Store Happenings

Here at our store we want to do as many things we can to include you! We want to be as interactive as possible and not only make this a beautiful store, but also one that carries experiences and great memories!

We are so excited to host Squizito Tasting Room!  They offer a enormous amount of different Premium Olive oils and Balsamics as well as beauty products and other natural grocery items like olives, tapenades and bread mixes.

They offer olive oil classes that are interactive and informative on all their products featuring the oils, balsamics and all of their grocery items.

Catch a class next time!

For more information about their next class or what to expect:

Check out their page here:



Farm Fresh Friday has finally arrived here at the store! The local Five Acre Farms has teamed up with us to provide an indoor Fresh Farmers Friday! Make sure to come by the store to see the pop-up market from 12-5! Grab your weekend’s worth of produce!



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How Shrooms Can Save Bees…and 5 Ways You Can Help Them Too!

If you come by the Natural Food Store this summer, you’ll notice a prominent section of the store dedicated to bees. Our favorite mushroom company, Host Defense, has recently launched BeeFriendly™, a research initiative whose aim is to help save the honey bee population from total collapse. With every Host Defense purchase this summer, you are supporting this important project to help save the honey bee.


The Current Condition of Bees

Dairy Aisle WITH beesDairy Aisle WITHOUT beesSince the early 1990’s, we’ve seen a devastating loss of honey bees across the globe, a condition known as Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). Between 2006 and 2011, the U.S. lost nearly a third of our bees, with massive losses continuing each winter. (annual nationwide survey of beekeepers.)

Life on this planet is dependent on the pollinators of plants, the honey bee being one of the most crucial. According to NDRC (National Resource Defense Center) bee pollination “helps at least 30 percent of the world’s crops and 90 percent of our wild plants to thrive.” Without the bees we will experience massive losses in farmed crops and native plants alike. The pictures below represent what our supermarkets look like With or Without bees.

Paul Stamets

I first came across Paul Stamets back in 2008 when I watched his TED Talks presentation 6 Ways Mushrooms Can Save the World. It transformed the way I saw the mushroom kingdom.

It was his next TED presentation in 2011 that really hooked me when he discussed mushrooms that are among the world’s best medicine, including the Turkey Tail that was used to help his mother go from stage 4 breast cancer to completely tumor free. Here is this truly inspiring talk.

Whether it’s cleaning up the planet or fighting cancer, Stamets is on a mission to show how powerful mushrooms can be. Now he has set his sights on bees.


BeeFriendly Initiative

bee-display2In 2014, mycologist (studier of mushrooms) Paul Stamets teamed up with entomologist (studier of insects) Steve Shepphard and the Washington State Beekeepers Association to launch BeeFriendly and to research how certain medicinal mushroom extracts can help the bees overcome the threats they are facing. According to Stamets- “We are studying mycological solutions to increase longevity, reduce mite and viral burden, and improve immunity of honey bees.”  What the Mushroom Man is saying in plain English is that they are feeding mushroom extracts to bee colonies and seeing an improvement in the lifespan of bees. Many of these mushrooms have immune-supportive properties, antiviral properties, and make bees resistant to predators like the varroa mite.

The results have been amazing thus far. According to Shepphard- “as an entomologist with 39 years of experience studying bees, I am unaware of any reports of materials that extend the life of worker bees more than this.”


Take Action and Join the Fight to Save the Bees

If you are interested in joining the fight to save bees, here are a few tips:

1. Support initiatives like BeeFriendly. For every mushroom extract that stores like ours can sell, money and other resources are donated to continue the research for helping bees!

2. Support farmers who don’t use pesticides harmful to bees. We exercise our power of influence with every dollar we spend.

3. Go pesticide-free in your lawn and garden. How long until we figure out that we are killing the very insects that are necessary to grow our beautiful plants.

4. Plant flowers that are bee friendly. Here is a great list that will add amazing beauty to your garden and will attract bees in the process.

5. Join your local Beekeepers Association. Here is the website for our local White County Chapter, and if you live elsewhere in Arkansas, find your local chapter Beekeepers Associations.


Eric McMullen, C.N.C, M.Ed.


7 Keys for Living Emotionally Healthy

When was the last time worrying about a situation, or strife in a relationship kept you from a good night’s sleep, stole your appetite, or raised your blood pressure 50 points? The physical You in no way stands independent of the emotional You; both are woven together in an inseparable tapestry so that it becomes impossible to affect one without also touching the other.  Thoughts and feelings can either wreck your body or help you discover who you are created to be!

I’m absolutely fascinated by how the field of neuroscience has progressed to the point where we are now able to observe the way forgiveness or bitterness impact us down to the cellular level! We are understanding better than ever how deeply forces like stress, worry, and fear impact our health, causing inflammation and creating disease states. The good news is that the science also shows us how qualities like loving connection, joy, and peace are far stronger factors in determining our health. Here’s the truth- emotional health isn’t simply the absence of fear, pain and stress. Our health is more greatly influenced by the abundance of love, relationship, joy and hope in our lives.

This being true, if stress and fear are the weaker players influencing our health, could they possibly be helpful to us on our journey? We know that physical pain is helpful as it is the body’s cry that something is wrong. It’s more than a clue; it’s clear communication!

