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SMART WAYS To slow the ageing process

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Grow produce in small spaces



10 practical steps to help you stay safe



Do you prefer pure 100% organic teas grown and harvested in pristine environments? So do we...

organic GUIDE


Ajax Robertson

Editorial Coordinator

CONTENTS February/March 2017

Emily Reis

Advertising Coordinator Chris Nathan

Senior Designer Chloe Hodges

Contributors (Special thanks) Emily Adamson Dr. Josh Axe Jaimi Blackburn Alan Broughton Zach Grainda Rebecca Harris Jeremiah Lee Rosie Millen Dr. Amy Myers Dr. Michael O’Leary Jamie Robertson Jacinta Shannon Amelia Sobol Amie Valpone

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53 DR. JOSH AXE: EAT DIRT Advice on healing your gut from the world’s foremost food medicine expert

7 BREATHE EASY ALL NIGHT How avoiding pesticides can help you maintain lung function

58 THE REAL REASON PEOPLE ARE HUNGRY What you’re not being told about food productivity and hunger 63 THE TRUTH ABOUT THYROID DYSFUNCTION No-nonsense advice that your thyroid will love

8 GREEN TEA BOOST Enjoy green tea and improve your memory 10 ARE YOU SUFFERING FROM ADRENAL FATIGUE? Why a holistic approach is the key to feeling well again 13 MINIMIZE PESTICIDE EXPOSURE Ten often overlooked steps for reducing your body’s toxic load


37 68 Community 45 STAY SOCIAL AND LIVE LONGER The lowdown on staying connected after retirement 46 COMMUNITY GARDENING FOR WEIGHT LOSS Why you should consider gardening if you are overweight

27 BEE FRIENDLY Make your yard attractive to pollinators

7 17 SLOW THE AGEING PROCESS Turns out there are some practical ways to slow the ageing process without undergoing surgery 23 FACIAL AT HOME Fabulous skin and deep relaxation is only moments away

Home 26 HELPING FUSSY EATERS How a spot of gardening can make vegetables more palatable for children

30 GROW PRODUCE IN CONTAINERS Reducing your grocery bill is easier than you think 34 ATTRACT BIRDS TO YOUR GARDEN How thinking like a bird can transform your yard into an urban oasis 37 HOMEMADE BATH BOMBS The perfect gift for someone you love 39 KEEPING YOUR BEST FRIEND OUT OF HARM’S WAY Expert advice to keep you dog safe and well 43 ASK THE ORGANIC VET Dr. Mick answers your questions

47 REAL PEOPLE, REAL FOOD Meet Alexandra Brigham from Eternal Abundance 50 ORGANIC VANCOUVER Try these organic businesses in Vancouver

Food 68 EAT VEGETABLES AND SAVE MONEY Another reason to increase your vegetable intake 69 VITAMIN E BOOST Why you should eat eggs with vegetables 71 MILLET BREAKFAST TACOS Start your day the right way 73 CHICKEN MEATBALL SOUP Try this easy to make Japaneseinspired soup



welcome What does community mean to you?


hen you’re launching a small niche publication, community is everything. Fortunately, the organic community is an amazingly supportive one; we’ve experienced this firsthand in recent weeks. The organic community is also large and diverse. Increasingly global, it comprises all manner of organizations, businesses, community groups, advisory bodies and associations. Yet at its core, it’s made up of people just like you and me. You’re reading this magazine because you believe in the organic movement. It’s a reasonable guess. But I admit, I don’t know much else about you. But I do know this… Not that long ago, you would have known the people responsible for producing your food. These farmers, producers, and artisans would have lived alongside you. They would have been part of your community. Their connection with you and others in your community would have meant they cared: about you, and the food they produced. But midway through the 20th century, things changed. Quality and tradition gave way to efficiency and productivity. Corporations took over. Food became commoditized. Marketing took center stage. And community was lost.

increase corporate profitability and shareholder wealth. And nothing more. Research strongly linking pesticides with various forms of cancer, Parkinson’s disease and diabetes, together with overwhelming evidence of an entrenched culture of corporate malfeasance within the largest corporations responsible for these technologies, is proof that industrial agribusiness’s “productivity above all else” mindset has failed us. Organic agriculture offers the best way back from the unhealthy mindset that currently dominates modern food production. It has a key role to play in: • Supporting human health and wellbeing • Bringing communities together • Feeding an increasingly hungry world I hope you find Issue 1 of Organic Guide useful and informative. If you do, can I ask a favor? Please share Organic Guide with your family and friends on Facebook or whichever social platform you’re most comfortable with. The magazine is FREE and sharing it will help us keep it that way. Be sure to get in touch with me at any time via I’d love to hear from you.

Industrial agribusiness, in its never-ending quest for productivity gains, has cut corners. Under the guise of “technological innovation”, pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, and GMO technology have been thrust upon us. These technologies - supported with often spurious research and marketed as the new “normal” - were never designed to improve your health or wellbeing. They were designed to



Ajax Robertson, Editor



but research has linked higher levels of organophosphate pesticide metabolites in the urine of 279 children living in California’s Salinas Valley with decreased lung function. “Researchers have described breathing problems in agricultural workers who are exposed to these pesticides, but these new findings are about children who live in an agricultural area where the organophosphates are being used,” said study senior author Brenda Eskenazi, a professor of epidemiology and of maternal and child health. “This is the first evidence suggesting that children exposed to organophosphates have poorer lung function.” The impact? Reduced lung function increases the risk for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), an increasing cause of death around the world.



GREEN TEA BOOST Want to boost your ability to recall facts and figures? Researchers at the University of Basel have found that green tea extract enhances cognitive functions, in particular the working memory. The Swiss findings suggest promising clinical implications for the treatment of cognitive impairments in psychiatric disorders such as dementia.

Japanese Green Tea Green tea is ubiquitous in Japan. Simply referred to as “ocha”, it is ingrained into the country’s cultural psyche. Japanese green teas are mainly made from Yabukita, a cultivar of the Camellia sinensis plant. Unlike Chinese green teas, which are panfired, Japanese green teas are steamed giving them a more “vegetative” or “leafy” taste. Tea-picking in Japan begins in the south, gradually moving north with the spring warmth. In Japan, teas are graded based on the timing of harvest and the amount of sunlight leaves are subjected to. Here’s a quick overview of the big three... GYOKURO Gyokuro is shaded from the sun for about 20 days before the first harvest. Translated, “Gyokuro” means “jade dew”, and refers to the pale green color of the infusion. The shading causes the amino acids and caffeine in the tea leaves to increase and the amount of catechins (responsible for making tea taste bitter) to decrease. Gyokuro has a sweet taste and a distinct aroma. SENCHA This is the most common green tea in Japan. Like Gyokuro, the leaves are picked during the first round of harvest. However, the leaves are not protected from the sun. Sencha has a 8


greenish golden color. Depending upon the temperature of the water in which it is decocted, the flavor will be different, adding to the appeal of sencha. With relatively more temperate water, it is relatively mellow; with hot water, it is more astringent. BANCHA Bancha is harvested later as the tea leaves mature, giving it a lower market grade than both Gyokuru and Sencha. It is less aromatic and more astringent than sencha. Nevertheless, bancha is much appreciated in Japan for its more robust flavor. Because of its strong character, it goes well with food. including skin wounds.

REDUCE INFLAMMATION Researchers at Washington State University in Spokane have identified a potential new approach to combating the joint pain, inflammation and tissue damage caused by rheumatoid arthritis. And it focuses on a phytochemical called epigallocatechin-3gallate (EGCG), which is a molecule with antiinflammatory properties found in green tea. Their study suggests that EGCG has high potential as a treatment for rheumatoid arthritis because of how effectively the molecule blocks the effects of the disease without blocking other cellular functions.





ARE YOUR ADRENAL GLANDS STRESSED OUT? Struggling to get out of bed in the morning? Suffering from headaches? How about poor concentration? You might be suffering from adrenal dysfunction. Here’s what you need to know to turn things around. By Rosie Millen

What your adrenal glands do...

The adrenal glands are your stress glands. There are two of them and they’re situated on top of your kidneys. They play an important role in regulating your body’s stress response through the synthesis of numerous hormones. Healthy adrenal glands secrete a number of hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol. These important hormones allow your body to deal with physical and emotional stress. Each time you experience stress, your adrenal glands release cortisol into your blood stream. This helps you deal with the fight or flight response. However, if you’re exposed to significant amounts of stress over a long period of time, then these delicate glands can become exhausted and not work as efficiently.

The Stress Response When you experience physical or mental stress, your adrenal glands release adrenaline and cortisol into your blood stream to prepare you for what lies ahead. Your heart beats faster, your pupils dilate and sugar is sent to your muscles to deal with the stress. There are three stages of stress: Alarm stage During this initial stage of stress, your 10


body’s sympathetic nervous system goes into overdrive. Adrenaline and cortisol increase rapidly and blood flows away from your brain to your muscles. Resistance stage Over time, if you are under constant stress, your adrenal glands continually release adrenaline and cortisol to deal with it. They are going to full efforts to cope with the situation and often you can start to feel irritated and pressured. Exhaustion stage This is when your adrenal glands have become so overworked that they no longer function optimally. They are exhausted, which means your body can’t cope with any additional stress. As a result, you start feeling exhausted, weak, burnt out and depressed.

Symptoms of Adrenal Dysfunction Being aware of the signs and symptoms of adrenal dysfunction is the first step to addressing and overcoming the source of dysfunction. While symptoms are many and varied, they include: • Dizziness when standing up suddenly (especially in the morning out of bed)

• Fatigue, apathy • Slow starter in morning • Clenching or grinding teeth • Poor appetite • Digestive issues • Salt craving • Menstrual problems • Low libido • Palpitations • Muscle aches and cramps • Depression • Poor memory and concentration • Poor sleep • Weight gain (around the middle) • Headaches • Poor exercise tolerance and exhaustion afterwards • Autoimmune disorders • Lower back pain

How to Support Your Adrenals What you eat plays an extremely important role in dealing with adrenal fatigue. Balancing blood sugar levels is crucial. Here are some guidelines: • Eat little and often (about every 3-4 hours) • Aim for three main meals with snacks in between • Avoid refined carbohydrates • Increase whole grains • Incorporate sources of good quality protein at each meal and snack • Increase high fiber foods • Increase essential fats such as oily fish, avocados, nuts and seeds • Drink enough water and fluids • Avoid stimulants such as alcohol, tea, coffee, cola drinks, chocolate and cigarettes

Foods to Avoid Caffeine is a stimulant that can cause irritability and lead to over stimulation of the adrenal glands. It reduces the body’s ability to cope with stress and prevents the absorption of some essential nutrients such as zinc and iron.



Zinc Zinc is necessary for the production of adrenal hormones within your body. It is extremely important to ensure your body maintains optimum levels of zinc at all times. Zinc is often lacking in modern diets and a zinc supplement could well prove extremely beneficial. Magnesium Magnesium helps reduce the risk of adrenal exhaustion from chronic stress. It is essential for production of enzymes and energy needed in adrenal cascade. It is important in blood sugar control and also helps to relax your nerves, which can be very helpful in maintaining nervous health. Liquorice Root Liquorice root can help anxiety disorders and encourage restful sleep. It increases energy and can raise cortisol levels. It also helps decrease symptoms of hypoglycemia. Alcohol intake, particularly when excessive, depletes many vitamins and minerals which can impair the detoxification process of the liver and cause adrenal stimulation. Sugar in excess impairs the function of the adrenal glands and has been linked with suppressing the immune system.

Supplementation B vitamins When under stress, your body requires more B vitamins to protect and support the nervous system. Given that B vitamins are not stored in your body, you need to be sure you have sufficient intake of them at all times. Supplementation of a B complex is important for energy production. Good food sources of the B vitamins are yeast extract, green leafy vegetables, eggs, salmon and whole grains. Vitamin C Vitamin C is vital in helping your body cope with stress. Large amounts of vitamin C are stored in your adrenal glands and levels are significantly reduced when it is under stress. Good quantities of vitamin C can be sourced from fresh fruit and vegetables. A daily supplement of at least 1000mg of vitamin C is also generally advisable.

