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.

HGH and PRP in Sport’s Medicine

Dr. Anthony Galea is founder and medical director of The Institute of Sports Medicine Health & Wellness Centre. Dr. Galea not only lectures internationally, but maintained his position with Toronto Argonauts as the team physician for several years. Despite controversy surrounding him, Dr. Galea practices with integrity and continues to innovate in the treatment of injuries for professional athletes.

We have all heard of controversy surrounding some of the world’s most famous athletes and performance enhancing substances. “Doping” as it is quite often referred to by the media and athletes alike, is against the rules in all sports and athletes are subject to testing to insure they are not using performance enhancing substances. However, the mental and physical strain that athletes are under, if left untreated, can spiral out of control and lead to many things (substance abuse, addiction, mental illness, etc.). Being aware of the causes of “doping” and other self destructive behaviours exhibited by athletes is the root to understanding the “doping” itself.

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Human Growth Hormone (HGH) has been used along with anabolic steroids in an attempt to build muscle and improve athletic performance. However, there is no conclusive evidence to support that HGH does in fact boost performance. HGH has been approved to treat specific disorders in children and adults. HGH has also been prescribed with an off-label use as an anti-aging serum. Many companies advertise these products similar to beauty conglomerates advertising their anti-aging products, both having a lack of sufficient evidence supporting the claims that they will “turn back your biological clock”. HGH carries some heavy side effects and caution should be used when purchasing/receiving/using HGH and products containing HGH.

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Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) injections have come to the attention of media and physicians alike as a treatment for sports-related injuries. PRP injections are more commonly used as a surgical tool for plastic surgery and oral surgery. PRP injections were once on the list of prohibited treatments upheld by World Anti-Doping Agency. Due to inconclusive findings as to their use for performance enhancement, PRP injections have since been removed from this list.

So what are the ramifications when choosing to use HGH and/or PRP injections in sports medicine? While PRP injections are not against the rules, HGH is.HGH is now being tested for in some sports  with other organizations following suit. Being caught using HGH that is not otherwise prescribed for a disorder would gain the player consequences similar to those of the consequences by players doping with other substances.

Assisting players in seeking the help that they need is an important part of any team doctor’s job. Doing so may help in preventing “doping” and other self destructive patterns in players.

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.

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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.

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.

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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.

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