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Archive for the ‘naturopathic medicine’ Category

Finding Balance

Posted on: April 5th, 2018 by Dr. Amanda Sue Cressman

This past season I have found it very difficult to find balance…something that I strive for and value deeply.  I can struggle with the cold weather, particularly if that cold weather makes it difficult to be outside and definitely if it involves a lack of sun.  It’s been a hard and long winter season for a variety of personal reasons too and with that comes thoughts and reflections about behaviours and patterns that I often do throughout the winter season that don’t always do a great job of creating balance.

Solitary Stool
If you’ve spoken with me before, you know I speak about the stool analogy when it comes to balance….the four legged wooden kind of stool, not to be confused with speaking about bowel movements, although that is an important and helpful discussion, as well.  I love this analogy, as many people understand it and often connect well to it. I often say, if you and your well being are the seat of the stool, you are held up by 4 legs – the mental leg, the emotional leg, the physical leg and the spiritual leg. Sometimes we make the stool a tripod, if that last leg is not a match for the individual.  And my job, as a Naturopath is to figure out why the stool is toppling. In this analogy, maybe one stool leg is extra long, making it topple over, or maybe one leg is incredibly short and thin. For some, the mental leg takes the brunt, for others it’s the physical leg. Regardless of what it is, I find it fascinating to see how we all work at doing our best to create balance amongst adversity and stress.

Many people come to see me for physical reasons and as we begin dialog, the focus is on the physical leg of the stool, but as we dive in deeper to the root cause of the problem, we often uncover other legs of the stool to be at the root of the problem.  Let’s use me for an example. In previous years I have created a wonderful habit of running almost each morning. I wake up early and run with my dog to clear my head, feel nature and get some physical exercise. I work at eating a clean diet…clean meaning no gluten and dairy for me with my specific health concerns and limiting sweets, even fruit as I love sweet food, but can struggle with insulin regulation.  Everything in my world feels and works better if I maintain exercise and clean eating. I physically feel great, emotionally am more stable and mentally am sharp….I love this place, as it’s me feeling something I adore, balance. But, at the end of January someone very close to me passed away when I had a few other stressful things happening at the same time, it felt like the emotional leg of the stool got yanked out from under me and I was flustering to achieve balance in the other legs.  The mental, spiritual and physical legs of the stool were doing their best to compensate to ensure I stayed upright but life changed. I stopped running as I didn’t have time/ability to do so daily, my clean eating went out the window as I physically couldn’t grocery shop easily or have energy to food prep and I started getting into old patterns of behaviour to compensate for my heart feeling broken.

As a culture, we are notorious for avoiding being present with difficult situations/pain.  We distract and numb ourselves through television, food, social media, etc. and all the while our emotional leg of the stool is not actually being nurtured while the other legs of the stool are suffering, desperately working at creating balance for the whole.  These distractions and changes in behaviour can have a time and a place, but the tricky thing is catching when the compensation becomes a pattern and then a habit. For me, this past winter, I started watching tv shows at night – positive, lovely shows but it was distraction from feeling what was real for me.  I stopped journaling regularly, as it was hard to be real with the hurt and I started baking often as this is a comfort for me. Even if my baking choices are raw vegan desserts and technically “healthy”, they are still desserts and connecting to a pattern I developed as a child, that when I was sad, food would numb the hurt.

The body is an amazing thing, always striving for balance or homeostasis, a medical term for essentially the same thing. I see many people in my practice where the physical leg of the stool is in rough shape – but if that’s happening for you, consider thinking about the stool analogy and what events got you to where you are today.  Yes, that physical leg of the stool will need care and support but as that leg gets stronger, the other legs can be nurtured and are often the real reason we are off balance in the first place.

For me, I know the warmth and sun of next week will help.  I have supported my adrenals the past few weeks which have helped give energy and motivation to consider cleaning up my diet and food patterns.  I have good supports that I have used to help sort out the past events and I have once again, run daily. My runs are slow and not super long, my diet could be even cleaner with better prep work, but I’m feeling more balanced and stronger again with an improved inner resilience.

This past season has been hard for many and this culture we live in, particularly, the culture of Kitchener-Waterloo is unbalanced.  We are driven, busy and stressed out people. See which leg of the stool in this analog needs nurturing for yourself and seek out that balance.  Whether it’s doing more social events, improving your physical exercise regime, taking up a creative hobby, clean eating, meditating, having alone time…work at creating the specific balance you need.  The journey is much easier when the stool is not toppling.

Hoping that you are able to feel supported and balanced into the coming season.

 Amanda Cressman, N.D.

Having a bad day? Here’s a helpful reminder…

Posted on: April 2nd, 2017 by Dr. Amanda Sue Cressman

In case you forgot...You are WONDERFUL!

