Healthy Planet

The Family Table: Late Winter Snacks And Soup

lady enjoying snacks in winter
Paleo Granola This granola with coconut yogurt and berries is the perfect breakfast to help you get back on track after the holidays. It’s quick and full of healthy fats and protein to keep you satiated all morning long. It’s also grain-free, making it an excellent option for those following a paleo diet. Ingredients » 1 c cashews» 1 c walnuts» 1⁄2 c pumpkin seeds» 1⁄2 c coconut flakes» 1 Tbsp cinnamon » 1⁄2 tsp salt» 1/3 c melted coconut oil» 1⁄4 c maple syrup (use sugar-free syrup to make this recipe ketogenic) Instructions 1. Add cashews, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, salt, cinnamon, and coconut flakes to a food processor and pulse for 30 seconds. 2. Add coconut oil and maple syrup to the nut mixture, stirring well until all the ingredients are evenly incorporated. 3. Spread evenly on a baking pan lined with parchment paper and bake at 375°F for 20 minutes, stirring halfway through cooking time. 4. Let cool for 10 minutes before breaking the granola into clusters. Collagen Power Balls These delicious, fibre-rich collagen balls make for the perfect mid-day snack. They include extra protein in the form of collagen and hemp seeds to help you reach your daily protein goals, plus a hefty serving of chia seeds as a source of dietary fibre. Ingredients » 2 c quick rolled oats» 1⁄4 c chia seeds» 1⁄4 c hemp seeds» 1⁄4 c nut butter of choice» 1⁄4 c collagen protein powder» 1/3 c pitted dates, soaked in hot water » 1⁄4 c melted coconut oil» Flaky sea salt» Mini chocolate chips, pumpkin seeds (optional) Instructions 1. Add all ingredients (except the chocolate chips) to a food processor and pulse until a sticky dough forms. 2. Stir in the chocolate and seeds (if using) and roll into 1-inch balls to keep in the fridge or freezer. Roasted Garlic & Cauliflower Dip This dip takes full advantage of local produce available through the winter. Serve with your favourite seed crackers and crudites or use it as a spread on wraps and sandwiches. Ingredients » 1 head cauliflower, separated into florets» 2 large shallots, chopped» 2 Tbsp olive oil» 2 heads of garlic» 1/3 c tahini » 1/3 c pumpkin seeds» 1⁄2 tsp chilli flakes» Juice from 1 lemon» 1 tsp dried rosemary or sage» Salt and pepper, to taste Instructions 1. Prepare garlic for the oven by chopping off the tops to expose  the tops of the cloves. Drizzle with olive oil and wrap in foil, or  place in a small oven-safe container with a lid.  2. Toss the cauliflower and shallots with olive oil and seasonings  and add to a baking sheet with your heads of garlic. Roast at  400°F for 30–35 minutes, until cooked through.  3. Once the vegetables cool slightly, add to a food processor with  the remaining ingredients and purée ingredients until slightly smooth.  Squash Soup with Tofu This soup recipe is a winter staple because it includes tons of orange vegetables and heal-ing spices to support immune health. It’s also beautifully warming and thoroughly cooked to support digestion in colder winter months. The tofu can be omitted, but we like that it adds 15 g of protein per serving. Ingredients » 1 large squash (butternut, acorn, delicata, and buttercup all work well)   » 1 onion, chopped» 1 orange pepper, chopped» 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped» 1 Tbsp coconut oil or avocado oil» 1 can of organic BPA-free coconut milk» 1  Tbsp curry powder » 1⁄4 tsp chili flakes (optional)» 6 c bone broth, or organic vegetable or chicken broth» 1 package organic tofu» Seasoning of choice and sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste Instructions  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.  2. Cut your squash in half and lay it face down on a baking sheet.  3. Drain tofu and cut into small cubes. Spray or lightly drizzle with coconut or avocado oil, sprinkle with spices of choice, and bake in the oven along with the squash for 30 minutes while you prepare your other ingredients.  4. Add the onion, garlic, and spices to a preheated large dutch oven on medium–hot. Cook until translucent and fragrant.  5. Remove the squash from the oven and carefully scrape out the flesh of the squash. Add it to your pot along with the chopped pepper and cook for 5 minutes, stirring often.  6. Add the bone broth, cover, and let simmer for 30 minutes.  7. Add your can of coconut milk and use an immersion blender to purée your soup. Top with tofu cubes and hemp seeds (optional). 

