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Get Ready for Summer July 7, 2016

Posted by Dreamhealer in best vancouver naturopath, best vancouver nutritionist, Healing, Health, nutrition, Nutritionist, summer.
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Written by: Breanne Dunlop, RHN

Fast forward to a sunny Saturday afternoon in mid-July.. where is it that you want to be? For many of us, it’s at the beach. As the days are getting warmer, you may be among the many who’s primarily focus is getting ‘beach body ready’ for the summer.

Whether you want to bulk those biceps, tone your tummy or simply feel good in your own skin, there’s no time like to present to do so. If loosing a few lbs is your goal then great news for you, nature’s on your side to lose weight this time of year. With the longer days we naturally want to be outdoors and be more active; our appetite is reduced and we lean towards eating lighter and cleansing foods. Many people find it easier to achieve their health and fitness goals in the summer time, so get ready to feel fabulous!

Spring and summer are the seasons when our bodies naturally want to cleanse; eating smaller meals and generally less food is typical during this time of year. Summer is a great time to give our digestive system a healthy and often much needed break. Winter is when we typically build and physically prepare for the cold weather, which often means eating more calories and heavier meals. As we move away from the cold weather we also gear more toward lighter meals and raw foods compared to heavier dishes like stews, pastas, and starchy vegetables. Some of us may even naturally fall into a rhythm of intermittent fasting (stay tuned for more information on this topic), and may even find ourselves going extended periods without food or eating very minimally.

Take a look around your favourite farmer’s market or grocery store and you’ll begin to notice there’s more of an emphasis on fresh and local produce. As we move into summer you’ll see everything from broccoli, zucchini, green beans, tomatoes, kale and spinach to strawberries, blueberries, cherries, peaches. Take advantage of all that nature has to offer in beautiful BC at this time of year and make sure to load on up on the abundance of fresh produce! Eating locally and seasonally not only supports your community and agriculture, but provides you with optimal nutrition as the produce requires very little transit (if any) to reach you. Generally less sprays are required and the produce can be picked when it is ready and full of nutrients versus prematurely (and ripened in transit) when it’s being transported around the world. Another perk to eating seasonally is that many of these foods can be eaten as is or with very little preparation. So for those of you who don’t care to spend too much time in the kitchen, summer is your season.

Despite clean eating and extra movement, if summer equals sangria patio season for you, then don’t forget to send some extra love to your liver. Staying hydrated is key to overall good health, promoting vital energy, youthful looking skin and a happy digestive system. Make note to gently cleanse your body of toxins on the daily. Add a healthy squeeze of lemon to your water first thing every morning. And make sure to get your daily dose of greens. You can add spinach or kale to smoothies or even wrap your leftover BBQ’d chicken in collards or romaine.

For more ideas on foods to rev up your metabolism or on meal prepping the summer, feel free to contact the Yaletown Naturopathic Clinic by email info@yaletownnaturopathic.com.

What is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist? May 2, 2016

Posted by Dreamhealer in best vancouver naturopath, best vancouver nutritionist, Diet, Food, Healing, Health, nutrition, Nutritionist, vancouver, Vancouver Nutritionist.
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Written by: Breanne Dunlop, RHN

What is a R.H.N.?

R.H.N. stands for Registered Holistic Nutritionist and is the designation given to nutrition students who have graduated from Canadian School of Natural Nutrition with a diploma in natural nutrition.

What does it mean to be ‘holistic’?

Practicing from a holistic perspective allows one to look at the body as whole, understanding how everything is intertwined and how a deficiency or lack of harmony can disrupt our equilibrium and the body’s delicate balance. People may think the term ‘holistic’ sounds hokey but it really just takes into account the intimate relationship between physical symptoms and how it affects us on a mental and deeper, spiritual level.

When should I see a R.H.N.?

A R.H.N. is a great addition to your team of healthcare practitioners. Nutritionists primarily focus on the diet but also offer areas of support in other avenues such as lifestyle changes and supplementation. Whether you are trying to build, repair, strengthen or restore nutrient status, there are many factors that take part in finding the right foods for your body. What you felt good eating a year ago may be different from what your body needs for fuel today. Depending on what stage you are in your life and your health goals and concerns, your dietary needs are constantly changing throughout your life.

Want more spring in your step in the mornings? Wondering why by bedtime your belly is bloated to five times the size it was that morning? What about those pesky food sensitivities that seemed to appear overnight. Not feeling as good as you once did on that vegan diet? Maybe you’re curious if you are meeting your nutrient needs. Maybe you’re simply looking for ways to incorporate more fresh vegetables into your diet; or wondering how to make better choices when dining out at restaurants. Whatever your needs or concerns, a nutritionist can help!

