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    12June
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    With gorgeous, sunny weather in full swing, it’s important to remember to wear sunscreen! Sun exposure can be helpful for many reasons such as encouraging a healthy sleep-wake cycle and positive mood, along with producing vitamin D, however, too much sun exposure may cause sunburn, premature skin aging and can even increase your risk of skin cancer.

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    12June
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    MAKES 4 SERVINGS | PREP TIME: 25 minutes | COOK TIME: 45 minutes4 acorn squash2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil¼ teaspoon sea salt¼ teaspoon ground allspice¼ teaspoon ground ginger¼ teaspoon ground cinnamonPinch of red pepper flakes

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    12June
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    February 4th marks World Cancer Day, a day for appreciating the importance of uniting and working together to improve the lives of those of us with cancer. 

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    12June
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    The peak of cold and flu season is now here - many of us can’t seem to get away from all the coughing and sneezing and hand washing still remains our best line of defense. People undergoing treatment for cancer however are at an increased risk of infection due to the effects of treatment on their immune system. Cancer patients may have abnormally low levels of neutrophils in the blood (called neutropenia) and neutrophils are a kind of white blood cell that helps prevent and fight infections.

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    12June
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    The Holiday Season is upon us! For a lot of people, this means more time spent with friends and family, filled with holiday cheer and feasts galore, however this can also steer us away from all the healthy eating habits we developed throughout the year. For those hoping to stay on track, we’ve compiled a list of our favourite tips for getting through the holidays while being healthy.  

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    12June
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    Winter weather is here! Great news for some cold weather outdoor enthusiasts, however for most of us this means more time indoors - the evening walks, sunset jogs and motivation for daily workout routines come to a screeching halt.

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    12June
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    Lung cancer is one of the most common cancer types to cause cachexia, the loss of muscle mass and weight, often in a short period of time. Losing muscle mass can have negative effects on quality of life and survival, which is why it becomes crucial to maintain both weight and activity with a lung cancer diagnosis.

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    12June
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    Regularly drinking green tea can help reduce your risk of cancer as well as cancer recurrence. Many of us have been drinking hot green tea all Winter long (for the past 6 months here in Canada) for its strong anti-cancer properties however, now that warm, Summer weather is here, it’s time to switch things up and try it iced! Here’s one of our favorite recipes…Citrus Mint Iced Tea Recipe

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    12June
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    Interestingly, a recent study investigated the effect of watching a Disney movie during chemotherapy for women with gynecological cancers. All 50 women in the study underwent 6 weeks of chemotherapy and the main outcomes the researchers looked at were quality of life and fatigue.

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    12June
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    Functional foods for breast cancer are foods that have been found to have specific benefits for the disease, beyond their nutritional value. The three foods listed below have been studied in breast cancer and found to help reduce cancer rates in women who eat them regularly, as well as helping to prevent recurrence:

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    12June
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    Maintaining a healthy body weight is a critical component to both reducing your risk of cancer as well as your risk of recurrence. Try these 3 easy weight loss tips that you can implement today.

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    12June
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    These days it seems like there's always a new superfood however flax seeds are the original superfood! They are also cheap and easy to find at your local grocery store.

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    12June
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    When it comes to staying on track with your health goals, these brownie bites certainly fit the bill! They’re vegan, gluten-free, high in protein and flourless with no added sugars or sweeteners of any kind.MAKES 12 BITES | PREP TIME: 5 mins | COOK TIME: 15 mins Ingredients: 

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    12June
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    Fear of cancer growth and recurrence is more prevalent given our current situation – the COVID-19 pandemic may mean that treatment, scans and follow ups are delayed. The fear and uncertainty associated with this time can interfere with our emotional and physical well-being.There are daily mind-body practices however that you can start today to help ease fear, regain control over thoughts and emotions and improve overall well-being.

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    12June
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    In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s normal to feel uneasy and anxious. We’ve had to physically distance to protect ourselves and our communities and this has created significant disruptions to our daily lives and routines. In challenging times like this, it becomes even more important to look inwards, self-reflect and ensure that we are caring for our mental and physical health. Below, we’ve outlined some tips and resources you can utilize to make the best of this difficult time.

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    12June
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    Essential oils (EOs) have become extremely popular in the last decade. They are commonly used in aromatizers or applied topically on the skin for a variety of health concerns. But what about taken internally - is this safe? And what role might EOs play in cancer care?

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    12June
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    With advances in the treatment of breast cancer, many women are living longer and longer into survivorship. This is great news, however many of these women are living with long term effects of their cancer treatment. One of these effects is cardiotoxicity or damage to the heart, and it can be one of the most devastating. It is possible that a patient may survive breast cancer only to develop heart failure, which has a higher mortality rate than cancer.

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    12June
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    We see many patients with breast cancer at the CCNM Integrative Cancer Centre and offer whole-person, holistic support for those undergoing treatment, as well as those in recovery. In honour of breast cancer awareness month we’ve compiled some important information we think every woman should know about the disease. Non-modifiable risk factors we can’t change:Being a woman

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    12June
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    Canada’s new food guide is out, and it is incorporating a lot of new messages, not just food choices. The revision includes recommendations to turn back the clock and enjoy food with family and friends, to cook at home, limit highly processed foods and to make sure and enjoy what you are eating. The new food guide also made a point to be more aware of your food choices and outside influences, reminding us to be savvy of marketing techniques and read labels so we know exactly what we are consuming.

