Embracing Sourdough: Exploring the Unique Benefits Over Other Bread Products

In the realm of bread, few things capture the imagination and the palate quite like sourdough. With its tangy flavor, chewy texture, and rich history, sourdough bread stands apart from its counterparts in more ways than one. In recent years, there has been a resurgence of interest in sourdough, not just for its delicious taste but also for its numerous health benefits and unique qualities that set it apart from other bread products. Let’s delve into the world of sourdough and explore why it’s worth embracing over other bread options.

  1. Natural Fermentation: One of the key distinguishing factors of sourdough bread is its fermentation process. Unlike commercial yeast used in many bread products, sourdough relies on natural wild yeast and lactic acid bacteria present in the flour and the environment. This slow fermentation process not only gives sourdough its signature tangy flavor but also enhances its nutritional profile. The prolonged fermentation breaks down gluten and phytic acid, making sourdough easier to digest and improving nutrient absorption.
  2. Gut Health: The fermentation process of sourdough not only improves digestibility but also promotes gut health. The lactic acid bacteria present in sourdough act as probiotics, beneficial microorganisms that support a healthy balance of gut flora. By consuming sourdough regularly, you’re not just nourishing your body with essential nutrients but also nurturing your gut microbiome, which plays a crucial role in overall health and immunity.
  3. Nutritional Superiority: Compared to many commercial bread products, sourdough tends to be more nutritious. The fermentation process increases the availability of vitamins and minerals in the bread, including B vitamins, folate, and magnesium. Additionally, the breakdown of gluten during fermentation may make sourdough more tolerable for those with gluten sensitivities, although it’s important to note that sourdough is not gluten-free.
  4. Lower Glycemic Index: Sourdough bread typically has a lower glycemic index compared to other bread types, meaning it causes a slower and steadier increase in blood sugar levels after consumption. This can be beneficial for individuals seeking to manage their blood sugar levels or those following a low glycemic diet.
  5. Artisanal Craftsmanship: Sourdough bread is often associated with artisanal craftsmanship and traditional baking methods. Many sourdough enthusiasts take pride in creating their own starters and mastering the art of breadmaking, which can be a deeply satisfying and rewarding culinary pursuit. This emphasis on quality ingredients, time-honored techniques, and attention to detail sets sourdough apart as a premium bread product.
  6. Distinctive Flavor Profile: One of the most beloved aspects of sourdough is its unique flavor profile. The tangy taste imparted by the fermentation process adds depth and complexity to the bread, making it a favorite among food enthusiasts and culinary connoisseurs. Whether enjoyed on its own with a drizzle of olive oil or used as the foundation for sandwiches and toast, sourdough brings a distinctive taste experience to the table.

In conclusion, while there is certainly a wide variety of bread options available in today’s market, sourdough stands out for its natural fermentation process, gut-friendly properties, nutritional benefits, and unparalleled flavor. By choosing sourdough over other bread products, you’re not just indulging in a delicious treat but also nourishing your body and connecting with a rich culinary tradition. So, the next time you reach for a loaf of bread, consider embracing the tangy allure of sourdough and savoring its many benefits. Your taste buds and your health will thank you for it.

Product Feature: St. Francis Echinacea Plus Kids

The anticipation of Spring is in the air!  With more mild temperatures, it is easy for kiddos to shed some of their layers of clothing and head outside.  The transition to Spring can still be a common time for colds and flus, especially for kids, as they tend to be outside more often with suboptimal gear.

 

Introducing St. Francis Echinacea Plus Kids.  This wonderful product contains two species of echinacea – purpurea and angustifolia.  A combination of both species of echinacea allows for maximum immune benefit by boosting and modulating the immune response.  It is effective at shortening the duration and severity of colds and flus.  It also tastes great so is the perfect option for kids when they are feeling under the weather.

 

Spring is just around the corner; however, as we wait for those more consistent warm days, be prepared for one last cold or flu this season and help support your child with St. Francis Echinacea Plus Kids.

 

Stop by the clinic to check out this and the many other great immune products that we carry.

Omega-Fatty Acids and Your Health

Here’s the scoop: eating good fats is essential for your overall health and well-being?

Why?  Because every single cell of our body is made up of what is called a “phospholipid bilayer”!

And what, you might be asking, is a “phospholipid bilayer?… and why do I care?”

Well a phospholipid bilayer is, simply put, two rows of essential fatty acids whereby the individual fatty acids are joined together by bonds between carbon atoms, and each row is connected to the other row by the hydrophobic ends of each of the fatty acid chains.

Phew, that’s a mouthful.. but here is why you should care!

The fats that we consume incorporate themselves into the membranes of, that’s right, every single cell in our body.  So, we truly are “what we eat” when it comes to the fats we consume.

