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Herbal Support for Gentle Aging

Herbal Support for Gentle Aging

Herbal medicine can help our bodies and minds as we move through life, and may encourage us to age more gracefully.

The aging process is, of course, natural and inevitable.  It is an accumulation of lessons learned and life lived, but with so many experiences available to us many people seek to slow down the aging process so that they can add life to their years while adding years to their life.  And it never hurts to look good too!

There are a few body systems that have the greatest impact on our physical and mental health.  When we support the underlying issues that influence whether someone looks older or younger than their actual years we can be pro-active in the aging process.  Elements that encourage aging of both body and mind include toxic burden, emotional/mental/physical stress, and inflammation.

To ease the load on our bodies and minds of these factors there are two key herbs to consider.


Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is an herbal powerhouse with more than 5000 references in published medical journals!  It has three key actions on the body that have been well documented over several thousand years as a key herb in India and Ayurvedic medicine, as well as in modern day research trials. It is liver protective, anti-inflammatory and anti-neoplastic (anti-cancer).


By supporting the removal of toxins from the body through increased bile flow while supporting the health of the liver cells and protecting them from the very toxins they metabolize, as well as by reducing inflammation throughout the body, turmeric deserves a place in your supplement regime.  It is an edible spice and can easily be added to cooking, however, it can be difficult for most people to achieve a therapeutic daily dose through diet alone.  In our polluted world with low-grade inflammation linked to a myriad of health issues, a concentrated whole food turmeric supplement can be a game changer.


Inflammation is a necessary process in the body for healing from acute injury, infection, or trauma. However, when it becomes chronic it is associated with a variety of health concerns; from cardiovascular to pain with movement and can even cause depression and anxiety through the effects of inflammatory signals on the brain.  Regulating inflammation in the body is an essential component to feeling your best now and in years to come.


Another herb that shines with its ability to support longevity and healthy aging by addressing multiple systems at once is an additional Ayurvedic herb, ashwagandha.



Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) is a calming adaptogen that benefits thyroid health.  Adaptogens are a class of herbs that help us to adapt to change, which in turn helps with our stress response.  Some adaptogens are stimulating and give an energy boost, while some are neutral and simply support the body over time. Ashwagandha is one of the few adaptogenic herbs that help us feel calmer and sleep better, simultaneously supporting our stress response over time.  It’s right there in the Latin name “somnifera” – “somnus” is Latin for sleep and ashwagandha has a long history of relaxing restless bodies and minds.


Ashwagandha can be taken in the morning for those who jolt out of bed with their heart pounding, already anxious for the day ahead, or it can be taken closer to bedtime to help promote a restful sleep.


When we sleep, we heal.  When we can laugh and let it go and roll with the curve balls that life throws, then we are in a better position to age gracefully both in body and mind.  When we are calm and balanced we are more likely to make better decisions for our ultimate well-being. Choosing good nutrition over fast food “treats”, or deciding to get some exercise or perhaps connect with a friend rather than more negative, self-destructive behaviors can result in more positive health. Ashwagandha can be a wonderful support in helping us reach and stay in that “better place”.


Liquid vs Dried Herbs

Liquid herbal extracts offer superior absorption to dried herbs in capsules as the medicinal actives are already in solution and ready for absorption.  Dried herbs that are not being steeped into a tea or tincture first have a limited window in the upper digestive tract to be solubilized and absorbed.  Botanica’s liquid capsules were originally extracted in a water and alcohol blend to access the full array of medicinal actives.  That extract is then added to glycerin and the alcohol and water are removed leaving behind a concentrated liquid extract that is delivered in a vegetarian capsule.  They offer the body a powerful dose of herbal medicinal actives in a liquid form that is convenient for travel, ideal for those who avoid alcohol for religious or other reasons, or who want the benefit of a tincture without actually tasting the medicine.


Foundational elements to living well and aging beautifully include whole food nutrient dense meals, optimal digestion and detoxification, movement, sleep, and joy.  Botanica’s Turmeric and Ashwagandha capsules can help to support those elements directly (detoxification, sleep), and indirectly (increased mobility from decreased pain, and mood regulation).



Q & A to Keep the Doctor Away

Q & A to Keep the Doctor Away

Gifford-Jones, MD answers your questions on how to age gracefully and mindfully to ensure you live the best golden years possible!

Q: How do you know vitamin C and lysine work to protect against heart attack and stroke?

A: As we age, the body’s production of collagen slows down, which can result in aging skin, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, and many other conditions including declining cardiovascular health. Inadequate amounts of vitamin C results in poor collagen. Vitamin C is required to manufacture healthy collagen, the glue that holds cells together, just like mortar is needed for bricks. Lysine, like steel rods in cement, makes collagen stronger. Coronary arteries are under more pressure than any other artery in the body so keeping your veins and arteries healthy is essential for protection against a heart attack or stroke. Without sufficient vitamin C and lysine, the constant pounding in coronary arteries causes minute cracks in collagen, contributing to atherosclerosis, blood clots, or rupturing of a weakened artery, resulting in a stroke. Medi-C Plus® provides high dose vitamin C and lysine to help maintain cardiovascular health.


