Redefining Vacations

iStock_000016724031XSmall- Relaxing VacationHave you taking a holiday where you actually return rested, more energized and healthier? Splendid idea right? How come this concept is so foreign to most of us? The typical vacation constitutes staying up late, eating more poorly then normal, consuming more alcohol and dropping the whole notion of a routine.  And then people most state “I need a vacation from my vacation!”, and it’s often true we are tired, we have stressed our body and are left feeling dehydrated and malnourished.  And we call this a vacation? Albeit it is fun to let loose and relax from time to time but there is nothing restorative about this type of holiday and then when you go back to the daily grind you are no more prepared or refreshed.

Have you ever considered a health inspired holiday? There are so many options to explore such as yoga retreats or meditation centres and you can select some of the most beautiful locations in the world to be surrounded by.

But there is also something simpler, you could just try to make your next holiday a little more health conscious.  I just got back from a cruise with my man and we had the most restorative trip ever.  And I can honestly say this as we left our son at home with his grandma and we had 5 uninterrupted night of sleep!!!!  If you are a mom then you can identify at how wonderful a feeling this must be.  We found ourselves going to bed at an early time nightly, rising early and going to the gym every morning, ate as healthfully as we could and then spent the day relaxing and enjoying each other’s company.

We also made another rule about disconnecting from social media and all forms of technology (except for a brief daily skype convo with our son), we simplified our lives and I truly feel rejuvenated and restored.

I also feel it was really important for us to reconnect as it has been a long while since we spent that much time together without our son around and I think it is important to re-establish ‘us‘ and who we are as a couple (I will blog more about this important topic soon!).  Also with another little one on the way we know all too well how busy it will be and recognize it could be a very long while before we get to do this again.

But here is my suggestion to you, take a much needed relaxing holiday and use it actually feel restored and return to life feeling healthier, happier and more vibrant.  I think this is what was originally intended for a holiday and I know it makes me a bit of a health nerd (I am an ND, what did you expect) 😉 but there is no better way to spend your vacation.

If you have done this before or try a health conscious vacation please share your experiences, I would love to hear from you!

In great health & happiness,

Dr. Michelle

Posted in Health tips | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

I <3 My Heart!

iStock_000020365189XSmall-Heart healthWhen it comes to the month of February, many things may come to mind – February blues, the shortest month, Valentine’s Day and even reading week, for some.  But more importantly than all those things combined, February is heart health awareness month and so it’s our tickers that should really be front and centre.

Why is this so important?  Perhaps you remember the Timex commercial – it takes a licking and keeps on ticking.  Well, despite the fact that our hearts are able to withstand incredible stressors, as one of our body’s most vital organs, damage to it can be catastrophic.  Did you know that heart disease is the leading cause of death in women?  Sadly, it is, which is why it’s essential we understand what it is and how we can prevent it.  After all, knowledge is power and empowering… and in this case, can save your life!

A heart attack, or myocardial infarction, is an occlusion or blockage of the arteries supplying blood and oxygen to the heart muscle.  This blockage can result in injury of heart cells or even death of the heart muscle.

The risk factors of heart attacks are different in women and men.  For example, having diabetes puts women at a higher risk of heart attacks, making the need for proper insulin and blood sugar levels greater for us.

There are two types of risk factors, those we can influence (modifiable) and those we can’t (un-modifiable), for example:

  • Modifiable: diet, weight, stress level, smoking, exercise, alcohol, activity level and diabetes
  • Un-modifiable: genetic factors and age

Not only do women and men have different risk factors, but also the symptoms we experience are different.  In fact, women often experience less severe symptoms than men, so we need to be more acutely aware of these warning signs:

  • Sudden or gradual onset of tightness or pain in chest that refers to the jaw, neck and shoulders
  • Heartburn
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Feeling of weakness
  • Paleness
  • Anxiety
  • Sweating

What you can do to protect yourself?

