Dr. Anupriya Dewan, ND

I am a Licensed Naturopathic Doctor in GTA, Ontario sharing basic health tips with everyone. Baby steps lead to big changes! Share ideas and lets embark on this journey together!


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A guide to keeping to your New Year Resolutions!

You may be thinking, isn’t this too late to post? NYE was over 2 weeks ago! In my experience, this is when New Year Resolutions start to fall apart. In as early as two weeks, people start to fall back into their old habits.

Let us explore ways to get most out of our some of the most common New Year resolutions:

Re-visit and revise if necessary!

Go back to your list of New Year resolutions. Were they specific (e.g. loose 10 lbs by Sept), or vague (eat healthier). If they were vague, quantify and if they were specific, ensure, if they were realistic and modify expectations, if needed.

Make a plan

Now that you are out of the ‘holiday’ mode and back into the routine, you will be much more realistic about what you can and cannot do. Plan out exactly how you are going to go about your goals. Eat healthier: how will you do the shopping for healthier foods? Which is your worst meal and how will you replace it?

Start small

I cannot stress this enough! If you have never gone to gym and your New Year Resolution is to go to the gym 5 times a week, that won’t happen. Start with 2 times a week in January, 3 times in February and work your way up to the goal. This makes it much more achievable and seems much less daunting.

Setbacks happen

One missed gym day or one crappy meal does not replace all the progress you have made. Things happen, we all have bad days. Make sure tomorrow is better and get back on the plan. It’s not all or nothing, it is always about getting better than before

Get a buddy

Doing things alone can be lonely and for some people, it is easy to justify things that don’t go according to plan. Get someone who will hold you accountable, ask you hard questions, or even better join you. This is the person who will go to the gym with you and make sure you both stick to your plans! Friends and family can talk you out of a better habit and probably won’t fall for your justifications of how it is ‘ok’ to let it slide.

Get help

There are many people who can help you get to your goals and make it as painless as possible.  If your goal is to have better health, better time management, better energy or focus, talk to someone who can help you achieve it. Naturopathic doctors are trained in finding out barriers to success. Seek their or professionals’ help and check your benefits from work, you may be covered. Don’t wait until December to use up all your wonderful benefits!

Make it happen!

Just go for it! Even if, you just walk to the gym and come back without going in, or throw away half that cigarette. Next time, you may end up spending more time at the gym or skip the smoke altogether, but make an effort. It all adds up, trust me!

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Secrets to sound sleep

Getting good sleep is very important to all aspects of our health, but its often overlooked. I often have to ask people about their sleep before they comment on it and its almost always a concern! We are not getting enough sleep, not being able to stay asleep and not waking up rested every morning. If you need to keep hitting snooze in the morning, there is something you need to do about it now!

So what can you do to get good sleep tonight?

  1. Let there be darkness

Your body needs total darkness to sleep properly. A hormone called melatonin is released in total darkness and it helps you get to sleep faster and sleep more deeply. Light exposure in the morning signals your body it’s time to get up. This sets up the daily rhythm for hormones, increase energy during the day and balance several aspects of health. Melatonin has also been shown to prevent certain cancers.

So how to get the most melatonin at night? Remove/cover all night sources in the bedroom (computers, clocks, night lights, etc). The room should be as dark as possible.

  1. Healthy sleep habits

Avoid electronics (phone, TV, computers) before bed. They are too stimulating and their light interferes with melatonin production. That means not only are you engaged in the content of what you are doing, your brain is getting mixed signals from the light telling you it’s not time to sleep yet. Try something relaxing like reading, warm bath or breathing techniques to help you fall asleep.

If you must use your computer, consider getting  a software like F.Lux to change the computer light based on the time of the day.

  1. Timing is everything

Maintain a sleep schedule( yes, even on weekends). Our body’s like schedule and having s schedule sets up the circadian rhythm making you sleepy at the right time, and more importantly, making you awake and alert at the right time.  According to Chinese Medicine the best time to go to bed is between 11pm and 1 am. It’s not just about the number of hours spent sleeping, but the time of the day.  Going to bed late and waking up late does not necessarily mean you will be as rested as you would be if you slept at the ideal time. Not everyone has a choice in his matter, but if you can, go to bed early.

  1. Eating (and drinking) before bedtime.

Now that you have a bed time, avoid eating within 3 hours of sleep and drinking liquids within 2 hours of sleep. Blood sugar control can be helpful in weight loss and not waking up to urinate in the middle of night can interrupt good sleep.  If you are waking up in the middle of the night hungry, then there’s something in your metabolism that needs to be addressed.

