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Chicken Jambalaya

Chicken Jambalaya

• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 4 skinless, boneless chicken thighs (about 1 pound), cut into 2-inch pieces
• Salt
• Freshly ground pepper
• 1 medium onion, chopped
• 1 small red bell pepper, chopped
• 2 garlic cloves, minced
• 1 teaspoon adobo seasoning
• 1/4 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
• 1 cup long-grain rice
• 2 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth
• 1/2 cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed
Method of preparation:
• In a large, deep skillet, heat the oil until shimmering. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and cook over moderately high heat, turning once, until browned, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
• Add the onion, pepper and garlic to the skillet and cook, stirring frequently, until lightly browned, about 6 minutes. Add the adobo seasoning and chile powder and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the rice and cook, stirring constantly, until well coated and just beginning to brown, about 1 minute. Stir in the stock, black beans, chicken, bring to a boil over moderately high heat. Cover and cook over moderately low heat until the rice is tender and the chicken is cooked through, about 15 minutes. Let rest for 5 minutes, then fluff the rice with a fork and serve.

Recipes Stuffed peppers

Stuffed Peppers

• 1/2 cup brown rice
• 1 cup water
• 1 pound lean ground beef
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 1 onion, chopped
• 2 green bell peppers
• 2 red bell peppers
• 2 yellow bell peppers
• 1 (8 ounce) can natural tomato sauce
• 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
• salt and ground black pepper to taste
• 1 (8 ounce) can natural tomato sauce

Method of preparation:
• Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
• Bring brown rice and water to a boil in a saucepan. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until rice is tender and liquid has been absorbed, 45 to 50 minutes.
• Cook and stir beef, garlic, and onion in a skillet over medium heat until meat is evenly browned and onion is softened, about 5 minutes.
• Slice the peppers in halves, remove and discard the seeds. Arrange peppers in a baking dish with the hollowed sides facing upward.
• Mix the browned beef, cooked rice, 1 can tomato sauce, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Spoon an equal amount of the mixture into each hollowed pepper. Mix the remaining tomato sauce and Italian seasoning in a bowl, and pour over the stuffed peppers.
• Bake in the preheated oven, until the peppers are tender, about 1 hour.

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Beef and Bok Choy

• 2 lbs. beef sirloin, thinly sliced into strips
• 12 heads baby bok choy, cut in half lengthwise
• 1 onion, thinly sliced
• 2 tbsp. gluten free soy sauce
• 1 small piece fresh ginger, minced
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 5 dried red chiles, halved (optional)
• 3 tsp. coconut oil
• Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method of preparation:
• Season the beef to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
• Warm the coconut oil in a large skillet placed over a high heat.
• Add the ginger, garlic, and chiles (if using).
• Stir-fry until fragrant, about 1 minute.
• Add the beef and cook for 2 to 3 minutes.
• Transfer the beef to a bowl.
• Add the onion to the hot skillet and cook for 2 minutes.
• Add the bok choy and cook until soft (3 to 4 minutes).
• Return the beef to the skillet add the gluten free soy sauce to the pan, stir to combine, and serve warm.

Crispy Chicken Noodles


  • 2 tablespoons groundnut oil (peanut)
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and finely sliced
  • 5 ounces bean sprouts
  • 1 large spring onion (green), sliced lengthwise
  • 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • Freshly ground black pepper, finely ground
  • *Can be found at specialty Asian markets.
Cook the noodles for 3 minutes in a pan of boiling water until al dente, or as per the package instructions. Drain, then run them under cold running water, and drain again. Drizzle with a few splashes of sesame oil, and toss through to prevent them from sticking.

Season the chicken with a splash of dark soy sauce, the five-spice powder, and chile sauce, if using. Mix well. Coat the chicken breasts lightly with the cornstarch.

Heat a wok over a high heat, add the groundnut or peanut oil, and heat until smoking. Then, add the chicken, and stir-fry for 2 to 3 minutes, or until cooked through.

Add the red bell pepper, and stir-fry for 1 minute, then add the bean sprouts and green onion and stir-fry for less than 1 minute. Add the cooked noodles, and season with the light soy sauce, 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil, and black pepper, to taste. Stir well and serve immediately.


This is a classic takeaway dish and a classic Chinese snack – Chow mein in Mandarin Chinese is pronounced ‘Chao meean and it means ‘stir-noodle’, i.e. stir-fried noodle.
I love this simple dish with plenty of fresh crunchy vegetables and the usual Chinese condiments of light soy sauce and toasted sesame oil – but the trick to getting a good-quality chow mein is in the quality of the noodle used. I use shi wheat flour noodles – ‘shi’ means ‘thin’ and whether yellow shi or white – they are easy to cook, 3 minutes in boiling water. Then all the ingredients go into a wok – couldn’t be easier or healthier!

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Sizzling Fried Prawns

Prep:30 min
Inactive Prep:
Cook:10 min
YIELD:4 servings


  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1 box kataifi (shredded phyllo dough)
  • 16 to 20 prawns, tails removed and deveined (about 1 pound)
  • 2 cups grapeseed oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 tortillas
  • 1/2 cup shredded cabbage
  • 1 bunch scallions, sliced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, sliced
Put the flour in a bowl. Lightly beat the egg in a separate bowl. Put the kataifi on a plate and separate it into 4-inch strands. Dredge the prawns in the flour, then dip in the egg and roll in the kataifi.

Heat the grapeseed oil in a pot over medium-high heat. Gently add the prawns and cook until light golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Drainon paper towels. Season with salt and pepper.

Warm the tortillas, one at a time, in a separate pan over medium heat until pliable.

To serve, place 4 to 5 prawns on each tortilla and top with the cabbage, scallions and jalapenos.

This recipe was provided by a professional chef or restaurant and may have been scaled down from a bulk recipe. The Food Network Kitchens chefs have not tested this recipe, in the proportions indicated, and therefore, we cannot make any representation as to the results.

Chicken Fettuccini Alfredo Pasta


  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 (25-ounce/750 ml) jar tomato puree
  • Salt
  • 12 ounces/400 g freshly grated mozzarella
  • Smoked scamorza cheese, as much as desired, roughly chopped
  • Freshly grated Parmigiano cheese, for sprinkling
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

While the rigatoni cooks in salted boiling water, prepare the sauce. In a saucepan heat up the olive oil and saute the eggplant, sun-dried tomatoes, olives, chile peppers, if using, and garlic, for a few minutes. Add the tomato puree and salt. Let the sauce cook for approximately 10 minutes on medium heat.

Drain the rigatoni; add the pasta to the saucepan, sprinkle with some Parmigiano and cook for another 30 seconds. Then place 1/2 the rigatoni in a baking dish, adding a layer of 1/2 the mozzarella, 1/2 the scamorza and another sprinkle of Parmigiano cheese over the pasta. Add the remaining rigatoni, and follow with a final layer of all the cheeses. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until golden brown.

Blog Post Title

What goes into a blog post? Helpful, industry-specific content that: 1) gives readers a useful takeaway, and 2) shows you’re an industry expert.

Use your company’s blog posts to opine on current industry topics, humanize your company, and show how your products and services can help people.

How do conscientious movement patterns (including Yoga) effect chemistry and neural connectivity?

This article triggered some interesting conversations amongst our team members, about how our neurology is affected, for better and for worse, because of the movement patterns we put them through. The is why we believe functional & intentional (not habitual) training, is so important.

Kareem Abdul-Jabar had, arguably, the most impressive career for a “big man” in NBA history. Especially the longevity of his career and success. In the past, he’s been quick to credit his diet, yoga and training with Bruce Lee. Coincidence?


The Science behind Yoga and Stress

By Dr M Storoni MD PhD on Tuesday July 14th, 2015

What does bending your body into yoga poses do to your brain chemistry and nerve connections?

What does bending your body into yoga poses do to your brain chemistry and nerve connections?

There are two functional parts of the brain that play a key role in stress. These serve the functions of emotion and cognitive function. So I am calling them the ’emotional’ brain (amygdala and its connections and medial forebrain structures including the medial prefrontal cortex) and the ‘logical’ brain (the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, other parts of the prefrontal cortex, parts of the cingulate cortex and parts of the hippocampus).

The emotional brain is able to initiate a ‘stress response’ via the sympathetic nervous system which culminates in adrenaline and cortisol racing through our circulation.The logical brain is always trying to ‘turn-off’ this stress response and it is also trying to restrain the emotional brain. The stronger our logical brain, the better it becomes at doing these two things. When the stress response is ‘turned off’, our parasympathetic nervous system signal is ‘turned on’. This signal ‘relaxes’ the body. So a strong logical brain goes hand in hand with relaxation.

The stress response and ‘relaxing’ signals travel through the body along a particular route and parts of this route have little ‘switches’ which we can physically manipulate to turn the signals on or off. The neck is an example of where such switches are located (by the carotid arteries).