  • Reduce Stress: Often inevitable and unchanging, however, how we handle and perceive our stressors can alter our physiological response to it.  Engaging in activities that lower stress, such as deep breathing, meditation and journaling can help us cope exceptionally well with our daily stress and make our hearts happy.
  • Exercise: Daily movement is essential.  Try a pedometer and aim for 10,000 steps every day.
  • Eat Well: Eat frequent meals (5 per day), including protein at every meal to help maintain blood sugar and insulin balance.  Increase your vegetable, fruit and fiber intake.  Emphasize healthy fats in your diet, such as omega 3s and extra virgin olive and flaxseed oils.
  • Maintain a Healthy Weight: A body mass index between 18.5 – 24.9 is considered ideal.
  • Quit Smoking: Cessation of as much as 6 months is associated with a lower risk of heart attack. Acupuncture is a great, drugless way to help reduce cravings and side effects associated with smoking cessation.
  • Drink in Moderation: While water should always be consumed in abundance, limit consumption of alcoholic beverages to one glass, or less, per day.
  • Give/Get Hugs: Yes, it’s true!  This sign of affection has the ability to lower blood pressure and heart rate, so wrap your arms freely and frequently around loved ones.

The most important thing to remember is if you experience any of the warning signs and are unsure what it is, seek immediate medical care.  Most of the damage caused by heart attacks occurs within the first two hours.

So this February, make your heart your sweetie and commit to making heart healthy choices!

In great health & happiness,

Dr. Michelle


Dr. Michelle Peris is a Naturopathic Doctor whose goal is to inspire health through educating, motivating and empowering people.  She has a family based practice out of a clinic in Oakville, Ontario.

Contact Dr. Michelle today to book your 15 minute complimentary consult.

Posted in Health tips, Woman's Health | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

2nd Annual Live Like You Give A Damn- New Year’s Resolution Project

iStock_000010530449XSmall- Live lifeThis is a project that I have been manifesting for the last 3 years and I am really excited about it! I want to live my best life now and motivate others to do the same.  I think we are meant to achieve great things and yet we get caught up in the stresses of daily living and eventually become distracted from achieving our best and end up in the same place we once were.  This is how each year when it comes time to making new resolutions they are oddly similar to the ones we made last year and yet we don’t spend much time asking ourselves why we failed and how we can make the next year different.  I am believe that this year can be different and I am out to show you (and myself) how! This can be applied at any point in our lives, this does not have to begin at the beginning of a calendar year. Every second of our life is an opportunity to change and live life differently, every second can be a new beginning.

I have made a 2013 resolution list and I have spilt it into a few categories, daily tasks and monthly/ yearly goals and expected outcomes.  Expected outcomes are usually what we call resolutions like “I want to lose weight”, but typically we stop there.  We don’t think about HOW we can accomplish it, we just feel good about the decision of setting a resolution.  By doing the daily tasks I will accomplish my goals for the year.  This is how I will be successful.  I will be providing tools, advice and lots of information and health tips to help you also be successful.  So I encourage you to make yourself tasks and goals to fully reap the rewards of the LIVE LIKE YOU GIVE A DAMN project.

Please come on this journey with me of HUGE transformational change and I hope you enjoy my blogs and find them helpful for your success.  I am excited to reflect back on the year and see how much can accomplished when you set attainable goals and hold yourself accountable.

It should be understood that I am like most of you, I have had trouble committing to simple goals like dietary changes and I am a Naturopathic Doctor so you can imagine how disappointed I have felt in myself.  But I think I have set myself up for failure, I talk a big talk (its very easy to make goals, I can think of thousands in my head right now; its quite another to implement them) without having prepared myself to be successful.  I believe I am meant to LEAD BY EXAMPLE and that is what I am prepared to do with my blog.  Organizing my goals and clearly outlining what it is that I want to accomplish this year will allow me to help others as I also believe it will be motivating for you.

This will be a constantly evolving project only to make things more interesting.  But I vow to you and most importantly myself, that I will do the very best that I can each and every day.  I know what it is to just endure life and now I want to know what it is like to be fully present and in LOVE with my life.

I trust by investing in the LIVE LIKE YOU GIVE A DAMN project that you will be so much more excited and happy about life and grow leaps in self LOVE.  And who wouldn’t want that?

I believe that we are all worthy of a purposeful life and feeling totally in love with who we are as people.  So make the decision to love who you are and commit to making 2013 a transformational year! Make a list like mine and we can take this journey together.

