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 body and is a major component of skin, hair, nails, muscles and joints. It is the mechanism that holds the calcium together in our bones and accounts 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 and found them to be “watered down.” I conducted extensive research in obtaining the finest sources of collagen, which are largely composed of amino acids. I wanted a form of collagen that was of a very low molecular weight, low density and immediately absorbed without requiring further 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 has changed the lives of individuals from all walks of life. From bodybuilders, to professional athletes, to the frail, the elderly, exceptional results have been achieved from Dr. Friedlander’s work. Many people have said that they feel that they 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.

Best Healthy Shortbread Cookies | Zebra Organics

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?

Servings:

Ingredients:

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

Directions:

  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 Beginners
Homemade Nut Milk
Simple Green Smoothie

Do you have a recipe you’d like to share with us? Please e-mail us at info@zebraorganics.com

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.

Farmers Market in Santa Fe

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

 

Wheatgrass shot, Maui Farmers Market, Hawaii, Healthy Eating
Picture by Steven Depolo via Flickr

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

 

farmers market, healthy eating, healthy living, palm springs

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

 

farmers market, heritage cheese, new york city

  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

 

Eggs, Farmers Market, California, Healthy Eating
Picture by Foodlander via Flickr

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.

almond-milk-healthy-living-zebra-organics

Non-Dairy Milk Alternatives – Which is right for you?

The industry for non-dairy alternatives to milk has grown exponentially in the last decade. In fact, worldwide sales doubled between 2009 and 2015 to $21 billion.

Buying milk from the supermarket is not as straightforward as it used to be. We aren’t just limited to full cream and skim; there’s a whole world of non-dairy options available. The most popular alternatives are derived from soy, almond, rice, coconut, cashew and macadamia. Oat, pea and hemp milks are also making appearances. Next time you’re at the supermarket, peruse the options and you’ll be surprised at the selection. Non-dairy alternatives are not only popular for those with allergies or intolerances to cow’s milk; they have become a lifestyle choice.

Tip: Look for “calcium fortified” varieties, which contain similar amounts of calcium to cow’s milk.

Healthy Non Dairy Almond Milk

Almond Milk

This is a fabulous alternative for vegans, as it’s lactose-, soy-, and dairy-free. If you have ever tried to purchase almond milk from the supermarket, you may have struggled to choose between the refrigerated options and long-life options. The only difference is that they have been pasteurized differently. Without getting too technical, they use either UHT (ultra high heat) pasteurization or HTST (high-temperature short-time) pasteurization. The UHT processing for shelf milk doesn’t actually deplete key nutrients like protein and calcium. (Fitness Magazine goes into depth about this).

If you’re tossing up between brands, the best way to choose is to do a direct comparison of the almond content. The unsweetened option is your best bet.

The not so good news

The thing about almond milk is that it’s not so great for the environment. It takes five litres of water to grow one almond. Around 80 per cent of the world’s almonds are produced in California (Almond Board of California) and the state suffered from a drought for more than five years (California Water Science Center).

According to estimates from Euromonitor International, almond consumption grew 15 per cent from 2012 to 2017 and growth is predicted to continue rising through to 2021 by 4 per cent annually.

Oat Milk

With the market growth in lactose-free alternatives comes the rise in the lesser-known oat milk. Made from steel cut oats mixed with water, oat milk is nut-free, high in fiber and has a neutral and creamy flavor. It requires six times less the amount of water to grow than an almond, making it much more sustainable to produce. Sweden-based Oatly was the world’s first producer of oat milk and has been making it for about 30 years. It has made its way into cafes in the United States and has been praised by coffee drinkers for its taste and consistency. Unlike soy milk, it reacts well to heating and doesn’t curdle.

raw-milk-organic-zebra-organics

Raw milk

Raw milk is a growing food fad but sales are restricted. In 17 states, raw milk is allowed to be purchased on the farm on which it was produced. Only 13 states in the US (which includes California) are allowed to sell their milk in retail stores. Selling and purchasing raw milk in Canada is illegal. Read more here. There is a long history and debate surrounding legalizing raw milk in the United States. Raw milk is unpasteurized, a process where milk products are heated to make them safe for drinking. Public health authorities claim that there is a risk of illness from raw milk consumption. Others swear by it and advocate the benefits. The Guardian investigated this further. If you’d like to learn more, we encourage you to watch the “Milk Money” episode as part of the “Rotten” Netflix documentary series.

