Month: September 2019

  • How Do You Know If It’s REALLY Sciatica?

    You bend over to pick something up, your back goes out and you feel that shooting pain down your leg. Your mother, neighbour, and massage therapist all tell you “It’s sciatica”. But is it? Or is it something else?

    Did you know that the SI joint can refer pain down the leg very similarly to sciatica? At The Movement Boutique, many of our patients come in already “diagnosed” with sciatica by a friend or family member (or Dr. Google!) and are surprised to learn that they are actually experiencing SI joint dysfunction. With so many causes of back pain, and sciatica leading the way on the internet, it can be difficult to decode on your own. Especially when the search term includes back pain that ‘goes down the leg’. Because of things like the start of ski season, snow shoveling, high heels at Christmas parties and carting around those holiday shopping bags, these types of injuries are especially common during the winter months

    So, what’s the difference and what do they have in common?

    Our SI joints are located under your thumbs when you put your hands on your hips. They serve both a stabilizing and shock absorbing function. The SI joint’s main purpose is to connect our sacrum (which is the bone at the base of our spine) to our iliac crest (aka our pelvic bone) and support our upper body weight. Since it serves a weight bearing function, the joint is generally quite stable with minimal, but necessary range of motion. SI joint dysfunction can be caused by a variety of things such as pregnancy, weight gain, or repeated movements that put stress on the joint and muscles. Sciatica, on the other hand, is often more serious and caused by irritation of the sciatic nerve (a long nerve that runs from lower lumbar spine all the way down the back of the leg. It’s common for people with bulging or herniated discs (more common under age 45) or an encroachment due to degeneration (more common over 45) to experience sciatica.

    Many times, sciatica symptoms and SI joint dysfunction can mimic each other, so one can easily be mistaken for the other. Both types of injuries can be experienced as an intense sensation (sometimes described as an “electrical shock”) starting in the lower back and travelling down the back of the leg. That’s why in many cases, when you go to your GP and describe the pain, they will assume it’s the sciatic nerve, but the truth is, not all pain that travels down the back of the leg is necessarily sciatica.

    To get it properly assessed and diagnosed, we recommend seeing a qualified practitioner and if you’re local, this is something we see on the regular at TMB. In the meantime, we wanted to give you some tips to help you differentiate the two. Please note that everyone is different and these factors can sometimes overlap when it comes to sciatica and SI joint dysfunction, but it should serve as a helpful starting point to paint a clearer picture for you!

    1. Imaging

    While neither will technically show up on an x-ray, the signs of sciatica will show up on an MRI.

    vs.

    If the MRI imaging is negative, then it might be a clue that you have SI joint dysfunction.

    **Keep in mind that imaging does not always correlate with functional problems. One of Dr. Bhat’s favourite analogies to illustrate this is to picture a photograph of a car parked in an auto body shop. Can you tell if the car has just been dropped off or ready for pick-up just by looking at the photo? NO! Similarly, you can’t tell just by looking at an image if there’s a functional injury. It needs to be properly assessed by a professional.**

    2. Referred Pain vs. Radiating Pain

    Radiating pain is pain with which a nerve is the actual source, forming a direct line from the sciatic nerve (in this case, the source) to other areas of the body. This is more so the type of pain you’d experience with sciatica.

    vs.

    Referred pain can be felt in other parts of the body other than the actual source. The source can be the SI joint, but you feel it in the low back and/or down the outside of the leg to the knee.

    3. Trigger Points

    Sciatica – Trigger point release (pressing down on the area) worsens the pain. If you press down on the part that hurts and you continue to feel an “electric shock” type of feeling, then it’s more likely sciatica from nerve irritation.

    vs.

    SI joint – Trigger point release will help the pain subside. The soleus muscle can play a big part in SI joint problems. In fact, a trigger point in the soleus muscle and the posterior fascia sleeve goes all the way up the back of the legs and into the SI joint. Other trigger points here include the glutes, hips and right below the lower ribs. If you press down on any of these trigger points and you notice pain relief or more mobility, then it’s more likely you have SI joint dysfunction.

    4. Aggravating & Relieving Positions

    Sciatica – Bending over, twisting, carrying heavy loads etc. would aggravate the injury. Lying on your tummy on your elbows with your chest lifted (this is known as the “McKenzie stretch”) or lying on your back with your knees bent on a chair would relieve the pain.

    vs.

