The Benefits of Dark Leafy Greens

Benefits of Dark Leafy Greens 

(with Kale & Sweet Potato Powerbowl recipe)


Dark leafy greens are the superstars of phytonutrients and we want to share some great benefits of including them in your everyday meals! One of our favourite dark leafy greens is kale because it is nutrient dense and contains a complex of many vitamins and minerals. Kale is a rich antioxidant due to its dark pigment which is why we call it a phytonutrient. The antioxidants in kale help protect our bodies against oxidative damage that we come into contact with through free radicals. Oxidative damage is one of the leading factors that causes aging and many diseases. That is why it is so important to consume many antioxidants and richly pigmented phytonutrients!


Kale can be cooked, made into chips for a snack, or used for nutritious meals as a side or main component of the dish. An easy way to incorporate kale into your day is through this power bowl with sweet potatoes and fresh garlic dressing.


Recipe: Servings 5-6


  • Kale (approx. 7 cups chopped)
  • 2-3 Small sweet potatoes (about 4 cups)
  • Spices for sweet potatoes: 1tbsp paprika, 1tsp turmeric, 1tsp garlic powder, sprinkle of nutritional yeast, ¼ tsp salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil for sweet potatoes
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil for kale



  • 2 tbsp unsweetened almond milk
  • 4 cloves of fresh garlic
  • 1 cup unsalted Cashews

Topping Ideas: (optional)

  • ¼ cup Dried cranberries
  • Optional: roasted chickpeas, grilled chicken or protein of choice, hemp hearts



  1. Preheat your oven to 375 F
  2. While oven preheats, soak cashews in a bowl for at least 20 minutes and chop up sweet potatoes into small sections or cubes (about 1 inch)
  3. Pour olive oil over sweet potatoes and toss with all spices
  4. Once the oven is ready, place sweet potatoes on a baking sheet on one side and add the fresh garlic on the other side. Cook for 15 minutes and remove the garlic, then keep cooking the sweet potatoes for 20-23 minutes or until the sweet potato is fully cooked and starting to get crisp on the outer edges.
  5. While the sweet potato is in the oven, it is best to prepare the dressing for the kale. Drain the cashews and place in a food processor or blender. Add in all other ingredients for the dressing and blend until smooth or desired consistency.
  6. Put the kale pieces into a large bowl and use the 1 tbsp of olive oil to massage into the kale leaves. You can do this for 5-10 minutes. Then add the dressing once that step is complete.
  7. Once the sweet potato is done cooking, place it in the bowl with the kale and toss together.


Elevate Your Snacks

1. Some of us crave salty and crunchy while others crave sweets, or both!  Snacking is enjoyable and great a way to satisfy cravings, even if it’s mindless – so why not change it up for something a little healthier?  Allow yourself to savour what you’re really craving, even if it’s not great for you, but add some items (think fruits and veggies!) to provide balance.  I’m a fan of colorful charcuterie-style snacking that includes salty, crunchy, and sweet foods.  Not only does it look amazing, it’s effortless and awesome to share – even the kids like it! Consider using less of the standard meat and cheese, and substitute some of the following:

  • Sliced avocado with sea salt & pepper
  • Olives or olive tapenade
  • Orange segments, apple slices, or berries
  • Dark chocolate or a small handful of sweets (cut up in small pieces)
  • Nuts – raw or dry roasted
  • Energy balls
  • Sliced vegetables and hummus
  • GF crackers (Mary’s organic crackers or brown rice crackers)
  • Small bowl of popcorn or potato chips (try Terra brand)

2.  If you have a little more time on your hands, or don’t feel like going through the trouble of making a full family-style meal, try tapas! For those of you who don’t know, tapas-style is multiple small plates of enticing foods meant to share.  Remember to include a variety of flavor profiles and textures and additional fat for extra satiety.  Here are a few dishes to try:

3. Everyone seems to be on a quarantine baking kick. To help reduce the amount of refined carbs, try paleo recipes! They provide more protein and fat which is more satiating to the body and are usually lower in sugar than regular recipes.  I also love paleo baking because it takes the guilt out of wanting more.  Try any of the recipes below – they are all quick and easy!

Eating the Rainbow

As springtime starts to shift toward summer, we see more greenery, enjoy the lovely flowers that bloom, and begin to grow a wider array of produce. As more fresh food becomes available, it’s the perfect time of year to start thinking about the “eating the rainbow”!

