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Top 10 Keys to Cultivate Happiness

       I recently had a conversion with a good friend who works in the mental health field. We spoke about personalities and how some people seem cheerful even when life hands them the proverbial lemons. This wise woman said it may be part of a person’s nature and personality to react in a good, negative or balanced way but every person is responsible to cultivate their own happiness. Cultivate, means in gardening to grow or in general to develop or acquire a skill, for happiness.

     This concept of “cultivating happiness” really resonated because most busy people get into a groove of just existing, going through mundane tasks day after day and forgetting the things that bring joy into the routine. Herein are some easy tips starting from simple mind techniques, looking at lifestyle and ending in correcting unique nutritional imbalances. In a great majority of cases, a simple mind shift, healthy habits, like getting enough sleep and eating whole foods are enough. When it is not enough, correcting any unique nutritional needs is paramount to every person’s health and feelings of well being.

      Here are the top 10 ways to cultivate happiness:

  1. Wake each day and find something to be grateful for. Even being grateful for small things is a start. It sets the day up for appreciation. Count these proverbial blessings no matter how small.
  2. Don’t take things too seriously. Make a mistake? Have a flaw pointed out? Use it for a learning experience or accept that we are all human. Earth school is about, learning and growing.
  3. Keep friends who are supportive and have others best interest at heart. Limit experience with negativity and dream stealers. Finding a group of friends whom one admires, finds comfort in and is uplifted by their company is key. It is hard to fly with the eagles whilst scratching with the turkeys.
  4. Have pursuits or hobbies that are fulfilling. Not everyone has a dream job, but everyone can fill themselves with joy and love. View or make art, listen to or compose music, dance, sight see, volunteer to help others, garden, pet cats or dogs, be active in church. Healthy and fulfilling pursuits takes one away the mundane, stimulates the mind and gives one a break. If one is lucky, their hobbies will also increase positive social interactions with other worthwhile people.
  5. Become physically active even in little ways. Human beings are not to be sedentary. Taking a simple brisk walk increases pain relief and feel good hormones called endorphins. It improves lymphatic drainage, heart health and mood. Any activity is worthwhile, biking, hiking, kayaking, swimming, aerobics, cleaning, gardening, yoga, tai chi etc. The choice is yours and exercise is cumulative, it doesn’t have to be done all at once, even in 10 minute increments, three times a day over the day counts. Start where you are at.
  6. Aim to get a good night’s sleep. Set a sleep schedule. Sleep in a dark room. Don’t take caffeine after morning and don’t eat too late. Don’t watch upsetting or stimulating news or television right before bed. Exert enough energy during the day, to tire you for evening. These things all influence sleep. If one needs further support try remedies like calcium and/or magnesium, passionflower, valerian, holy basil, skullcap or melatonin for a good nights sleep. Many sleepy time teas contain these herbs.
  7. Accept where one is now. If there are goals, getting a better job, going through relationship changes, recovering from an injury, starting on healthy eating journey, quitting smoking, recovering from alcoholism, or whatever, know that Rome was not built in a day. Celebrate small victories and know that every seed planted makes a difference and one will bloom in time.
  8. Take only whole foods and a balanced diet. When one’s diet focuses mainly on fast, sugary or prepackaged foods, both the body and mind acquire very little nutrition. It gains empty filling calories. It can also cause cravings due to their addictive nature. Fast and prepackaged foods hinder good health, a positive mood and focus. Some types of fats such as trans fats and oxidized fats, create inflammation and may actually block the receptor for healthy fats such as omega 3 fatty acids which are good for brain, nerves and mood. Alcohol actually depletes the body of happy nutrients, such as magnesium, chromium, b vitamins, folic acid and omega 3 fatty acids. Thus over doing it with booze can definitely make someone’s mood worse. Instead, eat a diet that focuses on whole grains, fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, healthy fats, legumes, fish and little meat. Don’t drink calories, take water and eat three squares. Food contains phytonutrients and biochemical messages that can carry both positive and negative messages for every cell in our body. It is amazing how a person’s mood can be altered by diet. For some it is easier to change their religion than their diet. Take steps daily to improve and simply do your best and forget the rest.
  9. Everyone has a unique biochemistry. At the Caruso Clinic, each person’s unique nutritional needs are met and determined with testing. If certain nutrients are lacking, a regime may be prescribed to best support optimal health. We don’t recommend taking standard vitamins from the drug store, most of them are poorly absorbed and unnecessary. Taking unnecessary vitamins, minerals or herbs is hard on a person’s body and their liver. In fact often people will have high liver enzymes when they take a lot of supplements they don’t need. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, if the liver is unwell, people tend to feel more irritable and angry. However when people support their organs, body and mind, by replacing missing nutrients they will feel right within themselves and happier.
  10. Lastly, if the above steps to cultivate happiness is not enough, there is deep grief, depression or any other imbalance, consider a constitutional remedy. This is a remedy that is suited to one’s unique set of symptoms, emotional, mental or physical. It doesn’t change ones nature of the situation but it can improve one’s well being and make one feel more grounded within themselves.