Rice Milk

Rice milk is made from brown rice and commonly found unsweetened. It is often available in different flavours, much like almond milk. It’s low in fat and generally tastes sweeter than cow’s milk. Research suggest it lowers cholesterol and hypertension, and has anti-diabetic, anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidative effects.

Hemp, soy, coconut, macadamia, cashew and pea milks are also great non-daily options. We recommend you do further research to ensure that you are choosing the best option for you. If you enjoy making your food from scratch, read our post on Homemade Nut Milk.

Ginseng | Zebra Organics

5 Adaptogens to Help Relieve Stress

Also known as adaptogenic herbs, adaptogens are a natural substance that helps the body adapt to stress.

The idea of plants with health-enhancing properties has been around for thousands of years. Although the term “adaptogen” was coined in the 1940s, many of the herbs we know as adaptogens today were first used many generations ago in Ayurveda (one of the world’s oldest medical systems, originating in India) and in traditional Chinese medicine.

These plants have adapted themselves in nature over time. They are grown in hot climates, cold climates, high elevations and low elevations and thus that’s how they get their name.

1. Tocos (Rice Bran Solubles) 

What it is: Derived from brown rice, Tocos is a powder that has a vanilla-like flavour. Light and fluffy, it is a delicious addition to smoothies.

How it works: Tocos is “skin food.” It fosters glowing skin and healthy hair. Rich in Vitamin E, Tocos helps support a health and beauty.

Read more about it: A Powerful Lesser-known Superfood

Ginseng adaptogens | Zebra Organics
Ginseng in its raw form. Photo by Forest Farming via Flickr

2. Ginseng

What it is: Ginseng is a root. It is one of the most well-known medicinal herbs in the world and is commonly used in traditional Chinese medicine.

How it works: Ginseng contains an array of health-promoting properties, from preventing and treating colds, to diabetes, an upset stomach, to poor circulation and memory problems. From improving concentration to immune function, the list goes on. The University of California will tell you more.

Maca - adaptogens | Zebra Organics
Raw, organic Maca powder

3. Maca

What it is: Maca is a root that is a relative of the potato. It is also a Peruvian superfood.

How it works: Maca powder is made from concentrated fresh maca roots. It enhances strength, endurance, fertility, libido and helps the body cope with stress.

It’s a great addition to your smoothie.

4. Ashwagandha (also known as Indian Ginseng)

What it is: Ashwagadha is derived from the root of the plant, which is the most potent part.

How it works: Well known in Ayurvedic medicine, Ashwagandha promotes vigor and strength, tonifies the immune system and reduces the effects of mental, physical and emotional stress.

View a video of the benefits.

5. He Shou Wu

What it is: Root

How it works: He Shou Wu is believed to do many different things; including supporting longevity, anti-aging, blood-building, beauty and body rejuvenation. In edition, it may help tonify and nourish the blood, hair, skin, nervous system, sexual center, spirit and help to reduce cholesterol. It may support endocrine glands, improved stamina, cold resistance, red blood cell production, and immune function and antioxidant activity.

Try this morning adaptogen elixir.

Sun Potion’s He Shou Wu is wildcrafted in the “Di Tao” Region of Origin in China. It’s so finely ground, that it dissolves nicely in liquids. Mix with Ashwaganda for a similar taste to coffee.

Sprouted Organic Food | Zebra Organics

Interview with Joshua, Founder of Living Intentions

This week we spoke with Joshua McHugh, founder of Living Intentions, a raw food company based in California. We wanted to learn more and find out what they’re up to.

In case you aren’t familiar with them, Living Intentions were among the early pioneers of the modern sprouted food movement. Over a decade ago Joshua began offering sprouted, activated foods under his Living Intentions brand. He has stayed true to his name, in both his intent to offer clean, nutrient-rich, excellent tasting nuts and seeds and to assure his customers are getting living foods via their sprouting/activation techniques.

Living Intentions | Organic Food, California

What inspired you to start the company?

