After a long hard winter, Summer has absolutely arrived in Vancouver. It always amazes me how simply one day of Sun in Vancouver can vanish every trace memories of cold and rain from the season prior.
- require bending resulting in lower back strain
- they may result in dominant use of one side of the body more so than the other, creating an imbalance in the upper and lower back, and also the hamstrings
- can result in shoulder pain
- twisting and hip pain
- golfers elbow or repetitive strain on the wrists/forearms from twisting and pulling in the garden
- headaches and disrupted sleep
Dr Lee: Hello Mr. Steves, tell us a bit about your farming background:
I studied genetics at UBC and I am a practicing geneticist. Our family established the first seed company in BC in 1888. We are still growing, saving, improving, and selling seed from over 50 vegetable varieties adapted to the BC climate.
Dr. Lee: Tell me more about this picture of Victory Garden
That’s a picture of myself on the far left as a youngster. During WWII people still knew how to grow their own food. We dug up back yards, lanes and roadsides. We grew 42% of our food in Victory gardens. Everything was recycled. Manures and compost were returned to the land. Crops were rotated. Cow pasture was plowed under to grow vegetables, then oats cover crop, then legume hay to add nitrogen, then pastures again.
Dr. Lee: How has the city of Richmond responded to pesticides and GMO?
• Richmond banned cosmetic pesticides in 2009 and GMO’s on May 28, 2012
• After over 50 years of monoculture soils are depleted. It’s scientifically impossible to produce more food with minerals and microbes that no longer exist in the soil. Yet that is the GMO claim
• GMO’s do not produce more food to feed the world. GMO’s are designed to kill weeds with round-up or 2-4-D. That is all.
• To feed the world we need to maintain our genetic diversity, and replenish our soils.
Dr. Lee: What is an anaerobic digester and the compost trial?
Through the green can program, residential yard and food waste are taken to a facility on Westminster highway and put into these large tall structures called anaerobic digesters. These anaerobic digesters help turn the food waste into organic matter called compost.
Our compost has been tested and showed to be so clean that it can be used to put back into our organic farm soil and gardens to help nourish the soil. This is a very exciting project.
Dr. Lee: Are there other exciting projects that are happening in Richmond?
Yes, there are! You will soon hear some exciting news about the Garden City Lands and the proposed land use. Also, near the Brio clinic, the new development called The Gardens will also have community gardens and dedicated farm land that Kwantlen University students will be using to do research and learn more on organic farming practices.
Here comes the season when you can just leave your jackets in the closet while heading outdoors to enjoy the longer, warmer days ahead. With summer on the horizon, many of us are already engaged in physical activities made better by the fresh air, whether it be going for a run, playing a game of tennis, soccer, golf or beach volleyball. Some of us can get a little rusty over the winter and think a good long stretch before pounding the pavement is the thing to do, but be mindful of the type of stretching you do!
Recent studies have come to the conclusion that it is best to do a warm-up that complements the type of movements you'll be doing in your workout or game, but with a slightly greater amplitude of range of motion.
Dynamic stretching is considered to be far more beneficial than the standard old static stretching our high school gym teacher used to tell us to do. Dynamic stretching consists of controlled movements of your limbs and trunk taken in ease to the limits of your range. It improves body awareness, neuromuscular control and functional flexibility. Furthermore, it increases body temperature far more effectively than static stretching. some examples of these are knee ups, butt kicks, side lunges arm swings etc. etc. There are many examples available on You Tube but use your common sense and if in doubt, talk to your fitness or health care provider.
As for static stretching, which can be defined as stretching a muscle until there is resistance and holding that stretch for a specific amount of time ( usually 20-40 seconds) , studies show that it tends to have a negative impact on athletic performance, by hindering the capacity of the muscle to produce force* for even up to an hour! Holding a stretch position doesn't help prepare for exercise as much as it does for increasing your potential range of motion. Static stretching is best done after the workout, as part of the cool-down, or as just an activity by itself.
Sometimes muscles feel restricted to the point where any amount of stretching just doesn't provide relief. Areas of adhesion in the tissues can restrict normal physiological movement and be resistant to lengthening. This is when you need to bring out the foam roller to provide a little massaging compression. Fascial release products like "The Stick" and "Acuball" and many such others are readily available in stores now and are great for self- care at home.
And of course, your Massage Therapist can help too! Try scheduling a massage treatment near or on the day of your most intensive workouts. A massage afterwards can help reduce post- exercise inflammation ans speed recovery**
Cheers to health!
Linda McLaren RMT
Dr. Lee: What about pesticides found in foods?
There are studies showing pesticide residues in children fed a conventional diet compared to an organic diet. Of these 84 papers in total, at least 80% of them show a POSITIVE association between pesticide exposure and various cancers.
Dr.Lee: What are Genetically Modified Crops grown in Canada?
A good website to know is www.cban.ca/gmfoods. Below you will see a chart taken from the cban website showing a list of GM crops grown in Canada and the GM foods imported to Canada.
Dr.Lee: Can you provide us with a list of hidden GM ingredients in our everyday foods?
