Saturday, 10 January 2015

Fitting in Fermented Foods

We’ve heard it before, the importance of good bugs in a healthy digestive tract. Much of our immune system resides in the digestive tract and a balanced level of beneficial bacteria has been linked to reduce allergies and fewer colds, along with overall reduced digestive distress (such as gas, bloating, constipation, etc). More recent research is connecting positive gut environment with improvements in mental health, such as reduced levels of anxiety as in this study

For more detailed information on the benefits of balanced gut bacteria, check out a past post: “Let Them Eat Dirt”

Incorporating fermented and cultured foods in your diet is one of the best ways to promote good bacteria. 

What exactly are fermented foods and how do they contribute to healthy gut flora? According to Sandor Katz, author of The Art of Fermentation, fermented foods are “the flavourful space between fresh and rotten.” Nice, eh? During the fermentation process, beneficial bacteria digest sugars and starches in the food and release lactic acid. It’s the lactic acid that prevents any unwanted organisms from growing. Just a few days of fermenting, et voila! A bacteria rich, health promoting food that also tastes great!

Pickling and fermenting are not the same thing. Pickling involves soaking veggies in an acid - like vinegar, while fermenting is a process that happens over time, and in a salt-water brine. The benefits of the high bacteria content occurs only in fermentation. More details on the differences can be found on

Common examples of fermented or cultured foods include sauerkraut, miso (soybean paste), Kombucha tea, natural yogurt, aged cheeses, kimchi and kefir.

Another wonderful thing about fermented foods is that it doesn’t take much to reap the benefits. As little as a few tablespoons of sauerkraut, 1/2-1 cup of kefir, or 2 cups of kombucha tea provide therapeutic benefits.

There are many resources on how you can make your own fermented foods, but if you’re not into fermenting food at home, many quality products are available for purchase online or at local health food stores. 

Not all fermented foods are created equal. When purchasing fermented foods, be sure to follow these guidelines offered by Dr. Frank Lipman, MD:

Be a Smart Shopper – In Five Steps
To get the most active cultures be on the look-out for:

KEEP COOL: Fermented foods are full of live organisms that must be kept cool to survive, so buy only fermented items in the refrigerated section of the store

IT IS WHAT IT IS: Fermented foods will, not surprisingly, have the phrase “fermented” printed somewhere on the label, so make sure it says so.

PUT IT OUT TO PASTURE: Be sure the label does not say “pasteurized” – because the pasteurization process wipes out the cultures you need to help fortify your gut.

FERMENTED AND PICKLED ARE TWO DIFFERENT THINGS: …So don’t confuse the two – they’re not interchangeable. Pickled foods are exactly that – they’re pickled in liquids like vinegar or brine, but not fermented (unless it says otherwise on the label).

BUY ORGANIC: Look for fermented foods that are made from the best raw materials possible, namely those made from organic, non-GM or locally farmed produce. (Dr. Blake’s note: especially SOY products such as Tempeh and Miso)

Aside from promoting a healthy environment in the digestive tract, fermented foods are rich in antioxidants like vitamin C, have anti-cancer benefits, and support healthy blood sugar levels. This article details the benefits of sauerkraut. 

Adding a dose of fermented foods to your daily routine will go a long way in promoting a flourishing and nourishing life!

A few of my favourite resources:

Fermented Recipes & Websites: (en entire site on fermenting!)
Fermented Veggies

Fermented foods For Health by Deirdre Rawlings
Delicious Probiotic Drinks by Julia Mueller
The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook (features an entire chapter on cultured foods) by Tom Malterre & Alissa Segersten

Kartheins Unpasteurized Kimchi and Sauerkraut 
Yogi Kombucha Green Tea

Monday, 19 May 2014

Naturopathic Solutions for Spring Allergies

Not everyone looks forward to spring – especially when it comes with sneezing and itching.

What is an allergy?
An allergic reaction occurs when the immune system overreacts to normally harmless substances such as pollen, pet dander, grasses, and other environmental triggers or foods. A seasonal allergy is a reaction to a trigger that is typically present only during specific times of the year. For Canadians, seasonal allergies tend to flare during spring (pollen), summer (grass), and fall (weeds). Allergies that are consistent all year round may be reactions to triggers such as pet dander, dust mites, or food.  

