Become A BBQ Guru And Prepare A Tastier, Healthier BBQ In Just 10 minutes!

bbq guru

It’s officially summer!  The most wonderful time of the year. Especially if you’re a BBQ guru or connoisseur!  There’s something raw and desirable about cooking your food over a hot burning fire.  Everything about it gives me joy.  The stimulation of the senses, the grill marks, and unique flavours all add to the cooking experience of BBQ food.

However, back in the day I didn’t know any better and didn’t think about all the toxicity associated with your typical BBQ.  In fact, I can remember pouring a number of charcoal lumps, dousing them with toxic and dangerous lighting fluid and when they were hot enough, cooking some grub over the fire.

But wait!  The fire suddenly went out due to the elements!  That’s ok, throw some MORE fluid on the fire.  Ah the “good ole’ days.

Or, if you were more inclined to use a gas BBQ, you would continually burn propane to keep the fire going until you cooked your food.  For me, the idea of lighting a gas BBQ was terrifying!  All thanks to one sunny afternoon at my grandparent’s house when I scorched the hair off my arms.

As I got older and graduated from Chiropractic school, preparing healthier food became more important to me. That’s when I decided I’d had enough! I needed a better, safer, and healthier option when it came to barbecuing.

So, I Googled it.  This led me on an online search adventure that eventually landed me on a YouTube video about how to burn wood without lighting fluid in less than 10 minutes.

Here is what I learned from my journey.

best way to bbq

How To Become A BBQ Guru!

First, you will need to purchase 4–5 items from your local BBQ store.

1. A charcoal BBQ if you don’t have one (I use a Spiedini Grill)
2. Natural Fire Starter (non-toxic lighting cubes or compressed wood starter)
3. Charcoal Chimney Starter
4. Source of Fire (a match or lighter)
5. Hardwood (charred for fast lighting)

Playing With Wood Fire in Your Backyard

Step 1:

Find a non-flammable surface to start the process of burning the hardwood.  Be smart. Don’t place it on surfaces that will burn like wood or grass.  Make sure that you are doing this in an open area that is far away from your house or flammable objects.  Ask your local fire department if you are unsure but really some common sense goes a long way.

Step 2:

Take your chimney starter, which is a metallic cylinder with a heat-safe handle and dump enough hardwood into it that it reaches the top.  You don’t need to overfill the chimney as it may be a fire hazard.  If your BBQ is large, consider purchasing a couple of chimneys (I have 3 even though I’ve never used more than 2 at the same time).

Step 3:

Place 1–2 natural fire starters on a fire-proof surface or right on your grill.  Again, ensure it is in a well-ventilated area away from your house and anything flammable.  Then light the cubes or wood fire-starter using a match or lighter.

Step 4:

Place the chimney on top of the lighting cubes and wait approximately 10 minutes or until the wood is red hot.  The cubes will burn out but the chimney will keep the fire going in a blazing inferno.  Make sure you don’t leave it unattended for too long.

Step 5:

When your wood is red hot and ready, pick the chimney up safely with the handle wearing fire-resistant gloves and pour the wood into your BBQ.  Place the grill on top and let it get really hot before placing your food items on top.  To save time marinate, cut, season and prepare your grilling food items ahead of time.  Then place them on the BBQ and watch them sizzle.

Click here to read, What meat do you eat?

When the food is cooked to your liking, remove them and get ready to enjoy a succulent meal that would make any BBQ guru proud.  Above all, no more toxic lighter fluid.  No more briquettes (that may contain chemical additives for quicker lighting).  Just a little bit of nature and a couple of items from the hardware store.

For some great grilling recipes, click here to read, Victoria Day BBQ Recipes.

are naturopaths real doctors

Did You Know?

Grilled vegetables retain more of their vitamins and minerals. Also, meat cooked over an open flame actually preserves more riboflavin and thiamine. All these important vitamins and nutrients play a vital role in a healthy diet.

How To Build Strength And Lose Weight Without Looking Like A Body Builder!

How To Build Strength

Many people see weightlifting as a way to build huge muscles and achieve a body builder-looking physique.  While this is a motivation for some, weightlifting is something everyone can and should do for optimal fitness. So, here’s how to build strength and lose weight without looking like a body builder! Regardless of your age, fitness level, or health goals as everyone can benefit from lifting weights.

Strength training promotes healthy bone density, skeletal muscle mass, and a healthy body fat percentage.  In this way, weightlifting will help you lose weight, boost your metabolism and give you a lean, toned physique.


Strength training involves using some form of resistance against your body to increase the size and strength of your skeletal muscles.

Forms of resistance can include:
  • Barbells
  • Dumbbells
  • Machines
  • Resistance bands
  • Your own body weight

Weightlifting increases lean muscle mass, and, of course, builds stronger muscles.


