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Monthly Archives for: December 2011

Alfalfa’s Stance on Genetically Modified Organisms

Dear friends,

From the time we opened our first store – Pearl Street Market – in 1979, and then our first Alfalfa’s at the corner of Broadway and Arapahoe in 1983, we have always been a company with a strong social mission. Alfalfa’s is a company that stands for what we believe in, and we aren’t afraid to let our opinions be known.

That is why we have taken a very public stand against the planting of GMOs on Boulder County Open Space. Personally, I entered the natural and organic foods movement in the 1960s because the environmental impact of conventional agriculture was causing substantial detriment to our planet – and it still is. The pervasive nature of GMOs means that neighboring crops are at risk when GMOs are planted nearby. As a long-time proponent of organic agriculture, and an avid organic gardener myself, I don’t want to see our organic farmers at risk for GMO contamination.

For those of you familiar with organic agricultural production standards, GMOs are not allowed in organic production. Therefore, organic is currently the best choice for consumers who want to avoid GMOs.

For non-organic products, there are several third-party verification programs that can assure a product was produced without GMO ingredients. At Alfalfas, we give the highest priority to organic products first, and then will accept products that make a no-GMO claim as long as they are certified by one of these third-party verifiers.

The Organic Trade Association (OTA), the trade group for the organic industry, has recently adopted a position that calls for a moratorium on the planting of GMOs until further research can be done. To learn more about OTA’s position, visit http://www.ota.com/pp/regulatory/OTA-Position-on-GMOs.html.

We wish we could say that our work stops here, and that consumers can rest assured that the products they purchase from Alfalfa’s were all produced without GMOs. Unfortunately, as a retailer, the situation with GMOs is not so black and white. At Alfalfa’s our long-term goal is to be a store that does not sell any products that were made with GMO ingredients. This, however, is an aspirational goal due to the pervasive nature of certain GMO crops, like corn, soy and sugar beets. These are common ingredients in many manufactured food products, and corn and soy are common in livestock feed, affecting our ability to source non-GMO meat and dairy products.

In fact, 93% of all soy, 86% of all corn and 95% of all sugar beets grown in the U.S. come from GMO seed. That leaves food manufacturers very little choice when seeking clean ingredients for their product formulations. As such, at Alfalfa’s, we must balance our consumers’ desires for product choices at prices they can afford with our desire to replace any and all products made with GMOs.

We are taking a two-step approach to reaching our long-term goal of being a GMO-free zone at Alfalfa’s. First, we buy organics whenever available, and organics are made without GMOs. In fact, we are an organic certified store by Oregon Tilth and we are a member of the OTA, which demonstrates our commitment to organics. Our produce department has been running about 95% to 97% organic since we opened our doors, our salad bar is close to 95% organic, our juice bar is 100% organic and the only fluid milk we offer is organic. So, we are off to a good start with these departments and with our efforts to remove GMOs from our store.

The second step toward reaching our goal is to review all the non-organic products in our store and determine which ones may contain GMO ingredients. Our buyers are currently reaching out to manufacturers to make this determination. If a product manufacturer cannot provide proof of third-party verification that their products are made without GMOs, we will request that they reformulate. If they are unwilling to reformulate, we will begin the search for a comparable product that does not contain GMO ingredients. Even though organic meat is still a tiny part of the overall meat industry, we are starting to identify producers who are using non-GMO feedstuffs in their livestock production. Once our product vendors can provide verification their products were made without GMO ingredients, we will post signage throughout our store to identify the non-GMO products in our store, allowing our consumers to make an educated choice. We feel it is part of our commitment to you, our customers, to be fully transparent about our products until we can find other alternatives.

Alfalfa’s was always known as a place where consumers didn’t have to read the labels because they knew that our buyers were hard at work sourcing the highest quality, all-natural products available that met a set of meaningful standards. We still hold this as an important part of our commitment to the Boulder community.

We will continue to educate our staff and consumers about important food issues that affect our community. We urge our Commissioners to vote NO for GMOs on Open Space, and we encourage our consumers and supporters to have your voices heard before it is too late. Learn how here

You can find out more about what is happening nationally with GMO labeling by visiting the GMO Right 2 Know March website and by going to Just Label It to let the FDA know you want GMO ingredients labeled on food products marketed in the U.S. Alfalfa’s is a partner in these important initiatives, and we urge you to have your voices heard so that our government officials can understand consumers’ concerns about GMOs infiltrating our food supply. 

