Is The Ketogenic Diet Right for YOU?

 Feb 9, 2019 12:00 PM
by Kelly Clinning

Should you try the ketogenic diet?

The most popular current diet trend is undoubtedly the ketogenic diet.  A ketogenic diet is one that derives 80% or more of its calories from fat, and the remaining 20% from protein and carbohydrates. When an individual strictly follows this form of dieting, their body enters a state of ketosis, which means the body begins to use fats as its primary source of fuel rather than sugar. 

Does the ketogenic diet deserve all of the hype it’s getting? As always, it depends! One diet never fits all and while the ketogenic diet can be beneficial for some, it can also be unhealthy for others. Here is a breakdown of the positives and negatives from keeping this type of diet.  


Improves insulin resistance and blood sugar control 

Reduces inflammation

Can promote weight loss

Can increase energy levels


Restrictive and difficult to maintain long term

May increase stress hormones

Many end up relying on unhealthy sources of fat 

Low intake of fruits and vegetables could result in nutrient deficiencies with long-term use

If you are interested in trying the ketogenic diet, it’s best to work with a healthcare practitioner to make sure it’s the right fit for you. More importantly, if you try the ketogenic diet and you do not feel good, stop! There is no perfect diet for everyone and you may need to find an alternative solution for your own unique body and circumstance. 

If you are struggling with weight loss, book a consultation or free 15-minute meet and greet with Dr. Kelly Clinning, ND!


Getting To Know Dr. Tracey Beaulne

 Jun 21, 2018 1:30 PM
by Tracey Beaulne

Getting to Know Dr. Tracey Beaulne!

What is your favourite recipe?

Tri-colour hot or cold quinoa salad

Ingredients needed:

- 11/2 cup- Bob’s Red Mill Tri-colour Quinoa, cooked in rice cooker

- 1 cup- green beans--- steamed 

-1 cup cooked sliced cremini mushrooms- sautéed on low heat with EVOO and a dash of A. Vogel Herbamare 

-1 cup diced celery- sautéed on low heat with EVOO and a dash of A. Vogel Herbamare

-1/2 cup of chopped chives


Mix all ingredients together for a yummy hot or cold salad—top with Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar and some EVOO.  

What Book are You Reading?

The Psychobiotic Revolution—Mood, Food and the New Science of the Gut-Brain Connection by Scott C. Anderson with John F. Cryan and Ted Dinan

I have been following the research publications of Dr. Cryan and Dr. Dinan for years—both are leaders in the field in microbiome science, both are part of the APC Microbiome Ireland, and their group is the impetus behind the launch of the first World Microbiome Day.  I was very excited when they released their new book on psychobiotics--  Ted coined the term psychobiotic years ago and it encapsulates a lot of what is going on between our gut (second brain) and our brain.  Think of a psychobiotic as a probiotic for your brain, but it is any targeted intervention for the microbiome that supports brain health.  This includes food (high in fibre, polyphenols, omega 3 fatty acids and fermented foods) probiotics, prebiotics and fecal transplants.  The book is full of cutting edge practical information on the gut-brain-microbiome axis.  With the easy to follow writing style of veteran science journalist Scott Anderson, you come away with a thorough understanding of everything that the neuroscientists studying the microbiome know!  I especially enjoyed the last chapter on the future of psychobiotics, as the science is truly in its infancy, but on the cusp of a revolution in how we understand and treat brain health.  As an aside, I had the privilege of interviewing John Cryan in the Microbiome Summit for Town Hall Medicine (a partnership between the University of Toronto and Genuine Health). We covered a lot of the topics covered in his book and then some!  

What do you believe has had the biggest impact on your health?

It is difficult to say any single factor has the biggest impact since I rate diet, sleep, meditative diaphragmatic breathing and movement on the same continuum.  All are lifestyle factors that I work at daily.  When I neglect to meditate with deep diaphragm breathing on a daily basis I definitely notice my stress resiliency go down and get right back at it.  

How do you get your kids to eat enough vegetables? 

Thankfully my kids love vegetables, are very good eaters and are at an age where I still have control over their diet!   I am that ND mom who constantly talks to my kids about making good food choices and we eat almost all of our meals at home with real food ingredients.  It’s all they know! Fingers crossed the habits we created will stick with them for life.  Although they’ve been known to lament that their mom is a health doctor! 

What product can you not live without?  

There are so many products!  But I can’t live without probiotics.  I discovered them (Yakult) when I lived in Japan back in 1993 and they are one of the things that healed my tummy and continues to keep it well.  I continuously follow probiotic research and am excited for the day when we will be able to customize probiotics to each individual person’s microbiome.

What is your best stress management tool?  

I learned to meditate in 2001 when I took my first Mind Body Medicine course at the Benson-Henry Institute (BHI) at the Harvard Medical School.  But it wasn’t until 2008 when I had my first child and a major health crisis that I embraced diaphragmatic meditative breathing as a daily ritual.  

Tracey Beaulne
Dr. Tracey Beaulne B.A. (Hons.), N.D., R. Ac is an experienced clinician and has been practicing for over 15 years.


 Jan 15, 2018 4:00 PM
by Megan O'Kelly


Now that we're a couple of weeks into 2018, how are you feeling about your New Years Resolutions? Have you decided on them yet? Feeling overwhelmed by them? Already given them up?

There are many ways you can go about New Years Resolutions. They can be goals or mantras, to-do's or don'ts and honestly, whatever strategy feels right for you is probably the way to go! I'm not here to tell you how to set your resolutions. Personally, I just scribbled a bunch of motivational words & actions onto a piece of paper & the ones that really stood out, I translated to a white board above my desk - that's just what works for me! It's not necessarily my area of expertise.

