A Month Of Connection

a month of connection-2

The Importance of Connection

This month we are exploring the benefits of connection; connection with others, food, nature, and of course with self!

I recently attended my uncle’s 60th birthday party. We have always been a tight family, especially the cousins, but with aging parents I couldn’t avoid asking the question of whether or not we would still be spending time together when we are celebrating our own 60th’s.

My younger (and seemingly wiser) cousins were quick to remind me that all relationships take effort and if we want to still have connection in 20, 30, or 40 years from now we “have to try!”

This is the message I want to convey this month – connection takes effort. It’s a choice. We need to be mindful of taking time out of our busy schedules to feel connected. The research suggests that by doing so, we can all lead healthier, happier, and longer lives!

This month I hope you slow down and taste your food; I hope you get on the floor and play with your children and grandchildren; I hope you spend a few moments here and there tuning in to what’s happening in your body below the shoulders; I hope you hug a tree. (Yep! I said it. I’m into hugging trees. It’s probably about time I fully adopt the naturopathic, crunchy-granola identity!)

So please come along with us on this journey of connection. Follow our Facebook page for empowering tips and tools to help deepen the many areas of your life that will benefit from connecting.

Cheers to a month of mindful connection!

Happy healing,

Dr. Melissa Blake

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Lyme Disease: what you can do to reduce your risk

lyme

Lyme disease is a bacterial infection caused by strains of borrelia bacteria. The bacteria are transmitted to humans and pets bitten by an infected tick.

The incidence of Lyme disease in Canada is hugely underestimated. Reasons for this include: lack of awareness, missed early symptoms, and poor diagnostic procedures.

The symptoms of Lyme disease also overlap with other chronic diseases (such as MS, ALS, fibromyalgia, CFS, etc), increasing the chances of misdiagnoses.

The symptoms of early infection vary. Some people may experience mild flu-like symptoms, fever, and notice a bulls-eye rash, while others may not develop symptoms for a few months after being bitten. In any case, Lyme disease is a very serious illness that requires immediate treatment.

The tick population this season is especially high. Become informed about what you can do to reduce your risk.

Top 5 tick precautions:
1. Wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts when in tick habitats. Tuck your pants into your socks to prevent ticks from getting inside your pants.

2. Check your clothes for ticks often. Ticks will climb upwards until they find an area of exposed skin. Have a friend or family member check hard to see areas. Perform a full-body inspection once indoors. Ticks can cling to clothing; toss your clothes in the dryer for 20 minutes to ensure they are tick-free. Also check your pets.

3. Wear light coloured clothing to make it easier to spot ticks.

4. Walk on pathways or trails when possible staying in the middle. Avoid low-lying brush or long grass.

5. Apply insect repellent to your skin and clothing, especially on any exposed areas, such as ankles, wrists and neck.

Research on various natural extracts has proven significant benefit.

Garlic juice, when sprayed on residential landscape, had a significant repellent affect over a three-year study.

Rosemary, peppermint, citrus, and Rose Geranium essential oils also demonstrate tick repellent properties. I make a homemade spray with a combination of the oils, a bit of vodka, and water. We use it around ears, ankles, and wrists as well as on clothing and pets.

If you do find a tick, don’t panic. Remove the tick using these suggested techniques and follow up with your ND or MD to discuss.

 

The Nutritional Change You Can’t Live Without

I often tell my patients when it comes to things that are good for you more is not necessarily better….except when it comes to veggies!

If there is one nutritional recommendation that outlasts all the crazy diet fads and fits into every tailored nutritional plan it is to EAT MORE VEGGIES!

Eating more vegetables is one of the simplest dietary choices with the most profound health benefits.

Vegetables are nutrient dense – providing a good dose of vitamins, minerals, and other phytonutrients in every serving. The plant chemicals not only prevent disease but promote optimal health!

Veggies also tend to be high fibre foods. Fibre helps to reduce blood sugar spikes, promotes healthy bowel movements, and balances cholesterol levels.

