Health Care

Because Kids Can’t Wait

Guest Blog Written By: Kim Moran, CEO of Children’s Mental Health Ontario.

Jan. 31, Bell Let’s Talk, is an important day for all of us impacted by mental health. It will be a busy day with many people sharing their experiences in public forums. But there is one voice we are not likely to hear above all others – it’s the voice of Ontario’s children.

That is why I’m asking all of you to raise your voice for children’s mental health, so that kids won’t be forgotten on this day.

My Story

As a mom to a child with mental illness, I know how hard it can be. It’s hard to watch our children experience mental illness; and it’s hard to get the right treatment when we need it. When a child suffers from mental illness, the entire family is impacted.

For my family, my daughter’s situation was extreme – at age 11, she became suicidal. Our family was in crisis trying to get the help she needed. We held on tight, trying to get by while we languished on wait lists for publicly funded children’s mental health services. At the same time, I was working and trying to keep my family on track. Within a few short months our daughter tried to die by suicide – it was heartbreaking. We were finally able to get help from highly trained children’s mental health professionals at a publicly funded community agency. But, we shouldn’t have had to wait. No child or youth should have to wait.

My family is fortunate. We still have our struggles, but we have effective coping strategies.

Now, as CEO of Children’s Mental Health Ontario, I speak with so many parents whose children have struggled with mental health. These parents are just like you and me. Thank goodness the vast majority of kids never get as ill as our daughter did.

Sharing and Connecting

One thing I have learned over the years is that when parents share experiences, we are empowered. Not only do we realize we are not alone, but we share advice and ideas.

For me, some of the best advice I received when my own family was struggling was around the importance of spending meaningful time together. It may sound obvious, but it was something that we needed to prioritize. With that in mind, in my family, dinner became almost a sacred ritual.

With busy schedules it is often challenging, but we do our best to make this an important connection time to share our thoughts and feelings. Sometimes we laugh a lot, sometimes we work out problems, sometimes it’s about scheduling, and sometimes it’s about…nothing. But stopping to make time together is so important.

What does your family do to maintain mental wellness and keep your close connections?

Let’s Talk About Anxiety

Anxiety is the most common childhood mental illness. If you have experienced it at any degree, you may be asking: How do you know when it is a problem, especially for a child or teen?  When is time for some form of treatment?

If anxiety seriously interferes with a child’s ability to do everyday tasks, such as attending school or hanging out with friends, or they are struggling to concentrate, focus on school work or sleep at night, they may need additional support. Behaviors vary across ages, but signs of a problem may include:

  • When the feeling of anxiety is persistent – not just in a period of time of big change
  • When the intensity of the child’s responses is outside the norm
  • Younger children may have difficulties sleeping, or may be prone to bedwetting, crying, tantrums, protesting separations and not settling after a short period
  • Older children may have stomach aches, withdrawal, difficulties sleeping, frequent questioning, need for reassurance from caregivers. They may also avoid attending school
  • Teens may show signs of withdrawal from family, friends or activities, spend more time on the computer, alter their sleep patterns, refuse to attend school and/or use drugs or alcohol

Dr. Marjory Phillips, Director of the Integra Program at Child Development Institute, an accredited publicly funded children’s mental health agency in Toronto, has these tips to use to support your child at home:

  • Listen to your child or youth’s worries and reflect the feeling before trying to problem-solve or give advice
  • Take their concerns seriously while at the same time expressing confidence in his/her strengths
  • Recognize that your child’s anxiety may pose challenges to the whole family
  • Be open to listening to your child or youth (ask and hear versus talk and tell)
  • Express empathy by staying calm and reflect back the child’s thoughts and feelings
  • Figure out strengths – when are things better, what helps, who helps, when is it best to talk, etc.
  • Resist asking too many “why” questions

If you feel your child or youth’s feelings of anxiety extend beyond the norm and are seriously interfering with the child’s ability to do the tasks of everyday life, consult your family doctor and visit to find a children’s mental health centre near you.

A Crisis in Ontario

Children’s mental healthcare in Ontario is in crisis:

  • Suicide is the leading cause of death among Canadians age 15 to 34;
  • Families are waiting up to 18 months for treatment;
  • For many, publicly funded child and youth mental health services are not available in their community;
  • Many never get the help they need.

