March into Spring with Good Health!

When the First Nations people speak of March as the month of “changeable moons”, they are talking about the weather and the change of seasons.  Whenever we deal with change it makes sense to be extra supportive of our bodies. Did you know that our gut microbiomes, and therefore our digestion, naturally fluctuate and change with the seasons?  Everyone has noticed preferences for comfort foods in winter and lighter foods in summer.  This is your gut microbiome speaking to you.  We produce different enzymes for the different seasons so it makes sense to eat seasonal foods in their time. Some foods that can boost the quality of your digestion and provide helpful nutrients as we transition from winter to spring are:  artichokes, cabbage, beets, brussels sprouts, carrots, garlic, grapefruit, greens (like kale and chard), maple syrup, onions, shallots, potatoes, squash, yams, and turnips. Roasting these vegetables in a pan sprinkled with a little lemon juice or apple cider vinegar and rosemary herb is a quick, easy, delicious and colourful way to boost your nutrition and overall mood.  Not enough time to roast? Throw them in a crockpot in the morning with a little curry spice and organic broth and head off to work.  You will come home to something that will “warm the cockles of your heart” as my mother used to say. In this age of instant information, global news and tumultuous times, we are experiencing more changes faster than what just the weather can throw at us. What should we do about that?   If what you see on the news is more than you can “stomach”, then...

Do you have a “leaky gut”?

Leaky gut is not currently an official medical diagnosis (studies are being conducted but not fast and conclusive enough) and thus, it is not yet taught in medical schools.  This creates some controversy and debate among health professionals and confusion for the general public.  “We don’t know a lot but we know that it exists,” says Linda A. Lee, MD, a gastroenterologist, and director of the Johns Hopkins Integrative Medicine and Digestive Center. Symptoms attributed to leaky gut include bloating, gas, cramping, and other bowel complaints, food sensitivities and other auto-immune reactions, skin conditions, thyroid and adrenal problems, mood and focus issues, and joint aches and pains. Isn’t that quite a broad array of symptoms?  Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, was serious when he said, “all disease begins in the gut.” Leaky gut refers to a condition where the lining of the gastrointestinal tract becomes more permeable, that is to say, more spacious between the cells such that undigested macromolecules can slip through and into the bloodstream.   The result is immune stress, as the body tries to deal with these miss-placed and undigested molecules.  Examples of the most common of these wayward molecules are foods such as grain gluten particles and milk casein. It is thought that this hyperpermeability happens when we:  do not produce the enzymes necessary to break down the molecules; eat too much too fast, especially when under stress; and/or, consume foods that are not intended for our bodies to handle.  When food particles do not get digested they irritate and inflame the intestinal lining.  The damage to the tissue is like stretching or fraying a nylon or...