Signs of seasonal allergies are similar to a common cold, however allergies tend to be associated with the following:

- There is no corresponding fever or muscle aches
- Any mucous is clear and runny
- Sneezing is frequent and often occurs in multiples
- Itching of ears, eyes, nose, and throat is relentless 
- Symptoms do not necessarily get worse or better and last longer than a typical cold 

An allergic reaction requires exposure to a trigger, which is then recognized by the immune system as “foreign”. The immune system goes into high gear, triggering the release of histamine from immune cells called mast cells. Histamine is part of the inflammatory response and causes the range of symptoms associated with allergies. 

Seasonal allergies affect millions of Canadians every year and this number is increasing annually. According to a Consumer Health Report, sales of antihistamine/allergy medications increased by 3% in one year to $222 million in 2013. These medications effectively block the release of histamine and/or work as decongestants but many produce unwanted side effects. Obviously people are suffering and looking for effective, natural ways to reduce the pain of seasonal allergies.

There are many published studies indicating the benefit of probiotics in treating allergy symptoms.  They do so by down regulating the inflammatory response and immune markers involved in the allergic process. Probiotics help to quench the overreaction of the Th2 immune response and positively alter the balance of pollen-specific immune proteins. This immune modulation has shown beneficial impact for people suffering from allergic airway diseases including asthma. Your naturopathic doctor can help determine which strain and potency are best suited to address your symptoms.

For more information about probiotics, see one of my previous blog posts:

Nettles (Urtica dioica) 
An herb with a long medicinal history, nettle (aka stinging nettle) has been used effectively for painful muscles, skin conditions, and benign prostatic hyperplasia.  For allergy sufferers, stinging nettle has been shown to reduce the amount of histamine produced in response to an allergen. Nettles grow easily in this area and can be used fresh or dried. Many over-the-counter options are of the freeze-dried variety. Any form can be used preventatively prior to allergy season as well as during peak times to reduce symptoms. Nettle is also high in minerals and makes a wonderful, nutritive tea.

Butterbur (Petasites hybridus)
Butterbur is a plant native to northern Asia, Europe, and parts of North America. It has a long history of medicinal benefits but is best known for its use in prevention of migraine headaches and management of allergy symptoms.

Studies done comparing butterbur extract to antihistamine drugs have shown that both treatments are more effective than placebo and produce equal results, making butterbur an excellent alternate for those sensitive to the side effects of antihistamine medications.

Naturally, butterbur contains plant components that may be toxic to the liver. Fortunately, these compounds can be removed from butterbur products to improve benefits and increase safety.

A bioflavonoid that naturally occurs in many foods, including garlic, onions, and apples, has been shown stabilize the mast cells that release histamine and initiate the allergic cascade. Especially when used in conjunction with vitamin c, quercetin supplementation can be extremely helpful in reducing allergy symptoms without any side effects such as drowsiness.

Naturopathic medicine offers a whole person approach to allergies and works to quench the over-response of the immune system, stabilize mast cells that release histamine, and address other underlying imbalances that cause allergic reactions.

For a tailored naturopathic allergy plan, call The Pear Tree to discuss your options with a naturopathic doctor. 

Thursday, 1 May 2014

The Importance of Catching Zs

As a working mother, the last few years have brought many new lessons, including a renewed appreciation for sleep. The first time baby slept thru the night was one of the happiest days of my life. Never again will I underestimate the benefits of a good night's sleep (or a good nap).

Sleep, or lack of it, impacts every aspect of daily life. It is essential for maintaining health and influences mood, energy, judgement, life span, and immune function. Chronic sleep deprivation can lead to serious health concerns such as obesity, depression, and heart disease.

Both the quantity and quality of sleep are important. If you spend 9 hours in bed at night but toss and turn or wake frequently, it is unlikely you will get out of bed feeling rested and although some people need more sleep than others, the average adult requires 8 hours of sleep every night for optimal health.

Although we are not consciously aware of the work being done, it is amazing what the body does while our eyes our closed. While we sleep, our bodies produce proteins that help repair damage and strengthen the immune system. Sleep also gives time for the cardiovascular system to rest. Good quality sleep has been shown to reduce both cholesterol and blood pressure levels. Sleep is also a major contributor to maintaining healthy weight. Due to the impact on hormones, lack of sleep can trigger cravings for foods high in fats and carbohydrates. A well-rounded weight loss plan should always include a healthy sleep routine.

The Environment:
The first place to start when deciding to make sleep a priority is in the bedroom. The ideal environment for healthy sleep is one with very few distractions. Ensure your sleeping quarters are as dark as possible - this includes blocking out natural light from windows as well as removing electronics such as a television or clock radio. Even small amounts of light can influence levels of the sleep hormone, melatonin.

