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Hormone Imbalance – Discovering Your Hormone Signature


 

Mark:  Hi, it’s Mark Bossert from Top Local Lead Generation.  We’re here today talking with Dr. Nicholas Jensen from Divine Elements.  They’re a Naturopathic and Wellness Clinic in Vancouver.  How’re you doing today Dr. Jensen?

Nicholas:  Great, thanks Mark.  Good to see you.

Mark:  So you can reach Divine Elements at their website at divineelements.ca or you can give them a call.  Today we’re talking about hormone imbalance which is something that’s really quite the coming thing in the world and Dr. Jensen is going to give us some insight on discovering your hormone signature.  So first why don’t we just find out a little bit about you, Nicholas?  Who are you?

Nicholas:  Good, thanks Mark.  I’m a Naturopathic Physician.  I graduated from the Boucher Institute of Naturopathic Medicine in 2007 with my beautiful wife.  So we co-own our family wellness clinic here, Divine Elements and my specialty is really helping people find their hormone signature.  So I call myself a Naturopathic Physician, also a Wellness Consultant because we’re not just looking at the basic fundamental errors that just show up over time but we’re also looking at enhanced quality of life and live as long and healthy as we can.

Mark:  So, what the heck are hormones and what is a hormone imbalance?

Nicholas:  Yes, great question and it’s definitely something that can seem quite complicated but at the end of the day it’s kind of a simple matter.  Essentially hormones regulate so many pieces of operating systems in our body and basically an imbalance can be set up in many different ways but if you look at our modern lifestyle with the caffination and staying up too late and over doing it with stress, the types of food we’re eating; we’re bombarded constantly with ways that throw our bodies out of balance and one of the first places it shows up is in the hormonal system.  Just an interesting side note is our hormones actually decline by fifty percent from ages 25 to 40, so this is a significant role that this plays on us over time.  If you look at any of the major chronic illnesses that do show up over time, they’re usually age related illnesses and in fact they’re so closely related to the hormone system, so it’s definitely an important area for discussion.

Mark:  So how do you discover if your hormones are out of balance?

Nicholas:  So, there are many different ways of doing it as far as testing and consultation concern, in this clinic here what we really want to discover is that hormonal signature and so we’ve kind of coined that term because hormones aren’t just what you see on a blood test.  They’re really about the quality of life, how you’re spending your time with your family, friends, what you’re doing for exercise, what kind of nutrition you’re putting in your body, so all these factors are taken into account but when people are coming in to really look at that hormonal system and a huge part of that is actually addressing things in the blood work as well, so people come in, we get an initial assessment through that lab work, we have them watch a detailed video describing the whole hormonal process and on the first visit we put together a strategic plan to deal with those unique systems, symptoms that are showing up for an individual.  And some of those, just to go over some of those typical symptoms, could be anything from fatigue, to weight gain, insomnia, depression, just the change in mood for many men and women; it’s a feeling of loss of mojo that definitely shows up over time and just a general lack of that zest, that quality of life so those are definitely the more common things that show up for people but the hormones because they play such a ubiquitous role in the body that it can look like a multitude of different things.

Mark:  O.K., so I suspect maybe my hormones are out of balance.  What do I do?

Nicholas:  The first thing you do is definitely call the clinic and ask and talk to our receptionist and our office managers who have valuable information to share on whether or not you’d be a good candidate for the program and if need be we do offer fifteen minute free consultations to really address if this is an area worth looking into and once people decide that, yes this is something you want to do and you want to work with us as physicians, Naturopathic doctors then we get going.  We make sure you get your blood work done; we sign you up for your consultation and get you started on a hormone balance program.

Mark:  That’s great.  So is there like one story about this that kind of the before and after that you, I’m kind of springing this on you, but is there a good story that you could tell about an example of how this has affected some’s life?

Nicholas:  The wonderful thing about working with hormones is there are so many stories and each day that  we get to see these people, we get hear about these profound effects that show up in people’s lives.   And one in particular yesterday, just had a patient of my wife’s actually who was commenting on her progress and she was in a real difficult . . .  I think we lost you there.

