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Want to improve your health? Learn to find joy in everyday life
By Pamyna Bourgeois, M.A. Registered Psychotherapist
Thousands of studies have shown that improving your joy and happiness can directly improve your physical health. That’s right. Those who are full of joy are less likely to get sick.
So what is joy? And how can you find more in everyday life? Read on to learn more!
According to the APA Dictionary of Psychology, Joy is defined as a feeling of extreme gladness, delight or exaltation of the spirit that arises from a sense of well-being and satisfaction. Joy is associated with an increase in energy, confidence and self-esteem.
What are some ways we can access joy in day-to-day life?
1. Start by appreciating the small things.
Remember your last walk in a forest. Feel your feet sink into the soft earth and the sun on your skin. Hear the birds chirping and the soft rustling of leaves. Ah, joy. We often forget to get intentional with simple things such as taking a walk, but doing so can bring us a sense of well-being and elevate our feeling of joy. Next time you find yourself engaging in a simple yet enjoyable activity, ask yourself how you can be more intentional and really take it all in.
2. Laugh more
As adults, we tend to get preoccupied with life and forget that we can laugh, be silly and not take everything so seriously! Research says laughing reduces stress, enhances immunity, improves blood flow, and can move us toward fulfilling relationships. Don’t underestimate putting on a good comedy or getting together with friends who remind you not to take things too seriously.
3. Practice creativity
Carve out a few times a week to focus on creativity. Make it simple: try a new recipe, take an art class with your kids, journal, or dance around your living room! Next time you feel bogged down by all your commitments, shift that energy towards something creative and see how this lightens up your day and brings you closer to joy.
4. Ask yourself what you really want
It's easy to get into the habit of thinking about everyone before ourselves. But this can leave us exhausted, resentful and not connected to the people we love. Ask yourself questions like “What is true for my authentic self?” or “How would my future self thank me?”. Questions like this give us time to reflect and move more into a deliberate, responsive mode instead of an automatic reaction mode. With consistent, small efforts like these, true authenticity can be realized.
5. Help someone
Get out of your own head. Volunteer for a cause that speaks to you. Check in on an old friend or relative. Hold a door. Pay a compliment to a stranger. Mentor someone who could greatly benefit from your support.
6. Try something new
Research shows that stepping out of our comfort zone can be scary but so rewarding and can spark many moments of joy. Yup, we need to move away from safety and security sometimes and take risks by trying new things. It could be sky-diving or moving to a new country, but it doesn’t have to be! You can do something as simple as trying a new food, book, or workout routine with an open mind. Grab your journal and write out some things you’ve always wanted to try- big or small and start crossing them off!
To learn more about how to support your mental health and mindset shifts, book your virtual appointment with our registered psychotherapist: drkristylewis.ca
Daily Detox Tips
I believe strongly in an annual or bi-annual whole body detoxification program to maintain optimal health and prevent disease. That being said, there are a few simple things you can do daily all year round to support your liver and keep your liver colon healthy.
1) Elevate your lemon water: Squeeze 1/4 lemon into 250 ml warm water, add a pinch of cayenne pepper and 1/4 tsp maple syrup. Drink 15 minutes before breakfast to jump-start your metabolism, support the liver detoxification pathways and decrease inflammation.
2) Add flaxseed: Add 2 tbsp of ground flaxseed to your morning breakfast. Ground flax seeds act as a bulking agent and assist in removing toxins through your bowel movements.
3) Consider your gut health: Probiotics are essential in maintaining healthy gut flora and are required for effective elimination, immune health, and detoxification. Include 5 tbsp of kefir (a fermented milk source) in your daily diet. Kefir yields a highly high probiotic, up to 5 billion per tbsp.
4) Start your day right: Start each day with a nutrient-rich smoothie with frozen blueberries, banana, kale or spinach, almond milk, rice, or hemp-based protein powders. A smoothie s an excellent way for you to get powerful antioxidants and fiber and assist in balancing your blood sugar levels.