There are currently insufficient resources to intervene in the early stages of a mental health issue (which is proven to garner the most effective results), and too often, intervention occurs only when children are suicidal and/or reach a crisis.

There are solutions. The Ontario government can fix this by increasing funding to community mental health programs to ensure that no child or young person waits longer than 30 days for mental health treatment, and that they can access treatments in their communities when they need it.

You can help. One easy way to help is to click here to send Premier Kathleen Wynne a message and let her know that our #kidscantwait for mental healthcare.


For more information on Children’s Mental Health Ontario be sure to visit them online,
“LIKE” them on Facebook & “FOLLOW” them on Twitter.

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No Baby Unhugged


You’re pregnant and counting down till that 40 week mark but for some their little ones decide to come along much sooner. Today is World Prematurity Day, a day dedicated to raise awareness for all the babies who are born prematurely worldwide.

product1_alt2The arrival of your baby is an exciting and joyous time but for parents of premature babies it’s also a worrisome and scary time. These babies are vulnerable, sensitive and need care around the clock. The hospitals and staff have the medicine and machines which are an important part of their treatment but they are discovering just how important and critical the human touch element is when it comes to newborn care and development. Many times the Mammas aren’t able to be there around the clock to provide skin-to-skin hugs and that is why our good friends at Huggies created No Baby Unhugged. This program is an initiative designed to help hospitals ensure that all babies get the hugs they need, even when Mamma can’t be there.

No Baby Unhugged directly supports NICUs in providing premature babies with the hugs they need to thrive. We’ve all heard about the amazing benefits of skin-to-skin which include improved oxygen levels and pain tolerance, stabilized body temperatures, improved sleep, brain development and more. For premature babies, skin-to-skin also positively influences their short-term and long-term development.

Screen Shot 2016-11-17 at 11.24.46 AM

(click on image above to view the full document from the
Canadian Association of Paediatric Health Centres)

Through this amazing program, Huggies has provided $50,000 in funding to two Canadian hospital, with more planned. So far Huggies has partnered with Cape Breton Regional Hospital in Sydney, Nova Scotia and Southlake Regional Health Centre in Newmarket, Ontario, offering funding to cover hugging chairs and stations, along with dozens of Hugger Volunteers in the neonatal intensive care units to help ensure all babies get the hugs they need. Over 600 babies are admitted to the hospitals each year, where hundreds of hours of care are offered by trained volunteers. Click on the videos below and see for yourself on how these No Babies Unhugged hospitals are making a difference.

Want to learn more about the No Baby Unhugged program and become a No Baby Unhugged Mamma? Click here to sign up and show your support for hugs.

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5 Steps to Decrease Allergies: A Naturopathic Approach

Guest Blog Written By: Dr. Jen Cisternino Naturopathic Doctor

Allergies are on the rise in North America.  According to stats, 30% of adults and 40% of children are allergy sufferers.  According to The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, an “allergy” is an overreaction of the immune system to substances that usually cause no reaction in most individuals. So why are people reacting to substances like dander, creams, pollen, foods and mold?


Our immune system is tasked with the role of reacting to things that are life threatening-like a virus or bacteria. When the body is overloaded with poor food choices, stress, chemicals in the environment, products used on the skin, medications etc, the immune system can no longer keep in check what it had kept in check for so long. This is when I see patients in my office complaining that their allergies have worsened or a new rash has formed.

What to do if you have allergies-known or unknown.

1. Remove the Allergen. If you know what you are reacting to, then do your best to avoid exposure as best as you can. Allopathic allergy shots are created to help you become “desensitized” to the allergen. There are many side effects with this and it can be very time consuming. I offer an all natural Allergy Shot to help your immune system find balance.

If you do not know your allergens, then 1. See a Naturopath and get a Food Sensitivity Test to see if something you are eating is triggering a reaction and 2. See your Allergist to get tested for environmental allergies/medicines/chemicals.

2. Detoxify your Liver/Kidneys/Colon. All three of these organs help to eliminate waste from your body. If any organ is not performing it’s duty, then the build up of allergens and toxins can start to show symptoms like hives, rashes, runny nose, sore throat, puffy eyes, headaches, brain fog etc.

