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HEALTHY LIVING HEALTHY PLANET feel good live simply laugh more


NEW YEAR’S INTENTIONS Wayne Dyer Shares Five Favorites


GIVING Tips to Simplify the Season

HOLIDAY TREATS Flavorful, Festive Party Foods

December 2011 | West Michigan Edition | natural awakenings

December 2011


Naturopathy (Each year 600 hours)

Natural Health Educator ....................... 1st Year Natural Health Therapist...................... 2nd Year Natural Health Practitioner ................. 3rd Year Certified Naturopath .............................4th Year 4th Year Graduates are Eligible for Doctor of Naturopathy National Test and Title

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Therapeutic Bodywork Practitioner ..1 Year

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All Classes Meet On Weekends Fri. 5 - 9 p.m., and Sat. & Sun. 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. Naturopaths - 1 per month • Massage - 2 per month

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503 E. Broadway • Mt. Pleasant, Michigan • (989) 773-1714 Mt. Pleasant is 90 minutes North East of Grand Rapids


West Michigan Edition Accredited by the American Naturopathic Medical Association

contents 9 9 globalbriefs balanced life. In each issue readers find cutting-edge information on natural health, nutrition, fitness, personal 10 healthbriefs growth, green living, creative expression and the products and services that support a healthy lifestyle. 1 1 ecotip 18 18 THE UPSIDE OF 13 inspiration DOWNHILL SKIING 18 fitbody Make the Most of Peak Experiences 20 healthykids 20 THE PARENT PATH 10 22 healingways How Children Enrich 28 consciouseating Our Spiritual Life 34 naturalpet 22 GOOD VIBRATIONS 37 greenliving Sound Healing for the Soul 20 37 38 wisewords 24 DO GOOD, FEEL GOOD Natural Awakenings is your guide to a healthier, more

by Randy Kambic

by Steve Taylor

by Erin Lehn Floresca

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To advertise with Natural Awakenings or request a media kit, please contact us at 616-656-9232 or email: Publisher@ Deadline for space reservation is the 12th of each month prior to publication.

News Briefs & article submissions Email articles to: Deadline for articles is the 5th of the month prior to publication. Submit News Briefs online at Deadline for news briefs is the 12th of the month prior to publication.

The Helping – Health – Happiness Connection by Lisa Marshall


Easy, Flavorful and Festive by Renée Loux


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Crossing Boundaries for Good

Submit Calendar Events online at: Calendar deadline is the 15th of the month prior to publication.

by April Thompson

WHERE TO PICK UP NATURAL AWAKENINGS If you enjoyed this magazine and would like to know where you can pick up a free copy in your area, please contact us at 616656-9232 or email us at:

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24 28

Tips to Simplify the Season by Beth Davis

38 PRESERVING AMERICANS’ FIRST AMENDMENT with Kenneth Paulson by Martin Miron natural awakenings

December 2011




espite dire predictions of a cold Michigan winter, Kyle and I were nothing but excited to see this year’s first early snowfall. We love to ski and frolic in the snow whenever possible. Thanks to fellow skiing enthusiast, Randy Kambic, we have some fresh tips on how make the most of the experience (page 18). Just last year, we discovered snowshoeing after publishing an article about it. After borrowing Kyle’s parent’s snowshoes for our first outing trying out our newfound sport, we promptly fell in love. We now have our own snowshoes and can’t wait to tackle new trails.

contact us Publishers Kyle & Amy Hass Editors S. Alison Chabonais Scott Gillis Linda Sechrist Design & Production Interactive Media Design Scott Carvey

This magical season brings holiday cheer for so many of us, but for others it may call up memories of lost loved ones and perhaps loneliness. So we are glad that this month’s theme, Uplifting Humanity, serves as a catalyst of goodwill to all, suggesting that the fastest way to lift our own spirit is to help others by giving of our self.

Printer Stafford Media Solutions Natural Awakenings 484 Sunmeadow Dr. SE Grand Rapids, MI 49508 Phone: 616-656-9232

Subscriptions are available by sending $30 (12 issues) to the above address. © 2011 by Natural Awakenings. All rights reserved. Although some parts of this publication may be reproduced and reprinted, we require that prior permission be obtained in writing. Natural Awakenings is a free publication distributed locally and is supported by our advertisers. It is available in selected stores, health and education centers, healing centers, public libraries and wherever free publications are generally seen. Please call to find a location near you or if you would like copies placed at your business. We do not necessarily endorse the views expressed in the articles and advertisements, nor are we responsible for the products and services advertised. We welcome your ideas, articles and feedback.

Committed to Sustainability Natural Awakenings is locally owned and operated.

Of course, we are all grateful for present blessings, and appreciate the bounty of love expressed as we gather, visit and exchange gifts with family and friends. Yet equal satisfaction comes in reaching out, as Lisa Marshall explains in our feature article, “Do Good, Feel Good: The Helping – Health –Happiness Connection,” on page 24. In finding time and opportunities to uplift neighbors and strangers in West Michigan, we can together make the holidays happier for everyone —in the true spirit of the season. Make them smile because your paths crossed. Much debate exists over which is more eco-friendly: decorating a real cut tree or unpacking a plastic tree for the holidays. You’ll be able to make a more informed decision after reading “The Greenest Tree” EcoTip on page 11. In doing our own research, we were amazed to also learn that, come the New Year, live Christmas trees that aren’t planted or recycled are actually edible. Apparently, when properly prepared, many parts of pines, spruces and firs, including needles and pine cone nuts, can provide nutritious eats. We haven’t tried it, but anything is better than kicking a beautiful tree to the curb. However you celebrate the season, we wish you joy,

Amy and Kyle Hass, Publishers Natural Awakenings is printed on 100% recycled newsprint with soy based ink.


West Michigan Edition

newbriefs Local Music Academy Thrives Despite Economy


riumph Music Academy is the first of its kind for West Michigan, offering a variety of instructional services that has quickly made it a local favorite for private music tutoring. They have added new departments for Percussion and Voice as well. What began as primarily a guitar, bass, and piano studio, Triumph has expanded to offer both vocal and drum lessons. The new departments will also continue to provide the studio’s exceptional lessons to the general public for all ages and skill levels. The academy’s success is taking place in the revitalized East Hills district of Grand Rapids, adding to the city’s flourishing art scene. Owner James Hughes explains, “My instructors and I have a real passion for teaching and sharing something special with our students. For us, it’s all about spreading the joy.” Triumph Music Academy provides regular recitals and showcases as well as professional performance opportunities for students. “I have stepped in on several gigs, and would have never had the opportunity if it wasn’t for Triumph,” said bass student Ian Thomson. Triumph is the only music education facility in West Michigan to offer a one-on-one freshman year preparation program for college-bound music students. All of the instructors have been trained at the collegiate/university level and are professional performers, composers, songwriters, and recording artists. This legitimacy has earned the academy support from professors at Grand Rapids Community College, a working relationship with Guitar Center, and referrals from Rivertown Music Studio. Contact James Hughes, 949 Wealthy St. SE Ste 200 in Grand Rapids. 269-830-9333 or at

Social Networking For Pet Owners


ifebook is a personalized pet website for pet parents who typically use social networking and want to enjoy and share their pets with others. In just a couple of minutes, you can create a beautiful personalized website, loaded with fun features and interactive tools, to share photos, videos, reminders and remembrances of a beloved pet. It’s easy and free for two weeks with no obligation. Simply visit, click on the free website for your pet banner ad and just upload photos and videos to share with your family and friends. All Lifebook user data is confidential and is not used for advertising or any other purpose. You can also promote your favorite charity, by using the simple drop-down menu and entering the link to the charity of your choice. Another advantage is that you can inscribe your URL onto the pet’s collar or tag to help identify special needs and home location in case the dog or cat is lost or displaced during natural disasters. All of these features, including reminders about medication and vet appointments, are explained in a simple “how it works” tutorial. Once the free two-week trial expires, Lifebook subscriptions can be purchased for only $29.95 for one year and are discounted for longer subscription time periods. You’ll receive an email will full details with your free trial. For more information on this social networking for pet parents visit Living Pet Years ad on www. and page 27.

100hr Anusara Yoga™ Immersion Program


oin From the Heart Yoga & Tai Chi Center for a Transformational Journey into the Heart of Anusara Yoga™. The Immersion Program invites you to step into the flow of Grace and deepen your connection to the community by engaging and expanding

natural awakenings

December 2011


your knowledge with fellow students. This program covers in detail all the basic elements of Anusara Yoga™. Through instruction and discussion they dive deep into the practice of yoga. Over the course of the Immersion they cover yoga philosophy, alignment and anatomy, as well as exploring pranayama and meditation on a deeper level. It supports the deepening of your practice as a student without the need to become a teacher. That being said, it sets a firm foundation should you choose to move toward Teacher Training. Therefore the Immersion is a prerequisite for any Anusara Yoga™ Teacher Training Program. The Immersion Program will be followed by an Anusara Yoga Teacher Training program dates TBA for 2012. Part 1: Stepping Into the Divine Flow: December 9-11. This will be an overview of Anusara Yoga™ its lineage and history, an in-depth exploration of the Universal Principles of Alignment™, the three A’s of Anusara Yoga™, Introduction to the use of props, outline of Yoga history, overview of Shiva/ Shakti Tantric philosophy, idea of pulsation (Spanda), ethical precepts, basics of studentship, introduction to basics of pranayama and meditation, journaling and contemplation, elemental anatomy and daily practices. 34 Hours. Part 2 occurs January 6-8 and February 3-5, 2012 and Part 3 is March 2-4 and March 30- April 1, 2012. Contact From the Heart Yoga & Tai Chi Center 714 Wealthy in Grand Rapids. See ad page 16.

MAJIC Concert Series Presents Jazz Drummer Keith Hall


eith Hall, professor of jazz drum set at Western Michigan U n i v e r s i t y, h a s established himself as a joyful performer and a passionate educator. Since 2002, Keith has spent a fair amount of time with singer Curtis Stigers. He has toured throughout the U.S. and much of Europe performing in concert and appearing on numerous television and radio shows. Hall will perform on January 13th, 7pm at the Bethlehem Church Sanctuary located at 250 Commerce Ave in Grand Rapids.


West Michigan Edition

MAJIC (Musical Arts for Justice in the Community) is a ministry of Bethlehem Church that underwrites all of its concerts in advance and then contributes 100% of the atthe-door donations to local justice oriented organizations. The 2011-2012 season donations go to the Heartside Fund and Heartside Music Together, both organizations that work to help the poor and homeless in Grand Rapids. A free-will donation of $10 per person is suggested at the concert. All door donations go to charity. Contact Carmen Maret, MAJIC Concert Series, Director at 616-406-9655.

2012 CSA Sign Up


fter a great first season for the CSA, Blandford Nature Center is looking toward next season already. Sign up for the 2012 CSA season has begun. By signing up for a CSA share you receive a weekly share of fresh local produce grown right at Blandford. To learn more about the Blandford CSA and how it works visit www. Contact Aaron Snippe if you have any other questions or if you would like to sign up for a 2012 share.

Holiday Special


holistic Kinesiology Health Services is offering a holiday special. Purchase a gift certificate for any service and receive a free Infra-red sauna session or a personalized flower essence blend. Offer good through December 31st, 2011. Barbara Zvirzdinis W.K., C.M.T. has been using alternative medicine since the 1980s. Zvirzdinis is a Certified Matrix Energetics Practitioner, Certified Wholistic Kinesiologist, Certified Massage Therapist, Reconnection

Healing Practitioner, Certified Herbalist, Certified Acutonics Practitioner, and a Certified Reflexologist. She also has extensive training in nutrition, Reflexology, Reiki, Quantum Touch, Vibrational Medicine and other forms of natural healing. “My personal interest in the health of the whole human being has led me down this road with its many side paths, penetrating the mysteries of wellness and balance in living,” says Zvirzdinis. She also presents workshops throughout the area covering a range of topics including Wholistic Kinesiology, Herbs for the Cold and Flu Season, Reflexology, Reflexology for Weight Loss, and Home Herbal Facials. Call or email to make an appointment. Visit wkhealthservices. com for a list of all services. See ad pages 21, 45 & 46.

M.A.W.B. (Mother’s Against Wife Beaters)


ealth Freedom Nutrition is joining forces with Warren Nutrition at their Plainfield location, 3150 Plainfield Ave NE, Grand Rapids, MI, 616-3653031, on Wednesday Dec. 14, from 4-6 pm. Enjoy complimentary services such as energy, work, and Debby DeJonge anti aging advice, massages, pedicures, guest speakers, silent auction, and raffle. The event is also sponsored by Cole Bakery, Johnny Branns Sizzling Steaks and Sports Grille, The Greenery Spa, Lakeshore Natural Health, Lifethyme Market, The Gilmore Collection, Vitamin Planet, Forest Hills Foods, Mike Vruggink and Almassian Jewelry. This is a free event and all proceeds will benefit M.A.W.B. and the YWCA.

Matrix Energetics Offers Life-Transforming Seminars


eginning in January and continuing throughout 2012, Matrix Energetics will offer its transformative seminars in cities across the United States and in Canada. Upcoming programs are scheduled for San Francisco; Asheville, North Carolina; Albuquerque; Scottsdale, Arizona; Fort Lauderdale; San Diego and Toronto. Matrix Energetics, a consciousness technology for insight, healing and spiritual growth, was born from a set of energetic treatments discovered by Dr. Richard Bartlett in his chiropractic and naturopathic practice. Using principles of quantum and energy physics, Bartlett says this teachable, transferable system helps individuals to shift into a more balanced state and create new, infinite possibilities in their lives. “Matrix Energetics offers easy-to-learn techniques and strategies for enhancing all areas of life, such as health, family, career, relationships and finances,” he explains.” Once you learn to catch the wave of Matrix Energetics, it can become whatever you let it. Some of my students have developed abilities I’ve never dreamed of having.” Bartlett is the author of several books, including the award-winning Matrix Energetics: The Science and Art of Transformation and The Physics of Miracles and The Matrix Energetics Experience. For seminar dates, locations and registration information, call 1-800-269-9513, email or visit Friday night demonstrations are free and open to the public, space permitting.

Please check the Warren Nutrition website, www. for more sponsors and updates.

natural awakenings

December 2011


Natural Awakenings Network cards make great holiday gifts!


ÂŽ is a groundbreaking national network through which members may obtain discounts on products and services focused on natural health, wellness, sustainability and healthy lifestyles. NAN providers are practitioners and integrative health professionals who specialize in complementary and alternative medicine and therapies. Additional participating businesses that offer member discounts include health clubs, health food stores, yoga centers, green living products and services, bookstores, spas, vegetarian/healthy restaurants and many others. NAN members can save from 5% to 50% on the many products and services from our comprehensive network of providers. Now you can enjoy discounts on services from naturopaths, chiropractors, iridologists, massage therapists and spas... not always covered by health insurance! Save money every time you use your NAN card and experience better health and quality of life. Now through January 31st you can take advantage of our Launch Special and purchase annual individual NAN Memberships for 50% off. A savings of $54. Annual Family Plans are also available for 50% off. A savings of $108. Family Plans include up to four members. Convenient and easy to use. Just show your NAN card at participating Providers and start enjoying the savings. No paperwork, no insurance claims, no limits! Preventive health is the best prescription for better health. New Providers are added weekly and a list will be posted on To see a comprehensive list of all providers nationwide, visit Is there a business that you frequent that is not listed on our Network list? Suggest to them that they become a NAN Provider. It is FREE for providers to participate in for their first year.

