Natural Awakenings Magazine ~ January 2017

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feel good • live simply • laugh more






Tackling Obesity’s Hidden Causes

Inner Health, Outer Beauty

Making Alternatives Affordable

Coping with the Teen Brain

The Right Coverage for Our Needs

What They Need from Us

The Best Pet Vets

Why Functional Medicine Is Their Top Choice


CALM Via a Simple Technique

January 2017 | West Michigan Edition | natural awakenings

January 2017



MARCH 11 - 18, 2017

Join our 14th annual Holistic Holiday at Sea cruise for 7 nights on the luxurious MSC Divina, one of the most ecologically-friendly and elegant cruise liners on the seas. Bask in gracious Italian hospitality and service all while enjoying inspiring lectures and vegan natural foods prepared by our own chefs. Departing from Miami, FL and sailing to lush Ocho Rios, Jamaica; historic Georgetown, Cayman Islands; sunny Cozumel, Mexico; & the paradise of Nassau, Bahamas. Learn more about the classes, cuisine and itinerary at

Chosen by National Geographic Traveler as


FEATURING WORLD-RENOWNED CHEFS, TEACHERS & HEALERS Co-author of The China Study and author of Whole: Rethinking the Science of Nutrition; featured in the film Forks Over Knives


Physician, author, & internationally-recognized speaker on nutrition; founded; spoke at Congress, on Dr. Oz, & the Colbert Report

MICHAEL GREGER, M.D. Creator of the popular vegan food blogs and; author of two best-selling cookbooks

Best-selling author of Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease; starred in the film Forks Over Knives; featured on CNN’s special The Last Heart Attack






Founder of the Physicians Commitee for Responsible Medicine; author of Food for Life & Power Foods for the Brain; active health advocate

NEAL BARNARD, M.D. Emmy Award-winning author of seven bestselling cookbooks; host of the television show Christina Cooks; health educator for 25+ years


LEARN MORE 1-800-496-0989 (Toll Free US) 1-828-749-9537 Holistic Holiday at Sea

BOOK TODAY Lorraine Travel

1-877-844-7977 (Toll Free US) 1-305-443-0542 Option 1 for program information Option 2 for travel agent All reservations for our holistic group must be made through Lorraine Travel

contents 8 5 newsbriefs balanced life. In each issue readers find cutting-edge information on natural health, nutrition, fitness, personal 8 healthbriefs growth, green living, creative expression and the products 10 globalbriefs and services that support a healthy lifestyle. 15 ecotip 12 WEIGHT-LOSS SABOTEURS 16 healingways Tackling Obesity’s 18 fitbody Hidden Causes 20 consciouseating 10 22 wisewords 16 AFFORDABLE 12 24 inspiration COMPLEMENTARY CARE Alternatives to 26 healthykids Insurance Cost Less 18 28 greenliving 30 naturalpet 18 BODY SCULPT 32 chironews WITH KETTLEBELLS 15 34 community Workouts Burn Fat Natural Awakenings is your guide to a healthier, more

by Lisa Marshall

by Meredith Montgomery

spotlight 41 calendar 45 naturaldirectory

advertising & submissions HOW TO ADVERTISE

and Tone Muscle by Taylor Geiger



Most People Benefit from Gluten by Judith Fertig

To advertise with Natural Awakenings or request a media kit, please contact us at 616-604-0480 or email: Publisher@ Deadline for space reservation is the 12th of each month prior to publication.



by Randy Kambic

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.

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



A Simple Gaze Invokes the Infinite by Sandy C. Newbigging





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 616604-0480 or email us at:

What Kids Need from Us to Grow Wise by April Thompson

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Inner Health, Radiant Skin by Linda Sechrist

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Why the Best Vets Use It by Shawn Messonnier

natural awakenings

January 2017




hank you for being here with me as I gratefully celebrate my first anniversary at the helm of Natural Awakenings of West Michigan. It has been a period of great change for me as I daily learn and benefit from our holistic community’s collective knowledge, starting with our advertisers expert in healing modalities and sustainable practices. I haven’t yet met everyone up close and in person, but I’m working on it. I also love to meet readers, so when you see me be sure to say hello.

contact us Publisher/Editor Pamela Gallina Editors S. Alison Chabonais Linda Sechrist

I believe in the importance of completing one full cycle of something before it’s possible to wrap your mind around the entire picture. I’m convinced that progress to date is the direct result of taking quiet time for focused contemplation and opening myself up to new possibilities. This month, as we all consider our new year’s resolutions, mine is focused on our coming year together. There is much work to do, but I remain committed to the good unfolding and look forward to each month’s magazine with eager anticipation.

Design & Production Interactive Media Design Scott Carvey Printer Stafford Media Solutions Natural Awakenings P.O. Box 330 Spring Lake, MI 49456 Phone: 616-604-0480 Fax: 616-855-4202

Subscriptions are available by sending $30 (12 issues) to the above address. © 2017 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.

For some of us, shifting out of old habits to live more naturally can be a bit intimidating at first. As with every new concept we encounter and explore, the more we learn the more we realize how little we actually know. I’m glad to have discovered that everyone around me that’s on a similar path is their own work in progress and that they’re happy to share helpful perspective and practical tips for living cleaner and greener. One thing I’m certain of after a year of publishing is that this lifestyle choice feels naturally right. I am grateful for all of the wonderful people here and elsewhere that are walking the walk. It’s an ongoing blessing to be a part of such an interesting healthy living community. Reflecting on this past year, what I value most is the new friends and colleagues I’ve come to know as together we celebrate one other and look forward to being even healthier and happier in 2017. To conscious living,

COMMITTED TO SUSTAINABILITY Natural Awakenings is locally owned and operated.

Natural Awakenings

Never Glossy. Always Green. Natural Awakenings practices environmental sustainability by printing on post-consumer recycled paper with soy-based ink. This choice avoids the toxic chemicals and high energy costs of producing shiny, coated paper that is hard to recycle.


West Michigan Edition

Pamela Gallina, Publisher

Magazine of West Michigan



Natural Awakenings Magazine of West Michigan

newsbriefs Visions of Success!


t’s that time of year! Time to dust off those New Year’s resolutions you made last year, but didn’t keep, and start anew for 2017. Many people increase their chances of resolution success by making a vision board. If you’re new to the concept, a vision board is a visual representation, using pictures cut from magazines, of your innermost dreams for your body, mind and spirit. It’s based on the theory of the law of attraction that says we can attract our hearts desires into our lives by our thoughts and intentions. Staff member Nancy Getz of Bodhi Tree Yoga & Wellness Studio would add that just thinking about the life we want to live is not enough. While that can be a lot of fun, temporarily, in the long run, we have to act on where those thoughts are nudging us. With that in mind, she is offering a Vision/Action board afternoon at the BT Studio, 208 W. 18th St., Holland, Sunday, January 8, from 1:00 to 3:00 pm. Cost is $15 which includes all materials. While there will be plenty of magazines to choose from, if you have some at home that are of special interest to you, please feel free to bring them along. You may also bring a picture of yourself to place on your board if you wish. You will leave with a completed board to remind you of the life you want to live physically, spiritually and mindfully, along with your own personal commitment for action. It promises to be a fun afternoon. Bring a friend! Space is limited, call Nancy at 616-566-3916, or the studio at 616-392-7580 to reserve your spot. Bodhi Tree is located at 208 W 18th St, Holland or online at See ad page 10.

Book Study Class on Outrageous Openness by Tosha Silver


oin this interesting study of the book Outrageous Openness by Tosha Silver, which will be explored together, as well as an exercise in cultivating a love affair with “The Divined Beloved” in ways that are juicy and open hearted. This book brings a breath of irreverent fresh air; is spot on and hilarious, as well as exhilarating, as it exposes freedom from dogmatic beliefs. Are you tired of others telling you what to believe? If so,

this may be just the spark you need to add the answers from within to expand your core. To create even more magic and a deeper connection with the content, an “Art Part” is included each week. Everyone is his or her own artist of unique and original talent and expression. This gathering will not only be heart-felt, but fun too! Taught by Mary Dawson-Jackson, class will meet each Friday from January 27 to March 17. Event is located at 20 Wilderness Dr, Saugatuck. Spirit Space is located at 3493 Blue Star Highway, Saugatuck or online at Spirit Cost of class $25.00 which is for art supplies and an additional $16 to purchase the book at class or you can bring your own. For more info and to register call 616886-2716.See ad page 31.

Dr. Sue Dilsworth Receives Yoga Therapy 500 hour certification


r. Dilsworth completed her Yoga Therapy training through the Inner Peace Yoga Therapy Program. Yoga Therapy is a one-on-one session that incorporates physical activity to achieve a holistic mind-body approach to wellness. Yoga Therapy is the ultimate combination of yogic practices and principles combined to meet emotional and psychological needs. A yoga therapy session is designed to meet the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of the individual through a more demanding and interactive treatment protocol. The treatment can be tailored for a wide variety of physical and emotional challenges, and is a powerful adjunct to counseling, chiropractic, physical therapy and other traditional medicinal treatments. Yoga therapy is particularly helpful for: chronic illness, pain and mobility issues; depression and/or anxiety; addictions; eating disorders, and much more. For more benefits, see Dr. Timothy McCall’s: Yoga as Medicine, the Science and Practice of Yoga Therapy. Unlike yoga classes, yoga therapy will address your personal characteristics based on personal needs as well as Ayurvedic Principles. Sue Dilsworth, Ph.D, ERYT-500 is the owner of Heart’s Journey Wellness Center. Located at 6189 Lake Michigan Drive, Allendale. For more information or to register for a personal session: call 616-307-1617 or visit See ad page 8.

As The Pelvis Turns


andy Parker, BS CPT will be presenting a free workshop all about the female pelvis and the cycles that it turns through life on January 14 from 2-4:30pm. As The Pelvis Turns will cover pregnancy, postpartum healing, athletic changes, pelvic pain and dysfunction, as well as the young developing natural awakenings

January 2017



Sandy Parker

pelvis in our girls, and how these subjects relate to health and movement. Sometimes called the Pelvic Floorist, Sandy has been studying pelvic health for over 5 years with leading pelvic physical therapists, biomechanists, and pain educators. She has a BS in Health and Physical Education, is a Restorative Exercise Specialist™ and is also the owner of On The Path Yoga.

Located at 701 E. Savage, Spring Lake or online at For more information and to register call 616-935-7028 or email See ad page 29.

2nd Annual Holistic Health Conference


he 2016 InspiredLifeGR Conference was a great success. Over 120 members of our Michigan community came together to inspire and be inspired by alternative healthcare professionals and businesses to gain knowledge about alternative ways of healthy living. The InspiredLifeGR Conference returns on February 25 and 26, to the Wege ballroom at Aquinas College, to challenge participants to deepen their awareness of what true whole-ness means. Founded by holistic health advocates, Kelly Hassberger, Chris Wheeler and Mary Johnson, this event will help participants understand that the physical makeup of our bodies is much more than meets the eye. Conference topics will include healing therapies such as: meditation, breath work, reiki, energy touch® and the ways nutrition affects us on an energetic level and will include 8 speakers, 2 panel discussions and multiple exhibitors. “When we think about health and wellness we think of the mainstays such as: working out, sleep and nutrition. When you think about real whole-ness, you have to consider other aspects of health including: mind, emotions, spiritual wellness and support systems. The 2016 conference was intended to inspire participants to explore alternative health practices towards total wellbeing. The 2017 conference will build upon where we left off and inspire attendees to deepen 6

West Michigan Edition

their awareness in all aspects of total body whole-ness.” – Dr. Kelly Hassberger, ND. Leading local health experts will share how the connection of breath, energy, community, movement and mindset impact and benefit physical health. These interactive presentations will guide participants towards recognizing the root cause of conditions and disease. Event Cost: $160 ($100 student rate, email proof of enrollment to For tickets, or sponsorship information visit: See ad page 38.

Holistic Nutrition Center New Location


olistic Nutrition Center (HNC) will personalize your nutrition plan by examining your genetics and biochemistry. They look deep into the underlying cause of nutritional health problems and identify the nutritional requirements specific to you. The people at HNC get to know you on a deep level and strive to understand what you are dealing with such as fatigue, pain, overweight, and lack of motivation. They factor all this in when recommending a unique nutrition plan custom designed for you! Visit HNC at their new location 607 C Heritage Court in Holland. Appointments are required. Schedule online at or call 616-355-5333 See ad page 15.

