Dr. Shiyama Hassan, WIN Naturopathic Doctor, reviews the evidence based benefits of Turmeric and Curcumin, especially as it relates to arthritis, inflammation and healing time.Read More
Our WIN Naturopathic Doctor, Dr. Shiyama Hassan, comprehensively reviews the gut-brain relationship and it's influence on mood, the microbiome, leaky gut, autoimmune conditions and much more.Read More
Our WIN Niagara Naturopath Dr. Laura Imola and her good friend, Felice Valvano of Valvano Salon in St. Catharines, had a chat one day. In their own fields of work, they both noticed that more and more people were talking to them about hair loss.
Hair loss is something that people may not openly discuss but they often seek advice from their Hairstylist. Similarly, the conversation arises during a visit to their Naturopathic Doctor as a Naturopath takes time to reviews the keynotes of a person's health and the topic of hair almost always comes up.
Dr. Laura and Felice, being passionate about their work, decided to do something to help get the conversation going about hair loss and share information, solutions and support for those concerned about their hair health.
This is a webinar to watch if you are someone who is concerned about the changes you have noticed in your hair.
Once you've watched, share your comments or questions on YouTube, our Facebook page or send us an email. We would love to hear from you and your post will help countless other people who come to our sites for ideas, inspiration and support.
And as always, if you would like to have individualized, professional health care that is focused on your specific hair health concerns, contact us to arrange a visit with Dr. Laura and she will be happy to assist you.
Get your day started with an Ommmm Moment!
Hatha - All Level Class
Beginning Tuesday February 7th
Every Tuesday - Early Morning Class - 6:00am - 7:00am
Dr. Laura is so excited to be invited back to teaching Yoga in Niagara Falls and to be a part of this wonderful new yoga facility that is Zen House. She is also very happy to be offering an early morning yoga class. Although an early morning class may seem daunting to some, through her years of teaching a 6am yoga class at The Club at White Oaks, she found so many people felt invigorated, alert, energized and ready for their day.
Start your day with a good stretch, a calm mind, a stronger body and spring in your step.
- Drop In - $15
- 5 Class Pass - $55
- 10 Class Pass - $100
- 20 Class Pass - $180
Email Dr. Laura at email@example.com for more information or to attend class.
By WIN Contributor: Shauna Pierrynowski, PTA, RNCP
As Dr. Nick wrote in his last blog post that most people give up on their healthy new year resolutions within the first fifteen days of making them… Being that it’s January 17th…I’m here to check in to see how your doing with sticking to your goals. Are you making them Stick or have they taken a Slide?
If you are starting to feel that Sticking to your big health goals is starting to Slide… I propose this…
How about setting tiny monthly goals so you can achieve them?
As I sit here to write this blog post for WIN Health Solutions I myself find that I also get stuck thinking about healthy changes. My mind wonders on the endless possibility of what I can change positively in my personal and professional life.
Should it be a goal about health (physical, mental, the whole package)? What about finances? Maybe I should give back to the community? Or maybe just take care of my wellbeing?
Whatever the resolution or goals are, here are some helpful tips on how to keep it small, keep it smart and actually achieve these goals.
SMART Goal Setting 101
S – SPECIFIC these goals address the what, why and how.
M – MEASURABLE this is the part where your goal is concrete and observable.
A – ATTAINABLE this is made up of small goals or changes that are under your control – example you want to lose 20lbs let’s start with eating less CRAP (Carbs, Refined sugar, Artificial, Processed foods) and eat more FOOD (fruits/veggies, organic lean protein, omega 3s, drink water)
R – REWARDING don’t go and set a goal that will make you angry, try small steps like instead of eating chips every night while watching t.v switch it to 5 nights of popcorn rather than the chips and keep going from there replacing the last item with something healthier.
T – TIME BOUND putting an end date or point on a goal will give you’re a clear and concrete target to achieve.
