Category Archives: How?
You probably don’t think about them too much, except maybe which polish colour to choose next? But, you would be surprised what those little keratinized extensions of our fingertips (your fingernails) can tell us about our nutrition, and our health status overall.
Naturopaths often include an examination of a patient’s nails as part of their routine health evaluations. Signs on the nails may be an indication of certain conditions or deficiencies. However, it is not a definitive diagnosis without also looking at many other aspects of an individuals health in order to get the most informed view and create a holistic treatment plan.
What’s considered normal differs in everyone, but generally, fingernails should be clear, smooth, pliable and peachy-pink in colour.
There are numerous conditions that can affect the nails – too many to mention here, but in many cases, it is a nutritional deficiency that may be causing your nails’ odd appearance. However, it may also be that your body is not effectively absorbing nutrients or you may even be low in stomach acid – vital to digestion.
The 5 nail health signs to watch out for
Ever noticed white spots on your nails? While this is most often due to mild trauma (like nicking your nail), it can also indicate a zinc deficiency.
Zinc is found in such foods as oysters, red meat (especially lamb), legumes, nuts, egg yolks, oats, pumpkin seeds, green leafy vegetables, and cocoa or dark chocolate.
Lack of Vitamin C can cause pesky and often painful hangnails. Vitamin C-rich foods are citrus, berries, mango, peppers, tomatoes, cabbage, and leafy greens.
Horizontal lines, ridges and spoons
What about horizontal lines or ridges across your nails? Sometimes called Beau’s lines – these may also be due to a zinc deficiency but could be indicative of low iron or anemia. Nails can be spoon-shaped at the tips with iron deficiency as well.
To pump more iron into your day, try spinach and other dark leafy greens like kale. Also, red meat, liver, egg yolks, beans, shellfish, dried fruit and blackstrap molasses – are all good sources.
It’s a good idea to pair those iron-rich foods with sources of Vitamin C for better absorption.
Example: fresh spinach and strawberry salad, topped with lean chicken for extra protein – also vitally important for healthy looking nails.
Dry, brittle and peeling
Dry, brittle, thin or peeling nails? Could just be dry nails, but possibly a lack of protein, Vitamin D &/or B Vitamins in your diet.
Food sources of Vitamin D are limited as it’s naturally attained by exposing your skin to sunlight, hence being dubbed the Sunshine Vitamin. However, fish, liver and egg yolks are reasonable sources, as well as many fortified Dairy products.
Be sure to incorporate Vitamin B-rich foods into your diet as well, such as whole grains like brown rice and oats, eggs, yogurt, milk and cheese, poultry, lamb, mushrooms, pumpkin, cabbage, broccoli, asparagus, spinach, tomatoes, cauliflower and many types of beans.
No half moons?
Ever noticed the lighter-toned half-moons at the base of your fingernail? Or perhaps you haven’t noticed them because they’re absent!
This is usually due to a Vitamin B12 deficiency and is associated with anemia. Vegetarians often have trouble attaining enough B12 as it’s found primarily in animal foods, so they’re encouraged to sprinkle cheesy-tasting nutritional yeast onto foods – or supplementation may be prudent.
As always, getting your full complement of nutrients is encouraged through whole food sources, but sometimes our diet just isn’t meeting all of our needs and this is where supplementation may be necessary – for all of the reasons we discussed in the article “Nutrient Deficiencies: Why Nearly Everyone Has Them!”
Check your nails weekly for something that may be out of the “norm” for you and inform your health practitioner. Be sure to discuss what nutritional deficiencies, digestion and/or absorption issues may be a contributing factor to the problem.
As we head into the holiday season, we will be faced with many, many opportunities to overindulge, undoubtedly including a few extra cocktails! Because alcohol has become such a big part of our social culture, it naturally trickles in a bit more this time of year.
While taking an extra drink (or two) every now and then is generally ok, there are some truths about alcohol you may not be aware of.
The hard truth: what alcohol really does to your body
First, alcohol is a diuretic (i.e. makes you pee more than usual) and its tendency to dehydrate the body is what gives us the typical hangover symptoms like nausea, headache, extreme thirst, palpitations, sensitivity to light, poor motor skills, achy muscles – just to mention a few.
