even if it’s as little as 20 minutes a day to start, you will notice you feel better instantly.

2)    Diet rich in vitamins and minerals, healthy foods, vitamin B and calcium.  Cut out refined carbohydrates, fried foods and avoid sugar at all costs.  Make sure you speak to your doctor about getting the proper DHA’s and probiotics into your diet for a healthy mind and gut.

3)   Vitamin D is called the sunshine vitamin because our bodies produce it when exposed to sunlight.  Ask your doctor to check and see if you are low in vitamin D.  People often feel better when they take vitamin D especially in the winter months.

4)   Herbal Supplements contain many medicinal powers and can heal a variety of ailments.  Seek out a great naturopathic doctor to discuss homeopathic remedies, vitamins, acupuncture, cupping and getting to the route of the issue by releasing toxins from the body.

5)   Get enough sleep and notice when your sleep is being disturbed by your mood.  The best thing to do is create a routine and stick to it everyday.  Take a Epsom salt bath to sooth and relax you, reduce TV and all stimulants.

6)    Talk it out with a therapist, counselor, friend or mentor. Depression is not the cause of hopelessness and extreme sadness — it is a symptom. If there is a specific problem you are having that is causing these feeling…face it, come up with a plan. Do not allow your problems to go unanswered. Hope can be found in moving, step by step toward addressing our issues.

7)    Be of service to someone else in need.  Often when we take the focus off ourselves and help another we stop running circles in our minds and we tend to feel better.

Most important of all, have hope and faith that “this too shall pass” and you do deserve to live a happy life.

Stacey Dombrowsky