Below is a very detailed list of invisible GM ingredients.
Dr.Jeff: Thank you so much for sharing your information with us. To learn more about Richmond Food Security, please visit
Below is a summary of Mr. Colin Dring's presentation on Genetically Engineered Foods hosted by Brio Integrative Health Centre during Naturopathic Medicine Week 2014.
Thank you to Colin for his fantastic presentation and for sharing his slides with the Brio community.
Dr.Lee: Colin, please introduce yourself:
My name is Colin Dring and I am the executive director of the Richmond Food Security Society. Our non-profit works to ensure that all people in the community have access to safe, nutritious, culturally and personally appropriate foods that are produced in sustainable and socially just ways. Our website is http://www.richmondfoodsecurity.org/
Dr.Lee: What concerns you about Genetically engineered foods?
•We do not know what, if any, impacts eating genetically engineered foods will have on our health.
•No mandatory labelling of GE ingredients in Canada
•No post-market surveillance to help us determine if there are already impacts.
•In the interests of public health, the precautionary principle needs to be applied
•GE foods are approved for human consumption based on industry-produced science that is not peer-reviewed and cannot be accessed by the public or independent scientists.
Dr.Lee: Are there studies showing the impact of GE foods on humans or animals?
The first-ever study of mixed GM feed on pigs - a long-term toxicology study published June 2013 - observed negative health impacts. The study's authors - Dr Judy Carman, Adelaide Australia, et al. - conclude that "Pigs fed a GMO diet exhibited heavier uteri and a higher rate of severe stomach inflammation than pigs fed a comparable non-GMO diet.
Given the widespread use of GMO feed for livestock as well as humans this is a cause for concern.
Humans have a similar gastrointestinal tract to pigs, and these GM crops are widely consumed by people, particularly in the USA, so it would be be prudent to determine if the findings of this study are applicable to humans."
The first GM animal feeding trial conducted over the lifetime of laboratory rats to test Monsanto's GM corn NK603 and their herbicide Roundup found tumours, multiple organ damage and premature death. (Séralini, G.-E., et al. "Long term toxicity of a Roundup herbicide and a Roundup-tolerant genetically modified maize." Food Chem. Toxicol. (2012)
1. No independent research for safety
2. Increased use in herbicides and pesticides
3. Genetic contamination
4. Corporate control of seeds and food supply
5. Patenting of seeds
6. Our right to know has been denied
7. Economic impacts
8. Unsustainable farming methods
9. Bees and butterflies are disappearing from the use of glyphosate in RoundUp
• avoid processed foods with corn, soy, canola, cottonseed and sugar
• buy organic and/or non-GMO Verified products
• buy organic or grass-fed meat, eggs and dairy
• avoid sweet corn, Hawaiian papaya and some US zucchini and yellow crookneck squash (unless organic)
What can we do to stop GM foods?
• support our local farmers who oppose GM crops
• buy local, at farmer’s markets, supports CSAs
• grow your own food
• start a conversation on GMOs
• ask restaurants to provide non-GMO food
• write emails and letters to store managers and head offices asking them not to sell GMOs
In the spring more energy flows through the liver system according to Chinese Medicine. That means this is a great time to refocus on supporting and strengthening this vital detox system.
The liver is responsible for processing hormones, alcohol, certain chemicals and medications, caffeine, fructose and more. In the process, it uses specific vitamins and minerals to convert harmful substances into (water soluble) forms that can be more easily cleared from the body.
High cholesterol, skin conditions, constipation, premenstrual/menstrual symptoms, chemical sensitivity, fatigue and many other health concerns are associated with suboptimal liver health.
Fortunately, the liver has a HUGE capacity to heal. Avoiding excess alcohol, caffeine, hormones, chemicals, fructose etc. is essential to lessening the burden on your liver. Adding foods such as burdock (gobo), beets, carrots, artichoke, lemon/lime juice, milk thistle seeds, dandelion root and fresh rosemary help to heal damaged liver cells and stimulate bile flow. Antioxidant vitamins such as vitamin C and the minerals in green vegetables are also required for the liver to detoxify foods safely and effectively. Additionally, adequate hydration is essential to ensure the processed substances are flushed from the body.
A nice adjunct to any detoxification program, castor oil packs over the abdomen help to soothe an inflamed digestive system. For those with liver conditions, additional herbs or nutrients may be necessary.
The liver is only one of the major detox organs in the body. To learn about all the detox organs and about detox-promoting foods and tips, join us at Steveston Community Centre for the Healthy Detox-Food Based workshop on Saturday, April 12th!
Dr. Carin Matsushita, ND, RAc
Naturopathic Physician & Registered Acupuncturist
It’s allergy season in Richmond and the Greater Vancouver area! I woke up last week with a scratchy throat, itchy eyes and haven’t stopped sneezing since!
At Brio, we treat allergies with nutrition, supplements, herbs and acupuncture. Today, I am going to highlight a very powerful way of treating allergies with auricular (ear) acupuncture. Auricular acupuncture is a great choice for treating allergies for a number of reasons:
- It is easy to apply
- Effective, often with immediate results
- No worrisome side effects
- It can be safely used in conjunction with other treatments
How does it work?
