Emily Kanter

Guide to low-waste periods!

By Allison, Customer Service Specialist & Low-Waste Enthusiast

Period product waste may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of eliminating waste and helping the environment, but globally, 200,000 tons of period related waste accumulates every year! Fortunately, there are a variety of options when it comes to sustainable period products - varying from reduced waste to zero waste. Remember! It’s not about committing to zero waste 100% of the time! Small mindful choices to reduce waste do indeed help minimize overall waste. High-waste menstrual products include tampons with plastic applicators and single-use pads; luckily sustainable products have become more accessible. 

If you’re interested in moving towards lower waste options, but still need the convenience of traditional period products, then biodegradable (cardboard applicator) tampons, applicator free tampons, or reusable tampon applicators might be the right fit for you. Applicator-free tampons are also more affordable than applicator tampons.

Menstrual disks are another low to no waste option. They are available in both disposable and reusable varieties. There is a bit of a learning curve when it comes to insertion, but one advantage of menstrual disks is that they can be worn for more than eight hours, unlike tampons which pose the risk of toxic-shock-syndrome with extended wear. Menstrual disks may also be confused with menstrual cups. Aside from shape, one of the key differences is that menstrual disks do not create suction around the cervix, making it a better option for people with IUDs - suction can pose a small risk to IUD stability.

Menstrual cups are a no-waste period product that can be inserted into the vagina and create suction around the cervix. This makes menstrual cups an effective leakproof option. Though, there is also a learning curve when it comes to proper insertion, so it might be a good idea to use a backup panty liner for the first couple cycles after making the switch. Menstrual cups also come in different sizes depending on individual anatomy and previous vaginal childbirths.

Another no-waste option is reusable washable pads. Many people find these pads to be less irritating to the skin than disposable pads. However, some do find them a bit more bulky - though reviews on that are mixed. Using these is very similar to disposable pads, except after use: just rinse with water; place them in a mesh/delicates laundry bag; and wash with detergent in your usual washing machine. Be sure to skip the fabric softener though - it will reduce the absorbency of the material.

Period underwear is another no-waste option, very similar to washable pads. An added bonus to period underwear is that they’re leakproof, unlike washable pads.

It’s also possible to incorporate different sustainable products in different situations. For example, wearing reusable pads or period underwear at home or to bed, but using tampon options while you are on the go, running errands or at work. Menstrual cups are a safer choice than tampons for times when you need coverage for more than 8 hours at a time. Mixing and matching is encouraged!

Shop all menstrual care on our website: www.cambridgenaturals.com/shop

Taking Care Of Your Body & Mind!

By Julia, Customer Service Specialist + Self-Care Enthusiast

It’s getting colder and the days are getting shorter. It’s easy to fall behind on self care during this difficult change. Now that it’s getting to be the holiday season, we tend to put a lot of pressure on ourselves and get easily overwhelmed. Thus forgetting the importance of slowing down and taking care of the body and mind. So I’m here to remind you of some steps you could take to help ease that stress!

Declutter! 

Just like we have spring cleaning, decluttering and organizing for the fall and winter is a nice way to make your home feel more comforting for the colder months to come! Nothing is better than having a clean open space, especially when this time of year people tend to spend a lot more time inside. Imagine, coming home to a clean comfy space from the cold New England weather and making a hot drink to relax for the rest of the evening. Make your home feel warm and welcoming!

Since cleaning can be very daunting as well, try making it a fun activity and play some of your favorite music or put on a podcast to help distract your mind. Take it one step at a time, don’t pressure yourself and just start with cleaning small sections instead of trying to take it all on at once. You got this!


Take a relaxing bath or shower!