    SI joint – Driving or sitting with your pelvis slouched (or body slightly rotated) with your legs above the rest of your body (think lying on a hammock) for prolonged periods of time would aggravate the injury. Pregnancy can also cause it.

    5. Pain Location

    Sciatica – Very sharp “electric shock” like pain that can easily be traced deep in the glutes, down the back of the leg, most frequently into the foot.

    vs.

    SI joint – Diffuse pain that is typically felt in the lower back, hip, leg, and/or groin and the patient might have a tough time narrowing down exactly where they feel the pain.

    At TMB, if a patient points the pain using their hand, it’s likely diffuse pain (SI joint), whereas if they use their finger to trace the exact path of their pain, it’s more likely nerve irritation (sciatica).

    6. Character of Pain

    Sciatica – An “electric shock feeling” that you can trace with your finger and your sensory might also be off (numb, tingly “pins & needles” feeling on the bottom or side of foot).

    vs.

    SI joint – More of a diffuse, sharp or achy pain that can, depending on severity, travel down the leg (usually no further than the knee) and feels heavy and/or sore.

    7. Treatment

    Barring a traumatic fracture-causing case of either, requiring surgery, conservative care is recommended for both. This would include acupuncture, spinal mobilization, fascial release, low-inflammatory diet, rest from aggravating activities and icing. At TMB, we also suggest natural anti-inflammatory supplements like Curcumin and Inflammatone

    About The Movement Boutique in Toronto – Pilates, Chiropractic, Functional Medicine

    TMB The Movement Boutique Located on Yonge Street in Toronto, The Movement Boutique serves the areas of Summerhill, Rosedale and Yorkdale with Pilates classes and much more. Our philosophy is centred on a holistic, multimodal approach to health, grounded in the latest therapeutic techniques and clinical research. Our approach: Optimal health cannot be attained through a single therapeutic lens; injuries are often the result of a constellation of lifestyle issues, including dysfunctional movement patterns, trauma, nutritional deficiencies or destructive habits of mind.

     

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  • 6 Tips To Keep Your Holiday Dinners Healthy

     

    Here’s some food for thought…

    If you dream of your holiday dinner, you’re not alone. Eating definitely takes center stage during the holidays. Between the stuffing and the homemade pumpkin pies, it can be easy to overeat and make unhealthy choices. You know what we’re talking about – That all too familiar “food coma” or “food baby” joke that goes around the table!

    The good news is, there are small but effective things we can do to upgrade our dinner plate over the holidays:

    1. Upgrade your gravy

    For many people, gluten creates inflammation in our body and is difficult to digest. It can be hidden in many Thanksgiving goodies, even gravy! Gravy packets are full of kryptonite ingredients like MSG, GMO wheat gluten, GMO cornstarch and are so high in table salt. To upgrade your gravy add arrowroot starch, organic corn starch or gluten free-flour to thicken your gravy in lieu of wheat flour or gravy packets. Add coloured salt like pink or grey salt instead of table salt. These mineral-rich salts are excellent for our bones and teeth!

    2. Eat your potatoes cooled

    You don’t have to ditch the carbs altogether! Eating hot potatoes can spike your blood sugar, but allowing them to cool gives the starches time to gel into a resistant starch. Resistant starches cannot be broken down by us, which means they become food (a prebiotic) for the good bacteria in our gut. Limit/ditch the refined carbs like the stuffing and pie, as over indulging in these will feed the bad bacteria and spike your blood sugar.

    3. Limit alcohol intake

    It’s all in good fun to have a cocktail every down and then, especially on a special occasion like a holiday. What’s not fun, however, is the nasty headache and hit to our metabolism that often follows. If you are going to indulge, avoid drinking while you eat as this can disrupt your body’s digestive processes.

    4. Eat with intention

    To avoid overeating, we can incorporate some mindful and intuitive practices during dinner. Focus on the pace in which you eat and paying attention to the actual eating experience, rather than just the food itself. Try to think about the relationships and connections with the loved ones you are spending the holiday with, put away your phone, sit down while you eat and take in your food with all of your senses so that you eat with purpose & intention.

    5. Make your own cranberry sauce

    Cranberries are actually one of the healthiest foods. They are known to prevent UTIs, certain cancers, decrease blood pressure and boost immunity. Canned, store-bought cranberry sauce, however, is packed with unnecessary sugars and chemicals. Making cranberry sauce is actually super easy and it’s a great hostess gift! Buy fresh cranberries, bring them to a boil with grated orange or lemon zest, then simmer for 10 minutes. Add monk fruit sweetener to taste, throw it in a cute mason jar with a bow and voila!

