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What’s the Hype About the Paleo Diet? July 28, 2016

Posted by Dreamhealer in best vancouver naturopath, best vancouver nutritionist, Diet, Healing, Health, Naturopathic Doctor, Naturopathic Medicine.
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Written by: Dr. Kaleigh Coolsaet

The Paleolithic diet, shortened to the ‘Paleo’ Diet, is becoming more popular and more people are starting to adapt it into their healthy lifestyle. Most patients come in asking what exactly is a paleo diet, is it healthy, and is it right for me?

The paleo diet is a nutrient dense way of eating based on eating a variety of quality meats, seafood, vegetables, fruits, eggs, nuts and seeds. It focuses on eating whole foods that have not been processed, while avoiding nutrient poor processed and refined foods.

When eating a paleo diet, and focusing on nutrient rich foods this in turns improves our health by helping improve digestion through healing our digestive tract and feeding the healthy bacteria. It also has other benefits for our bodies as it can improve our immune function, improve our ability to regulate hormones and boost our metabolism.

The foods that are avoided in the paleo diet including grains, legumes, dairy, alcohol, sugar. These foods are pro-inflammatory to our system. These foods tend to be calorie rich, and nutrient poor; what we call “empty calories”. They can also cause irritation to our digestive tract. So by eliminating these foods from our diet, we are able to focus on more nutrient dense, and healing foods to help us improve energy and nourish our bodies.

Foods to Include Foods to Avoid
Vegetables Grains
Fruits Dairy
Lean meats Legumes
Poultry Starches & Sugars
Seafood Processed Foods
Nuts & Seeds Alcohol
Healthy fats Highly refined & processed fats

On a metabolic level the paleo diet helps improve lean muscle mass, reduce excess body fat and maintaining stable blood sugar levels. It provides your body with all the nutrients for maintaining stable energy levelsthroughout the day and can help improve your sleep quality.

In summary, the paleo diet is a nutrient dense and anti-inflammatory diet, which can help improve many conditions including: Allergies, IBS, Diabetes, Skin conditions (ex. Eczema, Psoriasis), Depression, Cancer, Obesity, Infertility and more.

Is the paleo diet right for you? Before starting any dietary changes it is always recommended to speak to your healthcare practitioner to make sure you are eating and maintaining a balanced diet.

Best in Health,

Dr. Kaleigh

Dr. Kaleigh Coolsaet practices at Yaletown Naturopathic Clinic, contact us today to book you appointment by email info@yaletownnaturopathic.com. Get well, stay well.

Staying Hydrated! July 25, 2016

Posted by Dreamhealer in best vancouver naturopath, best vancouver nutritionist, Healing, Health.
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Written by: Dr. Kaleigh Coolsaet

Now that summer is fast approaching its time to think water! During the summer months, we tend to be more active. Add that with warmer temperatures and we sweat a lot more. Keeping properly hydrated is important for optimal health as well as preventing heat stroke and dehydration.

Easy ways to incorporate more water into your days is to prepare fruit or herbal tea infused water. Try carrying around a water bottle with you to all your summer activities to remind you to drink plenty of water while on the go.

Refreshing Fruit Water:

  • 2-3 Litres of water (depending on the size of your water jug)
  • 2 Lemons
  • ½ cucumber
  • 10-12 mint leaves

Add all ingredients into your water jug and place in the fridge or add ice


Stay hydrated everyday with drinking a minimum of two litres of water per day. Increase that amount of water on the days you exercise to replenish the water lost from sweat. Drinking an electrolyte solution is also important to replenish salts lost and helps to keep your cells hydrated.

Electrolyte replacement beverages:

Coconut water is a refreshing source of naturally occurring electrolytes.

Homemade electrolyte drink:

  • 1 litre of water
  • Juice of one citrus fruit (lemon, lime, or orange)
  • 3 Tbp honey
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda

Note: Most commercial brand electrolyte drinks contain artificial colours and/or sweeteners which can have negative health effects. Look for products that are naturally sweetened with glucose, fructose, sucrose and don’t contain artificial colours.

Best in Health,

Dr. Kaleigh

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.