Mark:  Yup.  So you were talking about this lady

Nicholas:  Yes, great, thanks Mark.  Yes so my wife’s patient just yesterday was talking about her road to wellness just over this three month period which is very common for a lot of the patients.  Basically she was coming in, she was overweight, she wasn’t sleeping, hot flashes were getting out of control, basically she felt like she was out of control, she lost that handle and real sense of self that seems to disappear with the chronic stress and whatnot that shows up in people’s lives.  So she was eating poor, no energy, again not sleeping; in a short period of time she got her life back because she was sleeping again, she had that energy to go and start to get active.  She’d completely transformed the way she was eating and she’s a new woman, where as in the medical system she may have been a prime candidate for anti-depressant medications and all sorts of different medications that basically aren’t serving her in the long run and just after a short period of time she gets her life back and at the end of the day this is just the beginning.  She’s got a lot of work to do but to see such profound change after such a short period of time is quite phenomenal and it’s definitely on par with what most people do feel once they get going.

Mark:  That’s awesome.  So we’ve been talking with Dr. Nicholas Jensen.  We’re going to explore this a lot more over the next few weeks but you can reach him and his wife Sonya at their Naturopathic Wellness Clinic, Divine Elements in Vancouver.  divineelements.ca or you can call them at 604-568-3735.  Thanks a lot Doctor Nicholas.

Nicholas:  Thanks so much Mark.  Have a great day.

Weight Loss and Thyroid Function

Mark: Hi, it’s Mark Bossert from Top Local Lead Generation. We’re here today with Dr. Nicholas Jensen from Divine Elements. We’re going to be talking about weight loss and thyroid function. How’re you doing today Nick?

