But do you want to know who I think the real authority is? I'm sure you've already guessed ; )
You are the actual authority on your health, your condition, your life. I can tell you what the latest research or best course of treatment is for your condition until I am BLUE IN THE FACE, but I don't have power over you, I don't have the right to give you orders on what to do with your time or your diet or your lifestyle. Only you do.
My job then? My job is to provide my knowledge about the condition, which yes may include the best known research for treatment, and to provide you a strategy we can deploy to get you feeling well, but I have no real power.
It's always been yours.
I am just your guide, your cheerleader and your greatest advocate.
You are the power; you have the power.
This isn't a post about exercise, but about support.
The last few days I have been in excruciating pain. And that's saying a lot since I think I have a pretty high pain tolerance.
Pain to the point of keeping me up at night and not being able to do regular daily activities.
For those that deal with chronic, daily pain, I can not even imagine.
So here's what happened.
I did a strength training workout late last week, with these nice, fairly heavy 15 lb weights. We're talking, overhead presses, you name it.
It was tough, but nothing I hadn't done before or knew that I couldn't handle.
Until Sunday came around.
Either the combination of how I slept, my cleaning frenzy or god knows what, but my arm became almost numb, achy and extremely painful and unusable.
Now being educated as I am, I knew it was likely my previous workout had landed me in "pinched nerve" territory and I needed to stretch asap, get some heat on it and rest it the remainder of the day.
But then night came and none of my tricks had worked, and who wants to guess where my head went?
"Oh my god I'm having some kind of cardiovascular event!"
"What if I have to call 911, who will come be with me kids?"
"What will happen if I end up in the hospital?"
And so on and so forth, as only the 2 am, lack of sleep brain can.
Morning came, I was still in pain, my mind was still going to worst case scenarios and my first calls of the day were to my husband, my mom and my chiropractor.
No it wasn't 911, it was to my support network. My husband to let him know what was going on, for advice on what to do next and just general emotional support.
My mom because she is also my emotional support, but also my back up when I need someone to take care of my kids.
And my chiropractor. Why are they part of my support network? Because I knew, despite my overthinking brain, that what I really needed was physical support, not an ECG. (If you didn't know that arm pain can be a sign of early cardiovascular events in women, this is your PSA.)
Today, things are already feeling so much better! I am thankful for my own knowledge of how the body functions and what can go wrong, as well as the support network I was able to lean into to get back on track.
If you are struggling with any aspect of your health and feel as though a better support network is in order, then please reach out, there are different options for finding that support.
Booking a 15 minute meet and greet with me over at vibrantclinic.janeapp.com is a great place to start or clicking on the link below to find out about the upcoming women's community health program - The Braided Table - where the focus is on knowledge and support!
Don't suffer alone, you don't have to.
When I started my clinician practice 8 years ago, community programming wasn't anywhere on my radar. All I wanted to do was see patients one on one, educate them, provide them with guidelines on how to get better, and do it all over again with another patient.
What was becoming apparent over the years however, was the fact that I spent a lot of time on what I considered foundational pieces with patients, before we could really dive into the nitty gritty of what was making them feel ill.
A classic example was women coming in looking for support for their hormones. When I would start to ask more detailed questions about their menstrual cycles (which helps me get to the nitty gritty ; ), many times it wasn't stuff they could answer, because they didn't know the importance of tracking those pieces. So then we'd spend some time with me educating them, sending them out with homework (tracking their cycle), and them feeling like we didn't get to the bottom of what they were there for. Not the best use of our one on one visit!
On the flip side of that is the financial investment they make to work with me one on one, to only get a reminder on high school biology with a little naturopathic spin to it! Not a great use of their financial investment!
Hence the need for a more cost effective, time efficient, knowledge driven, way to get started.
Enter The Braided Table.
The Braided Table is the culmination of working with patients for 8 years in a one on one setting and learning from them the foundational pieces that I find necessary to move forward with a health care journey.
It is an 8 module course that takes the participants through these foundations in a cost effective, time efficient, knowledge driven way. Plus the access to the knowledge, insight and support of the other women engaging in the program.
Every woman should have access to this knowledge because I think its the key to opening up the potential for them to amplify their life.
Want to learn more? Check out the link below!