Everytime we are holding a posture our logical brain is being activated“Everytime we are holding a posture our logical brain is being activated”

Training the stress circuit

Yoga is training this entire stress circuit at two levels. First, every time we are ‘holding’ a posture, staying very still to concentrate or trying to balance, our logical brain is being activated. When we are bending forwards, our ‘relaxation’ signal is being turned on through the ‘switches’ in the neck. So bending forwards and concentrating at the same time is triggering both the logical brain and the relaxation signal at the same time.

Bending backwards triggers the stress response signal through the switches in our neck. Contracting a muscle also triggers the stress response signal. So, when we bend backwards and contract our muscles while still having to stay still and concentrate on balancing, our logical brain is given an extra challenge. It has to overcome the stress response signal being triggered in these two ways before we can be still and concentrate during a posture. This ‘extra’ resistance the logical brain is having to work against, ‘trains’ it like a muscle.

New circuitry that enables you to find it easier to control your thoughts is formed“New circuitry that enables you to find it easier to control your thoughts is formed”

Rewiring the nerve connections

At the end of a series of yoga postures, the logical brain has had a ‘workout’. It is buzzing with activity. You feel mentally calm as it is keeping your emotional brain quiet. Training the logical brain in this way for a long time can result in a rewiring of the nerve connections within the logical brain. New circuitry that enables you to find it easier to control your thoughts is formed. You may find it easier to channel your thoughts in the direction you want and not ‘dwell’ on negative thoughts or experiences. This is partly why yoga seems to have a positive effect on depression and anxiety, where sufferers have a tendency to dwell on negative life events. Stronger connections within the logical brain keeps the lid down on the emotional brain and the stress response. This is why yoga can be so effective at battling stress.

The Science behind Yoga and Stress

Moringa Plants – “Drumstick Trees”

Some think of moringa (Drumstick tree) as another health-fad of the past but people who consume parts of the plant-tree, daily or weekly, seem to swear by it’s benefits. Still, we want to urge caution with the title, as the article even states: “Please note that it’s a long way before Moringa can be claimed as a cancer cure, but this kind of study is important because it indicates the potential for a starting point for a medicine of the future.”

Either way, a good opportunity to add something to your diet, if you haven’t already considered “benzoil” or “ben oil” trees, other names for the plant. We love it’s potential to help people sustain a healthy set of internal systems.

OTR Meals emphasizes the importance of balance and variety when it comes to dieting. The seeds and leaves have different uses and multiple benefits. Might be worth a harder glance.

Check out some of the potential benefits that are being associated with consumption, by medical and dieting professionals in North America (ironic of us, we know) Still, we are living in an era of “information”, and not everything can be forever hidden from the general public. Every step you take away from the “garbage” dieting norms that corporate greed has established in our society, is a step towards taking back what is yours, your heath and wellness!  Let’s use this and keep making a conscientious effort to keep learning and adding new foods to your diet!. Thanks for reading!


moringa fights cancerHave you heard of moringa? This plant is causing quite the stir in the health community. Also known as drumstick or Malunggay, moringa trees are often used in South Indian delicacies for their unique taste and texture.

The Moringa tree can be found in native parts of Africa and Asia and every part of this amazing tree such as the pods, fruits, flowers, roots and bark are edible and rich in nutrients. There is no need to let any of it go to waste!

So, what makes moringa so marvelous?

Let’s compare moringa to some common healthy foods and products we consume to see what the big deal is regarding this plant:

  • Moringa seeds produce edible oil known as Ben oil that is similar to olive oil nutrition wise. This oil is rich in antioxidants and, unlike many other oils, has an indefinite shelf life!
  • Spinach has long been praised as a rich source of iron, but moringa leaves have three times more iron than spinach!
  • There’s nothing like a cup of coffee to wake you up in the morning…at leasts that’s what you think until you’ve had moringa tea! The moringa leaves have properties that boost energy level naturally and keep them boosted for a long period of time.
  • You’ve heard carrots are good for your eyes because of their high vitamin A content, but moringa has four times the vitamin A of carrots per gram! Moringa is also a great source of beta-carotene.
  • Are you one of those people who take multivitamins? Moringa supplements, which are made from moringa leaves and pods, are said to be better than most vitamins and supplements on the market because they don’t use synthetic ingredients.
  • Moringa has double the protein found in yogurt per gram.
  • Moringa has three times the potassium found in bananas per gram.
  • Moringa has a whopping seven times more vitamin C per gram of oranges!
  • Moringa is great for your bones too. It has four times the calcium of milk per gram.

The Anti-Cancer Effects of Moringa Revealed By Researchers

Moringa also contains numerous powerful anti-cancer compounds such as kaempferol, rhamnetin and isoquercetin. Now, researchers are discovering that Moringa has anti-cancer potential with positive results so far against ovarian cancer, liver cancer, lung cancer, and melanoma in lab tests. A list of these studies can be seen on Pubmed here.

Please note that it’s a long way before Moringa can be claimed as a cancer cure, but this kind of study is important because it indicates the potential for a starting point for a medicine of the future. It’s especially interesting because Moringa is already in common use – not only in herbalism but in a wide variety of other applications.

Here are some additional benefits of the moringa plant.

  • Can be used to purify water
  • Contains nine essential amino acids, 27 vitamins, 46 antioxidants, and many minerals.
  • Can improve human lactation.
  • Can treat a variety of chronic illnesses, bites, wounds, and other ailments.
  • Is a powerful skin cleanser, and ideal for maintaining healthy, vibrant hair
  • Has no side effects. The moringa plant is safe for both children and adults.

OK…so now that you’re sold on the idea, where can you find this plant?

You can get moringa products from a company called Kuli Kuli Foods; this company is a fair trade, small-scale farming cooperative in Ghana and Haiti.

You can also find moringa plant products, some of which are excellent in soup and curry dishes, at a South-Indian grocery store or a grocery store that caters to South-Indian cuisine. Of course, once more people start purchasing it, this plant should soon start popping up everywhere!


30 Amazing Benefits Of Moringa Plant For Skin, Hair And Health

Fluoride officially classified as a neurotoxin – The Lancet Neurology

Another establishment, unable to continue to deny the potential harm that comes with ingesting fluoride. Still, many people, ignorantly choose to purchase and drink, fluoride-contaminated bottled water. Many cities in North American also continue to pollute tap-water with fluoride, because of the “dental” benefits. (sarcastic-sigh)

The very thought of pouring fluoride into the GI tracts of our children, seems crazier by the day.

We recently wrote about our frustration with how our scientific community’s lengthy process for validating information, can leave many people  – even professionals – lagging behind in what they know, teach and preach. We understand the need for strict procedure and formality; peer review before publication; it’s fair, but it doesn’t mean there aren’t consequences.

We recently posted an article which included red flags to look out for when it comes to drinking water.

People have been disputing the idea of fluoride in drinking water, for years. Many companies insert fluoride into well-branded toothpaste products because it is corrosive! It is NOT meant to be swallowed! Let’s also not forget that many third world countries do not have demand for fluoride-containing tooth-pastes due to variance in diet. Less or no, refined sugars, no dental caries. Interesting? DIETING IS KEY! Toothpastes (Neem-based amongst others) which do NOT contain fluoride, DO exist and offer a more natural, cause-treating remedy for dental hygiene.

It seems we still don’t know much about how to differentiate mineral content in water, and about the different ways, which minerals can benefit our various systems. There are many “minerals” which may still be unknown, undefined and not yet understood. “What’s micro today will indeed be macro, tomorrow. We must do our best, with we know, yet we must ALWAYS continue to strive, to know more”

Fluoride Officially Classified as a Neurotoxin in World’s Most Prestigious Medical Journal

By Waking Science, February 10, 2016

The movement to remove industrial sodium fluoride from the world’s water supply has been growing in recent years, with evidence coming out against the additive from several sources. Now, a report from the world’s oldest and most prestigious medical journal, The Lancet, has officially classified fluoride as a neurotoxin — in the same category as arsenic, lead and mercury.

The news was broken by author Stefan Smyle, who cited a report published in The Lancet Neurology, Volume 13, Issue 3, in the March 2014 edition, by authors Dr. Phillippe Grandjean and Philip J. Landrigan, MD. The report, which was officially released in 2014 and published in the journal, can be viewed by clicking here.

Fluoride Classified Along with Mercury, Lead and Others

As noted in the summary of the report, a systematic review identified five different similar industrial chemicals as developmental neurotoxicants: lead, methylmercury, polychlorinated biphenyls, arsenic, and toluene.

The summary goes on to state that six additional developmental neurotoxicants have also  now been identified: manganese, fluoride, chlorpyrifos, dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane, tetrachloroethylene, and the polybrominated diphenyl ethers. The authors added that even more of these neurotoxicants remain undiscovered.

Also in the report, they note that neurodevelopmental disabilities, including attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, dyslexia, and other cognitive impairments, are now affecting millions of children worldwide in what they call a “pandemic of developmental neurotoxicity.”

