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Welcome 2020 Message:  Wishing you The Best Ever Year Ahead

Welcome 2020 Message: Wishing you The Best Ever Year Ahead

In 2020 there is no way of going back to not knowing. 

The human consciousness has reached a sufficient level not to choose pain and suffering.  As we are entering a new decade of more knowledge, wisdom, and light, we have faith and trust that regardless of how the external world is struggling with mess and chaos, we are on the right path. 

More discoveries, more magic, and more wonderment are ahead of us.  More clarity in our intentions, more creativity and joy are in store for us.  We wish you a blissful and healthy New Year and a fantastic decade of unbelievable changes.

The elimination diet:

Remove anger, regret, resentment, guilt, blame, and worry.

Then watch your health and life, improve

Charles F. Glassman


How to Most Effectively Manage your Insurance Benefits?

If your employee benefits are renewed early this year, it is a good idea to explore all available options to you.  You can access your online account with your insurance provider, and check under paramedical benefits which treatment modalities are covered under your plan.  The following types of practitioners are frequently covered:

Massage Therapist





Schedule your appointments in advance to book the times you need and to avoid the rush at the end of the year. If you wish to have as many treatments as possible within your insurance coverage, you can consider our discounted treatment packages that we offer for certain modalities.  For more details check with our front desk assistants.


How to Take Advantage of Our Online Booking and Instant Pay System?

Thanks to our new online booking system, you can bypass line ups at the front desk.

In addition to having the convenience of booking and modifying your appointments, you can also take care of your payments.  Whenever you need to pay a co-payment for your insurance claim, want to buy a package or gift card or simply want to pay the treatment fee, we can charge your credit card on file and email you the receipt.

How to Register:

You can register your credit card information if the system is asking you to do so when booking your appointment. If not, you can ask our front desk assistant to help you over the phone or in person.

How do you store my credit card information?

We do not store your credit card information in our database — neither the Jane Appointment Scheduling System where you input your credit card information. The Jane system uses the Stripe in a backend to process payments. Stripe, as you probably heard of, is a widely known PCI Complaint online payment processing company, used by major brands such as Amazon, Expedia, Uber, and Nasdaq.

Here is more information:

Increasing Energy Naturally

Increasing Energy Naturally

by Naturopath Toronto

One of the most common health complaints adults have is a lack of energy.

Everyone occasionally feels a little sluggish. A poor night’s sleep or too much work can leave you dragging from time to time. But for some people, fatigue is a constant companion.

Whether your energy dips mid-afternoon or you feel tired all the time, low energy is a chronic problem for millions of people. Although there are all sorts of energy drinks, bars, and supplements on the market, boosting your energy naturally is your best bet.

Common Energy Zappers  

If you seem to have lost the pep in your step, there could be several reasons, as many factors can contribute to low energy. For example, stress is a common energy zapper. If you’re worried about something, it consumes a lot of your energy, which leaves you with less get up and go.

You might also just have too much on your plate. If you have a million and one things to do, it can leave you exhausted.

There is also a simple reason you may feel drained most of the time, such as poor sleep. This can be a common cause of fatigue. Your body needs rest to recharge. If you’re not getting the rest you need, it’s no wonder you don’t have any energy.

When Fatigue is Something More

An occasional low energy day is probably nothing to worry about. If you can pinpoint the cause, such as not enough sleep or stress, you might be able to make the needed changes.

But if you seem to be fatigued most of the time and you don’t know why it could be a sign of something more serious. Fatigue can be a symptom of the following medical conditions:

Treating Fatigue and Low Energy Naturally

Fatigue and low energy can have several consequences. Low energy can reduce job productivity, interfere with relationships, and decrease your quality of life.

If there is a medical reason for low energy, it’s important to determine the underlying cause. Many times, treating the medical problem will decrease fatigue, so your energy levels can return to normal.

In addition to treating any medical problems causing fatigue, there are several other things you can do to boost your energy level. Consider some of the following natural energy remedies:

Develop good sleep habits: It may seem like a no-brainer that lack of sleep and fatigue go hand in hand. But it’s not just the number of hours of sleep you get. It’s also the quality of sleep.

If your sleep is restless, it might not be restorative, which means you may not feel refreshed in the morning. Developing good sleep habits can help. For example, try to go to bed and wake the same time each night even on weekends. Maintaining the same sleep schedule helps your body develop a natural sleep pattern.

