Why Choose a Natural Sunscreen?

Are you on the hunt for a chemical-free, natural sunscreen that will work? There are so many options when it comes to natural sunscreens, but some are better than others. Let’s take a deeper look at why sunscreen is important and why mineral sunscreen is a safer choice.



Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is the biggest cause of skin cancer. Also, it is estimated that 90% of the signs of aging are caused by the sun. Therefore, sunscreen should be a part of your daily routine, not unlike brushing your teeth or eating your veggies. But you shouldn’t choose just any type of sunscreen.  We suggest using a broad-spectrum mineral sunscreen that will protect against UVA (Aging rays) as well as UVB (Burning rays) rays.


Top 5 Reasons to Switch to Mineral Sunscreen


  • NO SYSTEMIC ABSORPTION: Instead of chemical sunscreen try using zinc oxide, a mineral filter that sits on the surface of the skin as a barrier to bounce or reflect sun’s rays away. A non-nano zinc oxide made up of larger particles will have a lower risk of being absorbed into the skin.


  • LESS IRRITATING TO SKIN: Many chemical sunscreens contain a long list of ingredients that may irritate sensitive skin. If your skin is prone to acne or eczema, then considering a mineral sunscreen may be the best option for you.


  • NO HORMONAL DISRUPTION: Many generic sunscreen brands contain several chemicals that are known to be endocrine disruptors. Studies have shown that these chemicals can affect fertility, sperm count and may delay puberty. There is also evidence to suggest female exposure to oxybenzone and related chemicals have been linked to increased risk of endometriosis.


  • IMMEDIATE SUN PROTECTION: Unlike chemical sunscreen that need to be applied 20-30 minutes before going in the sun, mineral sunscreen works instantaneously.


  • REEF FRIENDLY: Many mineral sunscreens are free from oxybenzone and octinoxate, ingredients known to contribute to the collapse of coral reefs.


5 Signs You are Dehydrated after Your Hot Yoga Class

Want to know if you are dehydrated after your hot yoga class? Read on!



#1: You get cramps. Ever notice your legs seize up during or after your hot yoga class? Exercising in the heat with inadequate fluid replacement can lead to reduced blood flow to your muscles and ultimately, cramping. The hotter you get, the more likely your muscles are to cramp. If you’re in your hot yoga class and you start to cramp, dehydration may be the reason why!


#2: You are keto and feel zapped after yoga. As with any drastic change, your body takes time to adjust to the low carbohydrate nature of a ketogenic diet. As a keto-dieter, it is easier for your body to lose electrolytes and water. Adding in a few hot yoga classes to the mix can dehydrate the body further and leave you depleted. If you are keto and feel zapped after yoga, dehydration may be the reason why!


#3: You are lacking that post-yoga glow. Experiencing uneven skin complexions? Feel like you’re aging too quickly? Water is essential for skin health as it contributes to plumpness, elasticity and resiliency. If you’re sweating throughout your hot yoga class and your skin is feeling dry afterwards, dehydration may be the reason why!


#4: You feel cranky after class. And I mean toddler-level cranky! Your brain will not function adequately when it is low on liquids. Some report that your brain may physically shrink when your body doesn’t have enough fluids. If you’re feeling grumpy and irritable after your yoga class, dehydration may be the reason why!


#5: You are already taking an electrolyte formula and not feeling rehydrated. It’s time to take a second look at your electrolyte supplement! Many over-the-counter electrolyte formulas contain caffeine, which may have a mild diuretic effect. Caffeine can leave you feeling jittery, anxious or sleepless. If you are already taking an electrolyte formula and not feeling rehydrated, dehydration may be the reason why!


Spring in your step!

Naturopathic Doctor Bloor West

Want more Spring in your step this season? Well, read on!

Here are my top 5 tips on how to do this adapted from Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) traditions.


  • Eat your greens (and not the light green iceburg lettuce kind). Spring is fueled by the energy of the Liver. This is the time when many health gurus begin their spring cleanses. All cleanses incorporate a wide variety of greens. It is a vital time to eat foods that are sprouting. Try adding sprouted microgreens to any of your salads. Add foods like garlic, onions and peppermint which support the body’s desire to be invigorated this season.


  • Get on the move! Sometimes I believe the more we think about exercising, the greater the chance it won’t happen! Early morning routines work best for me where I don’t have time to find an excuse yet! My body takes the lead and then my mind once awake responds with ‘I am so glad I went for that run!’ The season supports the movement of Qi. Stagnation of Qi often occurs during the winter months when we are least active. Acupuncture can also assist with the movement of sleepy Qi.


