Vista issue #138 September/October 2021

Page 1


Family & Back to School Issue

Your Guide to Healthy, Organic Living

Lynn Mejia with our Featured Ambassador Recipe: Sweet Pumpkin Spice Chickpeas


Practicing Mindfulness With Kids 9

Kefir, the Beneficial Brew 16

All-Natural Kids' Craft Spaces 14

Healthy Family Habits



Preparing nurturing "everyday Asian" food with Abby Lee ORGANIC ENTREPRENEUR

AKSO Marine Biotech, Inc 26


C A N N A . M E D. E D

Back to School Cannabis Essentials 44


Gluten-Free Living With Alyssa & Taylor 46

with Allison Tannis  deliciouslygeeky

Tune in to the Vista Natural Health Influencer Podcast available on TUNEIN IHEARTRADIO STITCHER






Success on social media shouldn’t be based on popularity, algorithms or viral trends — make your social media goals and milestones intentional, tangible and attainable for you! When I first started my Instagram account,  _DINNERISREADY, I intended to use it as a photo diary of my journey to becoming a better home cook during the pandemic lockdowns. However, as I was self-conscious about my cooking (my family avoided my food creations like the plague), I only told my husband and best friend my IG account. As I started posting regularly on IG, I did not expect to discover my love for cooking and sharing what I learned with those who cared to subscribe to my feed. But, before I knew it, I was at my first 1k followers, and I started to take food photography and recipe creation more seriously. However, as my followers grew, I also began to learn about the dark side of social media. As I was trying to reach milestone successes on my IG account based on other “successful” IG-ers, I started to lose passion and focus mainly on content creation. I became obsessed with IG algorithms, figuring out hashtags, tracking my follower count and comparing my “success” and popularity against other similar creators. What had brought me enjoyment and was my creative outlet soon became an unnecessary chore and cause for stress. I took a break from social media and didn’t return to my IG account until I changed my mindset. I decided that I could not let what others define as social media success be my measuring stick. Instead, I made more meaningful goals by redefining my success and centring it on the intentions for my IG account. I benchmarked my accomplishments to things that brought me lasting satisfaction — not on uncontrollable and fleeting factors. I still don’t have the highest follower count, and I don’t post based on the latest viral trends to achieve “conventional” success on IG. However, I know that when I take action on my IG account, I do it intending to bring joy to myself and to those who genuinely care about what I post – and that to me is success in its own right!

Tips on meaningful goal setting and benchmarking for your social media: • Be intentional with your social media

account(s) and the content you put out! • Don’t put out content to only increase

followers or to hit the viral jackpot! Instead, put out content that means something to you and can positively influence your intended audience. • Focus on goals and milestones that will

help you build transferrable skills. • Set your goals and milestones based

on skills that are transferrable outside of social media. Instead of copying a viral reel or photo trend for reach and followers, challenge yourself to use a creative transition in your reels or learn to take photos with artificial lighting! These skills could land you incredible opportunities and help you become a better content creator. • Define your goals and successes on

outcomes that you CAN control! • Don’t focus on things you can’t control,

like followers and reach. Focus on goals and outcomes based on things you can handle. Instead of increasing followers from 1k to 50k in 2 months, hone your storytelling skills to create consistent dialogues with your audience! • Don’t compare yourself with other

content creators. • Your social media results will always be

different from other creators — even if they are in the same niche as you. So instead, reach out to your peers to share ideas and grow your support system in your online community. • Remember to have fun! • Why bother posting if you’re not


enjoying the process?! Have fun and be yourself!



No. 138






Harley Godfrey SALES TEAM

Stephenie Farrell Georgina Hendsbee Jessica Pecush COPY EDITOR


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VISTA MAGAZINE IS PUBLISHED SIX TIMES PER YEAR. 8451 LITTLEMORE PLACE RICHMOND BC CANADA V7C3Y7 TELEPHONE (877) 905-7771 DISCLAIMER: The opinions expressed herein are those of the authors and advertisers and do not necessarily reflect those of the Vista Magazine publisher, editors, or staff. Readers are encouraged to consult with their health professional before embarking upon any exercise, medical or nutritional changes. Contents of Vista Magazine are copyright © 2021, all rights reserved. Vista Magazine may not be reproduced in whole or in part by any means without written permission of the Founder & Publisher. Canada Publication Mail Sales Product Agreement # 42898014 ASS OCI ATI ON S


THE GIFT OF GOOD HEALTH When it comes to wellness solutions, you can count on NOW Kids™ to provide sugar-free, great-tasting, clean & simple ingredients in a variety of supplement options. During back-to-school time, more than ever, extra immune support can help give families peace of mind.

Live Happy. Live Healthy. Live NOW.


Lynn MeJia's Featured Ambassador Recipe: Sweet Pumpkin Spice Chickpeas (page 17)






















6 Foods to Help Kids Focus


Mindful Immune Health

Kids Who Can't Cope All-Natural Kids' Craft Spaces

Healthy Family Habits Back to School Cannabis Essentials

Kefir, the Beneficial Brew

With Alyssa and Taylor


Sweet Pumpkin Spice Chickpeas Family & Back to School Issue


Subscribe to our Newsletter and receive a free recipe e-book! subscribe/ Ambassador Award Winners Recipes




Practicing Mindfulness With Kids Back to school can be a time of anxiety. So here are kid-friendly ways to de-stress together. There’s no way around it: children in 2021 have many reasons to be anxious. And back to school can be a particularly tough time for some kids. But, unfortunately, if you’re a parent to a sensitive child who experiences a lot of fear and nervousness around transitions, it can be hard to know how to help. The good news is that you can do a lot. Practicing calming mindfulness techniques together sets your child up with life-long coping skills and can turn the anxiety dial down today. Perhaps you have your own mindfulness practice. You meditate, do yoga. You understand the benefits. But how can you make these practices more accessible to kids?

Here are three simple exercises you can do with your child to help them ground down and connect with themselves: 1

Flower and candle

“Flower and candle” is an effective exercise for encouraging deep mindful breaths. With your child, pretend that you’re both holding a candle in one hand and a flower in the other. Smell the flower and then blow softly and slowly to extinguish the candle flame. Imagine that the flame reappears and repeat the exercise. 2

Lazy cat

Pretend you are both lazy, sleepy cats waking up from a nap. Yawn deeply, meow loudly, and stretch out your legs, arms, and back. This exercise can release muscular tension and help the two of you to practice body awareness. 3

The turtle walk

This is another simple exercise for releasing muscular tension. Pretend that you are two turtles going for a slow, pleasant walk together. Suddenly, it starts to rain, so you curl up tightly in your shells for about ten seconds. Then, imagine the sun is out again, and you can resume your walk. Repeat this sequence a few times. You’ll both feel a lot more relaxed and present.




