Is food giving you a migraine?

For those of us who have had migraines, we know it’s not just a really bad headache.

migraine-headache

It’s mind numbingly painful and can completely destroy your day or even week depending on how long lasts.  I first started getting migraines in elementary school – my mum often received calls from the office asking her to come pick me up.

migraine infographic

She tells me I described seeing “stars” before the headache set in and was able to piece together the visual problems, headaches, and nausea as a probable migraine.  Having a migraine isn’t really about the pain as much as it is a total disruption of life.  Often, during bouts of frequent migraines, I’m afraid to make plans and fear that one will strike me at work.  I remember worrying on my wedding day that I would get one…thankfully, I didn’t!

Migraine Aura:  partial loss of vision

Migraine Aura: partial loss of vision

The way a migraine starts is pretty interesting.  Something triggers our prostaglandins (a type of hormone) to initiate platelets to cluster together which in turn signals our body in increase the levels of serotonin in the blood stream.  This increase in serotonin then causes our blood vessels to constrict meaning less blood flows to the brain.  The decrease in blood to the brain creates a sort of acidic environment which then results in the vessels dilating which causes pain.  The aura I mentioned previously (vision problems) is caused by the changes in nerve cells and blood flow.  Aside from visual auras, other warnings that a migraine may be on the way include numbness, weakening, dizziness, vertigo, speech and hearing problems, and issues with memory.

mechnismmigraine

Migraines are a very complex neurological disorder with many contributing factors (genetics, environment, etc) but we do know that they are instigated by triggers such as:

  • skipping meals
  • stress
  • hormonal changes
  • caffeine or withdrawal from caffeine
  • over sleeping or not getting enough sleep
  • exercise
  • travel
  • weather changes
  • menstrual cycle
  • certain medications
  • constipation (see this post and this one as well for ways of reducing this problem)
  • food

The thing with migraines is that they can almost be a response to too many things going on at once.  If you’re tired, stressed, and the barometric pressure is low and then you eat food that is aggravating to your system, it can be that last thing to send you over the edge.

migraine

On my lifetime journey to healing myself or at least reducing the frequency of migraines I know that it’s crucial for me to eat regular meals, keep my stress levels under control, get enough sleep, an also to avoid food triggers.  Here are some common dietary contributors:

  • diary (especially cheese) – contains histamine
  • wheat
  • corn
  • soy
  • sugar
  • coffee
  • chocolate – contains histamine
  • citrus fruit
  • nuts
  • strawberries
  • potatoes
  • tomatoes
  • shellfish
  • MSG
  • food colouring – contains histamine
  • Alcohol (red wine and beer especially which contains histamine)

When we eat something that we’re allergic to, our immune system releases histamines which trigger an inflammatory response (migraines!) so if you suffer from migraines it may help to take Vitamin C everyday since it helps breakdown histamine.  Other natural sources that help the body to break down histamine include Vitamin B and Quercetin.

Vit CVit B6Quercetin

Other natural remedies worth trying out include Magnesium (minimum of 300 mg/day) and Feverfew which comes from Feverfew leaves and is helpful as a preventative mechanism (50-100 mg/day).

For more information on migraines and nutrition, contact thehealthjunction@mail.com.

THE DAILY DL (Dalai Lama)

“A migraine is like a tornado.  It attacks fast, usually without warning, and wreaks havoc regardless of what’s going on in your life at that moment.”

–  Stephen Silverstein, M.D., Director of the Jefferson Headache Clinic in Philadelphia

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The Big Brown Elephant In the Room: CONSTIPATION!

I’m only a little bit embarrassed to admit that one of my favourite topics of conversation is in fact “moving of the bowels”.  My fascination with poop started way  before I became interested in nutrition, and long before I decided to become a Nutritionist.  Maybe it’s because for many years of my life, I simply couldn’t poop properly – it’s not like I never went but it was a once or twice a week deal.

Bieber

I remember my first nutrition teacher exclaiming to the class “can you imagine that some people only go once a week” and the class was dismayed to say the least.  People were shouting in disbelief “NO!  IMPOSSIBLE” to which I silently said “oh, it’s possible Sally and I’m living proof”.  Going once a week isn’t normal, and all joking aside is a major indicator that something isn’t quite right with the digestive and gastrointestinal system.  Since March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness month, I thought constipation was a good place to start in optimizing the health and balance of our colon and ultimately, entire body.

