3 Tips For Dads

Dads offer unique perspective to parenting and their own set of skills and nurturing, but many dads I speak with aren’t sure their place in responding to the needs of a newborn, or what specially they can do as a father. Most men I speak with can easily relate to being with their children in the toddler or school age years, but aren’t sure what to do with a baby.

To all the dads out there: Know that you make a difference, that you’re not alone in feeling this way, and consider these 3 tips: 

Take the time to do something for YOU

Play a sport, hang out with buddies, just be a guy. I know some of you might be rolling your eyes, when I taught classes I saw them. But truly, this is something I stress for both women and men.

If you don’t make your emotional and mental health a priority life with a newborn, especially the first baby, can become overwhelming. Every parent can give more to their children when they have some time out – even if it’s just an hour a week. Something is better than nothing and you might be surprised by how rejuvenating it can be.

Spend time with the newborn – get involved 

Infants need their momma, especially if being breasted, and infants know their momma better. But that doesn’t mean they don’t need their dad. If you’re having trouble connecting, or want to increase your time with the baby, try these simple things:

  • Skin to skin contact
  • Within the first few weeks of newborn life, men’s hormones start to slightly shift. Testosterone drops a little, and oxytocin increases. In women it is important for childbirth, bonding and breastfeeding. In men it helps develop fatherly nurturing behaviour. Oxytocin is the ‘love and nurturing hormone’ and it plays huge role in social bonding. The good news is your body has everything it needs inside! Hormones are amazing and purposeful. You can expand your confidence as a dad, by being with your baby. The more you hang out with your baby the more oxytocin will be produced and the more like ‘dad’ you will feel.  
  • Ask your partner how you can get involved! Ask them for guidance in tasks.

Move your body

Make sure to engage in activities that help you feel strong, relaxed and whole. New parents tend to be sedentary – they’re tired and spent – but your body needs to move! You don’t need a gym membership, a trainer or even any weights. You can use your own body as weight and try HIIT training in your home. It’s quick and effective and you can find workouts everywhere! Just do a quick search for an app or on YouTube.  

There are so many benefits of exercise that can help combat the challenges of new dad life, lowering your stress, building up your immune system, and improved overall health.

How Are You Adapting?

During one of my recent travels, when my flight was changed, then cancelled, and I pulled an all-nighter at the airport, I thought about how important it is to stay flexible. Ha! Yes, as a Chiropractor I mean that in more ways than one!

Being adaptable, going with the flow, taking life as it comes is not just for the spiritually aware or those with some metaphysical practice. Learning to handle stress with more ease is a good practice for all of us! For my tips on living with a happy heart and dealing with stress read these blog posts.

What I want to remind you of in THIS post is this simple fact: YOUR body is always adapting.

Our bodies are amazing machines, with an incredible innate wisdom inside that helps us constantly adapt to the changing demands placed on us.

Consider this:

  1. When you eat, your body adapts by extracting nutrients and using them, and getting rid of the ones that are not necessary by creating waste. If you eat something poisonous to your body, you also adapts and your body gets rid of it as quickly as possible!
  2. When you exercise, your body adapts by increasing the blood flow to your heart, and by increasing your breathing rate to bring more oxygen to your lungs.
  3. When you cut yourself, your body adapts by forming a clot and then growing new tissue.
  4. When you are exposed to bacteria and viruses, your body adapts by mounting an immune response. You sneeze, cough, have a runny noses, vomit, or perspire to get the toxins out, and a fever develops to raise your core temperature so that the bacteria cannot survive.

Where does chiropractic fit it? It helps your body adapt better! A body that is mechanically balanced with joints that are moving properly will better adapt to the physical demands of sports, hobbies, household chores or work responsibilities. A body with a strong, straight spine will adapt to the forces of slips, falls, motor vehicle collisions or repetitive strains with greater ease, resulting in less injury. A body that is neurologically balanced (with a spinal cord free of irritation) will adapt better to stress, be calmer and happier, digest easier, sleep well, have balanced hormones, breathe easier, and exhibit a stronger immune response.

It’s for theses reasons so many people choose regular Chiropractic care, because they know their bodies are stronger in every possible way! Life is not static, and neither is your body. Change is constant, how are you adapting?

Summer Fun Tips!

My favourite season is summer! I love the sunshine, relaxed schedule, outdoor living and so many sports and hobbies. Here’s a few ideas to help deal with the parts of summer that can occasionally make it a little less fun…

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  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!

