Partners in Grime

Before commercial cleaners were introduced in the 1940’s, cleaning was done with soap, water and a lot of elbow grease. Today, Canadian households use approximately 54 kilotons of general purpose cleaners per year, resulting in the contamination of our fresh water, soil and air resources – all the while potentially presenting an assault on human health in measurable and unmeasurable terms. Although cleaning products may be necessary for reasons of hygiene, consumers should take steps to reduce their use of cleaners and choose products that are environmentally responsible and leave a small ecological footprint.

The following is a compilation of environmentally responsible cleaning ingredients that can be used in many “recipes” - or in other words, in combination with each other to make enough cleaning solutions that can take the place of over 150 different types of un-natural cleaners. They are easy to make, work well, do not abuse the environment and use limited resources in their production. Probably the most important ingredient that these recipes require is elbow grease! – which helps keep us in shape. All of these recipes follow the 3 E’s of Environmental Sustainability. They are Effective, Economical & Environmental Responsible. They cost the same as or less than conventional harsh detergent products and they do not contain phosphates, enzymes, dyes or E.D.T.A.

The six basic cleaning ingredients for these recipe/combinations are:

  1. Soap Flakes or Powder (sodium palmitate, cocoate or tallowate) are molecules which attract dirt and grease on one end and are water soluble on the other end. Soap flakes are manufactured by a process called saponification. The term saponification is the name given to the chemical reaction that occurs when a vegetable oil or animal fat is mixed with the strong alkali, sodium hydroxide, and heated. The products of the hydrolysis reaction are soap and glycerol. Once the soap solidifies it is ground into flakes. Some Recipes: Scouring Cleaner; Laundry soap; Aluminum Pan Cleaner.

 

  1. Baking Soda (sodium bicarbonate) is produced when carbon dioxide reacts with water and then is neutralized to its sodium salt. It is perfect for deodorizing, softening water and scouring. Some Recipes: Shower Pucks, Car Washing Solution; Vinyl Upholstery Cleaner.

 

  1. Washing Soda (sodium carbonate) is related to baking soda. It cuts through grease, softens water and disinfects. It can also be used in swimming pools to increase the pH level. Washing Soda is derived from solution mining of natural, trona mineral deposits. Solution mining offers a process by which sodium products can most efficiently be extracted from ore deposits. The trona ore is dissolved in a water solution creating a brine. The brine is processed to recover sodium carbonate (washing soda) and other sodium products. Some Recipes: Toilet Bowl Cleaner, Automatic Dishwasher Powder; Ant Bait.

 

  1. Borax (borax pentahydrate) is composed primarily of sodium and boron and is a naturally occurring mineral. It can be used for disinfecting, cleaning and deodorizing. Borax is hydrated sodium borate, a mineral ore of interlocked chains of boron, hydrogen, oxygen, water and sodium. Borax is created from refining recovered ore from dried playa lake beds. A playa lake is one that fills with rainwater then dries out leaving various salts. The deposits are refined by boiling the ore in water and adding carbonated soda which causes the borax to dissolve and impurities to settle out. The water borax mixture is poured off and cooled, allowing borax crystals to form. Some Recipes: Toilet Bowl Cleaner; Automatic Dishwasher Powder; Ant Bait.

 

  1. Vinegar is a dilute acetic acid that results from the fermentation of ethyl (human consumable) alcohol. Its acidic quality enables it to cut through grease. Vinegar Concentrate can be 5 times the strength of regular vinegar (acetic acid). Concentrated Vinegar Cleaner is as powerful and versatile as a natural cleaner can get. It’s a heavy-duty limescale remover and environmentally-friendly bleaching agent. For use on counter-tops, appliances (including stainless steel), glassware, and many hard surfaces. Avoid use on copper and aluminum. Some Recipes: All Purpose Cleaner; Ceramic Tile / Grout Cleaner; Calcium Deposit Remover (kettles, teapots, dishwashers)

 

  1. Ammonia is a gas which is condensed into a liquid and diluted with water for household use. It can be used for cleaning and disinfecting. But be careful; ammonia can irritate the skin and eyes and it can inflame the respiratory tract if deeply inhaled. It is also toxic if mixed with other cleaning products such as bleach or tub cleaners.

 

These six ingredients are listed by Pollution Probe as six of the safer cleaning substances currently available for household use. Visit our store to learn how to make the exact recipes and ratios of ingredients to make your greener, cleaning solutions. The protection of the planet is a shared responsibility. Please do your part by adopting a more environmentally sustainable lifestyle.

-This article is sponsored by Good n’ Natural Health Food Store-

A NEW APPROACH TO EMOTIONAL HEALTH

Stress is a normal part of life, however, long-term stress can contribute to changes in the body that over time, can cause serious health problems and can negatively impact mental and emotional wellbeing. Nevertheless, a holistic approach that includes dietary as well as lifestyle changes can help address stress and its effect on the body, while helping to promote overall healthier mental and emotional states.

