Life’s a Beach: the health benefits of going to the beach

Beach day! Yay!

Today’s post is a bit different.  It is the eve of the long weekend and it has me thinking of fun and sun and beach… so today I decided to write about some of the health benefits about going to the beach.  You can even use this blog post as an excuse to get to the beach – hey, Doctors orders!

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(art by Allyson Schmidt-Reeves )

Health benefits of going to the beach

So we all know we as humans, for the most part, like the beach or waterfront for some reason.  There must be some good reasons… actually there are and many of them have huge health benefits.  So here we have it, in no particular order my list of the health benefits of the beach:

Stress relief

Ok, I lied – this one is definitely number one.  Many of the people who will eventually receive or read this post met me at first because I gave a talk in front of them at work about stress.

Nature (like the beach, ocean/water or lake and forests) have calming effects on us human people.  Listening to the surf, sticking your toes in the sand and playing in the sun have stress relieving benefits for sure.  Ever been totally stressed out after a beach day? Ya, doesn’t happen much…


speaking of sticking your toes in the sand… ever heard of earthing?  It is the act of walking barefoot on the earth.  The number one place we all do this because it is socially acceptable is on the beach.  (But this can be done anywhere).  Walking on the earth is purported to facilitate a negative ion exchange between the ground and the person which apparently has health benefits.  Whatever, its relaxing.  I always feel distressed when I do it and the sand is good for your rough calloused feet. So give it a shot!

Vitamin D levels

In just a few minutes on the beach in a bathing suit you can get your daily vitamin D replenished by your skin.  Your skin makes cholesterol into vitamin D with UV exposure so get out there – not too long with out sunscreen though – be sensible!


Lots of opportunity to exercise on the beach – lovely for long walks, great for jogging, splashing, playing Frisbee, throwing a ball, digging, making sand castles (lifting some and bending), swimming, playing volleyball… the opportunity to exercise is endless and super varied – don’t just sit there (at least not for all of the time – some of the time definitely sit there and unwind!!!)


Big bodies of water and nature and surf provide opportunity for gratitude and connectedness to something larger than ourselves.  Take a minute to meditate and feel like you are part of something larger than yourself…

Canada Day Strawberry Cake!

Strawberry Season is upon us!

Happy Canada Day! One of my patients just posted this recipe and said I could repost it here because it looks soooooo amazing – I have not yet made it but maybe next week when I get some farm fresh strawberries.  Anyway, who wouldn’t like a strawberry cake?  Annnnd its Red and White just in time for Canada Day! Photo Credit to my Patient L.M.!

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I remember as a kid going strawberry picking each year with my mom.  This year my fave farm has closed and I am not sure where to go so I may actually skip it for the year so I can figure it out…. sad I don’t have that place to go to anymore but such is life…. thank goodness there are still lots of strawberry farms around the GTA! If anyone has a favourite please tell me!


Here are all of the things you will need for this Strawberry Cake:

Strawberry topper:

1/2 c sugar

2 tbsp. corn starch

4 c fresh quartered strawberries

1 tsp vanilla


2 c flour

1 tbsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

4 eggs at room temp

1/2 c melted butter

1/2 c vegetable oil

1 c whole milk at room temp

1 tsp vanilla



Strawberry Cake here we come!

Grease and flour a 10 inch round (or 9×9 square) cake pan and pre heat oven to 350F. Mix corn starch and 1/2 c sugar and sprinkle over strawberries as well as vanilla. Toss together and spread over bottom of pan.

Cake batter: sift flour and baking powder together and set aside.   In the bowl of an electric mixer beat eggs, and sugar together until foamy.  Mix together butter and oil in a measuring cup and add slowly to egg and sugar mix as it continues to beat.  Stir vanilla into milk, and fold in with dry ingredients alternating between wet and dry.  Pour batter over strawberries and bake 50-60 min until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.  Cool in pan 10 minutes before inverting onto heatproof serving plate and serve with whipped cream.

Individual Avocado Key Lime Pies

Super cute healthy pie

Wanna look like the love child of a Naturopath and  Martha Stewart?  Try this recipe for individualized avocado key lime pies frozen in mason jars for your next summer BBQ or party – the beauty is they can be made ahead and frozen for 2-3 hours or longer, are healthy and taste great.  AAAANNNNDDD are super cute.

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I mean look at them – look how cute they are!

What you need

so the ingredients and such that you need for the avocado key lime pie:

4 ripe avocados

1/2 cup lime juice (real stuff is best)

2/3 cup honey

1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs

1 Tbsp coconut oil melted

125 ml mason jars or a 9 inch pie pain

freezer space

food processor


So these super cute avocado key lime pies are super easy.  Here is the how:  Put avocados in food processor with lime juice and honey and process until creamy.  Mix crumbs and oil and press 1-2 tsp into each mason jar or all into a 9 inch pie pan.  Pour green stuff mixture from processor over crust, cover and freeze 2-3 hours. Serve frozen with coconut whipped cream (recipe for that below)

Quick recipe for coconut whipped cream

To top these cute little avocado key lime pies try this whipped cream made from coconut milk!

