Friday, December 18, 2009

How do I choose the right ND?

So you've been thinking about seeing a Naturopath, but just don't know where to start.
You have a set of criteria that are important to you - you want someone in your area of town, you want someone who deals with Gastrointestinal issues, or fertility, or headaches, you want someone you can connect with and can talk freely to.
You don't know anyone who can give you a referral and you don't want to go see just anyone - where do you go next??

In Canada, Naturopathic Medicine has Federal and Provincial associations that may help point you in the right direction.
In Canada you can go to: and from there follow the links to 'find an ND' by first choosing your province.
So now you have a list of licensed Naturopaths in your city - but if you are from a big city, this list can be extensive!
Some ND's have websites attached to their profiles. You can check there to get more information - or perhaps you look through the list to find someone close to your work or home.

The most important thing you can do if you ask me, is to make sure you connect with your ND.
Most Naturopaths will offer a free 15 minute 'meet & greet' where you can discuss your concerns, ask questions and get a feel for whether you are comfortable working with that person.
You will know when you get the right fit! Trust yourself and take your time.

In good health,
Dr. Stacey Welton, ND

Saturday, October 24, 2009

A new season, a new practice!

Change of Season, indeed! Fall is definitely upon us. The leaves have changed and the wind is starting to blow them off the trees.

Just as the seasons change, change has presented itself in my own life.
I will be continuing my practice at a new location, Revolution Wellness, a beautiful gym and wellness centre in the heart of downtown Toronto.

I'm joining a talented team of professionals in a multi-disciplinary setting including a Chiropractor, Massage Therapists, Sports Therapist, and others.

Please drop by and pay us a visit!

In good health,

Stacey Welton, ND

An exciting time for ND's in Ontario!

Board of Directors of Drugless Therapy Naturopathy



October 20, 2009

The Standing Committee on Social Policy completed its clause-by-clause review of Bill 179 on Monday afternoon, October 19 th and approved an amendment to the Naturopathy Act, 2007 that will allow NDs to prescribe, dispense, compound or sell “drugs” that are designated by regulation. This amendment marks the achievement of an important goal for the BDDT-N and ensures that patients of Naturopathic doctors will have access to substances that are critical to maintaining NDs' scope of practice in Ontario. The regulation listing the specific substances NDs will be permitted to prescribe, as well as the purposes for which and the circumstances in which they can be prescribed, will be developed in the first instance by the Transitional Council and administered by the new College after approval by the Minister of Health and Long Term Care and Cabinet .

Very exciting news for the future of Naturopathic Medicine in Ontario!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Arctium Lappa (Burdock)

Burdock is what is considered an 'alterative' in the botanical world.
Alteratives are herbs that restore proper functioning of the body and increase overall health and wellness. Although that may seem fairly vague, it is true that alteratives seem to improve all the body functions from nutrition to elimination.
Part of its action is related to bitter stimulation of digestive juices so it helps with digestion and appetite - it is often used in Japanese cooking. It also has been used to support kidney function.

Alteratives can be used safely in a variety of conditions as supportive treatment. They are espcially helpful in chronic skin diseases and a wide range of autoimmune processes.

Make a tea out of the root - 1 tsp into 1 cup of water, bring to a boil and summer for 10 to 15 minutes. Drink this 3 times a day.

Bring on the Beets!

Beets are currently in season and boy are they good for you.

In my most recent organics delivery straight from the farm, we received what looked like beets. I cut them in half, preparing them for a delicious beet, apple, carrot juice only to discover their candy cane insides. Was this some kind of beet/turnip cross breed? From an organic farm?!

I consulted my trusty 'google' only to discover that that's exactly what they were.

Candy Cane Beets (aka: Chioggia) are as nutritionally dense as your regular beet.
Roast them in the oven, juice them, or grate them on top of a salad.
Beets are excellent liver cleansers and have a extrordinary amount of Vitamin C and folate. Don't get rid of the tops. You can eat those too - why not steam them along with kale and spinach and put that on top of a healthy rice bowl.

You can't beat the beet!

Monday, September 21, 2009

I've returned from the frenzy of the Summer!