3. Clean up Your Diet: Eating fresh whole foods and eliminating sugar and processed foods is sure to help with your allergies. Ensure you get tested to see which foods are best for your immune system. Ensure you are drinking lots of water to clean out your system.

4. Supplementation with Fish oils, Vitamin C and Zinc can help modulate your immune system.

5. Manage Stress: This is super important! Most people do not know how much they are stressing their mind and body until hives appear or allergies worsen. Try to implement deep breathing, yoga, meditation, Reiki, Acupuncture or counselling for your stress.

For more from Dr. Jen Cisternino Naturopathic Doctor
and to book a free 15 min consult be sure to check her out online,
“LIKE” her on Facebook and “FOLLOW” her on Instagram!

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Sick Kids VS Everything!

I am a proud Torontonian! I love the city in which I live and work. It’s filled with amazing people from different cultures who embrace their roots, there are tons of great places to visit, awesome places to eat, fantastic music, artists, andddddd I could go on but I’d be here forever. Today, I really just want to focus on one of my all time fave things about Toronto…Sick Kids Hospital.

We are so amazingly fortunate to have one of the best hospitals right here in our backyard. One that many travel to from not only across our great country but all over the world. It all started back in 1875 by a group of women who rented out a house in downtown Toronto, set up some beds…6 to be exact and Sick Kids was born! This hospital has done sooooo much, the history on this place is just amazing. They are known world wide for their groundbreaking work and have a reputation like no other.

Sick Kids treats kids of all ages who are battling all different types of illnesses including the rarest of the rare and most serious. For some kids they are in and out, others have a short stay and some live there for months on end. These kids, their parents and the Sick Kids staff are truly amazing. Their reality isn’t an easy one and takes a lot of courage and strength.


Recently the hospital started to put up images of kids standing brave and tall with a big “VS” behind them and today they launched the video for their newest campaign and BEST campaign I’ve ever seen. It’s called ‘Sick isn’t weak’ and well I could tell you about it but I think the best thing to do is press play and watch and see for yourself!

To all these superheroes (the kids) and their parents I applaud you…keep on fighting the fight because you can do it! And to the staff…from the admin people, social workers, nurses, doctors, surgeons, anesthesiologist and everyone in between THANK YOU! Thank you for all that you do, day in and day out.

For more information on Sick Kids be sure to visit

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The Benefits Of Cold Pressed Juice

Guest Blog Written By: Michael Appugliese “mike fresh” from Freshouse Juicebar


The Benefits Of Cold Pressed Juice

If you haven’t already heard, drinking cold pressed juice can be the most natural and raw way to increase your consumption of fruits and vegetables.

What is Cold Pressed Juice?

Cold pressed juice is a method of extracting juice from produce. It involves two steps.

  • Pulverizing
    • The produce is first pulverized by a blade and turned into pulp. This process breaks open fibers and frees up nutrients and enzymes to be released.
  • Pressing
    • The newly made pulp is placed inside a cloth type bag and squeezed at high amounts of pressure using a hydraulic press. The strong action of the press squeezes out the most juice that can be squeezed out of the produce, better and more efficient than any other form of juicer on the planet.

What is the difference between cold pressed juice and regular juice?

download-1The juice that you find at the supermarket can take up to 12 months before it hits the shelf. Regular juice is: 1.Juiced 2. Pasteurized 3. Stored 4. Shipped

Pasteurization is the act of heating up the juice to extremely high temperatures to kill off the bad bacteria. The problem is that vitamins, enzymes and good bacteria are also heat sensitive, so you also destroy the good bacteria. Chemicals are also added to the juice during this process before it is bottled.

Cold press juice is simply the pure juice from the produce, with no type of processing done to it at all. The juice is extracted and bottled. Because of its natural nature, cold press juice must be consumed within 3-5 days (depending on the juice) from the day it was pressed. Just the way nature intended it to be!

Why Drink Cold-Pressed Juice?

Maximum Nutrition
– Regular centrifugal juicers use a blade that creates heat, which causes the juice to oxidize and lose nutrient value. The hydraulic press removes the juice from the pulp without adding any heat and yields a highly concentrated juice full of nutrients.

Fastest Absorption – once the pulp has been removed, the digestive system is able to absorb all of the nutrients immediately. The digestive system does not have to work on breaking down anything. As soon as the juice enters the small intestine, the nutrients are absorbed immediately and enter the bloodstream.

