Latest Event Updates

Introducing Courtney Morris – Registered Acupuncturist, Classical Homeopath, Certified Yoga Teacher, Birth Doula

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Courtney Morris started her journey in holistic health over fifteen years ago. She became a certified Classical Homeopath and was one of the first members of the team when Glow opened its doors in 2005. Courtney went on to continue her studies and became a certified Yoga Instructor and Doula. Courtney’s interests then led her to the study of Traditional Chinese Medicine and she is now also a Registered Acupuncturist.

Courtney has spent the last few years specializing in obstetrics and gynecology. She has spent much time in hospitals using acupuncture and homeopathy to support women in labour as well as to treat patients who are working through stroke rehabilitation. She is very enthusiastic about having acupuncture made available in hospital settings to all patients.

Courtney’s varied advanced training allows her to offer patients the best care possible. She can treat acute and chronic conditions by treating symptoms but also looks at the root of the issue. She is a kind and gentle healer whose empathetic nature is a gift to all of her patients.

Courtney is a Graduate of PCU College of Holistic Medicine and a registrant in good standing with the College of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture of BC (CTCMA of BC). She holds a diploma in Classical Homeopathy from The Vancouver Centre for Homeopathy. Courtney has had the opportunity to travel around the world and study with Dr. Farouk Masters in India, taken the Masters Clinician Course with Louis Klein, Advanced clinical studies in Greece with George Vithoulkas and Volunteer clinical treatments in villages in Kenya. Acupuncture extra studies with Debra Betts, and Yvonne Ferrell.

Courtney lives with her husband and two children on Bowen Island. Please feel free to contact Courtney with any questions.

Month of Love Celebration with Alicia Kent – Registered Jin Shin Do Acupressurist

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I love celebrations of all kinds, and encourage my clients to celebrate their victories each week.

I especially love celebrating Love of all kinds, all year long, but in honor of Valentines Day and February being my birth month, I have some special offers to celebrate this month of Love.

Celebrating You and Self Love

The Special I’ve created for this is my favorite…the Acupressure Facial.

This session is 60 minutes of pure bliss….what a gift of self love!

Regular Price: $90.00  Month of Love Special Price: $75.00. This special is valid for all Acupressure Facials booked for the month of Feb in Vancouver and The Comox Valley, and for any Gift Certificates for the Acupressure Facial purchased in Feb.

Acupressure Facial Rejuvenation….Prevent Aging the Natural Way!
The Jin Shin Do® Acupressure Facial release uses 40 head and face points to create lasting inner and outer beauty. By increasing circulation to the face, the skin will improve and be rejuvenated. This age-defying, relaxing treatment increases circulation, stimulates collagen, and elastin which assists in reducing wrinkles and brings a renewed firmness to the skin for a glowing complexion.

Slow the Aging Process!!
The ten “Window of the Sky” points free the energy between the head & body or Heaven & Earth, which gives these points their spiritual reputation. A perfect release to relieve sinus pain, headaches, and neck & jaw tensions. You will be relaxed, radiant and look years younger!

In addition, for the first 5 people to book this facial session, this can be combined with a very special price on an amazing  product I have recently discovered….an advanced eye serum….

Regular Price is $90.00….with this offer a months supply for $60.00

Pure Eye Effects 3 Advanced Serum targets the eye zone’s 3 critical signs of aging: crow’s feet, puffy bags, and dark circles. This next-generation formula uses the latest biology trend of cell communication. Eye Effects 3′s breakthrough science releases the super antioxidant lycopene to harmonize communication between skin cells to even out fine lines, puffiness, and dark circles. Combined with Argireline, “Nature’s Botox”, chamomile, hyaluronic acid, and witch hazel, Eye Effects 3 leaves the thin, fragile skin around the eyes hydrated and refreshed with radiant results

Celebrating Couple Love

“Increasing Intimacy” Private Jin Shin Do® Acupressure class for Couples

This 2 hour class is normally $175.00. Month of Love Special $125.00 for this sessions booked for February in Vancouver or the Comox Valley and for any Gift Certificates purchased in Feb for this session.
This class is for you if you want to learn Ancient Techniques with your partner to:
~Develop Deeper Intimacy
~Create a Complete Shift in Mood in 15-20 mins
~Deepen Your Bonds of Trust and Compassion
~Relax, Release Tension, Promote Healing
~Facilitate Heartfelt Communication
~Intensify Physical Pleasure.

You will receive guided instruction to learn the points, a chance to practice with guidance from Alicia, and a handout to refer to as you deepen your learning on your own. This is a gift that will last.


Also, watch for a very special partner event coming in February that I will be doing with Craig Addy of “Under the Piano” at a beautiful venue in Vancouver.

Many Blessing of Love for this Month of Love

Book your sessions by message on here, emailing or calling 250 703-1670

And please Share the Love!

You can find out more about all I do on my website.