Many people often assume that the typical client who sees a nutritionist is one that is struggling to lose weight. While this is a common health concern for many people, nutritionists can help a variety of conditions and concerns beyond weight struggles. And if losing weight is what is most important to you and you’ve tried everything in your means, perhaps uncovering the root cause of why you are struggling with weight loss is how a nutritionist can help you. This can simply be finding foods to help balance metabolism and other hormonal functions, or even tips to help promote better sleep patterns (an essential ingredient for weight loss).

How often will I need to see a nutritionist?

Change does not happen overnight but is a daily process. Most people will choose to see a nutritionist and follow up when they feel they have questions, but again, everyone is unique and will require different degrees of support. Some people may even just have some questions they want to verify or minor dietary tweaks and that’s it!

Are R.H.N.’s covered under extended health care plans?

The importance of a healthy diet on your overall health is now something that is being widely recognized. Most extended benefit providers offer coverage to visit a holistic nutritionist.

What can I expect from a consultation with a R.H.N.?

At the initial intake, your health history and current health concerns will be reviewed in detail. This gives the client ample opportunity to express their beliefs and concerns and ask any questions they may have. A holistic nutritionist will use all of this information to develop a protocol for the client, as well provide further support and guidance with meal options or a menu plan. The protocol usually focuses primarily on dietary changes but often includes lifestyle changes and supplementation.

Prior to the first meeting you will be asked to fill out a week long diet diary and health questionnaire. This is very helpful in determining what is and isn’t working for you. And if you’re nervous about being honest about what you ate or drank, put your worries at rest. I am a firm believer in the 80/20 rule and remind clients not to feel any guilt or shame if they feel they’ve slipped up on their health protocol. Putting yourself through the stress of feeling guilty is more harmful than the indulgence itself!

To book an appointment contact us at info@yaletownnaturopathic.com! Talk to you soon. Get well, stay well.

5 Foods You Should Eat More of in 2016 April 7, 2016

Posted by Dreamhealer in best vancouver naturopath, best vancouver nutritionist, Healing, nutrition, Nutritionist.
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Written by: Breanne Dunlop, RHN

Looking to improve your health through diet? Here are five foods you should eat more of in 2016:

  1. Free-Range Organic Eggs

One of the most wholesome foods you can eat is an egg in its whole form. Eggs are a great way to start the day, providing the body with a nice balance of protein and fat to fuel you until lunchtime. As a complete protein, eggs contain all nine essential amino acids that we must obtain through our diet as our bodies can not make them. Eggs are extremely easy to incorporate into your diet as they are easy and quick to make in the morning scrambled into an omelet or simply poached on toast – hard boiled eggs also make a good protein rich snack for on the go. If you don’t have much time in the mornings, try making up ahead of time a frittata or egg cups for a grab and go breakfast you can enjoy throughout the week.

For those of you on the egg white bandwagon.. stop throwing out those yolks!  The yolk is the tastiest part when enjoyed over-easy or poached and is the nutrition powerhouse of the egg. Separating the egg yolk from the egg white disrupts the synergy of the egg and removes all of the healthy fat (which is satiating and curbs your appetite) and lots of other nutrients.

Many people avoid egg yolks and other sources of fat due to the former belief that fat = high cholesterol; we now know this isn’t true.  Though dietary cholesterol shouldn’t be ignored, it is important to note that much of our cholesterol is produced by the liver which is why those on plant-based diets may still have issues with managing their cholesterol.  Unless you are eating copious amount of eggs every day, enjoying the yolk is not something to stress over. Bottom line – don’t mess with nature and eat your yolk! 

2.  Leafy Greens

Many people believe that we need to eat meat to get iron and drink milk for calcium but we should be paying more attention to our leafy greens which are great sources of both these important minerals. Green veggies are also great for detoxification as they are rich in fibre which not only helps to rid your body of toxins but also aids in weight management by keeping you feeling fuller for longer.

Even if you aren’t one for having a raw salad every day (which actually isn’t beneficial in Vancouver’s winter season), leafy greens are still very easy to incorporate into your diet.  Add your favourite greens to your morning smoothie in the summertime or roast up some seasonal squash, root veggies and top with sautéed greens for a hearty winter salad.  You can play it safe by sticking to common greens like lettuce, romaine, spinach or kale or get adventurous with mustard greens, endive and radicchio. I strongly recommend to buy your greens organic as most conventional alternatives are heavily sprayed with pesticides.

