<![CDATA[OPTIMIZE WELLNESS SOLUTIONS - Blog]]>Mon, 08 Jun 2020 16:09:48 -0700Weebly<![CDATA[June Looks at Your Environment]]>Thu, 04 Jun 2020 20:24:17 GMThttp://optimizewellnesssolutions.ca/blog/june-looks-at-your-environment
Your Environment Matters...

It is more influential than you may think to be mindful of the surrounding toxins in your life - they are all around us. Whether it be the humans you spend time with, the cleaning products you use in your house or the products you put onto - and therefore into - your body.

Toxins disturb the human body's homeostasis (state of balance). Toxins interfere with the way our hormones communicate and increase the amount of free-radical formation within our cells. As you may know - our cells are our foundation. But I also believe our hormones are too - they are the base of so many of our body’s functions.

Below I have provided some important areas in your life to be aware of to help reduce your body’s toxic load.

1. Detox your household cleaners:
If you’re using chemical cleaning products in your home, it is likely that you’re absorbing them and breathing in toxic-air for much longer than you may think. Using pure household cleaners results in clean air - but yet, still a clean home.
Switching your dish soap, laundry detergent & dryer sheets, household cleaners, and fragrances throughout the house is as important as using clean skincare products. 

  • There are also non-toxic companies like ENJO and Norwex that refrain from using chemicals to clean the home - this is usually how I clean my house.
  • I also use dryer balls instead of toxin-filled dryer sheets. They work great.
  • I have been using, and love the ‘Attitude’ laundry detergent.
  • Usually my go-to household cleaner (if I need a deep clean) is vinegar, water and an essential oil blend of choice.
  • In the past I have used Seventh Generation products as multi-purpose cleaners. 
 2. Live with plants:
Have plants and grow them! They help purify the air you live in and breathe in. And the joy of watching these guys grow is truly gratifying. I recently read that having plants in your home can also help reduce humidity levels. Plants have been shown to help reduce stress and improve mood and negative emotions. Exposure to fresh, clean air, improves psychological well-being, enhances spirituality , can improve sleep, boosts creativity and lifts energy levels. 

  • I began buying and growing plants a couple of years ago. I’ll never turn back. I love my plant babies.
  1. Open your windows & get outside:
Open your windows frequently (or at least every once-in-a-while) to allow the air to circulate through your home. It is important to ensure the quality of air your breathing is good and clean. The next step to opening the windows in your home is to get outside! There are different physical and psychological benefits of being out in nature, whether it be your backyard, forest bathing or near moving water (rivers, lakes and waterfalls). Have you ever stood near a waterfall and felt simply amazing?! This is a true experience of how nature (running water specifically) can uplift your mood and overall make you feel magical. I encourage you to be aware of this next time you’re outside in nature/on a hike this summer. 

  • I love to sit outside on my deck to eat my meals. I get to feel the wind, listen to the birds and watch all the wild animals pass through my backyard.
  • Hiking, biking and doing yoga or working out outside are also some of my favourites.
 3. Detox your self-care products: 
Although there are many different aspects to detoxing, our skin has a big impact on this as it is the largest organ of the human body. Detoxing through the skin can be experienced through sweating, acne and skin breakouts. Our skin doesn’t just help us detox but it also absorbs what we put onto (and into) it. This consists of: makeup, deodorant, shampoo & conditioner, body wash, face wash, moisturizer, sunscreen and toothpaste to name some basics. Women - this also includes feminine hygiene products!!
Putting toxic products on and into our skin can lead to a number of issues. Toxins can contribute to many issues including hormone imbalances and disruptions, acne, tiredness and sluggishness. I believe it is just as important to be aware of the products you're using on your body as much as you should be aware of the food you’re putting into your body to feed your cells.

If you only choose 1 product to detox in your life, choose your deodorant! Based on what I have learned I think it’s extremely important to change your deodorant to something that allows your armpit to perspire/eliminate. By wearing antiperspirant deodorant we are not only halting the detoxification process  that happens largely through our armpit glands and pores, but we are also encouraging retoxing! There are a lot of glands around the armpit and chest area, so allowing your body to release the toxins through this area is critical. Some people can be sensitive to the baking soda that is used in some natural deodorants - so try a couple of different ones and find what works for you. 
Another way you can encourage the release of toxins through the skin is to dry brush before you shower and also wet brush while in the shower. 
Water, water, water - drink lots of it. You can spice up your water in so many ways - lemon water or infusing it with different fruits, veggies and herbs. It’s so nutritious for your skin and helpful in the detox process. 

Detoxing our bodies is super important for me and I could go on for a while, but this is my summary based on personal-care products. I’ll definitely be posting an entire blog about detoxing your body in the future - so stay tuned.

