Strawberry Rhubarb Muffins

This perfect pairing of sweet and tart comes from Jae Steele’s book “Ripe from Around Here” her seasonal recipes are fantastic. I made these recently with fresh rhubarb and frozen strawberries, but fresh strawberries or frozen rhubarb would be fantastic too!

2 1/2 cups spelt flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 sp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1.2 tsp sea salt
1 cup diced rhubarb (approx 1cm pieces, if they’re too large the sourness will be quite a contrast)
2/3 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/3 cup buttermilk or the vegan version buttermilk (1 tbsp apple cider vinegar + non-dairy milk)
1/2 sunflower oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cups sliced strawberries

Preheat oven to 375 *F, Prepare a 12-cup muffin tin with liners or a light coating of oil

Whisk together the flour baking powder, soda, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl. Add the rhubarb. in a small bowl mix together maple syrup, apple sauce, buttermilk, oil and vanilla. Pour wet mixture into the flour mixture. Mix together just until the flour is absorbed – Don’t over mix. Gently fold in the strawberries. Portion into the muffin cups. Bake for 25 min or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.

Keep in an airtight container for 2 days or up to a week in the fridge.


Real Allergy Relief, Naturally

Seasonal Allergies

Most of us celebrate the emerging tree buds, sprouting flowers and bursts of colour in our gardens and countryside that declare the arrival of spring!  But for seasonal allergy sufferers, the explosion of pollens throughout spring and summer can bring on miserable symptoms that feels like anything but a party.   

What are Seasonal Allergies?

Seasonal allergies, like all allergic reactions, are the result of an exaggerated immune response to a substance the immune systems interprets as threatening.   These substances (such as pollen) aren’t actually harmful to the body, however they will trigger the body to release histamine which creates inflammation of the mucous membranes and can cause reactions of varying severity.   An over sensitive immune system may respond to these triggers with itching, swelling, skin or eye irritation, coughing, increased mucous production and/or nasal congestion.  

An immune system that has been overwhelmed by unidentified food or environmental sensitivities will produce a heightened response to seasonal allergens.  Gut health plays a role in seasonal allergies as well, given that a large portion of immune system cells are found in the walls of the gastrointestinal tract.  A healthy gut = a healthy immune system! Physical or emotional stress may also increase symptoms for allergy sufferers.  Genetic factors play a role as well; a child whose parents suffer from allergies has a 70% chance of developing allergies themselves.

Reducing Symptoms

Avoiding the allergen itself is the best way to avoid allergy symptoms however this can be challenging with a substance like pollen.  Allergy sufferers can decrease allergic reactions by limiting exposure to allergens and immune system stressors by keeping these tips in mind:

  • Pollens are at highest concentrations in the morning between 5am and 10am but lowest after it rains.  
  • Protect your home and workplace from pollens by keeping windows closed while pollens and other allergens are in the air.   
  • Consider using an air purification system.
  • Be sure to exercise indoors.  
  • Smoking and exposure to second hand smoke weakens the immune system therefore increasing the body’s sensitivity to allergens.

Improve Overall Health to Decrease Seasonal Allergies

A healthy immune system and great overall health go a long way in reducing seasonal allergy symptoms!  The pillars of good health to decrease stress, make healthy food choices, exercise regularly and be well rested may seem simple, but their effects on the body can be enormous!   In addition, regular cleaning with herbs like dandelion root or milk thistle can reduce the buildup of allergens in the system.  You can also support the immune system by:

  • Choosing foods that are high in antioxidants such leafy greens and berries
  • Taking a probiotic to keep gut flora in balance
  • Supplementing with vitamin C and vitamin D supplement year-round
  • Identify any unknown food or environmental sensitivities

Conventional Treatment of Seasonal Allergies

Conventional treatment of seasonal allergies is targeted at decreasing symptoms.  Antihistamines, which block the release of histamine, are the most common treatment for mild to moderate seasonal allergies.  Histamine is released by mast cells and binds to receptors in the blood vessels which causes them to swell.  Histamine attaches to other receptor sites as well causing redness, swelling and itching.  By blocking histamine from being released in the first place, antihistamines  prevent these symptoms from occurring.  Although antihistamines can be an effective treatment for seasonal allergies, they can cause drowsiness and foggy thinking.  Luckily, there are several alternative options which can be just as effective in getting you through allergy season.