Too Busy to Eat Well? 4 Tips on How to Start Now?

Healthy Lifestyle
Sometimes it can feel like being an adult means having no free time; for many of us, our plate of responsibilities is full to the point of spilling over. Maybe you’ve been so busy lately, that your eating habits have gone off the rails. Perhaps you’ve put eating healthy on hold until after things in your life settle down. After all, how can you be expected to eat well when life is so hectic? If you’re stuck in the I’m-too-busy-to-eat-healthy mentality, I want to ask you two important questions. The first is this: when will life actually stop being busy? I’m not asking this to be negative but to be realistic. There will always be something creating busyness in your life. If it’s not school, it’ll be work. If it’s not kids, it’ll be grandkids. If you figure you’ll start eating healthy when you’re not busy, you’ll just continue to put it off. Now onto my second question: how long can you afford to postpone healthy eating? It can be easy to do things like skip lunch in the name of productivity, or “reward” ourselves with treats in the evening for working hard. But over time, habits like these will catch up to us in the form of gut issues, hormonal imbalances, or even chronic diseases like high blood pressure or diabetes. It can be easy to lose sight of the fact that we only get one body in this life. If we don’t invest in our health now, we can end up losing it in the future. I understand that at this point you might be feeling a bit frustrated. “I do want to eat healthily, but how is it doable amidst the craziness of my life?” you may ask. Don’t despair— it is possible! “If You Don’t Have Time To Do Things Like Grocery Shop, Cook, Or Eat Three Meals Per Day, It’s Time To Take A Look At What’s Going On In Your Life.” How To Start Now 1 Set Boundaries Based on my experiences working with clients, unhealthy eating habits often boil down to a lack of boundaries in certain areas of a person’s life. You must set boundaries with yourself and others to nourish your body properly. It’s crucial to silence that negative inner voice that beats you up for not being perfect. An all-or-nothing mindset won’t do you any favors with your diet. If you think you have to be flawless to be healthy when life gets busy, you’re going to spread yourself too thin. Overburdening yourself can result in giving up and harming your mental health—neither of which I want for you. Instead, be compassionate with yourself. As long as your overall habits are healthy, you will reap the benefits. If here and there, you have a treat, order takeout, or eat convenience foods, it's not a big deal. What you’re doing consistently counts the most toward your well-being. Setting boundaries with yourself also includes prioritizing your health. I know that I said this before, but I’m going to say it again because it’s so important: we only get one body in this life. If you don’t have time to do things like grocery shop, cook, or eat three meals per day, it’s time to take a look at what’s going on in your life. Have you taken on too much? Do you have enough support? Are you burned out? If you are too busy to feed yourself properly, it’s time to set some boundaries. Give some thought to what you need from yourself and from others to make healthy eating happen in your life. Maybe you need to set a boundary with yourself to take your lunch break away from your desk to make sure you have something to eat at work. Also, remember that you don’t have to try doing it all alone. Reach out for help in areas of your life where you’re feeling overwhelmed. If you find you’re always falling behind on your to-do list, ask family members to help you out more with chores around the house, for example. If you’re experiencing caregiver burnout, look into what home care services are available in your community. Healthy eating will be a lot easier when you have enough support in your life. Establishing boundaries will help you to give your body the nourishment it requires. When you prioritize your health and get the support you need, you’ll find it easier to get through busy days because your body will be getting the fuel it needs. You’ll prevent intense cravings and overeating because you’ll be honoring your hunger throughout the day. You’ll also be getting the nutrients your body needs to prevent and/or manage health concerns (e.g., gut issues, anxiety). 2 Think Ahead Healthy eating is a lot less likely to happen when you’re winging it. If you haven’t thought ahead about what you’re going to eat and then things get hectic, it’s more likely that you’ll reach for unhealthy options or not eat at all. When you’ve made a plan and some food prep, your days will go more smoothly, and eating healthy will become automatic. A little bit goes a long way—you don’t have to make a super-detailed meal plan or spend all day cooking. Here are a few examples of how efficient planni ...