Nick: Great Mark, how’re you doing?
Mark: I’m good. Hey, so um, first of all what is the thyroid gland?
Nick: Yeah, basically I want to touch in on the thyroid function just because we touched on weight loss and it’s such a hot topic, um so basically the thyroid gland is a gland that sits at the level of the neck. Everyone’s got one, some people have one that’s working a little bit better than others, so pieces that we’re are really looking for when it comes to thyroid function is looking at your levels of T4, T3 and in the blood. T4 is your inactive form of thyroid hormone, T3 is an active. All that really means is that these are levels on a blood test that we are able to see how active thyroid is. Now, the unfortunate piece is that standard medical practice is to look for something called TSH which is if you’ve ever had blood work done then mostly likely that’s a marker that’s been checked on someone and if there’s a, only if TSH registers high which equals hypothyroid is there ever any concern or cause to look at a T4 level. Actual fact is when you want to, what you want to look for is all these levels in the blood. You want to look TSH, T4, T3, something called reverse T3, a thyroid antibodies, excuse me, that gives us a much clearer picture, objective picture of what’s going on with the thyroid hormone.
Mark: So, how does all that work together to create signs of an imbalanced thyroid gland?
Nick: So, for most people, I mean, taking you back to weight loss, weight loss is such a huge struggle for so many people and obviously diet is a factor but with regards to the thyroid function, if thyroid is not working well, and we’re just going to be talking about hypothyroid for today. Hypothyroid means under functioning metabolism, so T3, the active form of thyroid hormone is actually what determines that but some other common signs and symptoms would be low mood or depression which are very common, feeling cold all the time is a big concern for a lot of people, I mean, it’s less of a concern in the summer months but definitely once winter hits there’s many people who are just constantly feeling that cold, right down to the bone and that’s a very common sign, other ones would be hair loss or hair thinning, dry hair and skin, feeling like their nails are always cracked and brittle and slow wound healing. So these are all some of the more common signs of thyroid imbalance or hypothyroid symptoms.
Mark: So, that’s an awful lot of areas of the body that are being affected.
Nick: Absolutely. The reality is that the body is more likely to go into a hypothyroid state mostly because our nutritional capacity or what we’re taking in regularly is not up to par so with those feelings of feeling cold all the time, the cold extremities, the body is basically giving us messages and saying, you know, things could definitely be better. Why are we, you know, why are we not listening to our symptoms and why are we allowing these symptoms to take control of our lives and why, what are we not listening, what are we not doing, what are we choosing not to do. So, the problem is that so many people are suffering needlessly with these symptoms and we don’t need to. The standard medical practice is to give medication called Synthroid, so across the board if there’s a thyroid imbalance going on, Synthroid is the medication of choice. The problem with Synthroid is Synthroid is only bolstering T4’s affects. T4 is again, inactive thyroid hormone, so people can be on this medication for years and have very little effect on any of their symptoms because T4 is not converting into the active form of thyroid hormone. There are some very simple things that you can do to help up regulate thyroid function.
Mark: So, why would someone be on a medication that isn’t solving the problem?
Nick: Well, this is the problem is that too many people are trusting a system that’s, they’re not listening to their own intuition any more, they’re not listening to the call that things are not working and I ask people this, I say, why are you taking medication that’s not serving you, why are you taking a medication that’s not doing anything, um, nothing noticeable anyways. There are some people that gain a little bit of benefit because T4 is low but the reality is most people are not receiving the benefit, and so that’s a question we pose everybody who’s on the medication that’s not doing what it’s supposed to.
Mark: Right, so, o.k. how do you solve that thyroid imbalance?
Nick: So, for most people, like everything we do in the clinic here, we always start off with nutritional changes, lifestyle changes. There’s so much to be said for what you put in your body and how it metabolizes and absorbs and what the outcome is. We can be deficient in some of the very common nutrients that help to regulate thyroid function like zinc and iodine and selenium. Just bolstering those alone sometimes creates the change that people need to see in order to have a change in the symptoms. Often times through our Truebalance Bioidentical Hormone Program we often prescribe a hormone called desiccated thyroid which is basically it’s a complete support for the thyroid function. It’s not just addressing the T4. So, once we get all the blood work done, once we get the questionnaires filled out, and once we do our consultation we’re able to really determine this hormonal signature that people are presenting with and address the symptoms directly by adjusting nutrient intake, lifestyle changes, and in those cases adding desiccated thyroid. And just this past week actually, a patient emailed who’d just recently been put on desiccated thyroid through the program and has reported loosing over eight pounds, feeling fantastic, she’d wrote such a beautiful email about how well she was doing and it was a such a simple, the only thing she changed at this point was just adding a desiccated thyroid and selenium and cutting out the Synthroid and she’s started to feel like how she always knew she could feel, so that was a big victory and a big aha moment, when things are addressed properly its, some amazing things can happen for people.
Mark: That’s really amazing and gratifying to hear that there’s, there is help, because I know this is a pretty common thing, is that right?
Nick: Absolutely and a big percentage of people who come in for hormonal imbalance do have a thyroid imbalance as well and we can’t look at these things as independent obstacles, I mean, then this is again the problem with a disease treatment model as opposed to a health model. When we’re looking at the whole body we’re seeing the whole picture and seeing all these different hormones play an intricate role together so, we address the whole person, we address the root cause and amazing things can happen.
Mark: So that’s awesome. So, we’ve been talking about weight loss and thyroid function learning some pretty amazing things from Dr. Nicholas Jensen from Divine Elements. You can reach them at Divine Elements.ca or give them a call 604-568-3735. Thanks a lot Nick.
Nick: Thanks a lot Mark, have a great day.
Mark: Bye.

Health Care For The Whole Family

Our Growing and Changing Family

We are so excited to announce the Birth of Bir Kaur’s little girl. She was born on Tuesday, July 22nd at 7:11am. The family is doing well and is in a very beautiful and cozy space. She has a real sweetness about her and were so happy and thankful for this addition to the Divine Elements Family!
 
Dr. Sonya is expecting in mid August. Her last day in the clinic is Saturday, August 2nd. We will keep you posted about the baby!
 
We are also excited to Welcome Sada Ram our new office manager. She is a great addition to the clinic and we are excited for all of you to meet her.
 

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Our Favourite 3 Tips for Digestive Healing

Probably the most common complaint people come to see a Naturopathic Doctor for is to help fix their digestive system. In order for food to be broken down and utilized by the body it must undergo a series of breakdown processes. The alimentary canal (the digestive tract) is a 30 foot tube that moves from the mouth to the anus and is considered to be the outside world. Therefore food that is in the intestine is actually outside the body. In order for the food to move inside it must be completely broken down. This is the digestive process. Because the intestine is actually the outside of the body it’s lined with trillions of bacteria. There is actually more bacteria in our digestive tract than there are cells in our bodies. These bacteria are essential to the breakdown process and we couldn’t do it without them.
 