Q: Why such high doses of vitamin C and lysine?

A: Only 10 mg of vitamin C is needed to guard against scurvy. Standard multi-vitamins have 75 mg of vitamin C. Prescribing these small amounts to prevent coronary attack is like trying to kill an elephant with a BB gun. It requires several thousand milligrams of vitamin C and lysine, as found in Medi-C Plus, to support healthy collagen production, and as we know, collagen is the key to healthy coronary arteries.


Q: How can I avoid losing teeth?

A: Patients often appear surprised when I tell them that vita­min C will help them keep their teeth a lifetime. This is where collagen comes into play again, as the glue that holds cells together and keeps gums healthy. Gums lacking collagen lose their grip on teeth, resulting in tooth loss. Brushing and flossing regularly also goes without saying. I turn 96 this year and I am happy to say I still have my teeth!


Q: Can I take vitamin C if I have a cold or influenza?

A: People who have a cold or influenza, or who suffer a trauma actually have an increased need for higher doses of vitamin C. For instance, a dog who develops an infection and normally produces 5,000 mg of vitamin C daily, will increase the production of vitamin C to 100,000 mg. Humans do not have the ability to make their own vitamin C so taking a supplement like Medi-C Plus is a good idea for fighting viral infections.


Q: Why does Medi-C Plus come in both Calcium and Magnesium Formulas?

A: Medi-C Plus is available in Calcium and Magnesium formulas, both of which act as buffers for the vitamin C. The Calcium formula supports bone health and is suitable for those not getting enough calcium in their diet. Magnesium regulates heart rate and supports immune health, muscles, and neurological systems. Most adults don’t get enough magnesium in their diet and absorption decreases with age. So, whether you choose the Calcium or Magnesium Formulas – both provide effective support for heart health and more.


To maintain optimal health and improve your chances of reaching 90+, I recommend Medi-C Plus with high dose vitamin C and lysine – just mix with your morning juice.


For more health tips and to sign up for my no-nonsense advice for good health go to


Here’s to Aging Mindfully

Here’s to Aging Mindfully

Whether you are looking forward to the end of your monthly cycles or are less enthusiastic about it, most women know that menopause marks the end of fertility. This major life transition typically happens somewhere in the early 50s and is marked by one-year period-free. But we don’t arrive at menopause overnight. Instead, the potentially long and winding road to this significant milestone in a woman’s life can last for years – and it can be a crazy ride!


Predictably Unpredictable Perimenopause

After approximately 30 years of somewhat regularity since your first menstrual period, symptoms of perimenopause can have you questioning everything you thought you knew about your body. No two months – or sometimes two days – are alike. Sudden fluctuations in estrogen can cause hot flashes or night sweats. Mood swings, sleep troubles, fatigue and easy tears become the new normal.

During this time, your ovaries are doing a cha-cha; some months, ovaries send out two oocytes. Other months, no eggs are released at all. Menstrual periods might seem like they are minutes apart or be separated by so much time that you think “this must be it” – and then a period arrives out of the blue on a day that you are totally unprepared. For some women, symptoms last only a year. Others may experience peri-menopausal symptoms for a decade or more. Fortunately, you can grab the wheel and help to steer your own transition.


Lifestyle Road-Map

A smooth transition involves a focus on promoting healthy estrogen production and reducing harmful estrogens. We can do this in two ways. First, we need to avoid exposure to estrogen-like chemicals found outside of our bodies called xenoestrogens. (Xeno means false.) These hormone disruptors are close enough in molecular structure to estrogen that they can bind to estrogen receptor sites in the body and can cause dangerous health outcomes. Some of the most researched xenoestrogenic chemicals are BPA (bisphenol-A), phthalates (say “thay-lates”) and parabens.

Common sources of xenoestrogens include body care products and cosmetics, home cleaning products, gardening supplies, and home décor (paint, candles, room deodorizers) as well as charred meats. Choose organic foods and products to limit exposure.

But endocrine disruptors are not the only cause for concern. A woman’s lifetime exposure to natural estrogen has been identified in medical research as a likely cause of estrogen-associated cancers, especially breast and endometrial cancers. Our bodies can thwart this process through natural detoxification processes in the liver. The problem, of course, is that the liver is so busy cleaning up pollution, xenoestrogens, medications, chemicals in food, alcohol and other toxins that it can get over-worked. As someone who might be a partner, mother and grandmother, aunt, daughter, sister, volunteer, friend, entrepreneur or employee – you can likely relate to how your liver might feel about the workload!


Love Your Liver

Ease the burden on your natural detoxification processes with a few simple diet and lifestyle switches. Limit or avoid caffeine, alcoholic beverages and charred meats, and choose organic foods when possible. Improve your bowel function with a varied diet of fibre-rich fruits and vegetables, as constipation can lead to reabsorption of estrogen after it has been processed by liver.

