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Made from Food — MegaFood!

Plain and Simple — Supplements Made from Food

When Mega Food started in 1973, they wanted to keep it simple — to “produce superior whole food supplements for those who care about their health and well being” (from the Mega Food website).

They found a wonderful little red house in Derry, New Hampshire, and went to work.  When we visited the Mega Food headquarters with several of our Supplement Managers, they had recently moved from the red house into a new state-of-the art facility with testing labs and impressive procedures.

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Here’s the Lassen’s crew with at the Mega Food plant!

One remarkable characteristic that actually kind of surprised me was their amazing transparency. They call it:  

Mega+Food, Big+T+transparency, whole+food+supplements

And they really mean it. I have toured a lot of facilities, and the vast majority of the time I have to leave my camera in the car. But not with Mega Food. They wanted me to take pictures of all of the processing and testing. 

That’s not all — Anyone can take a look at Mega Food’s facilities as well. Just go onto their website and find the Live Facility Cam (Click here) and you can see what is happening in each step of the production. (Just remember that they are on Eastern Time, so you won’t see much if you log on at 8:00 pm!)

Mega+Food, whole+food+supplements, vitamins+and+minerals+made+from+food
He’s showing us the machine that crushes and blends the foods before they are dried.

Mega Food’s focus has always been “Food First,” and so they find the foods that best deliver vitamins and minerals. Mega Food is really proud of their farmers, and they include them on their website. Click here to see their farmers!  Those foods are crushed and pulverized, and tested to make sure they deliver the nutrients promised. Some batches require the addition of some vitamins and minerals to bring them to the label amounts. In an amazing set of machines, the pulp is then cool dried. 

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It looks a bit like a smoothie!

The pulp looks like a thick smoothie as it is spread onto the dryers. The temperature stays low and air is circulated around the pulp to dry it very thin.

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After it slowly went through the machine, we were able to sample the crispy product!

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Mega Food values consistency in their products, and they want to make sure every tablet contains what is on the label, so they blend the materials in a beast of a machine called the  Bear Claw. We were lucky to see it at work when we were there!

Mega+Food, whole+food+supplements, vitamins+and+minerals+made+from+food
The Bear Claw tipped every which way to blend all of the product!

Next comes tableting, coating (so that the tablets hold together and are protected from moisture and air), bottling, and then shipping.

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We also spent some time with Mega Food scientists/product developers, and were able to taste their upcoming products — Vitamin C Gummies and B-12 Gummies. It was fun to give them our opinions! Watch for these products within the next year.

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Coming Soon to a Lassen’s near you!

We had a fantastic time with some of our valued team members visiting Mega Food in New Hampshire. Since Lassen’s started in 1971, just two years before they did, we have been partners with this wonderful company almost from the beginning! Their high quality and commitment to integrity and transparency makes them leaders in the industry, and we are proud to carry their amazing products. 

Thanks, Mega Food, for your hospitality!



activated+charcoal, many+uses+for+charcoal, what+good+is+activated+charcoal

The Surprising Versatility of Activated Charcoal

And We’re Not Talking Barbecue!

One of the first times I had heard the term “Activated Charcoal” was when I had little kids and wanted to make sure my first aid kit was complete.  I learned that activated charcoal was an essential treatment for accidental poisoning, which is always a fear with little curious kids! 

But I didn’t really understand much about how it worked. Activated Charcoal has millions of tiny pores that trap chemicals and toxins. The chemicals and toxins bind to the charcoal,  preventing absorption by the body, and then will be flushed out of the body. It is super important to drink lots of water  (12-16 glasses per day!) to assist with this flushing. People who don’t drink this much water can become dehydrated, which is not a good thing either! (Be careful to not use Activated Charcoal with acids, petroleum products, lye, alcohol, or other corrosive products.) Consult the Poison Control Center, or 911 to get the proper dosing when you realize there has been ingestion of toxic substances. And of course get the patient to an Emergency Room. 

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Image from Nature’s Way Website

It is logical then, considering that Activated Charcoal traps chemical and toxins, that there is so much more that Activated Charcoal can do! The most obvious one is to mitigate gas and bloating. Lassen’s carries various Charcoal capsules and tablets which are great to have on hand for those occasions when your digestion needs a little help! If you know you are going to be eating a meal that is likely to produce gas and bloating, you can preemptively take some activated charcoal beforehand.  It also can be used if you suspect food poisoning with nausea and diarrhea.

If you’re planning on a Juice Cleanse for the New Year, add some Activated Charcoal to your regime to sweep out those toxins.  And even if you’re not doing a formal juice cleanse, our Deli juices have charcoal add-ons if you want a boost, too!

If you’ve been bitten by mosquitos, spiders, or snakes, or stung by a bee, mix some activated charcoal with a little coconut oil, and then apply a little to the sting area. Apply a bandage, since charcoal can stain! Reapply regularly (up to every 30 minutes) to reduce itching and swelling. 

You can make a skin mask with activated charcoal and Aloe Vera. Apply and let dry, then rinse thoroughly. This helps draw impurities out of the pores and removes dead skin cells. Lassen’s also carries several soaps and masks that contain activated charcoal too.  

