Dr. Jordana Aziz

How to Please Picky Eaters with Healthy Food

Healthy eating begins before birth, with the nutrients that are being passed to our little ones in utero. Next, it’s the nutrients of our breast-milk or formula, (depending on the decision that we as Mothers made). One thing does remain constant, and that is MOMMA!

We have the power to forever teach our children healthy eating habits, and IT IS NEVER too late to begin!

Here are my best tips and greatest understandings for pleasing those picky eaters among us

Why are toddlers picky? Their growth is slower than that of infants so their need for food is less. These little ones don’t sit still for anything – even food – so snacking their way through the day may be easier to manage.

Relax! A parent’s job is just to buy nutritious foods, prepare them healthfully and serve them creatively. When, what and how much the toddler eats is up to them.

Binge eating: Toddlers often eat one food at a time – fruits one day, vegetables the next. They may eat voraciously today and nothing tomorrow. Aim for a nutritiously balanced week rather than a balanced day.

Nibblers: Offer an ice cube tray, muffin tin or compartmentalized dish with bite sized portions of colorful, nutritious foods in each section.

Dip it: Fun and messy. Think tofu dip, cream cheese, guacamole, nut butter, pureed fruit or yogurt.

Spread it: Give a toddler a dull bread knife to spread cream cheese, nut butter, guacamole etc on toast or rice cakes.

Drink it: If your toddler would rather drink than eat – make a smoothie. You can add all kinds of supplements – and they’ll never know they are in there.

Shape shifting: Use cookie cutters to make foods into fun shapes.

Mini size: try mini muffins, mini quiches, mini bagels etc.

The bite rule: The “bite rule” gets your child to try a new food, while giving him some control over the intake. If you take 3 bites, 2 bites, etc….

Tiny tummies: Remember that toddlers have small stomachs. Start with small portions and refill the plate if your child asks for more.

Upside down: If your child is hungriest at breakfast, try serving last night’s chicken breast then. Meal distinctions have little meaning for little people so pack the nutrients in when you know they will be really hungry.

Consistently inconsistent: Young children’s food preferences can seem to turn on a dime. Mealtime is one area where a youngster can exert some independence and control – and many of them soon learn they can manipulate their parents in this arena. Just because they loved a food yesterday, doesn’t mean they’ll eat it today.

Fuss-budgets: Sometime between age 2 and 3 many children develop fixed ideas about food – whether food can touch on the plate, how you cut their sandwich, how runny the eggs are – your best bet is to try to keep track of these preferences and try to avoid conflict.

Let them be a part of the planning : The more we include our children in choices and learning about foods, where they come from ,what kind of trees they grow on , the more interested they will be in eating what is served on the plate.

Dr. Jordana Aziz is a Naturopathic Physician at Alliance Wellness practicing Nutritional Counselling, Constitutional Acupuncture, Energetic medicine, Emotional Release Counselling, Hormone Balancing and generally Empowering you to get back into Wellness.

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5 Tips to Stay Healthy during Cold & Flu Season

The old adage “prevention is the best medicine” is definitely true when it comes to acute viral infections . Surely there are numerous ways in which you health care physician can assist you in speeding up recovery from infection, optimizing your immune function right now could mean a winter season without the need for any recovery – short or long!

1. Getting Enough Sleep

sleepy kitten
The repair/regeneration of cells and the balancing of hormones responsible for our immune system both occur primarily at night during our sleep. What’s more is that the physical repair of body tissues is at its most efficiency between the hours of 11pm-2am. Also, research has shown that chronic sleep deprivation has the same type of impairing effect on the immune system as physical/mental stress. Imagine the immune system of a stressed person who is not sleeping too well… NOT a good combo at all.

2. Avoiding Food You Are Sensitive To

most common food that causes allergy
When we ingest food that we are sensitive to, the immune system in our digestive tract is called to arm. And when these foods are being consumed on a regular basis, our immune system becomes constantly active. An active immunity may sound like a good thing – and it is. However, when our immune system is busy dealing with food sensitivities in the gut, it is less available for dealing with the actual PATHOGENS such as the cold and flu virus.

Food sensitivities are different from food allergies, which usually cause immediate anaphylactic reactions (those require an antihistamine medications or EpiPen for). Food sensitivities, rather, affect your body in a more delayed manner and are not as symptomatic. If you are not sure of your unique food sensitivities, speak with your naturopathic doctor about your options for diagnosis and treatment.