Sincerely,

Mark Retzloff, co-founder and CEO, Alfalfa’s 

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Homemade Holiday Gift Ideas

When we want to share a gesture that shows how much we care for someone we can find ourselves going back to the basics. We craft. We write. We cook. This year, Alfalfa’s has made it easy to warm your loved one’s hearts and wow their taste buds. Begin a tradition of homemade gifts that people look forward to year after year.

From candied nuts to macadamia butter-crunch popcorn, we’ve got tons of recipes for you. And we even have some FREE gift tags for you to download. 

Give them gifts they’ll go nuts over
Glazed Spiced Nuts
Sugared Pecans
Rosemary Roasted Walnuts

Give them gifts that pop
Brown Sesame Mustard Popcorn
Macadamia Buttercrunch Popcorn 

Wish them happy trails this coming year
Holiday Trail Mix
Snow Day Snack Mix

Give them gifts that are almost as sweet as they are
Blackberry Lime Jam
Apple Spice Pie Filling

Tag your homemade gift with our homemade tags

Circular Holiday Gift Stickers
Swing by target, staples or a local shop and pick up Avery 2.5” recyclable craft circle gift labels. Print your homemade gift tag, a gift from us to you. 

Diamond-Shaped Holiday Gift Tags
You can print these gift tags on any paper, no specific paper or labels are needed for these cute little gift tags. Just print, punch and tag.

 

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Clarity of Mind, Body and Spirit

Not long ago Stephen Oakley asked if I would join him to speak at Alfalfa’s Wellness panel coming up on December 7th with the theme being mental clarity. I said sure, that would be fun, with a bit of an authoritative chip on my shoulder. We were actually having lunch together. Chatting back and forth, I began to wonder, am I the best person to be speaking on mental clarity? On more than one occasion I have left my treatment room to retrieve a remedy for a patient from the pharmacy and stopped in my tracks asking myself, “what did I come in here for?” Or lost my trend of thought when briefly interrupted by a child’s momentary demands of the mother I was treating. When I am tired after a long day and need to finish up paperwork it can be a challenge to hold my focus.

I decided to ask some of my sharpest patients who were not complaining of overt memory or cognitive issues what they experience on a day to day basis, to my surprise they shared similar experiences and most seemed amused when they thought about it. Janis, who works for us, said, “I have good mental clarity, but I have to work at it.”

Janis was referring to the way she held her attention, a way of being in order to achieve the results she was wanting around mental work. I realized that I did the same thing. I would dig in in a certain way, posture myself to hold concentration and when I did it I was solid and clear. Except when I hadn’t eaten for most of the day or when Mercury was in retrograde and the whole computer system in the office didn’t work for 5 days in a row. Then I turned to mental mush.

I’m pretty sure you can relate to this scenario. It is in all of us to a certain extent. And it requires our attention to breed attention and greater mental clarity. So it is clear to me, get it, clear to me that mental clarity is on a continuum from sharp to dull, from Einstein deep and clear to delusional. So the following is my ideas in brief, in categories, as to how we all can keep, for the most part, on the sharp side of the continuum. May we all support each other in the process!

I view the human being as having 4 members or domains that without each the others cannot express the fullness of life:

The physical body, which is grounded in the mineral world (primarily carbon) is what we sense with our five senses.

The etheric body, or life body gives form to the physical body. It offers the forces of growth and proliferation. The plant kingdom exemplifies the physical and the etheric.

The soul or astral body allows motions and emotions. It is the member that is linked with knowledge from external sources which forms “primal memory.” The astral body keeps the proliferative forces of the etheric in check. We share the three members with the animal kingdom.

The spirit or ego is the fourth member expressing the level of individuation only known to human beings. The spirit (ego) furnishes life to the soul (astral) and is considered the seat of consciousness – awareness of inner activity, creative thought based upon inner experiences and self- contemplation are examples of this member of the being

So, with this view, with this perspective, I want to plug in some examples of dysfunction in each domain that directly influence mental clarity.

Physical.  Any conditions that affect the cell getting its needs meant to produce life (metabolism). A few examples:

  • Hypoglycemia – low blood sugar – the brain consumes 45 % or more of the circulating blood sugar to function properly.
  • Insulin resistance – the cell receptor does not accept the hormone that delivers glucose to the cell therefore less glucose get to the cell (this includes brain cells).
  • Hypothyroid – this hormone plays a major role in the control of metabolism – low thyroid equals low metabolism (drowsy, sleeping, low cognitive function).
  • Toxicity (toxic tissue burden) – our environment is loaded with them – they are ubiquitous, meaning they are everywhere and they inhibit normal life process.

