TouchStone Health Photo
TouchStone Health Photo
TouchStone Health Photo

Archive for the ‘nutrition’ 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.

Golden Milk

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

IMG_4439

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.

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.

IMG_0662 IMG_0663 IMG_0666 IMG_0669

By: Amanda Cressman, ND. Naturopathic Doctor.

 

No Bake Pumpkin Pie

Posted on: October 13th, 2014 by Dr. Amanda Sue Cressman

IMG_8271

I was a bit late in making a Thanksgiving Dessert this year but found this one that looked delicious and easy.  If you have yet to make a dessert for a get together or love pumpkin dishes for any time of year, consider this one…fun, easy and great for any one eating with food sensitivities.

Simple, healthy, no bake pumpkin pie. Nut-free, dairy-free, gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free and sugar-free. Vegan and paleo!

via No Bake Pumpkin Pie – Amanda Naturally.

I’m Hungry…Or Am I?

Posted on: December 16th, 2011 by Dr. Amanda Sue Cressman

This is the time of year when food is abundance.  Work place counters are full of treats, parties offer tables full of goodies and Holiday Gatherings offer courses of food.  Generally when we leave these functions we end up feeling bloated, full and frustrated that we ate so much. Temptation can be difficult, especially surrounding Holiday Celebrations.

So what can be done to help?  I think the best place to start is asking a question, having an apple and a big cup of water.

Michael Pollan’s Book, Food Rules reminds us to ask a question when we are hungry…Am I Hungry Enough to Eat an Apple?  If the answer is yes…eat the apple, if not…you’re probably not that hungry at all.  Trying this out can be very interesting and very helpful.  It makes you really check in to see the true hunger level, what the body is craving and most importantly, why.

If the apple has been eaten and you are still hungry, try a glass of water.  The signals for thirst and hunger are so similar that it is hard to differentiate.  Try having a big glass of water before Holiday parties to fill you up and decrease the likelihood of a hunger pang striking.  Remember this isn’t to be juice, wine or water with any type of sweetener added, which increases your appetite…just pure, good old water.

Adding this trick before Holiday functions will hopefully have you feeling more refreshed and energized, able to really enjoy the Season.

If interested in learning more about Nutritional Health, please contact Dr. Amanda Cressman, N.D. at info@touchstonehealth.ca or 1-888-454-4667.

Eating with the Seasons

Posted on: September 27th, 2010 by Dr. Amanda Sue Cressman



Eating with the seasons is something that our ancestors have done, but as we have availability of produce from all over the world, at all times, this is changing. A balanced body will crave the foods of the season and experience healthier digestion because of it.

In the spring, we crave greens and lots of vegetables. Spring is notorious for the time of detoxification and removal of waste. The greens we crave help this process along. In the summer, we move toward cooling foods, especially fruits. Our body craves foods such as: peaches, berries, plums and melons, which help cool from the external heat. We also add ice to our water to keep from overheating. In the fall, we move toward warming foods and root vegetables. Squash, potatoes, carrots, beets are all wonderful foods to eat warmed up at this time of year. And for the final season of winter, meals are served hot using soups, breads and meats. Teas and hot drinks are served at this time of year to keep us warm and toasty.

Imagine eating a salad on a warm summer day, outside with the sun shining. After you are done, you eat a few slices of watermelon. What is your body feeling, how is digestion working?

Now imagine it is a cool fall or winter day and you have packed yourself a salad. You feel good with this healthy choice, but how is your body feeling and what is digestion like?

At this time of year, we naturally crave warm foods, as it helps the digestive process. Eating salads and tropical fruits when temperatures are cool usually results in bloating, gas and indigestion. But if we eat with the seasons and prepare our foods as our ancestors did, we will experience better digestion and overall health.

Ask your body what it wants as the fall season begins and temperatures dip. If you are craving fruit, perhaps warm it up. Make teas instead of ice water or refrigerated juices. Ensure your meals are served warm and connect with the foods of the season. If you are not sure as to what is in season, visit your local farmers market and you will quickly understand what foods are apart of the fall harvest.

And most importantly, enjoy. Food is meant to be satisfying but can also serve as a medicine, helping our body do the necessary work to keep healthy and free of digestive concerns.

564-572 Weber Street North, Unit 3A
Waterloo, Ontario
N2L5C6