My expertise is health & nutrition. Since a lot of New Years Resolutions seem to revolve around getting healthier or getting "in shape", that is where I feel I can weigh in! Again, whatever goals or mantras you have - KEEP THEM! If you thought of them that means they are important to you, resonate with you and therefore you're more likely to DO them. I am simply going to suggest my most highly recommended STEPS that you can take toward better health in 2018 and how to get around your excuses not to! No matter what your healthy resolutions in 2018, these strategies will likely help you get closer to achieving them.


This may be the most important step toward taking control of your health. Get comfortable with your kitchen, play with your favourite recipes and learn how to make healthy meals that will help you achieve your health goals!

Cooking your own meals is the only way you can truly know what is in your food, control it AND tailor the flavour to JUST the way you like it. When we rely on eating out or ordering in we are handing over the reigns. The restaurant then decides what is ok for you to put in your mouth and, unfortunately, their job is to prioritize flavour that will get you hooked, not your health. From the oils they use to the salt, sugar, MSG and who knows what that they have the liberty to add, restaurant food can very quickly derail your health goals. Even if you order the healthiest thing on the menu, either it’s not as healthy as you think (what’s in that dressing!?) or it doesn’t taste nearly as good as it could if you made it fresh in your own home with the ingredients you enjoy best! 

Make food that you love and that loves you back! 


"No time." - Focus on one-pan or one-skillet meals. Or, get used to slow-cooker meals that you can throw together, leave all day and have dinner ready for you when you get home! No one has loads of extra time these days so it's OK not to spend hours in the kitchen after you get home from a long day of work. There are plenty of resources that provide plenty of quick and easy recipes that will work for you and any other mouths you've gotta feed.  I recommend taking a look at pinterest, youtube, instagram and even good old google to search for healthy recipes you can try out today! 

P.S. My next step will also help with time-saving, so KEEP READING!

"I can't cook." - Yes you can! Sounds easy for me to say, but I promise, I used to say the same thing and now I LOVE being in the kitchen. I went to school for nutrition, not because I wanted to learn how to be a healthy chef, but because I wanted to learn all about the medicine that food has to offer. It just turns out that you likely won't be able to maximize the goodness you're getting from your food if you're eating out all the time. So, I forced myself into the kitchen. I didn't love it right away but once I started trying new recipes and seeing a difference in how I felt, I became a cook! Again, sticking with quick and simple recipes is the way to go. Start with recipes that use less than 10 ingredients! If you really can't do it, I also might refer you to local cooking classes! They can be a fun thing to do with a friend or partner. Sometimes you just need a little hands-on help! If you don't want to leave your home, there are even some really good cooking classes on YouTube! 

"I don't know what to cook!" - If it's that you don't know what foods will work best for you and your health goals, I can't help but recommend you see a nutritionist! Find someone who you resonate with, who understands where you're at and what you want to achieve and is able to walk you through the best choices you can make to serve your health. A good nutritionist should also be able to offer personalized recipes and recommendations for how to play in the kitchen! It's ok to need a bit of help. You can also always try reading health books and articles, etc. but I know this often leaves people more confused than when they started. Getting expert advice is my best advice on this one! 


Planning ahead will make achieving your goals feel possible! It relieves the overwhelm and puts you in the drivers seat of your own life! 

Planning ahead for your health includes scheduling workouts ahead of time, creating weekly meal plans, & pencilling in your grocery trips! I would also encourage looking ahead in your week and carving out time for you to do whatever it is you love doing the most - reading, painting, hanging out with friends! Planning all of these things takes the panic & guesswork out of what you're going to eat, when you're going to find time to sweat and making sure you're nurturing both your health and your happiness.

Getting used to meal planning can take some time. I recommend looking ahead at your week. What nights will you be in? Who will be eating together? Pick meals that you know will work for you and the amount of time that you have on those days. I usually recommend making meals that will serve you for at least dinner and leftovers for lunch the next day - this will save you time, money and getting stuck making unhealthy choices on your lunch break. 

Planning your workouts ahead of time is all about pushing compliance. If it's already in your calendar, you know you have the time and you're more likely to do it. If you play it by ear, it's easy to talk yourself out of it. 

Whether you use iCal, google calendar or a handheld agenda find a way to pencil everything in. Although it may feel confusing and stressful at first, once you get the hang of it, it becomes the single biggest stress relief when it comes to achieving your health goals. 


"No time" - Initially, It does feel like another "to-do" but ultimately, planning ahead will save you time. It will prevent ho-humming over what you're going to make for dinner or sauntering through the grocery store, unsure what you're even looking for. You will know what you are doing with every minute of your time, so you can maximize it!

"I don't know how" – Here is a quick little crash course: Find a calendar, write out the words "breakfast", "lunch" & "dinner" for each day. Plug in recipes, including leftovers, for each slot. Take a look at the ingredients from each recipe you've chosen and make a grocery list. Now you're ready to shop & cook for the week! DONE! It's really just about carving out a moment to look ahead at your week, your schedule, and deciding what will work for you. There are plenty of resources online that can guide you through it and, again, a good nutritionist should be able to help you learn to do it yourself or provide the service for you!


You're already mastering meal planning so why not try some prepping too!? The two kind of go hand-in-hand. If you have planned out a week of beautiful meals, incorporating leftovers, etc, it is easy to see what meals you can prep and freeze or what ingredients you can pre-chop. Again, this saves you time later!

I recommend at least chopping up your veggies and having them ready in airtight containers for simply throwing into a skillet or tossing in the oven. If you can, do it as soon as you get home from grocery shopping and be done with it. Having them there and ready will help curb the temptation reach for a bag of ready-to-eat chips instead!


