Hemp Hearts 101

Hemp Hearts 101

Hemp Hearts 101

Whether you’re an old hand at enjoying hemp hearts or brand new to the bandwagon, it never hurts to brush up on why you should feel great about including this stunner of a superfood in your diet. At a time when many of us are trying to be extra mindful of eating in a way that’s good for ourselves and the planet, there aren’t too many foods that check all the boxes that hemp does in terms of nutrition, versatility, and sustainability.

What are hemp hearts, exactly?

Hemp hearts are the seeds of the hemp plant that have had their hard outer casing or shell removed. They have a delicate, nutty flavour and are incredibly versatile, as you’ll see below. They also pack an incredible nutritional punch.

Oh yeah? What’s so special about hemp hearts’ nutrition profile?

Where do we start. OK, pull up a chair because this is quite the list.

  • Gram for gram, hemp has more protein than chicken.
  • Hemp hearts offer twice the protein content of chia or flax seeds, with half the carbs.
  • Hemp hearts contain an impressive 18 amino acids — including all 11 that our bodies can’t produce on their own.
  • Hemp hearts contain gamma-linolenic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid that plays a role in fighting inflammation.
  • In fact, hemp hearts contain nature’s ideal ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 essential fatty acids (3:1).
  • They’re also an excellent source of minerals such as phosphorus, niacin, thiamine, manganese, copper, magnesium, iron, and zinc.
  • Hemp hearts are also a good source of folate and Vitamin B6.

It’s no wonder that humans have been having an ongoing love affair with hemp for literally thousands of years. For real! It was one of the very first cultivated agricultural crops, as far back as 8,000 BC. And it’s been keeping us fuelled ever since.

What about genetically modified ingredients or preservatives?

Manitoba Harvest hemp hearts are 100 percent free of preservatives, GMOs, soy, gluten, grains, and nuts. They’re paleo-friendly, keto-friendly, kid-friendly, grandma-friendly, athlete-friendly, and vegan-friendly. It’s basically the friendliest food we know. Let’s just say that when hemp throws a party, the line to get in stretches around the block.

And look, we’re as excited as the next guy about the plant protein revolution sweeping the globe, but we’re especially fond of hemp hearts because they’re showing up in the same minimally processed, accessible, versatile, clean, unadulterated way they have been since humans started putting plants in the ground. No high-tech chemistry labs required. And that is something to don a party hat for.

Tell me more about this versatility you keep mentioning. How can I use hemp hearts in the kitchen?

One of the most popular ways to eat hemp hearts is to blend them into your breakfast or post-workout smoothie. They add a subtle nutty flavour and a big ol’ punch of protein and other essential nutrients. (Bonus protein points if you use hemp milk or hemp protein powder too!)

Folks are also fond of sprinkling them onto salads, granola, yogurt, soup, or any other dish that could use a little texture, crunch, and protein boost.

Turns out the better question might be: How can’t you use hemp hearts in the kitchen?


As good as hemp is for humans, it’s just as good for the health of the planet. It helps reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, helps to regenerate depleted soil, prevents soil erosion, doesn’t require any pesticides or herbicides to grow, and requires much less water than plants such as soy, almonds, or cotton.

It also helps support hemp farmers, many of whom we’ve cultivated personal relationships with over our quarter century of doing business. We like to think we cultivate our growers with the same care and affection with which they tend their plants. We’ve been working with some of our growers since the 1990s. We know them and their families, and we pride ourselves on helping them make a stable living while adhering to best farming practices. They know they’re working with the leader in the hemp industry, and that we’re committed to everyone’s well-being—from the grower to our own employees to the people who buy our trusted products.

So there you have it! From nutrition to versatility to sustainability, there’s no shortage of reasons to feel mighty good about your hemp heart habit. We’ll toast to that.




Whole Grain Hemp Pancakes
Yields about 14 medium pancakes

1 ½ cups whole wheat flour (for gluten-free, sub 1:1 all-purpose gluten free baking flour)
1 cup Manitoba Harvest Hemp Hearts
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons Manitoba Harvest Hemp Oil
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 ½ cups milk
½ cup dairy-free thick yogurt (or use traditional Greek yogurt)
1 cup fresh blueberries (optional)

1. In medium bowl, combine hemp hearts with organic whole wheat flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon; set aside.
2. In large bowl, whisk together eggs, Hemp oil, maple syrup and vanilla. Gently stir in yogurt and milk, whisking until combined. Add dry ingredients to bowl of wet ingredients. Stir in blueberries here if using.
3. Heat griddle or use large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add butter or spray with a high-heat oil (such as avocado). TIP: Make sure skillet is hot before starting.
4. Working in batches and leaving enough room on griddle for flipping pancakes, add ¼ cup batter to hot griddle and cook for about 3 minutes, or until edges bubble. Flip and cook other side for about minute or so. Transfer pancakes to oven on “warm” function, or serve immediately. Top with your favorite toppings, enjoy!



Rustic Spring Potato Salad
Time: 30 mins. | Servings: 4

1 pound roasted fingerling potatoes (or any kind of small potato)
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ tsp. sea salt
1/8 tsp. black pepper
1 head butter lettuce, chopped or torn
4 radish, thinly sliced
2 green onions, sliced
2 tbsp. chives, sliced
3 tbsp. Manitoba Harvest Hemp Hearts

Creamy Lemon Mustard Vinaigrette:
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
3 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. Manitoba Harvest Hemp Hearts
2 tsp. whole grain mustard
½ tsp. lemon zest
½ date, optional
¼ tsp. sea salt
Dash cayenne pepper

1. Preheat oven to 400°F
2. Slice potatoes in half lengthwise and place on sheet tray.
3. Drizzle potatoes with olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic then toss to coat.
4. Roast in oven for 20-25 minutes until golden on the outside and tender on the inside.
5. Remove potatoes from oven and let cool slightly.
6. Meanwhile, blend all vinaigrette ingredients until smooth.
7. In a large serving bowl, toss potatoes, dressing, and all remaining salad ingredients except lettuce together in a bowl.
8. Fold in lettuce at the last minute just before serving.


