Wheat-Free, Vegan Cranberry Scones

Wheat-Free Cranberry Scones with toasted coconut

Wheat-Free Cranberry Scones With Toasted Coconut

I love cranberries but sadly, I don’t drink cranberry juice regularly nor do I incorporate cranberries in my cooking on a regular basis. Cranberries are anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. I often prescribe cranberry extract to patients at the early onset of a urinary tract infection with great results. These cranberry scones are an easy and delicious way to make cranberries a part of your everyday life (if my husband had his way). If you try this recipe please let me know how it goes as I’ve only tested it a few times and each time, I seem to tweak it a little. For the most part I purchase my baking ingredients in the natural value section of Loblaws, Wholesome Market or The Big Carrot.


  • 1 chia egg (1 tbsp ground chia seeds, combined with 3 tbsp boiled water)
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar or coconut sugar
    Cranberry Scone Mixture

    Cranberry Scone Mixture

  • 1 cup oat flour
  • ½ cup brown rice flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ¼ cup toasted coconut pieces
  • ¼ cup cranberries (blueberries, raisins or other fruit can be used)
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened coconut milk
  • Coarse sugar for sprinkling on top if desired. I made a cranberry juice glaze (pictured above) but at the moment, I can’t remember the exact ratio of ingredients that I used :(
  1. Make chia egg and set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 350F.
  3. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
  4. Whisk together coconut oil, vanilla and chia egg.
  5. In a separate bowl mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, and toasted coconut.
  6. Combine the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients
  7. Gently fold in cranberries.
  8. Add 1 tablespoon of coconut milk at a time until batter comes together into a moist paste.
  9. Press the batter down into a 1 inch high round. With a sharp knife, slice the dough into 6 equal triangles.


    Wheat Free Cranberry Scones, Ready to Bake

  10. If desired, sprinkle course sugar on top of each triangle before baking.
  11. Separate each piece on the parchment paper. Bake for 17 minutes until lightly brown around the edges or until your knife comes out clean.

Chewy, Oatmeal Cookies – St Patty’s Day Edition

St. Patty's Day Oatmeal Cookies. Gluten-Free and Vegan.

St. Patty’s Day Oatmeal Cookies. Gluten-Free and Vegan and GREEN!

I’ve been experimenting with different nut and seed butters in my baking adventures and I stumbled upon this cool mixture that produced yummy, chewy, oatmeal cookies with a green centre. I figured it was due to the sunflower seed butter content. Perfect for St. Patrick’s day right? I shared them at work with staff and patients today and I think they were a hit. I’ve made them gluten-free, however, I’m sure the recipe would work fine with regular wheat flour.


GF/Vegan Oatmeal Cookie Mixture




  • 2 cups gluten-free rolled oats
  • 3/4 cup gluten-free all-purpose flour (I mixed brown rice flour with coconut flour)
  • 1.5 cup demerara brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • 4 tablespoons grapeseed oil
  • ¾  cup coconut milk (you could use any type of milk)
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seed butter
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup mini dark chocolate chips. My favourite is Camino.


-Preheat oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

-In a large bowl, combine the oatmeal, flour, brown sugar, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.

-In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk, pumpkin seed butter and vanilla. Pour the wet mixture onto the dry ingredients and mix until combined.

-Fold the chocolate chips into the dough.

-Take about 2 tablespoons of dough, roll it into a ball, and then press the dough between our fingers to flatten. Space cookies a couple inches apart.


All done and ready to eat! Chewy oatmeal cookies with a green centre.

-Bake for 10 minutes at 350F until the cookies are golden brown on the bottom. Remove from oven and place onto a cooling rack for 15 minutes.

-Enjoy and Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

How to Sleep Well, Naturally

sleep-well-naturally-720x405Insomnia is a sleep disorder characterized by the inability to fall asleep or stay asleep throughout the night. According to a University of Laval research study, sleep disorders affect approximately 40% of Canadian adults. Most adults need at least 8 hours of sleep per day.

