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8 Tips for Better Sleep

8 Tips for Better Sleep

It’s not a mystery why proper sleep is important for your health. But what can we do about it when sleep evades us? 

Here are some tips to help you get some shut eye: 

  1. Magnesium - Insomnia is a common symptom of magnesium deficiency. Maintaining healthy magnesium levels often leads to deeper, more sound sleep. It also helps the body relax. Magnesium increases GABA, a neurotransmitter that promotes sleep. Magnesium rich foods: green leafy vegetables, avocado, banana, legumes, brown rice, oats, dark chocolate (to name a few). We also carry some great magnesium supplements at Ravita.
  2. Melatonin - if magnesium alone isn’t cutting it, give melatonin a try. We have a great blend of magnesium, melatonin, and GABA that works on all levels. It relaxes your muscles, while calming the mind. I personally use this product and swear by it! 
  3. Turn off devices close to bedtime, or at least wear some blue light blocking glasses. There's also a great app for your computer called f.lux that adjusts the screen brightness (and adds a slight yellow hue, working similarly to blue light blocking glasses) depending on the time of day. 
  4. Yoga, meditation, and relaxation - Ever heard of ASMR? It stands for Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response. It can cause a tingling sensation that typically beings on the scalp and moves down the back of the neck. Some describe it as “low-grade euphoria”. There are different things that can trigger ASMR, such as whispering or tapping. I use this tool to fall asleep every night. 
  5. Acupuncture - this service is offered at Divine Elements. Call us for more information! 
  6. Or try EFT Acupressure - Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) is sometimes called psychological acupressure. It’s based on the same meridians used in traditional acupuncture. It can help remove negative emotions, reduce food cravings, reduce or eliminate pain, and/ or implement positive goals. There are two basic things to learn: tapping locations and positive affirmations. Tap the points with the fingertips of your index and middle fingers. The tapping points in order are: top of head, eyebrow, side of eye, under eye, under nose, chin, collarbone, underarm, and wrists. It’s important to create a sentence that acknowledges the problem and creates self acceptance. An example of this sentence: “Even though I have this [blank], I deeply and completely accept myself." While you are tapping repeat this to yourself. 
  7. Lavender essential oil - aromatherapy is another great technique for promoting relaxation and sleep. Lavender oil may increase time spent in deep, slow-wave sleep. 
  8. Limit caffeine - that extra cup of coffee might sound like a good idea when you’re feeling that 3 p.m. slump, but it could be affecting your sleep. If you’re a caffeine drinker, try limiting caffeinated beverages to the morning only. 

Recommended products from Ravita: 

  1. Mag-Matrix 
  2. Magnesium Sleep Matrix 
  3. Melatonin B6 - When melatonin is coupled with vitamin B6, melatonin biosynthesis, secretion and absorption is enhanced 
  4. Relax Matrix 
  5. Pascoflair 

 

Alison Smink, R.H.N. 

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The Benefits of Owning a Pet

The Benefits of Owning a Pet

After many years of yearning for a dog of my own, I finally took the plunge. You may have seen him before on Ravita’s Instagram or Facebook page. His name is Oliver and he’s a mini dachshund. He’s famous for his Product Picks #productpicksbyoli. In the short amount of time I’ve had him, I can already see the benefits of being a pet owner, and it turns out I'm not the only one. There have been multiple studies demonstrating this very thing!

Here are just some benefits of owning a pet: 

  1. Decreases stress - one study found that people undertaking a stressful task felt less stress when their pets were with them, even more than when a spouse, family member, or close friend was nearby. 
  2. Lowers blood pressure - this ties back to reducing stress
  3. Eases pain - pets reduce anxiety, which translates to less pain. One study found that using therapy dogs after surgery reduced the amount of pain medication given to patients.
  4. Improves mood - this one is especially true for me, and I’ve noticed it in the clinic as well. When people spot Oli their faces brighten up! Pets are also great company, and can make you feel less lonely. 
  5. Helps people socialize - pet owners are a community. People will stop to talk to you about your pet, who can resist a puppy! It’s a great way to meet new people.
  6. Prevents allergies and improves immunity to colds and other mild illnesses - evidence shows that the dander in your pet’s fur might stop your child from developing allergies. Studies have also shown that babies who live with a dog tend to experience fewer infections than those who don’t. Introducing your child to a dog (or other pet) early can help promote a healthy immune system.
  7. Helps children develop - pets are a great way to teach your children how to be responsible, and they’ll also learn nurturing and empathy skills. 
  8. Active lifestyle - pet owners are often more active and spend more time outdoors with their pets! 