Take Control of Your Pelvic Health


he New Year usually brings a new set of resolutions, whether it’s to exercise more, manage stress or take time for self-care. Total Control, a unique pelvic health program for women of all ages, addresses all three plus gives you the tools to take control of your bladder and learn prevention strategies for lifelong pelvic health. The evidenced-based exercise and educational program allows women with incontinence and other pelvic issues to begin moving in a safe and non-strenuous way. Each class in the seven-week session teaches you powerful basics about your bladder and pelvic health in a fun, informative, and noncompetitive environment. You can talk about your setbacks and successes in a confidential, friendly atmosphere and know you aren’t suffering alone. The class combines exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor, yoga and Pilates-inspired moves to stabilize and lengthen your core, lower back and pelvis, gentle stretches

and resistance-band arm toners for a low-impact, yet energizing and effective total body workout. It also covers an important educational topic each week and lifestyle and behavioral tips you can use for a lifetime. Participants learn much more than how to properly do a Kegel. You will learn how to activate, isolate and strengthen some of the deepest muscles in your core, back and pelvic floor, which all work together to decrease urinary urgency and frequency, increase core strength, improve posture, reduce back pain and improve sexual function. West Michigan women are lucky to have access to this unique outreach program offered through Mercy Health Bladder Clinic. Think of it as exercise from the inside out – without ever breaking a sweat – and a first line of defense to prevent bladder problems. Mercy Health is a non-profit organization. Classes are now forming for February and sessions run throughout the year. Please call 231-727-7944 or visit mercyhealthmuskegon. com/total-control for more information.



ttendees of the fourth annual Whole U GR Expo will be looking for the latest information on clean living, local, whole foods, healthy body, mind and spirit and much more. This is the perfect place to effectively market to your audience. As an exhibitor you have direct access to your target audience where you will be able to achieve the following: • Showcase your products or services • Provide hands on demonstrations • Increase public awareness of your organization • Provide samples and/or sell products. • Build relationships and generate leads Whole U GR is a unique expo held January 21, 10am4pm in the beautiful St. Cecilia Music Center historic building. The mission of this expo is to inspire and educate our community to be healthy, environmentally conscientious and supportive. Submit workshop/presentation ideas! Share with your community. There is no additional fee to be a presenter. Together we can encourage and grow a healthy, vibrant community! St. Cecelia is located at 24 Ransom Ave NE, Grand Rapids. Exhibitors will get 4 entry tickets to the expo to either give to clients or use at their discretion. For more information and to register go to See ad page 21.

Natural Awakenings Announces...


atural Awakenings Publishing Corporation, the leader in local, natural health magazines, today announced the promotion of Pat McGroder to company President. He joined the company this year as Executive Vice President in charge of franchise development. “We’re excited to have Pat with us and are looking Pat McGroder forward to the positive impact he can have on our brand,” says Sharon Bruckman, Natural Awakenings’ Founder and CEO. “He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience that will help us take advantage of our position in the market in order to expand our revenue opportunities.” McGroder joins the Natural Awakenings magazine family having already spent 24 years in the publishing industry. He began his career with Perfect Wedding Guide from 1992 through 2005, serving as the President and CEO. In 2006 he opened a boutique real estate company and served as Vice President through 2011. From 2011 through August 2016 Pat was Vice President of market development for The Real Estate Book and Homes & Land magazines. “What an exciting time to be here to lead the Natural Awakenings team,” says McGroder. “This company is poised to create new and innovative value for our readers, advertisers and franchise owners. I could not be more thrilled to accept this position and apply my decades of experience to position the company for significant growth. I look forward to working side by side with the many people that comprise the backbone of the organization as together we grow new opportunities in the coming years!” Natural Awakenings is one of the largest national publications serving the vast natural health and sustainable living sectors of our economy. Natural Awakenings began in 1994 and has experienced exponential growth ever since. The Natural Awakenings publishing family currently includes more than 85 franchises in markets across the U.S. and in Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. We combine print, web, mobile, social, direct mail, and email into fully integrated and customized plans to deliver the highest return on investment to our clients. For more information, please visit

natural awakenings

January 2017




study from Drexel University, in Philadelphia, has linked autism spectrum disorder with prenatal exposure to organochlorine chemicals. The researchers examined 1,144 children born in southern California between 2000 and 2003 with mothers that had enrolled in a state-sponsored prenatal screening program. Blood tests were taken during their second trimester of pregnancy, a critical time for neurodevelopment, to measure exposure to organochlorine chemicals, including polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB) and pesticides such as DDT. These compounds were banned from production in the U.S. in 1977, but remain in the environment. It’s well known that they can cross the placental barrier, impacting neurodevelopment in fetuses. The researchers selected participants based on previous health diagnoses: 545 children with autism spectrum disorder and 181 with intellectual disabilities, plus 418 free of both issues as a control group. They found a 50 to 82 percent increased autism risk in children with the highest levels of four identified PCB compounds in utero, based on which ones were present. “The results suggest that prenatal exposure to these chemicals above a certain level may influence neurodevelopment in adverse ways,” says Kristen Lyall, Sc.D., assistant professor in the university’s A.J. Drexel Autism Institute, promising further related studies.



with a

view Practice Yoga Overlooking Versluis Lake 5270 Northland Drive NE | Grand Rapids, MI 49525 | 616-361-8580


West Michigan Edition

Ayurvedic Program Improves Blood Chemistry


clinical trial from the University of California-San Diego School of Medicine found that participants in a six-day, ayurvedic-based, well-being program showed metabolic improvements in blood tests for inflammation, cardiovascular disease risk (CDR) and cholesterol levels. Study participants consisted of 119 healthy men and women between the ages of 30 and 80. Sixty-five experienced a panchakarma program, a detox and rejuvenation protocol involving a vegetarian diet, meditation, yoga, massage, herbal therapy and other healing therapies. The other 54 served as a control group. Blood was analyzed before and after the test period. The researchers, led by Dr. Deepak Chopra, found measurable decreases in 12 phosphatidycholines (cell-membrane chemicals) associated with cholesterol, inflammation, CDR and Type 2 diabetes risk. They acknowledge that due to the short duration of the trial, the immediate changes were likely attributable to the vegetarian diet; more research is needed to determine the complementary role of the other therapies. “It appears that a one-week panchakarma program can significantly alter the metabolic profile of the person undergoing it,” remarks Chopra.



Billion Photos/

Autism Risk Linked to Banned Chemicals

Exercise in Midlife Helps Preserve Mental Sharpness


Early-to-Bed Kids at Less Risk of Obesity


esearch from the Ohio State University College of Public Health, in Columbus, suggests that the risk of childhood obesity, a growing concern in the U.S., can be reduced by putting children to bed before 8 p.m. The researchers examined reports from mothers of 977 4-and-a-half-year-old children born in 1991 regarding their typical weekday bedtimes. The answers were divided into three categories: 8 p.m. or earlier, between 8 and 9 p.m. and later. Responses were compared to the obesity levels of the same children at an average age of 15. Of the group with the earliest bedtime, comprising about 25 percent of the subjects, only one in 10 were obese, compared to 16 percent of those with childhood bedtimes between 8 and 9 p.m., representing 50 percent of the subjects. The youngsters that went to bed the latest reported a 23 percent obesity rate, the highest overall. Dr. Meena Khan, a sleep medicine specialist at the university’s Wexner Medical Study Center, comments about the challenge of maintaining proper bedtimes: “Kids do well with a schedule and a routine.”

Parents Use Complementary Health Care for Kids


Africa Studio/

he 2012 National Health Interview Survey, published in 2015, included a survey on the use of complementary medicine practices. Nearly 45,000 Americans were questioned, including more than 10,000 children between the ages of 4 and 17. The survey found that nearly 12 percent of children had used complementary medicine, either in a practice or product, during the year studied. The most common form of alternative medicine among children was natural supplements, such as fish oil, probiotics and melatonin. Chiropractic care and yoga were also popular choices. Researchers found that parents sought complementary approaches most often for children due to back or neck pain, musculoskeletal conditions, colds, anxiety, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder or insomnia.

Pressmaster/ Yuriy Chertok/

pixelheadphoto digitalskillet/

study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease in July confirms that physical activity in midlife can help reduce the chances of developing cognitive impairment in old age. Scientists studied data on the physical activity levels from 3,050 twins in Finland given questionnaires in 1975 and 1981. A phone interview more than 25 years later served as a follow-up cognitive evaluation, and the subjects were divided into three categories: cognitively impaired, suffering mild cognitive impairment or cognitively healthy. Individuals that participated in vigorous physical activity when they were middle-aged displayed lower levels of cognitive impairment compared to those that did less vigorous exercise.

Early Job Satisfaction Supports LongTerm Health


esearchers from Ohio State University, in Columbus, started with data from 6,432 participants in the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, conducted in 1979, to study the impact that early job satisfaction has upon health as we age. The new study examined reports of job satisfaction on a scale of one (dislike very much) to four (like very much) for participants between the ages of 25 and 39. Then they compared the responses to mental and physical health reports measured after the participants turned 40. Those that reported low job satisfaction throughout their 20s and 30s exhibited higher levels of emotional problems, depression, sleep problems and excessive worry. Individuals that started out satisfied with their jobs but became less satisfied over time also faced sleep and anxiety difficulties, but exhibited less depression. The participants that reported increasing job satisfaction in their 20s and 30s reported fewer mental health problems. The correlation between physical health after 40 and early job satisfaction was not as strong, but university associate professor of sociology Hui Zheng notes, “Increased anxiety and depression could lead to cardiovascular or other health problems that won’t show up until they are older.”

natural awakenings

January 2017


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

Reforesting India

FOR A LIMITED TIME ONLY! $65 for One Month of unlimited yoga

Massive Tree-Planting Against Climate Change Indian officials report that volunteers planted more than 49 million trees on a single day in 2016, surpassing the 2013 world record of 850,000 in Pakistan. An estimated 800,000 volunteers worked for 24 hours planting 80 species of saplings raised in local nurseries along roads, railways and other public land. The effort is part of the commitment India made at the Paris Climate Conference in December 2015. The country agreed to spend $6 billion to reforest 12 percent of its land and bring the total forest cover to 235 million acres by 2030, or about 29 percent of its territory. Trees sequester carbon dioxide from the air and reduce greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. India has experienced substantial loss of its forest cover in recent centuries as people cut down trees for firewood, pasture and development. Still, saplings need water and care and are susceptible to disease. Mortality rates can reach 40 percent after such massive tree plantings. Other countries are also replanting trees. Last December, African nations pledged to reforest 100 million hectares (386 square miles). A wide range of stakeholders from countries to companies also signed on to the non-binding New York Declaration of Forests that month, with the goal of halving deforestation by 2020 and ending it by 2030.

(some restrictions may apply)


208 W 18th Street Holland, MI 49424 616-392-7580

Protecting Pollinators

Maryland Bans Bee-Killing Pesticides

……… Naturopathic/ Holistic Health Care Integrative Cardiology Family & Couple Therapy Health Coaching Organic Skin Care Massage Therapy/Body Work Call Today for Your Complimentary Consult

638 W Fulton, Suite B, Grand Rapids, MI 49504 616-264-6556


West Michigan Edition


Source: National Geographic

Maryland is the first state in the nation to pass strict restrictions on pesticides thought to be responsible for significant reductions in bee populations with enactment of its Pollinator Protection Act. Maryland lost more than 60 percent of its hives in 2015, each containing up to 20,000 honeybees, making it one of the states with the highest recorded declines. The national average is about 42 percent, yet across the country, farmers and gardeners are still using pesticides linked to colony collapse disorder. Globally, more than one-third of the world’s food supply could be at risk if these and other pollinators are lost. Neonicotinoids are one potent class of systemic pesticides introduced to agriculture in the 1990s that have been linked to bees’ demise. In recent years, pesticides such as Knockout Ready-to-Use Grub Killer, Ortho Bug B Gon, and AllIn-One Rose & Flower Care have been made available to consumers and beekeepers have noticed a corresponding increase in bee deaths. The Maryland law bans the use of neonicotinoids by everyday consumers that have been spraying home gardens and trees with these deadly pesticides. Farmers and professional gardeners are exempt from the law. A similar law is awaiting the governor’s signature in Connecticut. Although the U.S. Department of Agriculture has not officially recognized the well-researched link, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is reviewing it. Source:

Smog Begone

California Aims Even Higher on Emission Controls

Website Screens Packaging for Toxin Although food manufacturers have pledged to voluntarily eliminate bisphenol A (BPA)—an endocrine disruptor linked to developmental problems in fetuses, infants and children—in their packaging materials, it’s still found in the lining of many canned goods. Recent testing by an advocacy group found BPA in 70 percent of nearly 200 samples, including products from Campbell and Kroger, which have joined the pledge. “It’s in beer, coffee, tea, energy drinks and aerosol cans for whipped cream... it’s everywhere,” says Samara Geller, a database and research analyst with the Environmental Working Group (EWG). According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, BPA is safe at the levels people are exposed to via canned foods, but many consumers would rather not take the risk. Consequently, EWG created a new tool to help consumers avoid the 16,000 products that may have BPA in their packaging. The numbers listed on package UPC codes can be compared against the database at “Our main goal was to get this out quickly to as many people as possible,” says Geller. “The UPC code is really your best defense to finding out what they’re talking about,” because product names can change.

