Categories > Nutrition

What’s Your Beef With Fat?

Did you know that beef tallow, a form of rendered beef fat, is actually good for you?

We’ve been trained to believe that fat isn’t good for us but in fact, fat is an essential component of our health and well being.

What Is Tallow?

Beef tallow is a form of purified animal fat.  The form of purification is called rendering where heat is used over a period of time to get rid of the impurities within the fat. You can render many animal fats such as pork to make lard, lamb and beef to make tallow, and even butter to make ghee.

The Benefits of Beef Tallow

What we now know is that saturated fats found in natural products such as beef, are healthy and important for our overall health.

Many fat soluble vitamins and minerals can be found in beef tallow such as: vitamins A, D, E and K.

Vitamin A is essential for skin, eye, and immune function.

Vitamin D is essential for the absorption of calcium and for immune health.

Vitamin E is an antioxidant that reduces the prevalence of free radicals which can damage our cells.

CLA is a type of fatty acid found in meat and dairy that helps lower our risk of heart disease, type two diabetes, arteriosclerosis, and cancer.

Tallow also has an extremely high smoke point, meaning the fat stays stable at high temperatures, making it great for cooking!

Beef Tallow is Sustainable

At the start of the 20th century and before the boom of Crisco and other toxic vegetable oils, beef tallow was the most commonly used form of fat for cooking.

Not only is this a sustainable source of fat, it is a much better choice for our environment.  Vegetable oils made from palm and canola have been linked to deforestation and a high carbon footprint. Some sources have even mentioned grass-fed beef tallow as having a negative carbon footprint!

Beef Tallow is Affordable

Not only is beef tallow great for our environment, but it is something that we can actually make ourselves at home. Here is a recipe to make your own!

How to Render Beef Tallow

from Prairehomestead.com

Ingredients

  • Quality grass fed beef fat (suet)- any beef fat can be rendered into tallow, but “leaf fat,” which lies around the kidneys, is best
  • Large stock pot OR slow cooker
  • Clean glass jars for storage (wide mouth)
  • Cheesecloth or improvised cheesecloth alternative
  • Time…

Instructions

  1. Dry rendering (no water) Beef Tallow:
  2. Trim beef fat
  3. Chop it into manageable chunks, then trim off bits of meat, blood, gristle, and whatever else you may find including the “cellophane” wrapping around the leaf fat
  4. Once trimmed, run fat through the food processor (MUCH easier when cold!) until it’s the consistency of ground meat (If you don’t have a processor, just chop fat into small pieces)
  5. Dump shredded fat into a large stockpot or slow cooker for several hours and use very low heat to begin melting
  6. Check fat and stir occasionally to make sure it’s not burning
  7. As fat renders, it slowly melts allowing ”impurities” to rise to the top
  8. It’s done when there’s clear liquid at the bottom and crispy bits floating on top
  9. Strain tallow through a piece of cheesecloth or fabric to remove all the “floaties” (you may want to place your cheesecloth inside a colander to make straining easier)
  10. Pour into jars and allow to harden and cool at room temperature
  11. Tallow can stay at room temperature for a week or so, but refrigerate or freeze if storing longer (should last several months to a year in freezer)
  12. Use tallow for frying french fries, in pastries, and other recipes that call for shortening

Keep up to date with our upcoming events, including Mindful cooking classes, sign up for our newsletter here.

RGE RD Chef Blair’s Movember Mindful Cooking Class Recipe

Braised grass-fed beef | black garlic-hemp seed coulis
Farro | lentils | leeks | carrots | hubbard squash | apple
Squash & kale salad | cayenne mignonette
Warm tomatoes | toasted walnuts & pumpkin seeds

For all those who missed out on our Mindful Cooking Class with Chef Blair at RGE RD here is the recipe.

Don’t miss out on our next demonstration and taste of a Mindful Recipe with Chef Blair. It was such a hit, we’ll be co-hosting more!

To stay tuned, sign up for our Newsletter Updates!

Serves 4 people

Ingredients

Grass-fed beef | Tandria Dexter or Nature’s Green Acres are great 2 oz/person ~ 8 oz total
1/2 cup beef tallow (or grape seed/ canola oil)

Black garlic coulis
Yields 1 cup (about 225 ml)

2 bulbs (50 grams) – black garlic
1/2 cup (125 ml) – vegetable stock or water
2 tsp (10ml) – sherry or cider vinegar
1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) – lemon juice
1/2 oz (15 grams) – hemp seeds
1 tsp (5 ml) – kosher salt (maybe a bit more to taste) 1/2 – shallot
1 tsp (5 ml) – hot sauce

Put all ingredients into a blender and blend. Wipe down sides with spatula and re-blend until smooth and thickened.