Alison Smink R.H.N. 

(I promise this article was not written by a kid trying to convince their parents to get a dog, although I was that kid at one point!)

References 

https://www.womansday.com/life/pet-care/a2352/10-health-benefits-of-owning-a-pet-116238/

https://www.animalfriends.co.uk/blog/10-benefits-of-owning-a-pet/

http://www.animalplanet.com/pets/sources-2/

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10 Tips for Better Digestion

10 Tips for Better Digestion

  1. Don’t drink large amounts of water with meals: You can sip on water with meals, but try not to consume large amounts of water 15-30 minutes before or after meals. The water dilutes your digestive juices, making digestion more difficult.
  2. As a natural digestive enzyme try 1 TBSP of apple cider vinegar in a little water before meals.
  3. Supplements: If ACV isn’t cutting it, add a digestive enzyme before each meal (like Bio-Gest from Thorne or SpectraZyme Metagest from Metagenics). Other supplements at Ravita that could help - UltraGI Replenish to provide necessary prebiotics and heal the gut and probiotics to replenish the gut. 
  4. Targeted Probiotics: IBS - Pick up Ultra Flora IB, General digestion/ maintenance - Ultra Flora Balance, Coming off of antibiotics - Ultra Flora Restore. Stop on by Ravita for more information about the target specific probiotics we have in store!
  5. Warm/ room temperature water with lemon first thing in the morning jumpstarts your digestive system!
  6. Try cooked or steamed vegetables instead of raw: Raw vegetables can be hard on the digestive system, especially if you already have weak digestion. Lightly steam your vegetables before consuming to help your digestive system break down your food before you even consume it. 
  7. Remove food intolerances/ foods that cause inflammation: Food intolerance testing available at Divine Elements or try an elimination diet to rule out the suspected culprits. 
  8. Eat fruit away from meals: Food combining 101. Eat fruits away from meals and preferably with a fat (like almond butter) to slow the absorption of the carbs. 
  9. Eat in a relaxed environment: Your body can’t digest your food if it’s stressed. Take at least 3 cleansing deep breaths before meals.  
  10. Manage your stress: To go with the last point, stress plays a huge role in digestive function. If you’re struggling with stress or anxiety it’ll take a toll on your digestive system. Along with healing your gut, this needs to be a top priority! 

If you have any questions please ask! 

Alison Smink R.H.N. 

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What I Eat in a Day - Holistic Nutritionist

What I Eat in a Day - Holistic Nutritionist

Hi there,

I thought I would share with you all what I typically eat in a day. I find these types of posts very fascinating, and wanted to share my own food habits. Maybe this will even inspire some of you to share your own food journals or give some of these recipes a try! 

I'm a holistic nutritionist and this is what I (typically) eat in a day:

I like to Intermittent Fast (time restricted eating), so my first meal of the day isn’t normally until 12:30/1 p.m. However, I always have coffee in the morning with a splash of organic cream. Before my coffee I’ll have at least 1 glass of water, preferably room temperature. 

Water 

Coffee with organic cream 

Meal 1 - vegetarian cobb salad: romaine lettuce, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, avocado, eggs, organic dressing 

Meal 2 - smoothie or protein powder (like SynerClear or Ultra GI Replenish) + water (depending how hungry I am). The smoothie is often a combo of frozen blueberries, brown rice/ hemp protein powder, water or unsweetened almond milk, MCT oil, and spinach 

Meal 3 - sweet potato baked in coconut oil, broccoli, salmon 

I try not to snack, but I’m only human! If I feel like something sweet I often make peanut butter blondies with dark chocolate or whip up an Activate (from Harmonic Arts) hot chocolate. If it’s something salty I reach for hummus and rice crackers or organic popcorn made with coconut oil and sea salt.

If you like this series let me know and I’ll put together more What I Eat in A Day from our team at Divine Elements. 

Disclaimer: Everybody is different and what works for me might not work for you. It’s important to listen to your body. Let it guide you to make the best choices for you. 

Alison Smink R.H.N. 

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Detox + Clear Change 10-Day Program

Detox + Clear Change 10-Day Program

Detox. Cleanse. Diet. You’ve probably heard these terms before, and they may even connote a negative reaction, but I’m here to change the way you think about detoxes. 

First things first -  Why is detoxing important? 

