Link Love: The Best in Natural News This Week

Homemade peanut butter cups by Carey Nershi from Reclaiming Provincial for Food52.

Homemade peanut butter cups by Carey Nershi from Reclaiming Provincial for Food52.

Oh hey there! Ready for the best of natural goodness on the internet this week? Yep. Us too:

Looking for alternatives to the sticky-sweet, additive-ridden, cheap Easter candy out on the market? Check out these homemade Easter candy recipes (including DIY cadbury creme eggs!). 

Exercise can keep your skin looking young. Yet another reason to break out your running shoes.

If you're like us, you don't want to wait 70 days for your tomato plants to produce ripe fruit. Here's a great guide for the impatient gardener on how get a harvest FAST.

Here's more evidence that plants are smart.

Vermont is the first state to pass a mandate requiring labeling of genetically modified foods!

Are you as psyched about Spring's first asparagus as we are?! ARE YOU?! Here's a recipe to celebrate with: Orchiette with Asparagus and Kale Walnut Pesto. That's a whole lot of cheesy, green pasta goodness. 

Still feeling in a soup kind of mood but want to do slow claps for the first mini harvests of the season? Check out this Spring Garlic and Radish Top Soup

Afro-Vegan by Bryant Terry came out this week! His recipes are killer 100% of the time. Here's a sampling of recipes from the book.  

What's for dinner? Grilled Green Onions with Walnut Romesco, THAT's what. (psst, it's vegan and wheat free.)

Here are 19 ideas for a healthier easter basket for kids.

Here's a great infographic on plant-based sources of iron (did you know that dates have iron?).

A hand crafted ceramic mug from Ganesh out at Yogaville. 

A hand crafted ceramic mug from Ganesh out at Yogaville. 

Hand crafted pottery by Ganesh. Mugs, salad bowls, jars with natural cork lids, serving platters, lidded baking dishes, incense holders, traditional Japanese rice jars, and more.

Hand crafted pottery by Ganesh. Mugs, salad bowls, jars with natural cork lids, serving platters, lidded baking dishes, incense holders, traditional Japanese rice jars, and more.

And here's what's new with Integral Yoga Natural foods this week! 

Ganesh Pottery is back! After a long break from his pottery wheel, Ganesh has returned with new, original pieces just for us. Ganesh is a master potter who throws each unique piece in his private studio out in Buckingham, VA. We've missed having his beautiful pieces on our shelves. At affordable prices, Ganesh's sweet mugs, serving platters, baking dishes, jars, and more are always gone in a flash! Ranging from $12 to $30 a piece. 

We've started carrying the new Timber Press Guide to Vegetable Gardening in the Southeast by Ira Wallace. Both beautiful and useful, with lots of great infographics, charts, and visual explanations, it's perfect for both the beginner and the experienced gardener.

Coconut milk yogurt is here! We've been trying to get our hands on all of the new varieties of vegan yogurt out there, and finally we can stock it out. We're especially excited about the 6 oz raspberry, blueberry, and strawberry coconut milk yogurts we can stick in our kids' school lunches! Almond milk yogurt is back in stock as well.

Calaffia Farms almond milk iced mochas have arrived. And they're vegan. And they rock!

We're digging on some Nacho Cheesy Beanito Chips by the bagful. Serious nacho flavor, seriously no dairy. Seriously in love! 

And, to top it all off, we have lots of sprouts from Forrest Green Farms basking in the sun outside of the store. Everything from culinary to herbal to vegetable. 

Happy Spring, ya'll! 

 

Posted on April 17, 2014 .

Link Love: The best in natural news this week

 Image Credit Stephen Morton for The New York Times

 Image Credit Stephen Morton for The New York Times

Le printemps et arrivé! or: SPRING HAS ARRIVED! We're doing celebratory happy dances over here at Integral Yoga Natural Foods. Trees are blossoming and we feel pretty good about it. Local asparagus is going to be here soon. We're starting to see the first of those tasty stalks shooting up out of the ground and it's all we can do to contain ourselves. We're chomping at the bit. And by chomping at the bit, we mean chewing kale stalks because Winter thinks it's really funny to only grow kale and beets 'round these parts. 

Here are some of our favorite bits and pieces of the internet so far this week, in the natural food and health world:

Moss is awesome. And this lady is excited about each and every variety (there are over 12,000).

You can't have vidalia onions until you eat your dinner first!!! Well, actually you can't have them until April 21. Legally.

Five dinner ideas. One pot of quinoa.  

Look at these adorably tiny strawberry and cream scones! Bonus: the recipe whips up in 30 minutes. 

A vegan chocolate mousse pie recipe. With a pretzel crust. We know, we had you at chocolate.

Avocado toast with green harrissa. Because it's Spring and green is just so dang beautiful (and healthy, and delicious!).

Aspartame (the chemical sweetener in diet soft drinks, jello, gum, etc.) can lead to serious health problems in small children, including brain damage. 

This family of four spent a whole year Sugar Free -- that is, eating zero foods with any sort of added sugar, including high fructose corn syrup, honey, maple syrup, the works. 