Phew! I can't believe it is the end of September and I haven't written a thing since July!
What a summer it has been. With 2 practices on the go and many a friend's wedding, it seems that I haven't been in Toronto long enough to sit down with my computer and think, let alone write. But I'm back and this fall intend to do some writing.

It seems that the thing I keep hearing the most from my patients and friends lately is: 'I'm just SO exhausted!'
I'm convinced that the seasonal transition from summer to fall is a hefty one. It takes a significant toll on our physiology, and therefore it's important to rest and nurture ourselves after the frenzied summer months. It truly is a real downshift in our lives. Taken gracefully, the transition can be smooth.

Here are some tips:
1) Rest. There is no denying it. 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep a night truly restores our bodies, minds, and spirits.
2) Water. Aim for at least 1 litre of water a day. If you are active you will need plenty more than that. Water nourishes us on a cellular level and when we're feeling that oh so common afternoon sluggishness, it's amazing what a glass of clean water can do to pick us up!
3) Aim for a healthy digestion. That means plenty of fiber. By simply adding 1-2 tablespoons of freshly ground flax seeds (keep refrigerated), you are getting lots of fiber along with essential fatty acids. A healthy digestive tract is imperative - you can't absorb all the nutrients from your food without it!
4) Minimize stress. We can't particularly control our environments, but we can control our reaction to it. Minimize stress by taking what I lovingly refer to as 'mental health walks'. 20 minutes is all you need of alone time outside. This is not walking to or from work (unless you can detach easily and your walk is though the woods!) This is 20 minutes in comfortable shoes, taking big deep breaths. No ipods allowed. Just the sounds of nature in a beautiful setting. It's possible, even in the most urban of environments!

Accepting your limitations and yielding to the changing seasons will help not only your mental-emotional wellbeing, but your physiology too!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Deet-free insect repellant

I recently went up to Algonquin Park for some RnR only to be met without any bug repellent and an army of bugs!

The Deet containing stuff was easy to find but as I've read my fair share of deet-centered horror stories, applying toxins to my skin wasn't particularly appealing.
I have been meaning to make my own insect repellent all Spring, but other things always seemed to take priority. I came home determined to craft something safe and effective!

After a few tries and a couple more insect bites, here's what I came up with:

Grab a spray bottle - whatever size you like.

Pull together your essential oils.

Here are the essential oils that I like to use:





Next, fill your spray bottle about 2/3 full with filtered water.

Add about 10 drops of each oil in the spray bottle.

Tada! It's as easy as that!

Spray on as much or as often as you like - just be sure not to get it in your eyes or mucus membranes - and also, test a little area of skin to make sure you're not sensitive to any of the essential oils before use.

Quick, easy, DIY project!

In good health,

Stacey Welton, ND

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Easy Breezy Summer

Sorry folks - it seems as if June got away on me!
With two busy practices and finding time to get out of the city and into nature it seems as if I've let some things slide!

Understandably, during the hot summer months, barbeques, patios and cottages, we tend to not make the healthiest lifestyle choices. It's key to find balance and flexibility so that both mind and body remain healthy.

Feeling fatigued? Mondays coming sooner than you had hoped? Perhaps your diet has suffered.

Be sure to maintain an adequate amount of fruits and veggies in your diet.
There are readily available local fruits and veggies by the truckload.
We recently received Garlic Scapes in our organics box. Having never cooked them before I searched for a recipe in order to make something delicious.

Here's one I liked - taken from the New York Times:

In good health,

Stacey Welton, ND

Friday, May 29, 2009

Wait - what is Naturopathic Medicine anyways?

Is Naturopathic Medicine the same thing as Homeopathy? 
What about Herbalism? Acupuncture? 
What do you guys do exactly....?

There are understandably lots of questions when it comes to the scope of practice of Naturopathic Doctors - and indeed we do actually practice medicine.
We are a distinct - specific and different - system of primary care - meaning we are trained in the assessment and diagnosis of disease. We do physical exams, bloodwork, all the same things your traditional medical doctor does - but we approach disease and treatment in a different way. 

