Virchew signalling – can dogs go vegan?

But first…

Photo: d. king

Let me preface this by asking – did you know that one of the oldest living dogs was a border collie named Bramble who was vegan and lived to be 25?

There’s a book “Bramble; The dog who wanted to live forever” that documents the care regime, diet and the people who looked after her. The book also demonstrates how to circumvent the pet food industry which in many cases contributes to greenhouse gasses and animal abuse via intensive farming.

I know I’ve been appalled at some of the ingredients I’ve noticed on many pet food packages, many of which are on the shelves for sale at your veterinarian. Kudos to anyone trying to improve the industry…but that’s not to say that I would jump in and rapidly change my dog’s diet, which I believe is pretty healthy as is.  As with almost everything else, you must do the research yourself.

Photo: d. king

Here’s what I found: Dogs can thrive without meat, but only if they are fed a properly balanced vegetarian diet. As is true with people who prefer vegetarian diets, protein or vitamin deficiency can occur in dogs who eat strictly vegetarian diets if they are not properly supplemented.

I also found: dogs are omnivores, which means that they eat both meat and plant products. While it is theoretically possible, the British Veterinary Association does not recommend giving a dog a vegetarian or a vegan diet as it is much easier to get the balance of essential nutrients wrong than to get it right. Feb 1, 2022

Vegan diets are healthier and safer for dogs than conventional meat-based diets, according to the largest study to date, as long as they are nutritionally complete. The diet and health of more than 2,500 dogs were followed over a year using surveys completed by their owners. Apr 13, 2022

KEY WORDS: NUTRITIANALLY COMPLETE

Photo: d. king

Meet Laura Simonson. She’s a local entrepreneur and the founder of “Virchew,” a complete plant-based nutritionally balanced food (along with treats) for dogs.  Based in Vancouver, BC, Virchew is powered by trail-blazing veterinary nutrition programs – with a dogged focus on skin, digestive and preventative solutions. 

FAR FROM YOUR TYPICAL DOG FOOD.

Unlike most dog foods, Virchew is not a kibble.  Meals are a convenient dry blend that is jam-packed with clean, green proteins, essential fats (omegas and DHA), complex carbs, healthful fiber, essential vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and nutrients. You simply dish it up to your dog’s bowl, stir it up with warm water and serve it up! Complete ingredients are on the website.  They also deliver and ship to your door.

I walked by her shop a few weeks ago and got hooked by the colourful posters and ambience so went inside to check it out and ask a few questions. I left with some love bowl samples.  I like the idea behind the name and believe she’s concocted a healthy plant based formula, however I’m continuing to feed Layla a combo of meat + veggies as this is a new concept for us. We’ll continue with her regular routine. I always add several drops of a cellular formula called “rejeneril” (see link below) to her kibble in the morning. In the evening I mix either cooked ground turkey, chicken or wild salmon with mixed veggies (carrots, peas, green beans, a little squash or sweet potato) and rice. I add a tsp of coconut or ultra fish oil to the mix.  She never gets bored.  I also give her a bit of plain yogurt, but not everyday.

Let’s consider Laura’s story…taken from her website profile page:

Photo: d. king
Photo: d. king

One day in 1989, Laura went to a natural health bookstore in Saskatoon, SK. It was a highly unusual store for its time and so was a book she happened upon. The self-published book title eluded to “vegetarian dogs.” (The word ‘vegan’ was not yet mainstream).  Since she was a bona fide natural health foodie, competitive bodybuilder, athlete, passionate animal lover, and considering vegetarianism herself, Laura was intrigued and the idea stuck.”

Fast forward to 2001, now a vegetarian and after several years as a top-selling realtor and sales manager, Laura pursued one of her first entrepreneurial business ideas: to open the first health & fitness studio of its kind, supported by personal growth programs, and vegetarian catering. Laura created the programs and personally provided the catering each week. It was during that same year she found her dream dog, Shanti, a border collie.

“She had already planned Shanti’s vegetarian diet, and after consulting a veterinarian friend, she decided on a home-cooked diet combined with a veterinary, vegetarian formula. Shanti quickly became the studio’s living mascot as she delighted clients and friends alike with her boundless energy.”

Photo: d. king

“In 2008, through a fortuitous event, Laura met Gord Espeseth, an entrepreneur, innovator, and businessman who was also a vegetarian. With a background as a farmer, bush pilot, social worker, international food broker, owner of a food production company, and inventor of TRAK Kayaks (National Geographic dubbed TRAK the world’s ultimate kayak), Gord was the perfect match to play a support role for Laura’s next BIG idea: a vegetarian food company with a social venture foundation.” 

One day in December 2009, while assisting a friend with a food demo at a West Vancouver Whole Foods store, Laura took a break to walk down the dog food aisle. As she scanned the shelves and saw the absence of a vegetarian or vegan option, it was at that moment that the inspiration lightbulb went off! She knew what needed to be done and quickly linked this new idea all the way back to that moment in the book store in Saskatchewan and that glimpse of the vegetarian dog book.”

