Top 5 Essential Oils for Everyday Use

Essential oils

I discovered essential oils about 10 years ago when I had a headache.  A friend from homeopathic college recommended I add essential oils to my repertoire.  Always willing to try something new, I quickly incorporated it into my daily routine.  I added some lavender and peppermint oil to the base of my skull and added a drop of each to cupped hands and inhaled.  Almost instantly, I felt relief and was instantly hooked.

Used in cultures for over a thousand years, essential oils are defined in The Life Essential book as the “extracted volatile, aromatic compounds found in the leaves, flowers, bark, stems, roots, resin, seeds of plants or pith of citrus fruits” (9).  Due to the molecular size of an essential oil’s active compounds, they can more readily pass through the skin, into the bloodstream or even crossing the blood-brain barrier, and penetrate the cell membrane (9).    With a wide variety of functional chemical constituents in each essential oil and in a medium that is easily accessible and transferable to the body (9), the potential for effecting change at the physical, mental or emotional level is tremendous.

There are a variety of collection methods for essential oils such as steam distillation, cold pressing, solvent extractions, etc. and not all oils are created the same.   I have included a link at the bottom of this article from which includes a review of some of the top essential oil companies.  Since there are hundreds of essential oils, I’ve decided to create a list of the top 5 oils you will be able to use on a regular basis.   If you are new to essential oils, this will be especially helpful since it is sometimes difficult to know where to begin.

  1. Peppermint: Provides alertness and energy and can also be used to alleviate hot flashes and fevers, headaches/migraines and can even help with cravings due to its ability to suppress appetite when inhaled.

Emotional properties: Buoyant, optimistic, relieved, strength to face emotional pain.

Suggested uses: Aromatic: Inhale from bottle, diffuse or place 1 drop in hand, rub and inhale.  Topical: Dilute 1-2 drops with carrier oil and apply over chest, on shoulders or neck.

  1. Lavender: Perhaps the most popular of the essential oils, lavender is used for sleep issues, emotional balance, stress, anxiety, teeth grinding, sunburns, burns, scars, allergies, headaches and migraines to name a few.

Emotional properties: Open communication, calm, expressive, emotional honesty, self-aware, peace of mind.

Suggested uses:  Aromatic: Inhale from bottle, diffuse, or place drops in hand, rub and inhale. Topical: Apply 1-3 drops over throat, temples or on nape of neck.

  1. Lemon: It takes approximately 45 lemons to produce a 15 ml bottle of lemon essential oil. This is my favourite essential oil for pH issues. Adding 1 drop of food grade lemon essential oil to water first thing in the morning can help balance pH and provide hydration. This oil is also indicated for edema and water retention, heartburn and reflux, congestion and mucus, gout, rheumatoid, arthritis and varicose veins. It is also a fantastic degreaser and furniture polish.

Emotional properties: Focused, energized, mental clarity, alert, rational, joyful.

Suggested uses: Aromatic: Inhale from bottle or diffuse before mental exertion or during work or study.  Topical: Dilute 1-3 drops with carrier oil and apply on wrists and temples.  Warning: This essential can cause photosensitivity when exposed to sunlight.

  1. Tea Tree (Melaleuca): Used for cuts and wounds, bacteria, viruses and diarrhea, cankers and cold sores, athlete’s foot and candida issues, sore throat and tonsillitis, dandruff, scabies and lice, ear infections, shock, acne, pinkeye, staph infection and MRSA, bronchitis, cold and flu, hives, rashes and itching, cavities and gum disease.

Emotional properties: Energetic boundaries, healthy and respectful connections, empowered, resilient, safe.

Suggested uses: Aromatic: Inhale from bottle, diffuse, or place drops in hand, rub and inhale.  Topical: Apply 1-3 drops on bottom of feet or the crown of the head.  Environmental: Add several drops into spray bottle and mist around home.

  1. Frankincense: This essential oil has been used in many spiritual practices since ancient times. It has been used for cancers, tumours, seizures and trauma, alzheimer’s disease, dementia and brain injury, depression, wound healing and wrinkles, scars and stretch marks, immune system and cellular health, autoimmune disorders, sciatica, back pain and headaches, etc.  It has also been shown to enhance the effect of individual essential oils or essential oils combinations.

Emotional properties: Enlightened, loved, protected, wisdom, discerning, spirituality, open.

Suggested uses: Aromatic: Inhale from bottle, diffuse, or place drops in hand, rub and inhale.  Topical: Apply 1-3 drops on crown of head, forehead or behind ears.  Environmental: Add several drops into spray bottle and mist around home.


The Essential Life: A Simple Guide to Living the Wellness Lifestyle, 5th Ed., Total Wellness Publishing, 2018.

Emotions and Essential Oils: A Reference Guide for Emotional Healing, 7th Ed., Essential Emotions, 2019.

