TouchStone Health Photo
TouchStone Health Photo

Warming Vegan Lentil Dahl

Posted on: September 23rd, 2021 by Anna Totzke

by Jill Jackson, CNP, NNCP 

Hello friends! I bring to you the perfect curried fall recipe. This recipe is easy to make and is vegan, gluten-free, and sugar free. It also works great for meal prepping and will freeze nicely! I hope you give it a try. 

Serves: 6-8 Prep time: 15 mins

Cook time: 20-25 mins Total time: 40 mins

Ingredients:

  • 1 large zucchini 
  • 1 large red bell pepper 
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic (minced)
  • 1 3/4 cup of dried red lentils 
  • 1 cup of full fat coconut milk 
  • 850 ml of vegetable broth
  • 1 tbsp of fresh minced or grated ginger 
  • 1 1/2 tbsp of curry powder 
  • 1/2 tbsp turmeric 
  • 1/2 tbsp paprika
  • 1 small onion 
  • 1 large carrot 

Directions:

Begin by chopping all vegetables (bell pepper, carrot, zucchini and onion) into very small cubes. 

In a large pot or deep pan, heat 1 tbsp of olive oil (or oil of your choice) over medium heat and add in onion, garlic and ginger. Cook for 3-5 minutes or until onion begins to go translucent. 

Add in the rest of the vegetables and remaining oil and cook for another 3-5 minutes till vegetables begin to lightly soften. 

After rinsing your lentils, add them to your pot along with your vegetable broth. Add in all spices (you can adjust the amounts to your preferred taste) and add coconut milk. Mix everything together well. Bring to a simmer and allow mixture to cook for another 10-12 minutes, stir frequently to prevent the bottom burning. (Lentils should become nice and soft.)

Enjoy warm on its own or served with rice and naan bread! 

Preparing for Labour with Acupuncture

Posted on: September 3rd, 2021 by Anna Totzke

Anna Totzke, Registered Acupuncturist

Research shows that Pre-Birth Acupuncture Treatments have many positive effects including:

-A shorter duration of labour

-35% reduction in medical inductions

-32% lower cesarean rates

-31% reduction in requests for epidural

-An overall increase in natural vaginal deliveries

For Research: https://touchstonehealth.ca/…/acupuncture-in-pregnancy/

Creatively Cooking Canadian

Posted on: July 26th, 2021 by TouchStone Health

What Eating Local Has to Offer

By Jill Jackson, CNP, NNCP

As a passionate nutritionist eager to take on a challenge, I decided to poke my nose into the ever-rising interest of local cooking.

At first like many, I assumed the term “locally cooked” was best left as selling-point for expensive restaurants used to charge staggering amounts for a tiny plate of food. However, after some research I realized it can be done easily from the comfort of your own kitchen and at a reasonable price.

Currently “Local Food” is defined as food sold that is grown or made within your residing province or food sold across provincial borders within 50km of the originating province or territory.

Why Cook Local?

As a research project, I compared two recipes. One a non-local favorite recipe I frequently made and the other a locally sourced recipe. I found the manufacturers address or the farm address for all the called for ingredients in both recipes. I calculated the mileage that the food had to travel to get to my plate in my hometown of Waterloo Ontario. Upon comparison I was shocked! The ingredients of the non-local recipe had to travel from all over the world some 5,008 miles, whereas the local recipe had logged only 31.68 miles of travel. What does this mean?

For starters, cooking local ensures the freshest and most nutrient dense food. Fruits and vegetables that must travel large distances to reach your grocery store are often picked prematurely to guarantee they do not go bad throughout the duration of travel. Sadly, this causes nutrient value loss. The foods do not contain as high amounts of vitamin and minerals as they would if the produce were allowed to naturally ripen. Local fruits and vegetables can be picked at the peak of their freshness and ripeness, ready to be farm to fork within hours. You really are paying for top quality food when you buy local!

Local cooking also supports local businesses and farms. In 1931, 31.7% of the Canadian population lived Farms that were their livelihoods. As of 2006 only 2.2% of the Canadian population lived on a farm. This means the ratio of farmers went from 1 in every 3 rd person to 1 in every 46. Farms that mass produce often can run locals out of a job but eating local does the opposite, supports them and their families while also promoting biodiversity and sustainability.

Overall, it is considerably better for your health and the health of the environment.

Where to Look to Shop Local?

If you are located in Canada near the country, a quick drive to farm territory might be a great place to start. Where I am from, local produce stands can be found at the entrance of most farm driveways. A majority of the stands work via the honour system and the children of the farmers often love to be a part of creating the sales signs and seeing you purchase. This can be an inexpensive way to support local.

Another option would be choosing a grocery store that opts to carry some local products or finding a farmers’ market. Grocery stores will often distinguish what products are locally made, sometimes down to the exact farm, and farmers markets will be sure to do this as well.