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Image from the Organika site

Many water filters use Activated Charcoal as the main component of the filter, and for good reason! It can remove the chemicals that are in our water, including pesticides, (some) fluoride, industrial waste, and other toxins. If your filter says, “Carbon Filter,” it uses Activated Charcoal.

There are some cautions — don’t take Activated Charcoal without about two hours of taking prescriptions or over-the-counter drugs, and again, don’t forget those 12-16 glasses of water.(Consult your doctor for potential adverse drug interactions.) You will also want to avoid taking your supplements within two hours of taking charcoal. 

uses+for+activated+charcoal, activated+charcoal
image from My Magic Mud website

One of the biggest uses for Activated Charcoal in the news lately is to whiten teeth. It almost seems crazy that something black can whiten teeth! But it can, and does. It can even remove stains! You can use straight activated charcoal powder — wet your toothbrush and dip it in the powder. Brush normally, and then spit and rinse thoroughly. The powder will stain grout, so be careful to contain the charcoal in your mouth and in the sink. (It can be messy.) There have been some reports that charcoal can stain crowns and veneers, so check with your dentist. There are also some charcoal toothpastes which will be less messy. 

One exciting use for Activated Charcoal is to reduce bad cholesterol. There was an article in the Lancet (in 1986!) that indicated that charcoal helped reduce bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol with negligible side effects. (See this link for more info on dosage and results.)

The more I learn about nature, the more I see how it has provided so many wonderful things to help us get and stay healthy! Activated Charcoal is one of those things that nature has given to us. Lassen’s carries many products that contain Activated Charcoal, and our helpful supplement and cosmetics staff can help you find just the right products for you!

Here’s to a healthy and happy 2018!



How+we+began, Oda+Lassen, Lassens+Natural+Foods+and+Vitamins+origin+story, Lassens+how+we+began

One Hundred Years Ago…

It was a Different World, for Sure!

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Oda Lassen’s family, about a year before she was born. Around 1917













When the year 1918 began, the Great War — World War I, as it would be later known — was still raging, although it would end before the year did. Russia declared a republic of Soviets. There was a huge, worldwide health crisis — the Great Influenza Pandemic — which would kill between 50 – 100 million people. Europe was in turmoil, and America was too.

In that upheaval, the little country of Denmark, situated just north of Germany, tried to remain neutral. Family life continued, and on August 21, 1918, a baby girl was born to Larsine and Thomas Nielsen.  They named her Oda Helene.  Her father was at sea — a common career for numerous Danes — and didn’t see her until she was 8 months old. Larsine had a photograph taken of herself and two-month-old baby Oda so she could send it to Thomas.

Oda+Lassen, Lassens+Natural+Foods+and+Vitamins+origin+story, Lassens+how+we+began
Oda Helene Nielsen, later Lassen, about two months old with her mother Larsine Nielsen

Although born into this worldwide upheaval, once World War 1 ended, Oda grew up in a Denmark which began to thrive once again.  Oda loved being with her two sisters and three brothers, excelled in school, had many friends, and enjoyed her life in Aalborg. She developed a love of nutritious and delicious food. She particularly enjoyed visiting her neighbors who might sell some of the produce from their gardens. Every spring, even many decades later, she was on the lookout for young English peas which reminded her of those sweet childhood days. 

How+we+began, Oda+Lassen, Lassens+Natural+Foods+and+Vitamins+origin+story, Lassens+how+we+began
One of my favorite photos of Oda. She’s wearing an outfit that a doting auntie (Tante, in Danish) made for her.





















Oda developed and displayed many of her strongest qualities at an early age — strength, determination, and bravery. She was smart and capable. She was happy and energetic.

These characteristics served her well during the challenges that she would have to face during her lifetime.  

Now it is 2018, and in the coming months watch this space for monthly updates on the life of our founder, Oda Lassen. On January 8, we remember and mourn once again her loss five years ago in 2013 at the age of 94 1/2. But we honor her and everything that she dreamed for our family and our business. 

So Oda, we are thinking of you in 2018 — one hundred years since the year of your birth!







Collagen — Good for Every Body

Want Strong and Healthy Joints, Bones, Skin, Tendons, and More?

collagen+strength, strong+bones+and+joints, first+marathon, Diestel+meats
One of the Lassens about to run his first marathon!

Collagen may be just what you’re looking for.  It is one of the building blocks of our physical bodies — a structural protein that is found in those joints, bones, skin, and tendons, as well as many other places in the body. It is the most abundant protein in our bodies. Connective tissue is built mainly from collagen. It is a fibrous protein, with its molecules packed together to form long fibers.  These fibers give skin elasticity and are incredibly strong — I read in a couple of places that, gram for gram, they are stronger than steel!  There are more than a dozen kinds of collagen, which have different kinds of structures and functions in the body. There are 19 different amino acids in collagen, which makes it a complete protein.

At this point in my research, the chemistry got a little dense for me, but let’s just say that in any case, collagen is a vital part of a strong and healthy body. 

What Does Collagen Do in the Body?

