Ultimate Sleep Solution

The Sleep Better Solution

Do you have troubles sleeping?

More and more people are having issues surrounding sleep.  Whether it be a hard time falling asleep, staying asleep, or waking in the morning feeling like you haven’t slept at all. Melatonin production could be the culprit.

What is Melatonin?

Melatonin is a hormone that signals your body to sleep.  This hormone is converted from another hormone called “serotonin”.  Serotonin is produced at the onset of blue light exposure in the morning when we wake, and it signals us to stay awake and alert all day.  Serotonin is converted to melatonin during the later hours of the day when the sun sets and our body gets ready for sleep.

The Importance of Light Exposure

We definitely need blue light exposure during the day – hence the sun gives off a LOT of healthy blue light.  The counter to this is that we also need an absence of blue light in the evenings – hence, sun sets give off a soft amber glow that allows for normal melatonin production.

The problem we face today: We live in an age of electricity and a culture that depends on the use of digital devices.  Unless you’re lighting your home exclusively with fire or red light bulbs when the sun sets and turning off your computer, phone and TV, you’re probably exposing yourself to mass amounts of blue light in the evening hours.  This acts like an artificial sun and signals the body to wake up, thus disrupting the natural circadian rhythm of the earth.

A Practical Solution

Blue-blocking glasses can be a great solution to the problem that we face in our modern day society.  The use of glasses that filter out a portion, or all, of the blue light spectrum can help to mitigate some of the negative effects of evening blue light exposure and help regulate your circadian rhythm!  This can allow you to use regular lighting in your home, watch nighttime television, or work on the computer in the evening without disrupting your sleep quality.

Glasses Options

LowBlue Glasses offer 100% blocking of the blue light spectrum! These awesome glasses come in many styles, including fit-over wrap arounds!

Kelly and Hank with blue blocking glasses at Health Essentials Victoria

 

Spektrum Glasses offer a range of blue-blocking lenses. There are more discrete styles that block 50% of the blue-light spectrum, which is great for reducing eye strain even during the day, and look like entirely normal glasses!! These styles are great for students who study at school the evenings, people who work night shifts, or anyone who works on the computer during the day.

 

 

Neo 40

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Neo 40 Daily

What is it?

Neo 40 is a Nitric Oxide blend from beet root and hawthorn berry extract.  Nitric Oxide (NO) is a naturally occurring compound that improves circulation.  It is something that the body naturally produces, but the ability to do so can diminish once someone is over the age of 40.

What is Neo 40 good for?

A HOST of different benefits all related to improved blood circulation!!  

Neo 40 has been known to be beneficial for:

  • Restoring natural levels of Nitric Oxide in the body
  • Improving heart health
  • Promoting healthy blood pressure
  • Maintaining healthy levels of cholesterol
  • Improving arterial health
  • Can reduce sexual dysfunction in males!

Who would benefit from taking Neo40?

  • Athletes
  • Low energy individuals
  • Anyone travelling to a high elevation climate … climbing everest?? Consider taking Neo40 with you 😉
  • Males over the age of 40 – particularly any experiencing erectile dysfunction
  • People struggling with their blood pressure or cholesterol levels*

Who Dr. Gifford Jones is, and Why he Takes Neo 40 regularly!

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Dr. Gifford Jones is a former practicing Medical Doctor turned Medical Researcher & Journalist.  He is 92 years old, and is as sharp as a whistle.  He speaks all over Canada of various different Natural Health Products that he has formulated and stands behind.  Almost 2 decades ago, Dr. Gifford Jones suffered from a heart attack, which has steered his life greatly toward healthier alternatives to treat and cure heart disease and related conditions.  Since his heart attack, he has done extensive research on products to improve the health of his heart and many who suffer from similar situations.

In an article he wrote recently, Dr. Gifford Jones states that he feels that the regular intake of Neo 40 is one of the reasons he’s managed to stay alive for 19 years after a heart attack!! 

Check out the Article by Dr. Gifford Jones Here!

 


*Be sure to consult your Doctor or Naturopath prior to taking Neo40 if you have any existing medical conditions

Our Meat Selection

Our Meat Selection

We have a wide selection of meat at Health Essentials.
We do our best to source all of our meat as locally as possible from the most natural sources available to us. We have everything from Locally Sourced Organic & Grass-fed meats, wild-Sourced Kangaroo.  We are what we eat eats, so ensuring that the animals that we’re consuming are eating the diets that they were naturally meant to do will ensure the health of the meat that we get from them.  All of the local farms that we work with are committed to sustainable, humane and top of the line practices – and we’ve talked to them all personally about it! 🙂

Ketosis, explained.