I hope you find these simple goal setting ideas helpful in whatever it is that you choose to change in your life. If you need more guidance, a specific plan and individualized support, visit with one of our team members at WIN Health Solutions Niagara and they can help you Stick to your health goals so that this year brings you more health and happiness!
By WIN Contributor: Nancy H, Reception Team Member
On the First Day Of Christmas, my Chiro gave to me, shockwave therapy.
On the Second Day Of Christmas, my ND gave to me, two immune boosters and shockwave therapy.
On the Third Day Of Christmas, Physio gave to me, three ultrasound, two immune boosters and shockwave therapy.
On the Fourth Day Of Christmas, Massage gave to me, four “cupping” treatments, three ultrasound, two immune boosters and shockwave therapy.
On the Fifth Day of Christmas, my ND gave to me, 5 REM-E-DIES! Four “cupping” treatments, three ultrasound, two immune boosters and shockwave therapy.
On the Sixth Day Of Christmas, my Chiro gave to me, six laser treatments, 5 REM-E-DIES! Four “cupping” treatments, three ultrasound, two immune boosters and shockwave therapy. (Whew!!!)
On the Seventh Day Of Christmas, my Trainer gave to me, seven abs a squeezing, six laser treatments, 5 REM-E-DIES! Four “cupping” treatments, three ultrasound, two immune boosters and shockwave therapy.
On the Eighth Day Of Christmas, Physio gave to me, eight core strength exercises, seven abs a squeezing, six laser treatments, 5 REM-E-DIES! Four “cupping” treatments, three ultrasound, two immune boosters and shockwave therapy.
On the Ninth Day Of Christmas, Massage gave to me, nine hot stones (cause I need them now!!), eight core strength exercises, seven abs a squeezing, six laser treatments, 5 REM-E-DIES! Four “cupping” treatments, three ultrasound, two immune boosters and shockwave therapy.
On the Tenth Day Of Christmas, my Chiro gave to me ten acupuncture needles, nine hot stones, eight core strength exercises, seven abs a squeezing, six laser treatments, 5 REM-E-DIES! Four “cupping” treatments, three ultrasound, two immune boosters and shockwave therapy.
On the Eleventh Day Of Christmas, my Trainer gave to me, eleven burpees jumping, ten acupuncture needles, nine hot stones, eight core strength exercises, seven abs a squeezing, six laser treatments, 5 REM-E-DIES! Four “cupping” treatments, three ultrasound, two immune boosters and shockwave therapy. (Am I done yet??)
On the Twelfth Day Of Christmas, my ND gave to me twelve Relaxation Strategies!! ('cause now I really need it!!), eleven burpees jumping, ten acupuncture needles, nine hot stones, eight core strength exercises, seven abs a squeezing, six laser treatments, 5 REM-E-DIES!!! Four “cupping” treatments, three ultrasound, two immune boosters AN-ND SHO-OCKWAVE THERAPYYYY!!
(Disclaimer: No patients were harmed in any way in the creation of this song!! LOL ;)
We, at WIN Health Solutions Niagara, would like you to know all of these services and many more are offered at our one stop, full service alternative healthcare clinic Niagara Falls.
Thank you to all of our clients for your valued patronage in the past, present and future! To all of you, your families and prospective patients, we would like to extend our warmest wishes for a very happy holiday season and a healthy New Year!!
By WIN Contributor: Lora D., WIN Receptionist
Dr. Matthew Bird, or as we affectionately call him, Dr. Matt, completed his undergraduate degree in Human Kinetics at the University of Guelph. He received his degree of Doctor of Chiropractic after attending the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College (CMCC) in Toronto. His years of exceptional work was recognized when he recently received a Niagara This Week Readers Choice Award.
Dr. Matt has a great enthusiasm and love of his work because it helps people everyday feel better. His treatments incorporate a variety of different techniques such as soft tissue work, chiropractic manipulation and adjustments, Acupuncture, Laser Therapy, Shockwave, Trigenics, Fascial Distortion Model (FDM) as well as other various types of hands on therapy.