Green Tea

6 Foods to Help Kids Stay Focused When your kids return to school, they’re asked to sit still, stay focused, and learn. That’s tough without good nutritional support. So here are the foods that will help them succeed. Blueberries Blueberries are an easy sell for kids, and that’s great news because they are proven brain boosters. In fact, studies show that they boost concentration and memory for up to 5 hours after they’re consumed. That’s because they’re rich in antioxidants that stimulate the flow of oxygen and blood to the brain.

Fatty Fish Fish like salmon and trout are packed with omega-3 fatty acids that help us remember more and perform better on cognitive tests. In fact, without enough omega-3s in our system, we are likely to have mood swings, depression, fatigue, and poor memory. If mackerel, herring, and sardines aren’t on your child’s go-to snack list, you can always opt for a highquality supplement.


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A mug of green tea sweetened with honey can help your child to become more alert and focused. That’s because its high theanine levels increase the brain’s alpha wave activity. This, in turn, boosts feelings of calmness while the caffeine in the tea is released slowly, preventing crashes. If your child can handle small amounts of caffeine, green tea is a significant asset.

Avocado Many brain-boosting foods are defined by their ability to stimulate blood and oxygen flow to hard-working brain cells. Creamy, rich-tasting avocados—often a hit spread on toast—are no exception. This fruit is an excellent way to increase blow flood naturally, ensuring your child’s mind is getting the fuel it needs.

Leafy Greens We know it’s hard to convince kids to eat leafy greens like spinach and kale—but that’s what smoothies are for, right? After all, the brain health benefits of leafy vegetables with a dark green colouring are undeniable. These veggies support memory, focus, and overall brain health with generous amounts of antioxidants, carotenoids, and B-vitamins.

Dark Chocolate If your child can enjoy chocolate that’s at least 70% real cacao, this is a supremely tasty way to set them up for school success. Its small amount of caffeine enhances mental alertness, and its magnesium releases moodboosting endorphins and serotonin. All of this helps young ones to stay engaged with their studies.

KIDS WHO CAN’T COPE 3 EYE-OPENING STATISTICS ABOUT CHILDREN & ANXIETY If your child struggles with anxiety, you are far from alone. It’s a heartbreaking issue: far too many children are impacted by anxiety. But, defined loosely as difficulty coping calmly with situations that most other people find easy, it’s a pattern many parents will recognize. While it’s a common problem, giving anxious children tools for coping is sadly relatively uncommon. As the statistics below will demonstrate, anxiety in children is a phenomenon we’re learning to recognize but still slow to treat. Here are 3 statistics about children and anxiety that will probably open your eyes and inspire action.

17% DIAGNOSIS IS UP There has been a 17% increase in anxiety diagnosis among children over the past ten years. While that doesn’t necessarily mean that anxiety is increasing, we can say that society is becoming more sensitive to how this condition presents in children.

30% GETTING HELP IS RARE Up to 30% of children and youth suffer from anxiety at some point in their lives, but 80% of them never get help. They are never taught coping skills, counselled, or given access to medications (including supplements) that might prove helpful.

IGNORING ANXIETY HAS CONSEQUENCES Sadly, children who are not given support to cope with their disorders tend to develop other problems like depression and school failure. There is also a twofold increase in substance abuse problems among teens with untreated anxiety.



Why ‘Potential’ is a Dangerous Word for Parenting ANDREA MARKUSICH

Imagine having friends over for dinner. You have been preparing this meal for hours, shopping for the ingredients, prepping the meats, chopping vegetables. As you begin the dinner, one of your guests says, “Um, is this your best effort at cooking? I think you have more potential than this. Next time we come for dinner, please cook to your full potential.” Absurd, right? Well, regretfully, we do this to our children all the time. Potential is the word brought up by parent-teacher nights over and over. Potential is what sports coaches are trying to pull out of your child. So I invite you to sit for just a minute and feel the feeling of your friends requesting your full potential. Does this motivate you? Or deflate you? Does this bring you closer to your friends? Or have you wanting to separate from them? We are at the time of year when our children are returning to school. Inherently, it is so natural for us to


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want our children to do well. We want them to succeed and do the best they possibly can. We want them to avoid the mistakes we made and repeat the successes we had. But all of this idealization leaves very little room for your child to become their unique self. I am not suggesting you don’t have an expectation for academic success, but rather than a pressure to live up to their potential; perhaps we can help them to see what is blocking them from achieving their most whole selves. The difference between these two is

called connection vs. correction. According to clinical psychologist Dr. Shefali Tsabary, ideally, we should aim for 80% connection and 20% correction. But, unfortunately, most parent-child relationships have these numbers flipped. We can get away with this control in the younger years, but in the teen years, if we correct 80% of the time and attempt to connect 20% of the time, we will lose touch with them, and then we will have very little if any influence on them. Therefore, it is essential as a supporter to spend far more time connecting with them. Connection foremost can be of a particular challenge if we have expectations. Suppose we expect them to get high grades or be the best on a sports team. We push our agendas to ensure our children succeed in life. But is it for them? Or is this for ourselves? The parental ego is an immense pain. The ego controls our urge to look like a good parent in the eyes of our parents, teacher, other parents, and especially ourselves. Looking good to others is a trap that disconnects us from our actual child and has us performing and expecting them to commit to our satisfaction. This ego-driven motivation is all driven from a ubiquitous fear that we, the parent, is not good enough. When we get truthful and dive very deep, we can look at each child’s achievements and how they affect us. This incestuous ego hurts our children. The message they receive is, “I am not enough unless I am getting good grades and achieving in some extracurricular activity” or whatever your unique measure of success is. We come by this honestly; however, as our parents trained us this way, this has been passed down generationally — our parents received the same lesson. The silent message is, “I can see you when you are doing well because that makes me feel good.” The dangerous lesson we learn from this is that we earn our love from what we do, not from who we are. Conscious parenting requires something bigger out of ourselves. It requires us to deeply love and accept

ourselves with all of our flaws and ordinariness. When we do this, only then can we give unconditional love to our children. Only then can we release this idea of potential and support them to thrive just as they are. The best you can give your child is self-acceptance. Let them see what your life looks like when you fully accept and love yourself. Once we accept our ordinary unique selves, we give room for our children to be fully loved and accepted as they are. When we all have that safety, anything is possible.