Etheric (life body, chi). One of the laws of physics is energy precedes form. The etheric governs the physical body. If the etheric flow is inhibited, the chi is inhibited, then the physical is inhibited.

  • In Asian medicine this disturbance is termed a disturbance in Shen (wakefulness, alertness, brightness).

Soul

  • Psychoneuroimmunology is the study of how the disturbed feeling sense realm can cause illness in the body when the thought process overwhelms the felt sense realm of the being. The thinking gets out of control draining the heart-feeling-sense of the world and the knowing that comes from intuition. The heart is a cognitive organ. When it is not in the driver’s seat mentation gets out of control and disturbs mental clarity. This is a good one for open panel discussion.

Spirit. In our culture we’ve all experienced, one time or another, some level of disembodiment. This manifests as various forms of disconnect. Mind objectifies and separates from body, which in turn, places us out of touch with the feelings of the heart and the sensations of the belly.

Sometimes we are unable to perceive the pulsations of the earth’s heart, and we waver in our contact with the infinite heart that as one substance pervades all that is.

Mental clarity is directly connected to our state of awareness. Mental clarity does not always yield true clarity. True clarity is when the heart leads the mind in thought and feelings.

 

By Dr. Darryl Hobson, a wellness educator, author and a practicing physician of integrated natural medicine. His career in medicine began in 1969 when he awoke one day to find himself blind. Modern medical diagnostic approaches did not reveal the cause. He was taken to a healer who simply placed his hands over his body. Two days after that first session his eyesight returned. Darryl wanted to know what kind of process through the use of just the hands would bring about such a healing. He has spent the last 42 years investigating not only that form of energetic healing but many other areas of the natural healing arts with a particular interest in chiro-practic and energetic medicine.

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Be A Brain Foodie

Clear thinking is something we all need. Our brains rely on a constant stream of nutrients, blood sugar and oxygen to produce the energy that facilitates learning, thoughts and action. Feed yourself brain boosting foods that optimize mental clarity and mind health. 

  • Carbohydrates such as white potatoes, pasta, rice, bread and other forms of grain are best suited to feeling mentally serene rather than sharp. 
  • Sugar, considered an anti-nutrient, causes the body to lose valuable nutrients. 
  • Fried foods can make one feel foggy, soggy and groggy when poor quality fats and free radicals combine in the bloodstream producing a waste product called lipofuscin, which can adversely affect brain function. 
  • Black and and dark blue foods, according to Asian Tradition, such as chia seeds, seaweed, wild rice; black beans and black olives provide many kidney and brain nourishing minerals. I want to share that after a month of eating chia seed porridge for breakfast, my husband exclaimed, “I feel like my neurotransmitters are functioning better!” And I feel like a superhero every day thanks to chia.
  • The medium chain fatty acids in coconut oil nourish nerve cells and are being researched for its ability to improve Alzheimer’s and dementia due to the production of ketones from the saturated fats to fuel brain cells.
  • Cauliflower, cabbage, hazelnuts, coconut, walnut, hemp seed all resemble the brain and according to the ancient tradition of The Doctrine of Signatures, foods that look like a head or brain, often prove in modern times to be nourishing to our mental faculties. What the ancient ones knew is being validated by modern science. We know hemp seed, chia seed, hazelnuts, and walnuts and are all rich in omega 3 fatty acids, all needed for mental clarity. Cauliflower and cabbage contain that sulfur helps repair the myelin sheath, the protector on the end of every nerve in the body and is stored in the brain.
  • High chlorophyll foods are excellent oxygen transporters 
  • Super foods like wheatgrass, barley grass juice or blue green algae can help one think more clearly. Other high chlorophyll foods include the leafy greens such as kale, collards and beet greens. Seaweeds have traditionally been used to increase longevity and clear thinking. 
  • Aromas that can be used to stimulate mental alertness include basil, lemon, lemon grass, lime, peppermint and rosemary. It is ideal to smell such aromas when studying and then use them again when taking a test or having to perform.

Select foods that are fresh and unprocessed. Protect your brain by avoiding aluminum, claimed by many health authorities to be cumulative in the brain and contribute to Alzheimer’s disease. Chemical exposure such as house cleaning products, pesticides, paints and some art and cosmetic supplies can affect the brain adversely. Protect and nourish your precious seat of thought and consciousness!