From that day forward, the idea was complete and Virchew was born.

https://www.virchew.com/aboutvirchew

So…food for thought – would you consider feeding your dog a completely plant based formula?

Veggie Dogs anyone?

Mentally Mindful

R U OK?

Our mental health: It’s on everyone’s mind…no pun intended.  And with good reason.  With so many uncertainties coming to us all at once, how do any of us manage to stay sane in today’s world?

I like this image from healthline.com

Among various causes for concern, the COVID-19 pandemic has certainly not helped.  It has negatively affected many people’s mental health and created new barriers for people already suffering from mental illness and substance use disorders. During the pandemic, about 4 in 10 adults in the U.S. have reported symptoms of anxiety or depressive disorder, a share that has been largely consistent, up from one in ten adults who reported these symptoms from January to June 2019.

The good news is that people are becoming more open to discussing this previously taboo personal issue.  Especially since famous people like Prince Harry and Meghan Markle bring it into the open to try to raise awareness and help end the stigma related to this problem. The reasoning being that no-one should keep a stiff upper lip at the expense of their own well-being.

We know that blocking emotions for any length of time is not healthy.  It can result in severe psychological effects. So aside from talking to anyone from a professional to a friend, what else can we do?

Aside from a good night’s sleep (not always the easiest to accomplish if you have anxiety) can nutrition help?

According to Inspire Health (a Canadian leader in integrative cancer care with medical doctors, clinical counselors, dietitians and exercise therapists all working together to help support people dealing with cancer) it can have a positive effect.

My husband and I were regulars at Inspire Health in Vancouver when he was going through his cancer journey.  While they sadly to say could not save him, for many months they were very helpful in helping to raise spirits by offering classes on everything from group meditation to acupuncture, counselling and healthy eating classes.  All with people going through similar circumstances in a safe, peaceful and nurturing environment.

After almost four years I still receive e-mails from Inspire Health.  Here is the latest which I’m happy to share with you:

From INSPIRE HEALTH Blog:

Our mental health and emotional well-being are not always the easiest topics to discuss — and this may be one of the reasons why these topics are not always explored in a medical appointment. Strategies for managing anxiety, depression, and other mental health conditions often include medications, stress reduction, and counselling. But, excitingly, there is new and emerging evidence showing that nutrition can also play a significant role in supporting our mental health.

You may have heard of the amazing neurotransmitter called serotonin, which helps to regulate sleep, appetite, and mood, and also helps to inhibit pain. Did you know that 95% of our serotonin is produced in our intestinal tract? This production is influenced by the kinds and amounts of different bacteria that live in that gastrointestinal tract, also known as the microbiome.

The gut is connected directly to brain processes via the gut-brain axis. This axis includes the vagus nerve and nervous system, chemicals called neurotransmitters, the immune system, and the chemicals produced by the microbes and bacteria living in the gut. Think of the microbiome as an amazingly diverse forest system where we want various species of trees, fungi, moss, grasses, and other plants to thrive.

We have been hearing about probiotics for at least the past decade, and we are now realizing the importance of not only eating foods rich in probiotics (e.g.: yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, miso) but also feeding these bacteria with fibre. In addition to fibre, there are also specific nutrients in our foods that support our mental health, which include our B vitamins, vitamin D, and omega-3 fatty acids.

Keeping blood sugars relatively stable can also be supportive for our mental well-being. We can keep these sugars stable by creating a balance of protein, carbohydrates, fats and fibre in our meals and snacks.

So, can nutrition support mental health? Yes, and in many ways!

Here are a few practical tips:

  1. Feed the bacteria in the gut with a good amount of fibre each day. Aim for 20-30 grams per day, unless you have been advised differently by your physician.
    • Ground flax in your morning cereal
    • Top your yogurt with berries and bran bud type cereal
    • Swap your white or whole wheat bread product for whole grain or sprouted grain
    • Incorporate more beans and lentils into your meals and snacks
  1. Get your nutrients from whole foods as much as possible and include foods with B vitamins, vitamin D, and omega-3 fats.
    • B Vitamins: salmon, leafy greens, eggs, legumes
    • Vitamin D: salmon, sardines, herring, mackerel, eggs, fortified foods
    • Omega 3: flaxseed, chia, walnuts, salmon, sardines, hemp hearts
  1. Create balance in meals and snacks.
    • Like a smoothie for breakfast? Make sure there is enough protein by including foods such as nuts, seeds, nut butter, yogurt, or soft tofu.
    • Soup or salad for lunch? Make a soup creamier and full of protein by blending soaked cashews. Add nuts, seeds, beans, or another protein source to salads.
    • Balance your dinner. Try for half of your plate as veg/fruit, ¼ as your starch (rice, quinoa, potatoes, pasta) and the last ¼ as your protein source – fish, beans, tofu, poultry, etc.
    • Add to your snack. When having a piece of fruit, try adding some nuts or nut butter (e.g., apple slices with almond butter) or try one of our delicious snack recipes from our website such as the spiced carrot cake globes.

Can Nutrition Support Mental Health and Well-Being?

