Category: Uncategorized

Meatless Monday Campaign to Better Your Health & the Planet’s

So you’re hearing the words ‘Meatless Monday’ come up regularly and are wondering where this idea came from. Allow us to explain.

Meatless Monday is an international campaign designed to urge people not to consume meat on Monday’s to better their health and the health of the planet. The initiative was founded in 2003 by Sid Lerner of The Monday Campaigns, in association with the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Center for a Livable Future. The campaign follows the nutritional guidelines developed by the USDA.

Meatless Monday is a Healthy Monday initiative. It was developed in accordance with the growing body of research that links healthy thinking and behaviour to the week.

The secret to health behavior change is to establish healthy habits that can be sustained over time.

The purpose of going meatless once a week

  • Good for your health – When it comes to your health, going meatless once a week may reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, limit cancer risk, help fight diabetes, curb obesity, promote longevity and enhance the nutritional quality of your diet.
  • Good for your wallet – Going meatless will help curb healthcare spending by reducing medical bills for preventable conditions. Meatless meals are often less expensive that vegetable-based dishes containing beans and grains.
  • Good for the environment – Reduces water usage, greenhouse gases and fuel dependence.

To further explore these benefits, read more at Why Meatless Monday’s.


The science behind  Monday

According to research by the John Hopkins School of Public Health, Monday is the day when people are most “open to buy” health. Other Monday campaigns that have been launched based on this same research. These include Quit and Stay Quit Monday, Move it Monday and The Monday Mile.

Research summary

Better Mood
Monday signifies the beginning of the week, which influences our mood and health outcomes. Negative health occurences, such as heart attacks and strokes, happen more frequently on Mondays as people shift back to a structured weekly routine. A study conducted in 2006 further explores this. Although 27% of people report that they experience the most stress on Mondays, 58% of people see Monday in a positive light, as a golden opportunity for a “fresh start” and a day to “get my act together.”


Healthy contemplations and actions
Healthy contemplations and actions surge on Monday. Analysis of health-related Google searches between 2004 and 2012 revealed a consistent pattern of spikes in health contemplations at the start of the week.  This pattern was also seen in tobacco-related searches in 6 different languages (see link –here-). Diets, exercise programs, quitting smoking and scheduling doctor’s appointments are more likely to be addressed on Monday than any other day (see Social Science Research Network study).


Start small
Starting small and building on this over time can encourage people to sustain healthy behaviour. 82% of people claim that taking small steps rather than a huge leap makes it easier to accomplish their health goals (According to FGI Research (2014).  Online panel of 1,000 respondents).


Social context for change
Monday offers a social context for change, as people unite and return to the structured routine of work and school. 40% of people claim it’s easier to accomplish their health goals if they are joined by family, friends and co-workers (According to FGI Research (2014).  Online panel of 1,000 respondents).


Increased motivation
Healthy behaviors on Monday encourages people to sustain healthy behavior throughout the week. Dieters that use Monday as a “reset” day to get back on track after indulging over the weekend, average greater long term success. Research has uncovered that people who do this are more likely to maintain progress over time.


You can learn more about the movement and find recipe ideas –here-. We recommend the Crispy Quinoa Vegetable Burgers that are wonderfully satisfying. Quinoa and beans deliver both flavour and protein. Or you can try our Healing Raw Green Soup crafted by one of our very own. It’s simple and quick to prepare. For even more vegetarian recipe ideas, visit EatingWell.

Peggy Neu at TEDxManhattan fleshes out the simple idea of Meatless Monday as part of a global healthy food movement.

Our Microbiome and Probiotic Benefits

The human microbiome is the ecological community of microorganisms that share our body space. Even when we think we are alone we aren’t. We are literally teeming with microorganisms, in fact, we are outnumbered 10 to 1 by bacteria cells. Meaning there are 10 times more bacteria cells in and on the body then there are human cells. They metabolize food and nutrients and keep us healthy and the good bacteria keeps the unhealthy bacteria in check. There are as many as ten
thousand bacterial species in the human microbiome, and they play a
crucial role in our immune function, digestion, metabolism, and other
key health-related functions.