Farro
1 cup farro
3 cups water
2 tsp salt

Rinse farro with water and add to the 3 cups water in a pot. Bring it to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook until the grains are tender, about 25 minutes.  Add salt after farro is cooked.


Lentils
1 cup lentils
3 cups water
2 tsp salt

Rinse the lentils with water and add them to a pot with the 3 cups of water. Bring it to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook until the lentils are tender, about 15-20 minutes. Add the salt after lentils are cooked.

Vegetables
1/2 medium sized Hubbard squash (blue hubbard or red october are great)
2 carrots (peeled and diced small)
1 leek (washed, green top trimmed off, thinly sliced)
2 – 3 Tbs beef tallow or canola oil
half cored apple diced

Cut squash in half, scoop out the seeds and discard them. Peel the squash (probably with a knife because the skin is tough) and use a vegetable peeler to make ribbons for the salad. Dice the rest of the squash.


Cherry tomatoes
Slice tomatoes in half, sprinkle with a little salt and warm slightly in oven until juices are bubbling.

Cayenne mignonette
2 Tbs pickled cayenne (or other pickled pepper like banana peppers)
1/2 cup riesling vinegar (white wine vinegar)
1/2 shallot
dash of salt

Combine and blend ingredients together.

Squash & kale salad
1 handful Squash ribbons
1 handful Kale (washed and torn into bite sized pieces)
2-3 Tbs Cayenne mignonette
1 tsp salt

Toss kale and squash in cayenne mignonette and salt. Massage the mignonette into the kale and squash. Then let stand and marinate while preparing the rest of the meal.

Nuts
1 handful pumpkin seeds
1 handful walnuts
1 handful hemp seeds

Dry roast pumpkin seeds and walnuts in a pan or in the oven at 350 F. Once toasted, sprinkle with beef tallow or vegetable oil and salt to taste. Break walnuts into smaller pieces once toasted.

Herbs
2 tbsp of mixed parsley, thyme, sage (finely chopped)

Assembling & Plating

Cook the grass-fed beef your favourite way (grill, pan sear or braise)

Heat large sauté pan to medium and add 2-3 Tbsp of beef tallow or oil.

Add carrots, leeks, diced squash. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring as needed.

Add pre-cooked lentils and farro and cook for another 5 minutes.  Add ¼ cup of water or vegetable stock. Then add apple, chopped nuts and herbs, stirring to incorporate all ingredients.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Slice beef if necessary.

Lay out 4 plates, spread 1 Tbsp of black coulis on the plate and place 2oz of beef on top of it. Divide the vegetable mixture evenly among the 4 plates, and divide kale and squash salad between the 4 plates. Sprinkle with hemp seeds. Garnish with warm tomatoes.

Mindfully Enjoy

Sit down to enjoy your meal.
Take in the colours and aromas. Reflect with gratitude on all of the hard loving work that has gone into bringing this food onto your plate. 
Chew slowly and take in the textures and flavours. Savour it!

Ingredient magic

Colourful vegetables | anti-oxidants
Prevents cellular and DNA damage | cancer | cardiovascular disease | diabetes | infertility

Grass-Fed Beef | omega-3
Lowers risk of heart disease | stroke | diabetes | depression | infertility

Farro | anti-inflammatory | prebiotic
Reduces risk of heart disease | stroke | obesity | type 2 diabetes | infertility Increases regularity | absorption
Supports mental health via the gut-brain axis

Black garlic (fermented) | probiotic
Supports digestion | immunity | serotonin secretion
Reduces anxiety | depression

Nuts & Seeds | Omega-3 | protein | antioxidant | fibre
Reduces blood sugar | cholesterol | blood pressure
Lowers risk of heart disease | stroke
Supports brain function | cell growth

To find out about our next Mindful Event, sign up for our newsletter updates here.

WFH on Global TV

We are floored by Edmonton’s response to the Mindful Eating for Men Cooking Class that we will be co-hosting on Dec. 1st with Chef Blair Lebsack from Edmonton’s popular farm-to-table restaurant RGE RD.

