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Welcome to my site! Here you will find information on me and the wellness services I offer, as well as shared inspiration and advice on common wellness and nutritional challenges we all face. I hope this site provides you with the assistance I seek to share with others.

 

 

Website Disclaimer
The entire contents of this website are based upon the opinions of (Sageheart Nutrition). Please note that (Sageheart Nutrition) is not a dietitian, physician, pharmacist or other licensed healthcare professional. The information on this website is NOT intended as medical advice, nor is it intended to replace the care of a qualified health care professional. This content is not intended to diagnose or treat any diseases. Always consult with your primary care physician or licensed healthcare provider for all diagnosis and treatment of any diseases or conditions, for medications or medical advice as well as before changing your health care regimen.
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Free Gut-Mood Talk

 

Stock Photo by Wellness Stock Shop

The Gut and
Mood Connection

Monday March 11
6-730 pm
Twisted Oak Studio

Uncovering the Root Causes of
Your Un-wellness

Join Registered Holistic Nutritionist
Silvia Graber for a free,informative discussion about what is fueling your depression and anxiety and the interconnections to gut health. Bring your questions! There will be a short Q and A at the end of the talk.
Please RSVP @ sageheartnutrition@gmail.com or phone 250-931-0012
space is limited to 6-8 people

What’s all the Fuss Around Detox?

Stock Photo by Wellness Stock Shop

 

Detox is a big word these days. Open any magazine and you will see headlines written by health professionals extolling the virtues of detox, cleanses, and ways to lose weight with herbs, supplements, fasting, you name it. Some say that our bodies don’t need help detoxing, that they are fully capable of doing it on their own. Isn’t that what our livers are for? Sounds reasonable, but, as in most things in life, it is not that simple. Here are some of my thoughts as to why I disagree with that point of view:

In a healthy, well-functioning body, we should definitely have all the inbred tools to detoxify from harmful substances as needed. Unfortunately, the reality is that many of us are not optimally healthy  or optimally well. This is due to many things, including dietary lifestyle choices, chronic exposure to chemicals in our workplace or home, addictive habits which harm our bodies and organs including smoking, drinking too much alcohol, chronic stress, and regular use of non-prescription drugs. All of these put stress on the body, and cause the body to up regulate detoxification. Our liver, kidneys, lymphatic system and immune system are well made for handling occasional toxins, so will readily go into action to protect us and rid us of what can harm us.

Eating a junk food meal or taking an ibuprofen on occasion will not generally harm us. The problem is when these choices become chronic. Our bodies are wondrous things, but it is not invincible to continuous onslaught. The liver and kidneys can only handle so much. Eventually what can happen is that the body will put toxins aside to deal with more urgent bodily matters. It will often end up in our fat tissues. Our bodies can literally become a toxic soup because we are putting toxins in faster than our bodies can deal with them. Pair that with a genetic snp that impairs your ability to detoxify optimally, and your’re in a bit of trouble.

Unfortunately, even if we do the right things to support our bodies, with good food, stress reduction and plenty of water intake, we are still being exposed to hundreds if not thousands of chemicals daily. It is hard to get away from them. They are virtually in everything we touch, from our daily personal hygiene products, to the water we drink, to the chemicals in our food, even natural ones. Our world in the last hundred years has changed. We are now exposed to much larger amounts to toxins then we were a decade ago, and in continuous, multiple avenues. There was even a study I read a while back that measured the levels of toxins in baby’s bodies,and even pesticide residues were found! Astounding what our world has become.

You may have experienced feeling like crap in the first weeks of doing a cleanse or diet’; this is most likely due to the toxins that were stored in your fat tissues which are now being mobilized due to your weight loss. Our bodies need our help! Fortunately, there is much we can do to support our bodies and brains , to help prevent illness and degenerative diseases from occurring in the first place.