Because strength training increases lean muscle mass, it aids in weight loss.  How?  Lean muscle mass helps your body burn calories more efficiently.  It does this by increasing your Basal Metabolic Rate, or resting metabolism.

Two people could weigh the exact same amount, but the person with a higher muscle mass will burn fat and calories more efficiently.  In addition, the person with less body fat and more muscle will look leaner and more toned.

Click here to read, How To Lose Weight – 3 Beliefs That Make Us Fat.

Is Cardio Better than Strength Training for Fat Loss? How Exercise Impacts Weight Loss


In addition, weightlifting creates an after burn effect.  This means that it revs up your metabolism for up to several hours after your workout is complete.  After a workout, your body has to complete various tasks to recover, repair and build muscle.

One of the ways your body works to recover is via an increase in oxygen consumption.  This is called EPOC, or Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption.  The duration of EPOC, or the afterburn, depends on both the duration and the intensity of your workout.  It can range from a few hours up to a day or so.


EPOC causes an increase in metabolism, which yields an additional calorie burn.  How many extra calories will you burn?  It depends.  The longer and more intense your workout, the longer the afterburn; therefore, the more calories you’ll burn.

However, you are not going to turn into a calorie-burning machine.  Studies show that even after intense workouts, EPOC yields only a slight increase in metabolism.  This means that most people will not burn an exorbitant amount of calories post-workout (think anywhere from 30-200 calories).

Furthermore, you shouldn’t view EPOC as a license to eat anything and everything you want.  Nutrition is the key to proper recovery, in addition to losing weight and building muscle.  Rather, for optimum results, stick to nutritious, whole foods that are rich in protein.  Things like lean meats, fish, eggs, tofu, nuts, and protein powder are all good choices.

Click here to read, How to Start Eating Healthy and Stick to It for more on nutrition.

strength training


The more resistance you use, the harder your body will work.  This stimulates muscle growth, burns calories and boosts your metabolism.  Therefore, try lifting moderate to heavy weights.  You need to challenge your body to change your body!

If you’re a beginner, start out lifting light weights to acclimate yourself to the exercise. Then, gradually increase the load until you feel challenged.

Your body will adapt to the physical stress of lifting weights, and you will plateau if you always lift the same amount.  Therefore, it’s important to gradually increase the amount of weight you lift in order to continue to lose weight and increase your fitness.  Don’t worry about bulking up, either.  This would require frequently lifting heavy weights plus supplementation.

In addition to how much resistance you use, it’s also important to consider the types of strength training exercises you perform.  Full body or compound exercises that work multiple muscle groups will burn the most calories.  These exercises can include;

  • Squats
  • Lunges
  • Push-ups
  • Deadlifts
  • Cleans
  • Sled pushes

These can also include a combination of two exercises such as;

  • Bicep curl to overhead press
  • Push-up to renegade row

These types of exercises will engage the big muscle groups and increase your heart rate.  Therefore, you will burn a greater amount of calories and boost your metabolism.


The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends 150-300 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise per week.  Or, 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise, or a combination of the two.  Preferably, this would be distributed across the week, for least 4 days of exercise.  These guidelines also recommend at least 2 strength training sessions per week, using the major muscle groups.

Strength training sessions don’t have to take a long time in order to get the benefits.  You can spend as little as 20 minutes lifting weights, or up to an hour or so.  In general, the more intense the workout, the shorter it can be.  Incorporating full body exercises like squats, lunges, and push-ups will engage the big muscle groups and therefore burn calories, even in a short amount of time.

lifting weights to lose weight


Don’t forget about cardio!  While strength training is essential to achieving lean body mass, cardio is also essential.  Cardio burns more overall calories than strength training, which is necessary for weight loss.  However, cardio does not increase lean body mass like strength training does.  Therefore, a combination of strength training and cardio will give you optimal weight loss results.


It varies from person to person.  But in general, one cardio session for every strength training session will get the job done.  Refer back to the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans for general exercise recommendations.  For more personalized exercise plans, speak with a healthcare or fitness professional to determine your specific needs.

Including strength and cardio, there are 4 Types of Exercise that will transform your body and improve your fitness.

exercises to lose weight


Weightlifting is a critical component for losing weight and transforming your body.  Regular strength training will yield a lean, toned physique, as well as improve overall confidence.  If you’ve considered beginning a strength training regimen in the past but haven’t yet taken the first steps, now is the time!  Get with a personal trainer or healthcare professional to come up with a plan that suits your needs and goals and properly show you how to build strength safely.

For more weight loss tips, check out my post on 9 Surprising Reasons Why You’re Not Losing Weight.

How To Increase Fertility Naturally

how to increase fertility

Are you trying to conceive? Check out the latest resources on how to increase fertility naturally using scientific advancements for prenatal care.

