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Katherine Willow N.D.

How to Rejuvenate at Midlife

It is a common experience to feel depleted by age forty or fifty after decades of working, raising a family and following dubious lifestyle habits. Energy wanes, digestion becomes sluggish, muscle mass decreases in contrast to adipose tissue around the waist, libido diminishes, memory fades and overall quality of life recedes with the hairline.

People with strong constitutions don’t typically notice the change as much as those more sensitive, but the latter have the advantage of getting the message early enough to make changes while their more robust counterparts are able to plough forward until they get sick or drop. Another pattern is overriding the body with one’s mind, enthusiasm and will, thinking one has lots of energy which in reality is adrenaline wearing away the body with constant stimulation.

The first and definitely most difficult step towards better health in this harried, pain-driven culture is to SLOW DOWN. For those who manage to get out of the overactive box, much potential opens. It is said in older traditions that investing in three months of deep rejuvenation gives ten extra years of life.

Once time is freed up, the next step is to REST MORE. This is accomplished by early bedtimes between 8:30 and 9:30pm, depending on one’s level of fatigue, and strategic power naps of 10 to 20 minutes during the day. All organs and body systems need rest to recharge. Watching screens, doing puzzles and reading don’t count as rest. Eyes need to be closed and muscles relaxed.

Feeling more rested gives us more control to EAT WELL. This is where the process needs to be individualized by body type and condition. Essential criteria is how much a person is depleted versus being congested/toxic which will determine if the diet needs to be nourishing or cleansing or a mixture of both.

EXERCISE falls into the same category of needing to be individualized. Restorative yoga, however, benefits everyone. Once energy is high enough, interval training (aerobic and with weights) is one of the most effective methods of building muscle and restoring human growth hormone for vigour. It takes literally 20 minutes two to three times a week. Add stretching to this and within weeks to months the body will begin to feel renewed. Science tells us that 9 months of intensive training can reverse aging factors by ten years.

When the body is balanced, one can more easily undertake EMOTIONAL HEALING in order to release negative feelings and their corresponding tensions held since childhood. Much energy can be gained in this way.

When we are able to sit peacefully without climbing the walls, CONTEMPLATION and MEDITATION deepen mental rest and access one’s spiritual source to receive guidance about what to do with our renewed self. PURPOSE keeps us living well.

BASIC PRODUCTS helpful to rebuild health include: digestive enzymes, adrenal support, thyroid support, multivitamins/minerals and cleansing herbs such as milk thistle, dandelion, cleavers and psyllium. Then there are more sophisticated products such as homeopathic remedies, Ayurvedic combinations and modern discoveries of cell recharging substances. However, consistent results require lifestyle changes…

Sometimes it takes a specific product to break a pattern of low energy in order to be able to move forward with one’s lifestyle. Other times it requires a person’s support–a friend, family member, coach or healing practitioner who believes in us and helps us take those small realistic steps into the destiny of the second half of our lives.


Summer Hiatus Carp Dinner TalkThe Carp Dinner Talk will be taking a summer hiatus. There will be no dinner talks in July or August. The next dinner will be Sunday September 21, 2014. Dinner Talk Poster-Summer

-A Womyn’s Journey -A Journey’s Story -From Educated to Enlightened PDF copy

When I live something, think something, I make sense of it by writing it. Here is today’s offering:

Life as I had known it (last century!): Educated, Focused, Gogogo

I am living my life in my second third! And I love it. Energy abounds. Enthusiasm is my go-to philosophy. I’m dancing as fast as I can, faster than most, and everyone loves me that way, expects me that way. I sparkle on command, just like my childhood taught me. I just do it; do it right; do it right now! I love helping others, love celebrating them as they take first steps into their own future.

….And I’m Fat (one doctor told me I was a fat lazy pig who eats too much and exercises too little.) (?On less than 1000 calories and more than 12000 steps a day?).

ADHD chases me and serves me.

OCD is born of surviving the impossible…after all, if it is to be, it’s up to me! I can do this!

My gut is its own boss as is my blood sugar.

And my guilty little secret:…clinical depression diagnosis (which is a sure path to losing employment as a teacher, no matter how successful the kids and their parents say that I am. We help the students who have that diagnosis, but “cannot keep a ‘crazy’ teacher in the classroom”.)

