Everyone is talking about the hottest natural products beverage trend that beckons from the fridge with unusual flavors and a funky layer of something floating around inside the bottle. Don’t let that turn you off! It certainly hasn’t stopped anyone else from enjoying it. Kombucha is becoming a hot commodity, with total sales projected to reach $500 million by 2015 (1). So, what exactly is in this trendy drink that has everyone coming back for more? Here, we’ll touch on kombucha’s beginnings, its healthful qualities and its controversial past.

Will the public ever realize that it has been misled about cholesterol? Many people in the health food arena and, hopefully, most of our readers are aware of the misleading information about cholesterol. It has been the subject of many interviews in this column over the years such as in the December 2009 issue of WholeFoods Magazine, where we discussed many of the errors in the flawed studies that are used to promote the cholesterol theory in “The Cholesterol Paradigm: The Greatest Health Scam of the Century,” with Sheldon Zerden.

For anyone doing business in California, Proposition 65’s history is well-known by now both within and outside that state. In November 1986, California voters approved ballot Proposition 65 in the belief that its passage would help protect them from toxic chemicals in the environment. Officially entitled the “Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986,” almost everyone these days simply calls it Prop 65.

They say it takes all kinds to make the world go round. This goes especially for the natural and organic industry, which is filled with diverse characters, each with a unique niche. Whether they’re wearing crazy hats, lab coats, hemp shoes or business suits, together, they form a community. Make that a varied, but passionate and strong community that works together to bring health and wellness to families throughout the nation and across the globe.

Dear Editor,
I just got the February issue of WholeFoods today, with the two in-depth articles on heart health and joint health. They both contain so much helpful insights into multiple causes of these diseases. I want to tell you what an awesome publication you put out, year after year. You have so many great articles and editorials.

What if we told you that some of the indulgences we take part in on a daily basis—like red wine and chocolate—can be good for your health? Too good to be true, right? Not exactly.

Resveratrol, a natural chemical compound found in these and other foods, is linked to many health benefits including heart health. Studies suggest resveratrol is responsible for lowering inflammation, supporting heart health and, dare we say, contributing to anti-aging benefits.

Vitamin D slows the progression of cells from premalignant to malignant states, keeping their proliferation in check. A team of researchers at McGill University has discovered a molecular basis for the potential cancer-preventive effects of vitamin D (1). The team, led by McGill professors John White and David Goltzman, of the Faculty of Medicine’s department of physiology, discovered that the active form of vitamin D acts through several mechanisms to inhibit both the production and function of a protein that drives cell division and is active at elevated levels in more than half of all cancers.

In seminars around the country, I ask independent natural products retailers if they believe their store is a distinct brand. Usually only a few raise their hands. But even if you don’t think of yourself or your store as a brand, your customers do…and I can prove it to you.

December and January aren’t just times for celebrating and making resolutions; these months are prime time for predicting the happenings of the coming year.