Pacific Wellness Toronto News

Wellness Spring Cleaning

Wellness Spring Cleaning

By Dr. Bianca Drennan, ND

Spring has (finally!) sprung! After a long and dark winter, the sunshine and warmth of spring are a welcome change.

This is a great time of year to do some spring cleaning, both literally and figuratively. Many people use the beginning of spring to do a deep clean of their homes – renovating, clearing out dust bunnies, scrubbing every visible surface and dark corner. But what about spring cleaning your health and wellness routine? This is often neglected, but is a habit we should all make a priority. It is important to check in with yourself and your health to ensure that what you are doing (or not doing) is an effective way to guide you toward optimal long-term wellness. Below I have outlined some areas of your health that you can check-in on this season.



Is your diet serving you? Is it giving you energy and life? Have you been eating the same foods or following the same “diet” for years? Do you need to lose weight? Do you need to gain weight? Do you know where your food comes from? Could you be doing better? The way you eat should reflect what your body needs to perform optimally. It is easy to get stuck in a rut or consistently make less than ideal choices. There is a lot of good and bad nutrition information out there, which can lead to a lot of confusion and potentially poor choices for you. If you think you might need some guidance on how and what to eat, make an appointment with me, your Naturopathic Doctor. I can help you weed out what is true and false, and simplify your diet to suit your lifestyle and your needs.



Have you been taking the same supplement for years? Have you considered that you might need supplements in the first place? Do you have a collection of supplements gathering dust at the back of your cupboard? Have you checked the expiry date on your supplement bottles? Are you taking them as prescribed? Have you fallen off the wagon with your supplement regime? Our supplement needs change over time due to age, changes in life circumstances, fluctuating stress levels, changing seasons, illness, and changes in diet. If you have been taking a supplement for a long time but cannot remember anymore why you were taking it or if it is having any effect, then it might be time to update your regime. Supplements should be in addition to a good diet, not instead of. It is important that they are taken at the right time, in the right dose, and the right formulation to ensure safety and efficacy. I highly recommend that before you start any supplement, regardless of how safe you may think it is, to consult a Naturopathic Doctor. Natural does not always equal safe, and supplements often interact with pharmaceutical medications which could be dangerous.



Are you seeing results with your exercise routine? Have you been performing the same exercises since you saw that trainer way back when? Have you plateaued? Are you paying for a gym membership that you never use? Do you have the proper fitness gear to support your workouts? Do you make time to exercise? Is exercise something you always say that you will do later? Later is now. Movement, of any kind, is an essential component of long-term health and wellness. Our bodies and muscles adapt to movement, which is why it is important to switch up your exercise routine to “shock” the body. Otherwise, your body will get lazy and find easier ways to do things, which inhibits change and progression. The most effective way to maintain an exercise routine is to find something you enjoy doing. This increases the likelihood that you will follow through with your exercise goals, which is more sustainable. If you hate running, there is no point on deciding to run 3 times per week. It is a lot easier to make an excuse not to exercise when it is something you do not enjoy. Although there are some exercises that are more effective for certain conditions, the most effective exercise is one that you will do consistently and regularly.


Overall Goals

What are your goals for this year? What were your goals last year? How many of them did you accomplish? What prevented you from succeeding? What allowed you to succeed? Is there an aspect of your health that needs to be addressed? Do you need help with achieving your goals? Goals are often made in January, but I believe it is important to re-evaluate your goals on a regular basis – especially when it comes to your health. Your goals now are unlikely the same as they were a year, 2 years, or 4 years ago. If they are, then it is important to understand why they have not been tackled. I ask every patient on their first visit what their goals are for meeting with me, and what their goals in life might be in general. This allows me to target my treatment plans and re-assess how close we are to achieving them over time. I encourage you to do the same with yourself, or with me. Goals are a great way to break down the bigger things, and they are effective at monitoring progress.

Dr. Bianca Drennan ND, provides nutritional consulting and naturopathic medicine services at Pacific Wellness and is available for appointments four days a week.  If you would like to detoxify and trim your body, improve your lifestyle or address certain health concerns please call us at 416-929-6958 or submit your online appointment request to arrange your initial appointment.  The naturopathic appointments are covered by most employee benefits.   

Are You a Good Boss to Your Body?

Clipboard with Holistic health and words mind, body and soul.

By:  Saima Anto, R.Ac, RTCMP

The mind-body connection is increasingly acknowledged as vital to health and well-being.

In fact, the mind-body connection is so powerful that its measured effects can be bigger than the measured effects of many prescription drugs. This is why studies of the effectiveness of medications have to be designed so that the power of the  mind-body connection is controlled for. Whether you want to maintain your current excellent health, or are looking to make some changes to see improvements, examining your relationship with your body is always a good idea.

There are a lot of ways to approach the broad and complex subject of the mind-body connection; let’s keep it simple by looking at it in terms of work. Work is something we can all relate to because it’s a fundamental aspect of our individual and collective lives. Whether we feel like it or not, we go to work and do our jobs— and we expect the same from our bodies.