(We are living in an unenlightened age, even amongst educated people)

I know where Mum is, where wife is, where teacher Mrs. McGee is….but I haven’t seen Sylvia for years.

And I live underground, …when I am not nose to the grindstone 16+ hours a day.

I am on a constant quest to find answers and to find my place and to prove myself.

My Mum and Dad and my youngest brother have died. And unsaid words haunt me.

My loved one survives a heart attack that they said would take him away. We made that doggedly determined trip back together.

Unrelenting stress builds up.

Favourite Foods: Comfort Foods (Mum’s meat loaf w sweet sauce, brownies), indulgent foods, real food, whole foods, and a little(!) sugar to keep up and keep hyper and keep ready to gogogo all day long, to live the life that I chose and love and get much acclaim for!

References (where I learned some of my biggest lessons in that time):

Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders

Secrets of the Teenage Brain by Sheryl G Feinstein

Essential Reiki by Diane Stein

William Lee Rand

Sacred Contracts by Carolyn Myss

Deepak Chopra, Wayne Dyer, Ekhart Tolle, Andrew Weil

You, the Owner’s Manual by Oz and Roizen

Oprah….in her early years


2001 “You have cancer, Mrs. McGee.” Crack goes the Universe. I’m awake!

I went to my doc, asking about a lump, a fullness that I can feel just below my ribs on my right. I’m told that it is “just the phantom memory of a breach pregnancy”. So I head out, seeking help elsewhere. And I find a GP, a humanitarian, with an energy-rich generosity of spirit, and the skill of listening keenly. She ‘finds something’ and sends me to a surgeon who tells me he will operate immediately. I have seven days to complete an entire set of report cards, to set up a detailed day book for 6 weeks, to ‘get my affairs in order’, to keep up the spirits of loved ones.   I clamour onto the cancer conveyor belt, gratefully. Incision is the ‘cadaver cut’. There are 7 tubes going into or out of me. My 3 day epidural numbs the incision without the dreaded fuzziness of drugs. There are hours and days of lying still and thinking. And Spirit visits me in that time. My Angels and Guides are joined by others sent from elsewhere to stand guard over me and encourage me.

Lessons learned: Gratitude for GP and surgeons and hospital caregivers, and Love sent to me.

Fat loss (well, muscle loss, water loss, …weight loss).

But I receive no avoidance or causal advice about this rare cancer, that clicks for me…so I refuse chemo and radiation which means no future with the oncologist.   And I fall thro the cracks after 18 months.

The struggle to get back on my feet, to start dancing and sparkling again is a solitary battle.   My insurance company thinks that I am cheating the system; they stalk me. Napping three times a day becomes my lifestyle… Where is my famed bountiful energy?

Laughter really is the best medicine. Life on the lighter side is just easier on everybody… (else) and it serves me, too!

And the dark corners encroach again.

Favourite Foods: comfort foods, energy foods, sugar, prop me up foods, get me back to life as I knew it foods.

References: neuro-endocrine cancer: This reference is a recent one, FYI. No available information existed in that day.

Civic Hospital Liver and Pancreas Cancer Clinic

2010. “You have cancer Mrs. McGee.” Thud!   Again? Really?

9 years later? But I thought after all this time…!   I have just retired and entered the next third of my life! I am finally finding Sylvia! I have grandchildren, the apples of my eye.

I gingerly struggle back onto the cancer conveyor belt that worked nine years ago, grasping and clinging to the same tremendous confidence in my life saving surgeons.

But Fear and Panic never lift. How the system has changed. Still grateful for the surgeon’s skill that saves my life again .. but not getting back on my feet….will I be denied what my Mum was denied…the third third of life?

I am seeking help… Living cautiously, slowly. Am convinced that I am already old. I have lost my way.

Favourite foods: does it really matter? Still giving a nod to real foods but relying on quick and easy foods, making up a short term’s worth. Thinking and planning for short term.


Writing your own will

Putting my affairs in order

Need advanced notice to go…anywhere…

OCD includes taking notes obsessively…..forgetful, can’t hear, perhaps Sylvia has left the building?

2013. “You have cancer, Mrs. McGee.” Smack!   What?   No?

Though the GP and Surgeon are still skillful, the system is completely broken, inspiring fear and confusion, focused on numbers and dollars rather than patient needs. 30+ appointments in 6 months. And the first words out of my mouth become “I’m a cancer patient”.