Lobster Liberation

Monks Free Creatures from Certain Doom A handful of monks from the Great Enlightenment Buddhist Institute Society living on Canada’s Prince Edward Island spent a day buying up all the live lobsters they could find at the local fish market, and then chartered a boat. Once out to sea, they recited a brief prayer over their writhing cargo and set them loose in the Atlantic. “The whole purpose for us is to cultivate this compassion toward others,” says one of the monks. “It doesn’t have to be lobsters, it can be worms, flies, any animals; it can also be driving slower, so we don’t run over little critters on the street.” One participant, Victoria Fan, says, “It’s rethinking the way you normally see these creatures. Their happiness is as important as your happiness, their suffering is as important as your suffering.”

Recirculating Jet Air Linked to Illness JONGSUK/

Eat Safer

Airline Air



Matej Kastelic/


California lawmakers have enacted a bill that aims to reduce the state’s greenhouse gas emissions to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030. It extends previous efforts such as the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 instituted to reduce emissions by 2020, along with another piece of legislation that vows to boost legislative oversight of climate change programs organized by the California Air Resources Board. Supporters say that emissions rules have created new jobs and led to billions of dollars of investment in California’s clean energy sector. Opponents argue that the strict targets have caused some job losses, particularly in oil manufacturing. The state, having the world’s eighth-largest economy, has further announced a goal of fighting climate change and improving air quality by putting 1.5 million zero-emission state cars on the road by 2025.

Aerotoxic syndrome is the medical term for the illness caused by exposure to contaminated air in jet aircraft, and it’s causing that ailment, plus the permanent disability and even death of airline employees and passengers. Whistleblowers have been met with ridicule and termination. The problem has been called the “asbestos of the airline industry” by critics. French scientist Jean-Cristophe Balouet, Ph.D., who discovered the syndrome in 1999, thinks it may have already affected 250,000 pilots, cabin crew and passengers worldwide. In 1963, aircraft moved from drawing fresh air into the cabin to “bleeding” part of it from the engines. The synthetic oil used by jets contains organophosphates used in pesticides and nerve gas, and was banned by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for residential use in 2001 because of known toxicity. The byproducts of these carcinogenic organophosphates can also include aldehydes and carbon monoxide. Airplane seals wear out and there are no chemical sensors onboard aircraft to detect fumes— only noses to detect the “dirty sock” odor. The Aerotoxic Association continues to push for air quality detectors on all planes and the Cabin Air Quality Act sponsored by California Senator Dianne Feinstein. For more information, visit

Source: natural awakenings

January 2017


SABOTEURS Tackling Obesity’s Hidden Causes by Lisa Marshall


at less, move more. These words have been the cornerstone of diet advice for decades, leading millions of Americans to greet the new year with vows to cut calories and hit the gym. In all, one in five U.S. adults are dieting at any given time, according to the international market research firm The NPD Group, and 57 percent would like to lose 20 pounds or more. Yet few will reach that goal. One survey of 14,000 dieters published in the International Journal of Obesity found that only one in six had ever been able to lose 10 percent of their body weight and keep it off for a year. Another study, published in the last year in Obesity, followed up with 14 contestants from the 2009 TV reality show The Biggest Loser and found that despite efforts to keep their eating and exercise habits on track, 13 had regained significant weight since the competition. Four are heavier now than before participating on the show.


West Michigan Edition

Diet experts say the battle of the bulge has been exceedingly hard to win for one clear reason: We’re oversimplifying the solution and underestimating the saboteurs. “We’re learning that it’s not as simple as calories-in and calories-out,” says Dr. Pamela Wartian Smith, an Ann Arbor, Michigan, physician specializing in functional and nutritional medicine and author of Why You Can’t Lose Weight. Research reveals that everything from food allergies to hormone imbalances and disruptions in gut bacteria can subtly undermine the best-laid weight management plans. Working out too much or eating too little can also backfire. Even a mean boss or a cold workplace cubicle can factor in. Certainly, diet and exercise are key, experts emphasize. Yet, if we’re doing all the right things and still seeing disappointing numbers on the scale, there’s still more we can do. Here are some common weight-loss saboteurs and what to do about them.

Yuriy Rachenkov/


Bite into a food we’re sensitive to and our body switches into “fight-or-flight” mode. It stores fat and water, releases histamines that widen blood vessels and inflame tissue, and cranks out stress hormones like epinephrine and norepinephrine that make us want to eat more of that food. “You literally get a high so that you crave more,” says Smith. She notes that unlike true allergies, which can prompt an immediate reaction, food intolerances often manifest subtly over several days. When we are repeatedly exposed to a food we’re sensitive to, we feel bloated and sluggish, regardless of the calorie count. Allergy medications can also prompt weight gain, in part by boosting appetite. One study by Yale researchers found people that regularly ingested antihistamines like Zyrtec and Allegra were far more likely to be overweight than those not using them. What to do: First, cut out the most-craved foods. “If someone tells me they just cannot live without cheese, I assume they are allergic to it,” says Smith. Or, try an elimination diet. Ban common allergens like milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts and gluten (if possible, try sticking to only rice and lamb—two hypoallergenic foods— for four days). Then reintroduce other foods slowly and monitor the results. To combat seasonal allergies naturally, try vitamin C, quercetin and butterbur supplements.

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Food Sensitivity/Allergy

Underperforming Thyroid

The thyroid serves as a key metabolism regulator, dictating how efficiently the heart beats and muscles contract, how quickly the body turns nutrients into energy, and how well we burn off stored fat. When thyroid hormone production falls, metabolism can also decrease by as much as 40 percent. Yet as many as four in 13 women suffer from a thyroid hormone deficiency, says Toronto naturopathic doctor Natasha Turner, author of the new book The Hormone Boost. “You can diet and exercise until you are blue in the face, but if your thyroid is out of balance, you won’t achieve the body you’re looking for,” she says. “It’s a common cause of weight gain.” What to do: Get tested for levels of thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) and, if possible, T4 (thyroxine) and T3 (triiodothyronine) also. TSH signals the thyroid to make more T4, the inactive form of thyroid hormone that is converted into T3, the form the body is able to use. Abnormal blood levels of any of these can impact metabolism adversely, and a TSH test alone may be unable to identify a problem, caution Smith and Turner. In some cases, medication may be required. Otherwise, move to embrace lifestyle habits that reduce stress levels, because the stress hormone cortisol can inhibit thyroid function. Get eight hours of sleep; sleep deprivation also impairs thyroid function. Eat lots of fiber, which helps the body eliminate excess estrogen and other thyroiddamaging metabolic byproducts. Also, stock up on foods containing tyrosine (almonds and avocadoes), and selenium (Brazil nuts). In some cases, if an iodine deficiency is at play, a doctor may suggest iodine supplements or iodine-rich foods like kelp and sea bass.

Imbalanced Gut

The trillions of microorganisms in our gut have a profound impact on our ability to maintain a healthy weight, says Dr. Raphael Kellman, a New York City physician

practicing functional medicine and author of The Microbiome Diet. “The gut bacteria are the gatekeepers of the calories that enter our body,” he explains. Research shows that certain species of bacteria aid in the metabolizing of carbohydrates, while others help break down fats and protein. Some turn on genes that fight inflammation; others influence how well the body responds to insulin. Diversity and balance of helpful bacteria species are keys to health. “If changes in the percentages of certain bacteria occur, the microbiome loses its ability to help us maintain a healthy weight,” says Kellman. In one landmark 21st-century study by University of Colorado researchers, swapping the gut bacteria of a skinny mouse with that of an obese one made the skinny mouse gain weight. What to do: Go easy on antibiotics, which can wipe out gut bacteria diversity. Load up on fermented foods like kim chi, sauerkraut, kefir and yogurt. Eat lots of inulin-containing plant fiber to give desirable bacteria something to chew on, and consider taking a probiotic supplement until weight loss and health goals are achieved.

Overdoing Diets

As The Biggest Loser contestants learned, losing too much weight too fast can bring metabolism to a screeching halt; the body, coaxed into starvation mode, moves to conserve fuel and store fat. “If you try to lose weight by drastically slashing calorie intake and going crazy on the cardio machines, you’ll do more harm than good,” says Turner. Performing intense cardiovascular exercise such as running, cycling or swimming for more than 45 minutes can make cortisol levels surge, accelerating muscle loss and impairing

the immune system. That’s counterproductive because muscles burn calories at rest, too. Consistent over-exercise can also prompt the stressed body to respond in a fight-or-flight fashion, storing more belly fat and leading to the “skinny but fat” body composition common among models and marathon runners, she says. Skipping meals can prompt the key thyroid hormone T3 to fall off too, further slowing metabolism. Plus, six weeks into a restrictive weight-loss program, levels of the feel-good hormones dopamine and serotonin also start to decline, killing motivation and fueling cravings. The result is a weight plateau or even weight gain. What to do: Unless walking, limit workouts to 40 minutes, advises Turner. Instead of slogging away at a steady pace on the treadmill, try intervals (short, high-intensity efforts separated by brief rest periods), which have been shown to boost both fat burning and cardiovascular fitness. For example: five-minute warm-up, one-minute run at fast pace, one-minute run at moderate pace, repeat 10 times, five-minute cool-down. Also, incorporate strength training into three workouts each week. Include some fat, protein and carbohydrates with every meal. If insisting on counting calories, shoot for 450 to 500 per meal and 150 per snack for women; 500 to 600 per meal and 200 to 300 per snack for men. Every week to 10 days, enjoy a carb-loaded “cheat meal” such as pancakes or pasta; it supports any languishing thyroid and feel-good hormones, gives associated neurotransmitters a jump-start and keeps us from feeling deprived.

Dark, Cold, Stressful Workplaces

Alan Hedge, Ph.D., a workplace design researcher with Cornell University, in New York, says women, who tend to have less muscle and body hair to provide natural warmth, are at particular risk of packing on pounds due to an overly cold environment. “When the body is cold, it adapts by laying down insulation, which is fat,” he says. Even without eating extra calories, if we’re constantly cold at work, as 31 percent of

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January 2017


Lisa Marshall is a freelance health writer in Boulder, CO. Connect at


women are according to a recent CareerBuilder survey, we tend to gain about a pound or two per year, says Hedge. Other research, conducted at Northwestern University, in Illinois, shows that workers exposed to more light in the morning weigh about 1.4 pounds less on average than those toiling in windowless cubicles. The suspected reason is that morning light triggers a cascade of hormones that positively impact appetite and metabolism. Another study, by Ohio State University researchers, found women that experienced a stressful event at work or elsewhere and then ate a fat- and calorie-laden meal the next day burned 100 fewer calories from that meal than non-stressed workers. What to do: At work, move the desk toward a window or at least take a walk every morning. Bring a space heater, extra sweater or hot tea fixings. After an ultra-stressful workday, eat especially healthfully that night.

Natural Slimming Supplements Ashwaghanda root: While research is scarce, this Indian herb is traditionally believed to reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol (which can boost belly fat storage). It’s also believed to boost conversion of the thyroid hormone T4 to the more metabolically active thyroid hormone T3. Doctor of Naturopathy Natasha Turner recommends 500 to 1,000 milligrams (mg) twice daily. Chromium: This mineral plays a key role in enhancing insulin’s action in the body. Numerous studies by U.S. Department of Agriculture researchers and others suggest that taking chromium supplements can stabilize blood sugar, potentially reducing the cravings and energy slumps that come with glucose spikes and dips. Research on chromium’s impact on body composition and weight has been mixed. Turner recommends 200 to 400 micrograms (mcg) daily. Curcumin: This golden spice, found in turmeric, curbs painful joint inflammation from over-exercising, and has been shown by Tufts University and Columbia University researchers to improve fat metabolism in mice. L-carnitine: Helps the body use fat for fuel more efficiently and also can be used as an energy booster before cardio or strength training. Dr. Pamela Wartian Smith recommends 500 to 1,000 mg daily. Omega-3 fatty acids: In addition to being potent anti-inflammatory agents, the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA have been associated with greater weight and fat loss when added to a diet and exercise program, according to studies in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and the International Journal of Obesity. Prebiotics: These undigested fibers provide food for good gut bacteria to keep the digestive system and metabolism on track. Probiotics: These are generally believed to promote healthy gut bacteria so that the body metabolizes food more efficiently. One recent study in the British Journal of Nutrition followed 125 obese men and women throughout a 12-week diet, followed by a 12-week maintenance period, and found that the women taking probiotics containing the bacterial strain Lactobacillus rhamnosis lost significantly more weight during the diet than women that didn’t; plus, they continued to lose weight during the maintenance period. The men studied did not show similar results. Selenium: Selenium is critical for the conversion of inactive T4 to active T3 that the body can make use of. Smith recommends 100 to 200 mcg daily.