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    12June
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    We all have a unique experience of the holidays and for some, many in fact, this can be a challenging time. Many of us working in the cancer world see the holidays come and go without any stop in treatment or suffering for our patients. Others have suffered a loss, are caring for an ill loved one, struggle with depression, or have experienced other major changes in life. All of these factors can make the December holidays less…jolly. Here are some tips for how to cope in a healthy way:

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    12June
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    Another idea is to try some form of intermittent fasting (IF), which involves splitting the day or week into eating and fasting periods. IF has been shown to help balance blood sugar, improve brain functioning, reduce inflammation, promote weight loss and increase energy, to name just a few of the benefits. Where to start? For the next three weeks to a month, consider experimenting with intermittent fasting to curb holiday weight gain and cravings and enter the new year feeling revitalized. Here are three ideas to consider:

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    12June
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    There’s much debate and confusion about screening for prostate cancer and so in honour of Movember and men’s health awareness, we want to discuss the current recommendations. Here’s what the experts have concluded:The Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care recommends against screening for prostate cancer with the PSA (prostate specific antigen) test.

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    12June
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    According to a new population-based cohort study of 68, 946 French adults, eating organic foods might reduce your risk of cancer.

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    12June
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    Cancer-related pain is a very common symptom yet it can be difficult for patients to find satisfactory relief. Conventional treatments to reduce pain do not always help and the drugs have side effects themselves that patients need to consider.

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    12June
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    We asked our massage therapist, Sorin Darie, about his approach to treatment, his philosophy on massage and some questions about what he does outside the clinic. 1) What brought you to massage therapy?

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    12June
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    If you are undergoing drug or chemotherapy treatment for cancer, your kidney health is important to consider. Our kidneys work to filter our blood, removing waste and extra water to make urine. This job is essential during cancer treatment as our kidneys also break down and remove chemotherapy from our body. However some of those drugs can also be damaging to the kidney (the proper term for this is nephrotoxic). Whether or not a chemotherapy drug is nephrotoxic depends

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    12June
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    September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month in Canada and we want to bring attention to a common side effect many men with prostate cancer experience – hot flashes. Hot flashes are generally only associated with women in menopause, however, more than 75% of men receiving hormone therapy for their prostate cancer have hot flashes. Called androgen deprivation therapy (ADT), hormone therapy is a type of prostate cancer treatment that blocks the effects of androgens (like testosterone) and can slow prostate

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    12June
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    Cruciferous vegetables or “Brassicas” refer to the mustard family of vegetables, which includes: kale, broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, collard greens, cabbage, bok choy, arugula, turnips, mustard greens, watercress and shepherd’s purse. These vegetables are packed with vitamins K, A and C and also contain folic acid, magnesium, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, iron, copper, vitamin E, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin B3, vitamin B5, vitamin B6, zinc, manganese, fiber, protein and omega-3 fatty acids.

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    12June
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    Ever wonder how long it took that sweet, juicy, mouthwatering pineapple to make its way to your plate?  Well, on average, in Canada most produce is transported at least 2,500 km from its point of origin to your table. With all our plush green fields and fertile soil, would it surprise you that we are the sixth largest food importer in the world? The Summer months however are the ideal time to make a change and choose more local, in season produce by visiting local farmers markets.  

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    12June
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    Fatigue is the most common complaint from people with cancer and it’s different from the fatigue that comes with daily life – it can’t just be slept off. Termed “cancer-related fatigue”, it’s a distressing and persistent, physical, mental and/or emotional tiredness related to cancer and its treatments. This fatigue can last for months to years and very commonly, people with cancer are looking for energy support.

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    12June
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    Many of us are aware of a link between barbecued meat and an increased cancer risk however few of us understand the evidence behind this, and knowing that evidence may help us make healthier choices, choices that could even include some summer barbecuing.

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    12June
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    We all know that besides our appearance, there is a long list of diseases associated with having a high body fat percentage (obesity), including some types of cancer, heart disease, asthma, dementia, and diabetes.

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    12June
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    This is Men’s Health Week in Canada and with prostate cancer being the most common cancer among Canadian men and the 3rd leading cause of death from cancer in men in Canada, we want to discuss the profound effect exercise can have on every stage of this disease.Disease Prevention

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    12June
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    Finally, Spring is upon us. As we enter into a new season it can be an opportunity to reconnect with ourselves anew. We can observe a lot about nature that helps us to find deeper understandings of ourselves and our own human experiences. Spring brings new life as the trees and animals wake from their rest. It can also signify a new beginning, a recharge of energy and be a time to reflect on the past Winter.

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    12June
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    Finding easy, healthy and low-carbohydrate breakfast recipes (without all that bacon!) can be challenging. These avocado egg boats contain under 3 grams of net carbohydrates each and are deliciously filling and satisfying. These are a great way to mix up your breakfasts and enjoy any topping on them you like.Ingredients

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    12June
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    It’s the time of year again – with the colder weather also comes more frequent viral infections, like the common cold and the flu.

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    12June
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    Most of us are familiar with the plant mistletoe, seen around the December holidays hanging in doorways, a symbol of romance and love. Most of us are not, however, aware that it has medicinal use and has been used in cancer care for over 100 years.

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    12June
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    Beef bones are filled with collagen and minerals that we need to replenish and rebuild when going through chemotherapy treatment. This hearty beef bone broth tastes delicious and can be used as a sipping tea, a warming tonic or the base for more hearty soups and stewsAdapted from: Rebecca Katz: The Cancer-Fighting Kitchen

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    12June
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    A new term – syndemic – has been coined, which describes the combination of having a disease (like cancer) during an ongoing pandemic (or synergistic epidemic). This term describes that for those living with cancer, the combined physical, emotional and social toll of the pandemic can be especially heavy. This heaviness points to the need for intentional and specific time to promote relaxation.