Sometimes we go through phases of feeling less creative with our food, and we don’t always incorporate a variety of color into our diet. Colorful foods, especially richly pigmented plant-based foods, are packed with essential vitamins and minerals. They are rich in phytonutrients and antioxidants, so it’s important to make sure you eat an abundance of them.

Let’s go through the different colors of the phytonutrient spectrum and why they are beneficial to eat.



The pigment that makes up red fruits and vegetables is rich in antioxidants that reduce the risk of heart disease and lower the risk of developing certain types of cancer. Red fruits and vegetables also offer cell protection, support liver and hormone health, and offer anti-inflammatory benefits.

Red Foods: Apples, beans, beets, bell peppers, cranberries, cherries, goji berries, grapes, onions, pomegranate, radishes, strawberries, tomato, watermelon



Orange and yellow fruits and vegetables are packed with vitamin A, which is essential for good eyesight, protecting against free radicals, and improving skin health. This group of foods also supports the health of both the nervous and immune system.

Orange Foods: Apricots, bell peppers, carrots, mango, nectarine, orange, papaya, pumpkin, squash, sweet potato, turmeric, yams

Yellow Foods: Apple, banana, ginger, lemon, pineapple, starfruit, summer squash



The phytonutrients found in green produce support a number of organs and body systems, including our skin, hormones, brain, and liver. Greens are full of antioxidants, offer anti-inflammatory benefits, and play an important role in the health of our cells.

Green Foods: Apples, artichokes, arugula, asparagus, avocado, bean sprouts, bell peppers, bok choy, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cucumbers, celery, green beans, peas, lettuce, kale, spinach, limes, okra, olives, pears, watercress, zucchini



Blue and purple fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants and essential vitamins and minerals. They support cognitive health, heart health, and liver health. The darkly pigmented hues of these foods are also great for our eyesight.

Foods: Blueberries, blackberries, huckleberries, cabbage, cauliflower, eggplant, figs, grapes, kale, olives, plums, prunes, raisins



Foods with white or brown pigment have many benefits; however, it’s important to keep in mind that this does not include white or brown foods which have been processed. Beneficial foods with this pigmentation offer support for our GI tract and hormone function, as well as our heart and liver. These foods are often anti-microbial as well!

White/Brown Foods: Cauliflower, coconut, dates, garlic, legumes, mushrooms, nuts, onions, sauerkraut, seeds, shallots, tahini, whole grains

Options are endless, so be creative when you are choosing which foods to eat. If you want to pack more phytonutrients into your daily diet, pick a few of these colorful foods and incorporate them into every meal. Your body will thank you for it!


Rainbow Power Salad

Serves 2

When I make this salad, I typically eyeball the amount of each ingredient – so don’t be afraid to freestyle this one!

  •  Spinach
  •  Arugula
  •  ½ Mango; cut in small pieces
  •  2 Tbsp red onion; thinly sliced
  •  ¼ Cup cucumber
  •  Handful of pecans


  •  Handful of basil leaves
  •  Handful of blueberries
  •  ¼ Cup olive oil
  •  Dash of balsamic vinaigrette
  •  2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  •  Pinch of salt
  •  Pinch of pepper


  •  Avocado
  •  Feta


Dressing: Add ingredients in a blender or food processor. Blend until thoroughly combined.

Salad: Chop up all of your toppings (mango, red onion, cucumber) and set aside. Thoroughly wash your spinach and arugula and place in a large bowl. Add your chopped ingredients and dressing. Toss salad until dressing is mixed to your liking and sprinkle pecans over salad.

If you are using the optional ingredients, incorporate your avocado with the rest of the toppings and sprinkle feta over top before serving!


In health,

CHN, Papillon Medical

Gaining Gratitude for Food

We cultivate many different relationships in our lifetime, and it’s no doubt that they can take a lot of work. We take time to keep them strong and nurture them; we experience some highs and lows. It takes practice and patience to keep relationships healthy, and our relationship with food is no different! 

One of the most positive things I’ve done is learn to practice food-based gratitude, and it’s something I want to share with all of you. We live in a world with a fast-paced food industry and we receive a lot of stimulus from our devices, social media, and other people. It’s easy to fall into the habit of eating mindlessly when there are so many distractions, so today I’m going to share some tips and practices to help you gain more gratitude for your food and create a healthy relationship with it. 