A Ketogenic Diet

If you’re at all familiar with the world of natural health or weight loss, chances are you’ve come across the words: ketogenic, ketosis, or ketone.  Though you may have heard these words, or perhaps adopted some of the main principles surrounding them, we think it’s important to know what they mean and to fully understand what this method of eating really entails.  😉 

Definitions: 

  • Ketogenic diet – a diet that tends to promote the metabolic formation of ketone bodies by causing the body to use fat (rather than carbohydrate) as its principal energy source.
  • Ketosis – a metabolic state characterized by raised levels of ketone bodies in the body tissues.
  • Ketone body – any of three related compounds (acetone, acetoacetic acid, beta-hydroxybutyric acid) produced during the metabolism of fats.

Things can sometimes get tricky when it comes to the world of “diets”.  Often, we’re thrown a million and one suggestions as to what we are supposed to be eating daily, or even hourly.  What can help to make it easier, is to really understand what is going on in the body when we consume certain foods.  

Using Fats for Fuel vs Using Carbs for Fuel

Fats and carbohydrates are typically thought of as the two main fuel sources for the body.  Carbohydrates provide very short term and quick supplies of energy, while fats a more long term, and far slower supply.  Carbohydrates are actually the cell’s “preferred” choice of energy… because they are absorbed extremely quickly to produce energy.  Fats are used as energy sources only in an absence of carbohydrates.

When we first wake up in the morning, our bodies are “fasting”.  This means that we haven’t eaten in 8-12 hours and in this state we have begun to use our fat stores for energy.  Thus, our body is burning ketones.  When we eat a “breakfast” meal that is full of carbohydrates, our body quickly comes out of this fasting state and uses glucose (sugar that makes up carbs) as a fuel source.  This is all fine and well if we are expending energy and burning off what we’ve just consumed.  In many cases, however, we’re consuming more energy than we actually need to use immediately, and the glucose is converted to fat and stored in the body.

Ketogenic Diet or Low Carb, High Fat Diets

Ketogenic diets are very high in healthy fats and low in carbohydrates. They are designed to put the body into a ketogenic state, or ketosis.  The ratios of fats to protein to carbohydrates varies a bit for everyone, but the graph above is based on an average carbohydrate tolerance.  Due to the body’s preference to use glucose for fuel, it’s important to keep the carbohydrate intake to a minimum*.  This will help your body stay in ketosis and burn fat for fuel.

 

How do I know my body is in ketosis?

There are a few common methods of testing to see whether your body has entered ketosis.

  • Keto sticks – you can purchase sticks to test ketone levels in saliva or urine to see if you’re in a ketogenic state
  • Blood ketone test kit
  • Most people will notice a stronger smelling urine
  • The breath starts to smell a bit
  • Generally people will notice some weight loss, especially fat reduction
  • Appetite suppression

Cyclic Ketosis

Some people who eat a strict ketogenic diet will stick to this method of eating everyday with no “cheat” days.  Others will do a carbohydrate re-feed day once a week.  This is sometimes termed as cyclic ketosis because you’re forcing the body into ketosis most days, and then allowing it to leave a state of ketosis for one day.

A hormone in the body known as leptin is produced by our fat cells to regulate our appetite and promote satiety.  When we eat too many carbs, our body can become resistant to leptin and we never feel full. Often people find when they follow a strict low carb diet for too long their leptin levels fall too low and they feel hungry more often.  A carbohydrate re-feed day can reset this balance and ensure that the body stays leptin-sensitive.

 


*Note: When counting or tracking carbohydrates, be sure that you subtract the fibre from the total, as it will not effect your state of ketosis.

Ketogenic diets are not necessarily suitable for every person or every lifestyle.  Everyone is completely different.

Check out our Keto-Friendly products and food list for low carbs foods you can find at Health Essentials.

 

 

 

Keto Smoothie Recipe

Keto Chocolate Smoothie

Are you embarking on a ketogenic diet journey?! Looking for some low carb, and DELICIOUS snack, treat or meal ideas? Well, here is one to add to your repertoire! This delicious smoothie will satisfy any sweet tooth, and leave you full for hours!

Ingredients:
– 1 scoop Chocolate protein powder
– 1 tbsp Cacao Nibs
– 1 Tbsp Organic Peanut Butter or Almond Butter
– 1 cup canned Coconut Milk
– 1 cup ice, or for a hot drink 1/2 cup hot waterBlend with a blender or heat for a hot drink!