Saturated fats are fatty acid chains that have no double bonds, and are therefore quite rigid.  These are found in animal fats, red meat, dairy, etc.  And not to say these foods shouldn’t be consumed! They do have their own benefits, however if we consume them as our main source of fatty acids then our cells correspondingly become more rigid, so the movement nutrients and waste products in and out of the cells, and other cell signalling pathways are impaired, the membranes that harden leave tissues such as arteries more susceptible to damage, increased pressure (hypertension), etc.  Our skin becomes less pliable, smooth, and youthful looking. Our joints and muscles gets creakier as a result of less fluid membranes.

Here is where omega-3 fatty acids, the “good fats”, comes into play.

 

Anytime you hear the term “omega” fatty acid, an unsaturated fatty acid is being referred to.  Permit me to continue to indulge my nutritional biochemistry geek!  Unsaturated fats have double bonds in them. Not every carbon is attached to a hydrogen atom.  This makes them “kinky”.. more fluid.  A “monounsaturated fatty acid” like Omega-9, from olive oil, has one such “kink” in it.  A “polyunsaturated fatty acid” like Omega-3, from flax oil, has multiple double bonds in it, therefore is even kinkier.. aka more fluid in nature.

When our cells are made up of these types of fatty acids, there is free flow of nutrients into the cells, waste products out of the cells, due to the more pliable nature of the cell membranes, and the increased signalling that can happen as a result.

Now, it does get a little more complex.

Omega-6 fatty acids are also polyunsaturated, however what we have shown is that a primary omega-6 fatty acid “arachidonic acid” is actually pro-inflammatory, rather than anti-inflammatory like many of the other omega fatty acids, particularly the omega-3s (especially found in fish, but also in plant sources like flax and chia), and omega-9s (olive oil) are.

There is a specific type of omega-6 that is anti-inflammatory, GLA, found in borage oil, however most of the omega fatty acids we consume through a standard diet convert to the arachidonic types of fatty acids.  These include oils such as canola, corn, sunflower, safflower, and grapeseed.  And “trans fats” are even worse, as with a trans-fat, scientists have taken an unsaturated (liquid at room temperature) omega-6 fatty acid like those found in canola oil, and added hydrogen bonds to it, to essential create an artificially saturated fat that is solid at room temperature (think margarine).  So now our cells are trying to incorporate “fake fats” into their membranes, and we have seen this to be an oxidative mess.

 

Anyway, that is enough scientific background, however it is what makes me excited about the incredible myriad of health benefits found in our natural world.  The bottom line is, we have to eat more good fats – which are basically your omega-3s, and omega-9s.

So.. where are they found? How much do we have to consume? And what exactly do they do for us?

 

Omega-3 fatty acids are found in all fish, most notably in smaller fattier fish, like sardines, mackerel, herring, and larger fish like salmon.  To get 1.5 grams of omega-3 fatty acids, one must eat about 3-4 oz of fish.

The daily recommended amount of omega-3 fatty acids for the prevention of disease and maintenance of good health is a minimum of 1000 mg per day.* I am going to put an asterisks here as not all fish oil supplement are created equally, and I will speak to this in a bit.

When using omega-3s for therapeutic reasons (to reduce blood pressure, lower triglycerides, improve skin health, etc.) the dose increased to anywhere from 2000-5000 mg (2 to 3 grams) per day.

Which would be very difficult to do just eating fish.  Particularly since it is advisable to eat fish no more often than 2x/week due to the potential for heavy metal contamination.  Yes, this is our heartbreaking reality.

So the solution lies in fish oil supplements.

*However, here is where the asterisk comes in.  Fish oil supplement labels must be reviewed carefully.  Studies show we are looking for the amount of omega-3 fatty acids, NOT the total amount of fish oil!

Confused? Understandable. So within fish oil, there are two main essential fatty acids (EFAs): EPA and DHA.  So your supplement might contain 1000 mg of fish oil, but it may only be made up of 90 mg of EPA and 70 mg of DHA, like one popular (yet ineffective) brand of Salmon Oil is.  To get the full 1000 mg of EFAs (EPA+DHA) recommended, one would have to take 5 of these pills every day.  And that is just the baseline dose.  If you were treating high blood pressure, you might have to take upwards of 15 of these capsules per day!

Definitely talk to a trusted health care professional or knowledgeable sales person before purchasing the best deal you can find on fish oil.  It makes a huge difference!

 

We carry a great product called PEAK EPA which contain 700 mg of EPA and 350 mg of DHA in a single capsule.  Now there is an effective product!  That means one may only need 1 capsule per day for preventative reasons, and up to 4 capsules/ day therapeutically.

 

As a quick side note, omega-3 rich plant based oils (flax, chia) do not contain EPA and DHA directly, they contain something called ALA that are bodies can (albeit inefficiently) convert to the more active EPA and DHA.  Which is why I recommend using a mixture of fatty acids.  Supplementing with fish oil capsules, and consuming lots of flaxseed oil, ground flax seeds, and chia seeds, as other ways to beef up good fats in the diet.  For optimal health, about 5-10% of our total caloric intake should come from good fats.