Because of the documented health risks of fluoride, many people have launched campaigns to remove the chemical from their water supplies, to varying degrees of success.

Such initiatives usually begin through the are often controversial and emotionally charged because of the reputation fluoride still enjoys among mainstream dentistry practitioners.

In addition to fluoride in city water supplies, the substance can also be found in certain foods, especially in heavily processed brands of tea that may be grown in polluted areas (see this list for more info).

If you’ve ever noticed the warnings on toothpaste labels you probably know just how serious fluoride poisoning can be, especially for children if they swallow too much at one time.

Because of this threat, many parents have begun eschewing fluoridated toothpaste brands altogether and are using more natural brands such as EarthpasteDesert EssenceUncle Harry’s Toothpaste Dr. Bronner’s toothpaste line, or even making their own from a combination of ingredients such as coconut oil, organic neem leaf powdersessential oils like peppermint or cinnamon, and other natural ingredients.

The fluoride added to our water supply is mostly seen as a cumulative toxin that accumulates in our bodies and can manifest itself in problems over time, including dental fluorosis, or far worse health problems.

Global Fluoride Prevention Strategy Recommended

In the Lancet report, the authors propose a global prevention strategy, saying that “untested chemicals should not be presumed to be safe to brain development, and chemicals in existing use and all new chemicals must therefore be tested for developmental neurotoxicity.”

They continue: “To coordinate these efforts and to accelerate translation of science into prevention, we propose the urgent formation of a new international clearinghouse.”

The report coincides with 2013 findings by a Harvard University meta-analysis funded by the National Institutes of Health that concluded that children in areas with highly fluoridated water have “significantly lower” IQ scores that those who live in areas with low amounts of fluoride in their water supplies.

Sodium fluoride in drinking water has also been linked to various cancers. It is functionally different than the naturally-occurring calcium fluoride, and commonly added to drinking water supplies and used by dentists who posit that it is useful for dental health.

Fluoridation is Actually Uncommon in Europe

Currently, fluoride is added to water supplies across much of North America, but as this list of countries that ban or reject water fluoridation shows, the practice is actually not too common, or banned entirely throughout most of Europe and in several other developed nations across the world.

Since most places in America still add fluoride to the water a high quality water filter is recommend to filter out the fluoride, and it can be especially important to avoid exposing yourself to too much fluoride in your daily shower or bath.

5 ingredients that may be quietly and slowly harming the brain

We recently noticed an online post from Natural News, which listed 5 ingredients they claim are poisoning the brain.

Gluten may bend controversy on it’s own but the vast majority of our meals are gluten-free, anyway. We are more interested in asking people to learn (on their own) about artificial sweeteners, refined sugars (of course) and especially, fluoride in water. The Natural News article will be reposted at the bottom of this blog.

Every bottle of water sold in Canada should list 2 facts regarding water content:

1)Mineral Salt Content
2)Fluoride Content

Each is measured in parts per million or PPM.

Mineral content is something we can blog about another time but fluoride is what we want people to focus on. Fluoride is just another element on the periodic table, but with corrosive properties. CORROSIVE! Swallowing tooth paste is not advised, nor fluoride mouth-wash. Fluoride exists in major brands (i.e CREST) because lobbyists and conglomerates argue that it’s good for dental health. However, other all-natural tooth pastes and mouth washes do exist (i,e neem-leaf based ingredients amongst others), many which don’t include ingredients with corrosive and potentially poisonous properties. Some of these all-natural ingredients also allow you to address oral hygiene by cause instead of overlying or masking your scent with toothpastes and mouth-wash contaminated with fluoride and artificial chemicals that can do bad things for our body.

Interesting fact: many countries WITHOUT refined sugar as a common ingredient in diet, DO NOT have dental caries and other teeth & gum issues. Facts can be disregarded, arguments can be supported, but other cultures prove fluoride is not necessary in dental hygiene products. Reminds us how countries in South America prove women can avoid menopause with a different diet (i.e lentils, legumes, beans etc).

When purchasing water, please be aware of fluoride content. Also, try to purchase from brands you are comfortable with. Mineral sales should be GOOD minerals, coming from water from certain parts of the world is believed to be better than others. However, we are very interested to know why companies such as Evian have recently started offering fluoride-contaminated, water-products in Canada. It’s become tougher and tougher to find Evian water products which do not contain fluoride.

Evian and many other companies, sell water at a rate most find very expensive. Real Canadian offers a more affordable product which hold a strong reputation for where it’s sourced and how it’s treated. PPM levels read 300 for mineral salts and 0 for fluoride, respectively.




Five ingredients that poison your brain

Brain health

(NaturalNews) There is no shortage of things driving us crazy in the world today, but there are some things that could do it in a shorter amount of time. These gut disturbing, liver compromising, and brain damaging ingredients have come from the “infinite genius” of man, and have clearly ruined our ability to think clearly.

Avoid these 5 ingredients scrupulously, and watch your brain function improve:


Gluten is a common protein molecule found in wheat, barley, rye, kamut, and spelt. This sticky protein binds to the small intestinal wall where it can cause digestive and immune system disorders. Celiac disease is the most common condition associated with gluten sensitivity. However, there is also a condition termed non-celiac, gluten sensitivity (NCGS), and it is a major factor in the inflammatory disorders of the brain and nervous system.

Studies have shown many associations between gluten sensitivity and disorders in every part of the neurological system including the brain, spinal cord, and peripheral nerves. Gluten has been shown to be a big trigger in psychiatric disorders, cognitive impairment, dementia, and virtually every other neurological disorder.

Artificial Sweeteners

Whether it is aspartame (or AminoSweet), sucralose (Splenda), or saccharin (Equal, Sweet ‘N Low), artificial sweeteners so popular due to their zero calorie marketing, have been poisoning brains for decades. Aspartame is a combination of chemicals, namely aspartic acid (an amino acid with excitatory effects on brain cells), methanol, and phenylalanine, and when broken down produces a compound that is a powerful brain-tumor-causing chemical.

Aspartame consumption causes a variety of symptoms including anxiety attacks, slurred speech, depression, and migraines. It and other artificial sweeteners can be found in sodas, yogurt, chewing gum, cooking sauces, tabletop sweeteners, flavored water, cereal, and sugar free products.

Monosodium glutamate (MSG)

MSG is a form of concentrated salt added to foods to enhance flavor. It tricks the taste buds and the brain into thinking food tastes delicious, but as an excitotoxin, it triggers the brain to produce excess quantities of the feel-good drug, dopamine. Unfortunately, the good feelings don’t last, but the side effects do. Excitotoxins have been linked to brain damage and other neurological diseases including Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, dementia, MS, lupus, and more.

Be on the look out for MSG in any processed products, including “healthy” snacks, salad dressing, barbecue sauce, bouillon cubes, and canned soups and vegetables.

Refined Sugar

Refined sugar has become one of the most prolific ingredients in our food, and one of the most dangerous. Its constant consumption has been linked to many different health problems, all which have a negative effect on the brain.

Refined sugar consumption suppresses brain derived neurotrophic factor, or BDNF, a very important growth hormone for the brain. This factor triggers new connections between neurons in the brain that are vital for memory function. Studies have shown low BDNF levels in patients with depression and schizophrenia, and the consumption of sugar could exacerbate those conditions by further contributing to those low levels.

Refined sugar also increases inflammation, which can disrupt the digestive and immune systems. If this inflammation is chronic, it can lead to a higher risk of depression and schizophrenia. Dr. Ilardi, associate professor of psychology at University of Kansas, encourages depressed patients to remove refined sugar from their diets, and those who were willing to comply reported significant improvements in mental clarity and mood.


The decision to add fluoride to public drinking water has had perhaps one of the most dangerous and widespread effects on our overall health, most notably the brain.

The Fluoride Action Network (FAN) reported a study that found fluoride was linked to lower IQ, even at ranges added to U.S. water supplies. One study sponsored by UNICEF found that IQ was reduced at just 0.88 mg/l of fluoride, a level that is added to U.S. drinking water systems and considered within the optimal range.

FAN also stated that 34 studies now link fluoride to lower IQ levels in humans, while other studies link it to learning and memory impairment, fetal brain damage, and altered neurobehavioral function.

These 5 ingredients can be relatively easy to avoid, with the right motivation and knowledge. However, some of them can be tricky. To learn more about MSG and the dozens of other names it can go under, read What is MSG? Side Effects Explained and see this article for brain health (check out the brain tonic recipe). To find out how to choose a water solution that is free of fluoride, check out this Guide To Drinking Water.See the first source below for more on brain health.


About the author:
Derek Henry took a deadly health challenge that conventional medicine couldn’t solve and self-directed a one-in-a-million health journey that found him happier and healthier than he had been in his entire life. As a result of this rewarding journey, he now spends his time writing, coaching, and educating thousands of people each month who want to enjoy similar results under their own direction.

His signature online program, THRIVE, teaches people how to engineer their own health transformation, by addressing all the holistic factors that he utilized to create his own successful health story. Derek believes that anyone can create the health they desire with the right mentor, details, and motivation to be well.