 

By Brigitte Mars, an herbalist and nutritional consultant with over forty years experience. She is the author of 8 books, such as Beauty by Nature, Rawsome,  The Desktop Guide to Herbal Medicine, and more.  Brigitte has had a radio show on KGNU called Naturally for over twenty years, and is a professional member of The American Herbalist Guild. Ms. Mars teaches at Naropa University, Boulder College of Massage, Omega Institute, Kripalu, and Bauman College of Holistic Nutrition and Culinary Arts. Brigitte is a blogger for The Huffington Post and Care2. For more info, visit her website, give her a ring at 303 442-4967 or email her at brigitte@indra.com

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Mental Clarity and Memory

Mental Clarity and memory are two things that most people assume they’ll lose with age. Many people suffer memory loss due to an insufficient supply of nutrients to the brain. The brain along with every other cell in the body is fed by our blood, the “life” of the body. If proper nutrients aren’t getting to the brain, they either aren’t in the bloodstream, or there is a problem with the blood delivery system. Also consider that some substances in the blood could be toxic to the brain.

One of the most important factors in brain health is omega 3 oils which are absent from the average diet. Deficiencies of these oils can cause impaired ability to learn and recall information. DHA, or docosahexaenoic acid, is a particular omega 3 fatty acid that is a fundamental building block for cellular membranes, most notably neuronal membranes in the brain. High quality sources of these are found in the wide variety of Nordic Naturals fish oil line up.

B vitamins help maintain the health of our nerves and brain. Some cases of Alzheimer’s disease have been found to be due to B-12 and B-complex deficiency. Our ability to assimilate B-12 is sometimes impaired so it is helpful to supplement with either high-absorption or sublingual formulas such as the Zeniral Ginseng Plus and Zeniral Stress Aid

Problems with the blood delivery system caused by clogged arteries and/or high cholesterol and triglycerides and high blood sugar could interfere with the brain’s ability to get nutrients. Natural agents that help increase circulation will help the brain work better – these include the Omega 3 oils, ginkgo biloba, and lecithin. It is important to change your habits (diet and exercise) so that you lower cholesterol, triglycerides and blood sugar if they are problems for you. Ginkgo biloba can be found in the Zeniral Memory Aid and Ginseng Plus. 

Ginkgo biloba is a powerful antioxidant herb that benefits the brain, retina and cardiovascular system. Studies show that ginkgo has a positive and measurable effect on dementia in people with Alzheimer’s disease and people recovering from strokes. Other studies show that it enhances concentration and improves memory. Ginkgo is used in many formulas for enhanced mental clarity, better circulation and also for attention deficit disorder. Other herbs used for mental clarity and learning include Convallaria majalis found in the Zeniral Memory Aid, and Scutellaria latiflora which is found in the Zeniral Relax Aid.

Also notable for brain and nerve health is the following one of many key ingredients in Zeniral’s Vertigo Aid, that is Gelsemium sempervirens, commonly known as Yellow Jasmine which helps repair nerves by stimulating nerve growth factors, supporting normal cognitive function and muscular coordination and response. Gelsemium centers its action upon the nervous system, relieving various degrees of motor paralysis, dizziness, drowsiness, dullness, and trembling. 

It is also important to avoid substances that are known to be toxic to the brain and nerves. These include the class of substances known as excitotoxins that excite the nerves to death. The most common excitotoxins are the artificial sweetener aspartame and the flavor enhancer MSG and GMO foods. Read labels of foods and diet products and make sure you are avoiding these toxins in order to maximize the health of your brain. 

Remember the gut feeds the brain so always include Zeniral’s Digest Aid to cleanse and rebuild the whole digestive system and supply natural enzymes to preserve the vital functions of digestion, absorption, and elimination.

 

By William James “Bill” Cunningham, who since 1990, has been using Professor Nelson’s biofeedback systems from the very first generation called the “Eclosion” to the present new INDIGO System. Bill was fortunate to spend every working day with Professor Nelson in 1990 through late 1992 when Nelson departed for Budapest, Hungary. During this intense apprenticeship he learned the intricacies of Nelson’s biofeedback systems. Bill also learned the safe, legal, and effective use of Nelson’s homeopathic repertory which includes over 500 unique remedies! In his nearly 20 years of active clinical practice, Mr. Cunningham has worked with over 30,000 clients via Professor Nelson’s bio- feedback systems and homeopathic repertory. He has taught over 4,000 practitioners the art of “Nelsonian and Biofeedback Home- opathy” and still sees many clients monthly. William is currently working on a Phd. in Biofeedback and Homeopathy with Professor Nelson as his Mentor and recently attained his “Homeo-Therapeutic Coach” status from NTCB.

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