Let’s travel the path of an alcoholic beverage in the body:
After a drink is ingested, alcohol is rapidly absorbed into the blood (20% through the stomach and 80% through the small intestine), the effects of which are generally felt within only 5 to 10 minutes post-ingestion.
Once in the bloodstream, alcohol makes its way into almost every biological tissue in the body, including all of your organs, because cell membranes are highly permeable. The peak is usually observed in the blood around 30-90 minutes after.
And you thought alcohol only affected the brain and the liver — nope, it’s a full body experience!
Now that you know some of the effects of it, when you do choose to imbibe, we wanted to offer some really practical advice this holiday season – tips that you might actually use!
Holiday Hangover Prevention 101:
First off, we want to urge you to cut yourself some slack when you do overindulge – because you will – you’re only human.
However, indulging in alcohol, like binge drinking on a single occasion as well as drinking multiple days in a row – can have so many far-reaching negative effects on the body, more so than when you just indulge with an extra dessert or go crazy with the spinach dip!
Actionable hangover prevention tips: Mind your A’s, and take your B’s and C’s
Take 500-1000 mg of Vitamin C before you begin consuming alcohol. This will help to lower the acetaldehyde that your liver creates as a by-product to the breakdown of ethanol (pure alcohol).
Acetaldehyde is 10-30 times more toxic than the ethanol itself, and is by far the most damaging, not to mention – aging alcohol toxin.
For more targeted supplemental prevention measures, you could also take NAC (n-acetyl-cysteine), L-glutathione and Vitamin B1 (thiamine) or a B-complex – at least 30 minutes before you have your first drink.
Eat up to slow down.
Eat at least a small meal before you imbibe (or while you’re having some drinks) to slow down the rate of alcohol uptake into your bloodstream. This would preferably be something containing protein and healthy fats.
There’s more than just the “foodie experience” of pairing cheese with wine!
This may also help you to stop mindlessly munching on all of those salty, creamy and fatty holiday foods because drinking a moderate amount of alcohol has been shown to increase our appetites, not reduce it.
Here are the basics of being a smarter sipper:
- drink higher quality liquor
- skip the sugary mixes
- consider watering down your booze
- think about post detox methods to help provide nutrients and rejuvenation to organs
But let’s break that down a little bit more…
1. Your best bets for booze with little to no congeners are:
- gluten-free beer – which is also relatively low alcohol
- good quality craft beer
- organic red wine
- organic white wine
- gluten-free vodka (preferably potato, not corn)
- high-quality gin
- 100% agave tequila
By the way, congeners are considered toxins or impurities that occur in alcoholic beverages due to the distillation or fermentation process.
Examples of congeners in wine are sulphites – the chemical compounds that stop bacterial growth and act as preservatives.
Sounds pretty innocuous, beneficial even – but inside the digestive system, these break down and create sulphur dioxide, which can trigger headaches. In asthmatics, it can even cause breathing problems.
2. Your not-so-great alcoholic beverage options are:
- regular beer
- dark liquors (= lots of congeners + paired with dark, sugary mixes)
- sugary liqueurs
- regular red wine (you would be shocked at the poor quality, fillers & preservatives of most wine!)
- regular white wine or worse – cheap sparkling wine.
3. Get mixed up!
Sparkling water (no sodium), unsweetened pure coconut water, naturally decaffeinated green tea and kombucha (fermented tea) all make good hydrating, low/no-sugar drink bases – so get creative!
Drink more…water. Drink gobs of water before and during your alcohol intake. A good rule of thumb is for every alcoholic drink you consume, drink 2 glasses of water in between. Then, after an evening of drinking, drink another 2 huge glasses of water before bed.
You can also replace 1 glass of water with pure, unsweetened coconut water, which is naturally loaded with potassium + add a pinch of sea salt or pink salt in it.
But why coconut water + salt? Alcohol also depletes our electrolytes so this is a simple, yet effective electrolyte replenishment combo.
Better yet – here’s an incredibly easy recipe to get those electrolytes back in fast!
