Breast Cancer, Breast Health

I have been working with a number of clients who are undergoing treatment for breast cancer.  Their paths have differed with respect to amount of surgery, chemotherapy and radiation that they have undergone.  For all of them though there is a great amount of health that comes from using naturopathic therapies alongside their allopathic treatment plan.  We work together at the different stages;  we work to help the body to recover quickly from surgery, manage nausea through chemotherapy, we do laboratory work to assess hormone levels and liver detoxification capability, we work on mindfulness meditation and we work on a long term plan of what to do to stay healthy and thriving after the intensive treatment is completed.

Unfortunately breast cancer is the most common cancer for women worldwide. We need to know how to keep our bodies healthy, we need to know about the effects of toxins in our bodies and how to decrease the incidence of and how to clear out those toxins. We need to know how to help to keep our hormones in a healthy balance.  I have learned  from Sat Dharum Kaur, ND  a leader in Naturopathic Breast Cancer Care.   She lives and works in Owen Sound and she has a website is an amazing resource for women with information for all aspects of breast health.  Visit http://www.mammalive.net to learn so much and to get a hold of valuable resources.

She has written books on the subject that are available at most bookstores. http://www.healthybreastprogram.on.ca/workbook.htm Last year I studied with Sat Dharum Kaur in her “Healthy Breast Teacher Training Program” and I am looking forward this year to teaching the program to educate and provide support to women interested in maintaining or improving the health of their breasts.  This program is for all women; those that may have breast cancer, those that have a family history and are looking to prevent it in their lives and those that are survivors of the disease.

I thought to post this link today as I was working on a case for a client.  This is a link to recommendations for women who are thrivers,  women who have had breast cancer in the past.  We need to share the knowledge and we need to use this knowledge to stay healthy and keep those we love healthy.  http://www.mammalive.net/dashboard/thriver

Vivienne Guy

Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine

Food Intolerances and Food Allergy Testing

There are different types of allergic responses in the body.  The one I am writing about today is an IgG delayed hypersensitivity response.  Sounds complicated…here is the complicated part

IgG Delayed Onset Allergies

In a Type III delayed hypersensitivity reaction, IgG (a part of your immune system) forms an immune complex with the allergen/antigen (Ag) ,(could be any food…egg, cheese, grapefruit.) which activates the complement pathway and releases inflammatory mediators wherever the immune complex is deposited. This process takes anywhere from several hours to several days, which is why hypersensitivity reactions are delayed. Although macrophages pick up the IgG-Ag complexes immediately, they have a finite capacity to do so. If there are a lot of antigens present, the macrophages may saturate their capacity to remove the immune complexes, causing the excess to be deposited in tissue.

So what does this all mean? Simplified to how it affects you.

It means that depending on which tissues are involved you may experience any one of or all of the following:

  • irritable bowel syndrome
  • headaches
  • high blood pressure
  • inflamed blood vessels (usually show up as small red or purple dots on legs)
  • asthma
  • recurrent lung infections
  • skin conditions
  • joint pain
  • anxiety or depression
  • runny nose or watery eyes

Fighting off a 24 hour a day 7 day a week allergic reaction is exhausting for your body, so it is often the case that a client comes and tells me that they are sick and tired of feeling sick and tired. Maybe they have headaches, not as much energy as they should, joint pain.  This may be the person who doesn’t really of know a time when their stomach doesn’t hurt, when eating particular foods gives them gas or discomfort.  This is the person with acne whose body is trying to eliminate toxins and inflammation through the skin.  Food intolerances play a big role in anxiety and depression also and I have seen such great improvements in mental health through dietary changes.  The childrens song that says “the knee bone’s connected to the leg bone, the leg bone’s connected to the ankle bone”  needs to have some additional verses.  All of the above symptoms are connected to the digestive tract and to food intolerances.

The test is simple

The testing that we do in the clinic is a simple finger prick blood test. It takes about 2 minutes and then we ship off your sample to the lab where they quantify the reactivity to the proteins of about 100 foods and mail us the IgG results in a few weeks.

It can be hard work, but it is worth it

When presented with an IgG test result that indicates foods that you can include in your diet, foods to only once every few days or foods to eliminate completely it can be overwhelming at first. Sometimes the foods that you show intolerances to, may be the foods that you have grown up on, they may be the ones you crave the most.

But I promise you that it is worth it.  This week alone I have seen 3 people who have come back to the clinic reporting that their life has changed for the better and it’s only Monday !!

