Dr. Shalini Bhat

  • Everything You Need to Know About Intermittent Fasting

    What is intermittent fasting and how does it impact your health?

    You’ve probably heard of intermittent fasting, right? Whether you read about it from a celebrity lifestyle site or overheard someone talking about it at a fitness class, we bet you’ve been curious about it. It’s one of the hottest trends in the wellness world lately, and for good reason! But as with all wellness trends it’s important to buckle down, do your research and understand the science before hopping on to the proverbial health bandwagon. Let’s dive in!

    How do you do intermittent fasting?

    Intermittent fasting is an eating cycle in which you go through periods of “fasting” and shorten the window in which you consume food. Although there are many ways to incorporate this process, one of the most popular ways to intermittently fast is to stop eating after your last meal of the day (let’s say dinner at 7pm, for example) and fast until the first meal of the day (breakfast). This will usually allow for a fasting period of 12-16 hours, the majority of which you’ll sleep through.

    The intermittent fasting trend has been around for ages

    Although it’s becoming increasingly popular among wellness gurus today, intermittent fasting isn’t a new concept. In fact, many cultures and religions have incorporated fasting practices in their society for centuries. Think about it – historically, people weren’t living by the “3 meals a day” concept with mindless snacking in between.

    From an evolutionary standpoint, human beings evolved in periods where abundant amounts of food weren’t always readily available. Our ancestors didn’t have grocery stores and restaurants around the corner from their huts and caves. Instead they had to hunt and gather their food, and even lived through periods of famine where they were forced to fast and food sources were scarce.

    Should you practice intermittent fasting?

    There are many benefits that come with fasting and it’s been proven to be an effective method to improve overall health and wellness. For starters, it can significantly improve our gut health and digestion. Our migrating motor complex (MMC), a major factor in the digestion process, is only activated when our bodies are not digesting and are in a fasting state. This is the mechanism that scans our body, creating a “sweeping motion” to push food debris down to the large intestine. Think of it like a zamboni on the ice – it can only successfully do a “deep clean” of the ice if there isn’t anyone skating around!

    Like anything else, however, bio-individuality comes into play, and what works for one person may not necessarily work for another. Women, for example, should practice intermittent fasting differently than men, because the results and side effects can vary.

    How is intermittent fasting different for women and men?

    Due to our hormones and menstrual cycles, the rules are a little different when it comes to intermittent fasting for us ladies. Because of this, fasting shouldn’t be practiced every day of the week, as doing so can throw our hormones out of whack. Moreover, it’s best for females to practice fasting through days 1-14 of a 28 day cycle. Studies have shown that it can even be helpful on the first day of a period to help mitigate any PMS symptoms!

    It’s also important to keep in mind that there are certain factors than can affect a fast . If you have a heavy load of refined carbs or alcohol the day before, for example, your body might not have a positive reaction to intermittent fasting.

    What are the benefits of intermittent fasting?

    So what’s all of the buzz about? Science shows that there are numerous benefits our body experiences when we fast. Just like our cells, brain, organs and other mechanics of our body require sleep/rest in order to optimally function, so does our digestive system. Research has shown that intermittent fasting results in an increase of good gut bacteria, a decrease in insulin resistance and reduced inflammation. Here are some other scientifically proven benefits:

    7 benefits of intermittent fasting

    1. Boosts mitochondrial biogensis (the creation of new mitochondria)

    Mitochondria provide the cells in our body with energy. All of our cells are powered by hundreds of mitochondria that act as “batteries” to help our body fulfill it’s functions. Their job is to take the food we consume and convert it into energy. When this happens, we have more brain power to complete tasks and tackle our day.

    2. Reduces inflammation

    Inflammation is the source of many health issues, including fatigue, skin irritation, low energy and digestive discomfort. Intermittent fasting stimulates autophagy, which is a process in which the body destroys old/damaged cells (that cause inflammation) as a way of repairing, cleansing and protecting itself. As a result, we experience less free radical damage and a boost in our overall health.