Is the Antioxidant Melatonin Dangerous during Chemotherapy and Radiation? January 25, 2016

Posted by Dreamhealer in best vancouver naturopath, Chemotherapy, Healing, Integrative Medicine, Naturopathic Doctor, Naturopathic Medicine, stress.
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Written By: Dr. Adam McLeod, ND, BSc (Hons)

It is not unusual for patients to be intimidated by their medical oncologists to fear all natural therapies. They are told to specifically avoid all antioxidants because they will neutralize the effects of chemotherapy and radiation. This broad generalization that all antioxidants should be avoided is simply not supported by scientific evidence. On an intuitive level, it makes sense that if chemotherapy is creating oxidative damage as its mechanism of action then providing the body with antioxidants would theoretically neutralize this mechanism. There are legitimate concerns with specific chemotherapies and high doses of synthetic antioxidants. However, there are many double blind human trials which demonstrate that antioxidant supplementation at moderate doses decreases side effects without interfering with the effects of the chemotherapy12,13,14. There is also no debating that patients who consume natural sources of antioxidants respond better to chemotherapy and radiation with less side effects33,7. If antioxidants are to be feared, then why do patients with better antioxidant capacity in their blood respond better to these conventional therapies?

There are several things which must be considered. First of all this simplistic view that all antioxidants are bad has long been debunked and this is not supported in the scientific literature31. Secondly, not all chemotherapies work by creating oxidative damage so the argument against antioxidants in these cases is nonsense. Another important point is that antioxidants can help your healthy cells to recover from the residual toxic effects of chemotherapy28,29,30. To add to the hypocrisy of the “avoid all antioxidant stance”, it is not unusual for oncologists to administer powerful pharmaceutical antioxidants such as theophylline to reduce side effects from chemotherapy34.

The antioxidant capacity of your blood is a measure of how effectively your blood is capable of neutralizing free radicals. The consumption of antioxidant rich foods dramatically increases the concentration of antioxidants in the blood which consequently increases antioxidant capacity3. It is well known that patients who have lower antioxidant capacity in their blood have greater side effects to chemotherapy32.

The notion that all medical oncologists share this view of fearing antioxidants is simply not true. There are major integrative cancer centres in the US where naturopathic doctors work along-side medical oncologists and things like melatonin and Vitamin C are given as standard therapies to patients undergoing chemotherapy or radiation. Of course there are specific interactions that must be avoided and a Naturopathic Doctor who is skilled in cancer care will be able to guide you to develop a safe and effective plan. You must have professional guidance when developing a treatment plan in the complicated clinical context of cancer.

One of the most common natural therapies given to patients undergoing chemotherapy is melatonin. I have heard on numerous occasions from patients who were warned from the cancer agency pharmacist that melatonin is contraindicated during chemotherapy and radiation because it is an antioxidant. What I find so bizarre about this statement is that virtually all of the available scientific literature literally says the opposite and strongly supports the use of melatonin with chemotherapy and radiation. The position of scaring patients about melatonin is not grounded in scientific evidence, they take this position because from a legal perspective it is easier to say avoid any and all antioxidants.

What does the research say about melatonin used in combination with chemotherapy? Several randomized double blind trials have tested patients with lung cancer who were treated with chemotherapy alone or chemotherapy in combination with melatonin. The melatonin group not only lived longer they also had significantly better quality of life when compared to the group not given melatonin15,16,17. Melatonin has been consistently shown to enhance the effects of chemotherapy while reducing side effects18,19,20,25. It is however important to point out that not all cancers are the same and melatonin is not indicated for all cancers. In fact, it is contraindicated with many blood cancers such as leukemia.

What does the scientific literature actually say about combining melatonin with radiation therapy? Patients who concurrently take melatonin during radiation therapy for glioblastoma live significantly longer than those who just received radiation therapy21. Melatonin helps to protect damage to the immune system during radiation22,23,24. Although melatonin is a well documented antioxidant, there are numerous studies which demonstrate that melatonin actually makes cancer cells more sensitive to the effects of radiation26,27.