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Nutritional Genomics: Personalized Health Protocols for Optimal Health


Image courtesy of dream designs at

Have you recently taken a genetic test and are wondering what to do with the information?  Or have you heard about genetic testing, but aren’t sure how to proceed?

In the last few months, I have begun working with Pure Encapsulations®, a leading manufacturer of research-based, hypoallergenic health supplements.  This company is helping bridge the gap between genetic results and personalized health protocols by providing healthcare practitioners with the resources they need to interpret genetic test results.

The mapping of the human genome has brought tremendous opportunities for optimizing human health, but this flood of information has also led to more questions. Can genetic variations lead to long-term health consequences? How can these be bypassed? And, how can practitioners use genetic information to help people achieve their best health?

The expanding field of nutritional genomics holds tremendous potential for healthcare providers to connect the dots between the human genome and nutrition to optimize health. The challenge lies in sorting through pages of genetic data, which requires a skilled eye and may take hours to interpret effectively. This means it is incredibly difficult for practitioners to take full advantage of this powerful information and provide every unique individual with a personalized treatment plan for optimal health.

Understanding your genetics and taking measures to optimize your health doesn’t have to be complicated.

The PureGenomics™ website application helps with translating, identifying and addressing common genetic variations known as Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs). While over 10 million SNPs are known, only a few have clinical significance. PureGenomics™ provides reports on SNPs that are relevant to health, validated by published research, and responsive to nutritional support, making it easy for practitioners such as myself to upload an individual’s genetic test results and offer a tailored nutritional regimen based on each person’s unique health needs.

So, how does one go about achieving optimal health?  Start with ordering a test from and then schedule an appointment so we can go over your results.  If you want to learn more information about the PureGenomics™ website application, click here.







Marine Collagen for Healthier Skin, Hair, Nails, Joints & Bones

stick pack

I want to share with you a product I have recently been using that I have had amazing results with. It is called TruMarine Collagen.  You may have heard a lot of information in the media about collagen, but did you know that not all collagen is created equal? Hydrolyzed marine collagen is the form of collagen that appears to have the most promising results due to the fact that it generates bioactive peptides, which in turn enhances the production of collagen, skin hydration, hair growth, joint and bone health.  Who doesn’t want these benefits, especially as we get older?

Our body loses the ability to make collagen as we get older and this can cause the dermal layer, the layer of skin between the epidermis and subcutaneous tissues, to collapse which can lead to sagging and wrinkles. In addition, lack of the collagen protein, which comprises as much as 75% of our skin, can cause hair to become thinner or dull and joints to stiffen and become less flexible.

Traditionally, bovine-derived collagen hasn’t had a good reputation for bioavailability. I have often recommend silica over the years, whether in the form of tissue salts or Choline-stabilized Orthosilicic Acid, as a precursor to collagen due to poor absorption of pure collagen.  However, when I discovered marine collagen I was thrilled to find a product that provided superior absorption.  Marine collagen is derived from fish scales, which means that it has a lower molecular weight than other forms of collagen.  As a result, the collagen peptides are more easily absorbed through the intestinal barrier into the bloodstream, leading to more efficient collagen synthesis and, in turn, more beneficial results for hair, skin, nails, joint tissues and bones.

My favourite way to use collagen has been to add it to a latte in the morning.  I am not a regular coffee drinker so I will add it to a matcha latte or a dandelion root latte.  Check out this fat-burning Rocket Fuel Latte recipe by Leanne Vogel, another Registered Holistic Nutritionist.  You can use coffee or coffee alternatives for this one.





Tissue Salts for a Healthy Pregnancy

Pregnancy final

Early in pregnancy, women are often told to take folic acid (or folate, which is better absorbed).  Studies now recognize that supplementation with folate can have a protective effect against neural tube defects in the embryo, specifically, anencephaly and spina bifida.  While this is important, it is also essential to address the mother’s health.  During pregnancy the baby requires certain salts that it gets at the expense of the mother.  The following program, which is based on Schuessler’s tissue salts, will help to maintain healthy salt levels in the mother so that neither mother or baby suffer deficiencies.


Calc Fluor – for bone development and elasticity of the connective tissues, and helps prevent stretch marks.

Mag Phos – for heartburn and nerve development.

Ferr Phos – for blood oxygenation.

Nat Mur – helps control salt and therefore fluid balance, and helps prevent swollen ankles.

Silica – for teeth, bones, hair and general strength.


Take 1 tablet of each 2x per day (morning and evening)*

month 2&6 Calc Flour Mag Phos Ferr Phos

month 3&7 Calc Flour Mag Phos Nat Mur

month 4&8 Calc Flour Nat Mur Silica

month 5&9 Calc Flour Ferr Phos Silica

*Tissue salts can vary in size, depending on brand.  I am basing the dosage on the Martin & Pleasance brand of tissue salts.  If you are using the Hylands’ brand, I would recommend 4 tablets 2x per day, as the tablets are smaller.


