Feature of the Month November 2017: Loose Tea blends

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Loose tea is very popular here at Foodstuffs and man do we have LOTS of variety! We try to label each with suggestions of what they are  purported to be good for but there's never enough space. Colds and flu prevention, aches and pains, stress and anxiety, digestive relief to name a few. You really need to see it to believe it.  

We carry tea balls, tea bags, strainers, tea pots, travel tea mugs, too many things to list so come and see if there's something for you (or as a gift idea and stocking stuffer). 

We love our tea here so if you have questions ask away. Check  out our You Asked Us section on the website for more tea info!

Posted on November 1, 2017 and filed under Feature of the month.

How do you brew loose tea?

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There are so many great loose teas out there but how do you use them all? Well, here are some tips for making loose tea.

1. Use good quality water

2. Warm your mug or pot

3. Add about a teaspoon of tea per cup 

4. Here's the tricky part - some teas like cooler water, some warmer. Black tea needs to be on the boil. Most other tea needs to be off the boil. That means you let the water stop bubbling and cool for a minute or two depending on the type of tea you're using. Green teas like cooler water, herbal tea can take it a bit warmer but really only black tea should be poured over the leaves while boiling. 

5. Enjoy! Some teas can be re-steeped 2 or 3 times so don't throw out the leaves!

 

Posted on November 1, 2017 and filed under You asked us.

Inspirational Pewter Coins

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Inspirational Pewter coins come from Pugwash, NS and we love them! Here's why...

People ask us: "What's the deal with these coins?"

Well...They remind you of things you need to do - like be "grateful" or "relax" or "let it be". They jingle in your pocket or in a bowl and that's a happy sound... And they inspire the memories and fondness and strength that the people who give them want to share with the people in their loves.    

Posted on September 24, 2017 and filed under You asked us.

Why don't natural bug sprays say they repel bugs?

Some of our skin soothers and outdoor sprays!

Some of our skin soothers and outdoor sprays!

Why don't natural bug sprays say they repel bugs? That's because insect repellents are considered pesticides so they must meet strict safety standards. If natural bug sprays claimed they repelled bugs they would be subject to the same strict standards of other large commercial bug sprays and that just isn't an option for most small manufacturer's in  terms of cost or data. 

So instead they say things like "outdoor ease' and 'campers comfort'. But look for ones that contain lemon eucalyptus oil! Consumer reports did some research and besides DEET and picaridin, lemon eucalyptus works the best. 

Check out the article here

Posted on July 5, 2017 and filed under You asked us.

Feature of the Month June 2017: Mineral Sunscreens

Mineral versus chemical sunscreens. What's the difference?

Mineral sunscreens are better at protecting you from UVA and UVB rays then chemical sunscreens (they are called broad spectrum for this reason). This is because they reflect the suns rays instead of absorbing them into your skin and dissipating the heat like chemical sunscreens. They may be harder to rub in but this is because they don't usually contain nano-particles that help them rub in easily and absorb quickly. 

Mineral sunscreens also contain less chemicals that may be harmful to you by disrupting hormones, causing allergies and penetrating the skin.

We carry 5 different companies that produce non-nano mineral sunscreens that are great for kids and adults and come in either sprays or rubs and all are rated #1 on the EWG! 

  • Green Beaver
  • Badger
  • Goddess Garden
  • Substance 
  • Boo Bamboo

They are testers for all of them so come try them on and see the differences for yourself. Protect yourself and your family from skin cancer and sunburns in one easy step.

Posted on June 28, 2017 and filed under Feature of the month.

5-HTP vs Melatonin

We get asked a lot which is better? 5-HTP or Melatonin. 5-HTP  and Melatonin are both hormones but they do different things.

Melatonin is stored in the pineal gland and is only released when there is low light. Melatonin seems to work best when people have low melatonin levels, not if their levels are normal. It is useful for jet lag, ADHD, insomnia.

5-HTP comes from L-tryptophan and increases seratonin production and seratonin increases melatonin production in turn. 5-HTP bypasses the brain's light-regulation system and crosses the blood-brain barrier. As it increases seratonin levels and not just melatonin levels, it has other positive mood enhancing benefits like feeling happier and more relaxed. 

Overall, it seems that 5-HTP can help you get a deeper sleep (because it increases your REM sleep) and can help you stay asleep if you have problems waking up and getting back to sleep. It also makes you feel generally happier. Melatonin seems best suited for specific situations and will not make you feel tired unless you are already low on melatonin. 

Talk to your Health Care provider for more information on what might work best for you and always check with your pharmacist to ensure you will have no contraindications from medication and supplement use.   

Posted on May 14, 2017 and filed under You asked us.

Feature of the Month May 2017: Mental Health Supplements

This month is Mental Health Awareness for Adults & Children. We have many great supplements (mostly for adults and a few for children) that can help alleviate stress and anxiety. Here's a list of the most popular.

