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Dr. Aliya

Health + Wellness

3 Things I Wish I Had Known As a New Runner

This year I celebrated my 15 year running-versary! (The anniversary of when I started my journey into the world of running)

So basically, 15  years of countless early morning or late evening runs, heaps of races and a “handful” of injuries. Ok, maybe two handfuls.

Let’s be clear though, I haven’t run 15 years consecutively.  There have been periods of non-running along the way – after my daughter was born, when I was pregnant with my son and through some major injuries (plantar fasciitis being the more recent….ugh…)  And starting back on the journey after each of these events was so so hard.

As I look back over the the last 15 years, there are things I wouldn’t change at all and then there are things…well, let’s just say I could have done a bit better. I’ve made some bad decisions that resulted in overuse injuries, painful races and wasted effort!

I decided I would share with you some things I wish someone had told me when I first started running – let’s call them Lessons Learned (the hard way)!

Lesson  #1: It’s not just about “The Run”

Yes, running in itself is very satisfying and it costs almost nothing at all, however a strong cardiovascular system (lungs and heart) are only part of the equation.

Building core strength and muscular endurance helps prevent injuries and promotes an efficient running stride. Hip and core strengthening are crucial components to cross-training that help you overcome overuse injuries such as IT Band Pain (ouchy!) or Hamstring strains (double ouchy!) and Glute Weakness (poor weak glutes).

Lesson #2: Invest in a good pair of ‘kicks’! 

Non-supportive shoes or even over-supportive shoes (too much motion control) could lead to poor running biomechanics and possibly injury. It’s important to invest in a quality running shoe that helps support YOUR feet. Take the time to have a knowledgeable specialist (ahem, chiropractor!) look at your feet, your gait cycle and advise you as to which shoes will help support you while running. Having a great pair of runners can dramatically help your running and you’ll be able to become a more efficient runner.

Lesson #3: Success at running takes time…

A lot of time. Running comes with gradual training and consistency. Injuries happen. Learning to get back on the road the smart way is part of the game.

Dramatic increases in intensity/speed or mileage usually lead to injury. Remember to increase your speed OR your mileage gradually. Be patient. Take the time to achieve moderate increases over a longer period of time which will lead to sustained improvement in your runs.

Don’t get me wrong….running is awesome and with time it becomes second nature and a part of your life. Let’s just say it becomes slightly addictive . But for some, it can be a bit of a love/hate relationship and may come at a price (injuries, blisters, discomfort, etc).

It pays to learn how to run effectively and efficiently.

Take your time and in the meantime, just enjoy the ride…and the endorphins!

 

 

Pregnancy

MY TOP PREGNANCY MUST HAVE’S

Let’s face it, while being pregnant is amazing (ahem…), it’s also super overwhelming.   The advice, the do’s, the don’ts and let’s not forget about allllll the stuff.

Some you ABSOLUTELY need….and some you actually don’t. At all.

It’s a long 9 months, or 40 weeks or 3 trimesters and I’ve put together a list of pregnancy essentials that will help get you through, smooth sailing…kinda.

Here are my top pregnancy essentials:

  1. An EXERCISE BALL

I tell all of my patients to get one of these balls and keep it handy through pregnancy and beyond.

Sitting on the ball is amazing for posture and to help ease back and pelvic discomfort.   I also suggest a few key ball exercises to help keep your pelvis open and pain free. The ball is also a great tool to help get you through contractions at any stage. And trust me, you’ll definitely use it with your newborn. Endless middle of the night baby bouncing and it actually works!

Tip: Make sure you get a ball that is 65 cm or bigger and preferably latex free.  Find them at Wal-Mart, Winners, Homesense or any sporting goods store.

  1. BELLY OIL or LOTION

Let’s talk stretch marks.

A growing belly and tightening skin often damages the collagen fibers that give skin its supple elasticity resulting in those dreaded stretch marks. But even if you don’t get any stretch marks (lucky you!) – you may feel some amount of tightness, itchiness and occasional burning around your belly. Using a good quality belly butter certainly does help!

My favourite belly butter for both of my pregnancies was Joyous Health’s Belly Bump Butter. I spend a few quick moments after every shower or bath rubbing it into my belly. I also loved using Bio-oil post baby #2. It really helped reduce the signs of marks.

