Stomach Acid Test

Hydrochloric Acid Testing (Baking soda test)

Do this test once to see your approximate level of stomach acid:


1/3 tsp baking soda (sodium bicarbonate)

4 ounces water

Take on empty stomach first thing in the morning



Burp immediately……………………………….. excessive amounts of acid

1-2 small burps within 5 minutes…………. average

No burp…………………………………………….. low acid


Gaseous carbon dioxide is generated by adding sodium bicarbonate to stomach acid.

Alternatives to sugar

The Refining Process…

Sugar is derived from sugar cane or sugar beets. When the sugar cane plant is pressed it produces cane juice which contains water, sucrose, vitamins, minerals, micronutrients and impurities such as dirt. This juice is filtered to clean out the impurities and then boiled to form syrup. The syrup is then boiled a second time to remove excess water at which point crystals precipitate out of the “mother liquor”. To separate the crystals from the “mother liquor” the mixture is spun at high speeds. The “mother liquor” what we refer to as molasses, is drained off and the raw sugar stays inside the spinner. The raw sugar is then dried. However, Raw sugar cannot be sold as such, because it may contain mould, bacteria, and other impurities, therefore it goes through further refinement in order to be processed into many different types of sugar (eg. table sugar is decolorized to give it a nice “pure” appearance).

What is a Sugar?

Sugars are referred to as simple carbohydrates because they are composed of monosaccharides, the simplest form of carbohydrate which can not be broken down into smaller units. They proved quick energy to the body in a readily digestible form. The most abundant monosaccharide in nature and the most important nutritionally, is glucose. Sucrose, maltose and lactose are considered disaccharides, which are two monosaccharide units joined together. Disaccharides are the most common forms of sugar in our food and the major energy supplying molecules. Polysaccharides are long chains of monosaccharide units that may number in the hundreds or thousands. These sugar chain links provide a sustained and consistent release of energy. Foods that are rich in polysaccharides are referred to as complex carbohydrates (eg. whole grains, bans, vegetables, starches, fruits).

In what form should I eat sugar?

A healthy diet should consist of approx. 60% complex carbohydrates and no more than 10% of simple carbohydrates. However, in today’s world many commercial products contain large amounts of sugar, which is usually refined. Refined sugar is devoid of vitamins and minerals (eg. table sugar) therefore providing “empty calories”. Therefore, check your labels on the foods that you purchase for the % of sugar per serving and also for the form of sugar used, is it refined or not? Please refer to table for a list of alternative sweeteners.


Foods labels that read “low in sugar” contain no more than 2g of sugar per serving. “No added sugar” or “unsweetened” has no sugar added, although it may contain naturally present sugar. “Sugar-free” products contain no more than 0.25g of sugar per 100g and no more than one calorie per 100g.


