Eating for the wrong reasons? Keep cravings at bay!

Eating for the wrong reasons? Keep cravings at bay!

by Sonia Chartier, on 10 August 2015, Digestion, Healthy Eating via the A.Vogel Blog


Hippocrates said, “If we could give every individual the right amount of nourishment and exercise, not too little and not too much, we would have found the safest way to health.” 

As we have all heard it before, being reasonable and living a well-balanced lifestyle can unequivocally reduce stress and sickness.

Here and now, that’s easier said than done!  Most families need two working parents to afford living more or less comfortably.  This in itself places stress on every family member. The parents, most of all, for having to juggle between work, household chores and parenting and the children because of earlier social involvement and reduced free playtime –without a screen that is.

The stresses of modern life can make you feel as though you are on a treadmill. Most of us feel as though we never have enough time to do things, and certainly not enough time for ourselves!  This naturally takes away from the connection to the Self, which is far more important than most people think. Spending time with the Self means understanding yourself; self-knowing brings a whole new perspective on the world.  It is quite contrary to the trend of self-exhibition on social platforms, which is closer to a performance than from knowing and showing your Self.  Connecting with your Self is a strong instinct, one that craves compensation if it is not met.

When not in the form of an “addiction” to social media, the compensatory reaction will come in the form of a craving: people turn to stimulants; either drugs, cigarettes or food. Compensatory behavior successfully appeases stress and discontentment. Alas, the effect is limited to approximately 30 minutes.

Compensatory behavior

It would be interesting to measure how much good this “relaxation/compensatory” behavior is doing versus how much bad it leaves behind. Everyone is familiar with the comfort felt when indulging in treats. The fact that you are doing only that, adds to the pleasure, as you are spending a treasured moment with yourself! It relieves the psyche for a few minutes, but it weighs heavily on the body.

PMS or hormonal surges provide the perfect example. Most women crave either salty foods or sweets during certain times of the month. Some bouts provoke, what we can call “the PMS monster.” A ravenous monster that induces eating binges, mostly composed of the most deliciously empty calorie foods one can find. The absolute bliss during the feast is almost surreal, until it all comes down, when foods sit there, making you feel bloated, afraid of what the fat, sugar and salt that you just ingested will do, and guilty of having given in to the “the PMS monster.”

What is actually does inside your body is changes in the blood chemistry, bringing the metabolism in a state that aggravates glands, which in turn release hormones. The hormones naturally being produced are metabolizing normally through a gush of other material and chaos arises.  This brings on “entropy”, a state of physiological chaos where too many reactions are occurring and the body is being overloaded and drained.  You know it – it’s that terrible PMS feeling!  What is worse is that in the case of PMS, your diet during the last month will affect the way your period goes the following month. Give in and feed the monster one month, and you will have the urge to feed it for the months to come! Stopping the vicious circle will get more and more difficult.

The best starting point is the liver

By detoxifying and supporting your liver, you can help keep cravings at bay. Unfortunately, when your metabolism is in a toxic state you crave junk food, driving you to maintain that metabolic state. When you clean up your act, cravings seem to disappear like magic. How do you get the magic to happen? An initial detox and follow up maintenance diet is pretty very hard to achieve because of the stresses of daily routine.

Herbal remedies to the rescue

Natural remedies can help soften the effort when trying to convert to a healthier lifestyle. Herbals can detoxify the system and help the liver function at optimum capacity, while lacto-fermented whey can help achieve regularity. Products such as Boldocynara and Molkosan can send you well on your way to better health, because they put you in action. Picking up those products is a sign that you are in action mode. You’ve passed thinking about it, now you’re doing something about it!

While you are in action mode, Boldocynara will cleanse your liver and Molkosan will feed your friendly bacteria so that you can begin to reverse the cycle and lose the cravings for certain foods.  In addition, signing out of social media will help you refocus on the real you.

What is Your PMS Type?

What is Your PMS Type?


For starters, premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is not a diagnosis per sé, but a group of symptoms associated with fluctuating levels of estrogen and progesterone during the luteal phase of a woman’s cycle.  Alright, so what does that have to do with you? Not every woman experiences the same symptoms, onset and severity.

