One Decision Can Change the Whole Trajectory of your Life

Isn’t it amazing how one moment, one decision, can change the whole trajectory of your life? I’m celebrating 20 years in clinical practice as a Chiropractor this year and I sit here so humbled, grateful, and a little in awe of how that one decision has brought so much good into my life, and continues to do so.

If I were to summarize the the greatest gifts my work has given me it would be this:

It changed my perspective on health.
Health comes from within. Being healthy is an active way of living and is a result from the choices we make, not from random chance. If there is a problem, I ask “what is the cause?” rather than simply address the symptoms.

Gifted me with natural and holistic approach to parenting.
I gave birth to my sons at home, breastfed, co-slept, minimized their toxic exposure, and nurtured them in a way that felt right to me while honouring the wisdom of natural sciences.

Helped me trust my body.
Tuning into giving my body what it needs to think clearly, move well, restore balance internally and heal consistently fuels my appreciation for the human body and what it’s capable of.

It taught me about my intuition.
That little voice inside, gut feelings, your heart, that knowing that lies within you is never wrong. Let it guide you.

Connected me with amazing people.
From my colleagues, mentors, coaches, and all the leaders I’ve had in my development, to all the people I get to care for in my practice, and then the other Doctors I’ve coached, this list is extensive and I’m so grateful.

To everyone who has been part of my clinical practice, part of the community I’ve shared my ideas of health and healing with, or participated in one of my programs, I’m thankful for the opportunity to help support your health. Onward to many more years!

7 Ideas For A Healthy & Happy Season

1 – Set an intention you want the holidays to mean to you.

Something simple can make such a big difference. Read this blog post to see how it works and why it matters.

2 – Choose a minimum of 50% locally purchased gifts.

The last 2 years have been especially difficult for many small businesses, consider strolling the downtown shops and supporting these small businesses. For the next few weeks many stores are open late and there are local markets happening all over the area.

3 – Keep your food choices as clean as possible.

You know your food sensitivities. You know sugar is not good for your body. You know overconsumption is not what your body needs. If you don’t read these blog posts for the simple recommendations I give people. If you’re travelling read this post for some healthy ideas.

4 – Fast, a little bit

The research and resources about the benefits plenty, but the simplest thing for you to understand with fasting is this: When you limit the energy required for digestion within your body, it frees up energy to focus on healing and repair. The holiday season is an easy time to overindulge, adding some fasting can help counter this. Even 12 hours overnight will make a difference! Listen to this podcast episode or read this blog post for all the reasons I love intermittent fasting.

5 – Get outside 5 x/week.

Move your body everyday. Just do something! A walk, a fitness class, lifting weights, yoga or stretching, dancing in your kitchen (you should also make this a daily habit!) as long as you are moving your body will appreciate it. We are not designed to be sedentary beings. Read more about the power of movement for your body in this blog post and here’s a post about why stretching matters.

6 – Connect with others, but in a way that feels right to you.

Social stimulation is vital for our health, but not at the expense of feeling overcommitted or overwhelmed or with people who add stress to our lives instead of joy. Find the balance that is best for you. Read more in this blog post.

7 – Take a breather.

t the season for family and friends, but don’t forget to take the time to relax and indulge in activities you enjoy! Make time for quiet moments, reflection, and whatever restores YOU so that you can start 2022 feeling refreshed and ready for what’s ahead in the new year to come.

7 ideas here, which can you comfortably commit to?

7 Ways To Cultivate Resilience

This time of year I often find conversations about building strength and resilience in the body being essential as we head into the colder months.
However, emotional resilience has also been a hot topic the past year while I’ve supported many families through changing work environments, lack of social connection, online school, and so much fear.

I have a few tattoos, and one of them is an arrow because it consistently reminds me that life just keeps moving forward, and it’s always our choice how to adapt to it.

The loving care you give yourself and your physical body will always help you cultivate greater resilience for whatever challenges present in your life.

In my humble experience I’ve observed that emotional resilience can be shaped by

Unwavering RESOLVE to live by your values.

Have you ever stopped to think about this? What are the 5-10 values that are most important to you and the life you want to live? If you are clear on what your values are, are you practicing them by the actions you make everyday? If you need some direction here ask me for the values exercises I recommend.

Consistent CONNECTION with powerful souls who love you and remind you who you are.

Your personal and professional relationships matter, as does the amount of time you spend with them. Are you consistently making time for the people in your life who matter to you?

Relentless OPTIMISM.

This is easier for some than others, but your thoughts matter and what you consistently dwell upon expands. Choose your thoughts wisely and find gratitude for the simple things you appreciate in your life. [Read the post on gratitude here]

GROUNDING yourself in nature.