Contact for more information. 616-656-9232. See ad page 40 Like us on Facebook at Natural Awakenings Magazine of West Michigan for your chance to win a card for the holidays. See ad page 44.


West Michigan Edition

2012 Annual Natural Living Directory


e invite you to be a part of Natural Awakenings 3rd Annual Natural Living Directory for West Michigan, coming March 2012. This special annual directory of Natural Awakenings magazine will serve as a handy reference guide for consumers to keep at their fingertips all year long when searching for the products and services they want to live a healthier and more sustainable lifestyle. This A to Z directory will feature a glossary to educate our health conscious readers about the benefits of various natural health modalities, sustainable practices and more. Consumers trust Natural Awakenings information and its featured advertisers because we offer refreshing and educational editorial on natural health and green living. Natural Awakenings also provides the resources that support Health, Fitness, Sustainable Living, Personal Growth, and Creative Expression. This Directory is a must for businesses that offer healthy products and sustainable services. Don’t miss out on this important issue! Natural Living Directory prices: $119.00 per category listing includes 5 header lines, a 35-word description and a photo or logo. A second category is 50% off and a third category is FREE. Early Registration Rates: $99 for the first listing. Special pricing ends February 3rd, 2012. ½ page and Full Page Ads are also available. Call Natural Awakenings at 616-656-9232 for details, examples and to reserve your space in our Natural Living Directory. Deadline to register is February 17th. See ad page 47.


Universal Truths

News and resources to inspire concerned citizens to work together in building a healthier, stronger society that benefits all.

Got Faith?

Global Religion Remains Strong Despite Repression In a recent, nondenominational global survey of 18,000 people across 24 countries by UK research firm Ipsos Mori, 70 percent identified themselves with a chosen religion. Thirty percent said that their religion motivates them to give time or money to people in need and 73 percent of those under age 35 said their religion or faith was important in their life. At the same time, Rising Restrictions on Religion, a recent report by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life, found that more than 2.2 billion of the world’s total population of 6.9 billion people live in countries where either government restrictions on religion or social hostilities involving religion rose substantially between 2006 and 2009. Most of the countries that experienced substantial increases already had high levels of restrictions or hostilities. “This survey shows how much religion matters and that no analysis of the contemporary world, political or social, is complete without understanding the relationship between faith and globalization,” says former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, a patron of the Tony Blair Faith Foundation. “There is much to encourage the view that people can learn to respect those of another faith and live with them peacefully. Interfaith dialogue and action today is not just an interesting but peripheral minor subject; it is the essence, central to creating greater social cohesion and harmony.” Sources: Christian Today (UK);

Bully Beaters

Cooperation is Key to Social Harmony Bullies seem to be made, not born. A study from the University of California, Berkeley, concludes that a cooperative school experience, versus a competitive one, can play a major positive role in the socialization of students. Researchers canvassed 217 students in grades three through five, measuring how much they liked to cooperate or compete with their peers, and how often they acted with aggression or kindness toward them. The youngsters also estimated how often their teachers put them in small groups to complete assignments together, a classroom strategy known as “cooperative learning,” because the students have to collaborate with one another to get their work done. Students that engaged in more frequent cooperative learning were more likely to say they enjoyed cooperating with others and reported exhibiting kind, helpful, pro-social behaviors. In contrast, students that said they preferred to compete were significantly more likely to act aggressively toward their peers and try to do them harm. The results suggest that cooperation begets cooperation. The researchers further concluded that cooperative experiences promote the development of the personality trait of cooperation. Based on their results, the researchers advocate more cooperative learning in classrooms as a way to promote positive behaviors and combat bullying, or harm-intentioned aggression. Source: Greater Good Science Center

Chinese Seek Happiness and Justice

When the Chinese Internet portal NetEase recently offered Open Universitystyle lectures in English with seminars like Web 2.0 Marketing Communications and Introduction to Robotics, managers were surprised that the most popular choices turned out to be two more contemplative courses; one on happiness and the other on justice. “We never imagined that the most successful topics would be those to do with people’s hearts and minds,” says NetEase spokesman Yang Jing. More than 3 million people have already watched the course on the concept of justice, led by Harvard philosopher Michael Sandel, author of Justice: What’s the Right Thing to Do? Sandel believes that the demand reflects an awakening of ethical reflection and debate in China. “The generation that came of age during China’s economic miracle now wants to engage with big questions about moral responsibility, justice and injustice; about the meaning of the good life,” he observes. Although China is proud of its economic advances, “There is also recognition that rising affluence has brought growing inequality, that GDP (Gross Domestic Product) alone does not bring happiness, and that markets can’t by themselves create a just society.” Psychologist Tal Ben-Shahar, author of Being Happy, states that his positive psychology course acknowledges that, “The need for happiness, for meaning and pleasure, is universal, common to all people. However, what people find meaningful or pleasurable often differs across different cultures.” Source: Time magazine

natural awakenings

December 2011



The Arts Relieve Holiday Stress


he hustle and bustle of the holiday season can leave us stressed, fatigued and even anxious or depressed. But according to studies sponsored by the Norwegian University of Science and Technology’s Nord-Trøndelag Health Study, there are many artful ways to relieve these conditions: Painting, dancing, playing a musical instrument or even attending a theater performance or concert may help us feel better, healthier and more upbeat. The researchers worked with more than 50,000 participants, using questionnaires, interviews, clinical examinations, and blood and urine samples to assemble detailed health profiles. The data was controlled for chronic illness, social relations, smoking and alcohol. What most surprised the researchers was that the study findings held true regardless of socioeconomic status; whether a truck driver or bank president, participating in the arts had a positive effect on the individual’s sense of health and well-being.

Acupuncture Eases Unexplained Symptoms


atients that experience medically unexplained symptoms might benefit from acupuncture, according to new research by the Institute of Health Services Research, Peninsula Medical School, at the University of Exeter. The study involved 80 adults that had consulted their general practitioner eight or more times in the previous year for problems such as headaches, muscle pain, extreme fatigue or joint and back pain. Half received up to 12 sessions of five-element acupuncture during a period of six months; the remainder received no extra treatment. The patients receiving acupuncture reported improved well-being and scored higher on an individualized health status questionnaire than the control group. They reported that their acupuncture consultations became increasingly valuable and that the interactive and holistic nature of the sessions gave them a sense that something positive was being done about their condition. Professor Andrew Gould, who led the study, says it is important to offer patients other options when conventional medicine isn’t working. “It’s soul-destroying for both the patient and doctor when there’s no clear reason for the symptoms patients are suffering from,” he explains. “We don’t know how acupuncture is making a difference, but it seems to be something to do with the treatment, rather than just a placebo or the one-to-one care the patients are getting.” The study was the first of its kind in the United Kingdom. The research results were published in The British Journal of General Practice.


West Michigan Edition

Zinc Fights Colds


new study confirms that zinc can, indeed, help reduce the severity and duration of the common cold, and high doses—at least 75 milligrams per day—work best. Depending upon the total dosage and composition of the lozenges, zinc may shorten the duration of a common cold episode by up to 40 percent, according to University of Helsinki research. Source: Open Respiratory Medicine Journal

Nutty Help for Diabetes


ew research from St. Michael’s Hospital and the University of Toronto reports that consuming two ounces of nuts daily as a replacement for carbohydrates (muffins were used in the study) is effective in glycemic and serum lipid control for people with Type 2 diabetes. The researchers concluded that all nuts—whether mixed, unsalted, raw or dry-roasted—offer benefits for control of both blood glucose and blood lipids and could be consumed as part of a strategy to improve diabetes control without weight gain. Source: Diabetes Care


Toyland Tips

The Greenest Tree

Millions of children’s toys have been recalled in recent years to head off hazards from lead content, possible choking and other personal safety issues, thanks to supervision by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. But none are monitored for their environmental impact, which opens another can of worms. Action figures and dolls are often made from PVC, the worst polluting plastic, and their packaging often quadruples the size of a toy’s environmental footprint, typically ending up in a landfill. Teddy bears are often stuffed with synthetic, petroleum-based fillers and pesticide-heavy cotton. Other toys, including stuffed animals, are sprayed with brominated fire retardants; the kind that turn up in breast milk. Even some wooden toys may be coated with varnishes and paints that are high in air-polluting volatile organic compounds (VOC). To combat this troubling trend, look for all-natural stuffed animals made with organic fibers, wool batting, recycled sweaters or even tofu; search out toys that have shifted to PVC- and phthalate-free plastics; and use beeswax instead of synthetic clay and colored play dough for craft projects. It’s best to purchase toys from local manufacturers that can certify they follow U.S. environmental, health and safety regulations and use minimal packaging. Favor wooden toys that are finished with nontoxic, natural oil or beeswax or not finished at all. Sources include local guild shops, craft stores and galleries that carry handcrafted toys made by artisans in the community, using proper safety criteria.

Choose Greener, Safer Playthings

Go Natural for Christmas

The star of many families’ seasonal décor, the annual Christmas tree does not need to become an environmental burden if selected with care. While some individuals have strong opinions about the virtues of a natural tree versus an artificial one, each can have pros and cons. The National Christmas Tree Association points out that 85 percent of the plastic trees sold in the United States are imported from China and may contain toxic chemicals, while evergreen trees can be grown in all 50 states. Even with a real tree, however, there are factors to consider. How far did the tree travel? The distance traveled from its source impacts the carbon footprint, due to the fuel expended to transport it. Most vendors can tell you the state of origin, but how about pesticides? Conventional Christmas tree farms are reputed to use abundant pesticides to keep their product looking picture-perfect. Ask if the seller is the grower and/or knows the answer. Typically, a temporary sidewalk or street corner seller may not; a better bet can be a u-pick-it tree farm. Put a cut tree in water within a few hours after trimming the base a flat onehalf to one inch; some people add an aspirin to the water to enhance absorption. According to the 2009 National Geographic Green Guide, Americans annually discard 30 million cut trees after the holidays, with the wood wasted in landfills. Alternatively, a program in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana, collects them to combat coastal erosion. Locate tree growers by state and learn how to dispose of trees responsibly at publishes a list of organic Christmas tree farmers at When choosing a live tree, keep it properly hydrated and just repot it in the yard after the celebrations conclude. Find detailed steps for care and planting from at and

Idea sources: (;

natural awakenings

December 2011


you’ve been craving a tasty yet healthy snack...

TaKe a BiTe!


Now available at over 50 local retailers* and all WESCO locations beginning this December!

ecobrief From the Forest to the Floor – Cork is a Hypoallergenic Flooring Option

Dark Chocolate Raspberry or Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter flavors!

Single BaRS oR BoxeS of 6 BaRS

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ork is the bark of an oak tree known as Quercus Suber, which grows along the Mediterranean Sea; it regenerates every 9 years. It is a natural, environmentally friendly, rapidly renewable resource. For its distinctive features, cork has been used throughout history for fishing floats, bottle stoppers, and soles of shoes. Today, when used as a flooring material, it will contribute to LEED Certification. No trees are lost or damaged in the harvesting process. Cork has remarkable characteristics unmatched by any other flooring material. One cubic inch of cork contains more than 200 million completely enclosed air cells. This unique structure gives cork the attributes of resilience and durability, thermal and acoustic insulation, moisture resistance, antistatic and it is hypoallergenic. Cork flooring is comfortable, quite and warm under foot. Cork is strong, durable and lasting. Best of all, cork is beautiful, easy to care for and 100% natural – making it an ideal flooring choice for any room. It is available as a floating floor – great for older buildings where the floor is uneven – or glue down for both residential and commercial applications. Cork is available in tiles or planks and comes unfinished, waxed or with a Greenshield finish. For more information, contact Standale Interiors, 616-453-8201. See ad pages 7 & 46.


West Michigan Edition


to live a healthier lifestyle, the affirmation might be “I treat my body with love and respect and enjoy exercising every day.”

SEEING IS BELIEVING: Four Steps to Creating a Vision Board

by Sharon Pisacreta


reative visualization is an idea as old as the Buddhist saying, “The mind is everything. What we think, we become.” Indeed the power of creative visualization has been acknowledged by everyone from Thomas Edison to Michael Jordan. But training the mind to focus on positive, success-oriented thoughts can be difficult. One way to do this is by creating a vision board. Sometimes called dream boards or creative collages, a vision board is a treasure map leading to the life you really want. The style or size of the board doesn’t matter. It can be as simple as pictures taped to a poster board or as elaborate as an online site filled with moving images, music and a voice reciting affirmations. There are varying opinions as to why vision boards work. One explanation is that the vision board utilizes the Law of Attraction, which is best described as like attracts like. This law is believed to respond to the energy frequency emitted by thoughts. If a person’s thoughts are negative, the law reacts by manifesting more of the same. Consequently positive thoughts, as well as the positive images on a vision board, work as a magnet, attracting whatever you most desire. Others view a vision board as a physical reminder of their goals. Seeing pictures of what you want displayed on the board serves as inspiration to put thoughts into action. Whatever the mechanism behind vision boards, they are easy, enjoyable tools to enhance your life. So let’s get started. 1. Set Goals – A person can’t create a vision board unless they know what it is they want. Unfortunately, research indicates that less than 3% of people have written down goals. To clarify what is most important to you, list what you are grateful for. Look for the positive no matter how unhappy the current situation, even if it is only being thankful that things aren’t worse. Next, write down what you would like to attract into your life. It can be as specific as wanting to lose twenty-five pounds, or as general as wishing for a better job. And choose goals that elicit strong, uplifting emotions. The more desirable a goal is the more energy will be released when thinking about it. 2. Collect Images & Affirmations – Page through magazines looking for images that set your heart racing with excitement or just make you feel good. The simple process of choosing these pictures releases the creative power of the subconscious. This is crucial because it is the subconscious that strengthens belief in your ability to realize those dreams. Many boards focus on a single goal. For example, if you wish to vacation in Italy, collect pictures of Venice, names of restaurants you plan to visit, a map of Rome, or beautiful images of Tuscany. Print out Italian phrases or draw a picture of an airline ticket to Italy with your name on it. Place photos of yourself beside these images along with a printed affirmation such as “I feel so much pleasure as I walk down the Via Veneto.” For vision boards dedicated to a broader topic such as prosperity, gather together images that symbolize success. But don’t merely cut out generic photos of fancy houses, luxury cars and designer clothing. Think about what prosperity means to you. Financial success can put an end to stress and anxiety, and a picture of a tranquil sunset might represent that. However if there is a certain type of house or car that epitomizes a prosperous life, then paste it on the board. There may be pictures that do not seem logical choices. Perhaps the goal is to find a life partner, yet your attention is drawn to an image of a tropical bird or a photo of autumn trees. Follow your feelings and place them on the board anyway. According to life coach Martha Beck, putting these images together “will begin catalyzing something beyond the mind’s capacity to calculate or conceptualize.” In other words, it may not make sense now, but it will. A vision board can be expanded, or new ones started. One interesting variation is the Feng Shui Vision Board in which the board is divided into sections representing Love, Career, Wealth, Travel, Health, etc. Every vision board should also include several positive affirmations written or glued onto them. And remember to phrase affirmations in the present tense, so if the goal is