    6. Save your turkey bones and make your own bone broth!

    Bone broth is more than just a trendy health food – It is a superfood for your fascia! Research shows that bone broth is a gut-healing remedy that comes with a wide variety of benefits including protection of the the gut lining, feeding good bacteria, bolstering immunity, reducing joint pain/inflammation and can even be calming to the mind. Throw the bones (and any giblets) into a slow-cooker or instant pot with water and your favourite veggies, herbs and spices.

    Above everything, don’t overthink it! Stick to your nutrition plan as best as you can and make sure to enjoy the special time you have with your loved ones. Afterall, that’s what’s most important over the holidays!

    About The Movement Boutique in Toronto – Pilates, Chiropractic, Functional Medicine

    TMB The Movement Boutique Located on Yonge Street in Toronto, The Movement Boutique serves the areas of Summerhill, Rosedale and Yorkdale with Pilates classes and much more. Our philosophy is centred on a holistic, multimodal approach to health, grounded in the latest therapeutic techniques and clinical research. Our approach: Optimal health cannot be attained through a single therapeutic lens; injuries are often the result of a constellation of lifestyle issues, including dysfunctional movement patterns, trauma, nutritional deficiencies or destructive habits of mind.

     

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  • TORONTO PILATES STUDIO: 7 WAYS TO SEE BETTER RESULTS WITH YOUR WORKOUT

    toronto pilates studioWe’ve all heard the saying “too much of a good thing.” Well, sometimes cardio can be one of those things. Cardio is amazing for our heart health and for other parts of our body as well. It supports weight loss, increases lung capacity, improves memory and focus, and even enhances mood. However, it is best consumed frequently in small doses, mixed with resistance training and active rest, such as stretching. Take it from this Toronto Pilates studio and Toronto functional medicine practice, we know what we’re talking about.

    What is cardio exactly?

    A cardio workout is anything that increases our heart-rate. Whether it’s a spin class, running on a treadmill, hiking outdoors, a Toronto Pilates studio reformer class (hint hint) or interval training, cardio strengthens our heart. After all, our heart is a muscle and it needs to be worked just like any other muscle in our body to stay healthy. When our hearts and cardiovascular systems get stronger, more oxygen is delivered to our cells. This supports muscle recovery, boosts our metabolism and allows our body to function more efficiently. According to the Centre For Disease Control, only 1 in 3 American adults get enough physical activity. But just because you’re an avid cardio junkie doesn’t mean you’re exercising optimally!

    A question from a Toronto Pilates Instructor: Are You OD-ing on Cardio?

    The idea that we need to “go hard” with cardio and limit calories is outdated and old school! Excessive cardio and limiting calorie intake can tax the adrenals and cause a shift in cortisol levels, which signals your body to enter “fat conservation mode.” We’re not saying your workouts shouldn’t include cardio. No, no. Here at our Toronto Pilates studio every workout includes what we call cardio bursts. And workouts definitely should include cardio! But there are factors we need to be mindful of to ensure we’re getting the most of our cardio efforts.

    7 WAYS TO EASILY OPTIMIZE YOUR WORKOUTS

    HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR CARDIO TIP #1: Practice active recovery

    In order to repair micro-tears, restore glycogen fuel stores and ensure our muscles are recovering properly, it’s essential that our body rests. If we don’t, our muscles can weaken from being tight and overused. This makes us more susceptible to injuries. It also makes us more depleted of energy when it’s time for our next workout. But a rest day doesn’t have to mean being a couch potato. A rest day can still include moving our body. Opt for lower intensity physical activities, such as walking, gentle Pilates, yoga, stretching or foam rolling. This is what we call active recovery!

    HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR CARDIO TIP #2: Look for other mood-boosting activities

    In addition to physical benefits, there are many mental benefits to exercise. Exercise reduces stress, increases memory and concentration, and boosts our mood. When we exercise, our brain’s pleasure circuit activates (aka endorphins, dopamine, and other “happy” neurotransmitters!) If you’re anxious at the thought of taking a rest day for this reason, there are other mood-boosting activities you can try. Studies show that even just going for a walk gets our blood flowing, our muscles engaged and also triggers the release of dopamine. Other things like meditation and deep breathing exercises are scientifically proven to effectively reduce stress, clear our mind, build positivity and balance cortisol levels.

    HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR CARDIO TIP #3: Get into a “gain” mindset

    Let’s be honest, cardio culture is often built around tapping into our body insecurities to get us to lose more, get “skinnier” and sweat ourselves away. What if instead of focusing on losing, we focused on gaining? If cardio is something you truly enjoy doing, try switching your mindset away from that negative “less-than” self-talk to empowering reasons like building endurance, releasing endorphins and fostering mobility.

    HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR CARDIO TIP #4: Get enough sleep

    The quality of your sleep is important to supporting digestion, managing stress and balancing our hormones. It’s also essential when it comes to fitness and muscle recovery. When we sleep, growth hormone is released, our brain recharges and it’s the time when our muscles recover, repair and rebuild. Achieving a high quality of sleep helps increase our energy levels and prevent fatigue. So you’ll feel more motivated and revitalized for your next sweat session!

    HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR CARDIO TIP #5: Schedule your workouts appropriately

    Did you know that regular exercise can also promote a deeper, more restorative sleep? The problem is, we have to be careful of the timing of our exercise. If we exercise too close to bedtime (especially if it’s a high-intensity workout like cardio), it will get our adrenaline pumping, which can actually keep us awake and interfere with our sleep. While here at TMB, a well known Toronto Pilates studio, we always promote moving your body on a daily basis, we also encourage exercising earlier in the day. An early day workout will prevent adrenaline and cortisol from affecting you at night, so save the lighter exercises, like yoga and stretching, for the evening.

    HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR CARDIO TIP #6: Choose the right exercise for your cycle phase

    Ladies, listen up! Did you know that you can have more successful workouts if you plan them according to your cycle? The type of exercise you should be doing when you’re ovulating is different to what you should be doing in the days before your period. Studies show that days 7-14 of our cycle are when we have the most energy, so this is when we should engage in more intense workouts. Days 1-7 (menstruation), we’re better off practicing low intensity movements and sneaking in some active rest days.

    HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR CARDIO TIP #7:  Acupuncture Treatments

    Many athletes and active individuals rely on acupuncture to support the function of their body. Not only does it minimize muscle and joint pain, but it also reduces inflammation. Acupuncture also improves circulation, enhances energy, builds endurance and shifts us from our sympathetic state into a parasympathetic state. The former is the part of the nervous system responsible for our “fight or flight” functions. The latter is our body’s “rest, digest and heal” mode. Acupuncture can also allow you to have a deeper, higher quality of sleep. As we mentioned, better sleep can help you out in the long-run when it comes to your fitness regime.

    Did we mention we have killer Toronto Pilates classes and private Pilates sessions at TMB that combine the best cardio, three dimensional toning and strengthening movements? Check out what they’re all about!

    About The Movement Boutique in Toronto – Pilates, Chiropractic, Functional Medicine

    TMB The Movement Boutique Located on Yonge Street in Toronto, The Movement Boutique serves the areas of Summerhill, Rosedale and Yorkdale with Pilates classes and much more. Our philosophy is centred on a holistic, multimodal approach to health, grounded in the latest therapeutic techniques and clinical research. Our approach: Optimal health cannot be attained through a single therapeutic lens; injuries are often the result of a constellation of lifestyle issues, including dysfunctional movement patterns, trauma, nutritional deficiencies or destructive habits of mind.

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  • HOW TO GET YOUR CHILD TO EAT VEGETABLES

    how to get child to eat vegetablesIt’s safe to say that the majority of adults understand that eating vegetables is good for our health. But when it comes to little ones, who wildly prefer candy to broccoli, making that connection can be trickier. So how do you get your child to eat vegetables and more plant-based foods?

    What does plant based really mean?

    In many cases, the term “plant-based” is used as a marketing tool to trick us into thinking that particular food products are healthy. If it says “plant-based” on the label, then it must be healthy right? Think again. Foods that are “plant-based” can still contain inflammatory oils, sugars, sodium, additives, artificial flavours and so on. True “plant based” simply means that most of the food on your plate contains plants. In other words, it means you’re eating whole, nutritious, local, anti-oxidant rich foods to fuel your body. This contributes to your vitality. You don’t have to be vegan or vegetarian to follow a true plant-based diet. In fact, there’s actually a NON plant-based way to be vegan. Think about it, you can eat only white carbs, like pasta, and still be vegan, but that doesn’t mean your diet is fulfilling all of your nutritional needs. Right?