We are born with our genes, but our environment shapes how those genes are expressed. For example, we can turn off genes that express for disease and turn on genes that express for health. This is achieved by simply changing things in our environment such as:

  • Food
  • Exposure to toxins
  • Getting adequate sleep

However, some people have certain gene glitches (like MTHFR) that make it harder for them to metabolize nutrients needed to create a healthy egg (or healthy sperm). The health of your egg and sperm is critical for:

  • Conception
  • Maintaining a healthy pregnancy
  • Giving birth to a healthy baby
dna testing

DNA’s Role In Pregnancy

The good news is we can use DNA like a blueprint to tell us where the glitches are. Furthermore, it can help determine what foods and supplements we can use to work around the glitch.

It is extremely important to ‘fix’ these glitches before IVF because you still need a healthy egg and sperm to get and stay pregnant. Even with medical manipulation. Therefore, DNA testing is beneficial for both partners since both partners contribute to the health of a baby.

Genetic Testing

Is Your DNA Sabotaging Your Pregnancy?

If you have already tried IVF without success and plan to continue using old eggs, you most likely will keep get the same devastating results. This is because those eggs may be adversely affected by gene glitches.

So, if you want better results with IVF or even better, a natural pregnancy without the need for IVF, the first thing you want to do is find out how your DNA may be impacting your ability to get and stay pregnant.

Only then will you be able to take the steps necessary to:

  • Turn on the genes that work for you
  • Turn off the genes that are working against you

Click here to read,  Get Your Body Ready For A Baby.

prenatal testing

DNA Testing

There are a number of DNA testing companies out there but not all of them are helpful. Some provide a supplement based on your results which can be particularly harmful.

You really need to work with someone knowledgeable about DNA to get the results you want. Only they will look at your DNA in conjunction with a full health history and other labs to pinpoint your true nutrient needs.

DNA alone will not give you the best results and you might end up taking the wrong form of supplements which will prevent you from getting the results you want.

What Is DNA Testing?

DNA testing generally involves a cheek swab or spitting in a vile. This process can take several weeks to get results. DNA from 23 and Me or can be used in conjunction with a third party like Genetic Lifehacks to help you understand the data.

Companies like Maxgen Labs and ASG do testing that is relevant to your health. In addition they provide a report with suggestions for what to change in your diet and supplements. Furthermore, working with a qualified practitioner can speed up the process of getting to the right foods and supplements so you get to a baby faster.

dna gene testing

Final Thoughts

Knowing your DNA can provide answers to unexplained infertility and lead you to a solid plan for getting your body ready to receive, hold onto and nourish a healthy baby to term. Click her to download my free guide, 5 Things To Fix Before You Start IVF, or a one week prenatal meal plan. Also don’t forget to follow me on social media @themommymaker for even more tips and guidance on this incredible journey.

Olive Leaf Extract – Nature’s Solution For Boosting Immunity

olive leaf extract

New superfoods and health trends seem to be constantly coming and going.  Knowing which sources to trust to maintain a healthy body can be stressful.  However, one extract making news for all the right reasons is d-Lenolate. This all-natural olive leaf extract supplement has been carefully researched over the past 20 years. Feedback consistently suggests positive results with no apparent side effects.

Natural Healing

The healing properties of olives have long been known and utilized by ancient Romans and others along the Mediterranean Sea.  However, it wasn’t until the early 2000’s that the healing benefits of olive extract became a serious topic among professionals.

D-Lenolate extracted from the Olea europaea species of the olive tree, has been shown in numerous articles and peer-reviewed studies. Backed by over 20 years of production, this extract has been deemed extremely potent for uses related to:

This is significant because this is an all-natural, safe-for-any-age, drug-free solution to many ailments. Helping people who are suffering from the flu to diabetes to herpes.  With its ability to strengthen the immune system and fight infectious diseases, d-Lenolate may be the most important underrated extract on the market.

For diabetics, d-Lenolate® may be the answer that changes their lives and reduces reliance on expensive medicines. In fact,  studies suggest d-Lenolate alone can reduce blood sugar levels by 105 percent with no apparent side effects. Now, compare that to the typical warnings on the side of an insulin bottle and the choice is clear.

d-Lenolate: Natures Antibiotic

The Multiple Benefits Of Olive Leaf Extract

Research performed at the LSU Division of Biotechnology and Molecular Medicine showed that d-Lenolate significantly outperforms competitors Abreva and PBS at effectively treating the herpes virus and symptoms related to healing sores and blisters.

Furthermore, it worked faster than leading products on the market and was also shown to prevent herpes sores from forming without any apparent side effects.

Many people ranging from healthy to those with various health conditions have reported experiencing positive benefits as a result of taking olive leaf extract.  From promoting a high-functioning immune system to providing relief from various chronic ailments.  D-Lenolate was consistent in helping people.

Even illnesses that appear to have a more physical component to them, such as arthritis, have been shown to be impacted positively by olive leaf extract. This is because of its ability to ease pain and reduce inflammation.

As the research continues to pile up, it may be worth it to experience the benefits of a d-Lenolate® for yourself.