This does not mean that we are at odds with the 'allopathic' medical community. Not at all. There is room for both schools of thought - just like there is room for all types of people in the world!
One of the differences between the two lie in the approach to disease. 
Naturopathic Doctors 'treat the cause' vs. a palliative approach where medications are prescribed to ease symptoms.
Naturopathic Doctors ask: why? Why did you develop this problem in the first place? Where is the body out of balance? What is the body attempting to tell you about the state of your overall health? 
That is not to say that we are not trained in Anatomy, Biochemistry, Pharmacology, Minor Surgery - indeed we are. Our education is well rounded in order to be able to work with patients who are concurrently on pharmaceutical medications or other substances in order to 'First do no harm' - one of our guiding principles. 

We approach treatment depending on the individual presentation. Two people can come in for a consultation with the same problem and receive very different treatments. They are 2 different people with 2 different 'whys' and thus, require 2 different treatments. 

As for treatments? What do you do exactly? 
We have 4 main 'modalities' or therapeutic methods. 
Those are: 
  1. Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture - diagnosis and assessment based on traditional Chinese tools of tongue and pulse diagnosis and treatment with acupuncture and Chinese herbs
  2. Botanical Medicine - herbs in their many forms - tinctures (like the very commonly used echinacea which is a herb extracted in alcohol), decoctions (or teas), compresses, salves, poultices, the list could go on. (see the herb of the month posts!)
  3. Nutraceuticals and Lifestyle counselling - supplements and their many forms, dietary changes, stress, sleep and energy management
  4. Homeopathy - A system of medicine based on the administration of minute doses of drugs (could be plant, mineral or animal) which are capable of producing in healthy persons symptoms like those of the disease treated.

In addition to our 4 main modalities we take courses in counseling, massage therapy, spinal manipulation and hydrotherapy. 
Many Naturopathic Doctors incorporate some or all of these additional modalities in their practice, specialize in one, or have separate training in other physical or energetic modalities such as Craniosacral therapy and Bowen therapy.

I hope that helps clarify the confusion!

In good health, 
Dr. Stacey Welton, ND

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


Avena Sativa (Oats)

Believe it or not, oats are an effective and excellent tonic for the nervous system. 
They are especially good when you're feeling stressed and under a lot of tension as they are considered to have 'nervine' properties. 

Oats are both relaxing and stimulating to the nervous system meaning they calm and rejuvenate the nerves. (Great for use for people attempting to quit smoking!)
They can also be used in a tea, or an 'oatstraw infusion' to relieve nervous conditions: 1 cup of boiling water to 1-2 tsp of oats steeped for 10-15 minutes and drunk three times a day.

Another option for use is in a bath. Simply put cooked rolled oats (about a cup or two) into a muslin bag and throw it in the bath water. The mucilage property of the oats will seep into the bath water and sooth irritated skin, and nerves!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Swine Flu: How to protect yourself

Surprising to some, swine flu infects people every year and is found typically in people who have been in contact with pigs, although there have been cases of person-to-person transmission. 

There is no research that can predict who is at risk and who is not. What the history of  previous Influenza pandemics has indicated is that patients who had the greatest mortality were those whose immune system over-reacted after the initial Influenza virus infection. 

Signs and Symptoms: 

 - fever*, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, disorientation, chills and fatigue (*Please note: some people such as the elderly and people who are immune compromised may not develop a fever). 

 - Some people have reported stiffness of the joints, diarrhea and vomiting. 

 - In severe cases it can result in loss of consciousness that can end in death. 


How does swine flu spread?  

 - Spread of swine influenza A (H1N1) happens from person-to-person in the same way that seasonal flu spreads (through coughing or sneezing)

 - Swine flu is contagious 1 day before symptoms develop and up to 7+ days after becoming sick.  

Naturopathic Approaches are valuable in both prevention and treatment 

1) Hygiene  

 - Cover nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing 

 - Cough or sneeze into sleeve or jacket of bent arm rather than into closed fist or open hand (be courteous of others around you, especially on public transit!)

 - Wash hands often with soap and water, especially after a cough or sneeze 

 - Avoid close contact with sick people  


2) Lifestyle 

 - Ensure adequate rest 

 - Wash hands with soap frequently during the day 

 - Walk and do stretching exercises to boost the immune system 

 - Dry skin brushing and hot/cold showers (ending your daily showers with a blast of cold water) can be useful to support optimal lymphatic system function

 - Remember that ‘emotional’ stress, fear and worry can depress the immune system. Try yoga, stretching and breathing exercises

 - Allow a mild to moderate fever (you read that right!) A fever of 1-3 degrees above normal 37.5 C has a profound effect on immune modulation and optimizes health

3) Naturopathic Treatment Recommendations 

The Influenza virus must cross mucosal membrane barriers (the nose, the mouth, the eyes...) to cause disease. The integrity and therefore, protective quality of these barriers can be enhanced through the use of the following:  

 - Avoid foods that stress the gastrointestinal system. This would include reducing: sugar, refined foods, food additives, fried foods and trans-fatty acids. 