Mix up the following:
1 packet of ElectroMag Lemon Lime
1 cup of pure, unsweetened coconut water and then add a pinch of pink salt
You’ll want to drink 1 or 2 cups of this mixture in the morning to head off, the after-party electrolyte slide. Another 500-1000 mg of Vitamin C would be a good idea at this time too. Again, it’s about replenishing what’s been lost during alcohol consumption: water, vitamins + minerals, especially electrolytes (Potassium, Magnesium, Calcium, Sodium & Chloride). To choose a magnesium that may help you with the aftermath of a night out visit: magnesium.ca.
There you have it – some surprisingly simple things you can do to “hack your hangover” and indulge mindfully.
Here’s a great additional resource that covers all of the far-reaching effects of alcohol on the body – that may also make you think before you drink:
Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs) developed by the Food and Nutrition Board at the Institute of Medicine of The National Academies, recommend that males and females ages 19-30 take in 400 mg and 310 mg of magnesium a day respectively. Males 31 and older should up their intake to 420 mg a day, and females 31 and older should increase their daily amounts to 320 mg.
The DRI also encourages pregnant or lactating women to boost their magnesium intake even higher and to consult their doctors for suggested amounts.
Sea vegetables (kelp), nuts and seeds, beans, soybeans and some seafood (crab, clams) generally contain higher levels of magnesium compared to other foods. Grains and pseudocereals like quinoa, buckwheat and brown rice will offer you a relatively high amount of magnesium as well. But the real winners when it comes to the most nutrient dense, magnesium-rich foods are fresh vegetables and dark leafy greens like chard, collards, and spinach. Nuts and seeds pack a big punch for their size when it comes to magnesium density too!
True or False: Organic Foods Contain More Magnesium
It is no surprise that choosing to buy organic dark leafy greens and vegetables, can cost you. But if you choose to not purchase organic produce will you pay in a different way? Does buying organic make a difference in terms of mineral (magnesium) content compared to conventionally grown crops?
According to the Environmental Working Group, conventionally grown spinach ranks second when it comes to produce containing pesticide residue.
While some studies conclude that organic food may or may not be more nutritious than conventionally grown, it is safe to say that buying organic can protect you from detrimental pesticides and herbicides that generally act as antagonists when it comes to magnesium absorption and can eventually block mineral absorption and lead to mineral deficiency.
Is Dietary Intake Enough?
Swiss chard contains a whopping 150 mg of magnesium per cup. But does that mean you are covered when it comes to adequate magnesium intake? Not necessarily. Lifestyle, physiological, and agricultural factors all play roles in how dietary magnesium is absorbed. A disappointing reality, but a reality nonetheless!
Let’s Explore Why
Mineral-rich foods are becoming an anomaly these days. High rates of soil erosion account for less magnesium in the soil which results in low mineral content in plant foods including magnesium.
Many fruits and vegetables have lost large amounts of minerals and nutrients in the past 50 years. For example, McCance and Widdowson’s epic compilation, the Composition of Foods, has tracked the nutrient composition of foods since 1940. Between 1940 and 1991, there was an average magnesium decrease of 24% in vegetables and 16% in fruits.
Some foods have seen more drastic declines than others. Carrots have lost 75% of their magnesium content. You would have to eat 4 carrots today to get the same magnesium in 1 carrot from 1940!
And that’s only one reason. The health of our digestive system is also a factor in whether or not we can adequately break down food to get the good stuff. Optimum absorption is key in making sure magnesium actually enters our cells!
Absorption of dietary magnesium isn’t guaranteed, though. Enzymatic function, stomach, and bowel health are key factors in the absorption process. From the beginning of the digestive system (oral cavity) to the very end (the anus), all parts need to be working efficiently (especially the small intestine) for optimum breakdown. Even if our digestive process is working perfectly, mineral content in food likely won’t be high enough to offer our cells optimum protection.
Cooking methods and refined foods can also account for magnesium loss. If we choose to fry that one cup of swiss chard instead of bake or lightly sauté it, we can cheat ourselves out of getting the magnesium we need.
Between mineral-depleted plant foods, compromised digestive systems, and popular denaturing cooking methods, optimizing our magnesium intake via food can become quite a challenge.