Studies have shown that people who eat more veggies have lower rates of stroke, diabetes and heart disease. These same veggie loving folks are more likely to maintain healthy body weight, which is linked to a reduction of several different chronic disease rates.

When it comes to cancer, veggies pack a preventative punch. Sarah Toule, from the World Cancer Research Fund, says: “Research shows just how incredibly important vegetables and fruit are as part of a healthy diet. In fact, they’re essential for maintaining a healthy weight, which our own evidence has shown reduces the risk of 11 common cancers.”

Here are a few suggestions to help you increase your veggie intake to help you feel your best and stay that way!


#1.

Soups and Stews: When vegetables are in chili, soups, and stews, they get really soft and the flavours all blend together. Think about a pot of chicken noodle soup: there are loads of vegetables in this soup and even the pickiest eaters love it. So when you’re making your next batch of chilli, soup, or stew why not throw in an extra serving of veggies (or two). The idea is to get creative, cut veggies up small and add in a variety of different veggies or consider pureed options like this delicious cauliflower soup!

 

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 #2.

Availability: Make sure the veggies are on hand and available. When you or your child is hungry and open the fridge to get a snack and there are baby carrots, celery sticks, salsa and guacamole, you’ll be more tempted to eat veggies for your snack!

 


#3.

Super Sneaky Smoothies: Hide vegetables in smoothies. Leafy greens blend up nicely and, if paired with berries and 1/2 banana, they won’t change the taste – only the health benefits! Cooked greens are also a great addition to smoothies! Why not have some fun with your blender. A few to try: cucumber, cooked kale, baby spinach, and beets.


#4.

Change the Texture! Dehydrate or bake veggies so that they are crunchy and chip or french fry-like. Kale chips are always a hit, but you also make homemade sweet potato fries, cauliflower steaks, plantain chips, and even green bean fries. We love turnip fries at our house and you could use this recipe for any root veggie 🙂

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#5.

Sauces and Dips Galore: If you or your child don’t like vegetables plain, consider them instead as a vehicle for awesome dips and sauces. Hummus is versatile and tasty, but rather than eat it with pita or crackers, try baby carrots, cucumber, or red bell peppers. If salads are boring you to death, maybe you need to explore some new salad dressings to jazz up the salad scene. You can also make your own pasta sauce with lots of yummy veggies. Chunky or pureed, mild or spicy are options that can be made depending on what you like.

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#6.

Weekly New Veggie Challenge: Commit to one new vegetable a week. Baby steps, right? One veggie at a time might be a good way to ease into a more vegetable-rich diet. They say that kids need to be exposed to a new food ten times before they really know if they like it or not (and most of the time after ten tries they end up liking it)! So don’t give up if you don’t like something on the first try 😉


#7.

Pureed Power: When a vegetable is pureed, you can easily “sneak it” in to increase the nutritional value of the dishes you normally like. Pureed veggies obviously can be added to soups and stews, but also pasta sauces, gravies, salad dressings, casseroles, and even used in baking. One of our family favourites is a take on the Oh She Glows cheese sauce which we made a couple of tweaks to and love it in a mac’n cheese. Serve it with a tossed salad and your getting a few servings of veggies in one meal!

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#8.

Drink your veggies: One super efficient way to get in a good dose of veggies is to drink ’em! When you consume fresh-made juice, it’s like getting an infusion of the vitamins, minerals and plant chemicals (phytonutrients) found in the whole plant. Make juicing part of your regular diet to benefit from a wide variety of plant nutrients.

*If you live in the Moncton area, check out JUICD! They are currently offering weekly delivery of fresh-made juices to your door.


#9.

More of what you do like: If you really, really can’t seem to eat more veggies and you’ve tried all of my suggestions, then focus on which vegetables you or your child actually do like and increase the consumption of those veggies. Even if the veggie diet isn’t varied, the benefit will come from having more vegetables on a regular basis.


#10.