Tip #1 
Keep a 3-Minute Journal of Gratitude

Anyone can find three minutes in their day to do this, and it’s a simple step that can start the spread of more positivity in your life, including your relationship with food. It doesn’t matter where or how you incorporate this practice; you can use the note app on your phone, a journal – whatever is easy and accessible! 

For each day, write “I am grateful to eat ________, because it _______.”

An example could be: “I am grateful to eat an avocado today, because it will help nourish my body and mind.” The great thing about this practice is that there’s no right or wrong thing to say; your journal entry is based solely on what you choose to have gratitude for that day. If you find this hard to do, it may be that you need to learn more about your food! Which leads me into the next practice…

Tip #2
Discover an interesting fact about your food

A simple way to gain gratitude for your food is to learn more about it! I find that when I discover interesting facts about what I’m about to eat, I’m more appreciative of its benefits, and in turn want to nourish my body with more goodness.

Start by choosing one healthy food per week and take a few minutes to learn about it. Look at articles, watch a short video, or listen to an expert (there are some great food-based podcasts you can tune into while you putter around the house). Then, think about ways you can incorporate this food into your regular diet. Seek out a new recipe or memorize a fun fact, whatever gets you excited to eat!

Tip #3
Talk to a local farmer or food producer.

For most of us, the norm is to go to the grocery store, pick up some items, then go home to cook and eat them. Hop on a search engine and seek out the local farms and food makers around you. It’s so interesting to learn about how your food makes it to your table and all the care put into it before it gets there.

Reach out and ask questions; there are always people with great stories to share! Let them tell you about the steps they take in order to provide you with something delicious. This isn’t just a great way to practice gratitude, it also gives you a sense of community and appreciation for those that cultivate food. 

Support your local farmers and food makers! 

Tip #4
Learn to grow food.

If you want to get even more hands on with the food process, plant your own garden! If you’re pressed for space, even a single plant can be a great way to develop an appreciation for your food and where it comes from. Options are endless! If you don’t know where to start, don’t be afraid to speak with your local plant stores/experts.

Taking the time to care for something that your body will later consume is an excellent and practical way to practice gratitude. It’s a wonderful cycle to be a part of! 

Tip #5
Make one recipe a week that you are really excited about. 

It doesn’t need to be a challenging recipe but choose something you really want to make. Maybe there’s an ingredient you’re excited about, or just something tasty and nourishing. Turn on some of your favorite music or your favorite cooking show and have some fun! Taking some time every week to cook or make food mindfully is a great practice to incorporate in your routine.

I want to share a quick and healthy recipe that I love to make at home. If you decide to give it a try, practice practicing gratitude by finding something to be thankful for about each ingredient! 

Quick & Nourishing Chickpea Salad

– 1 can of chickpeas (I use organic)
– 1 cucumber, cubed
– 1 sweet pepper, cubed (orange or yellow)
– 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
– ¼ cup of dill
– ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

– ¼ cup red onion, finely chopped
– Sprinkle of feta cheese

Start by rinsing and draining your chickpeas. In a large bowl, combine the chickpeas, cucumber, pepper, tomatoes, and dill. If you want the optional ingredients, add them in with the other vegetables. Next, pour the lemon juice and olive oil over top and mix to combine all ingredients. Finish with a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Enjoy! 

In health,

CHN, Papillon Medical

Glowing Skin from Within

How do I achieve glowing skin? Do I need to eat differently to achieve my skin health goals? What can I add into my routine to help my skin from feeling so ‘blah’? These are just a few of the skin related questions we’re often asked, so I thought today I would address them!

Right now, the world is in a much different state than we’re used to, and if your skin is going through some changes – just  know that you are not alone!  Many of us are dealing with stress and changes to our norm; even I’ve noticed more breakouts and dullness in my skin.  Everyone’s skin journey is different and influenced by many factors like genetics, nutrition, skincare products, and stress.  Some of these things we are unable to control, but some of these things we can!  What you put into your body is a big one, so I want to share with you some nutrients you can include in your diet for glowing, youthful skin.  Let’s jump right in!