If you’re like me at all, this one is a little tougher in the colder months, but time outdoors is so good for our health! Make time to get outside everyday and take a few deep breaths. Even just a brief walk everyday may just clear your mind and help you find a little more peace.

FEELING all the feelings that come up rather than sedating, avoiding or suppressing them.

When we avoid what we feel we don’t heal. Is it time to examine some of the consistent thoughts or feelings that come up for you? Do you need to talk to someone who can help support your mental health?

EXPRESSING yourself in healthy and safe environments.

Expanding on point #2 about connection, do you feel you can communicate freely with the people you need to? Are you holding back or being a little less of yourself in any of your relationships because you don’t feel you can openly and easily? What needs to change?

MOVING your body some way to shake up your energy and shift your mood.

We are not designed to be sedentary beings. Movement is life, and we meant to move! It doesn’t matter if it’s an intense training session, a slow walk, a yoga practice or dancing in your kitchen, just aim to move your body everyday. Trust me, if there was one thing I wish everyone in my practice did more, it’s this one. A trainer I once had often said “You’re just one workout away from a better mood” and based on my personal experience and so much clinical research I completely agree.

Finding resilience is a practice, and life gives us plenty of opportunities. You can can choose to run or you can choose to rise.
Which of these 7 ideas resonates with you most and which do you need to put into practice?

3 Tips to Help You Work From Home

I hear you…it’s tricky, distracting, lonely, overwhelming and frustrating sometimes to be working from home. Even more so if you have littles around and you are also playing the role of educator. Here are a few tips I’ve been sharing in my practice to help you optimize your time working from home.

Create Rituals

Set up some habits in your day that are consistent, and as best as possible, stick to them. What is the best time for you to work? When do you need to help your children’s learning? What type of daily structure and schedule will support you? Instead of free-flowing everyday perhaps defining your tasks a little more concretely will help.

Find a Commute Alternative

Where can you recreate the time you may have had in your car driving to work? What if you used that time to go for a walk instead? Or found some way to give yourself the gift of that time?

Move your body!

Sitting all day is not good for your body or mind, but neither is standing! Break up your day and postural habits with breaks! Even if it’s just a few minutes, your body will thank you.

If you need a quick stretch or movement routine check out this blog post.

Connection Is Vital

We all need social connections, it’s part of our fundamental design as human beings, and research has also shown that having friendships supports our health!

However, during the holiday season many people are ‘overstimulated‘, ‘overcommitted’, and ‘overwhelmed’ with too many events.  This can leave people feeling emotionally and mentally drained, and certainly getting  a lot less sleep than they would like! I’ll gently remind you, be choosy about how you spend your time. Politely decline invitations you are not comfortable with, and focus on the relationships that truly matter to you! 

After reading this, you might be thinking “This is NOT not what I’m experiencing THIS year”.

I hear you. Most people I have spoken with in my practice are struggling with the opposite: lack of connection

In other words, loneliness.  With changing family dynamics, different living arrangements, simple geography, and recommendations or even restrictions in place in some communities, it’s not being overcommitted socially that is of concern but rather the distinct lack of it that is leaving some feeling at a loss. 

Every year, many people are left alone during the holidays.  If you feel lonely or isolated, are there ways you can consider getting involved in different activities? Are there any volunteer opportunities?  Are you able to reach out to people who may find themselves alone during the holiday season and consider including them in your plans? Can you consider coordinate a phone or video call if physically being together is not possible?

I bet you can try!

It just might take some creativity, but the rewards will be far greater than just the social stimulation.

At every time of year relationships and social stimulation is essential for health and happiness, make it a priority!

A Few Words Can Make A Big Difference…

What do you want the holiday season to mean to you this year? 

Do you feel like celebrating? Or are you feeling angry, sad or lonely about the current events and wondering how that will translate to the time you cherish with loved ones over the next few weeks?

It’s ok. It’s been an interesting 8 months, and you’re entitled to feel all those feels!

I will suggest though, that you spend a few minutes reflecting on how you’d like to spend the holidays with some of the limitations that are currently in place, and something I’ve suggested every year in my practice just might be exceptionally appropriate for you right now.

Set an intention for this holiday season. 

But first, be realistic and consider:

What’s happening in your life these days? Where are your children or extended family in the current stage of their lives? Given their ages and interests, what do you want the holidays to look like for you?

Every year our lives are a little different, and it’s important to change our expectations accordingly.

This year has been no different! In fact, perhaps it has given us even more perspective.

Decide what you want the holidays to mean, what your priorities are, and how do you want to feel?