Constipation

The Mayo Clinic defines constipation as infrequent bowel movements or difficult passage of stools.  It feels unfomfortable and can leave people with bloating and gas and according to this BBC article, leads to “rabbit pellet” like bowel movements.  When one is constipated, the bowel movements are normally small and hard which can tear the anus causing further discomfort and pain – and often causes people to “hold it in” to avoid more pain which further exacerbates the issue.

Rabbit

The issue with constipation is that it allows waste to sit and stagnate in your colon for a longer period of time than it really should.  Imagine that the colon cell walls probably don’t like to have toxic waste touching them day in and day out.  Over time, this toxic environment causes intestinal cells to become weak.  In fact, not having a bowel movement daily increases your chances of getting colon cancer, heart attack, colitis, and IBS.  Stagnating toxic stool, when sitting in the colon longer than it should, causes inflammation and allows toxins to be reabsorbed into the body where they can cause cellular damage system wide.

Colon

So, you can see that having a poorly functioning colon can negatively impact your entire body and we can safey “poo poo” constipation.  Bowel movements are actually classified based on their appearance according to something called the Bristol Scale – constipation would be a 1 or 2 on the scale below.  What we are actually aiming for is something more like Type 4 “like a sausage or snake…smooth and soft”.

bristol-scale

Constipation is diagnosed as an infrequent bowel movement and so I think it would be helpful to quantify the term “infrequent”.  Conventionally, anything less than three bowel movements a week is considered constipated.  From in the holistic nutrition/naturopathic viewpoint a food should pass through your system between 18-24 hours after ingestion – so the long of the short is that you should be moving your bowels daily.  The time taken, by the way, from when you eat a food to when you excrete it is called Oral-Fecal Transit Time (OFTT) and you can test this at home with one simple ingredient – sesame seeds.  Swallow a tablespoon of sesame seeds in a 1/4 cup of water without chewing the seeds.  Then wait and prepared to  be amazed when you see those seeds again in your toilet – hopefully within 24 hours.

Oral-Fecal Transit Time

What if your OFTT is  more than 24 hours?  What is causing this?  It’s likely due to lack of hydration or not eating enough fiber.  Both of these elements are required to lubricate the intestine and bulk up stool so that it easily passes through your colon.  Other factors include lack of movement because not getting enough exercise keeps you both physically and mentally stagnant and perhaps even a change in your routine could throw off your bowel balance.  Another common culprit is stress and not taking the time to go to the washroom when nature calls.  Some medications and illnesses are known to factor into a slow transit time but really, if you want to avoid constipation here are four simple steps.

STEP 1:  drink lots of water.  Start you day off with two large glasses of water with fresh lemon (1/4th of a lemon should do).  Make sure that by bedtime you have had 10-12 glasses of water.

STEP 2:  you need fiber to have healthy bowels.  Aim for 50 grams a day.  Good sources of fiber include beans, raspberries, leafy greens, whole grains (barley, brown rice, oats), flax seeds (milled), beets, carrots, Brussels Sprouts, apples, oranges, asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, mushrooms, bell peppers, cabbage, celery, avocado, buckwheat, sweet potato, prunes, onions, bananas.

STEP 3:  make time for going to the washroom.  Enough said.

STEP 4:  move your body and that will move your bowels.  You need to get daily physical activity.

Some supplements that may help support your colon and healthy gut flora include omega-3 fish oil and probiotics which can lubricate the stool/reduce inflammation and help provide “good” bacteria respectively.  If you have tried the above steps and are still experiencing less than ideal oral-fecal transit time, it could be related to a food allergy or sensitivity or a hormonal issue related to thyroid function – these are options which you can explore further with a Nutritionist (see the services page of this website) or a Naturopathic Doctor (click here for how to find an ND in Canada).

Stay tuned for more posts this month related to colorectal health and learn how you can keep your colon supported throughout the years to come.

* I would like to note that I no longer suffer from constipation…horray for water, fiber, and lots of veggies!

THE DAILY DL (Dalai Lama)

“Sex is interesting, but it’s not totally important. I mean it’s not even
as important (physically) as excretion. A man can go seventy years without a
piece of ass, but he can die in a week without a bowel movement.”

