How Nutrition Affects Alcoholism

January 26, 2012 by  
Filed under Featured, Health Articles

Img Src: Cuba Gallery

I’m reading a book right now which is blowing the lid off my mind.

Bear with the hokey title:

“The Vitamin Cure for Alcoholism” by Dr Abram Hoffer Md Phd and Andrew W Saul PhD.

The authors claim with such certainty that alcoholism is a result of hypoglycaemia, nutritional deficiencies, allergies, aside from the obvious environmental issues.

In it, the authors make some bold claims:

  • “I tested over 300 alcoholics with a glucose tolerance test and did not find even one patient who had a normal result.
  • “The treatment was to avoid sugar, which is very difficult especially for alcoholics.
  • “Alcohol…is basically liquid sugar…and a slow-acting poison.
  • “When malnutrition or nutrient starvation is present, it is impossible to respond effectively to any medical treatment.

These statements are reminiscent of Dr Russell Blaylock’s lecture called “Nutrition and Behaviour” which details a study of alcoholic inmates.

95% of them were hypoglycaemic.

They separated them into two groups, fed one of them a healthy diet, and allowed the control group to continue eating their junk food diet.

Those who stayed on the healthy diet had a 71% success rate of sobriety – compare that to AA’s sobriety rate of 25%.

Back to Hoffer’s book:

  • “Alcoholism and drug addiction, so often portrayed as without cure, can indeed be ended with high-dose nutrient therapy.

It gets bolder:

  • “We are convinced that healthy people will not become alcoholics.
  • “Only people who are not healthy become alcoholics.
  • “We would go so far as to state it as a law: only the sick become alcoholic.”

They go on to describe the megadose or Orthomolecular treatment plan which has worked to help their patients, including Bill Wilson, the founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, use vitamins such as B3, B6, Vitamin C, and others, to effectively kill off any cravings for alcohol, even when one has achieved sobriety through AA, and also eliminate any negative side effects from long-term alcoholism such as depression, anxiety, fatigue, and so on.


Bear in mind that this book is written by two of the heavyweights of Orthomolecular Medicine.

Dr Hoffer pioneered the field and conducted psychiatry’s first randomly controlled double-blind placebo trial ever in the 1950s.

Andrew Saul was on the faculty of the State University of New York for nine years, and taught nutrition, health science and cell biology at the college level.

What do you think? Excitement or Quackery?

Raw Vegan Potluck Groups in Ontario

August 25, 2011 by  
Filed under Featured, Health Articles


Join a raw vegan potluck in your area!

These groups are not for profit and run on a recurring basis.

The goal is to bring together like-minded folks to create a supportive community.

Have fun!

Reversing Schizophrenia with Orthomolecular Medicine

August 23, 2011 by  
Filed under Anti Aging Articles, Featured

Abram Hoffer's book, Orthomolecular Medicine for Everyone

The late Canadian Doctor Abram Hoffer MD PhD helped almost 10,000 schizophrenics heal, improve and even be cured, yes cured, with something called Orthomolecular Therapy. That’s the practice of administering mega doses of vitamins to reverse disease.

His success rate was 85%.

Hoffer used niacin (b3). For example, someone would take 3g of B3, 3g of Vitamin C and eliminate food allergens (gluten, dairy, corn, etc).

Food Allergies & Reversing Schizophrenia

I recently met Dr Eric Paterson MD from Creston, BC who has been healing people of schizophrenia since 1973.

One of his first cases: a 14 year old boy had developed schizophrenic symptoms.

He wanted to see if he had allergies so he first put him on a water fast for 5 days and then slowly added food back into his diet to see if he had any reactions.

After the 6th day, the boy’s symptoms were inflamed and he found out that he had eaten a single red Smartie from his brother.

His parents said that before he developed symptoms, he ate many red freezies.

Dr Paterson found that he was allergic to red dye #A2.

He gave him 3g B3, 3g Vitamin C, a strict no sugar or refined carb diet, and told him to stay away from any artificially red food.

The student recovered, became captain of his rugby team and now is a lawyer with kids in BC.

This field is exceptionally exciting in terms of what can be done on top of a raw food diet – adding mega-doses of natural supplements can literally reverse disease.

This is the tip of the iceberg as far as Orthomolecular Therapy goes – find out more by visiting



Wild Edibles in Southern Ontario

June 1, 2011 by  
Filed under Featured, Health Articles

Wild food is some of the most nutritious – even more than organic produce – because the soil hasn’t been tampered with compared to farming.