Fall Favourite Lunch Ideas!

Fall Time

At Health Essentials, we’re huge fans of eating seasonally! With fall approaching, we’re looking forward to eating all of the west coast autumn foods! Here are some ideas!

Snack: Rice Cakes or Apples with Nut Butter

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‘Tis the season of local apples! 🙂 A really easy and nutritious snack idea is sliced apples & nut butter.

 

You can sub out the apples or add some variety by spreading some nut butter on healthy organic rice cakes as well!

Here are some of our favourite ingredient options:

 

Almond Butter:

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Almonds, regarded as the “King of Nuts” for their amazing nutritional profile, are full of protein, healthy fats & minerals such as iron, manganese, magnesium & vitamin B2.

Our favourite is Nuts To You Organic Almond Butter! This amazing almond butter is made with organic almonds that are grown in California and processed in Ontario, Canada.  It has no harmful additives, and is gluten, dairy & GMO free! 🙂 It’s easy to spread and is SO delicious!

 

 

Rice Cakes:

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Plum M Good Rice Cakes are our favourite variety of organic rice cakes! They’re made fresh to order in Richmond British Columbia. They are super crunchy & full of whole grain goodness :).

 

 

Meal: Hot Soups in a Thermos!

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Bone broth doesn’t necessarily have a season as it is something that we definitely consume all year… But, it tastes best when the weather turns damp and cold.  It is such a versatile & nourishing food.

A great way to have bone broth in the fall is as a base for a root vegetable & meat stew.  It’s also great blended with squash to make a creamy comforting fall soup!

 

Pre-Made Bone Broth:

Maybe you don’t have a slow cooker, or the time to let homemade bone broth summer… If you’d rather, you can buy pre-made bone broths that are packed full of the same amazing nutrients and are already done for you!

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A great pre-made option is BC made Boned Broth! Boned makes their broth with pasture raised, hormone and anti-biotic free bones, and have chicken or beef available. The beef variety has an amazing protein content and is simmered with tons of herbs and vegetables to enhance the flavour profile. It is SO delicious!

 

 

 

Yogurt Parfait

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A simple & nutritious treat that you can pack quickly in the morning and mix up whichever way you like, is a yogurt parfait! You can mix in granola, berries, chia seeds, or healthy nuts.

When made with organic and quality sourced ingredients this delicious treat is full of nutrition! Below are a few of our favourites.

 

 

Yogurt:

Yogurt has a fantastic nutritional profile and is especially nutritious when made with organic and/or grass-fed dairy! Yogurt is a great source of healthy fats, calcium, vitamin D & probiotic cultures. Being sure to choose a yogurt that is sourced locally from animals that are grazing on pasture will ensure that it is the most nutritious option.
We have a few favourites when it comes to grass-fed yogurt.

wb yogurt

 

McClintock’s Farm that is located in the Comox Valley, makes an AMAZING Water Buffalo Yogurt. Water buffalo milk tastes a bit sweeter, despite a low sugar content, and it also has 58% higher levels of calcium & 40% more protein than cow’s milk.  We have found that its well digested by most people, too.. even those who have a slight dairy sensitivity!

 

 

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If you’d prefer a more traditional dairy option that comes from cow’s milk, that’s okay too! We love Tree Island Greek Yogurt! It is super rich and creamy, has a high protein content & comes from healthy, local grass-fed cows :).

 

 

 

 

Chia Seeds:

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Organic chia seeds are full of healthy fats & fibre!

Organic Traditions Dark Chia Seeds are organically grown in Mexico, and are non-GMO & gluten free!

 

 

 

 

Granola:

hazelnut

 

Granola King, one of the best granola’s!  It’s made on the mainland in North Vancouver, B.C. :). It has an amazing hazelnut flavour, and is sweetened with honey. It is made with organic rolled oats, sunflowers seeds, dried fruit and other wholesome ingredients!

 

 

 

 

 

 

We hope that these fall favourite suggestions are helpful for you! We love learning about new ideas, so let us know if you have any easy & quick autumn themed recipes to share :)! 

Healthy Hair Care Essentials

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Healthy Hair Care Essentials

Ask anyone… Having healthy hair is extremely important.  It’s not always easy to come by, however, especially in the day and age we live in.  Good news is, there are some extremely vital things you can do to ensure that your hair stays healthy, no matter what length or type of hair you have!

Avoid Chemicals – Go Natural:

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Did you know that the average woman is exposed to over 100 chemicals everyday before she even leaves her home?! Many of the hair care products available on the market today, contain harmful chemicals such as sodium lauryl sulfate, parabens & polyethylene glycol.  These chemicals can cause extreme disruption to the endocrine system, irritate the skin, and are known to have cancer causing properties. These chemicals can also damage and fry your hair. It is a great idea for so many reasons, to avoid them.

The good news is, that there are plenty of clean & chemical-free shampoo and conditioner options available! A few fantastic brands that we love are Phillip AdamsSukin, Curelle & the Victoria made, Sunstone Aromatherapy.

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Brush your Hair Regularly:

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Brushing the hair and scalp is beneficial for stimulating blood flow in the scalp, avoiding severe matting of the hair, and getting rid of dead hair and skin! Not all brushes are created equal however, and some may be too harsh or irritating to the scalp, and rip through the hair.  It is important to look for a brush that does not “scrape” at the skin on your head, and doesn’t simply rip its way through tangles.

Some of our newest products, and perhaps the best hair brush options available, are Olivia Garden’s Eco-Friendly Bamboo Brushes.  Made of extremely renewable bamboo, these extremely durable and literally “healthy” hair-brushes are great for your hair AND the environment. What makes them so great?

olivia-garben-bamboo-brushes

Balance Your Hormones:

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Our endocrine system works hard to balance itself everyday. This important system is responsible for the regulation of a large portion of our bodily functions, including hair growth. The many different hormones (chemical messengers) that act within the system are affected by various aspects of our everyday lifestyle.  Nutrition, stress, exercise, sleep, physical health, and emotional well-being are all factors that can directly effect the endocrine system.  Finding balance within this system can be tricky for some, and it can be beneficial to seek professional help from a Naturopath, especially if you’re experiencing mass hair loss.

There are some key foods and lifestyle techniques that can help to keep the body on track.  Here are some of the major ones that you can do NOW virtually cost & risk free!

  • Ensure adequate dietary needs are met (more details coming up in next section).
  • Get your body moving daily.
  • Reduce stress…. easier said than done, we know.  Check out this post to learn more about how you can do so in your life.
  • Ensure proper sleep – most people require 7-9h of sleep per night! Are you getting this much?
  • Avoid chemicals – as stated above, the chemicals in many products on the market today can seriously disrupt our hormonal system. It’s best to go natural when choosing shampoos and hair care products!
  • Avoid “the pill” or “Hormonal IUD’s” as your method of Birth Control… This one can be tough and it’s best to speak to a health care professional about alternative options!

Ensure Adequate Nutrient Intake:

fresh beef soup ingredients in large pot

Our hair cells are produced INSIDE our body.   Our hair is structurally made up of collagen, keratin and elastin.  To have healthy hair, you must have the ability to produce these three key proteins.  The ability to naturally do so decreases over time, and is greatly affected by the nourishment our body is receiving.

Eating a healthy diet rich in collagen protein, healthy fats and generally high levels of vitamins & minerals can help keep your body’s hair cell production strong. Here are some foods rich in the different nutrients and minerals necessary for healthy hair!

  • Be sure to add healthy fats into your diet – such as avocado, coconut, and butter!
  • Ensuring an adequate intake of healthy Omega-3 Fats
  • Take in collagen!! Bone broth (recipe below) is a fantastic and DELICIOUS source of collagen.
  • Enjoy foods rich in fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E & K, B-Vitamins, Vitamin C and minerals such as iron, magnesium and zinc!

Supplement your Body

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Another option is to take a supplement that promotes the production of the 3 key proteins! One of the very best at doing so is BioSil.  This unique supplement stimulates your own body’s ability to produce healthy hair, skin, joints & nails.

BioSil Hair Skin Nails contains a clinically proven formula that is specifically formulated to restore your body’s 3 key beauty proteins (collagen, keratin & elastin) to healthy, youthful levels!

 

 

How Health Essentials Moves at Work

How We’ve Created a Dynamic Workplace

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At Health Essentials, we believe that there are many aspects that comprise the premise of living well as a human.  We believe in the importance of “Cultivating Extraordinary Lives” in a very holistic way. An important part of what it means for us to cultivate an extraordinary life is to consciously move in a way that allows our bodies to express our human animaly-ness*. 😉 Afterall, we’re not couch potatoes and we’re not quite monkeys… what we are, however are HUMANS.  So we need to act as such.  Here are 5 of the things WE DO that help us increase natural movement in our work environment!

