Magical Chocolate Avocado Pudding

Get cozy during these long winter evenings with some chocolate pudding you can feel really good about eating! This recipe takes about 5 minutes to put together (plus chilling time if you like your pudding cold). Enjoy!

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Ingredients

  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1/2 cup cacao powder
  • 1/2 cup full-fat coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup almond butter – or other nut butter
  • 1/3 cup dates (about 9)
  • pinch of salt

Instructions

  1. Place all ingredients in your blender or food processor and blend until creamy
  2. Chill in refrigerator for 1-2 hours, or eat at room temperature if you don’t feel like waiting.
  3. Top with coconut flakes, banana slices or whipped coconut cream as desired

Setting Wellness Goals!

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A fresh new year is a great time to set some new goals for yourself and to reexamine past goals. So why do so many people abandon their new year’s resolutions within the first few weeks of a year? Chances are, the problem wasn’t in the intention behind the goal, but in the planning and execution.  Goals, if set effectively, should give you motivation and confidence to follow through.

So here is our quick guide to setting goals that you will be able to stick to.

  1. Take some time to think about where in your life you would like to see change.
    • Break down your life into different areas and assess your satisfaction with each area. Try printing and filling out a Wheel of Life. You might be surprised at what comes up for you.
    • Once you have found an area, you need to start setting goals. What do you think could be improved in that area? That’s a great place to start.
  2. Keep your goals positive. This is so important! Goals should never be shaming or bring you down. Instead, they should inspire you to make small, lasting changes in your life. Write down your goals and take a good look at them. Is the language positive?
  3. Set a very small number of  very well-defined realistic, precise and achievable goals
    • Consider sticking to just 1 or 2 goals that are very important to you
    • If you have a large goal, break it down into smaller goals, setting timelines for each
    • Use the SMART framework. Make your goals Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-based
  4. Make a visual reminder. Write your goals down. Consider making a visual reminder that you will see every day.
  5. Keep yourself accountable
    • Identify the people in your life that you know will support you in your goals. Tell them what you’d like to achieve and what your timeline looks like. Most importantly: ask for their support in specific areas.
    • Set check-in times with yourself. For example, every 3 months make a note in your calendar to reassess your goals and measure your progress.
  6. Be gentle with yourself…no matter what
    • If you have trouble sticking with your goals, don’t beat yourself up. And definitely don’t give up your goal. When it comes to making lasting changes in your life,

If you are still looking for some wellness goals, may we suggest a few to choose from?

  • Take the time to chew every bite of every meal
  • Meditation/Breathing for 5-10 minutes every evening before bed
  • Set a bedtime and waking time and stick to it (as close as possible) 7 days of the week.
  • Eat one serving of fruits/vegetables from each of the following colour groups: dark green, orange/yellow, dark red/purple
  • Start a gratitude journal – write down 1 thing every day that you are grateful for
  • Give out 1 sincere compliment each day
  • Move your body for at least 20 minutes each day. Bonus: get outside and enjoy some fresh air and full-spectrum natural light while you’re doing it.

At Pacifica Naturopathic Clinic, we LOVE helping our patients set up a series of short-term and long-term health and wellness goals. Best of all, we’ll focus our efforts on helping you ACHIEVE them. Come on in to the clinic to see how we can help you.

Hidden Reasons Your Body May Be Holding on to Extra Weight

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If weight loss is on your list of wellness goals, come in and see what you can do to help you shed those pounds safely and naturally. Below are some sneaky non-diet-and-exercise reasons your body may be holding on to weight.

  • Hormone Imbalance: extra estrogen is extremely common, in both men and women. Even moderately high levels of this hormone will cause your body to build more fat stores and hold on to water.
  • Stress: excess cortisol (stress hormone) will cause your cells to store  fat, especially around the belly. Restricting calories too much can also lead to high cortisol levels, which is why crash diets often don’t work.
  • Hypothyroid: low levels of thyroid hormone cause your metabolism to slow down, leading to water retention, low energy, low exercise tolerance and constipation.
  • Digestion: digestive issues such as food intolerances, poor food absorption, imbalanced gut flora (SIBO and candida) can lead to bloating, gas, retained water, low energy and food cravings.
  • Posture: tight muscles in a few very specific areas of the body can block your natural lymph flow, causing your body to hold on to extra pounds in the form of water retention, especially in your legs and abdomen.
  • Sleep: getting enough good quality sleep is necessary for hormone imbalance, including Growth Hormone, Melatonin, Insulin, Cortisol and Ghrelin:Leptin balance (hormones that are involved in appetite control).