Here’s how to identify your local native plants, the health benefits, and how to consume them.


This season, we’ll have lots of wild harvested food on the House of Verona retreat menu.

We’ll also be offering wild edible walks in the Blue Mountain area for our guests to pick and discover their own wild, highly nutritious foods.

Book a customized retreat by emailing or call 1-800-252-2826.


Disclaimer – NEVER eat anything unless you are 100% sure what it is – consult a field guide or herbalist expert if you are not sure.





Health benefits: High in vitamin A and protein; good to cleanse the liver.

To use: throw flowers in salads or dehydrate the roots to make an instant coffee substitute. Use the greens in smoothies or salads. Pick them in the spring so that they’re not as bitter.


Health benefits: calcium, chromium, vitamin C, magnesium, potassium, niacin, thiamine and phosphorus, notes the University of Maryland Medical Center.

To use: the flowers and leaves are edible in salads, smoothies or teas.


Wood sorrel

This clover look-a-like tastes very lemony and has darling heart shaped leaves.

Health benefits: high in vitamin C; also used by Native Canadians to relieve thirst.

To use: Throw in salads or smoothies.



Wild garlic mustard

Health benefits: shown to reduce “bad” cholesterol and strengthen immunity

To use: add to salads, soups, or anything else you’d use garlic or mustard in.



Wild leeks

Found in forests particularly in damp conditions.

Health benefits: source of manganese, vitamin C, iron, folate, and B6.

To use: use the entire plant just like you would an onion or a clove of garlic. Best picked in late spring/early summer


Wild peppermint

You can tell it is mint because the stem is square-shaped. Some species have purple leaves.

Health benefits: has been shown to soothe stomach aches, and a source of vitamin C and A.

To use: in teas, smoothies, or salads




Recognized by its broad leaves and red root, this sucker is all over downtown Toronto.

Health benefits: removes toxins from the bloodstream.

To use: Use the root to make a detoxifying tea, rub the root on hives from stinging nettles to act as an antidote, or use the root as you would any other root vegetable (potatoes, carrots, beets..)



Jewel-weed, aka Spotted Touch-me-not

Crack open the stem and juice oozes out which is the Canadian answer to aloe vera.

Health benefits: Soothing – it treats insect bites, burns and poison ivy.

To use: Cut open stem and apply topically.



Dog-toothed violet, aka Troutlilly

Found in forests under thick canopies.

Health benefits: shown to reduce “bad” cholesterol

To use: Great in salads or smoothies.



This green has an anise or “root beer” fragrance.

Health benefits: helps to cleanse the digestive system.

To use: Make a tea out of the leaves and yellow flowers.



Wild carrot aka Queen Anne’s lace
This ubiquitous flower is actually a wild carrot

Health benefits: high in vitamins A, K and C.

To use: just as you would any carrot: salads, soups, mixed vegetable dishes.

Careful: There are poisonous lookalikes – only eat this if it actually smells like carrot!



Also known as cat-mint, it’s identifiable by its square purplish-green stem and purplish leaves

Health benefits: getting your cat high.

To use: slip under Muffin’s nose and watch her go wild.



Part of the mint family, it’s what many earl gray teas are actually made from

Health benefits: it’s a diuretic, so it’ll clean you out

To use: steep into a tea




This little guy is a very common “weed”.

Health benefits: an antidote to skin irritants.

To use: Crush it up and use it to soothe bee stings, insect bites, and poison ivy.


Cat Tails

Called the supermarket of the wilderness, every part can be eaten.

Health benefits: loaded with raw starch, nutrients and carbohydrates to keep you alive in the forest

To use: pull a live green tail out of the water, peel off a few leaves and eat it like celery. Open up the fuzzy brown top to reveal pollen, which can be used just as flour is used – mix into batters.


St John’s Wort

This grows wild but is native to Germany. The green sprouts beside the brown dried seeds are what is used to harvest the herb. The purple dots on the underside of the leaves are what contain the medicinal chemical.

Health benefits: a potent anti-depressant – but never to be used by pregnant women, as there are negative side effects

To use: Don’t. It’s not advised to experiment without knowing the real dosage level. Best to buy a natural supplement instead.


Wild rice (which is actually a grass) and wild asparagus can also be found in Ontario.



Willow trees

All willow trees are a source of ASA, or a natural source of aspirin

Health benefits: a reliable non-opiate painkiller found in the forest

To use: cut off a branch and steep slowly on medium or low heat for an hour in water. Strain & drink. Never boil.