Fear, anxiety, and all their companions – bitterness, unforgiveness, anger, depression, jealousy – are symptoms telling us that something is off. They are unpleasant guides that point us to a place of disconnection from your Creator, from each other, and from who you are created to be!

You may not believe it, but you are an incredible person, absolutely unique in all in the universe. The emotions you feel don’t define you, but are there to help unlock who you really are! When we are unable to face emotional pain and stress, we hinder our ability to truly love and be loved. But by digging below the surface and learning the language of our emotions, emotional pain ceases to be the force that hinders and drags you down and becomes an instrument of growth and change in your life. Just how can this happen?

Here are 7 keys for emotionally healthy living:

1. Understand that your emotions aren’t good or bad, right or wrong.

I used to get discouraged, or think I was screwing up in some way, when I would get depressed, angry, or bitter. Inwardly I thought- I should really be happier! I don’t want to be a bitter person. I don’t want to be angry all the time.

Here’s the deal- our emotions are not right or wrong, and they don’t define your character.  Judging yourself based on your emotions is not only unhelpful, it’s inaccurate and misguided.

Instead, think of your emotions like the instrument panel on a car.  The warning lights and gauges let you know the operational status of the engine.  Our emotions are not our identity, but they are great indicators of what is going on “under the hood.”  When we get anxious, upset, or depressed, it’s like the Check Engine light is coming on. It’s a warning sign that it’s time to pause and consider why you feel the way you do. There is always a why.

2. Don’t run from your emotions.

If you want to make easy money as an author today, write a self-help book. People go nuts for them because we are so emotionally disconnected. I’ve read a few myself and see a common thread in techniques that center around blocking out “negative” thoughts and feelings that surface in our lives. It goes something like this- Whenever you get upset, count backwards from 10, look in the mirror, and tell yourself how awesome you are. Sound familiar?

I’m not advocating that we collapse under the weight of every painful emotion that comes our way and sink into destructive behaviors. Our day must go on. Life does always allow us a “pause button.” However, it is important that we acknowledge the emotions that are there. Instead of always turning and running away from emotional pain, or blocking them out somehow, we can develop healthy habits to look our feelings in the eye so that we might uncover the driving forces behind them.

Personally, I’m quite accomplished at avoiding my emotions.  I’ve learned that when I find myself failing to return phone calls, browsing through social media for hours, or watching lots of movies, I’m actually playing the avoidance game.  The majority of our addictions and unhealthy habits are actually ineffective and unhealthy ways of handling emotional pain. It’s not always a pleasant experience but we must learn to look our emotions right in the eye. How do you that in a productive way? Keep reading…

3. Become a student of your emotions.

In today’s world of distraction, paying attention to your emotions is a skill you must develop.  Some of us are hyper-focused on our emotions, and this is as equally destructive as being disconnected. But to be a student of your emotions is to live with an awareness of your emotional temperature gauge and the ability to recognize the warning signs that something is off.student of emotions

Recently, I was alone in my car running errands.  The radio was off, I wasn’t on the phone, and the traffic was very light, so my mind was not preoccupied with my usual distractions.  In this quiet moment, I realized that I felt uneasy.  I couldn’t put my finger on it, but I knew that I’d been feeling that way for days.  I focused on the feeling by letting it rise to the surface, to truly connect with it. Then I prayed that God would help show me just what I was feeling. It wasn’t a long, drawn-out prayer; just a simple question. I suddenly knew it was “worry.”  Until that moment, I knew something wasn’t right but I had no idea what it was. It took that time and focus to recalibrate to my own emotional state.

Taking a thoughtful inventory of your emotions requires introspective time. Prayer, introspection, meditation, journaling, or seeking wise counsel from others all play a part in this step. It is vital on this journey to develop a habit of connection and introspection.

4. If you want to change a behavior, the way you feel has got to change.

Your emotions influence your behavior. Before you argue with me on this point, give me a chance to explain. You may think that you are a rational person who does not react emotionally, but at some level all of us live out of our emotions!  Self control is important, but it doesn’t negate our emotions. We are created so that our emotions influence our actions.

Have you ever believed something about a person or a situation, only to later find out more information which made you reconsider your original opinion?

Recently, a good friend did something that hurt my feelings.  I thought it was probably just a misunderstanding, but I felt too emotional about the situation to talk about it.  I sent her a text asking her to call me back, and let her know that it was really important.  Several days went by with no response- no texts, no calls- nada!

As I waited, I began to question the sincerity of our friendship.  Maybe she didn’t value me after all. This really hurt!  Not only that, but I began to doubt all my friendships.  Maybe I only thought people liked me, but in reality I didn’t have any friends at all! I began to recall and scrutinize all my past interactions with my close friends, feeling more and more insecure.  My self-confidence plummeted and cynicism began to overshadow my conclusions.

I declined social engagements that I previously would have enjoyed attending.  I adopted a defensive attitude and became suspicious of other people’s intentions.  My family said I was “being defensive” with them.  I began to withdraw physically and emotionally.

After a couple of days, my friend called me back.  A crazy combination of events beyond her control had resulted in her not getting my text immediately.  She said, “Your friendship is so important to me, I feel bad that I couldn’t call you back until now. I am so sorry. I called you as soon I could.”

