Ask an expert

Pose a question to one of our health-care professionals.

Every week we'll feature a column from one of our health-care experts:

  • Registered dietitian Andrea Holwegner.
  • Associate professor of pediatrics and emergency medicine Brett Taylor.
  • Registered psychologist Melanie Barwick, specializing in children's mental health.
  • Certified athletic therapist Russell Gunner.

They're also here to answer your questions and deal with the issues you want dealt with.

This site is intended for informational purposes only — it is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you have specific questions about specific symptoms, treatments or nutritional issues see your medical professional.

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H. Smith

Hi Andrea,

I could really use some expert snacking advice. During weekdays, I work in an office and often attend 1+ hour meetings. This is a problem for me, as I'm quite active and accustomed to snacking on an hourly basis.
Can you suggest some hearty snacks that would keep me from zoning out during long meetings?

Hi H.Smith,
I am responding to your question about snacks. In February you will see an article posted on this site "Elevate Your Energy!" which will have some good thoughts for you. Also visit my website in the RESOURCES section for my article titled "Top 10 Winter Snack Attacks." Hope this helps!
Andrea Holwegner BSc, RD
"The Chocoholic Dietitian"

Posted January 18, 2008 06:13 PM

E Steele

both my wife and I are having problems with breaking finger nails. Is it our diet or something else?

Posted January 20, 2008 02:54 AM



I recently say a video by Walter Veith ( a scientist) who was commissioned by the British Gov't to study milk and dairy products. It can be seen on line. It is called "Udderly Amazing". He condems much of the products that are promoted by the milk industry. Take a look at it and let me know what you think!

Posted January 21, 2008 08:46 PM


I've been suffering from severe sciatic pain in my left hip. I went to my family doctor and he prescribed some anti inflammatory (NSAID) which is not helping much.

Is there a specific type of doctor / specialist that I can consult that would be more familiar with treating this lower back / hip pain?

Posted January 30, 2008 04:45 PM

Yukon Commuter

Hi - I am wondering about the effects on my lungs of cold weather exertion. In Whitehorse we go for weeks below -20, -30 and, at times, -40 (or more). It is difficult to xc ski below -33 but I still ride my bike to work. I can protect most areas of my body but am i doing harm to my lungs when exercising in these temperatures? Is there a cutoff temp.?

Dear Yukon Commuter,

Extreme cold air can be especially hard to breathe. I'm sure you are already, but try wearing a good cold air mask over your mouth and nose to warm incoming air as much as possible. I don't think you are doing harm to your lungs, but I would keep your workouts short on the extreme cold weather days. As far as cut-off temperature goes, let your body tell you when too cold is too cold. If you are feeling extremely stiff on your workout and it's not loosening up, shut it down before you hurt yourself.

-- Russell

Posted February 6, 2008 07:56 PM

Charlene Smith


Why do doctors NOT listen to their patients who have MORE information than them?

I not only have icthyosis,I may in fact have a new mutation of the original two types!

I have multiple major health issues that may in fact be caused from my disease,so far,not documented.

The genetist is excited as my case is unique but it is NOT recognised by the medical society even dermatologists are puzzled by my case.

I have tried to tell them all:is it possible that these problems are linked to my disease?

They didn't listen,now I have irreverable damage to organs because of this.

So again the question:why doesn't the medical community listen?IF they don't know,why not just say they don't know?

Dr. Brett Taylor responds:

Hi Charlene;

I am not going to pretend to be an expert in icthyosis, as I have only seen a couple of cases in my entire career. For people who are interested in reading more about this, there are icthyosis patient support groups and at least some academic information on the web ( ,

I think the real point of your post, though, has to do with the very real frustration patients feel when they have conditions or symptoms that don't make sense to their physicians. Doctors are just like everyone else; we have areas of expertise, and other areas of medicine that we are only marginally familiar with. In the emergency department, after two decades in practice, I run into something I have never seen before at least once a week.

Experienced physicians learn to deal with this by careful referral to other physicians. Generally, once an uncommon disease is identified, a dedicated search will find a physician in your area who has enough expertise to be of some help, even for very rare and unusual conditions. But in the case of a super-rare, or even unique, genetic mutation, there may simply be no experts, because the condition hasn't been described before. When this happens, your doctor is in a very tight spot; most of us are ethically driven to provide clear, uncluttered, but most of all TRUE answers to our patients....when no one knows what the answers are, as may be the case in your condition, doctors sometimes tend to say very little. We don't want to accidentally lie. This lack of information is incredibly frustrating for the patient, especially when the disease progresses and major changes to health occur.