ANDREA is a mom, wife, entrepreneur, conscious parenting coach and writer. Andrea has a degree in Psychology and Philosophy and is certified through Dr. Shefali Tsabary’s coaching program, which shifted her understanding of parenting and her role as a mother. She is in the process of writing a children’s book and loves to help parents feel freedom and ease in parenting by first learning how to love and support themselves.  THECONSCIOUSFAMILY.CA




Creating an All-Natural Children’s Craft Space Arts and crafts deserve their own dedicated space. Here’s how to make yours as attractive and functional as possible—naturally. 14

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Use Bright Colours


Create Displays

If your child is going to be drawn into their craft space, you’ve got to make it feel like it’s all theirs. Decorating with their favourite colours is a great way to make the space inviting. Use low- or no-VOC paints to transform shelves, jars for holding supplies, and walls.

Once your child has created something, there should be a place other than the fridge to display it. Try stringing long strands of twine across the wall or a pegboard. You can use clothespins or paper clips to attach art pieces to the twine, creating a charming display.

Provide Easy Access

Support Sustainable Clean-Up

All the supplies your child needs should be easy for them to access— after all, you don’t want to be fetching things endlessly, do you? Thrift for things like a low-slung desk with drawers, baskets, or muffin tins. There are many items you can repurpose to keep supplies organized and accessible.

If you want your child to clean up after themselves, make it easy. Include a small bin for recyclable materials—after all, much of their art will be made with paper. And include a small spray bottle of all-natural cleaner (a blend of vinegar, water, and essential oil works well) and a rag for more involved clean-up.




CONSIDER PROBIOTICS. With countless studies on gut bacteria (flora), the importance of the microbiome to our overall wellbeing is largely undisputed. NOW® Guide to Children’s Health

Photo by Nicole De Khors from Burst

NOW82936 NOW Kids™ chewable probiotic provides 2 billion CFU and 10 probiotic strains for daily maintenance of a healthy gut to support gastrointestinal and immune system health. Sweetened with xylitol and sorbitol, it won't harm teeth and tastes great. All NOW® probiotics are STRAINED VERIFIED using DNA testing, and each strain has been clinically validated for efficacy in human trials.


CONSIDER OMEGA-3’S. While omega-3 fats (EPA and DHA) are essential at every stage of life, DHA is particularly critical during the first two years of life, including pregnancy, throughout childhood & once a child transitions to solid foods. DHA supports normal growth and development of the brain, eyes and nerves. NOW81166 NOW Kids™ Omega-3 Chewable offers a kidfriendly chewable fish oil derived from BioPureTM, a coldextracted tuna oil for enhanced absorption and natural fruit flavour. In addition, NOW® oils are manufactured under strict quality standards, ensuring the absence of potentially harmful levels of heavy metals; cadmium, lead, arsenic and mercury. CONSIDER VITAMIN D. AKA the “Sunshine Vitamin,” used to be one that parents rarely had to worry about. Since much of our body's vitamin D production is through skin exposure to the sun's UV rays, this is a significant concern given sunblock & less time outdoors. In addition, it is necessary for normal development of teeth and bones. Many experts consider Vitamin D to be the most essential supplement. NOW80370 NOW Kids™ Vitamin D-3 comes in a liquid form, and its neutral flavour can easily blend into any food or beverage. It comes in a base of MCT (coconut-derived) oil for its superior bioavailability. Vitamin D is fat-soluble, so oil is the best delivery.


Getting our little ones to eat healthy foods often requires a Herculean effort. However, ensuring children get the necessary nutrients needed for their growth & development gets a lot easier when incorporating NOW Kids™ supplements into their daily health regimen.

CONSIDER ECHINACEA. Echinacea utilizes an extract of echinacea root teeming with a full spectrum of active compounds, traditionally used in Herbal Medicine to help relieve sore throats and symptoms of upper respiratory tract infections. NOW84849 NOW Kids Liquid Echinacea™ is made with clean ingredients, alcohol-free, in a delicious orange-vanilla flavour sweetened with monk fruit that children will love. Give your kids an immunity boost.

THALIA has over 30 years of experience in the health industry, including an eclectic background in herbal medicine, nutrition, essential oils and working as a wellness coach, fitness instructor and personal trainer. Thalia is also the author of “The Confident Shopper: The Guide to Food Labels and Fables” and “The Expert Patient: Health is Not a Spectator Sport.”




Kefir With thirty different strains of good bacteria, this fermented milk drink has been supporting vibrant health for thousands of years. Made from animal milk and a starter compound of bacteria and yeast, it contains a complex and beneficial microbial brew. Its name is even derived from the Turkish word keyif, which means “feeling good.”


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Improve Respiratory Health

Potentially Fight Cancer

Kefir has a natural antiinflammatory effect on the body. Inflammation, of course, is linked to many health problems, including respiratory ailments like asthma and allergies. Additionally, kefir’s live microorganisms appear to help the immune system suppress allergic reactions and even change the body’s likelihood of experiencing allergies.

Because of its highly probiotic nature, kefir very well might aid the fight against cancer. Studies indicate that drinking it may slow the growth of early-phase tumours. In fact, one study showed that kefir could reduce breast cancer cells by 56% compared to yogurt’s 14%.

Boost Immunity

One of kefir’s most important health benefits is its impact on gut health. Teeming with probiotics, it can support a balanced microbiome with sufficient healthy bacteria for effective digestion. Endless health benefits, from increased energy to improved mental focus, are associated with a functional gut.

The nutrients and probiotics in kefir support enhanced immune health. In particular, two compounds only found in this beverage are illness-fighting powerhouses. First, Lactobacillus Kefir fights harmful bacteria like E. coli. Second, the polysaccharide kefiran is an effective anti-candida agent. Finally, kefir reduces oxidative stress, cholesterol, and blood pressure, all of which positively impact immune health.

Improve Gut Health

Support Bone Strength Packed with calcium, vitamin K, and a host of minerals, kefir is a bone-strengthening brew. Its bioactive compounds even help the body absorb calcium better. Vitamin K also assists in calcium absorption as well as bone density.


These Sweet Pumpkin Spice Chickpeas are the best combo of sweet and crunchy! The taste of roasted chickpeas is so mild so what you’re really getting is a pumpkin spice sugar mix! Such a great high-protein snack or dessert. Ingredients


• • • • • •

1 Preheat your oven to 425F and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

5 Bake in the oven for a total of 30-40 minutes, turning halfway through.

2 Open your can of chickpeas, rinse, drain and dry them on a paper towel.

6 In a separate bowl, add in your pumpkin spice, ground cinnamon and sugar.

3 In a bowl, add in the chickpeas, oil, and vanilla. Mix to coat each chickpea evenly.

7 When the chickpeas are to your desired crunch, take them out of the oven, transfer them into a bowl and toss in the pumpkin spice sugar.