ON ANOTHER NOTE: I would like to give reference to a website of a personal friend who offers mentorship for mind, body and soul. Her name is Sabine. She comes highly recommended.  Sabine’s workshops and seminars are offered online or in person (if you happen to live in Vancouver or in Berlin when she’s there).    As an economist, published author, keynote speaker on wholeness and an expert in consciousness development and holistic marketing, her main focus is helping individuals, couples, and organizations in inner change processes.  Her spiritual initiations and retreats help to transform fears, blockages, resistances, doubts and traumas.  Well being at it’s core.

Human beings cannot solve current and future challenges on the same levels of consciousness on which they created them. Disbalances that show themselves individually, collectively, regionally and globally in the form of diseases, crises, conflicts and wars in all systems can neither be permanently controlled nor fought. They can, however, be completely transformed. Through higher levels of consciousness. Their attainment requires a whole transformation – Sabine Schneider – Founder
 
 

Remember; your life only gets better when you do!

 

 

 

 

 

Sources:

Forbes Magazine

KFF

 

Supplement Sunday: CoenzymeQ10

CoQ10: More than just Heart Health

Composition with food that contains Coenzyme Q10.

This article was written by Chancellor Faloon from Life Extension Magazine (the science of a healthier life).

I’ve been taking Life Extension Supplements which unfortunately are not available in Canada (although you can order them online) for over a year now and have had no issues whatsoever with asthma or otherwise.  The quality is top-notch and I’ve added CoQ10 to my repertoire of necessary supplements.  Their magazine offers so many interesting articles…so I thought it best to share a few from the experts – starting with CoQ10.  References are included at bottom of page.

While CoQ10 is best known for promoting heart health, research is continually showing a diverse range of body-wide applications.

  • CoQ10 Improves Metabolic Syndrome

    A meta-analysis was done of trials that tested coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) on patients with metabolic syndrome. Compared to a a placebo, CoQ10 supplementation lowered inflammation markers and increased levels of a cell-signaling protein related to improved regulation of glucose and fatty-acid breakdown.1

  • CoQ10 Increases Blood Flow

    In a clinical trial, CoQ10 (ubiquinol) improved cardiovascular function, as shown by increased flow-mediated dilation2 (widening of an artery when blood flow increases) and levels of nitric oxide (which aids in dilation). Harmful LDL oxidation was reduced with a higher dose.3

  • CoQ10 Enhances Exercise Performance

    Exercise performance and several biomarkers related to fatigue were improved in mice and humans given CoQ10 (ubiquinol). Liver and muscle glycogen content increased, providing the body with more fuel for prolonged exercise.4-6

  • CoQ10 Increases Cellular Energy

    In a cell study, CoQ10 (ubiquinol) was able to prevent age-induced oxidative stress, increase the formation of new *mitochondria (the cells’ energy generators), and was associated with the removal of old, damaged *mitochondria.7

  • CoQ10 Protects Aging Heart Muscle

    A recent review shows supporting evidence that CoQ10 can benefit heart failure patients by preventing age-related reductions in myocardial (heart muscle) ATP, the powerhouse of our cells.8

  • CoQ10 Mediates Inflammation

    To see if CoQ10 could prevent damage that may occur with strenuous exercise, 100 firemen were randomized to receive CoQ10 (ubiquinol) or a placebo. The CoQ10 group had significantly improved hematological (blood) parameters, increases in beneficial growth factors and anti-inflammatory cytokines, and a decrease in pro-inflammatory cytokines.9

  • CoQ10 Protects Against Acetaminophen Liver Injury

    A study in mice found that CoQ10 protected against acetaminophen– (Tylenol®) induced liver injury. CoQ10 also enhanced removal of damaged *mitochondria.10

*Mitochondria (in the most simple terms I was able to find) are known as the powerhouses of the cell. They are **organelles that act like a digestive system which takes in nutrients, breaks them down, and creates energy rich molecules for the cell. The biochemical processes of the cell are known as cellular respiration.

An** organelle is a subcellular structure that has one or more specific jobs to perform in the cell, much like an organ does in the body.

If you have any questions on the scientific content of this article, please call a Life Extension® Wellness Specialist at 1-866-864-3027.

