Browsing Tag

Health

Health + Wellness

WHAT’S IN MY PANTRY?

I started working with Holistic Nutritionist, Sabrina Virdee (@sabrinavirdee), a few months to help me get my nutrition and lifestyle back on track from what to eat and what not to eat.

One of her amazing tips to staying on a clean and healthy diet was to make sure my pantry was stocked with the essential staples. These are the foods that you can turn to over and over again and use in different ways and that will always be super nutritious and provide endless benefits to your body.

The following 8 things are essential to my pantry and help to keep me in check.

  1. Hemp hearts

Hemp hearts are a good fat (omega –3 and -6 and essential fatty acids) also high in plant based protein and fiber. Because they are packed with protein they are going to keep me fuller for longer and they are easy on the digestive system.

I usually add them to my morning smoothies or protein shakes or sprinkle on top of yogurt. Try sprinkling them on your salads as well!

  1. Chia Seeds

These seeds may be tiny but they totally pack a punch! Chia seeds are also packed with essential fats, protein, and fiber. Like hemp hearts they are also easy to add to foods and since their shelf life is extremely long I can buy them in bulk!

  1. Coconut Oil

Not only great for cooking, coconut oil can reach a high cooking temperature without denaturing. It can also be used in baking as a butter substitute. Its many other uses include using it as a mouthwash to reduce bad breath, a natural make up remover and relieves dry skin! It’s a multi-tasking miracle!

  1. Flax Seeds

I eat flax seeds on a daily basis and besides its multitude of health benefits, I love the effects they have on my skin, hair and nails!

I often grind my whole seeds which become easily broken down during digestion.   I often use a flax egg as an egg replacement in some recipes. Mix together 1 tbsp of ground flax and three tbsp of water and let sit to thicken for 5 minutes. This is one “flax egg” and can be used in baking!

  1. Almond Butter

I mean do we really need to talk about why this should stay stocked in your pantry. Besides being delicious…almond butter is an amazing protein and fat source and can be easily added to smoothies!

  1. Apple Cider Vinegar

Unpasteurized apple cider vinegar is amazing to have on hand! It’s one of my faves in dressings and sauces. I put a spoonful in my water to help aid in digestion, stabilizing blood sugar levels and balancing the body’s acidity.

  1. Maple Syrup

Being a Canadian, I hold this sweetener near and dear. I add it to dressings to balance acidity and to my breakfast items like oatmeal and yogurt. Look for dark maple syrup that is labeled Grade B – this type contains the most minerals and has a richer maple test.

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!

 

 

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).

IMG_4061

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


IMG_4062

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.

IMG_4060

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.

IMG_4055

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.

IMG_2675

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

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

The Do’s and Don’ts of Foam Rolling

You’ve just finished your workout and as you make your way over to the stretching area you notice a woman moving her entire body over cylindrical piece of foam. She’s writhing over it, using several expletives and you wonder what the heck is she doing?! And more importantly, why?!?

Welcome to foam rolling my friend.

Foam rolling became trendy years ago when athletes used to roll out tight muscles and fascia (more on fascia here). It’s a form of myofasical release (like a massage), you do to yourself – call it self-massage.   Basically by using the foam roller and your own bodyweight you are releasing tight muscles via trigger points and increasing circulation and blood to that particular area of your body.

Here are a few do’s and don’ts that will have you foam rolling like a pro in no time!

DO pick a foam roller that’s right for you! Foam rollers come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, some with knobs for added torture….I mean, relief.   To be honest, I always suggest a longer foam roller so it’s easier to use to roll out your glutes, ITB and back. Of course, if you are traveling, you may want to get a shorter one as well for ease of packing!

DON’T roll directly on a joint or bone.  Ouchy!

DO roll slowly and with even pressure, spending a few seconds on each area of the body.  Enjoy each and every sensation!

DON’T overdo it!  It is not an exercise in pain tolerance. Placing too much sustained pressure on one body part can result in damage.

DO expect a little bit of discomfort.  It should be a “good” hurt, but never unbearable. If an area is too sore or tender, try rolling on surrounding muscles first to help loosen things up.

DON’T try to foam roll your neck. It’s awkward for a reason. The neck is a very sensitive part of the body and a difficult area to position your foam roller. If you are suffering from neck pain, seek the help of a health professional (like your chiropractor, wink wink).

DO it often. Being consistent with rolling is key. It’s not enough to just roll when you are in acute pain. Try rolling every other day! You will notice a difference!

What is your favourite body part to foam roll?  Let me know!

Happy Rolling everyone!

xo

Dr Aliya

 

 

 

Health + Wellness

3 Easy Stretches for Moms

Feeling a bit stiff and tight as a new mom?

