Monday, December 3, 2012

You Really Are What You Eat

This blog is an article I wrote for a local newspaper a few years ago. Thought I would share it with you. Enjoy :-)

“Let food be thy medicine and thy medicine shall be thy food.” –

Think about that for a moment.
Then think a moment longer about your diet. Do you ever really use your food as a medicine? Most of our normal daily diets consist of soft drinks, coffee, refined grains, refined sugars with very few fruits and vegetables. Yet, we complain of being tired and dragged out. At the end of the day we just want to sit down and relax.

Now think about how it would feel to go through an entire day with high energy, enthusiasm, joy and a great feeling of health. I am here to tell you that this is entirely possible – all through diet, exercise and emotional well-being.

Start by analyzing your diet. How often do you eat fruits and vegetables? A basic guideline is to consume at least two fruits and six vegetables per day. Also determine the source of these fruits and vegetables. If you are eating them out of a can you can bet that you aren’t getting any vitamins or minerals, they were destroyed in the processing. Raw produce is best, frozen comes in second place, while canned food comes in dead last.

How much of your diet comes out of a box? Foods we prepare from a box have an extremely long shelf life yet they are not alive and cannot keep us alive. When you shop, read the ingredient label. If you cannot pronounce an ingredient, or if you do not know what it is, you probably shouldn’t be eating it. At all costs avoid high fructose corn syrup. This ingredient, used as a sweetener in many foods, is causing tremendous weight gain within our society. Try more natural sweeteners – honey, maple syrup and stevia are great substitutes. And remember, coffee and doughnuts do not build healthy tissues. Instead they build dry and chapped skin, cracked nails, and a starved body. If you really want to start feeling better, feed your body the foods that the Earth naturally provides for it!

Next, figure out how much water you drink each day. Do not follow the old eight-glasses-a-day guideline. A woman who weighs 100-pounds requires a much different water intake than a man who weighs 250. A good guideline to go by: drink one half of your body weight in ounces of quality water daily. So, a woman who weighs 120 pounds should be consuming 60 ounces of water per day. Remember, at least three-quarters of your body is made of water – so feed your cells good water so they can cleanse and rebuild. And don’t count soft drinks, coffee or alcoholic beverages toward your fluid intake.

Then determine how much exercise you get in a typical day. Clicking the buttons on the remote control does not count toward exercise – for that you need to get up and move. Our bodies have been designed to walk, to run, to dance and to play! The more you sit around, the more your muscles break down and become weak. Find something that you love to do and do it daily. Start out with 20 minutes of continuous exercise every day, working yourself up to an hour. Walking, running, biking, and hiking are all great activities and allow you to get fresh air as well. Find a friend who wants to exercise and do so together. It is much easier to commit when you have somebody to do it with. Plan exercise into your weekly schedule. You don’t forget to eat, so you should not forget to exercise.

Finally, how are you?

No, really, how are you mentally and emotionally? You can eat healthy and exercise daily but still be tired and sick if you are constantly in an intense emotional state. Stress comes from many different avenues: family, relationships, work, money. No matter the source, stress wreaks havoc within the body. If you are feeling stressed try some stress-relief techniques. Among the many methods available, Yoga, with its three structures of exercise, deep breathing and meditation, is said to be extremely beneficial in relieving stress. Through different poses and breathing technique, Yoga works on the union of the body, mind and spirit. Many people experience great benefits when practicing Yoga, including increased circulation, increased flexibility, weight loss and a greater amount of energy.

If you really want to feel better, think holistically when it comes to health. Exercise, nutrition, and emotional health all work with each other and while all are good, you can’t have complete health when you are missing one.

Hippocrates was the greatest physician of his time and he strongly believed in treatment
of the whole person. By making small and simple changes often, you will find yourself
on a path to wellness – and you will feel great every day!

Svea Lynn is a traditional Naturopath, classical homeopath and holistic doula. Her private doula practice can be found here. Her Montreal Natural Fertility site can be found here

Friday, October 12, 2012

Caffeine & Anxiety

Many of my readers know that I like to write some of my health blogs from personal experiences. It makes my blog filled with...well...more ME :) So, on to my caffeine story.