Most people are familiar with probiotics – microorganisms that have beneficial health properties –  and their use in helping digestive disorders. New scientific research is now suggesting that probiotics also have an extensive application in mental disorders specifically those relating to long-term stress. The human microbiome is the collection of over 100 trillion symbiotic microbial cells, which reside primarily in our gastrointestinal (GI) tract. The bacterial diversity found within our gut is responsible for a broad list of functions including aiding digestion, regulating metabolism, defending against infections, producing vitamins and influencing health outside of the gut. The gut microbiota is fairly stable during our lifetime unless disturbed by factors such as medications, poor diets especially those high in processed foods, chemicals and, chronic high stress.

An imbalanced microbiome, also known as dysbiosis, has been linked to different types of conditions including intestinal permeability, chronic infections, arthritis, autoimmunity and eczema. Numerous scientific studies have now also connected mental disorders such as depression, anxiety and alterations in cognition with changes in the gut microbiome. These studies are further supported by research exposing the co-occurrence of GI disorders with depression and anxiety. In other words, a dysbiotic gut flora can be considered as a contributing, and even causative, factor in certain mood disorders.

At first, scientists didn’t quite know how to explain this link between dysbiosis and psychiatric disorders. However, in recent years, research has revealed a communication network found between the GI tract and the central nervous system. This network, called the “gut-brain axis”, is bidirectional, meaning that the brain communicates with our gut and in turn our GI system sends signals to the brain. Gut bacteria produce various chemical signals including neurotransmitters such as serotonin, GABA and dopamine. These are the same compounds, manufactured by our brain, responsible for our happiness, emotional stability and motivation. The gut bacteria are also able to influence nerve inflammation and modulate stress hormones.

Certain probiotic strains have specialized functions, some of which can help with stress and mental conditions. The oral intake of Lactobacillus helveticus R0052 and Bifidobacterium longum R0175 was shown to have positive effects on anxiety, depression and stress in human volunteers. More specifically, they not only have anxiolytic-like effects and alleviated psychological distress but helped to reduce cortisol – the main stress hormone in the body which is associated with depression and anxiety when elevated.

Recent research has also found a link between a protein called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and mental disorders. BDNF helps maintain the function and growth of neurons as well as connections between nerves. It plays a vital role in learning, memory and higher thinking. Low levels of BDNF have been correlated with depression and anxiety. This relationship may be due to BDNF’s role in supporting serotonin production which may have a calming effect on the nervous system. BDNF levels can be increased by exercise, intermittent fasting as well as specific probiotic strains including L. acidophilus, L. plantarum, L. brevis, B. lactis and B. longum.

When trying to address mood conditions, it is best to use a combination of approaches since different factors can contribute to most disease processes.  Herbal medicine has been used for thousands of years in the treatment of mood disorders. Withania somnifera, also known as ashwagandha, has been used extensively in Ayurveda, the classical Indian system of medicine, for promoting physical and mental wellbeing. This very revered herb is adaptogenic, protecting the body against chronic stress, has anti-aging qualities and mood stabilizing abilities. The bioactive compounds known as glycowithanolides found in ashwagandha have anxiolytic and antidepressant properties partly due to their GABA-like effects. In other studies, ashwagandha was shown to decrease cortisol levels, improve resistance towards stress and improve quality of life. It also has a cognition promoting effect, shown to benefit elderly suffering from memory decline as well as neurodegenerative diseases.

Lastly, antioxidants can greatly help to combat the negative biochemical changes which occur as a result of stress. Although the body has its natural antioxidant defenses, these may become overwhelmed with long-term stress. Increasing dietary antioxidants can protect the nervous system against stress-induced effects. Emerging research suggests that compounds in blueberries known as flavonoids not only may slow the decline in mental faculties but can improve memory and cognitive function. Wild Alaskan blueberry extracts such as AuroaBlue® Alaskan Blueberry Complex possesses up to 10 times more antioxidant activity as compared to regular blueberries due to the harsher growing environments which promote a higher concentration and variety of antioxidants. Blueberries may in fact prove to be the most powerful brain-preserving foods in the world.

Although more studies are needed to fully understand the mechanisms involved in mental health, current research is unravelling some of the workings behind the effects of long-term stress in psychiatric diseases. The use of specific probiotic strains together with botanicals such as ashwagandha and wild blueberries are proving to be an integral part of supporting mental and emotional wellbeing.

What are Prebiotics?

Prebiotics are today’s hot topic when it comes to digestive health. While many have heard about them, there is still confusion that arises as to what they are and how they work. What is the difference between prebiotics and probiotics? Where do prebiotics come from?  Why should I take prebiotics? These are often the questions asked when people are contemplating adding prebiotics to their regime or are wanting something to support their intestinal flora. While the term “prebiotic” may seem confusing, having them in your diet is much easier than you may think.

While probiotics are beneficial bacteria that can be used as a supplement to alter intestinal flora temporarily, prebiotics are used to feed the healthy gut flora and help them flourish. Think of prebiotics as the food for probiotics. For healthy gut bacteria to thrive, they need to be fed well to reproduce and colonize the intestinal tract. When more good bacteria are colonizing the gut, harmful bacteria and pathogens will not have room to flourish and will be removed from the intestine. While probiotics are essential during times of antibiotic use, travel, stress, or to help strengthen the immune system, prebiotics should regularly be consumed to feed good bacteria continuously.