Ironically, magnesium needs magnesium to facilitate the absorption process. It’s imperative for helping to synthesize enzymes, repair tissue in our intestinal lining, and contribute to our parasympathetic nervous system health, for starters. In order for these processes to function properly in the first place, we need to have enough magnesium in our bodies to provide energy to get these physiological jobs done and done well.
Self-care can be simply described as the right and responsibility to take care of your physical, emotional and spiritual wellbeing.
Care that is provided for you – by you. It is only when we care for and help ourselves that we’re able to care for and help others more effectively. Women especially tend to struggle with balancing the stress of daily life with activities that bring a sense of peace and wellbeing to both their bodies and minds. By practicing daily self-care, you will not only improve your happiness and sense of self-worth, but you set yourself up to approach the rest of your day with a more positive attitude and increased energy.
Self-care is the necessary act of engaging in something that is supportive and looks after your own needs on a daily basis – whether physical, mental, emotional and/or spiritual. Daily exercise, a hot epsom salt bath, and taking high-quality supplements like CanPrev’s Adrenal-Pro and Synergy B are some simple ways to not only ensure your needs are met, but that will also allow you to feel nurtured.
25 ways to begin a daily self-care practice
Take a 5-minute break, wherever you are. Close the door, close your eyes, breathe deeply and just be. Sometimes, just five minutes of “me time” is all it takes.
- Go outside and just feel the sunshine (or the rain or the snow) on your face. Connecting with nature is such a good way to decompress.
- Move your body – dance, go for a walk, do yoga, skip around your house like a school kid, run on the spot (with leg-warmers on, Flashdance-style) – whatever feels good for your body in that moment.
- Turn your computer and other devices off. Un-plugfor an hour or even for a day to see how it feels. Think you could you survive a whole weekend?
- Read a book – an actual book with pages in it, not on your Kindle or e-reader. Doesn’t matter if it’s the latest romance novel, vampire series or a volume of poetry.
- Pick up the phone and call (rather than text) your best friend or a family member and get some “voice time” in.
- Hug your child, your partner, your best friend or your dog – not your cat though, they’re not really the hugging type.
- Be grateful. Say thank you. And say thank you again…then say it again.
- Write a letter to your younger self and celebrate how much you’ve done and how far you’ve come. Or simply start writing in a journal. Let your mind free-flow, be honest with yourself and see what comes out – and perhaps what you’re able to let go of.
- Own it. Few things are as empowering and powerful as being honest and upfront with yourself…and with others!
- Name three things that you love and accept about yourself at this point in your life. They do not have to be physical attributes.
- Light your favourite candle or burn a stick of incense – make the space you are in welcoming and perhaps sacred, to you. Try meditation or some form of self-contemplation.
- Experiment with different essential oils: lavender, clove, clary sage, bergamot, eucalyptus, citrus blends – the list goes on. Put a few drops in your bath, in your favourite natural beauty products or in a diffuser. Relax and breathe.
- Give yourself an at-home spa day: take a hot bath, shave your legs, paint your toenails, put on a mud (or DIY avocado) mask.
- Brew a mug of herbal tea (maybe a variety you’ve never tried) or treat yourself to your favourite fruit and veggie smoothie. Amuse your senses with different tastes, flavours and textures. Add an extra boost of energy, vitamins and minerals to your smoothie with a scoop of Core Daily Performance Shake.
- Take yourself out to dinner. Try a new restaurant. Dress up…or down!
- Put on your favorite comfy pants and spend an evening watching your guiltiest pleasure show or perhaps just The Notebook again. Yoga pants permitted!
- If a Netflix binge isn’t really your thing, just sit quietly and breathe, really breathe. Ever tried alternate nostril breathing?
- Kiss your partner. Perhaps not while you’re practicing nostril breathing though.
- Go to sleep earlier than usual. Let yourself rest – really rest. There’s truth in the old saying that “every hour of sleep you get before midnight is worth 2 hours after midnight”. [source]
- Get creative – paint, take photographs, scrapbook, cook or bake, rearrange furniture or re-organize the closets!
- Take a mental health day – play hooky from work, rest, recharge and renew.
- Try yoga…but just one pose. Own that asana…om.