Insomnia is commonly associated with day-time fatigue, brain fog, and under eye bags, however it can also be have a much greater impact on your health. Health issues such as high blood pressure, weight gain, depression and anxiety are linked to sleeplessness. On the other hand, better sleep will improve your immune system, regulate your blood sugar and insulin levels and boost your mood and energy during the day. The equation is simple; improving your sleep will improve your overall health.

Chart Your Sleep Pattern

To determine the pattern of your sleep, keep a sleep journal for a week. In this journal, document your bedtime; the time that it takes for you to fall asleep; the time you wake up in the morning; the number of times you wake up during the night and how you feel in the morning. This type of journal is a sound diagnostic tool to help you take the first steps in determining the type of insomnia you are afflicted with. Take it to your health practitioner who can help you make sense of it and devise a plan to improve your slumber.

Sleep Schedule ClockEstablish a Regular Sleep Schedule

It’s well established in research studies that it is best to go to bed at the same time each night and to wake up at the same time each morning. Keeping a regimented sleep schedule, will help to regulate your sleep-wake cycle or circadian rhythm. Your body produces melatonin in response to darkness. Melatonin, an important component of your sleep-wake cycle, is a hormone and potent antioxidant that induces sleepiness in response to darkness, protects all of your cells and organs from premature ageing and reduces your risk of cancerous tumour growth. Establishing a sleep schedule will help regulate this vital chemical and protect your body from the deleterious effects of poor sleep.

Remove Distractions from the Bedroom

Allow your bedroom to be your sleep sanctuary; the place where you can go to safely unwind from your hectic day. To do this successfully, you’re going to have to leave the tablet, computer, television and smart phone behind. According to one study, the blue wavelengths produced by your gadgets, reduces melatonin production, disrupting your total sleep time. Along with avoiding electronics close to bedtime, ensure that you are sleeping in complete darkness by using blackout curtains or a sleep mask. Depending on your living situation, you may require ear plugs to block out noises and sounds that are beyond your control.

Cut Out The Coffee Sleep TipCut Down on the Cuppa Joe

We all know some people who no matter how much coffee consumed, can fall asleep, no problem. Then you have the individuals who can’t even drink one cup without feeling agitated and on edge for the rest of the day. It’s important to know your limit with respect to this nervous system stimulant. Mainly, I recommend that patients cut out all caffeine consumption after noon. Caffeine disrupts your sleep by spiking your stress hormone, adrenaline, reducing the quality and quantity of your sleep. In fact, it can take up to 6 hours to eliminate ½ of the caffeine from your body so beware.

Blame it on the Alcohol

Alcohol has long been seen as the sleep medication of choice. Although alcohol can do wonders for reducing the time it takes to fall asleep, it will surely have you up before the break of dawn. Alcohol reduces your REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep time and can shorten the duration of your overall sleep, especially in women. It’s also a diuretic, therefore drinking alcohol late at night, may increase your mid-night trips to the washroom. If you must have a glass of wine with your dinner, try limiting your intake to no more than a 5 ounce glass and keep yourself hydrated throughout the day.

Establishing good sleep habits can drastically improve insomnia but you have to spend the time to figure out what works best for you. We are learning more and more about the importance of good sleep everyday. It’s important to do whatever you can to get it.

Originally published on bell-wellness.com – March 5, 2015.


Healthy Snack Swaps

Snacking between meals helps to sustain your energy and mood, kicking those late night cravings to the curb. Healthy snacks also maintain stable blood sugar levels throughout the day which is key for those who suffer from hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia (or diabetes) alike. Furthermore, if you are trying to maintain a healthy weight or to lose weight, eating regularly is an important part of any meal plan. Going for long periods without eating or skipping meals slows down your metabolism and at your next meal you may over eat. A good snack should be nutrient dense and ideally balanced in protein, carbohydrates, healthy fat and fiber. However, some snacks are better than others. If you are going to snack, you might as well eat the best. Here are some healthy, snack swaps to consider.

Avocado chocolate pudding is easy to make and loaded with selenium, potassium, fibre and healthy fat.

Avocado chocolate pudding is easy to make and loaded with selenium, potassium , fibre and healthy fat.