Learn more:

Breathing – A solution to stress reduction?

January 28th, 2016, by OTR Meals.

“It happens without paying much attention:

the regular rising and falling of the chest,

air rushing through the moist wind tunnels

of the throat and nose, that sweet God muscle,

life’s soft engine, the diaphragm,

contracting and relaxing whenever we climb

the stairs or need a little comfort

after a gloomy day.”

-Sigman Byrd, Breathing – adapted from page 127 of the Prairie Schooner

Could breathing exercises reduce stress, increase sleep quality, increase productivity, and benefit your health? A popularly-cited study published in the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology investigated this in 2012.

Studying the effects of mindfulness meditation on highly-stressed employees, researchers from Duke University, the University of Pennsylvania, and the University of Indianapolis found “statistically significant reductions in perceived stress and sleep difficulties” for participants performing the breathing exercises of mindfulness meditation based on “significant improvements in heart rhythm coherence [or heartbeat rhythm], a measure of autonomic balance [associated with low stress levels]” (Wolever et al. 246).

These findings were further supported by earlier publications. In 2000, a study published in the Journal of Psychosomatic Medicine supported that breathing-based mindfulness meditation exercises effectively “[decreased] mood disturbance and stress symptoms” in cancer outpatients with “a wide variety of cancer diagnoses, stages of illness, and ages” (Michael et al. 613). In 1992, a study published in The American Journal of Psychiatry supported the use of “meditation [consisting of breathing exercises], relaxation, and biofeedback” as effective treatments to reduce symptoms of “generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, [and] panic disorder with agoraphobia” (Kabat-Zinn et al. 936).

However, breathing as a stress-reduction tool is not a panacea. In a study conducted by Dr. Consolo et al. at Ohio University Zanesville, researchers found diaphragmatic breathing techniques were inconclusive at best as tools in stress-reduction. The study’s conclusion is consistent with earlier studies by “Walker and Frazier (1993) and Bush, Thompson, and Van Tubergen (1985)” (Consolo et al. 70). Breathing exercises are likely only effective when stacked with a strong “social support, self-worth, and sense of being” (Ibid.); think of them as enhancers, rather than foundations, widely regarded as effective for stress reduction.

For further information how to employ mindfulness breathing exercises yourself, see:


Works Cited

Consolo, K., S. Fusner, and S. Staib. “Effects of Diaphragmatic Breathing on Stress Levels of Nursing Students.” Teaching and Learning in Nursing 3.2 (2008): 67-71. Web. 23 Jan. 2016.

“Effectiveness of a Meditation-Based Stress Reduction Program in the Treatment of Anxiety Disorders.” The American Journal of Psychiatry 149.7 (1992): 936. ProQuest. Web. 23 Jan. 2016.

Sigman Byrd. “Breathing, and: Poetry Will Never Save the World.” Prairie Schooner 85.1 (2011): 127-129. Project MUSE. Web. 23 Jan. 2016. <>.

Speca, Michael, Linda E. Carlson, Eileen Goodey, and Maureen Angen. “A Randomized, Wait-List Controlled Clinical Trial: The Effect of a Mindfulness Meditation-Based Stress Reduction Program on Mood and Symptoms of Stress in Cancer Outpatients.” Psychosomatic Medicine 62.5 (2000): 613-22. Web.

Wolever, Ruth Q., et al. “Effective and Viable Mind-Body Stress Reduction in the Workplace: A Randomized Controlled Trial.” Journal of occupational health psychology 17.2 (2012): 246-58. ProQuest. Web. 23 Jan. 2016.

Coconut Oil – Health Benefits

A couple of articles on the benefits of coconut oil below. Some subjective comments but also a lot of good facts in both articles.

I don’t remember the exact day we started using coconut oil, but it was sometime last summer if I remember correctly. What I do recall is reading on a deal blog about such-and-such brand of coconut oil on Amazon was a great price, the lowest she’d ever seen, and that “now” was an excellent time to stock up if we were interested…

Hook. Line. Sinker.

I bought two.

The jars came in and at first I thought it was a mistake. Why was my oil a solid? That’s kinda weird… and why did I buy this again?

I wasn’t sure how to eat it. Do I just take a spoon to it? Melt it? Spread it on bread?

I tried it with a spoon, treating it like it was a small scoop of ice cream. My licks didn’t get me very far, which led me to taking a big bite.

Have you ever tried chewing tapioca pudding? It’s kinda like that, but thicker. A very strange texture in my mouth that I wasn’t hoping to repeat.

Thankfully I found great success with melting it and making seed salad, which is still one of my all time favorite ways of eating this awesome fat (besides baking with it, of course).

A few days later, my good friend Google clued me in that coconut oil was supposed to be solid. However, it wasn’t until I read Nourishing Traditions that I figured out why: it’s 92% saturated fat!

Remember that saturated fat is the good fat. It’s the type of fat that contains the strong bonds that are resistant to higher temperatures, making them safer to cook and bake with and less likely to attract free radicals.

There’s more to it though. Coconut oil isn’t just another fat that’s handy to have in the kitchen. Like butter, coconut oil is REALLY GOOD for you!


Coconut oil is made up largely of a medium-chained fatty acid called lauric acid.  In the body, lauric acid is formed into monolaurin and the body uses monolaurin to destroy harmful bacteria.

Mary Enig, PhD (co-author of Nourishing Traditions) wrote a report in 2006 discussing the effects of coconut oil on Staphylococcus aureus, a major pathogen that was responsible for over one-third of fatal cases of  blood poisoning in the UK in 1999. This same pathogen just so happens to be resilient to penicillin, methicilliin, tetracycline and erythromycin. Any of those antibiotics sound familiar?

In studies published a few years later, coconut oil showed to better at preventing and healing infections caused by this awful pathogen than the most potent antibiotic! (source) The only other source for large quantities of lauric acid is mother’s milk, which we’ve talked about before and most healthcare professionals will promote, is well known for building the immune systems of babies.


A different bacterium from the same family is Streptococcus mutans, normally found in the mouth and the guilty party for making an acid that decays teeth.

Researchers state that even a small amount of coconut oil would be beneficial in destroying this micro-organism! (source)

Although we prefer our homemade toothpaste that’s just like Earthpaste, if you want to try one made with coconut oil, Nourishing Simplicity has a recipe here.


It sounds strange to say fight yeast with an oil, but it’s true! The lauric acid in coconut oil literally kills athlete’s foot, ringworm and Candida albicans (the normal fungus that lives in our gut, yet its out of control overgrowth results in thrush in babies and yeast infections in ladies).

I thought Whole Intentions was kidding when she posted about fighting Candida with ice cream, but she’s completely serious! Candida Diet vanilla ice cream (which also happens to be gluten-free, nut-free, sugar-free AND low-carb) only has five ingredients and looks really easy to make. Plus I’m guessing you can substitute vanilla extract with other flavors too! Lemon, peppermint, orange… Mmm!


In addition to lauric acid, coconut oil also contains a small – yet significant – portion of capric acid. When ingested, capric acid forms monocaprin in the body and helps fight off viruses such as HIV and herpes.

Researchers are already studying whether or not coconut oil will promote healing of some of other major diseases like measles and hepatitis C. Food healing disease? Say it isn’t so! 😉 (source)


This sounds completely absurd, right? That eating fat can cause you to lose fat? It just reiterates how misinformed we are as a society!

Medium-chain fatty acids, like lauric acid found in coconut oil, don’t need to be “broken down” by our digestive system. Instead they’re absorbed directly into the liver and converted to energy that our body uses immediately.

This quick release of energy causes our metabolism rate to increase an average of 48%! Coconut oil also slows down the rate at which we digest food, making us feel fuller, longer. Because of the slower digestion, coconut oil helps stabilize blood sugar levels too! (source)

This reason alone may cause me to use Whole New Mom’s recipe for homemade chocolate chips.

Wait – did I just say homemade chocolate chips?!

Sure did! Does it sound like an oxymoron to fight off sugar cravings with chocolate? :)


There are only a few foods in my kitchen that I’m willing to use beyond my dinner plate. Let’s be honest, you’ll NEVER find me putting mayonnaise in my hair. Maybe because mayo is made of eggs and the idea of purposely putting eggs in my hair kinda grosses me out. However, I am seriously tempted to keep a jar of coconut oil in my bathroom.

Coconut oil relieves dandruff and can be used in place of lotion to condition skin.Actually, the naturally occurring anti-oxidants in coconut oil make it the perfect anti-aging moisturizer and even soothes skin abrasions and burns!

Both of these lotions are tried and true (and part of my daily routine!):

Many commercial deodorants contain aluminum and this is a big issue, especially considering the sensitive area we use deodorant. Heavy on Wholesome has a WAY easy recipe for homemade deodorant that you literally could go into your kitchen and make tonight. It even passed her macho Naval Aviator husband’s long-flight test!