One of the most common complaints new mamas have is pain and stiffness in the shoulder, neck and upper back areas and it’s not surprising.  Moms spend most of their day carrying, rocking, bending, lifting, feeding, nursing and rocking again.  These movements lead to some really tight muscles, stiff joints and inevitably some postural changes….think “hunchback”!   New mom posture is so common that I’ve coined the term “Momsture” (get it, get it…).  (It’s being copyrighted as we speak!)

Don’t worry mama, your posture or momsture is not a lost cause!

I have three easy peasy stretches to help loosen up those muscles leaving you feeling awesome…and only a tad sleep deprived! (I’m sorry but these stretches won’t have your baby sleeping through the night…if only, eh?)  Watch my video below to see what these look like and try them today!

You’ll be feeling better soon!

 

Here’s a recap of the stretches in this video:

  1. Chest opener against the wall
  2. Towel stretch
  3. Neck stretch with arms behind back

xo

Dr Aliya

Health + Wellness

A Walk for My Dad

April 30th 2016. The date doesn’t ring a bell for most that knew him. It’s not his birthday or my parent’s wedding anniversary. It’s also not the birthday of any of his siblings, kids, nieces, nephews or grandkids. Nope, it’s a seemingly ordinary day last year in April.

But for my sisters, my mom and myself April 30th 2016 holds much importance.

It was the date of last years Walk for Muscular Dystrophy (MD) in Toronto. And, the last time my dad participated in this walk with his family before he passed away in June 2016.

In early 2007, my dad was diagnosed with Inclusion Body Myositis (IB), an autoimmune disease that weakens and wastes the muscles progressively over time. And even though, his body was slowly deteriorating, his willpower and zest for life never wavered. He continued to be active in the community and one of his favourite events of the year was the Walk for Muscular Dystrophy. It was an opportunity to raise awareness and support those affected by neuromuscular disorders. It was also a way to connect with friends he had made who also lived with similar disorders and spend time walking/rolling with his family.

Muscular Dystrophy Canada provided much support to my dad (and to our family) throughout the years, generously funding devices and aides that helped him with daily activities, providing a conduit for him to reach out and share his experiences with others and also supporting our family throughout his disease.

April 29 2017. The date of this years Walk for Muscular Dystrophy. We walk in honour of my dad, keeping his legacy alive. We walk in support of everyone everywhere affected by neuromuscular disorders. We walk to help raise awareness, to fuel research and encourage advocacy.

We walk to make a difference.

I would love for you to walk with us!

Visit our team page here for more information. Hope to see you there!

xo

Dr Aliya

dad and walk2

 

Health + Wellness

Mother’s Wrist: A common “new mama” pain!

You’re a new mom to a gorgeous little babe!  Yay!

But you’ve started to notice your body is slowly deteriorating….oh no….  You thought the hard part was over (eg. giving birth)?  And despite all of your “war wounds” – tearing, abdominal separation, weakened pelvic floor muscles, cracked/sore nipples….you’ve now noticed an intense pain in your wrists, hands and thumbs!  Things get super sore when you pick up your beautiful beaming babe…ouchy!  Feels like your body is broken!  Sound familiar?

If so, don’t panic yet!

The wrist/hand/thumb pain you are describing sounds like a condition called De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis or as its commonly called, “mother’s wrist” or “mommy thumb”. De Quervain’s results from irritation and inflammation of the tendons that run from the base of the thumb to the wrist and forearm. As the tendons become more inflamed they rub against the “tunnel” that encloses them causing pain along the thumb side of the wrist.

Although anyone can develop De Quervain’s, it is most common in new moms (and a few new dads too). The repetition of lifting a baby numerous times during the day adds undue stress to a fatigued wrist.

In 2009, a study from the University of Colorado found that women were four times more likely to develop De Quervain’s than men.  In addition, some women experience symptoms during pregnancy as a result of fluid retention and hormonal changes causing the tissues around the tendons to swell and become inflamed.

Research has suggested that between 25-50% of new moms develop de Quervain’s during their baby’s first few months. Early recognition and treatment is key. If you are experiencing wrist or thumb pain, see your chiropractor as soon as possible for diagnosis and treatment options.

Unfortunately, mommy thumb seldom resolves on its own, however there are a few things you can do to get a grip on the pain.

01 / Use a different lifting technique – “the scoop”. One of the most important things you can do to prevent further injury is to modify your lifting technique. Instead of picking up your baby under his arms using primarily the thumb and index finger (in an “L” shape), try “the scoop” technique. Keep the palm of your hand up and try scooping him up by lifting under his bottom with one hand (keeping your thumb and index finger glued together) and supporting the back of his head with the other hand.