  1. Drink plenty of good, clean water daily. For most of us, this means at least 2 litres of water daily. This may sound like alot , but think of what the body is doing continuously to keep us running optimally. Be sure to use a good filter so that you are reducing the toxic load on your body, from possible chemicals in your water supply.
  2. Choose organic, whole foods whenever possible.  Most produce is tainted to some degree with pesticides, or other chemicals, so choosing organic will reduce the levels of toxins you are taking in to your system. If finances are an issue, then I recommend a 5 minute baking soda/water  soak to help to remove chemicals.
  3. Include daily detoxifying foods and herbs . This includes cruciferous vegetables and bitter greens,which help to support your liver, and herbs such as dandelion, burdock, yellow dock and nettles. *please consult your health care professional before taking herbs if you are on any prescription medications
  4. Make sure your bowels are moving regularly! This doesn’t mean once or twice a week! This means at least one good, well-formed, non-straining stool daily. If you are having issues with constipation, then maybe you need to look at your gut health, and digestive issues, as these can be part of the problem. Imbalances in your thyroid function can also be a cause of constipation. Ultimately, toxins need a way out, and the daily movements you have are the main way it does so. A qualified health practitioner can help you pinpoint the causes of your constipation.
  5. Include some good, sweaty, exercise in your routine often. Sweating is one way to mobilize toxins and waste products out of your body. Do it regularly.
  6. Include some antioxidants into your diet daily. Antioxidants are one way you can help your body combat inflammation and toxic build-up. Choose colorful fruits and vegetables, plenty of dark leafy greens, and vegetables. A daily vitamin c supplement can also help keep your immune system fortified.

If you are suffering from more chronic issues, such as heavy metal overload, bacterial or yeast overgrowth in your gut, autoimmune disease, or cardiovascular issues, these have all been linked to toxin overload, so please work with a qualified health care practitioner to help you cleanse safely and optimally.

There is much we can do to help support our bodies and minds , to keep ourselves healthy and feeling our best. It takes some effort, but the end result can very readily be good energy, balanced moods, and strong immunity. Aren’t you worth it?

Be well,

Silvia

If you need assistance with cleansing, or detoxifying your body gently and safely, please contact me at sageheartnutrition@gmail.com to book a consult . *please note I am offering a New Years discount of 10% if you book with me in the months of January or February. 

 

 

Simple Tips to Optimize Digestion

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Most of us, at one time or another, have had to deal with digestive symptoms that are uncomfortable, and for some, have become chronic and debilitating. Unfortunately, as a society, we have become all too used to the milder forms of indigestion, and have come to see them not as a problem, but as an inconvenience. The sales of Tums and Pepto Bismol have skyrocketed over the last decade or so, as these have become routine and  commonplace for many. Many of us are used to treating our symptoms with “instant relief” such as these products claim, failing to observe the connections between our habits and our indigestion. Sometimes, the most effective forms of relief come from simple changes and habits we don’t think about too much. Here are just a few of the most important ones that I have observed to be successful in improving symptoms, in most of my clients:

  1. Chew your food well- I cannot stress this one enough – Digestion does truly begin in the mouth! We produce enzymes in the mouth to begin the digestion of  carbohydrates, sugars, and fats. The breakdown of food in your lower GI tract is largely dependent on what happens here. Take your time; chew your food until it is a pulp before swallowing. Undigested food particles can quickly become a feast for opportunistic bacteria in the GI Tract. Do not give them that chance.
  2. Do not eat when stressed and/or rushed. – Optimal digestion requires a parasympathetic state, eg. when you are in a calm and relaxed state. This does not mean rushing to shove a few mouthfuls of food down your throat on your way to work, or eating while driving in a busy intersection, or eating when you are emotionally stressed. All of these states put a stopper on your digestive secretions, and are made even worse with chronic stress ; eg. your acid production decreases/shuts down. Really,  the body, in its wisdom, is protecting itself, and you.  Why would you want to be digesting when you are running away from that tiger?(or so your body thinks..) Makes sense doesn’t it? Sit down, take a few breaths. Breathe.
  3. Do not drink large amounts of liquids during meals – Drinking too much water and/or alcohol, or soft drinks during meals dilutes digestive juices and can interfere with proper acid secretion, both of which are necessary to break your food down, and absorb nutrients efficiently. If you must drink, take small sips occasionally, as opposed to large gulps of liquid.
  4. Remember WHAT  you eat is just as important in determining if your digestive system will respond positively, as HOW  you eat.  If you regularly feed your body junk food, daily fried foods, too much food, etc. how do you expect your body will respond? Really, our body is a marvelous thing, but it can only operate as efficiently with what we put into it. Do not be surprised if you suffer from negative consequences if you feed yourself crap all day. You and your body deserve better. Treat yourself well,and give yourself, and your body, the tools you need to feel and function optimally.

