The ABCs of EFAs

We all know getting our omega-3 each day is important—but what makes it essential and what role does omega-6 also play? Essential fatty acids (EFAs) are healthy fats that our bodies cannot make, so must get it from our food. Every cell, tissue, gland and organ is dependent upon them.

Omega-3 is known as alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) and omega-6 as linoleic acid (LA). These are the “parent” fatty acids. Their “children”—the long chain fatty acids made by metabolizing ALA and LA in the body – include EPA (Eicosapentaenoic acid), DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid) and GLA (Gamma Linolenic Acid).

Essential fatty acids:

  • Play important roles in brain, immune, skin, and cardiovascular health

  • Are pre-cursors to making signaling molecules like eicosanoids and endocannabinoids, which play important roles in mood, balancing inflammation, and cellular functioning
  • Are needed for proper cell membrane function (membrane fluidity)
  • Bind to receptors in cells and regulate genetic functioning
  • Support healthy functioning of blood vessels and the heart
  • Can also be used for energy by the body

Since our bodies do not make these omegas, the only way to get them is through our diet, and it is also important to get them in the right ratios. Omega-6 is fairly common in our diet but omega-3 is harder to find and omega-6 often comes from fried, baked and processed foods.

One oil blend that is getting a lot of recognition is Udo’s Oil™. It is a balanced blend of omega-3, 6, and 9, healthy fats with twice as much omega-3 as omega-6. Carefully cold-pressed in small batches, Udo’s Oil™ is made by Flora Manufacturing and Distributing, a local company in Burnaby B.C. The oil blend is made from carefully sourced organic ingredients, such as flaxseed (all of the flax seeds are from certified organic Canadian grown flax), sunflower seed, sesame seed, coconut oil and evening primrose seed oil. The oil is not only organic but also non-GMO, vegan and raw—that’s right, raw! Meaning the oil does not get pressed over a temperature of 55° C.  It’s bottled in amber glass bottles to protect it from light and nitrogen flushed to remove all oxygen (light and oxygen, along with heat, can damage omega-3 fatty acids in particular).

Udo’s Oil™ is a simplified approach to getting all of your healthy omegas in one bottle. You no longer have to take your omegas 3, 6 and 9 separately as it is now available in a balanced ratio in one convenient bottle. Because Udo’s Oil™ has such delicate ingredients, i.e. flax, it requires refrigeration to protect the health properties of the ingredients and can be found in the refrigerated section of most health food stores and select grocery. Simply blend Udo’s Oil™ into your salads, protein shakes, hummus, pasta, veggies—and you’re not only enjoying a buttery delight—you’re also taking care of some essential business.


Udo’s Oil™ is also available on the shelf in vegan soft gel capsule form (NPN 80016142). They are an excellent source of plant based omega-3 and omega-6 to support your overall health.


Kale Slaw with Fresh Turmeric


  • 1 bunch Tuscan kale (about 15 stalks), washed and dried
  • 4 oz enoki mushrooms, root ends cut off and stalks separated
  • 2 stalks celery, halved lengthwise and cut diagonally into strips
  • 2 carrots, grated
  • 1 red pepper, cut into thin strips
  • ½ red onion, cut into slivers
  • ½ cup basil leaves, packed
  • ¼ cup unseasoned brown
  • Rice vinegar
  • ¼ cup Udo’s Oil™
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 tsp sriracha sauce
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 4 turmeric roots, peeled


Grasping the leaf portion of the kale, pull away and discard the stems. Stack the leaves and slice crosswise into very thin strips. Place in a large bowl along with the mushrooms, celery, carrot, red pepper and onion. Place the basil, vinegar, Udo’s Oil™, garlic, sriracha and salt in a blender and process until smooth. Pour over the vegetables in the bowl and mix thoroughly. Divide among 4 plates. Grate 1 turmeric root over each salad and serve at once.


Did you know you can recycle your coffee bags?

As an Ethical Bean Coffee customer, partner, or friend, we wanted to share some exciting news about a pilot project that Recycle BC launched earlier this month.


You can now drop off your empty coffee bags and “other flexible plastic packaging” at over 100 participating depot locations around BC.


This includes any of your Ethical Bean Coffee bags such as 5lb bags, portion packs, and regular retail packaging.


