An Unwelcome Guest Returns to Formula One

July 27, 2015 2:01 pm
Crash 2

Jules Bianchi in his Marussia formula F1 car.

This month, after a 21-year hiatus, an unwelcome guest returned to Formula One racing.

Crash 1

Jules Bianchi’s crash at the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix.

At the rain-soaked 2014 Japanese Grand Prix on Sunday, October 5, Marussia F1 driver, 25-year-old Jules Bianchi, a native of Nice, France, lost control of his car and slammed into the back of an industrial mobile crane that was removing the crashed Sauber car that German driver Adrian Sutil had walked away from on the previous lap. Bianchi’s Marussia rounded Dunlop curve and hit the back of the crane at close to 100 miles per hour, generating enough impact force to temporarily make the crane leap into the air and off the edge of the soggy track. Bianchi suffered a severe traumatic brain injury known as diffuse axonal injury which had left him in a coma since the October 5 crash. On July 17 of this year, some nine months later, Bianchi succumbed to his injuries.

Bianchi’s death marks the first death in Formula One since the infamous 1994 season, a season that was particularly dangerous due to mandated changes in the Formula One rules which eliminated the use of drivers’ aids such as ABS (anti-locking brakes), adaptive suspensions and traction control, to name but a few, in an effort to increase competition amongst drivers. The intent was to emphasize driver skills and eliminate what was widely perceived as an unhealthy reliance on technical aids that were supposedly making the cars easier to drive and therefore limiting competition among the drivers themselves. When it came to technology, the less is more approach to racing in the 1994 season would prove fatal, claiming the lives of two drivers: Austrian rookie Roland Ratzenberger and three-time Formula One world champion Ayrton Senna, both of whom were killed in high speed crashes that occurred only one day apart at the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix in Imola, Italy. Ratzenberger’s crash took place on qualifying day, Saturday, April 30, whereas Senna’s occurred the following day during the Grand Prix itself.

Crash 3

Roland Ratzenberger’s 1994 fatal crash.

Unlike Bianchi’s collision, both of the fatal crashes in 1994 occurred in dry conditions. During qualifying for what would have been his second ever Grand Prix race, the damaged front wing on Ratzenberger’s Simtek car broke off, leaving the car uncontrollable due to a lack of sufficient downforce and causing it to careen into a wall at a blistering 196 miles per hour. The very next day, Senna climbed into his Williams car for the last time. Tucked into the cockpit of Senna’s car was an Austrian flag that he planned on waving during his victory lap as a sportsmanly form of honoring the recently departed Ratzenberger. That opportunity never came.

On the seventh lap of the San Marino Grand Prix, Senna slammed into a wall at approximately 135 miles per hour and fell victim to a fatal combination of circumstance. The sheer force of the impact itself had thrust one of the Williams’ front wheels into the cockpit, violently forcing Senna’s head back into the headrest and fracturing his skull, and the front suspension had broken apart on the crash sending shrapnel through the visor of his helmet. By the time he was extracted from the mangled car, Senna had lost all brain activity. By that evening he was dead.

In the immediate aftermath of the deadly 1994 San Marino Grand Prix, rigorous new safety requirements were introduced. The back to basics approach of the 1994 season (concerning technology and, more specifically, drivers’ aids) was quickly jettisoned. Subsequent seasons would once again embrace technology in the name of both safety and speed. Consequently, in the two decades since 1994, Formula One racing has become a substantially safer and faster sport. But, as Jules Bianchi’s recent accident in Japan reminds us, no matter how technologically advanced the cars may now be and no matter how skilled the athletes who drive them may be, risk cannot be eliminated completely. With this in mind, death, the unwelcome guest, returns to Formula One racing. Perhaps the iconic lost-generation writer F. Scott Fitzgerald was right when he ended The Great Gatsby by stating that, “So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”

Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame Profile: Brian Orser

July 23, 2015 1:50 pm
CSHoF Hall Photo (1)

2015 marks the Year of Sport and the 60th anniversary of Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame. In recognition of these important milestones, OLM will be featuring Honoured Members of Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame in a weekly Profile piece.

Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame aims to share the stories and achievements of its Honoured Members to inspire Canadians in all aspects of life.

Brian Orser, Athlete, Figure Skating

Pure talent and determination combined with a sense of musicality and creativity, _DSC8542 Brian OrserBrian Orser had the whole package as an international competitive figure skater.

Born in 1961 and raised in Penetanguishine, Ontario, Orser began skating when he was six years old. In 1977, he won the novice skating Champions of Canada and two years later took first prize at the Junior Canadian Championships. As well that year, he became the first Junior and second person ever to land the triple axel in competition. Nicknamed “Mr. Triple Axel,” he was also the first skater to land it in the Olympics. He won a Silver medal for Canada at the Olympic Winter Game in 1984 and four years later, won another Silver at the Olympic Winter Games in Calgary.

On top of these achievements, Orser was eight-time Canadian National Champion from 1981 to 1988. He also won the World Championships in 1987, where he became the first competitor to land two triple axels in the free skate and three in the same competition.