3. Assemble the Board – Assembly requires little more than scissors, glue, markers, photos, and a surface to affix them to. Many people prefer to use pins rather than glue, which allows them to add and remove images as goals are met and new ones added. Another option is to create a vision board online and there are downloadable computer programs available for this purpose. 4. Believe and Receive – Once the vision board is complete, put it in a place where you can see it easily. Some people recommend looking at it twice a day, others only take it out when they need inspiration. Whenever you do look at it, imagine what it feels like to have already achieved this goal. It is very important that the vision board evokes strong positive emotions. Bestselling motivational author Napoleon Hill explains, “Your subconscious mind recognizes and acts only upon thoughts which have been well mixed with emotion or feeling.” When these powerful emotions trigger the subconscious, it will then pass on specific ways that you can achieve your goal. Trust in the process, and believe that your goal has been reached. But also pay close attention to the signs and opportunities that the subconscious imparts to you. Above all, be prepared to act upon these opportunities. Don’t lose patience if results aren’t as quick as you’d like. Many years ago, my young daughter and I started a project where we glued photos of anything that seemed beautiful or appealing in what we called our dream scrapbooks. After a few months, we started other art projects and the books were forgotten until we moved twelve years later. While packing, I idly opened up my dream book and was stunned to see a lovely photo of the very place we were moving to. We all want to be happy and fulfilled. But just wishing for a happier life is often not enough. Because of its strong focus on goal setting and positive thinking, a vision board is an effective, inspirational tool for personal growth and development. Seeing is believing. Let the vision board -- and the power of your subconscious mind -- show you the way to a life you are still only dreaming of. Sharon Pisacreta is an award-winning freelance writer who lives in SaugatuckDouglas. She is also the editor of the online site Sharon may be contacted at

natural awakenings

December 2011


Choose The Best of the Best! Over the past year we have highlighted an amateur photo contest winner each month and now it is your turn to vote.

December 2010

January 2011

Photo: Joel Manning of Jenison

May 2011 Photo: Avery Wedder of Cascade

April 2011

Voting ends January 12th Photo: Ashley Bunge from Wyoming

August 2011

Photo: Lee Hardy from Grand Rapids

September 2011


Photo: Jacqueline of Hastings West Michigan EditionLee Muma

Photo: Julia Knoll of Grand Rapids

March 2011

February 2011

Photo: Catherine Huizinga of Grand Rapids

June 2011

Photo: Janet Kruzel of Homewood, IL

July 2011

Photo taken by Leesa Lee from Clio

October 2011

Photo: Donald Bradstreet from Hastings

It’s Simple...

November 2011

Just send an email to Publisher@ NaturalWestMichigan. com with the words ‘Photo Contest’ in the subject line and tell us which month you feel should win. The winner will receive a Natural Awakenings Network Card (valued at $108).

Photo: Kent Measell of Grand Rapids

Photo: James Tanis of Lakeview

natural awakenings

December 2011



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Intentions for the New Year by Wayne Dyer

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hese daily practices will help you move toward Spirit in your thoughts and actions.

Commit to at least one daily experience where you share something of yourself with no expectation of being acknowledged or thanked. For example, before I begin my daily routine, I go to my desk and choose my gift for that day. Sometimes it’s just a phone call to a stranger that’s written to me, or perhaps I order flowers or send a book or a present to someone that has helped me in a local store. On one occasion, I wrote to the president of the university I graduated from to start a scholarship fund; on another day, I took a calendar to the yard man; on another, I sent a check to Habitat for Humanity; and on another, I sent three rolls of postage stamps to my son, who had just started his own business. It doesn’t matter if this activity is big or small—it’s a way to begin the day in-Spirit.


Become conscious of all thoughts that aren’t aligned with your Source. The moment you catch yourself excluding someone or having a judgmental thought, say the words “in-

Spirit” to yourself. Then make a silent effort to shift that thought to match up with Source energy.


In the morning before you’re fully awake, and again as you’re going to sleep, take one or two minutes of what I call quiet time with God. Be in a state of appreciation and say aloud, “I want to feel good.”


Remind yourself of this statement: My life is bigger than I am. Print it out and post it strategically in your home, car or workplace. The “I” is your ego identification. Your life is Spirit flowing through you unhindered by ego—it’s what you showed up here to actualize—and is infinite. The “I” that identifies you is a fleeting snippet.


Dedicate your life to something that reflects an awareness of your Divinity. You are greatness personified, a resident genius and a creative master—regardless of anyone’s opinion. Make a silent dedication to encourage and express your Divine nature. Excerpted from Inspiration: Your Ultimate Calling, by Wayne Dyer, with permission of Hay House, Inc.

natural awakenings

December 2011



The Upside of Downhill Skiing Make the Most of Peak Experiences by Randy Kambic


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now brings fresh fun with winter sports and recreation. Cross-country skiing and snowboarding are healthy options, but neither offers the scope and variety in terrain, movement and exercise afforded by the perennial favorite of alpine downhill skiing. Jen Butson, public affairs director of the Vermont Ski Areas Association, representing 48 facilities, believes that downhill particularly appeals to women, due to its, “ …accessibility to all ages, abilities and body types, its gracefulness, and being a way for a family to experience nature together.” Yet, some skiers may experience diminished interest due to memories of cold limbs, residual aches and pains or crowded slopes. Or, they might be concerned about resorts’ perceived high energy usage. Cost is another factor. Here are some tips to get folks back on the slopes and max out mountain moments. Warm-up exercises. Skiing demands slightly bent knees and a firm back to absorb bumps, so do some deep squats and short hops from that position beforehand, advises Dr. Joe Ethen, owner of Lakefront Chiropractic Center, in Glencoe, Illinois. “This exercise targets the upper quadriceps and provides

full-range motion of joints.” Using ski poles to initiate turns and propel through chairlift lines works the arms and shoulders, so he also recommends upper body stretching. Foot care. Boots need to be tight fitting in order to transmit the pressure to make turns from the foot through the boot and binding to the ski itself. The necessary snugness can hinder circulation and chill toes. A solution: Loosen boot buckles while waiting for and taking the chairlift, and wear thin, synthetic-blend socks that wick away moisture and accelerate evaporation. Avoid the crowds. When skiing on a weekend, locate one or two trails serviced by a mid-mountain chairlift, which is usually far less crowded than the main lift closest to the lodge. “Many resorts have high-speed, four-seat chairlifts, which reduce wait time,” says Karl Winter, vice president of Ski the Rockies, which represents 30-plus resorts in California, Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming and Canada. Eat early or late to get in more skiing while others lunch in the lodge. Take a workweek vacation day or two to totally beat weekend crowds.

Safety. Call out, “On your right,” for example, if you pass a skier that’s to your left, to make sure he or she doesn’t ski into your path. Stay aware of faster moving skiers and boarders. “Don’t stop for too long in the middle of a steep trail to rest or take in the splendid views,” counsels Butson. “A speedy skier might not see you there beneath a mogul.” Late-season benefits. More natural and manmade snow on the slopes is the norm as the season progresses. Warmer temperatures later in the season also tend to make conditions more comfortable and soften ice and hard-packed snow, slowing speeds a bit and making turns easier. “More snow makes skis easier to control,” explains Winter. “It allows you to glide and carve your turns and maintain a turning rhythm. So, you don’t have to work as hard, which also saves energy.” Many resorts offer special lateseason discounts. Ski green. Joining a ski club can deliver savings on lift tickets, as well

The United States counted 11.5 million downhill skiers, 8.2 million snowboarders and 4.5 million crosscountry skiers in 2011. Source: SnowSports Industries Association

as lodging booked by the group. Plus, traveling by bus or carpooling saves gas. Remember to properly recycle or dispose of refuse and pick up any trash you spot in the snow. When choosing a destination, check to see if the resort goes for electric vehicles, composting, local purchasing programs, efforts to reduce carbon footprints, water conservation and employee and guest sustainability education. All are elements of the National Ski Areas Association’s Environ-

mental Charter, endorsed by190 resorts that together, host about 75 percent of all U.S. skier and snowboarder visits. Many resorts are adopting the association’s new sustainable slopes and climate challenge programs. If you need skis, but are on a tight budget, consider renting or checking out early season ski swaps, which also can offer more traditional ecofriendly, gently worn clothing. If you feel you must wax ski bases, select a product that is free of PFCs and other petrochemicals, which can rub off into snow and eventually find their way into waterways. With the ultra-smooth, resilient bases of modern skis, waxing has become unnecessary for most recreational skiers. Enjoy winter’s wonderland. For consumer tips and destination directories, visit,, and Avid skier Randy Kambic is a freelance editor and writer in Estero, FL, and a copyeditor for Natural Awakenings.

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give us a first-person taste of infant experience,” as can experiencing beauty, she says. This illustrates one of the most positive effects of having children: They help us to become children again ourselves. In Taoism, the ideal is to be as spontaneous and curious as a child, exhibiting their openness to experience. On the physical plane, Taoist practices like Tai chi and qigong aim to help the body become as supple and flexible as a child’s.

Beyond Selfishness

The Parent Path How Children Enrich Our Spiritual Life by Steve Taylor


irty nappies, wakeup calls in the middle of the night, a house full of screams and squeals, food splattered on walls, a chaos of toys everywhere, no more late nights out, no time to read books, take classes or attend retreats—what could be spiritual about bringing up children? Isn’t spiritual development just one of the many things we sacrifice when we have kids? Many spiritual traditions based on meditation, prayer and solitude maintain that nothing should divert us from our spiritual practices—least of all a family, which takes up so much time and energy. In India, one tradition holds that spiritual development belongs to a later stage of life, roughly after age 50. It is only once we have lived through a householder stage, bringing up and providing for our children and living a worldly life, that we can turn our attention to the inner world. After our children have reached adulthood, we have the privilege of meditating regularly, and living more quietly and simply. Many parents, however, find that—


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far from hindering it—bringing up children actively advances their spiritual development. Seen in the right way, parenthood can be a spiritual path, bringing a heightened sense of love, wonder and appreciation.

Natural Mindfulness

After all, children are such strongly spiritual beings. They naturally have many of the qualities that adults work to cultivate through spiritual development. For example, children are naturally mindful. They constantly live fully in the present, and the world is always a fantastically real and interesting place to them. As child psychologist Professor Alison Gopnik, of the University of California, Berkeley, puts it, “Babies and young children are actually more conscious and more vividly aware of their external world and internal life than adults are.” They have what she calls an, “…infinite capacity for wonder,” that adults only experience at their highest moments. “Travel, meditation and romantic poetry can

All the world’s spiritual traditions tell us how important it is to transcend our own selfishness; to stop seeing ourselves as the center of the universe and trying so hard to satisfy our own desires. They advise us to help and serve others, so that we can move beyond our separate ego and connect to a transcendent power. The eightfold path of Buddhism aims to cultivate this selfless state and ideally, the path of parenthood can, as well. It’s impossible to be a good parent without being prepared to put your children first. Much of parenthood is about selfsacrifice. Gopnik remarks: “Imagine a novel in which a woman took in a stranger who was unable to walk or talk or even eat by himself. She fell completely in love with him at first sight, fed and clothed and washed him, gradually helped him to become competent and independent, and spent more than half her income on him… You couldn’t bear the sappiness of it. But that is just about every mother’s story. Caring for children is a fast and efficient way to experience at least a little saintliness.” The poet William Wordsworth described how children see the world as “…appareled in celestial light [having] the glory and freshness of a dream.” Yet, as adults, this vision, “…fades into the light of common day.” Having children of our own helps us to reawaken some of the celestial light within. Perhaps this is what Jesus meant too, when he told his disciples, “Unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” This makes sense if we think of the kingdom of heaven not as a future, far-off place, but as a state

of consciousness, here and now. Heaven is the state of wonder and natural well-being where children dwell and in their company, we naturally re-enter the kingdom. Steve Taylor, a UK university lecturer and researcher, is the author of Waking from Sleep, described by Eckhart Tolle as, “One of the best books on spiritual awakening I have come across.” His new book is Out of the Darkness – from Turmoil to Transformation. Visit

How to Treat Parenthood as a Spiritual Path n Don’t be tempted to rush your children; try not to be impatient at their slowness. Walk at their pace and be mindful with them. n Consciously cultivate a fresh, intense, childlike vision. Imagine how the world looks through their eyes. n Let youngsters teach you the marvels of the world around you. Be as open and curious as they are, not taking anything you know for granted. n Give yourself wholly to play with kids, allowing yourself to step outside your mental world of worries and responsibilities.

How to Support Your Inner Child’s Natural Spirituality n Don’t be irritated when children ask, “Why?” Encourage their sense of wonder. n Try not to be irritated by youthful exuberance and excitement. n Try to limit the amount of time kids watch TV or play computer games. n Encourage children to use their own creativity by inventing games, drawing or painting. n Schedule periods of quiet relaxation and meditation, which enable them to feel more at home within their own being. Source: Waking From Sleep, by Steve Taylor natural awakenings

December 2011



Good Vibrations

Sound Healing for the Soul by Erin Lehn Floresca


any sounds associated with holidays instantly cheer us up, but why? We naturally respond to sounds, because everything in the Universe is comprised of vibration— also referred to as resonance. When we are exposed to healing sounds, our bodies and minds begin to resonate in harmony with them, supporting our well-being. Fortunately, avenues of sound healing are readily accessible in our everyday lives. Engaging in activities such as singing, drumming or chanting often help us quickly reestablish a sense of balance in the midst of our multitasking lives. Attending an uplifting musical event can render a similar effect.

Sound Healing Therapy

Psychotherapist Meredith McFadden, a sound healing therapist in Medford, Oregon, observes that, “Receiving or creating intentional, healing sound vibrations is proving to be one of the most direct, most relevant healing modalities available today.” McFadden appreciates sound for its immediate effect. She takes individual clients on sound journeys with the help of voices, crystal singing bowls, 22

West Michigan Edition

buffalo drums and other instruments. “When we bathe ourselves in healing sound waves,” she observes, “we open up a direct line of communication with our soul.” At the culmination of each session, she allows what she terms the “big music of silence” to envelope the one being healed. McFadden notes that not all healing sounds need to be calming. “Activating music can be just as healing as soft and slow sounds,” she says. Whether we prefer listening to Lady Gaga, Native American flutes or the sound of a heavy rainstorm, the key is to discover what especially resonates with us.