Freshest juice – Real cold press juice is never pasteurized or processed in any way. The shelf life is only 3-5 days, guaranteeing a fresh product. Always watch out for cold press juice that has been HPP’d (High pressure processing). This juice claims to be cold press, but has been processed to extend the shelf life from 3 days to 30 days! Makes you wonder if this can still be considered natural??

downloadWe are all supposed to eat fruits and vegetables everyday, the problem is that in today’s fast paced society people find it difficult to stop and take a bite of the apple, or eat that piece of broccoli. A high majority of Canadians do not take in anywhere near the recommended 8-10 servings of fruits and vegetables. Cold press juice is a convenient way to stay healthy and guarantee your absorbing high quality nutrients, while getting in all your servings of fruits and vegetables.

“The juices extracted from fresh-raw vegetables and fruits are the means by which we can furnish all the cells and tissues of the body with the elements and nutritional enzymes they need in the manner they can be most readily digested and assimilated.”
Dr. Norman Walker

For more information on Freshouse Juicebar be sure to check them out online
“LIKE” them on facebook and “FOLLOW” them on instagramtwitter and YouTube!

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What you need to know if you are preparing for MOTHERHOOD

Guest Blog Written By: Dr. Jen Cisternino Naturopathic Doctor

Being a mother is both a gift and a blessing. This role is an honor and divine creation. The process of procreation is so delicate and beautiful. Once conception occurs in a woman’s body, the rest of her pregnancy is taken care of by the subtle love and energy of the Higher Spirit. Have you ever sat back and been amazed at how carefully and precisely the infant develops in 9 months in the womb? From the beautiful creation of cells that come together to form the brain, ears, eyes, heart and all the organs, glands and bones that it needs to live and thrive. It truly is a miracle and a gift from above. What amazes me is that this process happens in the perfect time without the need for human interference. The mother does not need to think about creating all these tiny body parts for her child. She does not have to feed her child or make sure he/she sleeps. The one responsibility God gives a mother is to ensure that she foster a healthy environment in which the baby can grow. What does this environment look like? I will share with you my beliefs based on books by Dr. Northrup, Louise Hay and from my clinical experiences and innate wisdom.