“Other flexible plastic packaging” also includes items such as:

  • Stand up pouches
  • Chip bags
  • Pasta bags
  • Cereal box bags
  • Produce net bags
  • Frozen food zipper-lock bags


More locations are expected to be added in September 2018, with a mandatory rollout to all Recycle BC depots as of next year.


This type of packaging is the fastest growing on the market as it’s lightweight and easy to ship, has lower emissions when looking at the full carbon life-cycle, and helps keep food fresh for longer periods of time.


Recycle BC has teamed up with Merlin Plastics to perform a research and development project on the new materials collected to help recycle more of this material and turn anything that can’t be recycled into energy pellets, displacing the need for other more carbon intensive fuels.


Please feel free to share this announcement with any key partners or other customers.


If you have any Ethical Bean Coffee packaging related questions, feel free to respond to this email. For any broader program or recycling questions, you can reach out to Recycle BC on their website here.


Kind regards,


Alex Hawley | Office Manager, Customer Relations

Ethical Bean Coffee

What is Pain?


In medicine pain relates to a sensation that hurts. If you feel pain it hurts, you feel discomfort, distress and perhaps agony, depending on the severity of it. Pain can be steady and constant, in which case it may be an ache. It might be a throbbing pain – a pulsating pain. The pain could have a pinching sensation, or a stabbing one.

The English word ‘pain’ probably comes from Old French (peine), Latin (poena – meaning punishment pain), or Ancient Greek (poine – a word more related to penalty), or a combination of all three.

Only the person who is experiencing the pain can describe it properly. Pain is a very individual experience.

The NIH (National Institutes of Health) National Pain Consortium estimates that the public health burden of pain affects one third of America’s population at a cost of between $560 billion and $635 billion each year.

What Is Pain? What Causes Pain?

In medicine pain relates to a sensation that hurts. If you feel pain it hurts, you feel discomfort, distress and perhaps agony, depending on the severity of it. Pain can be steady and constant, in which case it may be an ache. It might be a throbbing pain – a pulsating pain. The pain could have a pinching sensation, or a stabbing one.

The English word ‘pain’ probably comes from Old French (peine), Latin (poena – meaning punishment pain), or Ancient Greek (poine – a word more related to penalty), or a combination of all three.

Only the person who is experiencing the pain can describe it properly. Pain is a very individual experience.

The NIH (National Institutes of Health) National Pain Consortium estimates that the public health burden of pain affects one third of America’s population at a cost of between $560 billion and $635 billion each year.

The British Pain Society quoted England’s Chief Medical Officer, who said that annually more than five million people in the UK develop chronic pain. Unfortunately, one third of them do not recover. 11% of adults and 8% of children in the UK suffer severe pain.

According to Medilexicon’s medical dictionary, Pain is:

  1. A variably unpleasant sensation associated with actual or potential tissue damage and mediated by specific nerve fibers to the brain where its conscious appreciation may be modified by various factors.
  2. Term used to denote a painful uterine contraction occurring in childbirth.

Types of pain

Acute pain – this can be intense and short-lived, in which case we call it acute pain. Acute pain may be an indication of an injury. When the injury heals the pain usually goes away.

Chronic pain – this sensation lasts much longer than acute pain. Chronic pain can be mild or intense (severe).

How do we classify pain?

Pain can be nociceptive, non-nociveptive, somatic, visceral, neuropathic, or sympathetic:

Nociceptive Pain

– Somatic

– Visceral


– Neuropathic

– Sympathetic

Nociceptive Pain – specific pain receptors are stimulated. These receptors sense temperature (hot/cold), vibration, stretch, and chemicals released from damaged cells.

Somatic Pain – a type of nociceptive pain. Pain felt on the skin, muscle, joints, bones and ligaments is called somatic pain. The term musculo-skeletal pain means somatic pain. The pain receptors are sensitive to temperature (hot/cold), vibration, and stretch (in the muscles). They are also sensitive to inflammation, as would happen if you cut yourself, sprain something that causes tissue damage.

Pain as a result of lack of oxygen, as in ischemic muscle cramps, are a type of nociceptive pain. Somatic pain is generally sharp and well localized – if you touch it or move the affected area the pain will worsen.

Visceral Pain – a type of nociceptive pain. It is felt in the internal organs and main body cavities. The cavities are divided into the thorax (lungs and heart), abdomen (bowels, spleen, liver and kidneys), and the pelvis (ovaries, bladder, and the womb). The pain receptors – nociceptors – sense inflammation, stretch and ischemia (oxygen starvation).

