WHAT TO INGEST WHEN YOU’RE EXPECTING!

OMEGAS ->

Essential Omega Fatty Acids are especially crucial before, during and after pregnancy. Among these are omega -3 providing DHA & EPA. DHA is the omega-3 fatty acid that is most important for fetal brain and retina development. The brain develops early in life at a rapid pace, reaching essential completion by ages five or six years. A woman’s demand for omega-3 DHA increases significantly during pregnancy and breastfeeding as infants rely on their mothers to supply DHA initially through the placenta and then through breast milk. EPA is the omega-3 fatty acid that helps support healthy mood, skin and control inflammation in the body. The benefits of Omega-3 during pregnancy and breastfeeding for mom include:

  • Greater maternal stores to supply the fetus via the placenta
  • Greater supply and improved nutrition of breastmilk
  • Reduced risk of postpartum depression
  • Healthy skin, hair and nails
  • Stronger immune system
  • Reduces risk of premature delivery and increased birth weight

The benefits of Omega-3 during pregnancy and breastfeeding for children include:

  • Improved vision, motor abilities, concentration, IQ, coordination, attention span
  • Healthier sleep patterns, better social behavior and communication skills
  • Less anxiety, irritability, aggression and hyperactivity
  • Stronger immunity and reduced risk of allergies, asthma and eczema

It is recommended to eat 2 servings per week of low-mercury fish (i.e. wild salmon) or take a high quality fish oil supplement to increase omega fats available to both mom and baby.

PROBIOTICS ->

Many experts agree that passage through the vaginal birth canal at birth is the baby’s first inoculation with beneficial bacteria, making it the foundation of its own bacterial ecosystem. Therefore, the composition of the microbiome is essential to both mom and child’s health. In addition, it has now been established that breast milk has its own microbiome containing, plus it produces its own prebiotics for the bacteria residing in the breast tissue and milk. Supplementing with beneficial bacteria, also known as probiotics, during pregnancy and breastfeeding can reduce the risk of the child developing eczema, asthma, allergy and digestive distress, in addition to supporting mom’s immune, digestive and mental health. Consider a probiotic supplement (especially if taking antibiotics), consume fermented foods (i.e. kefir, sauerkraut, kombucha), plan for a vaginal birth and choose to breastfeed if possible.

IRON ->

Women need about twice the amount of iron during pregnancy as before because their body uses it to make extra blood for baby. Iron also helps move oxygen from their lungs to the rest of the body. Too little iron is a common cause of fatigue during pregnancy. Consult a health care practitioner to see if additional iron is necessary in a non-constipating supplement form and ensure adequate consumption of iron-rich foods such as beans, spinach and grass-fed beef.    

CALCIUM ->

Calcium is not only essential to build strong bones and teeth in a growing fetus, but will help prevent deficiency during pregnancy, which will cause baby to draw the calcium it needs for development from mom’s bones, which can lead to future health problems such as osteoporosis. Consider an additional calcium supplement if necessary and consume more calcium-rich foods such as kale, almonds or organic dairy.

FOLATE ->

Folate is essential for development of baby’s neural tube (which develops into brain and spinal cord) and helps prevent birth defects that can occur at 3-4 weeks of pregnancy. In fact, supplementation in early pregnancy can reduce the incidence of neural tube defects by as much as 80%, which is why it is often recommended even before conception. In addition to a quality supplement, consume foods such as chickpeas, asparagus and cauliflower.

Other Recommendations:

  • AVOID TOXINS: Avoid nicotine, excess caffeine, alcohol, artificial sweeteners, pesticides, chemicals, and preservatives as much as possible.
  • TAKE YOUR MULTI: Choose a high quality prenatal multivitamin/mineral and consider additional Vitamin D3 to meet the nutrition needs not attained in the diet.
  • EAT WELL: Focus on consuming a variety of simple “whole” foods (unrefined/unprocessed), which should naturally contain the nutrients your body needs and avoid those it can do without. Enjoy food cravings in moderation, but ensure that you are taking in adequate amounts of essential nutrients.
  • BALANCE BLOOD SUGAR: Consume balanced meals throughout the day that provide quality protein, fibre-rich complex carbohydrates and healthful fats.
  • REST & RELAX: Manage stress and ensure adequate sleep. Consider acupuncture.
  • DRINK UP: Your blood volume increases by almost 50% during pregnancy so make sure you are consuming plenty of water to stay hydrated.
  • STAY ACTIVE: Engage in regular, moderate exercise that is appropriate for your pregnancy. Consult a professional for guidelines. Stretch and wear supportive shoes!
  • A FEW MORE TIPS:
    • Both ginger and vitamin B6 have been studied as effective treatment options for pregnant women with morning sickness!
    • Red raspberry leaf taken later in pregnancy help strengthen the uterus.
    • Some professionals will recommend omega-6 evening primrose near the end of pregnancy in order to soften the cervix.
    • To improve stretch marks, try topical coconut oil, shea butter or vitamin E cream.
    • Leg cramps may indicate a possible magnesium or potassium deficiency.
    • Be sure to avoid anything that will have a cleansing effect body.

     

Assure that any supplements taken during pregnancy/breastfeeding are approved by a professional, such as a naturopath.

 

-This article is sponsored by Good N Natural in Steinbach-

Terrific Turmeric!

Turmeric root has been used for thousands of years in Asia and India. You may be familiar with the use of this traditional spice in curry dishes, but were you aware that it also offers tremendous health benefits?

Curcumin is the yellow pigment in turmeric, which acts as an important active compound and is responsible for its many beneficial qualities. Although curcumin is the best known medicinal and therapeutic ingredient in turmeric root, it does contain other curcuminoids which are thought to have some health benefits as well.

