Thursday, November 3, 2016

My Life Changing Moment by Guest Blogger - G. Thomas Rae, RMT

Throughout my own journey as a Naturopath I have met some interesting people and have listened to some amazing transformation stories. This is without a doubt one of them. When I met Thomas last summer, before he started offering massage therapy in Barrie, I was very surprised to hear about his journey, and how nutrition and exercise 'saved him'. I have asked that he share his story with you, as I'm sure many of you will see yourselves in Thomas. I hope you find it motivating and inspiring!  Thomas, take it away!
 
My life changing moment - A Story of health and happiness


                Yes I am aware of the cliché saying “eating healthy changed my life” It is right up there with “one step at a time” or “today is the first day of the rest of your life”. I am as big of a sceptic as anyone else out there, but this is a true story. A story of how a single decision changed my life in ways I never realized ever could of happened. Thinking about telling this story I feel like I need to go way back (like childhood way back), besides that’s where all of our problems start! Right?



First of all, I’m not going off on some huge tangent of how bad I had it growing up, because there are people out there that really did have it bad, and that wasn’t me. With that being said, I wasn’t the happiest of kids, I always seemed to surround myself with people that didn’t make me feel good. Which brings me to my first point of my story. You know that amazing felling you get when you order that cheese cake with strawberry sauce, or heaven forbid that deep dish double pepperoni extra cheese pizza. Ya, you know what I’m talking about; you ask your server for those nachos and beer and just wait, like happiness is coming, and then it arrives. And you start to eat that hamburger or slice of chocolate cake like nothing else in the world matters, happiness and euphoria passes over you one bite at a time and love is happening in your mouth. Sound familiar? Let me put that thought on hold and jump into the future a bit.


              
  I have always enjoyed making people happy, even if I wasn’t getting it return (don’t worry I figured this part out too) I had this joy at a young age for cooking, and if you haven’t realized, eating as well. When I was an 18 years old I was searching for meaning and a job, and I stumbled into a kitchen, and immediately fell in love with the life. It was fast, creative, and loud. For the first time in my life swearing was not only accepted, but encouraged! It was like you would try to one up the cook next to you, with who could try and drop more F bombs in one sentence, but mixed in with the fun hard hours, and the late starts (which for a teenager can be very appealing) was this satisfaction through creativity, and even better was that feeling you get when you brighten another person’s day. Every person that has made turkey dinner or a birthday cake knows what it feels like when you please another person through their mouth (no pun intended). I spent a lot of time in this atmosphere, and so many amazing things happened to me. I learned what work ethic really was, I learned how to speak a second language, and best of all I met my wife who is my person and the most amazing beautiful women in the world, and from that 2 of the most special little children.



                So, back to my childhood (hold on tight this may get a little deep). I always have
had trouble keeping friends, so I’d end up being around people for convenience instead of joy. This obviously left a very empty feeling inside. I remember being sad a lot, or just not being happy (yes, there is a difference) and my mother being the loving person that she was always wanted to see me smile and would do so in any way possible. The easiest way to put that smile on my face was to eat that pizza, or go to Swiss Chalet and get all the Chalet sauce I wanted. Of course on the way home, I would shine my big blue eyes at my mother and ask for some pre bedtime chips, because that short term happiness was wearing off, and I was beginning to think of the friends that I didn’t have. These trends went through stages all the way through my childhood and awkward teenage years.




                So we have a young, stupid, know it all who is desperate to grow up kid who relates dealing with stress and feeling happy with food, working in high stress kitchens. What could go wrong right? Well. Just like any adult knows, life has highs and lows, but I wasn’t ever trained as a young person on how to deal with lows. I don’t remember any specific point when I lost myself, but at the beginning of 2007 it began. I didn’t care what I was eating and exercise was such an afterthought. The year passed by and my wife (then girlfriend) and I made a big change in scenery. We made a move to Montreal, what a perfect place for someone that has trouble with coping with life choices. Have you ever had a smoked meat sandwich, or poutine? And I’m not talking about English poutine. I’m talking about a good old 3AM Montreal poutine with real poutine sauce and cheese curds (OK, I know I’m getting off topic). The spiral downward continued, of eating to excess. I began to think it was cool to be overweight and out of shape “ever see a skinny chef?” is what I would say. 2011 brought upon a rude awakening.