  • Kills bacteria and parasites like tape worm and liver flukes
  • Eases acid reflux, aids in proper bowel function
  • Lowers incidence of hemorrhoids
  • Heals and relieves intestinal problems
  • Soothes earaches
  • Deals with symptoms connected with prostate enlargement
  • Strengthens the liver and protects against degeneration
  • Reduces incidence of epileptic seizures
  • Reduces joint and muscle inflammation
  • Eases neuropathies and itching from diabetes
  • Speeds recovery from a cold
  • Prevents scarring from common cuts and scrapes
  • Used in fasting to cleanse the body from toxins and impurities
  • Removes make-up
  • Provides natural sun protection
  • Excellent lip moisturizer, shaving cream and even tames frizzy hair (thanks Accidentally Green!)
  • Used as belly butter for pregnant mommies and prevents diaper rash (thanks Smithspirations!)

(source 1 and 2)

Holy schmoley folks! That’s a lot of great reasons to eat more coconut oil! Oddly, some of the health benefits of coconut oil are the same health benefits of butter!

Remember that coconut oil has a high smoke point, making it ideal for frying and for baking. It’s interchangeable with butter in most baking recipes, especially these ultimate chocolate chip cookies (remember to add the different types of chocolate!). It’s also my preferred fat for homemade tortillas and a great addition to daily smoothies (with more recipes here too).


I’ve tried my fair share of coconut oils and most are very sub-par. Tropical Traditions is the only place I would ever recommend buying coconut oil from. It’s the highest quality available and made from traditional methods, as coconut should be! You can buy just a quart or by the gallon (which is what I do), but in either case, buy extra virgin coconut oil today and start reaping the health benefits!!


The easiest way to eat more coconut oil is to substitute it for up to half of the butter in any baking recipe. Cookies are especially amazing, but cakes, brownies, pie crusts and fudge are equally as delicious. Here are a few recipes that are tried-and-true delicious:

Plus these natural skincare recipes use coconut oil too:

10 Benefits of Organic Coconut Oil

by Dr. Edward Group DC, NP, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFMPublished on , Last updated on November 30, 2015

Although it is a 90% saturated fat, organic coconut oil contains medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs) that can improve your health in many ways. One of the smartest choices of good fat you can add to your diet is organic virgin coconut oil. Yes, coconut oil.

First of all, organic coconut oil is very stable to cook with because it withstands high temperatures without heat damage. If you switch your cooking oil to organic coconut oil, you can start improving your health right away.

What’s more, you can easily digest the MCFAs in coconut oil. So, it’s a lot easier on your system than other oils. Plus, these hard-working fatty acids are immediately converted into energy rather than being stored in your body as fat. Overall, MCFAs help to boost your metabolism, which is a great help to any weight loss program.

Considered a functional food, organic coconut oil is now being recognized by the medical community as a powerful tool against immune system related diseases. Several studies have been done on its effectiveness in this area, and much research is currently underway concerning the incredible nutritional value of pure organic virgin coconut oil.

Organic coconut oil is highly nutritious and contains a superior disease fighting fatty acid called lauric acid. It is also rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

The best kind to get is organic raw unprocessed extra virgin coconut oil. This will assure you that your product is unrefined, certified organic by USDA standards, and contains no added chemicals or genetically modified additives.

You’ll also know your organic coconut oil is made only from fresh coconuts and is a solid at room temperature. The Philippines is the world’s largest exporter of organic coconut oil.

10 Benefits of Organic Coconut Oil:

  1. Keep You Healthy and Slim
    You can help boost and regulate your metabolism to keep your weight under control with this wonder oil.
  2. Support Your Immune System
    Organic coconut oil is jam-packed with lauric acid, the immune supporting nutrient.
  3. Promote Heart Health
    Packed full of healthy fats that are good for your heart, organic coconut oil is a great addition to your daily diet.
  4. Give You Instant Energy
    Organic coconut oil can help you feel less fatigued and require less sleep by stimulating your metabolism. It can also enhance athletic performance.
  5. Support Healthy Thyroid Function
    Organic coconut oil helps to stimulate the activity and proper functioning of this important gland which provides energy, supports the health of your skin and metabolism, and keeps your moods in balance.
  6. Help Keep Your Skin Youthful, Smooth & Healthy Looking
    Using organic virgin coconut oil as a lotion will help improve your skin, hair, and nails due to its moisturizing and smoothing effects that also promote elasticity.
  7. Increase Cell Regeneration
    When your metabolic rate increases, your cell regeneration speeds up, too. This means that your body will more quickly replace old cells with newer, healthier cells.
  8. Promote Anti-Viral, Anti-Fungal, and Anti-Bacterial Activity
    Teeming with lauric acid, organic coconut oil possesses abundant natural agents that may reduce fungus, bacteria and the viruses that cause influenza, herpes, and other illnesses.
  9. Improve Insulin Secretion
    This helps to better utilize glucose to balance insulin output which can help relieve the symptoms and reduce the health risks associated with diabetes.
  10. Protect Your Body from Disease
    Organic coconut oil may help protect your body from cell damaging free radicals.

Disclaimer:†Results may vary. Information and statements made are for education purposes and are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. Global Healing Center does not dispense medical advice, prescribe, or diagnose illness. The views and nutritional advice expressed by Global Healing Center are not intended to be a substitute for conventional medical service. If you have a severe medical condition or health concern, see your physician.

Biosteel taking over the NHL – A step in the right direction but perhaps still a step short?

Many see this as a step in the right direction, but we respect why many choose not to ignore that the proprietary red-beet based formula for Biosteel’s powdered drink contains sucralose – a non-nutritive sweetener.

The article posted below (from Canadian Business magazine) references the product as an all-natural hydrating drink, but sucralose is NOT a natural molecule. Yes, sucralose is made from sugar but it is chemically modified, a derivative. Many companies market it’s non-caloric property and also point out that conclusive evidence lacks to prove sucralose as harmful, but just because it is non-nutritive and not “broken down” by the body does not mean it doesn’t offer any potentially harmful effects. Consumption may lead to trouble pending tolerance to various levels of exposure. Many strongly question the potential long-term effects of consuming various concentrations of non-nutritive substances.

We want people to ask themselves if they believe unnatural substances in our body is a good idea. The natural answer seems to be no. In some cases, could it be more costly and less convenient? Yes. Tough to avoid? Sure. Still, trying minimize our intake and exposure to potentially harmful ingredients seems to be a good idea. We believe in the importance of intense exercise and building dietary tolerances, but asking the body to work harder than it needs to without purpose seems completely redundant and potentially dangerous.

OTR Meals encourages people to avoid artificial sweeteners such as sucralose, aspartame, acesulfame potassium and many other sugar derivatives which quietly exist in many new popular sport-drinks. Many pre-work out and post-workout powders also commonly contain artificial sweeteners and other potentially harmful ingredients. Be aware.

Unprocessed coconut water without additives still seems to be a safer play for quick liquified energy and electrolytes, with respect for the body.

Many are happy to see Gatorade and Powerade have some of their ingredients exposed as harmful, but it’s quite possible and perhaps even likely, that there is still some progress to be made when it comes to the “norms or standards” for performance drinks in the NHL and other pro-sporting leagues. Players are considered role models in many fitness and athletic communities and that can be a dangerous thing. OTR Meals encourages parents and young athletes to think about this independently instead of influenced by well-marketed brands. Empower yourselves!

Bottom line: Products containing artificial sweeteners are not “all-natural” as the article states and OTR Meals is interested in finding ways to naturally optimize performance without potentially sacrificing long-term wellness.


Have a question? Contact us or refer to a professional but do your own homework! OTR Meals encourages people to empower themselves when it comes to learning about how to take back their health and wellness!


Goodbye Gatorade: how Biosteel is (very quietly) taking over the NHL

An all-natural, bright pink, made-in-Canada sports drink is taking pro hockey by storm. There’s just one problem


Hockey player taping over a Biosteel logo on his water bottle

(Portrait by KC Armstrong)

In August 2011, with a new hockey season just around the corner, NHL fans were treated to a flurry of feel-good media stories emanating from a weeklong pre-season training camp run by legendary Toronto Maple Leaf Gary Roberts and former team trainer Matt Nichol. The event drew stars like Tampa Bay Lightning forward Steven Stamkos and Montreal Canadiens sharpshooter Mike Cammalleri, who, alongside a group of the league’s most promising prospects, all paid for the opportunity to press iron, grunt through excruciating exercises and run skating drills on the storied ice surface at Toronto’s St. Michael’s College School Arena.

The camp wasn’t just about training. It bore the branding of an upstart sports beverage firm called BioSteel, which had sponsored the event, stamped its logo on the practice jerseys and invited media to attend. BioSteel filmed everything, posting daily sizzle reelsto YouTube. The event was, all told, a commercial for BioSteel, the all-natural hydrating drink Nichol had invented to help his NHL clients with their conditioning. In fact, Cammalleri and Stamkos were BioSteel brand ambassadors.