Chocolate Avocado Pudding

Swap that chocolate bar with homemade chocolate pudding. This recipe is made with avocados but your kids will never know!

Ingredients: 1 avocado, 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk or other milk of your choice, 1/4 tsp of cinnamon, 1/4 cup of cocoa powder, 1 tsp of vanilla extract, 3 tbsp of maple syrup – you can add more if you’d like.

Directions: Combine all ingredients in your blender and blend until smooth. Serve chilled. Top with fruit or nuts for some crunch. Avocados are loaded with healthy fat, selenium and contain more potassium than bananas. Dark chocolate contains antioxidants that are heart and brain healthy.

Chia pudding is a great substitute for yogurt or oatmeal. It's high in protein and fibre.

Chia pudding is a great substitute for yogurt or oatmeal. It’s high in protein and fibre.

Chia Pudding Parfait

If you’re tired of yogurt and oatmeal, give this recipe a try. The consistency is similar to tapioca pudding or a porridge and the nutritional yield of chia just amazes me. Chia seeds contain omega 3 fatty acids, fiber, tons of vitamins and minerals, antioxidants and protein. In fact, 4 tablespoons of chia seeds will provide approximately 80 grams of protein. This means chia seeds make a great snack that will also keep you satiated.

Ingredients: 4 tbsp chia seeds, 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 2 tbsp maple syrup, 1 cup of milk of your choice. I use unsweetened coconut milk.

Directions: In a mason jar combine the chia seeds with the dry ingredients. Stir in the coconut milk and the maple syrup. Mix really well, seal the jar and place in the fridge overnight or for at least 4 hours. In the morning, top with granola, shredded coconut, fruit or nuts. Voila!

I’ll be sharing a few more of my snack swap ideas on Toronto’s Global News at Noon on February 23, 2015. Tune in!

Put Life Back Into your Hair Strands


Hair is derived from your hair follicles. Therefore the health of your hair depends on the health of your scalp. To maintain your healthy tresses, it is important to nourish your hair from the outside in and the inside out. Hormone imbalances, some medications, extreme weather changes, hair products and your nutritional intake all play a role in the look, feel and the overall health of your hair. Let’s examine the key nutrients and some homemade topical solutions that will make your hair shine.

Human hair is comprised primarily of protein. The first thing I rule out when looking for the cause of hair thinning in my practice is a protein deficiency. Low protein intake can in turn lead to poor quality hair strands and a deficiency in the nutrients that I discuss below. Therefore be sure to eat protein with each meal and to eat regular, balanced meals, every 4 hours. If you are a vegetarian, ensure that your meals contain whole grains such as quinoa, legumes and plenty of green leafy vegetables to support healthy hair growth.

B Vitamins
Biotin B1, B5 and B12 are important vitamins for maintaining a healthy scalp and strong hair. B vitamins play an important role in your metabolism, hormone production and in the production of red blood cells. When your body is stressed, the need for B vitamins increases and for some individuals stress can result in thinning hair. Consume eggs, whole grains, nuts and seeds on a regular basis. You can also take a B complex supplement that contains a full complement of all the B vitamins for support.

Iron deficiency anemia is a common condition in women of child-bearing age. Iron is an important component of your hemoglobin which brings oxygen and blood to all of your cells, including the hair follicles. When your iron levels fall below optimal, your body will automatically focus on nourishing your vital organs, restricting blood flow to your non-vital organs such as your scalp; this leaves you susceptible to lack lustre, thinning hair. If you suffer from fatigue, heavy menstrual cycles or if you are a vegetarian, it is important to get your iron and hemoglobin checked regularly as you may need to up your intake of iron-rich foods or to take a nutritional supplement. Lentils, eggs, dark green leafy vegetables and organic beef liver are great sources of iron.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Long chain omega-3 fatty acids are essential; which means that your body is not able to make these scalp nourishing, heart-healthy fats on its own. These fatty acids are embedded within your hair strands, hair follicles and within the membranes of all cells in your body, including your scalp, providing moisture and a natural lustre to your hair shaft. If your scalp tends to be dry, consider increasing your intake of omega-3 fatty acids. Cold water fish such as salmon and mackerel are your best sources. You can also take a fish oil supplement to meet your daily needs.