Focus on Fruits: And my last suggestion, if it’s a constant fight to eat vegetables but you or your child love fruits, then focus on eating a wide variety of fruits. The one downside to eating too many fruit is the high sugar content (even though it is ‘natural’ sugar, sugar is still sugar and contributes to health concerns when consumed in excess). But, fruits are still loaded in vitamins, water, and fiber, so if you can’t do a lot of vegetables, try to at least get some more fruit in the diet…and maybe start working on blending in some veggies using the suggestions above 😉


#11 (cause who could stop at 10??)

Buy Local. Imagine bitting into a crunchy carrot and the smell alone makes your mouth water..Or a crisp cucumber that leaves juice running down your chin..How about making a delicious salad and the lettuce is so crisp and tasty you don’t even need dressing? Those are the kinds of flavours and textures you get when your food is fresh. BUY LOCAL. It’s just better!

Finding the Positive in a Cancer Diagnosis

 

power of positive


If I told you that it’s possible to be well and have cancer, what would you say? In fact, some of the healthiest, most vibrant, enthusiastic, and energetic people I know have cancer.

With a cancer diagnosis there comes fear. Overwhelming, suffocating, blinding fear. And that’s ok. It’s normal. But after some time to digest the news – it’s important to move thru the fear and turn your attention to what you can do to improve your situation and live the life you want.

I have had the pleasure of meeting brave and stunning souls. Many of whom have faced the life they were given (and sometimes the death) with courage beyond what I thought humanly possibly.

One of the most powerful statements I have heard was from an inspiring 35 year old female patient who was diagnosed with breast cancer. It was a devastating diagnosis and would require aggressive treatment. After a few weeks of working together, she said the following, and it has stuck with me ever since:

“Cancer has given me permission to be the person I want to be.”

In an otherwise awful situation, she found opportunity. She started to create the life she had always wanted. (She is now 1 year cancer free and has started her own business doing the work she loves).

For some people it takes a life threatening diagnosis to make big changes.

There’s a lot of evidence to support the benefits of mindfulness, of being present. If nothing else, a cancer diagnosis can catapult a person into the present moment. Things that once seemed important become trivial and things we might have once ignored come clear into focus.

I think there are worse things then getting a shove towards being your authentic self.

When a person with cancer chooses to live in a way that reflects their highest self, healing will always happen. It may or may not mean cure, but healing is where the real magic is.

 

i lost my fear

 

 

IV Vitamin C for Cancer Care

*Modified from OICC Patient Resource*

 

Did you know IV Vitamin C therapy can be combined with conventional cancer treatments?

What is intravenous vitamin C (IVC)?

High doses of vitamin C are administered via an intravenous (IV) drip. The IV route allows much larger concentrations of vitamin C to circulate in the blood than is possible by taking oral vitamin C supplements. Often high doses of oral vitamin C cause digestive upset and diarrhea and cannot achieve high enough blood levels to have a cancer benefit.

What is IVC used for?

IVC is most commonly prescribed to:

  •   improve quality of life
  •   reduce cancer-treatment related symptoms including fatigue, nausea and lack of appetite
  •   slow cancer progression

Does IVC work?

Most research has been conducted in the lab, using cells and animal models. Human studies are limited. Preliminary human studies, however, consistently show that IVC, alone or in combination with standard treatments, can reduce cancer symptoms, treatment side effects and improve quality of life. IVC should not be considered as a cure for cancer but as a powerfully beneficial aspect of an integrative plan.

A few small studies have looked at IVC in combination with standard care. In line with results from lab studies, these human studies show that IVC plus chemotherapy can slow cancer progression by reducing tumour size and decreasing tumour growth rate, as compared to chemotherapy alone.

How does IVC work?

Studies indicate IVC increases the production of hydrogen peroxide in the blood stream, which has been shown to cause cancer cell death while leaving normal cells unharmed. As opposed to vitamin C taken orally, vitamin C administered through an IV behaves as a pro-oxidant rather than an anti-oxidant and leads to the generation of free-radicals. Cancer cells do not have the necessary enzymes to breakdown hydrogen peroxide, causing the cancer cell to die.

Cancer cell lines that have exhibited sensitivity to the high doses of vitamin C that are possible through IV delivery include lymphoma, glioblastoma, bladder, prostate, liver, breast, cervix, ovary, colon and pancreas.