The bacteria that is crucial to health and wellness mainly resides in the large intestine or colon and some can be found on our skin and respiratory passages. The complex network that makes up our personal microbiome affects physical and mental health.

In 2007, the National Institute of Health initiated the “Human Microbiome Project,” a 5-year effort to map the human microbiome. The project involved 242 healthy people. Researchers periodically sampled bacteria from various sites on and in their bodies,
and the initial results were published in 2012. They learned that the bacteria residing in the colon have a much greater effect on our health than we realized. We now know that there’s a direct connection between our microbiome health and numerous physical
diseases and behavioral health disorders. To learn more please visit the Human Microbiome Project. 

Personally I find this topic fascinating and it underscores the importance of microbial health and the need to maintain microbial balance in the body. One thing we is that anti-biotics disrupt this balance making the use of pro-biotics and fermented foods an important part of re-colonization after a round of anti-biotics. Also it is important to avoid eating meat from animals fed anti-biotics, because there is a residue in the milk and flesh of such animals.

In general you want to:

• Keep the colon clean
• Drink plenty of water to avoid constipation
• Avoid refined flour
• Avoid overeating
• Keep in check the amount of sugar you consume

To learn more about the importance of fermented foods, read our previous post on this topic. And, consider using a pro-biotic supplement to assist your body during times of stress, illness or whenever you feel extra support is needed.

The Healthy Living Series – Plant Remedies of the Desert and Mountains of California

Friday, March 27th between 6pm – 8pm

Your presenter for this evenings program will be Mark D’Aquila, a plant researcher and plant medicine maker. His interest in the unique environments of the California deserts and mountains has led him to develop many new remedies of the healing plants which grow there.  The plants of this region offer a unique healing energy which can be useful for tension relief, calming, cleansing and rejuvenation of our life force. This will be a fun, informative and enriching evening.

Much of his plant research is on the frontier, his aim being to research those plants which are valuable but less known.  Like his work the evening will be about discovery, in his talks he encourages active audience dialogue. There will be discussion, experience based exercises, and more!

Everyone is welcome and all events in the Healthy Living Series are free.

We hope to see you there.
For more information on upcoming events Visit and subscribe to our blog. The Healthy Living fall – winter series will feature lectures by doctors and wellness practitioners, cooking classesdemos and film screenings. Events take place at:

Zebra Organics / Sky Island Organics
870 E Research Drive, Unit 6
Palm Springs, CA  92262

Herbs and Vegetables for Healthy Bones

The essentials for healthy living bones; exercise, herbs and vegetables. Besides mineral supplementation there are a number of safe herbs and vegetables you can lean on for added mineral support.



One of my favorite herb is nettle, in fact it is a favorite among most herbalists, simply because it safe for most everyone and makes a great tonic. Nettle is a common spring herb which grows along streams, at the edge of the woods and along yards and fence lines. Come spring time you won’t have to look far to find it, but be careful because it stings. So if you do want to harvest fresh nettles for tea and soup wear gloves. Once dried nettle loses it sting but retains its rich minerals.

One of the most popular ways to take nettle and other mineral rich herbs is via a water decoction, a tea. To really get the most from the herbs steep the tea overnight. Extended steep time allows a full and thorough mineral extraction. A simple formula for mineral rich herb tea is to use 2 heaping tablespoons worth of dried herbs for each liter of water. Pour hot water over your herbs, cover and let sit overnight, you may reheat the tea or drink it cold.

Besides nettle other mineral rich herbs which make a tasty tea include; oat-straw, dandelion root, burdock root and alfalfa. These herbs are know to be gentle and safe. When you make your tea consider adding either peppermint, lemon verbena or spearmint for flavor.