So what exactly does Naturopathic Fertility Care mean?
It means that no matter the reason for coming in, maybe its difficulty achieving a pregnancy, or perhaps you have had miscarriage after miscarriage; you will be heard.
Your questions will be answered.
You will have a clear plan moving forward.
In the above example, perhaps you are having difficulty getting pregnant so you come in for your initial visit.
After your initial visit, we are quite clear that your cycles are irregular based on tracking and understanding the phases. With this knowledge we are then better able to tell that you are not actually ovulating during many cycles.
This would lead us to more investigation as to why you are not ovulating. A working diagnosis could be made (or another practitioner could help us with the investigation) of polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), which has a high incidence of anovulatory cycles.
We can then work on establishing what could be exacerbating your PCOS, such as stress, which can wreck havoc on our blood sugar response.
As you can see it is not just one area that we will focus on. In the example we could replace "stress" with "poor diet", or any other factor that could be leading to negative or positive outcomes.
It is a whole person approach.
One of the strengths of Naturopathic Medicine is the time that practitioners have with their patients to really dig deep into all the facets of health to help the patient get the results they desire.
If you are experiencing difficulties, even if you are currently working with a specialist, the evidence is there that Naturopathic Medicine can improve your chances of conception and maintaining a pregnancy.
Give yourself the time, the space and the support you need to build the family you've always dreamed off.
Help is here.
My name is Dr. Richelle Galay, and I am the owner of Vibrant Naturopathic Clinic. I wanted to jump back into the blogging sphere, re-introduce myself, and give you some insight on what's happening over at the clinic.
Vibrant Naturopathic Clinic is located in Moose Jaw, Sk, and has been running since 2016, and I have been in clinical practice since 2014. I love what I do and blessed to offer my services to the community and surrounding area.
My clinical focus, and where my passion lies, is working with women who feel as though they have been dismissed about what they are experiencing. I want to help them feel empowered to take care of themselves and in turn their families. The empowerment piece comes from allowing them to feel heard, helping them understand what is going on, and reminding them they are powerful as they are.
I help women do this by either working with them 1:1 in my clinical practice, or with my new and exciting Women's Community Health Program! This is a great starting point for anyone who isn't sure they are ready for the commitment that comes with 1:1 consults or is just looking to get started in the naturopathic realm.
If you want to know more about the upcoming program head over the the Community tab on the website or simply click the button below to get on the list.
Thanks for being here and I look forward to hanging out more.
If you often feel hungry, you are not alone!
There are many reasons to feel hungry. Of course, the most obvious one is that you are actually physically hungry. Perhaps your stomach is empty, your blood sugar has dropped, and your hunger hormones are having a party.
But other times, the hunger may not be physical hunger. It may be a craving or an emotional trigger. These are common reasons why some people eat too much. It could be brought on by a certain type of diet, stress, or other things going on in life.
It’s easy to mistake “psychological” hunger for “physical” hunger.
We're going to talk about the difference between both of these types of hunger, and give you some tips how to figure out which is which.
And, of course, we will give you a very filling recipe too!
Physical hunger vs. psychological hunger
Your "physical" hunger is regulated by the body through your hunger hormones. And of course, it should be. You don't want to be completely drained of fuel and nutrients for a long time. So, you're programmed to seek food when your body physically needs it. Some of those physical needs are that your stomach is empty or your blood sugar has dropped.
"Psychological" or "emotional" hunger is eating to overcome boredom, sadness, stress, etc. It's based on a thought or feeling. It's what happens when you see a great food commercial or smell a bakery. It's not from your empty stomach or low blood sugar.
So, here’s how to tell which is which.
Eight steps to figure out if you’re physically hungry or not
1 - The first thing you need to do is stop to evaluate. Scarfing down that protein bar at the first sign of hunger isn’t necessarily going to help you.
2 - Now that you’ve stopped. Pay attention to where this hunger is coming from. Can you actually feel or hear your stomach growling? Did you skip a meal, and haven’t eaten in hours? Or are you seeing and smelling something divinely delicious? Perhaps you’re bored, sad, or stressed? Take a peek into all these areas and really pay attention.
3 - Have a big glass of water. Now observe your hunger feeling for at least a minute. Really dig into the source of the feeling. It can be easy to jump to a conclusion, but that may or may not be the right one. So listen to your body and mind very deeply.