In 1986, Orser achieved one of his greatest honours — being inducted as a member of the Order of Canada. It recognized not only his skill as an athlete, but also his contribution as an unofficial ambassador of Canada. On top of this distinction, in 1990 he won a Primetime Emmy for his televised performance of Carmen on Ice.

After dedicating a career and lifestyle to professional figure skating, Brian Orser continues to show his passion for the artistic sport by generously sharing his knowledge with the next generations of skaters.

In 2006, he decided to retire from competing and fully devote himself to coaching. He has led both Kim Yuna (2010) and Yuzuru Hanyu (2014) to Olympic Gold along with Javier Fernández to the 2015 World title. He has also been the head skating instructor at the Toronto Cricket Skating and Curling Club since 2005. Orser continues today to coach a variety of skaters from international medalists to up-and-coming youngsters.

To learn more about Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame, visit

Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame Profile: Jacques Villeneuve

July 16, 2015 12:00 pm
CSHoF Hall Photo (1)

2015 marks the Year of Sport and the 60th anniversary of Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame. In recognition of these important milestones, OLM will be featuring Honoured Members of Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame in a weekly Profile piece.

Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame aims to share the stories and achievements of its Honoured Members to inspire Canadians in all aspects of life.

Jacques V.Jacques Villeneuve, Athlete, Auto Racing

After loosing his father tragically in a racing accident during the 1982 Belgian Grand Prix, Jacques Villeneuve was determined to follow his dad’s footsteps with a professional career in motorsport. Remaining courageous yet cautious, Villeneuve is an inspiration for others to stop at nothing.

Villeneuve was born in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec, to aspiring Formula One driver Gilles Villeneuve. His uncle, Jacques Sr., was also a racing driver.

At the age of 15, Villeneuve enrolled in the Jim Russell Racing Driver’s School in Quebec – the same school his father had attended and where the young Canadian began to learn his craft under the direction of his uncle.

His racing career started at the age of 17. From 1989 to 1991 he drove on the Italian Formula Three (F3) racing circuit and then moved to racing F3 cars in Japan the following season. Overseas, he won three races and finished second in overall points standing. The next year brought him more victories on the Formula Atlantic racing circuit in North America. He placed first in five races and was recognized as Rookie of the Year.

Perhaps Villeneuve is most remembered for being the Indy 500 Winner in 1995, the Indy Car World Series Champion that same year and the Formula One World Champion in 1997.

After 11 years on the F1 circuit and before retiring in 2006, Villeneuve had won 11 races, recorded 23 podiums and claimed 13 pole positions. Having been born just 50 kilometres from the track, the racer refused to let anything stand in the way of his adventurous spirit. He remained determined to chase his dream and quench his thirst for adrenaline.

To learn more about Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame, visit

Burn Baby Burn at The Dailey Method

July 13, 2015 2:00 pm
The Dailey Method Shoot-TDM Headshots 2015-0085

New to Ottawa this year, The Dailey Method is a full body workout that will work all of your major muscles (and all of the other muscles that you never knew existed) in less than sixty minutes.

The two classes offered, Dailey Basics and Dailey Barre are designed to help you lengthen and strengthen your entire body through specific (and exhaustive) movements. The classes are structured around a signature blend of pilates-style moves, signature barre work and alignment exercises that will leave you feeling as though you’ve had a very successful workout.

The Dailey Method Shoot-TDM Headshots 2015-0082I had no idea as to what to expect for my first class at the Glebe based studio, but after co-owner and instructor Sarah Thompson said she would be changing up the music to include only show tunes, I knew that I had joined a fun environment. At the beginning of every class, you select a mat, an exercise ball and hand weights that you’ll refer to throughout the workout. I decided to start with the two-pound weights, whereas other women chose to use a combination of lighter and heavier weights for the varying postures. After a set of warm ups, the class kicks off with muscle strengthening, controlled core conditioning and a focus on neutral spine positions that encourage proper body alignment.

I found that my first class flew by and I was surprised by how some of the moves were straightforward while others were a bit tricky to master. Thankfully, the class instructors offer hands on instruction, so even if you’ve never taken a barre class or tired pilates before attending, they are quick to notice if you need guidance to achieve the proper pose to get the burn you’re after. As you can imagine, I was a bit stiff the following day but I found that staggering a few classes throughout the week made it easier to catch on to the movements and easier on the recovery.

My favourite part of the classes were the sections that were devoted to ab work (although you’ll notice that you’re always engaging your core) and the movements that engage your glutes. You’ll work your abs to exhaustion with the C-curve crunches and the barre workout places a particular importance on sculpting the perfect derriere.The Dailey Method Shoot-TDM Headshots 2015-0038

Good news for the moms out there! You’ll be thrilled to note that they offer child minding services for the morning classes throughout the week for only five-dollars. The studio is located directly adjacent to the child centre, so if you’re a new mom and wanting to check-in mid class you can easily take a look around the corner. The classes are also doable if you’re pregnant. Women in all stages of their pregnancy were in attendance of most of my classes and with a few variations on the poses, they were able to take part in most of the movements.