"No time." - This is something that will also save you time in the long run and when you really need it! You're saving time when all you have to do is heat something up when you get home from work. You're saving time when you can avoid standing in line for food at lunch because yours is all ready to go! You're saving time when you can just grab those overnight oats from that you tossed into the fridge the night before and run out the door! It's also likely you'll be making healthier choices than you would be otherwise! Win-win!

"I'm too tired." - Fair. You're busy and you work hard. I'll just remind you that those veggies have to be chopped eventually if you're going to cook with them, so this step really just makes cooking easier in the long run! I would also encourage you to avoid looking at it as hard work. Once again, focus on simply & easy recipes. I'd also suggest you get help if you can! Bring your partner or even your kids into the kitchen. Anyone can chop a few carrots! Make it an event that you can share, not a chore! I might also recommend you put on music while you prep or listen to a podcast! This often helps me to feel like I'm multitasking and enjoying myself by learning from a podcast or at least having fun (making it feel less like work!) when I'm dancing around the kitchen listening to my favourite tune!


Experimenting in the kitchen with different flavours and ingredients can open up a whole new world of fun and appreciation for your healthy food! 

This step expands on step number one. Now that you're in the kitchen, MIX IT UP! We often get stuck in a routine, eating the same thing over and over again because its the only thing we're comfortable with and know is healthy. That's what makes it easy to resent healthy eating. There is an abundance of healthy foods & recipes to experiment with out there! Don't get stuck in same old, same old! 


"I'm picky" - Fair enough. If you're a picky eater or you're feeding picky eaters it can be difficult to find a variety of recipes that work for everyone. However, I will stress that it takes at least 3 times of trying a new flavour for your taste buds to adjust and really decide whether they like it or not, whether your a child or an adult! If you have a memory of spitting out brussels sprouts the first time you ever tried them and have sworn to stay away from them forever, try them again! Try them cooked a different way, in a different sauce, or with a different spice! You never know until you try... at least 3 times! 

"I don't know what flavours work together" - I understand. I was so afraid of experimenting in the kitchen because I felt like I would ruin a meal if I put the wrong flavours together just because I wanted to try something new. And that's fair! No one wants to waste food or be stuck eating something nasty because you got too excited. But, like many other skills, it becomes intuitive over time! Start with just trying a whole bunch of different recipes that you find online or that your Momma gave you. To me, that still counts as experimenting, as long as you're trying new things. Eventually, you might start to get a sense of what flavours compliment each other and start to make your own tasty creations. Just do whatever you can to keep things fresh! 


I DO NOT MEAN COUNTING CALORIES! When I say keep track, I mean of how you feel! Start to notice when you eat something and feel like you have enough energy to run a marathon or when you eat something that makes you feel like a zombie and hungry for anything soon thereafter. Increasing your awareness to how food makes you feel is a huge step toward really understand the value of eating well and appreciating the difference it makes! You're much more likely to stick to healthy eating when you really know how much better you feel when you do!

Additionally, I'd recommend keeping track of your blessings. I often recommend gratefulness journaling for clients looking to embark on a big health journey. I tell them to take the time in the morning to write 3 things they're looking forward to that day and, at night, write 3 things they were grateful for that day. This keeps a positive attitude around any challenging experience and forces you to look for and live in the positive. I find when clients do this they see greater success in achieving their health goals. 


"No time." - All it takes is waking up 5 minutes earlier and taking 5 minutes before bed. It is so worth making that time! Then it's just about living in the moment and being aware of yourself, what you eat and what makes you happy throughout the day! 

Adopt these 5 habits to help you reach your health goals in 2018 and you will get there faster, more efficiently and be way less stressed out about it in the process! You can do it. This is your year! 

Megan O’Kelly
Megan O’Kelly B.A. (Hons.), CNP, is a Holistic Nutritional Practitioner focused on healing through food, in realistic and all-inclusive, ways. She believes that everyone has different nutritional needs and that no one diet is perfect for everyone. For Megan, finding what works for each client, their life and their body is the key to optimal health.

Remembering the Importance of Self Care

 Nov 1, 2017 12:00 PM
by Carla Kamendy

Even Chiropractors Need Treatment

As a mom of two small girls (2.5 years and 7 months), I am completely stuck in the middle of the exhausted yet wonderful awe, chaos and overwhelming busy-ness that is parenting/life. This means I have come to realize that life is too busy to do it all, or rather all by yourself. Since my second daughter was born, I have been trying to figure out how to get it all done, how to be the “everything” mom. Working, cleaning, laundry, healthy cooking, exercising, playing with my girls, the list goes on, and as of now, I don’t have a clue how to get it all done – in fact I am finding it all quite stressful and overwhelming. So I have realized I need help. Correction, I need to ask for help. So, when I asked our resident (and amazing) nutritionist Megan for help – she did just that. Imagine this – I now have a healthy meal plan complete with recipes…even a shopping list! And now, I can actually make healthy cooking happen. 

Along with my exhaustion, I am also starting to experience many of the aches, pains and sicknesses associated with parenting. Whether it is from transferring a sleeping toddler to their bed; carrying a heavy and awkward car seat; breastfeeding; making room in bed for one (or two) sick children…you get the picture.  Whatever the cause, my body is not always happy with me lately, and I need for it to be happy to be able to care for my children and my patients. 

I remember when I started my practice 10 years ago, I found myself advising new parents on ideal baby carrying and feeding techniques, proper sleeping positions and more in order to prevent pain or injuries. Well, I am nothing if not humble. I am sorry moms and dads – I get it now that I am a parent. There is often no time/mental energy to think about ideal anything when dealing with a crying, feverish or teething child. So, when you undoubtedly get hurt by your children (accidentally let’s hope), be sure to make yourself a priority and seek out treatment. Getting rid of pain or learning how to manage your pain can do wonders not just for your physical health but for your mental health too. We cannot be our best selves (wife, husband, employee or parent) if we are in pain. This past week, I finally got treated (chiropractic and massage therapy) and I actually have a bounce in my step again. I can move without groaning and be the bouncy horse my daughter keeps insisting I be. 

