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Cold and Flu Prevention

This time of year, it’s not unusual for people to get sick. While hand washing is important to help prevent colds and flu, there are some natural approaches with research backing their use in reducing the incidence and/or severity of colds and flu.

Supplements for Prevention and Treatment of Colds and Flu

  • Probiotics
  • Garlic
  • Zinc
  • Elderberry


Probiotics are “friendly” bacteria that stimulate our immune system in beneficial ways. While I’ve written on probiotics previously, it’s still worth noting their benefit as a preventative for getting sick.

A recent review showed that taking a probiotic could decrease your risk of getting sick by about half. If you do get sick while on a probiotic the duration of the cold or flu is almost cut in half as well (Hao 2015).


Garlic is well known to have antimicrobial and immune stimulating effects. While the evidence isn’t robust, a study in 2001 showed more than half as many colds in individuals taking allicin, (the garlic extract) in the form of a garlic supplement. Additionally, the duration of the cold was drastically reduced, from an average of five days to one and a half days (Josling 2001).

A more recent study using aged garlic extract decreased the average length of a cold by more than half. In addition, the severity of the colds were also significantly reduced (Nantz 2012).

Garlic comes in many forms. The first study utilized standard garlic which has a strong odor. The second study used aged garlic which generally reduces the smell. More research will help to understand the different forms of garlic and which is most effective for reducing colds and flu.


Zinc is a mineral crucial for immune function (Wessels 2017). It’s also a fairly common deficiency with about 1 in 12 people in the United States not consuming the recommended amount (Fulgoni 2011).

With this data in mind, it’s not too surprising that zinc appears to help fight off colds. A recent review of the research exploring zinc gluconate or zinc acetate lozenges for colds showed that cold duration could be reduced by one third in people that started taking lozenges at the beginning of symptoms (Hemila 2017). Zinc dosage should be about 75 mg daily to achieve the benefits.


Elderberry is an herb with a long history of use for helping colds and flu. While the raw berries are toxic, once cooked the toxin is removed. A recent meta-analysis explored the use of elderberries for treating colds and flu. Their conclusion was that elderberry substantially reduces the duration of illness. They even recommended the use of elderberry over antibiotics as a potentially safer, effective option (Hawkins 2019).

In the winter, upper respiratory infections are common. Having additional, safe tools to help prevent and treat colds and flu is welcome. The current research appears that there are a number of options emerging that may help with reducing the incidence and symptoms of these common infections.

This article was written by contributing author Dr. Scott Buesing, a naturopathic doctor at The Refinery Integrated Wellness Clinic in Palm Desert. Dr. Scott's clinical experience includes working with patients with mental health conditions, along with more recent work in pain medicine. Dr. Buesing has positively impacted the lives of many through integrated medicine. For more information about his practice, see

At Zebra Organics, we carry numerous supplements mentioned by Dr. Scott:

Probiotic All Flora by New Chapter is packed with probiotics and postbiotics to replenish good bacteria in the gut and to support overall gut health.

Consisting of live probiotics, New Chapter's Zinc Food Complex supplement is made with complementary herbal blends like Elderberry and organic Astragalus. If you prefer liquid Zinc that is highly absorbable, see Mother Earth Minerals and Liquid Zinc Assay by Premiere Research Labs.

Allicidin by Premiere Research Labs offers high quality immune support. The capsules contain a wild European garlic that has been used for thousands of years to help boost immunity.

If you would like to know more about any of our products, or need assistance placing an order please email us or call us at 760-459-5177.

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5 Ways to Combat Stress & Promote Sound Mental Health

In June 2019 we shared a wonderful, educational evening with Dr. Scott Buesing of The Refinery Integrated Wellness Services in Palm Desert, California. Dr. Scott joined us at our Artisan Kitchens and Wellness Centre to share his perspective on naturopathic medicine and care in relation to stress and mental health.

Naturopathic medicine blends modern scientific knowledge with traditional and natural forms of medicine. As a naturopathic doctor, Dr. Scott is guided by the six core principles that make up the foundation for naturopathic medicine: 1) The Healing Power of Nature, 2) Identify and Treat the Causes, 3) First Do No Harm, 4) Doctor as Teacher, 5) Treat the Whole Person and 6) Prevention.

Naturopathic medicine can help individuals prevent and manage stress in a day and age when stress is more prevalent than ever. Stress is a normal response to situational pressures or demands. Some people may cope with stress better than others but any level of stress comes with a range of physical and mental health issues. Symptoms can range from headaches, sleeplessness, sadness, anger or irritability. People under long-term or chronic stress are more prone to the flu or common cold. The bottom line is, stress doesn’t do us any favors.