Tip: Find a lotion, butter or oil that is mildly fragrant or unscented. Your nose is a pretty sensitive thing when you are pregnant and some smells can be a bit overpowering.

 

  1. A GOOD QUALITY PILLOW

As both a chiropractor and two time mama– I can’t stress the importance of getting a good quality pillow for sleep during pregnancy. The earlier you start using one, the better. I treat a lot of mamas in my practice whose aches and pains can be prevented by using a good quality pillow in the right set up from the first trimester. Ideally, you want to position the pillow between your knees, lower legs and ankles. You also want a bit of support (think a wedge) under your growing belly. And don’t forget about your neck – it’s just as important!

Tip: You may need to try a few different variations on your pillow set up. Trial and error is key and don’t give up! You’ll find a good position with some practice!

 

  1. ALL OF THE SNACKS.

Ok so growing a human being inside of you is hard and makes you super hungry. But then you eat a bite and you’re full (thank you baby who has compressed your stomach). One hour later, you’re hungry…again. And so the cycle continues.

The most helpful thing for me was snacking. Think smaller meals, more frequently. Anything from an apple with PB to yogurt with granola to a hard boiled egg… I kept my snack game tight and it helped. It also helped me be less hangry. Because let’s face it there is nothing worse than a hangry pregnant woman.

Tip: Try incorporating some protein in each of your snacks. It will help keep you fuller for longer!

 

  1. A GOOD PAIR OF MATERNITY JEANS

Ok, so you’re retaining more water and your belly is starting to get a bit bigger and let’s be honest, the energy you spend getting yourself into your favourite pair of jeans is equivalent to doing a one hour spin class. Girl, it’s time to pack away your fave skinny jeans and spring for a pair of – dare I say – maternity jeans.

But don’t worry, maternity jeans have come a long, long way and there are so many flattering styles available now. Frumpy, boxy, shapeless stretchy “pants” are a thing of the past!

My favourite pair of maternity jeans are my Paige Denim Verdugo Distressed Ultra Skinny Maternity Jeans.

Tip: Check out Mom’s Buy and Sell Groups or ask friends who’ve been pregnant before – chances are someone has a great pair of J Brands they are willing to get rid off which helps ease the strain on your wallet.

  1. A GOOD READ

Let’s be real, in pregnancy there is A LOT of waiting. Waiting for doctors, waiting for ultrasounds, waiting for blood tests and ultimately, waiting for the baby. Take a chill pill and read a good book, or several of them. It helps take your mind off things and will keep you distracted while you wait.

I remember plowing through several goodies – basically the Stieg Larrson collection (sooo good!)

Tip: Audio books are an amazing way to listen to your favourite novels anywhere anytime!

Listen mama, the next 9 months is going to be filled some serious, unbelievable changes – some are amazing and exciting and others are well, not so amazing. Luckily, there are tons of great resources, products, services and advice that will help make your pregnancy as smooth as possible.

Feel free to add anything else mama…:)

 

xo

Dr Aliya

Health + Wellness

What is Acupuncture? The FAQs

You’ve probably heard of acupuncture and may have even thought about receiving a treatment – but if you’ve had acupuncture before, you know it’s more than just getting poked with needles.

Acupuncture is part of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) that strives to stimulate the balance of energy (or Qi, “chee”) within the body. When the body is healthy, Qi flows smoothly through the channels (or meridians) of the body. When the flow of Qi is unbalanced or obstructed the body may be susceptible to disease or illness.

I recently visited my friend and Instagram star Zehra Allibhai, of The Fitnest, who agreed to have her very first acupuncture treatment filmed to share with all of you! (she’s amazing –> follow her here).

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Zehra had a few areas of concern she wanted me to look at and treat – check out the video below.

Here are a few frequently asked questions I often get asked about acupuncture.

Q. Does acupuncture hurt?

Probably the most common question asked about acupuncture, ever. Many people associate needles to pain. Totally understandable! However, acupuncture needles are similar in thickness to a cat’s whisker, and are virtually painless when inserted. The occasional patient may report a pinch upon insertion, but the discomfort dissipates relatively quickly. Many patients report feeling a very unique sensation varying from tingling to heaviness to warmth and sometimes nothing at all.

Each patient’s experience is different. However, if you do experience discomfort, let your acupuncturist know and they will adjust the needles accordingly. Communication with your acupuncturist is important so that you can relax during treatment. I’m a bit sensitive to needles myself and so I have developed a gentle needling technique over the years


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Q. What can Acupuncture treat?