Stay tuned for my list and feel free to make them your own or use them to inspire your own resolutions.  Yes, we’re several weeks into January so we’re a little tardy, but don’t let that negative chatter get the best of you. Today is just as good as any day, if not better,  to start anew.  And if you had already selected a few resolutions then use this program to help you become successful.  Happy 2013!


Michelle Peris, ND


Dr. Michelle Peris is a Naturopathic Doctor whose goal is to inspire health through educating, motivating and empowering people.  She has a family based practice out of a clinic in Oakville, Ontario.

Contact Dr. Michelle today to book your 15 minute complimentary consult.

Posted in Live Like You Give A Damn | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Live Like You Give A Damn 2012: A Year In Review

iStock_000010530449XSmall- Live lifeSo how did I do? Well I have to say this has been a very positive and memorable year and I do attribute a lot of my success and happiness to committing to living more mindfully.  Now I was not perfect, I am human and when I fell short of my goals I accepted it and moved on.  I did not beat myself up and accept failure, I looked forward and focussed on the overall successes I did not let a few bumps along the way prevent me from achieving great things.

  1. 10 Deep breaths daily.  Quite honestly I could have done better, this morning when I got out of the shower, I did some stretches while doing my deep breathing and prayer and remembered my love of these simple daily habits.  We get so caught up with our daily stresses that it is so easy to forget the very simple things that help us to cope better with stress.  Simply put when I was effective at incorporating deep breathing into my day I felt more at ease and able to respond to stress effectively and appropriately.
  2. Pray.  For me this was a simple daily mantra or a way of connecting with a deeper consciousness that allowed me to remain focussed on what really matters in my life.  Expressing gratitude and praying for the things I want out to achieve in life helped me to stay positive and beyond grateful for all the riches I already have in my life.  I highly recommend this to everyone.
  3. Exercise.  Well this one I have to say I was not very successful at, I found it difficult to get into a routine that worked for me.  Juggling a work schedule, a toddler, lack of childcare and my blog (yes I do recognize that this a giant list of excuses and is unacceptable…) I found it difficult to get into a good routine.  I will continue working on this until I get it right!
  4. Grow my appreciation Garden.  Another one of my favorite tasks I undertook this year.  Nothing helps you be constantly reminded of all the blessings someone shares with you on a daily basis then expressing what you think is wonderful about those you love most.  And its amazing how it feels to express such thoughts and what you get in return is honestly priceless.
  5. Eat Clean Meals.  I think I did rather well this year, I have never been much of a cook or remotely interested in being in the kitchen.  But having my son there with me and watching his love for food develop, motivated me to learn and enjoy cooking healthy and nutritious meals.  From food introduction, canning, baking and meal prep, a passion has been ignited in me.  I recognize that my motivation stems from wanting to set a good example for my incredible son, but that is reason enough to keep me trekking forward in the right direction.
  6. Only 1-2 hours of TV daily.  As the year went on this was at times a struggle for me.  You see I was raised in a home where the TV was always on despite watching it or not just for the noise.  It has taken me some time to get used to filling my home time with other activities and at years end we finally moved the TV out of our main living area, ensuring I will continue to be successful for years to come.
  7. Listen to motivational speakers in the car.  This was my FAVOURITE activity I have taken on all year, I absolutely enjoyed how this simple and passive act shaped each day that I complied.  For me, so much productivity and passion can come from a positive mind set.  This daily task ensured that I got my mind where it needed to be to ensure success.  It is so easy to get caught up in all of our negative beliefs and thoughts, they truly can prevent us from achieving our best or really anything at all.  And despite having many fears and insecurities about life, this was a way for me to ensure that I didn’t let them get in the way of achieving my best.  My favourite CD’s in the car were anything by Anthony Robbins, Robin Sharma and Dalai Lama.  I had many to choose from but I found listening to the ones that impacted me most over and over again benefitted me the greatest.  When the student is ready the lesson will appear.
  8. Spend quality time with my son.  An easy task, however mindfully spending time with him was challenging at times, I feel bad about admitting this and its not as though I didn’t want to spend quality time with him, it’s all I want.  But admittedly it was very easy to let work and responsibilities get in the way of connecting with my little man.  Andrea Strang of The Baby Source shared with me a great simple way to attach with your child on a daily basis.  Here was her advice: Sit with your child in a rocking chair, while nursing or feeding gaze into your child’s eyes and let them know you are there solely for them in that moment.  Do this for at least 15 minutes daily.  My son loves this and what a simple way to help your child feel loved and cared for.
  9. Drink tea.  Well I cannot say that at this is my favourite thing to drink although I hoped a year of focussing on this would encourage this love to develop.  But what I can say is that I LOVE drinking a hot fresh lemon and ginger tea, nothing helps to settle my stomach better then this and I truly enjoy drinking it.  Also, I have developed a bit of a crush on David’s Tea and there lemon and fruit flavoured teas.  They make this doubtful tea drinker into a fan!
  10. Laugh.  This was easy, mostly because I live with 2 hams and I love to laugh.  Even more importantly what I learned this year was not to take myself too seriously. I have in the past, I have found it difficult to get over things, but with some active work on myself I find that I am taking a lot less personally and able to enjoy a good laugh even if at my own expense.  And I would say that I am laughing more often.
  11. Pick up my clothes.  Needs improvement! I found this task to be very challenging, I have trouble with clutter, somehow it seems to follow me (note how I am still unable to take ownership for my part in this).  I want to blame lack of storage, lack of space, my busy schedule, my toddler undoing all my work and the list could go on.  Perhaps I am not getting to the root, perhaps I need to de-clutter my mind first… Now that’s deep!