Vitamin C with Bioflavonoids

Did you know that humans and hamsters are the only mammals that don’t produce their own source of Vitamin?  Vitamin C is a natural antihistamine which destroys the molecular structure of histamine, thereby decreasing the amount of histamine in the blood.   Taking a Vitamin C supplement which also includes bioflavonoids increases the efficacy of the Vitamin C.  Keep in mind, the half-life of Vitamin C is only 30 minutes!   After that, it is no longer effective for the body. This means that taking Vitamin C throughout the day is essential for maximum benefit to combat seasonal allergies.


Quercetin is a bioflavonoid found in a variety of fruits, vegetables, and grains. Flavonoids give flowers and fruits their vibrant colors and are natural antioxidants and anti-inflammatories. Quercetin specifically is also a natural antihistamine.   By calming mast cells, quercetin prevents or reduces the release of histamines when taken regularly.  Quercetin works very well in combination with Vitamin C.


Nettle Leaf

Nettle Leaf (or Stinging Nettle) can be taken in capsules, tincture or as a tea.  It is a mild tasting herb that can be used to relieve allergy symptoms by stabilizing mast cells which release histamine.  If using the tea, steep for 10 minutes and drink 1-3 cups a day – the more the better!  For best results, sweeten a cup of Nettle Leaf tea with raw local honey!

Raw Local Honey

Consuming raw local honey has been an allergy relief go-to for years.   When consuming local honey, the person is also ingesting tiny amounts of local pollen spores.  Gradually over time, this exposure can help the body become desensitized to local pollens. Look for raw honey so that trace enzymes, minerals, amino acids and vitamins are intact.  Enjoy a spoonful a day!

Real Relief All Allergies (tabs)

Homeocan Allergies (pellets)

If you haven’t been taking your Vitamin C, Quercetin, Nettle Leaf or Raw Honey or your seasonal allergy symptoms are overwhelming , homeopathics can offer quick relief of acute seasonal allergy symptoms.   Homeocan offers homeopathic relief of seasonal allergy symptoms in tablet or pellets.  Tablets can be taken by adults and children over the age of 6.  Pellets can be taken by adults, children and babies.  They also offer a similar product in liquid format for children ages 0-9.  

Pollen Plus

Pollen Plus is a preventative homeopathic treatment which desensitizes the immune system to seasonal allergies.  It should be taken starting one month before allergy season begins and then throughout allergy season to boost immunity.   The Pollen Plus formula is taken only once weekly and is suitable for adults and children over the age of 2.  Pollen Plus can be used in conjunction with other seasonal allergy remedies.


Deep Immune for Allergies by St Francis Herbs

One of the most effective products to relieve seasonal allergies is Deep Immune for Allergies by St Francis Herbs.   It is a unique formula which combines herbs and homeopathic ingredients to address acute allergy symptoms while supporting the immune system and any underlying, chronic issues which may be the cause of allergy symptoms in the first place.   

Optimal immune function requires balance between competing sets of immune cells. Allergy sufferers are known to have a predominance of T-helper cells – as are those with autoimmune diseases and cancer!   Taking a balancing product like Deep Immune for Allergies can help restore appropriate immune function while also offering seasonal allergy relief.

To support overall immune function, it is best to start taking Deep Immune for Allergies 4-6 weeks ahead of allergy season.  However, quick relief of acute symptoms can still be expected even without advanced supplementation. 