Milk Thistle: Your Liver Will Thank You

Milk Thistle for Lever
Are you struggling to “bounce back” after the holidays? It could be stress, it could be burning the candle at both ends, or it could be the over-indulging that so many of us enjoy in December and pay for in the new year. How can you help your body get back to better health? One way is to support your liver with the herb milk thistle. On any given day, the liver is involved in digestion, metabolism, detoxification, storage, production, and immunity.1 It’s a very important organ! When the liver isn’t working to the best of its ability, you might experience symptoms like bloating or abdominal pain, nutrient deficiencies, issues with cholesterol or blood sugar, aggravations of PMS and menopause symptoms, skin rashes, or fatigue.2 Because the liver’s functions are so broad, the side effects of dysfunction are as well. The best way to tell if the symptoms you’re experiencing are due to your liver is through blood work. If you haven’t had blood testing done recently, ask your doctor if they can help you investigate the health of this organ. Checking Liver Function If your blood testing results indicate that your liver isn’t performing as well as it should, some of the most important (and basic) things to consider changing are nutrition, movement, and alcohol intake. Milk thistle is a liver-loving herb in many naturopathic doctors’ toolkits. If you’re looking for gentle liver support, it might be the right fit for you. Milk thistle has been used for cancer care, hepatitis, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. It’s often considered for women’s general health and wellness too, as milk thistle supports liver function, blood sugar management, and lower cholesterol levels. Fatty Liver and Hepatitis Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a condition that affects about 20 percent of Canadians.5 While it’s generally benign, over time and unaddressed, this can progress to non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). In addition to excess fat in the liver, NASH presents with inflammation and scarring of the liver that can progress to cirrhosis.6 While experimental studies have shown milk thistle to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antifibrotic benefits, it has yet to be demonstrated consistently in clinical trials.7 More research is required to help determine milk thistle’s appropriate dosage in people managing fatty liver and hepatitis, but this treatment has generally been shown to be highly tolerated and safe. Blood Sugar and Cholesterol Blood sugar and cholesterol management are very common concerns. People are often looking for alternatives to get things under control so they might avoid prescription medications. In a 2018 clinical trial, participants with type 2 diabetes who received 140 mg of silymarin (from milk thistle) three times a day, demonstrated significant decreases in total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL). This group also showed improvements in high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and insulin sensitivity. Hormones Milk thistle has been researched for its estrogenic (promoting estrogen production and activity in the body) effects on women’s health. In one clinical trial, menopausal women treated with this herb reported a decrease in the frequency and severity of hot flashes they had been suffering with. Another Interesting Application A 2021 clinical trial found that a milk thistle ointment applied to the perineum after episiotomy (a procedure sometimes required during labor and delivery) improved healing time and decreased the severity of pain experienced by women.11 Given the research available today, milk thistle has its great- est influence on patients with cholesterol and blood sugar management issues, while showing some interesting potential for women’s health and cancer care. How beneficial it is for those struggling with fatty liver remains to be seen; but given its safety profile, it may still be a good consideration for general liver health. An important point to clarify is that although supplements can help with detoxification, it’s your liver that is always doing that job—supplements or not. Your liver is always working.12 How efficiently it’s working depends on a combination of genetics, age, and overall health. The first step is to see your healthcare provider check on how your liver is working, which will require blood testing and possibly an abdominal ultrasound. It can then be decided whether milk thistle is the right fit for you and your health goals.

Ask a Chiropractor: Acute vs. Chronic Pain Which Do You Have?

