4 Quick Tips for Happiness

 happy woman smiling

Quick & Easy Ways to Feel Happier Right Now

Who needs drugs when these simple tips can give you a natural lift?

Smile!

Grin. Smirk. Beam. Putting a smile on your face, even an insincere one, can instantly improve your mood.

Clear the Clutter

On a subtle level, clutter stresses your mind. Our minds prefer order. Make your bed, even if no one is going to see it.

Sing

Music has been shown to reduce stress and have a positive effect on health.

Smell Something Nice

Of all the senses, smell is most strongly associated with memory. If you had a happy childhood at the beach, smelling salt air can uplift you.

If simple tips like these don’t help alleviate your mood, contact our naturopathic doctors for more intensive help with your mood.  Call us at 416-481-0222 or book online now.

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Natural Medicine Research Nuggets

woman doing natural medicine research

A brief round-up of some natural medicine news

  1. Use of SSRI medications (anti-depressants) increases the risk of osteoporosis.
  2. At least twice per day intake of grapes, oranges, apples, and fresh tomatoes were protective for wheezing and rhinitis (allergies).
  3. Folic acid supplementation effectively reduces the risk of stroke.
  4. A double-blind placebo-controlled study found that supplementation with a Korean red (Panax) ginseng (2 g/meal) improved plasma glucose and plasma insulin regulation in people with well-controlled type 2 diabetes.

L-Theanine, Anxiety and ADD

green tea leaves containing l-theanine

L-Theanine for Anxiety?

L-theanine is an amino acid from plants such as green tea that has been promoted for the natural relief of anxiety. It sparked my interest when a new product came out containing l-theanine that was promoted for the treatment of attention deficit disorder (ADD). Accompanying the product came many enthusiastic testimonials. As is often the case, I became my own guinea pig and here’s what I found:  it may help with attention, but I’ve never really had a problem with that so I can’t say.  What it did do, was keep me awake at night. L-theanine is supposed to increase alpha waves in the brain which leads to a state of calm alertness, which you would expect to be helpful in ADD. Unfortunately, what I found was that this increase in alpha waves interfered with the normal brain wave activity that is supposed to occur at night while you sleep.

There is research supporting the use of l-theanine for anxiety (1), however, lack of sleep is not going to help with anxiety.

My recommendation would be to take l-theanine early in the day and if it still seems to disrupt sleep go with one of the many other natural anti-anxiety measures that our naturopathic doctors have to offer and maybe couple that with some psychotherapy and massage therapy.

To book an appointment to discuss anxiety, call us at 416-481-0222 or book online now.

Source:

1. Unno K, Tanida N, Ishii N, Yamamoto H, Iguchi K, Hoshino M, Takeda A, Ozawa H, Ohkubo T, Juneja LR, Yamada H. Anti-stress effect of theanine on students during pharmacy practice: positive correlation among salivary α-amylase activity, trait anxiety and subjective stress. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2013 Oct;111:128-35. doi: 10.1016/j.pbb.2013.09.004. Epub 2013 Sep 16.

Natural Medicine Research Nuggets

woman doing natural medicine research

Naturopathic Medicine Research Round-up

Here are a few tidbits that we’ve gleaned from the naturopathic medicine research that you might find interesting:

  • A single dose of buckwheat honey before bedtime provided greater relief of cough and improved sleep compared to over-the-counter cough medicines.
  • Massage therapy can ease pain after surgery.
  • Ginger may have potential in the treatment and prevention of ovarian cancer.
  • Magnesium lowers risk of gallstones
  • Vitamin D and Omega 3’s help protect children from diabetes
  • Increased BMI (body mass index) is strongly associated with increased risk for certain cancers, especially esophageal and renal

We scour the natural medicine research daily to keep our knowledge up to date and accurate. Call us at 416-481-0222 or book online now with one of our naturopathic doctors.

Are You Common or Normal?

young man wondering if his symptoms are normal

Are You Confusing What is Common With What is Normal?

First some definitions:

Common: Occurring or happening regularly or frequently.

Normal: Healthy, without signs or symptoms of sickness or illness.

Here’s why I’m making this distinction. I often have patients comment that “oh, I have to take Advil the first two days of my period every month, but that’s normal”. Or “I have a bowel movement every day or two, but that’s normal”. I would like to point out that, neither of the above is normal, common yes, but not normal. We commonly make assumptions about something that we’ve been living with for a long time or have always had, or our mothers always had, or our best friend has too, is “normal”. Sometimes we need to examine these assumptions in order to move forward and achieve better health. Here’s a brief list of some things that I find are common but not normal:

What Symptoms are Common?

  • Constipation i.e. bowel movements less than 1-3 times per day
  • Headaches with change in weather, stress, PMS
  • Menstrual cramping
  • PMS
  • Hot flashes, night sweats, depression at menopause
  • Heartburn or the need to take antacids
  • Exhaustion when you get home from work
  • Cravings for salt and/or sugar
  • Up 1-3 times per night to the washroom
  • Back pain on waking
  • Need to eat every couple of hours or will get weak, shaky, irritable or headache-y
  • A head rush when standing up too quickly

What is Normal?

  • Bowel movements 1-3 times per day, every day, typically after eating
  • No headaches or excess muscle tension
  • Pain-free periods
  • Other than the date, no sign that your period is due
  • At menopause your periods just stop
  • No heartburn or antacids
  • Energy to be active in the evening until at least 8 p.m.
  • No food cravings
  • No night waking or need to urinate at night
  • Free and easy movement any time of day
  • Able to forgo eating all day if desired without repercussions
  • Able to change position without a head rush, or feeling faint

I could go on, but you get the picture. As a society we make assumptions about what is normal based on what everyone has or does, but true health requires ongoing assessment of where we are at and where we would like to be and then making use of all the tools at our disposal to get there.  As a naturopathic doctor, I have many options to turn common into normal.