Not only can seeing a chiropractor to help your pain, but we can give you tips and tricks to help yourself when you hurt. The key is to learn what to do for the injury you have, and that is where we can help. Even just a few minutes of self-administered treatment goes a long way. Ice and heat therapy can be an almost immediate pain relief (even if short lived), when used properly. I say this as I type with a heating pack across my shoulders. We can give injury specific stretches and exercises to speed your recovery and help your pain. Let us help you get out of pain and back to more important things. Like wrestling with your little ones on the bed or giving piggyback rides...

Carla Kamendy
Dr. Carla Kamendy BSc. (HKin), D.C., Doctor of Chiropractic is the Chiropractor at Bayview Natural Health Clinic. She has been in family practice in Toronto for over 9 years.

Simple Tips and Strategies to Save Energy and Make Deposits when you are Sick and Tired of Feeling Sick and Tired

 Oct 24, 2017 9:00 PM
by Louise McCrindle

Do you struggle with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME) or Fibromylagia (FM)? Do you tend to overdo it and then crash trying to get caught up/do whatever you haven’t been able to do when you get a bit more energy than you are used to? If so, read on!

Most of the patients with ME and/or FM that I see in my practice, have a history of being very high achievers and very driven. What we might call “A” types in our society. I see a lot of professionals (doctors, nurses, lawyers, accountants…) and/or those who are the primary caregivers for those around them who have a history of burning the candle at both ends. So much of our identity in life is tied to what we do and this makes it all the more devastating when we are unable to do what we formerly could - especially for the high achiever. There is a huge element of loss that comes with living with a chronic illness - loss of identity, loss of relationships… It is understandable that when health improves, it is tempting to try and restore some of what we used to do and what we have been unable to do. This can be the most dangerous time in healing, because if not careful, it can precipitate a big crash which can be very difficult both physically and emotionally. One of the biggest lessons in healing, is that acceptance does not mean giving up hope. What does this mean? It means giving up fighting against your illness and accepting that, with healing, slow and steady wins the race. It is important not to rush the process and not to fight the process. The most foundational and sustainable improvements come from making long term deposits and from depositing more than you withdraw. This does not mean losing hope that you can withdraw more as you improve, but without big enough deposits to offset the withdrawals, you continue to operate in a deficit. Let go of any guilt or self judgement around not being able to do what you used to. Accept the rest and nourishment that is needed to heal.

So what are some strategies you can use to make these deposits? Here are some ideas:

  • Take short cuts with food preparation. Use pre-cut, flash frozen veggies; frozen berries; pre-made salads…
  • If you are extremely drained, use paper plates. While arguably less environmental, if you can save the energy you would need to use doing dishes or feeling anxious about having dirty dishes on the counter, to put towards healing or other priorities - do it!
  • Do something that is a healthy WANT, just for you every day. Keep it simple. It could be sitting outside for a few minutes; having a nice cup of tea; watching leaves fall or snowflakes fall out the window. It doesn’t need to be something that takes energy, just something that is for you and that you want to do. This is a deposit.
  • Ask yourself what nourishes you and what drains you. Weed out what you can that is draining and feed what is nourishing.
  • Get help/support. Get creative if you are on your own, enlist local teenagers who need volunteer hours to help out with tasks.
  • Plan ahead to make deposits to offset anticipated withdrawals. Don’t schedule too much in one week or one day. Allow time for rest alternating with activities

Healing from a complex chronic illness is not linear. It is slow and steady. Be good to yourself and pace your healing. There is hope even when you can’t see it. 



Louise McCrindle
Dr. Louise McCrindle B.Sc. (Hons.), ND,m Board-certified Naturopathic Doctor has been in practice since 2008. She welcomes patients of all ages and levels of health, including those seeking support for women's health, fertility, and family health.

Beat The Bloat Part 2

 Aug 23, 2017 8:00 PM
by Megan O'Kelly


De-Bloating with Nutrition

Welcome back! In Beat the Bloat Part 1, we talked about all of those sneaky reasons why you might be experiencing some inconvenient gas & bloating. Hopefully, you’ve started to figure out what the root cause might be for you!

I know I left you hanging about what you can do to prevent or reduce the problem. So, in this second part of the series we will dive into all the things you can do and avoid doing within your diet to beat the bloat! Without further or due, I present to you…


What you eat plays a huge role in how much your belly bloats! First thing to do is minimize that list of foods that we’ve identified as dietary causes for bloating – go back and check out part 1 for that list, if you missed it! 

However, it’s not all about the foods to avoid, it’s also about the ones to include! Let’s look at some factors of your diet that can keep your tummy looking tight and feeling right all summer long. 


To keep things running smoothly, it is important to be sure you are consuming lots of fiber! 

There are two types of dietary fiber – insoluble and soluble. 

Both types of fiber contain different benefits. 

Insoluble fiber can be found in the outer coat of vegetables and whole grains. This type of fiber acts like a bulky “inner broom”, sweeping out debris from the intestine and creating more motility and movement. 

Soluble fiber attracts water and swells, creating a gel-like mass. The soluble fiber in foods like oats, nuts, seeds, beans, lentils, peas, and some fruits and vegetables acts to slow digestion. In addition to slowing the release of glucose from food into the blood, soluble fiber also traps toxins and other undesirables in the gut, helping to carry them to excretion, while also providing food for healthy bacteria in the digestive tract. 

Ideally, we want to be getting 25-35 grams of fiber per day. This is easy to do when you’re eat plenty of whole foods, including veggies, fruits, nuts & seeds and some whole grains and legumes. 


