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Spring 2016

Okanagan Health & OHW Magazine


From Field to Table: Sustainable Food and a Small Footprint Fieldstone Organics and True Grain Bread P. 26

Reducing the Trauma of Separation

Diabetes and Hearing Loss: Is There a Link? P. 21

P. 22

9 Overlooked Causes of Weight Loss Resistance

Low Back Pain and Sciatica – A

Surprisingly Obvious Solution P. 8


P. 10

The “Dirt” on Compost P. 29

Okanagan Pet Health Magazine

Pet Photo Contest

Check out these entries so far...


Ponch o

Bro dy

Lun a


Gus Gus


Waffle s

Re x

Ha rmony

Submit your best amateur photo of your pet from now until July 31, 2016 Enter at: Closing Date: July 31, 2016 Prize: Basket of Pet Goodies valued at approx. $150.00 a Feature in the Fall/Winter 2016 Issue of Okanagan Pet Health Magazine

contents Spring 2016 Volume 4 Issue 2

NATURAL HEALTH 8 Low Back Pain and Sciatica – A Surprisingly Obvious Solution A chiropractor explains the role of inversion therapy and spinal decompression therapy in treating pinched nerves. 10 9 Overlooked Causes of Weight Loss Resistance A naturopathic doctor takes a look at weight loss saboteurs you may not have thought of. 12 Buteyko Breathing: A Common-Sense Approach to Seasonal Allergies With 40 percent of Canadians experiencing seasonal discomfort, having an alternative to medication is welcome news. 14 Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: Are You At Risk? Learn about the risk factors and how to recognize the symptoms of this condition. 15 The Vagina Dialogues Straight talk from a gynecologist on common vaginal conditions and treatment options.

FITNESS 17 Get Ready for Cycling Planning on spending time on your bike? Before you do, ensure that your body is aligned, balanced, and ready for the season.

The “Dirt” on Compost Page 29



18 Resolutions for All Seasons By following a few simple strategies, you can create successful resolutions for the entire year.

24 Eating Psychology: A MindBody Approach to Nutrition, Health, and Well-Being Learn about this powerful and foolproof nutritional strategy that helps nourish mind, body, and spirit.

20 Can Exercise Make Women (Skinny) Fat? Taking the wrong approach to exercise may stress the body to the point that it goes into fat-storing mode. 21 Diabetes and Hearing Loss: Is There a Link? Recent research has found that hearing impairment is more prevalent among diabetic adults than non-diabetic adults. 22 Reducing the Trauma of Separation Shifting your mindset from divorce as a battle to divorce as a respectful transition will help in de-escalating conflict.

26 From Field to Table: Sustainable Food and a Small Footprint How two Okanagan businesses are making an impact with responsible practices and strategic partnerships. 29 The “Dirt” on Compost Sometimes viewed with apprehension by first-timers, composting isn’t difficult once you understand some of the basic steps. Interested in contributing an article?

Do you have an idea for a story? Are you a health professional who’s interested in contributing to Okanagan Health & Wellness Magazine, Okanagan Seniors Health Magazine or Okanagan Pet Health Magazine? If so contact us at info@ohwmagazine. com or call 250-503-7472.

Spring ‘16 - Okanagan Health & Wellness Magazine


From the OHW Team

OHW Magazine

Okanagan’s Own Health & Wellness Magazine


Dianne Steinley 250.503.7723 Georgia Wilson 250.938.2314 DISTRIBUTION & SOCIAL MEDIA Georgia Wilson 250.938.2314 Okanagan Health & Wellness Magazine published four times a year Okanagan Seniors Health Magazine published twice a year Okanagan Pet Health Magazine published twice a year All rights reserved. No part of OHW Magazine may be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the expressed written consent of the publisher. The publisher reserves the right to accept or reject any editorial or advertising material. The views expressed in OHW Magazine are those of the respective contributors and not necessarily those of the publisher or staff. Although all reasonable attempts are made to ensure accuracy, the publisher does not assume any liability for errors or omissions anywhere in the publication or on the website. OHW Magazine reserves the rights to ads produced for advertisers. Publication Agreement #42490022 Okanagan Health & Wellness Magazine is owned and operated by LMR Publishing. Return undeliverable to LMR Publishing, 5816 Tern Place, Vernon, BC V1H 1R2. Phone: 250.503.7472 Email: Website: Subscription: For your free copy send your mailing address to or visit the website at Cover: True Grain Bread’s “Wholegrain Khorasan with Pumpkinseeds” is one of many nutritious and delicious signature loaves made by hand from scratch using locally grown organic ancient grains from Fieldstone Organics.


Georgia Wilson Distribution Social Media/Sales

inter is but a distant memory and by now most of us are well and truly out of hibernation! As you shift your focus to tackling spring chores or enjoying new activities, we invite you to set aside a few moments to peruse the pages of this issue. Here is where you will discover a fantastic lineup of articles and ideas to satisfy your physical, mental, and emotional needs. With the arrival of better weather and increasing daylight hours, we typically become more active as we seem to acquire new levels of energy and enthusiasm. If cycling is among your chosen activities, you will find useful and timely advice in “Get Ready for Cycling,” which advocates a tune-up not just for your bike but for your body. If you’re more of a gym lover but wondering about gym memberships or home workouts, be sure to read the Q&A article that outlines the pros and cons of each to help you decide which would better suit your lifestyle. The beautiful Okanagan valley is a grower’s paradise, so perhaps gardening is your passion. Did you know that composting is an easy way to enrich your soil while also reducing waste going to the landfill? Find out more in “The ‘Dirt’ on Compost.” Our cover feature takes growing to a much greater level with a huge impact on the local environment and economy. “From Field to Table: Sustainable Food and a Small Footprint” looks at the partnership between two local businesses with a shared philosophy to connect the farmer to the miller to the baker to the community. Don’t be surprised if your mouth is watering by the time you reach the end of this truly inspiring article! Other topics cover a wide and diverse range, among them carpal tunnel syndrome and sciatica, the link between diabetes and hearing loss, breathing techniques for allergy sufferers, and treatment options for vaginal concerns. For the complete list, please see our Contents page. As always, we ask that you please remember to support our advertisers as well as our contributors, all of whom provide invaluable assistance to help make this magazine possible. If you have any topics in mind that we could address in an upcoming issue, or if would like to promote your business by way of an ad, we’d love to hear from you. Please contact us for details. We continue to strive to make each issue the best it can be, and we always welcome feedback, so be sure to get in touch if you have any questions or suggestions. Enjoy the read!. n



Okanagan Health & Wellness Magazine’s

Does This Food Make Me Look Fat? P. 20

Spring/Summer 2016


Owning an Exotic Animal

P. 26

Crate Training Your Dog P. 29

The Declawing Dilemma P. 8


ADVERTISING SALES Leanne Christie 250.503.7472

Dianne Steinley Editor Advertising Sales

Leanne Christie Owner/Publisher Advertising Sales

The Benefits of In-Home Veterinary Care P. 25

Why Does My Cat Need Dental Care? P. 27

Check out the spring/summer issue of Okanagan Pet Health Magazine. Available online and at local pet-related stores throughout the Okanagan. Also look for Okanagan Seniors Health Magazine soon! If you would like to advertise or provide editorial content please contact Leanne Christie at 250.503.7472 or

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Letters to the Editor Dear OHW Magazine, With so much fresh produce becoming available at this time of year, can you pass along some advice on the best way to buy, store, and prepare it? Shelley, Kelowna Dear Shelley, The Okanagan is a fantastic source of fresh produce and yours is a great question. Here are some tips to help you. Buying Tips • Look for seasonal produce from local growers and farmers markets when possible. • Purchase produce that is not bruised or damaged. • When selecting fresh-cut produce such as a half a watermelon or bagged salad greens, choose items that are refrigerated or surrounded by ice. • Bag fresh fruits and vegetables separately from meat, poultry, and seafood products. Storage Tips • Store perishable fresh fruits and vegetables (like strawberries, lettuce, herbs, and mushrooms) in a clean refrigerator at a temperature of 4° C or below. • Never store produce directly below raw meat, poultry, or seafood. • Refrigerate all produce that is purchased pre-cut or peeled. • Don’t refrigerate the following: tomatoes, potatoes, onions, basil, and unripe avocados (but you can refrigerate avocados that have reached peak ripeness if you’re not eating them right away). Preparation Tips • Begin with clean hands. Wash your hands for 20 seconds with warm water and soap before and after preparing fresh produce. Be especially diligent if you have been handling raw meat, poultry, or seafood. • If cutting the produce, do not use utensils that have been in contact with raw meat, poultry, or seafood, to avoid transferring bacteria. • Cut away any damaged or bruised areas on fresh fruits and vegetables. Produce that looks rotten should be discarded. • All produce should be thoroughly washed before eating. Wash fruits and vegetables under running water just before eating, cutting or cooking. • Many precut, bagged produce items like lettuce are prewashed. If the package indicates that the contents have been pre-washed, you can use without further washing. • Even if you plan to peel the produce before eating, it is still important to wash it first. • Washing fruits and vegetables with soap or detergent or using commercial produce washes is not recommended. • Scrub firm produce, such as melons and cucumbers, with a clean produce brush. • Drying produce with a clean cloth towel or paper towel may further reduce bacteria that may be present. For a complete list of Farmers’ Markets in the Okanagan check out our website at

Chris Bauman, MA, is the foremost Buteyko Breathing educator in Canada. She left her position as a professor in Japan to teach Buteyko in 2000, after Buteyko transformed her own health. She was a clinician for the first Canadian medical study on Buteyko in 2004 at Foothills Hospital in Calgary. Chris is a founding member and president of the Buteyko Breathing Educators Association. She has worked in Japan, Australia, and New Zealand and presently teaches, lectures, and trains across Canada. Visit Lynne Bowsher is a certified eating psychology coach, mind body nutrition coach, and certified Iyengar yoga instructor. Living in Lake Country, Lynne owns and operates her studio A Place For Yoga and Health and her coaching business Nutrition For Your Soul – Nourishment for mind body and spirit. She is committed to helping empower women to consciously step into their true potential and achieve a balanced life of health, purpose, and vitality. One-on-one coaching as well as group courses are offered both in studio and online. Visit or call 250-878-1251 for a free 30-minute discovery session.. Cynthia Coates, BSc (Environmental Science), is a waste reduction facilitator for the Regional District of Central Okanagan. She has been involved in the waste industry for over 15 years and took a little break to start a family. Cynthia and her husband have two young, active boys. If not at some kind of child’s sporting event or activity, she can be found skiing in the winter, doing artwork, gardening, or on a weekend camping trip. Contact Cynthia at the Regional Waste Reduction Office at 250-469-6250 or Chelsea Gronick, ND, is an expert in helping men and women with thyroid and hormone imbalances, weight loss resistance, low energy, and digestive issues. Using a natural approach, she helps them look and feel their best by balancing their hormones, bringing their energy and confidence back, helping them achieve their ideal bodies, and improving their ability to handle stress so they can have it all, live their best lives, and look and feel better than they did in their 20s. She has a medical practice in downtown Kelowna..