The best part: everything on this list is testable and treatable right at Pacifica Naturopathic Clinic. If you think one of the factors above may be holding you back, come on in and see us.

Eating for a Strong Immune System

By: Dr. Amy Rolfsen ND

1. Optimize Your Digestive Health –

Over 80% of our immune system is found in the digestive tract. So, what better way to work on your immune system than go straight to the source. If you have digestive complaints, weak hair and nails, frequent rashes or eczema, low energy, seasonal allergies or stress, there’s a good chance you could use some gut healing. Gut healing protocols usually include herbs, diet, intestinal strengthening and visceral work.

2. Drink Lots of Water

I usually ask my patients to drink 2/3 of an ounce of water per pound of body weight, sipped throughout the day. This helps to keep toxins flushing out of the body and helps optimize bowel function.

2. Avoid Allergens

Eating allergenic foods can increase your susceptibility to infection. If you eat food that causes an immune response in your body, all the attention and energy will be focused on reacting to that food, when it would be better spent on normal immune system activities like scavenging for invading micro-organisms. The foods I see most commonly causing problems are dairy, eggs, soy and gluten, although since everybody has a unique and wonderful body system it is well worth finding out which foods are best for you. Food reactions can be quickly and easily tested in our office.

3. Limit Sugar

Sugar consumption has been shown to make white blood cells less effective for over 5 hours. This immune suppression is dose dependent, so just a little bit of sugar suppresses your immunity just a little bit while a lot of sugar totally devastates your immunity. If you are consuming sugar or sweetened foods throughout the day, you will have a consistently compromised immune system.

4. Focus on Nutrient Dense Foods

Here is another reason to enjoy whole foods daily. Below are just a few major players in your immune system, including food sources.

vitamin C
detoxifies free radicals, promotes wound healing, strengthens barriers, increases activity of immune cells and increases antibody response, direct anti-viral and anti-bacterial effects

  • Food sources: citrus fruits, cantaloupe, broccoli, kale, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, potato. To keep vitamin C active, foods should be eaten raw or very lightly cooked.

vitamin A/ß-Carotene
strengthens barriers, anti-viral activity

  • Food sources: leafy green vegetables, orange vegetables

Vitamin D
aids in production of our natural anti-microbial immune factors.

  • Food sources: cod liver oil, fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, sardines)

Zinc
healthy immune function, essential co-factor for enzymes

  • Food sources: seafood, meats, whole grains, legumes, egg yolk, nuts and seeds

Selenium 
re-vitalizes glutathione, one of the most powerful anti-oxidants

  • Food sources: meat, fish, whole grains, legumes, brazil nuts, garlic, mushroom, asparagus

Protein 
amino acids are building blocks of cells of your immune system as well as enzymes used in reactions.

  • Food sources: fish, poultry, red meat, nuts, seeds, legumes, quinoa, protein powder

5. Use Bone Broth in your Cooking

Home-made bone broth has so much nourishing goodness in it. It can be used as a soup base or instead of water when cooking whole grains or making sauces. Here is a recipe (not written by me).

Brand New Programs at PNC

Fresh New Programs at PNC

We are thrilled to announce two new healthy living programs to the PNC program list:

Firefighter’s Total Health

This is an in-depth program designed with a firefighter’s unique health needs in mind. Through the course of the program, we will be strategically targeting sleep-wake cycles, adrenal health and deep detoxification from inhaled irritants and solvents, as well as any other health concerns you may have. Your ongoing individualized plan will be designed to meet your personal needs and health goals.  Depending on your needs, the initial assessment may include heavy metal testing, functional nutritional analysis, growth hormone testing or other laboratory tests.

Hormone Optimization

Let us help you restore your energy, vitality and quality of life! If you are feeling tired, overwhelmed, out of balance or are having trouble losing weight, this program is for you. The program includes comprehensive hormone assessment, botanical medicine, mind-body therapies and optional bio-identical hormone therapy.

