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!

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.
dopamine
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/ .

Fibromyalgia and Alternative Therapies

Fibromyalgia is a complex condition that can be very difficult to understand. It can have an impact on virtually every part of your body. And with an array of symptoms that are not visible on medical tests, it is not often easy to diagnose or treat.

fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is a condition that can deeply affect a person’s life in many different ways. It is known to take a healthy, happy, well-functioning person, and turn them into someone wrought with constant pain and fatigue, robbing them of the initiative to complete even the simplest of daily routines. It greatly affects the overall well being of the person, as people suffering with Fibromyalgia are much more likely to suffer from depression as well. The depression is likely linked to the physical symptoms and the lack of an ability to maintain routine when the pain is unbearable. The symptoms of Fibromyalgia are very much in line with those of depression, which can further delay the diagnosis of Fibromyalgia.

So what treatments are out there for fibromyalgia? There is a varying degree of treatments from western medicine to adjustments in diet and workout. Not everything works for everyone. However, choosing an alternative to the medications that are offered by your regular family physician can allow for overall wellbeing, as well as pain relief.

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Western Medicine approaches fibromyalgia through pain medications, as well as using strategies to improve sleep and exercise conditioning.

Those following with the energy-based approach believe that the root cause of fibromyalgia is sensitivities to substances (both natural and man-made (i.e. vaccines and medications, as well as chemicals in everyday items)). The energy-based approach focuses on acupuncture as the chief reliever of the pain and anxiety/depression based in fibromyalgia.

While depression is linked heavily with fibromyalgia, those following the psychological approach suggest that depression can amplify the pain caused by Fibromyalgia. Cognitive behaviour therapy can improve the symptoms of depression greatly, by helping the patient identify the sources of stress that magnify their depression symptoms.

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Those choosing the nutrition-based approach choose to take supplements to help with sleep, hormones, immunity, and nutrition. Regular exercise is also a large part of this approach.

Dr. Fred Hui, a licensed and practicing MD in Toronto, approaches Fibromyalgia as a chronic flu. Dr. Hui treats fibromyalgia with a combination of I.V. treatments and other therapies to improve sleep, nutrition, and the various toxins in the body.

Treatment of Fibromyalgia is based on what is best for each patient. Many find success with each of the above listed treatments; however, not every treatment is suitable for every patient. It is important to keep in mind that it is your body, mind, and soul in these treatments. Trying different treatments is your choice, and exploring your options is an important part of the process.

Self-Injury Awareness Day – March 01, 2013

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Many of us carry the scars of our troubles on the inside. But what about those of us who carry the scars on the outside? Self-injury, also known as self-harm, is a dangerous behaviour, in which an individual deliberately hurts themselves in order to deal with the emotional pain that they are suffering. Self-injurious behaviour is not only troubling because of the harm that they are causing to themselves, but because of the stigma that is attached to those who self-injure.

…Cutter…Emo…Freak…

Just a few of the many taunts and jeers that are ever present for self-injurers. These labels are not only hurtful, but often times they amplify the self-loathing behaviour. Bullying is a large contributor in the continuation of self-injury. However, it is not the only contributing force. Emotional turmoil, unresolved emotional pain, as well as past and present emotional trauma can trigger self-harming behaviour. It can be used as an escape, similar to drugs and alcohol. That is how the behaviour is most often described by those who self-injure.

That is why Self Injury Awareness Day was created. To bring it to the surface. To allow those suffering in silence to speak out and be heard. To give them a voice they so often don’t have.

There are many questions that arise when it comes to self-harm. Especially from the loved ones of those that self-harm. What does it look like? Who is at risk? What do I say? What do I do? It can be a very confusing time for both the person who is self-injuring and their loved ones. The most important thing to remember is to remain open and understanding, no matter how hard that may seem. It is important that the person who is self-harming feels understood and not judged. It is also important to not condone the behaviour, as it is symptomatic of maladaptive coping skills.