4 - If you do find that your feelings may be the source, then face them. Acknowledge and observe them. They may just be needing comfort and recognition, even if they sound like they need food. Try deep breathing, having a stretch, or going for a quick walk to release some of these emotions; this also gives your mind a chance to focus on something other than the feeling of hunger.
5 - If you’re pretty sure that your body physically needs nutrition, just wait a few more minutes to make sure.
6 - Now you can be fairly sure whether your hunger was from emotions, boredom, thirst, or actual physical hunger.
7 - If it's physical hunger, feel free to eat healthy and nutritious food. To fill you up the food you eat should be high in protein, fibre, and water. Eat slowly and mindfully. Chew well and savour every bite of it.
8 - Rinse and repeat at the next sign of hunger.
The feeling of hunger can manifest for many reasons. Of course, if you’re physically hungry and need the food and nutrients, then this is what it’s for!
But often, there is an underlying psychological or emotional reason you might feel hungry.
Now you know our eight steps to figure out if your physical body is hungry, or if you’re bored, sad, or stressed.
Use this process over and over again to feed your body what it actually physically needs (and not overdo it).
Recipe (Filling): Slow-Cooker Roast Beef and Potatoes
2 onions, sliced (do this and go to step 1 before preparing the rest of the ingredients)
4 lb beef roast
1 lb potatoes, peeled & chopped
1 lb carrots, peeled & sliced
2 celery sticks, sliced
2 dashes dried thyme or sage or parsley
2 cloves garlic crushed
2 dashes salt & pepper
Place a layer of sliced onion at the bottom of the slow cooker. Put the lid on and turn up to high; this will start caramelizing the onions while you wash and slice the rest of the ingredients.
When all ingredients are ready, take off slow cooker lid and add meat and the prepared vegetables, garlic, herbs, and spices.
Cook on high for 3 - 5 hrs, or on low for 6 - 8hrs, or until done.
Serve & enjoy!
Tip: You can substitute different vegetables if you like. For example, you can use sweet potatoes in place of the regular potatoes; or parsnips instead of carrots.
Yes, there are lots of different kinds of salt: pink, iodized, kosher, sea, etc. They come from salt mines in the ground, or from evaporating the water out of salt water. What they all have in common is that infamous mineral that we're going to talk about below: sodium.
In food, salt is used for both flavour, and as a preservative. Salt helps to preserve food by drawing out the water that bacteria and mold need to grow. Hence, preserving the food from spoiling as quickly.
Would you be surprised to know that 75% of our salt intake comes not from the salt shaker? It comes from processed foods. Snacks like chips, pretzels and salted nuts are included here. But so are canned foods, pickled foods, boxed foods, deli meats, restaurant food, and fast food.
Salt vs. Sodium
Salt is actually "sodium chloride." It's about 40% sodium and 60% chloride; this means that one teaspoon of salt (5,000 mg) contains about 2,000 mg of sodium.
Sodium itself is not that bad! In fact, it’s an essential mineral and an important electrolyte in the body. It helps with fluid balance, and proper nerve and muscle function.
Too much sodium though is not great! Regularly getting too much sodium can increase your risk of high blood pressure, stroke, heart attack, stomach cancer, and kidney stones.
That one teaspoon with about 2,000 mg of sodium is pretty much your entire day’s worth of sodium. People who eat a lot of pre-made, packaged foods tend to eat way too much sodium. In fact, 90% of American adults consume more than 2,300 mg per day. The average intake is closer to 3,400 mg of sodium per day!
If you're at high risk for those conditions, then you probably shouldn't have more than just 1,500 mg of sodium each day.
Sodium and high blood pressure
How does salt increase blood pressure? And what does that have to do with it making you thirsty?
Well, there actually is something called "salt-sensitive high blood pressure." Here's how it works:
The salt you eat gets absorbed quickly and goes into the blood.
Your body recognizes that the blood is too salty, so more water is added to the blood to dilute it (i.e. with thirst signals to make you drink more fluid). More water in the blood means more fluid your heart needs to pump and more fluid pushing against the walls of your vessels. It also sends more blood to the kidneys so the sodium can be filtered out into the urine.
