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Paige’s Famous Sausage Lentil Sweet Potato ‘Stewp’ Recipe

Ingredients

4-6 links of hot Italian sausage (pork or turkey)

2 medium sized sweet potatoes cubed

1 bunch kale chopped, stems removed

1 onion chopped

2 cloves garlic minced

¾-1 cup dried lentils or 1 can of lentils

6 cups beef or chicken broth 

Method

Cut open casings of sausage and remove the meat. Saute in a large soup pot, breaking up the meat until cooked through.

Add chopped onion and minced garlic. Saute together until fragrant and translucent. About 1-2 minutes.

Add cubed sweet potato to the pot and saute 1 minute. 

Add lentils and broth. Cook for about 20-30 minutes until lentils are cooked.

Once lentils and sweet potato are cooked, add chopped kale. Stir into soup until the kale is bright and soft. Don’t overcook!

Add salt and pepper to taste.  

Enjoy!

Note: Use as much broth as you’d like. More broth will make it a thinner soup consistency and less broth will make it more of a stew consistency. 

3 Helpful Supplements for Endometriosis

After hours of reading studies on endometriosis, researching supplements for the treatment of endometriosis, and reading others blogs on this subject, I came across an interesting article in Vogue.  

Did you know Lena Dunham had a hysterectomy at the age of 31 due to Endometriosis pain? I know that’s a scary thought, and obviously not an option for everyone. (Read her story here

It’s definitely a reality check when someone so young would take the option of removing an organ, giving up her potential to carry a baby to term and give birth because she never wanted to go another day feeling the pain that she did. She would say “okay” to early menopause and hormone therapy willingly, just to ease her pain. 

While I can’t completely understand the severity of the pain Lena, and some of my patients feel daily, weekly, or monthly, or the extreme cases of infertility and endometriomas that can come along with this diagnosis, I do empathize with the fact that sometimes we are dealt these crappy hands in life and we just have to do what’s best for us. 

I also can’t pretend to know how alone some of my patients feel in dealing with this diagnosis. To enjoy life is something that everyone deserves, and for some, removal of the uterus has been the eventual answer, but it doesn’t come without risk and ideally should be a last resort. So I want to share some options that can offer hope, particularly if you want to try to preserve your fertility. 

So let’s dive into three ‘easy to find at your local health food store’ supplements that research shows helps to reduce pain, ovarian endometriomas and endometrial-like tissue in the presence of Endometriosis.

Pycnogenol

Pycnogenol or Pine Bark extract has been known to have many analgesic properties. This extract taken in capsule form has been shown to reduce pain in many conditions from osteoarthritis to dysmenorrhea or painful periods, which is a common symptom of Endometriosis.

This natural supplement has been proven in studies to have lasting and compounding effects. In one study pycnogenol was found to be more effective in treating painful periods in Endometriosis than Gn-RHa or gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonist, a common hormone therapy treatment for endometriosis. Not only were the effects of pycnogenol long lasting with results lasting even after discontinuing use but the longer the supplement was taken, the better results patients received. 

Another study showed that the use of pycnogenol reduced pain scores of dysmenorrhea significantly as well as the need for analgesics. Even after the women stopped using the pycnogenol, fewer analgesics were needed and the analgesic effect of pycnogenol continued.

Melatonin

This well known supplement for sleep has also been found to help reduce chronic pelvic pain in those diagnosed with Endometriosis. You may think of Melatonin as a sleep aid, but that’s not all it can do. Melatonin has been found to help reduce inflammation, reduce pain, and is also an antioxidant.

In a 2013 study of 40 women, 10mg of melatonin taken daily was found to decrease daily pain, pain during sex, pain during urination and painful periods. Daily use of melatonin was found to improve sleep quality, and reduced the risk of using pain medication by 80%.

NAC

NAC or N-Acetyl cysteine is a form of the amino acid cysteine naturally found in chicken, eggs, and garlic. NAC is responsible for the increase of natural glutathione which is a detoxifier/ antioxidant responsible for the destruction of free radicals in the body, as well as the ability to reduce and inhibit the growth of epithelial cells, or endometriosis like tissue.

One recent study of 47 women taking 600 mg of NAC three times a day for three consecutive months, found the women did not experience endometrioma (cyst) growth. They had a greater number of cysts shrink, eight women had cysts disappear completely, half of the women cancelled their laparoscopic surgery, and eight women became pregnant during the study or within 12 months. 