Wow. I could tell that she meant it.  In fact, when she told me what was going on in her life, all of the anger and rejection turned to genuine compassion.

Our emotions deeply influence our behavior.  When you believe something to be true, it shapes the way you feel.  Thoughts and conclusions naturally flow from our convictions, which in turn, cause us to decide and act. We first believe and feel, we then think and act. Have you ever tried to talk yourself out of a strong emotion?  You may be able to suck it up and act in a way that is contrary to how you feel for a short time, but ultimately we all live from our heart and not our head.  If you need to change a behavior, the way you feel has to change.

5. If you need to change the way you feel, it’s time to change what you believe.

At some point, all of us face difficult circumstances. It’s easy to blame our emotional pain on these difficulties. However, hard times in life are not the primary source of our negative emotions. Circumstances don’t really drive our emotions – it’s all about what we believe about those circumstances!

Imagine this – you are riding the subway when a man and three young children get on board. The children are loud and unruly, running up and down the aisle and disturbing all the other passengers. The man, the father of these rude children, sits passively, seemingly oblivious to the actions of his children and the growing agitation of the other passengers on the subway.  You begin to think to yourself, Can’t he see how his children are behaving?  Why doesn’t he do something? What a poor excuse for a father. He obviously doesn’t care. As these thoughts continue, the father snaps out of his daze, sees the situation, turns to you and says, I’m so sorry, we just left the hospital where my wife and their mother has just died.

How do you feel now?  Suddenly, your feelings change from anger and disgust to compassion.  No doubt your actions toward the man and the children will also change.  Where there was impatience, now there is sympathy.   Although the circumstances remained unchanged, what you believed about this man certainly did. And your feelings will follow what you believe.

If you need a change in the way you feel, it’s time to change what you believe.

6. We are not always aware of what we believe.

Some beliefs are obvious and wholesome to us.  I believe the sun will rise tomorrow. Is it true? It’s worked for me so far, and believing it gives me a hope for tomorrow.  In other areas we are completely unaware of what we actually believe. The more deeply-held the belief, the more likely it is that it’s locked away in our subconscious.Waterfall

Deep-seeded beliefs founded in authentic truth result in emotional health and an overall positive outlook on life. Beliefs based on falsehood or misconceptions are like icebergs that can shipwreck our lives.  The exposed tip of these hazardous beliefs are the negative emotions we experience when those areas are touched.  Pressure, stress and emotional pain often expose our core beliefs that are not rooted in truth.  When my friend didn’t call me back, I not only began to doubt the friendship, but I began to doubt my value to other people as well.  I questioned whether or not I was truly loveable. If I’m not loveable, there must be something wrong with me.  These doubts about my self-worth pointed squarely toward my belief about myself that I was not even aware I had! Even though the circumstance of one shaky friendship may not seem earth-shattering, it touched a core belief that meant the world to me.

It is easy to overlook, ignore or avoid the deeper beliefs behind our emotions.  We can make excuses for the way we feel, but it’s healthier to look deeper into the root cause for our negative emotions.

7. What we believe about ourselves and God creates our core beliefs! 

To summarize, we are a passionate people. It’s one of the great things about life. In our lives, like it or not, what we do will be influenced by how we feel. This is not a bad thing.  In fact, it’s our emotions that empower our actions. How we feel stems from what we believe about ourselves and about life, both on the conscious and unconscious levels. If you haven’t picked up on it yet, what you believe is more powerful than you could imagine.

There are varying depths of belief – our deepest beliefs we are most often not aware of, but they provoke the strongest emotions. When something or someone touches these deep beliefs it quite literally strikes us to the core!  Our core beliefs are more than a set of truths we hold, they are the canvas that all our other beliefs are painted on. They are the lenses through which we see the world and create our identity. I’m a good person. I’m worthy of being loved and have love to give others. I was created for a purpose. Much deeper than words, these are truths with which we wrestle. You can also develop core beliefs with a much different tone. Nobody really likes me. I’m incapable of really loving somebody. I’m ugly. I’m dirty. I’m all alone!

You may not be aware that you believe something like this, but the minute something or someone touches that belief, the fireworks start. Someone may truly reject you, but they can’t create your identity. Have you ever tried to talk somebody out of something they truly believed? It may or may not be true, but if you believe something, it’s as good as true to you! The key is discovering what is authentically true about yourself. That’s not always easy, but the good news is that even our core beliefs can change!

Take Action!

Wow, so what do you even do with all this? Hopefully, you’ve learned some ways to manage your emotions so that you can uncover more of the person that you truly are! But when it comes to what you believe about yourself and about life, how do we go about separating what is true from what is a lie? I think back to the cheezy guy from Saturday Night Live looking in the mirror telling himself, I’m good enough…I’m smart enough…and doggonit people like me!  Although it’s far better to look in the mirror and say I’m smart rather than I’m stupid, our core beliefs may not be altered by these tricks. We can only come to know truth and displace lies through connection with our spirits and our Creator who know what is true about us. This connection is where the action happens!