Curcumin acts as a powerful antioxidant for the entire body and only a small amount is needed to exert its many health benefits, assuming that the curcumin is able to be absorbed. Here is a review of the main uses and benefits of this incredible ingredient.

INFLAMMATION RELIEF - >

Due to recent research, curcumin has been nicknamed the “master off-switch for inflammation.” It has been shown to help relieve pain and inflammation by modulating the inflammatory pathways that affect heart, joints, liver, gastrointestinal tract, brain, cellular health and the immune system! This makes curcumin useful for relieving the pain in osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and bursitis as well as in digestive conditions such as ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease, celiac disease, gastritis and gastric ulcers. Curcumin has the ability to block more than 30 different inflammation pathways!

Curcumin also protects against inflammatory calcium loss from our bones and has been shown to slow prostate cell proliferation in addition to supporting healthy cholesterol and blood pressure levels.

LIVER HEALTH - >

Curcumin has liver-protective effects and is a powerful liver detoxifier. It helps to prevent the build-up of toxins, enhance glutathione levels, supports bile production and solubility as well as improve digestive function.

Curcumin may help reverse certain forms of liver cirrhosis to some degree, and is thought to be especially helpful for people who regularly drink alcohol or use common painkillers, both of which damage cause liver damage. Studies suggest that curcumin can also reduce the severity of liver injury induced by iron overdose, cholestasis and carbon tetrachloride intoxication.

In addition to supporting the liver processes, managing inflammation is also vital in aiding detoxification. Inflammation control is needed because the detoxification process involves the release of toxic metabolites from our cells and tissues in order to expel them from the body. On the way to being eliminated, these toxins can trigger inflammatory reactions and cause tissue damage.

BRAIN SUPPORT - >


Curcumin, was originally researched for Alzheimer's disease because studies found there is a much lower incidence and prevalence of Alzheimer's in India than in North America. The association between curry consumption and cognitive level in certain populations were researched and it was found that those who ate curry foods performed better on a standard test than those who never or rarely ate curry!

Alzheimer's disease degrades the nerve cells in the brain through inflammation in glial cells, the formation of beta-amyloid plaques, metal toxicity, and oxidative damage. Curcumin acts as a powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant in the brain. It can also break down plaques and has the potential to guard against their development, plus it supports healthy neurotransmitter function, improving memory and helping to prevent cognitive decline. 


Including organic turmeric in the diet is highly recommended. Try it in dressings, soups, hot drinks (see recipe below), smoothies or as a natural food coloring! In addition, consider a supplemental form that has been created for maximum absorption and digestibility in order to better experience its therapeutic effects.

Golden Turmeric Milk Recipe (Serves 2):

  • 2 cups of dairy-free milk
  • ¼ tsp fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp. fermented organic turmeric
  • pinch of black pepper
  • ¼ tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 tbsps. raw honey
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 tsp. coconut oil

Blend all ingredients together. Add to a pot over medium heat and bring to a simmer for a few minutes. Serve & Enjoy!

-This article is sponsored by Good N Natural in Steinbach -

Don't Let A Cold Knock You Down!

There are more than 200 different viruses known to cause symptoms of the common cold. In North America, there are billions each year, with children averaging 6-8 and adults averaging 2-4 colds yearly. It is said that we lose 45 million sick days and 22 million school days each year due to colds. A cold is usually a viral infection that primarily affects the throat, nose and sinuses. Possible symptoms include a sore throat, runny nose, congestion, sneezing, cough, etc.

Factors that impair immunity and increase our risk of catching a cold include stress and insomnia, poor diet (especially high in refined foods/sugar) and nutrient deficiencies, lack of exercise, poor hygiene, aging, dehydration, among others.

Did You Know? A tickly throat indicates a virus has already been at work for at least a day trying to break down the connective tissue in the throat to get into the bloodstream!

Tips to Support Immune System:

  • Rest Up. Get at least 8 hours of good quality sleep per evening.
  • Manage Stress. Consider supportive herbs, stress-management techniques and/or acupuncture!
  • Stay Hydrated. Drink plenty of water to help keep mucous membranes moist, preventing airborne pathogens from colonizing in the nose and throat.
  • Get Moving. Aim to do regular, moderate exercise at least 3x/week to promote lymphatic activity.
  • Stay Clean. Wash hands frequently with simple soap and hot water.
  • Avoid Toxins. Be aware of heavy metals, electromagnetic frequencies and chemicals.
  • Optimize Digestion. Chew food well, avoid food sensitivities, consider enzymes.
  • Consider Supplements. Below are key ingredients to consider to support immunity and prevent or treat colds.

Supplement Suggestions

Prevention Pack ->

  • Multivitamin/mineral: Provides the basic nutrition our bodies need to support immune function.
  • Vitamin D3: Studies show that those with the lowest levels of Vitamin D in the blood are 40% more likely to report colds or flus!
  • Fish Oils: Decrease inflammation in the body, enabling the immune system to function more efficiently.
  • Probiotics: Several strains of beneficial bacteria have been found to help support immune function. Individuals using probiotics daily suffer fewer colds or flus, or experience shorter and milder illnesses.