Check out yesterday’s conversation with Kent Morrison from Global:

https://globalnews.ca/video/6215189/mindful-eating-for-mens-health

First of all, men’s health is a topic dear to us. Because we specialize in reproductive health, we come across a lot of interesting data. Canadian men die on average 6 years earlier than women, and research shows that sperm counts have decreased by 50-60% in the last 40 years. This rate of decline is steady and research also tells us that sperm are a biomarker of overall health.

So because none of us women at Whole Family Health can grow a moustache, we wanted to create our own ‘Mo’ment’ in honour of Movember. We also know the way to any person’s heart is through their belly – so we teamed up with RGE RD and our Mindful Eating for Men Cooking Class was born!

It has been a delight teaming up with RGE RD to talk about and to plan this event. Together, we have sparked so many delicious conversations about bringing awareness into our relationship with food and cultivating connection with our food.

We’ve been exploring the benefits of knowing and appreciating where our food comes from, what has gone into bringing it onto our plates, how to intentionally prepare it and then how to really really savour it.

So although we love looking at the research to inform us WHAT foods to incorporate and eliminate for disease prevention, we also want to empower everyone to think about WHY we’re eating, HOW we’re eating, WHEN we’re eating and WHERE we’re eating.

Basically this all translates into enjoying our food, rather then restricting our food.

Eating mindfully also involves savouring our food and being present with it through all of our senses – textures, flavours, smells, visual beauty and even sounds! Research shows that avoiding distraction increases the body’s absorptive capacity.

We have had the delight and honour of engaging with numerous media outlets on the topic this month.

Check out yesterday’s conversation with Kent Morrison from Global:

https://globalnews.ca/video/6215189/mindful-eating-for-mens-health

The Skinny on Fats

There’s been a huge controversy about fats over the years. Do you remember the 20th century low-fat boom, which was later debunked?

With all the polarized ideas about health out there, it’s hard to know exactly what is best and it’s increasingly difficult to navigate what “healthy” means.

When it comes right down to it, on a scientific level we can deduce that there are certain vitamins and minerals that are essential for healthy living.

Among these nutrients are indeed fats and oils. Fats are needed for the assimilation of fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. 

In colder climates fats can be beneficial for supplying deep, internal heat. Fats help to insulate and protect the internal organs while holding them in place.

From a Chinese Medicine standpoint, fats support our yin energy- providing comfort, security, and a slowing and grounding influence.  Much like our winter energies that drive us to seek inner warmth, to look inwards, and to store our physical energy.

Fats not only build tissues, they also enhance fluid metabolism, and send nutrients into the nervous system.  The predominantly yin aspect of fat is then converted into substantive yang, by providing the body with physical energy and warmth. This is why fats are highly valued in the human diet, we all need to feel secure & comforted. We also like to have ample amounts of energy and warmth while slowing down. 

Fats: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly

There are many different kinds of fat out there and not all fats are the same. In fact not all fats are good for us. Fats can be broken down into two categories: Saturated and Unsaturated.

What Are Saturated Fats

Saturated fats primarily come from animal products such as cheese, butter, eggs, and meat products. These fats are solid at room temperature and generally have a high smoke point. They have the fewest rancidity problems of all the oils, making them beneficial for cooking.

What Are Unsaturated Fats

Unsaturated Fats come from plants, animals, nuts and seeds. These oils are liquid at room temperature and can be further broken down into Monounsaturated fats, and Polyunsaturated fats.

What are Trans-Fats

Trans Fatty Acids are found in margarine, shortening, and vegetable oils. The process of hydrogenation to create these substances is particularly harmful as it creates an immune-damaging synthetic fat that elevates blood cholesterol. The FDA actually banned trans-fats in 2018, but they can still be found in some products manufactured before this date.

Fats and Fertility

The most important fats to focus on for fertility are polyunsaturated fats.  These fats contain “essential” fatty acids (EFA’s) that the body is unable to make on its own and so must obtain from our diet.

These essential fatty acids include Omega-3 fatty acids: EPA and DHA. EPA and DHA work to mutually support each other and play a vital role in our health and well being. 

EPA helps to reduce blood viscosity & clotting, lowers blood pressure, reduces inflammation and prevents ischemia (ie. strokes and heart attacks).

DHA plays other vital roles in the body like supporting brain development and growth.