  • Relora is a proprietary blend of two herbs: Phellodendron amurense (P. amurense), and magnolia. Both plants are native to China and Japan. The bark of the magnolia tree contains magnolol and honokiol, two compounds shown to have anti-anxiety properties, as well as the ability to reduce allergic reaction and asthma. Phellodendron has been shown to help in lowering both blood sugar and blood pressure as well as anti-inflammatory benefits. From http://www.nationalnutrition.ca/herb_articles_Relora.aspx
  • Rhodiola (Rhodiola rosea) is indigenous to the Arctic and Alpine regions of Europe, Asia and America and has long been used as a tonic by many cultures, including the Ancient Greeks. Rhodiola is generally known as an  "adaptogen," a term which refers to any agent possessing the ability to support the body's natural capacity to adapt to life's changing conditions. From https://www.nowfoods.com/supplements/rhodiola-500-mg-veg-capsules
  • Holy basil functions as an adaptogen, enhancing the body's natural response to physical and emotional stress. Adaptogenic herbs do not alter mood, but rather, they help the body function optimally during times of stress. Multiple scientific studies examining this property of Ocimum sanctum have found that supplementation with various extracts of holy basil decrease stress hormone levels, corticosterone in particular. From http://www.medicinehunter.com/holy-basil

  • The hormone melatonin plays a role in your natural sleep-wake cycle. Natural levels of melatonin in the blood are highest at night. Some research suggests that melatonin supplements taken at the right time might be helpful in treating jet lag or other sleep disorders that involve poor alignment of your natural biological clock with the night-day pattern around you. Melatonin might also reduce the time it takes to fall asleep — although this effect is typically mild. From http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/expert-answers/melatonin-side-effects/faq-20057874

  • 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) is a chemical that the body makes from tryptophan (an essential amino acid that you get from food). After tryptophan is converted into 5-HTP, the chemical is changed into another chemical called serotonin (a neurotransmitter that relays signals between brain cells). 5-HTP dietary supplements help raise serotonin levels in the brain. Since serotonin helps regulate mood and behavior, 5-HTP may have a positive effect on sleep, mood, anxiety, appetite, and pain sensation. 5-HTP is not found in the foods we eat, although tryptophan is found in foods. Eating foods with tryptophan does not increase 5-HTP levels very much, however. As a supplement, 5-HTP is made from the seeds of an African plant called Griffonia simplicifolia. From http://www.umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/5hydroxytryptophan-5htp

  • Magnesium is known to reduce muscle tension, lessen pain associated with migraine headaches, improve sleep, and address neurological disorders such as anxiety and depression. From http://www.ancient-minerals.com/magnesium-benefits/

  • Linden is an herb that comes from various species of Tilia, or lime tree. It has been used in European folk medicine for centuries to treat a wide range of health problems.historically used to soothe nerves and treat health problems associated with anxiety. 

Posted on May 3, 2017 and filed under Feature of the month.

Natural All Purpose Homemade Citrus Cleanser

Natural All Purpose Homemade Citrus Cleanser

YOU WILL NEED
•    Peels from lemons, limes, grapefruits and/or oranges (use organic for an organic cleanser)
•    White vinegar (use organic for an organic cleanser)
•    Mason jars with lids (tapered opening recommended), or any airtight container
•    Spray bottle
•    Mesh strainer
•    Distilled water

Before peeling your citrus, be sure you have cleaned it with warm soapy water and have removed any stickers. You can use any variety or combination of citrus that you like. I prefer to do the peeling by hand to eliminate the possibility of any fruit getting into your cleanser base-- sugar = mold.
Fill a clean mason jar, or airtight container, with the peels and pack as tightly as possible. Jars with a tapered opening work best, so that you can place a larger peel at the top to block the smaller pieces from floating above the vinegar, which in my experience can lead to mold.
Once you jar is packed, fill with vinegar until all of the peels are completely submerged.
Screw the lid on tightly and store the jar in a cool, dark place for two weeks. I like to check it every few days to be sure that the peels are still submerged and no mold has grown on any exposed pieces.
After two weeks your cleanser base is ready. Pour the mixture through a mesh strainer into a bowl or another jar. Discard the peels.
The base can be stored in a tightly sealed jar or airtight container until ready to use. When you are ready to make the cleanser, combine it with distilled water in a 1:1 ratio and, using a funnel, pour into a spray bottle.
Use to clean counter tops, glass windows, or anywhere you need a natural all purpose cleanser. Please note that this cleanser does not work well for marble or stone surfaces, as well as certain granite counter tops... the acid content may cause etching. It does work like a charm for glass windows, showers, mirrors, and many other household surfaces!
 

Posted on April 6, 2017 and filed under Mad Science.

How to Roast Garlic

How to Roast Garlic
From toriavey.com

Ingredients
•    1 whole head of garlic
•    Olive oil
You will also need
•    Aluminum foil, small baking sheet

Cook Time: 45 Minutes
Servings: 1 head of roasted garlic cloves
 

Prep

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Peel the outer skin from the garlic head, leaving the cloves intact in their casings.
  2. Slice the top part of the garlic head off, leaving the cloves exposed.
  3. Put the garlic head onto a square of aluminum foil and drizzle with olive oil.
  4. Wrap the garlic up in the foil. Put it on a small baking sheet and place it in the hot oven for 45 minutes.
  5. Remove garlic from the oven and unfold carefully-- there will be hot steam inside. You may wish to let it cool for several minutes before unwrapping.
  6. Squeeze the cloves out from their casings. They will be soft, caramelized, and easy to spread on toast or crackers.
     
Posted on April 6, 2017 and filed under Helpful Hints.