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The children played, sang and gave the rest of us much joy...

The children played, sang and gave the rest of us much joy…

It was a familiar scene for the old Carp Memorial Hall: families, seniors and singles getting together for a meal, children playing, people singing a few carols and the community raising food and funds for those less fortunate.
The Dec 8 event was a group effort, with volunteers from the Carp Ridge EcoWellness Centre, funding from the Carp Ridge Learning Centre, (a registered charity), donations of food from growers at the Carp Farmer’s Market and individuals contributing their cooking and help setting up and cleaning up!

Mother and daughter Tanya and Jessica enjoy the event (and were a huge help in setting up and tearing down--big thanks!)

Mother and daughter Tanya and Jessica enjoy the event (and were a huge help in setting up and tearing down–big thanks!)

The goal of this event is many-pronged: to fund raise for the local food bank (7 large boxes and $1100); increase awareness of our local food supply; share knowledge of nutritious eating; support area families and seniors; bring community together as sponsors/speakers; strengthen our network of sustainable services; and learn tools for healthy living in the often stressful modern world.

Naturopathic doctor Chelsey Corrigan talks about the benefits of replacing white sugar and artificial sweeteners with healthier alternatives.

Naturopathic doctor Chelsey Corrigan talks about the benefits of replacing white sugar and artificial sweeteners with healthier alternatives.

The theme for this first dinner and talk was Healthy Sweeteners, with naturopathic doctor Chelsey Corrigan separating out “the good, the bad and the ugly”, encouraging us to replace our white sugar and artificial sweeteners with more wholesome and natural varieties which were on display for people to try.  A useful handout will no doubt be pinned to several fridges!

The Craig twins add their festive spirits.

The Craig twins add their festive spirits.

Almost fifty people of all ages attended, with much appreciation for the healthy and delicious food cooked mainly by holistic chef Kim Trott from Carp.  The highlights were shepherd’s pie with sweet potatoes, a chickpea curry with coconut milk and an apple-rhubarb crisp with yogurt and local maple syrup.

Thanks go to the following donors of food: Dobson Farms/grass-fed beef; Nelson Water Systems for purified water and a stand; Maple Holme Sugar Bush for syrup; ServiPro Farm for some crispy Jerusalem artichokes; Chamomile Desjardins for his famous hot sauce; the Hemp Cookie Company for gluten-free hemp cookies; Russell and Abigail Corbett for their splendid raw honey; Kricklewood Farm for local organic, cold-pressed sunflower oil; tasty apples from Harvest Moon Orchard; a fabulous bean dip made by Sallie Storey; and delectable devilled eggs concocted by Sandy Rawson.

The next dinner and talk will sometime in the New Year.  If you are interested in helping or would simply like to attend, please contact Carla Brown at: 613-839-2224 or check ecowellness.com for more information.

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As we approach the holidays, lots of people ask about alternatives to sugar, that pesky additive which turns our best intentions to mush, leaches our energy, turns many kids (and adults) into moody maniacs, is the major cause of heart disease after stress, makes it very hard to lose weight, feeds cancer cells and stresses the pancreas.

Replace, replenish and resist!

If that sounds like a battle cry, it most certainly is.  We need to decrease the cravings first and then we can avoid.  Here’s a plan that helps most people:

1. Replace white sugar with unrefined options.  Different people have markedly different responses to this list.  Notice how you tolerate each and get tested if you’re not clear.

a) Dried cane juice, marketed as Sucanat.  It contains a lot of the vitamins that white sugar steals from the body.  Brown sugars look similar, but aren’t as nutritious.
b) Blackstrap molasses, full of minerals; not the fancy variety, which is sweeter.
c)  Maple syrup, which has as much calcium as mother’s milk!
d) Agave syrup isn’t as good, too much fructose.
e) Stevia is perfect if you like the taste—doesn’t react like sugar in the body at all, it has a totally different chemistry and a good safety record.
f) Unpasteurized honey, as all the beneficial enzymes are maintained.  Helps weight loss for some people.
g) Aspartame is a poison and kills brain cells.  Other artificial sweeteners have problems too.
h)  Xylitol is ok and available in health food stores and safer than sugar.
i)  Fructose is not good and leads directly to weight gain.

2. Replenish your body.  Being tired and depleted leads to sugar cravings.

a) Sleep 7-9 hours/night, with as many hours in the pre-midnight recharging time as possible.
b) Regular breaks for corpse poses, just breathing, walking and napping.
c) Break the stress habit.  Easier said than done, but probably the biggest thing we can do for our health, overall potential and peace of mind
d) Eat digestible proteins to balance blood sugar and rebuild tired organs.  Examples: soft-cooked organic eggs, tender stews of grass-fed animals (with thanks!), organic yogurt or kefir, nut butters (easier to digest than nuts), small lentils and legumes with spices for easier digesting, protein powders in room temperature drinks/puddings.
e) Supplements & remedies to strengthen weak internal organs that are related to sugar metabolism: pancreas, liver and adrenals.
f) Slow down your exercise program to a stroll and add restorative yoga.
g) Treat yourself well emotionally and put effort into healing relationships.  Sometimes sugar cravings relate to lack of love…or old traumas.

3. Finally, resist.

a) When you feel energetic and strong again, you will be able to let sugar and even excess sugar alternatives out of your diet, starting to enjoy the natural sweetness of foods, people, nature,  breathing and LIFE!
b) Once we are stable on very little sugar, we can undertake successful cleanses where we don’t rebound into sweets.  With every gentle cleanse, our bodies become more resilient and it becomes even easier to pass on those sugar treats.
c) The holidays are a great time to set a moderate limit on sweets in order to emerge on the other side without being plunged back into cravings!

Resources include the http://www.Mercola.com website, the Nourishing Traditions cookbook, the old best-seller Sugar Blues and many other books and websites via the internet.

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