A few weeks ago my husband and I bought a delicious decaf Chai tea that we could brew at home. Those of you that know us, know that we are both very sensitive to caffeine, and we normally don't have any caffeine in our diet (besides the occasional dark chocolate fix that I MUST have). But, we both kind of "forgot" that decaf black tea still contains caffeine.

Needless to say, after drinking the "decaffeinated" chai tea for ONE DAY, I started to wake up in the morning with anxiety. This anxiety upon waking isn't normal for me by any means. I blamed the anxiety on an upcoming trip we were making. But, every morning I had Chai tea and the next morning I woke up with anxiety. After making the connection I stopped drinking the yummy tea, and guess what?? The anxiety went away!

How many of you wake up with anxiety? Go to bed with anxiety? Have anxiety throughout the day?

How much caffeine are you drinking? Remember, decaf coffee also contains caffeine. If this tiny amount of caffeine can cause me to have anxiety, think about what a fully caffeinated beverage is doing to you. There are multiple studies done to prove that caffeine causes anxiety.

Is this you with your coffee??
People tell me that they must have caffeine to have energy throughout the day. Those people often crash in the afternoon and have to consume more caffeine to bounce back. Many people who stop consuming caffeine have incredible boosts of energy levels they never thought they could have without caffeine (once their body has detoxed from the caffeine).

Just a small snippet of health conscious advice: examine what effect caffeine is really having on you. Be honest with yourself. As a recovering caffeine addict (going on 5 years now) I know how difficult it can be to discontinue your most treasured beverage. But to me, my health is more important than a tasty beverage.


Svea Lynn is a traditional Naturopath, classical homeopath and holistic doula. Her private doula practice can be found here. 

Monday, August 13, 2012

Common Medical Errors & Interventions That Could Be Life Threatening

I am writing this blog article out of sheer frustration with the medical model in the United States and Canada. This article is my personal story and recent experiences with two people that I love dearly.

The medical system (conventional medicine) is there for a reason. Emergency medicine is great. Trauma surgeons are amazing. It's amazing that we live in a time where you survive even though you may have a severe wound. But, my frustration is with the model of conventional medicine that treats disease with toxic drugs.

Recently a family member went into the hospital for a minor surgery. She was supposed to be out within four days and at home doing rehab. They had her on pain killers every four hours, even though she wasn't complaining of pain. They had her on a morphine drip - even though she rarely used it. Her blood pressure dropped but they didn't consider changing her blood pressure medication dosage. They decided she was too weak to go home and put her into a rehabilitation center. She couldn't sleep so they gave her a sleeping pill. She woke up in the middle of the night to use the washroom and slipped and fell (she was totally out of it from the sleeping pill). She complained of pain immediately in her back so they gave her oxycodone twice in one day. I haven't mentioned it yet, but this person has never really taken any drugs in her life and is very sensitive to any drugs. After the oxycodone, she became extremely nauseous. They sent her to the hospital. The hospital took an EKG and thought she may have had a minor heart attack but admitted that they weren't totally sure. Two cardiologists came into her room and said that her chart said she had a previous heart attack and had coronary artery disease. Never in her life had she had chest pain, let alone a heart attack. She has a perfectly healthy heart. She was out of it from all the drugs they put her on and wasn't mentally stable. But, instead of asking family members, the doctor asked her and decided that she had a heart problem (based totally off misinformation). They put her on Lipitor and a blood thinner immediately (despite the fact that she was still extremely nauseous and couldn't keep anything down - they gave it to her through an IV instead. The family requested no more drugs and while they were out, the nurse slipped in and gave another injection of blood thinner. She became even more sick. But, when asked, the doctors still couldn't conclude that she even had a heart problem.

The most frustrating part of this story is that the doctors were too busy to really check to make sure there was a problem before they put her on a protocol of toxic drugs because they thought it was possible that she could have a heart problem (she is 90 years old!!).  The family finally stood up to the doctors and said no more medication - and WALAAA!!! she started to feel better....