Getting these “good bacteria” in your diet can be a key factor in reducing gas and bloating. Probiotics are friendly little bugs in your digestive tract that combat the bad bugs that can be responsible for digestive issues and reactions. 

You can get your probiotics from fermented foods like kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir, tempeh and kombucha! If you’ve determined there is a serious imbalance, you may need to talk to your Naturopathic Doctor about supplementation. 


Veggies and fruits that provide water, key electrolytes and beneficial enzymes are perfect for beating that bloat naturally. These will keep you hydrated and provide fiber, electrolytes and enzymes that will have digestion on point! 

I recommend eating more raw or lightly cooked leafy greens, cucumber, celery, fennel, artichoke, pineapple and berries. 

I will caution against having melon with other foods. Although they are high in water and can help reduce bloating if eaten away from other foods, when combined other foods, they can actually be a culprit of gas and bloating. Melon is very quickly broken down in the stomach. So when it is eaten with other food, that doesn’t digest as quickly, it becomes trapped in the stomach, waiting for that other food to hurry up and break down enough so that they can move out of the stomach. While it waits, it can’t help but break down further and start to ferment. That fermentation in the stomach is going to create gas and cause bloating. If this happens while food is still in the stomach, before entering the intestines, this can also cause acid reflux. A good rule of thumb for consuming melon: Enjoy 30 minutes before other foods or 2 hours after. 


Digestive herbs like ginger, dandelion, peppermint, chamomile, aloe vera and fennel have been used for thousands of years to sooth an aching stomach.  Some herbs act as diuretics, like fennel, helping the body to release extra fluids. Other herbs, like ginger, can actually promote the release of stomach content and tones the muscles in the digestive tract, which reduces constipation. 

  • Try eating fresh ground herbs like parsley, oregano and rosemary with your meals. 
  • Incorporate fresh peeled ginger root into dips, dressings, soups smoothies and teas. 
  • Throw some aloe juice into water, juice or smoothies. 
  • Sip on herbal teas throughout the day, they can be iced in the summer!


Apple cider vinegar has many health benefits, including providing minerals and alkalizing the body. It also, however, can be your best party trick for preventing bloating. Anytime you know you’re going to be having a bigger meal or eating something you’re aware doesn’t always agree with you, shoot back an ounce of apple cider vinegar. You can do it straight (feel the burn!) or mix it with water to just get it back. 

Consuming a little bit of apple cider vinegar before a meal will help to stimulate your digestive juices to ensure that you are breaking down your food as effectively as possible. It will speed the digestion of food in your stomach so that there is no chance for fermentation, which leads to bloating and acid reflux. 


We touched on this when we talked about melon being a big bloater when eaten alongside other foods. Although melon is the #1 culprit of this phenomenon, the same effect has been seen in some people when combine any fruit with other types of foods. 

Melon has been seen to cause the quick fermentation, gas and bloating even when combined with other fruit. However, most fruits can be eaten together. It is only when fruit is combined with another food group like protein or starch that it can cause the same issue. 

The concept of food combining can go further for some people. The combination of protein with starchy carbohydrates like potatoes, grains, bread, or beans can cause digestive issues in many. Protein with fats & oils can also cause bloating. 

Your digestive system does best with the combination of proteins and non-starchy vegetables like leafy greens, tomatoes, zucchini and asparagus. Mildly starchy vegetables such as beets, carrots, cauliflower and corn tend to be ok as well. 

Best rules of thumb if you are having trouble reducing bloating: keep fruit separate and only consume animal proteins with non-starchy vegetables. 


Well, you’re likely to run into some issues down the road, but there are a few other lifestyle things you can do to get that bloating down. We’ll talk all about that in Part 3 of Beat The Bloat: The Anti-Bloating Lifestyle. I’ll reveal a whole whack of anti-bloating recipes with Part 3 as well so stay tuned!

In the meantime, here is one more anti-bloat recipe you can start to incorporate into your diet right away!  


Drink this when you’re relaxing by the pool to keep that bloating in check. It is gluten-free, dairy-free and refined sugar free with a specific focus on anti-bloating ingredients such as banana and coconut water, which are high in potassium. Potassium helps to regulate sodium levels, which prevents water retention.

Cucumbers contribute those electrolytes and water content to help with digestion and ginger adds an anti-inflammatory, digestive tonic. This recipe also includes an option to add our anti-bloating superstar, apple cider vinegar, if you’re willing to deal with the slightly acidic taste of it.



½ cup coconut water

1 banana

1 large cucumber, sliced

1 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced

1 handful of ice

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar (optional)


Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until super smooth.

Sip slowly and enjoy a bloat-free tummy!

Megan O’Kelly
Megan O’Kelly B.A. (Hons.), CNP, is a Holistic Nutritional Practitioner focused on healing through food, in realistic and all-inclusive, ways. She believes that everyone has different nutritional needs and that no one diet is perfect for everyone. For Megan, finding what works for each client, their life and their body is the key to optimal health.

Beat the Bloat – Part 1: Why Am I Bloated?

 Jul 17, 2017 11:00 PM
by Megan O'Kelly

With the nice summer weather arriving, we no longer have luxury of covering up our bloated stomachs under our hoodies and parkas. It’s time to finally address the issue!

This is the first of a three part series that will get into all the possible reasons why you’re bloated, nutrition tips and tricks for beating it and lifestyle hacks that can help you out as well. I’ll throw a few anti-bloating recipes at you along the way too, so be sure to stay tuned and follow along.

Truthfully, reducing gas and bloating isn’t something we should just be trying to reduce in the summertime so that we can look good in a crop top or muscle shirt. It’s a significant symptom that could be indicating other health issues. So now that you have the motivation, let’s really get to the bottom of your bloating and figure out how to beat it for good!

Why am I bloating?