So what does self-injury look like? It comes in many forms: cutting, bruising, scarring, burning, branding, and scratching. Any behaviour that one can use to intentionally cause harm to their own body is considered self-injury. While the injuries themselves are not always apparent, there are signs that someone is self-injuring. They might cover up the marks with excessive clothing (even in hot weather) or make up. They might seclude themselves more often, and gradually spend more and more time alone. If a loved one’s behaviour is troubling to you, the best thing that you can do is ask them if they want to talk. They may not want to open up, but just knowing that someone is willing to listen is often times more than enough. All you can do is be patient.

There is no one person that is more likely to self-injure. And it is hard to know the exact statistics about those who do self-harm, for obvious reasons. It was once thought that only young women self-harm, but the truth is that it is a behaviour that affects many people from many different backgrounds, ages, races, and of any gender. Anyone can engage in self-injury. And that is one of the most tough pieces of reality for people to accept. That is why it is so important to have Self Injury Awareness Day. It is to help dispel the myths and stigmas attached to self-harm and to let those that are self-injuring that they are not alone.

So what can you do or say when a loved one tells you that they self-injure? Or what should you do or say when you find out that they self-injure? There is no right answer. There is no one way to act or right thing to say. As mentioned above, the best thing that you can do is offer support and remain calm and understanding. The last thing that they need is to feel judged. And it is important that you make it clear that you will be there to help them seek out the help and support that they will need. Staying strong is a difficult thing to do when someone you love and care about tells you that they hurt themselves, but it is one of the most important things that you can do during this trying period.

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Hope begins in the dark; the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work: You don’t give up.
– Anne Lamott

Oral Cancer

Cancer of any kind is a devastating diagnosis to anyone. Oral cancer is particularly devastating as our mouths are a vital part of our daily lives. We express ourselves, and nourish ourselves through our mouth, and oral can be detrimental to any of th most basic tasks.

So what is oral cancer? It is described as any abnormal growth and spread of cells occurring in the mouth cavity including the:

oralcancer

There isn’t one single risk factor that is the determinant for oral cancer. In fact, there are several risk factors that are associated with the development of oral cancer.

Age is a risk factor associated with the development of oral cancer. Oral cancer can be developed at any age, however, the incidence of an oral cancer diagnosis increases for those over the age of 40. That being said, those over 60 years of age have the highest incidence of oral cancer.

Gender has also been shown to play a role in the development of oral cancers. At one point in time, the ratio of men to women diagnosed with oral cancers was 6 to 1. Now it is closer with the ratio of men to women 2 to 1, respectively.

Smoking greatly increases the risk of developing oral cancer. This includes smokeless tobacco, snuff, chewing tobacco, chewing betel quid, paan, areca nut and cigarettes. When coupled with alcohol use, the risk for developing oral cancer greatly increases. The duration of use and amount of use does play a role in the development of oral cancer from alcohol use.

HPV (Human Papillomavirus), through increased research, has shown a connection to the development of oral cancers.

Lifestyle also plays a role in the development of oral cancers. Those who have a lot more sun exposure are more at risk of development of oral cancers. A diet that is low in fruits and vegetables is also a risk factor to develop oral cancers.

A diagnosis of oral cancer doesn’t have to be a death sentence. However, there are many things that you can do to prevent the cancer to begin with. They include:

  • Seeing a dental professional (traditional or holistic) for a regular check ups and  cleanings.
  • Quitting smoking and not using tobacco products. There are many warnings on packages, however, they are ignored. Even just reducing smoking can make a huge difference.
  • Reduce alcohol consumption. The risk is higher the more that you consume.
  • Reducing the risk of getting HPV is important as well. Using a condom while sexually active is very important for reducing the risk of contracting HPV.
  • Using lip balm that have UV protection is a great way to reduce the harm of sun exposure on your lips.
  • Eating the appropriate amount of vegetables and fruits is important.
  • It is also important to brush and floss daily.