  1. A healthy, fertile environment must be TOXIN-FREE. Most women need to detoxify the body before pregnancy and I do highly suggest this. Part of the detoxification process is ensuring that the body is clear of things like:
  • The Birth Control Pill – stop for at least 3 months before conception
  • Smoking (Tobacco and Marijuana) or any other Drug- stop for at least one year before; this includes being around people who smoke- 2nd hand smoke is just as harmful.
  • Alcohol – remove for at least 3 months before conception
  • Caffeine – remove for at least 3 months before conception
  • Remove CHEMICALS AND JUNK FOOD: Remove saturated fats, trans fats, aspartame, fast food, packaged food, artificial dyes, pesticides, chemicals, preservatives and even suspected Food Allergies (we can test for this in my clinic) for at least 6 months and continue as a part of your lifestyle.
  1. Ensure that you have all the VITAMINS and MINERALS you need to keep you and baby healthy and flourishing. There is a strong cultural belief in society that the mother should sacrifice everything for the sake of the child. A lot of women with this belief will not take vitamins because they figure the baby will take what they have leaving them depleted and this is ok. It is NOT ok. This can lead to a lot of negative health consequences like thyroid disorder, weight gain, post-partum depression, anxiety and more. How is a mother to care for her child, if she cannot care for herself? You can ensure that you are getting adequate doses of minerals by taking a good quality multivitamin. I meet a lot of women who take Materna and I will mention that it is not the highest quality vitamin out there. Most women who take this one-a day vitamin feel very nauseous; hence they stop. Overloading the body with vitamins all at once (one a day) can upset any stomach, as if the hormones in pregnancy aren’t enough. I recommend all women take a high grade Prenatal for at least one year before pregnancy. The vitamin I suggest is dosed one per meal to ensure easy digestion and absorption. (If you want to take a test to see your mineral content, we can do this in my clinic with a hair sample).
  2. A healthy environment is one that is STRESS-FREE: Did you know that when a woman is pregnant and experiencing stress, less blood flows to the growing fetus? Chronic stress can starve a child of essential nutrients. Did you also know that the stress hormones that circulate in a woman’s body can also circulate in the fetus? Can you imagine giving birth to a baby who is already stressed? We have been cultured to believe that until a baby is born, there is not much to do but wait and go for ultrasounds and take some vitamins. WRONG! With this awareness, do your best to manage your stress. It is easier to find healthy ways to cope with stress NOW before you decide to birth a being into this world. I believe this is why acupuncture works so well in my office because it gives women a chance to relax, understand their stresses and let go of any negative emotions.
  3. Get to a HEALTHY WEIGHT: Women who are overweight increase their risk of complications during pregnancy and may have more difficulty conceiving. Most women I meet who are overweight (I was there once too) tend to have a negative self- image, low self-esteem and poor lifestyle habits. If having children is a necessity then let that motivate you to take the right steps to lose weight. (I offer a lot of support in this area so reach out) The healthier you become in mind, body and spirit, the healthier your child will be. Did you know that a child born to a mother with an eating disorder will be more likely to develop one themselves?
  4. Remove TOXIC EMOTIONS: I am referring to the emotions of fear, guilt, sadness, anger, hurt, shame, jealousy, judgment. Imagine creating a pure innocent baby in that toxic environment. The mental/emotional aspect of pregnancy is often overlooked but it must not be. The only way to release negative emotions is to become aware of them and take the appropriate steps to resolve the thoughts and beliefs that tend to accompany the emotion. In your marriage/relationship, if you are having arguments, having a baby is not going to resolve the arguments. Resolve the issues before you have the child. This may take time, but it is so essential and freeing. Forgiveness is really the only way to release your past and move forward.
  5. Be prepared to BREAST FEED: Breast feeding your baby is one of the surest ways to cultivate a healthy loving environment in which baby and mother bond and the baby feels safe and secure in her world with her needs being met. Not only that, milk from the breast is the cleanest (if your diet is also clean). Breast fed babies tend to have a healthy weight and decreased risk of allergies and asthma among many other conditions. I know some women who try really hard to breast feed but are unable to produce enough milk. If this is the case, don’t hold emotions of guilt or anger. Let it go and know you tried your best.
  6. Practice unconditional SELF LOVE and SELF ACCEPTANCE: This is a must and not only will it help you to conceive, it will help you foster a healthy environment for your child to flourish. Did you know that the more you love yourself, the more people feel loved by you. How amazing is that? You wouldn’t want to withhold love from your child, so don’t withhold it from yourself.  I ask that you look back on your childhood and explore the relationship you had with your mother. What was it like? Did you wish it was different? If so, what would you change? Try to emanate those qualities that you feel would have provided you with a more loving foundation in which to build self esteem and healthy values. Most people report that they wished their mothers were more loving and supportive and less controlling and judgmental. Children are very perceptive and soon enough they will start to look and act like you. Be the best version of you for you and baby.
  7. Assess your DESIRE to have a child. Be honest with yourself. Are you ready? Are you scared? Do you feel pressured? Have a heartfelt conversation with yourself, God and also with your partner. Some people decide to have a child because it is what society puts pressure on if you are female and over 25 years old. Some people have a child out of fear because they believe that if they reach a certain age they won’t be fertile. There is a lot of information floating around about infertility but don’t let that scare you. Please don’t let this fear get into your beliefs, because trust me, your beliefs affect your physical body. If you cultivate healthy thoughts, self love and nourish yourself emotionally and physically you are well on your way to becoming a mom!

For more from Dr. Jen Cisternino Naturopathic Doctor
and to book a free 15 min consult be sure to check her out online,
“LIKE” her on Facebook and “FOLLOW” her on Instagram!

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The Gut/Skin Connection

Guest Blog Written By: Dr. Jen Cisternino Naturopathic Doctor

Recently, there has been a lot of  “buzz” around the connection between digestive health and skin health. More research is being conducted showing a promising link between the two. I am sure we have all experienced this relationship at some point in our life, if not at the current moment. For example, you overindulge in some fatty, greasy foods and to your surprise you break out in pimples OR you start eating more dairy and gluten and notice bloating and a skin rash. These are two occurrences of how food, digestion and skin can interrelate.