Give yourself a luxurious bath by adding a bath bomb, salts, bubbles, or you could even make yourself a mix of herbs to soak in! Don’t have any of these relaxing items at home? Fear not! We have a huge selection of these delightful items to help you have the bath of your dreams! To add some extra relaxation we even have some products that are infused with cbd. A few of these products include cordial organics bath salts, Soul Spring bath soaks, Rare Essence Rosemary Mint bath bomb, and Unplugged Essentials bath soaks. Unplugged Essentials is also 15% off for the month of November, so don’t miss out! If herbal soaks are more your thing, then head to our bulk section; we will have just what you’re looking for! At bulk you can find rose petals, lavender, calendula, chamomile, oat tops, and so much more! Maybe even light some candles and put on a face mask. Romanticize your life a bit and give yourself the main character moment you deserve!

If you are someone who doesn’t have a bath tub or prefers showers, we got your back! Shower steamers are a must for people who prefer or only have a shower and still want a luxurious experience. I also recommend trying out a body scrub! My personal favorite is the Soothing Touch Lavender Herbal Salt Scrub, it deeply exfoliates while also acting as an amazing moisturizer. 


Be active! 

Go for a walk and get some fresh air! Even a small walk, anything to get your body moving would be helpful for not only your physical health but your mental health as well. Or if you can’t go outside, put on some music and dance a bit! Maybe even do some stretches or try some simple yoga poses to get your body moving. I know it’s easier said than done. Some days are harder than others when it comes to getting out of bed to get your body up and moving, but that's when it’s most important!


Take care of your immune system!

Be sure to do all you can to protect your immune system, especially during this time of year! Maybe try including some herbs like elderberry, echinacea, goldenseal, or yarrow along with your supplements. Also if you don’t have any immune boosting supplements and don’t know where to start, Host Defense Stamets 7 Mushroom Blend is great for everyday immune support. Or if you need something a little more fast acting, Gaia Herbs Quick Defense with Echinacea and Elderberry will be more your speed. But don’t worry, we have a huge selection of immune support supplements and a great team to help you find just what you need!

You could even support your immune system by adding certain foods to your diet as well. Foods like garlic, ginger, broccoli, turmeric, papaya, green tea, and citrus fruits are great for consuming more vitamins and antioxidants. In fact we have a book filled with nutritional recipes called, Cooking For Winter Health Wellness by Brittany Wood Nickerson (sold in store!). This is a personal favorite of mine since I love to cook!


Take up a hobby!

Try doing some activities that you think you would enjoy! Maybe things like painting, drawing, reading a book, gardening, knitting, journaling, baking, or anything that brings you joy. It’s nice to have personal hobbies like these to make day to day life a little more exciting! It helps distract us from life and the world around us for a short while.

If you’re having trouble finding some things to do, we actually have events at our Boston Landing location or sometimes on zoom that in the past have included a free meditation class, herbalism classes, pilates, and much more! We even have some events coming up soon that include the Free Community Meditation with Anna Robinson (Online Event) on November 20th at 7pm and Managing Writer's Block with the Mind-Body Connection on December 4th at 5:30pm. 


Take Yourself out on a date!

For me, nothing feels as freeing as having a day to myself and finding a new restaurant or cafe. Go and check out that cafe you’ve always wanted to go to! Go see some art at a local museum! Have a day to explore and practice self love. Treat yourself the way you would treat someone you’re on a date with.

Don’t hesitate to reach out if you need help!

Mental health is not only very important, but it can be incredibly hard to maintain as well. Especially when the days get shorter and the weather gets colder, it gets even more difficult to stay in a healthy mindset and routine. Please reach out to the people in your life when it gets hard, maybe even try out a form of therapy that you think would suit you. Life is hard, and it’s okay to ask for help. ❤️

Mushroom for Discussion: A Blog-A About Chaga

By Amber Testa, CN Supplements Buyer & Armchair Mycologist

If, on a walk through the autumnal New England woods, you encountered the humble chaga mushroom, you would be forgiven for overlooking it. Indeed, though it doesn't look particularly appealing, the chaga is one of the most revered members of Kingdom Fungi, with a long history of medicinal use.