Sound is also a distraction for sleep. Falling asleep in front of a TV has a negative impact on sleep for this reason as well. Phones should be turned off. If you live on a busy street and traffic noise is an issue, consider investing in white noise. This can be something as simple as a fan or fish tank - anything that produces a consistent, low sound that will cover up less predictable noises.

The Routine:
To get good quality sleep, it is important to start thinking about sleep before actually going to bed. Our bodies and brains need time to wind down. Avoid stimulating activities such as strenuous exercise at least 1 hour before bed. Watching television or reading, especially about intense or emotional topics, are also good to avoid. Use the hour before bed to prepare for a restful sleep. Establishing a routine will help. This may include a warm cup of herbal tea (chamomile or peppermint can be good choices), a warm bath, gentle stretching, yoga, or breathing exercises.

Sleepy Supplements:
There are a variety of natural sleep products on the market, including magnesium, melatonin, valerian, and theanine. It is important to choose a product for your individual needs, as not all of these supplements are appropriate for everyone. A natural sleep aid can often times make things worse if the right reasons are not addressed. Discuss your options with your naturopathic doctor.

Sometimes there are reasons why a person cannot sleep long periods of time uninterrupted - certain medical conditions or a hungry baby are examples. If this is the case, don't forget that napping is an option! Naps, when used appropriately, can help fill in the gaps. Be conscious of napping in a way that doesn't interfere with your nighttime sleep - choose short naps (45 minutes or less) and try not to nap too late in the day.

Making Sleep a Priority:
Ensuring your bedroom is a sleep worthy environment and implementing a sleep routine  are ways you can start to make sleep a priority. However, efforts to improve the quality of your sleep can begin the moment you open your eyes.

Exercise improves every aspect wellness and by encouraging energy expenditure, a regular exercise regime can go a long way to help improve sleep. Find a schedule that works for you – before bed may be too stimulating for some.

Diet is also an important factor in sleep patterns. Avoid foods known to interfere with sleep, especially late in the day. These include caffeine, alcohol, and sugar but may also include spicy foods, high fat foods, and those with additives such as MSG. Some people also have food sensitivities that will interfere with sleep. These can be identified by testing and/or elimination diets, available thru your naturopathic doctor.

Foods high in the amino acid tryptophan (a building block for melatonin) are better supper and evening snack choices. Some evening snack ideas that will help promote sleep include: a banana and almonds, yogurt and granola, or hummus and veggie sticks.

Healthy stress management will have a positive influence on your overall health, including sleep. There are various strategies that help reduce the negative impact of stress on the body, including meditation, exercise, and diet. Speak with your naturopathic doctor if you are concerned about your ability to manage your stress.

With so many distractions and items on to-do lists, at the end of the day it may be difficult to walk away from the computer, leave the dishes in the sink, or put down that book to go to bed. However, studies show that the people who do are more likely to live longer, healthier lives - a reason to put sleep at the top of your priority list.

On that note - I think it's time for a nap.

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

A New Appreciation for Poo

It’s easy to take things for granted when they are working well. A good poop is a prime example of that.

There have been 2 distinct occasions in my life when I have been especially appreciative of having a functioning digestive tract.

The first was after a surgery that required anesthesia. More recently, while in the midst of some major transitions including potty training, my 3-year-old daughter decided she no longer wants to have bowel movements. As an ND, much of my emphasis is on digestive health so poop is not an uncommon or uncomfortable daily topic – however, never have I been so “poop obsessed” as when my daughter became anal-retentive.

Since our troubles began, I’ve come to learn that holding is a very common pattern in children, especially when potty training, after a painful bowel movement, and if there are fissures or hemorrhoids. Fortunately for us, all of the potential physical reasons for lack of bowel movements were quickly ruled out and so I knew it was more emotional in origin.

What surprised me the most, aside from how determined my daughter could be, is how sick a person may become when their bowels do not move. Perhaps it’s more obvious in a child, but my appreciation for daily bowel movements has definitely gained momentum. In as little as 2 days, I saw my daughter become pale, lethargic, and uncomfortable. She resisted play, as it tended to stimulate a sensation or urge, and opted instead to stay still. Her appetite plummeted. She was cranky and had a hard time sleeping. She developed dark circles under her eyes and one day, even a fever.