Hormone Optimization is for everyone! We can help with: young females and males, menopause, perimenopause, andropause, weight loss, thyroid imbalance, adrenal fatigue and more.

 

Refreshed Existing Programs

We have also been working hard this summer to completely refresh our existing programs. We’ve incorporated cutting edge therapies and techniques into the following PNC programs:

PNC Natural Weight Loss Program – A complete program that works with your metabolism to achieve gentle and effective weight loss.

PNC Signature Detoxification Program  – Our specially designed program that helps you cleanse your tissues to maintain optimal health.

Grow UP with PNC Program – For healthy and happy kids at every milestone!

PNC Fertility & Pregnancy Program – The program that will take you through preconception, to conception, through pregnancy and post-partum.

The Ultimate Assessment – BC’s most comprehensive diagnostic screening program to assess your current state of health.

Stay tuned to our website as we work to update the Programs pages.

The Best Kale Chips

By. Dr. Amy Rolfsen ND

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So, we all know that kale is just about one of the healthiest vegetables you can eat. It is outrageously nutrient dense, boasting over 200% of your daily vitamin A, 100+% of vitamin C and 600% of your daily vitamin K!! That’s not even mentioning all the other vitamins, nutrients and micro-minerals. If you read the article on eating for your immune system, you’ll realize how important nutrients can be for your immunity.

These chips are a staple in our house. Yes, we do have a lot of kale in our garden. But the main reason I make these all the time is because they are the absolute best way to get my daughter to eat a TON of leafy greens. She loves to help me mix these up, place them on the pans and then, of course, eat them as fast as we take them off the pan. It was actually impossible to get decent pictures of these kale chips because they dissapeared too quickly.

Ingredients

1 large bunch kale (washed and dried)
4 tbsp tahini (sesame butter)
4 tbsp olive oil (3 if your tahini is really runny)
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tsp sesame oil
3/4 tsp salt

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 280º F
  2. In a small bowl, mix together all the ingredients except for kale
  3. Tear the kale into large chunks, removing the main stalk – place in a large bowl
  4. Pour the sauce over the kale, massage the mixture into the kale until it is well covered and slightly wiltedimg_6929
  5. Place the kale in a single layer on large pans
  6. Place pans in the centre racks of your oven. Bake for ~ 10-15 minutes, checking after 10 minutes. The chips are done when they feel light and brittle but aren’t browned

* Cooking time will vary for based on the type of kale you’ve chosen and how saucy each piece is.

 

Beauty in the Sun

Dr. Amy Rolfsen

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It’s that time of year again: long days full of sun, sand, salt and bonfires! We wait all year long for summer fun…but it can wreak havoc on our skin and hair. Here are just a few tips to try this summer to keep your skin and hair healthy.

Wear Sunglasses
squinting in bright sunlight will cause overworking of your facial muscles and crinkling of the skin. Over time, these can turn into permanent lines

Wear Sunscreen
Sunscreen is one of the best tools to help protect your skin from the damaging and aging effects of the sun. With all the additives in skincare products t is important to choose a sunscreen without added chemicals. Here is the Environmental Working Group’s guide to safe sunscreens: https://www.ewg.org/sunscreen/. My family has tried quite a few of the natural sunscreens out there and we’ve been happiest with the Goddess Garden line.

Stay hydrated
Summer heat can really dehydrate your body, including your skin. Glycosaminoglycans are water bound polysaccharides that fill in the space between collagen and elastin in your skin, giving you a youthful appearance . Sip roughly 1L per 50 lbs of body weight. Be sure to add on extra for any alcoholic or caffeinated drinks.

Eat lots and lots of brightly coloured fruits and vegetables
one more reason to eat your veggies! when our skin gets exposed to sunlight, free radicals are formed, which can damage the skin. Antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables are very effective at neutralizing these free radicsls

Stay moisturized
Summertime wouldn’t be complete without some trips to the beach! But the sun, sand and salt can be very drying on your skin (and hair). Be sure to choose a moisturizer that is free from chemicals such as parabens and pthalates. I alternate between almond oil and an unscented, herbal-based lotion that I get at the Soap Dispensary on Main Street in Vancouver.