There are some incredible resources available to you on this journey to help with that connection. Here are a few that have been life-changing for me:

  1. Seed Digging: in 2014 Shawna Burns released her first book on the practice of Seed Digging, a practice she and others have used for years with clients to dig for the core beliefs behind emotional issues. She actually teaches how teachers, parents, or individuals can practice these techniques on themselves or the people in their lives. Her book is available through her website, on Amazon, or here at the Natural Food Store.
  2. At Shawna’s Seed Digging Wellness Center, based out of Harrison, Arkansas, they are seeing incredible results on a daily basis as they help people deal with emotional issues. You can contact them by phone at 870-741-8484.
  3. At the Emotional Healing Ministry in Cabot, Arkansas, a wonderful team of people offer their services in Seed Digging Therapy on the 2nd and 4rth Thursday of the month. I can attest that these guys have helped me and countless others sort through emotional turmoil and find more of the truth of who I really am. You can set up a time to meet with their team by calling them at 501-606-0958.

Holly Reicks & Eric McMullen, C.N.C, M.Ed.




1. Freeman, W.J. 1995. Societies of Brains: A study in the neuroscience of love and hate.

2. Burns, Shawna. 2014. Seed Digging: A simple technique that leads to incredible inner peace.

3. Leaf, Caroline. 2009. The Gift in You.

How Can Turmeric Improve My Health?


hen I think of herbs that God has given us as allies for health, turmeric is at the top of my list!  It’s been used as food and medicine for centuries, but with the ongoing assault on our health stemming from our modern lifestyle, we need healing plants like this more than ever!  With powerhouse anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, it’s an herb worth taking in supplement form and incorporating into your diet.

For this article, I’m happy to be joined by my friend Anisha Anand, Wellness Chef at He”art”ful Earth Cuisine, who is going to give you some wonderful and practical recipes and tips for how you can get turmeric into your daily life.  But first…

Turmeric, Curcuma longa, is a flowering perennial that is closely related to ginger.  It grows native in Asia, particularly India, where it is primarily used as a culinary pigment and spice but it also has a long history of medicinal use in both traditional Chinese and Ayuvedic medicine.

In recent years, turmeric has made the journey into western medicine, mainly in alternative circles, but is now showing up in clinical studies paired with or compared to some of the top pharmaceutical drugs in conventional medicine in treating conditions ranging from cancer to depression.  The results have been astounding!  Let me give you a quick run-down of where turmeric is showing up in medical journals.  (Important note: when used therapeutically, the compound curcumin from turmeric is most commonly used rather than the whole herb.)



Of all the benefits of turmeric, perhaps it’s most crucial is as an anti-inflammatory.  Systemic inflammation can be found at the root of many of our chronic conditions. In treating this inflammation it’s important to know that there are many inflammatory pathways at work in the body, and most anti-inflammatory drugs reduce inflammation only through a single pathway.  This would be equivalent to playing baseball with only a second-baseman; you’re not really covering the field well.

The good news is that the compounds found in turmeric work on multiple inflammatory pathways.  It can nearly play every position on the field!  A research study was published in 2004 that compared several anti-inflammatories.  Drugs like ibuprofen, also known to irritate the gut, were among the least effective, while curcumin from turmeric was among the most effective.  Score one for turmeric!


If you type the terms curcumin and cancer into the medical database PubMed, the search will yield nearly 3000 published articles.  Curcumin has been shown in numerous studies to fight cancer on all fronts: 1) it stops cancer cell formation, 2) stops cancer cell replication, and 3) stops cancer cell migration to other parts of the body.1,2,3,4

Curcumin has even been found to be beneficial when used in combination with conventional chemo and radiation treatments!  It has shown to increase drug effectiveness during treatments and decrease drug resistance from cancer cells.5


With Alzheimer rates rising at an alarming pace, at the present time our medical system doesn’t have anything close to an effective treatment for this condition.

While there is much about Alzheimer’s we don’t understand, we are gaining more and more ground on how to prevent it!  Curcumin has shown to be useful in reducing inflammation and oxidative damage in the brain, making it a wonderful ally in the prevention and treatment of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.6  Score another one for turmeric!

Heart Disease

Heart disease continues to be hot topic #1 in medicine.  One in three deaths in the United States can be attributed to it. The statin medications used to treat heart disease are among the worst drugs in regard to side effects and haven’t proved effective for preventing heart attacks and strokes .  While these drugs will lower cholesterol levels, they do nothing to address the underlying causes of heart disease- inflammation and oxidative stress!

In a study where curcumin was compared to a levostatin, curcumin was equally effective for protecting against inflammatory changes that lead to plaque buildup, reducing triglycerides and increasing HDL levels.  In another study, those who received curcumin saw a 29% increase in HDL levels!7,8  Turmeric strikes again!


In a number of studies, curcumin has shown great results with both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.  In a study from 2012, a group of rheumatoid arthritis sufferers were given 500mg of curcumin and another group given a pharmaceutical known to be among the best for the condition.  By the end of the study, 14% of the group on the RA drug had dropped out because of adverse effects.  From those of the group that remained, those given curcumin saw a much greater improvement.9  Turmeric is on a real streak here!


For diabetics, taking curcumin and consuming turmeric is one of the smartest things you can do!  First, it’s been shown to increase insulin sensitivity by activating the AMPK enzyme.  In a 2009 study, it far outperformed the drug Metformin in this task.10  Several other studies have shown it to be effective in reducing blood glucose levels.

