You are currently browsing the monthly archive for April 2012.

by David Shackleton (David can be reached at

April is the heart of Spring, the most visible transition from the frozen to the flowing, the still and quiet of winter to the bustle of summer.

Of course, I’m speaking seasonally, and our modern lifestyle pays little heed to seasons.  With our centrally heated and air conditioned homes and offices, our snow tires and snow plows, we tend to regard winter as just an inconvenience to be dealt with, or maybe vacationed from.

We maintain a constant attitude and lifestyle, assisted by technology, which tries to keep the environmental extremes outside of our lives.  We insulate ourselves from the swings and changes of nature.

I admit, there are good reasons for this – dealing with extremes is, well, extreme.  It’s challenging.  Yet our species has done it for thousands of years, and it’s only in the last few hundred that we have managed to insulate ourselves almost totally from the natural seasonal swings.

I don’t think that this achievement has served us well, overall.

Which brings me to my message about balance for this month.  Balance isn’t about striking a middle ground and holding it steady.  It isn’t about even-handedness and moderation.  Like the seasons, it’s about change. Not moderation, but alternation. It’s about going to each extreme and spending time there.  For the seasons, we might consider that winter is more about stillness and contemplation, while summer is about activity and business.

The message of balance is that we need both — not an even-handed middle, not a mixture of both, but alternately one and then the other.  Some contemplation time needs to be pure and still and quiet.  Some busy time needs to be pure activity, free of reflection and introspection.

Of course, this is just one of the lenses through which we can look at seasonal changes.  There are many others.  There is growing evidence, for instance, that the human body is healthier when living in an environment where the temperature varies regularly, rather than the fixed temperature that we tend to keep inside our homes.  Or we could consider growth — which all occurs during summer and not at all during the winter.

The natural cycles — summer/winter, day/night —  have a wisdom that we have adapted to over millions of years.

Enjoy the Spring, the return of light and warmth and natural growth.

~ David


by Carla Brown

Did you know that over half of all North American families share their home with pets?  And that more than half of that number have multiple pets?  Wow. . .

Pets have long been considered important members of our families, and most owners are well aware of the love and friendship they receive in kind.  But  pets can offer more than just companionship — many of us don’t realize the kind of healing power that caring for a pet can confer.

A University of Minnesota study showed that having a cat around the house reduced the risk of a heart attack or stroke by 50 percent!

Recent studies have found that:

  • Heart attack patients with pets live longer than those without.
  • Playing with a pet raises serotonin and dopamine levels, making you feel more relaxed.
  • Pet owners are less likely to suffer from depression.
  • Pet ownership has been proven to decrease blood pressure levels.
  • Pet ownership can increase the frequency of exercise.
  • Having a pet adds structure and routine to your life.
  • Owning a pet helps people socialize more often.

As humans have a basic need to touch and be touched, they can experience positive effects by petting and cuddling their pets; and it’s a great way to calm yourself down.    Even simply watching fish in an aquarium can help reduce tension and stress.

This is not to say you should go out and adopt a pet immediately.  Pet ownership comes with many responsibilities.  And to best enjoy a happy life with a pet, it’s also important to choose one that’s right for your lifestyle and home environment.

If you’re not sure about what it takes to own a pet or who you might enjoy for a companion, many animal shelters offer short-term fostering opportunities.

from Kealy Mann, ND

This delicious, rich recipe makes 12 muffins that are gluten free, dairy-free, and grain-free!


  • 1 organic orange
  • ¼ cup coconut oil or butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/3 cup of honey
  • 2 cups ground almonds
  • ½ cup organic, unsweetened coconut
  • 1 tsp gluten free baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  1. Simmer whole orange in water for 45 minutes (do not peel)
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  3. Blend half an orange (including skin) in the blender and reserve the other half for a second batch
  4. Add all other ingredients to the blended orange
  5. Place in muffin tin and bake until done

Nutritional information per muffin:

Calories: 212 kcal
Carbs: 13 grams
Protein: 5 grams
Fat: 16 grams

This YouTube video comes from Father Jack Lau, a local Catholic priest and friend of Carp Ridge, who integrates yoga into his Christianity and worship practices.

Do you think yoga and Christianity are compatible?

There are thousands of pages devoted to it on the web — here’s an interesting one from a Baptist pastor in New York if you want to start reading more on the wide-ranging debate. And make sure to check out the comments.

from Bob Boisvert (

Two of our three hives in Carp have survived winter. . . and no bear damage.

All of this is quite normal.  Bees are pretty tough, but there are many factors that affect their survival through the winter: exposure to the cold, amount of food on hand (the honey they made the previous season), mite infestation, and other diseases. . .

All in all, it is typical to lose hives during the winter.  We have discussed it, and we may possibly replace the hive.  We still have to locate a supplier for another queen and her attendants.

The two surviving hives appear to be quite strong at this stage.