There are four groups of PMS symptoms:

  • PMS-A: which includes anxiety, mood swings, nervousness, irritability;
  • PMS-C: which is marked by cravings, as well as hypoglycaemic (i.e. low sugar) symptoms like headaches, dizziness, brain fog;
  • PMS-D: which combines depression, insomnia, poor memory, heightened emotional states (e.g. crying); finally,
  • PMS-H: where weight gain, edema, bloating, and hyperhydration are present.

So which PMS type are you, and what can you do?

It is especially important that you work alongside a qualified healthcare professional in order to determine whether conventional intervention is needed. This is done in order to rule out any underlying serious conditions (e.g. hypothyroidism, depression, etc.). The next step is minimizing any obstacles to your healing. This involves reduction of potential environmental contaminants, stress management, promoting proper digestion and liver function (for effective hormone excretion).

Some sources state that, when compared to symptom-free women, those with PMS tend to consume1:

  • 62% more carbs
  • 275% more refined sugars (including juice and sodas)
  • 79% more dairy products
  • 78% more sodium
  • 53% less iron
  • 77% less manganese
  • 52% less zinc

While this may sound very appealing, it is not always that easy; it usually involves lifestyle modification and dietary changes (e.g. caffeine and sugar elimination). However, I could not stress it enough how important it is to adhere to such changes in order to see longstanding positive changes in your symptoms.

Your healthcare provider may request blood work, usually on day 3 or 4 of your cycle in order to see if there are any discrepancies with estrogen and progesterone levels. Acquiring a thorough history about the peculiar signs and symptoms can give further insight as to what PMS category you fall under and thus support those other systems.

It is important to rule out other conditions like endometriosis, fibroids, PCOS…the list is expansive! And most importantly, disclose any personal and/or family history of cancer. This makes it possible to come up with a safe, comprehensive and effective protocol.

Now on to the good stuff

Clearance problem: If the PMS symptoms arise from a clearance problem, high-dose vitamin B6 may be prescribed alongside magnesium and vitamin E. Vitamin B6, in particular, is involved in estrogen clearance. It is theorized that estrogen alone is not the culprit, but the by-products of its metabolism—on other words, when your liver “deactivates” or changes estrogen from one form (e.g. estradiol) to another, this other form may be involved in exacerbating your symptoms, so it’s important to promote the excretion of these metabolites from the body.

Cramping, breast tenderness: If  progesterone appears to be lower than normal (as seen with cycle length variation, breast tenderness, cysts, cramping), chaste berry (Agnus vitex-castus) may be added to the protocol. Other herbs, like dong-quai (Angelica sinensis) could be included to ease cramping, and if water retention is an issue, licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) can be added.

Fatigue & Nervousness: If your symptoms include fatigue, an adaptogen like rhodiola (Rhodiola rosea), ashwagandha (Withania somnifora), and/or licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) may be added, but check first with a licensed naturopathic doctor if you have thyroid of blood pressure problems. For calming the mind, flowering oats (Avena sativa) could be considered.

Bloating: If bloating and indigestion is a problem, fibre, fermented foods, and probiotics may also be part of the protocol. Herbs that support liver function as well as those that help with stomach acid production (i.e. “bitters”) can help reduce symptoms of bloating and distention.

Perimenopause: For women entering perimenopause, black cohosh (Cimifuga racemosa) may be indicated as well.

Pain (general): Many people are not fans of needles, but it would be a great injustice not to give acupuncture merit when it comes to alleviating PMS pain. From a herbal perspective, devil’s claw (Harpagophytum procumbens) and nettle leaf have been shown to have broad anti-inflammatory properties; this is definitely something to consider if you wish to decrease the use of commonly prescribed—and over-the-counter—pain relievers (e.g. acetaminophen and/or ibuprofen).

Please note that while the herbs mentioned form part of a large repertoire of medicinal plants indicated for PMS symptoms no two cases are alike, so dosing, frequency and potency may differ from woman to woman.pms

In traditional herbalism, some herbs are more indicated in conditions of “excess” (e.g. cramping before the period, heavy flow) and others more so in conditions of “deficiency” (e.g. feeling drained, fatigued, hopeless). It’s not always easy deciding for yourself which is better for you, so do speak with licensed naturopathic doctor or a qualified health professional.