References

  1. Dludla PV, Orlando P, Silvestri S, et al. Coenzyme Q10 Supplementation Improves Adipokine Levels and Alleviates Inflammation and Lipid Peroxidation in Conditions of Metabolic Syndrome: A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. Int J Mol Sci. 2020 May 4;21(9).
  2. Kelm M. Flow-mediated dilatation in human circulation: diagnostic and therapeutic aspects. Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2002 Jan;282(1):H1-5.
  3. Sabbatinelli J, Orlando P, Galeazzi R, et al. Ubiquinol Ameliorates Endothelial Dysfunction in Subjects with Mild-to-Moderate Dyslipidemia: A Randomized Clinical Trial. Nutrients. 2020 Apr 15;12(4).
  4. Chen HC, Huang CC, Lin TJ, et al. Ubiquinol Supplementation Alters Exercise Induced Fatigue by Increasing Lipid Utilization in Mice. Nutrients. 2019 Oct 23;11(11).
  5. Cooke M, Iosia M, Buford T, et al. Effects of acute and 14-day coenzyme Q10 supplementation on exercise performance in both trained and untrained individuals. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2008 Mar 4;5:8.
  6. Orlando P, Silvestri S, Galeazzi R, et al. Effect of ubiquinol supplementation on biochemical and oxidative stress indexes after intense exercise in young athletes. Redox Rep. 2018 Dec;23(1):136-45.
  7. Niu YJ, Zhou W, Nie ZW, et al. Ubiquinol-10 delays postovulatory oocyte aging by improving mitochondrial renewal in pigs. Aging (Albany NY). 2020 Jan 20;12(2):1256-71.
  8. Di Lorenzo A, Iannuzzo G, Parlato A, et al. Clinical Evidence for Q10 Coenzyme Supplementation in Heart Failure: From Energetics to Functional Improvement. J Clin Med. 2020 Apr 27;9(5):1266.
  9. Diaz-Castro J, Moreno-Fernandez J, Chirosa I, et al. Beneficial Effect of Ubiquinol on Hematological and Inflammatory Signaling during Exercise. Nutrients. 2020 Feb 6;12(2).
  10. Zhang P, Chen S, Tang H, et al. CoQ10 protects against acetaminophen-induced liver injury by enhancing mitophagy. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 2021 Jan 1;410:115355.

Sunday Supplement: Something to Sleep On

Think I’ve solved my occasional sleepless nights with one tiny little supplement called Melatonin.

Taking 3-5mg of melatonin sublingually (I prefer dissolving a tablet under the tongue for faster absorption), along with two Magnesium Citrate softgels before bed has helped me tremendously to having a more restful sleep.

Most people know about melatonin and have most likely either taken it or have considered taking it.  But just in case… let’s have a look at the benefits vs risks.  In general it’s a lot safer than taking a regular sleeping pill if you’re having trouble dozing off.  Plus, it won’t leave you feeling listless the next day.

MELATONIN

Discovered in 1958, melatonin is a potent hormone naturally produced in the body to help regulate our circadian rhythm, or natural body clock. Light is the switch that controls it: As daylight fades, levels of melatonin begin to rise about 2 hours before bedtime, nudging us to become sleepy. In the morning, when light hits the eyes, it signals the brain to halt melatonin production, and we grow alert.

The hormone melatonin plays a role in your natural sleep-wake cycle. Natural levels of melatonin in the blood are highest at night. Some research suggests that melatonin supplements might be helpful in treating sleep disorders, such as delayed sleep phase, and providing some relief from insomnia and jet lag.

Melatonin is a sleep regulator, not a sleep initiator,” explains Michael Breus, author of “Good Night: The Doctor’s 4-week Program to Better Sleep and Better Health.”

Since the 1980s, dietary supplement makers have billed melatonin made in a lab as a promising sleep aid. But its effects on occasional insomnia are not significant.

Take caution (as with taking any supplements in general):

While short-term use (a few months or less) of melatonin is thought to be safe in healthy adults, it can boost blood sugar, so it is not recommended for people with diabetes, Goldstein says. Taking too much can also lead to bad dreams and grogginess the next day, and it can make many drugs less effective, including high blood pressure medications, seizure medications, and birth control pills, Breus says.

Because dietary supplements are not regulated as much as prescription drugs, quality can vary wildly from bottle to bottle. One recent study found that 71% of melatonin supplements surveyed did not contain exactly what they said on the label. Some had more than four times as much melatonin as indicated, and 26% contained the powerful neurotransmitter serotonin, a chemical found in many antidepressant medications.

Like I mentioned above, I think that taking magnesium (and you can also consider Gaba) along with starting with 3mg. of Melatonin will complete your night cycle.  Trust me; I’ve had many sleepless nights.

Melatonin is generally safe for short-term use. Unlike many other sleep medications, with melatonin you are unlikely to become dependent, have a diminished response after repeated use (habituation), or experience a hangover effect.

No; no hangover effect – that comes from something else.

If melatonin for sleep isn’t helping after a week or two, stop using it. And if your sleep problems continue, talk with your health care provider. If melatonin does seem to help, it’s safe for most people to take nightly for one to two months. “After that, stop and see how your sleep is. Be sure you’re also relaxing before bed, keeping the lights low and sleeping in a cool, dark, comfortable bedroom for optimal results.

One more thing.  “Never go to bed mad.  Stay up and fight” – Phyllis Diller.

Sources:

Web MD

Mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle

Hopkinsmedicine.org

 

LifeStyle: details, details

It’s all in the details

(fyi – no animal was hurt to make these products – not even the tiger rug).
Love these trays – reminds me of another brand I love.

In a nutsell…worldly, mixed up, eclectic, exotic essentials for the home. Even just a little something sprinkled here and there around the home makes one feel more alive.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Elevated Kitsch meets Glamour in a colorful manner.

Photos this page: d. king

https://detailsbymrk.com/

Store location – South Granville, Vancouver.

Optimum Immune Maintenance

Previously on my Supplement Sunday postings I carefully selected and highlighted certain vitamins and health protocols that act as “superstars” in our bodies natural fight against viruses, especially the ones considered to be Covid Combatants.