Self-Preservation

Posted on: December 27th, 2016 by Dr. Amanda Sue Cressman

I recently came across this quote by Audre Lorde and immediately took to it, so I made it into a picture.  I thought it would be helpful to share, especially for the beginning of New Year.

audre

Even though New Years Resolutions are often focused on ourselves – striving for betterment in areas we feel we could improve or grow, the actual focus on ourself is often what trips us up in succeeding with the goal.

Taking time for ourselves is tricky and often associated with being selfish.  It’s funny how we do that, entangling caring for self with selfishness but the two don’t need to be mutually exclusive.

Audre Lorde shifts our discomfort with caring or focusing on self away from self-indulgence into something that we can all appreciate, understand and respect…self-preservation.

When we fill ourselves up with the things, people or situations that genuinely fill us up, we can do marvellous things.  This year I made a commitment to running…most mornings I wake up early and run before my day gets going which is already pretty early.  But, if I don’t, I will have missed the opportunity to do so and lose out on the feeling I get from clearing my head, getting a work out in and some time for me with nature (something that absolutely preserves my happiness).

This coming year, I’m finding I need more to fill my tank with the busyness of life.  Journaling and meditation are what I’ve determined I am missing but both take time and dedication.  But instead of it feeling like another item on my check list that needs attention, I will take Audre’s words to heart and remember that taking the time to do this will help protect me from burn out, irritability and sadness.

This New Years, consider focusing on what will preserve you the best for your resolution.  What activities, places, people or things do you need more of to ensure your tank is feeling full and supported instead of depleted and unhappy.  Shift the focus away from selfishness or self-indulgence to self-preservation.  The mental leap will feel a lot better and will motivate the change you need to feel the best you can.

Wishing you a bright and happy New Year.

Dr. Amanda Cressman, N.D.

Golden Milk

Posted on: November 13th, 2016 by Dr. Amanda Sue Cressman

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You may have heard about this in recent months/years but for some it’s new.  Golden Tea – or Turmeric Tea as it’s also known is a delicious (honestly, delicious) warm beverage to consider for this winter season.

I love warm drinks but sometimes grow tired of watery tea and want something more full and robust in flavour.  I secretly love hot chocolates and cafe mocha’s but need to drink on rare occasions as caffeine and I are not great friends.

So, why choose turmeric in your warm milk beverage?  Here are some reasons:

-it’s a strong antioxidant

-decreases inflammation

-supports liver detoxification

-aids in digestive function

-great for sports injuries

-it’s an anti-microbial

-cardiovascular support

-great at whitening teeth

So, it’s pretty fantastic and wonderful when used in a delicious recipe.  There are many recipes out there for Golden Milks/Lattes, etc but this is my favourite.  Turmeric Tea/Golden Tea Recipe from Wellness Mama

This tea may not be right for you, so always check with your Naturopathic Doctor before drinking (especially if frequently) to ensure it’s the right match for you, your health condition or medications you are currently taking.

Hope you enjoy.

Disclaimer: The information contained on this website is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice or instruction, it is provided for educational purposes only. This information shouldn’t take the place of seeing a Naturopathic Doctor on any matter relating to health or well-being.

My Favourite Gluten Free Recipes to help you create your Menu

Posted on: July 6th, 2016 by Dr. Amanda Sue Cressman

Going Gluten-free (GF) can be intimidating and many people don’t know where to start.  Whether you’re trying it out to see how you feel, needing to do so for health reasons or trying to cook/bake for someone who is GF…it can feel overwhelming.

Here is a list of some tried and true recipe ideas that I have enjoyed.  If you know me, you know I’m not a great cook…I don’t enjoy spending a lot of time in the kitchen and the last thing I want is needing to go to various stores to get different ingredients.  These recipes are generally – easy to make and you can buy most ingredients from either your local grocery store (Zehrs health section is usually the best match for me) and Bulk Barn.

See what you think and I hope these recipe ideas taste great for you too. (And most of these recipes are dairy free as well or allow for dairy-free substitutions.)

Breakfast Ideas

Grain-free Berry Granola – Healthful Pursuit

Banana Oat Blender Pancakes – Kitchen Treaty

Coconut Flour Chocolate Crepes – Healthful Pursuit

Sweet Potato Hash – Healthful Pursuit

Carrot Cake Baked Oatmeal – Oh She Glows

Soft and Chewy Sugar Free Granola Bars – Oh She Glows

Almond Flour Pancakes – Comfy Belly

Fluffy Coconut Flour Pancakes – Comfy Belly

Quinoa Granola – Comfy Belly

Blueberry Syrup – Nourishing Meals

Gluten Free Raspberry Scones – The Roasted Root

Mochaccino Chia Breakfast Pudding – Joyous Health

The Life-Changing Loaf of Bread – My New Roots

SMOOTHIES – here are Greatist’s 54 Top Smoothie Recipes

SMOOTHIE BOWLS – here are Greatist’s Top Smoothie Bowl Recipes  and some more that are Dairy Free Top Smoothie Bowl Recipes

