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Check here for on going articles and points of interest that will help you maximize your well being.

  • The Many Benefits of Coconut Oil
    July 23, 2015 | 0 comments

    By Jennifer Haessler, ND

    Coconut oil has so many benefits beyond cooking.  To ensure you are buying good quality coconut oil, make sure that it is certified organic, virgin and stored in a glass container.  Storing oil of any kind in plastic increases the chances that any chemicals that are in the plastic will leach into the oil, as fats tend to be very good at binding to many substances.  In the clinic, we have Organic Coconut Oil by Xymogen, which meets all of these criteria.  Read on for many ways that coconut oil can help you feel better…

    •  Massage Oil – Coconut oil soothes tired and sore muscles. Add a few drops of essential oils for more effect.
    • Athletes Foot – The powerful antifungal properties of coconut oil make it perfect for any fungal infection. Add a few drops of oregano or tea tree oil for more antifungal power.
    • Acne – Coconut oil gently fights the bacteria that cause acne. Dab it directly on the offending pimples and watch them shrink.
    • Cleanser – Coconut oil makes an effective and gentle cleanser to remove the grime of the day
    • Lice – Coconut oil kills and removes this pesky problem.
    • Stretch Marks – Prevent and soften stretch marks from pregnancy with coconut oil for soft and supple skin.
    • Warts and Moles – Rub oil into area and cover with a bandage. Rub in fresh oil and place a new bandage each day.
    • Moisturizer – Coconut oil is an excellent way to soften and hydrate dry, rough, or damaged skin.
    • Face Scrub – Mix coconut oil with baking soda, sugar, or cinnamon and oatmeal for the perfect face scrub and exfoliator.
    • Dandruff – Massage coconut oil into the scalp to ease symptoms of dandruff, both itching and flaking.
    • Curb Appetite – Take a spoonful before meals to curb appetite so you don’t overeat.
    • Wrinkles – Rub into lines, creases, and wrinkles to rehydrate skin and soften those wrinkles away.
    • Sore Throat – Dissolve a spoonful in your mouth and let it slowly roll down the throat. This will coat and protect the throat, boost the health of mucus membranes, and fight any infection.
    • Ring Worm – Rub coconut oil onto affected area to kill the fungus that causes unsightly ringworm. Add tea tree oil to clear the infection even faster.
    • Lip Balm – Coconut oil hydrates and protects lips. Coconut even offers some protection from the sun, about an SPF 4.
    • Cold Sore – Coconut oil has antiviral properties that will help the body get rid of the virus that causes cold sores. Rub it on when needed and add a drop of oregano oil to speed healing.
    • Lubricant – Coconut makes an all-natural personal lubricant for intimate moments without chemicals.
    • Gum Removal – Coconut oil gets the sticky stuff out of hair, carpet, and anywhere else it doesn’t belong.
    • Pet Health – Coconut oil can do a multitude of things for pets, both topically and internally. It improves breath, makes for a shiny coat, eases joint problems, cleans ears, gets rid of fleas, and much more.
    • Stys/Pink Eye – Rub a small amount of coconut oil on the sty or around the eyes to get rid of these painful and annoying infections quickly.
    • Earaches – Earaches, swimmer’s ear, and ear infections clear up fast with a few drops of coconut oil mixed with garlic oil.
    • Cradle Cap – Coconut oil is gentle and safe for infants and helps ease the itching, pain, redness, and flaking associated with cradle cap.
    • Diaper Rash – Coconut oil can help heal mild diaper rash gently and effectively.
    • Bruises – Rub coconut oil into bruised skin to speed healing and watch the bruises fade fast.
    • Age Spots – Coconut oil has beneficial effects on any skin blemish. Use it to help fade age spots with powerful antioxidants.
    • Shaving Cream – Coconut oil keeps the razor gliding smoothly while leaving skin smooth and soft.
    • After Shave – Don’t want unpleasant bumps and rashes after shaving? Coconut oil soothes sensitive skin and promotes healing.
    • Toothpaste – Mix 1 part coconut oil with 1 part baking soda and add a couple drops of peppermint oil. This makes a refreshing, natural toothpaste that whitens and cleans without added preservatives, fluoride, sweeteners, or other chemicals.
    • Chicken Pox – Ease the itch and encourage healing with dabs of coconut oil. It also works on poison ivy, poison oak, mosquito bites, and other insect stings or bites.
    • Yeast Infections – Coconut oil fights these fungal infections internally and externally.
    • Makeup Remover – Coconut oil removes oil-based makeup easily, like mascara. It cleans, hydrates, and makes skin glow.
    • Conditioner – Coconut oil conditions, strengthens, and repairs hair. Massage it in and rinse it out after ten minutes. A small amount can be rubbed in to dry hair to tame frizz.
    • Polish Furniture – Coconut oil gives a protective shine to wood furniture. Just make sure you test it out on a small area to make sure you like the outcome.