Stay Connected with OHW Magazine Spring ‘16 - Okanagan Health & Wellness Magazine


Contributors Michale Hartte, BASc (Nutr), NNCP, CH, a Kelowna resident, spends her time raising her incredibly healthy young sons, while she runs a private nutritional practice and offers online, in-person and by-phone appointments. Michale is a registered nutritional therapist, chartered herbalist and a registered Biotherapeutic DrainageTM practitioner. To find out more about how you can get Fit n Healthy, please visit www.

Christine Hatfield, MD, a gynecologist and anti-aging specialist, is the medical director of NOWhealth (North Okanagan Women’s Health) in Vernon. She practises integrative medicine and specializes in hormone balancing for women of all ages. Visit or call 250542-4490 for an appointment.

Donna McAllister, BSc (Hons), DC, Rob Mutch, BA, DC, and Michael Schmidt, BPhEd, DC, are co-founders and owners of Okanagan Health & Performance in Kelowna. Dr. McAllister has an extensive background in sports chiropractic and has a special interest in female care, pregnancy, and pediatrics. Dr. Mutch’s focus is on family chiropractic and performance care with a special focus on sports injuries and repetitive strain injuries. Dr. Schmidt’s professional areas of interest include workplace ergonomics, athletic injuries, and the treatment of conditions including headaches, neck pain, low back pain, disc injuries, and repetitive strain injuries. Visit

Tosha R. Hodgson, BA, MClSc, Aud(C), Registered Audiologist and Hearing Instrument Practitioner, has more than 17 years of clinical experience testing hearing, prescribing, and fitting hearing aids and assistive devices, and providing hearing protection. Tosha opened Rockwell Audiology in Vernon in 2011 to offer patients an unbiased, manufacturerindependent, medical model of hearing health care. She is registered under the College of Speech and Hearing Health Professionals of BC, is nationally certified in audiology by Speech-Language and Audiology Canada, and is authorized to assess and treat individuals of all ages and special needs populations. Call 250545-2226 or visit

Mary Kozicki, BScN, has been in the nursing and business world for many years. Before moving to Penticton in 2011, Mary owned and operated a home support business. She witnessed many aspects of poor nutrition while visiting her many clients. Mary was introduced to the importance of whole food nutrition by her daughter, a medical doctor who saw firsthand, through her practice, the benefits of good nutrition. Mary enjoys knitting, reading, and cheering on the Penticton Vees. Phone 778476-2469 or email

Elliot Lysyk, DC, loves helping people overcome their health concerns, and his true passion is chiropractic care for families. He founded Arise Chiropractic Wellness Clinic in Vernon with a mission in mind: to help as many families as possible achieve optimal health, naturally. Dr. Elliot previously practised in Ireland, where he lived for four years before settling back in Canada. He loves to travel and has visited over 30 countries, enjoying many cultural experiences along the way. For more information on the clinic, visit

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Tami Schwerman owns Snap Fitness in Vernon. As a canfitpro-trained personal trainer with a passion for health and wellness, she loves assisting others in the areas of fitness, nutrition, and overall healthy lifestyle. Having lost over 50 pounds on her own weight loss journey, Tami specializes in helping people lose weight and feel great. Email vernonbc@ or call 778-475-5668..

Ross Short, CHP, is the owner/practitioner of Body-Wize in Kelowna. Ross is certified in Hellerwork structural integration; Pilates; Reiki, and whole body vibration. Ross specializes in myofascial release, joint mobilization, postural re-alignment, and core movement, and 93 percent of his clients experience a reduction or elimination of their chronic pain. Ross is passionate about his work, his humour is infectious, and he is a gifted presenter. Call 250-717-3553 for an appointment. Courses on rapid restriction release techniques are available on his website,

Christina Vinters, BA (Hons), JD, is a family law lawyer and mediator at Nixon Wenger LLP in Vernon. She is interested in helping clients negotiate a durable settlement of the matters in dispute in a productive, efficient, and respectful manner. Christina has experience helping clients resolve issues in all areas of family law that may arise upon separation, including parenting arrangements, child support, spousal support, and division of assets and debts. She is trained to practise collaborative law, a dispute resolution mechanism in which the parties agree not to involve the court system but rather to work toward a mutually beneficial resolution. Visit

Your Questions Answered

Local experts answer our readers’ questions...


Which is better: Working out at a local gym or investing in a home gym?

By Tami Schwerman


veryone needs the right place to train. It doesn’t matter if you’re a bodybuilder, powerlifter, or simply someone looking to improve your fitness. You deserve a place that makes you feel comfortable and helps you reach your goals. For many of us, that means going to train at the local gym or health club. More populated areas typically have several gyms to choose from, while smaller towns may have only one. Other folks feel that it’s better to train at home by investing in their own equipment and creating their own open space. If you’re trying to decide which option is best for you, here are a few things to consider about both training in a gym and having a home gym. Gyms and Health Clubs Here you will likely find a wider assortment of machines, several barbells, and a range of dumbbells so you’ll have a lot of exercises to choose from when creating your routine. This variety alone will stave off boredom and keep you motivated. Motivation is important when it comes to fitness. Surrounding yourself with like-minded people can get you more excited about going in and training hard. Seeing others give their all can inspire you to do the same. Most clubs will have personal trainers on shift who can provide guidance and help you with form. You also have several cardio options including classes, treadmills, elliptical machines, Stairmasters, and others. If you’re a beginner, it can be helpful to talk to the professionals in the gym and have them show you the ropes. They can

demonstrate how the equipment works, teach you new exercises, and even give you a beginner’s personal training plan. For the people who are more advanced, there’s the bonus of having staff on hand to help with spotting on those heavy sets. It can be tough to head to your favourite treadmill, elliptical, or other machine in the gym and find the “out of order” sign on it. But on the bright side, maintenance is not your issue since you are paying the gym dues. It’s the gym’s responsibility to have it fixed promptly. Consider whether you are training on your time or someone else’s. This factor comes into play when you have had a long day or issues at work and you haven’t made it to the gym yet. You finally show up and it’s closed. Unless you’re a member of a 24/7 gym, you go on their hours, not yours. Home Gym If you can afford a lot of the big machines that the health clubs and gym

chains have, then building a home gym may be for you. However, you might be limited on your exercise choices. Plus, if something falls apart in your home gym, it’s not as simple as putting “out of order” on it! You will have to fix it—with your own money. With a home gym you have no spotters or trainer available. Again, unless you want someone else coming over to hit the weights with you or you have a strong person living with you, training heavy will be tougher. You also will not have a trainer to watch your form, which means increased potential for injury. Working out at home provides flexibility around your available hours. Keep in mind, however, that motivation is an important factor—once you’re home, do you have the self-discipline necessary to commit to regular workouts? Hopefully this information can help you make a rational decision that will best suit your goals. Simply put, the best gym option is the one that you will use.n

Spring ‘16 - Okanagan Health & Wellness Magazine


Natural Health

Low Back Pain and Sciatica: A Surprisingly Obvious Solution When pain is literally getting on your nerves, these two non-surgical treatment options can help reverse the problem. By Elliot Lysyk, DC


erves can become pinched in a variety of ways, and every time a nerve is pinched or choked off, electrical interference is created between the brain and the body. These interference patterns create the health complaints that chiropractors treat. Imagine putting an elastic band on your wrist, not too tightly, and leaving it there for a day. At first you may not notice any pain per se, but you may notice your hand beginning to throb or swell, growing red and, with time, beginning to tingle. Give it more time and your hand will start to grow numb, and then painful. And turn purple! The point is simple and forms the basis behind chiropractic philosophy. Small nerve impingements in the spine can lead to various health dysfunctions and, eventually, an alarm—pain. The spinal cord is nerve tissue that extends from the brain down through the spinal bones, breaking off into smaller nerves that exit between each vertebra and feed into all parts of the body. Nerve tissue conducts vital electrical information from the brain to the body, so that the body’s cells know what to do, and from the body back to the brain, so that all of your senses can be processed and appropriate action

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can be taken to achieve a balance in your health. In theory, then, any time electrical interference happens in the body, a health consequence is likely— all it takes is subtle pressure, and time. In this article I want to focus specifically on the sciatic nerve, outlining how inversion therapy and spinal decompression therapy can help when this nerve becomes impinged. One of the main nerve trunks that stems from five levels in the lower spine is the sciatic nerve. One exits from each side of the spine and travels through each buttock and down to each foot. “Sciatica” generally means that the sciatic nerve is pinched. If it’s pinched, then anything that can be done to un-pinch it should do the trick, yes? Well, that is pretty much how we handle most of these cases. Let’s say the vertebrae themselves are misaligned, which is very common, causing one of the sciatic nerve roots to become impinged. Or maybe the spinal discs in the lower back are compressed, narrowing the canal where the sciatic nerve roots travel through. Perhaps arthritic bone spurs have developed over the years, encrusting the nerve openings like