I’m not interested in talking about Covid anymore as everyone is sick of being bombarded with news and information about it every single day for more than a year now.  With more vaccines popping up, and more people getting them, we will hopefully be able to get back to regular news of the day, other than you know what?

So in the next historical chapter to come, how do we maintain our immune systems for doing so will certainly be key to getting back on track…

I’m very picky when it comes to ingredients in supplements, so I became intrigued when I learned about a new clinically-tested plant sterol/antioxidant supplement designed to help regulate our immune systems.

Celt Immuno-Care is a proudly Canadian patented supplement formulation that “up-regulates” the immune system when it’s under-performing, as so often occurs just before we get sick, while also “down-regulating” when it over-reacts, as occurs when we suffer from allergies.  I’ve suffered from allergies my whole life but I can honestly say that since I started taking Immuno-Care just over a month now, I’ve noticed I’ve had fewer allergy symptoms.

As far as maintenance of good health goes, it apparently also works as an overall super anti-oxidant.

The company states that taking only one delayed-release gel capsule a day is guaranteed to help fight: seasonal Allergies, Fibromyalgia, Eczema & Psoriasis, Chronic Colds & Flu, Painful Joints & Muscles, Chronic Fatigue, Rheumatoid Arthritis,…and more!

While those are some pretty bold up-front claims, one should not automatically dismiss them out-of-hand without investigating the product further. So to know more, visit their website below. There you will find a breakdown of the ingredients – namely their blend of plant sterols (it’s the only “delayed release” plant sterol supplement available) along with their unique blend of a broad spectrum pine bark derived antioxidant combined with an essential fatty acid complex (Cellasate™).  Here’s an excerpt:

THE CELT NATURALS IMMUNO-CARE® STORY: “STACKING THE ODDS”

The founders and developers of Celt Naturals Immuno-Care®, Alan Fergusson and Jack Davidson, have always had a personal interest in healthy living, maintaining a nutritious diet, exercising regularly, and having a spiritual component in their lives to appreciate the beauty around them.

Alan Fergusson, Founder of Celt Naturals, Calgary, Canada, was a downhill skier for most of his life and an avid proponent of living a healthy lifestyle, having spent many years hiking in back country. He participated in 5 and 8K races and ran on most days to keep fit. Originally developed for Alan, the ingredients in Immuno-Care® have been shown to have a remarkable capacity to alleviate many symptoms related to immune system disorders.

Jack Davidson, Co-Founder of Celt Naturals, is an avid long-distance runner of many years.  He has participated in marathons, enjoys cross-country skiing, and participates in most outdoor sports. Jack’s personal interest in health and nutritional supplements began decades ago, when he too used various supplements for the maintenance of good health and overall wellness.

With the ever-increasing number of viruses, and their ability to mutate at a much faster rate than in the past, it has become increasingly important to maintain a strong immune system. Celt Naturals Immuno-Care® is an all-natural daily supplement that supports and maintains a healthy immune system.

While Immuno-Care® was originally developed to assist with serious illness, Celt Naturals emphasizes that it is not a cure.  However, it is a natural and effective immune system regulator that can help you “stack the odds”… in your favor by accessing available resources, whether traditional, alternative, physical or spiritual. It all begins with taking control. While the road of natural and alternative treatments is much less travelled than of conventional approaches, more and more people believe a natural approach to healing is an option well-worth exploring.  

Healthy Choices

Making Good Choices in the Time of COVID-19

For this post I’ve collaborated with Pyure Brands who have a blog of their own called “Sweet Talk Blog” (link below). As you may know, Pyure is a line of plant-based, sugar substitutes for people who insist on the best for themselves and those they love. This post is in keeping with my Sunday Supplement which incorporates ways to improve and maintain an overall healthy immune system which includes everything from taking the best vitamin supplements to wise healthy food and lifestyle choices.

At the peak of the pandemic, there were new guidelines seemingly every day to help us stay safe and lower our risk of catching and transmitting COVID-19. Today, the advice is clear. Wash your hands regularly, wear a mask (where required) and keep your distance from others.

There are other ways you can make healthy choices beyond virus prevention: changes to your diet, exercise and mindset. These lifestyle changes may not completely prevent your risk of catching coronavirus, but they can boost your immune system, help keep your spirits high and make your body stronger for whatever life throws at you. Here are some simple changes you can make to stay fit and healthy in the midst of a pandemic.

Focus on good nutrition

There are many reputable research studies that have found a link between a well-balanced diet and a strong immune system. Pandemic aside, it’s useful to start building healthy nutrients into your diet so your body is ready to ward off everything from the common cold to COVID-19. Here are some simple changes you can make to your diet.

Switch to sugar alternatives

We know sugar can have negative consequences for our long-term health and is a contributing factor for diabetes and obesity. But some studies have shown that sugar can also decrease the effectiveness of white blood cells – a critical part of our immune system that fights infection. Eating lots of sugar can actually decrease your body’s ability to ward off the bad stuff.

