Dr. Suhani's Summer Essentials

It is now officially summer and in under two weeks, it will be Stampede (here in Calgary).  Summer often means more late nights, a laid-back environment at work, more patio drinks/beers and more eating out.  It is also a time when people are traveling more, children are on holiday and normal dietary and healthy routines may take the back seat for a couple of months.  But hey, we live in a country that has 4 amazing seasons but Summer only lasts about 3 months so we got to make the most of it right?!

I’m here all through the year helping you stay healthy, motivating you to follow-through on your health regimes and helping restore your health.  You can choose to use the laid-back, stress-free summer months to get a jumpstart on improving your health before the busyness/stress starts up again in September.  Or if you want to enjoy your summer and choose to take action on your health with the advent of the next back-to-school season (September), you aren’t alone in doing that either.

Here are some summer tips so you can maximize the sunshine, enjoy the Canadian summer, and help get you through Stampede, summer festivals, and socials.  I have also provided some detox tips to help your liver function optimally while eating some not-so-healthy food.

Use a natural zinc oxide based sunscreen as many of the other readily available sunscreens can have chemicals in them that accumulate in the body.  There was a preliminary study published in JAMA that established the potential for systemic absorption of chemicals found in sunscreen some of which can lead to toxicity levels, especially when the sunscreen was worn to its maximal use conditions (Matta, 2019).

If you are going camping or hiking, don’t forget to check your skin and clothes for any attached ticks – Lyme disease is on the rise in Canada.  Remove ticks with tweezers and clean the area with rubbing alcohol and warm water/soap.  You can flush the tick down the toilet if you would like to take it to your healthcare provider for identification, place it in a sealed Ziploc bag.   Wear long sleeves and pants if you are going to be in wooded areas to avoid tick bites.

Including protein in each meal and veggies for fibre as they will help keep you feeling full longer which can prevent you from unnecessary snacking constantly on unhealthy calories.  This is key when you are going to carnivals and events where you will be away from the house for a while.

Veggies for healthy meals when you can fit them in

Include greens and veggies in meals that are you are preparing at home.  This way you and the kids are still getting vitamins and minerals, fibre and all the other nutrients from fruits and veggies while you or the kids may consume not so nutrient-dense calories outside home.

½ a freshly squeezed lemon in a cup of warm water in the mornings can stimulate stomach acid production which in turn stimulates bile and digestive enzyme flow helping with digestion

Water to stay hydrated

Ensure you are staying hydrated.  Take a water bottle with you if you know you are going to be out of the house for a while and it is a hot day.  Coconut water is another option as it contains magnesium, sodium, and potassium electrolytes.  Drinking enough water if you are going to consume alcohol is important as alcohol can be dehydrating. Consuming enough water will also lessen the hangover effect the next day.

Liver detoxification

Support your liver with greens (chlorella, spirulina) powders and other nutrients that are integral to optimal functioning of our phase 1 and phase 2 liver detoxification pathways to help your liver detoxify toxins and alcohol more efficiently. These nutrients include B vitamins, magnesium, and NAC (N-acetylcysteine). Glutathione is another key nutrient – more on glutathione here.  Efficient alcohol detoxification is so important, especially if you are female as some of you may notice that when you drink alcohol, your PMS or menstrual symptoms like cramps are much worse (alcohol impairs the ability to remove estrogen from your body leading to estrogen excess or dominance – more on estrogen in a future post so be sure to add your email to the right of this post for notifications of future posts). As always, consulting with a licensed naturopathic doctor can help you navigate which supplement(s) – nutrients, doses, and brands – are the best for you.  Based on what else is going on, there may be other nutrients or treatment recommendations to support your liver detoxification pathways that are specific for you. 

Come in for an IV or quick adrenal support (B vitamin) intramuscular injection – Ascent Integrative Health offers energize (multivitamin/mineral), immune, active/sports performance geared IV drips.  Mini-energizer bags are also offered for those looking for a quick lunch hour pick-me-up.  There is also a formula geared towards detoxification support.  These are great for quick energy boosts and support while you are working on improving your health for long-term wellness and working with your naturopathic doctor to address the root cause of your health condition(s).

If you are traveling, probiotics can protect your gut from traveler’s diarrhea – to know the right probiotic for you, and, if you should be taking probiotics, consult a naturopathic doctor.  Some people’s digestion can get worse with the constant use of probiotics.  Immune support supplements can help prevent you from getting sick on your holiday.  Melatonin can help minimize jet lag.  Again, it is best to speak to a healthcare provider or a naturopathic doctor for the dose you should be taking.

Get away from the computer, cell phone, and social media – especially on the weekend! Get outside and enjoy all that Summer has to offer for the next few months because the cold will be back before we know it.  Be SOCIAL IRL (In Real Life) because winter months are for hibernating 😉

That’s it folks – these are my top 10 tips for having a fun and healthy summer. 

lf you are attending Stampede or live in Calgary and are looking for some added energy support to deal with the late nights, early starts, helping your liver detoxify all that alcohol prior to, during or post-Stampede or at any other point during this summer, contact Ascent Integrative Health for an appointment – let’s figure out the best option for you, whether it is an IV drip, a quick B vitamin injection, or a simple supplement to take.

(Pssss did you know visits with licensed NDs, including injections and IVs, are covered by extended health benefit plans as long as you have naturopathic coverage?)


Matta MK PhD; Zusterzeel R, MD, PhD, MPH; Pilli NR, PhD; et al.  Effect of sunscreen application under maximal use conditions on plasma concentration of sunscreen active ingredients: A randomized clinical trial.  JAMA.  2019;321(21):2082-2091.


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