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Blog Fri, 24 May 2019 17:44:58 +0000 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb What Your Poop Tells You About Your Health

Monday June 23 2014

I talk about poop with essentially every new patient that walks in through my door.  A friend/colleague of mine shared the following link, and it's a great summary of what your poop can tell you about your current health.  Take a look and let me know what you think.

Infographic: How Well Do You Know Your Sh*t?

With its less than enticing scent, and unattractive physique, nobody wants to give their poop a second glance. The general rule when it comes to poop is – you do the deed quickly, and flush immediately.

While it’s no bed of roses, the next time you’re in the toilet doing the Number 2, take a look at your work of art before you flush. The brown blob in the toilet bowl can divulge little secrets about your health condition, since it’s the product of the waste from your body.

You might curse us for coming up with this cute little infographic, but you really should know your sh*t better. Enjoy:

Healthworks Poop Infographic


Here’s a family-friendly version if you want to show it to your kids 

Poop Infographic - Family Friendly Version



You can find the original article HERE.

]]> (moira) Blog Mon, 23 Jun 2014 00:00:00 +0000
Does Lifestyle Have an Effect on Your Gut Bacteria?

Monday June 16 2014

A very important part of my "information gathering" process with each new patient is to determine what their digestive health is like: What is their diet like?  How often do they have a bowel movement?  Are there any weird colours?  Are there any food particles?  Do they experience gas and/or bloating?  There are so many questions to ask with respect to their digestion that helps to give me different clues that help me put pieces of the puzzle together for each patient.  The balance of good and bad bacteria is very important, and I often speak to patients regarding the importance of their diet and sometimes the need for probiotics.  However, I recently came across this article that I will have to do a bit more research into and may influence the gut bacteria discussion to include lifestyle changes as well.

An article was published in the journal, Gut, where the researchers studied the gut bacteria of professional athletes from an internal rugby team versus a group of controls who were matched in physical size, age and gender.  Interestingly, the researchers discovered that the gut bacteria of the professional athletes had a greater variety of gut bacteria than the control group.  It is a relatively small study, but it is interesting nonetheless, and will hopefully lead to more research with respect to gut health and exercise.

You can find the abstract HERE.

]]> (moira) Blog Mon, 16 Jun 2014 00:00:00 +0000
IV Therapy Hits the Masses with "The Party Girl Drip"

Monday June 2 2014

I was nominated to contribute to July's case study newsletter at my downtown Toronto clinic (Adelaide Health Clinic), so I have been doing a bunch of reading and digging around for information regarding IV therapy as a "hangover cure".  During this process, I came across this following Elle article and I thought that you might find this interesting -- particularly because it is more from a patient's point of view versus my case study which is more from my point of view. 

The Party Girl Drip

By Amanda Hess on Apr 23 2014

IV therapy boutiques are selling instant hangover relief, and women are lining up. Here, straight from our May issue, an investigation of the fix de rigueur.

Last night was epic. Jen, Aimee, and Amy hit the Las Vegas Strip to test the strength of the bottle service at the Bank, a nightclub nestled inside the Bellagio hotel. The twentysomethings mixed their own vodka cranberries, sucked down shots of Jack, twerked on tables, posed for their iPhones, stumbled out of the club, inadvertently mooned the casino’s guests, and, finally, vomited in the elevator. The party ended at 3:30 a.m. The hangover was just beginning.

At 10 the next morning, the trio files into an idling tour bus in oversize sunglasses and last night’s eyeliner. Appointed with cream leather seats, drawn shades, and piped-in soft rock, it’s a miniature retreat parked in the center of sizzling asphalt. They’ve come here to rehash the details of their evening alcohol binge and to try to erase every last trace of it from their bodies. “I threw up a lot last night,” Aimee says. “I’m surprised I’m not barfing my eyes out right now,” adds Jen. Amy pinches her eyes shut and softly contributes: “Just talking about this is making me 
feel sick.” They pay $99 each and surrender their inner forearms to receive an intravenous cocktail known as the Party Girl Drip.

We’re at Hangover Heaven, a mobile rehydration boutique that trawls the Vegas morning for depleted partyers, then hooks them up to an IV packed with vitamins, antioxidants, and electrolytes that promises to cure 
the nausea, headache, bloating, and even the undereye circles and sallow skin that accompany the common hangover. At the wheel is Jason Burke, a board-certified anesthesiologist turned hangover specialist with a Herculean jaw and a Duke MD. Burke fills three 
pediatric-size IV bags with his custom-blended concoction, steadies a needle in each woman’s vein, and lets it drip directly into her bloodstream. The process doesn’t take long. Burke’s patients come to him swearing off alcohol, he says, but after a 45-
minute hookup, “Suddenly they’re like, ‘Hey, What are you doing tonight?’ ”

Binge drinkers: Meet binge recovery. Since Hangover Heaven’s first ride in 2012, a suite of high-end IV-hydration shops have popped up nationwide. At Reviv Wellness Spa, Miami Beach partyers can absorb a “Royal Flush” infusion filled with nausea-fighting medication and anti-aging glutathione for $195 a bag. Chicagoans can get their Botox, Latisse, and IV treatments together at the one-stop IVme Hydration Clinic. And New York City’s new IV Doctor club makes house calls for up to $249 for what it calls “deathbed relief.”

The IV first got buzz in 2008 when a private club called Tenteki10 began hawking vitamin cocktails to Tokyo businessmen suffering from exhaustion, insomnia, and backaches for about $20 a bag. (For a little extra, the club also offered a controversial anti-aging IV featuring human placental extract.) Four years later, Rihanna tweeted a photo of an IV needle rooted in her forearm, long black talons still installed on her nails from the previous night’s Met Ball. Rihanna’s handlers said it was to treat a bad flu, but coming from pop’s reigning bad girl, that sounded about as believable as the intern calling in sick the morning after the company holiday party. And with one viral photo, the IV cocktail entered the party-girl domain. Madonna and Cindy Crawford reportedly are also fans. In January, Cara Delevingne joined the club when she posted an Instagram pic of two arms with needles in them, one presumably hers and another that her fans speculate was her girlfriend Michelle Rodriguez’s, over the caption “IV dripping.”

Boutique IV centers like Hangover Heaven are typically staffed by some combination of physicians, nurses, EMTs, and medical assistants, and they’re targeting a counterintuitive clientele: health nuts who moonlight as heavy drinkers. Reviv Wellness Spa’s motto is “Work Hard, Play Hard,” and it employs a fitness model as its spokesperson. IVMe says its drip is for when you “push yourself too far beyond your natural limits,” whether at the gym or bar. Jen first tried IV therapy while training to run a marathon last year.

The most reliable solution for a hangover is, of course, not to drink too much. Alcohol is a poison, and when it hits your stomach lining and liver, an enzyme called alcohol dehydrogenase sets to work breaking it down. But as the enzyme rushes to stop intoxication, another enzyme is created, called acetaldehyde, which can have less pleasant effects such as nausea and headaches. The liver is supposed to dismantle the acetaldehyde, but if you drink excessively, it builds up—hence the hangover. Dehydration is also a risk because alcohol is a diuretic. It can irritate the stomach lining, causing diarrhea that intensifies fluid loss. And if you drink to the point of vomiting, you’ll lose liquids from that end, too.

The IV treatments, perhaps needless to say, are for partyers uninterested in prevention. They usually contain a basic saline solution—similar to one used for hospital patients suffering from extreme dehydration—plus doses of magnesium, potassium, calcium, and B and C vitamins, all of which often are depleted in heavy drinkers. Some formulations add generic antinausea and antiheadache medications to the mix. But whether IV therapy actually works any better than a placebo to cure the common hangover hasn’t been studied—and Hangover Heaven’s own “Hangover Research Institute” is unlikely to provide a reliable medical opinion on the matter.

Stanley Goldfarb, a kidney specialist and medical professor at the University of Pennsylvania, is skeptical. “People tend to think dehydration is the danger lurking behind all sorts of things,” he says, “but you can get more dehydrated on the beach on a hot summer day than you can by drinking alcohol.” The toxic products of alcohol are what make you feel bad, Goldfarb says, and time is the most reliable remedy: “It’s everyone’s experience that eventually hangovers go away.”

Hangover mitigation was not the IV solution’s most original or perhaps most noble purpose. Before it was called the Party Girl Drip, it was known as the Myers’ Cocktail, an alternative therapy pioneered by Baltimore physician John Myers in the early 1960s to alleviate everything from depression to chest pains. When Myers died, in 1984, some of his patients turned up in the office of Alan Gaby, MD, another Baltimore doctor who’d been experimenting with nutritional therapies, and asked him to administer their weekly fix. Gaby scoured his colleague’s notes for information on his IV formula but found instructions that “were about as intelligible as the words to ‘Louie Louie,’ ” he says. But he also knew that Myers’ patients claimed to feel better. Gaby tinkered with the recipe and in 2002 published a paper in the Alternative Medicine Review touting the blend of injected vitamins for treating asthma, fibromyalgia, fatigue, upper-respiratory-tract infections, cardiovascular disease, and hypothyroidism. That Gaby doesn’t have hard data to prove that the elixir combats that long list of afflictions doesn’t stop him from recommending it, but using it for hangovers is a bridge too far, even for him. “I wouldn’t be surprised if it worked,” Gaby says. “But should people be bailing themselves out of their drunkenness this way? It encourages them to drink again and not recognize how much it’s harming their bodies. I’d send them to Alcoholics Anonymous before I did it multiple times.”

When Burke launched Hangover Heaven, he expected to attract businessmen and bros, but his customers have ended up being 40 percent female, he says. Atlanta’s Hydration Station, which offers IVs for everything from exercise-related dehydration to morning sickness, initially attracted more men, but now its clientele is split down the middle, according to owner Keith McDermott. He once treated a bachelorette party of 12 who went out all night Friday, came in for a boost on Saturday, then “got back to enjoying themselves.” And, McDermott says, “a few straggled in on Sunday, too.”

Some studies have found that female hangovers may be more severe than male hangovers because women produce fewer of the enzymes that break down 
alcohol and their bodies tend to be smaller. But what Burke has noticed, he says, isn’t so much that women have it worse than men, but that the two sexes drag in with different symptoms: blinding headaches for the XYs, extreme nausea for the XXs.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, American men are more likely than women to have had a drink in the past month, and they’re twice as likely to binge when they do it. But over the past decade, the media has seized on the idea that it’s women who are drinking men under the table. Last year, The Wall Street Journal announced, “The New Face of Risky Drinking Is Female” and Good Morning Americawarned that female bingeing is on the rise among all age groups. That’s true in the very long run—Americans born after World War II are more likely to binge than previous generations, and that includes women—but that’s a problem that dates back to the 1960s, according to Columbia University public health researchers. When George Mason University math professor Rebecca Goldin crunched the numbers behind recent media reports, she found that rates of binge drinking among women haven’t budged in the past 10 years.

Women may be getting extra attention because the culture is more uncomfortable with them abusing alcohol than with men, Goldin says. While we may get the message that it’s cool for us to party as hard as the boys, we’re expected to do so while staying within the bounds of “appropriate” feminine behavior. Witness all the alcohol ads featuring packs of men throwing ’em back in the company of a few elegant vixens whose role is to admire or decorate more than to swill.

A hangover pricks the fantasy, however. The antithesis of girlish sexiness, it means confronting the grotesqueries of the human body. Think about it. Hollywood has churned out blockbuster after blockbuster mining the gross-out potential of male alcohol withdrawal (together, the three Hangover films have grossed more than $1 billion internationally), and Fratire king Tucker Max purports to treat his hangovers with “a big greasy breakfast” and more beer. Meanwhile, can you think of a scene in a movie or book in which peaked ladies revel in their morning-after gluttony or bodily effusions? Yes, the Bridesmaids got big laughs for their nasty doings while trying on dresses, but the cause, remember, was food, not alcohol, poisoning.

As perverse as it may be, the IV solution functions as a peculiarly feminine solution to a problem that only the boys are supposed to suffer. It requires zero consumption, so the hungover can avoid empty calories and bloating. (“I don’t like water,” Jen admits. “I like Diet Coke.”) Chicago’s IVMe touts the treatment’s beauty benefits: “Chronic dehydration is commonly known to result in dry skin, wrinkles, skin blemishes, and accelerated aging. You can spend hundreds of dollars on topical products or you can moisturize from the inside out with one of our custom-tailored IV hydration therapies.” (The shop even offers a concoction that supposedly stimulates weight loss, for $169 a bag.) Clients enter Hangover Heaven with sunken eyes and wan complexions, Burke says, but “after the IV’s in, there’s a little more glow to the skin, light in 
their eyes. They start smiling again.”

Relying on a morning-after IV to facilitate getting blotto may be a devil’s bargain, but Jen and her pals couldn’t care less at this point. As the final drips of the Hangover Heaven formula enter her veins, Jen whips out her iPhone to play a video from last night’s party. The three friends erupt in giggles as Jen shields the screen. “Wait,” she asks me, “how do you feel about seeing butt cheeks?”


You can find the original article HERE.

]]> (moira) Blog Mon, 02 Jun 2014 00:00:00 +0000
Dogs Who Don't Know How to Use Human Things

Sunday June 1 2014

My husband often sends me funny dog links to look at because he knows it will brighten my day.  Here's one that made me laugh this week.  Hope it brings a smile to your face to start off this month too!


22 Pets Who Have No Idea How To Use Human Things
























You can find the original article HERE.

]]> (moira) Blog Sun, 01 Jun 2014 04:20:44 +0000
The Benefits of Having Food Sensitivities

Monday May 26 2014

I have recently been discussing food sensitivity test results and their subsequent dietary restrictions on an almost daily basis in Mississauga and downtown Toronto, so when I came across this article on Mind Body Green on the pros of having food sensitivities, I knew that I had to share!  I will definitely mention some of the following points the next time I have a patient who is having trouble with eliminating their food sensitivities and following their diet.


10 Hidden Benefits Of Having Food Sensitivities

By Heather Esposito

For those of us with food allergies or sensitivities, life can sometimes be a challenge. In a world where we are told we have to “live without,” I decided I wanted to think differently and count all of the blessings that my food sensitivities have brought me.

When I took the time to list ways that these sensitivities can be a blessing, I was amazed at how long the list was. Here's what I came up with.

1. I don't have to worry about pleasing others (by eating things I don't want to eat).

So many of us eat things we don't want to because of social pressures. There's junk food everywhere we turn, and well-meaning people are constantly saying, "Just have a little." Having food sensitivities or allergies gives me a reason to not eat the things I know won't serve me in the end. When I respond to people with how my body will react if I eat certain foods, they tend to back off.

2. It's a great "excuse" to eat healthy.

Let's face it, not everyone is predisposed to craving leafy greens. Having food sensitivities has forced me to try foods that I previously would have never considered but now love.

3. It forces me to eat foods that were out of my comfort zone.

Prior to learning how much my body was impacted by foods my diet pretty much consisted of gluten, dairy and refined sugar. Everything was processed and "fake." Having food sensitivities "forced" me to eat real, whole foods, and I'm much happier and healthier for it.

4. I no longer have a bloated belly.

When I used to eat gluten I could never figure out why my belly consistently looked like I was six months pregnant no matter how much I worked out. Within a week of removing it from my diet, my flat belly was back. The only time I've experienced a bloated belly since then is when I've accidentally eaten gluten. For me, having a flat belly is a wonderful thing!

5. My periods are amazing now.

Growing up, every month I experienced vomiting, diarrhea and severe cramps that would debilitate me for one or two days. I would miss work, school and have even missed a few holiday celebrations. Since switching to a plant-based, whole foods diet my periods come and go with barely a symptom.

6. It's helped me help others, and I've found my calling.

Since this journey of changing my diet has started, I've become a health coach and a natural food chef. Through health coaching and teaching cooking classes I have helped hundreds of women learn what works best for their bodies; I co-founded the country's first bakery that is 100% free of gluten, dairy, eggs, soy, corn and refined sugar and have been featured on The Food Network and The Cooking Channel. I've written a cookbook, Smart Sexy Sweets that has all of my decadent recipes of sweets that happen to be free of gluten, diary, eggs, soy, corn, nuts and refined sugar. Who knew having food sensitivities could be so much fun?

7. I save money.

Having food sensitivities taught me to cook for myself, which saves me a ridiculous amount of money and gives me the certainty of what's going into the food.

8. My body gives me early warning signs.

I know people who've said that they used to be able to eat whatever they wanted and be fine … then one day they had a heart attack or some other illness that seemingly came on out of no-where. Getting "signs" so quickly from my body lets me make instantaneous adjustments rather than having to make major corrections.

9. I understand what my clients are going through.

Have you ever worked with someone who said, "It's easy," making you feel stupid because you weren't finding it so easy? When I teach cooking classes or work with clients individually, they know that I've experienced and wrestled through feeling the limitations of my diet, and have come through on the other side. They also know that I won't allow them to stay stuck in their story of "This sucks, there's nothing I can eat," because I've gotten through to the other side.

10. I have an excuse to eat french fries.

I know what you are thinking: how can a natural foods chef and health coach eat french fries? I agree, they aren't the best choice in the world, but when you can't eat gluten, dairy, refined sugar and need to stay away from cold, raw foods, that pretty much takes away 99.9% of the items on any given restaurants' menu. When going out with friends pretty much always includes going to a bar or restaurant, I can feel somewhat "normal" when ordering fries.

I'm all about cooking your own food AND about having fun socially. What good is being healthy if you're isolated and alone? For me, as long as I know the food isn't going to make me itch, vomit, have diarrhea or think crazy thoughts, I've learned to give myself the grace to enjoy it.

The reality is that our culture is centered on food. Having food sensitivities can be a challenge but the more we see the blessings it brings the more fun we can have.

If you have food sensitivities, I'd love to hear in the comments below what are some of the "blessings" that you've received from them!


You can find the original article HERE.

]]> (moira) Blog Mon, 26 May 2014 00:00:00 +0000
"Healthy" Brownies

Monday May 19 2014

One of my lovely downtown Toronto clinic patients introduced me to the cookbook: Oh She Glows.  I am in love with this cookbook!  It's vegan AND provides lots of gluten-free options.  Relatively simple recipes.  Great big colourful photos (I can't have a cookbook without photos for each recipe to INSPIRE me to make something yummy!).  And yummy results.  Below is a sample of one of the wonderful recipes that Angela Liddon creates and shares in Oh She Glows!

Ultra Fudgy Brownies

Adapted from Sweet Freedom.

Servings: 9 to 12


  • 1 small avocado (1/4 cup packed)
  • 1 cup Sucanat (brown sugar might work?)
  • ⅓ cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil (reduced from 1/4 cup)
  • 1 tbsp ground chia seeds (or ground flax)
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp organic dark roasted coffee or instant
  • ⅓ cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1¼ cup whole grain spelt flour
  • ¾ cup cocoa powder
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp Himalayan sea salt



  1. Preheat the oven to 350℉.
  2. Line an 8” pan with parchment paper and set it aside.
  3. In a large bowl, gently smash the avocado with a fork to break apart. Then use a hand mixer until smooth.
  4. Add the Sucanat, maple syrup, oil, chia, vanilla extract and coffee, and mix until smooth.
  5. In a medium bowl, sift together the spelt flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  6. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, and mix on low or stir by hand until it is just mixed.
  7. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  8. Pour the mixture onto the baking pan.
  9. Dip your spatula in cold water and smooth the mixture evenly throughout the baking pan and smooth the top of the pre-cooked brownie.  Note: the batter will be VERY THICK so don't worry and think that you did something wrong!
  10. Once smooth, place the baking pan in the oven and cook for 20-25 minutes.  Note: do NOT bake for more than 25 minutes even if it looks like it needs more time!
  11. Remove the baking pan from the oven and let it cool for 20 minutes.
  12. Put the baking pan in the freezer for about 30 minutes to set and firm.
  13. Remove the large brownie from pan and cut it into smaller pieces with a pizza slicer.


You can find the original article HERE.

]]> (moira) Blog Mon, 19 May 2014 00:00:00 +0000
Fun Facts About Dogs and Cats

Thursday May 15 2014

I have *always* been a dog person at heart, but as many of my patients have heard over the last few months, I have discovered I do in fact have a soft spot for cats -- specifically our new "kitten" Griffin.  I like to say that I "lost my mind" back in September because Jeff and I lived in a 2 bedroom apartment in The Beaches with my dog Baylee and his cats, Squid and Pretzel.  One week before we moved into our new apartment in Leaside AND just over 1 month before our wedding, I decided that it would be a great idea to add to our already large fur family but rescuing a little grey and white kitten!  I didn't realize that dogs and cats could get along so well (other than the random photo that you see online!), but Baylee and Griffin fast became friends.  The following article from Huffington Post is just a fun article with a bunch of interesting facts and tidbits about dogs and cats!


10 Things You Didn't Know About Cats and Dogs

By David Grimm


When you spend four years researching a book on dogs and cats, you learn some surprising things. Here is a list of my favorites, culled from my new book, Citizen Canine: Our Evolving Relationship with Cats and Dogs, which traces the journey of pets from wild animals to family members.

More homes have dogs and cats than have kids: Nearly 150 million cats and dogs live in the U.S., one for every two people. More than half of all homes contain either a dog or a cat -- five times more than have birds, horses, and fish combined. Dog and cat ownership has quadrupled since the mid-1960s -- double the growth rate of the human population.

Cats aren't from Egypt: Historians long thought that cats became domesticated in Ancient Egypt around 4,000 years ago, based on the appearance of felines in the art of the time. But recent archaeological and genetic evidence suggest that cats arose instead in what is today Israel, Turkey, and Iraq, and that they first became domesticated nearly 10,000 years ago -- 5,000 years before Egypt even existed.

Dogs can outsmart chimpanzees: Point at something, and a dog will look at what you're pointing at. Though this may seem a simple skill, our closest relatives, chimpanzees, can't do it. That means dogs (and it turns out, cats too) may possess a rudimentary "theory of mind" -- an ability to intuit what others are thinking that is rare in the animal kingdom.

A cat massacre in Europe may have sparked the Black Death: In the early thirteenth century, Pope Gregory IX issued an edict that linked cats to witchcraft and Satan. Centuries of cat massacre followed, with felines being stoned, hung, and thrown in bonfires in Medieval Europe. Some historians believe that the near-extinction of the cat allowed plague-carrying rats to flourish, helping them spread the Black Death that wiped out as much as half of the continent's human population.

The Ancient Romans buried their dogs in human cemeteries: As much as the Ancient Egyptians worshiped their cats, the Ancient Romans revered their dogs.They buried their pooches in the same places they buried their human dead. And they wrote surprisingly sentimental eulogies for them. "I am in tears while carrying you to your last resting place," reads one, "as much as I rejoiced when bringing you home in my own hands fifteen years ago."

Kitty litter wasn't invented until 1947: Cats and dogs didn't begin becoming bona-fide members of the family until they started living in our homes. The advent of flea and tick shampoos began to bring dogs indoors in the late 1800s. But cats would have to wait until 1947 -- the year kitty litter was invented.

Legally, dogs and cats are property: Even though we may view our pets as family members, and in some cases "fur babies", the law classifies them as property, no different than a couch or a toaster. This status is actually an upgrade -- a century ago, cats and dogs were deemed so legally worthless, they didn't even qualify as property. They could be stolen and killed without repercussion.

Things are changing, however... In the past few decades, judges have shown an increasing openness to treating pets as more than property. Some have treated them like children in the custody cases, considered their "best interests" in deciding which home they should go to in a divorce. Others have awarded damages for emotional distress or loss of companionship when a pet is killed -- legal remedies typically reserved for the loss of a spouse or child. And every state has enacted felony anti-cruelty laws, punishing cat or dog abusers with up to 10 years in prison and $125,000 in fines. Cats and dogs can also inherit money, just like people can.

Pets are now rescued in natural disasters: Nearly half of the people who didn't evacuate during Hurricane Katrina stayed behind because of their pets -- and many of them died. In the aftermath of the storm, Congress passed the Pets Evacuation and Transportation Standards (PETS) Act, which impels rescue agencies to save pets as well as people during natural disasters. To date, more than 30 states have passed their own versions of this act, which have been implemented in everything from tornadoes to wildfires.

Dogs have had lawyers: There have been at least three court cases since 2007 where a judge has assigned a dog legal representation. In 2012, for example, a Georgia judge assigned an attorney to a pit bull that had been sentenced to death for attacking a small child. The lawyer successfully argued to spare the dog, who now lives on a sanctuary in New York.


Bonus facts!

We will spend $60 billion on our pets this year: Thanks to doggy day spas, organic cat food, and open-heart surgery for pets, we're projected to spend $60 billion on our companion animals in 2014. The pet industry is now the seventh-largest retail industry in the U.S. We spend more on our companion animals than the entire economic outputs of over half the world's countries.

Most owners would be willing to risk their lives to save their pets: Although we make think we're the craziest cat or dog person out there, most Americans have very intense relationships with their pets. According to recent surveys, more than 90 percent of owners consider their pet a family member, more than half would be "very likely" to risk their lives to save their pet, and -- if trapped on a desert island -- half of all owners say they would rather live out their days with a cat or dog than with a human companion.


You can find the original article HERE.

]]> (moira) Blog Thu, 15 May 2014 00:00:00 +0000
Carrot Juice Pulp Muffins

Monday May 12 2014

I absolutely LOVE Leanne Vogel's blog -- it's bright, happy and vibrant AND even better, it's full of yummy, healthy recipes!  Now that Spring is *supposed* to be in the air, many of my patients often come into my Naturopathic office asking questions about juicing for health promotion, juicing for detox'ing, juicing just because they heard that juicing was good!  Juicing is a great idea.  However, as Leanne's guest columnist Alison Smith realized during her 21 day juicing challenge, juicing comes with a whole lot of waste in the form of pulp!  Lucky for us, she came up with a great recipe that minimizes this waste and results in a great little muffin.

Carrot Juice Pulp Muffins

by Alison Smith Ph.D.
30 min prep time, 30 min cook time
1 hour total time
serves 24
  • 3 cups carrot, apple, ginger juice pulp (made from approximately 4 carrots, 2 red apples, and 2 large chunks of fresh ginger root.)
  • 6 large Medjool dates − pitted
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ½ pear or apple − chopped with the skin
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla liquid stevia
  • 2½ tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • ½ teaspoon allspice
  • ¾ teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons gluten-free baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • ⅔ cup coconut flour
  • ½ cup walnuts or pecans or almonds −chopped
  • ½ cup shredded coconut
  • ½ cup dried fruit of any kind − chopped; optional!
  1. Preheat the oven to 380℉.
  2. Put the juice pulp, pitted dates, olive oil, water, and chopped pear or apple in a food processor. Turn on the food processor until the mixture is well incorporated and smooth.
  3. Add the cinnamon, cloves, allspice, salt, vanilla liquid stevia, baking soda, baking powder, and coconut flour.
  4. Periodically, stop the food processor to scrape the bowl with a spatula. Continue to mix the batter until the mixture is thoroughly incorporated − it will be very thick.
  5. Once the batter is mixed, scoop it into a large mixing bowl.
  6. Add the chopped walnuts or pecans, and the shredded coconut. You can also add the chopped, dried fruit, if you would like.
  7. Using a wooden spoon or spatula, incorporate the nuts, coconut, and dried fruit into the batter.
  8. Liberally grease two mini muffin trays (that contain 12 muffin molds, each) with coconut oil. Mold each muffin, by hand: using a spoon, fill each mini muffin mold, half way. Then, take a second scoop of muffin batter, and form it into a mound shape. ** The muffins in this recipe will not rise; therefore, you need to shape the muffins yourself before you bake them**
  9. Use your hands to help you mold the muffins into muffin shapes.
  10. Top each muffin with some nuts, before you bake them. Place the muffin trays into the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes.
  11. Once baked, the muffins should be a deep brown color. After baking, cool the muffins on a baking rack and let them completely cool before you sample them!
  • Juice Pulp: You can freeze carrot, apple, ginger juice pulp, in large plastic bags, in 3-cup portions. When you are ready to make muffins,  place the frozen juice pulp in a pan and into the preheated oven. It will take approximately 4-5 minutes for it to completely thaw.
  • Stevia: You can substitute 2 tbsp of coconut sugar for the vanilla liquid stevia.
  • Storage: Do not store these muffins in a tightly sealed container! They are too moist. Instead, just place them on a plate and cover them loosely with plastic wrap.


You can find the original article HERE.

]]> (moira) Blog Mon, 12 May 2014 00:00:00 +0000
What Does Your Urine Tell You?

Monday May 5 2014

As a Naturopathic Doctor, I talk about poop A LOT with each and every patient that walks into my office door -- whether it's the high power executive/professional at my downtown Toronto clinic or the new mom on her maternity-leave at my Mississauga clinic.  On the other side of things is urine -- and we also discuss this because it does give me a lot of information regarding the health of my patients!

5 Key Health Insights Your Urine Can Offer

by Leslie Spry MD, FACP


Discussing bodily functions is a well-ingrained part of any physician's vernacular. As a nephrologist, or kidney specialist, I often find myself talking about urine, because well, one of the main jobs of the kidneys is to filter wastes and toxins from our bloodstream. And all those wastes and toxins need somewhere to go once they have been removed from our systems. The result? Urine.

On average, the kidneys filter 200 liters of blood each day. When the kidneys are healthy, this is quite an efficient process, so around 198 liters of blood return to the system. Usually, the kidneys are such experts at their jobs that many people don't even think about them as they go about their regular business, eating, drinking, living and going to the bathroom (yes, that's where the other two liters go). The kidneys' complex filtration system is always striking a balance between keeping the minerals and chemicals your body needs to function efficiently and getting rid of the rest via the urine.

I'm eager to help you get better acquainted with your kidneys, including their urine byproduct. Cue the PG-rated potty joke. I'll leave that one and the resulting laugh it likely will elicit up to you, but it's important to mention that no matter how you look at it -- with your naked eyes, under the microscope, or (gasp!) not at all -- urine contains valuable information about your health. So if you're not already thinking about or looking at your urine, it's time to start doing so. Don't flush valuable health information down the toilet without first learning about 5 key health insights your urine can offer:

The All Clear

Literally and figuratively.  The color or "concentration" of your urine can tell you whether you're hydrated and you should aim for clear urine.  If your urine is dark yellow, it is more concentrated ad you could be dehydrated.  When people are dehydrated, the kidneys to try to conserve fluids in the body and as a result don't produce as much urine.  Dehydration can also cause kidney stones, because it allows for stone-causing minerals to concentrate and settle in the kidneys and urinary tract.  One of the best measures you can take to avoid kidney stones is to drink plenty of water, resulting in passing lots of clear urine.

Colors and Scents May Mean Follow Up

No need to break out the color wheel, but if your urine is no longer a shade of yellow, this could be a sign of something very serious, like blood in your urine, or may just reflect a change in diet, which is why it's important to know your "urine norms".  You should pay attention to whether urinary changes coincide with any dietary changes.

Seeing pink?  If you recently ate beets or foods with beet-based dyes, your diet could be the culprit.  The presence of red blood cells can also make your urine appear more pink, red or "cola-colored", so it's important to recognize your body's normal reactions to different foods and medications.  Also, it's not just beet-based dyes that can show up in your urine.  The same holds true for food dyes of many colors, so keep this in mind.

Does your urine have a funny smell?  Diet may also be to blame.  Certain foods, such as asparagus, can impact the appearance and scent of your urine.  The same holds true for medications and supplements.  Vitamins can cause a musty odor to the urine.  Urine can offer clues into your health, but it's critical to know when to follow up with your healthcare provider so that in the event of a more serious condition, such as blood in the urine, you obtain the necessary testing and diagnosis.

An Early Marker of Kidney Damage

Protein in the urine is one of the earliest signs of kidney damage, especially in people with diabetes.  Protein in the urine may create excessive bubbles in the urine that will not flush away.  At your annual physical, be sure to ask your health care provider for a urinalysis to check for protein in the urine, especially if you're at increased risk for kidney disease due to age (over 60), diabetes, high blood pressure or a family history of kidney failure.