Acute vs. Chronic Pain
How do you know if you have acute or chronic pain?  Pain within the first two days after you notice it is considered acute; if it lasts for more than two days, it becomes sub-acute. This phase is critical because if the pain isn’t treated properly, it can become chronic, meaning it has been there for three months or more and is persistent or recurring. Top Three Things To Focus On » Daily movement » Eating a whole foods diet » Incorporating daily strategies for temporary relief of pain Pain Acute pain can start with swelling, inflammation, and pain; it can be worse initially and gradually get better over time. Chronic pain can become very complex. It might start with a major injury, a small one, or even without any obvious cause. When it progresses or worsens, it starts to affect other areas of life or daily activities, such as the ability to carry out chores like cooking or cleaning. Chronic pain can also affect relationships with people and cause stress or mental health concerns like depression and anxiety. In most cases, you can do many things to prevent pain from becoming chronic and complex. It can be very overwhelming with so many different options to consider for treatment. The best thing you can do is to seek help from your chiropractor, who is trained in this area. Your chiropractor can help narrow down your treatment options to find one that will provide the best results. When it comes to chronic pain, it’s important to note that treatment can take a while to provide significant long-term results. The key to effective treatment is being consistent with your recommended plan at home and keeping up with appointments. If you are dealing with chronic pain, there are some things you can start on your own at home right now, before your first chiropractic appointment. Daily Movement Moving your body every single day (whatever that looks like for you) can help to reduce pain and inflammation, increase range of motion, improve strength, and release endorphins that may help with the pain. Movement can be as simple as going for a nature walk, stretching, and yoga; or it can in- include more intensive activities, like lifting weights, using re- resistance bands, or dance workouts. Whatever movement you can tolerate will be helpful—even if that just means changing positions frequently—as prolonged rest will almost always make the pain worse, even though it can feel good temporarily. Feeling some pain after your movements is quite common, but try to avoid movements that cause sharp pain. Your practitioner can help you find the right movements and correct your form to make them more effective. Good Food Because sugar, alcohol, and processed foods contribute to inflammation in the body, avoiding them can help reduce pain. Eating as close to a whole-food diet as possible is key; a diet full of protein, fiber, and lots of water can be helpful with chronic pain. Pain Relief Achieving pain relief, even temporarily, is different for every- one. Some solutions include ice, heat, stretching, a warm shower, Epsom salt baths, topical creams, foam rollers, and massages. These are things you can test to see if they work for you. These may help to relieve pain long enough for you to move your body or do daily activities, but they likely won’t be sufficient to manage the pain long-term or get rid of it entirely. How Long Until I’m Better? A question I always get in my practice is, “How long will it take to go away?” Managing or getting rid of pain can take anywhere from several months to several years; everyone re- acts differently to a treatment. Even with consistent treatment, it could still take 3–12 months to notice significant improvement. But don’t lose hope—people who believe they will get better tend to have better long-term outcomes. To this end, you can talk to someone through support groups, loved ones, or a therapist to help you through this time. Some find comfort through religion, spirituality, meditation, and breath- work as well. Be open to trying new things and making small (but manageable) lifestyle changes in addition to getting treatment from your chiropractor for the best results.

When Bedtime is a Nightmare: How to Create A Peaceful Sleep Routine?

Peaceful Sleep Routine
If this title caught your attention, let me  start  by saying: “you got this.” Tricky bedtime phases are common, and you’re not alone. They can feel looming as that time approaches and leave you fried at the end of your day. But they can get better; you and your little one can end your day peacefully. Work with your child(ren) as a team. Let them know you want bedtime to be one of the nicest parts of the day and allow them to understand the changes you would like to make so they can look forward to it. Push the “reset button” together and become their coach, rather than their opponent. No matter what age we are, most of us live in a state of go-go-go. We are mentally and physically in motion, and this can create a state of stress throughout the day—even if it is just busyness. Then, we lie down in our beds, close our eyes, and expect our bodies to sleep. Without a proper transition from this busy, alert state, it can be difficult for the body to initiate sleep. The same is true for kids. When this happens, their little bodies may be experiencing overtiredness, a wired feeling, or ruminating thoughts. This can present behaviourally as hyperactivity, tears, anger, chattiness, and resistance. In this article, I’ll give my recommendations to create a peaceful pre-sleep routine that will help tell the body and mind that sleep is coming. “Too Early Or Too Late Can Make It Difficult to Fall Asleep. One Way to Tell Is By Watching For Signs Of Sleepiness During the Routine, Such As Yawning And Becoming relaxed.” So, why have a routine? Kids thrive on routines because it helps them to know what is coming next; most of the time, they’re not in control of things like that or aware of time. Cognitively, a routine will cue them that they are approaching the “time for sleep.” Aspects of the routine can also cue the nervous system that it’s time to switch from our sympathetic fight or flight state to our parasympathetic rest and digest state. A Smoother Bedtime Timing - Assess if your child’s sleep routine duration and bedtime are age-appropriate and right for them. A routine that starts too early or late can make falling asleep difficult. One way to tell is by watching for signs of sleepiness during the routine, such as yawning and becoming relaxed. We all have a natural window of time when our body is ready to initiate sleep. If we stay up past this window, we are likely to experience a period of hyperactivity—the same goes for our little ones. Getting the timing right can significantly impact your child’s ability to fall asleep peacefully. Cue the Senses - When designing the pre-sleep routine, try to incorporate aspects that involve many senses, such as: » Touch - Soft cozy clothing and bedding, cuddles, and back rubs » Smell - Lotions or diffusers with essential oils that calm us, like lavender or chamomile » Sight - Low, soft lighting, such as lamps rather than over- head lighting » Sound - Soft music or singing the same sleepy song, read- ing in a quiet voice, or using white noise » Connection - The ultimate sense. It’s imperative for a child to feel a sense of connection before sleep. This allows them to feel safe, lay their worries down, and fall asleep in their most restful state. All children deserve love, especially as the last thing they hear and feel before sleep. Take this time to fill their buckets right to the top by letting them know you see them, love them, and are grateful for them. Power-Down - Although a little screen time in the evening can seem like it’s slowing our kids down or helping them re- lax, the light from screens (e.g., TVs, tablets, computers, or smartphones) can contribute to difficulty with falling or stay- ing asleep. The light from these devices is an issue for sleep in two ways. Light input suppresses our brain’s release of melatonin, a hormone involved in maintaining our sleep-wake cycle. Blue light suppresses melatonin for longer than other types of light and shifts our brain activity towards a very alert and busy state. This effect lasts long after the device has been turned off and disrupts the quality of sleep that follows. Try to limit screen time overall and schedule it for earlier in the day. Stay Cool - A cooler room triggers the brain to release melatonin and initiate sleep easier. We don’t want our little ones chilly, especially if they don’t tend to stay under their blankets; the ideal temperature for a room is around 20–21°C. Assess pajamas and bedding as well to make sure your little ones are comfortable at a cool but cozy temperature, and ready to drift off calmly. Food as Medicine - Refined sugar must be taken into account with your kid’s nutritional considerations during the day, but especially in the evening. Most children in Canada are consuming as much as five times the ideal limit for refined sugar (which needs to be less than 25 g per day). When the intake of refined added sugar is high, ...