1 Can Chickpeas 2 Tbsp Olive Oil 1 Tsp Vanilla Extract 2 Tbsp Sugar 1 Tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice 1 Tsp Cinnamon

4 Once each chickpea is coated, pour the mixture on the cookie sheet and ensure that the chickpeas are single-layered.

8 Cool, serve and enjoy!

LYNN is a Lifestyle Content Creator that is determined to help you create the coziest and happiest life! What you’ll find on her blog are fun DIY, easy recipes, home decor trends and hacks, everyday life and relationship posts, and holiday fun and gift ideas.  LYNNMUMBINGMEJIA



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 The HAMILTON BEACH HEALTH SMART INDOOR & OUTDOOR GRILL lets you enjoy flavourful grilled foods year-round regardless of the weather. Use outdoors in dry weather or indoors anytime without the smoke or mess. It's great for cooking burgers, steaks, chicken, vegetables, and more with that delicious flavour that you can only get from a grill. The large 12.5-inch non-stick surface cooks up to 8 servings. Perfect for family meals, it will hold up to eight 4 oz. uncooked hamburger patties.


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 The SURE-CRISP AIR FRYER TOASTER OVEN combines Sure-Crisp air frying functionality with the versatility of a classic toaster oven. You get the even crisping and browning of air frying right on your countertop, along with the ability to toast, bake and broil. Using little to no oil, the Sure-Crisp function turns fresh or frozen French fries, chicken wings, steaks, fish, vegetables and more into crispy deliciousness that you and your family will love. It's easy to use — just add food to the mesh basket without overcrowding it, slide it into the oven and place the baking pan underneath.

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Mindful Immune Health for Your Family This Fall ALISON DOWLING

This September, immune health is at the forefront of our minds. As we send our kids back to school, what can we do daily to protect their health in the cold winter months? 20

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Food is our primary opportunity to improve our health. It is the one way we consistently look after ourselves and our family members three times a day. But it can also be one of the most challenging! What we eat directly affects our health, physically and mentally. We know that overconsumption of refined carbohydrates, packaged and processed foods, and sugar in general, while “convenient,” is detrimental to our health. However, with a bit of time, planning and education, nutrition can be more easily attainable and allow you to feel your best. Here are some tips for how to make sustainable adjustments this fall. 1

Healthy meal composition

Chances are you spent more time with your kids in the kitchen over the last year. (Or trying to keep them out of the kitchen?) Nutrition is the number one way we can teach our children how to care for their health. A balanced meal contains plenty of non-starchy vegetables (chopped veggies with hummus or a vegetable stir fry), complex carbohydrates (a slice of whole-grain bread or brown rice) and adequate protein (mixed bean salad, grilled chicken breast or fish).


• When in doubt, keep it simple. Find what they like and prepare lots of it for the week. Then, make it part of the daily routine the night before to take out all the prepared items and compile them in a lunch box. Even better - make it a teachable moment. Our bodies require: • Adequate fruits & vegetables - The life in food puts life in you! These enzyme-rich foods help support healthy digestion and a robust immune system. • Complex carbohydrates - This is direct energy for the body! However, because it is more complex, and contains fibre, digestion (and energy release) occurs more slowly, providing us with a more sustained surge of energy to get through the day. • Sufficient protein - Protein contains the building blocks of the body and is a slow-burning energy source. Therefore, we want to round out our meals with something that extends our energy, supports our muscles, and produces cellular immunity.

2 Up your immune-boosting nutrient intake!

Sometimes targeted foods can help round out a healthy lifestyle. For example, vitamin E and selenium help stimulate antibody production and strengthen our cellular immunity. Zinc and vitamin A are also crucial for cellular immunity. How can we get more of these vital immunesupportive nutrients? Brazil nuts for selenium and avocados for vitamin E, minimally processed whole grains, chickpeas and lentils are all great for zinc, and oily fish and eggs for vitamin A intake! 3

Reduce sugar consumption

Refined sugars deplete nutrient stores and weaken our immune defences. Fluctuating blood sugar levels make us cranky and exhausted. Once in a while, in moderation, indulge in your favourite treat. But try to cut back on these as a frequent thing and opt for fruit instead (which contains fibre to curb a blood sugar spike) or by pairing fruit or something sweet with healthy fat and/or protein (apples and almond butter, for example). When occasionally indulging in refined sugars, make sure you eat your meal first and that the meals surrounding your treats are nutrient-dense! 4

Plenty of time spent outside

When the only access to an adventure we had was riding bicycles or playing games in the backyard, we took more pleasure in the simple things. Don’t let this disappear as it gets colder! Getting outside helps circadian rhythms, improves sleep quality, and movement keeps the body functioning optimally. When everything is moving and working correctly, it revs up our immune defences, lowers stress levels and helps us cope better overall. 5


When we hug our loved ones, our bodies produce a chemical called oxytocin. Oxytocin is associated with empathy, trust, and emotional bonding. Engaging in a sustained hug or a solid couch cuddle lowers our blood pressure and eases our stress hormones. Holding loved ones close reduces anxiety, depression and generally helps us cope better when things are challenging! As unprecedented times continue, take a second to pause and connect with someone near you. It will help us all manage a little bit better.

Food seems straightforward, but it can become complicated. Our fast-paced lives can get in the way. So take these quick tips and keep them in mind as we head into September. When in doubt, simplify as much as possible. Step away from packaged foods with complex labels and opt for whole foods as much as possible. Connect with nature and get creative about getting outdoors all year long. Finally, take care of your nearest and dearest with a warm embrace. We’re all in this together.

ALISON DOWLING, HBA, NNCP, is a Toronto actor and nutritionist. Through movement training and a love of food, she found holistic nutrition. When she’s not writing or working with clients at the Clara Clinic in east Toronto, you’ll find her catching up on auditions!  ALISONDOWLINGNUTRITION.COM



Controlling What We Can Summer is often a time when the rules are a little less rigid; come fall, it’s time we get back to “real” life. SANDY KRUSE


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I have heard rumblings of apprehension and fear once again as we head back to school this fall. Fear of illness. Fear of lockdown. Apprehension. While this is common as of late, it’s not a healthy way of living, so I try to help clients control what they have control over. It all comes down to 3 basic questions:

• What are you eating? • How are you sleeping? • How much exercise are you getting? We can’t control everything, but we most certainly can hold these essentials to balanced living.

First, focus on eating whole, real foods. I set up a shared spreadsheet for my family where we all have access to enter meal ideas day-by-day. Then once a week, the grocery shopper of the house has each meal planned out and knows what to buy for the week. Now is a perfect time to head out to a farmer’s market on the weekend and eat what is in season. Support your local farmers for your produce and animal protein needs. I love to find out how farmers grow their produce and whether they’re using GMO seeds, spray pesticides or fungicides. I also ask questions on how the animals are raised and if regenerative farming methods are used. Posing such questions is such a great practice! The more consumers ask, the more educated we become in our food sources.

Sleep is another important category. I use a sleep tracker, and there are some great ones out there. Look for reliable trackers whereby you can measure patterns of your sleep. It’s not about having one bad night – it’s about watching out for trends and seeing if your body is recovering well as you sleep. What is your HRV (heart rate variability)? What is your heart rate? These are essential measurements that indicate how resilient your body is to stress. It’s not only about getting your 7-8 hours of sleep.

“We can’t control everything, but we most certainly can hold these essentials to balanced living.”

This leads me to my last point. Your recovery “scores” will tell you how ready your body is for exercise and what type of movement might be best for the day. Activity is critical to overall wellness. It is a way in which we do good for the heart, weight, and mental health, and it helps us age better. Walking is excellent, but we need to do more as we reach midlife. We need to include resistance training, consisting of weights or bands, plus stretching and cardio. I do my best to get out in nature when I walk because this is also great for the mind. I try to stay off my phone — no podcasts, no phone calls — and use this time to connect with nature.

SANDY KRUSE of Sandy K Nutrition is a registered holistic nutritionist and podcaster who works primarily with women over 40. Sandy shows them through customized, balanced programs she constructs that you can age gracefully, healthfully, and beautifully.  SANDYKNUTRITION.CA  SANDYKNUTRITION



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The Benefits of Canadian Sea Cucumber in a Modern Supplement


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AKSO Marine Biotech, Inc. is a leading dry sea cucumber processing company — one of the very few with a long history in Canada. On a mission to provide their customers with products made of high-quality Atlantic sea cucumber, they have been committed to quality, safety and sustainability for decades. What's the story behind AKSO Marine Biotech, Inc.? How or why did you start this company? AKSO Marine Biotech Inc.(AKSO), founded in 1983, focuses on the primary production of dried sea cucumber products and supplies bulk products and OEM brands within and outside Canada. In addition, AKSO built the Nova Sea Atlantic® brand for the production of sea cucumber in 2019 and innovated new products using sea cucumbers. AKSO has always made every effort to take advantage of marine resources, devoting time and assets to maintain and develop highly scientific and technological standards in conjunction with the industry and product structure adjustment. This ensures our ability to produce highly nutritional products and high-value health products. Why should people be eating sea cucumber? What is it, and what are the health benefits? Sea Cucumber has been eaten for hundreds of years due to its high nutritional value. Atlantic sea cucumber (Cucumaria frondosa ) is rich in sulfated polysaccharides, proteins, polypeptides, essential fatty acids, minerals, vitamins, as well as other valuable nutrients and bioactive ingredients. It has the health care functions of anti-oxidation and immune regulation. Nova Sea Atlantic® sea cucumber capsules are an immune booster. They provide antioxidants that help fight and protect cells against the oxidative damage caused by free radicals.




“The Atlantic species is 100% guaranteed wild-caught from the pure Atlantic Ocean — the fishing area is without pollution, antibiotics, and artificial hormones. High latitude, cold water and slow growth.” Nova Sea Atlantic® sea cucumber capsules acquire 100% nutrition from Atlantic sea cucumber, with the advantages of being easy to carry along and convenient for intake. After a long and strict review period, AKSO successfully registered pure Atlantic sea cucumber powder to Health Canada and authorized the product license. This product is produced from only high-quality raw materials and designed as an immune booster and source of antioxidants. The capsules convert the sea cucumber to fine-sized powder and revolutionize the human body's absorption efficiency of nutrients better than eating whole sea cucumbers. For people who don't have time or don't know how to cook sea cucumbers, capsules are an excellent choice to maintain health and wellbeing. Our product ensures you get sea cucumber nutrients anytime and anywhere. The target customers include seniors, people with compromised immune systems and consumers looking for a natural treatment for their ailments. In addition, for young women who love beauty, sea cucumber is rich in collagen — about 66%. Why should people be choosing Atlantic sea cucumber over sea cucumber from other bodies of water? The Atlantic species is 100% guaranteed wild-caught from the pure Atlantic Ocean — the fishing area is without pollution, antibiotics, and artificial hormones. High latitude, cold water and slow growth. All sea cucumbers come from the cold depths of the North Atlantic Ocean, close to the North Pole. Compared to farmed sea cucumber, like the East Asian species, the Atlantic species have a higher content of saponin (an anti-fungal and anti-tumour), Omega3&6 and total amino acids. Our products are processed in a Safe Quality Food (SQF) certified facility.


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What's the company's biggest success story to date? There have been a few: • AKSO Marine Biotech, Inc. is proud to have been awarded the Best New Product of 2019 from the Retail Council of Canada's 27th Annual Canadian Grand Prix New Product Awards. • The Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture of Nova Scotia issued AKSO Marine Biotech Inc. the "Minister's Award of Excellence" in April 2021. • AKSO Marine Biotech won the "Wild Blueberry Solutions Challenge" in June 2021, an industry innovation prize for its use of wild Nova Scotia blueberries in its sea cucumber capsules. What are the biggest challenges you've encountered on the way to building your company? The Atlantic sea cucumber capsules have been approved to have potent antioxidant and immuneboosting functions. The product is made in Canada with premium quality. Our biggest challenge is to educate the local American community to understand this species and its health benefits. What's your vision for the future of AKSO Marine Biotech? Atlantic sea cucumber is a small species with great value. Currently, it’s mainly sold in dry form as a food category. AKSO is the first Canadian company that’s contributing research and development using this species. Besides NOVA SEA ATLANTIC Atlantic Sea Cucumber Capsules, AKSO has been developing a series of natural health products using Atlantic Sea cucumber and other premium Canadian ingredients. At the same time, AKSO is conducting research programs with the National Research Council and other reputable Canadian institutes to learn more about the potential of Atlantic sea cucumber as nutraceuticals and cosmeceuticals.  AKSO.CA  NOVASEAATLANTIC




Dinner is Ready Recipe Developer and Food Photographer Abby Lee shares her passion for creating and sharing delicious Asian-inspired recipes.