Introducing Irene Sanchez – Registered Acupuncturist

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Irene Bio Pic

Irene Sanchez-Celis is a Registered Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner.  She is a member in good standing of the College of Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners and Acupuncturists of British Columbia (CTCMA).  Irene graduated from the College of Traditional Chinese Medicine of Vancouver in 2010.  Right away, she started practicing and focusing her treatments in women’s health, fertility, sport’s injuries, and preventive medicine.  In 2012 she traveled to Taiwan to do an Internship at the China Medical Hospital of Taiwan in Taichung City.  During this program, she rotated in the TCM Gynecology Department where she acquired valuable knowledge in the areas of fertility and women’s health.

Prior to studying Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Irene studied Western Medicine at the University La Salle in Mexico City.  She graduated in 2005 as a General Medical Doctor and then traveled to Central America, South America, Europe and India before settling in Vancouver in 2007.  It was during her final year of her Medical training that she was exposed to other types of Medicine.  In Mexico, the last year of Medical School, Doctors in training are sent to rural towns for 1 year to practice Medicine as part of the Social Service program.  Irene was very fortunate to be placed in Chiapas, Southern part of Mexico, border with Guatemala.  This is the area where the Mayan Civilization was established, and has a very important and rich Mayan Herbal Medicine.  She saw that her patients very often got better with herbs and not with drugs, this opened her eyes and so she started her search into more Natural Medicines. Irene found a local healer that used herbs and acupressure and she went through a personal healing journey for irregular and painful menstruation with herbs, acupressure and therapy.  Amazed of how well she felt, she decided to change paths and venture into the alternative side of medicine.  She then found her former TCM School and came to Vancouver.  While in Vancouver she has been also blessed with teachers in the areas of Yoga, Chi Kung, Shamanism, Energy Healing, Taoism, Tantra and Buddhism.

Irene is also a Birth Doula.  “Doula” means “a woman that serves”.  A Doula is a person that gives continuous emotional and physical support to woman in labor and her partner.  Research has found that women in labor with continuous support are more likely to have vagina births, less likely to have a C-Section, less likely to ask for pain medication or epidurals, they have shorter births and they are more satisfied overall with their birthing experience.  Irene believes that every birth is sacred and unique, and that with the right information and support, every couple can have a positive and empowered experience.  During her Social Services in Chiapas, Irene attended more then 50 births herself, as the primary Doctor. She saw first hand, the power and strength women can tap into during this experience and it was then when she fell in love with birthing and knew that she wanted to be part of this experience always.

Irene believes that healing comes from the integration of body-mind-spirit.  Her goal as a practitioner is to help her patients find balance in all aspects of their lives so that they can be healthy, happy and free! Irene wishes to bring inspiration, tools and guidance to her patients and support them in their process. Irene feels it’s an honor and privilege to accompany people in their healing journey as a TCM practitioner and a Doula.

Irene loves to learn and grow.  She is deeply committed in her personal development.  In June 2013, she also completed her 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training through the Lila Vinyasa School of Yoga.  And she is also a 7-Lotus Chi Kung Teacher in training. She loves books, food, traveling, and being in nature.  When she is not in the clinic practicing TCM or attending home and hospitals births, you can find her at home cooking, practicing Yoga or Chi Kung, snowboarding, hanging out with her friends & family or cuddling with her dog Muluk.

Kitchari Recipe

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Kitchari Recipe

Kitchari is a traditional Ayurvedic dish which is highly nourishing, detoxing and balancing. It is a mixture of mung beans and basmati rice with spices and vegetables. Mung beans are easy to digest and known for their ability to remove toxins, specifically pesticides and insecticides, from the body. They are also a great source of protein. Basmati rice is used as it is not too heavy, warming or drying for any of the Ayurvedic constitutions. Spices are added to warm the gut, digest toxins and utilize their adaptogenic properties. Tumeric turns it yellow and enables G.I. tract reparation and optimization. The entire combination nourishes the six tastes and the five senses at the same time. It cleanses the body and soul in a gentle manner while providing ample nutrients while pushing toxins out of your body.

This kitchari recipe is an adapation from Dr. Vasant Lad’s version:


3/4 cup Basmati Rice
3/4 cup Mung Dal (split yellow)
6 cups (approx.) Water
1/2 to 1 inch Ginger Root, chopped or grated
a bit of Mineral Salt (1/4 tsp. or so)
2 tsp. Ghee
1/2 tsp. Coriander Powder
1/2 tsp. Cumin Powder
1/2 tsp. Whole Cumin Seeds
1/2 tsp. Mustard Seeds
1/2 tsp. Turmeric Powder
1 pinch Asafoetida (Hing) (optional)
Handful Fresh Cilantro Leaves
1 and 1/2 cups Assorted Vegetables (optional)


Carefully pick over rice and dal to remove any stones. Wash each separately in at least 2 changes of water. Add the 6 cups of water to the rice and dal and cook covered until it becomes soft, about 20 minutes.

While that is cooking, prepare any vegetables that suit your constitution. Cut them into smallish pieces. Add the vegetables to the cooked rice and dal mixture and cook 10 minutes longer.

In a separate saucepan, sauté the seeds in the ghee until they pop. Then add the other spices. Stir together to release the flavors. Stir the sautéed spices into the cooked dal, rice, and vegetable mixture. Add the mineral salt and chopped fresh cilantro and serve.