–  Charles Bukowski

Maca Powder 101 In 100 Words

What’s the dealio with Maca Powder?  The powder actually comes from the root of the Lepidium Meyenii plant (aka Maca Root) which is grown in the high altitude areas of the Peruvian and Bolivian Andes.

Maca Root

Maca Root

Interestingly, Maca is sometimes called Peruvian Ginseng and the form you’ll most often see marketed is as a powder – which is why it’s often added to smoothies and shakes.  It’s helpful at increasing energy without giving you the jitters that often accompany the consumption of caffeine.

While Maca is known for improving the quality and quality of sperm, it was hard for me to find conclusive evidence that pointed to an absolute and positive connection between the use of Maca powder and improved fertility.  Some studies said yes while others said not so much but that being said, it’s a very popular herbal supplement for those looking to boost their chances of conceiving.  It seems that Maca powder is a hormone stabilizer and endocrine system toner that may decrease symptoms of PMS and menstrual cramps as well as reduce hot flashes in menopausal women.

Navitas Maca Powder

So, while there hasn’t been a lot of research done to positively confirm the proposed health benefits of Maca I would say it can’t hurt!  Try adding a couple of tablespoons to your smoothie – my favourite product is Raw Maca Powder by Navitas Naturals or you can actually get powder from Bulk Barn if you’re shopping on the cheap.

THE DAILY DL (Dalai Lama)

“Water is the most neglected nutrient in your diet, but one of the most vital”

– Julia Child

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Tired of dry, flakey, tight, and dull winter skin?

Around the beginning of November, the skin on my face goes from manageable to as dry as the Sahara desert.  My normally very minimal routine no longer suffices and in the past, I’ve resorted to a wonderful, but expensive cream by Kiehl’s.  After investigating, I realised that there are easier and cheaper ways of getting the skin you want that involves just a few simple ingredients that you can find at your local health food or grocery store.

The first thing you’ll want to do is ensure that all the nutrients vital to skin health are being consumed regularly:

Water:  it makes sense right?  The more hydrated you are, the more hydrated your skin will be.  Aim for at least 10 cups of water a day…no less.

EFA’s (Essential Fatty Acids):  These are your omega 3 & 6’s and sources include:  cold water fish (salmon, etc), flax seeds, hemp seeds, avocado, chia seeds, nuts, and leafy greens.  I also personally supplement with omega-3 fish oil capsules twice a day @ 1400 mg’s/capsule.

EFA’s cannot be absorbed through the intestines when your digestive system isn’t working properly.  So, make sure that you’re avoiding foods which you may be allergic to, chew your food thoroughly, ensure adequate fiber intake (50 grams a day!), and drink lots of water to keep things “flowing”.

Salmon is an excellent source of both omega-3 fatty acids and protein.

Have you ever heard of Jojoba Oil?  The oil comes from the seed of the Jojoba shrub which is found the desert areas of both Mexico and the United States.  What is unique about this oil is that its chemical structure is almost identical to the oil produced by our skin and hair.  It’s nourishing and moisturizing to the skin and because it’s similar to our own oil, is easily absorbed and doesn’t leave a nasty greasy residue.  Jojoba oil contains a compound called myristic acid which is an anti-inflammtory agent – this is why jojoba oil is commonly used in the treatment of inflammatory skin disorders like eczema and psoriasis.  A bottle of Jojoba Oil (my favourite band is called Desert Essence) costa about $13 dollars and will last you several months.

Jojoba Oil Instructions:  just put a penny sized drop of Jojoba Oil on your palms and massage into your face before bed.  Overnight it will soak into your pores and absorb.  The next morning, wash and moisturizer your skin as your normally would.

If you’re looking to gently exfoliate your face and get ride of those existing flakes, try the following concoction which was recommended by my classmate Emily P.

Facial Scrub Instructions:  Mix a tsp of brown sugar in with a tbsp of Jojoba Oil.  Spread of over your face and gently massage.  Rinse, wash, and moisturize as you normally would.

THE DAILY DL (Dalai Lama):

“Look at children.  Of course they may quarrel, but generally speaking they do not harbor ill feelings as much or as long as adults do.  Most adults have the advantage of education over children, but what is the use of an education if they show a big smile while hiding negative feelings deep inside?  Children don’t usually act in such a manner.  If they feel angry with someone, they express it, and then it is finished.  They can still play with that person the following day.”