If you’re committed to living a stress-free life, you can start today. Here are the top five recommendations Dr. Scott has for combatting stress and promoting sound mental health.

1. Determine Vitamin/mineral Deficiencies

Vitamins, minerals and other deficiencies are common among people who are depressed and anxious. Magnesium is lost during times of stress, often making magnesium crucial for helping with stress. Blood testing can be helpful to identify more severe deficiencies, but sometimes a trial of certain nutrients can be necessary.

  • Minerals: iron, magnesium and zinc
  • Vitamins: B-vitamins, vitamin-D
  • Omega-3 (also anti-inflammatory)
  • CoQ10: an antioxidant naturally produced by the body
  • Carnitine: recent evidence even supports carnitine as a potential diagnostic marker for depression in the blood

2. Reduce Inflammation

Every type of mental health condition from depression and anxiety to bipolar disorder and schizophrenia has been shown to have elevated levels of inflammation. Excess inflammation is also known to worsen the outcomes in people struggling with mental health conditions. Targeting inflammation can help people bring balance and reduce symptoms, along with helping treat and prevent a multitude of other chronic health conditions.

Many anti-inflammatory supplements have evidence for benefitting mental health, including curcumin, green tea and St. John’s Wort.

3. Good Nutrition

Did you know 90% of serotonin is made in the gut? Serotonin is a very important neurotransmitter that helps regulate mood, digestion, sleep and more. Following a healthy diet that fosters gastrointestinal health is very important when it comes to reducing stress. A poor diet can profoundly influence mental health. Potential triggers are sugar, processed foods, gluten and dairy.

An anti-inflammatory diet is something Dr. Scott often recommends to his patients. While the diet is often individualized, it typically includes whole foods, lots of vegetables and is low in sugar and simple carbohydrates (avoiding white bread, white flour, fruit juice, high fructose corn syrup and other added sugars).

To learn more about the importance of gastrointestinal health, we recommend watching Warren Peters’ engaging TedTalk on “Microbiome: Gut Bugs and You.”

4. Ensure Your hormones are Balanced

Thyroid dysfunction is a standard rule-out for anyone struggling with fatigue-based depression. In addition, it is not unusual for thyroid problems to get missed due to reliance on screening tests. The thyroid gland sets the pace at which your body functions. If it’s too slow, everything is sluggish and slowed down.

The sex hormones can play a role in affecting a person’s mood as well. In men there are significant correlations between low testosterone and depression. In women, premenstrual syndrome and premenstrual dysphoric disorder can also negatively affect mood and often have roots in reduced progesterone levels.

Blood sugar balance/insulin is also crucial for optimal hormone levels and often is the first hormone to get dysregulated. Poor blood sugar control lowers testosterone in men and raises testosterone, while lowering progesterone in women. Any time a person is having hormonal issues, keeping blood sugar balanced needs to be a part of treatment.

5. Adaptogens for helping maintain balance

Adaptogens are herbs that help to restore balance in the body and improve stress tolerance. They are known to “adapt” their function depending on the specific needs of the body. The following herbs are commonly recommended to combat stress in naturopathic medicine.

Ashwagandha: This plant has a storied history in Ayurvedic medicine and is known to help with depression and anxiety. It reduces cortisol and has significant anti-inflammatory effects, with new animal studies suggesting benefits may exist for arthritis as well.

Rhodiola: A renowned Taoist brain tonic, Rhodiola is a root extract that has been used traditionally in Chinese medicine. Containing more than 140 active ingredients, human studies may suggest Rhodiola use in chronic fatigue syndrome, as well as for depression and anxiety.

Ginseng: Highly valued as a spiritual and medicinal herb, Ginseng is considered one of the most valuable herbs on earth. It has been proven to effectively regulate the immune response and hormonal changes in the body that stress causes. Animal studies suggest antidepressant effects.

Maca: A plant native to Peru, Maca is a natural energizer and hormone balancer that has been shown to reduce blood pressure and depression in this study.

When working with patients, Dr. Buesing’s passion is to help others discover and understand why they are experiencing their current health challenges. Then, working together, it is possible to help improve and restore a person’s wellbeing. You can contact Dr. Scott here.

At Zebra Organics, we carry a number of the adaptogens mentioned by Dr. Scott:

Ashwagandha: Sun Potion sources their Ashwagandha from small organic farms in Northern India. This is an Organic Cold-Water Extract of the Ashwagandha Root, which is generally believed to be the most potent part of the plant. You can get it here.

Rhodiola: Sun Potion offers the extract in powdered form. Instead of a morning coffee, stir a quarter of a teaspoon of Rhodiola into a large glass of water to start your day. Get it here.