It’s also a good idea to limit caffeine, naps, and anything that may interfere with falling asleep at bedtime. Also, make sure you are giving yourself time to unwind before bed. Checking your email, Facebook, or Instagram doesn’t count as downtime. In fact, too much screen time right before bed may be bad for your sleep. The light from your devices tricks your brain into thinking it’s daytime. Consider relaxing activities before bed, such as meditation, deep breathing, or listening to music.

Improve nutrition: Nutrition can play a big role in your energy level. Nutritional counseling can help you determine which nutrients you need to increase energy. Some general suggestions include decreasing simple carbs, such as sweets, bread, and chips. Simple carbs may initially give you an energy boost when your blood sugar rises, but you’ll also experience an energy crash as your blood sugar drops. Avoid the crash and burn effect by eating complex carbs, such as nuts, whole grains, and legumes.

It’s also helpful to add foods rich in the B vitamins. The B vitamins help your body’s blood and nerve cells function properly. Vitamin B also prevents a certain type of anemia. Foods high in vitamin B include fortified cereals, eggs, and fish.

Make sure you are also drinking enough water. Dehydration can cause low energy. Many people don’t even realize they are mildly dehydrated. The exact amount of water you need may vary based on age, activity level, and body size.

Get regular exercise: If you’re tired, it may seem contradictory to exercise. But getting regular exercise can increase your energy level. Regular exercise can increase stamina, endurance, and strength.

Being consistent with your exercise routine matters more than the type of exercise you perform. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends adults get about 30 minutes of cardio exercise on most days of the week. So, lace up your shoes and hit the gym, track or bike lane.

Natural Gastrointestinal (GI) Treatments That Work

Natural Gastrointestinal (GI) Treatments That Work

Gastrointestinal problems such as bloating, diarrhea, and constipation, can be due to many causes.

This can include anything from your diet to a serious disease. Fortunately, in many cases, lifestyle factors are to blame for stomach troubles.

Causes of Common GI Problems

GI problems can develop because of a viral or bacterial infection, or even a parasite can cause these issues. Certain diseases, such as Crohn’s disease and colitis, can lead to intestinal problems. But many GI symptoms may be due to by other factors including:

Poor diet: If you have intestinal problems, such as gas or heartburn, it may be due to your diet. For example, eating spicy or greasy foods can lead to heartburn. Food and drinks high in artificial sweeteners can lead to stomach cramps and diarrhea. Too much caffeine can also have a laxative effect.

Food sensitivities: Food allergies or sensitivities are often to blame for common GI symptoms. Food allergies occur when your immune system overreacts to a harmless food that your body views as dangerous. The immune system reacts and sets off a response that can lead to nausea, vomiting, and/or hives. Food sensitives can occur if your body has trouble breaking down the components in the food. For example, lactose intolerance develops when you cannot break down milk sugars.

Available at Pacific Wellness: Food Sensitivity Test

Lifestyle factors: Lifestyle factors can also play a role in common stomach problems. Smoking, stress, and eating too fast can all contribute to GI problems. For example, stress and anxiety can cause anything from stomach aches to diarrhea. Eating too fast can lead to gas and bloating.

Conventional Treatments for Gastrointestinal Symptoms

Treatment for GI symptoms will often depend on the underlying problem. For example, irritable bowel syndrome may respond to lifestyle changes. In instances of severe gastrointestinal problems, surgery may be needed to remove or repair a section of the intestine.

In many cases, medication may be recommended to decrease symptoms. For example, antacids may help reduce heartburn. Medication is also available to treat constipation and diarrhea.

Natural Remedies and How They Help  

Natural remedies for gastrointestinal symptoms are often highly effective. In some cases, natural remedies don’t just mask symptoms. Instead, they correct the underlying issue that causes stomach trouble. A combination of natural remedies may be the most effective way to treat stomach issues and prevent problems from reoccurring.

Dietary Changes

One of the best things you can do for your gastrointestinal health is to eat a healthy diet. Nutritional counseling can be very beneficial in getting you on the right track. A nutritional counselor can help with eliminating foods you may be sensitive to while still making sure you get the proper nutrients. Dietary changes may include eliminating foods that are common causes of GI complaints.  Keep in mind: it’s not just the foods you eat, but how you eat them that may cause intestinal issues. Make sure you chew your food well and eat slowly to decrease the chances of stomach problems.

Supplements and Herbal Remedies

Supplements and herbal remedies have been used for many years to treat stomach problems. Before taking any herbal remedies or supplements, it’s always best to talk with your healthcare provider. Some herbal remedies can interfere with medications. Supplements and herbs that may help gastrointestinal problems include the following:

Probiotics: Probiotics are a popular supplement to keep your digestive tract healthy. Probiotics contain good strains of bacteria that help maintain a healthy balance of bacteria in your gut. Foods that contain probiotics include Greek yogurt, sauerkraut, and buttermilk. Probiotics can also be taken as a supplement.