Signs of Diabetes

The word "diabetes" means passing urine frequently in large amounts.  When there is too much sugar in the bloodstream and the body isn't processing it effectively, the kidneys work overtime to try and remove it from the body.  If your urine has a "sweet" smell, it may indicate that sugar is present in your urine.  Sugar in the urine can indicate diabetes or pre-diabetes, so it's important to get additional blood testing to confirm (or deny) a diagnosis.  Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney disease and even pre-diabetes can damage the kidneys so these are serious conditions that deserve your attention and treatment.

The Presence of an Infection

A urinary tract infection (UTI) occurs when bacteria (germs) get in the urinary tract and multiply.  The urinary tract is made up of the bladder, urethra, ureters and kidneys.  Bacteria usually enter the urinary tract through the urethra, the tube that carries urine out of the body.  If a UTI is not treated promptly, bacteria can move up to the kidneys and cause a more serious type of infection.  Symptoms of UTIs include an urgent need to urinate (often with only a few drops of urine to pass), a burning feeling when urinating, cloudy or bloody-tinged urine a strong odor to the urine (especially the odor of ammonia).

For more information about urine and the kidneys, visit the National Kidney Foundation at


You can find the original article HERE.

]]> (moira) Blog Mon, 05 May 2014 00:00:00 +0000
What Dogs Do When We're Not Looking ...

Thursday May 1 2014

I must admit that I am "one of THOSE people" who loves snuggling with my dog on the bed.  She's so adorable and gives me the biggest puppy eyes that will melt my heart in an instant.  She definitely knows how to "work it" and get what she wants!  As soon as my husband gets out of bed in the morning and heads to the bathroom to brush his teeth, Baylee hops up onto the bed into his spot and snuggles into my side.  It's one of the best things and I look forward to it every morning.  Below is a video of a dog who definitely knows how to enjoy the bed -- despite her "parents" not allowing her on the bed ... it makes me laugh every time I watch it!

Hidden Camera Catches Dog Partying on the Bed While No One's Home

by Jay Hathaway

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A dog owner left his pit bull alone and left a camera rolling in the bedroom. Also rolling in the bedroom: The dog. Cue "Yakety Sax."

The dog is apparently "not allowed" on the bed, but good luck with that. Judging from the cat's non-reaction, this happens all the time.


You can find the original article HERE and the YouTube video HERE.

]]> (moira) Blog Thu, 01 May 2014 00:00:00 +0000
Dairy-Free Alternatives

Monday April 28 2014

At both my downtown Toronto and Mississauga clinics, I have been running quite a number of food sensitivity testing with various patients.  One of the common results that often come back is DAIRY.  I love this blog/online magazine called The Chalkboard, which is run by California's Pressed Juicery.

Make the Switch: 13 Dairy-Free Alternatives

by Lauren Felts


Life without mozzarella, parmigiano, feta, Greek yogurt and ice cream may seem bleak at first glance, but we are here to show you 13 ways to replace your favorite dairy indulgences. With a little bit of creativity, imagination and a high-speed blender on hand, you will have a dairy-free alternative in no time. Call it food alchemy or using a bit of culinary magic, but either way, you will quickly turn cashews into cheese, coconuts into yogurt, and seeds into milk. You may even have fun while doing it.

For all of the gastronomically challenged cooks out there, fear not. Dairy-free alternatives are all the rage, and new products are popping up like wildfire. With 30 – 50 million Americans intolerant to lactose, there is no shortage of dairy-free products in your local stores. From pre-made cashew milk to chia-seed yogurt, coconut ice cream to brown rice protein powder, there is very little that you cannot find. So take our advice, try some of these alternatives, and find out for yourself if they taste like the real thing. And if you are like us, you may even decide that they taste better!


13 Dairy-Free Alternatives


Hemp, oat, almond, rice, coconut, flax and cashew, you name it, they make a milk out of it.  So Delicious, Rice Dream, Good Karma, Blue Diamond, Califia and store brands can all be found pre-made in your local store.  Or you can go messy, and make them at home!

TCM DIY: Homemade Hemp Milk

Ice Cream

Ohhh, are you in for a big treat here.  If you though you loved ice cream with real milk, you have no idea how much you are going to love ice cream made without milk.  Coconut ice cream, especially the brand Luna and Larry, is definitely a Chalkboard favorite, but you can also choose from almond, hemp, rice and cashew as well.

TCM DIY: Pink Chocolate Swirl Ice Cream


Whipped Cream

There is nothing like a big dollop of whipped cream to complete your favorite dessert, so we were over the moon to find out that canned coconut milk makes the perfect dairy-free alternative.  It is extremely simple to make (completely dummy proof), and still retains that sought-after rich and creamy texture.

TCM DIY: One-Ingredient Vegan Whipped Cream



Coconut has got this covered.  It perfectly mimics the texture of yogurt, but also adds a slightly sweet flavor, so you don't have to add extra sugar.  It comes in both regular yogurt and Greek yogurt - check out So Delicious.  Not wild about coconuts?  Try almond yogurt instead.

TCM DIY: Raw Coconut Almond Yogurt



If you are a fan of this fermented, gut-friendly beverage, then you will be happy to know it comes dairy-free.  Coconut milk kefir is an available alternative.  It is a bit more difficult to find, so consider trying your hand at home fermentation.

TCM DIY: Coconut Milk Kefir


Sour Cream

Without sour cream, what is a tostada salad, a black bean burrito, or a plate of grilled vegetable fajitas?  Not as good, that is for sure! That is why we are loving the dairy-free option that is just like the real thing. You'll have to make it yourself (we are not crazy about the pre-made versions), but all it takes is some cashews and apple cider vinegar.

TCM DIY: Raw Staples for a Raw Vegan Kitchen


Cream Cheese

While the applications for cream cheese are far and few between, if you have a toasted, sprouted bagel in front of you, nothing else will do the job quite like cream cheese does.  Dairy-free cream cheese does exist pre-made, thank god, and it is made by Daiya.  But if you would rather whip some up at home, it is quite simple as well.

TCM DIY: Raw Nut Milk & Cashew Cream Cheese


Parmesan Cheese

Parmigiano-Reggiano, what beautiful words to say! The ultimate cheese for all Italian dishes, turning your plate of pasta into something utterly sinful, we cannot be without Parmesean.  That is why we have turned to Parma!, a raw vegan Paremsan made from walnuts, sunflower and hemp seeds, nutritional yeast and sea salt.  Pretty much too good to be true.

TCM DIY: Raw Walnut Parmesan


Shredded Cheese

Pizza, quesadillas, salads and pasta could all use some shredded cheese here and there, which is why we were happy to find Daiya.  Their shredded cheese comes in cheddar, mozzarella and pepperjack, all of which have an uncanny similarity to real cheese.  Now if you want to make it yourself, try this crazy creative recipe that uses sweet potatoes, of all things!

TCM DIY: Shredded Sweet Potato Cheese


Hard Cheese

One social ritual we are unwilling to part with is the perfect pairing of cheese and crackers, along with a local Californian merlot or chardonnay.  This is what led to our obsession with Dr. Cow, an artisan nut-cheese brand.  Each of their hard cheeses are fully aged, and resemble real cheese to a tee.  With flavors such as cashew dulse and cashew blue-green algae, they continue to surprise us ... they even have a cashew kale cheese too!

TCM DIY: The Raw Chef’s Nut Cheese E-Book


Crème Fraîche

The perfect adornment for soup, a lox platter or scrambled eggs, you don't realize how amazing crème fraîche is until you have had it.  While there does not seem to be a good pre-made, dairy-free version available at local stores, the homemade version is simple enough to make.

TCM DIY: Vegan Crème Fraîche


Ranch Dressing

Ranch is not the typical go-to dressing when looking to stay on the health track, but its dairy-free alternative is a whole different animal.  Made by the company Raw Foodz, their raw and vegan Ranch Revival dressing actually IS healthy.  Made with superfoods -- hemp seeds, apple cider vinegar, nutritional yeast and fresh herbs -- this ranch is a must have.  We guarantee you will not miss the dairy version.

TCM DIY: Raw Ranch Dressing


Coffee Creamer

Now that you are on a kick -- kicking dairy out of the diet -- it is time to go to your morning coffee. Switch the typical dairy creamer for the So Delicious coconut milk line.  With flavors like French vanilla, hazelnut, and their new Cococcinos, you will be pleasantly surprised by your new coffee-cup additions.  Plus, they do not contain the typical trans fats that the dairy versions do.

TCM DIY: Homemade Oat Milk

You can find the original article HERE.


]]> (moira) Blog Mon, 28 Apr 2014 00:00:00 +0000
Green Tea Benefits to Cognition

Monday April 21 2014

My grandparents have always been avid green tea drinkers, and I guess it's just a big part of my ancestry!  I've always loved a great cup of steaming hot green tea and it's a great way to end a busy day.  Below is an article that further supports the great cognitive benefits of green tea that I'm happy to share with you!

The researchers from Switzerland discovered that drinking a green tea extract enhanced the subjects' memory performance.  The discovered this by getting their participants to perform a working memory task while they were undergoing an fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging), and comparing the results of those who consumed a drink that contained 27.5 g of green tea extract to those who consumed a drink that did not contain green tea.

On the fMRI, they noticed that there was an increased connection between the parietal and frontal cortex of the brain in participants who had consumed a drink with the green tea, in comparison to those who consumed a drink without the green tea.

This is very exciting news when it comes to research for cognitive impairment such as dementia.  With our aging population, this is an area that researchers need to focus more on!  So in the meantime, steep yourself a cup of green tea and enjoy it on one of these unseasonally cool spring evenings in Toronto, and here's hoping for some warmer weather soon!

You can find the original article HERE.

]]> (moira) Blog Mon, 21 Apr 2014 00:00:00 +0000
32 Hilarious Struggles Only Dog Owners Will Understand

Tuesday April 15 2014

This article made me giggle quite a bit when I stumbled across it.  All I have to say is "oh dogs!".

32 Hilarious Struggles Only Dog Owners Will Understand. The #9 Cracked Me Up!

We’ve talked about cat owners struggles a few weeks ago, and now it’s time to cover some fun from our little furry canine friends.

As you certainly know dogs’ behavior is so much different than cats’, and even if they are apparently less complex than their feline counterpart, they can still give us a hard time trying to understand them.

The following 30 images depict some of the struggles a dog owner faces everyday, and we are sure that if you are one of them you will hilariously find yourself into a lot of the following situations.

If you like this post, don’t be selfish, share it with your fellow dog owners!









6. They can have a hard time carrying a stick through narrow places

7. Hey! I see you are home early!

8. It’s just that I love collecting them!















































Share this post with your fellow dog owners!


You can find the original article HERE.


]]> (moira) Blog Tue, 15 Apr 2014 00:00:00 +0000

Monday April 14 2014

If you haven't tried beets yet, particularly beets in your morning smoothie/juice, then today's the day to try it out!  They contain lots of anti-inflammatory and detoxification properties, and are also high in vitamin C and fibre content.


An Inflammation-Busting Beet Juice

By Jo Ann Bayus


Green juices are packed with cell-nourishing, health-enhancing goodness. And to turn it up a notch, I like to add a little red, in the form of beets, to my greens. Beyond adding amazing color, beets offer incredible benefits including combating inflammation, aiding detoxification, and even giving your brain a boost. This inflammation-busting recipe is one of my favorites and is a smart way to start the day.



  • 3-4 Tuscan kale leaves (Any kale will work but Tuscan is my favorite for this recipe because of its less bitter flavor and deep green color)
  • 1 small lemon, peeled
  • 1 knob ginger (1/2 inch to 1 inch), peeled
  • 1 large cucumber, unpeeled
  • 1 apple, unpeeled and seeds removed (Any type of apple will work but I like the sweeter varieties for this and opt for Fuji)
  • 1 small beet, peeled

Note: I suggest using organic ingredients whenever possible.



1. Wash produce thoroughly and peel if needed.

2. Add ingredients to juicer in manageable chunks and juice away. Depending upon your type of juicer, you may need to cut your produce into smaller pieces. If your juicer has various settings, it’s helpful to use a high setting when juicing beets.

3. Enjoy as soon as possible to get the most nutritional benefit.

4. Save the beet greens to use later or pop a couple in the juicer with this recipe.


You can find the original article HERE.

]]> (moira) Blog Mon, 14 Apr 2014 00:00:00 +0000
How to Decrease Your Use of Plastics

Saturday April 7 2014 

In today's day and age, we are surrounded by plastics -- from our food containers, drink containers, beauty product containers, cleaning product containers.  It's everywhere!  Although they can be very convenient because they are light, portable and disposable, the problem is that they have an extremely negative effect on our environment AND it can also negatively impact our health.  i came across the following article in Mind Body Green, and wanted to share it so that you can start to slowly scale back your use of plastic products for the sake of our environment, and if not, then for the sake of your health!

8 Ways To Minimize Your Exposure To Plastic

A recent article in Mother Jones has everyone asking if any plastic is safe, and if it isn't, how to avoid it. It’s easier than you think to find safer plastic alternatives — including some plastic. Glass, stainless steel, and lead-free ceramic are all tried and true nonplastic options. Reducing your exposure to chemicals in plastic-wrapped packaged foods is trickier. It can be really tough to find food that isn’t packaged in plastic.

Follow these easy steps to reduce your exposure to chemicals in plastic-packaged foods:

1. Opt for whole, fresh foods

Not only will you reduce your exposure to contaminants from plastic packaging, you’ll also reduce your exposure to synthetic additives and preservatives found in processed foods (including artificial colors and artificial sweeteners).

2. Make friends with farmers

Learn what’s in season and seek out a local source — either at a farmers market or via a farm share.

3. DIY

Ditch canned, frozen, and boxed entrees and make your own as much as you can.

4. Choose foods packaged in glass instead of plastic

These may not always be easy to find, but it's a good way to differentiate between products when you have the option.

5. Buy in bulk whenever possible

It’s the least-packaged option. You can bring your own cloth produce bags.

6. Choose safer plastics whenever plastic cannot be avoided

The plastics currently considered safest are #2, #4, and #5. Look for these numbers in the chasing arrows triangle often on the bottom of a product. You can also look for products packaged in plant-based plastics like PLA.

7. Avoid the most toxic plastics

These are #3, #6, and #7.

8. Don’t worry if you eat some stuff wrapped in plastic

It’s everywhere and the best you can do is to reduce and minimize your exposure. Inevitably your food will touch some plastic en route from the earth to your plate.

Don’t forget to vote with your dollars and to speak up. Email manufacturers of food and drink packaged in plastics indicating your concern about how they negatively impact our health, our kid’s health, and our environment.


You can find the original article HERE.

]]> (moira) Blog Mon, 07 Apr 2014 00:00:00 +0000
Dogs and Magic Tricks

Tuesday April 1 2014

Anyone who has me or knows me already has an idea that I am a HUGE animal-lover.  I've had a pet of some sort (various fishes, hamsters, rats, dogs and cats!) my entire life, and they bring great joy to everyone around them.  So, I've decided to branch off the health and wellness blog posts and try to post random dog/cat videos, photos or articles twice a month for you to just read/watch and laugh!


Watching these dogs confused by a magic trick is hilariously cute

by Jesus Diaz

Watching these dogs confused by a magic trick is hilariously cute


Dogs can be incredibly smart but—when it comes to trusting humans—they are as naive as a little kid who doesn't know what a lie means yet. Watching these dogs getting completely confused when magician Jose Ahonen mades a treat disappear right in front of their eyes (and noses) makes me laugh and awwww at the same time.


You can watch the video HERE.

You can find the original article HERE.

]]> (moira) Blog Tue, 01 Apr 2014 00:00:00 +0000
Top 10 Foods in a Naturopathic Doctor's Kitchen

Monday March 31 2014

I don't necessarily like being a cliche, but in this instance, I don't mind at all!  The following article details 10 food products that Naturopathic Doctors tend to purchase on their weekly trip to the grocery store, and I am definitely guilty as charged!


10 Foods A Naturopathic Doctor Always Buys

by Dr. Katie Corazzo
There are certain foods that always end up in my shopping cart. I stick to a healthy, easy, and quick meal plan. No need for frills or long recipes to stay healthy, but taste doesn't have be sacrificed either. Don’t forget to load up on these goodies next time you're at the grocery store!

Can you think of a more versatile food? There are endless options when it comes to cooking with eggs. And the whites are packed with protein while the yokes are full of fat-soluble vitamins like vitamins A, E, and D. Don’t have time to cook eggs in the morning? Have them for lunch or dinner! My favorite preparation is over easy with veggies, goat cheese, and salsa.

Green Veggies

Kale, collards, brussel sprouts, broccoli, oh my! Make sure you eat your veggies. Brussels seem to be the craze right now and if you haven’t jumped on the bandwagon, you're missing out. The health benefits are endless and the taste is fantastic when garlic and lemon are added.


This natural antimicrobial can help prevent your most annoying colds and flus. Garlic is also good for you heart, so add one clove per day to your food. Add to your favorite roasted veggies or salad. You can even make fresh salad dressing with chopped garlic, vinegar, and olive oil.

Coconut And Almond Milk

Coconut and almond milk are my favorite alternatives to cow’s milk. Worried about calcium? Almond and coconut milk are fortified with calcium just like cow’s milk and often contain more calcium than cow’s milk. I recommend the unsweetened versions, as they don't have added sugar, but still taste great. Use them in your smoothies, coffee or when baking. 

Sweet Potatoes

Trade in your white potatoes for these nutritious root veggies. Sweet potatoes have more flavor than your standard white potato, so forgo the butter, salt, cheese, and sour cream and enjoy the sweetness. Like carrots, sweet potatoes are high in vitamins A, C, and B6. Cook like a baked potato, roasted in the oven, or add to a salad after cooling.

Coconut Water

Did you know that when you sweat, you're losing electrolytes? Low electrolytes can leave you with a headache, feeling dizzy, or dehydrated. Coconut water is a great electrolyte replacement drink, and there are plenty of different flavors to choose from. These seem to taste better when served very cold! 

Beans and Lentils

Fiber. Fiber. Fiber. 35 grams of fiber per day is what is recommended. Beans and lentils are a great source of fiber and protein. As a vegetarian, I am always making sure I am getting enough protein in my diet and beans help me accomplish that. Add to soup, salad, Mexican night, or mix with quinoa and veggies. 
Fresh Herbs

Do you think healthy food has to taste bland? I have good news for you! Add fresh herbs and you now have flavorful healthy food. I'm still a rookie in this department, but whenever I go out on a limb and add rosemary or basil to my cooking, I never regret it. They seem to be more flavorful than spices and contain more nutrients too. I love sprinkling fresh rosemary over my roasted sweet potatoes, sage in my eggs, and cilantro in guacamole. Fresh and delicious. 


Quinoa is the only grain that is a complete protein. This means it has all the essential amino acids, or all the aminos that are required for our diet to prevent us from becoming deficient. It's cooked like rice and only takes about 15 minutes to make. Cook it in vegetable or chicken broth for added flavor. 


Are you sick of plain water? A squeeze of citrus in your water can quench your thirst while adding flavor and vitamin C. Lemon is also the key when cooking your greens, because acid helps cut the bitterness of the veggies. 


You can find the original article HERE.

]]> (moira) Blog Mon, 31 Mar 2014 00:00:00 +0000
Organic Label Requirements Lowered in California

Monday March 24 2014

Organic vs non-organic -- this is a question that many of my patients pose to me during one of our appointments.  My answer has always been "If you struggle with the cost of going organic, then follow EWG's Dirty Dozen vs Clean Fifteen".  For those of you who are supporters of the organic movement, then this following article will be an interesting (albeit concerning) read for you.  Always do your research and read your labels!


California Lowers Requirements For Organic Label Under Drought Conditions

Your organic meat and dairy isn't quite as organic as it was last year.

A variance issued last month by the U.S. Department of Agriculture is allowing organic livestock farmers in California to temporarily abandon the feeding standards that allow them to label their product as organic. Due to a lack of grass -- which livestock typically must graze on four months out of the year to be considered organic -- farmers whose grazing season includes February and March do not have to grass-feed their livestock during those months, effectively slashing organic requirements in half.

During that time, “organic ruminant livestock producers … are not required to graze or provide dry matter intake from pasture during this time period,” the variance states. “Producers may reduce their 2014 grazing season by the number of days that correspond to this time period in their grazing plan.”

The USDA issued the variance after receiving requests from the California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF) and Marin Organic Certified Agriculture and will only apply it to farmers operating in the 53 out of 58 counties that have been declared primary natural disaster areas, where the devastating statewide drought has left farmers without the grass that makes their product organic.

“It’s huge because we still don’t have pasture for cows to graze on,” Albert Straus of the Straus Family Creamery in Petaluma told The Guardian. “We lost at least a month to a month-and-a-half of pasture,” he said, noting that the grass dried up back in December.

According to the CCOF, organic producers are only allowed to substitute their livestock’s grass diet with organic feed, but other advocates for pesticide-free farming warn that this is still an unfortunate reinterpretation of what it means to farm organically.

“It’s a necessary evil,” Ronnie Cummuns, national director of the Organic Consumers Association, told The Huffington Post. “We’ll support this variance if that’s the only alternative,” he said, emphasizing that temporary exceptions like this pose a threat to organic standards if their end date isn’t secured. According to the USDA, the variance is temporary, but further action could be taken if the drought persists.

Resorting to organic or non-organic feed, typically corn or soy-based according to Cummins, robs consumers of the nutritional benefits of grass-fed meat and dairy, he told HuffPost.

“Grass-fed dairy or beef has higher levels of Omega-3 and Omega-6, which is extremely important in human health,” he said. “There’s no doubt that feeding grain to animals that aren’t supposed to be eating grain is not good for them, not good for the environment and not good for consumers,” noting that feed production is incredibly energy intensive. “Pretty much any farmer knows that the cows would be healthier and the end product would be better if you have them out on pasture.”


You can find the original article HERE.

]]> (moira) Blog Mon, 24 Mar 2014 00:00:00 +0000
Frozen Foods - Good or Bad?

Monday March 17 2014

I have been sharing this little "food tip" for months with my patients, and I'd like to share it with you too!  Have you ever tried to freeze a bag of strawberries or blueberries that you bought from the farmer's market only to have it all clump together into one big brick of strawberries or blueberries?  I have discovered the secret to freezing fruits/vegetables without them clumping together!  Wash the fruits and let them dry thoroughly.  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.  Place the individual or cut up fruit/vegetable pieces evenly spaced out on the cookie sheet.  Put the cookie sheet into the freezer for about 30-60 minutes.  Throw everything into a big freezer ziploc bag.  And, voila!  Hopefully the weather will be warming up soon and you can buy lots of fresh fruits/vegetables from your local farmer's market and freeze to your heart's content!


4 Things to Look for in the Frozen Food Section

March 6, 2014 | By Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD

When I go grocery shopping with my clients, many assume that we’re going to skip the frozen food section altogether. The truth is, while I’m a huge advocate for eating more fresh fare and fewer packaged products, there are some hidden gems in the freezer section that are worth a spot in your cart—especially if you need time-saving shortcuts to help you eat more healthfully (you know, those nights where you need to make something quick or you’re ordering takeout!). Here are my top four picks, plus good-for-you ways to enjoy them.


You may be surprised to learn that frozen fruits and veggies may actually be more nutritious than their fresh counterparts. That’s because the second produce is harvested, it begins to lose nutrients. Since frozen produce is typically iced close to the time it’s picked, and freezing preserves and possibly boosts antioxidants and nutrients, freezing essentially “locks in” good nutrition. I’m such a big fan of frozen fruits and vegetables, I wrote an entire post about them, 5 Reasons This Nutritionist Buys Frozen Produce, which also lists other key benefits of buying frozen. On super busy days, keeping these goodies on hand has allowed many of my clients to squeeze in produce they might have otherwise skipped. If you’re out of fresh fruit, just transfer unsweetened frozen fruit, like whole berries, to the fridge to thaw, then eat them cold, or add them to a dish like oatmeal or a parfait. Frozen veggies simply need to be steamed, then seasoned. One of my favorite tricks is to lightly toss them with a bit of jarred vegan pesto or olive tapenade. For example, broccoli with sundried tomato pesto is delicious, and voilà, you have a veggie side dish in mere minutes.

Whole Grains

A lot of my clients end up eating processed or refined grains at dinner because they’re too tired or hungry to boil water and wait for whole grains like wild rice to cook. Fortunately, frozen is now an option. I regularly buy pre-cooked frozen black barley, wild rice, and wheatberries. The only ingredient in the bags is the whole grain itself—that’s it (talk about clean eating). And because they’re fully cooked, they’re incredibly versatile. I can thaw them in the fridge to add to garden salads or chilled dishes, along with veggies and beans or lentils, then I toss the mixture with balsamic vinaigrette. I can also add them directly to recipes, like simple homemade soups, heat them to accompany a stir fry, or make a warm breakfast porridge.


If you scan the ingredient list on most shelf-stable breads, even whole grain versions, you’ll find stabilizers, preservatives, and other additives that make you think, “What is that?” Since freezing acts as a natural preservative, breads found in the freezer section don’t require those unwanted extras, so they often have ingredient lists that read like a simple, good old-fashioned recipe—just whole grains, water, yeast, and a little salt. Keep your loaves frozen and then thaw or toast one slice at a time. Spread with almond butter and cover with fresh fruit (or warmed up frozen fruit) at breakfast, or make a quick open-faced sandwich for lunch, topped with a healthy spread like avocado or hummus, along with lean protein and fresh veggies.


When you think of frozen seafood, images of processed, breaded “mystery fish” sticks might come to mind. But these days you’ll also find sustainably sourced, additive-free options, like wild-caught filets of salmon, halibut, cod, and tuna, as well as frozen shrimp with only the addition of salt. These lean proteins can be tossed on the grill, baked, broiled, or sautéed. Simply season with fresh or dried herbs, a little lemon or lime, and avocado, then pair with veggies and a small portion of healthy starch, like wild rice or baked sweet potato, for an easy, breezy balanced meal.


You can find the original article HERE.

]]> (moira) Blog Mon, 17 Mar 2014 00:00:00 +0000
Detoxing from Sugar

Monday March 10 2014

Detoxification has always been a running theme in my practice once winter begins to wind down.  This change of season is a great time to start doing a healthy detox in order to kick start your health into the warmers months!  Here's a great article on how to detox from sugar, which is very difficult to avoid these days because it is in most foods that we consume on a daily basis!


10 Ways to Detox From Sugar In 10 Days

By Dr. Mark Hyman

Here’s the not-so-sweet truth. We are killings ourselves by consuming truckloads of hidden sugar.


Sugar is the New Fat

Despite 40 years of Americans being brainwashed into thinking that fat is bad, it turns out it’s sugar, not fat, that makes you sick and overweight.

The facts are in, the science is beyond question. Sugar in all its forms is the root cause of our obesity epidemic and most of the chronic disease sucking the life out of our citizens and our economy — and, increasingly, the rest of the world. You name it, it’s caused by sugar: heart disease, cancer, dementia, type 2 diabetes, depression, and even acne, infertility and impotence.

The average American consumes about 152 pounds of sugar a year. That’s roughly 22 teaspoons every day for every person in America. And our kids consume about 34 teaspoons every day — that’s more than two 20-ounce sodas — making nearly one in four teenagers pre-diabetic or diabetic.

Flour is even worse than sugar. We consume about 146 pounds of flour a year. Think about it. That’s about one pound of sugar and flour combined every day for every man, woman and child in America. And flour raises blood sugar even more than table sugar. Even whole-wheat flour.


Food Addiction: Is It Real?

Here’s another shocking fact: Sugar is eight times as addictive as cocaine.

Being addicted to sugar and flour is not an emotional eating disorder. It’s a biological disorder, driven by hormones and neurotransmitters that fuel sugar and carb cravings — leading to uncontrolled overeating. This is not a limited phenomenon. It’s the reason nearly 70 percent of Americans and 40 percent of kids are overweight. In one study, Harvard scientists found that a high-sugar milkshake (compared to a low-sugar one) not only spiked blood sugar and insulin and led to sugar cravings, but it caused huge changes in the brain. The sugar lit up the addiction center in the brain like the sky on the Fourth of July. Think cocaine cookies, morphine muffins or smack sodas!


Why You Need a Sugar Detox

We need a clear path to detox from sugar, to break the addictive cycle of carb and sugar cravings that robs us of our health. And it only takes 10 days — or less. We need science, not willpower, to reverse this.

That’s why I created The Blood Sugar Solution 10-Day Detox Diet. Early last year, I invited more than 600 people to try it out, and they lost more than 4,000 pounds in 10 days. But more important, they did it painlessly by enjoying powerful addiction-reversing foods that rewired and reset their brains and bodies. No cravings, no bland or boring diet food, no deprivation. Just abundance and delight. And at the end of the 10 days, they got their bodies and their minds back, and learned a new way to eat and live that will last a lifetime — a long one!

More recently, another group of 30 people tried my plan, and had very similar results. You can read about their experiences and results. You’ll see for yourself how well it worked.


Top 10 Big Ideas

In my book, The Blood Sugar Solution 10-Day Detox Diet, you’ll learn how to make these top 10 big ideas for detoxing from sugar and refined carbs work for you in just 10 days.

1) Make a decision to detox: In my book, there are three simple quizzes to help you know you need to detox. If you answer “yes” to any of these questions, a sugar detox is your ticket to feeling great quickly and losing weight painlessly.

The first is the diabesity quiz. Do you have pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes? (90 percent of Americans have not been diagnosed.) Do you have belly fat? Are you overweight? Crave sugar and carbs? Have trouble losing weight on low-fat diets? Have high triglycerides, low HDL (“good”) cholesterol or been told your blood sugar is “a little high”?

The second is a food addiction quiz. Do you eat when you’re not hungry? Experience a food coma after eating? Feel bad about your eating habits or avoid certain activities because of your eating? Get withdrawal symptoms if you cut down or stop eating sugar or flour? Need more and more of same bad foods just to feel good?

The third is the FLC Quiz (or the Toxicity Quiz). FLC stands for Feel Like Crap. FLC Syndrome has a list of symptoms including bloating, gas, reflux, irritable bowel, joint or muscle pain, brain fog, memory or mood problems, sinus or allergy symptoms and more. Millions of us have FLC Syndrome and don’t know we are only a few days away from health and happiness.

2) Be a turkey (a cold one): There is no way to handle a true physiological addiction except to stop it completely. Addicts can’t have just one line of cocaine or just one drink. Go cold turkey. But you won’t have to white-knuckle it because if you follow these 10 Big Ideas you will automatically reset your body’s neurotransmitters and hormones. Stop all forms of sugar, all flour products and all artificial sweeteners — which cause increased cravings and slow metabolism, and lead to fat storage. Also get rid of anything with trans or hydrogenated fats and MSG (watch for hidden names). Ideally, for 10 days you avoid any foods that come in box, package or a can or that have a label, and stick to real, whole, fresh food. And the best way to really detox is to give up ALL grains for 10 days, too.

3) Don’t drink your calories: Any form of liquid sugar calories is worse than solid food with sugar or flour. Think of it as mainlining sugar directly to your liver. It turns off a fat storage machine in your liver, leading to dreaded belly fat. You don’t feel full, so you eat more all day and you crave more sugar and carbs. It’s also the single biggest source of sugar calories in our diet. That includes sodas, juices other than green vegetable juice, sports drinks, sweetened teas or coffees. One 20-ounce soda has 15 teaspoons of sugar; Gatorade contains 14 teaspoons of the stuff in one bottle. One can of soda a day increases a kid’s chance of being obese by 60 percent and a woman’s chance of type 2 diabetes by 80 percent. Stay away!

4) Power up the day with protein: Protein, protein, protein at every meal — especially breakfast — is the key to balancing blood sugar and insulin and cutting cravings. Start the day with whole farm eggs or a protein shake. I recommend my Whole Food Protein Shake. Use nuts, seeds, eggs, fish, chicken or grass-fed meat for protein at every meal. A serving size is 4-6 ounces or the size of your palm.