Please note that it’s always important to consult with a registered health practitioner before taking any supplement to make sure that it is the appropriate supplement and dose for your case. 

While there is currently no cure for Endometriosis, there are options like acupuncture and supplements that can help those suffering with this silent disease. More research needs to be done to continue to increase awareness. 

If you or someone you know suffers from Endometriosis or endometriosis-like symptoms, feel free to contact us for a free 15-minute q & a to explore the options that we offer, we are happy to help!

You don’t have to suffer alone. 

Image: Tio Cuchillos

Resources

PMID: 18567279
PMID: 28367412
PMID: 17879831
PMID: 23602498
PMID: 23737821
doi.org/10.1155/2013/240702

Together While Socially Distancing: Free E-Health Events

We are aware that it’s extra important for our WELLBEING as humans to remain socially CONNECTED as we are physically distanced.

Especially as we are collectively experiencing the stress and anxiety of this extraordinary time.

We really are in this
TOGETHER.

Please join us for the following  

FREE
Facebook Live Events:


March 23rd & 30th
7pm

YOGA-PRESSURE
FOR ALL THE PEOPLE 

Calming postures & acupressure points
for everyone. 

w/ Mykayla
Registered Acupuncturist & Yoga Teacher 



March 24th
7pm

YOGA-PRESSURE
FOR FERTILITY

Balancing postures & acupressure points
to support fertility.

w/ Mykayla
Registered Acupuncturist & Yoga Teacher



March 25th & April 1st
7pm

MINDFULNESS MEDITATION 
FOR ALL THE PEOPLE 

Breathing & bringing presence & resilience into these times.  

w/ Dr. Alda
Registered Doctor of TCM, Acupuncturist & Mindfulness Instructor 



March 31st
7pm

SUPPORTING FERTILITY 
What you can do during home isolation to keep supporting your fertility.  

w/ Christina
Registered Acupuncturist & Fertility Specialist 


April 2nd
7pm

IMMUNE BOOSTING FOODS  
Learn what foods help to boost your immune system. Alicia will share an easy recipe that you can prepare at home.  

w/ Alicia
Holistic Nutritional Consultant


Click on the Link Below to Access These Events
Facebook

Clinic Closure until March 30th

COVID-19

It’s important to us to help protect our families and communities.

As a small business, it has been hard for us to know the best action to take, given the currently growing COVID-19 situation.

This morning, the Prime Minster advised that all Canadians should stay home. Dr. Theresa Tam, our Chief Public Health Officer explained that the window to flatten the curve is narrowing, and that now is the critical time to act if we are to make a difference.

Meanwhile health authorities intimate with the unfolding situation in other countries are urging us to learn from what we have observed, and to act fast.

One of our dear WFH Team Members is immune-compromised and many of us have vulnerable family members or friends who would be very negatively impacted if they were to contract this disease. 

We also have friends and family members currently working on the already overwhelmed front lines, who are urging everyone to please stay home. 

Also, as we understand, COVID-19 is contagious when carriers are asymptomatic. 

For all of these reasons, we have made the very difficult decision to take the recommended extra precautions to close the clinic for the next 2 weeks.

We plan to reopen for business again on March 30th, and will notify you if there is any change. 

WE ARE HERE FOR YOU

In the meantime, we are here for you.

Please feel free to email us with a any questions at all.

You can either email your WFH practitioner directly,
or our administrator info@wholefamilyhealth.ca

During the closure, we are also offering


DISTANCE VIDEO CONSULTS

Complete Health Audits

Treatment Plans

Chinese Herbal Consults

Contact us to book in.

Please come hang out with us on social media, we’ll be posting throughout the weeks with more information and tips on how you can support yourselves naturally throughout this time. 

Instagram @wholefamilyhlth
Facebook Whole Family Acupuncture and Massage Clinic

Please remember to stay hydrated, take your vitamins, wash your hands, avoid touching your face and practice social distancing.

Thanks so much for helping us keep everyone safe 🙂

In Health,
the WFH Team xo

COVID-19

COVID-19 Measures

The WHO has characterized COVID-19 as a pandemic and we are urged to respond.

At Whole Family Health, we are taking extra preventative and cautionary measures to help protect the community. 