…poignant words that crossed my path…

“The world spins away from under my feet.

My ears ring and my heart beats in my ears and stomach”….

All those appointments, tests, scans, procedures, surgeries, consults…being on the cancer conveyor belt that is never stopping. Health care system has only one answer for me….take action with the surgeons.

But a rare cancer brings one doc out of the woodwork…. A rare cancer is opportunity to publish and turns up a cowboy who wants to treat me like a cadaver…before I am dead. My only escape is “I need a break…for a year….” “Then you will lose your referral with me!” “I’ll just have to live with that…”

And off I run, as fast as I can, to another health care provider who immediately becomes a vital member of my team…a very short list of professionals who are skilled AND caring.   Joining GP, liver and pancreas surgeons, kidney surgeon, daughter Lindsay’s research and care, is now ND Katherine.

I am encouraged to learn, to research answers, to use my skills and intellect, to see myself as alive and still vital. I can still get up and out there.

I still expect to claim every single minute of the other 26 years of my next third, to take charge of my life, to live consciously.   And I do that by waking up every morning with Joy that I woke up, with Appreciation for this body and this brain that have carried me to this day. And with the desire to be busy because I can be, and with a need to volunteer, to pay simple acts of human kindness forward…every chance I get.

Enlightened?…enlightening…still growing…


Carp Ridge a Natural Health Clinic

German New Medicine   My springboard and still my mainstay for advice, recipes

GAPS: Gut & Psychology Syndrome by Dr. Campbell-McBride

Ditch the wheat

Taking control of mouth health

Favourite foods are now Conscious food choices: Fermented foods

Drinks: Ginger beer, root beer, orangina type drink, pineapple drink…made with ginger bug or with whey

Dill pickles


“Do something interesting every day…otherwise you dis-integrate!”

-from a facebook centenarian

Lessons that I’ve learned:

We have allowed our nourishment to become the food industry.

I Eschew sugar and grains (food industry’s favourite additives), milk, processed foods, potatoes

I Eat and drink only the very best quality / most natural food that I can find

Make my own foods

Follow Gut and Psychology Syndrome: GAPS. Our mental health issues have a connection to our gut health…you saw how my mental health declined through my cancer experience, impossible for me to overcome.

We need to find out about GAPS…follow it

Eat / drink fermented foods (sauerkraut, gingerbug drinks, fermented (Kosher) pickles and vegetables for our gut health.

I’m told First drink of the day: squeeze juice of half lemon in water

I Drink Bullet Proof Coffee (hot coffee, 1tbs butter, 1 Tbs coconut oil, 1 Tbs gelatin- blend in glass blender)

I Eat good fat (olive oil, coconut oil, butter)

I Eat vegetables with carbs, vegetables with protein. Do NOT eat carbs with protein.

Yes, tooth enamel can re grow. (Dr Westin Price)

Next up -where do I go from here:

Check it out:

–   Dr Robert Lustig on Bill Maher show, his documentary “FedUp”, his work that confirms what I have always suspected: overconsumption of sugar is the number one evil. Not just because of obesity, but also because of internal damage. What is TOFI “thin on the outside and fat on the inside”. Chronic metabolic disease…is that the same as neuro endocrine cancer

–   leaky gut syndrome

–   Asleep by 10 philosophy

–   Hashimoto’s syndrome and thyroid sluggishness


I have decided::

To Reach outward; move forward.

To Focus outside of my own skin.

To Make every activity and commitment the very best.

And I leave you with these ideas that encourage me:

Laugh…right out loud…at every little pleasure…every day. Then share that laughter.

“Be who you are and say what you feel (because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind)”

“Womyn are Angels. When someone breaks our wings… we simply continue to fly …on a broomstick… We’re flexible like that.”

Celebrate!….every little thing.   And share the celebrations.

Good Health (what I like to refer to as pursuing Happyness) requires balancing body, mind, spirit (individually and collectively).

And I leave you with this poem (from Bob Perks), that speaks to me, and keeps crossing my path:

I Wish You Enough!

I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright.

I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun more.

I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive.

I wish you enough pain so that the smallest joys in life appear much bigger.

I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting.

I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess.

I wish you enough “Hello’s”to get you through the final “Goodbye.”