    • Energy – Coconut oil and its medium chain triglycerides make it an excellent energy source to improve stamina, endurance, or just to give you a boost through the day.
    • Deodorant – Mix coconut oil with cornstarch, baking soda, and your favorite essential oils for a natural deodorant that smells fantastic.
    • Eye Cream – Reduce puffiness and dark circles with a few dabs of coconut oil.
    • Eczema – Coconut oil reduces the itchiness, pain, flakiness, and dryness of eczema, psoriasis, and dermatitis.
    • Sunburn – Coconut oil can help prevent sunburn for short exposures. When you burn, it will also speed healing and take some of the sting away. Make sure you wait until all the heat has dissipated before applying it or you trap the heat in. Wait 24 to 72 hours depending on the extent of the burn.
    • Hemorrhoids – Coconut oil eases the pain and discomfort of hemorrhoids and encourages natural healing both internally and externally.
    • Nose Bleeds – Rub a bit of coconut oil in nostrils to fight the dry cracking that can lead to nose bleeds and pain.
    • Canker Sores – Dab coconut oil on canker sores to kill infection and speed up healing. Coconut oil is also a far tastier way to treat canker sores than most other methods.
    • Toothaches – Coconut oil eases the pain and strengthens teeth. You can mix it with a drop of clove oil to almost instantly relieve pain.
    • Acid Reflux – Take a small spoonful with meals to keep acid reflux and heartburn at bay.
    • Urinary Tract – Treat urinary tract infections with a spoonful of coconut oil. It may even ease the painful passing of kidney stones.
    • Nursing – Coconut oil works great to repair dry, cracked skin, including sore nipples from nursing.
    • Alzheimer’s – Some research points to coconut oil as a way to slow the progression of or prevent Alzheimer’s and dementia.
    • Bones – Coconut oil aids the body in the absorption of calcium and magnesium. Both minerals are important for strong bones and teeth.
    • Epilepsy – Coconut oil may reduce the incidence and intensity of epileptic seizures.
    • Fitness – Coconut oil boosts energy, increases metabolism, improves thyroid function, and aids healthy weight loss. It is the perfect addition to any workout or fitness regimen. Sunwarrior’s Warrior Blend includes medium chain triglycerides from coconut oil specifically to raise energy levels and increase stamina during workouts and speed recovery and healing after any exercise.
    • Cooking – Coconut oil doesn’t form harmful by-products when heated like most other oils and animal fats. Use it to replace butter, cup for cup in recipes. Sauté, cook, bake, broil, braise, and more using coconut oil as a healthier alternative.
    • Baking - Imagine fresh-baked brownies. Now, imagine fresh-baked brownies made with coconut oil. Better, right? Use it as a substitute for shortening, butter, or other types of oil, and get a sweeter, lighter tasting dessert.
    • Add To Sweet Beverages - It’s easy to bring a kick of coconut to hot chocolate or fruit smoothies. Remember if you’re adding coconut oil to a cold beverage, make sure to heat it up to liquid form before stirring in.
    • Leather Shoe Cleaner - Make sure your boots remain made for walking by rubbing them down with a dab of coconut oil to keep them clean and soften the leather.
    • Remove Stickers From Merchandise - Darn you, discount stores! Sticky labels and price tags are easy to remove with coconut oil. Just mix with some baking soda, spread it on the sticky area, leave for 10 minutes, and all evidence of your bargain will rub right off.
    • Season Cast-Iron Frying Pans - Cast iron needs maintenance to ensure foods don’t stick, and coconut oil makes a fantastic coating to keep your pan slick.
    • Canker Sore Remedy - If your diet consists primarily of fresh pineapple and sour soothers, one of the (likely many) health issues you’ve endured is the dreaded canker sore. Coconut oil has been said to speed up the healing process.
    • Furniture Polish - Some coconut oil and lemon juice is all it takes to bring a beautiful shine to your wood furniture. (Just be sure to test it out on an inconspicuous spot first.)
    • Toothpaste - Combine coconut oil with baking soda to make your pearly whites gleam.
    • Lip Balm - While coconut oil makes lips shiny and moist on its own, the recipe for coconut oil lip balm — made with beeswax, shea butter, and colouring if you so desire – is a winner.
    • Popcorn - Microwaved bags of yellow grease are fine if you’re holding a '90s theme party, but you can bring some authenticity back to your popcorn by cooking it on your stovetop with coconut oil and a few seasonings. 


  • How Can We Live to be 100? by Dr. Jennifer Haessler, ND
    July 8, 2015 | 0 comments

    How Can We Live to be 100? 

    By: Dr. Jennifer Haessler, ND

    I love this inspirational news clip about Dr. Ellsworth-Wareham, a 100 year old retired heart surgeon who still drives, mows the lawn and did heart surgery until he was 95! Thank you to the Stone Naturopathic Clinic team for sharing this.