Crystal Singing Bowls

Master crystal singing bowl artist Ashana, based in Santa Fe, New Mexico, couples angelic vocals with her massive collection of bowls for a musical healing alchemy recognized worldwide. “Listening to the bowls can have a profound impact on a person’s well-being,” says Ashana. Made from pure, crushed quartz, infused with precious gemstones, minerals and metals, “The bowls vibrate at a very high, pure frequency,” she explains. “As we come into resonance

with the bowls, mental chatter slows or stops and the mind quiets. Within minutes, our nervous system starts to unwind. In a state of peaceful stillness, the ‘dial up’ to our higher self becomes accessible. This is the optimum state for healing to occur.” Ashana emphasizes that we are all interconnected, so any healing work we do on ourselves affects all of humanity. “As we raise our personal frequency, we can become conscious tuning forks for divine energies to pour through us,” she believes. “We’re all holding a piece of the web.”

Healing Through Song

“Since the dawn of time, humans have been sharing song in their tribe,” says Zurich, Switzerland, recording artist, educator and filmmaker Michael Stillwater. “Pop songs are modern tribal songs, although we have mostly become a culture of consumers and spectators, rather than participants.” The founder of Inner Harmony Music and Song Without Borders, Stillwater’s is a strong voice in an emerging grassroots global movement devoted to helping people reclaim their inner song. “As a vocal art, singing is unique,” he advises. “It’s deeply connected to our sense of self.” He also notes that if our voice or singing is criticized in our developmental years, we may shut down our creative expression. “We then become like cave dwellers, hiding our voice; there are millions of vocal cave dwellers in our world,” he says. Finding your song—or chant

or mantra—almost inevitably becomes integrated with a pathway for rediscovering one’s authentic self. “It’s about letting your voice become part of your own healing medicine,” says Stillwater. His film documentary, In Search of the Great Song, celebrates the use of creative vocal expression for healing and transformation.

by Colin Chase

Experience Kirtan

Kitzie Stern, producer of the New World Kirtan podcast, notes that kirtan, or sacred chanting, is known for bonding everyone in the moment of co-creation between audience and artists, followed by quiet meditation in community. Originating in India, kirtan is one of the oldest musical traditions in the world. The mantras used in kirtan open the listener to the experience of peace. Stern explains, “The music that accompanies kirtan also helps our minds to turn off. As wallah (chant leader) Dave Stringer puts it, ‘The chant is the medicine, but the music is what helps it go down.’” One does not have to attend a live kirtan performance to reap its benefits. Stern’s podcast plays a variety of chants to help listeners tune into tranquility. She observes that, “Being able to access the quiet magnificence that exists within each one of us and live within it for some portion of the day helps us to stay sane in the turmoil of the modern world.” Learn more at,, and Erin Floresca is a freelance writer in Portland, Oregon. Connect at

natural awakenings

December 2011


that seems to make people feel happier and report greater health.”

Helping Hands Live Longer


The Helping – Health – Happiness Connection by Lisa Marshall


rowing up on Long Island, New York, young Stephen Post often received an unusual prescription from his mother when he was feeling grouchy or under the weather. “She’d say, ‘Why don’t you go out and help someone?’” he recalls. “I’d go out and help Mr. Muller rake leaves or help old Bobby Lawrence fix his boat. Then, I’d come back feeling better, and feeling better about life.” Decades later, Post—a professor of preventive medicine at New York’s Stony Brook University—is among a growing contingent of researchers exploring just how such acts of generosity and the feelings (empathy, compassion, altruism) that prompt them may actually improve our mental and physical health. Recent studies have shown that people that volunteer live longer, suffer less chronic pain, have bolstered


West Michigan Edition

immune systems, are more likely to recover from addiction, and experience an in-the-moment sense of calm akin to that which people experience during and after exercise. Scientists have yet to fully understand what the physiological underpinnings are of such health benefits, but early studies credit a cascade of neurobiological changes that occur as we reach out to help a loved one, or (in some cases) even cut a check to a stranger in need. Could generosity be the missing, often overlooked ingredient to a prescription for better health? Perhaps, says Post, author of The Hidden Gifts of Helping: How the Power of Giving, Compassion and Hope Can Get Us Through Hard Times. “This is a young science, but what we have begun to discover is that there is something going on, physiologically, in this process of helping others

We’ve all felt it: That blush of innerwarmth we get after we bring a plate of healthful, steaming food to a sick relative, volunteer to read to kids at a local preschool or help sort donations for a shelter. According to a 2010 survey of 4,500 Americans by United Healthcare, 68 percent of those that volunteered in the previous year reported that doing it made them feel physically healthier; 73 percent noted that it lowered their stress levels. Meanwhile, 29 percent of volunteers that suffered from a chronic illness claimed that giving of their time helped them to better manage the illness. Other studies, by researchers at Boston College, found that when chronic pain sufferers volunteered to help others with similar conditions, they saw their own pain and depression levels decrease. At least seven studies have shown that people that regularly volunteer or give of themselves live longer—especially if they do it for genuinely altruistic reasons. Cami Walker, 38, of Denver, has experienced firsthand the physical benefits of being generous. After one sleepless night, lying awake and, “feeling sorry for myself,” due to a flare-up of her multiple sclerosis, she decided to take the advice of a spiritual teacher that suggested she, “Give something away each day for 29 days.” On day one, she called a sick friend to offer her support. On day two, she dropped $5 in a hat for some street performers. Another day, she treated a friend to a foot massage. By day 14, she recalls, “My body was stronger and I was able to stop walking with my cane. After months of being too sick to work, I was able to go back part-time.” Walker subsequently wrote the bestselling 29 Gifts: How a Month of Giving Can Change Your Life. It has inspired a global giving movement, with participants blogging about their experiences at As she recently explained to The New York Times, “It’s about stepping outside of your own story long enough to make a connection with someone else.”

The Helper’s High

University of Michigan researcher Sara Konrath, Ph.D., has found that people engaging in acts that benefit others tend to have more calming hormones like oxytocin and progesterone coursing through their bodies. If presented with a tough situation later, they are likely to react with a muted stress response, churning out fewer harmful stress hormones, such as cortisol and norepinephrine, and maintaining a calmer heart rate. Konrath is studying whether altruistic thoughts and behavior might also be associated with an anti-inflammatory effect on the body. “Just thinking about giving seems to have a beneficial physiological impact,” says Post. For instance, a late 20th-century study by then Harvard Psychologist David McClelland found that when people watched a film about Mother Teresa’s work with orphans in Calcutta, levels of immunoglobulin A (a marker of immune strength) shot up. A more recent study found that people had higher levels of oxytocin in their blood after they had watched a moving film about an ill 4-year-old boy. Some research further suggests that the act of giving may release natural opiates, such as endorphins, into our system. One landmark analysis of 1,700 people published in Psychology Today found that more than 68 percent experienced a “helper’s high” when physically helping another person, and 13 percent reported a decrease in aches and pains afterward. It’s a concept that’s been documented many times since. Meanwhile, new brain-imaging research has shown that acts of giving (including making a charitable donation) stimulate “reward centers” in the brain. This includes the mesolimbic pathway by which natural dopamine is released, leaving us feeling euphoric. On the flip side, “We found that people that are high in narcissism and low in empathy have higher cortisol levels,” advises Konrath. “They walk around with high stress reactivity, which is really hard on the body.”

One other clear example of the health benefits of helping lies in the field of addiction research. Recent studies by Maria Pagano, Ph.D., an associate professor of psychology at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, found that recovering addicts that volunteer to help other addicts stay sober are twice as likely to remain so themselves. That’s because narcissism and self-absorption are often at the root of addiction, and generosity is an antidote to narcissism, Pagano says. “The founders of AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) figured it out,” Pagano continues, noting that a primary focus is on serving others. “They figured out that this selfish root is there before the illness develops, and is sustained unless you treat it. This is treatment; it is a way of continually weeding out the narcissism that made you sick.”

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Stephanie Brown, Ph.D., an associate professor of preventive medicine at Stony Brook, is the daughter of an evolutionary psychologist and a pioneer in the study of altruism’s neurobiological roots. In sharp contrast to what she describes as the long-held “selfinterested” assumption about human nature (that we help others only to help ourselves), she suggests that humans are biologically wired to be empathetic and generous. “It makes more sense from an evolutionary perspective for us to suppress self-interest,” for the benefit of the whole sometimes, she says. New research from the University of Washington suggests that babies as young as 15 months old exhibit fairness and empathy. So, why don’t we always stop to help? Our anxious, busy, modern-day lives get in the way, suggests Brown. “It could be that our natural, default state is to help when we see need, but what prevents that is our stress response.” That is, stress often gets in the

natural awakenings

December 2011


way: Maybe we pass a stranded motorist on the road, but drive on by because we’re on a timetable. Perhaps our instinct is to offer a helping hand to a homeless person, but we fear that more will be asked of us than we are prepared to give. We wish to bring a meal to a dying relative, but are apprehensive about what to say when we visit. Brown’s recent federally funded studies show that at least some of the calming hormones and quietness of heart often seen in habitual givers may actually precede and enable their acts of selflessness by interrupting their potential stress response before it stalls their helping hand. “I am suggesting that when you see helping going on, something beneficial has already happened to the giver’s body,” says Brown. When givers perceive a need, instead of fretting and fleeing, they calmly stop to help. In the end, everyone walks away feeling a little more generous. Lisa Marshall is a freelance health writer in Boulder, CO. Connect at

How to Up Our Generosity Quotient


ocus on someone else for a change, whether it’s looking a store clerk in the eye or refraining from shouting at a referee at a sporting event. “People can become more empathetic if they just practice taking someone else’s perspective,” says University of Michigan researcher Sara Konrath. “When encountering a homeless person, for example, our inclination may be to not go there psychologically, because it is painful to imagine. Allow yourself to try.” n Do something for nothing. “This idea that everything has to be paid back hangs over our lives,” says Stephen Post, author of The Hidden Gifts of Helping. “Just be generous and expect nothing in return. Pay it forward.” n Don’t reserve your generosity for people you know. Do something nice for someone you don’t know or will never meet. n Be consistent. “Don’t think you can be kind in one domain and dastardly in another,” says Post. n Do something that you feel called upon to do, or that you are good at. n Slow down, take a deep breath and look around. Need abounds. Stop to help a stranger in some small way, even if you are in a hurry. n Don’t help just to get healthy, impress your friends or get a tax deduction. “Motivation matters,” says Konrath. “If you are volunteering just for self-interested reasons, research shows you aren’t going to live any longer than someone who doesn’t volunteer at all.” n Volunteer for a cause you really believe in, or help a person you truly care about.

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DON’T FORGET TO FLOSS YOUR ARTERIES Scary things like diabetes, stroke, heart disease, and pancreatic cancer can result from lack of brushing and flossing! by Dr. Kevin Flood


an a toothbrush help clean out your heart? Surprisingly, yes. Brushing your teeth has been shown to be the first step in preventing periodontal disease that can lead to heart disease, stroke, and diabetes complications. 80% of adults have periodontal disease and most cases go undetected. The disease raises the level of harmful bacteria in the mouth, which travels through the bloodstream to other organs in the body, and can lead to a plaque buildup in arteries surrounding the heart. Most people don’t think of their dentist when it comes to health problems that are not found in one’s mouth; but a dentist can actually be the first line of defense in reducing the risk for many of the most deadly diseases.” Brushing and flossing are effective means of preventing periodontal disease, but diabetes can counteract these efforts. Diabetes, which kills more people annually than breast cancer and AIDS, can weaken your mouth’s ability to fight germs, increase blood sugar levels, and make periodontal disease more difficult to control. Your dentist may suspect diabetes if you brush and floss regularly and still have symptoms of periodontal disease. Nearly 21 million children and adults in the U.S. have diabetes, yet one-third of them are not aware they have the disease. Regular gum disease therapy and treatments can help avoid diabetes complications as serious as death. As periodontal disease worsens, surgery may be needed to save your teeth. The more teeth a person has lost, the greater

the risk for cardiovascular problems such as heart disease. Bleeding gums is just one of many symptoms of periodontal disease. New studies published in the Journal of Periodontology are linking periodontal disease to diabetes and heart disease. And the American Association for Cancer Research has even found that diseased gums raise the risk of pancreatic cancer. In fact, men with a history of gum disease had a 63 percent higher risk of developing pancreatic cancer relative to men without periodontal disease after factoring out smoking, diabetes, obesity, and other potentially confounding factors. Pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of death from cancer death in the U.S. If you washed your hands and they started to bleed, you would be alarmed, right? Then how come the majority of people are not alarmed when they brush their teeth and their gums bleed?” Dr. Kevin Flood is a general dentist in Grand Rapids Michigan. Dr. Flood has taken the principles of dentistry and interwoven them with alternative healing modalities such as nutrition, dental material sensitivity, and manual medicine to create a new paradigm for dentistry. This new paradigm moves beyond drilling and filling and addresses the relationships of dentistry to the rest of the body. For more information visit or call 616-974-4990. See ads page 45 & 48.

natural awakenings

December 2011




FOODS Easy, Flavorful and Festive by Renée Loux


ake the most of being a host with party foods sure to wow guests. Combining classic concepts with tasty twists will satisfy any gourmet in search of a fabulous holiday buffet. Whether you are a year-round or seasonal party planner, these crowdpleasing appetizers will make you the toast of the celebration circuit.

Butternut Squash Spread with Baked Spelt Crisps

A festive, flavorful spread perks up any table, and this one commands attention with its gorgeous golden color. Butternut squash is loaded with antioxidant vitamins A and C, carotenoid antioxidants, potassium and manganese. Plus, it is simple to make and serve. For an innovative use of leftovers, add 1 cup of vegetable broth or stock to 1 cup of the prepared recipe, mix well and warm up for a satisfying serving of smooth soup. Yields: about 4 cups (dairy-free) 1 medium butternut squash (about 6 cups of cubes) 2 Tbsp olive oil 1 clove garlic, finely minced 1 tsp maple syrup (optional) 1 tsp finely grated ginger 2 tsp fresh thyme leaves (or 1 tsp dried thyme leaves) 1 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped finely (or ½ tsp dried rosemary) Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste 28

West Michigan Edition

Peel squash, cut in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds with a spoon. Cut into 1-inch cubes. Place in a medium-large saucepan and cover with filtered water plus 2 inches. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to simmer for 6-9 minutes or until tender and easily pierced with a fork. Drain liquid and let cool until comfortable to handle. Reserve the liquid for other uses such as making a vegetable stock or watering houseplants.

Yields: about 3 dozen crisps 4 spelt tortillas (9-inch), preferably made from whole wheat spelt Extra-virgin olive oil, as needed Pinch of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Place cooked squash in a food processor with olive oil, garlic, ginger, thyme, rosemary, a scant teaspoon of sea salt and some freshly ground black pepper. Blend until very smooth. Season further to taste with sea salt and pepper as needed.

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Serve with crisps, crackers, whole-grain bread or crudité vegetables.

