December 04, 2012

Turmeric ›

Kitchen Pantry Series: 2. Turmeric - Modern Take on Ancient Spice

Turmeric, a long-used ancient spice in eastern cultures, has shown in recent research to help with arthritis, inflammation, Alzheimer’s, cancer, and even digestion and weight loss.  Turmeric is commonly used in eastern curry dishes.  The most highly recognized component of turmeric is curcumin which gives turmeric (and the dishes it is used in) its yellow color.  Here’s a summary of some of the potential health benefits of turmeric.

Curcumin is turmeric’s “anti-inflammatory” ingredient which has been shown to influence more than 700 genes and can inhibit the activity and synthesis of COX-2 and 5-LOX which are enzymes implicated in inflammation.  Turmeric has even shown to benefit rheumatoid arthritis which is commonly believed to be progressive and irreversable.  Here’s a link to Mercola’s article on the benefits of curcumin to RA.

In another Mercola article, he reveals some research that points to potential benefits of a combination of turmeric and vitamin D3 in helping Alzheimer’s patients.  Some of turmeric’s powerful benefit to the brain and immune system is in its enhanced anti-oxidant properties; 5- to 8 times stronger than vitamin C and E.  Other research has also shown turmeric’s potential ability to help inhibit the accumulations of beta amyloids, associated with the plague build-up common in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients.

Turmeric may be the most researched natural ingredient for its anti-cancer properties.  A 2008 study found that curcumin inhibits breast cancer cell motility and invasion.  A 2009 study found that curcumin inhibits pancreatic cell growth.  Another 2009 study found that curcumin induces cell death in lung cancer. In 2010, a study showed that curcumin has the potential to target cancer stem cells.  These are just a few of th studies.  For more information search “curcumin” at

Turmeric may also help with weight loss and keeping those pounds off after you lose them.  In one European study, turmeric interacted signal transduction pathways that may help reverse insulin resistance, hyperglycemia, hyperlipenemia, and other inflammatory symptoms associated with obesity and metabolic disorders.

Turmeric is a wonderful tonic for the body as well as a delicious spice.  The benefits go on and on including heart, brain, and liver health.

November 28, 2012

Freedom Alert: FDA Takes Out Supplement Manufacturer

There is still mass belief that the FDA is here to keep us safe.  In my opinion, nothing is further from the truth.

I recently received a disappointing e-mail from one of our manufacturers, RainTree Nutrition.  They informed us that they are permanently going out of business.  For over a year, the FDA has prohibited them from importing bulk plant materials from the Amazon.  They have been in an ongoing fight with the FDA regarding over “claims” made on their website.  Here’s an excerpt from their email:

“Between the additional high costs in meeting the new GMP standards, the falling US dollar affecting our import prices, and battling the FDA over our website while still providing factual information about our products, we simply cannot go on any longer.”

Based on personal conversations with the folks at RainTree and our personal experiences, our best guess is that the primary target of the FDA focus is a product which has shown to benefit cancer patients.  RainTree’s commitment to telling the truth to the best of their knowledge and conscience is what got them in trouble in the first place.  If you want to shut down a company, just take away their raw materials.

It is hard to understand how a government agency such as the FDA could be protecting us when, according to their own website, the very drugs that they watch over cause over 100,000 deaths a year and over 2 million adverse drug reactions (ADR: those serious enough to require medical attention).  It goes on to say that ADRs are the 4th leading cause of death ahead of pulmonary disease, diabetes, AIDs, and pneumonia.  To see it for yourself, google "FDA ADR deaths".  Can you think of any other industry which is allowed to operate with this level of risk?

On the other hand, more people died from eating cantaloupe during the summer of 2011 than from taking dietary supplements over the last 25 years.  The safety record for dietary supplements is better than the food we eat.  That’ pretty good since most supplements are, by definition, food-based themselves.  It’s a record that the natural health industry should be proud of.

Kitchen Pantry Series: 1. The Many Health Benefits of Oregano

One of the challenges that we face in helping people discover and use natural remedies is that it seems impossible to many that something found in nature, in your yard or herb garden even, can have a positive, powerful effect on your health.  Anything that good must cost a billion dollars and require a prescription.  For this reason, I decided to do a series on the health benefits of some of the most common herbs, most found in your kitchen pantry, to help reprogram our thinking to recognize the health power of simple, natural foods and remedies.  My first choice is the king spice of pizza lovers everywhere: oregano.

Oregano is a culinary herb that grows practically everywhere.  It has long been recognized as a “functional food” for its nutritional, anti-oxidants, and disease fighting properties. It contains an impressive list of compounds known for their health-enhancing properties and has been a part of our natural medicine chest for many years.

Oregano has been shown to have anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-inflamatory properties which makes it useful in recovering from colds, flu, mild fevers, indigestion, stomach upsets, and painful menstruation conditions.

Oregano also has shown to perform as an anti-histamine and anti-inflammatory in which it counteracts the histamine response common in colds, flu, and allergies.

Oregano is rich in anti-oxidants such as vitamin A, carotenes, lutein, zeaxanthin and cryptoxanthin.  Oregano also contains calcium, magnesium, zinc, iron, potassium, vitamins A and C, and niacin. Although these components don’t directly impact upper respiratory problems, all of them are required by the systems within the body including the immune system.

Even more amazing, Fox News did a story on ongoing research as to oregano’s ability to kill prostate cancer cells.  According to early results from the study, carvacrol, one of the main components of oregano, could eliminate nearly all prostate cancer cells it came into contact with within 96 hours.  