Sweetener Comments Nutritional Qualities
Amasake Popular Japanese sweetener/beverage, thick liquid made from sweet brown rice
Barbados Molasses Initial “mother liquor” after sugar cane refining process, not a refined as blackstrap molasses Good source of iron, calcium and chromium, small amounts of B vitamins, 40-70% sucrose, lighter and sweeter than blackstrap molasses because it contains more sucrose
Barley Malt Syrup Unrefined, available in liquid or powder High potassium with small amounts of calcium, 77% maltose 15% glucose 7% sucrose
Blackstrap Molasses Final product from sugar refining process No sucrose, rich in calcium, magnesium, potassium and iron (3mg iron/tbsp)
Brown Rice Syrup Unrefined polished brown rice cultured with enzymes to break down the starch, liquid formed is strained off and cooked to form the syrup, useful for those with allergies High potassium with small amounts of calcium, 35% maltose, enters bloodstream slowly
Brown Sugar Less refined than white sugar, no animal products used to refine, color comes from spraying white sugar with molasses or caramel colour Very poor, pure carbohydrate, 96% sucrose
Concentrated Fruit Juices Highly refined fruit becomes concentrated fruit juice therefore lacks nutrients that original fruit had, better to use whole fruit juice Vitamin & mineral content depends on type of fruit used, 31% sucrose 31% fructose 31% glucose,
Corn Syrup Cornstarch chemically purified, remove everything except the starch therefore highly refined Half as sweet as white sugar, therefore more sugar is added to it
Date Sugar Powdered or dried ground dates, does not dissolve well Contains fiber, some B vitamins, still a simple sugar therefore enters bloodstream very quickly
Demerara Whole cane sugar sprayed with molasses Good source of minerals, esp. calcium and potassium
Fructose Naturally occurring sugar found in fruit, however, it is often highly refined from cornstarch, maximum sweetness in cold & acidic food enters bloodstream at a slower rate than white sugar
FruitSource available in liquid or granular form Blend of brown rice and grape juice, enters bloodstream slowly
Honey Raw is unrefined, darker honey has more nutrients Raw honey contains B vitamins, vitamin C, D, and E, trace minerals, pollen, propolis, and small amounts of beeswax, 50% fructose 50% glucose
Maple Syrup Less sweet than sugar or honey, formaldehyde often used in obtaining sap Good source of calcium and magnesium, 66% sucrose with trace minerals, contains complex carbohydrates, grades B & C are higher in nutrients but less sweet
Maple Sugar Crystallized maple syrup
Stevia Native to Paraguay, a small green plant bearing leaves; 30 times sweeter than sugar; regulates blood sugar, therefore good for diabetes and hypoglycemia; inhibits the growth and reproduction of some bacteria and other infectious organisms, including the bacteria that cause tooth decay and gum disease Contain proteins, fibers, carbohydrates, iron, phosphorus, calcium, potassium, sodium, magnesium, zinc, rutin (a flavionoid), vitamin A, and vitamin C
Sucanat/Whole Cane Sugar Unrefined whole cane sugar, water is removed Good source of minerals, esp. calcium and potassium
Sugar Alcohols (sorbitol, xylitol, mannitol) Used mostly in low calories, low sugar candies and sweets Absorbed into bloodstream slower than glucose or sucrose, may cause diarrhea if eaten in excess, no nutritional value
Turbinado Less refined than white/brown sugar, no animal products used to refine. Trace of minerals, roughly equivalent to white sugar
Unrefined Cane Juice/Evaporated Cane Juice/Rapadura Dark-brown colour, made by boiling pure cane juice to remove water, in Brazil known as Rapadura, in South & Central America known as Panela, in India known as Gur/Jaggery High in sucrose, contains chromium, enters bloodstream slower than white sugar
White Sugar Highly refined sugar cane, may not be vegetarian (beef bone is used in some refineries) Very poor, pure carbohydrate, 99% sucrose


Sweetener Equivalent to 1 cup sugar (brown or white)


Sweetener Amount Liquid Reduction
Barley malt syrup 1-1 ¼ cup ¼ cup
Brown rice syrup 1-1 1/3 cup ¼ cup
Concentrated fruit juice 1 cup 1/3 cup
Date sugar 2/3 cup None
Dried fruit chopped ½ cup chopped and simmered in 2/3 – 1 cup water, use fruit only , if recipe does not call for liquid use fruit water
Fructose ½ -2/3 cup None
Honey ½-2/3 cup ¼ cup
Maple sugar ½-1/3 cup none
Maple syrup ½-3/4 cup ¼ cup
Molasses ½ cup ¼ cup
Stevia 1 tsp/cup of water 1 cup



Handout on Alternatives to Refined Sugar from Choices Market, Vancouver BC

McLaren, Tannis. Simply Healthy Cookbook. UofT Press Inc. Toronto. 2002.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar comes in 2 forms. Store-bought, pasteurized and culinary, or organic, raw (unpasteurized), unfiltered; “with the mother” meaning it has sediment on the bottom that looks unappealing but is in fact what gives it medicinal properties as well as culinary functionality. The following information implies to the latter.