Right now my favourite way to enjoy greens is sautéing black kale in my cast iron pan (added benefit for those who need a boost in iron) along with fresh crushed garlic and lemon juice and topped with fresh avocado and sea salt.

3.  Chia Seeds

Chia seeds are another source of complete protein but are vegan friendly. Though small in size, chia seeds pack a punch and are high in healthy fat and fibre. Chia seeds have 10 grams of fibre per two tablespoons, with most of it being soluble fibre.  When mixed with water it forms a gel-like substance, similar to ‘flax eggs’, and this is why it is very important to drink lots of water when eating foods high in soluble fibre.

Chia seeds are highly concentrated with the omega-3 Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA) which is important to combat the high amounts of omega 6 we see in westernized diets.  While both types of omega fats are essential in our diet, it is the ratio (and quality) of our omegas that we need to pay attention to. Omega-6 is found in high amounts in processed seed and vegetable oils and so it is best to avoid these whenever possible. Omega-6 is pro-inflammatory while omega-3 is anti-inflammatory.  Sources vary but most agree that having a ratio of 4:1 omega 6: omega 3. Those eating a westernized diet are having much more omega 6 with a ratio as high as 25:1 or even 40:1.  When you understand the health implications of chronic inflammation, it is no surprise that we are seeing exponentially more cases of inflammatory conditions from GI disturbances, such as IBD, Crohn’s Disease to asthma, arthritis and even cancer.

Again, rather than relying on dairy products that are often heavily processed and hard for many of us to properly digest, look to chia seeds to help you meet your calcium requirement – a two tablespoon serving offers 15% of your daily need.  This along with chia’s high phosphorous content contribute to optimal bone and oral health.

Due to their size and neutral flavour, chia seeds can be easily incorporated to any meal. Sprinkle them on your salad, in with your homemade granola or smoothie, as a binding agent replacement for eggs in baked goods, or make a chia seed pudding by blending with almond milk, honey and top with berries for a grab and go breakfast.

4.  Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is all the rage these days and it is no surprise why when you look at all the benefits this superfood has to offer.  Coconut oil is a healthy saturated fat that is both practical and flavourful. Coconut oil is primarily made up of medium-chain triglycerides which makes it an easy fat to digest and gives it many of its favourable properties. Coconut oil is a thermogenic food which means it helps to boost and support our metabolism while acting as an instant energy source by helping to burn fat for energy. For these reasons, coconut oil is big in the fitness world. With high amounts of lauric acid, coconut oil has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties and when ingested can help support our immune systems by fighting off the bad bacteria and keeping our gut health in line.  It’s high smoke point makes coconut oil ideal for cooking in comparison to olive oil which has a low smoke point and is better suited for salad dressings as it easily turns rancid when exposed to heat.

On top of it’s internal benefits coconut oil has many external uses. Enjoy it as a natural body moisturizer or as hair serum to tame dry ends. If you really want to get creative and take control of your personal care products, coconut oil can be used to make homemade products like toothpaste and deodorant. Some sources say that to reap all the benefits of coconut oil it is best to consume about three tablespoons per day of organic cold-pressed oil. 

Whether you get on board with the trend of bulletproofing your coffee or simply stir a tablespoon of coconut oil into your morning bowl of oats, make sure you’re taking advantage of this tasty superfood that’s at our fingertips.

5.  Avocado

If you’re like me, avocados added to just about anything can add insta-enjoyment to just about any dish.  Enjoy it on the side of your morning omelette, for lunch sliced into your sandwich or soup, for dinner on top of your salad or even for dessert made into a decadent avocado chocolate mousse (trust me on this one). Not only is avocado rich in healthy fat, it is high in fibre and water – both critical in keeping our digestive systems moving, Vitamin B5 which is important for energy production, and Vitamin K which supports bone health and blood clotting.

*Wild Fish

While I enjoy fish and choose to have them as a regular part of my diet, this recommendation may be seen as controversial due to the problems that can arise from fish farming and overfishing. The choices we make can have a big impact on marine life. For guidance on healthier options, look for the Ocean Wise symbol or click here for a list of sustainable choices.

The Scoop on Sugar: Is it Always Bad? January 7, 2016

Posted by Dreamhealer in Detox, Diet, Healing, Health, Nutritionist.
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Written by: Breanne Dunlop, RHN

Why we Need Sugar

Many people have become conditioned to fear sugar like it’s the plague. In reality, our body needs sugar. At the cellular level, glucose is utilized by our body to produce adenosine triphosphate (ATP) which provides a direct source of energy for various cellular functions. Though a rather small molecule itself, ATP is utilized to make larger molecules such as hormones. Our brains sole fuel source is glucose. In essence, we need sugar for our body to function, the trick is knowing what kinds of sugar to eat – refined versus complex, and when throughout the day our body uses sugar the most.