1 can full fat coconut milk

1-2 tsp sugar or sweetener (agave)

1 tsp vanilla


Refrigerate coconut milk in can for 24 hrs or more and freeze beaters 15 minutes before use.  Open bottom of can and pour out liquid and scoop cream into mixing bowl adding sugar and vanilla then beat and refrigerate till use.


Babies and Chiropractic

Ever thought of taking your baby to a chiropractor?

Babies and Chiropractic  – Did the thought ever occur to you?

I am always treating several babies at my office –  most of the time Moms bring in their babies because they have noticed something that is either odd or that they may interpret as pain in the baby’s behaviour.

Generally they have already consulted the pediatrician and found out that nothing serious is going on.  Usually the pediatrician reassures the parent that ‘it’s nothing’ or ‘they will grow out of it’.

More and more us Moms are trusting our guts… and this advice, while reassuring, isn’t always fully satisfying.  So Mom goes in search of answers and hence we have Babies and Chiropractic stories to share!

A word on a baby chiro examination

As with any patient, a full history is taken – in my office this means an extensive (maybe too long) 4 page intake questionnaire.  I sit with Mom or Dad and ask a ton of questions about the baby, behaviour, breast feeding, health, pregnancy and  birth etc…

I then do a through exam (including but not limited to:  a physical observation, infant reflexes, palpation of the spine and musculature.  I will also often listen to the lungs and heart as well – if there is a specific problem that the baby is coming in about there is also a focused exam regarding that.

Here are some cute pics and instructions on how to check some infant reflexes – now don’t panic if they are not on your baby, chances are that the pediatrician has checked them so far and if they haven’t flagged anything for you the baby is fine.  Got it?  Also, never Google stuff.  Bad for the mental health.  Also don’t do #7 if you haven’t been trained – too easy to drop baby!

A word on chiro adjustments for baby

Ever been to a chiro and had an adjustment?  If so you may not be able to imagine Babies and Chiropractic – I mean really Karen, I am not letting you do that to my baby how could they stand the force?

So the youngest baby I have adjusted was a few days old…. It’s not the same force as we use on adults – don’t be cray cray!

We use what we call eyeball pressure – that is exactly as it sounds: close your eyelid and put your index finger on your lid and push gently down on your eye – just a comfortable amount.  That is eyeball pressure and that is what we use on babies.

I mean really, the poor teeny things don’t even have ossified spinal segments yet we gotta be gentle!

The amazing thing is that babies respond really really fast.  I had a baby in the office for a check up and she happened to have a buch of sinus congestion so I did a few sinus trigger points and within about 10 minutes here nose was running like a faucet. Her mom said that previously all the junk just stay stuck up there and made it hard for her to breathe.

I love treating babies for that reason (and because I always steal a cuddle and hug because who can resist really!  Yes, its always with permission)


Babies and Chiropractic – some of the whys

Here is why some parents bring in their babies in general:

-well baby check (just for a check up)

-torticollis (head tilted to one side)

-colic – sometimes I really think this is baby back pain / digestion issues

-behaviours like putting something under their back at rest time – can indicate pain

-pulling on the ears or rubbing a body part

-chronic congestion (sometimes mechanical things we can do can help drainage happen)

Avocado Deviled Eggs

Good Fats and Protein

Avocado Deviled Eggs:  Ok, so here is a recipe full of good fat and protein.  Perfect for me this week as I am full on into keto diet again – eating tons of veggies, protein, fruit and good fat…   This diet is pretty sustainable and healthy if done properly – the trick is that you have to do some prep work AND have tasty things to eat – and who doesn’t like avocado and deviled eggs?  Hence – Avocado Deviled Eggs!


3 eggs

1 avocado

1 tsp cilantro

3 tsp lime juice

1 tsp red onion chopped fine

pinch salt and pepper

chili or paprika to taste


ok for the yummy Avocado Deviled Eggs – it is pretty simple:

Cut the hard boiled eggs in half and take out yolk.  Mash the yolks and 1 avocado together and add 1 tsp finely chopped cilantro, lime juice, onion and salt and pepper.  Whip together – you can even use a hand blender on whip to get it nice and smooth – then place by the spoonful into the 6 egg halves.  Sprinkle with chili or paprika.

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That’s it – simple yet tasty as always!

4 healthy ice cream recipes – that don’t need an ice cream maker

It’s Ice Cream Season!

I love ice cream.  Who doesn’t?

So for the last 5 years I have thought about buying an ice cream maker… ever since I saw one at Costco for about $40 and didn’t buy it.  You know what happens when you don’t buy something at Costco right?  Ya, it’s never there when you go back for it.