So where do these gut heroes come from? Prebiotic nutrients are fructooligosaccharides (FOS), inulin and short-chain fatty acids. Basically, they are found insoluble fibres and some dairy products. Soluble fibre is indigestible by humans, but the bacteria in our gut thrive on it. Making sure to eat your vegetables is very important for good gut health but try including veggies like sweet potato, asparagus, onions, garlic and leeks for their specific fibre content. Using roots like chicory, dandelion and burdock are also great for the gut while Jerusalem artichoke is rich in inulin. Seeds that become gelatinous in water are also great for the intestines as the action of thickening in water shows they are rich in soluble fibre. These seeds include chia, flax and psyllium seed husks. As the good intestinal flora feeds on prebiotics, they produce various metabolites such as short-chain fatty acids. The body uses the short-chain fatty acids as energy, one, in particular, being butyrate which is the primary energy source for colon cells. Butyrate is also a prebiotic and is found in dairy sources especially abundant in butter.

So why is it important to feed the gut flora? It is estimated that the human body contains ten times more microbial bacteria than human cells. This bacteria not only affects the digestion of foods, but our immune system, neurotransmitters, hormones, energy levels and the list goes on. Having a good relationship with these little guys and feeding them well means having a healthier body. Did you know that most of our body’s serotonin (the happy hormone) is produced in the gut? Or that we have a complex bundle of nerves similar to our central nervous system called the enteric nervous system in our gut and the information processed in the intestines comes from the good bacteria that live in it? Feeding the good bacteria with prebiotics will help them flourish while consuming a diet rich in refined sugar, grains and alcohol will feed harmful bacteria in the body that can lead to poor digestion, weakened immune system, bad moods and low energy.

How does one make sure they have enough prebiotics daily? Make sure to include fibre rich foods in your diet aiming for 25-40 grams of fibre daily. The average Canadian is getting less than 15 grams per day! If adding fibre to your diet is challenging, try supplementing using psyllium husks or a fibre blend that you can mix with water or juice. There are some great soluble fibre supplements on the market that do not taste like anything at all! Alternatively, try new breakfast options like chia pudding or overnight oats with chia and flax seeds. On the go? Make a smoothie for breakfast and add chia seeds or ground flax. Add a bit of psyllium fibre or even pureed sweet potato to your muffins or loaves. Just remember to drink plenty of water when consuming more fibre as fibre needs water to help it move along through the digestive tract and clean out the colon. Consuming prebiotics daily can be much easier than you think!



Summer Time Munch Time

Summer is here in full swing, and we are all running to the park or beach whenever we get the chance. While taking a bag of chips along or grabbing an ice cream cone while you are out to cool off may sound appealing, packing healthy snacks will help you have a better day in the sun. Step aside deep fried chips and concession stand foods that leave you feeling sluggish and bloated by the end of the day. With a little planning and preparation, you can have refreshing and energizing snacks and meals that will keep you satisfied all day long.

Whether you are hitting the trails or peckish at the beach, homemade trail mix can keep your hunger at bay. Raw nuts and seeds contain lots of fibre and protein helping you feel full while adding ingredients like goji berries and cacao nibs increase antioxidant content. Goji berries are rich in beta-carotene and very good for the skin while cacao nibs add a chocolatey taste without melting in the heat. Homemade granola bars or energy bites make great snacks while on the go and can be made with simple ingredients, good for your wallet and waistline.

Ditch the chips and sour cream dips for crunch satisfying whole grain crackers and hummus. Crackers will deliver the crunch satisfaction you are looking for without the bad oils and the chickpea-based dip, hummus, can withstand the heat of the sun much better while providing fibre and protein. Hummus is also a great spread for sandwiches making it a healthy alternative to mayonnaise and does better in the heat. Crunchy water dense veggies like cucumber and celery make great dippers to help keep you hydrated as well.

Make a meal out of your picnic salad by adding whole grains, beans and seeds. Quinoa, barley, farro or brown rice can be added to or be the base of many types of salads making them much more substantial. Topping salads with seeds add protein and a nutty flavour while beans like chickpeas can be roasted and used as a replacement for croutons in a salad. Using an oil-based salad dressing can withstand being outdoors better than a creamy dressing and will feel lighter on the stomach when you are out in the heat of the day.

Have kids to think about? Replace the traditional peanut butter and jelly sandwich with other nut or seed butter options such as almond, cashew, hazelnut and sunflower. Jam and jelly can be swapped with sliced banana or mashed berries to reduce the sugar load. Bring homemade treats like muffins and cookies made with whole grains and hidden pureed veggies. Get creative with your kids by having them make fruit necklaces out of berries and grapes using yarn needles and elastic cords so they can munch on fruit during the day. And most likely they will enjoy veggies and hummus too!

