I checked out the Whole Life Expo with some friends this weekend. It is the quintessential natural health and green living show in Canada. This year’s expo ran from Nov 25th-27th and featured a ton of great speakers and exhibitors. I have been attending the show for many years, but this year I attended as a nutritionist-in-training! I took in a couple of lectures and walked for hours on the exhibition floor, meeting like-minded people and speaking to budding entrepreneurs showing off the latest and greatest in healthy and green living products.
Alternative Therapies for Cancer
We started the morning with a lecture by Ahmad Nasri, a homeopathic doctor, on Alternative Therapies for Cancer. He debunked the myth that cancer is caused due to genetic pre-dispositions and confirmed that it is actually much more a product of epigenetic mutations caused by toxins in the environment, our lifestyle and diet. The highlight of the session was the summary of numerous studies that have proven that alternative and complementary treatments comprising of whole foods and nutritional supplements can greatly enhance the quality of life and extend the lifespan of cancer patients. It is great to have legitimate human studies that support the benefits of natural medicine.
Nutritional Influences on Anxiety
Baljit Khamba’s lecture on Nutritional Influences on Anxiety was informative and her delivery style was engaging and effortless. Having taken a class on treating brain-related disorders (schizophrenia, depression, learning disabilities, Alzheimer’s etc.), the actual overview of key nutrients for the brain was a bit of a review but interesting nonetheless. When dealing with depression, OCD, anxiety- think B Vitamins! There are numerous studies that have proven that folks with these ailments are usually deficient in key vitamins and minerals are building blocks to crucial protein synthesis and other cell processes. Little nutritional support can go a long way in getting their symptoms under control and allow them to live completely manageable lives.
Cleansing with Whole Herbs and Whole Foods
My favourite session of the day had to be Peter Vernon’s talk on Cleansing with Whole Herbs and Whole Foods. He questioned the idea of doing a liver cleanse, followed by a kidney detox and then a colon cleanse. Herbs and whole foods are designed by nature to cleanse our bodies. They cannot (and need not) be instructed to detoxify individual organs. They act on the body as a whole. Peter’s ideas around healing our deficiencies with food instead of pills are exactly in line with the holistic nutrition philosophy. A Vitamin C capsule will never compare to eating a whole orange or having freshly squeezed lemon juice. Want to get more Calcium? Don’t eat a capsule or tablet, eat some dark leafy greens. A 1500 mg capsule usually only contains 100 mg of elemental Calcium (which is what our body needs). On average our body can only break up and utilize 20% of a tablet. So out of that 100 mg, our body will only absorb 20 mg. What a waste! A 1500 mg tablet out of which our body only gets 1.3% (and that too only if you have excellent stomach acid to actually break down and absorb that measly 20 mg!). The lesson of the day: if you must take supplements for the sake of convenience, take them in liquid forms since our body absorbs nutrients in a liquid form much more effectively than solids. The next best would be capsules that contain powder, instead of a solid tablet that the body will struggle to digest.
Now on to the fun stuff….
Shopping and Free Samples
It’s great to listen to smart people talk, but nothing beats free samples! Kidding. Here is a shout-out to some of the exhibitors I absolutely loved:
- Hearty Catering: these guys cater a lot of natural health events. Their food is fresh, nutritious and most importantly, it’s delicious. They had the longest line of any booth at the show, a clear proof of their brilliance.
- Rawfoodz: started by two smart ladies who have concocted delicious *raw* and organic salad dressings (and a ridiculous butter-like raw spread) that contain no sugar or preservatives! I bought two dressings and the garlic butter. I know what I am doing next weekend: garlic butter, rice crackers and a good book! (sad, I know).
- Rawlly Rawlly Delicious: heavenly, vegan, organic, raw and gluten-free treats. Do I need to say more? Well maybe two more words: chocolate truffles.
- Nud Fud: the smart young woman who started Nud Food (pronounced ‘nude food’) has been on Dragon’s Den and has already received a lot of success and support from the health and wellness community. Nud Food are healthy snacks that are raw and contain no added sugar. I got their spirullina crisps that contain raw cocoa, bananas and sesame seeds. And that’s the ingredients list! Love it.
- Flora Health: this has to be one of my favourite line of supplements. Peter Vernon spoke about their Omega 3.6.9 formula that is completely vegetarian. The Omega 3 is derived from algae instead of fish. The first of its kind. Their liquid formulations for Calcium, Iron etc. are just fantastic. I picked up a couple of bottles of the Omega formula for my parents and the iron supplement for myself (since I am anaemic).
It was a long but fun day! It’s always great to learn something new and discover cool new products. Until next year’s expo- ciao!