Caution: Kitchari mono-diet can lead to constipation if taken exclusively for several days, as it is low in fiber. To ensure proper elimination, the following may prove helpful if taken once a day, away from kitchari meals: psyllium husks or seeds with water OR oat bran OR prune juice.


  • Vegetables such as zucchini,
    asparagus, sweet potato
  • For Vata or Kapha conditions:
    add a pinch of ginger powder
  • For Pitta: leave out the mustard seeds

Teas for each Constitution

Vata Tea — equal parts ground ginger, cumin and coriander
Pitta Tea — equal parts ground cumin, coriander and fennel
Kapha Tea — equal parts ground ginger, cinnamon, and a pinch of clove

Introducing Joanne Peppard – Counselling Intern

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Counselling helps you learn ways to successfully deal with your current issues so they lose the power to control you.

Joanne Peppard Headshot
Joanne Peppard, a Counselling Intern, is joyfully offering her services at Glow, currently at no fee while she works as an intern. She incorporates Collaborative Strength Based Non-Pathologizing approaches like:

-Modivational Interviewing;-Solution Focused Therapy;
-Relational Techniques such as Gottman and Emotionally Focused Therapy;
-Relaxation Techniques;
-The Transtheorectical Model of Change including Harm Reduction.

Joanne has 20 years experience working with people in a variety of settings and has provided education and counselling to  clients of every age and background. She holds a BA in Communication, a Diploma in Nursing with a specialty in Labour and Deliver and a Masters in Counselling and Psychology.
For more information on Joanne and her services, please visit her website:

Natalia Chouklina – Certified Life Coach

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The newest face to be seen around Glow is Natalia Chouklina, BBC, ACC & Certified Life Coach. Glow is grateful to offer her Life Coaching services and expertise! Read further to find more about Natalia and what she does:

Achieve the Impossible

Natalia is a Life Coach for people who want to shine with passion, stellar confidence and unwavering self-respect every day and take magnificent strides towards making their dreams come true in life + business.

She started to practice life coaching in 2011 after earning her certification at CoachU. Through her 1:1 sessions she empowers her clients to transform their desires into reality, dissolve limiting beliefs, work through fears and celebrate their successes as they uncover what truly lights them up!

This could mean:

  • Doing work that is personally fulfilling and engages your passion
  • Exploring the relationship you have with yourself and clarifying what you want for the next phase of your life
  • Connecting to your deepest desires and discovering a more authentic life path
  • Aligning your life, career and relationships with your core values
  • Learning to access your inner wisdom – whenever you need it
  • Reducing the impact of fears, self-doubt and unhelpful mental chatter in your life
  • Experiencing more confidence, ease and joy everyday!

You don’t need to wait for your life to spin out of control or have any answers in order to work with a life coach. You simply have to be open to doing the work and unwilling to settle for anything less than a life that’s the brightest expression of who you really are!

Natalia is very passionate about creating long-lasting shifts in her clients’ lives and holding them to their greatness. She’s a generous, supportive, honest and a sensitive life coach with a highly developed intuition.

Recent testimonial:

“I decided to quit my job due to not feeling satisfied with my career and when I was ready to go back to work. Natalia gave me enough structure to guide my thinking and let me come to my own conclusions.  With her help I have found a great job that I’m thrilled to have and feel excited.  I highly recommend her for anyone looking to get some help thinking through major decisions or to get some clarity on what really matters in your life.” – D.Z., Project Manager

Natalia wants to live in the world where ‘Thank You’ notes are scribbles by hand, everyone wakes up feeling 100% alive, and kindness and generosity are default responses to everything.

A wildly passionate life coach + thought-provoking writer, she’s been spotlighted on Semperiva, Kind Over Matter, Wellness Warrior, Wild Sister Magazine, In Spaces Between and Sprout Magazine.

Her first e-book ‘Three Simple Steps to Make BIG Things Happen’ + ‘Unravel Yourself’ interview series received outstanding reviews and helped many people make sustainable and long lasting positive changes in their lives.

When she’s not coaching up a storm, she can be found running/walking in Stanley Park, trying out a new Bon Appetite recipe with her boy friend and watching 70s cop shows.

Discover how to shine with passion every day + take magnificent strides towards making your dreams come true in life + business with Natalia!

To book an appointment or find more information about her services, please don’t hesitate to contact her:



t: (778) 786-2517


Non-GMO Shopping Guide

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Non-GMO Shopping Guide

Complied by: Claudia Laufer, R.Ac.

Over the past few decades, more and more genetically engineered foods have infiltrated our food market. Unless you buy organic or from companies that vouch to not use GMO ingredients in their products, chances are you are consuming genetically modified foods every day. Unlike most other countries of the world, where GMO ingredients must be labeled, the US government and its food safety agencies have successfully resisted labeling of these foods. Their argument is that these foods are not significantly different from regular foods – even though they do agree that they are different enough from regular foods to allow for Monsanto to patent them.