He continues to better his work by consistently taking continuing education courses to broaden his knowledge base. He also enjoys keeping up with the latest research and news regarding Chiropractic, musculoskeletal health and health in general.
Combining his expertise, therapeutic approach and observation of the latest health news helps him reach his professional goal, which is to help his patients be able to lead pain free, healthy lives.
There are many things that Dr. Matt enjoys in his off hours. He leads a very healthy lifestyle. He is a super volleyball player, (so he says…lol) I’m sure his height has something to do with that!! ;) Dr. Matt also enjoys snowboarding, beach volleyball, pilates, yoga, and weight training.
He's also sure to have fun with his growing family. With his beautiful wife, Erika, and adorable 18 month old son, Carter, they make sure to enjoy quality time together. The WIN Team is excitedly looking forward to their next big moment in the coming Spring as they await the newest addition to their family... a new baby for The Birds!
Dr. Matt is a natural at work-life balance, and we know he will continue to inspire his patients, and the WIN Team, with this as his family grows.
If you are seeking a knowledgable Chiropractor who uses an evidence based, cutting edge chiropractic approach, Dr. Matthew Bird at WIN Health Solutions Niagara will give you great options to address your muscle and/or joint related concerns, in addition to many related health concerns like headaches, migraines, TMJ pain, sciatica and sports injuries.
By WIN Contributor; Dr. Laura Imola, Naturopathic Doctor
I was recently asked* by "Rewire Me" to write an article for their readers that focused on personal transformation which drew from my years of work and life experience. I wrote on a topic that was near and dear to me: how the path toward optimal health, including my own, is not linear.
What does this all mean...not linear? It's really quite simple... think of a zig zag... think... two steps forward, one step back... think the winding path to the top of a mountain.
My hope in sharing my story is that more people are inspired to keep working on getting to their truest and best expression of health. When the going gets tough, to remember to not give up.
If you want to hear my own zig zaggy, back and forth, fall down nine times stand up ten, story about the journey of health... keep reading...
The Winding Path for the Naturopath
For those who know me, many would find it hard to believe that at one time in my life I hated vegetables. It would be especially surprising to know that I had an equally strong aversion to exercise of any kind. It is true that into my early adulthood, I seldom ate my greens, I cursed the thought of physical activity and my passion was sugar. This would be hard to imagine now, since my passion in life is to not only educate others about how to be proactively healthy and prevent illness, but to also live this way.
It wasn’t always like this, and I had a moment in my early adulthood when I realized that my self care had to change. Back then, I felt like an old lady trapped in a young person’s body.
Though I struggled with constant fatigue, I couldn’t fall asleep at night. I was plagued with frequent infections, regular headaches, felt rusty in the mornings and my hair was falling out. I felt unwell, but I just accepted this was normal for me. Deep down inside, I knew my body was breaking down, and I needed to make a change.
There is a tremendous amount of health research linking poor nutrition and lifestyle habits to the rampant chronic illness rates in North America. In addition, over recent years we are seeing more studies, such as the one published in the journal Circulation in 2013, that links sedentary lifestyles and poor nutrition in teens to an increased risk of developing heart disease in their forties.
Some people may think I just jumped right into a healthy lifestyle and kept on going. I wish that was the way it happened but for me, like most people, I found that the journey of health was not linear. I see many people stuck in a state of mediocre health who start out with great energy to revolutionize their lives. But as they face challenges or are put outside their comfort zone, their enthusiasm can fizzle out.
"When we are not aware of the fact that the gift of health is earned over time, it is easy to become discouraged and discontinue our efforts."
The path towards our best expression of health is a zig-zaggy, up and down, steps forward and steps back kind of path. When we are not aware of the fact that the gift of health is earned over time, it is easy to become discouraged and discontinue our efforts. It is important to remember that there is substantial growth, self-awareness, realizations and time required to transform our health.
"Starting out by making small changes counts just as much as the big jumps into a health kick."