Cleansing for Better Health

Cleansing for Better Health

Often we hear about the devastating effects of widespread pollution on our planet’s environment. But how often do we stop to consider its impact on our bodies? We can no longer deny that we are living in a toxic world. The question is, what can we do about it?

While eating a healthy diet, getting adequate sleep, managing stress, and doing exercise is essential to support overall health, herbal cleansing may be a great addition. Herbal cleanses can help your body’s natural toxin and waste removal processes and support digestive health and regular elimination. It can easily fit into your daily routine, requires no fasting or giving up solid foods, and will help support the body’s natural elimination processes. Think of it as another way to help your body stay healthy, just like eating right and exercising.

Our bodies have organs of elimination to manage toxins, but our modern world can put added stress on these organs from the environment, our food and water, and even within our own digestive tracts.[1] Cleansing is a way to support these organs and has been used by cultures all over the world for centuries.[2] Herbal cleanses are used to improve digestive function, protect the liver, and gently cleanse the bowel. Formulas typically come in convenient vegetable capsules or tinctures. They can last for a week or as long as a month, depending on individual needs.

For more than two decades, Renew Life® has been a leader in herbal detoxification cleansing kits.

CleanseSMART® is a two-part, 30-day herbal cleansing program specifically formulated to cleanse and detoxify the entire body, with added focus on the body’s two main detoxification pathways, the liver and the colon. Designed to reduce the toxic load in your body and relieve occasional constipation, CleanseSMART® contains silymarin, a mixture of flavonolignans isolated from the botanical seed milk thistle, an herbal ingredient traditionally used for liver protection. Ideal for people who have cleansed before and want a stronger cleanse for occasional constipation.

If you’re struggling to find time for a longer cleanse, Rapid Cleanse® is a three-part, 7-day cleanse that combines soluble fibre with herbs, minerals, and amino acids. It is helpful if you are struggling to find the time for a longer program. Rapid Cleanse® is a powerful cleanse that can help detoxify your body, restore digestive health, promote bowel movements, and support bowel health.

Don’t forget the Fibre!

Fibre and water are important to keep things moving through your digestive tract, which is especially important while cleansing. You can increase fibre intake by eating more fruits, non-starchy vegetables, whole grains, nuts and legumes, or you can take a daily fibre supplement such as FibreSMART®. FibreSMART® is a flax-based, dietary fibre supplement that can be added as a powder to water or juice to help support everyday bowel health. With 5 grams of flax-based fibre per serving, it helps keep the digestive tract running smoothly with ingredients such as Marshmallow Root and Slippery Elm Bark.

Renew Life® products are formulated with high-quality ingredients to help you achieve and maintain optimal health. They go the extra mile in ensuring the world-class products are precisely delivered within the human body to optimize absorption and thus potency. Perhaps as equally important as the ingredients that are in the products, are the ingredients that are not in the products. To keep you smiling, Renew Life® is committed to providing health product supplements with no artificial colours, unnecessary preservatives, or other unnecessary added materials of any kind.

Additional tips to reduce exposure to toxins:[3]

  • Eat detoxifying foods
  • Use nontoxic personal care products
  • Avoid toxics in your food and water
  • Mop and dust often
  • Clean with nontoxic products
  • Remove your shoes inside
  • Don’t dry-clean your clothes
  • Limit foods high in animal fat
  • Select flame-retardant-free foam products
  • Use less plastic
  • Avoid canned foods and beverages
  • Avoid pesticides and herbicides
  • Avoid lead exposure
  • Keep mercury out of your diet, home and garbage
  • Choose safer home improvement products

The human body wants to be in a state of balance, it wants to be healthy. Support it with the right nutrients, water, exercise, supplements, rest and play and it will cleanse, reconstruct, and keep you safe.

By Caroline Farquhar, RHN, EMP, BA, National Training Manager for Renew Life®
[1] Environment and Climate Change Canada (2018) Canadian Environmental Sustainability Indicators: Human exposure to harmful substances. Available at:
[2] Jacks, B. (2011). Top 5 Cleansing Herbs. Available: Last accessed 2 Oct 20
[3] Miller, M. (2017). Toxic Exposure: Chemicals Are in Our Water, Food, Air and Furniture. Available: Last accessed 8 Oct 20.



About the Author: Caroline Farquhar R.H.N., E.M.P., B.A.

Caroline Farquhar

Specializing in digestive care and cleansing, Caroline has been educating audiences through seminars, TV and radio appearances across the country on the topic of how to achieve better health naturally. Caroline has written and published articles for magazines and websites, has created educational programs and taught at the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition. Learn more about Caroline at

Looking for Plant-Based Calcium?

Looking for Plant-Based Calcium?

Most calcium supplements on the market are derived from mined limestone. As we don’t often sit down for a hearty meal of rocks, supplementing with a more “food-like” source makes sense. The algae Lithothamnion calcareum is such a source – a living, edible plant rich in calcium and other nutrients. Branded as Aquamin™, it is a red algae that grows off the coast of Iceland that naturally contains over 30% elemental calcium. The majority of limestone-derived calcium supplements are just that – calcium. Aquamin™, being a whole food also contains a complement of minerals such as magnesium, potassium, phosphorus and the trace minerals boron, strontium, vanadium, copper, silica, selenium and zinc, all of which are involved in bone health.

Originally used in Ireland as a natural fertilizer, its tremendous effects on livestock health led Lithothamnion calcareum to be investigated for human health applications. Initial anecdotal reports on the algae’s benefits for arthritic conditions led to more in-depth studies. Many clinical studies later, Aquamin™, the branded version of Lithothamnion calcareum was born.