* Animalyness – a (made up) word that describes one’s state of being as an animal. 😉 

  1. Walk to (and from) work!!

     

    Walking is a really great way to start off and end a work day.  It’s a built in system to add a potential hour or two of moving to your day!

    Tips to add more walking into your work days:
    – Start with a small accomplishable goal of one day a week or every second day.
    – If you live way too far for your general walking tolerance… park your car somewhere along your route to cut the walk down a little!
    – Wear comfortable attire and pack your business clothes so you don’t have to worry about sweating up a storm in the clothes you’ll be wearing all day.
    – Walk outside on work phone calls! After all, it’s not like our phones are connected by a cord anymore!
    – Walk on your break! If you have an extra 15-20 minutes after you’re done eating, or before you eat, get outside and move a bit before returning to work!

     

  2. Stand up at work!

    stand-up
    If you’ve peeked behind the desk at Health Essentials, you may have noticed that we don’t have any chairs on which to sit throughout our work day.  We instead have 2 “stand-up” style computer set ups! At first this took some getting used to for some of us, but now… we just don’t sit. And since we don’t have the option, we don’t miss it! We don’t even want to sit!!

    Tips to convert your work space into a non-sitting one:
    – Get a stand up desk or a VariDesk (like we did!)
    – Build a stand up desk out of boxes or the perfect height furniture (works slightly better for at home-offices 😉 ).
    – Kneel on a cushion or mat. It’s not quite standing, but it’s also not sitting in a 90 degree hip & 90 degree knee flexion position all day.
    Note: you can also begin by easing your way into the transition with a “stand up desk” or “kneeling mat” you can easily adjust or remove to sit part of the day.

  3. Dress to move properly!

    clothes-for-moving
    A lot of the changes that we have made to create a functional work space that we can move optimally in go hand-in-hand or are subsequent of one another.  Now that we don’t sit at work, we move a lot more and we stand all of the time. Now that we move a lot more and stand all of the time, we feel the necessity to wear functional clothing and shoes that allow for ease of movement, more often!
    P.S. Not to mislead you… we didn’t send all of our more restricting wardrobe items out the door… of course there are the odd days where looking amazing > moving functionally… but, we’re far more conscious now because we have to be! 

    Tips to choose apparel & footwear that lets you move:
    – Pick clothes that let you move in a natural way, and allow your body to breathe! One of our very favourite apparel lines is Icebreaker Merino Wool.  Natural wool fibres are extremely breathable, and their styles allow for functional movements!
    – Wear shoes that have a wide toe box and a zero heel drop to optimize your whole body alignment! These styles also help prevent your feet from getting sore if you’re standing or walking all day!

    – At Health Essentials, we carry 3 amazing styles of barefoot shoes. They are Vibram Fivefingers, Vivo Barefoot & Luna Sandals.  If you work in a strict dress-code workplace, Vivo Barefoot makes dressier styles that look amazing!  

  4. Spend breaks on yoga mats.

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    Since we don’t sit during the day, it’s nice to get off of our feet for a little bit during our lunch breaks. But, since we’re all pretty aware of the fact that sitting in chairs is not so fabulous for our bodies… we like to opt for yoga mat breaks. This doesn’t necessarily mean we hang out in downward dog or work on our headstands the entire time, but it does mean that we’re moving a lot more throughout our break… try sitting on a hard surface in the exact same way for a whole 30 minutes!  Sitting on harder surfaces, your body is reminded to adjust positions more frequently!  Remember what the best posture is… the one that is constantly moving, yes fidgeting is good for you!

    (Tip for ladies: sometimes a great idea to pack a pair of shorts or pants you can put on under a dress or skirt 😉 )

  5. Equip your office with a chin-up bar!  

    hanging-bar

    Recently, we brought a chin up bar to work – you know, those doorway fitting ones.  Hanging isn’t just for kids!! We should all have the strength, mobility & endurance to hang from a bar.  Unfortunately, we tend to lose that skill soon after elementary school in most cases.  It’s time to bring it back!! Hanging is a great way to build up arm strength and stretch out the whole body.

    It’s important to relearn the proper alignment for hanging before you get started, though! Check out the video below from Biomechanist Katy Bowman, on the right way to hang.


We hope that this information was helpful for you when it comes to adding movement into your work day! There are of course many other ways that might work better for you in your workspace, but these are just a few to get the ball rolling! 🙂  Do you have any tips and tricks that you use in your work place to add more movement into your days?? Let us know, we would LOVE to learn of more ways we can increase our movement everyday!