Another part of being an oral cancer survivor, is catching it at an early stage. As with other cancers, it is important to catch it early so that it doesn’t spread to other parts of the body. So how can you do this? As mentioned before, it is important to attend a regular dentist’s appointment. However, a dental and/or a healthcare professional can catch oral cancers in their early stages. There are some signs and symptoms to look for, and they include:

  • Sores in the mouth that do not heal within two weeks
  • Dark red or white patches in the mouth
  • Lumps located on the lips, tongue or neck
  • Bleeding in the mouth
  • Sore throat and difficulty with swallowing
    **taken from the Heath Canada Website**

It is extremely important to see a dental and/or healthcare professional if any of the above symptoms are experienced frequently.

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Oral cancer doesn’t have to be a death sentence. It can be an opportunity for change and growth. However, having a healthy and happy lifestyle is an important piece to preventing this painful and life-changing disease.

For more information, please visit the Health Canada Website ( http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hl-vs/oral-bucco/disease-maladie/cancer-eng.php ).

Holistic Dentistry

Your smile is an international hello

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Treating the body as a whole, and not just separate pieces is the foundation of any holistic medical practice. This is just as true for Holistic Dentistry as it is for other holistic medical practices. Holistic Dentistry promotes health and wellness instead of the treatment of disease. This approach to dentistry includes both the advances of modern science and knowledge that is drawn from many traditions of natural healing. Holistic Dentistry focuses on not only the patient’s teeth, but their mind, body and spirit as a whole. It shows how dental health is an important part of overall health, not something separate. Holistic Dentistry is a way to take care of one’s teeth and gums that is healthy for the body as a whole, which includes using different techniques than those of traditional dentistry.

The Holistic Dentistry approach is one which chooses to take a different path than that of a traditional dentist. So how is Holistic Dentistry different from traditional dentistry? Listed below are some of the important differences between Holistic Dentistry and traditional dentistry.

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Traditionally, dentists use mercury fillings in teeth. It has been stated by the ADA and FDA that the mercury in the fillings is safe and stable enough not to do much harm to the body because they leak only a small amount of mercury over time. However, Holistic Dentists recognize that mercury is a toxin to the body, no matter how small the amount. They choose to not use mercury but a composite filling instead, to reduce the harm to the body as a whole.

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Severe decay brings the recommendation of root canal therapy from a traditional dentist. They will argue that a root canal is the most effective way to keep a natural tooth. However, unless the canal is 100% sterilized, the canal will not be effective. There are a number of chemicals that can be used to sterilize the canal. Holistic Dentists realize that these chemicals are toxic to the body, no matter how small the amount. They also recognize that any bacteria left over from an improperly completed root canal can also damage the body. It is for these reasons that a Holistic Dentist will not typically recommend a root canal.

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Fluoride is seen as an important part of a dental care regimen. It comes in both a topical and ingested form. Many traditional dentists argue in favor of fluoridating water supplies. Their argument is supported by the decrease of cavity rates in areas that have fluoridated water supplies. Holistic Dentists are typically against any form of fluoride that is ingested. The main concern is the toxic effects that the ingested fluoride can have on the body (i.e. cancer and various bone problems) as well as fluoridating the water supply being forced medication of the general public. However, there are some holistic dentists that are for topical fluoride.

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Whether or not a material that is placed in your body is referred to as the biocompatibility of dental materials. Most traditional dentists will not test the biocompatibility of the materials because they do not believe in it. Many traditional dentists will not even explain the difference between the fillings and other materials that will be used. Holistic Dentists recognize that any material that is put into the mouth, can affect the entire body. Many Holistic Dentists have on-site equipment to test for biocompatibility of any materials that will be put into your mouth. Composite materials are the materials of choice for many Holistic Dentists when doing fillings and they often use alternate materials for other procedures.

The important thing to remember when considering going to a Holistic Dentist is to ask the right questions. You need to keep in mind that it is your mouth that you are looking out for, so you need to choose a dentist that is right for you. This means asking questions like:

  • What kinds of materials do you use?
  • What types of procedures will you not perform?
  • What is your overall philosophy when approaching Holistic Dentistry?

Asking these questions will allow you to make the right decision for not only your mouth, but your body as a whole.