  1. Waking up.

Why am I talking about waking up in a blog about sleep?  It’s important that you are not scared awake every morning. Choose an alarm you like. Being annoyed by your alarm can put you in a bad mood for the rest of the day. Try getting one of those alarm clocks that wake you up by gradually increasing the light in your room every morning. Soon enough you will have enough of a sleep schedule that you won’t need much of an alarm at all!

  1. Still can’t fall asleep?

If you have trouble falling asleep due to thoughts or worries, keep a pen and paper by your bed and write down all the things you are thinking about so you can deal with them the next day. Sometimes just getting things down on paper can make a huge difference.

If you have chronic sleep issues or want to improve your sleep, there are many naturopathic treatment options available to treat your individual situation.

Sweet dreams!


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Beat the summer heat ! DIY idea

I don’t like peeling my citrus personally, but the rest are great ideas!
Also, be careful of the citrus. Too much can hurt the enamel on your teeth. Mix and match!

One and the same

Hi guys,today Im doing a DIY Tag and I hope that you like it 🙂

Refreshing Vegetable and Fruit Infused Water

Summer is here at last and homemade fruit- or vegetable-infused water is one of the most refreshing beverages you can make.. Unlike other fruit juices, infused water isn’t filled with sugar, but it still tastes great,it is excellent for the health giving you the right proportions of minerals,vitamins & nutrients

What you will need : orange, lemon, lime, grapefruit ,cucumber, mint, blueberries strawberries, blackberries, pear, pomegranate, pineapple, kiwi, starfruit
honeydew, cantaloupe, watermelon,carrots
apples, grapes, plums, peaches, nectarines.or any fruits/vegetables that you like,

Green tea

Mint, sage, rosemary, basil, cilantro, thyme, stevia, lavender or any herbs that you want

Ginger, cinnamon stick , black pepper according to your taste

Filtered water, sparkling plain water(Sugar free)

What you need to do : First, simply add some fresh fruit//vegetables in a big…

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You do NOT have to suffer from PMS! Treat the cause and move on with your life…

We hear PMS is ‘just an excuse’ or ‘that time of the month’ when women eat lots of chocolate and act a little grouchy.  Let me set the record straight, PMS is real and there is something that can be done about it.

PMS is a broad term used to describe a large collection of symptoms women experience prior to menstruation. You may also have heard of Premenstrual Dysphonic Disorder (PMDD or really long name for really bad PMS).

Symptoms common to all types of PMS include: bowel changes (constipation, diarrhea), cramping, changes in libido, backache, headache, acne and other skin changes, night sweats, insomnia and nausea. The symptoms seem to get worse in 30s and 40s but they all get better with the onset of menses.

Finding out how to address PMS symptoms start by identifying the type of PMS you suffer from. Did you know there are 4 different types of PMS?  Can you classify yours (hint, you can have more than one)?

PMS – A: Anxiety (65-75% of PMS sufferers)

  • Anxiety, tension, feeling “on edge”
  • Irritability, anger
  • Mood swings, Insomnia, Depression
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Sensitive to Criticism

PMS – C: Cravings (30% of PMS sufferers)

  • Cravings for sweets and carbohydrates
  • Increased appetite
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Heart Palpitations

PMS – D: Depression (25-35% of PMS sufferers)

  • Depression
  • Forgetfulness, confusion
  • Lethargy
  • Withdrawal and disinterest in usual activities
  • Insomnia

PMS – H: Hyperhydration/Water Retention (50% of PMS sufferers)

  • Breast swelling and tenderness
  • Abdominal bloating
  • Weight gain of over 3 lbs
  • Swelling of the face, hands, fingers and ankles.

What is the root cause?