Let’s just start with the skin. In the middle layer of the skin (the dermis), collagen helps form a foundation for the growth of new cells, as well as restoring and replacing dead skin cells. Any wounds we have are assisted in their healing by collagen. It plays a role in healthy digestion by keeping the protective lining of the digestive tract strong. Our bones, joints, cartilage, tendons, all rely on collagen for elasticity and strength, as well as for smooth and pain-free gliding and motion. Our organs need collagen, as it helps make up a protective coating around many of them — including tissues in the heart and blood vessels. Collagen is an essential element in a placenta, helping to provide nutrients and oxygen to a growing baby.  

healthy+pregnancy, healthy+placenta
One of my darling grandchildren when she was just a week old. Love!

Our bodies make collagen, and we can increase the amount of collagen our bodies produce by eating a healthy diet, including protein — cheese, eggs whites, soy, and beef, chicken, and fish (including bone broth). Foods rich in vitamin C help our bodies produce collagen (citrus, broccoli, peppers, strawberries). Berries, such as raspberries, cherries, blueberries, and blackberries are a healthy addition to a collagen-producing diet, as are shellfish and nuts. Of course, collagen supplementation (through bone broth, collagen powders, products with added collagen, and other collagen supplements) is a way to make sure you are getting enough collagen in your diet.

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As we age, we don’t make as much collagen, and a decreased amount of collagen is to blame for wrinkles. This decrease in collagen also explains the decline of the structural integrity of bones, joints, cartilage, and tendons. Ummm, hello, joint pain and osteoporosis. This loss of collagen can be accelerated by poor diet, smoking, and excessive alcohol consumption, and excessive sun exposure.  This is why those with poor diets, long-term smokers, drinkers, and those who work and play in the sun often have more wrinkled skin than they otherwise would.

Increasing Collagen Can Help in These Ways

You probably can figure these out, but increasing collagen can help keep skin and hair healthy. Collagen has long been used to strengthen nails, hair, and teeth.  You can fight the effects of aging bones, joints, cartilage, and other connective tissues and maintain strength and flexibility. Studies going back over 30 years have linked collagen supplementation to a substantial pain decrease in osteoarthritis suffers.

Digestive function can be improved by making sure you are getting enough collagen. I found the information on collagen use in patients with IBS, Crone’s, Ulcerative Colitis, and Leaky Gut particularly interesting. Studies have found that those who suffer with these conditions have a decreased amount of collagen, so supplementation can help heal and strengthen the tissue that lines the colon and gastrointestinal tract. With all of the information coming out about how important a strong gut is to our overall health and well-being, this is something that gets my attention!

Collagen may help us maintain muscle mass, which is critical as we age, and that muscle mass may help boost metabolism. We all need that energy boost to get through the day; am I right?

There’s More to Collagen than a Capsule

Luckily, there are all kinds of ways to boost collagen consumption. Lassen’s carries many products, from capsules to powders, from protein bars to bone broth, from candy to coffee. You will be able to find the ones that are just right for you. Our helpful staff can steer you in the right direction!

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I think all of us are trying to give our bodies all of the care that we can. As we are about to start a new year, let’s all care about our health just a little more.



If you want to learn more, I found this comprehensive article from Dr. Axe, What is Collagen, very helpful.  


Smart+Chicken, Air+chilled+chicken, no+water+added+chicken, organic+chicken, humane+chicken, CAS+Chicken

Not Just Smart Chicken — Smarter Chicken!

A Model We Can Believe in

When we flew to Nebraska to visit the Smart Chicken Farms and Plants, we were in for an education! With all that I had heard about meat processing, I prepared myself to see things up close and personal, and I did. But I also learned how thoughtful and careful it could  be.

Back in the day — in the late 1990s — the founder of Smart Chicken went to Europe and tasted chicken that was more delicious that what he had tasted in the USA. So he toured facilities and learned that the European model’s key production difference was that their birds were air cooled. So he came back to Nebraska, determined to bring this model to America.

Air cooled? What does that mean?

Well, it means that the birds are air cooled.

OK, Captain Obvious.

But let’s go back a few steps to get some background and context. 

Step 1: The Farm

We started by suiting up and visiting the Tecumseh Organic Farm, where the chickens are raised. Smart Chicken is extremely careful about protecting their birds from any biohazards, so we were just able to peek at the chickens through a window. The day was on the chilly side, and the birds were not interested in leaving their warm shelter to roam outside so we had to be content with at peek.

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The chickens are fed a combination of corn, soy, essential oils, vitamins and minerals. Their Nutritionist explained to us how each of the ingredients in the feed is designed to make sure the birds are healthy and grow at a natural pace. There are never any antibiotics, growth stimulants, animal by-products, or arsenic — yeah, arsenic is common in chicken feed! — in their diets. I asked about the arsenic — it is added to the feed at other operations to keep the gullet “clean,” which means that the chickens digest and gain weight faster, but unnaturally so. It has also been shown that traces of arsenic show up in the final chicken products. So Smart Chicken has no arsenic — yay! (I had no idea that would have to be a thing!)

Of course the Organic Chicken is fed only Certified Organic feed; Remember that organic is always non-GMO. And the Smart Chicken folks are proud that they are located in the heart of the Midwest, where there is the largest natural underwater aquifer in the world. The grain in their feed is grown nearby, and they don’t bring grain in from across the country or from overseas, reducing their environmental footprint.