Glandulars Adrenal cell extracts from bovine or porcine can help to restore adrenal function which is useful in adrenal fatigue/exhaustion. It encourages the secretion of a variety of adrenal hormones such as adrenaline and noradrenalin. Digestive Enzymes Stress can play havoc with your digestive system by inhibiting digestive enzymes. This can lead to indigestion, bloating, gas, heartburn, constipation or diarrhea. Supplementing digestive enzymes prior to, or during a meal, can help to eradicate some of the problematic symptoms.

Lifestyle recommendations • Stress Management (meditation, prayer, deep breathing) • Time management (learning to say “no”) • “Me time” (pamper yourself, massage, relaxation, hobbies) • Enhance and cherish important relationships (family and friends) • Identify “energy robbers” in your life (people, places, environments and work situations) • Appropriate exercise (regular but not excessive)

Rosie Millen is a qualified nutritional therapist with a strong passion to help people achieve better health. She believes that by improving your diet and lifestyle, you are in a better position to achieve anything you want in life. She is the owner of Miss Nutritionist and has recently launched her first line of food products: The Dynabites. For more information, visit



Stay safe:


umerous studies have linked pesticide exposure with diseases such as Alzheimer’s, diabetes and various forms of cancer. Research also shows that pregnant women, children and those with weakened immune systems are most at risk. So how can you minimize your exposure to pesticides? Here are 10 practical steps you can take to reduce your exposure.

By Amelia Sobol





Organic farming methods do not permit the use of pesticides. Not surprisingly, studies have found organic crops have substantially lower levels of pesticide residues than conventionally grown crops. On average, conventional crops have four times as many pesticide residues as organic crops, and several studies show that an organic diet can decrease dietary pesticide exposure. If that’s not enough, recent studies are also backing up what many thought: organic foods do indeed have a healthier nutritional profile than their conventional counterparts.



If you’re on a tight budget it might not be possible to choose only organic produce. If that’s the case, at least aim to purchase organic versions of those items found to contain the highest levels of pesticide contamination. You’re probably familiar with the Dirty Dozen list produced by the Environmental Working Group (EWG). It’s an annual list of the 12 items of produce identified as having the highest levels of pesticide contamination. The 12 items currently on the list (starting with the most contaminated) are strawberries, apples, nectarines, peaches, celery, grapes, cherries, spinach, tomatoes, sweet bell peppers, cherry tomatoes and cucumbers. Generally, tree fruits, leafy greens and berries tend to dominate the Dirty Dozen list. These items are highly perishable, softskinned, and most at risk from pests and disease. To ensure adequate crop yields, these produce types receive extensive pesticide applications throughout their growing seasons.


Follow these simple guidelines recommended by the National Pesticide Information Center!



#1 Rinse produce

under cold running water for twenty to thirty seconds.

Overall, apples tend to have the highest amounts of pesticide residue due to heavy orchard spraying. The Dirty Dozen is a really good starting point for minimising your pesticide exposure. It’s well researched, reliable, and simple to apply. By choosing organic, and avoiding conventionally produced, versions of these fruits and vegetables you’ll go a long way to removing pesticides from your dietary intake.



You may have heard that washing is ineffective at removing residue pesticides. That’s partially true. Washing pesticide-laden fruits and vegetables will only do so much. Given that pesticides are absorbed into plant roots, through leaves and porous surfaces on fruits and vegetables, you can’t scrub away all the risks. But it’s still worth washing all fruits and vegetables. Here are some tips on how to wash produce to remove pesticide residue.



After washing your produce, dry it with a clean towel or paper towel. This extra step will help remove remaining pesticide residue. While this step is more important if you’re dealing with conventional produce items, it’s still worth doing even for organic fruits and vegetables.



As already mentioned, you can’t scrub away all the risks. According to the EWG, “It’s best to actually try to eat your way


Instead of dunking or soaking your produce, rub it with your fingers or brush it to clean off residue. Scrub items with tough skins like potatoes and melons.


Avoid commercial produce rinses marketed to remove pesticide residue and bacteria; plain water is just as good, if not better.


Avoid washing produce with soap because it can get beneath the skin and carry surface pesticides along with it.

Don’t be afraid to throw away the outer layers of leafy vegetables like lettuce or kale. It may seem wasteful, but this is an easy way to get rid of large quantities of residue pesticides.



Conventional crops are treated with pesticides at least a few times in a growing season. Among the pesticides used are known human carcinogens, hormone disruptors, developmental toxins, neurotoxins, and reproductive toxins. Not surprisingly, none of these are good for you. To avoid overexposure to any one particularly dangerous pesticide (such as Iprodione, which is a nasty carcinogenic pesticide commonly found on conventionally grown grapes) the Environmental Protection Authority recommends eating a variety of foods from a number of sources. The logic behind this is that as long as you don’t eat too much of any one type of food, you’ll reduce your overall risk of ingesting too much of any one toxic pesticide.



around pesticides… because most pesticides don’t wash off, and seep into those blueberries or apples”. It’s worth noting that the USDA data on pesticide levels is collected after produce has been washed, peeled and prepared the way you’d normally consume it. By diligently peeling and trimming conventional produce items you’ll substantially minimise your dietary intake of pesticides.

One of the most effective ways of minimising your exposure to pesticides is to grow your own fruits and vegetables. When you grow your own produce, you know exactly what’s been used in its production. And that can mean no pesticides, no herbicides and no synthetic fertilizers. If you’ve got a backyard garden, why not turn it into a food producing wonderland? It’s easier than you think. And even relatively small spaces can be amazingly productive. But don’t feel for a minute that you have to own your own garden to grow fresh fruits and vegetables. Community gardens are a wonderful place to grow fresh produce. They’re also a great place to meet like-minded people, learn from more experienced gardeners and have some fun. Just be sure to choose one that embraces organic principles. You’ll know when you’ve found a good one. Your fellow gardeners will encourage composting, crop rotation, companion planting, natural fertilizers, and the use of open-pollinated seeds. And there’ll be no canisters of pesticides or herbicides with names you can’t pronounce lying around.





Large quantities of pesticides routinely make their way into our water, air, and soil. Studies show that the most commonly used pesticides are the ones most likely to cause water pollution. While the EPA regulates and monitors several drinking water contaminants, many pesticides are not classified as regulated contaminants. Point-of-use devices like charcoal filters and reverseosmosis treatments can be used to remove or minimize pesticides in drinking water.



Try to keep your garden healthy and your home pest-free without resorting to chemical pesticides. Remember that when you apply pesticides, you are treating the symptom, rather than the cause of pest problems. Physical barriers (window screens and caulking to keep pests out), biological controls (introducing beneficial insects), and cultural controls (keeping a clean house and a healthy garden that attracts beneficial insects) are always preferable to chemical pesticides.



The National Pesticide Information Center recommends avoiding areas recently treated with pesticides. They suggest: • Preventing children, pets, and sensitive people from accessing treatment areas during pesticide applications to avoid accidental exposures. • Staying out of treated areas after an application for



the amount of time listed on the label directions. • Avoiding areas treated with liquid products until they have dried thoroughly and the area has been ventilated. • Keeping pets and children off treated lawns and gardens until granular pesticides have dissolved. • Storing items such as food, toys, pet bowls and clothing away from pesticide treatment areas.


The real secret to minimizing the amount of pesticides you’re exposed to is to learn as much as you can about the food you eat. Ask questions. Where was your food grown? What farming methodologies and practices were used during its production? Were the farmers who grew your food paid a fair price for it? The closer you get to the sources of your food, and the people involved in its production, the greater the likelihood you’ll be eating produce without toxic pesticides. After all, it’s hard to imagine any farmer knowingly spraying neurotoxic pesticides on crops children will eat. Unfortunately, many conventional farmers are so far removed from their end customers, and under so much stress as a result of commercial pressures that their sense of pride in producing quality food has all but disappeared. The all-important sense of human connection is missing from modern agriculture. This is where you have a hugely important role to play. By joining your local co-op, growing your own food, and supporting local organic growers – either directly or by choosing to shop at a reputable retailer you can help re-establish the connections necessary for the system to work for us, rather than against us.



ver wonder why some people remain spritely and energetic well into old age while others seem to languish and fall away soon after retirement? What’s the secret? If you said that there are genetic factors at play, you’d be right; but only partially. Researchers have found that how we perceive our state of health together with the effort we make to optimize our wellbeing play a critical role in determining how we age. Here are 12 secrets to help you take control of the ageing process and increase your zest for life. By Rebecca Harris




Don’t focus on losing weight

In a world that’s obsessed with dieting, belly fat and cellulose, it’s not surprising that many of us have come to equate a slim body with superior health. Yet, new research shows that there’s a lot more to being healthy than simply achieving a lean physique. In fact, many diets which promote calorie avoidance have been associated with bone fractures, weak muscles, and even weight gain later in life. Provided you’re not obese after 50, any attempt to diet or return to an ‘ideal’ weight is, according to many experts, likely to do more harm than good. Why? When you lose weight, you lose muscle mass. This slows down your metabolism and results in fewer calories being burned throughout the day. If you lose 22lb (10kg) on an old-fashioned calorie reducing diet, you’ll drop 11lb (5kg) of fat and 11lb (5kg) of muscle that you can’t afford to lose. Apart from lowering your metabolism, reduced muscle mass will also make you weaker, with less stability and flexibility. If this isn’t enough, dieting after 50 also leads to a loss of bone mineral density, which for women prone to osteoporosis can be particularly detrimental. KEY ACTION: Focus on good nutrition and disease prevention and avoid calorie restricting diets



Most people go through life perpetually dehydrated. The modern Western diet consists of large amounts of diuretics (coffee, alcohol and soda) which leach fluid from the system, vast amounts of animal protein (a by-product of protein is urea, which is a diuretic) and significant quantities of salt (which draws fluid into the cells and increases toxicity).

Dehydration leads to the stagnation and thickening of body fluids. Under these conditions, no cleansing or healing can occur and toxins become trapped both within the cell and in the extra-cellular matrix. To start the rehydration process: • Ensure that your fluid intake (water, herb teas, and vegetable juices) is adequate • Increase the amount of food you eat with high water content such as the high fiber foods (whole grains, legumes, raw vegetables, fruit – especially apples, and sprouted seeds) • Emphasize vegetables and complex carbohydrates in your diet. These foods deliver the raw materials for the synthesis of the glycosaminoglycans-rich extra-cellular matrix KEY ACTION: Drink at least 5 to 8 glasses of water per day


Eat more food, but fewer calories

There’s absolutely no reason to starve yourself to achieve good health. In fact, the higher you pile your plate with high antioxidant, tummy-satisfying vegetables, fruits, beans and whole grains, the healthier you’ll be. Increase the quantity of health-boosting foods you eat while minimizing the higher calorie, higher fat foods that have become a common part of most Western-style diets. Eating more vegetables and fruits increases your intake of vitamins, minerals, and free-radical cleansing antioxidants. It will also substantially reduce your risk of dementia, diabetes, heart disease, stroke and cancer. KEY ACTION: Eat as many raw vegetables and fruits as your appetite desires

Thoughts are powerful. You’re capable of changing the way the world looks and feels simply by changing how you interact with it. 18


Sleep plays a critical role in helping us to look and feel good. When you’re asleep, your body devotes itself to healing. This is the time during which your body releases its greatest concentration of growth hormone; the substance that helps your body repair damaged tissue.