Aquamin™ is sustainably harvested under a controlled 30-year license by the Icelandic government. Independent monitoring and continuous research are done to ensure harvest activities are not impacting the local ecosystem. Only the fully calcified algae are harvested, leaving young algae to grow to full maturity. The area of harvesting is strictly controlled to ensure the material is sustainably harvested and is monitored by GPS systems and divers.

Aquamin™ has several clinical studies, showing safety, absorbability and effectiveness for bone health:

  • Aquamin™ has been shown to reduce levels of PTH (parathyroid hormone) in the body more effectively than other forms of calcium. PTH reduces calcium content in the bones by making it available to the rest of the body. High levels of PTH are associated with calcium leeching from the bones and reduced levels of bone mineral density, which can lead to osteoporosis. Aquamin™ has shown this positive effect in pre and post-menopausal women and athletes in non-impact sports (i.e. cycling) who exhibit lower-than-normal bone mineral density.1,2,3
  • In studies of bone cells, Aquamin™ has been shown to effectively remineralize the cells. By remineralizing the cells, the number of osteoblasts are increased. Osteoblasts are responsible for new bone formation. Researchers theorized that the synergistic effect of the mineral complex in Aquamin™ was responsible for the increase in osteogenesis (bone formation activity). 4
  • Aquamin™ has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties that help to reduce joint pain and stiffness. In fact, one clinical study showed Aquamin™ to be as effective at reducing joint pain as glucosamine sulfate and better at reducing joint stiffness! 5,6

Aquamin™ calcium comes from a “whole food” source with over 74 trace minerals allowing it to be easily absorbed by the body. The clinical studies and sustainability of Aquamin™ should make it clear that it’s time to rethink the way you supplement your calcium.




1. Osteoporosis Canada.
2. Hope, Jenny. Calcium pills taken by hundreds of thousands of women ‘double risk of heart attack and could do more harm than good’. May 22, 2012, Daily Mail.
3. M. J. Bolland, A. Grey, A. Avenell, G. D. Gamble, I. R. Reid. Calcium supplements with or without vitamin D and risk of cardiovascular events: reanalysis of the Women’s Health Initiative limited access dataset and meta-analysis. BMJ, 2011; 342 (apr19 1): d2040 DOI
4. A double-blind placebo-controlled parallel group study in post-menopausal women to assess the effect of calcium supplementation on markers of bone resorption. Shandon Clinic, Cork, Ireland.
5. Frestedt JL, Kuskowski MA, Zenk JL. A single dose pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamics comparison of two calcium supplements in pre-menopausal women. Minnesota Applied Research Centre, Minnesota, USA
6. Barry, D. W., K. C. Hansen, R. E. Van Pelt, M. Witten, P. Wolfe, and W. M. Korht. Acute Calcium Ingestion Attenuates. Exercise-Induced Disruption of Calcium Homeostasis. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc., Vol. 43, No. 4, pp. 617–623, 2011.

Are You Getting the Most from Your Multi?

Are You Getting the Most from Your Multi?

All vitamins are NOT the same! Let’s look at multivitamins as an example. Multis are foundational supplements that many Canadians take to fill nutritional gaps. A one-daily multivitamin may include vitamins and minerals from A to Zinc. But where do the ingredients in a multi come from, is your body able to use them, and what do you know about their quality? The truth is, most multis are just basic blends of chemical isolates. Chemical isolates are synthesized by processing the complex profiles of foods, such as corn, into single chemicals, such as ascorbic acid (vitamin C). The result is a completely man-made, simplified vitamin or mineral compound. Selected isolates are then combined to create a multivitamin product.

Formulated for Absorption

New Chapter® multis are different. They follow the brand’s principles of acknowledging both current science and time-tested tradition. New Chapter multis are made with organic vegetables and herbs, and key nutrients are fermented with whole foods and probiotics (no live probiotics remain). They use the highest quality vitamins and minerals, choose the types that work best with the body, and fine-tune nutrient levels to account for what the body can really absorb. (This last point is especially important, because megadoses of vitamins can pass right through the body without being utilized.) In short, New Chapter multis are formulated so you can absorb the good stuff. Their formulas are easy to digest and gentle on the stomach.

Multivitamins that Multitask

New Chapter multivitamins, including Every Woman™’s One Daily and Every Man™’s One Daily, take a holistic approach. In addition to being fermented like no other, these multivitamins include complementary blends of signature herbs for balanced wellness. New Chapter takes exacting care with each nutrient and herbal blend to create daily multivitamins that support women’s and men’s needs at every stage of life. Our convenient multivitamins have multiple benefits, including immune support, energy production, building strong bones, and stress support. Formulas include multivitamins for men and women under 40, over 40, and age 55+ (which has extra immune support and no Iron). Every multivitamin also includes medicinal herbs such as organic turmeric, maca and red clover. For moms and moms-to-be, look for New Chapter’s Perfect Prenatal™ Multivitamin is designed with pure Ginger for herbal nausea relief.

Committed to Organics and Non-GMO

There’s one more important factor when choosing a multivitamin: consider its wider impact on human health and the planet. New Chapter has been working toward an organic, sustainable world since their start, because they believe taking care of soil health is good for both people and planet. All their multivitamins are certified made with organic vegetables. New Chapter is also a long-time advocate of Non-GMO Project verification and was one of the first natural health products companies to achieve this extraordinary depth of verification.

At the end of the day, when it comes to multivitamins, you are what you absorb. New Chapter multis are expertly crafted and easily digestible so you can absorb the good stuff. It’s how they do wellness well, so you can do you.



Read the label and follow directions. These products may not be right for you.