Second, turmeric protects the body against conditions that come along with diabetes: destruction of eye tissue and blood vessels, diabetic neuropathy, heart disease, and decreased brain function.  As you can see, diabetics have a real ally in turmeric.


If you have intestinal inflammation due to IBS, IBD, Crohn’s or other uncomfortable digestive issues, turmeric can help save the day for you.  In a study published in 2004, chronic IBS sufferers who were given curcumin saw a reduction of abdominal pain and two-thirds of the participants saw overall improvement in their symptoms.11

One of the major issues with treating intestinal conditions is that the drugs used for treatment damage the gut lining and disrupt our intestinal flora.  Curcumin, however, can actually strengthen the gut lining.

Hi Guys,

Anisha Anand here from He”art”ful Earth Cuisine.

I grew up eating a lot turmeric in my food on a daily basis, but I had no idea the immense power this little herb has.  As I grew up and learned more about spices, I heard more about its medicinal qualities. In recent years, after reading and learning from many nutrition experts, I realize the tremendous benefits of including it in my daily diet!

If you haven’t tried it before I would suggest you start with a pinch of the dried root powder and increase how much you add each time you cook as you get used to the flavor! Most of the time, I buy dried turmeric powder and store it in a glass jar in my pantry. Every time I see fresh turmeric root, I jump at the opportunity to stock up on it too! The fresh root is quite spicy and a little goes a long way. I must mention that when you handle the fresh root your fingers and cutting board may become temporarily stained yellow. Fret not, it will wash off.

I have so many favorite ways of incorporating turmeric in my diet.  Here are my top 10 tips to get you started with turmeric:


10 Tips to Add Tumeric


1. Roasted vegetables of choice – I sprinkle some turmeric on zucchini slices, carrots, potatoes or cauliflower. My favorite spices to pair with turmeric are paprika, cumin and coriander. Toss bite-sized vegetables in a high temperature oil (I use grape seed or avocado) along with turmeric, spices of choice, salt and black pepper. Roast at 400 for 10-15 minutes or until fully cooked.

2. Add a teaspoon to a cup of quinoa or brown rice along with garlic and black pepper while cooking. Top with fresh chopped herbs- my favorite is cilantro.

3. Sautéed celery and onions with turmeric, salt, and pepper is another favorite. I cook down chopped onions and celery along with the spices until they are soft. This makes for a great side dish.

4. I use turmeric on chicken and fish. My favorite recipe is to marinate the chicken overnight in turmeric, apple cider vinegar, honey, salt pepper and grated coconut and then cook it the next day in coconut oil. I call this Island Chicken! Top with a pineapple or mango salsa! When using this recipe for fish you could marinate for a couple of hours. Check out this recipe for Island chicken or fish.

5. If you love scrambled eggs, add a pinch of turmeric to your eggs while cooking; and if you love chilled egg salad, trScreen shot 2015-10-02 at 3.22.01 PMy it as a curried version with some celery and red onions.

6. Along the lines of curried egg salad, I also do a curried potato salad or chicken salad.  It’s a great way to use up leftover chicken and include turmeric too.

7. A really quick and simple marinade for fish or chicken is to blend some EVOO, lemon, ginger, turmeric, salt, and pepper. Marinate for a few hours and pan cook or roast.

8. I love to make homemade dressings, and there’s nothing like a pinch of turmeric added to your favorite salad dressing. Looking for a great dressing recipe with turmeric, click here.

9. As kids, when we got the sniffles, we were given a cup or warm milk with turmeric and honey before bed.  Though it’s great to fight off sickness, this drink is great for everyday use. You may use a dairy or nondairy milk of your choice.

10. I even add fresh turmeric to my smoothies sometimes.  I am sharing my favorite turmeric smoothie recipe here; I call it my Sunrise and Shine Smoothie!




  • 1 cup coconut water (add extra for your preferred consistency)
  • 1 cup cabbage, rough chopped
  • 1 large or 2 small carrots, rough cut
  • 1 -2 cups peaches (I used frozen ones so I could have a chilled smoothie without adding ice, also add more fruit if you prefer a sweeter smoothie!)
  • A small piece of fresh turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon maca powder(optional, check with your physician if you take medications or have medical conditions before including maca root  in your diet)
  • A fistful of fresh wheatgrass (optional)


Blend all ingredients in your Vitamix or blender of choice. Sip and enjoy.

Like Anisha’s recipes? Check her out on facebook, Pinterest and twitter.

Eric McMullen, C.N.C, M.Ed.




1. Yasunari Takada, et al. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents differ in their ability to suppress NF-kappaB activation, inhibition of expression of cyclooxygenase-2 and cyclin D1, and abrogation of tumor cell proliferation. Oncogene 2004; 23(57): 9247-58.

2. Shehzard A, Wahid F, Lee YS. Curcumin in cancer chemoprevention: molecular targets, pharmacokinetics, bioavailability, and clinical trials. Arch Pharm (Weinheim). 2010; 343(9):489-99.

3. Johnson, JJ, Mukhtar H. Curcumin for chemoprevention of colon cancer.  Cancer Lett. 2007;255(2):170-81.

4. Deepa Das A, Balan A, Sreelatha KT.  Comparative study of the efficacy of curcumin and turmeric as chemopreventative agents in oral submucous fibrosis: a clinical and histopathological evaluation. JIAOMR; April-June 2010;22(2):88-92.