                I was doing my regular thing and eating a poutine and hot dog when I had this huge pain in my chest (wow did it hurt) I shook it off. 2 weeks later it happened again and my wife took me to the emergency room. After ruling out heart issues the doctor came to the conclusion that my Gall bladder had to come out. The doctor explained the surgery saying “it is not the end of the world”. He had done hundreds of these and I will be in and out in a day he said. He had a rather stern warning. He said in all of the hundreds of times he had done this surgery I was by far the youngest (25) “this was my first warning” he said “Next will be diabetes, then you will die of a heart attack at a young age, if you do not change your ways”. I remember thinking that I had to stop. I was well over 400 LBS (I was an athlete is high school) and no clue how I had gotten there. I left the hospital a new person. I had the operation and a few months later I was back in Ontario thirsty for change.


              
  I was so motivated to change my ways, but I couldn’t do it alone. I was on google looking for help, and I came across this cutting edge “new” type off workout - CrossFit (I know for all the CrossFit haters out there. I probably agree. But this is not a CrossFit story. So get off my back). I remember watching the YouTube video of people lifting weights and running and climbing ropes and thinking why not me? Why can’t I be one of those fit happy people? So my journey began, and jumped in head first - I drank that CrossFit Kool-Aid and went back for more. In 2012 came a gym challenge that was called “the best shape of your life challenge” a 3 month strict paleo and 4 workout a week challenge, I flourished. I dropped over 100 LBS and won the challenge.




                I was still cooking at this time, and I remember trying to talk to my colleagues about fitness and healthy eating and they would laugh at me. I was becoming an outsider, but for the first time in my life, I had found a way to prolong that feeling you get when you order that pizza. I was looking good, sleeping well, and happy for once in my life. These unmotivated, unhealthy fools that I worked with weren’t going to take this away from me. I had to change the environment that I was in. I looked at my future, and family was in it. So my wife and I had the most beautiful little girl that I have ever laid eyes on.


            
    I needed to provide for this family, but I needed to stay fit and happy as well - if only for my daughter’s sake. There was no way that I was going to pass this terrible trend to my daughter. She is going to be happy for long periods of times. I was on a community college website looking at courses and I came across Massage Therapy. It was like the good in my past flashed by my eyes. When I was at my best as an athlete, I had always worked with a massage therapist to rehab injuries. I have always loved sport, and what would keep me on track better then helping people to stay at their healthiest. So I decided to change my career in that moment.



                Fitness, nutrition and health really did change my life. I went from a severely overweight, lazy, immature cook into a Father who is driven by health and fitness with a passion for manual therapy. I will always be working on myself now, I am now proud to say I am at a steady 270LBS (from 450). I’ve done this by regular exercise and eating real food. What is real food? No wheat, dairy or processed sugar, if you can’t eat it in its raw natural state then it doesn’t belong in your body. People often ask me what my goal is. The answer is simple: I just want to be happy, like double pepperoni and extra cheese happy!!

Thomas Rae, RMT, SMT is now the Massage Therapist at Vitality for Life Health Center, and is accepting new patients!

Dr. Anna Falkowski HBSc, ND
Naturopathic Doctor, Clinic Director
info@vitalityforlife.ca
www.vitalityforlife.ca
Twitter: @NaturoDoctor
We're On Facebook!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Ontario Prescribing & Therapeutics Exam

Many of you know that I have spent the majority of 2016 studying for the Ontario Prescribing and Therapeutics exam and I am excited to share with you that I found out yesterday that I passed! I am so thankful for all of the support that I received from my family, friends,
colleagues and patients … in the stressful days preparing for the exam and in the weeks while I waited for the results. Thank you so much for the confidence you had in me.

What does this mean FOR YOU moving forward?


I am now able to do the following: 
 Access and use the substances and medications on the Schedules of the Controlled Acts Regulation (a complete list can be found in the schedules listed at  http://www.ontario.ca/laws/regulation/150168


These substances and medications include: 
-injections (vitamin B12)
-vitamin D over 1000 IU
-vitamin A over 10 000 IU
-desiccated thyroid 
-topical bioidentical hormones (estrogen, progesterone)
-Have an in depth understanding of the evidence based application of pharmaceutical drugs that patients may have had prescribed by other practitioners


Many of you know that over the last 2 years in addition to having a family-based practise I’ve had a special interest in working with Women. It’s been my passion helping women realize their full potential in life by feeling healthy, confident, energized and strong. I witness the effects of poor health on a daily basis (and the impact it has on the different areas of a persons life - work, relationships, family etc), and it has become my mission to continue promoting prevention, balance and healthy lifestyle.
I feel that having passed this exam I now how a greater variety of tools at my disposal and can better address the population that may require thyroid and hormonal support, which seem to be prevalent issues. I’m excited to put these tools to work!

