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Remembering Sacrifice • Lest We Forget

Remembering Sacrifice • Lest We Forget

Remembrance Day (Veteran's Day in the US) this coming weekend is important to me. I am so grateful for the sacrifice of those who serve(d) in defense of others, and the too many who lost their lives and left heartbroken families.

In Ottawa, the Government has a Room of Remembrance. It was in the Peace Tower, but due to renovations to Centre Block, a new room was created near the new Parliament visitor’s centre. The room was design by CENTRUS (a joint venture comprising of WSP engineering and HoK Architecture hired by PSPC to work on the Center Block Rehabilitation Project). I met with Jai Bawa (Key advisor to the Canadian Health and Fitness Institute) who was part of the team and played an integral role at CENTRUS for the design and construction of the Centre Block Rehabilitation Project. 

This past October, my wife and I took her mum, Heather, to see her dad's name in the new Room of Remembrance. I wrote about Capt. Kenneth West in my November 2022 blog. On October 11th, Capt. West's page in the World War II book was turned over and we were there for the ceremony.  It was deeply moving, especially for Heather, and I was very happy to experience the reverence of the event. Lesley and I then went on to Montreal, where there are a number of places with plaques honouring the war dead, including in private institutions such as the original Bank of Montreal branch in Old Montreal.

This weekend, in Canada, there will be Remembrance Services at Cenotaphs, places of worship and some schools. Please take time to attend a service. It will mean a lot to the families, friends and colleagues of those whose lives are remembered. If you see a person in military uniform, please thank them for their service. I'd also extend that to members of our police forces, who overwhelmingly serve with dignity and professionalism, too often in stressful circumstances of hostile, drug induced violent or disrespectful behaviour.

Around the world, sadly, there is still horrific hostility. As I write, Christians are being murdered in northern Nigeria, armed conflict and missile strikes continue in the Russian attack on Ukraine (and the response) and there is brutal carnage in the middle east (in Gaza and Israel) triggered by the hateful Hamas leaders. These are just but a few of the conflicts right now manifested by evil in the hearts of too many men.  I mourn for all the victims.

Sadly, the conflicts abroad are manifesting in fear at home. Fear that is real, thanks to threats and actual vandalism of personal property at University dorms and to houses, businesses and signage. These threats seem to be disproportionately (but not exclusively) directed at members of the Jewish community. Some of my ancestors lost their lives at the hand of Nazis and Capt. West died fighting that evil. Some of my ancestors were fortunate to have escaped, and in some cases, double persecution, as my late Aunt Louisa lost her husband and her children lost their dad as he was executed by the Communists in Yugoslavia. 

War and hate are deeply troubling. Yet we need a strong, well-equipped military to fight evil and deter future violence. And let us honour those who have and do serve for peace, Lest We Forget.

Experience the solemn beauty of the Room of Remembrance with me. Click on the image to embark on a heartfelt tour paying tribute to the heroes who served and sacrificed.

Uncovering Ancient Medical Clay Remedies and Advancing the Science with SierraSil

Uncovering Ancient Medical Clay Remedies and Advancing the Science with SierraSil

What might have cost over C$22,400* (in today's dollars, based on the price of gold October 18th) in the first century but now retails for just C$83.95? 

Yes, we currently have a lot of inflation due to COVID supply disruptions, war and of course western governments printing massive amounts of money, but can you imagine something costing just a minute fraction of what it may have been in the time of Christ? 

What am I writing about? I recently read Dr. Sera Young's book, Craving Earth and learnt much more about "understanding Pica, the urge to eat clay, starch and chalk". I wasn't interested so much in the starch and chalk, but I was interested in the history of the medicinal use of clay.  The father of medicine, Hippocrates (460–377 B.C.E.) "is responsible for the first written record of geophagy", the practice of eating earth. 

Dr. Young noted that in the first century AD, clay from the Greek island Lemnos was so revered that the harvesting was supervised by a priestess. Called terra sigillata (meaning stamped earth) it was literally worth its weight in gold because of its healing properties. According to Dr. Young, Pliny the Elder in his Naturalis Historia "wrote about terra sigillata in several sections: how it could be used as an antidote to swallowed poisons and snakebites, as a treatment for dysentery, and to reduce inflammation around the eyes".  As an aside, Pliny had a famous cousin, Pliny the Younger, who was a Roman Governor of provinces on the southern Black Sea coast and was notable for being a "pagan" documenter of the rapid spread of Christ followers and their willingness to be put to death instead of recanting their faith. 

Dr. Young also notes that the Greek physician and father of pharmacology, Pedanius Dioscorides references this medicinal clay in his five volume book about medical materials referenced in Europe as De Materia Medica. In the Journal of Archaeological Science, Volume 57, May 2015, Pages 257-267 there is a paper investigating medicinal clays reported by authors of classical antiquity including those referenced by Dioscorides. The Paper's authors note that "Smectite clays, of which montmorillonite is one, have two important properties: the capacity to exchange cations like sodium, calcium, ammonia, potassium and magnesium and the ability to adsorb toxic elements like As, Pb or Ag as a result of their cation exchange capacity". 

