everybody [is] kung f(l)u fighting...

dear ones,

as I sit here typing away in a cozy sweater, sipping on my homemade pumpkin spiced latte, watching the rain pouring down and the leaves blowing off the trees, I realize there is no mistaking it: fall is officially here! along with the changing leaves and pumpkin spiced everything, you've probably also noticed an increase in the sneezing and coughing around the office and a decrease in your colleagues' attendance.  that's right folks, it's also officially #fluseason.  before you go running for the one litre bottle of hand sanitizer and a flu shot, I'm offering up some tips to help you keep your immune system up and/or fight off the plague if it strikes you down this year. and psssst: these tips can actually be used all year round!

Stress: it's a widely accepted theory that stress contributes to a lowered immune system, not to mention it just generally feels bad to feel stressed out. now that summer is over, fall is a great time to ease up on the FOMO, s-l-o-w down and polish off the tools in your stress-management kit! 

Sleep: much like stress, it's also widely accepted that lack of sleep contributes to a lowered immune system. the body does a lot while we're asleep, one of which is fight infection. ever feel like you're coming down with a cold and decide to get 10 hours of sleep and wake up feeling like a million bucks the next day? yep. magic! so commit to getting an extra hour of z's each night to keep your immune system up.

Vitamins: while I'm not a huge pill-pusher, we can definitely benefit from a multi-vitamin at this time of year.  it's really easy to eat tons of fruits and veggies in the spring and summer months; in the fall and winter, it can be more challenging to get our daily intake. a multi-vitamin can also be really beneficial if you're active and sweat a lot, since we lose a lot of important minerals in our sweat.  I'm a huge fan of Mega Food's multis as well as a New Roots liquid Vitamin D3 supplement (up to 10,000 IU's per day) to help with the lack of sunshine.  Please consult with your doctor or health care practitioner before starting any supplements.

Food: it'll come to no surprise to hear me say that it's best to limit your processed foods and refined sugars and stick to whole foods. no matter what time of year it is or what your goals are or what diet you're following, I can't emphasize this enough.  eat. less. fake foods. eat. more. VEGETABLES. amongst a whole host of other things, sugar and other toxins create a breeding ground of inflammation in the body where disease and infection love to hang out. adding more fermented foods into your diet such as kombucha, kefir, miso or kimchi is a great idea, too. healthy gut flora contributes to a healthier immune system.

Water: I know, I know, but before you start rolling your eyes or scrolling past this one, trust me when I say that none of us drink as much water as we should. plain and simple, everything in your body functions optimally when you're properly hydrated, most especially your immune system. plus, if you're in the throes of a nasty flu, water is going to help flush toxins and oxygenate your cells back to proper function. so grab yourself a glass of water, and read on...

Exercise: there's a fine line between 'sweating it out' and over-doing it. if you're pretty active already, a good sweat session can be exactly what you need, but maybe don't head to a spin class for the first time in months as soon as a sore throat hits. listen to your body and ignore the 'should' word. if what you need is rest, then rest. the gym will still be there when you're feeling 100%. plus, nobody wants your (sweaty) germs anyway.

Herbs: if herbal medicine and potions are your thing, you're in good company. there are some really great herbs that promote a healthy immune system along with a whole bunch of other benefits: licorice, ginseng, ashwaganda, echinacea, astragulus, and chaga and reishi mushrooms. note that herbs work best if you take them over a long period of time, and please consult your doctor or health care practitioner before starting any, most especially if you're pregnant

Too late? flu's already taken you out? in addition to following the above, here are some of my favourite tips to help you fight the good fight:

  • Oil of Oregano: twice a day, as soon as you feel the cold or flu coming on.
  • Vitamin C (chewables): megadose 1,000-3,000mg, twice per day, but start slow! Vitamin C can be tough on the bowels (read: a laxative) so make sure you're only taking as much as your body can tolerate.
  • Fire Cider, or any cold-pressed organic juice with lemon and ginger in it - even better if you can find one with turmeric.
  • Colloidal silver: this is an amazing homeopathic remedy that boosts the immune system and also has anti-bacterial properties. also a great one to have in your first aid kit for cuts and wounds and/or to take when you're traveling!
  • Throat Coat (with echinacea) tea: I swear by this when I'm sick or feel something coming on. it's full of herbs that support the immune system like licorice and echinacea, and also has herbs like slippery elm and marshmallow that help heal an irritated throat. you might not love the taste, but I'm telling you, it works!

So there you have it! I'm wishing you a cozy, pumpkin-filled and flu-free fall.  have questions? let's connect!

you're a flu-fighting ninja,


rest...but why?!

There is no question that exercise is a fabulous tool for weight loss, general health and stress management.  But what if I told you that too much exercise may actually be standing in the way of your weight loss and fitness goals?  What if I told you that it’s not about the calories in vs. calories out scenario after all, and that what you really need is…more rest and recovery!

