I believe that everyone can age beautifully and gracefully without having to compromise their health with harsh anti-aging treatments. In today’s society botox is becoming increasingly more popular, especially in younger women in their 20’s. Luckily, an all natural and healthier alternative to injections has been gaining popularity- cosmetic acupuncture.
Cosmetic acupuncture is an amazing all natural beauty treatment that both younger and older women can gain benefit from! So today I wanted to write a quick blog on why you should choose facial acupuncture over botox any-day!
How does Cosmetic Acupuncture Work?
Cosmetic acupuncture is derived from Traditional Chinese Medicine beauty and is growing popularity around the world. It’s 100% natural, injection free and is often done at minimal discomfort. By stimulating certain areas of the face with hair-thin acupuncture needles, the body is encouraged to locally increase blood flow, collagen and elastin production.
How does Botox Work?
Botox is a drug made from a toxin produced by the bacterium called Clostridium botulinum. It’s the same toxin that causes a life-threatening type of food poisoning called botulism.
It works by blocking signals from our nerves to our muscles. The injected muscle can’t contract which makes wrinkles relax and soften. However over time, this procedure can actually weaken facial muscles and cause even more aging in the long-run.
Now that we understand the key points of each treatment, let’s go over why cosmetic or facial acupuncture is more beneficial than getting botox.
1. Benefits your overall health
Unlike botox which just treats local concerns of wrinkles, cosmetic acupuncture has the ability to positively impact your health as a whole. This is because Traditional Chinese Medicine treats the body as an energetic system and many skin related issues stem from inner imbalances. This can be due to poor digestion, poor circulation to the face or inflammation. Using a combination of points located on the face and body, the root cause is able to be addressed rather than just masking superficial symptoms!
2. Influences the long-term health of skin
While botox typically lasts 3-5 months, cosmetic acupuncture lasts much longer and will continue to benefit your skin even when you discontinue treatment. By causing micro-trauma with the insertion of needles, facial acupuncture encourages the natural production of newer, stronger elastin fibers and collagen. This results in increased elasticity, firmness, reduced fine lines, brighter complexion and smoother texture!
3. Strengthens facial muscles + prevents atrophy
With the use of motor points, cosmetic acupuncture stimulates or relaxes muscles in the face depending on the individual’s needs and goals. Instead of inhibiting muscle contraction like botox, cosmetic acupuncture aims to stimulate blood flow to the area. Increasing localized circulation allows your body to activate its own healing capabilities and naturally eliminates fine lines and wrinkles by supplying energy or Qi.
4. It Works!
Not only does facial acupuncture have the ability to promote anti-aging effects, it can also benefit many health conditions. In a recent article, facial acupuncture can also be used to treat various neuromuscular facial conditions such as Bell’s palsy, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome and trigeminal neuralgia.
5. Covered by Healthcare Benefits
If your healthcare benefits cover getting acupuncture by a Registered Acupuncturist (R.Ac), then cosmetic acupuncture falls under receiving an acupuncture treatment!
Thank you so much for reading my blog! I hope that I sparked your interest in this amazing all natural beauty treatment 🌸
If you are interested in learning more, please feel free to book a free consultation call with me! If you would like to book a cosmetic acupuncture treatment, please click here! I am currently accepting new clients in Toronto and would love to work with you 💗
It’s officially fall- my favourite season! I love this time of year because there are so many pretty colours and it also means that halloween is just around the corner! But with the transition from warmer weather to cooler temperatures, it’s so easy to get sick. However, if you take the necessary steps to protect your body against pathogens, you will have nothing to worry about!
Here are the best natural remedies for a strong immune system:
1. Echinacea Tea
Echinacea is in amazing herb that has the ability to naturally boost your immunity and shorten the duration of the common cold, flu, pharyngitis, cough & fever. In fact, archaeologists have found evidence that Native Americans used echinacea for more than 400 years to treat infections such as wounds and a general “cure-all”. In addition, echinacea is loaded with plant compounds that function as antioxidants which help to support a strong immune system.
Traditional Medicinals is my favourite brand of echinacea tea because the ingredients are clean and it’s very affordable! You can find it at most general stores like Bulk Barn, Loblaws, No Frills or even Shoppers Drug Mart.
2. Freshly squeezed orange juice
Drinking orange juice is a great and tasty way to build strong immunity at this time of year. Oranges are naturally packed with Vitamin C which has the ability to help our bodies produce leukocytes (white blood cells). White blood cells are what fights off infection and helps our bodies recover from illness. In addition, oranges are also rich in carotenoids which help to protect our cells from oxidative stress, as well as supports cardiovascular health 🫀.
Check out my new Youtube video for a delicious orange smoothie recipe that is packed with carotenoids 💪🏼
3. Fresh Garlic
Garlic is a natural remedy that most people already know about because of their grandparents. But today I want to tell you the reasoning why garlic has such amazing immunity boosting effects! It all starts with allicin- an active compound that gives garlic its smell and taste. Allicin has the ability to ease inflammation and block free radicals that damage cells and tissues within your body. It also has antiseptic, antibacterial and anti-fungal properties meaning that it can naturally destroy select viruses and other harmful microorganisms.
I love adding garlic to my recipes for added nutritional benefits, but when I feel myself getting sick I prefer to eat it raw. I usually mash one clove, mix it with maple syrup and take it like a spoon of cough syrup. But if raw garlic is too strong for you, you can try boiling it in 1 cup of water and drinking the water as a tea 🍵.
Ginger is one of the most commonly used herbs in Traditional Chinese Medicine because of its amazing immunity boosting effects! Ginger is considered a warming herb so it’s perfect for combating seasonal sicknesses such as the common cold at this time of year. In addition, ginger can help to decrease inflammation, which can help reduce a sore throat and inflammatory illnesses.