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You're an expert in “everyday Asian” food. How would you describe “everyday Asian”? I wouldn’t necessarily say that I’m an expert in “everyday Asian” food — as there are so many different types of Asian cuisines that I have yet to try! However, when I think about what constitutes “everyday Asian” food, the dishes balance out sweet, salty, sour and bitter flavours. They are made quickly and easily, can be shared communally with your loved ones, and create unassuming memories. The foods that I usually make and share are almost always tied to my memories of growing up in Toronto, Hong Kong and Shanghai. So that’s how I identify “everyday Asian” in a nutshell! What's your story? How did you become the foodie you are? This I have my parents to thank! My parents taught me to be adventurous and open to trying new and different foods from a very young age. However, being a discerning eater doesn’t translate to being a good home cook. It wasn’t until the recent pandemic and lockdowns that I started learning how to cook — mainly to make my parents feel less homesick as they were grounded in Toronto and couldn’t travel back to their home in Shanghai. However, I was determined to figure out a way to make the foods that my parents loved to eat, predominantly Cantonese and Shanghainese, and I started documenting dishes that I made every day. Before I knew it, I began cooking and documenting my recipes/meals on social media more seriously, and I became the home cook/foodie I am today. What health benefits does an Asian diet offer? Although the term “Asian diet” is super broad and encompasses many different Asian countries and their distinct cuisines, some similar traits are shared in most Asian cooking. Asian heritage diets usually focus on ingredients based on seasonality, balancing the four primary taste sensations (sweet, bitter, salty and sour), and using foods to heal the body and soul. You will see a lot of leafy greens, whole grains, fish/ seafood, soy products, and exciting herbs being




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used in Asian heritage diets and less focus on red meats and processed foods — as they are typically the garnish in a dish. Focusing on foods that have natural healing and health properties, eating based on seasonality and using more vegetables and whole foods, the Asian heritage diet allows us to be more mindful and intentional with our eating habits. What inspires you? Who influences you? What truly inspires me is how the simple concept of food and sharing a meal with a friend or family member can create and evoke so many emotions and memories for people. I love reading and hearing about how a meal can bring bouts of laughter, tears of sorrow, and surface underlying bitterness and pains for different individuals. Knowing that the language of food transcends race and culture inspires me to do what I do every day in the kitchen for my family! As for who influences me, my goodness, where do I begin?! My parents and husband are the main motivating and influencing forces, especially when it comes to all things related to food! I love Betty Liu ( BLIU07) and her cookbook, My Shanghai. She has done a fantastic job showcasing everyday Shanghainese food through her storytelling in her recipes. Lis Lam ( THESUBVERSIVETABLE), who runs The Subversive Table Blog, is another significant influence. Lis boldly embodies her Korean American heritage through her words, recipes, and excellent IG feed and photos! Christina Tosi is my holy grail of all influencers and inspired me to start posting my food photos at the start of the pandemic, and her Milk Bar treats are fabulous! Lastly, my guilty pleasure influencers for all things Costco related (I am obsessed with Costco shopping now!) is Mr. CME ( COSTCOMARKHAMEAST) and Treena ( WE_LOVE_ COSTCO) — be warned that once you start following them, you won’t be able to stop going to Costco! What is your biggest dream? What's your vision for your life as an influencer? My dreams and aspirations continue to evolve and change over time. One thing I have always dreamed about is going back to school for a masters’ degree. I am proud to say that I am starting school in the fall and working toward a Master of Divinity, focusing on clinical counselling and psychotherapy. As I go on this new journey of learning and changing careers, my new dream is to have my own practice or work

“My vision for life as an influencer is to be authentic and bold in sharing my stories through cooking and eating..” for an organization that helps individuals who may have limited access/knowledge on how to better their emotional/mental wellbeing and provide counselling services to seniors and underserved immigrant communities in the GTA. My vision for life as an influencer is to be authentic and bold in sharing my stories through cooking and eating. Sometimes, we get caught up in the latest trends and fads with Instagram, TikTok and other social media platforms. However, I’ve learned to take social media at my own pace and to have fun with it the way I want. I hope to continue to grow in my cooking, writing and photo-taking skills, showcase the foods and stories near and dear to my heart, and open new conversations with people I meet online and in everyday life! What's your favourite sweet recipe and your favourite savoury recipe? Ohh, this is another difficult question because I have so many recipes that I love! My husband and I have been on a keto/low carb diet for a couple of months, and I haven’t been able to get a sweet recipe to replicate Christina Tosi’s Milk Bar Compost Cookie that fits within our new eating habits. So if anyone has a good keto/low carb cookie recipe, please send it my way! As for my favourite savoury recipe, I would say it is a tossup between my Macanese Style Portuguese Chicken and Keto Zongzi, which are sticky rice dumplings that we eat during the Dragon Boat Festival! I love that I’ve been able to adapt Asian recipes and make them into keto/low carb-friendly versions. Lately, I’ve been having a lot of fun experimenting and using different ingredients to mimic sushi rice to make keto/low carb sushi rolls, onigiri and Korean-style rice balls! So stay tuned to my Instagram account as I will be posting these food creations in preparation for back-to-school meal ideas!




Keto Tuna Mayo Onigiri



Tuna Mayo filling • 1 can of tuna, drained and flaked • 1 tsp of soy sauce or tamari • 2-3 Tbsp of Japanese mayonnaise

1 Prepare a steamer and a heat-proof dish and boil water for keto sushi rice.

Keto Sushi “Rice” • 12 oz of frozen riced cauliflower • 2 tsp of psyllium husks • ½ tsp of salt Optional garnishes • Sesame Seeds • Toasted Seaweed • Furikake Kitchen tools used • Steamer • Heat-proof dish • Small mixing bowl • Measuring spoons • Regular spoon • Plastic cling wrap • Onigiri mould (optional)

2 In the heat-proof dish, combine frozen riced cauliflower, psyllium husks and salt. Once the steamer is ready, place the heatproof dish into the steamer and cook riced cauliflower mixture for 15 minutes to make keto sushi rice. 3 While the keto sushi rice is cooking, combine all the tuna mayo ingredients in a separate bowl. Cover and refrigerate until keto sushi rice is ready. 4 Remove keto sushi rice from the steamer after 15 minutes and thoroughly mix to ensure all ingredients are combined, and the texture of riced cauliflower starts to become “sticky.” Let keto sushi rice mixture cool for 5-10 minutes, or until it is cool enough to be handled with your hands. 5 [If you have an onigiri mould] Place a piece of plastic cling wrap into the mould and spoon enough keto sushi rice into approximately half the mould. Make a small indent with a spoon in the middle of the keto sushi rice and place the tuna mayo mixture into the mould. Add more keto sushi rice to cover and fill the rest of the onigiri mould. Use the mould to press and make onigiri and lift the keto tuna mayo onigiri out of the mould with the plastic cling wrap. 5 [If you don’t have an onigiri mould] Place a piece of plastic cling wrap on a flat surface and spoon 3-4 tbsps of keto sushi rice onto the middle of the cling wrap. Make a small indent in the middle and place the tuna mayo mixture in the centre. Bring the ends of the cling wrap together, keeping the tuna mayo filling in the middle of the keto sushi rice. Twist the ends of the cling wrap tightly to form an onigiri ball. Optional: Garnish the keto tuna mayo onigiri with toasted sesame seeds, seaweed or even Japanese furikake seasoning! Onigiri can be eaten immediately or kept chilled in the refrigerator until the next day.