Even though digestion begins with chewing, the process begins in the brain where certain cues trigger the brain to send messages to the digestive tract to begin a cascade of enzyme secretion. This is so important to the process of digestion and is often overlooked. The process of thinking about, preparing, sitting down to eat is essential for the proper secretion of the multitude of enzymes coming from the mouth, stomach, pancreas, gall bladder, liver and intestines.
 
Many of the problems with digestion start with the improper breakdown of food. These larger-partially digested food molecules are a major contributor to issues people experience. Therefore, as we discuss with all our patients it’s not just “you are what you eat”, it is “you are how you digest”.
 
These larger food particles that aren’t digesting properly are often associated with food sensitivities/allergies and are contributors to inflammation and gut permeability. Every problem that will ever show up in the digestive system comes down to inflammation and compromised integrity of the digestive tract (permeability). In simple terms, this means there are “holes/spaces/gaps” in the intestinal membrane which then cause the immune system to react to the food we’re eating.
 
Excessive production of cortisol (from excessive stress), inflammatory conditions (IBD, crohn’s, colitis, celiac), infections (bacterial, viral, fungal, parasitic), allergies, certain medications (NSAID’s, aspirin, cortisone etc) can all lead to gut permeability – “leaky gut”.
 
Some of the common complaints:
-Fatigue
-Pain (digestive/joint/muscle)
-Skin problems
-Gas/Bloating
-Loose stools/constipation
-Frequent infections
-Low Mood
-Sleep Disturbances
-Allergies
 
Top 3 Naturopathic Tips For A Healthy Digestive System
1) Take The Time To Prepare, Chew & Enjoy Your Food
Digestion begins the moment we think about food, smell it or look at it which begins to stimulate the flow of fluid coming from the salivary glands under the tongue and at the angle of the jaw. Surprisingly, these secretions total 1.5 L of fluid/day. In our busy lives we don’t always take the time to properly prepare, chew or even enjoy our food. Even though we aren’t always able to prepare every meal we can definitely consciously chew our food. Thoroughly chewing your food can go a long way to preventing digestive problems. It makes it easier to digest/absorb the nutrients when broken down properly and will also keep you from over eating. You will be satiated on less food because you took the time to chew. By following this process you can actually lose weight, fix your digestive system and have more energy because you’re getting more out of your food instead of getting more food.
 
2) Don’t Over Eat
Who isn’t guilty of this? This often happens because we become slaves to our hunger. We eat too fast and in so doing the satiation signal which is triggered by the stretch receptors in the stomach to the brain are only able to tell us when it’s too late. The sleep coma that ensues after a big meal is because the blood supply is being shunted to your digestive tract and your pancreas is busy secreting insulin trying to regulate a healthy blood sugar level.
 
3) Balance The Flora
An overgrowth of the opportunistic (problematic) bacteria, fungus, parasites are a result of the foods we eat and the environment. Highly processed foods, sugar, alcohol, dairy are all common causes for an increase in this type of bacteria making digestion very inefficient. Making a change to the foods we put in our body, adding more fermented foods and adding in a Naturopathic Doctor recommended probiotic are all great ways to balancing the flora.

Food Sensitivities

What is a Food Sensitivity and Food Allergy?

 
The general population of patients coming into our Naturopathic practice are becoming more familiar with the term “Food Sensitivity”. A Food Sensitivity is a food that triggers an immune reaction in the body eliciting a set of symptoms. For some these immune reactions are mild and for others they are severe and debilitating and often go unnoticed by the conventional medical system. Some of the more common associations with food sensitivities are listed below.
 
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Summertime First Aid

With the school year coming to a close and families gearing up for the outdoors it is important to take some time to access what is in your Remedy First Aid Kit. Camping trips, water parks, climbing trees all have two things in common, lots of fun and lots of injuries! Below I have listed a few items you can have on hand along with your regular first aid kits.
 