I am confident you will thank yourself when cooking with local Canadian foods. Not only will your tastebuds be exploding with Canadian flavours, but the farmers will be tipping their hats to you in genuine appreciation.

5 Ingredient Watermelon Feta

Posted on: June 21st, 2021 by TouchStone Health

Jill Jackson, CNP, NNCP

Hello friends! This recipe creation is a new favorite of mine!! It is perfect for cooling off in the summer heats. It is crisp, fresh and light with still an abundance of flavor. Since I like to keep things simple, this recipe is only 5 easily accessible ingredients. It is also gluten and grain free. I hope you enjoy as much as I did!

Cook Time: 15-20 minutes
Serves: 4-5 people

Ingredients:

  • 5 cups of cubed watermelon
  • ¼ cup of olive oil (preferably a lighter tasting oil)
  • ½ cup of crumbled feta
  • 1 generous handful of basil
  • Juice from 1 large lime (or 2 tbsp of lime concentrate)
  • Salt and pepper

Instructions:

  • Begin by cubing watermelon into bite sized cubes. Place in a medium to large bowl.
  • Next, crumble in feta and add in basil either whole or torn into smaller pieces.
  • In a separate small bowl add olive oil and lemon juice, whisk together until well
    combined. If you have a mason jar with a lid, vigorously shaking the olive oil and lemon
    juice together in the jar works as well.
  • Season with a salt and pepper, pour dressing over salad and mix all ingredients together
    till watermelon is evenly coated.
  • Plate and enjoy! (Tastes best chilled)

In Wellness,
Jill Jackson, CNP, NNCP

A Naturopathic Perspective on Postpartum/Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders

Posted on: June 4th, 2021 by TouchStone Health

by Dr. Melanie Reidl, N.D.

The postpartum period can be a transformative, beautiful experience for new parents, however, it is not without a dark side for many. I personally experienced both the euphoric stage of new motherhood, as well as the anxious and depressed state that many women experience. 

Perinatal/postpartum mood and anxiety disorders (PMAD) affect approximately 15 to 20% of new mothers. This may underestimate the prevalence of PMAD; the signs and symptoms may be missed and attributed to being a ‘normal’ part of motherhood, or, mothers may resist acknowledging the signs because of stigma or societal pressures. 

If prolonged and untreated, PMAD’s can be detrimental to maternal health and the child’s development. As such, is important that we work to improve our screening/identification and treatment approaches for this group of women. 

Naturopathic Medicine, with its emphasis on treating root causes and viewing health more holistically, is well suited to support women with PMAD’s. There are many factors or root causes that may be involved in the development of a PMAD, including but not limited to the following: personal history, family history, social support, birth experiences/trauma, stressors, nutritional status, and thyroid/hormonal factors. 

In my experience, the most overlooked factors are nutritional status, stress levels, and thyroid/hormonal imbalances. First, is not uncommon for women to be undernourished during their pregnancy and when a new baby enters the picture. She may have forgotten to take her prenatal multivitamin, have pre-existing nutrient deficiencies, or feel like she doesn’t have the time or energy to nourish herself properly.  

Elevated stress hormones are also common in this group of women. The stress hormone, cortisol, may high be due a variety of factors, including but not limited to: birth trauma, lack of support, financial challenges, relationship stress, and lack of sleep. 

Further, the risk for developing hypothyroidism (an under active thyroid) is greater in the postpartum period. Hypothyroidism may develop due to nutrient deficiencies, prolonged elevation in cortisol levels, and hormonal and immune system changes associated with pregnancy and postpartum. Hypothyroidism is a common cause of depression, anxiety, and fatigue, and must be ruled out in all cases of PMAD.

In my opinion, the treatment approach to PMAD should be collaborative in most cases. Involvement of the woman’s G.P., a Psychologist or Social Worker, and an N.D. would address several facets of the PMAD. In moderate to severe cases medication may be necessary for a period of time. Counselling or CBT is also important to develop healthy coping strategies and to re-frame negative thought patterns. 

My approach as a Naturopathic Doctor would begin with a comprehensive screening of thyroid tests and nutrient levels (ie. Vitamin B12, Iron status, Vitamin D3) in these women in order to better identify and treat any possible physiological underpinnings. Following a careful assessment of patient history and blood work, I work with women to optimize their nutritional status and provide dietary counselling, I encourage healthy lifestyle factors such as exercise, self-care, and mindfulness practices, and provide individualized nutritional or herbal supplement recommendations. 

As an ND who has seen many women with PMAD, in addition to my personal experience, I have developed a deep understanding and empathy for this group of women. They deserve a thorough assessment of their physical, mental, and emotional health, as well as an individualized treatment plan to help them cope, overcome their PMAD’s, and improve their well-being so that they can be more present mothers for their babies and be their best selves.

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