If you want to know more about Naturopathic Medicine and it's approach to chronic disease and how it can help the Canadian Health Care Industry check out this video of Naturopathic Doctor, Jason Lee.
Top 10 Ways to Stay Warm in the Winter Naturopathically
- Dr. Meghan MacKinnon, ND
Markham Naturopathic Doctor
I hate to say it residents of York Region, but in Markham we experienced our first frost this past week. You may be putting your snow tires on your car, digging out your winter gear and putting up Christmas lights but what can you do to better prepare yourself and your families for another Ontario winter? A drop in internal body temperature whether you are inside or outside can lower your immune system and predispose you to getting colds and flus. Since we all want to stay healthy this winter and unfortunately can’t hibernate over these next few months check out the tips below to stay warm and healthy!
1. Cover Up!: Get out those long johns and turtle necks! Remember that scarfs can also be worn inside at the office or around the house. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, it is very important to protect the back of your neck and your mid-drift area to prevent getting sick– this means no belly tops! Cotton is something that can make matters worse because it absorbs sweat which can make you even colder.
2. Eat Warm Foods: If you want to conserve your warmth try to stay away from those salads, raw foods and smoothies. Although these options are very healthy trying to switch to more soups, stews and steamed veggies at this time of year can really help keep you feeling toasty.
3. Winterize your Home: Stay warm in your home and save on your heating bill by making sure that all windows and doors are properly sealed to avoid drafts.
4. Check your Thyroid: Your thyroid gland is responsible for you metabolic rate which includes your body temperature! If you have signs of low temperature, fatigue and sluggishness, constipation and dry skin you should see your naturopathic doctor or primary care physician to assess if you have hypothyroidism, which may make staying warm even more difficult.
5. Spice it Up: Try experimenting with warming spices in your cooking. Try adding turmeric, cayenne, ginger, garlic, cinnamon, cardamom or cloves to your soups and to switch up your regular dishes. These spices are also great brewed together in a warm tea with a little bit of almond milk to keep your insides warm! Cayenne can even be added in small amounts to your boots, shoes and mitts to keep you warm, but be careful if you have reduced feeling in your extremities because this spice can really burn if you aren’t careful.
6. Improve Your Circulation: There are many simple ways to get your blood flowing to your hands and feet, but first it is important to rule out and address underlying causes of poor circulation such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Next stop smoking and get moving!
7. Hot and Cold Showers: Another great way to get your circulation up is to try hot and cold showers. By alternating between temperature extremes our blood vessels dilate in the warmth, then constrict again in the cold diverting blood internally to our organs. Try doing this in a 3:1 ratio of time spent in hot to cold and always end on cold!
8. Be Active: Getting exercise is one of the best ways to naturally generate heat in your body and also keeps your immunity up to prevent you from getting sick. Although it’s cold enjoy the time you spend outdoors by going skiing, skating or walking around your neighbourhood looking at Christmas lights.
9. Cuddle: Find your favourite person, pet or blanket and snuggle up with in front of the fire. Body heat is one of the best sources to keep you warm!
10. Supplementation: See your Naturopath to see if supplementation can help you with your body heat. Herbs such as Ginkgo biloba and fish oils both have the ability to improve circulation if this is one of the causes of your cold feet, but it is always best to work with someone to determine which supplements are best for you.
Now that I am practising in Markham it is important that I am familiar with some of the health food stores and other places to buy clean and green products in the area. I thought I would share some of these places with you so you know where you can go to get good gluten and dairy free products. Please feel free to share your favourite places to purchase healthy foods for me to add to my growing list.
1. Nature's Emporium: It's worth the drive to Newmarket for this one folks. This place is a naturopathic doctor's heaven.
16655 Yonge Street
2. Turquoise Wholistic: Keeping it local this is one of Markham's health secrets.
78 Main St. North
3. Healthy Planet: Conveniently located across from Markville Mall, a great place for healthy finds.
8567 McCowan Road, Unit 2
4. BMS Resources: Located in North York at the Naturopathic College, you are bound to bump into some future Naturopathic Doctors at this health food store.
1225 Sheppard Ave E
North York, Ontario
A new research finding proposes a connection between birth control pills and prostate cancer, which has many people talking. Birth control pills containing estrogen and progesterone have become a standard in North America- almost a birth right for teenage girls and a standard treatment for any hormone imbalance. One thing rarely thought about when we take our medications and supplements is that by-products can be excreted to re-circulate through the environment after we take them. This means that as more people take the birth control pill, there is more synthetic estrogen released into our environment. This can be difficult to filter out of our water supply, meaning it can affect us on a daily basis.
For men, one thing estrogen may affect is their prostate. The prostate gland is a hormone producing gland of the male reproductive system that makes secretions. Interestingly, this study found that prostate cancer is much more common in North America and developed countries where usage of the birth control pill is high. While an interesting link has been made in this study, it is important to note that this is preliminary research and it doesn’t mean that birth control pills = prostate cancer. In fact, this is highly unlikely, because there are many other chemicals in our environment that also act as hormone modulators or ‘xenoestrogens’, perhaps creating an additive effect. Some examples of these are bisphenol A (BPA), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and phthalates which are used in most plastic compounds. The Endocrine Society continues to provide up to date research on the health effects of these substances to identify the health effects that these chemicals have on animals and humans. They say that xenoestrogens have many connections to hormone health including adverse reproductive outcomes (infertility, cancers, malformations) with increasing evidence for effects on other hormone systems, including thyroid, weight and metabolism in addition to insulin and glucose homeostasis.
For more information on how to avoid environmental estrogen, hormone balance, prostate health or detoxification email me to set up an appointment or ask a question on my FAQ page.
I just got home from a great day discussing the benefits of Naturopathic Medicine and it's role in our current health care system, which has left me motivated, inspired and frankly quite exhausted from being on my feet all day! Here is a sneak peak at a photo of Janet Beed, Neil Walker and Rob Bull - the management team at Markham-Stouffville Hospital with myself and our team of practitioners at this beautiful new multidisciplinary clinic. More photos to come!
Dr. Meg MacKinnon Naturopathic Doctor