Flower Essences: A Tool to Balance Emotions and Enhance Well-being


For centuries, flower essences have been recognized in Australia, India and China for their incredible therapeutic potential.  Dr. Edward Bach (1886-1936), Physician and Homeopath, brought worldwide recognition to the use of flower essences.  Derived from the flowers of wild plants, trees and bushes, Bach discovered 38 remedies, each designed specifically for addressing negative emotions and the effects of past emotional trauma.  He also created Rescue Remedy, a combination of five remedies helpful for acute stress, trauma and to help promote relaxation, focus and calm.

Using spring water infused with wild flowers, Bach Flower Remedies are made 100% naturally either through boiling or the sun-steeped method.  The latter method has traditionally involved putting a selection of blossoms in a bowl of fresh water, which is then left to sit in the sun for a few hours.  The water is then drained off and preserved with an equal amount of brandy or similar alcohol.  This is the Mother Essence and can be further diluted in a stock bottle with other flower essences added.

Fear, lonliness, uncertainty and despair are some of the emotions that can be addressed with the appropriate flower essences.  Through treating the individual and not the disease or symptoms of the disease, these emotions are alleviated.  For example, if you have two people suffering the same complaint, e.g. migraine headache, they might feel better using two completely different remedies.  Balance in mind and body is restored, allowing the body to heal itself.

Of the numerous ready-made emergency formulas produced, the original and most well known of these is Bach’s Rescue Remedy. It contains:

Cherry Plum for extreme stress and loss of control.

Clematis for faintness, disorientation and ungroundedness, even coma.

Impatiens for great tension.

Rock Rose for terror, extreme fright, sudden realization of own mortality.

Star of Bethlehem for shock, trauma and their after-effects, offering significant protection against further problems arising from the incident.

This combination essence has often been used in cases of collapse, seizure (both human and animal), traumatic incidents such as car crashes, post-traumatic stress.  One of Bach’s first cases involving the use of Rescue Remedy was for a nearly-drowned sailor rescued from a wreck off the coast of Cornwall. According to Bach’s case notes, the unconscious, blue-faced and frozen man recovered within a few short minutes after Rescue Remedy was rubbed on his lips.

Bach recognized that mental and emotional trauma, which accompanies physical imbalance or disease, was crucial to pinpointing an underlying cause of a physical problem.  Through supporting a person on an emotional level with flower essences, the natural healing process on a physical level could be activated and equlibrium could be restored.

Whether using flower essences individually or in a formula such as Rescue Remedy, these remedies are considered a safe and natural method of healing.  Diluted in water, they are even safe to give to babies and animals.  Manufacturers of flower essences claim they are also safe enough to combine with other medications.  Rescue Remedy is available for oral use in liquid, pastille or gum form, but can also be used topically or added to sprays or diffusers.  The flower essences, available in liquid form, can be combined in a stock bottle to address a variety of emotions and complement other healing modalities.  To find out more information about Bach flower essences, visit  You can also visit for more information about native westcoast wild flower essences.

Homeopathic First Aid Kit for the Family


While on maternity leave, I put together a list of first aid remedies which can be useful for the whole family.  A lot of these remedies can be found at the health food store or at some pharmacies.  Homeopathic first aid kits can also be found online.  Another option is to buy a homeopathic formula, which is a combination of remedies for a specific condition (e.g. colic, anxiety, sleep, etc.), but it may not be as effective for addressing your unique symptoms.  Keep in mind that in an emergency condition, while you can still use these remedies, it is important to also seek help from a medical professional.

Contusions, Physical Traumas

Arnica: For any kind of trauma to the body (e.g. fall, contusion, fright), especially if there is bruising. It is also good for exhaustion for both parents and baby. Combine with Cocculus for exhaustion and jet lag.

Stapyhsagria: Indicated for cuts or severe trauma/violation to the body.  I would recommend it for surgeries, any type of shock, dental work, knife wounds, etc.  You can take it in combination with Arnica for physical or psychological trauma.


Urtica Urens: For first degree burn (e.g. hot water, touching a hot pan)

Cantharis: For second degree burn (needs medical attention).

Phosphorous: For third degree burn (e.g. electrical burn, needs serious medical attention).

Calendula: Indicated for any kind of skin damage to speed up healing time. It can also be used topically and id ideal for diaper rash, burns, cuts, etc. due to its regenerative and antiseptic properties.  If there is broken skin, apply liberally and often.

Emotional Shock with Fear

Aconite: This remedy is indicated for any kind of shock or fright.  This is the main remedy to consider when shock to the emotional system is present.  There is a lot of fear, anxiety and restlessness with this remedy.

Emergency Eye Conditions

Euphrasia: The botanical name for this remedy is Eyebright.  It is an excellent remedy whenever there are symptoms in the eye that cause burning discharge. There can also be a bland discharge from the nose.

Food Poisoning

Arsenicum: This remedy is indicated when a person has been poisoned by contaminated food or water. I was in Peru with some American tourists several years back. They developed severe food poisoning with severe nausea and diarrhea. I gave this remedy to them and all of their symptoms cleared up within a few hours.