5) Eat unlimited carbs (the right ones): Yes, that’s right. Unlimited carbs. Did you know that vegetables are carbs? And you get to eat as much as you want. Unlimited refills! There is one catch. I only mean the non-starchy veggies such as greens, the broccoli family (cauliflower, kale, collards, etc.), asparagus, green beans, mushrooms, onions, zucchini, tomatoes, fennel, eggplant, artichokes, peppers, etc. What’s out are potatoes, sweet potatoes, winter squash and beets — just for 10 days. Also skip grains and beans for 10 days. It supercharges the results so you lose weight and feel great.

6) Fight sugar with fat: Fat is not a four-letter word. Fat doesn’t make you fat, sugar does. Fat makes you full, balances your blood sugar and is necessary for fueling your cells. Along with protein, have good fats at every meal and snack including nuts and seeds (which also contain protein), extra virgin olive oil, coconut butter, avocados, and omega 3 fats from fish.

7) Be ready for emergencies: You never want to be in a food emergency when your blood sugar is dropping and you find yourself in a food desert such as an airport, the office, or in a maze of convenience stores, fast food joints and vending machines. You need an Emergency Life Pak. I have one with me all the time, filled with protein, good fats, and good snacks so I never have to make a bad choice. Here’s what’s in mine. Packets of Artisana nut butters and coconut butter, almonds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, salmon jerky or turkey jerky, a can of wild salmon or sardines and unsweetened wild blueberries.

8) Swap distress for de-stress: If you are stressed, your hormones go crazy. Cortisol goes up which makes you hungry, causes belly fat storage and leads to type 2 diabetes. Studies show that taking deep breaths activates a special nerve, called the vagus nerve, that shifts your metabolism from fat storage to fat burning and quickly moves you out of the stress state. And all you have to do is take a deep breath. My Take Five Breathing Break is something you can do anywhere, anytime. Simply take five slow deep breaths – in to the count of five, out to the count of five. Five times. That’s it. Do this before every meal. Watch what happens!

9) Put out the fire (of inflammation): Studies show that inflammation triggers blood sugar imbalances, insulin resistance, pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes. The most common source of inflammatory foods other than sugar, flour and trans fats are hidden food sensitivities. The most common culprits are gluten anddairy. We often crave the foods we’re allergic to. Without them we feel lousy and want more. Quit gluten and dairy for ten days. Getting off them isn’t easy, but after just two to three days without them you’ll have renewed energy, relief from cravings, and will see many of your common symptoms disappear.

10) Get your zzzs: Getting less sleep drives sugar and carb cravings by affecting your appetite hormones. In human studies, depriving college students of just two hours of the recommended eight hours of sleep led to a rise in hunger hormones, a decrease in appetite-suppressing hormones and big cravings for sugar and refined carbs. You want more energy if you don’t sleep, so you go toward quickly absorbed sugars. Sleep is the best way to fight against the drive to overeat. You literally can sleep your cravings and your weight away.

All of these ideas and a goof-proof, step-by-step plan of how to make them work for you are in my new book. If you’re inspired to end your food addiction and your sugar and carb cravings, and renew and reboot your health, order The Blood Sugar Solution 10-Day Detox Diet.

Wishing you health and happiness,
Mark Hyman, MD

You can find the original article HERE.

]]> (moira) Blog Mon, 10 Mar 2014 00:00:00 +0000
Benefits of a High Fibre Diet

Monday March 3 2014

I have been seeing a lot of patients with constipation as their chief concern lately, so I figured I should share this article that I found on the benefits of a high fibre diet.  Enjoy and as always, send me an email to let me know your thoughts or if you have any suggestions for future blog posts!


8 Health Benefits of High Fiber Diet

By Amy Kessler


Often our doctors have told us to eat more fiber. But many of us aren't entirely sure why we actually need fiber and how it benefits out bodies. That being the case, here are eight facts to help you learn more about benefits of fiber.


Health Benefits of High Fiber Diet

1. Fiber fights disease. A high fiber diet can help prevent colon cancer and heart disease. Fiber helps remove cholesterol from the body by binding with it in the digestive tract. Oatmeal is high in fiber, which is why we see so many commercials about how it can reduce your cholesterol if you eat it every day for 6 weeks.

2. Fiber can help you avoid overeating. High fiber foods take longer to chew and digest. Since they take longer to digest, you feel full and satisfied longer. In turn, this can help you avoid the mid-morning or mid-afternoon munchies.

3. Grains offer the highest amount of fiber. Fiber is actually plant matter that we cannot digest. That is why whole grains and products with concentrated amounts of grain are the best sources of fiber.

4. Children need fibers in their diets too. Children over the age of 2 need to eat their daily allowance of fiber. Fruits, vegetables and some breakfast cereals are all good, kid friendly foods that are high in fiber.

5. When eating a diet higher in fiber, you also need to drink more water. As noted earlier, fiber is plant material that we cannot digest. You need water to keep it moving efficiently through your digestive system. If you don't drink enough water with a high fiber diet, it can lead to bloating and constipation.

6. Fiber cannot be cooked out of your food. Many vitamins and minerals are sensitive to heat and are actually destroyed during the cooking process. That is not the case with fiber.

7. You can actually overeat and get too much fiber. If you eat more than 50 grams a day, it can lead to diarrhea and bloating. It can also interfere with your body's absorption of key minerals. In this case, too much of a good thing is true.

8. Its easy to get the right amount of fiber in your diet. If you eat the right foods, getting the right amount of fiber is not hard. This means eating a variety of fruits, vegetables and whole grains every day.


As you can see, fiber is a key way to stay healthy. Not only can it help you lose weight by making you feel full longer, it can help avoid many diseases and health issues. Fiber is found in so many foods that it is easy for everyone to add it to their diet and get enough every day. One of the best sources of fiber are fresh fruits and vegetables. These are some of the most inexpensive items in any grocery store, so getting enough fiber is also an inexpensive way to be healthy.


You can find the original article HERE.

]]> (moira) Blog Mon, 03 Mar 2014 00:00:00 +0000
Dry Skin Brushing

Monday February 24 2014


As the winter (hopefully!) comes to an end, I always get an influx of patients who are interested in doing a detox.  One of the aspects of detoxing is dry skin brushing. It's a simple and quick method of aiding your body in detoxifying your system by stimulating the patient's lymphatic system.  I came across a great first-hand perspective with dry skin brushing at


Dry Brushing: Benefits + How To

by Brittany Mullins

During my teenage years I didn’t worry about my skin much at all — I went to the tanning bed (I know.. ugh!), slept with makeup on after a long night, didn’t care about exfoliating or moisturizing, etc. As I’ve learned more about nutrition and health, I’ve realized that taking care of our skin should be a priority.

Of course, eating a nutritious diet and hydrating with plenty of water are both key to keeping our skin healthy but I’ve found a few others things that are helpful as well, especially during the winter months when my skin is insanely dry. One of my top skin saving tricks (that I’ve talked about many times before), is unrefined coconut oil. I have a jar in the bathroom and use it as my daily moisturizer (in the morning and at night) for my face and body. Once applied the oiliness goes away quickly and leaves my skin silky smooth. It’s been a game changer for me!

Another game changer = dry brushing.

I first heard about dry bruising and all its benefits many years ago while attending the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. I was intrigued and looked into buying a dry brush but never got around to it. While Christmas shopping with friends this year, I randomly came across a dry brush in Nordstrom Rack for $9.99. Kind of random, but I took it as a sign that I needed to start dry brushing so I picked it up and have been using it ever since.

I try to remember to dry brush every day before showering. I’ll admit, it was hard to remember at first but lately I’ve been leaving the brush out on a little table beside the sink in our bathroom so that I remember to do it. And I’ve been loving it so far —  the process gives me goose-bumps, which feels like I’m waking up my skin cells and energizing my system. Plus my skin is softer than it’s ever been!

So what the heck is dry brushing and why is it good for us? Here’s the deal:

What is dry brushing

Brushing your skin with a dry body brush that is designed to exfoliate and remove dead skin cells.

When should you do it

At least once a day. It’s great to do it right before showering so that the dead skin cells can be washed away, but you can also do it first thing in the morning or right before bed. If you’re just starting out you can start brushing three times a week and work yourself up to doing it daily.

How to do it

Start by brushing the soles of your feet and then begin working your way up your body, brushing your skin gently with long strokes toward your heart, which is the way the lymph system flows naturally. Once you’re done brushing your legs, move up the arms, shoulders and down the back, then brush your stomach using a clockwise motion. Don’t apply too much pressure or use a scrubbing motion at any point. Skip your face (unless you have a brush specifically for the face) and do not do any dry brushing over cuts, rashes,varicose veins or other areas of irritated skin. The whole process should take between 2-10 minutes, depending on how much time you have.

What does it do/what are the benefits

Dry brushing can make you feel more energized from the increased blood flow, help strengthen your immune system and keep your skin glowing by removing dead skin cells and opening clogged pores. It will also help increase circulation of the lymphatic system which promotes the elimination of toxins from the body while aiding in digestion and kidney function. It’s also known for helping to tighten skin and reduce cellulite… apparently it was the most effective home remedy for cellulite in a study done by Huffington Post.

Where to get a brush

Most health food stores sell them and you can also find them online. Apparently, you can also find them at Nordstrom Rack on occasion. :)


You can find the original article HERE.


]]> (moira) Blog Mon, 24 Feb 2014 00:00:00 +0000
Plant Your Kitchen Scraps!

Monday February 17 2014

Happy Family Day to all of my fellow Ontarians!  In celebrating the first long-weekend of the year, I wanted to share this fabulous article by HGTV Gardens on how you can save a bit of money AND teach the kids how to grow plants from some simple foods in the kitchen!  I have always done this with green onions but I officially started my avocado tree quest and I'll let you know how it goes!


7 Plants You Can Start From Kitchen Scraps

by Mick Telkamp

Instead of throwing kitchen scraps into the compost bin, re-grow them!

Many of us have had the experience of reaching into a bag of onions to find new growth as fresh green shoots have sprouted within. Plants love to grow and it’s easy to simply cut away the new sprouts and get on with dinner, but for the intrepid gardener, the new growth possible from vegetable scraps or an unexpected surplus of produce is an opportunity to get a jump on propagating new crops. Before relegating kitchen scraps to the compost pile, consider these anxious growers and repopulate a bountiful garden using parts of the vegetable usually left behind.


Cut celery stalks from the base as usual, but instead of tossing that base away, place it in a shallow cup of water on a sunny windowsill, leaving the top exposed. In a matter of days, you’ll notice fresh green growth emerging from the center. Change the water every couple of days and watch the plant flourish, even as outer stalks lose their color and fade. Once the new growth has established, transfer the growing celery into the garden or a pot of soil to continue its development.

Green Onions

Use the white root normally discarded to effortlessly provide a steady and renewable source of green onions. Simply place the roots in a glass, leaving the cut end above water. Left on the kitchen windowsill, the green shoots will continue to grow. Change the water occasionally and an endless supply of this cooking staple is always at hand. This same method may be used to keep fresh leeks or fennel always within reach.


Like celery, cabbage (as well as bok choy and romaine lettuce) can be regrown from the root base. Although cabbage can also be started in water, starting out in shallow soil is sometimes more effective. Make sure to keep the soil especially damp for the first week or two to encourage new growth.


A favorite grade-school project, the eyes of potatoes readily sprout new growth (sometimes even in the pantry). Cut potatoes into pieces and nurture the sprouts in water. Once new sprouts are established, plant in damp soil to grow your own potatoes.


That golf ball-sized pit is a giant seed ready to grow into your very own avocado tree. Press three toothpicks into the pit along its center and suspend it in a glass with water covering the bottom half. Change the water regularly and after a few weeks stems will form. Growing this tree is a little more challenging than some other kitchen scrap projects, but is worth the effort. Check out this article for more details on growing your own avocado tree.


Plant a clove of garlic in a pot of damp soil and place it in a sunny location. As the garlic scapes (stalks) grow, cut them back to divert the plants resources to developing that glorious root. Garlic scapes are a treat in their own right and the peppery stalks can be roasted or used in pesto.


Ginger rhizomes (the “root” used for cooking) are easy growers inside the house, but take a little longer. Plant a piece of the rhizome in damp soil and place in a sunny room, but out of direct sunlight. Shoots will become evident fairly soon, but it will take several months before there has been enough growth to harvest. Once the ginger has developed sufficient growth, pull the plant from the soil for use. Don’t forget to cut off a piece to re-plant!



You can find the original article HERE.

]]> (moira) Blog Mon, 17 Feb 2014 14:03:22 +0000
How Does Meditation Work?

Monday February 10 2014

Meditation is something that each and every one of us should practice, particularly in today's busy day and age!  For all of those skeptics out there, and even to those who are simply interested in the science behind meditation, Huffington Post's Amy Turner wrote a great article on meditation and why it works.


Meditation 101: The Neuroscience of Why Meditation Works

As yogis have known for centuries and scientists can now prove, the benefits of meditation are profound.

Meditation is perhaps the most crucial instrument to harness the power of thought, cultivate more peace, clarity and happiness.

Learning to train the brain and focus our attention is crucial to thriving and cultivating a peak performance in any endeavor.

Long-time psychotherapist Dr. Ron Alexander, author of Wise Mind, Open Mind, speaks of MIND STRENGTH, or the resiliency, efficacy and emotional intelligence that arise as we begin the process of controlling the mind. Mind strength is one of the most empowering tools we can employ to impact and improve all aspects of life.

There are five major categories of brain waves, each corresponding to different activities. Meditation enables us to move from higher frequency brain waves to lower frequency, which activates different centers in the brain.

Slower wavelengths = more time between thoughts = more opportunity to skillfully choose which thoughts you invest in and what actions you take.

5 Categories of Brain Waves: Why Meditation Works

1. Gamma State (30-100Hz): This is the state of hyperactivity and active learning. Gamma state is the most opportune time to retain information. This is why educators often have audiences jumping up and down or dancing around -- to increase the likelihood of permanent assimilation of information. If over stimulated, it can lead to anxiety.

2. Beta State (13-30Hz): Where we function for most of the day, beta state is associated with the alert mind state of the prefrontal cortex. This is a state of the "working" or "thinking mind" -- analytical, planning, assessing and categorizing.

3. Alpha State (9-13Hz): Brain waves start to slow down out of thinking mind. We feel more calm, peaceful and grounded. We often find ourselves in an "alpha state" after a yoga class, a walk in the woods, a pleasurable sexual encounter or during any activity that helps relax the body and mind. We are lucid, reflective, have a slightly diffused awareness. The hemispheres of the brain are more balanced (neural integration).

4. Theta State (4-8Hz): We are able to begin meditation. This is the point where the verbal/thinking mind transitions to the meditative/visual mind. We begin to move from the planning mind to a deeper state of awareness (often felt as drowsy), with stronger intuition, more capacity for wholeness and complicated problem solving. The theta state is associated visualization.

5. Delta State (1-3 Hz): Tibetan monks that have been meditating for decades can reach this in an alert, wakened phase, but most of us reach this final state during deep, dreamless sleep.

How to Meditate

A simple meditation to use to begin the transition from Beta or Alpha to the Theta State is to focus on the breath. The breath and mind work in tandem, so as breath begins to lengthen, brain waves begin to slow down.

To begin the meditation, sit comfortably in your chair with your shoulders relaxed and spine tall. Place your hands mindfully on your lap, close your eyes and as much as possible eliminate any stimulus that may distract you.

Watch your breath. Simply notice your breath flowing in. Flowing out. Don't try to change it in any way. Just notice.

Silently repeat the mantra: "Breathing In. Breathing Out." As your mind begins to wander, draw it back to your breath. Notice that as your breath begins to lengthen and fill your body, your mind begins to calm.

Consistency is key. Try to do this breath meditation first thing in the morning and/or at night. Be consistent with your meditation. Shorter meditations on a regular basis are more productive than long sessions every few weeks. Aim for 5 minutes a day and add 1 minutes each week.


You can find the original article HERE.

]]> (moira) Blog Mon, 10 Feb 2014 22:25:33 +0000
Away on Vacation Part 2

Monday February 3 2014

Here is a photo from Barbados that I took from the little boat that my husband and I were on while we went further out into the ocean to snorkel and explore a "sunken ship" and a whole bunch of turtles!

]]> (moira) Blog Mon, 03 Feb 2014 21:53:40 +0000
Away on Vacation Part 1

Monday January 27 2014

I will be away on vacation from Fri Jan 25 to Mon Feb 3.  We are heading down to the Caribbean for our "mini-moon" and are super excited to be soaking up some much needed vitamin D and having some down time focused on relaxation!  I will post again once I get back.  In the meantime, have a great two weeks!

]]> (moira) Blog Mon, 27 Jan 2014 07:11:19 +0000
Dairy & Sugar-Free Hot Chocolate

Monday January 20 2014

Here's a great healthy treat that you can make for yourself to keep you warm on a cold January night in Toronto!  Thank you Mind Body Green for the great recipe.


Ingredients: (makes approximately 8 cups)

  • 3 cups of almond milk
  • 3 cups of hazelnut milk (or extra almond milk)
  • 1 heaping cup of soft dates, pitted and roughly chopped
  • ¾ cup + 2 tablespoons of unsweetened cacao
  • ½ cup of cashews
  • 2 tablespoons of cacao nibs (optional)
  • 2 large pinches of sea salt




  1. Combine almond milk, hazelnut milk, dates, cacao, cashews, cacao nibs and sea salt into your blender.
  2. Blend until smooth.
  3. In order to warm up your "hot chocolate", leave the blender running for at least 1 minute or heat it on the stove.
  4. Enjoy!


You can find the original article HERE.

]]> (moira) Blog Mon, 20 Jan 2014 22:03:04 +0000
Implementing a Healthy Lifestyle in Your Kids

Monday January 13 2014

My husband and I currently only have 4 "fur babies" and we only just got married a few months ago!  However, if and when we have the chance to raise a couple of little Jeffs and/or Moiras, I am going to have to keep the following tips from Yvelette Stines of Mind Body Green in mind.  I hope that these tips are practically helpful for you - please do let me know which ones work well and which ones don't!


10 Tips To Help Kids Embrace A Healthy Lifestyle


by Yvelette Stines


To change a generation, we must start with the youth, so it's important to remember that September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month. While there's been some improvement in the fight against childhood obesity, we still have a long way to go. As adults and parents, a proper example is very helpful when it comes to encouraging healthy habits for children. Kids tend to follow what we do more than what we say.

Let’s walk the walk when it comes to living a healthy lifestyle. Here are 10 ways that we can set wonderful example for a healthy future.

1. Play

Find activities that you and your kids can participate in together.

2. Cook

Show your children that you cook. Their eyes are always watching. If they remember you calling for take out rather than actually preparing food, it will make a difference.

3. Exercise together

Create memories as well as traditions when it comes to health. Go for walks, bike rides, or runs together. Kids will see that exercise is both family time and a lifestyle habit. It will stick with them.

4. Create kitchen time

Share responsibilities in the kitchen. This also create a time where kids can learn to create their own healthy snacks.

5. Snack healthy

Whether it's in the car, after school, or running errands let the kids in your world see that you plan and pack snacks that are healthy.

6. Eat together

Find time to eat together and communicate with your kids. As you share a healthy meal, you're also increasing healthy communication skills.

7. Share the importance of healthy living

Wherever you are on your personal journey, be transparent with your children while you share the importance of healthy living. It won’t register if you take a "do as I say, not as I do" mentality.

8. Encourage organized sports

Sports can be healthy for a child's overall development. It can increase communication skills and sportsmanship, as well as their athletic ability.

9. Visit the farmers market

Create lessons and educate your children about the process of growing produce. A great activity is to find a recipe, allow your child to shop for the ingredients and make the dish once you get home.

10. Have fun

Healthy living isn't a chore; it's a way of life, and kids should feel the same way. Share fun activities, delicious food, and set the foundation for a healthy long life for the child in your world.


To help you get started, here's an easy and fun recipe that kids can make!

Green Pepper "Octopus" in Hummus


  • 2 Green Peppers
  • 1 Package of Hummus
  • 2 Black olives


  1. Spread the hummus on the plate.
  2. Slice the top of the pepper off for the body.
  3. Clean out the middle of the pepper.
  4. Turn it upside down in the middle of the hummus.
  5. Use slices of the other pepper for the legs.
  6. Put four slices of pepper on each side.
  7. Dab the olive in the hummus and place on the pepper to use for the eyes.


You can find the original article HERE.

]]> (moira) Blog Mon, 13 Jan 2014 19:49:58 +0000
How to Make the Perfect Smoothie

Monday January 6 2014

I'd like to kick off the year by sharing Mind Body Green's article on making the perfect smoothie.  I *love* smoothies, and even though it's the middle of winter right now (particularly up here in Toronto, ON, Canada!) and this isn't necessarily the ideal time for smoothies, you can still keep this information in the back of your mind the next time you have a craving for this icy treat!


How To Make A Perfect Smoothie Every Time

by Danielle Preste-John


Lately it seems as though everyone is drinking green juice on the regular, and can’t get enough. But let’s not forget about the smoothies!

My love of smoothies actually goes way beyond juicing because I get in all my nutrients, plus I feel satiated afterward. Still not convinced? Here are some of the benefits:

  • They're easy to digest.
  • They're full of fiber.
  • They're a great way to sneak in your greens.
  • They're hydrating.
  • They're packed full of vitamins and minerals, if you make them right and load up on fruits and vegetables.


If you want to argue that smoothies aren’t filling, or aren’t a good source of nutrients, you just haven’t made them right. Here are my tips for the perfect smoothie:

1. Go non-dairy

Unsweetened coconut milk, almond milk, or coconut water are my liquids of choice, but whatever you choose, stick with non-dairy. It will be easier on your digestion and if you choose a coconut-based product, it will be high in electrolytes too.


2. Add in a healthy fat for staying power

Many people forget this step, but this is the key to giving your smoothie staying power. Mix in chia seeds, hemp hearts,avocado, or almond butter to add in some healthy fat. My favorite healthy fat to add is toasted coconut flakes with cinnamon.


3. Boost the health content with greens

Add in your favorite greens of choice to up the nutritional content. I promise you can’t taste them.


4. Choose a quality protein that works for you

Different things work for different people, but make sure you choose a protein your body tolerates well.

For some, this is egg white protein, others whey, and others raw-vegan protein. You may even want to skip the protein in your smoothie and enjoy something on the side instead. Whatever works best for your body is what you should go with in this case.


5. Experiment with spices

Spices are key in making your smoothies taste great. Plus they can add in additional health benefits. I love adding cinnamon to mine because of the taste, but also because it helps lower blood sugar. Play around with spices and see which ones you like best.


Below are are some of my favorite smoothie recipes:

Chocolate Cherry Smoothie

  • ½ cup frozen cherries
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1-2 tbsp raw cacao powder
  • ½ avocado
  • Protein of choice



Tropical Fruit Smoothie

  • ¼ cup frozen pineapple
  • ¼ cup frozen mango
  • 1 kiwi
  • 1 cup coconut water
  • Handful of toasted coconut flakes
  • Protein of choice



Antioxidant Boost Smoothie


  • 2 cups fresh kale
  • ½ cup coconut milk
  • ½ cup water
  • ¼ frozen banana
  • ¾ cup fresh blueberries
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • Protein of choice


Popeye Smoothie

  • 2 cups fresh spinach
  • 1 cup mixed frozen berries
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 tbs. almond butter
  • ½ tsp ginger
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • Protein of choice


You can find the original article HERE.

]]> (moira) Blog Mon, 06 Jan 2014 00:00:00 +0000
Happy New Year!

Monday December 30 2013

Wishing everyone a very Happy New Year, with 2014 filled with much love, laughter, health and success!

]]> (moira) Blog Mon, 30 Dec 2013 08:50:20 +0000
Merry Christmas!

Monday December 23 2013

I just wanted to wish everyone out there who celebrates Dec 25 a very Merry Christmas!  Wishing you much love and laughter enjoyed around lots of great food!

]]> (moira) Blog Mon, 23 Dec 2013 13:48:19 +0000
Heartburn Medication & B12 Deficiency

Monday December 16 2013

I heard about an interesting article on CBC that published in the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA) that linked the use of heart burn medications to a higher risk of developing vitamin B12 deficiency.


The study looked into the effect of various proton pump inhibitors (such as Losec, Nexium, Prevacid and Pariet) on vitamin B12 levels because stomach acid is required in the absorption of vitamin B12.

The researchers looked at electronic health records of 25,956 adults from North California who were diagnosed with vitamin B12 deficiency between January 1997 and Jun 2011 and compared them with 184,199 patients without B12 deficiency during this same period of time.  Among the 25,956 patients with B12 deficiency, 12% used proton pump inhibitors for at least 2 years (vs 7.2% in the control group).  It was noted in the study that taking more than 1½ pills per day had more of an association with vitamin B12 deficiency than only taking ¾ pill per day.

Please click HERE to see the article on CBC and HERE to view the full article.

So, I would say that the moral of the story is that if you are taking heart burn medication, particularly on a long-term basis, make an appointment with your Naturopathic Doctor and he/she can help you test your vitamin B12 levels and put you on a highly absorbable form of vitamin B12.  At the same time, your ND can also help you work on your diet and lifestyle and add in a couple of supplements to help you reduce the incidence of heartburn episodes so that you don't have to take the medications on a long-term and daily basis.

]]> (moira) Blog Mon, 16 Dec 2013 07:57:04 +0000
Vegan Sugar Cookies

Monday December 16 2013

There's only one more week until Christmas and this is definitely the time to bake up huge batches of cookies! has a great sugar cookie recipe that I'd love to re-post.  Let me know what you think if you try out the recipe.


(makes 65-70 bite-sized sugar cookies)


  • ½ cup vegan butter
  • ½ cup cane sugar
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp vegan sour cream
  • pinch sea salt
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • 1¼ cups unbleached flour

For the icing:

  • 1 cup powdered cane sugar
  • 7-8 tsp water
  • sprinkles (optional)



  1. Preheat the oven to 350℉.
  2. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set it aside.
  3. In a large mixing bow, cream the butter, sugar, vanilla extract and sour cream using a hand mixer on high speed.  Mix for 1-2 minutes or until light and fluffy.
  4. Mix in the salt, baking soda and flour.  Beat just until combined.
  5. Use a 1½ tsp cookie scoop, drop the dough onto the prepared baking sheet.
  6. Sprinkle with sanding sugar (optional!).
  7. Bake at 350℉ for 8-9 minutes.
  8. Allow the cookies to cool on a baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer them to a cooling rack.


  1. Stir together the powdered sugar and water.
  2. Dip the top of each cookie into the icing and cover with sprinkles (optional).
  3. Store in an air-tight container for up to 5 days



If you prefer to roll out the cookie dough and use a cutter, just add an additional ¼ cup of flour.  You will also need to chill the dough in the refrigerator for 45 minutes prior to rolling and cutting, and then chill the cut dough pieces in the freezer for 10 minutes before baking.

If you want to make gluten-free sugar cookies, simply replace the flour with gluten-free flour and xanthan gum!



You can find the original article HERE.


]]> (moira) Blog Mon, 16 Dec 2013 06:41:45 +0000
Caramel Apple Smoothie

Monday December 9 2013

I found another great smoothie recipe on Mind Body Green!  Just in time to perfect it before you host a holiday party in a few weeks, here is a recipe for a great sweet treat to enjoy and savour.  Let me know what you think of the recipe!


Carmel Apple Smoothie


  • 1 apple
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tbsp of chunky natural peanut butter
  • 2 long stems of mature kale (or substitute with spinach)
  • 1 serving size of chocolate plant-based protein powder
  • Ice cubes
  • 1 cup of water
  • ¾ cup of coconut or almond milk
  • Sprinkle of chia seeds on top


  1. Blend all of the ingredients
  2. Enjoy!


You can find the original article HERE.

]]> (moira) Blog Mon, 09 Dec 2013 21:26:35 +0000
December Fruits & Vegetables

Monday December 2 2013

Here's to rounding out the end of the year with the seasonal fruits and vegetables lists!


What Fruits and Vegetables are In Season: Your December Produce Shopping List

by Joanna Rafael


November is fading fast and taking Autumn with it.  We're putting away our Fall colors and breaking out jewel tones, we're putting down chilled cider and picking up hot toddies, and we're changing our marketing lists.

To honor the time of the season, we have two lists for you: one of the produce you should be buying in December and one of the fruits and vegetables that will be going out of season soon (get a hold of them while you still can.)

Save money and pretend you care about the Earth by shopping for fruits and vegetables that are in season.  We try to stay on board with the happening produce month-to-month because who doesn't want to eat food that's at its peak?  This December, we're most excited about all the delicious roots, fruits and cruciferous veggies we can get our hands on.

Some of the produce this season is pretty surprising:

  • Apples
  • Avocados
  • Beets
  • Belgian endives
  • Bok choy
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Celery root
  • Chard
  • Collard greens
  • Cress
  • Cranberries
  • Dates
  • Endives
  • Escarole
  • Fennel
  • Garlic
  • Grapefruit
  • Kale
  • Kiwi
  • Kohlrabi
  • Kumquat
  • Leeks
  • Lemons
  • Mandarins
  • Mushrooms
  • Mustard greens
  • Onions
  • Oranges
  • Papayas
  • Passion fruit
  • Pears
  • Peas
  • Persimmons
  • Pomegranates
  • Potatoes
  • Radicchio
  • Radish
  • Red currants
  • Rutabaga
  • Spinach
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Swiss chard
  • Tangelos
  • Tangerines
  • Turnips
  • Winter squash

The following are going out of style, so get them while you can:

  • Berries
  • Daikon
  • Parsnip

We're so sad to see the berries go. We need to munch on every berry we see before it's too late.



Cheers to a year filled with seasonal and local grocery shopping!

Click HERE to view the original article.

]]> (moira) Blog Mon, 02 Dec 2013 22:18:44 +0000
Happy Hanukkah!

Monday November 25 2013

Wishing everyone an early Happy Hanukkah!

]]> (moira) Blog Mon, 02 Dec 2013 22:18:12 +0000
Vegan Chocolate Mousse

Monday November 18 2013

The words "chocolate mousse" probably brings back great childhood memories of little chocolate mousse cups that your Mom/Dad packed into your lunchbox, right?  Well, now that you're an adult, here is a great super healthy version of chocolate mousse by Mind Body Green that you can indulge in with minimal guilt!  Let me know your thoughts on the recipe when you give it a try.


Ingredients: (serves 1-2)

  • 1 large ripe avocado
  • ¼ cup raw cocoa powder
  • ¼ cup coconut milk or almond milk
  • 2 tsp stevia (or other natural sweetener)
  • 1 tsp natural vanilla extract

Optional extras: toasted sliced almonds, chia seeds, frozen mixed berries, almond butter, cocoa nibs, coconut oil



  1. Purée the avocado until smooth.
  2. Mix together the cocoa powder and coconut or almond milk until combined.
  3. Add the mixture to the avocado.
  4. Stir in the stevia, vanilla extract, and any extra ingredients and mix well.
  5. Transfer the mousse to individual bowls and store in the fridge until ready to eat.
  6. Enjoy!


You can find the original article HERE.


]]> (moira) Blog Mon, 02 Dec 2013 22:16:36 +0000
The Benefits of Exercising During Pregnancy on Infant Cognition

Monday November 11 2013

I read an interesting article today regarding the effect of exercising in pregnant women that was published .  A group of researchers from the University of Montreal looked at mothers during their last two trimesters of their pregnancies who maintained moderate cardiovascular exercise in comparison to those who were sedentary.  They monitored EEG results of the infants and found that infants of mothers who were physically active had more mature cerebral activity, which the researchers concluded that their brains were more rapidly developed.  

The researchers aren't sure exactly why exercising during pregnancy boosts newborn cognition, but they hypothesize that that exercise increases oxygen intake, which benefits the fetus in utero.