Ask a Naturopath about Plant-based Foods and How to Make Them Kid-Friendly!

Plant Based Foods
Plant-based seems to be the new health buzzword these days. You’ve probably heard that adding plant-based foods to your diet is healthy for you and your family (bonus: for the environment too). However, as a parent, it may seem like a daunting task to convince your child to eat more fruits and veggies, and less meat and dairy products. Don’t worry—I’ve got you covered. This article will explore the researched benefits of eating plant-based foods and easy ways to incorporate them into your everyday life.  First of all, what are plant-based foods? Simply put, it's not plant-based if it comes from an animal. Although considered an acceptable part of a vegetarian diet, dairy and eggs are not plant-based either. Plant-based foods primarily consist of vegetables, fruits, grains, nuts, seeds, and pulses. Going Vegan? You don’t have to go vegan to add more plant-based foods into your diet; making one or two days of the week plant-based can be beneficial. Plant foods are typically higher in fibre, which is great for feeding your gut bacteria and promoting healthy bowel movements. This way of eating typically results in lower rates of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and chronic illnesses overall. "Consuming healthy fats are essential for energy, brain health, hormone health, skin health, cardiovascular health, and much more." Gut Health A study by the American Gut Project showed that people who consume 30 or more different plant foods per week had greater gut diversity than those who consumed 10 or fewer plant foods per week. Why is this important? We are learning- ing that the gut is incredibly important for modulating disease in our entire bodies. Our gut health is not only important for digestion, but for many areas of health. A study carried out by Oxford University found that cardiovascular disease, cancer, and strokes could be significantly reduced by only eating meat three times or less per week. Another interesting discovery is that agricultural antibiotics were found in the gut of people who claimed to not have taken antibiotics in the past year, suggesting that the antibiotics given to livestock can end up in our gut after meat consumption. Environmentally speaking, the farming of meat is quite inefficient. Did you know that producing a single quarter-pound burger requires 406 gallons of water? Protein, Fats & Carbs Now, let’s talk about the breakdown of our macronutrients (i.e., fat, carbohydrates, and protein) in a plant-based diet. You may be worried about getting enough protein, but many plant-based foods offer excellent protein sources. Plants contain all 20 amino acids (the building blocks of protein), including essential amino acids.6 All types of plants, meat, poultry, and fish contain different and/or varying amounts of each amino acid. Protein must be digested into its individual amino acids to be used in the body. Healthy fats can be obtained through avocados, walnuts, chia seeds, and hemp seeds, to name a few. Consuming healthy fats are essential for energy, brain health, hormone health, skin health, cardiovascular health, and much more. Most plant-based foods contain carbohydrates. Fibrous veggies, fruit, beans, brown rice, lentils, nuts, and seeds all contain complex carbohydrates. These are important energy and fibre sources. Mighty B12 Vitamin B12 is the only vitamin that is not found in plant-based foods. If you’re choosing to eat plant-based a couple of times per week, then don’t worry about this. You should be getting your B12 from the eggs, fish, and meat that you consume during the rest of the week. If you’re planning to go vegan, then the fix is as simple as supplementing with B12 daily. Plant-based Food Tips for Kids Make them fun! Add colour and crispy textures (or any texture your child likes), and include fun and commonly requested foods, like pancakes, nuggets, and pasta. Start young. Pickiness typically develops in children who are not exposed to a variety of foods early in life. Starting before age two can help prevent picky eating habits later on.7 Offer options. If your kid doesn’t want to eat kidney beans, for example, try offering chickpeas instead. Or if you’re having trouble getting your child to eat broccoli, try cauliflower or cucumbers. Involve them in the process. Much like an adult, if a kid is in- involved in preparing or cooking a meal, they are more likely to want to consume it. Call it what it is! If something is made of tofu or pumpkin, tell them. This will remove the expectation for it to taste like the meat or dairy counterpart, and this lets them know that plant-based can also be yummy. Overall, most of us can agree that eating more plants is beneficial. Getting our kiddos to eat them may be a challenge, but incorporating more plants into their diet can expand their palates and encourage them to enjoy all types of foods. Important Note It should be noted that the health benef ...