Zebra Organics Premium Grade Maca Root powder is sustainably harvested by artisan farmers in Peru. The nutty powder can be scooped into your morning smoothie or coffee, and incorporated into baking recipes. If you prefer the capsule form, New Chapter offers fermented maca tablets.

Tocos and He Shou Wu are other adaptogens that can also help to effectively combat stress. You can read about them in our blog post Five Adaptogens to Help Relieve Stress.

If you would like to know more about any of our products, or need assistance placing an order please email us or call us at 760-459-5177.

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One Powerful Way to Restore Healthy Gut Flora

Keeping your gut in check is important for overall heath and wellness. The gut microbiome, also known as gut flora, controls the digestion of food, your immune system, central nervous system and other bodily processes. There’s a common saying that goes, “when your gut is happy, you’re happy.”

According to the National Institutes for Health, approximately 60 to 70 Americans are affected by digestive disease, such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). That’s a lot of people… that’s why we feel it’s important to raise awareness about maintaining good gut health.

Harvard Medical School refers to gut bacteria as “vast and mysterious like the Milky way.” This is a great analogy, as it's believed there are about 100 trillion good and bad bacteria inside our digestive system. Research suggests that certain bacteria in your gut can prevent and treat many common diseases, including Rheumatoid arthritis and heart disease. Eating more fermented foods and using probiotic supplements can be great ways to support the restoration of the probiotic diversity in your gut. For the purpose of this post, we’re going to focus on one of our favourite fermented foods – miso soup.

Photo credit: Minimalist Baker

Miso is traditionally considered to be a food that promotes good health and a long and happy life. Its origins can be traced to China as far back as the 4th century BC. It is high in essential amino acids and is loaded with beneficial bacteria and living enzymes that aid digestion and assimilation.

The Minimalist Baker has a great recipe for a classic (and vegan) miso soup that only requires six ingredients. It only takes 15-minutes to make from start to finish. We like this particular recipe because it’s bursting with miso flavour and is more filling than you would expect with the greens.

Tips to get the most out of your miso:

One of the most important things when dealing with fermented, living miso is to add it to warm, not hot, water so as not to “kill” the miso and its probiotic benefits.

Don’t just use any ol’ miso. It’s important that it’s real, fermented, alive miso preferably from Japan, where they know how to do miso. This is very much a “you get what you pay for” scenario. Using high quality, nutritional ingredients will be the most impactful to your health.

We offer one of the finest organic fermented barley miso from Japan that is made by the Ohsawa company, who has made miso or the Japanese Royal Family for centuries. They also make Nama Shoyu soy sauce, and Ume Vinegar, all of which we offer.

Making miso soup can sometimes be deceptively simple. Here are some common mistakes to avoid when you’re giving it a shot.

Miso soup is a warm, warm, comforting and savory dish. Give it a go and let us know how you like it!

To learn more about the gut microbiome, watch this TedTalk: Microbiome: Gut Bugs and You

Feature image credit: Minimalist Baker

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Boosting Your Immunity With Zinc

Peak season for common colds are the winter and spring. A sore throat and running nose are often the first signs of a cold coming on, followed by sneezing and coughing. Nobody wants to be that person in bed with a fistful of tissues gazing out at the blue sky and sunshine. That’s the opposite of fun!

Next time you sense a cold coming on, try attacking it with zinc. Zinc is the most common mineral found in your body and is used to help produce white blood cells, which fight infection. According to the Mayo Clinic, taking a zinc supplement shortly after the onset of a cold may shorten the length of it. It can help to boost your immune system and metabolism. It also fosters the healing of wounds and is important for maintaining a strong sense of taste and smell. It’s not intended as a long-term supplement, but one that should be taken as required.

We are now offering New Chapter’s amazing organic Zinc Food Complex tablets, which consist of fermented zinc and include copper to offset the potential of copper deficiency. New Chapter's Zinc Tablets only contain 15 mg of zinc, which is 100 percent of the recommended daily allowance of zinc. (This is in line with the Mayo Clinic’s suggestions of daily allowances and avoids the higher doses, which can cause the copper deficiency). The tables are taken once daily and can be taken anytime, even on an empty stomach.

Whole food cultured Zinc means it’s cultured in live probiotics. Probiotics are the healthy bacteria found naturally in fermented foods such as yogurt, tempeh, kefir, and sauerkraut. By culturing vitamins and minerals in a probiotic matrix of fermented organic soy, fruits, and vegetables, we create whole-food complexes that the body can easily recognize and digest because they’re food. New Chapter has a great video that talks about the benefits of the fermentation process used in their zinc and other products. Check it out here.

As a bonus, Zinc is also great for our skin. It supports skin resilience and helps maintain the integrity of skin and mucosal membranes.