You absolutely want to include cruciferous vegetables, including bok choy, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale, and turnips. These veggies are rich sources of sulfur-containing compounds known as glucosinolates. After undergoing breakdown in your stomach, glucosinolates produce indole-3-carbinole (I3C) which then transforms into various compounds, including 3,3′-diindolylmethane (DIM). Both I3C and DIM are involved in the metabolism and elimination of many xenobiotics, including drugs and estrogens, and studies suggest that these compounds promote healthy breast, cervical and endometrial tissue. Broccoli sprouts, in particular, are especially high in sulphoraphane, which is a phytochemical that has been shown to stimulate production of detoxification enzymes that eliminate environmental estrogens.


Symptom Relief

If liver detoxification is a life-time road trip, you can think of support nutrients as comfort breaks along the ride. Herbs that calm symptoms of peri-menopause and menopause include black cohosh for hot flashes and to improve sleep. Chastetree berry (vitex) has been shown to be helpful for mood, excess worry, food cravings and sleep. Sage and Dong quai can also improve hot flashes and perspiration (night sweats). Along with I3C and DIM, these herbs are available in supplement form for easy relief – and a more comfortable ride.


Selected References

Jiang, K., Jin,Y., Huang, L., Feng, S., Hou, X., Du, B.,  Zheng, J., & Li, L. (2015.) Black cohosh improves objective sleep in postmenopausal women with sleep disturbance, Climacteric, 18:4, 559-567, DOI: 10.3109/13697137.2015.1042450

Johnson, A., Roberts, L., & Elkins, G. (2019). Complementary and Alternative Medicine for Menopause. Journal of evidence-based integrative medicine24, 2515690X19829380. doi:10.1177/2515690X19829380

Kargozar, R., Azizi, H., & Salari, R. (2017). A review of effective herbal medicines in controlling menopausal symptoms. Electronic physician9(11), 5826–5833. doi:10.19082/5826

Niroumand, M. C., Heydarpour, F., & Farzaei, M. H. (2018). Pharmacological and Therapeutic Effects of Vitex agnus-castus L.: A Review. Pharmacognosy Reviews12(23), 103–114.

Sanlier N, Guler Saban M (2018) The Benefits of Brassica Vegetables on Human Health. Journal of Human Health Research, 1: 104, 1-13

Santoro N. (2016). Perimenopause: From Research to Practice. Journal of women’s health (2002)25(4), 332–339. doi:10.1089/jwh.2015.5556




About the Author: Lisa Petty, PhD (Candidate)

Lisa Petty, PhD (Candidate) is an expert in women’s well-being.

Now is the Time to Try Probiotics

Now is the Time to Try Probiotics

There are lots of good and bad bugs in your body – are the bad ones bugging you? It’s like a blockbuster action movie, the epic battle between good and evil that wages inside your body every day. Inside your mouth, intestines, urinary tract – and for women vaginal tract – there are 100 trillion bugs fighting to claim a space in your body. Collectively, scientists call this throng of microbes your microbiome.

Who is winning? You can tell by how well you feel. According to a 2014 review, the microbiome (the microorganisms in a particular environment, including the body or a part of the body) influences the body’s health in many ways: from dental cavities to digestive gas, and from eczema to your mood. The microbes in your gut can seriously affect your health. Grab some popcorn, and keep reading. Find out how to defeat the villains and win back your health!

Like a galaxy, your body is a vast place in which microbes are trying to find a space to call their own. The villains in this battle are bad microbes, such as E. coli or Salmonella. They spew out harmful substances and are disruptive to the body. The heroes are probiotics, including those in the Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria family. According to the peer-reviewed Gastroenterologist’s Guide to Probiotics, probiotics do a lot of things to keep your body healthy: they aid in the digestion of food, absorption of nutrients and modulation of the immune system. Probiotics also ward off bad microbes. Amazing! Sounds like probiotics are not just heroes, but superheroes.

Ensuring the vast reaches of your microbiome are infiltrated by superheroes requires a microbiome hosting a variety of probiotic species. For example, Bifidobacteria prefer to roam the lower intestine, while Lactobacilli are present in large numbers in healthy vaginal tracts. Health First ProBio Supreme contains 14 probiotic species. Wow! Health First ProBio Supreme contains some extremely well researched species including Lactobacilli plantarumLactobacilli acidophilus and Bifidobacterium longum.

Like all epic battles, numbers can be a factor. Measured in colony forming units (CFUs), probiotics offer health benefits when administered in adequate amounts. A good source of probiotics is Health First ProBio Supreme, which contains 55 Billion CFUs per capsule. That’s a lot of fighting power to challenge whatever’s bugging you.


But how do you choose a probiotic?

1) Make a Match
If you desire a specific health benefit (e.g. antibiotic associated diarrhea relief), seek out the probiotic species whose effects match your needs.