So every year this time I think about buying an ice cream maker.  I hem and Haw and don’t end up buying one… I have really no idea why other than I really don’t have space for another kitchen gadget…. and so I keep stalling.

So in this edition, I will post some healthy recpies I have collected to make ice cream, without the use of a fancy gadget (other than maybe a blender and freezer)

Strawberry Banana Ice Cream

4 frozen bananas

1 cup frozen strawberries

2 tablespoons sugar (or stevia powder)


Place strawberries in a microwave safe bowl and sprinkle with sugar.  Microwave until strawberries soften a bit and sugar dissolves in juices.

Place in blender with bananas – blend 2-3 minutes until smooth

That’s it – you can also freeze this and then just take out 10 minutes prior to serving to allow to melt a bit.


Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream

4 frozen bananas

1 cup pumpkin puree

1/3 cup maple syrup

1 1/2 tsp pumpkin spice


Blend all and serve – freezes well as well!


Chocolate Ice Cream

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4 bananas sliced and frozen

6 tablespoons cocoa powder

5 tablespoons maple syrup

4 tablespoons chocolate chips (or leave out for paleo)

Place all except chocolate chips in blender or food processor and blend until smooth and creamy then stir in choc chips… that’s it – serve.  Also will freeze well just take out 10 min prior to serving to scoop easily

Watermelon Mint Ice Cream

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1 cup coconut cream

5 cups frozen watermelon cubes

a handful of fresh mint

2 tablespoons of maple syrup

pinch salt


Put all into blender and blend till creamy – then serve.  that’s it!  Can also be frozen and taken out to thaw a bit so you can scoop it.

Foot Pain – the pain of plantar fasciitis

Plantar Fasciitis – Um …. what?

For those unfamiliar with the term plantar fasciitis, a quick definition:

Plantar fasciitis (PLAN-tur fas-e-I-tis) is one of the most common causes of heel pain. It involves inflammation of a thick band of tissue that runs across the bottom of your foot and connects your heel bone to your toes (plantar fascia).

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This is according to a quick Google Search… clear as mud now?


Some important points

Not all heel pain is plantar fasciitis

There are some key features that we as practitioners look for including: “it feels like I am walking on broken glass”, it is worst first thing in the morning or after I have been sitting for a while then I stand up and walk again, and “nothing seems to help…”


Ok so what can we do about it?


Even if you have had treatment and no success in the past there is still hope.  I have helped lots of people with this condition basically because I tend to try to throw everything I know at it – it is a stubborn one so I have found over the years that is what tends to work.

Here is what I do:

Prescription of orthotics

hands on therapy including adjustments in the lower back and ankle

Graston technique

Cold laser

Kinesiotape application

prescription of specific exercises

and this one is key:  do not go barefoot – I mean at all – running shoes and orthotics on as soon as you roll out of bed in the morning (this isn’t forever – just until it heals).

Here is why:

The plantar fascia is a thick band attached to the heel bone.  Despite what it says above about inflammation plantar fasciitis is actually a micro tearing (or even a macro tearing) of this fascia away from the bone.  It hurts every time you stand after laying in bed for 8 hours because it has started to heal and then you stand up and tear it away again. Orthotics are crucial because they help approximate the bone and the tendon, not allowing it to pull away as much and tear away repeatedly…. this gives the body time and a chance to actually heal the damn thing!

More clear now?

So anyways, even if you have had this for a while, there is hope and help out there!


Killer Mojito Recipe

A Mojito recipe from the Mojito Master

yep, that’s me. Mojito master. It is pretty universally agreed amongst all who have tasted my famed mojito that I kill it.

I planted mint in my garden and have let it pretty much take over a good corner… I highly recommend this so that you can always have a fresh supply.

As luck would have it I noticed last week that the mint was ready

so here we are  – Early June and HOT… way hotter than usual at this time of year. So today I sent the hubby on a special errand to the store to buy limes and simple syrup.  We buy the simple syrup made by Presidents Choice – which is very good.  You can make it on your own but the PC brand keeps longer in the fridge.

To make your own simple syrup

mix 2 cups of water with 2 cups of sugar and heat until all of the crystals dissolve.  Cool – ya that’s it.


An important note on limes

For a good Mojito I prefer regular limes to key limes – this isn’t a Corona afterall…



For one Mojito you need:

1/2 to 1 lime

12-20 leaves of mint muddled in glass

1 oz simple syrup

1 to 1.5 oz rum (I prefer dark rum)

soda water




muddle the mint leaves directly in your glass.  Add rum,simple syrup and squeeze lime over top.  Mix with spoon. Cover with ice and then top up glass with soda water (use a small highball). 


Today marks the first of our summer Mojitos drunk while watching the Stanley cup Finals with the Golden Knights and Capitals tied at 1-1 in the series.  What else could be better?