Carbo Veg: Food poisoning that has been caused by putrid fish or seafood, or rancid fats.  There is a great amount of flatulence, often incarcerated (unable to expel) and bloating and rumbling in the abdomen.  This remedy has helped a lot of my baby patients who have these very symptoms. Regardless of the cause, this remedy can help with digestive problems (as long as they match the remedy picture. Same for Arsencium or any other remedy).


Symphytum: Also known as Comfrey or “knit bone,” this remedy is best used after a trip to the emergency room, after broken bones have been set, to speed up healing. This remedy is also one of the main remedies indicated for a blow to the orbit around the eye.

Heatstroke, Sunstroke

Veratrum: Indicated for heat exhaustion.   Symptoms include a cold sweat on the forehead, exhausted, cold, cramps, thirst for cold water and ice.  There can also be vomiting and purging with cold sweats.

Cuprum: Invaluable in the treatment of muscle cramping inherent in heat exhaustion. There can be vomiting and purging, but with no sweat.

Belladonna: This is an invaluable heatstroke remedy, as it is indicated for the symptoms of redness, sudden onset and heat.  It is a great sunburn remedy as well.

Glonoinum: Indicated for sunstroke. There are bursting, explosive symptoms (e.g. throbbing pulsation in the head with every pulse beat, headaches are severe bursting or crushing pain, aggravated by noise, motion, jarring, stooping, etc.).

Hemmorhage, Bleeding, Loss of Vital Fluids

Ferr phos or Phosphorous: These remedies can help with the coagulation of blood, which will slow or stop blood loss.

China: Indicated for great loss of bodily fluids.

Insect or Animal Bites or Stings, and Puncture Wounds

Apis: This is another great remedy for any kind of insect bite or sting.  It can be combined with Ledum.  If you have any stinging, burning or itching, combined with redness and swelling, this is the remedy to take.  This remedy is indicated for anyone going into anaphylactic shock due to allergy (if they don’t have their EpiPen on hand).

Ledum: For any kind of puncture wound, whether it is from a nail, insect bite or animal bite.  It can be combined with Apis. It is also a useful remedy to give if you decide to vaccinate your baby.

Muscle Strain and Poison Ivy

Rhus tox: Indicated for joint pain that is worse from initial motion, and better from continued motion (think of a rusty gate, which is tight when it starts to move but then loosens up as motion continues).   I give this remedy in combination with Ruta and Arnica for any kind of sprain or strain.  It just so happens this remedy is also great for poison ivy.

Nerve Trauma

Hypericum: For any kind of damage to the central nervous system, from a fall that injures the coccyx to having your finger caught in the door. Combine with Ledum when getting vaccination or any kind of lab work where needles are involved.

Septicimia, Infections

Pyrogenium: In cases of extreme sepsis, where the infection is rampant in the body, Pyrogenium is the remedy.  There is a constant restlessness and the discharges are putrid, cadaveric. The fever is extreme, the pulse rapid and sweating brings no relief.

Sleep Deprivation

Cocculus: This is a restorative remedy and will help cure exhaustion, dullness and numbness caused by lack of sleep. Combine with Arnica for jet lag.


Bach’s Rescue Remedy:  You can rub this into the inner elbows or back of knees to calm a stressed baby.  It might come in handy during transition period or travelling from one country to another.


Aconitum: Indicated for the baby or child who has sense of panic, easily startled.  This remedy will help where there is tremendous fear and anxiety.  Incidentally, it is the first remedy to think of at the first sign of a cold.

Ignatia: This is a great remedy for separation anxiety and/or for grief and loss. This could be felt by the new mother or the baby. The baby may benefit from this remedy during transitional times.

Pulsatilla: Indicated for baby who is sweet, clingy, affectionate, demanding of attention and affection.  You might also notice that they switch from tears to smiles when comforted.  Later on, you may find that this is a great teething remedy. Look out for the symptoms of whininess and clinginess.

Coffea: You might consider this remedy if it is difficult to console the baby or when he/she will not sleep.  The key symptoms with this remedy are hypersensitivity to pain and stimuli (light, noise, touch), restlessness, sleepless.  Think about the symptoms you get when you’ve had too much coffee to drink and the excitability that comes with it.

Chamomila: This is another teething remedy, but it is also good if your baby is inconsolable and has an irritable temper.


Chamomila: Irritability, unbearable pain, whining, thirsty, restless, diarrhea, green stool.

Lycopodium: Ineffectual stool, constipation, mucous, gas.

Colocynthis: Agonizing abdominal pain, irritability, doubled over in pain.

Colds and Coughs

Aconite: Indicated in the initial stages of any acute inflammatory process, Aconite is the first remedy to be considered in symptoms of cold.  Its symptoms often come on after exposure to cold, dry winds.

