TouchStone Health Photo
TouchStone Health Photo
TouchStone Health Photo

We Can do Hard Things and Everything is Figureoutable

Posted on: September 14th, 2020 by TouchStone Health

by: Dr. Amanda Cressman, N.D.

I’m always so grateful when the right book comes along at the right time. I’ve had this happen recently when I read Untamed by Glennon Doyle and Everything is Figureoutable by Marie Forleo.

For many people, this year, at this time, in this season is bringing about very hard things where perspective can be lost. These words have helped restore that for me.

In my house, I have a few select quotes that are hung up in rooms as I try to instil these thoughts into my children but also into myself. In my children’s playroom I have this framed quote, “Everything is Figureoutable”. This quote comes from Marie Forleo and her book named just that. Marie is a life coach, an enterpreneur and many other things. She is an example and a reminder that we can define who we are and how we experience things with our attitude and perspective.

A week into having this quote up and framed in our house, I was doing some computer work where I was needing to learn a new system which is one of my least favourite things to do. My youngest daughter saw me sigh, looking defeated and stressed and said, “mommy, you know everything is figureoutable…you can figure this out.” I had put up this quote in their playroom that very week and shared the concept with them, bringing it up when they were frustrated, teaching them that they have the ability to figure things out. When my daughter said this, it made me smile large, seeing that a 5 year old had locked these words in as a belief in a few short days where I obviously had more work to do. I repeated it in my mind

I love this phrase because it’s playful, it’s positive and it’s powerful.

And it’s been very helpful in this peculiar year, in this precarious season as we all have no idea what the next bit of time will be for us all.

But Marie reminds us that everything is figureoutable. I just need to get my mind out of the way to make room for solutions and ideas. If you like this phrase and feel as though it could benefit you, please feel free to download this image.

The second book that has been helpful is Glennon Doyle’s, Untamed. It is a powerful piece of work. It’s raw, it’s real, it’s courageous and it’s important. Glennon shows up authentically on each page and if you have the audio version of her work, she’s as good of an orator as a writer, which is saying something.

Out of many of the highlighted quotes from her book, this one has landed the strongest for me….“We can do hard things.” We are all continuing to experience changes with uncertainty of the coming months, but her words, “We can do hard things” is inspiring and instills in me, “yes, I can do hard things, I’ve done a lot of hard things before and life brings about hard things….I can do this, my kids can do this…we all can do this.”

It’s why I love Naturopathic Medicine, because my job is to help people figure out why they are experiencing what they are experiencing and how to get back to who they wish to be. And sometimes that work is hard. Asking people to look at their lifestyle, to change patterns or behaviours that are blocking them from health is hard stuff.

For me as a person, as a parent and as a Naturopathic Doctor, resilience is what I strive for. Resilient people can weather the season changes of life with grace and and with perspective.

This coming season of life is a big one for us all. It is asking us to be flexible, to be conscientious, to be considerate and to be patient.

For whatever is going on in your life, I hope these words from these two extraordinary women will be helpful…knowing you can figure things out and you can do hard things.

If you like this phrase and feel as though it could benefit you, please feel free to download this image.

Have you been trying to get pregnant but only getting negative pregnancy tests? OR Are you thinking about growing your family?

Posted on: September 9th, 2020 by TouchStone Health

Preparing for Pregnancy e-Program!

Have you been trying to get pregnant but only getting negative pregnancy tests?

OR

Are you thinking about growing your family?

Written by: Alexandria Muirhead, R.H.N.

Preparing for Pregnancy e-Program is a self-paced, online program that helps you optimize your health and boost your fertility to help you get pregnant! This e-program also reduces your risk of miscarriages, corrects any nutritional deficiencies to ensure your baby has all the nutrients required to grow and helps you have a healthy pregnancy!

Alex Muirhead has created this online program to address all areas of your life that impact your fertility such as your cycle, sleep, movement, mindset, nutrition and more. It’s based on scientific research and her experience in practice.