Though our body does need sugar to function, it is important to bear in mind both the type of sugar as well as the quantity we consume. Continuously having high amounts of sugar in our diet puts us at risk for many diseases and unwanted health conditions such as diabetes, obesity, hyperglycemia, heart disease, and various nutrient deficiencies.

Though sugar is an energy source for our body, it also fuels pathogens in our body that we don’t want to feed, such as Candida and parasites. An overgrowth of pathogens can further hinder our energy levels, as well as our mood, stamina and cognitive functioning, all while increasing the need to supplement with a high-quality probiotic to help rebalance the flora in our gut. Finally, there is outstanding evidence to show that sugar plays an integral role in feeding cancer cells in oncology patients. The intention of this message isn’t to cause alarm but rather to make one aware that the effect of sugar on our body is far more serious than simply adding a few inches to our waistline.

Different Types of Sugar: Simple vs. Complex 

Often we hear people say, “I’m avoiding all carbohydrates because they’re full of sugar”. Yes, it’s true that all carbohydrates will breakdown to sugar in the body, but as mentioned, our body needs this energy for human metabolism and cellular function. The real concern is the rate at which the sugar is broken down and how fast this sugar is absorbed into our bloodstream. Simple sugars are mostly isolated from other macronutrients – protein, fat and fiber – that help to slow down the rate at which the sugar is broken down and absorbed. Simple sugars spike blood glucose levels immediately, and though this ‘sugar high’ may be initially pleasant and even euphoric for many, it is typically followed by a crash in energy and mood.

When you think of simple sugars think of processed foods like candy bars, ice cream, baked goods, pasta, and white bread. More often than not these foods have little to no nutritional value. One exception is honey – it is classified as a simple sugar as it still spikes our blood sugar, however, it has health benefits when enjoyed raw and unpasteurized.

A helpful guide to follow is the glycemic load. The glycemic load is a measure that roughly estimates how much your blood sugar rises after eating particular foods. Complex carbohydrates tend to have lower glycemic loads and therefore less of an impact on blood glucose levels.

Complex sugars are also referred to as unrefined carbohydrates as they have not been stripped of other nutrients that help to slow down the rate at which the sugar is broken down and enter the bloodstream. Some great sources of complex carbohydrates come from starchy vegetables, squash, beets, legumes, lentils, nuts, seeds and whole grains such as brown rice, quinoa or rolled oats. These foods have fibre, fat and protein to help slow down the rate at which our body breaks down the food, allowing for a gradual release of sugar into the bloodstream. This is why having a breakfast and lunch with complex carbohydrates helps us to sustain energy throughout the day and avoid the afternoon energy lull. This also promotes mental clarity by helping to avoid the brain fog we experience when our blood sugar is low.

Blood Sugar Balancing at a Glance

The notion that breakfast is the most important meal of the day isn’t an old wives tale. Even while we sleep we are still expending energy to repair our bodies as this is when our body repairs. Breakfast is the first opportunity we get to refuel our bodies and energize us for the day. Because we are in a fasting state and have likely not eaten anything since dinner time – as much as 10-12+ hours prior, the choices we make at breakfast time can really impact how we feel for the rest of the day. Sadly, breakfast is the meal that often gets neglected as people either choose to eat sugar ladened processed cereals or opt to skip it altogether. It is no surprise that when people clean up their eating habits and start their day with a nutritious and balanced meal that they experience an improvement in energy levels and mood and even have a tendency to see weight loss (should the body need it).

‘Breaking the fast’ with complex carbohydrates coupled with some protein and healthy fat helps to keep you satiated and energized. Some healthy breakfast ideas are a warming bowl of large flake or steel cut oats with a tablespoon of coconut oil or nut butter and sprinkle of cinnamon and hemp hearts or two poached eggs with sautéed greens or avocado on sprouted grain toast.

Lunch is another time to enjoy complex carbohydrates. For fall try homemade bean chili and brown rice or a medley of roasted root vegetables (beets, carrots and onions) on a bed of greens.

Dinner is a time when you may choose to have fewer carbohydrates. This makes sense not only for your waistline but this is also typically the time when you are winding down for the day and require less energy. Consuming sugar in the evening time, even if it’s converted from grains, can potentially interfere with a deep and restful sleep. For dinner try having a source or protein with non-starchy vegetables such as wild salmon and arugula salad or curried chickpeas and cauliflower.

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