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    12June
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    With the holidays right around the corner, this spiced nut recipe is the perfect way to get into the holiday spirit! What’s more is that nuts can help with your weight loss goals with their combination of healthy fat and protein. This delicious spiced nut recipe provides the perfect guilt-free indulgent snack this holiday season!Ingredients: 

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    12June
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    With the holiday season soon approaching, it’s the perfect time to experiment with different herbs and many of the herbs in our favourite holiday dishes have actually been studied for their health benefits.Some of these therapeutic spices are ginger, cumin, rosemary and oregano. 

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    12June
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    Oftentimes, holiday classics come with a high carbohydrate load and so finding a healthy, tasty, grain-free version is tricky. This bread-less stuffing is a perfect alternative if you are looking to maintain a lower carbohydrate diet throughout the holidays - it’s made with simple ingredients and tastes better than the real thing!Ingredients (ideally organic if possible):

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    12June
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    2020 was a challenging year – personally and collectively – and so here at the CCNM Integrative Cancer Centre, we look forward to the fresh start 2021 brings. We are hopeful that this new calendar year brings an end to the pandemic and new beginnings for our health – individually and as a whole. 

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    12June
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    For the third week of our January Healthy Challenge, we are suggesting a mental detox – to spend intentional time decluttering negative, persistent thoughts, to encourage a positive shift in perspective and mental health.

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    12June
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    Most of us have heard of melatonin as a sleep aid and for good reason – a few hours before bedtime, our body starts making this hormone as its main job is to help prepare us for sleep and to help us keep a healthy sleep-wake cycle.

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    12June
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    Amongst internet searches of cancer, many of us have come across the sugar feeds cancer theory. In this post, we want to dive into what this really means and if it's true – Does sugar cause cancer? Does it feed cancer cells, making them grow more aggressively? And how does the dietary sugar we consume affect our health, and what can be done about this?

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    12June
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    The American Cancer Society (ACS) updated their diet and physical activity guidelines for the prevention of cancer, on June 9, 2020.

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    12June
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    Given how popular homemade bread has been lately, we thought we should share two of our favourite low-carb bread recipes: Coconut Flour Bread (adapted from Nourishing Days)This one-bowl recipe is low-carb, gluten free and tastes deliciously coconuty.

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    12June
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    Optimizing indoor air quality has increasingly become a topic of discussion in recent years and now that we are all spending more time inside, taking steps to improve the quality of what you are breathing could help support better health.

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    12June
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    Diets that are primarily plant-based have been shown to help lower the risk of cancer as well as reduce the risk of recurrence. The evidence is clear that this eating pattern contributes to a healthy weight which is the most important modifiable factor for reducing the risk of cancer progression.  

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    12June
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    It is a well-known fact for centuries that being in nature makes people feel good. The sound of waves, the scent of a forest, the smell of the sea and clean air – all of these things help promote a feeling of comfort, relaxation and well-being. So what is the science behind this? Why does nature make us feel good and what, if any, is the connection to cancer?

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    12June
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    You may have heard about the benefits of short-term fasting for weight loss but what about fasting during cancer treatment?

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    12June
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    For most of us, the idea of mindfulness often invokes the image of someone sitting still, eyes closed, in complete silence, looking serene. We imagine this person has an empty mind, devoid of all distracting thoughts and emotions, working to achieve a supreme state called enlightenment. This picture however, couldn’t be further from the truth.  

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    12June
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    Soy comes from soybean, which is a type of legume known as Glycine max. It can be used in many forms such as the bean itself, edamame, tofu, miso, tamari, soymilk, soy-based protein powder or as soy isoflavone-based supplements. Benefits, you may wonder? 

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    12June
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    With September here and many of us facing new routines and even more change, simple and delicious energy balls are a great way to fuel up when on the go.Ingredients

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    12June
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    One of the healthy habits that we wanted to focus on for this week’s blog is fruit/vegetable intake. We know that eating vegetables and fruits can be helpful for preventing cancer and we now have new research showing that a high intake of vegetables and fruit can be helpful for cancer survivors as well. 

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    12June
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    The cold winter months can be tough on our bodies, especially our immune system. In the winter, the body’s natural defenses tend to be weakened, making us more susceptible to common colds and flus. Luckily, there are specific, functional foods that, when eaten on a regular basis, can provide benefit to our natural immune response to help make us less vulnerable to infection.Consider adding these functional foods to your diet to provide your immune system with extra love and support this winter:Garlic

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    12June
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    Spring has sprung! And unfortunately for many of us, so have allergy symptoms. During this time of year, allergies can significantly impact our quality of life, especially since the weather is getting warmer and most of us want to spend more time outside. Fortunately, there are some natural remedies to help reduce the severity of these symptoms:

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    12June
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    While known to help improve lifespan, it’s no secret that cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy, can also come with distressing side effects. One of the more common effects our patients experience is the impact on cognitive function, such as memory and concentration, referred to as “chemo brain”. In fact, one survey found that 75% of patients with cancer who underwent conventional treatments (such as chemotherapy, radiation, and hormonal therapy) experienced these symptoms in some form. 

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    12June
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    Lycopene is a carotenoid, which is the red pigment found in many plant foods, such as tomatoes and watermelons. In addition to giving off a vibrant red colour, lycopene acts as an antioxidant, which has been shown to be beneficial in reducing cancer risk, particularly prostate cancer. More specifically, research has found that regular lycopene consumption is linked to lower risk of prostate cancer and decreased PSA levels over time. In general, carotenoids also support the immune system and help prevent DNA damage via its antioxidant properties.

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    12June
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    Improving muscle mass through resistance exercises is a common discussion we have with our patients, as this has been associated with better treatment prospects, treatment tolerance, and overall prognoses. Additionally, muscle mass contributes to an anti-cancer terrain in the body by reducing inflammation associated with cancer and cancer-related treatments.