If you’re finding that you’re hitting a plateau in your workout or simply looking to switch things up, I found The Dailey Method to be the boost that I needed to get on track.

Class fees vary from $21 for a drop-in class, $79 for first time subscribers or $149 per month.

The barre class was originally founded in 2000 by Jill Dailey McIntosh in San Franciso and has expanded to Arizona, California, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, Canada and Paris, France.

Alex’s Tip: Don’t forget your socks! You’ll need a pair of ‘yoga’ socks with traction bumps on the bottom so you can hold the stretches for a longer period of time without slipping or sliding. I picked up the bright multi-colour pair at the studio!The Dailey Method Shoot-TDM Headshots 2015-0090

Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame Profile: Carling Bassett-Seguso

July 9, 2015 12:12 pm
CSHoF Hall Photo (1)

2015 marks the Year of Sport and the 60th anniversary of Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame. In recognition of these important milestones, OLM will be featuring Honoured Members of Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame in a weekly Profile piece.

Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame aims to share the stories and achievements of its Honoured Members to inspire Canadians in all aspects of life.

Carlin Basset-SegusoCarling Bassett-Seguso, Athlete, Tennis

Carling Bassett-Seguso became Queen of the Court as a young woman. Her victorious career is a story of inspiration for teenage athletes to overcome any limitations.

Born in Toronto in 1967, Bassett-Seguso began playing tennis at the age of 11. After she showed clear promise as a member of the 1959 Canadian Davis Cup team, Bassett-Seguso’s father did whatever he could to help his daughter follow her passion. He enrolled her into the famous Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy in Bradenton, Florida, where she quickly developed the skills that made her a tough competitor in tournaments across North America.

At the age of 13, Bassett-Seguso won the Canadian indoor title as well as the Canadian Junior Championship. She turned professional two years later, becoming the youngest participant at Wimbledon. In 1982, at age 16, she earned the spot as Canada’s top tennis player and held the position until 1986. As a 17-year-old Bassett-Seguso became the first Canadian to have broken into the Top 10 in singles on the professional tour, reaching No. 8 in 1985. Adding to these early-life achievements, she also managed a successful second career as a fashion model for the Ford Modeling Agency.

Bassett-Seguso was named the Women’s Tennis Association’s Most Impressive Newcomer in 1983 and Canada’s Female Athlete of the Year in 1983 and 1985. During her career, she won a total of two top-level singles titles and two doubles titles. In 1998 she was inducted to the Tennis Hall of Fame and in 2001 she was the first female tennis player to be inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame.

The spirited athlete retired in 1991, a few years after beginning a family with the American tennis player Robert Seguso. She continues to stay active in the world of tennis as a commentator and coach encouraging young players to persevere.

To learn more about Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame, visit

To Roll or Not to Roll? How Foam Rolling Can Help You

July 7, 2015 10:27 am

People have heard foam rolling is great for our bodies, but many are confused as to what it actually does. Foam rolling is a type of self-myofacial release, having similar effects on our bodies as a professional manual therapist. It can be a helpful tool for increasing flexibility, joint mobility, injury prevention and rehabilitation and can also decrease recovery time between workouts.

If you decide to use a foam roller, you will probably find a trigger point in the muscles you are focusing on. A trigger point is what most think of as a “knot.” The knots most often occur in overworked muscles but can be caused by many other factors, such as diet or co-morbidities. Each muscle is composed of several parallel muscle fibers, which are then covered in a sheath-like material called myofacia. A trigger point occurs from adhesions in this network and can result in pain and decreased muscle function. By applying pressure to your muscles with the roller, you can loosen up a trigger point, which allows oxygenated blood into the muscle, which can ultimately keep it healthy and loose.

A foam roller looks similar to a thick pool noodle and can be found for roughly $15-$20 at most sport, fitness and department stores. Many runners and athletes even use a regular kitchen rolling pin and similar effects are seen.foamroll3[1]

Foam rolling can allow you to see immediate results through increased range of motion and muscle loosening. It should be done before a workout to get your blood flowing and should also be done after a workout as a way to flush out pooled blood in exchange for fresh oxygenated blood.

Rolling is easy and can be done on large and small muscles groups. You should roll slowly in the direction of the muscle fibers. For example, to loosen up the calf muscle (which is tight on most people), start by sitting on the ground with your legs in front of you. Place one leg on the foam roller and the other leg on top of that leg. Then roll slowly for about 25 seconds towards the direction of your knee. Once you get to your knee, start all over again at the bottom of the calf. If you find any tight spots along the way, hold in that spot for a few extra seconds. With this technique, you can effectively roll out your legs, glutes, shins and even arms.

If you are very tight, you may find rolling to be uncomfortable. Discomfort is normal; however it is important to note you should never feel pain. If you are having pain, try easing up on the amount of pressure you are applying. Also, remember rolling is not a replacement for regular stretching, warming-up or cooling down, but is a great tool for maximizing your workouts and overall recovery.

Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame Profile: Norman Baker

July 2, 2015 12:00 pm
CSHoF Hall Photo (1)

2015 marks the Year of Sport and the 60th anniversary of Canadas Sports Hall of Fame. In recognition of these important milestones, OLM will be featuring Honoured Members of Canadas Sports Hall of Fame in a weekly Profile piece.

Canadas Sports Hall of Fame aims to share the stories and achievements of its Honoured Members to inspire Canadians in all aspects of life. 

Norman Baker: Athlete, Basketball

Norman BakerNorman “The Swede” Baker was named Canada’s top basketball player of the first half of the 20th century—and for good reason. Throughout his entire life, even during times of war, he remained dedicated to the sport.

Born in Victoria, British Columbia in 1923, Baker began playing basketball for the Nanaimo Mosquitoes at age 10. Six years later, Baker was picked up by the Victoria Dominoes, making him the youngest member to play for a Canadian Championship team. He went on to win two more national titles with the Dominoes.

In late 1942, Baker enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force. While serving he was a member of the national champion team, the Pat Bay Gremlins. In one game against the Windsor Patricks, he scored 38 points which was a record at the time.

After leaving the RCAF, Baker was able to begin his professional career in basketball, playing for the Chicago Stags and the Vancouver Hornets. While a Hornet, he was the lead scorer in the league with an outstanding 1,962 points in 70 games.

During the basketball off-season, Baker played lacrosse with the New Westminster Adanacs. He was part of the effort that won the team the Mann Cup national championship in October 1947.

For two years in the 1950s, Baker was part of the New York Celtics, Stars of America and Boston Whirlwinds. With them he played against the Harlem Globetrotters while travelling throughout Europe and Africa. Founder of the Harlem Globetrotters, Abe Saperstein, described as “one of the greatest natural basketball players I have ever seen.”

After his professional sporting career ended, Baker worked as a police officer. In his spare time he continued to show love for his sports by coaching lacrosse and basketball. Baker died as a respectable Canadian athlete at age 66 in Victoria.

To learn more about Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame, visit

Plantar Fasciitis or Joggers Heel: An Early Sign of Diabetes?

June 30, 2015 12:30 pm
Plantar Fasciitis or joggers heel an early sign of diabetes Image 1

Lets talk about Jeff, 45. He lives in Kanata with his wife Jill and his two daughters. He does little exercise in the winter, but enjoys jogging from April to September. He has put on a few pounds over the winter, which he blames to his lack of exercise and sweet tooth. After a few weeks into starting up running this spring, he stepped out of bed one morning and experienced a sharp stabbing pain in the bottom of his right foot close to his heel. Over the next few days he also noticed the pain would come on after long periods of sitting and standing. He was still able to run, although the first kilometre was painful. Concerned he might have to stop running, Jeff went to see his physiotherapist, who diagnosed him with Plantar Fasciitis.

Plantar fasciitis, or joggers heel, is one of the most common causes of heel pain. It involves pain and inflammation of a thick band of tissue, called the plantar fascia, that runs across the bottom of your foot and connects your heel bone to your toes.Plantar Fasciitis or joggers heel an early sign of diabetes

The causes of plantar fasciitis are not entirely clear. Risk factors include overuse, such as from long periods of standing, an increase in exercise and obesity.

Many treatments have been proposed for the treatment of plantar fasciitis. The effectiveness of most of these treatments has not been adequately investigated and consequently, there is little evidence to support recommendations for such treatments.

Furthermore, about 90 per cent of plantar fasciitis cases are self-limiting and will improve within six months with conservative treatment, and within a year regardless of treatment.

When considering the potential root cause of musculoskeletal problems that appear to come and go with or with out some sort of physical therapy intervention, it is often useful to consider the general health of the person.

Recent research has shown plantar fasciitis is increased in the early stages of type 2 Diabetes, suggesting the condition might be an indication of an underlying blood sugar problem. Common symptoms of early diabetes, or pre-diabetes, include:

  • Blurry vision
  • Increased Thirst
  • Stubborn wounds or infections
  • Fatigue
  • Sudden, weight gain or loss
  • Darkened areas of skin

If, like Jeff, you suffer from plantar fasciitis and exhibit some of the above symptoms, a good next step is to ask your doctor to check your blood sugar levels. If results show that you are pre-diabetic, then the condition can be easily controlled through diet and lifestyle changes, with the help of a naturopathic doctor or functional medicine practitioner. Ignoring any potential early warning signs, which may include plantar fasciitis could lead to full blown type 2 Diabetes, which is much harder to rebound from.


I hope you found this information from Ottawa Holistic Wellness Centre useful. More importantly, I hope you do something with it.

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Canada World Cup a Success? Looks That Way

June 26, 2015 10:03 am

On June 6, the world’s top rated soccer players arrived in Canada to compete in the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup.  After three weeks of competitive matchups, the stakes are set for the quarter-final round of the tournament, where the last eight will compete to become the top four.