I encourage you to start with these basic tools if you are dealing with chronic digestive distress. If you  don’t find some level of  relief , in addition, there are a few supplements that have proven to be helpful to some people: these include full spectrum digestive enzymes, betaine HCL, digestive bitters, and apple cider vinegar. Interestingly, as a side note, the majority of cases of acid reflux is not caused by excess acid but insufficient acid production.  However, if you suffer from ulcers and/or damage to your stomach lining, please consult with a qualified health care practitioner before attempting any of these interventions. They might not be suitable for your particular condition.

Of course, many of these can offer quick relief , but they do not necessarily address the root causes of your digestive complaints. Common root causes can include food sensitivities, thyroid imbalances, poor stomach acid secretion, hormone imbalances, microbial imbalances, infections,  just to name a few. A qualified nutritional practitioner can assist you pinpoint the root causes of your issues.

You DON’T have to suffer with your chronic indigestion. Seek help if you don’t know where to start. Take charge of your health now to avoid further imbalances along the road.

Be well,

Silvia

 

If you would like assistance in addressing your chronic digestive issues and getting to the root cause of your symptoms, please contact me at sageheartnutrition@gmail.com to book a consultation. 

Making the Mood-Gut Connection

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In my first year of practice, I was urged by fellow practitioners to find a “niche”, a specialty, what I wanted my practice to focus on. I was hesitant, as I did not want to limit my clientele, but at the same time, I did begin to see that my research and interests kept circling back to one main place: mental health and the digestive connection. I decided this is where my passion lay, as well as being the main area in my own life where I have experienced much struggle and success.

In my early 20’s, I struggled with health issues. Not of the obvious sort, but self-inflicted. For years I was perfecting the art of deprivation, and as a result, my body finally gave me the clear message that enough was enough. As the years went on, I began to dive into the areas in my life, my emotions, my experiences, which caused me to make the choices I had made. What I then discovered was that it was my buried emotions that were causing me to make certain choices for myself that were harmful. I worked really hard on healing those parts of myself that needed acknowledgment. It wasn’t until I began studying about nutritional health that I really began to put the body-mind together. I had missed something; the other half of the puzzle. It never was really about just emotions. It was both parts of me that were out of sorts

We can tend to think of our digestive issues or other health problems as a “one cause one cure” type of situation. That is hardly ever the case. Most often, our digestive issues have been a slow accumulating process of many years. In many cases,by the time we get diagnosed with something, for example, type 2 diabetes, our body has been giving us signals for years that we need to do something different. We have learned to ignore these signals. We have learned to think of burping or bloating after a meal, and gas afterwards, as pretty standard fare. We have learned to take tums after a meal for our heartburn without a second thought, without stopping to ask ourselves why we are getting heartburn everyday or what we can do to prevent it.

For years,  if you struggled with mood disorders such as depression, severe anxiety, schizophrenia, bipolar, etc, the standard way to ‘treat’ such afflictions would be to put you into a sanitarium where you would be administered drugs daily to keep you pacified. Nowadays, gone are the sanitariums for most of us, but instead what we find is a society where a large percentage of school age kids are on medications, and adults are hooked on antidepressants and other mood-altering drugs. what has gone wrong here? Are we really healing our society or merely keeping everyone pacified? Hard questions.

