Routinized Ritual: A V-Day Self-Love Recipe

By Bex, Events Director

Happy Valentine’s Day, folks! For a “holiday” that conjures up cliché after cliché (I love you to the moon and back. You are my heart’s desire. A rose by any other name...), Hallmark card after Hallmark card upon which you may find those clichés glorified, and box after box of those flavorless food-coloring infused heart candies rife with ”LOVE ME” neediness, we don’t focus as much on going inwards and asking: “How can I love myself more deeply?”

Here’s a more fitting self-love cliché in my opinion: “Time is of the essence.” Honestly. Is being an adult this hard for everyone? Why is it so hard to take care of myself?! Part of it has to do with time allocation. I thrive when I load my schedule with waaaay too much to possibly accomplish on any given day. While I want to do everything to take care of myself, self-care becomes yet another area of stress if don’t leave room for anything.

As someone who relishes new experiences, adventures, and spontaneity, “routine” has always been a word that I’ve felt best applied to what I want to do on the dance floor rather than, well, what I “should” do to my bed everyday: make it. However, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve embraced what I call: Routinized Ritual. Every morning and night, I set aside just a little bit of time for a few tools that help me enter and exit the day. They don’t require a luxury lifestyle or excessive amounts of time. The best part? It turns out that these daily acts of self-love help me remember to prioritize my own well-being and fit other acts of self-care into my day when extra time presents itself. An unexpected victory? I’ve made my bed every day this week!

Bex is feeling the self-love this season

Bex is feeling the self-love this season

Recipe:

  1. Pick an amount of time that you can commit to and for yourself each and every day.

  2. Morning? Night? Both? The important thing is that you are carving out just a little bit of time to remind yourself that you are worth it! Consider planning larger chunks of time (weekends, vacation, a random 3-hour chunk when you need it) for deeper self-care fests.

  3. Choose 3 acts of self-care to gift yourself with today! These can rotate, or they can stay consistent. Give yourself the leeway to switch it up. You might find that these changes are weekly, monthly, seasonal, or completely random. “Go with the flow” would be the fitting cliché here.

Here are my current routinized rituals, completely subject to change:

Morning:

  1. I scrape my tongue and oil pull (let us know if you have questions about the details of those rituals,) which has somehow also made me love flossing. What?!

  2. I drink one large glass of water followed by a large dose of L-theanine laden green tea during which I plot out the day ahead and set myself up for success

  3. I dry brush my skin and oil it up before I shower--and butter it up again afterwards if it is a particularly dry time of year (like right now…)

Night:

  1. A daily dose of exercise followed by a short stretch and self-massage

  2. My gratitude practice: at the end of the day I like to write down at least three things that I’m grateful for

  3. Grab-bag (because I still like to leave room for switching it up.) Tonight this will likely be a face mask. Last night, it was a long reading from the Mystic Mondays Tarot Deck. Tomorrow it might be an epsom salt bath.

More Acts of Self Love:

  • Burning incense, lighting a candle, or diffusing essential oils

  • Write your dreams down in a dream journal

  • Sweat! Go find an infrared sauna or a steam

  • Buy yourself flowers!

  • Talk yourself up in the mirror. It may feel awkward, but telling yourself how wonderful, beautiful, and accomplished you are has been proven in studies to support confidence and wellbeing.

  • Deep clean an area of your home with music blasting!

  • DANCE!

  • Take a yoga class, or just stretch a bit

  • Listen to good music and journal

  • Calling your parent, sibling, best friend

  • Garden! Buy a plant, water your plant, look at your plant

  • Sing or play an instrument

  • Read a book!

  • Take a meandering walk

  • Draw, paint, or color in a coloring book (Guess what? Finger painting is still fun when you’re an adult)

  • Find a swing-set and go for it! (Seriously… Also still fun when you’re an adult)

  • Meditate for a few minutes or longer, even if you think you don’t know how to meditate

  • Make yourself a special elixir, smoothie, tonic, or meal. Soup is my personal favorite.

  • Sleep in!!!

Why we don't stock vapes

By Zach, Supplements Manager + Co-Director of Purchasing

We take health seriously. We curate our selection. We agonize over our products. Many factors contribute to how we evaluate products and brands: ingredient sourcing, base ingredients, testing methods, and dozens of other variables are taken into consideration when choose (or choose not) to stock something. In light of that, we want to talk about vaping. Yes, vaping. Specifically CBD Vapes. But before we get there, let's lay down some base info.

Vaping nicotine is considered a safer alternative to smoking cigarettes, no doubt about it. But what about those who just vape nicotine and don't smoke cigarettes? Early research shows that vaping nicotine vapes alone may increase risk of cardiovascular disease, including stroke and heart attack risk vs not vaping at all.  And some researchers have proposed that vaping while also being an active cigarette smoker may actually be doubly bad for your health. So it seems like vaping itself isn't inherently 'healthy' and is potentially 'unhealthy.' 


So what about CBD vapes? 

Based on anecdotal reports and our understanding of physiology, vaporizing CBD does likely have a very high absorption rate because it bypasses digestive processes and enters the blood quickly through the lungs. As a result, it may have a more noticeable, 'fast' effect compared to a tincture, oil, or pill.

But there is still controversy to be hashed out around the potential health benefits and potential health risks of CBD vapes. The pens themselves are made of metals, plastics, and sometimes glass. In most all E-Cigs (AKA Vapes), high temperature pieces of metal or quartz wrapped in metal wire are what actually vaporizes the CBD oil. Multiple studies done by prestigious institutions like Johns Hopkins, the NHI, and others have shown that the vape pens themselves may expose the user to unnecessary intake of toxic metals like nickle, cadmium, and lead.

As a health focused business, we aim to provide solutions for health. While 'vaping' CBD may be an effective tool for some people, we believe that ingesting it orally and using it topically has broad potential health benefits. Therefore CBD can be effective without the potential exposure to toxic metals that vaping and potential health risks that vaping may have. We appreciate the value vaping may have, and the need it may fill, but at this point, we have decided not to stock any CBD Vape products. If a CBD Vape is what works for your health, for your needs, 'more power to you.' We support you on your health journey!

