The one thing you must do to lose weight!

fruits-and-vegetables-arranged-in-heart-shapeMany North Americans -in fact, over 50%- are overweight or struggling with weight loss. One way to lose weight is to try clean eating. You may have heard the term “eat clean” many times over, but what exactly does it mean? Well, it means just that– eat clean! No added layers, sauces, coatings, etc. Just foods in their most natural, unprocessed forms as possible.


Here’s a quick example. Would you rather have french fries or a baked potato? I know what you (and I) would rather have, but rather, what is best for you? That’s right, the baked potato.

Let’s take a look at both:

Baked potato (100 gr)
Total fat 0.1gr
Cholesterol 0mg
Potassium 535mg
Total Carbs 21gr
Protein 2.5 gr
Sodium 10mg
Calories 93

French fries (100 gr)
Total fat 15 gr
Cholesterol  10 mg
Potassium 579mg
Total Carbs 41 gr
Protein 3.4 gr
Sodium 210mg
Calories 312

Wow! That’s a big difference!

Try this. For one week, examine your eating habits. Keep a food journal.  Are you heading to the drive thru more often than the kitchen? Are you opening a bag of chips instead of julienning some carrots? Or maybe you’re using that smooth, chocolate spread on white bread instead of a natural nut butter on some sprouted grain bread.

We’re all either pressed for time, busy rushing around or too tired to prepare delicious, healthy food every day.

But snacks, for example, can be as simple as A, B, C!

A is for apple – McIntosh, Gala or Granny Smith, there are so many apples to choose from! They’re not only delicious, but offer an added bonus of fiber to your diet.

B is for berries – Blackberries, strawberries or raspberries, these and other berries provide a wonderful dose of antioxidants. Not just great tasting, they’re healthy, too!

C is for citrus fruits – Oranges, tangerines or grapefruit are just a few foods offering Vitamin C.


Do you notice how these snacks are presented without any frills? No whipped cream, no caramel sauce or sprinklings of sugar. Mama Nature’s ingredients do not require any processed flavourings to make the best recipes! Eat simple, eat clean, lose weight and feel good!

Try this smoothie for breakfast: 

Banana Goodness Smoothie
1 cup cashew milk
1/2 – 1 banana
1/2 cup strawberries or mango
1tsp ground flax seed
1tsp chia seed
Dash or two of cinnamon
A few ice cubes
Blend and enjoy!

Living well tip: If you make your bed in the morning, you set the tone for the rest of your day. You’ve already accomplished a task. Now, on to the next!

Eat well, be well, FLOURISH!

profile picDr. Jen Cisternino, ND

[email protected]



What Every Women Needs To Know About Her Breasts










Did you know that women who have breast-fed in the past feel the same “letdown reflex” sensation in their breasts years later when they are moved by compassion or even when they hear a baby cry? The instinct to nurture others can be very powerful and is often a source of health and pleasure for ourselves and others, thus breasts have become a metaphor for “giving and receiving”. Women often feel that their breasts exist for the pleasure and benefit of someone other than themselves. Some women won’t breastfeed because of fear that it will ruin their breasts. Some husbands even forbid it. In this new age of female empowerment and healing, our belief patterns need to be addressed to prevent illness and promote health and freedom.

Over giving: A risk factor for Breast Disease

Carloyn Myss, a medical intuitive and author, notes: “The major emotion behind breast lumps and breast cancer is hurt, sorrow and unfinished emotional business generally related to nurturance.” Can you think of someone close to you who was diagnosed with breast cancer? Do they fit this emotional picture? Do you have similar traits and emotions? The breasts are located in the fourth chakra which is effected by emotions of regret, a broken heart, guilt and inability to forgive others and yourself. A study in 1995 showed that breast cancer development increased by 12 times when a women suffered from bereavement, job loss, or divorce five years prior to the diagnosis. Similarly, severe losses during the diagnosis of breast cancer increased the rate of recurrence. It is not the loss itself that may contribute to cancer, but instead, the lack of expression and poor emotional response to the situation.

It is also known that women with breast cancer frequently have a tendency towards self-sacrifice, inhibited sexuality, inability to express anger and often hide their anger and hostility behind a mask of pleasantness.

Healthy emotional responses include grieving fully, making meaning of the situation, letting go and having faith, which may mean surrendering to something bigger than us.

Self- breast exams- To do or not to do?

It used to be good practice for doctors to teach self- breast exams. However, now we are finding that teaching self breast exams does not decrease breast cancer rates and results in more breast biopsies and frequent diagnosis of benign lesions. Self-breast exams have created a lot of fear in women who are constantly looking for “cancer”. If you believe in the law of attraction, which I wholeheartedly do, that which we focus on will expand.

Instead of making the breast exam a “cancer scavenger hunt”, we can transform it to be a ritual of self- love and healing toward breast tissue. At your next breast exam, ask your doctor to explain what she is feeling, what it means and what to look out for. This knowledge can take you out of fear and worry and into a place of healing and understanding.

Breast Cancer Risk Factors:

The statistics show that 1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime. If you have a family history of breast cancer, I need you to know that you are not destined to get breast cancer. Only 1 in 4 women who have a breast cancer gene go on to express it. I believe that the way you live your life and the choices you make each day are more powerful risk factors for breast cancer. This statistic alone has pushed women who have a family history to get their breasts surgically removed. I am not an advocate of such an invasive procedure. Instead, I advise you to take control of your health and minimize risk factors that may “turn on” your genes.

Risk factors:

  • Environmental pollutants
  • Low levels of Vitamin D
  • Low levels of Iodine
  • Low levels of Selenium
  • Hormone Replacement Therapy. The breast is an estrogen-sensitive organ. Many women on birth control have felt the effects through breast enlargement and tenderness.
  • Inflammation due to the Standard American Diet: High sugar, low fibre diet
  • Emotional trauma/repression

What you can do to promote healthy breast tissue:

Our body has an amazing ability to heal and thrive! If we listen to our body and nourish it on all levels- emotional, physical and spiritual- healthy cells are created and sustained. Listed below are some ways to optimize breast health.

  • Minimize estrogen exposure by avoiding plastics, non-organic dairy and animal meat
  • Follow a low sugar diet. Estrogen is very sensitive to high refined carbohydrates which increases estrogen, insulin and results in cellular inflammation.
  • Lose weight: Did you know that fat cells produce insulin which promotes estrogen production?
  • Increase soluble fibre: Vegetable sources can increase your excretion of estrogen. Lentils, beans, psyllium, slippery elm, and cruciferous vegetables all contain Indole 3-Carbinol (I3C) which deceases estrogen’s ability to bind to breast cells, making it less cancerous in the body.
  • Phystoestrogens (flax seeds, organic soy): Including these sources in your diet has been shown to prevent harmful estrogens from binding to receptors and stimulating them.
  • Eliminate caffeine: Methylxanthines in coffee and chocolate has been shown to cause changes to breast tissue causing pain.
  • Decrease alcohol consumption
  • Take dietary supplements: Omega 3, Iodine, Vit D
  • Exercise: women with a lean body mass (BMI 22.8) have a 72% decreased risk of breast cancer. Aim for 4 hours a week.
  • Get adequate sleep: 7-9 hours a night.

If you would like support in healing and making lifestyle changes that promote hormonal balance and weight loss, I am here to help you. My passion is helping women make positive and lasting changes benefiting their mind, body and spirit.

Wishing you good health and balance,

profile picDr. Jen Cisternino, Naturopath

242 Applewood Cresc. Unit 3

Concord, ON


[email protected]


References: Northrup, Christiane. Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom. 2010, Bantam Books.