Many pregnant women will argue that energy and time is a huge factor that works against their ability to exercise when they're pregnant.  However, in this study "moderate physical activity" was simply defined as at least 20 minutes three times a week.  You can definitely do this!  Don't forget that in addition to the beneficial cognitive effects of physical activity, it has also been linked to a more comfortable pregnancy, a better post-partum recovery and a decreased risk for obesity in children.  On the flip side, a sedentary lifestyle during pregnancy has been linked to an increased risk for complications during pregnancy.

Hopefully, the researchers will be able to follow up with these infants when they are 1 year olds in order to evaluate their cognitive, motor and language development at that point to see if the cognitive differences that they observed while in infancy are maintained with time.

Click HERE to read the full article via Pubmed.

Click HERE for the full article on The Globe and Mail's website 

]]> (moira) Blog Mon, 02 Dec 2013 22:16:02 +0000
Seasonal Fruits and Vegetables for November

Monday November 4 2013

It's the beginning of the month, so it's time for another instalment of seasonal fruits and vegetables!


November's Best "In Season" Fruits and Vegetables And What's Going Out of Style

by Joanna Rafael 


Welcome to November!  October is officially done, donezo, kaput.  Are you putting your Jack-o-lanterns in the trash where they belong and replacing them with decorative cornucopias?  If so, here's what you should fill your horn of plenty with: November fruits and veggies!  That's also what you should be filling your body with, by the way.

Eating produce that is "in season" is not only up-to-date and fashionable, but it's good for the Earth and your body.  Obviously, what the best and freshest will vary depending on where you are on the planet, but here is a basic guide to mid-Autumn's hot harvest.

Here are the finest fruits and vegetables "in season" this November:

  • Apples
  • Avocados
  • Beets
  • Bok choy
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Chard
  • Chestnuts
  • Cranberries
  • Daikon
  • Fennel
  • Guava
  • Kale
  • Kiwi
  • Kumquat
  • Leeks
  • Lemons
  • Orange
  • Pears
  • Persimmons
  • Pomegranate
  • Potato
  • Quince
  • Rutabaga
  • Satsuma
  • Sunchoke
  • Turnips
  • Winter squash
  • Yams

And here's what's going out of season, go get'em while they're still good:

  • Artichokes
  • Butternut squash
  • Figs
  • Watercress

Here are Blisstree, we are gearing up for November with religious fervor.  Mid to late Autumn has some of the most delicious and spicy flavors to look forward to ... HOT TODDY ANYONE?


Click HERE to view the original article on

]]> (moira) Blog Mon, 02 Dec 2013 22:14:40 +0000
Are Your Personal Care Products Clean or Dirty? There's an iPhone App for That!

Monday October 28 2013

My downtown Toronto clinic is located above The Detox Market at King and Blue Jays Way, and they posted the following link on their Facebook page about an article on Global News.  This is a great app that allows the average consumer to check whether or not their personal care products - be it shampoo, cleansers or make-up - are "clean" or "dirty".  If you have an iPhone, you're in luck!  They are apparently developing the Android version and it will be released soon ...

If you're concerned about the ingredients in everyday health and beauty products, navigating the beauty counter might feel like walking through a minefield.

From five-syllable ingredients nearly impossible to decipher, to products labelled "natural" when they're anything but, the average consumer likely has no idea what is in their personal care products.

So a group of Toronto developers created a free app they hope will empower consumers to make more informed choices at the drugstore checkout.

The Think Dirty mobile app allows consumers to scan the bar codes of their favourite personal care products to learn more about what's in them and potential health impacts of those ingredients.

The inspiration for the Think Dirty project began with one woman's recovery from breast cancer.

Ten years ago, Lily Tse started researching potential causes of breast cancer after her mother's breast cancer relapse.

She hadn't considered the health and environmental impacts of her cosmetics and personal care products until watching Annie Leonard's short film The Story of Cosmetics.

The seven-minute film examined the ingredients of everyday products and the impact some of these ingredients have on human health.

Tse said that finding safe product alternatives wasn't easy.

Cosmetic and personal care product labels can be confusing.  Often products containing the word "natural" are no different in chemical composition than their synthetic counterparts, according to the Canadian government.

Visit any typical drugstore or beauty counter and examples of confusing product labels abound.

Take Organic Root Stimulator Olive OIl Nourishing Sheen Spray as one of many examples.  It's not actually organic.

"Organic Root Stimulator" is the trademarked brand name, and according to the Think Dirty app, the product scores a 10 on the app's "Dirty Meter" as it contains ingredients the team says have "serious long term health impacts".  Parafinum liquidum is used as a barrier to lock in moisture in the hair and skin, but the Think Dirty team says its also known human carcinogen with links to breast cancer.

Another product example, Aveeno Active Naturals Living Colour Shampoo, boasts the power of Active Naturals Lupine Botanicals, which smooth hair cuticles.

Fine print on the Aveeno website explains however that "Active Naturals" products contain ingredients that are "sourced from nature" but do not refer to the "medicinal ingredients of the product nor their therapeutic effect".

The Think Dirty app lists ingredients in the Living Colour Shampoo including dimethicone (a lubricating agent), which is non-biodegradable and an endocrine disruptor with potential long-term health impacts.

(Global News contacted both companies about the terms "organic" and "natural" in their product names, but did not receive responses.)

The Think Dirty app launched this summer and its database now contains more than 11,000 products from 1,000 brands.


How the App Works

Once the app is downloaded on your phone, users can scan product bar codes.  If it is included in the Think Dirty database, the app will list the product ingredients as well as a "dirty Meter" rating that offers additional information on the ingredients and potential health impacts.  The app will also suggest "cleaner" options, products that get the job done without all of the carcinogens.

If a product isn't listed in the database, users are encouraged to scan the bar code and submit the product for review to the Think Dirty team.

When it was first launched, the app's database could be described as sparse, but the small team worked quickly to add more and more products and alternative product suggestions.


Why Should I Trust the App's Rating System?

It's a question Think Dirty team members have received, and one they welcome.

"It's a great question.  Our answer to you would be then don't trust the beauty counter advisor neither."

The team said they encourage all consumers to be informed of the ingredients in their personal care products and then make their own judgement.

The sources the team references when examining products include Health Canada, the US Food and Drug Administration, Environment Canada and the National Library of Medicine PubMed Studies.  (You can see the full list here.)

The point of the app, they argue, is to make it easy for consumers to make informed choices based on the ingredients they contain.

"The Reality is that there are clean products sold by conventional brands and dirty products sold by 'natural' brands.  The beauty of our app is we just look at the ingredients, and nothing else."

Some argue that certain ingredients are harmless when exposed to low doses, but the Think Dirty team said ingredients such as BHA and BHT, petrochemicals, parabens and sulfates should never be included in the products consumers use, "no matter how much or how little".


30 Days of Dirty Campaign

For the month of October, Breast Cancer Prevention Month, the Think Dirty team partnered with the charity Breast Cancer Fund to raise awareness of breast cancer prevention by avoiding potentially toxic chemicals in personal care products.

During the campaign (which ends Oct 30), every time users scan a product using the app, Think Dirty Inc will donate $1 to the Breast Cancer Fund.

So far the campaign has raised $14,000, reaching 70 per cent of its fundraising goal.


You can find the article HERE.



If you would like to make an appointment with Moira Kwok ND to learn how a Naturopathic Doctor can help you treat your current condition(s) or prevent any condition(s) that you may be predisposed to in the future, please contact her at or any of the contact phone numbers to her midtown Toronto, downtown Toronto or Mississauga clinics (found HERE) and she would be happy to see you for an appointment.

]]> (moira) Blog Mon, 28 Oct 2013 21:59:38 +0000
Sneaky Names for Sugar in Your Ingredient Lists

Monday October 21 2013

I've recently been seeing a whole bunch of patients who have been reacting poorly to sugar and have needed to eliminate it fully from their diet.  And coincidentally, I came across this great article on the hidden names for sugar.  This list has been super helpful to my patients, so I hope that it can help those of your reading this who are also trying to eliminate sugar from your diets.

If you've ever been on a detox diet, you were most likely told to stop eating sugar as part of the plan.  If you're trying to clear up yeast or acne, you may have been warned to avoid sugar and alcohol.  Find, you thought.  I can have my tea without sugar, and I don't drink soda anymore.  I'll have soda water with lime at the party this weekend.

But watch out:

Added sugars lurk everywhere, even in places we've come to know and love.  Health food stores are stocked with treats that look healthy and come in cute wrappers, which lead us to think the food inside must be good for us - or at least better for us than the bag of Oreos we used to buy.  Just because something is called a nectar doesn't mean it's healthy.

A sugar is any chemically-related, sweet-tasting carbohydrate, most of which are consumed as food.  Most are derived from plants, but sugars can exist in many tissues, and just because something is derived from a plant doesn't mean it's healthy.

True, many of the sweeteners listed below offer more nutrition than the refined white crystal sugar you find in a sugar packet.  For instance, blackstrap molasses contains a good amount of iron, and raw honey offers enzymes and antioxidants.  Still, these "natural sweeteners" are sugar to your body.

Whether you're doing a cleanse, clearing up your skin, growing your energy, or reducing your pain, eliminating added sugars and natural sweeteners is a great experiment.  It can be hard to avoid all the natural sweeteners that are really sugar unless you put on your food detective hat at the store.

Here are 41 names for sugar you should keep an eye out for:

  1. Agave nectar
  2. Barley malt
  3. Beet sugar
  4. Blackstrap molasses
  5. Brown rice syrup
  6. Brown sugar
  7. Cane sugar
  8. Caramel
  9. Carob syrup
  10. Coconut palm sugar
  11. Corn sweetener
  12. Corn syrup
  13. Corn syrup solids
  14. Crystalline fructurse
  15. Date sugar
  16. Dehydrated cane juice
  17. Dextrin
  18. Dextrose
  19. Dried oat syrup
  20. Evaporated cane juice crystals
  21. Evaporated cane juice
  22. Fruit juice concentrate
  23. Glucose
  24. Golden syrup
  25. Gum syrup
  26. High fructose corn syrup
  27. Honey
  28. Inverted sugar
  29. Malt syrup
  30. Maltodextrin
  31. Maltose
  32. Maple syrup
  33. Muscavado
  34. Palm sugar
  35. Refiner's syrup
  36. Simple syrup
  37. Sorghum syrup
  38. Sucanat
  39. Sucrose
  40. Treacle
  41. Turbinado


You can find this great article HERE.


If you would like to make an appointment with Moira Kwok ND to learn how a Naturopathic Doctor can help you treat your current condition(s) or prevent any condition(s) that you may be predisposed to in the future, please contact her at or any of the contact phone numbers to her midtown Toronto, downtown Toronto or Mississauga clinics (found HERE) and she would be happy to see you for an appointment.

]]> (moira) Blog Mon, 21 Oct 2013 20:35:45 +0000
WholeFoods' Guide to Cooking Oils

Monday October 14 2013

I came across this Guide to Cooking Oils on WholeFoods' website and it's a great read - very informative and breaks down the dos and don'ts nicely.  Have a read and let me know what you think!


Cooking Oils

Striking Oil

When you think of oil, what comes to mind? We think of French vinaigrettes, fried chicken and perfectly sautéed veggies, just to name a few. And thankfully, these favorite foods are made all the better with oils, the kind that are an integral and essential part of our diet.

For centuries, people have rendered fat, squeezed olives, collected cream and savored fish to obtain the fatty acids their brains, nervous systems, immune systems and body cells need to function well. Luckily for us, things are a bit easier these days and the oils we need for good health are available on the shelves at Whole Foods Market. Thankfully no squeezing is required!


So Many Oils, So Little Time

Not all oils are created equal. In fact, no one oil can be used for all things; instead, each has its distinct place in the kitchen. Keep these basic categories in mind when you're cooking:

For baking: Coconut, palm, canola and high oleic safflower and sunflower oil work best.

For frying: Because they stand up well to the heat, avocado, peanut, palm and sesame oil are ideal for frying.

For sautéing: Many oils are great for sautéing, including avocado, canola, coconut, grapeseed, olive, sesame and high oleic safflower and sunflower oils.

For dipping, dressings and marinades: When it comes to making dressings and marinades, or finding oil that's perfect to serve alongside crusty bread for dipping, you're looking for terrific flavor. For this purpose look to flax, olive, peanut, toasted sesame or walnut oil.


Oil 101

We know there are a lot of oils on our shelves! Here are a handful of our favorites, along with quick details on how they're made and the best ways to serve them:

Avocado Oil: Pressed from avocadoes, this smooth, nutty oil is more than 50% monounsaturated, making it a heart-nourishing choice. Use it in salad dressings or to sauté fish, chicken, sweet potatoes or plantains.

Canola Oil: Canola is actually a cousin to cabbage and Brussels sprouts. In fact, it's a variety of rapeseed that's part of the mustard family, which includes those above-mentioned veggies. It's beneficial for heart health thanks to its fatty acid profile and omega-3 and low saturated fat contents and perfect for light cooking, sauces and desserts like homemade mayo or tender cakes.

Coconut Oil: Pressed from the fruit of the coconut palm tree, coconut oil is ideal for light fair and subtly flavored dishes. This oil is particularly mouth-watering to use for making popcorn and hash browns.

Corn Oil: Most corn oil is extracted only from the germ of the corn kernel and is golden yellow in color; unrefined oil will have a darker color and richer corn taste. Use in salad dressings and dips with stronger flavors like peppers or garlic.

Grapeseed Oil: Grapeseed oil is extracted from the seeds of grapes, a byproduct of the wine-making industry. Use it on salads and raw veggies or in dips, sauces and salsas. Mix grapeseed oil with garlic and basil, then drizzle it on toasted bread.

Olive Oil: A mainstay of the Mediterranean diet and one of the oldest known culinary oils, olive oil contains predominately heart-friendly monounsaturated fat. Extra virgin olive oil results from the first cold-pressing of olives while mild "pure" olive oil is a blend of refined olive oil and extra virgin olive oil. Drizzle over hummus or grilled vegetables.

Peanut Oil: Peanut oil comes from where you'd expect…peanuts! It's relatively high monounsaturated content makes it heart-healthy. Peanut oil is superior for frying, light sautéing and stir-fries.

Sesame Oil: The seed of the sesame plant provides sesame oil, which has a high antioxidant content. Unrefined sesame oil is great as a key flavor component in sauces or dressings. Use refined sesame oil for high heat applications like frying and toasted sesame oil for stir fries and Asian sauces and dips. (Still need a little convincing? Lemon Sesame Asparagus will prove our point.)


How To: Storing and Heating Oil

Where should I store oil in my kitchen? Unfortunately, oils aren't like wine; they don't improve with age. Heat and light can damage oils, particularly polyunsaturated ones, so keep them in the refrigerator to avoid rancidity. For the record, you'll know your oil is rancid if it takes on a characteristic bad taste and smell, in which case you should toss it and buy fresh oil.

Why does my olive oil get cloudy when it's cold? Some oils, olive oil among them, become cloudy or solidified when refrigerated. Not to worry; it doesn't affect their quality at all. A few minutes at room temperature and things will be back to normal.

I hear people refer to a "smoke point" when they talk about cooking with oil. What's that?Heating oils beyond their smoke point — the temperature at which the oil begins to smoke, generating toxic fumes and harmful free radicals — is never a good idea. Always discard oil that's reached its smoke point, along with any food with which it had contact. Unsure of an oil's smoke point? Most labels on bottles of oil will give you the correct temperature.

To Refine or Not to Refine?

Some oils are refined to make them more stable and suitable for high temperature cooking. Keep in mind, though, that the process removes most of the flavor, color and nutrients from the oils, too. That's why refined oils are perfect for baking and stir-frying, where their high smoke point and neutral flavors are a plus.

On the other hand, unrefined oil is simply pressed and bottled so it retains its original nutrient content, flavor and color. Unrefined oils add full-bodied flavor to dishes and are best used for low- or no-heat applications. (Want to taste the difference? Make this Shiitake Lemongrass Miso Soup.


Oil's Well That Ends Well

If you've ever been called a "fat head," we think we can help. Did you know that your brain is made up mostly of fats, and that fats — including saturated fat — make up the cell membranes that protect the integrity of your cells and their structure?

Fats and oils also play crucial roles in stabilizing blood sugar levels, providing raw materials for making hormones and contributing to a healthy immune system. Think of oils as your body's humanitarians; there's really no end to the good they can do. But remember what your grandfather used to tell you, too: everything in moderation. Since all fats are calorie-rich, remember not to overindulge.


The Facts on Fats

Fats have had a bad reputation in the past, but people are starting to realize that we need them to stay healthy. Fats are one of the three major nutrients of the human diet. The other two are carbohydrates and protein.

So fats are here to stay, and that's a good thing because fats also make a large contribution to the taste, aroma and texture of food — those things that give us such satisfaction when dining.

Before we get down to the details on fats and how they work in the body, you should realize that fats and oils are one and the same. The only difference is that oils are liquid at room temperature and fats are solid. Now, let's move on to the nitty-gritty.


Simply stated, triglycerides are the chemical form of fats in food and in the body. Think of fats as a building and triglycerides as the bricks that give it shape. Every triglyceride "brick" consists of a mixture of three fatty acids — saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated (the "tri"), and one glycerol molecule. Thus, the name "tri"-"glyceride."

A particular fat is defined by the combination of fatty acids that make up its "bricks." The triglyceride bricks in olive oil, for example, have many more monounsaturated fatty acids than it does saturated or polyunsaturated fatty acids, making olive oil a monounsaturated fat.


Monounsaturated fats are heart-healthy because they maintain good HDL cholesterol levels while lowering bad LDL cholesterol levels. They are more chemically stable than polyunsaturated fat but not as stable as saturated fat. This means they keep better than polyunsaturated oils but not as well as saturated oils. They are most appropriate for light cooking or used raw in salad dressings and the like. Oils that are predominantly monounsaturated include olive, avocado, peanut, sesame, lard and duck fat. When stored at room temperature, monounsaturated fats are typically liquid, but they are likely to solidify when stored in the refrigerator.

Monounsaturated oils are generally considered to be the healthiest overall, but it's important to note that all three types have distinct advantages and disadvantages — not just for health but for flavor and culinary characteristics as well. Olive oil seems to have been anointed the "perfect oil" by some in the media, and while it is quite versatile, it cannot be all things to all cooks.


Due to their unstable chemical structure, polyunsaturated fatty acids are more susceptible to rancidity than saturated and monounsaturated fatty acids, especially after prolonged contact with oxygen, light or heat. Oils that are predominately polyunsaturated include walnut, grapeseed, soy, corn and fish oils. These are liquid at room temperature.

Many experts don't recommend polyunsaturated oils for cooking because they are so easily damaged by heat. They are best used in their raw form, and used quickly at that. Never keep polyunsaturated oils beyond their expiration date. If cooking is necessary, use low temperatures. Polyunsaturated oils should be stored refrigerated in dark bottles.


Saturated fats are the most chemically stable, giving them a long shelf life and the ability to withstand high cooking temperatures. Typically solid at room temperature, saturated fats are found primarily in animal fats and tropical oils.

Animal Fats

In general, animal fats such as butter, cream and tallow are predominantly saturated, however, two of the most highly saturated fats — coconut oil and palm kernel oil — come from vegetable sources. Furthermore, animal fats like lard, chicken fat and duck fat are predominantly monounsaturated, while fish oils are predominantly polyunsaturated. And it is interesting to note that the fatty acid composition of animal fat can vary depending on the diet of the animal.

Animal fats have their place in the kitchen. Many believe that lard makes the best pie crust, and several traditional Hispanic dishes rely on lard for their distinctive flavor. Butter is the most common animal fat in the kitchen and good quality butters abound, as do cream and other dairy-based products used in cooking. Some producers are now creating high quality lard as well.

Trans Fats: The Very Worst Kind

Trans fatty acids are chemically altered, man-made fats found in partially hydrogenated oils. The hydrogenation process, in common use since the early 20th century, injects hydrogen into vegetable fats under high heat and pressure. This saturates what was previously an unsaturated fat and results in a chemical configuration that is not found in nature and is very rich in trans fatty acids. This is done to make vegetable oils, which are normally liquid at room temperature, solid and more chemically stable, thereby extending the shelf life of products in which they are used. Very small amounts of trans fats do occur naturally in some products such as milk, cheese, beef or lamb.

Trans fats are doubly harmful because they lower HDL (good) cholesterol and raise LDL (bad) cholesterol levels, increasing the risk of coronary heart disease. In fact, trans fatty acids have an even worse impact on cholesterol levels than diets high in butter, which contain saturated fat. A 2002 report by the Institute of Medicine (a branch of the National Academy of Sciences) concluded that trans fats are not safe to consume in any amount. An easy way to avoid trans fats is to shop at Whole Foods Market — we stopped selling products that contain trans fats in 2003.


The Trans Fat Labeling Law

Effective since January 1, 2006, all products that have a Nutrition Facts Panel must declare the amount of trans fat per serving. This has forced many conventional food manufacturers to reduce or eliminate trans fats from their products. But trans fat still has a significant presence in restaurants and with other food vendors who are not affected by the labeling law.

Packaged products from sources other than Whole Foods Market stores may still contain significant amounts of trans fats include: margarine, shortening, baked goods (pastries, pies, cookies, doughnuts), breakfast cereals, fried foods, crackers and snack foods such as potato chips.


You can find the original article HERE.

]]> (moira) Blog Mon, 14 Oct 2013 20:34:33 +0000
Juices for Detox

Monday October 7 2013

The Fall season is the best time to undergo a detox regiment, and Mind Body Green's Jenni Hulburt has some great suggestions for 4 types of detox juices that you can try in the morning!  Let me know what you think about the juices when you get a chance to try it.


4 Juices & Smoothies To Help You Detox

by Jenni Hulburt

Juicing can give you a daily dose of nutrients in an easily digestible form by removing the pulp (fiber) from fruits and vegetables. Drinking juices during a detox can help support your body with enzymes and minerals, as well as restore an alkaline environment. Smoothies include the fiber, but also provide important vitamins and nutrients during a detox.

Part of the detox process is elimination, and keeping the fiber keeps things going. The bottom line is: you can use both juices and smoothies to help your body detox, and here are four recipes to inspire you.


Green Goodness Smoothie


  • 1 cup unsweetened non-dairy beverage
  • ½ avocado
  • 1 kale stalk
  • 1 cup spinach leaves
  • ½ cup mango


  1. Put all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Enjoy!


Morning Glory Juice


  • 2 kale leaves
  • 2 celery stalks
  • ½ cucumber
  • 1 apple
  • ½ lemon
  • 1 small piece of ginger


  1. Juice all ingredients and enjoy.
  2. Enjoy!


Sassy Spinach Juice


  • 3 cups spinach
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 apple
  • 1 lime
  • 1 small piece of ginger


  1. Juice all ingredients and enjoy.
  2. Enjoy!


Green Tea Ginger Lemon Smoothie


  • 2 cups water
  • 1 small piece of ginger
  • 1 green tea bag
  • 1 Tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Stevia to taste


  1. Bring water and ginger to boil in saucepan, then lower heat, cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
  2. Remove from heat, add the tea bag, and steep for 5 minutes.
  3. Remove the tea bag, and add lemon juice.
  4. Enjoy either warm or chilled!


You can find the original article HERE.

]]> (moira) Blog Mon, 07 Oct 2013 17:28:29 +0000
Healthy Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Monday September 30 2013

Who doesn't love a grilled cheese sandwich?  It often does bring back great childhood memories, that's for sure!  However, I found a great healthier grilled cheese option on Mind Body Green, and while we still have this lovely weather, why not have a BBQ tonight?  Let me know what you think of this recipe if you get a chance to try it -- unfortunately, I won't be able to personally let you know my thoughts on this healthy version of the grilled cheese sandwich because I'm terribly allergic to eggplant!!


Ingredients: (makes 2 “sandwiches”)


  • 1 large eggplant, sliced vertically into 6 (¼” or slightly thicker) slices
  • 8 slices of fresh mozzarella - ¼” or slightly thicker (or cheese substitute such as mozzarella sheese)
  • 8 slices of fresh ripe tomato - ¼” thick


  1. Place eggplant slices on a hot indoor or outdoor grill that’s been brushed with a bit of avocado oil.  There isn't a need to oil the eggplant because it has enough moisture.
  2. Grill on both sides until the eggplant is cooked through, but still firm and the grill lines are defined; approximately 3 to 4 minutes on each side − depending on how hot your grill is!
  3. Remove the eggplant slices from the grill and set them aside.
  4. Cut the tomatoes and cheese.
  5. When the eggplant is cool enough to handle, start with one slice and top with 2 or three slices of cheese, (depending on how big your slices are) 2 slices of tomato, and then repeat.
  6. Top with a final slice of the eggplant.
  7. Place the "sandwich" in the oven (or back on the grill covered with foil) for approximately 3 to 4 minutes, or just until the cheese softens and begins to melt.
  8. Enjoy!


You can find the original article HERE.

]]> (moira) Blog Mon, 30 Sep 2013 19:33:51 +0000
What is "Leaky Gut"?

Monday September 23 2013

I have recently been seeing a lot of digestive health patients who come in with very generalized complaints such as abdominal bloating and gas.  So, it's quite fitting that if you perhaps experience a great amount of digestive upset or discomfort, read Dr. Amy Myers' take on "leaky gut" and if it applies to you, find a great Naturopathic Doctor in your area and go in for a visit.  There could be a solution to your problems afterall!


9 Signs You Have A Leaky Gut

by Dr. Amy Myers

The gut is the gateway to health. If your gut is healthy, chances are that you're in good health. However, there's a condition called leaky gut that can lead to a host of health problems.

What is a Leaky Gut?

The gut is naturally permeable to very small molecules in order to absorb these vital nutrients. In fact, regulating intestinal permeability is one of the basic functions of the cells that line the intestinal wall. In sensitive people, gluten can cause the gut cells to release zonulin, a protein that can break apart tight junctions in the intestinal lining. Other factors — such as infections, toxins, stress and age — can also cause these tight junctions to break apart.

Once these tight junctions get broken apart, you have a leaky gut. When your gut is leaky, things like toxins, microbes, undigested food particles, and more can escape from your intestines and travel throughout your body via your bloodstream. Your immune system marks these "foreign invaders" as pathogens and attacks them. The immune response to these invaders can appear in the form of any of the nine signs you have a leaky gut, which are listed below.


What Causes Leaky Gut?

The main culprits are foods, infections, and toxins. Gluten is the number one cause of leaky gut. Other inflammatory foods like dairy or toxic foods, such sugar and excessive alcohol, are suspected as well. The most common infectious causes are candida overgrowth, intestinal parasites, and small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO). Toxins come in the form of medications, like Motrin, Advil, steroids, antibiotics, and acid-reducing drugs, and environmental toxins like mercury, pesticides and BPA from plastics. Stress and age also contribute to a leaky gut.

If you suffer from any of the following conditions, it’s likely that you have a leaky gut:


9 Signs You Have a Leaky Gut

  1. Digestive issues such as gas, bloating, diarrhea or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
  2. Seasonal allergies or asthma.
  3. Hormonal imbalances such as PMS or PCOS.
  4. Diagnosis of an autoimmune disease such as rheumatoid arthritis, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, lupus, psoriasis, or celiac disease.
  5. Diagnosis of chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia.
  6. Mood and mind issues such as depression, anxiety, ADD or ADHD.
  7. Skin issues such as acne, rosacea, or eczema.
  8. Diagnosis of candida overgrowth.
  9. Food allergies or food intolerances.


How do you heal a leaky gut?

In my practice, I have all of my patients follow The Myers Way comprehensive elimination diet, which removes the toxic and inflammatory foods for a certain period of time. In addition, I have them follow a 4R program to heal their gut. The 4R program is as follows.

1. Remove

Remove the bad. The goal is to get rid of things that negatively affect the environment of the GI tract, such as inflammatory and toxic foods, and intestinal infections.

2. Replace

Replace the good. Add back the essential ingredients for proper digestion and absorption, such as digestive enzymes, hydrochloric acid and bile acids.

3. Reinoculate

It’s critical to restore beneficial bacteria to reestablish a healthy balance of good bacteria.

4. Repair

It’s essential to provide the nutrients necessary to help the gut repair itself. One of my favorite supplements is L-glutamine, an amino acid that helps to rejuvenate the lining of the gut wall.

If you still have symptoms after following the above recommendations, I would recommend finding a Functional Medicine physician in your area to work with you and to order a comprehensive stool test.


You can find the original article HERE.


]]> (moira) Blog Mon, 23 Sep 2013 20:03:27 +0000
Healthy Creamy Broccoli & Cauliflower Soup

Monday September 16 2013

Since it's officially post-Labour Day, this is the unofficial start to the Fall season, and what represents Fall better than a warm, hearty bowl of soup??  WholeFoods always has great food ideas and I've fallen in love with this soup recipe of theirs that's "creamy" but healthy!  As always, let me know what you think if you end up trying the recipe!


  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup (½ inch) cubes sourdough bread
  • 1 medium Yukon gold potato, unpeeled, cut into (½ inch) cubes
  • ½ yellow onion, chopped
  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cups broccoli florets, chopped
  • 2 cups cauliflower florets, chopped
  • ¾ teaspoon fine sea salt
  1. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the bread, potato and onion and cook, stirring often, until golden brown or approximately 5 to 7 minutes.
  3. Add the broth, broccoli, cauliflower and salt.
  4. Bring it to a boil, cover and simmer until very tender (approximately 30 minutes).
  5. Carefully purée with an immersion blender or by working in batches with a traditional blender.
  6. Enjoy!


Nutritional Info (per serving): 
260 calories
4.5 g total fat
1 g saturated fat
0 mg cholesterol
930 mg sodium
46 g carbohydrate (6 g dietary fiber6 g sugar)
9 g protein
You can find the original article HERE.


]]> (moira) Blog Mon, 16 Sep 2013 06:51:32 +0000
How to Eat Healthy at a Restaurant

Monday September 9 2013

Particularly at my downtown Toronto clinic, I am always asked the question: "How am I supposed to eat healthy while I'm eating out at restaurants all of the time?".  I couldn't have come up with a better answer and solution than the author of the following article:


10 Tips On How To Order Healthy Food At A Restaurant


When trying to eat healthfully, eating out can be a bit of a challenge. At home you get to control what goes in your food and in what quanity. At a restaurant, God only knows how much butter is being liquified and pumped into every morsel on the menu. Dining out doesn’t have to be a guilt-inducing and diet-ruining affair if you can confidently make the right choices, even at the greasiest of greasy spoons.

  1. Start with a low calorie appetizer like a cup of soup (minestrone is full of veggies!) or a salad (dressing on the side is the oldest trick in the book).Fill up early on something with good fiber so that you aren’t eating more of what you don’t want to be eating.
  2. If you’re going for an indulgent main dish, go extra healthy with your sides. If you’re at a restaurant that allows customization or substitutions, try to replace anything starchy or fried with steamed and sautéed veggies.
  3. Avoid creamy sauces, go instead for tomato based or sauce free stuff. Ask for them to “go easy” on sauces like mayo or have them put it on the side when ordering sandwiches and whatnot. Mustard, salsa and guacamole are typically good condiments to go for instead of mayo, queso and hollandaise.
  4. If it’s not totally rude, ask for a box right off the bat and cram half of your chosen meal in there. That way you can avoid being tempted to eat everything.
  5. Look for healthy on the menu first. Choose between the two healthiest options rather than deciding based on potential deliciousness. Also, consider how you will feel after you are done. When I go to brunch, my choice determines whether or not I’m going to have a productive Sunday.
  6. Eat sandwiches open-faced.
  7. If you’re just eating a salad, try to get some protein in there. Even just a hardboiled egg will help stave off the urge to cram delicious bread into your mouth.
  8. Beverage-wise, still water, seltzer and unsweetened iced tea are your only options. We all know not to “drink our calories” if we’re watching out for that sort of thing and diet soda is just straight-up scary.
  9. Choose healthy proteins like turkey or fish and when you do eat beef, try to find grass-fed, no hormone, local beef.
  10. Share food with your dining buddies (if it’s appropriate at the restaurant to request splitting a dish). Just make sure that you’ll have enough food to be satisfied.

