What Your Cravings Are Telling You About Your Health

What Your Cravings Are Telling You About Your Health

Alexis Reid

Picture this, you work hard all day to eat “healthy” choosing vegetables over treats, and then 9 pm hits. The kids are in bed and all you can think about is finishing the tub of ice cream that is in the freezer. Sound familiar?

Many of my patients, especially tired, stressed out moms, mention to me that their intense cravings derail their efforts to make healthy food choices. In today’s blog post I am going help you get control back over your cravings. Cravings get a bad rap, but they actually aren’t a bad thing. They are a sign. They are your body’s way of asking for what it’s not getting, or missing.

Unfortunately, most people do not crave healthy foods like veggies. Cravings are usually for things that we consider to be “treats”; foods that are high in sugar, fat, or salt. The first thing to tease out with regard to cravings is, is it a craving, or are you just bored?

If you are craving a “bad food” but not a specific food, it could be a sign that your blood sugar has crashed. These big swings in blood sugar happen when you do not eat enough protein or fat with your meal and instead pick carb heavy options

Sugar

Sugar is one of the quickest sources of energy for your body. It is the food people tend to crave if they are over tired or feeling sluggish. Sugar cravings often happen mid-afternoon. This usually happens if you had a lunch that was carbohydrate heavy and did not contain enough protein. A good way to ward off mid-afternoon sugar cravings is to have a palmful of nuts/seeds at 1 pm. This helps to stabilize your blood sugar, and energize you through the afternoon. The other time people tend to crave sugar is after dinner. I do not recommend having dessert daily, as this perpetuates the habit of having something sweet after dinner. These post dinner cravings are typically habitual, and are not due to your body chemistry

Chocolate

Cravings for chocolate specifically, not just something sweet, is a classic sign of a magnesium deficiency. Magnesium glycinate is my supplemental form of choice to help replenish your stores

Salt

Salt cravings are typically have 2 causes:

  • Adrenal Stress
  • Electrolyte Imbalance

Adrenal Stress- Your adrenal glands require salt to properly make stress hormone. In our modern life, we ask a lot more from our adrenal glands on a daily basis than has ever been asked before. If you are under a lot of stress, you are requiring your body to make excess adrenal hormones. Your body needs more salt to be able to make these hormones, hence the salt cravings

Electrolyte Imbalance- I see this most frequently with patients who are eating clean and exercising to the point of sweating 3-5x/week.If you are making all of your food at home, and eating clean, you need to add salt to your food. Our daily requirement for sodium is 2000 mg (about ½ tsp). The danger of consuming too much salt happens when people are eating a diet consisting mostly of processed and packaged foods. Another hint that you may need to add more salt to your diet is having low blood pressure, below 100/60 mmHg, or becoming lightheaded when you go from sitting to standing.

Fat

I hope that you are not still following the low fat diet craze of the 90’s. Cravings for fatty foods usually signify that you are not eating enough healthy fats. Healthy fats are critical for hormone production, proper brain function, skin health and much more. Fats to add include: avocado, olive oil, nuts, seeds and salmon

Red Meat

Did you know that cravings for red meat often happen when you are iron deficient? Red meat is a good source of heme iron, the most easy to absorb form, so your body goes seeking it out.  We need to have good iron stores in the body to have energy, and to have healthy, thick hair. If you suspect you may have an iron deficiency, ask your doctor or naturopathic doctor to test your ferritin levels. Ferritin is your stored form of iron, and is the best indicator of your body’s iron status.

So there you have it! Your cravings in a nutshell

What foods do you tend to crave?

As always, if you have any questions or comments feel free to leave them below or send me an email

Thanks Again,

Dr Alexis

Dr Alexis practices in Kanata, and is currently accepting new patients.

Naturopathic medicine is covered by most extended insurance benefits

 

 

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When Acne Hits in Your 20's and 30's

When Acne Hits in Your 20's and 30's

Alexis Reid

I am guessing that you never expected to still have acne in your late 20’s and 30’s? Many of my patients sailed through their teens and early 20’s with perfect skin only to be saddled with what we call “late onset adult acne”. I have a confession to make, I am one of those people. I always had great skin, which is really helpful when you have a skincare line! Then suddenly when I started my practice, my face broke out and didn’t stop for close to 3 years. Why was this happening?!  There I was a “skincare expert” with a face full of acne. I needed this to get fixed, and fast.

