Shilajit Mountain Mineral Resin for Longevity & Stress Reduction

Shilajit, meaning “Rock of life” in Sanskrit, is a dietary supplement derived from ancient, purified organic plant material in the Himalayas. It is known for restoring energetic balance in the body. Medical research indicates Shilajit may positively impact cognitive disorders linked with aging such as Alzheimer’s disease (International Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, 2012).

Shilajit is a blackish-brown powder secreted from high mountain rocks when they are warmed by the sun, particularly in the Himalayan mountains between India and Nepal. It has also been found in Russia, Tibet, Afghanistan and in northern Chile. The thick paste is dried and ground into a fine powder. Considered the root of Ayurvedic medicine, Shilajit has been prominent in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries. It has been used as a rejuvenator and antiaging compound.

Shilajit contains up to 85 minerals and trace elements. High in fulvic acid, Shilajit has been found to have health benefits that include prolonging longevity. Traditionally, it has been consumed by Nepali and Northern Indians and children have typically taken it with milk at breakfast. It has been used for centuries to help treat urinary infections, jaundice, digestive disorders, enlarged spleen, epilepsy, nervous disorders, chronic bronchitis, and anemia. It has also been used to treat kidney stones and to reduce anorexia, among other conditions (International Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, 2012).

Shilajit is an excellent source of fulvic acids – and is perhaps the most superior natural source of fulvic acids available to us. These minerals help the body transport electrical signals and help to enhance hydration. Fulvic acids also have the ability to neutralise free radicals throughout the body and to detoxify simple toxins (Global Journal for Research Analysis).

Shilajit has received many praises over the years. Some reasons people include it in their diet:

  • Re-mineralize the body
  • Modulate Inflammation
  • Enhance Libido
  • Build Hormones
  • Restore and Repair Aging Cells
  • Oxygenate the blood
  • Scavenge Free Radicals
  • Increase Metabolism and Energy
  • Support the Endocrine System
  • Chelate Toxic Substances
  • Assist the Breakdown/Absorption of Nutrients

Purified, ready-for-use forms of Shilajit exist for human consumption. Dissolve a quarter of a teaspoon of Shilajit powder in hot water, tea, or warm milk. We recommend this dosage once a day. Monitor your energy levels and increase dosage to up to three times per day for greater energy and effect. Shilajit enhances the action of other herbs making it a great addition to super-food smoothies and tonics.

Shilajit is potentially able to prevent several diseases. Further research is required on a biological and clinical level.

Lacking Energy? Try Herbal Tonics

Herbal Tonics are a form of preventative medicine. Tonics are a class of herbs that strengthen the body by supporting its natural defences and promoting stamina. Nourishing and health building, Herbal Tonics build wellness over time and promote your most vibrant state of being.

Based on the idea of building health and not just curing illness and disease, Herbal Tonics support overall well-being and vitality, while encouraging healthy aging. According to Medicinal Herbalists, the bitter taste of Tonics stimulate enzyme production by the liver. Enzymes assist us with absorbing food and offer us more nutrients to help us fight infection.

There are many different types of herbal tonics on the market today. Tonics promoting energy, immunity, and joy are among those you may come across.

Energy Tonics often consist of a blend of the most commonly used adaptogenic herbs to protect your body from the draining effects of stress. Benefits include:

  • Boost energy
  • Support athletic performance
  • Push back fatigue
  • Promotes mental alertness
  • Help maintain emotional balance while under stress

Immunity Tonics are a blend of immune-toning herbs and medicinal mushrooms.  They help to restore your immune system to a healthy, balanced state. Daily use will help build and maintain radiant health. Benefits include:

  • Promote overall wellness
  • Prime immune function
  • Support a healthy, balanced allergic response
  • Tone & build Chi
  • Support body’s natural defences
Source: Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
Source:
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

Joy Tonics are a combination of aromatic herbs and flowers that help you through life with fluency and ease. Joy Tonics minimise tension in our nervous system, internal organs, and blood vessels. Benefits include:

  • Promote joyful spirit
  • Enliven the heart
  • Lessen occasional sleeplessness
  • Relieve occasional stress
  • Ease tension in the body
  • Calm during times of grief, transition, loss

Adding a drop of Joy Tonic into sparkling water will help to volatilize the aromatics in the blend, and dilute the taste of the alcohol.