Arrange resulting triangles in a single layer on baking sheets and sprinkle with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Store any leftovers in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 3-4 days.

Baked Spelt Crisps

Easy, homemade crisps are delightfully crunchy and contain less oil than nearly anything available for purchase in a bag, plus the oil is of a high quality. Spelt (an ancient variety of wheat) contains more nutrients and less gluten than standard wheat. Look for whole wheat spelt tortillas for optimum flavor, fiber and nutrition.

Using a mister or pastry brush, mist or brush both sides of each tortilla with olive oil. Stack the tortillas and cut the stack into 8 wedges.

Bake for 6-7 minutes, or until crisp and turning golden. Watch carefully after 5 minutes to avoid burning. Let cool before serving; they get crispier as they cool.

Sweet Potato Rolls with Haricot Verts & Pecan Pesto This party favorite is sumptuous enough to be considered a small plate entrée when served on a bed of wild rice. Sweet potatoes are a rich source

of antioxidant beta-carotene (provitamin A), vitamin C, minerals and hunger-quenching fiber. Haricot verts (small and slender immature bean pods) are abundant in bone-building vitamin K, silica, calcium, magnesium and phosphorous. Soaking the pecans for the pesto makes them lighter, more digestible and yields delicious, nutritious results. Yields: 10-12 rolls (dairy-free, glutenfree)

Sweet Potato Wrapper

2 sweet potatoes, peeled 2 tsp olive oil Pinch of sea salt Several fresh basil leaves, torn in half (to roll inside) Preheat oven to 350째 F. Peel the sweet potato and cut the ends off. Slice thinly, lengthwise. If the potato is long, first cut it in half across the middle. Lay pieces flat on a baking sheet. Bake 10 minutes until soft. Allow to cool and gently rub with a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt. If wrappers must stand for any length of time, cover after cooled.

natural awakenings

December 2011


Haricot Verts or Green Beans 30 haricot verts or 18 green beans, cut in half and sliced lengthwise 2 tsp tamari or soy sauce 1 tsp umeboshi plum vinegar ½ tsp agave nectar or maple syrup Enough filtered water just to cover the veggies in a small saucepan Haricot verts are thin enough to leave whole. If using green beans, slice in half lengthwise. If green beans are extra-long, cut them in half before slicing. Place haricot verts or sliced green beans in a small saucepan. Mix together tamari or soy sauce, umeboshi plum vinegar and agave nectar or maple syrup and drizzle over the vegetables. Add just enough filtered water to cover the beans.

Assembly Lay 2 pieces of softened sweet potato skins on a cutting board (not touching, with short end facing you, and the length of the sweet potato placed away from you). It is best to lay a few pairs at once to create an assembly line for quicker rolling. Lay haricot verts or green beans across a piece of sweet potato, and top with a teaspoon or two of pesto. Fold the short end of the softened potato skin over the vegetables and roll closed. Note the tendency to overpack and the fact that less is more; it will be easier to eat and go further.

Bring to a gentle simmer uncovered over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 5-10 minutes, or just until tender. Do not disturb the veggies by stirring while they cook; they should remain firm. When tender, remove from the liquid with tongs and set aside in a bowl.

Roll the second sweet potato slice around the bundle and secure with a toothpick.

Continue cooking the liquid, stirring occasionally until it is reduced and the resulting marinade becomes syrupy. Pour over haricot verts or green beans and toss to coat. Let stand while preparing the remainder of the dish.

Garnish with freshly ground black pepper.

Follow suit until all ingredients are used. Eat the rolls as is, or bake at 350° F for 10-12 minutes to warm.

Pecan Pesto

¼ cup pecans, soaked for 1 hour 3 cups packed basil leaves 1 Tbsp walnut oil or extra-virgin olive oil ½ tsp sea salt 3-4 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

West Michigan Edition

1½ cups raw almonds, soaked for 8 hours and drained 6-7 Tbsp lemon juice, or as needed 3-4 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, or as needed 2-3 tsp white truffle oil, as needed ½ to 1 small clove garlic, finely minced 1 tsp sea salt, or to taste Freshly ground black pepper to taste ¼ to 1/3 cup filtered water, or as needed to blend to desired consistency 1 /3 cup chopped parsley leaves ¼ cup chopped basil leaves 3 Tbsp chopped sorrel (optional) 2-3 Tbsp chopped chives Soak almonds in 3 cups of filtered water for 8 hours. Drain and rinse in a colander. Place almonds in a food processor. Add lemon juice, olive oil, truffle oil, garlic, a scant teaspoon of salt and some freshly ground pepper. Blend, dribbling in water to aid processing as needed until mixture is as smooth as possible. Add more olive oil, lemon juice and water to thin to a preferred consistency. Add herbs and blend in pulses until well incorporated, but bits of herbs are still visible.

Serve with crudité vegetables and/or healthy crackers.

Drain and rinse. Pat dry with a clean towel.


Yields: about 3 cups (raw-living, dairyfree, gluten-free, low-glycemic)

Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Soak pecans in 1 cup filtered water for 1 hour.

In a food processor, place drained pecans, basil, walnut oil and salt, and then pulse until finely chopped. With the motor running, add olive oil in a slow stream until well incorporated, but the mixture still has a bit of texture.

ing the almonds plumps them, wakes up enzymes and makes them more digestible, also supplying more alkaline reserves for the body. White truffle oil (olive oil infused with white truffles) is a secret weapon for injecting sumptuous, sophisticated flavor, although the recipe is excellent without it.

Almond Truffle & Herb Paté

This simple paté bursts with flavor and good-for-us nutrients. Almonds are a champion source of calcium and a clean source of protein and healthy fats. Soak-

Endive Cups with Pine Nut Crème Fraîche, Figs and Olives

Little boats of enhanced endive are bites of pure delight. Creamy pine nuts are rich in healthy fats, including pinolenic, an essential fatty acid that curbs the appetite by triggering hunger-suppressing enzymes. Olives are loaded with iron, antioxidant vitamin E and a special phytonutrient, hydroxytyrosol, which helps keep bones strong. Fresh figs provide potassium and healthy fiber. Yields: 2 dozen or so (raw-living, dairyfree, gluten-free, low-glycemic)

Pine Nut Crème Fraîche

2 cups pine nuts ¼ cup lemon juice, plus a bit as needed 1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil Filtered water as needed Sea salt 3 heads endive 6 fresh figs 1 cup Kalamata olives 2 Tbsp torn cilantro leaves (optional) 1 Tbsp chopped tarragon leaves (optional) Flaked sea salt Freshly ground black pepper Place the pine nuts, lemon juice, olive oil and pinch of salt in a food processor or high-speed blender. Blend until ultra-smooth, adding a tablespoon or two of filtered water as necessary to achieve the correct consistency. It should be very smooth, like a thick sour cream, and will thicken more when chilled. (The crème fraîche mixture may be stored in a tightly sealed container in the fridge for up to 2 days.) Separate the endive leaves. Trim the figs and cut into thin wedges. Pit the olives and chop roughly. Spoon a dollop of crème fraîche onto each endive leaf and spread. Top with fig wedges and chopped olives. Sprinkle with torn cilantro and tarragon leaves, if desired, and a sprinkle of flaked sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Serve immediately.

Rosemary Sable Squares

These crisp and crumbly squares have a texture like shortbread and a savory and slightly sweet flavor, with the delicate fragrance of rosemary. Oats are rich in heart-healthy beta-glucan fiber, as well as the antioxidant selenium. Almonds are abundant in antioxidant vitamin E and healthy fats.

Cook 12 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool 3-5 minutes and cut into squares while still warm and soft. The squares will become crisp and flaky when thoroughly cool, so cut them to size while they are still warm and pliable.

Yields: about 2 dozen squares (dairyfree, egg-free, low in gluten) 1 cup whole oats 1 cup slivered almonds ½ cup spelt flour ½ cup whole wheat pastry flour ½ tsp baking powder ½ tsp sea salt 3 Tbsp fresh rosemary needles, roughly chopped ½ cup safflower oil ¼ cup maple syrup ¼ cup agave nectar 2 Tbsp brown sugar (optional) 1 tsp vanilla extract

Pear & Pomegranate Seed Guacamole

Preheat oven to 375° F. In a medium bowl, mix in oats, almonds, baking powder, salt and rosemary. In a separate medium-large bowl, whisk together oil, maple syrup, agave nectar, brown sugar (if desired for a touch more sweetness) and vanilla, until emulsified. Add the wet mixture into the dry mixture and stir until dough forms. Let stand for 10 minutes for flavor to develop and for absorption of moisture. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (unbleached is recommended, or grease with safflower oil). Using wet hands, press 1/3 of dough until it is spread evenly and thinly; ¼-inch-thick bare spots occur where the dough is too thin. (Spreading the dough evenly is the key to uniform cooking to avoid over-browned and/or undercooked sections.)

This festive guacamole fuses spicy, sweet and savory flavors in a colorful array of texture. Avocados are rich in skin-beautifying oils, pears supply vitamin C and copper, and sweet-tart pomegranates are among the most antioxidant-rich fruits on Earth. Yields: about 4 servings (raw-living, dairy-free, gluten-free) 2 avocados, cubed 2 Tbsp lime juice ½ tsp sea salt, or to taste 3 Tbsp finely chopped red onion 1 chili pepper, finely chopped (add only to desired spiciness) ½ cup pear, peeled and finely diced ½ cup pomegranate seeds In a bowl, mash together the avocados, lime juice, sea salt, red onion and chili pepper with a fork. It should exhibit small chunks, with texture. Reserve 2 tablespoons of pomegranate seeds for garnish. Fold remainder of pomegranate seeds and pear into the avocado mixture. Season to taste with salt if needed. Garnish with pomegranate seeds and serve.

natural awakenings

December 2011


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Massage Beats Meds for Back Pain


new study conducted by the Group Health Research Institute of Seattle suggests that massage therapy may be better than conventional medicine alone for easing lower back pain. Researchers recruited 401 patients with chronic back pain and found that those receiving a series of either relaxation or structural massage spent fewer days in bed and were more active than those receiving “usual medical care,” ranging from painkillers, anti-inflammatory drugs and muscle relaxants to physical therapy. Lead study author Daniel Cherkin, director of the institute, concluded: “If you’re having continuing problems with back pain, even after trying usual medical care, massage may be a good thing to do. I think the results are pretty strong.” Funded by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, part of the U.S. National Institutes of Health, the study was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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natural awakenings

December 2011





efore Wally and Ann Collito, of North Attleborough, Massachusetts, had a chance to befriend the stray kitten that had appeared in their yard, the couple discovered that another caring being—a crow—had already done so. Over the next few months, the Collitos witnessed an incredible friendship develop between the crow and cat they respectively named Moses and Cassie. The pair romped in the grass, swatting gently at each other like they were born playmates, rather than sworn enemies. Moses often dropped nutritious worms and bugs in the kitten’s mouth, following it around like a protective parent. “If it wasn’t for the crow feeding and taking care of that cat, it would have been dead a long time ago,” relates Wally Collito in a video posted at “When the cat would start crossing the road, the crow would holler as if to say, ‘Don’t go in the road, you’re going to get hit.’ Sometimes she would get in front of her and push her back on the sidewalk. It had to be love or friendship.”


West Michigan Edition

The story of Moses and Cassie is not an anomaly, but rather an indication of the potential emotional bond between animals, according to Jennifer S. Holland, author of Unlikely Friendships: 47 Remarkable Stories from the Animal Kingdom. “A number of years ago, it was really taboo to attribute empathy to other animals,” she says, “but more scientists today are crossing that line comfortably.” She explains that no one really knows what emotions animals experience or how, although people share the brain’s limbic system, considered the seat of emotions in humans, with other mammals. “There is no reason they wouldn’t have experiences similar to ours in terms of basic emotions,” Holland surmises. Holland’s new book is just one of a growing number of efforts to document the wild landscape of interspecies love, including blogs dedicated to the topic and countless children’s books; one of them, Cat and Crow, by Lisa Fleming, immortalizes Moses and Cassie. “Such stories give us a sense of hope at a time when there is a lot of negativity in

Photo: Melanie Stetson Freeman/2006 The Christian Science Monitor

the world,” observes Holland. “I think people are looking for a reprieve.”

Mother Love Knows No Bounds

A variety of recent studies by the likes of the University of Cambridge and Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology indicate that empathy and altruism may be characteristics of species ranging from squirrels to sea lions. Consider the adventures of Finnegan, a squirrel that had fallen out of its nest and into the loving abode of Seattle resident Debby Cantlon. Her pregnant papillon, Mademoiselle Giselle, adopted the injured squirrel, pulling its cage close to her own dog bed. Giselle continued to care for Finnegan after she had her own litter, literally nursing the squirrel back to health. “The drive to nurture and be nurtured is strong, particularly when an animal has lost its baby or parent. This story is a perfect example of the mothering instinct coming to life,” says Holland. Like many human friendships, some unusual animal pairings develop out of the basic need for companionship. One well-known example is Tarra, an 8,700-pound former circus elephant retired to The Elephant Sanctuary, in Hohenwald, Tennessee. Elephants are known to pair up, but Tarra chose to instead bond with a rescued stray dog named Bella. The two became inseparable pals and Tarra proved to be no fair-weather friend: When Bella suffered a spinal cord injury, Tarra stood sentinel at the gate outside the sanctuary office, waiting three weeks for Bella before she could be carried outside for a happy reunion.