When used appropriately certain antioxidants such as melatonin can reduce side effects from conventional cancer therapies without interfering with their effectiveness. Healthy cells need antioxidants too and when you consume natural sources of antioxidants the net effect is that it protects healthy cells much more than cancer cells. Ultimately this makes the drugs work just as well and the healthy cells are less damaged from the drug. When you consume a diet rich in antioxidants, the antioxidant capacity of your blood increases dramatically and the research clearly demonstrates that this is a good thing during chemotherapy and radiation.

Lets take a moment to look at the data about melatonin and its activity as an antioxidant. After consuming 80mg of melatonin the serum levels peak at approximately 100,000 pg/mL before rapidly dropping by the end of the day2. The standard dose of melatonin given during chemotherapy or radiation is 20mg. Based on this number it is fair to assume that the amount of melatonin in the blood would be approximately 25,000 pg/mL. At first glance this seems like a shockingly high number. It is well documented that when patients eat a diet high in antioxidant rich foods, that the antioxidant capacity of their blood increases and some of this is due to the melatonin in the food3. In one well controlled study after consuming approximately 1L of orange juice the participants had serum melatonin levels rise from 40 to 150 pg/mL1. This is still 150 times less than values that would be expected after consuming 20mg of melatonin.

The data must be taken into the proper context. True antioxidant capacity in the blood is never determined by one single molecule. It is the entire antioxidant network that gives the blood the capacity to neutralize free radicals. There is a potent synergy between hundreds of different antioxidants which counteracts oxidative damage in a balanced way. Each molecule on its own is only one small piece of the complicated antioxidant network. The mechanism by which melatonin neutralizes free radicals is very different from that of Vitamin C and Vitamin E5. Melatonin is often described in the literature as a terminal antioxidant which distinguishes itself from so called opportunistic antioxidants. The bottom line is that the addition of a single antioxidant does not necessarily impact the entire antioxidant capacity of the blood in a linear fashion.

This next section is a bit heavy in math but I feel that it is important to break down these details. Melatonin is approximately 2.04 times more potent of an antioxidant than a molecule called Trolox. This molecule Trolox is often used as a standard to measure the antioxidant capacity in the blood. Blueberries, which are best known for their antioxidant capacity have an ORAC value of 6552. This means that 100g of blueberries will have the same antioxidant capacity as 6552 micromoles of Trolox. Based on this information it is easy to calculate that 15.26mg of blueberries is the equivalent antioxidant capacity of 1 micromol of Trolox. If you convert these values to make it relevant to melatonin, each mg of melatonin is equivalent to 31.13g of blueberries. The standard dose of 20mg of melatonin during chemotherapy is the equivalent of a patient eating 622.71g of blueberries. In other words, if you eat a little over 1 pound of blueberries this should have the equivalent antioxidant effect as 20mg of melatonin.

There is no evidence to suggest that antioxidants from natural sources are dangerous during chemotherapy or radiation. In fact, virtually all of the literature clearly states that it is beneficial to get antioxidants from natural sources. By consuming antioxidant rich foods, patients have fewer side effects during conventional cancer treatments. Many studies have also clearly demonstrated that these foods do not interfere with the effectiveness of these therapies6,7,8,9,10,11. The debate is around synthetic supplementation with high doses of antioxidants during chemotherapy and radiation. Natural sources are well established as beneficial in these cases, as they protect healthy cells without interfering with the effects of conventional therapies9.

Blueberries are a great source of nutrients and they provide a balanced antioxidant support that is synergistic with chemotherapy and radiation. What is particularly interesting is that wild blueberries are much more effective at neutralizing free radicals than cultivated blueberries. Depending on which measurements you use, in some cases the wild blueberries have almost double the antioxidant capacity. So make sure you eat your blueberries and give your cells the nutrients they need!

Dr. Adam McLeod is a Naturopathic Doctor (ND), BSc. (Hon) Molecular biology, Motivational Speaker and International Best Selling Author. He currently practices at his clinic in Vancouver, British Columbia where he focuses on integrative cancer treatments. http://www.yaletownnaturopathic.com


1) Sae‐Teaw, Manit, et al. “Serum melatonin levels and antioxidant capacities after consumption of pineapple, orange, or banana by healthy male volunteers.” Journal of pineal research 55.1 (2013): 58-64.