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Healthy Family, Healthy Home DANIELA DEFEO

Get the family on board with positive habits to inspire a healthy home. As we ramp back up to our regular routines of work, school schedules, extra-curricular activities and countless distractions of day-to-day, it’s essential to implement and sustain healthful activities for family members to follow suit. Here are some lifestyle tips for setting sail towards holistic wellness for the entire family.


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“Family wellness nurtures a sense of belonging and stability in the home.”

Family Fit Time Physical activity is essential to keep all members of the household in tip-top shape. Whether it’s an after-dinner walk or run around the park, developing active habits will help curb sedentary behaviours from social media, watching television or playing video games. Exercise benefits the mind and body by building strong muscles and bones, boosting cognitive function, improving flexibility, lowering the risk of disease and maintaining a healthy weight. Keep activities fun and engaging to encourage participation. Explore new forms of family exercise like yoga or create an exercise circuit. Head outdoors to get some Vitamin D while cycling, jogging, hiking or swimming. Or, stay indoors and connect virtually as you partake in an exercise class online or work out in your home gym. The sweat session options are endless; be an active role model and lead the family in fun, fitness activities.

Kiss the Cooks

Make mealtime family time. Get the tribe involved in creating recipes, grocery shopping, even preparing meals everyone can enjoy. It’s an excellent opportunity for lessons in nutrition and healthy eating, plus it makes it enjoyable, thereby encouraging home-cooked meals and time spent together — versus drive-thru specials and eating on the go. Start each morning with wholesome breakfasts, followed by packed lunches and snacks to fuel the body and mind throughout the day. Add variety to meals by introducing new foods to the dinner table. Experiment with ethnic ingredients, new recipes and incorporate theme nights to make mealtime enjoyable; eat family-style so everyone can sample and enjoy these delicious dishes. Include nutrientdense foods such as whole grains, vegetables, fruits, lean protein sources, and limit junk food, refined carbs, over-processed foods, alcohol and sugary drinks — moderation is vital. Ensure water is the household beverage of choice as it replenishes the body by carrying oxygen and nutrients to cells, regulates body temperature and aids with digestion.

Finally, sit down and eat as a family, without distractions, and engage in thoughtful conversations. Establishing mealtime routines and habits will go a long way in sustaining a healthy family lifestyle.

Disconnect To Reconnect

Unplug from the world and recharge as a family. With screen time at maximum levels and day-today commitments requiring ample amounts of attention, it’s easy for familial connections to get lost in the shuffle. Slow it down and balance worklife schedules by allotting dedicated days/times for your inner circle. Plan evenings to sit back and unwind by playing cards or a board game. Plan outings to connect with nature or visit other relatives and friends. These types of activities will increase endorphin levels, positively affecting moods and easing symptoms of anxiety. Moreover, ensuring that laughter is a part of your family’s DNA will promote self-esteem, induce feelings of joy and calmness, thereby boosting the immune system and lowering blood pressure. Finally, end the day with an adequate amount of Zzzz’s. Getting the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep per night has rejuvenating benefits that support cognitive function and decrease cortisol. Make sure the fam checks in early and gets a good night’s sleep to perform optimally on a daily basis. Family wellness nurtures a sense of belonging and stability in the home. Creating a healthy environment of productive and engaging activities like family fitness, home-cooked meals, plus opportunities to reconnect and build traditions, will establish lifelong lifestyle habits that will go on for generations to come.

DANIELA DEFEO is a nationally published author, health/ fitness coach and wellness influencer. Her contributions have been featured in premiere publications, and she works with leading brands to create content that promotes holistic health. She is the founder of DeeVita Wellness, where she provides personalized nutrition and fitness programs. Connect with her at DEEVITAREFLECTIONS and DEEVITAWELLNESS.COM



Connect with our super inspiring Vista Ambassadors this issue for wellness tips, healthy recipes, fitness advice and more.


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 CHANEL OSBORNE developed a passion for

cooking & baking in 2013 when she was diagnosed with celiac disease. She made an Instagram page sharing healthy meals and sweet treats she has either created herself or recreated. She hopes her page will inspire others with gluten and dairy allergies to get creative in the kitchen! FUN FACT English is her second language. She is Polish and speaks the language fluently!  CINNAMONANDSEASALT

 CLAUDIA LARA is a fitness enthusiast living in

Calgary, Alberta. Claudia’s mission is to get people active and to help them find the activity that will help them stay consistent. She believes everybody should have access to fitness, so she posts a weekly workout called “Fitness Monday.” FUN FACT Claudia was born in Sinaloa, Mexico, one of the hottest and most humid places in the country — the complete opposite of Alberta!  CLAUDIALUCIALC


certified yoga instructor who loves all things health & wellness! She enjoys keeping active in her daily life, from yoga flows to outdoor nature walks. Fitness and healthy living are a massive part of her life. Being an ambassador and sharing unique products with others has allowed her to connect with many like-minded individuals.  THEBALANCEDGING




 MARILIA PEREIRA is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist & Culinary Nutrition

Expert, and Reflexologist with her private practice, Fleurish Holistic Nutrition & Lifestyle. She specializes in hormone balance, gut health, mood, mental health, and holistic prenatal services. Marilia aims to empower and educate her clients to achieve their health goals for vibrant long-term health. FUN FACT Upon completing her nutritional studies at IHN, Marilia travelled to Australia for a month and then New Zealand, where she met her husband, who turned out to live just one hour away from her in Ontario, Canada! She lived in New Zealand for about a year managing two natural health food stores, where she started her nutritional practice!  FLEURISHWITHMARILIA  HELLO@FLEURISHWITHMARILIA.COM

Find us @VistaMagCanada and follow #VistaMagCanada and #VistaAmbassador. We have you covered for all things health and wellness.


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 The Very Good Butchers are raising the plant-based bar with its all-new BUTCHER’S SELECT products, which are 100% gluten-free and pack an extra meaty taste.  THEVERYGOODBUTCHERS


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Go Back to School With These Cannabis Essentials KELLY EBBERT

Going back to school can be quite a whirlwind. Stress levels are always on the rise, from teachers grappling with lesson plans to university students trekking back to campus to parents sending their little ones off to school for the first time. 44

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Stress can manifest itself in unique ways, causing tension issues, headaches and anxiety. Mitigate this year’s back-to-school stress with cannabis. The cannabis and hemp plants are constantly undergoing studies to learn more about their potentially beneficial effects on the human body. Often, these plants are theorized to uplift and support individuals to aid with issues such as stress and pain relief and set folks on the right foot. What’s more is that today’s cannabis products are often packed with other vital nutrients and vitamins to aid the body holistically, reaching target areas in need of support. If you’ve been searching for a cannabis product to help you gracefully transition back into the realm of academia, check out our list of cannabis products you should be trying as you head into the new year.