BioSteel used the coverage to lay a few heavy checks on Gatorade, the world’s best known sports drink. As one TV reporter noted, whenever the cameras panned down the bench during regular season games, the players were increasingly guzzling BioSteel’s distinctively pink drink, albeit from Gatorade’s familiar green bottles. The NHLers touted BioSteel as a superior alternative. As Stamkos enthused, “I use it the entire year.”

Gatorade, owned by PepsiCo, was not amused. The company’s enforcers complained to the NHL Players’ Association, which, along with the NHL, has a multi­million-dollar sponsorship licence with the giant brand. NHLPA lawyers, in turn, phoned BioSteel CEO John Celenza and told him in no uncertain terms that he had to cease and desist: no more BioSteel training camps for NHLers. (Stamkos was also warned.)

Celenza considered legal action but didn’t get far. “No lawyer I knew was versed in NHLPA group licensing,” he says. Today, his office bears stark evidence of Gatorade’s intervention. He has four framed and amply autographed jerseys from those camps; the first two prominently feature the BioSteel logo, while the final two just had the word “#camp” across the chest. “The NHLPA had to do what they had to do,” he allows. “At first it was frustrating, but we’ve learned to live with it.”

It’s difficult to imagine a more formidable rival than Gatorade, which Celenza describes as the “800-pound gorilla.” Valued by Forbes at US$4.8 billion, it ranks among the world’s most powerful consumer brands; with an estimated US$3.3 billion in 2012 revenues, Gatorade controls almost half of the global sports beverage market. (Coca-Cola’s Powerade commands much of the balance.) Founded in the 1960s by Florida scientists to help college football players restore electrolytes during games, Gatorade is, according to a company spokesperson, “the most thoroughly researched beverage in the world and is scientifically engineered to help athletes maintain their best performance.” It has recruited many of sports’ highest-profile brand ambassadors (Michael Jordan, Usain Bolt, Serena Williams and Sidney Crosby) and locked up markets with licensing deals that reach all the way into the vending machines at municipal arenas.

The problem is that top-flight athletes, and even serious amateurs, tend not to drink the stuff, as it is considered excessively sugary. “Kool-Aid for adults,” says Sevag Khatcherian, manager of The Treadmill Factory, a Toronto training equipment retailer. When customers ask for advice on hydrating drinks that don’t trigger blood sugar spikes, he points them toward BioSteel, which he discovered while playing in an indoor adult soccer league. “It’s what Gatorade or Powerade claims to be.” Most customers who try it once, Khatcherian adds, will buy it again.

David Fielding and Carol Toller trying Biosteel

That’s the kind of viral brand narrative that has propelled BioSteel into an intriguing market position in a relatively short period. “It’s a story about cultural branding,” says York University associate professor of marketing Markus Giesler. In recent years, clever marketers have discovered that Gatorade-level mind share isn’t necessarily an impregnable fortress. Instead, upstart brands like BioSteel are learning to leverage social networks, new generations of influencers and broader consumer trends to establish toeholds in markets seemingly locked up by a handful of giant, well-capitalized players.

“Managing an underdog brand is like creating a social movement,” Giesler adds. “It’s not about your product. You’re playing a game of David and Goliath.” The appeal transcends the particular product and taps into a larger social conversation.

BioSteel’s story, of course, is all about the product. In 2004, when the NHL brought in its first anti-doping drug-testing protocol, Nichol, then working for the Leafs, knew he had to do something to control what was going into his players’ bodies. As Celenza explains, dressing rooms in those days often featured a table piled high with freebies from energy bar and protein supplement companies that either had licensing deals with the league or wanted them. Few of the products listed ingredients. “They’re just there for the guys to grab,” he says. “You didn’t know what was drug-tested or not.”

Nichol, who’s credited with helping star wingers like Roberts find religion through nutrition, took matters into his own hands. Armed with a kinesiology and biomechanics degree from McGill, the former university football player had learned how to mix supplements from Eric Serrano, a sports performance nutritionist, and bodybuilding guru Mauro Di Pasquale, a biochemist who consults for nutritional supplement companies and wrote a book extolling the benefits of amino acids for athletes.

As he experimented with different formulas for a drug- and additive-free sports drink, Nichol says he was constantly analyzing his athletes’ results. “I looked at both performance measures—weight, body fat, strength, speed, etc.—as well as biochemical measures of health. We routinely did blood and urinalysis, hydration levels, etc.” Eventually, Nichol locked on a recipe and started giving it to his players. The result is a mildly sweet and faintly medicinal beverage with none of the viscosity of some of its rivals. “It was never made for sale,” says Celenza. “Matty didn’t care about [profit] margins. He was just making it for his athletes.”

As it happens, the drink is bright pink. Nichol had been looking to add a colour, but didn’t want to introduce artificial dyes. He settled on red beet powder, which coincidentally came with its own performance-enhancing reputation. The decision to brand BioSteel by its remarkable colour (the current slogan, #DrinkThePink, is stamped on the bottles) would come later, as folks began noticing the pink liquid NHL players were drinking on TV.

A few years later, Nichol gave Mike Cammalleri, then with the L.A. Kings, some of his homebrew at one of his pre-season training camps. The small but tenacious left-winger was impressed. As Cammalleri explains, he’d been spending a lot of money on supplements but didn’t know which ones were safe. “Matty had this product, and it addressed a lot of those needs.”

Cammalleri called Celenza, a childhood friend from King City, Ont. At the time, Celenza was a consultant aiming to break into the sports marketing and agency business. Cammalleri offered to introduce Celenza to Nichol so he could make a pitch. They met at Nichol’s gym at St. Michael’s. Celenza’s idea: Sell the drink crystals in tubs for $60 apiece, and target serious athletes. As Celenza reckoned, if players were prepared to ante up $300 for a composite stick that would break after a few games, they’d pay $60 for a sports drink formula that passed muster with both the doping regulators and serious conditioning coaches.

Initially, the company focused on selling the drink to NHL players through word-of-mouth recommendations that extended out of Nichol’s training camps and into dressing rooms around the league. Matt Price, the Kings’s head strength and conditioning coach, points out that BioSteel had its product tested, batch by batch, in independent labs that could certify its composition to the league’s drug regulators. He also recognized that it was a specialized product. “A lot of these companies are making product for mass consumption, not high performance.”

Little by little, with Cammalleri serving as a pitchman, BioSteel built a following in the NHL. Teams quietly cut cheques to the company, despite the endless stream of freebies—including countless cases of Gatorade—that flow into their dressing rooms. Trainers in junior leagues followed suit. “It’s a very crowded marketplace, and it’s filled with misinformation,” says Mark Fitzgerald, a CHL trainer who runs a Whitby, Ont., gym called Elite Training Systems. He signed on as a brand ambassador, introducing younger players to BioSteel.

The moment that changed everything came on April 28, 2010, during a Hockey Night in Canada playoff broadcast. After the second period, Ron MacLean interviewed Roberts and asked him about the pink liquid the players were drinking, “the kids would love to know.” It was BioSteel, said Roberts. That night, Celenza happened to be playing pickup with a bunch of guys in a North York, Ont., arena. When he checked his smartphone in the dressing room, he had 840 emails in his inbox. Celenza called his father to ask if anything had happened while he was on the ice. “Yeah,” his dad replied, “Gary Roberts just told the whole country to drink BioSteel.”

Despite the late hour, Celenza called one of his employees, and they hustled to put up a splash page on BioSteel’s website to accept ­orders. Celenza insists it wasn’t an engineered announcement: “Gary’s not a partner. He was just telling the truth.” (Gatorade contends that “NHL players consume Gatorade during televised NHL games.”)

Following Roberts’ bombshell, Celenza and his small team realized they were suddenly in the retail business. But he wanted to make sure his products didn’t get lost in the confusion of health food store merchandising, where shelves are invariably piled high with tubs of protein supplements, strengthening powders and drinks. Instead, Celenza focused his efforts on venues where his customers were already shopping: sporting goods and training equipment retailers, including national chains like Sport Chek. These retailers generally didn’t stock consumables, so Celenza had to press his case. “They were interesting conversations to start,” he says. But buyers, bolstered by anecdotes and overtures from pro athletes, began to come around. Khatcherian began selling BioSteel powder and protein supplements in early 2014, based on a connection with Roberts’s gym, which sources its equipment from The Treadmill Factory.

Being technically locked out of the NHL proper, BioSteel focused its efforts on signing endorsement deals with up-and-coming athletes, both in hockey and other professional sports. The company signed a deal with Andrew Wiggins, the number one pick in the 2014 NBA draft. (The Thornhill, Ont., forward, now with the Minnesota Timberwolves, is a solid contender for Rookie of the Year.) Meanwhile, Celenza, who continues to scout for new marketing “properties” to replace BioSteel Camp, figured the firm could sponsor a Canadian high school all-star basketball game, modelled on a similar event McDonald’s sponsors in the U.S. Celenza met with organizers at Canada Basketball and offered product instead of money. With basketball’s star rising in Canada, due to the success of NBA drafts like Wiggins, Celenza reckons he’ll be in a position to associate BioSteel with the stars of tomorrow, and gain TV coverage (TSN is broadcasting the event, which takes place in Toronto this April).