Stretch Yourself

I recommend stretching to every person in this practice, it’s a dialogue I have almost daily…but I must confess, I’m guilty of not stretching enough! When I was doing my TV show, Good Living, Good Health, we recorded an episode all about stretching with a great panel of guests including a Trainer, a Physiotherapist, and a Pilates/Yoga Instructor. We had a great conversation!

Here are some of the highlights: Our lifestyle habits and daily stressors will inevitably create tightness, aches and pains, and can even predispose people to spinal subluxations and other joint injuries. Adequate muscle flexibility is just as important as muscle strength for performance in athletics and life in general.

Most people know this! However, many people complain they don’t have time to exercise, let alone improve flexibility. What are some practical strategies?

Think “intermittent and often”. I’ve now started stretching briefly while brushing my teeth! What else to do during those 2 minutes? I’ve also started stretching in the evenings while we are often relaxing and watching a movie or television. I listen to tons of audio training and podcasts, so now rather than just sitting still I find myself moving and doing some simple stretches. You can always find small moments to stretch if you are aware it is something you should do! So consider this a reminder.

Healthy movement involves: (1) proper joint alignment (this is where Chiropractic comes in) and (2) muscles that are capable of expanding and stretching to their full capacity; muscles which are full of oxygen and given the opportunity to move through their full range of motion.

Doing a few simple stretches intermittently and often can make a tremendous difference in your overall mobility as well as help you hold your adjustments and build a healthier spine. Including stretching as part of your healthy lifestyle will improve your sports performance, help with daily lifestyle tasks, and prevent injuries! If you need ideas ask me for a copy of the spinal stretches or borrow one of the many books in the practice.

Should we abandon the term “clean eating”?

I recently read an article where the author suggested we eliminate the term “clean eating” and although it was a well written article, I don’t agree with the idea that  the term ‘clean eating’ is a bad thing. 

To me, using the term ‘clean eating’ is the one unifier with all the different approaches to nutrition. 

Whether you prefer paleo or keto, whether you choose to eat animal protein or are vegetarian, the one thing that is consistent with every approach to food I’ve observed, and the majority of health professionals would agree with – eating real food will always be better for you than anything processed or packaged, which contains artificial sugars, colours, preservatives, thickening agents and so much more. 

Clean eating is the simple idea of eating whole foods as the primary foods in your diet. With the huge variety of perspectives out there, the diets and even some fads that tell you what and how to eat, this is one principle that everyone can agree on. Whole food, real food, is always going to be better than artificial food that comes out of a box. Whole foods are found in nature, and made of one ingredient. Fruits, vegetables, leafy greens, meat, fish, nuts and seeds are some examples.

To me, ‘clean’ is a reminder that choosing good quality food, (local and organically grown is even better) should always be the goal. It’s also an idea that is more easily adopted by most people, rather than the restrictions of most dietary protocols. To me, it also means that yes you can choose homemade brownies, cookies, cakes, even the occasional fried food when it’s made with real ingredients and by the hands of a human being in a real kitchen. 

Check out this post about the basic nutrition recommendations I give people to get started making healthy changes to their diet.

Movement is Life!

One of my favorite quotes that pertains to Chiropractic doesn’t come from a Chiropractor, but from a brain researcher…

Roger Sperry, the recipient of the Nobel Prize in 1982 for his work in brain research, stated:

“The more structurally distorted we are, the less energy we have for metabolism, for healing and for thinking.”

This is Chiropractic 101!

Without movement you could not sustain life. Blood cells that don’t move cannot transport oxygen, lungs that don’t move cannot breath, hearts that don’t move can’t pump blood, and spines that don’t move can’t create the motion needed for proper joint nutrition or body mechanics.

Most importantly, spines that don’t properly move cannot adequately stimulate the joint-brain pathways for the regulation of hundreds of internal functions your body performs each and every day.

Movement and alignment of the spine is required for healthy brain function, specifically the coordination of activities such as concentration and learning, emotions, motor control and organ function.

Chiropractors ensure your spinal joints are moving the way they were designed to, so that YOU can move, think and feel the way you were designed to!

My Summer Adventure First Aid Kit

I love summer!  I love getting outdoors with my sons on the trails or at the beach. Even though it’s starting to get a little tougher to recruit them to spend time with me in their teenage years with their own sports involvement, jobs and their own friendships, time together outside is consistently what I’m aiming for.  At all ages, during every season, there are minor injuries that can happen, and I’m often asked how I deal with them in my home.