Visit our store to view our range of Certified Organic Herbal Tonics by Urban Moonshine. Zebra Organics supports Urban Moonshine’s mission to reignite interest in and restore the use of Herbal Tonics in modern times. Take Herbal Tonics daily on a regular basis for best results. We encourage you to embrace tonics as a part of a regular regime to build radiant health. To learn more about the Energy Tonics, watch this video by Urban Moonshine:

Bone Broth Recipe (with Vegetarian Broth Option)

Bone broth is not only a popular base for soups and stews, but also reductions, sauces and braising meats and vegetables. It is primarily made from bones and connective tissue of fish or animals. If you’ve never tried it, you’ll discover its versatility – you can use it in any dish that calls for almost any vegetable or meat to be cooked in liquid. It’s flavourful and you can even drink it straight.

Bone broths are simple to prepare at home and are inexpensive (the cost of bones is usually under $2/lb).

Broth has always been considered a healing food, especially if you consider the tradition of eating chicken soup when you’re sick with a cold – Jennifer McGruther, author of The Nourished Kitchen

Popular Stock Method of Cooking Broth

Bone broth needs to be slow cooked to allow for the release of nutrients from the bones. If you don’t have a slow cooker or pressure cooker,  you can make bone broth the way your grandmother or great grandmother would have done it: in a regular stainless steel stock pot. Use the largest pot on hand to make a big batch and freeze for later.

Depending on which bones you choose, you’ll have to simmer for different lengths of time:

Beef, pork or lamb: 48 hours

Chicken or Turkey: 24 hours

Fish: 8 hours

Ingredients

  • Grass fed, quality bones: as little or as many as you wish—2 lbs is a good starting point, either frozen or thawed
  • Filtered water
  • 1–2 tbsp Organic unfiltered apple cider vinegar
  • Stainless steel stock pot

Directions

1. Place your bones (at least 2 lbs) in the stock pot with 1–2 tbsp of apple cider vinegar
2. Cover with filtered water leaving an inch of room at the top
3. Place the pot on high heat until boiling
4. Upon boiling, switch to low heat and simmer for the recommended time depending on type of bones as mentioned above. You can skim the foam/ impurities at the top as it’s simmering
5. Allow it to cool and store. When it cools you may notice a layer of fat at the top, which you can choose to remove and discard
6. Enjoy, use it in a recipe, or store for later

Tips:

  • Seasoning can be done towards the end of cook time. Fresh herbs, spices and onions can be added in the last 10 minutes.
  • Do not add any salt to the broth itself. If you’re planning to reduce the broth to make soups or sauces, you may end up with a high salt content. Salt should only be added to the finished product, not the broth.
  • Once your broth is cooked, place the pot into a sink of cold water to allow it to cool quickly, to reduce bacterial growth. You can keep broth in the fridge for one week. Be sure to note its smell – it will need re-boiling if it smells off.

Vegetarian option

Vegetable peels will be the base of your soup instead of animal bones if you’re vegetarian. Collect all organic vegetable peels and freeze them. To learn how to make a hearty vegetable soup with vegetable broth, see Dylan Stein Acupuncture’s post “A vegetarian version of bone broth“.

The popularity of bone broth has spiked in the past few years. There is an abundance of media coverage filled with its purported health benefits. The truth is there’s little evidence to support those claims. Researchers from Harvard Medical School have addressed some of these claims. See “What’s the scoop on bone soup?” for further details.

Is Your Body too Acidic?

With the huge amount of acid-producing foods that we consume coupled with the acid-forming tasks that the body naturally carries out, it has become increasingly challenging to maintain a slightly alkaline state. The key to preventing disease is maintaining a slightly alkaline pH.

Dr. David Williams, a medical researcher, biochemist and chiropractor, who also has a reputation as one of the world’s leading authorities on natural healing, vouches for this.