    3. Supports weight loss

    Intermittent fasting can help us burn fat by helping our metabolism to work more effectively. When we eat, our body uses glucose (sugar) as its primary source of energy and stores whatever is left over as glycogen. When there’s no glucose in our body, it begins breaking down the glycogen to use as fuel, and when this runs out (during a fasted state), it will begin to use fat as it’s main fuel source. This is also known as ketosis.

    4. Increases energy

    It turns out eating consistently throughout the day can be a recipe for fatigue, brain fog and low energy. Carbs, for example, are a great source of energy, but our body converts them into blood sugar, and after it’s either used up or stored, our blood sugar drops, taking our energy and mental clarity down with it. The difference with intermittentfasting is our body uses fat as it’s main source of fuel, which is digested at a slower rate and needs to be processed by the liver. With this process, there are no “rises” and “drops”, meaning we have more energy and generally feel better.

    5. Improves digestion

    Fasting is similar to rebooting a computer. Sometimes, when we have too many tabs open, our computer can freeze, and we don’t exactly know where the main issue is. But if we turn it off and re-start it, more often than not it starts working again. Fasting is a great way to give our system a “reboot”, and it allow it to take a break from digesting & assimilating food. In the long term, this can actually improve digestion, limit inflammation, promote healthy gut flora, decrease bloating and more.

    6. Enhances immunity

    Do you ever notice that when you’re sick your stop eating or just don’t eat as much? When we’re fighting infection, our human instinct is to focus on resting and our body looks for ways to reduce internal stress so it can use it’s energy on beating the bug. Whenever we eat, our immune system kicks into gear to scan our food for any threats, so fasting allows our immune system to rest and preserve it’s energy. Since fasting also stimulates autophagy processes old damaged cells are destroyed, ultimately making our immune system stronger.

    7. Optimizes brain function

    As we age, there’s less blood flow/circulation to the brain and our neurons actually get smaller, which can affect things like memory and focus. Research has shown that intermittent fasting actually protects our brain cells from regeneration, helping us to stay mentally sharp, boosting our memory and protecting us from diseases such as Alzheimer’s.

     


    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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  • Healthy Ginger Mint Spritzer Recipe

    A healthy cocktail recipe so you can have fun and take care of your health!

    TMB founder, Dr. Bhat’s favourite mocktail has arrived – the Ginger Mint Spritzer! This easy drink recipe is ideal for those of you who aren’t a drinker or who want to take a little break from alcohol in general.

    What makes this easy cocktail recipe healthy?

    Plus this superfood mocktail recipe decreases bloating and supercharges your immune system! What are your waiting for? Whip up a batch for yourself and your friends today!

    Simple superfood ingredients to make this healthy cocktail recipe

    Superfood ingredients and their benefits: + Kombucha fights free radicals and supports a healthy gut microbiome. + Mineral water is hydrating, rich in health-promoting minerals and is a better alternative than soda. + Limes add a refreshing citrus flavour and a boost of vitamin C. + Mint is a soothing herb that is known to have medicinal properties and aid the digestion process. + Ginger is a liver-cleansing ingredient that calms inflammation in your body, supports detoxification pathways and and promotes proper digestion. Ginger and jalapeño no are also quite potent, so you’ll be more likely to sip on your drink slowly!

    Ginger Mint Spritzer healthy cocktail recipe ingredients

    – 6 oz kombucha or sparkling mineral water
    – 1 lime
    – 1 tsp fresh ginger
    – handful of fresh mint leaves
    – ice (make it with filtered water if you can!)
    – optional: 1/2 tsp monk fruit sweetener
    – optional: 1oz of liquor (gluten free tequila, vodka or gin)

    How to make this easy healthy cocktail at home

    Directions:
    1. Fill a glass with ice.
    2. Squeeze in the juice of one lime and muddle together with the mint leaves.
    3. Add 1 tsp grated ginger and top with spring water or kombucha.
    4. Option to add hard liquor if that’s your style!
    5. Garnish with more mint leaves and lime wedges! 6. Enjoy!

    Make any occasion extra special with this easy cocktail recipe that is also healthy

    This delicious Ginger Mint Spritzer recipe is a great way to celebrate any special occasion or indulge in just because! And bonus, it follows all of TMB’s healthier drinking tips.