- Say “yes” more to yourself, and “no” more to others. Learn to set boundaries with those that are closest to you
- Recognize all the ways you take care of others (even write them down), and that it’s a beautiful and necessary thing to take care of yourself, too.
Self-care is really part of self-love. The two are so intimately connected that they fall into each other, such that when you’re taking care of yourself – you’re showing yourself love.
“Self-care isn’t selfish. It’s mandatory. Fuel your soul so you can give your best to your people. We need all of YOU!” ~ Dr. Sara Gottfried MD, Author of The Hormone Cure
Written by: Krista Goncalves,BSc, CHN, RNC
You might think that stress only affects your nervous system; after all, that’s where you feel it the most. But stress also compromises your immune system, major organs and reproductive organs, too. Here’s a quick summary of how stress makes its way through your body and the damage it can leave behind.
Being under constant stress has an effect on serotonin transmission within the brain, putting you at major risk for developing depression. Living in a constant stressful state also triggers the production of substance P, a neuropeptide in the brain and spinal cord that dilates blood vessels and releases allergic compounds used by body when processing pain and intense stress. Too much substance P can affect your sleep, stress level tolerance, cause fatigue, and bring on skin issues and digestive inflammation.
Hypothyroidism (an underactive thyroid gland) can result when inflammatory cytokines released during the body’s stress response reduces thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) levels and affect the conversion of hormones T4 to T3, which are needed to maintain a healthy, functioning thyroid gland.
If you want to steer clear of heart disease, reducing your stress levels might be a good place to start. Adrenaline and cortisol, two hormones released during the stress response, can cause elevated blood pressure and increased heart rate and lead to a greater chance of developing heart disease down the road.
Stress might sometimes cause butterflies in your stomach but that’s not the only effect it has. Being under constant strain is linked to prolonged and decreased blood flow to the stomach lining, which can result in erosion when exposed to the acidic pH of the stomach. A combination of stress and the emotions that come along with it can disrupt communication signals between the brain and gut and bring on irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), and acid reflux.
Want to guard against type 2 diabetes? Then minimize your exposure to stress. Stress hormones can raise blood sugar levels by making your cells resistant to insulin, which in the long run may increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes and insulin sensitivity. Being stressed also tends to lead to poor food choices, causing you to consume more sugar when you eat refined carbohydrates.
When your cortisol hormone levels are high, progesterone can be prevented from binding to cells, favouring estrogen dominance which then leads to PMS symptoms or even worse, infertility.
Cortisol naturally suppresses the immune system as a protective mechanism. Being under continuous stress may predispose you to infection and make you more susceptible to disease.
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It can sometimes be hard to escape the effects of stress in our everyday lives. In fact, constant stress can turn into distress when one or more systems in the body are agitated for prolonged periods of time. Statistics show that about 43% of all adults claim that stress affects certain aspects of their health. Even naturopaths support the fact that reasons why 75 to 90% of patients visit primary care doctors is because of stress-related reasons.
Stress and chronic fatigue syndrome
Since chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) seems to have no physical cause, its diagnosis is deemed somewhat controversial. But seeing patients over and over again with the same symptoms typical of CFS has convinced many practitioners that it is a real and debilitating condition. New studies on the origin of CFS conclude that those who suffer from it have an imbalance in the HPA-axis, which can affect the cortisol and DHEA hormones in the body. It appears that unusually low concentrations of cortisol first thing in the morning may be connected to a higher incidence of fatigue in those who suffer from CFS, or what naturopaths identify as adrenal fatigue or hypoadrenalism.
Stress and the link to depression
It seems that those who experience stressful situations on a regular basis are at greater risk for developing major depression. Scientists conclude that constant exposure to stressful conditions kills neurons and prevents the process of neurogenesis in the hippocampus, which is usually needed for a healthy stress response. Chronic stress also interrupts serotonin (5-HTP) neurotransmission by significantly reducing both 5-HTP neurotransmission and 5-HT1A autoreceptor sensitivity.