Free radicals

What we may not realize, is that vigorous exercise not only increases the cortisol levels in your body (the hormone our body produces in response to stress) it can also create oxidative stress and inflammation.  When we exercise, the body is rapidly metabolizing oxygen, which in turns creates ‘free radicals’: rogue molecules who are short an electron and are roaming around in the body looking to steal one from another healthy tissue or cell, and leaving that healthy tissue or cell damaged in its wake.  Don’t worry!  This happens all day, every day, regardless of whether you’re exercising!  We are exposed to many toxins in our environment that cause free radicals.  And, there are things we can do to help our bodies combat them, and one way is to take care in recovering after our workouts!  Of course eating whole foods, avoiding drugs and alcohol, reducing refined sugar and other processed foods, getting plenty of sleep and drinking lots of water are wonderful common suggestions. 

What can I do?

Eat antioxidants: Include foods in your diet that are rich in antioxidants.  These are your green vegetables and bright coloured foods: oranges, berries, and guess what… dark chocolate!  Acai berries are also full of antioxidants and are an easy add to a smoothie (in powder or puree form).  See more suggestions under “What can I eat”!

Manage cortisol levels: Did you know…weight loss resistance is most often caused by cortisol imbalance? You’ve probably heard the buzz phrase “adrenal fatigue”.  Our adrenals are responsible for producing our stress hormone, cortisol.  When we’re under sustained periods of stress (read: every day life!), our adrenal glands cannot keep up with production, and we end up with a cortisol deficit, leaving us in ‘fight or flight’ mode.  There are herbs you can take to support balanced cortisol levels, see my favourite recommendations below!

Get sleep: Try to go to bed the same time every night and wake up at the same time every day.  Aim for 7-8 hours per night.  Avoid having technology in the bedroom and using it two hours before bed.

Take rest days: Many of us fear that taking a day off to rest will interfere with our training goals.  Au contraire, my friends!  Your body needs time to replenish fluid and energy stores as well as incorporate all of the hard work you've been doing.  A rest day is the perfect opportunity to do this.  Chances are you’ll come back stronger, with more energy!

Eat consciously: Don’t eat when you’re feeling stressed.  Optimal digestion occurs when the body is in a relaxed state.  Take five deep breaths to calm the body and the mind before bringing the fork to mouth.  Chew your food, taste it.  Rest and digest!

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate: Did I mention hydrate? you will be shocked at how adding more water to your day seriously changes your life!

Mindfulness: Being in nature, journaling, meditation, lighting candles, Epsom salts bath, playing with your kids or your pets.  Whatever it is, try to carve out 30 minutes a day to slow down and really be in the present moment.

What can I take?

I’m a big fan of getting all our micronutrients from a diet rich in whole foods; however, herbs and supplements can be super helpful when we are training intensely or just need an extra boost.  Please note you should never start taking any supplements or herbs without first consulting with me or your doctor, first!  Here are some of my favourite supplement and herbs.  Feel free to get in touch if you want my brand and dosing recommendations as well. 

Supplements: While Vitamin B12 is great for energy, Vitamin B5 is specifically great for stress and recovery (and note all B vitamins are beneficial for stress reduction); Magnesium (Bisglycinate) for rest, recovery, sleep and bone health (note Epsom salts are full of Mg. another excuse to take a bath!); N-Acetyl L-Cysteine (NAC), a powerful supplement that helps the body produce glutathione, a naturally occurring antioxidant; Essential Fatty Acids (EFA’s) (fish oil supplement) are also incredibly beneficial for a number of reasons, including for inflammation, and I highly recommend taking these as our bodies actually can’t synthesize them on our own.

Herbs: lavender (tea or essential oils in your bath) for stress reduction; skull cap and chamomile for sleep; and Ashwaganda, Rhodiola and Astraglus for balancing cortisol levels.

What can I eat?

The key with letting the body recover after a workout is to keep inflammation down so that the muscles and tissues can repair themselves.  As I mentioned above, it’s best to avoid alcohol, refined sugar and processed foods, and focus on whole foods.  For some, wheat and dairy can have an inflammatory effect on the body, so wheat and dairy alternatives following a workout can be really helpful.  Grains such as buckwheat and quinoa are great options, as well as nut and coconut milks.  If you’re a meat eater, chicken and turkey are less-inflammatory high-quality sources of animal protein.  As mentioned, EFA’s are also helpful in reducing inflammation in the body, and you can find these in salmon and avocado.  Pumpkin seeds are a great source of magnesium, and they are so easy to add on to granola, oatmeal or even a salad.  Stick to bright fruits and berries such as apples, acai, blueberries and oranges and try to add a serving of dark leafy green vegetables to each meal, for extra antioxidant power and dietary fiber! 

Believe me, your body knows what it wants.  So ease up, listen up, and eat your way to a more healthful you! More questions?  Don't hesitate to contact me through my "connect" tab.

rest up,