Feeding Your Microbiome After Antibiotic Use

Feeding Your Microbiome After Antibiotic Use

In 2017 alone, Canadians filled over 24 million antibiotic prescriptions.[1] That’s a lot of antibiotics! While broad-spectrum antibiotics target a wide range of bacteria, narrow-spectrum antibiotics target only a few types. When the cause of an infection is unknown broad-spectrum antibiotics tend to be used and can have several impacts on gut health, including:

  • Reducing microbial diversity in the gut.[2],[3],[4]
  • Reducing protective species such as Bifidobacterium.[2],[3]
  • Promoting the colonization of opportunistic pathogens such as Clostridium difficile that can cause antibiotic-associated diarrhea.[5]

Pathogenic bacteria can colonize when our protective gut bacteria are diminished during antibiotic use. Resident microbes in a healthy gut can help protect against infections and other pathologies by directly inhibiting invading microbes and by arranging appropriate immune responses.[6]

After an antibiotic course, recovery of the gut microbiome can take some time. In general, after short-term antibiotic use (between five and ten days), studies have observed it can take at least one to two months for most bacterial groups to recover to pre-antibiotic levels. However, these studies have also shown that even after two to four years, some bacterial groups do not recover completely and antibacterial resistance genes can also persist at increased levels for at least one to two years following antibiotic use. Therefore, even a short course of antibiotics can have long-term effects on the gut microbiome.[7]

Help Your Gut Get Back on Track

Renew Life’s® multi-strain probiotic formulas may help with the effects of antibiotic use and could promote intestinal and gastrointestinal health. Ultimate Flora® Ultra Potent is a once daily probiotic that contains 100 billion live bacterial cultures per serving with a blend of 10 strains. 50 billion Bifidobacteria and 50 billion Lactobacilli may help to replenish friendly gut bacteria following antibiotic use. Delayed-release capsules provide protection through the harsh stomach environment to help the bacteria get to where they need to go. With quality, purity and potency guaranteed until date of expiry, Renew Life® stands behind the quality and efficacy of their premium probiotics. You can try any Renew Life® probiotic risk free for 60 days.*

Feed Your Microbiome

Good nutrition goes a long way to improving and supporting good gut health. Feed your gut microbiome foods that will help your good resident bacteria grow back. Look for foods that are high in fibre and plant polyphenols such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and whole grains.[8]

By Caroline Farquhar RHN, EMP, BA – National Training Manager for Renew Life Canada
[1] Tam, T. (2019). Antibiotic use in Canada: Preserving antibiotics now and in the future. Available: Last accessed 11 dec 20.
[2] Rashid, M. et al. (2015). Determining the Long-term Effect of Antibiotic Administration on the Human Normal Intestinal Microbiota Using Culture and Pyrosequencing Methods. Available: Last accessed 14 Dec 20.
[3] Korpela, K. et al. (2016). Intestinal microbiome is related to lifetime antibiotic use in Finnish pre-school children. Available: Last accessed 14 Dec 20.
[4] Zaura, E. et al. (2015). Same Exposure but Two Radically Different Responses to Antibiotics: Resilience of the Salivary Microbiome versus Long-Term Microbial Shifts in Feces. Available: Last accessed 14 Dec 20.
[5] Stewardson, A. et al. (2015). Collateral damage from oral ciprofloxacin versus nitrofurantoin in outpatients with urinary tract infections: a culture-free analysis of gut microbiota. Available: Last accessed 14 Dec 20.
[6] Becattini, S. et al. (2016). Antibiotic-Induced Changes in the Intestinal Microbiota and Disease. Available: Last accessed 14 Dec 20.
[7] Pribyl, A. (2018). The effect of antibiotics on your gut microbiome. Available: Last accessed 14 Dec 20.
[8] Singh, R.K. et al. (2017). Influence of diet on the gut microbiome and implications for human health. Available: Last accessed 14 Dec 20.
*Purchase risk free (less tax, shipping & handling). For information, visit

Energy from the Ground Up

Energy from the Ground Up

With so many different forms and options for iron on the market, you may be wondering why we are so excited to tell you about yet another. It is a good question and one whose answer can be wrapped up in one word… unique. Not to worry, we will not leave you with a one-word explanation but first, let’s have a quick recap on iron.

Iron is integral to our health and may be found in every cell of the body. Most importantly, iron is necessary for making red blood cells. About 60-70% of the body’s iron is contained in the haemoglobin molecule which is essential in carrying oxygen (among other things) around the body. As with most other minerals, iron does not stop with only one function. Iron is also essential for respiration and metabolism, a component of enzymes involved in the synthesis of collagen and some neurotransmitters, and a part of certain proteins. Seeing how important iron is, the next question may be… should everybody take it?

Not at all!

Iron is critical if you need it but not everyone should be supplementing with it. Fortunately, the body conserves iron very well but this increases the possibility of toxicity. It is a supplement that we only take when we need it. However, there are certain times and health situations that may increase your risk for low iron levels. They include being vegetarian or vegan, pregnancy, having a heavy menstrual flow, having certain digestive or intestinal conditions that interfere with absorption and situations of significant blood loss.

Signs and symptoms of low iron may include:

  • Extreme fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Increased heart rate
  • Shortness of breath
  • Low blood pressure
  • Headache, dizziness or light-headedness
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Pale Skin 

We ask you to remember that even though you may be experiencing a sign or symptom, it does not diagnose a deficiency. The list is meant as a way to observe and keep track, to provide a possibility but check with your physician should you be concerned.

Iron absorption is a subtle process and one easily affected by antacids, caffeine and tannic acids in coffee and tea, low stomach acid or fast gastric motility. Finding an iron supplement that absorbs efficiently is important and this is where we get back to why mykind Organics Plant Iron is so unique.

Care has been given to develop a certified gluten free formula which provides the highest bioavailability possible in a liquid, whole food, plant-based iron. Each serving of mykind Organics Plant Iron provides 10mg of iron extracted from Organic Curry leaves and paired with 15 mg of whole food Vitamin C from Organic Amla berries to increase absorption. Whole food vitamins B6 (2mg) & B12 (100mcg methylcobalamin) have been thoughtfully included to assist in the formation of red blood cells. 

Mykind Organics Plant Iron is:

  1. The FIRST and ONLY Vegan certified liquid whole food plant iron
  2. The FIRST and ONLY Certified USDA Organic and non-GMO Project Verified liquid iron.
  3. The FIRST and ONLY liquid iron to include Vitamin C (for absorption) plus Vitamins B6 and B12 (for blood support), combined with traditional Ayurvedic remedies such as Ashwagandha.