For those of you who are interested in knowing more about why this exam became an option for Naturopathic Doctors, here is a quick recap of what has been transpiring over the last year in our profession:

Effective July 1, 2015, Naturopathic Doctors in Ontario were moved from being regulated under the Drugless Practitioners Act to the Registered Health Professions Act (RHPA). The initiative to move the regulation of Naturopathy in Ontario began more than two decades ago. While there have been some transitional challenges, this change is a positive step forward. It recognizes the Naturopathic profession as an equal partner alongside other health professions, expands the lab testing we can order and allows for designated prescription rights. Among other benefits, these will ultimately enhance the quality of naturopathic care for patients.




Dr. Anna Falkowski HBSc, ND
Naturopathic Doctor, Clinic Director
info@vitalityforlife.ca
www.vitalityforlife.ca
Twitter: @NaturoDoctor
We're On Facebook!

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Shiatsu - what IS it and what can you expect??

I have to tell you - until Gracie Hvidston started working at Vitality for Life as our Shiatsu therapist I didn't know much about this ancient Japanese body therapy. Well I finally experienced it for myself and I really wanted to share with you my experience.

First off, here's a quick explanation of Shiatsu - Shiatsu is Japanese for “finger pressure” - it is a therapy with it's roots in Traditional Chinese Medicine. It is a non-invasive physical therapy aimed at relaxing the body’s nervous system from a sympathetic to a parasympathetic state. Pressure is applied with the thumbs, palms, elbows and knees and held at specific acupuncture points along the meridians.

So what can you as a patient expect? Here's what happened during my treatment:

The room is set up similar to a massage therapy room - a massage table is used, the lights are low to create a peaceful environment and there is soothing music playing in the background.

After the paperwork in which your medical concerns are described have been taken, the therapy begins. The interesting thing about Shiatsu is that you do NOT need to disrobe. The therapy is performed right through the clothing.

I started in a seated position and Grace started to work on my shoulders and back. She used her thumbs and forearms to press into hundreds of points, moving efficiently over all the muscles. After 5 minutes I went into a side-lying position and she continued to work along my spine, then hips and legs. She also stretched my arms into a few different positions and pulled them gently which felt great. I turned to the other side and the same motions were repeated. I then laid on my stomach and she worked along my entire back, shoulder and back of legs and feet. It felt incredible. Her thumbs are surprisingly strong - I thought she was using her elbows but she said that doing Shiatsu for over a decade has built her strength in her hands. 
Her thumbs press down and move to the next point usually each second, it's quick but very relaxing. VERY relaxing. With each press I felt the tension melting away and the trigger points disappearing. I was thinking about how great a runner would feel having Grace work on their legs, as she treated my tight calves and hamstrings!
I then turned onto my back and Grace worked on my shoulders again but this time UNDER my back - Grace explained to me that she targets the same muscles but in all different positions because muscles are 3-dimensional and each position allows her to work on different aspects of that muscle.
She then worked on my scalp which was my FAVORITE!! Who knew so much tension was held there, but the pressing and kneading released so much tightness and felt wonderful. We finished with some work over the belly (I had complained of some chronic digestive issues). That was a different experience than anything I'd ever had. 

The whole treatment was one hour in length and felt simply amazing. Grace uses Shiatsu to treat a variety of conditions (migraines, hormone imbalances, stress, mobility issues, digestive issues etc) but also helps people maintain great health. For those of you that could benefit from acupuncture but are scared of needles, you can get many of the same benefits from Shiatsu! I HIGHLY recommend you try it, and you may be surprised to learn that it may be covered under your health benefits!
Next, I may be seeing Grace for a Reiki treatment or some cupping (those services are also currently being offered)! We are thrilled to have Grace part of our team and to be able to offer Shiatsu therapy in Barrie!

Dr. Anna Falkowski HBSc, ND
Naturopathic Doctor, Clinic Director
info@vitalityforlife.ca
www.vitalityforlife.ca
Twitter: @NaturoDoctor
We're On Facebook!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Vitality for Life Women's Retreat!



Vitality for Life Women’s Retreat
Date: Saturday November 14, 1pm – 6pm
Location: Moksha Yoga Studio, 411 Huronia Road

We invite you to join us on this special day of pampering, learning, fitness and connecting! Your day will include a private hot yoga class, meal planning workshop, a delicious nutritious lunch, and a Guided Meditation from our special guest, Kelly Benoit, that will reconnect you with your Inner
Goddess!

You will also choose 2 of the following packages (these will be filled on a first come first served basis, so your choices may not be guaranteed):

1.      1. A) Kyla Hookey, RMT, is pleased to offer eight lucky ladies a special service - Enjoy 15 minutes of traditional East Indian Head Massage blended with Swedish Massage to bring you one of the most relaxing and therapeutic treatments possible.  Expect to lay back, relax and let Kyla ease the tension from your neck and shoulders, relieve sinus congestion and tension from your face and release tightness from the muscles of your scalp, all while having luxurious warm coconut oil rubbed into your hair (or we can do it without the use of oil).  Why not treat yourself to this indulgent experience?  After all, you're worth it!