Many things! I really wanted to start a food company creating innovative snacks that were healthier than the alternative out there. This really kept me on the forefront of sourcing high-quality unique ingredients and herbal extracts from other functional foods.

What are the main benefits of a raw food diet? Would you encourage everyone to try it?

I would recommend anybody try it as part of a balanced lifestyle, I really preach the 80/20 rule: 80% raw, 20% cooked. It’s all about the enzymes. Enzymes create a pathway for the body to rejuvenate and heal.

What product can you not live without?

Two items, Sprouted Pumpkin Seeds and our new Superfood Popcorn.

Tell us how you do what you do in an environmentally friendly fashion.

Well first off, 99% of the ingredients we source are organic. We also source “transitional almonds”. “Transitional” is the process from conventional to organic and all farming is done in accordance to organic methods. We have helped a handful of farms move from a conventional crop to an organic crop over the last 15 years.

What’s been the biggest challenge you have faced since you launched the company? 

Business is a roller coaster, and things are coming at you from all angles. I’m not sure if there is one specific challenge, however, you just have to take it as it comes and work your way through the process of learning.

Who (or what) inspires you?

I am inspired by innovation. Whether it’s food music or anything else I feel like being at the forefront of any movement takes a lot of courage, strength and perseverance. That’s what inspires me.

What’s the best piece of advice you can give to someone that wants to make healthy food choices?

The best advice is actually really simple but under utilized in today’s crazy world. Feel your food! Feel what you’re putting in your body, as it knows what’s good for you and if you can learn to listen to it, you will be a super healthy person.

“We’ve been selling Living Intentions since Zebra Organics was founded in 2007. I first tried them an Erewhon Natural Foods in LA, when they first came out over 10 years ago, and fell in love with the flavors and quality” – Randy Olsen, founder of Zebra Organics.

“I admire that Joshua and his company always have, and continue to, strive to educate people on the value of sprouted / activated / raw / living foods and the nutrient / health value of such foods.”

View our favourite products by Living Intentions here.

Learn more about sprouted foods.

Tocos | Zebra Organics Superfood

A Powerful Lesser-known Superfood

If you’ve never heard of Tocos, we’re about to open your eyes to this lesser-known superfood. Move over maca and anandamide (and any other powders and elixirs you may have in your cupboards); it’s time to make way for this nutrient powerhouse of rice bran.

The scoop on Tocos

Tocos, also referred to as tocotrienols, contains protein, minerals, vitamins and healthy fatty acids. It is derived from organically grown brown rice. (A grain of rice consists of three parts; the endosperm and the rice germ and rice bran).

Fun fact: Commercial white rice lacks the germ and the brain. They are removed from white rice to prolong shelf life.  

Rice bran is the nutritional powerhouse of the rice grain. Its nutritional density is quite remarkable. It is a super rich source of natural Vitamin E. Research suggests that Vitamin E has an array of health benefits. First and foremost, it is an antioxidant that helps to maintain healthy skin. It also helps protect against cancer and other chronic diseases (2010 study). Studies suggest that higher consumption of Vitamin E decreases the chance of developing heart disease.

More research is required to determine the complete role of Tocos.

Why you should try it

Tocos adds a creaminess and frothiness to drinks. It has a delicious vanilla flavour, similar to vanilla ice-cream. It’s like eating some kind of rich, natural protein mix.

How to use it

We recommend adding 1-2 tbsp to the potion of your choice. Our favourite way to use Tocos is to blend it into smoothies. It can be sprinkled on desserts, lattes, yogurt and cereal, and added to nut butters. It can also be used to make face masks with shea butter and raw honey. Try combining it with spirulina, acai berries and chia seeds for a great assortment of nutrients to support your health.

Remember to use a high-quality, raw form such as Rice Bran Solubles Tocotrienols.

Organic Coffee | Zebra Organics

Organic vs. Conventional Coffee – How big is the difference?

Coffee lovers are very particular about the flavour, aroma and origin of their brew. These are among the differences between one brand and another, but one of the biggest differences is whether the coffee is organically or congenitally grown.

You may already choose organic in the shopping aisle but why should you go organic for your brew?

To meet demand for one of the most sought after commodities in the world, farming methods have evolved to maximise production – often to the expense of the environment.