Note that The Mayo Clinic cautions against using nasal zinc sprays, as they can actually cause a loss of smell and taste. Stick to taking zinc orally when you need it.

Are you a New Chapter fan? We offer a wide variety of New Chapter vitamins and dietary supplements. View the selection. New Chapter have been in the wellness game for more than 35 years. We are big supporters of their natural, sustainably sourced products.

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Cultured Food Festival Round-Up

Organic Raw Brazilian Rainforest Honey

Our team was delighted to have shared our gourmet and organic foods at the Cultured Food Festival at the Highland Springs Ranch and Inn on February 23 and 24, 2019.

But hang on, what are cultured foods, you ask? "Cultured" essentially means "fermented."

Cultured foods have undergone a process through which they are broken down, usually by bacteria, yeasts or fungi. There are so many different types of cultured food, including yogurt and cheese. Initially produced as a way to preserve foods, cultured foods not only enhance flavor; they have an array of additional health benefits, including fostering gut health by strengthening your gut microbiome. They are packed with good bacteria and they are becoming more and more popular today.

We were honored to be invited to present our organic Brazilian Rainforest Honey and organic Black Botija Dried Olive at this year's festival. These are two of our favourite and most popular cultured foods that we offer. High quality ingredients such as raw, organic honey is key to some cultured foods and beverages, like Kombucha. Our Brazilian Rainforest honey is rich in flavor, aroma and nutrients that result from bees harvesting the diverse heirloom blossoms of the forest.

Organic Peruvian Black Botija Olives

Our olives are in the same league as our honey. Our heirloom variety, organic, Peruvian, black, cured olive is unique and likely different from most olives you’ve tasted. It is cured using the old-world style method of processing, which is so special and unique. Check out our post on The Lost Art of Artisan Olive Curing to learn more.

To create a delicious appetizer that’s quick and easy, you only need four simple ingredients. Slice up a cucumber and serve with a slice of Manchego cheese (a Spanish sheep cheese), an olive, a small slice of avocado and a dash of course culinary sea salt. And voilà! You have a tasty and healthy snack for your friends and family to enjoy.

Thank you for everyone that joined us for our talk and tasting or swung by our pop-up shop. Even if you missed it, we hope we've inspired you to create a delicious snack using a few simple ingredients that you can prepare and enjoy at home.

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Raw Chocolate by Sacred Chocolate: Interview with Founder, Steven Adler

We had the pleasure of interviewing Steven Adler, CEO and founder of Sacred Chocolate. In 2006, Sacred Chocolate introduced the first raw chocolate bar in the world. (Raw, in this case, means you’re taking the cacao seed—the primary ingredient of all chocolate—and not roasting it or grinding it at temperatures above 115 degrees Fahrenheit).

What strikes us about Steven’s story is that he’s a rocket scientist turned chocolate scientist! Applying his passion for engineering, raw foods and spirituality to chocolate making, Steven, along with his partner David Wolfe, were able to create one of the finest organic chocolate factories in California and perhaps the United States. Sacred Chocolate’s commitment to create organic, high-quality, clean, healthful and tasty chocolate is impressive… we wanted to know more. Here’s what we learned, after talking with Steven.

ZO - All the chocolate produced by Sacred Chocolate is raw. What’s so special about raw chocolate?

SA - Raw, organic chocolate contains higher levels of nutrients than that of processed commercial chocolate bars. Milk chocolate typically contains only about 30 percent cacao; the balance of the bar is made up of milk powder and cane sugar. The chocolate industry usually calls cacao “cocoa”; but, in reality cocoa is mainly used in reference to cocoa powder or cocoa butter, which are both derivatives of the cacao seed or “bean”. Botanically, cacao is actually a nut and not a bean. The botanical name of the cacao tree is “theobroma cacao”, theobroma meaning “food of the gods”.

Most cacao is roasted over 250 degrees F for 30-90 minutes. When chocolate is cooked at high temperatures, the antioxidants are degraded, as the chemistry changes and heat sensitive nutrients such as phenylethylamine (PEA) are destroyed or diminished. These nutrients, naturally present in chocolate, or more specifically cacao, are beneficial to the human body. A lot of plant chemistry is heat sensitive, and once you start cooking things the nutrients are diminished. The idea behind raw food is to preserve the nutrients and enzymes that naturally occur in the plant or food.

Our raw chocolate has twice the antioxidant content compared to a cooked, roasted and or otherwise high temperature processed chocolate bar at the same cacao content. There was a lot of trial and error involved in mastering our process, which involves slowly stone grinding the cacao below 115 degrees Fahrenheit. This is really special.

ZO - What makes Sacred Chocolate different from other chocolate?