Stress and the connection to high blood pressure
As the body prepares its stress response, it releases adrenaline and cortisol, two hormones responsible for temporarily tightening the vasculature and increasing blood flow to the organs responsible for enforcing the “fight or flight” response. Continuous stress can cause sustained high blood pressure thereby increasing the chances of heart disease, particularly in those who also have high cholesterol levels. In addition, those who are experience stress on a regular basis are more likely fall into negative coping behaviours like smoking and overeating, which can also contribute to heart disease.
Stress and its effects on Irritable Bowel Syndrome
The enteric nervous system is sometimes called the body’s second brain. It’s part of the nervous system that has a special connection to the gastrointestinal system, which is sensitive to emotions like anger, anxiety and panic. These and other strong feelings can trigger pain and cramping symptoms in the gut. It is believed that stress and other emotions can affect the communication signals between the brain and gut and lead to symptoms of IBS.
Stress and infections
Chronic stress causes the body’s adrenal glands to continuously secrete high levels of a stress hormone called cortisol. Cortisol acts as a protective mechanism by subduing the immune system and reducing inflammation by suppressing T-cells and compromising the release of histamine. If a chronic stress pattern is allowed to continue, the immune system may become suppressed and increase a patient’s chances of infection and exposure to disease.
Stress and the association with migraines
Studies show that chronic stress triggers nerve cells to create a pain-producing substance called “substance P”. Substance P is capable of dilating blood vessels and releasing allergic compounds like histamine, which can trigger inflammation, pain and migraine headaches.
The relationship between stress and PMS
In the world of hormones, cortisol and progesterone compete for common receptors, meaning cortisol can interrupt progesterone activity and clear the way for estrogen dominance when one is chronically stressed and exposed to high levels of circulating cortisol. Estrogen dominance is affiliated with typical premenstrual syndrome symptoms, like mood swings, breast tenderness, fatigue, irritability and depression. Estrogen dominance can also affect fertility and reproductive function. We know that chronic stress can impair the release of serotonin, which is thought to be a mood regulator. If serotonin levels fluctuate, PMS symptoms can flare.
The stress/diabetes connection
When the body’s under stress it releases cortisol, which in turn prompts glucose stores to be released into the blood. This creates energy to fuel the muscles for a “fight or flight” response. Stress also raises blood sugar levels and increases cortisol which causes cells to become insulin resistant. The detrimental end result is high blood sugar. Indirectly, stress also causes us to eat poorly, resulting in increased blood sugar levels and a higher chance of developing diabetes.
Stress and thyroid issues
Studies show that chronic adrenal stress compromises the functions of the hypothalamus and pituitary, which are two critical glands used in the production of thyroid hormone. Inflammatory cytokines IL-1 beta, IL-6 and TNF-alpha, released during the body’s stress response, have also been shown to lower the HPA axis and diminish levels of thyroid- stimulating hormone (TSH). TNF has also been shown to interrupt the conversion of T4 to T3, the more active thyroid hormone. Also, inflammatory cytokines released during the stress response have been shown to alter thyroid receptor site sensitivity, especially when extended. This creates a condition similar to insulin resistance as thyroid receptors become insensitive to circulating thyroid hormone despite the fact that hormone levels are normal.
Stress and developing ulcers
When the body’s under stress, its defense mechanisms divert blood away from the digestive system in favour of organs like the muscles and the heart, which are involved in deploying “fight or flight” responses. If stress is allowed to be ongoing, blood flow to the stomach lining can decrease, with the end result being damage and weakness when the sensitive gastric epithelium is exposed to the acidic pH of the stomach. A type of erosion occurs and can contribute to stress-induced gastritis.
There’s no doubt that stress brings on many debilitating conditions. You’ll be hard pressed to think of any other disease where stress doesn’t play a role. Reducing stress levels and learning to manage stress effectively is a major part of practicing preventative medicine. It won’t only help manage current health problems, but may also have long reaching benefits.
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If you own a business where your profit depends on how many clients walk through your door, it can be hard to stay motivated and cheery when your numbers start to slide. No doubt you may feel stressed, overwhelmed or even think, “Why bother?”
