As some of you may know, I took a journey to Bali in Dec 2014. I haven't talked much about it yet, as I didn't feel the time was right. It was most definitely a transformational experience, and I think for the past 3 months I have still been integrating the trip.
The liver is our body's storehouse, production factory and detoxification centre, among other things. It's list of duties are as large as the organ itself, weighing up to 4 kg and taking up a large residence in the upper right quadrant of the abdomen.
In a living body the liver contends with many extrinsic and mechanical forces on it. The constant vibrations of a beating heart, the piston like actions of the diaphragm- approximately 20,000 times per day- with the liver riding along with it. Not to mention the challenges we impose on it with our modern diet and medications which can overwork the liver, building up over time leading to congestion. Consider also the little contortions your liver and fellow viscera have to achieve during your everyday movements like bending over to tie a shoelace, reaching around to scratch your back or reaching up to screw in a new light bulb. The liver and its closely packed roommates have to accommodate each other within the space they're given.
Most of the abdominal organs, including the liver, are housed within a sac called the peritoneum. Inside the peritoneum, the organs don't just slosh around willy-nilly, they are held in place by internal pressures and secured to each other and your musculoskeletal system by connective tissue called mesenteries, omenta, and visceral ligaments. These ligaments are basically thickenings of the internal peritoneal layer as it infolds on itself around the organs and allow as well as limit certain movements of the gut organs.
The organs are meant to slide easily against each other even as they are squeezed together, sort of like the front row at a rock concert. Each organ has its own intrinsic motion as it carries out its physiological duties. This functional motion has been termed motility. A slow or uneven motility indicates that the organ isn't working to its utmost capacity. Over time, the constant demands placed on the liver can take their toll, it can become sluggish and less productive, making you feel the same way.
Some warning signs that tell you that your liver might not be feeling its usual self are; fatigue, headaches, light sensitivity, oily hair, dull hypersensitive skin, halitosis, irritated mucous membranes and even dark coloured urine. In addition, via its neurovascular connections, it can be responsible for a number of aches and pains, including that nagging nocturnal back pain and shoulder and elbow problems, especially of the right side. Our visceral organs are said to take on excess emotional baggage that our busy and important brains don't want to handle anymore. The liver becomes a reservoir for those feelings that pertain to our inner sense of self, the past, dependence, pessimism, being a creature of habit (stuck in a rut), and outbursts of anger. Concurrent to the detox programme you're engaged in to get back into the good books with your liver, consider a little nudge in the right direction with Visceral Manipulation Therapy that will help to wake up a congested and sluggish liver, releasing restrictions and encouraging the return of its vital motion so important for its efficient functioning.
Linda McLaren, RMT
Registered Massage Therapist
Call Brio to book an appointment with Linda McLaren. 604.271.9355.
We have had many comments from patients requesting that we upload the bone broth recipe from our November newsletter to the website. If you don't receive our month newsletter, ask Kyra to add you. Or you can sign up HERE.
Enjoy the recipe!
BONE BROTH RECIPE
2-3 pounds bones of grass-fed beef or organic/pastured chicken (raw or cooked leftovers)
4 L filtered water
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
3 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
- Place bones in a stock pot or crock pot and fill with water (bones should be mostly submerged)
- Add vinegar and all vegetables except parsley to the water.
- Bring to a boil, and remove any scum that rises to the top.
- Reduce the heat to the lowest setting and let simmer.
- If bones have meat and/or marrow in them, these will start to separate from the bones after a few hours. You can help separate the meat and marrow from the bones every couple hours.
- Simmer for 12-24 hours.
- Remove remaining bones from the broth and strain the rest through a strainer to remove anybone fragments.
Refrigerate or freeze in smaller portions. You can remove some of the fat that solidifies on top if you wish. Much of the stock should gel (that's a good thing). Now you're ready to use the broth as a base for all kinds of soups, stews and sauces - or just drink it straight!
As we are nearing the end of 2014, we want to take this opportunity to say “thank you!” to all our patients who have supported us this year. Many exciting events took place in 2014. Here is a summary of what happened this year:
During the annual Naturopathic Medicine Week in May, Brio hosted a movie screening of “GMO OMG” by Jeremy Seifert. Following the movie, we had presentations from local experts: Harold Steves, Colin Dring and Theresa Lynne. The evening concluded with a stimulating panel discussion. Click on the links to learn more about their topics.