Allium Cepa: One of the major remedies to think of for hay fever symptoms.  Think of the symptoms you get when chopping an onion.

Belladonna: A great fever remedy, at first stage of cold or flu.

Antimonium tart: Indicated when you hear mucous rattling in the chest.  Slow onset.

Ipecac: Indicated when the cold symptoms spread down from the head to the chest very quickly and the cough feels suffocative.  The cough is wet and the lungs are rattling and sound full of mucous.

Drosera: This is the cough remedy par excellence.  It has symptoms of tickling in the larynx or a sensation as if there is a feather tickling the larynx, which excites the cough.  There is dryness and roughness, with hoarseness.

Natrum muriaticum: Indicated when there is lots of sneezing, itching and burning in the eyes. The lips can be chapped with cracks at the corners of the mouth. The eyes will tear and it is worse outside or in wind.   Nasal discharge will look like egg white.

Pulsatilla: Indicated for baby who is sweet, clingy, affectionate, demanding of attention and affection.  You might also notice that they switch from tears to smiles when comforted.  The cough has a yellow to greenish mucous and you might notice an alteration of symptoms (e.g. loose with expectoration in the morning and yet dry at night with no expectoration).


Belladonna: This is the most commonly used remedy for earaches, especially during the initial and acute stages of inflammation. The Belladonna earache will come on suddenly with redness of the internal and/or external ear (esp. the right ear).  You might also notice extreme heat of the face, pupils dilated and sudden onset of fever.

Chamomila: Excellent remedy for ear pain.  There will be anger and upset at everything. The baby might ask for something and then, when it is given, throw it away.  The baby is irritable and inconsolable.

Pulsatilla: Indicated for baby who is sweet, clingy, affectionate, demanding of attention and affection.  You might also notice that they switch from tears to smiles when comforted.  The bones and area behind the ear can be swollen, and there may be a bland discharge of mucous and pus from the ear, which may be thick and yellowish-green.


Aconite: Sudden onset, especially after exposure to cold, dry winds.  There is a dry, burning heat of the skin, with extreme thirst.  The heat is chiefly in the head and face, with redness of the cheeks or heat and redness in one and paleness in the other and shivering if uncovered. Can come on after an emotional shock or fright.

Belladonna: Sudden onset with dry, burning heat (like Aconite).  There is thirst, and perspiration of the head and neck, which can be sour smelling.  Skin is very hot to the touch and there is great thirst. The face appears flushed with redness.  Pupils might appear dilated and glassy.

Ferrum phos: Slow onset. Main remedy for the initial stages of catarrhal and inflammatory fevers. High fever with quick pulse and dry heat of palms, face, throat and chest.


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Improving the Health of Your Skin From the Inside Out


As a nutritionist, I’m always looking for the best foods to address a condition rather than relying solely on supplements or topical products. In my last post, I talked about the Osmosis products as helping to improve all kinds of skin conditions. However, healthy skin can not be healed with product alone.  Proper dietary measures can do wonders for the skin.  Given that the skin is our largest organ (we carry some 8 pounds of it!), it plays an integral role in our health and well being. Not only does it protect us from the damaging effects of UV radiation, extreme temperature changes, harmful chemicals and infection it also plays an integral part in the manufacturing of vitamin D, which helps in the absorption of calcium and the promotion of healthy bones.  As you can see, this is an organ that we can’t take for granted. Here are five of my favourite approaches to promote healthy skin from the inside out:

1. Drink your lemon water


Adding lemon to water has the benefit of maintaining proper pH, improving digestion and increasing bile production, flushing out toxins and supporting healthy liver function. Healthy liver = healthy skin.  Add the juice of half a lemon to one cup of warm water first thing in the morning. Drink 15-20 minutes before breakfast. Make sure to rinse your mouth afterward as the lemon can be harmful to the enamel of your teeth.  And since we are on the subject of water, make sure to stay hydrated throughout the day.  This means drinking at least a litre of fresh, filtered or spring water for every 50 lbs that you weigh, or at least 8-12 glasses.  This will help your skin to flush out toxins and improve the appearance of the skin.

2. Eat more leafy greens


Leafy greens such as kale, collards, chard, dandelion, watercress, spinach, lettuces, chicory and other salad greens are an excellent source of antioxidants, which can limit the production of free radicals that can damage our skin cells.  Carotenoids are particularly good for the skin.  The darker the leafy greens, the higher the amount of carotenoids and the more benefits for the skin (not to mention, they are also more nutrient-dense).  The darker leafy greens can be steamed, sautéed or added to soups as they can be difficult to digest raw.