What are the side effects of IVC?

Side effects are mild and rare in most patients. Possible examples include diarrhea, loss of appetite, abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting, headache or mouth.

Is IVC safe?

Under most conditions, absolutely yes. However, IVC should not be administered to patients with renal failure, a history of kidney stone formation or those with a deficiency of the G6PD enzyme. Please contact Dr. Melissa Blake to discuss whether you are a good candidate for IVC therapy.

What is the recommended dose of IVC?

The goal of IVC treatment is to achieve a level of vitamin C in the blood stream of approximately 22mM (400mg/dL). My patients typically receive between 30g and 80g per infusion to achieve these levels. Extensive data show that doses up to 1.5g/kg of body weight are safe in a professionally monitored environment.

Treatments are generally administered 2-3 times per week during active treatment, and less often during a maintenance phase. Each treatment can last between 1 and 2 hours, depending on the dose.

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Disclaimer
The OICC has prepared this monograph, as part of a series of monographs being developed to share results of a review of the research evidence related to common therapies and products used within cancer patient care. The monograph is designed to summarize evidence-based research and does not advocate for or against the use of a particular therapy. Every effort is made to ensure the information included in this monograph is accurate at the time it is published. Please note that this monograph does not include an exhaustive list of all potential adverse events; individuals may experience unique side effects. The information in this monograph should not be interpreted as medical advice nor should it replace the advice of a licensed health care provider.

Mistletoe Therapy

What is mistletoe therapy?
The liquid extract of the mistletoe plant has been used as an alternative method to treat cancer for close to a century! Mistletoe injections are currently among the most widely used unconventional cancer treatments in Europe. Estimated 80% of German and Swiss medical doctors advise cancer patients to use it as part of their protocol.

Primary actions: toxic to cancer cells, DNA protective, anti-inflammatory, immune modulation.

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Is mistletoe effective for my type of cancer?

Mistletoe (sold as Iscador or Helixor) can be used in malignant and not-malignant tumors to stimulate immune function. When combined alongside conventional treatments, mistletoe has been shown to offset the side affects of chemotherapy/radiation like nausea, vomiting, and lack of appetite. It can also be used to diminish tumor-related pain and to reduce the risk of tumor recurrence.

Why are mistletoe treatments not available at cancer institutions in North America?

Even though it is used all over the world and proven effective in treating cancer, a clinical trial has not yet been done in North America. Until this happens, oncologists cannot offer this treatment as standard of care. Mistletoe can be prescribed by licensed naturopathic physicians who are trained in integrative oncology.

What does a mistletoe treatment look like?

Mistletoe is given as a subcutaneous injection (like an insulin shot, just below the skin) every 2-3 days. These injections can be done at home, making it a very cost effective treatment option.

Cost is dependant on personal response and required maintenance dose.

The ideal reaction to a mistletoe injection is a red flare or welt at the site – which indicated an immune system response. The welt may get red and itchy but should not exceed 2 inches in diameter and should vanish within 48 hrs. A good indication that the mistletoe is working is a slight increase in body temperature (1 C) within a few hrs of the injection and lasting no longer than 12 hrs after.

What benefits can I expect?

It is common to see tumour progression slow or stop, improved health, and reduced pain. Increased survival time is well documented. Quality of life is nearly always improved, including reduction in pain level, improved appetite, and general wellness.

What are the risks?

Negative side effects to mistletoe therapy are rare and minimized with the appropriate dose schedule. However, bruising as well as inflammatory reactions (which are desired and expected but can sometimes become problematic such as fever, flu-like symptoms, and headache) are possible.

*Notes: Deepest gratitude for Dr Neil McKinney, a naturopathic oncologist in Victoria, BC has over 30 years of experience working with cancer patients. He is a trusted source for mistletoe information and has seen a good response (improved quality of life, extended survival) in cases of advanced cancers.

Contact us for more information about the benefits and options of integrative cancer care.

IV room
Our beautiful IV room.