 

Here is a list of the conditions that are a result of EFA deficiency:

  • Eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis
  • Asthma, emphysema
  • IBS, Crohn’s/ Colitis
  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Arthritis
  • Auto-immune disease
  • Adrenal insufficiency
  • Fertility challenges
  • Memory problems, depression

 

Take away message: eat more good fat!!

TMHS 760: Age in Reverse & Heal FASTER Using the Power of Your Mind – with Dr. Ellen Langer

Is it possible to harness the power of your mind to improve your health? On today’s show, you’re going to hear some fascinating research that proves that we are in control of our health outcomes. By simply changing our thoughts and beliefs, we hold the potential to become healthier, happier, and even feel younger.

Today’s guest, Dr. Ellen Langer, is a social psychologist, pioneering researcher, and the mother of mindfulness. Since the 1970s, she’s been researching the remarkable concept of mind-body unity. She’s joining this episode of The Model Health Show to share her powerful findings of how your thoughts can change your health and longevity.

This conversation contains insights on how your beliefs can affect multiple health metrics, including your cognitive function, blood sugar, stress levels, and lifespan. You’re going to hear the fascinating details behind Dr. Langer’s work, and the powerful authority you have to influence your health. I hope you enjoy this episode on the healing power of mindfulness.

In this episode you’ll discover:

  • How your perception can affect your body and your health outcomes.
  • What the mindful body
  • A distinction between mindfulness and meditation.
  • Why taking notice of things around you is good for your health.
  • How thinking in absolutes can make life less interesting.
  • Why fatigue is a psychological construct.
  • The interesting connection between cognitive function and perceived sleep.
  • How the mind and the body are interconnected.
  • Why stress can make you sick.
  • The #1 question you can ask yourself to reframe your stress.
  • How being more mindful gives you more choices.
  • Why a diagnosis can become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
  • What incurable really means.
  • How beliefs affect the aging process.
  • The connection between mindfulness and lifespan.
  • How your assumptions about a food can impact its effects on your body.
  • Strategies for releasing judgment towards others and ourselves.
  • The relationship between forgiveness and blame.
  • Why play is good for your health.
  • How celebrating our differences can make us happier.

 

To watch the full video go to:

 

For more info and resources on this podcast check out:

https://themodelhealthshow.com/ellen-langer/

Dr. Allison Ziegler’s Maternity Leave

I am excited to announce that I am due to have my fourth child in April 2024!

I will be taking several months away from the office starting April 29, 2024.  

Due to the inconvenience this may pose to my clients, I wanted to let you know sooner rather than later so you have ample time to book an appointment if needed.

To book please call 306.757.4325.

Who do you know that is self-employed, runs and integrative health care business, or is graduating soon from any of the following fields that would be interested in an affordable office space in an established multidisciplinary clinic to rent on a monthly basis? I have a beautifully furnished room available for individual use while I am away on maternity leave and on a part-time basis when I return.

  • holistic nutrition
  • counseling
  • lactation consultant
  • psychology
  • bodytalk
  • reiki
  • chiropractic medicine
  • massage therapy
  • acupuncture

Our goal is to ensure our community has access to as many integrative health care resources as possible, under one roof, as well as to promote the extensive number of healing professionals that Regina and the area boasts.

Reception is available if required, for additional rental fees.  Contact me by email at allison@zieglerhealth.com if you are interested in discussing our options and touring the available space.

Drink your Medicine: 4 Nutrient-Rich Herbs to Consider

It may be a rather controversial thing to say however I admit it: I rarely prescribe multivitamins. However, this doesn’t mean that I am laissez-faire about nutrients and the body having all that it needs to run smoothly. Instead, I prefer to take a food-forward approach and lean into nature because – regardless of whether or not we want to admit it – nature is so much better at creating highly absorbable nutrient-rich options. If I am not recommending liver capsules and/or a greens powder for those who struggle to get in enough veggies in the day than I am touting some of my favourite nutrient-rich herbs.

 

These herbs are known as nutritives – a nod to only one of their main purposes: Fueling the body and all of its marvelous processes. Naturally, all of these herbs also have secondary actions that vary from gentle hormone support, nervous system regulation and uterine tonification. Despite their many actions in the body, they are generally safe for all folks. However, it is always best to speak with your healthcare provider!

 

Meet the Medicine:

 

  1. Avena sativa (oats) – One of the most gentle yet potent herbs that we have and lucky for us, it grows local! There are two main components to this herb: The milky oat top and the straw. The oat tops are best used in tincture to soothe anxiety. However, oat straw is a great herb to infuse into water. With a fairly mild taste, it makes getting your nutrients incredibly easy.