In the wild, chaga (inonotus obliquus) usually presents itself as a burned-looking mass of tissue protruding from the trunks of trees. This has given rise to such common names as 'cinder conk' and 'black mass'. The word 'chaga' itself comes from a direct transliteration of 'чага', the word for the fungus among the Indigenous people of Russia's Kama River Basin. Chaga prefers to parasitize birch trees, although it will also use beech and poplar as hosts. It grows in the colder regions of the world--primarily Russia and Northern Europe, although it has been found in Alaska and other northern US states.

Chemically chaga is known for containing high levels of melanin, which lend it its trademark dark color, as well as antioxidants (phytochemicals that protect against cellular damage). This is not one of those fungi that is prized for its taste--indeed, due to high levels of oxalates, it is especially bitter in flavor. During World War II, it was not unheard of for people in Finland to brew chaga into a coffee substitute. Nowadays, it is typically consumed by boiling ground or crumbled chaga in hot water, which extracts the beneficial phytochemicals, or by taking the extract in capsule form. It is used primarily for its purported anti-tumor activity, which initial studies suggest may be due to its antioxidant content. It also contains phytochemicals that may reduce cholesterol and lower blood sugar.

Chaga is a particularly difficult fungus to cultivate, as attempts to inoculate trees with it generally result in a mushroom with significantly different chemical profiles (and lower levels of those compounds found to be most beneficial). Thus most chaga available for commercial use is wild-harvested. In recent years, the ethics surrounding its harvest have been a source of constant debate among both the mycological and foraging communities. Due to its high value, chaga is regularly subject to overharvesting, so it's important to make sure that any chaga you consume has been sustainably harvested--and always identify any foraged fungi with 100% accuracy before you consume it!

Chaga should be used with caution by those with diabetes, anyone prone to kidney stones (which can be exacerbated by the oxalates in it), and individuals with osteoporosis (as oxalates can prevent the absorption of calcium in the body). As always, check with your medical practicioner before adding any supplements to your diet.

While Chaga remains one of the more under-researched members of the medicinal mushroom community, early studies have suggested it possesses a host of beneficial health properties. At Cambridge Naturals, you can find it in such forms as convenient capsules, flavorful chai, and (my personal favorite) cookies! If you're feeling adventurous, we also have crumbled chaga in bulk -- perfect for creating your own extracts or recipes. With so many different ways to consume it, Chaga is worth a look for sure.

Sources:

https://naturopathic.org/news/565437/5-Reasons-to-Consider-Chaga-Mushrooms.htm

https://health.clevelandclinic.org/chaga-mushroom-benefits/

The information in this blog post is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the guidance of your doctor or other qualified health professional with any questions you may have regarding your health or a medical condition.

Mushroom for Discussion: The Riddles of Reishi

By Amber Testa, CN Supplements Buyer & Armchair Mycologist

To those uninitiated into the wonders of mushrooms, Reishi is an unassuming entity. It is neither as strikingly colored as Turkey Tail, as luminescent as Lion's Mane, or as downright bizarre as Cordyceps. Indeed its physical form is simple and smooth, unlikely to attract much attention. The binomial name, ganoderma lucidum, literally means 'bright skin' in the Greek--a reference to its sleek brown surface. Reishi is a type of mushroom known as a bracket fungus, which means it doesn't have a stem or stalk. Instead it grows directly from the surface of trees (usually maple). It is either parasitic or saphrotrophic, growing on both living and decaying matter; indeed, it is as apt to colonize stumps as it is living trees.

But contrary to its plain appearance, perhaps no fungi has such an esteemed place in mythology as the Reishi. With written records of its use dating back as early as the first century B.C., it has been revered in Asia for thousands of years. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, it is known as lingzhi 靈芝, or "divine mushroom" and is known as the "mushroom of immortality". The common name 'Reishi' is a loanword from the Japanese; similar cognates also exist in Thai (het lin chue, เห็ดหลินจือ); Vietnamese (linh ch); and Korean (영지; 靈芝).