Avoid toxic chemicals

Conventional coffee is doused in pesticides, herbicides, synthetic fertilisers and more (check out this Finnish study). Farmers are exposed to these chemicals while spraying the crops and harvesting them. These highly toxic chemicals are damaging to our health and the chemical residue in the air may impact surrounding communities.

Better for the environment

Organic coffee is grown and produced chemical and synthetic fertiliser-free, meaning our beans, air, land and water are cleaner.Grown with organic fertiliser such as compost, chicken manure or coffee pulp, organic coffee production emits less carbon than chemical farms.

Tastes better

Coffee connoisseurs claim that it has a richer, fuller flavour than congenitally grown coffee.

Organic coffee grows better in the shade, which means coffee plantations can exist without destroying forests and animal habitats. Coffee was traditionally grown in the shade but growers shifted to the sun to increase yield.

Zebra Organics supports coffee growers by supplying fair trade coffee. Instituted to provide growers with better conditions and a higher profit margin, fair trade rules indicate that the coffee importer must have a direct relationship with the grower.

The organic coffee market has grown in popularity because people want to drink something they can feel good about. As a purchaser of organic coffee, you are supporting heathy ecosystems, sustainable farming methods and high quality coffee.

Fast facts

  • Coffee is the most respected beverage in the world. The coffee exporting business is worth a whopping 20 billion dollars. After crude oil, it’s the most sought after commodity on the planet.
  • Coffee is grown in more than 50 countries in South and Central America, Asia, Africa and the Caribbean. 90 per cent of the world’s coffee is produced by developing countries. The top three producers are Brazil, Vietnam and Columbia.
  • 90 per cent of Americans consume coffee every day.

Zebra Organics carries organic and fair trade coffee by Joshua Tree Coffee Company.

Almonds | Brain food

Top 10 Foods to Fuel the Brain

We know it’s important to eat well to keep our bodies in shape but are we forgetting about our minds?

Our diet can impact our mood, concentration and memory. Keep your precious brain functioning at its best with these top ten foods for brain health. After all, it’s the brain that controls most of our body’s activities so it’s important we feed it the right fuel.

Blueberries | Brain food

1. Blueberries

Strong scientific evidence exists that suggests that blueberries (not to mention blackberries and strawberries as well) have positive effects on the brain and may even help prevent memory loss. Berries are packed with antioxidants, which aid brain function by simulating blood and oxygen flow to the brain.

Salmon | Brain Food

2. Wild Salmon

Wild salmon is best known for its high protein and Omega-3 fatty acid content. Omega-3 oils are important for an array of bodily functions, from digestion and fertility, to muscle activity and brain development.

Farmed salmon is a good alternative is wild salmon isn’t available, according to the Washington State Department of Health.

Almonds | Brain food

3. Almonds

Much like salmon, almonds are high in omega-3 fatty acid brain fuel. They also contain vitamin E that slows down the aging of brain cells that impact memory. A study in the American Journal of Nutrition found that almonds assist with improving cognitive dysfunctions in patients with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Broccoli | Brain Food

4. Broccoli

Broccoli is rich in brain-healthy nutrients such as Vitamin K, lutein, folate, and beta-carotene. Studies have shown broccoli and some plant-based foods may help to slow cognitive degeneration. In recent years, Vitamin K has been seen to fight oxidative stress and inflammation related to Alzheimer’s disease. Data also exists that suggests it has the capacity to influence psychomotor behaviour and cognition.

Leafy vegetables such as spinach and kale also contain the same nutrients and can fuel the brain in a similar way.

Walnuts | Brain food | Zebra Organics Health Food

5. Walnuts

Studies have proven that cognitive function is greater in adults that consume walnuts. Snacking on walnuts or tossing them into a salad or onto cereal are easy ways to include them in your diet for improved memory, concentration and information processing. Walnuts contain more antioxidants, folic acid and vitamin E than any other nut! They are also high in Omega-3 fatty acids that support brain health.

Fun fact: Walnuts are the same shape as the brain! 

Avocado | Brain Food

6. Avocado 

A recent study by Tuffs University in 2017 found that avocado consumption in older adults increases a pigment in the brain that relates to better cognition. The research revealed that adults aged 50 and over that ate one fresh avocado a day for six months experienced improved working memory and problem-solving skills.