2) Be Diverse
For general health, consider that a person’s gut contains a diverse number of probiotics. A multi-species probiotic supplement promotes a favourable gut flora.

3) Get Adequate Amounts
To be effective, probiotics have to be administered in adequate amounts. Health Canada recommends a minimum dosage of 10 billion CFUs.

4) Quality
Choose a supplement brand with probiotic species backed by science, and known for high standards in purity and potency.

5) Ask for Help
Quality health food retailers have qualified staff in store to help you choose a supplement. Visit your local Health First Network store for more.

May the ‘good microbes’ be with you!



Front Microbiol. 2015; 6: 1050.
Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2012 Sep; 10(9): 960–968.
Aust N Z J Psychiatry. 2015 Mar;49(3):207-14
Int J Mol Sci. 2015 Apr 2;16(4):7493-519
Am J Clin Nutr. 2004 Aug;80(2):245-56.
Am Fam Physician. 2008 Nov 1;78(9):1073-8.

Manage Inflammation Naturally This Year

Manage Inflammation Naturally This Year

Our overall wellness is a direct expression of the health of our cells. When our cells are damaged or begin to age, their membranes start to break down. As this happens, compounds that are contained within the cell walls are released into the cellular matrix. Substances such as histamine can increase inflammation and in turn the pain associated with it.

In order to halt the inflammation and damage at the cellular level, it’s useful to look at limiting our toxic load (such as environmental and toxic chemicals), reducing stress, and incorporating antioxidant-rich foods.  Adding foundational natural supplements to your daily regime can also play a significant role in reducing inflammation and improving health at the cellular level.

A case in point is PURICA Recovery® for pain relief and whole-body health (or PURICA Recovery 3.0 for rapid relief of inflammation and healing).

PURICA Recovery® is a synergistic, comprehensive formula with a proven 20-year track record that works in three ways:

  1. Reduce inflammation
  2. Repair tissue
  3. Stabilize membranes by enhancing cellular health and, in turn, the framework of your body formed by epithelial, connective, muscular and skeletal tissues.

PURICA Recovery® works on strength of the synergy of its ingredients:

  • MSM, a natural sulfur that is essential in the maintenance of healthy joints and connective tissue;
  • The naturally-occurring Glucosamine HCL, which is found in fluid around the joints, supports the structural framework of healthy joints and promotes mobility and flexibility;
  • Water soluble Vitamin C, which helps produce collagen and is essential to the health and integrity of our cells, also lowers levels of c-reactive protein, which is a marker for inflammation;
  • Vitamin E, which protects your cell walls from oxidative damage, is essential to the integrity of your exterior cells;
  • Magnesium, which plays a role in over 300 enzymatic processes in the body and is vital for bone strength and relieving muscle tightness;
  • Hyaluronic acid (HA), cushions your joints and nerve tissues, helps to stabilize fluid breakdown within joints, nourishes articular cartilage and is essential to synovial fluid;
  • Betaine HCL, which improves digestion by increasing stomach acid levels while decreasing intestinal permeability, can also help to decrease pain associated with lactic acid build;
  • Hyperberry formula, a powerful concentrated antioxidant formula of blackberries, blueberries, cranberries and raspberries to protect against cell damage by guarding the cells from reactions with free radicals;
  • Nutricol®, a proprietary blend of grape seed extract and green tea that provides a synergistic mechanism required to halt inflammation in its earliest stages, strengthens the cell wall to stop damage from ongoing inflammation and restrict the process that leads to tissue breakdown.

Working together, these ingredients we can actually halt damage at the cellular level, initiate better cell receptivity and stabilize cell matrix. That’s the very intention behind PURICA Recovery: to work at a cellular level to not only curb damage before it’s a problem, but to teach the cells to better respond to inflammation, improve healing and to protect, regenerate and rebuild. It’s this “multi-tasking” that not only makes PURICA Recovery effective for pain relief — back pain, hip pain, knee pain, shoulder pain, wrist pain, injury or surgery rehabilitation — but allows it to serve as a foundational product for whole body health.

The next generation formulation PURICA Recovery 3.0 is powered by Curcumin BioBMCD30, which is 30% bisdemethoxycurcumin (BDMC), compared to 1% BDMC found in regular Curcumin extract providing a powerful anti-inflammatory. Given that stress and inflammation are often linked together, it is notable that the ingredient organic ashwagandha (Sensoril) reduces cortisol levels and works in tandem with the medicinal mushroom Chaga. Both ingredients help the body better adapt to the effects of stress, such as fatigue, sleeplessness, irritability and inability to concentrate. The recommended dosage is two capsules twice a day with noticeable impact within hours. It also facilitates connective tissue formation and in the healing of wounds, and helps in collagen formation and the development and maintenance of bones, cartilage, teeth and or gums.
PURICA Recovery 3.0 can work in conjunction with the original PURICA Recovery or on its own as a powerful anti-inflammatory to facilitate the healing process.