Expected Outcomes:

  • Empowered and knowledgeable about my health and my body.  This is a work in progress, but I believe that this year has brought me closer to my goal.
  • Lose 10 lbs: Fit and lean body mass.  I did successfully achieve this goal.
  • More grounded and less reactive to stressors.  I would say I grew leaps and bounds in this area, however, I am not perfect so I can still be challenged by this.
  • Work and live in a calm and clean environment.  Work yes, home, err no!
  • Increased positivity.  Absolutely!
  • Healthier.  I think so yes.
  • More balanced- Physically, mentally,emotionally and spiritually.  Well you can ask those around me, but I would say I have improved, but I definitely struggle with this at times.
  • Increase self- confidence and a strong sense of self worth and love.  Absolutely! I feel differently about myself, more confident and finding it much less difficult to express myself.  I am quite proud of this.
  • More authentic and deep connection to my son and boyfriend.  Achieved! I feel very bonded to both my son and fiance (name change implies a stronger bond, no?).  I feel very connected to my family and quite honestly there is nothing more important in life to me.

So here’s to a rather successful 2012, I am so grateful for this experience.  It really has shifted me into a new excellence and empowered living.  I would love to hear about your experiences, did you make a list? Were you successful?

Stay tuned for my list for 2013.  As you have seen my year unfold, I think I have made you into a believer so whats stopping you now? Let’s get the life we want, achieve our hearts desires and live like we give a damn together!

Happy New Year!

Living Like I Give A Damn,

Dr. Michelle

Dr. Michelle Peris is a Naturopathic Doctor whose goal is to inspire health through educating, motivating and empowering people.  She has a family based practice out of a clinic in Oakville, Ontario.

Contact Dr. Michelle today to book your 15 minute complimentary consult.  Why see an ND?

Posted in Live Like You Give A Damn | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Happy ‘Healthy’ Halloween!

Here is my brief explanation on the difference between natural and refined sugars, just in time for trick or treating! I know many children will be consuming mass amounts of chocolates and candies this evening and so I wanted to share some information with you as well as some tips on how best to consume those wee treats.  Often times, we cannot totally eliminate certain experiences or foods that your child will be exposed to, but what we can do is try to intelligently support them so they do not suffer the consequences of ‘bad behaviour’ every once and a while.  I hope this information helps your and your family have a happy and somewhat healthy halloween! 🙂

The natural sugars found in fruits and vegetables differ from refined sugars for several reasons.  Fruits and veggies are nutrient-dense foods, whereas refined sugars are nutrient-depleted.  A great way to tell the difference is to look at the colour (natural colours, of course!).  Fruits and veggies come in a wide variety of colours and contain a wide variety of nutrients, whereas refined sugars are white.  Another difference is that the natural sugars found in fruits and veggies are combined with fibre, protein and/or fat, which slows the rate at which sugar is absorbed into the body.  This helps prevent insulin spikes and the eventual dive resulting in sugar cravings.  Refined sugars are not only devoid of nutrients, but they also further rob or deplete nutrition form your body.  Every step of digestion requires vitamin and mineral co-factors to occur.  So, when you eat foods devoid of such important components for digestion, it uses your body’s stores.