Smart+Chicken, Air+chilled+chicken, no+water+added+chicken, organic+chicken, humane+chicken, CAS_Chicken

The chickens are in houses where they are allowed to roam, have access to resting areas as well as the outdoors, and where they have sufficient space and the ability to engage in natural behaviors. In other words, they are not in individual cages as in factory farms. These standards are part of the Humane Certification that Smart Chicken has earned through the Humane Farm Animal Care Program.

When the birds are 54 days old they are ready for processing. This is considerably longer (by about 9 days) than most commercial operations, who rely on antibiotics and growth stimulants (and that arsenic) to speed up the growth rate of their birds. 

Time for Step 2: Harvesting

Yeah, it’s time. Smart Chicken was the first chicken producer in the United States to use Controlled Atmosphere Stunning (CAS) to ensure humane harvesting of all Smart Chickens. This method — also brought from Europe — uses CO2 to put the chickens to sleep prior to harvest. They use a blue light to calm the birds, then the CO2 induces sleep. 

Smart+Chicken, Air+chilled+chicken, no+water+added+chicken, organic+chicken, humane+chicken, CAS+Chicken

And here’s the education: Most operations don’t do this. Their birds are hung upside down, fighting and fearful, and then stunned by an electric shock gun before harvesting. All the lactic acid and adrenaline coursing through the muscles makes for tougher, and often bruised meat. And it’s horrifying. I’m glad I didn’t have to see that. 

Twenty-eight minutes after the birds come in the processing plant, they have been harvested and cleaned and are ready for chilling.

Step 3: Air Chilling

Yes, now all of your questions will be answered. And of course I need to contrast Smart Chicken’s model with what everyone else does. Smart Chicken is the only chicken company that is USDA Process Verified as Pure Air-Chilled, No Added Water.

This is a question that I’ve had for a long time. Why do most chicken packages have something like “Ten Percent Added Water” on their labels? How do you add water to chicken? And why are there several ounces of water inside most packages of chicken, sometimes soaked up by packaging or hidden by colored wrapping?

Well, here it is. Other chicken processors put the chicken in a cold water bath to cool the chicken. In the hour or so it takes to cool the chicken, that water is absorbed into the meat — up to 15%. Yes, fifteen percent (and you’re paying for it.) During that time, the composition of the meat is challenged which reduces the tenderness of the meat. The flavors are also compromised. And it’s a communal water bath, with added bleach to kill bacteria. 

But Smart Chicken uses that USDA Verified Air-Cooling Process. The birds are on a conveyor belt which travels through a chilling room until they reach the desired temperature. Yes, it takes longer, but the flavor is retained and not diluted — an end result of which Smart Chicken is extremely proud.  And the taste difference is obvious. 

Smart+Chicken, Air+chilled+chicken, no+water+added+chicken, organic+chicken, humane+chicken, CAS+Chicken

Step 4: Cutting and Packaging

The birds are then taken to the Processing and Packaging facility, which is the only chicken producer in the United State with a Safe Quality Food level 3 Certification, which is the highest safety quality standard in the industry.

Smart+Chicken, Air+chilled+chicken, no+water+added+chicken, organic+chicken, humane+chicken, CAS+Chicken

That Certification is reflected in what we saw at the plant — a model of efficiency, safety, and quality.  One thing that impressed me is that Smart Chicken processes to their orders so that the chicken is as fresh as possible. They don’t have extra product that is stored until an order comes in. 

Enjoying the Midwest!

Smart+Chicken, Air+chilled+chicken, no+water+added+chicken, organic+chicken, humane+chicken, CAS+Chicken

We were treated to a college football game on the last night — We saw the Cornhuskers in action! They take their college football seriously in Nebraska! (Just don’t ask about the score!) But I love me some Marching Band Half-time show. 

Smart+Chicken, Air+chilled+chicken, no+water+added+chicken, organic+chicken, humane+chicken, CAS+Chicken

Thanks, Smart Chicken — it was quite an education!

Smart+Chicken, Air+chilled+chicken, no+water+added+chicken, organic+chicken, humane+chicken, CAS+Chicken

Pick up some Organic Smart Chicken at Lassen’s — you will taste the difference!

Love, Lassen’s

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Holiday Shortcuts at Lassen’s!

Gift Ideas at Lassen’s? Of course!

You know the feeling — you have just a few more things on your gift list for the Holidays, and you need to get some groceries. You can take care of both errands at Lassen’s! You know we have great Always 100% Organic produce and the highest quality supplements and groceries (as well as our Delicious Deli food!) but did you know that our buyers are also always on the lookout for terrific gift items as well? Here are just a few of the hundreds of items you can find at your local Lassen’s! (Remember that selection will vary by location.)

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Here are several ideas from our Health and Beauty Aids Department. Essential Oils are always a great idea. Lavender for relaxation, Rose Geranium for calm, Lemongrass for a boost — we even have lots of blends ready to go! I really love the burning sage, sweetgrass, and assorted burning herbs. Incense and Incense holders are terrific gifts, and this year we also have Palo Santo sticks to add a fragrant scent to your holiday home! You can also pick up some great batik and printed tapestry table coverings or bedspreads at several of our locations.  

For the Men — and others! — in your Life

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Bogue Soap Company has a terrific Shaving kit with a cup with shaving soap and brush. Adam and his mom Susan have a really interesting story, which you can read here.  Their company is one of our wonderful local producers! Badger Shave Soaps, Beard Oil and Beard Balm would be perfect stocking stuffers for your bearded men! 

Lassen’s also carries a large selection of water bottles. Hydro Flask is one of the best companies — they will keep cold drinks cold and hot drinks hot for a shockingly long time. I had a HydroFlask with ice water stay cold (with solid ice) for two days in Las Vegas! The Nava bottle has a built in filter, and Kid Kanteen comes with a choice of pop-top or sippy lids — great for the little ones!

We have several varieties of Oil Diffusers — these from Zum come in various scents and are ready to gift! And I always love to have a little smooth message stone — these are metal — in my pocket or purse to help me meditate.  Little worries seem easier to handle with something smooth to rub.

Don’t forget your Doggie Friends! (or the Kitchen!)

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These West Paw chew toys are great for the doggies in your life. The “S” shaped one is great for playing fetch, and your dog won’t chew anything off of this bone! 

I also love the crocheted coasters, and the penguin and bear scrubbie pads for the kitchen. This bamboo child’s utensil kit is great to carry with you to prevent wasting so many plastic utensils.

But Wait! There’s More!

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Earring, necklaces, bracelets, pendants, perfumes, lotions, yummy creams, headbands, rose water, beanies — take a few minutes to browse the fun treasures that our buyers have found! A Salt Lamp is a wonderful gift — the mild light adds a soothing glow to any room.  I love the colors of this headband — don’t be surprised if you see me wearing one like this soon!

gift+ideas, eco+friendly+gifts, natural+gifts, stocking+stuffers, hand+made+gifts
Takes me back to the flower-power of the early Seventies! Now, where did I put my bell-bottoms?

Can you say, the Cutest “Up-Cycle” Ever?

Years ago I posted how to up-cycle old jeans into beach blankets, but this gift takes that idea one step further. Look at this adorable bag made from the leather tags from those jeans! This creative idea makes me feel bad I just threw away those tags. The back is blue jean fabric to complete the up-cycle look!

Lassens+Natural+Foods+Market, Lassen's+Health+Food+Store, gift+ideas, eco+friendly+gifts, natural+gifts, stocking+stuffers, up+cycle+bags, up+cycle, re+use

So next time you’re in Lassen’s, take a few extra minutes to browse our Gift selection. I think you’ll be able to find just the right thing for the people on your list! 

I’ll bring you more ideas next time!

Happy Holidays from Lassen’s!

CBD+Oil, Hemp+Oil, Wha+ is+CBD+Oil, Uses+of+CBD+Oil,

CBD Made Simpler

You’ve probably heard something about CBD oil — are you confused? 

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Let’s get started. What is CBD?

CBD is short for Cannabidiol.  That’s a compound that is found abundantly in hemp.Other plants, such as broccoli, echinacea,  and kale, also contain cannabidiol,  but the highest amounts are found in the hemp plant. CBD has been called a superfood! 

Over the last thirty years, researchers have found that the human body has a very important system called the Endocannabinoid System, which helps regulate and balance our health. CBD has a role to play in strengthening this vital system.

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Photo by Project CBD

What is the difference between hemp and marijuana?

They come from the same plant family — the same species, Cannabis Satavia L. If you could zoom back nearly 10,000 years ago to Taiwan, you would see hemp cultivated for its many useful characteristics. Varieties were cultivated to encourage those different properties. Some varieties were cultivated to grow tall and fibrous, which is useful for rope, fuel, building materials, as well as many other uses, including seeds. These varieties make up what has been developed into the hemp plant of today.

Cultivators discovered that the flower buds of other varieties had psychoactive effects, and so they cultivated those types to increase those effects.  The goal was to isolate the medicinal properties of the plant. This has been cultivated to be the marijuana plant that we know today. 

In modern times, the two plants are very different. Before 1970, there was some commercial cultivation of hemp for several uses — textiles, food, paper, furniture, auto parts, soap, etc. But once the Controlled Substance Act passed in 1970, which classified marijuana as a schedule 1 drug, there was no legal distinction made between hemp plants and marijuana plants, although they are very different. The 2014 Farm Bill opened the door to commercial cultivation of hemp.

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OK, we’ve got the botany. But let’s get down to chemistry. Is there a chemical difference between hemp and maijuana?

Yes, a big one. And it goes back to cannabidiol (CBD), and another property in the family, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC.) THC is the chemical compound in cannabis that gives the euphoric high. Hemp has just a trace of THC (less than 0.3% dry weight) while is has a much higher amount of CBD. Marijuana has very little CBD, and much more THC.

In other words, you won’t get high from CBD. 

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I have objections to using drugs; is using CBD taking me down that road?

No. There is nothing psychoactive about CBD. It is a superfood, not a drug. One concern that people have is that they don’t want to fail a drug test. There is little chance that using CBD products could cause a problem with a blood test. This is from the US Drug Test Centers Website:

“According to Quest Diagnostics Director of Science and Technology, Barry Sample, CBD likely won’t show up on a drug test: ‘If the product contains only CBD and has had the THC removed, then an individual being tested would not be expected to test positive for marijuana or marijuana metabolite.’