Can you believe that all of this comes from a pizza ingredient?  While I’m not advocating that oregano is the new wonder drug, it does demonstrate how eating a variety of healthy foods including (organic, non-irradiated) spices could contribute to a healthier body.

Do you own research by googling oregano or carvacrol and find out the details.  Here’s some of the links I used in my research.

September 18, 2012

Recommended ›

Recommended - What It Means to Us

Quality - Effectiveness - Value

We believe that a part of our mission to help you navigate the natural health maze is to help you quickly identify the best products we have in each of our categories.  But what does "best" mean to us.  While it has a quality feel to it, here are the major guidelines that we use when labeling our products "Recommended".

  1. Quality - The product comes from one of our preferred manufacturers which do the appropriate testing before, during, and after formulation.
  2. Effectiveness - We have sold enough of the product and received feedback to know that it actually works and/or is tolerated well.
  3. Value - The product is well priced, and most times, discounted.
 Of course, we offer lots of other products that are equally good and/or meet a specific need that may be a better choice for you.  However, for many decisions, just following the "Recommended" label will help you make a good choice.
September 18, 2012

Multi-Vitamins ›

How To Choose a Multi-Vitamin

Why Take a Multi-Vitamin?

  • The American diet does not include all the nutrition we need to live a optimally healthy life.  Processing, refining, eating out, depletion of our soil, our own eating choices, all contribute to nutritional deficiencies that affect our health.
  • Modern multivitamins, especially the complete and whole-foods based multis, have added ingredients that target specific health and lifestyle needs such as energy, mens and women's issues, stress, etc.
  • We are quality bigots.  Most, if not all, name brand, big store multivitamins contain fillers and lowest-cost (read low quality) ingredients.  They spend their money on advertising.  In the natural health food industry, there is an inverse relationship between quality and advertising.  The health food store brands, like Bluebonnet, Pure Essence, and others spend their money on ingredients and let us do their marketing.  If you are going to take one dietary supplement, take a high quality multivitamin.

Choosing A Multi-Vitamin

Choosing a multi-vitamin can be daunting task.  We have over 60 different multivitamin products all chosen for their quality and to answer specific needs of our customers.  In our effort you help you navigate the natural health maze, here's a summary of the questions you need to answer when choosing a multi-vitamin.

  1. I only want to take one pill.  Some people just don't like taking pills.  If you don't take them, they don't do you any good!  While One-A-Day vitamins do not have all the extra ingredients that the complete vitamins, there are do include the basic vitamins and minerals you need to stay healthy.
  2. I have trouble swallowing pills.  Another special case that can be answered with a chewable or liquid multi-vitamin.  Actually, the liquid vitamins also have the added benefit of better absorption.  
  3. I only want one bottle with everything in it.  This is where the "complete" multi-vitamins go to work.  In addition to the basic vitamins and minerals, complete multis include a variety of antioxidants, super greens, co-factors, enzymes, and herbs all focused on optimum health.  These are the vitamins that most people will report improved energy and a greater sense health and well-being.  But all of this nutrition comes with a price: having to take 2-3 big tablets a day.  Still, they are great products.
  4. I want the best!.  That's Whole Foods, isn't it?  All of our vitamins come from great companies that only use the best ingredients but there are differences between brands.  For example, Bluebonnet uses all natural ingredients, tested and retested, but they make their multis from isolates.  Isolates are when the vitamin or mineral is isolated and extracted from a food/plant and then reformulated into the final product.  Whole Foods based vitamins formulate their products from food-based ingredients.  The theory is that (and there is some research to support this) individual nutrients are more absorbable and readily used by the body when they are surrounded by co-factors that naturally occur around them.  Examples include vitamin A works better when surrounded by a mix of carotenoids and vitamin C works better when surrounded by bio-flavonoids.
  5. I want more energy / less stress!  This is probably the #1 complaint of customers when they come in to our store.  Many of our customers have reported that the complete multi-vitamins do help with energy - better nutrition will help the body run smoother and faster.  But there are also multi-vitamins that include nutritients and herbs that boost energy and/or reduce stress.  These are some of our best sellers.
  6. I'm a man/woman and want a multi-vitamin specific to me.  A recent trend in the vitamin business has been multi-vitamins specifically formulated for men and women.  They typically include herbs which support aging gender-specific issues.  If you are over 40, you might get benefit from one of these vitamins.  They typically only cost a few dollars more a month than generic multis.
  7. I'm pregnant!  Then you will want to take a pre-natal which is specially formulated for pregnancy.  In addition, we've chosen our products to minimize nausea.
  8. I'm a kid!  (or, more likey, you have kids!).  As busy a parents are and with the low quality of school lunchroom meals (more so this year as federally mandated changes have reduced the nutritional quality of the meals along with reduced portions), a multi-vitamin can supplement a child's of teen's nutritional needs, and hopefully keep them healthier throughout the year. (You may also want to peruse the Children's and Teen's pages under Popular Categories for ideas on how to keep your kids well.)
  9. I want a multi-vitamin to help with ....   There are variety of multi-vitamins that are formulated for special health issues such as hair loss, healthy blood sugar levels, healthy heart, etc.  It can be convenient to combine the multi-vitamin with extra, specialized ingredients that support your particular health needs.
  10. Iron vs. Iron-Free.  Finally, many vitamins come as "with Iron" and "Iron-Free".  Unless you are a woman of child-rearing age or you know that you are anemic, "Iron-Free" is the best choice.  Both the Bluebonnet Super Earth and Multi-One come in both flavors.

Now you are ready to shop!  Click Here to see our favorite multi-vitamins.

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