Further testament to why gluten-free is great!

This is a great article explaining why wheat and other gluten containing grains are harmful.  Though I’ve blogged quite a bit on my personal experience with eating an allergen free diet, this article by Discovery does a great job of outlining the technicalities of why gluten can be bad:



Diet prolonged!?!? @&%$!!!

Having been on a very restrictive meal plan avoiding a multitude of food sensitivities while simultaneously doing the anti-candida diet (see “Dairy and gluten and soy, oh my!”) , my only motivation was being able to see the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel.

Under the impression that the anti-candida diet would last 4 weeks you can  understand my dismay when I was told that in order for a complete eradication of the candida and further improvement in my symptoms (brain fog, poor memory and morning phelgminess) I will have to remain completely sugar free (this includes fruit, honey, agave and starchy vegetables) for another 6 months!

My initial reaction to this news was to find the nearest source of pastries and wallow over a delectable donut, croissant or danish. Upon further thought I realized the obvious health improvements that I’ve experienced and the obvious aggravations suffered when I fell off the wagon (see “And soo….I Cheated!”).  I also realized that this might be my biggest test and best opportunity to prove to myself and future patients that a restrictive diet can be achieved long term.

So, in an attempt to convince myself to embark on this 6 month gut healing, body cleansing, candida ridding  marathon I have decided to take things day by day.  Currently I am scouring libraries and the world wide web for any and all resources, particularly recipes, that will help support me on this seemingly never ending diet.  Some really great resources discovered so far include:

1.  www.thecandidadiet.com – a great intro to the candida diet, it offers diet recommendations and recipes for each of the 3 phases of the diet and explains the importance of proper anti-candida and detox supplements.  They also send out a newsletter with guiding steps for the candida diet.

2.  www.thepaleodiet.com – a website explaining why the human diet should not include grains and how a paleolithic diet can be therapeutic for chronic modern day diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, obesity and autoimmune conditions.

3. www.dietdessertndogs.com – a goldmine of creative recipes and one of the reasons why I think I can make it on this crazy diet, it offers a variety of dessert and breakfast ideas for anti-candida diet sufferers.

4. Primal Body, Primal Mind by Nora Gedgaudas – a well written book with  chapters focused on specific health conditions and explanation, as well as research to support why a paleolithic diet is truly beneficial to our health.

5.  Delicious detox by Carol Moreley – a simple, easy to follow cookbook, complete with shopping lists and daily meal plans for those trying to avoid common allergens in their foods.

6.  Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook by Alissa Segersten & Tom Malterre – a larger compilation of allergy-free recipes along basic cooking tips, a food substitution chart and a 28 day elimination and detoxification plan.

If you have any resources to share please do so in the comments box!  Any help is welcome; in particular I am looking for something of a unicorn – a gluten, dairy, egg and sugar free (including fruits) biscuit or cake to satisfy some pretty intense sugar cravings.

Thanks for reading!

I trust the wisdom of my body – meditation challenge day 4


 In Ayurveda the science of life, the goal is always to return the body to the level of perfect balance that lies within each person no matter how ill.  Conventional wisdom tells us that if we want to find this balance and be healthy, we must take care of ourselves.  However the real secret to lifelong health is actually the opposite, we must allow our bodies to take care of us.  

I trust the wisdom of my body.

~Deepak Chopra


Today’s message from Oprah and Deepak was a reminder of how much we do to  optimize health without  giving ourselves and our bodies the chance to work things out on their own.  If we have a fever we reach for Tylenol, if we have indigestion we reach for Tums, if we are upset we reach for the phone to seek counsel.  Always, the instinct is to seek external aid but rarely do we attune ourselves to what is happening internally to our bodies.

We trust in the medical advice given to us by doctors and in the remedies our friends swear by but we often fail to recognize and trust in the messages that our bodies offer us.  When tired we try to stay up another hour, if stressed we continue to run about completing this and that task, being hungry we continue to starve ourselves and when full we carry on eating.