Model Behavior

Seeing firsthand the positive outcomes that various interspecies pairings can yield, some animal trainers are using natural characteristics of one species to influence the behavior of another. A program at the Columbus Zoo, in Ohio, routinely taps into the Zen of dogs to boost the confidence of traveling cheetahs, which, although they are the fastest mammals on land, are also among the most skittish. Animal Programs Director Suzi Rapp has raised several baby cheetahs alongside puppies—

Photo: Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, Ohio Photo: Barcroft/Frame

most recently, a charismatic golden lab named Carlisle. Carlisle helps the cheetahs keep their cool when Rapp takes them on the road to make TV appearances in support of animal conservation efforts. “If there is a loud noise, the cheetahs will look to Carlisle for his reaction. The dog has a ‘whatever’ attitude that the cheetahs in turn adopt,” says Rapp, who notes that the program has been so successful she wouldn’t ever consider raising a cheetah without a canine again. “Because they were raised together, the cheetahs believe that Carlisle is one of their littermates and don’t think of him as a dog,” explains Rapp. “They cuddle, play and sleep together.” Rapp is quick to caution that an unknown adult dog thrown in with the cheetahs wouldn’t last long, however. Tales of

mismatched orphans underscore the importance of introducing different species to each other while they’re young. Baloo, the bear, Leo, the lion, and Shere Khan, the tiger, were each just two months old when they were rescued during a residential drug raid. Noah’s Ark Animal Rehabilitation Center, in Locust Grove, Georgia, took in the trio, and the “BLT” (bear, lion and tiger) became so close that the sanctuary spent thousands of dollars to build a special clubhouse to house them. Eight years later, the three animals—each hailing from different continents—still live like blood brothers. If peace between traditionally antagonistic species is possible, the implications for mankind are obvious. When basic needs are met, the instinct to protect or play can trump the urge to grab, neglect or fight. We can all share and get along better when we take responsibility for creating the circumstances to support that ideal. “I joke that we should give my book to politicians to remind them that a lot of good can come from crossing boundaries,” smiles Holland. “Kindness and companionship can mean survival for all kinds of animals; that goes for humans, too.” April Thompson is a freelance writer in Washington, D.C. Connect at


natural awakenings

December 2011


Happy Holidays for

PETS Keep Furry Friends Safe During Festivities by Brita Belli


any of us want to include our pets in the holiday traditions, from posing them just so in the yearly family photo card to stuffing their own special stocking full of favorite treats. While there’s no reason not to indulge companion dogs and cats with little extras around the holidays, it’s also important to remember that many indoor houseplants, decorations and foods that come with the season can pose a hazard to our furry friends. Natural Awakenings spoke with Adam Goldfarb, director of the Pets at Risk program for the Humane Society of the United States, about how we can help ensure that pets stay safe. Secure the Tree. Whether the cat likes to bat at the ornaments or attempt an ascent, or the family has a large tailwagging dog, a tree that’s not properly anchored can be easily knocked over. Consider using twine to secure the tree at mid-level to a wall to prevent tipping. Also make sure to keep the water well covered to prevent a pet from drinking from the tree’s water, particularly if it’s become stagnant or contains preservatives. Decorate with Care. Tinsel and ornaments decking the tree and colorful winter houseplants brightening our rooms are holiday fixtures. They are also irresistible to many cats and dogs. It’s best to avoid the loose-hanging, plastic tinsel “icicles” 36

West Michigan Edition

in homes with animals, because these can be easily ingested, cause discomfort and even become caught in their intestines, requiring surgery to remove. For other tree decorations, Goldfarb advises, “Stick to larger ornaments. Use big, round colored balls that won’t fit in the animal’s mouth.” Likewise, keep any decorations with small pieces out of reach of animals. This includes positioning the Christmas tree away from bookshelves that can give climbing cats easy access. The American Humane Association provides a list of plants that may be toxic and/or cause vomiting and diarrhea in pets if nibbled. Culprits include: lilies, mistletoe, holly, certain ivies, amaryllis and hibiscus. Poinsettias are not as dangerous, but can still upset a pet’s digestive system. Potpourri and sachets likewise are best kept out of reach. Keep Holiday Meals for Humans. “Pets are better off avoiding human holiday foods,” counsels Goldfarb. “There are concerns about feeding additional calories to any overweight pets. Bones can be a choking hazard. In addition, some foods could be hazardous.” Toxic foods to avoid for dogs include chocolate (which can be fatal), turkey skin, onions, garlic,

alcohol, macadamia nuts and walnuts, nutmeg, raisins and grapes. Cats must be kept away from apple seeds, avocado pits, onions, potatoes, cherries and mushrooms. Provide a Quiet Place. Many dogs find extra holiday company exciting, but for shy dogs and many cats, all the added noise and presence of unknown people can be stressful. For those animals, Goldfarb advises, “Pick a room in your house and make it a sanctuary for them. Make sure there’s a water bowl, pet bed and for cats, their litter box. Then, keep that room off-limits to guests. That way, the pet has a quiet, comforting place to relax until the party winds down.” Be sure to inform guests to keep the room’s door shut, as well as doors to the outside, to prevent escapes. Watch Gifts and Candles. Cats and dogs are both drawn to playing with and perhaps eating crinkly wrapping paper and shiny ribbons, so keep these temptations out of reach. Provide pets with animal-appropriate, eco-friendly toys, instead. Also, be sure to keep lit candles in sturdy spots where they can’t be easily knocked over. “For the most part, you won’t have dogs counter surfing or climbing up shelves,” Goldfarb notes, “but cats do love exploring vertical spaces.” Think Twice about Giving Animals as Gifts. Giving a pet as a surprise gift to someone else, with the all the responsibility and life-changing commitment it entails, is seldom a good idea. If you are considering adopting a new dog or cat for your own family around the holidays, the American Humane Association suggests wrapping an “adoption kit” instead, complete with leash, pet bed, food, treats and a gift certificate for a local shelter. That way, the whole family can take their time choosing the exact right pet as a special post-holiday activity. Brita Belli is the editor of E-The Environmental Magazine and loves caring for her rescue dog, Tito.


Previously Enjoyed Gifts Not every gift needs to be brand-new. Browse vintage and antique shops, estate sales, auctions and consignment stores for amazing treasures. Keep an open mind or go hunting for that certain something for that special someone. Online sources such as, and can help locate garage, yard and estate sales in communities across the country. Look for items that are unusual or hold special significance.


GIVING Tips to Simplify the Season

n A childhood reminder—perhaps a favorite toy or comic book

by Beth Davis


is the season, and a U.S. poll by Harris Interactive reveals that a majority of the stress 90 percent of us feel about the holidays is related to gift-giving. So, solving this problem will set us well on our way to a joyeux noël. The same study found that given a choice, most of us prefer investing in good family relationships instead of more material things, anyway. Natural Awakenings has uncovered four ways that we can make the holidays less hectic and more relaxing and meaningful. First, says Barbara Kilikevich, author of A Mindful Christmas–How to Create a Meaningful, Peaceful Holiday, we have to stop buying into the notion that more is better and that extravagant, expensive gifts are equal to how much we care for one another. “We need to stop believing that doing it all is productive and having it all is meaningful.”

Get Crafty

Homemade gifts are always special. They carry a message of thoughtfulness and love, which is the heart of gift-giving. Making a memorable gift can take less time than we’d spend earning the money for a manufactured gift, driving to the store and back and coping with checkout lines. Ideas are endless; these may stimulate your creative juices. n Gather favorite family recipes and copy them into a personalized binder. n Mix jars of tasty combinations of loose teas and/or bulk herbs that might include lavender, chamomile or mint. Add a mesh tea strainer to complete the package.

n Edible items are always a hit. Consider making something yummy that can be given to everyone on the list. Herbed olive oil, spiced nuts and homemade jams are favorites. n Attractive, reusable shopping bags, made from repurposed or recycled fabric, make practical gifts that can be used again and again. Sew on monograms or paint on designs to personalize them. n Fashioning painted pottery, custom artwork and decorated picture frames can engage kids in anticipating fun holidays with friends and family.

Non-Material Gifts

The Center for a New American Dream, a national nonprofit organization that challenges a “more is better” definition of the good life, suggests giving of oneself—providing gifts of time or experiences that will be long remembered. n Invite loved ones to an outing to the zoo, a sporting event or an indoor/outdoor picnic. n Give a friend her dream, based on an expressed interest and careful research. Sign her up for a class in cooking, sewing, photography or dancing—classes abound in most cities.

n Vintage jewelry n A silk scarf, unusual hat or fun bag n Classic books, movies and music n Unique housewares, from vases and candleholders to platters and teacups ( can help find missing pieces for sets)

For the Family

For large families or families with grown children, it can be expensive and time-consuming shopping for a gift for every relative. Try one of these ideas to take the pressure off. n Instead of giving gifts to each member of a family or a couple, think in terms of a single gift for the household. n Draw names. Have everyone in the family put his or her name into a hat and ask each family member to draw one name, so that each person needs to buy only one or two gifts. n Set a limit. In his book, Hundred Dollar Holiday: The Case for a More Joyful Christmas, author Bill McKibben suggests that families limit the amount they spend and instead, make the holidays as much fun as possible, filled with song and food, creativity and connection.

n Purchase a gift certificate for a local massage, acupuncture session or other soothing therapy as a way to unwind during or after the holiday season.

With a little planning and a lot of love and care, we can fill the whole holiday season with less stuff and more satisfying joy.

n Support the local art scene by giving tickets to a community theater or a museum membership.

Beth Davis is a contributing writer to Natural Awakenings magazines.

natural awakenings

December 2011


Coming in January


Preserving Americans’ First Amendment Freedoms A Conversation with Kenneth Paulson by Martin Miron

K Journey to Good Health with Natural Awakenings’ Health & Wellness experts. Making natural choices supports physical and mental well-being.

For more information about advertising and how you can participate, call



West Michigan Edition

enneth A. Paulson, co-founder, former editor and senior vice president of USA Today, is president and CEO of the Freedom Forum, Newseum and Diversity Institute. He is widely known for his efforts to inform and educate Americans about First Amendment freedoms, drawing on his background as both a journalist and a lawyer as the executive director of the First Amendment Center, at Vanderbilt University.

What prompted the framers of the Constitution to introduce the First Amendment as part of the Bill of Rights in 1791, and what does it mean to citizens in practical terms? Actually, it wasn’t the framers who were so insistent on freedom of speech, press, religion, petition and assembly— it was the American people. A number of states refused to ratify the Constitution until personal liberties were guaranteed in a Bill of Rights. Those early Americans understood that the ability to worship the God of your choice, to speak out against injustice and to write freely would be the cornerstones of our democracy. These basic rights remain at the heart of what makes America a special nation today.

Why have you lectured widely about “rebooting America,” to make the First Amendment more relevant to a new generation? My Rebooting America lectures have been an effort to remind young Americans that the First Amendment protects all the things that give life flavor. For example, we all understand that the First Amendment protects freedom of speech, but it also protects the freedom to tweet, to post on Facebook, dance, sing and create. It’s an amendment that enriches the lives of every generation.

A free press is a cornerstone of democracy. In the face of increasing corporate consolidation of media outlets, what do you think citizens can do to try to keep the news free from manipulation? Yes, there are major media companies that own multiple newspapers and television stations. But with the advent of the Web, everyone is a publisher and there have never been more independent voices with more to say all around the globe. I believe that most of America’s newspapers continue to do as

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” ~ The First Amendment to the United States Constitution, from the Bill of Rights good a job as they can in covering the communities they serve, but declines in circulation and revenue have meant staffing cuts. One way to help support a free press is to subscribe to a newspaper, in publication or app form.

How do you think the public’s concerns about the energy, environment, food safety and other health issues can best be “petitioned and redressed,” as the First Amendment states? Most of the “petitioning” in America today comes from professional lobbyists, but we now live in an age when someone with a passion for a cause and a creative idea can literally change the world overnight. We’ve seen social media campaigns draw extraordinary attention and build enormous energy to help improve our quality of life and environment. Petitioning for change doesn’t just belong to the professionals anymore.

What do you feel is the role of individual citizens in maintaining the long-held freedoms that we enjoy today?

self this question: “What does the First Amendment say?” Surprisingly, only about 5 percent of Americans can describe the scope of the freedoms contained in the First Amendment. We too often take it for granted. The surest way to lose freedom is not to treasure it. To increase awareness about the importance of these five freedoms, we’ve teamed up with educators, journalists, advocates, attorneys and librarians to celebrate the First Amendment in a campaign called 1 for All. If you don’t know as much about the First Amendment as you’d like, is a great place to start. Martin Miron is a freelance writer and editor for Natural Awakenings. Connect at

It’s important that we never take the First Amendment for granted. Ask your-

natural awakenings

December 2011


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calendarofevents Note: Visit for guidelines and to submit entries. All Calendar events must be submitted online by the 15th of the month prior to publication.

Thursday, December 1 How To Safely Carry Your Baby- 11:00 am-12:00 pm. What is baby wearing and why should you do it? We’ll answer these questions and let you try it out for yourself. This class is for expectant parents as well as parents! FREE. Hop Scotch Children’s Store. Grand Rapids. 616-233-4008.

Polar Friends Image by Corbis for National Wildlife Federation A polar bear and three young penguins snoozing under the night sky eloquently represent the holiday season’s welcome message of Peace on Earth. Images such as these, presented on the National Wildlife Federation’s (NWF) holiday cards, inspire us all to protect wildlife for our children’s future. NWF’s conservation work focuses on three areas that will have the biggest impact on the future of America’s wildlife: confronting global warming, the single most urgent threat; protecting and restoring habitat; and fostering profound and personal connections between people and nature. NWF’s holiday cards celebrate the awe-inspiring diversity of our natural world, and their purchase helps fund vital conservation and education programs. Printed on recycled paper, like all NWF cards, Polar Friends includes recycled white envelopes with a gold foil lining. The NWF also offers ReProduct cards, which include a two-way envelope for postage-paid return mail to Shaw Industries, which reuses all such cards in the manufacture of carpet backing. Its new line of all-occasion greeting cards, including the winter holidays, features beautiful images of nature. Learn more about the National Wildlife Federation and browse its gallery of cards and other nature-themed gifts at

Free Qi-Gong Classes- 6:00 pm. Qigong is the Mandarin Chinese term used to describe various Chinese systems of physical and mental training for health, martial arts and self-enlightenment. Free. Natural Health Improvement Center. Grandville. 616-301-0808. Breastfeeding Support Group- 6:00-7:00 pm. Join this group lead by Certified Lactation Counselor Laurie Vance. Each meeting will have a mini-topic discussion to get things started. FREE. Hop Scotch Children’s Store. Grand Rapids. 616-233-4008. Amma’s Public Devi Bhava Program- 7:00 pm. The evening begins with a spiritual discourse (satsang), followed by an Atma Puja, a ceremony to promote peace and well being. Darshan begins around 9:00 pm and continues into the morning. Free. Hyatt Regency. Dearborn. For info call 734995-0029 or visit

Friday, December 2 Yoga Nidra: Relax & De-stress Intentionally- 6:008:30 pm. Cultivate awareness and sensitivity through intention with the practice of Yoga Nidra (yogic sleep). Yoga Nidra is a state of complete physical, mental, and emotional relaxation. $20. Expressions of Grace Yoga. Grand Rapids. 616-361-8580.

Saturday, December 3 Animal Path Medicine Wheel and Inner Totem Pole Sessions- By Appointment. Lakeshore Natural Skin Care. Holland Township/Zeeland. Please call Jeannie at 231- 578-9970 to schedule your appointment and for more information. Reiki I Class- 10:00 am-5:00 pm. Learn a variety of techniques along with the Reiki I Attunement which can enhance your life. $75. Subtle Energies. Delton. Eligible for NAN 20% discount. To register call 1-800260-4544 or visit for more info. Sage Birth Materni-tea- 1:00-2:00 pm. Sage Birth Co-op invites you to see how a birth doula, childbirth educator or postpartum doula can support you. Free. Hop Scotch Children’s Store. Grand Rapids. 616-233-4008. Spa Class- 1:00-3:00 pm. Pamper and beautify yourself without spending a lot of money! The class will explore deep breathing, massage therapy and aromatherapy. Enjoy herbal spa tea, water and light appetizers. Pre-registration required, no later than December 1. $20. Nature’s Spiritual Connections. Grand Rapids. Call 616-929-4204 to register.