Beautiful fields of agricultural hemp from our partner SunSoil in VT.

Beautiful fields of agricultural hemp from our partner SunSoil in VT.

Disclaimer: Nothing in this website is intended as, or should be construed as, medical advice. Consumers should consult with their own health care practitioners for individual, medical recommendations. The information in this website concerns dietary supplements, over-the-counter products that are not drugs. Our dietary supplement products are not intended for use as a means to cure, treat, prevent, diagnose or mitigate any disease or other medical or abnormal condition.

Heal your winter skin!

Ahhh, the joys of wintertime in Boston. Shorter days, bone-chilling temps, icy sidewalks, frigid winds whipping through the streets. As if that wasn’t delightful enough, one’s skin begins cracking and peeling, and that dormant dermatitis temporarily finds a new and vigorous lease on life.

But fear not! There are healthy solutions to dry and itchy skin. Along with drinking lots of water and getting ample rest, our squad of staff experts have some go-to favorites for keeping your epidermis baby smooth all winter long!

Evanhealy's Blue Cactus Beauty Elixir

”I slather on Evan Healy's Blue Cactus Beauty Elixir every morning after washing my face. It keeps my face super moisturized and has really helped with the amount of dry flaky skin on my nose and cheeks. The sweet smell of Blue Tansy oil is an added bonus!'“
- Stephanie, Body Care Buyer

Screen Shot 2019-01-30 at 10.39.49 AM.png

Josh Rosebrook Vital Balm Cream

”Josh Rosebrook Vital Balm Cream is that product I can’t live without. Clean ingredients, works wonders on my dry skin, giving it immediate relief, especially during the winter season. It is light yet super hydrating, a little bit goes a long way and it also gives my skin a dewy look after application. Definitely recommend!”
- Jessi, Body Care Buyer

Screen+Shot+2019-01-30+at+10.31.50+AM.jpg

Heart Grown Wild In The Trees CBD Body Oil

”This body oil is phenomenal! Not only does it smell like an evergreen forest, it has just the right amount of CBD oil to truly soothe tired muscles and nourish dry or inflamed skin.”
- Ellen, Body Care Buyer

Screen Shot 2019-01-30 at 10.41.40 AM.png

Weleda Skin Food

“The scent is just so unique, and it has a thicker texture compared to other lotions that I really like. When I need serious repair for my dry hands and cuticles, Weleda Skin Food is my go to!”
- Mike, Grocery Buyer

20BD36EB-0711-430A-AB5E-4FEEB8D8CA50.JPG

Alaffia Fair-Trade Unscented Shea Butter

”Alaffia’s Unscented Shea Butter is a year-round staple for me, but especially in these dry winter months. I find that adding even a tiny dab to my daily face regimen helps stop dry, flaky spots from forming, and leaves my skin with a nourished glow. Sometimes I’ll even use it as a face mask – slathering my face with a thick coating, letting it sit for an hour or so, and then taking the excess off with a warm damp cloth. And on days where I’m blowing my nose a lot, applying a little shea butter afterwards can keep my skin from getting angry.”
- Sam, Body Care Buyer + Assistant Manager

Screen+Shot+2019-01-30+at+10.59.25+AM.jpg

Ginger Chi Jade Roller

“Is there anything more luxurious than rolling a cool, smooth stone over your skin? Perhaps, but this certainly does the trick for me. Jade rollers have been used for centuries in China to refine the skin, enhance elasticity, tighten pores, increase circulation, and soothe inflammation. My tired and worn-out winter face feels amazing after I apply on my facial oil and roll!”
- Emily Kanter, Co-Owner

2A4DCA9A-1F56-4068-91B5-3EEFDA1FF8BA.JPG

Dry Skin Brushing

”Dry Skin Brushing has been a transformative addition to my skincare routine. Dry brushing somewhat forces me to take 10 minutes to myself and focus on each inch of my body. Working in long, slow strokes or small circles, I work my skin brush from my ankles to my armpits and everywhere in between. I feel and see a noticeable difference in my skin's softness as well as experiencing a rejuvenated, renewed feeling of shedding the old and welcoming the new. Dry skin brushing is an easy addition to a routine or a perfect way to start a new routine. Wake up every inch of YOU!”
- Caitlin, Body Care Lead

9A4BD6E7-7AF6-4F9B-A700-CCFF7B989BA2.JPG

Love CBD? Try this!

Have you heard about CBD? No, that’s not a joke. There are still many people out there who are just now learning about the magic of cannabidiol, a compound extracted from the hemp plant that can work wonders on achy muscles and joints, acute and long-term stress, and inflammation. The power of CBD is due to our body’s endocannabinoid system, and it can be incredibly effective for many people. In the last three years, we’ve brought in more than 200 products that contain high quality, full-spectrum, hemp-derived CBD - everything from liquid tinctures, to capsules, to topical salves, to chocolates, to cold-brewed coffee, and the customer feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.

But before we knew all about CBD, there were many other supplements and herbs that were prized for their stress-relieving and inflammation-modulating effects. And, we at Cambridge Naturals still love them and use them frequently! Whether used on their own, or accompanied by a CBD product, these herbs and supplements can be powerful supports for getting through the day and feeling great.* Below are some of our favorites:

Kava Kava

Kava Kava (Latin name: Piper methysticum) is a root grown in the Pacific Island region. It has been used traditionally for hundreds of years (both medicinally and ceremonially) for its calming, relaxing, and mood uplifting benefits. We carry Kava Kava in capsule, tincture and bulk powder form. “The calm I feel after taking a dropper-full of Kava Kava could be compared to the calm I feel relaxing on a Sunday morning with a special someone. My brain, it could be said, is laying on its own pillow once the Kava Kava starts working on its magic,” says Vicki, CN’s Bulk Herbs Lead. Herbs can be wonderful allies, but all those with compromised liver conditions should not take Kava Kava. As always, make sure to follow the recommended dosage guidelines!

When you take your kava tincture, make sure to look fierce.

When you take your kava tincture, make sure to look fierce.