 

My research into adult acne over the last 5 years has lead me to a few conclusions about adult onset acne. The most important of which are that it is either

  • Hormone Related
  • Food Related

Allow me to expand, hormones play a critical role in skin health and there are a lot of things working against women from a hormonal perspective in their late 20’s and early 30’s. This is often one of the most stressful times in their lives. They are either working their tails off to establish themselves in their career, having and raising small children, or doing both at the same time. There are often financial struggles that come from paying off student debt while trying to get your first mortgage. The bottom line is this additional stress wreaks havoc on hormones. The stress hormone cortisol rises when we are under stress, it is linked to the fight or flight response. Increased cortisol leads to increased insulin. If you are under chronic stress, then your cortisol is constantly elevated. This means your insulin frequently elevated, which in turn, elevates your testosterone. Testosterone increase acne by increasing oil production on the skin, the acne’s food source.

Acne that is related to increased testosterone tends to develop on the chin and jawline area. Think of the area of a man’s face that is covered by a beard, that is where your testosterone linked acne will be. If it is not bad enough that all this stress is increasing cortisol and increasing testosterone, in your late 20’s and early 30’s your progesterone levels start to naturally decline. When your progesterone levels decline, your estrogen levels “look higher” this also makes your insulin levels spike. Having your hormones starting to work against you makes it all the more important to avoid foods that aggravate acne prone skin.

I also see a number of women who are diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome in their late 20’s and early 30’s. Symptoms of PCOS include: acne, weight gain and hair growth. These are all symptoms of elevated insulin and testosterone. Your acne could be the first sign that you are headed down the path to PCOS. For more about PCOS and how to help reverse it, click here.

 

So how does food play into all of this? Well as I mentioned last week, foods that increase your blood sugar, increase insulin and increase testosterone. But that is not the whole story. When your body has been under stress for many years, this stress causes damage to your digestive system. There is a layer of cells that line your intestines that are supposed to keep proteins within the digestive track. Stress aggravates this layer, leading to it having gaps in it, known as “Leaky Gut”. When your gut is leaky, proteins that are supposed to stay in the digestive track make their way into the bloodstream. These proteins are very inflammatory and can lead to acne.

So What Should You Do

  • Stress Reduction: this does not have to mean yoga and meditation. The best stress reduction is whatever works the best for you. That could be hiring a house cleaner, delegating certain tasks, a night out once a week or exercise. What’s most important is that you implement some strategy to lower your stress
  • Eat the Right Foods: Food is fuel. Don’t give your body garbage
  • Lift Weights: Weight bearing exercise is one of the only ways, besides eating better, to lower your blood sugar. This in turn lowers your insulin and testosterone levels.
  • See a Naturopathic Doctor: I have helped many patients find the ideal eating patterns and exercise for themselves, as well as, prescribing targeted supplements for stress and hormonal balance. I also usually do acupuncture on these patients as it works quite well with helping to regulate hormones.

I hope you found this post helpful. Please share it with your friends and family who may be dealing with adult acne. It can be fixed!

 

Dr Alexis

Dr Alexis practices in Kanata, and is currently accepting new patients

Naturopathic Medicine is covered by most extended insurance benefits

 

 

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What to Drink When You Give Up Coffee

What to Drink When You Give Up Coffee

Alexis Reid1 comment

See, I was telling you the truth. The picture with this blog post is of my weekend morning coffee. As I said in last week’s blog post: Coffee, Friend or Foe, there are 3 groups of people who should not be drinking coffee on a daily basis. Unfortunately, I fall into one of those groups. So why am I posting a picture of my coffee then? I took a 1 month total coffee vacation, and now have 1-2 cups/week on the weekend. I find that my body tolerates it much better, and it does not negatively impact my adrenal glands.

I know many of you are wanting to try reducing your coffee intake so that it becomes something you enjoy drinking, not a crutch to help get you through the day. Depending on how much coffee you are currently consuming, you may experience coffee withdrawal symptoms. Going through coffee withdrawal can happen from drinking as little as one cup/day, if that is what you have been drinking for a significant period of time, say 2-3 years. Withdrawal symptoms typically appear 1-3 days after having your last cup of coffee.

Coffee Withdrawal Symptoms

  • Headache, especially behind they eyes. Magnesium can be helpful 
  • Irritability
  • Constipation
  • Reduced concentration/brain fog
  • Fatigue

Withdrawal symptoms tend to last 2-3 days. I always suggest, to my patients who are at risk of suffering from coffee withdrawals, to stop their coffee drinking habit on a Wednesday, so that they can go through the withdrawal symptoms over the weekend.