We are applying extra sterilizing protocols (more than usual!) and we are asking those who have the following symptoms to please stay home:

runny nose
cough
sore throat
fever

What is COVID-19

From the WHO Website:

The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, tiredness, and dry cough.

Some patients may have aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhea.

These symptoms are usually mild and begin gradually. Some people become infected but don’t develop any symptoms and don’t feel unwell.

Most people (about 80%) recover from the disease without needing special treatment.

Around 1 out of every 6 people who gets COVID-19 becomes seriously ill and develops difficulty breathing.

Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes, are more likely to develop serious illness.

People with fever, cough and difficulty breathing should seek medical attention.

Why We Should Be Concerned

From what we  understand the issue is that there are more cases than are reported / tested.

There are more mild cases out there undetected but just as contagious. So the rate of spread is exponential and huge numbers are hitting suddenly. 

The concern is that our medical systems become overwhelmed and that we are simply not equipped to help everyone who requires it.

Most people who contract coronavirus will only have mild symptoms, but it’s estimated that about 20% of people are susceptible to more serious disease presentation. 

We must do our part to reduce the transmission of the the virus. 

Prevention

Wash your hands
for at least 20 seconds (sing the alphabet)

(Reasonable) social distancing
keep a distance of at least 1m from those who are coughing or sneezing

Avoid touching your eyes, nose & mouth
this is an easy way for the virus to enter your body

Follow respiratory hygiene
cough/sneeze into your sleeve

Stay home if you have any symptoms
especially dry cough, difficulty breathing, fever, runny nose

Avoid travel

Boost Your Immunity

Get enough sleep
Aim for 8 hours, but not less than 6 hours

Reduce sugar intake
Refined sugar depresses the immune system. 

Eat a variety of fruits and veggies
Whole fresh foods are full of bioavailable nutrients to help optimize metabolic processes and boosts the immune system.

Take Vitamin C
Talk to you health care provider for dosages (we often recommend minimum 500mg 3x daily for prevention during an outbreak.)

Consider taking Chinese herbal medicines
The Beijing Health Commission stated that ‘Traditional Chinese medicine has played an active role in improving the recovery rate and lowering the mortality rate among patients,”…” 87% of coronavirus patients in Beijing had been given traditional medicine and 92% of those had shown improvement.”

Traditional Chinese Herbal Formulas are customized for every individual. They can be formulated to help boost the immune system or to treat presenting symptoms.

Our herbalists are available for herbal consultations in person for immune boosting or via video-call for those presenting with symptoms. 

Please note that herbal remedies are subject to availability from our dispensary.

In Summary

The most effective measures are social distancing and hygiene. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you have any questions.

We are happy to do all that we can to support community health!

In Health,
The Whole Family Health Team

How Estrogen Dominance Affects PMS

How does a typical menstruating day look for you? Is it full of cramps, moodiness, cravings, and tears? Or is it introspective, relaxed, and intuitive?

Premenstrual syndrome is just as the name implies; a syndrome. It’s a disorder, meaning something is out of order – out of the ordinary. Sadly, many people face physical and emotional pain during their period and accept it as normal. But I am here to tell you that PMS is not normal!

Our bodies weren’t designed to hurt us, they are incredibly intelligent and work hard for us every single day. Every ache and pain is a signal to us that something is out of balance. It’s important to keep in mind that these signals can be suppressed when we take Advil or Midol. So if we can remember to observe and thank these symptoms, we can see that they relay a message that it is time to make a change.

UNDERSTANDING SYMPTOMS

What do we think of most when we think of ‘that time of the month’? The first thing that probably comes to mind is emotional instability, moods swinging from happiness to anger to tears.

If you’re familiar with Traditional Chinese Medicine, you know that emotions like anger and frustration are related to ‘Liver Qi stagnation’. Although the organ systems in Chinese Medicine are broader functional systems than the actual physical organs, there is some overlap. So one of the major symptoms of PMS leads us to the clue that the liver may be out of balance.

The liver is responsible for regulating and excreting hormones. If it’s congested due to dietary and environmental stress, old hormones get recycled into the body creating hormonal imbalances, like estrogen dominance.

ESTROGEN DOMINANCE

Estrogen dominance is not uncommon, and it is particularly prevalent in those who suffer from endometriosis. It presents in people with essentially too much estrogen compared to progesterone. Estrogen can over saturate the endocrine system for two possible reasons. One, you are taking in too many xenoestrogens. Or two, your body is not breaking down and excreting old estrogen properly.