Try adding fresh ginger to your morning smoothie or even try drinking a ginger tea before bed.
5. Dressing Weather Appropriate
This one seems a bit obvious but it’s extremely important to wear adequate clothing for this time of year- I know in the mornings it can be warm, but pack a sweater anyway! This small gesture will prevent you from dealing with a runny nose for weeks on end. In addition, wearing socks around your house surprisingly helps improve your immunity. This is because a lot of body heat can be lost from walking on cold flooring!
Other helpful tips:
Taking a steam shower is a great way to detox, improve circulation and ease pain. By standing in a steam shower for more than 5 minutes while focusing on your breathing, your body will naturally loosen up built up mucous in the respiratory tract and provide relief. If you’re laying in bed at night and you feel congested, try taking a nice steam shower! It will not only help you breathe easier, it will also help you sleep!
Eat more whole plant-based foods. Plant-based foods are high in beneficial nutrients and antioxidants that can help your body fight off infections + aid in building a strong immune system!
Exercise. Exercising has so many benefits such as improving brain function and reducing the risk of developing certain diseases. Try visiting the gym at least 2 times a week to stay in top shape and allow you body to function at its best!
Thank you so much for reading my blog! I hope that at least one of these immunity boosting tips was helpful! Be sure to follow me on my socials to stay connected 💗
Acupuncture is an ancient technique that has been used to treat many conditions and create inner balance for over 2,000 years. However, it wasn’t until recently that women started to explore Traditional Chinese Medicinal therapies as an option for fertility treatment. So today I wanted to write a quick blog on how acupuncture can help benefit infertility and help to increase your likelihood of conception.
What is infertility?
First things first, if you are struggling with infertility know that you are not alone. According to the CDC, about 10% of women (6.1 million) in the United States aged 15-44 have difficulty getting pregnant or staying pregnant. This can be due to many contributing factors in both partners.
What causes it?
In women, the cause of infertility can include endometriosis, uterine fibroids and thyroid disease. In men, it can be due to low sperm count, low testosterone, a pre-existing condition or injury.
Certain lifestyle factors can also increase the risk of infertility in both partners:
Age (over age 35 for women and over 40 for men).
Excessive alcohol use.
Eating disorders including anorexia nervosa and bulimia.
Sexually transmitted disease (STDs)
How is infertility treated?
Typically, your healthcare provider will ask you to record signs of ovulation such as basal body temperature, do blood work and perform a pelvic examination to try to narrow down the root cause.
Varying treatment methods may be offered such as medications or even surgery.
The Alternative Approach to Infertility 🌸
Now that we have explored a little bit about what infertility is, let’s talk about how acupuncture can increase the likelihood of conception.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the body is viewed as an energy system. Each organ plays a role in the smooth flow of energy (or Qi) and maintaining an inner balance. When our inner balance is disrupted, many related symptoms and conditions can arise such as infertility.
How Acupuncture Can Help
Research suggests that acupuncture in combination with moxibustion can have positive effects when it comes to preparing the body for conception. This is because in most cases, the body or the uterus is too cold (doesn’t have enough energy) to carry and hold a baby.
When moxibustion is used to improve fertility, specific points over the ovaries and uterus are warmed to increase blood circulation. This in turn improves the availability of nutrients to growing follicles, assists with the elimination of toxins and improves the quality of the endometrial lining.
In addition, diet plays a huge role in the success rate of conception. Traditional Chinese Medicine takes factors such as the temperature of foods, current season and nutritional value into mind to create a personalized plan based on the patients constitution.
Acupuncture is amazing treatment approach to many health conditions. Regular acupuncture sessions can help to monitor stress levels as well as promote relaxation which may also increase the likelihood for a successful pregnancy. It’s one of my favourite aspects of alternative medicine because it really does provide incredible effects! To learn more about how acupuncture works, check out my blog All About Acupuncture.
If you are looking for an acupuncturist, feel free to book an appointment with me, I am currently accepting new clients! 🌸
Bloating is one of the the most common adverse effects that many people experience after eating certain foods. Approximately one in ten Americans report that they regularly suffer from bloating even when they haven’t eaten a large meal.
Abdominal bloating is characterized by the stomach feeling full, tight, or swollen. Oftentimes, bloating is typically caused by one’s diet and is rarely a sign of a serious medical condition. So today I wanted to talk about some foods that can cause bloating and what to eat instead!
What exactly is bloating and what causes it?
We’ve all felt it after our digestive system is triggered by a certain food or beverage. So why exactly do we feel bloated?
Abdominal bloating occurs when the gastrointestinal (GI) tract is filled with air or gas. This is typically caused by a mild intolerance or allergy which causes excessive gas production, and as a result the air gets trapped within the intestines. The most common intolerances are wheat and dairy, scroll on to learn more!
Aside from eating particular foods, simple reasons for bloating can include:
Overeating: Eating too much can make you feel uncomfortably stuffed. In addition, fats and animal products take longer to digest than proteins, which can keep the stomach feeling full for longer.
Eating too fast: Drinking or eating too quickly can increase the amount of air that you swallow, which leads to buildup in the GI tract.
Chewing gum: When you chew gum, you end up swallowing more air than usual which increases bloating. Also, sugar free gums can contain ingredients such as xylitol and sorbitol which can ferment in the gut.
Now that we’ve talked a little bit about what bloating is and some common triggers, let’s talk about some foods and better alternatives!
Top 5 Foods & Beverages to look out for
Wheat contains a protein called gluten which is pretty well-known nowadays as the bad guy. Gluten can cause bloating, stomach pain, gas and diarrhea for some individuals. In addition, sensitivity to gluten can be due to celiac disease which affects about 1 percent of the American population. Although some people are not necessarily gluten intolerant or celiac, it still can negatively impact the digestive system.