Magnesium

Magnesium is an essential mineral used by our bodies to support, among other things, strong and healthy bones, blood pressure, and muscle + nerve function. Supplemental magnesium comes in many effective forms including tablets, liquid, quick-dissolving powder, topical oils and gels, and even in the form of Epsom salts for baths! We use it both topically and internally for achy muscles, for its deeply calming effects, and even for sleep support. Bex, our Events Director, says, “On those days that I'm feeling extra-edgy, I turn to magnesium to support de-stressing, physically, emotionally, and mentally. I've found that it has been particularly helpful for moodiness, cramping, sleep issues, headaches and digestive distress during my monthly moon--and my experience has been corroborated by a slew of studies.”


B-Complex

You’ve probably heard your doctor talk about B12, or maybe folic acid, but what about the full range of B-Vitamins? Did you know that a B-Complex can be a gentle but effective stress support supplement? “I am that person you know at work whose brain is always on,” says Zach, CN’s Co-Director of Purchasing. “You know the one. They speak a mile-a-minute, think even faster, and they always have ten tabs open on their web browser. To support my mind and my body, I take B-Complex Vitamins. Shown to help support reduced cortisol levels (the 'stress hormone') and to support cognitive health in a myriad of ways, I find a good B-Vitamin soothes my nerves, focuses my mind, and energizes for my body. If swallowing pills not your thing, a B6-B12-Folate lozenge is a great way to get some of the most essential B-vitamins.”

The wonderful  Arnica Montana  via Wikimedia

The wonderful Arnica Montana via Wikimedia


Arnica

Arnica, an herb indigenous to Siberia and Europe, has been used in holistic medicine for hundreds of years for its anti-inflammatory benefits. You might be familiar with topical formulas (balms or salves) that contain Arnica - an effective remedies for bruises and muscle tension. Arnica can also be taken orally as a homeopathic. “Arnica is a wonderful floral addition to a routine that needs some relief. With anti-inflammatory properties, I look to a simple arnica flower infused oil for the occasional bump, bruise or discomfort,” says Caitlin, CN’s Body Care Lead. “Arnica is a go-to for me as it is typically low in price and fairly easy to find - we have several arnica-infused options for your skin including oil, stick, balm or spray.”


Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha, otherwise known as “Indian Ginseng”, is an adaptogenic herb - meaning it works with the body’s natural processes to balance healthy levels of stress and energy. Many people find Ashwaganda, when taken over the long term, to be extremely beneficial. “Ashwagandha has been a staple in my daily herbal lineup for over 2 years now,” says Alyssa, Supplements Buyer. “It's gentle and balancing nature helps me stay grounded and healthy despite changes in my internal and external environments. Unlike herbs like Kava kava, the effects of Ashwagandha are best felt with prolonged use... I look at it as an herbal investment for my endocrine and immune systems.”

Fields of lavender via Wikimedia Commons

Fields of lavender via Wikimedia Commons

Lavender Essential Oil

Lavender is one of the most well-known essential oils, and with good reason! Not only does it smell amazing, but it can be a very effective remedy for relaxation and sleep. Lavender EO should only be used externally, such as in a diffuser, or diluted with water in an atomizer bottle as a linen/pillow spray. You can also find many balms and salves that contain high-quality lavender EO. “I use Badger’s Sleep Balm with lavender every night,” says Caleb, Co-Owner. “I rub a little bit on my wrists, temples, and under my nose, and find that it helps calm my mind so that I’m able to drift off to sleep without all the racing thoughts of the day!”

Lemon Balm

Lemon Balm, or Melissa Oficinalis, is a widely-planted and widely-cultivated green herb grown and enjoyed everywhere from Europe to the US. It’s known for being a gentle herb for uplifting one’s mood, and has also been clinically studied (with hopeful results!) for use with hyper-activity disorders. “Like a lot of folks in this day and age, I often find myself with rather higher stress levels than I'd like,” says Sam, CN’s Body Care Buyer. I often use lemon balm to soothe my overactive stress-demons, in one of two ways: as a tincture for a concentrated dose, or as a cup (or several!) of soothing tea. This past weekend, on a day when everything seemed to be Too Much (the store was busy, I had So Many Things To Get Done, and I made the mistake of reading the news) I brewed a large pot of lemon balm and drank it over the course of a couple hours. By the time I finished the savory herbal brew, I felt the very definition of mellow.

Gaia Herbs’ traditional Golden Milk powder is tasty and effective!

Gaia Herbs’ traditional Golden Milk powder is tasty and effective!

Turmeric

Turmeric has been used for thousands of years in Ayurvedic medicine, and in traditional South Asian and Middle Eastern cooking. More recently curcumin, one of the active constituents in turmeric, has been recognized for its powerful anti-inflammatory benefits. “Turmeric, now there's an herb whose value is unquestionable!” says Michael Kanter, Cambridge Naturals’ Co-Founder and Chief Visionary Officer. “Especially when one is dealing with an aging body and joints. That's me! Maybe it's you, too? My body thanks me every day!” There are so many ways to take quality turmeric - including tablets, capsules, powders (for use in cooking and beverages), and even teas and tonics.

* None of these statements have been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Reuse & Reduce: How to go Zero Waste!

By Alex N, Customer Service Specialist

Bees Wrap reusable food wrapping

Bees Wrap reusable food wrapping

As some people may know, I am new to the Cambridge Naturals family. One of the ideals that I was/am really excited about was the commitment to environmental conscientiousness. For my recent product staff pick, I wrote about the importance of reusable straws such as the U-KONSERVE stainless steel straws which are great for creating less trash in the landfill, along our roads and in our oceans. A quick google search showed that “Americans use 500 million drinking straws every day. To understand just how many straws 500 million really is, this would fill over 125 school buses with straws every day. That's 46,400 school buses every year!”

We have several other reusable straws available, as well as many options for staying hydrated throughout your day, including Klean Kanteen, Soma, Welly Bottle, and Hydroflask. Any of these are wonderful choices in order to cut down on the 50 billion plastic bottles used last year just here in America. Yet these are not the only options that are carried in terms of sustainable wares here at Cambridge Naturals.