Why someone would choose to self-inflict that kind of discomfort is an interesting topic in itself, but for others who suffer from chronic constipation for a long list of reasons, it is very clear this is a major health concern and contributes to poor health in a number of both obvious and obscure ways.

After three weeks of working on healthy poops, we are almost there. However, it took time, perseverance and, to be honest, an exhaustion of all of my naturopathic resources before things finally started to move.  If constipation has been a longstanding problem, it may take some time before your bowels begin to respond to a naturopathic plan. Thankfully, the suggestions listed in part 1 and part 2 of this article are gentle enough to use for mild or occasional constipation in an adult or child and, with the help of your naturopathic doctor, can be adjusted to treat more stubborn, chronic cases.

I’d like to review and emphasize the basics:

The basics: water, exercise, and fiber. Although these three may seem like no brainers, many of us are just not getting enough. If you are having any concerns with constipation and not already getting enough water, exercise, or fiber, you may be shocked at what a little shift can do.

Water is essential for all bodily functions, including healthy bowel movements. If the body is dehydrated, it will absorb more water from the bowel, leaving behind very dry, hard stools that are difficult to pass. Staying hydrated will keep the stool soft and easy to pass. Breastfed and formula fed infants typically get enough water and do not need any extra.

Toddlers and young children should have constant access to water and require approximately 1 liter daily.
Teens and adults should aim for at least 2 liters daily.
** Higher amounts are necessary with exercise, hot temperatures, and certain medications.

Naturopathic Suggestions:
- Start your day with a large glass of water.
- Set an alarm on your phone or computer to go off every hour as a reminder to have a drink of water.
- Keep track of your intake and check in often, that way it won’t be just before bedtime that you realize you’ve only had 1 glass of water all day. Some people like to pre-fill water containers, others track in a wellness journal.
- Make water accessible and appealing. If you like cold water, have some chilled in the fridge. If you prefer hot water, invest in a water cooler that has both hot and cold water on tap.
- Make water tasty. Flavor water by soaking fruit and vegetables overnight (cucumber and mint, watermelon and basil, and lemon and ginger are a few of my favorite combinations).  Have a few of your favorite herbal teas on hand and remember they can be served hot or cold.

For more information on water, check out The Pear Tree’s July 2013 newsletter. (   

Exercise is an essential part of any healthy lifestyle and getting enough movement on a daily basis has been shown to reduce cancer rates, support heart health, balance blood sugar, reduce the impact of stress, and promote healthy mood. Exercise is also an important tool for addressing constipation as it promotes movement of the digestive organs. Specific yoga sequences are especially helpful to generate more blood and nerve flow to the abdominal organs.  Ask your yoga instructor for suggestions.

1 hour daily

Naturopathic Suggestions:
- Remember that exercise should be fun! Find something you like to do rather than forcing yourself to _________ (fill in the blank).
- Involve friends and family OR exercise solo. Whatever works best for you is what will work.
- Schedule time for exercise. Often the items that do not make it into the agenda do not happen. Make exercise a priority by scheduling it in to your day-to-day routine.

Fiber adds bulk to the stool, which helps it move thru the digestive tract and stimulate the nerve endings that signal the need for a bowel movement. Fiber also helps to regulate cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Due to these benefits, a high fiber diet has been shown to reduce the risk of various conditions including heart disease, diabetes, and diverticulitis.

It’s easy to underestimate the amount of fiber needed on a daily basis and most Canadians are getting less than 15 grams per day.

Children 1-8 years old require an average of 20 grams daily.
Teens and adults should be consuming 30+ grams daily.  

Naturopathic Suggestions:
- Eat your fruits and veggies. Period.
- Make fruits and vegetables convenient. A good habit is to prepare fruit and vegetables so they are ready to eat. Once home from the grocery store, wash and package fruit and vegetables in easy to grab baggies on the shelves in your fridge (rather than hidden in the produce drawer) or directly on the counter.
- Add beans whenever you can. Soups, chili, dips, salads, and desserts can all be fiber dense with added beans.
- Increase your fiber intake gradually and aim to increase water intake at the same time.
- Avoid refined, processed foods. Many have as much as 60% of their fiber removed.
- Find a good fiber chart (such as the one found at Calculate your average fiber intake over 1 week period, and then adjust accordingly.