If you would like more information on how we can help increase a positive mood by improving diet, having an individualized nutritional protocol and/or a constitutional remedy, please contact us for more info. www.carusohomeopathy.com

It seems as though every time we turn around we hear about another thing that causes cancer. We may feel like we need to live in a bubble to prevent ourselves from future suffering. However, we do have more of an impact than we know when it comes to helping ourselves stay healthy. We may have a family history of cancer and think our genes will be our downfall, however we can prevent the expression of these genes if we do the right things with diet. Thus we can change our expression of our genotype (cancer genes) by eating well to prevent their expression (phenotype).

     Our diet plays a role in how our genes are expressed. Certain methods of cooking can increase carcinogens. For example, grilling meats on the barbecue can increase hetrocyclic amines (HCA) a chemical reaction to charring meats on high heat and an open flame. The worst five as reported by the "Cancer Project" to grill are chicken breast, steak, salmon, hamburger and pork. A high meat intake has been linked to colon and breast cancer.

     Studies have shown that alcohol consumption has a cumulative effect on the incidence of breast cancer in women. It has also been linked to stomach, colon, rectum, liver and ovarian cancer. There is a moderate increase in breast cancer in those who drink 3 to 6 alcoholic drinks per week. Women's body's do not metabolize alcohol the same way men's do. Alcohol seems to increase our estrogen levels which may lead to hormone related cancers. Men on the other hand, who have three drinks per week, especially red wine, tend to live longer. (I know ladies totally not fair!)

     Eating a diet high in meat, saturated and trans fats and low in fibre increase the incidences of breast, colon, lung, prostate and rectal cancers. According to research diet plays a role in at least 30 percent of all types cancers. This means that we do have some control in what we eat and improving our health and longevity.

Eating for Cancer Prevention

     What we can gather from the information above avoiding/limiting alcohol, saturated fats, grilled meats and low fibre diets helps in the prevention of cancer. In the July newsletter we highlighted which foods are beneficial for breast cancer prevention, view this newsletter now. Also eating a diet low on the glycemic index helps to prevent obesity, diabetes and also breast, prostate and colon cancer. The glycemic index refers to how quickly something turns into a sugar in the blood. Low glycemic means the food turns into a sugar less quickly than a high glycemic one. This keeps blood sugar stable. Amazingly researchers have found that the diabetic drug, metformin may actually prevent cancer. Keeping blood sugar stable prevents aging of the cells that may cause mutation such as in cancer development or other degenerative diseases. 

     Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables is the best insurance for health. Choose 8 to 10 servings of fruits and vegetables. They are rich in polyphenols and other cancer preventing compounds. Choose a wide variety of colours of the rainbow to ensure your nutritional needs are met because each colour and vegetable or fruit contains various compounds that are beneficial for health. Choose to eat lean proteins such as chicken, fish, turkey, game meats, legumes and soya (unless you have an estrogen positive type of cancer). Eat whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, rye and oats. Choose healthy fats such as olive, safflower or grapeseed oil, unprocessed coconut oil, raw nuts and seeds. Choose dairy products such as low-fat yogurt to get beneficial bacteria that helps your intestinal tract and immune system.