“According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the recommended cutoff level of THC is 50 ng/mL to pass a drug test. Most employers and legal services prefer to use SAMHSA certified labs as the standard, since it’s more likely to hold up in court. Most hemp oil or CBD products are usually sold with much lower levels of THC (compared to marijuana), so most CBD consumers won’t have trouble passing a drug test. For those using extremely high levels of CBD or hemp oil (over 2,000 mg per day) it’s possible, though unlikely, that this could produce a ‘false positive’ result on a drug test.”

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So why would I want to use CBD products?

CBD oil is showing great promise in several areas of health and wellness.  Cannabidiol has been used for centuries for many ailments.  The most commonly mentioned uses right now (and the ones that have been studied the most so far) are for epilepsy (seizure disorders), arthritis, and chronic pain. One company, Charlotte’s Web , has been built on the story of a little girl who suffered from a serious seizure disorder. Another company, Sagely Naturals, has several informative videos on their site, and emphasize how CBD can help with pain and inflammation.  CBD is also mentioned as promising treatment for inflammation and anxiety. This YouTube Video, a feature on a San Diego News channel (Made in San Diego) about CV Sciences includes a physician who uses CBD oil in her practice.  An article from Project CBD, mentions several other conditions such as diabetes, PTSD, and more.  You can also search CBD on for articles on interesting CBD research. (As of yet, these statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and should not be used to diagnose, prevent, cure, or treat diseases.)

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What does Lassen’s have to offer in the way of CBD?

Lassen’s has carried CBD oils for quite some time. We carry all of the above mentioned brands, along with several others, including Jambo Superfoods, Ojai Energetics, CBD Mendo, and Jeff’s Best Hemp. We also carry CBD teas from One Love Tea and the CBD chocolates from Medicinal Foods. Our knowledgable Supplement Staff can help you find the products that are just right for you, so stop by and we can answer your questions!

There is much still to be learned about CBD, and Lassen’s will be here to help!



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Bitchin’: Adj: Wonderful, First Rate, Excellent

You might have seem them sampling at Lassen’s — the Bitchin’ Sauce folks know that if you just try their Vegan Sauces, you’ll love them! And you likely will. 

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When Star was a teenager she became a Vegan and started experimenting with Raw foods as well. She had a hippie-style, natural upbringing, and  was encouraged to use her talents and interests to explore. When she was just 16 she created the Original Bitchin’ Sauce, using ground almonds as a base. It was a huge hit, and her family used it on everything.  They just called it the sauce.

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I think this in my favorite flavor — Pesto. Yuuuuummmmmm!

Star decided to learn more about food and the culinary skills, and became an apprentice pastry chef. She started her own business, “The Pie Chef,” with a retro 50’s vibe. About seven years ago, with an ever expanding menu of items, she headed out to Farmer’s Markets. It was a bit of a surprise to find that the Sauce sold better than the baked goods. It just took off, and soon they were focusing just on the Sauce. 

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Star expanded her flavors, adding herbs, spices, and other ingredients to satisfy practically any taste. Everything from the original to the Heat — stopping along the way with Bombay and Chipotle and Cilantro Chili (and more!) — You will find something that you’ll love!

There are lots of ways to use Bitchin’ Sauces!

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Try spreading the Cilantro Chili sauce on a tortilla or a leaf of Romaine lettuce, then add chopped green onions, tomatoes, and sprouts, and you’ll have a delicious and nutritious lunch. Use any of the sauces as a dip with fresh vegetable sticks. Cook spiral pasta and mix in some of the Pesto Sauce. Instead of mayo or hummus, spread the Bombay Sauce on your avocado sandwich.

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But for a mid-afternoon pick-me-up without the sugar that I generally crave, I love to have a few crackers and just dip away!

Star has just launched a new Organic line of sauces, which are also soy free! 

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Hummm. I guess I didn’t take a picture of one of the Organic varieties.

I visited with Star and Luke in their San Diego Headquarters, and they could not resist loading me up with all kinds of samples! I’ve had so much fun sharing the samples with friends and family.  Thanks Star and Luke! 

Next time you’re in Lassen’s, pick up one of these amazing Vegan sauces. It may just become your favorite sauce and dip!

Love, Lassen’s

Bogue+Milk+Soaps, Natural+Soaps, Shave+kits, Goat+Milk+Soap, Handmade+Soap

Bogüe Milk Soaps — As Local as You Can Get!

It has been a bit of a journey, but Susan and her son Adam have come full circle back to The Ojai Valley, now making what they call “Farm to Bath” soaps.

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Susan’s parents moved to Ojai from Boston in the 60s, and after college in the 70s, Susan and her mother opened a shop in Ojai. This Main Street shop, Dos Manos, sold handmade, unique goods, including many that were locally produced. Susan started making  Goat Milk Soap during that time, and then sold them in the shop. Bogüe Soap was born! Many friends and family enjoyed her unique soaps. 

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Susan took her family back East for several years, and then she ended up in San Francisco where she worked in the Tech industry. But she couldn’t get the soap-making bug out of her system, so she continued to make soap and was able to sell it to several markets. She developed a line that included Shave kits and Soaps, and  eventually she returned to Ojai and started expanding her Bogüe Soup offering. 