Wading through the healthy options, trying them on, failing sometimes, making mistakes and experiencing the big wins are all rolled into this journey. Some things we may enjoy, and other things we may not.
This is completely normal.
It’s part of the process.
In today’s age of perfectionism and instant gratification, this can be incredibly challenging to accept at times. Sadly, these two factors often hold people back from making progress and reaching their goals. However, letting go of expectations while walking this uneven road frees the way to higher ground.
Starting out by making small changes counts just as much as the big jumps into a health kick. When we take these steps to do good things for our mind, body and soul, the net result is always positive. It may at times be a climb but the view from the top is worth it.
*Acknowledgment: Many thanks to Kaitlin Vogel and the team at Rewire Me for the opportunity to contribute to their great site! You can see the published article for Rewire Me here.
By WIN Contributor: Dr. Laura Imola, Naturopathic Doctor
Are you a honing your immune super-strength yet for the winter? Do you have a little superhero at home that needs to develop their cold and flu busting potential? This is the time to put our germ fighting super-suits on and boldly trek forward into the cold and flu season.
Right now, I'm dusting off my immune boosting gear for myself and my kids. And because I believe that everyone has a superhero inside waiting to be discovered, I'm sharing how to make your immune system faster than a speeding bullet.
FIVE FAST IMMUNE BOOSTING GERM BUSTERS
1) Drink Plenty of Water - Keeping yourself, and especially your kids, hydrated with pure fluids is essential to a healthy immune system and respiratory tract. Limit or avoid drinks such as coffee, pop, fruit juice and alcohol to significantly improve immune response.
2) Wash Your Hands - Good old fashion soap and water when washing hands was prevents the transmission of germs. Hand washing with soap isn't just for bathroom breaks. Remember this before preparing meals, eating, after time spent in a public place (germs live on handrails, table tops, other surfaces and toys) and if you're under the weather (blowing your nose, sneezing or coughing frequently) or tending to a loved one who is.
3) Eat Well - Consuming a variety of plant foods, especially dark green vegetables and brightly coloured vegetables and fruit, boosts your defences. The pigments that create these deep and vibrant colours contain antioxidants, which provide a super charge to the immune system.
4) More Specifically... Ditch Sugar - Consuming sugary beverages or foods can stifle immune cell activity. This means less "BOOM," "KAPOW," "SMASH" when they go after the bad guys.
5) Regular Sleep - Even superheros need their rest. It's great to want to save the world and all, but getting a good sleep every night will fortify your immune system.
So whether it's Superman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Spidey or one of the X-Men that you envision for your super-fantastic immune system, keep these Five Fast tips in mind for your best defence.
Looking for extra "Super" support for you or your little ones during the cold and flu season? Meet with me for a Naturopathic visit and we'll go through the most effective natural cold and flu options so you have everything you need to find your superhero strengths within. I share the best of what I've seen work, and use in my own life on a daily basis, to help you take your health to the next (Super*) level.
Click Below For An Epic Victory This Cold & Flu Season
*Sorry for that last "Super"... I couldn't resist! ;)
Did you notice the photos of Michael Phelps' during the Men's 4x100 freestyle relay swim which won him a gold. It's always riveting watching an Olympic swimming competition, but what's got just as much media buzz is the purple marks along his upper body.
Phelps' large purple dots are the result of a super old Traditional Chinese Medicine therapy known as "Cupping." Many athletes, celebrities, and yes, even many of us regular folks, have taken to Traditional Chinese Medicine therapies like acupuncture and cupping to address concerns and optimize health.
What Is Cupping?
Cupping involves applying a glass or plastic open ended globes to skin at different sites on the body. Classical methods involve heating the glass globes with a small flame to create a vacuum so it sticks to the skin. However, plastic options can be applied which do not require heat but use tiny levers to create suction.
The purpose of the suction is to lift of the soft tissue beneath the area it's on. Cups can be left in place or moved around a site of concern. This increases blood flow, kneads out tension and breaks up scar tissue.