To understand just how dangerous GMO foods are, let me take a minute to explain what they are. Many people I talk to think we have been genetically modifying foods since the beginning of time, when we select seeds with favorable properties and cross-pollinate our food plants according to certain traits. But selecting two different plants based on favorable traits and then cross-pollinating them is not genetic modification, it’s genetic selection. The genes of all these plants are still 100% natural, with all plant DNA. Genetically modified foods are different. They are not a product of selective cross-pollination between two varieties of the same vegetable (i.e. corn or soy beans), they are a product of a laboratory that is designing new DNA based on certain traits. Let’s use corn as an example: Instead of cross-pollinating two corn varieties to create a new corn variety with seeds that will contain favorable traits from both parent plants, scientists pick DNA parts from various plant and non-plant organisms in addition to that of corn. Some of these are from viruses, bacteria, mosquitos and others non-plant species. So even though the end result still looks like corn, the DNA coding tells a different story.

Many people think that if the FDA approves a food for human consumption, it must be safe. After all, that’s what the FDA is here for. Wrong again. First of all, it is important to understand that Monsanto’s Vice President for Public Policy has been appointed as the chief advisor of the FDA – the very agency that is responsible for approving Monsanto’s GMO seeds! Also, the FDA requires no long-term, in-depth safety studies for these foods. Instead, it blindly trusts the studies that the very companies who want to get foods and food additives approved supply. Talking about conflict of interest! More reports and studies  are surfacing daily, explaining how Monsanto, one of the major GMO corporations, has simply omitted all results that indicated potential dangers of genetically modified foods from their studies. Not only that, but they have gone through great length to make sure reporters who tried to bring this information to the public don’t get a chance to do so. Here is what Seeds of Deception, a website dedicated to informing the public about the dangers of GMOs and providing them with tools to avoid them, writes on their website (link included at the end of this guide):

“The FDA has claimed it was not aware of any information showing that GM crops were different ‘in any meaningful or uniform way,’ from non-GMO crops and therefore didn’t require testing. But 44,000 internal FDA documents made public by a lawsuit show that this was a complete lie. The overwhelming consensus among the FDA’s own scientists was that GM foods were quite different and could lead to unpredictable and hard-to-detect allergens, toxins, new diseases and nutritional problems. It turns out that FDA scientists, who had urged superiors to require long-term studies, were ignored.”

Despite the efforts of Monsanto and the FDA to suppress information about GMOs, and despite their combined efforts to continue to allow these foods to be sold without appropriate labeling, the public is waking up. It seems every day there are new reports about GMO-related issues. A GMO variety of wheat that Monsanto grew in test fields in 16 states from 1996 until 2005, and which was never approved for human consumption, was recently found in regular wheat fields in Oregon. This has already prompted several countries to limit or ban wheat imports from the US. A recent study done in Russia showed that hamsters fed on GMO foods produced offspring with significantly lowered fertility and higher mortality rates. Farmers who fed their animals GMO corn found that infertility rates went through the roof. Once they switched their life stock back to conventional corn, infertility rates decreased. Some of the GMO varieties are engineered to produce their own pesticide, namely BT corn and BT soy – they are even registered as insecticides. And even though Monsanto vouched for their safety and declared the toxins created by the plants not to affect humans, England recently found the pesticide produced by these GMO plants in the blood of pregnant women and infants. Other studies link GMO foods to organ failure in animals, and there is clear evidence that GMO foods can cause liver and kidney toxicity. The only studies that indicate GMOs are safe are the ones that are sponsored by the GMO companies themselves. And Monsanto, one of the biggest GMO producers and developers in the US, doesn’t even serve GMO foods in their own cafeteria – they opt for organic foods instead.

When you look at how the human body works, it only makes sense that GMOs will cause health problems. Our body is designed to identify pathogenic DNA and to attack it via our immune system. When we introduce foods that at the very core level contains pathogenic DNA (viral & bacterial), it only logical that our immune system goes haywire, trying to figure out how to attack this unnatural DNA. Yes, the corn still looks like corn on the outside, but our body looks at the basic building blocks of food, and these basic building blocks have very little in common with the foods that grow naturally. Also, many of the GMO varieties are designed to withstand massive amounts of the herbicide Roundup. Glyphosate, the main ingredient in Roundup (which is also created and sold by Monsanto) is a known carcinogen, and is found in larger and larger quantities on our food due to the increased usage of this toxin in GMO farming. Levels of this herbicide on foods have increased so much that the Environmental Protection Agency, the EPA, has decided to raise the acceptable safety limits of these chemicals. Not only does the increased usage of harmful herbicides lead to increased amounts of these toxins in our food, but they also pollute the environment, effectively turning farm land into toxic dumps. They also create herbicide-resistant super weeds, which in turn require more herbicides. Considering all these fact, and considering that auto-immune related diseases are on the rise, along with infertility and cancer, it is very likely that GMO foods are contributing to this development.

So how do you know whether you are eating GMOs or not? In the USA, you simply can’t, because we don’t require these ingredients to be labeled as GMO. In California, the 2012 ballot measure to make labeling of GMOs mandatory was defeated. But other states are starting to introduce labeling laws, despite the fact that Monsanto already declared they will sue every state trying to require such labeling. Labeling of GMO ingredients is mandatory in over 60 countries by now, and many have banned the import and growing of genetically modified plants and seeds altogether. Considering that about 80% of all food consumed in the US contains some form of GMOs, and considering the lack for any valid long-term studies on the effects of these foods on our environment and our health, consumers need to think twice about whether they really trust Monsanto in their claims that their foods are safe. Every day, laboratory-created unnatural DNA is infecting regular plants via cross-pollination. GMOs take such a large market share that companies trying to source non-GMO ingredients for their products were unsuccessful because the few non-GMO crops available were already spoken for by organic and Non-GMO Verified Project companies. Monsanto has put many farmers out of business by suing them because they found Monsanto-patented DNA in the farmers’ crops, and farmers who buy their seeds are not allowed to save their own seeds to replant the following year, driving up the cost of produce. The documentary “Future of Food” explains how Monsanto is trying to gain control over the entire foods supply.