In the Spring, the Brio team participated in a number of community events. We took part in the “Nurse Next Door” Wellness Show, the health shows at the Fairmont Hotel and Delta Hotel, Canadian In-Home Care Information Session, and a number of health talks at local community centres. Please contact the office early in the year if you would like one of us to present at your group or organization.
This year, we celebrated our 10th “Weight Loss Rehab” class! Our graduates have raved about this program! It is a 12 -week course that teaches you how to transform your metabolism, optimize immune and hormonal functions and prevent disease. If you would like to learn how to eat a whole foods diet and safely shed unwanted weight, please call to find out more. We are now taking registrations for our upcoming January 2015 class.
During the summer, we added Dawn to our administration team! Dawn has an undergraduate degree in psychology and has administration experience working in her family business. Dawn is at our office three days a week, and attends the Holistic Nutrition Program at the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition (CSNN) on the other days. We are so happy to have Dawn join the Brio team!
If you haven't visited the clinic recently, please come by to see our newly completed reception and seating area. The "west coast" style is bright and fresh, yet warm and relaxing! Drop by and enjoy a cup of tea! Click on this link to see pictures.
Lastly, every year near Christmas time, we have our annual food drive benefitting The Richmond Food Bank. We are taking food donations between now and December 19th. Each time you donate, we will enter you into our lucky draw. This year we are giving away a FitBit Activity Monitor!
From all of us at Brio, we wish you a wonderful Holiday Season and a Happy New Year!
In September, my wife and I celebrated our 10-year anniversary with a wonderful 3-week trip to Europe! We enjoyed every minute of our visits to London, Paris and Rome!
One of the highlights of our trip was a walking Food Tour in Rome. It was a 3.5-hour stroll from the lively Campo de’ Fiori market, through the historic Jewish “Ghetto,” to the colourful Trastevere neighbourhood. Our guide, Francesca, took us to various markets, shops and restaurants to sample authentic Roman foods and explained how these staples were connected to their history and culture.
Our first stop was Campo de’ Fiori (“field of flowers”) and a tasting of fresh “mozzarella di bufala” or water buffalo mozzarella cheese. It was out of this world! The cheese is kept at room temperature so that the natural bacteria cultures can flourish. The summer time produces the best quality cheese because the buffalo have access to abundant phytonutrients. Francesca explained to us the strict guidelines that farmers adhere to in the production of the milk. The buffalo are very well cared for, with a grass-fed diet and even time for grooming and massages! All this is done to ensure that the happy and healthy animals will produce the highest-quality milk, which in turn produces the best-tasting cheese!
Our next stop was to a local “forno” or bakery. In addition to the breads, pies and sweets that are typically offered, bakeries here also have pizza! We watched the hand-made pizza dough being rolled and kneaded into shape. Francesca said that you will not find deep-dish or North American-style pizzas in Rome (except in tourist areas). For a quick meal or snack, Romans enjoy a slice of either “pizza bianca” (pizza dough with only olive oil) or “pizza rosa” (pizza dough with tomato sauce). You can see that they eat with the seasons from the variations of these two classics. When we were there in the late summer, pizza with eggplant was common. You will also find pizza topped with buffalo mozzarella and basil…yum!
Next, we headed to the Jewish Ghetto. Here, we find another example of eating with the seasons in a popular summer time appetizer, “fiori di zucca fritti” or fried zucchini flower. This was my absolute favourite! The delicate zucchini flowers are stuffed with cheese and anchovies, then lightly battered and deep fried. We enjoyed this, along with another Roman favourite, “suppli” (a rice, tomato and cheese croquette), in a tiny little restaurant in the heart of the Jewish Ghetto. This restaurant also prepared fresh meals every day for a group of retired elderly in the community. Rather than spending time grocery shopping and cooking, Francesca explained how these folks meet up daily with friends and family at the local restaurant, keep a “running tab” and pay for it all at the end of the month! Great food, good company and no dishes to wash…what more can you ask for?