Support Your Immune Health It’s essential to have a strong immune system to boost your health and help fight off any antigens looking to wreak havoc. CBD-infused gummies to the rescue! CBD gummies with immune support, like added antioxidants and critical vitamins, can help get your school year off to a great start. For example, Green Roads offers Rise’ N Shine Immune Support Gummies that include vitamin B12 and vitamin C — vitamins great for immune health. These gummies are also infused with elderberry and full-spectrum CBD, giving educators, parents and university students a chance to sit back and relax after a long day of studies.

Zen Out With A Vaporizer Vaping has become a popular alternative to smoking, as it can mimic the calming effects necessary to winding down after a busy day. Furthermore, vaporizing cannabis is more accessible than before as multiple products come in compact, portable options. With a vaporizer like the Atomic9, users can simply pack cannabis flowers to go with an easy-to-use interface and patent-pending technology that transforms the flower vaporization process. Those who prefer to decompress over concentrates rather than flowers can use products such as the Little Dipper by Dip Devices to soothe the mind after a full-fledged schedule of extracurricular activities.

...Or Indulge the Traditional Way People have been smoking cannabis for generations, and traditional smoking remains an enduring source of relaxation. However, school can cause immense stress no matter how you engage — try finding relief with a puff of cannabis. Now, you can channel the wisdom of an owl with the Wise Owl Pipe by Fat Buddha Glass. The owl signifies an opportunity to heighten our senses and connect with our intuitive knowledge, serving as great reminders during the school year. Combine this with the sweet aroma of cannabis to maintain that much-needed balance thrown off by the intense nature of the classroom.

Invoke Senses of Calm Keep yourself relaxed by invoking cozy senses of calm as you kick off the school year. Research has long suggested that stress can lead to symptoms that throw off the body’s equilibrium, straining the body and mind. So add a terpene-rich tincture into your backto-school routine to call upon relaxation and take a moment to breathe. CBD oil tinctures like Zenbarn Farms’ Calm CBD are rich with terpenes like limonene and pinene, activating the senses and providing needed relief, especially for those who live a typically busy lifestyle. When choosing the right CBD tincture to meet your calming needs, be sure to choose one created with a great carrier oil, like coconut oil, to maximize effectiveness. If you are not a fan of cannabis flavoured oils, opt for an isolate that removes all plant materials. It’s time to head back to school, and cannabis is here to help. Remember, cannabis acts as a supplement, and it is not meant to be used as a cure-all. Keep your body and mind in check and integrate other forms of holistic medicine to reduce stress this fall. Use cannabis and practise yoga, take walks, light a candle, draw a bath, or simply breathe when you don’t have time for it all. Happy schooling!

KELLY EBBERT spends her time writing and researching



Green Roads' Rise’ N Shine Immune Support Gummies


Cloudius9's Atomic9 Vaporizer


Dip Devices' Little Dipper Vaporizer


Fat Buddha Glass' Wise Owl Pipe


Zenbarn Farm's Calm CBD tincture




to make the world a little brighter. She seeks to help people feel comfortable in their own skin. You can find her meditating or enjoying the simple beauties life brings.





Alyssa Jonasson & Taylor Currie

Alyssa and Taylor are sisters showing the world that living gluten-free doesn't have to feel so daunting. So whether you've been recently diagnosed, are looking for information to support a Celiac family member, or you're looking for tried and true yummy recipes, they're here to help. Celiac disease is a tough condition to live with — how has it impacted your lives? We would agree that the largest impact on our lives has been in social situations. So many people bond over food — at family gatherings, with friends, while eating out. It can feel very isolating when you can't participate in those situations in the same way after your diagnosis. Also, we now must take more precautions before eating out. This usually involves more research before visiting the restaurant to ensure that there are options for us to eat and confirm that the staff is knowledgeable about gluten cross-contamination. Finally, grocery shopping takes much more time to check labels before buying new products or searching for familiar products. What's it like to share a common struggle and also a common purpose? I (Taylor) was diagnosed eight years ago, and Alyssa was diagnosed about a year and a half ago. Alyssa's diagnosis has allowed us to bond over our shared struggles and inspired us to create our social media pages. It also has given us more confidence in social


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situations. For example, it feels much less awkward to request different food options when two of you require it! Additionally, we're more likely to try new restaurants and new products when we're out together. In short, teamwork makes the dream work! On an average day, what do you two spend your time doing? What's a highlight and a low light? Taylor: I am currently on maternity leave, so my day usually begins with preparing breakfast for myself and my 7-month-old son, followed by a long walk with our dog. While my son naps, I'll enjoy a coffee, work on social media content and tidy up our house. A highlight of our day is usually an outing to a park, a visit with a friend or trying out a new recipe with Alyssa. Finally, I'll finish the day by making a delicious dinner, putting my son down for bed and relaxing by watching my favourite reality TV show. Alyssa: My life doesn't follow a strict routine! I work two-part time jobs –both within marketing and communications, so I balance my time between working from home, creating our social media content and my personal life. The highlight of my day is spending time with family and friends or trying new recipes or new food. To relax after my workday, I like to listen to crime podcasts, do a home workout and watch Horror movies. What's the best advice you could give to someone learning how to live gluten-free? Our best piece of advice for someone learning how to live gluten-free would be to join the community on social media! Check to see if there is a gluten-free or Celiac Facebook group in your

area. Start following gluten-free accounts on Instagram, TikTok and Pinterest! We've learned that so many people in the gluten-free community are willing to help newcomers, and they are the best source of knowledge. Second, know the main ingredients you'll need to stay away from (e.g. Wheat, Barley, Rye) to help you learn to read labels. And finally, ask lots of questions! It is essential to learn to advocate for yourself so that you don't get sick. Ask lots of questions before eating out, when eating at a friend's or family member's house or before any event that you know will involve food. What is your vision for the future? What do you hope you can accomplish? We hope to continue to grow our platform so that we can help our fellow Celiac and gluten-free friends! In addition, we want to highlight companies and local restaurants that accommodate those of us who eat gluten-free. Finally, we aspire to continue creating delicious gluten-free recipes for our followers and showcase that gluten-free food can still taste great!  CELIACSISTERSCA.WORDPRESS.COM  CELIACSISTERSBLOG