About the Author: Tawnya Ritco, RHN


Tawnya Ritco, RHN, specializes on the relationship between nutrition, lifestyle and vitality and has worked in the natural health industry for 15 years




Better Bowel Health

Better Bowel Health

Constipation. It’s not a fun or exciting topic to discuss, but a necessary conversation to have when it comes to your overall health. According to the Canadian Society of Intestinal Research, chronic constipation affects 15-30% of Canadians, and is commonly found in young children and the elderly, occurring more frequently in females than in males.[1] Healthy bowel movements are essential to a healthy body but how do you know what is healthy? Here are some things to keep in mind.

STOOL COLOUR – Generally, stool should be walnut brown. Temporary colour changes can happen if you eat certain foods such as beets or dark green vegetables.

CONSISTENCY & LENGTH– Poop that is passed in one single piece or a few smaller pieces is typically considered to be a sign of a healthy bowel. The long, sausage-like shape of poop is due to the shape of the intestines. Stool should have a consistency similar to toothpaste and the length of a banana. Many people produce small, hard, lumpy stools. Insufficient daily intake of water and fibre are key contributors to improper consistency and length.

FREQUENCY – At least one good bowel movement per day and up to 2 or 3 is ideal for optimum health. Think of pets and babies, they tend to go an hour after eating.

GAS AND ODOUR – Gas is the natural by-product of digestion. However, lots of gas is not normal, nor should it be really stinky.

SINK OR FLOAT– Normal healthy stool should leave the body easily, settle in the water and gently submerge. If there is not enough daily fibre in the diet, the stool will quickly plummet to the bottom of the toilet. If the stool floats, the likely reason is too much undigested fat.

EASE OF POOPING – Many people take a newspaper or a phone into the bathroom and spend time on the toilet. Healthy bowel movements should only take a few minutes. A healthy bowel movement should be painless and require minimal strain. You should also not need to push hard as this could lead to hemorrhoids.[2]


There are many things that can lead to constipation. We have listed a few here for you to weigh in if any – or all are impacting your bowel movements.

Unhealthy Eating Habits

A diet too low in fibre and water may contribute to constipation. Fibre increases stool bulk, accelerates colon transit time and water keeps the colon hydrated.[3] Canadian women need 25 grams of fibre per day and men need 38 grams. Most Canadians are only getting about half that much.[4] Contrary to popular belief, coffee does not fix constipation. While caffeine can stimulate muscles that trigger a bowel movement, it is also dehydrating,[5] so don’t rely on that cup of Joe to get things moving!

Lack of Exercise

Exercise helps to move food through the colon more quickly. Aerobic exercise, such as brisk walking, accelerates your heart and breathing rates, and helps to stimulate the natural contractions of intestinal muscles.[6] For many people, regular exercise may improve constipation symptoms as well as overall health. 30 minutes of walking or physical activity five times a week is a great place to start.


Some medications may cause constipation. Talk to your healthcare practitioner and read medication warnings to determine if your medication might cause constipation.

Changes in Routine

When your normal daily activity is altered the bowel can become constipated (travel, sickness, etc). Try to maintain a regular lifestyle because consistency with your eating and sleeping patterns can help regulate bowel function.

Not Enough Time

Sometimes a slight urge to eliminate will be felt, but that urge is ignored as we are “too busy” to act upon it. Over time, this reduces the natural urge to eliminate, and the urges become less frequent. Make sure you set aside time, preferably in the morning or about 30 minutes after a meal, to pass stool. Make sure you have enough time and privacy to pass stools comfortably. 

Proper Eliminative Positioning

The modern toilet does not position the body properly for elimination. The natural and anatomically correct position for elimination in humans is more of a ‘squatting’ position. Use a step stool or phonebook to position yourself properly while using the toilet. [7]

What can you do about it?

Here are a few tips that can help you avoid constipation.[8]

  • Include plenty of high-fibre foods in your diet, including beans and legumes, vegetables, fruits, whole grain cereals and bran.
  • Eat fewer processed and refined foods.
  • Drink plenty of filtered water and herbal teas.
  • Get active with regular exercise.
  • Try to manage stress.
  • Don’t ignore the urge to pass stool.
  • Try to create a regular schedule for bowel movements, especially after a meal.
  • Make sure children who begin to eat solid foods get plenty of fibre and water in their diets.

Consider supplementing with CleanseMORE™ from Renew Life®, a colon targeted formula designed to help provide relief from occasional constipation. It’s made with the mineral magnesium hydroxide along with natural herbal ingredients such as cape aloe leaf, triphala and rhubarb root to help stimulate a laxative effect.

Taking a daily probiotic is also important to consider. Probiotics are good microbes that help keep us healthy. Many health experts recommend taking a daily probiotic supplement to help restore digestive balance, support immune health, promote bowel health and regularity and replenish healthy gut bacteria. Renew Life® has many probiotic formulas to choose from. Visit your local Health First Member store to find the best formula for you.