White Cedar

Health benefits: very high in vitamin C; prevents insect bites when used topically.

To use: crush the greens between your hands and rub on your skin as a natural bug spray, or steep into a tea. Never boil.


All Evergreens

Any evergreen tree is high in vitamin C
Steep needles slowly to make a tea – never boil for a tea it unless you want to ingest a toxic syrup.




Black Cherries

These come from the black cherry tree, identifiable by bark that resembles Corn Flakes.

Health benefits: high in antioxidants.

To use: gather the fruit which has fallen at the base of the tree.




Found all over Toronto, ripe mulberries are nature’s gummi bears.

Health benefits: high in antioxidants.

To use: shake the tree & eat. Careful: only eat if it’s ripe. Unripe mulberries and leaves are hallucinogenic!



Staghorn sumac tree

Her fuzzy antler-like branches are easy to spot.

Health benefits: very high in vitamin C.

To use: Steep red fruit & strain to make a tart tea. Chill to make sumac lemonade.

Tip: The berries are the best picked in the fall.



Juniper Berries

These tiny blue berries have a distinct cedar taste.

Health benefits: high in antioxidants, but an old wives’ tale says that too much can make you sterile.

To use: Add dried & crushed berries to sauces



Any rose flowers are edible, regardless of the species.

Health benefits: very high in vitamin C

To use: Rosehips are the fruit when the petals of the flower falls off. The leaves and flowers are also edible in salads or teas.

I wouldn’t eat roses grown for the “love industry” – not sure the dyes or pesticides sprayed on there.


Wild grapes, wild raspberries, and wild strawberry can also be found in Ontario.



An OceanGrown Heirloom CSA is coming to Toronto

February 25, 2011 by  
Filed under Featured, Health Articles

Photo: My Tartelette

We were so excited to hear that an OceanGrown Heirloom CSA is coming to the GTA in spring 2011!

What is a CSA?

Standing for Community Supported Agriculture, a CSA is an arrangement where a group of people purchase shares in a farmer’s yield. The farmer tends to it and then delivers the produce weekly.

The advantages of a CSA for farmers:

  • They are is paid upfront for the season (in deposits) and do not have to worry about sales – only on producing the best crop possible
  • They can obtain input from shareholders on what they want to eat, so it’s easy to modify supply based on demand
The advantages of a CSA for consumers:

  • They can meet the farmer and knows exactly where their food is coming from
  • They can influence what is grown since they are shareholders
  • They are supporting their local farming community
  • They are participating in a more sustainable way of eating

Photo: Cannelle et Vanille

New Wave Organics (+1-519-492-2990) is a Guelph-based CSA which will be growing heirloom produce with OceanSolution, which is a type of water that contains 90 trace minerals.

Food that is grown with OceanSolution is highly superior to even regular organic produce because it is packed with almost all of the possible trace minerals your body needs. The colour, texture, and flavour are also greatly enhanced.

Photo: Cannelle et Vanille

Below is the list that they will produce – if there are certain vegetables you want them to grow, let them know and they’ll do their best to grow it!
  • Beets – 3 varieties delivered with the tops
  • Beans – green, yellow, purple
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cucumbers
  • Carrots – orange & purple
  • Herbs – dill, parsley, basil, oregano, mint
  • Lettuce – romaine, leaf, bib/butterhead
  • Garlic
  • Kale
  • Onions – bulb & green
  • Peas – snap & snow
  • Peppers – hot varieties
  • Potatoes – white & red
  • Radishes – delivered with tops on
  • Rhubarb
  • Spinach
  • Swiss Chard
  • Tomatoes – red & yellow
  • Turnip
  • Watermelon – mini
  • Cantaloupe
  • Zucchini
  • Winter Squash
  • Wheatgrass & Sprouts

Wild food:

  • Wild Elderberries
  • Wild Hops
  • Wild Lamb’s Quarters
  • Wild Pigweed
  • Wild Arugula
  • Wild Dandelion
  • Wild Mustard Greens
  • Wild Purslane
  • Wild Nettle
  • Wild Horsetail

Stewart, Farmer at New Wave Organics

Shares will go on sale next month. The House of Verona doesn’t take a commission – we just fully support what these fine folks are doing.

Upcoming Retreats

We’ve bought the first share of the CSA and will begin integrating their produce onto our spring & summertime menu.

Our spring retreats are filling up and early-bird deadlines for reduced rates are approaching:

Call 1-800-252-2826 or email to reserve a spot.