 - Maximize dietary choices that help build the gastrointestinal tract and enhance the 

integrity of the mucosal membrane. For example: proteins

 - Fruits and veggies provide vitamins and minerals needed for immune system function 

 - Water - Ensure a minimum of 8 glasses of pure water a day 

Other Naturopathic Modalities that are helpful include: Nutraceuticals, Botanicals, Acupuncture and Homeopathy. Your ND can advise the best way to keep your body and immune system healthy and whole. 

It is the body's terrain, not the pathogen itself that causes disease to manifest. 

*information modified from CAND newsletter and its contributors*

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Historic Moment for ND's in Canada!

New B.C. Regulations Mark Historic Moment for Naturopathic Profession in Canada

Under regulations approved April 9th, 2009 by Health Minister George Abbott, Naturopathic Physicians in British Columbia become the first in Canada to be granted prescribing authority.

As CAND Chair, Dr. Jason Boxtart, ND stated upon hearing the news, "The face of Medicine in Canada has now changed."

Links to the Minister's announcement and the BCNA press release appear below:

This is such an exciting time for Naturopathic Doctors in Canada. 
Here's to hoping Ontario will follow suit!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Warming Socks to help ease your head colds...

The 'Warming Sock' treatment is a bit of a misnomer. 
Indeed the aim is to warm the body - but it is through the use of cold rather than warmth.
Sound strange...? Read on! 

Hydrotherapy is an ancient form of therapy where water is used to treat a multitude of ailments.
Gentle AND effective. 
There are a variety of different forms that hydrotherapy can take - saunas, peat baths, formentations, poultices, compresses, sitz baths...

Water in its many forms aids in circulation through the body - pulling the congestion and inflammation from, say, the sinuses and head (as in a typical cold) down to the feet (ok - not literally!)
The congestion doesn't literally pool down at your feet - but rather the increase in circulation helps move that inflammation from collecting up in your head, which is what creates that 'stuffy' sensation.

Don't believe it? You don't have to - try it, you'll see! 

Here's what you need: 
2 pairs of socks - 1 wool, 1 cotton
Thoroughly soak the cotton pair in cold *as cold as you can* water. 
Ring out the excess water *you don't want them dripping* and put them on your feet
Put the dry wool socks over top.
Go directly to bed and stay warm. 
If you sweat through your pj's (and you might) make sure you have a dry pair to change into in the night, but leave the dry/wet socks on.
In the morning, you will have warmed the cotton socks and have dried them through while in addition, your congestion will be eased! 

Want to read more? 
Check out:


Chionanthus virginicus

Fringetree (bark) is a perhaps lesser known to some, however it is quite prevalent in North America. 
It is actually a tree and is also goes by the name of 'Old Man's Beard'.  I suppose it kind of looks like one! 
It is actually quite a small tree, while in the Summer it has green leaves, in the Spring it blooms with fragrant white flowers which appear in long panicles that look like cotton.

It is the bark of the tree that has therapeutic properties, specifically valuable for liver problems, especially when there is jaundice.
It is specific for the treatment of gallbladder inflammation and gallstones as it stimulates the bile.

It is quite safe for use as there haven't been any side effects or drug interactions reported. (Hoffman)
It would be best taken as a tincture or the bark boiled into a tea and infused for 10 - 15 minutes.

Friday, April 3, 2009

HPV and its rising prevalence

The importance of regular PAPs cannot be under-rated. 
(As unpleasant as they can be!)
It is an important screening tool in the early detection of 'cervical dysplasia'. 
Dysplasia from the Greek simply means: 'bad formation' - it is a process that occurs when cells come together improperly.
These improper cells, if caught early, can be treated and eliminated. 
This is why early detection is so very important. 
It is when the dysplastic cells go untreated, or you have a very virulent strain, that they can accumulate and lead to Cancer.