That doesn’t mean you should stop production on all that quarantine comfort baking! There are plenty of better-for-you sugar alternatives that can make your tasty treats even better. Stevia is one sugar alternative that we love – and Pyure Organic Stevia is one of the only organic stevia brands out there. Stevia is a sweetener that’s zero glycemic (meaning it won’t spike your blood sugar), zero-calorie and free from any of the chemicals used to create artificial sweeteners.

Add in a few supplements

In addition to cutting out the bad stuff, you can also add in some minerals and probiotics to make your immune system even stronger – and able to fight off threats. We get most of these minerals through eating a balanced diet, but many of us are deficient in the so-called “Big Four” that help our immune system:

  • Zinc: This mineral is critical for the development and function of immune cells, yet 79% of us are deficient in zinc. Studies have shown that “80–92 mg per day of zinc may reduce the length of the common cold by up to 33%.”
  • Magnesium: This so-called “master mineral” is involved in processes like producing energy and building important proteins. Your body needs magnesium to function properly, and most people should aim to take 400 – 450 mg per day.
  • Selenium: This mineral acts as an antioxidant to reduce inflammation in the body and improve immunity. You can get selenium through foods like fish, eggs and mushrooms.
  • Iodine: This mineral boosts your thyroid gland, which produces hormones that directly impact your immune system. Too much iodine can be a bad thing, so be sure to consult with a doctor before adding in an iodine supplement.

The more proactive you can be about building a healthy immune system, the better! Luckily, many of these minerals can be found by adding some new ingredients to your grocery list.

Eat your leafy greens

Feeding your body with the good stuff is an easy way to keep out the bad stuff. We’ve all heard that citrus is full of Vitamin C and can help ward off the common cold – these foods can also make a big difference in your health:

  • Red bell peppers: These veggies contain almost 3 times as much Vitamin C as a Florida orange.
  • Broccoli: It’s packed with Vitamins A, C, and E, fiber, and many other antioxidants.
  • Spinach: rich in vitamin C, antioxidants, and beta carotene
  • Plain yogurt: Look for the unsweetened kind, which is packed with Vitamin D to help regulate the immune system (and add a little Pyure on top to make it taste great!).
  • Kiwi: These little green guys are high in folate, potassium, Vitamin K and Vitamin C.

These are just a few foods that are great additions to your diet – there are many more out there that can give your immune system a little extra power.

Stay active, even at home

With many gyms closed and workout classes canceled, it can be difficult to find ways to stay active – but every little bit counts. “Inactivity is an important risk factor similar to high blood pressure, smoking or high cholesterol,” reports the American Society for Nutrition.

Regular physical activity supports your immune system and your mental health (more on that in a minute). It’s also a big part of protecting your health from long-term, chronic issues like heart disease and high blood pressure.

If you’re not sure where to start with an at-home workout, think about what it is you would like to improve. Do you want stronger arms? Better flexibility? More aerobic capacity? From there, you can find a workout plan that works for you. Aim for 15 to 30 minutes a day of moderate exercise and build from there. Check out YouTube and Instagram for free at-home yoga classes, circuit workouts and bodyweight strength-training to keep your routine varied and interesting.

Don’t ignore your mental health

Mental stress can put your body in physical distress, as anxiety takes a big toll on the body. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep and taking care of your mental health. Immune system activation alters sleep, and sleep in turn affects the innate and adaptive arm of our body’s defense system. Many of us are juggling working from home, caring for family and many other parts of life, but getting a good night’s sleep – that’s seven to eight hours for adults – should be a priority.

There’s also evidence to support the idea that meditation can improve your immune system. Meditation can not only improve your sleep, but it can also help you manage stress and anxiety. Take 20 minutes out of your day to do some deep breathing, relax and calm down your nervous system. Your body will thank you!

Check out some of our favorite recipes that use Pyure Organic Stevia for some healthier at-home baking inspiration.

Sweet Talk Blog:

https://pyureorganic.com/sweet-talk/

Red and Near InfraRed Light Therapy

Is Red Light a Missing Nutrient for our Health?

This Sunday addition to my blog is about more than how specific vitamins can help support our immune system, especially during Covid.  It’s also about improving overall health in general.  Because we can’t get every nutrient our body needs from food alone, we supplement with… specific supplements.  Vitamin D is getting recognized by mainstream doctors as a preventative for viruses and the dosages are being properly upped.

Which brings me to another light-associated nutrient worth discussing, namely Red and Near Infrared Light. Yet unlike Vitamin D, this nutrient isn’t available in pill form. It’s something I’ve been curious about and it’s something I’ve been using for back massage for several years, but now I’m trying it on my face.  I’ve been using a device from Melbourne, Australia called the “Hive” by BLUBlox (link below). 

Peer-reviewed scientific research has shown Red Light & Near Infrared Light therapy has anti-aging effects on our skin, it can help combat a number of neurological diseases, help fight depression and anxiety, it can help increase fat loss, speed recovery from exercise, improve your sleep, increase muscle strength and endurance, combat some autoimmune conditions, fight hair loss, and speed healing from injury, and all with few to no negative side effects.