    How Does he do it? 

    • He has a mainly plant based diet. Build your meals around vegetables first. 
    • He continues to make a contribution to the greater good. We can do this through working, volunteering, and being creative. 
    • He doesn't let stress get to him. If you plan to contribute until you are 95, you don't need to make all your money now. Take your time, take your holidays and breathe. 
    • Move your body every day. Everyone has 30 minutes and you can get your 10,000 steps. 

    I know I have few things I can work on from that list. Definitely good rules to live by. 

     

     



  • Exciting News for Naturopathic Medicine in Ontario!
    July 2, 2015 | 0 comments

    I am pleased to announce that effective July 1, 2015, Naturopathic Doctors in Ontario were moved from being regulated under the Drugless Practitioners Act to the Registered Health Professions Act (RHPA). The initiative to move the regulation of Naturopathy in Ontario began more than two decades ago. While the sudden proclamation date poses some transitional challenges, this change is a positive step forward. It recognizes the Naturopathic profession as an equal partner alongside other health professions, expands the lab testing we can order and allows for designated prescription rights. Among other benefits, these will ultimately enhance the quality of naturopathic care for patients.

    What Does This Mean for Patients?

    Thank you so much to everyone who sent emails to the government showing your support of Naturopathic Medicine.  Due to your collective efforts, the list of lab tests that Naturopathic Doctors can order was increased significantly from what was originally proposed.  However with this positive step forward, the new regulations for now prevent Naturopathic doctors from performing in-office testing for certain tests. This means that while as a Naturopathic Doctor, I can sign a requisition for these tests, patients will be required to visit a licensed Ontario lab to have the test performed. I am currently in the process of investigating whether the Maple Shores lab can be licensed, so that we can maintain a convenient collection site for patients.  In the meantime, conventional blood draw testing once performed here will be available at LifeLabs in Owen Sound.  For tests that were previously only offered by out of province or US labs, the hope is that they will set up a satellite Ontario location, or partner with an Ontario lab to allow for continued access to them. 

    The new regulations also require that all Naturopathic Doctors who wish to have access to certain substances have to write a Prescribing Therapeutics Exam.  The first opportunity I will have to write this in-depth oral and written exam on prescription medications is in September, 2015. Until I have successfully completed it, I am no longer able to administer B12 injections (oral prescriptions are still allowed) or prescribe vitamin D over 1000 IU. While I personally struggle with this requirement after safely administering these substances for the past 12 years, I must abide by the new regulations. The upside of writing the exam is that it does allow for access to prescribing bio-identical and thyroid hormones, which we did not previously have.  The hope of the profession is that completion of the exam will make it easier to further expand prescription rights in the future.

    The Maple Shores Health Centre team and I greatly appreciate your patience as we adjust to these changes. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me. I will continue to keep you updated as I find out more information in the coming weeks.

    Sincerely,

    Dr. Jennifer Haessler, ND
     



  • The Benefits of Recent Health Improvements for Baby Boomers Almost Neutralized by Obesity
    June 25, 2015 | 0 comments

    The Benefits of Recent Health Improvements for Baby Boomers Almost Neutralized by Obesity

    A recent article published in the Toronto Star, available here discussed a U of T study that found the health benefits of education, affluence and reduced tobacco use were almost neutralized by the rising incidence of obesity among baby boomers.  Obesity is a big contributing factor to inflammation in the body, which increases the risk of developing most chronic diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, joint pain, and cancer. 


    What Should Be Done?

    Naturopathic Medicine offers the perfect tools to help deal with this problem. Sometimes people just need some coaching to make the diet and lifestyle changes (exercise, adequate sleep, stress reduction) needed to help them lose weight. I have a great tool in the office called a BIA (Bioimpedence Analysis) Machine. It is able to measure muscle mass, fat percentage, hydration, and several other parameters that indicate how well the body is functioning. It helps to monitor that weight loss is happening in a healthy way (loss of fat, not muscle or dehydration). 

    What if Lifestyle Changes Alone aren't Helping with Weight Loss?

    Often I see patients who have tried eating well and exercising fairly regularly, but still are not having much success losing weight. In these situations, I look to see if there are any underlying factors like hormonal imbalances (thyroid or sex hormones) or blood sugar issues (insulin insensitivity is a big one) that are making weight loss difficult. The BIA results give me an indication when this might be the case. Once these areas get addressed, then fat loss starts happening quite easily. It is so exciting for patients and for me when this happens!

    So let's change what this study is indicating, and reduce the incidence of obesity so that 60 really is the new 40!