3. Eat as many colourful fruits and vegetables as you can

veggie bowl

Red, green, blue/purple, orange, yellow, or white fruits or vegetables are all recommended to ensure you are being exposed to a variety of essential nutrients, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and fibre.  Eating a variety of different colours, such as what you find in berries, cabbage and cauliflower, will provide your skin with all of the skin it needs.  The highest amount of caroteinoids are found in foods with yellow, orange and red colour.  These foods include bell peppers, squash, sweet potatoes, carrots, tomatoes and watermelon, to name a few. Many of these carotenoids can be converted to retinol, the active form of vitamin A. Retinol is commonly found in skincare products to help increase cellular turnover and reduce the appearance of wrinkles, but it can also cause irritation and thinning of the skin if used in large amounts.

4. Eat your egg yolks


Unlike carotenoids, which need to be converted into an active form of Vitamin A, egg yolks are a readily available source. Oh, and did I mention liver?  That’s also a great source of Vitamin A, but make sure the liver you buy is organic as it can contain a lot of toxins. Eggs have been given a particularly bad rap in recent decades, especially egg yolks. Yet they are now considered one of the healthiest foods on the planet, as they are one of the best sources of protein and fat and eating them in their whole state is recommended. This is because egg whites contain a glycoprotein called avidin that can block the absorption of biotin, but we now know that the high amounts of biotin in egg yolks counteract the avidin.  Biotin plays a key role in the health of our skin (and hair and nails). Nature knows best, one again.

5. Bump up your Omega 3


Fish are a fantastic source of Omega 3, especially wild salmon, sardines, mackerel and anchovies, which have an anti-inflammatory effect on the body and help improve the appearance of the skin.  Vegetarian sources include flaxseeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, walnuts and pumpkin seeds. In the North American diet we get a lot of vegetable-derived Omega 6 fats such as canola or sunflower, which can be inflammatory in large amounts, so it is important to have enough anti-inflammatory Omega 3-rich foods.  Ideally, the ratio of Omega 3 to Omega 6 in the diet should be at least 1:2 (In North America, this ratio is more like 1:10 or 1:20).  Keep in mind that a lot of fish can be high in toxins, so avoid farmed fish and opt for smaller fish whenever you can.

For some people, these suggestions may only be scratching the surface when it comes to skin health. There are many other factors to consider (e.g. hormone balance, stress, allergies, digestion).  If you find that you are not seeing improvement in your skin with diet alone, then you may need to discuss your symptoms with your health practitioner. Sometimes skin disorders come out on the skin when the primary organs of elimination (e.g. liver, kidneys, colon) are not doing their job, so it is always important to get to the root of the condition.


Improving the Health of Your Skin From the Outside In


I am happy to be able to offer the Osmosis skin care line at my office, after many years of trying to find something to help heal my troubled skin. After surviving 20 brutal winters in Montreal and Ottawa, and being a redhead to boot, I was left with inflamed and rosacea-prone skin.  The stress of completing my program in homeopathy, and then moving across the country away from friends and family, lead to my developing acne on top of the rosacea.  I was determined to find a solution and one that didn’t include using pharmaceuticals.  I tried numerous natural salves, ointments, creams, serums and “cure-all” potions, but to no avail.    That’s when I was introduced to the Osmosis line by another natural health practitioner. Your skin can mirror the health problems you are struggling with on the inside.  In my case it was due to environmental and emotional stress.  For others, it could be due to an allergy or a candida infection.  Whatever the cause, skin problems can bring up a lot of insecurities; hence the reason why so many people shell out tons of money to try and fix their skin’s imperfections.

In my last post I talked about how when the primary pathways of elimination are not functioning very well, the body can use the skin as a detoxification route.  The liver is one of the primary pathways of elimination and plays a big role in metabolizing hormones and detoxifying toxins (e.g. environmental or internal). If it isn’t functioning properly, then you might start noticing any number of skin conditions begin to show up such as acne, rosacea and eczema.  In my practice, I always provide liver support for those patients struggling with skin issues.  I also make dietary recommendations, since there are so many foods that provide nutrients for the skin. I also suggest topical products to help heal the skin, which can speed up results. It’s important when selecting topical products, however, to ensure that they do not contain toxins such as parabens or synthetic fragrance, which can be carcinogenic and irritating to the skin.  These toxins can be absorbed into the bloodstream and wreak havoc on the body.  Check out the list of Dirty Dozen Cosmetic Ingredients to Avoid.

While researching conventional treatment options for rosacea and acne I discovered that many approaches, such as laser or antibiotics, were either too costly or risky.  From a holistic standpoint I knew that laser could damage the skin if used incorrectly and that regular use of antibiotics would wipe out my friendly flora and create potential future problems for my skin (not to mention digestive and immune issues).

The Osmosis line gave me the option of a natural medical-grade skin care line that provides corrective skin care therapy by delivering active ingredients into the dermal layer, where the majority of skin issues originate. This skin care line uses vitamins, minerals and herbs topically to correct the physiology of your skin. In addition, it does not expose you to the many stressors that a lot of other skin care products contain.