     B) Join Dr. Jennifer Brazeau, DC as she takes you through the MOST effective exercise routine to target your BAC (Booty, Arms & Core) – in the comfort of your own home! During this 15 min. session you will be given a simple program and shown proper technique with moves that require no advanced equipment!

2.      Feeding the Skin, with Jodi Fraser RHN (Registered Holistic Nutritionist & Skin Care Specialist)
To keep skin looking healthy, youthful and vibrant you have to nourish it from the inside out.  In this session we will learn what the best anti-aging foods are for firmer, more radiant skin, what your skin’s enemies are and how to avoid them.  In this 30 min. session we will take a look at the active ingredients in skin care products that help fight the signs of aging, what to look for, how best to apply them and how to make some at-home anti-aging products! You will go home with an anti-aging meal recipes and recipes for homemade skin care products, plus Stemulation anti-aging product samples!

3      3. Join Denise Sutherland, certified Aromatherapist for a 30 minute mini perfume session.  Learn what some of your favourite essential oils are and create your own "Signature Scent" mini perfume sample with Denise's guidance. Denise will also tell you the benefits of the essential oils that you chose for your personalized perfume. You will take home your "Signature Scent" to enjoy.


Loot Bags: Surprise samples for all participants!

Draw Prizes:
2 One Hour Massages with Kyla Hookey RMT
2 Nutritional Assessments with Jodi Fraser, RHN
Chiropractic Assessment with Dr. Jennifer Brazeau, DC
Olive Baby Gift Basket
Lotus Natural Skin Care Basket

*Please call the clinic with your payment within 3 days of reserving your spot to ensure you are enrolled!


Dr. Anna Falkowski HBSc, ND
Naturopathic Doctor, Clinic Director
info@vitalityforlife.ca
www.vitalityforlife.ca
Twitter: @NaturoDoctor
We're On Facebook!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Registered Holistic Nutritionist in Barrie - Jodi Fraser, RHN!

I am very honored to introduce you to this lovely lady , who will be offering her Holistic Nutrition services at our clinic - Jodi Fraser RHN! The addition of Jodi's services has been a year in the making, so this is a very exciting time for us! 
As many of you know, Nutrition is a key foundation for what I do as a Naturopathic Doctor, and I make many recommendations in terms of dietary modifications. Some patients can feel overwhelmed or 'lost' when a dietary and lifestyle change is recommended (by myself or other health practitioners), but Jodi is here to help make sense of it all and give you very specific advice on HOW you can make these necessary changes! I'm so happy that
she'll be here to help you with the details (not to mention, you may be able to use your health benefits for her services! Please look into your plan to ensure you have coverage to see a Registered Holistic Nutritionist - she has the NNCP designation which makes a difference!)

Jodi is not only passionate about educating people about all things Nutrition, she lives the lifestyle herself, and can share with you her vast knowledge of incorporating healthy foods and meal plans into even the most hectic lifestyle! 

As a mother of three children Jodi knows first hand the struggle many Moms and families face when it comes to trying to make changes to daily routine. She can help you navigate these challenges by customizing a meal plan specific to the needs of your family.
Jodi also treats a variety of conditions using Nutrition and healthy lifestyle, including hormone imbalances, food allergies, headaches, irritable bowel, indigestion and chronic fatigue. Whether you are seeking weight-loss, improved energy or glowing, healthy skin, Jodi can help! Holistic Nutrition services are wonderful for women wanting a healthy pregnancy, for nursing moms, and during the post-partum period when hormones can wreak havoc on your body and mood!
Jodi's warmth and caring nature will make you feel safe and supported at your visits. You may also want to know that Jodi has 20 years of experience as a Skin Care Specialist, and she is excited to incorporate her knowledge of anti-aging and skin issues to her practice! She is offering FREE Meet & Greets to help you determine whether her approach is a good fit for you! You can book these ONLINE here.

Barrie Holistic Nutrition Services:



-Nutritional Counselling
-Customized meal plans
-Manage food allergies and sensitivities
-Anti-aging food plans
-Pantry clean-out/re-stock suggestions
-Grocery list suggestions
-Weight-loss support
-Meal plan reviews and recommendations
-Nutrition for anti-aging and Healthy Skin
*Your Health Benefits may cover Holistic Nutrition!
Now Accepting NEW Patients & Saturday Appointments Available!

Dr. Anna Falkowski HBSc, ND
Naturopathic Doctor, Clinic Director
info@vitalityforlife.ca
www.vitalityforlife.ca
Twitter: @NaturoDoctor
We're On Facebook!