SA - The main difference is we’re willing to do things other chocolate makers aren’t willing to do. We are the only chocolate maker that includes the nutritious husk of the cacao bean in its chocolate. There are a lot of phytonutrients in the husks, which are normally sold off as chicken feed or fertilizer by traditional chocolate makers.

Our cacao beans are cleaned in a special proprietary manner that maintains the nutrients and allows us the ability to include those nutritious husks in Sacred Chocolate. If you look at images of our cacao beans, you’ll see they look like almonds because they are so clean. No other chocolate maker is cleaning beans in the way we are. Cacao beans used by traditional chocolate makers are dirty after fermentation and drying, which forces them to roast them and winnow away the nutritious husks to avoid microbial contamination. We’re the only chocolate maker that takes the extra time and necessary steps to make truly “whole bean” chocolate.

There’s a lot of energy, electricity and gas just in the cooking process of making chocolate.

Cooking alone causes so much greenhouse gas, it’s unbelievable. Sacred chocolate is made in a certified organic, certified vegan, certified kosher, carbon balanced, and 100 percent renewable energy facility in California. Our ingredients are always raw where possible and always of the highest quality in terms of nutritional content, flavor, and food safety.

I’m adamant about praying over the chocolate, too. This is done in a sacred space.

ZO - What do you use to sweeten your chocolate?

SA – Our primary sweetener of choice is organic, eco-friendly maple sugar. It’s sustainably sourced from Canada and the USA, and is actually four to five times the cost of cane sugar, a common sweetener in chocolate. Maple is a wild crop which makes it very eco-friendly. Maple is around 55 on the glycemic index, and it is relatively low in free fructose.

The University of Tokyo found in a lab rat study that maple was the only commercial sweetener that improved the liver function of rats. They found it didn’t put stress on the liver of the rats. The University of Rhode Island isolated quebecol in maple, which may help mitigate type II diabetes. Maple is also very high in certain trace minerals such as manganese.

We also use erythritol and inulin (from Jerusalem artichoke) as diabetic friendly sweeteners. All of the ingredients we use are sustainable, eco-friendly and of the highest quality.

According to Steven, cane sugar has caused an environmental disaster around the world because forests have been cleared on a massive scale to grow cane sugar.

Fun fact: Maple trees need to be in the ground for 30 years before they can be tapped for maple syrup and sugar.

ZO - We’ve heard there’s something special about the heart shape of your chocolate. Can you tell us more?

SA - Yes! It has a special characteristic: It’s built from sacred geometry. Each half of the heart is built out of a perfect, logarithmic curve growing at the rate of phi, which creates the perfect spirals. This reflects the Fibonacci sequence of numbers that show up everywhere in nature (conch shell, galaxies, sunflowers, etc.). That natural rhythm of life has been built into Sacred Chocolate: a good reminder to live from your Sacred Heart.

ZO - Where do you source your cacao bean?

SA - We source most of our cacao beans from a cooperative in Ecuador, known for its prized heirloom Arriba Nacional variety of cacao. We also source from Sri Lanka and Hawaii.

ZO - Hybridized cacao is causing deforestation around the world. Some people are aware of this issue around coffee, but many are not aware of the impact that commercial cacao growing is having in contributing to this agricultural disaster. What should consumers look for when buying chocolate?

SA - It’s truly a nightmare – particularly in West Africa. There are satellite images confirming all of this. Most of the chocolate industry is focused on the bottom line, in maximizing their profits using the smallest amount of land. When choosing chocolate you should make sure:

1) It’s organic.

2) It’s fair trade.

3) The cacao bean is heirloom or shade grown in a natural jungle environment. You need to talk to the company directly for this, as you won’t often find it on the packaging.

4) If you’re really health conscious, makes sure it’s raw.

Zebra Organics wholeheartedly supports Sacred Chocolate

After chatting with Steve, it’s evident that he is a smart, passionate, creative guy who cares deeply about the product he produces, the land that it comes from, the people that supply it to Sacred Chocolate, and the customers that end up enjoying these special chocolates. We fully support Sacred Chocolate’s mission to continue to produce the most exceptionally tasting and nutritious chocolate in the world.

All of Zebra Organics’ brand cacao and chocolate products are from heirloom variety, shade-grown trees that come from environmentally and socially responsible sources. One hundred percent of our Zebra Organics brand products are eco friendly, non-GMO, certified organic, and fair trade certified.

We carry some of the most delicious flavors of Sacred Chocolate; Twilight Dark Chocolate (69%), India Sunset Heart Bar (61%), Mylk Chocolate (58%) and the dairy-free white chocolate, White Passion. We look forward to hearing how you like them!

