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There is nothing more important than our food choices when it comes to our own health and to the health of the planet. Climate change is a daunting challenge that is facing all of us and we can all make a difference by choosing food grown using regenerative agriculture. Organic produce, grass-fed and pasture-based animal products and biodynamic olive oil and wines are foods that not only support our overall health and wellbeing but have the potential, when done right, to help reverse climate change.
Regenerative agriculture is defined as farming and grazing practices that, among other things, reverse climate change by rebuilding soil organic matter and restoring degraded soil, resulting in soil that can sequester CO2 from the atmosphere and improve the water cycle. Regenerative agriculture practices build soil health and fertility, increase water retention, increase biodiversity and ecosystem health, and increase soil carbon sequestration. At Natural Grocers, we strongly believe that our food choices can affect real change and one of the most measurable ways to support the health of the planet is to support farmers and ranchers practicing regenerative land management.
Try this trend: Try some tasty Thousand Hills Jerky and read up on how Regenerative Agriculture is making it easy to inspire change with our food choices.
Some say that eating a proper diet is all you need to get the vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients required for optimal health. But despite our best efforts, we often miss the nutritional mark by eating suboptimal foods that lack key nutrients. Even if you do try and eat a nutritious diet loaded with veggies, most vegetables simply don’t contain the amounts of vitamins and minerals they used to due to a sharp decline in soil nutrients caused by industrial agricultural practices. Not to mention, our modern lifestyles riddled with stress, blue light, pollution, and other toxins increase our requirements for nutrients. The good news? A simple daily regimen of Five-to-Thrive Foundational Supplements can help catapult us into optimal health.
First is a multivitamin, which will fill in the nutritional gaps where many of us fall short and provide us with a healthy foundation to build on.
Next up are the omega-3 fats EPA and DHA, found in fish oil or algal oil supplements. They are essential for optimal brain function, cardiovascular health, and maintaining healthy blood pressure and blood sugar.
Lutein is the third nutrient, critical for brain, eye, and skin health. It is especially important for protecting our eyes from our chronic use of digital devices; research is also revealing lutein’s important role in the brain—there is a direct connection between how much lutein we have in our bodies and how well our brains function throughout our lifespan, especially as we age.
Fourth is the magnificent mineral magnesium. Magnesium is crucial for relaxing muscles, supporting calm nerves and a calm response in the face of stress, building healthy bones, supporting cardiovascular health, healthy blood sugar balance, and healthy blood pressure.
And last, but certainly not least, we have the super nutrients. These are health-specific nutrients that you can pick and choose to meet your own specific health goals. Super nutrients include turmeric, milk thistle, mushroom supplements, CoQ10, berberine, grape seed extract, beets, and greens. Not sure which super nutrient is best for you? Reach out to a Nutritional Health Coach (NHCSM) at Natural Grocers for some expert guidance!
Try this trend: If you haven’t already, set yourself up for success with these foundational nutrients including a multivitamin, EPA & DHA, lutein, magnesium, and talk to your Nutritional Health Coach to figure out which super nutrient can help you best reach your health goals!
Modern nutrition science is forcing us to question many long-accepted nutritional paradigms. The two most paramount examples of this are salt and butter—ingredients that make healthy vegetables more delicious (seriously, name one vegetable that isn’t improved with salt and butter?), but ones that we’ve all been taught to feel guilty about indulging in. However, new data shows that we might suffer from getting too little sodium and fat than too much.
Sodium is a necessary electrolyte. We have an internal “sodium thermostat” that tells us when our sodium levels are optimal. Ever noticed that sometimes salt just doesn’t taste good? That’s the thermostat. Fats, especially saturated fats, have been demonized for far too long. Research shows that saturated fats are not detrimental to health and in fact play a crucial role in our body’s daily functioning. The real culprit driving poor health is sugar and chemically modified fats like mono- and diglycerides and hydrogenated vegetable oils. Hopefully, as we continue to follow the science we’ll get to the truth and one step closer to a healthier society enjoying delicious foods.