We made other stops along the way that included delicious pasta and wine tastings, but I thought I’d end with Trastevere (“beyond the Tiber”) and our visit to a local “gelateria” or Italian ice cream shop. Francesca gave us tips on how to find an authentic gelateria, avoiding the many tourist traps in Rome. At this particular one, we were allowed to sample as many mouth-watering flavours as we wanted before deciding on two! Everything was fresh, made on premises and, like so many other foods and dishes here, many of the flavours reflected the season. Among my favourites was the pear gelato, which tasted like a bite out of a fresh pear! The lemon, my wife’s favourite, was tart and refreshing. The pistachio was sweet and the coffee tasted like a fresh cup of Italian coffee! What a tasty way to end an amazing tour!
Remember last year? That terrible sore throat? Headache? Fever? That cough that just wouldn’t go away? The cold and flu season is here and based on trends from previous years, it’s just getting started.
At this time of year we spend more time indoors making viruses easier to spread. While frequent hand washing is an important way to reduce the risk of exposure to germs, strengthening our own immune system is the best way to reduce the risk of getting sick.
Here are three essential steps to avoid the cold and flu this season:
1. A Healthy Gut In Cold Weather
With 80% of our immune cells residing in our digestive tract, a healthy gut equals a healthy immune system. In addition, cooler weather requires us to make a few changes to our diet. These cold weather adjustments make a huge difference to strengthening your immune system, increasing energy and reducing digestive symptoms like gas and bloating.
a. choose easy to digest and nutritious foods
i. bone broth – easy to digest, healing to your gut lining, containing calcium, magnesium, glucosamine and more, it’s a home-made multivitamin!
ii. cooked/warm seasonal vegetables
b. avoid excessive
i. dairy and sugar as they build up phlegm and inflammation
ii. raw/cold foods and drinks - In Chinese Medicine, our digestion is thought of as a fire that burns up foods to digest it. Too much raw or cold foods can snuff out this fire and slow digestion resulting in low energy, a heavy sensation in the body and bloating.
2. Cover the back of your neck
As the weather cools down, you’ll often see me wearing a scarf. This is because in Chinese Medicine, colds and flus are a result of “wind” getting into your body and this most often happens through the area at the back of the neck (also called the “wind gate”); keep your neck covered especially when there is a breeze.
3. As soon as you start to feel the initial stages of a cold or flu such as a sore/scratchy throat and fever take ColdQuell right away. This Chinese herbal formula reduces excess heat in the body and quickly reduces symptoms. They are in capsule form so they are easy to take without any unpleasant taste. I keep a bottle handy at home for the first sign of symptoms in myself or my family.
Happy Healthy Tummy Tips for this Thanksgiving
Dr.Dhiman has some great tips for keeping your tummy happy and healthy for the Thanksgiving meal ahead of us.
1. Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) - a distressed stomach's best friend. One to two teaspoons in 1/2 a glass of water 15 minutes prior to meals. ACV will aid in digestion, decrease gastric reflux, decrease bloating and abdominal pain. Use as needed
2. Try to avoid Antacids - we have been programmed to think that symptoms of acid reflux is a result of too much stomach acid production, however, in our clinical observation, the problem is usually too little stomach acid production. Stomach acid production can decrease when the body is stressed. Overeating can absolutely be a stressor to the body. Again, ACV will normalize stomach acid levels.
3. Peppermint Tea - Peppermint (Mentha piperita) can calm a distressed tummy almost immediately. This can rid the body of symptoms of dyspepsia. If peppermint tea does not quite do the trick, Peppermint Oil Capsules are an excellent supplement as needed.
4. Fennel Seeds (Foeniculum vulgare) - Have you ever noticed at the end of a delicious Greek meal, you will often get a tiny bowl of fennel seed candy? This is not a random offering as fennel can ease abdominal pain, gas and bloating almost immediately. Simply chew on a small amount and swallow. The seeds can also be boiled in water to drink as a tea.
5. Try to avoid beverages with meals - Have you also noticed at most Asian restaurants you will not receive ice water with your meal unless it is requested? You will however, receive small cups of warm tea. Small amounts of warm tea aid digestion. Ice cold drinks place stress on the digestive system, dilute digestive enzymes and stomach acid levels. For optimal digestion, try to limit beverages to half an hour before or after meals. If you have a dog at home, watch how he/she has meals. Foods and liquids are always separate. This principle follows the laws of nature.
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