Vitamin D
In the northern latitudes, vitamin D deficiency and sub-optimal levels of vitamin D is an epidemic as the levels of year-round sunlight is limited. Functionally a hormone, vitamin D maintains the cycles of hair growth and without it your hair will appear dull and slow-growing. Test your vitamin D with your health care provider and according to the Vitamin D Council you should aim to maintain your blood vitamin D levels at 120nmol/L year-round. This will likely require taking a supplement; however food sources include, salmon, cod liver oil, mushrooms and fortified dairy products.

This is one of my all-time favourites. Use flat beer as a rinse after you have washed and conditioned your hair and voila, plump hair strands, full of body and moisture. Don’t worry about the smell, after you rinse the beer out with cool water, the smell will disappear. Depending on the length of your hair mix ½ cup to 1 cup of flat beer with a ½ teaspoon of jojoba oil. The jojoba will amplify the shine, soothe your scalp and seal the moisture into your hair strands.

Herbs for superb hair
Some herbs such as Saw Palmetto and Stinging Nettle Extract can give your scalp the nourishment it needs to promote the growth of thick, lustrous, and healthy hair. Saw Palmetto has a long history of use for treating benign prostatic hypertrophy in men as well as male and female pattern baldness, aka androgenic alopecia. Although the scientific research is limited, a small research study demonstrated it may be helpful for the treatment of androgenic alopecia in men. It is thought that this herb works by blocking the enzyme 5-alpha-reductase which causes the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone. Dihydrotestosterone is thought to be the culprit in both male and female pattern baldness. In addition, Stinging Nettle is a perennial plant that grows widely across North America. Both the root and the leaves have been used for centuries in herbal medicine to treat health concerns such as hair loss, conditions of the urinary tract and seasonal allergies. It can be taken in capsule form or herbal tea form and applied topically as a hair rinse after you have washed your hair. Nettles is a rich source of many nutrients including iron, protein, silica and calcium which may explain its history of use for maintaining a healthy mane.


Originally written for and published on bellwellness.ca, September 24, 2014



Heart Disease Can Be Prevented

Heart Health

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in North America for both men and women and according to the Heart and Stroke Foundation, it is estimated that cardiovascular disease accounts for 29% of deaths in Canada.

Although you may have a family history of cardiovascular disease, know that the nutrition and lifestyle choices that you make today, will impact whether those genes will be expressed or not in the future. In other words, heart disease can be prevented.

On February 14th, 2014, I was invited by Global Toronto’s News at Noon, to discuss some of these preventative strategies with host Antony Robart. Here is a summary. As always, please see your naturopathic doctor for recommendations specific to your case.

Risk Factors

The risk factors for heart disease that are within your control include: stress, weight, smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, inactivity, hypertension, high cholesterol, diabetes. The risk factors for heart disease that are not within your control: having a positive family history; or congenital heart disease.

Prevention Strategies – Here are some of my tips!

Sugar: Avoid the excess sugar. This is the sugar that food manufacturers add to processed foods such as yogurt, sodas, pastries and juices. Minimizing your consumption of processed foods is a must for any health care regimen. According to a recent study, if sugar is 25% of your daily caloric intake, it can double your heart disease risk. To put this into perspective, a 16 ounce bottle of orange juice can contain up to 48 grams or more of sugar. That is the equivalent of 192 calories, in one beverage!

Alcohol: For decades, alcohol has been touted as the premiere strategy for heart disease prevention and although some alcohol consumption may offer some protection, there is only so far that this strategy will take you. For men, drink no more than 2 drinks daily and for women, no more than 1 drink daily. If you consume more than the recommended dose on a regular basis, your risk of death from cardiovascular disease will double. Furthermore, you will increase your risk for colorectal, breast and liver cancer.

Fish: Two weekly servings of fish reduces the risk of dying from a heart attack by 30%. Choose wild caught and sustainable fish whenever possible. Check out this fish guide by the David Suzuki Foundation. http://www.davidsuzuki.org/what-you-can-do/food-and-our-planet/suzukis-top-10-sustainable-seafood-picks/

Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO): Include 1 to 2 tbsp each day with your meals. EVOO reduces bad (LDL) cholesterol and raises good (HDL) cholesterol.