Try this trend: Add some Redmond Real salt and lemon juice to your water bottle and if you haven’t jumped on the Kerrygold Butter bandwagon yet, take the leap!
The average patient-doctor interaction lasts a mere seven minutes. This doesn’t offer nearly enough time to provide one-on-one, personalized wellness solutions for your health concerns. Thus, more and more people are turning to Health Coaches for nutrition know-how based on science and validated research. At Natural Grocers, we put the emphasis on nutrition with our Nutritional Health Coaches (NHCs), who receive more than 160 hours of science-based continuing education and nutrition training annually. The aim of our NHCs is to help individuals live their best and healthiest lives by focusing on their individual health needs and goals in a personalized and supportive way. At Natural Grocers, our NHCs are all credentialed and all of their services (including their 90-minute individualized coaching sessions) are FREE.
Try this trend: Let us help you get the results you crave. Reach out to your NHC and rewrite your story!
Let’s face it, we’re all stressed out, and whether it’s acute or chronic, stress is bad news for our brains—you’ve likely experienced the mental exhaustion, poor mood, and lack of focus and memory that results from stress; even worse, prolonged stress can lead to depression and anxiety. In 2020, we are going to make the connection between stress and the brain and become proactive at protecting our noggins from the negative effects of stress. An easy way to start is with nutrients shown to support the brain’s ability to cope with stress.
Phosphatidylserine (PS) is a phospholipid, a kind of fat that plays a key role in cellular function in the brain, and studies show it can help improve cognition and support the hippocampus, a region of the brain that bears the brunt of the stress blow. It also resets our stress response, so we feel less stressed, and protects the brain from the harmful effects of being stressed out. Acetyl-L-carnitine has the unique ability to pass through the blood-brain barrier where it supports mental energy, improves cognitive function and focus, and fights depression. It also protects the amygdala from stress, a part of the brain associated with emotions and memory. Mushrooms like lion’s mane, cordyceps, and reishi support mental acuity, energize the brain, and support concentration and clarity during times of stress.**
Try this trend: Read up on the scientific research behind Phosphatidylserine, Acetyl-L-Carnitine, and the mood-supporting mushroom supplements and see if any could be supportive.
“Methylation” has become a buzzword among the health and wellness community, and while it may not yet be on your radar, it is one of the most important biohacks for health out there, and methylation adaptogens make it easier to do. Methylation is required for just about every single process that goes on in the body, from gene expression to the production of RNA and DNA, to the production of neurotransmitters to mitochondrial health. But balance is the key. When balanced, when the body does not over or under methylate all of these systems work and we feel great. We sleep well, have loads of energy, can focus, remember and learn, our joints don’t ache, and our cardiovascular system is in tip-top shape. On the other hand, methylation imbalances can lead to a wide range of conditions, including depression, anxiety, heart disease, increased risk of cancer, hormone imbalance, poor detox capacity, infertility, birth defects, fatigue, and low energy.
This is where methylation adaptogens come to the rescue. Methylation adaptogens help to restore methylation balance and include nutrients like lutein, curcumin, and grape seed extract (see Foundational Supplements trend). These are nutrients that gently support our body’s own ability to stabilize and balance methylation, without the risk of over or under-methylating.
Try this trend: Explore the new research on methylation and hypermethylation and check out some of the methylation adaptogens that are also Foundational Supplements like Lutein!
In 2019, we highlighted the trend of nootropics and neuroplasticity and the supplements that support memory, focus, learning, concentration, and all of our other brain-boosting endeavors. In 2020, people will realize that mental health is just as important as physical health and will stop stigmatizing mental health issues. The focus will shift to supporting mental wellbeing with a healthy diet and the right supplements.