This story makes me sick. It makes me angry to think that people are in the hospital because they are sick, but the hospital is making them even more sick (and most of the time they don't realize it). Families are not aware of what is happening and they often don't know what to do.

This system needs to change, that's for sure. The hospital should be a place where people can go to get better (and it is for some - emergency and trauma cases) - and not come out with a handful of toxic drugs that just make them more sick over time.


Svea Lynn is a traditional Naturopath, classical homeopath and holistic doula. Her private doula practice can be found here. 

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Sugar Makes You Crave...... MORE SUGAR

If you are trying to lose weight or change your eating habits it might not be as easy as you think if you are still eating sugary treats.

I was quickly reminded of this myself. Last week we bought our groceries and the grocery store was giving away free chocolate bars. If you know me, you know that I cannot turn down chocolate - especially the yummy Toblerone bars they were giving away.  My husband and I sometimes splurge and buy dark chocolate (90-95%) with only a tiny bit of processed sugar, but that's about the extent of our processed sugar intake. My body isn't used to eating such sugary treats like toblerone, but I just couldn't resist. I had a couple of small squares each day for three days. On the third day I realized that I was craving more toblerone - something that isn't common to my personality or food habits. On top of that, I wasn't only craving Toblerone, I was craving anything and everything else that had sugar (including foods high in carbs and calories). I felt like a drug addict. Fortunately, we didn't have any other sugary treats in the house - otherwise I think I may have eaten every last crumb.

I decided to do a sugar detox the next day - I stayed away from all foods that had carbs (including fruit) and instead ate vegetables and protein. That broke the small sugar addiction I had developed from three days of sugary chocolate.

During the three days of my sugar 'addiction' I also paid attention to my mood. Twenty minutes after I ate the toblerone, I felt a sugar-high... like I could bounce off the walls if I wanted to. After a couple hours I felt myself coming down off the high and that was when I started craving more sugar.

I can see why the stuff is so addictive!!!! If I wasn't so conscious about my health I think I would seriously be addicted to sugar.

And for those of you who need more scientific proof, I have compiled a bit of data from scientific journals (*note - there are thousands of articles out there that show the same evidence) See below.

  • One study reported: Preclinical studies, beginning in Bart Hoebel's laboratory at Princeton University, have shown that rats overeating a sugar solution develop many behaviors and changes in the brain that are similar to the effects of some drugs of abuse. Further, preclinical studies suggest that overeating sugar produces different addiction-like behaviors compared with overeating fat. (Very interesting!! I found this article after I wrote this blog - totally confirms what I felt about the sugary treat)
  • Another study reported: Sugar is noteworthy as a substance that releases opioids and dopamine and thus might be expected to have addictive potential... The evidence supports the hypothesis that under certain circumstances rats can become sugar dependent.
  • A third study showed: Bingeing on sugar may activate neural pathways in a manner similar to taking drugs of abuse, resulting in related signs of dependence...The findings suggest that a diet of bingeing on sucrose and chow followed by fasting creates a state that involves anxiety and altered accumbens dopamine and acetylcholine balance. This is similar to the effects of naloxone, suggesting opiate-like withdrawal. 
 Sugar should be classified as a drug. And we wonder why our children can't sit still in school!!!

**When I use the word sugar I am not referring to natural sweeteners like honey or maple syrup. I am referring to the processed and refined sugar that is in most processed foods and sugary treats.**


Svea Lynn is a traditional Naturopath, classical homeopath and holistic doula. Her private doula practice can be found here. Her Montreal Natural Fertility site can be found here

Saturday, March 17, 2012

You Are What You Eat? A Note on Genetically Modified Foods

We have so often heard the quote, "You are what you eat."

Technically speaking, this isn't true - if we eat an apple, we don't turn into an apple. But, in some regards it is true. If we only eat doughnuts, then we will most likely gain weight around our midsection. If we eat only fruits and vegetables, we become very thin and healthy like a fruit or vegetable.

Many people have also heard about the Doctrine of Signatures for plants and foods. Kidney beans are good for our kidneys because they are shaped like a kidney. Walnuts are good for our brain because they look like  our brain. The food that we eat definitely leaves its print in our body and provides nourishment (especially for the parts it promises with the doctrine of signatures).