Because the goal of acupuncture is to promote and restore the balance of energy, the benefits of acupuncture can extend to a wide range of conditions from musculoskeletal conditions (TMJ, neck and back pain, knee, ankle, elbow, etc) to emotional disorders (anxiety, stress, depression) to digestive complaints (nausea, IBS, reflux). It can also be used to treat degenerative conditions such as chronic pain or arthritis and inflammatory conditions such as sinusitis. Labour preparation, induction and fertility acupuncture is also effective and more information can be found on the Toronto Yoga Mamas website.

According to the National Cancer Institute, several studies show that acupuncture can help boost immunity and speed up recovery following cancer treatments.

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Q. Will Acupuncture help get rid of my problem?

Acupuncturist treat the root of the problem and not just the symptoms. Relieving pain and supporting the body’s ability to heal itself are the goals of treatment. Pain is reduced because the needles promote the release of endorphins, as well as increase the movement of blood, relaxing tissues and optimizing the nervous system.

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Q. What should I expect when I see an Acupuncturist for the first time?

Typically the first acupuncture visit involves a comprehensive health history assessment. The questions may seem unrelated to the chief concern or complaint, but they are relevant to the entire body’s interactions which are the key to diagnosis and treatment. Sometimes, the practitioner may ask to examine your tongue or feel your pulse to help determine energy flow and body’s state of balance.

After the consultation and assessment, a treatment protocol is devised. As an Acupuncturist AND a Chiropractor, I often include manual techniques into my treatment plan to help thoroughly treat the condition. The treatment plan varies patient to patient.

 

Q. What will I feel like after treatment?

After treatment you should feel calm, relaxed and maybe a bit sleepy. Some people feel more energetic. The responses vary depending on the type of treatment and your current state of health. The effects are cumulative and each treatment builds on the last. a typical treatment plan may look like this: 1-2 timer a week for 6-8 treatments followed by monthly maintenance treatments for a period of time, however this varies from patient to patient.

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Q. How do I find a qualified Registered Acupuncturist (R.Ac)?

Finding a qualified Registered Acupuncturist in your area is easy. Check the College of Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners and Acupuncturists of Ontario to find someone in your area.

An acupuncturist practices significantly different than an “acupuncture provider”.

Acupuncture providers are usually manual therapy practitioners such as physiotherapists, massage therapists and chiropractors who use acupuncture as an adjunct to their treatment of musculoskeletal (MSK) conditions.

Acupuncturists use the fundamentals Traditional Chinese Medicine to help address the whole body and treat a host of conditions including MSK.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact me at hello@draliya.ca

 

Enjoy the video:

 

Health + Wellness

5 Must Have’s from The Bump to Baby Show

 

As a health conscious mama of two tiny humans, I’m always searching for the best natural, eco-friendly, toxic-free products that are on the market today.

But now, I don’t have to look very far!

The Bump to Baby Show is happening this Saturday October 21st in Toronto’s east end and will host more than 40 of the city’s local health-conscious vendors that are committed to inspiring families to live healthier!

From healing baby balms to all natural teething remedies, this show is one you don’t want to miss!

To help you get the most out of your time at the show – I’ve put together a list of my Top 5 Must-Get Products from the Bump to Baby Show.

  1. Substance Baby Nappy Ointment

This nappy ointment is a staple in my diaper bag! It’s such an amazing balm to help soothe baby’s skin and isn’t super greasy or super smelly. I also use it for my own dry hands! Plus, it’s made with calendula. Win-win!

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  1. Green Beaver Green Apple Toothpaste

This natural toothpaste is a hit at our house especially with my picky toddler. It has a mild apple flavour and is safe if swallowed. She loves it because it’s not “spicy” (read: minty) like other toothpastes.

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  1. Genuine Health’s Organic Gut Superfoods+

This product helps keep my gut happy!   With its 22 plant-based superfoods and its “prebiotics” – it helps me control bloating and alleviates my tummy trouble.

Because mama needs a happy belly!

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  1. Boiron’s Camilia Teething Homeopathic Medicine

In our house, Boiron’s Camilia drops have super duper magical powers! They help to calm a fussy crying teething baby within minutes! And bonus, they’re all natural!