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    12June
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    We all experience some degree of stress and anxiety in our life. For some, stress can feel more constant and/or be difficult to manage. For our patients living with cancer, it is common to experience feelings of overwhelm, anxiety, fear, and stress. This is a time in which our body is experiencing many physical changes and there is often a degree of tremendous uncertainty.  

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    12June
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    There’s nothing quite like enjoying a cold popsicle on a hot Summer day, however most store-bought popsicles contain sugar, high fructose corn syrup and/or artificial flavours. Thankfully, quick and easy homemade popsicles can be a healthy version of a favourite Summertime treat.   The natural fruit in this popsicle recipe adds more nutrients and antioxidants to your day without using refined sugar. You also have the option of getting extra protein and creaminess if you decide to include Greek yogurt to the mix! Ingredients (10 popsicles) 

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    12June
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    “Joy isn’t something I know how to feel anymore, it’s just not possible for me” or maybe, “Every time I get close, the thoughts come rushing back and I feel…”It can be really hard to feel joy if we’re trying to push hard feelings away in an attempt to be positive. More often than not, those hard thoughts and feelings push back with an inescapable ferocity. 

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    12June
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    Visualization, also called guided imagery, involves picturing the outcome of an event or circumstance before it’s happened. It uses the power of your imagination to help you relax or relieve stress and anxiety.  

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    12June
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    Nausea is one of the most common symptoms of cancer treatments and can be very difficult to treat. Luckily, there are a few natural remedies that can help alleviate nausea, and simply inhaling essential oils is one of them. Essential oils are the active compounds found in plants, distilled into potent oils. These oils contain powerful properties of the botanical herbs and spices they’re derived from, making them useful in improving all sorts of symptoms, such as relaxing tense muscles, relieving pain, improving digestion, and relieving nausea.

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    12June
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    While there’s no shortage of outdoor activities during Summer months, gardening is one that can help boost activity levels, while also increasing fruit and vegetable intake. Another wonderful fact about gardening is that it’s easily scalable and doesn’t require a large backyard as many of us might think. For instance, if you live in an apartment, you can use window boxes and pots to grow smaller plants like herbs, or even join a nearby community garden. If you do have a larger space, you can grow vegetables like peppers and eggplants, as well as fruits such as strawberries. 

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    12June
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    As the weather continues to warm, our bodies naturally crave more cooling foods. Salads can serve as excellent, refreshing Summer meals that help you achieve your daily vegetable and protein intake. With the right recipe, salads not only make delicious side dishes, but are also convenient for meal prepping and packing, making them perfect for lunches on the go.

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    12June
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    Summer is prime time for grilling and many of us enjoy an outdoor barbecue with family and friends. Most of also know however, that when we grill meats, this can produce chemicals that can increase the risk of cancer, such as heterocyclic amines and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. This happens when meat and fat are exposed to high heat and flames, resulting in smoke and charred bits. The good news is that there are ways we can reduce these chemicals and continue to enjoy some barbequed food. Here are 5 simple tips for healthy grilling:

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    12June
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    May is melanoma and skin cancer awareness month, and as we approach Summer, our sun exposure will only increase with the hours of daylight. Although great for our mental health, mood, and vitamin D levels, the sun and its ultraviolet (UV) rays also pose a risk towards skin health and integrity, which can affect the development of skin cancer. One of our biggest protectors against overexposure to sunlight is sunscreen, however like other personal care products, not all sunscreens are made equal, and some contain ingredients that may be harmful to our health.

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    12June
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    Taking supplements and medications can be beneficial for our health and well-being, however for most of us, it can be easy to forget to take these on a regular, timely basis. This is especially true when navigating a complex diagnosis, such as cancer, where integrative treatment plans can quickly become overwhelming. We experience the most benefit from treatment plans when they are followed exactly as recommended by health-care professionals, and so it may be useful to have reminders that help keep us on track.  

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    12June
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    Flax seeds are a rich source of lignans (compounds that help regulate hormone activity in our bodies) and one of the best plant sources of omega-3 fatty acids. In fact, one tablespoon of ground flax contains 1.8 g of omega-3s! Additionally, its high soluble fibre content can help with regulating bowel movements, slows the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream, and increases healthy bacteria in our gut. These effects help explain why several studies have shown that eating flax seeds regularly may decrease the risk of certain cancer types, such as breast and prostate.

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    12June
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    Mindfulness is a simple practice available to everyone, which can reduce stress, increase calmness and clarity, and promote happiness. Benefits can be seen quickly and mindfulness itself can come in a variety of different forms and techniques. One of the more common and effective techniques for maintaining mindfulness is called “noting”. 

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    12June
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    Many of us know there is a strong link between sugar consumption and cancers, with colorectal cancer being high on the list. Sugar-sweetened beverages such as fruit juices, sports drinks and sodas are the leading source of added sugar in our diets and one standard, 20-ounce bottle of soda can have more than 16 teaspoons of sugar.

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    12June
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    Maintaining a healthy body weight and composition has proven to play a significant role in improving outcomes and decreasing your overall risk of developing cancer or a recurrence. More specifically, minimizing body fat and supporting lean muscle mass seems to provide the most benefit. If your goal is to lose body fat, here are some simple but clever diet hacks that can help make this more achievable: 

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    12June
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    High uric acid levels in the blood, known as hyperuricemia, is usually associated with gout, a painful arthritis that affects 2.4% of Canadian adults, most commonly in the big toe. Even when it’s not causing symptoms, hyperuricemia may be linked to the development or worsening of other conditions, such as diabetes, chronic kidney disease, and cardiovascular disease.  Here are 5 simple dietary tips we recommend to help reduce uric acid levels, naturally: 

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    12June
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    Over the years, research has continued to show that blood sugar regulation plays an important role in promoting overall health and reducing our cancer risk. When we consume meals or beverages that contain carbohydrates, our blood sugar will naturally rise, however, certain foods and dietary patterns can elevate blood sugar levels past a healthy threshold, which are often referred to as blood sugar spikes. 