Signs that your body’s pH is hovering in the extreme acidic end are:

  1. Chest pain
  2. Indigestion
  3. Nausea
  4. Feelings of hunger

How to make your body more alkaline:

– Eat alkaline foods: You can find a list of alkalizing foods –here

– Avoid acidic foods: deep fried foods, processed foods, meat, dairy products, eggs, fish and refined sugars. Beverages high in sugar are acidic, including pop, energy drinks, sweetened teas and fruit juice.

– Reduce stress in you life: Research conducted around the world has demonstrated that there is a correlation between daily stress in your life and the body’s acidity. Stress is often linked to anxiety: Read our blog post 9 Natural Remedies for Anxiety to learn how to reduce stress.

– Consume fresh vegetable juices daily. If you don’t own a juicer, consider investing in a Vitamix. Try our Healing Raw Green Soup recipe that’s loaded with veggies.

healthy-juice-orange-alkaline

The idea that food influences the pH of the body dates back to the early 1900’s. Upon testing different foods, researchers discovered the majority of foods were either alkaline-producing or acid-producing. A link was made between patients that brought their pH back to a normal range and their reduced health complaints.

pH levels are determined by measuring the balance of acidity and alkalinity present in your body. The scale below reflects the difference between the two; values below 7 are acidic and above 7 are alkaline. Our body’s optimal pH level of the blood is 7.4. It is crucial that we seek to maintain a level as close as possible to this to ensure the enzymes in our body function optimally.

Ph-Scale

To achieve optimal pH, many experts recommend a ratio of 80% alkaline foods and 20% acidic foods.

The American physician M.D., Dr. Gabriel Cousens states in his book Conscious Eating,

“It is not the food which determines if it makes us acid or alkaline. It is how the body responds to the food. It may be possible some people have a constitutional tendency to be either acid or alkaline in their metabolism regardless of their diet.”

Decoding egg carton labels

Shopping for eggs can be confusing when cartons are plastered with marketing jargon. Cage-free? Organic? Brown or white? We have decoded egg carton labels for you and have compiled some tips on what really matters and what doesn’t, when it comes to buying eggs.

The label: Conventional eggs (Grade AA, A, B)

What it means: The U.S. Department of Agriculture has a rating system for eggs that is based on quality factors including freshness, defects and shell attributes. Eggs are given grades:

  • Grade AA have thick, firm whites and are best for frying
  • Grade A are similar to AA eggs, except the whites are slightly less firm
  • Grade B usually have thinner whites and are ideal for omelettes and cake mixes

These are eggs originate from “commercially farmed” chickens that are typically housed in dark, enclosed spaces with no access to the outdoors.

The label: Cage-free

What it means: Cage-free eggs are laid by hens that are free to roam in an open space. This term is deceiving because they are not completely free-roaming hens – the “open space” is typically inside a barn or poultry house without access to the outdoors. Organic and regular hens can be cage-free.

The label: Free-Range

What it means: Free-range eggs are one step up from cage-free eggs. The hens have access to the outdoors, though the duration or quality of time spent outdoors is unclear. These are better than regular eggs because of the superior treatment of the animal.

The label: Certified organic

What it means: USDA organic certified eggs means the hens receive organic feed that does not contain toxic pesticides or herbicides. These hens are never caged and must have access to the outdoors (free-range).

The label: Omega-3 enriched

What it means: Omega-3 enriched eggs come from hens whose feed is enriched with healthy fatty acids, typically in the form of flaxseed. If your diet contains oily fish (such as salmon, trout and sardines) or you take fish-oil supplements, consuming Omega-3 enriched eggs may not have a huge impact on your diet.

The label: Pasture-raised 

What it means: Pasture-raised eggs are laid by hens that are free to roam on fresh pasture. Their diet is organic. The colour of the egg yolk will be bright orange, in comparison to egg yolks from caged hens that tend to be dull and pale yellow. You can find these at a Farmer’s market or your local farmer.