Before we can begin to address how to stop the bloating, we have to understand why we are bloating!

Simply put, bloating is the build-up of gas in your digestive tract, forcing your stomach to stick out like you’re pregnant, often referred to as a “food baby”. But why is this happening?

Bloating illustrationBloating itself is usually a problem with digestion. Many different things can affect gut health, the ability to metabolize food properly and our body’s natural elimination of waste, which, when disturbed, leads to gas and bloating. For most people, the cause of excessive gas in the intestines comes down to:

  • Inadequate protein digestion: this causes some foods to ferment.
  • The inability to break down sugar and carbohydrates properly: certain complex sugar compounds need the presence of enzymes to be completely digested, yet many people are lacking these.
  • Imbalances in gut bacteria: there are trillions of healthy and unhealthy bacteria in the digestive tract, and when “bad bacteria” outweigh the good, this imbalance can lead to bloating and gas.

However, there are some extra sneaky reasons you might develop a bloated stomach, including allergies, hormonal imbalance, sleep problems and stress. It is always best to start by determining if you might be dealing with an underlying health issue that can cause bloating.

Let’s take a quick look at what some of these might be!

Digestive Disorders

Bloating, gas and distension is a front line symptom of various gastrointestinal disorders like IBS, ulcerative colitis, crohn’s and celiac disease. If you have these symptoms chronically, it may be wise to check out other symptoms of these disorders and make sure you can rule them out.


DehydrationIt may seem counterintuitive, but the more water you drink and the more hydrated you are, the less likely you are to bloat! Dehydration and electrolyte imbalances both inhibit digestion and make it harder to keep your bowels moving, creating the likelihood of build-up in the intestines.



BNHC - Wesite Updates - Specs - July 15 2017

It may seem counterintuitive, but the more water you drink and the more hydrated you are, the less likely you are to bloat! Dehydration and electrolyte imbalances both inhibit digestion and make it harder to keep your bowels moving, creating the likelihood of build-up in the intestines.

When you can’t poop, there is nowhere for that pesky stool to go, so it simply remains in the intestines, leaving you with a hard-feeling stomach, pain, discomfort and... you guessed it... gas & bloating!

The most common causes of constipation include not eating enough fiber, not drinking enough water, being too sedentary and stress.

Food allergies and sensitivities

FoodFood allergies, sensitivities or intolerances are a very common reason for gas and bloating. The most common foods that cause gas due to allergy or sensitivity include dairy, gluten, and certain kinds of carbohydrates called FODMAPS.

FODMAPs are a grouping of carbohydrates that are poorly absorbed by some people allowing them to travel to large intestine where they are fermented, causing gas & bloating. They can be tough to rule out as a root cause, since there are so many different kinds and everyone has different levels of tolerability. An elimination diet or food sensitivity test can help you pinpoint which foods might cause bloating.


Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) is caused by an accumulation of abnormal bacteria living in the digestive tract, usually in the bowel. This build-up of bad bacteria is often due to the overuse of antibiotics or inflammation and poor digestion.

Ideally, different strains of bacteria are in balance in the colon, which helps with digestion and absorption of nutrients. However, when harmful bacteria overwhelm and take over, you may experience numerous symptoms, including damage to the intestinal lining.


If you’re dealing with an infection, you may become bloated and swollen due to the rising levels of inflammation, caused by an elevated white blood cell count around the urinary, pelvic and gastrointestinal organs. Look for signs of fever, redness, pain and swollen lymph nodes, which usually accompany an infection.


Ladies, we know that if we’re getting inexplicably bloated, it may just be that our time of the month is coming up. PMS is a common culprit of bloating and other digestive issues, since it makes you prone to constipation and fluid retention. This is common and nothing to be concerned about, unless you start to notice more complicated symptoms such as an irregular menstrual cycle, fibroids or severe cramping.

Why do women experience bloating around their menstrual cycles?

During the early days of a women’s cycle, called the follicular stage, estrogen levels rise while the uterine lining thickens. Ovulation also causes the build up of fluids and blood in the area, which can contribute to the feeling of bloating. This feeling should disappear when a woman has her period, as she experiences shedding of excess fluid, tissue and blood. However, some women experience water retention for up to two weeks! How much you bloat and when you bloat before or during your period totally depends on you and your cycle.

Dietary Causes

Each person’s reaction to foods differs, and this isn’t a definitive list, but these are some common foods that tend to wreak havoc on your digestive system and provoke gas & bloating.

Sugar & sweetened snacks: Sugar easily ferments in the gut, which can contribute to the overgrowth of bad bacteria and promote inflammation.

Dairy: We all lose the majority of our natural production of lactase enzymes, the ones we need to break down the milk sugars, by the time we hit adolescence. For this reason, most of us have trouble digesting dairy products.

Refined grains & grain products: Gluten is a sticky protein in wheat, barley and rye that is a common sensitivity and difficult for most people to digest. Corn, oats and other grains can cause similar digestive discomfort due to their high concentration of lectins and phytates, which are specific anti- nutrients that can disrupt digestion.

Certain veggies: Some people have issues with tough vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, onion and garlic, due to their sulphur compounds. Certain types of FODMAP carbohydrates also cause issues due to their tendency to avoid absorption and ferment in the intestines.

Beans & legumes: The more you eat the more you toot! There’s definitely something to this silly rhyme. Similar to grains, beans & legumes contain lectins, phytates and other anti-nutrients that can cause gas & bloating. It can help to soak and sprout your grains or cook them with a seaweed like kombu. Doing so helps to break down these disruptive components.

Carbonated drinks: The gas from these drinks can accumulate in the intestines, contributing to gas and bloating.

Artificial sweeteners & sugar alcohols: These have shown to cause severe digestive disturbances in some, especially aspartame, sorbitol, mannitol and xylitol.