Extra Support->

  • Zinc: Known to support and protect the immune system and help the body fight against diseases. Also helps with tissue formation and supports membranes.
  • Vitamin C: A natural virus fighter that enhances the immune system by increasing natural killer cell activity, antibody response, thymus function and supporting collagen synthesis for connective tissue integrity, making it harder for viruses to invade. It is often used to prevent and reduce the length of colds and flus.
  • Echinacea: Has immune-strengthening effects and can help stop a cold from developing, ease symptoms, and accelerate healing (reducing the length and severity).
  • Elderberry: Packed with antioxidants, strengthens immunity and has anti-viral abilities.
  • Goldenseal: An immune-boosting herb with anti-mucous properties. Contains berberine, which is antimicrobial and can soothe throat pain.
  • Oregano: A powerful anti-microbial, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial that is high in antioxidants. Often used to help with respiratory and sinus conditions.
  • Thyme: Traditionally used to help relieve coughs, sore throats and chest congestion.
  • Astragalus: Used to treat viral infections and has been shown to reduce the duration and severity of symptoms in treatment of the common cold by stimulating several factors of the immune system.
  • Bee Propolis: Has antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal and antiseptic activity. Great to use as a preventative and works to protect and boost the immune system.
  • Beta Glucans: Sourced from certain forms of yeast and medicinal mushrooms (i.e. Reishi). They enhance the body’s response to infection and activate immune cells without overstimulating the immune system.
  • Plant/Phytosterols: Have also been shown to modulate the immune system.
  • Antioxidants: Helps prevent oxidative damage to the thymus gland, the major organ of the immune system and reduce inflammation.
  • Helpful Herbs: Wild cherry bark, mullein & horehound help break up and clear phlegm.
  • Essential Oils: Eucalyptus and peppermint help open up sinuses to clear congestion.

Dietary Suggestions

  • Stay Away. Avoid refined or processed foods, sugars, excess caffeine or alcohol, hydrogenated fats.
  • Balance Blood Sugar. Consume adequate fibre & protein with meals. Note that fibre is also necessary to remove toxins from the body and can act as a prebiotic for good bacteria. Protein is especially critical for a strong immune system and chronic infections is a sign of deficiency.
  • Eat Well. Consume an alkalizing and anti-inflammatory diet! Great ingredients include leafy greens, berries, garlic, coconut oil, cinnamon, ginger, apple cider vinegar, raw honey, lemon, green tea, cacao, sweet potatoes and fermented foods such as kimchi.

- This article is sponsored by Good N Natural in Steinbach -

Ten Commonly Used Natural Ingredients & Their Benefits

  • SLEEP SUPPORT: Valerian ->
    Used as a mild sedative for the treatment of insomnia and sleep disorders. By promoting a sense of calm and relaxation, it supports natural sleep, anxiety, nervousness, etc. It has been proven to shorten the time it takes to fall asleep, reduce the amount of waking time after sleep onset, prolong the overall time spent asleep, increase the length of deep sleep, increase dreaming and significantly improve the quality of sleep in both normal and insomniac sleepers.

 

  • MENTAL BOOST: Ginkgo Biloba ->
    It increases blood flow and oxygen delivery to the brain and extremities. Ginkgo enhances memory, concentration and mental sharpness, helping to boost cognitive function. It has been shown to affect recall, recognition, reaction time, mood and energy! Ginkgo may also be helpful for the early stages of cognitive decline and dementia/Alzheimer's disease, circulation problems, vertigo and tinnitus.

 

  • HEART HEALTH: Hawthorn ->
    Many naturopaths consider hawthorn to be the number one herb for the cardiovascular system. Hawthorn is able to bring about a gentle and sustained reversal of many degenerative and negative age-related changes to the way the heart functions at a cellular level through a wide spectrum of flavonoids. It is used as a cardio tonic and helps to strengthen heart contractions (making the heart a more efficient pump), reduce heart rate, and dilate blood vessels to reduce blood pressure, while improving blood flow and circulation. It may also help to lower cholesterol levels while preventing plaque buildup.

 

  • LIVER LOVE: Milk Thistle ->
    It is used as a powerful antioxidant to counteract the effects of pollutants and protect the liver from damage. It helps to repair and promote tissue regeneration, supportis detoxification reactions and cholesterol metabolism while improving digestion/gallbladder function (increasing bile production and flow). Milk thistle has been found effective for all sorts of inflammatory and infectious liver/gallbladder disorders and has been used to support treatment of liver disease associated with alcohol abuse, chronic hepatitis, and those working with or exposed to toxic chemicals, and other harmful substances. The active ingredients in milk thistle are flavonoids collectively known as silymarin.

 

  • STRESS SOLUTION: Rhodiola ->
    An effective anti-stress herbal extract that works as a stimulating adaptogen to help us manage and deal with stress by increasing resistance of the body to chemical, biological and physical stressors. Rhodiola helps balances cortisol levels and may be used for stress-induced fatigue, anxiety and chronic fatigue syndrome. It helps restore energy levels and support cognitive performance such as memory, clarity, and concentration and focus while supporting mood.

 

  • PROSTATE PROTECTION: Saw Palmetto ->
    Saw palmetto has been used to treat prostatitis and urinary tract infections. It is used to help reduce enlarged prostate glands and relieve the symptoms associated with mild to moderate benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), such as frequent urination (especially at night), difficult or painful urination, hesitancy, urgency, heaviness, weak urine flow, incomplete voiding, etc. Saw palmetto has anti-spasmodic, anti-inflammatory and diuretic properties. It also works to inhibit hormone conversions that lead to BPH, improving the metabolism of testosterone in the prostate.

 

  • WEIGHT CONTROL: Garcinia Cambogia ->
    It is a fruit in the tamarind family whose rind is rich in hydroxycitric acid (HCA). It has been said to be one of the most successful weight management herbs. HCA has been shown to inhibit the enzyme responsible for the conversion of carbohydrates into fat, causing the body to use up existing fat stores. Garcinia Cambogia helps prevent new body fat formation, while increasing your fat-burning rate. The HCA component may also increase serotonin levels, which helps boost mood and control appetite and food cravings. Lastly, this ingredient has also been shown to support blood sugar management.