If that weren’t enough, here are some more negative impacts of consuming candy and refined sugar.

  1. Refined sugars suppress the immune system for hours after ingestion, making your children more susceptible to infections.
  2. Refined sugars found in junk food or sweets can negatively impact behaviour, cause or increase hyperactivity in children and cause difficulty with concentration and sleep.
  3. Artificial food dyes and additives found in candy are made from petroleum and coal tar. They have been linked to hyperactivity and behavioural problems in children.  It is a potential carcinogen and Blue 1, Red 40, Yellow 5, and Yellow 6 are known to trigger reactions in those with allergies.  Tartrazine is a food colouring found in a lot of children’s products and candy and has been linked to exacerbating or causing asthma attacks and can cause sleep disturbances (please check your cereal boxes as it is found in a lot of cereals).

If or when your child is going to have some Halloween candy, limit the amount to 2-3 goodies.  Also ensure they eat a substantial meal that includes protein and fats beforehand to slow the digestion of the refined sugars and to avoid the spike in insulin and the hyperactivity.  This way you also prevent the serious energy crashes that can make children quite grumpy.

Happy Halloween!

Dr. Michelle

Dr. Michelle Peris is a Naturopathic Doctor whose goal is to inspire health through educating, motivating and empowering people.  She has a family based practice out of a clinic in Oakville, Ontario.

Contact Dr. Michelle today to book your 15 minute complimentary consult.  Why see an ND?

Posted in Dr. Mom ND, Nutrition | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

My Balance Is… Juggling mommy-hood while still making health a priority Part 2

A while back, I covered 8 things that I believe will help you achieve and maintain optimal health as you balance your life as a mom.  I’m covering 8 more.  Why?  Because I believe that finding the balance between caring for yourself and caring for your family is so very important today.  As moms, we are pulled in many different directions and it’s far too easy to spread ourselves too thin.  When we live life this way, we’re simply not living our best lives.  So, here are some more tips to add to your toolbox.

  1. Express love and gratitude everyday. Don’t you love when someone shares his or her love or positive feelings about you with you?  It feels so good!  But, guess what?  It feels just as good and maybe even better to express your love and gratitude for others.  It improves your mental and emotional health and, heck, you might be the person who improves the health and lives of others.  What a cool cat!
  2. Nighttime preparation.  Set yourself up for success everyday by preparing for it the night before.  Take a few minutes before bed to get everything ready for the morning.  There is nothing worse than starting your day in a panic.  It’s hard to keep that inner calm you have been working on when every day starts in chaos and high levels of stress – so opposite of Zen.
  3. Sweat daily.  Sweating is important for daily detoxification, reduction of stress hormones and increase of the “feel good” hormones, chronic disease prevention and, finally, regulation and support of restful sleep. ‘Nuff said!
  4. Sex with your partner.  What a great way to exercise and connect with your spouse at the same time.  Sex is a healthy and fun way to get physically active on a more regular basis.  There are so many benefits for partners who engage in sexual activity 4-6 times per week.  Statistics demonstrate that most couples are not near this number, so it’s time to get down and dirty.  Low libido getting in the way?  It may be time for a visit with your ND – we can help!
  5. Sit down to dinner.  Research shows that children of families that sit down for dinner (with no TV) have better diets, eat more fruits and vegetables and consume less fried food and sodas.  This also means they are less likely to be obese.  It is so important to sit down and reconnect with your family on a daily basis.  Doing this over a healthy dinner positively associates these memories with nourishing meals.
  6. Sleep.  I think I just heard you groan.  Sometimes, with all we do, it just doesn’t feel like there are enough hours in the day to get it all done AND get a restful sleep.  But sleep is so essential to health and yet very few get the necessary amount on a regular basis.  Many chronic diseases can be attributed to lack of sleep.  We all know that when we do not get what our body needs, we are not able to function optimally.  Aim for a 10 p.m. bedtime and ideally 8 hours of sleep.  If you wake up throughout the night, perhaps there is an underlying concern – consult your ND to help you address the root cause of your sleeplessness.  Sometimes, even a natural sleep aide or acupuncture can help do the trick and get your body back on track for a restful and restorative sleep cycle.
  7. Avoid eating late at night.  Want a quick and easy way to achieve optimal health and maybe even shed a few unwanted pounds?  Stay away from the late night snacks.  That’s right, back away from the kitchen when you hear the call of the cupboards or fridge.  The body needs a period of ‘fasting’ on a daily basis to ensure proper digestive and metabolic health.  Many patients often report to me that they are not hungry when they wake.  Feeling hungry is a very important signal to start your day off right.  You are supposed to be ready to eat when you wake, as breakfast should be your largest meal of the day.  If you do not want to eat when you wake up, you are likely eating too close to bedtime.
  8. Hydrate, hydrate and hydrate some more. Have you noticed that one of the most consistent pieces of advice I give for any health-related issue is to hydrate?  We need water!  Yet so few get enough.  We need water to manage blood pressure , regulate temperature, support bowel health, hydrate the skin and so much more.  How many ounces do you need?  This is individual and can be calculated by multiplying your weight by 0.65.  Generally, most people need between 2-4 litres per day.  Your needs will increase with activity, too, because you must replenish what you sweat out.  Feeling hungry?  Often, hunger pains are confused with dehydration and what you actually need is water.  So the next time you’re craving a snack, try drinking a glass of water and then wait to see if your hunger diminishes.  Did you know glass of water before each meal can result in a five-pound weight loss?  What?!  Yup, that’s right!  When we fill our bellies with water, we feel full faster and tend to eat less.  It’s an easy portion control method to help you stay healthy and maintain a healthier body weight.