As an aside, you should not need to have a coffee to have a bowel movement! This sounds like a great topic to cover in a future blog post!

Eating/drinking foods that your “Liver Loves” can be helpful at reducing the withdrawal symptoms. These foods include

  • Lemon/lemon water
  • Beets
  • Leafy Greens
  • Onions
  • Garlic

It is very important to stay well hydrated after stopping coffee. Aim to drink 8-10 glasses of water or herbal tea/day.

Now on to the fun stuff, my favorite coffee substitutes. There are lots of options out there, but these are the 3 alternatives that I have had the best results with for my patients. They all work a little differently to help fill the void from coffee. You can pick and choose between the 3, or you can incorporate all 3 into your daily routine.

My Top 3 Coffee Alternative

  • Dandy Blend – Dandy Blend is an herbal coffee substitute that is designed to have a coffee taste. It works well for people who really like the taste of coffee and miss it when they give it up. It does not provide the “energy boost” of coffee, however. I find, in order for it to be strong enough to taste like coffee, you need to add 1 TBSP of the powder to 1 cup of water as opposed to the 1 tsp they suggest on the label
  • Matcha Green Tea – A super concentrated form of green tea. 1 serving of matcha is the equivalent of 10 cups of green tea. It is very high in antioxidants, which can help to reduce withdrawal symptoms. Most people do experience a similar energy and concentration boost from matcha as they get from coffee. To make a matcha tea, you add ½ tsp of matcha powder to hot water and stir. Matcha can also be made into a latte. I don’t use a bamboo whisk, you can just use a teaspoon.
  • Nettle Infusion- This is my favorite for energy. It provides steady, sustained energy over the course of the day, and gets great results for my patients. Nettle is good source of iron, calcium, silica and phosphorus, vitamin A and vitamin K. It is helpful for supporting both the adrenal glands, and the thyroid. It is one of my favorite tonics for postpartum moms! An infusion is a strong tea. To make a nettle infusion: add 1 cup of dried nettle to a 1L container, a 1L mason jar works well. Pour boiling water over the nettle and allow it to steep on the counter overnight. In the morning, strain the mixture and you are left with 700-800 ml of nettle infusion that can be drank over 2 days. Nettle is an acquired taste, but it is best not to add any sweeteners to it.

 

In my experience, most people find that either the nettle infusion or match green tea helps replace the energy boost they used to get from coffee, and the dandy blend can provide the comfort/similarity they are used to from coffee

Have you quit coffee? What was your favorite coffee alternative? Please post in the comments below

 Dr Alexis

Dr Alexis practices in Kanata and is currently accepting new patients. To schedule your appointment, click here.

 

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Coffee: Friend, or Foe?

Coffee: Friend, or Foe?

Alexis Reid

The question I get asked most by my patients these days is, “are you going to want me to give up my coffee?” That my friend is a loaded question. It is not one that I can give an easy yes/no answer to, as it is dependent on so many factors. To start things off, I will say that I am not 100% against coffee. I actually quite like coffee myself. What I do find concerning is when people are using coffee as a crutch to get through the day. I recently saw a colleague post that when it comes to coffee it should be 1 coffee and 5 meals, not 5 coffees and 1 meal, which I think is a great way to look at things. Coffee has a number of benefits including: improvements in athletic performance and mental alertness, source of antioxidants, and it also may reduce the risk of colon and liver cancer.

It is true the HOW of how you coffee is a huge factor. One of the most common mistakes I see in my practice is people who have a coffee, and just coffee, for breakfast. This is the WORST way to consume coffee. Coffee spikes blood sugar levels. Spiking blood sugar levels is not what we want to be doing first thing in the morning. If you have been following my blog for any period of time, you should know by now that one of the most important factors for blood sugar control over the course of the day is having protein at breakfast. This protein helps to stabilize blood sugar helps. If you are having only a coffee for breakfast, you are sending your blood sugar soaring. When your blood sugar crashes, in about 2-3 hours, you are going to be left starving, shaky and looking for a carbohydrate and sugar fix.

If you are drinking coffee, I want it to be working for you, not against you. The number 2 most common mistake I see in my practice with people drinking coffee is the time of day they are drinking it. I recommend no more coffee after noon. Why is this? Coffee has a half-life, the time it takes for half of it to get out of your system, of 12 hours. That coffee you drank at noon can still be effecting you and your mental alertness at midnight. I have had numerous patients resolve or greatly improve their insomnia by not drinking coffee past noon. If you want to make sure that coffee is not a factor in with your sleep problems, stop the coffee at 9 am.