Keeping true to the mykind line of supplements, Garden of Life® has formulated an easily absorbed, non-constipating, clean, whole food plant-based supplement that is effective. Our stringent cultivation practices and patented extraction process ensures only high-quality, concentrated nutrients are included in our formulation. It comes in a delicious cranberry lime flavour with no sugar or chemical preservatives added. Being the first and only in so many ways is why mykind Organics Plant Iron & Organic Herbs is truly exciting.



Protect Your Liver and it Will Protect You

Protect Your Liver and it Will Protect You

Protect Your Liver and it Will Protect You

The liver is one of the most important organs in the body. It is unique, being the only organ that can regenerate itself to repair damage and can even regrow if partially removed. On a daily basis, it is involved in our metabolism and protects us from toxic substances. But despite its resiliency, the liver itself also needs to be protected. A healthy diet and a patented natural ingredient are two ways to help protect the liver and keep it functioning effectively for years to come.

What does the liver do?

The liver’s most well-known role is to detoxify toxic substances in the body. Pesticides, preservatives, alcohol and metabolic waste are diluted by less toxic substances in the liver to prepare them for safe excretion by the kidneys and bowel. The liver also breaks down hormones like estrogen after they have completed their work.

Another major function of the liver is in regulating the body’s metabolism. The liver helps to digest fats through the production of bile. Bile is stored in the gallbladder ready to be used as required and assists in the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, K) and calcium. Fats are oxidized by the liver for energy production. Further, the liver takes absorbed vitamins from the blood and stores them for use in periods of stress. You can see why the liver’s optimal performance is so important to our daily energy levels.

Liver issues & NAFLD

Most people might assume that alcohol consumption would be the primary health issue related to the liver. Surprisingly, it is not. The most common liver condition in the Western world is non-alcoholic fatty liver disease or NAFLD.  NAFLD is the accumulation of fat in the liver, which can lead to chronic inflammation of the liver and eventually liver damage. NAFLD is associated with insulin resistance, diabetes, obesity and metabolic syndrome. As these maladies increase in the population due to an unhealthy Western diet and lifestyle, so does NAFLD. Over 40% of diabetics have NAFLD.

NAFLD is a disease with very few symptoms, making it difficult to diagnose. The most common symptoms are fatigue, malaise and abdominal discomfort. NAFLD is diagnosed by blood testing that evaluates liver functions.

Unless addressed, NAFLD can develop into a more serious liver disease known as non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) or fatty liver disease. One-in-five cases of NAFLD progress to NASH. NASH can further develop into cirrhosis of the liver which hardens and scars the liver, inhibiting normal function. Cirrhosis is also commonly associated with liver damage from alcohol consumption and can lead to morbidity.

One of the difficulties for those with NAFLD is that there are no effective non-surgical treatments. Weight loss by lifestyle changes or surgery and insulin sensitizers can help, but options are limited.

Protecting the liver through lifestyle

You can help protect your liver in the following ways:

  1. Avoid intake of toxic substances. The less toxic substances you take in, the less strain on your liver.
  2. Avoid processed foods, especially fatty foods high in hydrogenated fats. Too much fat intake contributes to accumulation of fat in the liver.
  3. Avoid overeating. Overeating causes liver fatigue.
  4. Avoid drugs. Drugs, alcohol and caffeine put additional strain on the liver.

When one is unable to protect the liver through a healthy lifestyle or has already sustained liver damage, extra support may be needed to boost the liver’s performance. A powerful natural plant-based medicine may deliver that extra support.

Milk thistle – The “go-to” herb for the liver 

In Canada, milk thistle has become the most commonly used natural product for liver issues. Milk thistle is often recommended by herbalists and has been in use for centuries. Silymarin is typically cited as the active component in milk thistle for liver benefits. What most do not know, is that silymarin is a mixture of many different flavolignans. The three major components of are silydianin, silybin and silychristin. Of the three, it is silybin that is considered the most potent and effective for antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, chemopreventive and liver-protecting benefits. Unfortunately, getting the full benefits of silybin from milk thistle is difficult as it is so poorly absorbed by the body. Great potential for liver health exists if the bioavailability issues of silybin could be addressed.

Siliphos® – beyond milk thistle

In attempting to make a more effective silybin formula through improved absorption, the Italian nutraceutical company Indena applied its patented Phytosome® technology to the problem. As with several other poorly absorbed plant-based medicinals such as curcumin, Indena was able to complex the active medicinal silybin with phosphatidylcholine from lecithin for added protection from water and an increased absorption in intestinal cells. When the complex of 33% silybin and 67% phosphatidylcholine was compared against silybin alone, tests showed over a 4-fold increased bioavailability in the blood and a 10-fold increased presence in bile.1,2 By being more available to the body for a longer period of time than silybin alone, Siliphos® can deliver greater health benefits. Further, the phosphatidylcholine carrier itself also has liver protective properties.

Siliphos® has been studied clinically for its liver health benefits for over a decade. A recent study from 2011 looked at Siliphos®’s ability to protect the liver from the effects of NAFLD. Key markers for liver health in NAFLD patients were observed before and after Siliphos® supplementation. Comparisons showed an improvement in enzyme and fibrosis markers indicating liver function and a reduction in insulin-resistance for the Siliphos® patients. This led researchers to conclude that Siliphos® “significantly improves the clinical plasma parameters of liver damage and insulin resistance in patients suffering from NAFLD. Given the incidence of NAFLD in overweight patients, Silphos® qualifies as a primary option for the prevention of liver damage associated with metabolic syndrome and the progression of NAFLD and NASH.”3

Another recent study conducted on children with leukemia, demonstrated Siliphos®’s ability to protect the liver. Liver toxicity is a major side-effect of treating leukemia with chemotherapy. In fact, this toxicity is the main cause of withdrawal from chemotherapy treatments. Children administered with Siliphos® during the chemotherapy experienced no liver damage during treatment and the effectiveness of the chemotherapy was not diminished.4

Past clinical trials have shown Siliphos® to be effective against the effects of alcohol intake and hepatitis. Patients with alcoholic hepatitis had their liver enzyme levels return to normal much faster when using Siliphos® than regular silybin.5

Changing lifestyle can help protect your liver, undoubtedly. But for those at risk of NAFLD or alcohol-related liver issues, clearly Siliphos® holds great promise in protecting the liver without side-effects.