A doctor by the name of Abram Hoffer started what is known as orthomolecular medicine many decades ago,after finding that by treating patients with mental disorders with high doses of nutrients, resulted in a surprising reduction in their symptoms,and in some cases, was able to get the patient off their medications, or wean them off to a lower dose, while they maintained the nutrient intake daily. What a revelation! Since then, many health professionals have followed in his footsteps, and have begun to see the connection between food, nutrients, and our mental health. Long time coming.

In terms of digestion,what we eat and also, just as important, how we eat, has a direct effect on our digestion and our ability to assimilate nutrients. Our  brain and gut need the nutrients we take in, for proper functioning, and production of neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters are critical for their role in our mental/emotional stability.  What do you think happens to our brains and guts when we have years of nutrient-devoid junk food being fed into our bodies compared to a diet full of nutrient rich whole foods? Are you starting to get it now? Our food choices and how we digest have a critical function in how well our brain functions, and conversely, how well we manage our emotions. 

But what about our genes you may ask. Yes they are important. But not as much as we think. Our environment and our daily choices carry just as much, if not more importance,regarding the circumstances that result in our getting diabetes for example. Our genes can be turned on and off. Some can get turned on with certain triggers, such as high intake of sugar, gluten, or eggs for example. They can also get turned off . Studies are just in their infancy with this important topic.

If you are interested in reading about mental health and the role of nutrition, I have listed below a few of my favorite books on this topic. I highly encourage you to educate yourself as much as possible, if these are issues concerning you.

Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers – Robert Sapolsky

The Mood Cure- Julia Ross

MindGut Connection – Emeran Mayer

Optimum Nutrition For the Mind- Patrick Holford

 

If you would like assistance in diving deeper into your own digestion and/or mental health struggles, please contact me at sageheartnutrition@gmail.com. I would be happy to help you along your own journey of healing.

Be well,

Silvia

 

 

Relearning

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I watched a video this morning which talked about the simple concept of mindfulness. It got me thinking just how often I am not mindful, not present.

When I was young, my mom would always point out how “like my father” I was, physically present, but with my head in the clouds. I find even many years later, I still have this tendency, though the difference is now I am noticing and observing when I tend to “go off” in my head and I try to bring myself back.

Sometimes we can detach in this way because unconsciously, we are not wanting to face what is happening right now, or our feelings surrounding it; so it is a way of “not dealing”. Sometimes it can be a matter of just having so much stimulation in our lives, that we have a hard time shutting off. So we can be talking to someone, or outside in nature, and our minds will be chattering away to us of all the things we need to do or remembering things we didn’t do etc.

Being consciously present, even moments of it, can be an eye-opening experience for someone who has rarely had those moments.

Start paying attention to your everyday thoughts. We are usually thinking of something in the past or the future. How often are you in the here and now , taking in your experience right now? Try it. Just for  a minute.

This morning on my run, I was thinking about this and was consciously working with present moment awareness. The feel of the breeze against my skin; the sun on my face; my rhythmic breathing; the ocean view to my left. How free I felt! Usually when I run, it turns into a rumination of things that happened the day before, mixed with things I have to do today. How nice it felt to let those things go  for just  a minute and be here now.

We don’t necessarily need a diligent meditation practice in order to de-stress from life, though it can, with a little discipline, be hugely beneficial. Just starting to consciously bring yourself to present moment awareness over and over again, can help you to overcome many of the stressors you encounter everyday, and can also be practiced to assist with acute anxiety, fear, and worry. When you feel tension rise, bring yourself back to your breathing, as you will probably notice that you tend to restrict your breathing when stress arises. Focus on your physical body , the sensations you are feeling. The more we do this, we can actually start to create new neural pathways for our acute reactions. We can literally train our brains to not react as they are used to. We can train it to slow down and focus.

Be present, which is full of possibilities and free of everything else, and watch yourself transform.

Below i have posted the short video I watched this morning which summarizes all I have talked about nicely.