Lunch Ideas

Spiralized Thai Salad Recipe – Against All Grain

Sea Salt Rosemary Zucchini Chips – Joyous Health

 My Favourite Detox Salad – Eat Yourself Skinny

Veggie Summer Rolls with Peanut Sauce – Avocado Pesto

Soft Gluten Free Sandwich Bread – A Little Insanity

10 Minute Grain Free Paleo Bread – Shiny Happy Food

Dinner Ideas

Coconut Cauliflower Rice – Healthful Pursuit

Sweet Potato Chickpea Buddha Bowl – Minimalist Baker 

Spicy Buddha Bowl – Crazy Vegan Kitchen

Sweet Potato Pizza Crust – Blissful Basil

Cauliflower Pizza Crust – Detoxinista

Zucchini Noodles with Creamy Avocado Pesto- Eat Yourself Skinny

Curried Cauliflower Soup – Cookie and Kate

Dessert Ideas

Black Bean Chia Brownies – Joyous Health

One Bowl Jumbo Chocolate Chunk Cookies – Oh She Glows

Fudge-tastic Brownies – Healthful Pursuit

Grain-free and Vegan Flourless Fudge Cookies – Healthful Pursuit

Raw Chocolate Cheesecake – Comfy Belly

Real Deal Chocolate Chip Cookies – Against All Grain

Fudgy Chocolate Tarts – Against All Grain

Banana Bread – Comfy Belly

Flourless Chocolate Pumpkin Muffins – Running with Spoons

Flourless Banana Bread Muffins – Running with Spoons

Fudgy Paleo Beetroot Brownies – The Roasted Root

Chocolate Avocado Pudding – Pop Sugar

Snacks

Chocolate Gelatin Bars – The Healthy You Project

Power Protein Balls – Caveman Strong

Crunch Raw Protein Balls – The Healthy Family and Home

Homemade Gummy Candies – Healthful Pursuit – Use a juice of your choice

Date Energy Balls – Detoxinista

Mint Chocolate Truffle Bites – A Virtual Vegan

Classic Almond and Cacao Energy Balls – Deliciously Ella

Dr. Amanda Cressman, N.D.

Need Help Eating More Veggies? Spiralize!

Posted on: June 19th, 2016 by Dr. Amanda Sue Cressman

Have you been in a slump with finding new and exciting ways of eating more veggies?  I can fall into a pattern of eating the same vegetables, prepared in the same way and it can get boring.  I was recently given a spiralizer and have had a lot of fun discovering new ways to enjoy more vegetables.  For some reason creating noodle like cuts of vegetables makes them more exciting and fun to eat.  And not just for my kids…it seems to work that way for everyone.  We all love playing with the long noodle-like carrot/beet/cucumber/zucchini cuts of vegetables.

If you want to learn more about spiralizing, check out this website, Inspiralized with information about what vegetables to spiralize and cooking techniques.

And I’d like to share a great recipe that tastes fantastic and will help increase your vegetable intake while decreasing your grain consumption.  It’s fantastic and comes from Eat Yourself Skinny.   See what you think and let me know if it was a hit in your home too.

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By: Amanda Cressman, ND. Naturopathic Doctor.

 

Not Wanting This

Posted on: May 5th, 2016 by Dr. Amanda Sue Cressman

A friend recently sent me a wonderful article written by Elizabeth Gilbert on her facebook page, called, Not This.

Have you ever had a moment where you know deep down, that your current reality is not in alignment with where you want to be?  That even though it may not make sense to anyone else that something in you is asking for a more authentic experience?  This article is a great reminder of having the courage to ask, to explore what we want and need.  Whether it’s with the health of our bodies, our relationships with others, our career, our hobbies, our interests or goals… having courage to question this gives clarity for what we do want and need.  And that is a wonderful place to be because when we are in this space, change can happen.   See what you think of the article and if you’re wanting to change something that you believe either Naturopathic Medicine, Acupuncture, Massage or Reflexology can help…we are here.

Enjoy!

Not This

by: Dr. Amanda Cressman, N.D. Naturopathic Doctor

A Delicious Green Smoothie

Posted on: April 29th, 2016 by Dr. Amanda Sue Cressman

I have been on the hunt for a delicious green smoothie.  And, they are actually a bit hard to find.  I have made some weird concoctions with all types of vegetables (cabbage included) that have promised to be delicious but weren’t.  But I finally found one.

A patient introduced me to The Minimalist Baker.   She has delicious recipes with 10 or less ingredients and this Creamy Pineapple Cucumber Smoothie was a great find.

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So, why are green smoothies great?