Finding the root cause can be tricky, but most of the time estrogen dominance is to blame.  Estrogen dominance is when estrogen is high relative to progesterone.  This can be a “true” dominance (estrogen is high, progesterone is normal) or a relative dominance (estrogen is normal, progesterone is low).  Women who have been on hormonal birth control for many years, or have known exposure to xenoestrogens (ie, plastics, pesticides) often have a “true” dominance picture.  In that case, we support the liver’s detoxification of estrogens and use foods to influence the balance of estrogen and progesterone (ie phytoestrogens).  In cases of “relative” dominance, which is most common in peri-menopause when progesterone levels start to decline,

Correcting the imbalance (the basics)

  1. Include phytoestrogens in your diet: beans, lentils, flax (2 tbsp/day).
  2. Reduce caffeine, sugar and alcohol.
  3. Manage stress levels.  Cortisol and progesterone come from the same precursor – your body will make cortisol at the expense of progesterone when under stress (physical/mental/emotional), making estrogen dominance worse.
  4. It does not have to be intense, but regular exercise improved overall health and has been consistently shown to improve PMS symtoms.
  5. Choose organic foods most often, especially the “Dirty Dozen“.
  6. Avoid using plastics. Especially to store and heat foods.
  7. See an ND to ensure a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.

Once the cause and type of PMS is identified, a customized plan can be developed to reduce PMS. Some more specific treatments can include vitex, melatoning, 5-HTP, l-theanine, inositol, and promoting better adrenal health with licorice, eluthrococcus, and ashwagandda.

It wouldn’t be responsible for me to post doses, so please contact a naturopathic doctor to find out how to get your PMS under control. Most women notice a 75% improvement in 3-4 cycles, some can notice difference in as little as one cycle!


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Fall into NEW fall routines

We all enjoy summers, take life a little easier, relax, and enjoy sunshine with family and friends. Time flies and we have to gear up for September. It starts with a whole new set of ‘back to school’ resolutions. We set goals, promise ourselves that this year is going to be different and we get ready to rev up again.

Our bodies keep up for a few weeks, so September goes fairly well, but soon the enthusiasm gives away and our old habits take over and we get into the vicious cycle…..

  • Sleep is the first thing go to: it can be anxiety, ‘to do lists’, waking up early.
  • Diets go next; it can be over eating or under eating. Often there’s just no time to slow down and eat
  • Fatigue/ exhaustion follows: not eating or sleeping right can be the factor for this. It always feels like a flu is coming on.

These symptoms are very common and the following strategies will help keep that September enthusiasm up and make the rest of the year more productive!  

1) Take a deep breath

  • A few deep breaths can change how you look and feel about a situation.
  • Understand that just because the world can be busy, crazy or hectic, you don’t need to be a part of it.
  • Take a few deep breaths and ‘slow it down’.
  • Prioritize, identify and recognize how important the issue is, in the bigger picture. Analyze the best way to deal with it with the resources you have in the moment and proceed with confidence. These few minutes will ensure a better outcome.

2) Do NOT say ‘YES’ when you mean ‘NO’

  • They say ‘gut’ feeling for a reason. Follow your gut.
  • This is the biggest health concern, especially in women.
  • Practice starting with “NO” (when it is a true “no”).
  • Agreeing to things you don’t want to do causes feeling of overwhelm, guilt and low self-esteem.
  • For example. “No. I will not be able to commit to that, but thank you for thinking of me. If some free time comes up, I will let you know.”
  • Realize that other people’s lack of organization is not your responsibility.

3) It’s ok to not be perfect.

  • Let go of perfectionism.
  • We all need time to adjust from the pace of summer to the demands of the fall.
  • Strive to be on time, eat right, sleep regular sleep, and hydrate properly- the big things.
  • BUT… expect that for the first couple of weeks in September, you, your child or someone you depend on may drop a ball or two! Actually expect that balls may drop sometimes just because…..
  • Let it be. You might be late. You may not be able to provide the perfect breakfast, lunch, dinner or snacks for your children and family every day of the week. Everyone will survive.
  • Sweat the big stuff, not the small stuff.
  • Give it time. Everyone will fall into the rhythm of thing soon enough.
  • Remember: the transition from summer to fall is a big adjustment for all of us! Adults and children included.

4) Ask for help

  • This is the hardest for most people.
  • We think we can handle everything on our own and that asking for help somehow means something is wrong. There is nothing wrong with asking for help, after all, don’t you help someone out if they need it? Why the double standards?
  • We expect everyone to read our minds. That’s not going to happen. Just ask.
  • There are often people willing to help out: parents, partners, friends, etc. Be there when your family and friends need you, but remember that they are there for you too!
  • Just be direct and don’t take it personally if they say no.

5)  RESPOND VS. REACT.