For further reading, click here to read how This One Thing Has Been Linked To Almost All Diseases!

Fun In The Sun

Looking to have some fun in the sun but worried about all the risks? Well I have some good news. Sunshine is not the cancer-causing enemy that we once thought it was. In fact, we actually need sunshine almost like we need food.

Proper Exposure to Sunlight Can:

But what does ‘proper exposure to sunlight’ actually mean? Well, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), there are some simple steps to ensure you are safeguarded from the suns adverse effects.

sun safety

Fun In The Sun

First, please note that sunscreen/sunblock is NOT a way to justify prolonged exposure to the sun. Rather, it helps to decrease damage caused by UVA and UVB rays which can be attributed to:

How to Choose the Best Sunscreen

Sun Safety Tips

  1. Minimize Mid-Day Sun Exposure – According to WHO UV rays are the strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Therefore it’s best to limit or avoid the sun during this time.
  2. Cover Up – Always try and included wearing items such as sunglasses, wide brimmed hats and UV protective clothing. This will help protect yourself against harmful UV damage.
  3. ALWAYS Wear Sunscreen/Sunblock – Many of us now know the importance of wearing sunscreen on hot sunny days but did you know it’s just as important to wear it on those cloudy days too? That’s right! Clouds work to filter out the sunlight but only block approximately 20% of the UV rays.  That means you can still be exposed to a whooping 80% of  UV rays. Click here read the best sunscreen product review.
  4. Check The UV Index – The higher the number, the stronger the sun’s UV rays are.  The UV Index can range from 0 – 12+. This is something I monitor carefully as my fair skin burns in approximately 3.5 minutes (I’m not kidding).
  5. Spend Time In The Shade – Now I know this seems like a no brainer however you still need to be careful even in the shade. Not all shade is created equal.  For example a sun umbrellas may block the sun but still allow UV rays to penetrate through. So you should always be cautious and wear sunscreen.  Also, you need to understand that your surroundings play a large role even in the shade. This is because the strength of UV rays can vary based on what kind of surface they bounce off of.

Examples Of UV Reflection Strength In The Shade:

Final Thoughts

Enjoy the sun! But consciously and in small amounts. Be sure to share and incorporate these sun safety tips with your family before enjoying the beautiful outdoors.

Turmeric for Inflammation and Fibromyalgia

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The opioid crisis is responsible for approximately 115 deaths a DAY in America alone. These are very frightening statistics! Therefore let’s discuss a safer solution, natural pain relief in the form of turmeric.

Fibromyalgia is believed to be a chronic disorder. It’s known to cause widespread tenderness and pain throughout the body. The condition is believed to be inflammatory and autoimmune; affecting the muscular and nervous system.

At this time, there is no conclusive laboratory test to confirm the diagnosis. The pain can be caused by over-stimulation of nerve cells. Increased levels of anxiety which is associated with fibromyalgia; will signal chemical stimulation from the brain. In time, the muscles become oversensitive to these signals.

In addition to pain and tenderness, fibromyalgia can cause:

  • Fatigue
  • Morning stiffness
  • Numbness
  • Headaches
  • Depression
  • Anxiety

These symptoms may limit one’s ability to perform daily activities. This in turn can affect their quality of life. While the causes of this condition aren’t clear, it is believed that stress, trauma, and genetics may contribute to the development of fibromyalgia.

Many people have turned to anti-depressants and pain relievers with the hope of easing their fatigue and pain, and relaxing their muscles. However, today let’s look at a natural approach that can help people with fibromyalgia.  Let’s talk about Turmeric!

turmeric for inflammation

What Is Turmeric?

Turmeric is a yellow spice that is found in curry-spice blends. It is closely related to ginger and is primarily found in cuisines such as:

  • Indian
  • Moroccan
  • Thai

Furthermore, turmeric has long been used in the practice of Ayurvedic medicine.

The health benefits of turmeric have been well documented. Much of it is due to its main compound and key active ingredient, curcumin. Curcumin has proven to possess anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and neuroprotective healing properties.

So, here are some of the advantages of using turmeric for patients who have fibromyalgia.

1. Natural Pain Relief

Fibromyalgia sufferers can experience severe pain in their muscles. In fact for some, it can affect their muscle function. Therefore, in many instances, people turn to a variety of medications which are harmful in the long run. (1)(2)(3)

For example, over-the-counter pain medications can cause toxicity in the liver. (4) Therefore, a safer alternative to pain medications is turmeric for natural pain relief.

Turmeric is believed to have a strong analgesic effect on the body. This is due to the presence of curcumin; a compound that is known to help relieve pain. (5)  It is also believed to be more effective than other antioxidants when it comes to relieving pain.

