The Conscious Family Team is a team of professionals in York Region who support, guide and aid those who want to do their best each day to love, cherish and respect their children, and who want to learn and grow from their roles.

Giving birth and raising a family consciously used to be a matter of instinct. We trusted our bodies and our feelings to do the right thing. We learned from our families, and our communities how to care for and raise our children, and we just knew it would be okay. We had the support of those close to us - the village helped us to raise our children. There was no internet, no 24 - hour medical centres or helplines, and no bookshelf stocked with 50 or so of the latest advice books from "the experts", usually celebrities. Mom was at home during the day to lend a hand with the washing, or your neighbour would pop by with a casserole when times were tough.

These days, we're lucky to know our neighbour's first name. And if we need advice, we're more likely to consult Google than our brother, sister or mother. The village is truly gone.

Here with the Conscious Family Team, we want to bring the good days back by being your village and helping your family and village grow.

We believe that in order to accomplish these tasks, parenting must be a conscious endeavour, meaning that we are willing to examine ourselves, our background, beliefs, motivations, behaviours, and how these aspects affect the way we parent. Let's find the positives in the way we were parented, recognize the lessons we learned and empower ourselves to trust our own intuition and emerge as the parents we want to be.

Decisions made prior to conception, during pregnancy and in baby's first year and beyond provide the foundation for the creation of a conscious family. By consulting with one or more of the Conscious Family Team members, you will be inspired to take initiative to choose the style of caring for yourself and your infant/child that resonates with you and you'll be connected to the tangible tools and resources to support you on your journey.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Agave: Naughty or Nice?

Here is something that is controversial.

When looking for good natural sweeteners where do you turn?

Personally I have a thing for maple syrup - but I did grow up with a father from Quebec who to this day swears he can tell the difference between Ontario and Quebec syrup!

Agave: Naughty or Nice?

Tara Annesley is a Naturopathic Doctor practicing in Newmarket.  She is the owner of Rise Up For Health and never did understand why someone would prefer Aunt Jemima...

Monday, September 6, 2010

A Back-to-School Must: A Good Fitting Backpack

Back pain; neck, shoulder and arm injuries; headaches; numbness in the legs or arms – all of these can be caused by an improper fit of your child’s backpack.

Here are some quick tips to help you find the right fit for your child:
  1. Measure your child’s back from the shoulder line to the waist (belly button) & then add 2 inches. The backpack’s height should not be bigger than this measurement.
  2. Measure the distance between the outside ridges of your child’s shoulder blades & then add 2 inches. The backpack’s width should not be bigger than this measurement.
  3. The shoulder straps should be wide and padded.
  4. Preferably the back should be padded too.
  5. The backpack should also have a waist strap to support the low back.
  6. All straps must be adjustable.
When filling your child’s backpack, consider the following:
  1. Use the following weight limits:
    1. Up to 60lbs child can carry 5lbs
    2. 60-75lbs child can carry 10lbs
    3. 100lbs child can carry 15lbs
    4. 125lbs child can carry 18lbs
    5. 150lbs child can carry 20lbs
    6. 200lbs child can carry 25lbs (no one should carry more than 25lbs)
  2. Heavier items should be placed lower in the bag.
  3. Flatter items should be placed in the back part of the bag (these will be against the child’s back).
Encourage your children to pack as few items as necessary and wear the backpack properly. Their backs will thank you later in life!

Nicole Meltzer, RMT, CHt is co-creator of Balanced Body Mind Spirit. Through her specialization in fertility issues, prenatal & pediatric care she helps parents conceive & achieve balance while on their journey into parenthood & beyond. To learn more, visit

Friday, August 13, 2010

How to make truly healthy lunches for your children this fall

One of the best feelings a parent experiences is sending our children off to school, knowing we have provided them with a healthy lunch.  A healthy lunch means stable blood sugar levels and satble blood sugar means your child will concentrate for longer periods of time, read better, feel more relaxed inside, be kinder to others and truly be able to seize the day!

Unique and nutritious main course ideas (always include a protein and carb):
Chicken, basmati/brown rice and vegetables in a thermos
Brown rice spirals with tomato sauce, garlic and vegetables in a thermos
Roasted Garlic Hummus sandwich
Salmon and avocado on a wrap

Unique and nutritious snack ideas (always include a protein):
Dark chocolate chips and sunflower seeds
Dried cranberries and pumpkin seeds
Sliced cheddar goat cheese and garlic and onion rice crackers
Tortilla chips and salsa

And always include a bowl of fruits, a bowl of vegetables and water.  Did you know that you can eat sweet potato raw?  Don't forget that peppers come in red, yellow, orange, green and can be cut into strips or chunks.  Canteloupe can be cut into strips, chunks or formed into balls.  See what you child thinks of the broccoli stem as opposed to the floret.   

For the healthiest lunch bags with the best quality thermos, drink container, leak-proof containers and ice paks that truly keep your child's lunch fresh and the right temperature for the longest period of time, check out  There are lots more lunch ideas there too! Tell the friendly ladies that own that company that you heard about their lunch bags from me and ask for your order discount.   