Orally, apple cider vinegar alone or with honey has been used for weight loss, leg cramps and pain, queasy stomach, sore throat, sinus problems, high blood pressure, arthritis, detoxification to stimulate thinking and to slow aging, to fight infections and to fight osteoporosis. In addition, it is a great digestive aid and improves circulation; it also supplies the body with amino acids, minerals and vitamins. It is the only vinegar that is safe with candida and yeast issues and is often used in baths for vaginitis.

Topically it is used for acne (as a skin toner), as a hair rinse and to soothe: Sunburns, shingles, insect bites, and to prevent dandruff, baldness and itchy scalp.

Note: Overuse (~1 cup/day, long term) of apple cider vinegar has been linked with depletion of potassium when used in combination with insulin, laxative herbs and potassium depleting diuretics. Aloe, cascara sagrada, senna (Senakot), rhubarb, castor oil, licorice and horsetail fall under that category.

Substitute any of your recipes for this versatile and medicinal vinegar!

Non-GMO Project

The NON-GMO project

For those of you new to this debate, GMO’s (Genetically modified organisms) have come under scrutiny as being a current culprit of chronic diseases, from cancer and infertility to diabetes and allergies to name a few.

In Canada the main GMO crops are: Soy, corn, wheat, sugar, canola and cotton seed (used to feed livestock). One of the issues is that the label “certified organic” does not guarantee the product to be “GMO free”.

One of the arguments is that current product labeling is not sufficient to give Canadian consumers the informed choice in selecting what to feed themselves and their families.

On this website: you can find a complete list of the hundreds of products that have been verified to be free of genetically modified organisms.

It is easy to become incapacitated by the overwhelming task of confronting multi national corporations, but what you can do is speak with your purchasing power by selecting products labeled with the NON-GMO project designation.


Our hope is that you become empowered to embrace the changes you CAN make instead of becoming overwhelmed by the ones you can’t.

Nutritional Yeast

Nutritional yeast is a nutrient powerhouse.

  • It is your B Complex in a food source
  • It is a complete protein (providing all nine amino acids the human body cannot produce)
  • It contains selenium, iron, and potassium
  • And it is a good source of fiber


In 2 Tbsp, you get 60 calories, 4g of fiber and 1g of sugar, 9g of protein and 35-100% of all the B vitamins, except B12. One tablespoon will provide an adult with a full day’s supply of B-12, if it has been added and is labeled “B12 fortified”. Fortified nutritional yeast adds 150 percent of vitamin B12 and 720 percent of B2.

Additionally, iron fortified nutritional yeast can provide 20 percent of the recommended daily value, while unfortified yeast provides only 5 percent. It is also naturally low in fat and sodium and is free of sugar, dairy, and gluten. Sold in powder or flakes, bulk or pre-packaged.

A container providing 180grams flaked nutritional yeast (and the size of a large yogurt tub) is $9 at The Health Hub.

Nutritional yeast has a cheesy, nutty flavor (similar to parmesan), is easy to use in cooking and can be used as a topping for salad, kale chips, popcorn, soup, pizza, mashed potatoes, scrambled tofu or eggs, etc.


Health Hazards and GMO’s

 Health Hazards and GMO’s 

 Genetically Modified Foods in Canada

These foods are confined to a few commodity or cash crops and namely:

  • soy
  • corn/maize
  • canola
  • sugarbeet
  • cotton

Why are GM Foods a Problem?

The genetic engineering process causes disruption throughout the genome; some of which can lead to: new allergies, toxins, and/or altered nutrient value. The health impact of this is very worrisome e.g. maize MON810 showed altered proteins and a new form of the protein zein, a known allergen that was not present in the non-GM variety. Even fragments of a foreign protein can cause allergies, autoimmune disorders and chronic diseases.

Overview of Studies on GM Foods:

The Seralini study on Monsanto’s GM corn showed the following results on rats:

  • Liver and kidney congestion, then cell death;
  • Liver enzymes increasing 540%;
  • 76% kidney parameter changes;
  • Androgen/estrogen balance changed in female rats;
  • Estrogen doubling in male rats;
  • 10-30% showed tumors vs. none in the control group;
  • 50% of males and 70% of females died prematurely in groups with GM maize.