Among the quarter-finalists are the Canadians, who are the hosts of this year’s tournament. Backed by a swelling sense of national pride and sold out venues for each of their games in the competition, the Canadian women are three wins away from winning their first World Cup trophy.unnamed-2

The successful run of the Canadian team has helped deliver on expectations when the Canadian Soccer Association won the right to host the 2015 tournament. Canada invested millions of dollars renovating stadiums and preparing accommodations in the six cities where the World Cup plays—Moncton, Montreal, Ottawa, Winnipeg, Edmonton and Vancouver.

However, the CSA anticipates a significant return on those investments. Over 1.5 million tickets were sold before the first game of the event, and as many as 1,200 jobs were created leading up to the World Cup. Volunteers across the country are logging thousands of hours to help ensure the tournament runs smoothly and financial experts anticipate a healthy economic impact for each of the six host cities when all is said and done.

Team captain Christine Sinclair, midfielder Ashley Lawrence and striker Josée Bélanger helped Canada advance to this stage of the tournament. Their next opponent is the English team, who fell to Canada 1-0 in a friendly game at the end of May when midfielder Sophie Schmidt connected for the game winning goal.

Vancouver will host the World Cup Final on July 5, and organizers anticipate a sold out event for the championship game. If Canada qualifies for the championship round, not only does the team have a realistic chance to win the World Cup trophy; victory can be claimed on home turf.

Go Canada!

Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame Profile: Charmaine Hooper

June 25, 2015 12:18 pm

2015 marks the Year of Sport and the 60th anniversary of Canadas Sports Hall of Fame. In recognition of these important milestones, OLM will be featuring Honoured Members of Canadas Sports Hall of Fame in a weekly Profile piece.

Canadas Sports Hall of Fame aims to share the stories and achievements of its Honoured Members to inspire Canadians in all aspects of life.

Charmaine Hooper: Athlete, Soccer

Known as one of the most exceptional soccer players to come out of Canada, Charmaine Hooper is an inspiration to a whole new generation of players. Her athletic journey is one of risk, persistence and ceaseless passion.

Hooper was born in Guyana in 1968. She began playing soccer as an 8-year-old when her diplomat father was posted in Zambia. After playing soccer exclusively with boys for years, she was quick to join an all-girl team when her family moved to Ottawa.

Hooper made the earliest women’s national soccer team in Canada in 1986 and was the first player to be capped 100 times. Over the course of her 20-year career, which ended in 2006, Hooper represented Canada 129 times and scored 71 goals. Both of these were national records at the time.

Three of her appearances were at FIFA Women’s World Cups. The most recent was in 2003 when she helped lead Canada to its best finish ever in the international tournament. She scored the only goal in the team’s 1-0 win over China, qualifying them for the semi-finals.

Besides winning Canada’s Female Player of the Year in 1994, 1995 and 2002, Hooper was named honorary ambassador to the first-ever FIFA Under-19 World Cup, held in Canada in 2002.

At club level, Hooper played professionally in the United States, Norway, Italy and Japan.

Hooper now lives in Waco, Texas, where her husband, Chuck Codd, is an assistant coach for the Baylor women’s soccer team. She continues to stay involved with the sport by coaching her 9-year-old daughter Charlie. Hooper also gives her time to the FIFA Task Force.

To learn more about Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame, visit

Living With Anxiety

June 23, 2015 1:55 pm

Anxiety: that feeling of worry, nervousness and apprehension that grabs a hold of you, shakes you up and stops you in your tracks.

Anxiety is overwhelming and pervasive, leaving you frazzled, constantly over-thinking and unfocused. For some, it becomes difficult to have a normal functioning day. Anxiety can also cause sleep problems, digestive issues and much more. If you recognize some of these symptoms, you’re not alone. I see many people suffering from generalized anxiety daily.

living_with_anxiety_image2Your mind is, at times, the biggest culprit for those anxious feelings. The truth is we don’t typically become anxious overnight. Patterns and habits can gradually increase anxiety over time, but simply willing anxiety to go away isn’t always easy. It takes time, treatment strategies and understanding triggers to slowly process and reduce anxiety.

Also, understanding your brain chemistry is very important in treating mood issues. The main chemical messenger that keeps you calm and relaxed is GABA. Naturally, low or deficient levels of GABA are associated with higher incidence of anxiety. It is the primary chemical messenger considered to be “inhibitory,” meaning it reduces and counterbalances feelings of anxiety and excitation.

How can you support your body and brain to curb anxiety?

First of all, there are many ways to help improve the amount of GABA present in your system, including supplementation of herbs like Valerian, Kava and Passionflower. They can be given in the gentle form of tea or possibly in stronger herbal extracts. Guidance from an herbalist or naturopathic doctor can help you choose an effective treatment for you.

In your diet, removal of caffeine can help reduce anxiety and improve sleep. Also, eating regular meals and having a normal blood sugar balance can help stave away the typical “fight or flight” stress response. Having low blood sugar levels can often mimic or trigger anxiety.