Discolouration is due to the suction breaking superficial capillaries in the skin, however, this is temporary and usually fades within a week's time.
What Does It Feel Like?
You may associate this type of bruising with pain, but when cupping is done correctly *by a trained professional* it's not uncomfortable and can be relaxing. The sensation that people can expect when having cupping done properly is pressure, warmth and some tightness where the cup is placed but there shouldn't be intense discomfort. Think of it like a deep tissue massage.
What Are The Benefits of Cupping?
Can you believe that cupping is a 3,000 year old practice? People find that cupping helps to reduce muscle soreness, increase range of motion, speed healing and improve mobility. Many providers of this therapy have also used it to help with other things such as poor circulation, immune health and anxiety.
Cupping At WIN
Our Registered Massage Therapist, Amanda Cajucom, utilizes cupping. It is another example of how our providers maintain an eclectic approach in their health care so they can better help the patients they are working with.
If you want to try cupping for your sore muscles or to see what all the fuss is about, contact us to arrange a time to meet and discuss this therapy with Amanda at WIN Health Solutions Niagara.
Or... If you want to use acupuncture in your care, visit one of our physiotherapists, chiropractors or our naturopathic doctor as all the WIN providers have extensive experience using acupuncture to help people address their health concerns.
I am excited to be part of a new service coming to WIN Health Solutions Niagara Falls! Patients will be able to obtain extra guidance and support by a Registered Kinesiologist on each visit. In case I have not had the opportunity to meet you, my name is Karen Evers and I am a Registered Kinesiologist.
I have been working the last two years with the Niagara Falls Physiotherapy team at WIN Health Solutions as a Physiotherapy Assistant. I am also a Registered Kinesiologist. To be a Kinesiologist in Ontario, I had to earn a University degree, and then complete and pass the Provincial Exam to work as a Kinesiologist in the province.
You may be wondering what Kinesiology can offer a patient in the clinical setting. We are human movement professionals. We assess patients to rehabilitate and/or enhance human performance. My goal at WIN Health Solutions is to work with our team of professionals to provide care to those who suffer from musculoskeletal and neurological conditions, individuals injured at work or people who have had motor vehicle accidents.
WIN Health Solutions is unique because it offers a wide range of health care services to the community under one roof. This is of great benefit for patients because with a team approach the WIN Health Solutions Practitioners can collaborate to ensure you get the best and most comprehensive care possible.
My vision as a Kinesiologist at WIN is to provide patients with injuries or conditions extra health strategies and support to round out what they will receive from the clinician they are working with at WIN. I will also offer guidance with regard to specific exercises that will help relieve pain, increase range of motion and gain back strength so they can take control of their own health.
My approach is always individualized and will complement the treatment your Chiropractor or Physiotherapist has given you. Another added benefit is that some insurance companies offer coverage for Kinesiologist visits.
I look forward to working with the WIN Practitioners to help our patients achieve their optimal health goals!
With the beautiful summer weather and residing in the lively Niagara region it's easy to be active and enjoy the scenery that our city has to offer.
The providers at WIN Health Solutions Niagara are enjoying the summertime for some of their most favourite activities. They share how they stay and have fun during the summer months and we look at the proven health benefits behind their most favourite forms of exercise.
Life's A Climb, But The View Is Great
Chiropractor, Dr. Ernie Says:
“There's nothing better in the summertime than getting out on the open road on my bike. Whether with my riding group or on my own, it is a fast and fun experience that keeps me strong and clears my mind.”