4. Surround yourself with Non-Toxic People:
Who are you surrounding yourself with? Do you enjoy their company or do you find them ‘exhausting’ or ‘draining’? 
Over the last couple of years I have learned the importance of being surrounded by people who love you, expand you, accept you and support you. These are the kind of people that will lift you up when you need it, and encourage you to be your authentic self. They will inspire you and motivate you throughout your life. They are your cheerleaders. You need to find your tribe. I encourage you to do this.

Ending a toxic relationship with a friend is hard as hell - I’ve done it (after about a year of indirect consideration). But it was only for my best interest. Sometimes people change and take different paths, and that’s okay. Removing yourself from toxic relationships will allow you to have more good energy and time to invest in YOU. 

Be happy & stay whole.
Taylor Wilkinson, RHN
<![CDATA[May Is All About Paying Attention to the Signs and Symptoms of Your Body]]>Mon, 18 May 2020 14:35:26 GMThttp://optimizewellnesssolutions.ca/blog/may-is-all-about-paying-attention-to-the-signs-and-symptoms-of-your-bodyPicture
Expressions of our
Body’s Feelings

Are you in tune with your body and aware of what it’s trying to communicate to you? When your body’s in need, are you there to nourish it or know what it’s even asking for?
These are just a couple bits of information that I’m going to enlighten you on. You’ll want to keep reading!
It is very important to be in tune with your body, keep it fueled properly, functioning optimally and nourishing it to its fullest so your best life can be lived. But let me warn you, patience is a virtue. If you ignore what your body is trying to say, chances are likely the signs and symptoms may emerge more severe. Any damage or imbalances that have been constructed take time, and so does the mending process.
Below are some explanations of common signs and symptoms that individuals experience regularly. My hopes are to help you connect the dots and cultivate more awareness and comfort.
Low energy & strength, dizziness, cravings for red meat, ice, or other unusual foods
These expressions could be a good indicator to get your iron levels checked. Low iron is very common in women, as many go through menstruation and experience loss of blood. Iron contributes to energy production and the formation of hemoglobin (the oxygen-transporter in the blood). Alongside low iron, nausea and dizziness can also be linked to inadequate protein consumption. If you chose to supplement, be mindful that every individual has a different iron tolerance - some have weak stomachs on an iron supplement. Some iron-rich foods include: legumes, kale, broccoli, spinach and nuts - especially cashews and almonds.
Muscle spasms & cravings for chocolate
A good hint you may be deficient in magnesium. Magnesium is a pretty important mineral that’s involved in many processes throughout the body. Foods that are high in magnesium include: green leafy vegetables, dark chocolate, nuts, seeds and legumes. A supplementary form of magnesium can be a good option too. Keep in mind there are many different forms of this mineral as a supplement, so make sure to do your research and know which is the correct form you need.
Premature aging (lines and wrinkles), frequently ill, dry, brittle or dull hair, thin nails, eczema
Your body could be craving protein!! Protein is the main building block to the cells in our body, and after water is the largest component of the body. It’s a large component to the formation of hair, skin and nails as well. Quantity as well as quality are big when considering your protein ingestion. It also doesn’t have to be a meat source - but if it is, make sure you know what’s in your meat or where it’s coming from. You can obtain plant-protein from foods like quinoa, lentils/beans, cruciferous vegetables and more. Try a smoothie with fruits, spinach or kale and adding a powdered protein or collagen supplement. This tasty treat is a great way to absorb lots of nutrients, especially when on-the-go.
Eczema, psoriasis, irregular menstrual period, skin imbalances, poor memory
Look into consuming more healthy fats in your diet. These healthy fats must be consumed in food and/or supplemental form as the body cannot construct them, which makes them very important.  It’s also very important to know the difference between ‘good fats’ and ‘bad fats’.
**If you don’t have a gallbladder talk to your physician before considering adding extra fats into your diet.
Fats (aka lipids) are involved in a LOT more body processes and functions then you may think. They are crucial for our hormones, our nervous system and are a component of our cell membranes. Some of my go-to healthy fat consumptions include; good quality olive oil - comes in a dark glass container to prevent going rancid, avocado, nuts, salmon, cashew/nut butter, and quality eggs.
Food for Thought
Are you fueling yourself with foods that constantly result in stomach aches, bloating, smelly farts, sleepiness, sluggishness the next day/morning, low energy, bad mood?
Maybe it’s time to consider reducing or eliminating some of those foods. Actually, I encourage you to do so! Why fuel your body with gunk that results in you feeling exactly that way when you could be igniting yourself with lively foods that leave you strong, healthy and feeling GOOD. Do yourself a favour and listen to your body - it’s in constant communication with you. You won’t regret it - and you’ll end up feeling much better in the end.
My Story:
About 5 years ago I started producing incredibly deep, painful acne on my face. It took me about 4 years until I even started to see results, why? Because I wasn’t in tune with my body and I had no idea what the signals it was sending me meant. I wanted a quick fix and tried many ways to relieve my pain; a strong face wash, a different birth control pill and different creams to topically zap the zits away - these are just a few of the poor methods I chose to turn to.
It wasn’t until I started school to become a holistic practitioner that I started to be more receptive to my body’s messages and what it was trying to express from the inside out. Honestly, I had no idea there was even a connection between what I put in my body and how it feels - but let me tell you, it 100% does!
I also worked alongside other practitioners who helped me greatly along the way, becoming more understanding of what my body needed. It’s truly because of my prolonged health journey that I share my insight on the connections between signs & symptoms and how to understand it all.
This information is to be used as an educated guide and is acknowledging nutritional imbalances. It should not be used for diagnostic purposes or taken as medical advice. However, I hope my words have resonated with you.
Be happy & stay whole.
Taylor Wilkinson, RHN