1. Wound Cleaning
Yarrow/Calendula Drops: Equal parts of Yarrow Tincture and Calendula Tincture
Yarrow helps to fight bacteria with its antiseptic property and Calendula along with helping heal a wound is both antiviral and antifungal when applied topically.
 
Vitamin E: After a wound has mostly healed, applying topical vitamin E can reduce scar formation.
 
2. Burns
Equal parts Calendula Oil and St Johns Wort Oil with the addition of 10 drops of Lavender Essential Oil.

 
Homeopathics Cantharis and Causticum taken orally…
 

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Motherhood

May is a Month where we take time to honor Mothers for all that they do.
 
“The responsibility of a mother, when it comes to influencing inspiring her children, cannot be underestimated. There is much truth in the saying that there is a strong woman behind every successful man. Wherever you see you happy, peaceful individuals; where ever you see children endowed with noble qualities and good disposition; wherever you see men who have immense strength when faced with failure and adverse situation; wherever you see people who possess a great measure of understanding, sympathy, love, and compassion toward the suffering, and who give of themselves to others you will usually find a great mother who has inspired them to become what they are.” – Sri Mata Amritanadamayi Devi
 
Mother’s have such a vital role in shaping the future. As a Woman, and as a Mother we tend to look after all of those around us and forget that we too need to be happy and healthy in order to do all we do! So instead of looking for our loved ones to make this one day out of the year all about us, lets look at ways we can empower and nurture ourselves everyday.

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Inflammatory Foods To Avoid And Prevent Illness

 

As Naturopathic physicians we are always discussing with our patients necessary nutrition changes to decrease inflammation. Inflammation is the breeding ground for illness and it can either be helped or hindered based on the types of food we eat. To put it simply, inflammation is no different than getting a sprained ankle and experiencing swelling, redness and pain. This is a necessary part of the healing process. This process is triggered by tissue irritation and it signals our immune system to deal with the problem. The reality is that this inflammatory process and subsequent immune system signalling is what gets chronically triggered in illnesses such as Cancer, Cardiovascular disease, Hypertension, Diabetes, Arthritis, Crohn’s and Colitis, IBS, GERD, Alzheimer’s to name a few. Most if not all chronic illness has an “inflammatory switch” so to speak stuck in the “ON” position. We can turn “OFF” that switch by making healthy lifestyle and nutrition choices.
 
Some Signs and Symptoms of Inflammation Triggered From Food:
Irritable Bowel
Eczema/Rashes
low pH (acidic)
Headaches
Frequent Colds/Flus
Urinary tract Infections
Fatigue
Seasonal Allergies
Yeast/Candida symptoms
Mood/Behaviour changes
Brittle nails/dry cracked skin
Acid Reflux/Heart burn
Joint pain
Dark circles under the eyes
Cramping/Bloating/Gas
Weight Gain
Susceptibility to infection
Muscle Aches
 
As if there aren’t enough things to worry about with our health but even when we think we’re eating “healthy” we could be eating things that trigger inflammation. When making nutrition changes the old paradigm is to look for low/no fat, low calorie, fortified in vitamin foods. The problem with this paradigm is that it’s causing more health issues. When the fat is stripped, the sugar is added. When vitamins are fortified in, they’ve removed the other important nutrients. It’s wonderful marketing but we’re replacing calories for nutrition and depleting our bodies along the way. So we get fat, tired, frustrated all with good intentions. The new paradigm is to get in tune with the food that is right for you as an individual.
 
Pro-Inflammatory Foods to Avoid:
Trans Fats – too much Omega 6 fats
Red Meat – White Bread
Dairy – Processed Foods
Sugar – Refined Grains
Alcohol – Food Additives/Colouring
Gluten – Food Sensitivities/Allergies
MSG – Too many acid forming foods (coffee, soft drinks)
 
As we look through the list, most of the selections here may be common knowledge for our readers. However, despite us knowing this we continue to indulge in foods that complicate our health concerns. Inflammation is a slow deteriorating process and unfortunately for most we end up making changes in our diet when things have gone too far along. You can start today by looking through your fridge and cupboards. If you have more food in packages than you do in produce you’re already tipping the scale in favour of inflammation.
 