Meatball Curry

Take your meatballs to the next level with this Meatball Curry. Try our local grass fed ground beef from Thurston Livestock farms, mixed with traditional Indian spices and fried in ghee (clarified butter). Besides having a higher smoking point and a long shelf life, ghee has a number of health benefits. It can lower cholesterol, is lactose-free and helps support good digestion, plus it tastes great!

2 lbs. ground beef

2 onions

4 cloves garlic

2 tsp turmeric

2 tsp chili powder

2 tsp ground coriander

2 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground ginger

2 tsp salt

1 egg

oil for frying

1/2 ghee (or 2 tbsp vegetable oil)

3/5 cup water

mint or cilantro to garnish

Mix the ground beef with half the onion, garlic, spices bind together with the egg. Divide into 12 equal sized portions and shape into balls. Heat the frying oil in a heavy bottom pan until hot. Deep fry the meatballs in batches in the oil for 5 min. Remove and drain excess oil.

Heat ghee in saucepan and remaining onion and garlic. Cook until soft (4-5 min) Add remaining spices and cook for 3 min, stirring constantly. Add the meatballs and coat in the spices.  Add the water and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 30 min. Serve hot with rice.



Types of Salts and Their Benefits

Wars have been fought over it, countries built on it. It’s production dates back more than 8000 years and is referenced in every ancient civilization. It has been used for currency, ceremonies and to save lives as it is vital to our existence. It is salt.

Arguably the most important ingredient in your kitchen, salt comes in many types and forms. Lets explore the most popular types, their nutritional values and their differences.

Salt is a mineral made of two elements, Sodium (Na) and chorine (Cl). Most of the world’s salt is harvested from salt mines, or by evaporating sea water or other mineral-rich waters. While salt is essential for good health its proper use is a delicate balance. Salt is needed to regulate bodily fluids, aid digestion and for proper muscle and nerve function. It also provides essential minerals and aids in vitamin adsorption. While all these things sound great, over use of salt can lead to kidney problems, increased blood pressure and edema. The great majority of sodium in the Western diet comes from processed foods. If you eat mostly whole, unprocessed foods then you don’t need to worry about adding some salt to your meals. But what kind is best? You be the judge

Table Salt

The most common and readily available salt is table salt. It is harvested from underground deposits or produced with a flakey residue from oil digging.  It is highly refined with most trace mineral being removed or damaged in the high heat process. The result is primarily Sodium Chloride 97+% and additives 3%. Because finely ground salt has a tendency to clump, anti-caking agents are often added to keep it flowing. Other ingredients added to table salt include MSG, sugar, and iodine. Iodine deficiency is still common in much of the world but with the well-balanced diet, available to most North Americans, iodine deficiency is not a concern. Table salt is also bleached to produce a stark white colour, not typically found in nature. When people talk about salt being “bad” for you – in the case of table salt they may be right!

Sea Salt

Sea salt is made by evaporating sea water. It is made all over the world, including right here in Canada by SaltWest. Sea Salt can vary in taste and texture depending on where and how it is harvested. The size of the irregular crystals affects how fast the salt dissolves. It also varies in colour, depending on the minerals it contains. These natural impurities can add subtly briny, sweet, or even bitter flavors to the salts. Sea salt contains a number of trace minerals including potassium, iron, and zinc. It can also contain pollutants and heavy metals depending on the water quality from which it is evaporated from.

Kosher Salt

Kosher salt is more about the crystal size than the origin. Like table salt it is primarily Sodium Chloride; however, it does not contain the anti-caking or other additives. The large craggy crystals make it perfect for curing meat – a step in preparing Kosher meats according to Jewish dietary guidelines. Chefs love the quick dissolving crystals, making it a good, inexpensive all-purpose cooking salt.

Celtic Salt or Sel Gris

Harvested in France using a 2000-year-old method, Celtic Salt is raked once salt crystals have sunk to the bottom of the evaporation ponds. Celtic salt has a slightly lower sodium content than table salt and contains a variety of minerals, giving it a grey colour. Moist, granular, and chunky, sel gris is used as both a cooking salt and finishing salt.