I can't comment on why it is that there is such a rising prevalence of this virus, as I am not an epidemiologist. However, it is indisputable that it is indeed the case. 
The Human Papilloma Virus is controllable, but not possible to eliminate completely. That is why prevention is key. Practice safe sex and stop smoking. The carcinogens in cigarette smoke are toxic to the reproductive system.

Here are some naturopathic tools available to help in both prevention and treatment:

1) Improve nutrition - eat salads and colourful vegetables daily, eat foods high in folic acid (such a lentils and kidney beans), eat cooked tomatoes for their lycopene content, drink organic green tea.
2) Nutraceuticals to consider - folic acid, vitamin C, vitamin B6 and B12, Selenium, Fish oils...
3) Appropriately detox - the liver is the body's garbage disposal. Start there! Homeopathic drainage remedies such as the UNDA's or Reckeweg remedies can be quite useful.
4) Connect body and mind - Expression and communication with self and partner can be healing both inside and out.

In memory of my dear friend, Annie Poczyniak

Friday, March 20, 2009

Rise early with the Sun - it's Spring!

Spring and the Wood Element

In Chinese Medicine there exist 5 elements: Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water. Each element corresponds to a specific season. In this theory, there is the belief that the seasons have a deep cyclical effect on wellbeing; that we are influenced by the changes in season and can live harmoniously within them. For example, as Winter draws near a close and Spring sunshine prompts trees and flowers to sprout - we can consciouly prepare for this change in body and mind  by making gradual adjustments.  We can learn how to choose and prepare food according to the seasons.

Spring is the season to attend to the liver and gall bladder. The diet should be the lightest of the year and contain yang foods to emphasize the expansive qualities of Spring. This means young plants, fresh greens and sprouts. Salty Winter foods such as miso and meats should be limited. Too many heavy foods clog the liver and can make the seasonal transition difficult. Limit foods high in saturated fats, excesses of nuts and seeds and highly processed and refined foods. Alcohol should be limited as we know it taxes the liver. 
Sprouted grains, beans and seeds, fresh vegetables and fruits all stimulate the liver's flow. 

So, eat seasonally! In doing so, you not only help support our local farmers but help heal our own selves at the same time! 

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


Taraxicum officinale

Dandelion root vs. Dandelion leaf ... there is a difference! 

Dandelion leaf is a strong diuretic. This means that it stimulates kidney function. 
The difference is that unlike pharmaceutical diuretics, which can deplete potassium in the body, it is a major source of potassium. It can be used whenever diuretic action is needed. It is a great general spring tonic and excellent for the liver. 

Dandelion root, is considered both 'hepatic' and 'cholagogue' in its actions. This means that it is great for any liver and gallbladder inflammation. Jaundice beware!

Dandelion leaves can be eaten and are quite tasty as a lightly sauteed or steamed vegetable as well as raw in salad form. Both its root and leaf can be taken as a tincture or as a decoction - aka - tea.

Be careful, though, there have been rare reports of dermatitis in people exposed over a long period of time to the latex that is found in its stem. 

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

DIY Headache helper - so crafty!

Lavender and Peppermint oils are great for headaches! 
It's so easy to make your own 'headache helper' and at very little cost. 

Here's how: 
Purchase 1 empty perfume bottle with roller top (see picture) - I got mine at my local health food store for $1.49
Fill 2/3 of the way with Vitamin E, almond oil, olive oil ... really any hypoallergenic oil. 
Place 5 drops of lavender essential oil.
Place 5 drops of peppermint essential oil.
Mix well.

Roll onto temples and the nape of your neck as needed.
Make sure you test a little bit on your skin before you go all out. 

Breathe easy!

Monday, February 23, 2009


Astragalus membranaceus

Astragalus root, or Huang Qi, has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for thousands of years. It wasn't until it was researched by the West and shown to have immune enhancing properties that it became more commonly known.

Astragalus has a multitude of positive effects on the body. It strengthens the immune system, protects the liver from toxicity and some studies show that it has anticancer effects.

Astragalus root can be taken in tincture form (herb is diluted in alcohol) or made into a stock for soups as in 'Change of Season Soup'

Change of Season Soup

With Spring approaching it is sometimes difficult to slough off the remains of the Winter season - physically and metaphorically! 