In our home there are no pharmaceuticals, harsh chemicals or commercial preparations, period. The majority of minor scrapes, bruises, burns, rashes, I have always been able to support with some of the items listed here, as well as herbal medicines, foods, fluids, rest, and spinal adjustments, particularly if there has been a tumble or fall or sports collision. Based on my training, I am comfortable handling many injuries but we have still made trips to the ER for stitches and broken bones! 

Here’s what I keep in my home, and in a pack that I can easily throw into a basket or backpack if we are heading out the door.  Please remember, if you’re ever in doubt about how to handle an injury or illness, get in touch with me, contact your medical doctor or head to the emergency room for further advice. 

Arnica cream or Traumeel – for aches and pains, to help reduce inflammation

Arnica 30c (homeopathic remedy) – for bites, bruises, cuts, broken skin, burns, scalds, nosebleeds, stings, sprains, fractures, muscular aches and pains, (or virtually any injury to the body)

Aconite 30c (homeopathic remedy) – for fear, anxiety, restlessness, sudden illness, intense pain, shock.  Give it to any child who has been hurt or traumatized in any way

Chamomilla 30c (homeopathic remedy) – for teething, insomnia, earaches, digestive troubles, anytime they need

Band-Aids, gauze, wet-wipes (for traveling only, when at home I just have soft rags and water or peroxide for disinfectant)

Tweezers, Ice packs

Hydrogen Peroxide, Rubbing Alcohol – Basic disinfectants, but the best way to clean a wound is to first wash your hands, then wash the wound with mild natural soap and water. This is what I use 95% of the time!

Witch Hazel – Strong natural antioxidant and astringent; good for disinfecting and promotes healing. Also helps with itching and inflammation

Bach Rescue Remedy –  A flower remedy designed for shock, trauma, any type of anxiety.  Can be taken orally. Very relaxing and soothing.

Calendula cream – Great healing salve for cuts, stings, burns, scrapes and scratches, any skin irritation. Easy to find at any natural health store or at markets throughout the summer!

Olive oil – soothing to the skin and a great carrier oil for using essential oils. Coconut oil is also a favourite. Use about a 1/4 cup combined with 6-10 drops of the essential oil. Essential oils are highly concentrated and should not be used directly on the skin. There are so many essential oils of benefit to keep in your home, these are my top 3:

Tea Tree Oil – antibiotic, anti fungal, antiseptic and antiviral

Eucalyptus – antibiotic, analgesic (pain relieving), antiseptic, and anti-inflammatory 

Lavender – antiseptic, antibiotic, analgesic, antiviral, anti fungal, antidepressant, healing, and sedating

Smoothly Starting Your Day

Most mornings my sons start their day off with a smoothie. I’ll often make extra in the warmer months and pour the leftovers into popsicle molds – a much better alternative than the sugar-filled commercial frozen treats.

Why are smoothies great for growing kids?

Because you can pack a whole lot of goodness into these drinks! When my sons were younger I had more control over their food choices. As teenagers it’s a little tougher, but with a smoothie in the morning and healthy dinners in the evening I can stress a little less at what they might consume during the day. (Read my other tips about feeding kids healthy food here.)

You can read this blog post for some of the favourites within my practice, but most mornings it’s a pretty quick and easy recipe before my sons are dashing out the door to school:

  • 1-2 bananas
  • 1 scoop or protein powder (I always opt for something that is a vegan product as I don’t like whey or soy proteins)
  • 1/2cup – 1cup frozen fruit (whatever we have! Berries are a consistent favourite)
  • Add water or orange juice to cover
  • Blend it in a Vitamix & pour!

4 Tips To Protect Your Back When 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, flexibilty 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! 

A Little Heat is Good For You

I’m not talking about applying heat topically with a heating pad, or sitting in a hot tub to relax your muscles, that’s a different discussion altogether.

I’m talking about adding a little heat to your body in the form of spice! I have a slight addiction to these little peppers, my sons tease me that I carry them to the table for every meal. It’s true. I enjoy the taste, but there are many benefits to these tasty little morsels:

Chili peppers contain Vitamin C, Vitamin A, and B6. Beta Carotene and Capsaicin (which gives the heat) are also a powerful antioxidants to support countless functions in your body and support your immune system.

Add a little spice to your life and give chili peppers a try! There are plenty of options at your local grocery store and soon easily found at farmers markets.