Who is this e-Program for?

  • Thinking about getting pregnant in the next 12 months
  • Have been trying but haven’t been able to get pregnant yet
  • Worried about whether or not they can get pregnant
  • Worried about miscarriages
  • Have a pre-existing health condition/illness (IBS, autoimmune disease, diabetes, PCOS, endometriosis, etc)
  • Have irregular, short or long cycles
  • Have painful periods
  • Experience PMS
  • Have digestive issues (heartburn, gas, bloating, constipation or diarrhea)

This e-Program helps address any underlying health issue that interferes with your fertility. A body system that is out of balance and not functioning properly can have a really big impact on your ability to get pregnant. This e-program identifies if you have any imbalances and provides you with the proper tools to rebalance that system.

What does the e-Program Include?

  • 8 modules, each covering an important area for fertility
  • 3 bonus modules
  • Easy to understand information
  • Step-by-step guides
  • Worksheets
  • Resources
  • Personalized supplements 
  • & more!

Each module contains a video of Alex Muirhead educating you on that particular topic and a step-by-step guide to help you implement everything you learnt in that video! In addition, she has created specialized worksheets and compiled resources pertaining to that module!

Are you Interested in Learning More About the e-Program?

If you are! Then click HERE or follow Alex Muirhead on instagram, @alexmuirhead_RHN . She has lots of information about her e-program and why it works.

  1. Discount for Launch Week!!

The e-program is 25% off during launch week! 

When is launch week?? September 8th to 14th! 

Use the promo code LAUNCH at check out for 25% off!

3 Kitchen Item Swaps to Promote Hormone Balance

Posted on: September 3rd, 2020 by TouchStone Health

Written by: Alexandria Muirhead, Registered Holistic Nutritionist

Many say that the kitchen is the heart of the home. It’s where people gather to laugh and show love for others. It is one of the most important rooms in the house where we create meals to nourish ourselves, family and friends. There are many items that we use in our kitchen that we believe are safe but in reality they can have a negative impact on our health. These impacts can happen right away or happen over years. This phenomenon is called bioaccumulation and it can contribute to a whole host of health issues including autoimmune diseases and infertility. This is caused by chemicals and toxins that disrupt our normal body systems such as our immune system, hormonal (endocrine) system, circulatory system, nervous system and more. It affects all of our body systems and leads to symptoms such as fatigue, mood swings, irritability, digestive issues, gas, bloating, allergies, asthma, PMS, brittle nails, hair loss, and sleep troubles.

Please don’t panic or worry! Keep reading!

Just as your body accumulates these toxins and chemicals, your body can eliminate them once you have stopped exposing yourself to them! Our bodies are so amazing and fascinating. They want to be in homeostasis and have all of our systems working together flawlessly. In Holistic Nutrition, we know that once you remove what is causing you to feel unwell, support your body and give it time to rebalance, that your health will be restored! I believe this and know this to be true because I have personally experienced it. You can not heal in the same environment that you became sick in.

The top 3 kitchen item swaps that you can do to reduce your exposure to harmful toxins and chemicals!

  • Ditch the Non-Stick!

Yes, I know. This one was hard for me to do as well. Isn’t non-stick so convent and easy? Nothing sticks to it and it’s a breeze to clean. These are amazing qualities but they come with a price. Teflon coated cookware contain chemicals that over time leach out into your food and you consume it. PFC, PFOS and PFOA are three chemicals that bioaccumulate and disrupt your body systems. 1.They have banned PFOA from being used in teflon products since it has been shown to be carcinogenic to the thyroid, kidneys, testicles, ovarian and bladder. 2. There is growing evidence that states that PFOA are not the only chemical to have negative effects on our health.

Teflon manufacturers say that it can be safe, if used properly. We don use it the way the manufacturer recommended which exposes us to these chemicals. Proper use of non-stick pans including not heating it higher than 260oC (500oF), do use if coating is chipped or scratched and use for a maximum of 6 months. It has been shown that an empty pan or a pan with oil can heat to 500oF within 2 minutes. We have all done these things and I am included in this! I had the same non-stick pan for years with scratches and would place some oil in the pan to heat up and I am sure it got to above 500oF.  Those chemicals are released once these things happen and get into our bodies.

