You are currently browsing the daily archive for March 27, 2015.

Sitting in the clinic kitchen and looking out over the cold, white landscape, it’s hard to tell that it will be April next week.  It makes me think of our northern inhabitants and wonder how they manage their long winters every year.  Maybe lots of whale blubber full of vitamin D…  At least the sunlight has significantly increased, bringing in the cleansing season again.  Time to cook up some kitcharee and break out the milk thistle, grin.

Life continues to be intensely focussed on loved ones struggling with illness.  If you’ve been following me since summer, you might have guessed that my sister in New York has brain cancer.  It happens to be the same kind to which my late husband succumbed in 2002, glioblastoma multiforme, GBM.  Lili is bravely going through chemo and radiation with naturopathic assistance.  It’s almost surreal because she is so strong and healthy…as was Mickey.  However she has a better prognosis and expects to live for decades.  All of us pull together to get through this intact, even if it means healing through loss and death.

Mickey’s eldest son is recovering from flesh-eating disease and will need to live in a long-term care facility.  It is astounding to me how he keeps his spirits up.  It’s like visiting an angel.  Last Saturday I went to a Salvation Army store and bought a bag full of movies, books and CD’s which I will deliver to his bedside tomorrow.  It’s fun to visit him, not something one usually feels in a hospital.

My daughter’s partner is still disabled with some unknown illness, which is maybe the hardest, the not knowing.  We go from doctor appointments to the pharmacist to the hospital and keep getting more tests.  Her doctor has been stellar, helping us feel that eventually we will figure this out.  And my good friend who had the heart transplant and is staying with us is having complications that don’t allow him to move forward in his life.  Utter frustration and yet he powers on.  The good news on this illness front is that the family member with mini-strokes is doing fine and back to regular life.

In the middle of all this, I do my best to help and regain some sort of balance.  Normal life happens in between crises and hospital visits and trips to New York.  And yet I’m generally at peace.  It is deeply satisfying to be of service and growing into acceptance.   My own health is improving beyond my expectations and I am booked for a long-desired breast reduction tomorrow, armed with remedies and pain techniques, which will allow me to exercise more comfortably.  At this point I’m looking forward to the two week recovery—my turn to rest!!  My joints are slowly getting better, my eyes are stable with days of actual improvement, my hair is shiny for the first time in decades and my back is no longer keeping me up at night.  My guts are still the resistant area, leading me to deeper awareness of how I hold tension and emotions.  I am definitely not as enlightened as I thought, laugh!!

Yesterday I had a phone consult with my German New Medicine teacher, Ilsedora Laker, about these guts of mine, embarrassed that it’s taking me so long to figure out the trigger.  She took me in the direction of looking for a “lack” and led me to see that because of my guilt around having so much, I deny myself many things, especially time to relax.  In the conversation, I could clearly see the issue but couldn’t imagine not feeling guilty.  Later in my meditation, I asked myself what it would take.  The answer came: to accept that I DO MY BEST to share and contribute all that I have.  I don’t have to be a super-human or beat myself up or drive myself to the brink of exhaustion to justify my existence as a person with wealth.  A beautiful light flooded me and I realized that I’ve cracked the code.  Now to continue reinforcing it gently.  Eureka!

KW-Ice Show2

Katherine performing her solo at the ice show.

In the middle of all this intensity there have been many fun moments: taking slow walks with my sister; participating in the ice show with Felix (see photo); sleeping in the yurt with grandson Felix and our friend Jessica—until 2am when we rushed back home through the woods in the dark because I couldn’t get us warm enough with the wood stove; trying out ecstatic dance with the regulars in Ottawa; cross-country skiing at Fitzroy Park; and simply enjoying the privilege of being well enough to do my daily tasks of cooking, laundry and looking after Felix…who is trooping through all the stress around him with courage and kindness.

The best part of my own healing process is that night is no longer a time of horrific visions and terror but growing into a delicious experience of relaxing and coming home to myself thanks to the ongoing work with EMDR therapist Mary Ann Carmichael.  Decreasing my constant anxiety and increasing my awareness is the central piece that allows everything else to change.  The main thing I need to be careful of is that much of the energy I seem to have may be due to being in a shock state because of my sister’s illness, a long surge of adrenalin that will take me to exhaustion as it did with my late husband.  This time around I need to take better care of myself.

And underneath everything there continues the dream of the centre.  Every time someone is helped with a remedy or a healing technique I fantasize sharing it in a class or workshop.  With the spring sun comes new visioning and soon we will be able to let you know what we will offer here.  Patience all around!  I do realize that I have a compulsive tendency to overdo and am committed to moving forward slowly and thoughtfully.  I think that will be easier with the recent insights.

Here’s to your own visions and dreams–


Katherine Willow N.D.

It’s time to think about inner cleansing again as we head toward spring equinox. Canadian weather makes it tricky, with cold temperatures and snow inclining us to heavier foods while the increasing sunlight stimulates our bodies to unload toxins accumulated over the winter.

When these conflicting influences are not balanced we can end up with a cold or flu, depending on our constitution and lifestyle. Signs that we are heading in that direction include a diminished appetite, not knowing what to eat and at the same time fighting cravings; bloating and other digestive symptoms; headaches; restless sleep and waking in the wee hours of the morning; irritability and depression; and a heavy sense of fatigue, especially in the mornings.