Dr. Ernie enjoys the endurance sport of road biking. Going long distances on a light weight bike, whether independently or with a group, is liberating and invigorating. In addition to the whole body exercise and calming effects cycling provides, there are many other positive benefits for riders. Stanford University found that cyclists sleep better. They also found that the increased circulation experienced by cyclists expedites the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to skin cells and removal of toxins out of them. The result? Less wrinkles and a more youthful appearance! ;)
Mix It Up: Team Sports, Independent Exercise and Family Time
Chiropractor, Dr. Matt Says:
"I play beach volleyball and baseball for social and physical activity. I also combine yoga and Pilates for mobility and control, and add some weight training for strength. Oh... and I can¹t forget about walking with the family and the family dog. :) "
Dr. Matt knows the secret to staying fit... variety! While enjoying different forms of exercise, from team sports, to his own strength training and stretching and even walking his dog with the family, Dr. Matt maintains a variety of regular activity. Mixing up exercise, along with finding ways to be active during everyday life, is a great way to keep activity fresh and motivating rather than repetitive and boring. Having a consistent amount of diverse good quality exercise can help solidify exercise as a healthy part of everyone's lifestyle.
Cruising The Parkway
Physiotherapy Assistant and Kinesiologist, Karen Says:
"I enjoy bike riding along the Niagara parkway to keep active. I love the scenery! There is so much beauty."
Getting out into the beautiful green space of Niagara on a bike is a great way to obtain cardiovascular benefits. In addition, the University of Washington found there are more than 100 studies that have shown that relaxation and stress reduction are also significant benefits associated with spending time in green space.
Get Out For A Swing
Naturopathic Doctor, Dr. Laura Says:
"I am hooked on Kettlebells with Tina at Kettlebells Niagara. In the summer I really enjoy her outdoor classes. This low impact, high intensity workout has helped me feel stronger in my yoga classes and keep up with my bustling little boys!"
The American Council on Exercise found a twenty minute Kettlebells class can lead to the same, and often greater, amounts of calorie expenditure experienced in a regular cardio class. Plus, a kettlebell class simultaneously provides cardiovascular and strength training. It's a great option for people who are short on time and are looking for a complete work out.
Run, Run, Run And Have Fun
Personal Trainer, Scott Says:
"Running down Clifton Hill and by the falls, dodging all the tourists and then running up the big hill and around the casino is always an adventure. It's nice to listen to some good tunes while running through the crowd...especially when it's hot!!"
Scott finds ways to switch up his exercise and infuses fun into what ever he does. Studies have found that running helps to reduce stress and many runners have their own personal stories about the stress busting powers of their regular jog.
Making exercise a regular part of our lifestyle is essential for physical health, stress management and emotional wellbeing. Take advantage of this beautiful area we live in to explore and enjoy a new physical activity this summer. It's all right outside your door!
By WIN Contributor: Scott Paul, Personal Trainer
A hockey player skates down the ice, a sprinter runs the 100m, an older adult stands on their toes reaching for something up high and another person tries to keep control after stepping off the side of the curb. What do all these things have in common? They all require a degree of balance.
Balance is important in our everyday lives and the balance we have deceases as we age. That is one reason why we need to work on it. It is trainable. You can become better at it. Gymnasts who hop and jump on one leg onto a narrow beam do so with practice. You can get better, just as they do. I start to do a balance drill and have heard almost every time “oh, my balance isn’t very good”. I think “well, you’re in luck, that’s why we’re going to work on it." And that’s the thing; even those with the best of balance need to work on it.
I was at a conference years ago and the instructor leading the presentation said something that has stuck with me ever since. “To train balance, you need to put the body OUT OF BALANCE.”
It is like the Principle of Overload, where you must lift heavier and heavier, to get stronger. As you stand there, doing dishes, with two feet on the ground and about shoulder width apart, you’re not really working on balance are you? Just as you’re not working on strength by lifting your cell phone off the table.
There are many exercises we can do to work on balance, which for some might be just standing on a single foot, while others may need an unstable surface.
There’s the reaching drill, I often do with my clients at our wellness clinic niagara falls, where you reach to the front, to the side and to the back with one foot while standing on the other.
Also, try doing the dishes standing on one foot. That makes dishwashing a bit more challenging. Then try balancing with your eyes closed, or balancing while playing catch. There are tons of ways to keep it challenging and interesting.