Must. Buy. All. The. Camilia.

Boiron also makes a wide range of homeopathic medicines and remedies including Quietude (for sleep) and Coryzalia (for colds).

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  1. Boogalu Baby Teethers

Speaking of teething, my littlest William will not let go of this wooden and silicone teething rattle. The texture of the wood combined with the suppleness of the silicone is great for his sore little gums!

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If you’re not into shopping (um, what?!?….) the Bump to Baby Show will also have a ton of activities for families including music classes, yoga sessions, wellness workshops and talks and more!

 

The Bump to Baby Show runs Oct. 21 from 9:30 a.m. -3:30 p.m. at The Riverdale Hub, 1326 Gerrard St. E. Tickets are $5 per person in advance, which guarantees you a cotton tote bag filled with great swag, or $10 at the door. The show is free for kids and grandparents.

See you there!

xo Dr Aliya

Babies + Kids

3 Things Every Parent NEEDS to Know

Congratulations…you’re officially a Parent! That’s Parent with a capital “P”!

Because being a Parent is awesome…..but also being a Parent is hard as hell.

You welcomed this precious little baby into the world and oh man, it was cute as a button, smelled so dang good and was itty bitty teeny tiny! You thought to yourself, I got this!

And you do “have this!”

But also, more often than not, you don’t.   Parenting is tough shit.

I wish someone had taken me aside and told me some of the hard truths of my new role as a Parent.

Parenting is a journey and sure, you may have felt prepared at first, but chances are there will be something that throws you off your game and you’re left with a jaw dropped “WTF?!?”.

Yep. That’s being a Parent.

But here are three nuggets of advice I want NEED to share with you, my fellow Parent:

1. Lower Your Expectations

I’m serious.

Don’t expect a lot from yourself OR your partner for that matter.

That’s because most days taking a shower will be a huge accomplishment…and it is.

You’re in survival mode for the first few (read: several) months.  Also, all of things you expected your partner to do or the things they had done before are NOT fair game anymore.

But hey, as a bonus, if you don’t expect a lot and then stuff does get done it’s like Christmas morning!

 

2. You’re not the same person you were before kids

You will never be the same person you were before kids. Let that person go. Because the truth is, you just can’t be the same. You’ve got a tiny person that needs you for everything and you’re priorities will be different.  That’s the other thing, your relationship will not be the same either (more on that in another post!).

The problem starts when new Parents try their hardest to be their “before kids” selves. It’s not possible, friend.   And the more you try to be your BK (Before Kids) self – the harder life will be. Embrace your AK (After Kids) self for all that it is – compassionate, empathetic, nurturing, responsible, protective, and loving!

You are one hell of a person – and I promise you’ll love the new (Parental) you!

 

3. You will never be prepared. ever.

Your diaper bag could be the most organized, most well stocked baby bag on earth, there could be a Wal-Mart in that bag….chances are your baby will need the one thing you didn’t pack.

Yup.  That’s the world of these magical, unpredictable AF babies.

You’re going to forget things. You’re going to screw up. And you’re going to be “that Parent” at some point. We are ALL “that Parent” at one time or another.

I’ve yet to meet a Parent who’s got it all together, all the time. Even us “experts” are just making it up as we go along.

But you’re also going to learn a ton and you WILL figure it out.

It’s a steep learning curve and you learn new things every day for the rest of that baby’s life. It’s life long, it never ends and it’s the best ever!

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So listen, I’m not an expert in all things babies by any means. But the above three nuggets are things I’ve learned on my own the past 3.5 years and things I wish someone, anyone, had told me. So I’m sharing them with you.

But in the end, this shit doesn’t matter. What matters is the smile on your baby’s face when they first really see you, or the laughter or joy they get from just hanging out with you!

That’s the good stuff that makes the other stuff totally worth it!

Being a Parent is the most important job in the world and you just landed the gig!

Challenge accepted.

 xo

Dr Aliya

Health + Wellness, Uncategorized

My FAVE *New, Trendy* Exercise Equipment

October?! WTF?!?

It’s Fall and that means back to school (love!), routines (love!) and getting back into working out (meh…).  After having my second baby, it has been a bit of a struggle to get back into a regular exercise program/routine.

There are a few things that have helped me get started!