For women experiencing longstanding menstrual issues, it may be a good idea to check iron and its storages in case supplementation is needed.

If you feel like a chocolate bar, go ahead, don’t be ashamed, you’ve earned it. And if you feel like biting someone’s head off…they probably deserved it. But on a serious note, regardless of your PMS type, there is always a practitioner out there very happy to support you.

by Sonia Chartier, on 5 October 2015, Women’s Health;  co-written by Rick Olazabal, BSc, BN

Gleaned from the A.Vogel Blog 

NEW PRODUCT – ConcenTrace® Trace Minerals

NEW PRODUCT – ConcenTrace® Trace Minerals

concentrace-60ml-_1It is estimated by experts that 90% of North Americans are extremely deficient in minerals and trace minerals.  This is due in a large part to mineral depletion in the soil from aggressive farming and soil erosion.  It goes without saying, without adequate minerals in the soil, there will not be enough minerals in our food.


This is a huge problem considering the importance minerals play in our bodies.

Our bodies are complex systems of electrical charges and impulses that require minerals and trace minerals for optimal health.


The body uses minerals for building strong bones & teeth, for blood, skin & hair, nerve function, for muscle contraction and relaxation. Even minerals are needed for metabolic processes such as turning food into energy.

Since we can no longer look to our food to provide us with enough minerals for general health; we need to supplement and we can look to sea water as a natural source.

ConcenTrace® Trace Mineral Drops is a 100% natural mineral concentrate with 72 naturally occurring ionic trace minerals from the Great Salt Lake, with 99% sodium removed through solar evaporation.

What’s important to note is that ConcenTrace® isn’t actually something that’s made, it has been given to us by Mother Nature and found in the inland seawaters of the Great Salt Lakes.

Taking ConcenTrace® every day ensures you’re getting a full spectrum of ionic trace minerals, which are bioavailable ionic trace minerals just like those found in foods.  Since its 100% natural; our bodies intrinsically know what to do with it.

ConcenTrace® can be used for bone & joint health, to balance pH in the body, to nourish hair & nails from within, to normalize bowel function, for circulatory health and to enhance the absorption of vitamins and has many other uses.

ConcenTrace® has a GRAS rating, is NON GMO and can safely be given to pets, children & even plants.


By Amber Allen

Wellness Coach


Epsom Gel is a synergistic blend of mineral infused oils and essentials oils that are non-irritating and gentle on the skin. This water based formula relaxes and soothes sore and tired muscles, and can be applied repeatedly throughout the day. Athletes are using it pre and post competition with excellent success. Vegan and free from any synthetic preservatives, conditioners, parabens and methyl salicylate. Try some today. EpsomGel Bottles-isolated

Why Magnesium?

“Both our current diet and tendency to over-supplement with calcium…makes getting enough magnesium almost impossible.” Carolyn Dean, M.D., N.D. Author of The Magnesium Miracle

Magnesium is the hardest-working mineral in your body and it does more than you know!

Very few people, unless they are scientists or biologists, give a moment’s thought to what goes on at the cellular level in our bodies.    We have trillions and trillions of cells in our bodies, each one less than a nanogram, each one performing enzymatic reactions, energy transfers every millisecond.  It is this nutrient dance in and around our cells that is vulnerable to everything we eat and do.

Magnesium is a catalytic mineral that activates over 320 biochemical or enzymatic reactions in the body. These reactions are defined as the process that exerts energy or accomplishes an effect.  There are only 7 macro-minerals in the body, and magnesium is ranked 4th in terms of abundance.     Magnesium’s multi-tasking properties is linked to the way it partners with other nutrients.    It’s like the team-work mineral – aligning itself with other nutrients to help them complete their functions.

Why is Magnesium Important to Our Body?

Every muscle and nerve in your body relies on magnesium to maintain normal function.  This includes the biggest muscle of them all – your heart – and magnesium also has a direct connection to the electrical system of your heart, keeping heart rythym steady.   Magnesium supports a healthy immune system, some of it through it’s work with Omega 3’s, and it has a crucial, yet rather unknown role of maintaining strong bones and teeth.  Magnesium is the mineral that activates the Vitamin D that assimilates the calcium into your bones to help keep them strong.   It also regulates blood sugar levels, promotes normal blood pressure, and is known to be involved in energy metabolism and protein synthesis.   Protein synthesis is an enormously complicated process that utilizes DNA, RNA, amino acids and ATP(energy) to form proteins, hundreds of proteins a second in a cell that is functioning well.