Sunday, December 4 Thai Chi Wa Class- 9:00-11:00 am. This class

blends ancient gentle flowing movements with Thai Yoga postures and breathing techniques designed to relax and heal by stimulating the Sen lines and helping your body balance. Class size is limited. Email for more info. Frederik Meijer Gardens. Grand Rapids.

Monday, December 5 Bamboo-Fusion Massage Workshop- 12/5 & 12/6. Full-body “table” class. NCBTMB approved for 16 CE’s. $399 per therapist. Tuition includes student manual 8 pcs warm bamboo set, with carrying case, DVD and certificate. For more Info / Register, please contact: Loree Kennedy at 616-791-0472 or visit Grand Rapids.

Wednesday, December 7 Holiday Open House- 6:00-8:30 pm. Join us for this free, family-friendly event featuring live holiday music, holiday sweets, and wonderful door prizes. Stop by and learn more about the Center’s offerings. Anxiety Resource Center. Grand Rapids. Learn more at: or call 616-356-1614. Guided Meditation and Healing Circle- 7:00-8:00 pm. Escape from stress and discover an inner world of calm, peace & joy through guided meditation, and energy healing from Healing in America-trained healers. $5. Holistic Care Approach, 3368 E. Beltline Ct. NE, Grand Rapids. 269-929-6796.

Thursday, December 8 Reiki Share & Essential Oil Open House- 6:008:00 pm. Come share & learn about Reiki & Essential Oils. Open to all that care to share Reiki, those who would like to try receiving Reiki, and those interested in Essential Oils. Free. Heavenly Healings. Grand Rapids. 616-443-4225. Trigger Point Massage- 6:00 pm. Workshop participants will learn what a trigger point is, what causes them, how to prevent them, how to get rid of them, hands on training. Grand Rapids. Seating is limited to the first 30 callers. Make your reservations today by calling 616-447-9888.

Friday, December 9 Fire of Transformation Practice w/ Mimi Ray6:30-8:30 pm. Based on John Friend’s Eye of the Tiger Practice, an invitation for experienced students to transform and refine their practice. $18. Expressions of Grace Yoga. Grand Rapids. Call for prerequisites. 616-361-8580.

Saturday, December 10 Relaxation Response for Beginners- 10:00-11:30 am. Learn simple breath and mental awareness techniques to de-stress your nerve system, improve immune system function, balance mind & emotions; support your healing process. Space limited. Pre-registration required. FREE. Dr. Ragini Pierce. Muskegon. 231-670-0179.

natural awakenings

December 2011


Essential Oil Basic Training I- 10:00 am-12:00 pm & II 1:00-3:00 pm. Learn the basics of the benefits and uses of Therapeutic Grade Essential Oils. $15 per class includes class materials & pre-registration required. Heavenly Healings. Grand Rapids. To pre-register call or email Jodi at 616-443-4225 or Cloth Diapering 101- 10:00-11:00 am. Come find out what cloth diapers have to offer and leave feeling confident about your decision. We promise we will turn you into a successful cloth diaperer! FREE. Hop Scotch Children’s Store. Grand Rapids. 616-233-4008. Health and Fitness for the Entire Family- 10:30 am-12:00 pm. Learn the importance of making healthy choices and how to incorporate activity into the day. Set the example with healthy eating. Kids welcome. $15. Energized | Inspired | Fitness. Grand Rapids. 616-682-9388. Holiday Herbal Baked Goods Sale- 1:00 4:00 pm. Looking for something yummy to fill your holiday tummy? Then come check out the Natures Spiritual Connections for a tasty array of herbal delights! Hosted by Suzannah Barrie of BarrieBeau Herb Farm. Herbally unique food items ready for gift giving. Grand Rapids. 616-929-4204.

Sunday, December 11 Essential Oil Training III (Raindrop)- 10:00 am12:00 pm & IV (Emotional Clearing) 1:00-3:00 pm & V (Spiritual Journey Work) 3:00-5:00 pm. Learn the benefits of these sets of oils, and how to apply them. $15 per class. Heavenly Healings. Grand Rapids. 616-443-4225.

Wednesday, December 14 Reiki- 5:30-7:30 pm. A place to come if you have been trained in Reiki to practice and share with others. Donations appreciated, but not necessary to attend. Jan Atwood, LLC. Grand Rapids. 616915-4144. Dream Catcher workshop- 6:00-8:00 pm. Great unique Christmas gift! Learn how to make a dream catcher and take home the one you make. $25 includes all supplies. Pre-registration is required. Heavenly Healings. Grand Rapids. 616-443-4225. Guided Meditation, Prayer and Healing Circle7:00-8:00 pm. Relax to guided meditation, and receive energy healing from local healers while church chaplains pray over your prayer requests. Donation. Unity Church on the Lakeshore, 41 So. Washington, Douglas. 269-857-8226.

Introduction to Reiki: Urevia Healing Classes- 7:00 pm. This intro overviews the Reiki: Urevia Classes and provides a opportunity for participants to ask questions. RSVP required. Free. Subtle Energies. Delton. 269671-4455 or visit us on the web at

Thursday, December 15 Sage Birth Materni-tea- 6:00-7:00 pm. Sage Birth Coop invites you to see how a birth doula, childbirth educator or postpartum doula can support you. Free. Hop Scotch Children’s Store. Grand Rapids. 616-233-4008.

Friday, December 16 Hula Hoop Workshop- 6:30-7:30 pm. With Rebecca Urick, Anusara Inspired Yoga & Hula Hoop Teacher. It’s the craze! Promotes happiness and well being and burns up to 600 calories per hour! Beginning and experienced hoopers welcome. Bring a friend! $15. Expressions of Grace Yoga. Grand Rapids. 616-361-8580.

Saturday, December 17 Reiki I & II class- 10:00 am-4:00 pm. Become attuned and learn how to give treatment to self and others. $175 includes manual and the $50 deposit required to register. Heavenly Healings. Grand Rapids. 616-443-4225.

about your life. Join coach, Shannon Elhart, at The GR Zen Center, as she provides motivation for creating a bucket list and a fulfilled life. Learn three guidelines for brainstorming, and what FIVE lists you need! Call Shannon for information 616-4032120, $10 fee.

Saturday, December 31 New Year’s Retreat- Celebrate with quiet time, meditation and introspection. $75 includes shared room lodging, delicious, home-cooked vegetarian meals 31st lunch - 1st lunch. NAN discount on retreats. Private room available. Self Realization Meditation Healing Centre. Bath. 517-641-6201.

S AVE T H E D ATE Save The Date Events - Must be submitted online each month at NaturalWestMichigan. com. Events priced $80 or above require a corresponding display ad. There is a $45 charge per listing, up to 50 words. If you are a current advertiser, distribution site or non-profit you October use this listing in place of one of your free listings for a $25 charge.


Sunday, December 18 Advanced Reiki Class- 10:00 am-4:00 pm. Learn psychic surgery to remove tough energy blocks and how to set up a crystal grid for healing. $200 includes textbook, certificate and deposit. Preregistration with a $50 deposit required a week prior to class. Heavenly Healings. Grand Rapids. 616-443-4225. The Coptic Center Sunday Series: Christmas Service- 6:00 pm. Enjoy the energies of the Christmas season with centering and holiday music. Director John Davis and Coptic Minister Carl Franklin share the Christmas messages. Santa visits too! Love Offering. The Coptic Center. Grand Rapids. 616-531-1339.

Sunday, December 25 Christmas Meditation Gathering- 10:15 am. All are warmly welcomed. No charge. Self Realization Meditation Healing Centre. Bath. Call 517-641-6201 to RSVP by the 24th.

Wednesday, December 28 Create a Bucket List- 7:00-8:00pm. Be intentional

SUNDAY, JANUARY 1 New Year’s Retreat - Celebrate with quiet time, meditation and introspection. $75 includes shared room lodging, delicious, home-cooked vegetarian meals 31st lunch 1st lunch. NAN discount on retreats. Private room available. Self Realization Meditation Healing Centre. Bath. 517-641-6201.

S AVE T H E D ATE SUNDAY, JANUARY 1 Transforming words - 6:00 pm. The Coptic Center welcome’s you to 2012. Join us New Years Day evening as Coptic Center director John Davis presents transforming words of inspiration for the New Year. Grand Rapids. 616-531-1339.

Let’sGetStarted • 616-304-8334

“Grow Your Food Business With Us!” 42

West Michigan Edition

ongoingevents Note: Visit for guidelines and to submit entries. Events must be re-submitted each month by the 15th of the month. Events subject to change, please call ahead.

All Month Long Sale & Free Gift with Purchase! All Mineral Mine make-up now 25% off! PLUS: Purchase $60 in Mineral Mine products and receive an eyeliner, mascara, lipstick, lip-gloss, or lip polish FREE! Lakeshore Natural Skin Care, 10500 Chicago Drive. Holland Township/Zeeland. 231-557-3619. Harry Potter’s World: Renaissance Science, Magic and Medicine Exhibit- Open hours. Through 12/31. This exhibit explores Harry Potter’s world, its roots in Renaissance science, and the ethical questions that affected not only the wizards of Harry Potter, but also the historical thinkers featured in the series. Free. Grand Rapids Public Library 111 Library St NE, Grand Rapids. 616-988-5400.

Sunday Unity Church of Peace- 10:00 am. Celebrating God’s presence in human nature. Offering uplifting messages that are spiritual without being religious. Youth programs & Nursery. Unity Church of Peace 6025 Ada Drive SE, Ada. 616-682-7812. Vinyasa Yoga w/Michele Fife- 10:00 am. This class will teach the practitioner the skills to build asanas into flowing sequences by combining breath with movement. $10-$16 Seva Yoga. Grand Rapids. 616-458-2541. Worship Service- 10:00 am. The last Sunday of each month we host this time of self-reflection and sharing. This month’s Love Offering will be new or used winter clothing. Rev. Barb Huttinga and associate Coptic Ministers speaking. The Healing Center 332 S. Lincoln, Lakeview. 989-352-6500. Unity of Muskegon “A Church of Light, Love & Laughter”- 10:30 am weekly. Sunday Services & Youth Education. Minister: Rev. John W. Williams. 2052 Bourdon St., Muskegon. 231-759-7356. Unity of Grand Rapids- 10:30 am. A spiritual community that is warm and welcoming, inclusive and accepting of all, honoring diversity, for those who are seeking spiritual truth. 1711 Walker Ave NW, Grand Rapids. 616-453-9909. The Coptic Center Sunday Series- 6:00 pm. An ongoing series of inspirational speakers, centering and the piano music of Karen Lauck. The Coptic Center, 0-381 Lake Michigan Dr NW, Grand Rapids. 616-531-1339.

Monday $30 Off BioMeridian Assessments- State-of-the-art profiling and tracking of all 58 meridians in the body with take-home computer generated results to as-

sess progress. Grand Rapids. 616-365-9176. Visit for more info. Yoga-Beginning- 9:00 am. This is where you start. Learn the basic poses, strengthen, breath awareness and relax. For more information visit or call Smiling Lotus Yoga, 103 E. Ludington Ave, Ludington. 231-852-0849. Intermediate Hatha Yoga with Mitch Coleman6:15-7:30 pm. Drop-ins welcome. Visit for more information. Classes meet at White River Yoga Studio, 8724 Ferry St. Montague. 231-740-6662. Kripalu Yoga with Marro Spehar- 7:30 pm. Gentle/ Moderate. Drop-ins welcome. For more details visit our website at Seva Yoga Studio, 2213 Wealthy Ste 220, East Grand Rapids. 616-458-2541.

Tuesday Gentle Hatha Yoga with Mitch Coleman- 7:459:00 am & 9:15-10:30 am. Drop-ins welcome. Visit for more information. Classes meet at White River Yoga Studio, 8724 Ferry St. Montague. 231-740-6662. Yoga for Everyone- 10:00-11:00 am. With Ruth Sutherland. $3.00. The Healing Center. Lakeview. 989-352-6500. Education & Advocacy Meeting- 1:00-2:30 pm. 2nd Tuesday of each month. The Peter M. Wege Health & Learning Center (Wege North Building at St. Mary’s Hospital), 300 Lafayette Ave. SE, Grand Rapids. Conference Room #11 (subject to change). A Course In Miracles (A.C.I.M.)- 7:00-8:30 p.m. This self-study system teaches forgiveness as the road to inner peace and the remembrance of the unconditional love of God. Unity of Greater Grand Rapids. Ada. 616-682-7812. Mystic Angel Classes- 7:00-8:30 pm. With Denise Iwanwi. $15.00. The Healing Center. Lakeview. 989-352-6500. Focused Energy Academic Success- 7:30 pm. Send kids to school prepared with fueled bodies & academic strength. Reliv Open Presentations at Spring Hill Suites, 450 Center NW, Grand Rapids. Deb Riolo 616-822-4247.

Wednesday $30 Off BioMeridian Assessments- State-of-the-art profiling and tracking of all 58 meridians in the body with take-home computer generated results to assess progress. Grand Rapids. 616-365-9176. Visit for more info. Massage with Casey Windquist- Wednesdays only in December. Casey specializes in Therapeutic, Deep Tissue, and Pre/Post-Natal Massage. Please call Casey at 231-250-0969 to schedule. Lakeshore Natural Skin Care, 10500 Chicago Drive, Zeeland. 231-557-3619.

natural awakenings

December 2011


Exploring the Shamanic Teachings of the Sweet Medicine Sundance Path with Marie Moon Star Seeker; Every other Wednesday; Rockford. Call 616-856-4957 for details. Gentle/Moderate early morning yoga- 6:00-7:00 am. Class will teach a flow of postures with emphasis on body awareness, alignment and coordination of breath & movement. Students practice at their own level. $10-$16. Seva Yoga. Grand Rapids. 616-458-2541. A Course In Miracles (ACIM)- 9:30-11:00 am. Self-study system unique in teaching forgiveness as the road to inner peace and the remembrance of the unconditional love of God. Unity Church of Peace. Ada. 616-682-7812. Kripalu Yoga with Marro Spehar- 10:00 am: Gentle & 7:30 pm: Gentle/Moderate. Drop-ins welcome. For details visit Seva Yoga Studio, 2213 Wealthy Ste 220, East Grand Rapids. 616-458-2541. A Course in Miracles Class- 6:00-8:00 pm. With Cindy Barry. Free will offering. The Healing Center. Lakeview. 989-352-6500. General Anxiety support group- 7:00-8:30 pm. Open to individuals who have any kind of anxiety problem as well as their friends and family members meets every. Anxiety Resource Center, Inc. Grand Rapids. 616-356-1614.

Thursday Classes for the Childbearing Year and Beyond6:00 pm. Every 3rd Thursday. Designed to educate & support wholistic parenting & living from preg-

nancy through parenting and beyond. Advance registration required. Full Circle Midwifery. Hesperia. 231-861-2535. Spiritual Classes- 6:00-7:30 pm. Astrology, numerology, tarot, etc with Gail Brumeister. $15.00. The Healing Center. Lakeview. 989-352-6500. Advanced Hatha Yoga with Mitch Coleman6:15-7:30 pm. Drop-ins welcome. Visit for more information. Classes meet at White River Yoga Studio, 8724 Ferry St. Montague. 231-740-6662. Oils Classes- 6:30-8:00 pm. Every 3rd Thursday with Barb Huttinga. The Healing Center. Lakeview. 989-352-6500.