Monsanto conducted a 90-day rat study (equal to 7-9 yrs in humans) and found signs of toxicity as “biologically irrelevant”. When Seralini’s team replicated the study, extending the 90 days to two years the results became alarming. Signs included: Toxicity, severe organ damage, tumors, and premature death, appearing in as little as 4 months. Monsanto’s study design was much too short. (Check out 

  • Toxic effects to the colon, liver, pancreas and kidneys, as well as reproductive changes. These effects can alter biochemistry in blood and immune markers;
  • These toxic signs are present and persist for 3 generations;
  • As if that wasn’t bad enough, GM peas contain a protein that sensitized mice to develop immune reactions to eggs (or a protein in them) called cross-priming.

The product Round-up has been linked in laboratory and clinical reports to serious health effects like: endocrine/hormonal disruption, DNA damage, birth defects, cancer and neurological disorders. Some toxic effects were found at low doses like what would be in feed/food crops and drinking water.

Solution: if you suffer with inflammation, liver or kidney disorders, cancer or hormonal dysregulation, consider removing these things from your diet and life:sugar, corn, soy, canola, cotton and wheat.

A documentary called, Genetic Roulette: The Gamble of Our Lives reports it only takes 6 weeks to see results of an anti-GMO diet. Substantial improvement can be felt and seen in intestinal symptoms, food intolerances and allergies, immune responses and asthma. 

The Milk Debate

We have been hearing lots of talk and controversy around town about milk and alternatives. In posts, tweets and facebook comments.

It’s understandable if you feel confused and here’s why:

No one can tell you what’s right for you and the more knowledge you acquire the more confident you can feel with your decisions as a parent. Carefully weigh out your family history when considering which of these options is the best for you.

If you think your child may be having symptoms related to any one of the following choices try first eliminating that food for a minimum of 4 weeks. These are usually sensitivities that can be outgrown in most people but does require reduction and possibly elimination.


The Canadian Pediatric Society recommends exclusive breastfeeding up until age 6 months whenever possible.  If experiencing difficulties with colic or infant temperament, food elimination (dairy, chocolate, garlic, onions, brassica (cabbage, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower)) can be very effective at stabilizing babies’ bowels and mood. Keep in mind that human breast milk is a reflection of the mother’s diet. Whatever you eat, your baby eats too!


  • Toxins and pollution are stored in fat tissue (breast) and blood and are dumped into breast milk.
  • Colic is common in all infants whose families have an inherited susceptibility to foods such as dairy, wheat, gluten, nuts etc. In which case, nutritional advice is 90% successful. When it’s not, it could be reflux or other undiagnosed allergens or other digestive issues. Food sensitivity testing and intolerance testing is available from the age of 2.

Unfortunately dietary elimination can be stressful and time consuming.

  • Some women have difficulty with milk flow and do not know that there is complementary care and pharmaceuticals are available to help them increase their milk supply.

Infant Formula

For those mothers who cannot breastfeed, formula is a good option.

Calcium absorption from dairy-based foods is higher than other alternatives.

Dairy-free and lactose-free formulas are available as well.


  • Most are dairy-based and there is a significant rise in dairy intolerances making it an unfeasible option for many families.  Any sensitivity could present with frequent illness, acne, eczema, skin and diaper rashes, cradle cap, colic (bloating and discomfort), diarrhea or constipation, dark circles under eyes, horizontal line across bridge of nose or reflux.

Cow’s milk

This is the best source for calcium absorption. Cow’s milk is widely available and the most cost effective, with many options available, such as skim, buttermilk, 1%, 2%. 3.25%, 10%, half and half, 18%, 35% etc.

  • Organic whole and/or raw milk are less processed. They contain all the enzymes necessary to digest and are a cleaner source.
  • Please note, higher fat content milk leads to easier calcium absorption due to Vitamin D naturally occurring in fat.