Visceral pain is more difficult to localize than somatic pain. The sensation is more likely to be a vague deep ache. Colicky and cramping sensations are generally types of visceral pain. Visceral pain commonly refers to some type of back pain – pelvic pain generally refers to the lower back, abdominal pain to the mid-back, and thoracic pain to the upper back (see below for the meaning of referred pain).

Nerve Pain or Neuropathic Pain

Nerve pain is also known as neuropathic pain. It is a type of non-nociceptive pain. It comes from within the nervous system itself. People often refer to it as pinched nerve, or trapped nerve. The pain can originate from the nerves between the tissues and the spinal cord (peripheral nervous system) and the nerves between the spinal cord and the brain (central nervous system, or CNS).

Neuropathic pain can be caused by nerve degeneration, as might be the case in a stroke, multiple-sclerosis, or oxygen starvation. It could be due to a trapped nerve, meaning there is pressure on the nerve. A torn or slipped disc will cause nerve inflammation, which will trigger neuropathic pain. Nerve infection, such as shingles, can also cause neuropathic pain.

Pain that comes from the nervous system is called non-nociceptive because there are no specific pain receptors. Nociceptive in this text means responding to pain. When a nerve is injured it becomes unstable and its signaling system becomes muddled and haphazard. The brain interprets these abnormal signals as pain. This randomness can also cause other sensations, such as numbness, pins and needles, tingling, and hypersensitivity to temperature, vibration and touch. The pain can sometimes be unpredictable because of this.

Sympathetic Pain

The sympathetic nervous system controls our blood flow to our skin and muscles, perspiration (sweating) by the skin, and how quickly the peripheral nervous system works.

Sympathetic pain occurs generally after a fracture or a soft tissue injury of the limbs. This pain is non-nociceptive – there are no specific pain receptors. As with neuropathic pain, the nerve is injured, becomes unstable and fires off random, chaotic, abnormal signals to the brain, which interprets them as pain.

Generally with this kind of pain the skin and the area around the injury become extremely sensitive. The pain often becomes so intense that the sufferer daren’t use the affected arm or leg. Lack of limb use after a time can cause other problems, such as muscle wasting, osteoporosis, and stiffness in the joints.

What is Inflammation?


Many diseases, including osteoarthritis (“arthritis”), have their origins in the inflammatory process.  But what is inflammation, and what exactly causes it?

The process of inflammation is an important one that helps keep us protected from trauma and pathogens (bacteria) that might seriously harm us.

Problems begin to occur when inflammation is not a temporary response to imminent danger, but an ongoing condition precipitated by some form of toxicity. These toxicities can come from lifestyle factors such as a poor diet, lack of exercise, smoking, or mismanaged stress, or they can be the result of something less manageable such as repetitive stress injury or cartilage breakdown (arthritis).

Let’s take a look at how and why inflammation takes place.

We’ll assume that you have cut your finger while cleaning a dirty countertop. This sets in motion a series of events called the inflammatory response. First, the blood flow to the injured area increases, bringing with it components of the immune system that fight invading bacteria. Due to this increased blood flow, and the release of histamines from the immune system’s mast cells and basophils, the tissues become warm and red and begin to swell. The swelling presses against nerve endings, causing the pain we associate with inflammation.

Once the invading pathogens have been eradicated, the immune response discontinues and all returns to normal.

When the inflammatory response is ongoing, as with arthritis and various other degenerative conditions, the status quo is never resumed. As part of the inflammatory cascade, free radicals are generated. These damage nearby tissues and, when inflammation is short-lived, the tissues have time to repair themselves. However, when inflammation is ongoing, the tissues are subjected to a continual onslaught of oxidative damage. Over time, this can cause further degeneration of the tissues and give rise to the diseases we associate with aging.


Purica Synergy

Our bodies respond well to new stimuli.  That’s why, when it comes to fitness and exercise, it is imperative to increase the workload (stimulus) in order to see improvements.  General fitness is best achieved by combining two or more modalities and a combination of strength and aerobic work.  Even a properly-structured program for a single sport focus — such as training for a 10k road race — will incorporate various types of workouts including recovery, interval and long runs.