So many fun reusable straw options!

So many fun reusable straw options!

If metal isn’t your style then try out the bamboo straws from the company, Bambu. This is a wonderful choice due to the unique antibacterial quality due to an antimicrobial bio-agent called “bamboo kun” which is found naturally in this sustainable plant. It is this that supposedly makes bamboo a naturally antibacterial, anti-fungal and odor resistant material making it a great option for use when drinking and eating.

Hydration is not the only area in which we can all waste less and show more love to our planet. Plastic forks, knives and spoons may be convenient, but they’re wreaking havoc on our oceans. Every year, 300 million tons of plastic materials come into circulation be it in the form of plastic packaging, utensils, containers and bags. About 40 billion individual plastic utensils are produced each year, and with such low rates of reuse and recycling, most of them end up in our landfills, beaches and oceans.

The reusable Bamboo utensils from To-Go Ware with their convenient fork, knife, spoon and chopsticks set is another great way to reduce the impact we have on the environment. This is especially important as most people have three meals a day and use plastic utensils one time. The great thing about To-Go Ware’s utensils are that they also come in a convenient holder which is made from one up-cycled reincarnated water bottle a piece in order to carry them where and whenever you want a nosh. Thus saving more plastic from the dump and convenient for the person on the go.

dans le sac reusable storage bags

dans le sac reusable storage bags

When eating on the go utensils aren’t the only way plastic sneaks into our lives, it can be a challenge to find the right reusable container and of course the corresponding lids that often get misplaced or warped. For folks who can relate to this struggle I recommend the W&P Design Porter lunch bowl with its silicon strap either in BPA free plastic or Ceramic. Both are microwavable and dishwasher safe. If you are looking for a more snack-able storage option there is Kid Basix’s safe-snacker stainless steel container with attached lid or Full Circle’s reusable snack and sandwich bags. For the leftovers in our lives there are Bees Wraps, an alternative to plastic wrap for sustainable reusable food storage and 100% recycled parchment paper and aluminum foil.

W&P Porter Lunch bowl (in ceramic and BPA free plastic options)

W&P Porter Lunch bowl (in ceramic and BPA free plastic options)

Cambridge Naturals doesn’t just make it easier to be more sustainable during times of consumption, you can also find some great bathroom necessities. Such as NatureZway super absorbent bamboo bath tissue, Widu’s wood combs and brushes, handmade natural fiber toothbrushes from Source as well as Preserve’s toothbrushes and razors made from recycled yogurt cups. While we all make waste it is also important to consider what and where we are depositing it. For those times there is Full Circle Compostable waste bags and BioBag’s sturdy Tall Kitchen Food Scrap bags as alternatives to plastic garbage bags that are difficult to break down in the environment.

Reducing waste seems like such a large task to take on by ourselves because of all the containers and single use items that are in our lives everyday. Reusing containers and bags have a huge impact, as you leave our store you can also do your part to reduce waste by bringing your own reusable bags. If you don’t have these already handy make sure you check out our selection from Baggu, ChicoBag, VejiBags, and Dans Le Sac for zero waste on the go bags.

Remember all these small steps can add up and have a lasting impact on both your personal sphere and a healthier environmental impact for all!

Cooking with Cadia!

Cadia is one of our favorite brands here at Cambridge Naturals. Their organic, sustainably-harvested food products are as simple and honest as it comes, and best of all, the price point won't break the bank! We've got about a dozen of their grocery items on our shelves, and in this blog we are going to use each and every one of them, as we put together a delicious dinner party, from pre-meal cocktails and bruschetta to a main course with salad and finally a high protein dessert with a surprising secret ingredient.

There are lots of other great ingredients from our shelves in these recipes as well, and we're always bringing new things in, so come by the store to ask our friendly grocery team what we're excited about!

IMG_9642.JPG

Maple Bitter Bourbon Bomb

INGREDIENTS:

1/2 oz. Cadia Maple Syrup
1 1/2 oz. Cadia Sparkling Water
3 or 4 drops Urban Moonshine Maple Bitters
1/2 oz. Orange Juice
1/4 oz. Lemon Juice
2 oz Bourbon (optional, of course)
Orange Wheel
Orange Spiral, to garnish

DIRECTIONS:

Combine the maple syrup, orange juice, lemon juice and bitters in an old-fashioned glass. Add the orange wheel and muddle the ingredients. Add bourbon if you so desire, fill the glass with ice and top with sparkling water. Garnish and serve.

Super Simple Bruschetta

INGREDIENTS:

1 can Cadia Crushed Tomatoes with Basil
1/4 cup Cadia Olive Oil
1 teaspoon Cadia Balsamic Vinegar
5 or 6 Garlic Cloves, Crushed
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 baguette
Celtic Sea Salt and lemon pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS:

Mix all the ingredients except the baguette in a bowl and let them sit in the fridge for at least 2 hours. Cut the baguette into thin pieces and toast them in the oven. Smear your topping on the bread and you're good to go!

IMG_9644.JPG

Garbanzo and Cucumber Salad

INGREDIENTS:

1 can Cadia Garbanzo Beans, drained and rinsed
3 English Cucumbers
1 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 red onion, sliced thin
1 tablespoon Cadia Balsamic Vinegar
1 tablespoon Cadia Olive Oil
1/2 tablespoon Mustard and Co. Dijon Mustard
1 garlic clove, minced
1 handful parsley, chopped fine
Celtic Sea Salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS:

Cut cucumbers in half, lengthwise, then again to create 4 wedges. Cut the wedges into quarter inch slices. In a medium bowl, combine garbanzos, cucumbers, pepper, and onion. Whisk all the remaining ingredients until well combined for your dressing. Add the dressing and toss gently. Let it marinate in the fridge as long as possible before serving for maximum flavor.