The strategy of targeting trainers and younger players assumes they’ll become boosters for the long haul. Consider BioSteel’s endorsement deal with NHL prospect Connor McDavid; the captain of the OHL’s Erie Otters has been touted as the next Sidney Crosby. Celenza insists he’s not worried about losing McDavid to a richer offer offer once he turns pro: “Connor’s not going anywhere, and he’d be the first to tell you that.”

Celenza adds that BioSteel’s popularity with this next generation was in evidence during the World Juniors. Gatorade, he says, sent an account rep into the Team Canada dressing room before cameras were allowed in, to remove BioSteel bottles. “It was the pros that helped get the brand momentum going,” he says. “Now, it’s the young kids.”

In recent months, BioSteel has begun to appear in more mainstream retail venues—convenience stores and supermarkets. It’s a big step, from a merchandising and marketing point of view, and one that required new packaging. Buy BioSteel in your local Mac’s, for example, and you’ll get a bottle of clear water with a capsule of pink crystals in the cap, to be popped open just before you consume it. “It was the only way for us to sell our product in a ready-to-drink format and keep it natural,” says Celenza. “Without the powder in the cap, it would have to be ready-mixed, and that would involve the use of preservatives or artificial flavours, which we don’t stand for.”

The move into the realm of mass consumer products is almost certainly a game-changer; after all, those corner store fridges are dominated by BioSteel’s billion-dollar rivals. As he considers the BioSteel-Gatorade dynamic, Giesler points out that Celenza’s company has every incentive to make hay from the fact the playing field is anything but level. He says consumers will naturally gravitate to a scrappy challenger that has an authentic product and a compelling narrative. “What they’re really saying is that they want to be part of a movement.”

Celenza knows he has to bang away at the idea that BioSteel occupies a kind of nutritional moral high ground, while building his brand in defiance of the efforts of a massive competitor. What complicates this dance is the fact BioSteel might one day be on the receiving end of a lucrative acquisition proposal from one of the aforementioned 800-pound gorillas. After all, that’s what happened with flavoured water companies like Glacéau Vitaminwater, which Coca-Cola bought for US$4.1 billion in 2007.

Celenza is often asked what he’d do if PepsiCo phoned with a similar offer. “Yeah, I would think about it,” he says. BioSteel “would be a great company to acquire. We have a great brand, and we have a great product. But there’s lots that I’d like to see through before I’d even consider something like that. To be honest, I think for us, the party hasn’t even started.”

Health Benefits of Eating Beets

6 Health Benefits of Eating Beets   

If you are an avid beet lover, this article isn’t for you (but read on anyway for validation of your beet love)! You already know that beets are an extremely nutritious food choice that just happens to be tasty and delicious – you can eat the greens too! You already know that beets are an insane source of vitamins and minerals. But did you know that beets are the second largest source of sugar, after sugar cane?

If you’re not a beet lover, read on, and you soon will be.

1. Beets are nature’s Viagra

Seriously. One of the first known uses of beets was by the ancient Romans, who used them medicinally as an aphrodisiac. And that’s not just urban legend – science backs it up. Beets contain high amounts of boron, which is directly related to the production of human sex hormones.

2. Beets are high in many vitamins and minerals

Potassium, magnesium, fiber, phosphorus, iron; vitamins A, B & C; beta-carotene, beta-cyanine; folic acid. These are but a few of the many nutrients, vitamins and minerals that can be found in beets and beet greens. Beets are particularly beneficial to women whom are pregnant, as the vitamin B and iron are very beneficial to new growth cells during pregnancy and replenishing iron in the woman’s body.

3. Beets cleanse the body

They are a wonderful tonic for the liver, works as a purifier for the blood, and can prevent various forms of cancer. Nuff said, right? Tastes good and prevents cancer? Sign me up!

Organic red beets at the farmers market

4. Beets help your mental health

Beets contain betaine, the same substance that is used in certain treatments of depression. It also contains trytophan, which relaxes the mind and creates a sense of well-being, similar to chocolate. Beets can also lower your blood pressure. So if you’re already steamed about not eating beets, you can get a two-fer by diving into them right away.

5. Beets are used as a stomach acid tester

How in the world does that work? Glad you asked. If you are eating a lot of beets or beet juice, and your pee turns pink, guess what? You have low stomach acid. Pee still clear? Ratchet it up and get juicing (use the greens too)! Nutritionists use beets and beet juice to test stomach acid levels, so stay ahead of the curve by adding beets to your diet now.

6. Beets are a high source of energy

At the same time they are low in calories and high in sugar (although the sugar is released into your system gradually, as opposed to chocolate). Very few foods found in the natural world are as beneficial as beets in this regard.

Beets are a wonderful addition to any dietary need. With their high volume of nutrients, delicious taste, and multitude of uses, anyone can jump right into beets without missing a beat.

Bet you didn’t know:

Beets were served in space when the astronauts of Apollo 18 met up with their brethren in Soyuz 19. They served borscht.

Functional Patterns – Balancing ourselves within the confinements nature allows

We recently posted an article from the Wall Street Journal citing consideration by National Defence Fitness divisions within Canada & the U.S to remove “sit-ups” from conditioning protocols. Many professionals have been preaching the dangers for over a decade, yet it took a long time for the widely accepted premise to go through peer review and publication. As always, most professionals, students and then finally – the public – are left chasing and waiting before new discoveries typically impact their lives.

In 2011 one of our guys discovered a company based out of San Diego called Functional Patterns. Since, he’s watched via the internet as the company opened up divisions across the U.S and different countries around the world.  Head office is now in Seattle. In 2015, FP hosted a certification course in Brantford, Ontario – the first one in Canada. What intrigues us about this company is that they continually ask the right questions about optimizing movement patterns and holistically adapting to nature.

We don’t know the folks at FP personally outside online communication. However, we’re grateful for FP, it’s founder and supporters. We truly believe the work in the FP labs has contributed to the consideration of the changes mentioned in the “Why you can stop doing sit-ups” article in the Wall Street Journal.

We’ve noticed innovators often encounter controversy. New ideas – particularly the brilliant ones – are often ridiculed and condemned for how they effect others; especially in business. As previously mentioned, it can take years for ideas to be accepted and educational bureaucracy & corporate interference only impedes progress. Peer review and publication can be a lengthy process and “professionals” who don’t stay on top of their respective fields can be left chasing the passionate innovators who are consistently asking questions out of natural curiosity; always looking for answers and evolving their field, little by little, everyday.

Of course, there are many others who helped initiate the considerations referenced in the article; truly remarkable people; many of whom most will never know; people who had a role in teaching others and raising awareness; innovators in or within various fields which include nutrition, exercise science, and holistic wellness. OTR Meals understands there is nothing new under the sun. However, we’ve noticed that many of the graduates from accredited institutions – who represent the majority of our industry professionals – are “followers” and not “leaders”. We notice too many “sales-people” and not enough sincere teachers and researchers in our world.

Researching is a skill and we’ve noticed similarities and parallels in the levels of expertise offered by some of the most renown University Professors and researchers to the knowledge coming from people in the private sector who quietly and nobly put new ideas to test every single day; and pass on that information to others (much of which is free). Not to undermine the quality of expertise available at an academic institution at the University level, but it should be considered that there are some diamonds in the rough out there. FP isn’t a diamond in the rough anymore but I hope the right paths cross one day in the future, for the brilliance that could manifest would be beautiful music to the industries and people associated/following (OTR Members!). Unleash the beasts.

We want readers to take three key points from this article:

1) OTR Meals attempts to empower people by encouraging them to self-educate – and to be careful about their research. The race of humanity and homo sapiens is evolving and OTR Meals wants people to know that most are more powerful than they know.

2) We want YOU to identify good teachers & innovators from the followers, we need to be extra cautious of.

3) The best teachers are passionate individuals and they exist, not only within institution, but also within the private sector. These people often encounter resistance when introducing new ideas and the process for these ideas to become accepted can be a long one. We recognize the dedication and different barriers that stand in the path to success, and we commend those who bravely follow their bliss to help innovate & evolve.

Below, we’ve posted the ABOUT section of Functional Patterns. We get the feeling you’ll be hearing and seeing more about them in the near-future.