 

  • MENOPAUSE RELIEF: Black Cohosh ->
    The main active constituents in black cohosh help with symptoms of menopause while providing anti-inflammatory and analgesic (pain-relieving) properties. It is effective in the relief of hot flashes, night sweats, heavy perspiration, headaches, heart palpitations, depression, sleep disturbances, vaginal atrophy (thinning of the vaginal walls causing painful intercourse) and dryness, nervousness, irritability and loss of concentration.

 

  • IMMUNE BOOST: Oregano ->
    As an antimicrobial, it can directly kill bacteria, viruses, intestinal parasites, and fungal infections. Oil of oregano is one of the few remedies that can fight superbugs! It is also a powerful antioxidant capable of preventing cellular damage and possesses anti-inflammatory qualities as well. Often used to help with respiratory and sinus conditions, traveller’s diarrhea, candida overgrowth, seasonal allergies or topically to relieve insect bites, wounds and minor skin conditions.

 

  • VEIN CARE: Butcher's Broom ->
    Has been shown in several clinical trials to reduce varicose veins and hemorrhoids, and to treat the itching and burning of hemorrhoids. Butcher's broom has been found to reduce blood pooling in the lower leg and is used to help treat lower leg discomfort, including cramps, pain, and swelling. A review indicated that it exerts activity on the three levels of circulation involved in Chronic Venous Insufficiency. It acts on lymphatic drainage, the constriction of blood vessels and microcirculation. When used in combination with the other ingredients (such as horse chestnut), it also improves the strength of veins and reduces permeability.

 

-This article is sponsored by Good N Natural in Steinbach-

Understanding “Organic” Part 2 -> Common Concern: Can I Afford To Eat Organic?

Nutritionist, Joy McCarthy states that “It's not that organic food is more expensive, it's that mass-manufactured, industrial farmed and packaged foods have become so cheap! For example, in 1950 30% of a household’s budget was dedicated towards food vs. only 13% in 2003 - and I can guarantee you it's not because people are eating half the amount of food.” It is encouraged that consumers learn to appreciate the value of their organic dollar and invest in their health. However, here are a few tips on how to make healthy eating a financial reality.

 

  1. BUY THE BASICS IN BULK- It has been shown that packaging alone can make up 15-20% of a food’s cost! Stock up on raw, single ingredient, whole foods and take the time to package and prepare them from scratch. Examples include whole grains, beans, nuts, dried fruit and seeds and many can be found in bulk. Be sure to store them appropriately for long-term use. Tip: Find a shopping buddy and split big ticket items with a friend if it’s too much for your family to consume.
  2. PUT IN THE EFFORT - Avoid convenience foods that are pre- cut and washed. Buy these products in their original forms and clean, slice, grind and prepare at home.
  3. MEAT SELECTION- Cook a whole chicken and take it apart, using as many parts as possible, including the stock. You can also consider trying less expensive cuts of meat.
  4. RE-THINK YOUR DRINK - By switching to water, you can save a ton of money on frozen and carbonated beverages, not to mention significantly improve your health. Also, if you are a coffee drinker, brew your own at home. Tip: try making healthier speciality coffee replicas with ingredients like almond milk, honey, coconut cream, matcha, etc.
  5. DIY - Plant a garden (you can even start in containers or on rooftops, windowsills, etc.) and grow your own herbs, produce and sprouts. Also, you can make your own kombucha, yogurt, kefir, bread and even cheese if you are feeling adventurous! In addition, try creating healthier homemade versions of snacks such as bars, muffins or granola at home.
  6. GET ORGANIZED - Did you know that the average household wastes 14% of the food they buy? Make a meal plan before grocery shopping and only buy what you need. Plan in a way that will make optimal use of ingredients so extras can be used efficiently in the next meal. Keep your pantry and fridge organized and properly rotated to keep track of food supply and avoid unnecessary purchases. Also, don’t forget…“never shop hungry!”
  7. KEEP IT SIMPLE - You don’t need fancy ingredients to make a great, healthy meal. Stick to staple items that can be used in a variety of dishes. Make a base list and refill it as needed. Learn to cook great meals with fewer, yet better ingredients.
  8. QUALITY OVER QUANITY - Note that organic, whole, grass-fed ingredients are richer in nutrients and have less fillers so you can get much more satisfaction out of less food when it is of high quality.
  9. STAY HOME - Restaurant food can add up quickly and is not necessarily ideal in terms of nutrition. Learn to experiment in the kitchen and try to replicate your favorite dish at home. If you are going out, do so for breakfast or lunch as they are smaller, less expensive meals that usually offer healthier options (ex: oatmeal, soup, etc.)
  10. THE BEAUTY OF CHEAP PROTEIN- Stretch meals by adding healthy inexpensive ingredients to high quality meats to make them larger and more nutritious. For example, try adding black beans to ground beef tortillas or enjoy chickpeas in chicken stir-fry. Another budget-friendly idea is to try to enjoy a meatless meal at least once a week. Try egg and cheese quiche, lentil burgers, 3-bean chili or quinoa stuffed peppers. Protein powders are also an affordable, simple way to add good nutrition to your diet.
  11. PRIORITIZE - Learn what is most important to buy organic and when you can afford to choose conventional. For example, choosing quality animal products are of high importance. When it comes to produce, learn the dirty dozen list. These ingredients tend to have the highest concentration of chemical residue so aim to purchase them in organic forms (i.e. apples, celery, blueberries, potatoes, spinach, kale, bell peppers, etc.)
  12. SIGN UP! - Take advantage of coupons and in-store loyalty points programs whenever possible. While it may be temporarily inconvenient to sign up, it will be worth it in the end.
  13. CHOOSE LOCAL - Not only are local foods fresher and therefore more nutritious. They are lower in shipping costs, post-harvest preservatives/pesticides and minimize transportation pollutants. Plus, the money spent comes back to you indirectly as profits stay within the community. Local purchases are an investment towards the future.
  14. SHOP IN SEASON. Organic food in-season can even be cheaper than its conventional counterparts. Buy large amounts and learn to properly prepare them for long-term storage (freezing, canning, dehydrating, etc.). Try to “pick your own” local produce (i.e. strawberries) if possible at peak times and make it a fun family event!
  15. REMIX LEFTOVERS - Get creative with cooking and learn to use left overs efficiently in order to avoid waste. Create soups, stir-fries, salads and casseroles out of what’s left in the fridge before it spoils. Make friends with your crockpot and cook bigger batches to stretch meals for a few days and/or freeze for future use.