 

Baked Bacon-y Black Beans

INGREDIENTS:

2 cans Cadia Black Beans
6 slices thick-cut bacon, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 bell pepper, diced
1 small yellow onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup Cadia Blackstrap Molasses
1/4 cup Bragg's Apple Cider Vinegar
1 tablespoon Cambridge Naturals bulk chili powder
1 teaspoon Cambridge Naturals bulk oregano
1 teaspoon Cambridge Naturals bulk yellow mustard powder
1/2 teaspoon Cambridge Naturals bulk black pepper
2 tablespoons brown sugar

 

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a dutch oven or large oven-safe pot, cook the bacon over medium heat until it starts to brown. Add the bell pepper, onion, and garlic. Cook the vegetables until they soften. Add the chili powder, dried oregano, mustard powder, salt, pepper, and brown sugar, stir it all together, and cook for about another two minutes. Add the apple cider vinegar, molasses, and beans, stir, then add water until it just covers the beans. Transfer the pot, uncovered, to your preheated oven. Bake for about an hour or until the sauce has thickened.

 

Beanie Brownies

INGREDIENTS:

1 1/2 Cans Cadia Red Kidney Beans
3 Brookford Farm Eggs
1 1/2 oz. Navitas Raw Cacao
4 oz. Cadia Maple Syrup
2 1/2 oz. Will and Rose's Walnuts
5.5 oz Theo 85% Dark Baking Chocolate
1/2 tsp. Baking Powder
1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
1 tsp. Cambridge Naturals Bulk True Cinnamon
1 tbsp. Cadia Almond Milk
1 tbsp. Cadia Coconut Oil

 

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat the oven to 350F and line the baking pan with parchment paper. Put all the ingredients (except walnuts and chocolate) in a food processor or blender and blend until smooth. Chop the walnuts and chocolate and mix most of them into the brownie batter. Pour the batter into the baking pan and top with the remaining chocolate and walnuts. Bake for 25 minutes and let cool before cutting.

CN Goth Picks

Words + Pics by Sam, CN Body Care Buyer

As the days brighten and lengthen with the approach of New England’s eventual spring, it is important to take time for mindful reflection on sunlight and green growing things - and also their opposite: darkness and gloom. On this first day of April, as the crocuses begin to peer unnervingly from the depths of the earth, we welcome you to Cambridge Supernaturals, your beloved boo-tique for all things spooky, creepy, and bump-in-the-night. Listed below are some ghoul-tastic goth highlights, all the better to help you ring in a spooky spring!

Body Care

20180316_162812.jpg
20180316_161716(1).jpg

Noyah Lipstick in Currant News

On the first pass, this satin-finish lipstick starts as a beautiful berry, but can be built to a rich dark vamp shade. Embalm your lips with this clean castor oil-based formula for that fresh out of the coffin look. Perfect for a day hiding from the sun, or a night lurking in the shadows.

Death By Lavender Deodorant North Coast

You may take “you look dead!” as a compliment, but that doesn’t mean you want to smell the part. Enter this remarkably simple formula from North Coast Organics: a coconut, arrowroot, and baking soda based deodorant that’s gentle on the pits and kind on the nose. Death By Lavender will leave you smelling like lavender and citrus instead of doom and gloom.

Bulk

20180316_165012.jpg
20180316_165947.jpg

Activated Charcoal Powder

Darkness in a jar. Powdered night. Perfect for throwing a handful in front of you as you enter a room to establish a spooky ambience. Or you could maybe not do that, and instead use this wonderfully pitch-black powder for its drawing and cleansing properties. Mix a little into a french green clay face mask or homemade face cleanser, and take a spa evening to yourself.

Bold as Blood Tea

Whether you think vampires are cool or passe, I think we can all agree, at least, that their diet is deeply questionable. Instead of drinking someone else’s blood, why not boost your own? This blend relies on mineral-rich herbs such as nettle and beetroot to naturally support healthy iron levels in the blood. A long steep of this tea brews up to a savory concoction that’s a lovely dark rust color in the cup, so hey, you can at least pretend.

Groceries

20180316_164326.jpg

Sweetpea Farms Buckwheat Honey

Don’t let Sweetpea Farms’ innocent labeling fool you - behind the bright, picnic-evoking label is a dark and ominous ichor with a deep molasses taste. Perfect in coffee or tea, liberally drizzled over pancakes, mixed into your favorite barbecue sauce, or for calling forth eldritch creatures in your favorite midnight ritual under the full moon.

Lotus Foods Forbidden Rice Ramen

This toothsome gluten-free ramen is made with Forbidden Rice, and cooks up (in a matter of minutes) to a rich dark violet color with a satisfyingly chewy consistency. The dark noodles, swimming in a savory miso broth, call to mind the tentacles of the long-lost Kraken, lurking below the waves. Also, the conveniently-sized packet fits easily into a purse or backpack for lunch on the go!

Supplements

20180316_163302.jpg
20180316_160922.jpg

Megafoods Blood Builder

Again, while vampires may be in vogue, their diet certainly is not. Circumvent their brand of sanguine satiation by looking after your blood health! Megafoods’ Blood Builder formula is focused on providing food-based iron, folate, vitamin C, and B-12, extracted from beets, broccoli, and oranges. And unlike vampirism, Blood Builder is accessible to vegans, vegetarians, or anyone unironically looking to boost their iron.

Raw Forest Foods Wild-Harvested Black Ants

This nutrient-dense supplement rooted in Traditional Chinese Medicine can help you fulfill the dream of calling an army of insects to do your bidding! Granted, the bidding in question would have to be “providing a rich supply of amino acids, vitamins, and minerals to support overall health,” but as long as you stay within those bounds, you too can be Leader of the Amassed Ant Hordes.

Lifestyle

20180316_164006.jpg
20180316_162159.jpg

Manduka Yogitoes Yoga Mat Towel

As HP Lovecraft might have possibly once said, “Yoga can be a beneficial part of one’s daily exercise routine, and an excellent chance to pause and meditatively reflect on the seething horrors of the unknowable void.” Lest you slip and fall into that void during your practice, consider this wonderfully witchy towel from Manduka emblazoned with the moon’s many faces against a roiling night sky. The partially-recycled, sweat-absorbent towel is designed to provide an extra layer of grip on top of your yoga mat.