Antioxidants & Greens 
Antioxidants and greens are the first two nutrients I want to chat about, as they play a crucial role in our skin health.  Our skin is a large and important organ; it’s our job to protect it from free radicals, pollution, and chemicals, and provide it with nutrients that help it thrive.  Antioxidants help us maintain immunity, improve barrier function, and soothe inflammation while fighting off these free radicals.

The most common antioxidants are vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, selenium, lutein, manganese, zinc, and zeaxanthin.  All of these contribute to our skin’s overall health (which is where that glow comes from), so it’s important to include them in your diet. 

Greens are one of the best sources of antioxidants.  The more pigmented (darker) the greens, the better, because they contain the most chlorophyll and antioxidants.  Greens are some of nature’s superfoods and benefit the body as a whole when eaten regularly, so don’t skip out on them!  Some examples of greens to include in your diet are kale, spinach, parsley, broccoli, dandelion greens, avocado, and arugula

You can incorporate greens into any meal, and one of my favorite ways to sneak an extra helping of veggies into my day is a smoothie!  I have shared one of my favorite green smoothie recipes for you at the end of this blog, so be sure to check it out.

In addition to greens, I’ve included other great sources of antioxidants:

  • Blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, goji berries
  • Richly pigmented fruits and vegetables like beets, carrots, sweet potato, peppers, tomatoes, mangos, kiwi, watermelon, and grapes
  • Sulfurous vegetables like onion, garlic, and leeks

Drinking more water on a daily basis is the best place to start when trying to improve your skin’s appearance.  Water helps our skin stay plump and hydrated, so when we’re dehydrated our skin can feel congested, dry, and flakey.  Our body needs sufficient water to digest, absorb, and excrete toxins/waste properly, meaning that adequate hydration addresses dullness by preventing the build-up of dead skin cells.  If you have trouble remembering to drink enough water, set alarms for yourself throughout the day and make sure to keep a water bottle nearby. 

If you want your skin to glow and feel healthy, pay attention to your omega-3 intake!  Omega-3s help to reduce inflammation in our skin and nourish our membranes.  When our skin is chronically inflamed, it is more susceptible to damage at a cellular level; this is when we really start to see dryness, dullness, pigmentation issues, and textural concerns.  Omega-3s are especially important if you struggle with acne or rosacea, but they can be helpful for anyone looking to keep inflammation at bay.

Some great sources of omega-3s are:

  • Fish, including cod, salmon, herring, tuna, mackerel, and halibut
  • Avocados
  • Nuts and seeds, including walnuts, pecans, chia seeds, and flaxseed

Food for Thought
Lastly, I want to touch on a few things to avoid on the journey to improving your overall skin health.

As tasty as they can be, eating lots of processed foods, refined sugars, and highly inflammatory foods won’t help you.  Balance is key, so it’s okay here and there, but when you’re trying to achieve radiant, glowing skin, nixing inflammatory foods is the best plan.  Be consistent with your intake of skin-nourishing foods and nutrients.  Sooner or later our cells turn over and our tissues repair themselves – so the more goodness you put in, the more goodness you’ll get out!

I hope you are all staying safe and taking care of yourselves. I know things are tough right now but remember that we are all in this together!  I hope to see you all very soon! 

Glowing Green Smoothie 

This green smoothie is a great way to get in your daily skin-supporting nutrients. And it’s tasty to boot!  Enjoy!  🙂

– ½ banana 
– ¼ cup or big handful of spinach
– ½ avocado
– ½ cup mango 
– ¼ cup pineapple 
– small handful of blueberries
– 1 tsp or small slice of ginger
– ½ tbsp of chia seeds 
– ½ cup coconut water
– ½ cup cashew milk (may need more depending on desired consistency)

Tips and Options: You can use frozen or fresh fruit.  I personally prefer the fruit to be frozen for better texture and a nice cool temperature.  I like to peel the banana and keep it in the fridge or freeze it as well.  Avocado can be fresh, or you can purchase them in frozen chunks in the frozen fruit section, but I used a fresh avocado for this recipe.  You can also freeze any fresh fruit you have if desired!

By Natalie Ovics, CHN
Papillon Medical & Dermatology

Improving Your Gut Health & Common Imbalances

So, what’s the deal with gut health? Our digestive system or “gut” is one of the most important systems in our body! It does so much for us, allowing us to digest our food and absorb its nutrients. Our gut is the home of many bacteria, and what we put in our body can heavily influence the balance of good and bad bacteria in our microbiome. 

