Catherine's Corner

Keyes to Live by

This month we are holding in our hearts the journey, process, challenges and gifts that a diagnosis of cancer brings to all who lives it touches. I don’t believe there is anyone on the planet whose life has not been affected in one way or another by cancer. It is ubiquitous, pervasive and devastating. In its wake we shake off the complacency of our daily lives and celebrate that which brings us together and brings meaning to our lives: our families, our friendships, our gift in waking each morning anew, ripe with possibility.

Our world has gone through cataclysmic change in the past 100 years. Medical, social, cultural and technological shifts have initiated waves of change that have in all ways transformed and shaped how we live our everyday lives, how long we live, what we eat, the air that we breathe, the water that we drink, ultimately our means as humans of surviving on this planet.

From the perspective of cancer prevention, living in a society in which more than 250 chemicals can be confirmed in the umbilical cord of a newborn, there is so much we can do to support our bodies to be the healthiest they can be. We cannot do everything. There is the nature versus nurture argument. We all come in with predispositions —and despite this, or in recognition of this– — we CAN through the choices we make every day, do what we are able to, in order to give our bodies the fighting chance they need through the creation of healthy immune systems.

Current thought in complementary medicine circles credits inflammation as the underlying cause of disease. Causes of inflammation rank certain dietary and lifestyle choices, toxic exposure and chronic stress as some of the most important factors. We can’t ignore that we live in a stressful world and the choices we make regarding what we put in our bodies and how we live our lives can nurture or hinder our ability to live healthy lives. We all have our unique genetic packages, so ultimately, we do the best we can. We look at what we come in with, the specific challenges our genetics bring to us and make the choices we can to provide the best support possible. We laugh and cry and embrace our joys and passions. Studies show that Love truly is the answer; the laughter and tears of moments with friends and family make our lives meaningful, unique and healthier. We are on this planet to be in relationship with each other.

Be conscious, make healthy choices in the food you put in your bodies. Remember to take time everyday to breathe, inviting the relaxation response into your body, reducing stress. Take time for what is important. Breathe again, eat your vegetables… avoid products that are toxic, drink lots of water, eat well, laugh a lot, tell your loved ones you love them. Notice the day. It is a gift.

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SPRING CLEANING is in the air…

March is a transition month – a time when winter makes it’s last stand and spring insinuates itself into our consciousness. A blue sky with sunshine penetrates deeply, a warm breeze carries with it the smell of ripe earth; hints of colour peek through the white snowy blanket reminding us that all things change, decay and renew. It is appropriate then to look to actions that can be taken to support our bodies in their own season of renewal. It is a perfect time to look ahead, set goals, cleanse and detoxify in preparation for the glorious spring and summer to come.

Spring cleaning means chasing out the old, refreshing and redecorating both in our external and internal environments. The same strategies that apply to cleaning the house will work in the cleaning of our body. We need to tidy up the mess, take a good look at the state of the structure, renovate when necessary, put in place support systems and generally refresh and redecorate.

First comes the internal cleanup. In the body this means detoxification. Everyone needs a cleansing now and then, but what kind of cleanse we choose will depend on our personal life issues and challenges. If we are very clean eaters, then a simple cleanse that aims at detoxifying through all the channels of elimination will be enough. For those who have indulged more, a follow up liver cleanse or candida cleanse might be appropriate.

After cleansing it is time to take a good look around and see what needs to be done. Are we exhausted, not sleeping well, how are our diets? Often the cleanse inspires a lifestyle and diet change, and a look at the structure to see if there are any supports that need to be put in place. This could be the addition of a multivitamin or green food to support or if there is constant stress a great adrenal support. If we are tending to colds and flus, perhaps a great longer term immune system support.

Nutrition is the keystone to our health. What we put into our body in the way of fuel has benefits or hardships down the road. It is all about support, balance and making positive life affirming choices. There is no doubt that we all indulge and that can be a good thing too. A glass of libation with friends, laughter and good company has its own rewards in producing the relaxation response, reducing adrenal stress and lowering cortisol levels. Balance that with at least ONE healthy conscious choice a day in terms of what you are fuelling your body with and you are off to a great start. All journeys begin with a single step, we just have to start walking.

Spring Clean your house today.

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Matters of the Heart

February is the month when matters of the heart take precedence. Saccharin sweet sentiments remind us in shades of pink and red to love our Valentines. Heart strings, heart felt, heart beat, heart song, heart stopping, heart break, heart attack… word associations easily come to mind. Consideration of our hearts and the integral role they play in the daily life of our body, mind and spirit is our goal this month.

Every day,our heart beats about 100,000 times, sending 2,000 gallons of blood surging through our body. Although it’s no bigger than a fist, our heart has the impressive job of keeping blood flowing through the 60,000 miles of blood vessels that feed our organs and tissues. Any damage to the heart or its valves can reduce that pumping power, forcing the heart to work harder just to keep up with the body’s demand for blood. Supporting this process through healthy dietary and lifestyle choices is the best way to ensure that this mighty organ is ready to take on the demands of the day.

February’s focus is heart health education. We will begin a process of discovery about all things “heart related.” We will try to unravel some of the mysteries of the heart and share heart health tips that will encourage us to treat this essential organ with the respect it deserves. We will share information on heart healthy supplements, foods, herbs and exercise. Like us on Facebook and join the conversation.