Growing your own superfoods

February 8, 2011 by  
Filed under Featured, Health Articles

We were thrilled to learn that model and blogger Anthony Anderson (also known as the “raw model”) has recently come out with a line of superfood seeds which can be grown even in a Canadian climate.

Here’s what he provides:

  • Astragalus (immunity, digestion, metabolism, heart health)
  • Burdock (vitamins A, Bs, and EFAs; cleans the blood)
  • Calendula (flavonoids, antiviral, anti-inflammatory)
  • Dandelion (almost all vitamins, minerals and aminos)
  • Goji Berry (all aminos, 5x vitamin C of oranges)
  • Holy Basil (antimicrobial, acne, antifungal, anticandida)
  • Lambs Quarters (almost all vitamins, minerals & aminos)
  • Maca (libido, sexual dysfunction)
  • Nettles (urinary tract, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, prostate)
  • Stevia (only sweetener on earth which doesn’t raise insulin)
  • Wild Chamomile (flavonoids, diabetic symptoms, anti-inflammatory)
  • Wild Cherry Tomato (vitamin C, K, A, Bs, anti-oxidants)
  • Wild Mountain Spinach (almost all nutrients and aminos)

seeds packaging

Most are easy enough to plant using basic gardening skills.

If you haven’t gardened before, call our friends at the Young Urban Farmers – they are the absolute experts on how to grow food in urban centres.

Growing with OceanSolution also boosts the minerals in your food.

Growing your own food is not only extremely rewarding, but so beautifully sustainable – even in a city, you can help local insects and birds thrive while improving your personal air quality, well-being and self esteem.

If you’re looking to jump-start your motivation to be healthy, join one of our spring retreats and eat fresh, local, wild & organic foods on our gourmet menu where many items are made with food we grow ourselves.

Coming up:

Philip McCluskey’s Juice Fast Retreat – May 5-8 or 5-11
Eva Sue Wah Sing’s Fight Cancer w/ Foods Retreat – June 3-5
Marni Wasserman’s Spring Cleanse Retreat – June 26-30

Or, customize your own private retreat for a group of 4-100.

Give us a ring at 1-800-252-2826 to book a spot.

Holiday Gift Cards Now Available

December 1, 2010 by  
Filed under Featured, Health Articles

In the spirit of the holidays, your favourite raw/vegan vacation property is giving away extra gifts with each purchase of a gift card for the holidays.

Gift cards can be put towards either:

  • an upcoming group retreat; or,
  • a private retreat for your family or group of friends

When you purchase your card, we’ll send you a personalized wooden gift card in the mail on the same day, with a personalized note for your recipient.

Here’s how to order a card:

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah, and Happy Holidays!

How a raw vegan corrected her vision naturally

November 16, 2010 by  
Filed under Featured, Health Articles

Jen Laur - After (corrected eyesight)

Jen Laur, owner of Raw Love, Life Food, a Toronto-based catering company she owns with her husband Mike, recently lead a raw food retreat with the House of Verona. On that retreat, she shared her story of how she corrected her eyesight after going raw.

Like so many, Jen suffered from poor eyesight. Once believing eyeglasses were a permanent sentence, her perspective shifted after attending a vision-correcting seminar. She was surprised to learn that a traumatic event is often a trigger to bad vision and immediately thought back to a stressful event, which seemed to affect her vision overnight.

Jen and Mike Laur - before going raw (poor eyesight)

She began looking into alternative therapy for eyesight, including the Bates method, which takes a proactive, holistic approach to correcting eyesight that includes exercise and nutrition.

Jen took full responsibility for her eye health and realized that in addition to exercises, her diet was a crucial component of her healing.

Jen’s raw vegan diet was full of nutrients her eyes needed to repair themselves. She noted that the most important nutrients for her eyesight included:

  • Vitamin B12
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin C
  • Omega 3 Fatty Acids (sprouted chia seeds are the highest food source)
  • Zinc

Eating foods whole and raw ensures that the maximum amount of nutrients remain intact.

According to Dr. Mercola, lutein is also an essential nutrient for proper eye health. Lutein is found in dark leafy green vegetables and produce with a strong yellow colour, such as papayas, oranges, squash, and carrots.

Just like an athlete needs to support strength training with proper nutrition, Jen continues to fuel herself with eye-supporting foods (the eye is, after all, part muscle!) Now, Jen enjoys vision that is better than when she wore glasses.