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Meanwhile,  Adam was  very busy in the Restaurant Business in New York and LA, where he was instrumental in what is now called  the “Farm to Table” movement. So when he returned to Ojai to help his mom with Soap making, they were both completely committed to using the best ingredients. They believe that when you add quality ingredients to a quality recipe, you end up with a great product that is good for your skin. 

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That’s why Bogüe Soaps are made with all-natural, organic, sustainable, quality ingredients, many of which are sourced from Susan and Adam’s Ojai Valley neighbors and friends. They get their raw goat’s milk fresh every week from a local farm, and they infuse their own oils right in their shop. They make sure all of their ingredients are pure and natural. Everything is hand made., Lassen's, Lassens, Bogue+Goat+Milk+Soap, Bogue+Soap, Bogue+Goat+Soap, Shave+Kits, Natural+Soap, Handmade+Soap, Natural+Soap

This is what Susan and Adam say about why they use Goat’s Milk in their products (except for their Vegan line, which uses organic coconut and organic almonds to make the milk base):

“Goat milk is a linchpin of our original product line and continues to be the liquid of choice for all our soaps other than vegan products.  Goat milk is a natural emollient that soothes and moisturizes; it is rich in vitamins A, E, B6 & B12 – all nourishing to the skin, it has a high casein (fatty acids/proteins) content that’s easily absorbed and hydrates dry skin, it helps maintain the skin’s acid mantle that fights bacteria, and hydroxyl acids from goat milk in the soap act as an exfoliate to slough dead skin.”

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Susan and Adam make only small batches of soap, and everything is hand cut and cured right in their shop. They use minimal packaging, which is made from recycled materials. They are a Certified Green Business, and are committed to having the smallest environmental footprint possible. 

Try some Bogüe Goat Milk Soap! The bars are beautiful enough for gifts, but don’t let them just sit on a soap dish — they were made to enjoy!

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Love, Lassen’s

It’s Brine Time!

Ready set brine.  

It’s the most important dinner of the year and you can start by getting the best fresh turkey! But once you get that bird home, what will you do to  ensure your turkey turns out the moist and delicious? One great option is brining. It doesn’t take an advanced degree to brine a turkey, but if you have never done it before it can seem daunting. There are lots of recipes and variation,  but as a jumping off point, remember that the two primary ingredients in all brines are salt and water.  

This particular brine recipe balances both salty and sweet and it will deliver a tasty Thanksgiving centerpiece.  

So why would you brine a turkey?

 Some people might say, “Because it’s the right thing to do.” Brining is a process of submerging your turkey in an herbaceous salty-sweet solution overnight to obtain the juiciest and most flavorful turkey possible.  Since the turkey is submerged in brine, you might think that you will be left with a salty tasting bird, but nothing is further from the truth.  You will instead experience one of the most moist and delicious turkeys ever.  And, bonus — it’s easy too!

Always start with a fresh, never frozen turkey.  Frozen turkeys, like the ones you find at most conventional grocery and discount supermarkets, are typically pumped or injected with a sodium solution.  A typical store-bought frozen turkey contains 200 mg of sodium per 4 oz. serving right out of the package.

An important tip is to brine the turkey evenly by either submerging fully or flipping the turkey in the solution during the process.  Brine anywhere from 8 to 24 hours, and remember that larger turkeys will require more brining time.

Let’s get started!

Simple Ingredients

  • 2 gallons water
  • 3 cups apple cider
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 1 cup kosher salt / sea salt
  • 3 tablespoons tricolor peppercorns
  • 5 whole bay leaves
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 sprigs rosemary, leaves stripped off
  • Peel of three large oranges, removed in large strips
  • 1 turkey

Brining Instructions

  • In a large stockpot, combine  2 gallons cold water along with all of the ingredients. Bring water to a boil and stir until the salt and sugar dissolve.
  • When the solution starts to boil and all of salt and sugar has dissolved,  turn off heat and allow the solution to cool completely.
  • Chill the solution before placing the turkey into it, and then  submerge turkey in the chilled brine solution.
  • Refrigerate for 8 to 24 hours.

Cooking the Turkey

  • Give yourself a minimum of an hour to prepare your bird for the oven.  
  • Discard the brine and thoroughly rinse the turkey inside and out.  Some people do not rinse, but if you are at all concerned about too much salt, please rinse and pat dry prior to cooking.   
  • Cook your turkey according to your normal roasting method, usually 15 minutes per pound in an oven preheated to 325 degrees.


Aloe Life

There’s a Big Difference in Aloe Vera Products!

The facts show Aloe Vera is among the top sellers of Super Foods & Herbs since 2009. Why? Because it works as a catalyst to improve absorption of daily foods and any supplements you may be taking to Super Charge your energy and your life!

Aloe vera’s use can be traced back 6,000 years to early Egypt, where the plant was depicted on stone carvings. Known as the “plant of immortality,” aloe was presented as a funeral gift to pharaohs.

Historically, aloe vera has been used for a variety of purposes, including treatment of wounds, hair loss, and hemorrhoids; it has also been used as a laxative.