02/ Check breastfeeding position. Many women report that breastfeeding can irritate an already painful wrist, particularly during breast compressions (to help milk flow). Supporting or cradling baby’s head puts a strain on the wrist. Use a pillow to support the weight of the baby’s head so it isn’t resting in your hand.

03/ Rest & Ice. Ok so maybe resting your wrist is out of the question if you have a new baby. However, when your partner or a friend/relative is at home with you, hand over the baby and rest your wrist. This will allow some healing to occur. Icing frequently to decrease inflammation is also helpful.

04/ Try using a splint. A splint or brace that prevents the thumb and wrist from moving will help decrease swelling and discomfort. Wearing the brace consistently is important and many moms see an improvement in just a couple of weeks.

05/ Rehabilitative Exercises/Stretches.  Stretching your wrist muscles and gently massaging the area may help.  In addition, your chiropractor can help provide some key strengthening exercises that can help increase the strength in your muscles.  See my video below for some quick easy stretches and exercises that can help!

06/ Avoid texting.  Put your smartphone down and slowly back away.  Texting is a sure fire way to re-aggravate an already sore wrist and thumb.

07/ Consult with a health practitioner. A chiropractor can definitely help guide your treatment and recovery. Acupuncture has been shown to help!  Often this condition takes some time to get better, so be patient with yourself and your body.

A few easy stretches and exercises that will help!

Hang in there mama!  As your baby becomes a bit more mobile, your wrist pain will likely decrease.  This may bring a whole host of other issues – but that’s for another day!

xo

Dr Aliya

Babies + Kids

Tummy Time: Why it’s important!

 

If you’re a parent, you’ve inevitably heard of “tummy time”.   However, you may not really know why its so important for your baby in terms of his or her development. Read on, my friend.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) continues to advise parents that the safest position for babies to sleep is on their backs.   This has been shown to greatly reduce the occurrence of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). However, as babies spend more time on their backs, pediatricians and health practitioners have noted an increase in misshapen heads (cranial asymmetry) and a flattening effect on back of the head called positional plagiocephaly.

Enter tummy time.

Tummy time helps to get babies off their backs for periods of time (under supervision, of course!) giving the occipital area or back of the head a break from all that back sleeping. It also helps baby develop neck, back and shoulder muscles they need to meet gross motor milestones such as rolling over, crawling and sitting up.

Tummy time can start as early as when baby comes home from the hospital but many parents wait until the umbilical cord stump has fallen off for baby’s comfort. The current recommendation is at least 20 minutes per day with gradual increases as your baby gets older. I almost always recommend 30 minutes per day to my patients. Remember, this doesn’t have to be all at once and can be broken up into shorter segments starting from just a few minutes a session.

Here are a few tips I give to parents to encourage happy tummy play:

  • Engage baby in tummy time when she’s content and alert. Avoid insisting on it when she’s fussy. Forcing tummy time will cause a negative association for your baby.
  • Try different tummy time positions – holding baby on your chest while lying flat, placing baby on a firm safe surface, holding baby on your forearms (football hold), propping him up on a small pillow or blanket or lying baby on your lap. To make things more interesting, try tummy time on a exercise ball. (see my video on tummy time on an exercise ball here or check below).
  • Interact with your baby during tummy time. Get down on the floor and talk to, play with, sing to and be silly with your baby! This will help distract baby and keep them from becoming frustrated.
  • Consistency is key! Every bit of a tummy time makes a difference. Try to make it a fun part of your baby’s day. If you have done plenty of tummy time with baby but are concerned they are still not meeting milestones, bring your concerns to the attention of your pediatrician or health care provider.
  • If your child consistently fusses during tummy time, it may be time to bring him or her in to see a chiropractor. Often spinal misalignments resulting during birth may contribute to your wee one being fussy or crying during tummy time.

Recently, I’ve tried doing tummy time with William in his Dockatot (one of my fave baby essentials). I just position him on his belly in the Dockatot with his arms and belly over the bumper and place an interesting toy or mirror in front of him and he’s happy! Easy breezy tummy time!

Here’s a video of William  doing tummy time on the exercise / therapy ball!

Always remember: Back to Sleep and Tummy to Play!

 

Pregnancy

5 Tips to Reduce Pregnancy Related Back Pain

Hi Guys!

So I had the opportunity to be interviewed by CTV news this past week about one of my passions – prenatal care!  As it happens, this month is also Pregnancy month for the Ontario Chiropractic Association.

I love helping mamas-to-be to feel their very best during their pregnancy :)

Check out the video below for 5 easy tips to reduce pregnancy related back pain.

http://toronto.ctvnews.ca/video?clipId=1036715