    There’s no doubt that having lots of fresh veggies, fruits and whole foods in our diet is good for us, but sometimes it can be tricky to get our kids to buy into it! It’s really important to teach our kids about the importance of plant-based foods when it comes to our health. And at the end of the day, we’re the ones who are putting food on the table for them. However, it can be easier said than done. Here are a few easy ways to boost plant-based eating in your family — aka tips for how to get your child to eat more vegetables!

    1. Sneak veggies into smoothies and popsicles

    The ultimate answer to the question, “How do you get your child to eat more vegetables?” is a sneaky one. You sneak them in, literally! Smoothies are great place to add in extra veggies and plant-based foods. Try adding 1/2 cup spinach or some frozen zucchini next time you’re whipping one up for breakfast. They won’t even taste it! Another smoothie-hack is to cut down on sugar content. One easy way to do this is to use 1/2 the amount of fruit you would normally use (i.e. 1/2 banana instead of a full one). If your kids aren’t into smoothies, you can also sneak them into homemade “popsicles” and even baked goods!

    2. Get them involved

    Studies suggest that when kids are involved in the grocery shopping and meal preparation process, they are more likely to feel inspired and excited about the foods they eat. Having them tag along to the grocery store or farmers market, for example, can be a powerful way to connect them to the source of their food. When they feel more connected, they’re more likely to think positively about what’s on their plate. Plus, they can have a better understanding of what makes LOCAL foods important for our health. For a fun summer activity, you can take them berry picking and maybe even head back to the kitchen to make your own homemade jam!

    3. Lead by example

    Let’s be honest, kids are smart and they will pick up on your own eating habits, which is why it’s important to lead by example and make healthy food choices ourselves. Monkey see, monkey do, right? So if you’re trying to figure out how to get your child to eat more vegetables, take a look at your own eating habits. As parents/adult figures, we have an essential influence on our kids, grand-kids, nieces/nephews etc. when it comes to how they view fruits and vegetables and everything else on their plate. If they see us trying and enjoying local, seasonal plant-based foods and making an effort to prioritize our health, they’ll be more likely to follow our lead.

    4. Make plant-based foods available

    Let’s face it, if all you’re serving for dinner is processed meats and take-out, that’s what your kids will be eating. If it’s not there in the fridge or on the menu, they can’t eat it! Try swapping out these foods with healthier alternatives. Some nutrient-dense, kid-friendly plant-based snacks include healthy fats like avocado or nuts, veggies with hummus, or smoothies. If they don’t like what you’re serving them, perhaps you can try preparing it in a different way! For example, if they don’t like steamed veggies, you can try stir-frying them in avocado oil. If they don’t like spinach salad, try sneaking it into a smoothie. If they don’t like avocado, try homemade guacamole. Our rule here is to have your kids try a food 7 different ways before you rule it out!

    5. Teach them about the benefits

    Although it’s fun sneaking veggies into kid-friendly foods, ultimately it’s important to introduce health/wellness concepts to them and explain why eating plant-based foods will benefit them. Remember, building these healthy habits in childhood is a great way to set our kids up for success in adulthood. If they understand the benefits, they’re more likely to care as they get older. To drive the point further, you can even try making a small garden at home if it would help them learn/understand why local, plant-based foods are better than processed foods. Plus, they will be sure to taste the difference between something picked from your own garden vs. something bought at the store!

    If you want to learn more about how to make dietary changes to UPGRADE your health, check out our 21 Day Clean Gut Detox program that covers topics like inflammatory trigger foods, nutrients to boost health, bloating, diet, sleep and more!

    Already know you’re ready to take your health to new heights? We are currently accepting NEW PATIENTS for TMB’s functional medicine program. To book a free 15 minute consultation, contact us today!

    About The Movement Boutique in Toronto – Pilates, Chiropractic, Functional Medicine

    TMB The Movement Boutique Located on Yonge Street in Toronto, The Movement Boutique serves the areas of Summerhill, Rosedale and Yorkdale with Pilates classes and much more. Our philosophy is centred on a holistic, multimodal approach to health, grounded in the latest therapeutic techniques and clinical research. Our approach: Optimal health cannot be attained through a single therapeutic lens; injuries are often the result of a constellation of lifestyle issues, including dysfunctional movement patterns, trauma, nutritional deficiencies or destructive habits of mind.

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  • What’s The Deal With Gluten Anyway?