Rid your body of toxins

Many common food additives and ingredients wreak havoc in the human body. The excess sodium, trans fats, saturated fat, sugar and highly refined carbs commonly found in many foods offer little nutritional value, and increase your risk of obesity, stroke, cancer and heart disease. To rid your body of toxins that have built up over the years, apply three basic dietary principles: • Minimize your salt intake (no added salt or condiments containing salt) • Increase your intake of high potassium and alkaline-forming foods (fruits and vegetables) • Restrict meat intake (but not so much that you become protein-deficient) The interaction of these three dietary principles will stimulate your cells to eliminate excess sodium and acidity along with its toxic load in exchange for potassium and a more favorable alkaline environment which supports oxygenation and cellular vitality. KEY ACTION: Avoid excess sodium and food additives


Get the rest your body needs

Sleep plays a critical role in helping us to look and feel good. When you’re asleep, your body devotes itself to healing. This is the time during which your body releases its greatest concentration of growth hormone; the substance that helps your body repair damaged tissue. Apart from making you feel tired and listless, insufficient sleep can weaken your immunity, increase the chances of you having a serious accident and also increase stress. Work with, not against, changing sleep cycles by developing a schedule for sleep. Aim to: • Wake up at a regular time. This conditions your internal clock so that you fall asleep easier, sleep more soundly and wake feeling refreshed. • Commit to a daily exercise regime. Working out at least two hours before bedtime will leave you ready for sleep. • Unwind before going to bed. Enjoy a luxuriating bath, listen to tranquil music, read a magazine, or walk the dog. KEY ACTION: Develop a bedtime routine to ensure you achieve high quality sleep




Learn how to unwind

Stress is a silent killer. Mental and emotional stress affects every cell in your body. Your mind can turn your body’s pH from acidic to alkaline in a matter of minutes. Too much stress suppresses the immune system, raises your blood pressure and slows the healing process when you’re injured. If you can’t remove the cause of stress, you need to find coping and relaxing mechanisms. The ability to unwind, or “chill out”, could literally save your life. Here are some simple, yet effective ways to unwind: • Listen to relaxing music • Schedule a 15 minute walk a few times a day • Commit random acts of kindness • Go for a massage • Take up yoga • Learn to paint or draw Reducing stress, and finding ways to unwind during periods when stress is unavoidable, is essential for living a long, happy, healthy, disease-free life. KEY ACTION: Find stress reduction techniques that work for you and use them daily


Move your body

Movement is essential for optimal health. You’ve heard it all before, but it really is true. When you make movement a daily habit, you’ll notice that your mood is brighter and that life’s little annoyances don’t get to you the way they once did. You’ll have more energy and sleep better than you have in years. A brisk walk five days a week for 30 minutes to an hour (about two to four miles) is all you need. If you can take a brisk walk every day, so much the better. While you are walking, move your arms in time with your walking pace. You’ll probably find you’re perspiring a bit after your walk. That’s a good thing. Stretching before exercise and cooling down slowly afterward are very important for safe and effective exercise. KEY ACTION: Incorporate moderate exercise into your daily routine




Become engaged in things that interest you

What interests you? Are you still engaged in the same hobbies and activities you were 5 years ago? Or have you found new interests that occupy your time? If your favorite activity is sitting in front of a TV screen, you need to change that immediately. Research shows that if you maintain a variety of interests into your advancing years, you’re more likely to be healthier and happier. If you’ve let some of your activities drop off, it’s time to find some new ones. Here are some ideas: volunteer, learn a language, paint, start a small business, or learn to play a musical instrument. Whatever you choose, be sure to put some energy into it. Make it an absorbing pastime that helps define you. It’ll make you a more interesting person. KEY ACTION: Find activities you enjoy doing


Connect with family and friends

Research shows that people with broad social networks and strong family ties are more likely to live longer more enjoyable lives. But sometimes relationships can strain, and even buckle, under the pressures of life. Perhaps some of the people who were important to you have passed away. What can you do? Get active. Take the initiative. Make new acquaintances. In time, these acquaintances might become friends. Remember, you can make new connections and broaden your social network at any age. KEY ACTION: Nurture relationships with family and friends


Concentrate on being thankful

Be thankful. Thoughts are things. Thoughts are powerful. You’re capable of changing the way the world looks and feels simply by changing how you interact with it. Interact positively with the world, by being thankful for whatever you have, and the world tends to respond in kind. When you wake up in the morning, take a moment to be thankful for the day. Before you eat a meal, take a moment and be thankful for the food. Before you

go to bed, reflect and be thankful for the people and experiences you have. If it helps, maintain a journal of things you’re grateful for. Living a life of thankfulness creates happiness, peace and promotes general health. KEY ACTION: Keep a daily gratitude journal


Routinely challenge your brain

When you involve your brain and body in extensive physical, social and mental activity, your brain actually grows bigger. Scientists used to say it was impossible for the brain to regenerate. Then landmark research by Fred Gage, PhD, at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in California, and by other researchers showed that thousands of neurons are born in the brain, primarily in the hippocampus, a learning and memory region. The process is called neurogenesis. Neuroscientists now know that by encouraging the birth and survival of these nascent neurons, you can increase the size and intellectual strength of your brain, making it more resistant to memory decline and dementia. That means, the more you think, study, learn new

things, walk, dance, and work out… the larger – and more resilient - your brain will become! KEY ACTION: Make learning new things a daily habit


Retain your sense of humor and keep smiling

How good do you feel when something makes you laugh? Laughing is one of the most powerfully beneficial things you can do. Children laugh on average 10,000 times per week! Adults laugh on average five times per week. Laughing stimulates the entire immune system, elevates a depressed mood and alkalizes your body. Laugh every day as often as you can even if you have nothing to laugh about. You’ll feel better and be healthier. And if you can’t laugh straight away, smile. There are more muscles concentrated in your face than in any other part of your body. The physical act of smiling will strengthen your immune system, release endorphins from your brain and make you feel better. Make it a habit to notice if you are smiling or not. Smile for no reason and do it often. KEY ACTION: Smile FEBRUARY/MARCH 2017 ORGANIC GUIDE





steps for an amazing



id you notice how good you felt last time you had a facial treatment? What impact did it have on your mood and sense of wellbeing? Recent research shows that the psychological benefits of facial treatments definitely equal - if not exceed - their physical benefits. When you think about it, it makes sense. A facial treatment requires that you remain quiet and calm for twenty or thirty minutes. It forces you to relax. In your average day, how often are you really able to do that? Yet if you could manage to find twenty minutes for a facial once or twice a week, how much better would you feel? Follow the 12 simple steps outlined here to create an amazing routine that will not only help you unwind, but make your skin look and feel positively radiant. By Emily Adamson





Preparation is the crucial first step in any DIY facial. Nothing will ruin your experience faster than having to race around the house searching for items you need during your facial. But your preparation doesn’t need to be over the top. It really comes down to having a clean bathroom and easy access to everything you need for your facial.

GETTING READY: For a clean bathroom: • Use hot water and a little vinegar to clean your sink • Remove items (toothbrushes, soap, etc.) on the benchtop that won’t be used during your facial • Wipe the benchtop clean using a fresh sponge Things you’ll need: • Fresh clean towels • Boiling water • A large wide mouthed bowl • Oatmeal exfoliant (step 5) • Facial mask • Fresh herbs • Herbal tea • Any other products you plan to use (for example, astringents, moisturizers, etc.)


During your facial, you’ll want to keep your hair out of your face. If your hair is long, tie it back in a ponytail or plait. If it isn’t quite long enough to tie back, use a wide headband to keep your fringe out of your face. This will enable you to reach the often-neglected hair line while cleaning your face.



Clean your face, using an astringent to remove any dead skin, soap, or cleansing cream residue.

You might not believe it, but one of the best natural exfoliants is oatmeal. Apart from being inexpensive, it’s brilliant for removing old, dry dead skin cells. Oatmeal is a natural anti-inflammatory and is very moisturizing. It’s also gentle, making it a perfect exfoliant for sensitive skin. To make oatmeal exfoliant: Grind 3 to 4 tablespoons of oatmeal. Place the ground oatmeal into a small bowl and mix with equal parts of water and honey to form a soft paste. Apply the oatmeal exfoliant by massaging in slow circles in order to stimulate circulation. Exfoliate right up to your hairline and around the back of your ears, under your jaw line and down your neck. These are common areas for congestion due to poor cleansing.


Nourish your face using a facial mask. If you’ve got enough time, try making your own facial mask using natural ingredients. Single ingredient natural facial masks (avocado, banana, egg whites or strawberries) make a great alternative. Cover your skin with a light, even coat of your preferred facial mask, avoiding the area around your eyes. Now relax. Leave your mask on for 15 to 20 minutes. Try not to talk or move your face too much.


Rinse your face thoroughly, using warm water, and pat dry.



Wash your face thoroughly using your favorite cleanser. If you don’t have a favorite cleanser, a mild soap or cleansing cream will do the job just fine. With your fingers, gently work the cleanser into your skin, starting from the base of your neck and working up. Using light circular motions, work your way to the top of your hairline. Be sure to attend to areas where you have congestion such as your nose or forehead.



Quick tip

Raw honey is a great way to get soft, beautiful skin. Apply a tablespoon of honey to your face. Leave on for 5 to 10 minutes and then use warm water to gently rinse it off and pat dry.



Steam your face to clean out your pores. Fill a large bowl or sink with boiling hot water. If you have access to them, add fresh herbs to the water. These will add a wonderful aroma and gently cleanse your face while the heat opens your pores. Use chamomile for normal skin, peppermint for oily, and rosemary for dry skin. Make a tent, using a large bath towel, and lean over the hot water for 5 to 10 minutes to open your pores. Alternatively, soak a small face cloth in warm water. Ring dry, and then place over your face for 2 to 3 minutes. Repeat three times. The gentle heat will open your pores.

If you’ve got time, try making your own facial mask using natural ingredients. Single ingredient natural facial masks (avocado, banana, egg whites or strawberries) make a great alternative.


Rinse thoroughly, starting with warm water then slowly changing to cold water. This will clean your pores and slowly close them. It’s important to close your pores, particularly if you intend to go outside.


Moisturize your face with a light, preferably organic, moisturizer. While your face is still damp, dab a small amount of moisturizer on each cheek and on your nose, chin and forehead. Massage the cream or lotion onto your face and allow it to soak in. Moisturizing will seal in all the benefits of your treatment.


Once you’ve finished, it’s time to unwind. Prepare a cup of your favorite herbal tea and find a quiet place. Try to avoid TV and other distractions. Give yourself 5 to 10 minutes to simply enjoy your tea and reflect on how wonderful you feel. Try and focus on nothing other than your breathing. Leave all your cares, worries, and distractions to one side for the moment.


Your skin is really clean, you look great, and you feel radiant. Be kind to yourself. Build into your weekly routine an “at home” facial. You’ll look amazing and feel better equipped to take on the world. FEBRUARY/MARCH 2017 ORGANIC GUIDE






to eat them. A recent Cornell study found that when garden grown vegetables were slipped into school salads, children were over four times as likely to choose a salad. According to the study’s lead author, Brian Wansink PhD, Director of the Cornell Food and Brand Lab, “the study suggests that gardens can help children’s diets”. “We see great promise with this research. The first hurdle in increasing vegetable consumption is simply getting kids to put them on their plate,” concluded co-author Drew Hanks of Ohio State University. Question: Given the larger potential benefits, shouldn’t every school have an active gardening program?

REDUCE STROKE RISK DOING WHAT YOU LOVE Do you enjoy gardening? If you’re over 60, research suggests that a spot of gardening can reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke by as much as 30%.

Bee friendly Bees are responsible for a lot of heavy lifting in the garden. Without bees many of our vegetables and fruit would never get to harvest stage. Want to help them out? Here’s how... Plant native flowers and shrubs Because wild bees and wildflowers evolved together, you can be pretty confident that native wildflowers will provide bees with an excellent source of both pollen and nectar. Plant single petals flowers Flowers with a single row of petals have more pollen than double flowers and are therefore more attractive to bees. It’s also easier for bees to reach the pollen when there is only one row of petals to crawl across. Plant yellow, blue and purple flowers These colors attract bees more than pinks, oranges and reds do. Your garden doesn’t have to be exclusively yellow, blue and purple, but having a good amount of flowers with these

hues will keep the bees buzzing in your yard. Plant a small herb garden Herbs are a great way to attract bees. Mints attract certain types of bees, as do sage, rosemary, thyme, bee balm, and a number of other herbs. Don’t be a neat freak Sticks, dead wood, dry grasses, reeds and mud provide wild bees with the raw materials they need to construct their nests. Perfectly neat yards are a wasteland for bees. Avoid using pesticides Many pesticides are toxic to bees and other pollinators. Instead, use organic methods to control pests such as crop rotation, companion planting, physical removal and row covers.