During allergy season, the body is susceptible to the pollen and other allergens floating in the air. When we breathe in these allergens, it interacts with our immune cells and causes a release of histamines. This release of histamines leads to itchy eyes, runny nose and sneezing.
During an allergic attack, different parts of the body become very reactive (lungs, nasal cavity, eyes, etc.) and this reactivity shows up on acupuncture points on the ear. We place needles in these “reactive acupuncture points” to reduce this response. Most patients often feel relief after just 2 treatments.
What else do you recommend for the allergy season?
If you are a long-term patient with us, you understand our philosophy of prevention. I often start treatment with my patients in February to help prepare their immune systems for the allergy season.
Our top 5 recommendations to help manage your symptoms:
1) Auricular acupuncture
2) “Aller-ease” herbal formula
3) Vitamin C with flavonoids (to help stabilize the release of histamines)
4) “Luffeel” homeopathic
5) Nebulizer treatment
Call us today to help with your seasonal allergies!
As excited as we all are to finish the winter season and celebrate sunshine and spring. This can be a troublesome season for some allergy sufferers. There are a growing number of seasonal hayfever sufferers who are affected by the flower pollens, trees, grass, mold and other airborne particles. The allergy season can be isolated to the Spring season for some, and others it could be all year round.
Symptoms of allergic rhinitis, or hayfever as it is commonly known, can range from mild, to quite severe, affecting ability to drive, energy levels, and work productivity. Symptoms of seasonal allergies include: itchy/watery eyes, itchy throat, sneezing, cough, headaches, foggy thinking, fatigue, post nasal drip, and sinus congestion.
It is generally an impaired immune system that is at the root cause of these symptoms. The role of our immune system is to protect us from foreign invaders, it is always prepared to attack and protect the body, for example a fever is an appropriate immune response to a foreign invader. However, a person suffering from hayfever, will have an inappropriate immune response where the immune system has become over-reactive to pollens, grasses, trees etc.
The immune response in hayfever is to release a host of inflammatory chemicals, such as histamine, which will bring on the common symptoms of sneezing, itchy eyes etc. In the early stages of my practice, I thought that hayfever was quite simple to treat. However, as the years went by, I realized this can be simple and straight forward to treat in some cases, however, in others it can be a complicated issue. The patient is essentially allergic to the earth!
Antihistamines are the medications used block histamine receptors in the cell in order to dampen symptoms of hayfever. They can provide temporary relief and are quite effective in some cases; however they are usually covering up the symptoms felt on the outside, while the reaction on the inside is still occurring. Antihistamines can be necessary as we correct what is actually going on in the body.
Decongest the Liver: The liver is the power house of the body, it sorts and processes all the chemicals, and toxins that enter the body. If hayfever is a new symptom that has gradually gotten worse over the past several years, where there was no issue before. It could be as simple as treating the liver. The juice of half of a fresh lemon and one tsp of unpasturized honey in hot water, first thing in the morning is a great way to jump start the liver, 10 minutes prior to breakfast. Especially if this routine is strictly enforced a month prior to hayfever season. Herbal tinctures including: Milk Thistle and Dandelion are also excellent to stimulate the liver.
Strengthen The Immune System: There could be underlying food sensitivities to gluten containing grains. During the allergy season a gluten-free or wheat free diet could be extremely beneficial. Eliminating cereals, bagels, bread, and pasta’s will dampen the inflammatory reaction. An excess consumption of refined white sugar can also weaken the immune system. White sugar can be found in candy, pastries, cookies, cakes, caffeineated beverages, to name a few. Eliminate or reduce these trigger foods and replace with natural sweeteners such as honey and maple syrup.
Adrenal gland dysfunction is commonly associated with seasonal allergies. This is a deeper issue to address under the care of your health care provider.
A history of repeated antibiotic use can contribute to a weak immune system. One side effect of antibiotics can result in chronic candida. Candida albicans in the digestive tract can contribute inflammation resulting in hayfever. Healing the digestive system and probiotics may be essential to healing eliminating the occurrence of hayfever.
Temporomandibular Joint: This is the joint of the Jaw and is commonly referred to as TMJ. Strangely enough, an imbalance in the TMJ can contribute to hayfever. A history of repeated dental work, grinding teeth, an accident, a click in the jaw, can all contribute to TJM imbalance. However it occurs, an imbalance can result in seasonal allergies. I often treat TMJ imbalance with the bodywork to correct the jaw and prevent allergy symptoms.
Seasonal allergies can take work to correct, however, once corrected spring, summer and fall seasons can be spent outdoors with family, outdoor gardening can be performed symptom free, sick days from work are reduced, alertness and mental acuity can also be restored. It is not something you have to live with; all allergy symptoms can disappear with changes to lifestyle and mental state. Call in and book an appointment with your Brio health care team practicioner.
Dr. Neetu Dhiman
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