– Dalai Lama XIV

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Bioflavonoids 101 In 100 Words

I work, live, and study in the world of nutrition and until about one hour ago had no clue what bioflavonoids were or why we should be consuming them regularly.  Here is the dealio on bioflavonoids in 100 words.

Compounds found in Bioflavanoids help support capillary integrity and (P)ermeability (hence why it’s called Vitamin P) by making it easier for nutrients, oxygen, and carbon dioxide to get into capillaries.  Bioflavonoids also act as an antibiotic, reduce inflammation, and make Vitamin C last longer in our body – hooray!

Are you deficient in bioflavonoids?  You might be if you  have issues with bruising, bleeding gums, intestinal ulcers, or a generally weak immune system (like you’re always getting sick).  Supplementing is recommended at 125 – 250 mg @ 3/day but it is probably easier and cheaper to actually get Vitamin P from the source – food!  Here is a list of foods high in Bioflavonoids:

  • Citrus fruit (or juice with the pulp)
  • Raspberries
  • Blueberries
  • Cabbage
  • Onions
  • Strawberries
  • Pinto and Black  Beans
  • Apricots
  • Grapes
  • Cherries
  • Black Currants
  • Plums
  • Blackberries
  • Green Peppers
  • Broccoli
  • Tomatoes
  • Buckwheat

 THE DAILY DL (Dalai Lama):

“The way to change others’ minds is with affection, and not anger.”

– Dalai Lama XIV

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Become an Iron Woman (or at least a woman who gets enough iron)

It is really difficult getting enough iron if you’re a woman, one who has her period, and especially if you’re a vegetarian (or infrequent meat-eating) menstruating woman.

Are you still with me?

If you’re a guy and still reading, kudos to you for realising that having your woman well ironized is good for everyone.

I bet this guy is into iron absorption

Iron deficiency is actually the top nutritional disorder in the entire world and it tends to affect women and children more than others.

What is anemia?  It’s when the red blood cell count is low and since red blood cells carry oxygen around the body it can cause a host of symptoms such as:

  • Easy fatigue and loss of energy
  • Unusually rapid heart beat, particularly with exercise
  • Shortness of breath and headache, particularly with exercise
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Dizziness
  • Pale skin
  • Leg cramps
  • Insomnia

There are two main factors that contribute to having reduced iron stores: 1.) losing blood (aka the link to menstruation),  and 2.) not producing enough red blood cells.

Since we can’t really do anything about having a period, let’s look at dietary reasons why some of us don’t produce enough red blood cells.

DIET:  red blood cells need iron, folate, vitamin B12, vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin C, and copper.  Not getting enough of iron, folate, and B12 are usually the major culprits to iron deficiency.

In terms of diet, the most absorbable form or iron is called “heme iron” which comes from animal protein.  It’s true that you can get iron from vegetarian sources, but you should know that it’s much harder for your body to absorb.  Vitamin B12 is also most common in animal protein – another reason why vegetarians struggle so much.

How much iron do I need?

If you are a meat-eating woman, you need around 18 mg’s or 27 mg’s if you’re pregnant.

If you’re a vegetarian women, you need around 33 mg’s per day.

Men, you’re cool with about 14 mg’s.

What are some non animal sources of iron?

Soybeans, cooked 1 cup 8.8
Blackstrap molasses 2 Tbsp 7.2
Lentils, cooked 1 cup 6.6
Spinach, cooked 1 cup 6.4
Quinoa, cooked 1 cup 6.3
Tofu 4 ounces 6.0
Bagel, enriched 3 ounces 5.2
Tempeh 1 cup 4.8
Lima beans, cooked 1 cup 4.4
Swiss chard, cooked 1 cup 4.0
Black beans, cooked 1 cup 3.6
Pinto beans, cooked 1 cup 3.5
Turnip greens, cooked 1 cup 3.2
Chickpeas, cooked 1 cup 3.2
Potato 1 large 3.2
Kidney beans, cooked 1 cup 3.0
Prune juice 8 ounces 3.0
Beet greens, cooked 1 cup 2.7
Tahini 2 Tbsp 2.7
Veggie hot dog 1 hot dog 2.7
Peas, cooked 1 cup 2.5
Black-eyed peas, cooked 1 cup 2.3
Cashews 1/4 cup 2.1
Brussels sprouts, cooked 1 cup 1.9
Bok choy, cooked 1 cup 1.8
Bulgur, cooked 1 cup 1.7
Raisins 1/2 cup 1.6
Almonds 1/4 cup 1.5
Apricots, dried 15 halves 1.4
Veggie burger, commercial 1 patty 1.4
Watermelon 1/8 medium 1.4
Soy yogurt 6 ounces 1.1
Tomato juice 8 ounces 1.0
Green beans, cooked 1 cup 1.2
Kale, cooked 1 cup 1.2
Sunflower seeds 1/4 cup 1.2
Broccoli, cooked 1 cup 1.1
Millet, cooked 1 cup 1.1
Sesame seeds 2 Tbsp 1.0