Non-celiac gluten sensitivity affects up to 6 percent of the population according to a report in the World Journal of Gastroenterology. Gluten also contains little to no essential nutrients. Foods that commonly contain gluten include bread, pasta and baked goods. It’s also found in many grains such as wheat, barley and rye.
Alternatives to wheat that may not cause bloating include pure oats, quinoa, buckwheat, wild rice and coconut flours. 🌾
Dairy includes a range of products from milk, cheeses, yogurts and baked goods. Although many people consume dairy daily in various foods and drinks, up to 75 percent of the world’s population has a reduced ability to digest lactose after infancy and therefore are lactose intolerant. Lactose intolerance is the impaired ability to digest lactose, a sugar found in milk and other dairy products. Interestingly enough, affected individuals typically have difficulty digesting fresh milk, but can consume certain dairy products such as cheese or yogurt without discomfort. This is because these foods are processed using methods that break down much of the lactose.
Nonetheless, many people do experience adverse effects from dairy and animal products such as weight-gain, digestive issues and inflammation. In addition, there are much healthier sources of calcium that do not contain animal proteins and cholesterol.
Alternatives to dairy include plant-based milks such as soy, almond or rice milk. There are also plenty of plant-based cheeses and yogurts available so be sure to check your local grocery store! 🥤
Beans are full of fiber, protein, healthy carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals. Although beans are very healthy for you, they do cause bloating and flatulence (gas). This is because beans contain raffinose which is a non-digestible carbohydrate that is also found in cabbage, broccoli and Brussels sprouts. Raffinose is poorly digested due to the the lack of an enzyme called alpha-galactosidase in the digestive tract.
As a result, raffinose can pass through both the stomach and small intestine, and enter the large intestine where it is fermented by gut bacteria. This causes the production of gases and therefore bloating.
But don’t let this discourage you from eating beans! They are still very healthy and can be enjoyed in moderation. Adzuki beans, mung beans and lentils can be a great alternative that is easier to digest! 🍲
4. Carbonated Beverages
Carbonated beverages such as sodas and sparkling water contain carbon dioxide which is what creates the bubbles. These bubbles may be fun and games while enjoying a drink, however the gas goes straight to your digestive tract, where it can cause bloating. In addition, many carbonated drinks contain artificial sweeteners, artificial flavours and colourants.
Alternatives to carbonated drinks include lemon water, fruit juices or tea. You would be surprised by how many tasty teas there are out there! 🫖
5. Artificial Sweeteners and Sugar
We all know that artificial sweeteners and sugars are bad for our health, however did you know that they can also cause bloating? Xylitol and sorbitol are amongst the most popular chemical sweeteners today that can be found in anything from candies to gum. These sweeteners provide no nutritional benefit and are not easily broken down in our digestive system. Therefore, they reach the large intestine unchanged where gut bacteria can feed on them. Research from BMC Obesity links these sweeteners with an unhealthy lifestyle and contributor to obesity. So not only does chewing gum cause bloating, the ingredients do too!
Alternatives to artificial sweeteners include dates, coconut sugar or raw honey. Instead of chewing gum, try a healthier alternative such as eating apple slices or a mint every so often. 🍃
Foods that Reduce Bloating
Since we talked about some foods that cause bloating, I wanted to quickly mention some foods that can naturally reduce the associated symptoms!
Foods that are naturally high in fiber, potassium and water content all have the natural ability to reduce bloating. Fiber is important because it helps to regulate digestion, while potassium helps regulate fluid balance and foods high in water content keep you hydrated.
However, it’s crucial to note that not all foods high in these nutrients reduce bloating. Apples are also high in fiber and water content, but can cause bloating because they contain fructose- a sugar that many people find it difficult to digest.
Pears can also cause bloating because they contain sorbitol which can ferment in the gut.
If you do enjoy apples and pears and they cause you to feel bloated, try boiling them first to make them easier to digest!
Thank you so much for taking the time to read my blog, I hope you learned something new! If you experience bloating, try eliminating certain foods from your diet and see if you are able to determine the culprit. Oftentimes, minor health problems can be solved with a quick change in diet!
If you’re interested in talking about nutrition or learning new ways to become healthier, feel free to book a free consultation with me! 👩🏻⚕️📲
Di Rienzo T;D’Angelo G;D’Aversa F;Campanale MC;Cesario V;Montalto M;Gasbarrini A;Ojetti V; (2013). Lactose intolerance: From diagnosis to correct management. European review for medical and pharmacological sciences. Retrieved November 24, 2021, from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24443063/.
Igbinedion, S. O., Ansari, J., Vasikaran, A., Gavins, F. N., Jordan, P., Boktor, M., & Alexander, J. S. (2017, October 28). Non-celiac gluten sensitivity: All wheat attack is not celiac. World journal of gastroenterology. Retrieved November 24, 2021, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5677194/.
Winther, R., Aasbrenn, M., & Farup, P. G. (2017, December 27). Intake of non-nutritive sweeteners is associated with an unhealthy lifestyle: A cross-sectional study in subjects with morbid obesity. BMC obesity. Retrieved November 24, 2021, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5745623/.