Does anybody with a highly specific diet have other tips for sticking to it at restaurants?



You can find the original article HERE

]]> (moira) Blog Mon, 09 Sep 2013 21:30:46 +0000
Seasonal Fruits & Vegetables in the Fall

Monday September 2 2013

Happy Labour Day Monday!  Now that all of the kids are officially heading back to school tomorrow, all of the moms out there will have a little bit more time to focus on themselves.  

I'd like to start out by helping you to become a little bit more environmentally friendly and supporting your local farmers by sharing with you a list of seasonal fruits and vegetables for the fall that was compiled by the Huffington Post.



A green cruciferous vegetable packed with folic acid, vitamin K, A and C.  

It can be eaten raw or cooked.  Add it to cold salads, whole grain pasta, serve it cold or hot with toasted sesame seeds or simply lightly sautéed in garlic and oil.


Brussels Sprouts

A member of the cabbage family, brussels sprouts get a bad rap.  In my experience many people are scare of the little guys, but if made properly, they taste phenomenal and keep you full -- brussels sprouts are packed with filling fiber!  My favorite way to eat them is roasting them in the oven.  

Brussels sprouts are a very good source of folate and a good source of iron.



In addition to making a beautiful carving, pumpkin is a nutrient powerhouse.  Its high levels of beta carotene, vitamin A and vitamin C may boost immune function.  Pumpkin is also rich in potassium and high in fiber.

Use pumpkin as a soup base, add it to chili, or simply heat it up with some cinnamon and Splenda for a sweet, savory dessert.

** I would suggest that you use stevia or honey or simply a bit of raw sugar in place of the suggested Splenda!



Probably my favorite green veggie, spinach is packed with iron, fiber and folic acid.

Use spinach as a side dish, add it to soups or eat it raw in a salad.


Sweet Potatoes

More nutritionally dense than their white-potato counterparts, sweet potatoes are an excellent source of vitamin A and C, and also contain potassium, iron and copper.  Not only are they super healthy, but they're naturally sweet too!

For a savory dish, brush with some cayenne pepper, salt and a sprinkle of olive oil for a healthier version of french fries.


Winter Squash

Best in October through November, winter squash is an amazing veggie.  Sure, it's full of fiber, bud did you know that our friend winter squash is also a good source of vitamins A and C, several B vitamins, potassium and omega-3 fatty acids?  

Winter squash has a sweet flavor and is great as a side dish tossed with a few dried cranberries and paired with turkey, chicken or pork.



Apples are full of antioxidants, and some experts say they can curb your appetite and cause you to take in fewer calories throughout the rest of the day.

Sweet or tart, apples are satisfying eaten raw or baked into a delicious dish.  Just be sure to eat the skin -- it contains heart healthy flavonoids.



Research suggests that this sweet 'n sour citrus fruit can aid in weight loss.  One small Scripps Clinic study found that eating half a grapefruit or drinking 4 ounces of juice with meals (without make any other changes in eating habits) resulted in an average weight loss of more than 3 pounds in 12 weeks.  Scientists speculate that the weight loss happens because grapefruit lowers insulin levels, which curbs your urge to snack.  

In addition, grapefruit contains more than 75 percent of your daily of your daily recommended intake (DRI) of vitamin C, is a good source of lycopene and contains pectin, which has been shown to lower cholesterol.

If grapefruit is a little too tart for you, try sprinkling a little Splenda on top.  If not, try adding it to mixed greens, combine it with avocado and shrimp, or enjoy a fresh glass of its antioxidant-rich juice

** again, I would suggest that you replace the Splenda recommendation with stevia or a little bit of honey or raw sugar.


Click HERE to view the original article.

]]> (moira) Blog Mon, 02 Sep 2013 19:35:39 +0000
What's Worse Than Sugar?

Monday August 26 2013

We have all fallen victim to the enticing sweets at one point or another in our lives -- some more than others!  However, I'm not here to discuss the reasons why you shouldn't be eating as much sugar on a daily basis.  Instead, I found the following article discussing 10 other foods or food additives that are even worse for you than sugar!  Take a look through the following article to become aware of these various downfalls in order to avoid them as much as you can but do let yourself "cheat" or "indulge" every once in a while.


10 Real Things You Eat That Are Worse Than Sugar


Have you heard that sugar is bad for you? Word on the street is that it’s the enemy. Sugar is a bigger threat than the bubonic plague, global warming and Godzilla combined.

All jokes aside, real sugar in moderation (whatever that means) probably won’t rapidly melt your organs. There are a whole host of worse things out there for your body. Here are 10 things worse for you than sugar:

1. rBGH

Artificial cow growth hormone. Let that sink in. It’s in all dairy products not specifically labeled as rBGH free, but products containing it don’t have to tell you so. rBGH milk contains a lot of IGF-1–an insulin-like growth factor– which in excess is linked to breast, prostate and colon cancer. Other effects of rBGH include antibiotic resistance and early puberty in girls. What else? Oh yeah, cows treated with the hormone are more likely to have mastitis which  makes the pus and blood secrete from the udder along with the milk. YUM PUS.

2. MSG

Is an amino acid/flavor enhancer for processed foods (salad dressings, canned soups, frozen entrees and the like). It’s classified as an excitotoxin which overexcites nerve cells…sometimes to death. Not only is MSG killing brain cells and possibly giving you neurological disorders, but it might stimulate your appetite and make you gain weight.

3. Olestra

The fake fat making you soil yourself. TIME called it one of the 50 worst inventions of all time. Proctor & Gamble is now fortifying Olestra with vitamins A,E,D and K because it had previously been flushing the vitamins from your system, but it’s still not great.

4. Aspartame

The FDA says it’s safe, but is the FDA really on our side? This artificial sweetener is an exitotoxin like MSG, but it might also be carcinogenic. Aspartame is 10% methanol which the body breaks down into formic acid and formaldehyde–both byproducts are toxic and gross. Formaldehyde in particular is a serious carcinogen and nerve toxin.

5. Potassium Bromate

A form of bromide (considered an endocrine disruptor) is used to bulk up baked goods like bread and rolls. Sometimes it’s used as an antiseptic in toothpastes. It’s banned in the EU, Canada and several other countries because it causes cancer in animals. California requires cancer warning labels on products containing it. In 1991 the FDA suggested bakers voluntarily stop using it.

6. High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)

Turn on the news for like 30 seconds and you will hear about how HFCS is making the children obese as well as giving us all arthritis, cardiovascular disease, insulin resistance, elevating our triglycerides and raising LDL cholesterol. Also it’s probably made from Frankenstein’s genetically modified corn which is nightmarish for some to think about. Americans allegedly eat 12 tablespoons a day.

7. Sulfur Dioxide

Is so toxic that even the FDA bans it from being used on raw produce (but you can still find it in beer, sodas, dried fruit, fruit juices, wine and other products). Sulfur dioxide destroys vitamin B1 and vitamin E and has been shown to cause low blood pressure, bronchial problems, tingling sensations and anaphylactic shock. The International Labour Organization suggests that you avoid it if you’re afflicted by conjunctivitis, bronchitis, emphysema, bronchial asthma or cardiovascular disease.

8. Artificial Food Coloring

Many food dyes have been banned because they messed up those poor lab animals, but fret not, a number of harmful dyes are still available to be consumed by humans. According to a study conducted by the Center for Science in the Public Interest the three most frequently used dyes (red #30, yellow #5 and yellow #6) are contaminated with carcinogens. Oh and the FDA knows that Red #3 is carcinogenic, but it’s still hanging out in our food. Food dyes are probably giving you cancer and ADHD symptoms. The EU requires warning labels on products containing these dangerous food dyes, but the U.S. does not.


Oxidants, butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and butylated hydrozyttoluene (BHT) are additives used to extend the shelf lives of products. The International Agency for Research on Cancer considers BHA to be possibly carcinogenic and the beautiful State of California lists it as a known carcinogen.

10. Sodium Nitrite/ Sodium Nitrate

They’re in your cured meats in lieu of salt. DELISH– cancer causing meat preservatives.  According to the World Cancer Research Fund, consuming just 1.8 ounces of processed meat daily increases your cancer risk a whopping 20%.


Demonizing sugar is a really handy way to distract everyone from the harmful poisons the FDA is all but pouring down our throats, isn’t it?


You can find the original article HERE.

]]> (moira) Blog Mon, 26 Aug 2013 21:17:24 +0000
Women's Health Conditions

Monday August 19 2013

My downtown Toronto and Mississauga practices primarily consist of female patients, so I thought that it was fitting to share this on my blog when I read this article on Huffington Post (by Catherine Pearson) about the 7 surprising health conditions that affect women more than men.  



There are some diseases and conditions that only affect women, and others that most of us immediately, if not exclusively, associate with them, like breast cancer (although men can get it, too) and eating disorders (same thing).

But there are also a slew of health problems are far less likely to be recognized as issues disproportionately impacting women, which means many struggle to get help and answers -- for months and even years at a time. At the top of that list are autoimmune disorders, which occur when the body's immune system attacks itself, and that are far more common in women than in men. For some autoimmune diseases, such as lupus, 9 out of 10 people affected are women, explained Virginia Ladd, founder and executive director of the American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association.

"Why that is is still not known," she told The Huffington Post. "There is a lot of research looking at the effects of estrogen -- the hormonal effect. But we definitely need much more."

Here are seven health conditions -- autoimmune and otherwise -- that disproportionately affect women.

1. Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple Sclerosis, or MS, is a disease of the central nervous system that affects more than 2.1 people worldwide, the Multiple Sclerosis Society reports. It's also two to three times more common in women than in men. 

Many experts classify MS as an autoimmune disease, but because no specific antigen (a protein that stimulates the immune response) has been identified to date, others are hesitant to classify it as such. Most people with MS experience their first symptoms between age 20 and 40, and they run from the gamut from muscle numbness to paralysis and vision loss. Although treatments to help lessen symptoms exist, there is currently no cure.

2. Lupus

Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease in which the body's immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissues, leading to potential damage of a person's skin, joints and various organs. Symptoms vary widely, although some of the most common are extreme fatigue, headaches, swollen joints or feet, legs, hands and eyes, and hair loss. No one knows what causes lupus, although it is clear that women are at much greater risk: More than 90 percent of the people with lupus are women, according to the Lupus Foundation of America. And because the disease primarily affects young women who go undiagnosed for years, Ladd said, it can have a significant, longterm impact on their health. 
"Women may have joint pain and fatigue, but their doctors wouldn't think to send them to a kidney specialist, for example," she said, "By the time they are diagnosed with lupus, they could have very serious and costly kidney problems."
3. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention describes Chronic Fatigue Syndrome as a "devastating and complex disorder," in which people experience overwhelming fatigue that is not improved by bed rest, as well as a host of other symptoms, like muscle pain, memory loss and insomnia. Basic tasks such as dressing or showering or even just thinking can overwhelm people with the disorder. Women are four times more likely to develop Chronic Fatigue Syndrome for reasons that are not yet entirely clear -- it could be that certain hormones or brain chemistry differences contribute.
4. Depression
Experts are pretty clear on the fact that depression is twice as common in women as it is in men (about one in five women develop depression in their lifetimes, according to the Mayo Clinic). But they're less clear on why.
It's likely that there are biological reasons behind the disparity. For example, between menstruation, childbirth and menopause, women generally experience many more hormonal fluctuations throughout their lifetime than men do, which can affect mood. But as Psychology Today explains, there are also psychological explanations for the gap -- women, on the whole, tend to be more "ruminative" than men, which may predispose them to depression; they also tend to live longer and with older age often comes loss and loneliness. Then there's the fact that women are far more likely to talk to a doctor about symptoms of depression, leading to greater rates of diagnosis.
5. Celiac Disease
According to the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness, celiac disease -- a negative immune reaction to eating gluten, which is a protein found in wheat, barley and rye -- occurs more frequently in women than in men: Between 60 and 70 percent of the individuals diagnosed with celiac are women.
When most people think of celiac, they think of gastrointestinal issues, such as weight loss, bloating, severe stomach pain and diarrhea, but some evidence suggests the disease also takes a toll on women's reproductive abilities. Indeed, studies have linked celiac with menstrual disorders and unexplained infertility, although that link has not been definitively established. But given that the average age of diagnosis is 45, according to the Celiac Awareness Foundation, and that it may take up to 10 years to receive a diagnosis, it is possible that the disease damages some women's reproductive systems for years before they get help.
6. Irritable Bowel Syndrome
A common disorder that affects the large intestine, irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, typically causes cramping, pain, bloating, gas, diarrhea and constipation consistently for at least three months -- and it impacts women more than men. The International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders reports that there are up to 3.5 million annual doctors visits for IBS in the U.S. each year (although many people don't recognize IBS symptoms in themselves and do not seek help), and up to 65 percent of the individuals who report having IBS are women. 

The causes are unknown. Because women are more likely than men to have IBS -- and their symptoms are often worse around their periods -- hormones are thought to play a role.
7. Sexually Transmitted Infections
Estimates suggest that roughly 19 million new sexually transmitted infections occur in the U.S. each year, and while they affect both men and women, women have more frequent and more serious health problems from them than men, theU.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women's Health explains. There are any number of reasons for that -- the lining of the vagina is more delicate than the skin on the penis, meaning it's easier for bacteria and viruses to penetrate; women are less likely to have symptoms of diseases like chlamydia and gonorrhea or to write off symptoms as a yeast infection, meaning they often don't get treatment until serious damage has been done. The good news, the CDC reports, is that women are more likely than men to go see their doctors in general, and should be sure to ask for testing while they are there.


You can find the original article HERE.

]]> (moira) Blog Mon, 19 Aug 2013 18:42:34 +0000
Vegetarian Foods that are High in Protein

Monday August 12 2013

Many of my vegetarian, vegan and even "flexitarian" patients always ask me for a list of foods that are vegetarian-friendly but still good sources of protein.  Below is a list of my favourite 10 non-meat food options that are a good source of protein:

  1. 1 avocado provides 5.6 g
  2. ½ cup of black-eyed peas provides 7 g
  3. 1 cup of cooked kale provides 5 g
  4. ½ cup of kidney beans provides 8 g
  5. ½ cup of lentils provides 7.4 g
  6. 2 tbsp of peanut butter provides 8 g
  7. 1 cup of cooked quinoa provides 10.6 g
  8. 1 cup of unsweetened soymilk provides 9 g
  9. 1 tbsp of spirulina provides 23 g
  10. ½ cup of tofu provides 12 g

There are tons of different recipes for you to choose from to incorporate all of the above high protein vegetarian options into your daily diet. 




Marz R. 2002. Medical Nutrition from Marz: A Textbook in Clinical Nutrition (2nd Ed). Omni-Press: Portland, OR.

]]> (moira) Blog Mon, 12 Aug 2013 06:47:58 +0000
Barbie Doll Based on Real Proportions

Monday August 5 2013

I stumbled across the great article at The Gloss on an artist who took it upon himself to create and compare what the traditional "Barbie Doll" versus a "Barbie" based on the body measurements of an average 19 year old female.  This story behind it has definitely got some traction to it and has been making the rounds on the media outlets!  


Artist Creates Barbie With Measurements Of Average 19-Year-Old Girl


So it’s 2013, and the fight for a more realistic looking Barbie doll has ended in a bit of a stalemate. Numerous studies have been released showing that Barbie does, in fact, make girls as young as five wish they were thinner, and numerous more developmentally healthy options abound. But the old gal remains popular, and will always have her defenders.

Since the current stalemate consists of the feminists being right and Mattel doing nothing about it, it’s still fun and at least vaguely relevant to imagine what Barbie would look like if she weren’t so dang Mannerist. The latest iteration of this comes from artist Nickolay Lamm, who used 3D printing technology to create a Barbie doll with the same proportions as the average 19-year-old girl. And guess what? She’s still conventionally attractive, she just looks more like a real person and less like a spindly, pointy-toed nightmare creature. Don’t worry, she’s still thin, white and blonde. She just has thighs and a butt now. And feet that would not snap if a person with her dimensions tried to walk on them:

“My last Barbie project got a lot of criticism because Barbie is just a toy,” said Lamm, referring to his recent makeup-less Barbie. “People argue that a toy can’t do any harm. [Note: it can, demonstrably.] However, if we criticize skinny models [Note: or rather, the fashion industry's privileging of one body type over all others], we should at least be open to the possibility that Barbie may negatively influence young girls as well…So, if there’s even a small chance of Barbie in its present form negatively influencing girls, and if Barbie looks good as an average sized woman in America. What’s stopping Mattel from making one?”

What indeed? Of course, like I said before, the “more realistic Barbie” is still thin, young, and white, and it would be good to get some other models of beauty into the mix. But more realistic proportions would be a nice start.

(Via The Daily Mail)


You can find the original article with comparison photos HERE.

]]> (moira) Blog Mon, 05 Aug 2013 08:07:14 +0000
Watermelon Lime Popsicles

Monday July 29 2013

Popsicles are a part of everyone's childhood memories!  However, there are healthier options than the store pop "Popsicle Pete's" that consist of TONS of sugar.  Instead, here is a healthy option for you to try that I found at  Let me know what you think after you try the recipe!


These popsicles only take 6 minutes to prepare and then 12 hours to freeze.  Once completed, you'll have a batch of yummy popsicles to share with your family and friends, or to hide in the back of the fridge for yourself to enjoy on a hot summery day!

  • 5 cups seedless watermelon (about 1/4 of a large watermelon), diced
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  1. Combine all of the ingredients into the bowl of a food processor or into a blender.  
  2. Puree until it is smooth, approximately 2 minutes.
  3. Discard the solids and distribute the puree evenly amongst your popsicle molds.
  4. Freeze overnight (for 12 hours).
  5. Enjoy!
You can find the original recipe HERE.


]]> (moira) Blog Mon, 29 Jul 2013 07:31:28 +0000
Simple Ways to Detox on a Daily Basis

Monday July 22 2013

"Detox" is definitely a growing "fad" that keeps encroaching my general family practice.  Many patients walk in through the door asking about the best detox products out there.  However, I never encourage the use of "detox products" that are chalked full of laxative and diuretics.  There are many great and gentle detox products out there, but why not start with the basics?  Here's a great article that I found on just that topic on Mind Body Green.


6 Easy Ways To Detox All Day Long

Let’s talk detox! It’s a buzzword these days, but that’s OK by me. Performed in a safe and healthy way, detoxing is one of the most effective ways to keep your mind and body clean and clear so that you can be at your best.
Spearheaded by the liver and supported by the skin, urinary system and bowels, detoxification is a natural process in the body that works to neutralize, transform, and eliminate toxins. Toxins from food additives, pesticides, skin care products, medications, and even the hormones our own bodies make all have to go through our liver before being eliminated. And while our liver is pretty good at what it does, giving it a little extra love can go a long way.
It’s a great idea to do a serious detox once or twice a year and devote a few consecutive weeks to cleaning up your life, your diet, and taking extra special care of yourself. Just like our homes, dirt and other junk that we don’t need build up over time, it makes sense that we should clean our bodies once in a while too. 
But there’s also a lot we can do to gently detox on a daily basis. Here are six easy ways to keep you clean all day long: 
1. Hydrate
Start your day with a glass of warm water, a wedge of lemon and a dash of apple cider vinegar. The water flushes your internal organs and the acidity from the lemon and vinegar gently stimulates the liver and gallbladder, and tells the digestive system to kick into gear. 
Ninja detox tip: Keep the (filtered) water flowing all day long. Three liters a day helps flush the toxins away.
2. Take a contrast shower. 
For every 2-3 minutes of your hot water shower, blast yourself with 30 seconds of cold. The colder the better, so be brave! This type of hydrotherapy not only wakes you up better than any cup of joe, but it also helps to stimulate your lymphatic system — which carries waste products as well as white blood cells — and improves circulation. 
Ninja detox tip: Always end your shower with cold water. Brrrrr. But it’s worth it!
3. Stop Re-toxing. 
Say no to toxic and artificial materials that are common around the home. Get rid of those plastic water bottles and food containers and replace them with glass. Plastics often contain BPA, which makes your liver work extra hard and disrupts your hormones. Take the time to educate yourself about the chemicals that might be lurking in your every-day cosmetics, like makeup, sunscreen, shampoos, fragrances and baby products.
Ninja detox tip: Find out the toxicity rating of your cosmetic products here
4. Sweat. 
Nothing can mobilize and eliminate toxins from the body like a good sweat session. High intensity workouts, infrared saunas, steam rooms and hot yoga are all great ways to get your blood pumping and release toxins. Just thirty minutes will do the trick!
5. Eat your cruciferous veggies! 
Also known as the Brassica family of vegetables, these include broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, and Brussels sprouts, and get their name from the shape of their flowers, whose four petals resemble a cross. Among their many health benefits, cruciferous vegetables contain phytochemicals that stimulate specific liver enzymes required for detoxification. 
Ninja detox tip: Don’t overcook these veggies—that’s what can give them an unpleasant, sulfur-like taste. Keep ‘em crunchy!
6. Write it down. 
Along with a physical detox, it is important to emotionally rid yourself of the clutter that isn’t serving you. Take a few minutes before you go to bed to jot down any worries, fears, anxieties or lingering to-dos that are buzzing around in your mind. Consciously acknowledging these thoughts and releasing them onto paper can be a very empowering and cleansing process. 
Keep these easy six tips in mind and your mind and body will be loving you all day long!


The original article can be found HERE.


]]> (moira) Blog Mon, 22 Jul 2013 10:57:05 +0000
Are Stevia and Agave Good Alternatives for Sugar?

Monday July 15 2013

I came across this great article on the differences between the sugar alternative: stevia vs agave.  Have a great and let me know what you think!


Are Stevia and Agave Syrup Healthier Sweeteners than Sugar? 

by Leslie Beck, Registered Dietician


The Question:

What's the difference between agave syrup and stevia?  Are they healthier than sugar?


The Answer: 

Many health-conscious people are steering away from refined white sugar, and opting for agave syrup (agave nectar) or stevia to sweeten their foods.  These alternative sweeteners are often perceived as more natural, or less highly processed, than table sugar and artificial sweeteners.  Yet, both are derived from multi-step processing methods.


Agave syrup comes from the same plant that produces tequila, the blue agave plant that grows primarily in Mexico.

Agave syrup comes from the same plant that produces tequila, the blue agave plant that grows primarily in Mexico. The core of the plant contains aguamiel, the sweet substance used to produce agave syrup. While processing methods can vary, most involve enzymes, chemicals and heat to convert aguamiel into agave syrup. Organic manufacturers use low heat and no chemicals.

Agave syrup has either a dark or light amber colour and it’s slightly thinner in consistency than honey. It contains 60 calories per tablespoon – versus 48 for table sugar – but because it is about 1.5 times sweeter than sugar, you can use less of it.

Nutritionally, agave syrup is similar to high-fructose corn syrup. Depending on processing, it can contain anywhere from 55 to 97 per cent fructose. (High-fructose corn syrup, by comparison, consists of 55 per cent fructose; the rest is glucose.) Its fructose content results in a sweetener with a glycemic index (10-20) much lower than plain sugar (65). The fact that agave syrup doesn’t spike your blood sugar and insulin has led many manufacturers to market it as “diabetic friendly.”

Yet, according to many experts, agave’s high fructose concentration makes it an unhealthy sweetener. That’s because research has linked high- fructose sweeteners to obesity, diabetes, high triglycerides (blood fats), metabolic syndrome and fatty liver.


Stevia is a no-calorie sweetener that’s made from the leaves of a plant,Stevia rebaudiana, native to South America. Stevia leaves get their sweet taste – about 10 to 15 times sweeter than sugar – from natural compounds called steviol glycosides.

Stevia leaves and stevia extracts are sold as tabletop sweeteners in natural food stores. They have not, however, been approved for use as food additives in Canada and the United States because animal studies have suggested stevia could cause genetic mutations and male infertility. Health Canada considers the available safety data on these products insufficient.

A highly purified stevia extract – sold under the brand names Truvia and PureVia – has been deemed safe and given the green light to sweeten foods in Canada and the U.S., including breakfast cereals, salad dressings, chewing gum and beverages. This purified stevia extract is 200 to 300 times sweeter than sugar so it takes only a minuscule amount to sweeten foods.

In the sense that stevia doesn’t add calories, affect blood sugar or insulin levels, or contribute to dental cavities, I suppose it is a better choice than sugar. Even so, it’s a highly refined extract that perpetuates the desire for sweet-tasting foods and drinks.


If you prefer a caloric sweetener – be it agave syrup, honey, maple syrup or white sugar – use as little as possible. Too much sugar of any type raises blood triglycerides, lowers HDL (good) cholesterol and contributes excess calories to your diet.


My recommendation:

Train your taste buds to adjust to a less sweet taste by gradually cutting back on sugars, stevia or artificial sweeteners. Eventually, you’ll be surprised to learn that your cup of coffee or tea, glass of water, or bowl of cereal tastes just fine without adding sweetener.


Leslie Beck, a registered dietitian, is the national director of nutrition at BodyScience Medical. She can be seen Thursdays at noon on CTV News Channel’s Direct.


You can view the original article HERE.


]]> (moira) Blog Mon, 15 Jul 2013 20:55:27 +0000
Superfoods on a Budget

Monday July 8 2013

I know that a lot of my patients try very hard to eat healthy and make the right decision when it comes to buying healthy yet local and organic.  However, I know that prices do come into play in making those decisions for them!  So, when I stumbled across this article on budget-friendly superfoods at the Huffington Post, I wanted to share it with you. 


10 Seriously Cheap Superfoods

by Ellie Krieger



Few foods can hold a candle to this leafy green.  Kale is full of vitamins, minerals and health-enhancing antioxidants.  Indeed, kale's filling fiber, bone-building calcium and heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to help support the body's natural detox system, getting rid of harmful compounds that are thought to cause cancer, heart disease and other serious ills.  

And what a bargain it is too, at just about 60 cents a cup.

Plus, kale is easy to prepare.  Simply remove the centre ribs of its leaves, then slice it into thin ribbons.  Add this healthful pick to soups and stews in the last 20 minutes of cooking, or sauté it with a splash of olive oil for a delicious side dish.


Sweet Potatoes

Eating this brilliant vegetable is like giving your body a beauty treatment, thanks to its high concentration of beta carotene (the healthful antioxidant that gives this spud its orange hue).  Beta carotene, which has been shown to help every cell in the body stay healthy, also happens to be a skin-targeted nutrient.

Studies have shown it neutralizes wrinkle and sun spot-spurring damage from the sun and helps generate new, healthy glowing skin cells.  Sweet potatoes are also packed with a slew of figure-friendly fiber and energizing B-vitamins -- all for just 43 cents a serving.  Bake them whole or mash them with a bit of milk.


Dried Cranberries

Who needs expensive, over-hyped, tropical fruit when you can get serious healing power from a home-grown variety for a fraction of the price?  Dried cranberries rank among the highest antioxidant contents of any fruit, which means they may help reduce cancer and heart disease risk.

Plus, they contain unique compounds that help prevent urinary tract and other pesky infections.  What's more, far from making a dent in your wallet, dried cranberries cost mere pocket change -- just 50 cents a cup.

Toss them into salads, bake them into muffins or toss them into your morning cereal.


Low Fat Milk

Moo juice is so common that we tend to overlook its power and value.  Here's a friendly reminder: one eight ounce glass of milk is chock-full of nine essential nutrients, many of which most of us fall short, including bone-building calcium, heart-healthy potassium, and vitamin D.

All for about a quarter of a glass!  Besides drinking milk straight-up, nice and cold, you can use it for lattes, in smoothies and in hot cocoa.  Put it in your morning cereal or use it for puddings.  Be sure to buy non-fat or 1 percent low-fat products to reap its potent health power for the fewest calories.


Pinto Beans

Don't be fooled by their small size, pinto beans pack a huge nutritional punch.  They are loaded with figure-friendly protein, filling fiber, energizing B vitamins and heart-healping antioxidants.  In fact, pinto beans take the budget super-food prize because they have one of the highest antioxidant counts of all beans and cost the least, a mere 13 cents a cup.

Add pinto beans to your favorite chili recipe or mash them with some chicken broth, sautéed onion and garlic for a creamy side dish.  The pinto possibilities are endless.


Whole Eggs

At only 70 calories and 20 cents each, eggs are one of the best nutritional bargains around.  They are protein packed and a top dietary source of choline, an essential vitamin that has been shown to promote brain health.  They are also loaded with lutein and zeaxanthin, potent antioxidants which have been shown to enhance eye health.

Note: most of the vitamin and minerals in eggs are stored in its yolks, so if you only spoon up their whites you'll miss out.  Just stick to no more than seven whole eggs a week (to keep your cholesterol in check) and strive to eat them boiled or poached instead of fried. 

One simple way to squeeze them in: hard boil a few eggs at the start of the week so you have them on hand for a quick and healthy snack.


Black Tea

Surprise: you don't have to spend big bucks on fancy teas to get a potent health punch.  Regular black tea can easily fit the bill.  Why?  It's packed with flavonoids (protective compounds that neutralize health-damaging particles called free-radicals) therefore, helping the health of every cell in our bodies.

Plus, studies show tea sippers have less skin wrinkling as they age.  So drink up!  Up to six cups a day is suggested -- iced or hot.  At only 5 cents per tea bag you can afford to.

Just keep sweeteners to a minimum so you don't add empty calories to your cup.  Sensitive to caffeine?  Keep your teak intake to early in the day, since decaf and herbal varieties don't offer the same flavonoid benefits.



There's an array of costly grains with super-food status in today's markets, but there's one inexpensive health hero you most likely already have in your cupboard -- oatmeal. Simple rolled oats are packed with essential minerals like immune-boosting zinc, magnesium and iron as well as chock full of protective antioxidants called flavonoids that have been shown to reduce disease-causing inflammation in the body.

But their real star power comes from their fiber.  Oats are one of the top sources of soluble-fiber, the kind that can help sweep cholesterol out of the body and help keep blood sugar from rising too quickly.  Buy plain oatmeal and gussy it up yourself for breakfast with fruit or simply sub in oats instead of breadcrumbs in your favorite meatloaf or meatball recipe.


Canned Salmon

Good news: you can have all the benefits of wild salmon at a fraction of the cost by buying canned salmon.  Fresh or canned, experts say a four ounce portion of salmon provides a day's worth of omega3 fatty acids, the beneficial fat that has been shown to reduce inflammation in the body and thereby reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer.

This food also provides the daily value for vitamin D, while supplying other important minerals.  Both fresh wild and canned salmon are also low in contaminants, such as mercury or PCBs.  

Use canned salmon just as you would use canned tuna: flake it into your summer pasta salad or mix it with a touch of mayo, mustard, lemon juice, chopped onion and celery to serve it on a sandwich.



Just one cup of this luscious fruit gives you 80 percent of the daily value for immune-boosting vitamin C, 25 percent of vitamin A (in its antioxidant form, beta-carotene), 7 percent potassium and 3 grams of filling fiber, not to mention all the healing power you get from its wealth of phenols, plant compounds that have potent antioxidant activity.

You get this huge health bang all for just 110 calories and about 50 cents.

To properly prep a mango, first slice a bit off its bottom so the fruit stands upright on your cutting board.  Then cut straight down along both sides of the pit to remove the fruit.  Afterwards, just peel and cut into slices or chunks.  Two other suggestions: try blending mango with a carton of yogurt, a handful of ice and a touch of honey for a tasty smoothie or serving it as a salad sliced with avocado and red onion with a squeeze of lime.


Now, get out there and enjoy these great superfoods!

Click HERE to view the original article.

]]> (moira) Blog Mon, 08 Jul 2013 20:55:01 +0000
Happy Canada Day!