Friday Gentle/Moderate early morning yoga- 6:00-7:00 am. Class will teach a flow of postures with emphasis on body awareness, alignment and coordination of breath & movement. Students practice at their own level. $10-$16. Seva Yoga. Grand Rapids. 616-458-2541. Yoga-Intermediate- 9:00 am. Learn the basics. Holding poses longer, moving deeper into your practice and awareness of the core. For details visit or call Smiling Lotus Yoga, 103 E. Ludington Ave, Ludington. 231-852-0849. Kripalu Yoga with Marro Spehar- 7:00 pm. Gentle/Moderate. Drop-ins welcome. For details visit Seva Yoga Studio, 2213 Wealthy Ste 220, East Grand Rapids. 616-458-2541.

Saturday Gentle Hatha Yoga with Mitch Coleman- 9:0010:15 am & 10:30-11:45 am. Drop-ins welcome. Visit for info. Classes meet at White River Yoga Studio. Montague. 231-740-6662. Sweetwater Local Foods Market- 9:00 am-1:00 pm. Every other Saturday. Indoors at Hackley Health at the Lakes, Harvey St. 1/2 Mile South of Lakes Mall. Exit US 31 at Pontaluna Rd. Muskegon. Focused Energy Academic Success- 9:30 am. Send kids to school prepared with fueled bodies & academic strength. Reliv Open Presentations Spring Hill Suites, 450 Center NW, Grand Rapids. Deb Riolo 616-822-4247. Vinyasa Yoga w/Michele Fife- 10:00 am. This class will teach the practitioner the skills to build asanas into flowing sequences by combining breath with movement. $10-$16 Seva Yoga. Grand Rapids. 616-458-2541.

All you need is love. ~John Lennon

GIVE THE GIFT OF WELLNESS Give the gift of Natural Awakenings Network this Holiday Season. Now through January 31st you can take advantage of our Launch Special and purchase annual individual NAN Memberships for 50% off. A savings of $54. Annual Family Plans are also available for 50% off. A savings of $108. Family Plans include up to four members. For more details call 616-656-9232 or visit

Welcome New NAN Providers Shaklee- Connie Udell - 10% off for non Shaklee members


Heart’s Journey Wellness Center - 10% off Yoga Classes, 20% off Yoga Therapy or Counseling

Institute of Sanative Arts- Massage - 50% off 1st visit & $10 off returning visits. Yoga= 1st yoga class free. $5 off pass card. School= $150 off full tuition


West Michigan Edition



...connecting you to the leaders in natural health and green living in West Michigan. To find out how you can be included in The Natural Directory log-on to


Medical Acupuncturist SHMG Internal Medicine 890 S. Washington, Suite 130, Holland 616-395-9000 Medical acupuncture can be an effective treatment for many chronic conditions, including Pain, Fatigue, Depression and Anxiety. Samir Rajani, MD is certified in medical acupuncture and practices at SHMG Internal Medicine.


Nancy Despres RN, MBE 363 Cummings NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49534 616-453-4215 *UPDATED* Out of the Blue helps find alternative ways for achieving optimal health through the use of homeopathy, enzyme therapy nutritional supplements & hair mineral analysis. Now carrying homeopathic Hcg drops for weight loss.


Certified Massage Therapist offering Therapeutic & LaStone Massage. Certified Wholistic Kinesiologist, Reconnection Healing Practitioner, Certified Herbalist, Certified Acutonics Practitioner, Certified Reflexologist, and a Certified Matrix Energetics Practitioner. See ad page 21.

Natural Health & Healing Center 723 Kenmoor SE Grand Rapids 49546 616-481-9074

Offering an advanced clientcentered dimension of colonics: gentle, safe and effective. Eliminate toxins and enhance well-being. 15 years of experience. Also offering Quantum Biofeedback sessions. I-ACT certified Instructor. Visit www.


Dr. Ronson Dykstra & Dr. Ronda VanderWall 4072 Chicago Drive, Grandville 616-531-6050 Family owned and operated in the heart of downtown Grandville, Dynamic Family Chiropractic focuses on lifestyle improvements through living a maximized life. A safe and natural approach to health through the combination of exercise, nutrition, detoxification and chiropractic care.


1514 Wealthy St. SE Ste 260, Grand Rapids 616-451-3008 A mind-body-spirit approach for trauma and abuse recovery, PTSD, low sense of self-worth, panic & phobias, anxiety, depression, relationships. EMDR & Energy interventions.


Dr. Andrew Schafer 1801 Breton SE Grand Rapids, MI 49506 616-301-3000 Tr e a t i n g m u s c u l o s k e l e t a l conditions, and specializing in back pain, sciatica neck pain, and headaches. Also offering physical therapy, massage therapy, and postural awareness. Most insurances accepted. Breton Village area. www.grchirospa. com. See ad page 8.

dentistry / holistic DENTAL HEALTH & WELLNESS CENTER

Dr. Kevin P. Flood DDS 616-974-4990 Comprehensive Holistic Dental Services – Amalgam Removal & Replacement. Bio-Compatible, metal-free materials, Low-Dose Digital X-Rays, Gentle Anesthesia, Dentistry for Diabetes, TMJ, Chronic Head & Neck pain and Non Surgical Perio. See ad page 48.

cleaning pRoDucts NATURAL HEALTH 4 TODAY Clara VanderZouwen 616-698-6148

Imagine cleaning with only water! Improve the quality of your life with Norwex products by radically reducing the use of chemicals in personal care and cleaning. New to Michigan!

energy healing AMA~DEUS®

Beth Cosmos Grand Rapids: 616-648-3354

cOlon hydrotherapy HARMONY ’N HEALTH

Mary De Lange, CCT., CMT. 1003 Maryland Av., N.E. Grand Rapids 616-456-5033

Ama Deus® healing energy method is a hand mediated technique aligned with love. The energy helps to enhance one’s own and others growth and awareness or physical and emotional healing. See ad page 23.

Certified therapist since 1991 offering colon therapy in a sterile and professional environment. Using a holistic approach colonics relieve constipation, diarrhea, gas, bloat, poor digestion, back pain, body odor and more. See ad page 6.

natural awakenings

December 2011




Barbara Zvirzdinis, WK, CMT 616-581-3885 Matrix Energetics is a system used to heal, transform and create new possibilities in your life. Using principles of quantum physics and subtle energy Matrix Energetics helps you to shift into a more balanced state. See ad page 21.

essential oils

Grand Haven 616-846-3026 Muskegon 231-739-1568 North Muskegon 231-744-0852 Natural & organic foods, vitamins & herbs, sports nutrition, gluten free food, natural body and homecare products. Open 7 days a week. See ad page 21.

holistic health centers THE HEALING CENTER


352 S. Lincoln Ave, Lakeview 989-352-6500

Clara Vander Zouwen 616-698-6148

Learn how to address issues of Pain, Stress, Hormone Imbalance, Weight Management, ADD, Allergies, Diabetes & more with Essential Oils, Ionic Foot Baths, Bio-Energy scans, Nutritional & NEW Earthing products! Free monthly classes.


Naturopathic / Holistic Practitioners. Physician assistant, Certified Natural Health Professionals. Private consultations. Counseling & Classes. Blood typing, acupressure, emotional release, i r i d o l o g y, h o m e o p a t h y, massage therapy, reflexology, cranial sacral, foot detox & more. See ad page 22.


Jodi Jenks - Reiki Master 4434 Knapp St NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49525 I am a Reiki Master that also does Essential Oil therapies including Raindrop Therapy, Emotional Clearing and Spiritual Journey work. Call or email for appointments or questions, 616443-4225 or heavenlyhealings@


352 S. Lincoln Ave, Lakeview 989-352-6500 A Physician assistant since 1976, specializing in naturopathic and homeopathic care and ApoE Gene Diet. Also, certified Silva Method instructor. See ad page 22.

haIR cOLOR interior design services


Organic Hair Color Specialist Aesthetica Image Group 616-916-1190


Feel good about looking beautiful! Hair services of all kinds for all types. Providing superior results with Organic Color. 8 yrs. experience. Appointment recommended.

health food stores AFFORDABLE NUTRITION

Joel D. Manning, CNC速, Owner 7493 Cottonwood Drive, Jenison 616-667-1346

4046 Lake Michigan Dr. NW Grand Rapids, MI 49534 616-453-8201 Offering environmentally friendly options for cabinetry, flooring, countertops and window treatments. The H o m e c o m i n g Collection from Kincaid with the Eco3Home designation offers furniture manufactured in an environmentally responsible process. See ad page 7.

Affordable, natural approach to better health. Certified nutritional consultant. 20 years experience. Offering select high quality vitamins and nutritional supplements. Weight loss, cleansing, sports nutrition & more! Senior & Everyday discounts. Visit


West Michigan Edition

kinesiology WHOLISTIC KINESIOLOGY HEALTH SERVICES, LLC Barbara Zvirzdinis, WK, CMT 616-581-3885

Certified Wholistic Kinesiologist, Certified Massage Therapist, Reconnection Healing P r a c t i t i o n e r, C e r t i f i e d Herbalist, Certified Acutonics P r a c t i t i o n e r, C e r t i f i e d Reflexologist, and a Certified Matrix Energetics Practitioner. Specializing in muscle testing, massage, energy medicine, nutritional counseling, lectures and classes. See ad page 21.


Erin Kieffer, MT 4072 Chicago Drive, Grandville, MI 49418 616-531-6050 I offer Swedish massage with Integrated Te c h n i q u e s , c h o s e n specifically to your unique body. Relieve those tired and sore muscles and rejuvenate! Call for ongoing monthly specials and discounts. www.


Sheri Beth Schafer, CMT, Reiki Master 1801 Breton SE Grand Rapids, MI 49506 616-301-3000

We have multiple certified massage therapists offering relaxation, prenatal, deep tissue massage, and medical massage. We also offer Reiki, chakra balancing, and Ayurvedic bodywork. Breton Village area. www.grchirospa. com. See ad page 8 & 32.


Yolanda Visser CM, CPM Grand Rapids: 616-458-8144 Homebirth services since 1982. Committed to facilitating natural birth, bonding, strengthening the family, informed active participation, and lending dignity to women through their birthing experience.

FULL CIRCLE MIDWIFERY SERVICE, INC. Patrice Bobier CM, CPM Hesperia: 231-861-2234

In private practice since 1982 - specializing in homebirth. Over 1200 births attended. Offering midwifery care that maintains a family-centered safe birth experience. Empowering women to stay healthy during pregnancy, give birth naturally and parent in the best ways.

HOME BIRTH PARTNERS, LLC Susan Wente, CNM, Dr. PH 231-652-3247

This regions only Certified Nurse Midwife with 32 years experience – over 3000 births attended. Providing pre-natal, home and hospital births and postpartum care. Gynecological and Doula services available.

Attract New Customers! Join Our 2012 Annual Natural Living Directory for West Michigan!


Reiki Master Teacher and Gendai Reiki Shihan 616-283-6339 Reiki Haus is your source for quality, in-depth Reiki classes at all levels. Both Western Traditional and Gendai (Japanese) Reiki are taught. Treatments are also available, specializing in PTSD, RAD, and fibromyalgia.

school / education NATUROPATHIC INSTITUTE OF THERAPIES & EDUCATION 503 E. Broadway St Mt. Pleasant, MI. 48858 989-773-1714

Educational Programs: Natural Health 1-4 Years (one weekend per month), Holistic Labor Companion –Doula 6 months (1 weekend per month), Massage Therapy 1 Year (2 weekends per month), Individual Classes available. 15 years of excellence. See ad page 2.

FOR RENT Space Available for rent in Holland Pilates studio. Good for massage therapist / bodywork. For details, call 616-928-0929. Space for Rent in Cj’s Studio Salon, 5286 Plainfield, Grand Rapids. Chair rental $100/week full time. Call 616-364-9191.

1992 Jeep Cherokee Laredo with 80” Snow-way Snowplow. This setup is in good working order and ready to plow snow. More info and photos at www.reikiconnect/jeep-snowway.html. Contact


This highly complex device is a non-invasive technology that energetically scans & harmonizes the body’s stresses and imbalances, reducing those imbalances that make us uncomfortable. Visit

To place a Classified Listing: Email listing to Must be received by the 15th of the month prior to publication. $1.00 per word; must be pre-paid.


quantum biofeedback Natural Health & Healing Center 723 Kenmoor SE Grand Rapids 49546 616-481-9074


Don’t miss this oppor tunity to reach more than 30,000 Natural Awakenings readers by advertising in our 2012 Annual Natural Living Directory. Available in both print & online!

Natural Living Directory 2012 Natural Living Directory Prices: • $119.00 for the first category • 2nd category is 50% off • 3rd category is FREE.

$99 SPECIAL Call 616.656.9232

today to reserve your space! (offer expires Feb. 3, 2012)

DEADLINE FEB. 17th, 2012

West Michigan Edition

Currently Publishing Natural Awakenings Magazines - For sale in Birmingham, AL; North Central FL; Lexington, KY; Santa Fe/Albuquerque, NM; Cincinnati, OH; Tulsa, OK; Northeast PA; Columbia, SC; Southwest VA. Call for details 239-530-1377. Muskegon - Healing Center. Beautiful 3300 square feet, 6 treatment rooms and more including studio for dance/yoga. Reason: Moving. For details contact: White Cloud- 80 Acre Farm, 6 bedroom home, vinyl siding, insulated. Dairy barn, outbuildings, 4 stall garage on M-20. Rob Breen 231-652-1100.

OPPORTUNITIES Holistic & Green Business Owners Wanted for Health Network - NAN, Holistic & Green Business Owners Wanted for Health Network- NAN, the Natural Awakenings Network, is a green and healthy living network that will allow members to enjoy discounts on products & services focused on wellness, green/sustainable living and healthy lifestyles. If you are interested in becoming a provider (a business or organization that offers discounts to members) in this innovative network or want more details, contact Natural Awakenings at 616-656-9232 or Publisher@NaturalWestMichigan. com. Participating as a Provider is FREE for the 1st year. Sales/Marketing Manager - Marketing of the NAN~Natural Awakenings Network Program. Full time position. Oversee all aspects of this business including, but not limited to, setting up providers, selling NAN memberships to individuals and companies and managing sales staff. Serving all of West Michigan area. Pay is set up on a generous full commission structure. If interested, please email resume to

natural awakenings

December 2011



West Michigan Edition

Natural Awakenings Magazine December 2011  

Natural Awakenings Magazine is West Michigan's premiere natural health, holistic living, green magazine focusing on conscious living and sus...

Natural Awakenings Magazine December 2011  

Natural Awakenings Magazine is West Michigan's premiere natural health, holistic living, green magazine focusing on conscious living and sus...