Two substances from aloe vera, the clear gel and the yellow latex, are used in health products today. Aloe gel is primarily used topically (applied to the skin) as a remedy for skin conditions such as burns, frostbite, psoriasis, and cold sores, but it may also be taken orally (by mouth) for conditions including osteoarthritis, bowel diseases, and fever. Aloe latex is taken orally, usually for constipation.

Why Aloe Life?

Aloe Life requires 25 lbs. of ORGANIC Whole Leaf Aloe Vera Leaves (CONCENTRATED) to produce every Quart which also includes the important YELLOW SAP the ancients wrote about thousands of years ago.

This one-of-a-kind Aloe is processed with care to not over-heat, over filter or dilutes the important PLANT ACTIVES (over 100). 3rd party testing shows Aloe Life contains the highest solids and actives of any other product line with Polysaccharides in the range of 80,000 – 400,000 Dalton required for Optimum Body Wellness during cold season and throughout the entire year.

Many people living with reduced immunity take 3-4 oz. of Aloe Life juices or tablets and are very happy with the results. Daily maintenance and Auto-Immune support is just the 1 – 2 oz. or daily suggested amounts for wellness.

Anthraquinones are found in the bitter yellow sap and support Daily Regularity, Immunity and contains five natural Anti-Inflammatory agents responsible for pain relief and soothing skin for First Aid. Great with Allergies too! Also, Saponins are potent infection fighters both topically and internally for extra immune support factors. Growth factors called Gibberellins are supportive for new skin renewal and collagen repair.

The Special Nutrition and Phytonutrients together support all the pathways of the body for hundreds of applications for wellness.

Aloe Life products

Topical Skin Gel – Ultimate Skin Treatment is effective for sunburns and burns of every kind besides the only product to be successful in a Diabetic Wound Study in 1997, for every ulcer stage I – IV. Troubled skin from head to toe, athletes, chefs, gardeners, adventurists and even brushing one’s teeth plus scalp and hair makes Skin Gel the most versatile sought after product worldwide.

Aloe Mist Spray gives a fast First Aid application, and very refreshing for a morning beauty regimen as an astringent followed by your favorite lotion perhaps Aloe Life’s famous Face & Body Lotion made for sensitive and troubled skin.

Face & Body Lotion is a favorite and the natural ingredients; Macadamia Nut Oil, Jojoba Oil and Safflower Oil (high in Vitamin E), Chamomile Extract with Vitamin A, C and E plus Lanolin in a base of Whole Leaf Aloe Vera, not water. This allows for less application and better absorption of the oils and nutrients deeper into the skin for moisturizing. Less application on the whole body and will not plug pores as with waxes. No heavy fragrance only a very pleasant natural Grapefruit scent both men and women enjoy.
Personal Gel Moisturizer is also a favorite for healthy lubricating and a gentle gel for sensitive skin. Supports dry and chaffing skin to include; underarms, body chaffing, post-delivery, sensitive head and scalp dryness, baby cradle cap and post-menopausal dry skin. Feels like silk on the skin and sexually active adults love the gentle inner gel Aloe Vera (less astringent than Skin Gel), Calendula extract, and Vitamin A, E and the mineral Zinc renewal aspects.

Body Heat Athletic & Sports Lotion works fast to soothe and support sore muscles, joints, and injury. A favorite with seniors, athletes and older children that desire relief from outdoors or just daily life’s tensions including; sports, muscle strain, chronic injury and more. The safe ingredients of Whole Leaf Aloe Vera juice base, MSM ( a sulfur compound), Menthol, Arnica, White Nettle and Horse Chestnut with just the right amount of natural Vanilla scent is a very effective product sold since 1991.



Kiwi to the Rescue!

King of Kiwi, that is!

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Glenn was on a quest — a quest to create a healthy, convenient, and shelf-stable drink. He loves juices, but the sugar level is high. He also hates the sugar spike that goes with drinking fruit juices, which always ends with a crash.

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He didn’t have to look far, since he is from New Zealand, and Kiwi Fruit is abundant and delicious. Kiwi is a unique little fruit, with more vitamin C than oranges, more potassium than bananas, and more vitamin E than an avocado. It also has a healthy dose of pre-biotics and fiber. This combination has a sustained energy release over a number of hours rather than the sugar spike of standard fruit juices.

Did you know there is a yellow variety of Kiwi?

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So Glenn experimented with the Kiwi Fruit, and found a way to blend four Kiwi Fruits (peeled and pureed), with a little pear juice, into a terrific 7.4 oz drink. It has 100% of the Daily Recommended Dose of Vitamin C, and 15% of the fiber. The Green Kiwi Drink, Digestive, is packed with fiber and probiotics for digestion.

The Yellow Kiwi Drink, Reviver, is perfect for a mid-day pick-me-up without the sugar spike and crash.

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Glenn came to California last month and we got the chance to visit, and well as sample his drinks. Here is Kyle in our Thousand Oaks store giving it a try!

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And Lindsey Kerns (Malibu Mama Loves FB: /MalibuMamaLoves Instagram and Twitter: @MalibuMamaLoves) stopped by with her kids to give the King of Kiwi a try!

Thanks, Glenn!

Pick up some King of Kiwi juice next time you’re in Lassen’s! We’re proud to feature this cool product!

Here’s a link to Glenn’s YouTube Video