How can I improve iron absorption?

Make sure you consume the foods above with a source of vitamin C in order to optimize absorption.  Foods high in vitamin C include: broccoli, red peppers, strawberries, dark leafy greens (think kale and mustard greens), cauliflower, kiwis, and oranges.

Also, avoid consuming caffeine when eating foods with iron.

What about the other major players in red blood cell creation?

You need to make a concerted effort to eat enough folate and B12.  Here’s how.

B12:  we need around 2.4 mg’s per day.  The best way to get it is from animal sources like eggs, milk, cheese, milk products, meat, fish, shellfish and poultry.  If you don’t eat meat, look for fortified cereals and beverages (soy/rice/almond milk etc).  There is also a product on the market called Red Star Nutritional Yeast (can be found at health food stores) which is an excellent source of vitamin B12.

Folate: excellent sources of folate include; dark leafy greens, asparagus, beets, cauliflower, squash, lentils, bell peppers, sea vegetables, celery, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, most types of beans, strawberries, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, and green peas.

Last but not least, if you suspect that you’re iron deficient consider asking your doctor (medical or naturopathic) to do a blood test.  There are a bunch of supplements (normally they are about 25-30 mg’s per capsule) on the market that can really help you get your stores up.  They can be tough on the digestive system and often cause constipation so it’s worth researching to find a good quality one.  Also, just like food sources, taking your supplement with vitamin C rich foods or even 1000 mg’s of a vitamin C supplement can boost the absorption.  I’ve been anemic for years and only recently got it under control – I can’t tell you what a difference it makes to have more energy and less dizziness!

THE DAILY DL (Dalai Lama):

“If a problem is fixable, if a situation is such that you can do something about it, then there is no need to worry. If it’s not fixable, then there is no help in worrying. There is no benefit in worrying whatsoever.”

– Dalai Lama XIV

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Here gutty gutty gut….the candida connection

Last week, The Health Junction looked at yogurt and other forms of probiotics known to help dysbiosis – or an imbalance of bacteria in the digestive track.  Dysbiosis commonly results in a candida (yeast) overgrowth which can manifest itself in several ways such as; yeast infections, skin problems, season allergies, food allergies, and irritable bowel syndrome…and the list goes on.

Yeast has something to do with IBS and seasonal allergies?  What??  Yes.

Holistic Pracitioners (for the most part) believe that poor digestion causes the percentage of acceptable candida in the gut to rise above 15%.  When that happens, the quality of hydrocholric acid (HCl) in our gut is degraded which is a problem because HCl, along with specific enzymes, help breakdown protein.  A few problems arise from poor quality HCl.  Firstly, protein passes into the small intestine in larger chains than it should and is recognized as a foreign substance.  Secondly, poor quality HCl interfers with signals from the intestine to both the pancreas and gallbladder for the release of enzymes & bicarbonate, and bile respectively.

What does all this have to do with yeast?

Well, poor digestion leads to an overgrowth of candida because the bacteria feed off of undigested disaccharides (two sugars bonded together).  This bacteria will grow very quickly and eventually it will bore holes in our intestine.  The undigested and/or toxic nutrients may enter the blood stream which results in an immune response because our body recognizes it as an INVADER.  Darth is back.  This sequence of events and the resulting “holes” in our intestine is described as Leaky Gut and I am a believer that many of us have this issue.

Undigested Sugars and Proteins: Darth

A key response of our immune system to invaders is inflammation.  Colitis, sinusitis, arthritis, food allergies, seasonal allergies, IBS, migraines, fatigue and a whole bunch of other aliments are very possibly due to inflammation brought about by a weakened immune system which resulted in the first place because of leaky gut.