However, if you already have a handle on the basics, occasionally our bowels need a little more support. Below are 5 suggestions I’ve found helpful when regular bowel movements aren’t happening:

Aloe Vera Juice
Most of us have used aloe vera gel on sunburn, but the juice (which is not green, but clear) can be taken internally to reduce inflammation along the digestive tract and promote healthy bowel movements.

Naturopathic Suggestions:
1-2 oz. in water or juice before bed.

Probiotics, aka “the good guys”, are helpful bugs that live in our digestive tracts. A number of factors can throw off the balance and they do require a little TLC to keep them happy.

Daily Requirements:
Probiotics are supported by a high fiber, low sugar diet and can often be maintained with dietary sources. If you have digestive symptoms or have recently been prescribed antibiotics, you may want to take a supplement to help restore your levels.

Naturopathic Suggestions:
- Fermented foods promote healthy bacteria levels. These foods include kefir, sauerkraut, kombucha, miso, and kimchi. There are many resources on ways to include fermented foods in your daily diet. Some of my favorites:
o Cultured Food for Life by Donna Schwenk

- Supplementation: talk to your ND about probiotics before taking one off the shelf. The specific strain and dose of a probiotic is essential to its effectiveness.

Magnesium oxide
Laxatives act by irritating the bowel wall or by flooding the bowel with water (to soften stool and add bulk). Magnesium is an essential mineral that plays a role in the function of every cell in the body. It is especially important for muscle function. There are various forms of magnesium, each with a slightly different effect. Magnesium oxide is especially helpful to keep the bowels moving and the stool soft. It works by relaxing the wall of the bowel and directs water to stay in the bowel.

Naturopathic Suggestions:
- For constipation, begin with 200mg once daily and work up to your bowel tolerance. This is when your bowels notice the effect – a very loose, urgent bowel movement means you’ve gone passed your bowel tolerance and need to reduce your dose.

- Magnesium is generally a very tolerable, safe supplement, however it is important to discuss the use of any nutraceutical with your ND, especially if you are currently taking prescription medications.

Mind/Body Medicine
Relaxation techniques can be especially helpful when there does not seem to be an apparent physical reason for irregular bowel habits. These techniques were particularly helpful in my daughter’s case.

Reflexology – A technique using reflexes on the feet to promote healing by stimulating the nerves in the body and encouraging the flow of blood.

Reiki - Working as a support mechanism to the body, Reiki re-establishes a normal energy flow throughout the system, which in turn can enhance and accelerate the body’s innate healing ability. Through a series of hand positions either directly on or just above the body, the energy worker allows for the flow of energy through their body.

Essential Oils and Tummy Rubs – The massage aspect helps to stimulate the bowel and increase blood flow while essential oils can have various effects. Peppermint and rosemary oils help relieve gas and discomfort, while lavender has a calming effect. Always be sure to dilute the essential oil in carrier oil, such as avocado or coconut oil, and to test the essential oil for any potential allergic reaction with a spot test.  The massage itself should be done in a clockwise direction, with the belly button acting as the center of the clock.

Homeopathy is a distinct form of medicine that uses small doses of diluted substances to help shift the body into a more balanced state. The aspects of homeopathy that I appreciate are its safety as well as its ability to address emotional root causes that otherwise may be very difficult to treat. It is important to choose the remedy based on very specific symptoms.  Speak to your ND for the best results.

Having reviewed a few naturopathic options to promote healthy bowel habits, I think it’s important to discuss what normal is. You should expect a daily movement (if not 2-3 times daily). The stool should be formed, easy to pass, and some shade of brown. Abnormal signs include undigested food (other than the occasional kernel of corn), blood, mucous, or pain. Monitor your bowel habits and bring up any concerns to your ND for optimal digestive health.

**Update - Audrey has had daily bowel movements for the last week. Oh happy days!!

Thursday, 27 February 2014

Naturopathic Stress Management

I'm excited to be speaking at NSCC for their wellness day.

Since stress has the potential to negatively impact our health on so many levels, I thought it would be an important topic to discuss. Luckily, naturopathic medicine offers many options when it comes to managing stress.

Naturopathic Strategies for Stress Management 

What is stress?

Stress can be both positive and negative in nature, but either case, the way we respond to stressors both physically and emotionally can have a major impact on health. Finding ways to manage your stress is an important piece of any wellness plan. 

