Monthly Archives: July 2014

Kitchen Kombucha

Kombucha Recipe

7 Days to Natural, Organic, Homemade Kombucha Tea

Kombucha is a refreshing, effervescent tea drink rich in antioxidants and good healthy bacteria. And the best part – you can easily make your own at home!

It takes some preparation to get your supplies organized, but once you get a taste of this fizzy delicious drink, you’ll be making it on the regular.

Here is my first-timer’s recipe for 7 Day Kombucha. Enjoy!!

Yields: 4 litres

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 cup coconut or cane sugar
  • 4-6 tea bags or (4-6 tsp of loose leaf tea)
  • SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast) Kombucha Starter Culture – you can grow your own SCOBY if you are keen, or for first timers, it’s easiest to buy a Tea Starter kit online (http://www.culturesforhealth.com/kombucha-tea-starter-culture.html)
  • 1 cup starter liquid – use 1 cup of fluid off the top of previous batch of Kombucha OR if this is your first time – use 4 Tbsp of white distilled vinegar plus 1 cup water
  • Purified or spring water
  • Kettle
  • 4 litre glass jar
  • Cloth cover
  • Large rubber band

How to Make Kombucha:

  1. Boil 1 litre water
  2. Add water and tea bags/leaves to glass jar
  3. Steep 5 minutes and remove tea bags or leaves
  4. Add sugar and stir until dissolved
  5. Add SCOBY and starter liquid
  6. Cover glass jar with cloth and secure around with rubber band
  7. Set pot aside in a dry, warm location away from direct sun
  8. Leave still for 7 days

After 7 days – add flavour if you wish.  You can add mint, raspberry, honey, ginger, or anything you like.

DRINK and ENJOY!!

Probiotics in the Spotlight

By Dr Nina Lange

Why probiotics? There are so many reasons we prescribe probiotics to populate the digestive system with good bacteria. Here is a list of just some of what they can do for you. Make sure you use good quality probiotics both in supplement and food sources.

*Improves the integrity of the intestines which in turn improves absorption of nutrients from food you eat.

*Outcompetes yeast and harmful bacteria so it naturally helps to get rid of problematic overgrowth of these organisms that can cause yeast infections, gas, bloating, diarrhea and constipation.

*adequate levels of beneficial bacteria in the colon prevent the reabsorption of harmful estrogens and toxins

* a healthy gut can produce proper levels of certain antibodies that are required for better immune system function

* Help control appetite by increasing hormones leptin and grehlin that make us feel satiated.

*Decrease cortisol (adrenal stress hormone) and inflammatory cytokines(inflammation) in the body

*new research shows that various strains of probiotics have an effect on different neurotransmitters such as serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine.

Lactobacillus and bifidobacterium can secrete GABA.  A deficiency in GABA is linked to depression, insomnia and anxiety.

Bifidobacterium infantis releases serotonin, the feel-good hormone

Lactobacillus reuteri increase oxytocin, which improves overall mood, appearance and feeling good.

Lactobacillus acidophilus increases canabinoid receptors in the spinal cord which help to regulate pain

* Probiotics populate the vaginal canal and assist in innoculating the baby’s gut as it descends during the birth process.

 

Raising Progesterone Naturally

By Dr Nina Lange

Progesterone is one of the key hormones in a woman’s body. In proper balance with Estrogen and Testosterone, it functions to regulate menstrual cycles, improve fertility, ease menopausal transition and PMS, promote sleep and feeling calm, speed up metabolism and generates a general sense of wellbeing.

Without adequate levels, we see signs such as insomnia, bloating and water retention, PMS, irregular cycles, menstrual cramping, fibroids/PCOS, infertility, and anxiety.

As Naturopathic physicians we often test the levels of these hormones through a salivary hormone panel and make a plan for optimizing your levels of all of these hormones. Because we live in a society where Estrogen tends to dominate due to the use of pesticides, plastics and chemical hormones we more often see low Progesterone.

So what do we do to raise this incredibly important hormone?

1.Treat the adrenal glands:  This is another way of saying “help your body adapt better to stress”.  Because Progesterone is produced in both the ovaries and adrenal glands (that also regulate your stress responses) these important glands need to be strong. Reducing chronic stress by taking even small steps to support the adrenals through lifestyle changes (sleep, diet and moderate exercise) and supportive herbs and nutritional supplements will help to optimize their ability to produce adequate levels of Progesterone.