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    12June
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    One of the most important factors when it comes to health is ensuring that we get a good night's rest. Sleep plays an irreplaceable role in our overall health and well-being. When we sleep, we give our body a chance to rest and repair. Proper sleep helps promote healthy brain function, growth and development, digestion, and immune function. A good night's sleep is also protective against a variety of chronic diseases, including cancer. 

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    12June
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    Do you feel like you don’t have enough time to make yourself a delicious and nutritious breakfast in the morning? With this easy and delicious overnight oats recipe, we’ve got you covered!  

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    12June
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    Mouth sores, also called oral mucositis, are a common side effect of certain chemotherapy drugs or head and neck radiation. These are painful, inflamed and swollen mouth ulcers that often lead to difficulties with chewing and swallowing. Due to the impact this can have on quality of life and the ability to eat, we commonly recommend a few simple, home remedies that we have found to be supportive:

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    12June
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    If you’ve been recently diagnosed or are currently undergoing cancer treatment, you may have noticed a change in your appetite. It’s very common to experience a loss of appetite, which can lead to weight loss (especially muscle mass), reduced quality of life, fatigue, and weakness. Fortunately, there are ways to increase calories and nutrition, even when eating less.Here are 6 simple strategies you can try:  

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    12June
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    Many of our patients who have been through chemotherapy describe an uncomfortable or even painful sensation of tingling, burning, or numbness in their hands and/or feet. This is a very common side effect of some drugs, called peripheral neuropathy, that results from damage to the nerves. Medications and integrative treatments such as acupuncture may be helpful but there’s also an easy at-home treatment that can help manage symptoms too – contrast hydrotherapy. 

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    12June
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    When discussing nutrition with our patients, we often recommend “functional foods”, which are specific foods that have been studied in cancer and provide health benefits beyond their nutrient profile. Two of these foods include ground flaxseeds and walnuts. 

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    12June
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    March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, which serves as a great time to remind ourselves to discuss lifestyle factors that contribute to the risk of developing or experiencing a recurrence of colorectal cancer. Our dietary decisions, daily habits and behaviours can have profound influence on our risk of colorectal cancer, as highlighted by a recent 2022 study. 

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    12June
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    Improving muscle mass through resistance exercises is a common discussion we have with our patients, as muscle mass has been associated with better treatment tolerance, outcomes, and overall prognosis. Additionally, muscle mass contributes to an anti-cancer terrain in the body by reducing inflammation associated with cancer and cancer-related treatments.  

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    12June
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    Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is common for many of us during the winter months and many people experiencing SAD may not even know it and suffer in silence. So, what is SAD and what can we do about it?   SAD is a type of depression that occurs during the fall/winter months and can cause increased feelings of sadness, irritability, loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed, loss of energy, crying more often than usual, changes in sleep patterns, feelings of worthlessness, and thoughts of suicide.  

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    12June
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    Recently, Canada updated its guidelines on alcohol and health. The significant difference is that now any consumption of alcohol is considered risky – associated with several types of cancer – and the low risk category has been reduced to 2 or fewer drinks per week for both men and women (down from 6 for women and 10 for men).  

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    12June
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    Back in 2004, a few researchers, including National Geographic, set out to determine what parts of lifestyle and environment contributed to health and longevity. As a result of this goal, they identified five zones in the world with the highest number of individuals who reach the age of 100, also known as centenarians. These five zones also have some of the lowest rates of chronic disease, including cancer, and are now referred to as “Blue Zones”.

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    12June
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    The coughing, sniffling, cold and flu season is officially upon us. Thankfully, there’s an at-home treatment you can try that can help stave off a nasty cold as soon as you start to feel any symptoms or it can help speed up recovery when you’re already feeling sick - warming socks. 

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    12June
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    Now that we’re entering colder weather, it’s time to shift towards warmer foods that nourish our bodies during the cold winter months. One easy way to do this is by replacing raw salads with vegetable-rich stews. Another perk of eating stews is that they’re convenient to make when running low on fresh produce.The tomato chickpea stew below is an easy one-pot recipe that uses plenty of ingredients you might have sitting in the pantry, and it comes together quickly, making it great for busy or lazy evenings without sacrificing vegetable and protein intake.

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    12June
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    We are evolving the concept of snacking - moving away from food snacks and towards the idea of exercise snacks, which are short bursts of movement you can do anywhere - whether it be at home, in the office, or outdoors. Exercise snacks can last from a few seconds to several minutes and can be done while talking on the phone or simply taking a quick break from sitting in your chair. You don’t even have to change your clothes!    

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    12June
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    World Mental Health Day took place on October 10th, and serves as an important reminder for us to take care of ourselves and rest, especially during times of stress or overwhelm. Many of us go through life thinking we’ve rested because we have gotten enough sleep, however there are other types of rest we need as well. Rest should include restoration in these seven key areas of your life: 

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    12June
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    With October and Breast Cancer Awareness Month around the corner, we want to highlight a new study on intermittent fasting and its effects on cardiovascular health among breast cancer survivors. Some treatments used for breast cancer come with cardio-toxic adverse effects, meaning they can negatively impact your cardiovascular health in the long-term (up to 20 years later), and so it’s important to keep this in mind when thinking about overall health and survival. 