Are you a good boss to your body?

Like you, your body is doing the best job it can with the resources it has. Working for a good boss not only encourages staff to perform well, but to grow and develop at their jobs. On the other hand, a bad boss will result in subpar performance, and make workers tired, discouraged, and confused. So if you have been feeling like your body is letting you down, or springing unpleasant surprises on you, it’s a good time to open up the lines of communication and check in with your body, to make sure you’re holding up your end.

To support your body in working well, it helps to avoid some common mistakes. One of the top three causes of workplace stress and dissatisfaction is micro-management. Bad bosses interfere in the work process, sapping employees’ motivation and sense of competence. Take a moment to consider all the things your body does that don’t rely on your direct supervision. How hard would you have to work to stay alive, if every bodily process required your conscious control? In other words, your body has a mind of its own, and it’s a lot smarter than you are. So make sure you are listening to your body and meeting its needs, before you start issuing orders or making demands.

Bad bosses withhold acknowledgment from their employees, or even steal their hard work and ideas. So, make sure your body knows you appreciate how good it is at its job, and how hard it works!

Bad bosses expect you to produce results even when they won’t give you the resources and tools you need to get the job done — and then they blame you for ‘failing’.

Don’t do this to your body.

If your body is always last on your list of priorities, it isn’t going to have the resources to give you what you want. Not that we can always choose our priorities; sometimes you just aren’t in a position to give your body enough sleep, adequate exercise, or regular healthy meals. In that case, be reasonable about what you can expect under such conditions.

Listening to your body is one thing — understanding what your body is saying is a whole other matter. What if you are trying to be a good boss, but you just can’t figure out what exactly your body is asking for? You may know you need to get more sleep, for example, but what does it mean when your body doesn’t fall asleep easily at a reasonable bedtime? Or wakes up and can’t fall back asleep? You may know the importance  of regular meals, especially breakfast, but what if you’re not hungry in the mornings? Maybe you’ve got a system all worked out for managing your busy life while still looking after your own needs — but lately it doesn’t seem to be working as well as it used to.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has been listening to the human body for thousands of years, and it’s gotten very good at not only understanding the language of the body, but communicating effectively with the body to promote recovery and wellness.

This is because Traditional Chinese Medicine is holistic — that is, TCM has always recognized and worked with the power of the mind-body connection. Acupuncture is very good at helping your body use the resources it has more effectively, and the concepts of Traditional Chinese Medicine can help you understand what your body is asking for when it develops symptoms. No pill or treatment can take the place of meeting your body’s needs, but the experience of acupuncture can help you learn to listen with more understanding, and respond more effectively, when your body is speaking.

Saima Anto, M.A., R.AC, R.TCMP is a Registered Acupuncturist and Registered Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner at the Pacific Wellness Institute.  She is available for acupuncture treatments on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays.  Please call 416-929-6958 to inquire about the appointment.

Green Brassica Slaw

Turnip greens, Cime Di Rape from Italy

Since we are on the topic of spring cleaning, I felt it was appropriate to include a recipe that spring cleans your organs. Bitter greens like kale and cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts enhance the liver’s ability to detoxify, which is it’s primary function. Supporting our detoxification pathways through diet ensures that we are removing wastes effectively, leading to improved digestive, skin, and hormonal health. This salad has about 50 shades of green which screams spring (and healthy)! This recipe calls for a pre-chopped kale slaw which makes it quick and easy to put together. You can find kale slaw at regular grocery stores near the boxed salad greens. This can be eaten as is, as a side dish, or topped with your choice a protein for a more substantial meal. It serves 2-4 depending on the size of your portion and if you are having it with something else.

Green Brassica Slaw


  • 1 head broccoli, chopped into florets
  • 5 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp raw/unfiltered apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp whole grain mustard
  • 1 small package kale slaw
  • 1/2 cup unsalted, roasted almonds, chopped
  • 1-2 avocados, quartered lengthwise
  • Small handful of parsley leaves, left whole
  • Salt and pepper



Preheat oven to 450F. Toss broccoli with 1 tbsp olive oil, salt and pepper, and spread in an even layer on a rimmed  baking sheet. Roast, flipping once, about 10-15 minutes until deeply browned. Let cool.

Whisk together the remaining 4 tbsp olive oil, shallot, vinegar, and mustard. Season with salt and pepper. Add kale slaw and toss to coat evenly. Allow to sit for at least 10 minutes before serving.

Add roasted broccoli, almonds, and parsley leaves to slaw and toss again. Divide slaw between plates and top with 1/2 an avocado (2 quarters) on each. Serve as is or with a protein of choice.

Dr. Bianca Drennan ND, provides nutritional consulting and naturopathic medicine services at Pacific Wellness and is available for appointments four days a week.  If you would like to detoxify and trim your body, improve your lifestyle or address certain health concerns please call us at 416-929-6958 or submit your online appointment request to arrange your initial appointment.  The naturopathic appointments are covered by most employee benefits.