Make sure to shower off any gunk
Sunscreen, bug spray, sand, chlorine, salt and smoke can clog your pores and leave your skin and hair looking dull. Take a quick warm shower as soon as you get home from being outside. Hot water will be drying on your skin, while cold water may not be effective at removing sunscreen. Some of the thicker natural sunscreens have a beeswax base. You may need to use an oil such as olive, almond or coconut to help remove them before showering. Make sure to moisturize directly after your shower (see above)

Exfoliate
Removing dead skin cells will reveal smoother, brighter skin. I like to keep an agave wash cloth in the shower to use every second day. Bonus: for improved lymph drainage, try exfoliating from the tips of your fingers and toes and work your way towards your heart in small circular motions. This will help you flush toxins out of your tissues more effectively

Moisturize your hair, too
Although you should be rinsing any residue out of your hair, try to refrain from shampooing every day. Washing every 3 days is plenty for most people. Shampooing can strip the natural oils from your hair, leaving it dry and more susceptible to damage from the elements.

I like to use a homemade hair mask once a week to infuse extra moisture into my hair. Here is how I do it:
•  1 egg
•  1 tbsp olive oil
•  1 tbsp coconut oil
•  1 tbsp honey
Whisk together and massage into dry hair. Cover and leave on for 30-60 minutes.
Rinse off in cool or warm water. If you use hot water, you run the risk of making scrambled eggs in your hair. I don’t suggest you try it out.

After washing your hair, use a natural hair oil. Look for one that has heat protectant qualities. I use one called Loma that works well for me.

Prevent ingrown hairs
Ingrown hairs are unsightly and can be quite painful. If you’ve gone to the effort to remove body hair, it is always worth the effort to keep the area looking smooth and soft. Make sure to exfoliate daily over any area where you are prone to ingrown hairs. If you frequently experience ingrown hairs, you can try this homemade recipe for ingrown hair mask.
•  3 regular strength aspirin tablets
•  1/2 tsp coconut oil
•  1 tsp honey
Apply to affected area 2-3 x each week. Leave on 15-30 minutes, then rinse off thoroughly.

If exfoliation and the mask aren’t enough, there is one more option. I can write a prescription very effective cream that we can have compounded at the pharmacy.

 

 

 

Raspberry Mojito Popsicles with Coconut Water

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When we first decided to do a popsicle recipe for the newsletter we thought about coming up with a really healthy recipe…and then we changed our minds. Please don’t take this as medical advice. These popsicles are just for fun.

We originally wanted to make lime mojito popsicles. As you may know, alcohol doesn’t freeze well. After making the first test batch, I came to the realization that honey doesn’t freeze well, either. These popsicles are now made with a simple syrup that uses organic sugar. For the second (and final) batch, I used my simple syrup but since it was made with dark sugar, it left the popsicles looking a bit sludgey. So I added the raspberries to brighten them up a bit. I also switched from regular water to coconut water so these popsicles pack an extra electrolyte punch. I hope you’ll enjoy this recipe!

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Ingredients:

2 cups coconut water
1/2 cup lime juice
1/3 cup organic sugar
1/3 cup water
15-20 mint leaves
1/3 cup white rum
2/3 cup smashed raspberries

Instructions: 

  1. In a small saucepan, mix the sugar and water. Bring to a boil and simmer until sugar is dissolved. Cool
  2. Place everything but the raspberries in your blender and mix well.
  3. Pour mixture into your popsicle mold, leaving a bit of room for the raspberries.
  4. Place the raspberries in a small bowl and smoosh them up a bit. Carefully spoon the raspberries evenly between the popsicles.
  5. Place in the freezer and wait a few hours.
  6. Enjoy!

 

NOjito Mini Pops

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These popsicles are the rum-free version of the Mojitos. They’re a bit sour and are great for kids and anyone else who would prefer to avoid alcohol. I’ve used honey instead of sugar because they will have no trouble freezing since there is not rum in the recipe. You can use any popsicle mold for these. The mold we use in our house is the Zoku Mini Pop. It is made of silicone and is just the perfect size for tiny hands.