With the seasons changing and the temperatures decreasing, it’s important to make the appropriate changes to your diet. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, we use warming herbs in the winter, and cooling herbs in the summer months in order to create a balance within the body. So today I wanted to write a quick blog on 5 different herbs that you can add to your diet in order to warm your interior, boost your immunity and promote optimal health this winter season! ❄️
I just want to start off by saying that herbal medicine that originates from the Traditional Chinese Medicinal system is a lot different than how most people think of herbal indications. Take cinnamon for example, we generally think of cinnamon as beneficial because it has anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral properties. We also associate it with its ability to reduce inflammation.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, we actually refer to cinnamon as Rou Gui which basically just means cinnamon bark. It’s renowned for its ability to warm the interior, expel cold and alleviate pain due to its specific temperature and taste. Rou Gui is acrid and sweet and flavour, and hot in temperature which is perfect for when the temperature outside decreases. It also assists in the generation of Qi or energy and blood. In TCM terms, that means that it’s great for boosting immunity and energy levels within the body.
So without further ado, let’s talk about some interesting and useful herbs that are a great addition to any diet during the colder months!
1. Rou Gui (Cinnamon Bark)
I briefly mentioned Rou Gui, but I would like to talk more about this amazing herb because it has so many benefits! Rou Gui is a warming herb that is apart of the category of herbs that warm the interior and expel cold. It’s great for boosting immunity, reducing inflammation and reducing pain. Because it’s hot in temperature, it does a great job at pushing the cold out and moderating the effects of cooling foods that we eat!
As someone who is plant-based, I eat a lot of salads, fruits and drink a lot of smoothies- all foods that are “cold” or “cooling” in nature. In the winter months, eating just cold foods can cause stagnation, pain and therefore cause illness. I typically sprinkle a bit of cinnamon on my fruits and add some to my smoothies to balance it out!
2. Sheng Jiang (Fresh Ginger)
In TCM, there are two different kinds of ginger: fresh ginger (Sheng Jiang) and dried ginger (Gan Jiang). Gan refers to dried, while sheng means fresh- today we are going to talk about fresh ginger!
Sheng Jiang is big in Chinese Medicine with good reason- it’s a great herb for boosting the immunity, warming the middle and stopping vomiting. Because of its slightly warm temperature and acrid flavour, it has the ability to release the exterior and promote healthy digestion. We all know that fresh ginger does not taste the best 😅. But because of it’s unique qualities, it has very unique indications!
Drinking ginger tea when the weather gets colder is beneficial because it has the ability to boost your immunity and regulate digestion. Next time you feel yourself coming down with something, try making yourself a cup of warm ginger tea!
3. Jiang Huang (Turmeric)
Turmeric or Jiang Huang is one of the main herbs used in herbal medicine for reducing inflammation within the body. In addition, its active ingredient is curcumin, giving turmeric its yellow colour. Interestingly enough, Huang means yellow, which you can see displayed in the Traditional Chinese Herbal name above. Curcumin is a natural anti-inflammatory that can help improve many conditions such as heart disease, cancer, digestive disorders and even degenerative diseases.
In TCM, Jiang Huang is apart of the category of herbs that regulate the blood. Its temperature is warm, and its taste is considered acrid and bitter. Bitter herbs generally have the function of moving blood, therefore this herb is also great for reducing swelling and pain! It’s also used in many complex herbal formulas to address menstrual conditions such as amenorrhea or dysmenorrhea.
I add Turmeric to my diet by buying it fresh at my local grocery store and cooking it into curries and sauces. I sometimes do juicing as well and it’s a great addition that will make any juice glow! ✨
4. La Jiao (Cayenne Pepper)
I actually had to ask around about what this herb is called because it’s surprisingly not mentioned in many Traditional Chinese Medicine herbal books! So as much as I love cayenne, I’m not sure if it’s used that often in herbal medicine. But I thought it was definitely worth mentioning!
Aside from adding a lil spice to meals, cayenne pepper has so many health benefits! The active ingredient that gives these peppers their medicinal qualities is called capsaicin. Capsaicin has metabolism boosting properties! Because cayenne peppers are naturally hot in temperature, they have the ability to increase the amount of heat that your body produces, therefore naturally burning off calories. This process is called diet-induced thermogenesis which causes an increase in your metabolism and metabolic function. Many isolated studies have demonstrated that people who add cayenne pepper to their meals typically burn a few more calories than those who do not. Although the effect is small, I still find it interesting that cayenne pepper has this indication!
5. Ding Xiang (Cloves)
Cloves or Ding Xiang is typically used in herbal medicine for warming the interior and expelling cold. It’s apart of the same category as cinnamon, however it has a few varying indications. It’s great for the stomach with conditions caused from eating too much cold. Like I mentioned earlier, adding any warming herb to your diet during the colder months is beneficial because it allows your circulation to move more effortlessly throughout your organ systems. In TCM, we have a diagnosis called “Stomach Cold” which manifests as abdominal pain, vomiting and aversion to cold. This is a great herb for that exact indication as it’s warm and acrid in nature!
I love adding cloves to my diet by making my seasonal gingerbread cookies. The best way to buy them is whole and then grinding them down yourself using a mortar and pestle.
Thank you so much for reading my blog on herbal qualities! I personally love combining Traditional Chinese Medicine with modern day nutritional needs to balance out my diet. Herbs are great way to do that because they have such specific tastes and temperatures that can be used for many different indications.
However, I think it’s important to mention that the purpose of this blog was to teach you a little bit about herbs and some medicinal uses they have. If you’re interested in adding warming herbs to your diet, please do so in moderation like you would with any ingredient! Just like eating too many cold foods, eating too many warming herbs is not the best for your body. The key is being mindful and taking note of what works for you.
Thank you again for reading, please be sure to subscribe to my website and stay tuned for my new personalized services! 🌸
Bensky, D. (2004). Chinese herbal medicine: Materia medica. Eastland Press Inc.
Deng, Z.-jia, Zimmerman, G., & Ye, Q.-bo. (2014). Chinese medicinal formulas. People’s Medical Publishing House.