Doctors can be legitimately stumped, despite their best efforts and intentions, and when this happens we don't know what sort of complications are ahead for a patient or how to prevent them. Many physicians at this point will say, clearly, "I don't know". This is very hard for us, not because of any ego issues but because many patients with significant illness can be quite shattered if their physician says she has nothing to offer. It is a real problem, and communication at these times has to be individualized in each case so that we meet the patient's information needs as best as we can. As with everything, some doctors are better at this, and others are worse.

I know, it's not a very good answer, is it Charlene? My only advice to you is to find, from all the physicians you have visited, the one who was the most informative, and ask for his or her advice. And if that advice is fairly thin, it doesn't mean that your doctor doesn't care about you, or want to help you. It may just mean that he or she doesn't know what to offer right now.

Lastly: things change. What isn't known today can become very well understood tomorrow. Keep asking questions, and don't give up on this.

Brett Taylor

Posted February 28, 2008 06:55 PM

Charlene Smith


I would like to thank-you Brett Taylor for at least being honest!

I would like to offer one piece of advice to the medical profession though.

I would prefer to be treated honestly by you by saying you don't know,then being made to feel as if I am nuts or not being listened to.

I am tired of being told that take a nerve pill,there's nothing wrong with you or the other classic'that's not possible'because no one else has/hasn't these problems or reactions.

It is because of this type of thinking,I have being made to suffer pain I never should have to.

I had a chronic appedix,a non-functioning gall bladder,bleeding problems among other things that DID NOT show through'normal testing'but were found to be in FACT problems.

I have medical reactions to drugs NOT yet reported as being problematic[think vioxx].

Keep an open mind because sometimes as you noted you meet someone who will NOT follow into any of the'normal categories'even if the tests come back as normal.

Thank-you again for your honesty,Charlene

Posted February 29, 2008 07:47 PM



Hello. I've had a problem recently while doing my bi-weekly run on the treadmill, about 5 minutes in I start to get searing pain in my calves and have to stop, even though I haven't reached my target heart rate. I'm careful to stretch before and after, so I'm not sure what the problem is!

Russell responds:

Jennifer, It could be varying amount of things. It may be some residual scar tissue from a small previous injury, neurological problems, compartment syndrome or a few other possibilities. The best I can do from this point of
view is recommend seeing someone in your community to have it better assessed to determine the exact cause. Once you can figure out the cause, the symptoms will often decline quickly.

Russell Gunner
Certified Athletic Therapist

Posted March 6, 2008 07:20 PM



I'm physically very active with a rugby practice nearly everyday supplemented with sessions in the gym and sprints on the track. Plus I am also a regular blood donor, donating every 70-80 days or so. My question is does donating blood on a regular basis put a limit on how aerobically fit you can become because of the large loss of fluids and red blood cells? If so, are there techniques, foods, or exercises specifically tailored to this kind of recovery?

Dr. Brett Taylor responds:

Way to go Riley! People who are regular blood donors are hard to find, and the shortage of blood products in Canada can become quite acute at times. What you do makes a difference, and the blood you have given has undoubtedly helped scores of people.

Regarding your question about fitness, the answer is: it depends. What are your fitness objectives? If you are a highly competitive athlete, donating blood has a short term negative effect on your performance. It is "anti-blood-doping"... you decrease temporarily the number of red cells available to carry oxygen to muscles. As a result, in order to do the same work, the red cells left have to circulate faster... ie, you need a faster heart rate to do the same amount of aerobic work.

Now, most of the time, particularly in young, fit individuals, and especially males (testosterone stimulates blood production), the time it takes your body to replenish those lost red cells is measured in days. So, your performance should return to normal within a week or so of giving the blood, maybe even within a couple of days. If you are worried about it, ask your family doctor to check your hemoglobin before and four or five days after donating blood. I will bet the difference will be pretty trivial.

There are risks that the higher red cell turnover can make you deficient in iron, folate or B vitamins, but if you are not on a special diet, this risk should be truly small. Perhaps Andrea could comment on that?