1. Barzaghi, N Crema F, Gatti G, et al. “Pharmokinetic studies on IdB 1016, a silybin-phosphatidylcholine complex, in healthy human subjects.” European Journal of Drug Metabol. Pharmokinet.1990; 15; 333-338.
2. Morazzoni, P. Montalbetti A., Malandrino S., Pifferi G., European Journal of Drug Metabol. Pharmokinet. 18, 289 (1993).
3. Loguercio, Carmela et al. “Silybin combined with phosphatidylcholine and vitamin E in patients with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease: A randomized controlled trial.” Free Radical Biology and Medicine. February 5, 2012.
4. Ladas, Elena J. MS, RD et al. “A randomized, controlled, double-blind, pilot study of milk thistle for treatment of hepatotoxicity in childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL)”. Cancer. January 15, 2010.
5. Kidd, Parris, PhD. and Kathleen Head. “A review of the bioavailability and clinical efficacy of milk thistle phytosome: A silybin-phoshatidylcholin complex (Siliphos®).” Alternative Medicine Review. Volume 10, Number 3. 2005. Pg. 197.

DIY Aromatherapy Ideas

DIY Aromatherapy Ideas

DIY Aromatherapy Ideas

Interest in aromatherapy continues to grow with people joining the trend every day. You might start by looking for a scent that you have just enjoyed at someone else’s home, but you may not be aware of the therapeutic benefits of essential oils, or where to go to next. Here are some tips to help put this practice to use.

Top Ten Basic Therapeutic Home Kit

This selection of 10 essential oils can help with the most common health conditions, skin care, for use around the home and during travels. Natural essential oils are highly concentrated and should be used with care. When applying topically they should be diluted with a carrier oil.

  1. Lavender – antibiotic, antiseptic, sedative, burns, scalds (can be applied “neat” – directly to the skin)
  2. Tea Tree – antiseptic action, healing action, stings, bites, rash, effective surface cleaner
  3. Peppermint – antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, digestive, respiratory, circulation, fights fatigue, mice and insect deterrent
  4. Chamomile (German, Roman) – anti-inflammatory properties, disinfectant, antibacterial, antispasmodic, skin rejuvenation
  5. Eucalyptus – (cools & warms) antiseptic, expectorant, antiviral, muscle and joint pain
  6. Geranium – antiseptic, astringent, radiant glow to skin, anti-inflammatory
  7. Rosemary – physical and mental stimulant, antiseptic, arthritis, migraine, coughs, flu
  8. Thyme – anti-viral, antiseptic, antibiotic, diuretic, insects and parasites deterrent, effective surface cleaner
  9. Lemon – antiseptic, antibacterial, stimulates digestion, tonic action on lymph system, clean air, cleaning agent, surface cleaner
  10. Clove – analgesic, antiseptic antibacterial, immune support 

Essential Oil Blending Made Simple

Blended kits make it easy for first time users to identify the purpose of a single or combination of scents. Specialty blends and boxed kits are available to help navigate the many choices of oils available. Blends are a wonderful way to learn how single essential oils can be used in blends for specific scents and purposes.

Common and Versatile Carrier Oils

Carrier oils are a necessity for those who are interested in creating cosmetics, massage oils, or other DIY health and beauty product. You can start by purchasing a smaller size carrier oil until you find your favourite. These carrier oils can be used on their own, or essential oils can be blended with them for further benefits. These are the four most common carrier oils:

  1. Almond Oil – This popular carrier oil is commonly used as a cosmetic ingredient for softening and moisturizing. It nourishes skin cells and improves elasticity. It’s slightly lighter than Jojoba Oil and absorbs quickly. Ideal for any skin type.
  1. Jojoba Oil – Similar to human sebum, this oil penetrates skin effectively and is used in personal care formulations as a skin moisturizer and for cell renewal. One of the most popular skin care oils, it’s rich in texture and provides excellent “slip” for massage. Suitable for all skin types and can also be used for hair health and perfumes.
  1. Avocado Oil – Contains collagen-supporting amino acids and protein as well as vitamins A, D and E. Helps increase epidermal elasticity while moisturizing and softening skin. A heavier skin care oil that will be most beneficial for those with extra dry or chapped skin.
  1. Grape Seed Oil – A powerful antioxidant that protects skins collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid. Penetrates into the skin easily and is rich in flavonoids. This nice light oil won’t clog pores and is great for sensitive skin.


Most people start by using essential oils aromatically as it is a simple place to begin. Ultrasonic diffusers can help meet the demands of varied tastes. USB diffusers provide lower price points and may be suitable for younger or more tech-savvy individuals. Fitting into home décor and filling different sized rooms with a scent can also be a deciding factor. One thing most can agree upon is diffusers make it easy to enjoy essential oil scents in a safe and effective manner as ultrasonic technology is a heatless system that preserves the integrity of the essential oil. With many diffusers also including lighting options, you can set just the right mood in any space.

Interested in making some essential oil recipes of your own? Check out these fun recipes from NOW® Foods Canada.

Fresh Face Blend

Designed for nighttime use, this blend is a simple yet effective combination of lemon, rose hip and rosemary oils. Treat yourself just before bedtime and wake up to a radiant complexion!

10 ml NOW® Rose Hip Seed Oil
2 drops NOW® Rosemary Oil
2 drops NOW® Lemon Oil

1. Combine all ingredients together.
2. Apply to face and neck area, be sure to avoid sensitive areas.

Diffuser Recipes

Add the following oils to a diffuser and enjoy!