Out of all the vegetables available the most nutrient-dense are the sea vegetables. They are full of macro and trace minerals. The most readily available sea vegetables include, kelp, dulse, wakamea, hydrilla verticalla and sea palm.

My two favorite land vegetables for bone health are kale and collard greens. These hearty leafy greens are an excellent source of calcium, chlorophyl and other minerals. Kale and Collard greens were once after thoughts but now you can find them just about any where. Kale chips have made inroads everywhere and are now available in conventional supermarkets.

You don’t need to look far to find good sources of calcium. But one thing you do need to be aware of is limiting foods and beverages which create an acidic body environment (to find out more, read our blog post The Importance of Alkalizing your Body). This is because it takes alkaline minerals like calcium to neutralize acids in the body. You want to insure your calcium is not being diverted away from bone building to acid neutralization.


Last but certainly not least, exercise, a vital component to building strong bones. On top of proper nutrition including the right amount and types of exercise is vital to keeping bones healthy. Physical activity tones bone and muscle, and strong muscles minimize the risk of bone-shattering falls. New bone formation and growth requires that the exercise stress the bone. Simple weight-bearing exercises which stress the bone are walking, jogging, jumping rope, climbing stairs. Also consider adding strength-training exercises such as lifting weights or other forms of exercise that offer resistance. For greater equilibrium consider engaging in a yoga or tai chi practice. These simple forms of exercise are known to improve balance and improved balance can lead to fewer falls.

If trying to eat the right amount of herbs, sea veggies and land veggies seems like too much, and keep you body alkaline . . .  Then consider an All in One supplement like Vitamineral Greens. Its ingredient list is a through . . .

From the Land
• Nettle Leaf
• Shavegrass (Horsetail)
• Alfalfa Leaf Juice
• Dandelion Leaf Juice
• Barley Grass Juice
• Oat Grass Juice
• Barley Grass
• Wheat Grass
• American Basil
• Holy Basil/Tulsi
• Moringa Leaf
• Yacon Leaf
• Nopal Cactus
• Chickweed
• Ginger Root
• Broccoli Juice
• Kale Juice
• Spinach Juice
• Parsley Juice
• Carob Pod
• Amla Berry

From the Waters
• Spirulina
• Chlorella

From the Oceans
• Icelandic Kelp
• Dulse
• Nori
• Alaria
• Bladderwrack

There you have it. Healthy bones can be easy to build and maintain . . .

The Healthy Living Series March Event: Tonic Herbs and Alchemy

On Friday, March 13 between 6pm – 8pm founder of Sun Potion, Scott Linde, will be presenting a two hour workshop: an Introduction to Tonic Herbs and Alchemy, at our Palm Springs facility as part of The Healthy Living Series.

Scott will share his approach to Tonic Herbalism, as well as simple ways and recipes to incorporate these Transformational Foods into daily life.

Scott has a love for plants, education and the transformational experience of Tonic Herbalism. Scott grew up eating a Standard American Diet. Moving to California ten years ago, he was introduced to a variety of conscious food alternatives. Learning from these and his love for Daoist Healing Arts and Herbalism, he eventually started a Tonic Herb and Superfood and Tonic Herb company in Santa Barbara, CA.

Today, Sun Potion is available in Natural Food Markets, Holistic Spas and Health Conscious Restaurants and Cafes throughout Southern California and the United States.

Zebra Organics offers an array of Sun Potions products. To celebrate Sun Potion this month, we would like to offer our followers a 10% discount on all Sun Potion products. To view our selection click –here– and enter SUNPO10 as the discount code at the checkout.

Everyone is welcome and all events in the series are free.