For most people, 1-2 cups of coffee is ok to consume, with protein, and before noon. By 1-2 cups, I mean 1-2, 250 ml servings, not a Venti from your favorite coffee shop. I am also not including those mocalicious caramel Frappuccino’s. That is a milkshake, not a coffee. There are 3 groups of people who do not suggest consuming coffee on a daily basis 1) Anyone with hormonal problems (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, Irregular Periods, Infertility) 2) Highly Stressed/Overworked People (Mom’s I am looking at you!) 3) Women with Low Iron/Anemia

Coffee and Polycyclic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) do not mix because it causes a spike in blood sugar, which triggers the release of insulin. Many women with PCOS already have trouble with their insulin control, and coffee makes the problem much worse. If you have irregular periods, this can be a sign of PCOS. When it comes to fertility, the research is still inconclusive with respect to coffee. There have been studies that have shown an increased risk of miscarriage and an increased risk of ovulatory dysfunction. It is best to avoid coffee, if you are having difficulty getting pregnant

Coffee acts as a stimulant to the central nervous system and increases cortisol levels (our main stress hormone) to levels similar to those that we experience during an acute stress event. In other words, coffee makes your body think you are stressed, being chased by a bear, and makes it release stress hormone. This has a negative impact on someone who is “stressed out”, as your body has to work overtime to keep up with your cortisol needs. The rapid increase in blood sugar caused by coffee is also seen by the body as a stress event, and results in even more cortisol getting released. Cortisol is released from the adrenal glands and over time this can lead to your adrenal glands (the batteries of the body) getting drained. For women with hormonal or adrenal issues, I suggest fully stopping coffee for 1 month, and then re-introducing 1-2 cups/week of coffee. 

Finally, coffee and women with low iron do not mix. Coffee binds to iron and makes it even more difficult for your body to absorb. Iron supplements should not be taken within 2 hours of having a cup of coffee.

That was a lot of info! To recap

HOW to Coffee

  • Drink your coffee with a protein rich breakfast (20-30g)
  • Stop drinking coffee at noon
  • Take a 30 day coffee vacation if you
    1. Have hormonal problems (PCOS, Irregular Periods, Infertility)
    2. Are under a lot of stress
    3. Have low iron

For this week, keep track of your regular coffee habits. In next week’s blog post I will cover “coffee hacks” to make your coffee work overtime for you, as well as, good coffee alternative for those who fit the criteria of needing a 30 day coffee vacation.

How many cups of coffee you drink/day? Post in the comments below.

 

Talk Soon,

Dr Alexis

Dr Alexis practices in Kanata and is accepting new patients. To schedule your appointment, click here.

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Eating Protein at Breakfast is the Key to Increasing Energy and Reducing Belly Fat

Eating Protein at Breakfast is the Key to Increasing Energy and Reducing Belly Fat

Alexis Reid

I know what you are thinking, that sure is a bold title! I don’t usually use such bold titles, but these are the results I see time and time again from my patients when they make this one simple switch.

How many of you don’t eat breakfast? Be honest, and no a cup of coffee doesn’t count as breakfast. Not eating breakfast, and having a cup of coffee is one of the worst ways you can start your day. Why? Because of blood sugar control. Your blood sugar increases significantly after you have a carbohydrate heavy meal. So you see, I am not anti-coffee, but I think you should have your coffee in a way that works for you, not against. What kind of carb heavy meal am I talking about? The typical North American breakfast of either a bagel, cereal, muffin, just a coffee and orange juice, you get the idea. After this type of breakfast, your blood sugar will significantly increase as your body burns through these foods quickly, converting them to sugar and in turn increasing your blood sugar. This helps you to feel full and satisfied for a short period of time (1-2 hours) but then your blood sugar crashes. What happens when it crashes? You feel ravenously hungry, shaky, anxious, irritable, and unable to focus. To make these feelings go away, you reach for the next quick energy source, which is usually a piece of fruit, chocolate bar or another cup of coffee.

This pattern of spiking and crashing your blood sugar all day zaps your energy. My patients are always shocked at how much better their energy gets from simply adding protein to their breakfast. Having protein at breakfast, regardless of how much carbs and sugar you have for the rest of the day, is the best way to help stabilize your blood sugar all day long.