  • Unfortunately, the agricultural industry today uses animal feed that contains pesticides. In addition, animals are regularly and systematically treated with preventative broad-spectrum antibiotics and hormones, which is what most parents are concerned about.

Did you know?

That calcium content is not the same as calcium absorption? This is part of the controversy regarding milk substitutes. To help give a clearer comparison see below to make an informed choice.

Each brand will have unique calcium content, but the absorption should be the same.

E.g. Cows milk: 1 cup = 300mg calcium, at the fractional absorption of 32%, the total calcium absorption is 96mg.

Food Serving Size Calcium Content(mg) Fractional absorption Absorbable calcium(mg)
Cows Milk 1 cup 300 32% 96
Soy milk Sembalance Brand 1 cup 200 31% 62
Soy milk Vitasoy 1 cup 76 31% 24
Soy milk Edensoy 1 cup 95 31% 29
Almond Milk 1 cup N/A N/A N/A
Coconut Milk 1 cup 41-57 N/A N/A
Goat Milk 1 cup 325 N/A N/A
Human Milk (can vary) 1 cup ~79 N/A N/A

Soy Milk

Soy is a highly controversial subject at the moment. It is the most available non-dairy alternative to formula, however many physicians are reticent to suggest it.


  • Soy hasn’t been used as a substitute for dairy for long enough in the Western world to fully know the long lasting effects it may have. The main concern is the level of phytoestrogens per body mass, with soy as a sole source of nourishment.  (As in infant formulas)
  • Finding an organic non-GMO (genetically modified) soy formula can be difficult, however it is a far superior source.
  • Contains Carrageenan which we recommend clients with Ulcerative Colitis or Crohns to avoid.
  • Studies show that human breast milk from mothers consuming soy foods provided significant levels of phytoestrogens. For the developing male infant, these environmental estrogens can have long-lasting consequences to the reproductive and urogenital system. However, Asian societies have consumed soy products in much higher quantities than Western countries for many years, and haven’t suffered any notable developmental effects or issues.

All of the following alternatives to dairy are meant to be rotated in your diet to avoid or lessen sensitivity to any one therefore some supplementation will be necessary to obtain all vitamins and minerals required for a growing infant.

Coconut Milk

Coconut milk is very tasty, rich and high in caprylic acid, lauric acid and electrolytes and very appropriate for babies with thrush. It has a good fat content at about 17%.

Coconut milk is different from coconut juice or water. Coconut water was used in WW2 and in the Vietnam War in IV’s as saline replacement, because it is very close to our own blood plasma.


  • Use with caution in families with history of nut allergies.
    • Contains Carrageenan which we recommend clients with Ulcerative Colitis or Crohns to avoid.

Almond Milk

Almond milk is easy to make yourself, as needed, and does not contain the additives, preservatives or added sugar, which the store-bought varieties contain.


  • Use with caution in families with history of nut allergies;
  • The calcium content in almond milk is lower than in cow’s milk, but is higher than soy. Nevertheless, packaged almond milk is calcium fortified.
  • Some varieties contain soy lecithin and should be avoided by people with soy allergies or sensitivities.
    • Contains Carrageenan which we recommend clients with alcerative Colitis or Chrohns to avoid.

 Rice Milk

Rice milk contains more carbohydrates than cow’s milk, . Commercial brands of rice milk are often fortified with vitamins and minerals, including calcium, vitamin B12, vitamin B3, and iron. As this is a relatively new option, changes to the current available formulas will evolve over time with customer feedback and more research.


  • Rice milk does not contain significant amounts of calcium or protein;

Goat Milk

Whole goat’s milk contains more fat than cow’s milk. Goat’s milk casein is more similar to human milk. Goat’s milk is also easier digested than cow’s milk. Though goat’s milk contains lactose, it can still be drunk by some of those with lactose intolerance, though no one is quite sure why…


  • Because goat’s milk contains less than ten percent of the amount of folic acid contained in cow’s milk means that it must be supplemented with folic acid in order to be adequate as a formula or milk substitute for infants and toddlers.


Potato and oat: Not widely available, but interesting alternatives. Google to get recipes or to find a retailer near you.