 

When it comes to eating healthy on a budget remember that choosing higher quality, putting in more effort, some smart planning and good ol’ creativity can go a long way!

 

-This Column in Sponsored by Good N Natural in Steinbach-

Understanding “Organic” Part 1 -> Common Concern: Is the “Organic” claim actually regulated?

A 2015 survey on organic food showed that 69% buy it, 20% understand it, 72% think it’s just about marketing and 53% don’t trust it.  Perhaps you have heard comments stating that “organic” is simply a buzz word used to overcharge people. Maybe you are among those that believe anyone can slap this claim on their product without differentiating themselves in any way. Regardless, it’s clear that this term is misunderstood and that more information is needed on what it means and how it is enforced in order for it to be properly appreciated.

 

What Does “Organic” Mean?

According to the Canadian Health Food Association, the term “Organic” refers to the way products are grown and processed. More specifically, this food is produced in a holistic way, using harmonious, environmentally and animal-friendly farming methods. Certification assures consumers that every step from farm to table has protected and maintained the product’s integrity.

Organic is about more than just nutrition and safety, as these principles are based on ecology, health, fairness and care! By choosing organic, we help support pro-active sustainable farming practices that focus on conserving soil health and water. Organic farmers also use renewable resources to grow their crops and avoid synthetic chemicals.  

When in doubt, we can look at how things are done in nature as it holds the answer and many will agree that organic standards coincide with nature’s processes!

 

What Are Organic Standards? 

Organic certification “places strict limits and prohibitions on the use of toxic and persistent pesticides; synthetic fertilizers; the routine use of drugs, antibiotics or synthetic hormones; animal cloning; Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs); sewage sludge (bio solids); and irradiation. Organic standards also forbid the use of artificial food colors, flavors, sweeteners, preservatives and many other processing aids and ingredients commonly found in processed foods (CHFA).”

 

Is Organic Certification Enforced?

In Canada, this system is overseen by government organic standards and regulations, and applies to both domestic and imported products. Canada’s organic standards are among the most widely recognized in the world and is the most heavily scrutinized and regulated food system in Canada.

DID YOU KNOW? In order to obtain certification, a farm must be managed using organic practices for 3 years prior to harvest of the first certified organic crop!

 

Canadian Health Food Association (CHFA)’s “10 Great Reasons to Go Organic”!

  1. Organic products meet strict national standards

Assurance that products have been grown and handled according to strict procedures and rules.

  1. Cut back on chemicals!

Choosing certified organic significantly reduces your exposure to toxic chemical residues. Organic farming practices focus on ppreventative and proactive pest management techniques.

  1. Organic farms take water seriously

Organic farmers are required to manage the land and life around water systems very carefully.

  1. Organic farmers work in harmony with nature

A survey found that 59% of Canadians believe organic farming is better for a healthy environment. It builds healthy ecosystems and has higher biodiversity, which promotes sustainability and balance.

  1. Organic methods reduce pollution and wasted energy

Practices can use as little as half the energy of other farming methods! They rely on renewable resources, recycle materials as much as possible and strive to protect the environment.

  1. Organic practices protect the health of farmers and animals

Choosing organic reduces the exposure for families and the farmers who grow their food. Organic standards also ensure that attentive care is given to livestock (health, housing, feed and behavior) in order to meet their needs and promote wellbeing.

  1. Organic farmers build healthy soil

Focused on using sustainable practices such as crop rotation, that build healthy soil and prevent erosion/degradation.

  1. Organic farming is good for rural Canada

3,700 organic farms in Canada. 11,167 Canadian employees. Contribution of over $3.5 billion to our economy.

  1. Organic producers strive to preserve genetic diversity

Many organic farmers collect and preserve seeds and grow heirloom varieties and rare breeds of livestock.

  1. The only non-GMO standard overseen by the Canadian government

Organic standards forbid the use of Genetically Modified Organisms in seeds, animal feed, and ingredients.

 

To be sure you are getting a certified product, look for the Canada Organic logo, which can only appear on foods that are 95% or more “organic”. Note that many smaller growers can’t afford to get organic certification, which is why it’s advised to talk to local growers and ask them about their farming practices.

Now that we have discussed the issue of validity when it comes to all things “organic”, visit our column in the upcoming weeks as we tap into common concerns regarding nutritional value and budget.