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ecotip Making Feeders Safe for Wild Birds Feeding wild birds helps fuel them and provides viewing pleasure, yet a communal feeder may hold hidden risks, reports a recent study in Ecology Letters. In reviewing 20 published research papers on host/pathogen interactions in human-fed wild populations, researchers at the University of Georgia’s Odum School of Ecology, in Athens, found that intentional feeding changed their behavior and diet enough to foster potentially harmful growth of parasites and viruses. “Feeders can bring unexpected species and more birds together more frequently than normal, facilitating conditions for parasites and other contaminates,” says lead researcher Daniel Becker. Birds crowding into tight spaces to reach tasty morsels also makes it easier for pathogens like house finch eye disease and respiratory ailments to be passed among them. Maintain cleanliness. Stephen Kress, director of the National Audubon Society’s Project Puffin, advises that safe bird feeding includes completely scrubbing out feeders with a 10 percent non-chlorinated bleach solution at least a few times a year, and certainly between seasons. Be food-specific. While using bird seed mixtures to attract a wide range of species is cheaper, such food usually includes fillers like milo that most birds quickly pass through, making a mess under the feeder that can make birds sick. Kress suggests, “Buy specific seeds for specific feeders—like cracked corn and millet in one and only sunflowers in another. This decreases interactions between species that eat the different seeds and dramatically cuts waste.” Creative option. Try some peanut butter and other healthful ingredients, suggests Julie Craves, supervisor of avian research at the Rogue River Bird Observatory at the University of Michigan-Dearborn, in a recent edition of BirdWatching magazine. “It’s high in fat, protein and calories.” Avoid nut butter made with the artificial sweetener xylitol, as it can kill birds. She recommends mixing one part organic peanut butter with four or five parts plain, non-GMO (genetically modified) cornmeal and add oats and raisins. Plain or chunky works. “The dough can then be shaped into portions that will fit in suet feeders or logs, or just placed in feeding trays.”

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value coverage that includes annual wellness exams, phone or virtual appointments and educational classes, plus followups and urgent care at minimal costs. The U.S. mainstream fee-for-service approach, whether paid by insurance or cash, has been criticized for encouraging unnecessary tests and procedures because doctors are paid for services performed. To maintain income, they typically shorten appointments to increase the number of patients they see. Lewis emphasizes, “Time is the valuable factor in DPC—healthy lifestyle changes, which can prevent or reverse 70 percent of health concerns, cannot be communicated in 10 minutes.”

Medical Cost-Sharing


For generations, Christian communities have operated health care sharing ministries (HCSM) to collectively share the cost of each other’s medical bills as an alternative to outside insurance. Members are exempt from current Affordable Healthcare Act (ACA) mandates. Liberty HealthShare, a nonprofit HCSM chartered by the Mennonite church, believes that everyone has the right to practice religion as they see fit. Their members share a commitment to personal health and sharing in the burden of health expenses with others that have these values. “Many in the functional and integrative medical arenas also believe in these principles,” says Tom Blue, of Richmond, Virginia, a director with The Institute for Functional Medicine. “Cost sharing feels very familiar; you present your card to your provider, but there’s no set network of providers, which is favorable for those seeking more progressive forms of care.” Expanding upon this model, Blue worked with the company to create its Liberty Direct program ( Individuals pay an annual membership fee plus a monthly share amount. After fulfilling their annual unshared amount of out-of-pocket expenses (similar to a deductible), participants’ healthcare costs—including approved naturopathic and alternative treatments—can be submitted as expenses to be shared by the group. Liberty Direct provides financial advantages to DPC practitioners and patients by subsidizing membership fees; it favors nutrition over chronic prescription dependence by reimbursing physician-prescribed nutritional supplement and pharmaceutical expenses under the same terms. Members must be in good health with a lifestyle that helps sustain wellness, including good nutrition, exercise and abstinence from tobacco use and drug and alcohol abuse. The program also accepts approximately 7 percent of applicants on provisional terms when pre-existing conditions such as hypertension, obesity and diabetes can be improved through lifestyle changes. They pay an extra fee per month to cover the cost of a health coach; when they achieve their goals, they become full members paying regular rates.

Complementary Care Alternatives to Insurance Cost Less by Meredith Montgomery


he latest National Health Interview Survey available, from 2012, shows an annual expenditure of $30.2 billion in out-of-pocket costs for complementary health approaches, benefiting 33 percent of adults and 12 percent of children, and representing about 10 percent of out-of-pocket U.S. healthcare costs. Insurance rarely covers complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in full. As provider networks shrink, premiums rise and the future of healthcare reform remains uncertain, health-conscious consumers yearn for innovative ways to afford this kind of care.

Membership-Based Care

When Dr. Chad Krisel worked at an urgent care center, he saw up to 55 patients a day. Since opening Integrative Family Medicine of Asheville (, in North Carolina, with Dr. Brian Lewis, he averages 12 patients a day. His team provides a membership-based practice in a payment model known as direct primary care (DPC). Endorsed by the American Academy of Family Physicians, DPC is broadly accessible. By applying simplicity, sustainability, quality and collaboration, their integrative practice provides comprehensive care for less than what many pay for phone service. “DPC removes traditional financial incentives and conflicts of interest because membership fees fund us. Our only incentive is to help and heal patients,” Krisel explains. Paying for memberships out-of-pocket (often electing high-deductible plans) or via a health-sharing plan, clients 16

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“The economics are staggering,” says Blue, who used to pay $760 a month for insurance with a $12,400 deductible and now pays a monthly share of $449 with a family unshared amount of $1,500. HCSMs are affordable because of restricted overhead budgets. Plus, they appeal to naturalhealth conscious clients and can decline unsuitable applicants. “This concept of communal cost sharing works—Liberty’s share amounts decreased in 2013 and have not changed since,” comments Blue.


Told she was past medical hope, Kari Gray, of Kahului, Hawaii, sought to heal from cancer using natural medicine. “When thousands of dollars spent for natural protocols were denied reimbursement by my insurance company, I saw that the system needs to change,” Gray recalls. CAM therapies still deemed “unproven” by traditional insurance companies gave Gray a second chance at life. Following remission, she began a 20-year search for alternative medicine insurance. Finding none, in 2014, she created GreenSurance ( Serving people that proactively care for their health and prefer natural medicine as primary care, GreenSurance developed an evidence-based and science-backed list

of 40-plus covered CAM modalities, including thermography, energy therapy, biofeedback, essential oils and homeopathy. It also covers conventional medical and emergency care. Enrollees of the member-owned organization are supplied third-party payer information for provider direct billing once the member’s out-of-pocket amount is met. They use any state-licensed provider and the program is often more affordable than traditional insurance. GreenSurance is currently investing resources to broaden consumer access to the tax advantages of a health spending account (HSA). H.R. 1752 would allow enrollees in any healthcare-sharing program to open an HSA. “Simply, we’re a co-op whose members empower us to create an exempt program that protects members from ACA penalties and traditional health insurance,” says Gray. “More, we’re a grassroots movement for change.” Krisel notes, “Doctors too, are livid about the current status of America’s healthcare system. Be vocal about what’s important to you. The more voices heard in Washington, the more change we’ll see.” Meredith Montgomery publishes Natural Awakenings of Gulf Coast Alabama/Mississippi (

Getting to ‘Yes’ with an Insurer C

Know What a Policy Covers

Before using a complementary or integrative service, inquire about specifics: Sometimes preapproval or a referral is required to qualify; coverage may be limited to a certain network of practitioners; verify visit limits or the number required; and get details of out-of-pocket costs. Keep insurance-related communications records, including notes on calls and copies of bills, claims and letters, to help with any claim disputes.

Explore Available Options

Ask the insurance provider about coverage of CAM approaches, including whether a rider or supplement to the standard plan is required to cover them. Inquire about discount programs, such as when members pay for fees and out-of-pocket costs, but at a lower rate. State insurance departments and professional associations for

complementary health specialties may know which insurance companies cover specific CAM approaches.

Ask Practitioners About Payments

When seeing a complementary or integrative practitioner, clarify payment and insurance details before the first visit. Learn the cost of initial and follow-up appointments; how many appointments are needed; additional costs such as for tests, supplements or equipment; and if they offer an income-based sliding scale. Also confirm which insurance plans are accepted and if the patient or provider files claims. When insurance doesn’t cover a service, inquire about installment plans and discounts for cash payments. Jeanette Dietl/

onventional insurance rules adversely affect Americans’ consideration of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). According to the 2012 National Health Interview Survey, acupuncture, chiropractic and massage therapy use increased over the prior decade, but only among those without insurance. For those with progressive policies, coverage for CAM approaches is usually only partial.

Save with Tax-Exempt Accounts

Flexible spending accounts offered by some employers allow participants to set aside pretax dollars for health-related expenses. Health savings accounts can be established by individuals with high-deductible health plans to save for medical expenses. Contributions are tax-deductible and interest is tax-free. Source: National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health natural awakenings

January 2017



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Kettlebell training promotes fat loss, toning of major muscle groups and greater functional strength, while requiring less time than its dumbbell counterpart.


ettlebells can replace almost all other exercise equipment in providing an all-in-one workout, combining strength and cardio benefits,” explains Shelly Bumpus, an Athletics and Fitness Association of America-certified personal trainer and owner of the Studio Women’s Fitness Center, in Scott, Louisiana. Bumpus often uses kettlebells in strength and conditioning exercise classes to afford a balanced full-body workout that’s fun and engaging. “Consistent kettlebell training imitates and strengthens movements we use to function in daily life,” explains Athena Concannon, an American College of Sports Medicine-certified personal trainer and healthy lifestyle blogger at, in Boston. For example, actions like lifting grocery bags and standing up from a sitting position become easier.


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She notes that the growing popularity of different kinds of functional training in the past decade has bolstered recognition of kettlebell benefits as people seek ways to move away from assisted weight machines toward natural body movements. Kettlebells now show up in circuit training, CrossFit and both functional fitness and step classes. People see results because, “It takes multiple small and large muscle groups to redirect movement while maintaining control with a kettlebell, requiring more muscle recruitment than with a traditional dumbbell; it’s because its shape provides unbalanced weight resistance that strengthens a multitude of different muscles,” explains Julie Joffrion, owner of All-Inclusive Health, in New Orleans. A kettlebell’s configuration requires exercisers to pay close attention to

maintaining a neutral spinal posture and avoid locking knees and wrists to avoid pain or injury. By starting with a smaller weight and focusing on form first, exercisers build a foundation that allows them to more fully enjoy the benefits. Momentum training with kettlebells also compares favorably to traditional dumbbells or weighted bars. “The distinctive shape and weight distribution allows for a variety of exercises and grip positions that are not as comfortable and effective or even possible with a dumbbell,” says Joffrion. Although kettlebells have been popular with Russian athletes since the 1700s, they are a relatively new addition to U.S. fitness clubs. “I first learned about kettlebell fitness in 2005 when some gyms were purchasing them. However, because trainers didn’t yet know how to use or instruct on proper movement of the bells, they sat dormant for awhile. I started using them and fell in love. After a few months, I knew this would be something I’d stick with for a long time,” recalls Lorna Kleidman, an accomplished kettlebell champion who has earned gold awards in 17 national and international competitions. Now the founder of KettleX, a business focused on making kettlebell fitness available to everyone through DVDs, private sessions, online coaching and seminars, Kleidman says, “The beauty is that the bells keep you strong and looking great, no matter what your age or fitness experience. I’ve rarely met a person that didn’t get hooked after working out with the appropriate bells, be it a child or an 80-year-young client. “They are excellent for power, cardiovascular enhancement, endurance and physical symmetry, which is important for the health of the tissues and joints. At the same time, they create a healthful-looking physique, including toned arms, flat abs and a round, lifted butt,” she adds. Participants completing 20 minutes of a high-intensity kettlebell workout burned an average of 20 calories per minute in a study sponsored by the American Council of Exercise. The researchers compared this level to running a six-minute mile and credited the more intensive calorie burn as a result of challenging the total body,

Learn more at KettlebellsFitnessStudy. which quickly raises the heart rate when performed with speed. The study concluded that kettlebell training is especially beneficial for those that want to fit in a time-efficient, total body workout. Proponents go a step further, claiming that kettlebells can deliver increased benefits in half the time of

traditional workouts. Bumpus advises, “If you’re solely interested in building strength and muscle power, stick with free weights, but if you’re looking for a way to burn fat while increasing muscular and cardiovascular endurance, kettlebells are a valuable option to incorporate into your training.” Taylor Geiger is a freelance writer in Phoenix, Arizona. Connect at


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OUNG LIVING ESSENTIAL OILS — established over 20 years ago—laid the foundation for the company’s total commitment to using the purist seed, sustainable cultivation, optimum distillation, extensive testing of each batch of oils, and quality control inspection of each bottle to assure the purest, most potent essential oils available in the world. ( Today, YOUNG LIVING’S Vision has grown into a world wide, essentialoil trend, and the trend is fueled by the consumer’s strong desire to bypass toxin-laden, synthetic scents used in many products. Unfortunately, as with any trend, many competitive companies have been spawned that attempt to convince the consumer that their products are “pure essential oils” too, but instead may utilize synthetic oil imitations, or oils made from genetically modified seeds, or oils diluted with carrier oils, or oils distilled from plants grown with pesticides and/or herbicides—all of which distorts, weakens and chemically changes the innate power of essential oils.