Research also shows that the high levels of monosaturated fats may help keep nerve cells in the brain healthy by improving blood flow.

Herb infused chocolate | Zebra Organics

7. Dark Chocolate

Flavonols, a type of antioxidant in cocoa, can help to improve blood flow to the brain and heart. It’s also found in apples, wine and certain types of berries and vegetables.

Chocolate lovers should remember that dark chocolate is the healthiest type of chocolate you can eat but it should be eaten in moderation. Here’s how it compares to milk chocolate.

Turmeric spice | Brain food | Healthy Living

8. Turmeric

Studies have proven that turmeric, a herb in the ginger family, aids with brain regeneration, helping to enhance memory. Widely grown in the tropics of Asia, turmeric has also been proven to prevent and slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease by eliminating a plaque buildup in the brain.

Zebra Organics Coconut Oil

9. Coconut Oil

There is evidence to suggest that coconut oil can help people suffering of dementia to regain their cognitive function. It is important to note that more research is required to determine whether coconut oil is able to improve cognitive function in normal brains.

(Coconut oil is rich in MCTs (medium-chain triglycerides) that break down into ketones. Ketones are transported to the brain when there’s no glucose for it to burn, but only in emergencies will the brain actually use ketones as an energy source).

Coconut oil is a healthy fat with an array of health benefits and can be used in lots of different ways. Read about them here.

Green Tea | Zebra Organics

10. Green Tea

Green tea is well known for its powerful effects on the body. When it comes to brain health, the large amount of caffeine naturally present in green tea has been found to “improve performance on long-duration cognitive tasks” (National Institute of Health).

A Singapore study found that regular tea drinkers (those who drank a cup to three or more cups a day) reaped the most benefits in terms of brain health.

Learn about our top 5 herbal teas here.

We recommend making a conscious effort to include these foods in your diet. This is important not just for brain health, but because they’re packed with a whole lot of nutritious goodness.

Hall Newbegin of Juniper in nature harvesting

Interview with Hall Newbegin of Juniper Ridge

We recently had another chat with Hall Newbegin, founder of Juniper Ridge, to learn more about what inspired him to develop the California-based wilderness fragrance company.

Tell us about the process of producing your essential oils. What’s that look like from harvest to bottle?

We start by choosing a place. That location dictates what and how we harvest. It’s pretty straight-forward. A small group of us sets out on a trail and we go deep. We all stick our noses in the dirt and come up with a consensus on what makes that place smell the way it does. Once we’ve figured that out, we start harvesting.

Take Redwoods and other conifers of the West, for example. We get a lot of our redwood essential oil from trees that fall down in winter storms. We are commissioned as the cleanup crew and collect materials from the site. If we’re not collecting fallen trees, we obtain permits from the US Forest Service or State Parks to venture into the woods and trim the bottoms of tall trees. The trees respond well to pruning, and of course keep growing taller and taller, well out of the range of even the most acrobatic wildcrafter. Neither the trees nor the ecosystem are harmed by this type of careful pruning. Everything we do is done with permission and harvested sustainably.

Essential Oils by Juniper Ridge | Zebra Organics

What makes your essential oils unique and stand out in quality?

There are no shortages of reasons we’re unique – we’re the freaks of the industry! Our problem traditionally has been that we’re so far out there no one understands what we’re doing.

We’re the only aromatics company in the world doing what we’re doing; harvesting the natural materials extracting the aromatics from beginning to end, so we have complete control over every step in the process.

We’re also the only company working with local western plants from the mountains – so we have that added differentiator. One hundred years ago, before the advent of synthetic / petrochemical fragrance, this would have been totally normal, but today it’s just freakish.

You harvest ingredients straight from Mother Nature. How do you ensure that you are doing this ethically, as stewards of the land?

Here are just a few of our guidelines for sustainable harvesting, which we always follow and have modeled after those set forth by the legendary hippie herbalist Howie Brounstein:

  • Do you have the permission or the permits for collecting at the site?
  • Are you at the proper elevation?
  • Is there any natural or chemical contamination?
  • Are there rare, threatened, endangered, or sensitive plants growing nearby at any time of the year?
  • Is wildlife foraging the stand?
  • Do you have the proper emotional state?
  • Look around after harvesting. Any holes or cleanup needed?
  • Are you picking herbs in the proper order for a long trip?

