Ask the Expert

Dear Naturopathic Doctor,
Everyone is talking about how carbs are so bad for you. What happened to fat being bad for you!
- Concerned Parent
Healthy Fats: 4 reasons healthy fats are good for you
  1. If you don't eat healthy fat you will crave unhealthy fats.
  2. Healthy fats tell your liver to lower cholesterol, prevent diabetes, burn body fat and properly detoxify all cells in the body.
  3. Healthy fat gives you endurance throughout the day instead of short bursts then crashes caused by sugars and carbs.
  4. Healthy fats are essential for brain/nervous system function, mood stability and hormone balance.
  5. Healthy fats cause the body to burn excess fat and protect muscle.
Healthy fats are fats from foods that we eat which are naturally oily
  • Olives/ Olive Oil
  • Avocado/ Avocado Oil
  • Coconut/ Coconut Oil
  • Seeds/ Seed butter/ Seed Oils
  • Nuts/ Nut butter/ Nut Oils (peanuts must always be organic)
  • Fish/ Chicken (skin on)/Other meats (ideally grass fed)
  • Whole Milk or Cream Dairy and Butter (ideally organic)
  • Eggs with yolk
  • Partially Hydrogenated/trans anything
  • Canola
  • Cotton Seed
  • Safflower
  • Vegetable Oil
  • Corn Oil

Dear Naturopathic Doctor,
Is Gluten like really bad for you or is it another fad?
- Concerned Parent
The Wheat/Gluten Truth

Many people now experience great improvements in the following conditions when implementing the avoidance of wheat.

  1. Joint, muscle, tendon and nerve pain
  2. Can cause inability to absorb key nutrients
  3. Correlated with mood disturbance and proper neurotransmitter function
  4. Can contribute to weight gain and weight loss
  5. Intrinsically connected with thyroid performance and endocrine function
  6. Digestion and skin issues are typical signs but not always present.
  7. Can cause unexplained neurological symptoms and auto-immune disease
  8. Can tax immune system and create sleep schedule and mitochondrial energy production malfunction.

Why are so many people now allergic to wheat when it has been a staple food for so many years?
In 2002 Monsanto presented its own safety evaluation to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) stating that it's genetically modified (GM) glyphosate-tolerant wheat is safe and as nutritious as conventional wheat. The FDA approved the wide distribution of this plant which is a much different plant then the wheat we were consuming even 50 years ago. Many people who are sensitive to wheat in North America have no problems with wheat in European countries where genetically modified foods and certain pesticides are banned.

Gluten is really just a part of the protein structure that contributes to"gluten sensitivity". The word gluten is now used as a blanket term to include the entire genetic sequence of this wheat protein. The protein structure of gluten is quite complex and includes gluten and different fractions of gliadin. Very few laboratory tests test for all of the different branches of the gluten protein.

Wheat, Spelt, Kamut, Barley, Rye, Oats, faro, durum, bulgar, semolina, triticale,

Carbohydrates to Allow
Rice, Corn, Potato, Sweet Potato, Squash, Millet, Quinoa, Buck wheat, Tapioca, etc.

How long will it take after taking gluten out of your diet for you to feel better?
The effects of gluten can last from 1 hour to 6 months. When the immune system mounts an attack against something it doesn't give up easily. It will continue to create symptoms long after it recognizes what it thinks is a foreign invader. You must avoid gluten for one month before deciding whether you feel better off of it.

Dear Naturopathic Doctor,
What diet should I be on for weight loss/hormones/etc?
- Concerned Parent
Diet for a Lifetime
Build each meal from 4 important groups (listed below). Make sure you get at least one large serving of each of the four important food groups daily. These foods do not need to be limited.

  1. Dark Coloured (red, blue, purple) Fruit or pineapple.
    Berries, Cherries, Strawberries, pomegranate, fresh pomegranate juice (POM brand) raspberries, pineapple Etc. Unlimited. One or two apples or pears per day. (Frozen fruit is generally better than fresh because it has not lost its nutrients in the transportation process). Anthocyanins are pigments in fruits that do incredible things in supporting immune system and protecting DNA.
  2. Dark Green Leafy Vegetables (Kale, Collard Greens, Mustard Greens, Beet Greens, Turnip Greens, Swiss chard, spinach and green leaf salad ).

    If you don't have at least one large serving of these each day then take a greens powder. Cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, broccoli, and Brussel sprouts are good for you but do not count. Starchy vegetables like carrots, peas, and sweet potatoes are good for you but also do not count. It is best to have many servings of vegetables each day but have only one serving of raw vegetables.

    All other vegetables should be sautéed or steamed. Large green leaf salads do count as a dark leafy green but do not need to count as your one raw vegetable. Macro and Micro Minerals found in leafy greens are difficult to get anywhere else and are needed for proper hormone balance and metabolism.
  3. Protein Sources: Nuts, beans, seeds, eggs, dairy, meat, fish. Ideally the meats are grass-fed, free range, or organic. If you choose peanuts be sure they are organic all other nuts don't have to be organic but are better if they are.

    If you eat nut butters make sure they do not have any added chemicals or oils other than the nuts themselves. When shopping for yogurt, or ice cream use only the items that the first ingredient is whole milk or cream. Do not buy the items that have skim milk or modified milk ingredient as their first ingredient. When purchasing milk look for whole milk or cream.