Staying hydrated is vital for a day in the sun, but that means more than just drinking water. Fruits high in water content are great snacks and help deliver water to your cells much better with their mineral content than drinking water alone. Watermelon, cantaloupe, grapes and apples are great hydrating fruits and will help keep you cool. Adding fruit and even herbs like mint to your water can make a refreshing and flavourful drink to help you stay away from dehydrating sugar-filled sodas. Packing nature’s electrolyte-rich drink, coconut water, is an excellent option for a day in the heat or for any summer activity. Better hydration throughout the day will help you keep cool, reducing cravings when you hear the bells of the ice cream cart coming your way.

With a little planning and prep, summer eating can be just as healthy on the go as it is at home. If your goal is to maintain a beach body or to just feel good after a day out in the beautiful weather summer has to offer, planning your food ahead always helps. Instead of looking forward to summertime ice cream cones and freezes, look forward to summer’s sweet and beautiful bounty of fresh fruits and vegetables that only come once a year. Local strawberries, blueberries and tomatoes, Canadian peaches, nectarines and cherries. Stay healthy with the foods nature intended for us and make the most out of this summer!

Mind Blowing Mushrooms

Take a moment to think about mushrooms. What comes to mind? Do you enjoy eating them sautéed in butter on your barbequed steak? Are they the food you avoid on the veggie platter because they are fungi? Or are they the annoying species popping up on your perfectly manicured lawn? Whether you like mushrooms or not, once you finish reading this article, the way you look at mushrooms will never be the same.

There is more than meets the eye to our little white-capped friends. Literally much more. Beneath the surface of what we recognize as a mushroom is a vast branched bacterial colony network called mycelium. The mycelium spread underground connecting plants to one another sending messages to either help or hinder other plant growth. Trees send nutrients through the mycelium to seedlings to help them grow. Without the mycelium, many seedlings would not be able to grow in densely forested areas because they would be growing in the shade of larger trees. The mycelium also protects plants from pests and pathogens because they transfer out chemical signals from plant to plant to set up their chemical defences when there is an invader nearby. Mycelium also transfers chemical signals from plants to eliminate the competition of plant growth in a crowded area or to prevent foreign species from growing and flourishing in their habitat. It is no wonder that mycelium is referred to as “nature’s internet.”  Beyond sending messages, the mycelium also break down dead plants and decompose wastes making them essential for rich soil production and protection of the environment.

Mycelium produces the fruiting bodies we know as mushrooms. While you may be picturing the classic button mushroom or a commonly known portabella mushroom, there are even more varieties that contain many nutrients and antioxidants that are incredibly beneficial to the human body as well. These mushrooms are known as medicinal mushrooms for their health-promoting and immune boosting effects. Many medicinal mushrooms you will find growing on trees because the nutrients they contain are actually sourced from the trees they grow on. While all medicinal mushrooms are great for the immune system because of their antioxidant content and beta glucans (immune system stimulators), there are specific benefits to specific types.

The reishi mushroom is known as the queen of mushrooms. Reishi can help cleanse the liver, reduce bad cholesterol and balance blood sugars, and can even act as an antihistamine. The reishi mushroom is also an adaptogen, helping one adapt to stress, promoting grounding and relaxation. It is used to help improve sleep quality and can make an excellent evening drink.  

Since there is a queen of mushrooms, there also must be a king, and that is the Chaga mushroom. Chaga is found on birch trees and grows abundantly in Canada and other northern countries. Chaga is mineral and antioxidant-rich containing the antioxidant superoxide dismutase which works on disarming some of the worst free radicals, superoxide radicals. Superoxide radicals instigate the breakdown of synovial fluid (the lubricant) found in our joints which can lead to friction and inflammation. The Chaga mushroom also contains melanin which supports eyes, hair, skin and nails, and the antivirals betulin and betulinic acid that help the immune system.

If there are relaxation mushrooms, there must also be energizing mushrooms. Cordyceps are the energizing type. They do so by increasing the lungs maximum oxygen intake, circulation and cellular energy production, adenosine triphosphate (ATP). Cordyceps have been used by many Olympic athletes to improve their athletic performance and stamina. In the same way, cordyceps are used as an aphrodisiac. They are also great adaptogens.

One of the most fascinating of the medicinal mushrooms is Lion’s Mane. Lion’s Mane is a natural nootropic which means it can increase cognitive function, memory, motivation and creativity. It has been extensively studied for its ability to regenerate Nerve Growth Factors which are molecules that stimulate the differentiation and re-myelination of neurons. Lion’s Mane is so useful because it contains compounds that allow its nutrients to cross the blood-brain barrier and has been used in treatment for those with Parkinson's and Alzheimer’s.

The mushrooms listed above are only a few examples of the many different types of medicinal mushrooms available. Researchers are still exploring the benefits and uses of mushrooms for humans and the environment. Currently, they are being used to clean up diesel spills, and more research is being done on certain types that like to eat plastics that help speed up the rate of plastic decomposition. The world indeed depends on them.

Now that you have finished reading, will you ever be able to think of mushrooms the same way again?

Here Comes The Sun!

When the weather gets nice, we all get excited to go outside and enjoy the sun. The outdoors becomes an extension of our living space, a place to nap, play, walk, and bike or even enjoy a picnic. Sun or cloud, UV exposure is a risk and as you spend more time outside this summer, it is important to remember the long-term risks of excess sun exposure. 