Reishi is sacred in Taoism, and was often consumed by monks before their meditation sessions. The term zhī specifically means 'fungi', but has been translated by various scholars as 'excrescence' or 'cryptogam' (a plant or fungi that reproduces via spores instead of seeds). In Taoism, Reishi was thought to belong to a mythical class of substance that gave the eater xian, or immortality, when ingested. This association with immortality has persisted into the present day, and is evident in Reishi's contemporary usage.

In contemporary herbalism, Reishi is used primarily as an immune booster. Initial studies have shown that it has the potential to boost white blood cell count among cancer patients, although research indicates it is best to use the mushroom in combination with traditional cancer therapies rather than directly in place of them. Reishi may also reduce inflammation in the body, specifically among blood cells. Early studies also show the potential for Reishi to reduce anxiety and depression, especially among cancer patients.

Commercially cultivated Reishi is usually grown on hardwood logs, or else a substrate of sawdust or wood chips. It is a deep reddish-brown, generally fan- or kidney-shaped, and often larger than a fist in size. Reishi is dry and sturdy, and often surprisingly heavy--indeed, it often resembles a piece of carved wood more than a mushroom! Though it is slightly bitter in flavor, it can be easily neutralized by mixing it with other ingredients. It can easily be powdered and added to hot chocolate, mixed into baked goods, or crumbled and added to tea blends. The versatility of Reishi also means you can find it in some more unusual formats, like sparkling beverages and even body care products!

At Cambridge Naturals, we carry a variety of Reishi supplements in various formats. You can shop our entire stock of Reishi products online here, or come in for some exciting mushroom discussions with our Supplements team!

Sources:

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmicb.2018.01557/full

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK92757/

The information in this blog post is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the guidance of your doctor or other qualified health professional with any questions you may have regarding your health or a medical condition.

Mushroom for Discussion: Talking Turkey (Tail)

By Amber Testa, CN Supplements Buyer & Armchair Mycologist

Kingdom Fungi is a diverse place, and the names within it reflect it. Among mushrooms you'll find specimens with such descriptive names as Latticed Stinkhorn (clathrus ruber), Amethyst Deceiver (laccaria amethystina), and Bleeding-Tooth (hydnellum peckii). As beautiful as these names are, they're also fairly literal--it's not hard to imagine why the early discoverers of hericium erinaceus thought it resembled a lion's mane!

So understandable, too, is the nomenclature of the mushroom trametes versicolor. One look at this fanlike fungus, with its wide bands of copper, rust, and gray, and you'll immediately understand why it earned the name Turkey Tail. It resembles nothing so much as the fanciful feathers of those enormous birdies that grace Thanksgiving decorations (and sometimes menace drivers along Cambridge's Massachusetts Avenue in autumn).

Turkey Tail isn't just a pretty polypore, though. For years, humans have tapped into the health benefits of this fabulous fungi. The mushroom was formally described as early as 1753 by famed Swedish naturalist Carl Linnaeus, though it was known to Indigenous communities worldwide long before that. It's native to colder regions throughout North America and Europe, where it is often strikingly recognizable against the bare autumn trunks of trees. Indeed, it is at its best in autumn, when the mushroom releases its reproductive spores. Turkey Tail is not generally used as a culinary mushroom due to its flocked, leathery texture and unappealing taste, but the potential health benefits it offers have made it the subject of much contemporary research.

Modern scientific explorations have revealed that Turkey Tail contains high levels of antioxidants, chemicals that are known to prevent cell damage from free radicals. It also possesses substances called polysaccharopeptides, immune-boosting carbohydrates that inhibit inflammation and encourage the production of monocytes (a type of white blood cell that helps the body fight infection). There's also some research into the potential for Turkey Tail to increase the efficacy of some cancer treatments when used in tandem with contemporary medical practices, although studies remain in the early stages.

The gut microbiome is lately a subject of renewed interest among laypeople and biologists alike, and the Turkey Tail mushroom plays a part in it. As a potent source of prebiotics, the fungus nurtures the good bacteria in your digestive tract, helping your gut bacteria to maintain a healthy balance and remain strong against hostile microbes that can cause problems like bloating, gas, and impaired digestion.