Another undesired effect of big fluctuations in your blood sugar is that it causes the body to release more insulin deal with the excess sugar. Over time, this could cause insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is associated with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome and Diabetes. When your body has to release excess insulin, it also releases excess cortisol, our main stress hormone. Cortisol is the main hormone responsible for fat gain in the abdominal region. If you are the type of person who tends to gain weight in your stomach first, you should definitely take a look at your blood sugar patterns over the day and add more protein in the morning.

Ok so now you know why you should be eating protein in the morning

  • Reduces cravings for sugar and carbohydrates all day
  • Reduces irritability and shakiness
  • Helps combat brain fog and anxiety
  • You will be less HANGRY
  • Helps reduce insulin, which lowers your risk of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome and Diabetes
  • Helps to lower your stress hormone cortisol, reducing abdominal weight gain

Now here is how to make that happen!

Good sources of protein for breakfast

  • Smoothie- Containing berries, avocado and a non-dairy milk with a scoop of non-whey, non-soy protein. Ones I like (no affiliation) pumpkin seed protein, Iron Vegan Athlete’s Blend, Sun Warrior, Pea Protein and Manitoba Harvest Hemp Protein
  • Chia Seed Pudding- Chia seed pudding is a great breakfast as it is high in good fats and fibre. You can increase its protein content by adding, nuts, pumpkin seeds or hemp seeds
  • Eggs- Eggs got a bad rap in the 90’s but newer guidelines state that for most people it is ok to consume up to 2 eggs/day. Eggs are a great source of protein and fat. You can have eggs on their own or in a veggie scramble, with avocado or smoked salmon. The options are endless here
  • Meat- Save a piece of chicken or beef from the night before and have in a morning, as a quick and easy source of protein
  • Homemade Granola- Great for breakfast on the run. You can mix together nuts and seed and even throw in some chocolate chips
  • Power Balls- Made from nut butters, seeds and cocoa powder, these are easy, convenient and designed to keep you full until lunch

Here are some of my favorite websites for healthy breakfast ideas

Against All Grain

Elena’s Pantry

I advise my patients to aim for 20-25 grams of protein at breakfast.

You may be wondering why I have emphasized “non-dairy” milks and protein powders. New research has shown that even dairy that contains a lot of protein, for example Greek yogurt, causes a large spike in blood sugar, which then increases insulin and cortisol. It is best to avoid and/or reduce dairy. For more on dairy, check out my blog post “Is Dairy Really The Devil”

Does this sound like an easy switch you can make to your daily routine?

 Protein at breakfast has been one of the major keys to increased energy, feeling less stressed and of course weight loss for my patients.

 

Talk Soon,

Dr Alexis

Dr Alexis practices in Kanata and is currently accepting new patients. To schedule your appointment, click here.

 

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Do You Get HANGRY?!

Do You Get HANGRY?!

Alexis Reid

 

Do you or someone you love get Hangry? Maybe you are wondering what hangry is? Hangry is when you get angry when you are hungry. This can be a sign of unstable blood sugar. When you are hungry, your blood sugar is low. Low blood sugar can trigger a whole host of symptoms including:

  • Mood Swings (aka Hangry)
  • Shakiness
  • Anxiety
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Sweating
  • Rapid Heart Beat
  • Headache

Some people find themselves having these symptoms and feeling very hungry multiple times a day. This can be a sign of unstable blood sugar. Blood sugars being unstable is something that is more common around the holidays, as people are eating more sugar and may go longer periods of time between meals due to busyness.

My favorite trick that I use with my patients to help stabilize their blood sugar is to have a protein rich breakfast. Having protein in the morning, helps to set the blueprint for good blood sugar control all day long. What consists of a protein rich breakfast?

Favorite Protein Rich Breakfasts

  • Chia Seed Pudding
  • Smoothie with non-whey and non-soy protein powder
  • Eggs
  • Meat and Veggies

This time of the year it can be hard to reduce your sugar intake. One of my favorite things to do before going to a holiday party or dinner is to have a protein and fat rich snack like a handful of nuts to help reduce sugar cravings. If you are going to be eating a lot of sugar, it is best to eat it along with some protein to slow down the raise in blood sugar which should help prevent against blood sugar crashes Another way to reduce the impact of sugar, it is to eat your sugar not drink it! Drinking pop, juice and sugary alcoholic beverages causes a fast spike in your blood sugar, and should be avoided.