    Does anyone else feel like gluten has become the food villain of the decade? So the question is…is it just a trendy fad or is it something we should actually be concerned about? Are there gluten free diet benefits? Like most food trends, navigating what your friends are doing, what’s trending online and what’s actually going to make a positive difference for your health can be tricky (read: impossible). Think you’re off the hook because that muffin you ordered was gluten free? Think again!

    What is gluten?

    Gluten is a general term for the “sticky” protein molecules found in some grains: gliadin and glutenin. It has a glue-like consistency that gives bread it’s elasticity when baked and it’s also often used as a binder or filler in processed foods. Why is gluten problematic? Gluten has been shown to spike levels of the protein zonulin in the gut, leading to leaky gut syndrome. This gut permeability allows undigested food proteins and bacterial endotoxins to pass into the blood stream, activating an inflammatory-immune response in your body. Wheat has the highest concentrations of gluten proteins and is the most common in our diet.

    In addition there are other gluten-containing grains, such as spelt, kamut, rye, barley and oats. Oats themselves do not contain gluten but are often processed in the same facilities as gluten products (unless specifically saying “gluten free oats” on the label). As such, a gluten contamination of oats can be enough to trigger a reaction in the body. Many common foods that contain gluten include bread, crackers, cereals, sauces, pastas, doughs, wraps, buns, dressings and pastries.

    Why does it seem that gluten-related health issues are suddenly popping up everywhere? Are there gluten free diet benefits?

    Reactions to gluten run on a spectrum. On one end there’s celiac disease, and then there’s gluten intolerance and non-celiac gluten sensitivity at the other. Research has shown that the prevalence of all three has been growing. Celiac disease in particular, has rates doubling every fifteen years! But the question stumping a lot of people is, why? Gluten has been around forever! Why all of a sudden are there gluten free diet benefits?

    For starters, the gluten that our grandparents ate years ago is very different than what’s available to us today. It’s estimated than 5% of the proteins found in wheat are “new proteins” that aren’t found in the original wheat plant due to hybridization and other modern production practices. These days wheat also contains MORE gluten molecules than they once did. Many gluten-containing foods, like popular commercial bread brands for example, already contains wheat flour (which is gluten containing), but more gluten itself is then added to extend the shelf life and make it more appealing to the consumer (softer, more pliable etc.). Don’t believe us? Check the ingredients list!

    Another factor that comes into play is modern agricultural practices. Our increased use of pesticides and the introduction of other toxins have not only depleted our soil of nutrients, but have increased the amount of chemicals in our food and environment. Cue leaky gut, intestinal damage and a susceptibility to food sensitivities. Not to mention wheat is one of the most heavily sprayed crops, most commonly being sprayed with glyphosate (also known as the leading ingredient in the pesticide called “round up).

    What’s the bottom line? Wheat is not what it once was. In addition, the intersection of many different factors in our food, environment and lifestyles have created the perfect storm for gluten reactions.

    Should everyone avoid gluten?

    Have you ever heard of a gluten deficiency? No? Well, that’s because it doesn’t exist! Evidence shows that at the end of the day, gluten doesn’t benefit anyone. One particular 2015 study looked at patients with active celiac disease, celiac patients in remission, patients with non celiac gluten sensitivity and patients with no gluten-related complaints. They found that exposure to gluten in all four groups lead to SOME level of intestinal damage. In other words, everyone has some type of reaction to gluten after consumption.

    Some people may only experience subtle symptoms because they’re able to repair and recover from the damage more quickly than others. Meanwhile other people’s symptoms are more obvious. Symptoms are also wide-ranging. Mood changes, to skin reactions, migraines, stomach aches, brain fog and joint pain are just a few. From a clinical perspective, if we know gluten is causing damage on even a small scale, it would be recommended to take it out of the equation because over time, small amounts of damage to the intestines can lead to more series issues.

    5 tips to adopt a gluten free diet and reap the gluten free diet benefits

    Don’t worry however because there’s good news! With gluten being the talk of the town these days, gluten free resources are becoming increasingly abundant in our society. From restaurant menus, to online recipes and cookbooks, there’s no shortage of gluten free alternatives. If you want a gluten free life, here are some tips to make the gluten-free diet benefits more accessible to you. We talk about this all the time!

    GLUTEN FREE TIP 1: Find substitutes that you love

    There’s no shortage of alternatives out there! Do your research and learn about what’s available. For example, you can use almond flour in your baking instead of refined flour and find healthy, gluten free brands that won’t trigger any symptoms. Need help with this? TMB’s got you covered with our health coaching services.