Don’t let constipation be an issue in your life. You can make visits to the bathroom quick and easy with proper diet and lifestyle changes along with supplementation.




[1] Canadian Society of Intestinal Research. (2019). Constipation Overview. Available: Last accessed 31 Oct 19.

[2]Northrup, C. (2019). How Healthy Is Your Poop? Available: Last accessed 12 Nov 19.

[3] Hwan Bae, S.. (2014). Diets for Constipation. Available: Last accessed 9 Sep 19.

[4] Government of Canada Staff. (2019). Nutrients in Food: Fibre. Available: Last accessed 9 July 2019.

[5] Davis, C.P. . (2018). Digestive Disorders: 23 Constipation Myths and Facts. Available: Last accessed 18 Sep 19.

[6] authors (2019). Constipation Management. Available: Last accessed 9 Sep 19.

[7] NDNR Staff. (2007). Proper Positioning For Elimination. Available: Last accessed 9 Sep 19.

[8] Mayo Clinic Staff. Constipation Prevention. Available: Last accessed 31 Oct 19.


20/20 in 2020

20/20 in 2020

Your eyesight is important and taking preventative action to protect your vision is key. There are many simple things that can be done including wearing sunglasses year-round, reducing exposure to blue light and UV rays and incorporating nutrients like lutein and zeaxanthin into your diet. Clinical studies have shown that supplementation can be one of the most effective ways to support total eye health1,2.

Total Vision Care™ is the only eye health supplement recognized by The Vision Institute of Canada. It is a comprehensive formula that is based on the clinically proven AREDS2 formula1,2. It goes further by including alpha lipoic acid, bilberry, citrus bioflavonoids, and grape seed extract for additional antioxidant protection.

Supports Vision Under All Light Conditions
Total Vision Care supports visual acuity under all light conditions including; glare and daytime and night vision. Vitamin A, lutein and zeaxanthin, found in abundance in the retina, support dim-light vision, colour vision and normal retina function5.

Digital Eye Strain
Lutein, zeaxanthin, zinc and vitamin C found in Total Vision Care play a role in protecting the eyes against damage from high energy blue light from digital screens.

Reduce the Risk of Developing Cataracts and AMD

Total Vision Care includes alpha lipoic acid, bilberry, and grape seed extract. These antioxidants work together to reduce free radical damage to both the lens and the retina. Alpha lipoic acid plays an important role in helping to maintain optimal amounts of glutathione and vitamins C and E in the lens of the eyes. The lens of the eye has one of the most abundant sources of glutathione in the body. Together these antioxidants protect the lens of the eye and the retina from free radical damage, reducing the risk of developing cataracts and AMD,4.

Superior Nutrient Absorption
Total Vision Care is made with Platinum Naturals’ Superior Nutrient Absorption™ delivery system that suspends the ingredients in healthy omega-3 fish oils. Superior Nutrient Absorption™ optimizes the absorption and delivery of the nutrients to the eyes, increasing antioxidant power and macular pigment density.

Your eyesight is precious. If you’re concerned about your vision, consider taking Total Vision Care to provide your eyes with the nutritional defense they need to protect your vision and reduce the risk of developing degenerative conditions



(1) Age-Related Eye Disease Study Research Group (2001) A randomized, placebo-controlled, clinical trial of high dose supplementation with vitamins C and E and beta carotene for age-related cataract and vision loss. AREDS Report No 9. Arch Opthalmol 119: 1439-1452.

(2) Age-Related Eye Disease Study 2 Research Group (2013) Lutein and zeaxanthin and omega-3 fatty acids for age-related macular degeneration: The Age-Related Eye Disease Study 2 (AREDS2) Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA 309(10): 2005-2015.

(3) Shi, J., Yu, J., Pohorly, J.E., and Kakuda, Y. (2003) Polyphenolics in grape seeds—biochemistry and functionality. J Med Food 6(4): 291-299.

(4) Ogawa, K., Tsuruma, K., Tanaka, J., Kakino, M., Kobayashi,S., Shimazawa, M and Hara, H. (2013) The protective effects of bilberry and lingonberry extracts against UV light-induced retinal photoreceptor cell damage in vitro. J Agric Food Chem 61: 10345-10353

(5) Nolan, J.M., Loughman, J., Akkali, M.C., Stack, J., Scanlon, G., Davison, P., and Beatty, S. (011) The impact of ocular pigment augmentation on visual performance in normal subjects: COMPASS. Vision Research 51: 459-469

Make Friends with Maca

Make Friends with Maca

The health benefits for the daily use of this Peruvian superfood can be significant for perimenopausal women. 

Along its vast 7,000 km length, the Andes Mountain range of South America hides many ancient secrets. One such secret – the lost mountain-top city of Machu Picchu – was rediscovered in 1911. More recently a natural remedy cultivated in those same mountains was finally revealed to the rest of the world – maca root.