4000 sixty year olds in Stockholm, Sweden, had their cardiovascular health tracked for 12.5 years. At the start of the study, participants were asked how often they had included a range of daily life activities, such as gardening over the previous 12 months, as well as whether they had taken any formal exercise. At the start of the study, those who had a generally active daily life had a much lower risk profile for cardiovascular problems, irrespective of how much formal exercise they took, than those with low levels of daily activity. The highest level of daily physical activity was associated with a 27% lower risk of a heart attack or stroke and a 30% reduced risk of death from all causes, compared with the lowest level, irrespective of how much regular formal exercise was taken in addition.




GROWING VEGETABLES IN CONTAINERS While many people dismiss container gardening as simply a nice way of growing a few herbs, a carefully planned and well-maintained container garden can easily feed a small family - if you know what you’re doing. With a little bit of time and effort, you can cut your produce bill to shreds and create some of the freshest, best tasting produce you’ve ever had. Sound good? Let’s get straight into it... By Amelia Sobol




Begin by choosing a suitable location to accommodate your container garden. Even though containers are easy to relocate, it’s important to start with a location that you know will provide your plants with sunlight and protection from climatic extremes. Consider what you’d like to grow and in what quantity. You’ll get the most enjoyment out of your vegetable container garden if you start with a plan detailing what you intend to grow and why.


Choose containers that are large enough to hold the plants you intend to grow. Be careful to ensure that the containers you select accommodate the root systems of your chosen plants. Available space and crop selection will determine the size and number of containers you’ll need. While small 6-10in diameter pots are appropriate for growing some herbs and even miniature tomatoes, you’ll need larger 1525in containers to grow vegetables in. Almost any type of container can be used if it provides good drainage through holes on the sides or bottom. Plastic or clay pots, old pails, bushel baskets, plastic buckets, wash tubs, wooden planters, or hanging baskets will hold vegetable plants. Hanging baskets are a good way of using vertical space. Their height also affords plants additional protection from insect pests.


Just about any vegetable that will grow in your backyard garden will do well as a container-grown plant. Cool-loving vegetables can survive cold temperatures as long as they don’t actually freeze. Turnips, carrots, Brussels sprouts, spinach, broccoli, kale and arugula should all do well at this time of year. Aim to get the plants wellestablished in their containers before the cold and damp really sets in.


You can purchase transplants from local nurseries or grow them at home from seed. Both options are easy and uncomplicated. Seedlings can be germinated in a range of different trays and containers – cut-off milk cartons, disposable trays, or old baking pans can be used to grow seedlings in. Make



sure the tray or containers you choose are at least 3 inches deep to allow room for roots to grow and have small holes for drainage so roots won’t rot in soggy growing mix. Fill containers with an organic soil starting mix and cover seeds with ½ inch of soil. Position germinating seeds in a warm area that receives good sunlight. Transplant seedlings in around 6-8 weeks when they develop their first five or six leaves. Be careful not to damage young root systems of seedlings while transferring to containers.


Container gardens require good quality soil that drains well, yet does not dry out too fast. Plain garden soil is inappropriate. It drains poorly in containers and, without worms and other living creatures to aerate it, becomes compacted quickly. Choose a soil that has a loose texture and contains good quantities of coarse sand and organic matter. There are many high quality commercially-prepared organic varieties that will do the job well. Pots, hanging baskets, and planter boxes can be heavy to move or suspend and are much easier to handle if soil weight is kept to a minimum. Select a light-weight growing mix. Growing mixes containing perlite, a lightweight volcanic material heated to high temperatures to make it expand, is an excellent lightweight substitute for sand that provides much better drainage.


Inadequate drainage is one of the major reasons for vegetable container gardens failing. Most modern containers provide for adequate drainage but if not, you can always make some of your own holes. If holes need to be made, drill four or more 1/4-inch holes evenly spaced around the bottom of the container. To further help drainage, put about 1/2-inch of coarse gravel, small stones, or pieces of a broken clay pot in the bottom of each container. These items are not a substitute for drainage holes, however.


Vegetables grown in containers require routine watering. Aim to keep the soil moist but not waterlogged. One watering per day is generally sufficient. Waterlogged soil starves plant roots of oxygen while dry soil causes plants to drop flowers and leaves. Monitor drainage and soil moisture retention. FEBRUARY/MARCH 2017 ORGANIC GUIDE


Add mulch to the soil to minimize water loss if needed. Compost, straw, pine needles, grass clippings, and shredded bark are effective options.


Access to sunlight is important for producing quality vegetables. Most vegetables grow and produce best when grown in full sunlight. Leafy vegetables (lettuce, cabbage, greens, spinach, and parsley) tolerate more shade than root crops (radishes, beets, and onions). Plants that bear fruit, such as cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant, require the most sun. Ensure your vegetable container garden has access 32


at least 5 hours of sunlight each day. If the containers you’re using aren’t too large, take advantage of the mobility afforded by container gardening to access additional sunlight where necessary.


Supplying organic vegetable plants grown in containers with the nutrients they require is an important part of keeping them healthy and productive. Vegetable plants grown in containers generally have shorter, more compact root systems than their yard-grown counterparts. This makes it more difficult for them to obtain adequate nutrition. An organic liquid-based fertilizer can assist in

overcoming this problem. A good quality liquid-based organic fertilizer will contain the important nutrients and micronutrients vegetable plants require. Avoid the temptation to apply too much liquid fertilizer. Excessive amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium causes salt build-up and other problems.

same soil for a second season of production. Infected soil or mix will spread disease into the second season unless it is properly composted. Properly composted planting media can be reused.


Vegetables grown in containers come under attack from the same insects and diseases that are common to any vegetable garden. Routinely check plants for diseases and insects. Given the small numbers involved, physical removal of insect pests is generally sufficient. Treat plant diseases in the same way you would have had the vegetables been grown in your yard.

Harvest vegetables as soon as they’ve reached full maturity. This is the time that they’ll be brimming with flavor and just waiting to be served. Avoid harvesting vegetables too early. At the end of the harvest season, discard the plant and soil from the pot. Avoid the temptation to reuse the




Attracting birds TO YOUR GARDEN Do you live in an urban setting? If so, birds can provide a welcome link back to nature. Studies have found that simply watching birds for as little as 5 minutes a day has a number of positive health benefits; slowing you down when the pace of modern living becomes too much and creating an inner sense of calm and tranquility. Apart from playing an important role in making you feel good, birds also assist in maintaining balance in your garden. Sure, from time to time they might steal ripening fruit, feast on newly transplanted seedlings, and generally create havoc, but many bird species (for example, bluebirds and swallows) will also devour insect pests such as aphids and caterpillars in large numbers, thereby making your job in the garden easier. How do you entice birds to your garden? Easy. Think like a bird. Here are 4 things birds will be looking to find in your yard. By Amelia Sobol





Birds are adaptable predators. Unlike most insect predators, they move from one food source to another, depending on availability. Ensure your garden provides a year-round food source for birds by planting a wide variety of vegetation that flowers, bears fruit and seeds at different times of the year. Native birds evolved with our flora. When planting out your garden, be sure to incorporate a range of native plants, shrubs, and trees to attract native bird species. Try and live with a little disorder in the garden. A yard with lots of lawn and a few perfectly maintained shrubs is a wasteland for birds. Leaving the seed heads on flowers, allowing grass to grow tall, and retaining a few dead trees provides birds with potential high energy food sources.

Water features and bird baths are a good way of attracting birds to the garden. Ensure the area housing your water feature or bird bath is safe for birds to visit, drink, and bathe. Maintain water levels so that your garden provides a reliable and constant source of water. If water levels consistently drops or disappears, birds won’t come back until the water remains steady. Clean bird baths at least once a week using a wire brush to remove algae, prevent disease and minimize the risk of mosquito infestation.

FEEDERS Providing supplementary feed for birds during winter months will make your yard particularly attractive. Feeders can be filled to attract migrating and transient species. A feeder for black oil sunflower seeds and one for suet will attract a wide variety of birds. Thistle seed is expensive but is popular with finches. Place feeders high off the ground to discourage squirrels and cats and to provide protection for feeding birds. For lower feeders, use self-closing varieties that close off the seed supply when a squirrel or rodent lands on the perch. A range of hard and soft foods including sunflower seeds, millet, fresh greens, mashed potatoes, and porridge can be served each morning then removed by evening to avoid encouraging mice or rats.

SHELTER Dead trees are particularly valuable to wildlife. Unless they pose problems, such as interfering with power lines or leaning precariously on fences, try and retain them. As a tree dies, boring insects move in and attract insect-eating birds. Often, woodpeckers drill deeper and the tree becomes a home for cavity-nesting birds. Bird houses are also a good means of providing shelter for nesting birds. Whether you make your own bird house or purchase one from a store, make sure the entrance hole is the right size for the birds you’re trying to attract. An entrance hole less than 1½ inches will keep out sparrows and starlings, but will be perfect for chickadees, nuthatches, and wrens. By providing food, water, and shelter, it’s possible to turn your garden into a sanctuary for birds of all shapes and sizes. Don’t give up if birds fail to show up immediately. Your patience and consistency will pay off in the end.





BATH BOMBS By Jamie Robertson


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Green tea and lime bath bombs These green tea and lime bath bombs will reinvigorate you after a tough day. Wrapped neatly, they also make an ideal gift for someone you love. And the best part: they’re super easy to make. Using certified organic green tea powder and lime essential oil, these bath bombs are pure bliss!


Organic green tea can be purchased online or from your favorite tea retailer. Apart from being great to drink, powdered Japanese sencha is ideal for making these bath bombs.

Replace lime with your favorite essential oil/s. Citrus-based essential oils are particularly invigorating. Try lavender, cypress or geranium if you prefer a more deeply relaxing bath.

• • • • • • • •







Carefully measure the dry ingredients (1 cup baking soda, ½ cup citric acid, ½ cup Epsom salts, 1 cup corn starch and 1 tablespoon of green tea powder) and place them into a mixing bowl.

Combine the liquid mixture to the dry base a little at a time, mixing quickly before it starts to fizz. Ideally, get a helper to ensure the mixture is constantly stirred while liquid is added.





Combine the dry ingredients and stir thoroughly; the ingredients have been sufficiently combined when the light green color from the tea appears uniform throughout the mixture.

Tightly pack the mixture into your desired bomb mold, working quickly so that the mixture does not dry out. Rice ball (“onigiri”) molds are readily available and ideal for making bath bombs.

Baking soda (1 cup) Citric acid (1/2 cup) Epsom salts (1/2 cup) Corn starch (1 cup) Green tea (1 tbs) Lime essential oil (1 tsp) Olive oil (3 tbs) Water (1 tsp)

Measure out the liquid ingredients (1 tsp lime essential oil, 3 tbs olive oil and tsp water) and combine them in a separate bowl. Don’t add them to the liquid ingredients just yet.

Leave your bath bombs in a cool dry place for 24 hours to harden. Pop into a bath of hot running water whenever you feel like unwinding or present neatly wrapped bath bombs as gifts.




our dog is a natural explorer. Sniffing, tasting, and chewing are the instinctive behaviours it uses to understand and interact with its environment. These essential traits enable your dog to survive and adapt. But sometimes your dog’s naturally inquisitive state can be problematic. There are many things - both natural and manmade - with the potential to poison and seriously harm your dog. If you’re a first-time dog owner, human foods such as grapes, onions, and chocolate might appear completely innocuous. Yet for your dog, swallowing these can result in a trip to the vet and sadly sometimes worse. So how do you keep your dog safe? It’s impossible to cover every possible source of poison your dog might ingest, or come in to contact with. However, if you avoid the poisons that most commonly require veterinary intervention, you’ll go a long way to keeping your best friend safe and well. By Dr. Michael O’Leary




ALLIUMS Onions, garlic, chives and leeks are members of the Allium family. In sufficient quantities they’re poisonous to dogs, particularly onions and garlic. Onion and garlic poisoning results in oxidative damage to red blood cells, making them more susceptible to rupture and leading to anaemia. They also cause gastroenteritis. Signs may not be apparent for several days, but large ingestions can be extremely toxic. Always err on the side of caution by seeking treatment from your vet. Signs: nausea, lethargy, oral irritation, drooling, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhoea, elevated heart rate, increased respiratory rate


SALT Salt in abnormal quantities is poisonous for dogs. It disrupts the important balance of fluid and electrolytes in and around the cells. Keep household products containing salt, such as water softeners, sterilizing fluids, stock cubes, homemade Play-Doh and gravy powders, away from your dog. Never attempt to induce vomiting (following ingestion of a poison) using salt water.