Omega 3’s have also been known to improve the health of our skin, nails and hair. It is also found in sperm.

EFA’s are also converted into prostaglandins, which play a key role in the function and regulation of every organ and cell in the body.

EFA/DHA and Sperm

Dietary effects on fertility are continually being researched and studied. Many studies in recent years have tested the theory of EFA’s and its effect on male fertility.

Studies show a strong correlation between low DHA concentration and low sperm quality.

Healthy sperm is dependent on the amount of EFA’s present in the diet. Fatty acid consumption has actually been found to change the fatty acid composition of sperm and semen quality. An increase in sperm membrane DHA in humans has been recorded and has been associated with higher sperm motility, normal morphology, as well as increased concentration of sperm.

Sources of Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Fish with the highest amount of EPA/DHA are  salmon, mackerel and sardine. Other great sources are herring, anchovy, rainbow trout, and tuna. Capsule forms of fish oils can also be found at most supplement stores and here at Whole Family Health.

Recommended dosages of fish products: Seven to ten ounces of fish per week is sufficient or 500-1000mg of omega-3 fish oil in supplement form.

Flaxseed oil is another great plant source of omega-3 fatty acids. It is important to find sources that have not been processed with exposure to light or oxygen.

Recommended dosages of flax products: four tablespoons of ground flaxseed (flaxmeal) freshly ground or bought in a tightly sealed container and refrigerated, with meals once daily; or one tablespoon of fresh flax oil taken with meals once daily.

Want to learn more about healthy eating for men’s health? Join us December 1st for a Mindful Eating for Men Cooking Class at Rge Rd. All proceeds go to Movember.

Check out our Events page or call 587-200-5589 to register, space is limited!

References:

Diet and men’s fertility: does diet affect sperm quality?Nassan, Feiby L. et al.
Fertility and Sterility, Volume 110, Issue 4, 570 – 577

Dietary Fatty Acids Affect Semen Quality: a Review V. Esmaeili-A. Shahverdi-M. Moghadasian-A. Alizadeh – Andrology – 2015

Harvard Health Publishing, Harvard Medical School: The truth about fats: the good, the bad and the in-between.Feb 2015

Pitchford, Paul.  Healing with Whole Foods: Asian Traditions and Modern Nutrition. 3rd ed., North Atlantic Books, 2002.

Antioxidants For Men

Men! Let’s have a real conversation about your diet. This should not induce stress, and if it does… Then good! This means you know you can do better! Let’s talk about antioxidants in relation to your diet.  

What Exactly Are Antioxidants? 

We hear this buzz word used constantly, but do we actually understand the science of it?

An antioxidant is a molecule that inhibits the oxidation of other molecules. Oxidation is a chemical reaction that can produce free radicals, which leads to chain reactions that damage cells. In short, antioxidants prevent cellular damage.

When our bodies can’t keep up with the number of free radicals that are accumulating, it enters a state of oxidative stress. Over time, this can cause a lot of harm and eventually lead to things like cancer, heart disease, cataracts and even autoimmune disorders.(1) Some Factors that can contribute to oxidation include, stress, smoking, alcohol, pollution and poor diet.

What Can We Do To Combat Oxidative Stress?

Well for starters we can eat more antioxidant foods that will kick butt against free radicals. They say to eat the rainbow, because the phytochemicals that are responsible for the pigmentation in colourful plants are also highly antioxidant. Some examples of foods high in antioxidants include: (2)

  1. Tomatoes
  2. Green Tea
  3. Blueberries
  4. Dark Chocolate
  5. Artichokes
  6. Raspberries
  7. Kale
  8. Beans
  9. Beets
  10. Goji Berries

The Tomato & Its Super-Antioxidant Powers

I love Italian Cuisine and want to touch more on tomatoes. They are versatile, they have amazing flavour and they have the potential to help prevent cancer.

Tomatoes are part of the carotenoid family and contain lycopene, which is what gives the tomato its red pigmentation. Research shows that this colour molecule is what also gives the tomato its cancer fighting properties.

Tomatoes are specifically beneficial for addressing prostate cancer (3) and recent reviews correlate 9-21mg/day of lycopene to a 9% increase in prostate cancer prevention.(5) Another recent study links high levels of beta carotene in tomatoes with tumor supressing effects in prostate cancer.(4)

What more incentive to include these juicy red balls of joy into your life?