We’re exposed to toxins everyday. They’re in the air we breathe, in the water we drink, and in our food supply. When toxins build up in our bodies it’s harder for the processes of detoxification to eliminate all the bad stuff. Even if you’re doing everything right, there’s still areas that are out of your control adding to your toxic load. You can definitely minimize toxin exposure, but you can’t run away from it completely. Detoxing supports your channels of elimination (including the digestive system, liver, and kidneys). 

There are many kinds of detoxes - from the infamous cabbage soup diet, to the recently popular juice cleanse - the market is saturated with the “best” program offering claims of overnight success. But, the truth is the best way to detox is slow and steady. You don’t want to overwhelm your detox systems. This can cause even more issues in the body, especially if the bad stuff gets recirculated instead of eliminated. It's important to have the right support (via supplements + other therapies) while detoxing. 

When to Detox

You can detox at any time, but it may be most helpful when you’re feeling a bit sluggish. It can also be beneficial to detox at the change of the seasons. 

Here’s a great list (from this article) to help you decide if it’s time to detox: 

  1. You crave sugar often 
  2. You have digestive distress
  3. “Seasonal” allergies are a regular occurrence 
  4. You eat healthy but don’t feel healthy 
  5. Your skin isn’t clear 
  6. You are constantly fatigued 
  7. You feel foggy
  8. You are experiencing regular joint pain 
  9. You’re constantly stressed 
  10. The idea of a detox makes you want to cry 
  11. You are struggling with your weight 
  12. Your hormones are out of whack 
  13. You smell 
  14. Your sleep patterns are messed up 
  15. You are depressed and anxious 
  16. You get cold sores 

Metagenics Clear Change 10-Day Detox Program 

This Detox Program from Metagenics is recommenced by our team of Naturopathic Doctors 

The Clear Change program from Metagenics helps to support your body’s natural detox systems. It provides fuel for both cleansing and other daily activities, providing energy and support for overall well-being. The program supports your body’s three main detoxification areas: the liver, kidneys, and intestines.

This program offers metabolic detoxification, which is a multi-phase process that consists of three major detoxification pathways. Most toxins are fat-soluble and must go through a transformation into a more water-soluble form before they can be eliminated. This is where the three phase detoxification comes into play:

Phase I - enzymes in the liver breakdown foreign chemical substances, which produces highly reactive, free radical molecules that can impact cellular function unless further processed

Phase II - large molecules join together with modified foreign chemical substances to produce water-soluble substances that can be removed from the body 

Phase III - During elimination, water-soluble substances are excreted mainly via the urine or stool

What’s included? 

UltraClear Renew - formulated to deliver advanced, specialized nutritional support for Phase I, II, and III detoxification, with enhanced support for the body’s natural alkalization and heavy metal metabolism processes

AdvaClear - supports daily detoxification for optimal vitality and health 

Shaker Cup

Meal Plan/ Guide - provides sample meals and a recommended food list for each stage of the detoxification process 

More support available at Ravita and Divine Elements: 

IV Therapy - specifically the Detox IV and the Chelation IV (upon doctor’s approval) 

Clear Change Daily Essentials - provides antioxidant support 

LivCo - supports liver function and detoxification 

SulforaClear - provides antioxidants against cellar damage 

 

Alison Smink, R.H.N. 

 

References 

https://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-27113/redefining-detox-5-questions-you-need-to-ask-before-starting-your-next-cleanse.html

https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/16-signs-your-liver-is-overloaded-its-time-for-a-detox

https://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-15063/5-things-i-wish-everyone-knew-about-detoxing-a-doctor-explains.html

https://www.metagenics.com/clear-change-10-day-program-with-ultraclear-renew

https://www.metagenics.com/detox

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Anti-Inflammatory Diet

Anti-Inflammatory Diet

Inflammation is normal, until it’s not. Inflammation is the body’s response to heal wounds and fight infections. We need this, for example, when we cut ourselves or have the common cold. This is referred to as acute inflammation. But, when the process goes into overdrive we go into a state of chronic inflammation. Ongoing inflammation can lead to numerous conditions and states of disease. Inflammation is at the root cause of most diseases. 