Here's a soup that will pick you up and help support your immune system during seasonal transition times:

Using equal parts of each herb (2-3oz ea.), combine:

Codonopsis pilosula root (Dang Shen)
Astragalus root (Huang Qi)
Dioscorea villosa (Wild Yam)
Chinese Lycii berries (Lyceum)

These herbs can be found in Asian herb shops and sometimes even come pre-packaged for convenience. 
The soup is to be taken 2 weeks leading up to the change in season and can be taken simply as a broth that you sip continuously throughout the day, or used as a stock for soups.


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Detox you've put off...

Detoxify today, feel better tomorrow... (well... maybe not exactly tomorrow...)

Demystifying the elusive detox doesn't have to be as difficult as it seems at first. 
It doesn't have to involve a bunch of different boxed supplements, or cayenne pepper, or only liquids. 
In fact, not only can detoxification can be much much easier than that, it can be something gentle that you incorporate gradually. It can be a seasonal affair that you implement quarterly to help ease your transition into Spring, or Winter. It can be more specific dietary changes and restrictions that you apply for a specified amount of time. But whatever way you choose to detoxify in this toxic world, it is something that we all could use!

In my opinion, gradual detoxification is the healthiest way to detoxify. Radical detoxification, while it certainly has its place (as an adjunct to Cancer treatment, for example) is too extreme for those of us blessed with relatively good health.

Here's how I choose to detox seasonally:
Eliminate wheat, dairy, meat, alcohol, caffeine, refined sugar, refined carbohydrates, and anything canned or that comes in a box (this is pretty much covered by the previously listed restrictions.)
These foods are, to speak generally, pro-inflammatory. The aim is to take the burden off the gastrointestinal tract, the liver, and the kidneys. 

This may sound extreme - but it really isn't that hard. All it takes is a little preparation and a stocked fridge. The aim is certainly not to go hungry!
These changes leave room for almost anything that grows in the ground! Fruits and vegetables in abundance. (All preferably local and organic.) Brown rice. Nuts and seeds. Healthy oils. Seaweed.

In addition, I try to get plenty of sleep, drink LOTS of water, get my exercise in, and if you have one accessible, sauna and sweat out those toxins! 

I generally detox for 1-2 weeks and incorporate specific homeopathic drainage remedies depending on symptoms and season.

Book a consultation and we can chat about what remedies and detoxification program would work best for you!

Digestive enzymes aren't just for digestion anymore!

Aches and Pains got you down??

Studies have shown that those digestive enzymes you've been taking can be used for managing muscle pains and inflammation. 

Bromelain and other enzymes derived from pineapple have long been used as natural digestive aids. They are what is know as 'proteolytic enzymes'. 
These enzymes help your body break down protein. A lesser known fact, however, is that Bromelain also acts as an anti-inflammatory, reducing pain and increasing mobility! 

People generally take their digestive enzymes with meals to aid in bloating, gas and general indigestion. Taken away from food, however, digestive enzymes have shown to be effective in pain management.  

Eat that pineapple!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


Cinnamomum Zeylanicum

Cinnamon is certainly not uncommon to most. In fact, it is widely used as a spice in a variety of different cultures...delicious in Middle Eastern savory dishes, Mexican chocolate, decadent North American sweets....

Pharmacologically speaking, Cinnamon has many actions and it is one of the few spices that can be consumed directly. 

Cinnamon is what is considered 'warming'. Perfect for these cold winter days! 

It has been often used to treat gastrointestinal disturbances and is high in anti-oxidant activity. 

Cinnamon also has anti-microbial properties and therefore has been used in the prevention of colds. Perhaps that's why cinnamon 'hearts' are so popular in February? (in addition to their festive shape)...just a thought!

Cinnamon has also been used in the treatment of Type II Diabetes and Insulin resistance. ... so never mind the comment regarding the candy hearts! 

Sprinkle a little on your morning breakfast to help with those afternoon crashes.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Re-thinking Seaweed...

Dulce, Kombu, Hijiki... there are so many different varieties of seaweed it can be difficult to differentiate between them! There is one common element, however, and that is how healthy they are for you!