    The higher the fat content the better. Organic dairy is best. Adequate amounts of protein are essential to proper metabolism. Protein deficiency prevents muscle growth and contributes to fat storage and water retention.
  4. Healthy Fats: avocado, olive oil, coconut oil, flax or hemp oil, nuts or nut oils, animal fats, butter, ghee, seeds or seed oil. (vegetable, canola, safflower, palm, corn, soy, and cottonseed oil are highly refined and unhealthy - inhibit proper hormone balance) NEVER eat PARTIALLY HYDROGENATED OILS.

    These have been banned in other countries for years because of their cardiovascular harm. Adequate amounts of healthy fat are essential for liver health and proper detoxification.
  5. Fifth food group (ha ha): Dark Chocolate 70% or more cocoa content and red wine 6oz per night. Ensure that the wine is from outside of North America.

Limit or Avoid Carbs, sugars and processed foods:
Any foods other than the four above food groups should be limited. Starchy carbs (rice, potato, corn, chips, bread, cereal, porridge, pasta and other grains ) should be limited. I strongly recommend that you avoid completely any form of wheat from North America. For general health maintenance eat only one serving of starchy carbs per day. For great health avoid the above all week except for your carb re-feeds.

Carb re-feed schedule: If you work out 3-5 times per week you have two carb re-feed's per week. If you work out 0-2 times per week you have one carb re-feed per week. A Carb re-feed consists of a large meal of only starchy carbohydrates with fats or vegetables (not with protein). Carb re-feeds keep your pancreas in shape.

Salt: Limit or avoid table salt (NaCl). Real sea salt, pink Himalayan salt or other harvested salts do not need to be limited and in fact support electrolyte and mineral balance.

Dear Naturopathic Doctor,
My friend has Meniere's Disease and the doctor says there is not treatment for it. Is there hope?
- Concerned Parent
For many people worldwide, an invisible, buzzing, disorienting beast follows them wherever they go, and will at random send their world spinning out of balance. That beast is a condition known as Meniere's disease. For people with Meniere's disease, life can go from normal to being unable to function in the blink of the eye, with crippling bouts of vertigo, light sensitivity, extreme tinnitus and eventually hearing loss, the sum of which can lead to them being exhausted and unable to function for a day or two. This is caused by a dysfunction within the inner ear, which cannot be seen without special imaging technology, and can be caused by bacterial or viral infection, a hit on the head or damage to the inner ear canals.

Within the inner ear are fluid filled canals, which flow in relation to our bodily movement. The same way that the bubble of air within a level will shift and move in relation to its position, so will this fluid. As it moves, balance nerve receptors within the canals measure the direction and force of the fluid and transmit that information to the brain to provide the body with balance. There is also a hearing nerve within each ear, which picks up vibration and transmits that information to the brain, allowing the body to hear. In the event that there is damage to those canals, the body creates inflammation there to stop the canals from leaking fluid or from further damage occurring. The inflammation is created by flooding the ear with extra fluid which puts pressure on all components within the ear. When this occurs, the extra pressure on the balance and hearing nerve causes them to send alert messages to the brain, which the brain then attempts to deal with all at once. The conflicting information results in the body attempting to compensate for the issues with balance and hearing at the same time and leads to crippling vertigo and a high pitched constant ringing in the ears known as tinnitus.

Meniere's can be a very isolating disease. Patients report that after each attack it becomes harder and harder to hear low tones and voices, and the tinnitus tends to worsen over time, often leading patients to regress and isolate themselves. The vertigo can come on at any time and in the worst occasions, manifests as "drop attacks", in which the patient is utterly overwhelmed very quickly and simply drops to the floor, nauseated and unable to stop the world from spinning. These attacks can leave the patient exhausted for a day or more, depending on the severity, all the while they appear physically healthy, which can cause resentment on the part of the patient. For many with advanced Meniere's, socializing can be too extreme, especially in loud, very bright or highly stimulating environments.

While there are no antibiotics directly beneficial for Meniere's disease, treatments which reduce this excessive pressure within the ear are very useful for eliminating the symptoms. Natural methods to reduce this inflammation are diverse and include chiropractic adjustments of the neck, homeopathics which act as both a diuretic to help the fluid be drained from the swollen inner ear and to combat any damage done to the structure of the inner ear from infection, and gentle massage to mobilize the head and neck, causing the excess fluid to drain.
Dear Naturopathic Doctor,
What are some healthy snack ideas for my kids, as I'm tired of feeding them sugary processed treats?
- Concerned Parent
Nut (seed) Butter Balls
  1. One Jar of Nut or Seed butter
  2. 2-3 cups of protein Powder ( brown rice or vegan if sensitive to dairy )
  3. 1 cup of Shredded coconut, chopped nuts or seeds
  4. 1 cup of raisins, cranberries, chocolate chips *option to add unrefined coconut oil
  5. Water - see directions

Add nut butter and protein powder and begin to mix until too dry then slowly add water until all of the protein powder is somewhat moist. You can experiment with amounts of water and protein powder to taste and consistency. Ultimately you want it moist, sticky and dry enough to form into balls. Once desired consistency is reached add, the remaining ingredients. (shredded Coconut will dry the mixture slightly) Form into balls

*These freeze and thaw nicely

Why these are so cool:

  1. Easy to make
  2. Easy to grab and throw in your bag and can be eaten without utensils.
  3. They taste good and are a great breakfast/snack.
  4. Hypoallergenic for individuals sensitive to a lot of foods.
  5. Even with chocolate chips they are protein rich and balance blood sugar
  6. These prevent you from craving sugars/carbs next time you are hungry
* Coconut oil is an MCT that boosts metabolism and sustains energy
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