Maciocia, G. (2005). The practice of Chinese medicine: The treatment of diseases with acupuncture and Chinese herbs. Churchill Livingstone.
I am so happy to announce that I have officially graduated from the Traditional Chinese Medicine program at Humber College! For those of you who have been following my journey on Instagram, you know just how much this means to me! For those of you who are new, or solely following my blog- let me me tell you, it has been a crazy experience to say the least 😅
Through studying full-time for four years, taking 44 different courses and completing over 500+ clinical hours, this diploma was well earned!
My next plans…
I have always been so passionate about natural health, nutrition and living a healthy lifestyle. Throughout my studies, I was most interested in courses based on nutrition, herbal medicine and using tongue diagnosis to aid in treatment plans. I really like how TCM views the body system in a completely different way and uses alternative therapies to restore balance within the body!
My plan is to incorporate everything that I have learned into brand new services offered under Natural Glow Wellness. As a natural healer, I see great potential in using food as medicine to promote optimal health. In short, my all natural treatment plans will combine modern day nutritional needs with concepts from Traditional Chinese Medicine diet.
I also plan on offering all natural beauty treatments such as Gua Sha facials, facial cupping and virtual tutorials to teach my clients how to incorporate ancient skincare tips into their routine ✨
I do have some big plans, and I am so excited to start working on everything! As a practitioner, I am really excited to start promoting a healthy lifestyle and teaching others how to achieve optimal health through simple tips and tricks.
The Future of Natural Glow Wellness
Natural Glow Wellness will always encompass the idea that the earth has everything that we need to thrive. My business will always be based on being kind and providing my clients with the best services with one goal in mind- to promote optimal health.
I am so excited for this new chapter in my life, to begin formulating new treatment plans and to get new clients on board! Thank you so much to everyone who has believed in me, trusted in me and supported me! Your support honestly keeps me going and motivates me to create new content.
If you have any questions, feedback or would even like to chat about natural health- feel free to email me at NaturalGlowellness@gmail.com. I am always looking to network!
Does anyone else find it alarming that the most unhealthy foods are marketed for children? With colourful packaging and cartoon characters featured on the front, it’s really hard to see past marketing and labelling sometimes!
But the sad reality is that the snacks that parents trust in the most are high in sugars, artificial colourings, flavourings and preservatives. These ingredients have a list of negative side effects in children such as hyperactivity, behavioural changes and an increased risk of childhood obesity.
So today I wanted to write a quick blog on some common marketing tactics, daily recommended intakes for children, snacks to avoid and ways to incorporate healthier eating into your lifestyle!
Common Marketing Tactics
Let’s start by looking at some common marketing tactics in food and snacks intended for children.
Primary colours such as red, yellow and blue, as well as secondary colours green, orange and purple are more appealing to children than neutral shades. As children try to make sense of their environment, objects that are bright are more stimulating and interesting. This is why food and beverage companies as well as the toy industry use bright colours on their products.
Did you know that companies spend over $12 billion dollars a year trying to convince children to consume their products? And one of the most effective strategies is to attach a popular children’s character such as Shrek to the packaging! A recent study was conducted where children were presented with food in plain packaging and packaging that contained a licensed cartoon character such as Dora. The children consistently preferred the product with the character on it than the plain packaging.
This just goes to show you that food packaging has a huge influence on children and their perception of how a product may taste.
Games and Activities on the back
Almost all cereals have a game on the back such as connect the dots, mazes, match ups and even fun facts. This attracts children and stimulates different areas in the brain associated with happiness. In turn, this conditions them to enjoy the food more because it provides entertainment.
Daily Intake Requirements
Below you will find the daily recommended intake of sugar and sodium because they are often the main culprit in making children’s snacks completely unhealthy!
So now that we’ve talked about marketing strategies and daily intake requirements, let’s look at some foods that are advertised to children that contain absolutely no nutritional value 🙅🏻♀️
Goldfish is a big one! Advertised as a snack made with real cheese that contains vitamins & minerals, Goldfish are nothing but a result of good marketing- these snacks are anything but nutritious! Just one serving contains 250 mg of sodium and over 20 synthetic ingredients. Any food item that contains a list of ingredients on the back is a big no-no!
Not to mention, diets that are high in sodium are associated with an increased risk of stroke, heart failure, high blood pressure and kidney disease. Eating a lot of salt is also associated with weight gain because it causes the body to retain more water which can show up as extra pounds on the scale.
So if you’re looking for a healthy, nutritious snack that will provide your child with energy- Goldfish are not the right choice! Be sure to read on for some much healthier alternatives for your little ones ☺️
It’s no secret that fruit roll ups, fruit gushers and gummies are unhealthy. These “fruit” snacks typically advertise that they contain real fruit juice, while failing to mention that they contain a list of other ingredients such as synthetic colouring, artificial flavouring and corn syrup. Take Welch’s fruit snacks as the perfect example, they really try to gain consumers trust by advertising that fruit is their #1 ingredient. However, as you can see, just one packet also contains 11 grams of sugars, corn syrup and even red 40– a toxic colourant that has many known adverse effects.
High amounts of sugar in your child’s diet can lead to obesity which increases the likelihood of developing high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol levels and type 2 diabetes later in life. Consuming too much sugar is also linked to behavioural changes such as hyperactivity or depression.
Never be fooled by “fruit” snacks, buying the real fruit is much healthier and cheaper in most cases!
A lot of parents believe that granola bars are a healthy choice because they contain ingredients such as oats, nuts and dried fruit. However, most granola bars contain ridiculous amounts of sugar and other ingredients. For example, just one Quaker Chewy S’mores Bar contains 6 grams of sugar… but that’s not even the worst part! One bar also contains 25+ ingredients! One granola bar should never contain a list of ingredients. Also, most companies add in chocolate chips, marshmallows and cookie bits which make granola bars more of a dessert bar than anything else.