    Stay well,

    Dr. Jennifer

     

    Jennifer Haessler, BScH, ND

    Maple Shores Health Centre

    519-832-4500



  • What Exactly Does it Mean to “Be at an Increased Risk for Heart Disease and Stroke”?
    June 17, 2015 | 0 comments

     

    As some of you may know, I have been spending a lot of time lately studying for an upcoming board required exam on the Prescribing and Therapeutics of Prescription Medications.  It has definitely been challenging to find the time to get through all of the information, along with “regular life”.  However the information that I am learning is very useful in helping me to better understand the indications, benefits, side effects and appropriate dosing of many prescription medications that patients are taking.  One of the topics that I have found helpful is in helping to explain to patients what relative risks mean.  For example, if you are told that something reduces or increases your risk of a certain disease or outcome, what exactly does that mean?  Tara Gignac, a Naturopathic Doctor colleague and owner of the StoneTree Clinic in Collingwood who will also be writing the exam, did an excellent job of explaining how to calculate your risks for heart disease and stroke in her blog, so I thought I would share it with you below.  If you would like help understanding your risk and how you can best reduce it, please let me know.

    Dr. Jennifer

    Understanding Your Heart Attack and Stroke Risk

    by Tara Gignac, ND

    After cancer, heart disease and stroke are the leading causes of death in Canada. Every 8 or 9 minutes, give or take, someone dies from one of the two.

    Certainly, many of those deaths are in older populations. After all, there’s no such thing as ZERO risk. All of us have a risk of having a heart attack or stroke just by being alive, and as we age that risk rises simply because we are growing older.

    But age is far from the only factor.

    Calculating Your Risk

    There’s been a lot of research into the risk factors for heart disease and stroke. The Framingham Risk Calculator was developed to give you a very good idea of what your risk of having a heart attack or stroke is based on what your risk factors are. If you know your blood pressure and cholesterol numbers, you can calculate your own 10-year risk in 30 seconds right here. (And if you don’t know those numbers, we can help–just ask.)

     

    The Impact of Risk Factors

    The information the Calculator asks for are risk factors. High cholesterol, high blood pressure, and high blood sugar increase your risk of a heart attack or stroke over time. To see the impact, let’s check out an example using the Risk Calculator.

    • If you are a 59 year old male, with normal blood pressure, normal cholesterol, were a non–smoker and didn’t have diabetes – basically a pretty healthy guy by those measures–your 10-year risk of having a heart attack or stroke is 4.25%.

    Now let’s add some risk factors.

    • Add high blood pressure (a systolic blood pressure of 150), and your risk goes up to 6.47%.
    • Add a high cholesterol to that (total of of 6.2, a good cholesterol of 0.9) and the risk rises to 15.13%.
    • Add smoking to that it goes up to 27.07%.
    • Add diabetes to that it goes up again to a whopping 42.90%!

     

    So if you are a 59 year old male with slightly elevated blood pressure, who smokes, has high cholesterol and diabetes, your risk of having a heart attack or a stroke in the next 10 years is 42.9%. That is a big difference from the 4. 25% of your healthy age match.

    That is some scary stuff. But hey–we have great drugs to treat blood pressure and cholesterol and diabetes…don’t we? That will bring the risk down, right?

    Well let’s add a blood pressure medication:

    Let’s use the example of our 59 year old smoking, diabetic with high blood pressure and high cholesterol. That person’s risk of having a heart attack or stroke in the next 10 years is 42.9%.

    • If he takes a blood pressure medication, his absolute risk reduction of having a heart attack is 0.7% so his risk goes from 42.9 to 42.2%.
    • The same blood pressure medication gives him a 1.3% absolute risk reduction for stroke. So that 42.9% risk turns into a 41.6% risk.

     What about the statin drugs?

    • Well our fictitious patient will have a 1.3% risk reduction for heart attack and the 0.4% for stroke. Again, 42.9% risk turns into 41.6% or 42.5% risk respectively.

    What about the baby aspirin everyone is taking to stave off heart attacks and strokes?

    • You get an absolute reduction in risk of just 0.06% for heart attack and no reduction for stroke.

    Those reductions in risk are pitifully small. And they come at a cost.

    To put it in perspective, 1666 people need to be treated with aspirin for 1 person not have a heart attack.

    And of those same 1666 people, 16 of them will have a gastrointestinal bleed within one year of taking the drug.

    (Information taken from Compendium of Therapeutic Choices)

    So what is our poor 59 year old, smoking, diabetic with high blood pressure and high cholesterol to do?

    First, understand the real risk reduction. If you have a high risk of heart attack or stroke, medication is, on average, barely helping.

    Second, don’t let medication stop you from making lifestyle change. If you can take control of your blood sugar and smoking, you can have a huge impact.

    1. Stop smoking
    2. Start eating whole foods and stop eating processed foods.
    3. Exercise daily.

    Don’t settle for just the bottle of pills. You can do much better by making lifestyle changes that will ultimately change your overall risk.