Included you will find a comprehensive list of articles and videos explaining the dangers of GMOs, as well as helpful lists to guide you to a GMO free diet – these lists include a downloadable non-GMO shopping guide (even for your smartphone) as well as lists of all companies and seeds/plant varieties owned by Monsanto. We can’t afford to wait for our government to stop Monsanto. What we can do is to become educated and avoid putting any more money into Monsanto’s hands by choosing products that use real food ingredients. Local farmers’ markets are a great way to get fresh produce that is most likely not GMO. Talk to your farmers and ask them which varieties they grow. When you go shopping, ask the clerks or store owners whether they use genetically modified ingredients. Also, be aware of the companies that spent millions of dollars on defeating Prop. 37 in California; many of them own “healthy” and organic brands. The more we show the food industry that we don’t want genetically modified foods, the faster we will see the necessary changes.

Here are a list of links to articles and videos about GMOs:

General info on GMOs:

Scientists from within Monsanto:

GMOs alter organ function:

Lies about GMOs:

Vanity Fair on GMOs:

GMOs and infertility:

Monsanto infiltrates positions of power world-wide:

Europe’s fight against GMOs:

Monsanto cafeteria doesn’t serve GMO foods:

Monsanto Mosquitos:

GMOs and infertility:

GMO toxins found in human blood:

GMO foods linked to organ failure:

On the positive or activist side:

Organic Farmers suing Monsanto:

How to help fight GMOs:

A petition to urge the current administration to cease ties with Monsanto:

Gene-blocking corn to stop spread of GMO corn:

Shopping guides:

This is a comprehensive list with ingredients commonly found in processed foods that are made of corn. Considering that the vast majority of corn grown in the US is genetically modified, try to avoid these ingredients whenever possible. Try to print out a list and carry it with you whenever you shop. Read the labels, and find products that either don’t contain any of the ingredients on the list, or opt for organic or Non-GMO Project Verified products.

List of Corn Allergens:

A non-GMO shopping guide, you can download it on your smartphone.

Companies using GMOs in their products (this is an incomplete list, these are just some of the big guys:

Aunt Jeminma, Quaker, Betty Crocker, General Mills, Bisquick, Duncan Hines, Hungry Jack, Jiffy, Ms. Butterworths, Pepperidge farms, Campbells, Aurora Foods, Kraft/Phillip Morris, Post cereals, Hershey’s Nestle, Carnation, Holsum, Interstate bakeries, Best Foods, Knorr, Kellogs, Nature Valley, Nabisco, Pillsbury, heinz, Hellmans, Hunts, KC Masterpiece, Frito-Lay/Pepsi, Delicious Brand cookies, Famous Amos, Keebler/Flowers Industries, Banquet, Green Giant, Healthy Choice, ConAgra, Kid Cuisine, Stouffers, Lean Cuisine, Marie Callendars, Ore-Ida, Smart Ones, Power Bar Brand, Chef Boyardee, Hormel, Loma Linda, Morningstar, Lipton, Unileven, Uncle Ben’s, Rice-a-roni, Pasta-roni, Tombstone Pizza, Totinos, Orville Redenbacher, Pop Secret, Pringles, Procter and Gable, Coca Cola, Minute Maid, Pepsi, Cadbury/Sweppes, Capri-Sun, Cool-Aid, Ocean Spray, V-8, Prego Pasta Sauce, Ragu Sauce.

Companies that contributed to defeat Prop. 37

Seed varieties owned by Monsanto (for those who grow their own, avoid these!):

Movies and Documentaries to watch:

Seeds of Death: Unveiling The Lies of GMO’s
The world’s leading Scientists, Physicians, Attorneys, Politicians and Environmental Activists expose the corruption and dangers surrounding the widespread use of Genetically Modified Organisms.

Genetic Roulette
This documentary explains what GMOs are and why they are so dangerous to our health.

The Future of Food
This documentary explores the unethical business practices of Monsanto and the dangers of their GMO seeds.

The World According to Monsanto

Explains the struggles small organic farmers have to fight a misguided bureaucratic government system that is in full support of unhealthy, unsustainable industrial farms.

Downloadable Apps to scan products to identify unwanted ingredients:

Downloadable app for android and iphone: scan the barcode, and the app will show if the product contains any ingredients you don’t want. Customizable, covers GMO, corn and other allergens

Health Boosting Foods

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(This article is gratefully reposted from:

Fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins are part of any healthy diet. Here are six nutrients that can enhance your health and vitality.