Creating healthy habits early in a child’s life is so important because it’s what determines their health in the long run! You can start by limiting sugar intake by avoiding overly processed snacks and foods at the grocery store.
Juice boxes are commonly packed with lunch because they’re thought to be a healthier option than pop or soda. But juice boxes also contain high amounts of sugar, artificial colourants and very little real fruit juice. Take Minute Maid Apple Juice for example, one box (only 250 ml) contains 21 grams of sugar. So if your child has two at recess or on lunch break, they are consuming 42 grams of sugar all at once which is already 2x the recommended intake amount!
No wonder many children are thought to suffer from “behavioural” issues- they are just experiencing side effects associated with consuming high amounts of sugar, sodium and other foreign chemicals in their developing systems. Sugar crashes reduce concentration, mental focus, memory and often cause emotional outbursts or tantrums.
Developing Healthy Habits
Don’t feel bad if you buy these snacks or feel discouraged if they’re all your child is willing to eat. The cool thing about children is that they are so open minded and can have lots of fun with any activity if you make it fun! Here are three simple ways that you can encourage your child to eat healthier.
Bake or cook once a week together
Most young children love anything that is hands-on. Try baking together once a week to add some fun into your lifestyle while incorporating healthier eating! This can include making pasta, salads, fresh bread, sushi or even gingerbread cookies for a special occasion! If you’re not sure how to let your little one be more involved in the kitchen, ask them to measure simple ingredients or help to mix everything together. The key is to make a healthy meal to enjoy together later while creating new memories. Children are a lot more likely to eat a meal that they helped to prepare! 😉
Make fun shapes out of fruits and veggies
Okay so we now know that children are more drawn to brightly coloured objects and their favourite cartoon characters. So, try doing the same thing with fruits and veggies- make cool shapes that will draw your child in! You can make apple butterflies, a banana elephant or even go all out and create a full scene on the plate! You can really get creative here and even go a step further and ask your child to create a scene with you. The goal is to make healthy eating a positive and fun experience!
Create your own trail mix together
Instead of packing an unhealthy granola bar, make your own trail mix together and give it a cool name! You can go to a bulk store in your area and buy different kinds of nuts, seeds and dried fruits. When you get home, mix it all together and store it in a mason jar or container and pack it with lunch! Nuts and seeds contain lots of vital nutrients, vitamins and are a great way to boost brain power. You can even add in a few chocolate chips, pretzels or candied nuts to make it more tasty! ☺️
The main reason why I wanted to write this blog is to show just how unhealthy most foods are that are marketed for children. I want parents to start seeing past marketing and to start seeing foods for what they usually are- cheap, unhealthy and unnecessary in any child’s diet. The simplest foods such as nuts, seeds, fruits and vegetables will always provide more nutrients than something that has been extensively processed. It’s so important to realize how much money goes into targeting children’s food choices, so the best thing you can do is create a fun experience out of healthy eating!
I really hope you got something from this blog! As always, feel free to contact me if you have any questions at all.
Most people assume that menstrual products contain safe, non-toxic ingredients. However, that is unfortunately not the case for pads and tampons. The problem with Tampax, O.B and other conventional menstrual product manufacturers is that they use genetically modified cotton, as well as a list of other toxic ingredients such as wood pulp, plastics and dyes.
So today, I wanted to write a blog on the hidden dangers found in our menstrual products and what products to use instead! Because let’s face it- we should not be putting toxic chemicals inside of our bodies on a regular basis.
Periods: The basics
Before I dive into the horrible and unnecessary ingredients in both pads & tampons, I want to talk about why a menstrual period is such an important cycle that happens within the human body.
A period is a way for the body to cleanse itself, reproduce necessary hormones and shed off the lining of the uterus. We go through many phases both before and after our monthly cycles based on the hormones being released. Examples of this include the follicular phase, ovulatory phase and the luteal phase.
Throughout the week of our actual menstrual cycle, it is so important to allow your body to do a full cleanse! This can be experienced emotionally such as crying (PMS) or even just focusing more on your diet. What I want to get at here is that it’s so important to not add toxic chemicals to your cycle because this can later cause hormonal imbalances, bacterial infections or even a heavier flow. Chemicals and ingredients found in conventional tampons have many unadvertised side effects and dangers so let’s get into it and explore healthier alternatives!
Ingredients found in Conventional Pads and Tampons
The information that I retrieved about the ingredients found in varying menstrual products can be found on Tampax.com.
1. Genetically Modified Cotton
Genetically modified cotton was introduced in 1996 (only 25 years ago) and is thought to be one of the world’s dirtiest crops. Globally, cotton crops cover just 2.4% of the worlds cultivated land, but uses 6% of the worlds pesticides and 16% of insecticides- more than any other single major crop. This greatly increases the risk of residues being present in your personal products and can throw off the natural pH balance within your vagina.
Vaginal pH imbalances can lead to yeast infections, bacterial vaginosis and can cause allergy related symptoms such as itching.
Aside from the negative health effects associated with GM cotton, thousands of cotton farmers and their families suffer from pesticide poisoning every year. Some cotton farmers earn less than $2.00 a day for their cotton and spend up to 60% of their annual income on pesticides.
Rayon is a semi synthetic fabric made from recycled wood pulp. It’s widely used in the fashion industry because of its ability to mimic the look and feel of other fabrics such as silk, cotton, wool and others. This may sound great for fashion and clothing, but it does not belong in our bodies!