Do you find you crave sugar more this time of year? Do you have any of the symptoms of unstable blood sugar? Post in the comments below.

Happy Holidays!

Dr Alexis

 

Dr Alexis practices in Kanata and is accepting new patients. To schedule your appointment, click here. 

 

 

 

 

 

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Why Your Chocolate Cravings Are Out of Control

Why Your Chocolate Cravings Are Out of Control

Alexis Reid

This is a difficult time of the year for someone who craves chocolate! It’s everywhere! Do you find that you crave more chocolate in the winter or near Christmas? In today’s blog post I am going to go over the reasons why you are craving chocolate. Once we get your cravings under control, it will be much easier to actually enjoy the chocolate you eat, instead of feeling as though you need it and scarfing it down.

For starters, no you are not suffering from a chocolate deficiency, those don’t exist!

Top 5 Reasons Your Chocolate Cravings are Out of Control

  • Magnesium Deficiency- Magnesium is involved in over 300 reactions in the body and is one of the most common deficiencies I see in my practice. Why are we magnesium deficient? Our soils have become depleted so our fruits and vegetables have less magnesium than they used to. Also, if your gut flora is disrupted (most people’s is) your ability to absorb magnesium is greatly reduced. Chocolate is a good source of magnesium, and it also helps the brain to release dopamine, the neurotransmitter in the brain that is increased in addiction.
  • Blood Sugar Fluctuations- When your blood sugar is unstable, going from high to low to high again, your body craves easily accessible energy. When blood sugar crashes we instinctively reach for food that will raise our blood sugar quickly, and chocolate fits the bill.
  • Lack of Protein- Not eating enough protein can also make blood sugar unstable. Protein and fats helps to keep you feeling full longer and help to reduce cravings for simple sugars like chocolate.
  • Stress- Chocolate stimulates the release of our feel good hormone dopamine. When we are under stress not much dopamine is being released. We evolutionarily want to be able to make ourselves feel better so this will often lead people to reach for chocolate for that dopamine spike.
  • Eating Too Much Processed Food- In Chinese Medicine, cravings for chocolate are related to the spleen, the organ of digestion. Eating processed/unhealthy fat laden foods puts extra strain on the digestive system leading to chocolate cravings.

How to Calm Chocolate Cravings

  • Supplement with Magnesium- Magnesium Glycinate is the best option for supplementation. It is easily absorbable, and does not cause loose stools to the same degree as Magnesium Citrate. Magnesium also helps to reduce muscle tension, anxiety, insomnia and PMS. Most people can benefit from supplementing between 200-600 mg/day.
  • Go No Longer Than 5 Hours Between Meals- When we go long periods of time between meals and snacks, blood sugar drops and makes us crave foods that are quick fuel sources. Chocolate fits the bill.
  • Eat Protein and Fat- Both protein and fat help to stabilize blood sugar and keep you feeling full. Every meal and snack should contain protein and fat.
  • Cinnamon- Cinnamon helps to stabilize your blood sugar, preventing those blood sugar crashes that result in sugar cravings. You can add cinnamon to hot drinks, smoothies and oatmeal.
  • Eat Dark Chocolate- It seems counter intuitive to reduce chocolate cravings by eating chocolate, but dark chocolate, at least 70% cocoa, is a good source of magnesium and can help to take the edge off of chocolate cravings. Have the dark chocolate with some protein and fat, such as nuts.

What foods do you crave? Post in the comments below

I hope you found some good tricks to help manage your chocolate cravings over the holiday season.

Talk Soon,

Dr Alexis

 

Dr Alexis practices in Kanata and is accepting new patients. To schedule your appointment, click here.

 

 

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Resources to Help You Thrive During Postpartum

Resources to Help You Thrive During Postpartum

Alexis Reid

Being a new parent is very overwhelming! There is so much that people do not tell you/you are not prepared for. While most moms feel very happy and joyful the first few days, these feeling often change into overwhelm, anxiety and sadness. A big part of the emotional shift is due to the rapidly changing levels of hormones that occur in the first 6 weeks postpartum.

Another reason that many new moms are suffering, often in silence, is lack of family and community support in our modern culture. In generations gone by, it was common place for the new mom’s mother, aunts and sisters to live close by and be available to help look after and support the new mom on the roller coaster ride of parenthood. The role of the other women was to take care of the new mom and the day to day workings of the house (laundry, cooking, grocery shopping) so that mom and baby can learn baby’s cues and bond. Today it is common for new parents to come home with little to no help or support and find themselves having to do all of the regular day to day household chores, while mom tries to recover and bond with baby. To make matter worse, dad or mom’s partner, usually doesn’t get much time off before they have to go back to work, leaving mom home to understandable get overwhelmed and anxious.