2.Detoxify the liver: the liver metabolizes hormones so in order to ensure proper ratios of Estrogen to Progesterone, support the liver on an ongoing basis. We also suggest talking to your ND about whether doing a detox/cleanse is right for you.

Along with some herb/supplements, consider a simple step such as a glass of warm water with lemon every morning to start stimulating the liver’s detoxification processes.

3. Herbs and Nutrition: Along with food sources, use supportive herbs and nutritional supplements in doses that are prescribed specifically for your needs.  Although there are many herbs and nutrients that can assist in bringing up Progesterone, some of our favourite ones include

I3C: broccoli, cabbage, kale, cauliflower, brussel sprouts

These help to reduce the load of harmful Estrogen in the body, which in turn increases the ratio of Progesterone to Estrogen

Vitamin B6: walnuts, beans, bananas, spinach, potatoes, lean red meat

Helps liver detoxify Estrogen

Zinc: shellfish, beef, pumpkin seeds, chickpeas, wheatgerm

Stimulates Progesterone production

 Magnesium: beans, pumpkin, whole grains, nuts, spinach

Supports adrenal glands in is useful in every enzyme reaction in the body which in turn helps produce hormones

Chaste tree: a herb that has a potent effect on the pituitary gland and is useful in directly stimulating the body’s production of Progesterone

Licorice Root, Rhodiola, Ashwaghanda, Shisandra: these herbs help to strengthen the adrenals allowing them to help produce and release sex hormones.

Evening Primrose Oil/Borage Oil: high in the fatty acid, GLA, these oils help to provide compounds for the body to make more Progesterone. Always balance these with fish oils or flax (omega 3s).

4.Regular sleep and meals: Make sure you get adequate sleep and at regular times. Ideally, going to bed between 9-11pm and waking between 6-8am, ensuring 7-9 hours sleep nightly, will assist the adrenals and pituitary gland in the brain in regulating the production of Progesterone

Eat meals that include protein at regular intervals to keep blood sugars stable. Eating erratically or having blood sugar spikes and lows will further stress the adrenals.

Decreasing the stress of inadequate sleep and blood sugar imbalances will unburden the adrenals, allowing them to release adequate levels of the hormones necessary for proper hormone balance.

Take charge of balancing your Hormones today! You can find out if your Progesterone is low and treat it! Proper hormone levels make a world of difference as they affect all aspects of your sense of wellbeing.

 

5Rs to Healthy Digestion

By Dr Julie Durnan

Your digestive tract, or as we lovingly like to refer to it at the clinic – your GUT, is the foundation for great health.

So it makes sense that in order to connect with health, we must first heal the gut.

There have been numerous articles written on the subject of the 4Rs of digestion – but in my practice, I’ve added an extra R. To find out what the 5th R is, please make sure to read through to the end of this article.

Here is my simple 5 step process to healing your gut and finding great health:

  1. REMOVESimply put – the first step involves removing the triggers that are aggravating your digestive tract so your gut can heal.This is done in one of two ways – by following an Elimination Diet for 3 weeks or by having a food sensitivity test (IgG ELISA blood test) done and eliminating only those foods that you are sensitive to.If you are following an Elimination Diet, this involves avoiding all common food allergens including:
  • Gluten
  • Dairy
  • Corn
  • Sugar
  • Eggs
  • Soy
  • Peanuts
  • Shellfish
  • Citrus
  • All processed foods containing artificial ingredients or preservativesThese foods much be strictly avoided for 3 weeks to ensure that all the allergens have cleared from your system.

It takes some effort, but it’s healthy eating and most of our patients who have done an elimination diet report feeling better than ever. It’s well worth it!

If you choose to have the blood test done, this is a quick and easy test done in our clinic. The test starts at $275, and the cost depends on number of foods tested. If you go this route, then your removal phase will involve only avoidance of those foods found to be a problem for you on the test.

Your digestive system is your barrier between your internal body and the external world.

Your gut can be easily damaged by toxins, chemicals, and any foods that cause your immune system to overreact.

But the good news is that once you avoid the overall load of triggers, your gut can heal

2.REPLACE

Once you have removed all the aggravating food culprits from your diet, it’s time to boost your gut’s natural digestive abilities, by replacing enzymes and acid.

