Perhaps you had a routine physical exam and blood testing with your Medical Doctor or Naturopathic Doctor and discovered that your blood sugar was uncomfortably high. Maybe you’re concerned about your family history of diabetes or heart disease and already recognize that prevention is key. It’s a common scenario in my office, perhaps because an estimated 22% of Canadians have pre-diabetes. For the most part, type 2 diabetes is a lifestyle illness, but not always in the way we think it is.
Insulin is a hormone produced by our pancreas that helps sugar (i.e. glucose) enter our cells. It has a major impact on our metabolism and how our body gets energy. When our muscle, brain and tissue cells stop responding to insulin this causes a condition called insulin resistance. If our cells become resistant to insulin then our pancreas needs to create even more insulin to get the glucose inside those stubborn cells. This can become a slippery slope
Fatigue and low energy is one of the most common concerns that patients come to see me for. Sometimes the fatigue is a new symptom but for the majority of people, it is something they have been struggling with for years. In many cases it presents itself gradually, like a slow but steady decline. Now they find themselves with so little energy they can’t do the activities that they want and it is affecting their quality of life. There are many different root causes for low energy but one’s hormonal state is usually a major player. I want to briefly cover two hormonal issues that can lead to low energy.
Hi! I’m Courtney O’Connor the newest addition to the KIHC team. I am a Registered Holistic Nutritionist who has a passion to see people fulfill their highest health potential. I am very excited to have the opportunity to serve and to assist you in reaching your health goals through a holistic approach. When our bodies are healthy, balanced and working in harmony, we are free to enjoy life to the fullest. We can focus on sharing our unique gifts and talents with the world and to be of greater service.
Holistic Nutrition is a modality in which client’s health is addressed from a whole person perspective; mind, body, and, spirit, using whole foods and complementary therapies. The mind, body and spirit are all connected and we aim to thrive in each area for optimal health.
As a Naturopathic Doctor, weight loss is probably one of the most common reasons people venture into my office. Many of us struggle with maintaining a healthy weight and a multi-million dollar weight loss industry can give of us poor advice. There are so many expert opinions and fad products floating around, it is hard to know what is useful and what is simply a myth. At times you can be making all the right choices but still not losing weight, suggesting some physiological roadblocks. Here are the myths, the roadblocks and the game changers when it comes to building natural weight loss wisdom.
Extreme low calorie diets are necessary for weight loss.
Will you lose weight from going on an extreme, reduced calorie diet? Absolutely. Will you keep the weight off when you return to your typical diet?
Dr. Sonya Nobbe, ND
Are sugar alternatives safe? Most of us are aware of the negative health consequences of sugar, but what about their chemical replacements in the variety of “sugar-free” food choices? A recent study by Washington University researchers published in the journal Diabetes Care, suggests that ingestion of sucralose (Splenda) may increase insulin levels by up to 20%, thereby promoting diabetes and weight gain. Aspartame is another common sugar alternative with known health risks, such as migraines and seizures, when consumed in high quantities or by sensitive people. Fructose can cause a diabetes-like disease in the liver called “fatty liver”. The science that links both sugar and its replacements to chronic disease symptoms is quite extensive. Here are some practical tips to help you reduce these ingredients in your daily routine, without going on a diet!
1. Stevia is an herbal sugar replacement (i.e. not artificial) that is chemically dis-similar to sugar. This means that it’s metabolized safely by other mechanisms that don’t disturb normal sugar metabolism and weight management.
2. Add a bit of salt! Salt can actually enhance your perception of the sweetness of some dishes, and if you balance this with addition of high-potassium foods, the dish is far less likely to affect blood pressure. (See our article on blood pressure and salt, here.)
3. Enhance the natural sweetness
~ Dr. Sonya Nobbe, ND
Dr. Natasha Turner, a well known Naturopathic Doctor in Toronto, wrote a series of books about weight-loss, including “The Hormone Diet”, in which she describes how to address hormone imbalances to lose weight. She recently appeared on the Dr. Oz show to discuss how to melt fat fast by re-setting your fat-burning hormones. You can view the show here.
This weight-loss science may seem new, but it is in fact a well known facet of nearly every holistic health philosophy, which is that all body systems work together to achieve health. If one hormone is out of whack, other hormones and indeed other systems such as the immune system and even emotional health are affected, and this impacts many health parameters, including weight. In her book, Dr. Turner says: “So many of us believe that we can get healthy by losing weight; the truth is, we must be healthy to lose weight.”
When exploring where your system is out of balance and how this is connected to difficulty losing weight, Naturopathic Doctors explore not only hormone balance, but also physical traumas that disrupt optimal body function, environmental toxins that disrupt hormone balance, emotional health including serotonin deficiencies, and food intolerances. We look at the big picture and refer you to the correct specialists for thorough healthcare.
If weight-loss is one of your goals this new year, I encourage you to move beyond the old counting calories approach and work to improve your body’s entire health, so that weight-loss comes naturally.
For more information about healthy weight and medical weight-loss, please see our educational brochure on our website, here.
Too Much Energy (hyper, jittery)? Too Little Energy (tired, stressed, depressed)?
Find out what is involved in balancing your body’s energy system and overall health. Learn simple but effective movements you can do anywhere without any equipment, even in small spaces (like the office!) Gain a physiological
understanding of the body and how it works to regulate our energy balance and how we undermine/ignore/or don’t know how to listen to it – and how to get that back!
Take advantage of the upcoming season to put some new habits into place towards a more healthy you! Now is the time with the season change to gain some new ideas to incorporate. Spring brings better weather, more sunshine and a different work environment – there’s more spring in our step. You will work towards a healthier, happier, more energetic and more relaxed lifestyle.
A healthy weight and a healthy energy level are related. If we use this to our advantage, we can begin to make changes that will last all summer into fall. We’ll feel more energized and enjoy our summer more. Here is some information, movements and techniques to get you on your way.