5. Goel A, Aggarwal BB. Curcumin, the golden spice from Indian saffron, is a chemosensitizer and radiosensitizer for tumors and chemoprotector and radioprotector for normal organs. Nutr Cancer. 2010;62(7):919-30.

6. Garcia-Alloza M. Curcumin labels amyloid pathology in vivo, disrupts existing plaques, partially restores distorted neurites in an Alzheimer mouse model. J Neurochem. 2007;102:1095-1104.

7. Shin SK, HA TY, McGregor RA, Choi MS. Long-term curcumin administration protects against atherosclerosis via hepatic regulation of lipoprotein cholesterol metabolism.  Mol Nutr Food Res. 2011 Nov 7.

8. Soni KB, Kuttan R. Effect of oral curcumin administration on serum peroxides and cholesterol levels in human volunteers. Indian J Physiol Pharmacol. 1992 Oct; 36(4): 273-5.

9. Chandran B, Goel A. A Randomized, Pilot Study to Assess the Efficacy and Safety of Curcumin in Patients with Active Rheumatoid Arthritis. Phytother Res. March 9, 2012 doi: 10.1002/ptr.4639.

10. Teayoun K, et al. Curcumin activates AMPK and suppresses gluconeogenic gene expression in hepatoma cells. Biochem Biophys Res Commun 2009; 388(2): 377-82.

11. Bundy R, Walker AF, Middleton RW, Booth J. Turmeric extract may improve irritable bowel syndrome symptomology in otherwise healthy adults: a pilot study. J Altern Complement Med. 2004 Dec; 10(6):1015-8.

Steps to Knock Out Acid Reflux Naturally

Steps to Knock Out Acid Reflux Naturally

acid reflux


In my last two articles, I’ve mentioned the term body language not in the traditional sense but to say that our body is always communicating with us, telling us what it needs and doesn’t need, what feels good and what doesn’t.  I feel like mine is usually telling me I need a burrito; but I digress.

Although heartburn and reflux seem like a mean way for our body to communicate, we had better figure out what it’s saying.  While we all know the feeling, nearly half of Americans regularly experience heartburn and reflux, and most statistics we have underestimate its prevalence because this condition is so commonly undocumented and simply treated with antacids from the Citgo station down the street.

That being said, acid-reducers are the third most commonly prescribed drugs, pulling in between 15 and 20 BILLION dollars annually (I’m almost tempted to change careers).  All of these drugs essentially have the same goal- suppress stomach acid (HCl). But what if having too much acid isn’t really the problem and our body is saying something entirely different?

Current experts agree that although these drugs can temporarily relieve symptoms of heartburn and reflux, they do nothing to deal with the underlying causes (what our bodies are saying) and usually make things worse!  From the hundreds of people I’ve worked with concerning this issue, I believe long-term use of medication for acid reflux to be equally as devastating as the condition itself.

So what are the primary causes of acid reflux?

  • Insufficient stomach acid (HCl) If you’ve believed that reflux was the result of too much acid, you’re not alone.  But quite the opposite is true.  When researchers at the Tohama Clinic in Washington measured the stomach acid of those suffering from acid reflux, 90% of the time it was low.  Moreover, they found that excess stomach acid was extremely rare and was hardly  ever associated with acid reflux.  Who knew?
  • Dysfunction of the LES.  The LES is the muscle that separates your stomach from your esophagus.  Enormously important, it only opens to let foods and liquids enter the stomach, and occasionally to let gases and food come back up (yum!).  Dysfunction of the LES can allow stomach acid to leak upwards into the sensitive esophagus, bronchial tubes, and throat.  Here a few causes of this dysfunction:
    • Hiatal hernia- This uncomfortable condition happens when you have a stretching or tear in the diaphragm, allowing part of your stomach to protrude up into the thoracic cavity.
    • Inflammation- from stress, smoking, and taking certain medications.
    • Eating certain inflammatory foods- this list is different for every person but can include alcohol, carbonated drinks, caffeine, nightshade vegetables, vegetable oils (especially fried), sugar, and spicy foods, or simply eating too close to bedtime.
    • Food allergies or sensitivities.
    • Obesity and pregnancy- puts pressure on the stomach and causes LES dysfunction.
    • Bacterial or yeast infection. No matter your primary cause for reflux, an infection almost always plays a role.

WHY WE NEED STOMACH ACID…and why staying on the meds too long spells trouble


One of the most important functions of stomach acid is to inhibit bacterial growth.  It’s our first line of defense against harmful bacteria that enter us through the mouth or nose.  Those little suckers just don’t like getting burned with HCl.  As you might guess, when our stomach acid is low, or when we reduce it, these pathogenic bacteria can survive and create lots of problems.  H. Pylori is a specific type of bacteria that can flourish when stomach acid is low, causing bacterial infections that lead to acid reflux, ulcers, and bloating.

