Spring 2014

Spring, the season of growth and renewal, often gives people the urge to tackle a big spring cleanup around the home. So why not do the same for your body? To get you started, our wellness experts have put together a list of tips to help you reset your body, your mind and your diet and take those first steps toward becoming your best self this spring. We’ve also included some of the exciting recent events at our clinic.

Hockey Fever

Cleveland Clinic Canada recently became the Official Healthcare Provider for the Toronto Maple Leafs alumni. In recent months, dozens of former Maple Leafs hockey players have visited the clinic for their annual Executive Health assessments. The alumni have been thrilled with our facilities, our services and, most importantly, our care – and we have received some incredible feedback from them. “I was treated so well it was ridiculous,” said one alumnus. On his way out, another exclaimed: “You guys are so good, it makes me want to get sick just to come back.

Social Media Buzz

Cleveland Clinic Canada is now on Twitter! Follow us @CleveClinicCan for the latest health news, recipes, events and links to our specialists appearing in the media. Plus recently Cleveland Clinic was named to TIME magazine's list of best Twitter feeds of 2014!

There’s an App for That

All of our Executive Health patients can now access their health information online through our secure MyChart system and MyChart app. Within a week of their appointment, patients can sign in and access their test results and summary letters from any location, at any time. Staying on top of your health has never been easier - it’s right at your fingertips!

The Write Stuff

Our registered dietitian and sports nutritionist Jennifer Sygo has big news to share: her first book, Unmasking Superfoods, has landed on The Globe and Mail’s prestigious bestseller list in the Self-Improvement category. Unmasking Superfoods is a fascinating look at the latest “superfoods” making headlines - acai, coconut oil, chia seeds and others. Find out which items our dietitian thinks are worth the hype, and which are better left off your plate.

Cleveland Clinic Canada teams up with FIFA

Cleveland Clinic Canada’s own Dr. Cathy Campbell has been named as the General Medical Officer for FIFA U20 in 2014. “I was honoured to get the call,” says Dr. Campbell. “With the 2014 women’s tournament taking place in Canada, I am delighted to have a role in keeping local and international players safe, along with the officials, fans and media, as they cheer on these incredibly talented women.” Her duties will range from caring for injured or ill athletes, staff and spectators, to doping control and ensuring the necessary medical supplies and equipment are in place. The FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup will be held in August 2014, and will be hosted at four venues across Canada: Toronto, Edmonton, Montreal and Moncton.

The New Age of Nutrition

Have you ever wondered if you would be healthier if you drank a little less coffee or ate more green vegetables?

Now you can learn the scientific answers to these questions through a new genetics test available at Cleveland Clinic Canada. Our Clinic is pleased to be the first in Canada to offer this best-in-class Nutrigenomics program, based upon the Nutrigenomix genetic testing technology, developed out of the University of Toronto.

About the Nutrigenomics Program

No two bodies process nutrients the same way. Genetic variations in each of us determine how our bodies use the nutrients we ingest from food, beverages and supplements. Nutrigenomics is the study of how different foods interact with an individual’s risk of developing common chronic diseases, such as high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke.

The program is led by a registered dietitian at Cleveland Clinic Canada and combines the results of a simple saliva test with a 3-day food record and the medical information gathered from a head-to-toe assessment. Our goal is to provide practical and easy solutions to help you optimize your diet and long-term health.

This program is ideal for you if:

  • You are actively working to make healthier choices in your life
  • You want to know, “What else can I do to age well?”

To learn more or to book an appointment, please call 416.507.6600 or email nutrigenomics@ccf.org.

Give Your Diet a Spring Cleaning

By Registered Dietitian Jaclyn Pritchard

Spring cleaning your diet doesn’t involve trying the latest detox or cleansing craze, it’s simply about getting back to basics with fresh, minimally processed foods. It’s out with the old and in with the new, as we refresh our diet with these tips to improve nutrition and practise “clean” eating.

Give Your Pantry a Makeover

When you open your kitchen cupboards, what are the first food items you see? Placing more nutritious foods at eye level in clear containers makes them easier to grab for meals and snacks. Healthy foods include canned beans, canned fish, nuts, seeds and dried fruits, whole grain crackers, nut butters, and whole grains such as quinoa, pot barley, bulghur and brown rice. Hide treats in sealed boxes on the top shelf. “Clean” eating means minimizing your intake of ultra-processed products containing unnecessary salt, sugar, added calories and unpronounceable ingredients.

Create a Meal Plan

Half the difficulty of healthy eating is trying to decide what to eat! Draw up a weekly meal plan so you're less inclined to eat out or order takeout. Get excited about cooking again: Try new recipes using fresh ingredients. Create daily dinner menus for Monday through Sunday, and then buy the ingredients in your weekly grocery run. Recycle your favourite ideas from week to week and season to season.

Fill Your Plate with the Colours of Spring

It’s time to swap those winter root vegetables for brighter in-season spring vegetables. During April, May and June, look out for asparagus, arugula, beets, cabbage, peppers, cucumber, broccoli, spinach and mustard greens (just to name a few possibilities). Aim to include vegetables of two different colours at mealtimes. Scramble eggs with spinach and red bell pepper, brighten up sandwiches with shredded carrot and arugula, or top off grilled asparagus with grated Parmesan cheese.

Interested in learning more about “clean” eating and healthy lifestyle choices in consultation with our dietitians? Our Weight and Lifestyle Management (WLM) program focuses on establishing sustainable lifestyle changes and pathways to making healthy choices. This program is unique because it enables patients to work with clinical experts in nutrition, psychology and exercise physiology. We personalize the program over a 12-week period to help patients identify and overcome obstacles blocking their path to achieving better overall health.