By Dr. Pamela Frank, BSc, ND. Contact Pamela at 416.481.0222 or book online now.

Low Carb, High Protein Diet?

woman holding fruit and vegetables

Is a High Protein Diet Bad for the Kidneys?

There was an article in the Harvard Health Letter on the downsides to Low Carb/High Protein diets – mainly putting a strain on the kidneys with too much protein and depriving yourself of vitamins from grains.  This is a fallacy.  Healthy kidneys have no problem dealing with waste products of protein metabolism.  The only time that this is of concern is in someone with compromised kidney function (someone on dialysis, for example).

If you follow me at all, you probably know that I encourage most people to remove as much of the bread, pasta, cereal, rice, potatoes and sugar from their diets as they possibly can. “Low carb, high protein” they gasp???. No, I do not advocate a high protein diet either. I don’t think you have to go from one extreme to the other. But I do think that relative to the amount of physical activity most people are doing, they consume way too many carbs.

I also think that if carbs are consumed they should be in their purest form, that is, how you would pick it off the plant. Want to eat wheat? Go ahead and pull some up out of the field and start munching on it.  Enjoy!  Not so tasty in it’s natural state, is it?  Pick an apple off the tree, pretty tasty as is, isn’t it?

I think the carbs found in fruit and vegetables are adequate for most people’s energy expenditure and will provide the same vitamins and minerals that you would get from grains. And I think that fruit and vegetable consumption should be high, protein and fats moderate and refined carbs of any kind, low. This kind of diet provides plenty of vitamins and minerals, lots of fiber, good protein, a stable blood sugar and fats that satisfy the appetite and keep eating under control.

By Dr. Pamela Frank, BSc(Hons), ND

For custom diet and supplement advice call us at 416-481-0222 or book online now.

Here’s What I Believe

what a naturopath believes

Why Do I Believe in Naturopathic Medicine?

I believe, because I’ve seen success with it time and time again.  People who were told they had a 1% chance of success conceiving and having healthy pregnancies, people who were told that they would never conceive on their own and their only hope was donor eggs, conceiving and having healthy pregnancies naturally, people who had had repeated failed IVF attempts, forgoing all the drugs, turning to vitamins, minerals, diet and herbs and having healthy pregnancies.  I’ve seen acne improved, hair loss stopped, skin cleared, digestion working normally, hot flashes relieved, weight loss, energy and vitality returned to normal, breathing cleared, babies made, cramps gone, thyroid and immune function restored and on and on.

When you’ve witnessed it for 16+ years with your own eyes, you can’t help but believe in the power of the human body to heal and the power of nature to help it along.   We can help you too, call us at 416-481-0222 or book online now.

By Dr. Pamela Frank, BSc(Hons), ND

7 Ills That Don’t Require Pills

woman holding drugs or pills

Why Take Drugs if You Don’t Absolutely Need To?

From the Harvard Health Letter:

  1. Arthritis: Combine weight loss with exercise, especially easy on the joints exercise like swimming, and you may have less pain and greater mobility.
  2. Cholesterol: Adding soluble fibre from psyllium, oat bran, fruit and vegetables to your diet can reduce levels of bad cholesterol. Cutting back on carbs helps lower total cholesterol.
  3. Cognitive decline: Memory training can help you stay sharp, and physical exercise can do even more.
  4. Depression: Regular physical activity has a potent antidepressant effect. Just do something, even if it’s only 5 minutes of exercise per day.
  5. Diabetes: Exercise makes muscle more receptive to insulin (improves insulin resistance), and eating fewer sweets and carbohydrates helps control blood sugar levels and appetite.
  6. High blood pressure: Lose weight, get more exercise, and eat less salt for those that are salt sensitive (not everyone is).  Weight training and cutting back on carbs can help too.
  7. Osteoporosis: Weight-bearing exercise causes bone tissue to get stronger and denser. Extra vitamin D from sunlight and vitamin K from leafy greens can make all the difference with bone density.

What is the Best Fat Burning Exercise?

woman running in a triathlon

Fat Burning Exercise

Recent research suggests that the best kind of exercise for fat loss is High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) versus Steady State Exercise. What that means is that subjects who did 20 minutes of cardio that was broken up into chunks consisting of 8 seconds of high intensity and 12 seconds of low intensity exercise lost more fat over a 15 week period than subjects who did a steady 20-40 minutes of cardio at 60% of their maximum capacity. Each group exercised three times per week and increased their exercise intensity as their fitness level increased.
For significant fat loss, dietary changes are usually also required.

A Little Anise is Nice

picture of anise

Health Benefits of Anise

Anise is used to add a hint of licorice to everything from holiday cookies to bottles of ouzo and raki.
Researchers have isolated 22 compounds in Anise’s essential oils and found high levels of organic mixtures called phenylpropanoids. Phenylpropanoids are found in a wide variety of plants, and some are thought to have health-boosting benefits.
These compounds were tested for their activity against various major and minor microbes. A few showed some effectiveness against Plasmodium falciparum, the parasite that causes malaria in humans, and Mycobacterium intracellulare, a bacterium which can cause illness in immune-compromised patients.
Some phenylpropanoids exhibited anti-inflammatory activities. Pimpinella essential oils also showed estrogenic effects and were considered to have phytoestrogen properties.

Go easy on the Ouzo though.

If you are looking for natural antibiotic treatment for any infection, our naturopathic doctors can help. Call us at 416-481-0222 or Book Online Now.