Monday, May 19, 2014


 Hello!!!  Ohhhhhhhh my goodness it has been WAY too long since our last post.  Makoto and I love to blog and are so thankful for all of our family, friends, patients and fellow googlers that have read our posts.  We definitely are guilty of abandoning our blog once we (happily) became completely consumed in doting over our beautiful little daughter....who is now TWO!!!  Can you believe that?!?!?!?  We will try to start blogging again as it's definitely the most popular link on our clinic newsletter (which you can sign up for here).

We also have been through so many amazing experiences as new parents and Makoto has been doing his weekly CP24 health segment for the past year and a half that we'd love to share so lots of new blog posts to come!

Aileen Lim-Trotter

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Hi Everyone!

Please check out Makoto on CP24 news channel today at 4pm!  He will be giving tips on how to prevent the cold and flu!

If you happen to be around a tv, please tune in for the short 2-3min segment! For our family and friends that do not live in Ontario, we will be posting it on our media page of our website (

Hope everyone is having a wonderful weekend 

Aileen Lim-Trotter

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Healthy Winter Skin for the New Year!

Hello And HaAaAaAaAaAaaAaAappy New Year!!!!

We hope everyone had a wonderful holiday and are feeling great about the new year!  We had a lovely holiday in Calgary and Banff with my family and Aria loved hanging out with her personal entourage (read: grandparents/aunts/uncles/cousins that adore her).  We also celebrated Aria's 1st birthday in December!!!  We managed to keep her alive, healthy and happy for an entire year!  Woo hoo!

Now that the craziness of December has past, I'm sure everyone is trying to get back to their regular routines....especially when it comes to taking care of yourself.  If you're still polishing off the leftover treats in your freezer, how about starting with some easy winter skincare tips.

A dermatologist and I were interviewed for Alive Magazine's January issue on how to rejuvenate your skin during the colder months.  You can check it out here.

Hope everyone is keeping warm!

Aileen Lim-Trotter

Friday, October 5, 2012

Fall into Health: Ten Imperative Immune-Boosting Tips

The first rounds of colds and flus have already started to pass through the city, and it's still close to 20 degrees out!

These respiratory infections come in waves, and it is virtually impossible to avoid exposure to the viruses and bacteria that fester indoors in the cooler months. Guaranteed, you will find bountiful colonies coating door handles, communal pens, subway poles, bank machine buttons and especially on your colleagues friendly handshaking hands.

Wash your hands and use sanitizer they tell you...but if you did this as much as you needed to, your hands would become raw and dry. Plus, it's enough to drive you to paranoia! 

Do try to keep your hands clean as best as you can, but instead of worrying excessively about your exposure to pathogens, an often overlooked tactic is to support your immune system. Your immune system is your body's natural defense system to fight off invaders. If it is functioning well, it will be able to keep you healthy even in the presence of bacteria and viruses.

Here are ten ways to maintain your immune strength:
  1. Drink plenty of water  - This helps with circulation and elimination, and ensures your cells are hydrated to function optimally. In the cooler months, warmer liquids (at least room temperature) are easier for your system to process
  2. Consume seasonal foods that elevate your mood - Complex carbohydrates, found in whole grains, sweet potatoes, parsnips, fruit, will stimulate serotonin production, thereby improving your mood, which in turn strengthens immunity
  3. Do not stress - High levels of stress will depress your immune system. Find a new approach to stressful situations, if you can, or find techniques for stress-reduction (meditation, deep breathing, enjoyable hobbies, exercise)
  4. Exercise - There is no easier way to increase your energy, elevate serotonin, and turbocharge your immune system than regular physical exercise.
  5. Sleep well - Ensure that you get adequate rest, your immune cells and tissues need this essential time to recuperate and regenerate
  6. Sunlight Exposure - In addition to increasing vitamin D in your body, sunlight also increases serotonin (and for us Canadians, take 2000 IU/day of a good quality vitamin D3 supplement)
  7. Take a vacation - For some people who really detest the cooler months, the best and only antidote is a quick trip to a sunny destination to recharge your batteries.
  8. Supplement Essentials for immune health - A good multivitamin, vitamin C, B-complex, echinacea, fish oil and oregano oil are beneficial to support immune cells and combat pathogens.Talk to your Naturopath for a regime that works for you.
  9. Reduce sugar and refined carb intake - A surefire way to depress your immune system and increase your risk of illness is to eat these foods; avoid them and you will be much better off.
  10. Get outside! - A huge reason that people get ill in the cold season is that they stay indoors...not because they are outdoors, as is commonly thought. Re-circulated air and indoor toxins will prevent your immune system from optimal functioning, but if you dress warm (definitely wear a scarf!) and enjoy the fresh outdoor air, your body will be better equipped to fight off impending sickness.
Enjoy the colours and beauty of autumn and Happy Thanksgiving!
Makoto Trotter

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Do you Hara Hachi Bu? Understanding the art of eating until 80% full

Hara hachi bu is a practice culturally associated with the people inhabiting a small group of islands south of the main islands of Japan called Okinawa. Hara hachi bu is a simple rule used by Okinawans whereby they eat until they fill about 80% of their stomach’s capacity. The literal meaning of hara hachi bu is approximately “stomach full to eights parts of ten”.