What are some common causes of gut imbalances? 

  1. Lack of proper nutrients and prebiotics
    Healthy gut flora is diverse, and for optimal diversity it’s important to eat a range of foods, including fruits and vegetables which are a great source of fiber. Prebiotics, or the compounds in our food that support the growth and activity of bacteria, are also important to have. Some sources of prebiotics include chickpeas, oats, garlic, leeks, onion, bananas, and asparagus. Processed and inflammatory foods can create inflammation in our gut, which inhibits digestion and the absorption of nutrients. Alcohol can also wipe out the good bacteria, so limiting your intake is beneficial for improving gut health.
    If you want to add more prebiotic fiber into your routine or you find it difficult to consume enough through your diet alone, there are some great supplement options. Our favorite is the Metagenics UltraGI Replenish
  1. Antibiotics
    Antibiotics are incredibly helpful when used to treat bacterial infections and diseases, but in terms of gut health, antibiotics get rid of the bad bacteria and the good bacteria. Because of this, it’s important to re-establish the good bacteria in the gut if you take antibiotics, and for this reason we recommend taking a good probiotic once your medication is finished (at least 6 hours later). If you have any questions about which probiotic is right for you, we’d be happy to help you with recommendations!
  1. Stress
    We’re constantly told that stress is bad for us, but how does it affect our gut? Our gut is connected to our nervous system which means that when we are stressed, our sympathetic nervous system becomes activated. This triggers a fight or flight response in the body and releases the stress hormone, cortisol. At this point, proper digestion is inhibited, and the stomach produces more acid causing indigestion. In more serious cases, stress can cause a decrease of blood flow to the stomach which can lead to inflammation and imbalance of gut bacteria. 
    If you want to improve your gut health, managing stress (especially while eating) is important. Set some time aside for yourself and have gratitude for what your digestive system does for you. Relax while you eat. Focus on chewing properly to break down your food into pieces that are easier to digest. Even if you’re on the go, try to set aside a few minutes to eat mindfully. 

What Can You Do to Support Gut Flora?

Nourish Your Gut with Nutrients: 
Nourish your gut by eating the rainbow in fruits and vegetables and be sure to include lots of omega 3 foods to help strengthen membranes and reduce inflammation. As we discussed above, probiotics are great for establishing healthy gut flora; they replenish good bacteria, boost immunity, and keep our bowels “regular”. Fermented foods are another great source of the good bacteria and enzymes that benefit our digestive system.
Because of its amazing health benefits, the last food we want to highlight is bone broth! Not only is it chock full of easily digestible vitamins and minerals, the high glutamine content in bone broth helps to protect and maintain our intestinal lining. It’s a great base for many recipes and can be used in more than just soups! If you’re unable to make your own at home, we love  Borderland Food Bone Broth as they are local to Calgary and produce great quality broths. They have many options like grass-fed bison, grass-fed chicken, grass-fed beef, and a bone broth smoothie base! 

Gut Rejuvenating Squash Soup

This recipe is inspired by gut-nourishing food with a yummy bone broth base. It’s an easy-to-digest meal that is tasty and beneficial to our microbiome. Enjoy!

– 1 Butternut Squash (medium to large)
– 2 Onions (small to medium)
– 2 Cups of Bone broth (Homemade or Borderland)
– 1 Small Can of Pumpkin Puree
– 2 Red Apples (your choice)
– 2 Cups Unsweetened Cashew Milk (or coconut milk)
– 1 tbsp Kosher Salt
– ½ tsp Black Pepper
– ½ tsp Ground Garlic
– ⅛ tsp Turmeric
– ⅛ tsp Chili Powder 
– ⅛ tsp Cumin

Topping Options:
– Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
– Hemp hearts
– Light Sprinkle of Cinnamon


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Get a large baking sheet and line with parchment paper. Cut the butternut squash in half and make sure to remove the seeds. Lightly salt the squash and place on the baking sheet with the inside facing down. 
  2. Cut the onion into quarters and place on the baking sheet. 
  3. Cut the apples into small- to medium-sized pieces and make sure the core is removed. Place on the baking sheet and lightly salt along with onions. 
  4. Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake until the squash is tender (easily poked with utensil). Remove from the oven and let cool for 8-10 minutes. 
  5. Scoop out the squash into a big pot and add the onions, apples, pumpkin puree, bone broth, cashew milk, and all spices. 
  6. If you have an immersion blender, blend in the pot until the soup mixture is smooth. A food processor will work as well. We’re looking for a nice smooth texture where all ingredients are combined well. 
  7. Place the pot over medium heat and heat the soup through. 
  8. Serve and add toppings if desired! 