Apple cider vinegar: Apple cider vinegar may be helpful to keep your digestive system working efficiently. Although vinegar is acidic, it has an alkalizing effect on your digestive system. It can decrease GI problems, such as heartburn, gas, and indigestion.

Ginger: Ginger has been used for hundreds of years to treat digestive problems, such as nausea. It is often an ingredient in candies and lozenges to treat morning sickness. Ginger may help stomach problems by stimulating digestive juices and improving the flow of enzymes that aid in digestion. Ginger can be added to tea or taken as a supplement.

Slippery Elm: Slippery elm contains a substance that coats the esophagus. It can be helpful to treat heartburn and indigestion. It’s available as a capsule, tea, or lozenge.

Peppermint: Peppermint has anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic benefits that can help decrease common stomach problems, such as gas, bloating, and cramps. It can also speed up healing, which may help if GI problems are due to an infection. Peppermint leaves can be added to dishes or used in a tea. Peppermint capsules are another option.

Stress Management Techniques 

Learning stress reduction techniques is beneficial for your overall well-being, including gastrointestinal problems. Keeping stress in check may help decrease stomach aches, diarrhea, and heartburn.

There are many stress management techniques that can help you relax. For example, deep breathing exercises, yoga, and meditation can be effective for some people. Massage, guided imagery, and self-hypnosis may also work well. Consider trying different stress management techniques until you find something that helps you unwind. The best stress management technique is the one that you’ll stick with.

Nutritional Counseling for Autism Spectrum Disorder

Nutritional Counseling for Autism Spectrum Disorder

Various treatments and interventions may play a role in helping children with autism reach their full potential. In some cases, treatment involves a holistic approach and may include dietary changes.

Before deciding if a special diet is right for your child, it’s helpful to understand a little more about autism.

Autism Basics

Autism spectrum disorders include varied conditions that are characterized by issues with speech, communication, social skills and repetitive behaviors. Some people with autism spectrum disorder have intellectual disabilities while others have average or above intelligence. Various medical conditions may also frequently go hand in hand with autism, such as seizures, attention deficit disorder and gastrointestinal problems.

Autism spectrum disorders are common. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about one in 68 children in the United States have been identified as being on the autism spectrum. The exact number of people living with the disorder may be higher since not all people are diagnosed, especially if symptoms are mild.

Symptoms of autism spectrum disorders typically involve three core areas including repetitive behaviors, language impairment, and social deficits. The severity of symptoms can vary significantly and may include:

  • Avoiding physical contact
  • Limiting eye contact
  • Non-verbal
  • No danger awareness
  • Severe anxiety
  • Hyperactive
  • Aggression
  • Self-Injury
  • Easily upset
  • Unusual eating habits

It’s important to understand, like all kids, children with autism spectrum disorder are unique and have different strengths and weaknesses. Also, not all the above symptoms are related to autism. Many children may have a few of the symptoms. For example, if your three-year-old cannot sit still and has frequent meltdowns, it does not necessarily mean she is on the autism spectrum.

Autism Spectrum Disorder Treatment

The verdict is still out and what exactly causes autism spectrum disorders. Researchers think it may be a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Since the exact cause is not known, it is difficult to prevent the condition. Fortunately, early diagnosis and treatment do appear to be helpful.

Early intervention can often improve a child’s functioning and development. In the past, interventional services often started around three or four years of age. But services are now offered even earlier.

Treatment for autism spectrum disorders may include various types of therapy including speech, occupational and sensory integration. Although there is no specific medication for autism, certain drugs to treat symptoms, such as hyperactivity, may also be useful.

Food Related Issues That May Develop with Autism

Although it can vary, children with autism spectrum disorder are prone to gastrointestinal issues, food intolerances, and unusual eating habits. Common GI symptoms in children with autism may include:

  • Gastric reflux disease
  • Chronic diarrhea
  • Fecal impaction
  • Bloating
  • Constipation

Some children may also have strong food aversions, which leads to feeding problems.  For example, children with autism spectrum disorders may not tolerate the texture of certain foods, which leaves kids with a very restrictive diet.

Sensory problems that are common in children with autism may also affect a child’s eating habits. For instance, the sound of crunching foods may be so bothersome that it limits eating certain foods. Food allergies are also common in children with autism. Feeding problems and food allergies can sometimes lead to nutritional deficiencies in children.

Do Certain Diets Help Autism?