Finally, you can think of donating blood as yet another fitness challenge that you are defeating. In effect, when you train after giving blood, you are training at a disadvantage. It is as if you are training at a slightly higher intensity, and you get a bigger cardiovascular bang for your buck after blood donation than before. This is probably a pretty small benefit, though (and I am NOT recommending it as a training strategy!).

So: if by "fitness" you mean that your heart and cardiovascular system will run better and your risks of cardiovascular disease will decrease, donating blood will, if anything, have a slight positive effect. If, on the other hand, by "fitness" you mean the ability to defeat your opponent on the field of play, you probably won't be quite as effective for a few days after giving blood.

In any event, you should pat yourself for your contribution to the health system.


Andrea Holwegner responds

Hi Brett,

I agree with your statement that unless he is on a special diet or has medical issues I am not aware of, vitamin/mineral depletion would not be a concern - especially in a male since anemia is greater in females. A
multivitamin is always a good idea. Thanks!

Andrea Holwegner BSc, RD

Posted March 12, 2008 03:45 PM

rae marie


Can continual ear twisting cause hearing loss?

Posted March 25, 2008 11:19 PM



Can continual ear twisting cause hearing loss?

Brett Taylor responds:

I guess the answer is: it depends. Who is doing the twisting, and how much effort is being put into it?

Ear twisting was a common way to discipline kids in past generations; we have all seen depictions in the media of an adult dragging a child around by his ear. This sort of activity is now considered child abuse.

It is possible for the outer portion (the "auricle") of the ear to be injured, perhaps permanently, in this way. Probably an injury like that would affect the appearance of the ear more than the child's hearing.

Children will often play with their ears, and having them tug or pull at the ear themselves is very unlikely to cause any damage at all. However, if a non-verbal child suddenly starts pulling or tugging at his or her ears, the parents should wonder whether some ear pain is involved, and get the child checked by a physician.

Posted April 3, 2008 04:50 PM


Hi there,
I am having difficulty trying to pin-point what food my son may be intolerant/allergic to. He has regular BM's (usually 1-2/day) but they are always very loose. Don't know if it's milk or wheat/products as these are the 2 food groups he consumes daily.He has mild eczema on cheeks and legs and has always had a little more gas than normal. Any advice?

- Lorne Swetlikoff, N.D. replies

Your diet can affect the quality of your BM's and things like eczema. Both wheat and/or dairy can cause these reactions. So you have to determine the most reactive food. You can try avoid one food group such as dairy for a minimum of 1 week and observe what happens to your symptoms. If nothing changes, then try to avoid the next food such as wheat for 1 week.

Alternately you can get in touch with a naturopathic doctor or a medical doctor that can order a blood food allergy test that specifically tests for IGG4 food allergies. This tests for 96 of the most common food allergens and this will determine all of your food reactions.

Keep in mind that the health of your digestive tract function and bacterial balance significantly affects your reactions to foods if it is found that you are reacting to a food. Long term management of these food reactions involves balancing digestive function.

Dr. Brett Taylor responds:

You don't say what age your child is, but I get the impression he is an infant or toddler (?). In any case, his bowel habit sounds well within the normal range. Exzema is not an allergy; it is a characteristic linked to a family history of asthma, and usually worsened by viral challenges not diet. So nothing you are telling me suggests that your child is allergic to anything in his diet at all.

Children between the ages of birth and 3 months can have one stool every several days or 10 stools per day, and each is normal. In infancy, it is "normal" for children to have a stool every couple of days to several (three or four or even more) stools per day. Even toddlers have a pretty wide range. As you suggest, 1-2 BM's per day is a pretty normal number.

The consistency of the stool is also pretty variable, and probably depends more on how much sugar and other highly concentrated substances are in his diet. For instance, the sugars in most juices draw water into the bowel and can make stools more liquid as a result. If your child's stools are too loose for your aesthetic, you can try to decrease the sugar in by decreasing intake of fruit juice, which isn't particularly good for your child anyway.

This is only a problem if your child is having a problem with it. If he is growing, happy and not having abdominal pains, you can consider him to be healthy and not worry about any allergies or intolerances.