Garlic – Garlic boosts your immunity, increasing your ability to fight off infection. It also helps regulate blood sugar levels. One or two cloves of garlic a day is recommended for optimum health, so include it in your cooking!

Ginger – Ginger has been taken as a medicine by numerous cultures for thousands of years. This amazing spice is anti-inflammatory, reduces pain, and is excellent for many types of digestive distress (especially nausea.) More than one study has found that ginger may also be a potent cancer fighter.


Goji Berries – Small fruits that grow on evergreen shrubs in the Himalayas, Gou Qi Zi are slightly chewy and have a mild flavor. High in fiber and containing the highest antioxidant powers of any berry or fruit, they are used in Chinese medicine to increase longevity, strengthen the immune system, improve vision, protect the liver and improve circulation. The goji or wolf berry is widely available dried, and easily found as whole fruit or juice in natural-food stores.

Green Tea – There has been much research on the anti-carcinogenic properties of green tea. Studies of people in Asia who drink copious amounts of green tea daily have shown a correlation between green tea consumption and lower rates of a variety of cancers. Green tea is easy to find and can be purchased in most grocery stores and health food stores. It is refreshing iced or hot.

Honey – Known as Feng Mi in Oriental medicine, honey has many health benefits, and is often used in combination with other herbs. It contains anti-oxidants and the darker the honey, the higher the anti-oxidant content and deeper the flavor. Honey can be eaten or applied topically. It is anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal.

Throughout history, honey has been used to soothe and clear the skin, and encourage the growth of healthy tissue. You might enjoy trying raw honey as a facial mask. Organic raw honey that has not been pasteurized, clarified or filtered is your best choice.


Omega 3 Fatty Acids – Anti-inflammatory essential fatty acids help keep joints healthy, reduce pain and swelling and can also help with depression, stress, arthritis and menopause. Omega-3, Omega-6 and Omega-9 oils are fats that directly affect cognitive, cellular and kidney function.

Foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids include: salmon, sardines, tuna and other cold water fish; nuts and seeds, notably flaxseeds, hemp seeds and walnuts; and soybeans and winter squash.

Sun Protection

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The sunny days have arrived at last here in Vancouver and while picnicing in English Bay you may be wondering, “How can I best protect my skin from the suns rays?” Well we’ve rounded up a couple of great articles on the truth of conventional sunscreen, eating for sun protection and a homemade sunscreen recipe.


Nine Suprising Facts About Sunscreen


Do you depend on sunscreen for skin protection? Millions of Americans do, but they shouldn’t. Melanoma rates are increasing. The consensus among scientists is that sunscreens alone cannot reverse this trend. Yet a good sunscreen can play role in preventing sunburns that are a major risk factor for melanoma – provided you use it correctly.

1. FDA’s sunscreen rules have changed but products haven’t improved.

The federal Food and Drug Administration put new sunscreen rules into effect last December, but they have had little impact on the sunscreen market and could actually make things worse for consumers. FDA’s rules allow most sunscreens to claim they offer “broad spectrum” skin protection and also that they can reduce skin cancer risk. However, EWG’s assessment of 750 beach and sport sunscreens on the market this year spotted significant problems.

2. There’s no proof that sunscreens prevent most skin cancer.

Rates of melanoma – the most deadly form of skin cancer – have tripled over the past 35 years. Most scientists and public health agencies – including the FDA itself – have found very little evidence that sunscreen prevents most types of skin cancer.

3. Don’t be fooled by high SPF

High-SPF products tempt people to apply too little sunscreen and stay in the sun too long. The FDA has proposed prohibiting the sale of sunscreens with SPF values greater than 50+, calling higher SPF values “inherently misleading,” but it has not issued a regulation that carries the force of law. One in seven sunscreens advertises SPF values greater than 50+, so get the most bang for your hard-earned buck. Use EWG’s Sunscreen Guide to zero in on better products.

4. The common sunscreen additive vitamin A may speed development of skin cancer.

The sunscreen industry adds a form of vitamin A to nearly one-quarter of all sunscreens.
Retinyl palmitate is an anti-oxidant that slows skin aging. But federal studies indicate that it may speed the development of skin tumors and lesions when applied to skin in the presence of sunlight. EWG recommends that consumers avoid sunscreens, lip products and skin lotions containing vitamin A, often labeled “retinyl palmitate” or “retinol.”

5. European consumers can get better sunscreens.

European sunscreens offer superior protection from skin-damaging UVA rays. In Europe, sunscreen makers can formulate their products with any of seven chemicals that filter UVA rays. American manufacturers can use only three UVA-filtering ingredients. They have been waiting seven years for FDA approval to use Europe’s better filters. Until the FDA approves these ingredients and lifts restrictions on combining certain active ingredients, American consumers will be hard-pressed to find sunscreens with the strongest level of UVA protection.

6. Sunscreen does not protect skin from all types of sun damage.

The sun’s ultraviolet radiation generates free radicals that damage DNA and skin cells, accelerate skin aging and may cause skin cancer. American sunscreens can reduce these damages, but not as effectively as they prevent sunburn. Consumers can run into problems if they pick a sunscreen with poor UVA protection, apply too little or reapply it infrequently. The FDA should strengthen its regulations to ensure that sunscreens offer better protection from skin damage.