Today I want to cover ways to break this cycle and how to set new moms up to thrive by providing them with the resources that they need

  • Postpartum Doula- Many people have heard of a birth doula, but many do not know what a postpartum doula has to offer. A postpartum doula is trained to understand what new babies and new moms truly need. They provide emotional support for mom, can help with chores around the house, are experienced at soothing babies, breast and bottle support and can help reassure mom and dad about newborn behaviors. Having a doula can help to reduce anxiety for mom and help her to get more sleep.
  • Lactation Consultant- Yes, breastfeeding is natural, but that doesn’t mean it is easy! It is a different experience for every mom and baby duo and many moms experience difficulties with their second baby even if things were smooth sailing with the first. It is important to see a qualified lactation consultant to get assessed if you are having pain or difficulty with breastfeeding. Causes of pain/difficulty include a tongue or lip tie, improper/inefficient latch and candida.
  • Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy- Many women will experience pain, urinary incontinence or organ prolapse after giving birth. A common misconception is that if a woman had a caesarean section that her pelvic floor should be in tip top shape. Adhesions from the birth can cause problems for the pelvic floor. All women should be assessed at 6-8 weeks postpartum and receive appropriate treatment. A pelvic floor physiotherapist can also assess for diastasis recti and can help to rehab these muscles.
  • Massage- Massage can help speed postpartum recovery. It is a good way to help reduce anxiety, stress, swelling, and pain from sitting in awkward positions feeding and carrying baby. Studies have shown it can help with hormone regulation resulting in better success with breastfeeding and better sleep. Most massage therapists who focus on postpartum are totally ok with baby coming along for the visit. A postpartum massage definitely makes a great gift for a new mom.
  • Meal Preparation- Being a new parent is exhausting. Having proper nutrition can help reduce mom’s stress levels, help with breast milk production, and facilitate better sleep and energy. Preparing healthy, easy to digest meals before baby is born is one simple way to ease the load once baby arrives.
  • Naturopathic Doctor- A Naturopathic Doctor can help the new mom for problems with their thyroid, nutrient deficiencies, anxiety, stress and helping the body to recover. Your ND can run lab tests to check on thyroid, iron and B12 to name a few. They are a great resource for which nutrients and herbs you should be taking to optimize your recovery and will make sure anything you are taking is safe while breastfeeding.  

List of Resources for New Parents both global and Local (I am located in Ottawa)

Postpartum Doulas- Dona, National Capital Doulas, Bell’s Babies, Ottawa Bliss Doula, Ottawa Postpartum Doulas, Ottawa Family Doula

Lactation Consultants- Newman Breastfeeding Clinic, City of Ottawa Breastfeeding Supports, Ottawa Valley Lactation Consultants, Milkface, Mothercraft, Robin’s Nest Family Care

Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy- Core Connections, Lisa Flanders, Andrea Plitz, Pelvienne Wellness

Massage- Anna Belanger and Associates, Kneaded Touch

Meal Preparation- Healthy Freezer Meals, Slow Cooker Freezer Meals, Supperworks

Naturopathic Doctors-  Dr Alexis Reid,  Canadian Association of Naturopathic Doctors, Ontario Association of Naturopathic Doctors 

 

I hope you found this blog to be helpful for feeling your best postpartum!

What did you find the most helpful for recovering after baby?

 

Talk Soon,

Dr. Alexis

Dr Alexis practices in Kanata and is accepting new patients. To schedule your appointment, click here.

Naturopathic Medicine is covered by most extended insurance benefits. 

 

               

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How to Detox in 5 Min Without Leaving Your Bathroom

How to Detox in 5 Min Without Leaving Your Bathroom

Alexis Reid

 

 

So far we have covered why we should detox, the top ways we are exposed to toxins that we aren’t aware of, and which food help versus hurt our detox potential, it’s time to talk about how we can help our skin to achieve its maximum detox potential.

Your skin is the largest organ in your body. It is a semi-permeable membrane meaning while some substances are stopped from going in, not everything is. This is the main reason it is so important to be mindful of what we put on our skin, as most of it gets absorbed and reaches the blood stream.