    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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  • 7 Ways to Make Cocktails Healthier and Prevent Hangovers

    How to make your next cocktail healthier and prevent a hangover

    Ah, vacation mode, at last! You’ve packed, you’ve been through the airport, you’ve endured a long flight, you’ve checked into your beautiful hotel and have finally hit the beach. The only thing missing? A delicious drink (or two) in your hand.

    There are ways to limit alcohol’s effects

    While here at TMB we don’t promote drinking alcohol as a healthy or beneficial habit, we completely understand that sometimes, mama needs a cocktail. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to limit alcohol’s effects on your liver and ultimately prevent a nasty hangover.

    How? How? We know you’re dying to know! Here are Dr. Bhat’s seven top tips to upgrade your next cocktail – and ditch the hangover!

    HEALTHY DRINKING TIP 1: DON’T MIX SUGAR WITH HARD ALCOHOL

    It might break your heart to say bye to super sugary drinks, but mixing sugar with alcohol is a recipe for a hangover. Sugar is an added driver of inflammation, which means when you mix it with alcohol your liver has to process both and will have a harder time detoxing. So, ditch the mixers, the syrups and even the agave and opt for drinking your cocktail on the rocks with a twist of fresh lemon or lemon juice. Still sweet and refreshing!

    HEALTHY DRINKING TIP 2: CHOOSE YOUR WINES WISELY

    If you’re really into vino, look for low sugar (under 3g/L) and low alcohol wines (12% or lower). Look for Spanish and French as they have the highest polyphenol content. Polyphenols are compounds that offer protection against oxidative stress and disease when combined with other dietary nutrients and antioxidants such as vitamin C, vitamin E and carotenoids.

    HEALTHY DRINKING TIP 3: GIN, TEQUILA AND VODKA FIRST

    When it comes to alcohol, gin, tequila and vodka are the “cleanest” options, as they tend to be gluten-free and don’t contain any added sugar. Keep in mind, however, that not all vodka is gluten-free, so make sure you’re reaching for Tito’s or other gluten free brands!

    HEALTHY DRINKING TIP 4:. ADD FRESH HERBS TO YOUR DRINK

    Fresh herbs such as basil, mint and cilantro help metabolize alcohol. These herbs also contain antioxidants and electrolytes which help detox and hydrate. And if that weren’t enough, they carry a wide range of healing properties such as boosting immunity, balancing blood sugar and easing digestive systems. Herbs are officially your new favourite drinking buddy!

    HEALTHY DRINKING TIP 5: DRINK A GLASS OF WATER BEFORE EVERY DRINK

    Alternating every other drink with water will keep you hydrated and dilute the alcohol in your system, making it easier for your body and liver to process. You’ll also be slowing down your alcohol consumption by doing so, which means that your hangover the next day isn’t as severe. Who doesn’t love that?

    HEALTHY DRINKING TIP 6: DRINK MODERATELY AWAY FROM MEALS

    To avoid symptoms such as gas and bloating and to ensure you won’t disrupt the digestive process, make sure you save your cocktails for before or after you’re done a meal. It’s also best to stick to 1-2 drinks at one sitting and avoid drinking two days in a row.

    HEALTHY DRINKING TIP 7: AVOID THE ADVIL

    Contrary to popular belief you should not have Advil or Tylenol to counter your hangover symptoms. Ingesting either of these makes a hangover worse because both pills give your liver even more to detox!

    HOW TO HAVE FUN, ENJOY ALCOHOL HEALTHIER AND PREVENT A HANGOVER

    Indulging in a cocktail or two can be a lot of fun! Enhance that fun with TMB founder Dr. Bhat’s health conscious tips to keep the hangover away. Cheers to upgrading your next cocktail!

     


    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 are the benefits of collagen

    Understanding what collagen is and how collagen benefits your skin and overall health

    You may have seen it all over Instagram. You’ve glimpsed it in the vitamin aisle of your favourite health food store. You’ve noticed it on the ingredient list of some of your beauty products. Collagen protein has been the talk of the town and for good reason! But what is collagen, exactly, what are the benefits of collagen and should you be taking it?

    What is collagen and what are the benefits of collagen?