  • Cover your head and neck. According to TCM tradtions, a change of season can bring ‘pathogens’ via the wind. On windy days, take cover. On really windy days, you will find me wearing a scarf at the clinic. Its a reminder to keep my head and neck covered in case of an unexpected draft. Want to avoid those spring colds? Drink tea, wear your favourite Lululemon hoodie and avoid the wind.


  • Clean your favourite space! See how I only mention ONE space? Most of us get overwhelmed by the idea of spring cleaning around the house. This means taking down drapes, replacing heavy winter linens, dry cleaning, removing unworn clothing, etc….So what I mean here is, choose ONE space. Choose one space where you spend most of your time at home. I have a home office so this is where I begin. This is where I write and need to be inspired. Any clutter around me can create clutter in the mind and usher me into working out of another space. So, give away any unused books, remove anything in your line of sight that creates confusion. Add some vibrant colours, fill a small bottle with pink tulips and place on your desk. You get the idea. Who says Spring cleaning can’t be fun? I make it fun and that begins with adding a renewed energy to my surroundings.


So get going! Be inspired. Begin to flow with the energy of the season and you will be rewarded. When you need more inspiration come and see your ND for an acupuncture tune-up.




Holistic Dentistry in the Junction

I had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Shanny Chang and her team recently at Junction Family Dental Care. She shares a holistic view on oral health. She may likely recommend a probiotic once an antibiotic is prescribed. Forward thinking, check.  I am thankful that our offices are in the same neighbourhood. Dr. Chang shared with us the following information on Bacteria and Oral health.

Similar to your gut, your mouth is home to many different types of bacteria.  Some of these bacteria are beneficial to your mouth and cause no problems at all while others can cause significant disruption to your teeth, gums, bone, and overall health.   Several factors influence the type of bacteria that live, grow, and flourish in your mouth. pH cavity causing bacteria are known as “acidophiles” which are acid loving bacteria.  The more acidic your saliva, the more cavity causing bacteria can grow and cause havoc to your teeth.  Repeated exposure of your mouth to sugar, acidic foods, and acidic beverages will all contribute to an acidic mouth.  As acidophiles grow in significant numbers, they can further contribute to anacidic mouth (because they produce acid as they breakdown their food – sugar) and disrupt the growth of the normal (good) bacteria.  Certain foods are known to be naturally “alkaline” (high pH) and “acidic” (low pH).

Foods should be chosen wisely in order to help regulate the pH of your mouth.  Natural options such as the implementation of Xylitol and baking soda in your oral hygiene regimen can prove to be beneficial to reduce the acid challenge in your mouth. Periodontal disease causing bacteria love anerobic (oxygen hating) environments and thrive in deep pockets formed between the tooth and the gums.  Additionally, if plaque (bacteria on the teeth) is not removed thoroughly from the tooth surface, the bacteria start to layer on top of each other.  This creates oxygen poor environments at the bottom of the pile creating the opportunity for anaerobic bacteria to establish.  Once established, they begin to outcompete the good bacteriaand take over.  This contributes to inflammation, periodontal disease, tooth loss, and development of other systemic inflammatory disorders such as diabetes, stroke, pregnancy complications, Alzheimer’s disease, and a host of other issues.  Visiting your dentist regularly to clean the deep pockets with oxygen rich solution, remove thick plaque and tartar underneath the gums, and coach you in a proper plaque removal regimen specific for you and your teeth is imperative to achieve an oxygen rich environment in your mouth.  Similar to your gut, your mouth can benefit from the introduction of good bacteria.  The good bacteria will establish themselves in your mouth and crowd out the bad bacteria – changing the environment in your mouth.  A study published in the Journal of Clinical Periodontology found the introduction of Lactobacillus reuteri probiotics by a lozenge could be a useful adjunct to regular dental cleanings to help manage gum disease.  Talk to your family dentist to see if this is a possibility for you!

Healthy Hydration this Summer

When I walk down the grocery aisle and spot the fluorescent drinks out of the corner of my eye I wonder how much colouring are added to those drinks. When drinks glow, they have to go! The concept of an electrolyte drink is a brilliant one. As we sweat we need to replenish are sodium and potassium stores. Electrolytes play an important role in proper muscle contraction. Sodium and potassium help promote retention of ingested fluids as well, thereby preventing dehydration. Carbohydrates also play a role as they help to supply immediate energy and assist with rehydration. Unfortunately many of the drink options available also contain many unwanted ingredients including artificial sweeteners and added coloring.