Start taking a good quality digestive enzyme with each meal.

Enzymes help you to digest food, they reduce inflammation in the gut, they neutralize bacteria and viruses, and they ensure that what you eat, you actually absorb.

Depending on your gut health, you might also require some added hydrochloric acid (HCl). Speak to your naturopathic physician to see if you are a candidate for this.

3. REINOCULATE

After you have removed trigger foods for 3 weeks and replaced with enzymes for one week, you are now ready for reinoculation of healthy bacteria.

What this means is that you are now ready to take a good quality probiotic supplement to optimize your healthy gut microbial balance.

 Healthy gut bacteria is one of the most essential components to a health digestive tract so this step is not to be missed.

Did you know that our natural gut bacteria becomes damaged when we eat food allergens, consume pesticides and food additives, and are stressed?

Gut bacteria is crucial not only to good digestive function but also to whole body health including fertility, prenatal health, cardiovascular health (heart health), mood balance, hormone balance, and immune system function. It is one of the most underestimated components of the human body and something we talk about at length in visits with our patients.

As a side note: a good probiotic supplement is something that you can take ongoing for great health.

Lactobacillus ramnosus is one of the most well-studied probiotic strains around. Look for this bacteria on your probiotic’s ingredients label. Aim to get between 50 to 100 billion colony forming units (cfu) per day when healing your gut. Maintenance doses can be less.

I also recommend reinoculating your gut bacteria by using food-based medicine. Fermented foods are a wonderful way to restore healthy bacteria in the gut and to maintain optimal bacterial balance. Foods such as kefir, saurkraut, miso, kombucha, and kimchi are all superfoods that can restore healthy levels of beneficial bacteria.

4.REPAIR

You have removed irritants, replaced with digestive enzymes, and reinoculated with nourishing healthy bacteria – it’s now time to repair that gut lining to truly heal your whole digestive system.

A few of our favourite gut healing remedies are:

 Turmeric: an anti-inflammatory herb that has been well researched and shown to quickly and safely reduce overall inflammation and heal the gut lining. Can be taken in powder form with a bit of pepper and olive oil, or in a supplement form. Aim for 1500 to 3000mg daily.

 Fish Oil or Algae Oil (vegan): this anti-inflammatory food powerfully reduces inflammation but also benefits heart health, brain function (memory + mood), skin, and more.

 L-glutamine powder: 5-10 grams of powder daily will help to feed those enterocytes (cells that line your entire digestive tract) to keep them strong and the lining healthy.

Soothing (demulcent) herbs:

  • Marshmallow root (Althea officinalis)
  • Slippery Elm bark powder (Ulmus rubra)
  • DGL (deglycyrrizinated licorice)

5. RELAX

The last step of the 5Rs is crucial in maintaining a health digestive system. Relax.

If you are stressed or anxious, your gut health suffers. Period.

Blood is literally shunted away from your gut when you are under stress. In order to heal, it’s necessary that you relax, so that blood flow may return to the digestive system, bringing with it a healthy dose of nutrients and minerals for healing.

Take the time to rest, restore, to sleep, and to breathe. Your healthy gut will repay you a thousand times over.

Healthy Summer Tips from Pacifica Naturopathic

Happy Summer!

We can’t believe how quickly the first half of 2014 has flown by already!

It is a good reminder to make the most of every moment, every day and to appreciate our accomplishments so far and look forward to what is to come for the second half of the year.

Summer is a time of Abundance – lots of ripening fruits and vegetables, sunshine (we hope!) and time with friends/family. We hope you get to healthily enjoy this time and wish you a season rich in joy, health, energy and harmony.

Get out to enjoy the warmer weather fresh air every day if you can, even if just for a quick walk around the block!

If you aren’t feeling great or need to tune up your programs, want to make some lifestyle changes over the next few months or just have general health concerns or updates, call and book in to see your ND!

For PNC’s own health and a bit of time with our families and friends we will be closed from August 19-September 2nd so we can all start the Fall refreshed! If you need to stock up on anything before the holidays, please call and place your orders as soon as possible,so we have what you need on hand.

Summer is a great time to work on fresh nutritious meals, getting fresh air and exercise and healing and strengthening your systems.

 

Wishing you sunshine in your hearts and skies,

 

From all of us at Pacifica