Rayon is processed with many other chemicals to be broken down into cellulose, which according to Tampax “helps absorb and retain fluid”. However, rayon is processed with many chemicals such as carbon disulphide, sulphuric acid, ammonia, acetone and others. The carbon disulphide emitted from rayon has been proven to cause symptoms such as nausea and vomiting, headaches and chest pain when inhaled. Toxins released from rayon can also rarely cause tissue necrosis for people who regularly wear clothing made of this fabric.
The interesting thing is that most studies done on rayon are based on fashion or clothing, not on the effects of putting it inside of the body. It is considered one of the most dangerous fabrics, but is still one of the main ingredients in our menstrual products! #notokay
Propylene is a plastic that is found in food containers like those that hold yogurt, cream cheese and butter products. It’s derived from petroleum and is found in some beauty products because it’s very cheap and is considered safe by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
However, a recent study conducted in November 2020 demonstrated that micro plastics are released from propylene infant feeding bottles. In the study, 48 regions were surveyed to estimate the global exposure to infants up to 12 months. They found values ranging from 14,600-4,550,000 particles per capita per day, depending on the region.
This greatly demonstrates that propylene plastics release micro plastics into our bodies and can have damaging health effects. The vagina is an extremely sensitive organ and using plastic derived ingredients is a big no no!
Paraffin is a by-product of the petrochemical industry and has to be intensively refined with bleach and other harmful chemicals in order to be useful. Its production is not sustainable nor environmentally friendly, making it a harmful and unnecessary ingredient in our menstrual products.
On its own, paraffin is greasy and has an unpleasant odour. So manufacturers add preservatives, fragrance and bleach to make it more appealing. This ingredient is used by Tampax as a wax “to keep the [tampon] string clean”. However, paraffin is far from clean!
Paraffin on its own can cause inflammation and irritation, but with the concoction of other chemicals added during production, it’s the perfect storm to throw off your pH.
As I mentioned earlier, vaginal pH imbalances can lead to different bacterial and fungal infections.
5. PEG-100 Stearate
PEGS or polyethylene glycols are petroleum-based compounds that are widely used in the cosmetic industry as thickeners, solvents and softeners.
You would think that with all of the evidence behind the dangers related to this ingredient that it would not be used in menstrual products, however there is very little regulation as you can see! Most people assume that their personal products are safe and are willing to use them regardless of ingredients which is why big companies are still using cheap and unsafe ingredients. We definitely need more activism and awareness around this issue!
6. Titanium Dioxide
Titanium Dioxide is a pigment that is used in both pads and tampons to make them appear whiter. Titanium dioxide has recently been classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) as an IARC Group 2B carcinogen “possible carcinogen to humans”.
This ingredient is widely used to provide a whiter appearance and opacity to products such as paints, plastics, papers, inks, foods and toothpaste. It can also be found in a variety of beauty products and lotions such as sunscreen.
Although it has been proven to likely be carcinogenic, this ingredient is still used in many products including menstrual products.
Healthier Alternatives for your Cycle & Your body
So now that you know why you should avoid conventional menstrual products at all costs, let’s explore some healthier alternatives and brands!
This brand is my go to- you can find it at Loblaws or even Amazon! I love this brand because it lists the ingredients right on the box. I also love that they use 100% organic cotton, are plastic & fragrance free, totally chlorine free and are biodegradable!
If you’re looking for a healthier alternative to your personal care products, check out Natracare. They are about the same price as regular pads and tampons, but contain much cleaner ingredients!
Organyc is also a safe and clean choice for menstrual products. They are very similar to Natracare and do not contain genetically modified cotton or any of the other chemicals that we discussed. You can find their products at Healthy Planet or order from their website.
The Diva Cup
I don’t want to speak much on something that I personally have never tried, but I have heard great things about the Diva Cup! Not only is it a more environmentally friendly option, it doesn’t contain many ingredients that will linger in your body afterwards.
As you can see, there is not much regulation that goes into the manufacturing of menstrual products. It seems that because most people trust the ingredients, big companies and corporations can get away with adding cheap and harmful ingredients to our personal products. That is why it’s so important to take your own health into account and start educating yourself on common ingredients. Before I wrote this blog, I knew tampons and pads contained harmful chemicals but I will admit that I’m a bit shocked by the amount of information there is on this already. Needless to say, we need to start voting with our money and stop buying products that we know are not good for us.
Always remember- you are the only one with your health in best interest! Most big companies will do anything to make a bit of profit.
Li, D., Shi, Y., Yang, L., Xiao, L., Kehoe, D. K., Gun’ko, Y. K., . . . Wang, J. J. (2020). Microplastic release from the degradation of Polypropylene feeding bottles during infant Formula Preparation. Nature Food,1(11), 746-754. doi:10.1038/s43016-020-00171-y
Mancini, F., Bruggen, A. H., Jiggins, J. L., Ambatipudi, A. C., & Murphy, H. (2005). Acute Pesticide Poisoning among Female and Male Cotton Growers in India. International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health,11(3), 221-232. doi:10.1179/oeh.2005.11.3.221
I recently posted a blog on how to eat healthy on a budget, so today I wanted to share 3 healthy, delicious and affordable juice recipes that you can make at home!
Drinking fresh fruit juice has several health benefits which include boosting your immune system, promoting digestion and aiding weight loss. Many people’s concern when it comes to using a juicer is that the fiber is lost, however juicing is a great way to cleanse your body with high amounts of concentrated nutrients!
Here are three different juice recipes that not only taste great, but are amazing for your health!
1. Green Cucumber Cleanse Juice
This juice is great for detoxifying and cleansing your body 🥒🍍🍐✨
Cucumbers are a great source of antioxidants and minerals that keep you hydrated while promoting healthy digestion. Pineapple provides a tangy sweetness that combats inflammation and also aids in detoxifying the body. While the ginger provides a nice warming effect to boost immunity and neutralize the cooling effect of the other fruits. This juice will leave you feeling amazing, while nourishing your skin, hair and digestive system!
