So I made it to day 7 of my detox journey. Yeah! I feel a lot better with regards to digestion and my skin, but my energy is still a bit low. I’ve increased the number of meals to ensure proper blood sugar regulation. Coffee and sugary lattes are my energy boost while studying pharmacology or researching pathology- so I’ve turned to one of my favourite coffee substitutes, organic roasted dandelion root tea. It’s a great liver support while detoxing, and has a delicious bitter coffee flavour. It doesn’t contain caffeine, but is a nice healthy treat during a rainy Vancouver afternoon.
It’s Fall, which means pumpkin spice lattes (PSL) are being advertised everywhere! What seems like the perfect fall drink may actually be harmful to our health and skin.
A #PSL can contain carrageenan, hormone and antibiotic laden milk, 50 grams of sugar in a grande (yikes), artificial flavours, sulfites, and condensed milk (making it non-vegan even with soy milk). Surprisingly, PSL doesn’t even contain real pumpkin.
The amount of sugar and milk used in these lattes can actually contribute to acne flare-ups and aging. Milk contains a disaccharide called lactose, which is made by combing two sugar molecules called glucose and galactose. Sugar is also a big contributor to skin aging due to glycosylation- stay tune for this upcoming blog on sugar and aging. Finally, research studies have found that skim milk can contribute to acne, specifically in adolescent males and females [1,2].
In health and beauty,
. Adebamowo CA et al. 2008. Milk Consumption and Acne in Teenaged Boys. J Am Acad Dermatol; 58(5): 787-93.
 Adebamowo CA et al. 2006. Milk Consumption and Acne in Adolescent Girls. Dermatol Online J; 12(4):1.
The weather in Vancouver is cold and rainy, so I’ve had to alter my detox to contain more warming foods. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, our Spleen helps us digest food. The (TCM) Spleen favours warm foods, so I’ve increased my consumption of soups and warm herbal teas. I also add cinnamon and ginger to my smoothies (which are cold in nature) to add some warmth. With a fall detox, it’s also important to eat what’s in season- choose hearty root vegetables and delicious apples.
I’ve been eating of lot of butternut squash soup, ginger and carrot soup, and also curried pumpkin soup… so good!
delicious curried pumpkin soup
I’m almost done my first week of the mind, body, clean detox. It’s been a hard week because I’m surrounded by people that can enjoy all the sugary foods I wish I could eat! Chocolate, pumpkin spice lattes, and delicious dishes at the Friday night market.
I’ve realized how hard it is to break a sugar addiction, especially when we are bombarded with fast, easy, and cheap food. Sugary foods are part of our social structure. In order to detox from sugar, we need our friends and family to also detox from sugar. It’s like quitting smoking- it’s so much harder to quit when everyone around you smokes.
In health and beauty,
In my private practice, I focus on treating skin conditions naturally. I treat a variety of skin conditions that range from hormonal acne to autoimmune psoriasis. I find that naturopathic medicine can be very effective in treating a variety of skin conditions, and can be used in combination with conventional medicine.
For my skincare regime, I buy organic and eco-friendly products. My philosophy is don’t put products on your skin unless you would eat them!
Here are my three top skincare products that hail from California, a state known for sunshine, beautiful people, and organic skincare products.
1. Josie Maran 100% Organic Argan Oil: Argan oil (aka liquid gold) comes from the kernels of the argan tree that is found in Morocco. It can be used on the skin, hair and nails- making it a wonderful multi-purpose product. Argan oil can be beneficial for both dry or oily skin. Individuals with oily skin may be afraid to use oil on their skin, but argan oil can actually suppress sebum and decrease acne flares.
purchase at: http://www.josiemarancosmetics.com/100-pure-argan-oil.html#.VCJPrlaaBSU or at Sephora
2. Earth tu Face Skin Stick: A velvety smooth face/lip/body stick that contains geranium and vetiver. If you have dry skin, this is the stick for you. It’s one of the best lip balms I’ve tried- very hydrating, healing, and has a wonderful herbal smell. The package is so cute- zero plastics and is compostable. The product also has non-GMO vitamin E.
3. May Lindstrom the honey mud and the blue cocoon: these are handmade skincare products that smell and look divine. The honey mud is a cleanser that contains honey, which has antibacterial properties . The blue cocoon is a beauty balm that contains blue tansy, which helps to calm irritated skin.
In health and beauty,
My detox bowl recipe:
1. 1/2 cup of quinoa or brown rice
2. 1/2 avocado- cut into slices or cubes
3. Baked red onions, garlic, carrots, and sweet potato (I also added turnips but are harder to bake)
4. Sunflower sprouts
5. Fresh cilantro
6. 2-3 Sliced radishes
7. Protein source: either beans, chicken, or fish.
In health and beauty,
So yesterday was Day 1 of my detox journey.The day started off with an egg and a protein-packed detox smoothie. I felt fine up until 4 pm, when my energy went low and I was craving chocolate and coffee. Healthy snacks didn’t seem to curb my sugar cravings, so I decided to take a mid-afternoon nap. This detox has helped me realize how dependant I was on sugary foods and stimulants to get me through the day. I’ve also noticed that I want to snack of food whenever I watch TV, which means limiting my TV time while on this detox. I’ve replaced TV time with restorative yoga and walking.