GET STARTED TODAY
We run a quick screening test within the clinic called Bio-impedance Analysis which measures your biological age, body composition, toxicity, cellular health status among others to determine how your nutritional intake is affecting your health. Call the clinic to find out more about this helpful tool and ask about our First Line Therapy program to create your individualized Lifestyle Medicine Plan!

5 Things You Should Know When Starting A Detox Program

 

Digestion is the seed of our health. How we digest food is how we digest life. As Naturopathic Doctors we educate each and every patient about the importance of their digestion and how this one system can affect the well being of the whole. If we are not absorbing our nutrients, the body isn’t receiving the nourishment it needs to not only heal but to live optimally. One of the ways you can assure your digestive system is working for you and not against you is through a detox program specific to your needs.

 

Detoxification is defined as the process of removing toxic substances and qualities. Throughout the day we are exposed to all sorts of toxins,; these toxins include pesticides and preservatives from foods, cosmetics, mould, hormones from food and water, chemical cleaners etc. Chronic stress due to work, relationships, children, and finances send a cascade of problematic stress hormones that also need to be detoxified.

 

1. Your Body Is Constantly Detoxing

 

Imagine for a moment the analogy of your body as a bucket. With chronic exposure to the different forms of toxins your bucket would get so full that it would spill over the rim. The overflowing bucket is your body not being able to handle that toxic load. This would then show up as symptoms such as headaches, fatigue, constipation and diarrhea, bloating and gas, eczema, autoimmune conditions etc. Therefore, the body just like the bucket would need pathways for elimination to decrease the toxic load. These pathways are represented in the body as emunctories. The primary emunctories include the liver, kidneys, Intestines, stomach, pancreas, lymph and Lungs, and the secondary emunctories are the skin and mucous membranes. These pathways of elimination work together to create a nontoxic environment in the body. If any of these are not functioning optimally the body creates symptoms because the bucket is just too full.

 

2. Your Liver Is Working Harder Than It Needs To

 

The liver has a Phase I, and Phase II detoxification pathway that helps your body deal with anything from hormones to alcohol. There are critical enzymes involved in detoxification, these are called Cytochrome P450 Enzymes. These enzymes take the toxins and convert them into something even more toxic for the body. In order to neutralize these toxins they have to be conjugated to essential vitamins and minerals to convert them into a less toxic water soluble form now ready for elimination. If either one of these phases are up or down regulated by either diet or toxicity it will increase the load on the liver not allowing it to do its job. Therefore, the symptoms that may show up in the body will be even more aggressive. With today’s culture of fast paced lifestyles followed by eating for convenience rather than nutrition most individuals lack the proper support the liver actually needs. There are specific nutrients that can help support both of these phases for optimal detoxification. For Phase I-Cruciferous Vegetables, B6 Vitamins, Milk Thistle and Magnesium. For Phase II-Glutathione, Turmeric, B5 Vitamins and Whey Protein.

 

3. It’s Not Just About The Liver!

 

There are two other major systems that are not given much attention when it comes to detox, the Kidneys and the Lymphatic System. The Kidneys are now considered to be Phase III Detoxification and is dependent on your body’s pH levels. For proper detoxification the body needs to have an optimal ph level around 7.4. The standard diet however creates more of an acidic environment in our bodies, creating opportunity for toxins and infections that can manifest disease. Foods such as soda, coffee, beef, fried foods, dairy and alcohol contribute to an acidic environment. Where as foods like root vegetables, leafy greens, garlic and lemon create an alkaline environment.

 

Your Lymphatic System plays a role in transferring lymph, a clear fluid containing White Blood Cells responsible for ridding the body of toxic waste and other unwanted material. When congested, the Lymphatic System will disrupt both digestion and the respiratory system creating inflammation and mucous formation. In order optimal lymphatic flow your lifestyle must include regular exercise such as yoga, you should eliminate food sensitivities, get lymphatic massages, and learn to go with the flow!

 

The bowels tell the entire story! As a Naturopathic Doctor I always ask the question, how often are you having a bowel movement, what is the consistency and colour of your stools. This tells me how well your body is detoxifying, what your dietary intake is like and if there are any imbalances in the levels of bacteria in your gut. This will tell us that its time to make a change in your nutrition plan.

