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Holiday Stress Management

Along with tasks like paying rent and doing your own laundry, the holiday season can become just another nuisance associated with growing up. While your 10-year old self vividly remembers idle playing, tobogganing, and seeing how many candies it would take to cave in the roof of your gingerbread house, the adult you sees a holiday calendar that stresses you out before the first door on your child’s advent calendar is opened.
Balancing the competing demands of work deadlines and holiday shopping with the desire to find quality time with loved ones can lead to an impossibly packed schedule; not unlike trying to force a World Cup into the middle of an already busy soccer calendar.
So, why don’t we see if we can make the holidays feel like a holiday again?

Home Is Where The Health Is

Admittedly, it can be difficult to enjoy any time of year if you are not feeling your best but this is especially true around the holidays as an overload of obligations can lead many of us to neglect our health.
In order to keep ourselves upright and energetic a whole-body approach works best. First, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise, it is possible to exercise over the holidays, even as the temptation to do anything but seems to reign supreme.
For an ally in your exercise regiment, choose Chaga mushrooms to keep your body systems balanced and protected. Known to provide immune support and age-fighting antioxidants, Chaga contain an abundance of supportive mineral microelements such as calcium, iron, and magnesium.[i]
Additionally, research done on a variety of mushroom species to determine effectiveness against acute respiratory viral infections found the extracted compounds of Chaga mushrooms contained both the widest range of antiviral activity, [ii]and the potential to be used as a novel antioxidant with strong scavenging activities against hydroxyl radicals.[iii]
Within our body, free radicals are unstable molecules, lacking a full complement of electrons; as a result, they steal electrons from other molecules, damaging those molecules in the process.
Of these, hydroxyl radicals cause the most harm; think of them as the last person you’d want at your holiday dinner, except instead of being the last one to leave, they attack your cell membrane, causing damage and destroying sugar groups and DNA base sequences. This is really not cool but, by offering protection again them, the Chaga mushroom acts as your own personal bouncer, making sure that unwanted guest never makes it to your front door.
With the impending new year a time to look ahead, it’s time to walk away from the constant intrusion of fall and winter colds and  make sure we have the energy to do those things we loved as kids.

All I Want For Christmas Is Calm

Believe it or not, there’s actually a scientific reason behind why there never seems to be any new Christmas carols but, just because we listen to the same songs year after year, we don’t need to tightrope through the same stressful holiday routines.
Achieving calm over the holidays may seem impossible outside of curling up with your favourite book inside Walter White’s New Hampshire Cabin but there is a less dramatic route to take.
An obvious obstacle to achieving internal calm is that it seems to be most influenced by extraneous factors outside your control; so, while it would be nice if your manager or supervisor heeded available advice on how to lessen stress for you and your team, many of us are left to do it themselves.
However, whether the source of anxiety is work, holiday shopping, hosting guests, or some sort of frantic Venn Diagram incorporating all three, there are simple steps we can take to stay level.
Ironically, at the time of year when children seem to be at their most rambunctious, you can actually look to them for strategies on limiting stress.
Mindfulness is a self-regulation strategy with a growing body of research to support its usefulness and applicability in the classroom. One recent study found students who participated in the mindfulness program reported less perceived stress and demonstrated improvements in sustained attention. More specifically, brain imaging of participants also revealed less reactivity in the amygdala, a brain structure associated with emotion and stress.[iv]
Even as students become university aged, the benefits remain. In one study, a majority of students expressed a mindful shift from sentiments of negative wellbeing to positive wellbeing thanks to participating in a mindfulness activity. Therefore, it has been determined Med-Peds practitioners should consider the benefits of mindfulness strategies particularly during times of extreme external stress on their overall wellbeing.[v]
Of course, mindfulness strategies need not be limited to children.
For adults, supporting a mindfulness routine with the calming effects of Reishi mushrooms is an excellent way to achieve whole body success. Reishi have long been praised for their multitude of benefits, and recent explorations have focused both on its positive impact on the liver and its supportive role for immune health, arthritis relief, and high blood pressure.[vi]
As well, in a double-blind, placebo-controlled study, a polysaccharide extract of the Reishi mushroom was found to significantly reduce fatigue while increasing a positive sense of well- being.[vii]
Moreover, Reishi have also shown good clinical outcomes in the treatment of insomnia and  restlessness which is a good thing because - it’s not just your imagination - the holidays really do mess with your sleep.  Specifically, the components of Reishi mushrooms intervene in various biological processes and signalling pathways and, in doing so, work towards ensuring those people with insomnia get the rest they deserve.[viii]
The phrase “so easy a kid can do it” has rarely been more accurate. Unless you want a blueberry pancake smoothie or marshmallow fruit dip, that is.
 (ed note. This post was written by Jared Stevens)
[i] Peng, H., & Shahidi, F. (2020). Bioactive compounds and bioactive properties of chaga (Inonotus obliquus) mushroom: a review. Journal of Food Bioactives. Retrieved from
[ii] Teplyakova TV, Ilyicheva TN, Kosogova TA, Wasser SP. Medicinal Mushrooms against Influenza Viruses. Int J Med Mushrooms. 2021;23(2):1-11. doi: 10.1615/IntJMedMushrooms.2020037460. PMID: 33639077.
[iii] Niu, Hong, et al. “Investigation of Three Lignin Complexes with Antioxidant and Immunological Capacities from Inonotus Obliquus.” International Journal of Biological Macromolecules, vol. 86, 1 May 2016, pp. 587–593,, 10.1016/j.ijbiomac.2016.01.111. Accessed 1 Dec. 2022.
[iv] Gutierrez, A. S., Krachman, S. B., Scherer, E., West, M. R., & Gabrieli, J. D. (2019). Mindfulness in the Classroom: Learning from a School-Based Mindfulness Intervention through the Boston Charter Research Collaborative. In ERIC. Transforming Education, Inc.
[v] Rava, J. A., & Hotez, E. (2021). Mindfulness and Wellbeing Among College Students During the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Qualitative Analysis of Emergent Themes and Concerns. Cureus13(12), e20755.
[vi] Liang C, Tian D, Liu Y, Li H, Zhu J, Li M, Xin M, Xia J. Review of the molecular mechanisms of Ganoderma lucidum triterpenoids: Ganoderic acids A, C2, D, F, DM, X and Y. Eur J Med Chem. 2019 Jul 15;174:130-141. doi: 10.1016/j.ejmech.2019.04.039. Epub 2019 Apr 20. PMID: 31035236.
[vii] Tang W, Gao Y, Chen G, Gao H, Dai X, Ye J, Chan E, Huang M, Zhou S. A randomized, double-blind and placebo-controlled study of a Ganoderma lucidum polysaccharide extract in neurasthenia. J Med Food. 2005 Spring;8(1):53-8. doi: 10.1089/jmf.2005.8.53. PMID: 15857210.
[viii] Qiu, Y., Mao, Z. J., Ruan, Y. P., & Zhang, X. (2021). Exploration of the anti-insomnia mechanism of Ganoderma by central-peripheral multi-level interaction network analysis. BMC microbiology21(1), 296.