5)Change your shower technique: Finally, practice contrast showering. This involves cycling through hot and cold temperature changes during your shower, always ending with a cold. This will stimulate metabolism and promote healthy circulation and lymphatic drainage.
To learn more about daily detoxification practices or discuss a more extensive and advanced program, contact us at www.drkristylewis.ca.
Do you need an Omega-3 supplement?
Omega-3 fatty acids are an essential part of the human diet, and they’re found in foods like chia seeds, walnuts, salmon, and soybeans. Omega-3 benefits include lower risks of inflammation in the body, better heart health and brain function, and stronger immune systems. If you want to learn more about Omega-3 benefits, keep reading to find out how this important nutrient can improve your life.
What are omega-3 fats?
Omega-3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fats, meaning they contain multiple double bonds in their chemical structure. While your body can convert other fats into omega-3s, you can only obtain these essential compounds from food. Plant sources like walnuts and flax seeds are rich in alpha linolenic acid (ALA), which must be converted to EPA and DHA by enzymes in your body. EPA and DHA then act as precursors for certain prostaglandins that regulate blood pressure, blood clotting and inflammation. Fatty fish such as salmon or mackerel are also excellent sources of both EPA and DHA. It’s important to note that fish oil doesn’t exist in a free state; it comes bound up with proteins that determine its digestibility.
The benefits of omega-3
Omega-3s have a plethora of health benefits, including:
- Supporting cognitive health and brain function
- Promoting healthy mood
- Supporting healthy development of brain, eyes and nerves in children up to 12 years of age.
- Supporting cardiovascular health
- Helping to reduce serum triglycerides
- Reduces pain of rheumatoid arthritis in adults (when used in conjunction with other conventional therapies)
Symptoms of omega-3 deficiency
In most people, a diet low in omega-3 will result in few visible symptoms, so you may be deficient and not even know it! Here are some conditions that could indicate you’re having a hard time getting enough omega-3 fatty acids: dry skin and hair; frequent dandruff; brittle nails; depression and anxiety; cognitive decline (memory loss, poor judgement); slow learning; joint pain.
How much omega-3 do you need?
Although you can get omega-3s through food, it’s not always easy to do so. The recommended amount of omega-3s per day ranges from 1,000 mg to 3,000 mg. According to a 2006 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, nearly all US adults fail to consume an adequate amount of omega-3s from food sources alone. The majority of Americans can benefit from supplementing their diet with omega-3 fish oil, says study author Bruce Watkins, PhD, professor at Loma Linda University.
No matter your age or gender, you should consider taking an omega-3 supplement.
Where can I get an omega-3 supplement?
You can purchase omega-3 supplements at any of Kardish Health Food's seven locations across Ottawa. Our Kardish brand omega-3 softgels contain nutrients from wild fish and clean oceans. Plus, our softgels are verified for purity, loaded with antioxidants, are gluten-free and non-GMO! Stop by your local Kardish today and pick up your bottle.
6 Surprising Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar (ACV) has been gaining popularity as people incorporate more natural substances into their daily routines. It has many potential health benefits, including some not commonly known. Here are six surprising health benefits of apple cider vinegar that you may not have considered before.
- Improve digestion
Apple cider vinegar is loaded with enzymes that aid in digestion. While you can take digestive enzymes as a supplement, drinking apple cider vinegar may offer similar benefits for less money. Try adding a tablespoon to your water bottle each morning and see if you notice any difference in your digestion throughout the day.
- Prevent disease
According to research from Japan’s Tokyo University research, taking two tablespoons each day could help ward off a wide range of diseases, including osteoporosis, diabetes, and cancer. This is due to vinegar’s ability to control blood sugar levels.
- Improve heart health
Ever heard that apple cider vinegar is good for your heart? Several studies have shown that a tablespoon or two of ACV each day may reduce blood pressure and cholesterol levels, even in people with pre-hypertension and high cholesterol. The best part is that you won’t experience any side effects—and ACV tastes excellent!