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THE DARK SIDE OF GLUTEN-FREE LIVING Most People Benefit from Gluten by Judith Fertig



Natural Awakenings Magazine of West Michigan

ales of gluten-free products reached $973 million in 2014 and are projected to grow to $2.34 billion in 2019, according to Packaged Facts, a market research publisher. Many such products cost more than their gluten-based counterparts.

Gluten Sufferers

The latest study, published in the American Medical Association publication JAMA Internal Medicine, found that the number of Americans with celiac disease remained relatively stable from 2009 through 2014 at about 2.7 million. Meanwhile, marketers for gluten-free products report about 40 million consumers. Celiac disease is a serious autoimmune disorder in which ingesting gluten causes issues such as intestinal damage, anemia and fatigue. Those afflicted improve when gluten is removed from their diets and their intestinal tracts heal, according to the Center for Celiac Research and Treatment at Massachusetts General Hospital, in Boston. Those with a non-celiac gluten sensitivity or wheat allergy also experience a range of symptoms, including bloating, brain fog and joint pain, when 20

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they ingest gluten. According to the Center, as many as 7 percent of Americans, or 18 million people, fall into this vague category, due to a far less understood immune response distinct from what’s linked to celiac disease.

Gluten Beneficiaries

The many Americans unaffected by gluten may want to avoid gluten-free products, says Dr. Michael Greger, a Washington, D.C., physician specializing in clinical nutrition. The bestselling author of How Not to Die, Greger founded the educational nonprofit and is a founding fellow of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine. “Just because some people have a peanut allergy doesn’t mean everyone should avoid peanuts,” says Greger. “Some evidence suggests that a gluten-free diet may adversely affect gut health in people without celiac disease, gluten sensitivity or wheat allergy.” He cites a small study published in Gut Microbes which found that a one-month, gluten-free diet may hurt gut flora and immune function, potentially precipitating an overgrowth of harmful intestinal bacteria for those on gluten-free diets.

The gluten components that cause problems for the wheat-sensitive may act as prebiotics and feed good bacteria for the rest of us, says Greger. “Wheat bran contains the important wheat-based prebiotic arabino-xylanoligosaccharide,” explains Case Adams, a Morro Bay, California, naturopath and author of The Gluten Cure: Scientifically Proven Natural Solutions to Celiac Disease and Gluten Sensitivities. “It feeds the probiotics that produce enzymes which help break down gluten and gliadin proteins.” Researchers from Pennsylvania’s University of Reading conducted multiple studies showing that arabino-xylanoligosaccharide derived from wheat bran increases beneficial bifidobacteria populations in the guts of humans. It is disappointing that a number of highly publicized studies done on celiac patients have been inappropriately applied to the general population, notes Adams. Gluten may also boost immune function. In a study published in the journal Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry, researchers found that after less than a week on a diet with added gluten protein, subjects experienced significantly increased natural killer cell activity, which could improve their ability to fight cancer and viral infections. An earlier study in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition found that high-gluten bread improved triglyceride levels better than regular gluten bread. Plus, Greger says, avoiding gluten means missing out on all the fiber, B vitamins, trace minerals and other nutrients from whole grains like wheat, barley and rye. A whole-grain-rich diet has been repeatedly shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, obesity and some forms of cancer in studies from such institutions as the University of Minnesota and Lund University, in Sweden. “Most gluten-free processed foods are not made with nutrient-rich, healthprotecting whole grains,” adds Katherine Tallmadge, a Washington, D.C., registered dietitian, nutrition coach and author of Diet Simple. Ingredients such as potato starch and cornstarch with little nutritional value typically help take the place of wheat flour. “The

gluten-free label has little to do with nutritional value.” French fries and many candies, for example, are naturally gluten-free.

Impact of Self-Diagnosis

Self-diagnosing a gluten issue can delay a doctor’s accurate assessment, cautions Greger. “We diagnose celiac by looking for the inflammation caused by gluten in celiac sufferers. If they haven’t been eating a lot of gluten, we might miss diagnosing the

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disease. Thus, instead of being on a gluten-free diet, we want celiac suspects to be on a gluten-loaded diet, such as four to six slices of gluten-packed bread daily for at least a month before they come in for a diagnostic exam.” Studies are ongoing and information continues to evolve regarding the pluses and minuses of a gluten-free diet. Judith Fertig writes food health articles and cookbooks from Overland Park, KS (

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January 2017



Julia Schopick on Effective, Affordable Medicine by Randy Kambic

What are some of the most significant natural alternatives you report on in Honest Medicine? The ketogenic diet is one standout because it was the standard of care for children with epilepsy in the 1920s—until pharmaceutical companies began to produce lucrative anti-seizure medications; then its use 22

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diminished through a lack of proponents in the medical field. Its use was revived in the 1990s due to the efforts of Jim Abrahams, a Hollywood writer/director, father of a child with epilepsy and one of my heroes. I found small studies that proved that the ketogenic diet successfully stops children’s seizures nearly 70 percent of the time. This highly effective alternative has none of the negative side effects of antiseizure drugs. Most doctors aren’t in favor of the diet approach and instead often prescribe affected children up to three or four meds as an easier option. The diet follows Hippocrates’ dictum, “Let food be thy medicine.” Another standout is intravenous alpha lipoic acid, pioneered since the 1970s by Dr. Burt Berkson, who used it mainly for end-stage liver disease and diabetic neuropathy. He saved many people from needing liver transplants with infusions of this powerful, versatile antioxidant. photo by Keith Peterson


ollowing up on the success of her bestselling book Honest Medicine: Effective, Time-Tested, Inexpensive Treatments for Life-Threatening Diseases, Julia Schopick plans to spread awareness of the efficacy of low-dose naltrexone (LDN) in treating autoimmune and other ailments later this year with a new book co-authored with professional writer Don Schwartz. Her first book, endorsed by many leading integrative health practitioners, earned the top National Indie Excellence Award for Alternative Medicine. It taps into nearly 200 scientific studies, with her research into innovative treatments driven by a quest that she and her late husband both believed added 15 years to his life after a terminal prognosis at age 40. The former English teacher at Long Island University and Virginia State University, now an Oak Park, Illinois resident, has contributed to the American Medical Association publication AM News, writes online and print guest columns and shares her journey in media interviews.

Did anything surprise you? I chose to include effective treatments that are non-toxic and inexpensive. I didn’t realize that several of them were effective for many different conditions. For example, LDN has been used since the mid-1980s to treat autoimmune diseases, of which there are more than 100; it also treats some cancers and AIDS. Research shows good results for conditions as varied as multiple

sclerosis, lupus, Crohn’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia and Parkinson’s, because all of them have an autoimmune component if they are not directly autoimmune diseases. Similarly, the ketogenic diet is now being studied as a treatment for cancers, especially brain tumors, brain injuries, autism, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Intravenous alpha lipoic acid is also used to address autoimmune diseases, some cancers and other conditions.

Are you finding that people are increasingly moving away from drugs and, if so, why? Yes. The norm used to be that patients followed their doctors’ orders without question, which routinely entailed prescription drugs. Today, people are realizing that drugs often come with horrendous side effects. Consider, for instance, that ads for some injectible treatments for autoimmune diseases caution against side effects of cancers, including lymphomas. A side effect of some multiple sclerosis drugs is a serious brain infection called progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy, or PML. People are listening closely, reading and researching their health issues, and don’t want risky side effects, especially when safer options are available.

In dealing with chronic illnesses, how crucial is it for caregiver and patient to maintain a positive, optimistic attitude? Multiple studies, like those referenced in Mind Over Medicine, by Dr. Lissa Rankin, and Radical Remission, by Kelly Turner, Ph.D., show that a positive state of mind is crucial to healing. One of the benefits I report in my book is that patients and caregivers will do even more research looking for alternatives when doctors tell them nothing else can be done. And many find healing treatments; there are many such cases reported in my book. I like the African proverb, “When you pray, move your feet.” Randy Kambic is a freelance writer and editor in Estero, FL, and regular contributor to Natural Awakenings magazine.

A Bridge to Better Health

Save The Date

Integrative Health Spring Speaker Series March 7, 14, 21 & 28, 2017 | 6:30PM – 8:00PM The Donnelly Center at Aquinas College Grand Rapids, MI

Only do what your heart tells you. ~Princess Diana

Join Universal Health Solutions for its upcoming Spring Speaker Series as we explore medicine beyond medication: complementary and alternative health treatments and the local professionals who provide them.


Spring Awakening: Get Up, Get Out, Get Moving MARCH 14TH

Nature’s Answers to Allergy Symptoms M A R C H 2 1 ST

The Essentials of Essential Oils M A R C H 2 8T H

Stress in Children: What it Looks Like and How You Can Help

Meet the HCA Acupuncture Team 40 Years of Experience Helping with: Infertility, Acute/Chronic Pain, Digestive Disorders, Insomnia, Anxiety, Hormone Imbalances and Addiction. Also offering pediatric acupuncture for allergies and colic. Now Accepting Priority Health/American Specialty Health Insurance for Acupuncture Services.

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natural awakenings

January 2017


SKY HIGH A Simple Gaze Invokes the Infinite by Sandy C. Newbigging


magine being outside on a sunny day, looking at a clear, blue sky. It’s natural to feel calm and wonderful while contemplating this expansive view. Then a solitary bird flies across our field of vision. Noticing it takes our attention away from the stillness of the sky to instead track its movement as it flies by. Then we start thinking about the bird: “I wonder where it’s coming from and going? Why is it alone? Has it lost its mate?” At that point, we are no longer feeling calm, but concerned. Inside of each of us, right now, there is a “big blue sky” of awareness with all kinds of “birds” flying around, including thoughts, emotions, physical sensations and anything in the external world that catches our attention. Attaining a consistent inner calm is possible by learning to be more interested in and attentive to the conscious awareness that is calmly observing what’s going on in our thinking, emotions, bodily sensations and life. We can live permanently engaged with this awareness and the inner dominion it contains instead of being helplessly caught up in the content of our own or others’ thinking or emotion, which are often conditioned by the world to be more negative than positive. As we mature in this skill, we discover that such awareness is always still, silent, peaceful, powerful, unlimited and infinite. It reflects who we really are as opposed to who we think we are. Through practice, it becomes our natural way of being and we awake to an excellent way of living To experience this, try the Gently Alert Attention Wide Open (GAAWO) technique. Look at something that’s straight ahead while simultaneously letting the gaze gently open up wider, looking neither left nor right, using passive peripheral vision. Now do the same with up and down, so gentle alertness encompasses an even greater scope. As we do this, we will likely notice that our thoughts are stilled and we feel more present, calm and quiet than a moment earlier. This simple technique works for everyone. By playing with it regularly, we can discover that a sense of peace never leaves us; rather, we leave our innate, peaceful center when we focus on and feel the to and fro movements of our mind. Exchanging typical thinking for staying in a conscious state of awareness helps us to unchain our being from limiting views and perspectives, so that we live more freely. Sandy C. Newbigging is the creator of Calmology principles and techniques, including the transformative GAAWO. He offers a 12-week Calmology foundation course at Connect at


West Michigan Edition

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Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Martin Luther King, Jr.

natural awakenings

January 2017




Children’s Dental Health

The Wild and Wooly

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Plus: Conscious Dying

Our Readers Are Seeking Providers & Services for Holistic Dental Care, Pediatric Dentists plus Estate Planning, Hospice & Eco-Burial Advice

What Kids Need from Us to Grow Wise by April Thompson


eer pressure and body consciousness are universal challenges facing teens and their parents. Experts find that by modeling healthy habits and maintaining open lines of communication, adults can help foster healthy independent thinking and responses to inevitable situations.

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West Michigan Edition

Some teen struggles are literally all in their heads, according to Dr. Frances Jensen, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine, in Philadelphia. “The brain is the last organ to mature, and isn’t fully complete until young people reach their late 20s. This allows the brain to adapt to its environment, which can be both good and bad,” says Jensen, author of The Teenage Brain: A Neuroscientist’s Survival Guide to Raising Adolescents and Young Adults. Compounding the challenge, the frontal lobes, responsible for higher func-

tions like insight, judgment, impulse control and empathy, fully mature last; it’s no coincidence that teens struggle in these areas, according to Jensen. The plasticity of the teenage brain is optimal for learning and adaption, but without the frontal lobe feedback, it’s a challenge for them to moderate the heightened emotions, novelty seeking and sexual impulses adolescents are also experiencing. “We expect teenagers to act rationally, but there are many reasons why their brains aren’t taking them there,” says Jensen. “Acknowledging this can lower frustration levels for everyone.”