 

-This Column in Sponsored by Good N Natural in Steinbach-

KEEP CALM & LOVE YOUR ADRENALS

Stress has been described as “what a person feels when life's demands exceeds the individuals ability to meet or adapt to those demands”. It is our body’s reaction to a challenge and whether we recognize it or not, all living creatures are subject to stressors from both internal or external factors, and we all respond to them according to our individual mental, emotional, physical and spiritual states & abilities. 

What Are Adrenals?

Adrenals are two small glands that sit on top of the kidneys and release hormones into the blood stream in response to stress in order to guide our bodies reaction. Adrenaline is secreted in response to short term triggers and cortisol is part of our long term stress response, hence why it is known as our “chronic stress hormone”. The adrenals also secrete both male & female sex hormones and become prime producers in women when ovaries retire during menopause, playing an important role in the ease of this transition. In addition, they secrete aldosterone, which regulates sodium/potassium levels in the body.

The Stress Response

Stress is not meant to be a bad thing as it serves a basic survival function. Hormone fluctuations are part of a natural stress response and are meant to eventually fall back to normal and recover once the stressor is removed in temporary situations and healthy people. However when stressors and/or the inability to manage them overload our bodies, symptoms and disease can occur. Living in a constant state of chronic stress depletes nutrients and as the body continues to release cortisol, sustained elevated levels can lead to taxed adrenal glands and health problems.

Your ability to adapt to stressors depends on optimal function of the adrenal glands and cortisol regulation!

Stages Leading To Exhaustion

  • Alarm Reaction/”Fight or Flight” -> adrenaline and cortisol are high as an immediate reaction to a stressor. Vitamin C, B’s & Magnesium are depleted, blood sugar/glucose and pressure is elevated, metabolism speeds up, muscles contract, and digestion & immunity are paralyzed.
  • Resistance Phase -> adrenaline drops and cortisol remains high. Symptoms of taxed adrenals begin to appear.
  • Exhaustion Phase/”Burnout” -> both adrenaline and cortisol are low as adrenals crash and lose their ability to secrete hormones.

What Stresses The Adrenals?

Adrenals respond to stress of any kind, whether psychological, physical, chemical, or environmental. Excess caffeine, poor diet (high sugar/refined/processed/fried), blood sugar fluctuations, alcohol or drug intake, food sensitivities, chronic inflammation, smoking, internal or external toxins, lack of sleep, dehydration, temperature extremes and trauma can all cause a stress response! Note that alcohol, nicotine and caffeine may mask symptoms of underactive adrenals.

Symptoms of Taxed Adrenals

Our adrenal glands show specific symptoms when they’re starting to slow down. Do you find yourself struggling with any of the following?

Fatigue & energy crashes, depression & anxiety, cold hands or feet, brain fog & poor memory, dizziness, low back pain, poor sleep (constantly waking up at 3 a.m.), hair loss, sweet or salt cravings, mood swings & irritability, headaches, low libido, menstrual irregularities, weight gain & resistant fat, frequent infections, digestive issues, water retention, dry skin, etc.

What Are The Effects of Adrenal Stress?

Adrenal fatigue can be responsible for blood sugar issues and insulin resistance, compromised immune function, infertility, chronic fatigue and insomnia, bone loss/osteoporosis, slow metabolism, muscle breakdown, hormonal imbalances (estrogen dominance, worsened menopause, low thyroid), arthritis, asthma, allergies, sluggish liver, high triglyceride levels, arterial damage and risk of heart, digestive, skin and inflammatory conditions.

What Are Adaptogens?

Adaptogens are ingredients that assist the body in adapting to and coping with stress by supporting the adrenal glands.  They have a normalizing effect, helping the body maintain a constant internal state and support immunity, fight fatigue, improve mental ability, increase resistance to and counteract the negative physical and emotional effects of stress. Examples include Ginseng, Suma, Rhodiola, Ashwaghanda, Schizandra, Astragalus, Bacopa, Licorice, Holy Basil, Mushrooms.

Additional Suggestions

  • Avoid Triggers & Stressors!
  • Key Supplements
    • Prevention Pack: Multivitamin, Probiotics, Essential Fatty Acids (i.e. fish oils)
    • Important Nutrients - B-Complex (esp. B5), Magnesium, Potassium, Zinc & Vitamin C
    • Calming Supplements: Consider specific herbs (Valerian, Passionflower, Lemon Balm, Hops, Skullcap, Kava Kava, Chamomile, Lavender) that quiet the nerves, promote restful sleep, increase focus and calm anxious states.
    • Extra Tip: For fast-acting stress relief, try calming L-Theanine or GABA!
  • Nutrition Guidelines: Eat a wholesome diet full of nutrient-rich foods (i.e. produce, sea salt, fish, nuts, seeds, avocado, etc.), ensure adequate protein and drink plenty of water!
  • Lifestyle Factors: Regular moderate exercise & stretching, manage blood sugar, stress management, relaxation/breathing techniques, consider counselling & acupuncture.

 

-This column in sponsored by Good N Natural in Steinbach -

Stop Smoking & Stay Healthy!

In 2008, the Canadian Lung Association stated, “Tobacco kills about 45,000 Canadians a year. That’s more than the total number of deaths from car accidents, suicide, murder, fires, AIDS and accidental poisonings combined”. It has been shown that smoking increases your chance of heart disease, lung disease and many different types of cancer. It also damages your eyes, oral health, immune system and can lead to osteoporosis.  Even though the dangers of smoking are well documented, many people are still caught in the habit. Why? It is a powerful addiction.

Cigarettes are mostly made from the tobacco plant, which contains highly addictive nicotine. Once a cigarette is lit, it contains over 4000 chemicals which mix together to form tar. This is why smoking, at any level, is dangerous for the health of all those exposed. The trouble is that cigarettes are not only physically addictive, they are also psychologically addictive, as associations are made between smoking and daily activities. 