     On another note, research into food stuffs that prevent cancer has been quite fruitful (pardon the pun!).  Below is a list of a few great foods that will improve your health:

  • Brazil nuts contain the most selenium of all nuts. Selenium is a powerful antioxidant that has been toted as an anti-cancer mineral.
  • Tomatoes cooked contain lycopene which may help prevent prostate disease.
  • Brocolli, cabbage, cauliflower and brocolli sprouts contain compounds called sulphurophane, lutein, zeaxanthin and indol 3 carbinol that has been found beneficial in colon, rectal, breast, prostate and skin cancers.
  • Flaxseed contains lignans that studies have been found to be beneficial in cases of prostate, breast and colon cancer.
  • Green tea has many benefits. The Journal of Cellular Biochemistry, states that green tea's polyphenols that are abundant in green tea, red wine and olive oil, may protect against various types of cancer. Dry green tea leaves contain  40% polyphenols by weight, may reduce the risk of the stomach, lung, colon, rectum, liver and pancreas cancer according to study findings.

     There are many other healthy foods as well as supplements that can improve your health and well-being. Cancer affects so many people in our society, I truly believe it is our focus on pre-packaged foods, our environment as well as the individual's ability to filter toxins to stay healthy. If you have a health concern please contact the clinic for an assessment at 519-827-9237.

This information is not meant to diagnose or treat diseases. Please seek the help of a qualified health practitioner if you have a serious health concern.

     A study of approximately 447,000 people found an association with the lowest carbohydrate intake and an increased mortality (death) rate. The study showed that the lowest carb diets had a 31% mortality rate compared to those with the highest carb diets. Noting that in the NHANES study they found that the highest carb diets were are much more risk for mortality compared to those with a moderate carbohydrate intake (which was considered at approx 50%). Moderate carb intake is more in line with a dietary plan similar to the zone of south beach diet, where as very low carb, is more in line with ketogenic diet. The number of carbs per day in ketogenic diet can vary as well from person to person.

     However, it appears the media is lumping all diets that ask for moderation of our carbohydrate and starch intake as "low carb". This is where people become confused about diet, the media skews studies and the public doesn't have easy access to read the original research. This type of reporting by the media makes one wonder if the way the media reports the news is funded by the folks who make diabetic or cholesterol medication. When one opens the link below, from MedScapeToday, it had a picture of white pasta, white bread and buns, making one wonder if that particular article was attempting to suggest that eating plenty of refined flour products was associated with longevity.

     In short, what we suggest at the clinic we take away from this news is that for the long haul, don't stay extremely low carb for a long time period of time since it is associated with early death. Be mindful that the highest carb diets are also linked to an increased mortality rate and incidence of disease such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease. Moderate carbohydrate intake is best, between 40 to 55% of one's daily food intake. IT is what they have said for years about moderation, sticking with whole foods, moderate whole grains, nuts, seeds, healthy fats such as olive oil, fish, legumes and plenty of healthy non starchy veggies and fruits which are good for health and longevity. Please note each person has individualized needs for certain nutrients and not one diet suits all.  https://www.medpagetoday.com/primarycare/dietnutrition/74608

     Heartburn is defined as stomach acid extending up to the esophagus creating burning and discomfort. It is a very prevalent condition, so much so that antacid medication ranks as one of the highest prescribed drugs right next to cholesterol and hypertension medication. There are a variety of symptoms and causes of acid reflux and heartburn according to medical sites. Each person is different. In the clinic, we see at least a quarter of all of our patients have some type of digestive disorder. It is important to have a proper medical check up by an MD to determine what the cause of the heartburn is and what the proper course of action should be.

     At the clinic, we believe our body provides us with clues when something is wrong. Joint pains, headaches, fatigue and heartburn are clues that something is off. It is our body’s way of notifying us that something is not right and we should not pay attention. One television commercial for a heartburn medication, shows a man living in an apartment. He is receiving deliveries from a pizza shop, Chinese food and chicken wings. He is rejoicing with music that he can now eat all of this food without consequence due his choice of taking a medication. Should this kind of behavior continue the next body clue this person may develop is a heart attack or diabetes. Not everyone develops heartburn from over doing junk food, but many do. The causes of heartburn may vary. Here are some well documented causes:

  1. Consuming certain food triggers, such as caffeine (tea, coffee), chocolate, spicy foods, fatty or fried foods, citrus fruits and tomatoes, sugar, alcohol, onions and peppers.
  2. An imbalanced diet that focuses more on acidic types of foods, like meat, grains and nuts instead of more alkaline forming foods like fruits and vegetables.
  3. Consuming foods that a person is sensitive or allergic to, such as gluten, dairy products, citrus, eggs, soya or shellfish for example.
  4. Eating high histamine foods, such as dried fruits, cured meats, smoked meats, nuts and so on.
  5. Having an overgrowth of bad bacteria or dysbiosis such as parasites, helicobacter pylori, klebsiella and/or candida albicans.
  6. A lack of beneficial bacteria such as acidophilus.
  7. Ongoing stress causes immunoglobulin IgA to decrease. Secretory immunoglobulin IgA helps maintain the lining of our gut and mucous membranes thus when it decreases one can develop more pain and burning quite easily.
  8. Pregnancy can cause heartburn due to carrying a child. The extra mass creates less space for the stomach and it pushes up the stomach contents. Thus pregnant women often develop heartburn and belching as the baby grows.
  9. A large waistline or beer belly creates the same pressure as in pregnancy.
  10. Use of certain medications such as anxiety medication, antibiotics, antidepressants, blood pressure pills, nitroglycerin and pain relievers such as aspirin, cortisone and non-steroidal anti-inflammatories can cause heartburn. Be sure to check with the doctor should any medication be a trigger for heartburn.
  11. Damage to the esophagus, due to medications or infections.
  12. Low stomach acid or a lack of pancreatic enzymes can actually cause fermentation of food in the stomach and upper intestinal tract, leading to bloating and acidity.

      As one can see, not everyone has the same triggers for heartburn. They also are a variety of individualized symptoms for example:

  1. The feeling of a lump or pressure sensation behind their sternum
  2. Sour risings that come up to the throat
  3. Belching after eating
  4. A dry irritating cough that tends to be worse after meals
  5. Burning in the lower stomach
  6. Nausea and vomiting after eating
  7. Easy gagging
  8. A sensation that food gets lodged in the throat
  9. Bitter taste in the mouth
  10. Sour or burning risings from the stomach contents when bending over

     In the Caruso Clinic, we tailor suit treatments to the individual and assess to determine if there is any underlying cause and then remove that trigger. This requires a bit of investigation through testing. We use a mix of dietary recommendations, nutritional supplements, herbs and homeopathy depending on one’s individual needs.

     Certain supplements and herbs are also quite useful for helping to reduce symptoms of acidity such as licorice, digestive enzymes, diamine oxidase, embelica, aloe soccotrina, robinia, slippery elm, glutamine, mastic gum, zinc carnosine and ginger.

     Homeopathy is a medicine that is suited to one’s unique symptom picture, so two people suffering with symptoms of heartburn may require different remedies according to their symptoms. Homeopathic medicine in a potency higher than 6CH does not carry any side effects. There are many remedies for symptoms of heartburn but here are a few that are most commonly indicated:

Colubrina is suited to sedentary workaholic types who over indulge in food, alcohol or caffeine. They tend to be constipated, irritable and have stomach pains a few hours after eating.

Lycopodium types tend to be full of wind. They are bloated and flatulent. They also may tend to be constipated and aggravated by beans, cauliflower and other flatulent foods. They may need to unbutton their pants due to bloating. They tend to have reflux that sits in their throat.

Natrum Phos is a tissue salt that is a general remedy beneficial for stomach acid symptoms. It helps with side effects from certain medications such as pain killers and other prescription drugs that trigger heartburn.

     As you can see homeopathic medicine is very individualized and two people may get different remedies depending on their unique symptom picture. In an ideal world, everyone would have access to a homeopath, nutritionist and a medical doctor and they don’t disparage the other person’s treatment. This way the patient can have the best of both worlds. In my years of practice, I have treated many people with digestive problems. Often times improving the diet helps considerably. Should that not work, supporting a person with homeopathy and supplements is key. The beauty of homeopathy is that it can work in conjunction with these medications so that the patient can have the best of both worlds to experience their best outcome.