Jen’s top foods and supplements for eyesight:

  • Gogi berries (high in beta-carotene and antioxidants)
  • Chia seeds (excellent source of Essential Fatty Acids)
  • Marine Phytoplankton (incredible rich source of nutrients, supports cellular health)

To contact Jen Laur, or put in an order for organic raw food to be catered to you in Toronto, email or call +1-416-551-8820.

To book a spot on a raw food retreat at the House of Verona, call 1-800-252-2826 or email

Guest Author Kristen Mehendale is a Holistic Nutritionist in Toronto, Ontario. View her website at and follow her on Twitter @HappyCellsKM.

How a 72-year-old stays looking 40

November 10, 2010 by  
Filed under Anti Aging Articles, Featured

Being voted “World’s Sexiest Vegetarian” would be an honor at any age — but imagine receiving the title at 72.

We recently chatted with Mimi Kirk, recipient of this award and long time vegetarian. Not only is she beautiful, but she possesses an energy that would make people in their 30s envious.

“I wake up in the morning and feel like I’m in my 20s. I pop out of bed mentally alert and physically excellent.” According to Mimi, the secret is simple: a clean diet, packed with raw fruits and vegetables.
Mimi has been vegetarian for 40 years but in the past 3 has shifted towards more raw foods and has never felt better.
“In the first 2 weeks of going raw, my skin looked younger, my face looked younger, my teeth looked whiter.”

The basis of Mimi’s diet is drinks rich in dark, leafy greens and fruits. “I was drinking a lot of wheatgrass.”

Her blood pressure and cholesterol, as well as any arthritic pain, have all decreased. Unlike other women her age, Mimi has not experienced significant hair loss: “my hair is so thick right now!” Mimi’s own hairdresser was shocked to see her hair growing in darker when she went in for a touchup (learn more about how to reverse grays here).

Mimi’s Top Tips for Staying Youthful:

  1. Eat a clean diet full of raw foods
  2. Use natural skincare products, like Organic Virgin Coconut Oil
  3. Hold your nose and chug down that wheatgrass!
  4. Keep skin clean and exfoliate with glycerine and quality salt
  5. Stay active and social

Mimi’s story is so inspiring as it proves that it is never too late to make changes.  “I’m living proof that if you eat well, you can stay looking healthy and young, it doesn’t matter how late you start, even in your 60s and 70s.”

To learn more about Mimi, view her Facebook Fan Page, and stay tuned for her upcoming book Eat Raw, Stay Hot due out in April 2011

To learn how to go raw yourself, try going on one of our raw retreats in Blue Mountain, Ontario.

Guest Author Kristen Mehendale is a Holistic Nutritionist in Toronto, Ontario. View her website at and follow her on Twitter @HappyCellsKM.

Raw vegan NHL player stays muscular with these foods

October 14, 2010 by  
Filed under Featured, Health Articles

I recently had the chance to sit down with former NHL Right Wing for the Montreal Canadians, Georges Laraque, at the Raw Aura restaurant hosted by Chef Douglas McNish.

Georges shared that he’s a strict 100% vegan and 80% raw, and he was this way even when he was on the ice.

I asked him how he is able to maintain enough muscle mass while competing in the NHL on a raw vegan diet.

His advice: “Tons of kale. Lots of goji berries, as they’re a complete protein, full of amino acids. It was very important for me to eat a lot of cooked quinoa when I was on the ice. Vega protein powder helped me as well.”

Georges recently competed on CBC's Battle of the Blades

Georges went vegan for animal rights purposes, but now reports that he’s never felt better, and he wishes he had made the decision years ago. A quote from his official website states, “my energy level is stronger and my strength has increased too. My health has never been better in all areas.”

He goes on to say, “If you want to try to be a vegetarian, but are under the impression that you will not get enough protein or that you will look skinny, rest assured that there is tons of protein in vegetarian products that are much better for your health because vegetarian products aren’t filled with the cholesterol that animal protein is filled with.”

Georges Laraque is fuelled by a 100% plant-based diet

“Some of the greatest athletes in the world are vegetarians like retired four-time NBA champion John Salley, Carl Lewis (who was named Olympian of the Century by Sports Illustrated), NFL’s Tony Gonzalez and the MLB’s Prince Fielder among others.”

We love Georges tremendously for his compassion towards animals, his passion for activism, and the fact that although he was the most feared player on the ice, he was one of the kindest ones off the rink.

Have a look at his campaign for Haiti, view the film Earthlings which converted him towards veganism, or book a spot on a raw vegan retreat to learn how to go vegan yourself.

Follow Georges on Twitter here.

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