Mon Jul 1 2013

Happy Canada Day everyone!  Since I was away on vacation and didn't contribute to my blog for the last 2 weeks, I decided to work through the long-weekend and give you a bit of information on natural options for pest control around your house.  I'm sure that all of you have experienced at least a few uninvited ant visitors at your home once in a while.  Instead of automatically jumping to the toxic bug repellants/insecticides/etc, perhaps you can try one of these natural alternatives and see if it helps your situation with a milder and gentler solution.  Please email me at and let me know how it goes!


These tips come from Dead Snails Leave No Trails: Natural Pest Control for Home and Garden by Loren Nancarrow and Janet Hogan Taylor. The book, originally released in 1996, was revised for the first time in 2013.

Here’s a snippet from the intro to the new edition:

“Take a stroll through most home- and garden stores these days and it’s easy to believe we’ve cured our addiction to chemicals. Terms like “organic,” “earth friendly,” “all natural,” “locally grown,” and so on are prominently displayed on packaging. But our enlightenment may be more about slogans and marketing than a new understanding of the natural world and the importance of protecting it.

I realized how little we’ve moved toward chemical-free gardening while using social media.”

After posting some photos of tomato hornworms in her garden, Nancarrow was “shocked at the responses,” which “advocated everything up to and including nuclear attack.”

In Dead Snails Leave No Trails, she and Taylor have compiled “old-fashioned but logical methods of nonchemical gardening and pest control.” It’s not just about protecting the natural world–though that’s certainly important–but also protecting yourself, family, friends and pets from the toxic chemicals in conventional insect and pest control. So for this week’s Health Hack, here are five tips for exterminating home and garden organically.

Repel ants in your house. “Dab a little eucalyptus oil, citrus oil or lemon juice on a rag and wipe it in your cupboards or entry points,” advise Nancarrow and Taylor. “You can also soak a string in the oil and stuff it into tholes or along a crack.”

Keep mosquitoes out of your garden or yard. Lemongrass contains cintronella; when planted in gardens or around the yard, it can act as a natural mosquito repellent.

Bait roaches. Mix one part sugar and one part baking soda. Put the mixture in jar lids and place the lids along walls and baseboards, under sinks or wherever you’ve seen roaches.

Discourage moles. Keep moles from digging up your plants with this mole repellent: 2 tablespoons castor oil, one tablespoon dishwashing liquid and one gallon water. Mix together and coat the mole’s tunnels with the solution.

Control tomato hornworms. Planting basil alongside tomatoes helps keep tomato hornworms away.

You can find the original article HERE.


If you would like to make an appointment with Moira Kwok ND to learn how a Naturopathic Doctor can help you treat your current condition(s) or prevent any condition(s) that you may be predisposed to in the future, please contact her at or any of the contact phone numbers to her midtown Toronto, downtown Toronto or Mississauga clinics (found HERE) and she would be happy to see you for an appointment.

]]> (moira) Blog Mon, 01 Jul 2013 21:09:00 +0000
Away on Vacation Part 2

Mon Jun 24 2013

Here's a picture of Vancouver's picturesque North Shore.  This was taken on the night of my cousin's wedding -- it was a beautiful ceremony and reception that was right on the water.  

Vancouver is definitely an amazing city to visit if you haven't been here before -- I highly recommend it.



If you would like to make an appointment with Moira Kwok ND to learn how a Naturopathic Doctor can help you treat your current condition(s) or prevent any condition(s) that you may be predisposed to in the future, please contact her at or any of the contact phone numbers to her midtown Toronto, downtown Toronto or Mississauga clinics (found HERE) and she would be happy to see you for an appointment.

]]> (moira) Blog Mon, 24 Jun 2013 20:57:00 +0000
Away on Vacation Part 1

Mon Jun 17 2013

I'm leaving for a mini-vacation in Vancouver, BC for the week so I won't be putting up a blog posting this week or next.  

However, I'm hoping that this picture will tie you over until I get a chance to post a picture from Vancouver for you next week.  As all of my patients know, I'm a HUGE animal lover.  And these 3 little ducklings are what we found on the side of a main Toronto street running around all over the place, peeping their little hearts out looking for their mom. Let me tell you, it's QUITE the work out running after each of them - they are very quick-footed little buggers!!  If there is security footage of a do-it-yourself car wash where we finally managed to chase down two of them, I think I might actually become a YouTube sensation!

We called the Toronto Wildlife Centre last night but they were closed until this morning.  So we were instructed to keep them in a dry, dark and warm place over night and deliver them to the Toronto Wildlife Centre once we spoke to one of their volunteers to make sure that they had the room for them in their hospital.

I'm just waiting for the phone call back but thought that I'd share the cuteness while I had the chance.

Have a great week!


If you would like to make an appointment with Moira Kwok ND to learn how a Naturopathic Doctor can help you treat your current condition(s) or prevent any condition(s) that you may be predisposed to in the future, please contact her at or any of the contact phone numbers to her midtown Toronto, downtown Toronto or Mississauga clinics (found HERE) and she would be happy to see you for an appointment.

]]> (moira) Blog Mon, 17 Jun 2013 19:15:11 +0000
Instilling a Sense Self-Worth in Our Daughters

Mon Jun 10 2013

The below link has been circulating amongst my Facebook friends and colleagues for the past few days and I'd like to share it with you as well.  It's another great reminder of what we should teach our children as they grow up into the adults that we hope that they will become -- both our sons and daughters.


Dear Cutie-Pie,

Recently, your mother and I were searching for an answer on Google. Halfway through entering the question, Google returned a list of the most popular searches in the world. Perched at the top of the list was “How to keep him interested.”

It startled me. I scanned several of the countless articles about how to be sexy and sexual, when to bring him a beer versus a sandwich, and the ways to make him feel smart and superior.

And I got angry.

Little One, it is not, has never been, and never will be your job to “keep him interested.”

Little One, your only task is to know deeply in your soul—in that unshakeable place that isn’t rattled by rejection and loss and ego—that you are worthy of interest. (If you can remember that everyone else is worthy of interest also, the battle of your life will be mostly won. But that is a letter for another day.)

If you can trust your worth in this way, you will be attractive in the most important sense of the word: you will attract a boy who is both capable of interest and who wants to spend his one life investing all of his interest in you.

Little One, I want to tell you about the boy who doesn’t need to be kept interested, because he knows you are interesting:

I don’t care if he puts his elbows on the dinner table—as long as he puts his eyes on the way your nose scrunches when you smile. And then can’t stop looking.

I don’t care if he can’t play a bit of golf with me—as long as he can play with the children you give him and revel in all the glorious and frustrating ways they are just like you.

I don’t care if he doesn’t follow his wallet—as long as he follows his heart and it always leads him back to you.

I don’t care if he is strong—as long as he gives you the space to exercise the strength that is in your heart.

I couldn’t care less how he votes—as long as he wakes up every morning and daily elects you to a place of honor in your home and a place of reverence in his heart.

I don’t care about the color of his skin—as long as he paints the canvas of your lives with brushstrokes of patience, and sacrifice, and vulnerability, and tenderness.

I don’t care if he was raised in this religion or that religion or no religion—as long as he was raised to value the sacred and to know every moment of life, and every moment of life with you, is deeply sacred.

In the end, Little One, if you stumble across a man like that and he and I have nothing else in common, we will have the most important thing in common:


Because in the end, Little One, the only thing you should have to do to “keep him interested” is to be you.

Your eternally interested guy,



This post is, of course, dedicated to my daughter, my Cutie-Pie. But I also want to dedicate it beyond her.

I wrote it for my wife, who has courageously held on to her sense of worth and has always held me accountable to being that kind of “boy.”

I wrote it for every grown woman I have met inside and outside of my therapy office—the women who have never known this voice of a Daddy.

And I wrote it for the generation of boys-becoming-men who need to be reminded of what is really important—my little girl finding a loving, lifelong companion is dependent upon at least one of you figuring this out. I’m praying for you.


You can find the original article posted HERE.


If you would like to make an appointment with Moira Kwok ND to learn how a Naturopathic Doctor can help you treat your current condition(s) or prevent any condition(s) that you may be predisposed to in the future, please contact her at or any of the contact phone numbers to her midtown Toronto, downtown Toronto or Mississauga clinics (found HERE) and she would be happy to see you for an appointment.

]]> (moira) Blog Mon, 10 Jun 2013 19:00:00 +0000
Googling Nutritional Information

Mon Jun 3 2013

I discovered something interesting today: Google is now offering detailed nutritional information in their powerful search engine.  I thought that this was a great move because it will make finding this type of information just a few taps away on our laptops/smartphones.  How wonderful is that!?!  Give it a try and see what you learn today about food and nutrition. 


Continuing it’s quest for net domination, Google announced this morning that it is adding nutrition information to its search features. Using the new feature, it’ll be easy to look up nutrition data for thousands of foods and beverages.

Greatist explains how it works:

Google tech wizards have added nutritional data to the Knowledge Graph, a feature of Google Search that enables users to get information instantly. It’s simple: You enter a question about the nutritional content of a food or drink (for example: “How many calories are in a banana?” or “How much sugar is in a cupcake?”) and hit search. The answer will show up in a box at the top of the results, with the option to change the serving size for even more accurate information. Below Google’s result, the standard search results page appears with links to other sources and websites if you’d like a second opinion.

Google’s nutrition database will contain a wide array of nutrient info, including calorie, protein, fat, carbohydrate, sodium, vitamin and mineral content. All information comes from the United States Department of Agriculture.

Right now it only has info on 1,000 items, but Google says it plans to add more continually.

There doesn’t seem to be much to say except to echo Greatist: Anything that makes healthy choices even easier gets a gold star in our book.


You can find the original article HERE.


If you would like to make an appointment with Moira Kwok ND to learn how a Naturopathic Doctor can help you treat your current condition(s) or prevent any condition(s) that you may be predisposed to in the future, please contact her at or any of the contact phone numbers to her midtown Toronto, downtown Toronto or Mississauga clinics (found HERE) and she would be happy to see you for an appointment.

]]> (moira) Blog Mon, 03 Jun 2013 19:00:00 +0000

May 27 2013

I've discovered a new blog that I'm loving and am addicted to their updates!  It's called The Chalkboard, and it's in association with Pressed Juicery in California. If you're ever in Cali and close to any of their locations, you should definitely drop by and try one of their juices!  It's amazing.

Blackberries are one of my favourite berries for the summer, and they were discussed as a superfood on The Chalkboard by Katie Horwitch!

Superfood Spotlight: Blackberries

It's almost blackberry season!  Here's how and why to get your fill of those edible gems ...

What You Need To Know

Summer is almost here, which means these dark-hued beauties are beginning to pop up in farmers markets everywhere.  Blackberries, which can be eaten fresh or frozen, can be found everywhere from jams to desserts -- even wine!  Their deep purple skin is not only beautiful: it's a sign that these tiny berries are a nutritional force to be reckoned with.

Why You Should Try It

Blackberries get their brilliant color from powerful anthocyanins, which are responsible for healthy memory function, anti-aging and reducing the risk of certain types of cancer.  They also contain half your daily allotment of vitamin C, which combats heart disease, strengthens the immune system and keeps your skin bright and healthy.  With thirty percent (six grams) of your daily fiber intake, they aid in optimal digestion.  But the greatest benefit of adding blackberries to your diet?  They are rich in phenolic acids -- antioxidant compounds notorious for their powerful carcinogenic effects.

Let's Get Together

Blackberries are a delicious way to power up juices and smoothies -- try this delicious recipe by Whole Family Fare.  They are also a welcome addition to summer pies, cobblers and all-natural jams, or can be enjoyed our favorite way -- straight from hand to mouth!


You can read the original article HERE.


If you would like to make an appointment with Moira Kwok ND to learn how a Naturopathic Doctor can help you treat your current condition(s) or prevent any condition(s) that you may be predisposed to in the future, please contact her at or any of the contact phone numbers to her midtown Toronto, downtown Toronto or Mississauga clinics (found HERE) and she would be happy to see you for an appointment.

]]> (moira) Blog Mon, 27 May 2013 18:59:00 +0000
Phone Apps & Weight Loss

May 20 2013

In both my downtown Toronto and Leaside practices, I often see many stressed out patients who would like to lose a bit of weight.  One of the things that I discuss with almost all of these patients is to recommend that they download an app called MyFitnessPal.  In fact, I wrote a blog post back in February about the MyFitnessPal app (found HERE).  Researchers in Liverpool, UK have found that smartphone apps can help people lose weight because it encourages them to pay attention and record the amount of food that they consume.

These researchers developed an app and found that an average of 1.5 kg of weight loss was observed over their 4 week study.  They based this on their previous research which concluded that distractions (eg. TV, radio, computers, etc) increased food intake by upto 50% during a meal and later in the day.

They designed the app to consist of 3 parts:

  1. Before eating or drinking, users photograph the food/drink they are about to consume.
  2. Users are instructed to focus on the image after the meal, and enter the quantity eaten and feelings of satiety.
  3. A chronological slide show of the consumption episodes recorded during the day is opened and a short text message instructing the users to remember what they have eaten and remind them to eat attentively and to take a picture of their next meal

There was a total of 12 participants (5 were overweight and 7 were obese).  At the end of the 4 week study, 6 of the 12 participants lost 1 kg or more, 4 of the 6 participants lost between 0-1 kg and the remaining 2 of the 12 participants gained between 0.1-0.4 kg.

It is important to note that this is just a preliminary study and much bigger and longer term studies are required in the future in order.  However, the take-home message is that we should all be aware of what we are putting in our mouths in order to pay attention to what we are actually eating, the amount of food that we consuming and signals from our brain that we are full.  

You can find the study HERE.


If you would like to make an appointment with Moira Kwok ND to learn how a Naturopathic Doctor can help you treat your current condition(s) or prevent any condition(s) that you may be predisposed to in the future, please contact her at or any of the contact phone numbers to her midtown Toronto, downtown Toronto or Mississauga clinics (found HERE) and she would be happy to see you for an appointment.

]]> (moira) Blog Mon, 20 May 2013 18:59:00 +0000
High Intensity Circuit Training (HICT)

Mon May 13 2013


An interesting article was published by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) in their May/June 2013 issue regarding the benefits of a high intensity circuit training (HICT) work-out that they created.  They combine aerobic activity and resistance training into a single exercise regime that only lasts approximately 7 minutes and only relies on body weight.  This 7 minute regime can be repeated two to three times, depending on the amount of time the person has to spend.

HICT for Fat or Weight Loss

The researchers claim that HICT is a fast and efficient way to lose excess body weight and body fat because the resistance training that is incorporated into the regiment helps to significantly burn fat during a work-out.  Interesting, an increased amount of both catecholamines and growth hormones are found in the blood of subjects during and after HICT exercise with short rest periods.


HICT Improving Markers of Health

VO2max is a marker of cardiopulmonary health, and when the researchers compared HICT versus traditional protocols effects on VO2max, they found that HICT results are comparable and sometimes even greater, despite having significantly less exercise time.

HICT may also be efficient and effective at decreasing insulin resistance, which is a major factor in developing type 2 diabetes. In fact, the researchers noted that positive changes were observed in insulin resistance even with as little as 8 minutes per week at an intensity of more than 100% VO2max!


Exercise Selection

According to the researchers, the exercises in the HICT circuit should be used to:

  1. promote strength development for all major muscle groups of the body
  2. use large muscle groups to create the appropriate resistance and aerobic intensity
  3. create a balance of strength throughout the body
  4. be immediately modified or adapted as necessary to increase or decrease exercise intensity
  5. be safe and appropriate for the participants in the training space provided
  6. be interactive with the available features of the training environment
  7. be easily transitioned to accommodate minimized rest time


Exercise Order

The exercises for the HICT circuit should be placed in an order that allows for opposite muscle groups to alternate between resting and working in the following exercise stations.

For example, you should have an upper body exercise (eg. push-ups) followed by a lower body exercise (eg. squats).  This is because the muscles of the upper body are being used, while the muscles of the lower body are at rest during the push-ups.  This results in the lower body having enough energy to perform the squats properly (form and technique) and at an adequate intensity.

Also, if a particular exercise creates a significant increase in heart rate, the following exercise should slightly decrease the heart rate.

Following these guidelines will help the person perform the exercises in quick succession using the proper form and technique, and at a high intensity with minimal rest between exercises.


Individual Exercise Time

The general rule of thumb is: the longer the exercise duration, the lower the exercise intensity that can be accomplished.  A 30 second exercise bout allows for maximizing the metabolic impact of the exercise and sufficient time to allow for the proper execution of 15-20 repetitions of the exercise.


Rest Between Exercises

A rest time of 30 seconds or less results in maximizing metabolic impact.  If the rest period is too long, it undermines the purpose of the HICT protocol.  It is important to remember that the objective is for INcomplete recovery between exercises so that the high intensity can be sustained over the short exercise period without compromising the proper exercise form and technique.


Total Exercise Time

In general, 20 minutes of high intensity exercises is usually recommended.  This means that the circuit should be repeated a few times in order to obtain optimal results.


Sample Exercise Program

The researchers suggested the following HICT protocol, which 30 seconds spent on each exercise and a 10 second rest period between.  They estimated that the total time of the entire circuit workout is approximately 7 minutes, so they recommend repeated the entire circuit 2-3 times.

  1. Jumping jacks
  2. Wall Sit
  3. Push-up
  4. Abdominal crunch
  5. Step up onto chair
  6. Squat
  7. Triceps dip on chair
  8. Plant
  9. High knees/running in place
  10. Lunge
  11. Push-up & rotation
  12. Side plank

Please see the original article for photos that demonstrate these exercises.



Klika B & Jordan C.  Amer Coll Sports Med.  High-Intensity Circuit Training Using Body Weight: Maximum Results With Minimal Investment.  May/Jun 2013; 17(3): 8-13.


If you would like to make an appointment with Moira Kwok ND to learn how a Naturopathic Doctor can help you treat your current condition(s) or prevent any condition(s) that you may be predisposed to in the future, please contact her at or any of the contact phone numbers to her midtown Toronto, downtown Toronto or Mississauga clinics (found HERE) and she would be happy to see you for an appointment.


]]> (moira) Blog Mon, 13 May 2013 14:34:07 +0000
The Safety of Feminine Hygiene Products

Mon May 6 2013

I wrote an article on the many benefits of the DivaCup before (here) but I came across this very interesting article regarding all of the negative reasons for using non-organic or natural feminine hygiene products.  This definitely drives home the fact that you should be actively looking for an good natural alternative to Always/Kotex/etc!!!

Conventional Feminine Hygiene Products: A Women’s Issue With Toxic Implications

I’m a vigilant label reader and have been since I first began to uncover the toxic additives that make seemingly healthy food, junk food. The same is true of the supplements I take and the cosmetic products I put on my body. I’ve learned to look for dangerous chemicals disguised in harmless words like “fragrance” or “made with natural ingredients.” But it wasn’t until researching my new book Label Lessons: Your Guide to a Healthy Shopping Cart (with co-author Lisa Tsakos), that I learned firsthand how tampons and sanitary pads, products that alleviate some of the confines of our monthly cycle, might actually be harming our bodies.Here’s what I found out:

  • Conventional tampons and sanitary pad companies don't have to fully disclose their ingredients.
  • Conventional tampons are typically manufactured using a blend of synthetic rayon and cotton because it’s cheaper to produce than cotton alone and it has a higher capacity for absorbing liquid. Rayon is a cellulose fiber made from wood pulp. It has been  associated with Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS), a systemic, and potentially deadly, illness caused by bacteria associated with the use of tampons. According to the Mayo Clinic:

“Researchers don't know exactly how tampons may cause toxic shock syndrome. Some believe that when superabsorbent tampons are left in place for a long time, the tampons become a breeding ground for bacteria. Others have suggested that the superabsorbent fibers in the tampons can scratch the surface of the vagina, making it possible for bacteria or their toxins to enter the bloodstream."

  • Conventional tampons and sanitary pads are bleached using chlorine dioxide. Although the process is technically “chlorine-free,” it produces dioxins as a byproduct released into the environment. In 1998, the EPA outlawed a much more potent dioxin-producing bleaching process, and while the newer process significantly reduces dioxins, some experts believe it doesn’t eliminate them entirely from the end products. According to the EPA, dioxin exposure causes cancer in lab animals and poses a high risk to humans as well.
  • Conventional tampons contain pesticides. I’ve long been wary of conventional, non-organic, foods for fear of pesticide residue. All the while, conventional cotton, the most heavily sprayed crop in existence, is used in the tampons that women use each and every month. Cotton crops make up just 2.4 percent of the world’s land, but each year a whopping $2 billion is spent on pesticides to spray this one crop. If tampons were a fruit or vegetable, they would most certainly be added to the top of the Dirty Dozen PlusTM list.
  • Tampons and pads with odor neutralizers and other artificial fragrances are nothing short of a chemical soup laced with artificial colors, polyester, adhesives, polyethylene (PET), polypropylene, and propylene glycol (PEG), contaminants linked to hormone disruption, cancer, birth defects, dryness, and infertility. We are becoming more aware of the dangers associated with chemicals in everyday products including lotions, shampoos, shower curtains, household cleaners, etc. but we need to stop and think about the tampons and sanitary pads we put into and onto our bodies every single month.
  • While doing our research, we found very little information on this topic. We really had to dig deep.
  • In 2003, House Representative Carolyn Maloney introduced legislation that would have required research into the health risks posed by additives found in feminine hygiene products. The suspected risks included endometriosis, cervical cancer, breast cancer and ovarian cancer. This legislation didn't pass. We recently called Carolyn Maloney's office to inquire whether any new legislation has been put forth since 2003 and they confirmed nothing has. It's been over 10 years since concern arose that the chemicals in tampons and pads could potentially harm women's reproductive organs. So why wouldn't legislation to research the issue be brought back to the table over and over again until something is done about it?
  • Many conventional sanitary pads include latex, a potential allergen. Latex can be used to make the wings on pads more flexible, and it can be used as a binder on the surface of pads and liners, where it comes in close contact with the skin.
  • Ninety percent of conventional sanitary pads are made from crude oil plastic. The rest is made from chlorine-bleached wood pulp. By using plastic laden feminine hygiene products, we add the equivalent to 180 billion plastic bags to our waste stream.
  • Conventional tampons most probably contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs). According the USDA, 94 percent of all the cotton planted in the U.S. is genetically engineered.[1] GMOs have been linked to a host of health issues[2] including food allergies, leaky gut syndrome, and inflammation, just to name a few.

If you haven’t yet seen the GMO documentary film Genetic Roulette, I highly recommend it. I had the chance to hear the film’s director Jeffrey Smith speak in April and he showed that the evidence linking GMOs to health issues is something we can no longer ignore.Inserting a GMO tampon into your vagina several times every month is no different than ingesting GMO food. In fact, it may even be worse. According to Dr. Susan Treiser, MD., the skin around the vaginal area is highly vascular and therefore more permeable to a wide range of compounds. I am not a doctor or scientist, but logic suggests that GMOs, pesticides or chemicals in the body—from either end—can’t be good for us.Tampons and Pads Considered ‘Medical Devices’Pick up a box of conventional sanitary pads and try to read the ingredients. You can’t because they aren’t listed. Why, you ask? Because sanitary pads are consideredto be a “medical device” and because they aren't inserted into our body, the ingredients don’t have to be listed on the label or disclosed by the company. Many brands of tampons do list some of the ingredients on their package, but full disclosure isn't mandatory. According to the FDA, proprietary ingredients and formulas are legally protected and do not have to be disclosed by companies.  Since when is a tampon or pad a “medical device?” I was curious what the definition of a “medical device” was so I looked it up.According to the FDA[3], a medical device is:“An instrument, apparatus, implement, machine, contrivance, implant, in vitro reagent, or other similar or related article, including a component part, or accessory which is:

  • Recognized in the official National Formulary, or the United States Pharmacopoeia, or any supplement to them,
  • Intended for use in the diagnosis of disease or other conditions, or in the cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease, in man or other animals, or
  • Intended to affect the structure or any function of the body of man or other animals, and which does not achieve its primary intended purposes through chemical action within or on the body of man or other animals and which is not dependent upon being metabolized for the achievement of any of its primary intended purposes."

Since when are tampons and pads used to diagnose, prevent, or treat disease? Is a woman’s menstrual cycle considered a disease?What’s worse—even if ingredients were listed, genetically modified ingredients wouldn’t be, because in the United States and Canada, unlike most industrialized nations, they don’t have to be.Safe Alternatives to Conventional TamponsThis toxic mess has flown under the radar for so long because companies like Procter & Gamble are not obligated to label their products.Luckily, our extensive research also uncovered safe alternatives.I spoke to Dr. Philip Tierno, a Clinical Professor of Microbiology and Pathology at NYU Medical Centre, who explained, "100 cotton tampons consistently test under detectable levels for TSS toxins."In Label Lessons, we look at Natracare, a line of feminine hygiene products with all the effectiveness and none of the toxins. Since tampon absorbency is regulated by the FDA, all tampons, organic and conventional, must meet strict absorbency guidelines. Natracare uses 100 percent organic cotton so there are no synthetic ingredients and no GMO cotton. And because the company uses hydrogen peroxide to bleach its products, they are also 100 percent dioxin-free. They’re wrapped in chlorine-free paper, the packaging is recycled, and they’re never tested on animals.Other great safe feminine hygiene alternatives include the Diva Cup, Seventh Generation Chlorine Free Organic Cotton Tampons, Glad Rags Organic Pads, and ORGANYC 100% Organic Cotton Tampons.The Environmental PerspectiveIn my lifetime, I’ll use 17,000 sanitary care products, so what I use matters, both for myself and for the planet, especially considering all the pesticides that create dead zones in our soil and water systems. And then there’s the crude oil plastic, which makes up 90 percent of conventional sanitary pads and is used in plastic applicator tampons. One conventional sanitary pad, for example, uses the equivalent of four plastic bags. Organic products like Natracare, on the other hand, are plastic-free.As women, not knowing what goes into and onto our bodies every single month sets us back decades. But even still, it’s not just a women’s issue. If you have a wife, daughter, mother, or sister, this issue impacts you as well.Conventional tampon producers need to disclose what’s in their products; they need to be honest so that women can make safe, informed decisions about what they put in their bodies.Personally, I use Natracare tampons and pads and have been for more than ten years. I have met Susie Hewson, the founder of the company, on several occasions and I am inspired by her passion and dedication to women’s health, and the environment.We called Procter & Gamble on many different occasions to ask them to disclose what’s in their Always Infinity Pad. All they could tell us was that it contained foam and a proprietary formula called InfinicelTM, a super absorbent material with more than 60 patents[4]. This was a very frustrating experience for us, as well as for P&G's customer service representatives, because they are kept in the dark about the ingredients as well.I can’t decide which is worse, the fact that we still don’t know what’s in a product that so many women use every month or that Procter & Gamble isn’t obligated to tell us what their pads are made of, even when we go out of our way to call them.Disclosing what’s in the products they make that go in and on women’s bodies should not be optional, it should be mandatory!We need companies to be accountable for the products they manufacture. We need to know ahead of time how to avoid the rayon, pesticide residue, GMO cotton, dioxins, chemical toxins, petrochemicals, and plastic often found in conventional feminine hygiene products.We need to have full disclosure labeling on tampons and pads so, as women, we can make informed decisions when it comes to the products we buy.Join me, and the Naturally Savvy team, in putting an end to this breach of public trust by signing our petition to force Procter & Gamble to tell us what’s in their products.Please leave a comment below letting me know if you are planning on chaging to an organic brand, or if you are already using one. I'd love to hear from you.

Sign our petition: HERE

You can find the full article HERE.


If you would like to make an appointment with Moira Kwok ND to learn how a Naturopathic Doctor can help you treat your current condition(s) or prevent any condition(s) that you may be predisposed to in the future, please contact her at or any of the contact phone numbers to her midtown Toronto, downtown Toronto or Mississauga clinics (found HERE) and she would be happy to see you for an appointment.

]]> (moira) Blog Mon, 06 May 2013 14:33:32 +0000
Budget-Friendly Superfoods

Mon Apr 29 2013

A common concern that many of my patients raise is the common misconception that "eating healthy costs a lot".  This isn't necessarily the case at all!  It just depends on what you consider healthy and where you find it.  Not having all of the money in the world doesn't mean that you can't afford to eat healthy as well.


Healthy Eating On A Budget: 7 Superfoods You Can Definitely Afford

Despite USDA reviews, anecdotal evidence, and plenty of articles from magazines and websites like ours, there’s still this prevailing, problematic idea that eating healthy has to be expensive and difficult. But that’s just not the case. Even in fall and winter, when fresh produce may seem a little more difficult to come by, nutrient-rich, seasonal superfoods are still affordable and available, even for tight budgets and those in low-access neighborhoods.

If you’ve got even a basic grocery store nearby, these tasty, easy-to-prepare, and, often, shelf-stable superfoods are the perfect resources to stock up the larder on the cheap. If you’re looking to pinch some pennies (and stash some quick meal ideas for leaner months), add these ingredients to your grocery list immediately.

Black beans
During particularly difficult times of financial instability, I've practically lived off black beans. Super-healthy, inexpensive, and really easy to prepare, they stay stable in your cupboard for ages.

Lots of Americans skip right by purple cabbage at the grocery store or produce stand because, well, it seems kind of dull. But shredded cabbage is a great way to add potassium, vitamin A, and fiber to your family's diet. Shred it for salads and sandwiches, sautee it as a side dish, or sneak it into soups and stews for added benefits.

Canned Salmon
Sustainable, omega-3-filled salmon isn't just for expensive caesar salads in fancy restaurants. The canned kind has gotten the Seafood Watch seal of approval, and can be used in a variety of ways. It's a little more expensive than tuna, but it's worth it for the extra nutrients, lower mercury levels, and eco-friendliness.

In addition to being less expensive, it's also easier to use than the frozen or fresh variety. Add it to a salad, sandwich, or noodle casserole to add brain-boosting good fats.
You probably already know this, but quinoa is the perfect grain. On it's own, it's a complete source of protein and good carbs; you technically could live on it and not much else.

You can find the original article HERE.



If you would like to make an appointment with Moira Kwok ND to learn how a Naturopathic Doctor can help you treat your current condition(s) or prevent any condition(s) that you may be predisposed to in the future, please contact her at or any of the contact phone numbers to her midtown Toronto, downtown Toronto or Mississauga clinics (found HERE) and she would be happy to see you for an appointment.

]]> (moira) Blog Mon, 29 Apr 2013 14:32:59 +0000
Change the Way You Talk to Little Girls

Mon Apr 22 2013

I came across this wonderful article by Lisa Bloom, who is an award-winning journalist, legal analyst, trial attorney, the daughter of renowned women's rights attorney, Gloria Allred, and authored the book Think: Straight Talk for Women to Stay Smart in a Dumbed Down World.  It was a reminder of what we can each do in order to change women's perception of themselves, and I for one will definitely be changing the way I speak to any little girl from now on in attempt to change the world, one little girl at a time.



How to Talk to Little Girls

I went to a dinner party at a friend’s home last weekend, and met her five-year-old daughter for the first time.

Little Maya was all curly brown hair, doe-like dark eyes, and adorable in her shiny pink nightgown. I wanted to squeal, “Maya, you’re so cute! Look at you! Turn around and model that pretty ruffled gown, you gorgeous thing!”

But I didn’t. I squelched myself. As I always bite my tongue when I meet little girls, restraining myself from my first impulse, which is to tell them how darn cute/ pretty/ beautiful/ well-dressed/ well-manicured/ well-coiffed they are.

What’s wrong with that? It’s our culture’s standard talking-to-little-girls icebreaker, isn’t it? And why not give them a sincere compliment to boost their self-esteem? Because they are so darling I just want to burst when I meet them, honestly.

Hold that thought for just a moment.