More schools are incorporating yoga and mindfulness into their curriculum. And it's helping kids cope with and overcome mental health challenges (read: bullying, ADD, daily stress management).  

Could cassava root end world hunger

Hope you're enjoying this blustery, petal-frought Spring weather! 

Posted on April 8, 2014 .

Natural Stocking Stuffer Gift Guide for Chocolate Lovers

Is it just us or has the pre-Christmas holiday season seemed a bit too short? As if there is particularly little time to get everything done? So much to do and yet so few hours in the day? 

We know it's hard to stay on top of that holiday shopping list. Which is why we're starting a little Winter stocking stuffer and gift guide series. Of course our first one is all about... CHOCOLATE! (The best part of breaking open any stocking.)

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1. Endangered Species Natural Chocolate Bars $2.39 (Reg. $3.49),
2. Dandies Vegan Marshmallows, 2 for $7.00 (Reg. $5.29 each),
3. Equal Exchange Fair Trade Organic Hot Cocoa Mix 12 oz $9.29,
4. Equal Exchange Dark Chocolate Minis $.25 each,
5. Two Moms in the Raw Almond Butter Cacao Truffles $5.19,
6. Taza Chocolate Mexicano Discs $3.99,
7. Justin's Organic Milk and Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups $1.99,
8. Larabars $1.29 (Reg. $1.89),
9. Kind Bars $2.19

Happy Holidays!

xo -- The IY team.

Posted on December 17, 2013 .

Back to School Brain Health: Reduce Stress, Improve Memory, Get Focused

It's back to school time! Now, more than ever, it's important to get our (and our kids') minds focused and prepared for a great year of education -- both social and intellectual. We want our brains tuned in and turned on. But doesn't that sometimes feel almost impossible? It's an almost constant battle with brain fog, fatigue, anxiety, stress, ADD, ADHD, insomnia, mood swings, and the like. Now we may not all deal with all of those issues. But most of us deal with at least one . Xena White, our Certified Herbalist on staff, is our guest blogger today. As you'll see, she's super knowledgable and has a solution for every brain health issue under the sun! Be prepared to want all of the herbs . Who knew coffee wasn't the only solution?

-- Renee

 

 

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Back to School & Brain Health

Alas, another Summer nearly gone.... It's once again time to get focused and back to ze daily grind. The increased demands of new classes and heavier work loads can be challenging, but fear not! Integral Yoga is here to help you maximize your mental potential and enhance your calm. Our health and beauty care department has a wide variety of supplements to get you through the academic storm.

 

First, some interesting factoids: 

  • The brain is the most fragile organ in the whole human organism.
  • Although the adult brain only weighs about 3 pounds, it uses 25% of the body's oxygen and 70% of all glucose.  

Basics for Optimal Brain Health

SLEEP! Most of us, with our busy busy lives do not get enough sleep. One cannot expect to be alert, focused, and clear-headed without it. For those who have difficulty sleeping there are a number of supplements that can help! Try melatonin, 5-HTP, gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), valerian root, or skullcap (herb). Our staff picks for aiding sleep troubles are Herb's Etc.'s Deep Sleep -- an herbal blend --, and Source Naturals NightRest -- a blend of GABA, taurine, melatonin, and other herbs.

Get enough Essential Fatty Acids. EFA's are fatty acids that cannot be made by the body but are crucial for health. EFA's -- particularly DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) -- ad in the transmission of nerve impulses and are needed for normal development and functioning of neurological processes. Deficiencies of EFA's can lead to an impaired ability to learn and recall information. Deficiencies of Omega-3 EFA's have also been linked to ADD, ADHD, depression, and dementia as well as a variety of health issues including cardiovascular disease and cancers. For vegetarians and vegans, getting DHA and enough EPA is challenging -- the main source for these EFA's is fish. However, there are ample amounts in algal oil extractives. Our staff pick for vegetarian DHA & EPA is Amerifit's Ovega-3.

Mineral Magic: get enough high quality magnesium. Magnesium improves memory formation, aids normal though processes, improves synaptic plasticity, helps prevent depression, increases cognition, helps reduce anxiety, and is helpful with relieving stubborn sleeplessness and insomnia. The better forms for brain health are magnesium glycinate and magnesium malate. Our staff pick is Kal's Magnesium Glycinate.

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Supplements for Attention & Focus

 

Gotu Kola -- probably one of the best known herbs for brain health, it is frequently used to revitalize the brain and nervous system, as well as increase the attention span and ability to concentrate.

Vinpocetine -- an extract from the periwinkle plant. A vasodilator, it increases oxygen flow to the outer cortex of the brain and improves cerebral metabolism. As such, it improves mental acuity, awareness, cognitive function, and memory retention.  

PQQ (pyrroloquinoline quinine) -- not so well known, it activates cell signaling pathways involved in cellular metabolism, development, functioning. It protects mitochondria from oxidative stress and promotes mitochondrial biogenesis in aging cells. It protects memory and cognition and decrease excitotoxicity

Supplements for Memory Retention & Recall

 

Ashwagandha -- a traditional Ayurvedic herb, it has rejuvinating properties. Ashwagandha improves learning, memory, and reaction time. It also combats the effects of stress, reduces anxiety and depression, as well as reduces brain cell degeneration. 