Fibromyalgia pain occurs as a result of neural stimulation, which isn’t easy to treat. Activation of BDNF increases pain signals throughout the body. Thus, increasing pain sensitivity in the muscles. Research indicates that curcumin is successful in alleviating neuropathic pain. (6)

natural anti-depressant

2. Turmeric Is An Excellent Anti-depressant

Depression and anxiety are some of the common symptoms of Fibromyalgia. In many cases, anti-depressants are prescribed. However, many people do not have the desired response to them. Another concern is that they pose a health risk.  This has led to a growing number of people looking for a natural alternative in turmeric.

Turmeric is considered one of the safest and efficient ways to help depression-related illness. Additionally, it’s believed to relieve depression arising from neurological disturbances. The presence of monoamine oxidase in the brain is responsible for most neurological disorders. Turmeric shows anti-depressant effects that inhibit the function of this protein in the brain. (7)

naturally improve your memory

3. Helps In Improving Memory And Cognitive Functions

Patients who have Fibromyalgia often experience “fibro frog” (8), decreased concentration, cognitive function, and poor memory. The active ingredient in turmeric is neuroprotective; thus it’s believed to enhance memory and cognitive abilities. It can also improve brain function by restoring or reversing impaired cognition. (9)

turmeric benefits

Natural Remedies Found In Your Own Backyard

natural remedies

Since my childhood days of watching my grandmother in her garden, I’ve always been excited by the idea of ‘backyard medicine’.  What do I mean by ‘backyard medicine’?  I mean walking into a backyard garden full of medicinal herbs for any ailment.  Thus a garden full of natural remedies.

I particularly enjoy my naturopathic practice in the summer when gardens are abundant.  This is when I can actually quite often practice ‘backyard medicine’.  If you want to learn more about living naturally, click here to read Clean Living Basics And DIY Cleaning Solutions.

Natural Remedies

Garden season is coming!  So, to get you as excited as I am, here are four herbs that are easy to grow.  Even in a container garden for those without yards.  All in which have wonderful health benefits as natural remedies.

fresh mint
Fresh Mint


Mint is very easy to grow.  It comes back every year, and can even start to take over the garden if you’re not careful.  It also happily grows in a container or planter.  There are two types or species of mint that I commonly use in my practice: peppermint (Mentha piperita) and Spearmint (Mentha spicata).

I will often use peppermint for digestive concerns.  It’s especially great for bloating and constipation, plus has a refreshing, cooling taste that most people enjoy.  This cooling aspect of peppermint also makes it good for soothing inflammation. Personally, I use spearmint more for its role in hormone regulation, especially in women.

It has actually been shown to have anti-androgenic effects in women with PCOS.  Meaning, it can help to decrease testosterone levels that may be causing issues such as unwanted hair growth or acne.



I come from an Italian family so oregano is a staple our kitchen and garden.  It’s another hardy herb.  Like mint, I planted it once, and it comes back every year.  Oregano is great to have on hand for cooking since it adds delicious flavour (especially in tomato sauce!) and nutrients to your meal.

I most often use this one in practice as an essential oil.  Oil of oregano is traditionally used for its antimicrobial effects.  It appears that the phenolic compound Carvacrol found in oregano is a key contributor to these effects.

In the clinic, I have seen it work well taken orally to help clear viral infections like colds and flus as well as topically (on the skin) to help clear fungal infections like athlete’s foot or even viral infections like planters warts.  I usually combine it with other antimicrobial herbs like garlic for optimal efficacy.

Calendula Flowers and Oil
Calendula Flowers and Oil


Take note!  There are two types of marigold that often get confused.  They are: French Marigold (Tagetes patula) and Pot Marigold (Calendula officinalis).  Both produce beautiful, bright, cheery flowers and have their own benefits.

The one I will be talking about here is Calendula officinalis.  I often use Calendula for skin concerns.  It is quite effective at helping to heal broken or damaged skin, making it a great herb for sunburns in the summer or dry skin in the winter.  I love making oil infusions and skin salves with this little healing flower.  Don’t just take my word for it, there’s even research to show Calendula’s efficacy in wound healing.

It has been studied in the treatment of skin conditions from diaper rash to palliative care and cancer treatment. One of Calendula’s lesser known uses is in treating inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract.  I will often prescribe it topically as an oil or cream for hemorrhoids or even as a tea or in a soup for inflammatory bowel diseases such as ulcerative colitis.



You’ve likely seen the effect that catnip has on cats but did you know it actually has a calming effect on humans?  I love cats.  So, if I’m being completely honest, part of the reason I planted catnip in my garden was to attract all the neighbourhood cats.

Really though, catnip is quite useful.  As a tea or tincture, it has calming effects, making it great for soothing anxiety or helping with sleep.  It can also be used to repel unwanted insects all summer.  As an essential oil, it may even be more effective at repelling mosquitos than DEET and even seems to repel cockroaches!  Who wouldn’t want catnip around?

And there you have it, four great herbs to start off your garden for use as natural remedies!  Click here for tips on How to Grow an Organic Garden.  