  • They are nutritious with offering vegetables alongside their fruit counterparts.  Most green smoothies have about a 60/40 ratio of fruit/vegetables but if you’re comfortable you can aim for 50/50.  Some smoothies can rack up calories and sugar with only having fruit in them.
  • You have a more nutritionally dense smoothie that offers more vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
  • The alkalinizing benefit of the greens.  The body is always striving for balance, including its pH.  The Standard American/Canadian Diet is very acidic in nature (meat, animal products, processed foods, sugar).  A green smoothie is very alkaline, offering a better balance to your pH.
  • They are easier to digest due to being pulverized and blended.  Some people can’t digest raw greens well but in a smoothie, you can consume your raw greens, enjoying the benefit of their nutrition without compromising a bloated tummy with gas.
  • Great for your bowels.  Liquid food is notorious for helping with constipation and adding greens accentuates this.  The added fiber and water content of the greens helps keep you hydrated and ensures your bowel movements are easier to pass.
  • Who should avoid green smoothies?  If you have a history of kidney stones, particularly oxalate stones, talk to your healthcare provider before consuming too many of these.

It’s not too difficult to add spinach or kale to a smoothie without altering the flavour.  Try this recipe and see if green smoothies are something you’d want to incorporate into your diet.  This one is so delicious, you’ll forget how healthy it is.

*This website is for information purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

Expectations

Posted on: January 9th, 2016 by Dr. Amanda Sue Cressman

The holiday season is a time of year where expectations run high. We’re told where to go, how long to stay, what to do, what to eat, what to buy and sometimes even, how much to spend. Now, of course they can also be filled with wonderful moments and experiences but that’s not what this blog post is about. This post is about dealing with the expectations from others and from ourselves. We are past the holiday season, but the expectations don’t go away…especially those from ourselves and they are the cause of great frustration and stress for some. So, how do we work with them?

I had a very different holiday season this year, as I kept a mantra in mind. It came from Brene Brown and it really helped.   A few weeks ago on her facebook page she wrote, “Choose discomfort over resentment.”

I’ll write it again, “Choose discomfort over resentment”

I liked it immediately but knew it would be hard. I have been very good at ensuring others are not uncomfortable while at times I can be overstressed, overtaxed and inevitably become resentful for overextending myself. This past season, I kept Brene’s mantra in mind and created a holiday season that worked for me.

So, I said no…a few times to a few different people. I said no to others and yes to myself. It was hard but I feel so much better with no uncomfortable resentment lurking inside.

Boundaries are one of the biggest things I talk to about with my patients. Whether we’re dialoging about boundaries with family, coworkers, children, etc. When people breach our boundaries we feel the effects and what can start, as annoyance and frustration can then become bigger issues that can affect our health. This is where I see people with anxiousness, panic attacks, long standing resentments, feeling overwhelmed and exhausted, etc.

This year consider using Brene’s mantra. If you haven’t put your needs first in awhile, it may be difficult, even incredibly uncomfortable, but consider it. Choosing discomfort over resentment doesn’t mean others will necessarily be uncomfortable, it just means you’re choosing to do what genuinely feels right. And when we do things authentically, I believe we all win. See what you think.

Dr. Amanda Cressman, Naturopathic Doctor

Healthy Eating for a Busy Time of Year

Posted on: November 11th, 2015 by Dr. Amanda Sue Cressman

Fall and Winter are usually a very busy time of year with events, social functions and activities.  Many people I speak with have most of their weekends planned with outings leading up to the New Year.  Time is usually limited amongst the busyness and planning for healthy eating amongst it can be tricky.

On our website on the Resource page, I have a listing of some of my favourite websites for healthy recipes.  Many of the websites take into consideration any food sensitivities you may have and help make meal planning an easier experience.  One of the easiest websites to navigate is Leanne’s Healthful Pursuit where you can specify which meal you want, what eating style you’re eating (paleo, vegetarian, gluten-free, etc), how long you want the prep time to be and any key ingredients you would like to see in it (greens, legumes, chocolate, etc).

If you can get your meal planning organized for the week you’ll be eating healthy foods amongst a busy time of year and help keep energy and immunity high.  Hope these helps.

Oh She Glows – Award winning, Angela Liddon has hundreds of delicious vegan recipes and so much more.

Comfy Belly – Erica’s recipes are a combination of gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-fee, sugar-free and SCD….they are amazing.

Healthful Pursuit – Leanne gives you options to find recipes that are: gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, sugar-free, veggie, vegan or paleo.

Against All Grain – Danielle’s grain-free, SCD recipes.

Nourishing Meals – this site has endless fantastic recipes that are great for elimination diets, detoxes.

Joyous Health – Joy has great resources and recipes for a variety of dietary needs.

The Naked Label – this site helps us understand what we are eating through education but also gives great recipe ideas.

Sprouted Kitchen – Sara and Hugh’s whole foods made easy.

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