Maca (Lepidium meyenii) is a turnip-like plant that grows at altitudes of 4000 m and higher. The cold, harsh Andean mountain environment with its mineral-rich soil contributes to maca’s root system being rich in natural alkaloids (including macaridine, exclusive to maca), minerals (calcium, copper, potassium and many others), vitamins, proteins and plant sterols (most importantly beta sitosterol). This unique combination of nutrients is the key to maca root’s traditional use by Peruvians as an energizer, a natural aphrodisiac for both males and females and a reliever of menopausal symptoms in women.

Maca root is considered an “adaptogen” because of how it helps the body perform normally when undergoing stressful mental or physical situations. While its traditional use for energizing has long been touted, some of maca root’s other benefits have been put to the test in published clinical human studies.

Libido enhancing is one of maca root’s most commonly noted effects. This effect has been seen in several studies involving both male and female participants. For females specifically, one study showed that in postmenopausal women, six weeks of supplementation with maca root significantly reduced the participants’ anxiety and depression symptoms as well as their sexual dysfunction issues.1 Interestingly, this increase in sexual desire was not accompanied with increased hormonal (estrogenic) activity. A full understanding of maca root’s biochemical effects is not yet known, but maca root does not contain phytoestrogens (plant estrogens) as are found in many other natural remedies for menopausal relief, such as soy.2

A second study looked at the ability of maca root to counteract the negative effects to normal sexual functioning associated with the use of SSRI (selective-serotonin reuptake inhibitor) antidepressants. This study suggested that maca root could in fact safely alleviate sexual dysfunction and increase libido in those taking SSRI’s over an eight-week period.3

A longer four-month study concluded that maca root might have potential as a non-hormonal alternative to HRT (hormone replacement therapy) in perimenopausal women.   Maca root was observed to reduce the frequency of hot flashes, night sweating, sleep interruptions and nervousness.  There was also evidence that maca was able to rebalance the women’s hormonal levels, not by phytoestrogenic means, but by strengthening with the hypothalamus-pituitary organs.4

One thing to note from the studies to date is that during the short-term both maca root and placebo treatments may show results. It is with the continued regular use of maca root that the most significant results are experienced.4

Maca root is a food with a long track record of safe human consumption; amounts up to 20 grams per day have been taken without issue. The amount of maca root you should take on a daily basis depends on the health benefits you are seeking. The potency of maca capsules can vary, but 750 mg per capsule is a common dosage. With a 750 mg capsule you should take:5

    • 1-4 capsules daily for antioxidant support
    • 3-4 capsules daily for mood balance during menopause
    • 4 capsules daily to improve emotional aspects of sexual health

You may want to consider looking for a maca root supplement that is noted to be “gelatinized.” Maca root is a very starchy, fibrous material that can be hard to digest. Gelatinization is a process that removes this starchy material to make the active nutrients in maca more concentrated, potent and more easily absorbed by the body.

Maca root’s safety for daily use and increasing clinically-backed evidence suggest that it can have significant benefits for those experiencing menopausal discomforts.



  1. Brooks, NA et al. Beneficial effects of Lepidium meyenii (Maca) on psychological symptoms and measures of sexual dysfunction in postmenopausal women are not related to estrogen or androgen content. 2008 Nov-Dec;15(6):1157-62. doi: 10.1097/gme.0b013e3181732953.
  2. Meissner, HO. Et al. Therapeutic effects of pre-gelatinized maca (Lepidium Peruvianum Chacon) used as a Non-Hormonal Alternative to HRT in Perimenopausal Women – Clinical Pilot Study. Int J Biomed Sci. 2006 Jun: 2(2) 143-159.
  3. A Double-blind, Randomized, Pilot Dose-finding Study Of Maca Root (L. Meyenii) For The Management Of SSRI-induced Sexual Dysfunction . CNS Neurosci Ther. 2008 Fall;14(3):182-91. doi: 10.1111/j.1755-5949.2008.00052.x
  4. Meissner, HO. Et al. Therapeutic effects of pre-gelatinized maca (Lepidium Peruvianum Chacon) used as a Non-Hormonal Alternative to HRT in Perimenopausal Women – Clinical Pilot Study. Int J Biomed Sci. 2006 Jun: 2(2) 143-159.
  5. “Maca”.
  6. Health Canada. Natural Health Products Ingredients Database Monograph: Maca.

Gran’s Shortbread Made Keto

Gran’s Shortbread Made Keto

Making Shortbread low crab



Shortbread was a staple in our house for holidays growing up. My gran was from Scotland and she made the best (in my totally biased opinion) Shortbread in the world. I’ve made her recipe for years and now that I find myself on a low carbohydrate diet I am really missing them this time of year. Based on the simple ingredients in shortbread I figured that it should be fairly easy to make her recipe Keto friendly and I was very happy with the results.