Botanical Bliss:
5 drops NOW® Rose Absolute Oil Blend
2 drops NOW® Ylang Ylang Extra Oil

So Sweet Cinnamon:
6 drops NOW® Tangerine Oil
4 drops NOW® Cinnamon Cassia Oil
2 drops NOW® Nutmeg Oil


Adapt to Stress with Ashwagandha

Adapt to Stress with Ashwagandha

Adapt to Stress with Ashwagandha

Stress. It’s something that all of us experience, regardless of job, geographic location or family situation. Stress is the body’s response to environmental stimuli (stressors). It’s natural and healthy to a degree; stress can motivate us and move us forward in life. Too much stress and an inability to manage it, however, can have dramatic health consequences for an individual.

In Canada, statistics reveal the prevalence of stress in our modern society. Almost three-quarters of Canadian workers report being “stressed.” Of those stressed workers, more than one-third consider themselves “highly stressed.” Although there are numerous sources of stress, 60% of highly stressed individuals cite work as the primary cause.1

The cost of high stress levels to the Canadian economy is crippling. An estimated $20 billion per year is spent or lost in dealing with stress issues. An incredible 75% of short-term work disability is due to stress. 2

The dark side of chronic stress

Stress triggers adrenaline and cortisol production in the body allowing the individual to react to the stressful situation. Heart rate, body temperature, endocrine response and anxiety all increase. Productivity increases for a short time, but fatigue and exhaustion can follow and if the stress is prolonged, health issues can occur.

Chronic high levels of stress are associated with mental health issues. The Canadian Mental Health Commission reports that anxiety, depression, insomnia, fatigue as well as alcohol and drug abuse occur more frequently in those under extreme stress.3 These states can lead to memory loss, poor brain performance, anxiety disorders and accelerated aging. Further, with the mind-body connection in humans, stress issues can go beyond mental to physical disease. Heart disease, arthritis, joint conditions, diabetes, respiratory issues, migraine headaches, metabolic syndrome, obesity risk, poor sexual performance and weakened immunity all increase in the shadow of long-term stress. 

Solutions for managing stress and anxiety

The pharmaceutical industry offers a wide selection of drugs to help individuals cope with stress. Some common prescriptions are anxiolytics (tranquilizers) (e.g. benzodiazepines such as Valium and Xanax), beta blockers for anxiety symptoms or sleeping pills to assist with sleeping. The downside of these medicines can be dependence, decreasing effectiveness with regular use, memory loss, cognitive decline and withdrawal symptoms. Dependence can occur in just two weeks with some medications.4

To avoid the potential risks of pharmaceutical medications when dealing with stress and anxiety, there are a number of lifestyle adjustments suggested by the Canadian Mental Health Association to help the mind and body cope:5

  • Identifying the source of stress and establishing a plan for reduction
  • Sufficient sleep (7 hours per day) to allow the mind and body to heal
  • Regular vigorous exercise helps to release stress
  • Yoga, deep breathing and massages help to calm the mind and body
  • Eat a healthy diet of fruits, vegetables, lean meat, protein
  • Begin the day with a good breakfast and drink water throughout the day
  • Adopt a positive attitude and optimistic view on life
  • Surround yourself with supportive family and friends

Natural supplements can also assist the body and mind in coping with stressful conditions. Nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins, and magnesium have been shown to be helpful. Traditional herbal remedies also have a history of assisting the body to perform when under mental or physical stress.

Adaptogens – Natural stress resistance

Herbs that can enhance one’s capability to deal with stress are classified as adaptogens. These are plants with medicinal components that can help normalize the body’s functions during periods of mental and physical stress to rebalance and rejuvenate an individual. A number of herbs are classified as adaptogens. The best herbal adaptogens are those that have the following traits6:

  1. Decreases stress-induced damage
  2. Safe and beneficial even at higher than normal doses
  3. Free from negative effects, such as withdrawal
  4. Avoids impacting normal body functions more than necessary

One herb that satisfies all the requirements of a true adaptogen is Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera). Its name, Ashwagandha, means “smell of horse” owing to its distinctive odour and its ability to give one the “strength of a horse.” The root of Ashwagandha has been used in Indian Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years as a rejuvenative herb for enhancing the performance of multiple body systems: the neurological, immune, energy-production, endocrinal and reproductive systems.

Ashwagandha has had a long history of use as an adaptogen and even some basic clinical trials showing promise. A unique, full-spectrum extract of Ashwagandha has now been tested in a double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial to evaluate the full potential of the herb to assist humans to manage stress and anxiety. This Ashwagandha, branded as KSM-66®, has been called “the world’s best Ashwagandha.”

KSM-66® – Ashwagandha for mental stress

KSM-66® is a superior Ashwagandha extract for several reasons. It is a root-only extract for one. Only the root extract is used in Ayurvedic medicine, not the leaves. KSM-66® has the highest concentration active withanolides at 5% of any root-only Ashwagandha extract. KSM-66® is a full spectrum extract that contains the complete profile of nutrients found naturally in Ashwagandha. But most importantly, the KSM-66® extract is backed up by extensive clinical studies for its many benefits.

Researchers believed that Ashwagandha’s ability to reduce blood cortisol levels was the primary reason for its effectiveness against stress and anxiety symptoms. During stressful mental or physical situations, cortisol can rise as much as 20 times normal levels due to excess adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) secretion.12 Elevated cortisol leads to increased heart rate, blood pressure and blood sugar. High cortisol levels for short periods can save our lives, by focusing all body systems on survival. High cortisol levels for long periods can have detrimental effects on anxiety, depression, digestive problems, heart disease, sleep problems, weight gain, memory and concentration impairment.13

Clearly, KSM-66® Ashwagandha is proven to be an effective adaptogen, with research continuing to document its wide applications. Users of this special herbal extract will quickly understand why it was recently selected as the “Best Botanical Ingredient” by Engredea at the Natural Product Expo – the world’s largest natural health exhibition.