The idea itself sounds pretty basic, but likely not as simple as it sounds to incorporate regularly – but it may be aided with an explanation.

You may be familiar with that feeling after a delicious monster holiday feast (say at Thanksgiving or Christmas as an example) where you think to yourself, “Yep, still got room for just one more slice of pumpkin pie.” So you pile it in, maybe have an extra one or two for good measure on top of that, and feel nice and pleasantly full and content.

…Fast-forward to an hour or so later and you are so incredibly stuffed full, you feel like you are ten months pregnant, and ready to burst at the seams! So what the heck is up with that?

Your stomach has stretch receptors, which trigger hormones that indicate your level of satiety. The catch to this is that there is a delay of about 20 minutes before you actually experience this sensation. Starting to make sense?

So, basically, you already WERE that full when you took that extra helping or two, and that put you even past that point, but you just were not capable of feeling the sensation of complete beyond-over-stuffed-ness until your body processed it 20 minutes later!

Use this concept in mind in order to stick to Hara hachi bu. If you eat every meal until you are just 80% full, your stomach will be perfectly full (ie. not overstuffed) shortly thereafter. Try it out for a few days, and you will get the hang of it. Your health and longevity will thank you for it.

Okinawans are one of the only societies who incorporate a type of calorie-restriction as part of their ingrained culture. Could this be the secret to their long lives? I’m sure it plays an important role**.

Keep in mind that Okinawans still have the highest per capita of centenarians (people who live until 100 or older) in the world. Hard to believe, but almost a THIRD of their population lives until one hundred years of age. How many 100 year olds do you know where you live?

Some people tell me that they don’t want to live too long because they will be old, frail and miserable. This is all a matter of perspective because 80 year olds are generally much more spry and energetic in Japan, and are not perceived as being “really old” as they are in North America. If you believe it, you will be it. Start re-framing how you view aging.

Do you hara hachi bu? If not, now you can.

As they say in Japan…Ganbatte!! (“Be strong & good luck with this endeavour!!”)

** NB: Keep in mind that Okinawans also eat a diet chock full of fish, vegetables, seasonal fruit, whole grains, seaweed, fermented foods (like miso & natto, both made from fermented soybeans) and have a regular intake of quality green tea (ie. not from Tim Horton’s). Also, very importantly, Okinawans live with a feeling of ikigai, which translates to something like “having a purpose” rather than focusing on an end goal of retiring and relaxing at a certain age. The feeling of ikigai is incorporated into even seemingly mundane daily activities, but they are regarded in the big picture as having a larger more meaningful purpose.

All I’m trying to say here is that it takes more than just hara hachi bu to get you to live to a hundred. You can eat Kraft Dinner for every meal until you are 80% full, but this likely won’t extend your life. :)

Makoto Trotter

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Saved by a Sensational Smoothie - How to Make Awesome Power Protein Smoothies

The other night, after putting our sweet little baby Aria to bed, Makoto and I were dying for a late night snack.  We had just come back from visiting my family in Vancouver so we hadn't had a chance to go grocery shopping yet.  I'm also really weird about making us eat all the food in our house before we leave for vacation so that when we get back, we can start fresh with new groceries.  Sure, I could have sent Makoto out for ice cream and salt and vinegar chips, but we had indulged so much during our holidays that we wanted something healthy....but still yummy.

At that moment, our fridge contained:

1.  Some freaky looking shrively carrots and half a tub of moldy hummus (Makoto was SUPPOSED to eat these for a snack before we left)
2. A bottle of Sapporo Beer
3. A tupperware container filled with my nail polish collection (keeping nail polish in the fridge really does help it from thickening!)

While splitting the beer, we realized we are hippy naturopaths and always stock ingredients for a sensational smoothie!!  WOO HOO!!!!!  Smoothies are delicious, nutritious and are a great high protein snack!

Here are some tips on what to stock in your freezer and pantry to make sure you always have the ingredients to make a sensational smoothie!

1.  Frozen fruit and avocados - when you see bananas, berries, pears, apples, mangoes, etc in that weird clearance section at your grocery store that we all peruse out of curiosity but rarely buy anything from, proudly grab those almost moldy fruits and stock up on cheap, ripe fruits for your smoothie.  Bring them home, wash them and freeze them.  Avocados are AMAZING in smoothies....a great shot of healthy fat and it also gives your smoothie a creamy, milkshake like consistency.