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3) Cao, Guohua, et al. “Increases in human plasma antioxidant capacity after consumption of controlled diets high in fruit and vegetables.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 68.5 (1998): 1081-1087.

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24) Blask, David E., Leonard A. Sauer, and Robert T. Dauchy. “Melatonin as a chronobiotic/anticancer agent: cellular, biochemical, and molecular mechanisms of action and their implications for circadian-based cancer therapy.” Current topics in medicinal chemistry 2.2 (2002): 113-132.

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31) Moss, Ralph W. “Should patients undergoing chemotherapy and radiotherapy be prescribed antioxidants?.” Integrative cancer therapies 5.1 (2006): 63-82.

32) Kennedy, Deborah D., et al. “Low antioxidant vitamin intakes are associated with increases in adverse effects of chemotherapy in children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 79.6 (2004): 1029-1036.

33) Russo, Gian Luigi. “Ins and outs of dietary phytochemicals in cancer chemoprevention.”Biochemical Pharmacology 74.4 (2007): 533-544.

34) Benoehr, Peter, et al. “Nephroprotection by theophylline in patients with cisplatin chemotherapy: a randomized, single-blinded, placebo-controlled trial.” Journal of the American Society of Nephrology 16.2 (2005): 452-458.

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.

8 Ridiculous Nutrition Myths Debunked September 5, 2013

Posted by Dreamhealer in Diet, Health.
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dreamhealer adamThere is a lot of incompetence in the area of nutrition and health. Even health professionals seem to constantly contradict each other. Here are 8 ridiculous nutrition myths, thoroughly debunked.

1. A Calorie is a Calorie

It is a common myth that all that matters for weight loss is calories in, calories out.

Of course, calories matter. But the types of foods we eat are also important.

Here are 3 examples of how “a calorie is NOT a calorie.”

-Fructose vs. Glucose: Fructose is more likely to stimulate hunger, increase abdominal obesity and insulin resistance, compared to the same amount of calories from glucose (123).
-Protein: Eating protein can raise the metabolic rate and reduce hunger compared to fat and carbs (4).
-Medium vs. long-chain fatty acids: Fatty acids that are of medium length (such as from coconut oil) raise metabolism and reduce hunger compared to longer chain fatty acids (567).

Bottom Line: A calorie is not a calorie. Different foods affect our bodies, hunger and hormones in different ways.

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2. Eating a Lot of Protein is Bad For You

Some people think that a high-protein diet will harm your kidneys and cause osteoporosis.

It is true that eating protein can make you excrete more calcium in the short term (8).

However, long-term studies show that protein intake is associated with improved bone health and a lower risk of fractures, not the other way around (91011).

Studies don’t find any association with kidney disease either (1213).

The two most important risk factors for kidney failure are diabetes and high blood pressure. Eating adequate protein helps with both, which should reduce your risk of kidney disease later in life (14151617).

Unless you have a medical condition, there’s no reason to be afraid of having more protein in your diet. It’s a good thing.

Bottom Line: Eating a high protein diet may be protective against bone fractures and reduce the two most important risk factors for kidney failure.

3. The Healthiest Diet is a Balanced Low-Fat Diet

The low-fat guidelines first came out in the year 1977, at almost the exact same time the obesity epidemic started.

This diet was never actually proven to work. It was merely based on observations.

The National Institute of Health decided to test this diet and funded the Women’s Health Initiative, which is the largest randomized controlled trial ever conducted on diet.

In this study, tens of thousands of women were placed on either a low-fat diet, or continued to eat the standard western diet like before.

The study went on for 7.5 years and the conclusions were very clear:

-The diet did NOT prevent weight gain. The low-fat group weighed only 0.4kg less than the control group after 7.5 years (18).
-The diet did NOT prevent heart disease either. There was no difference between groups after 7.5 years (19).
-The low-fat diet got tested. It didn’t work, period.

Bottom Line: There is no evidence that low-fat diets lead to better outcomes. The largest randomized controlled trial ever conucted on diet proves that the low-fat diet is completely ineffective.

4. Everyone Should be Cutting Back on Sodium

Sodium is a crucial electrolyte in the body and our cells need to keep it within a very tight range, or we’ll die.