Be well,

Silvia 

 

 

 

 

If you need assistance and guidance with managing your stress levels and you are finding it is affecting your health, please contact me at sageheartnutrition@gmail.com for a free 15 min. consultation and to book an appointment.

Detoxing Your Way to Health

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What is detox? Many of you have heard the term, and seen countless diets celebrating the benefits of detoxing. But what exactly does it mean?

Detoxing is exactly what it sounds like. De-tox. Removing toxins out of your body. The body has its own capacities for naturally detoxing, of which the liver, kidneys and skin mainly take care of. Some people think that the body has full capability of detoxing on its own, and that we don’t need any fancy diets, herbs or protocols to help it along. I tend to disagree. In today’s world, we are exposed to so many chemicals in our environment, from the water we drink, the air we breathe, the food we eat, and the daily cleaning products we use. One hundred years ago, the world looked much different then it does now, and the levels of daily exposure to foreign substances was much lower. These days, our bodies are dealing with daily assault from chemicals, so our organs and tissues can reach a point where it cannot keep up with the cleansing necessary to keep us in good health. Diseases of excess are increasing, such as heart disease, obesity, liver disease and many allergy conditions. So what are we to do?

We can help the body along in many ways. I always like to start with food, as this is an area we are most in control of , and can base our choices on what is best for our bodies to function. Choosing high quality food, that is nourishing to our body, such as whole, organic food, will help to give us the nutrients needed to support the detoxification process. Avoiding foods that stress our organs of elimination, such as processed, denatured junk foods and fried or sugary foods, can do a great service to our bodies. Drinking lots of good quality water is imperative, as our organs and tissues need water to help flush out toxins, in our bowels, and through our skin.

Daily exercise, in which we break a sweat is another way we can incorporate daily detoxing. One of our bodies greatest ways of detoxing is through our skin and glands, namely, the Lymphatic System. The Lymphatic System is one system that needs muscle movement to be stimulated; in other words, we need to move. Someone who has bad skin, or experiences rashes, or inflammatory symptoms such as water retention and bags under their eyes can be experiencing a good example of the Lymphatic System trying to manage or eliminate a substance. Going to a sauna often is also one of the best ways we can stimulate this system; just remember to re-hydrate sufficiently afterwards! Skin brushing, dry, or in the shower,can also be helpful, and can help keep our skin looking and feeling its best.

Herbs and foods that can be helpful for the organs of elimination are Dandelion, Burdock, Cleavers, Yellow Dock, Nettles, and any bitter vegetables such as arugula, and those of the Brassica family:  broccoli, cauliflower,cabbage,kale, as well as my favorites, onions and garlic. Bringing some, or all of these into your daily diet, can be wonderful healing foods for you, and provide an abundance of nutrients that our bodies need for good health.

Aside from the daily assistance you can give your body in detoxing, you can also choose to do a yearly or bi-yearly cleanse. There are many kits you can now buy at your health food store that usually includes a diet, and supplements, and can last from one week to one month. This may be a good choice for you if you are needing a kick-start and don’t have the knowledge to do this on your own. Of course, please consult with your doctor or health provider before beginning any cleanse, if you are dealing with any health issues or taking medications.

Last but not least, one of my favorite ways to detox lately has been fasting. Fasting has been done since time immemorial, from our hunting and gathering days, where not eating for several days at a time was less a choice then a necessity, as food was scarce at times. Our bodies have adapted to fasting. They know how to do it, and have evolved to rely on alternate fuel when they are not receiving food daily. Giving your body a rest from daily food intake is one of the best ways we can make space for our organs to get rid of substances it does not need, and also can give our minds a rest from the daily preoccupation with food. There are many ways to fast , but my personal preference is a water fast, as this can re-teach the body to rely on fat for fuel, and most of us have plenty of stores to draw from! It can also help us to re-balance our blood sugar levels, and make us more conscious of our eating habits. One caution: If you have diabetes, kidney or liver disease, or severely underweight, please consult with your doctor before attempting any fast.