This is how too much sodium increases your blood pressure. Increased blood pressure also puts a strain on your kidneys and other sensitive vessels, including critical vessels in your brain and heart.
You can counteract this effect by reducing the amount of salt you eat (from both processed foods and the salt shaker). In fact, limiting salt intake has been shown to slightly reduce blood pressure.
Pro Tip: You can reduce high blood pressure by eating more whole foods, and more mineral-rich plant foods.
If you are healthy and eat mostly whole, unprocessed foods, then you probably don’t need to worry about your salt intake. Feel free to add a bit of salt during cooking or at the table for flavour.
If your doctor has told you to reduce your salt or sodium intake, then you can do this by reducing your intake of processed foods, adding less salt to the food you make, and eating more plant-based foods.
Recipe (Low-Sodium Spice Mix): Italian Spice Mix
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 ½ tbsp dried basil
1 tbsp dried parsley
1 tbsp dried thyme
½ tbsp onion powder
½ tbsp garlic powder
Mix all ingredients and place in a sealed container. Sprinkle where you would normally use salt. This is especially good with Italian-style dishes.
Serve & enjoy!
Tip: Feel free to play around with the ingredients. If you hate oregano, leave it out. If you love garlic, add more.
The ketogenic diet is a very low carb, very high-fat diet.
It has recently gained a lot of popularity in the wellness sphere because of some of its health benefits.
A ketogenic diet has been shown to help some people lose weight (yes, even with high fat). It can also help improve certain health conditions, like epilepsy in children.
Read on for some of the lowdown on how it reprograms your metabolism (for “ketosis”), and whether or not it’s something for you to consider.
What is “ketosis?”
Carbs (sugars & starches) are the preferred fuel for your brain and muscles. They use carbs first, whenever they’re available.
This is why maintaining stable blood sugar can affect your attention, mood, and energy level.
However, when very low amounts of carbs are available for fuel, your body starts making compounds known as “ketones.” These are your body’s “backup fuel.” And your body makes them from fat.
Ketogenic literally means “the generation of ketones.”
After a while being on a diet very low in carbs, your blood level of ketones increases. This is the metabolic state known as "ketosis." It's the same process that your body goes through if you've fasted for 72 hours and depleted your supply of carbs as fuel. That's the trigger for turning fat into ketones.
Pro Tip: “Ketosis” from a ketogenic diet is not the same thing as the dangerous condition known as “ketoacidosis.”
Ketogenic diet for weight loss
With a high fat intake, it may be surprising to know that studies show that a ketogenic diet is effective for weight loss.
But it’s true!
It can also have better results than low-fat diets. At least one study showed that people lost 2.2 times more weight on a ketogenic diet than those on low-fat or calorie-controlled diets.
How is this possible?
Eating all that fat and protein is filling! It helps release satiety hormones that tell us that we're full and satisfied, and we don't need to eat anymore. Many people don't need to count calories or track food intake, as they do with low-fat or calorie-controlled diets.
So, by eating enough fat and protein to go into “ketosis,” you can actually feel fuller and eat less food overall. Of course, this can help with weight loss.
Ketogenic diet for improved health
Some studies show other health benefits of the ketogenic diet.
As you can imagine, having very low levels of carbs can help reduce blood sugar and insulin issues.
One study showed improved blood triglycerides (fat) and cholesterol numbers. Others show lower blood sugar levels, and even up to 75% improvement in insulin sensitivity.
Several studies show reduced seizures in children who follow a ketogenic diet.
Changing your metabolism has widespread health effects. And this can be beneficial for some people.
How to do the ketogenic diet
Not everyone should go on a ketogenic diet. Make sure you speak with a trained healthcare practitioner before you try it. It can have side effects, including the infamous “keto flu.”
The ketogenic diet involves getting 60-75% of your calories from fat, 20-35% from protein, and just 5% from carbs. Many people find it quite restrictive and are unable to stay on it for a long time.
The foods to focus on for a ketogenic diet are meat, fatty fish, eggs, nuts, seeds, healthy oils, avocados, and low-carb vegetables (cucumber, celery, peppers, zucchini, leafy greens, etc.).
The main thing to avoid are foods that are high in carbs. These include sugary foods and desserts, grains, fruit, legumes, starchy vegetables, alcohol and “diet foods.”