Dietary approaches have also been used to treat autism spectrum disorders. Scientific research has not found a specific nutritional approach to treating autism. But dietary changes have helped some children with the disorder.

One theory is food allergies and sensitivities may lead to symptoms of autism in some children. Researchers theorize that some people may process the proteins and peptides in certain types of foods differently, which may trigger autistic symptoms. By eliminating certain foods, it might decrease symptoms.

The gluten and casein-free (GFCF) diet is the most common dietary intervention used to treat autism spectrum disorders. Foods containing gluten include wheat, rye, and barley. Casein is found in dairy products, such as milk and yogurt. The GFCF diet involves removing all foods from a child’s diet that contains gluten and casein. Although research is not conclusive on whether the GFCF diet is effective in treating autism, some children do have a decrease in symptoms.

Working with a Nutritionist

If you are considering implementing dietary changes to treat your child’s autism, nutritional counseling is your best bet. Working with a nutritional counselor can help you make sure your child is still getting the right amount of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients for proper development.

Working with a nutritionist is also beneficial if you want to try a gluten and casein-free diet for your child. It can be challenging to eliminate all foods containing both substances.

A nutritionist, dietitian, or naturopath can also make recommendations to deal with any other eating problems that may be associated with autism. For example, if your child has difficulties with the texture of certain foods, a nutritionist may suggest alternatives that provide the same nutrients or recommend supplements.

To locate a nutritionist near you, talk to your child’s pediatrician. You may also find recommendations through a local autism organization in your area.

Glow from the Inside, Out

Glow from the Inside, Out

Bianca Drennan ND

Everyone wants to have good skin. Whether it is at the top of your list of health goals or not, it is something we all think about. It is a consensus – we want healthy, glowing skin.

You might ask yourself, how do some people have such great skin while others struggle? Why do some get acne while others don’t? Why do some people have drier skin or more wrinkles than others? A lot of people will say genetics is a huge factor, which is not completely wrong. Genetics certainly do play a role in skin health, but that does not mean you are guaranteed to have good skin if your parents do – or vice versa, that you will have poor skin if that is in your genetics. That means you do not need to throw in the towel and give up. Achieving and maintaining healthy-looking skin that ages well IS possible.
Most people, including many of my patients, believe that healthy-looking skin is found in a tube, bottle, or spray. There are thousands of products on the market, both synthetic and natural, that are targeted at improving skin health. It is true that many of these products can help protect and hydrate skin, but all the creams and potions in the world will not provide long-term results. They should be used in conjunction with a healthy lifestyle.
Skin is the largest organ in the body, which I am sure is surprising to many of you. Just like you would eat well, exercise, and take any necessary supplements for your other organs, the same goes for skin. Often people do not think of skin in the same way they would their heart, liver, intestines, kidneys, and on and on. We need to change that way of thinking because what you put into your body will be far more effective and sustainable long-term to improve the health and look of your skin.

There are several common conditions and habits that can cause poor skin health. Some examples include:

  • High intake of refined (white) carbohydrates – pasta, bread, pastries, grains, sugar, desserts
  • High intake of fried foods
  • Smoking
  • Antibiotic use
  • Excessive alcohol use
  • Hormonal imbalances – PMS, fibroids, endometriosis, irregular periods, PCOS
  • Digestive dysfunction – IBS, constipation, gas/bloating
  • Stress
  • Allergies and/or Food Intolerances

The good news is that there is a lot that can be done to improve your skin’s natural glow.  Common recommendations to improve skin health include:

  • Enhance the body’s detoxification systems – diet, hygiene, lifestyle
  • Improve overall diet
  • Balance hormones
  • Optimize digestion
  • Avoiding allergenic and inflammatory foods
  • Omega-3 fats
  • Sweat regularly
  • Manage stress
  • Vitamin D

Seeing a Naturopathic Doctor to target your specific needs and why your skin is out of balance is your best bet. A Naturopathic Doctor can individualize your treatment plan and provide specific recommendations so that you can achieve long-term, healthy-looking skin.

Dr. Bianca Drennan ND, provides nutritional consulting and naturopathic medicine services at Pacific Wellness and is available for appointments 4 days a week. If you would like to detoxify and trim your body, improve your lifestyle or address certain health concerns please call us at 416-929-6958 or submit your online appointment request to arrange your initial appointment. The naturopathic appointments are covered by most employee benefits.