Source: Jules
Source: Jules

Tips:

  •  Terms such as “Natural” or “hormone-free” shouldn’t be a determining factor in your decision making. According to the USDA, these term mean that nothing was added to the egg. All eggs satisfy this criteria
  • Colour: Eggs typically come in brown or white. The difference in colour is due to the breed of the chicken. A brown egg is no healthier than a white egg – there is no difference in nutritional benefits
  • General rule of thumb: the more expensive the egg, the better quality it is
  • Choose organic eggs if you eat eggs regularly
  • When it comes to size, Extra Large, Large and Medium are commonly found in stores. Larger sized eggs will contain more protein
  • For further reading, see the University of Berkeley’s Supermarket Buying Guide on eggs

6 health boosting smoothie additions

Smoothies can be a nutritional powerhouse if they are created with health-boosting bonus ingredients. Aside from fresh fruits and vegetables, adding some powerful powders and seeds to your blended beverage is a simple way to include more vitamins and minerals in your diet. Here’s a list of some of our favourite options:

1. Cacao powder and cacao nibs

Zebra-Organics-Cacao-11 copyNaturally loaded with antioxidants, cacao can help reduce cholesterol and blood pressure, which can translate to a healthier heart. Cacao can help trigger the release of feel-good chemicals such as serotonin and endorphins. Instead of a chocolate milkshake, add cacao powder or cacao nibs to your smoothie. They blend well with banana and almond butter.

Here’s a delicious recipe that includes a raw cacao blend called Anandamide: Blissful Anandamide: Tonic Recipe for Beginners

2. Maca powder

coffee-powder-263355_1280

Originating from the Peruvian Andes mountains, maca is believed to enhance your mood, reduce stress and assist in easing tension, while boosting energy. Made from the maca root, maca has a distinct caramel or malt-like flavour that will give you smoothie a hint of sweetness and a touch of bitterness. Try adding a hint of cinnamon with maca.

If you’re a fan of nut milk-based smoothies, try adding maca to your next smoothie. Here’s how to make Homemade Nut Milk.

3. Bee pollen

bee-pollen

The packed pollen ball found in pellets inside bee hives is a highly nutritious food according to a study. It contains a balance of vitamins, minerals, proteins, carbohydrates, fats and essential amino acids. It may help foster digestive and immune system function and support the cardiovascular system.

Commonly used by herbalists as a holistic remedy, high-quality, fresh bee pollen granules will be soft and fragrant. The tiny yellow, orange or brown granules can be added directly to your smoothie (if you haven’t tried them before, don’t be afraid to chew on some granules). Note that natural honey does not contain bee pollen.

4. Chia seeds

Source: Stacy Spensely
Source: Stacy Spensely

When exposed to liquid chia seeds form a gelatinous, sticky coating that helps them act as a bonding agent to foster digestion. Rich in fibre, chia seeds contain more healthy Omega-3 fatty acids than flax seeds and other grains, according to Harvard Medical School.

Adding a table spoon of chia seeds to your smoothie will give it a nutritious boost. Two varieties of chia are most commonly found in health food stores and supermarkets; white and gray-black seeds, which can be used interchangeably.

5. Hemp seeds

Source: Ruby Ran (this image has been modified)
Source: Ruby Ran (this image has been modified)

Containing protein and healthy Omega-3 fatty acids, hemp seeds are soft and very easy to digest. Adding a tablespoon to your smoothie will give it a slightly nutty and earthy taste. The seeds are small and blend well, so it’s likely you won’t even notice them in your smoothie.

Further reading: Health Benefits of Hempseed

6. Matcha (Green tea powder)

Source: Mattie Hagedorn
Source: Mattie Hagedorn

Originating from Japan, this concentrated powdered form of green tea contains 137 times more antioxidants than brewed green tea, according to research. Although matcha contains caffeine, it also contains a substance that unlike coffee, slows the release of caffeine into the bloodstream, as reported by the Daily Mail.

Matcha has a noble aroma and will add a hint of sweetness to your smoothie, along with a deep vegetal taste. Its fresh taste awakens the senses.

Making your own smoothie is the best way to know exactly what ingredients it contains. Smoothies can be water or milk-based. They are quick and easy to prepare, taste great, and are a fantastic way to help achieve your daily recommended serving amount of fruits and vegetables.

Top 4 Reasons to Eat Slower

Today our pace of life is faster than ever. Many of us find ourselves with little time in our daily lives for anything and operate with a sense of urgency. When we do find the time to eat, we we gobble down our food. This lifestyle is concerning because it’s stressful and unhealthy.

