Dote Magazine Issue Seven

{love + glow potion}

Dote Magazine Issue Five

{bone broth}

Screen Shot 2017-11-03 at 6.20.33 PM.png

Loving Your Guts

by Brittany Reid of Eating Intuitively

"Our gut is the foundation of our life. Everything we put into or onto our body becomes us. Treat your body and spirit with so much respect and it will serve you forever. With a strong core ‘foundation’ our energy and health will be vibrant."

{click image to read full blog post}

Calgary Herald 

{two Calgary sisters want to love your guts}

by Felicia Zuniga

December 8 2016

It’s a Tuesday night at a community kitchen in Bankview and the aroma of simmering chicken bones, herbs and veggies fills the air. Sisters Danica Shepetys and Lexi Campbell are busy stirring, pouring and labelling small batches of organic chicken bone broth for their company, The Gut Lab.

The Gut Lab began in April 2016, but the idea had been brewing for a long time.

“We grew up in Calgary in a super healthy family,” explains 32-year-old Shepetys. “Our mom had severe auto-immune issues when we were younger and she fixed them herself through diet and nutrition after being on medication for a while. It was always ingrained in us to shop around the grocery store perimeter instead of the aisles and the more natural a product is, the better.”

Adds younger sister Campbell, 28, “Our motto growing up was to always try and prevent things rather than fix them.”

After finishing high school in Calgary, Shepetys moved to Australia and London, completing an MBA in development and sustainability and working at fashion brands Ben Sherman and Stella McCartney.

Campbell remained in Calgary, becoming a yoga teacher, studying herbology and natural medicine, getting married and having three boys.

Yet the sisters always wanted to start something together that would help them share their passion for health and wellness. They noticed the growing popularity of juicing and kombucha, but didn’t see anyone making bone broth — one of their favourite healing foods growing up.

The sisters started doing their research, looking for organic ingredients to use and community partners to help them along the way. Their first step was connecting with Ron and Sheila Hamilton of Sunworks Farm, located just outside of Camrose, who agreed to provide them with local, certified organic chicken bones. Sunworks is one of the few certified organic farms in Alberta, and it was extremely important to the sisters that the heart of their soup — the bones — be local and organic.

The sisters then began experimenting to develop their recipe.

“We knew what we liked and what we didn’t,” says Shepetys. “Everyone has a different way of making it, but we put a lot of bones into our broth.” 

The sisters use the ratio of one pound of organic bones to one litre of filtered water. “When it’s cold, it jiggles,” says Danica. “It’s the one thing in the world that you want to jiggle, because it’s good fat!”

Campbell explains that the jiggle comes from the collagen contained in their broth and cooked collagen is gelatin. Collagen is needed everywhere in the body from tendons to ligaments to hair, nails and skin.

The sisters’ recipe includes simmering the organic chicken bones for over 20 hours, which draws out all of the nutrients and collagen. They then add organic carrots, celery, onion, bay leaves, parsley, rosemary and Himalayan salt. They say the broth is perfect for anyone who wants to start being healthier, but doesn’t have time to stand over a pot all day.

“Our goal is to make being healthy easy, convenient and affordable for people so they don’t feel like it’s unattainable,” says Campbell. “We want people to take control of their own health in a preventative way and give them the tools they need to take care of themselves.”

Alongside their bone broth, the sisters have been concocting additional healthy products. The Gut Lab offers three herbal potions — “her (love),” “mental (love)” and “immune support + gut (love).”

“We called them potions because we wanted them to be fun, but they are basically a blend of different herbs that are safe to ingest,” says Shepetys. “Herbs have been around since the beginning of time and can support and strengthen your body and be complimentary to your diet and exercise.”

Bone broth and potions are just the start of what the sisters have planned. They also want to create herbal and plant-based medicine, as well as elixirs and gummy vitamin treats for kids. It’s why they ended up calling their company The Gut Lab.

“Your gut is one of the most important organs in your body. And more and more people are realizing the correlation between what you put into your body and what comes out through your skin, your brain, your liver and kidneys.”

The sisters knew they wanted to branch out and create a variety of products that were easy-to-use and understand, but centred on keeping a healthy gut so everything else in the body can flow naturally and smoothly.

“We wanted to make unsexy products like herbs and bone broth fun,” says Shepetys. “Being healthy shouldn’t be scary and intimidating. We want people to be curious about their bodies and what they put in them.”