Herbs can be used in so many ways.  Teas, tinctures, oil infusions, essential oils, herb baths, even in cooking!  If you’re interested in learning more, send me an email to find out more about my herbal learning workshops in Burlington.  Interested in growing your own natural remedies garden but don’t have the outdoor space?  Don’t worry we have you covered!  Click here to read, ’10 Tips For A Successful Indoor Herb Garden’.


Grant, Paul. “Spearmint Herbal Tea Has Significant Anti-Androgen Effects in Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. a Randomized Controlled Trial.” Phytotherapy Research, 2009, doi:10.1002/ptr.2900.Sakkas, Hercules, and Chrissanthy Papadopoulou.

“Antimicrobial Activity of Basil, Oregano, and Thyme Essential Oils.” Journal of Microbiology and Biotechnology, vol. 27, no. 3, 2017, pp. 429–438., doi:10.4014/jmb.1608.08024.Carvalho, Alexsander R., et al.

“Use of Some Asteraceae Plants for the Treatment of Wounds: From Ethnopharmacological Studies to Scientific Evidences.” Frontiers in Pharmacology, vol. 9, 2018, doi:10.3389/fphar.2018.00784.Sharifi-Heris, Zahra, et al.

“Comparison the Effects of Topical Application of Olive and Calendula Ointments on Children’s Diaper Dermatitis: A Triple-Blind Randomized Clinical Trial.

” Dermatologic Therapy, vol. 31, no. 6, 2018, doi:10.1111/dth.12731.Cruceriu, Daniel, et al.

“Calendula Officinalis: Potential Roles in Cancer Treatment and Palliative Care.” Integrative Cancer Therapies, vol. 17, no. 4, 2018, pp. 1068–1078., doi:10.1177/1534735418803766.American Chemical Society.

“Catnip Repels Mosquitoes More Effectively Than DEET.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 August 2001. <>.

Chaga Mushroom Benefits, What Researchers Are Now Saying

chaga mushroom benefits

Alternative medicine and therapies are growing in popularity. As more research findings emerge, there is growing proof that natural remedies are an effective means of disease prevention and reversal. For a great example, let’s take a look at how the Chaga mushroom benefits your health.

Chaga Mushroom Benefits:

  • Stress
  • Fatigue
  • Anxiety
  • Depression

Chaga mushrooms are known for their ability to act as an adaptogen in the body. An adaptogen is a substance which assists the body’s ability to combat the effects of stress and disease.

Furthermore, it can promote healthy sleep cycles. Chaga can also aid in strengthening the immune system, improve mental clarity, and regulate various other cycles in the body.

Reports indicate that medicinal mushrooms including chaga are a source of anti-oxidants and contain compounds which are:

  • Anti-cancer
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Anti-microbial
  • Anti-diabetic

Chaga has been found to have positive anti-cancer effects on breast and colorectal cancer cells, and aids in the protection of DNA damage.

Chaga mushroom health benefits - Health, Stress adaption, Healing, Renewal, Life Extension

What Is Chaga?

Chaga mushrooms are one of those alternative therapies that are proving to be effective and are starting to get some much deserved attention in the world of alternative therapies.

Chaga mushrooms are medicinal mushrooms native to the forests of Finland, Siberia, and North America and thrives in cold climates.

Although it grows most commonly on birch trees, it may also be found growing on:

  • Ash trees
  • Beech trees
  • Elm trees
  • Ironwood trees
  • Maple trees

In fact, you may have even seen it growing in the forest but didn’t recognize it. It has a rough looking outer surface that appears to be burnt and dark in colour with a yellow-orange core.

what is chaga

Enhanced Immune System

An enhanced immune system is better equipped to efficiently deal with:

  • Cancer cells
  • Bacteria
  • Viruses
  • Inflammation

Greater still, it provides the human body with a better opportunity to prevent disease formation.

chaga mushroom benefits

Chaga And Cancer

Chaga has been used to treat cancer for centuries in Russia and Baltic countries. It has been found that chaga mushroom extract can induce apoptosis of human colon cancer cells. These findings have since been confirmed in controlled lab experiments.

It’s believed that one of the main active ingredients in Chaga is a potent antioxidant called superoxide dismutase.

Superoxide dismutase is known as a liver cleanser, a cell membrane protector and a longevity enzyme. Furthermore, antioxidants are well known for their importance in disease prevention, and chaga is no exception.

How To Take Chaga

Due to chaga’s growing popularity, it can now be easily found at your local health food store and can be sold as:

  • Dried powder
  • Tincture form
  • Capsule

Dried chaga can be consumed in various ways including:

  • Steeping it as a tea
  • Grinding it to consume as food
  • Ingesting it as a tincture

Although, chaga tea is the easiest way to introduce into your diet.

chaga tea

Chaga Tea

  1. To make a chaga tea, first place small chunks of chaga, or ground chaga in a pot with cold spring water.
  2. Next, let the chaga sit in the water for up to one hour to begin the extraction process.
  3. Begin to heat the water, being caution that the water doesn’t reach a full boil.
  4. Lastly, let the chaga simmer for one hour before enjoying.