1. Crompton, Susan. “What’s stressing the stressed? Main sources of stress among workers.” Statistics Canada. April 2014.
2. Ibid.
3. Ibid.
4. “Balance your life with Cyracos®” 2011. Page 26.
5. Canadian Mental Health Association. “Stress.”
6. Chandrasekhar, K. et al, “A prospective, randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled study of safety and efficacy of a high-concentration full-spectrum extract of Ashwagandha Root in reducing stress and anxiety in adults.” Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine. Vol. 34, Issue 3, Jul-Sep 2012.
7. Ibid.
8. Ibid.
9. Ibid.
10. Ibid.
11. Ibid.
12. Ibid.
13. Mayo Clinic Staff. “Chronic stress puts your health at risk.” July 11, 2013.
14. Choudhary, S Bakhtiar, MD, PhD. et al. “Efficacy and safety of a Full Spectrum Root Extract of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) in Improving Cardiorespiratory Endurance in Healthy Athletic Adults.” I. Hyderabad Spice Clinic, Hyderabad, India. AYU – An International Quarterly Journal of Research in Ayurveda. 2015.
15. Wankhede, Sachin. “Effects of Ashwagandha Root Extract (Withania somnifera) on Muscle Strength, Size and Recover, Testosterone, and Body Fat in Health Adults.” Sports Medicine and Doctors Fitness Zone, Pune, India
16. Ibid.
17. Vijay, R. Ambiye, et al., “Clinical Evaluation of the Spermatogenic Activity of the Root Extract of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) in Oligospermic Males: A Pilot Study.” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 571420, 6 pages.
18. Swati Dongre, F MAS, “Efficacy and safety of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) root extract in improving sexual function in women: a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study.” Trupti Hospital & Santati Fertility Center, Mumbai.
19. Lopez, Dr. Len. “The stress infertility connection.”

Add More Superfoods to Your Everyday

Add More Superfoods to Your Everyday

Add More Superfoods to Your Everyday

Remember when your mom and grandma told you to “Eat more greens?” Well guess what, they were right! Thousands of published scientific studies from around the world have confirmed the healthy wisdom of what mom and grandma always said. And that’s not all! Now the latest research also tells us to eat the blues, the reds, the yellows, and all the other colours every day in order to get the full spectrum of colourful phyto (plant) nutrients we need to be healthy and active.

What’s better than superfoods? Fermented superfoods!

Fermented foods have been used as medicine throughout history. Chinese workers ate acid-fermented vegetables while building the Great Wall of China. The Japanese have had Kimchi as part of their daily menu for centuries. The Romans used sauerkraut to treat and prevent intestinal infections. Captain Cook used sauerkraut and lime juice to prevent scurvy on his three-year journey around the world. In the case of superfoods, we’ve taken the highest quality, antioxidants-rich superfoods and fermented them, which makes them even more… super!

Moringa, a global superfood star, is a new addition to our ever-growing family of organic superfood powders. Sometimes called the “Miracle Tree,” this beautiful tree is native to India and other parts of South Asia. Virtually all parts of it are used as food and medicine in traditional Indian diets, but the leaves are recognized as the most nutritious part of the tree. Packaged as pure powder and in vegetable capsules (without fillers), Moringa Leaf is a convenient way to fortify your diet with potent, plant-source antioxidants.

Even after thousands of years of traditional culinary use, Turmeric (Curcuma longa) continues to surprise and delight nutritional researchers by its endless array of health benefits. Packed with antioxidants and phyto-nutrients, Turmeric’s medicinal and culinary versatility makes it the most popular superfood spice in the world today. Even a small amount yields big benefits. Studies show that a mere half-teaspoon daily provides a broad spectrum of protective antioxidant power.

Kale (Brassica oleracea) has rapidly become the most popular leafy green in North America. Its undisputed health benefits and versatile culinary uses are touted by nutritional researchers and gourmet cooks alike. Our easy-to-use fermented Kale powder provides all the nutritional and health benefits of Kale along with the digestive benefits provided by fermentation.

Spirulina (Spirulina platensis) is one of the most ancient green superfood plants on earth. These tiny, single-celled freshwater micro algae contain an impressive 60% protein content! This lean & green protein source is also a natural source of minerals, including iron, calcium, and magnesium. Its high levels of B12 and protein make it the perfect addition to the diet of vegetarians. Spirulina contains all the essential amino acids and essential fats, along with complex carbohydrates, a wide range of vitamins and minerals including antioxidants, carotenoids (especially lutein) and nucleic acids. Researchers have found that Spirulina intake reduces blood cholesterol and inflammation. Regular supplementation with Spirulina also removes accumulated toxins in the body, creating a gentle and safe daily cleansing effect.

Chlorella is one of the most ancient food plants on earth. These tiny, single-celled green micro algae are “freshwater phytoplankton” that oat on the water’s surface soaking up sunshine and converting it into green energy power cells! The name “Chlorella” comes from the Latin words for “green leaf” and “small.” Chlorella contains the highest percentage of chlorophyll (the green pigment in plants) of any plant on earth. Chlorophyll is what gives Chlorella deep, emerald-green colour. But these fast-growing, microscopic green energy cells are not only packed with chlorophyll; Chlorella contains concentrated levels of protein (with all the essential amino acids) and essential fats, along with complex carbohydrates, fibre, vitamins and minerals including antioxidants, carotenoids (especially lutein) and nucleic acids. Researchers in Japan and Korea are finding that Chlorella intake has a positive effect on blood cholesterol, blood sugar and appetite control. Studies show that chlorella also has the power to remove toxins from the body.

Golden Turmeric Milk Recipe
This immune-boosting spiced drink is perfect for cold mornings-warming you from the inside out. The combination of a healthy fat such as coconut oil and pepper greatly increase the health benefits of turmeric, making healthy compounds such as curcumin more bioavailable. Serves 2.




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