– –- written by Bob Perks, P.O. Box 1702, Shavertown, PA 18708-1702, USA

Thanks for listening. See you on my website and blog page…stay tuned this summer.

I had planned to do do some food demos today, around the GAPS diet….too much information!…coming soon…sign up for our (Kim and Sylvia’s) food demos!  See the poster here: Kim&Sylvia .   Watch for information at future Carp DinnerTalks.


Sylvia Melba Christie McGee, Carp DinnerTalk May 25, 2014






Memorial Garden BeforePath into future memorial gardenFuture Memorial Garden

Over the years, several of our patients and community members have passed away. We have been planning to create a memorial garden in their memory for ages. Now a perfect site has presented itself just behind the clinic, a lovely clearing with a large rock beside the seasonal stream that burbles along in the springtime.

In addition to honouring our departed patients and friends, the plan is to celebrate the many spiritual teachers who grace our lives. This will be a sanctuary where people can come and spend quiet time in sacred space. There will be an integration of nature, pieces of art and names on ceramic signs made by a local artist.

If you would like to volunteer to help create this special space, please let us know. Call or email Lori at 613-839-1198 ext 305 or and stay tuned into these newsletters and our website for work parties with pot luck lunches.

We look forward to collaborating on this uplifting project!

Carp Ridge Natural Health Clinic will be closed on Monday June 30 and Tuesday July 1st with the exception of the IV Suite which will operate on Canada Day. Have a great long weekend everyone!

It’s a beautiful sunny day before the summer solstice and my retirement ceremony.  The numbers have swollen from 21 to 43 overnight and I’m fretting about whether there will be enough food and chairs.  Other than that, I am at peace with this change, anticipating time to heal, think and explore deeper levels which I can bring back to share.

This past month has seemed endless, each day feeling like a week, time slowed down to a crawl.  It made me a little crazy, to be honest, my mind frantic at letting go of my identity, my heart breaking at losing a wonderful team and not watching my patients stretch into their healing on a regular basis.   But at this moment, I’m enjoying the slowness, listening to the birds, noticing the breeze waving the branches.

It’s a strange mix of sensations: my body is in more pain than ever and at the same time I feel young inside, full of potential and ready to grow in new ways.  When I go to sleep at night, I feel delicious if I breathe down under all the aches and waking up I sometimes wonder who this is.  Evolving, at least that’s what I hope is happening, grin, is definitely disorienting.  Makes me think of the caterpillar to butterfly analogy…a totally new creature…without any control on my part except to give it room to happen…

Although, having written that I need to acknowledge all the help I have: my EMDR therapist, Mary Ann Carmichael, who I often credit with saving my life; shamanic teacher Ilka Marcenay, whose recent session allowed me to be more open and vulnerable; Jennifer Presley’s energy work which increases my awareness about the number of past influences still stick in my being; to my pleasant surprise, Sheila Earl, with her gentle manner and Heilkunst remedies, which gradually lift off layers of these negative influences and allow my vital force to re-emerge; and of course my wonderful staff who bend over backwards to make my way forward possible in spite of losing their jobs as part of the process.  I am profoundly grateful and intend to give back  all that I can when on my feet again.

On another level, our family is working hard to do what’s best for my grandson Felix.  My daughter, Felix’s mother Coral, and her partner Ashley are planning to move into my house October 1.  We’ve been having heavy discussions about potential issues and solving some along the way.  The turning point came when Coral’s father told us to get on with it and be committed to making this work.  I’m going to divide the house in half and give them the larger half.  I get to downsize four decades of stuff, mostly paper, in three months—perfect!  We’ll enlist the services of a counsellor to help us along the way.  I’ll keep you posted, smile.

The young man in question has been going through major changes himself at the ripe age of 5 1/2.  After endless fits of rage related to control issues, I finally made him a Bach remedy.  Two weeks later one of our caregivers asked me what I’d done to Felix, as he was a totally different child, able to listen and be consistently kind.   Then he made friends with Ilka the shaman, who invited him into the sweat lodge.  He enthusiastically joined in for the first section.  That evening he chanted an Algonquin song for hours, correcting my pronunciation when I tried to sing along.  The next day he was exhausted, a very unusual state for him.  At night he spiked a sudden fever and next morning he peed about a litre—all classic signs of healing according to German New Medicine.