What to use instead!

Once I learned about the chemicals in non-stick pans I began to look into alternatives! It took me a while to come around since non-stick is so convenient but the health benefits are worth it! Instead you can use cast iron pans or stainless steel pans. Cast iron can take a little bit of maintenance but is an excellent option once you’ve gotten the hang of it. There are lots of resources online on how to use and care for cast iron! Stainless steel is another opinion! Food tends to stick which is why oil, broth or water should be used. You can find lots of resources on how to use and care for stainless steel pans with a quick google search!

  • Ditch the Plastic!

This is a big one since plastic has taken over the modern kitchen. There are plastic utensils (spatula, stirring spoon, slotted spoon, tongs, masher, whisks), plastic cutting boards, plastic measure cups/spoons, plastic mixing bowls, plastic strainer, plastic wrap, plastic food storage containers, plastic water bottles and the list goes on and on!

This is a really important one since all of these plastics contain chemicals called endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDC’s) and exposes us to xenoestrogens. Xenoestrogens are synthetic chemicals that have the same chemical structure as estrogen and therefore binds to the estrogen receptors in our bodies. They have a very strong effect and contribute to hormonal imbalances, estrogen dominance, low progesterone, endometriosis, PCOS, and estrogen driven cancers.

How and what to use instead?!

I always recommend switching things slowly and doing this process gradually. First become aware of all the plastic you are using in your kitchen. Once something gets worn out and is in need of being replaced, buy the non-plastic option! This makes it much easier to do and does not create a large financial burden of having to buy everything at once.

Instead of… Happy Hormone Swap
Plastic Utensils (spatula, stirring spoon, slotted spoon, tongs, masher, whisks, etc) Wooden or Stainless Steel Utensils
Plastic Cutting Board Wooden Cutting Board (plastic cutting boards also harbor and allow bacteria to grow, wood is always best!)
Plastic Measuring Cups/Spoons Stainless Steel or Glass Measuring Cups or Spoons
Plastic Mixing Bowls Stainless Steel, Ceramic, or Glass Mixing Bowls
Plastic Strainer Stainless Steel Strainer
Plastic Food Wrap Beeswax Wraps
Plastic Food Storage Containers Glass or Stainless Steel Containers
Plastic Water Bottles Glass or Stainless Steel Water Bottles

Don’t feel overwhelmed by this change. It’s best to take it slow and do things one at a time. Use this knowledge as power and begin to switch over these items to reduce you and your families exposure to xenoestrogens. Stores like Winners and Homesense are great place’s to get some of these items at a lower cost.

  • Ditch the Toxic Cleaners & Soaps!

There seems to be a cleaner for everything these days, am I right? Every surface and area of the home seems to have a specific cleaner to clean it. Conventional household and kitchen cleaners are a major source of toxic exposure in the home. You can use The Environmental Working Group to see where you cleaners rank. They have a system that they use to tell you if your cleaners are toxic or not. I also believe that household cleaners are a big waste of money! You really don’t need a different cleaner for every surface and room. Homemade cleaners are the best and safest option and save you lots of money! Having one all purpose, natural cleaner will reduce the toxins in your home, save you money and reduce the clutter in your laundry room where you store your cleaners.

Your hand soap, dish soap and dishwasher detergent also contain chemicals that we want to avoid!

What to use instead?

Make your own! Mix equal parts of white vinegar and water. You can add essential oils to give it a natural smell if you wish! Vinegar is a very potent disinfectant and kills bacteria. That is why it is used in preserving, so bacteria and mold does not grow.