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The Lost Art of Artisan Olive Curing

Are you a fan of olives? Do you want to know what the secret is to flavourful and nutrient-dense olives? The way in which they are cured makes all the different to the taste and flavour.

Olive Curing

Olives have to be cured because they're unpalatably bitter when they come off the tree. If you’ve ever tried to eat them, you’ll know it’s impossible. To be able to eat them, they have to be cured in some manner. The Old World way of doing that is fermentation. A lot of people have departed from the Old World way because of time and money, though it's making a comeback today.

Old World vs New World Olive Curing

Old World fermentation is the secret to flavourful and nutrient-dense olives. The Old World method is simple. The olives are placed into salted spring water and then sealed in large vats so there’s no air. They are left there to ferment for about two or two and a half months. They are then rinsed, pitted and dried.

“Our olives come from a third generation farm in Peru where they just won’t do it any other way." says Randy Olsen, founder, Zebra Organics. "As far as olives go, this is a lost art. There are a few places in the world that still do it, but these are few and far between.”

Nowadays the most common method of curing olives is with lye, a caustic chemical that you have to rinse out. Lye kills a lot of the good bacteria and also takes away the natural flavour and aroma.

“The reason most companies cure the New World way nowadays is because of time and money. They don't want to spend the time on fermentation. Curing with lye only takes 12 hours. The Old World way is a huge time commitment. Many companies aren’t doing things because they're mindful of taste, quality and nutrient value; it's just money. They want to get the food out there fast and they want to produce huge volumes of it. They also want to keep it on the shelves for extended amounts of time but the irony of that is fermentation actually preserves the olive - or any other food. When you open up our Black Botija Olives, they don’t have to be refrigerated, unlike olives that are cured in lye. They are already preserved,” says Olsen.

Be mindful of the cans on grocery store shelves that say “Black, ripe olives.” These are likely to have been picked as a green olive off the tree and have had all the nutrients cooked out of them with chemicals. They are put into a combination of things like lye and iron salts and other highly caustic and alkaline liquids. (While people talk about being alkaline, being fully alkaline, like being fully acidic, burns though metal). Lye is one of the most alkaline (and dangerous) chemicals on the planet. The olives have to be rinsed multiple times before they’re packaged, so there’s no chance of ingesting the lye. Being extremely corrosive, you can’t get it on your skin or it will burn through it.

Zebra Organics Olives

Our Black Botija Olives offer a robust flavour. Cured in spring water, they are rinsed over a few days, sun dried and pitted. The process is all manual and there is no salt added afterwards. You can enjoy the natural texture, while tasting all the layers of flavour that is preserved via the Old World curing process.

Olives make for a great appetizer. Put these black olives out during a party and they’ll be your most popular snack and are guaranteed to not last long. Olives are also great in pasta salads and pasta sauces.

Give them a try and let us know what you think!

The Benefits of Fermentation

Fermentation has been around as long as man. As long as there’s been life on earth there’s been some form of fermentation. Popular foods like beer, bread, coffee, kimchi and sauerkraut have all been fermented. There’s no food that you can’t ferment.

Fermented foods foster gut health. Anytime you’re eating fermented food, you’re increasing the good bacteria in your system, which we cannot live without. (The bacterium that’s harmful to humans is killed during the fermentation process). As a culture, we’ve become afraid of bacteria. We’re a nation of germophobes. What’s important is that the more good bacteria we have in our bodies, the less chance bad bacteria has to grow and cause disease.

Fermented foods don’t rot or decay and are more flavourful. There's a lot of research now that has found they regulate our mood, the chemistry of our stomach and our immune system.

Olives for Good Health

Olives have been part of the Mediterranean diet since the Middle Ages and they come with all sorts of health benefits. Did you know all olives are black? There’s no such thing as a green olive tree. (Mind blowing, isn't it?). Olives are picked at different times of the season, depending on preference. If you let all olives ripen fully they will all be black.

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Interview: Dr. Friedlander on Collagen for Bone Health

As world-renowned physician, chiropractor, professional trainer and coach, Dr. Friedlander has a long history in the sports medicine field. We were fortunate to interview him for this blog post. Read on our listen to the interview on YouTube: Dr. Bernd Friedlander Interview - Collagen.Dr. Friedlander has been developing his current roster of products since 1990, which offer a wide range of solutions that promote health and longevity.

Q - What is Collagen?

A - Next to water, collagen is one of the most important structural substances in the bodyand is a major component of skin, hair, nails, muscles andjoints. It is the mechanism that holds the calcium together in our bones andaccounts for approximately 30% of all the protein content in the human body. I was one of the very first ones to really start using collagen for my patients in the 1980s.

Q - What led you to introduce a new brand of collagen?