CHOCOLATE Even though you probably enjoy the occasional chocolate indulgence, your dog doesn’t. Chocolate contains a stimulant called theobromine that is poisonous to dogs. While theobromine levels are highest in dark chocolate and cocoa there is no safe form or amount of chocolate for your dog. Avoid giving your dog chocolate. Signs: vomiting, diarrhoea, elevated temperature and blood pressure, irregular heart rhythm and tremors


GRAPES Even small amounts of grapes, raisins, sultanas or currants can be fatal for your dog. And despite what you may have heard, cooking or baking does not remove the risk of poisoning. Poisoning may initially result in vomiting and diarrhoea and subsequently in kidney failure, which may occur a few days after the initial effects. Signs: vomiting, diarrhoea, potentially severe acute renal failure



Signs: vomiting, diarrhoea, lethargy, fluid pooling, kidney damage, tremors, seizure, coma


XYLITOL Xylitol is an artificial sweetener found in products such as sugar free chewing gum and candy. It’s also used as a sugar substitute in baking. If ingested by dogs, it causes hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar level). Without treatment, and in sufficient quantities, xylitol can result in liver damage, failure and can even prove fatal Signs: weakness, lethargy, collapse, vomiting, tremors, seizures, jaundice, and black-tarry stool


ANT POWDERS, BAITS AND GELS While generally ant powders, baits and gels intended for home use do not cause significant problems for dogs, certain industrial strength baits and gels can result in significant poisoning if ingested. Always contact your vet to determine the most appropriate response. Signs: constricted pupils, salivation, tremors, elevated body temperature; acute poisoning may result in respiratory depression, convulsions and coma


SLUG AND SNAIL PELLETS For some dogs, particularly puppies from inquisitive breeds, slug and snail pellets prove incredibly tempting. Unfortunately, even small quantities of pellets can result in significant poisoning. Metaldehyde, a common ingredient found in slug and snail pellets, can make your dog seriously ill very quickly. Without rapid intervention ingestion of metaldehyde often proves fatal. If you suspect your dog has swallowed slug and snail pellets, seek urgent veterinary attention.


ANTIFREEZE Antifreeze contains ethylene glycol, which is extremely poisonous for dogs. Even small quantities of antifreeze will make your dog sick, with as little as one tablespoon being sufficient to cause acute kidney failure. Making matters worse, ethylene glycol is sweet-tasting and quite palatable. If you suspect your dog has ingested antifreeze, seek immediate veterinary assistance. The sooner treatment is provided, the better the prognosis. Signs: staggering, drooling, vomiting, seizure, excessive thirst and urination

Signs: muscle spasms, muscle rigidity, twitching, tremors and convulsions


Encourage biodiversity in your garden. Ants, beetles, birds, snakes, and turtles (to name a few) prey on slugs.


Handpick slugs and snails at night to control their numbers. Use a flashlight to locate them and simply drop them into a bucket of soapy water.


RODENTICIDES Most rodenticides are anticoagulants, meaning they work by preventing a rodent’s blood from clotting. If your dog is exposed to rodenticides, particularly professional rat baits, massive haemorrhaging can result. Signs are usually delayed for several days. Blood tests are generally required to determine the extent of poisoning and the best form of treatment. An antidote is often required and in acute cases plasma and/or blood transfusions may be necessary. Signs: potentially life-threatening bleeding, which may be internal and therefore not visible


BATTERIES Batteries are often swallowed during the festive season. All batteries are potentially dangerous for dogs, not solely due to the risks posed by chemical burning and heavy metal poisoning, but also due to the prospect of blockages. If you think your dog may have swallowed a battery, contact your vet. Signs: foaming around the mouth, signs of distress, obstructions


Sink containers of beer into the soil around your plants. Slugs and snails will be attracted to the beer and drown as they attempt to reach it. Just make sure your dog can’t reach the beer!


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NSAIDS Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are a class of drugs commonly used in people and animals for the relief of pain and inflammation associated with conditions such as arthritis, cramps and mild fevers. Human NSAIDs include aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen while animal versions include branded products such as Rimadyl, Dermaxx and Metacam. Human NSAIDs are particularly toxic for dogs and sufficient doses can result in stomach ulceration, acute kidney failure, liver toxicity and death. Be sure to consult your vet before administering any NSAIDs and always follow prescription guidelines. Signs: vomiting, diarrhoea, internal bleeding, stomach ulceration and renal failure


VITAMIN D Vitamin D compounds can cause lifethreatening spikes in blood calcium levels in dogs that can lead to kidney failure. Vitamin D compounds are present in a wide variety of products. Vitamin supplements, cod liver oil, creams used to treat psoriasis, rodenticides and feed additives all contain vitamin D. Be sure to keep these away from your dog in a secure location. Signs: vomiting, diarrhoea, internal bleeding, convulsions, abnormal heart rhythm and renal failure



SIGNS TO WATCH Signs that your dog may have been poisoned:

• • • • • • • • • • • •


Vomiting Diarrhoea Seizures Blood in the stool Lethargy Loss of appetite Bruising Nosebleeds Irregular heartbeat Inability to urinate Tremors Coma


WHAT TO DO If you suspect your dog has been poisoned: • Remain calm. • Contact your local vet or afterhours emergency care provider. • Provide as much information as possible – trade name, active ingredient, amount ingested, time ingested, Signs and condition of your dog. • Follow the advice of your vet. Tragedies can and do occur when expert advice is ignored. PREVENTION When it comes to dog poisoning prevention is definitely better than the cure, so… • Pet proof your house by making sure all dangerous substances (medications, insecticides and other hazardous chemicals) are stored securely and out of reach of

inquisitive paws and noses.

• Keep your dog away from garages,

workshops and industrial areas. If this isn’t practical, ensure floors are free from spills of oil, antifreeze and petroleum products. • Store human medications securely and away from your dog’s medications. • Read prescription labels carefully to ensure you administer the right medications and quantities to your dog. • Encourage biodiversity in your yard so that natural predators lessen the need to use potentially harmful chemical control measures. Dr. Michael O’Leary is a veterinary surgeon with extensive experience in diagnosing, treating, and preventing health problems in pets, native wildlife, exotic animals, and domestic livestock.

ask Dr. Mick

THE ORGANIC VET email the editor:


My grandma recently came to stay with us, which is great. But she keeps feeding our dog half of everything she eats, including chocolate chip cookies. What do you recommend?


People often unwittingly provide animals with items of food they consider “treats” without realizing this is not in the animal's best interests. But it can be challenging telling someone you love that what they're doing is unhelpful and potentially harmful. I recommend discussing the issue with an important adult in your life, perhaps a parent or caregiver. It might be better for them to have a chat with your grandma and explaining the importance of

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establishing and maintaining proper nutrition for your dog.


My dog keeps eating grass. Is there something wrong with him? Dogs eat grass for a variety of reasons. The most obvious, yet often overlooked, reason your dog is eating grass is simply that he has a preference for it. If your dog is chewing and swallowing the grass blades thoroughly, it's likely he just enjoys the taste and texture of grass. This is not uncommon. However, it could also indicate that your dog's diet is lacking in certain vitamins, minerals, or other nutrients not found in his protein source. Here's what to do…

click for more information:

1. Make sure your dog's source of

greens is free from pesticides, lawn chemicals and other harmful substances. 2. Ensure your dog's daily nutritional needs are being met by fortifying his diet with some cooked or raw vegetables; carrots and green beans are particularly good. 3. If your dog nibbles on plant leaves, some of which can be poisonous to dogs, or eats grass treated with pesticides – and shows signs such as foaming at the mouth, vomiting, and / or diarrhoea, contact your vet.


Is it true that cows on organic farms are never given antibiotics? No. Even on organic farms antibiotics are administered to sick animals. However, organic standards preclude prophylactic antibiotic use. Simply put, this means organic cows are not to be given antibiotics as a precaution against infection. Additionally, cows treated with antibiotics on an organic farm must be separated from the herd, with any subsequent products derived from the cow no longer permitted to be sold as organic. Given the potentially very serious human health consequences associated with the overuse of veterinary antibiotics significant challenges lie ahead for mainstream agriculture. FEBRUARY/MARCH 2017 ORGANIC GUIDE



MEMBERSHIP OF SOCIAL GROUPS, such as book clubs or

church groups, after retirement is linked to a longer life, with the impact on health and wellbeing similar to that of regular exercise, suggests recent research. Retirement represents a major life change, with the evidence from large long-term studies suggesting that the health and wellbeing of a substantial number of retirees goes downhill after they stop formal work. The research found that the more groups an individual belongs to in the first few years after they stop working, the lower their risk of death. Practical steps? Maintain your sense of purpose and belonging by joining groups and communities you find meaningful.



TRYING TO LOSE WEIGHT? It might be time to join your local community garden.

Community Gardening Community gardening is a great way to meet new people, broaden your knowledge and grow amazingly fresh produce. We love community gardens because they: PRODUCE FOOD Urban agriculture is 3 to 5 times more productive per acre than largescale industrial farming. Community gardens provide a significant source of food for families and individuals without land of their own. They also make nutritionally rich food more accessible to low-income families and individuals.. BUILD COMMUNITY Community gardens foster the development of shared identity and spirit. They bring people together from a wide variety of backgrounds (age, race, culture, social class) and foster a sense of community ownership and stewardship. SUPPORT WELLBEING Numerous studies have found that community gardeners and their children eat healthier diets than their non-gardening counterparts. Access to green space also reduces stress and creates a sense of belonging. 46


CREATE OPPORTUNITIES New immigrants often struggle to assimilate. Community gardens offer unique opportunities for people from diverse backgrounds to work sideby-side on common goals without necessarily speaking each other’s language. REDUCE CRIME Studies have found that crime decreases as a community’s access to green space increases. Community gardens are supportive environments that promote social inclusion; crucial elements for addressing the underlying issues associated with neighbourhood crime. ENABLE LEARNING Community gardens are a wonderful place to acquire and share knowledge related to gardening, cooking, nutrition and health. Some gardens offer training in horticulture, market gardening and leadership development.

According to research conducted by the University of Utah, people who participate in community gardening have a significantly lower body mass index - as well as lower odds of being overweight or obese - than do their non-gardening neighbors. To gauge a health benefit, researchers used body mass index, or BMI, a calculation based on a person’s height and weight and which is widely used to screen for weight categories that may lead to health problems. Results showed that female community gardeners had an average BMI 1.84 lower than their neighbors, which translates to an 11 pound weight difference for a woman 5 feet 5 inches tall. For males, the BMI was lower by 2.36 for gardeners - a difference of 16 pounds for a man 5 feet 10 inches tall - compared to the neighborhood cohort. Gardeners were also less likely to be overweight or obese; 46 percent less for female gardeners, and 62 percent less for male gardeners.



General Manager at



real people, real food

ETERNAL ABUNDANCE’S ALEXANDRA BRIGHAM What do you enjoy about operating a local eatery? There are so many great things about running Eternal Abundance. It’s a pleasure getting to know our community of customers. Many of them want to support a better world, achieve better health, prevent cruelty to animals, and support small businesses - in other words, put their ethics into action. Via Eternal Abundance I too am able to offer an alternative to conventional, unsustainable methods and to put my ethics into action: directly purchasing from local organic farmers and supporting local farming knowledge and infrastructure, and a viable future for young farmers, as well as supporting organic and Fairtrade farming in other parts of the world; developing a returnable packaging program, limiting

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Hours Mon-Sat 9am-9pm Sun 9am-8pm Stat holidays 11am-8pm



plastic consumption and waste; and offering allvegan cuisine, reducing animal suffering and patrons’ environmental footprints. It’s also such a good feeling knowing that every day my staff and I offer delicious food prepared with our customer’s health and the health of the farmer, wildlife, soil, waterways, etc. in mind. What’s your favorite ingredient at the moment? Right now it’s winter squash. Kabocha, delicata, red kuri, butternut squash - those are just a few of the varieties we get to play with. Each has their own flavour and variety of uses, and they lend themselves well to savory and sweet dishes such as pumpkin pie (we make ours with red and green kabocha), stews, sauces and drinks (real pumpkin PSL!)