Why is Magnesium Important for Health?

Magnesium’s multi-tasking properties are so diverse; that it’s deficiency in the body is thought to be a key contributor to the diseases described as Metabolic Syndrome.   Metabolic –defined as the chemical processes of an organism – and so named because the diseases of Metabolic Syndrome – specifically Heart Disease and Diabetes, show similar deficiencies at the cellular level.

Other activities among the estimated 325 enzymatic processes attributed to magnesium include temperature regulation, activating Vitamin D, the vitamin B group, Omega 3, melatonin, serotonin and many, many more nutrients.

Why is Magnesium Important for Cells?

Magnesium lives in the centre of the cell, and with adequate levels, keeps calcium on the outside of the cell where it belongs – until the body calls for energy and then calcium floods the cell.   Too much calcium and not enough magnesium create an unhealthy balance, allowing calcium to seep into the cell. Calcium in the centre of the cell is like putting the body in a perpetual state of excitement.      There is ample evidence that tension-based conditions such as migraine, restless legs, muscle cramps, PMS and even day-to-day stress can be attributed to the troubling imbalance of too little magnesium and too much calcium.

Deciphering Your Digestion

Deciphering Your Digestion

You are what you eat. It’s an age-old adage, but nowhere does this ring truer than when we focus on our digestive health. A healthy digestive system is integral to our overall health; it’s here that we incorporate our environment into our body through food.

The twists and turns of our roughly thirty feet of intestines miraculously manages to absorb the nutrients our bodies need to function and thrive, while keeping the bad stuff out.  This is a big job and it is happening constantly inside our bodies. We can all take steps to enhance the vitality of our digestive tract.

Do you suffer from common digestive problems such as heartburn or bloating? Are you looking for tips to enhance your inner ecosystem? Are you aware of the powerful influence our gut health plays in our mental health?

Read on to de-mystify digestive health and discover simple tips, including whole foods, natural health products, and exercises you can incorporate into your daily routine to take your digestive health to the next level.

What is digestion?

Digestion is the physical and chemical process our body uses to break down food and absorb essential nutrients. It starts as soon as food enters your mouth, where chewing mixes enzymes in our saliva with food contents.

The stomach, with an acidic environment so harsh that its mucous lining is replaced every two weeks, continues the chemical breakdown of food before passing it into the small intestine; home to a turbulent soup of alkaline enzymes. It’s here, in this roughly twenty-three foot tube, that ninety-five percent of the nutrients in our food are absorbed; proteins, carbohydrates and fats, as well as vitamins, minerals and electrolytes.

The large intestine is then called into action, where a robust yet finicky group of approximately one hundred trillion bacteria ferment any remaining fibres and carbohydrates. This is also the key site for re-absorption of the ten litres of digestive juices we produce each day, until the remaining waste is ultimately eliminated.  This entire turbulent process can take anywhere from one to four days.

With such a long and varied path, it is no surprise that sometimes things can be thrown out of balance, leading to common digestive problems including heartburn, bloating, gas or intestinal discomfort.

You can find some natural solutions to these common digestive ailments at

Digestive health is essential to our overall health. Being attentive to our digestive tract allows us to absorb the essential nutrients our bodies need to thrive.  Simple steps can be taken to reduce your likelihood of common digestive issues like heartburn and bloating, and natural health products specific to digestive health can support your often overlooked inner ecosystem.

Here are CHFA’s top five tips for enhancing your digestive health:

  • Consume plenty of fibre rich whole foods.
  • Eat slowly and chew your food well.
  • Add a probiotic supplement to your regime for microbial health.
  • Exercise to stimulate healthy intestinal muscle contractions.
  • Drink plenty of fluids – we make about 10 litres of digestive juices each day! Drinking fluids keeps our digestive tract lubricated and healthy.

Find out more about the importance of digestive health and other natural health tips on

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