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Ingredients:

1/2 cup lime juice
1/2 cup coconut water
1/4 cup honey
5 mint leaves
1/4 cup finely chopped or muddled berries

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Instructions:

  1. Place everything but the raspberries in your blender and mix well.
  2. Pour mixture into your popsicle mold, leaving a bit of room for the raspberries.
  3. Place the raspberries in a small bowl and smoosh them up a bit. Carefully spoon the raspberries evenly between the popsicles.
  4. Place in the freezer and wait a few hours.
  5. Enjoy!

Time for Spring Cleaning!

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Has the long winter left you feeling weighed down?

A gentle spring cleanse is a great way to boost your energy and metabolism so you can get out and enjoy the season. Cleaning is simple, easy to do and with rejuvenate your body and mind.

When considering a cleanse, make sure you are targeting all your organs of elimination: liver, kidneys, lungs, lymph, skin and colon. Many health food store detox programs focus heavily on colon cleansing and can be quite harsh.

Bigger is not better: a cleanse does not need to be uncomfortable to be effective. Our bodies our continually detoxifying. A seasonal cleanse simply helps to set up optimal conditions for your body’s natural detoxifying capabilities. It is common to feel sluggish or slightly under-the-weather in the beginning of a cleanse. This is a natural reaction to the release of toxins from your body’s tissues. However, don’t be alarmed if you feel wonderful during your entire cleanse!

Here are a few of our favourite at-home basics for a gentle cleanse

  1. Clean up your diet and increase your water intake.
  2. Start the day with a glass of warm water with 1/2 a lemon squeezed in it. This will get your liver and gallbladder working first thing in the morning.
  3. Swap out your coffee for organic rooibos or rosehip tea. They are high in vital antioxidants and will keep you well hydrated.
  4. Incorporate flax into your diet
    • 2 tbsp ground flax each day will boost your fibre intake, helping keep your digestion regular and binding up any toxins and excess hormones that may be in your digestive tract.
    • Flax can be sprinkled on top of yogurt, added to smoothies or mixed with water.
    • Be sure to buy organic whole flax seeds and grind them yourself in your blender or coffee grinder. The healthy oils inside the flax seed are very susceptible to oxidation so the less time they are in contact with oxygen, the better. It is fine to grind enough for 3-4 days and keep it chilled in the fridge.
    • Make sure you drink plenty of water when increasing your fibre intake
  5. Breathe deeply
  6. Take at least 5 each day to take deep breaths into your belly. To increase awareness, it can help to place a heavy book on your belly.
  7. Dry skin brushing
    • To help kick-start your skin detoxification and lymph flow, take a natural bristled brush and make gentle circular motions, working your way upwards from your feet, then from your hands to your shoulders and the rest of your body.
    • Direct all strokes towards your heart. This traces the major pathways of lymph flow.

If you feel you are ready to take your cleanse to the next level, book an appointment with Dr. Lange or Dr. Rolfsen to learn about PNC Signature Detox. Our program will be customized, with your unique health goals in mind, to help you nourish your body while helping to support your detox organs.

Vitamin Injections – A Boost for your Whole System

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Multi-vitamin injections are a springtime favourite with Pacifica’s patients, young and old. They’re a great way to jump-start your immune system, boost your body’s natural energy reserves and promote detox.  Vitamin injections from Pacifica will be tailored specifically to you to meet your body’s needs.

Increased absorption of Vitamins
Intravenous injection allows for vitamins, minerals and specific amino acids, homeopathics or trace minerals to be infused straight into the bloodstream so they get right to the cells and organs where they are needed

Higher doses of nutrients
Higher doses of anti inflammatory, antioxidant, immune boosting supplements can be given this route than through the digestive tract. This is great for people whose needs for nutrients are higher (see recommendations below).

A boost for your whole system
Intravenous vitamins have been shown to dramatically improve overall energy, sleep, nervous system health and athletic performance.  Most people can get these injections and notice results immediately, although for most people it is the combined effect with other supplements, healthy diet and lifestyle factors that result in improved performance, recovery and sense of wellbeing.

When are Vitamin Injections recommended

  • Athletes
  • Pregnancy
  • Chronic illness
  • Before and after travel
  • During times of high stress
  • Cold & flu season
  • Weight loss
  • Poor absorption/digestive issues

Benefits you may notice

  • Increased energy
  • Stronger immune system
  • Sharper focus
  • Healthier hair, skin & nails
  • Improved mood
  • Improved physical performance and recovery