The mixture can then be strained and consumed hot or cold. Ideally, the tea should be consumed on an empty stomach before meals. Three to eight cups of chaga tea can be safely consumed daily.  Also, chaga tincture can be added to a small amount of water and swallowed.

Important Note

A known contraindication of chaga is that it can also act as a blood thinner. Therefore, if you are on blood thinners, chat with your natural health practitioner to be sure it is safe for you.

Are Naturopaths Doctors?

Are Naturopaths Doctors

“So are you like, a real doctor?” This is a question I still sometimes get asked as a Naturopathic Doctor. However, it’s a question that’s not always easy to answer because the definition and perception of a “real doctor” varies depending on who’s asking. It’s also an understandable question, as with so many titles being thrown around in the health and wellness fields, things can get confusing. So, are Naturopaths doctors?? Let’s take time to clear up some of the confusion about what it all means..

What Is Naturopathy?

Naturopathy is what Naturopathic Doctor practices. It’s a primary healthcare provider who is trained to:

  • Diagnose illness
  • Treat illness
  • Prevent illness

This is done by getting to know individual patients and their health concerns or goals. Then, using natural modalities that best support the optimal health of each individual patient. Visits with a Naturopathic Doctor are usually quite relaxed.

what is a naturopath

What’s Involved When Seeing A Naturopath?

  • Information gathering through chatting about each patient’s health story
  • Any necessary physical exams like taking body temperature, blood pressure, etc.
  • Any necessary bloodwork
  • Treatment

Typical Treatment Modalities Include:

  • Diet and lifestyle counseling
  • Nutritional support
  • Herbal medicine
  • Homeopathy
  • Acupuncture
  • Hydrotherapy

Naturopathic Doctors work as a team with patients to come up with a plan to achieve desired health goals. Patients are always in the driver’s seat and a Naturopathic Doctor acts as more of a guide to health.

Day In The Life of a Naturopathic Doctor

How Is A Naturopathic Doctor Different From Other Natural Health Practitioners?

Depending where you are in the world, titles and regulations may vary slightly. For example, in Ontario, Canada, where I practice, a Naturopathic Doctor or ND is a regulated healthcare professional. This means every ND in Ontario has:

  • Spent 3-4 years completing an undergraduate degree
  • 4 years in naturopathic medical school
  • Passed all of the licensing exams required to practice in Ontario
  • Continues to be governed and regulated by the College of Naturopaths of Ontario

While other non-regulated natural health practitioners may also be very well equipped to help with your health concerns, there may not be any requirements or governing bodies that hold them to a standard of practice. Therefore, it is important to do your research ahead of time.

naturopathic doctor

How Is A Naturopathic Doctor Different From A Medical Doctor?

In Terms Of Education

Naturopathic Doctors and Medical Doctors both complete an undergraduate degree and four years of medical school. However, naturopathic medical students spend a great deal more time learning about:

Thus, less time learning about surgery and pharmacology.

Medical Doctors also specialize by completing a 3-7-year residency depending on the specialization. While Naturopathic Doctors have the option to complete a 2-year clinical residency. Although, many start practice without completing a residency.

In Terms Of Practice

As you may have realized from the differences in educational background, the major difference between Naturopathic Doctors and Medical Doctors lies in their approach for treatment. Medical Doctors are trained to recognize immediate concerns quickly and work with patients to come up with a solution that will act fast.

However, Naturopathic Doctors have the luxury of more time with patients. Therefore visits move more slowly. Allowing patients and ND’s to get to know each other and come up with a long-term treatment plan together.

ND’s have many tools at their disposal to help and patients often notice gentle, long-lasting changes, slowly over time. Along with an improved sense of well-being. These different approaches tend to make MD’s highly skilled at treating urgent, acute conditions. While ND’s tend to be more suited toward treating chronic conditions or optimizing health and preventing illness.

Medical Doctors are also covered by the Ontario Health Insurance Plan or OHIP while Naturopathic Doctors are often covered by extended health insurance plans.

are naturopaths real doctors

So Are Naturopaths “Real Doctors”?

So, what Is Naturopathy and are naturopaths real doctors?? Well, it still depends on what you mean by “real doctor” . But now at least now you know what it means to be a Naturopathic Doctor and you can decide whether or not that fits your definition of a “real doctor.” Click here to find a natural healthcare provider near you.

If you want to chat more about this topic or any of your other health concerns, reach out, I’m always happy to chat!

Mother’s Day Top 10 Gift Idea’s!

Mother's Day

Being a mother, I can honestly say it is one of the hardest and challenging but most rewarding jobs in the entire world.  However, it wasn’t until I had my own children that I realized the true strength and selflessness of my own mother and why recognizing Mother’s Day is so important.