The simple act of eating slower can bring positive change to your lifestyle immediately. Next time you eat, we suggest clearing your mind and drawing attention to your food. Focus on taking smaller bites and chewing each bite more times, to stretch out the amount of time you enjoy your meal. It will add on a few extra minutes, but the effects will be profound.

The Slow Food Movement was launched in Italy in 1986 in response to the growth of fast food companies. It was an attempt to salvage the slower-paced lifestyle that was historically more common and involved eating food in a more relaxed and social way.

Noodles-chopsticks

If find you’re always the first one to finish your meal, here are some reasons why you should consider slowing down your consumption:

1. Maximize enjoyment of food

Eating slowly allows you to experience the flavours, textures and smells of what you’re eating. You might find that you do eat slower when you’re consuming a meal you value more than your typical meal. Learn to savour every meal and enhance the pleasure of eating by chewing food slowly – this means 10-20 chews per bite.

2. Improve digestion

A smooth and complete digestion involves chewing thoroughly. As digestion begins in the mouth, you have the ability to kick off your body’s natural digestion process by eating slowly. An uncomfortable feeling in your stomach after a meal is an indication that you may be experiencing indigestion from eating too fast.

3. Reduce stress

“Mindful eating” in a calm and relaxed environment can reduce stress and increase satisfaction. Be in the moment and give your food your undivided attention, instead of rushing through a meal and thinking about what you’re going to do next.

According to the New York Times, mindful eating “Involves becoming aware of that reflexive urge to plow through your meal like Cookie Monster on a shortbread bender. Resist it. Leave the fork on the table. Chew slowly. Stop talking. Tune in to the texture of the pasta, the flavor of the cheese, the bright color of the sauce in the bowl, the aroma of the rising steam.”

4. Assists with weight control

Many sources suggest that eating slowly will lead to you eating less food than if you ate quickly and hence, consuming fewer calories. It takes approximately 20 minutes for the brain to tell your body that you’re full. If you’re a fast eater, you’re more likely to eat past the point where you’re full. Harvard Medical School has addressed this: Why eating slowly may help you feel full faster. In addition, the Journal of the American Dietetic Association found that eating slowly reduces energy intake between meals.

This is way of life that requires sure and steady support. Here are some additional tips for slower eating:

  • Place utensils down between bites
  •  Make conversation at the dinner table
  • Use different utensils such as chopsticks
  • Set aside time to eat. Make an appointment to refuel your body
  • Create a pleasant eating environment with relaxing music

Blissful Anandamide: Tonic Recipe for Beginners

This delicious “transformational” raw cacao-based tonic will give you a boost of energy first thing in the morning. The key ingredient, Anandamide, is a blend of unsweetened Raw Heirloom Cacao and Tonic Herbs that has been known to activate and harmonise the nervous, digestive and immune systems.

Handcrafted in small batches using organic or wildcrafted ingredients, this blend contains freshly-ground spices. It has a chocolatey, creamy and spicy taste that will give you the kick you need to get you through your day. Combined with raw honey to sweeten, the mild nutty flavour of Rice Bran Solubles, and the healthy fat of Coconut Oil, this blissful tonic is nutritious and quick and easy to prepare.

Ingredients (serves 1):

  • 1 tbsp Zebra Organics Raw Coconut Oil
  • 1 tbsp Zebra Organics Tocotreinols Rice Bran Solubles
  • 2 tbsp Sun Potion Anandamide
  • 1 tsp Zebra Organics Raw Organic Brazilian Rainforest honey
  • 8-10 oz hot water

Directions:

Add all ingredients to a mug and slowly stir in hot water as it emulsifies. Drink and enjoy!

Notes:

A generous spoonful of anandamide is an excellent addition to smoothies, hot chocolates, cold-pressed coffee, elixirs, raw milk mixtures, or by itself as a tea.