Here are some tips for balancing in early spring in a cold climate:

  1. Start lightening the diet moderately: move from meat and poultry to fish and vegetarian proteins; consume less fat (nut butters, organic butter, cold-pressed oils and coconut oil are good); increase greens—small salads and otherwise cooked; replace wheat with lighter grains such as rice, quinoa, millet and buckwheat; only have one serving of fruit daily as it is still too cooling for this time of year; eliminate or decrease dairy products; avoid obvious culprits such as sugar, white flour, processed foods, alcohol and caffeine as much as possible; limit even healthy sweets for a time.
  2. If you are able, replace one meal daily with a protein drink that is room temperature several times weekly, preferably for dinner and then stop eating for the rest of the evening.
  3. Drink herbal tea or lemon water (rinse teeth after) first thing in the morning and between meals. Types that stimulate the digestion and cleansing include: ginger, dandelion leaf (root for fall), peppermint and many wonderful detox blends.
  4. Make sure bowels are moving regularly. I often suggest bentonite (1 tablespoon) and psyllium (1 teaspoon) mixed quickly in a cup of warm water ½ hour before breakfast as a gentle bowel cleanser.
  5. Cleansing is blocked when we are in chronic stress. Consider yoga, learn to meditate, get regular massages or do some emotional resolution to offset the hectic energy of modern life.
  6. Add specific cleansing herbs in a low dose: milk thistle, homeopathic detox remedies, cleavers, Alveo, etc. Use 1/3 regular dose in the mornings.

All of these actions will lead to gentle cleansing without symptoms in most people. Energy will gradually increase, appetite will sharpen, sleep improves, mood brightens, libido reawakens and mind clarifies.

If we end up with a cold or flu despite our best efforts, the best solution is to move immediately to a liquid diet of hot water, lemon water, broth made of cooked veggies and/or bones from grass-fed animals, room temperature protein drinks and herb teas. Products made from elderberries (Sambucus) have been shown to shorten the length of a flu much more than flu medications. If done right away, one can abort a seasonal illness in a few hours rather than spending miserable days in bed!

Cleansing is part of most spiritual paths. Lightening our digestive load allows us to focus on higher levels. This awareness can be accompanied by feelings of lightness, spaciousness and bliss which are strong motivators to continue eating a clean diet and cleansing regularly which in turn helps us find our true selves and contribute happily to the Universe.


1/2 cup Basmati Rice
1 cup Mung Dal (split yellow)
6 cups (approx.) Water
1/2 to 1 inch Ginger Root, chopped or grated
a bit of Mineral Salt (1/4 tsp. or so)
2 tsp. Ghee
1/2 tsp. Coriander Powder
1/2 tsp. Cumin Powder
1/2 tsp. Whole Cumin Seeds
1/2 tsp. Mustard Seeds
1/2 tsp. Turmeric Powder
1 pinch Asafoetida (Hing)
Handful Fresh Cilantro Leaves
1 and 1/2 cups Assorted Vegetables (optional)

Kitchari means mixture, usually of two grains. This is one kitchari recipe that is particularly nourishing and easy to digest. Please note the options below for some alternatives.
Vegetables such as zucchini,
asparagus, sweet potato
For Vata or Kapha conditions:
add a pinch of ginger powder
For Pitta: leave out the mustard seed.


Carefully pick over rice and dal to remove any stones. Wash each separately in at least 2 changes of water. Add the 6 cups of water to the rice and dal and cook covered until it becomes soft, about 20 minutes.
While that is cooking, prepare any vegetables that suit your constitution. Cut them into smallish pieces. Add the vegetables to the cooked rice and dal mixture and cook 10 minutes longer.
In a separate saucepan, sauté the seeds in the ghee until they pop. Then add the other spices. Stir together to release the flavors. Stir the sautéed spices into the cooked dal, rice, and vegetable mixture. Add the mineral salt and chopped fresh cilantro and serve.

Caution: Kitchari mono-diet can lead to constipation if taken exclusively for several days, as it is low in fiber. To ensure proper elimination, the following may prove helpful if taken once a day, away from kitchari meals: psyllium husks or seeds with water OR oat bran OR prune juice.

Teas for each Constitution
Vata Tea — equal parts ground ginger, cumin and coriander
Pitta Tea — equal parts ground cumin, coriander and fennel
Kapha Tea — equal parts ground ginger, cinnamon, and a pinch of clove

Here is a link of an article written by Father Jack regarding the 50 Anniversary of the Bloody Sunday, Selma Alabama. He shared it with us and now, we are sharing it with you.
Feel free to pass it on.
Blessings of Peace/Shalom/Shanti/Salam
Avaaz is an online organization that supports global change in the direction of honouring human rights, environmental protection, sustainability and other worthy goals.  It’s easy to support these goals once you sign up to their emails, just 2 clicks and you add your name to millions on petitions that help move governments and corporations in the right direction.  I thought I’d support these efforts by including them in our newsletter. To learn more about Avaaz:

Courtesy of the Stittsville IDA website

Pharmacy compounding is the art and science of preparing personalized medications for patients.  Compounded medications are “made from scratch” – individual ingredients are mixed together in the exact strength and dosage form required by the patient. This method allows the compounding pharmacist to work with the patient and the prescriber to customize a medication to meet the patient’s specific needs.

For more info:

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