Natural Health mollusks on the hull of a ship, pinching the nerves. Or, what if the ligaments holding your back together enlarge due to long-term stress, narrowing the spinal canal, choking off the electrical activity aimed for your legs. It could also be from a disc that splits, ruptures, bulges, or herniates, extruding itself into delicate nerve space and enraging the nerves that make up the great sciatic. And then there’s that pesky piriformis muscle that happily envelops the sciatic nerve in the buttock, and when it spasms, well, it’s like a boa constrictor on ye olde sciatic nerve. This gives you an idea of just how many ways the sciatic nerve can become aggravated. Pain medication is the typical medical recommendation. But, while that can help with the symptoms of sciatica, it fails to address the physical reason for the impingement itself. So let’s focus our attention on how to un-pinch the nerve. Traction has been used for a very long time as a treatment for back pain. Since gravity always pulls the body toward the centre of the earth, it has the effect of always compressing the spine under the weight of the body, squishing the discs and narrowing the holes where nerves traverse. Unless you sleep like a bat, hanging upside-down, traction will be the only method available that will exactly reverse the effects of gravity while it’s being applied. Over the years, many devices have been constructed to traction the spine. An inversion table is one of the simpler contraptions available, where the patient lies on their back on a board and their ankles are strapped in. The board then tilts backward from horizontal, bringing the head lower than the feet, and the weight of the body puts long-axis traction through the legs and spine. Although this is a very simple method, and generally can have a positive effect by creating slight spinal traction, there are a couple of drawbacks that are worth mentioning. First, because the head ends up being lower than the heart, one should give consideration to risks associated with increased blood pressure to the head. The more the inversion, the more the blood pressure increases to the head. Patients with high blood pressure, brain aneurysms, vascular disease, issues with dizziness or vertigo, and a host of other issues would be wise to consider options that avoid this position. Second, because the table straps the patient in at the ankles, traction is exerted through the entire body, which means that only a minimal level of traction ends up being applied to the tiny area where the sciatic nerve is actually being impinged. Quite a bit of inversion is needed to adequately traction the nerve, and this may not end up being entirely comfortable for many people. Spinal decompression therapy is another technology that uses the basic concept of traction and adds some great benefits while avoiding the blood pressure issues created by inversion tables. These tables strap the patient in by securing the lower rib cage and pelvis, and a pulsed

traction is delivered to the lumbar vertebrae in a focused manner, allowing programmable waves of traction and relaxation. This pumps the spinal discs (maximizing disc rehydration), avoids the discomfort that inversion can create, maintains a very relaxed patient position, and focuses the traction directly in the area where sciatic impingement is the greatest. As the pinched area is decompressed, space is created where the tiny nerves travel through, allowing the nerves to give a huge sigh of relief. I have personally helped hundreds of patients with spinal decompression, and the results have been wonderful. Of course, I usually include specific spinal adjustments to ensure alignment is optimal. This combination is very successful for most low back and sciatic type complaints. Before any therapy or treatment is offered, I always advise seeking appropriate counsel where a thorough exam is done to determine what is actually causing the pain. Many times patients I meet have been told they have “sciatica,” or they self-diagnose, and after I perform an exam and take any necessary spinal images, a more specific diagnosis can be achieved, thus directing the most effective treatment. The key is a proper investigation, and then taking action on reversing the compression that is causing the pinching. n

Headaches and Neck Pain? Some headache sufferers experience headaches so frequently and for so long that they begin to think it must be normal for them. CAT scans on the head in search of the cause frequently come up negative. Treatment usually ends up being some form of pain-killing drug, which can lead to unwanted side effects and may not address the cause of the problem. The cause of these headaches is often overlooked because much of the pain can actually be referred from the neck. When I perform an examination, I often find that the patient may also suffer from neck pain, neck restriction, tight cervical muscles, muscular trigger points, postural imbalances, tingling in the hands, and sometimes arm pain. X-rays often reveal that the natural spinal curve and alignment of the vertebrae have been lost. When nerves in your spine get pinched, they alert you with pain. The relationship between such misalignments of the neck and headaches is so common that it is even given its own category: cervicogenic headaches. I am also alarmed at the number of children who suffer headaches that are told it is a normal part of growing. There is nothing “normal” about headaches or neck pain. The cause should always be sought. If these problems sound familiar to you or a child you know, one consultation with our office may change the rest of your/their life.

Dr. Elliot Lysyk, DC

Dr. Deane Studer, DC

Dr. James Mayne, DC


Alpine Centre #7-100 Kal Lake Rd. Vernon, BC

Spring ‘16 - Okanagan Health & Wellness Magazine


Natural Health

9 Overlooked Causes of Weight Loss Resistance What if your health and weight loss struggles really aren’t your fault, and by doing a few things differently, you could jumpstart your weight loss today? By Chelsea Gronick, ND


eight loss resistance is the term I use to describe the common syndrome I see in people with metabolic damage who fail to lose weight, despite following a healthy diet and exercise program, and suffer from a host of troublesome symptoms including low thyroid, food intolerances, low sex drive, gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms, and fatigue. Rather than prescribing stricter diets and even more exercise, as a naturopathic doctor I recommend taking a deeper look at any metabolic, hormonal, or physiologic imbalances that may be causing your body to hold on to excess weight. I’ve discovered several culprits, many that are overlooked by other doctors, which create weight loss resistance. If you’ve been working hard to lose weight but aren’t seeing the results you deserve, consider that one of these could be stalling your fat loss efforts.

1. Hidden Food Allergies Hidden food allergies are the number one cause of weight loss resistance. The most common offending foods I see are gluten, dairy, soy, corn, eggs, and sugar. These foods can cause irritation and inflammation that keeps our immune system constantly fired up and makes us feel puffy and bloated. Once the immune system is thrown off, that sets the stage for metabolic damage, which can make weight loss impossible. 2. Low Thyroid When thyroid hormone levels are low, our metabolism slows down and weight loss stops. Our thyroid can be negatively impacted by many factors including high cortisol, selenium, iron, or zinc deficiency, toxins, and food allergies. If you suspect a thyroid problem, make sure to get your TSH, free T3 and T4, reverse T3, and thyroid antibodies tested and make sure

they are in optimal range. The most common thyroid condition I see in my office is Hashimoto’s Hypothyroidism, which is the autoimmune form of low thyroid. 3. Hormone Resistance The top three hormonal causes of weight loss resistance are estrogen dominance, insulin resistance, and high cortisol. Not only do we have to make sure our hormones estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, cortisol, and insulin are all in proper balance for weight loss, we also need to consider hormone resistance. Once hormone resistance has set in, no amount of bio-identical hormones or dieting will fix this. The body adjusts to this by increasingly raising your hormone levels and ultimately slowing down your metabolism. The solution is to reset the efficiency of your hormones by repairing and growing new hormone receptors.

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Natural Health

4. Toxicity Numerous studies have shown that environmental toxins interfere with our hormones and can actually cause weight gain. Toxins get stored in our fat cells and block our fat burning hormones. Xenoestrogens are synthetic estrogens found in our environment that act just like estrogens in our body. When we accumulate too many xenoestrogens, the receptors on our cells for other hormones are blocked by these synthetic estrogens. In women, this can lead to symptoms such as heavy, painful periods, PMS, acne, infertility, and weight loss resistance. And in men, this can lead to low testosterone, low energy, and excess weight accumulation around the abdomen. In addition to lowering your daily exposure to toxins through making better choices, it’s a good idea to go through a metabolic detox program at least twice per year to help the body eliminate accumulated toxins and clean off your cell receptors. I often start anyone who’s struggling with weight loss resistance on a specifically designed 28day metabolic detox, because it’s the best way to help the liver get rid of any accumulated toxins safely and effectively and speed up weight loss efforts. 5. Poor Sleep Quality I often see people who struggle with insomnia and interrupted sleep patterns also battle with weight loss resistance. This is commonly related to blood sugar imbalances and high cortisol levels. Lack of sleep and elevated cortisol impairs weight loss by increasing hormones that signal hunger, leading to overeating and cravings for starchy, sugary foods. Getting less than eight hours of sleep a night or interrupted sleep has been shown to lead to creeping weight gain and can halt weight loss. 6. Stress When we are under excessive stress, our adrenal glands release cortisol, our stress-handling hormone. Chronic stress leads to high cortisol levels and eventually cortisol resistance, which blocks the function of your other key hormones and leaves you feeling tired, burnt out, and weight loss resistant. No single response is more damaging to our body and interrupts our ability to lose weight than chronic stress and elevated cortisol levels. Here are just a few of the damaging effects of elevated cortisol: raises blood sugar levels and causes insulin resistance and diabetes; decreases our ability to make thyroid hormones; decreases our ability to detoxify; suppresses our immune system; and increases our susceptibility to gastrointestinal infections, which leads to inflammation, leaky gut, food sensitivities, and an even higher stress response.

fat storing over fat burning. The best type of exercise for weight loss combines high intensity, short duration weight training (30 minutes or less) with low intensity exercise like leisure walking, biking, and yoga. 8. Nutrient Deficiencies The functioning of all of our cells is crucial to weight loss, as this is what sets our metabolic rate. When our cells do not have the nutrients needed to function optimally, weight loss stalls, we get fatigued, and we age faster than we should. A crucial component to cellular health is our mitochondria, which are the energy-producing powerhouses in each of our cells. The more mitochondria we have, the faster our metabolic rate and the more energy we will have. Our cells, and our mitochondria, are highly dependent on nutrients and oxygen. There are two tests that I like to use to assess the function of our cells and mitochondria. One is a standard complete blood cell count (found on a routine blood chemistry) to test for the oxygen carrying capacity of cells and check for anemia. The other is called the organic acids test, which is a urine test that looks at how well our mitochondria are functioning and checks for a wide range of nutrient deficiencies. 9. Gastrointestinal (GI) Dysfunction Imbalances in the digestive tract can include digestive enzyme and hydrochloric acid insufficiencies; intestinal permeability (or leaky gut); not enough good bacteria; food allergies; and infections with bacteria, fungus, yeast, parasites, and candida. Some of the common symptoms of GI dysfunction include bloating, gas, heartburn, bad breath, constipation, and diarrhea. Any of these can increase cortisol levels, cause inflammation, and interfere with thyroid function. I use the 4 R protocol to help re-establish healthy digestive function and weight loss: 1. Remove infections and food allergens 2. Replace digestive enzymes and hydrochloric acid 3. Repair gastrointestinal lining and lower inflammation 4. Re-inoculate with good bacteria and probiotics Here’s to kick-starting your health and igniting your weight loss! n