On day 2 of the detox journey, I woke up with a lot of energy. I made a smoothie, an egg and a mint tea for breakfast. For lunch, I had left-overs from the night before (detox bowl and salmon). My snacks included brown rice cake with almond butter, protein smoothie (the second one of the day), and raspberries (aka nature’s candies). I’m eating 5-6 small protein-packed meals during the day to help stabilize my blood sugar levels and reduce carbohydrate cravings. Dinner involved ginger chicken, quinoa, and roasted vegetables. I also added sunflower sprouts and cilantro to the meal- extra detoxifying and nutritious. I also did a 1 hour restorative yoga class and 15-minutes sauna. Tomorrow, I plan to go to hot yoga!
In health and beauty,
Enterovirus D68 (EV-D68) is the new concern for many parents sending their children back to school. EV-D68 is considered a rare strain of non-polio enterovirus, and was first identified in California in 1962. This current outbreak was first reported in Missouri and Illinois, but new cases are being confirmed daily. According to CBC news, there have been three confirmed cases of EV-D68 in BC’s lower mainland and at least 18 confirmed cases in Alberta. In Ontario, three cases have been confirmed. Children returning to school can be at an increased risk, as the virus spreads through respiratory secretions (coughing, sneezing, touching contaminated surfaces like doorknobs).
What is EV-D68?
Enterovirus D68 is a virus that causes mild to severe respiratory symptoms and typically affects infants and children. For most children, this virus causes mild symptoms that resemble the common cold. However, children with respiratory problems can develop serious breathing issues. Children with a compromised immune system can also be at a greater risk for complications.
What are the symptoms of EV-D68?
An infected individual can have a variety of symptoms that include fever, runny nose, sneezing, cough, and muscles aches. In more serious cases, a child can have difficulty breathing and low blood-oxygen levels.
You should seek immediate medical care if your child is having problems breathing (including wheezing or turning blue), has decreased alertness, or dehydrated.
How can you protect your child?
The number one way to prevent the spread of this virus is hand washing. Also, practicing good cough etiquette and disinfecting surfaces and shared toys can help.
Boosting your child’s immune system by eating a balanced diet high in vitamin C and low in sugar and high fructose corn syrup is important. You can also see your naturopathic doctor for natural ways to boost your child’s immune system.
If your child has asthma, make sure his or her medication is not expired.
How do you treat EV-D68?
Currently, there are no vaccines or anti-viral medications used to treat EV-D68. If your child becomes ill, the two key things to help with recovery are sleep and hydration. Typically, the virus lasts one week, but this depends on the severity of the infection. If your child is severely ill, seek medical care immediately.
Has anyone died from EV-D68?
Currently, there are no reported deaths from EV-D68 this year.
Belluz Julia. Sept 17, 2014. What we know (and don’t know) about rare virus infecting kids across the US. Available at: http://www.vox.com/2014/9/8/6122471/what-we-know-about-the-new-enterovirus-outbreak-virus [Sept 18, 2014].
CBC News. Posted September 16, 2014. Enterovirus D68: 3 confirmed cases in BC’s Lower Mainland. Available at: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/enterovirus-d68-3-confirmed-cases-in-b-c-s-lower-mainland-1.2767238 [September 18, 2014].
CDC. 2014. Enterovirus D68. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/non-polio-enterovirus/about/ev-d68.html [September 18, 2014].
What is Metabolic Syndrome?
Metabolic syndrome (aka syndrome X) is a common conditions that increases a person’s risk of heart disease, stoke, and type 2 diabetes. The underlying cause of metabolic syndrome is insulin resistance. Insulin, a hormone produce by the pancreas, is responsible for bring glucose (sugar) into the cells. After a meal, our blood sugar levels rise and insulin is released from the pancreas to help transport glucose from the blood into our muscles and other tissues. With insulin resistance, our cells don’t respond to the normal amount of insulin being produced and blood glucose levels stay elevated. Our body will try to compensate by working harder to produce more insulin.
How is Metabolic Syndrome Diagnosed?
Based on the guidelines set out by the American Heart Association (AHA), metabolic syndrome is diagnosed when a person has three or more of the following traits:
Abdominal obesity, which is defined as a waist circumference that is 40”+ in men and 35”+ in women
A serum triglyceride of 150 mg/dl or higher
HDL cholesterol of 40 mg/dl or lower in men and 50 mg/dl in women
Blood pressure of 130/85 or higher
Fasting blood glucose of 100 mg/dl
What are Risk Factors?
A family history of heart disease and type 2 diabetes increases the risk of metabolic syndrome. Furthermore, one of the biggest risk factors includes obesity, which increases the risk of insulin resistance. Other risk factors include smoking, poor diet, and lack of exercise.
How can Naturopathic Medicine Help?
Naturopathic medicine can be very helpful in treating metabolic syndrome. A naturopathic doctor may run additional tests to identify your fasting insulin resistance. This is an important test to assess early stages of blood sugar dysregulation. Typically, diet, supplements and lifestyle interventions will be used to treat metabolic syndrome. Book your appointment today with Dr. Lukasko to get your blood sugar and hormones under control!