3. Limiting Sugar Intake


Most of us know inherently that consuming too much sugar is not good for us for a various reasons. Specifically in terms of normal immune function, limiting sugar intake truly can be helpful for two key reasons.

1) a sugary meal will cause a rising spike in levels of the hormone insulin, which over time can contribute to systemic inflammation, and then causing immune system depression.

2) colonies of bad bacteria in your gastrointestinal tract that act to disrupt immune function actually thrive on sugar. So by limiting sugar intake, you are doing your part to prevent these pesky troublemakers from overgrowing.

When the holidays come, it can get quite difficult to avoid sugar at every turn, but fear not since it’s not too late to start adapting some lifestyle changes. Right now is the time to sample rather than indulge in sweets, opt for herbal teas rather than sugary beverages, and always consume a small quantity of protein with sugary meals to avoid rapid spikes in blood insulin levels.

4. Keep Being Active

The idea of exercising out in the cold rain definitely sounds far less appealing than curling up inside with a warm blanket and a hot beverage. However, in addition to making up for a little holiday weight-gain, setting physical activity a priority can also keep your immune health in check.

Studies have shown that regular, moderate exercise produces an increase in the number of immune cells (eg. white blood cells, macrophages) in the body. Note that I say “moderate exercise” as “excessive exercise” can become a physical distress and in turn suppress the immune system. Also, the increase in body circulation that occurs with regular exercise means that immune cells are reaching all parts of our body more often, keeping invaders like the cold and flu viruses at bay.

5. Keeping Stress in Check

You can probably think of numerous times when your immune system succumbed to a cold or flu virus right at the peak of a stressful time. From my experience, I find that most of them got sick at the end of a stressful work week, during an exam period, or when family obligations started to become overwhelming.

When our bodies are under extreme stress, our bodies respond by increasing the levels of a stress hormone called cortisol. And while under short term stress increases in this hormone are normal and necessary, in the long term they can suppress your immune system to a point of getting the cold and flu.

What can you do to reduce stress in your life? All of the above mentioned points – eat well, sleep well, exercise, and make a point of removing yourself from stressful encounters whenever possible. If you make stress reduction a priority in your life, you will find it easier to monitor and avoid stressful situations as they arise.

Dr. Jordana Aziz is a Naturopathic Physician at Alliance Wellness practicing Nutritional Counselling, Constitutional Acupuncture, Energetic medicine, Emotional Release Counselling, Hormone Balancing and generally Empowering you to get back into Wellness.

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Nutrition Guidelines for Healthy Runners

You have unique nutritional needs as a runner. You want to make sure you’re fueling right for racing without upsetting yours stomach. And you want to recover as fast as possible and prevent overtraining. Follow these tips to get to the start fueled and hydrated, and finish strong.


How much water do I need? Weight (lbs) / 16 = # cups daily

Weight (lbs) Daily Water Intake (cups/250ml)
100 lbs 6.25
120 lbs 7.5
140 lbs 8.75
160 lbs 10
180 lbs 11.25
200 lbs 12.5
220 lbs 13.75
240 lbs 15

Your water requirements will be increased if you are physically active. You should also add 1 cup of water for each caffeinated and alcoholic beverage that you consume.

*Tip: you can assess hydration by looking at the colour of your urine. It should be clear to pale yellow. If it is dark yellow, you are likely dehydrated (unless you are taking certain vitamins and medications)

*Tip: mark your water bottle and fuel belt bottles in 250mL increments in order to be able to accurately track fluid intake.


Is it possible to drink too much water?

Yes! There is a danger of drinking too much water, especially if you are exercising in intense heat as you can deplete your electrolytes (including sodium). Low sodium (hyponatremia) can cause muscle weakness, confusion, nausea, vomiting, and even death.

What should I be drinking?

Main source of hydration should be pure, filtered water.

Coffee: maximum of 24 oz or 240mg of caffeine daily. Avoid adding cream and sugar. Try milk, unsweetened almond, rice, or coconut milk and stevia or honey (natural sweeteners).

Avoid juice and soda due to their high sugar content.

Alcohol: maximum of 1 drink daily for women and 2 drinks daily for men.