Monique has witnessed bees at another hive with blue pollen on their hind legs. See picture below to guess where that came from in the Carp Ridge woods:

If you happen to drop by in the morning on a weekend, and you see folks dressed up in alien white suits on one of the trails, feel free to come and say hello!

It will be our pleasure to introduce you to our amazing, buzzing friends.

~ Bob, Lynne and Monique

Dear family, friends and faithful volunteers ~

Spring has finally settled in and we are pleased to announce that our first Garden Volunteer Party will be happening on Saturday, April 21st from 9am until noon.

It will be held come rain or shine so please bring the appropriate clothing — nothing is worse than getting and staying wet or being overly warm or cold.

We want to have a lunch potluck as well (from noon to 1 pm) so please RSVP to Carla (see below) and tell her what you’d like to bring — she’ll make sure there are no doubles. We welcome your family and friends too, as well as friendly, non-aggressive dogs.

Please RSVP by Friday, April 20th: or 613-839-1198.   We’d love to have you here and we can’t wait to see all of your familiar faces!

Starting  Wed, May 2nd, Amber will be in clinic:

  • Tuesdays 9:30am-7pm
  • Wednesdays 9am-5pm
  • Saturdays (one or two times per month)

She will no longer be working Mondays.  Amber hopes her new hours will help to better serve the needs of the Carp Ridge community.

She is very excited to support you on your path to wellness, and hopes to see you soon!

by Allie Brooks

During the spring and summer seasons, trees come back to life, and flowers bloom, making the air fragrant and sweet.

Everything looks prettier and flourishing. BUT behind all these beautiful masks, stands a nasty wall of allergies, bugs, fleas and other obstacles that can annoy any type of life. To some, these natural predators are combated by using chemicals and pesticides that ultimately add to more environmental and health problems.

Treatments and cleaners for everyday things should not come with a warning label saying “not safe for pet” or “keep away from children”. There has been so many times where I have read a label for flea spray that has warnings to “keep of the pet’s skin”; leaving me to wonder how do I spray this chemical barrier, and is it even safe for my dog?

So what can one do to safely combat a problem? It’s easy. Fight nature with nature. To help jump start this movement to more natural options, I have explained some natural remedies for common household problems:


Just the mention of this word makes me cringe. I hate these little pests and it seems that right when you get rid of them, your loving four-legged friends bring them right back in. Though flea flogging and other smelly and poisonous chemicals seem to work, there are better ways to combat the issue, while not having to evacuate your house or making it smell like a Sharpie marker for days.

All you need is about 12 bucks, a shifter, and a vacuum cleaner. The ingredients are easily found at just about every home improvement store.

This recipe for this natural but deadly mixture is (covers about 2,700 sq ft.):

  • 4 cups of Diatomaceous Earth (DE)
  • 4 cups of Borax
  • 2 cups of Salt
  • Mix together, sprinkle on floor, let sit for a few hours to a few days, then vacuum.

Though this concoction sounds harmless, the effects seem malicious. The DE has shells in it that impale and kill the fleas, while Borax dehydrates them to the point of death, and the salt is a way to dehydrate the fleas and crush the eggs, which is often unharmed by normal flea sprays and foggers.

Garden Pests

When the warmer weather hits many people like to garden, and with gardening comes bugs that love to destroy your creations. But the garden pests sprays always have chemicals in them that smell awful and have restrictions on how many times you can use it in a season or warn to “not spray on day of harvest”.

Though there are many natural recipes to protect you plants, I would say don’t waste you time making them anymore. I used to separate and measure all the essential oils needed to repel bugs, but now this company, EcoSmart, does all the work for me. And best part you can spray whenever you want and it won’t hurt you, your animals, are plants. The ingredients are also easy to read:

Rosemary Oil ……………………………………….. 0.25%
Peppermint Oil ………………………………………0.25%
Thyme Oil …………………………………………….. 0.25%
Clove Oil ………………………………………………. 0.25%
Other Ingredients*………………………………. 99.00%
Total …………………………………………………. 100.00%

*Water, Mineral Oil (USP), Octadecenoic Acid Potassium Salt, Lecithin

Bug Bites

With nice weather comes bugs, and with bugs come bites and stings. An easy way to cure the burning and itching is to use veggies. You know that saying, “Cool as a Cucumber” well it actually means something. It has been a household remedy for years to aid burns and stinging bug bites. All you need to do is cut up this vegetable into circles and place on the infected area. Eggplant can also be used on bites to pull out the toxins and encourage healing. Plus during the wait, you got some snacks.

So why not combat nature with nature? It is a better option, a cheaper option, and a healthier option. Stay away from the confusing warning labels and often contradictory facts, and stay away from the hard to pronounce chemicals, that even a spelling bee champ couldn’t figure out.

by Amber Young, RMT

Did you know that strokes are the 3rd most common cause of death and the second most common cause of neurological disorder among adults?*

According to Health Canada, between 40,000 and 50,000 Canadians are hospitalized each year for strokes, and about 15,000 of these are fatal.