If you have other questions on this, I am happy to chat about it. You can find a link to my contact information on my website at

Posted April 20, 2008 01:11 PM



I am going to be travelling to Cuba in a couple weeks. I will be around 23 weeks pregnant at this time. I am wondering what concerns or precautions I should take before travelling, if any, to this destination. Have any other pregnant women gone on a "destination" trip at this point in pregnancy?

Dr. Brett Taylor replies

Hi Bee.

The risks to travel can be broken down into: the risk of infectious disease, the risk of travel itself, and the risks of a complication of pregnancy.

For infectious disease risks, I think of unusual bugs, and
immunizations. Everyone who travels should visit their doctor or a travel clinic and get the appropriate immunizations. For Cuba, I would ensure at least that your hepatitis A vaccination. Cuba is not on the WHO lists for malaria or yellow fever, despite what you might read on some probably dated vaccination web sites. Dengue fever has been found in Cuba episodically even in the last decade. There is no vaccination for Dengue; so far as I know there is not an ongoing outbreak in Cuba at the moment (I am NOT a tropical disease specialist!). Each of the illnesses listed above have particular risks for both mom and fetus during pregnancy. The risk of contracting them is probably quite low, particularly if your immunizations are up to date. But you should be aware of these risks prior to travel.

The risks of travel are only slightly higher for you at this stage in your pregnancy. As women get larger in late pregnancy, blood flow from the legs can be restricted, particularly during long flights, putting them, perhaps, at an increased risk for blood clots in the legs. At 23 weeks this should not be a large problem.

Finally, you have to consider what will be available for you should you have a complication of pregnancy. Lets imagine that you go into labour and deliver your baby prematurely in the next two to three weeks. In a Canadian hospital, your baby`s chances of long term survival are quite good at 27 to 28 weeks ... this largely because of very expensive care provided by dedicated neonatal intensive care units. While the Cuban health care system is quite good, it is severely underfunded by Canadian standards; neonatal intensive care probably would not be immediately available to you in the event of an emergency.

If I sound a little negative about your trip, well, it is because I am a paranoid old man whose job supports and encourages my pathology. Forgive me.

You should see your family doctor, and be assessed with regard to the risks of your pregnancy. You should also make sure you are vaccinated appropriately. And finally, although the risks of a significant problem are probably very small, you should go into this trip with your eyes wide open, recognizing these risks.

Hope this helps.


Posted May 27, 2008 12:40 PM

Michelle Sinay


I was wondering if a person is lactose sensitive, i.e. bloating and gas, that milk is bad for them. Is the bloating and gas the body's natural way of telling you that this food is harmful to you? Have there been studies on this? When I do not drink milk I feel great, no bloating and no gas. But I am just so concerned about my calcium intake and I heard milk is the most highly absorbed source of calcium by the body.

Dr. Lorne Swetlikoff, ND responds

Dear Michelle,

Bloating and gas can be caused by multiple reasons such as a dietary intolerance to lactose, a disturbed bacterial flora, a bug in the intestines, a gall bladder/pancreas function disturbances to name a few.

It is very well documented that food allergies or intolerances can cause or aggravate mild to very serious health conditions , such as arthritis, ulcerative colitis, crohn's disease, eczema, asthma and others. I recall a study that demonstrated that radioactive tagged milk protein showing up in joints of arthritics within 20 minutes of consumption inducing inflammation.

Simply put, think of poor digestion of food, which bloating and gas is a symptom, usually creates inflammation either locally in the GI tract or somewhere else.

As far as calcium goes milk is a great source of it. The downside is most people are intolerant to milk products and the calcium is very tightly bound to the proteins making it hard to absorb. If you are intolerant or have bad digestion you may not be assimilating as much as you would think. Amino acid bound calcium such as calcium citrate is a well absorbed supplement.

The bottom-line is don't fix something that isn't broken. If you can tolerate milk and it doesn't create a problem for you and your healthy then it shouldn't be a problem to drink and your probably getting a reasonable amount of calcium absorption.

Yours in health,

Dr. Lorne Swetikoff, ND

Posted June 5, 2008 04:33 PM

Ana Paula



I've had colds on and off since early January 08 with the first cold lasting 6 - 8 weeks. Last year, I was living overseas and got quite a bit run down so I understand what led to this. The symptoms tend to be mostly head colds with stuffed sinuses and little or no energy. Since January, I've also experienced an imbalance in my internal organs such as my liver with various symptoms from pain on my back to dizziness and sensitivity to cold foods and smells, weight gain, etc. I've been seeing a doctor of traditional chinese medicine for acupuncture and massage, I meditate and do yoga. I finally feel my body is getting back into balance and I haven't had a cold for a week. However, I'm concerned about my immune system and wonder if having colds on and off over a six month period can cause permanent damage. Also, can you recommend anything else I should do to boost my immune system?
Thank you.