7. Some sunscreen ingredients disrupt hormones and cause skin allergies.

The ideal sunscreen would completely block UV rays that cause sunburn, immune suppression and damaging free radicals. It would remain effective on the skin for several hours. It would not form harmful ingredients when degraded by sunlight. It would smell and feel pleasant so that people would use more of it.

No sunscreen meets these goals. Americans must choose between “chemical” sunscreens, which have inferior stability, penetrate the skin and may disrupt the body’s hormone system, and “mineral” sunscreens, made with zinc and titanium, often “micronized” or containing nano-particles.

8. Mineral sunscreens contain nano-particles.

Most zinc oxide and titanium dioxide-based sunscreens contain nano-particles a twentieth the width of a human hair. These help reduce or eliminate the chalky white tint that these minerals used to leave on the skin. Based on the available information, EWG gives a favorable rating to mineral sunscreens, but the FDA should restrict the use of unstable or UV-reactive forms of minerals that would lessen skin protection.

9. If you avoid sun, check your vitamin D levels.

Sunshine serves a critical function in the body that sunscreen appears to inhibit — producing vitamin D. The hormone is enormously important. It strengthens bones and the immune system and reduces the risk of breast, colon, kidney and ovarian cancers, and perhaps other disorders.

About one-fourth of Americans have borderline low levels of vitamin D, and 8 percent have a serious deficiency. Breast-fed infants, people with darker skin and people who have limited sun exposure are at greatest risk. Many people can’t or shouldn’t rely on the sun for vitamin D. Check with your doctor to see if you should get a vitamin D test or take seasonal or year-round supplements.


Seven Foods that Provide Sunscreen Protection


It seems like Mother Nature may be on to something: edible sunscreen.

While it is no surprise that we need to protect our skin from prolonged sun exposure, you may not realize that what you eat before you head to the beach plays a part in whether you burn or bronze. Certain phytochemicals in plant based foods can actually help protect your skin from the sun’s damaging rays. The most effective protectors are carotenoids, such as Lycopene, Beta-carotene, and Astaxanthin.

In general foods that are bright orange, red, or yellow, contain carotenoids, as does anything that is dark green and leafy. While you will receive some protection from the sun after eating a serving or two of these foods, they offer even more protection overtime as you include them in your diet daily, with most studies citing 3 months as the optimal time for maximum efficiency.

Here are 7 foods that provide sun protection:

1. Dark Leafy Greens: Kale, Collards, Chard, Spinach and all their dark leafy green cousins contain powerful carotenoids which guard against UV-induced skin damage. They also contain a plethora of bioactive substances like Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and flavanoids that all work synergistically to keep your skin healthy.  An Australian study using over 1,000 adults found that those who ate at least 3 servings of dark leafy greens regularly reduced their risk of skin cancer by up to 55%.

2. Tomatoes: Tomatoes are rich in lycopene, a red carotenoid which has been proven to provide long-term protection against UV-induced effects. A recent study published in the Journal of British Dermatology found that women who ate tomato products daily were more protected from the sun than those who didn’t.

3. Watermelon: Watermelon contains about 40% more lycopene than tomatoes, making this juicy summer fruit an excellent protector against sunburn and skin cancer. It’s high water content also helps prevent dehydration.


4. Cantaloupe: Water-dense cantaloupe will keep you hydrated (helping protect against sun-induced dehydration), while also delivering a healthy dose of Vitamin C and the carotenoid beta-carotene. Vitamin C protects against free radical damage, while beta-carotene protects agains UV-induced sun damage.

5. Carrots: Carotenoids are named after carrots, so as you can imagine, they are a rich source of them. Carrots contain a high amount of Beta-carotene, and if consumed daily, can help prevent sunburn from UVB rays. You can eat them raw, lightly cooked, or even fresh-pressed into a juice to get their benefits.

6. Sweet Potatoes: There bright orange hue gives away the fact that these tubers are loaded with UV-protecting carotenoids. They are also high in Vitamin A and Vitamin C, which are needed for smooth, wrinkle free skin, making this a perfect sun food.

7. Micro Algae: While chlorella and spirulina come in pill or powder form, they are still a whole food that offers powerful sun protection. In addition to their high chlorophyll content, they also contain a carotenoid called Astaxanthin, which has been shown to protect the skin and eyes from UV radiation. Astaxanthin is currently the most powerful carotenoid studied, and is 54 times more effective at free radical scavenging than Beta-carotene.


Natural Homemade Sunscreen


Natural Homemade Sunscreen Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup almond or olive oil (can infuse with herbs first if desired)
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil (natural SPF 4)
  • 1/4 cup beeswax
  • 2 Tablespoons Zinc Oxide (This is a non-nano version that won’t be absorbed into the skin. Be careful not to inhale the powder). This makes a natural SPF of 20+ or more can be added.)
  • Optional: 1 teaspoon Vitamin E oil
  • Optional: 2 tablespoons Shea Butter (natural SPF 4-5)
  • Optional: Essential Oils, Vanilla Extract or other natural extracts to suit your preference

Note: All ingredients and many essential oils are available here.