Knowing this, what do you think about a food that has been genetically modified so that it can no longer reproduce itself? It no longer has any seeds. It is infertile.

These genetically modified foods are common in our world today. We so often think "The seeds in this watermelon are so annoying. I have to keep spitting them out while I'm eating." Because of this, watermelons have been modified by removing their seeds. Cucumbers in the market rarely have seeds either, since this common food has been genetically modified too.  Do you know what foods you are eating that have been genetically modified?

Probably not.  Labelling of genetically modified foods/organisms (GMOs) is NOT required in the United States or Canada. You don't really have a choice whether or not you want to eat them.

Knowing this, what do you think GMO foods do to your body? Have you seen the dramatic increase in the number of women who are trying to conceive unsuccessfully? Studies have linked GMO foods to the increasing rates of infertility (which can be found by clicking here).

It is so important to inform everyone you know about genetically modified foods. The big claim of these companies is that they are saving the world by providing it with crops that can withstand anything. The very sad part is that, because of the genetic modification and outrageous use of herbicides/pesticides, and the depleted soil, we are being starved in a different way. Genetically modified crops are usually grown on fields that are totally deficient in minerals, and so toxic that nothing else can grow. And, if they're not totally deficient in minerals, they are sprayed with glyphosates (aka ROUND UP), which totally bind all minerals so no "weeds" can grow. Farmers must then purchase their seeds from a GMO manufacturer (aka Monsanto). These companies (Monsanto) have gotten smart - the seeds won't 'activate' or grow until they have been sprayed with Round-Up. Farmers are not only forced to purchase the seeds, but they must purchase the activator too, which is a highly toxic compound found to cause serious health complaints in humans.

Genetically modified organisms are not saviours to starving people. In fact, in many countries that have a high population of starving humans, genetically modified crops are abundant. Well, they used to be at least - when the farmers could actually afford to buy the seed and herbicides/pesticides every year. The farmers in these countries are now starving too. They cannot plant any other crops in the fields that have been sprayed. Nothing will grow.

Some countries have banned GMOs altogether, while others have banned certain products or limited the distribution in their country. Hungary has totally banned and burned all GMO crops and seeds, while other countries have banned certain GMO crops.

In the U.S., we are certainly behind in health consciousness. In 2011, the United States ranked 37th in life expectancy. That means there are 36 countries that live longer than we do, despite the fact that we spend more money per capita than any other nation. This is shocking.

What you can do now to better your health: avoid GMO foods as much as possible. The top foods to avoid are:

  • Soy
  • Corn
  • Sugar (made from sugar beets - which is the majority of all sugar)
  • Canola
  • Aspartame (artificial sweetener in DIET products - manufactured with the aid of genetically modified E. coli bacteria)
  • Papaya 
  • And now, farm raised salmon
In the U.S., over 90% of all canola grown is GM Roundup Ready canola, as is about 90% of soybeans, and about 70% of all corn and cotton. These crops also cross-pollinate with other crops that haven't been genetically modified and create something else entirely. Something that nature hasn't designed itself.

It can be very difficult to eliminate these foods at first, especially since I probably just named about 95% of your diet. But, I promise, you will feel better without these foods. If you are struggling with infertility please make an effort to stop eating these foods. If you know someone who is, pass this information along.

There are many petitions out there that you can sign about GMO crops. Many states in the U.S. are trying to pass a law that all GMO foods are labelled (as well as other countries worldwide). Other states are trying to ban GMOs altogether. If you would like to become better informed, there are many beautiful documentaries out there. Life According to Monsanto, The Future of Food, and One Man One Cow One Planet all have an incredible amount of information on GMOs. There are so many resources and books out there too. Inform yourself.

Since we are what we eat, I surely don't want to become a genetically modified organism. I was made in the "image and likeness of God" and that is not as a genetically modified being.


Svea Lynn is a traditional Naturopath, classical homeopath and holistic doula. Her private doula practice can be found here. 