Here are the main principles of Osmosis Skin Care line:

  • Use a natural transporter to be able to reach the deep dermal layer of the skin: This is done with a fat soluble compound called phosphatidylcholine, which can transport substances to the dermis but also move them across cell membrane into the skin cell.
  • Allow vasodilation so that nutrients can be delivered and wastes can be excreted: This is done with niacinamide.
  • Provide a substance that can remove waste products (these are the little garbage men!): This is done with beta glucan.
  • Provide various nutrients to the surface as well as to the deeper layers of the skin to correct deep damage: This is done with various herbs, vitamins and minerals depending on what the skin condition requires to aid in building back a healthy skin physiology.
  • Improve skin turn over so that healthier skin can prevail: This is done with retinaldehyde.

This approach creates the following benefits:

  • Reduced inflammation and free radical damage
  • Increases skins production of collagen/ elastin
  • Improves skins ability to protect itself
  • Anti-oxidant delivery and manufacturing
  • Penetrates into the dermis and then into the cell to correct deep damage
  • Removes scarring and debris,
  • Restores the skin barrier
  • Increases epidermal turnover
  • Normalizes oil and moisture
  • Improves repair response and UV protection

There are several different skin products to deal with the variety of skin conditions:

  • Acne
  • Rosacea
  • Hyperpigmentation
  • Aging
  • Sensitive skin
  • Dry skin
  • Oily skin
  • Lackluster skin

I have been using these products for over three years now with amazing results, so I feel confident recommending them to patients for a variety of skin conditions.


Reducing Your Toxic Load Using Drainage

undaWe live in a toxic world. Whether it is all of the chemicals contained in your body care products or the chemical additives in your box of cereal or the flea medication that you just gave your dog, toxins are everywhere.  On a daily basis, we are exposed to countless potentially harmful substances.  Stress and other emotions can also contribute to toxins in the body, as can lack of sufficient water intake. Everyone can benefit from some form of detoxification, even healthy individuals, at least a couple of times per year.

Biotherapeutic Drainage using the UNDA numbered compounds is perhaps one of the more gentle and effective methods of detoxification.  Many patients have questions and concerns about how the UNDA compounds work. For your convenience, here is a brief summary.

The UNDA numbers were created over 50 years ago in Switzerland by Georges Discri, Dr. Louis Reuter and Dr. Antoine Nebel. Research was devoted to the formulations that worked best in practice and that’s how the UNDAs were discovered. The compounds are made from plant and mineral substances and are homeopathically prepared and are, therefore, non-toxic and safe.  At the same time, they are very potent and can address numerous imbalances in the body.  For more information on homeopathy, please see the section “What is Homeopathy & Heilkunst?

Each UNDA compound has a specific purpose in the body.  The plant part of the medicine has an affinity for certain organ systems in the body.  Chelidonium majus, for example, has an affinity for the liver while Cratageus oxycantha has an affinity for the heart and cardiovascular system.  Plants also affect how an organ or organ system works, so while some plants have a stimulating action others will promote relaxation or dampen down an organ’s function.  Meanwhile, the mineral part of the medicine affects the way our cells carry out chemical reactions.  One can think of the cells as tiny little energy-producing factories.  After the cells have processed different reactions, they will eliminate the waste products.  Various metals will assist the cell in carrying out its functions.

The elimination of waste is essentially called drainage.  These remedies are helping the body to detoxify by helping all of the individual energy-producing factories (our cells) to work more efficiently.  While the plants are assisting in directing the remedy to the appropriate organ system, whether it is respiratory, cardiovascular or digestive, the minerals are affecting the way cells are functioning on a biochemical level, especially with the elimination of waste.

liver&kidneyThe primary eliminatory pathways are the liver, kidneys, intestines and lungs.  But when these pathways of elimination are overwhelmed, the body will find secondary ways to excrete toxins.  The skin is a common secondary route of excretion, as are the mucous membranes of the nasal sinuses and the vaginal tract in women.  Chronic vaginitis or irritation of the sinuses could be a sign of overwhelmed liver, kidneys and intestines.  UNDA numbers can help get the primary organs of elimination back in working order, so that the body doesn’t rely so heavily on emergency methods of elimination.

Restoring effective drainage through primary routes of elimination can play a significant role in bringing health into balance. Health is restored when the body is able to rid itself of toxins that naturally accumulate in the cells.  But drainage is just one method of restoring an individual to optimum health.  Proper diet, exercise, hydration and stress reduction are also essential to preventing disease and fostering a truly holistic approach to health.

For more information on biotherapeutic drainage, click here.