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    12June
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    A diet rich in protein is important for maintaining or increasing muscle mass, supporting the immune system, and aiding tissue repair. When undergoing cancer treatments, like surgery, radiation or chemotherapy, the body’s demand for protein increases, as this macronutrient plays a critical role in recovery and healing of tissues. During these treatments, the daily recommended intake of protein is 1.0-1.5 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. For an average adult weight of 70 kilograms, this would equate to 70 to 105 grams of protein daily! 

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    12June
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    Protein is an essential macronutrient for: tissue repair, maintaining a strong immune system and preserving lean muscle mass, which are all important goals in cancer care. When our bodies don’t get enough protein, they start to break down muscle tissue for amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein. During times of stress, like when faced with a cancer diagnosis or the treatments that follow, our requirements for protein increase further.

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    12June
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    Navigating the realities of an ongoing pandemic has been challenging for all of us. It has led to increases in stress associated with health, finances, relationships and more. Feelings of loneliness and isolation have become increasingly common, affecting our mood, mental health, and overall quality of life. A survey on COVID-19 and mental health determined that 25% of Canadians aged 18 and older screened positive for symptoms of depression, anxiety or PTSD.

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    12June
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    The practice of earthing or grounding helps to restore our natural connection to the Earth. For most of human existence, connection with the Earth had been a very normal and regular part of daily life. It is only in the last few centuries that we now go for prolonged amounts of time without being electromagnetically connected to the Earth, remaining indoors and not being able to make any contact with the ground when outside.

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    12June
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    After a long winter of staying indoors, many of us are embracing the warmer weather as an opportunity to get outside and enjoy barbecued foods. We have previously written about the health consequences of eating barbecued foods on a regular basis.

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    12June
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    With the gorgeous summer weather upon us, now is a good time to take advantage of delicious seasonal fruits and veggies. With our modern global food supply chain, it is easy to forget about seasonal and local eating but there are many health benefits to eating this way. Produce that is local and has travelled less distance from the farm to our plate will naturally retain more of its nutritional value along with its freshness and flavour. Harvesting fruits and vegetables in the appropriate season also plays a role in preserving nutritional content.

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    12June
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    We commonly recommend plant-based sources of protein as part of a healthy Mediterranean diet, which has been connected to a lower risk of cancer. Common sources of plant-based protein are lentils, beans, and chickpeas. These healthy foods can be part of your main meal or they can be eaten as a delicous snack. Next time you want to try a savoury snack in the middle of your busy day, try these crispy roasted chickpeas:

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    12June
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    We speak frequently about the benefits of mindfulness practices such as meditation. Many of us imagine meditation as sitting still for a long period of time without thinking of anything and understandably, embarking on this type of practice can feel daunting. Fortunately, there are many different ways to achieve a meditative state and you don’t necessarily need to be sitting still for prolonged periods of time to reap the benefits.

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    12June
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    We have a strong connection to nature and we’ve seen that maintaining this connection through practices such as hiking or forest bathing can have both mental and physical health benefits. It turns out that bringing nature indoors, by filling our spaces with houseplants, can have similar benefits.

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    12June
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    In our visits with patients, we often discuss the importance of lifestyle factors for reducing the risk of cancer recurrence including a regular exercise routine, good quality sleep and a whole-foods, plant-based diet. However, it is normal to face challenges when it comes to implementing and maintaining healthy habits. You may find that you lack motivation on some days or that unanticipated barriers get in your way. Here are some strategies to help maintain consistency with your healthy habits to achieve your goals: 

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    12June
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    Those of us living with a diagnosis of cancer experience various forms of mental and physical stress regularly. Unfortunately, chronic stress can contribute to lowered immunity, insomnia, and low mood. The ability to manage our stress in a positive way is the hallmark of resilience and is linked to greater longevity, lower rates of depression and a more positive outlook on life. In the face of adversity, some of us may be more naturally resilient than others but thankfully resilience is a skill that can be learned over time. 

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    12June
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    Try this guilt-free muffin recipe the next time you want to satisfy your sweet tooth! These muffins are a great alternative to store-bought -  not only are they low carb, vegan and paleo-friendly, they’re also packed with protein.Ingredients

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    12June
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    Many of us focus on what we are eating and for good reason - there is strong evidence supporting the use of a Mediterranean-style diet for the maintenance of a healthy weight and preventing the risk of chronic diseases including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer. However, it is also important to focus on how we eat. Mindful eating is the practice of eating with intention and purposefully maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our food. 

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    12June
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    A recent study presented at the 2021 meeting of the American Association of Cancer Research found that men with a genetically high risk of prostate cancer who maintained healthy diet and lifestyle habits significantly reduced their chances of developing a deadly form of the disease. The study followed over 10,000 men for 18 years. Among the men with a genetically high risk, those following a healthy lifestyle had approximately half the risk of progressing to a lethal prostate cancer compared to the men with a comparatively less healthy lifestyle.

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    12June
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    As the weather finally warms after a long winter, many of us are looking forward to being out in nature again. Hiking can be one of the most enjoyable and healthy ways of improving both our mental and physical health. Best of all, you don’t need any equipment, making it a simple and accessible way to exercise. 

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    12June
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    Hippocrates once said, “Let food be thy medicine and let medicine be thy food”. Turns out he was onto something! Research has now shown that certain foods may help to reduce the risk of cancer. This week, we will focus on the brassica family of vegetables.

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    12June
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    Craniosacral therapy is a very gentle, non-manipulative, hands-on treatment that uses light pressure to release soft tissue tension deep in the body to relieve pain and dysfunction. The craniosacral system includes the tissues and fluid that surround and protect our brain and spinal cord.   