Short of hanging a neon sign outside your establishment to attract attention, there are ways to draw clients to your business and keep stress to a minimum. Here are some tips:
Remember what it was like when you first started and how much progress you’ve made to date. All businesses start somewhere and it’s definitely not at the top! Life is a journey and looking in the rear view mirror from time to time can bring perspective. Going over your professional timeline from the start to where you are now can give you valuable insight and might spark new ideas on how to improve.
Get a pen and paper and write down specific but realistic goals and list steps on how you’re going to get there. An informal business plan or even finding words that invoke feelings of how you want your establishment to look and feel are good places to start. List small, doable steps in your planner that you know you can accomplish each day, and when you’ve reached your daily, weekly or monthly goals, reward yourself with something small, yet pleasurable.
Expand Your Contacts
Now might be a good time to reach out to those you have professional things in common with. They may be your peers, or perhaps even your competition who might be experiencing the same frustrations you are. Brainstorm together and exchange ideas on what works or doesn’t work for you. Sometimes sharing your feelings with those in the same professional boat can lay the foundation for a good support network.
Listen to your Inner Voice
Find a quiet place and have an honest conversation with yourself. Do you really like what you’re doing? If not, then take some time to figure out why. Adopt a meditation practice, sweat it out at the gym or get back in touch with nature. Taking a course, reading up on a hobby that could turn into a new career or exploring a new avenue in your current one can be some other options. The best formula for staying motivated is to absolutely love what you do.
Use slow times as opportunities to inject creativity into your business. Instead of focusing on the negative, think of ways to liven up your surroundings, or how to market yourself so you can reach the next level of your five-year plan. Visualize yourself with a booming business, then watch those dreams come true!
Guest contributor: Beth Gorbet is the Executive Director of the Canadian Association of Natural Nutritional Practitioners (CANNP). Beth is a writer, product developer of industry services as well as a presenter.
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It’s good to get sick and challenge our immune systems from time to time.
Unfortunately it sometimes happens that we fall ill during the holidays, keeping us from socializing with family and friends. Here’s a primer on how cold and flu cycles work and how to stay healthy so festive plans don’t fall through!
1. You’re not sick.
Perfect. You feel great…and let’s keep it that way as the weather gets colder and your coworkers around you start sniffling and sneezing.
Stress at work / home / school
• Combat stress response with: ashwagandha, holy basil, Siberian ginseng, linden, rhodiola and licorice root
People around you at work / home / school are sick
• Prevent sickness with: vitamin C, vitamin D, echinacea, astragalus, ashwagandha, American ginseng, holy basil
2. Holding back the flood.
Oh no. Here come the first signs of a sniffle or sore throat that can mark the onset of a cold or flu.
3. The moment you realize you’re sick.
There’s no use in denying it, you feel terrible. Unfortunately it’s time to cancel your holiday party, notify your guests and focus on recovery. Luckily there are ways to shorten the duration of your cold or flu.
Symptoms (these can vary):
• Cold: sneezing, coughing, runny nose, fatigue, sore throat
• Flu: fever, chills, headache, body aches, fatigue, sneezing, coughing, runny nose, sore throat
To help you recover from the cold or flu:
• Stay at home – that’s right, no work and no play. Get lots of rest, meaning actual sleep! Drink lots of liquids (preferably water but you can drink some teas in moderation). Avoid sweets and sugary foods to help prevent bacterial growth while your immune system works hard. Continue to take vitamin C and zinc, and thyme and lungwort for coughs. Andrographis for colds and fever, reishi mushroom to stimulate the immune system, holy basil and feverfew for headache relief.
4. What if you’re not getting better?
A cold or flu that drags on is usually because you’re not getting enough rest, or you return to work or celebrate prematurely while your body is still trying to recover. By not resting, you are placing yourself at risk of exposure to secondary infections like sinusitis, bronchitis or pneumonia while your immune system is busy fighting the original illness.
Symptoms you had earlier may become worse.
• To help recovery: see your doctor or call 911
• To help make a full recovery: take medication as prescribed by your family physician. If you are prescribed antibiotics, consider taking probiotics to help recolonize your gut with the bacterial strains that promote a healthy digestive tract after you’ve completed the course.
Get your rest and drink lots of water!
5. You’re feeling better
Symptoms are starting to fade but beware: nasal congestion and dry coughs can take up to four weeks to fully subside.