Heather Caruso is a homeopath and holistic nutritionist for the past 20 years in Guelph Ontario. For more information or to book a free get acquainted chat go to

Reishi Mushroom has a lot of health benefits. It has been known to improve energy levels and reduce stress. It also supports the liver and improves immunity. Researchers have found that reishi actually improves age related oxidative damage. This may be a key to healthy aging.

https://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jf204748a

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1382668911001359

For more information on healthy living, book a free get acquainted chat. www.carusohomeopathy.com

 

   The thyroid gland is a gland found in people's throat and controls the metabolism and determines how quickly we burn calories for fuel. It also controls our body temperature and heart rate. If the thyroid is not working properly the person is not as well. Many people have signs of low thyroid function and they have not been diagnosed. There is a wide range that lab tests accept as normal. Typically doctors only test for TSH, however other hormones may be tested such as T3, T4 and anti-thyroid antibodies. Some people’s lab results may be on the cusp and they feel off but don't get medical treatment because it is within range.     

     Some symptoms that the thyroid gland is functioning sub-optimally are:

  1. Weight gain or difficulty losing weight.
  2. Fatigue and loss of energy, sleeping more and feeling unrefreshed.
  3. Increased susceptibility to colds and virus.
  4. Muscle cramps, aches pains, low back pain.
  5. Mentally sluggish, poor memory.
  6. Mental symptoms such as depression, lethargy, anxiety and crying.
  7. Dry skin, hair and brittle nails.
  8. Loss of appetite.
  9. Lowered libido.
  10. Atherosclerosis, high cholesterol and triglycerides.
  11. Slow heart rate.
  12. Loss of the outside half of the eyebrow.
  13. Water retention.
  14. Difficulty swallowing, goitre.
  15. Heart palpitations.
  16. Hair Loss.

      There are many reasons that the thyroid gland gives up working optimally. In our clinic we treat people as an individual and determine which issues may be an issue and preventing wellness. One may find that hypothyroidism can be related to poor liver function and it not converting thyroid hormones (T3, T4, TSH) into usable forms. It can be related to a deficiency in minerals such as zinc, selenium, iodine, vitamin E and the amino acid tyrosine. Other vitamins that may be low are vitamin A, B, C and E.   

     Hypothyroidism can also be related to poor stomach acid. Signs that one has low stomach acid, is bloating after meals and difficulty digesting red meat. People need stomach acid to digest protein, and protein is required to make iodine available to the thyroid gland. Another reason that people may suffer from hypothyroidism is that the HPA axis, is imbalanced. The HPA (hypothalamus, pituitary and adrenal gland) axis is a feedback loop in our nervous, endocrine system that all talk to each other. Sometimes the pituitary sends messages to the thyroid to tell it to make more or less hormone. The adrenal being overactive and during times of stress can send signals that may suppress thyroid function.  Excessive estrogen and cortisol can also suppress thyroid function.    

     Diet plays a large role in thyroid function. Those who eat a lot of flour products may be inadvertently consuming bromine, which is used in flour making. Bromine blocks the thyroid from picking up iodine due to its chemical structure. Chlorine and fluoride can also block thyroid receptors from picking up iodine. Thus it is best to use filtered water and a natural toothpaste if you have concerns about thyroid health. Certain foods may interfere with thyroid function if eaten in excess such as uncooked cruciferous vegetables (bok choy, kale, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage and broccoli), soy, millet, peaches, strawberries, spinach, radishes and peanuts. A diet that promotes diabetes such as a high glycemic and high carb diet is also linked to depressed thyroid function.      

     What can one do about diet? Aim to consume foods that are high in the mineral iodine such as seaweed, nori, kelp, seafood and iodized natural sea salt. Cruciferous veggies are super healthy so if you do eat them, be sure to eat them cooked or steamed. Reduce your intake of grains to one or two servings per day, depending on your activity level. If you do eat grains choose whole ones such as steel cut oats, quinoa, brown rice and teff. Wheat may be a common food sensitivity, especially in Hashimoto's thyroiditis. Food sources of selenium are brazil nuts, mushrooms, oysters and sardines for example. Eat most of your diet from a wide variety of colours of non starchy vegetables, use healthy fats such as olive and coconut oil for cooking, nuts and seeds, limit dairy to organic yogurt for their probiotic culture (unless sensitive to it), free range protein, beans and fruits. Limit sugar, alcohol, refined carbohydrates and don't smoke. Many people who smoke get thyroid cancer, since inhaling tobacco smoke passes along the throat and it acts as a carcinogen.     