What tool or kitchen appliance couldn’t you live without? I’m sure others would say blender or processor, but I am always reaching for a silicone spatula. You can practically scrape prep bowls and cylinders dry, so you’re not wasting food as well as get the most out of your ingredients and pocketbook. So many resources - water, fossil fuels, human energy, transportation, packaging, etc - go into getting food from farm to fork and it’s shameful to waste it. Why do you choose organic ingredients? I apprenticed for one season on an organic farm in BC’s Okanagan, which solidified my commitment to organics. It wasn’t just witnessing the repeated applications of pesticides and Roundup to conventional crops, but seeing the immigrant farmers and farm workers improperly protected from these harsh chemicals, then thinking about the harm to the smaller unsuspecting creatures like birds, bees, fish, and soil organisms. They shouldn’t suffer just because we’ve decided to treat the land a certain way. Also, I oppose corporate control and patenting of seeds (Monsanto), chemical (and related pharmaceutical company’s) greed and blatant disregard for human and environmental health, and the conventional view of the Earth as a slate to be extracted and manipulated, instead of revered for her natural intricate cycles. Any tips for home chefs? This is a hard one! These actually might be stressful suggestions, haha, but here goes: 1. Keep things light and fresh. So many times I’ve been to gatherings and the food is so heavy (a Double Cheeze Artichoke Dip from a holiday potluck sticks out for me!). Sometimes when I’m in a rush I’ll just prep a fruit platter with a lightly sweet cashew dip, and friends have been so grateful for it. Holiday foods can still be delicious (and without the guilt!) with proper seasoning and cooking methods instead of oils, salt, etc. Some ideas include a refreshing winter salad with local greens, a tangy citrus dressing, red onion, and apple or pomegranate seeds. 2. Make a timeline. Look up some recipes, plan out your shopping list to make the most of your time and money at the grocery store, and enjoy the process of creating these dishes that you’ve intended to nourish your guests with ingredients that you trust.

3. If it’s not too stressful, get the help of a few family members or friends even for helping to decorate, set up, and clean up. If you have kids, you can instil an appreciation for the energy and heart that goes into the meal. 4. Make things you’re excited to make. Don’t make something you dislike! the stress of creating holiday foods and not enjoying it? Your excitement will show when your guests sit for dinner. You’ve made the effort so you should please yourself and your guests!




A Bread Affair

Aphrodite’s Organic Cafe & Pie Shop

604-695-0000 1680 Johnston Street, V6H 3S2

604-733-8308 3605 West 4th Avenue, V6R 1P2

Certified organic artisan-crafted breads made with locally-grown ingredients and love

Cafe, serving local, organic and seasonally prepared food; famous organic pies

Crisp Organics

Famous Foods

778-808-3494 P.O. Box 627 Abbotsford, V2T 6Z8

604-872-3019 1595 Kingsway, V5N 2R8

Locally-grown organic produce delivered weekly


Vancouver’s original, natural and bulk food store


ORGANIC IN: VANCOUVER Greens Organic + Natural Market

Organic produce, premium meats, baked goods, fresh seafood, health products and more 604-568-3079 1978 West Broadway, V6J1Z2

Krave Organic

Certified organic food and products sourced from trusted local farmers and producers, delivered straight to your door 604-260-6554 1864 Triumph St., V5L 1K2

Nectar Juicery

100% organic milks, hydrators and cold pressed juices; two retail locations, and products also found in cafes across Vancouver 778-379-7589 102 West Hastings Street, V6B 1G8




Organic Acres Market

Main Street store, providing healthy nutritious food at fair prices 604-569-1132 3603 Main Street, V5V 3N6

Soft Peaks Ice Cream

Hand-crafted organic milk ice-cream 604-559-2071 25 Alexander St., V6A1B2

Sprout Organic Market

Tealicious Tea Company

604-983-6657 700 7th St E North Vancouver, V7L 1S6

604-377-5789 102-2439 Wilson Ave, Port Coquitlam BC, V3C 6H6

Boutique store for all-organic and local produce, groceries, bulk foods, gluten-free bread, pasta and more


Canada’s finest organic tea store owned and operated by people who live and breathe tea




When Dr. Josh Axe started researching leaky gut syndrome, few holistic treatment options existed. But as he revealed to Organic Guide, there are now practical steps those suffering from the condition can take to heal and repair their gut naturally without resorting to pharmaceutical drugs By Ajax Robertson


act: Dr. Axe has an irrepressible passion for health and functional medicine. When he speaks, you realize you’re in the company of someone who cares deeply about people. And on reflection that makes complete sense. As a certified doctor of natural medicine, doctor of chiropractic and clinical nutritionist, Dr. Axe has dedicated his life to helping people achieve optimal health using food as medicine. Dr. Axe’s ability to clearly explain complex health topics and devise real world solutions has improved the lives of millions of people around the world. His books include The Real Food Diet Cookbook, The Secret Detox and Healing Leaky Gut. These books and programs combine the power of advanced nutrition with recipes, superfoods and cleansing to help people reach their optimum level of health.

He has featured on numerous television shows and stations including the Dr. Oz Show, CBS, NBC and has his own PBS TV show. His website, has over 6,000,000 monthly visitors and is one of the top 10 most visited natural health websites in the world. It’s jam-packed with information on nutrition, natural medicine, fitness, healthy recipes, home remedies and trending health news. In his spare time, Dr. Axe competes in triathlons, makes gourmet healthy meals and does cross training with his wife, Chelsea, who is also a health nut. Dr. Axe spoke to Organic Guide about leaky gut syndrome, his new book Eat Dirt and the five-step plan he’s devised to help sufferers establish and maintain a healthy gut.







GUT IS DIFFICULT TO DIAGNOSE BECAUSE IT CAN “ LEAKY MANIFEST AS SO MANY DIFFERENT ILLNESSES AND CONDITIONS What Is Leaky Gut Syndrome? Think of the lining of your digestive tract like a net with extremely small holes in it that only allow specific substances to pass through. Your gut lining works as a barrier keeping out bigger particles that can damage your system. When someone has leaky gut (often referred to as increased intestinal permeability), the “net” in your digestive tract gets damaged, which causes even bigger holes to develop in your net, so things that normally can’t pass through are now able to. Some of the things that can now pass through include proteins like gluten, bad bacteria and undigested food particles. Toxic waste can also leak from the inside of your intestinal wall into your bloodstream causing an immune reaction. What role are modern "improvements" to our lifestyle and food supply having on our health? The impact is significant. In my book, Eat Dirt, I discuss how many of these “conveniences,” have wreaked havoc on our collective health and led to the development of leaky gut and other health conditions in many, many people. Examples of this include processed foods that are filled with chemicals, preservatives and genetically modified ingredients; none of which our bodies recognize as actual food. Modern agriculture has created the development of many processes - from produce sprayed with cancer-causing pesticides, to the factory farming of animals that have been pumped with antibiotics and hormones - that threaten our entire food supply. And our dependence on pharmaceutical drugs to “fix” anything that bothers us actually causes more harm to our health than good.

Why is diagnosis of leaky gut syndrome so difficult? It’s difficult because leaky gut can manifest as so many different illnesses and conditions, and these conditions tend to vary from person to person. By definition, a leaky gut is an intestinal tract with increased permeability that actually allows toxins, undigested food proteins and other foreign invaders into the bloodstream. Once these invaders are roaming free throughout the body, they may cause psoriasis or another skin condition in one person, while someone else may suffer with anxiety or depression, and yet another person will gain 20 pounds seemingly overnight and have trouble dropping the weight. What signs and symptoms should people look out for? The vast majority of people with leaky gut present some form of digestive distress including constipation, diarrhea, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) or food sensitivities - so that’s definitely the place to start. If you or someone you know has any of the above conditions, I’d say that it’s highly likely that leaky gut is the root cause. Other signs and symptoms of leaky gut include development of an autoimmune disease, thyroid problems, mood issues or other neurocognitive disorder, or an inflammatory skin condition. Which tests would you recommend to someone who thinks they might be suffering from leaky gut syndrome? There are tests that measure intestinal permeability by determining the levels of zonulin (a chemical that controls permeability and is often increased by gluten,



Can you explain your five-step plan for establishing and maintaining gut health? Here’s the plan I outline in Eat Dirt: 1. Remove: Eliminate the foods that are damaging the gut

and overall health. This will include specific food allergies or sensitivities, as well as gluten, processed foods, conventional dairy, GMO foods, sugar, hydrogenated oils and other foods that are damaging to most, if not all, people. 2. Reseed: Re-introduce beneficial bacteria to the gut

through a high quality soil-based probiotic, as well as regular exposure to naturally occurring bacteria by walking outside barefoot, eating produce from a local farmer’s market, gardening, consuming local honey and other practical and easy means. 3. Restore: Restore the gut by returning to a more tradi-

tional way of preparing and eating food. Add in organic produce, fermented vegetables, bone broth and cultured dairy that is full of probiotics, as well as the prebiotics that feed their growth. 4. Release: Reduce or eliminate mental and emotional

stress - one of the major causes of leaky gut by releasing negative emotions through a variety of relaxing activities, including getting a massage, exercising, reading, going through therapy with a pastor or other trusted advisor and listening to music. 5. Reseal: Add in supplements that will restore healthy

parasites and candida) and lactose (sugar) molecules in the blood. IgG tests measure food intolerances and sensitivities (as opposed to food allergies), which are typically triggered by a leaky gut. Stool tests can measure overall intestinal health, and testing for vitamin and mineral deficiencies can also measure leaky gut, as leaky gut often leads to nutrient malabsorption. There are websites that allow you to conveniently order tests online, including, www., and www. If left untreated, what are the consequences of leaky gut syndrome? As I mentioned, leaky gut can cause a myriad of serious health issues, including autoimmune diseases like lupus, increased risk for diabetes, skin disorder, learning disabilities including autism and other conditions. 56


digestion, reseal the gut and protect it from future damage, including digestive enzymes, l-glutamine, licorice root, collagen and of course, probiotics.

“LEAKY GUT OFTEN LEADS TO NUTRIENT MALABSORPTION ” What specific foods can help in healing leaky gut? Bone broth: It helps reduce inflammation in the digestive tract, while also repairing the gut lining (thanks to the collagen it contains) and fighting food sensitivities. Fermented foods: This group includes foods like sauerkraut and kimchi, and they are teeming with naturally occurring probiotics that immediately take root in the gut, crowding out any bad bacteria, restoring healthy digestion and encouraging overall healing.

Prebiotic foods: The beneficial bacteria that help heal the gut and protect against further damage need food to live, and prebiotics - a type of fiber known as oligosaccharides - are the food that probiotics thrive on. They can be found in foods like garlic, onion and artichokes. Coconut products: Coconut contains lauric acid, which is a known anti-fungal, antibacterial and anti-viral substance that kills candida and other viruses, bacteria and parasites that can contribute to leaky gut and poor health.

healthy balance of bacteria in the gut. The optimal ratio is 85% good and neutral bacteria and 15% bad bacteria. Most people don’t realize that some of the “bad guys” like candida albicans are present in a healthy gut - the key is to not let those bad bacteria thrive and crowd out the good guys. Probiotics actually have the opposite effect, helping to destroy bad bacterial overgrowth and maintain that healthy balance. The key when choosing a probiotic is to purchase one that is soil-based. Soil-based probiotics are formulated to mimic the healthy bacteria found in nature, the ones that help plants grow and thrive, and the same ones that our ancestors had regular contact with as they farmed their own land, raised their own farm animals and generally spent more time outdoors. These bacteria are hardy and able to withstand the harsh environments in nature, which means that they can also survive the harsh environment of the digestive tract and actually make it to the gut to take up residence. Non-soil-based probiotics may be destroyed in the body before they ever reach their destination. What other supplements do you recommend?