CoffeeCoffee: Caffeine suppresses the production of stomach acid, contributing to digestive issues. Furthermore, the caffeine can trigger a premature opening of the pyloric sphincter (the valve that opens to let food from the stomach through to the intestines). When this happens before food is properly broken down it can cause extreme digestive distress and inability to absorb nutrients allowing them to ferment in the gut and cause bloating.

So what do I do about it?

Stay tuned for Beat The Bloat – Part 2: De-Bloating with Nutrition to find out! We’ll talk about what to avoid, what to eat more of and how to eat your food to beat the bloat!

To hold you over, here is an anti-bloating dessert! Still a sweet treat, but with plenty of anti-bloating properties that make it an ideal swap for more processed sugary treats that you might otherwise gear toward in the summer. Enjoy!

Anti-bloat popsicles

This is classic flavor combination of strawberry & pineapple using the real ingredients! This one is a nice one to have at a family BBQ as the pineapple contains and enzyme called bromelain that will actually help you break down the other food you eat that day! Popsicles are also an ideal summer treat that won’t cause bloat, as you tend to have to consume it slowly!


  • 2 cups pineapple chunks
  • 3 cups sliced strawberry
  • 1/3 cup pineapple juice


  • In a blender, or food processor, puree pineapple chunks with1/3 cup of pineapple juice.Transfer to a liquid measuring cup and set aside.
  • Wash and clean out blender, then puree strawberries with remaining 1⁄2 cup pineapple juice. Transfer to another liquid measuring cup.
  • Pour strawberry puree into mold,filling only halfway.Then, slowly pour pineapple puree into mold.
  • Place molds in the freezer for at least 3 hours.
  • Warm the molds in water and remove. Enjoy!


Megan O’Kelly
Megan O’Kelly B.A. (Hons.), CNP, is a Holistic Nutritional Practitioner focused on healing through food, in realistic and all-inclusive, ways. She believes that everyone has different nutritional needs and that no one diet is perfect for everyone. For Megan, finding what works for each client, their life and their body is the key to optimal health.

Keeping My Brain Sharp

 Jul 11, 2017 12:00 PM
by Sharon Kelly

Keeping My Brain Sharp

Now that I am 40 its time to up my game when it comes to keeping my cognitive (brain) function top notch!

After spending a weekend immersed in learning about cognitive decline I have realized that the best time to start working on preventing this is NOW.

Cognitive decline is a broad term used to describe when your brain starts showing signs of dysfunction.  This includes slower processing, difficulty retrieving information, difficulty remembering events and it can continue in severity up to and including Alzheimers disease.  Like most conditions it exists along a continuum and some of the symptoms are considered a normal part of aging (I think the more appropriate term should be common not normal).

By the time we are 85 years old 40% of us will have Alzheimers Disease and 2/3 of all people with Alzheimers are women.   We need to change this.

The beginning of the changes in the body leading to cognitive decline happen at least twenty years before the onset of symptoms.  It often starts as an inflammatory process that will eventually lead to the production of plaque in the brain.  The plaque actually seems to protect our brain from inflammation but the side effect of the plaque formation and depositing itself into the brain is cognitive decline.

The causes and contributing factors leading to cognitive decline (really inflammation in the brain) is multifactorial.  It can be triggered by a poor diet high in processed and packaged foods, chronic infection, changes to gastrointestinal health caused by antibiotics in our food supply and when we need to take them for infection, living a sedentary lifestyle, environmental exposures and genetic predisposition. Treating and managing cognitive decline requires finding all the causes or contributing factors of inflammation and addressing them ALL.

This year I turned 40 and I have become much more aware of my brain.  I have to work a little harder to remember and retrieve information. I used to blame it on my children, who are 7 and 5.   But truthfully they sleep well,  they ask me brain challenging questions all the time, they keep me on my toes running after them and they are my inspiration to make healthy meals so….. maybe I should be thanking them for my good brain health, not blaming them.  

Now don’t get me wrong just because I have to work harder to learn I continue to voraciously learn and read but it isn’t as easy.   

After spending this past weekend at The Institute for Functional Medicine annual conference on neuroplasticity these are my take homes.  

These are ways to SHIELD your brain from inflammation and therefore cognitive decline:


1. Sleep.  Sleep is when we clean our brains.   Our brains work hard to process and store our new memories from the day, help us learn new information so we can keep up with our children’s rapidly expanding knowledge of technology, find our keys and remember our commitments .  We need 8 hours of continuous sleep to best keep our brains clean and efficient.  

2. Handle stress.  Stress hormones cause our brains to shrink and they reduce our ability to fight infections. Making stress management a priority is so important.  This can be accomplished by avoiding stressful situations when you have choice, meditation, going for a walk, have a conversation with someone you love and respect or watching mindless television (with no guilt).

3. Interact-  Interacting with others and feeling part of a community has incredibly positive impact on our health. We know that the habits of our friends has an impact on our habits so try to surround yourself with people who make healthy choices.   This might mean joining a running group, a book club, your child’s school association or really any group that makes you feel good.

4. Exercise is the most important things we can do for our brains.  Exercise increases a chemical in our brains that leads to brain growth and rewiring.  (Remember stress shrinks our brain.)  It also produces a chemical in our brains that helps break down the plaque that is associated with cognitive decline and Alzheimers’ disease.  

5. Learn Now this one is an easy one for me.  I LOVE to learn. Read books, read articles (and not just the first 3 paragraphs)  talk to interesting people, go to talks or conferences, stretch your mind!!  The process of learning continuously lays down new neural pathways in your brain.  This neural pathways allow our brain to grow and repair.

6. Diet.  A diet high in sugar and carbohydrates leads to increased production of insulin and insulin is toxic to our brains.  A diet that is good for our brains is one based on whole, real foods.  This means lots of different kinds of vegetables (ideally at least 5 cups), best quality protein, fruit and good fats including avocado, nuts and seeds.