    Collagen is the most abundant structural protein in our body, with type 1 collagen accounting for 90% of the body’s natural supply. It’s an essential building block for healthy hair, skin, nails, cartilage, connective tissue, bones, tendons etc. and carries a wide variety of benefits, including replacing dead skin cells, promoting healthy joints & bones, and gut lining repair (Leaky gut anyone?) In short, there are countless benefits of collagen and here at TMB we’re big fans of it!

    5 awesome facts about collagen and why its good for you

    Still not convinced if collagen protein is for you? Here are five fun facts about collagen and its many beneficial properties!  Although our body naturally produces collagen, we add it to our diet for the following reasons:

    REASON #1 WHY WE LOVE THE BENEFITS OF COLLAGEN

    Collagen production begins to slow down and decrease as we age, which can cause signs of aging such as wrinkles, joint pain and weakened cartilage.

    REASON #2 WHY WE LOVE COLLAGEN PROPERTIES

    Although collagen can be found in many skin care products, such as creams and serums, it is more beneficial to take it orally rather than topically, as most molecules in collagen are too large to absorb into the skin.

    REASON #3 WHY WE LOVE THE BENEFITS OF COLLAGEN

    Collagen levels can start to deplete due to certain lifestyle factors, such as a poor diet, smoking, and consuming excessive amounts of alcohol.

    REASON #4 WHY WE LOVE COLLAGEN

    Collagen is not a complete source of protein. It is however rich in glycine, alanine, proline, hydroxyproline, arginine, and glutamine. These specific amino acids are the ones that play an important role in healing the gut lining and reparation of hair, skin, nails, joints and cartilage.

    REASON #5 WHY WE LOVE COLLAGEN

    Not all collagen is created equal. Make sure you are getting a 100 percent grass-fed collagen. Mammals store toxins in their bones, so you want to ensure you are consuming a clean source. This is why we carry Bulletproof Collagen at TMB.

    Can I enjoy the benefits of collagen if I’m vegan or vegetarian?

    Collagen is sourced from animals, so if you do follow a vegan or vegetarian diet, it might not be the best fit for you. As an alternative, you can incorporate colourful, plant-based collagen-boosting foods into your daily diet, such as dark leafy greens, beets, sweet potatoes and garlic.

    Collagen makes a world of difference in our overall wellness and skincare. Visit TMB to talk in more detail about collagen and your health! We provide tailored health improvement services that fit you better than designer couture!


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

    TMB The Movement BoutiqueLocated 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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  • 7 Fun Fascia Facts to Help You Move Better

    Understanding what fascia is to help you look and move better

    “Mirror, mirror on the wall, who has the most gorgeous fascia of them all?” Wait a minute! What is fascia exactly? Don’t worry if you had to ask – it’s a common question and one that has a most intriguing answer!

    What is fascia exactly and why is it important?

    Fascia is a sheet of connective tissue, mainly collagen, located beneath the skin like an extra layer that encloses and separates all of our muscles and organs. Optimizing fascia through acupuncture, soft tissue techniques and facial release can drastically improve how we workout, how we approach injury prevention and how we address pain management.

    Understanding fascia in functional medicine

    Although fascia remains invisible to the naked eye, it is a pretty incredible part of the human body that when regarded from a functional medicine approach can increase mobility, strength, relieve stress and eliminate pain and discomfort.

    It’s not magic, it’s mechanics and here at TMB our treatments involve a thorough understanding of fascia and fascia release to address root causes of pain.

    Let’s get into some fun stuff though! Here are seven fun facts about fascia!

    1. FASCIA IS LIKE THE BODY’S FRAMEWORK

    Fascia is the system of connective, fibrous tissue fibers that lay just under the surface of our skin and is wrapped around every structure throughout our whole body. It’s role is to act as a framework of protection and support and to create a barrier between our deeper soft tissue and skin.

    2. FASCIA MAKES FOAM ROLLING FEEL GOOD

    We bet you’ve used a foam roller before, right? And we bet you know how good foam rolling feels. Foam rolling is actually a fascial release tool that helps keep you mobile and release any built up tension or “stickiness” in the body.

    3. FASCIA IS LIKE AN ORANGE’S INSIDES

    You heard us! Take a moment and think of an orange: the white, stringy rind that you see underneath the peel is like our fascia. The white layer surrounds the fruit, dividing it into various segments, just as your fascia encases your bones, muscles, nerves, blood vessels and organs.