<![CDATA[April is Oral Health Month: Realistically Whole]]>Tue, 28 Apr 2020 18:39:22 GMThttp://optimizewellnesssolutions.ca/blog/realistically-whole-may-is-oral-health-month

Realistically Whole

A few important concepts re: what's behind that beautiful smile.

Where Does Digestion Begin?
Have you ever been out for dinner & started drooling over your food before it even gets to your table? Haven’t we all?!
When we use our senses to see, smell, or even anticipate a plate of food, the body immediately begins preparing for digestion with the release of saliva in the mouth and stomach acid, a.k.a. ‘gastric juices’ in the stomach. There are enzymes located in both our saliva & stomach acid that assist in the chemical breakdown of food into an absorbable form.
Our saliva contains a specific enzyme called amylase. Once the food’s in our mouth the enzyme in our saliva begins to immediately break down starches and carbohydrates while the tongue and teeth also help to physically break down the food. The mouth’s role in digestion is BIG. It’s to ensure the food is broken down enough and prepped for the next phase of digestion - as we may all know, occurs in the stomach. The less our food is pre-digested in the mouth, the higher the workload for the stomach and stomach acid.
Our stomach often isn’t given the credit it deserves for all the hard work we force upon it. The stomach's role in digestion is to further metabolize our food into a form that can be used in the absorption phase. When we don’t chew our food thoroughly, or eat foods simultaneously that are digested at different rates, we are simply asking for trouble. This frequent overcompensation we force upon our stomach may eventually lead to an under-active stomach.
If you aren’t digesting your food enough in your stomach OR mouth, the truth of the matter is you won’t end up absorbing much of your meal at all. Therefore, you really aren’t reaping the full benefits of nourishment that your meals actually have to offer you. Malabsorption can then lead to a snowball effect of concerns: skin issues, brittle hair and nails and low iron to name a few.
Along with the above-mentioned issues, frequently scarfing-down your meals can also be connected to other concerns such as acid reflux or heartburn, gas and bloating, gut dysbiosis or candida, and can also be linked with other pathologies.
Side note: There are a lot of misconceptions about acid reflux. It’s important to understand that ant-acids are actually going to enhance the severity of your acid reflux over time. They create a snowball effect, and you are only getting instant ‘band-aid’ relief rather than long-term results.
While you’ve just learned a few ways that digestion is impacted in physical aspects, it is also directly affected by many other external factors. This will definitely be a topic discussed in the future, so stay tuned!
The Condition of Your Teeth Can Reflect Your Bone Health 

Here are some simple ways to ensure you’re supporting your teeth (and your bones):
  • Incorporating supportive vitamins and minerals into your diet, specifically calcium AND magnesium: almonds, beans/lentils, dark chocolate, leafy greens, seeds
    • Calcium needs the support of other nutrients to be effectively absorbed.
  • Increase your intake of chlorophyll-rich foods: spinach, kale, broccoli, collard greens, parsley
  • Avoid the sugary foods
  • Limit the exposure your teeth have to acidic foods to prolong the life of the enamel on your teeth by taking some simple precautionary steps (i.e. I like to drink my lemon-water through a straw to avoid exposure to my teeth).
Finding the Balance

As a Holistic Nutritionist, I believe it’s just as important to focus on balancing all aspects of life, not only your food consumption. Therefore, oral health and hygiene is just as important as your digestion of the foods you choose. Here are some simple considerations to ensure good oral hygiene:
  • Brush your teeth, morning and night, for more than 30 seconds.
  • Floss!! I know, I know, your dentist has told you this a million and one times already, but it’s for more than the health of your smile!
    • If you resent wrapping floss strings around your fingers and cutting off the circulation, get the floss picks - these were a game changer for me.
  • Don’t neglect your tongue
    • Consider getting a tongue scraper - this can help to eliminate millions of little bacteria that stay trapped on your tongue, remove undigested food particles and can help with bad breath.
  • Drink lots of water
    • Dehydration can be shown through body-talk as chapped, flaky lips, dry mouth and bad breath.
Thank-you for hanging out with me. Stay tuned for more educational blog posts.
Be happy & stay whole.
Written by Taylor Wilkinson, R.H.N.
Check me out on Instagram @realisticallywhole