Let’s take a closer look at our skin.

Recently, there has been a lot of  “buzz” around the connection between digestive health and skin health. More research is being conducted showing a promising link between the two. I am sure we have all experienced this relationship at some point in our life, if not at the current moment. For example, you overindulge in some fatty, greasy foods and to your surprise you break out in pimples OR you start eating more dairy and gluten and notice bloating and a skin rash. These are two occurrences of how food, digestion and skin can interrelate.

Let’s take a closer look at our skin.

Functions of the Skin:

  • The body’s largest ORGAN
  • Seen as the “third” kidney
  • Responsible for eliminating a portion of the body’s toxic waste through sweating
  • Acts as a barrier
  • Responsible for absorption of sunlight which we use to manufacture Vitamin D
  • Helps prevent dehydration
  • Regulates our temperature

Besides the skin, there are other organs that help promote elimination of toxins and also the absorption of minerals.

Organs of elimination/absorption: 

  • Liver: Detoxification (phase 1 and 2)
  • Kidneys: Filter waste through urine
  • Colon: Waste through feces
  • Stomach/Intestines: Allows for digestion/absorption of minerals, vitamins, proteins, fats and sugars.

If any of these organs are malfunctioning, the skin will become affected. You may start to notice rashes, hives, ezcema, psoriasis, vitilitgo, rosacea etc.

So what is healthy digestion anyway?

  • 1-3 bowel movements daily
  • Absence of bloating and pain
  • Stool appears light brown, is “S” shaped, sinks, contains no blood or mucous
  • Good energy throughout the day
  • Absence of SKIN CONDITIONS

Some of the more common digestive issues I see in my office are:

  • GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disorder)
  • Hypochlorhydria
  • Ulcers
  • Celiac Disease
  • Intestinal Hyperpermeability “Leaky Gut Syndrome”
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

Could you be suffering from any of these conditions? Let’s take a look at each condition in detail.

GERD Symptoms:

  • Heartburn post meal
  • Regurgitation
  • Feeling that food is stuck in the throat
  • Coughing, wheezing, hoarseness, chest pain

GERD can be worsened by certain foods: Alcohol, chocolate, coffee, fats, food allergies, mints (chewing gum), onions, sugar, spicy foods, tomatoes, citrus fruits, carbonated drinks

Drugs that can be the cause:

  • Beta blockers
  • Bronchodilators
  • Cigarettes
  • Aspirin


  • Get rid of possible food allergens
    • Gluten and dairy are the most common ones.
  • Try to eliminate known triggers
  • Weight loss and lifestyle changes
    • Don’t eat three hours before bed. Give yourself a chance to digest your food.
  • Deal with stress before you eat
    • Try a very simple technique that I call “Take Five.” Take five breaths before each meal.
  • Try specific supplements to help
    • Digestive enzymes, zinc carnosine, Magnesium, DGL.
  • Get tested for Food Sensitivities. It is easy and I do this in my office.
  • Test for H. Pylori• Check for abnormal bugs in your gut, bacterial overgrowth, yeast overgrowth, and parasites

ULCERS:  Signs and Symptoms:

  • Stomach Pain
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Belching, bloating, distension
  • Intolerance to fatty foods.
  • Heartburn
  • Chest discomfort
  • Anorexia
  • Weight loss
  • Dark blood in the stool (bleeding ulcer)


  • Definition: Deficiency or Absence of Stomach acid (HCL)

HCL is necessary to:

  • Protect the stomach against pathogens
  • Prevent fungal, bacterial overgrowth of intestine
  • Facilitate flow of bile and pancreatic enzymes
  • Enables proper absorption of protein and nutrients

Signs and Symptoms

  • A sense of fullness after eating
  • Bloating, belching, burning or flatulence immediately after meals
  • Indigestion, diarrhea or constipation
  • Dilated blood vessels in the cheeks and nose
  • Iron deficiency
  • Multiple mineral deficiencies
  • Itching around the rectum
  • Multiple food allergies
  • Nausea after taking supplements
  • Weak, peeling and cracked fingernails

SKIN CONDITIONS associated with Hypochlorhydria:

  • Eczema, psoriasis, rosacea, urticaria, vitiligo, acne

The only test available that can accurately determine if you have low minerals due to poor digestive function is HAIR MINERAL ANALYSIS. I conduct this test in my office.