Naturopathic doctor Lorne Swetlikoff replies
Hi Ana,

If your symptoms are persisting, get a check up with proper blood work to rule out any underlying problem to your symptoms.

It sounds like you may be run down. Recurrent colds over a 6 month period do not harm your body directly per se. Continuous infection and sickness does indicate a weak immune system that if left alone over the long haul will make you more susceptible to health problems.

IF this is a one off event get yourself some rest. Avoid sugar, refined carbohydrates like crackers, chips, white pastas and rice. Eat lots of veggies, moderate fruit and no juice, whole grains, fish, occasional lean meats.

Often sinus problems indicate digestive stress. Make sure your digestive system is working. You may want to find a product for your immune system, a multivitamin for extra support, and something for you adrenal glands to help your energy and metabolism. Use these products when you have ruled out any other causes to your symptoms. Products like these help your body rebuild and get stronger.

Yours in health,

Dr. Lorne Swetlikoff

Posted June 11, 2008 02:41 AM

doreen dohan

Have multiple problems with sinus infections -after antibiotics etc. body feels depleted..have been told Moducare is great at building up the immune system...Anyone have a comment on that supplement...?

Dr. Brett Taylor replies:

Moducare is a plant steroid, mostly composed of beta-sitosterol. Plant steroids have been shown to decrease cholesterol in humans.

In one study in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, for example, 185 volunteers were split into control (received placebo) and experimental (received plant steroid). Those receiving the steroids had lower cholesterol levels and no apparent adverse effects. Studies have also suggested that beta-sitosterol might have a beneficial effect as an adjunct in treating tuberculosis, and in benign prostate enlargement (a condition which affects a significant proportion of all men as they get older). Although there are a couple of dozen properly done randomly controlled trials, the numbers in these studies are not very high. So it is premature to say that plant steroids are a good thing to use for people with high cholesterol, but the initial results seem to be quite encouraging, and maybe other conditions will benefit from this drug too.

So, do I think that this will help your sinusitis? Not a clue. Nor, I suspect, does anyone else.

Moducare is a steroid, and all steroids are drugs, whether derived from "naturally" from plants or manufactured from raw chemicals. I don't know of any studies suggesting that Moducare can "build up the immune system", and I am very suspicious of such claims...this is the sort of story often put out by a quasi-pharmaceutical company that wants to separate you from your money.

On the basis of very small studies, Moducare appears to be safe. More studies (larger ones) are needed to ensure that. And it appears to have a benefit in treating some very specific conditions. Again, I would like to know what the risk to benefit ratio is before using this drug on my patients, and I can't find that information readily. But there are no studies that I could find (correct me if I am wrong) that demonstrate a benefit to the immune system. If you take a drug that hasn't been well studied, you are taking a risk; for me, the benefit would have to be substantial.

My advice: don't use it for sinuses or "immune system problems". Or at least, talk to your doctor first.


Dr. Lorne Swetlikoff, ND replies:

Dear Doreen,

Moducare is a plant derived mix of natural chemicals called sterols and sterolins. Much of the studies that have been conducted are on infectious diseases and chronic inflammatory conditions. It is has bee clinically demonstrated to enhance various aspects of your immune system and decrease infection.

In your case it is always best to identify the underlying reason for your sinus infections. Things that come to mind are dental problems, allergies, unresolved sinus infection or infection elsewhere in the body, and digestive problems to name a few areas. Often chronic sinusitis is a symptom of something else going on in your body that is causing recurrent infection. Taking moducare can be supportive provided that is what your body needs right now. Given the chronic nature of this problem it may be best to consult with ND to work through this issue to determine if moducare is the best treatment for you or whether you need to address an underlying issue.

