We normally donate to local organizations, but right now the people of Haiti and Afghanistan really need some support. We are using a percentage of our sales from August to donate to two organizations:
Locally Haiti is an organization with Haitian leadership whose mission is to “advocate for and invest in locally led initiatives to support the vision of our partner communities in rural Haiti.”
They believe in helping rural communities thrive through programs in education, agriculture, community health, and girls’ empowerment.
They are currently collecting donations for relief following the recent earthquake in Haiti, and they are funneling these funds to local people and institutions.
(Thank you to Nicole Cardoza at Anti-Racism Daily for her Instagram post highlighting local Haitian-led organizations working to channel aid directly to those who need it.)
Women for Afghan Women is working to keep women safe in Afghanistan and also help provide resources to those trying to evacuate. You can use the link to donate and also use the “Resources and Other Ways to Help” button to open a document with links to send an email to the White House, sign petitions, and contact your representatives (it will use your address to automatically find your senators and representative) to advocate for evacuating and accepting more refugees into the US as well as protecting those who remain in Afghanistan.
Since we both use their products in our daily smoothies and they’re both helping our local community to maintain healthy immune systems, we wanted to feature two businesses this time - Life Itself and FreshFix!
When we tried the chaga mushroom tea from Life Itself a couple of years ago, we absolutely loved its yummy, earthy taste as well as how healthy it made us feel! How does it help us to maintain such a feeling of wellness?
According to owner Josh, "Chaga mushroom is an 'immunomodulator.' This means that whether your immune system needs support to fight off viruses, pathogens, bacteria, fungal infection, or other illness, chaga intelligently targets and subsequently releases white blood cells to the area of need. However, if your immune system is overactive, causing an autoimmune disorder, chaga will intelligently modify the release of white blood cells to end the body’s panic response, allowing inflammation to be reversed, resulting in the relief of autoimmune symptoms."
Life Itself's chaga tea has been popping up all over the Buffalo area, in shops and wellness studios as well as a variety of local markets - make sure to try it the next time you see them! You can also purchase from their website.
FreshFix is a local, family-owned business offering a weekly produce box delivered right to your door!
Each Friday, subscribers receive an email with three produce box choices (combinations of fruits and veggies being harvested that week) AND you can customize your box with all kinds of add-ons, from extra produce, meat, eggs, and dairy to locally made food, beverage, and wellness products. (You can even get chaga tea from Life Itself in your box! How cool is that?)
Just finalize your box by Sunday night and it will be dropped off on Wednesday or Thursday. It’s super flexible and almost everything is locally grown.
Not sure what to make with a new vegetable you got? Their email newsletters include recipes for the produce of the week!
Going away for a week or two? Skip your box or donate it. You can also add a custom donation to your weekly order to support free and reduced-price food boxes that FreshFix offers to community members in need of nutritious food.
The produce is always excellent quality and you can know that you’re contributing to creating a more sustainable local food system for the community as well as a healthier immune system for your own body!
Recipe: Immune Support Smoothies
One thing that can help to maintain your immune system and protect yourself against illness is consuming high magnesium foods (especially a wide range of green leafy vegetables) as frequently as possible.
We both make smoothies on a near-daily basis and have found that this practice has boosted our energy levels, helped our digestion, and allowed us to generally maintain good health. Here are our recipes! Simply combine in a blender. Each recipe makes a smoothie for one person.
*Cooking your greens can help them to be more digestible. Also, if you have an underactive (hypo) thyroid, cooking your greens can help to reduce the levels of goitrogenic compounds in them! They can be cooked ahead of time and stored in a container in the fridge.
If you want to include or substitute other forms or protein, you can always add a couple tablespoons of magnesium-rich peanut butter or other nut butter!
Magnesium and Immune Support
Over the past couple of years, and particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, talk of “boosting” the immune system is everywhere. All of us want our bodies to be strong in the face of illness, and unfortunately we are seeing the effects of COVID-19 on people with pre-existing conditions, particularly poor metabolic health.
However, as we’ve seen with the COVID-19 cytokine storm (a cascade of inflammation in severe cases) as well as the growing prevalence of autoimmune conditions in recent years, just as many issues can come from an overactive immune system!
In the best case scenario, what we really want is a well-regulated immune system that neither over-reacts nor under-reacts to threats. And this is where magnesium enters the picture!
NOTE: Before we continue, we want to emphasize that you should ALWAYS discuss supplements with your doctor! Also, there has not been enough research on magnesium at this point to make definitive conclusions, nor are we able to make claims about our products.
However, the research that has been done thus far is very promising!
We already know that magnesium is part of over 300 different processes and enzyme reactions in the body. And while vitamin D is being widely recognized as an important part of immune health and many people are using it as part of their effort to combat the possibility of COVID-19 infection, what is less often mentioned is the fact that magnesium is necessary for the body to be able to use vitamin D. In their article “Magnesium and Vitamin D Deficiency as a Potential Cause of Immune Dysfunction, Cytokine Storm and Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation in covid-19 patients,” Dr. James DiNicolantonio and Dr. James O’Keefe claimed that “supplementing COVID-19 patients with vitamin D, especially if they are vitamin D deficient and utilizing concomitant magnesium, which is required to activate vitamin D, could provide benefit” (2021). Later in the article, DiNicolantio and O’Keefe go on to say that magnesium regulates natural killer cells and T cells involved in the body’s immune response, an undesirable calcium-to-magnesium ratio increases inflammation, and that “a deficiency in magnesium promotes chronic low-grade inflammation, increased inflammatory responses during viral infections and a pro-thrombotic state” (2021). The article even discusses magnesium affecting the ability of the body to respond appropriately to viruses such as Epstein Barr and Hepatitis B and possibly being able to work against blood clots.
Again, we are NOT proposing that magnesium or our products can cure or treat COVID-19 or any other condition. We are a very small business without the funding to do large studies. However, we are presenting the information that has informed us and inviting you to continue reading and discussing it with your healthcare providers to see what might be a good option for you! It might be our product, but it might be another form of magnesium or something else entirely.
What we have heard from some of our customers who have had COVID was that they felt our Immunity Balm was able to open their breathing passages, ease congestion, and just help manage some symptoms while they were sick and then during their recovery.
We are also advocating for eligible people to get vaccinated (we both have) and continue masking in necessary situations, especially as the Delta variant continues to spread. We have seen too many people around us—particularly in vulnerable communities and communities of color—lose their own lives or the lives of family and friends to COVID, or become severely ill for extended periods of time. The choice does not have to be between the vaccine/masks and natural health methods. Multiple mitigation methods can work together to protect ourselves AND those around us!