Nuts: It doesn’t matter which type! Reduces risk of cardiovascular disease by 35%. Aim for a handful of raw, unsalted nuts each day.

Garlic: Decreases platelet and red blood cell stickiness and inflammation. Eat 1 clove of fresh garlic daily or add chopped garlic near the end of the cooking process in order to preserve the antioxidant and nutrient content.

Tea: 3 cups or more of green tea daily reduces your risk of stroke by 21%, according to one study. Green tea leaves are delicate. To protect the flavour and health benefits on this fine tea, steep in cooler water (70 to 80 degrees celsius) for 2 to 4 minutes.

Dark chocolate (70% cocoa): Now this is a superfood! Dark chocolate reduces blood pressure and improves blood flow to the heart and brain.  According to studies, about 3 ounces per day is all you need to keep your heart healthy and happy.

Resources consulted in this article:








Kicking the Coffee Habit

imagesMmmm…Coffee! 90% of North Americans drink this legal, psychoactive drug each day. It gives energy and brings alertness, it boosts mood and helps you to be “on”. There are even some compelling scientific studies demonstrating that regular coffee consumption prevents heart disease and type 2 diabetes. My issue with regular coffee drinking, is much like my issue with regular alcohol drinking. It’s not for everyone, there is a safe upper limit and there are many other lifestyle and nutritional factors that can be implemented in your health regimen for disease prevention. There are many downsides to the use of coffee and other caffeinated beverages on a regular basis.

For most people, 300 mg of caffeine daily is the safe limit which is equivalent to around 2 to 3 (250 ml) cups. Some of the negative effects associated with chronic caffeine consumption include: hypertension, elevated heart rate, anxiety, panic attacks, muscle twitching, osteoporosis, increased urination, increased elimination of minerals and electrolytes such as calcium, magnesium and potassium, heartburn and insomnia.

If you are thinking about weaning from coffee, do it slowly to avoid the withdrawal symptoms. Headaches, fatigue, lethargy and constipation are some of the symptoms to be weary of.

How to Wean

The weaning process can take place over 2 weeks to 4 weeks or more, depending on how much coffee is regularly consumed.

Step 1: Reduce the size of the cups/container used
Step 2: Drink 1/3 decaffeinated (ie. Kicking Horse – Swiss water method to avoid the chemicals involved in the conventional decaffeination process) and 2/3 caffeinated
Step 3: Drink 1/2 decaffeinated, ½ caffeinated
Step 4: Drink 2/3 decaffeinated and 1/3 caffeinated
Step 5: Replace with green tea (less caffeine, contains antioxidants, boosts metabolism)
Step 6: Switch over to a decaffeinated/herbal tea or stick with green tea (contains approximately 35 mg of caffeine per cup)

Other Tips

-Sleep (get to bed at a decent hour) and add in/boost the frequency of your exercise (improves mood and energy)
-Eat meals regularly (keeps blood sugar and insulin levels stable and prevents craving for sugary snacks)
-Eat fiber to prevent constipation (examples include: hemp seeds, chia seeds, ground flax seeds, fruits and vegetables, steel cut oatmeal and whole grains)
-Drink water and add some lemon (improves digestion, supports liver). There are chemicals in coffee that disrupt the liver’s normal detoxification process.

Supplements  (consult with your ND for individualized dosing)

-Electrolytes (green leafy vegetables such as kale and spinach, avocados, bananas, Ener-C (natural electrolyte replacement pack), coconut water (natural electrolyte replacement found in nature)
-Vitamin C – an antioxidant that supports the adrenal glands (stress hormone producing glands) and the liver.
-B Complex boosts energy and mood. During times of stress your body utilizes more B vitamins and vitamin C as these nutrients are required for producing stress hormones such as cortisol in the body.

Here is the link to my segment on Global’s News at Noon, where I help the host, Antony Robart, kick his coffee habit.