Both candida and ultimately leaky gut can be corrected (in part) by improving digestion.  Because it is such a complex multi variable issue, a Naturopath or Holistic Nutritionist are key people to speak to in improving any of the symptoms discussed in this post but here are a few tips for you to think about:

1.)  Chew your food.  The more we mechanically and chemically chew our food, the less work our stomach and intestines have to do.

2.) Don’t drink water with meals because it dilutes our digestive enzymes.  Drink either 30 minutes before or after.

3.) Eliminate or reduce “non-foods” which offer little to no nutrients and causes a physiological reaction that contributes to a yeast friendly internal environment:  refined foods, coffee, tea, chocolate, brown sugar, white sugar, ANY TYPE OF SUGAR, booze.

4.) Try Food Combining.  Certain foods are not optimally digested when eaten together.  Specifically, carbohydrates and protein.  Eat fruit alone and on an empty stomach.  If you are having a heavy protein meal, have very low starch vegetables (ie, not a baked potato!).  Examples of non starchy food are:  Leafy greens, broccoli, asparagus, cauliflower, carrots, bok choy, cabbage, celery, lettuces, green beans, garlic, fennel, onions, chives, turnips, sprouts, red radish, yellow squash, zucchini, cucumber, beets

5.)  Manage your stress.  The first two things to shut down when we are stressed are digestion and reproduction because they aren’t considered essential to survival.  Manging your stress will aboslutely improve digestion.

6.) Don’t overeat as this taxes your system.  Try eating slowly.  Check out The Health Junction’s prior post on mediation for ways to enjoy your food without overeating and rushing through your meal.

7.) Check your levels of B12 because low levels of Vitamin B are closely linked to poor HCl quality.  Adults should be getting 2.4 micrograms of B12 daily (more if you are pregnant or nursing).  The best food sources of B12 are sardines, salmon, lamb, beef, shrimp, scallops, yogurt, and milk.  You can see how vegetarians might have a problem getting adequate B12 so you many consider a supplement if this is the case.

Check back here for tomorrow for a post on why low stomach acid (HCl) is actually the cause of heartburn and why taking an antacid is the worst thing you can do.

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ALERT: The One Vitamin You Can’t Live Without

I was recently reading about vitamins and there was a special one outlined in the textbook that caught my attention.

More interesting than any other vitamin or mineral I’ve ever read about before, this one made first made me laugh, then I rolled my eyes…and then I kept reading.  By the end, I was a believer and am now taking daily supplements in VERY high doses.

Vitamin “L” stands for Love and according to literature (Staying Healthy With Nutrition by Elson M. Hass, MD) “it is a vital human emotion, expression, and experience necessary for optimal functioning of people and all of their cells tissues, and organs”.

The more I thought about optimal health, the more I realised that no matter how physically healthy someone is, if they don’t feel loved they don’t feel happy.  Not being happy precludes general wellbeing doesn’t it??

Imagine a world without someone special (props to El Branno), cats, dogs, moms, dads, sisters, brothers, nanas, granddads, friends, neighbours, co-workers, kind strangers, nieces, and nephews?  The very thought of not having those people makes me glum.

Feeling love makes us happy and energized and can cure sadness and feelings of depression.  According to Haas other symptoms such as; anger, fear, worry, pain, and stress can also be treated with Vitamin L.

Apparently, “hug experts advise a minimum of 4 hugs a day, 6 for maintenance, and 10 for growth”.

Before you hit the gym, eat a giant salad, and blend flax seeds into your smoothie consider getting and giving some love today.  Walk a dog, pet a cat, give your special someone a squeeze, mow your neighbours lawn, and be patient on your daily commute.

In 100 Words: why not all omega-3 fatty acids are created equal

Many foods possess omega-3 fatty acids naturally (flax, hemp, walnuts, etc) and others have it added in by food companies (orange juice, eggs, cheese).  What you should know is that there is only one omega-3 fatty acid that has been proven to protect your heart and that is omega-3 found in fish oil.  While all omega-3’s are beneficial for helping to reduce “bad”  cholesterol and optimal brain functioning ONLY fish oil has the type of EPA (eicosapentaonic acid) that has been proven to reduce inflammation and the type of plaque that often leads to cardiovascular disease.  It tastes terrible but works wonders!