It’s empowering to think that we can have a direct affect on our bodies and boost our bodies’ abilities to fight diseases like cancer. Although more and more research is always needed, it’s definitely exciting that current studies are finding positive results with this red fruit. Tomatoes are very accessible and easy to incorporate into salads and sauces.

Empower Yourself with Colourful Veggies

The take home here is that we want to include antioxidant rich foods. I have outlined the tomato, but variety is the spice of life to your health. Remember to eat the rainbow, as all colourful vegetables are highly antioxidant.

November is Men’s health awareness month. The more we continue to talk about cancer, diabetes, infertility, depression and other common men’s health diseases, the more awareness we bring to these issues and the more we can advocate for their prevention.

We can positively lower our risk of disease through increasing our intake of antioxidant foods. So eat your tomats and talk to your peeps. Keep eating all those healthy colourful antioxidants!

Join us for our Mindful Eating for Men Cooking Class on Dec 1st with Chef Blair Lebsack from RGE RD. All proceeds go to Movember!

Check out our Events Page for more info or Call to Register today.

  1. Pham-Huy LA1, He H, Pham-Huy C, 2008 Jun;4(2):89-96, Int J Biomed Sci. Free Radicals, antioxidants in disease and health. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23675073
  2. Monica H Carlsen, et al. 2010; 9: 3. Published online 2010 Jan 22. doi: 10.1186/1475-2891-9-3.The total antioxidant content of more than 3100 foods, beverages, spices, herbs and supplements used worldwide. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2841576/
  3. Graff RE et al. 2016 Mar;103(3):851-60. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.115.118703. Epub 2016 Jan 27.Dietary lycopene intake and risk of prostate cancer defined by ERG protein expression. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26817504
  4. Gong X1 et al. 2016 Oct;14(10):966-975. Epub 2016 Jul 12.Mitochondrial β-Carotene 9′,10′ Oxygenase Modulates Prostate Cancer Growth via NF-κB Inhibition: A Lycopene-Independent Function. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27406826
  5. Chen P, et al. 2015, Medicine Baltimore. Lycopene and risk of Prostate Cancer: A Systemic Review and Meta- Analysis. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26287411

What’s Great About Nuts & Seeds

Have you heard that we’re teaming up with Chef Blair from Edmonton’s popular farm-to-table restaurant RGE RD to co-host a Mindful Cooking class? He gave us a sneak peek at one of his nuggets of wisdom: use nuts and seeds instead of creamy or sugary sauces as a healthy way to jazz up your dishes. Not only do they add loads of flavour and texture but they also add a ton of nutrients too!

Nature packs nuts & seeds

Nature packs nuts and seeds full of concentrated goodness, because they need all the nutrients to grow into complex plants. 

They are a great source of fibre and contain healthy monounsaturated fats, polyunsaturated fats as well as vital vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants.

When we include them as part of our healthy balanced diet, they can help to reduce blood sugar, cholesterol and blood pressure.

Monounsaturated fats help to reduce bad cholesterol levels in the blood and can lower the risk of heart disease and stroke. They also provide the nutrients that we need to develop and maintain our cells.

We need polyunsaturated fats for brain function, cell growth, as well as to build cell membranes and nerve coverings. Our bodies don’t make these essential fatty acids, so it’s important that we get them from our diet.

Hemp Seeds

Hemp seeds are one of the few plants that is a source of complete protein, containing essential amino acids that our body can’t make. They are also super protein-dense, 25% of their calories coming from protein. So 2-3 tablespoons of hemp seeds provide about 11 grams of protein- making it a comparable protein source to beef and lamb.

Hemp seeds are high in gamma-linoleic acids (GLA), which help the body to produce prostaglandin E1 to reduce PMS and menopausal symptoms.

They are also a great source of Omega-3 fatty acids, which are associated with a lower risk of cancer, diabetes, heart disease and better sperm quality.

Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds are a wonderful source of healthy fats, magnesium and anti-oxidants like carotenoids and vitamin E.

Studies suggest that the lignans they contain, help to prevent breast cancer and improve prostate and bladder health.

They are high in magnesium, which is essential to hundreds of chemical reactions in the body like regulating blood pressure, reducing the risk of heart disease, formation and maintenance of healthy bones, and regulating blood sugar levels.

Walnuts

Walnuts are a super plant source of Omega -3 fatty acids.