This week ABC news reported that nearly half of all three- to six-year-old girls worry about being fat. In my book, Think: Straight Talk for Women to Stay Smart in a Dumbed-Down World, I reveal that fifteen to eighteen percent of girls under twelve now wear mascara, eyeliner and lipstick regularly; eating disorders are up and self-esteem is down; and twenty-five percent of young American women would rather win America’s next top model than the Nobel Peace Prize. Even bright, successful college women say they’d rather be hot than smart. A Miami mom just died from cosmetic surgery, leaving behind two teenagers. This keeps happening, and it breaks my heart.

Teaching girls that their appearance is the first thing you notice tells them that looks are more important than anything. It sets them up for dieting at age 5 and foundation at age 11 and boob jobs at 17 and Botox at 23. As our cultural imperative for girls to be hot 24/7 has become the new normal, American women have become increasingly unhappy. What’s missing? A life of meaning, a life of ideas and reading books and being valued for our thoughts and accomplishments.

That’s why I force myself to talk to little girls as follows.

“Maya,” I said, crouching down at her level, looking into her eyes, “very nice to meet you.”

“Nice to meet you too,” she said, in that trained, polite, talking-to-adults good girl voice.

“Hey, what are you reading?” I asked, a twinkle in my eyes. I love books. I’m nuts for them. I let that show.

Her eyes got bigger, and the practiced, polite facial expression gave way to genuine excitement over this topic. She paused, though, a little shy of me, a stranger.

“I LOVE books,” I said. “Do you?”

Most kids do.

“YES,” she said. “And I can read them all by myself now!”

“Wow, amazing!” I said. And it is, for a five year old. You go on with your bad self, Maya.

“What’s your favorite book?” I asked.

“I’ll go get it! Can I read it to you?”

Purplicious was Maya’s pick and a new one to me, as Maya snuggled next to me on the sofa and proudly read aloud every word, about our heroine who loves pink but is tormented by a group of girls at school who only wear black. Alas, it was about girls and what they wore, and how their wardrobe choices defined their identities. But after Maya closed the final page, I steered the conversation to the deeper issues in the book: mean girls and peer pressure and not going along with the group. I told her my favorite color in the world is green, because I love nature, and she was down with that.

Not once did we discuss clothes or hair or bodies or who was pretty. It’s surprising how hard it is to stay away from those topics with little girls, but I’m stubborn.

I told her that I’d just written a book, and that I hoped she’d write one too one day. She was fairly psyched about that idea. We were both sad when Maya had to go to bed, but I told her next time to choose another book and we’d read it and talk about it. Oops. That got her too amped up to sleep, and she came down from her bedroom a few times, all jazzed up.

So, one tiny bit of opposition to a culture that sends all the wrong messages to our girls. One tiny nudge towards valuing female brains. One brief moment of intentional role modeling. Will my few minutes with Maya change our multibillion dollar beauty industry, reality shows that demean women, our celebrity-manic culture? No. But I did change Maya’s perspective for at least that evening.

Try this the next time you meet a little girl. She may be surprised and unsure at first, because few ask her about her mind, but be patient and stick with it. Ask her what she’s reading. What does she like and dislike, and why? There are no wrong answers. You’re just generating an intelligent conversation that respects her brain. For older girls, ask her about current events issues: pollution, wars, school budgets slashed. What bothers her out there in the world? How would she fix it if she had a magic wand? You may get some intriguing answers. Tell her about your ideas and accomplishments and your favorite books. Model for her what a thinking woman says and does.

And let me know the response you get at

Here’s to changing the world, one little girl at a time.


You can find the original article HERE.


If you would like to make an appointment with Moira Kwok ND to learn how a Naturopathic Doctor can help you treat your current condition(s) or prevent any condition(s) that you may be predisposed to in the future, please contact her at or any of the contact phone numbers to her midtown Toronto, downtown Toronto or Mississauga clinics (found HERE) and she would be happy to see you for an appointment.

]]> (moira) Blog Mon, 22 Apr 2013 14:32:18 +0000
Great Yoga Poses to Help Relieve Stress

Mon Apr 15 2013


At my downtown Toronto practice, I have recently been seeing quite a few patients who are coming in with a chief concern of stress.  This isn't a big surprise considering the go-go-go environment of the downtown corporate world!  So, when I came across this article in on different yoga poses that would help to relieve stress, I knew that I had to share it because in reality, stress is a part of life.  It's just a matter of how much we let stress affect our lives by not coping with it properly that allows its negative effects to snowball out of control.

The Best Stress-Busting Restorative Yoga Poses

Everywhere you look, people are telling you that stress is killing you and causing all sorts of other health problems. It’s like the biggest Catch 22 of public health information – hey, are you feeling stressed out? It’s probably going to give you everything from diabetes to Alzheimer’s (not to mention make you fat), so relax, okay? Oh. Right. Awesome.

There are some stressors you can control in life, and others you can’t. But there are things you can do to aid relaxation and a calmer state of mind (which in turn benefits your body)–like restorative yoga. Via Greatist and yoga instructor Rebecca Pacheco, here are six gentle yoga poses that can help reduce stress.


If you would like to make an appointment with Moira Kwok ND to learn how a Naturopathic Doctor can help you develop methods to cope with stress and treat or prevent the side effects of stress, please contact her at or any of the contact phone numbers to her midtown Toronto, downtown Toronto or Mississauga clinics (found HERE) and she would be happy to see you for an appointment.

]]> (moira) Blog Mon, 15 Apr 2013 14:30:42 +0000
Soft Gluten-Free Bread Recipe!

Mon Apr 8 2013

I've been seeing a lot of patients with gluten-sensitivities lately, and the biggest question I get when I review the results of their food sensitivity results with them and have to break the news about breads and pastas is: what am I going to do to replace my bread!?!?!  I've stumbled across a great gluten-free blog by Carol Kicinski ( and found a fabulous recipe for soft and moist gluten-free bread!  (**The above photo is also from her site**)

Gluten Free Soft Bread Recipe


A gluten free recipe that makes one 9 by 5 inch loaf of bread.



1¼ cups warm (110 degrees) milk
4½ teaspoons dry active yeast
3 tablespoons sugar, divided use
1½ cups superfine or Asian white rice flour
1 cup tapioca starch
½ cup glutinous (sweet rice) flour plus more for preparing the pan
1 tablespoon psyllium husks powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 large eggs
¼ cup grapeseed or vegetable oil plus more for preparing the pan



Whisk together the milk, yeast, and 1 tablespoon of sugar. Let sit until the yeast has proofed (almost double in size with a head of foam about 1 inch thick), 5 – 10 minutes.

Grease a 9.25 by 5.25 by 2.75 inch loaf pan with oil. Sprinkle in some sweet rice flour, coat the pan, and tap out the excess.

Whisk the rice flour, tapioca starch, sweet rice flour, psyllium husks powder, salt, and remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar. Add the proofed yeast mixture, eggs, and oil, and whisk until smooth and lump free. Pour into the prepared pan, cover with a clean tea towel and let rise in a warm, draft free environment for 20 or 25 minutes or until the batter comes almost to the top of the pan. Preheat the oven to 375 while the bread is rising.

Bake the bread for 30 – 40 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool in the pan then remove to a wire rack to finish cooling.


The following are a few tips from the author/creator/gluten-free whiz:

Here are a few more thoughts and notes about the recipe, just in case you are interested.

  1. I used Erawan brand white rice flour, glutinous (sweet rice) flour, and tapioca starch. Asian flours are milled finer thus giving superior results when you are looking for a soft, even texture and they are about a third of the price of the flours and starches you get at the health food store.
  2. Look for psyllium husks in the supplement department of your health food store; it is typically sold where they sell colon cleansers and such. Try not to think about that when you are buying it.
  3. Be sure to grease AND flour your loaf pan; if you just grease it your bread may get a little soggy at the bottom.
  4. Heat your milk or water to warm (about 110 degrees) not hot. If you stick your finger in it, the liquid should feel warm and you can keep your finger in there for several seconds comfortably.
  5. Let your yeast proof until it is has a nice head of foam (like a glass of beer) about an inch thick. If you store your yeast in the fridge, it may take about 10 minutes.
  6. Measure your psyllium husks carefully. Trust me, after making 19 loaves of bread I found that exactly 1 level tablespoon is the correct amount.
  7. The batter for this bread is thinner than you might expect – it is similar to a thick pancake batter.
  8. Don’t let your batter rise too much; it should come just under the top of your pan for the best results.

So there you have it, softy, gluten free bread that could not be easier. Enjoy!

Give it a try and let me know what the verdict is!


If you would like to make an appointment with Moira Kwok ND to learn how a Naturopathic Doctor can help you treat your current condition(s) or prevent any condition(s) that you may be predisposed to in the future, please contact her at or any of the contact phone numbers to her midtown Toronto, downtown Toronto or Mississauga clinics (found HERE) and she would be happy to see you for an appointment.

]]> (moira) Blog Mon, 08 Apr 2013 14:30:07 +0000
Seasonal Fruits and Vegetables for April

Mon Apr 1 2013

I came across this great article on regarding the freshest fruits and vegetables in April.  This is great because as the weather starts to warm up in Toronto as we transition from winter into spring, more of us start to think about shopping at farmers' markets around the city and trying to support local farmers.  The list is based on the US seasonal fruits and vegetables, but I think it can be extrapolated to apply to us Canadians as well!

With April showers come a few new additions to spring’s bounty—though in much of the United States, seasonal fruit and vegetable offerings are still limited. Heartier, cold weather crops like Swiss chard, kale and leeks still count as fresh finds; and toward the ends of the month warmer states will see crops such as summer squash and cherries.

Other on-the-way-in veggies and fruits include:

  • Avocado
  • Fava beans
  • Peaches
  • Pineapple
  • Ramps
  • Spinach
  • Strawberries
  • Sweet onions

April’s stars include peak-season produce such as:

  • Artichokes
  • Asparagus
  • Green onions
  • Rhubarb
  • Snow peas
  • Spring salad greens

Also flourishing in the U.S. in April:

  • Arugula
  • Beets
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Chicory
  • Fiddlehead ferns
  • Radishes
  • Turnips

Eat these up now, because they’re on they’re way out of season:

  • Grapefruit
  • Kale
  • Leeks
  • Morel mushrooms
  • Navel Oranges
  • Swiss chard

For breakdowns by region in America, click HERE. 



If you would like to make an appointment with Moira Kwok ND to learn how a Naturopathic Doctor can help you treat your current condition(s) or prevent any condition(s) that you may be predisposed to in the future, please contact her at or any of the contact phone numbers to her midtown Toronto, downtown Toronto or Mississauga clinics (found HERE) and she would be happy to see you for an appointment.

]]> (moira) Blog Mon, 01 Apr 2013 14:29:05 +0000
Getting Ready for Spring Cleaning

Mon Mar 25 2013


Yet another great article from that summarizes a whole bunch of DIY recipes for green spring cleaning.  Take a look and let me know what you think!

Spring is on its way, everyone! In honor of the beginning of March (how LONG and dark and cold was February, by the way?!), you might be getting the itch to start spring cleaning. If you are, I’ve got just the thing for you: recipes for seven DIY green cleaning supplies. It’s easy to pick up a bottle of Method or Mrs. Meyer’s, sure, but I think you’ll be surprised at how easy it is to clean your home with things you’ve most likely already got in it.


If you would like to make an appointment with Moira Kwok ND to learn how a Naturopathic Doctor can help you treat your current condition(s) or prevent any condition(s) that you may be predisposed to in the future, please contact her at or any of the contact phone numbers to her midtown Toronto, downtown Toronto or Mississauga clinics (found HERE) and she would be happy to see you for an appointment.

]]> (moira) Blog Mon, 25 Mar 2013 14:28:28 +0000
Almond Milk

Mon Mar 18 2013

I've had multiple conversations with a particular favourite Insight patient of mine about making our own almond milk.  She's been doing this for quite a while and has found it super simple and tasty!  So, I thought that I'd share the recipe with everyone and see what you guys think.  Send me an email at if you have any comments or recommendations.


  • 1 cup of raw almonds
  • water to soak the almonds
  • 3 cups of water
  • ½ tsp vanilla (optional)


  1. Soak the almonds with water in a glass container with an airtight lid in the refrigerator overnight or for at least 6 hours.  
  2. Drain the water from the almonds and discard the water.
  3. Blend the 3 cups of water and almonds until it is well-blended and almost smooth.  
  4. Strain the blended almond mixture using a cheesecloth, nut cloth or a strainer.
  5. Add vanilla as needed.
  6. Enjoy!  However, remember to store the homemade almond milk in the refrigerator to be used within approximately 3-4 days.


If you would like to make an appointment with Moira Kwok ND to learn how a Naturopathic Doctor can help you treat your current condition(s) or prevent any condition(s) that you may be predisposed to in the future, please contact her at or any of the contact phone numbers to her midtown Toronto, downtown Toronto or Mississauga clinics (found HERE) and she would be happy to see you for an appointment.

]]> (moira) Blog Mon, 18 Mar 2013 14:28:04 +0000
What is the Best Type of Exercise for Weight Loss?

Mon Mar 11 2013

I stumbled across this great article (here) on a blog run by Dr. Andrew Weil MD who is a great advocate for integrative medicine.  The article discusses the best types of exercise to do when you are trying to lose weight.  You can find the article below:

If you are really motivated to lose weight through exercise, aerobic training is likely your best bet.  Researchers at Duke University looked at whether supervised aerobic exercise, resistance (strength training with weights), or a daily routine incorporating both would lead to the most weight loss.

They divided a group of 234 overweight or obese adults into one of three training groups: The first group performed aerobics only (workouts on treadmills, elliptical machines and cycle ergometers – a type of stationary bike), the second group participated in resistance workouts, and the remaining group exercised using a combination of both. A total of 119 participants completed the study.

Results showed that those in the aerobic group trained for an average of 133 minutes per week and lost weight; the resistance training group worked out for approximately 180 minutes per week and gained weight (they replaced fat with muscle, which is denser than fat). Participants who did both types of exercise didn’t lose as much weight as those in the aerobic group but had the largest decline in waist circumference.

The study was published in the December 15, 2012 issue of the Journal of Applied Physiology.

What you should take away from this article is that if you are exercising with the main goal of losing weight, you should definitely focus on aerobic activities (eg. running, cycling, etc.) in order to lose the fat.  The weather is ever so slowly creeping upwards, so it's time to dust off those running shoes and hit the running trails!


If you would like to make an appointment with Moira Kwok ND to learn how a Naturopathic Doctor can help you lose weight or maintain your weight loss, please contact her at or any of the contact phone numbers to her midtown Toronto, downtown Toronto or Mississauga clinics (found HERE) and she would be happy to see you for an appointment.

]]> (moira) Blog Mon, 11 Mar 2013 18:26:00 +0000
Another Reason that Diabetics Need to Get Up and Be Active!

Mon Mar 4 2013

There are a million and one reasons for you to get up off the couch and take the first step towards living a more active and healthier life.  However, just in case you needed one more, Diabetologia has published an article (here) stressing the importance of exercising for diabetes.  In fact, they found that the time that you spend throughout the day doing sedentary activities has a greater impact on increasing the risks for diabetes than simply being sedentary!  

The authors looked at the following variables and their impact on cardiometabolic risk factors (ie. glucose, triglycerides and HDL cholesterol): sedentary time, breaks in sedentary time (which is defined as a transition from a sedentary to an active state), MVPA (moderate to vigorous physical activity) and total physical activity.

Their findings showed that breaks in sedentary time, total physical activity and MVPA were significantly inversely associated with measure of adiposity but not with any other cardiometabolic variables.  This means that the amount of time that was spent being active was associated with the participants having less fat.  These results were consistent across age groups, which means that excess sedentary time has negative consequences from young adulthood through older ages (18-74 years).

A unique aspect of this study is that they found that the actual time spent being sedentary throughout the day is also detrimental on health.  So, the moral of the article is that *in addition* to simply aiming for 20-30 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity a day, people should also focus on sitting less and moving more throughout the day, regardless of the intensity level of the activity!


If you would like to make an appointment with Moira Kwok ND to learn how a Naturopathic Doctor can help you treat or prevent diabetes, please contact her at or any of the contact phone numbers to her midtown Toronto, downtown Toronto or Mississauga clinics (found HERE) and she would be happy to see you for an appointment.

]]> (moira) Blog Mon, 04 Mar 2013 18:21:00 +0000
C-Section and Formula Fed Babies' Gut and Immune System

Monday February 25 2013

An interesting article was published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (here) a couple of weeks ago that was all over the media outlets regarding the potential benefits of a vaginal birth and breast-feeding.

The researchers looked into the different types of bacteria that was found in 4 month old infants.  They also looked at whether or not these infants were born via caesarian vs vaginal delivery, and whether they were formula-fed or breast-fed.

This is an interesting study because there has always been great "lively discussions" over whether women should be having elective caesarian deliveries and the many benefits of breastfeeding in the Naturopathic community.  Of course, I must note that emergency caesarian deliveries are necessary and can be life-saving.  

Naturopaths are also very interesting in the gut microflora because it is such an important factor in both our digestive and immune systems -- these are key systems to our overall health!

Interestingly, they found that infants born by caesarian delivery did not have as much Escherichia-Shigella and Bacteroides species in their gut bacteria versus infants who were delivered vaginally.  In addition, infants who were born by elective caesarian delivery had particularly low gut bacteria amounts and variety.

They also found that formula-fed infants had more Clostridium difficile in their gut bacteria versus breast fed infants.


If you would like to make an appointment with Moira Kwok ND to learn how a Naturopathic Doctor can help you treat your or your child's current condition(s) or prevent any condition(s) that you may be predisposed to in the future, please contact her at or any of the contact phone numbers to her midtown Toronto, downtown Toronto or Mississauga clinics (found HERE) and she would be happy to see you for an appointment.

]]> (moira) Blog Mon, 25 Feb 2013 16:15:00 +0000

Monday February 18 2013

After every initial visit with a new patient, I always send them home with a bunch of homework to do.  A key part of the homework is a 7 day diet diary that tells me everything that my patient has eaten and drank over a 7 day period.  


This  7 day diet diary tells me a lot regarding what they eat on a regular basis and whether or not it's affecting or causing any of the symptoms that they tell me about.  It's also a great base "measurement" to make improvements on regarding healthier eating.

I always send out a PDF for the patient to print and complete.  However, sometime last year, I discovered a great app called MyFitnessPal that you can use on any smartphone (Blackberry, iPhone, Android or Windows) and it's absolutely FREE!  You can find it HERE - just scroll down to download a mobile version.

It's a great tool to use when monitoring your diet for homework purposes, but it can also be used to just monitor your diet on a general basis.  A lot of my patients who are trying to either lose or gain weight find it really helpful because it makes "counting calories" easy.

Let me know what you think at!


If you would like to make an appointment with Moira Kwok ND to learn how a Naturopathic Doctor can help you treat your current condition(s) or prevent any condition(s) that you may be predisposed to in the future, please contact her at or any of the contact phone numbers to her midtown Toronto, downtown Toronto or Mississauga clinics (found HERE) and she would be happy to see you for an appointment.

]]> (moira) Blog Mon, 18 Feb 2013 20:06:10 +0000
Pregnancy - What's Good or Bad When It Comes to Food?

Monday February 11 2013

You're pregnant!  Congratulations!  Now what ... there are 10 million different tips and words of advice that everyone around you and everything that you read is telling you to do!  What now?

Medscape has published an article (here) that shows that has found a relationship between red meat consumption and an increased risk for gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM).

The authors concluded that women who consumed more animal protein during their pregnancy had a significantly increased risk for developing GDM.  In comparison, women who consumed more vegetable protein during their pregnancy had a significantly decreased risk for developing GDM.  

Do not over do it on the meat consumption during your pregnancy because in addition to having an increased risk of developing GDM during your pregnancy, it has also been found to be associated with:

  • long-term weight gain
  • type 2 diabetes
  • coronary artery disease
  • stroke
  • all-cause mortality

In contrast, consumption of nuts was associated with a significantly decreased risk of developing GDM.  Nuts are a great source of vegetable protein, are rich in the good fats (mono- and poly-unsaturated fats), fibre and magnesium, and have a low glycemic index.  All of these characteristics of nuts have been associated with improved insulin sensitivity and decreased risk for developing type 2 diabetes.

So, the moral of the story is go easy on the red meats and eat more good healthy nuts!


If you would like to make an appointment with Moira Kwok ND to learn how a Naturopathic Doctor can help you through your pregnancy naturally, please contact her at or any of the contact phone numbers to her midtown Toronto, downtown Toronto or Mississauga clinics (found HERE) and she would be happy to see you for an appointment.

]]> (moira) Blog Mon, 11 Feb 2013 19:26:00 +0000
How Do We Detox?

Monday February 4 2013

Throughout January, I have been asked by multiple patients about detoxing and how they should go about doing that in a healthy and safe way.

Let's start off with HOW we detox things out of our bodies!

There are 7 ways through which we detox:

  1. Lungs: we expel toxins with every breath that we exhale.
  2. Liver: our liver is in control of the whole detoxification process in the body.
  3. Colon: the final place in the body where our waste travels through before being eliminated from the body.
  4. Kidneys: filter water-soluble wastes and eliminates it through the bladder.
  5. Skin: protects the body by covering it and keeping toxins from entering the body.
  6. Blood: flushes out the waste products and toxins.
  7. Lymph: collects cellular waste and helps destroy pathogens.

The basic areas of focus when in comes to detoxification from a Naturopathic standpoint is to minimize your exposure to toxins and to support your liver and kidneys to ensure that they are doing their job at detoxifying properly!


Watson B.  2008.  The Detox Strategy: Virant Health in 5 Easy Steps.  New York, NY.


If you would like to make an appointment with Moira Kwok ND to learn how a Naturopathic Doctor can help you naturally and safely detox, please contact her at or any of the contact phone numbers to her midtown Toronto, downtown Toronto or Mississauga clinics (found HERE) and she would be happy to see you for an appointment.

]]> (moira) Blog Mon, 04 Feb 2013 18:45:00 +0000
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)

Monday January 28 2013

Medscape posted an interesting article here regarding the diagnosis and re-naming of a condition called Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) that affects 5 million women in the USA.

The most common symptoms of PCOS are:

  • weight gain
  • acne
  • thinning scalp hair, hirsutism (male-patterned hair growth in women)
  • amenorrhea (no menstrual period), oligomenorrhea (infrequent and unpredictable menstrual period)
  • infertility
  • ovarian cysts
  • increased risk for insulin resistance

It is also well-documented that obesity exacerbates symptoms.

The authors of the article propose that the two of three of the following conditions be included in the diagnosing criteria:

  1. Androgen excess
  2. Ovulatory dysfunction
  3. Polycystic ovaries


If you would like to make an appointment with Moira Kwok ND to learn how a Naturopathic Doctor can help you treat your current condition(s) or prevent any condition(s) that you may be predisposed to in the future, please contact her at or any of the contact phone numbers to her midtown Toronto, downtown Toronto or Mississauga clinics (found HERE) and she would be happy to see you for an appointment.

]]> (moira) Blog Mon, 28 Jan 2013 18:09:00 +0000
Cervical Cancer Awareness Month

Monday January 21 2013

January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness Month, and what better way to talk about it than to discuss the three main warning signs?  I found this article on that sums it up succinctly.


January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness Month, which is a good thing because there are still a lot of myths and unknowns surrounding cervical cancer.  Like the fact that over 12,000 women were diagnosed with advanced cervical cancer last year according to the American Cancer Society, and more than 4000 women died from this disease.  But when detected early, this type of cancer is highly curable − you just need to know the warning signs and how to protect yourself.

Most cases of cervical cancer are found in women younger than 50.  It rarely occurs in women younger than 20.  But even women over 50 are still at risk of getting cervical cancer.  And those risks can increase with things like smoking, a diet low in fruits and vegetables, certain types of HPV infection, chlamydia infection, birth control pills, pregnancy history, and a family history of this disease.  These are all factors that you should discuss with your doctor to determine your risks.

When it comes to detecting this cancer, according to the American Cancer Society, women with early cervical cancers usually have no symptoms.  That's why its important to get a regular Pap smear and screening from your gynecologist.

Once cervical cancer has become invasive and grows into nearby tissues, the three most common symptoms are:

Abnormal Vaginal Bleeding:  Bleeding after sex, bleeding after menopause, bleeding and spotting between periods, and having longer or heavier (menstrual) periods than usual can be warning signs.  Also, bleeding after douching or having a pelvic exam is a common symptom of cervical cancer but not pre-cancer.

Discharge:  An unusual discharge from the vagina, which can contain some blood, could be a symptom of cervical cancer.  This discharge may occur between your periods or after menopause.

Pain During Sex:  Painful intercourse can also be a warning sign of cervical cancer.

Again, cervical cancer can be prevented or detected early by regular screening with the Pap test (sometimes  combined with a test for human papilloma virus).  If it is detected early, cervical cancer is one of the most successfully treatable cancers.  In the United States, the cervical cancer death rate declined by almost 70% between 1955 and 1992, in large part due to the effectiveness of Pap test screening.  So please talk to your doctor and stay current with your screenings.


Pap tests are extremely important in detecting cervical cancer (or pre-cancer) and should always be incorporated into your regular physical examination, no matter how much you don't like getting one done!  Early detection and prevention is always your best approach!


If you would like to make an appointment with Moira Kwok ND to learn how a Naturopathic Doctor can help you treat or prevent cervical cancer, please contact her at or any of the contact phone numbers to her midtown Toronto, downtown Toronto or Mississauga clinics (found HERE) and she would be happy to see you for an appointment.

]]> (moira) Blog Mon, 21 Jan 2013 02:40:00 +0000
Broccoli Soup

Monday January 14 2013

I always crave soups during the cold winter months, and I came across this great recipe in Cooking with Foods that Fight Cancer by Richard Béliveau & Denis Gingras.  It's a great option to keep you nice and warm!



  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 broccoli, separated into florets
  • 1 potato, quartered
  • 1 L (4 cups) chicken stock
  • 1 tsp dried dill
  • salt & freshly ground pepper to taste



  1. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan.
  2. Sauté the onions and garlic over medium-high heat until they are tender.
  3. Add the turmeric and stir for 2 minutes.
  4. Add the potatoes and the chicken stock.
  5. Incoroprate the parlsey and dill.
  6. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Let it simmer for 30 minutes, then add the broccoli.
  8. Cook for another 10 minutes and remove from the heat.
  9. Let it cool and purée until it is smooth and creamy, then enjoy!

Let me know what you think about this.  I love broccoli and this is a great healthier alternative to the creamy cheddar broccoli soups that are found all over the place!



If you would like to make an appointment with Moira Kwok ND to learn how a Naturopathic Doctor can help you treat your current condition(s) or prevent any condition(s) that you may be predisposed to in the future, please contact her at or any of the contact phone numbers to her midtown Toronto, downtown Toronto or Mississauga clinics (found HERE) and she would be happy to see you for an appointment.

]]> (moira) Blog Mon, 14 Jan 2013 22:17:57 +0000

Monday January 7 2013


I came across this great article on FitSugar the other day and I wanted to share it because it's a great little introduction to the world of juicing.


Juicing can be a miracle worker when it comes to upping your daily fruit and veggie intake.  Before you start a new recipe or revert to your old one, learn the basic on what to put into your drink for a fresh start to your juicing regimen.

Sweeten It Up:  Beets, apples and carrots are all sweet additives to any juice recipe, especially one that is heavy on greens.  Add one or all of the above for a juice that tastes just as good as it is healthy.  Try to make the ratio even to vegetables if you use a lot of fruit, since the caloric value can be almost three times higher with fruit compared to most vegetable juices.

Spice it Up:  Ginger, horseradish root and cayenne pepper can help give you that flavour and health kick that you need.  Cayenne pepper can actually burn more calories and curb appetite, and boost endorphin levels.  If you enjoy stomach-soothing ginger, then try adding a slice like this detoxing recipe does.  Avoid adding anything artificial like hot sauce, as you want to keep the juice as clean as possible.

Lower the Calories:  Add vegetables that have a higher water content, like celery and cucumber, to disperse the sweet yet high-calorie produce that beets and carrots contain.  Kale is a staple to juicing, but just like other leafy greens, it doesn't produce as much liquid as celery and cucumber.  If you use kale, then opt for Lacinato kale, which has a flatter leaf and tends to liquify better.

Increase the Health Benefits:  To get back the fibre you may be losing when juicing, add some of the lost pulp back into your drink.  Although kale pulp can taste somewhat bitter, other types like beet, carrot or lemon pulp can be added without much notice, similar to drinking orange juice with the pulp.  If this is too much of a stretch, then try putting certain ingredients like lemons and oranges in without peeling them before hand.  Although your juicer will strip some of this peel away, it won't remove it completely.

Enjoy your juicer and let me know what great tasting combinations are recipes you come up with!


If you would like to make an appointment with Moira Kwok ND to learn how a Naturopathic Doctor can help you treat your current condition(s) or prevent any condition(s) that you may be predisposed to in the future, please contact her at or any of the contact phone numbers to her midtown Toronto, downtown Toronto or Mississauga clinics (found HERE) and she would be happy to see you for an appointment.

]]> (moira) Blog Mon, 07 Jan 2013 21:51:42 +0000
Happy New Year!

Monday December 31 2012

Wishing everyone a very Happy New Year with a 2013 filled with much love, joy, opportunity and health!


If you would like to make an appointment with Moira Kwok ND to learn how a Naturopathic Doctor can help you treat your current condition(s) or prevent any condition(s) that you may be predisposed to in the future, please contact her at or any of the contact phone numbers to her midtown Toronto, downtown Toronto or Mississauga clinics (found HERE) and she would be happy to see you for an appointment.

]]> (moira) Blog Mon, 31 Dec 2012 13:01:08 +0000
Merry Christmas!

Monday December 24 2012

Wishing everyone out there a very Merry Christmas filled with much time with family and friends around a plentiful dinner table!


If you would like to make an appointment with Moira Kwok ND to learn how a Naturopathic Doctor can help you treat your current condition(s) or prevent any condition(s) that you may be predisposed to in the future, please contact her at or any of the contact phone numbers to her midtown Toronto, downtown Toronto or Mississauga clinics (found HERE) and she would be happy to see you for an appointment.

]]> (moira) Blog Mon, 24 Dec 2012 13:00:05 +0000
Avoiding Over-Eating

Monday December 17 2012

The CHFA (Canadian Health Foods Association) is a great association that hosts a great conference and trade show in Toronto every year in the fall.  This upcoming year, it will run from Oct 3-6 2013.

They posted this great article here regarding tips and tricks to avoid overindulgence over the holidays.


Tips for Avoiding Holiday Overindulgence

This week, Joy McCarthy, Registered/Certified Holistic Nutritionist CNP RNCP, share some tips to help you avoid overindulging in junk food this holiday season.

The title of this article is a little misleading.  You can actually indulge your taste buds in delicious foods this holiday season that won’t bust the button of your pants.  However, that’s entirely dependent upon choosing the right foods and supplements to ensure your holiday season is as Joyous as possible!

You know you’ve overindulged when you feel bloated or have digestive upset, a hangover, or worse, weight gain from eating too many calorie dense foods.  I’ve put together these tips to help you stay on track with your goals, or perhaps get on the right track so you don’t feel like you are starting from scratch this January by fighting the “holiday 5 lbs”.


Eat fibre at every meal and snack

A misconception I often hear is that daytime starvation will save calories for a big, festive evening meal and prevent weight gain.  Unfortunately, doing this often backfires.  Saving your calories for an evening meal will increase your appetite hormones.  In fact, studies show that you actually eat more calories overall.

Solution? Eat water-dense, fibre-rich foods at every meal and snack.  Fibre rich foods include fruits, like apples, pears and dark berries, and vegetables, including leafy greens, beets, sweet potato and more.  Chia seeds and flaxseeds are another wonderful source of fibre.  They are also full of good fats.

Eating fibre will also help keep you regular.  Constipation can be directly related to your fibre intake.  So to keep things moving along nicely, eat lots of fruits and vegetables.