Lycopene – The Natural Red Pigment that Can Help Prevent Disease

Lycopene to Prevent Disease
You probably know that the pigment which lends bold color to certain veggies (tomatoes and pumpkin, for example) is linked to powerful antioxidants – called carotenoids. Most people probably don’t consider taking these carotenoids as individual supplements for overall longevity and improved health.  The benefits of carotenoids like lycopene are vast; including enhanced respiratory, vision, and cardiovascular health. Lycopene is also useful for men experiencing BPH or prostate issues.  What is Lycopene? Beyond Tomatoes In Western countries, tomatoes make up the predominant intake of lycopene, accounting for close to 90 percent. Lycopene is the carotenoid that lends vegetables and fruit (namely tomatoes) their bright red pigment.  Beta-carotene is another popular carotenoid, known for lending a bright orange color to carrots, squash, sweet potatoes, and pumpkin.  Research clearly demonstrates carotenoids as being healthy for us, and reducing the risk factors for all-cause mortality – lycopene specifically offers its own unique health benefits that make supplementing with it worth it.  Lycopene is an exceptionally affordable supplement, with very low risk/interactions and is tolerated well by most people. You won’t be able to get the same amount from food sources that you would in the form of a supplement, even if you consumed tomato-based products with every meal.  The Health Benefits of Lycopene: Prostate Health, Cardiovascular Health, and More Lycopene appears to protect sperm cells – improving count, and motility, and reducing oxidative damage.  Higher blood plasma levels of lycopene were associated with fewer cardiovascular events, strokes, and heart attacks. Conversely, lower levels of lycopene were associated with an increased risk of heart disease.  Other observational studies seem to indicate lycopene as protective against atherosclerosis – the primary risk factor for heart disease, stroke, and cardiovascular disease.  Intake of only ~25mg per day of lycopene was shown to lower “bad” LDL cholesterol levels and lower blood pressure.  Other observational studies indicate that an increased tomato or tomato product intake was correlated with better blood vessel function, better artery function + better arterial health, and lower LDL cholesterol levels.  There is an apparent connection between lycopene intake and prostate cancer. Those with the highest amounts of lycopene intake were noted as having 15%-20% lower occurrences of prostate cancer.  Lycopene appeared to prevent earlier cognitive decline in rat study models, by reducing oxidative damage to the brain in those with diabetes and/or Parkinson’s Disease.  Lycopene appeared to prevent memory related deficits and depression, by reducing inflammation in the brain’s hippocampus.  In women, lycopene supplementation appears to reduce pelvic pain symptoms, and the pain associated with pelvic inflammatory disease. It can also reduce diabetic nerve pain by reducing the amount of circulating inflammatory compounds. 