Studies show that the polyunsaturated fats, polyphenols and vitamin E found in walnuts reduce oxidative damage and inflammation in the brain. Research also correlates them with reduced risk, delayed onset and slowed progression of Alzheimer’s disease, as they improve learning skills, memory and anxiety reduction.

Walnuts also reduce lipid peroxidation, which is a process that damages sperm cells. Research shows that a walnut-enriched diet improves sperm vitality, motility and morphology.

Mindful Eating & Cooking Class for Men

Join us for an appy, a demo cooking class led by Chef Blair and our WFH Team and a taste of our Mindful Meal. Take home the recipe and a belly full of inspiration and learn how easy it is to cook a meal that’s healthy AND delicious! All proceeds go to Movember.

Go to our Events page for more details or call to register today.
Space is limited!

Why Grass-Fed Beef is Better


Perhaps you have heard some of the buzz surrounding grass-fed beef.  Among the plethora of reasons why grass-fed beef is an incredible nutrient resource, there are some real gems in this superfood that can benefit everyone’s health. In honour of Movember we want to highlight the different nutritional aspects that benefit our wonderful men.

2 reasons Omega-3 fatty acids are good for us:

Grass-fed beef contains between 2 & 5 times more omega-3 fatty acids than grain-fed beef. (1)

  • Omega-3 fatty acids can protect the body from various inflammatory disorders.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids can improve sperm parameters, including motility and concentration.

Chronic inflammation is something that we all want to minimize. However, some inflammatory diseases are more prevalent among men, such as heart disease and cancer.  Depression, another prevalent men’s health issue, is also associated with high amounts of inflammation.

2 reasons antioxidants support men’s health:

Grass-fed beef contains significantly higher amounts of beta-carotenoids, vitamin E, CLA, glutathione, superoxide dismutase and catalase – all potent antioxidants! (1)

  • Antioxidants protect the body’s cells against damage from free radicals by enhancing immune function. 
  • Antioxidants improve sperm concentration, morphology, motility and DNA integrity.

The protection against free radicals prevents the development of cancer and also helps to prevent or delay coronary heart disease. (1)

Sperm is a biomarker for overall health and longevity as well.  A study between 1963 and 2001 performed on 51,543 men showed that higher sperm counts were correlated with significantly lower mortality rates. (2)

Why zinc is an essential trace element for men:

All beef contains a high amount of zinc, however, grass-fed cattle contains a higher level of zinc than grain-fed cattle, especially if raised with organic methods. (3) 

  • Zinc balances testosterone, improving prostate and sexual health.
  • Zinc functions as an antibacterial agent in men’s urea system.
  • Zinc has a positive effect on spermatogenesis and improves the physiology of sperm.

A deficiency of zinc has been shown to impede spermatogenesis and is a direct reason for sperm abnormalities and poor sperm testosterone concentration.  While zinc improves men’s fertility parameters, it also helps to improve overall reproductive health, prostate health, sexual health and the hormonal balance of men. (3) 

Grass-fed beef has better nutrient retention

Due to its high concentration of beta-carotenoids, vitamin E and antioxidants, grass fed beef has a slower rate of degradation.  This means that it browns much slower than grain-fed beef!  

It is even protected against the nutrient degradation that occurs when beef is cooked at high temperatures such as grilling or frying!  (4)

Want to Learn More?

On December 1st, we are teaming up with Chef Blair Lebsack at Edmonton’s popular restaurant RGE RD, to co-host a Mindful Eating for Men Cooking Class. Come and learn how easy it is to eat healthily and mindfully. Chef Blair will demonstrate how to transform beautiful raw ingredients into a delectably healthy meal while we enlighten you on the health benefits of it all. Then you get to taste it, and take a Range Road recipe home. All proceeds will go to Movember.

Check our events page for more info or to register call 587-200-5590.

Space is limited!