One gentleman who has suffered for YEARS, woke up after four days of eliminating his trigger foods to find that he could breathe through his nose !!! He thought that would never happen. Another client told me that she had felt so bad for so long that she was just honestly surprised that she could feel so good.

For myself it was gluten and eggs which were the culprits. Since removing them from my diet 2 years ago, I have lost weight, have great energy levels morning to night, I no longer have persistent pain in my wrists and ankles or the chronic discomfort with my digestion and I feel fabulous.  Sure, when there is a fresh baguette or a big egg filled brunch I may have a moment of “oh if only”, this is particularly drawn out when there are fresh Kettleman’s bagels in the house, but then I remember how great it feels to be pain free and how those foods can make me sick and tired and then I smile and am really grateful for Naturopathic Medicine, really grateful for the scientific advances that have allowed for my food intolerances to be identified.

What if it isn’t your problem directly?

Sometimes it is hard to have food restrictions in the family.  Not always for the person who’s health is benefiting from the changes, they can feel the physical reward of removing the foods from the cupboard or fridge, but often for the others who might feel that “hey I don’t have a dairy intolerance, why do I have to eat that way”. For these people it may even be harder.

For the main food prep person, it may be challenging to please all of the palates in the household, it may be tiring to have to prepare different meals.  For these folk who are the providers or the ones who most enjoy cooking I suggest that they make themselves a nice cup of tea and head to their local bookstore and spend a good amount of time in the recipe book section.  The big stores especially are now carrying a great selection of recipe books for special needs.  I suggest that they find a book that they like the look of, the layout of.  One that has recipes of meals that they would love to eat.  This way they can get enjoyment out of the food and transform meal prep from a challenging and a perhaps a trying experience to one that allows for discovering fabulous flavour and culinary delights!

Some resources

I have no affiliation with the following books or blogs or sites, I include them here to offer a starting point for information. To show you that food can be fabulous even if some ingredients are restricted.  If you know of any that you love feel free to post them in the comments.

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If you have a young one that has food intolerances check out this link

http://www.kidswithfoodallergies.org

or this blog  http://angkantz.blogspot.com/

This book is one that we have at home, purchased for my son, but we all eat the food.

http://www.amazon.com/Allergy-Proof-Recipes-Kids-Gluten-Free/dp/1592333834

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If you are a real “foodie” who has found out that you or someone you love will benefit from removing gluten from meals, you might want to peruse this blog by a woman whose  health was dramatically changed by removing gluten from her world.  She happens to be married to a fabulous chef, but we can all learn from them J

http://glutenfreegirl.blogspot.com/

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We have a local author here in Ottawa, Shirley Plant, who has a wonderful and accessible book called   “Finally…food I can eat”  It is also available in French.  “Libre. 140 recettes sans allergens”.       Her recipes are free of wheat, yeast, eggs, dairy, gluten, soy, corn, nuts, and sugar.  We have this one in our house too.

http://www.chapters.indigo.ca/books/Finally-Food-I-Can-Eat-Shirley-Plant/9781897113561-item.html

http://www.chapters.indigo.ca/books/LIBRE-RECETTES-SANS-ALLERGENES-recettes-Shirley-Plant/9782895236146-item.html

Vivienne Guy

Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine

Ragweed Allergy Season is Approaching

For many people, August brings with it the their recurring allergic reactions to  Ragweed pollen which is released by the Ragweed Plant which is a flowering plant from the sunflower family.

Symptoms may include:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Chest pain
  • Cough
  • Nasal discharge
  • Sneezing
  • Wheezing

Our immune system is there to recognize any form of bacteria or virus that is potentially harmful to the body and then eradicate them. This in simple terms prevents us from becoming ill.  We produce saliva and mucous and sneeze to remove this potentially harmful items from our bodies.  People who suffer from allergies have a somewhat unbalanced immune system which can react in a defective way to inhaling the pollen.  The result…the out of control symptoms, the itchy eyes, scratchy throat and more.

In addition to the typical Ragweed allergy symptoms, there is also an association with what is called oral allergy syndrome and this is a situation where people may experience itchiness, tingling/swelling of the mouth, tongue and throat from eating certain foods. The foods that challenge those with a Ragweed Allergy are:

* Banana
* Cucumber
* Melon
* Zucchini
* Sunflower seeds
* Chamomile tea
* Echinacea

We have some recommendations with respect to food sensitivities and allergy season:

First remove the foods listed above for the duration of time that your immune system is fighting to remove the ragweed pollen.