Skin cancer is the leading cause of all cancers and it usually occurs in sun exposed areas. It is seen highest in people who work outdoors or love to sun tan! There are many different types of skin cancers, the three most common are, Basel cell carcinoma, Squamous cell carcinoma, and Melanoma. Basel Cell carcinoma and Squamous cell carcinoma are the least likely to metastasize (spread to other areas of the body).

Melanoma is the deadliest cancer if it has spread, so early detection is key. Melanoma occurs in pigmented areas of the body, such as moles. It is important to keep a close eye on your moles to detect any changes. A good tip is to take photographs monthly to compare, this is helpful in difficult to see areas such as your back. Screening during your yearly physical with your MD or ND is also important to detect any abnormal looking areas. A biopsy of the mole is what is used for diagnosis.

It is important to keep in mind the risk factors for melanoma during the summer months. The main risk factor is sun exposure while others include fair skin, family history, and atypical moles (moles that do not look “normal”). 30% of melanoma is from pigmented moles. When keeping an eye on your moles it is important to look for key changes. If the size of your mole is changing, that is something to be concerned about. Watch to see if the shape has changed, if its borders are becoming irregular or indistinct. Colour change is something else to look out for. Sometimes a dark brown mole will look patchy, or a very dark mole can show up suddenly. Sometimes colour around the mole can change with red, white of blue colouration showing up around the mole. Bleeding is usually a sign that the melanoma has progressed quite far and is deep. Irritation can also show up as inflammation, which is often red and causes swelling.

So how does one prevent melanoma and other skin cancers? Wear sunscreen when going outside and regularly re-apply. Choosing natural sunscreens are better for you and the environment. The active ingredients found in natural sunscreens are zinc oxide and titanium dioxide which are not absorbed by the skin, working as a protective barrier and are reef safe. Other conventional sunscreens can contain hormone disrupting SPF ingredients, the worst of which is oxybenzone. Oxybenzone is highly toxic and absorbs through the skin in significant amounts according to the Environmental Working Group. Carefully read ingredients before choosing your summer sunscreen. Avoid excess sun exposure by sitting in the shade and always bring a beach umbrella when you are not sure if you will find a shady spot. Shorts and tank tops may keep you cool on hot days but, expose a lot of skin. Better clothing options for the summer are loose fitting long pants, shirts, skirts and dresses in light colours made from materials like cotton or linen. They will keep you cool and covered helping to reduce your cancer risk. Always take a hat with you to keep your face out of the sun. This will not only help prevent cancer but also prevent premature aging from sun damage.

Do not be afraid to take in the summer for all it is worth because we know in Manitoba it is far too short but, that does not mean we cannot make smart sun decisions when we do. Stop aiding sunburns this year but, instead, prevent them. Your skin will thank you for it! Take care of your skin and you will have a better summer this year and in the years to come.

MCT Oil for Complete and Optimum Health

Pure MCT Oil is made by isolating the MCT’s (medium chain triglycerides) from the LCT’s (long chain triglycerides), and can be used to support areas such as weight management, energy levels during workouts, and age-related cognitive decline.

MCT stands for medium-chain triglycerides which are derived from coconut oil. MCT oil is the best kind of fuel for us at the cellular level because of the fact that it encourages fat-burning and also because it increases mental clarity. 

Because of its properties, MCT Oil can help with weight loss. It’s quickly metabolized – it doesn’t get stored as fat but is burned quickly and turned into energy.  

In one study published in the Journal of Obesity and Research in 2013, scientists at McGill University in Montreal carried out a randomized control trial to compare the effects of medium-chain triglycerides (such as caprylic acid and lauric acid) and long-chain triglycerides (such as olive oil) on body fat storage, energy expenditure, appetite control, and other aspects of weight loss in overweight men.

Researchers put these men on different diets for 28 days. They switched the diets after a short time so that they could see differences in the same subjects. One group ate a coconut oil-rich diet, high in medium-chain triglycerides. The other group ate a diet rich in long-chain triglycerides.

Those who ate coconut oil lost more body fat, which they attributed to a greater increase in energy expenditure and fat burning. Coconut oil actually sped up their metabolism, curbing their appetite, and allowing them to lose more belly fat, as compared with the men who were on the olive oil-rich diet.

MCTs are also a unique form of saturated fat with very potent antioxidant and anti-microbial properties that support your immune system. They also provide anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, and even anti-viral benefits.

According to studies, MCTs help you burn about 460 extra calories a day for men and about 190 extra calories a day for women.  MCTs also beneficially impact your hormones, including appetite-controlling hormones, helping you feel fuller for longer.

MCTs also help cognitively: they make excellent brain and cellular fuel.

Dr. Mark Hyman writes about MCT’s being his favourite oil for many reasons. He says: “You might be hesitant to use coconut oil or MCT oil because it is high in saturated fat, which has been demonized for decades. Yet there is world of difference between quality saturated fat in coconut or MCT oils, as compared with what you might find in a fast food cheeseburger.”

As he points out, “fat is one of your body’s main building blocks, yet for decades it was unfairly maligned. Instead, we followed a low-fat diet according to U.S. dietary guidelines, which became a high-sugar, high-refined-carb diet contributing to an epidemic of insulin resistance, obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and many other serious health problems.”