Whatever the fitness goal, it is best to approach it by providing a variety of stimuli.  This is also true when it comes to dietary supplements.  As a professional level triathlete, I perform swim, bike and run training, plus I include core strength work.  When it comes to food, I choose a well-balanced diet that favours vegetables and other whole foods. I am also sure to include good variety in all three macro-nutrient categories.  Furthermore, I top off my diet with a targeted supplement regime that has the PURICA Sport Synergy Line as the foundation.

Soft tissue and cartilage healing

PURICA Recovery® was one of the products that perked my interest in PURICA many years ago.  After much research and hearing countless anecdotal success stories, I was certain Recovery® would help me as a high level endurance athlete.  Its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects combined with its ability to encourage soft tissue and cartilage healing and rebuilding make it a primary supplement for me.

Improving my exercise performance

Many athletes are familiar with the benefits of the medicinal mushroom Cordyceps sinensis (CS). CS is one of the most widely-examined medicinal mushrooms and has shown promising results in many double-blind and placebo-controlled studies; including a 10.5% and 8.5% increase in metabolic and ventilatory thresholds, respectively, which equals an improvement in exercise performance (Chen S. Z., 2010).  Studies showing those types of improvements coupled with countless anecdotal accounts from athletes and my own experience is why I continue to take PURICA Cordyceps almost daily.

Supporting my cardiovascular system to perform at its fullest potential

As a high level endurance athlete, my primary goal is to train my cardiovascular system to perform at its fullest potential.  When we exercise we increase oxidative (a.k.a. free radical) stress through the production of damaging ROS (Reactive Oxygen Species) molecules.  ROS are unstable molecules that have potential to do damage to our bodies.  Even the most sedentary person is producing ROS as the body continues its perpetual cycles of cell turnover, but as activity levels increase the body may struggle to provide enough anti-oxidants to neutralize the free radicals being produced.  So it is then our job to provide our bodies with ample amounts of anti-oxidants which we do by eating healthy whole foods and taking high quality supplements.  My food choices are primarily based on nutrient density and anti-oxidant potency, and this is quite simple since the healthiest foods usually contain high levels of nutrients and anti-oxidants.  And my preferred supplement for combating free radical damage to my cardiovascular system is Provascin.

Provascin® is one of the broadest spectrum cardiovascular products available.  The combination of ingredients offers a multi-faceted approach to protecting the entire cardiovascular system, including the heart.  One of my favourite ingredients in the formula is Chaga (Inonotus obliquus). It is a powerful medicinal mushroom that offers very impressive ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) levels and SODs (Superoxide dismutase) values.  With an ORAC score of ~50 times greater than that of blueberries, Chaga is an incredible free radical scavenger.  SODs serve as the front-line defense against ROS in living cells (Fukai, 2011).  Furthermore, mitochondrial function is regulated by SOD (Fukai, 2011) and our overall health and performance is only as good as how healthy and efficient our mitochondria are.  My reasons for using Provascin® extend beyond its fantastic day to day support, I also rely on it as a preventative measure for avoiding cardiovascular disease later in life – I have a family and I want to do all I can to maintain great health through my senior years.

I am perhaps the number one fan of the PURICA Sport Synergy line and use PURICA Recovery®, Cordyceps and Provascin® on an almost daily basis.

Suggested dosing for athletic performance

I typically take 2-3 caps of Cordyceps upon rising and another 2-3 in the afternoon.  Recovery is taken in 5 cap or 1 teaspoon doses 2-3 times per day, 20 minutes prior to a meal or as part of a post workout smoothie or snack. When it comes to Provascin®, I simply take it three times daily with food.  In order to make the most of my supplement regime, I treat it just like training and ensure consistency, but I don’t fret if I miss a dose or two.

Remember, supplementation is just like exercise and training – it is best to support your well-being with a good variety of healthy and smart choices.

Adam O’Meara has a unique perspective on natural supplements. He is not only a professional triathlete, but part of the PURICA team. The PURICA Ambassador explains why PURICA Recovery®, Provascin® and Cordyceps – our PURICA Sport Synergy Line – serve as the foundation of his regime of nutritional supplements.



Chen, S. Z. (2010, May 16). Effect of Cs-4® (Cordyceps sinensis) on Exercise Performance in Healthy Older Subjects: A Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial. Retrieved from Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine:

Fukai, T. a.-F. (2011, September 15). Superoxide Dismutases: Role in Redox Signaling, Vascular Function, and Diseases. Retrieved from Antioxidants & Redox Signaling:


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