We hope to see you there.
For more information on upcoming events Visit and subscribe to our blog. The Healthy Living fall – winter series will feature lectures by doctors and wellness practitioners, cooking classesdemos and film screenings. Events take place at:

Zebra Organics / Sky Island Organics

870 E Research Drive, Unit 6
Palm Springs, CA  92262 

The Sun Potion pyramid


The Healthy Living Series February Event

The Health Benefits of Fermented and Sprouted Foods

We are pleased to announce that raw food lover, natural foods entrepreneur and former science professor Michael Wangler will lead a workshop on the Health Benefits of Fermented and Sprouted Foods as part of The Healthy Living Series this month.

On Friday, February 27 between 6pm – 8pm  we invite you to join us at our Palm Springs facilities.

Guests will have the opportunity to sample Sky Island Organics fermented and sprouted foods, including olives, sauerkrauts, nuts, mixes, crunches, and crackers, as well as Ancient Alchemy Probiotic Teas.


Guests will learn:
– Why fermented foods are an amazing elixir for your digestion and GI tract.
– The process of sprouting foods to release physic acid and bitter alkaloids to enhance their natural sweetness and activate their living enzymes.
Zebra Organics and Sky Island Organics invite you to come down and be inspired by the founder of Sky Island Organics, who began the company when dissatisfied with the quality of raw food products available and began crafting his own sprouted and cultured foods. For more information about Michael and Sky Island please visit
Everyone is welcome and all events in the series are free.
For more information on upcoming events Visit and subscribe to our blog. The Healthy Living fall – winter series will feature lectures by doctors and wellness practitioners, cooking classesdemos and film screenings. Events take place at:
Zebra Organics / Sky Island Organics
870 E Research Drive, Unit 6
Palm Springs, CA  92262We look forward to seeing you there,

The Team at Zebra Organics

Immune System Support Part 2

Before moving onto to supplements I want to talk more about deep immunity. Health that goes past the surface level to lifestyle choices that impact physical, emotional, mental and even spiritual health.

The great masters of Oriental medicine were aware of the many factors that contribute to health. In the west we are beginning to understand the impact lifestyle choices have on health. Reading through literature on ancient Chinese medicine one thing is clear, they understood the benefits of emotional, mental and spiritual harmony as vital to well being. In the west we now understand the role stress plays in health and disease. This field of study is known as psychoneuroimmunology, which is the study of the interaction between psychological processes and the nervous and immune systems of the human body.

In my research one thing I found referred to again again is the importance of emotional and mental balance and harmony. The Oriental masters considered this to be just as important to health as food choices and herbal remedies. Practices they suggest to improve emotional and mental well being are meditation, breathing practices and exercise. Some of these practices were touched on in part one. I want to go over them one more time because they are as vital to health as a strong foundation is to a house.


Along with ancient wisdom modern science confirms that 20 minutes of meditation a day for a minimum of 8 weeks improves health. It supports the endocrine system, proper DNA replication, and improves the immune system. Twenty minutes a day can vastly improve your quality of life. Other aspects of meditation that support health are it improves emotional balance, improves concentration, builds empathy and reduces stress related burnout. There are many great resources available now to help you get started and here is a link to Wall Street Journal article on the topic.

Breathing Practices

Along with the kidneys and large intestines the lungs are an excretory organ, they are used to release waste and toxins. Most people are shallow breather and are not using their full lung capacity. Deep rhythmic breathing is known to calm and balance the nervous system, Pranayama is the term given to yogic breathing practices. There are many books on this topic and breath work is incorporated into many eastern exercise practices as well as aerobics and cardio workouts. 


The exercises I am referring to are yoga, tai chi and chi gung, these practices are designed to balance the energy system of the body, harmonize emotions and gently detoxify the organs. These practices use breath synchronization to facilitate emotional harmony and balance. They also improve the chi or energy flow in the body. These practices were traditionally used to prepare the practitioner for meditation. These exercises make are a great compliment to the workouts common in the west. They help the body limber up, improve body/mind awareness and improve range of movement.

Harmonizing our physical, emotional, mental and spiritual energies sets the stage for optimal health.  In Part 3 I will introduce some herbs and supplements that add to our overall health and well being.