We need stomach acid for other things as well.  Without adequate levels of stomach acid, the body cannot properly digest and absorb protein, calcium, magnesium, selenium, iron, zinc, folic acid, vitamin D and B12 from our food.  Without sufficient stomach acid, we’ll become increasingly deficient in these nutrients, leading to a myriad of conditions like dehydration, anemia, fatigue, depression, or even osteoporosis over time.  When people tell me that they suffer from leg cramps, muscle fatigue, or bronchial issues like asthma, one of my first questions is if they take medication for acid reflux.  They almost always do!  Moreover, when protein isn’t properly digested, it can wind up in our blood, causing a cascading immune response that can lead to food allergies and autoimmune conditions like Hashimotos, lupus, fibromyalgia, or rheumatoid arthritis.

So, if insufficient stomach acid leads to bacterial infections, poor digestion, and nutrient deficiencies, you can understand why taking acid reducing drugs, while offering immediate and short-term relief, ends up making all these worse! How can you escape?


Steps to Naturally Knock Out Acid Reflux

*If you have severe bacterial or yeast infections, these must be addressed before sustained healing can occur.

1. Put out the fire (inflammation) and heal your gut!

#1  Avoid the inflammatory foods that trigger acid reflux for you and eat plenty of nourishing, healing foods. In this article are listed some great examples. For those who have had severe reflux for years, I recommend following the GAPS protocol for at least 6 weeks.

#2 Aloe Vera Water.  One of my favorite anti-inflammatory herbs–drinking aloe is one of the best things you can do to knock out reflux. A good dosage would be 2 oz, 3x per day.

#3  L-Gluatamine: This vital nutrient protects gut lining and repairs damage that occurs due to inflammation.

#4 B12 plays a vital role in gut healing. If you’ve had issues with reflux or have been on an acid reducing medication, you are more than likely deficient in B12 anyway.

#5 Drink both broth or take collagen protein! These are rich in nutrients that cool inflammation and bring healing to your gut.

2. Reestablish healthy levels of stomach acid and enzymes. This is a critical step in knocking out acid reflux.

#1 Digestive Bitters: I feel like bitters are the best kept secret for optimizing our digestion.  Used by various cultures for thousands of years, they naturally stimulate stomach acid and digestive enzyme production by our bodies.  At our store we carry a wonderful formula from the company Urban Moonshine.

#2 HCl: For some people who have been on acid reducing medication for years, restoring healthy HCl may involve taking it in supplement form.  Also, some people may also not choose to take Bitters and would rather do a pill.  When taking HCl, make sure it is Betaine HCl that contain Pepsin.  Check out this article for proper dosing.

#3 Digestive Enzymes: my favorite broad spectrum enzymes are GOL’s Dr. Formulated Enzymes and Enzymedica Digest Spectrum.

#4 Raw Apple Cider Vinegar and other fermented foods can increase enzyme activity during digestion.

3. Reestablish healthy gut flora

#1 Minimize exposure to antibiotics in your food and water.

#2 Take a good quality probiotic supplement.

#2 Eat probiotic-rich foods.  Some of my favorites are yogurt (without added sugar), kefir, kombucha, and fermented vegetables of all kinds.  Check out Donna Schwenk’s website, Cultured Food Life, for information about these or to learn how to make them.

Want more information on this subject, check out Jonathan Wright’s book, Why Stomach Acid is Good for You.  Don’t want to read a 300 page book on stomach acid?  Make an appointment to come talk to me through message on our facebook page or call the Natural Food Store at 501-268-9585.  God bless and have a good day.  

Eric McMullen, C.N.C, M.Ed.


Crucible of Relationship: Keys for Healthy Living


I know I’ve yet to post an article on here about herbs or physiology.  Those will come shortly, but there are a few things in life even more crucial to our health.  I often speak with people whose diets are pristine and who workout 5 times a week, but whose health is falling apart because of their relationships.  You just can’t eat good enough, or live clean enough to be healthy without healthy relationships.

Our lives are defined by relationships:

  • Our relationship with the earth as its caregiver and our own dependency on it
  • Our relationship with our body and our ability to listen and respond to our own body language
  • Our relationship with our own heart and mind through thoughts and emotions
  • Above all our relationship with God and other people

I’ve sometimes thought that since most of my issues involve people that I share my life with, if I could just stick myself off on a deserted island, I’d be issue free.  But sure enough they’d still be there, hidden away and waiting to surface the next time I shared myself again with God and humanity.  We can stick ourselves on islands without having to change geographical locations; we just have to keep God and people at arms length, a safe and terrible place.  I’m not saying that we should share ourselves intimately with everyone, but if we live wisely and passionately, we’ll open ourselves  (and not just to the folks that make us feel good, or smart, or justified).  Healthy things grow, and we grow as we are refined in relationships.

For years now, I’ve highly respected the thoughts of Dr. Neal Wyatt.  A close friend of mine, he’s a medical doctor, and a rock drummer, but his greatest passion is relationships.  You can check out his posts and musings here.  He’s also working on a book that I’m very ready to get my hands on.   He recently spoke on the paradox and importance of friction in relationships.  Taken from his lecture, here are some highlights that I’ve paraphrased.  Chew on these and please leave some feedback!

Healthy things grow, and we grow as we are refined in relationships.

1. Trusting God for my self-worth, value, and needs changes how I view conflict in my relationships.  If I am dependent on you to meet those deep needs of mine, I will surely hold you to expectations impossible to meet.