If you really enjoy sport drink beverages, review bottle labels as ingredient lists vary. Gatorade contains sucrose and dextrose while Powerade’s sugar content comes from high fructose corn syrup. This ingredient has been shown to have numerous health risks when consumed in excessive amounts.

What are some healthier options for sports drinks that can ensure proper hydration?

If exercising for less than one hour, drink water! The body does not need extra carbohydrates or electrolytes. If you do not like the taste of water, squeeze a lemon and add the juice for a more refreshing taste.

My favorite option for replenishing fluids during and after an intensive workout is coconut water. It is a rich source of natural sugars, vitamins, and even electrolytes. Each brand has varying amounts of these so refer to labels and ensure there are not any additional sugars or flavoring. Studies also show that coconut water is better tolerated when compared to the common electrolyte drinks.

Although coffee can be helpful in providing caffeine to increase athletic endurance, avoid consuming greater than 300mg per day. For couples trying to conceive, lower quantities are recommended. Higher intake of coffee can promote dehydration.

Before venturing out on that day trip or quick run, try to drink water at least 1 hour prior to exercise. This can prevent against dehydration. Sound simple? It is! Drinking water is not usually considered until after an exercise but can give a great amount of energy.

Other natural supplements that can enhance athletic performance and support exercise recovery include green tea, Matcha and Kombucha tea. Talk to your ND to find out if any of these may be appropriate for you. Have fun staying hydrated this summer.

Do I need to take a probiotic?

This is one of the most common questions I get asked in practice. Generally, I respond first with a definition.

‘Probiotics refer to the billions of bacteria that live in your gastrointestinal tract.’

Here are some reasons why I recommend their use:
1) Digestive disorders (symptoms of gas/bloating)
2) Poor dietary intake
3) Antibiotic use
4) Prolonged periods of illness and/or stress
5) Travel abroad

With the above conditions/factors, there could be a potential imbalance in the bacteria flora in an individual. If this is present, various symptoms may present or worsen in time.

In addition, I often recommend probiotic supplementation during the 3rd trimester of pregnancy to assist with increasing the beneficial bacteria prior to birth. This may be helpful in promoting healthy vaginal flora and in preventing some conditions that could affect breastfeeding.

Thankfully, many companies produce a variety of products. My son loves the Children’s Chewable form. My husband prefers a powdered form in his smoothie. When choosing a brand, and which form or strains, talk to your Naturopathic Doctor to find the most appropriate formula for you. Some other factors to consider are your age, current health status and any existing health concerns. For example, there are different probiotics that are used for breastfed babies and those that are designed for formula-fed babies.
healthy eating, cooking, vegetarian food, dieting and people con
With more researching emerging every year about probiotics and their positive benefits on health, this will continue to be a regular prescription of mine.

Words of Support

holidays and tourism concept - beautiful girls drinking coffee i

As a Naturopathic Doctor, I have the unique privilege of hearing the stories of many women. What most women may not recognize is that they are not alone in their struggles, heartbreaks and triumphs. As a result, I often find myself repeating the similar phrases. Recently, a long-time patient urged me to share these ‘Odessa-isms’ as she called them, with others. Here is a sample:

‘Don’t be too hard on yourself. As women, we are expected to balance work with family and healthy meals for all of us. Do your best. There is no such thing as a perfect balance or being a perfect woman.’

‘Listen to your body. If you know something is wrong, listen to that voice and never let anyone dismiss this. Seek as many opinions as you want. Don’t stop until you are heard.’

‘You know your body better than anyone, better that any doctor.’

‘Love your life. If something is not working, seek out change. Get support and make even a small change toward that new goal, TODAY.’

‘Never ever give up. The fertility journey can be a long one for some. If the goal remains, be persistent.’

‘Move every day. Even for 30 minutes or 10 minutes. Change habits that lead to stagnation.’

And my personal favourite….

‘When you do something hard or challenging – reward yourself! Go to the spa, take a day off work, try a new yoga class. Just let your spirit know it will be rewarded for being brave.’

None of these statements are new. My point is that you are not alone. Your struggle is similar to many others. I think we just need reminders of that every once in a while. Take the time to go for that latte with a friend. We all need support.