The most important thing to remember is that almond flour doesn’t absorb the same as traditional wheat flour so the butter to flour ratio is going to have to change. Beyond that the other ingredients are easy to swap out 1:1 to make the mouth watering shortbread that I’ve been craving.

Directions for Shortbread Cookies 

2 cups almond flour (preferably fine ground and blanched)

1/4 cup Lakanto powdered erythritol (more if you like it sweeter)

¾ cup grass fed salted butter (softened)

2 tbsp of Lakanto brown sugar

      All ingredients found at Homegrown Foods!

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F
  2. Use a non-stick baking mat or parchment paper on the cookie sheet
  3. Use a medium size mixing bowl and an electric mixer
  4. Cream together butter and sugars
  5. Mix in almond flour until it all sticks together
  6. Roll 12 1-inch balls and place them 2 inches apart (pro-tip: use a medium melon baller)
  7. Flatten each ball slightly using a fork
  8. Bake 8-10 minutes or until slightly golden brown on the edges
  9. Allow to cool on the baking sheet as the centres will be soft and fall apart until cooled

Optional: melt Krisda sugar free chocolate chips with butter and dip the cooled cookies in it or drizzle on top.



Nutritional Information

1 net carb per cookie

Curcumin Can Save Your December

Curcumin Can Save Your December

Inflammation is behind many of today’s most dangerous health conditions – learn how curcumin can help put out the fire.

Inflammation is the body’s natural defense against injuries and invading pathogens. The body uses a combination of heightened body temperature, free radicals, proteins and powerful macrophage cells to attack internal dangers and promote healing.  And now for the bad news…

While inflammation is an evolutionary development that has helped humans survive and adapt, it is a double-edged sword. The ability to regulate inflammation is critical. Aging reduces our ability to regulate our inflammatory reactions; when aging is combined with a diet high in unhealthy fats and sugars, exposure to free radicals via environmental toxins, obesity and an inactive lifestyle, inflammation can become systemic or chronic. Our body begins to attack its own nerves and organs leading to degenerative disease.1

In fact, the health conditions related to systemic inflammation reads like a “who’s-who” of today’s fastest rising and most debilitating diseases:

  • Congestive heart failure
  • Heart attack
  • Arthritis and joint pain
  • Cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Lupus
  • and many others.2

In looking for safe, natural ways to help reduce the effects of systemic inflammation, one particular culinary spice is gaining much attention. Curcumin, the pigment that gives the fiery Indian dish curry its signature yellow colour, has a long tradition of anti-inflammatory use and a present and future as one of the most research-backed nutraceuticals on the market. There have been over 2,0400 scientific reviews of curcumin, many showing its potential as an anti-inflammatory, anticarcinogenic, antiviral, immune-modulator and cholesterol lowering nutrient.3,4  Curcumin appears to work via its ability to down-regulate inflammatory enzymes such as COX-2 which can cause systemic inflammation and through its antioxidant properties.5

Although curcumin clearly has tremendous potential for overall health due to its anti-inflammatory properties, its poor absorbability has been a problem.6 It is estimated that as much as 75% of curcumin is directly excreted after ingestion.7 New research suggests that complexing curcumin with plant phytosomes (phosphatidylcholine) allows up to 20 times more cellular uptake of this valuable spice. More absorption means more anti-inflammatory effectiveness. Double-blind clinical studies have shown that curcumin phytosomes provide effective relief of inflammatory-related joint pain and immobility and lower blood levels of C-reactive proteins (CRP) which are indicative of overall inflammation.8

Whether you are suffering from the common inflammatory disease of osteoarthritis, or want help in preventing some of today’s other major health conditions, curcumin can be a useful partner in putting out the inflammatory fire.



  1. MacWilliam, Lyle. Nutrisearch Comparative Guide to Nutritional Supplements. Northern Dimensions Publishing. 2007. P. 14.
  1. Physicians Desk Reference for Nutritional Supplements. Medical Economics Company. 2001. P. 119
  1. Jurenka, Julie S. Anti-inflammatory Properties of Curcumin, a Major Constituent of Curcuma longa: A Review of Precliinical and Clinical Research. Alternative Medicine Review. Volume 14. Number 2. 2009.
  1. Physicians Desk Reference for Nutritional Supplements. Medical Economics Company. 2001. P. 118
  1. Kidd, Paris M., PhD. Bioavailability and Activity of Phytosome Complexes from Botanical Polyphenls: The Silymarin, Curcumin, Green Tea, and Grape Seed Extracts. Alternative Medicine Review. Volume 14. Number 3. 2009. P. 226.
  1. Physicians Desk Reference for Nutritional Supplements. Medical Economics Company. 2001. P. 118
  1. Belcaro, Gianni, et al. Product evaluation registry of Meriva®, a curcumin-phosphatidylcholine complex for the complementary management of osteoarthritis. Irvine3 Circulation-Vascular Laboratory, Dept. of Biodmedical Sciences, Chieti-Pescara University, Italy.
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