As we begin to explore ways to support our mental health, products such as Bach flower remedies and essential oils, as well as supplements like magnesium powder and acetyl-L-carnitine, will come into play as powerful tools to bring balance and calm. We will take a holistic approach and look to modalities like meditation, emotional freedom technique (EFT), body energy work, and talk therapy in combination with nutrition and supplements to support mental wellbeing.
Try this trend: Check out the new Calm Magnesium gummies or pick up one of the new EO Essential Oil Rollers to keep in your back pocket for when you need some re-centering.
The probiotics trend got us over our shyness of talking about our bowels with friends, and maybe even strangers. Learning to appreciate our gut bugs opened our eyes to the idea that having healthy digestion is the “first domino” to supporting the rest of our health—including our immune system, brain health, and more.
But supporting digestion isn’t simply taking a probiotic and loving our large intestine. In 2020, we’ll learn how to support the health of our entire gastrointestinal tract. We’ll learn to promote intestinal wellness with nutrients like DGL, zinc carnosine, and L-glutamine that nourish and heal the lining of the intestinal tract. After all, without a healthy gut lining, overall health suffers. We’ll support healthy levels of stomach acid so we can properly start the digestion process. Digestive enzymes will also come to center stage to support our small intestine and its daunting daily task of breaking down the foods we eat into the nutrients we need to support every single cell and bodily process. Every. Single. One.
Try this trend: Read up on how to best support your digestive health and digestive comfort and do something today to treat your gut to a little TLC. Maybe a cup of bone broth or a kombucha for an easy first step.
Climate change is the single most important challenge facing us today. Rather than feeling helpless and hopeless, we all want to do something. We’re driving plug-in hybrids, recycling, and eliminating our single-use plastics. The plant-based diet is another popular habit many are adopting with hopes of reducing their carbon footprint and protecting Mother Earth. As well-intentioned as the plant-based approach may be, if we really think about the foods we eat, many of the proffered plant-based products aren’t as earth-friendly as we might think.
Plant-based meat substitutions that rely on conventionally grown primary ingredients are the opposite of good for the environment. If GMOs, fertilizers, pesticides, and other industrial farming practices were utilized to make your soy burger, it’s more detrimental to the environment. Instead, if plant-based is the route for you, in 2020 shift the paradigm to truly sustainable plant-based food choices. Support organic farming methods that foster soil health and can reverse climate change by essentially sucking the carbon out of the atmosphere and depositing it into the ground, where it belongs. Want to try this trend? Look no further than the organic produce at Natural Grocers (it’s the only produce we carry) and hunt for that USDA organic seal with an unheard-of level of enthusiasm. The planet is counting on you!
Try this trend: Look no further than the organic produce at Natural Grocers (it’s the only produce we carry) and hunt for that USDA organic seal with an unheard-of-level of enthusiasm.
2019 brought home the very real consequences of our single-use plastic-laden lifestyles. It’s hard not to feel responsible and desperately discouraged on this front. Single-use plastics require vast quantities of fossil fuels and water, which contributes to climate change and pollution. Plastic bags, bottles, utensils, straws, and food packaging are used briefly, but last in the environment for generations, polluting it and causing multiplying damage. We feel like our hands are tied because everything is packaged in plastic, from shampoo bottles to strawberries.
[Insert audible sigh] While this new awareness of our plastic addiction can riddle us with guilt and hopelessness, the demand for plastic-free alternatives is higher than ever and because of this growing consumer focus, industry is responding. How can you help? Buy a reusable water bottle AND remember to bring it with you when you run out the door. Swap liquid soap for bar soap. Look for the recycled paper bags or biobags in the produce section at Natural Grocers. Join the Stasher Bag movement and build a plastic-free lunchbox with dishwasher-safe, reusable, silicone zipper bags. Invest in, and remember to use, a metal straw and titanium spork. Get creative, because the more we reduce the demand for single-use plastics, the better it is for our health and the environment.
Try this trend: Invest in a couple of Stasher Bags for perfect plastic-free lunches or swap out liquid soap for Moon Valley Organic Bar soaps.