2.  The protein - our favorite protein powders are rice, hemp and pea proteins.  My absolute FAVORITE protein powder is Thorne Vegelite in chocolate.  1 scoop of this mixed with coconut milk, water, a frozen banana and avocado is heavenly.  It tastes like a chocolate banana milkshake.  Makoto likes to use hemp hearts (3Tbsp has a whopping 10g of protein) and he blends it with lots of fresh berries/coconut milk/water.

3.  The liquid - to prevent the protein shake from being too thick, we use half non-dairy milk (coconut milk is my fave) and half water.  

4.  The good fat - throw in a tbsp of olive oil or nutrasea fish oil while yer at it!

5.  The boost - I use this as an opportunity to throw in some health boosting extras like a shot of spirulina, manuka honey, probiotics....even a handful of spinach.

Protein smoothies are a great high protein/low carb breakfast option as well!  If the thought of having to clean out a blender prevents you from making smoothies, use a stick much easier.

We didn't want to wake up the baby so Makoto went outside with our blender to make the smoothies....totally worth it!  YUM YUM!

Aileen Lim-Trotter

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Key to Happy Parenting.....


Ok...we may not know the *key* to happy parenting but Makoto and I have definitely learned that we are much more relaxed since we have completely surrendered to our *new* life as parents!  It's really very odd....we still see our friends, eat the same food, visit the same places, etc but it's on a completely different time schedule.  For instance, we much prefer to have lunch get together with our friends now instead of dinner get togethers as Aria is in the bathtub by 7...7:30pm maximum in order to get ready for bed.  We are also up at 6-7am every morning now (it feels SO weird to actually be the first inside cafes in the morning..or sometimes even having to wait at their locked front doors hoping they will open soon!) so we get a lot of our errands done 1st thing in the morning instead of after work.  Instead of trying to force an ideal schedule with the baby, we've become very realistic about what can be done with having a bouncing baby in our lives.

One morning, we were up at 5am.....Aria was smiling and cooing away and Makoto and I were just staring at her with bleary eyes.  This is when we did our 1st morning "count" (note:  parents are obsessed with many poops did she have today?  how many oz of milk did she drink?  how many dirty diapers? etc)...."how much sleep do you think we got last night?'  The answer is always the same....."I lost count after the first 2 feedings".  We decided that we would no longer compare our new sleep schedule to our pre-baby sleep schedule because it was...well...just too depressing!  I can't even remember the last time I slept for more than 3hrs straight!  now Makoto and I high five each other if she "sleeps in" until 8am.  Instead of asking how many hours of sleep we got, we've decided to just ask each other if we feel well rested enough to get through the day.

That's the craziest part of's honestly the hardest thing we've ever done but we love doing it.  Some days are better than others...but no matter how hard things get, there are these sweet moments where I look at Aria and just know that everything will be okay.  Don't get me wrong....I'm that crazy anxious first time parent that will probably follow her to school every day....but somehow we'll manage to get through it......I can't believe it's already been 6 months!  Yay!

Here are some tips on what has helped us get through the first 6 months:

1.  Take the never ending free parenting advice that is *graciously* thrown your way with a grain of salt - you know your baby best and no two babies are alike!  (yes...i realize this tip is being followed by a list of more advice :P  Please take what you need from it :))

2.  Make sure to control your blood sugars with adequate protein intake and not overdoing the carbs....even if you're convinced that 10 chocolate chip cookies will miraculously turn you into never does :(  The last thing your baby needs is a freaky sleep deprived hypoglycemic parent :P

3.  Don't panic about sleep.  A lot of people told us to sleep when the baby sleeps...umm...sorry...I'm not a robot that can just fall asleep when told.  In fact, I found that when Aria has a nap, that's when we are the most energetic because I finally have some time to just relax.  Also, a lot of people find that if you do sleep when your baby naps, you wake up even more groggy when your baby wakes from their nap so it isn't even worth it.  If you can have a power nap, GREAT!  If not, just use this time to rest.....have a cup of tea, catch up on your favorite blogs or just watch some tv :) 

4.  Network with other parents.  I am SO grateful for our group of mommy/daddy friends.  We appreciate and love all of our friends but I know that when Aria is having a system meltdown and I have to stop in the middle of the park to breastfeed, my friends with kids won't even bat an eyelash and will instead offer to watch my stroller for me while I nurse.  It is SO helpful gabbing with other parents about the day to day stuff.  As a naturopath, I can be objective about introducing solids, how to treat a diaper rash, etc but no one taught me about the "in-between stuff"....there seriously should be a prep course on what to do with your baby between the diaper change-feeding-napping times.

5.  Hang in there!  It does get easier!  Remember....if you were thrown in to any job full force, there would be a learning curve so be patient with yourself!
Aileen Lim-Trotter
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