I just listened to a podcast with Dr. Michael Hamblin; a recently retired dermatology professor at Harvard Medical School. He gets into all of the therapeutic applications, among which are skin burn therapy, beauty salon applications in skin rejuvenation and hair regrowth on thinning scalps. It is used in physiotherapy to help speed the healing of injured or inflamed tendons, ligaments, and muscles as a result of exercise. And to my surprise, the interviewer spoke about red light as a nutrient.

But what I liked most about the interview was Hamblin’s comments about Red and Near InfraRed Light being used to treat both Parkinson’s Disease and Alzheimer’s Diseases, which have no other significant treatment options; and his comments about the 4th state of water, which he called nano-structured water (@ ~27:38).

The link to this interview is below with a few other reputable links should you want to check them out.  I personally find this very fascinating.  The light also feels pleasingly warming on the skin.

Link to podcast interview with Dr. Michael Hamblin, a Harvard dermatologist and one of the world’s leading researchers on the topic: https://blog.humanos.me/red-light-missing-nutrient-for-health-podcast-michael-hamblin/ 

Link to a peer-reviewed science paper on the topic: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5066074/

this is the device

Link to the Hive Near-Infrared and Red Light unit that I’ve been using:  https://www.blublox.com/collections/red-light-device 

Of course there are other device makers, such as Joov and VieLight that you can check out.

Send me your thoughts on this.  Have you tried it?

Sunday Supplement: Humic and Fulvic Acids

I kept the best for last

Turns out that I’m not quite finished with my supplemental Covid combatants.  Also recognized as supplement “warriors” in our natural fight against deadly viruses. 

If you haven’t heard of Humic and Fulvic Acid before, don’t worry, you’re not alone, however these organic acids—millions of years in the making—happen to be some of nature’s most powerful immune allies.  

Whether or not you have already gotten, or are planning to get the Covid mRNA vaccine (which some experts still consider an experimental gene therapy) you might want to consider taking extra immune boosting/modulating supplements.  After all, what’s the worst that could happen? You may actually get healthier!? And besides, it’s next to impossible to get all these nutrients from food alone. As the father of modern medicine (Hippocrates) once said; Let food be thy medicine and let medicine be thy food.

Humic and fulvic acid are very rare deposits found in a handful of locations around the globe, that were once thriving organic matter (think ancient tropical rain forests). The decomposed organic matter from this prehistoric vegetation is called humic deposits (primarily comprised of Humic and Fulvic Acid). Instead of turning into coal and oil, humic deposits formed because they weren’t exposed to the same tremendous pressures, and were much closer to the surface where there was enough microbial activity to interact with. Humic and fulvic acids contain all the genetic information from the plants they come from.

So what does all this have to do with your immunity?

Recent studies indicate that humic and fulvic acids stimulate the production of T-lymphocytes and white blood cells (neutrophils), thus enhancing immune system function. By increasing T-cell and white blood cells, humic and fulvic acid may be able to significantly reduce your risk of viral infections.  

A compromised or weakened immune system means the body has fewer T-cells and white blood cells to find and eliminate potential threats.  T-cells, also known as T-lymphocytes, play a vital role in defending your body against common diseases.  T-cells are actually attacked by viruses, which disables the immune system, leaving it vulnerable to common colds, flus and bacterial infections.  So in reality, victims of many viral diseases rarely die from the disease itself but more from the vulnerability of an immune system that is left exposed to opportunistic agents. 

Humic and Fulvic Acids – the Immune Connection

Humic and fulvic acids are comprised of powerful biochemicals, supercharged antioxidants (more powerful than anything ever seen before), vitamins, enzymes, amino acids, probiotics, prebiotics and carbon. Numerous studies show that humic and fulvic acids have the ability to help modulate our immune system, protect the body from fungal and bacterial infections, lower excess inflammation, increase the absorption of beneficial nutrients, help support optimal detoxification—especially where heavy metals are concerned, support cellular energy and even block viruses.

The most important thing to understand is that humic and fulvic acids are completely natural, are the end breakdown products from plant material, and are 100% organic in nature – even though they contain most, if not all the trace minerals. By consuming natural, organically-bound minerals, the body is able to recognize them as a food source and instantly utilize them to enhance all cell life.

Due to the rarity and multitude of these organically-bound trace minerals, consuming a humic and fulvic acid supplement purely for the organic trace minerals, would be reason enough, but as mentioned above, there are so many more reasons to consume humic and fulvic acids.

So as you can see, a viable humic and fulvic acid supplement can prove to be most useful as a strong preventative agent, as well as a powerful but safe therapeutic one. In a world where we are bombarded by viruses, microbes, fungi and food that is all but void of nutrients essential to health, humic and fulvic acids may just be what the body has been screaming out for.

My recommendation is an award-winning (2018 and 2019 Natural Product-of-the-Year) Canadian product (I take myself) called LeafSource® (see below).