Natural Cleaners! You can use castile soap and dilute it to use all over your home. You can also visit your local Health Food Store and ask them about safe and non=toxic cleaning products they carry. Two of my favorite brands are:

Branch Basics  and Seventh Generation. Branch Basics is a really great company that creates safe and effective cleaning products. Their products are safe for humans and for the environment and are not tested on animals. Seventh Generation is a wonderful company that has cleaners, baby items, soaps, and dishwashing detergent/pucks.

Small actions everyday that are in alignment with your wellness goals is what creates sustainable change and allows you to achieve those goals!

Citation

https://www.ncceh.ca/sites/default/files/Health_effects_PFCs_Oct_2010.pdf

https://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancer-causes/teflon-and-perfluorooctanoic-acid pfoa.html#:~:text=IARC%20has%20classified%20PFOA%20as,limited%20evidence%20in%20lab%20animals

I Don’t Want to be that Person….

Posted on: August 24th, 2020 by TouchStone Health

Written by: Dr. Amanda Cressman, N.D.

That’s a powerful phrase and it’s something I hear often in dialog with those that I work with.  I don’t want to be that person.  There is a lot of weight that comes with those words.

I think what is so interesting about that phrase is the inherent judgement of it.  Judgement of ourselves, the judgement we fear from others and the judgement we place on the thing we desperately don’t want to be.

Here are some examples of what I have commonly heard and still hear in my practice.

“I don’t want to be that person who eats differently from others, who has to ask, ‘What’s in that…is there gluten or dairy in that dish?’”  Insert eye roll here.
or
“I don’t want to be that person who can’t relax and not worry about what is going on…I’m on edge all the time and I hate it.”
or
“I don’t want to be that person who has health issues.”
or
“I don’t want to be that person who has given up on themselves and has stopped caring about their body.”

It can mean a lot of different things. But the commonality of all those phrases is a struggle with where we are actually at and where we want to go.

Since COVID came and ripped up so much of what I knew myself to be, of what I thought I could count on to be stable and steady, I have thought a lot of this phrase.  I have thought a lot about asking myself the opposite, of finally asking the question, who do I want to be?  What does that new me look like?  If I can figure that out, is it even possible?

When your world has been changed so dramatically as all of ours has, there exists an opportunity for reflection…to see more clearly and to gain clarity from the contrast.

For me, it’s created much needed time to realize a lot of the life I was living was something I hadn’t consciously chosen….or perhaps I did, in a way but it was no longer working for me.  I am many things but amongst them, I am driven and filled with a sense of duty which created a Wired but Tired version of myself that was productive and successful but was also exhausted and burnt out.  COVID threw me and my nervous system around and I fought hard to keep the old me present but the last 5 months won and what has emerged is surprising.  I have learned that who I want to be and what I want to do is different from what has been.

This is hard and takes courage to really see it.

For so many of the people that I work with, this has been a common experience that has been accentuated in the past 5 months where our modus operandi has been tweaked, challenged and altered.

Who do you want to be?  Who is the person that is most aligned to what you want and where you want to go?  What does it look like?  For me, it’s no longer being a Wired but Tired, go-getting, on the go, showing the world I can do it all type-of-person.  It’s someone who checks in first with herself instead of checking in with others to see if what she’s doing is ok.  It’s taking time to rest even when the floor needs some serious vacuuming because really, no one else cares or if they do…can I really be bothered to worry about their opinion?

So many of the people I work with are Wired but Tired…a tricky combination that is a by-product of high levels of stress that have been prolonged and accentuated by a desire to keep producing amongst having minimal, to nothing left in their tank.  It’s a tricky combination of exhaustion yet difficulty with getting or staying asleep, lack of motivation yet anxiousness and brain fog, cravings yet lack of appetite and weight gain.  It’s burnout that comes in a different package where many would never know what’s really going on because the individual is looking successful in the world yet not feeling that.  So many people have been taxed with all that COVID has brought.  And it’s been different for us all.  It has brought with it clarity, in learning our values, our fears, our priorities.  It’s stripped so many of us down and people are struggling with the aftermath of 5 months of this change and of the unknown of what September and the coming winter season will bring.