7. Excessive Exercise More specifically, it’s the wrong kind of exercise that can make weight loss impossible. Studies have shown that long duration, high intensity cardio, like training for a marathon, is one of the worst things you can do for weight loss because it causes chronically elevated cortisol levels that favour

Spring ‘16 - Okanagan Health & Wellness Magazine


Natural Health

Buteyko Breathing: A Common-Sense Approach to Seasonal Allergies Of all the possible solutions, the simplest one could just be learning and practising this breathing technique. By Chris Bauman, MA


immy was a slight, energetic youngster with straight blond hair and blue eyes. They used to be bright and happy blue eyes but things changed the spring he turned five. It started with the grass. Then it was blossoms. It seemed like nature was hitting him with a histamine storm, triggering flaming eyes and constant congestion. When he wasn’t wiping his nose, he was rubbing his eyes. His sleep suffered. He would wake up in the morning exhausted, half off a bed that looked like it had been in a fight with him. He became cranky and whiny. The sunshiny child his mother, Joan, loved seemed to have gone south for the season. Like 40 percent of the Canadian population, Jimmy had seasonal allergies. His immune system had gone crazy, considering trees and pollens to be major threats instead of innocuous natural occurrences. The immune system produces an antibody called IgE within the mast cells located in the mucous membrane of the nose, upper airways, lungs, skin, and intestinal tract. IgE releases histamine which triggers a cascade of symptoms such as sneezing, mucus production, inflammation, and itchiness. Some reactions can trigger other misery such as headaches, fatigue, irritation, and brain fog. Official medical websites recommend three lines of defence. The first is oral antihistamines such as Claritin, to be bought over the counter to suppress the histamine Chris Bauman - Buteyko Breathing Educator & Trainer

breathe better. your body & mind will thank you 1.877.375.6069

reaction. When Jimmy’s mother reluctantly gave such an oral solution to her child, he experienced diarrhea and then an upper respiratory tract infection. This then meant that he had to have antibiotics, which his mother later found out can make a child more vulnerable to inflammatory bowel disease . She already knew that gastro-intestinal health was necessary for a strong immune system. So, when Jimmy was coming around to six the following spring, Joan was determined that this year would be different. Instead of going with antihistamines, she approached her doctor who made two new suggestions: allergy shots or nasal corticosteroids. The doctor indicated that it would be to “get Jimmy over the hump.” But taking Jimmy to get weekly shots did not appeal, and steroids set off an alarm in Joan’s head. She checked out the many side effects, including stunted growth. She was relieved to find that the last was unlikely. But the more she investigated, the more uneasy she became. How could having allergies be such a complicated thing? Joan knew she needed to do something fast. Jimmy’s nose was constantly clogged. He had a box of tissues in his desk at school. The other children were starting to ostracize him for the goobers that would drop to his t-shirt. He was coming home upset and crying. One day Joan was expressing her concern to her mother, who asked, “Is the window in Jimmy’s room open?” Joan looked at her mother blankly and then said slowly, “Yes … and it’s right next to the cherry tree.” “You could shut his window,” her mother offered. This obvious suggestion changed Joan’s focus—she started looking at other common-sense ideas instead of medical ones. She made sure Jimmy’s bedroom was cleaned more regularly and she washed his stuffed monkey along with the sheets. She cut out dairy and wheat from Jimmy’s diet and reduced the sugar, even though he complained. Things were starting to shift. She got online, looking for natural solutions. And the simplest one of all turned out to be breathing.

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Natural Health She found out that Jimmy’s inability to breathe through his nose was actually a serious thing. When we are exposed to triggers such as pollens or mildew, our breathing changes immediately. It becomes laboured, faster and noisier. We switch to mouth breathing. This single act means we suddenly take in more of the allergens deeper into our respiratory system. Instead of being trapped by the cilia hairs in our noses so we can sneeze or blow them out, the allergens move deeper through our upper airways and into our lungs. Histamine reactions become stronger, with increased mucus and swelling, causing coughing and tightness in the chest and sinuses. The immune system goes on red-alert, misreading the relatively harmless allergen as a deadly enemy.

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When we are exposed to triggers such as pollens or mildew, our breathing changes immediately. It becomes laboured, faster and noisier.

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Instead of the mucous membrane of the nose catching dust and germs, our secondary filter is forced to kick in—our adenoids and tonsils—but they too can be overwhelmed, becoming swollen and inflamed. This then makes it even more difficult to breathe. If the inflammation becomes chronic, then surgery to remove them is often recommended. And of course, when anyone is struggling to breathe, it sets up anxiety and even panic, which makes our breathing even worse. We start to use our breathing muscles inappropriately or dig a trench of poor breathing patterns. Returning to healthy breathing was a big step for both Joan and Jimmy. After more research, Joan found out about the Buteyko Breathing Technique developed in the 1950s by Konstantin Buteyko, a Ukrainian medical doctor. She located a Buteyko breathing coach for Jimmy who was able to unblock his nose in one session. This initial success was supported by more sessions focused on breathing exercises, postural changes, essential oils designed to keep his nasal passages open, sleep hygiene adjustments, and games to improve his breathing, posture and ability to exercise with ease. Today, Jimmy is almost allergy-free. He does breathing exercises leading up to the allergy season each year and is more vigilant about hydration, diet, and sleep during this period. He takes no medications, loves school, and his sunny disposition has returned. The tissue box is on the kitchen counter now, instead of inside his desk. n

Spring ‘16 - Okanagan Health & Wellness Magazine


Natural Health

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: Are You At Risk? Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a common problem involving the wrists and hands. Symptoms include numbness, tingling, and weakness in the thumb, index, or middle finger. By Donna McAllister, BSc (Hons), DC, Rob Mutch, BA, DC, and Michael Schmidt, BPhEd, DC


arpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is usually found in people who perform repetitive motions with the hands such as typists, checkout staff, hairdressers, and mechanics and it accounts for a high percentage of workplace injuries. CTS was originally thought to primarily affect women, but we now know it is more related to your occupation than your gender. The carpal tunnel is a fibrous band of tissue found on the front side of the wrist in the same area as your watch strap. It holds many of the tendons, nerves, and blood vessels that are required to operate your hand. CTS

can occur if the carpal tunnel is damaged and pressure is placed on the vulnerable nerves and arteries. Usually CTS begins slowly over weeks to months, with symptoms worsening over time. CTS may include pain in the hand or wrist that occurs mostly at night, weakness or clumsiness of the hand, and muscle loss in the palm of the hand. It might not seem like something you need to worry about, but carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is quite common and the sooner it’s treated, the better. Early in the disorder, it’s typically reversible, but over time, permanent nerve damage can occur.

Factors, Professions and Conditions that Increase Risk In order to catch an early diagnosis, it’s important you’re aware of the different factors that put you at higher risk. Age and Sex • Older adults are at a higher risk than young adults • CTS is very rare in children • Women are three times as likely to develop CTS • Women experience an increased risk during pregnancy, after delivering a baby, and during menopause Health Conditions • Chronic illnesses, such as diabetes, increase risk • Obesity, thyroid disorders, and kidney failure also contribute

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Occupations at Highest Risk Below is a list of the occupations at risk for carpal tunnel, ranked from highest to lowest. • Labourers and freight, stock, and material movers • Customer service representatives • First-line supervisors/managers of office and administrative support workers • Janitors, maids, and housekeeping cleaners • Food service managers • First-line supervisors/managers of retail sales workers

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Natural Health

• • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Automotive service technicians and mechanics Executive secretaries and administrative assistants Financial managers Sewing machine operators Truck drivers Office clerks Accounting and auditing clerks Welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers Sheet metal workers Packers and packagers Computer software engineers Inspectors, testers, sorters, samplers, and weighers Stock clerks and order fillers Tire repairers and changers

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Symptoms Pay attention to these signs and symptoms. If you suspect you may have CTS, visit your chiropractor as soon as possible. • Pain, numbness, or tingling occurs in the fingers, hands, muscles, thumb, or wrist • Often occurs at night • Muscle weakness, spasms or loss of muscle • Pins and needles, tingling or burning sensations • May feel the urge to “shake out” your hand to relieve symptoms Chiropractic Care as Treatment Carpal tunnel syndrome, as well as any number of other local entrapment neuropathies, is a type of a condition that chiropractic can treat very effectively. CTS can be complicated because it often results from multiple causes, rarely just an impingement at the carpal tunnel. To solve the issue it is necessary to trace the nerve back up into the neck because you can have multiple levels of entrapment, and if you’ve fixed only one then you have fixed only part of the problem. The treatment of it is oftentimes at the wrist, the elbow, shoulder, neck, or somewhere in between. Getting to the true cause— or causes—and correcting it without surgery is what chiropractic is all about. n

The Vagina Dialogues It’s no secret that many women are prone to experiencing vaginal concerns due to childbirth or the aging process. But did you know that treatment options are available?

By Christine Hatfield, MD


ou probably already know the female vagina is seriously impressive. This amazing body part can bring about intense pleasure, help predict when you are fertile, and even transport another tiny human being into the world. In short, it’s pretty awesome. That’s why I think it’s crucial to keep your vagina in its best working condition for life! When the vagina is not in its optimal state, women may experience pain or decreased sensation with sex, dryness, itching, infections, abnormal bleeding or even leakage from the bladder. Women frequently ignore these symptoms, hoping they will go away. Very few will actually speak with their health care provider because they are embarrassed or do not realize that treatment options are available for these common conditions: Vaginal Relaxation Syndrome This is essentially a laxity of the vaginal wall. In other words, the vagina becomes loose, resulting in decreased friction and less sexual satisfaction for both a woman and her partner. Stretching of the vaginal walls during childbirth is the most common reason for vaginal relaxation to develop. But natural aging and the gradual loss of collagen contribute as well. Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body and is the substance that holds us together, providing structure and form to our connective tissues. As we age, we make less and less. Without collagen, tissues everywhere, including in the vagina, become weak and saggy. Vaginal Atrophy The vaginal tissues are very sensitive to the loss of estrogen that begins at midlife. Without the stimulating effects of estrogen, the vagina becomes thin (atrophic), dry, and loses its natural elasticity. This leads to painful intercourse, itching, infections, bleeding and urine leakage. When sex is uncomfortable, women tend to avoid it, making vaginal atrophy the number one reason for low sex drive after 40. Spring ‘16 - Okanagan Health & Wellness Magazine


Natural Health Stress Urinary Incontinence Leakage of urine when you cough, sneeze, laugh, or exercise can be embarrassing and frustrating. The tissues surrounding the vagina normally provide support for the bladder neck (urethra), which keeps us dry. Childbirth and advancing age damage and thin this tissue, weakening the supports. This allows urine to leak when there is increased pressure on the bladder (like when jumping on a trampoline). Stress incontinence is a social inconvenience that creates low self esteem and isolation.