Written by Meredith Deasley, BA, RNCP, RHN Pediatric Nutritionist and owner of "The Resourceful Mother."  Meredith teaches pediatric nutrition and allergies at CSNN and is the author of "The Resourceful Mother's Secrets to Healthy Kids"  

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Energy Bank

Wouldn't it be nice if there was such thing as an "energy bank".  A place where we could go and make deposits on those extra energy days so that we could make a withdrawal on those "not so great" days?  We actually do have something that acts like our energy bank.  It is our adrenal glands.  We all have times where the bank feels empty.  Burnt out, exhausted, irritable.   Working as a Naturopathic Doctor I am well aware of adrenal insufficiency.  I see it almost everyday.  People who live most of their lives in the fight, flight or freeze state.  Cortisol surges through the body like we are being chased by a lion and need to escape but there is no lion.  Just a mountain of paperwork, unfinished jobs, or a boss (who perhaps could actually be a lion).  All of this stress response gets internalized and has an effect on our physical body.  We feel exhausted.  Our adrenals are working overtime to try to keep us running.  We need to cultivate the "off" switch - the relaxation response.  This is where we should be spending most of our lives. Think about a baby. Think about the time they spend in a "quiet, alert" state.  Calmly observing the world, absorbing and processing information. This is where we need to be.  Calm, alert and responsive not reactive.

 I was doing some reading the other day and a statement I came across really struck me. "When your body can't have a physical reaction to stress (like run away or fight) it can become internalized into emotion.  Emotions such as anger and fear".  Have you ever woken up in the morning and felt angry for no obvious reason?  I know I have.  There have been times I have woken up and felt like I could actually be a bear. I pick fights with my dear husband, people driving annoy me and little things down right drive me crazy.  I had never really thought of this as my stress response.  However when I look objectively back at the day I can almost always see a stress trigger.  My bank was not full enough to allow the withdrawal of energy.  Think about the amount of fear in your life? Or anger? What about our society in general?  This doesn't mean we should not care about safety, responsibility and common sense but perhaps we need to look at what else drives our fear.  When I am feeling energized and positive fear doesn't really enter into my thought process.  Neither does anger.  I can response to issues instead of react to them.

From this I have learned to pay attention to my emotions and my physical body.  Sometimes my adrenals need extra support.  Sometimes they need more than others.  I also try to remember to keep myself on the list.  To respect the times when I need to go to bed early to rest to make a deposit into the "energy bank".  Also the times when I need a more substantial break, to take a few days off, so that I can be fully energized and present with my patients. 

What about you? What are you doing to fill up your bank?

Tara Annesley is a Naturopathic Doctor for Rise Up For Health in Newmarket, Ontario.  Everyday she works to balance her "withdrawals" with her "deposits". 

Friday, August 6, 2010

Check out our NEW show on Youtube!

This is a show on raising a family in today's world. Unique discussions take place between five well known practitioners in York Region, who are also mothers, that have faced many of the challenges that you are facing in trying to stay balanced. Here is the link:

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Change your child's diet and watch them flourish!

There are far too many families out there who are suffering due to the effects of food. Children who are misbehaving, not able to focus, getting sick frequently and not sleeping properly are rampant. So many parents are at their wits end. How can we fulfill our purpose in life if we are not at our best???? How can we feel joy, on a regular basis, if this is how we are living?

When we fill a gas tank with gas, the car runs. If we were to fill a tank with donuts and chips, the car simply wouldn't run. The human body is so sophisticated and incredible that it will run for a while on donuts and chips! But over time, chemicals, sugar and bad fats weaken all areas of the body. We all know someone who is sick or has passed away due to health issues. The number one way to keep our children healthy and fulfilling their purpose is to feed them healthy foods. It means going back to the way things used to be....homemade meals, lots of fruit and vegetables or purchasing foods in the health aisles of regular grocery stores or from health stores. There are TASTY, healthy alternatives to all foods out there. Just try a "Twilight" chocolate bar from Nature's Emporium or at the very least, share it with a friend.

There is still time to help your child..... and yourself before school starts! Dare to be different.

Nutrition for Moms

A mother wants to be the BEST for her family. Nothing impacts the family like nutrition. If mother is feeling tired, sad, angry or scattered, she passes those feelings onto her children. What a mother eats can prevent each of these states of mind!

Eating a protein source (not necessarily animal based protein) every 2-3 hours is one of the best steps to ultimate nutrition that any individual can take. Regulating the blood sugar, in this way, helps prevent each of the feelings decribed above and prevents sugar and carb cravings. Examples of protein include beans, lentils, chickpeas, nuts and seeds, eggs, chicken, turkey and spirulina.

Wheat is another culprit for these symptoms! Wheat, you say? I eat this every day, usually multiple times a day, you say. Well, it may be time to switch it up a bit! Whatever we eat the most of is often troublesome for our digestion. Quinoa (also a protein source!) is a healthy versatile grain you could try (just make sure you rinse it in water first). Spelt and kamut are more easily digested than wheat - try Bagel Flame Bakery in Aurora on Wellington - our family's favourite bakery for healthy grains!

Written by Meredith Deasley, Pediatric Nutritionist and mother of two. For more information on the particular ways in which food impacts us, please look for the book "The Resourceful Mother's Secrets to Healthy Kids" at Nature's Emporium or Yoga Source in Newmarket or see