Researchers Continue to Discover Benefits of Queen Healer Mushroom

A Noble Mushroom, reishi has gained prominence over the past 15 years to become one of the most popular medicinal mushrooms used by avid health seekers. Sometimes referred to as a “noble mushroom” or “Queen Healer Mushroom”, which aptly sum up its spirit, the reishi mushroom offers excellent and superior quality. 

For more than 5,000 years adherents of Chinese medicine have used reishi to support health, well being and vitality. This long history of its use is a testament to the wide ranging benefits of this mushroom. In Traditional Chinese medicine reishi is known as a shen tonic, a substance which helps to calm and uplift the spirit. Taoist masters of ancient China referred to reishi as the “Elixir of Immortality” and used reishi to promote calmness, balance, inner awareness and inner strength. They found these qualities beneficial for enhancing long meditations, spiritual practice, as well as general support for body, mind and spirit.

Reishi bridges ancient use is not just lore; its health benefits are being confirmed and documented by science each year. Scientific research has identified some of the chemical components of reishi that contribute to health on many levels. The compounds include triterpines, ganoderic acids, polysaccharides, beta-glucans and sterols. Modern research and study confirms the finding of traditional Chinese medicine that states that reishi is a nourishing tonic capable of building the body’s resistance to disease.

From the list of identified compounds present in reishi, the beta glucans and polysaccharides have demonstrated anti-tumor and immuno-stimulating activities*. In fact beta glucans are one of the strongest immune system stimulating supplements there is. 

Recent findings indicate that reishi induces natural killer (NK) cell cytotoxicity (toxic to living cells) against various cancer cells. In other studies reishi increased plasma antioxidant capacity and enhanced immune response in advance-stage cancer patients. The triterpenes found in reishi mushrooms, ganoderic acid have been proven in studies to ease the symptoms of allergies by stopping the release of histamines. They can also improve the body’s use of oxygen and improve the liver’s functionality. 

Evidently, the popularity of reishi is not without merit. It is no wonder it has become a favorite among health enthusiasts, longevity experts and Taoist monks. It is nice to have support in challenging times and we all contend with daily stress, polluted air, plastics in water and other unseen challenges. These challenges take a toll over time and meeting our challenges with compassion and tonic herbs like reishi provide daily support to thrive. It is nice to know with everything going on in our personal and internal environment, we can turn the wisdom of tonic herbs such as reishi for deep support. This makes reishi a useful ally to keep on hand and use daily.

How to use reishi

Sun Potions Reishi is concentrated 10:1 water soluble extract. It is easy to use: simply dissolve 1/8 a teaspoon in hot water or add it to your favorite herbal tea. Please note that reishi has a bitter taste, due to the alkaloid and phenolic compounds. Its bitterness compliments cacao making it a great addition to Superfood Hot Chocolate drinks.

Special Event on Friday, January 23rd

This week we welcome Forest Oneil, a spiritually oriented health enthusiast, for a special presentation at the Sky Island Organics / Zebra Organics center in Palm Springs, California.

Friday, January 23rd  
6pm – 8pm

Forest has several years of intense purification, study, and experimentation with diet under his belt. He will discuss the effects that different foods have on our consciousness and talk about how to learn to read energy in ourselves and our food. Forest tells us that in doing so, we can make meal time decisions aimed towards balancing our body-mind complex. Forest is part of the kitchen team here at the Sky Island Organics manufacturing facility.

Forest will offer an insight into Ayurveda, the world’s most ancient holistic health care system. Within this he will review the doshas, the gunas, the six food qualities and the six food tastes. Forest will prepare examples of these and offer an opportunity to experience the feel and taste of these foods. He will also talk about parasites in the body and how they affect our health, as well as the numerous benefits of fasting. 

The event is Free and Open to All – Sponsored by Sky Island Organics and Zebra Organics as a community educational program.