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Treatment Options Vaginal atrophy is usually addressed with topical hormone therapy. While treatment is effective and safe, some women do not get complete resolution of symptoms, especially if the vaginal walls are sagging or there is significant bladder leakage. Kegel exercises work well to address pelvic muscle weakness and can improve both vaginal tone and mild incontinence. However, they must be done properly and frequently to get the desired results. For those with pelvic pain or severe incontinence, working with a pelvic floor physiotherapist can be helpful. Surgical procedures work by tightening the vaginal tissues or inserting supportive mesh where needed. This option is reserved for those with advanced conditions and is accompanied by lengthy recovery times. Turning Back the Clock While there is still a role for traditional medical therapies, a more modern approach is Laser Vaginal Rejuvenation. This technique, performed by a trained physician, utilizes a medical laser to encourage the body to make new collagen. The vaginal tissues are revitalized by the increase in collagen and function returns to normal. Following laser stimulation of collagen synthesis, the vagina and surrounding tissues tighten and become more elastic, better hydrated, and healthier. In essence, the vagina gets younger! This simple, non-surgical office procedure is highly effective, pain free, and safe. You can leave immediately after having it done and continue your daily routine with no recovery time. Improvement is seen within the first three weeks and continues over a period of months as the body keeps making new collagen, with results lasting up to two years. Following Laser Vaginal Rejuvenation, 94 percent of women indicate they are dry and more than 95 percent report improved sexual satisfaction. How can we argue with these numbers? Laser Vaginal Rejuvenation is safe for women of all ages. It is not recommended for heavy smokers, if your lifestyle involves excessive lifting or for women who are extremely overweight. This procedure can be done even if you have had a previous bladder lift (with or without a mesh sling). Having this treatment will not affect future pregnancy or childbirth. If you would like more information about Laser Vaginal Rejuvenation or to schedule a consultation, you are welcome to contact North Okanagan Women’s Health in Vernon. n

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Get Ready for Cycling Don’t just give your bike a pre-season tune-up—make sure your body is ready to deliver your best rides yet. By Ross Short, assisted by Paul Lagrange

proper curve and alignment of the spine, movement of the fascia tissue, and proper balance against gravity is essential. With proper muscle balance and breathing, exertion will lead to strength, stability, and flexibility. Without the proper alignment, prolonged physical activity and training such as cycling can actually accentuate improper alignment, leading to injury, strain and fatigue. You are investing in good equipment to ride and train properly; make sure

you are investing in proper physical alignment so that your exercise is beneficial and leads to positive results. Structural Integration is about restoring optimal mobility, flexibility, and stability to your body. For a cyclist, this ensures that your training is working for you, not against you. Without functional fine-tuning of your body, you may be reinforcing dysfunctional movement patterns that can lead to fatigue and injury. Do you find that your long rides are leading to

Love to cycle but suffering from aches and pains after a ride? Do you find old injuries flaring up during or after cycling? Do you feel like you are fitting to your bike rather than it fitting you? ©magic


inter is far behind us and cyclists have come out of hibernation. For many of us, there is nothing like a long bike ride to really enjoy the Okanagan scenery. You can’t miss the colourful uniforms and sleek style of the many competitive cyclists and weekend warriors who make our valley their cycling paradise. For true cyclists, a new riding season brings with it the call to test and buy new equipment. Everyone is itching to get their gear tuned up, test-ride a bike or two, look at expensive frames, or get their existing bike retrofitted for the season. We love our gear. The array of equipment available is astonishing and you can spend an unimaginable amount of money acquiring the perfect equipment and getting it fitted perfectly to your body. As you shop for the ultimate frame or seat, give some thought to priorities. What is the most important piece of equipment when cycling? A great bike, a carbon frame, a safe helmet, the right shoes? All of these are important, but by far the most important element to strong and efficient cycling is your BODY. Before you invest in the other important pieces, it is essential to ensure that your body is aligned, balanced, and ready for the season. Buying a great bike and having it fitted to your body only makes sense if your body is properly aligned. If it isn’t, all of your cycling and training may be accentuating bad posture and poor alignment, leading to increased risk of injury and long-term problems. In any exercise regime or sport, it is essential to have a properly aligned spine. A well-designed movement therapy program that focuses on the

Serious cyclists have their bikes retrofitted to them for optimal performance. However, if your body is not aligned at time of the fitting, you are fitting your bike to the WRONG body – leading to misalignment. This misalignment can lead to dysfunctional movement patterns, which in turn can lead to injury or pain.

Call Ross for your Body-Wize over-haul at 250-717-3553 •

Get your body aligned BEFORE you have your bike retrofitted. This important step will eliminate poor training habits and reduce the risk of injury. Having your bike fitted correctly will lead to increased power and performance. Set yourself up for optimal cycling performance this season by setting yourself up first!

Spring ‘16 - Okanagan Health & Wellness Magazine


Wellness strain and decreased performance, rather than increased endurance? It may be that you are aggravating bad patterns rather than alleviating them. Our spines are meant to have a natural “S” curve, leading to what we call a neutral position. In this position your body is working with gravity, not against it, and your bones and muscles are properly aligned. When cycling, many of us adopt a posture that arches or curves the entire spine, leading to back pain and fascia strain. Through the practice of Structural Integration, you can regain the proper spinal alignment and adopt the correct posture while cycling. If you spend a lot of time on your bike it is essential that you are working for and not against your optimal health. Cycling is a fabulous exercise, but only if it is working to build a strong, aligned, fit body. By tuning up your body first, through Body-Wize’s unique amalgamation of practices including Structural Integration and Pilates, you ensure that your body is balanced and in alignment. When your body is ready, then you retrofit your bike to your balanced body. This ensures that all of your cycling and training this summer will be strengthening and reinforcing a strong, balanced body, making you the best that you can be. With better weather, we are anxious to jump on our bikes and start cycling, without thinking about the complex biomechanics that are involved. Riding a bike with the traditional arched-back posture can be very problematic. With the arched back posture, we are much more susceptible to road vibration and jamming due to road shocks, leading to low back pain and disability. If you have suffered injury or pain in the past, you don’t need to give up on cycling. Our bodies are remarkably adaptable. Whether it is pain from a past injury, strain from cycling, or an unrelated ailment, through Structural Integration you can restore your health and get back on your bike. By working on alignment and posture and restoring fascia health, you can reduce and eliminate pain and restore your body to the point where you can be back on your bike and cycling through our Okanagan spring and summer. As your endurance and performance improve, so will your love of cycling. Cycling in the Okanagan is very popular and a great way to both stay fit and experience our beautiful valley. Investing in aligning your body BEFORE you jump into the season will make this summer your best cycling season yet! Call Ross at Body-Wize today 250-7173553 to schedule your spring tune-up! n

Are you sticking to your New Year’s resolutions? Mary Kozicki


Resolutions for All Seasons Set your expectations at an attainable level and then establish a plan that will lead to twelve months of success.

By Mary Kozicki, BScN


ow are you doing with your New Year’s resolutions? Are the intentions a repeat from the year before? Have you and your family set realistic goals that you will follow through for the rest of the year? Did everyone manage to succeed in making the changes happen? Research shows that approximately 46 percent of our resolutions made at the beginning of the new year are successful—or at least we say we succeed for at least six months. Change is hard but for a short period we seem to be able to keep on track. It’s not so much the resolution as it is how attainable or realistic the goal is. The resolutions we made in early January need to be intentionally goal oriented to last more than a couple of weeks into the new year. Setting our expectations at an achievable level, and then establishing a plan to succeed, make our resolutions realistic and successful for the whole year and not just for a few weeks. One way to accomplish this is to continue to add new changes in a different light, in tune with the seasons. Let us look at new resolutions seasonally and how easily we can make changes to incorporate new directions. Spring—a time of new beginnings, of bursting new growth from our gardens, enjoying the sun warming our faces, opening up windows to let the spring breeze flow through, taking a walk and listening to the birds singing, planning a family picnic in the park, visiting the local market for fresh seasonal produce. In spring, we move from indoor activities to enjoying the beautiful outdoors. It is a time to delight in new exercise regimes outdoors including whole family participation.

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Wellness Reap the benefits of a safe and cost-free walk that boosts everyone’s mood, slashes the risk of heart disease and enhances sleep habits, to name just a few of the benefits. A bonus is making new friends as you stop to pet and admire someone’s dog. Summer—a season when families spend more time together sharing experiences, enjoying the vibrant blooms of all that surrounds us; a time for hearing the wild squeals of children playing outdoor spontaneous games; the jingle of the ice cream truck; stargazing while lying on the grass and contemplating with your children the wonders of the world; children building sand castles; taking a last-minute road trip; gaining a new appreciation of our children and the world around us. In the relaxing atmosphere of summer we begin to realize that children need to experiment with new ideas, discuss new thoughts about life, and share how and what they would do to make changes. We need to allow our children to express their opinions and take them seriously. When children are supported to take risks, they have more fun and learn how to assess and manage risk in all areas of their lives. Nowadays, we are witnessing more and more that younger children are making a difference. Autumn—the time for back to school and organized sports, presenting an annual disruption in the family dynamic. Busy schedules, busy lives coupled with intermittent days of questionable nutritional choices. We tend to look at fast foods instead of planning nutritious, home-cooked meals. Children’s snack options become more challenging as the fresh fruits and veggies become less readily available and we are moving toward store-bought foods. Many schools are now revisiting snack machines; they are also reinstating physical exercise because studies have shown that physical activity has many positives such as childhood obesity intervention and academic benefits. One of the most disheartening outcomes we are seeing as a result of childhood obesity is the change in life expectancy for our children. We need to lay the foundation for healthy habits that will last a lifetime. Winter—not a season for scaling back on your resolutions but a time when new interesting outdoor activities are available to us and delicious, warming meals prepared ahead of time await us to enjoy. What is the point of being Canadians if we don’t take advantage of our local rinks, play street hockey, skate on our frozen ponds, go for toboggan rides, or try cross-country or downhill skiing? As well as the strength and flexibility benefits and the physical exertion, the very fact that the activity involves being outdoors benefits everyone’s health and fitness. Now is the time to re-evaluate and reward the changes that you and your family have made toward a healthier lifestyle. A time to embrace life and your achievements. A time to reflect on your resolutions and recharge. In the end, it is easy to find ways to stick to our New Year’s resolutions by changing up the ways we approach our family goals as the seasons change. Activities move from indoor to outdoor, fruits and veggies switch from being purchased at the grocery store to growing in your backyard or patio garden, families move from board game night to picnics in the park. The good news is that following a few simple strategies makes it easier to build successful resolutions for all seasons of the year. n