Miso Handmade Attack Cat’s Organic Catnip Creepy Zombie

A little monster for your little monster. Teach your cat the vital skill of zombie home defense with this catnip-filled poppet from Miso Handmade, lovingly stitched from wool felt for maximum creepy cuteness. Prepare your cat for societal collapse while engaging them in play!

Cannabidiwhaaat? CBD FAQ's!

By Miles, CN Supplements Buyer & Trainer

The legal hemp market is exploding with all sorts of products! Caught up in confusion? Heard your neighbors talk about CBD but can’t figure out the difference between hemp and marijuana products? This guide is for you!

 

So what the heck is CBD anyway!?

CBD or cannabidiol (can-nAh-bi-dEYE-ol) is regarded as the medicinal* component of cannabis. CBD is regarded as a well-studied and safe compound naturally present in agricultural hemp.

Green Mountain CBD hemp fields in VT

Green Mountain CBD hemp fields in VT

What do people use CBD for?

CBD may support healthy stress and pain response in the body. Numerous research into our endocannabinoid system indicates CBD may also have a role in supporting proper nerve signaling, healthy cell division and balance inflammation.

 

Endocannaba-whaaat?

Our body has a cannabinoid system. All throughout our body, our cells use different messengers to communicate with each other, including our own cannabinoids. Cannabinoid receptors are found in our brain as well as throughout our periphery. Compounds such as CBD activate CB2 receptors, promoting feelings of relaxation or relief of mild and occasional pain.

 

How is CBD legal?

CBD comes from agricultural hemp, rather than marijuana. Interestingly, marijuana that people use recreationally is the same species of plant (Cannabis sativa) as agricultural hemp. Marijuana, however, is high in the presence of the compound THC, which causes one to feel high. Agricultural hemp that is imported to or grown in the United States must contain less than 0.3% THC.

In contrast, agricultural hemp contains other non-psychoactive cannabinoid constituents such as CBDa and CBD (as well as essential fatty acids and vitamin E) which promote wellness in our bodies.

Even though marijuana has been legalized by the state of Massachusetts, stores cannot yet sell THC-containing products. The United States congress passed the Agricultural Act of 2014, sometimes called the “Farm Bill”, which allows for the use of low THC-containing hemp in industry and agriculture.

 

So wait, CBD will get me high?

As the hemp-derived CBD we carry contains negligible levels of THC, it does not get one high, stoned, lit, etc. CBD may cause drowsiness in a dose-dependent manner.

 

What brands of CBD do you carry? How can you take it?

cbd.png

We have numerous brands! Some of our favorites include:

CV Sciences – One of the leaders in the hemp industry, they import Dutch agricultural hemp for processing into capsules, liquids and salves. They have a variety of different doses, and are known for their purity, research-based ingredients and quality extraction methods.

Green Mountain CBD – One of my favorites, this locally operated brand grows their own organic hemp right in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont. They extract their hemp with coconut oil into capsules, paste or liquid tincture. Many of their products are higher doses per serving, including their beloved 20mg capsules.

The Healing Rose – Based out of Andover, MA, The Healing Rose specializes in topical CBD products! They have a high potency salve, containing arnica, peppermint and ginger beyond just CBD, for those of us looking for a little bit of extra tension release. Their roll-ons with essential oil of rosemary or fir needle together with CBD are great for the neck and temples, too.

 

What dose do I take?

Dose is a very personalized thing!

I personally prefer around 5-10mg of CBD for daytime use, and maybe another 15mg before bedtime. That being said, I know some people who take 1mg a day, and I know some people who take 60mg a day.

High doses of CBD (think 200mg) seem to be well-tolerated, based on studies. CBD is a GRAS (generally recognized as safe) dietary ingredient. However, although it is safe for most people to take that much, you usually don’t usually need that much.

Your sensitivity depends on your genes. I invite you to be flexible with CBD use. Start with a low dose, and build up until you find your sweet spot. In my experience, one often feels CBD within an hour of use, and you can take it multiple times a day, if you wish.

 

Can I stop taking my other medications if I use CBD?

Talk to your doctor! We do not recommend changing your medications without consulting with your doctor.

 

Disclaimer: Nothing in this website is intended as, or should be construed as, medical advice. Consumers should consult with their own health care practitioners for individual, medical recommendations. The information in this website concerns dietary supplements, over-the-counter products that are not drugs. Our dietary supplement products are not indended for use as a means to cure, treat, prevent, diagnose or mitigate any disease or other medical or abnormal condition.

Beyond "Sweets for the Sweet": Your Guide to a Savory Chocolate Valentine’s Day Feast!

iStock-654544228.jpg

By John, CN Grocery Buyer

Anybody can give a lovely box of truffles to their sweetie on Valentine’s Day, but if you really want to impress your loved one, why not serve up that chocolate in a more intriguing fashion? Chocolate is a great ingredient in savory dishes, from obvious choices like mole sauce or steak rubs to much more surprising combos like the ones I’ll be sharing with you in this month’s column. Follow my instructions and you’ll be ready to prepare a huge meatless spread showcasing the less sweet tendencies of that dark chocolate deliciousness. After all, you’re sweet enough already, aren’t you?


JOHN’S FAMOUS  SWEET POTATO CHILI

Ingredients:

  • 28 oz can peeled tomatoes
  • 14 oz can black beans
  • 14 oz can kidney beans
  • 14 oz can garbanzo beans
  • 14 oz can pinto beans
  • 1 tbsp Navitas Raw Cacao Powder
  • 2 jalapeno peppers
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 1/2 cup brown beer
  • 1 tsp Cambridge Naturals Bulk Cumin
  • 1/2 tsp Cambridge Naturals Bulk Chili Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Cambridge Naturals Bulk Oregano
  • 1 tsp Maldon Smoked Sea Salt
  • 1 tsp Alex's Ugly Cayano Hot Sauce
  • 1/2 tsp La Chinata Smoked Paprika
  • 2 sweet potatoes
  • 1 tsp Nutiva Coconut Oil


Instructions:

Combine tomatoes, beans, salt, and beer in a large pot over low heat. Stir occasionally. Peel sweet potatoes and cut into cubes. Add vegetable oil and sweet potatoes to a nonstick skillet and sautee for about 10 minutes on medium heat. Add in garlic, onion, hot sauce, and peppers and sautee for an additional 5-6 minutes. Empty contents of skillet into the chili pot and stir. Add cocoa powder, cumin, chili powder, oregano, and smoked paprika. Cook on low heat for as long as you possibly can, adding salt/cocoa/heat as desired. Use more beer if the chili seems too thick.