Your body knows all you need to know

If we are better able to understand our bodies, we are better able to provide it with what it needs to take care of us, no more, no less.  We want the best for our bodies and it also wants the best for us but without proper understanding and communication we may misinterpret the signs and symptoms that are bodies are giving us as it tries to restore itself and heal ourselves.


Take the next few minutes to tune in, what is your body telling you?  Is it asking you to rest? Digest? Relax? Love yourself?

And sooo…..I Cheated.

My potluck gone awry.

3 weeks into my nazi diet (see “Dairy and Gluten and Soy, Oh My!”) and I finally broke down.  Faced with a beautiful spread ranging from bacon onion quiche, Trinidadian potato dumplings to a DQ ice cream cake, I caved and stuffed my face and belly with all the trappings of a successful potluck party.

20 minutes and 2 plates into my feast it hit: severe bloating and cramps, a heaviness that can only be attributed to the potato dumplings, dull brain, and most tellingly, joint pain (often my body’s response to alcohol).  I was in sheer discomfort and pretty sure I looked as green as I felt.  “You ate too much, you were too greedy!” my best friend scolded, but she and I both know that greediness is my typical mealtime style.  I LOVE FOOD! All types of food! Which makes this diet that much harder.

Though I could easily choose to feel guilty and ashamed of how readily I abandoned my diet, I’m pretty sure that this potluck debacle was a milestone on this journey to healing my gut.  With my “cheat” I made a connection with my body (something so many of us have lost), I (along with several other party goers,  witnessed how sick certain foods can actually make me which has helped confirm I am on the right track with this diet.

Despite all these lessons, I am still happily looking forward to the day when I can be done with this anti-candida diet and enjoy some gluten, dairy and soy free baked goods with a nice hot cup of java.  Sugar and coffee; two things that help my world go round!



“You can accept the diagnosis, but you don’t have to accept the prognosis”

-Deepak Chopra         


Just started my first day of Deepak Chopra’s 21-Day Meditation challenge on the “Journey to Perfect Health”.  I like the message so far and I’m hoping to follow through this time.  I’ve participated in two of his previous challenges and had a really hard time sitting still and being in the silence.  My thoughts kept taking off to various tangents that were so irritatingly non-relevant, or I wanted to fall asleep.


Today felt different though, rather than judging my restlessness and dislike for meditation I’m learning to just sit through it and be.  It felt more natural, more enjoyable, I’m interested to see what the next 20 days will bring.


To take part go to:


Good luck!

Dairy and gluten and soy, oh my!

elim dietBeing the awesome naturopathic intern that I am, I have spent the last 4 years adeptly avoiding the ‘Oz’ of naturopathic medicine: the Elim Diet.

A term familiar to all naturopathic students and a concept repelling to patients, the ‘elim diet’ (a.k.a. the hypoallergenic or elimination diet) is used by NDs to identify food sensitivities.

While food allergies are more easily identified (eat a peanut, throat closes) food sensitivities are less obvious because of the delayed and more subtle symptoms that follow (eat toast, stomach bloats 30 minutes later).

Allergies are mediated by IgE antibodies resulting in immediate and acute reactions (ex. anaphylactic shock, rashes, or tongue swelling). Sensitivities on the other hand are triggered by IgG antibodies causing delayed and/or low grade reactions (ex. bloating, acne, headaches, fatigue, poor concentration, and possibly even joint pain) that are harder to pinpoint.

As a tool, the elimination diet is used to determine the common food allergens that a person might be sensitive to. Foods such as egg, wheat, gluten, dairy, soy, sugar and caffeine are taken out of the diet (note: this is the shortlist of common allergens avoided in the elim) for a period of 3-4 weeks after which each type of allergenic food is brought back one at a time while on the lookout for any possible symptoms indicating sensitivity.

As the dedicated naturopathic student that I am, I was coerced into trying the elim diet and lasted 3 weeks without noticing a large difference, mainly because I caved and ate everything in sight at a wedding putting an end to my attempt at the elim.