For more information on LeafSource® please visit: www.leafsource.com  

DISCLAIMER: I am not getting paid to write or talk about any of these supplements.  Aside from talking to those I believe to be “in the know” I’ve done my own research and decided to strengthen my immune system as naturally as possible.  For a solid year I’ve taken the supplements I’ve mentioned here on my blog and have not so much as gotten a common cold or asthma (touch wood) since that time.  Very unusual since every year, for at least a few days I get a common cold or bout with asthma where I must use an inhaler. I have not used my inhaler for over a year.  I have also socially distanced myself from most people and have recently started going to my gym again to practice yoga.  It is important to note that during yoga practice masks are not worn.  We are at a 6 ft. distance from one another though during that time.

REFERENCES:

Vaskova J, et al. Effects of humic acids in vitro. In Vitro Call Dev Biol Anim. 2011 Jun;47(5-6):376-82.

Ansorg R, Rochus W. Studies on the antimicrobial effect of natural and synthetic humic acids. Arzneimittelforschung. 1978;28(12):2195-8.

Iubitskaia , NS . “Sodium humate in the treatment of osteoarthritis patients.” Vopr Kurortol Fizioter Lech Fiz Kult, 1999; Issue 5, 22-24.

Gisela, K J, et al,  “An In Vitro Investigation of the Anti-Inflammatory Properties of Potassium Humate,”  Journal Inflammation,  2004, Vol 28, No 3, Pages169-174.

Janeway, C, et al (2001). Immunobiology ; Fifth Edition. New York. 

Joone, GK, et. al. J Biosci.  2002, 58(3/4), 263-267.

Sunday Supplement: Learning about Lactoferrin

Antivirals and nutritional supplements have been proposed as potentially useful against severe acute respiratory syndromes that cause Covid-19, yet you never hear any public health official mention anything about them.  Not even Vitamin D.  I wonder why?

It was brought to my attention that taking Lactoferrin capsules might be another great immune boosting factor and preventative to getting covid.

Not just any MILK

Like I said before, my general health is very good and I eat well.  However since I first heard about Covid I’ve decided to add a few more proactive supplements to my vitamin regime. Only those that I cannot get sufficient amounts from food alone. Because a healthy immune system is the best defense for fighting a virus. 

Once covid is under control in the general population and over time, I’ll go back to my vitamin basics. I’m fully aware that vitamins alone do not a healthy body make.  However, after doing some research myself, it appears that these extras cannot hurt and at the very best can help improve immunity.  So far, so good.

Lactoferrin’s Anti-Viral effects

Lactoferrin is considered an essential in providing an increased defense for our immune systems. Lactoferrin deprives unwanted bacteria in the body from the nutrients they need to continue spreading. Lactoferrin is able to boost your body with beneficial antioxidants, enhance oxygenation of the tissues and improve white blood cell health. It seems to protect against bacterial infection, possibly by preventing the growth of bacteria by depriving them of essential nutrients or by killing bacteria by destroying their cell walls.

There are many new products on the market promoting their inclusion of lactoferrin as a healthy ingredient, but what exactly is lactoferrin? Lactoferrin is a protein found naturally in cow and human milk, and it is especially abundant in colostrum. It is also found naturally in our tears and saliva, and possesses a wide variety of healthy benefits for our bodies. 

As an iron-binding milk glycoprotein, it promotes the growth of selected probiotic strains. It acts as an antimicrobial agent largely by binding the iron needed for growth of the microorganisms. 

Lactoferrin has been found to both directly and indirectly inhibit several viruses that cause disease in humans. It directly inhibits viruses by binding to viral receptor sites, thus preventing the virus from infecting healthy cells.

The importance of lactoferrin in viral infections warrants a great deal of further research and use by clinicians. There is little doubt that lactoferrin is a key molecule for the body and the immune system in the fight against viruses and other microbes, and could be an effective supplement for people with viral infections.

Maybe most promising and interesting, there is research that points to lactoferrin being able to improve the efficiency of antibiotic treatments in the fight against pathogenic microbes. Considering the out of control use of antibiotics and the rise in antibiotic resistant strains of “bad bugs,” this is very good news. Would the combination of lactoferrin and antibiotics be the knockout punch to certain bacteria that are not being killed by antibiotic treatments alone? More research is needed, but the evidence is very compelling.

Conclusion

There is little doubt that lactoferrin is a major find and a potential breakthrough as a natural nontoxic treatment in an array of human ailments. Though a handful of companies are able to produce lactoferrin at this time, there is only one company producing the apolactoferrin (iron depleted) form in large quantity. Studies suggest that the superior form to supplement with is apolactoferrin.

Disclaimer

As with everything else, take time to do your own research as there can be pros and cons to taking too much or too little of any one supplement.  The ones I’ve mentioned are supposed to help strengthen your immune system to oncoming viruses.  Having said that, depending on your overall health and what medications you may already be taking, it’s always best to check with your health provider.

This is the last of a series of natural Covid Combatants.  I’ll continue to post about other “healthy habits” in the upcoming weeks ahead.  

Sources:

Chang, R. (2020) Re: Lactoferrin and COVID-19https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32738305/

Life Extension Magazine

Symbiotics.com

Word of Mouth from a few knowledgeable individuals