A - After extensively researching the collagen on the market, I was unsatisfied with the quality of the products available andfound them to be “watered down.” I conducted extensiveresearch in obtaining the finest sources of collagen, which are largelycomposed of amino acids. I wanted a form of collagen that was ofa very low molecular weight, low density and immediately absorbed without requiringfurther digestive enzymes to break it down. My exhaustive search led what is perhaps the purest form of collagen on the market.I realized that one of the most important things in our bones, ligaments, tendons, skin, cell membrane, the lining of our arteries and spinal cord, is collagen. The principal that created all living systems that have a spinal cord and a central nervous system is called the nodo chord and is made of 100% collagen. This is the basic foundation for life.I wanted to make life simple for everybody and make sure they don’t need to take a million pills to find something that works.

Q - What sort of results have people seen from Collagen?

A - Improvement in the health of hair and nails have been reported by customers, as evidenced from using the product for only a relatively short period of time. Collagen has been proven to assist in cartilage recovery, the regeneration of hips and knees, ligaments, tendons, improve muscle definition, function and bone density and also has an anti-aging function.

Who should take collagen?

According to Dr. Friedlander, he haschanged the lives of individuals from all walks of life. From bodybuilders, toprofessional athletes, to the frail, the elderly, exceptional results have beenachieved from Dr. Friedlander’s work. Many people have said that they feel thatthey have had both short and long-term benefits from regular use of collagen.Dr. Friedlander has shared his products with world-class athletes; from teams that include the Raiders, Rams, Lakers, as well as athletes from across the globe that would travel great distances to seek his professional advice. Patients from a world-class sports facility located in Los Angeles were referred to Dr. Friedlander and he was able to assist in the recovery of some athletes without surgery.

Types of Collagen

Different types of Collagen and musculoskeletal supplements are available in store, depending on the results you are trying to achieve. Here are some options to consider when it comes to musculoskeletal health.

Collagen Peptide (powder) works to nourish your cells with the essential nutrition that may be lacking in the average diet. It is anti-inflammatory, promotes wound healing, supports bone density, immune function, suppresses inflammation, repair/regeneration of ligaments, bones, tendons, skin. Promotes gut function.Collagen with amino acids (powder) The addition of amino acids promotes

anti-oxidant benefit, supports brain function, detoxification, wound healing and gut inflammation.

High performance coconut collagen – a proprietary formulation of collagen + colostrum + coconut milk powder and 22 vitamins and minerals. Promotes increased energy, wound healing, recovery, regeneration, and inflammation. This product was developed for those individuals that want a one stop nutritional product. Excellent for the active individuals such as moms on the go as well as sports enthusiasts. Ultra Blend Probiotic - supports immune function, gut inflammation, assimilation/absorption of foods and nutrients and weight loss.Note: The Team at Zebra Organics has experienced a number of products over the years but few standouts like Dr. Friedlander's Ultra Blend probiotic powder. It sells with consistent satisfaction and enthusiasm from our customers. MCT Oil - extracted from coconut oil, MCT oil is a fat that burns fat. Supports energy, brain function, fat burning function. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease.

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Recipe: Chai Almond Shortbread Cookies

We know how it feels when a sugar craving hits you. You're trying to be healthy and you know cookies are loaded with sugar and excess calories. When you're standing in the chocolate aisle aisle at the grocery store with dozens of cookie boxes begging for you to pick them up, slowly back away. Instead, opt for a healthier option that will satisfy your sugar craving. You won't regret picking up the ingredients for this Chai Almond Shortbread cookie recipe. These crisp and buttery cookies are laced with a delicious nutty chai flavour that your friends and family will love. The beauty of this recipe is that it calls for Tagatose. If you're scratching your head at what this is, it's a low-calorie healthy substitute for sugar. It's a natural sweetener found in milk that is not quite as sweet as sugar but still a great substitute. It has a clean, neutral taste. If you want to learn more about sugar substitutes, Nat Geo baked a number of cakes with different artificial sugars: How Sugar Substitutes Stack Up. This recipe also requires chai syrup. You can buy this at most grocery stores or you can make your own: recipe here.

We believe that anything baked at home is going to be fresher, better tasting and better for you than anything packaged and processed that you buy from the grocery store. How can it not when you add the time, attention and love?