In short, Turkey Tail isn't just a pretty face--it's a potent source of beneficial chemicals to support your health. At Cambridge Naturals, we stock a variety of products made with Turkey Tail, including capsules, tinctures, and powder, and we even carry the dried mushroom itself in our fabulous bulk section! You can check out our selection of Turkey Tail products here, and avail yourself of the benefits of this fabulous fungus today.

Sources:

www.first-nature.com

www.healthline.com

www.webmd.com

The information in this blog post is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the guidance of your doctor or other qualified health professional with any questions you may have regarding your health or a medical condition.

Probiotics and the Gut Microbiome 101

By Amber Testa, Supplements Buyer + Gut Health Enthusiast


We contain multitudes.

No, seriously. The human body is an ecosystem, comprising some 37.2 trillion cells distributed between bones, organs, blood, and other vital processes. But the body also contains billions of other cells like bacteria, viruses, and fungi, with the exact estimates ranging from 39 trillion to an astounding 300 trillion cells. (Bacterial cells are much smaller than human cells, which is why you look like a person and not like an amorphous cellular mass.)

Image via wikimedia commons

Most of those bacterial cells are concentrated in the stomach and intestines--the areas collectively known as the gut microbiome. Up to a thousand different species of bacteria inhabit your microbiome, and (contrary to popular assumption), most of them are actually beneficial to your body, with the disease-causing microbes limited to a minority. Humans have evolved alongside our microbiomes over millions of years in a symbiotic relationship with many benefits.

So what exactly does your gut microbiome do? Among other things, the gut microbiome plays an important role in digestion, particularly of fiber. It also supports the immune system as the bacteria within your body communicate to your own immune cells, instructing them on how to best fight infections.

But although we usually live in harmony with our gut microbes, sometimes imbalances occur. When your body has too many hostile microbes in the gut microbiome and not enough of the friendly bacteria, a state called dysbiosis occurs. This results in conditions like bloating, impaired digestion, and abdominal pain. It's in cases like this that you might want to turn to a probiotic.

So what is a probiotic, exactly? In short, a probiotic is a dose of cultivated good bacteria that are deliberately introduced to the gut microbiome. You can find naturally-occurring probiotics in fermented foods like yogurt, kimchi, kombucha, and sauerkraut--or you can take a probiotic supplement.

Probiotic supplements can vary widely in composition, but they all share a few common traits. On probiotic packaging, you'll see two important numbers. The first number is the total amount of live cultures in the probiotic. This number is usually somewhere in the billions--it might seem like a lot, but the gut microbiome works with a large scale of bacteria. The second number is the amount of strains of cultures. This can range from single-strain probiotics like lactobacillus acidophilus or saccharomyces boulardii to comprehensive probiotics containing a dozen or more strains. You'll also note that many probiotics specify on the packaging whether or not they require refrigeration. Many bacteria are especially sensitive to heat and moisture, and being too hot may actually kill the good bacteria within the probiotics. At Cambridge Naturals, we keep all of our probiotics in the refrigerator, just in case.

Probiotics can be helpful for anyone who experiences unpleasant gut symptoms like bloating or indigestion. They can also help to repopulate the gut microbiome after you've taken a course of antibiotics like penicillin (which kills both the bacteria that cause infection as well as, unfortunately, killing off some of the good bacteria in your body). Probiotics have also been found to aid individuals who suffer from yeast infections--especially a type of probiotic called lactobacillus rhamnosus.

Along with the probiotic cultures themselves, many probiotics come formulated with what's known as a prebiotic. This is a form of plant fiber that nourishes the good bacteria in the gut--it's basically the equivalent of giving them a welcome-home gift.

If you're interested in adding a probiotic to your health regimen, it's best to start simply with either a specific probiotic supplement or with probiotic-laden foods like ferments, yogurt, or kombucha. And always check with your medical practitioner if you have questions.

Probiotics can certainly seem intimidating at first, but they're a valuable part of a healthy lifestyle. Your gut microbiome does so much to keep you healthy--give it some recognition in return!