Finally, exercise (appropriate for age and general health) can be as effective as cognitive behavioral therapy in the management of generalized anxiety disorder. I hear a lot of people telling me they clear their head and remove “extra energy” from their system with a good run or a workout. These are just a few options that you can start today to help curb anxiety and feel a bit more like yourself!

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.


Kaleena Jay Photography

Author: Dr. Josée Boyer, ND

Josée is a Naturopathic Doctor at Ottawa Holistic Wellness Centre. Her clinical focus the study of interactions between the psychological processes and the nervous and immune systems of the human body. She focuses on anxiety, stress, insomnia, hormone health and depression which can cause fatigue, digestive complaints, a weak immune system and pain.

Nine Steps to a Healthier You!

June 19, 2015 10:06 am
Outdoor Portrait Of Indian Man

Martine, 44, works for Statistics Canada. She is married with two children, Samantha, 13, and Gordon, 11. Both play high-level soccer, which means that both she and her husband Graham are kept extremely busy ferrying them both to practice sessions and games. This combined with a demanding job and shouldering much of the homework, as her husband works late, means Martine has little time for exercise, socializing or pursuing her hobby of painting.

Her full life has also meant that her diet has suffered since she has little time in the mornings except to grab her cup of coffee from Tim Hortons and a bagel. Lunches are often a quick sandwich and while suppers often consist of some form of processed protein and frozen vegetables. By the time supper is finished and cleared away, Martine is usually exhausted and usually collapses in front of the TV with a glass of wine, which can often turn into 2 or 3. She manages to get to bed by about 11:30 most nights but usually takes about an hour before she goes to sleep. She sleeps well but getting up for a workday has become increasingly hard as she does not feel rested.

Her energy picks up after her coffee but after lunch she is usually tired. Over the last year she has put on nearly 20 lbs, has started to suffer from seasonal allergies and has been catching colds on a regular basis.

On a recent visit to her doctor, Martine was horrified to find out that she had high blood pressure and cholesterol; her fasting blood sugar indicated that she was pre diabetic, and she had blood markers for autoimmune hypothyroidism (Hashimoto’s).

Like thousands in Canada today, the demands of career and family life have meant that Martine has taken her good health for granted and she has now become part of the alarmingly growing statistics of sick Canadians:

Until she started having children, Martine had always been extremely fit and full of energy and life. With this disturbing news she looked and felt 54, not 44, and was determined to get back her health but how?

To understand how Martine can take back her health, we need to understand the fundamental reason why her health is failing—mismatch!

Our bodies have not adapted to the diet and lifestyle we have in the modern world today. When animals are taken out of their natural habitat and caged in a zoo, they become less healthy and they have a shorter life span. Zoologists have recognized this for sometime and as such have tried to recreate the animals diet and environment as much as possible. Our bodies are still much adapted to the diet and environment we lived in as hunter-gatherers and like animals that have been caged in a zoo, our bodies are caged by our modern diet and lifestyle.

To help Martine get back her health, like in the zoos, she needs to recreate, as much as possible, that ancient diet and lifestyle.

Here is a brief outline of the 9 steps Martine needs to take in order to get back her healthier self:

  • Just eat real food—if it comes in a packet or a tin, don’t eat it!
  • Avoid toxic foods including flour, industrial seed oils and sugar.
  • Think about the quality of the food and drink you consume.
  • Get better sleep.
  • Manage your stress.
  • Get moving!
  • Start enjoying yourself more!
  • Get back into nature.
  • Spend more time with the people you like and love!

If you can relate to Martine and some or all of her health issues then start to think about the above steps and about how you can begin to integrate them into your life.

Finally, I hope you found this information useful. More importantly, I hope you do something with them.

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sleep Apnea? How Controlling Your Blood Sugar Could Help

June 9, 2015 1:26 pm
Sleep Apnea_ How controlling your blood sugar could help image 2

Robert, 45, is a business consultant and lives with his wife Susan and two children in Greely, Ottawa. About a year ago, he visited his family physician due to problems with his sleep. He explained to the doctor that for that last three months he had been waking up in the middle of the night with a choking or gasping sensation. In general, his sleep had become much more restless and he developed a loud snore. On waking, Robert would often have a headache and have a very dry, sore throat. He also mentioned he had a lack of energy during the day and had become iSleep Apnea_ How controlling your blood sugar could help image 1ncreasingly forgetful, more irritable and had a low libido. From these symptoms, his family physician suggested he had sleep apnea and referred him for testing at a sleep clinic. The sleep clinic doctor confirmed the diagnosis of Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) and recommended a cpap machine. He started using the machine a month ago, and while his sleep has much improved, Robert is eager to get to the root of the problem rather than just treating the symptoms.

A recent study found OSA is common in people with Type 1 Diabetes, but not associated with people with a high Body Mass Index. Obesity has been a reported as a common risk factor for OSA.