Instead of bad fats or more carbohydrates, what we need to do is consume omega 3 fats and MCTs like coconut oil, which are actually good for you and can actually help you lose weight, enjoy optimal health, and increase brain power and immunity as well.

To receive the best results from using MCT Oil, incorporate them into a low carbohydrate diet. Start by taking 1 teaspoon daily, with food, and build slowly to avoid stomach upset. Or try these great ideas!

Mix MCT Oil with your morning coffee, add it to your morning smoothies, make a great and fresh-tasting salad dressing with it, or take it by the spoonful for a blast of daily energy. MCT Oil is not to be heated for cooking, though you can use it in a marinade for any meats or veggies, and especially on fish!

MCT Is great in your morning smoothies to get your day off and running in the best way possible! Try this recipe on for size!

 Orange You Bananas Smoothie (Serves 2 | Ready in 5 minutes)

 Ingredients:

1/2 avocado

1 orange, peel removed

1 banana

1/2 cup strawberries, halved

1/2 lemon, peel removed

2 Tbsp. hemp hearts

1 Tbsp. MCT Oil

1/2 cup ice

ADD all ingredients to a blender, and blend until smooth. POUR evenly in two glasses. CHEERS, and enjoy!

Do Your Dairy Free

There is nothing like the creamy delicious taste of dairy. That first bite of cold, sweet, and smooth ice cream on a hot summer day or even that creamy comfort of a cheesy pasta. Unfortunately, for many of us, these foods will bring painful consequences that make them hard to enjoy. Nearly half the world’s population is lactose intolerant (the inability to digest milk’s sugar, lactose) which can cause uncomfortable gas, bloating, abdominal pain and even diarrhea. Some people are allergic to the proteins found in milk which can manifest as abdominal discomfort, skin rashes, eczema or even chronic ear infections and many other problems, never mind those who can have an anaphylactic reaction to dairy. Some have even noticed improvement in respiratory ailments such as asthma or chronic sinusitis when they cut out dairy products as excessive dairy consumption has been associated with increased mucus production.

With more food sensitivities on the rise the food industry has had to cater to specific dietary restrictions such as dairy-free products. When one would go to a grocery store only a mere 15 years ago to shop for themselves or their children who had dietary restrictions, it was hard to find options to replace the dairy rich foods we all know and love. Temptations would arise and those who should not consume dairy consumed it and to their own detriment. The use of supplemental lactase enzymes can help those with lactose intolerance, but for those who could not have dairy for other reasons still suffered. And for parents with children who have an allergy or sensitivity to dairy, it can be very hard for them to help their children understand why they cannot eat the same things their friends do. Luckily, there are a lot of creative people in this world to come up with options that satisfy the desire for the creamy comfort food we so enjoy.

The days we are living in now are the best for finding tasty dairy free options. More and more products are becoming available on the market to go dairy free and there are lots of recipes available at our fingertips on the internet. Even more ice cream parlors and restaurants are catering to the dairy-free population. Coconut milk and coconut cream have become more popular and are great replacements for cream or milk in soups and sauces to add a creamy taste and texture and they even work well as a coffee creamer. They are also used in many ice cream alternatives that will leave you feeling satisfied, not missing regular ice cream at all! But what about cheese? Many nuts and seeds are now being used to make cheese replacements in flavours such as brie, cheddar, and blue cheese. Some are even made to be like a cream cheese spread. If lactose intolerance is your issue, there are many hard-dairy cheeses to look out for that are lactose free. Nutritional yeast is a wonderful product rich in B vitamins especially B12 and lends a sharp cheesy taste to food making a delicious popcorn topping or can be used to make cheesy tasting dips that can even fool your cheese-loving friends. Let’s not forget the old stand-by, soy, that can take on flavours while being used to replace everything from milk and cheese to yogurt and ice cream.

When most people discover they have to go dairy free for various reasons, their first concern is often “where will I get my calcium?”. Dark leafy greens, cauliflower, broccoli, nuts (especially almonds) and seeds, and many peas and beans are very good sources of calcium. Supplementation is also always an option when the diet is low in calcium. Consuming a whole food diet and reducing or eliminating all processed foods will also help the bones retain more of their calcium. A diet rich in processed foods and soda will contain high amounts of phosphorus which can pull calcium from the bones and have it excreted through urine. Retaining the calcium in our bones that we already have is just as important as making sure we get enough from our diets.

If going dairy free is right for you and your personal needs, the transition is so much easier now than it has ever been. The world is your oyster and opportunities to try new things are much more abundant than ever before. No more missing out on taste and flavour for you or your kids. No more worrying if you are meeting nutritional needs without dairy. Take care of your body’s specific needs whether that means avoiding dairy or something else entirely because it will only lead to a better and healthier life for many years to come.