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    12June
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    3 Ways to Improve Dry Skin It’s that time of the year, after months of cold weather, when our skin starts to appear dry, dull and flaky.  During Winter, the humidity level in the air is substantially less than in the warmer months and so this cold, dry air outside pulls moisture from our skin resulting in dry, dull and lacklustre skin. The good news is that there are lots of natural ways to reduce and lessen dryness and restore the skin’s healthy barriers. Here are our top tips for combating dull, dry skin:

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    12June
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    Are you afraid of a sudden cough or sneeze? Do you suddenly have the urge to urinate and can’t make it to the restroom? Is the fear of having an accident keeping you from being physically active, enjoying your hobbies, and even leaving your home?

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    12June
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    With warm Summer weather here, it is tempting to want a mid-day or after dinner treat to cool us down and quench a craving. Regular ice cream however is often full of simple, refined sugars that can cause blood sugar levels to spike. This spike in turn causes an increase in hormones like insulin and insulin-like growth factors (IGF-1) that have been implicated in cancerous growth. Additionally, standard dairy products have a conflicting relationship with cancer, with increased risks likely attributed to IGF-1 as well. 

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    12June
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    Many of us know that high body fat is linked to an increased risk for many cancer types, but something that is new and emerging in the research is the importance of muscle mass for those diagnosed with the disease.This new research is indicating that if you can maintain or even increase your muscle mass AFTER diagnosis, you may:

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    12June
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    Over the past year and a half, the pandemic has forced us to become flexible and adapt to numerous changes in the way that we live and work. A fresh perspective is that perhaps these changes have put us on track to embrace what is new to us. Many people have decided to try new hobbies or learn a new skill during this time, and it turns out that there are major health benefits of doing so: 

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    12June
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    When it comes to healthy eating habits, the holidays can often be a challenge. Many festive snacks and treats are high in carbohydrates and sugar, however, this “fat bomb” recipe is a delicious alternative that can help stabilize blood sugar levels. Coconut oil contains healthy fats called medium chain triglycerides (MCTs), which are known to help promote fullness, aid in weight management, and can act as a sustained energy source throughout the day. Goodbye, sugar crashes!  Ingredients (18 servings): ¼ cup coconut oil

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    12June
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    Chemotherapy can be a valuable tool in the treatment of your cancer, however it also comes with known side effects that we can help treat at our clinic. Of note, chemotherapy can lead to a decrease in your muscle mass, which research now connects with poorer outcomes, survival, and tolerance to treatment. Fortunately, there are strategies to help prevent muscle loss, with two of the most effective being resistance/weight/strength training and adequate protein intake in your diet. 

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    12June
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    With the ongoing cold Winter weather, it can be challenging to stay active.  Aside from costly tools ranging from wearable tech to virtual personal trainers, there are plenty of free fitness apps that can be downloaded to offer you some home workout ideas and keep you moving this Winter.  Here are our favorite free fitness apps:  Nike Training 

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    12June
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    Protein needs are generally increased during chemotherapy treatment, and it can be challenging to meet those requirements. For the general population, the recommendation is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight and during cancer treatments, we advise our patients to aim for between 1.0-1.5g/kg of body weight. Protein intake is critical for supporting the immune system, building muscle mass, and healing tissues - all of which is beneficial to overall health and potentially improving cancer outcomes.   

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    12June
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    Chemotherapy-related cognitive impairment, often referred to as “chemo brain”, is a common side effect among our patients and can remain a long-term concern into survivorship. Managing chemo brain can be a challenge, however a recent positive study highlights the preventative role probiotics can play in reducing its incidence.  

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    12June
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    Sometimes, the simple act of falling asleep can feel like an impossible task. Many different factors can affect sleep quality and quantity and so healthy night-time habits can make a world of difference. Sleep hygiene, a term developed by researchers, entails practices that help ensure regular, good quality sleep, which include engaging in a relaxing activity to wind down before bed.

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    12June
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    For most of us, the start of the new year represents the turning of a page or a fresh opportunity to exchange old habits for new routines. This is why many of us participate in New Year’s resolutions, with a few of the most common being: eating healthier, exercising regularly, and losing weight. Of course, resolutions are much easier to make than keep, and by February or March, most of us are abandoning goals and settling back into old patterns.

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    12June
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    Endocrine disruptors (EDs) are substances in the environment, food sources, personal care products, and manufactured products that interfere with normal function of our body’s endocrine/hormonal system. In target tissues, EDs can reduce or increase the effects of natural hormones on their receptors and change their signaling patterns. With this, there is growing evidence that these chemicals can create potentially significant health risks, such as increasing the risk of certain cancers.

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    12June
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    Simply put, naturopathic cancer care is the use of natural therapies (vitamins, minerals, plant-nutrients, diet, lifestyle support and herbs) to support people with cancer, at any stage of the disease. Naturopathic cancer care is based on an integrative care model, where trained naturopathic doctors (NDs) aim to work alongside conventional treatment in supporting cancer prevention, health during treatment and into survivorship and palliative care.

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    12June
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    Mindfulness is simply maintaining a nonjudgmental state of awareness of one’s thoughts, emotions or experiences on a moment-to-moment basis. This practice originated from ancient Eastern religious traditions, such as Buddhism, and has slowly made its way into Western culture due to its multitude of health benefits. From a general standpoint, these benefits include reduced stress, improved physical health, and increased feelings of harmony.

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    12June
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    This warming dish is a delicious salad option for the cold winter months. It not only contains nutritious cruciferous vegetables, but it’s also packed with protein from quinoa and an herb well-known for its anti-inflammatory actions – turmeric!

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    12June
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    Self-compassion is a way of learning to treat oneself with warmth and understanding in difficult times, those times where our own self-criticism can dominate. We are human, we are prone to make mistakes and to have struggles; learning to accept this reality, learning how to show the same kindness to ourselves as we do to others allows the heart to begin to soften.