4. You Need To Challenge Yourself For 40 Days To Really See A Change Happen

“Maintain a positive attitude with promoting Habits for 40 days and you can change your Destiny” – Yogi Bhajan

 

By committing to 40 days you are making a decision to empower yourselves physically, mentally, and emotionally. You are making a decision to take charge of your health and become an active part of our healing journey. This helps to get rid of the old patterns and habits and create new ones that will serve you for the rest of your life. These 40 days allow you to assess what it really is that you want for yourself. It is a kick start into being more proactive and committed to a new and healthy you that allows for lasting changes.

 

5. Not Everyone Will Benefit From The Same Detoxification Program

Each of us is unique in how we live, eat, digest, and respond to life. We all may have the same systems within the physical body, but our mental and emotional body is very unique and specific to us. When detoxifying we are working at the physical level, however, the other parts of us are involved as much if not more in this process of healing. We have all had experiences in our lives that have shaped who we are today. Therefore an individualized plan is essential to get you on your right path. Work with your Naturopathic to find the program that is right for you so you can make lasting changes in your health.

5 Mistakes “The Perfect Mom” Can Make

Busy Mom
By Dr. Sonya Jensen ND Busy MomMovies like “I Don’t Know How She Does It” starring Sarah Jessica Parker really do highlight the qualities of today’s mom. Busy, busy, and busy! In that busy schedule of caring for the kids, the house, the career, a woman can feel lost, alone, and full of anxiety. Our culture congratulates those that multitask and stay busy and manage to get it all done and all perfect. What’s lost in that scenario is the woman, the woman before she was a mother, that woman that had her own dreams, that woman that could be centered, grounded, happy and still be a great mom. She has sacrificed just that to be that perfect TV mom that can do it all and keep up with the “Joneses”. The Mother of today, she is not just a mother but she’s a woman of influence with goals and aspirations of her own. When a child is born a woman is forever changed. However does that mean she needs to sacrifice herself and her dreams? Why do we see that time as an end to who we were? Yes we are different, we’ve evolved, we have created and brought a whole other being into this world. But does loving your child mean not loving yourself? What happens when we become mothers? What blocks us from being who we are in every moment, with or without a child? What are these “mistakes” or patterns that hold us back from the one goal we all have, which is to be happy. FEAR, FEAR, FEAR! Fear of failure, fear of judgment, fear of doing it all wrong! So lets face it, who really has the time! Between diapers, feedings, and driving to activities, to exercise, make meals, and on some days even shower? On the outside it makes logical sense to spend all your time caring for your children and putting yourself last, that’s what a good mother does.   Make time for you

Mistake #1: Thinking you’re not important.

You are important. You are the glue and centre of your family. If you are happy and healthy so is your family. There have been studies indicating that higher amounts of stress hormones like cortisol in a Mother’s blood stream is directly correlated with how connected she feels with her children and how well those children develop. “These studies have demonstrated that exposure to prenatal stress not only affects physical development of the infants (birth weight, head size, and structural malformations), but also their functional development, evidenced by poor psychomotor performance and more difficult behaviour during the first 10 years of life.” Prenatal Maternal Stress: effects on Pregnancy and the (unborn) Child. Take a moment and ask yourself, what is YOUR definition of happy? What feeds YOUR soul? Remember that guy that contributed his genes in making your children, your partner, what do you want out of your relationship? Children mimic what we do, not what we say. Taking time to nurture yourself instills in them the importance of taking care of themselves. Let Go

Mistake #2: Holding on….

Have you ever had that moment where your child says or does something that they have obviously learned from you but its something you wouldn’t say or do in public? And it’s in that moment that you realize that you just don’t have any control. Our children are our biggest teachers, and they do this by mirroring absolutely everything we do! Our need and want to have things go a certain way, the perfect way, can sometimes create a whole world of internal anxiety and conflict that keeps us from being happy. Learning the practice of letting go and having flexibility will create opportunities for you to relax and enjoy the process. As you may have already experienced the more we try to hold on and control, the more our children show us it just doesn’t work that way. Our Fear is being “that mom”… “that mom” that has a screaming child in the department store, “that mom” the perfect moms are looking at because you forgot to change after your son has thrown his food all over you, “that mom” that hasn’t put her kid in enough activities. Its that fear of judgment when all of you, even the “perfect ones” are doing the best you can, that creates anxiety over not doing it all right. It may be the judgment of others we fear but we really are our own worst critics. Creating a daily practice that grounds you like yoga, meditation, walking, whatever inspires YOU, can help you respond and not react to what comes up externally and internally. So if that other Mom looks like she’s got it all under control while you’re feeling like life is controlling you, take a deep breath and remember you’re doing the best you can.