Yours in health,
Dr. Lorne Swetlikoff

Posted June 21, 2008 04:17 PM



My son has been diagnosed with Osgood Schlatters and asthma. He also has reoccurring diarrhea, daily joint pain, fatigue and some blurring vision. He has some orthopedic problems that he deals with including hammer toes. The funny thing is the asthma is really just exercised induced and is most often not helped by his inhaler. He does have allergies which he takes medicine for. He is always sore – mainly from the hips down. He is growing fine – he is sleeping from 9-12 hours per day and eats a decent diet. He exercises daily but takes ibuprofen or Aleve daily. He looks really healthy and so when we go to the doctor we are shrugged off. I wouldn’t worry so much but it is not normal to feel like an old man at his age. He is fourteen. Any suggestions?

Dr. Brett Taylor replies:

Sorry, you are asking too much.

Your child has a number of different symptoms. While many of these might turn out to be nothing worrying, he does need to be seen by a physician and have each of these issues addressed. It might be wise, if your family doctor can't help you, to see a pediatrician. But without seeing him, it would be very hazardous to your child for anyone to make any suggestions about his care.

See your family doctor, and if necessary be referred to a pediatrician.


Dr. Lorne Swetlikoff replies:

Dear Deb,

Osgood Schlatter is a common condition in seen in children particularly in periods of rapid growth. It is a an inflammation of the bony protrusion just below the knee and often occurs in boys 10-14. Over activity in developing bone causes the tendon to tug at the bone creating inflammation. Rest, ice, extra minerals and homeopathic topical and internal remedies can speed healing and reduce inflammation. Once his growth slows or stops this problem goes away.

As for his asthma, joint pain, fatigue and blurry vision this requires a detailed medical and nutritional assessment. These symptoms maybe inter-related to one or two underlying causes. It is really difficult to help asthma and joint inflammation without resolving the diarrhea and digestive disturbance. How your body processes food directly affects your immune system and inflammation. You need to consult with a doctor skilled in working with the digestive tract, allergies and then use the appropriate natural remedies to support building up his immune system.

This approach may take several months to work through but from my experience it is a very effective method in helping your son.

Yours in health,
Dr. Lorne Swetlikoff, ND

Posted June 24, 2008 05:52 PM



I need some advice about my weight.

Recently, I gave up both coffee and smoking. My coffee habit consisted of at least six cups a day and I smoked about a pack a day.

Since giving up both of these vices, my weight has increased but not because I'm eating more, or eating differently. I assume it's because my metabolism was being fueled by caffeine and nicotine.

So, I started cutting back on my diet and increasing my activity. Now, I'm doing a 40 minute "power-walk" every day during lunch and I've even started running for about 40-45 minutes in the evening. Even with my reduction in calories, I'm still not losing any weight. Since I started running, I've stopped gaining, but I really want to get back to where I was before (15 pounds less).


Andrea Holwegner, R.D. replies:

Dear Deborah,

Congratulations on your new healthy lifestyle changes.

The single most important thing you could have done to be healthier is quitting smoking even if you gain a few pounds in the process. Weight gain after quitting smoking is very common since the rate your burn calories as a smoker is actually higher than for non-smokers. Also many past smokers pick up a few extra calories by snacking because of the old habit of putting something in your mouth.

I am impressed with the added changes of physical activity you have implemented and the biggest thing to be aware of is that change takes time and that weight loss is slow. If you are able to lose 1/2-1 pound per week this is excellent progress for a female.

Faster results usually don't happen without doing something extreme which tends to be hard to follow and sustain. For more personal suggestions the best thing to do is book aconsultation with a Registered Dietitian in your area.


Andrea Holwegner

Dr. Lorne Swetlikoff replies:

Hi Deborah,

Some smokers are at risk of weight gain upon stopping smoking. Nicotine can burn calories and coffee can suppress appetite for some.

By the sounds of it you need to get your metabolism evaluated. Large amounts of coffee and smoking can disguise or aggravate thyroid, adrenal and blood sugar health. These imbalance can affect your weight, so it worthwhile to get these checked out.

Nutrient deficiencies are also common with your health history and symptom profile. Certain vitamins and mineral catalyze energy product in the body so evaluating this too is worthwhile.

I would suggest contacting an naturopathic physician and have them evaluate this for you , implement a diet and exercise program tailored to your metabolic profile and using supplements and perhaps specific botanicals to restore your metabolism.

You have made a wonderful and healthy choice to quit coffee and smoking. Don't get discouraged about your weight. What you need is some support for your journey over the next 3-4 months.