While the act of quitting is incredibly difficult, the health benefits are substantial.  The Canadian Lung Association reports that within one year of quitting smoking your risk of dying from a heart attack drops by half. Naturopathic Doctor, Sara Celik gives a few additional facts. “Within 72 hours, your entire body will test 100% nicotine-free and over 90% of all nicotine metabolites (the chemicals it breaks down into) will now have passed via urine. Within 21 days, you may notice a stronger immune system, elevated energy levels, and a calm, relaxed body.”

 

TIPS TO STOP SMOKING!

  1. LIST IT – Write down the reasons you want to quit smoking on a card and place it where you normally keep your cigarettes. Review the list during times of temptation, then wait and re-read until the urge has passed.
  2. MAKE A STATEMENT - Set a specific day to quit, tell at least 10 friends that you are going to quit smoking for accountability, and then DO IT!
  3. CLEAN HOUSE - Throw away all cigarettes, butts, matches, and ash trays.
  4. USE SUBSTITUTES - Instead of smoking, chew on raw vegetables and fruit to avoid weight gain, not candy! If your fingers seem empty, play with a pencil.
  5. BABY STEPS – Don’t focus on the next week, month or year. Take the process one day at a time. Try to replace overwhelming negative thoughts such as “I can’t do it, it’s too hard” with positive, optimistic messages.
  6. EAT WELL – Clean up your diet and drink plenty of fresh fruit & vegetable juice during the first three days after you quit, to help flush nicotine out of your system.
  7. VISUALIZE – Imagine yourself as a non-smoker without the side effects of nicotine and the satisfaction that comes from being in control of your life.
  8. FIND FRIENDS – You are not alone! Realize that 40 million Americans have quit. If they can do it, so can you! Join a support group. It appears that doing so can increase success rates.
  9. STRESS LESS- When you need to relax, try stretch management techniques, such as deep breathing exercises rather than reaching for a cigarette.
  10. BE PREPARED – Journal your triggers, feelings and accomplishments. Avoid situations that you associate with smoking (i.e. drinking alcohol) and set up a plan to be prepared when faced with temptation.
  11. GOLD STARS - Each day, reward yourself in a positive way by celebrating your accomplishments! Buy yourself something with the money you’ve saved or plan a special reward as a celebration for quitting.
  12. ADDITIONAL HELP – Consider a 30-day supplement program to help expel mucus, repair the respiratory system, reduce cravings and help curb the effects of nicotine addiction in the brain. Celik explains that Naturopathic Doctors support the use of specific herbs, vitamins and amino acids to help make quitting easier!

Lung Support: Your lungs bring fresh oxygen into your body and remove carbon dioxide and other waste gases that your body doesn’t need. Optimal lung function is vital for your body to receive the oxygen it needs to power your bodies every process. If the respiratory tract is not in good health, it can become sluggish and result in congestion and/or poor functioning. Look for herbs to help expel mucous from the respiratory system, as well as soothe inflamed tissue and bronchial passages. Examples include mullein, thyme and fenugreek. In addition, consider antioxidants (such as N-acetyl-L-Cysteine, Vitamin C) that help to protect the respiratory system, allowing it to repair and rebuild faster.

Craving Reduction: Look for ingredients such as green tea extract, GABA and L-Tyrosine which work to help curb the effects of nicotine addiction in the brain.

Stress Management: Look for ingredients that help promote restfulness and relaxation as smokers often report anxiety and insomnia as problems associated with attempts in quitting. Examples include hops, skullcap, lemon balm and 5-HTP.

 

-This column in sponsored by Good N Natural in Steinbach-

 

 

Why Green is Good!

When it comes to choosing healthy ingredients, we generally know that “green is good”. But why? The answer lies in “chlorophyll”, the dominant green pigment found in plants. Although plants can have many different pigments, a vibrant green color indicates that they contain substantial amounts of chlorophyll.

 

More on Chlorophyll

Chlorophyll is often referred to as “plant blood” because it is to plants what hemoglobin is to the human body. While these have similar structures, the difference is that hemoglobin is a protein complex surrounding iron, while at the center of the chlorophyll molecule is an atom of magnesium. Chlorophyll is crucial for photosynthesis, allowing plants to take sunlight and converting it into usable energy. In addition to being a rich source of nutrients and antioxidants, it also acts as an anti-inflammatory, aids digestion and is thought to enhance the absorption and utilization of vitamins and minerals. Known as “nature’s deodorant”, chlorophyll has been helpful in treating bad breath and body odour as it is thought to assist in detoxifying the liver, blood and colon. It also has commonly been used for oral hygiene and as a treatment for athlete’s foot. While most plant foods contain at least small amounts of chlorophyll, green vegetables are an especially concentrated source of this nutrient.

Top chlorophyll-containing foods include asparagus, leafy greens, green bell peppers, celery, cucumbers, green beans, green peas, leeks, green olives, parsley and green sea vegetables. However, not all chlorophyll-containing foods are vegetables, these also exist in the nuts and seeds group (i.e. pistachio nuts) and in fruits (i.e. green grapes or kiwi).

Two specific ingredients that have been receiving more attention include algae cousins, chlorella and spirulina. These are vegan protein sources that are together, known as “aqua greens”. They are said to help detoxify, alkalize, protect and energize the body.