By Natalie Ovics, CHN
Papillon Medical & Dermatology

The Importance of Washing Your Produce.

Washing your produce properly can be a tedious task, but it’s an important one to consider if you aren’t already doing it.  It’s a step that often gets missed, and in light of the COVID-19 pandemic we want to make sure you’re taking measures to stay as safe as possible – including washing your produce thoroughly!  Though buying organic is best, we understand this isn’t feasible for everyone.  Even if you buy organic, it’s still a good idea to wash your produce.

When we purchase our fruits and vegetables, no matter where they come from, they’re likely to have some undesirable tagalongs.  Whether this debris is dirt, pesticides, waxes, or bacteria – we’re better off not putting it into our bodies.  Rinsing your produce in cold water can effectively remove some of these pollutants, but a serious produce wash ensures that our fruits and vegetables are thoroughly cleaned.  Did you know that you can make a produce wash at home, and that it only takes a few ingredients that you probably have already? 

There are a couple options when it comes to your produce wash: spray or soak.  If you have an extra spray bottle, this will be the quicker way to go.  If you don’t have a spray bottle, not to worry, you can make a produce soak! This will take a bit longer, but it’s a great option when you have other things to do around the house.  No matter how you choose to wash your produce, check out our tips section below.  Some fruits and vegetables are more delicate than others and can be damaged if not washed properly!

Produce Wash Spray
-1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
-1 tbsp baking soda
-1 ½ cup of water (preferably filtered water)

Put all ingredients into a spray bottle and mix/shake gently. Some foam may appear, and this is totally normal. Once mixed, spray onto produce and let sit for at least 3-5 minutes. Rinse under cold water thoroughly and dry. 

Produce Wash Soak
-½  cup of white vinegar 
-1 tbsp salt
-Optional: 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

Fill a basin, clean sink, or large bowl with cold water. Add vinegar and lemon juice and mix gently.  Add produce to the soak and let sit for up to 1 hour (25-30 minutes at minimum). When finished soaking, rinse produce thoroughly with cold water and dry. 

Lettuce and other leafy greens are more delicate in terms of washing.  For best results, mix 1 tbsp of salt with 1 tbsp of fresh lemon juice in a spray bottle.  Spray your greens and let them sit for a minute or two.  You can then add them to the produce wash (water and vinegar) and let soak for 10-15 minutes.  Rinse thoroughly with cold water and dry.

For berries, we recommend a produce spray with diluted lemon juice (2 cups of water with ¼ cup of fresh lemon juice).  Berries are delicate and easily take on the flavour of whatever they are soaked with, so vinegar is not ideal. 

Make sure your produce is completely dry before placing in the fridge as this helps to prevent decay. 

Happy produce washing and stay safe!

By Natalie Ovics, CHN
Papillon Medical & Dermatology

Soak Up The Sunshine Vitamin!

This week we want to talk about one of our favorite things: vitamin D!  This is known as the “sunshine vitamin” and it’s tough for us to get sufficient amounts of it currently, since we’re all cooped up inside.  Even though you may be going on occasional outings, chances are you’re still not getting enough vitamin D.  Luckily, there are ways to get the sunshine vitamin without actually stepping outside! 

Why do we love Vitamin D? 

If you visualize yourself stepping out into the sunshine, you can probably imagine the warm bliss you experience when the sun shines down on you.  That’s because Vitamin D is produced in our bodies when we come into contact with sunlight. As the world changes, now more than ever, it can be increasingly difficult for our body to produce enough vitamin D on its own.  This vitamin has the important task of keeping our bones and teeth healthy by promoting calcium absorption.  Vitamin D also supports immunity and can help in the process of regulating mood: just a few of the reasons why we love it so much! 

What are other sources of Vitamin D? 

Since we’re not the only ones who soak up vitamin D, we can get vitamin D from different plants and animals!  Scroll to the end of the blog for a tasty recipe packed with this powerhouse vitamin! 

Salmon, Tuna, Herring, and Mackerel.  Opt for wild-caught, as farmed fish have slightly lower levels of vitamin D due to less sun exposure than their wild equivalents. 