- Achieve a healthy weight
While it’s a popular ingredient in weight-loss supplements, many people choose to take ACV straight because it provides all of its wonderful benefits without any extra calories or artificial sweeteners. This works by helping your body burn fat more efficiently and keeping your hunger at bay between meals. Studies have even shown that people who consume ACV regularly tend to weigh less than those who don’t take it regularly.
- Improve skin and reduce acne
The health benefits of apple cider vinegar don’t end there. Apple cider vinegar can also help improve skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis—it also may even reduce allergic reactions! That’s because apple cider vinegar is high in alpha-hydroxy acids, which can be used to exfoliate your skin and unclog pores.
- Better hair, skin, and nails!
The acetic acid in apple cider vinegar is a natural beautifier. It adds shine to hair and helps fight off dandruff. It works as a gentle, chemical-free exfoliant and can be used to improve nail health. Just dilute your apple cider vinegar with water before applying it to your face or body.
Try Apple Cider Vinegar today!
Want to see the benefits of apple cider vinegar for yourself? Try Kardish Apple Cider Vinegar, which is organic, non-GMO, non-pasteurized, raw, and unfiltered! Plus, it's made with Certified Organic Ontario Apples! Stop by your local Kardish health food store to pick up your own Apple Cider Vinegar.
Simple habits to improve your wellness in 2022 and beyond
Can you imagine a life where you are full of energy, live pain-free, and feel connected to yourself? It’s possible. And you deserve it.
As a naturopathic doctor with decades of experience in lifestyle medicine, I have noticed that the most powerful way to affect our overall health is by making effective choices in our day-to-day life. The key is taking a holistic approach and making small changes to your habits. If this sounds overwhelming, let’s make it simple.
How habits work
Habits are actions you perform frequently. Over time, you don’t have to think about them. You do them automatically because they become part of your subconscious mind. Habits have 3 parts:
- Cue: a trigger that initiates action
- Routine: the action you do
- Reward: your benefit from doing the action
For example, one habit that we’ve all developed is brushing our teeth. Bad breath or bedtime cues us to perform the action. The reward is our mouths feeling minty fresh!
To create a new habit, identify a cue, routine, and reward. Then repeat action daily for about a month. For example, if you want to start doing yoga every day, place a yoga mat next to your bed. You’ll feel rewarded by the relaxation you feel in your body. Soon, you’ll want to do yoga every day. It won’t feel like hard work anymore.
Which habits matter?
A holistic approach to your habits and lifestyle will have the biggest impact. I recommend focusing on your sleep, stress, nutrition, movement, and mindset.
Read on to see why each of these pillars matters, and how you can make small improvements to each. Over time, you’ll see big results!
Sleep is is the most important component in achieving all health goals. So many of us begin, re-start or feel frustrated with the lack of success on our health journey because we bypass this crucial component of health. Studies are now confirming that without restorative sleep, you will be in a constant state of deficiency, caloric intake is higher with more sugar and salt cravings, body repair and detoxification is impacted and ideal health is impossible to achieve even with the perfect diet and exercise program.
Here’s how to change your habits to improve your sleep today:
- Go to bed at the same time each night
- Keep your phone out of your bedroom
- Reduce screen time 1-hour before bed
Managing stress is the second foundation in achieving ultimate health. Most of us spend much of day in a fight, flight or freeze response which in turn influences every aspect of our health. With the body in a constant state of cortisol overload, it is virtually impossible to optimize health even with a whole food diet and a consistent exercise program. During this phase of recovery, sleep plays a crucial role in supporting our stress response and the focus on food and exercise become the medicine to support our body in managing stress.
Here’s how to change your habits to better manage your stress today:
- Reduce your interactions with takers and negative people. If you can, block them entirely.
- Reduce stimulants such as coffee and sugar that increase low-level stress all day.
- Turn off work notifications in the evenings. That expense report can wait.