I’ll end this post with a case for acute homeopathy.  Felix and I were both experiencing sore throats with tender, swollen glands on our necks.  After a couple of days I looked up a remedy and found Mercurius, which I had never used.  It took 20 minutes and both of our throats and glands were back to normal.  This is the kind of information I plan to teach in monthly classes starting in September—I LOVE naturopathic first aid and acute prescribing!

That’s it for now.  I’ll continue writing monthly updates even after the clinic closes to stay in touch.

warm regards,


Clinic GardenThanks to the creative efforts of Kim Trott with the help of Jeremy Wrench and Kayla Charette, our clinic garden has been transformed. It will grace the transition of the clinic into its new function…whatever it may be…

Robin's NestIn one of the small trees in front of the clinic, we have a robin’s nest with baby robins. Thanks Sandy for getting this photo for us.






June Carp Dinner Surprise!

Members of the Carp Celtic Jam add their magical presence to the June Carp Dinner.

Members of the Carp Celtic Jam add their magical presence to the June Carp Dinner.

Regulars and new folks coming to this month’s Carp Dinner and Talk on Sunday, June 22 at the Carp Memorial Hall were delighted to find that eight members of the Carp Celtic Jam were gracing the event. With finely honed tunes, flawlessly performed, they set toes to tapping and heads nodding. No wonder—this group has been meeting and playing weekly for ten years and continues to do so on Monday evenings at the Masonic Lodge in Carp.



Speaker Richard Longworth expounding on the vision of a society where food is shared instead of wasted.

Speaker Richard Longworth expounding on the vision of a society where food is shared instead of wasted.

Not second fiddle, as he humorously began his talk, was Richard Longworth’s presentation on Redefining the Food System: A Sustainable Sharing Approach. With obvious deep thought and preparation, Richard spoke articulately about the need to creatively find ways to share food that is otherwise wasted in our community. He gave inspiring examples of websites that are used to help people give away free or low-cost items, such as Yerdle, AirBnB and Uber and gave ideas on how the internet could be used to distribute excess food. Best of all, he has designed and set up a collaborative website for Carp. He invited all of us to explore the site and contact him at with suggestions.


Karen Richter walked away with the gift basket from new health food store Dandelion Foods in Almonte after trading in the birdhouse she won!

Karen Richter walked away with the gift basket from new health food store Dandelion Foods in Almonte after trading in the birdhouse she won!


As usual, dinner was delicious, celebrating summer with a wide variety of salads to make a well balanced and healthy meal. Holistic chef Kim Trott served up salads made of mixed beans, local potatoes, eggs, kale and local lettuce and desserts made of local rhubarb, apples and strawberries. A novel creamy dressing consisted of tahini (sesame paste) and avocados. Instead of bread, quinoa with olive oil and lemon was offered as a lighter alternative. Kim announced that she is also starting up a program for children integrating nature, art and healthy food as well as cooking classes together with lead volunteer Sylvia McGee. ( )

Helen Craig (left) won a baby cardinal flower. She and sister Lois are regulars at the Carp dinners.

Helen Craig (left) won a baby cardinal flower. She and sister Lois are regulars at the Carp dinners.



Donors for this month’s dinner include: Connaught Nursery from the Carp market with plants for the raffle as well as supplying the green salad; McGregor’s Produce, also in the market, donated potatoes and supplied the strawberries; Dandelion Foods, a new health food store in Almonte, donated a generous gift basket for the raffle; and Bill Rawson gave a hand-crafted wooden bird house for the raffle as well. Finally, local charity Carp Ridge Learning Centre generously covered the cost of the food. Many people volunteered their time and energy with much goodwill!

All proceeds of food and funds from each dinner go to the West Carleton Emergency Food Aid with thanks for the important service they provide.

Coral Byers and Ashley Wellman are first time participants at the Carp Dinners and were delighted with this community project. I think we'll see them again!

Coral Byers and Ashley Wellman are first time participants at the Carp Dinners and were delighted with this community project. I think we’ll see them again!

The Carp Dinners will take a break over the summer and will resume on Sunday, September 21 from 4:30 to 6pm, with a talk on Simple Fall Cleansing. All are welcome and there’s a craft table for the kids set up by volunteer Tanya Spirak. Please RSVP by calling Lori at 613-839-1198 or emailing

Thank you to all who helped clear the tables at the end of the meal!


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