 

  1. Equisetum arvense (horsetail) – If you are familiar with this herb, there’s a slight chance you may dislike it. I say this because it will take over land rampantly and without mercy. Most seasoned land owners give up on plucking this herb and instead trample it down to offer a potent dose of minerals to their soil. Just as it can nourish depleted soil, it can nourish us too. It is particularly rich in silica and is traditionally used to strengthen all connective tissues.

 

  1. Rubus idaeus (red raspberry) – Although this herb is most known for its ability to support a smooth labour and delivery experience and expedite recovery after the fact, it is a source of iron, magnesium, calcium and selenium. A nice little bonus is that it is also high in vitamin C aiding the absorption of iron in the body.

Although the first two herbs are quite subtle in flavour profile, red raspberry is pungent. It pairs well with our next herb: Nettle.

 

  1. Urtica dioica (stinging nettle) – I will admit my bias right off the hop: This might be my most favourite herb. It is always the first one that comes to mind when someone asks about a multivitamin. It is jam-packed with nutrients and has many secondary actions ranging from prostate health to allergy control. It tastes earthy and mixes well with lemon.

 

Although experimenting with one herb at a time can be a great way to learn more about that particular herb’s magic, I am usually blending the above for a full profile of flavour and nutrients. Think of it like a well-rounded diet: We want to eat a good variety of foods to get the most nutrients that we can. The same goes with herbs; we can rotate seasonally, based on the body’s needs or based on what you have the most available in your own backyard.

 

As is always the case with botanical medicine, the world is your oyster! If you dislike tea, you can always use dried herbs and mix with mineral salt (to get even MORE nutrients!) or infuse in vinegar to use as a salad dressing. If you want to jazz up your tea, play around with adding fruit or other culinary herbs. May 2024 be the year that you get acquainted with herbs in the kitchen!

Simplifying Health

A phrase I often find myself repeating to my clients, and myself, on a regular basis is: “It’s not easy, but it is simple”.  As the photo accompanying this article suggests, to live a healthy life really is simple.  It isn’t rocket science.  The elements required to achieve and maintain a healthy mind, body, and spirit are actually quite straightforward (despite what we are often led to believe in our world that seems to like complicating things so much!):

  • Sunshine
  • Water
  • Rest
  • Air
  • Exercise, and
  • Diet

I would add to this one additional “doctor” and that is Healthy relationships (With Self and Others), though the details of this point will be beyond what is covered in this article… maybe next month!

 

Truly, if we would step away from the quest for finding labels for our issues, searching for fancy cures to what ails us, we would realize that the equation for health is really truly simple.

 

Health = Deposits > Withdrawals.

 

In order to be healthy, we need to ensure we are making more “deposits” into our “health bank account” than we are making “withdrawals” and the 6 + 1 “doctors” mentioned above are essential deposits we can make that go a long way in establishing optimal wellness.

 

I invite you to take a little inventory on your overall level of satisfaction with your health and vitality right now.  Consider your physical (energy, stamina, skin, weight, fitness level, digestion, sleep, etc.), emotional (mood), psychological (stress, thinking), and spiritual (inner peace) states of being.  Without any self-judgment, guilt, shame, or blame, get a sense of where your needle sits on this “satisfaction meter” with your health.

 

Now take a little inventory on how much time, energy and resources you invest in relationship to each of the above 6 ‘doctors’.

 

Sunshine.  Yes, it is winter in Saskatchewan and the weather can be a wee bit of a factor as to how much time we spend outside, and, no, we don’t have any control over how much sun or cloud the skies decide to gift us with on a daily basis, however do you do your best to ensure you are getting out into the sun as often as you can?  Do you bundle up and take walks on sunny days?  In the summer, do you make sure your skin is exposed to the sunlight, at least in the early morning and later afternoon hours, in order to activate sufficient levels of vitamin D?

If not, and if you are particularly sensitive to the sun, or lack thereof, do you take Vitamin D supplements, or high quality Cod Liver Oil on a daily basis?  We want to ensure we are getting at least 2500 to 5000 IU of Vitamin D every day in our winter months in our temperate climate.

There are also wonderful hacks for sunshine, such as the light therapy devices manufactured by companies such as Verilux.  These are easy to use on a daily basis, first thing in the morning: simply turn it on, angle it away from your direct line of vision, and sit, sip your tea, eat your breakfast, write in your journal, read the paper – whatever is part of you morning routine, while the full spectrum light of the lamp simulates the natural light of the outdoors and will help balance brain chemistry, making you feel more awake, alert, and focussed.  Studies show they also improve mood and sense of well-being.

Of course it is always preferrable to get outside and take advantage of God’s natural sunlamp!  And taking just 15-20 minutes as soon as possible in the morning after sunrise is a great, and healthy way to start the day.