So, who do you want to be in these unprecedented times?  Or who don’t you want to be?  What do you need to get there?  How do you fill your tank to build back resiliency that has been lost?  Building back physical and mental resilience is possible but takes time and isn’t something that happens overnight.  It can come in many different ways and my hope is, that you are being supported in your journey, filling yourself up with the pieces that build you back.

What is the Gut Microbiome?

Posted on: July 31st, 2020 by TouchStone Health

Written by: Alexandria Muirhead, R.H.N.

The gut microbiome is a collection of good and bad bacteria that live in our digestive system with the majority being in our large intestines. There are actually more bacteria then there are cells in our body, approximately 10 bacteria for every 1 cell! They help us digest the food we eat, modulate our immune system, make vitamins such as vitamin K, B12, riboflavin and thiamine. Our gut microbiome affects our weight, our brain and when out of balance, is associated with autoimmune diseases such as Crohns, SLE, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, MS, fibromyalgia, etc. They even have an effect on our gene expression and activity. There are only a few of the things that the gut microbiome effectsIt is a super powerful part of us that we can have a positive effect on with some simple lifestyle, diet and mindset modifications.

Symptoms of Dysbiosis? (Unbalanced Gut Microbiome)

There are a wide range of symptoms since our gut is connected to our entire body. These symptoms can show up in our brains, nervous system and even our skin! Some symptoms include;

  • Bloating
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Brain Fog
  • Difficulty Concentrating
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Upset Stomach
  • Gas
  • Acne
  • Eczema
  • Sore Joints
  • Allergies; environment or food

How can we Positively Change our Gut Microbiome?

We can begin to positively impact our gut microbiome which in turn affects our health on so many different levels.

  • Increase Fiber and Decrease Refined Sugar

We can do this by eating whole foods with fiber and reducing our consumption of refined sugar. Fiber is our friend and nothing to be scared of. It helps regulate our bowel movements and feeds our good bacteria. Vegetables, nuts and seeds are excellent sources of fiber! Sugar has a negative effect on our gut microbiome and the more processed and refined sugar we eat the more and more depleted and out of balance it gets. Switching to all natural sweeteners such as real maple syrup, raw & local honey, coconut sugar or date sugar will help to minimize the negative effects. This also means being aware of what you are consuming and how much sugar it has in it. Sugar is sneaky and can be found in things you would never think of like Windsor Iodized Salt! Sugar is the third ingredient in our table salt. Getting rid of the sneaky exposures to sugar will help you maintain a healthy gut microbiome balance. Anything you eat that has an ingredient list you should read the ingredient list and review it to make sure you want to be putting that into your body.

  • Daily Movement

Movement and exercise is linked to having beneficial effects on our gut microbiome. Studies are showing the connection between daily movement having an anti-inflammatory effect and balancing the gut microbiome. Any movement is better than no movement. Find what you love and what feels good to your body. It can be walking, yoga, biking, working out, running, jogging or any sport! If you find movement that you enjoy you will want to keep doing it every day!1.

  • Mindset

Our bodies and all of our cells are listening to what we are thinking and saying. Positive affirmations and gratitude are a wonderful way to help shape your gut microbiome. We live in a society that has a lot of harsh and strict judgements on what beauty is, leaving many people feeling less than beautiful. These beauty constructs are simply not ture and you need to begin to believe it for yourself and begin to love your body. This also incorporates believing your body can heal. Our bodies want to be in balance, it is called homeostasis. Our bodies want to heal and repair and be vibrant and in balance. Given the right conditions our bodies will begin to restore this balance!

I hope you have learned something about your gut microbiome! Please feel free to reach out to share your experience or stories with me!

Citation

Cook MD, Allen JM, Pence BD, et al. Exercise and gut immune function: evidence of alterations in colon immune cell homeostasis and microbiome characteristics with exercise training. Immunol Cell Biol. 2016;94(2):158-163. doi:10.1038/icb.2015.108

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