Be well,

Dr. Lorne Swetlikoff
Naturopathic Physician

Posted July 8, 2008 03:39 PM


Thank you for the opportunity to ask my question.
We have all stood in a line-up of a donut or sandwich lunch counter and watched the food preparers don the santitation gloves. They prepare your lunch with the gloves on...then they open trays, ovens, cupboards and canisters...all in the process of making the order, while wearing the same gloves. My question is how much protection are those gloves giving us? I stand there and wince each time thinking about all the cross contamination. I look forward to hearing your opinion.

Posted August 21, 2008 06:10 AM

sandy yeomans

Is peanut butter or nutella on toast a better choice for a child's breakfast? This is in addition to a glass of milk and a piece of fruit. Thanks sy

Andrea Holwegner, R.D., responds

I would suggest peanut butter or another nut/seed butter such as almond/cashew/sunflower seed butter as good choices. For kids with nut allergies there is a product sold in most grocery stores called peabutter that is nut and peanut free.

Posted August 26, 2008 02:09 PM


I have a two year old son who has never had a formed stool. It always looks like diarrhea, but he only goes once a day. Every once in a while it will have a little form to it, but still look pale and powdery. He also suffers from eczema around his mouth quite often, and has always had a hard time gaining weight even though he eats all the time. I have talked to my physician, and she said take him off dairy--which I did. The stools did look more normal for a couple of days, but then returned back to the watery stuff. Any ideas of what I can do next?

Posted September 2, 2008 06:04 PM



My son was diagnosed lately with hearing loss due to a birth defect not noticed before. The ENT specialist recommended to him to change career since he is studying for music. Shocked by the news we wanted to get another opinion and thanks to the help of our friends we found a new doctor who recomended us to another ENT specialist. After we waited a week for a phone call from the specialist office I called the office trying to find out when our next appointment will be. I had to call the receptionist from my work and since I was using a cell the phone cutt off so I had to call her 4-5 times. I was surprised to listen at the phone message later that day stating that because of my unaccepted phone behaviour the doctor's office no longer offered service to us. Very worried I went to the doctor'office the very next day and because the receptionist who I talked to was not there I wrote an appology letter stating that there was no way I have been rude to her; instead I was paniced, anxious because of my son situation and offered my appology to her if she felt offended. My husband went again the other day and she simply stated that my phone calls have been disturbing her routine and that she will talk to the doctor as the situation is out of her hand. Today my husband went again and she again will not consider the request. What will be your request to a situtation like this as honestly I do not think she has a right to do so.


Posted September 5, 2008 10:50 PM



Hello, My names Josh, I am a 17 year old, 6"2' with a slim build, i have always been active n try to take part in sports as muh as possible, i have recently joined a gym to improve my fittness levels. my problem is that i have very skinny legs, particulary my calves and ankles, and i mean skin and bone, and when your 6"2'its not a good image. id be very greatful if you could give me any work out/diet tips on how i could bulk out in general but particularly my legs. Thanks in advance

Posted September 9, 2008 02:04 PM

Cara Williams


During the week i try and eat pretty healthy, however I am human and get cravings. If i ate junk food (binge)one day a week, I don't just mean like a cookie, i mean like kinda have a junk day. Anyting i craved during the week i'll allow myself to have on that one day. would i still loose weight? Or would that just defeat the purpose?

C Williams

Posted September 12, 2008 01:33 PM

Deepti Dang


Happy Evening,

I am taking HONEY & LEMON in Luke Warm Water in the morning,
but somebody told me that the LEMON Will have the harmful side effects on the health specially on the bones..& it Will brittle later in the life.. IS IT TRUE..?

Is This proven by any Research that taking the solution of HONEY & LEMON with Luke Warm Water will have harmful effects on the Health..?
How this solution is harmful for health..?

Actually, i frequently get Cold & Cough.. I prefer to take Natural Effective Home Remedy.. Rather than taking medicines..

Kindly please tell me, is there are harmful effects on health by taking Honey & Lemon with luke warm water...
Also suggest me some Natural Effective Home Remedy for Cold & Cough.. As i dont take medicines.

Eagerly waiting for your reply..
Thanking you..
Deepti Dang

Posted December 30, 2008 12:16 PM

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