A mother’s love is truly unconditional and their comfort and support, irreplaceable!  So, this Mother’s Day, why not take the time to give thanks by giving her arguably the best gift out there?  The gift of good health!

Here is a list of my top 10 healthy Mother’s Day Gift Ideas.

1.  Smoothie Maker

essential gift

Whether you’re a new mom, working mom or just simply a MOM, you know how busy your day can get, especially mornings!  It’s because of this, most moms don’t get a chance to eat properly (or at all).  This can not only effect their energy levels but also emotional well-being.  This is why I LOVE making smoothies!  You can quickly add all the nutrients you need to fuel your body right and take it with you on the go.

Click here for my favourite go to recipe for a morning breakfast smoothies.  And, if you go with a traditional juicer, be sure to read why you should, Stop Throwing Away Juice Pulp! Do This Instead.

2. Smartwatch Or Fitbit

A Smartwatch or Fitbit is easily among the best fitness gifts to give your mom this Mother’s Day as it can help boost her motivation and overall fitness.  Most Smartwatches and Fitbits track heart rate, calories burned and steps while offering handy tips for a healthy lifestyle.  Some even display texts and emails ensuring mom can always stay in the loop even while working out.

Click here to compare features on Fitbit Versa vs. Apple Watch.

3.  A New Bike

If your mom is an outdoor enthusiast, then surprise her with a new set of wheels!  A new bike can take her on and off the road for an excellent adventure.  It is also an excellent workout.  Look for a model with with multiple speeds and in your mom’s favourite colour for an added personal touch.

For additional help, click here for The Complete Guide to Buying a Bicycle.

4.  A Foam Roller

I’m sure this next suggestion is leaving some of you scratching your heads.  However, when your mom starts her workout with a stretch, it will help her reduce or even avoid aches and pains.  A foam roller serves double duty by stretching and soothing sore muscles allowing your mom to unwind physically and mentally before embarking on the main workout or perhaps just the rest of her day.  Look for a design featuring ridges for added knot-busting power.

Click here for 7 Foam Rolling Exercises Your Body Is Begging You To Do.

5.  Resistance Bands

Again, this may not seem like an obvious choice however a set of resistance bands have many benefits.  Not only are they a great alternative to heavy weights but they can help her up her fitness game and increase her strength.  The resistance bands are portable, lightweight and easily included in most stretches and routines for maximum results.

Click here for 2019’s Top 5 Resistance Bands.

6.  Wireless Headphones

These are a great choice to help mom get motivated and moving.  Because they are wireless you never need to worry about those annoying wires getting in the way or accidentally ripped out.  Your mom can listen to her favourite playlist or audio book completely uninterrupted regardless of her activity.

Click here for 5 things to consider before buying your next pair of wireless headphones.

7.  Sneakers

What woman wouldn’t want a new pair of shoes?  Getting your mom a lightweight, comfortable sneaker will help her go the extra mile and look great doing it.  Since cross-training requires a different type of shoe than weightlifting or jogging, consider the activities she enjoys the most before purchasing just any kind of sneaker.

Click here to read, How To Choose The Best Running Shoes.


8.  A Beautiful Gym Bag

Courtesy of @kustomkreations4

You can never go wrong with a gorgeous gym bag.  It will help her carry her workout gear and water bottle to the gym in style.  For an added touch include items such as a personalized towel or water bottle to place inside with an inspiring message.

9.  Asian Bamboo Steamer

This is the perfect gift for those who love to cook.  This steamer is ideal for low-fat meals that can practically cook themselves while maintaining their flavor, vitamins, and nutrients.  Buy her a two-tiered one so that she can throw fish (tilapia, snapper, and salmon) on one level and veggies (bok choy, leek, carrots) on the other.

Click here for The Best Bamboo Steamer And 6 Things You Need To Know About Them.

10.  Tea Kit

Surprise your mom with a gourmet tea kit.  Tea is high in disease-fighting anti-oxidants which can improve her health.  Get her a selection of herbal, white, green and black teas.  Also, try pairing the tea with an electric kettle.  It will bring water to boil faster than the normal teapots and as a bonus for forgetful moms they switch themselves off.

Click here to learn more about the Types of Teas and Their Health Benefits.  Also, for more information on antioxidants, click here to read, Antioxidants – Can They Be Boosted With Chiropractic Care?

Now, I know for many of us Mother’s Day is going to be a lot different then those in the past due to the restrictions of Covid-19. So, here is a video to help insprire you of additional things you can do for your mom to make her feel special!

Mother’s Day Gifts During Quarantine

I hope this list has helped inspire you to give your mom something special that she may not have considered for herself and that will impact her life in a big way.  As an added bonus, click here to subscribe to our weekly newsletter which includes amazing natural health articles and inspiring recipes.