Xymogen’s ProbioMax DF – 30 & 100 Billion CFU Probiotic Formulations for Gut Health

Xymogen’s ProbioMax
Both Daily DF probiotic supplements contain the following clinically tested strains of probiotics to support a healthy gastrointestinal system: Bifidobacterium lactis Lactobacillus acidophilus Lactobacillus plantarum  Bifidobacterium longum  Bifidobacterium longum Strain is well known to be tolerated by humans and safe for consumption. It is extremely resistant to bile salts/stomach acid and can tolerate a low-pH environment. This makes it quite well suited to the intestinal environment, and one of the better options when supplementing with probiotics to replenish healthy gut flora.  Lactobacillus plantarum Strain is isolated from plant material, and is well-known as being a component of lactic acid fermented foods. This includes sauerkraut and kefir. Like Bifidobacterium longum, lactobacillus plantarum is resistant to bile salts and well tolerated in a low pH environment. This means a much higher level of efficacy and adhesion.  Lactobacillus acidophilus This is perhaps one of the more popular and commonly supplemented probiotics on the market. It is widely used in probiotic supplements, and found in fermented milk-based products like kefir and yogurt. It is present in the human mouth and intestinal tract. This particular strain in Xymogen is of human origin and completely safe for use.  Bifidobacterium lactis This was first discovered in the late 1890’s and plays a significant role in the human digestive system throughout the lifespan of a person from infancy to adulthood. This particular patented strain (HOWARU HN019) has shown the ability to survive transit through the gastrointestinal system and proliferate. This strain has long been studied and documented, with an excellent safety profile and proven efficacy.  These probiotics by Xymogen do not need to be refrigerated. They are completely shelf stable. After opening, simply store them in a cool, dry place.  ProbioMax DF is a vegetarian, dairy, GMO, and gluten-free probiotic formulation that comes in either 30 billion CFU capsules, or 100 billion CFU capsules.  Each individual capsule is protected by being sealed in a nitrogen-purged aluminum blister pack to prevent degradation from heat, moisture, and oxygen.  These four clinically researched strains provide proven health benefits, and each has a well-established and well-known safety profile. In addition, to help further support the resistance to stomach acid when consumed, Xymogen utilizes gastro-resistant capsules to help ensure the beneficial bacteria make it to the small intestine.  These specially designed “DRcaps” are formulated to help slow the exposure of acids to active bacteria and ensure a more targeted and therapeutic release once ingested. 

Xymogen’s 5-HTP CR (Controlled Release) – Healthy Serotonin Levels and More Restful Sleep

Xymogen’s 5-HTP CR
Available in a 60 Tablet formulation  Supports the normal biosynthesis of serotonin  Supports a normal and regulated appetite Supports a more restful and healthy sleeping pattern Supports a normal, healthy mood  Xymogen’s 5-HTP CR is a formulation of 5-hydroxytryptophan in a controlled release tablet. 5-HTP is well known as a precursor to production of serotonin. Within the body, the amino acid tryptophan converts to 5-HTP and subsequently to serotonin to elevate extracellular serum levels. Supplementing with 5-HTP or tryptophan bypasses the limited amount of conversion that occurs from dietary amounts of the amino acid being converted to 5-HTP.  Dosage and Recommended Use of 5-HTP (CR) Dosage may depend upon the use in mind for supplemental 5-HTP. Doses of 150 mg are commonly used/studied in trials to help regulate hormone levels and sleep patterns, while a high dose 300 mg is often used to regulate appetite or control weight.  We generally always recommend only using one tablet (100 mg) two times per day (taken with a meal) unless monitored by a healthcare professional, naturopath, or physician.  Given the ability of 5-HTP to impact serotonin levels and regulate brain activities, it is important for those that are on any prescription drugs for mood disorders (depression, BPD, etc.) or other psychiatric disorders completely avoid use unless cleared by a professional. 5-HTP is not for use by children or those under 18 years of age. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should also avoid the use of 5-HTP.  Each tablet contains 100 mg of 5-HTP and 27 mg of calcium (dicalcium phosphate dihydrate). This product does not contain any wheat, gluten, animal products, dairy products, fish, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, or artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives.  5-HTP CR for Regulating Mood, Hormone Levels, and Sleep Xymogen’s formulation of 5-HTP releases it slowly and steadily over a more prolonged period of time compared to traditional 5-HTP supplements that may cause a ‘peak’ and ‘valley’ rise + fall in serotonin levels. This 5-HTP is a completely prescription drug free product, derived from the amino acid content contained in a plant.  This 5-HTP will naturally increase the levels of serotonin within the body, which play a vital role in emotional regulation, mood, behavior, sleep, and appetite.  5-HTP has been demonstrated to effectively cross the BBB (blood-brain barrier) and displays efficacy when orally ingested without being degraded by the enzymes that degrade tryptophan.  Serotonin production is important for regulating norepinephrine and dopamine levels, and plays a role in normal mood and behavior. Normal levels of serotonin are commonly associated with being calmer and more relaxed.  Published scientific studies support a dosage of 100 mg – 600 mg per day for supporting healthy hormone levels, mood, and restful sleep.  Given that serotonin can also be converted to melatonin (sleepy after that turkey dinner – this is why) to help support longer REM sleep and a more peaceful sleep.