How to Make Natural Sunscreen:

  1. Combine ingredients except zinc oxide in a pint sized or larger glass jar. I have a mason jar that I keep just for making lotions and lotion bars, or you can even reuse a glass jar from pickles, olives or other foods.
  2. Fill a medium saucepan with a couple inches of water and place over medium heat.
  3. Put a lid on the jar loosely and place in the pan with the water.
  4. As the water heats, the ingredients in the jar will start to melt. Shake or stir occasionally to incorporate. When all ingredients are completely melted, add the zinc oxide, stir in well and pour into whatever jar or tin you will use for storage. Small mason jars (pint size) are great for this. It will not pump well in a lotion pump!
  5. Stir a few times as it cools to make sure zinc oxide is incorporated.
  6. Use as you would regular sunscreen. Best if used within six months.

Additional Notes:

  • This sunscreen is somewhat but not completely waterproof and will need to be reapplied after sweating or swimming
  • Make sure not to inhale the Zinc Oxide- use a mask if necessary!
  • This recipe has an SPF of about 20, though adding more Zinc Oxide will increase the SPF
  • Add more beeswax to make thicker sunscreen, less to make smooth sunscreen
  • I recommend coconut or vanilla extract or lavender essential oils for fragrance
  • Store in a cool, dry place or in the fridge
  • I prefer to store in a small canning jar and apply like a body butter. It will be thicker, especially if you use coconut oil in the recipe.
  • remove the Zinc Oxide and this makes an excellent lotion recipe!

An Even Faster Way To Make Sunscreen:

  • Get a bottle of your favorite lotion (that doesn’t contain citrus oils!)
  • Add a couple Tablespoons of Zinc Oxide
  • Mix well
  • Use as Sunscreen


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Dry Skin Brushing – Benefits and Method

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Dry skin brushing uses a soft, natural fiber brush to gently brush your skin. It benefits many of our bodily systems including our lymphatic, nervous, immune and detoxification systems. Upon further examination of these systems, we can see how dry skin brushing would benefit these systems:


Skin – your skin plays a crucial role in the detoxification of your body. Daily we lather and smear our skin with lotions, soaps, deodorants and cosmetics which our skin absorbs and gathers beneath its surface, preventing it from breathing properly. Your skin is impregnated with millions of sweat glands which create a vast drainage system and when these sweat glands perspire, the blood is purified of poisonous wastes collected from the cells. When the pores of your skin become clogged with dead skin cells and chemical residue, your eliminative organs work overtime to detoxify your body. Dry skin brushing exfoliates your skin, removes dead skin cells and grime, therefore allowing your body to easily cleanse itself of impurities.

Circulatory System – our vast blood vessel network plays a large part in the health of our skin. It brings nutrition and oxygen to the skin, regulates body heat as blood is cooled when it moves through the surface capillaries and distills waste matter from the blood. Dry brushing helps all of these functions by increasing circulation and exfoliating and invigorating our skin which increases our blood supply to the area, bringing in nourishment and oxygen.

Lymphatic System – our lymphatic system is part of our circulatory and immune systems. It is the network that moves lymph fluid throughout the body, transporting wastes and toxins to be dispelled through the bladder, bowel, lungs and skin. Lymph fluid originates in our blood and slowly leaks out taking hazardous materials with it to be filtered through our lymph nodes which trap these substances. The lymph fluid slowly works its way around the body and back into the heart so it may be circulated again. Unlike the blood, the lymph does not have a central pump to move it throughout our body, so it relies on our physical movement to force the lymph through the lymphatic system. Dry brushing helps to move the lymph fluid throughout the lymphatic system which aids further in the detoxification of our bodies.

Immune System – white blood cells are our immune systems first line of defense. They circulate through the body and tissues through the lymphatic system and the blood stream. Dry brushing stimulates the circulation of the lymphatic fluid and therefore white blood cells. This circulation along with a removal of built-up waste products aids to strengthen our defense mechanisms, especially during cold and flu season.

Nervous System – the nervous system is intimately connected with the skin. This is evident by the abundance of touch receptors throughout the skins layers. Nerve points are spread out all over the skin and these points can be used therapeutically. Dry brushing applies friction to these points which invigorates the entire nervous system.

How to dry skin brush

When beginning a dry skin brushing routine, your skin may feel sensitive but will become accustomed to the feel of the brush.  The bristles of the brush will also begin to soften. Dry skin brushing should never hurt.

Dry skin brushing takes 5-15 minutes per day before to showering. We do this prior to showering as wet skin will stretch and not yield the same benefits as dry skin. We also do this prior to showering so you can wash off the impurities and dry skin flakes.
The general rule of thumb is to always brush towards your heart. This helps to drain the lymphatic fluid back to your heart. Stroking away from your heart puts extra pressure on the valves within the veins and lymph vessels. Use long, gentle yet firm strokes, avoiding circular or scrubbing motions. Use lighter pressure in areas with thinner skin and harder pressure on places like the soles of the feet. Avoid the sensitive areas like the face, open wounds, cuts, rashes or infections.
Starting at your feet, use swift upwards strokes up the legs towards the heart and do the same with the arms starting at the hands. Use a long handled brush to reach your back, again brushing up towards the heard. On the abdomen use brush strokes towards the center.