 

Water.  What about water?  what is your relationship like with water?  how much do you drink?  Studies show that drinking half your body weight, in ounces, is the ideal minimum amount of water to ingest on a daily basis.  This can include water from herbal teas, water added to make smoothies, or soups, just so long as you aren’t counting your caffeinated water, or water that contains sugar or artificial sweeteners (like juices, sports drinks, pop, etc.).

Beyond hydration, how about water exposure?  Showers and baths are cleansing and relaxing, particularly if you up their therapeutic value by adding epsom salts or essential oils to baths, or use contrast (alternating hot and cold) water therapy in the shower.  Swimming, plunging in cold pools, walking barefoot in the snow, or in the water along the shore at the beach in the summer, all have therapeutic benefits, including decreasing stress hormone exposure, increasing circulation, and building immune function.

 

Rest.  Critical to our overall health, and few of us get enough of it.  This is high quality sleep, 7 to 9 hours per night, as well as ‘down time’ during the day to sit down, nap, read a book, take a break.  How often do we keep going until we drop?  for most of us, all too often.  And it isn’t sustainable.  Just because we used to be able to function off of 5-6 hours of sleep per night in our youth, doesn’t mean it was healthy back then.  Essentially we likely just depleted our “sleep bank accounts” leaving us even more worn out and in need of good quality rest today.  Setting up a sleep schedule and staying accountable to it is essential for proper repair of the body.  Our bodies love rhythm and routine, and honouring their circadian rhythms, so going to bed at roughly the same time every night, and waking around the same time every morning is ideal.  Because of the time the organs need to repair overnight, it has been said that the hours of sleep you get before midnight are worth two hours of sleep after midnight.  So an ideal sleep schedule might see you getting ready for bed around 9 or 9:30 pm, unwinding with a bath, some meditation or prayer, reading a book that is soul-filling, and not too stimulating, cuddling with a loved one, and aiming for a 10 pm shut eye.  Then waking somewhere between 6 and 7 am the next morning.  This is simple, however not always easy, as the demands of life can make this challenging.  It is important to prioritize self-care, particularly rest, as without it, it becomes very difficult to meet the demands of life.

Sleep aids such as chamomile tea, magnesium supplements before bed, lavender essential oil, are all useful places to start in order to relax the nervous system, and make your rest time more restorative.

 

Air.  This goes hand in hand with Sunshine, and relates to true Nature Cure.  Getting outside in nature, breathing fresh air, communing with the birds, trees, plants, even snow!, are all valuable ways to restore health and vitality.  It really is that simple!  Think about how little time you might spend outdoors during your “regular life”.  Perhaps “too busy” going from bed, to car, to office, to activities, to home, to clean, to bed.  No wonder we feel disconnected, tired, worn out, achy, and depressed.  Contrast this to heading out on vacation: sipping your morning coffee or tea on a deck, hiking, swimming, biking, lying on a beach, strolling through the trees.  How amazing do you feel being immersed in the natural world?  How often do you make a point to get at least 30-60 minutes of fresh air every day when in your usual routine?

Have you contemplated how much better you might feel if you took the time to get outside?  park further from your destination in order to get more outdoor steps in.  Better yet, plan to walk (yes, even in the winter!), or bike as transportation.  Spend your lunch breaks outside.  Walk around the block with your family after dinner.  Every effort we make to get out adds deposits to that health bank account.

The other element of air is breathwork itself. Breathing.  The book Breath by James Nestor is an enlightening read that talks of all the incredible benefits of breathing.  We take breathing for granted as something we do, without realizing how therapeutically beneficial proper breathing is.  There are many different types and styles of breathwork, and they can be used to do anything from calm the body, promote sleep, lower blood pressure, open the sinuses, and much more.  A very simple breathing exercise I love is called the Box Breath.  Essentially you breathe in for 4 counts, hold your breath for 4 counts, exhale for 4 counts and hold for 4 counts… making a “box” with your breath.  Repeat this 10 or more times, or set a timer for 3-5 minutes and practice this daily.  Pull the exercise out at a stoplight.  Notice how much more relaxed you will feel, clear headed, calm, yet energized.  It really is a miracle cure for so many things, and we take it with us wherever we are.

 

Exercise.  Do you exercise every day?  if not, consider making a point of creating a regular routine of some form of exercise.  Lack of exercise leads to fatigue, depression, anxiety, weight gain, muscle atrophy, cardiovascular and cardiopulmonary (circulatory: heart, veins, arteries, lungs) weakness (= shortness of breath, difficulties with energy, temperature regulation, etc.), insomnia, and inflammation.  Our bodies were designed to move, and daily endurance exercise, even simple walks is a great starting place, regular weight lifting/ body weight routines (2-3 times per week), and stretching/ yoga are instrumental for achieving optimal health.  It is impossible to be healthy, strong, and have the metabolic fitness we need especially as we age, without regular daily physical activity.