Xenoestrogens are synthetic and naturally occurring compounds that have estrogenic-like effects within the body. They come from pesticides, conventional makeup, nail polishes, birth control, plastics, BPA, conventionally raised meat, and naturally occurring phytoestrogens come from foods like soy or dairy. These compounds have the ability to bind to estrogen receptors in our bodies and potentially cause hormonal imbalances.

On the other hand, if your liver is sluggish and it isn’t excreting old estrogens properly, they get recycled back into the body creating an excess. The liver is responsible for conjugating old estrogens so that they become water-soluble and leave the body via urine. Because the liver plays such an important role in excreting old hormones, any hormonal imbalance can indicate that the liver is in need of some support.

Signs of estrogen dominance are PMS, mood swings, anger, endometriosis, abnormal weight gain, hormonal acne around the jaw area, irregular periods, cramping, bloating, blood clotting, fatigue, sore breasts, breast cancer.

Estrogen dominance is incredibly common and is not something to be feared. We simply need to understand it to correct it.

HOW DID WE GET HERE?

Pesticides: Pesticides and herbicides are a huge problem if you are suffering from hormonal imbalances or liver problems. Our bodies are bombarded with chemicals on a daily basis and the liver has to deal with it, often creating stagnation. Choose organic produce instead, especially those that are typically heavily sprayed and listed on the ‘dirty dozen list’.

BPA and plastic: BPA can imitate the body’s hormones, and it can interfere with production, secretion, function, and elimination of natural hormones. Try to avoid water/drinks that are bottled in plastic.

Conventional beauty or cleaning products: Often conventional soaps, makeup, nail polish, lotions, perfumes, air fresheners have compounds that can mimic estrogen. Swap out products for organic and eco-friendly products to reduce the chemical load in your home.

Nutritional deficiencies: Zinc, Magnesium and B vitamins all play a role in regulating hormones. Studies suggest that nearly 75% of the population are deficient in magnesium, zinc and vitamin B12. Add these into your supplement regime to help regulate hormones.

Low fibre diet: Estrogen latches onto fibre and leaves the body via stool once it has completed its cycle. If you don’t have regular bowel movements (1-3 times daily), estrogen is reabsorbed into the bloodstream, creating estrogen dominance.

Lack of movement: Movement helps to increase blood flow. More exercise like hiking, yoga, dancing, lifting weights, Qi gong, or swimming helps to reduce the number of fatty deposits in the liver so it can metabolize hormones more effectively.

WHAT YOU CAN DO

Focus on supporting your liver with foods and herbs. Don’t eat any dense fat in the mornings so that your liver can continue to cleanse itself and get rid of excess estrogen. Dense fats include avocado, eggs, meat, coconut. Save these for lunch or dinner.

Eat cooked, warming, nourishing meals while menstruating to soothe the reproductive system. Try having baked yams, sweet potatoes, beets, warm soup, warm greens, and cruciferous vegetables such as Brussel sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, etc.

Cruciferous vegetables are an extremely important part of pain-free menstruation due to their ability to stimulate phase 2 of liver detoxification. It is in this phase that old estrogens leave the body. When the liver is overburdened, phase 2 is slowed down, impacting the regulation of hormones.

Drink ginger tea! Ginger relieves menstrual cramps, nausea, and upset stomachs. Try having this before and during menstruation to help avoid cramping. This warming herb helps move blood and the hormones move with it. Remember that it is important to take herbs consistently to really receive their benefits.

MOVE!!! Do some gentle yoga or go for a walk. As difficult as this may seem while experiencing cramps, it will help reduce pain by pumping out stagnant blood pooled up in the liver. By moving blood with movement, you are helping move old hormones out of the body.

Take Broccoli sprout extract. Perhaps one of the most promising supplements to take for estrogen dominance. Sulforaphane, the active compound in broccoli sprout extract, has a unique ability to stimulate the phase 2 liver detoxification system.

The phase 2 pathway is very important since it is the final stage for the removal of harmful compounds and detoxification of excess estrogens. It is so important because it’s actually quite easy to stimulate phase 1 detoxification (for example with herbs and B-vitamins) but it is more difficult to activate the very important phase 2 pathway.