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Spring ‘16 - Okanagan Health & Wellness Magazine



Can Exercise Make Women (Skinny) Fat? It’s true that exercise is a great tool for weight control—but the wrong approach can have the opposite effect. By Michale Hartte, BASc (Nutr), NNCP, CH


o you perform regular exercise, watch what you eat, yet still struggle with unsightly belly fat? Do you have low bone density, a loss of menstruation, insatiable sugar cravings and low libido? Then you may be what is called “skinny fat”—a phenomenon in which you look thin but your entire body is covered in a layer of fat. If this is you, you’re not alone. In fact, this was me in my early 30s. My personal journey, as a female athlete, had me stop everything at age 31 and take a really good look at my health when I was diagnosed with both amenorrhea and osteoporosis. I was tired, my hair was falling out, I had premature wrinkles, no regular menstrual cycle in years, and I had belly fat on my slim and supposedly fit figure. Basically, I was skinny fat! The well-meaning doctors recommended medication for my osteoporosis and birth control pills to regulate my cycle; however, I knew it was not the solution to recovering my health. This was the start of my quest to figuring out WHY my bones were brittle, WHY I did not have a menstrual cycle, WHY I had belly fat, and WHY I was looking so old! I knew that once I found my answer, I could heal my whole body and look and feel healthy again. What I have since discovered is that all the stress I was exposing myself to was actually training my body to store fat, lower my metabolism, and quickly age. Chronic, high levels of exercise combined with a low calorie intake or non-nutrient foods (fast foods, processed Fit’n Healthy Nutritional Consulting

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foods, low fat/high carb, etc.), really exhausts your liver and adrenals. You become insensitive to important hormones like leptin and insulin, your sleep suffers, your body weight drops, you begin to crave sugar, have low-thyroid and menstrual dysregulation. You are basically the female skinny version with belly fat, similar to the skinny men you see with those big beer bellies. Bottom line is, women can get fat from exercise because of excessive cortisol (raising insulin and storing fat), progesterone depletion (shuttling hormone precursor pregnenolone into cortisol production), and estrogen dominance (leading to the formation of fat tissue). In fact, a drop in progesterone and rise in estrogen creates a weight gain double-whammy! Luckily, after I understood all of this, I turned everything around once I made these significant changes to my diet, exercise and lifestyle: 1. Eat nutrient-rich foods and enough for your energy requirements. Once you know your optimal protein, carbohydrate and fat grams, at the start, it is best to track it. Make sure you eat enough carbohydrates to support normal fertility and health, without emphasis on fasting or constant ketogenesis (100-200 grams per day). 2. Detoxify your liver. Your liver helps to maintain proper blood sugar levels, regulates your metabolism by removing toxins that disrupt it, and facilitates the enzyme systems of hormone degradation (balancing hormones). 3. Limit the volume of extremely high-intensity, carbohydrate-utilizing, exhausting training sessions to a maximum of two days a week and instead, focus more on short bursts of strength, power, and speed. Add in movements for mobility and balance. Engage in moderate amounts of daily movements and consume lots of fats from coconut oil, MCT oil, and grass-fed butter or ghee. 4. Get as much rest, recovery, and sleep as you can. By following these tips, I am sure you will find your body looking and feeling like you want it to—without the stress! If you are interested in learning more, please visit my website and sign up for your Quick Start Guide to Permanently Dropping the Belly Fat. n

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Diabetes and Hearing Loss: Is There a Link? While earlier studies failed to convince, more current research suggests that hearing loss may be an under-recognized complication of diabetes. By Tosha R. Hodgson, BA, MClSc, Reg. Audiologist


ne of the fastest growing chronic diseases, diabetes is a chronic metabolic disorder in which blood glucose levels are too high. It is a systemic disease that affects multiple organ systems. Given that diabetes is a systemic disease, researchers have questioned if the auditory system is affected by diabetes. Studies attempting to link diabetes with hearing loss have not been convincing in the past, often due to the subject pools selected or the designs of the studies. Until recently, conflicting evidence in the literature has deterred acceptance of diabetes-related hearing impairment by researchers and hearing care professionals alike. However, more current research has overcome some previous studies’ shortcomings. In 2008, Bainbridge et al. investigated if hearing impairment is more prevalent among diabetic adults than non-diabetic adults. In 2011 they examined risk factors of low-/mid-frequency hearing impairment and high-frequency hearing impairment among a nationally representative sample of diabetic adults in the US. They analyzed data from hearing tests administered from 1999 to 2004 to participants in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). Results revealed [1,2]: • •

• •

compared to non-diabetics and, interestingly, hearing impairment was 2.6 times higher in younger diabetic adults (≤ 60 years old) compared to older adults.[3] In a press release from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Catherine Cowie, PhD, of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDKD) stated, “Hearing loss may be an under-recognized

A higher occurrence of hearing impairment in diabetic adults than in non-diabetics. A greater likelihood of hearing impairment in diabetic adults with low high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol (known as “good” cholesterol), a history of coronary heart disease, symptoms of peripheral neuropathy, or reported poor health. Two-thirds of diabetic subjects had high-frequency hearing impairment. Twenty-six percent of diabetic subjects also had low-/ mid-frequency hearing impairment.

In 2012, Japanese researchers analyzed the combined results of thirteen previous studies and found impaired hearing was twice as common among people with diabetes

Spring ‘16 - Okanagan Health & Wellness Magazine


Wellness complication of diabetes. As diabetes becomes more common, the disease may become a more significant contributor to hearing loss.”[4] Individuals who have diabetes, are pre-diabetic, or have a family history of diabetes are encouraged to have their hearing assessed, particularly those who are middle-aged. Hearing care professionals should ask clients about any history of diabetes. Physicians, endocrinologists, and other health care providers are encouraged to consider referring diabetic individuals for audiological evaluation. Annual audiological monitoring is recommended for individuals who have diabetes or a family history of the disease. Any unexplained hearing loss warrants further investigation. Routine hearing evaluations can help identify hearing problems—and potentially more serious health concerns—early so they can be investigated and treated as soon as possible. Eat well, exercise, rest, and don’t forget to test and protect your sensitive hearing. n

Reducing the Trauma of Separation Know your options and choose your dispute resolution process deliberately with regard to your needs and goals.

Sources: 1.

2. 3.


Bainbridge KE, Hoffman HJ, Cowie CC. Diabetes and hearing impairment in the United States: audiometric evidence from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 1999 to 2004. Annals of Internal Medicine. 2008 Jul 1;149(1):1-10. Epub 2008 Jun 16. Bainbridge KE, Hoffman HJ, Cowie CC. Risk factors for hearing impairment among US adults with diabetes. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 1999–2004. Diabetes Care. 2011 Jul; 34(7): 1540–1545. Horikawa C, Kodama S, Tanaka S, Fujihara K, Hirasawa R, Yachi Y, Shimano H, Yamada N, Saito K, Sone H. Diabetes and risk of hearing impairment: A meta-analysis. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism January 2013; 98(1):51–58 Hearing loss is common in people with diabetes. National Institutes of Health: Press Release. Monday, June 16, 2008. Accessed online March 12, 2016:




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By Christina Vinters, BA (Hons), JD


hen I told my son that I was going to write an article for Okanagan Health & Wellness Magazine, he seemed surprised and asked me tongue-in-cheek whether I would recommend that people should eat their veggies to avoid getting divorced. I wish there were such an easy recipe for marital bliss! However, if you are facing separation, there is a way to reduce the trauma on you and your family: you and your partner will need to make the deliberate choice to handle your separation as a life transition rather than a battle. The termination of committed relationships is a common occurrence. Approximately 70,000 married couples divorce each year in Canada. This does not include the breakdown of common-law relationships so the actual number of families experiencing separation is even higher, and many people experience multiple separations over their lifetime. What is the standard procedure for separation? In Canada (with the exception of Quebec), we have an adversarial legal process in which the involved parties are pitted against each other as “opposing parties” (adversaries). This process is well-suited for bringing transparency and justice to many types of cases. For example, in cases like an injured person suing another driver after a car accident or a company suing another company for a trademark infringement, none of the parties will have to cooperate or even see each other after the courtroom drama has finished. In contrast, many separating couples will have to continue to cooperate over financial and parenting matters, and perhaps see each other occasionally for the rest of their lives. Despite the necessity of many families to maintain functional relationships, the adversarial process often spirals separating couples into such negativity and personal attacks that it makes any future cooperation a virtual impossibility. Children are often exposed to escalating conflict as the litigation progresses. The process is frequently time-consuming, expensive, and traumatic for the participants and their children.