2. Ruby Red Antioxidant Beet Juice
This juice is great for your blood, cardiovascular system and liver 💪🏼🥕🍋✨
Not to be mistaken with radishes, beets are the red root vegetables responsible for the beautiful red pigment seen in this juice. Drinking beet juice has several health benefits such as lowering blood pressure and improving exercise stamina. Beets also contain betaine which support your liver by preventing fatty deposits from forming! And, this juice is perfectly sweet with the addition of carrot and lemon to neutralize the earthy flavour from the beets. Try drinking this juice in the morning to wake up your senses and promote healthy organ function!
3. Orange Carrot Carotenoid Juice
This juice benefits eye health, boosts immunity and promotes the look of healthy skin 🥕🍎 ✨
Carrot juice is amazing for your skin because it contains Vitamin C and Provitamin A which protect your skin from free radical damage. Carrots also contain carotenoids which support eye health, boost immunity and promote liver health. Whereas the apples provide a nice sweetness that also reduce oxidative damage. The turmeric is great for reducing inflammation, redness and promoting the look of healthy skin. Needless to say, this juice will give you a beautiful natural glow!
Other common fruits and veggies that you can use for juicing:
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is such an interesting system! A lot of people don’t know this, but I have actually been studying Chinese Medicine since 2016, and am just finishing my final clinical hours to graduate (I’m actually super excited)! 🥳
I always found nutrition to be the most interesting aspect of TCM because it takes things such as taste, colour and temperature of foods in mind. As you may know, in our society most dieticians typically only take nutrient content and calorie amount in mind when constructing diet plans. Which is great, because it’s so important that we meet the dietary guidelines, however food can do so much more for us if we consider all aspects and qualities!
So today I decided to write a quick blog on Traditional Chinese Medicine nutrition, how it works and how I personally use it to help my clients balance their diets!
Yin and Yang
In Chinese Medicine, the concept of yin and yang is really important.
Yin is considered the light and is attributed to cold and deficiency. Whereas yang is considered the darkness and is more excess and hot.
Individuals who have a more yin constitution typically feel cold and tired most of the time, crave warmer foods and may have more specific symptoms such as night sweats or a pale tongue.
Individuals who have a more yang constitution typically feel hot, have trouble falling asleep, crave colder foods and have a red tongue which signifies heat within the body.
The interesting thing is that the tongue actually says so much about someone’s health and diet! A pale tongue means that there is cold within the body, and the patient should eat warmer foods such as cinnamon, soups or vegetable broths.
Whereas a red tongue means there is too much heat in the body, and the patient should eat colder foods such as cucumbers, salads or smoothies.
Chinese Medicine practitioners use this very basis to come up with personalized diet plans. Yin and yang is huge and in my opinion, not mainstream enough!
From there, we can start using the temperature of foods to restore balance within the body. For example, as someone who has been vegan for 5+ years, I eat a lot of foods that are cold in nature. I used to always have cold hands and feet, I always felt tired and had pale dry skin.
Using moisturizer didn’t seem to make a difference and no matter how many sweaters I wore- I was still cold!
It wasn’t until I started studying Chinese Medicine when I learned about the concept of warming or cooling the interior. Which basically means to eat more foods based on temperature so that your organs have an optimal environment!
Because I balance my diet using temperature in addition to my dietary needs, I no longer have any negative symptoms and my digestive system has never been healthier.
This can be applied to people who experience pain as well! People who have pain typically have poor circulation, commonly known as blood stasis in TCM. Blood stasis results in a purplish tongue, pain and sometimes inflammation. Foods that move the blood (improve circulation) such as mung beans, black beans or green lentils would be greatly beneficial in this case!
Taste and colour
Taste is another interesting aspect that we look at! The five element theory attributes each organ to a taste, colour, season and element. The five element theory is mainly used when selecting an acupuncture treatment plan, but it can also come in handy when creating a personalized diet plan as well!
As you can see, each organ has a different colour. Meaning, we benefit from eating all of the colours that nature has to offer!
Here’s a quick breakdown of each colour, the connected organ and foods that are beneficial:
Green (liver): kale, bok choy, collards, cabbage, green lentils
Red (heart): tomatoes, cherries, red pepper, strawberries
Yellow (spleen): corn, potatoes, squash
White (lungs): onions, garlic, green tea
Black (kidneys): black beans, dark fruits, blueberries
Interestingly enough, green foods are high in antioxidants which help detoxify the liver and improves the quality of blood. Red fruits & veggies contain a compound called Lycopene which is what produces red pigmentation, and is also beneficial to our heart and reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Yellow foods such as corn and potatoes contain starches that are beneficial to our gut microbe and white foods such as garlic or herbal teas can vent pathogens out of the lungs.
And lastly, dark foods such as black beans, blueberries and dark berries are high in antioxidants that are beneficial to our kidneys and water metabolism.
As you can see there are many overlapping theories and modern day nutritional facts that do support each other!
Check out the rest of the chart and try to incorporate more colourful foods into your diet this week!
Thank you so much for taking the time to read my blog on modern day nutrition and Chinese Medicine diet. I really hope I did a good job explaining certain concepts and didn’t lose you half way through haha!
The main thing I want you to takeaway is that there are plenty of ways to balance our bodies with food and nutrition! The earth has over 80,000 edible plants and herbs that aid our health and fight against disease. Start choosing fruits and veggies that are colourful, nutritious and always keep your health in mind above anything else!
“The food you eat can either be the safest and most powerful form of medicine or the slowest form of poison”.
For personalized nutrition advice/health coaching, please click here to check out my services!