Step off the Scale and into Life: Healthy Weight Loss Strategies for the New Year

Weight loss

January is the busiest time for gyms, health food stores and for health practitioners. Whether it’s all of the Christmas goodies you succumbed to over the holidays or it’s a New Year’s resolution, this is a common time for many of us to want to improve health and lose weight.  It symbolizes new beginnings, another chance to get it right!  A regular health concern I see in my practice is the desire to lose weight. But how do we lose weight in a safe and effective way, and in a way that can create lasting changes? Here are a few tips to get you started on the right track:

  • Eat more nutrient-dense food:  These foods will give you the nutrients your body needs and keep your blood sugar stable, so you are less likely to overeat.  Vegetables, whole grains, nuts/seeds and legumes are particularly rich in vitamins, minerals and enzymes. Avoid processed or refined foods, such as sugar or white flour, as they are low in nutrients and high in calories.
  • Eat frequently throughout the day: Eating six small meals and snack spaced throughout the day, rather than three large meals, will keep your metabolism fired up throughout the day.
  • Eat in a relaxed environment: Feeling calm at mealtime will enhance digestion.
  • Chew slowly: This will improve digestion tenfold, because your body will have a better chance of assimilating nutrients.  It also forces one to slow down when eating, allowing for the 20 minutes it takes for your brain to get the signal that you’re full.
  • Implement proper food combining: It’s important to avoid combining animal protein and starches at the same meal (e.g. meat and potatoes) and eat fruit on its own. This will improve digestion, which can have an enormous impact on weight.
  • Add cinnamon to your meals: Cinnamon will regulate blood sugar and keep you feeling full longer, which will prevent hypoglycemia and diabetes, while aiding weight loss.
  • Eat more fibre: Fibre, like cinnamon, will also reduce blood sugar spikes.  Good sources of fibre include fruits, vegetables, seeds such as flax and chia, whole grains and legumes.  Filling up half your plate with vegetables two times per day will ensure that you are getting your basic daily requirements.  Research shows that people who consume the most fibre (about 25 grams daily) weigh 8 pounds less than those who eat the least (about 12 grams daily).
  • Optimize the foods that are best for your metabolism: In my last post, I talked about using the SWAMI GenoType program as a tool to discover the foods that are best for one’s health and metabolism.  A personalized nutrition program is worth considering when all other weight loss strategies have failed.
  • Exercise: I often hear from patients that they don’t have the time or the energy for exercise.  However, in order for the body to produce energy we have to expend energy.  This doesn’t mean you have to commit to a lengthy training session at the gym. Sometimes just getting five minutes of exercise three times per day can be more effective and long lasting (e.g. walking around the block or doing a set of push-ups).  Research shows that the most benefits for metabolism can be seen in the first 20 minutes, so more is not necessarily better.
  • Drink more water: Drinking more water (minimum 8-10 glasses of filtered water per day) has been shown to increase metabolism.  One PubMed study indicates that it has a thermogenic (or fat burning) effect.  Drink water away from meals, as it can interfere with the digestive process.

Many supplements* are currently touted as having miraculous effects on weight loss, but many claims are misleading.  Here is a brief list of supplements that will support a healthy weight loss plan:

  • Multivitamin: A multivitamin is important if one is on a diet that is not perfectly balanced or if one is having fewer than 1,500 calories per day.  Extra minerals are important, especially when increasing fibre intake as it can decrease absorption.  A multivitamin that contains vitamin B12, B6, folic acid, choline, inositol and methionine will improve the body’s metabolism of fats, proteins and carbohydrates, particularly the burning of fats for fuel.
  • Vitamin C, Vitamin E & Selenium: Weight loss involves a mild process of detoxification, because the body is burning fat and tissues. These antioxidants will help offset the extra toxic load.  Vitamin C (1-3 grams daily in 2-3 portions) and Vitamin E & Selenium (usually taken together in the morning) is recommended.  Drainage therapy can also be helpful to gently remove toxins from the body.
  • L-Carnitine: This amino acid supports the efficient use of fats in the body.  The recommended dose is usually 500 mg two times per day with a meal.
  • Polyunsaturated fats:  These fats will balance lipid metabolism. Such fats include Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) from evening primrose or borage seed oils and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) from fish oil are both precursors to different prostaglandins and may also be helpful to weight loss.  Cold-pressed flax oil is both high in Omega-3 (alpha-linolenic) and Omega-6 (linoleic and others) fatty acids and is more inexpensive.

*Supplements can be helpful in supporting a weight loss plan, but they should not be used as a substitute for diet and lifestyle changes.

Diet and lifestyle changes are important, of course, but just as essential for success is a healthy attitude.  It can be discouraging at times to try and realize our goals, especially when past attempts have failed.  A counsellor, health coach or personal trainer can provide tools that will help one get past roadblocks.  It is also worth ruling out health conditions that could be slowing down metabolism. For example, when we are under stress and our hormones are out of balance the body tends to store fat more readily. Homeopathy or the complete medical system (Heilkunst) is a very effective approach to bringing the body back into balance (homeostasis) at the level of body, mind and spirit, which can in turn promote weight loss. Finding the right plan for your unique needs is something you can discuss with your health practitioner. Until then, I hope these weight loss tips help you realize your goals for the New Year!


Image courtesy of nenetus at

Haas, Elson M., Staying Healthy with Nutrition, 2006.

Tsakos, Lisa, The Weight Battlefield, 2001.