EGGPLANT CAPONATA

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups Canaan Fair Trade Nabali Tree olive oil
  • 2 lb. eggplant, cut into 1″ cubes
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 rib celery, roughly chopped
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 3 tbsp. tomato paste, thinned with 1⁄4 cup water
  • 1 cup crushed canned tomatoes
  • 6 oz. Alive & Well Chalkidiki olives, pitted and roughly chopped
  • 1⁄2 cup Bragg's Apple Cider vinegar
  • 1⁄2 cup golden raisins
  • 1⁄4 cup salt-packed capers, rinsed and drained
  • 3 tbsp. Nutiva Coconut Sugar
  • 2 tbsp. Theo 70% Baking Chocolate (finely grated)
  • 1⁄2 cup finely shredded basil
  • 2 tbsp. Cambridge Naturals Raw Pine Nuts

Instructions:

Heat oil in a 12″ skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add eggplant and fry, tossing occasionally, until browned, 3–4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer eggplant to a large bowl; set aside. Pour off all but 1⁄4 cup oil, and reserve for another use. Return skillet to heat, add onions and celery, and season with salt and pepper; cook, stirring often, until beginning to brown, 10 minutes. Reduce heat to medium, and add tomato paste and cook, stirring, until caramelized and almost evaporated, 1–2 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes and continue cooking for 10 minutes. Stir in olives, vinegar, raisins, capers, sugar, and chocolate, and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 15 minutes. Transfer to bowl with eggplant, along with basil and pine nuts, and mix together. Season with salt and pepper, and let cool to room temperature before serving.

 

CHARRED CAULIFLOWER AND SHISHITO PEPPERS WITH PICATA SAUCE

Ingredients:

  • 1 head cauliflower, trimmed, halved, and cut into 1 1⁄2" wedges
  • 2 tbsp. plus 1 cup Canaan Fair Trade Nabali Tree olive oil
  • Cambridge Naturals bulk sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 8 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup Nutiva coconut oil, for frying
  • 12 shishito peppers
  • 1⁄2 cup Will & Rose's Whole Sprouted Almonds, toasted and roughly chopped
  • 1 cup plus 1 tbsp. roughly chopped parsley
  • 1 tbsp. finely grated Theo 70% dark baking chocolate
  • 2 tsp. Bragg's Apple Cider Vinegar


Instructions:

Heat oven broiler. Arrange cauliflower in a single layer on a baking sheet. Brush both sides with 2 tbsp. olive oil and season with salt and pepper; broil, flipping once, until charred and tender, about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, heat remaining olive oil and the garlic in a 12" skillet over medium. Cook until garlic is golden, 4–6 minutes; transfer to a bowl and let cool. Wipe skillet clean and heat canola oil over medium-high; fry peppers until blistered and slightly crisp, 4–6 minutes. Transfer peppers to paper towels to drain; season with salt. Stir almonds, 1 cup parsley, the chocolate, vinegar, salt, and pepper into reserved garlic oil; spread onto a serving platter. Top with cauliflower; garnish with fried peppers and remaining parsley.

 

ROASTED BABY CARROTS WITH BALSAMIC-CHOCOLATE SYRUP

Ingredients:

  • 3 pounds baby carrots (about finger-width thick), green tops trimmed to about 1 inch
  • 3 tablespoons Canaan Fair Trade Nabali Tree olive oil
  • 1½ teaspoons Celtic Light Grey Sea Salt
  • 5 or 6 (4-inch) sprigs fresh thyme
  • ½ cup Cadia organic balsamic vinegar
  • ½ ounce Theo 85 percent dark chocolate, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon Crystal's Own New York Wildflower honey


Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Put the carrots on a sheet pan, drizzle them with the olive oil, and spread them in a single layer. Sprinkle the salt evenly over the carrots, and lay the thyme sprigs on top. Roast until the carrots are tender and brown in spots, shaking the pan and turning once or twice, about 35 minutes total. While the carrots are cooking, make the syrup. Put the vinegar in the smallest saucepan you have and simmer over medium-low heat until reduced to 1⁄4 cup. Remove the pan from the heat and add the chocolate. Let the chocolate melt for 30 seconds, then use a small spatula to gently stir the syrup until the chocolate has melted completely and the syrup is smooth. Add the honey and salt and mix well. Cover the pan to keep the sauce warm until you’re ready to serve the carrots. To serve, discard the thyme and arrange the carrots on a serving dish. Drizzle them generously with the syrup, and serve immediately.

Herbal Supports for Pregnancy, Birth & Beyond

By Steph Zabel
Herbalist, Ethnobotanist & Educator

I have been meaning to write this article for a very long time… for a year, in fact! Ever since going through the powerful thresholds of pregnancy and birth I’ve wanted to share a few of the lovely herbs that I worked with to help me feel more comfortable, nourished and balanced during such a transformational time. Now that we are coming up to the 1st birthday of my beautiful daughter I feel it is time to finally put down in words some of the supports that worked for me personally.

1st Trimester

Because the first trimester can be a delicate time I don’t recommend using many herbs, especially herbs that you’ve never had before. Stick to gentle, nutritive, food-grade plants.

Morning sickness and fatigue tend to be the main issues that most women deal with. My own morning sickness wasn’t too severe, but it was uncomfortable from time to time (and it wasn’t always in the morning). Making sure that I had plenty of good food in my body — and not going for long periods of time without eating — helped immensely.  Also, getting enough protein and fat was important so that my blood sugar levels stayed stable.

Herb-wise I used gentle chamomile, peppermint and/or ginger teas to help with the queasy-ness. Ginger chews are also nice if you can’t make tea and need something right away.