You can shop the entire Cambridge Naturals stock of probiotics here online or in-store!

Sources:

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/318342

https://academic.oup.com/cid/article/60/suppl_2/S85/379032

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/gut-microbiome-and-health#TOC_TITLE_HDR_2

The information in this blog post is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the guidance of your doctor or other qualified health professional with any questions you may have regarding your health or a medical condition.

Late Summer Charcuterie Board

By Dev, CN Manager + Charcuterie Board Afficionado

Don't let summer slip away before treating yourself to a fun and flavorful charcuterie board! They're great for parties, beach hangs, or just chilling at home when you're in a foraging mood. Here at CN, we lovingly designed one using nothing but products you can find on our shelves! Featured on our board are the following tempting, delicious, and wholesome snacks :

A number of these staff favorites are locally sourced within New England, as well. Come in, grab an armful (or basketful), and let the magic begin. Happy board-building; consider it a new summer sport!

Mushroom for Discussion: Lion's Mane

By Amber Testa
CN Supplements Buyer & Armchair Mycologist

hericium erinaceus via Wikimedia Commons

Whether cultivated or encountered in the wild, Lion's Mane is a truly striking fungus. Cascades of fringelike white spines have inspired a variety of unusual names, mostly animal in nature. Its Latin name, hericium erinaceus, literally means 'hedgehog hedgehog'; in German it's called Igel-Stachelbart ('hedgehog goatee'); and one of its common names in Chinese translates to 'Monkey's Head Mushroom'. Nobody's quite sure where exactly the name 'Lion's Mane' came from originally, although the fungi itself is native to North America, Asia, and Europe. 

Lion's Mane is saprophytic, meaning it feeds on dead or decaying matter, but it's also a parasite, invading living trees. It's fond of growing on beeches and oaks especially, although Lion's Mane that is grown for commercial use is often grown on a substrate of rice bran. 

Unlike many other medicinal mushrooms, Lion's Mane is occasionally used as a culinary mushroom. Chewy and meaty in texture, it is a delicacy in Chinese cuisine, where it is sometimes used as a meat substitute (the taste has been likened to seafood like crab or lobster.) It can be deep-fried or marinated in spices--a versatile ingredient indeed! 

In terms of its health benefits, Lion's Mane is remarkably comprehensive. Of particular note is its high antioxidant levels, which fight inflammation in the body. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, they have a long history of being used for neurological support and supporting memory and nerve function, and have been used by Buddhist monks for thousands of years. Lion's Mane is primarily thought of as a nootropic, or a substance which bolsters cognitive function; the many helpful compounds within it have been found to easily cross the blood-brain barrier. Like many other fungi, Lion's Mane has also been found to boost the function of the immune system. 

As one of the newer examples of mushrooms being scientifically investigated for their medicinal benefits, there's still a lot of research to be done on quantifying the precise benefits of Lion's Mane. Early studies have already validated it as a powerful addition to the medicinal mushroom canon.

Lion's Mane is most commonly consumed encapsulated in pill form, although you'll occasionally encounter it as a loose powder. It's also often blended with coffee, matcha, or tea to create a tasty, brain-boosting beverage that can be consumed at home or on the go. One of my personal favorites is Tamim Tea's Lion's Spice, where it joins turmeric and ginger in an anti-inflammatory powerhouse. 

On the whole, Lion's Mane is a visually striking member of Kingdom Fungi, respected for both its health benefits and culinary uses. It's by far the most popular mushroom supplement we sell here at Cambridge Naturals. You can shop our full selection of Lion's Mane products in-store or on our webstore here

Sources: 
https://www.mushroomexpert.com/hericium_erinaceus.html 

http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/feat/archives/2018/04/14/2003691277 

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323400

Spicy Chai Concentrate for at-home iced chai lattes!