Fleur de Sel

Harvested from the same ponds as Celtic Salt, Fleur de Sel is hand harvested by scraping salt crystals from the water’s surface before the crystals sink to the bottom of the evaporation ponds. Conditions have to be just right for the flower-like crystals to “bloom” on the water’s surface, making it a prized and expensive salt.  The delicate, irregular crystals gently dissolve, making it a great finishing salt.

Himalayan Salt

Pink Himalayan salt is often said to be the most beneficial as well as the cleanest salt available on this planet today.  Harvested from ancient salt fields in Pakistan it is believed to be the salt from the original primal ocean. It contains all 83 trace minerals found in the human body and has one of the lowest sodium contents of all salts. The pink hue is due to the trace amount of iron oxide found in the salt. The colour can vary from a very light pink to red.  It is believed by many that there are a number health benefits associated with Himalayan salt, beyond the consumption of essential minerals. Himalayan salt is used in beauty products for its effect of skin health and lamps made from the popular salt are prized for their relaxing and air purifying effects.

The Granary sells a variety of salts in both bulk and packaged forms. We also sell a section of Himalayan salt lamps, cooking slabs and bath salts.









8 DIY Spice Blends

We are frequently asked why we don’t carry very many spice blends at The Granary. It is often expected that our large selection of bulk spices would include blends, but the fact is, there are hundreds of possible blends and we carry most – if not all – the ingredients needed to make the many of the most popular spice blends.

With a well-stocked spice cupboard, there really are a million spice blend possibilities.  Each culture has its own traditional blends. Find Berbere in African Cusine, Chinese Five Spice in Asia, Herbes de Provence in Europe, Baharat in the Middle East, Masalas throughout India and Adobo in South American dishes. Even North America has its favorite blends for Pumpkin Pie, Pickling and more.

When you make your own blends you have the benefit of being able to control ingredients such as salt, sugar and the amount of heat. You can also bypass the anti-clumping agents, added colour and preservatives often added to commercial spice brands.

Here are 8 of our favorite blends that can easily be made at home. Like all spices, they are best stored in a cool, dark airtight container to maintain ultimate freshness. Add a ribbon and your favorite recipe for a quick and thoughtful hostess gift.

Italian Seasoning

From pasta to pizza, this versatile blend is a must have for any kitchen pantry. Mix together and store in a well-sealed jar.

  • ¼ cup dried basil
  • 2 Tbsp dried thyme
  • 2 Tbsp dried marjoram
  • 2 Tbsp dried rosemary
  • 2 Tbsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 Tbsp dried coriander

Berbere Spice

The word berbere means “hot” in Amharic. (Pronounced bari baray), somewhat of an all-purpose spice mix, widely used in Ethiopian dishes. Just a teaspoon adds depth and flavor to sauces, soups, grains, vegetables, stews and protein. Typically very hot, but you can adjust to your own heat preference by lowering the hot pepper quantity.

  • 3 Tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 2 Tablespoons paprika
  • 1-tablespoon ground ginger spice
  • 1 Tablespoon granulated garlic spice
  • 1 Tablespoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
  • ½ tablespoon cinnamon spice
  • ½ Tablespoon ground nutmeg spice
  • ½ Tablespoon Fenugreek
  • 1 teaspoon Cumin
  • 1 teaspoons cardamom spice
  • 1 Tablespoon or more Hot pepper (Chili, cayenne pepper) Adjust to suit taste buds

If using whole grain, lightly toast, on low heat, in a frying pan, for a couple of minutes, before grinding. Cook just until the spices smell nice and toasty. Then grind in a coffee grinder.

Persian Advieh

This warm, aromatic blend comes from Persian cuisine. Advieh is comparable to a mild garam masala — fragrant, a little sweet, and gently warming rather than spicy. It’s also quite versatile and can be used in rice pilafs, grilled or roasted vegetables, meat or bean stews, and rice puddings.

  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground rose petals
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Mix together and keep in an airtight container.