The skin also provides a large potential for detoxification, via sweating. Exercise is a critical component of detox as it allows us to sweat out and liberate toxins. In order for your skin to work as an efficient detox organ, the pores must be nice and open. In today’s blog I will cover two simple changes to make to your daily routine that will significantly increase your skin’s detox potential

  • Dry Skin Brushing- Takes only five minutes to do and has many health benefits including:
    1. Exfoliates Dead Skin- The friction of the dry skin brush helps to remove dead skin which unclogs pores allowing toxins that are trapped below the surface to be eliminated
    2. Stimulates the Lymph System- The pattern used for dry skin brushing helps encourage lymph back to the heart where it can be collected
    3. Reduces Cellulite- Dry skin brushing helps to stimulate cells, remove collection of fluid and increase collagen.
    4. Stress Relief- Similar to massage, touch from dry skin brushing can help to lower our stress hormone cortisol.
  • Epsom Salt Baths- Epsom salts are composed of magnesium sulphate. The sulphate component is used by the liver in to help make toxins more water soluble for excretion. Magnesium has a calming effect on the body and reduces the stress hormone cortisol.

Now that you know why you should do Dry Skin Brushing and Epsom Salt Baths here is how to do them!

Dry Skin Brushing How To’s

  • Use a natural bristle brush with a long handle
  • Remove clothing and stand in shower stall or bathtub
  • Do not wet skin
  • Start at the bottom of your feet and move in long sweeping gentle motions towards your heart
  • Brush each area several times, more lightly over sensitive areas
  • Once you have finished, shower or bathe as usual

Epsom Salt Bath How To’s

  • Add 2 cups of Epsom Salt to warm bath water
  • Stir with your hand to allow salts to absorb
  • Soak for at least 15 minutes for maximum benefit

I hope you find this little routine change easy to implement!

If you want to learn more ways to detox simply when you have small children join me Sept 8th for my FREE WEBINAR. Reserve your spot, as space is limited.

 Talk Soon,

Dr Alexis practices in Carleton Place at Healthy Impact Naturopathic 

 

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How to Detox Step 2: Foods to Include and Foods to Eliminate

How to Detox Step 2: Foods to Include and Foods to Eliminate

Alexis Reid

foods for detoxifying

Now that you are well on your way to leaning about why we should detox, and the top ways we are exposed to toxins that we don’t even know about, it’s time to talk about food! Food is a critical element in any detox. What you are putting into your system can either benefit or hinder your progress. I am sure many of you are already making a list of foods that will be off limits during a detox, but may not be thinking as much about those superstar foods that will help you get maximum benefit for your effort! Let’s get the tough part out of the way and go over the foods that you will need to avoid during your detox.

Foods to Avoid During Detox

  • Wheat- pasta, bread, cereal, baked goods made with white flour and white sugar, whole wheat products
  • Diary- milk, cheese, yogurt, cream
  • Sugar/Artificial Sugar- all processed sugars
  • Processed Foods- most contain processed sugars and additives
  • Alcohol- makes the liver have to work harder
  • Caffeine- taxing on liver during detox
  • Red Meat- very inflammatory, produces toxic waste products

 

Foods to Include During Detox

  • Garlic- Sulphur in garlic helps the liver in phase 2 detoxification, which helps make toxins water soluble so that they can be excreted
  • Brussel Sprouts- Also high in sulphur, Brussel sprouts are a member of the cruciferous family of vegetables including broccoli, cauliflower, bok choy, cabbage and kale. Cruciferous vegetables help to detoxify excess harmful estrogen.
  • Dandelion- Yes you heard me right J Dandelion either in a salad or in a tea form. Dandelion helps to increase bile formation and acts as a mild diuretic.
  • Spinach- Contains a high amount of glutathione, our most abundant anti-oxidant. Glutathione neutralizes free radicals and helps with the metabolism of carbohydrates and fat
  • Beets- Contain betalains which stimulate the production of glutathione and provide anti-cancer effects.

 

Last but not least is water. Drinking plenty of fresh water helps any toxins that are being liberated to be eliminated via urine and stool.

Are you feeling motivated to start a detox?

In my next blog post I will cover physical techniques you can do at home to increase your detoxifying potential!

Want to learn simple ways to detox when you have small children? Join me September 8th for my FREE Webinar. Reserve your spot, as space is limited. 

Talk Soon,

Dr Alexis

Dr Alexis practices in Carleton Place at Healthy Impact Naturopathic 

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