Egg Yolks
Most of the vitamin and fat content of an egg is located in the yolk, which is where you’ll find the most vitamin D.  If you decide to consume eggs as your primary source of vitamin D, you’ll want to make sure the eggs come from chickens that are raised outside.  Opt for eggs labelled organic, free-range, or pasture-raised, as this ensures that the chickens have had healthy sun exposure. 

Mushrooms can synthesize vitamin D when exposed to sunlight, making them one of the few plant sources of vitamin D.  Mushrooms are adaptogens and have so many health benefits, so you can enjoy them knowing you are getting good nutritional value! (Adapto-what?  Check out our crash course on these amazing little helpers in our previous post: Adaptogens 101!) 

In terms of supplementing vitamin D, there are lots of options.  You can find vitamin D in the form of tablets, capsules, drops, or liquids.  There are vegetarian options for vitamin D supplements as well, usually derived from algae. 

We carry vitamin D drops at our Calgary location and are taking product orders by phone (with free shipping on orders of 3+ products).  Like anything else, the amount of vitamin D you should be taking will vary by person, and you should contact your health care provider before starting supplementation of any kind.  When purchasing supplements, always opt for a high quality product from a trusted source; if you’re unsure about the origin or quality of your supplements, we are happy to point you in the right direction.

Steal the Sunshine Salmon Recipe

Lemon Dill Salmon with Roasted Mushrooms & Carrots
Serves: 4

Ingredients:  Lemon-Dill Salmon
-4 salmon filets (based on 6-8 ounce pieces) 
-½ lemon juiced
-1 tbsp lemon zest 
-¼ cup dill, chopped
-1 tbsp parsley
-½ tsp kosher salt
-¼ tsp ground pepper
-1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Ingredients:  Roasted Mushroom & Carrots
-1 container cremini mushrooms
-1 bunch of carrots (amount needed as per your preference, 2 cups approx)
-1 tbsp fresh thyme
-½ tsp kosher salt
-¼ tsp ground pepper
-1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Chop up mushrooms and carrots (thin-medium thickness). Place in a medium bowl and season with thyme, salt, pepper, and olive oil. Season the salmon filets with olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, parsely, and dill. If you want extra lemon, cut circular pieces and place on top of filets. Place salmon filets and veggies on a baking sheet (covered with foil or parchment). Cook for 15-20 minutes or until salmon is cooked through and veggies are tender! This may vary depending on your oven. 

Tips: If you want the veggies really tender, you can place them in the oven for 5-10  minutes prior to the filets going in. The salmon filets should be opaque on the outside with a slightly translucent pink color on the inside. 

Stay safe everyone! 

By Natalie Ovics, CHN

Papillon Medical & Dermatology

So You Ate All Your Quarantine Snacks?

We know there is a lot going on in our world right now, and we want you to know that we are in this together. Your routine might look a little different these days or you may not even have a routine at all. If you find your snacks aren’t lasting you very long, just know that most people are in the same boat. Some of you may even be having trouble eating enough. Life at home can get boring, and eating habits sometimes change when you’re under stress. It’s so important to be kind to yourself and others during this time, and try not to guilt yourself about how you are coping.  As always, our goal is to help you feel your best so if you feel like you need some help navigating through this, we have some tips for you!

Here’s our top 4 tips to optimize your health at home:


  1. Hydration Check!

Keep a water bottle near you all day. This sounds simple but it’s so important to keep your body hydrated. This is one of the first things that gets missed when you go through stressful times. Drinking water throughout the day can help you feel less groggy and help curb excessive snacking! Be creative with your water intake: add slices of lemon, orange, grapefruit, or mint. Try starting your day with a full cup of water before you have anything else. If you struggle with remembering to hydrate, try setting some reminders/alerts for yourself throughout the day. 


  1. Time for Tea

This is an awesome time to add more tea into your life. There are many beneficial teas out there with some great nutrients that can help support you through this time. If you’re looking to add some healthy components to your home routine, tea is an easy way to do so as it only takes a few minutes to make. Whether you want to feel more energized, balanced, calm, rejuvenated, less bloated, or need an immune kick – there’s probably a tea for it! 

Here are some great tea options:

Ginger tea is great for the digestive system, immune system, and it is a nice way to feel rejuvenated. 