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Let Nature Be Your Band-Aid

by Allison Brooks

Healthcare costs have risen exponentially in many parts of the world. While the leading cause of death in the United States used to be an infectious disease, it has been replaced by heart disease, cancer, and other 'lifestyle' diseases. While heart disease and cancer may be caused by genetic or environmental factors in an individual's life, these diseases are often the result of poor diets combined with a sedentary lifestyle. While many people choose to medicate these self-induced diseases with a combination of pharmaceuticals, it's often possible to achieve better health through lifestyle changes and natural medicine.

Most modern medicines are derived from nature. For example, the chemotherapy drug Taxol originates from a type of pine tree. Penicillin was originally derived from microorganisms found in the soil. While nature can often provide a variety of treatments, it's important to talk to a doctor before making any healthcare decisions.

High blood pressure can be treated with a combination of fish oil, magnesium, and hawthorn extract. While many people take antidepressants like Prozac and Zoloft for depression, it's often possible alleviate depressive symptoms through the use of St John's Wort. St John's Wort works as a natural selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, and can be very effective at alleviating depression and anxiety.

Many other health ailments like insomnia can be treated with natural substances. Most medications designed to treat insomnia carry the risk of addiction, and may have serious side effects. There are many natural alternatives that allow one to achieve restfulness in a healthy way. Theanine, lemon balm, relora, and melatonin can be very effective at improving sleep quality and restfulness.

It's also possible to achieve weight loss through the proper use of natural supplements. There are many natural substances that can be extremely effective when combined with diet and exercise. Yohimbe is often used as a natural stimulant to help boost energy and lower appetite. It's also possible to increase one's metabolism through the use of green tea extract, and other natural antioxidants. These natural alternatives are ten times better than the leading weight-loss drug called, amphetamine sulfate, which can cause heart palpitations, an increase in blood pressure, and other serious cardiovascular problems.

While natural supplements can be valuable in improving one's health, supplements should be combined with a healthy lifestyle to achieve maximum longevity and overall health; this is why many integrative health facilities are adopting natural therapies to complement conventional treatments.

 Allison Brooks is a recent graduate of the University of Mississippi. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Anthropology and has continued her research to work towards a complete ethnography. She mainly focuses on the effects of biomedicalization on different cultures, but also branches off into other fields of anthropology.

Allison's new blog can be found by clicking here

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Blueberries and Weight Loss

We are all trying to lose weight at some time in our life. Some weight loss programs can be deceiving - they focus on counting calories only, not on the types of food you consume. Vibrant food is essential for vibrant health, and lasting weight loss comes from lifestyle changes. Super foods are one essential change that must be made for both health and weight loss.

There are studies out there that are linking super foods, like blueberries, to weight loss. Blueberries contain little sugar, are high in fiber and have an impressive portfolio of vitamins and minerals. Not only are they healthy in this way, but they are also powerful antioxidants. Antioxidants not only boost our immune system, but also fight against the free radicals that can cause cancer.

Breakfast Smoothie Recipe:

1 Banana
1/2 cup Blueberries
1 tbsp Flaxseed
1 cup Rice Milk (more or less for desired consistency)

Blend until there are no chunks. Enjoy in the morning before any meals.


Svea Lynn is a traditional Naturopath, classical homeopath and holistic doula. Her private doula practice can be found here. 

Counting Calories to Lose Weight?

If you are counting calories to lose weight, you might want to consider the type of calories you are eating. Not all calories are the same, in fact, some calories are much more unhealthy than others. The way your body digests pizza is very different from how it digests a fresh salad. If you were on a diet of only raw fruits and vegetables, you could eat as many calories as you would like and still lose weight. Your body digests these foods easily, while processed foods, like pizza and pasta are a heavy burden to your system, especially your liver function. Be sure to add raw salads as well as healthy fruits to your diet, and eliminate the processed stuff. The more processed foods you eliminate the further you will be down your path to continued and lasting weight loss.


Svea Lynn is a traditional Naturopath, classical homeopath and holistic doula. Her private doula practice can be found here. 