Earlier studies also demonstrate the likelihood of a link between Type 2 Diabetes. Estimates suggest 40 per cent of people with OSA will have Type 2 Diabetes. In people, that already have type 2 diabetes, the prevalence of OSA may be up to 23 per cent and the prevalence of some sort of sleep disorder may be as high as 58 per cent.

Both Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes are the result of poor sugar regulation, the side effects of which can be peripheral neuropathy and muscle weakness. OSA occurs, as defined by the Mayo clinic, “when the muscles in the back of your throat relax.”

If you suffer from OSA, it is important you establish whether you have a sugar regulation problem.

A good starting point is to consider whether you have other symptoms of blood sugar dysregulation. Click here to download a short questionnaire, which will give you a rough idea as to how well you are controlling your blood sugar.

Secondly, if you have any concerns, visit your family physician and ask then to check your blood sugar markers.

Thirdly, if the tests your doctor asked for come back normal but you still suspect from your symptoms you have issues with blood sugar control, schedule a visit with a Functional Medicine Practitioner or Naturopathic Doctor. These practitioners can look at your blood tests from an optimal rather than disease point of view. This means that the reference ranges they use are much more sensitive for picking up potential problems.

Sleep Apnea_ How controlling your blood sugar could help image 3Finally

I hope you found this information useful. More importantly, I hope you do something with it.

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.


Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame Profile: John Hiller

June 4, 2015 12:03 pm
CSHoF Hall Photo (1)

2015 marks the Year of Sport and the 60th anniversary of Canadas Sports Hall of Fame. In recognition of these important milestones, OLM will be featuring Honoured Members of Canadas Sports Hall of Fame in a weekly Profile piece.

Canadas Sports Hall of Fame aims to share the stories and achievements of its Honoured Members to inspire Canadians in all aspects of life.

John Hiller: Athlete, BaseballAttachment-1

After a single strike on his physical health, Hiller was nearly forced out of professional baseball for good. His sense of determination and admirable work ethic makes this athlete’s story of reintroduction one of the greatest sport recovery stories of all time.

Hiller was born on April 8, 1943, in Toronto, Ontario. He grew up in Scarborough playing hockey as a goaltender. Initially, he took up baseball with the Kiwanis Club in the summer to fill time between hockey seasons.

A left-handed pitcher, Hiller graduated from Toronto’s East York Minor Baseball Association in 1962 and was immediately signed with the Detroit Tigers. After a few seasons he had become one of the best relievers in the game. In 1968, he set a modern major-league record by striking out the first six batters in a game against the Cleveland Indians. The same year, he was also part of the Tigers’ World Series-winning team. As a 27-year-old, Hiller’s baseball future looked bright.

On January 11, 1971, Hiller’s career was unexpectedly put on hold when he suffered a serious heart attack. Although forced to sit the season out, it didn’t take long for the idea of returning to creep in. He was determined to play baseball again and didn’t waste any time during his recovery year to begin practicing.

Hiller attended spring training with the Tigers in 1971, as the batting-practice pitcher. It wasn’t until July when he was given the opportunity to resume his professional career.

His remarkable comeback was a success. Hiller’s returning season was the best of his career with a 1.44 ERA and a league-leading 65 appearances. With a lot of hard work and dedication, he was also able to set a major league record for 38 saves—an achievement that stood for a decade.

Hiller retired from professional baseball in 1980. Overall, he had an astounding 2.83 ERA and pitched in 545 games, a record for the Tigers. He also left the game with 125 saves, which, at the time, was the fourth-highest total in American League history. It also stood as a team record until 1993.

At age 72, he continues to be in good health and is committed to supporting various heart related charities.

To learn more about Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame, visit

High Heel Hazards

June 2, 2015 2:14 pm

With wedding and summer party season around the corner, many have the desire to throw on a pair of glamorous high heels. Although fashionable, wearing high-heel shoes can leave you with undesirable short and long-term effects. Stylish stilettos can lead to problems such as foot, knee, hip and back pain.

When your heel is elevated in a shoe, your toes push forward and are squished into a narrow toe box. This can leave you with blisters, ingrown toe nails and can lead to bunions or even nerve damage at the ball of your foot (in an area we call the metetarsals).

ottawalifeheel1 (1)Wearing heels will also put you at an increased risk of spraining your ankle. These shoes will force you to support more of your bodyweight on a narrow heel, which is higher from the ground than other types of shoes, which leaves your ankle stability weakened. So, if you were to ever role an ankle, damage could be more severe since you have farther to fall.

Chronic high heel wear can cause more permanent damage to areas other than the feet. For example, shortening of the tendon on the back of your heel (the Achilles tendon) can occur from chronically contracting the calf muscles. This can also lead to further problems such as plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis can cause intense pain on the bottom of your feet.

If you have low back pain and wear high heels, your shoes may be to blame. When the front of your foot slides forward in a heeled shoe, you are forced to redistribute the rest of your weight by leaning backwards to maintain an upright position. This can cause you to overarch your low back. Overtime, this increased “lumbar lordosis” can put a lot of strain on muscles, joints, ligaments and nerves in the low back and legs.

Is there a solution?