 Poultry Seasoning

Forget about the store bought kind – this easy recipe with the secret ingredient (that’s the nutmeg) will make your next turkey dinner sing!

  • 3 tablespoons dried thyme
  • 2 tablespoons dried sage
  • 2 tablespoons of dried marjoram
  • 1 tablespoon of dried rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon of freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon of dried savory (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon of freshly grated nutmeg

Cajun Spice

This Cajun spice blend is great on grilled meats, roasted vegetables, or anywhere you have rich and creamy ingredients (alfredo sauce, cream cheese dip). It’s spicy without being too hot (you can always adjust the amount of cayenne pepper) and full of flavour.

  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder

Tandoori Masala

Homemade Tandoori masala is an authentic spice mix used in Indian cooking to flavor meals prepared on the grill, or in the oven. A few tablespoons of this spice mix adds a smoky flavor to any dish – veg or non-veg.  Note that this blend will not have the vibrate red colour of many tandoori blends as it lacks the powdered food colouring

  • 2 teaspoon Ginger powder
  • 1 tbsp mild paprika for colour
  • 2 teaspoon Garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon Nutmeg powder
  • 1 tablespoon Fenugreek seeds
  • 2 -4 Cinnamon sticks
  • 2 teaspoon Cloves
  • 2 teaspoon Mace
  • 3 tablespoon Cumin seeds
  • 4 tablespoon Coriander seeds
  • 2 teaspoon Black peppercorns
  • 2 teaspoon Black cardamom
  • 2 teaspoon Green Cardamom
  • Salt to taste

Combine all the solid ingredients (not the powders) and toss them in a grinder and ground them to its powdered form – very fine.

Heat a heavy bottomed pan on low heat. Combine the freshly grounded spices and all powdered spices- ginger powder, garlic powder, nutmeg powder and dry roast all the spices for 2-3 minutes on low or until it starts emitting its aroma. Stir constantly. Remove from heat and allow to cool before storing in an airtight container.

Pumpkin Pie Spice

From Pumpkin Pie to Smoothies, this warm fall like blend can be sprinkled on baked apples, lattes, oatmeal and more. Keep some in a shaker jar to be sprinkled on – well…everything.

  • 4 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 3 teaspoons ground nutmeg
  • 3 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves

Herbes de Provence

Herbes de Provence, or Provençal herbs, is a traditional blend of aromatic herbs that flourish in hills of southern France during the hot summer months. Herbes de Provence is a good addition to any dish from the Mediterranean region and is especially good mixed with olive oil to coat chicken, fish, tomatoes or chunks of potato for roasting, add it to a pizza sauce or sprinkle over game or kabobs before roasting. While the lavender is optional it does add a nice aroma and flavour.

  • 3 tablespoons dried thyme
  • 2 tablespoons dried savory
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon dried marjoram
  • 2 tablespoons dried parsley
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
  • 1 tablespoon dried lavender flowers

Tuesday’s Ten – Useful Ways to Use Lemons

There’s nothing like a fresh slice of lemon to invigorate your senses and decorate your meal. But that’s not all they’re good for! Take your citrus beyond the norm with these nine practical – and somewhat unexpected – ways to use lemons with this weeks Tuesday’s Te.

1. Preserve Sliced Fruit

Squeeze fresh lemon juice onto sliced fruit, such as apples, pears, avocados, and bananas to slow oxidation and keep them from turning brown.

2. Fight Nausea

When you’re suffering from motion sickness or morning sickness, inhaling the scent of a sliced lemon may help. Lemon scent has been shown to reduce the feeling of nausea and vomiting during pregnancy [1].

3. Disinfect

Lemon juice is an acid and studies have shown its antibacterial power can help reduce the size of some bacteria populations, including Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus [2]. Help disinfect kitchen counters and cutting boards by wiping them with a fresh lemon slice.