    GLUTEN FREE TIP 2: Check with restaurants in advance

    If you’re going out for dinner with your friends and feel weird or intimidated about asking the server about gluten-free options in front of the group, call the restaurant ahead so you know what to order! Most restaurants have plenty of gluten free options on their menu, and they’re happy to accommodate any and all dietary restrictions!

    GLUTEN FREE TIP 3: Have resources available in your home

    If all you have in your cupboards is gluten-filled foods, then that’s what you’re going to be eating! Add gluten free items to your next grocery list so you can stock your home with healthy alternatives. It might also be worth getting a few gluten-free cookbooks and pick some new favourite recipes!

    Just be careful to always check the ingredients list. Aka just because it’s “gluten-free” doesn’t mean it’s healthy!

    GLUTEN FREE TIP 4: Plan your meals ahead of time

    If you’re in the middle of running errands and have a social gathering to make it to in a rush, you’re more likely to make a pit stop and grab takeout, which might mean processed foods that contain gluten. If you plan out your day and bring a pre-packed meal with you, you’ll be more prepared when hunger strikes! Meal prepping can also help you stick to a gluten free diet instead of reaching for a bagel at work.

    Side benefit: Taking out processed foods from our diets (many of which are gluten-containing) and replacing them with nutrient dense foods is another reason you’ll likely feel better after going gluten-free!

    GLUTEN FREE TIP 5: Remind yourself how you feel when you eat gluten

    Before you dive into that bowl of pasta, remind yourself how you’re going to feel after. Will you be bloated? Would your stomach hurt? Do you get tired and have to go to bed early? Will your skin become inflamed? This can help motivate you to make healthier choices.

    Want to take a step in the right direction towards moving, feeling and looking better? Join our FREE 3 Day Clean Gut Detox Program! During the course of the 3 days, you’ll get a small glimpse of what to expect in the full 21-Day program. One of the cornerstones of the 21-Day Clean Gut Detox is education – We don’t just tell you what to do (like avoiding gluten, for example), but we also tell you why you’re doing it and how these recommended changes will support you on your health and wellness journey. The Clean Gut Detox emphasizes the consumption of whole, unprocessed, gut optimizing foods as well as various lifestyle changes & bio-hacks that can help you transform your health and wellness from the inside out.

    About The Movement Boutique in Toronto – Pilates, Chiropractic, Functional Medicine

    TMB The Movement Boutique Located on Yonge Street in Toronto, The Movement Boutique serves the areas of Summerhill, Rosedale and Yorkdale with Pilates classes and much more. Our philosophy is centred on a holistic, multimodal approach to health, grounded in the latest therapeutic techniques and clinical research. Our approach: Optimal health cannot be attained through a single therapeutic lens; injuries are often the result of a constellation of lifestyle issues, including dysfunctional movement patterns, trauma, nutritional deficiencies or destructive habits of mind.

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  • The Brain On Social: 5 Red Flags In Your Social Life To Watch Out For

    Are you a social butterfly or more of the introverted type?

    As humans, we are social beings. Just as we have a basic need for food, water and shelter, we also have a basic need to form relationships in social settings. The desire to be in a loving relationship, to fit in with your friends, to feel cared for, to receive invites to important events… these are actually essential to our well-being.

    Let’s take the feeling of rejection, for example. When we’re rejected, whether it be a friendship, a job application, a romantic relationship and so on, it doesn’t feel good does it? When this happens, we tend to feel low, get down on ourselves and question everything from our abilities to our self-worth. On the other end of the spectrum, there’s acceptance. When we land that dream job, get that phone call back from a romantic interest, and are included on the guest list, it feels good. Leaving us feeling happy, confident and fulfilled.

    The connection between our social lives, our brain and our happiness

    In recent years, more and more research has found evidence of the brain’s inherently social nature. Anthropologist Robin Dunbar’s research showed that human beings have big brains to socialize, and that the most prominent indicator of brain size for any species is the size of it’s social group. This helps explain why human brains have evolved to be more complex and sophisticated than other mammals. Scientists predict that hominids (the homo heidelbergensis) with brains as big as humans today, first existed about 700,000 years ago in Africa. Strikingly, they were also the first to have a division of labor in their society as they hunted together and lived together, and they may have even been the first group to bury their dead.