“There’s nothing more inspiring than the complexity and beauty of the human heart.” ― Cynthia Hand, Hallowed

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NEW YEAR – NEW YOU

Every year, the calendar turns at midnight on December 31st, a page is flipped and a new year arrives like the space between a thought, ripe with possibility. And in that instant, there exists a moment when we let the challenges, regrets, sadness and pain of the past year be washed clean and we breathe life into our hopes and dreams for the future. In that precious freeze-frame , it seems possible to lay down our baggage, rest awhile and re-imagine our best possible self. A new year invites the winds of change to inspire us and wipe away the cobwebs of bad habits that have accumulated in our corners.

When we look at the big picture change seems overwhelming. The big picture needs to be broken down into possible pieces. The commitment should be to baby steps. One day at a time. One step at a time. Make a list of the what is possible, interesting to you and doable. If you know you should be exercising start by reframing that into an action that is possible and doable. If exercise is not your thing, do you like dancing, x-country skiing? What about signing up for salsa classes with your friends? Are you a loner, self-motivated, disciplined or do you require feedback and positive reinforcement from being with friends or a group? Engage your imagination and your community of support to make the dream a reality.

January is the time when we do an inventory of where we are and where we want to be. We start the cleansing process. We examine our lives and check all the boxes…

I want to create more time for my family in a meaningful way.
I want to create a date day with my husband/wife.
I want to feel less stressed about work.
I want to feel less stressed about money.
I want to feel healthy and able to participate in the world in a physical way.
I want to eat well, and embrace foods that fuel my body and make me feel fit and vibrant.
I want to reduce the amount of pain in my life.
i want to have joyful interaction with my friends and community.
I want to learn to say no when it is appropriate and schedule me time.
I want to strive for harmony and balance.
I want to learn to breathe in the face of conflict and fear.
I want to enjoy the choices that I make with regard to my life.
I want to embrace the roller coaster of emotion and challenge that life can often throw at me, and rise to the occasion with grace, humour and compassion.
I want to create a loving, joyful, healthy and meaningful life.

Cleansing is a process of release and renewal. It asks of us to let go of the old and embrace the new. Let’s usher in changes that are meaningful, powerful and persistant. Let’s be revolutionary with our resolutions.

CLEANSING FROM THE INSIDE OUT

There are many types of cleanses and many reasons for doing a cleanse. If you are feeling sluggish, tired, prone to constipation, holding on to extra weight, eating processed foods on a regular basis or just simply living in a culture and environment that exposes you to toxins everyday – then – it is time for a cleanse. There are as many different types of cleanses as reasons for cleansing in the first place. Cleanses are designed to assist the body in its natural detoxification process by supporting the 7 challenges of elimination: Lungs, Liver, Kidneys, Colon, Skin, Lymphatic System and Blood. Regular bowel elimination is essential for overall health. When the colon is working properly, unwanted toxins are absorbed in the digestive tract and removed via bowel movements before they build up, causing harm.

Ask us which cleanse would be right for you.

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The Gift of Health 

The holiday season is upon us; the time of year when the stress factor cranks up. Taking time for ourselves is challenging at the best of times. There are always jobs to be done, mouths to feed, dishes in the sink, responsibilities to business, family and friends. What about our obligations to ourselves? Stress has a direct impact on our physical, emotional and spiritual well-being. We human ‘doings’ hve to realize that the greatest gift we can give ourselves and our loved ones is our own health. Living healthy is a  lifestyle, a conscious choice to wake up every morning and breathe – take a moment to be grateful for our life and our journey. It means balancing the “unbalancable” responsibilities; knowing deeply that taking five minute out of a busy workday to turn the music up and ‘shake your booty’ is a great choice. Health means reminding yourself over and over again that we are worthy and deserving of taking time for ourselves.

Have tea with a friend. Bake Christmas cookies with your family. Decorate a tree. Sit down and read your book. Devote 5 minutes to a daydream. Re-discover your joy! This gift of a lifetime is precious and fragile. We are mortal. Embrace your health.

Recipe of the Month

Apricot Almond BreadAPRICOT ALMOND BREAD

INGREDIENTS :

1 1/2 cupts thinly sliced dried organic unsulphured apricots
1 1/2 cups water
2 1/2 cups organic unbleached flour
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 Tbsp. softened butter
1/2 cup honey, agave or maple syrup
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp organic vanilla extract
1/2 to 1 tsp orange rind
1 cup finely chopped almonds

WHAT TO DO :

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease large loaf pan.
  • Place apricots and water in medium-sized saucepan and bring to a boil.
  • Lower heat, cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Transfer to a medium-sized bowl and allow to cool about 15 minutes.
  • Sift together dry ingredients ( except almonds) in seperate bowl.
  • Stir butter and honey or syrup into cooled apricot mixture. Beat in eggs and vanilla.
  • Add dry ingredients, orange rind and almonds. Mix minimally but well.
  • Spread into prepared pan and bake about 1 1/2 hours or until knife inserted to bottom comes out clean. Let cool about 10 minutes in pan, then rap pan firmly on sides and bottom; loaf should slip right out. Cool another 15 minutes or more before slicing.
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