Dr. Young also wrote about many other clays medicinally used by the people of pretty much every continent (if I recall correctly) over the centuries, even in modern medicines available today. The use of these clays was often associated with maternal use. Unfortunately, she didn’t reference our hydrothermal mineral complex we trade named SierraSil®, but when she published her book, I don't think we were very well known, and still aren't.  Never-the-less I hope to connect with Dr. Young if she is willing, but she is currently on sabbatical in the UK.


However, I am glad that you know about SierraSil. The research on our minerals has been described as a gold standard for health supplements by an industry association leader and as representing a pharmaceutical pathway by a Director of Natural Products Research Society of Canada.  We have extensive safety studies, numerous clinical studies including what may be the largest single study on a proprietary natural joint health product in the world, a double blind, placebo control cross-over study in London Ontario. You can find it at this link and go to tab 4. We also have extensive data on bio-accessibility, bio-availability and that SierraSil, like the smectites in the Journal of Archaeological Science bind with and pull heavy metals from your body. 

Now returning to costs, where I started this. Many Medical Doctors, after reviewing the science on our minerals and experiencing the results with themselves and or patients, have concluded that SierraSil is really inexpensive. This without knowing how valuable medicinal clays were in the first century!

Of course there are now more medicinal options, including many good herbs, one of which is in our Joint Formula Curcumin3™ (Canadian packaging only), but SierraSil still seems to be the most consistently and significantly effective natural product for sore joints and muscles, and perhaps also for chelating heavy metals. 

I think it's fair to say that no other natural clay product has anywhere near the supporting safety and efficacy research as we do. We also want SierraSil to be accessible, so keen observers may note that even our capsules are lower priced than when they were introduced and our pet product is significantly less expensive than competing and possibly less effective alternatives (although the price has gone up). 

Our goal is to help a million people (and their pets) with chronic aches recover joy and ability, to be healthier and more active. If you have sore joints or muscles, or perhaps concerned about heavy metals in your body, please consider trying our products.  If you have tried our products, please share your experience with us. Our joy is hearing from customers, as I did this week from a few on the Canadian Prairies with lovely stories of how a senior, a carpenter and a podcaster all have better quality of life with SierraSil. Thank you.

Trusting Heights, Thriving with SierraSil: A Gratitude Journey

Trusting Heights, Thriving with SierraSil: A Gratitude Journey

It seems ironic, as someone scared of heights, that my favourite ride at the Disneyland and California Adventure Parks is the big "Incredicoaster" rollercoaster. My heights phobia is no secret.  My family knows it all too well as I warn them to stay away from ledges such as on the Chief near Squamish, BC. Even my colleagues at work have a little fun with it, playing up my fears on the occasional social media post!

So why no fear on the Incredicoaster? Well, maybe not 'no fear' as I was a little nervous as we snaked through the maze that is the cue for the ride. And then, as the roller coaster cars suddenly accelerate in under 5 seconds to about 90 km/hour for the first ascent, yes I'm tense. But as the ride peaks and rapidly descends over 100 feet (30 metres), twisting to the right, the g-forces tugging, it feels pretty good. No, it feels great!

So what gives? Fear of heights, yet the roller coaster thrills.  It comes down to trust. Trust in the engineers who designed the ride with deep canting to centre the g-forces. To the unseen well trained maintenance crews. And the operators who are mindful of guest safety.

Everyday, my life is made easier and safer by people I don't see. People who make things work, who build or maintain infrastructure including transportation, water and sewers, energy, and buildings.

There are a lot of those people involved in the making of a health supplement whether SierraSil® or other products. I'm thinking of the people and technology (engineers) who support quality control at the contract manufacturers that we work with and our own Quality Control team led by Caroline Eve. To all of them, I say thank you! I should add that there are also extensive written procedures, check lists, product testing and auditing that are part of the processes.

I reflected on this as I flew from Vancouver to Toronto, along with hundreds of other people on a crowded Boeing 777. It's amazing that so many things in our modern world go right, even if they are delayed as my flight was.

At SierraSil®, it's nice to know that our minerals make a difference for a lot of Trades people, helping them do their jobs, often in awkward spaces under counters or other obstacles.  SierraSil also makes a difference for flight crews, as a medical doctor for an airline told me, SierraSil gives pilots "happy knees."

So, with Labour Day not too far in the rearview mirror, I just want to say thank you to all those people, "seen" or "unseen," who make our modern way of life possible. And to all those who serve us, even at odd times of the day, with medical, emergency, and civilian services.

Thank you.

Michael