    Renowned psychologist Matthew Lieberman also researched the topic of social neuroscience and found that our need to connect with others is even MORE fundamental to our sense of self than our need for food. Pretty incredible, eh?

    6 Reg Flags To Look Out For In Your Relationships

    Since it’s evident that our social relationships play a central role in our psychological health and happiness, it’s important to choose them wisely. Think of being social like a “medication” – It can light us up, but it can also have detrimental side effects. When it comes to healthy social relationships that will contribute to optimal health, here are some red flags to look for and what you can do to foster positive change:

    1. Giving up personal goals to please others

    What to do: A sense of belonging is a huge part of lighting up the reward centre in our brain, but if we’re not careful, this can derail our health goals. Let’s say you have started a therapeutic diet with certain guidelines (such as avoiding alcohol) and then head out to a social event. Sometimes you don’t want to be “different” than everyone else, so you end up drinking anyways. It’s important to remind yourself that at the end of the day, we’re all bio-individuals, and it’s more than OK to have unique personal goals outside of our social circles.

    2. Feeling judged on what you eat

    What to do: If your friends or family judge you based on what you’re eating, it’s time to set some boundaries and make some changes. “Fitting in” is where our brain feels the most comfortable, so be the leader! Teach your social groups about what you’re doing, why you’re doing it, and make THEM want to be included and follow your lead. Going to a family party? Bring along a delicious dish that is something YOU can have – you’d be surprised how they’ll react when they love it!

    3. Being afraid of what others think

    What to do: We all tend to play a certain role in our family/friend circle. This is one that we see a lot in our patients at TMB. Here are a few common examples: “But my friends know I’m the person that will always order pasta at dinner, so if I don’t, they’ll think something is up”, or “But my friends know I’m the sugar queen, so they’re always questioning me when I don’t indulge”. Sound familiar? Trust us – people are treating you/expecting things of you because it’s how it has always been. At some point, in order to change it, you’ve got to break the patterns and teach them how to see you in a new light.

    4. Hanging around the same type of people

    What to do: If you find yourself around the same type of people from your friend circle, your family members, the parents at your children’s school groups and so on, it’s time to DIVERSIFY! We have a tendency to hang out with people we can relate to, but if everyone you’re surrounding yourself with has the same mindset, same opinions, same interests, same political views etc. as you, it can create a competitive environment because it’s easy to compare yourself to them, which is a recipe for feeling insecure and down on yourself. Seeing the world through another’s eyes/perspective can not only help you foster gratitude in your own life, but it can also take you away from tiny, non meaningful comparisons and help you zoom out to see the bigger picture. Plus, it can create challenges that can help your brain learn and grow!

    5. Developing unhealthy habits

    What to do: Did you know that if one of your best friends becomes obese, it nearly triples your chances of the same thing happening to you? How does that saying go again? …You are who you surround yourself with! Studies show that if we have friends who have healthy habits, like eating whole foods and exercising, we are much more likely to do the same thing. In contrast, if we have friends who eat fast food multiple times a week, binge drink and don’t have an established fitness routine, we’re much more likely to follow suit.

    6. Being passive on social media

    What to do: There’s a lot of discussion on the downside to social media platforms, like Instagram for example, but we want to highlight some of its benefits. Like we mentioned, being social is part of our inherent nature, so we recommend getting SOCIAL on SOCIAL! Instead of using it as a passive voyeur by scrolling through your feed silently just staring at images (We’ve all been down that rabbit hole!), dare we say actually become social (active) on social media! Comment on posts, tell your story, DM people, tag your friends, start conversations, reach out to others, and create actual connections! When we’re actually active on these platforms, that’s when we feel the benefits.

    Speaking of social… get social with us on the ‘gram!

    @themovementboutique
    @dr.shalinibhat
    @drmmaguire
    @thechickpeablondie
    @dr.shelleypinard
    @talorwallacepilates

    About The Movement Boutique in Toronto – Pilates, Chiropractic, Functional Medicine

    TMB The Movement Boutique Located on Yonge Street in Toronto, The Movement Boutique serves the areas of Summerhill, Rosedale and Yorkdale with Pilates classes and much more. Our philosophy is centred on a holistic, multimodal approach to health, grounded in the latest therapeutic techniques and clinical research. Our approach: Optimal health cannot be attained through a single therapeutic lens; injuries are often the result of a constellation of lifestyle issues, including dysfunctional movement patterns, trauma, nutritional deficiencies or destructive habits of mind.

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