Physical stressors include dehydration, intense exercise, poor nutrition, lack of sleep - they can be considered stressors because of the way a body responds. All of those listed cause increase release of cortisol. Cortisol in the short term allows our bodies to adapt - some physical responses are increased heart and breathing rates, a heightened sense of awareness, dilated pupils. These responses prepare us for fight or flight (which come in very handy if you had to run from a lion or even with modern day triggers like giving a presentation). The problem with humans is that we often 'stress' over things that are not a direct threat. As explained by in 'Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers', animals respond to stress when necessary but when the immediate stress is gone, they go back to calmly eating grass. 

Long-term stress can lead to many unwanted health concerns and has been associated with increased rates of heart disease and cancer, depression, anxiety, chronic pain, irritable bowel syndrome, and migraine headaches.

It is impossible and unwanted to completely eliminate stress, but finding strategies that help reduce the impact and eliminate unnecessary stress can be extremely beneficial.

Breathe and Meditate

Although an essential process for life, many of us do not know how to breathe and can learn to use our breath to positively influence our health and reduce stress. Breathing can be done in a formal setting such as a yoga class or while sitting in traffic or at your desk.

Many of the benefits of yoga are due to the focus on the breath. Yoga has been shown to modulate stress response systems resulting in lower heart rate and blood pressure.

A small but intriguing study characterized the effect of yoga on the stress response. In 2008, researchers at the University of Utah noted that people who have a poorly regulated response to stress are also more sensitive to pain. Using functional MRIs to monitor brain function, the researchers subjected participants to thumbnail pressure and found the lowest pain-related activity in yoga practitioners. 
Meditation is becoming increasingly popular as a way to moderate the impact of stress. Many people find that spending as little as 10 minutes a day in silence with their breathe has a positive impact on their ability to handle stress during the day. 
Naturopathic Rx: spend 10 minutes a day breathing. For more suggestions, see a handout called “Maintaining Life Balance” available at
2) Stay hydrated
Poor hydration is an immediate stressor that the body has many strategies to avoid (reduced urination, slowed breathing). Chronic low grade dehydration has been shown to cause fatigue, increased anxiety, and reduced cognitive function.
Water, like breathing, is essential for life - but expecting your body to run optimally on bare minimum is a lot to ask. You can make a huge difference in how you experience stress and recover from it by increasing your water intake. 
Naturopathic Rx: Aim for 1/2 of your body weight in ounces (180 pound person should drink 90 ounces of water, or about 11 cups). See my article on water for more detailed information on your body's signs for more water.
Some people are choosing flavoured water for the taste. The concern is that many of these waters are sweetened with sugar or artificial sweeteners. A better option is to flavour your own water. Soaking fruit overnight in a large pitcher and adding lemon juice and/or honey can add a ton of flavour and colour to make drinking water a bit more interesting. Cube or puree the fruit and herbs and soak 8-12 hrs refrigerated. Strain if desired before drinking. Try these combos: watermelon and mint, cucumber and basil, strawberry and lime.

3) Sleep
Getting enough sleep goes a long way at reducing the impact of stress and improving our response to it. Step one is to give yourself enough time - aim for 8 hours of sleep during a 24 hours period. 

Naturopathic Rx: If you find yourself having a hard time falling or staying asleep, consult your naturopathic doctor for sleep support such as acupuncture, melatonin, or sedating herbs such as valerian. 

4) Herbal Medicine 
Herbs are amazing, especially when it comes to support our stress glands, aka adrenals. Many herbs can be chosen based on their ability to increase or decrease cortisol levels, depending on a person’s needs. Known as “adaptogens” herbs such as eleutherococcus, licorice root, and rhodiola can do wonders at improving the body’s response to stress in the both the short and long term.

5) Exercise
Much research has shown the positive benefits of exercise. Regular exercise causes a release in endorphins, increases energy, improves sleep, lowers cortisol levels, and is an effective tool to manage depression and anxiety.

Naturopathic Rx: 30 minutes 5x/week of movement  

6) Work towards a positive outlook and self-compassion

"Without self-love, you cannot see your true self in the mirror and accept yourself as worth loving; you only see what's wrong.". B. Siegel, MD

Naturopathic Rx: Suggested Resources

Brene Brown
Book: “The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are”
TED Talks:
Dr. Gabor Maté, MD
Book: “When The Body Says No”
Bernie Siegel 
Book: “The Art of Healing”
Robert Sapolsky
Book: “Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers”
National Geographic Special: Stress, Portrait of a Killer 

Much of our response to stress is perception - working on a positive outlook and using healthy coping strategies to manage stress can make a huge difference in how your mind and body react to stress.