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Wellness The good news is that you and your partner have the ability to shift your mindset from divorce as a battle at the cost of your family to divorce as a respectful transition for the benefit of your family. De-escalating conflict must be the priority in order to try to do no harm to yourself, your partner, or your children. Research indicates that children cope with separation better Children are helpless victims of marital conflict. Family Mediation and Collaborative Law when there is the following: emphasize de-escalation of conflict, for the benefit of all involved. insulation of the children from conflict; good, lawyers and you are entitled to get authoritative parenting; consistent, outcomes, and efficiency. Family Mediation is a highly legal advice at any point before and quality contact with both parents; effective process. You and your partner during mediation, and before you cooperative co-parenting; and support meet with a neutral professional sign your Separation Agreement. from family, friends, and community. (a mediator) who will provide legal Mediation can be completed over one Family Mediation and Collaborative information regarding your family long session or several short sessions, Law are two processes that emphasize issues and will facilitate discussions and you have the option of mediating the de-escalation of conflict, good regarding potential resolutions. You in person or through online video faith negotiations, the children’s may attend mediation with or without conferencing technology (similar to best interests, mutually beneficial

Spring ‘16 - Okanagan Health & Wellness Magazine


Wellness Skype but with added functionality). Do some research and make sure to choose a mediator with extensive family law knowledge and experience. Collaborative Law is a good option for more complicated situations, or if you prefer the comfort of having an advocate throughout the process. You and your partner each hire a Collaborative Family Lawyer. The process is cooperative, respectful, and team-based as opposed to adversarial. Everyone works together toward a mutually beneficial resolution. One of the fundamental components of the process is that everyone, including the lawyers, agrees in writing not to involve or threaten to involve the court. Neutral experts are hired as needed to help guide appropriate solutions, for example, accountants, child specialists, or divorce coaches. If you are interested in this process, look for a lawyer who has Collaborative Law training and experience, as it requires a significantly different mindset than the adversarial method. It is important to note that litigation has its place in family law and may be necessary in cases where one person is a bully, an abuser, and/or has a serious personality disorder, mental health issue, or substance use problem that prevents him or her from being rational and responsible. If you are dealing with such a person, you may need the power of the court to resolve your family issues fairly. This includes concerns related to the safety of children. In such cases, you will want to hire a top notch family law litigator. Again, do some research and choose a litigator with extensive family law knowledge and family litigation experience. In most other cases, the statistically predictable re-structuring of families through separation shouldn’t be managed in ways that routinely traumatize both parents and children. If you are facing a separation, get more information about your options and choose your dispute resolution process deliberately with regard to your needs and goals. The standard procedure may not be the best choice for you and your family. n

Eating Psychology: A Mind-Body Approach to Nutrition, Health, and Well-Being True nourishment is not limited to the food we eat but includes the numerous ways we feed all of our other important desires. By Lynne Bowsher


hat do the words nutrition and nourishment mean to you? In today’s world it is easy to get caught up in unrealistic expectations fed to us by various forms of media: what or what not to eat, how much we should weigh, what our body should look like. These and many other impractical ideals can throw us into states of frustration and confusion as to what is right and what is wrong. Often, in the quest for the perfect diet and the perfect body, we are taken outside ourselves by only focusing on the “outer me.” In reality, in order to be truly nourished, we need to fulfill the needs of the “inner me.” Until we can fully embrace ourselves, we will find ourselves on a never-ending roller coaster of diets and body image concerns which can lead to all kinds of nutritional confusion and eating disorders such as binge eating, overeating, and emotional eating. Many people today also deal with other nutrition-related concerns such as fatigue, lack of energy, mood disorders, low immunity, and digestive disorders. How Is This Approach to Food and Body Different? To become truly nourished, we need to recognize that we are more than just a body—that our body is sacred and by nourishing our body we begin to nourish the spark of life within our body. Our diet changes as our body changes and our diet can become an ongoing process of learning and discovery. When we begin to discover our own nutritional philosophy, we recognize that this actually is a part of a larger philosophy of life. True nourishment is not just limited to the food we eat but includes the numerous ways we feed all the other important desires we have in our lives. We often have the same unrealistic expectation about diet as we do about ourselves: perfection. (In fact, there is a food disorder called orthorexia which is more or less a compulsion to eat absolutely perfectly, but that is a topic for another article!) The anxiety produced in maintaining a perfect diet can be more damaging to the body than any of the imperfect foods we may eat. When we remove the benefit of nourishment from our nutrition, we lose the qualitative aspects contained in our food such as love, nurturance, fulfillment, and celebration, replacing them with quantitative aspects such as nutrient content and calories. But nutrition does not come from nutrients alone; it comes from the process our body undergoes in digesting and assimilating those nutrients.

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Eating Psychology coaching is considered to be the next wave of nutrition and health coaching. Many people today are confused about what to eat and how to have a happy relationship with food and a healthy metabolism in their body. Eating Psychology is integrative, holistic, and empowering for clients who struggle with the many issues outlined above. An Eating Psychology coach uses many of the best strategies from both nutritional science and Eating Psychology, helping clients to reach their highest goals and rise above all of their nutritional confusion. Mind Body Nutrition™ Through the holistic approach of Eating Psychology, the various aspects of our relationship to food and body are explored and several different metabolic processes are addressed. Through Mind Body Nutrition we explore the psycho-physiology of how thoughts, feelings, and beliefs impact our nutritional metabolism and health. This goes far beyond classical nutrition and focuses on the fascinating connections between brain, body, and behaviour. Mind Body Nutrition reveals how stress physiology, the relaxation response, breathing, awareness, pleasure, rhythm, and so much more profoundly influence our digestion, metabolism, and calorie-burning potential. It offers practical, resultsoriented strategies for the most common eating challenges and health issues of our times. The Mind Body Nutrition approach recognizes that what we eat is only half the story of good nutrition; the other half is who we are as eaters. We are all unique beings with our own story through which we can discover our own individualized path to unlocking our body wisdom. Through this approach we learn that our challenges with food can be a doorway to something much deeper, and that every life challenge has a divine message. Our job is to listen. Dynamic Eating Psychology Dynamic Eating Psychology is a positive, empowering, transformational approach that’s designed for anyone who eats. We are all unique individuals and therefore we each have our own unique, fascinating, and ever-changing relationship with food throughout our lives. Dynamic Eating

Psychology affirms the primary importance of this relationship. Offering a powerful breakthrough approach for our challenges with eating, weight, and health, Dynamic Eating Psychology is appropriate for everyone. It affirms that our relationship with food has important lessons to teach us and recognizes that our challenges with food, body, and health are intimately connected to other primary life dimensions such as our relationships, family, work, sexuality, our search for meaning, purpose and fulfillment, and so much more. Through these two approaches of Mind Body Nutrition and Dynamic Eating Psychology, we can begin to create an ongoing practice of positive habits which will help to transform our relationship to food and body. Our relationship to food will gradually become a more conscious one where we can begin to make the right decisions for ourselves of what or what not to eat. We become more empowered by tuning in to our own body which helps us to determine what it needs and when. In essence, Eating Psychology becomes a powerful and foolproof nutritional strategy we can choose to help nourish our mind, body, and spirit. We become aligned to the rhythms of our life and its story and we can bring our metabolism into its fullest potential which in turn transforms our health, our digestion, our mood, and our level of energy so that we can live the life we are meant to live! n Do you struggle with nutrition, weight concerns, body image, overeating, binge eating, emotional eating, chronic dieting, poor digestion, fatigue, lack of energy, mood concerns, low immunity, eating disorders? As a Mind Body Nutrition Coach and Certified Eating Psychology Coach I offer Holistic, Integrative and Empowering Health Coaching Strategies. CONTACT ME FOR YOUR FREE 30 MINUTE COACHING SESSION TODAY!

Lynne Bowsher 250-878-1251 Lake Country, BC

Spring ‘16 - Okanagan Health & Wellness Magazine



From Field to Table: Sustainable Food and a Small Footprint Two local businesses have created a relationship that connects the farmer to the miller to the baker to the community. By Dianne Steinley


ooted just over six kilometres north of the city of Armstrong (“The Heart of Country”) lies some of the most scenic, flourishing agricultural landscape where you might see asparagus growing or perhaps the ancient grains emmer or spelt. Among those parcels of land you will find Fieldstone Organics, BC’s only Certified Organic grain handling facility, specializing in grain, legume and seed cleaning and processing. The granary originated in the early 2000s with the cleaning and de-hulling of ancient spelt. The operation was set up as a local co-operative organization of enthusiastic growers and farmers on Tony van den Tillaart’s Armstrong farm—the current site of Fieldstone Organics. Today Willem Roell and Tony van den Tillaart, two of the original co-op members, are the active partners. Tony and Willem share the public’s growing concern about abuse of our farmland and the use of chemicals and GMO products in our food supply. They saw the opportunities for growing a variety of organic crops in the Okanagan valley due to its favourable climate and relative 250.546.4558 Whole Grains from Field to Fork

Local Organic Whole Grains, Legumes and Seeds 4851 Schubert Rd. Armstrong, BC VOE 1B4

isolation from contamination from other GMO crops. With this understanding, Tony and Willem continue to mentor and encourage local farmers to adopt organic certification standards and grow these new health-conscious crops. As a result, they have developed close to 20 partnerships with local growers throughout BC on farms ranging in size from 20 to 350 acres. Studies have shown that once grains are broken, their nutritional value and flavour decrease immediately. To preserve the nutritional value and shelf life of whole grains, seeds, and legumes, Fieldstone Organics sells only whole grains. However, they understand that grain is very much a part of daily eating in its ground form as flour or flaked oats; for this reason they sell mills and flakers, enabling those who wish to have whole-grain, freshly milled flour on demand for their pancakes, bread, muffins, and pasta or freshly flaked oats for their breakfast. Using 100 percent organic whole grains and grinding or flaking as required ensures the best nutritional value for your family. Additionally, compared to store milled, fresh home-ground grains don’t require any preservatives or stabilizers because they are consumed immediately. With the surging interest in heritage and ancient grains, combined with growth in availability of Certified Organic whole foods, Fieldstone Organics has been working toward meeting the demands of the marketplace in terms of retail packaging in grocery, health food, and produce markets as well as bulk orders to bakeries, breweries, and distilleries. Visitors are welcome at the farm gate store where larger packaged products in 5, 10 and 20 kilogram sizes are available. It is through the support of retail and bulk

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Nutrition customers that Fieldstone Organics has experienced growth. The 750 gram packaging is available in many stores throughout the Okanagan and other parts of BC. By developing relationships with responsible, like-minded businesses, Fieldstone Organics is seeing the fruits of their labour transformed into quality, handcrafted, fresh artisan breads and baked goods. One such business is True Grain Bread in Summerland. True Grain Bread is an Old Worldinspired European bakery where the craft of the miller and baker are honed and cherished. Since first opening its doors in 2004 in Cowichan Bay on Vancouver Island, True Grain Bread has become internationally recognized for delivering an unparalleled bread experience. In the summer of 2012, this friendly, family-owned bakery opened its second storefront in downtown Summerland, to the delight of both critics and community. The True Grain Bread experience is truly like no other. As you stroll through the inviting double-door entranceway, the sights and smells will have you convinced you’re in Europe. Peek into the production area and watch the highly skilled bakers hand scale and handcraft each individual loaf. Peer through the glass at an authentic Austrian stone mill, and watch as Certified Organic grain kernels sourced from Okanagan growers such as Fieldstone Organics are milled into fresh flour. Meander past the front counter and let your eyes feast on irresistible treats: French croissants, almond croissants, pain au chocolat, butterflies, cinnamon swirls, cheddar twists, chocolate buns, German pretzels, and an addictively delicious assortment of modern-wheat-free cookies. Saving the best for last, True Grain Bread’s defining moment is without question its bread. Select from the Okanagan’s widest assortment of breads baked exclusively with Certified Organic flour and non-hybridized, nonGMO heritage and ancient grains. True Grain Bread’s passion is creating fresh, local, organic, handcrafted bread: Fresh – only selling bread that was baked the same day (leftover bread is donated to local food banks). Local – connecting the farmer to the miller to the baker to the community.