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    12June
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    November is lung cancer awareness month, and if you have been diagnosed with lung cancer and undergone treatment with surgery or radiation, you may be experiencing reduced lung capacity, which may be limiting some of your activities.  

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    12June
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    If you have been diagnosed with cancer and are undergoing treatment, you may have noticed a change in your appetite and desire to eat. There are many cancer treatments that can lower your appetite and even cancer itself can cause a loss in appetite for several reasons. A loss of appetite, called anorexia, can lead to weight loss, which can affect your quality of life and leave you feeling weak and tired.

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    12June
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    Roasted cauliflower and chickpeas make the perfect "meat" for these tacos - adding to your vegetable and protein content for the day. Cumin and chili powder spice combines with the carmelization from roasting the cauliflower to taste delicious, even for those of us with reduced taste sensation. Ingredients:

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    12June
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    How do you store your body fat and why does it matter? Most of us won’t know the answer to this question, but what if there was a way to get a better understanding of how much body fat we have, and how it is stored in our body? The answer can also tell us a lot about our overall health. 

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    12June
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    We’ve previously discussed the benefits of mindfulness and meditation on this blog, but today we want to explore how to incorporate these exercises on the go. Mindfulness meditation is the art of being fully present and tuning into our senses, thoughts, and emotions in that very moment with a nonjudgmental attitude. Imagine you sitting in a train station and your only thoughts and emotions in that moment are simply the different trains passing you by. You observe the trains but you don’t jump on every single train that passes.

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    12June
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    Long chemotherapy sessions can be both physically and emotionally demanding, making nourishing your body with the right foods crucial. Hospitals do not always provide healthy food options and so prepping at home and brining snacks with you is a smart idea.  Here are some healthy snack ideas to keep you energized throughout your chemotherapy infusions: 1. Fresh fruits: rich in essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, fruits offer a refreshing and easy snack option that can help satisfy a sweet craving as well. 

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    12June
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    Ice baths are trendy, but using water as a therapy for health, known as hydrotherapy, has been around for ages. Studies show that cold-water exposure can:

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    12June
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    In the hustle and bustle of our daily lives, it's easy to find ourselves caught in the fast-paced rhythm of eating on the go, multitasking through meals, or reaching for snacks without much thought. Enter mindful eating – a practice that invites us to savor each bite, reconnect with our bodies, and cultivate a healthier relationship with food. Here are some tips to help you embark on a journey of mindful eating:

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    12June
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    Protein is one of the three macronutrients required for proper functioning of our body. It plays a crucial role in many processes such as building and maintaining muscle mass, supporting the immune system, and aiding in tissue healing. It is important to consume an adequate amount of protein in your diet to ensure that your body can function properly. The recommended daily intake of protein varies depending on factors like age, gender, and activity level. Typically, the average person needs, at a minimum,  0.8g of protein per kilogram of body weight to maintain their muscle mass.

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    12June
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    The recipe below is filled with protein, fiber, vegetables, and healthy fats. It is a quick well-balanced meal that can be meal prepped and enjoyed throughout the week. It is great for those busy weeknights, and a great lunch option as well.  Ingredients (4 servings): Eggplant: 1 medium eggplant, cut into ¾-inch cubes (1 eggplant yields 5 cups or 400g) 1 ½ tbsp olive oil  ¼ tsp sea salt  Carrots and Sweet Potato:

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    12June
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    A cancer diagnosis, as well as treatment, can be life-altering. The emotional toll of this journey can be immense, and navigating our complex web of emotions is an essential aspect of cancer care. Here we explore the concepts of triggers and glimmers in cancer care, understanding how they impact our emotional well-being and providing some support on how to navigate this journey. 

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    12June
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    When going through a health challenge or a cancer diagnosis, it can be very difficult to keep track of all the providers to see and making it to all your appointments can feel like a part time job. Beyond getting to all those appointments, it can also be difficult to absorb and understand the information given us to so that we can make informed choices about our health. As a result, when the doctor asks us as the end of the appointment if we have any questions, we may say “no” out of overwhelm, and then come up with all the questions we want to ask on our way home.

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    12June
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    Do you often find yourself tossing and turning in bed, unable to fall asleep due to stress or anxiety? If so, you're not alone and after a cancer diagnosis, sleep issues are very common, which can affect both our physical and mental well-being. If you're seeking a natural and effective way to improve your sleep and relieve stress/tension, progressive muscle relaxation (PMR) might be the solution for you. 

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    12June
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    As the leaves change colour and the air becomes crisper, it's time to embrace all things pumpkin! While pumpkin-spice lattes and pies may be the first things that come to mind, there's a healthier and more protein-packed way to satisfy your autumn cravings – high-protein pumpkin muffins! Not only are these muffins a delicious treat, but they also come with the added benefit of being rich in protein, which is important for supporting muscle mass, tissue repair, and a healthy immune system.

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    12June
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    Exercise isn't just for athletes - it's a powerful tool that can significantly impact our well-being before, during, and after cancer treatments. In fact, research suggests that physical activity can go beyond survivorship and influence various aspects of health, including mental well-being, quality of life, fatigue levels, and overall physical functioning. 

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    12June
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    Intravenous (IV) therapy is becoming increasingly common as a supportive treatment for supporting overall health. There are many reasons you might be coming in for IV therapy, including energy support, replenishing vitamin/mineral deficiencies, or helping to improve cancer outcomes. Despite the various reasons you may be coming in for an IV visit, the good news is that the preparation stays the same.  Below are some tips that will make the process smoother and help you feel your best both during and after your IV treatment:  Hydrate