Stay strong and “win the day”! 😉



Culture and Nature are the two most influential factors that shape who we are, and they also affect our health in the process. Our health is determined by how adaptable we are to our natural environment. The better the balanced we are with nature’s rules, the longer and stronger we live. If you look back to Native American history, you would see that disease wasn’t that much of a problem for them, because their cultural lineage aligned to nature quite well. Modern westernized culture, on the other hand, has seemingly been on a collision course with nature, and it is the most imbalanced with nature it has ever been. New diseases and “disorders” have emerged into our lives in the recent decades and it has left people like me asking “where is all this crap coming from?” If you take an in depth analysis of the problem, you will understand that our evolutionary path to become who we are biologically, has taken a backseat in priority to this current cultural zeitgeist. Rather than walk, we drive. Rather than eat for nutritional purpose, we eat for emotional purpose. Rather than prioritize health, we prioritize material possessions that rot our brains. These dysfunctional patterns (mental and physical) are responsible for these such issues, and unless we address these issues, functionality with our bodies will be impossible. If we neglect our natural roots, our bodies are going to pay dearly for it.

It is my intention to give relevant information on how to balance yourself within the confines of what nature allows. Believe it or not, there are efficient ways in compensating for our cultural inefficiencies and bring back balance to your health. This website is dedicated on showing you how to:

  • Manage your physical pain
  • Drop body fat and build muscle through the maximization of your catabolic and anabolic systems
  • Maintain your exercise regimen
  • Manage your stress at a foundational level
  • Improve energy
  • Improve libido
  • Prevent diseases
  • Move efficiently

Why You Can Stop Doing Sit-Ups – Exercise gurus and military experts are pushing for alternate exercises, like plank pose, to prevent back injuries

For anyone who has struggled on a gym mat, hands behind head, straining to touch elbows to knees, there’s good news: The sit-up’s reign as a workout standard may be ending.

People from high-profile exercise gurus to military experts are arguing that the sit-up, that staple of fitness tests, presents too great a risk of back injury.

A recent editorial in Navy Times, an independent publication that covers the U.S. Navy, called for banishing the sit-up from the physical-readiness test sailors must pass twice each year. The editorial called it “an outdated exercise today viewed as a key cause of lower back injuries.” The Canadian Armed Forces recently cut the sit-up from its fitness test, citing concern over potential injury and its lack of connection to actual military work.

Tony Horton, creator of the popular P90X video workout series, says he no longer does sit-ups or crunches, their truncated cousins. “I really believe that the traditional, antiquated crunch has seen better days, and it’s time to make a change,” Mr. Horton says.

Some experts say plank pose, seen here performed by Colorado-based personal trainer Jessica Crandall, works more muscles than sit-ups and is easier on the back.ENLARGE
Some experts say plank pose, seen here performed by Colorado-based personal trainer Jessica Crandall, works more muscles than sit-ups and is easier on the back.PHOTO: BRENT LEWIS/GETTY IMAGES

Sit-ups can put hundreds of pounds of compressive force on the spine, says Stuart McGill, a professor of spine biomechanics at Canada’s University of Waterloo. In dozens of published studies, Dr. McGill has found that the forces, combined with the repeated flexing motion, in sit-ups can squeeze the discs in the spine. That combination eventually can cause discs to bulge, pressing on nerves and causing back pain, potentially leading to disc herniation.

For people who want to do abdominal exercises from the traditional sit-up start position, Dr. McGill advocates a modified curl-up he developed, with the hands placed underneath the low back and the shoulders barely leaving the floor.

Sit-ups can be done in many ways, including crunches and sit-ups on stability or Swiss exercise balls. The injury risk with modified sit-ups depends on the exact motion and on an individual’s physical limitations. But some fitness instructors have ditched even modified sit-ups.

One move, called plank pose, has expanded beyond yoga classes and is used widely in physical training in place of sit-ups. Plank resembles the upper position of a push-up, with the body held straight from heel to shoulder. It is also often performed with forearms on the ground.

Plank uses muscles on the front, side and back of your midsection or core, while a sit-up requires just a few muscles, experts say.

The Canadian Armed Forces recently ditched sit-ups in overhauling its fitness test. The new test includes more real-world tasks, such as lifting a 44-pound sandbag.ENLARGE
The Canadian Armed Forces recently ditched sit-ups in overhauling its fitness test. The new test includes more real-world tasks, such as lifting a 44-pound sandbag.PHOTO: CANADIAN FORCES MORALE AND WELFARE SERVICES

Cmdr. David Peterson, executive officer for the physical education department at the U.S. Naval Academy, advocates replacing the curl-up in the Navy’s physical-readiness test with plank if the Navy keeps a core-readiness exercise in the test. In a 2013 paper in Strength and Conditioning Journal, he argued that plank was less likely to injure people and more relevant to Navy operations.

When performing real-world tasks, Cmdr. Peterson says, “we typically stabilize the abs so that we’re able to generate more power from the core so we can lift, pull, push, carry. In that sense, sit-ups really don’t prepare us for what we typically use our core for in daily life, or operationally on the battlefield.” He stressed that he was voicing his opinion, not that of the entire Navy.

The Canadian Armed Forces’ overhaul of their longtime fitness test, phased in through last year, emphasizes functional tasks such as lifting a 44-pound sandbag 30 times within 3 1/2 minutes.

“We went away from just measuring core strength by doing sit-ups or push-ups,” says Patrick Gagnon, senior manager of human performance for the Canadian Armed Forces. He says the new test more accurately predicts how well soldiers will perform their jobs.


One study of 1,500 U.S. Army soldiers found that 56% of the injuries related to the Army’s three-part physical fitness test were attributed to sit-ups. The test’s two-mile run portion was associated with 32% of injuries and push-ups with 11%. Overall, injuries affected nearly 8% of all soldiers studied.

Versions of the sit-up remain in the regularly required physical fitness tests for the U.S. Air Force, Army, Marines and Navy, though three of those tests are under review. (The Coast Guard’s fitness test, which also includes sit-ups, is required only for certain positions.)

The Army in recent years put 10,000 soldiers through a pilot of a revamped physical-fitness test that excluded sit-ups. While the Army is studying the best methods to measure baseline soldier readiness, it’s sticking with its long-standing three-event test: timed push-ups, sit-ups and a two-mile run, a spokesman says.

The Marines and Navy also are reviewing the elements of their tests. The Marines will collect recommendations through July 1. The Navy has no deadline for possible changes to its test, says Lt. Joe Keiley,public affairs officer for the Chief of Naval Personnel.

“We’re certainly looking at ways we can improve it,” Lt. Keiley says.

Schoolchildren demonstrate the curl-up as performed in the FitnessGram health-related fitness assessment. The curl-up is designed to minimize compression in the spine, according to the group that operates the assessment.ENLARGE
Schoolchildren demonstrate the curl-up as performed in the FitnessGram health-related fitness assessment. The curl-up is designed to minimize compression in the spine, according to the group that operates the assessment. PHOTO: THE COOPER INSTITUTE

Many Americans first did sit-ups as part of what is now known as the Presidential Youth Fitness Program, the decades-old, multi-discipline test given to millions of schoolchildren.

The FitnessGram, the health-related fitness assessment tool now most commonly used in school fitness programs, in 1992 replaced the sit-up with a lower-rising curl-up.

“Experts believe it puts less stress on the lower spine and the hip flexors than sit-ups do,” says Laura Fink DeFina, president and CEO of the Dallas-based Cooper Institute, which developed and launched the FitnessGram in 1982.

The sit-up has remarkable staying power. Mark Langowski, a New York-based personal trainer who founded the company Body by Mark, says he hasn’t done a sit-up in 10 years and tells his clients not to do them. Yet earlier this year he found himself supervising the sit-ups of chief meteorologist Ginger Zee on a “Good Morning America” segment about the FBI’s recently adopted fitness test.

“I’m holding her feet and I’m counting her reps and cringing the entire time,” Mr. Langowski says. He says he didn’t speak up because the segment was about whether Ms. Zee could pass the new FBI test, not about the sit-up. An FBI spokesman declined to comment.

Mark Langowski, chief executive officer of Body By Mark Wellness and author of ‘Eat This, Not That! for Abs,’ favors alternative exercises to the sit-up, including the side plank.ENLARGE
Mark Langowski, chief executive officer of Body By Mark Wellness and author of ‘Eat This, Not That! for Abs,’ favors alternative exercises to the sit-up, including the side plank. PHOTO: SCOTT MCDERMOTT

Another argument against the sit-up: Research suggests it is not the best exercise for strengthening abdominal muscles. A 2010 study in the Journal of Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy found that exercises using an inflatable Swiss exercise ball activated more muscles than did bent-knee sit-ups or crunches.

John Childs is CEO of Evidence in Motion, a company that trains physical therapists. He says generally available research shows that traditional sit-ups do increase forces and loading on the back but that “from our data, we can’t say that sit-ups cause back pain.”

The most important thing is for people to perform exercises they enjoy so they’ll continue doing them, Dr. Childs says. “Staying active and doing regular exercise the old-fashioned way is far more advantageous than doing nothing,” he says.

But Pete McCall, spokesman for the American Council on Exercise, says he encourages alternative exercises for abdominal muscles. He calls the sit-up “an antiquity of exercise best left in the dustbin of fitness history.”

Write to Rachel Bachman at

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