And because of the limits on fruit and starchy vegetables, many people on the ketogenic diet need to take supplements. This is because, in addition to their sugar and starch, fruits and starchy veggies are a great source of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. So, if you're cutting those foods out, you still need to give your body those nutrients. And often, it means needing supplements.
The ketogenic diet is very popular these days. It can be helpful for weight loss, and other health conditions.
It’s not for everyone, so make sure you check with a knowledgeable practitioner before you begin.
Recipe (Ketogenic): Layered chocolate peppermint fat bombs
½ cup coconut oil, melted
1 tbsp granulated sweetener (xylitol or monk fruit)
¼ tsp peppermint extract
2 tbsp cocoa powder, unsweetened
Mix the melted coconut oil with the sweetener and peppermint extract.
Pour half the mixture into six cubes of an ice cube tray. This is going to be the white bottom layer. Place the tray in the fridge to harden.
Add the cocoa powder to the remaining mixture and mix. This is going to be the top brown layer. Pour it on top of the white layer which has set in the fridge.
Place the ice cube tray into the fridge until completely hardened.
Serve & enjoy!
Tip: These are (high fat) super-rich desserts. Don’t eat too many if you’re not going full keto.
Multivitamins are exactly what they sound like: multiple vitamins. They're supplements that contain several different vitamins in each one. They can also contain several minerals and other ingredients like amino acids or fatty acids. And because there are multiple ingredients, there are low doses of each ingredient.
In fact, they are the most commonly used supplements in the world!
There are 13 vitamins and at least 16 minerals that are essential to health. You need certain amounts of all of these nutrients for optimal health. In fact, nutrient deficiencies can impact reproduction, growth, and regulation of bodily processes.
Lots of people say that if you follow a "balanced diet," you'll get enough vitamins and minerals. We personally would love to believe it … but it's just not true. Many people are eating way too much processed food that is devoid of nutrition. There's a lot of research that shows many people don't get enough vitamins and minerals. Period.
How do you know which vitamins and minerals are in your multivitamin? Read the label, and don’t be afraid to ask questions! If there are at least three different vitamins and minerals listed, it’s a multivitamin.
Do multivitamins work?
Multivitamins have been studied a lot.
The quality of the multivitamins studied has not been consistent. Some studies consider any supplements with at least three vitamins to be a "multivitamin." Most of the time, the multivitamins studied are ones that are very popular and are available everywhere.
So, what exactly do we know about the health benefits of multivitamins?
Here’s a quick summary of the science:
All in all, multivitamins aren’t magical “health pills.” They’re not guaranteed to improve your mental or physical health, or help you live longer; but, they do have some health benefits.
Are multivitamins safe?
Just about every study that looked to see if multivitamins were health-promoting, also looked at side effects. They have consistently shown that multivitamins are very safe.
Now, we"re not talking about high-dose supplements. High doses of many nutrients can be harmful. But specifically for multivitamins where there are several nutrients included, all of which are in low doses. Those are safe.
Unless you have a knowledgeable practitioner advise otherwise, you want to stick to the dose on the label. That dose should be safe for most people.
However, there are many times when supplements (not just multivitamins) have been tested and found to contain different ingredients than what's on the label; this may be different quantities of vitamins or minerals. Sometimes they contain ingredients that are not supposed to be in them at all (like toxins or prescription medicines).
This is why choosing supplements that are licensed, if applicable (like in Canada), and from reputable companies is so important.
Multivitamins are not a way to optimal health. There is limited evidence that they improve health for most people. But there are some benefits.
Since they contain low doses of many different nutrients, they're also safe (as long as you have a quality product). Of course, taking a multivitamin is not a way to improve a poor diet. We always recommend eating a balanced diet of whole foods. There is plenty of evidence that eating a diet of whole, unprocessed food prevents many diseases.
So try out our superfood salad - It’s like a multivitamin with benefits.
Recipe (Nutrient Dense): Superfood Salad
2 handfuls of greens (e.g. kale, spinach, arugula, etc.)