I will be writing more in detail about fasting in a later post, so stay tuned. But for now, I hope these suggestions have been helpful for you to consider, and give you some food for thought, and inspire you to take a larger role in your own health. We have more control then we think over our choices. Let’s make the ones that most benefit and heal us, not harm us.

Be Well,

Silvia

 

If you would like some assistance with your health issues, please email me at sageheartnutrition@gmail.com to book a free 15 minute consultion. 

 

 

Moving From Imperfection to Gratefulness..

 

How often do you find yourself wishing you were different? Ten pounds lighter, less wrinkles, more popular among your peers, more,more, more… Now how often do you stop to realize what you are grateful for in your life? Be honest. Does one way of thinking predominate more than the other? I would guess that for most of us it does. If we really pay attention to our thoughts, I would bet that a lot of the time, we are in an energy of wanting things to be different from how they are right at this moment. This leads to a chronic state of unsatisfaction for many of us. Why is this? And why is this reinforced in our culture , in our media? That we are ultimately flawed and need to “get better”, or buy this product to improve ourselves. How many of us really look within to see the reasons behind this in our own lives?

For those of you who know me, you know that I have never really been a “just love yourself” type of person. That is a good intention of course, but for me, it has never worked. If I am in a low state where I’m not feeling too good about myself, thinking I love myself does not feel authentic in that state, and feels false. I’ve never been one for positive affirmations though I do recognize it does help some change their thinking patterns. For me,  what does work ironically, is to completely allow myself to feel the unhappiness, the despair, the self-loathing, and let those feelings come to the surface to be released. When this happens, i can see what it is that is really at the core of my feelings. It is rarely about what I think it is. Only then can healing begin.

As someone who has a history of body-image issues, it still comes as a surprise to me when I get caught up in my own insecurities at times, and how strong the messages in my head still are. For woman, and for many men as well, I know many of you share these feelings; rarely feeling comfortable in our own skin, always wanting to improve this or that, tone up, lose weight; always focusing on “what is wrong with us” instead of ” what is right with us”. the media does not help, constantly selling us the latest diet trend, exercise program, and self-improvement course. Why do we feel so flawed? why do we feel we have to perfect our bodies? Who are we doing this for? We may say , “for ourselves of course!” But when I’m in doubt, I always ask myself, if I was on a desert island, or the only one for miles around, would I still make the same choices or have the same insecurities?

Personally, I feel I’m still coming to terms as to the reasons why I can still get caught up in my own insecurities and self-worth. It started young. and as it takes many years to create patterns and programming in our beliefs , it can take just as many to create new ones. What I find has helped me is to remind myself of what I am grateful for. It is very hard to do especially when i am feeling the lowest of the low, and feeling my life is crap. but in those times even, i am able to stand back and watch my thoughts, and know the inaccuracy of what i am experiencing.  After the storm, I always get reminded of those things that bring me back to reality; my home, my surroundings, my partner, my family, my spiritual practice. those all mean something to me. those are important. And this body! This body that has carried me through thick and thin. This body that has persevered even when I have literally beat the crap out of it. It still keeps ticking, still trying its hardest to keep my balanced. Still taking care of me.

If you have a hard time taking care of yourself, maybe think on those things. What are you grateful for? Can you put aside your unhappiness about your body and self for a minute, to be grateful for it, no matter what its size, shape, ability? Realize that it is THAT gratefulness that will help you make the best choices for your body, your self. When you don’t feel good about yourself, it will be difficult making healthy choices.; be grateful before choosing.

This morning doing yoga, I was suddenly reminded of how good it feels when that I can move and stretch my body as I do; how good my body and mind feel , how grateful i am for its abilities. I was able to set aside my self-criticisms even for a little while.

There is so much in this world that needs our attention. Please lets stop beating ourselves up about our perceived imperfections, and get on with living. Honor your life; honor your body; it is your temporary home in this life, and is making all you want to do possible. Take care of it!

Be well,

Silvia 

 

 

If you would like some assistance in your health and wellness goals, please contact me at sageheartnutrition@gmail.com to book a consultation