The spelt, emmer, Khorasan, rye, and oats are all BC grown and sourced from Fieldstone Organics. The farmfresh eggs, honey, and fruit are sourced from local farmers. Organic – valuing organic farming methods which foster healthy communities (all grains and flour are Certified Organic; all butter and dairy are Certified Organic; most of the seeds and fruit are Certified Organic). Handcrafted – baking in small batches, hand scaling and carefully handcrafting each individual loaf with

great respect for the time-honoured methods of crafting fine bread. In addition to retailing at the two bakeries, True Grain Bread makes its flour available in many BC grocery stores and supplies to craft bakeries in BC. True Grain Bread has long been a pioneer of food sustainability and awareness. According to livesmartBC, transportation is THE largest category of greenhouse gas emissions in BC. When shopping at a grocery store or farmers market, many people are

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Clockwise from left to right: True Grain Bread, Summerland; Fieldstone Organics store, Armstrong; cinnamon raisin loaf; True Grain flour mill; Red Fife loaf; Fieldstone Organics mill; True Grain flour.

mindful of where and how produce was grown and make their purchasing decisions accordingly. At the same time, however, consumers are still ignoring the fact that the wheat and wheat-based products they purchase travel vast distances across our country. In a common scenario, Prairie-grown wheat is shipped to Ontario, processed (milled, baked, frozen), and sent to BC, logging over 7000 kilometres in the process. True Grain Bread is blazing a new trail to change this. Bruce Stewart, president of the company, explains. “People are becoming increasingly mindful of the source of their food and

the real societal cost. A paradigm shift is coming and we are excited to light the fuse. As of April 2016, everything we bake will be made with organic BC-farmed and BC-milled flour. We’re not talking about offering a loaf or two. That’s not good enough. We mean everything: every bread, every pastry, every baguette, every cookie. The organic flour within it was born in BC. Through new relationships and investments, we have achieved this and we are very proud.” “We have an environmental responsibility,” adds co-owner Todd Laidlaw, who runs the Summerland location. “We need real solutions and

we need them quickly. When one of our customers buys a loaf of our French bread at our Summerland bakery, they can feel good knowing that the organic flour used to craft it logged less than 160 kilometres. Same thing for a croissant or baguette. That is huge. A small change in behaviour can have a big impact.” A big impact indeed. By committing to a shared philosophy, Fieldstone Organics and True Grain Bread are leading the way with organics, sustainable business practices, farmto-table partnerships, community engagement, and, of course, unbelievable local products. n

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28 Spring ‘16 - Okanagan Health & Wellness Magazine


The “Dirt” on Compost

How to get started, tend the growing pile, and use the finished compost. By Cynthia Coates, BSc (Environmental Science)


id you know you have a wide variety of nutrient-rich ingredients in your home and around your yard, that when blended together can provide you with nature’s best soil amendment for lush lawns, robust flowers, and plentiful veggies? Composting your organics right in your own backyard is an easy way to reduce waste going to the landfill and it also produces a wonderful product for your landscape and garden. Composting isn’t difficult once you understand some of the basic steps and you can even speed things up a bit with a few of these tips to get you started. 1. Get yourself a bin of some sort. You can build your own out of a number of materials, pallets, wire, cinder blocks, or you can purchase a plastic one. Keep in mind that a bin will help to keep pests out of the compost pile as opposed to just composting in an open pile. Place your bin in a convenient location, on soil or grass and in a partly sunny location. You want to have it easily

accessible during the winter for all your kitchen scraps, and having it on soil will encourage worms to come up into the pile to help things along. A partly sunny location will help to keep the pile from drying up too fast in the hot Okanagan sun. 2. Start adding materials. You can begin with a woody layer first to create air flow and then start adding layers of brown drier material, with wet green materials. Greens, such as fresh grass and plant trimmings and raw fruit and vegetable peelings, are quick to rot and provide important nitrogen and moisture to the pile. Drier browns, such as leaves, shredded newspaper, wood chips and cardboard, provide fibre and carbon to the pile, allowing important air pockets to form. You want to have equal amounts of both. One of the easiest ways to get started is to fill your composter with dried leaves, then just keep adding your food waste, plant trimmings, and fresh grass all season long.

Here is a list of what to compost: Green Materials: • Fresh fruit and vegetable peelings • Coffee grounds, tea bags • Egg shells (give them a quick rinse) • Fresh grass clippings • Plant trimmings

Brown Materials: • Dried leaves • Shredded paper (newspaper) • Cardboard and paper egg cartons • Dried grass, straw, wood shavings • Coffee filters, paper towels, napkins (unbleached) Spring ‘16 - Okanagan Health & Wellness Magazine


Nutrition 3. Tend to your pile by mixing the bin contents every one to two weeks. Mixing adds important air and distributes moisture and heat to speed things up. Contents in the bin should also be like a wrung-out sponge so in our Okanagan heat you may need to add water from time to time, especially if you don’t have a lot of wet food scraps in the mix.

Compost will happen no matter what, but there are certain steps you should take to ensure it’s successful. Here is a list of items you should not compost to avoid attracting pests or introducing pathogens and plant disease into your garden: Don’t Compost: • Grains, meat, bones, dairy, fats and oils • Table scraps • Pet waste • Diseased plants • Pesticide-treated grass clippings A well-tended compost pile that is stirred often will reduce odours and pests over the long run. If you are concerned about pests you can place strong wire mesh under the compost bin to prevent rodents from burrowing underneath. Sixteen to 18 gauge (that’s the thickness of the wire) with ¼ inch squares is recommended. Remember to also manage other attractants in your yard to discourage pests and other animals. These attractants can include dog food, dirty barbecues, bird feeders, and fallen fruit.

4. Use the compost! Compost can be made in as little as three months but usually if you start the composter in the spring, expect to have some finished product by the following spring. You can even get two bins going and let one finish up while filling the other one. Finished compost is a dark brown, almost black, soil-like layer, usually found at the bottom of the bin or in the middle. You can screen the compost materials with a homemade wire mesh screen and add the unfinished materials back into the pile. Or in very early spring you can dig it into your garden and let the composting process finish up for several weeks before planting.

Finished compost can be used as a mulch around shrubs and trees, dug into your vegetable or flower beds, mixed with soil in planter boxes, or used for top dressing your lawn. It provides slow release nutrients to your garden and also holds moisture so will reduce your water use as well. For more information on composting, visit n

30 Spring ‘16 - Okanagan Health & Wellness Magazine

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I stepped on the scale...yep, my weight increased! Have you had this happen to you? Then you make a commitment to yourself you’re going to get back on track and despite your hard work the weight returns or gets worse. We’ve all been there. The interesting fact of the matter is, you have the best tool at your disposal and most don’t even come close to using it to its potential. Would you like to know what that is? It’s the gym. Everyone these days has a gym membership, but the problem occurs when you don’t know what you’re doing in there. I understand. This was my first run-in with the gym... When I was just out of high school I was the athletic guy. I never set foot in the gym; I just played a lot of sports. Now here I was in the real world. I decided to get a job in northern Alberta and my athletic days went into retirement. So do you think I used the gym? Nope. I thought all was going well: work, eat, relax, sleep and repeat. After about 6 months I had gained 30 pounds. I sort of denied it because the only time I seemed to notice was when a friend commented that I was “putting on a few”; what the heck does that mean? The next day after my shower I had a rude awakening: rolls! I was in panic mode. My athletic figure was gone. I was determined to get it back and this was when I entered the gym for the first time. I was back up in northern Alberta, workout program in hand, heading to the gym at 4 a.m. I thought I would be the only one. I walked up the stairs of the portable trailer. As I was reaching for the door knob I heard two things: something grunting and a slam as something hit the ground! I entered the gym and here were two large men, beet red, lifting weights I believed were not humanly possible to pick up in the way they were being picked up. Thoughts entered my head. Should I just leave and pretend I was taking a peek at the gym? I laughed to myself and thought, not likely at 4 in the morning. I was intimidated so I skipped the weights. But behind the men I saw a small room with some cardio equipment. I looked at the resistance cardio equipment and thought yikes, that is going to burn, no way, it’s 4 a.m. So for the next 30 minutes I ran on the treadmill. I believe this is most people’s start out at the gym. We want to help get people on the right track and with the right information to get the exact outcome they desire. I would have loved assistance like this when I started and so we created energy n fitness, a place to get clear on how to use the gym to its full potential. If you would like to get a jumpstart on using the gym to its full potential check out the 7 Must Knows Before You Enter the Gym report. It’s on our website at

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Okanagan Health & Wellness Magazine Spring 2016  

Enjoy our Spring 2016 issue of Okanagan Health & Wellness Magazine. Packed full of great articles from local health and wellness profession...

Okanagan Health & Wellness Magazine Spring 2016  

Enjoy our Spring 2016 issue of Okanagan Health & Wellness Magazine. Packed full of great articles from local health and wellness profession...