Everyone needs to work on balance. For some it may be to help them with everyday tasks and for others it may be to help them with a particular sport. Balance is something that diminishes with age, but something we can train and get better at.
By WIN Contributor: Nancy V, Reception Team Member
Just as we cheer on and encourage our patients to reach their highest potential and go for their own personal gold, the WIN team raced for gold to support Project Share. Under the Friday night lights, the WIN team set out to show off our driving skills at the go kart track.
With twelve teams, and four racers per team, the challenge was on to show how well WIN Health Solutions could steer around the competition.
Our Physiotherapy team member, Karen raced first, giving the rest of the WIN team an insight on how the track felt and widening the first corner quite nicely for the other drivers. We were off to a good start!
Then it was Dr. Matt's turn to show us all how go karts are meant to be driven, coming in first in his heat. Dr. Matt's a natural when it comes to excelling in sports, even racing! Dr Matt was on to the semi finals.
As luck would have it, our WIN Physiotherapist, Tania Mannella decided to show off her driving skills and was first in her heat for a lap or two, but was then bumped into the guard rail. She recovered, just like her patients at WIN Health Solutions do, and proudly finished the race.
Finally the Pit Boss, Dr Ernie was up. Just like at work, he was determined to give it his all. Passing cars and ending up second in his heat Dr Ernie was also off to the semi finals.
With only a few competitors left to race against, the WIN team put their heads together.
Smiling and laughing while we pooled our knowledge and shared some tricks and insights to figure out a strategy to pull off the victory.
Dr Ernie, putting the petal to the metal, raced in the semi but got bumped out while Dr Matt bumped and drifted his way into the finals.
As the final race began Dr Matt was determined to come out on top. Unfortunately, we were not destined to be champions this night, but it was a wonderfully fun night of team cheering and racing as the WINcredibles in support of Project Share.
Congratulations to the Project Share Grand Prix champions! Coming in at 3rd place was Big Wheels, 2nd place Past & Present, and 1st place Chippawa Presbyterian Church!
And now the track is set for next year ...
By WIN Contributor: Dr. Laura Imola, Naturopathic Doctor Niagara Falls
I have an eclectic approach and use a variety of therapeutics in my Niagara Falls Naturopathic practice to help optimize the health of my patients. However, I have been committed to a journey in nutrition both personally and professionally. Dating back to my early days as a student of Naturopathic Medicine I realized that people had many questions around eating health. This led me to study, test, research and observe the nutritional concepts, strategies, fads, belief systems, you name it, all to get to the kernel of truth when it comes to food. Most importantly, to truly understand individualized nutrition because we are, after all, each incredibly unique with our own health histories, biochemical make up and lifestyles.
Over the years I have been a contributing writer for WO Magazine. For their recent edition I was asked to write on a great Nutrition topic: Which is better... Three Meals A Day or Frequent Small Meals (also known as "Grazing"). It one of many nutrition topics that I discuss during patient visits.
Does eating frequently through the day speed up metabolism? Is three meals better than grazing? Is eating three meals a day enough food for my body? Which is better for my health?
I'd like to share my original article here in full. Learn more about this topic and discover which approach to meal planning is the best fit for you. To view the edited WO Article click here.
With the abundance of differing information and philosophies out there about how to eat, it can lead to much disenchantment. My mission is to shine a light on the path and encourage others to simply get back to eating fresh food. If you have any questions or would like more information, feel free to email me anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Food For Thought: Three Squares vs Grazing
Most people have experienced a time when they feel like their appetite had a mind of its own. The work day, stress levels, hormone balance and energy reserves can be strong influences on appetite and food choices. Because of this, many people try different meal frequencies to support them through the day. Meal frequency has been the subject of ongoing debate for a couple of decades. More specifically, which is best: three main meals or small frequent meals?