Bacopa -- improves memory retention and recall, reduces anxiety and helps with faster information processing. 

DMAE (dimethylaminoethanol) -- improves alterness and focus. DMAE is beneficial for memory and mental acuity. May also enhance mood and vision. 

Gingko -- another really well known herb for the brain; it improves circulation to the brain, increases N-Acetyl Choline, is a cerebral antioxidant, and helps build energy. It enhances cognitive functions, concentration, and memory. Gingko also has some efficacy in treating dementia. Our staff pick is Planetary Herbals Bacopa-Gingko. 

Huperzine A -- derived from Chinese club moss, it improves cognitive function, improves memory, and enhances learning. It has some efficacy in treating dementia and age-related memory impairment. 

Phosphatidyl Serine -- a phospholipid, it improves memory and recall. It aids in learning, information retention, and enhances cognitive function. Deficiencies are linked to depression, dementia, and ADD.

Supplements for Stress Management

Work, relationships, school; Burning the candle at both ends and then some; Keeping up with all of the demands we put upon ourselves: Life can be taxing and take its toll on our bodies and minds. 

Stress is a major factor not only when it comes to our ability to learn and process information, but also with regards to our perceptions of our selves and our overall health. As such, it's important to nourish and protect ourselves from its ravages. 

Milky Oat Seed -- restorative nervous system tonic for all types of nervous debility; great for nervous exhaustion, irritability, and combating the effects of stress.  

Eleuthrococcus (aka Siberian Ginseng) -- adaptogen that enhances one's ability to cope with increases levels of stress and strain. Increases vitality particularly in cases where adrenal or thyroid glad function is being compromised by overactivity and lack of opportunity to rest and relax. Staff pick for support is MegaFood's Un-Stress. 

Rhodiola -- combats the effects of stress and oxygen deprivation such as brain fog and fatigue. Enhances capacity for mental work, improves thyroid function, expands endurance, and helps with poor memory and lack of concentration. Staff picks are New Chapter's Stress Take Care and Planetary Herbals Rhodiola.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Supplements for Anxiety 

Taking on new responsibilities, new topics of learning, new people and situations and of course TESTS can all cause some anxiety. Fortunately, there's supplemental support available.  

Aromatherapy 

The power of scent can have a profound effect on one's mental state The concentrated potency of essential oils are especially useful not only for their individual properties but also to help one slow down and breathe deep. Mix into a temple rub, body spritz, or smelling salt blend (essential oils should be used topically only; some should be diluted).

Essential Oils for Anxiety: clary sage, yang ylang, lavender.

Essential Oils for Stress Relief: black spruce, bergamot, geranium. 

Essential Oils for Concentration: basil, rosemary, peppermint, cedar.  

California Poppy -- used for aromatherapy -- is a cheery, bright, sunny herb, efficacious for relieving anxiety, irritability, mental over-activity, and restlessness. It also helps relieve insomnia.

Flower Essences

Flower essences are vibrational imprints of flowers that have been stabilized in water. They are thought to work on an energetic level and take effect through treating subtle emotional and spiritual conditions specific to each individual. As such there are many different essences for the same condition, but they will work differently for different situations and persons. The following are generally recommendations, but it is highly recommended that you consult a flower essences guide to find the one that's right for you. For anxiety: cerato, golden yarrow, trumpet vine. For concentration + focus: clematis, indian pink, cosmos.  

GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) helps transmit nerve sinals. It helps make inhibitory neruotransmitters and as such relieves anxiety. It has some efficacy in treating ADHD. Our staff pick is Source Naturals GABA Calm sub-lingual.

Passionflower Herb -- soothes and relaxes the nervous system; useful for agitation, unrest, nervous exhaustion, and anxiety. Taken sublingually, it can help with anxiety attacks. It's is also helpful with sleeplessness.  

Rescue Remedy by Bach -- perhaps the most widely know of flower essence remedies, it is a blend of five Bach flower remedies especially beneficial for emotional emergencies and traumas. It comes in a number of variety to suit just about everyone. Efficacious in easing test anxiety. 

Other Considerations

  • Take a little "me" time every week -- even if it's just for a few hours. Simply put work aside, or go all out and pamper yourself. Just make sure this time is truly all about you. Be unavailable for anything or anyone so that you can really check in with yourself.
  • Meditation, deep breathing, and relaxed visualization are all great tools to help your mind unwind. Relax and separate yourself from your daily stresses before you lie down to sleep.
  • Stretching and yoga -- especially sun salutations -- are great ways to fully wake up and be present in one's own skin.
  • Avoid caffeine and other stimulants when under a lot of strain, particularly in the afternoon and evening. Such substances can tweak one's perspective and adversely effect one's mood and ability to sleep. 

We here at Integral Yoga Natural Foods wish you the best of health and hope that you have found this article helpful!  

Best, 

Xena White, Certified Herbalist

 

Posted on August 27, 2013 .