Create a Safe Haven

Teens learn more from experience than lectures, so parents should facilitate positive experiences and influences at home, advises Carla Atherton, director of The Healthy Family Formula, in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada, which fosters family well-being by holistically addressing root causes of poor health. Such activities can

include regularly preparing meals together and going for family walks, rather than eating dinner in front of the TV. “Doing everything you can to connect with kids while they are in an environment you can control gives them a good foundation they can take into the world,” says Atherton, the mother of three teens. Parents have to give trust to gain kids’ trust stresses educator Naomi Katz, of Galilee, Israel, author of Beautiful: Being an Empowered Young Woman. “Create an environment where kids feel like they don’t have to hide or lie about anything,” Katz says. She also encourages parents to empower adolescents in decision making: Rather than telling them not to try drugs or alcohol “because I said so,” provide them real facts to help them draw their own conclusions.

Support Quiet Respites

In today’s hyper-connected world, Katz observes, “Social dynamics can get really confusing and painful and impact kids in far-reaching ways. We used to come home from school and be away from those issues until the next day;

Darkness cannot

drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. ~Martin Luther King, Jr.

now that break doesn’t come because of social media and smartphones.” Katz recommends encouraging journaling or other forms of selfexpression to help teens unplug and reflect. Breathing exercises can help calm nerves and allow them to think more clearly in tough social situations before they react. Katz also suggests teens set aside time each week for a feel-good activity like playing sports or music, to give them a reliable source of pleasure and accomplishment, no matter what else is going on in their lives.

Stay Alert to Signs

Despite a parent’s best efforts, kids can and will make unhealthy choices, and parents need to be prepared to manage the consequences. If a child is suspected or found to be engaging in dangerous or addictive behaviors like self-harming or an eating disorder, it’s important to address these immediately, seeking professional help if needed, counsels Katz. Jensen remarks that it’s easier to learn unhealthy patterns when the brain is malleable, and addictive behaviors are harder to eliminate than if they are acquired as an adult.

The signs of unhealthy behaviors can be subtle, so it’s important to recognize cues without making flash judgments or placing blame, says Atherton, For example, a parent that notices her teen eating differently or obsessed with working out should consider initiating a conversation with him or her about body image. Talking to teens about images in the media can help them gain a more balanced and positive self-perspective. “You can tell your kids, ‘These advertising images are trying to sell you someone’s idea of a perfect look, but it’s not reality,’” says Atherton. For whatever issues teens are trying to cope with, parents need to cultivate their own sense of inner calm; to be the rock that they can cling to. “Caring adults need to give teens a periodic frontal lobe assist,” says Jensen. “It helps when we share more details and insights about how we organize our lives and make decisions. Modeling the rationality and empathy that teenagers may lack can be an effective counterbalance.” Connect with freelance writer April Thompson, of Washington, D.C., at

Sacred Pilgrimage to Egypt with Rae Chandran T

his magical retreat offers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience Egypt with a custom guided program led by internationally renowned channeler and author Rae Chandran that combines nature, history, adventure and spiritual experiences in some of the most magnificent spots in the world.

March 31 – April 9, 2017

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Spiritual Retreat in Israel – July 2017 Meditations, Initiations and Channelings

To register for the Egypt or Israel tour or for more information, call Susan Deflavis Winters at 239-340-1036 or email For more information about Rae Chandran, visit natural awakenings

January 2017


New Students

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Holistic Dermatology Inner Health, Radiant Skin

The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them. ~Ernest Hemingway


West Michigan Edition

by Linda Sechrist

Holistic skin care practices are simple, healthy and sustainably good for people and the planet because they follow nature’s example.


edical Doctor Alan M. Dattner, a 35-year pioneer in the field of holistic dermatology, faithfully follows nature’s principles in supporting skin health. His book Radiant Skin from the Inside Out: The Holistic Dermatologist’s Guide to Healing Your Skin Naturally maps out how skin reflects the body’s healthy or unhealthy organs and systems. Finding the internal root cause of problems on the skin, the body’s largest organ, takes time to investigate. Dattner, who practices in New York City and New Rochelle, New York, and considers himself a “skin detective”, says that although his forensic work continues to expand, he still begins his sleuthing by compiling a detailed and comprehensive history that yields clues for solving health puzzles and points him in the direction of what’s causing problems. Some patients with acne also have symptoms of bloating, gastrointestinal issues or chronic bowel disease. Others may have traveled to another country where they contracted diarrhea from a parasite or foreign bacteria that upset their intestinal microbiome.

Skin outbreaks can also be the result of food sensitivities or food allergies. “I make patients aware of the issues underlying their skin problems so that they understand the connection between internal health and skin. Then they can make conscious food choices,” says Dattner. Diet is a critical aspect of healthy skin. Food sensitivities can cause inflammation that can show up on the skin, he explains. Dattner incorporates several diagnostic techniques and remedies from other medical traditions, including herbal, homeopathic and ayurvedic. A tongue diagnosis he uses is taken from Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). He uses Applied Kinesiology to refine his therapeutic choices as the results align with his knowledge of dermatology, immunology and integrative medicine. Janice MacKenzie, acupuncture practitioner, teacher and author of Discovering the Five Elements: One Day at a Time, views the skin as a third lung, because it breathes. “If the organs of elimination aren’t working well—large intestine, liver and kidney—then toxins leave through the


Your Life

skin, another organ of elimination,” says MacKenzie, who practices in Perkasie, Pennsylvania. “When constipation leaves toxins to be reabsorbed into the blood and recirculated through the liver, the body, out of desperation, seeks ways to get rid of toxins through the skin. This can result in eczema, psoriasis, rashes, boils and acne,” notes MacKenzie. In TCM, the facial redness of rosacea originates in a heating of the blood caused by toxicity. An inflammatory condition of excess energy and toxicity in the stomach travels upward through the stomach energy meridian that runs from the eye to the second toe. It’s supposed to flow downward through the mouth, throat and intestines and out. Elina Fedatova, cosmetic chemist, aesthetician, owner of spas in Chicago and Kalamazoo, Michigan, and formulator of Elina Organics, addresses skin as an aspect of a whole healthy body. Her product line is created wholly from organic plant extracts and essential oils, made in batches every two weeks. These purely natural products can be ingested without harmful effects. “Formulas are made using holistic principles and adjusted for each season,” says Fedatova. She agrees with Dattner, “Protecting skin from the inside with a nutritious diet that benefits the entire body is vital, as important as keeping the skin’s surface clean.” In caring for skin from the outside, a gentle exfoliation that can be done at home three times a week using a honey mask is the first step. Skin cells produced in the deepest layer gradually push their way to the epidermis every 30 days and die. Dead cells pile up unevenly and give the skin’s surface a dry, dull appearance. Treatment serums, moisturizing lotions and eye and neck creams are necessary elements of a complete facial skin care regimen, as is a natural sunscreen with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. “Using skincare practices and products that follow nature’s example are the perfect external complement to good internal health,” says Fedatova.

New Workshops

ReNew You: An Introductory Journey Writing Workshop for Non-Writers and Writers Begin the new year with a fresh outlook, deepening sense of self, and renewed focus. Tuesday, January 10 from 6:30-8:30pm. $15. The Power of Expression: A Journey Writing Workshop for Non-Writers and Writers Discover your inner power and voice. 4 Tuesdays from Jan 17-Feb 7 6:30-8:30pm $110 Light snacks and beverages provided. Limited to 10 participants. Held at: Thought Design 10 East Bridge St, Rockford

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Linda Sechrist is a senior staff writer for Natural Awakenings. Connect at natural awakenings

January 2017



Functional Medicine for Pets Why the Best Vets Use It by Shawn Messonnier

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any pet owners have chosen functional medicine for their own care, so they logically turn to it for their four-legged family members, as well. Most veterinarians are still unfamiliar with this approach to pet health care and may even discourage its use because they see it as being out of synch with conventional ideology. Functional medicine addresses the underlying causes of disease, using a systems-oriented approach and engaging patients and doctors in a partnership designed to improve health. This evolved practice better addresses individual needs than a traditional approach that focuses on illness and treating disease rather than restoring overall health. By shifting from an allopathic platform to a more holistic, patient-centered one, functional medicine addresses the whole pet, not just a set of symptoms.

Why Functional Medicine

Ermolaev Alexander/

The system of medicine practiced by most vets is geared toward acute care of a severe trauma or a climax in illness that necessitates urgent diagnosis and treatment. They typically apply specific, prescribed treatments such as drugs or perform surgery to treat the immediate problem or symptom.

This approach works well for pets experiencing a crisis, but isn’t appropriate for restoring health when animals have chronic disorders. It also doesn’t help them to at least live comfortably with incurable problems without the side effects often caused by extensive administration of medications. Conventional veterinary science lacks the proper tools for preventing and treating complex, chronic disease. In most cases, it doesn’t take into account an individual’s unique genetic makeup or exposure to toxins such as too many vaccines, drugs or environmental chemicals. Functional medicine always focuses on the unique nature of the patient; there is no “one treatment fits all” mentality. Functional medicine vets are specifically trained to assess the underlying causes of complex, chronic disease and to apply strategies such as nutrition, diet and naturopathic remedies to both treat and prevent these illnesses. They can ably help the increasing number of pets suffering from complex, chronic health issues such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer, allergies, arthritis, seizures, bowel and bladder problems and immune system disorders.


West Michigan Edition

Referral to a qualified practitioner is needed to help a pet benefit from functional medicine. Functional medicine best addresses these concerns because it involves understanding the origins, prevention and treatment of ailments and emphasizes customized care. The goal is to promote health as a positive force well beyond the absence of disease. It’s possible for many pets to appear to be healthy while specialized, noninvasive testing shows underlying issues that must be addressed if illness is to be prevented. Conventional medicine either doesn’t offer such testing or ignores minor abnormalities, placing the pet at risk for developing serious and potentially irreversible problems.

Integrative Approach

An integrative, science-based healthcare approach considers interactions in the pet’s history, physiology and lifestyle that might lead to problems. All of the diagnostic and treatment modalities are based upon proven scientific principles and follow evidence-based medicine to yield the best results in terms of total function. Functional medicine integrates traditional Western medical practices with what are sometimes considered “holistic” or “complementary” healing methods. The focus is on prevention through nutrition, diet and exercise; use of the latest laboratory testing and other

An Interspiritual Church

diagnostic techniques; and prescribed combinations of botanical medicines, supplements, therapeutic diets and detoxification programs, using drugs only when necessary as a last, rather than a first, resort. This whole-pet approach allows doctors to choose whichever therapies are best for each patient. Holistic vets see many patients for which conventional medicine has proven ineffective. Sometimes conventional doctors back away from offering treatment, either because the pet is “too old,” the treatment is “too expensive” or the results are unlikely to be “satisfactory.” Functional medicine can help many of these so-called hopeless cases, return pets to health and often heal disease after principles of functional medicine have been consistently applied to the pet’s everyday lifestyle. Finding a functional medicine vet is challenging, but worth the effort. Focusing on the individual needs of a pet ensures the optimum chance for achieving and sustaining proper health.

An Alternative to Traditional Religion Radically Inclusive

Sunday Worship: 10:30am Wednesday Discussion & Meditation: 6:00pm Pastor Sherry Petro-Surdel 3493 Blue Star Highway Saugatuck, MI. 49453 616-836-1555

Shawn Messonnier, a doctor of veterinary medicine practicing in Plano, TX, is the author of The Natural Health Bible for Dogs & Cats and Unexpected Miracles: Hope and Holistic Healing for Pets. For more information, visit

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January 2017


chironews Protecting Your Most Valuable Asset By Dr. Dan Gleason


ost people have heard of Steve Jobs, the creator of Apple Computers. He was worth in excess of $40 billion. Does any of that money do him any good now? Would any of you trade places with him? Your health is your wealth; in fact, it’s your most valuable asset. Can you afford not to take care of your self? Can you afford to pay others to take care of you? This month’s topic, Affordable Complementary Health Care, inspired me to go to the dictonary and here’s what I found: • Affordable means inexpensive or reasonably priced. These are relative terms that you must determine for your self. How much is your health worth to you? • Health care is defined as 1) the maintenance and improvement of physical and mental health and 2) the provision of medical services. The first meaning is related to prevention and what you choose to do for yourself; the second is what other provide for you. • Complementary means combining in such a way as to enhance or emphasize the qualities of each other. Synonyms are harmonious, compatible, supportive, and reciprocal. This suggests taking the best from both worlds. However this can be a huge challenge as conventional and alternative health care are often worlds apart. Complementary care can bridge the philosophical and therapeutic divide between conventional and preventive health care. One treats the disease and the other addresses the cause(s). The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation commissioned a large study called “The Global Burden of Disease” looking at 187 countries with 291 diseases. They wanted to determine the causes


