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a special information feature brought to you by the canadian health food association

When it comes to health, we all know how important eating properly is. But often we find it difficult to make the time to prepare a meal from scratch and sit down as a family to enjoy it.Getty Images/iStockphoto

When it comes to health, we all know how important eating properly is. But often we find it difficult to make the time to prepare a meal from scratch and sit down as a family to enjoy it. Working late, commuting, soccer practice and music lessons all make eating wholesome meals together a rare occurrence instead of a regular routine. On top of our daily diet woes, we also have to consider what else we are exposed to in the products we are using to clean ourselves and our homes.

"We want Canadians to make small changes that will benefit their health and that of their families. By suggesting a number of staple products that should be in every home and by encouraging families to make changes to their daily and weekly routines, we hope to make natural health more accessible to all," says Helen Sherrard, president of the Canadian Health Food Association (CHFA).

To help navigate the natural health sector, CHFA has developed a five-part guide to make simple, natural changes that can have a positive impact on the health of the entire family:

  1. Supplement essentials – There are so many products on the market that it’s hard to know where to start. It is always best to talk to your health-care practitioner, but you may want to consider incorporating these essential supplements into your family’s daily routine: Omega-3 fats for cardiovascular health; probiotics and prebiotics for a balanced digestion and a boost to your improved immune system; vitamin D for bone health; and multivitamins to make up for nutritional shortfalls.
  2. Green cleaning 101 – When shopping for household cleaners, look at the labels carefully and know what’s in the products you are purchasing. When possible, opt for green products or make your own “do-it-yourself” cleaners that are safe and effective alternatives to the chemical-ridden options we often purchase. Visit for some home cleaning recipes. 
  3. Healthy hygiene – Be mindful of what you and your family are spreading on your skin by reading product labels and avoiding products containing BHA and BHTm, phthalates, parabens and siloxanes. Natural personal care products are an important way for you to reduce your exposure to potentially harmful chemicals. Many health food stores provide natural alternatives to the chemical feasts of conventional cosmetics. Check with health food store retailer for recommendations or try making your own.
  4. Go organic – Eating nutritious, organic whole foods is a great way to reduce exposure to unwanted pesticides and other potentially harmful residues. As a result, being strategic in your food choices can significantly reduce your family’s exposure to pesticides. 
  5. Natural first aid kits – When you or your children experience minor bumps or bruises, you often rush to the medicine cabinet as a first aid solution. However, there are plenty of natural approaches you may want to consider. Give your first aid kit a natural boost by adding coconut oil, unpasteurized honey, arnica or aloe vera. These products will help you heal quicker and more naturally.

When it comes to purchasing natural health products, organics or greener cleaners, there are plenty of options. A good place to start is your local natural health retailer, where informed staff can provide one-on-one help and provide answers to all your questions. Visit to find your nearest health food store.