This pathway is essential for the elimination of excess hormones like estrogen. Sulforaphane also has an impressive range of anti-cancer activity by preventing cancer cell replication and reducing tumour growth in women’s reproductive systems.

Drink Nettle and Raspberry leaf tea. Raspberry leaf and Nettle support the reproductive system by supporting the adrenal glands production of progesterone, the opposing hormone needed to balance estrogen. In women’s health, the ovaries get a lot of attention for producing the reproductive hormones. In truth, the adrenal glands share equal responsibility in producing estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. When hormones are thrown off balance, it’s important to look at the health of the adrenal glands as they help to regulate normal levels.

Eat fruit. A woman’s reproductive system is like a flowering tree that requires the proper nutrients to bear fruit. And those nutrients come from, well, fruit. The phytonutrients found in fruit play a critical role in avoiding disease and polycystic ovary syndrome with the help of their anti-cancer and anti-tumour properties. The abundance of antioxidants found in fruit also helps detox a stagnant liver to help remove old estrogens. The active water content in fruit hydrate a thirsty liver and soothe tight muscles that are associated with cramping. Eat an abundance of fruit; especially berries, apples, papaya, cranberries, pomegranates and melons.

Use organic tampons and pads. The chemicals found in conventional tampons and pads are endocrine disruptors meaning they mimic the action of estrogen in the body and cause imbalances. This rule also applies to household cleaning products, makeup, detergents, and food. Buy organic as much as possible.

WHAT YOU SHOULDN’T DO

Try to limit meat as much as possible while menstruating because its hormone content can mess with our own. You should definitely avoid red meat, processed meat, sandwich meat, and conventionally raised meat. Choose organic, grass-fed meat if you do choose to eat it.

Avoid heavy, creamy, cheesy sauces. These are hard on the liver and create even more stagnation.

Avoid oily or fried foods as the fat content slows down the liver.

Avoid consuming ice cream, iced drinks or chilled foods as the coldness increases stagnation and cramping.

Avoid drinking alcohol. For obvious reasons. Especially right before or during your period. We need to support our liver as much as possible during this time, not repress it.

Avoid eating too late in the evening. Nighttime is when the body regenerates all of its organs. Your liver is supposed to be repairing itself, not secreting bile to digest the food that you ate. If you eat late at night, your liver won’t fully regenerate.

Don’t repress your emotions. Repressing your emotions puts stress on your organs and slows down their function. Say how you’re feeling aloud, even if it’s just to yourself, or journal how you feel as a form of release.

CONCLUSION

It’s the liver!

March is Endometriosis Awareness Month

About 1 in 10 Womxn have endometriosis.

Endometriosis is when tissue similar to the uterine lining (endometrium) grows outside of the uterus and responds to hormonal changes, as the endometrium does. So during menstruation, it also bleeds, but unlike the endometrium – it has nowhere to go.

This tissue forms endometrial adhesions in the pelvis and causes all kinds of issues including inflammation, scarring, nerve pressure, and even organ damage and dysfunction.

Severe and often debilitating pain, heavy / prolonged menstruation, digestive disorders, infertility and chronic fatigue are among some of the symptoms of endometriosis.

It is a part of the period poverty landscape, as it can be a barrier to opportunity, with its often debilitating symptoms. Endometriosis is estimated to cost the US over $78 billion each year in medical costs and work productivity.

It has long been theorized to be due to retrograde menstruation – period blood that goes the wrong way through the fallopian tubes and into the pelvic cavity. This is apparently a common occurrence in all womxn, but only develops into endometriosis 10% of the time.

Although the above theory may be true in some cases, endometriosis present in fetal development – before any kind of menstruation takes place, let alone retrograde menstruation – suggests that may not be true in all cases.

So there is ultimately no proven cause or cure for endometriosis.
Other theories suggest a genetic component. Those who have a close relative with endometriosis are 5-7 times more likely to also have it.
Theories involving stem cells, the lymphatic system, immune system and complex inflammatory responses have been proposed, but mechanisms are poorly understood.

It can take upwards of 7-10 years for a proper diagnosis, and the only definitive diagnosis for endometriosis is through laparoscopic surgery and biopsy.

️Follow us throughout the month to learn more about endometriosis, and ways to support yourself, or those you know who struggle with it.