Second, we recommend food allergy testing so that you can identify common foods that may be aggravating your immune system, weakening it.  When you remove trigger foods from your diet especially during peak pollen times, you can improve overall health and minimize the symptoms.

What else can you do?

It is very important to minimize your exposure to other known allergens during ragweed season because allergy symptoms appear whenever your immune system’s total allergen load reaches its maximum level. Avoid any irritating chemicals or odours by choosing natural cleaning products for your home and body.

Use window filters to keep the tiny pollen grains outside. Use air conditioners, dehumidifiers, and air purifiers to cool, dry out, and clean the air.

Stay indoors when pollen counts are high. Peak pollen counts are normally between 10:00 am and 4:00 pm. Keep your car windows closed when driving. When you have to go outside, take a shower as soon as you get back inside because pollen sticks to your hair and skin.

Nutrition

Drink 1/2 of body weight in ounces of water daily (e.g., a 150 lb person would drink 75 oz of water). It’s not that much! 8oz is one measuring cup and most glasses in your kitchen will be closer to 16oz.

Include a lot of the following foods in the diet:

  • Dark green, leafy vegetables
  • Deep yellow and orange vegetables
  • Nettles, bamboo shoots, cabbage, beet tops, beets, carrots, yams
  • Onions, garlic, ginger, cayenne, horseradish

Prevention

If you are able to, do make an appointment with your ND before your symptoms arrive.  It is a benefit to work on your immune system in advance. If your symptoms are present already, don’t worry there is still a lot that naturopathic medicine can do to help eliminate them and keep them away from you for the next challenging season.

Summer Blueberry Smoothie

Here is a recipe we have found for a refreshing, fresh blueberry smoothie. A great healthy alternative for those hot summer days.

Blueberry Smoothie

1 1/4 cups  Blueberry Juice chilled or just plain water !

3/4 cup fresh bluberries, cleaned and rinsed

1 cup vanilla yogurt or vanilla frozen yogurt

Combine blueberry juice and blueberries in a blender. cover; blend on high speed until mixture is smooth. add yogurt; blend until thoroughly combined.

The Heat is On.

Here in Ottawa we are experiencing record temperatures. We are set to reach 33 degrees today.  Water is always an important thing to consider as part of our daily life.  In this heat it is even more crucial.

The human body constantly needs water. It loses water through the lungs when breathes. It loses water with the daily urination, sweat and stool.

The human body requires at least one litre of water daily. The quantity depends on the activity, age, environment and other factors. The most active people need two or even three litres every day. Fluid consumption is necessary for proper metabolism in the body.

How to keep hydrated?

  • Upon waking consume 16 oz. of water in the morning. This will not only hydrate your body it will give your system a much needed jump start for the day. The human body actually loses water during sleep.
  • Don’t wait until your thirsty to drink water. By the time you feel thirsty, you have probably already lost two or more cups of your total body water composition.
  • Always keep a water-filled bottle on your desk.
  • Water, not carbonated beverages or sports drink, is the best fluid for keeping hydrated when it’s warm outside. Water is absorbed much more quickly than other fluids and may help to cool off your overheated body.
    Carry a water bottle with you wherever you move throughout the day.
  • If feel that tap water does not suit you, you must try bottled water. You can also take the bottled water by squeezing of a slice of lemon or lime with it.
  • You can try herb, fruit tea, weak tea, and coffee substitutes. It would be better to avoid those laden with artificial sweeteners and flavours.
  • Ensure a ‘water break’ at least once in an hour. For this you can set the timer on your watch as a reminder.
  • Develop a habit of having a water break instead of a coffee break. Set up “pop ups” on your computer to remind you to get up from your desk to get water.
  • Take water before, during and after your workout.

I found the following tool while looking around on the internet.  Go to the link to calculate how much water you should be drinking today.

http://nutrition.about.com/library/blwatercalculator.htm

Yours in Health

Vivienne Guy

Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine

Hello world!

Welcome to our blog.  We’ve just set it up !

Our vision for this blog is that it will be a place for us to provide information to our clients and to the general public. We hope that you will find useful tips on health and wellbeing, enjoy the recipes that will be posted and learn something that you can take away and put into practice in your life.

Now it’s time for us to get writing ! Check back soon.

Your HealthCare Team at Kilborn Naturopathic & Wellness Centre

Dr.Vivienne Guy, ND               Dr.Jada MacLeod, ND        Dr.Melanie Stewart, DC, RMT