Symptoms of chronic inflammation: 
  • Fatigue or loss of energy
  • Digestive problems 
  • Skin problems 
  • Allergies 
  • Brain fog 
  • Depression, or anxiety 
  • High blood glucose levels 
  • Excess fat around abdomen 
Top Five INFLAMMATORY Foods 
  1. Sugar in all of its forms (including “healthy” sugars like maple syrup, honey, etc.) 
  2. Refined carbs like white flour products
  3. Trans fatty acids found in fast foods and other fried products, processed snack foods, cookies, donuts, crackers, etc. 
  4. High omega 6 oils and products like safflower, sunflower, soy, peanut, vegetable, and corn oil 
  5. Alcohol
Reduce/ eliminate 
Animal products - esp. red meat 
Dairy 
Refined, processed, and fast foods 
Vegetable + canola oil 
Alcohol 
Caffeine - limit to 1-2 cups per day

This is where the Anti-Inflammatory Diet comes into play. By decreasing or eliminating foods that cause inflammation and increasing anti-inflammatory foods, we can reduce the amount of inflammation in our bodies and kickstart detoxification. Essentially, “Eat more good, less bad.”

Top Five ANTI-INFLAMMATORY Foods
  1. Leafy Greens - high in antioxidants that restore cellular health  
  2. Blueberries - low in sugar, and a powerful antioxidant high in the anti-inflammatory flavonoid quercetin  
  3. Coconut oil - anti bacterial and anti inflammatory 
  4. Turmeric - curcumin, turmeric’s primary compound, is a powerful anti-inflammatory 
  5. Salmon - source of essential fatty acids, especially omega-3s, which are known to reduce inflammation and lower the risk of chronic diseases 

Also Include: 
Beets
Broccoli 
Celery 
Pineapple 
Organic fruits/ vegetables - nourish your body with phytonutrients; rainbow assortment of fibre and antioxidant rich fruits and vegetables (buy organic as much as possible to avoid chemicals which can cause even more inflammation) 
Whole grains - brown rice, oatmeal, sprouted wheat, quinoa, etc.  
Fermented foods (which are rich in probiotics) like sauerkraut and kimchi 
Bone broth 
Other healthy fats rich in omega-3s - avocado, olive oil, nuts/ seeds (walnuts, almonds, flaxseeds, chia seeds) 
Beans/ legumes as protein sources (soaked/ rinsed if trouble with digestion) 
Spices and herbs - some great anti-inflammatory options: ginger, garlic, cinnamon

Sample Day of Eating to Decrease Inflammation 

In the morning sip on herbal or green tea and water

Breakfast 
Blueberry smoothie:
1/2 - 1 cup unsweetened almond or coconut milk (depending on thickness add water to thin it out) 
1/2 cup frozen blueberries
1 scoop protein powder (Pea protein and paleo protein + more available at Ravita)
1 tablespoon almond butter
1-2 cups spinach
Optional: For more antioxidant power try adding a greens powder (like Greens First) 

Lunch 
Chickpea salad: 
1 can chickpeas 
1 avocado 
1 1/2 teaspoon yellow mustard 
1 clove garlic, minced 
2 teaspoons minced fresh dill 
1/4 cup diced celery 
1/4 cup diced red bell pepper 
1 or 2 teaspoons lemon juice 
Pinch of sea salt and black pepper 
1 tablespoon roasted unsalted sunflower seeds (optional) 

Serve on lettuce wraps or sprouted bread with tomato! 
https://ohsheglows.com/2015/07/21/chickpea-salad/ - adapted from this recipe 

Dinner 
Salmon 
Broccoli 
Sweet potato baked in coconut oil 

Sometimes, simple is best - I love putting together different combos of vegetables, a source of protein, and a healthy carb for an easy and healthy dinner option! 

Snacks (if you’re hungry; try to limit snacking)
Apple with handful of walnuts 
Avocado mousse (avocado, cocoa powder, coconut cream, stevia, vanilla extract, cinnamon, nutmeg, sea salt) https://sugarfreelondoner.com/chocolate-avocado-mousse/
Celery with hummus (homemade is best!) 

+STAY HYDRATED 
Drink lots of water

Supplements for support (available at Ravita!): 
Anti-Inflammation - UltraInflamX Plus 360, Curcummatrix, Curcum-Evail, Inflavonoid, Inflavonoid IC, Greens First, ACES + Zinc  
Detox - Clear Change 10 Day Program, Ultra Clear Renew, AdvaClear 

Disclaimer - EveryBODY is different. What works for some, may not work for others. It’s important to listen to your body and its reaction when changing eating habits. 

Alison Smink, R.H.N. 


References: 
https://draxe.com/inflammation-at-the-root-of-most-diseases/
https://draxe.com/anti-inflammatory-foods/
https://www.hsonline.ca/managing-hs/nutrition/the-anti-inflammatory-diet.html
https://draxe.com/anti-inflammatory-diet-helped-reverse-chronic-health-conditions/
https://rootandrevel.com/what-is-an-anti-inflammatory-diet/

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