Here's a quick and dirty list giving you the in's, out's and how to's of a few different types of seaweed:

Dulce: eat it straight from the package! tasty sea flavour (most obviously). packed with a slew of vitamins and minerals including iron, magnesium and beta-carotene to name a few.

Nori: sold as flat sheets. rich in iron, iodine and an excellent source of vitamin C. used in making sushi. maki roll anyone?

Kombu: sold as dried flat rectangular pieces. used to make the stock for miso soup. exceptionally rich in iodine. very often used in the treatment of thyroid conditions. excellent source of iron, magnesium and folate.

Hijiki: sold as dried, thin, coarse strips. slight bitter taste. excellent source of lignans (anti-cancer) soak the hijiki in water, soy sauce, ginger and a bit of sesame oil overnight to restore its juiciness. Then just put a pinch on your favourite rice bowl. tada! dinner!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Oils: Healthy choices!

Oils, Oils, Oils... 

They sure have a hard time being popular! Fattening, greasy, artery clogging....
The truth of the matter is, incorporating oils - the right oils - into your diet can help reduce cholesterol and blood pressure, can prevent cancer and even help assist in the assimilation of other nutrients in the body.
Although organic varieties don't add nutrition, per se, they do cut down on toxic chemicals and pesticides.
Here are a few of the top players:

Walnut Oil: 
Delicately roasted flavour to the oil but slightly more costly. Because it has a relatively short shelf life, keep it refrigerated to avoid it going rancid.
Walnuts contain omega 3's, magnesium, potassium and Vitamin E. 
Serve it cold or barely warmed.

Olive Oil: 
Yum! Extracted from the olive tree's fruit. Slight grassy flavour. Opt for virgin and extra virgin varieties which are mechanically extracted without chemicals or heat.
High in monounsaturated fats and antioxidant rich plant compounds. Lowers LDL cholesterol.
This oil works best in no-heat cooking. Remember, with any oil, if it smokes, the heat is too high!

Canola Oil:
Neutral taste and fairly heat tolerant.
High in unsaturated fat, canola oil also contains a fairly low saturated fat content.
This oil works best to cook with as well as in baking. 

Flaxseed Oil:
Rich, nutty tasting oil extracted from the flax plant.
Store in refrigerator to preserve flavour. 
Like walnut oil, flaxseed oil is a great source of ALA (Great for vegans or anyone who doesn't eat enough fish)
Flaxseed oil doesn't hold up to heat. Use it in pesto dishes or as a salad dressing!

Grape Seed Oil:
A byproduct of winemaking. Clean flavour. 
Grape-seed oil is high in Vitamin E and flavonoids, antioxidants that may help reduce the risk of stroke and coronary artery disease.
Look for organic varieties as some manufacturers often use harsh chemicals to extract it. 
It's ideal for sauteing because of its resistance to high heat.

Remember - since most oils are sensitive to heat and light - either refrigerate or store them in a cool dark place. 

Enjoy eating! 
In good health, 
Stacey Welton, ND

Surviving January's 'Deep Freeze'

With January's icy cold temperatures and seemingly endless dark days, it's hard get motivated to get up and go! 
Here are a few tips to help you get through the season - and begin the Spring healthier and more rejuvenated!

Tip #1: Hydrotherapy
A short spritz of cold... okay... cool, water at the end of your shower will help your body regulate its temperature and keep your internal warmth up during those cold mornings.

Tip #2: Eat a healthy, balanced diet
This means breakfast, lunch and dinner. Keep in mind healthy portion sizes. This means a palm sized portion of protein, 1/4 of your plate filled with whole grains, and the remaining half of your plate filled with vegetables. 

Tip #3: Get your rest
In the Winter especially, we need to make sure we get healthy rejuvenating sleep. 8 hours is key to maintaining health and energy.

Tip #4: Spoil yourself a little
Feeling down? Treat yourself to a massage or trip to the spa. Keep your spirits up and be sure to incorporate things you enjoy doing at least on a weekly basis.

Winter doesn't last forever, so try get out and enjoy it. You need 15 minutes a day of direct exposure to sun in order for your body to produce and absorb Vitamin D. Go for a long walk in the park or head to the ski hills and try to make the most of Winter! 

In good health, 
Stacey Welton, ND