Then I want you to write it down. Choose 3-5 words or perhaps write a brief statement or sentence, then put it somewhere you can see it. You can get creative with this! Make it look pretty or decorative if you like, but what really matters is that you will see it and be reminded of what you wrote.

Whether you post it on your fridge, put it on your phone, or write it in a journal that you will look at every day, this is the most important step!

When you have an intention to refer to, it will help you make solid decisions about how you spend your time and money this holiday season.

You’ll feel better about your choices because they will be more realistic with your current lifestyle, and this will ease your mind, and help you find more JOY and less STRESS this holiday season.

Easy, Delicious and Nutritious Pesto Recipe

Summer produce is the best! By now, we all know that you can never get too many dark, leafy greens into your diet, and the summer gives us so many easy options and ideas. The farmers markets are overflowing with kale, spinach, swiss chard, so there is no excuse to go a day without them.

Tips To Increase Your Greens Intake

Some of my favourite tips to entice the people in my practice to get more greens in are:

  • Chop and prep your greens after you get them. You’ll find it easier to add them to a salad, stir fry throw them into a smoothie or add them to a sandwich if they are ready to go
  • Use big leaf greens as a wrap instead of bread with your next ‘sandwich’.
  • Make Pesto! It’s so easy, and with no extra preservatives, colours or artificial flavours, it’s better for you too!

My Go-To Pesto Recipe

  • 2 cup kale, spinach or swiss chard
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 cup oregano or basil
  • 1/4cup walnuts, sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds
  • 1/3-1/2 cup cold pressed olive oil (We used Tuscan Herb from the Collingwood Olive Oil Company)
  • 1/4 salt

Place all ingredients in food processor and chop on low setting. Once finely chopped, add in 1/3 cup olive oil while the processor is running. Transfer to glass jar and store in refrigerator or freezer. Notice unlike traditional pesto recipes, this one does not contain any parmesan cheese. It can be added, but is not necessary, making this version a great option for vegans.

You’ll notice the recipe guidelines are a little vague, that’s because it’s a versatile recipe and one you can modify depending on what is available seasonally at your market or in your own garden! Pesto can also be very smooth or slightly chunky, depending on how you are going to use it and your own preferences.

Used on pasta, sandwiches, or as a condiment in countless ways, pesto is a wonderful way to add a savoury dose of more greens into your diet! It also freezes well and will give you a little bit of summertime freshness in the fall or winter months.

Smoothies: Nutritious and Delicious!

When made with wholesome ingredients, smoothies boost your body with nutrients while also offering hydration.

Smoothies are a great way to start your day, or to simply add more nutrition throughout it – especially if you are always on the go.

Kids love smoothies too! Freeze them in popsicle molds for a cool treat that is full of many more nutrients than commercially made versions.

As with any recipe, there is always room for individual creativity. Proportions can easily be modified to suit your taste and texture preferences. For all these combinations, start with adding 1 cup of liquid (water is best but diluted juices work too). If you like your smoothies thick, add less fluid, for a more liquid consistency add more.

Adding protein powders or other supplements can offer additional benefits, but remember, supplements supplement – they don’t replace! Choosing only the goodness in these fruits and vegetables is a great place to start.

These are some of the favourite smoothie combinations from within the practice and within my own home. Give them a try and share your favorites too!

Kickstart

  • 1 Banana + 1 Avocado + 5 Strawberries + 1 Carrot + Pineapple Juice
  • Morning Sunrise
  • 1 Banana + ½ Mango + orange juice
  • Strawberry-Banana-Romaine
  • 1 cup strawberries + 2 large romaine leaves + 2 bananas

Pear – Mint – Kale

  • Sprig of fresh mint
  • 1 pear
  • 2-3 kale leaves

Parsley Citrus

  • handful of fresh parsley
  • 1 orange
  • 1 banana

Red Devil

  • 2 cups watermelon
  • 1/2 cup raspberries

Chocolate Monkey

  • 1 banana
  • 1 tsp of cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp of honey

*this one works best with almond, coconut or rice milk

Natural Summer Hacks: Bug Bites, Burns and Bruises

It is officially SUMMER, and I couldn’t be happier. I love the sunshine, relaxed schedule, outdoor living and so many sports and hobbies. But with the fun and sun, comes the inevitable pesky parts of the season. With a little planning ahead you can set yourself up for success while taking the natural approach.