Beer, Barbeque and Balance – from the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) nutrition viewpoint

Beer, Barbeque and Balance – from the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) nutrition viewpoint

Warmer temperatures combined with long weekends inspire Canadians to joyfully fire up their barbeques to grill food for family and friends.  Typically they will pair their barbequed feast with cold beer. 

by Barbara Adach, R.Ac

Let’s take a look at a typical long weekend supper menu – grilled chicken, potato salad, beer – from the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) nutrition viewpoint.

Grilled Chicken

Chicken, classified as warm and sweet, has the ability to nourish our bodies, giving us strength and increasing vitality.  It is said to support healthy digestion and ‘warm the middle’.

Cooking methods impart various energies to food.  Grilling over coals or an open flame adds significant energetic heat to food.  Since chicken is already warm by nature, grilling makes it even more so.  The various spices, rubs or sauces that we add in cooking also contribute to the overall energetic mix.  A typical barbeque sauce has noticeably sweet, salty and spicy flavours that temper the final product.  Most chicken is grilled with the skin on, so there is an additional digestive burden of processing the attendant fat.  TCM nutrition discourages the regular consumption of grilled meats because of the fat content and heating thermal nature.

Potato Salad

Potatoes are said to have a neutral ‘thermal nature’ (we feel neither warmer nor cooler after eating them) and a sweet flavour.  The sweet flavour is clearly not like that of candy or even fruit but again implies the food’s ability to provide solid nourishment to the body.  The potato has a strong influence on the digestive system and has anti-inflammatory effects.

Green onions add a bit of colour and flavour to potato salad.  They are warming and pungent (spicy), and even a small amount can lighten the effects of other heavier foods (meat, potatoes).

A dressing like mayonnaise is cooling and sweet.  It has a moistening effect on the body.  For a thin person who tends to dryness, small amounts are fine.  For a heavier person who tends to have mucus or phlegm, it is considered too dampening and consumption should be limited.

Typically potato salad is served chilled.  As pleasant as this may feel on a warm day, it burdens our digestive system.  The Spleen and Stomach (TCM organs of digestion) have to expend extra energy bringing the food to body temperature before it can start the process of digestion.


Beer has a cool thermal nature and a bitter and sweet taste.   In North America, beer is served as cold as possible, thereby enhancing its cooling property.

In TCM nutrition, balancing Yin and Yang is important.  Cool and cold foods are Yin while warm and hot foods are Yang. It would appear that barbequed chicken served with potato salad and beer are the ideal combination!  However, there are some other factors to consider.  How much food and drink is being consumed in one sitting?  How well is the food being chewed before swallowing?  Will there be at least three hours between supper and bedtime?

We know that overeating is harmful.  This is especially true if it happens on a regular basis. 

In TCM nutrition, overeating makes the digestive system work harder and may overwhelm it.  This can lead to incomplete digestion and ‘food stagnation’, insomnia and irregularity (diarrhea and/or constipation).  Chronic overeating can lead to signs of ‘dampness’ in the body:  nausea, a feeling of heaviness in the head or limbs, mucus and phlegm, weight gain or edema.

Chewing food well has a positive influence on digestion.  Food becomes well mixed with saliva and is broken into smaller, easier to digest particles.  Our digestive organs have enough work to do without having to contend with large pieces of barely chewed food.  Also, eating mindfully lets us enjoy our food and the company of those we share meals with.   TCM nutrition advises a pleasant eating atmosphere to enhance digestion.

The process of digestion takes several hours.  It is best to eat heavier foods earlier in the day when possible.  Giving the body enough time to digest before turning in at night is important.  It is very difficult for the body to digest and sleep at the same time – both processes suffer.

Having strong, effective digestion is considered a prerequisite to good health in TCM.  TCM has been helping people with digestive issues for millennia.  There is a wonderful flexibility to this medicine that makes it applicable to all people, no matter what their constitution or eating habits.  TCM nutrition shows us not only which foods are most suitable for each season of the year but also which are most appropriate for each individual person.  In addition, there are specific herbal formulae that address problematic digestion.  Acupuncture can also help optimize digestion.  There are many acupuncture points on the trunk and also on the limbs that influence digestive function.  Two famous points that promote digestion are Zusanli (Leg Three Miles, ST36), located below the kneecap, and Sanyinjiao (Three Yin Crossing), located above the ankle.

Is this long weekend menu suitable for everyone?  While regular consumption of grilled meats, heavy starchy vegetables and beer is obviously not healthy, it is a fine way to celebrate and enjoy our all too short Canadian spring and summer.

Please request your acupuncture and nutrition consultation appointment with our registered acupuncturist Barbara Adach, R.Ac. by contacting The Pacific Wellness Institute at 416-929-6958 or submit your online appointment request.