It’s a long, thorough list, but following it in detail keeps us diligent and responsible in our work. In addition to meeting the qualifications on this list, we make sure to only take excess growth, that is, smaller plants that won’t survive in the middle of larger, mature plants. Generally speaking, we harvest one plant for every hundred you see.

In addition to ensuring we harvest plants sustainably, we also give 10% of our profits to groups that defend western wilderness. In the beginning I used to write checks for $50 bucks to wilderness groups and they’d be like “thanks” but now we can write checks for thousands of dollars to wilderness groups – if I can use this business to put that kind of focus on protecting the few large remaining scraps of western wilderness, wow, that’s great.

What aspect of what you’re doing at Juniper Ridge most excites you?

Most people dream about getting bigger, but I dream about getting smaller, more specific and weirder. The only way forward for us is to keep digging into beauty. I want our priority to always be doing our best work to capture the spirit of a place and put it in a bottle. As long as we’re digging deep into the wild places we love, we can keep bringing you aromatic snapshots of our beautiful world.

How do you come up with new ideas? What gets your creative juices flowing?

It’s all so intuitive. It’s really more artistic than scientific. When I’m out there on the trail, my rusty gears start turning in my head. I smell the dirt and leaf covered logs and it just gets me going.

Did you have any mentors or creative influencers that inspired you on your journey?

Neil Young, Iggy Pop, Jerry Garcia and Lou Reed come to mind immediately. They were the first people to whisper in my ear and tell me to go out there and do the weird thing. When I was 13 or 14 years old, I listened to “Walk on the Wild Side” over and over again. Lou Reed was singing about street hustlers, transgender folks, junkies and a world so much bigger than anything I ever knew growing up in suburban Portland. It freaked me out, but I figured, when you’re frightened by something, it usually means you should be checking it out.

Around that time, I started going off script of what my family and the world expected of me. Then later on it became all about the nature and place based freaks – Gary Snyder, Wallace Stegner, David Wallace, all those folks. They were the ones who started singing more directly to me about place.

I’m a wilderness perfumer, which is a job that’s never really existed before and may never again. I’m a total freak, so it shouldn’t surprise you that my inspirations and heroes are freaks and wanderers, people who aren’t afraid to chuck everything that came before them and try something new.

Douglas Fir Spring Tip Tea by Juniper Ridge | Zebra Organics

What inspired you to produce tea? How did this product innovation come about?

We make things that bring the mountains into people’s day-to-day lives. So whether that’s done through wild harvested aromatics, or a wild harvested tea … I just love it all and get so excited about it! I started making those teas as some of my first products I sold at the farmers markets 20 years ago. They languished in obscurity for years, but I didn’t care.

A normal business would have discontinued the teas a long time ago, but I do things for love, never for money. So I stuck to them because I knew they were beautiful and sure enough now they are one of our strongest sellers. If you make something truly beautiful from the inside out, eventually you’ll find your audience.

Pick your favourite:

Douglas Fir Spring Tip Tea or White Sage and Wild Mint?

I’m going to go with white sage and wild mint. I tend to gravitate towards southwestern / desert plants in general, but this tea just oozes real magic for me and immediately transports me to the wild sage fields that I’ve been visiting every year now for 20 years.

Red Wood Mist essential oil or Cascade Forest?

Redwood Mist! I love the redwood country so much, and even though I grew up on the slopes near Mt Hood in the cascades and while I love Cascade Forest because it evokes those Summery, fir and pine alpine areas of my youth in the peak of wildflower summer, Redwood Mist is more emotionally resonant and complex for me.

What’s your all-time favourite quote that you live by?

That’s easy:

“Find your place on the planet. Dig in and take responsibility from there” – Gary Sndyer

It’s who I am and what I’ve done with my life. I always see everything through the lens of place. And yes, once you’ve found your place, become part of it in a deep way – smell the dirt, use your animal senses to engage with the place, and then the taking care of it and the stand up for it part just naturally flows from there, because you won’t be able to help yourself – you’ve fallen in love and you’d do anything to protect it to make sure it’s ok.

Learn more about Juniper Ridge and their products.