Interestingly enough, the most helpful herb for me during this time of nausea was milk thistle, even though it is not particularly well known for this use. It is, however, famous for its wonderful supportive and gentle detoxifying action on the liver. Since the liver has extra work to do during pregnancy because of all the extra hormones in the body it makes sense that this plant would have a beneficial action. I used the ground up seeds and sprinkled them on my food — about 1 tablespoon or so per day, or as needed. I felt that this was an indispensable herb for me in this phase.

I also drank some rosehip tea from time to time as well as nettles, both of which are gentle herbs akin to food. The supplements I took during this trimester — and throughout my pregnancy — included magnesium, fermented cod liver oil and probiotics.

tea blends.JPG

2nd Trimester

At this point in my pregnancy I felt more comfortable using a wider range of herbs. I sipped on overnight-steeped nettle tea quite frequently, as well as oat straw, lemon balm, rose, hawthorn and chamomile teas. I also began taking raspberry leaf on a frequent basis.

Raspberry leaf is a beloved ally for the childbearing years. You may read some sources that say it is safe to use throughout pregnancy, and you may read some that say it should only be used in the 2nd trimester and beyond. I am in the latter group because I found that when I drank a cup of raspberry leaf in my first trimester it made me feel a little crampy, which of course you want to avoid. So I held off on the RL until I was well into my second trimester. I upped my intake of it in the third trimester — a few cups per week — and tried to drink even more of it in my last final weeks.

You can read more about raspberry leaf and all of its wonderful benefits here. Briefly I’ll say that it is known as a partus preparator, meaning it prepares the uterus for labor. The tea contains an alkaloid called fragrine that helps to strengthen the muscle of the uterus and is thought to promote a quicker, easier labor.

raspberry leaf tea S Zabel.JPG

3rd Trimester

Toward the end of my pregnancy I increased the amount of raspberry leaf I was consuming and tried to drink a quart of the tea every 2-3 days. At this point I also compiled my herbal birth and postpartum kit, which included herbs that I wanted to have on hand during labor and for recovery. Here’s what I included… (Read on to see what I actually ended up using…)

HERBAL BIRTH & RECOVERY KIT:

birth herbs kit.jpg

INGESTIBLES
Raspberry Leaf tea and/or ice cubes: to aid in strengthening contractions

Labor Aid: a beverage that supplies electrolytes and improves hydration during labor (my blend included water with apple cider vinegar, lemon, liquid magnesium, sea salt, maple syrup and flower essences)

Chamomile, Motherwort and Passionflower tinctures: for tension and anxiety (for both the mother and father-to-be)

Yarrow tincture: for excess bleeding postpartum

Crampbark tincture: for afterpains and cramping postpartum
 
Homeopathic Arnica 30C: to reduce soreness, swelling and pain postpartum

Fennel seed & Fenugreek seed: to increase milk production


TOPICALS:
Calendula, St. John's Wort & Lavender oil: to massage onto a sore back, or painful areas
 
Herbal Sitz Bath blend (including comfrey, calendula, rose and lavender): for hip baths and to speed the healing of sore or torn tissues

Mugwort & Rose infused body oil: mugwort is traditionally known as an herb of protection for laboring mothers and is helpful in transitions

SCENTS / AROMATHERAPY:
Mugwort smudge: the traditional herb of childbirth; stimulating and pain-relieving
 
Palo Santo bark: a grounding, sweet, and relaxing scent
 
Essential Oils of Lavender, Clary Sage and Chamomile: to relax and relieve tension
 
Rose Water: to spritz throughout the room for its calming properties


FLOWER ESSENCES:
 "Centered Birth" essence (from Green Hope Farm): to take throughout labor in beverages or put into bath water
 
Five Flower Formula: akin to Rescue Remedy; useful during intense times and good to have on hand for the laboring mother or stressed father!

 

WHAT I REALLY USED:
Honestly, I think I was a little over-prepared with this kit and ended up not using a lot of these items. Mostly that was because my labor came on so fast and furious and I quickly went to that place where you can’t speak or think straight.

The total time of my labor — including early labor and active labor through to the birth — was just 8.5 hours, which is quite fast for a first-time mom. Perhaps all the raspberry leaf tea I had been drinking helped to speed things along, but it’s hard to know for certain since I have nothing to compare it to.

A lot of the herbs in my kit would have been helpful if I had a really long, drawn out labor and needed more of a physical or mental boost.

Steph's Labor Aid drink

Steph's Labor Aid drink

What I ended up relying on during labor was the Labor Aid drink (which tasted so good!), raspberry leaf tea, and the flower essences (which I included in my beverages and also put in the bath at one point).

Soon after giving birth I also drank a bunch of raspberry leaf tea with a couple dropperfuls of yarrow tincture to help with the postpartum bleeding. It really seemed to do the trick. I also took the homeopathic Arnica 30C for about 2 weeks afterwards to help with the intense soreness my body experienced. I used herbal sitz baths to help heal tender tissues, and took fenugreek seeds from time to time to support milk production. Finally, I had a bottle of motherwort tincture near me at all times and took a few drops when I was feeling a bit overwhelmed or emotional in those first delicate weeks of new motherhood.

And that’s it!

If you are looking to create your own herbal birth kit choose the herbs and plants that you already love and know well. And keep it simple. In the throes of labor you want to keep one or two comforting items — whether it’s a tea, scent or flower essence — close by and not worry about various bottles to sort through.

I hope this is helpful for some mama’s-to-be out there. These beautiful herbs are here to help and support us— call upon them when you need help!


Steph Zabel, MSc, is an herbalist and botanical educator who helps urban dwellers connect with the plant world. She teaches seasonally-oriented herbal classes that focus on local plants, herbal medicine-making techniques, and plant identification. She is also the creator of Herbstalk, Boston’s community herbal conference. Learn more about her work at: www.flowerfolkherbs.com and www.herbstalk.org.


This blog series — Herbs and Botanicals — is for general health information only. This Web site is not to be used as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment of any health condition or problem. Users of this Web site should not rely on information provided on this Web site for their own health problems. Any questions regarding your own health should be addressed to your own physician or other healthcare provider.