Do Your Dairy Free

There is nothing like the creamy delicious taste of dairy. That first bite of cold, sweet, and smooth ice cream on a hot summer day or even that creamy comfort of a cheesy pasta. Unfortunately, for many of us, these foods will bring painful consequences that make them hard to enjoy. Nearly half the world’s population is lactose intolerant (the inability to digest milk’s sugar, lactose) which can cause uncomfortable gas, bloating, abdominal pain and even diarrhea. Some people are allergic to the proteins found in milk which can manifest as abdominal discomfort, skin rashes, eczema or even chronic ear infections and many other problems, never mind those who can have an anaphylactic reaction to dairy. Some have even noticed improvement in respiratory ailments such as asthma or chronic sinusitis when they cut out dairy products as excessive dairy consumption has been associated with increased mucus production.

With more food sensitivities on the rise the food industry has had to cater to specific dietary restrictions such as dairy-free products. When one would go to a grocery store only a mere 15 years ago to shop for themselves or their children who had dietary restrictions, it was hard to find options to replace the dairy rich foods we all know and love. Temptations would arise and those who should not consume dairy consumed it and to their own detriment. The use of supplemental lactase enzymes can help those with lactose intolerance, but for those who could not have dairy for other reasons still suffered. And for parents with children who have an allergy or sensitivity to dairy, it can be very hard for them to help their children understand why they cannot eat the same things their friends do. Luckily, there are a lot of creative people in this world to come up with options that satisfy the desire for the creamy comfort food we so enjoy.

The days we are living in now are the best for finding tasty dairy free options. More and more products are becoming available on the market to go dairy free and there are lots of recipes available at our fingertips on the internet. Even more ice cream parlors and restaurants are catering to the dairy-free population. Coconut milk and coconut cream have become more popular and are great replacements for cream or milk in soups and sauces to add a creamy taste and texture and they even work well as a coffee creamer. They are also used in many ice cream alternatives that will leave you feeling satisfied, not missing regular ice cream at all! But what about cheese? Many nuts and seeds are now being used to make cheese replacements in flavours such as brie, cheddar, and blue cheese. Some are even made to be like a cream cheese spread. If lactose intolerance is your issue, there are many hard-dairy cheeses to look out for that are lactose free. Nutritional yeast is a wonderful product rich in B vitamins especially B12 and lends a sharp cheesy taste to food making a delicious popcorn topping or can be used to make cheesy tasting dips that can even fool your cheese-loving friends. Let’s not forget the old stand-by, soy, that can take on flavours while being used to replace everything from milk and cheese to yogurt and ice cream.

When most people discover they have to go dairy free for various reasons, their first concern is often “where will I get my calcium?”. Dark leafy greens, cauliflower, broccoli, nuts (especially almonds) and seeds, and many peas and beans are very good sources of calcium. Supplementation is also always an option when the diet is low in calcium. Consuming a whole food diet and reducing or eliminating all processed foods will also help the bones retain more of their calcium. A diet rich in processed foods and soda will contain high amounts of phosphorus which can pull calcium from the bones and have it excreted through urine. Retaining the calcium in our bones that we already have is just as important as making sure we get enough from our diets.

If going dairy free is right for you and your personal needs, the transition is so much easier now than it has ever been. The world is your oyster and opportunities to try new things are much more abundant than ever before. No more missing out on taste and flavour for you or your kids. No more worrying if you are meeting nutritional needs without dairy. Take care of your body’s specific needs whether that means avoiding dairy or something else entirely because it will only lead to a better and healthier life for many years to come.

Professional Pain Relief

While the prescription pain industry explodes, more and more people are turning to side-effect free natural alternatives to handle their joint pain issues. Over the counter (OCT) and prescription pain medications may deal with joint pain temporarily but more and more Canadians are realizing it does not target the root cause. To deal with the root cause effectively we need natural drug-free alternatives and this is why people are turning to nature for ways to quench the fire of inflammation naturally.

Inflammation is the underlying cause of most diseases and joint pain is no different. To effectively target inflammation use a combination of botanicals and vitamins well documented for their ability to provide relief to joint pain sufferers.

Glucosamine Hydrochloride

A key component of joints is glucosamine which helps to promote collagen synthesis by stimulating the activity of chondrocytes. The chondrocytes are the cartilage forming cells of the body found in the joint capsule. Collagen is a key component of the cartilage that acts as the buffer between the bones of a joint so that they are not grinding upon one another producing friction and pain. Glucosamine is also required for the synthesis of mucopolysaccharides, which are found in the tendons, ligaments, cartilage, synovial fluid (the lubricant between the joints), mucous membranes, eyes, blood vessels and heart valves.

MSM

MSM is a naturally occurring sulphur-containing compound. The ‘S’ in MSM is Sulfur and it is crucial for the running of the Sulfation Pathways of Detoxification in the Liver. It is also backed by numerous clinical studies which demonstrate the ability of this compound to dramatically reduce pain and inflammation. As a result, these studies also show that those supplementing with MSM see an increase in physical mobility and general wellness and wellbeing.