Recently I decided to try a different route and dished out roughly $200 dollars for IgG testing. All that was required, aside from the $200, was 5 drops of blood used to check for IgG antibodies to 96 common allergenic foods. Lo and behold I was sensitive to everything:

  • all dairy (milk, butter, cheese, goat’s milk, yogurt, ice cream)
  • gluten & gliadin (protein content found in grains such as wheat, barley, spelt, kamut)
  • eggs
  • citrus fruits (lemons, oranges, grapefruit)
  • nuts (including peanuts, almonds, pecans, cashews, pistachios)
  • a large proportion of legumes
  • soy (including soy sauce, tofu, soy beans, miso, soy milk)
  • honey
  • bell peppers
  • tuna
  • crab

To make matters worse, I was also diagnosed with Candida (a yeast-like infection) forcing me to also eliminate

  • all sources of sugar (including natural sugars such as carrots, peas, and all fruits)
  • caffeine including black tea
  • starchy carbohydrates and glutinous foods (wheat, spelt, rye, brown rice, pasta, corn, potato)
  • mushrooms
  • yeast containing foods
  • fermented vinegar
  • alcohol
  • pork and processed meats
  • any foods containing citric acid
  • condiments (only natural spices allowed)

Through some miraculous spark of motivation it has been 2 1/2 weeks since I’ve been on this stream-lined diet. So far my skin has cleared and noticeably improved, I’ve had fewer PMS symptoms and my chronic joint pain (which started since age 8) has almost completely disappeared.  ThElim diet2ough not part of the plan, I’ve also lost 3lbs and on the whole am feeling quite good.  Despite all the noted health benefits I still crave sweets, dairy, gluten and my sidekick cup of coffee.

Besides spending time online looking at delicious cakes and pastries I am often researching recipes that are suitable for my current diet and have become pretty creative at adapting recipes to create delicious dishes that are nowhere near lacking.

I can’t say that this experience has been  easy as I am constantly cooking to keep up with my suddenly effective digestion and eating out has been basically impossible, but the benefits that I’m experiencing are invaluable and I am now wholeheartedly encouraging my patients to consider it as well.

Medicine or Money Maker?

When Sean Recchi, a 42-year-old from Lancaster, Ohio, was told last March that he had non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, his wife Stephanie knew she had to get him to MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. Stephanie’s father had been treated there 10 years earlier, and she and her family credited the doctors and nurses at MD Anderson with extending his life by at least eight years.

Because Stephanie and her husband had recently started their own small technology business, they were unable to buy comprehensive health insurance. For $469 a month, or about 20% of their income, they had been able to get only a policy that covered just $2,000 per day of any hospital costs. “We don’t take that kind of discount insurance,” said the woman at MD Anderson when Stephanie called to make an appointment for Sean.

omprehensive health insurance. For $469 a month, or about 20% of their income, they had been able to get only a policy that covered just $2,000 per day of any hospital costs. “We don’t take that kind of discount insurance,” said the woman at MD Anderson when Stephanie called to make an appointment for Sean.


Awesome article on the plight of the current American medical system and how it’s selling out the Hippocratic oath for big bucks


The hospital’s hard-nosed approach pays off. Although it is officially a nonprofit unit of the University of Texas, MD Anderson has revenue that exceeds the cost of the world-class care it provides by so much that its operating profit for the fiscal year 2010, the most recent annual report it filed with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, was $531 million. That’s a profit margin of 26% on revenue of $2.05 billion, an astounding result for such a service-intensive enterprise.1

Read more:



This is why I love living in Canada where healthcare is a social responsibility and those who are too sick to worry about bills are able to heal without a ludicrous invoice lying in wait post-recuperation.

Despite singing the virtues of OHIP (and other provincial health insurance plans), many medications aren’t covered and can add up to exorbitant amounts even without the added cost of hospital visits, lab tests or imaging.

Just the other day I had a patient tell me that he pays close to $600 per month for his long list of meds. Considering this, I should think that the cost of a naturopathic visit and some supplements is pretty reasonable.  Especially when you’re reaping long term health benefits and avoiding the adverse effects and added costs of prescription medication.