4. Freshen the Air

lemons in air freshenerThe essential oils in lemon peels are an effective addition to homemade air fresheners. Add a safe, fresh scent to your home by boiling a pot of water, lemon peels, and fresh herbs, or spritz the air with a solution of lemon infused vodka and baking soda.

5. Cleanse Your Skin

A 2:1 mixture of honey and fresh lemon juice makes a soothing face cleanser. The acids in lemon can help exfoliate, brighten skin, and help fade spots.

6. Brighten Pots

Just like your skin, lemons can help punch up dull aluminum cookware. Simply rub a lemon slice along dull sections, then polish with a dry cloth.

7. Deter Silverfish

Lemon peels are a deterrent for silverfish. Simply place the peels in areas where silverfish are present and replace weekly.

8. Clean Your Home

Use it to clean door knobs, sinks, microwaves, and much more.

9. Quench Your Thirst

Add fresh lemon slices to water to quench your thirstTransform plain water or tea into a refreshing thirst quencher by adding fresh lemon slices. While this is not the most unexpected use for lemons, it’s probably the most enjoyable!



10. Season Your Fish and More

Who could forget the wonderful fresh taste that lemons add to a variety of foods from fish to stews. Brighten your tastebuds with a squeeze of lemon.


www.natural factors.com

Salmon with Black Rice and Carrot-Miso Sauc

Salmon with Black Rice and Carrot-Miso Sauce


Detoxifying Cauliflower-Parsnip Soup


  • 4-5 shallots, or 2-4 leeks if you prefer a milder flavor
  • 1 rib (about ¼ cup) chopped celery
  • 1 head garlic (about 7 cloves)
  • 6 cups veggie broth (or 1 quart water plus 3 veggie cubes)
  • 1 tsp. curry + ¼ tsp. turmeric
  • 1 ½ pounds parsnips, diced
  • 1 head cauliflower (about 1 ½ cups florets)
  • 1 cup baby spinach
  • ¼ cup cilantro
  • 4 tbsp. Udo’s Oil
  • Optional; 1 t salt, ½ t pepper, 2 T chives, 1 T lemon juice


  1. Heat a bit of broth in the bottom of a saucepan and add the alliums (shallots, leeks, garlic) and celery, stirring until translucent.
  2. Add broth, diced parsnips, and any cauliflower stems, and bring to boil.
  3. Cook 2 minutes, then add cauliflower florets, and reduce to medium heat.
  4. Cook 2-3 minutes more, and finally stir in the spinach and cilantro.
  5. Turn off heat and taste. Season with salt, pepper, and/or lemon juice to taste.
  6. Ladle into bowls and top each with 1 tbsp. Udo’s Oil and a sprinkle of snipped chives.

Holistic Nutritionist, Dana Green Remedios, RHN, RNCP has a passion for helping others break through their blocks to greater health, wealth, and happiness, working with transformational mind-body tools. The Vancouver-based educator and coach answers your questions in English, French, and Spanish as a Specialist working in the Product Information Department at Flora, and is a regular contributor to the FloraHealthy blog.


Skin Health – Inside and Out

Skin, it is our largest organ and one that provides more protection than you might think. We all know skin is our outer shell but it does more than guard our muscles and organs. Our many layers of skin play a role in our immunity, temperature regulation, vitamin D synthesis,  water regulation and toxin removal. Keeping it healthy is an integral part of overall health.

Many of us put a lot of time and products into making it look younger, softer, firmer and smoother. While these lotions, creams, butters, oils and other topical concoctions feel great and provide some temporary results, true skin health comes from the inside out.


Good hydration is essential for good skin health and I don’t mean topically with creams. True skin hydration comes from inside. Skin cells, like all cells in the body, are primarily made up of water. This means that a lack of water will result in dry, tight cells. Dry skin has less resilience and is more prone to wrinkling.  Unfortunately, skin is one of the last organs to receive water from the body, meaning that drinking the recommended 8 glasses is especially important for that healthy glow.