Simple Kale Chips Recipe

Kale Chips - A healthy snack for movie night. Kids love it too!

Kale Chips – A healthy snack for movie night. Kids love it too!

Kale….Seems like everyone is talking about it these days. This nutrient dense cruciferous veggie (broccoli and cabbage are also in this family), is bursting with vitamins and minerals. It’s high in vitamin A, K, and C. Calcium, iron and magnesium are present and not to mention, fiber. So it’s no wonder people are talking about it. Here’s my simple kale chips recipe that will hopefully make you eat it more. Less talk, more eat!


1 large bunch of organic kale
2 tsp of organic butter (can be omitted if you wish. but butter makes everything taste better and it helps with the absorption of your fat-soluble vitamins)
1 tbsp grapeseed oil
Sea salt and black pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
Remove the leaves from the thick stems and tear into bite-sized pieces.
Wash and thoroughly dry the kale with a salad spinner or a tea towel.
Melt butter on the stove-top in a saucepan over medium-low heat.
Arrange the kale pieces on the parchment paper.
Drizzle the kale with grape seed oil, melted butter and sprinkle with sea salt and black pepper.
Bake until the edges brown but are not burnt, about 10 minutes.

Natural Fertility

baby-rattle-webI don’t typically share stories but I witness this so often and perhaps someone out there needs some encouragement today. Natural, holistic medicine is so amazing to me. I know that my ND colleagues can relate to this as we see this time and time again.

After months of fertility medications and intrauterine inseminations (IUIs), my patient was told by her fertility doctor that it was time to consider IVF (in vitro fertilization) as her ovarian reserve is too low to conceive naturally. Meanwhile, I soldiered on as any naturopathic doctor would and simply worked with her on nutrition and lifestyle changes including boosting up her iron stores and B12, providing herbal remedies, acupuncture as well as weekly encouragement. She emailed and said that she and her partner would be taking a break from the fertility clinic for the summer, but that she would continue with the natural treatments. A month later, I get an email that she is pregnant, naturally, no IVF nor IUI needed. Love it.

This story exemplifies what naturopathic medicine is all about. Naturopathic doctors help bring mind and body into balance. It’s not always as simple as bringing sperm and egg together. When health is optimized fertility can happen, it may just take some time. #simplesensiblehealth #naturopathy #ilovemyjob

Have a great long weekend!



Natural Insect Repellent Recipe

Alternatives to DEET containing insect repellents

Alternatives to DEET containing insect repellents

Bug Off! Although government health agencies claim that DEET-containing insect repellents are safe; there are many scientists and environmental watch dogs such as the Environmental Working Group that are concerned. DEET has been shown to cause skin irritation, eye irritation, memory loss and neurological conditions such as seizures. So what are the natural alternatives? Soybean oil-based repellents have been shown to be as effective as DEET without the side effects. Citronella-containing insect repellents are the most popular on the market, but effects can last between 30 minutes to an hour. Today on Toronto’s Global News at Noon Show, I discussed natural alternatives to chemical-based insect repellents. Here is a recipe that honestly takes 2 minutes to make and absorbs really well into the skin, without a greasy feel. I recommend applying natural insect repellents more frequently in order to stay mosquito bite-free!

Remember our skin, the largest organ, contains mini-mouths (aka pores) that very efficiently eats any and everything we put on it without filter. Contrast this to when we eat a meal; food and chemicals are processed by our organs (stomach, liver, small intestine etc.) before entering the blood stream.

Here’s my recipe:
1/4 cup organic soy bean oil
1/3 cup water
50 drops of 3 essential oils of your choice (ie. citronella, clove, eucalyptus)
Put in a dark spray bottle, shake well and apply as needed.

Happy long weekend!

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    April  2015
    Events on April 22, 2015
    • Tea with the ND - Colon Health
      Starts: 7:30 pm
      Ends: April 22, 2015 - 8:30 pm
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      Description: Join me for this special Tea With the ND as I celebrate 8 years in practice!

      Colorectal Cancer is the 2nd leading cause of death from cancer in men and the 3rd leading cause of death from cancer in women.

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