  1. Daley, Cynthia al. “A review of fatty acid profiles and antioxidant content in grass-fed and grain-fed beef.” Nutrition journal vol. 9 10. 10 Mar. 2010, doi: 10.1186/1475-2891-9-10 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2846864/ 
  2. Harvard Health Publishing. “Sperm Count May Be Good Predictor of Men’s Overall Health, from Harvard Men’s Health Watch.” Harvard Health  https://www.health.harvard.edu/press_releases/sperm-count-may-be-good-predictor-of-mens-overall-health 
  3. Fallah, Ali et al. “Zinc is and Essential Element for Male Fertility: A Review of Zn Roles in Men’s Health, zgermination, Sperm Quality and Fertilization.” Journal of reproduction & infertility vol. 19,2 (2019): 69-81 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6010824/
  4. Domaradzki, Poitr et al. “Evaluation of the Mineral Concentration in Beef from Polish Native Cattle.” Biological trace element research vol. 171,2 (2016): 328-332. doi:10.1007/s12011-015-0549-3 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4856721/ 

Mindful Eating Tips

Practicing Mindful Eating can be intimidating so you can start simple. It’s a practice, and sounds relatively easy but can certainly prove to be more of a challenge. It could be as simple as stopping to enjoy a cup of your favourite tea or even just the first few sips of it, and the effects of slowing down for no matter how short a period of time helps to cultivate a healthy practice of self awareness.  

Mindful Eating Tips

  1. Simply eat. Avoid multi-tasking while you’re eating.
  2. Chew thoroughly. Make sure each bite is well-chewed before swallowing it. Aim for 25-30 bites.
  3. Find a quiet and relaxing spot. Maybe even consider eating in silence, even if it’s just for the first 2 minutes of your meal.
  4. Routine. Set a particular time aside each week to truly savour a few sips or bites, or a favourite beverage or meal.

Canada’s Food Guide also offers the following Mindful eating habits:

Think about the last meal or snack that you had. Can you describe:

How you ate?
            Did you eat slowly?
            Were you distracted?
            Did you eat with others?

Why you ate?
            Were you hungry?
            Was it offered to you?

What you ate?
            What food and drink did you have?

When you ate?
            What time was it?
            How long had it been since the last you ate?

Where you ate?
            Were you in a space meant for eating?

How much you ate?
            How much food and drink did you have?

In support of Men’s health during the month of Movember, we are co-hosting an event with Chef Blair Lebsack, owner of Edmonton’s popular restaurant Rge Rd. Come and join us in learning how to make a mindful meal that is healthy and easy to prepare.

Check out our events page for more info.

Call to register 780-756-7736

Space is limited!

What is Mindful Eating


Mindful eating is not just about choosing healthy foods and understanding why some foods are healthier than others. It’s also about having a connection with our food, knowing and appreciating where our food comes from, what has gone into bringing it onto our plates, preparing it with intention and then of course savouring it!

It’s not just about what we are eating, it’s also about how we are eating, why we are eating, when we are eating, where we are eating and how much we are eating.

From a Chinese Medicine perspective, there is no point in eating healthy food if the body is unable to absorb the nutrients properly. Being present with our food as opposed to multi-tasking while we’re eating allows the body to focus its attention on digesting and transforming the food into energy.

Eating slowly and chewing thoroughly not only facilitates this process, it also allows us to truly savour our food. Researchers have found that being present with the flavour and texture of food and reflecting on the purpose of each bite as we relish it can improve assimilation and help address obesity.

When we really savour our food, we bring awareness to the taste and texture of our food, increasing satisfaction and satiation. This ultimately translates into eating less and enjoying more, which contributes to overall health and wellbeing.

Stress Negatively Impacts Digestion

Studies conclude that stress negatively impacts the GI tract by disrupting GI movement, increasing visceral irritability, altering the rate and extent of various GI secretions, modifying permeability of the intestinal barrier, disrupting blood flow and increasing intestinal bacterial counts.

We live such fast paced lives, eating becomes an auto-pilot activity. We tend to unconsciously take one bite after another without much attention. Often, we are multi-tasking as we eat, dining in lunch meetings, while surfing the Internet, or checking our social media and text messages. When we do this, our body is unable to invest as much energy into the digestive process, which becomes less efficient.

Mindful Eating Supports Digestion

But when we slow down, we are more in touch with what foods feel healthy to eat vs. what foods we think are healthy to eat. We’re also in touch with how much food our body really needs, and/or why we are eating it.  

Mindfulness stimulates the relaxation response, allowing our bodies to shift into the parasympathetic nervous system and the ‘rest and digest’ mode. Here, our bodies can focus on absorption and more effective assimilation of nutrients.

Want to Learn More?

On Dec. 1st, we are teaming up with Chef Blair Lebsack at Edmonton’s popular restaurant Rge Rd to co-host a Mindful Eating for Men Cooking Class. Come and learn how easy it is to eat healthily and mindfully. Chef Blair will demonstrate how to transform beautiful raw ingredients into a delectably healthy meal while we enlighten you on the health benefits of it all. Then you get to taste it, and take a Rge Rd recipe home. All proceeds will go Movember.