Sun Safety

Natural sunlight is essential for good health, time in the sun is a question of balance. Daily moderate exposure enables the body to produce vitamin D and make melanin (our body’s natural sunscreen). However, overexposure causes damage to the skin, accelerates aging, suppresses the immune system, and can lead to cancers. Children are much more sensitive than adults so taking some precautions is wise. Use hats, and cover the skin with clothing when possible. Seek out the shade and balance time out in the sun with breaks indoors. This also helps prevent heat exhaustion and dehydration. If you are choosing to use sunscreen, be mindful of the toxic chemicals in many sunscreens that can be worse for the body than sun exposure! Check out this resource for a list you can shop with.

Bites and Stings

Stings from a bee or wasp are not usually dangerous unless you suffer from an allergy, but they should always be treated immediately nonetheless. Apply a paste of baking soda and water to a bee sting to relieve pain; make a compress from a pad of cotton soaked in lemon juice and apply to a wasp sting.

*Multiple stings, or stings to the eyes, ears or mouth should be treated in the hospital.*

Mosquitos

Avoid bug repellents that contain DEET which is effective for repelling insects but also extremely hazardous to your health. Instead, prevent insect bites by diluting a few drops (or combination of) any of the following essential oils: eucalyptus, citronella, peppermint, rosemary, clove, citronella or lemongrass in half a mug of water, gently apply to exposed areas avoiding the eyes and mouth. Experiment and find a scent that you like, place in a spray bottle and keep on hand for easy access when enjoying the outdoors. Cider vinegar can be used the same way and the smell evaporates as soon as it dries.

Cuts & Bruises

So common in childhood, but also with active grown-ups, or random accidents! If there is extensive bleeding, or any other unusual symptoms such as dizziness, shortness of breath, or a head of injury, take your child to the hospital for emergency treatment. Carefully clean the area and than apply a clean cloth soaked in witch hazel or a cold compress and some TLC! Arnica cream is also useful for soreness.

First Aid Remedies

Check out this post to find out what I keep in our summer adventure first aid kit!

Heading to the Golf Course? Support Your Spine While You’re Golfing

Golf is a great sport for many reasons. The mental challenge, time outdoors, social connection, stress reduction and physical activity all support the body and mind in so many ways. However, given the nature of the golf swing, it can also be highly demanding on the spine and joints and trigger nasty problems in the back. The good news is there are ways to support your body, minimize injuries and even play a better game!

Consider these tips:

Be Careful When Handling Your Golf Bag

Choose a portable hand-pull cart and alternate sides when carrying your golf bag or pulling the cart. Use proper lifting techniques when moving your golf bag. Avoid twisting, and instead use strength of your legs, hips, arms, and core muscles.

Walk the Course

It’s a simple way to dramatically improve your fitness level and strengthen your bones. Walking elevates aerobic activity, increases stamina, and boosts immunity.

Warm-Up!

Jolting stiff muscles into action can trigger muscle strain and spinal misalignments. Golfers who stretch and warm-up before playing typically demonstrate greater swing flexibility, muscle endurance, and report fewer aches and pains while playing.

Improve your Posture

There is good reason 70-75% of the athletes who tour with the PGA are under regular Chiropractic care to both prevent injuries and optimize their performance. Healthy posture and spinal movement benefits your entire body, but it can particularly offer tremendous advantages when playing golf. A healthy spine moves properly, which minimizes tissue damage, degeneration, and muscle imbalances that can lead to injury. The neurological benefits of spinal adjustments have also be shown to enhance mental clarity, induce a more relaxed state, and quicken reaction time and agility.

and don’t forget…BETTER HEALTH MEANS BETTER GOLF!

Fuel Wisely:

Junk food makes junk parts! Think about what your are putting in your body on a regular basis. Avoid processed and packaged foods. Shop the perimeter of the grocery store, and choose fresh, whole foods. Try new foods, eat in season, and vary the nutrients into your body. Stay hydrated.

Move It:

Exercise improves your body in every possible way! Strive do some type of physical activity everyday. Vary activities to develop muscle strength, endurance, flexibility and cardiovascular stamina. Cross-training helps target all muscle groups, and reduces risk of injury.

Sleep:

The time when your body repairs and rebuilds itself! Strive for minimum of 7 hours. Avoid prolonged periods of sleep-deprivation due to work or leisure.

Get Connected:

Social stimulation and good relationships support our health. People with friends tend to live better and even longer.Laughter is “the most inexpensive and most effective wonder drug”. A good laugh suppresses stress hormones, boosts your immune system, and reduces inflammation.

Align Yourself:

Optimal Spine = Optimal Health. Spinal misalignments cause joint degeneration, muscle imbalance, pain, weakness, and neurological symptoms. Structure determines function, and poor spinal health weakens the function of all body systems.

Keep your spine healthy with Chiropractic care!