Symptoms are starting to go away.
• To help make a full recovery: continue to take zinc and vitamin C. Take it easy by avoiding rigorous activity and exercise. Steer clear of others who are sick . Try goldenseal for sinusitis and fennel for mucous relief.
Go enjoy the holidays!
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The holidays are a busy time for patients and practitioners alike, and many will be flying, driving across borders and travelling abroad. All the while carrying supplements, tinctures and powders with them. If you or your patients have ever been concerned about what is allowable and how to avoid a hassle at the airport or border, here are a few tips that might help.
If you’re travelling to the United States by land, water or air, you are permitted to carry supplements in your luggage or in your possession in amounts that are considered “reasonable for personal use”. So even if you plan to be gone for several months, it is certainly okay to have a few bottles of the same supplement in your checked luggage. You shouldn’t worry about being accused of trying to import supplements illegally. These U.S. rules fall under the Transportation Security Administration or TSA (overseen by the Food and Drug Administration or FDA).
In general, the FDA does not have an issue with people bringing their personal supplements into the country. The TSA allows travellers to carry all forms of medication, including vitamins on board even if they are unmarked, but you should be aware that local laws in the city you’re visiting may differ and you will need to keep labels on all bottles intact. Better to be safe than sorry. For countries with stringent biosecurity laws like New Zealand and Australia, you may bring in plant-based vitamins and supplements as long as they are for your own consumption and you can provide the label, brochure or a letter from your doctor verifying the identity of the supplements. You are, however, limited to a three month supply. An import permit is not required for commercially packaged protein powders in quantities less than 10 kilograms or 10 litres, provided they were manufactured in one of the countries on a Department of Agriculture and Water Resources approved list and the product is being used for human consumption only.
When it comes to carry-on luggage, your bag may be subject to additional screening even if your supplements are permitted. If your bag triggers an alarm during the screening process or your supplements appear to have been tampered with, they may not be allowed through the checkpoint until they’ve been further inspected. The TSA will make the final decision on whether or not your items will be allowed to go through. It helps to be sensible and bring only the supplements you need when travelling so no suspicions are raised and security screening can proceed quickly and smoothly.
It also helps to be organized when travelling.
The general recommendation is to start with a layer of clothes, a layer of shoes and a clear pouch with your supplements on top. Pull this pouch out at the start of the screening process and show it to the security officer. This constitutes an open declaration of what you are carrying but the officer may still insist on putting it through the x-ray or explosives screening process.
Try to keep your supplements in the original packaging
or at least in a bag with the coordinating label. You never know when you might be asked to provide identification of what you’re carrying. Do not empty powdered supplements into unlabeled plastic bags to save room – you definitely run the risk of having them removed by security and tossed away if the officer is unable to quickly identify the product. Protein powders generally come in large plastic tubs and while it may seem reasonable to you to transfer the contents into a resealable plastic bag, the security officer might think otherwise . If you absolutely need to bring your protein powders, then keep them in their original containers. CanPrev’s Core pouches, for example, are very easy and light to pack and each one is clearly labeled with the contents. Keep all your liquid supplements like homeopathics or tinctures (100 ml or less) in a resealable plastic bag smaller than 1 litre so that you can present it at the security checkpoint. If you’re bringing larger amounts, then pack them in your checked luggage. Some security officers will oblige with a request to pass your homeopathics around the x-ray machine but others will insist on putting them through. If your homeopathics are indeed x-rayed, there’s no reason for concern – generally speaking, homeopathic remedies are robust enough to withstand several passes through an airport screening machine without having their potency affected.
Countries with Biosecurity Laws
Australia and New Zealand have some of the strictest biosecurity laws in the world to prevent inadvertent introduction of foreign pests and diseases into their ecosystems. That means that you may be asked whether or not you are travelling with live animals or plants, plant materials and certain foods when landing in these countries. Australia even has biosecurity guidelines for crossing state borders. If you are travelling to a country with biosecurity laws, always keep your natural health products in their original packaging. We also recommend that you ask beforehand whether your natural health products are safe to bring in, and to always declare those you are travelling with, especially if they are more traditional remedies containing herbs and other unprocessed plant material.