    4. FASCIA CONNECTS EVERYTHING

    Fascia is connected to everything in our body – everything! This is why we always address the root cause when it comes to injury and dysfunction. You might feel pain in your knee, but the underlying issue could actually be somewhere in your shoulder! Fascia connects everything so pain can be felt in areas beyond where it originates.

    5. KEEPING FASCIA HEALTHY IS IMPORTANT

    Unaddressed injuries can create a domino effect in the body, which means that you can have subtle pain in your lower back that years later can spiral into your shoulder, your neck, even down to your feet! Wild, right? Myofascial release techniques and acupuncture help ensure your fascia stays healthy, so that you reduce your risk of an injury snowballing into something more severe.

    6. FASCIA IS YOUR LARGEST ORGAN

    Not only is fascia your largest organ, but it’s also the richest sensory organ in your body, with between six to ten times higher quantity of sensory nerve receptors than the muscles. Understanding this is important, because it goes to show why well-hydrated and supple fascia is essential to movement, alignment, proper function and injury prevention.

    7. MAINTAINING FASCIA MAKES A DIFFERENCE

    Ongoing support of your fascia through regular treatments will go a long way in preventing small problems and dysfunction from becoming chronic and decreasing your quality of life in the future. In short, making your fascia care a priority can help prevent other issues from developing.

    GOOD HEALTH AND GREAT MOVEMENT IS LINKED TO YOUR FASCIA

    And there you have it! Seven fun facts about fascia to help you move and feel better!

    Visit TMB to talk in more detail about your fascia care and see all of our treatment options! We provide tailored health improvement services that fit you better than designer couture!


    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 THE BEST SLEEP ON VACATION

    Getting good sleep away from home is a challenge, but not impossible

    Vacations are all well and good (okay, well and amazing!) but they do present a unique challenge of disrupting our sleep schedules. Between the jet-lag, late nights, hotel pillows, unfamiliar noises and glasses of rose, it’s easy to lay awake all night when we’re away from home.

    How sleep contributes to our overall health

    Sleep allows the body to rest and in a sense ‘work on itself’ so that it can function to the best of its ability. In addition to good sleep improving our physical health, sleep also allows our mind to destress, relax and resest, working wonders for our mental health as well.

    Here at TMB we have some incredible sleep-hacks that you can tuck away into your carry-on so you can be truly rested and relaxed on your next trip or adventure!

    5 life changing sleep hacks for when you travel

    1. BRING A SLEEP MASK AND EAR PLUGS

    This is the dynamic duo that will transform your travel experience. Masks are a natural way to shield light from your eyes while ear plugs make even the loudest hotel quiet. Together these handy tools will help you get to sleep faster. We bring ours whenever we sneak away on a getaway!

    2. DOOR GAME

    Okay, not really a game, but an effective sleep hack nonetheless! Place a pillow at the bottom of the hotel door. This will block any excess light coming through, which may be distracting when you’re trying to fall asleep. Trust us, this is a total game changer.

    3. TAKE THE RIGHT SUPPLEMENTS

    We recommend Insomnitol or RelaxMax to help you fight jet lag and relax before bed. You can pick both of these up at TMB!

    4. HYDRATE

    Did you know that dehydration can negatively impact your sleep? Make sure that you’re sipping liquids throughout the day (filtered water if possible). Consider carrying a reusable water bottle with you so you’re never without water while you explore and have fun.

    5. AVOID BLUE LIGHT

    Ideally you should stop staring at screens an hour before bed. Avoid blue light by lowering the brightness of of your TV screen, covering your alarm clock, and enabling “night shift mode” in your iPhone settings. If you want to take it to the next level, use black tape to cover the little button lights on your computer and TV too!

    Good sleep means you can get the most out of your vacation and return home truly refreshed.

    You don’t have to toss and turn all night while you’re on vacation. Try TMB’s handy sleep-hacks and have the sweetest dreams ever!

    Visit TMB to talk in more detail about wellness needs and see all of our treatment options! We provide tailored health improvement services that fit you better than designer couture!


    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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