  • You have a right to take some time before urgently responding to an email, a text, phone call/message or personal request.
  • Ask for a day before deciding on something. For example if your employer or colleague asks a favor of you or asks you to accomplish a task outside of your regular job mandate, you can say “I would like to help you out with that. However, there are a number of other things I am managing right now. I will get back to you by 11 am tomorrow.” Stick to the time given.
  • Take sometime to seriously assess whether this extra commitment fits into your life and at what benefit/cost to your time, health and sanity!

 

Abide by these five keys to maintain health and sanity while experiencing a lot more joy, ease and vitality this fall!


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Kale chips

Hi everyone,

I need to put this recipe online because this is a really easy  you will make them again and again! Kids and adults alike love it.

There are infinite was to change it to what you like. It also costs a LOT less than the bags of kale chips you buy in stores.

Ingredients:
  •  large bunch of fresh kale
  •  olive oil, or other oil of your choosing
  •  sea salt
  •  grated garlic (optional)
  •  paprika, garlic salt, cheese (optional)
Instructions

1) Wash kale, remove inner rib and stem. Tear into chip size pieces ( I like large chips, they also shrink with cooking so don’t make them too small).

2) Dry kale thoroughly. I use a salad spinner and then use paper towels to make sure they are really dry.

3)  Preheat oven to 300 degrees F

4) Coat oil on kale. Use your hands and make sure you get it all. That’s what makes it crispy.

5) Place kale on a baking sheet (Single layer)

6) Sprinkle with seasoning (salt, garlic, spices, anything you want). I LOVE a little salt with garlic. Put less than you think because the taste intensifies as they cook.

7) Bake for about 15 minutes until its crisp and slightly brown.

TIP: open the oven just a crack every 3-4 minutes. This lets any steam out and makes sure they get really crispy!

Enjoy. If you have leftovers (you won’t), you can store them in an airtight bag for a few days. Make sure they are cooked and cooled before putting them in a bag.


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Making ‘back to school’ stress free!

Back so school means different things for everyone!

For parents: its chaos. It means getting everything kids need, planning their lunches, making sure they have enough of their kid’s favorite pencils… the list goes on.

For kids: it’s exciting and nerve wrecking. It’s exciting to see friends, but there are endless fears of liking their teachers. If they are in high school they are worrying about grades, peer pressures, GPA, making and maintaining friendships.

For university students: This requires the most prep. They are living away from home, possibly for the first time. Have to worry about getting to their dreaded 8 am classes, grades, majors, friends, parties, figuring out their lives.

Here are a few tips to make life easier:

1) Get into a routine: Start as soon as you see ‘back to school’ supplies in the stores, start sleeping on time and waking up on time. This makes the first few weeks of school less of a struggle. No fights in the morning, making it to all the classes on time, everyone is happy. PS. this rule applies to weekends too!

2) Shop early: I mean now! Go today. The last weekend before school opens is crazy with all those other people who didn’t plan. Stay away from the stress and get your shopping out of the way early. Shopping early means stores are fully stocked up for all those ‘must have’ items!

3) Buy extras: This may seem like a waste of money, but you will eventually need that extra paper or pens or crayons. Just buy a few extra and hide them somewhere. That way if your child absolutely MUST have that second binder, you got it covered.

4) Plan meals: Have a couple of healthy meals ready in the freezer. Google some quick crock pot recipes and have everything frozen and ready in ziplock bags. If your kids are older, they can put it in the crockpot and get the dinner started if you are getting late at work. You can also freeze some leftovers for an ultra quick, nutritious meal.

 On that note, plan children’s lunches too. First few weeks can be hard on the little ones, so  maybe pack an extra little treat or at least pack their favorite foods.

5) Plan the outfits: Get children involved in this. Some of them may find it a big deal, some not, but at least the first morning will not be a search for the ‘perfect’ outfit. In middle school and high school this can be HUGE. Let your kids decide, maybe have a backup outfit and have fun with it. That way if they try to change their mind last minute, they have a choice.

6) Keep the last weekend free: Last but not the least, do this before the last week of August. Keep those last few days of freedom to recharge your batteries to make the most out of school. Maybe check off some of those fun things on the summer ‘to do’ list.

Finally, don’t get stressed over the back to school prep. Children can pick up on it and they will stress about school too! Soon the kids will get into their routine, they will find their friends, way around their classes and be settled in for learning.

Have fun with the planning and the first few weeks of school. Once they are settled in, we will talk about how to increase their focus and improve their memory!

 

Edited by: Dhanya Shrowthi-Dewan

Transferred over from my old blog website.