If you insist on wearing heels, here are a few tips to help find the best compromise:

  1. When shopping for heels, you want to find one with the most arch support. Do not choose a heel higher than two inches. The lower you go, the more natural your foot position will be.
  2. Choose a chunky heel over the stiletto type. Although you will still be dumping weight into the ball of your foot, the wider heel will increase your base of support.ottawalifehighheel2
  3. Choose a shoe with few straps. The more straps you have, the higher the chance of getting blister irritation.
  4. Shop in the evening for heels. Over the course of the day, our feet accumulate fluid. Shopping later in the day will allow you to chose heels that accommodate for this.

Try these tips from Ottawa Holistic Wellness. Keep your feet happy and treat them with love and care!

Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame Profile: Bobbie Rosenfeld

May 28, 2015 12:52 pm
CSHoF Hall Photo (1)

2015 marks the Year of Sport and the 60th anniversary of Canadas Sports Hall of Fame. In recognition of these important milestones, OLM will be featuring Honoured Members of Canadas Sports Hall of Fame in a weekly Profile piece.

Canadas Sports Hall of Fame aims to share the stories and achievements of its Honoured Members to inspire Canadians in all aspects of life.

Bobbie Rosenfeld: Athlete, Track Events

Rosenfeld, Bobbie B 1955 (BW)Recognized as Canada’s Female Athlete of the First Half-Century (1900-1950), there wasn’t any sport Bobbie Rosenfeld couldn’t conquer. She ran fast, jumped high, hit baseballs, shot basketballs, threw javelins and passed pucks, at a time when sports were deemed “unladylike.” Her victories and sportsmanship helped prove the abilities of girl competitors and paved the way for future female athletes.

Fanny Rosenfeld, or better known by her nickname “Bobbie” for her “bobbed” haircut, was born in Russia in 1903. She immigrated to Canada as an infant and was raised in Barrie, Ontario. Her family moved to Toronto in 1923 where Rosenfeld worked at a chocolate factory and excelled in local sporting teams during her spare time.

She entered international athletics in 1928 at the Amsterdam Olympics, when women were first allowed to compete in the games. Rosenfeld was part of the small Canadian women’s track team which won a Gold medal for the 400-metre relay, Silver for the 100-metre and came in fifth place in the 800-metre. She scored more points for her country than any other male or female athlete at the games.

Rosenfeld’s flourishing career came to a sudden halt in 1933. Struck with severe arthritis, she was bedridden for months and afterwards had to rely on crutches. Although physically she was unable to participate in athletics, her strong spirit could not keep her out of the game entirely. She coached the Canadian women’s track and field team at the British Commonwealth Games in London, England in 1934 and became a sports writer for Toronto’s Globe and Mail in 1937. Her column was called Feminine Sports Reel which covered women’s sports for 18 years.

Canada lost one of its most celebrated female athletes on November 13, 1969 when Rosenfeld died in Toronto at age 64.

To learn more about Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame, visit

The Gluten Free Diet: Why it Might Not be Helping You

May 26, 2015 2:34 pm
Gluten free diet Why it might not be working Image 1

I have lost count of the number of clients at Ottawa Holistic Wellness that I have advised to go on a gluten free diet because I determined it would help their symptoms.

For the vast majority, it was a positive experience. Their long-term chronic symptoms disappeared. For the minority, the effort was not rewarded even though they had been 100 per cent gluten free.

Gluten free diet Why it might not be working Image 3For a number of years this had been a puzzle to me, until I was listening to a podcast in my car on the way to work. The podcast was an interview with Dr. Tom O’Bryan, an internationally renowned expert on coeliac disease and gluten sensitivity. He talked about a brand new set of blood tests now available which look at gluten sensitivity. The test that interested me the most was for Gluten Cross Reactivity (GCR).

To understand what GCR is, you have to understand how the body normally reacts to gluten

When your body gets sensitive to gluten, it produces antibodies, which are like little Arnold Terminators zapping invading gluten proteins in your blood. Unfortunately sometimes Arnold gets confused between the gluten proteins and similar proteins in your body and starts zapping all of them.

GCR occurs when Arnold starts thinking the proteins from other foods are gluten proteins. The body produces more gluten antibodies to zap those other proteins, but which will also continue to attack your body. So you may as well be eating gluten and it is no wonder your symptoms don’t change.

Gluten free diet Why it might not be working Image 2The GCR test, available through Cyrex Labs in the U.S., tests the most common foods that cross-react to wheat gluten.

This include: cows milk, casein, whey protein, soya, milk chocolate, instant coffee, yeast, oats, sesame, buckwheat, hemp seed, millet, sorghum, amaranth, quinoa, tapioca, teff, corn and rice.

As I mentioned, these are only the most common and many foods have not been researched as yet. However, if you have had no change in your symptoms on a traditional gluten free diet and you eat some of the above, it would be worth getting tested or to try avoiding them all and seeing if there is any benefit.


I hope you found this information useful. More importantly, I hope you do something with it.

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Recent Posts