Magnesium Stearate in Supplements: Is it Safe

Magnesium Stearate in Supplements: Is it Safe?
Magnesium stearate is a common additive among many supplements – be it vegetarian capsule, tablet, or lozenge. Over the years, people online have demonized magnesium stearate as a potential ‘harmful’ additive that has the ability to impact the immune system. Is there any validity to these types of claims circulating online about magnesium stearate? Not quite. Let’s explore what magnesium stearate is, how this negative perception came to be, and why it is generally regarded as safe in supplements as an additive. What is Magnesium Stearate, and why is it in my supplements? Magnesium stearate is commonly found in supplements during manufacture because it helps make certain ingredients (especially powders) flow more evenly and prevents them from sticking to machines or clumping during the production process. It is created by a reaction of stearate – often derived from coconut oil or palm oil – with magnesium. The amount used in supplements is exceptionally small, with around ~1% being detectable in the final product of the total formulation. In essence, magnesium stearate is a ‘salt’ that is formed when a magnesium ion is bonded with two stearate molecules (often derived from coconut or palm oil). Stearic acid is a saturated fat that is commonly found in plenty of different foods. It is found to be the only long-chain saturated fatty acid that doesn’t raise cholesterol LDL levels. There is insufficient research and evidence to determine that magnesium stearate in these miniscule quantities could have any sort of negative effect. Magnesium Stearate – Plant Based vs. Animal Derived As an important aside, it should be noted that magnesium stearate can come from animal-based sources as well. Those who are strictly vegetarian, vegan, or plant-based will need to check the ingredient list of a product for “vegetable grade” or “vegetable magnesium stearate” to ensure it is derived from coconut oil or palm oil instead of animal fats. While allergic reactions to a formulation containing magnesium stearate are always possible, they are exceptionally rare, and the more common negative feedback on magnesium stearate simply holds no weight in reality. Debunking Magnesium Stearate and “Immune Suppression” The huge ‘claim’ about magnesium stearate is that it is known to ‘suppress’ the immune system. This claim is entirely based on one study that showed immune cells from mice being damaged by large amounts of stearic acid – which damaged the cell membranes of T-lymphocytes. This study does not depict what happens internally for those ingesting or consuming normal amounts of stearic acid (which is present, by the way, in fats like coconut) let alone the absolutely minuscule amount present in magnesium stearate as an additive used in production. This study has nothing to do with magnesium stearate to begin with (it is entirely based on stearic acid which is found in foods like coconut oil, chocolate and beef) and does not depict stearic acid used under normal conditions. Your cells are not dunked in a stearic acid solution, as is the case in this study. Another important note is that compared to the mice used in the study, human T cells have “the ability to desaturate fatty acids.” This means that even in the hypothetical situation where your T cells and immune cells were dunked in an excess of static acid, they would still maintain membrane functionality. Other claims, stating it contributes to “biofilm” growth would be inaccurate as well, as it appears as though stearic acid actually inhibits the formation and production of biofilms and is beneficial for those dealing with bacterial biofilms. Ultimately, the amount of magnesium stearate present in supplements and pills is extremely safe and will provide no ill effect unless you have an allergy to it – of course, it also provides no added benefit nor does it provide any nutritional substance. If you would rather avoid it or avoid the use of fillers/binders in supplements, always keep an eye on the ingredient list.