Hydrolyzed Collagen Peptides

Hydrolyzed Collagen Peptides have been found to provide relief in those suffering from osteoarthritis. In particular, Peptan™, a patented collagen, has been clinically proven to boost osteoblast activity which are the bone building cells of the body. Many people don’t realize this but 90% of your bone matrix is made up of collagen synthesized from these osteoblasts and when collagen stores are low in the body bone and joints suffer. In one study, those individuals with the most severe pain found the greatest relief by supplementing with hydrolyzed collagen from Peptan™ and they were able to reduce their need for pain medications. In addition, oral supplementation with Peptan™ hydrolyzed collagen stimulates the chondrocytes within the joint capsule which is essential for establishing strong cartilage. Cartilage acts as the buffer between bones reducing friction, inflammation and its attendant pain and so getting the chondrocytes to work is the key to building up the worn-down cartilage. The result is increased mobility and a better quality of life.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is not just for the prevention of colds and flus, it plays a crucial role in collagen synthesis. Your body cannot make collagen without it! Supplementation with vitamin C has been shown to reduce the breakdown of cartilage in those with osteoarthritis. It also has an analgesic effect.

BCM-95 (Curcumin)

If you have pain you need to know about curcumin and its benefits. Curcuminoids are the alkaloids derived from turmeric which have anti-inflammatory benefit and provide massive pain relief. BCM-95™ in particular is a highly bioavailable form of curcumin which has been proven to reduce pain and inflammation in the body faster and better than Curcumin-95 extract. In fact, it is clinically proven to be 7x more bioavailable in the body compared to regular curcumin. Curcumin in general is known to be helpful for treating a number of different health concerns including: cancer, Alzheimer’s, liver disease, gastrointestinal complains, respiratory conditions and even mood disorders. However, curcumin is most commonly known and used for joint pain and inflammation. Studies have found that in some cases curcumin is as effective for relieving pain and inflammation as Ibuprofen.

Ginger

Not just a culinary spice, ginger, like turmeric, has anti-inflammatory benefits. It is also analgesic, anti-nausea, anti-ulcer and shows strong antioxidant activity. It can significantly decrease joint pain and inflammation when taken on a daily regular basis over a 3-month period consistently. A University of Miami study suggested that it could one day be a substitute for non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID’s).

Devil’s Claw

This herb reduced the need for pain medications in multiple clinical studies of arthritic patients as well as those suffering from back pain. Some studies have also found this herb to have anti-inflammatory action.

Bromelain

Bromelain is a commonly known as a digestive enzyme. It is derived from pineapple and have additional benefits beyond improving digestion. The enzymes in Bromelain have displayed anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties due to eh the inhibitory effect it has on pro-inflammatory pathways.

Vitamin B6

Studies have found that individuals with Rheumatoid Arthritis generally have lower Vitamin B6 levels compared to the general population. Low levels of B6 are correlated with higher levels of pro-inflammatory molecules, which leads to greater inflammation in the body.

Vitamin D3

Adequate intake of Vitamin D3 is crucial for a healthy immune system and low levels have been associated with a number of autoimmune diseases as well as cancer. Higher in takes of Vitamin D3 are associated with a reduced risk of developing Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)., There is also evidence that those who have already developed the disease and suffer from RA may benefit by increasing their daily intake.

Hyaluronic Acid

HA is a natural component of all connective tissues including the skin. This compound is used both orally and by injection for the treatment of osteoarthritis and joint pain. Hyaluronic acid is a component of joint fluid, cartilage and skin tissue. It is present as a coat around each cell (chondrocyte). Hyaluronic acid has an amazing ability to absorb water and it contributes to the cushioning effect of cartilage as well as the lubrication of joints. HA has been proven to benefit all joints, however key studies have shown that it is particularly good for knee pain and improving knee mobility.

Boswellia

This herb is commonly known as Frankincense and is used as an anti-inflammatory agent for various conditions like: osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, bursitis, tendonitis, ulcerative colitis, asthma, sore throats and allergic rhinitis. Studies have found improvement in both pain and functionality scores after supplementation with Boswellia. Significant improvements were seen within just seven days of initiating supplementation.

It is important to realize that short term inflammation is perfectly normal and is a part of a healthy immune response. It is chronic, long-term inflammation that, if left uncontrolled, leads to illness, and disease. With natural health products we can often achieve the same results as allopathic western medicine without the side-effects because they target the root cause and not just control the symptom of pain. However, we need to keep in mind that natural supplements do take time to work. It takes many years for issues like arthritis to develop and so patience needs to be exercised when engaged in a healing process that involves natural supplements. Natural supplements are not Band-Aid solutions like Ibuprofen and Acetaminophen. The ingredients discussed above are working to repair joint tissue and reverse chronic inflammatory processes. The aim is to treat the cause of the problem and ultimately to reduce pain and improve function over the long-term for a better quality of life.

The views expressed in Community Blogs are those of the author, and are not necessarily shared by SteinbachOnline.com

About Good n’ Natural

Good n Natural

Good n’ Natural started as a small-family owned business in 1994. Our team has grown and diversified to include Certified Natural Product Advisers, a Registered Holistic Nutritionist, and a part-time Naturopathic Doctor. Our mission is to educate, inspire, and empower our customers to pursue a healthy lifestyle in order to achieve their wellness goals and in turn build a stronger community.

Steinbachonline.com is Steinbach's only source for community news and information such as weather and classifieds.

Login