Thursday, January 5, 2012

New Year's Resolution Tips for Healthy Eating

So many people have no idea where to even begin when it comes to eating healthy. It can be quite overwhelming, especially when you are looking for a lasting lifestyle change. Below I will outline some of the common foods to avoid, while also pointing out foods that are highly nutritious.

Top 5 foods to cross off your shopping list

Milk/Dairy Products: This very common food is said to be healthy and a must to build our bones. What most people don't realize is that it's one of the foods that cause the most health-related problems. Milk and other dairy products produce mucus formation in our body. If that builds up over time, it can cause acne, allergies (including seasonal allergies), irritable bowel syndrome, etc. You can easily replace milk with rice milk or almond milk. Afraid of not having enough calcium? The leafy green vegetable, Kale is used as a calcium replacement - our body actually digests it easier and absorbs MORE calcium than it does from milk. Sound gross? Not at all! Just sauté it up with garlic, olive oil and onions and enjoy!

Wheat/Bread/Pasta: This is another very common food that causes so many allergies. This is a common staple of our diet and is one of the most difficult foods to stop eating. But, if you do stop, you will notice how much better you feel. You will have more energy, less headaches, and will lose weight. I can vouch for this myself - I have been mostly wheat free for around 5 years - and when I do eat it (who can say no to pizza every once in a while?!) I notice a huge difference in my health. I feel sluggish, lethargic, and constipated. You can use healthy replacements like rice, spelt and kamut, that can be found at most health food stores.

Soy & Soy Products: This is another common health misconception - "Soy milk is healthy..." Soy is one of the most genetically modified foods and also one of the foods that we are most allergic to. Genetically modified foods can be tied to infertility as well as other serious health complaints. Soy also contains plant estrogens that should never be fed to boys or men. We are hearing now more than ever that young boys are developing breasts and young girls are developing faster than ever before. This can be tied to soy consumption. If you read your ingredient label you will be surprised to find soy on most processed foods.

Processed Sugar: White sugar actually suppresses immune function - causing it to be one of the most dangerous foods on the market today. Sugar consumption also causes ADD / ADHD in children and adults, weight gain, fatigue, mental fog and is so addictive. Sugar should be classified as a recreational drug. If you eat sugar, then you know what I'm talking about - the stuff is addictive! Make it your New Year's resolution to stop eating all processed sugar and instead substitute it with pure raw honey and/or maple syrup.

Fried Food: Although this isn't one specific food to avoid, it is a very important category to consider. When a food or substance is super heated, the proteins begin to denature and the food sometimes becomes toxic. This is the case for fried foods - the oil is so super heated that it denatures and becomes toxic. Fried foods are very hard on our liver and digestive tract. Do you notice how you feel after you eat something that has been deep fried? I can tell you that I have felt sluggish, fatigued, and just 'weighed down'.

You may ask what foods you can eat now, since I have eliminated most of your grocery list...

Fill your list with more raw fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, healthy grains like quinoa and millet, and lots of high-quality water.

Super Foods to Consider

Kale: Like said above, Kale provides more calcium than milk and is more easily absorbed than dairy products. Kale also has quite an impressive nutrient list, including vitamin C, vitamin B6, folic acid, vitamin A, vitamin K, potassium, manganese, copper, and even the plant form of omega-3 fatty acids (alpha-linolenic acid). 

High Quality Fish Oil: In order to function properly, we need high quality fats and cholesterol to build hormones and cells. This is also extremely important if you are pregnant, nursing, or a growing child. Babies and children need this type of fat to build their nervous system and brain too. Be careful, however, when buying fish oil products - you want a high quality product that contains no mercury or heavy metals. 

Bee Pollen: I have an entire article on this one super food (can be found here). Bee pollen can be added to smoothies or juice and contains every nutrient that you need for growth and development. If you have allergies, please read the cautions on the article linked above. 

There are so many other super foods, but this is a good start for those of you who are willing to try them. Happy New Year to my readers! I hope this helps you carry out your New Year's Resolution!


Svea Lynn is a traditional Naturopath, classical homeopath and holistic doula. Her private doula practice can be found here. Her Montreal Natural Fertility site can be found here