 

Chlorella contains the highest concentration of chlorophyll of any plant on earth. Along with chlorophyll, chlorella contains concentrated levels of protein (with all the essential amino acids) and essential fats, along with complex carbohydrates, fibre, vitamins, and minerals and antioxidants. Researchers are finding that chlorella intake has a positive effect on blood cholesterol, blood sugar and appetite control. In addition, studies also show that chlorella has the power to remove toxins and heavy metals from the body. Chlorella contains an indigestible cell wall that serves as a fibre and as a natural prebiotic that promotes probiotic activity in the intestinal tract. Spirulina is called an “ancient green superfood” that grows naturally in a few alkaline lakes around the world. This type of algae contains an impressive 60-70% protein content by weight, providing all the essential amino acids! It gets its green colour from chlorophyll and its blue hues from naturally-occurring phycocyanin pigment.

 

Spirulina also serves as a natural source of minerals (including iron, calcium, potassium, and magnesium), along with B-vitamins, essential fats, (especially omega 6 GLA), complex carbohydrates, fibre and a wide range of antioxidants, such as important carotenoids (i.e. zeaxanthin, beta carotene, lutein) which help support disease prevention. Researchers have found that spirulina intake reduces blood cholesterol and inflammation and that regular supplementation also removes accumulated toxins in the body, creating a gentle and safe daily cleansing effect. Other potential health benefits of spirulina consumption include boosting immune function, counteracting viruses, protecting the liver, controlling appetite, fighting fat and supporting the adrenal glands. Spirulina has some of the most concentrated nutrients you can find per ounce than almost any other food on the planet. For example, by comparable weight spirulina has been said to have 3900% more beta carotene than carrots, 300% more calcium than cow’s milk and 2300% more iron than spinach!

 

In addition to plenty of wholesome green foods, consider incorporating “aqua greens” supplement powders into your diet, in order to experience the alkalizing, detoxifying, energizing and protective effects of chlorophyll.

-This column is sponsored by Good N Natural in Steinbach-

Have You Heard of Humic Acid?

Humic substances are the major breakdown products of organic matter found throughout nature (i.e. soils, waters, sediments, shells). This occurs as a result humification, the decomposing action of millions of beneficial microbes on dead plant and animal materials. Humic substances can be divided into 3 main components; humic acid, fulvic acid and humin. Essentially, humic acid is a powder mined from the earth, produced by biodegradation of dead organic plant matter, such as kelp. Fulvic acid is an important component of humic acid. It usually contains over 60 minerals and trace elements that are nutritionally essential for cell health and balance.

These are considered to be the most chemically active compounds in soil and contain many nutritional phytochemicals. However, it is said that due to modern use of agriculture chemicals, soil erosion and mineral depletion, there has been a decrease in microbial activity in the world’s soil deposits.

Some have considered humic acid the 3rd nutritional element, in addition to vitamins and minerals, to obtain optimal health.

 

Health Benefits

STRESS -> Humic acid helps regulate the effects of stress on the body.

DETOX -> Humic acid helps to bind to/chelate and selectively eliminate toxic heavy metals from the body by working like a magnet to attract them. It is effective in transforming metals and minerals into readily absorbable forms and can bind with pollutants. In addition, when humic acid binds to beneficial or nutrient metals (i.e. iron, zinc), it helps increase absorption rates. Therefore, humic acid helps eliminate harmful heavy metals while also aiding in the body’s absorption of nutritional metals!

INFLAMMATION -> Humic acid helps control inflammation in the body. Excessive inflammation is at the root of arthritis, heart disease, obesity, diabetes, mental decline, osteoporosis, asthma, eczema, psoriasis, intestinal disorders, etc.

IMMUNITY -> Humic substances are one of nature’s most powerful viral inhibitors and work to block viruses from latching onto and entering cells, cutting off their ability to infect healthy cells while at the same time, altering the immune system to attack the virus. In addition, humic acid is believed to be one of nature’s most powerful immune modulators, increasing low immunity and balancing high immunity!

CELL HEALTH -> Humic acid increases the permeability of cell walls, allowing them to more easily respirate, hydrate, absorb nutrients and eliminate waste. Fulvic acid is a powerful organic electrolyte, used to help cells achieve a vital electrochemical balance.

ALKALIZING -> Humic acid has a pH of 8.5 and is extremely alkalizing.

ENERGY -> Humic substances stimulate mitochondrial energy production at a cellular level.

ANTIOXIDANT -> Fulvic acid reacts with unstable electrons to render free radicals harmless, changing them into new useable compounds or eliminating them as waste.

 

Other Complementary Ingredients

Choline helps to make acetylcholine, an important neurotransmitter needed for brain and memory function. It also keeps the liver healthy by helping to move fats from the liver to cells in the body. In addition, it helps create phosphatidylcholine (PC), which is important for making fatty substances used to form cell membranes. Therefore, choline is a crucial ingredient in both brain and liver support.

Vitamin C supports immune function, works as an anti-viral and antioxidant as well as assists in heavy metal detoxification.

Look for a combination of these ingredients to balance immunity, control inflammation and support detoxification!

 

-This article is sponsored by Good N Natural in Steinbach-

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

Blog Coordinator

Pamela Thiessen completed an Advanced Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from the University of Manitoba before she discovered the power of nutrition and natural health. This new found passion led her to seek employment at Good N Natural. Fascinated by the incredible benefits of healthy eating, she was inspired to enroll into the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition Program, where she attained a diploma in holistic nutrition. She also holds her Canadian Natural Product Advisor certification. This accumulation of knowledge and her desire to promote health and educate individuals has led her into the marketing and consumer education role at the store. Her goal is to help others improve their quality of life and experience the joy that comes along with healthy living, in hopes of improving the community as a whole.

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