Can you briefly explain why organic food represents a better option? There are two main reasons why organic food is a better option: First, it is prohibited from containing any harmful ingredients that can be detrimental to overall health and wellbeing. With produce, this refers to toxic pesticides, and with animal products, this refers to any growth hormones, antibiotics or genetically modified feed that is ultimately passed to humans eating it. Second, organic foods are actually higher in nutrient content than their conventional counterparts. As examples, organic grass-fed beef has much higher levels of healthy omega-3 fats, while organic berries have higher antioxidant activity than non-organic berries. Why are probiotics so important? Consuming a high-quality probiotic helps to restore a

Digestive enzymes help break down food, making things easier on the gut and preventing any undigested particles from leaking out into the bloodstream. They also aid in nutrient absorption and support overall gut health. Look for an organic enzyme that contains a wide spectrum of enzymes, including amylase, hemicellulase, invertase and lactase. I also recommend l-glutamine, an anti-inflammatory amino acid that coats the cell walls and helps to repair the intestinal lining, and licorice root. Licorice is an adaptogenic herb that helps balance cortisol levels and improves acid production in the stomach. This is critically important if someone is suffering from stressrelated leaky gut (prolonged stress raises cortisol levels, which then impacts digestion and other gut functions). Finally, if you do have leaky gut, it is important to supplement with a whole foods-based multivitamin, as it is likely that you are also suffering from some degree of malabsorption, so you are not getting all the necessary nutrients from your diet. LIKE THIS, WANT MORE? Visit to purchase Dr. Axe’s book, Eat Dirt FEBRUARY/MARCH 2017 ORGANIC GUIDE


The real reason PEOPLE ARE HUNGRY Millions of people wake up each day without enough food to eat. Intuitively, you might think the focus needs to be on increasing food production. But is that really the answer? By Alan Broughton



I’m convinced that farmland is going to be one of the best investments of our time.

The world already produces enough calories to feed 12-14 billion people, nearly double the current population. Yet the official answer to hunger is greater production using technology. Hunger is a result of lack of purchasing power or lack of sufficient land to grow food, not lack of production. Many countries with severe hunger are food exporters, for example Botswana and Kenya, major beef producers for Europe. Most countries that experience hunger are net food exporters; in the 1980s Brazil became the second largest food exporter in the world, with 86 million hungry people. Ireland during the potato famine exported food to England. There is food abundance in the US and huge food wastage estimated at 25% of production yet millions of Americans go hungry, requiring a multitude of government and non-government schemes to feed them. It is a myth that hunger is caused by over population, and that population growth must be slowed before hunger can be tackled. China has half the cropland per person that India has, but China has no hunger problem while India’s is massive. Similarly, Taiwan and South Korea with half the cropping land per person as Bangladesh do not have the hunger problem of Bangladesh. The Netherlands, one of the most densely populated countries in the world, is a net food exporter with no hunger problem. Around the world, there is no correlation between hunger and population density.

-George Soros, June 2009

However hunger and rapid population growth are connected. One is not the cause of the other; both are caused by the same factors. These factors are the infant mortality rate, the status of women, lack of security in old age, the opportunities for women to take paid employment, and the need for labour on farms. Where there is security and opportunity, the birth rate always falls. Family planning programs do not significantly affect the birth rate – far more significant is life expectancy, education and infant mortality rates.


SEVERE HUNGER ARE FOOD EXPORTERS A principal stated aim of trade liberalisation is to increase food security; it has failed to do that. It has strengthened the hold of large agribusiness corporations over control of markets and decreased that of farmers and national governments that want to address food security issues. It also stimulated speculation in agricultural commodities that led to huge price rises from 2004 and the subsequent crash in prices in 2008. In the first decade of trade liberalisation in India, 1991 to 2001, grain consumption per person fell from FEBRUARY/MARCH 2017 ORGANIC GUIDE


177 kg (390 lb) to 151 (332 lb) after a steady rise over the previous 40 years. At the same time, grain exports reached record levels. Similarly in sub-Saharan Africa, grain consumption fell from 158 kg (348lb) per person in 1980 to 136 kg (300 lb) by the mid-1990s. This strongly counteracts the promise that free trade and deregulation will solve the world’s hunger problem. In Latin America, trade liberalisation has led to an export boom of soy, fruits and vegetables, but a worsening of conditions for rural people. Many small farmers have been displaced or become dependent on off-farm labour income. This employment is precarious, often temporary and managed by labour hire companies that are able to pay less than legislated minimum wages. The land reforms carried out in the 1960s and 1970s have been reversed as large corporations have managed to obtain control over large amounts of land. Export booms do not reduce hunger for several reasons. Land is taken out of local production for local consumption in order to produce exportable commodities. Farmers who have lost their land become employees on low wages which they spend on the cheapest foods that fill them up – carbohydrates – unable to afford the fruits and vegetables and meat they used to grow themselves. Export earnings do not cover the costs of imported replacement foods, but pay for luxuries for the wealthy and debt repayment. Only about 15% of export earnings stay in the country of production – the rest goes overseas as profits to foreign banks, traders, processors and distributors. Free trade and deregulation since 1990 has greatly increased the amount of land taken up by the five main commodity crops – maize, soy, sugar cane, canola and palm oil – at the expense of food crops like wheat and rice whose acreage fell. These five commodity crops are used mainly for livestock feed and biofuels. In the 2008 food crisis when grain prices soared,



countries that had previously produced much of their own but had been encouraged to focus on export crops could not afford the high costs of imported foods. Many exporting countries closed their borders against rice and wheat exports in order to preserve their own stocks. One hundred million more people joined the world hungry population in that year.

Indebtedness and its alleged solutions are devastating for the development of food security. Because of the burden of paying back debts, more and more the economy has to become dependent on exports, so less food is available. It is often said that unpayable debt in poor countries is the result of poor decision making, corruption or unfavourable climates; however, there is evidence that loans are sometimes deliberately given with the intention of keeping the recipient countries poor and malleable so that they are less able to resist the imposition of military bases or access to raw materials, and will vote the “right way” in international forums. A further reason for hunger and underdevelopment,


The percentage of Americans the OECD estimates are food insecure

especially in Africa, is the net transfer of wealth out of the continent. Despite the common perception that the rest of the world is supporting Africa, the opposite is the reality. From 1980 to 2009, there has been a net outflow from Africa of between US$600 billion and $1.4 trillion. Inflows come from aid, remittances from the Africans living outside Africa, loans, investment and export earnings. Outflows include profits, debt repayments, corruption, tax evasion, transfer pricing and import payments. The transfers are not even across Africa – some countries have been net beneficiaries. The greatest losses are from the resource rich countries.


JUST AN ISSUE FOR POOR COUNTRIES A new phenomenon arose in the first decade of the 21st century – massive institutional food price speculation. In 2003, investments in food derivatives, that is, futures trading whereby food is bought and sold on paper without physically moving, stood at $3 billion. By 2011, it had reached $126 billion. For example, the volume of corn traded on commodity exchanges in 2008 was three times the global production for that year. It is a form of gambling that prices will rise, which actually

causes prices to rise and sends millions more people into hunger (a 200 million increase in the number of people suffering malnutrition between 2007 and 2009). Food security is not just an issue for poor countries. The OECD estimates 21% of the American population is food insecure (defined as not always able to buy the food they need and having to depend sometimes on charity). As economies become more integrated and more dependent on trade between and within countries there is greater risk of failure of food supplies due to war or other disruption to trade or sudden increases in transport costs, as Britain realised during the second world war and Cuba after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1990. Currently, Britain has enough food reserves for no more than five days, making it very vulnerable to even minor disruptions to imports. Food security is a political and economic issue, not a food production issue. Politicians that claim technology and free trade will solve the hunger problem are either ignorant or deliberately dishonest. Alan Broughton is a biological agriculture researcher and organic farming teacher. With an extensive background in farm management and a deep understanding of the limitations posed by chemical agriculture, Alan is a passionate advocate for the global advancement of biological production systems.



the truth about

Thyroid dysfunction Okay, so here’s the thing: Conventional medicine is failing far too many people. And nowhere is this failure more evident than with thyroid dysfunction.

THE THYROID CONNECTION The smartest way to get your life back on track


re you exhausted all the time, plagued by mood swings and brain fog? Feeling old and depressed and unable to lose weight? Do you struggle with digestive issues, insomnia, anxiety, and/or hair loss? It’s remarkable how many symptoms - large, small, and in between - are connected to your thyroid. In fact, just about every aspect of your body depends upon thyroid function; if your thyroid isn’t working up to par, you won’t be either. Healing and supporting your thyroid is one of the most important ways you can connect to your body and one of the best ways to achieve optimal health.

The American Thyroid Association says that over the course of a lifetime, at least 12 percent of the U.S. population will suffer from thyroid dysfunction. That’s one person in eight. And women are five to eight times more likely than men to be affected. According to the association, up to 60 percent of people with thyroid dysfunction don’t even realize they have a problem. With so many suffering, you’d think conventional medicine would sound the alarm. You’d expect your conventional doctor to be all over thyroid dysfunction - testing you regularly, giving you the right amount and type of medication and/ or supplemental thyroid hormone, ensuring that you’re getting the right kind of diet and supplements and sleep and stress relief to keep your thyroid in peak condition. Nope. Not even close. Instead, thyroid dysfunction is one of the most underdiagnosed and improperly treated health conditions. Conventional doctors are failing us in so many ways regarding thyroid dysfunction, it’s hard to list them all, but let’s give it a try. Even when you present with thyroid symptoms, many doctors fail to test for thyroid disorders and misdiagnose the

By Dr. Amy Myers

condition, especially if you’re younger than forty or you are a man. When you are tested, you often don’t get all the tests you need. When you are finally diagnosed and treated, if you are hypothyroid (have an underactive thyroid), you often don’t get the right amount or proper form of supplemental thyroid hormone. If you are hyperthyroid (have an overactive thyroid), your conventional medical options carry severe, sometimes disabling side effects or irreversible damage and you aren’t told about natural herbal treatments that might be equally effective while sparing you the downsides. You never learn about the extraordinary effects you can achieve by making certain changes in your diet and lifestyle: consuming the nutrients your thyroid needs, avoiding foods that trigger inflammation (an immune system response that can create numerous problems), healing your gut, getting rid of your toxic overload, treating underlying infections, avoiding overexercising, getting good, restful sleep, and relieving stress. You don’t find out how to reverse autoimmune conditions and support




The percentage of people who will suffer from thyroid dysfunction at some stage during their lifetime!



“ WE’VE BEEN FOOLED INTO THINKING THAT EVEN IN OUR TWENTIES AND THIRTIES, WE SHOULD EXPECT TO FEEL STRESSED, BURNED OUT, AND MISERABLE your immune system - a crucial need, since the vast majority of thyroid dysfunction is due to autoimmunity. As both a functional medicine physician and a thyroid patient, I hate thinking how badly conventional medicine is failing people with thyroid dysfunction, because I know how awful it feels to go through the medical mill. The doctors who tell you it’s all in your head. The treatments that are supposed to work but don’t, or don’t work well enough, or leave you struggling with side effects. The symptoms that get worse and worse and worse, while your doctor brushes them off and insists that you are getting standard-of-care treatment. All that is bad enough. But what really bothers me is that we’ve all been sold a bill of goods. We’ve been told that depression and brain fog and weight gain are an inevitable part of aging - that loss of sex drive and lack of energy and memory lapses are just something you have to learn to live with. We’ve been fooled into thinking that even in our twenties and thirties, we should expect to feel stressed, burned out, and miserable. The ideal of optimal health and function in every aspect of our bodiesm - and our lives - is made to seem like some kind of impossible dream, some kind of New Age fantasy instead of an absolutely achievable medical goal that every single one of us should be able to attain. Well, I’m here to tell you that vibrant, glowing health is not a

fantasy. My patients achieve it every day, and I know you can too. When you finally get your thyroid back into balance, you won’t believe how terrific you feel. And it all starts with food. Food has extraordinary power both to heal and to harm. Imagine: the foods you put into your body can completely transform your

physical health, your energy levels, and even your state of mind. Yep, you heard me, and I’m not getting all New Agey, I’m speaking as a scientist: What you eat affects how your brain processes thought and emotion, as well as how your thyroid and your gut affect your brain. On The Myers Way Thyroid Connection Plan, you’ll stop eating foods that harm you while loading up on foods that heal. Feeling skeptical? Think of how cranky and impatient you get when

you miss a meal, how sad and hopeless you start to feel, how foggy your head gets. And then when you eat something, you immediately perk up, calm down, refocus, reenergize. Now multiply that good feeling by a factor of ten as you feed your body the nutrients it craves for vitality, a great mood, and optimal health.