When it comes down to it, these 16 tips are very simple things you can do that, when put together, can really pack a punch in your life.  But probably the single most important thing to remember is to not beat yourself up or ‘should’ yourself.  Change takes time and the road to health is a journey that starts with making habits of the little things.  Do the very best you can today and move on to have an even better tomorrow.  Incorporate more alternative and preventative lifestyle habits, committing daily to living healthfully.  Small changes and efforts do add up to a lot… start somewhere and start today.

Cheers to living your best life NOW!

Dr. Michelle

Dr. Michelle Peris is a Naturopathic Doctor whose goal is to inspire health through educating, motivating and empowering people.  She has a family based practice out of a clinic in Oakville, Ontario.

Contact Dr. Michelle today to book your 15 minute complimentary consult.  Why see an ND?

Posted in Dr. Mom ND | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Partnership With The Halton Doula Group

Are you currently pregnant or wanting to get pregnant in the future?  Have you heard of doula services? Doula’s are incredible support for woman as the name literally translates to ‘woman caregiver’.  They are an experienced labour companion who provides the woman and their partner both emotional and physical support throughout the entire labour, delivery and afterwards.

I am so excited to announce my partnership with the Halton Doula Group.  I will be on their facebook page once a month to answer all your questions about naturopathic perinatal and pediatric care (food introduction, colic, teething, etc).  I will also be attending their Birthing Without Fear information sessions to empower couples with pertinent information on how naturopathic medicine can help make pregnancy, birth and postpartum the most positive and healthy experience possible.

The Halton Doula Group are a loving group of labour and birth doulas, postpartum doulas, childbirth educators, lactation consultants and parent coaches working together to provide exceptional care for you and your family.   As your doulas, they support your birth and parenting goals. They work with you to discover your strengths, increase your confidence and decrease your fears with regards to your birth and parenting choices. For more information about all the members of halton doula group and their services please check out their website:

I am really excited about this opportunity because I feel together we can help change the way people perceive childbirth, empower woman to look within and trust their body and encourage a healthy natural approach to family health.

My first ask Dr. Mom ND with the Halton Doula Group is on October 17th (this Wednesday!) from 7:30-8:30pm.  Come join us!

In great health & happiness,

Dr. Michelle

Dr. Michelle Peris is a Naturopathic Doctor whose goal is to inspire health through educating, motivating and empowering people.  She has a family based practice out of a clinic in Oakville, Ontario.

Contact Dr. Michelle today to book your 15 minute complimentary consult.

Posted in Dr. Mom ND, Nutrition | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment