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.

 

The Key to a Heart Healthy Valentines Day….

Eat Your Heart Out This Valentine’s Day. 

Wait…. WHAT? How is that romantic in any way?

good-date-gone-bad-featured1Okay, okay. It’s not necessarily your run-of-the-mill option for a romantic dinner, but as it turns out heart actually has a texture similar to steak, and who doesn’t love a good steak dinner?  In comparison to most other organ meats, most people agree that heart is actually one of the easiest to consume.  AND since it is so ridiculously good for you, you’ll feel AMAZING after consuming it.  Don’t you want to feel amazing while on a hot date?

Why you should consider eating heart this February 14th:

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Nutrient Density

Nutrient density plays a major role in determining the health of our food.  Unfortunately, somewhere along the line, we lost our instinctive draw toward foods that are higher in nutrient content.  Talk to your grandparents…. almost a guarantee that they consumed some type of organ meats in their youth, and more than likely, they loved them.

For whatever reason, the health-media world has given organ meats a really bad rep… This is probably why, as a population, we’re so turned off of eating these important food components.  In traditional tribes, being granted with permission to eat organ meats was a privilege few would regularly encounter. These precious parts were reserved for tribe leaders, the sick, the elderly, and pregnant women.

Being a red meat, heart is naturally high in protein, B Vitamins, zinc, selenium and iron. Where it really stands above all, though, is it’s extremely high content of CoQ10.

Coenzyme Q10

coq10
CoQ10 (or Ubiquinol – its active antioxidant form) is a natural antioxidant that is found in EVERY cell in the body, and in particularly high concentrations in organ meats.  CoQ10 assists in energy production and utilization of oxygen in cells.  Heart contains the highest amounts of this important metabolic compound, due to the high volume of work that it does.

CoQ10 can be consumed in low concentrations in various meats, and can be take as a supplement.   The highest concentration of this vital antioxidant is found hearts of animals, where it is utilized most; therefore, eating heart is great for YOUR heart. 

 

New to cooking and consuming heart? This tasty slow-cooker recipe can help you ease into it!

Ingredients:

  • 1lb Island Bison Grassfed Ground Bison
  • 1lb Island Bison Grassfed Bison Heart
  • 1L Boned Broth Beef Broth
  • 1tbsp Amano Shiro Miso Paste
  • 2 cloves Organic Garlic (sliced)
  • 1cup VegiDay Organic Tomato Paste
  • 1lb Organic Tomatoes (diced) 
  • 1/4cup Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
  • 1/2 tsp Bragg’s Sprinkle Seasoning
    1 Leek (sliced)
    1lb sweet potatoes (chopped)
    1/2 lb carrots (chopped)
    1 bay leaf
    1/4 cup fresh basil
    1/4 cup KiwiPure Grassfed Butter
    Himalayan Pink Salt to taste

Method:

1) RINSE THE GRASS FED HEART & TRIM THE WHITE-ISH SKIN OFF THE HEART.
2) CHOP THE HEART INTO SMALL PIECES AND SET ASIDE.
3)  BLEND THE BROTH, GARLIC, TOMATO PASTE, SEASONING, CHERRY TOMATOES, & AMINOS IN A BLENDER UNTIL FAIRLY SMOOTH.
4) PLACE THE VEGGIES, BAY LEAF & MEAT IN A SLOW COOKER AND POUR THE BLENDED MIXTURE ON TOP.
5) SET SLOW COOKER TO LOW FOR 6 TO 8 HOURS, OR HIGH FOR 4 TO 6 HOURS.
6) COVER AND LET COOK, STIRRING ONCE OR TWICE THROUGHOUT COOK TIME.
7) SERVE IN BOWLS & ADD SALT, BUTTER & FRESH BASIL TO TASTE! ENJOY!

Essential Oils Uses & Benefits

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Fill your Home with the Scents you LOVE.. and Benefit!

The many uses & benefits of essential oils.

What are essential oils?

Essential oils are natural oils typically obtained by distillation and having the characteristic fragrances of the plant or other sources from which they are extracted.

History of Essential Oils.

Essential oils have been dated back to 2500-3000 B.C! They have been used all over the world for literally THOUSANDS of years!! These plant-derived oils have long provided us with many benefits including sensory enhancement (aromatic scents) – thus beauty care, as well as a lot of medicinal benefits.  Throughout history they have been used both internally and externally, although it is not advised to use essential oils internally unless directed by a healthcare professional.

Essential oils are used today in many different natural wellness fields! The main one by which most people associate essential oil use is Aromatherapy. It is also used in Ayurvedic Medicine, Traditional Chinese Medicine, Naturopathic Medicine and even in Conventional Medicine in certain parts of the world!

How are they used?

Essential oils can have many positive effects on the mind & body.  They can help us relax when we’re feeling stressed or anxious; they can energize us when we’re feeling sleepy or down; they can help ease headaches, and nausea; they can boost a wintery mood; and they can simply make the room and our bodies smell nice!

On our Bodies – Natural Beauty Care Products

herbal-oils

Many essential Oils have an extremely pleasant aromatic scent making them fantastic for use as a natural perfume or fragrance.  Many natural skin care products use essential oils for a fresh, floral, energizing, or calming effect.

In our Homes – Diffused into the Air

Diffusing essential oils into the air can help to disinfect the air, add a pleasant smell into a room, and can enhance a calm or energized state. There are a few ways that essential oils can be diffused into the air.

The traditional method of doing this is heating the oil directly over a flame, or boiling a few drops in water.  These are both effective methods, so long as a good portion of your attention can be directed toward the heating oils as to not start an accidental fire.

ecospa

 

Nowadays, diffusing essential oils into the air is much more efficient, and far less dangerous.  Modern day diffusers have sensors that auto-shut off when the water levels get low, and in most cases don’t use much heat at all to produce steam!

This EcoSpa Deluxe Ultrasonic Diffuser has multiple mist options, an auto-shut off and a light on/off button! It also has a very appealing shape and design, so you can feel great about making it a part of any room! 🙂

Some of our Favourite Essential Oils and their Benefits!

Single Oils:

Lavender
Lavandula

lav

  • Promotes relaxation – great for bedrooms & nurseries.
  • Can improve mood and reduce stress.
  • Antibacterial properties – often used in natural cleaning
    formulas for both the body & the home!

Peppermint
Mentha piperita

mint-leaves

  • Energizing!!
  • Can improve digestion.
  • Enhances mental alertness.
  • Soothes sore muscles.

Clary Sage
Salvia sclarea

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  • Supports hormonal balance.
  • Can reduce menstrual pain.
  • Improves ability to cope with stress.
  • Can increase libido.
  • Natural aphrodisiac.
  • Complements male pheromones.
  • Can increase energy.
  • Extremely grounding.

 


We hope you were able to pick up a few tips about Essential Oils in this post :). For more information, don’t hesitate to contact us! 

Fight Inflammation

“Fight Inflammation” Free Seminar with Charity Parkinson

Inflammation is associated with a wide range of health conditions from joint pain and arthritis to heart disease and psoriasis. In fact it is known as the silent killer because it has been linked to almost every single chronic disease in North America today.

We had the pleasure of hosting the amazing Charity Parkinson, ClH for a super informative talk on fighting inflammation.  In this talk, Charity goes into the causes of inflammation, the signs to look for, and different methods and techniques you can implement to assist your body in living pain-free!

About Charity Parkinson:

charity

 

Charity Parkinson is a Clinical Herbalist and a Holistic Nutrition Coach.  She is very passionate about natural medicine and has been studying in the field for over 15 years, with experience in health food retail, sales, herbal education and clinical consultations. Her belief in achieving and maintaining whole body wellness, comes through finding and supporting one’s unique balance between the mental, emotional, physical and spiritual aspects of self.

Check out the video below and be sure to contact us if you have any questions about anything covered. 🙂 We are happy to help!

 

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 :)!

6 Tips to Calm Back to School Anxiety

anxiety

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.

    green-tea1
    – 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!

    cute-fun-nature-Favim.com-440223
    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!

immune prevent blog title (1)

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.

probio

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.

good-diet-healthy-food

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.

2013NEW-Humidifier-Home-Office-Portable-water-bottle-Ultrasonic-Steam-Diffuser-Mist-Air-Humidifier

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.

sun protect blog title

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.

    fish-oil-shape

    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!

    good-fats-pic

    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!

    11652-applying-hand-cream

    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!

On Ad: Theracurmin

In our flyer this month we have double strength Theracurmin on for $33.98 / 60 caps PLUS a $2 off coupon and a free book all about curcumin!

Theracurmin has the most double-blind trials than any other curcumin product and is the most bioavailable compared to all the other leading forms of curcumin. The difference is Theracurmin particles are ground using a wet-grinding mill, making it 100x smaller than regular curcumin powder. The microscopic particles are suspended in a natural colloidal suspension that is absorbed into the blood faster and stays there longer. Amazing stuff!

Can’t make it into the store? Find it here!