First of all, I’ve started working out from home.  I can get my workouts in and out of the way without leaving the comfort of my home!  Plus, nap times are great times to get a good sweat on!

Second, I go hard.  If only have 20-30 minutes, I make each second count!  This means, high intensity interval training (HIIT).  Honestly, 20 minutes of HIIT elevates my heart rate, and gets my body working and muscles toned!

And lastly, I try to focus on exercises that have the most bang for my buck!   I’m always looking for new ways to give my body an amazing workout.  Sometimes this means using different pieces of equipment that help to add some level of intensity and variation to my workouts.

Check out my latest video below where I share my fave fitness essentials that will help keep you workouts effective and fun!

 

Health + Wellness

My Morning Skin Care Routine

Mornings are super crazy at our house!

Between getting the kids dressed and putting breakfast on the table, I barely have time to put myself together. To keep things simple, I rely on these 3 awesome beauty products to help my skin feel nourished and healthy (even on 4 hours of sleep!).

Here’s what I use:

  1. Pure and Simple Sensitive Skin Face Wash – daily
  2. Wildcraft Buff Face and Body Scrub – every other day
  3. Wildcraft Regenerating Cell Face Serum – daily

Check out my video below for all the details!

xo

Dr Aliya

Health + Wellness

3 Acupressure Points for Stress Relief

Feeling stressed out?  Do you ever wish there were a simple way to ease your tension and stress?

Guys, there is!

It’s called Acupressure and it works wonders!   I’ve been teaching my patients acupressure points for years and it’s been a great tool to help ease a lot of common discomforts that you can do on your own.

Watch my video below to learn the 3 easy stress relieving acupressure points that you can start doing NOW!

Health + Wellness

5 Easy Exercises for Busy Moms

Guys!  It’s the beginning of the month and I’ve decided that this month I’m going to focus on being more active on a daily basis.  It’s super hard to juggle mommy-ing, work, household chores, errands, etc.  The to-do lists are endless!

But this month, I’m making myself a priority and taking an hour each day to do something active for me.  Not only will this help me physically, but it will definitely help me mentally as well.

To do this, I reached out to my friend, fellow mom and fitness expert Lara Marq.   Lara is a mom of 2 and specializes in pre and post natal fitness.  We sat down to discuss what it means to get back into working out regularly post-baby and she put together this amazing 5 exercise workout for me!

The beauty of this routine is that it literally takes less than an 30 minutes to complete and requires no gym equipment!  She based on my needs as a mom, cleared of any pelvic floor dysfunction and/or abdominal separation.  It also has a modified version for anyone getting back into working out after baby.  Check out the video below!

** Remember to always check with your health care practitioner before starting any new exercise routine, especially post-baby**

Babies + Kids

Baby’s First Library

 

Our family is big on books. It’s one of our go-to quiet time activities. We actually have a name for it – it’s called “Library Time”.

When my daughter Rose was teeny tiny – we started incorporating story time into her daily bedtime routine. It was a way for us to wind down with her and gave both me and my husband some time to just “be with her” when the kerfuffle of dinner and bath time was over and done for the day.

She loved it and we loved it. And so “Library Time” was established.   And to perfectly honest, we also quite enjoyed reading some of her books – they were as much for us as they were for her!

Our six months old son William is no different. This kid loves being read to and developmentally its never to early to start exposing your baby to the world of books and reading.

Reading aloud to your baby is such an amazing shared activity that you can continue for years. It’s a great way to teach your baby about communication and enhances their vocabulary skills. It’s also a wonderful way to introduce concepts such as numbers, letters, colours and shapes.  Black and white books are especially awesome in the newborn stage when contrasting colours help stimulate baby’s early vision.

One study found that babies whose parents read to them  scored higher on language tests when they reached 3 years of age.   Ah…I love brainy kids!

 

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Here are a few of our favourites that are a great addition to Baby’s First Library!

Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes by Mem Fox and Helen Oxenbury

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Each Peach Pear Plum by Janet and Allan Ahlberg

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Mrs Mustard’s Baby Faces by Jane Wattenberg

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Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown

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On the Night you were Born by Nancy Tillman

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Where is the Green Sheep by Mem Fox

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Black & White by Tana Hoban

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Of course there are so, so many great books out there for the 0-6 month age range!

Does your little one have a favourite book? I’d love to hear what you guys are reading!

 

 

xo

Dr Aliya