 

Diet/ nutrition.  Also key to a healthy life.  And, again, not rocket science.  Fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains like quinoa, oats, and rice, good quality proteins like organic tofu, eggs, chicken, fish, free range meat, wild game, legumes, and raw nuts, seeds and oils (walnuts, almonds, flax seeds, hemp seeds, chia seeds, coconut oil, avocadoes, olives and olive oil) should be the bedrock of our diet.

Eat only these foods and you will thrive.

Where our bodies start to break down and become inflamed is when we consume dairy products (non-organic, milk, ice cream, excessive amounts of cheese, yogurt sweetened with sugars and artificial sweeteners), wheat products (breads, buns, cookies, bagels, wheat pasta), sugar, artificial sweeteners, and over indulged in caffeine, alcohol, chocolate.  I had the reminder myself not all that long ago.  As someone who eats very clean the vast majority of the time (yes, I like my daily coffee, and occasional wine!), a few weeks ago I got very busy and started to consume more cheese than I usually eat.  Generally I don’t eat much cheese, however I really do love it and when I am busy it can feel like an easy “go-to”.  I don’t have to eat much of it, I feel full and satisfied.

However I started to have a chunk here and there on an almost daily basis, and before long my knees started aching, as though I had some form of inflammatory arthritis.  Which I knew I did not, as this is not a condition that develops in a short period of time.

A quick inventory of my recent food habits and I knew that cheese was the culprit.  I eliminated it, and within a week, my knees were back to normal and I was limber as always, lunging and squatting at the gym without difficulty again.

 

All of these little indiscretions add up, and before we know it, we can be feeling less than our optimally well, vital selves.  So before looking for any miracle cures, in the form of supplements, medications, or any other fancy solutions – commit yourself to one month of focussing on supporting yourself in the aforementioned simple, yet very effective six categories:

  1. Sunshine
  2. Water
  3. Rest
  4. Air
  5. Exercise
  6. Diet

 

Simple, right?  the difficulty lies in the execution, and we might find we need to lighten our loads, take obligations off of our plates, say some “nos” to others, in order to say some “yeses” to ourselves.  The thing is, if we don’t.. we don’t have the energy or vitality for ANYONE, so it is worth it to invest in ourselves first and foremost in these essential, foundational, long term ways.

 

We can’t shortcut around these foundations.  There really is no way to get away without supporting these fundamental aspects to what we need to live a healthy life.  As we get older, our bodies hold us to a higher and higher standard of ensuring that these key principles are enacted in our lives, and when they aren’t our bodies let us know.

 

So turn towards your body today, gift it with a beautiful combination of this nurturance, and you will be amazed at how much better you feel.

Holiday Menu 2023

From our homes to yours, we would like to share our favourite recipes as you prepare for your holiday feast.  

From all of us, we wish you a very happy Christmas season and many blessings in 2024!

With love, Allison, Brittany, Julie and Michelle.

Life Affirming Vegan Nacho Cheese Dip

Shared by Dr. Julie Zepp, ND

“I always like to create new traditions for my family and friends when we come together during the holiday season.  Which includes making some “out of the box” contributions to my festive gatherings.  This year a favorite contribution to my potlucks was this Life Affirming Vegan Nacho Cheese Dip, from Angela Liddon’s Oh She Glows cookbook, a staple in my kitchen.

This was a big hit, and everyone was suitably impressed when I told them it was protein dense, filled with healthy essential fatty acids, vegan, gluten-free and very healthy!

I served it with the options of corn taco chips, rice crackers, and Mary’s gluten-free crackers.”

 1 cup (250 mL) raw cashews (best soaked for minimum two hours) in warm water
1 cup (250 mL) peeled/chopped carrots
6 tbsp nutritional yeast
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 garlic clove
1 1/4 tsp sea salt
3/4 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

1 cup chunky salsa or marinara sauce
1 cup finely chopped sweet onion
1 chopped jalapeno pepper (optional)
4 handfuls of chopped spinach
1/3 cup crushed corn chips or GF crackers for topping
1-2 green onion for garnish
Chips or crackers for dipping.

 

  1. Place the cashews in a bowl, add water and cover for 2
    hours or overnight. Drain and set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 400F (200C). Lightly grease a
    casserole dish or 2-quart cast iron pan. Place carrots in a small sauce pan and add water to
    simmer for 5 minutes until tender. I added some garlic powder, salt, and pepper for flavour.
  3. In blender, combine soaked cashews, nutritional yeast, carrots, lemon juice, cayenne pepper, garlic, salt, chili powder, onion powder, and 2/3 cup water or coconut milk and blend until silky smooth. You may need to add more water if too thick. Pour into a large bowl.
  4. Stir salsa, onion, spinach, and jalapeno into the cheese sauce until fully combined. Pour into baking dish and smooth out the top. Sprinkle corn chips or breadcrumbs on top.
  5. Bake for 25-30 minutes, uncovered, watching closely toward the end of the cooking time to make sure the corn chip topping doesn’t burn. Garnish with sliced green onion and serve once cooled.
  6. You can store this dish for about 3-5 days in an airtight container in the fridge.  IF there is any left 🙂  Happy eating!!