Omega 3’s, obtained from fish oils are also essential for good skin hydration. The eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) found in Omega 3s is especially beneficial as it regulates oil production and boosts hydration. EPA can prevent acne, and by delaying the skin’s aging process, stave off wrinkles. A 2005 study in the Journal of Lipid Research discovered that EPA can help block the release of the UV-induced enzymes that eat away at our collagen, causing lines and sagging skin. Because EPA is both an antioxidant and an anti-inflammatory agent, it can protect against sun damage and help repair it.

Dry Brushing

Dry Brushing, like it sounds, is the act of brushing your skin in a particular pattern with a dry brush, usually before bathing. This is an old health trick with many benefits that is gaining new popularity. By gently dry brushing the skin in a circular pattern starting farthest from the heart and working towards the heart many good things happen!

  • Increase blood flow and circulation.
  • Stimulate and detoxify the Lymphatic system that lies just below the skin’s surface.
  • Soothe and massage sore muscles.
  • Exfoliate and remove dead skin cells, resulting is softer, brighter skin
  • Clean pores by physically removing oil and dirt.
  • Reduce cellulite.
  • Combine the above results for an early morning energy boostIt is recommend to start with a soft brush and light pressure, working your way up to a firm brush.


Skin supports its own ecosystems of microorganisms including bacteria and yeast. Many of these are beneficial and cannot be removed with cleaning.  If this delicate balance between yeast and bacteria is disturbed, like in the the rest of the body, an overgrowth can occur resulting in infection. Many of us take probiotics (healthy bacteria) for digestion and stomach health but researchers now know that the gut and the skin are connected. When bad bacteria are present in the gut (due to stress, poor diet, medications etc), they can cause flare ups on the skin in the form of eczema, rosacea and acne.  Taking an oral probiotic can reduce these “bad bacteria” by replacing them with “good bacteria” that can help improve and prevent skin issues. There is also very promising research that suggests that taking probiotic supplement while pregnant can improve an infants skin health.

Sun Exposure

We all love the feel of the warm sun on our skin, especially after a long cold winter. That warm sun provides many benefits to us including the very important vitamin D, but it can also have damaging effects. Sun changes skin. In response to prolonged sun exposure our skin begins to discolour, initially with a redding burn or darkening tan. It then starts to develop freckles, discoloured areas, age spots and wrinkles. Sun exposure causes most of the skin changes that we think of as a normal part of aging. Over time, the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) light damages the fibers in the skin called elastin. When these fibers break down, the skin begins to sag, stretch, and lose its ability to go back into place after stretching.  There is also much research to support the claim that excessive sun exposure causes skin cancer.

Protecting your skin from prolonged and excessive sun exposure is vital to healthy skin, both appearance and function. Clothing, hats, shade and good sunscreen are all useful when fighting the damaging effects of the sun. Choosing a healthy sunscreen that is not going to increase your exposure to harmful chemicals is also important. Many sunscreens, while effective in preventing sun damage, contain ingredients that have been proven to be harmful to our bodies in other ways, some even causing cancer themselves.  To find an effective, healthy sunscreen look for biodegradable, all natural sunscreens that do not contain ingredients like oxybenzone, a hormone disruptor, or retinyl palmitate, a form of vitamin A that may harm skin. To see how your sunscreen rates, check out the Environmental Working Group Annual  Guide to Sunscreen. This research-based document is a great guide for choosing the best sunscreens for your family.  We use it to make sure every sunscreen we sell in the store is effective and healthy for our customers.

















The Essentials of Essential Oils

now_esstentialoils2Essential oils have recently received a lot of attention.  Their popularity has exploded in the past couple of years and with good reason. Essential oils do a lot more than smell good!  The healing properties of essential oils are not new, there is recorded history of their use dating back 5000 years in Egyptian culture.  They have historically been used around the world for their anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial effects. (Thats a lot of antis!) The recipes and remedies created from essential oils are plentiful.  From pain management to stress relief these little bottles have been known to do it all, but what exactly are essential oils? How safe are they? How do you pick a good one? Read on for the Essentials of Essential Oils

Essential Oil Basics

Essential oils are the naturally occurring, volatile oils obtained from plants. An oil is “essential” in the sense that it contains the “essence of” the plant’s fragrance—the characteristic fragrance of the plant from which it is derived. These oils can be obtained by a number of processes, often by cold pressed or steam distillation however, solvent extraction, absolute oil extraction and resin tapping are also used.