• 1 cup of Almond Flour • 3 Tablespoons softened butter • 3 Tablespoons Tagatose • 1/8 Salt • 1 Tablespoon of Chai Syrup


  1. In a large bowl (or stand mixer) combine all of the ingredients listed above.
  2. Preheat oven to 325 F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Mix all of the ingredients together until a cohesive dough forms.
  4. Scoop 1” balls of dough onto the prepared baking sheet. You could use a teaspoon cookie scoop or just roll them in your hands. Arrange the ball of dough about 1 ½” to 2” apart, then use a fork to flatten each cookie to about 1/4 “thick.
  5. Bake the cookies for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown. (keep in mind Tagatose browns at a lower temperature than sugar so keep an eye on the cookies) Remove the cookies from the over and cool them on the pan for 10 minutes.
  6. Enjoy with a cup of tea and remember to share with friends and family

In the mood for spending some more time in the kitchen? Here are some healthy recipes you may like to try:

Bone Broth (with vegetarian broth option) • Blissful Anandamide: Tonic Recipe for BeginnersHomemade Nut MilkSimple Green Smoothie Do you have a recipe you'd like to share with us? Please e-mail us at

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Top 5 of our Favorite Farmers’ Markets in the USA

There are so many reasons why one should visit a farmers' market. What we love most is all the freshly picked produce of course, and the rare opportunity to chat to the farmer directly - you might learn about new ways to store and prepare your favourite foods! Every trip to a farmers' market ignites a new story. All these markets are charming, in beautiful settings and have their own unique personality.

1. Santa Fe Farmers’ Market, New Mexico

Located at the historic Santa Fe Railyard in Santa Fe, New Mexico, this market is one of the best around that features local agriculture of Northern New Mexico as well as a variety of chilies, foods and an abundance of sauces made from recipes that have been passed down from generation to generation.

More than just a farmers’ market, you’re in for a truly unique experience. Added bonuses include health screenings, food demonstrations, samples of healthy, affordable meals and even the occasional exercise class.

Location: 1607 Paseo De Peralta, Santa Fe, New Mexico

Hours: Tuesdays and Saturdays 7:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m., Wednesdays 3:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Visit their website

2. Upcountry Farmers' Market, Maui, Hawaii

Operating for more than 40 years, this is a magical market has an abundance of organic vegetables (you almost have to go out of your way to find a conventional vegetable on Maui). There are many community chefs that make a variety of vegetarian, vegan and raw foods sold at this market. Apart from fresh, locally grown organic produce you’ll find coconuts, macadamia nuts, fresh fish, tropical flowers, plants and trees, Maui-grown coffee, Lilikoi butter, plus a bunch of new offerings weekly. Check out HawaiiOnTv's coverage of the Farmers' Market.

Location: 55 Kiopaa St, Makawao, Maui

Hours: Saturdays 7:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.

Visit their website

3. Palm Springs Farmers' Market, California

Our very own Palm Springs Farmers’ Market is part of a seasonal trio of markets called the Coachella Valley Certified Farmers’ Markets. It is open year-round the other two in the valley close for the hot summer season. Although Zebra Organics and Palm Springs are situated in the Sonoran Desert, we are surrounded by a profound variety of very nearby climates that provide the perfect growing conditions for a diverse range of produce. Although this market is smaller than those in larger cities, the quality of produce is outstanding - it will make you want to get out your blender and food processor and whip up your favourite dish.

Location: Palm Springs Pavilion, California

Hours: Saturdays, 8:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Plus a new Summer Market at Westfield Palm Desert, California

Hours: Sundays, 9:00 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. May 6 - September 16, 2018

Visit their website

4. The Union Square Greenmarket, New York City

Featuring more than 140 regional farmers, fishers and bakers in peak season, this world famous market is open a few days a week and is always a special treat. It is an oasis in the city that provides an escape from the hustle bustle of urban life. It’s known for its fresh fruits and vegetables, heritage meats, award-winning farmstead cheeses, artisan breads, jams, pickles, fresh-cut flowers and plants, wine, ciders, maple syrup and more.

You can’t beat the electric atmosphere in one of New York’s greatest public spaces. As many as sixty thousand people a day flock to the market, from shoppers that come to chat with farmers, to students of all ages that come to learn about seasonality. Since its debut in 1976 with just a few farmers, this market has grown exponentially. Keep your eyes peeled for cooking demonstrations by some of New York’s most popular local chefs.

Location: Union Square, E 17th St & Broadway, New York City, NY

Hours: Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Check out their website

5. Santa Monica Wednesday Market

Welcome to the largest grower-only certified organic market in Southern California. Spread out over four city blocks, Santa Monica’s Wednesday market showcases 75 farmers and a vast selection of goods. Three growers have set up shop here since 1981 when the market first opened; Flying Disc Ranch in Thermal, Mike and Sons Egg Ranch in Ontario and Scotts Farms in Dinuba. Chefs from across Los Angeles gather at the market for the first fresh pick of goods. The quantity and quality of produce is astounding!

Location: Arizona Avenue, between 4th & Ocean, Santa Monica

Time: Wednesdays 8:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.

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