CELIAC DISEASE:                

Gluten intolerance whereby ingestion of gluten causes chronic inflammation in the intestinal mucosa leading to flattening of intestinal villi

Signs and Symptoms:

  • Chronic Diarrhea
  • Flatulence, abdominal pain, bloating
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Anemia
  • Osteopenia
  • Neurological symptoms
  • Stunted growth
  • Seizures
  • Bleeding disorders (due to lack of Vit K)


  • Definition: Also known as “Leaky Gut Syndrome”. Holes in the intestine which result in unwanted proteins and other molecules into the bloodstream.
  • Common causes are: NSAIDS, antibiotics, viral and bacterial infections of the stomach, chemotherapy, alcoholism, radiation, trauma, surgery

Signs and Symptoms

  • Abdominal pain
  • Chronic joint pain
  • Chronic muscle pain
  • Confusion
  • Fuzzy/foggy thinking
  • Gas
  • Indigestion
  • Mood swings
  • Nervousness
  • Poor immunity
  • Diarrhea
  • Poor memory
  • Constipation


  • Altered stool frequency (more than 3 bowel movements each day or less than 3 bowel movements each week)
  • Altered stool form (lumpy/hard/loose/watery)
  • Altered stool passage (straining, urgency, fecal incontinence or incomplete evacuation)
  • Passing of mucous


  • Dysbiosis: altered intestinal microflora
  • High sulphate diet (preservatives, dried fruits, shellfish, baked goods, white bread, alcoholic beverages, cows milk, cheese, eggs, meat, high protein diet (animal protein), high simple sugar/refined carbohydrate diet
  • Food allergies (IGG)
  • Antibiotic use
  • Psychological problems: sexual, physical, verbal abus

A note about FOOD ALLERGIES: 

  •  IgG food reactions are food sensitivities, rather than true anaphylactic (IgE mediated) food allergies.
  • IgG food reactions are delayed. They can occur hours to days after the food is consumed, which can make it hard to pin point the exact food.
  • Testing is the best way to determine your sensitivities.

Undetected Food Allergies can cause skin conditions such as:

  • Eczema
  • Acne
  • Psoriasis
  • Hives
  • Rash
  • Rosacea    

In summary, if you believe you have any of the above conditions, seek help from a health care practitioner. Naturopathic Doctors do a great job at treating the “root” cause of skin issues and optimizing digestive health. If you have any skin issues and you have not addressed your digestive function,  it is worth exploring. If you are interested in getting testing done, I offer both tests in my office. If you know someone that may be suffering and can benefit from this information, please share.

Feel free to reach out with any questions.

Healthy Mask For Glowing Skin: 

1 ½ avocado
½ cup plain organic yogurt
½ cup rolled oats
1 (400 iu) Vit E gel cap
½ squeezed lemon juice
¼ cucumber

If skin is dry add 1/4 cup olive oil
Apply 3-4 times a week for 20 minutes


For more from Dr. Jen Cisternino Naturopathic Doctor be sure to check
her out online,
 “LIKE” her on Facebook and “FOLLOW” her on Instagram!

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It’s FUN for the whole FAMILY!


As a parent planning fun stuff for the family isn’t always easy, so when I hear about great local events happening I always jump on them and of course spread the word 😉 .

Next weekend (Saturday, May 2nd) the Our Rugrats Expo is happening at the Trios Sportsplex Event Venue (located at 601 Cityview Blvd in Vaughan from 10:00am to 5:00pm) and we couldn’t be more excited! This family friendly event is geared towards children of all ages, parents, grandparents and parents to be. The best part is that it’s FREE!

They have so many amazing things planned for the day and of course not just for the little ones but for us parents and the parents-to-be as well. New this year to the show is the Pretty Mamma and Dapper Dad Zone where parents and parents-to-be can go to get pampered and have some fun with businesses like Arboone, Stella & Dot, It Works!, Golf Lab, Barber’s Cave and more!

Another new and exciting addition this year are the FOOD TRUCKS! Now who doesn’t love food trucks 🙂 . Everything from an ice cream to Mini Donuts and of course famous BeaverTails which aside from their signature sweet and delish pastries they have yummy french fries and hot dogs perfect for lunch or great to just snack on.  All stuff that you and your little ones will love after you build up an appetite inside running around and visiting all the great interactive activities for kids like bouncy castles, Reptilia meet and greet with the reptiles and of of course the Legoland Discovery play area which is bigger and better this year.