When it comes to the opinion of fitness experts, health care professionals and researchers there remains a divide of those in favour of one approach over another. Three balanced meals a day is ideal for many individuals. However, there are just as many individuals who feel better when replenishing every 2-3 hours. This is a good example biological uniqueness. Everyone has different needs that are rooted in their physiology, lifestyle and everyday practicality. However, there are many sides to this topic.
A commonality toted by both methods of meal planning involves eating at regular intervals and not skipping meals. There are countless health benefits associated with eating regularly.
Three Balanced Meals
Three meals a day was common practice up until a couple of decades ago. Our ancestors rarely had access to extra food, so they would eat what they had at two or three points in the day. Their food consisted of what they farmed and quantities changed given the season. Moving into the decades of modernization, the 1950s, ‘60s and ‘70s, three meals where the mainstay and people where in better health then than they are today.
In 2007 the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that reduced meal frequency without caloric restriction improved body composition and cardiovascular health. In addition, the journal Metabolism published an article that same year that also looked at reduced meal frequency. They found that participants eating just three meals a day maintained optimal blood sugar levels.
Our history and research shows that three balanced meals a day offer adequate nourishment. In addition, three meals can keep us healthy.
Frequent Small Meals
Eating frequent small meals, also know as “grazing,” can be an ideal pick-me-up and appetite stabilizer. Proponents of grazing feel they achieve better blood sugar balance, energy levels and subsequently better moods. Eating frequent small meals can assist in portion control and prevent over eating or skipped meals. Furthermore, eating regularly can help curb food cravings.
A review of the research available on high frequency meals was published in a 2011 journal for the International Society of Sports Nutrition. Noteworthy benefits included improved insulin levels and appetite control.
By nature of physiology, some individuals exhaust faster than others. In these cases, refuelling more often may lead to better stamina, mental alertness and optimal mood.
Food Quality Can Make Or Break The Benefits of Both
The effectiveness of both strategies hinges on one major factor: food quality. Regardless of what meal pattern is chosen, if there are not enough nutrient dense foods included, such as vegetables, healthy oils and fats, lean or plant based protein and complex carbohydrates, then individuals are more apt to feel hungry and tired.
A clearer understanding of meal composition is required. People are not often choosing vegetables, real food or home-cooked food for their meal or snack options. Energy bars, protein powder mixes, crackers, sweetened yogurt, muffins and granola bars are popular choices. These foods may not have enough nutrient density to support optimal blood sugar balance, energy needs or satiety.
In fact, foods that break down easily to sugar such as bread, pasta, potatoes, grain based bars, crackers, cookies and sugar containing snack food stimulate hunger, cravings and fatigue because they are quickly metabolized and cause blood sugar to spike. When there is a consistent lack nutritious foods then all well meaning meal strategies can backfire.
Grazing Not Advantageous For Weight Loss
Much of the attention around high frequency meals came from fitness experts promoting this as a way to build lean muscle and lose fat. However, if weight management or weight loss is a health goal, studies have repeatedly shown that grazing is not any better at achieving this than a breakfast-lunch-dinner schedule.
Researchers from the School of Human Kinetics at the University of Ottawa set out to discover if participants eating frequent small meals a day would experience a metabolic acceleration when compared to those eating the same number of calories through less meals. The study, published in the British Journal of Nutrition, in 2010, concluded there was no boost in metabolism among the small frequent meal group of participants. Similarly, the literature review referenced earlier from the International Society of Sports Nutrition found that increasing meal frequency did not favourably change body composition, nor did in increase caloric expenditure or metabolic rate.
And while high frequency eating may control appetite and curb cravings it has also been associated with the overconsumption of the daily recommended calories, especially for those who are sedentary. Healthy weight management involves a number of factors, with the most basic one being the balance between calories in and calories out.
This is a hot topic in nutrition that boils down to individuality and health goals. Which ever option is favoured, good nutrition practices like eating regularly, choosing nutritious food and creating balanced meals, along with regular exercise, will positively impact health for the three squares and grazers alike.