½ cucumber, chopped
1 avocado, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
1 carrot, grated
2 handfuls grape tomatoes
2 handfuls fresh berries
2 broiled salmon fillets (optional)
¼ cup hemp seeds
3 tbsp cider vinegar
2 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp honey or maple syrup
1 dash salt
2 dashes black pepper
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
Grab two large bowls and put one handful of greens each.
Split all the rest of the fruits and vegetables, placing half in each bowl.
Make the dressing by whisking together the vinegar, mustard, honey/maple syrup, salt, and pepper. Slowly drizzle in olive oil while whisking to emulsify. Pour over salad before serving.
Top with salmon and hemp seeds.
Serve & enjoy!
Tip: You can use grilled shrimp instead of the salmon.
Well...yes, they do really work. The fact is, science shows definite health benefits for people who use mindfulness and meditation.
Before we dive in, let’s just make sure we’re on the same page when we say “mindfulness” and “meditation.”
“Meditation” is the ancient practice of connecting the body and mind to become more self-aware and present. It’s often used to calm the mind, ease stress, and relax the body.
Practicing “mindfulness” is one of the most popular ways to meditate. It’s defined as “paying attention in a particular way, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally.”
Mindfulness meditation is well studied in terms of its health benefits. We're going to talk about a few of them below, and refer to it as “mindfulness” for the rest of the post.
The link between mindfulness and health = stress reduction
Have you heard the staggering statistics on how many doctors' visits are due to stress? Seventy-five to ninety percent!
So, if you ask us, it makes a ton of sense that anything that can reduce stress can reduce health issues too.
Mindfulness reduces inflammation, reduces levels of the stress hormone cortisol, and improves sleep. All of these can have massive effects on your physical and mental health.
We'll briefly go over the research in three main areas: mood, weight, and gut health. But know that the research on the health benefits of mindfulness is branching into many other exciting new areas too.
Mindfulness for mood
The most immediate health benefit of mindfulness is improved mood.
In one study, people who took an 8-week mindfulness program had greater improvement in symptoms according to the “Hamilton Anxiety Scale.” They were compared with people who took a stress management program that did not include mindfulness. It seems that the mindfulness training was key to lowering symptoms.
Other studies show that mindfulness has similar effects as antidepressant medications for some people with mild to moderate symptoms of depression.
While mindfulness isn’t a full-fledged cure, it can certainly help to improve moods.
Mindfulness for weight
Studies show that people who use mind-body practices, including mindfulness, have lower BMIs (Body Mass Indices).
How can this be?
One way mindfulness is linked with lower weight is due to stress-reduction. Mindfulness can reduce stress-related and emotional overeating. It can also help reduce cravings and binge eating.
Another way it can work for weight is due to "mindful eating." Mindful eating is a "non-judgmental awareness of physical and emotional sensations associated with eating." It's the practice of being more aware of food and the eating process. It's listening more deeply to how hungry and full you actually are. It's not allowing yourself to be distracted with other things while you're eating, like what's on TV or your smartphone.
People with higher mindfulness scores also reported smaller serving sizes of energy-dense foods. So it seems that more mindful eating = less junk.
Mindfulness about food and eating can have some great benefits for your weight.
Mindfulness for gut health
Recent studies show a link between stress, stress hormones, and changes in gut microbes (your friendly bacteria and other critters that help your digestion). In theory, mindfulness-based stress reduction could be a way to help prevent negative changes in the gut's microbes.
Also, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) seems to be linked with both stress and problems with gut microbes. In one study, people with IBS who received mindfulness training showed greater reductions in IBS symptoms than the group who received standard medical care.
The research here is just starting to show us the important link between stress, gut health, and how mindfulness can help.
Science is confirming some amazing health benefits of the ancient practice of mindfulness meditation. For moods, weight, gut health, and more.
Do you regularly include it in your life? If so, have you seen benefits? If not, would you consider trying it?
Let us know in the comments below.
Recipe (Relaxing Teas): Relaxing Herbal Teas
There are many relaxing herbal teas that would be great after meditation.
Try any of these by steeping in boiling water:
Serve & enjoy!
Tip: You can add a touch of honey if desired.
BONUS Guided Meditation “Recipes” (videos, apps & podcasts)
How to Meditate video
How to Meditate in One Minute or Less Every Day video
Headspace App (free 10-day trial)
Daily Meditation Podcast
Hay House Meditations Podcast