For a long time, sodium has been thought to elevate blood pressure and therefore raise your risk of disease.

It is true that it can mildly elevate blood pressure in the short term (2021).

However, studies do not support the idea that lowering sodium helps improve actual hard outcomes like heart attacks.

Randomized controlled trials on sodium restriction show that there is no effect on cardiovascular disease or death. They also show that sodium restriction may increase triglycerides and cholesterol levels (2223).

Unless you have elevated blood pressure, there is no reason to avoid adding salt to your foods to make them more palatable.

Bottom Line: Sodium restriction has been thoroughly tested. None of these studies have found any evidence that it actually leads to better outcomes.

5. Saturated Fat Raises The Bad Cholesterol and Gives You Heart Disease

The myth that saturated fat raises cholesterol and causes heart disease is still alive today.

This ideas was based on some flawed observational studies conducted in the 60s and 70s.

Since then, many studies have re-examined this relationship and discovered that:

-There is literally no association between saturated fat consumption and cardiovascular disease (242526).
-Saturated fat raises HDL (the good) cholesterol and changes the LDL from small, dense (bad) to Large LDL, which is benign (272829).
-There is no reason to avoid natural foods that are rich in saturated fats. Meat, coconut oil and butter are perfectly healthy foods.

Bottom Line: Despite decades of anti-fat propaganda, saturated fat has never been proven to cause heart disease. New studies prove that there is literally no association.

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6. Coffee is Bad For You

Coffee has gotten a bad reputation in the past.

It is true that caffeine, the active stimulant compound in coffee, can slightly raise blood pressure in the short term (30).

Despite these mild adverse effects, long term observational studies actually show that coffee lowers the risk of many diseases. Coffee can:

-Improve brain function (31).
-Help you burn more fat (323334).
-Lower your risk of diabetes… in some studies as much as 67% (3536).
-Lower your risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s (3738).
-Protect your liver against cirrhosis and cancer (3940).

Coffee is also loaded with antioxidants. It is actually the biggest source of antioxidants in the western diet and outranks both fruits and vegetables, combined (414243).

Bottom Line: Despite coffee being able to mildly elevate blood pressure, observational studies show a strong and consistent reduction in many serious diseases like Alzheimer’s and type II diabetes.

7. Eggs Are Rich in Cholesterol And Can Give You Heart Disease

Eggs have been unfairly demonized because they contain large amounts of cholesterol.

However, dietary cholesterol doesn’t necessarily raise blood cholesterol and eggs have never been proven to cause harm.

If anything, eggs are among the most nutritious and healthiest foods you can eat.

They’re loaded with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

Studies show that egg consumption actually improves the blood lipid profile. They raise the HDL (good) cholesterol and change the LDL from small, dense to Large, which is benign (4445).

Observational studies show no association between egg consumption and risk of heart disease (464748).

Additionally, some studies show that eggs for breakfast can help you lose weight… at least compared to a breakfast of bagels (4950).

Bottom Line: Eggs are one of the healthiest and most nutritious foods you can eat and there is no association between egg consumption and risk of cardiovascular disease.

8. Low-Carb Diets Are Ineffective or Dangerous

Low-carb diets have been considered dangerous because of their high amount of saturated fat.

For this reason, they have been thought to raise your risk of heart disease and other chronic illness.

However, since the year 2002, more than 20 randomized controlled trials have been conducted and compared low-carb against the standard of care, the low-fat diet.

In almost every one of these studies, low-carb diets:

-Cause significantly more weight loss than low-fat diets (5152).
-Drastically lower triglycerides, an important risk factors for heart disease (5354).
-Raise HDL (the good) cholesterol (5556).
-Improve blood sugar and insulin levels, especially in diabetics (5758).
-Change the LDL cholesterol from small, dense (bad) to Large (benign) – which should lower the risk of heart disease (59).
-Lower blood pressure significantly (6061).

Low-carb diets are also easier to follow and have an outstanding safety profile. There is no evidence of any adverse effects, despite the scare tactics (626364).

They are certainly a much better choice than a low-fat, calorie restricted diet… which many mainstream organizations still push despite zero evidence of effectiveness.

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