In 2003, about 272,000 Canadians 12 years of age and older were living with the effects of having a stroke (Health Canada stats). As people age, the risk of having a stroke increases, and after the age of 55 the risk doubles every 10 years –- which is why educating yourself about the risks, causes and warning signs are critical.

My story comes from a personal experience, which helped to shape my foundation of understanding this debilitating condition. In 1995 my dad had one, which first left him completely paralyzed on the left side of his body — this is called hemiplegia and is a common effect following a stroke.  He is still unable to function in many ways as he did prior to the stroke; his whole life was completely changed.

Some clinical info: A stroke is also known as cerebrovascular disease, resulting from an injury or interruption in the blood vessels supplying the brain. Strokes generally occur due to 2 major causes:  Ischemic strokes are the first kind (80%) — they happen due to an interruption of blood flow to the brain due to narrowing of the arteries, or from a blood clot.

The clot is basically formed from a build up of plaque in the arteries (fats, calcification, scar tissue), which acts to narrow the arterial pathway or creates a clot in the blood, which travels towards the brain and blocks the blood flow.

Prognosis for recovery is generally better with an ischemic stroke, as compared to the other major type: hemorrhagic (20% of cases).  Hemorrhagic strokes are caused from uncontrolled bleeding to the brain, which in turn cause brain cell death.  The two types of hemorrhagic stroke are uncontrolled bleeding on the surface of the brain (subarachnoid), or the rupture of an artery deep within the brain (intracerebral).

The individual who suffers a stroke of either type will present with symptoms based on the area and amount of the brain affected and the extent of damage to the brain cells, which is why the symptoms an individual will present with vary to such a degree from person to person.

The brain’s motor functioning affects the opposite side of the body. In the case of my father, the right side of his brain was damaged which caused alterations to the left side of his body.  The paralysis he suffered was luckily temporary following the initial stroke. He regained partial movement and sensation within a month.  It took 3 months for him to be able to walk again, and this was after extensive rehabilitation.  It was a very difficult process to have to relearn basic skills again as an adult — walking, or holding a pencil or a glass in his left hand.

Today, he has a permanent contracture (muscle shortening) in his left hand and arm, and limited movement and strength in his left shoulder — both of which leave him with noticeably altered function in this limb. He also has a limp and weakening of his left leg. As the day progresses and his brain becomes tired, he stutters and his mouth on the left side begins to droop. The physical symptoms on the left side of his body become more pronounced.

He has also become more emotional since his stroke, with a heightened experience of sadness.  He has been left with changes in his personality, has a difficult time learning new skills, is unable to be in places where there are crowds, he gets confused easily now, and due to all these changes suffers from periodic bouts of depression.

It is sometimes difficult to know how to support these changes, even 17 years later. I have been fortunate to do some therapy with my Dad, helping through massage to offer supportive touch, to ease some of the contracture in his muscles, and to help to stimulate the opposing muscles, which have lost their muscle tone.  I know it helps physically, even if only temporarily, and emotionally it helps him to accept his body as it is now -– accept himself with all the changes the stroke left him with.

For treatment, my dad has to take a blood thinner called warfarin as well as a ¼ aspirin a day for the rest of his life. These help prevent another reoccurrence of a stroke, as the elementary cause was due to an embolism, a clot which had traveled to the arteries of his brain.

I want to leave you with a list of warning signs of a stroke, adapted from the Health Canada website.  The quicker you can recognize these signs and get an individual help, the less severe and permanent the effects will be, as well as a decreased risk of death.  A person would present with sudden weakness, numbness and/or tingling in the face, arm or leg.  They will have a sudden temporary loss of speech or trouble understanding speech, sudden loss or alteration of vision, sudden severe or unusual headache, and/or they will have a sudden fall or unsteadiness.  Know these signs and educate yourself, as a stroke may happen to you, or someone you love –- which will impact your life forever.

For more information please go to the Health Canada and Heart and Stoke Foundation websites. They have a wonderful resource center with helpful links, suggestions for minimizing your risks as well as identifying risks, and an abundance of information.

(*Merck Manual, 17th edition)

Most people are unaware that the naturopathic profession is undergoing a transition in the way we are regulated.  This is a behind-the-scenes process that has been moving slowly forward for years if not decades and we are just on the verge of receiving our updated regulation.

But there is a hitch.  The draft legislation is woefully less than our counterparts have in other jurisdictions, with serious limitations on how naturopathic doctors can practice in Ontario.  If you are interested in knowing more, contact our professional organization, Ontario Association of Naturopathic Doctors, and consider speaking to your MPP about your experience to help obtain the best ND regulation possible in order to save health care dollars in this province!

Quick historical note: about 30 years ago, the provincial government planned to deregulate naturopaths in Ontario, resulting in the largest letter-writing campaign Queen’s Park had ever seen urging to keep our regulation intact (and protect our high standards).  Let’s repeat the process and keep natural medicine alive and kicking!

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April 2012
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