Now if you want to take it up a notch and figure out if you are showing early signs of risk for cognitive decline you should have the following measured in your blood: 

Insulin- insulin is toxic to the brain and is elevated when we eat too many sugary foods.

Vitamin D- Vitamin D is involved in turning off inflammation and fighting infection.  Remember plaques are formed when our brain is inflammed.

Vitamin B12-  B12 is a very important nutrient needed to protect our brains. It is found in almost all animal products but the ability to absorb it is more challenging as we age and if we are taking an acid blocking drug. 

hsCRP- C reactive protein is a marker of inflammation in our bodies.  If this is elevated the inflammation is likely our brains too.

Good lifestyle habits have never been more important!!



Sharon Kelly
Dr. Sharon Kelly BSc (Hon.), N.D., Board Certified Naturopathic Doctor is the founder of Bayview Natural Health Clinic. She has been in family practice in Toronto for over 10 years. Sharon’s approach to patient care is to look for and address the underlying causes of the disease. Her special interest is preventative medicine.

Meditation - Simple and Powerful

 Jun 13, 2017 2:00 PM
by Sharon Kelly

Today we are talking meditation. I wanted to take this opportunity to simplify what meditation is and how, despite the popular imagery, it is not limited to being seated in lotus position chanting OM (though if that works for you—keep at it!)

What It Is

Meditation is one of the most impactful things you can do for your overall health and wellness. It doesn’t cost anything more than your willingness to try. At its core, meditation is just breathing and quieting the mind, and yet it is so much more than that because the act of inhaling and exhaling provides our brains, nervous systems, organs and cells an opportunity to relax, replenish and repair. 

After being bombarded with noise, ideas and lists of what to do and not do all day on social media, in our jobs and from our family and friends, meditation—or quiet time—is simply a time to listen. To listen to ourselves. To listen to our bodies and our minds. And through that listening, be reminded that everything we need to know, we already do know. We need only to give ourselves the chance to hear it.

How To Do It

Although having a quiet space where you feel comfortable can be a great way to meditate, it is by no means a requirement, and in fact for many people has the opposite effect and can create increased anxiety or restlessness. If that is the case with you, honour that and consider trying another way. Meditation is basically about achieving a state where your mind is as focused and quiet as possible, and this can be accomplished by being active as well as being still. Here are a few suggestions for meditating outside the conventional box: 

  • Walking in nature
  • Walking in your favourite neighbourhood, enjoying the sights and smells and sounds
  • Focused playing with your children
  • Listening to your favourite music
  • Gardening or working with plants/earth
  • Drawing or painting (even if you think you’re not good at it!)
  • Writing creatively or journaling

Meditation is ultimately a practice that can executed however you want it to be. If you have tried meditation and found it didn’t work for you or have avoided it up until now, I encourage you to explore the possibilities and give meditation a second chance. 

The Benefits

Some of the immediate benefits that can result from a consistent meditation practice include:

  • Reduced anxiety, worry and depression
  • Increased energy
  • Improved mood            
  • Enhanced self-esteem and self-acceptance
  • Reduced blood pressure 
  • Improved focus and memory


Hay House Meditations is a free podcast that can be accessed online or via the iTunes Podcasts App that allows you to explore different guided meditations with a variety of themes and perspectives. 

Here is a link to a walking meditation provided by Hay House that you can listen to while out in nature or in the city, wherever you are drawn to:

Please feel free to talk to your practitioner at BNHC about how meditation can help you in your health goals. 


Keep well, 

Sharon Kelly, ND., & The Team at BNHC

Sharon Kelly
Dr. Sharon Kelly BSc (Hon.), N.D., Board Certified Naturopathic Doctor is the founder of Bayview Natural Health Clinic. She has been in family practice in Toronto for over 10 years. Sharon’s approach to patient care is to look for and address the underlying causes of the disease. Her special interest is preventative medicine.

Please Give Me the Magic!

 Feb 16, 2017 4:00 PM
by Sharon Kelly

Have you ever had the experience where one of your friends starts taking a new B vitamin and she swears it has changed her life. Because of her conviction you go straight to the health food store and buy the same vitamin. You take it religiously for a month and you do not notice anything. Nothing! The only thing that makes sense to you is that your friend had a placebo response.

There is one more possible explanation. Your friend’s body needed the supplement and your body didn’t. This is the essence of individualized medicine. We are all born with different genes and this leads to different demands for nutrients. Additionally, our bodies are under different kinds of stresses and this also leads to different nutrient demands.

Let me give you an example: If your friend who took the B vitamin was under a tremendous amount of stress because her twins were not sleeping through the night then her body likely REALLY needed the B vitamin. As a result she would feel amazing taking it. On top of this if she was a long term vegetarian and has been eating a low protein diet since the kids were born she would also likely feel amazing taking the B vitamin.

Breaking down stress hormones and making energy is highly dependent on B vitamins. Additionally, vegetarian proteins do not have any vitamin B12 which is needed to maintain energy levels. Therefore her body responded very well to the vitamin and it felt like a life changer

Now If I have a moderate amount of stress, I sleep well and I eat meat I will likely feel like the supplement has had very little impact.

Accurate lifestyle and supplementation intervention can change the trajectory of your health. Figuring out what your body needs to support its optimal functioning is the key to preventive medicine.


Sharon Kelly
Dr. Sharon Kelly BSc (Hon.), N.D., Board Certified Naturopathic Doctor is the founder of Bayview Natural Health Clinic. She has been in family practice in Toronto for over 10 years. Sharon’s approach to patient care is to look for and address the underlying causes of the disease. Her special interest is preventative medicine.
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