By Alyssa P
CN buyer, herbalism student, and beverage connoisseur

This heat wave has me craving a beverage that will help me stay both cool and energized. Lately I’ve been turning to a homemade chai concentrate that is refreshing, spicy, and not overly caffeinated. Having a concentrate on hand makes my mornings easy since all you have to do is add a milk of choice and ice. Nothing complicated or heated once it’s prepped and it’s already cold from being kept in the fridge. Plus you can make it as sweet (or not sweet) as you would like! This recipe features assam black tea and chai masala spices from Boston Chai Party, a beloved local and Indian-owned brand whose mission is to empower people to make their own high quality and authentic chai at home. Happy chai making!

Materials:

Medium/large pot and lid
Strainer
Glass container for storage
Spoon for mixing
Your favorite glass
Measuring cup(s) 

Ingredients:

½ cup Boston Chai Party Chai Masala Spices
¼ cup Boston Chai Party Assam Black Tea Leaves
4 cups water
Honey, sugar, or another sweetener to taste 
Minor Figures Oat Milk
2-3 fresh ginger slices

Process: 

  • Add black tea, ginger slices, and water to a pot on high heat and stir. 

  • When the water starts boiling, turn the heat to low and stir in the chai spices. 

  • Cover and let simmer for about 5 minutes. 

  • Let cool for a few minutes and then strain into a glass container for storage. The mixture will be thick, so it’s helpful to stir as you strain.

  • If you would like to, add some honey, sugar, or maple syrup for some added sweetness. 

  • Store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

  • When ready to use, pour about 4 oz into a cup and add around 8 oz of milk or a milk alternative- Minor Figures oat milk is my favorite. Add ice and enjoy your homemade iced chai latte!

Product spotlight: Superieur Electrolytes for summertime hydration!

By Amber, Supplements Buyer + Hydration Enthusiast

Superieur Electrolytes came about due to something of a perfect storm of factors. Its founder, Seth Bovio, comes from a family of elite runners and yoga practitioners, and he's spent much of his career formulating electrolyte blends for athletes including the US Track and Field team. But the more he worked with these formulations, the more he began to brainstorm. Why did so many electrolyte blends rely on laboratory-manufactured minerals and chemical additives? What if he could create an electrolyte recipe powered entirely by plants?

Drawing on both his past career experience as well as family herbal knowledge, Seth founded Superieur Electrolytes in 2017. The company's focus is simple: Not just plant-based, but actual plants. Thus in Superieur's formulas, which come in flavors like watermelon, citrus, and newest offering (and Cambridge Naturals staff favorite!) blueberry lime, you'll find only natural ingredients like pink Himalayan salt, acerola berry, and bamboo extract. Each has been chosen carefully for the health benefits it contributes: pink Himalayan salt contains over 80 minerals, acerola provides Vitamin C, and bamboo is a rich source of silica (a mineral important for healthy skin, nails, and hair). The only thing added is potassium, which is crucial for electrolyte balance and helps with leg cramps, dizziness, and dehydration.

A point of pride for Superieur is their use of stevia--which is very different from the more commonly seen stevia leaf extract, I learned. Whereas stevia extract is a patented formula that requires heavy processing, stevia leaf is as natural as they come. During Seth's recent in-store demo at the Porter Square Cambridge Naturals, he explained to me about his experiences growing stevia. "You can literally dry a leaf and crumble it into your tea," he said--a trick I've wholly resolved to try. I admit to being something of a lifelong stevia skeptic, but my recent re-education about this plant has rather changed my mind.

A final perk of the brand is its user diversity. While it was formulated with the needs of elite athletes in mind, it's also beneficial for anyone who might need more electrolyte support than others: elderly people, pregnant folks, chronically ill people. And it's a reliable beverage option for kids, as well. Seth made note of its importance for those who labor in dehydrating conditions, such as road crews, landscapers, and the military. The wide variety of clientele is probably my favorite thing about Superieur. I love the idea of a product having such a wide range of users--it reminds us that, in some ways at least, we're not all that different from each other.

You can check out Superieur's selection of electrolyte powders at both Cambridge Naturals locations, as well as here on our webstore.