We hope to see you there.

Zebra Organics / Sky Island Organics
870 E Research Drive, Unit 6
Palm Springs, CA  92262

25 Reflections and Thoughts for the coming year

The human body has four levels of health: spiritual, mental, emotional
and physical. To support you in getting off to a solid start this year, here are 25 reflections for the coming year. Consider the importance of each question and the choices and opportunities they present for you this year. I hope you use this as a checklist and guide for there is much to be gleaned from this list. Wishing you much love, laughter and heart-fulness in 2015. 

1) Did you laugh 365 times, with at least 10 big “belly” laughs?
“A day without laughter is a day wasted.” – Charlie Chaplin

2) Did you say: “I love…” more than “I hate…?”
“Love lights more fires than hate extinguishes.” – Ella Wheeler Wilcox

3) Did you say: “that was fun” at least 50 times?
“Never, ever underestimate the importance of having fun.” – Randy Pausch

4) Did you make a new friend, even if you may never see him or her in 5 years?
“Friends are those rare people who ask how you are and wait to hear the answer.” – Ed Cunningham

5) Did you learn a new skill, whether job, play, or otherwise related?
“You learn something new everyday if you pay attention.” – Ray LeBlond

6) Did you give yourself a gift?
“Forgiveness is a gift you give yourself.” – Tony Robbins

7) Do you give someone something that made him or her feel good?
“It’s not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.” – Mother Teresa

8) Did you take a risk?
“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.” – Helen Keller

9) Did you travel to somewhere you’ve never been, NOT for work?
“Travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on,
deep and permanent, in the ideas of living” – Miriam Beard

10) Did you finish reading a non-fiction book?
“You know, everybody’s ignorant, just on different subjects.” – Will Rogers

11) Did you finish reading a fiction book?
“Without a doubt the two best words in the English language are The End” – Ken Scott

12) Did you read a book?
“No matter how busy you may think you are, you must find time for
reading, or surrender yourself to self-chosen ignorance.” – Confucius

13) Did you watch less TV?
“I must say I find television very educational. The minute somebody
turns it on, I go into the library and read a good book.” – Groucho Marx

14) Did you stand more than you sat down?
“Sitting is the new smoking.” – Unknown (to me)

15) Did you donate to a cause – time and/or money?
“We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.” – Winston S. Churchill

16) Did you consider moving?
“It’s easier to die than to move…at least for the Other Side you don’t need trunks.” – Wallace Stegner

17) Did you find your calling?
“I believe there’s a calling for all of us. I know that every human
being has value and purpose. The real work of our lives is to become
aware. And awakened. To answer the call.” – Oprah Winfrey

18) Did you quit your job (or anything else that needs quitting)?
“I never said it would be easy. Giving up is easy.” – Maria V. Snyder

19) Did you say “yes” more than you said “no?”
“There are an infinite number of reasons to say no. Instead, try to focus on one good reason to say yes.” – Jarod Kintz

20) Did you say “no” more than you said “yes?”
“I encourage people to remember that “no” is a complete sentence.” – Gavin de Becker

21) Were you content with everything you had at least 250 days of the year?
“Think of the word “content” – if you can feel like you’re content most of the time, everything is good.” – Bill Flay

22) Did you have less distress (“bad” stress) and more eustress (“good” stress)?
“If the problem can be solved why worry? If the problem cannot be solved worrying will do you no good.” – Santideva

23) Did you spend more time with your family?
“A man should never neglect his family for business.” – Walt Disney

24) Did you spend less time with your family?
“You can choose your friends, but you can’t choose your family.” – Unknown
“You can choose your friends but you sho’ can’t choose your family,
an’ they’re still kin to you no matter whether you acknowledge ‘em or
not, and it makes you look right silly when you don’t.” –  Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

25) Do you want more of what your life has brought, or less???
Have a Happy and Healthy New Year!