Water: rehydrates the body
Carbohydrates: replenish glycogen stores
Electrolytes: speed up rehydration

Electrolyte replacement beverages

Most commercial brands contain artificial colours and/or sweeteners which can have negative health effects. Look for products that are naturally sweetened with glucose, fructose, sucrose and don’t contain artificial colours. Be aware that stevia and artificial sweeteners don’t raise blood sugar and therefore should not be used as a source of glucose.

Artificial sweeteners

  • Saccharin (Sweet’N Low)
  • Aspartame (NutraSweet, Equal)
  • Acesulfame potassium (Sunett)
  • Sucralose (Splenda)

Coconut water is a refreshing source of naturally occurring electrolytes.

Homemade electrolyte drink
1 litre of water
Juice of one citrus fruit (lemon, lime, orange, grapefruit)
3 Tbsp honey or agave nectar
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp baking soda

General Nutrition Guidelines:

  • Runners NEED to eat more, especially during peak training –otherwise can decrease training capacity and increase risk of injury
  • Eat REAL FOOD. Choose high quality foods which are nutrient-dense: fresh fruits and vegetables, non-refined whole grains, lean meats and poultry, beans, healthy fats. Sports bars, shakes, and drinks can be convenient, but they should not make up a large portion of your diet.
  • Aim to eat a meal or snack every 3-4 hours to keep blood sugars stable
  • Diet should vary depending on type of training
    1. Long slow runs: body uses more carbohydrate energy = increase your dietary carb intake
    2. Speed/hills/fartlek (intense runs): body uses more fat energy = increase your dietary fat intake

Nutrition & Food Groups:


1. Carbohydrates

  • Main source of energy for the body
  • Contain sugar, starch (sugars linked together), and fiber
  • Should make up 55-60% of your daily calories
  • Sources of carbs: whole grains (oats, rye, quinoa), fruit, starchy vegetables

2. Protein

  • Provides some energy and helps to repair tissues damaged during exercise
  • Should make up 15-25% of your daily calories
  • Protein requirements for amateur athletes: 1 gram protein/KG body weight/day
  • Good sources of protein: eggs, poultry, fish, beans/legumes, low-fat dairy products

3. Fat

  • Major storage form of energy in the body
  • Should make up 20-25% of your daily calories
  • Avoid fat-free processed foods which are almost always high in sugar or artificial sweeteners
  • Good sources of fat: olive oil, coconut oil, olives, nuts/seeds, nut butters, avocado

Timing of Meals:

3-4 Hours Before Run/Race

  • Have a smaller meal that contains about equal amounts of protein and carbs
  • E.g. whole grain bread with tuna, chicken, turkey breast, or hummus + water

1-2 Hours Before Run/Race

  • Fruit and nuts/hardboiled egg/turkey breast; yogurt with nuts; or sports bar + 300-500mL water
  • Limit fat intake before exercise because slow to digest!

Hour Before: just stick to water

During Exercise/Run

  • Less than 60 minutes: have only water
  • More than 60 minutes: take in carbs every 20 minutes for a total of 60 grams of carbohydrate per hour of intense exercise
  • Choose a sports drink that is 6-8% carbohydrates (glucose and fructose or sucrose) and have 3-6 ounces every 15-20 minutes (stick to water if run less than 60 minutes)

After Exercise/Run

  • After short run (less than 60 minutes): within 15 minutes of run, eat a small snack of 4:1 ratio or carbs to protein. Examples: Larabar, crackers and peanut butter, energy bar
  • After long run (60+ minutes): within 15 minutes of run, eat a small snack of 4:1 ratio or carbs to protein. Then eat a meal within 2 hours. E.g. see above + fruit, sandwich

Important Nutrients for Runners


  • Important for bone health and muscle contraction
  • Requirements: adults under 50 (1000mg); adults over 50 (1200mg)
  • Good sources of calcium: low fat dairy products or dairy alternatives (soy, almond, rice milk), tofu, sesame seeds, collard greens, spinach, turnip greens


  • Important for muscle relaxation, natural pain reliever
  • Requirements: 380mg for females, 420mg for males
  • Good source of magnesium: pumpkin seeds, spinach, Swiss chard, soybeans, sesame seeds, halibut, black beans, sunflower seeds, cashews, almonds


  • Important for delivering oxygen to your cells
  • Requirements: 8mg (men); 18mg (women)
  • Poultry, red meat, soybeans, lentils, spinach, tofu, venison, sesame seeds, garbanzo beans, lima beans, olives
  • Iron best absorbed when taken with vitamin C (e.g. citrus fruit) and taken away from calcium, dairy products, tea and coffee which reduce absorption.
  • Ideal iron stores (ferritin) should be at least 40-50 ng/mL

Antioxidant vitamins and minerals (A, C, E, S)

  • Help to prevent damage in the body from free radicals produced during exercise
  • Good sources of vitamin A: Sweet potato, spinach, carrots, kale, collard greens, turnip greens, Swiss chard, winter squash, mustard greens, romaine lettuce
  • Good sources of vitamin C: Papaya, Bell Peppers, Strawberries, Broccoli, Pineapple, Brussels Sprouts, Kiwifruit, Oranges, Cantaloupe, Kale
  • Good sources of vitamin E: Sunflower seeds, almonds, spinach, Swiss -chard, turnip greens, papaya, mustard greens, collard greens, asparagus, Bell peppers
  • Selenium: Brazil nuts, button mushrooms, cod, shrimp, tuna, halibut, salmon, and mustard seeds.

Curcumin (turmeric): is a potent natural anti-inflammatory. Try adding 1 tsp to the water next time you cook grains (e.g. rice), sprinkle it onto veggies or add to homemade salad dressing.
Tart cherry juice: reduces muscle soreness, potent anti-oxidant.

Dr. Jordana Aziz is a Naturopathic Physician at Alliance Wellness practicing Nutritional Counselling, Constitutional Acupuncture, Energetic medicine, Emotional Release Counselling, Hormone Balancing and generally Empowering you to get back into Wellness. Dr. Aziz will often be found running the seawall in Kitsilano and Jericho.

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How Diet Healed My Daughter’s Eczema and Asthma

How do you treat a baby with asthma and eczema?

When my daughter was 11 months old, she had very severe asthma. We took her to doctors all over the city. Their answer: more medications. Our routine was full of nebulizers, had steroid injections and inhalers. Not exactly an ideal childhood. Plus, my daughter was gaining weight, and losing her vitality. She didn’t want to walk, crawl or play. As a mother, it was devastating. But then I met the Naturopathic Doctor who forever changed the course of our lives. She showed me a way to heal asthma and eczema with nutrition.

To read more about my story, click here

Before seeing a Naturopathic Doctor, NOT ONE person had spoken to me about diet

My Naturopathic Doctor, suggested that I remove Dairy and Gluten “religiously” from my daughters diet for a period of 6 weeks. By the time those 6 weeks were up, my daughter NO LONGER required Steroid Injections (Prednisone), she no longer needed to be awoken at 4 am for nebulization, or carry a puffer with her (and myself) every day. Her weight stabilized, she become interested in life, and learned to walk. Her asthma and eczema were both symptoms of food allergies.

Does that sound too good to be true? Here’s 2 more cases studies showing that removing dairy and gluten can help childhood asthma. http://www.gahmj.com/doi/full/10.7453/gahmj.2014.068

Nutrition is my life, my livelihood, and my saving grace. And it could be yours too.

That was a turning point in my life: I found my calling in Naturopathic Medicine. I vowed to help Women and Children understand Nutrition, and how it can change our health, and our futures for the better.

I am a Naturopathic Doctor in Vancouver and I am here to help

When we work together to heal asthma, eczema, or any other health concerns with Naturopathic Medicine, good food is the foundation of your treatment.

I have helped hundreds of women heal their bodies and their families by guiding them to make smart, healthy choices that fit their lives.

When we work together for your health, I start with a 5-week diet overhaul. We never weigh food, count calories or act with restrictions. Loving our bodies and loving ourselves is how we learn to nourish ourselves, our children, and our planet. And THAT is how you heal.

If you’re ready to make smarter choices about food, click here to work with me

If you’re going to spend money on anything: make it good food

Medicine has so many natural and conventional tools to help solve your problems and fix your symptoms, but if the foundation is not right or we are not eating appropriately for our individual bodies’ needs… you are wasting money on vitamins, supplements and any other therapy.

In my daughter’s case, treating her food allergy symptoms (asthma and eczema) with medicines was costing me money, time, and taking away from a normal healthy childhood.

Wrong food choices can contribute to all the inflammatory diseases. The first step that you can take on your own is to choose your food with the intention to love and nourish your body.

Always nourishing,

Dr. Jordana Aziz

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