Check our events page for more info or to register call 780-756-7736.
Space is limited!

3 Supplements for Fertility

Upon the occasion that I clean and clear out my cupboards, I used to come across the dreaded “supplement graveyard” – you know, the old supplements that were purchased in a spur of the moment attempt to correct some mild physical ailment.  Without a clear clinical direction, I would take these with little understanding of how they would interact with the other various supplements I was taking, or how they would truly affect my unique physiology.  

This changed a number of years ago when my mentor and Traditional Chinese Medicine doctor prescribed me a combination of supplements that made a huge impact on my expression of health.  Within weeks I could feel a profound difference in my energy levels, my mood and the symptoms that ailed me. I was surprised to realize that the approach I had taken while attaining my own supplements was not as effective as it could have been.  What a difference it can make, to follow the guidance of a practitioner who is well acquainted with one’s particular constellation of symptoms.

The quality, quantity and combinations of supplements are unique and responsive to each individual situation and constitution.  A directed and specific treatment plan can have remarkable physiological effects, however, a supplement that might be effective for one person, might be completely unsuitable for another.  Even the dosages recommended by a knowledgeable professional can vary from the suggestions on the bottle. When it comes to following a supplemental regimen, it is wise to step into it with the guidance of an expert. 

At Whole Family Health, we carry a carefully curated collection of supplements and vitamins.  With due diligence to research, we stay on the cutting edge of supplemental medicine, especially where fertility support is concerned.

3 Fertility Supplements:

Here are a few snippets of research that support three of the products that we carry, illustrated within the researched field of reproductive health:

  • Coenzyme Q10 was shown in a 2015 study to restore mitochondrial function and fertile potential in the oocytes of human females. (1)  Another randomized controlled trial showed that treatment with Coenzyme Q10 in the preconception stages improved ovarian response and embryo quality in women with decreased ovarian reserves.  (2)
  • A study in 2011 showed that an increased intake of Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids in the preconception stage can improve embryo morphology as well as the number of follicles maturing in an IVF cycle. (3) Another 2008 study discusses the importance of Omega-3 Fatty Acids in fetal and newborn neurodevelopment, the lack of dietary intake of Omega-3 Fatty Acids as well as the importance of supplementation. (4)
  • An evidence based review, conducted in 2016, indicates that oral antioxidant supplements improve sperm concentration, motility, morphology, DNA damage and fertility rate.  Many of these vitamins and antioxidants are included in a Male Fertility SAP supplement. (5)

It is comforting to know that there is valid and thorough research backing up your supplemental treatment strategy!  I am proud of my current supplement cupboard. Each item inside of my cupboard has been carefully chosen in response to my current physiological condition.  

If you are curious about which supplements might support your unique constitution, please book in for a free 15 minute phone Q & A.  

1.  Ben-Meir, A., Burstein, E., Borrego-Alvarez, A., Chong, J., Wong, E., Yavorska, T., … Jurisicova, A. (2015). Coenzyme Q10 restores oocyte mitochondrial function and fertility during reproductive aging. Aging cell, 14(5), 887–895. doi:10.1111/acel.12368

2. Xu, Y., Nisenblat, V., Lu, C., Li, R., Qiao, J., Zhen, X., & Wang, S. (2018). Pretreatment with coenzyme Q10 improves ovarian response and embryo quality in low-prognosis young women with decreased ovarian reserve: a randomized controlled trial. Reproductive biology and endocrinology : RB&E, 16(1), 29. doi:10.1186/s12958-018-0343-0

3.  Hammiche, Fatima et al. (2011). Increased preconception omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid intake improves embryo morphology, Fertility and Sterility, Volume 95, Issue 5, 1820 – 1823

4. Greenberg, James A et al. “Omega-3 Fatty Acid supplementation during pregnancy.” Reviews in obstetrics & gynecology vol. 1,4 (2008): 162-9.

5. Ahmadi, S., Bashiri, R., Ghadiri-Anari, A., & Nadjarzadeh, A. (2016). Antioxidant supplements and semen parameters: An evidence based review. International Journal of Reproductive BioMedicine, 14(12), 729-736. doi:10.29252/ijrm.14.12.729


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