Feature image source: PhotoPin

Source: William Ismael
Source: William Ismael

Feature photo credit: Morning ritual via photopin (license)

Homemade Nut Milk

Nut milks are a fantastic daily-free substitute for cow’s milk. If you don’t tolerate dairy well or are looking for a tasty alternative, this will be perfect for you. This recipe only requires three simple ingredients; water, a nut of your choice, and an optional sweetener.

Store-bought nut milk isn’t as fresh and contains questionable additives and chemicals. Homemade nut milks not only taste great, but they are easily digested, easy to make, and affordable.

If you’re concerned about switching to nut milk and losing the calcium that cow’s milk provides, think again. Calcium is present in a lot of plant-based foods, including broccoli, kale and figs. Harvard’s School of Public Health suggests you look beyond the dairy aisle for sources of calcium.

Enjoy nut milk with smoothies, cereal, in baking, or simply pour yourself a glass.

Ingredients (serves 3):

For unsweetened:

  • 1 cup soaked nuts (8+ hours almonds or other nuts, 6+ hours cashews)
  • 3 cups filtered water

To sweeten add:

  • 1 raw vanilla bean pod
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 3-4 dates or 3 tbsp of agave, honey, or sweetener of choice

Directions:

  1. Soak nuts for at least six hours in water and cover them with a cloth, then rinse. Soaking then nuts makes them easier to digest and improves their flavour.
  2. Add all ingredients to a Vitamix or high powered blender. Blend for one and a half minutes until the texture is smooth and consistent.
  3. Pour the blended beverage into a nut milk bag, holding it over a bowl. This straining method will catch any pulp or solids present in the mixture.
  4. Once all the liquid has been strained, squeeze the pulp in the cloth until it is free of liquid. The nut milk will remain in the bowl.
  5. Serve chilled and enjoy.
Image_Nut milk straining
Photo source: Mattie Hagedorn

Tips:

The nuts have to be soaked for at least six hours and ideally overnight, so plan ahead.

Nut milk bags are commonly made of very finely weaved cheesecloth. If you don’t have this on hand, you can drape a good quality cheesecloth over a colander. If you’re using cashews, they blend well and typically don’t need to be strained.

Store the nut milk in the refrigerator after making and consume within 2-3 days, as it does not contain any preservatives. It should be stored in an air-tight jar or pitcher.

If you’re wondering what to do with the pulp that’s left over, you don’t have to throw it away. You can make nut flour out of it by dehydrating it. To do this, spread the pulp evenly over a cookie tray and dry the mixture for two hours in an oven at 200 degrees F. If you pinch the flour and it leaves moisture on your fingertips or forms a ball, allow it to dehydrate a little longer. Once fully dehydrated, store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator to maintain freshness. Nut flour can be used in gluten-free recipes.

Photo source for feature image: Flickr.

Simple Green Smoothie

This quick and easy to prepare smoothie is delicious and will give you the energizing boost you need to start your day. Packed with an array of ingredients, this smoothie is highly nutritious and in one sitting you will receive vitamins, minerals, proteins, and enzymes. It’s a fast and easy way to include vegetables in your diet.

Ingredients (serves 4):

  • 4 bananas
  • 4 celery sticks
  • 3 large leaves of (purple) kale
  • 3 medjool dates
  • 1 inch raw organic ginger
  • 1 tbs spirulina powder
  • 5 chocolate stevia drops
  • 1 tbs anandamide powder (we like Sun Potion’s)

Directions:

Add all ingredients to a Vitamix and fill almost to the top with water. Blend on high for one minute. Serve and add ice to cool.

Tips:

If you don’t have a high-powered blender, we recommend chopping up the ingredients into small pieces to encourage smooth blending in a regular blender. If you don’t have dates or stevia drops on hand, honey is a good substitute that will add a touch of sweetness (try our Zebra Organics raw honey). Anandamide powder is raw cacao blend that will add a bit of a bite to the beverage. For a similar taste you can use cinnamon.

For extra nutrients, add 1-2 tbl spoons of rhodiola powder. Rhodiola powder is a plant extract that has a sweet and slightly bitter taste that is masked when incorporated with other ingredients. It’s known to reduce fatigue, relieve stress and improve overall health.

Photo_Dan_Smoothie3

Featured Image Source: Flickr. The photo was not modified in any way.