West Michigan Edition

of death and disability worldwide. In 2012, The Lancet published the initial results. In order, the world’s top health problems are caused by: 1. High blood pressure 2. Smoking 3. Alcohol 4. Household air pollution 5. Low fruit consumption 6. High body mass index (obesity) 7. High blood sugar 8. Air pollution 9. Inactivity 10. High salt intake 11. Low nut and seed consumption With the exception of those conditions that are genetic, cancer, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and obesity are due to the factors listed above. These conditions are more like injuries than diseases in the sense that they are caused by the way we live. Most modern ailments are self-inflicted whether collectively or individually. By observing fellow travelers at the airport J.J. Ratey and Richard Manning, authors of Go Wild, note that many people are obese or infirm, looking stressed and unwell. Ironically the PA speakers warn: “Be alert for terrorist activity. Watch your bags!” Better airport warnings might be: “Don’t drink the soda!” “Watch out for all those sugar and carb containing foods.” “Take the stairs instead of the escalator.” “Don’t just sit there between flights; walk the concourses.” Complementary care can significantly reduce the need for medical interventions, many of which are inherently risky. Testimony at a recent Senate Subcommitte hearing determined that the third leading cause of death in the US is preventable medical errors, claiming some 400,000 people each year. That’s 1000 deaths and 10,000 serious complications resulting from

medical errors per day. Using alternative approaches along with conventional care can improve outcomes and reduce risks. Many insurance policies don’t cover acupuncture, massage, homeopathy, nutrition, wholistic dentistry, and chiropractic let alone organic food. What do they cover? Generally they cover the treatment of sickness rather than the maintenance of health. Many people say: “If my insurance doesn’t pay for it I’m not going to do it.” Today, as never before, it is critical that you decide what your priorities are and what responsibility to take for yourself and your family. If cost is truly the determining factor, there are ways that you can take matters into your own hands. Even if you have only modest means, you can budget carefully, offer to barter, grow your own food, trade with a practitioner, become your own advocate by reading and studying, and do exercises that don’t require a gym membership. Is complementary care only for the wealthy? Most Americans have some disposable income as well as other resources. So the question is: What are your priorities? In addition to being a doctor of chiropractic and applied kinesiology, Dan is a 4th generation builder— he correlates the two sensibilities in his approach, “A person’s health is similar to that of building a foundation for a home in that if one uses good quality products and methodology, you build your health to combat disease in the same way you build the foundation of your home to protect you from the elements”. Dr Dan Gleason is the owner of The Gleason Center located at 19084 North Fruitport Road in Spring Lake. For more info: go to or call 616-846-5410. See ad page 45.

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January 2017



Barb Meconis RN, BS, Owner/CEO By Julie Hurley


olistic Care Approach (HCA) was founded in Ada in 1998, serving just 100 clients in the West Michigan community. Today, after a move to East Beltline Ct, and multiple expansions, the center provides services for more than 12,000 clients and serves as an integrative health center for those interested in one or more of over 30 offerings. “We offer a wide range of integrative services,” says Barb Meconis, CEO and founder of Holistic Care Approach. “From chiropractic to bioidentical hormone replacement therapy, you can now find these services under one roof. People come here if they are looking for other options outside of traditional allopathic care, or if they are looking for treatments that compliment a medical care protocol they may be receiving, such as chemotherapy. We work in an integrated way with the medical community.” Over the past few years, HCA has added some newer services after in response to consumer demand. “We have a naturopathic doctor, Analisa Behling ND, who offers many different services to a wide range of clients,” says Meconis. “Cold laser, which is helpful for women’s issues such as uterine fibroids and endometriosis, and is also helpful as women reach menopause. She can help treat ovarian cysts and other conditions that may manifest. She also has expertise in pediatrics, allergies, gastrointestinal issues, and


West Michigan Edition

can order specialty lab work.” In addition, she oversees the HCG weight loss program and a variety of cleanse programs that include a detox footbath and infrared sauna. HCA also welcomed Robert Grafton, MD to their staff in 2014. He specializes in bio-identical hormone replacement therapy, thermography and IV nutritional therapy. “The addition of Dr. Grafton provides many benefits to our clientele,” says Meconis. “His specialized pellet hormone therapy is designed to replicate your body’s natural hormones exactly, making them bio-equivalent. This means that your body can not distinguish the difference between those bioidentical hormones, and your own natural hormones, lessening the probability of side effects and maximizing results.” Some of the benefits include firmer and more youthful skin, increased sexual desire, mood stabilization, more energy and loss of unwanted body fat. Dr. Grafton also oversees thermography, which is used to detect inflammation and disease in the body. “When sickness or disease begins in the body, the area becomes inflamed and produces heat. Since all disease begins with inflammation, early detection is extremely important,” says. Meconis. “Thermography cameras can detect small fluctuations of heat in the body, and detect breast cancer and other diseases very early.

It’s non-invasive and is a safe and effective alternative to a mammogram.” HCA’s Skin Care Center opened four years ago, and features Broad Band Light treatment to control skin conditions such as acne, wrinkles, rosacea, and brown spots (which could lead to skin cancer). It also offers body scrubs, wraps, facials and hair removal/waxing as well. Massage Therapists now need to be licensed in Michigan, and clients of HCA can be confident that all 13 different varieties of massage offered are performed by a licensed practitioner. “We have a very strong massage therapy team, offering hot stone, myofascial and sports massage and much more,” says Meconis. The massage experience at HCA also includes hot towels, essential oils and calming fountains in all rooms for a total healing experience.” Holistic Care Approach also offers chiropractic care, acupuncture, reiki, reflexology, nutritional counseling, yoga classes, meditation classes, an energy center and so much more. Don’t know where to begin? Meconis offers a free phone or email consultation to help sort out the best place to start, and then assists with creating a treatment plan. She also offers 15-minute in-person consultations, which need to be scheduled. “HCA began with massage therapy and we’ve grown into an integrative health center where you can receive a wide range of services under one roof,” says Meconis. “We have a ‘common chart’ that each practitioner has access to so that we can provide continuity in care to our clients. This approach, which begins with an initial consultation, differentiates the care we provide for our clients. Holistic Care Approach is located at 3368 East Beltline Ct. NE, Grand Rapids. For more information visit them online at or call 616-361-9221. See ad page X Julie Hurley is a freelance writer, who helped co-found Principia Media and Kili Summit Club, two local businesses. Married with two children, Hurley summited Mt. Kilimanjaro in 2014 and Mt. St. Helens in 2016.

naturalwriting Shamanic Writing Unleashes Your Power, Purpose, and Creative Energy By Michele Lussky


o you yearn to tap into your hidden power, life’s purpose, and creative energy? Writing can open portals between our ordinary consciousness and deeper levels of knowing—unleashing innovation, revealing our calling, healing old wounds, and discovering our clear and powerful voice—even if you don’t consider yourself a writer. Local shamanic writing practitioner, Michele Lussky, doesn’t have her clients simply write from traditional prompts; instead, she uses the shamanic principles of repetition, nature and movement to encourage a “diffuse” state of mind which allow images, memories, power and wisdom to be released. “We do a variety of activities like doodling, chanting, holding natural objects, drumming, walking a labyrinth, dream analysis, gazing at nature, reading poetry and visualization exercises. We then record our thoughts and visions and continue to write and reflect from there. It is an incredibly peaceful, yet energizing, process which results in powerful realizations and transformations.” Lussky, who has taught college

writing and English for over 15 years— and has written, ghost-written, and edited countless works—credits her cousin, renowned shaman-poet, William Everson, and his courses at UC Santa Cruz in the 1970s as a major influence. “I was blown away by his marriage of nature, spoken word, written word, and lifting the veil of consciousness. His students were transformed by his courses. They would not only find their purpose here on earth, they would understand the wisdom of the universe. I longed to do that in my college courses, but have found being outside of academia is much more liberating”. She also credits coursework in Literature, Shamanism, Jungian psychology, and the works of Lynda Barry as inspiration for her unique take on writing as a tool for personal healing and growth. “Many of us love writers like Walt Whitman, Bob Dylan, Mary Oliver and Rumi because they have a deeper knowing present in their work,” says Lussky. “But anyone can tap into their inner artist to find their true potential. Even if you don’t consider yourself a writer, especially if you don’t consider yourself a writer, the methods I use can

help tune into the quiet voices lingering in the shadows of your soul and make deep connections with the natural world, with the Divine, and with our own souls. It is a joyful and freeing process of creative play!” Lussky helps entrepreneurs, makers, CEOs, artists, teachers and others tap into their creativity—and especially enjoys working with young adults to “become aware of their ‘vocare’ or calling—what they are to be doing in this life time.” A new gathering space along the scenic Rogue River in downtown Rockford is the setting for Lussky’s individual and group work. “I find that in order for us to connect to our power, we must be close to nature and in safe and cozy space—what the Norwegians call “hygge”. Michele Lussky, owner of Shamama, holds a B.A. and M.A. in English and is a writing coach, certified comprehensive sexuality instructor, poet, activist and intuitive. Shamama’s workshops are held at Thought Design: 10 East Bridge St., Rockford. For more information go to or email: info@ See ad page 29.

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natural awakenings

January 2017


Quick Tips for Healthy Sleep

when attempting to have healthy sleep. With the invention of electricity, we no longer rely on the sun to tell us when we can get work done. So, if we don’t have a dark room or limit our don’t exposure to bright lights before bedtime, it confuses our internal clock. Therefore, decrease your exposure to light (i.e. your body’s interpretation of “the sun”) prior to bed and sleep in a dark room. 2) Keep your room cool – There is nothing worse than trying to fall asleep in a hot room, right? Your body agrees. Keep your room at a slightly cool temperature. It should help you fall asleep and stay asleep better.

By: Ashley Carter Youngblood, LLMSW, LLMFT, CADC


any people have issues with sleep. Once in a while, we all have a sleepless night or one where we just can’t fall asleep. This can be especially common during times of stress. And, sleep issues very often occur alongside of behavioral health issues like anxiety, depressive, or substance use disorders. Although common, people are often unaware of how their behaviors may be part of the problem. So, here

are some quick tips to help make those hours of sleep count. After all, we spend one third of our lives asleep.

The Practical 1) Sleep in a dark room – An important step to healthy sleep is to follow our body’s Circadian Rhythm. This is the biological clock inside us that tells us to get up when the sun comes up and to sleep when the sun goes down. And, this is the greatest resource we have

3) Invest in white noise – Especially if you are a light sleeper, consider having white noise, like a fan or nature noises, present. Use the white noise as a tool to drown out anything that could prevent you from falling asleep or things that may wake you from your restful slumber. 4) Avoid caffeine and alcohol – You know not to drink caffeine before bed. But, what you may not know is that the effects of caffeine can last over 12 hours after consuming it. So, consider limiting your intake of it even during the day.

How people treat

you is their karma; how you react is yours. ~Wayne Dyer


West Michigan Edition

It’s also important to know that having alcohol before bed is also bad for sleep. Alcohol prevents us from entering REM sleep, the foundational stage of sleep where our body repairs itself. So, to miss this stage of sleep means we are not restoring much.

that, if we cannot fall asleep after 20 minutes, we should leave the room and participate in a relaxing activity until we are ready to try again. It’s like training a pet to be housebroken. Honor your body’s association of the bed to sleep.

5) Nap wisely – While there is varying research on whether naps are helpful, keep in mind we are talking about Circadian Rhythm again. To nap confuses your body that it is bed time. You may wake up more refreshed. But, you may be so much more energized that it may be difficult (if not impossible) to relax enough several hours later when it is actually time for bed.

8) Exercise – There is something about exercise that makes us feel accomplished and just fatigued enough that we are more ready to fall asleep. Take advantage of this natural bodily response to exercise. But, be smart. Schedule exercise earlier in your day if you can so that your body and mind have time to wind down after exertion.

The Research-Based

The Alternatives

6) Avoid screen-time – Our society is greatly connected to the screens of our technology. However, research has found that the blue light emitted by these screens triggers a part of the brain that prevents us from sleeping well. This means that, while you may use technology to wind down before closing your eyes, it is not optimal for achieving your most healthy sleep. Therefore, experts recommend avoiding screens for at least two hours before bed.

9) Consider using natural sleep aides – Herbal teas that promote relaxation and melatonin, a naturally-occuring hormone that regulates our sleep/wake cycle, can be great alternative tools to try when nothing else seems to work. Talk with your doctor about what may work for your needs.

7) Spend only 20 minutes in bed – The bed should be used for only two things – sleep and sex. Research also suggests

10) Drop your body temperature – When our Circadian Rhythm pattern knows that sleep is approaching, our body temperature drops. You can facilitate this process by taking a warm bath or shower before bed. Going from such warmth to room temperature can

332 S. Lincoln, Lakeview, MI 989-352-6500

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help kick-start your body’s preparation for sleep. 11) Do something relaxing – Before bed or while in bed, create an atmosphere of relaxation. Practice following your breath before drifting off to sleep. Use guided imagery to allow the stress of the day to melt away. Read a calming book. Do something to prepare yourself for sleep. No need to change every aspect of your life to live by these tips. Start by trying several that apply most to you. As I always say when helping people to find their healthiest Selves, do what works best for you. And, if all else fails, talk with your doctor about getting a referral to see a sleep doctor to determine if there is another piece of the puzzle you may be missing. Above all, listen to your body. Be smart. And, sleep well. Ashley Carter Youngblood is both a limited license clinical social worker and marriage and family therapist who practices at Meaningful Connections Counseling in Kalamazoo. Her specialties include holistic health, mindfulness, anxiety, trauma, couples counseling, spiritual/cultural issues, and women’s issues. Find out much more about her at her website,”

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$ave Time & Energy! Please call in advance to ensure that the event you’re interested in is still available.