The Our Rugrats Expo has all your favourite vendors under one roof. It’s definitely the place to be and you can guarantee the whole family will leave happy.

While you’re there don’t forget to visit some of our amazing Vendors like VarageSale, Splashville, Juice Plus – Health and Family Come First, Petite & Posh and Glama Gal Tween Spa.

So mark your calendar because you won’t want to miss out on all the action and fun at the Our Rugrats Expo on Saturday, May 2nd.

Don’t forget to check out the Our Rugrats Expo on online,
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Redefine your sweetness: decode your sugar cravings!

Guest Blog Written By: Silvia & Trisha from Redefine your balance
What could possibly be more annoying than constant cravings that veer you right off your well-intended eating plan? What if we told you that those cravings are more valuable than you think? Those incessant yearnings for powdered doughnuts or gooey hot fudge could possibly be the key to hitting the target on all your nutritional goals!

A sugar craving is probably one of the most common of all food cravings.  Sugar, or rather glucose, plays a huge role in feeding our cells.  But when our cells are starved of fuel we are left depleted of energy, foggy-brained, irritable, moody…and the sugar cravings develop.

So what is going on in our body during these sweet moments of yearning? We know sugar directly affects the hormone insulin, which has a cascading affect (directly and indirectly) on other hormones coursing through our bodies.  So, among other drivers of sugar cravings, a hormonal imbalance is a top reason we find ourselves emptying the candy bowl (again!).  Good news is that you can harness the power of the right foods to restore hormonal balance, regain energy and banish sweet cravings.

Do any of these scenarios sound familiar?

  • Out running a zillion errands and skipped lunch?  Going too long in between meals can result in low blood sugar levels, leaving our cells and energy reserves crying for fuel.  Tip: keep a baggie of nuts/seeds or a quality protein bar (low in sugars) in your purse or car for easy on-the-go snacking.
  • Polished off a glass of OJ with your morning bagel? Eating too many refined or simple sugars, and not enough protein, good fats and fibre, can lead to sugar highs, followed always by a blood-sugar crash leaving us super fatigued from our depleted energy reserves. Tip: always eat your carbohydrates with some protein and/or a healthy fat, especially earlier in the day to avoid sugar cravings later on. Try these breakfast options: whole grain toast with smashed avocado and sliced boiled eggs, or oatmeal with berries, coconut oil and nuts.
  • Coffee on an empty stomach? Due to a spike in adrenaline, caffeine causes our blood sugar, and, as a result, insulin, to rise, and then plummet. Tip: enjoy a few nuts, or high protein snack with your mid-morning espresso.

In addition to the tips above, to naturally quell your cravings over time, and give your body what it is truly yearning, we suggest incorporating as many of the power foods outlined below throughout the day. These power foods are chock-full of energy and mood-boosting, blood sugar balancing and hormone-stabilizing nutrients that aim to hit your nutritional target. The idea is not to eat something healthy when you crave something sinful. Rather, painlessly ‘crowd out’ the unhealthy options that are sabotaging the attainment of your health goals. And don’t forget your water! It can help lessen sugar cravings by flushing out the extra sugar in our bodies (excess sugar brings on cravings for more of the white stuff!).

Power foods to incorporate, each day:

  • Berries – blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, goji, acai and blackberries
  • Sweet fruits, especially those with pits and cores (as they are lower in natural sugars) –apples, pears, peaches, apricots and plums
  • Root vegetables – sweet potatoes, carrots, squash and beets
  • Other sweet vegetables – bell peppers and peas (frozen, fresh, sugar snap)
  • Unrefined sweeteners (in moderation) – coconut sugar, maple syrup, raw honey
  • Whole grains – brown rice, quinoa, steel-cut oats and amaranth
  • Warming spices – cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves
  • Legumes and beans – pinto and kidney beans, lentils
  • Additional protein at each meal/snack – eggs, poultry, fish/seafood, quality dairy, raw nuts/seeds, edamame

For more from Redefine your balance be sure to check them out online,
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