If you need more convincing, I could tell you all about the science. I could remind you that without iodine plus proper protein intake, your thyroid gland doesn’t have the building blocks it needs to make thyroid hormone - it’s as if you’re asking a master builder to make you a house from a sack of pebbles and some mud. Yeah, you’ll probably get some kind of makeshift dwelling but it won’t be nearly as good as it would have been if you’d provided steel and concrete. You can’t give



your thyroid bad materials to work with and expect it to perform up to par - that doesn’t make any kind of sense. Or I could tell you that without enough iron, selenium, and zinc, your thyroid signaling system doesn’t have the minerals it needs to convert T4 into T3. Not to mention that without zinc, your hypothalamus can’t gauge how much thyroid hormone your body is making, so it can’t properly regulate that whole process. And without iron, your body can’t convert iodide (the food version of iodine) into iodine (the biochemical that your thyroid actually uses). I could also tell you that without healthy omega 3 fats, your cell walls lose their integrity, and without vitamin A, free T3 is going to have a world of trouble making its way into your cells. And I could talk for quite a while about why and how your immune system needs B vitamins and vitamin D to keep a healthy balance. Even then, some of you might be skeptical about the power of food, and given the way conventional doctors talk about nutrition, I can hardly blame you. Conventional doctors often treat food as, at best, an afterthought. When asking their former doctors about nutritional approaches, many of my patients have been told, “Well, if you want to try it, it probably won’t hurt.” What a dismissal of one of our most powerful healing tools! This is pretty ironic, too, when you consider that

Hippocrates, the actual founder of Western medicine, is the one who said, “Let food be your medicine and medicine be your food.” They should have us physicians repeat that when we take the Hippocratic oath! So how much faith do I place in good nutrition? Well, as Hippocrates knew, it’s often the only medicine we need; many of my patients can restore healthy thyroid function simply through diet and lifestyle changes alone. You heard me. With diet and lifestyle changes alone, you can fix the problem that everyone else is taking pills for. Did you know that Synthroid is now our country’s most prescribed drug, with 21.5 million prescriptions written each year, accounting for billions of dollars? How many of those folks could get the same or even better results from just eating better? Now if your thyroid has already been damaged, diet alone might not be enough; you might need to give it some extra support in the form of supplemental thyroid hormone. And if you have hyperthyroidism, you will need thyroid-calming herbs until you bring your thyroid gland back into balance, plus some additional supplements to replace what your overactive metabolism burns up. Either way, food is still your best friend - or your worst enemy. Inflammation - caused largely by problem foods - can tear down the walls of your house before you’ve even got them up. At the end of the day, eating right makes optimal

health possible. Now, the minute I start talking about food choices, some of you are going to think diet. And we know how much fun dieting is! For many of us, let’s face it, diet is our least favorite word. I’ll suggest you stop eating harmful foods, and you’ll think, Uh-oh, calorie counting! or Restrictions! or All those foods I’d like to have but am not allowed to! I get it, and I’d never want you to feel deprived, if only because deprivation equals stress, and stress equals high cortisol levels, unbalanced stress hormones, and a whole slew of other things that are bad for you. So let’s not talk about restrictions. Let’s talk about delicious food that gives our bodies what they need to function. Let’s stop punishing our bodies with inflammatory foods; let’s stop starving ourselves of essential nutrients needed for peak thyroid and immune function. Let’s talk about how good you’re going to feel when your thyroid, immune system, and entire body finally have everything they need. Let’s talk about foods that power the clarity of your thoughts and the buoyancy of your mood - the fuel that enables you to sail through your day (on a good day) or slog through the challenges and overcome the obstacles (on a not-so-good day). That’s what food can do, folks. I’m here to tell you it’s true, because I’ve seen it in myself and in thousands of patients more times than I can count.

In the essential new guide, THE THYROID CONNECTION: Why You Feel Tired, Brain-Fogged, and Overweight - and How to Get Your Life Back, renowned physician, health advocate, and best-selling author Amy Myers, M.D. (The Autoimmune Solution) shares everything you need to know about your thyroid - how it works, why it can make you feel so miserable, how to work with your doctor to get a more accurate diagnosis, and how to treat your thyroid dysfunction by addressing its underlying root causes and optimizing the right medication for you.



Organic clothes for your precious baby! Hudson RiverValleyBaby TM



money. According to research conducted by The Miriam Hospital and The Rhode Island Community Food Bank, including vegetables and fruits daily was relatively inexpensive, even at fairly high amounts, compared with animal products. The study found that animal products cost more than double that of a serving of vegetables or legumes and 60 percent more than a serving of fruit. Another 68 serving ORGANICGUIDE.CA of vegetables anyone?

GETTING ENOUGH VITAMIN E? According to Wayne Campbell, a professor of nutrition science at Purdue University, “Vitamin E is the secondmost under-consumed nutrient in the average American diet, which is problematic because this fat-soluble nutrient has antioxidant and antiinflammatory properties.” Vitamin E, which is absorbed along with dietary fats, is often found in oils, seeds and nuts. Eggs, a nutrient-rich food containing essential amino acids, unsaturated fatty acids and B vitamins, also contain a small amount of Vitamin E.

Harnessing Vitamin E The most active vitamin E compound is alpha-tocopherol. This powerful antioxidant protects cell membranes from oxidation damage and helps prevent the build-up of plaques in the arteries. Here’s what else we know… BOOSTS IMMUNITY Vitamin E has been found to increase the body’s immune response and may protect against disease and cancer. In one study, smokers who took vitamin E supplements were nearly one-third less likely to get prostate cancer. TREATS AND PREVENTS DISEASE Vitamin E is used for treating diabetes and its complications. It is also used for preventing cancer, particularly lung and oral cancer in smokers; colorectal cancer and polyps; and gastric, prostate, and pancreatic cancer.

ALLEVIATES AND HEALS Vitamin E supplementation has been found to alleviate the pain associated with osteoarthritis. It is also known to be important for maintaining healthy skin, hair and nails, as well as helping the healing of damaged tissue, including skin wounds.

Jung Eun Kim, a postdoctoral researcher in Purdue’s Department of Nutrition Science, said, “We found Vitamin E absorption was 4- to 7-fold higher when three whole eggs were added to a salad.” Take away: Adding whole eggs to a colorful salad will boost the amount of Vitamin E your body absorbs from the vegetables.

BEST SOURCES The best dietary sources of vitamin E are vegetable oils, nuts, avocado, cereals, meat, poultry, eggs, fruits, vegetables, and wheat germ oil.




Millet ‘n Veggie Breakfast Tacos: Two Ways From Amie Valpone’s latest book, Eating Clean: The 21-Day Plan to Detox, Fight Inflammation and Reset Your Body



MILLET ‘N VEGGIE BREAKFAST TACOS: TWO WAYS This filling combination of whole grains and veggies will keep you satisfied long until your next meal. • • • • • • • • • • • •

1½ cups cooked millet ¼ cup finely chopped fresh cilantro 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice ¼ teaspoon sea salt 8 gluten-free whole-grain tortillas (corn-free) 1 recipe Butternut Squash and Swiss Chard or Portobello Mushroom and Red Pepper mixture (see opposite) 1 cup shredded red cabbage 1 large ripe avocado, pitted, peeled, and thinly sliced 4 scallions, thinly sliced Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper Cumin Cashew Cream Sauce, optional Seriously Sensational Sriracha Sauce, optional

In a small bowl, combine the millet, cilantro, lime juice, and salt. Stir to combine and set aside. Make one (or both) of the Flavor Options. To assemble, warm the tortillas on a baking sheet in a 350°F oven or in a dry skillet on the stovetop over medium heat. Place the warm tortillas on a platter or on individual plates. Divide the millet among the tortillas. Top each with either the Butternut Squash and Swiss Chard or the Portobello Mushroom and Red Pepper mixture. Top with the cabbage, avo¬cado slices, scallions, and salt and pepper to taste. Finish with a dollop of the Cumin Cashew Cream Sauce and/or a drizzle of the Seriously Sensational Sriracha Sauce, if desired.

Flavor Options: BUTTERNUT SQUASH AND SWISS CHARD • 2 tablespoons coconut oil • 4 cups peeled, seeded, and diced butternut squash (¼-inch cubes) • ½ bunch Swiss chard, finely chopped • ½ teaspoon chili powder • ¼ teaspoon sea salt • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the squash and sauté for 7 to 8 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and cook until the chard has wilted, about 2 minutes. Keep warm. PORTOBELLO MUSHROOM AND RED PEPPER • • • • • • • •

2 to 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 1 large portobello mushroom, cut into 8 slices 1 large red bell pepper, cut into long strips ¼ teaspoon ground cumin ¼ teaspoon sea salt ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper Pinch chipotle powder ¼ cup thinly sliced radish, for garnish

In a medium skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium heat. Add the mushrooms in a single layer. Cover and cook for 4 minutes, then flip and cook for 2 minutes more. Add the bell pepper, cumin, salt, black pepper, chipotle powder, and remaining oil, if needed. Cook for 5 minutes or until vegetables are cooked through, stirring often. Garnish with the radish. Keep warm.

Amie Valpone, HHC, AADP is the author of the best-selling cookbook, Eating Clean: The 21-Day Plan to Detox, Fight Inflammation and Reset Your Body and the Editor-in-Chief of; she is a Manhattan Celebrity Chef, Culinary Nutritionist, Professional Recipe Developer, Food Photographer, Writer and Motivational Speaker specializing in simple gluten-free, soy-free and dairy-free ‘Clean Eating’ recipes. Visit www. to purchase a copy of Amie’s new book.





up in Japan, this is the sort of food we would routinely “ Growing eat. Back then, I always craved western food. Today, I love the


simple clean foods I grew up with. Try this... it’s easy to make, packed with vegetables and tastes great. -Chif



Japanese chicken meatball soup Ingredients • Chicken mince (1lb/450g)

• Bok choy (2)

• Green onions (2)

• Tofu (½ lb/225g)

• Ginger (1tsp, grated)

• Chicken stock (40oz/1200ml)

• Egg (1)

• Soy sauce (2 tbs)

• Chinese cabbage (¼)

• Salt and pepper

• Carrots (3)







Slice your Chinese (Wombok) cabbage into bite-sized strips. Cut the green tops from your carrots, but don’t discard. These will be used in the soup too. Cut your carrots into thin pieces.

Finely chop your green onion and combine with ginger, raw egg and 1lb (450g) ground chicken mince in a large mixing bowl. While you’re doing this, bring your chicken stock to the boil.


We’re constantly being told how important it is to increase the amount of vegetables we eat. This soup is a really great way to boost your vitamin intake. It contains plenty of colorful vegetables that are only lightly cooked. I think you’ll love this... It’s warm, super fresh and tastes amazing. Perfect for a lunch shared with friends.


Cut the bottom fibrous part away from your Enoki mushrooms. This can be used for stock. Slice your Bok choy. Your vegetables won’t be cooked long, so ensure they’re bite-sized.

Thoroughly mix your ground chicken, green onions, ginger and egg. Add a dash of salt and pepper as desired. Next to your pot of boiling stock, place two spoons in a bowl of cold water.

Cut your tofu into cubes. Any kind of tofu is fine. If you choose Kinugoshi (Silky Tofu), you may want to make your cubes larger as this particular tofu is very soft and breaks easily.

Using your wet spoons, shape your meat balls and slide them into the pot. When all meatballs are cooked in the pot, add vegetables and tofu. Add soy sauce and serve immediately. Enjoy!

Organic Guide - Issue 001 - Canada