Fenugreek & Blessed Thistle: Nature’s Answer to Lactation Deficits! By Terry Vanderheyden, ND

Fenugreek & Blessed Thistle: Nature’s Answer to Lactation Deficits!

By Terry Vanderheyden, ND

St. Francis Herb Farm

Fenugreek is widely recognized as a nutritive tonic for breastfeeding women and has been traditionally used throughout the world for this purpose.

A 2011 human clinical trial found a significant improvement in babies’ weight gain and in their mama’s milk supply after they consumed fenugreek tea (Turkyilmaz et al. 2011) Specifically, milk volume was significantly higher, while babies of fenugreek-supplemented mothers regained their birth weights more quickly and lost significantly less weight than the placebo group.

Since the 17th century, blessed thistle has been primarily recognized by herbalists as a remedy to enhance milk production in nursing women. It is an excellent digestive tonic for the anemic and weak and is especially good for lactating women with a low milk supply. The herb is thought to stimulate blood flow to the mammary glands (see Zapantis et al 2012).

A lactation specialist in Toronto, Dr. Jack Newman (his International Breastfeeding Centre is located at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine in Toronto) writes about the effectiveness of blessed thistle and fenugreek when used together: “These two herbs seem to increase milk supply and increase the rate of milk flow.” (Newman 2009) He adds that their effects are additive: “fenugreek and blessed thistle seem to work better if you take both, not just one or the other.” Dr. Newman notes that mothers generally notice an increase in milk production within 24-72 hours after starting the herbs.

St. Francis has encapsulated a 5:1 extract of fenugreek/blessed thistle, in a convenient 2 capsule per day dose!

References:

1. Turkyilmaz C, et al. J Altern Complement Med 2011; 17(2): 139–142.

2. Zapantis A et al. J Pharm Pract 2012; 25(2): 222–31.

3. Jack Newman, Herbal Remedies for Milk Supply, Accessed online September 2, 2014 from http://www.nbci.ca/

Terry Vanderheyden, ND

Terry Vanderheyden, ND is a 1994 graduate of the CCNM and has a practice in Barry’s Bay, ON. He also acts as a consultant to the botanical manufacturing industry, working in product development, regulatory affairs, and general medical consulting.  He is a board licensed ND with the College of Naturopaths of Ontario. His is a general family practice with a minor emphasis on cancer treatments. As well, Terry is a contributor to the Integrated Healthcare Practitioner magazine and is a peer review board member of that same publication.

 

Healthy School Lunch Ideas!

healthy lunch ideas

We know how important it is to have options when it comes to lunches…. Here are more, easy & nutritious back to school lunch ideas! 🙂

Snack: Meat Sticks

caveman

A great snack to pack for your kids, is a healthy meat stick! Grass-fed, or pastured meat is a fantastic source of protein, and is packed full of important nutrients!

Our favourite meat sticks are Island Bison’s Caveman Sticks.  These delicious pre-packaged meat sticks are perfect to take on the go.  Made with local, grass-fed/finished water buffalo meat these delicious sticks have 20% added liver and heart hidden in them.  They’re extremely tasty and SO nutrient dense! Water buffalo meat is full of protein, iron, vitamin B12 and lots of healthy fats.  The disguised organ meats enhance the nutrient content of these sticks, increasing iron and vitamin B12 content, and providing more fat soluble vitamins such as vitamin A & D.

 

Lunch: Tuna Salad or Wrap!

tuna avocado

Mixing tuna up with some mayo & avocado is one of the easiest meals to make, and is FULL of nutrients.  It’s also incredibly versatile.  It can be packed to be spread on rice cakes, crackers, inside a wrap, or simply enjoyed on its own!

Here are a few of our ingredient choices:

Tuna:

raincoast tuna

 

Tuna, when sourced from a clean, ethical and wild source, is full of protein, and healthy omega-3 fats. It’s also delicious! 🙂

Raincoast tuna is one of the highest quality canned tuna options. Their albacore tuna is sourced from wild fish, caught in the Pacific Northwest of Canada!

 

 

Mayo:

primal kitchen mayo

 

Mayonnaise, when made with HEALTHY oils is an extremely nutrient dense and delicious addition to any meal! 🙂

Our favourite healthy mayo is Primal Kitchen’s Paleo Mayo! Made with avocado oil, and cage free eggs, this mayo is full of healthy fats! It also doesn’t have any added sugar, so you can feel great about adding this to your own, or your child’s lunch!

 

 

 

 

Paleo Wraps:

paleo

 

Paleo wraps are an awesome alternative to sugar & gluten filled bread or wrap options!  They’re made with 100% coconut derived ingredients, coconut meat, coconut water and virgin coconut oil, that’s it!  An excellent source of healthy fats, these strong & easy to use wraps are great for packing in lunches!

 

 

 

 

Treat: Bulletproof Mousse Recipe

No great lunch is ever complete without a treat 😉 . We’re huge fans of healthy, sugar-free treats… Who doesn’t love a bit of healthy sweetness?!  Check out this awesome Bulletproof Recipe for Chocolate Truffle Pudding.  Your kids will love it, and you’ll love the nutrient value.

It’s made with healthy, sugar-free & nutritious ingredients and can be made quickly and easily the night before and packed in the morning.  This treat is full of healthy fats to help with feeling full and is sweet enough to satisfy the sugar cravings! Click on the picture below for the full recipe by Dave Asprey! 🙂

bp choc pudding

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We hope that these lunch ideas are helpful for you when deciding what to pack for your day or for your childrens’ day! 🙂 Do you have any healthy & easy lunch ideas to share? Let us know! We’re all about easy, nutritious food that can be packed to take on our busy days… We LOVE suggestions! 

Say NO to Head Lice

tea-tree-lice-blog

Do you, or your children, fear the monthly school lice checks?
Does your child being sent home for having lice occur often in your nightmares?

What if we told you that incorporating tea tree into your child’s hair-care routine, or to your own, could reduce the risk of them contracting the dreaded “head-lice” plague?  Well, it’s true!

History of Tea Tree

Tea Tree, otherwise known as Melaleuca alternifolia, is a plant that has been used for its medicinal properties for centuries.  It is native to Australia and was first introduced to the “western world” by famous Explorer, Captain Cook.  Lieutenant James Cook coined the term “Tea Tree” in the late 1700’s when he observed the natives in rural Australian communities brewing the plant as a tea. The name has since stuck, and the many uses for this amazing plant are a marvel still, today!

Properties of Tea Tree

tea-tree

Tea Tree has natural antifungal, antiviral & antibacterial properties. It has been used for years to clean and sanitize home environments and can be great for disinfecting wounds, or ridding of fungus.  In an essential oil extract form, it also has a very potent smell, making it excellent for pest control, i.e. lice prevention and treatment!

Tea Tree as Lice Prevention & Treatment

If you, your child, or anyone else in your home.. including a pet… is misfortuned enough to contract head lice, Tea Tree Essential Oil is a great tool to have on your first line of combat.

You may consider adding some tea tree oil to shampoo, conditioner, or mixing it with a carrier oil for a scalp rub to de-bug an infected head! Tea tree oil can also be used to PREVENT lice from inhabiting a head of hair (or fur), by incorporating it, when you’re lice-free!

Here is a recipe for a natural hair detangler and lice prevention home remedy!

tea-tree-oil

 

Let us know of any other natural home-remedies that you use to fend off head-lice, we love hearing new suggestions :). We hope that you have a lice-free home this school year!

 

Mommy & Baby Immunity

baby-immunity

Babies, pregnant momma’s to be, and new mothers are perhaps the most susceptible family members to the colds & flus that circle around throughout the school year! If you’re currently expecting, planning to conceive, or are the parent of a little one, here are some tips and tools that you can use to ensure that you and/or your precious newly born stay healthy this school year. 🙂

First, let’s talk Baby Immunity:

If you’re a new parent, you’re likely VERY aware that there is only a short list of things that are “safe” to give to babies! This poses a bit of a challenge when trying to keep your baby’s immune system strong.  Good news though, there are definitely some things you can do to prevent sicknesses in your precious little one! Here are our favourite baby immune system boosters:

Baby-Safe Probiotics:

There are some extremely effective and baby-friendly probiotic supplements available that can be used to help boost your baby’s immune system.  Probiotics are important for helping to build the body’s immune system, as immunity is largely linked to gut health!

biogaia

 

One of the best baby probiotic supplements is BioGaia ProTectis, which is proven to be safe and effective for children and infants.  It is one patented bacteria strain that has fantastic benefits for improving and supporting gut health.

 

Vitamin D:

Vitamin D plays a major role in keeping our bodies healthy throughout our lives, and that starts from infancy.  A great way to keep your baby healthy and improve their developing immune system, is ensuring adequate amounts of Vitamin D.

nutristart-kids-quick-d-12-5ml-096

 

Nutristart Vitamin D Drops for Babies are easy to dose and give to your little one.  Just one drop into their mouth or a bottle of milk or formula daily can help support your child’s immune system.

Infant Cold Relief:

When a baby does contract a cold, there are but a few things you can give them to help alleviate the symptoms so they can sleep and be happy… and so can you.

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A really great baby-friendly homeopathic formula is Boiron Coryzalia.  It can be used from just 1 month of age to help to alleviate cold symptoms such as a runny or stuffy nose.

Baby AND Mommy Food & Nutrition:

Adequate nutrition is key for ensuring that you and your baby are healthy enough to take on cold and flu season! Making sure to eat a whole-food diet rich in vegetables, healthy fats & protein will help to keep your body strong enough to tackle the cold & flu season(s) ahead.  Whether you’re pregnant, breast-feeding, or the parent of a new baby or toddler, keeping yourself healthy will help you to keep your littlest treasure (or treasure-to-be) healthy, too!

Breastfeeding Mommas*:

Breast feeding can provide an immense amount of nutrition for a baby. Natural breast milk is full of essential vitamins, minerals and immune factors that help support the health of a baby.  Ensuring adequate nutrition for your own body will ensure healthy milk production, and you may also want to take something to support natural lactation.

fenugreek-blessed

A fantastic supplement for supporting milk production is St. Francis Fenugreek & Blessed Thistle Lactation Support.  Both blessed thistle and fenugreek are herbs that have been used for centuries to promote healthy lactation.  This 5:1 extract is super potent has been pre-proportioned to the effective and healthy ratios of these herbs in one convenient capsule, so you have less to worry about! These awesome herbs are also great for regulating Mommy’s blood lipid levels as well as glucose levels, so you can feel great while helping your baby feel great!

 

Healthy Formulas:

If you’re not breastfeeding, don’t worry! There are plenty of nutrient rich formula recipes that you can put together quickly and easily for your little one! 🙂 The link below is to a few recipes from the Weston A. Price Foundation for home-made healthy formulas. There are cow-dairy, goat-milk and non-dairy options, so whatever your baby’s tolerances are, you can help keep them nourished and thriving!

Formula – Homemade Baby Formula

 

Prenatal Multi-Vitamins*:

When you are pregnant or breastfeeding, the nutritional demands of your body tend to skyrocket.  It can be hard to keep your energy levels up, while providing yourself and your baby with adequate nutrition.  A great way to make sure you’re covering all of your bases is to take a prenatal multivitamin.

baby

 

One of the best prenatal blends available is MegaFoods Baby&Me.  MegaFoods sources their ingredients from whole food sources, so your body can absorb the nutrients right away!

Maintaining Mommy’s Health

Mamma-Friendly Probioitcs:

Whether you’re pregnant, currently breastfeeding, or have a baby at home, taking a probiotic supplement to keep your immune system boosted will ensure that you are able and available to keep your baby healthy!

One of our favourite probiotic supplement is Dr. Ohhira’s Probiotics.  We love this probiotic because it has a blend of over 82 fermented vegetables, fruits & herbs and 12 live bacteria strains.  This whole-food prebiotic and probiotic duo is safe and effective for most anyone to take! It is the number one recommended probiotic by local herbalist and new mommy, Charity Parkinson, CH, HNC. 

Cold & Flu Remedies for Pregnant Women*:

When you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, you can run into a lot of the same problems as babies when it comes to supplementing to stay healthy or get healthy when you’ve come down with something.  Options tend to be pretty limited. But, there are some home remedies that you can rely on*, and of course you can increase nutritional intake.

Lemon tea*:

Lemon tea can be fantastic for soothing symptoms associated with a cold! Here is a recipe for lemon, honey and ginger tea.*

lemon-honey-ginger

Chicken Broth:

Bone broth is fantastic for keeping any body healthy, and is really great for rebuilding worn down or sick bodies.  This recipe below can be made quickly and easily, is extremely soothing and tastes fantastic! Chicken broth has been prized for generations as the food you consume when sick… Our ancestors had it right! Chicken broth is high in an amino acid called cysteine, which helps to thin mucous so you can clear your congestion and breathe better!

immunity-bone-broth-drink

 

Air Quality:

A really great way to ensure your entire household stays healthy is to improve the air quality in your home!  Most of the colds and flus going around are airborne bacteria and viruses, and if the environment in your home allows them to thrive, it can be pretty hard to avoid the rapid spread!

zen

 

One way that you can improve the air quality in your home is by diffusing essential oils into the air! A safe and effective way of doing this is with a diffuser. The EcoSpa Ultrasonic Diffuser is a great option as it has an automatic shut off, a light on or off option, and a sleek look for any room.  Diffusers can be great in bedrooms or nurseries too, especially when the light can be switched off!

 

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A fabulous essential oil blend for keeping everyone healthy is thieves oil!  Thieves oil has been used for centuries to sanitize the air and keep people healthy.  Marseilles Blend is made locally, on Saltspring Island, and uses the traditional essential oils in the important and effective ratios! It also smells amazing :).

 

 

 

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Another great addition to the home environment to improve the air quality is indoor plants! Plants are extremely efficient at recycling and filtering the air in whatever environment they’re placed in.  They also help make your space feel cozier :)!

Click on the photo to check out an awesome list of 12 NASA-approved house plants that are best at keeping the air in your home clean!

 

 

*Please note that it is best to check with your health care practitioner prior to adding any herbs, supplements or foods you are not used to, into you or your baby’s diet when pregnant or breast feeding.


We hope you have a healthy school year, and that you’re able to utilize some of the suggestions above to keep yourself and your baby thriving, whatever time of year it is :)!

Back to School Essentials

back-to-school

 


More than likely this week has been a whirlwind for you! Whether a parent of a scholar-to-be, or a student yourself, it may be time to start thinking about how to support your mind & body for the long school year ahead! Here are a few of our “Back to School Essentials”:
  • Sisu – Stress Rescue: Focus and calm your mind & body. 

sisu-stress-rescue-chewables-125mg-l-theanine-30-tablets-21a

 

Stress levels are generally on the rise in September.  Your to-do list has likely doubled in size, and maybe you’re finding it hard to focus on one specific task with everything hanging over you…. Well, Stress Rescue could be for you! L-Theanine is an amino acid that naturally occurs in green tea and is fantastic for promoting focused and calm cognitive energy!

 

 

35500The brain is comprised mostly of fats! It only makes sense that consuming healthy oils & fats would help to enhance the health and function of our brain! Omega-3 fatty acids (EPA & DHA) are fantastic for improving cognitive function and supporting the health of this extremely important organ.  DHA has been known specifically to support cognition, and that’s why Natural Factors Whole Earth & Sea Cogni-Hi-Q has formulated this amazing fish oil to provide DHA & EPA in a 3:1 ratio!  Support your brain, ’cause chances are you’re gonna need it this year! 😉

  • Nutristart – Quick Tea:  Increase your focused energy!

quick-tea-400x600

 

It can be hard to find it in you to rise early in the morning and tackle the day in the fall & winter.  That’s why Nutristart Quick Tea, a green tea extract, can be a fantastic addition to your daily routine! 🙂 Green tea increases focused energy & is full of antioxidants that also support your body’s immunity. Wake up, feel energized, and stay healthy with this potent extract!

 

 

 

aor-ortho-adapt-120-vcap-t

During times of stress our adrenal glands are working overtime to help us deal with the increased demands and it is important that we help our adrenals to stay healthy so they can continue to help us cope. This is why we LOVE AOR’s Ortho Adapt formula.  It includes a blend of supporting adaptogenic herbs, and porcine adrenals to help support the proper function of our important stress organs!

 

  • Bulletproof – Collagen Bars:  Convenient & delicious doesn’t always mean junkfood!

pdt_choc_bar-individual

 

Delicious and extremely nutritious, Bulletproof Bars are the perfect on-the-go snack or meal to take with you on your busiest days! Packed full of collagen protein and tons of healthy fats, these bars have an amazing nutrition profile to help get you through the day!

 

caveman

 

Grass-fed water buffalo meat is one of the best tasting meats with an UNREAL nutritonal profile.  It is extremely high in protein, and a great source of healthy fats, iron & vitamin b12! This amazing snack is perfect for anyone to pack with them on a busy day! Pre-packaged individually for added convenience, we rarely leave the house without a caveman stick in our bags!

 

 

ortho-mind-review

 

“Smart Drugs” have become a commonplace at a lot of post-secondary schools… If you’re reading this, you probably already know how detrimental these drugs can be for your overall health and wellbeing.  Fortunately, there is a healthy alternative with no harmful side-affects that actually supports the health of your brainl! Ortho-mind is a blend of herbs and nutrients that improves cognition and brain function. It can be taken any time of day without risk of sleep interference or reducing appetite.  It is the ULTIMATE study buddy :)!

 

 

  • St. Francis – Deep Immune: Increase your body’s immunity!

deep-immune

 

Rather inconveniently, the beginning of the school year often sparks the dreaded cold and flus that spread like wildfire throughout classrooms and households.  Good news: You can do something to protect yourself! St. Francis Deep Immune tincture is a blend of potent medicinal herbs that support your body’s immune system and fight infection. Perfect as a preventative measure, or to speed up the process of restoring health so you can feel better faster!

 


We wish everyone a smooth back to school transition and a relatively stress-free school year! 🙂 We hope these items are helpful to keep in your toolkit for tackling this school year! Do you have any back to school immune boosters or stress formulas that you use? What’s your go-to healthy snack for busy days? Let us know! 🙂 

Back to School Lunch Ideas!

back to school lunch ideas

Back to school can be tough!  But, lunch packing doesn’t have to be! 🙂  You can pack something nutritious that your family will love in just minutes with these healthy lunch ideas!

Snack:

Screen Shot 2016-08-25 at 6.16.10 PM

A perfect, satiating snack for school lunches is trail mix.  Trail mix is SO versatile, especially when it’s homemade! You can add whatever you want, and really monitor the ingredients.

Here are a few of our favourite trail mix components:

Nuts:

wf mixed nuts

 

 

Nuts and seeds can be a really great source of healthy fats, protein, vitamins & minerals! They’re also delicious, and easy to snack on! Our favourite nut mix is Wilderness Family Mixed Nuts, containing almonds, cashews & walnuts.  All varieties are sprouted, raw & organic.  Sprouting nuts helps to increase their nutrient bioavailability as well as enhance overall digestibility!

 

 

Dried Fruit:

level-ground-exotic_grande

 

Dried fruit mixed can be combined with nuts to create a delicious trail mix, or enjoyed on their own! Our favourite dried fruit mix is Level Ground Exotic Mix.  It is a mix of golden berries, coconut chips & dragon fruit, providing just enough sweetness, and loads of healthy fats to help keep the sugar rush under control… their teachers will thank you for that! 😉

Lunch: Cheese & crackers are one of our go-to packable lunch meals.

This easy lunch idea can be made into an extremely well-rounded meal for your kids or yourself, and is a breeze for you to throw together before your busy work day!  You can’t go wrong with this one! It is all about sourcing for this one though, so we’ve put together a list of our favourites & why!

Cheese:

Cheese is delicious… and it is also an amazing source of healthy fats, vitamins such as Vitamin B12, Vitamin K2, & Vitamin A, and minerals such as calcium, zinc & selenium! Certain types of cheese, generally the raw varieties, also contain healthy probiotics that support gut health!

havarti-medium-golden-ears_medium

 

One of our very fav cheeses is Golden Ears Havarti. This artisan cheese is one that we prize both for its superb quality and its smooth taste.  Golden Ears Havarti has a rich cheese flavour (that isn’t so strong that kids can’t handle it), and it is made from 100% grassfed dairy.  It’s also very local to us, coming from Maple Ridge, B.C.

 

 

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Another amazing option, is L’Ancetre Cheddar Cheese. L’Ancetre is made ins Quebec and sourced from seasonally pastured cows! It is a raw cheese, meaning that it hasn’t been pasteurized, so it has all of the great gut health benefits in tact, and it is also naturally lactose-free.

 

 

Crackers:

marys

One of our favourite crackers are Mary’s Organic Crackers!

They’re super crunchy, gluten free & are full of nutritious ingredients! Mary’s Crackers are made with organic brown rice, quinoa, sesame seeds & flax seeds, making them a great source of fibre, healthy omega-3 fats, & essential minerals.  They’re also NUT FREE, which makes them great for packing in school lunches!

 

 

kitchen table crackers

Another favourite cracker choice, that is PERFECT for anyone with general grain sensitivities, or who prefers a lower carb option is the Kitchen Table Crackers.  They’re made from cheese and milk cultures and contain zero carbohydrates! No need to worry about nuts or gluten :).  They’re also super crunchy, delicious, filling and promote sustained energy all day, with no sugar crashes.

 

 

Meat:

Garlic-Coil-generic

Grassfed meat, particulary meat sourced from grazing herbivores, is a fantastic source of so many essential nutrients.  Aside from being an excellent source of protein, red meats also contain high amounts of vitamin b 12, iron, omega 3 fats, & healthy saturated fats! As with anything, it’s all about the sourcing… making sure that the meat you’re consuming, comes from healthy animals will ensure that it is a healthy food option!

Our favourite meat for a cheese and cracker platter is the Island Bison Garlic Coil. The Garlic Coil is full of flavour, and is a definite crowd favourite! Island Bison is a farm right on the Island, and they have Bison, Water Buffalo, Beef & Heritage Pork.  They pasture their animals year round & have exceptionally sound ethical, environmental, and traditional farming practices.  The meat that is produced from these well-kept, happy animals is of the highest quality – you can taste, and feel the difference when you eat it!

Fermented Pickles:

Who doesn’t love pickles? Pickles are the best when paired with a healthy cheese & cracker platter.  Finding pickles that are fermented will ensure that they have all of the fantastic probiotic benefits that they’re meant to!

bubbies

 

 

Bubbies Fermented Pickles are our very favourite option.  These pickles are super crunchy (which is majorly important), they’re fermented, and they contain NO nasty chemicals or additives!! So many reasons to love them :).

 

Healthy Treat: Gel-O Gummies! 🙂

Another fantastic lunch idea is the ever-versatile collagen-rich gel-o or gel-o gummies! Made from grass-fed gelatin, they’re super satiating, packed full of healthy nutrients & are definitely a well received “treat” by kids of all ages!  Click on the picture link below to see the full recipe & a how-to video for these amazing gummies!

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We hope these super easy, healthy lunch ideas provide a little help in deciding what to pack for your child’s school lunches this week! Stay tuned for more healthy lunch ideas throughout September!
Please share any ideas you have… we love quick & nutritious food that we can take on the go 🙂 .  

 

6 Tips to Calm Back to School Anxiety

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Whether you’re a parent who has a whole lot to do to prepare for September, or a student who would rather it just stay summer forever, back to school can take a toll on our minds and bodies. Here are 6 tools that you can use to combat the anxiety and stress you may be dealing with this time of year:

  1. A Breathing Practice.

    Our breath has the power to change they way we think and feel.  A division of our Central Nervous System known as the Sympathetic Nervous System, that is largely responsible for our body’s stress and anxiety response, can be controlled by our breath!

    There are many different breathing techniques that can help tame the “fight or flight” instincts that kick in when we get become stressed or overwhelmed. One of the easiest and most effective is known as “Box Breathing” or “Square Breathing”. It can be done at any time of day – in the morning upon waking to clear the mind for the day ahead, during moments of immense stress, on a work break to relax and reset, or before bed to help the body get prepped for sleep!

    Square Breathing Method:
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  2. Moving! :).

    During exercise the body releases endorphins, which are the neurotransmitters in your brain that make you feel good! Additionally, studies have shown that exercise actually promotes the growth of neurons in the area of the brain that regulates anxiety! Check out this video that explains more about how this process works! 🙂


    Virtually any type of exercise can increase the production of the chemicals that make us happy, and relieve stress.  Sometimes when we feel like we have so much to do, it can be hard to fit in exercise, but even something as simple as a quick 5 minute yoga session at home, or a walk around the block can be enough to help boost those endorphins so you can feel great and increase your productivity!

  3. Get into nature!

    beach
    Being outside just feels awesome, doesn’t it? Living things are meant to be in nature, and when we are, our body and mind benefit tremendously. Countless studies have shown a decrease in stress & anxiety, and an increase in mood, creativity, brain function & productivity when we are exposed to nature.  Something as simple as a plant in your living space can often have a very profound effect on stress reduction… although we advocate getting outside and fully enjoying nature as much as you can manage! 😉

  4. Daily B-Vitamin Intake!

    vitaminB12
    All of the B Vitamins are important for many bodily functions! Ensuring that you’re getting enough of these amazing Vitamins in your diet, or otherwise supplementing, is important all of the time, but especially during times of stress! The entire family of B-Vitamins play important roles within the body including red blood cell formation, and production of serotonin. Without a sufficient B supply, we lack energy and can have a tendency toward depressive states, neither of which are helpful ever, but especially not when your to-do list is stacked!

    There are many delicious foods that contain these amazing vitamins, and ensuring you’re eating lots of them will help with energy and mood! Grassfed Meats (including organ meats), seafood, pastured eggs, grassfed dairy, leafy green vegetables, and avocados all contain B-Vitamins so be sure to up your dose of these superfoods! If you’re really feeling a lot of stress or are unable to take in enough of these foods, a B-Complex supplement may be something to consider.  A really great B-Complex supplement is AOR’s Advanced B Complex, with all of the active forms of Vitamin B in proper ratios for optimal absorption in the body!   

  5. Find an anxiety Formula that Works for you!

    Another fantastic way to combat pre-school anxiety is to use a natural stress or anxiety formula. There are many herbs and medicinal mushroom formulas available that can help calm your nerves.  Some of the best are:
    anxiety-formula
    Veeva Anxiety: A Blend of herbs that help support your body in dealing with anxiety throughout the day. This blend includes many herbs that support your adrenals and keep your mind at ease!

    reishi
    Reishi: a medicinal mushroom that helps quiet a racing mind and relax your nerves.  It also has amazing benefits for the immune system, which can be beneficial this time of year as well. One of our favourite Reishi supplements is the “Host Defense Cordychi Liquid Extract“. This is a blend containing 2 mushrooms – Cordyceps and Reishi, that work together to bring you balanced energy and stress relief. It is sourced from Organic mushrooms grown by a Mycologist named, Paul Stamets in the U.S, and it is absorbed very quickly in the body for fast acting anxiety reduction and increased energy!
    holy basil
    – Holy Basil: 
    A herb that helps relieve stress in the body and calm the mind! In addition this amazing herb has amazing health benefits that range from decreasing inflammation, to improving digestions. One of our favourite Holy Basil supplements is Botanica Holy Basil Phytocaps, as they are extremely potent – 2500mg dry herb equivalant!! – they’re absorbed very quickly, and they can help reduce feelings of anxiety or stress almost instantly!  Also, because they’re liquid phytocaps you can also bite into them for a burst of delicious flowery flavour and an even quicker absorption in your mouth!
    bach-original-flower-remedies-rescue-pastilles-natural-stress-relief-1-7-oz-50-g-pastilles-741273014515
    Bach Rescue Remedy Pastilles: A blend of 5 different homeopathic flower remedies that help combat anxiety and stress! They come in tiny candy pastilles that you suck on (like a lozenge) during times of immense stress for quick relief. This amazing formula is also available in drop or spray forms.

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    – L-Theanine:
     This amazing amino acid naturally occurs in green tea. It is great for balancing our brain’s neurotransmitters as well as encouraging the production of alpa-waves, which are produced when our brain is in a calm, focused state!  L-theanine helps decrease stress & anxiety in the mind, and the focused and alert state that this amazing amino acid encourages is great for productivity  L-Theanine can be obtained through drinking green tea, or can be taken on its own! One of our favourite L-Theanine supplements is Natural Factors Mental Calmness. They are chewable tabs which increases the speed of their absorption and makes them easy to take whenever – they also taste amazing! 🙂

  6. Do Something You Enjoy!

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    Whether it’s reading a book, taking a long walk, talking to a good friend or getting out to play your favourite sport – taking time to do something you genuinely enjoy is a fantastic way to support your mind and body in dealing with anxiety or stress. Although the onset of September can often stack our “To-Do-Lists”, taking time to enjoy our day can improve your mood and increase the amount you’re able to get done!

    Is there anything you do this time of year to help decrease your anxiety or stress levels? Let us know! 🙂 

 

 

Stay healthy this September!

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With August coming to a close, and back to school only a few weeks away, it may be time to start considering some cold & flu preventative action!! We all know how quickly germs go around as soon as school starts up but, there are some things you can do now to help make sure that your household stays flu-free this year!

Start taking action before school begins!

A house full of strong immune systems will help keep everyone free of those back to school sicknesses that seem to spread like wild-fires through schools and homes.

Probiotics.

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Getting our immune systems strong often means ensuring that we have lots of healthy bacteria in our gut to help us fend off the bad germs we come in contact with.  Taking a probiotic supplement can help ensure that the main line of defence in our bodies is ready to protect us.

Our favourite probiotic is Dr. Ohhira’s because they are a whole food, live probiotic made with 12 different bacteria strains, and contain over 82 fermented whole food ingredients that act as pre-biotics to keep the probiotics alive! They’re shelf stable and safe for all ages!

A daily dose of Vitamin D.

sunshine

Making sure to get enough vitamin D this summer can ensure that your body will be ready for the fall. Getting outside to enjoy some sunshine as much as possible is a great way to soak in Vitamin D. There are also Vitamin D supplements available to help you make sure that you’re getting enough of this important vitamin, even if you can’t get in the sunshine as much as you’d like to!

Our favourite source of vitamin D is the sunshine, but if you can’t seem to get enough of it this summer a really great supplement to consider is Nutristart Quick D Drops! These drops are taken sublingually and are very quickly absorbed into the system! They are quick and easy to take and dose and they’re safe for kids.

Some extra Vitamin C.

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Making sure to take a little extra vitamin C to keep the immune system working well is a good idea this time of year! Vitamin C can be obtained through many foods such as citrus fruits, berries, & green leafy vegetables or can be taken as a supplement.

Our favourite for all ages is Mega Foods C Complex. This amazing whole food supplement is sourced from organic oranges! Our bodies recognize and absorb whole food vitamins very easily so this one is very bioavailable. The tablets are a bit on the larger side, but can be crushed up and dissolved into something for kids to take!

Immune boosters.

Alternative medicine

Plant medicine has been used for centuries to help keep our bodies thriving. There are many different herbs and medicinal mushrooms that can strengthen our immune system to keep us safe from whatever is going around.

We have many favourite immune boosters at Health Essentials, but our go-to is generally the Host Defence My Community Extract. Host Defence ingredients are of the highest quality, formulated and grown by Mycologist, Paul Stamets in the U.S. This particular blend is made from 17 different mushrooms, all with unique properties, that help to keep our immune systems healthy.

For the little ones, we love the Suro Kids Organic Elderberry Syrup.  It’s made in Canada with extremely clean ingredients, and is incredibly versatile! With added honey for sweetness, it’s easy to take this amazing superfood syrup… you can steep it as a hot or cold tea, or simply take a teaspoon of it like cough syrup! 

A Healthy Diet.

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Although the summer lifestyle can pose many diet challenges… eating a nutritious diet can do wonders for keeping our bodies strong for September. We are what we eat, and the health of our bodies is often determined by the quality of our diet. Nourishing foods like grass-fed meats & dairy, fermented foods and lots veggies are great to add into the diet at all times of the year. Healthy foods are especially important when supporting healthy immune function!

We realize you may still be in summer mode (as you should be – it’s not over yet!!). One of our favourite on-the-go, additions you can include in your diet for some added nutrition are our grassfed meat sticks. Our favourite is the Caveman Stick, which has added 25% organ meats for extra nutrient density!

Improve the Air Quality in your Home.

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A great way to ensure that any airborne viral & infection causing germs (which tend to be the most prevalent this time of year) are not floating around your immediate air space is to purify the air! Air purification can be done in a few different ways.

The old school method of boiling water with some vinegar or essential oils in it can be great for disinfecting the air.  This method is fantastic if you’re home and aware of the water level in the pot, lol. This method may not be entirely convenient for the majority of people who aren’t lucky enough to just be relaxing this time of year!

Good news is that there are now many diffusers available, which as their name suggests, diffuse water and essential oils throughout your home. Our favourite diffuser is the Eco Spa Deluxe Diffuser and Ionizer as it has a super classy design, it covers a large space, and it has an auto-shut off so it’s safe to leave on, even while you’re gone! Our favourite essential oil blend to get rid of those nasty germs is Thieves Oil, which is a blend of many different essential oil scents that has been used for centuries to fend off harmful bacteria and viruses in the air.

Back to school season can be stressful enough, with everyone exiting vacation mode and getting back into the swing of things. We hope the above tools helped you get an idea of ways you can keep fighting a cold or flu off the list of things you need to do this September!

Sun Protection Tips.

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There is still a month left of the summer season, which generally means the sun is here to stay for at least that long on the west coast… YAY! This is the time of year where enjoying the sunshine as much as possible becomes a major priority, because although we’re so lucky to live where we do, we may not see much more sunshine through fall & winter.

One of the most important things that the sun does for our bodies is allow our cells to produce Vitamin D which is vital for many bodily functions. We can get Vitamin D from some foods, and through supplements, but the sun is actually the most efficient method of getting enough! Sun exposure can actually be the safest way to get enough Vitamin D as well. Our bodies have a way of regulating how much sun produced Vitamin D to store so that we don’t end up with too much!

Another fantastic benefit that our bodies reap from sun exposure is a boost of serotonin production. Our bodies synthesize more of this “happy hormone” when we’re exposed to sunlight, which is amazing for increasing energy levels during the day.  What’s more is that our bodies actually convert the mood elevating hormone, serotonin into a sleep enhancing hormone, melatonin when we’re winding down at the end of the day. So getting into the sun as much as possible can help fuel your energy stores in the daytime, and can help you get a restful sleep at night!

Over the years, the sun has earned a pretty bad reputation for skin damage… but, there are things we can do to help ourselves love the sun again, so we can enjoy its many benefits.

Here are some tips for protecting your skin and so you can happily be in the sun again:

  1. Supplement with fish oil.

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    Fish oil is fantastic for helping your skin deal with sun exposure! The omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil are helpful for skin cell regeneration and inflammation reduction so your body can produce healthy cells that won’t be easily damaged by the sun. Astaxanthin is a powerful antioxidant present in salmon oil, salmon roe, & krill oil – it’s what gives these sea creatures their vibrant red colour. This antioxidant is really great for dealing with inflammation as well as protecting the skin from sunburns!

  2. Stack your diet and skin care products with healthy fats!

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    Our skin is essentially made of fat, and healthy fats are the building blocks of new skin cells. Ensuring that our body is receiving the “ingredients” that it requires to produce cells that are healthy and are not susceptible to mutations is extremely important.  Both the food that we ingest and the products we apply topically contribute to the health of our skin.

    Foods that are rich in good fats include fish, coconuts, avocado, olives, nuts, butter, grassfed meats, lard, dairy & pastured eggs. Skin care products that are rich in fat soluble vitamins such as vitamin E, D & A are great for supporting our skin as well.

  3. Ensure you’re avoiding bad fats.

    It is imperative to avoid consuming and using bad fats such as vegetable oils when it comes to food and skin care products. Vegetable oils contain harmful omega-6 fatty acids, which can actually contribute to skin cell mutation upon sun exposure. Our skin is made up of the building blocks we provide it, and if we are supplying too much of these harmful fats and not enough of the good ones, we risk the ability to produce healthy cells that can deal with the sun as they should!

  4. If you must use a sunscreen, choose a natural one!

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    Many conventional sunscreens are loaded with chemicals that both block the sun out completely, and are harmful for our bodies. Many of the widely available sunscreens have high SPF’s which block all of the sun’s rays resulting in zero vitamin D production, which is extremely detrimental to our overall health. Often, these products are also full of chemicals that are absorbed through our skin and can interfere with bodily systems such as the endocrine system, throwing our hormones out of wack!

    Avoiding the use of sunscreen is the only way to actually allow your body to produce vitamin D, but in times of excess sun exposure, natural sunscreens can be a great alternative to conventional options. Those that use non-nano titanium dioxide or zinc dioxide deflect the sun’s rays off of the skin without the risk of your body absorbing anything harmful, and they contain great ingredients that support the health of the skin.

     

    We are huge advocates of sun exposure… it just feels so good. Do you have any natural tools or products you use to help your body deal with the sunshine? Let us know, we LOVE learning about new products!

How to make Electrolyte Hydrator Gummies!

Electrolyte Hydrator Gummies Recipe


Instructions

Electrolyte Hydrator gel-o gummies are a PERFECT treat for anyone, anytime of day.

… even kids LOVE them. They are an easy way to add collagen into your own diet, or the diet of your potentially picky young ones!  Rich in collagen, these treats are great for your hair, skin, joints & nails. They’re an ideal snack and a great alternative to sugary filled candy or jel-o.

Not only do these snacks taste AMAZING, but they’re also made from extremely nutritious ingredients that will leave you feeling energized & satiated, while helping to silence your inner sweet tooth – guilt free!

 

Step One: Choosing your ingredients.
This recipe doesn’t require many ingredients, but it is important to choose each of them wisely!


Here is our list of recommended brands & sources:


The gelatin that gives these gummies their firm, gel-like texture is made up of collagen protein… it’s the same protein that “glues” and makes up our joints, skin, hair, nails and gut lining! The animal from which the gelatin comes from determines the quality of the gelatin itself!
We chose Bulletproof Upgraded Collagelatin, because it is sourced from grass-fed cows who lead happy & healthy lives, so you can feel better consuming it – emotionally, and physically!



Electrolytes are vital for proper hydration & are important for many functions in the body.
We chose Vega’s Sport Electrolyte Hydrator because it contains clean ingredients, and is packed full of other refuelling aids that are important for athletic recovery & also make you feel amazing. This powder also tastes delicious, and is sweetened naturally with stevia.



Lemon is amazing for keeping our digestive systems healthy, helping cleanse our filtering organs & keeping our bodies alkaline!
For this recipe, we used Lakewood’s Organic Lemon Juice because it is cold pressed – so important vital nutrients are still intact, it’s organically sourced & it is unsweetened. Note: You could also squeeze your own organic lemon juice for this recipe if you have lemons available!



Raw, organic & unpasteurized honey is full of live enzymes & nutrients. It is naturally sweet and has antimicrobial properties.
We chose Harmonic Arts Raw Honey, because not only does it meet all of those requirements, it’s also local to us & sourced from wild bees that live a regular, unaltered happy, bee-life!


Step Two: Make sure everything is ready to go & measured.
Since this recipe requires a rapid pace to get all the ingredients mixed in,
it’s helpful to have all of your ingredients measured out before beginning the process!

Step Three: Mix the electrolyte powder with water.
In a container, or a shaker cup, mix the electrolyte powder into 2 cups of water.

Step Four: Add the lemon juice & honey.
Add the lemon juice first, mix it until fully incorporated, and then add in honey if desired.
Some people prefer it to be less sweet, and contain no sugar whatsoever. The Hydrator powder
adds a little bit of sweetness, so if you’d prefer a sugar free version, you can skip the honey!

Step Five: Make a gelatin puck.
In a small cup or container, mix 1/4 cup of water with the gelatin powder and stir quickly until it becomes firm.

Step Six: Add gelatin to mixture.
You can spoon out the puck (should come out all together) and add it into the saucepan.
Stir until it is completely dissolved – there should be no sign of the gelatin anymore!

Step Seven: Pour into molds or tray.
While still hot, pour your mixture into whatever container or tray you’d like. Gummy molds are
fun for kids (of all ages) & make these treats easy to eat, but if you don’t have them, not to worry!
You can pour this mixture into muffin tins or a cake pan.

Step Eight: Leave to set.
Once the mixture has been poured into its container, cover it and stick it into the fridge to set.

Step Nine: Remove & enjoy!
You’ll know that your gummies are ready when they’re firm and no longer a liquid.
You can now remove them from their molds, or cut them into squares or shapes in their pan!

Enjoy :)!

 

Gel Electrolyte Recipe card


If you have any questions at all about this recipe or
if you have any requests for recipes you can call us (250-590-5524)
email us (hello@myhealthessentials.ca), or come by the store
(101-300 Gorge Rd. W, Victoria, B.C.) at any time & we’d be happy to help! 🙂