2. Living in constant interaction with, and dependence on, God allows a person to enter times of conflict with a heart of love.  When God is the provider of someone’s deep needs, that person can shift their relationship goals from getting their own needs met to building a healthy relationship with another person.  They’ll also less frequently be offended when things don’t go their way.

3. Friction in a relationship is not bad.  It is a marker of true relationship that can lead to growth.

4. Because conflict in relationship often produces a painful emotional response, it provides me an opportunity to open my heart to God to receive His love and truth.  This process reinforces my need for God and His love for me if I choose to bring to Him this pain.  It’s often not a comfortable option.

5. Relational friction and conflict are opportunities for me to share unconditional love with someone else by placing their needs ahead of my own self interests.

6. Trusting in God’s unconditional love for me tears down my own insecurity and allows me to be teachable.  This puts me in a position where I can truly hear what you have to say, even if it’s painful or even if you’re wrong.  I’m able to grow and learn from you and each experience.

7. If friction or conflict is handled in a healthy way, the relationship will be even stronger.  This is the true definition of peace from the Greek word irene, which is a medical term that refers to the occurrence when a broken bone is mended, that it becomes stronger than it was even before the break.

8. When we operate this way in relationships, we become living proof to those around us that God’s love is stronger than any opposition and has the power to overcome any obstacle.

There is so much to write about in the field of health, but real life happens when people come together.  Hope you enjoyed this post.  Please comment below.  Also, if you missed last week’s post, check it out here.  It’s my own personal story.  Stay tuned for a new post next week.

Eric McMullen, C.N.C, M.Ed.

p.s. the wonderful picture is one of my favorites from Celina Baird over at



My Story: Finding Health and Purpose

Hey friends,

This is the first post in what I hope becomes a very worth-while health resource for community friends and folks out there on the web.  Few of us have time to sift through all that we read or hear on health issues these days, but I DO.  I’ve made it part of my job.  To be honest, part of the deal is that I love to learn about this stuff.  I stay up at night and read the latest clinical studies and research reports.  But, the other side is that I love talking with people about their health, and love hearing that their lives have improved without the side effects of pharmaceutical drugs!  Since completing a program a few years back in clinical nutrition, I’ve spent my time studying herbal medicine and holistic nutrition, focusing on uncovering and treating the root causes of disease.  My approach is straightforward: I try to help people find where there has been a disconnect in their life-

  • a disconnect with their body in what it needs or doesn’t need,
  • a disconnect with their emotions in what the heart and mind need or don’t need0r
  • a disconnect in spirit with God or other people.

When the connection comes, real health always follows.

Falling Down and Getting Up

My voyage into the world of health and wellness began a few years ago following a period in my life of lost hope and crippling depression.  At age 23, with a lack of direction and broken relationships in my life, my mind and emotions became a runaway train that I couldn’t slow down.  I’ve always been a slender guy, but at 6’2″ I went from my normal 170 pounds to 130 pounds in 6 months and felt like death!  I was tormented by condemning voices that kept me stressed out and unable to sleep for nearly a year (felt like a lifetime).  Worst of all, I isolated myself, ashamed of how crazy and pathetic I had become.  Finally, unable to hide it any longer, I let a few friends in on just how miserable I was.

Eric, you should get counseling, was the common consensus.  I still don’t know why, but I was stubbornly opposed to this.  How I could be stubborn about anything at that point I don’t know, but when a friend told me about a couple of pastors from Cabot, Arkansas who said they could help me, for whatever reason, I went for it.  Alan Alford and Tim Baize- I met with them 3 times a week for a couple of months doing what we now refer to as Seed Digginga technique where you deal with spiritual/emotional issues by digging through all your weeds to uncover the root causes (seeds) in your life to bring truth and healing.  It was life-changing!  The condemning voices in my head went away.  I started to get my health back.  I connected with God in a deep and personal way.  I had also formed friendships with these guys that have remained strong to this day.  In particular, it was through conversations I would have with Alan that my eyes were opened to a deeper meaning of health and wellness.

A Vision for Health

I could see that there was no use separating our physical health from our emotions and spirit.

Alan spent a big part of every week helping folks just like me.  He didn’t know the first thing about nutrition, but when people’s hearts and minds were healed during his Seed Digging sessions, he watched health conditions improve, speech impediments disappear, families reconnect, weight loss, and all kinds of things across life’s spectrum.  I talked to him about health and nutrition and he’d talk about the soul.  I could see that there was no use separating our physical health from our emotions and spirit.  Like many tributaries feeding into a single pool of water, we are a collective union.  Our spirits flow into the same pool our emotions do, the same as our physical body processes do.

I’ve known since that time that I wanted to play my  part in bringing people into health.  My particular fields of study are herbal medicine, clinical nutrition, and health coaching, but a big part of how I help people is by bringing a holistic approach to their health.  This also provides me the opportunity to lean on a network of people that share the same passion for health as I do, whether they are doctors, farmers, teachers, restaurant owners, counselors, or truck drivers’ wives.  Additionally, my plan is to post information and resources on this blog that will be helpful and relevant to you on your journey.

Thanks for reading my story.  You can follow the Natural Food Store on facebook where we’ll post updates to our health blog.  You can also come visit our team at the store in Searcy, or connect with me through Grace Wellness Community.

Eric McMullen, C.N.C.