With improved quality and quantity of sleep as well as a new relationship with stress established, you can then fully receive all the benefits from an individualized nutrition program. At this point, discussion about elimination diets, detoxification programs, intermittent fasting etc is relevant, not before this point. Your ideal program based on individual needs can now be clearly identified and your efforts from our commitment fully realized.
Here’s how to update your nutrition habits for big impact:
- Eat small, nutrient-balanced meals every 3-4 hours. Balanced meals include lots of protein, fats, fruits and vegetables. They can also include carbs and sweets (in moderation).
- Replace soda with sparkling water. All of the fizz, none of the empty calories.
- Consult a healthcare professional such as a naturopathic doctor to determine if you need any vitamins or supplements. Kardish stocks a wide range!
High-intensity workouts and long-distance running programs yield incredible benefits but only with the other pillars balanced. Pushing the body before often results in further health declines and possible injury. With sleep improvements, stress supports in place and your individualized nutrition requirements intact your ideal exercise program will reveal itself.
Here are 3 easy habits to start moving more in 2022:
- Take a 10-minute walk break every day.
- Stretch when you get out of bed.
- Park your car at the back of the lot.
Often underestimated about its impact on our physical body, our beliefs and thoughts can absolutely influence our physiology. When the mind is caught in negative thinking and a trance of obsessive thoughts, we are producing internal stressors that will compromise our health. Our beliefs, create our thoughts and our thoughts influence our choices. Therefore, implementing supportive lifestyle choices and a solid pillar of health requires self-awareness and clarity of mind.
Improve your mindset today by implementing one of these 3 habits for a month:
- Think of one thing you are grateful for each night. Say it out loud or write it down.
- Meditate for just 1 minute a day. Over time, increase to 5 or 10 minutes.
- Try a breathing exercise, such as a belly breathing or a box breath—inhale for 4, hold for 4, exhale for 4 and hold for 4.
You deserve to live your best life. Make that commitment to yourself. If you need help, reach out to your community. Join a support group. Work with a naturopathic doctor. Read the Kardish Wellness Blog. We’re all rooting for you!
4 simple ways to level up your fitness in 2022
Year after year, I see people fall short of their New Year’s health and fitness resolutions.
They buy annual gym memberships and vow to visit each day at 5 a.m.. They quit wine and pasta cold turkey, swearing this is the year they finally drop those pounds. But by February 1, membership cards lay forgotten and the old habits are back.
The reason is that most New Year’s resolutions don’t work. We set unattainable goals, reach too high, too fast. We set unrealistic expectations of what we can manage thinking that health and fitness is all or nothing. The good news is there’s another way to improve your fitness. And it works.
Here’s the secret: make a commitment to do just one, small thing every day.
My mantra is consistency over time equals results. Carve out a few minutes a day to prioritize your body and your fitness. You’ll thank yourself as you experience less pain, less illness and more energy.
Here are some simple ideas to get you started:
1. Start with just 5 minutes a day.
It only takes a little bit of movement to improve your fitness.Try stretching, walking, or riding a stationary bike while you watch your favourite guilty-pleasure show.
2. Take the stairs.
You don’t have to climb 10 floors right away. Start by walking up one or two flights before catching the elevator.
3. Take an online fitness class.
Thanks to the internet, you can exercise from your living room at your own pace. There are tons of online fitness resources available on Youtube, my website (yourfitlife.ca), and the Kardish Wellness Blog!
4. Boost your fitness routine with proven supplements.
Kardish has a range of effective and affordable fitness supplements, from Kardish Better Vegan Protein to Kardish Real Greens (full of 12 superfoods!).
This year, try a new kind of New Year’s resolution. One that works. Make a small change to your daily routine. That one, small daily action can lead to a fitter, healthier you.
Carolyn Carson is the creator of Your Fit Life. With over 20 years in the fitness industry. Carolyn has improved the fitness and wellness of countless people through her dynamic programming, personal attention to her clients and by walking the walk. Learn more: YourFitLife.ca