The program is ideal for:

  • Patients seeking an intensive program that includes weight management solutions and sustainable lifestyle modifications in a safe and controlled clinical environment
  • Patients who have one or more health concerns, such as smoking, diabetes, hypertension, obesity, hyperlipidemia, a family history of heart disease or a sedentary lifestyle


  • Achieve a healthy body weight
  • Acquire the appropriate knowledge, skills and tools to ensure your long-term success with lifestyle changes
  • Reduce your risk of chronic illnesses, such as heart disease, diabetes and stroke
  • Enjoy improved fitness, self-esteem and overall health

Put Your Best Foot Forward this Spring

by Cleveland Clinic Canada Exercise Physiologist Horacio Pizzanelli

Spring has arrived. As the grass turns green and the birds start chirping, many of us begin to imagine the outdoor activities we’ve been missing. Unfortunately, what also comes to my mind after years of working with musculoskeletal injuries are knee and hip problems. Three to five weeks into the warmer weather is when I often start hearing complaints from patients about lower body injuries. And they almost always follow the same pattern.

Basically, our feet, knees and hips are dependent on each other to maintain their overall health. The human body has some muscles that are responsible for big movements, and other muscles that are responsible for stabilizing our joints during those movements. But in our modern urban world, our home and work spaces are flat and stable. As a result, our stability muscles become dormant and weaken over time, especially during the winter. They no longer fire subconsciously and we lose some of the ability to activate these muscles when we move. When the warmer weather arrives, people typically head outdoors and increase their activity level, and suddenly they need those stabilizing muscles they have neglected for months. These muscles are the foundation for proper running mechanics. Without them, a runner’s knees will buckle with every stride, leading to injury. Even the best pair of running shoes won’t help you.

Don’t let this happen to you. Prepare for the season properly by strengthening the right muscles and balancing your joint mechanics properly. Here are four exercises you can start now, so that you can get out there and train for that 10k you’ve been looking forward to.

  1. Lie on your side with your legs straight and a pillow between your knees with your shoulder, hip, knee and ankle in a straight line.
  2. Tighten the quad muscles of the top leg and lift it 6-8 inches straight up, keeping your leg as straight as possible
  3. Hold, then slowly lower
  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat and a rolled-up towel between your knees and your arms at your sides.
  2. Raise your hips off the floor, making a straight line from your hips to your shoulders and keeping the towel between your knees.
  3. Lower yourself back to the floor and repeat.
  1. Stand upright with your feet flat and your arms down your sides, squeezing a ball between your knees.
  2. Bend at the hips and knees slightly, pushing your hips back and down, keeping the ball between your knees.
  3. Return to the top position, keeping your back flat and your head up throughout the movement.
  1. Lie on your back with your heel on a ball and your legs straight.
  2. Raise one leg up straight off the ball.
  3. Drag the ball to your buttocks, bending at hyour knee and rolling your foot along the ball.
  4. Finish with your foot flat on the ball.
  5. Complete all reps on one side before switching to the other side.

’Tis the Season to Have a Sunny Attitude

Practise these four simple tips to help you achieve everyday happiness:

Write about what’s right

Find everyday things to be thankful for and jot them down in a “gratitude journal,” suggests clinical psychologist Scott Bea, PsyD. “Think about what was positive in your day, and notice what was responsible for it. A lot of times it has to do with something you did.”

Count blessings instead of sheep

Before you go to bed, try to concentrate on the good things in your day and the good things in your life, says Dr. Bea. It will help you drift off to sleep with more positive thoughts - and may even help you get a better night’s sleep.

Do random acts of everyday kindness

Holding a door open for someone, being attentive to another person’s needs or doing some other random act of kindness can give you a “helper’s high” – acting kindly to others triggers the release of “good” chemicals in our brains.

Give and you’ll get happiness in return

When we’re generous with our time, effort and attention, serotonin is released, says Dr. Bea, along with dopamine, a feel-good chemical, and “hormone of love,” oxytocin. “There is getting in the giving,” says Dr. Bea. “You get happy feelings in return.”

Fresh Spring Recipes

Spicy Kale Salad with Almonds and Avocado

The light but spicy dressing gives this kale salad just the right kick of flavour. Toasted almonds and creamy avocado add the perfect textures. You’ll feel great about enjoying and sharing this delicious and super-healthy salad!


¼ cup sliced almonds
2 tablespoons non-fat (0%) Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
¼ teaspoon chipotle chile powder
⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
1 bunch fresh kale
1 avocado, diced


  1. Place a small skillet on the stove, add the almonds and turn the stove on to medium heat. Toast the almonds, tossing occasionally, for 3 to 5 minutes, until golden brown. Transfer to a small bowl to cool.
  2. To make the dressing, whisk together the yogurt, lime juice, oil, chipotle and salt in a small bowl.
  3. Tear the kale leaves from their tough stems and discard the stems. Wash the leaves and tear them into bite-sized pieces. Place into a salad spinner, rinse and spin dry.
  4. Transfer the kale and the toasted almonds to a large bowl. Dice the avocado and add to the bowl. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and toss well.
Quick and Easy Bean Salad


Fresh avocado, diced
2 pounds of frozen corn
15 ounces of canned black beans, rinsed
1 cup of fresh chopped scallions
1 ¼ cups diced red peppers
2 cups fresh chopped tomatoes
2 jalapeño peppers

Salad dressing:

½ cup plus 2 tablespoons of lime juice
½ cup chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. In a small bowl, combine all ingredients for the salad dressing.
  2. Add the diced avocado to the dressing, toss gently and set aside. On a large baking sheet, roast the corn in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until slightly golden.
  3. Move the corn to a medium bowl and chill in the refrigerator.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the chilled corn, black beans, scallions, red peppers, tomatoes and jalapeños. Toss with dressing.