Tulsi or Holy Basil tea is an adaptogen tea that can help you feel more balanced and calm. It is also a great tea for the health of the immune system. If you are curious about adaptogens and want to learn more about them, check out our last blog post! 

Chamomile tea is a relaxing tea for any time of day, but it’s especially beneficial just before bedtime. It’s also great for heart health and for helping soothe the stomach and digestive system. 

Hibiscus tea is packed with antioxidants and is great for the liver. It’s also packed with flavor and quite enjoyable if you want to try something different.

  1. Circulation

Being stuck at home can mean moving less for some people, and can leave you feeling more stagnant than usual. It’s important to move your body in any way that feels  good to you! There are so many options for moving your body and simple things like stretching can make a huge difference throughout the day. 

One thing you can do to help improve circulation is dry brushing. This is a great tool to use, especially before you shower. Start at the feet and brush upward in long strokes. Brush each section with 8-10 strokes and always move toward the heart/centre of the body. Be gentle with the brush as it should be stimulating to the skin, but not cause pain or irritation. It’s normal for the skin to get a little pink, but it should never be red or painful – so be gentle.  

  1. Get Nutrient Dense!

This is a great time to optimize nutrient density; this means trying to get the most out of what you eat or drink, nutrient-wise! Regardless of what you are consuming, there is always a way to add more nutritional value. Some examples include adding greens into your pasta/pasta sauce, adding nuts/seeds to salads, tossing hemp hearts into your oatmeal or smoothies, or trying to include veggies with most meals!

The easiest way to utilize nutrient density is a good smoothie! Smoothies are a quick and easy way to add goodness into your day – whether that’s more greens, protein, superfoods, omegas, etc. Here is one of our favorite smoothie recipes, packed with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. We think you’ll find it tasty and rejuvenating!

(Pro Tip: Got some produce on its way out? Chop that up and freeze it for future smoothies!)

Golden Hour Smoothie


1 Tbsp Ginger Root (grated)
½ Banana
¼ Cup Frozen or Fresh Pineapple 
¼ Cup Frozen or Fresh Peaches
¼ Cup Frozen or Fresh Strawberries
Coconut Milk or Nut Milk of choice: 1 Cup (amount needed will vary depending on desired consistency)

Optional Ingredients to Add More Nutrient Density:

  • Ground Turmeric or Golden Mylk
  • Carrot
  • Hemp Hearts
  • 1 Scoop of preferred protein powder (unflavored or vanilla is best)

Blend for 20-30 seconds or until desired consistency is achieved. Depending on your blender, the amounts of ingredients may change slightly. If you’re unsure, start with the recommended amount and add more if needed. 

We hope these tips help you feel good at home, and we look forward to when we can all be together again. Stay safe, stay home, and give yourself gratitude during this time. 

By Natalie Ovics, CHN

Papillon Medical & Dermatology


The Acne-Fighting Power of Zinc

You’ve likely heard about zinc being a vital nutrient and some of the amazing things it can do for the body, but did you know this superstar nutrient is beneficial for anyone struggling with acne?

Zinc is an antioxidant that helps boost our immune systems and can help fight off bacteria. In fact, it’s used for over 300 enzyme reactions in the body! Zinc is a wonderful nutrient to treat acne because it has anti-inflammatory properties which can help with skin redness, raised/painful acne spots, and wound healing. This is important because acne is an inflammatory response of the skin, so zinc can help combat those painful inflamed areas.

Zinc can be taken in many forms including supplemental, food, and topical. If you are considering adding zinc into your routine, make sure to talk to one of Papillon’s doctors and/or nutritionist to see what form of zinc will work best for you! There are many other awesome nutrients in addition to zinc to help with your acne and we are happy to help you find what is right for you. Learn more about our no-referral-needed acne clinic here.

Here are some foods to include in your diet that contain zinc:

-Pumpkin Seeds

-Sesame Seeds                                                  

-Hemp Seeds


-Oysters & other seafood






If you do eat meat, try to opt for grass-fed and with no added hormones or antibiotics! Acne can be due to hormonal issues so it’s important to stray away from products with added hormones!

An easy way to incorporate zinc into your food routine is through pumpkin seeds. They can be added onto salads or roasted to be eaten on their own. Here are two ways you can roast pumpkin seeds for a delicious snack!

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds with the shell:

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds without the shell: