Gluten Free Trending, Now…

admin Digestion, Gluten, Health, Nutrition, Research Comments Off

gluten freeGluten-free. Everyone, including my grandmother is doing it!  Could it just be a trend?  This is a question that has been asked by so many, on a daily basis.  It has become apparent that gluten issues are on the rise, with studies showing a 5-fold increase of Celiac Disease since 1974, with another study showing 30-50% of people carry the gene. Here’s the shocker:  people carrying the gluten sensitivity genes are much more common than those carrying the Celiac Disease gene. Gluten is a structural protein found in many grains, wheat being the major one.  Other grains containing gluten are:  barley, pumpernickel, rye, spelt, kamut.  It can also found in medications, supplements and cosmetics like skin and hair products (lip balms, etc).  So, what is gluten? It is made up of 2 proteins known as gliadin and glutenin.  Seperately, these are found in about 80% of all grains.

When ingested, gluten causes an autoimmune reaction destroying the hair-like projections of the intestines, known as villi. Villi are extremely important for nutrient absorption.  Inflammation and destruction of the villi result in malabsorption.  A downright allergy to gluten is known as Celiac Disease.  Celiac is most commonly thought of an illness of the colon.  Symptoms of Celiac are variable, but often include: abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, vomitting, constipation and weightloss.  Celiac Disease is a gut mediated immune reaction. Often, many of our patients with digestive issues have already seen the gastroenterologist and have been tested for Celiac with negative blood tests.

Gluten sensitivity is estimated to be 6 times more prevalent than Celiac Disease.  Most common symptoms of gluten sensitivity are abdominal pain, eczema, rash, headache, ‘foggy mind’ (clarity), fatigue, diarrhea, depression, anemia and numbness (most to least common). Note, that many of these symptoms occur out of the intestinal tract.

The third type of patient coming to our clinic has an actual allergy to wheat, known as wheat allergy.  This is a reaction mediated by histamine.  It is a systemic illness, meaning, it effects the whole body and not just the large intestines.  In order to be diagnosed with Celiac’s Disease one must undergo blood testing, Tissue Transglutaminase (TTG) and / or biopsy.

All of these conditions are induced by gluten, with people improving when undergoing a gluten-free diet and lifestyle.
So what’s with the trend?  The topic of gluten issues doesn’t have so much to do with it being a trend as it is an increased level of awareness.

Okay, but, why are we reacting to gluten in such a way?  Many reasons have been thought to be the cause of gluten issues:  poor prenatal dietary habits, genetic predisposition and susceptibility, immune and chronic stress, changes to the strains of wheat (containing higher gluten content), modern day processing methods and digestive enzyme / acid deficiencies.

Talk with your naturopathic physician if you or someone you know is suspected as having gluten issues.


Only Five Minutes Per Day

admin Life, Lifestyle, Stress, Uncategorized, Yoga Comments Off

Zen-Stones-And-FlowerThis is all it takes! Five minutes per day for yourself – whatever you want to call it:  my time, self-care, vegge-ing, etc.  This is 5 minutes of neutralness, naturalness, centredness and peacefulness.  Sorry, sitting in front of the t.v. doesn’t count.  Unfortunately, nature didn’t intend for us to watch more than 1 episode of the Bachelor on t.v.  To achieve high level health the goal is to re-align with how nature intended the body to be.

What’s the point of this 5 minute daily practice?  A huge benefit is stress reduction.  There’s no avoiding the stresses of every day life.  We are constantly bombarded by stress – be it studying for examinations, waiting for that big bill to pay off, dealing with an irrational boss or co-worker, loss of loved ones, divorce, financial, the list goes on.  We are all under a great deal of stress.

As Einstein noted,  ”energy cannot be created or destroyed, it can only be changed from one form or another.”   There’s only so much stress one will withstand.  The human body is like a holding tank.  Eventually, the tank needs to be drained otherwise things start to overflow.  We manifest the overflow with many stress related symptoms:  high blood pressure, depressed immunity, thyroid issues, anxiety, depression, insomnia, mood instability, menstrual irregularity, impotence, cardiac issues (heart attach, stroke), cancer, diabetes… you get the picture.  Stress contributes to virtually every possible condition.  The goal is to drain the holding tank bit by bit, every single day. 5 MINUTES.

So, what if you took 5 minutes, just 5 minutes in the day to breathe, to smile, to laugh, smell your daughter’s hair, go for a mindful walk (instead of it feeling like you have to do it because of your cholesterol or blood pressure – simply enjoy walk for the sake of walking), to put down your iphone, to not feel like you must do something but simply be, exist and enjoy the moment.  It’s not a twice a week thing, and not once every other day, even.  5 MINUTES PER DAY, EVERY SINGLE DAY!!!  It’s a part of your lifestyle. 5 MINUTES.

One of the best ways to spend your 5 minutes is with meditation.  By meditation, it to imply a focus on your breath – highly alert, deeply relaxed, in your breath.   When you become distracted by the thoughts or stories running around in your mind, gently bring your awareness back to your breath.  Science has caught up to a certain degree, as well.  Dr. Herbert Benson, MD – a renowned cardiologist, has led several studies on the the effects of relaxation response and meditation on general health.  All studies showing benefit with a meditation practice.  Dr. Dean Ornish, MD – another very well known doctor, has also led studies on the effects of stress reduction (with diet, exercise and relaxation) and cardiovascular benefit. The benefits to a meditation practice include:

Stress Management
Pain Reduction
Anxiety Reduction
Well-Being Elevation
Cardiovascular Benefits
Improved Sleep Quality

Who doesn’t wish for these things?

5 Minutes.  Daily. 

Peacefully,

Dr. S


Energy

admin Exercise, Health, Life, Lifestyle, Nutrition, Stress, Uncategorized, vitamins, Yoga 1

Let’s start with one of the most common complaints heard in practically any doctor’s practice – low energy, fatigue, tiredness, exhaustion, stressed.  Energy, or lack thereof, goes hand in hand with mood – be it feeling down, flat or anxious and wired.  We all want more energy. It’s a subjective thing.  There is no test that reveals how much energy you have in your gas tank.  What is for sure is that having more energy makes it easier to engage in life and activities (like social and exercising), all of which boost moods!  You ever notice how absurdly difficult it is to make breakfast when you just can’t seem to bounce out of bed?

As a naturopathic doctor, my main job is to find the cause of any disruption to the body-mind concept.  The causes of low energy are as numerous as you may think, plus more.  From hormonal, nutritional and sleep irregularities to psychologically derived.   Your naturopathic physician is a specialist in this area.  There may not be anything medically ‘wrong’ with you.  Lab test, x-ray or biopsy will not reveal anything.  But you know your energy just isn’t what it used to be!  By the way, aging is no excuse for low energy (think hormones)!

As vast as the causes of low energy, as is the naturopath’s tool box of modalities and techniques.

At some point in life, everyone will experience an issue with energy.

As Robyn Sharma states in his book, The Greatness Guide, “One of the best ways to create spectacular results in the most important areas of your life is through daily practice.  A series of practices are necessary in order to set yourself up for a great day.”  For me, I find yoga asana with meditation or a 30 minute run, drinking at least 1 litre of water, eating something fresh (had to have been alive) with each meal and laughing with my kids to be my secret recipe.  Make no mistake, life will happen and knock you off balance and away from your carefully crafted routine of health promoting practices.  It’s to be expected, it’s life!  But, with the daily practices (notice how the word practice is used… it’s practice for when life decides to throw you a wrench… then, it’s gametime).  Your practices are in place to keep you at your best, at your optimal.  Eventually, you’ll bounce back and stay in the positive highest energy with more ease.

Perseverance and effort are the 2 major elements to succeeding.  The first few days of any plan are the toughest.  The negative commentary and questions start running through the mind during this time.  The key is to recognize it, acknowledge it and move on.  Keep moving in the right direction. Before you know it, there may actually be a glimmer of a smile in your eyes as you reach for the morning toothpaste!

Here are some ideas to boost your energy levels:
Drink more water (filtered),  get to bed earlier – consistently,  get organized – at work and home, exercise, do something outside - every single day, high quality multivitamin (with high potency b complex), eat less simple carbohydrates (cookies, cakes, pastry, etc), yoga (http://victoria.mokshayoga.ca/), tai chi, bicycling, walk, hiking, smile more, smoothie from fresh herbs / fruit / vegetables, aim to slightly under eat at every mealtime (slightly meaning hold off taking the last 3-4 bites of your meal), listen to music, cut your caffeine down or out, weed out the negativity and energy draining relationships in your life, nurture and nourish the energy promoting and inspirational relationships, say I love you to something every single day (even if it’s yourself – in fact, let it be yourself minimally 3 times per week!), deep breathing or diaphragmatic breathing exercises,  be honest to others and yourself, yoga kriyas, take ‘down time’ where you do nothing (no criticizing, no comparing, no mental note taking… just exist and be present), practice mindfulness, pay it forward.

If you’re reading between the lines, you’ll see most of the suggestions are meant to dampen the fight or flight state we are constantly in.  The goal is to release the hold high cortisol, adrenaline and other stress hormones have on you… unfortunately, it’s a condition all North Americans suffer from.  We’ll chat more about this in a future post.  Stay tuned.

In the meantime, check out what the VCNH can do for you  http://www.victoriacentrefornaturalhealth.com/naturopathic-medicine/why-choose-vcnh.

Happy Living!

Dr. Sraw


Hello and Welcome To Our Blog!

admin Health, Life, Lifestyle, Uncategorized Comments Off

Here you will find a candid take on naturopathic life, current trends, latest research, insights and obstacles one may experience – from a health perspective.   Striving for the best “health” possible has its challenges and takes work.  But, with elements of clear intention, motivation and perseverance is what allows the process to unfold.  The intention of this blog is to help with just that.  Clear the air in the age of information overload.

Like you, we aim to live as healthful as possible.  This does not come without the challenges of everyday life.  Aside from being practitioners, we are friends, siblings, parents, teachers and members of the community.  We, too, can find it challenging to find balance in healthy lifestyle choices, our personal therapeutic plans and life. Considering the latest and greatest research and current trends it becomes even more challenging and / or confusing.  Hopefully, this blog will help clear the confusion and frustration and make it easier to weed out and remove any of the obstacles preventing you from becoming the healthiest person you are meant to be.  So sit back and enjoy.

Let’s get started.

Always – In Health,

Dr. Sraw


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