It is our opinion that a rotation diet focused on variety is the best option to minimize allergies and sensitivities in your family.

No one can tell you what’s right for you and the more knowledge you acquire the more confident you can feel with your decisions as a parent.

Carefully weigh out your family history when considering which of these options is the best for you.




Naturopathic solutions – Hair Analysis

Hair Analysis

Hair can be used to gather information about heavy metal toxicity and mineral levels. Hair is an excretory tissue rather than a functional tissue. As protein is synthesized in the hair follicle, elements are incorporated permanently into the hair with no equilibration with other tissues.

Extensive research has shown that scalp hair element levels are related to systemic levels. Unlike blood, hair is not controlled by homeostatic systems/mechanisms. Thus, deviations in hair often appear prior to overt symptoms and can thereby be a valuable tool in predicting the development of physiological abnormalities.

Hair analysis is not diagnostic in and of itself, but when used with symptoms and other lab values, it can help diagnosis, monitor treatment and or prevent deficiencies.

Scalp hair is easy to sample (even in infants or toddlers), the cost is $90, and gets sent to a lab in Calgary.  This test is a valuable and inexpensive screen for physiological excess, deficiency or mal-distribution of elements.

Here is an example of how it can be useful. A pediatric patient with excessive dental cavities (4 extractions and 4 fillings at age 2) was tested and revealed high heavy metals and deficiencies in 3 essential bone-building minerals (but not calcium, magnesium or other typical ones). This helped tailor the treatment specifically to his needs and his body. He is now 4 and at the last check up had 2 minor fillings. I expect this to continue to improve as treatment progresses.

I have used this test with fertility issues, pregnancy preparation, osteoporosis and bone building programs. If you haven’t gotten answers to your health questions, keep asking and seek other testing alternatives.


Naturopathic Solutions – ADD/ADHD


Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) are difficult to define and diagnose. There are many possible causes and, as a result, many possible treatments. The following information has been found to be helpful in most instances and so can serve as the basis for an overall treatment plan.

  • Eliminate refined sugars and dairy products from the diet.
  • Minimize food dyes as much as possible, especially red and yellow dyes.
  • Foods should be eaten in their most natural and unrefined state. Limit the  amount of food preservatives ingested.
  • The diet should include all fruits and vegetables, except those containing salicylates which may aggravate the symptoms. Such foods include almonds,      apples, apricots, cherries, currants, all berries, peaches, plums, prunes, tomatoes, cucumbers, and oranges.
  • Avoid carbonated beverages, which often contain large amounts of phosphates. High levels of phosphates (and low levels of calcium and         magnesium) have been shown to indicate a potential for hyperactivity.

The medical community has adopted a wait-and see attitude towards the beneficial impact of diet on those diagnosed with ADD/ADHD. The clinical evidence suggests, however, that while such a regimen does not work for all cases it does seem to have a positive result in many instances.


• An elimination diet may be useful for determining food sensitivities and allergies that have been shown to aggravate ADD/ADHD symptoms. The most common offending foods are dairy, soy, chocolate, grapes, oranges, peanuts, wheat, corn, tomatoes, eggs, refined carbs, sucrose and food colorings.

• Several studies have shown that the combination of eliminating both food additives and allergenic foods were required for favorable response. Try to maintain a hypoallergenic diet.

Possible causes for ADD/ADHD:

  • Heavy metal toxicity (such as: lead, arsenic, mercury, aluminum, cadmium)
  • Environmental toxicity (PCBS, dioxius, phenols, pesticides, herbicides, parabens)
  • Low protein/high CHO diets = abnormal glucose tolerance.
  • Mineral imbalances
  • EFA and Phosplolipid deficient
  • Amino acid deficient (GABA, Tyrosine, Tryptophan, D=L Pheylamine, histidine, isoleucine, glycine)
  • Thyroid disorders
  • B-vitamin deficient + phyto nutrient deficient
  • Dysbiosis + gut imbalances + stool abnormalities. [Read more…]