Mistake #3: Letting Guilt be your Guide….

Guilt is defined as feeling responsibility or remorse for some offence, crime, wrong, etc. whether real or imagined. I think the focus here needs to be on the word “imagined”. As Moms especially new Moms we spend so much of our day indulging in this emotion of guilt that doesn’t serve anyone, especially not our children. Mommy guilt has a way of taking over our thoughts about not only ourselves but also those around us. Every decision we make now is not just about what we want as an individual instead we have to consider the whole. Last year I took a trip to Haiti to supervise a group of students in providing support and Naturopathic Care at Mama Baby Haiti, an organization created by a group of American Midwives in an effort to lower fetal death. This opportunity came at a time where I was still nursing and still very attached to my Son and our daily routine. The trip was for two weeks and that would mean all the responsibility of taking care of our Son and Clinic would fall on my husband. So not only was I feeling guilty about “abandoning” my Son, but then wife guilt showed up in all its glory! Right up to the day I left I was tormenting myself, how will this affect my son? Will he have abandonment and trust issues because of me? Will my husband resent me? The list went on and on. I talked to all the Moms I knew to get their opinions and thoughts on me leaving and consensus was that it’s even more important as a mom to follow your dreams so we can teach our children to follow theirs. Looking at the definition of guilt, I didn’t commit a crime, offence or wrong doing so then why when this amazing opportunity shows up to serve pregnant woman did my mind create all this drama and unnecessary stress? In the end I went and came back. My son and husband received me with open arms and it was as if I had never left. Yes you’re a Mother now but nowhere does it say that you are no longer someone that deserves everything you have dreamed and wanted for yourself.

Mistake #4: Not Asking for Help and Feeling Alone

The reality of raising a child today is that, it really does take a village! In talking to other Mothers there seems to be a fear in trusting others because we want our children raised a certain way. We are a generation of parents wanting to do it all. However, when we allow others into our children’s lives it creates an extended family that they can trust. It gives them a sense of security in themselves, and most importantly it gives you a break!! There is nothing wrong with asking for help, you are doing the best you can. You know your baby best and you know when it is time for you to reach out. You will be surprised to find out that most other Mothers are having the same thoughts, feelings, and challenges as you. My good friend said something that really resonated with me in reference to becoming a Mother, “When you become a Mother you are not only a Mother to your own child but to all the children”. That for me really created a bigger picture of its not just about me but all of us Mothers as a whole. We are shaping the future! We all have the same fears and dreams so why not take some time to connect with other Mothers, share your stories and help each other out?

Mistake #5: Not paying attention to your own Health.

Before having my son I exercised 5 days a week, ate well, looked after myself and even did my hair. When you’re a business owner and a Mother those simple things that created balance in your life can be neglected. Luckily as a physician working with others I am constantly reminded how important it is to take care of myself and make sure my health is a priority. If it’s not a priority for me I can’t help anyone else reach their own health goals. Having nutritional deficiencies, low energy, and mood swings is not going to help me get through a day with an energetic toddler! There’s a moment in the movie, “I Don’t Know How She Does It”, where Sarah Jessica Parker after a long day at work and organizing her daughters birthday pauses and takes a deep breath, and in that breath you can see the love she has for her daughter, her husband, and her life. We have all had these moments that make it all worth it. Every night as I stare at my son falling asleep and reflect on our day I have a feeling of gratitude and love for this experience as a Mother. With all its challenges and all its victories, being a Mother has helped me reflect on myself in ways I never thought possible. We Mothers are all given an opportunity to shift and shape this world through our love for our children and most importantly through loving ourselves.