Shaved Brussel Sprout Salad

Shared by Dr. Julie Zepp, ND

 4 cups Brussels sprouts, uncooked

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling

¼ cup fresh lemon juice

½ cup pine nuts, toasted

⅓ cup dried cranberries

⅓ cup grated pecorino cheese, optional

⅓ cup chopped chives

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

 

  1. Thinly slice the Brussels sprouts using a mandolin if you have one.
  2. Place them into a medium bowl and toss with the olive oil, lemon juice, pine nuts, cranberries, pecorino cheese, chives, and pinches of salt and pepper.
  3. Let the salad sit at room temperature for 15 minutes, then taste and adjust the seasonings. Finish with an additional drizzle of olive oil if you like.

 

Roast Chicken

Shared by Dr. Brittnay Wolfe, ND

 

1 x 3.5 lb chicken
2 medium onions
2 carrots
2 sticks of celery
1 bulb of garlic
olive oil
1 lemon
1 bunch of mixed fresh herbs, such as, thyme, rosemary, parsley.

 

  1. Remove the chicken from the fridge 30 minutes before you want to cook it, to let it come up to room temperature.
  2. Preheat the oven to 475°F
  3. Wash and roughly chop the vegetables – there’s no need to peel them. Break the garlic bulb into cloves, leaving them unpeeled.
  4. Pile all the veg, garlic and herbs into the middle of a large roasting tray and drizzle with oil.
  5. Drizzle the chicken with oil and season well with sea salt and black pepper, then rub all over the bird.
  6. Carefully prick the lemon all over, using the tip of a sharp knife. Put the lemon inside the chicken’s cavity, with the bunch of herbs.
  7. Place the tray in the oven, then turn the heat down immediately to 400°F and cook for 1 hour 20 minutes.
  8. If you’re doing roast potatoes and veggies, this is the time to crack on with them – get them into the oven for the last 45 minutes of cooking.
  9. Baste the chicken halfway through cooking and if the veg look dry, add a splash of water to the tray to stop them from burning.
  10. When the chicken is cooked, take the tray out of the oven, and transfer the chicken to a board to rest for 15 minutes or so. Cover it with a layer of tin foil and a tea towel and leave aside while you make your gravy.
  11. To carve your chicken, remove any string and take off the wings (break them up and add to your gravy, along with the veg trivet, for mega flavour). Carefully cut down between the leg and the breast. Cut through the joint and pull the leg off.
    Repeat on the other side, then cut each leg between the thigh and the drumstick so you end up with four portions of dark meat. Place these on a serving platter.

You should now have a clear space to carve the rest of your chicken. Angle the knife along the breastbone and carve one side off, then the other.
When you get down to the fussy bits, just use your fingers to pull all the meat off and turn the chicken over to get all the tasty, juicy bits from underneath. You should be left with a stripped carcass, and a platter full of lovely meat that you can serve with your piping hot gravy and some delicious roast veg.

Cinnamon apple scones

Shared by Dr. Michelle Sthamann, ND

2 tbsp Ground Flax Seed

3/4 cup Water
2 cups All Purpose Gluten-Free Flour

1 tbsp Baking Powder

1/4 cup Coconut Sugar

1/2 tsp Sea Salt

1 tsp Cinnamon

1/3 cup Coconut Oil (room temperature)

1 Apple (medium, diced)

 

  1. Preheat oven to 400 F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a mixing bowl, mix the ground flax with water. Set aside to thicken.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, coconut sugar, salt and cinnamon.  Mix well, then add in coconut oil and mash with a fork until it is broken up and distributed evenly. Add flax mixture and diced apple. Stir well until combined.
  4. Transfer the dough onto your parchment lined baking sheet. Use your hands to form a round shape, about 1 inch in height. Then use a large wet knife to cut it into 6 or 8 even wedges.
  5. Sprinkle the top with a bit of coconut sugar and cinnamon and bake for 25 minutes, or until edges are golden brown.
  6. Remove from oven, let cool slightly and enjoy immediately.

 

 

Hot Mulled Cider

Shared by Dr. Allison Ziegler, ND

6 cups organic apple cider

2 large organic orange slices

4 to 5 slices fresh ginger

5 cinnamon sticks

2 tsp whole cloves

 

  1. Place all ingredients in a large pot. Simmer, covered, over low to medium-low heat for about 1 hour.
  2. Strain out spices by pouring contents through a fine mesh strainer into another pot.
  3. You can keep the pot on the stove on warm if you would like to serve it over an extended period of time.