     Typically in the clinic we do screening to determine one's homeopathic remedy and what they are lacking nutritionally. Homeopathic remedies are very individualized, that is why it is best to seek professional help and not self prescribe. Each person is different and we recommend seeing a professional but here are some common homeopathic remedies for hypothyroidism:

  • Calcarea carb is a popular homeopathic that suits people who tend to gain weight easily and have hypothyroidism. They may have been overweight since they were young. They tend to be chilly and sweat profusely at night and wet the pillow all around. They may also have odd cravings like for eggs, indigestible things like dirt, chalk (see pica) and have an aversion to eat. They may have troubles with cold and damp feet. Their menstrual cycles are early and too profuse.
  • Natrum Mur is a remedy that can address thyroid issues. The usual cause of issues in these types are suppressed grief. They tend to keep grief and sorrow inside and brood about it. People who may need this remedy may be emaciated in the throat area and be chilly. They may feel irritable when spoke to and get a headache from sunrise to sunset. Headaches can be like little hammers pounding on the head, they may begin with blindness and show zigzags before the eyes. They may desire salt and have a mapped tongue. They feel worse in sea air, from heat or sun, mental exertion at 10 or 11am. They feel better going without meals and lying on the right side.
  • Sepia is a remedy that is great for hormonal conditions. These types tend to be exhausted but better for physical exertion. That is the strangest keynote of this remedy. Sepia types tend to have PMS, heavy bearing down sensation in the uterine area and a sensation if they don't cross their legs everything will protrude from their pelvis. These types can be sad and weep. They dread being alone and yet they feel indifferent to their family and those she loves best. She gets tired of her children and husband.

     In the clinic we treat each case as unique personalize remedies to each case. In a perfect world, people could have access to their medical doctor and laboratory tests and see a nutritionist or homeopath. One would not disparage the other that way the person could be monitored and get the best of both worlds. For more information book a free get acquainted chat today. www.carusohomeopathy.com

 

Many people ask me what the difference between a naturopath and a homeopath is. I am a registered Homeopath and a Nutritionist. A Homeopath has in depth training in homeopathy which is one system of medicine. Homeopathy is not herbs, vitamins, essential oils or supplements. It is considered to be a natural medicine. Homeopathic medicines can be prepared from plant, animal or mineral matter but its method of preparation and administration is what makes it homeopathic. Remedies are diluted and succussed. Any remedy over a 6CH potency carries only an energy frequency of the original substance and does not have any side effects. Remedies are matched to a person's set of symptoms rather than a disease name. Thus two people with the same disease name would get a different remedy depending on their unique symptom picture.

Naturopaths also use natural medicine and homeopathy. Naturopathy is not one system of medicine. Their training is typically the same number of years as those who specialize in homeopathy however their training focuses on other natural modalities like acupucture, chinese medicine and homeopathy for example. Their training is not as in depth as someone who specializes in homeopathy or chinese medicine. However, some Naturopaths take extra training in homeopathy to gain a deeper knowledge and they may register as a Homeopath.

To recap, Homeopathy is one system of medicine. It is made from plant, animal and mineral matter but it is diluted and gentle. The remedies are matched to someone's unique set of symptoms not a disease name. This matching helps the body to recognize abnormal symptoms and take action to correct them. Homeopathy is not the same as herbs, vitamins, minerals or essential oils. Some have even said magnets are homoepathic. A naturopath and homeopath both use natural medicine but a homeopath specialized in depth in homoepathy. We both have great professions.

Anyone in Ontario who calls themselves a homeopath must be registered with the College of Homeopaths and meet their minimum standards to practice and use the homeopath title.

Dr Oz is known to support natural health care. One of his shows highlighted how smelling lavender can help with anxiety. It is interesting, that research shows that consuming a 100mg pill of lavender as a supplement is equivalent to some anti anxiety medications. For Dr. Oz's news click here.

An interesting article touched on a subject that many alternative health practitioners already know, that poor sleep may be linked to a high glycemic diet, diabetes and an imbalance in gut flora. In the clinic we notice, that those conditions were people typically have dysbiosis, an imbalance of bad bacteria, like fibromyalgia, pcos, IBD may have more sleep problems than others. Read on.