At The Granary we sell only high quality essential oils by Now Foods.  Many are pure, containing no added carrier oils or solvents.  Some are diluted with pure carrier oils and are clearly labeled as so. There is no grading system for essential oils, claims such as “therapeutic grade” or “food grade” are nothing more than sly marketing techniques used by some companies. These terms are not standardized and mean whatever the supplier using them wants them to mean. An essential oil is either pure or it is not.

These pure oils are “neat”, meaning they have not been processed, diluted or manipulated in any way with solvents or other additives. Although a particular species of plant harvested and distilled for its essential oil during a particular growing season in a specific region may produce a fragrance that differs from the same species grown in a different region, many of the main chemical markers and physical specifications may be very similar.



Essential Oil Quality

With the many different essential oils to choose from and the many brands, both in our stores and over the internet, choosing a high-quality essential oil can seem a daunting task. As a consumer, what should you look for to help guide your choice?

The first thing to look for to determine essential oil authenticity is that each oil is identified with the plant’s scientific or botanical name, and in appropriate cases, the chemotype. A chemotype is when the same plant, e.g. rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis), will have a different chemical profile based on where it is grown. Only some plants have chemotypes. Country of plant origin, extraction process used, and either a distillation or expiration date are also important.

Any essential oil business that cares about selling only pure essential oils will have their oils tested with at least two tests, usually run simultaneously, the gas chromatography and mass spectrometry tests, or GC/MS.  Responsible essential oil vendors will run these tests on every batch of oil they receive from a distiller. Every batch of essential oils from Now are tested with infrared spectroscopy,  gas chromatography, refractive index and specific gravity.  All test results and Material Safety Data Sheets for individual oils can be found on the Now Website .

It is important to remember where essential oils come from whenever you purchase a bottle. It takes 250 pounds of rose blossoms to produce 30ml of rose oil, which explains the very high cost of rose absolute. Other oils are easier to produce, but every oil requires a large amount of plant matter to produce a small amount of oil. This means that good quality essential oils will never be cheap. This does not mean that more expensive oils will always be better than less expensive ones, but the old adage, “if it seems too good to be true, it probably is,” definitely applies here.

Do not be fooled by discount retailers, big box stores, state fair or bazaar vendors, and others who offer essential oils at very low prices or charge the same price for all of their oils. The comforting thought when investing in true, pure essential oils is that since the oils are so highly concentrated and so little is required for most applications, even an expensive oil like rose otto can end up being cost effective in the long run.

Essential Oil Safety

Good quality Essential Oils (EOs) are highly concentrated and should be handled with care. EOs are intended for aromatherapy use. Be sure to consult a trained professional or another reputable resource for recommended dilutions before using EOs for any purpose other than aromatherapy. Infants, children, and pets may be highly sensitive to EOs, even when used as directed in a diffuser. Always diffuse essential oils in well-ventilated areas, especially in the presence of children, pregnant/nursing women, pets, or individuals with respiratory or other medical conditions.

Some EOs can be highly irritating to the skin and direct skin contact with EOs should be avoided. Do not use any undiluted EO directly on the skin – especially the skin of infants, children or pets – unless directed by a healthcare practitioner. EO’s are processed through the body and can have harmful effects on the liver and kidneys. It is not recommended to ingest pure essential oils of any type.

Although our EOs are pure and produced without chemical additives, due to strict regulatory requirements, pure EOs sold for aromatherapy cannot be labeled as food grade or bear instructions for topical or internal use.