The Impact of Proposed Changes to Natural Health Product Regulations in Canada

Natural Health Products (NHPs) have been an integral part of proactive healthcare for Canadians, regulated by the Natural and Non-Prescription Health Products Directorate (NNHPD) under the Natural Health Products Regulations (NHPR) since 2004. However, recent proposed changes by Health Canada threaten the unique regulatory framework that has made Canada a global leader in NHP regulation.

Current Regulatory Framework: Under the existing regulations, all NHPs must be approved by Health Canada before being sold in Canada, with a Natural Product Number (NPN) or Homeopathic Medicine Number (DIN-HM) indicating approval. This ensures that Canadians can trust the safety, efficacy, and quality of the products they use. The level of evidence required varies based on the nature and risk associated with the health claim.

Proposed Changes and Labeling Requirements: On July 6, 2022, Health Canada announced new labeling requirements set to take effect in 2025. The intention is to enhance clarity and reduce confusion for consumers. Unfortunately, these changes were made without considering industry feedback, leading to technical and inflexible guidance that poses challenges for brands. An Economic Impact Study revealed that these changes could lead to product withdrawals, companies leaving the Canadian market, and negative impacts on employment.

Cost Recovery Concerns: The proposed cost recovery system for NHPs, including fees for product evaluation, site licenses, and annual renewal fees, is a significant departure from the current regulatory landscape. While cost recovery is acknowledged as necessary, the proposed fees, if implemented simultaneously with new labeling requirements, could financially devastate the NHP industry in Canada, particularly small to medium-sized businesses.

Impact on the NHP Industry:

  1. Financial Strain: The proposed changes threaten the viability of many companies, potentially forcing them to shut down Canadian operations.
  2. Price Increases and Limited Availability: Brands may face dramatic price increases or withdraw from the Canadian market altogether, resulting in decreased product variety and choice.
  3. Challenges for Local Businesses:Small, local businesses may struggle to navigate complex regulations and face lengthy approval processes, leading to increased costs that they may not be able to absorb.
  4. Environmental Impact: New regulations may increase packaging, reduce recyclability, and negatively impact the environment.

In the face of these proposed changes to Natural Health Product (NHP) regulations in Canada, it’s essential for concerned individuals to take action and advocate for a balanced and reasonable regulatory approach. Here are some resources that can help you get involved and make a difference:

  1. Request an Action Kit: To actively participate in the advocacy efforts, you can request an Action Kit by visiting this link. The kit includes valuable resources such as messages and images for social media, a sample email to share with your network, and other digital assets to help build awareness in your community.
  2. Email Your Elected Member of Parliament: You can directly reach out to your elected Member of Parliament (MP) and express your concerns about the proposed changes to NHP regulations. Use the Save Our Supplements website to find resources and a template for sending an impactful email to your MP. Your voice matters, and collective action is crucial to preserving the diversity, innovation, and accessibility of Natural Health Products in Canada.If these changes are imposed, there is a risk of losing access to a variety of essential products that contribute to our well-being. All supplements may be impacted- even common items like protein powder and magnesium products, which many rely on as part of their health routines. It is vital to recognize the potential consequences and actively engage in advocacy efforts to protect the availability and affordability of these products.

By actively engaging with these resources and spreading awareness within your community, you contribute to the strength of the industry and help ensure that Canadians continue to have access to safe, effective, and diverse Natural Health Products. Advocacy is a powerful tool, and together, we can make a difference in shaping the future of NHP regulations in Canada

Vitamin D and Mood

Do you ever feel a depressed mood and low energy during the long winter months?  You are not alone!  Most Canadians will feel some degree of energy and moods changes during the winter and here’s why.

Vitamin D3 is needed for adequate production of serotonin in the brain.  The way our body produces vitamin D is through sun light exposure.  In the winter, Canadians do not receive enough sunlight to produce adequate vitamin D3.

Serotonin is the brain messenger responsible for feelings of well-being and happiness.  In winter months, there is a decrease in the amount of serotonin leading to the feelings of sadness or depression.  Serotonin is also involved in regulating appetite.  The body is continually trying to achieve balance; therefore, if the body is deficient in something, it will try to gain it somehow, usually through food. Cravings of chocolate, sweets or carbohydrates are common because it is high in tryptophan, an amino acid needed to produce serotonin.  In the winter, a person begins to subconsciously eat a diet higher in these foods as the body tries to achieve the balance it is looking for.  As a result, the poorer dietary choices associated with the decreased serotonin is responsible for weight gain.  A diet lower in nutrients coupled with weight gain contributes to feeling down, sluggish, and less energetic.

Therefore, with the lack of vitamin D3, we produce less serotonin, which leads to a depressed mood, weight gain and lower energy. Unfortunately, we can’t store vitamin D in our body so receiving plenty of sunshine in the summer, will not hold us over during the darker winter months. With lack of sun exposure in our frigid winter months, supplementation is often required to prevent deficiency and increase mood and energy.

 

Come check out our selection of good quality vitamin D supplements and feel better this winter!