Consider a fibre supplement

If you visit any natural health product retailing you will find a great variety of fibre supplements that promote weight management.  The reason fibre is so popular for weight loss and appetite management is twofold.  First, eating fibre slows the release of glucose into the bloodstream.  Balanced blood sugar will suppress cravings, especially for sugar.  Second, just like fibre-rich food keeps you fuller longer, so do fibre supplements.  As the fibre expands in your gut, it gives you a feeling of fullness.

Additionally, many of the green food supplements on the market contain fibre.  If you choose to take one of these instead, you get the added benefits of a megawatt dose of antioxidants and various other nutrients.

I personally love my green foods supplement with a large glass of water every single morning before breakfast.  It truly sets the stage for the day.


Eat good fat

Fat is a macronutrient that received a bad reputation in the early 90’s which continues to persist today.  You can’t go into a grocery store without being assaulted by a multitude of labels claiming low-fat this and low-fat that.  Yet, those very products are full of sugar or other additives to make up for the lack of taste.  When you remove fat, more often then not, you also remove flavour.

The reason that fat is so important is that it promotes the secretion of a hormone called “leptin”.  Leptin is the hormone that signals fullness.  In simpler terms, when you are eating your next meal and you start to feel full, that is actually leptin at work.

Make sure that you choose “good” fats at every meal and snack.  Those include: avocados, nuts and seeds, coconut oil, extra-virgin oil, hemp seeds, chia seeds and many more.


Consider taking an omega 3 supplement

Omega 3 fatty acids are a well-researched supplement.  Their numerous benefits include everything from reducing inflammation and promoting cardiovascular health, to even reducing appetite.  In fact, a study conducted by researchers from the Universities of Navarra, Iceland, and College Cork − published in the journal Appetite − found that participants with higher blood levels of omega-3s and a healthier omega-3 to omega-6 ratio were also less likely to report being hungry after eating.  The study participants supplemented with an omega-3 fatty acid.


Wishing you all a very happy holiday season without the new year’s regret!


If you would like to make an appointment with Moira Kwok ND to learn how a Naturopathic Doctor can help you lose weight or maintain your weight loss naturally, please contact her at or any of the contact phone numbers to her midtown Toronto, downtown Toronto or Mississauga clinics (found HERE) and she would be happy to see you for an appointment.

]]> (moira) Blog Mon, 17 Dec 2012 12:59:24 +0000
Happy Hanukkah!

Monday December 10 2012

Wishing all of my Jewish friends and patients a very Happy Hanukkah!


If you would like to make an appointment with Moira Kwok ND to learn how a Naturopathic Doctor can help you treat your current condition(s) or prevent any condition(s) that you may be predisposed to in the future, please contact her at or any of the contact phone numbers to her midtown Toronto, downtown Toronto or Mississauga clinics (found HERE) and she would be happy to see you for an appointment.

]]> (moira) Blog Mon, 10 Dec 2012 12:57:52 +0000
Gluten-Free Shortbread Cookies

Monday December 3 2012

Dr. Adam Gratton ND is a colleague of mine who has a great blog loaded with tons of recipes, particularly gluten-free recipes!  He posted the following gluten-free shortbread recipe that I just had to share with you, especially given that many ovens will be alive and baking in a couple weeks for the holiday crush of cookie making!

According to Dr. Gratton, it is very important to keep the dough cold when it isn’t in use because you want to make sure that the dough is cool when you place it in the oven.  He suggests that if it takes you a while to roll out the dough, then it is highly suggested that you chill the dough and the cookie sheet in the freezer before placing it in the oven.

The following is the recipe for basic shortbread cookies.  If you would like to modify it, here are a few suggestions that Dr. Gratton makes:

  • ¼ tsp cardamom for an aromatic flavour
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped lemon zest to add a citrus freshness to the cookies
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped orange zest and ⅓ cup chopped dried cranberries
  • ⅓ cup chopped pistachios


Ingredients (makes approximately 30 cookies)

  • 1 cup unsalted organic butter at room temperature
  • 1½ cups powdered sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • ⅔ cup sorghum flour
  • ⅔ cup tapioca flour
  • ⅓ cup corn and/or potato starch
  • ⅓ cup white rice flour
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum
  • pinch of salt



  1. In a large bowl, beat the butter and powdered sugar with an electric mixer until it is light and fluffy.  Then, beat in the egg.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk the flours, salt and xanthan gum together.  If you want to add any additional spices, add and whisk them with the flours.
  3. With the electric mixer, beat the flour mixture into the butter mixture until the dough is smooth and creamy (for approximately 5-7 minutes).  If you are adding any chopped nuts or dried fruit to the cookies, add them here and mix with a wooden spoon to combine.
  4. Divide the dough into thirds and put it in a small airtight container.  Put them in the fridge for at least 3 hours (or overnight).
  5. Preheat the oven to 325˚C and arrange the top rack so that it’s in the top third of the oven.
  6. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and set it aside
  7. Working with one third of the dough at a time, quickly pinch off dough and roll into balls approximately ½” in diameter and place them on the parchment paper/cookie sheet.  Space them about 2” apart.  One cookie sheet usually fits 10 balls, with two rows of 4 and two spaced in the middle.  Very lightly press down on each ball with your thumb and them place them in the oven.
  8. Bake for 17-20 minutes until the edges begin to turn golden brown.
  9. Cool the cookies on a cookie sheet for 2-3 minutes, then using a lifter or spatula, carefully lift each cookie and place it on a wire rack to finish cooling.
  10. Repeat the process two more times for the remaining dough, making sure to keep the dough in the fridge when not in use.  Note that you can store the dough in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer for later use.



If you would like to make an appointment with Moira Kwok ND to learn how a Naturopathic Doctor can help you treat your current condition(s) or prevent any condition(s) that you may be predisposed to in the future, please contact her at or any of the contact phone numbers to her midtown Toronto, downtown Toronto or Mississauga clinics (found HERE) and she would be happy to see you for an appointment.

]]> (moira) Blog Mon, 03 Dec 2012 17:56:00 +0000
Roasted Salad Towers

Monday November 26 2012

I stumbled across this great blog the other day (click here) written by Leanne Vogel, an RHN based in Montreal QC.  She has an amazing array of yummy recipes in addition to sections on travel, food, health, fitness and life!  It’s a very pretty and fun website that I have thoroughly enjoyed browsing through.  Let me know what you think!

One of the many great recipes that I have tried is for roasted salad towers.



Grilled Vegetables:

  • 1 small eggplant − sliced into ¼” thick coins
  • 2 large ripe tomatoes − sliced into ¼” thick coins
  • 1 zucchini − sliced into ¼” thick coins
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt to taste
  • freshly ground pepper to taste

Balsamic Maple Dressing:

  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • sea salt to taste
  • freshly ground pepper to taste


  • 150 g soft goat cheese
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh Italian parsley



  1. Preheat oven to 425˚F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicon baking mat
  2. Arrange the eggplant, tomatoe and zucchini slices in single layer on the prepared sheets.  Brush both sides with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper
  3. Roast for 7 min.  Remove and transfer tomatoes to a cooling rack.
  4. Place the baking sheet back into the oven and roast for an additional 20 min, flipping halfway through
  5. Meanwhile, prepare the salad dressing by adding all of the ingredients into a blender and blend until it is emulsified
  6. Once the vegetables are done, begin layering by starting with a tomatoe slice, then eggplant, zucchini, a bit of goat cheese and repeat once more.  Top with a couple drop of salad dressing and a sprinkle of fresh parsley
  7. Enjoy!



If you would like to make an appointment with Moira Kwok ND to learn how a Naturopathic Doctor can help you treat your current condition(s) or prevent any condition(s) that you may be predisposed to in the future, please contact her at or any of the contact phone numbers to her midtown Toronto, downtown Toronto or Mississauga clinics (found HERE) and she would be happy to see you for an appointment.

]]> (moira) Blog Mon, 26 Nov 2012 12:50:55 +0000

Monday November 19 2012

One of my favourite herbs is peppermint.  I often have a whole bunch of it growing in the garden during the summer.  However, I love enjoying a steaming cup of ginger mint tea when the weather starts to turn a little bit colder and the leaves start to fall.  Here is another great little excerpt from 100 Best Health Foods on the many benefits of mint:

Popular as a garden herb, mint is a remedy to calm and relax the stomach, and can relieve travel sickness and the congestion of colds.

For thousands of years, mint has been used for its flavor as well as its medicinal purposes.  The three main types of mint commonly used are peppermint, spearmint and apple mint.  The menthol oils that they contain, particularly peppermint, are a natural remedy for indigestion, which is why mint tea is traditionally consumed after a rich meal.  Menthol can also clear head and chest congestion during colds and flu, and for people who suffer from allergic rhinitis.  The oils are antibacterial and may help prevent H. pylori, which causes stomach ulcers, and food poisoning bugs salmonella and E. coli, from multiplying.  Mint contains plant chemicals, which have been shown to block the growth of certain cancers in animals.

  • Relieves indigestion and calms the stomach
  • Relieves nasal and chest congestion
  • Contains antibacterial properties
  • May have anticancer action


Did You Know?

If you put a few stalks of freshly picked mint in a jar of water, within a few days they will grow roots, which can be planted indoors for a year-round supply!


Practical Tips

  • Mint is best enjoyed fresh as the dried leaves lose much of their potency
  • A simple way to enjoy fresh mint is to chop it finely and mix with plain yogurt to serve with lamb or eggplant
  • Make an easy mint sauce by combining fresh chopped mint with balsamic vinegar
  • You can also steep a handful of fresh leaves in boiling water for 5 minutes to make a mint tea − strain before drinking



If you would like to make an appointment with Moira Kwok ND to learn how a Naturopathic Doctor can help you treat your current condition(s) or prevent any condition(s) that you may be predisposed to in the future, please contact her at or any of the contact phone numbers to her midtown Toronto, downtown Toronto or Mississauga clinics (found HERE) and she would be happy to see you for an appointment.

]]> (moira) Blog Mon, 19 Nov 2012 21:45:58 +0000
What's So Great About Kale?

Monday November 12 2012

A great little book that I accidentally came across while starting my Christmas shopping at Winners is 100 Best Health Foods.  The following is an excerpt from the book about kale, the popular new superfood!

Deep green kale contains the highest levels of antioxidants of all vegetables and is a very good source of vitamin C.

Kale is one of the most nutritious members of the Brassica family.  It rates as the vegetable highest in antioxidant capacity on the ORAC scale, and contains more calcium and iron than any other vegetables.  A single portion contains twice the recommended daily amount of vitamin C, which helps the vegetable’s high iron content to be absorbed in our bodies.  One portion also gives about a fifth of the daily calcium requirement for an adult.  Kale is rich in selenium, which helps fight cancer, and it contains magnesium and vitamin E for a healthy heart.  The range of nutrients kale provides will keep skin young looking and healthy.

  • Rich in flavonoids and antioxidants to fight cancers
  • Contains indoles, which can help lower “bad” cholesterol and prevent cancer
  • Calcium rich for healthy bones
  • Extremely rich in carotenes to protect eyes


Did You Know?

Kale contains naturally occurring substances that can interfere with the functioning of the thyroid gland − those with thyroid problems may not want to eat kale.


Practical Tips

  • Wash kale before use as the curly leaves may contain sand or soil.
  • Don’t discard the outer, deep green leaves − those contain rich amounts of carotenes and indoles. 
  • Kale is good steamed or stir-fried and its strong taste goes well with bacon, eggs and cheese
  • Kale, like spinach, shrinks a lot during cooking, so make sure you add plenty to the pan!


If you would like to make an appointment with Moira Kwok ND to learn how a Naturopathic Doctor can help you treat your current condition(s) or prevent any condition(s) that you may be predisposed to in the future, please contact her at or any of the contact phone numbers to her midtown Toronto, downtown Toronto or Mississauga clinics (found HERE) and she would be happy to see you for an appointment.

]]> (moira) Blog Mon, 12 Nov 2012 12:32:00 +0000
Are Red Heads at an Increased Risk for Developing Melanoma?

Monday November 5 2012

People who have red hair, freckles and fair skin that does not tan easily have always knows that they are at an increased risk for sunburns and the aging of skin through tanning.  However, there is now evidence to suggest that they are actually at at an increased risk for skin cancer, specifically melanoma, independent of the ultraviolet (UV) effects.  This can be interpreted to mean that they are genetically predisposed to developing melanoma.

There are actually two forms of melanin (pigmentation of the skin).  People with darker skin produce eumelanin, and people with fair skin, freckles and red hair produce pheomelanin.  It has been found that pheomelanin is less effective at protecting the skin from UV damage.  This difference in the type of melanin produced is caused by a mutation in the MC1R2 gene.

The researchers of the Nature article studied how melanoma developed in mouse models of darker olive, ginger and albino (the same genetically as the darker olive mice, but did not have the enzyme to make the melanin) mice.  The researchers also modified each group of mice to be more susceptible to developing benign moles, which was hypothesized to be the first step in the development of melanoma.  Interestingly, before any exposure to UV light was applied, the researchers noticed that half of the ginger mice had already developed melanoma!  They concluded that the pigment itself caused melanoma, and the researchers suggested that this increased risk for melanoma could be attributed to the pigment production process or as a by-product of the process in the melanocytes (melanin-containing cells).

It is important to remember that safe sun-tanning practices is still key to preventing skin cancer, in all types of skin and hair-coloured people!





If you would like to make an appointment with Moira Kwok ND to learn how a Naturopathic Doctor can help you treat or prevent melanoma, please contact her at or any of the contact phone numbers to her midtown Toronto, downtown Toronto or Mississauga clinics (found HERE) and she would be happy to see you for an appointment.

]]> (moira) Blog Mon, 05 Nov 2012 21:04:25 +0000
Happy Halloween!

Monday October 29 2012

Wishing all of the parents and kids out there a very happy and safe Halloween!

I came across this great gluten-free recipe in a great little cookbook that I picked up at the Gluten Free Expo.  It’s called Company’s Coming Gluten-free Baking by Ted Wolff.  


Lemon Cranberry Loaf

(makes 1 loaf)



1 cup (250 mL)              sugar
½ cup (125 mL)             brown rice flour
½ cup (125 mL)             pea starch
½ cup (125 mL)             tapioca starch
½ cup (125 mL)             white rice flour
2 tsp (10 mL)                 xanthan gum
1½ tsp (7 mL)                baking powder
1 tsp (5 mL)                   salt
½ tsp (2 mL)                  baking soda
3 large                           eggs @ room temperature, beaten
1 cup (250 mL)  
             fresh or frozen cranberries, finely chopped
¼ cup (60 mL)                oil
1 tsp (5 mL)                    orange flavouirng
zest from 1 large              fresh organic lemon
¼ to ½ cup (60-125 mL)  milk



  1. Preheat oven to 350˚F (175˚C).
  2. Mix the sugar, brown rice flour, pea starch, tapioca starch, white rice flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, salt and baking soda in an extra large bowl.
  3. Mix the eggs, cranberries, oil, orange flavouring, lemon zest and the milk in a separate bowl.
  4. Fold the cranberry mixture into flour mixture until all the dry mixture is wet.  Don’t beat!
  5. Add the milk as needed if the batter appears too dry.
  6. Pour the batter into a greased 8 x 4 inch (20 x 10 cm) baking pan.
  7. Bake in preheated over for 50-55 minutes until a wooden pick inserted into the centre of the loaf comes out clean.
  8. Place the pan on a wire rack to cool and enjoy!


If you would like to make an appointment with Moira Kwok ND to learn how a Naturopathic Doctor can help you treat your current condition(s) or prevent any condition(s) that you may be predisposed to in the future, please contact her at or any of the contact phone numbers to her midtown Toronto, downtown Toronto or Mississauga clinics (found HERE) and she would be happy to see you for an appointment.

]]> (moira) Blog Mon, 29 Oct 2012 09:18:00 +0000
What 100 Calories Really Looks Like: Halloween Candy

Monday Oct 22 2012

I saw this very handy visual article on and wanted to share it with you before Halloween arrives!


Halloween candy has been on sale for weeks, and although you may shudder to enter a holiday season overflowing with sweets, Halloween candy might just be a tiny blessing in disguise.  The small “fun size” bars and packets offer up controlled serving sizes, giving you a tiny taste of the sweet you crave without going overboard.  Since portion control and moderation are both key when enjoying Halloween candy, here’s a little visual to help you see exactly what 100 calories of your favorites look like.


Baby Ruth

One fun size bar = 85 calories

One and a quarter fun size bars = 106 calories


Butter Finger

One fun size bar = 85 calories

One and a quarter fun size bars = 106 calories


Candy Corn

One piece of candy corn = 7.5 calories

13 pieces of candy corn = 97.5 calories


Charleston Chew

One fun size bar = 30 calories

Three and a half fun size bars = 105 calories


Heath Bar

One fun size bar = 77 calories

1 and a third fun size bars = 104 calories


Hershey’s Bar

One fun size bar = 67 calories

One and a half fun size bars = 101 calories


Kit Kat

One fun size bar = 70 calories

One and a half fun size bars (three sticks) = 105 calories



One packet (18 pieces) = 73 calories

One and a half packet (27 pieces) = 110 calories


Peanut M&Ms

One packet (8 pieces) = 90 calories

One and a quarter packet (10 pieces) = 113 calories


Peanut Butter M&Ms

One packet (10 pieces) = 95 calories


Milky Way

One fun size bar = 80 calories

One and a quarter fun size bars = 100 calories



One fun size bar = 80 calories

One and a quarter fun size bars = 100 calories

If Almond Joy  is your fave, note that one bar is slightly higher in calories at 91 calories


Mr. Goodbar

One fun size bar = 90 calories

One and a quarter fun size bars = 113 calories


Nestle’s Crunch

One fun size bar = 60 calories

One and three quarters fun size bars = 105 calories


Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup

One cup = 110 calories



One fun size bar = 80 calories

One and a quarter fun size bars = 100 calories


Snickers Peanut Butter

One fun size bar = 130 calories

Three quarters of a fun size bar = 99 calories


Take 5

One fun size bar = 100 calories


3 Musketeers

One fun size bar = 63 calories

One and a half fun size bars = 95 calories



One fun size bar = 80 calories

One and a quarter fun size bars = 100 calories


York Peppermint Patty

One fun size bar = 60 calories

One and three quarters fun size bars = 105 calories


You can find the full article with the full pictures at HERE.


Happy Halloween!  Enjoy and be safe.


If you would like to make an appointment with Moira Kwok ND to learn how a Naturopathic Doctor can help you treat your current condition(s) or prevent any condition(s) that you may be predisposed to in the future, please contact her at or any of the contact phone numbers to her midtown Toronto, downtown Toronto or Mississauga clinics (found HERE) and she would be happy to see you for an appointment.

]]> (moira) Blog Mon, 22 Oct 2012 21:19:00 +0000
Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Monday Oct 15 2012

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and I found this great article on eight ways to spot abuse on


Domestic Violence Awareness Month: Learn These 8 Ways to Spot Abuse

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month − an epidemic that one in four women will experience in her lifetime and as many as 1.3 million women experience this year.  According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), this is defined as “the willful intimidation, physical assault, battery, sexual assault, and/or other abusive behavior perpetrated by an intimate partner against another”.  It happens to all ages, economic statuses, religions and races, and both women and men are often good at covering it up.  That’s why it’s important to know the warning signs to help a friend or relative who may be dealing with this at home.


Keep in mind, domestic abuse can be physical, mental or emotional.  Here are some of the most common symptoms in a woman who is involved in a dangerous relationship, according to the NCADV:

  • Seem afraid or anxious to please their partner
  • Go along with everything their partner says and does
  • Checks in often with their partner to report where they are and what they’re doing
  • Receive frequent, harassing phone calls from their partner
  • Talk about their partner’s temper, jealousy or possessiveness
  • Have frequent injuries with the excuse of “accidents”
  • Frequently miss work, school or social occasions, without explanation
  • Dress in clothing designed to hide bruises or scars (eg. wearing long sleeves in the summer or sunglasses indoors)


Domestic abuse can also take the form of isolation, where the woman may be restricted from seeing family and friends, is rarely seen in public without her partner, and may have limited access to money, credit cards or the car.  It’s all a way of controlling the victim.


In addition, women who are involved in domestic violence may suffer from very low self-esteem, especially those who used to be outgoing and confident before.  They may be depression, anxious, suicidal and/or demonstrate major personality changes.


What can you do to help?  The biggest thing is to speak up.  As with any suspected abuse, do not ignore it and say it’s none of your business.  It is your business.  Talk to the person and let her know that you care.  You can also call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233.  Just don’t ignore it.  You may save a life.



Domestic violence is a serious violation of a person’s right.  If you are being abused or know of someone who is being abused (in Toronto), please contact the Assaulted Women’s Helpline in order to get the help you need.  They are available 24 hours a day at (416) 863-0511 or  You can find more information about them at


You can find the above article at HERE.


If you would like to make an appointment with Moira Kwok ND to learn how a Naturopathic Doctor can help you treat your current condition(s) or prevent any condition(s) that you may be predisposed to in the future, please contact her at or any of the contact phone numbers to her midtown Toronto, downtown Toronto or Mississauga clinics (found HERE) and she would be happy to see you for an appointment.

]]> (moira) Blog Mon, 15 Oct 2012 14:15:46 +0000
Acupuncture is Effective for Chronic Pain

Monday October 8 2012

I wanted to share yet another fabulous article that I came across on!  This time, it’s about the benefits of acupuncture for chronic pain.


Western Science Says Acupuncture Really Works For Chronic Pain.  Now Can Western Insurance Cover It?

Acupuncture has been around for thousands of years, and probably because it has measurable benefits that keep practitioners in business.  But getting western medicine to approve − and include it under health insurance policies − has been a different story.  Now, a new study proves that acupuncture does actually reduce chronic pain, and not because of the placebo effect.


The study, conducted by Andrew Vickers, an epidemiologist and biostatistician at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, compared acupuncture to standard pain management, compared the effects of acupuncture to standard pain management, fake acupuncture, and nothing at all.  Vickers and his team cherry-picked the most rigorous studies comparing acupuncture to fake treatments (29, in total, which involved a total of 17.922 participants), and asked the original researchers for their raw data for analysis.  By gathering the raw data, they were able to apply the same standards of interpretation on patient evaluations, instead of trying to compare different researchers’ analysis.


The result was very clear proof that acupuncture is more effective in treating chronic back pain, shoulder pain, osteoarthritis and headaches than no acupuncture at all.  Western doctors are still trying to come up with their own explanation for why the tiny needles help (“qi” doesn’t sit comfortably in their vocabulary quite yet), but as more and more proof mounts that it can be as or more effective than Western methods of treatment, hopefully more doctors will start to prescribe it ... and urge insurance policies to pay for it, too.


You can find the full article at HERE.


If you would like to make an appointment with Moira Kwok ND to learn how a Naturopathic Doctor can help you treat your current condition(s) or prevent any condition(s) that you may be predisposed to in the future, please contact her at or any of the contact phone numbers to her midtown Toronto, downtown Toronto or Mississauga clinics (found HERE) and she would be happy to see you for an appointment.

]]> (moira) Blog Mon, 08 Oct 2012 19:02:00 +0000
Update to the Gluten-Free Expo

Monday October 1 2012

A few weeks ago, I mentioned that I would be attending the Gluten-Free Expo in Toronto, which was yesterday on Sun Sep 30.  Did any of you manage to find some time to go?


I went with my friend and colleague, Dr. Amanda Cressman ND and we had a great time wandering throughout all of the vendors and taste testing everything we could get our hands on!


Here is a list of my favourites that I came across:

  • Silver Hills Bakery had two great options for gluten-free bread: Omega Flax and Chia Chia.  Even better news was that they will soon be available at Costco!
  • GoGo Quinoa was unexpectedly a yummy find.  They had the Quinoa Cocoa Puffed Cereal available and it was a nice little snack.
  • GBG (Good Bye Gluten) Find Foods is a great gluten-free store located on Avenue Rd just south of Wilson Ave (York Mills Ave).
  • Natura had a booth where they had various taste tests for their almond, rice and soy milks.  We tried their newest flavour, the cappuccino soy milk, and it was quite a treat!
  • was a very interesting booth where they have started up a website to try to help make gluten-free living a little bit easier for everyone.  You can find recipes, shops and deals.  They even have a blog and facts & info.  It’s a fabulous idea.


If you attended the Gluten-Free Expo, please let me know what your favourites were because I might have missed a couple of booths!


If you would like to make an appointment with Moira Kwok ND to learn how a Naturopathic Doctor can help you treat your current condition(s) or prevent any condition(s) that you may be predisposed to in the future, please contact her at or any of the contact phone numbers to her midtown Toronto, downtown Toronto or Mississauga clinics (found HERE) and she would be happy to see you for an appointment.

]]> (moira) Blog Mon, 01 Oct 2012 14:54:37 +0000
Gluten-Free App for the iPhone

Monday September 24 2012

I don’t have an iPhone (I’m still a stubborn Blackberry user ...) but I thought that I would share the following article that I came across on since many of my patients are iPhone users in combination with my recent blog theme of gluten-free eating.


Shopping for Gluten Free Food?  Now There’s an App for That

Remember yesterday how I was talking about how hard it is to have any kind of specialty diet?  The handy folks over at Fooducate have made it a little easier, with the release of their new gluten free and allergy app, which allows you to easily see what is and isn’t in your prospective food.


Fooducate’s existing food-rating scanner app is already a hugely popular and massively easy to use, but their latest product is specifically targeted to those who need more information than just calories and fat.  The Allergy and Gluten Free Scanner, which is currently only for iPhone (sorry Android users), allows users to scan the barcode of items in the grocery store and immediately find out if they contain gluten, lactose, soy, nuts or other common allergens.


In the U.S. alone, millions of people are living with some kind of allergy or food intolerance − because remember, they are not the same thing − but many of them don’t know it.  And this app could, ostensibly, help with that, too.


Not only could the Allergy and Gluten Free Scanner be really useful for those who are living with (and particularly, who have been recently diagnosed with) allergens or food intolerances, but it could also be helpful if you’re trying an elimination diet.  Or, if you think there may be something that you’re commonly eating which is making you sick, but you aren’t quite sure what it is.  Just scan what’s already in your pantry and refrigerator, and see if there’s a common denominator.


And it’s not just a database of what you can’t have − that wouldn’t be very useful.  The scanner also offers helpful, healthy suggestions for alternatives and substitutions, which is especially useful if you’re new to the diet.


Additionally, this app could be really awesome for vegetarians.  It’s pretty astounding how much hidden fish and shellfish packaged foods, sauces, dressings, and other shelf-stable, non-fishy-tasting items can harbor.  A quick scan with this inexpensive app, and you’re immediately in the know.


Nice word, Fooducate.  Keep rolling out the informative apps, and we’ll keep using them!


You can find the full article at HERE.


If you would like to make an appointment with Moira Kwok ND to learn how a Naturopathic Doctor can help you treat your current condition(s) or prevent any condition(s) that you may be predisposed to in the future, please contact her at or any of the contact phone numbers to her midtown Toronto, downtown Toronto or Mississauga clinics (found HERE) and she would be happy to see you for an appointment.

]]> (moira) Blog Mon, 24 Sep 2012 18:38:00 +0000
Cajun Yam Fries

Monday September 17 2012

I stumbled across this great new recipe book called Chloe’s Kitchen by Chloe Coscarelli, which consists of 125 easy and super yummy vegan recipes.  Here is a great recipe from



2           large yams − peeled & cut into ¼” thick fries (or sweet potatoes!) 
3 tbsp    olive or canola oil (** I would replace these with either grapeseed or avocado oil instead because they have a higher smoke point **)
1½ tsp   sea salt
1 tbsp    Cajun seasoning



  1. Preheat the oven to 425˚F
  2. Toss the yam fries with oil, salt and Cajun seasoning until coated.
  3. Spread out evenly on a large baking sheet and bake for 15 min.
  4. Flip the fries with a spatula and rotate the pan.  Bake for another 20-30 min until nicely browned and crisp.





If you would like to make an appointment with Moira Kwok ND to learn how a Naturopathic Doctor can help you treat your current condition(s) or prevent any condition(s) that you may be predisposed to in the future, please contact her at or any of the contact phone numbers to her midtown Toronto, downtown Toronto or Mississauga clinics (found HERE) and she would be happy to see you for an appointment.

]]> (moira) Blog Mon, 17 Sep 2012 14:20:38 +0000
The Benefits of Living a Healthy Lifestyle on Longevity

Monday September 10 2012

It wasn’t a big surprise when I read this article about the benefits of healthy lifestyle on longevity into old age, but I wanted to share this article with you anyways!  


The British Medical Journal published a population-based cohort study looking into lifestyle, social networks and leisure activities in relation to longevity.  The purpose of the study was to examine modifiable characteristics associated with longevity amongst 1810 elderly adults who were at least 75 years of age.  


During the 18 year follow-up, the investigators examined the median age at death based on vital status records from 1987 to 2005.  Most of the participants (91.8%) died during the follow-up, with a lifespan exceeding 90 years in 50% of the participants.  


The age of death of current smokers was 1.0 year younger in comparison to non-smokers.  Interestingly, the survival of former smokers was similar to that of never-smokers, which suggests that smoking cessation in middle age could lessen the effect of smoking on mortality.


Physical activity (eg. regular swimming, walking or gymnastics) was the leisure activity most strongly linked to longevity.  Participants who regularly engaged in these activities has a median age at death of 2.0 years older than participants who did not.


The study defined “low-risk profile” as healthy lifestyle behaviours, taking part in one or more leisure activity and having a rich or moderate social network.  They defined “high-risk profile” as unhealthy lifestyle behaviours, no leisure activities and a limited or poor social network.  The investigators found that participants in the low-risk profile group had an increase in medial survival of 5.4 years, in comparison to participants in the high-risk profile group.


In addition, other factors associated with increased survival were female sex and higher educational level.


The investigators of this study concluded that their “results suggest that encouraging favourable lifestyle behaviours even at advanced ages may enhance life expectancy, probably by reducing morbidity”.




  • Rizzuto D, Orsini N, Qiu CX, Wang HX & Fratiglioni L.  Lifestyle, social factors, and survival after age 75: population based study. BMJ 2012; 345:e5568 (Published 30 Aug 2012).


If you would like to make an appointment with Moira Kwok ND to learn how a Naturopathic Doctor can help you treat your current condition(s) or prevent any condition(s) that you may be predisposed to in the future, please contact her at or any of the contact phone numbers to her midtown Toronto, downtown Toronto or Mississauga clinics (found HERE) and she would be happy to see you for an appointment.

]]> (moira) Blog Mon, 10 Sep 2012 13:07:32 +0000
Toronto's Gluten Free Expo

Monday September 3 2012

I have noticed a recent trend towards gluten-free eating amongst many of my patients − be it for health promotion or dictated by a gluten-sensitivity.  So, when one of the organizers of the Gluten Free Expo contacted me to let me know that they were going to be in Toronto at the end of September, I made a note in my calendar to attend!


If you are either interested in becoming gluten-free or are struggling to maintain a gluten-free lifestyle, then you should definitely attend this expo.  It’s great because there will be over 100 vendors there, which means that there will be lots of taste-testing available.  This is extremely helpful when you have to limit the gluten in your daily life because gluten-free products can be costly, and let’s be honest, many of the gluten-free products out there don’t exactly taste the best!  So, hopefully at the Gluten Free Expo, you can taste everything before you purchase it in order to save you a bit of time and money.


The Gluten Free Expo will be held on Sunday September 30th in the DoubleTree by Hilton at 655 Dixon Rd in Mississauga.  Tickets can be purchased online for $9 or at the door for $12.


I hope to see you there!



If you would like to make an appointment with Moira Kwok ND to learn how a Naturopathic Doctor can help you treat your current condition(s) or prevent any condition(s) that you may be predisposed to in the future, please contact her at or any of the contact phone numbers to her midtown Toronto, downtown Toronto or Mississauga clinics (found HERE) and she would be happy to see you for an appointment.

]]> (moira) Blog Mon, 03 Sep 2012 12:43:31 +0000