BVI School of Ayurveda Accepting Applications: Ayurvedic Consultant Certificate Program. Webinar and On-Site Courses, one weekend a month. State Licensed. NAMA Member. The Sambodh Society, Inc. 6363 N. 24th St., Kalamazoo, MI 49004. Info and Catalog. or 269-381-4946. Complementary Consultation –A consultation is a conversation, not an examination and certainly not a high-pressure sales pitch. After all, we aren’t the right office for everyone, so doesn’t it make sense to discover that before you begin a relationship with our practice? Brain and Body Chiropractic, 833 E 16th St, Ste 175, Holland. Info & Appointments: 616-202-6368. New Client Gift –New Consultation Clients get a Welcome Gift worth over $200. Schedule a consultation with Dr. LeAnn Fritz, ND and you’re entitled to this welcome bag of products to get you started, absolutely FREE! Mention this ad to receive your gift. New Hope Health, 10373 Riverview Dr, Plainwell. Info: 269-204-6525.


New Years Day Play With Jeremy Arndt –11am -12pm - Gratitude Flow 12:15pm - 1:15pm - Rest & Restore Yoga with Nancy Grzeszak; 1:30pm - 2:15pm - Meditation & Music, New Year Intentions. Space is limited and sessions will fill quickly! $15 per class or $40 for all three! Lakeshore Yoga Center, 235 Fulton, Grand Haven. Register online at


Guided Meditation and Healing Circle –78:00pm. 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 therapy from Healing in America-Trained Practitioners. $5 donation. Holistic Care Approach, 3368 Beltline Ct., NE, Grand Rapids. Info:laurie@healinginamerica-midwest. com or 269-908-1016.


Soul Sister Circle –6-8pm. Join Jane Donnelly in a beautiful evening of sisterhood and ritual to emerge brightly into the New Year. No experience necessary and suitable for all abilities. $30 before Jan. 2, 2017 ($35 after) Preregistration is required. On The Path Yoga, 701 E. Savidge #3, Spring Lake. Info and register at: or 616-935-7028,

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


Prosperity Class –10-11:30am. Monthly prosperity group meetings are held the 1st Saturday of the month from 10-11:30am. We will listen to a prosperity story, engage in discussion and create affirmations for our prosperity. This meeting will catapult your mind and provide a new way of prosperous thinking. Spirit Space, 3493 Bluestar Hwy, Saugatuck. Info: Call 616-886-2716,


Visions of Success –1-3pm. Come create a Vision Board. It is a visual representation, using pictures cut from magazines of your innermost dreams for your body, mind and spirit. Based on the theory of the law of attraction that says we can attract our hearts desires into our lives by our thoughts and intentions. Space is limited. $15. Bodhi Tree Yoga & Wellness Studio, 208 W 18th St, Holland. Info and register: 616-392-7580 or


Writing Workshop –6-8pm. Get tools and support to discover the stories you carry. All experience levels are welcomed in this 4-week series, led by a Certified Leader of the Amherst Writers & Artists Method. An energizing and supportive approach to writing. $125. Voice & Vessel, 3355 Eagle Park Dr NE, Suite 108, Grand Rapids. Info and Register at, 616-350-6210,emily@ Affordable Care Act Enrollment Sessions –7:008:30pm. Do you have questions about the Affordable Care Act? Open enrollment for this insurance program is from November 1, 2016 – January 31, 2017. Cherry Health will be on hand to provide an overview of the Affordable Care Act and their Certified Application Specialists will be available to help with the enrollment process. Assistance for Spanish speakers is also available. Free. Grand Rapids Public Library, Main Library, 111 Library St., NE, Grand Rapids. Info: or 616-988-5400. Building Basic Computer Skills –11am. Are you often confused by computer terms and lingo? By learning the key concepts and basic terminology used in technology, you can build a foundation for digital literacy that will last a lifetime. In this class, you will begin the process of developing the skills you will need to navigate the Internet, mobile devices and many types of software. Free. Grand Rapids Public Library, 111 Library NE, Grand Rapids. Info: or 616-988-5400.


from adolescence to post menopause. Understand how movement matters in the health and functionality of a woman’s body. This is a free event, however, registration is requested. On The Path Yoga, 701 E. Savidge #3, Spring Lake. Info: OnThePathYoga. com ,, 616-935-7028.


Inspire! –1pm. Racism is the topic of discussion at the January 15 Inspire! event. Gathering includes group discussion, social time, music, and refreshments. All are welcome. Inspire! is an expression of Extended Grace, a grassroots social lab that seeks to build community while solving problems. Extended Grace, Ferrysburg City Hall building, 17290 Roosevelt Rd., Ridge Street entrance, Ferrysburg. Info:, 616-842-8703. Yoga Nidra Workshop –5:15-6:30pm. Yoga Nidra is a guided relaxation where the student lies down and is completely receptive to instruction. Great for anyone needing a break from the stresses of life... no yoga experience necessary. Wear comfy clothes and bring anything to make you more comfortable, blankets, pillows, bolsters etc. $20. Bodhi Tree Yoga & wellness studio, 208 W 18th St, Holland. Preregistration required. or call 616-392-7580,


Deeper Dive –6pm. The January 16 Deeper Dive will enable participants to discuss the issue of racism more deeply following the January 15 Inspire! event. All are welcome. Deeper Dive is an expression of Extended Grace, a grassroots social lab that seeks to build community while solving problems. Free. Ferrysburg City Hall building, 17290 Roosevelt Rd, Ridge Street entrance. Info: lindabengston@ or 616-842-8703.


Reiki Share –6-8pm. Come check out what Reiki is all about, and have a mini session done. Open to those that know Reiki and those that don’t. Donations welcome. The Remedy House, 5150 Northland Dr, Grand Rapids. Info and register: 616-443-4225.


Guided Meditation and Healing Circle –7-8 pm. Escape from stress and discover an inner world of calm, peace & joy through guided meditation, and energy therapy. $5. Healing in America-Trained Practitioners. 450 Meadow Run - Suite 400, Hastings. Info: or 269-908-1016.

As The Pelvis Turns –2-4:30pm. Learn about the female pelvis as it turns through the cycles of life

natural awakenings

January 2017


Wisdom Circle with the Mahavidyas –7-8:30pm. The Tantric Wisdom Goddesses--known as the Mahavidyas--will be the subject of a 10 month women’s circle with meetings on the third Thursday January-October of 2017. Each Goddess will be explored as she relates to the stages of a woman’s life. Pre-registration by 1/15 for the series, which will include a book. $15 drop in/$100 for 10 month series. On The Path Yoga, 701 E. Savidge #3, Spring Lake. Info: at or sandy@, 616-935-7028. Discovering the Internet –11-12:30pm. Using the Internet can be an intimidating experience for many people. In this class, you will learn how the Internet works and basic definitions for the most common Internet terms. Discover tips and tricks on how to protect your information and identity while searching, shopping and surfing the web. Free. Grand Rapids Public Library, Main Library, 111 Library St. NE, Grand Rapids. Info: or 616-988-5400.


Reiki Level I –2-7pm and 10am-5pm on Sunday Jan 22nd. This two day class is focused on using Universal energy for the greatest good. You will learn how to use your innate gift for the purpose of the Laying of hands for the healing benefit of all. $140. The Remedy House, 5150 Northland Dr, Grand Rapids. Info: email or call 616-232-2638 to register. WHOLE U GR Expo –10am-4pm. Join a network of like-minded people working together at Whole U GR for an intimate expo that focuses on mind, body & spirit- a day filled with exhibitors, speakers and workshops. Tickets on sale now. For more information, go to Grand Rapids. Kids & Family Expo –10:00am - 5:00pm. Ride a Zip Line through the DeVos Place! Family Bonding Activities, Education & Fun! By the time January rolls around families will have cabin fever, and this Expo will encourage families to come play, celebrate, get active, explore, build, learn, and discover. Tickets at the door: $7 for adults and $3 (children 3-15). Kohler Expos, Inc. DeVos Place, 303 Monroe Ave NW, Grand Rapids. Info: go to or kaylee@kohlerexpo. com or 616-532-8833.


Affordable Care Act Enrollment Sessions –7:008:30pm. Do you have questions about the Affordable Care Act? Open enrollment for this insurance program is from November 1, 2016 – January 31, 2017. Cherry Health will be on hand to provide an overview of the Affordable Care Act and their Certified Application Specialists will be available to help with the enrollment process. Assistance for Spanish speakers is also available. Free. Grand Rapids Public Library, Main Library, 111 Library St., NE, Grand Rapids. Info: or 616-988-5400.


Writing Workshop –9 -11am. Get tools and support to discover the stories you carry. All experience levels are welcomed in this 4¬-week series, led by a Certified Leader of the Amherst Writers & Artists Method. An energizing and supportive approach to writing. $125. Voice & Vessel, 3355 Eagle Park Dr NE, Suite 108; Grand Rapids. Info and Register at or 616-350-6210, emily@


West Michigan Edition

Exploring Social Media –11am-12:30pm. The Internet and social media have made it easier than ever to keep in touch with friends and family. Beginning with a brief introduction to email, this class will teach you how to communicate with others online and offer tips on how to be safe while doing so. You will learn the basics about Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Find out what you need to get started with Skype and Google Hangouts and other video calling services. Grand Rapids Public Library, Main Library, 111 Library St., NE, Grand Rapids. Info: or 616-988-5400.


Outrageous Openness Book Study –10am-Noon. We will join in discussion and art expression following Outrageous Openness by Tosha Silver. We meet Fridays from January 27 through March 17. This book brings a breath of irreverent fresh air; it is spot on and hilarious as well as exhilarating as it exposes freedom from dogmatic beliefs. $25 for art supplies, Bring your own book or $16 extra to buy it from us. Spirit Space, event location 20 Wilderness Dr, Saugatuck. Info: or 616-886-2716.


Back To Basics: Yoga 101 for Everyone - Workshop with Hillarie Lockwood –12:00-2:00 pm. Brand new to Yoga or a seasoned yogi, this workshop is for you! use this as a springboard to get started or a great refresher that we don’t always get in the class setting Hillarie will cover the nuts and bolts of a holistic, safe and mindful yoga practice. Preregistration and prepayment required. $40. Bodhi Tree Yoga & wellness studio, 208 W. 18th Street, Holland., lorainegriff@, 616-392-4269.


Reiki I & II class –9am-5pm. Introduction to Reiki, become attuned to the universal energy, learn how to give treatment to self and others and meet your Reiki guide. Class fee is $250. The fee includes a $50 deposit due at registration. The Remedy House, 5150 Northland Dr, Grand Rapids. Info: Call to register 616-443-4225. Mindfulness & Meditation Class with Sherry Petro-Surdel –3:00-3:45pm.This class will teach a series of breathe exercises and how to incorporate them into your meditation practice. Breathe, position and intention are the foundations to receiving the most from your meditation practice. $10. Bodhi Tree Yoga & wellness studio, 208 W. 18th Street, Holland. Info: or 616-392-7580,


Ama-Deus Among Us –Last Monday of each month. Alternates between 1-3pm and 6-8pm. Energy healing forum. Meditation/healing sessions for balancing and replenishing. Open to Ama-Deus participants and those interested in experiencing Ama-Deus healing method. Love offering. Unity Center for Spiritual Growth, 6025 Ada Dr SE, Ada. Info: Kim at

savethedate Save The Date Events

Must be submitted online each month at Events priced $80 or more require a corresponding display ad. There is a $40 charge per listing, up to 50 words. Current advertisers, distribution sites or nonprofits, use this listing in place of your two free listings.

savethedate February 4 C re a t i n g C o n s c i o u s R e l a t i o n s h i p s Workshops – noon - 5:00pm. Discover how the Law of Attraction works in relationships. Why relationship patterns continue even when it’s not what you want. The characteristics of a Higher Consciousness Relationship The elements critical to having healthy relationships. A clear understanding of successful communication skills. How we heal our childhood wounds through relationships. $75. Spirit Space, 3493 Bluestar Hwy, Saugatuck. Info:, 616-886-2716.

savethedate February 20, 27 & March 6 Power of Being –6:00 - 8:30 pm. What causes you to feel stuck, trapped or overwhelmed? Do you notice your energy being drained by it all? This class offers information, exercises and tools to answer these questions and more. Learn effective ways to shift your thinking and energy, that unlocks your potential and to live your true self. David Schroeder, LMSW, CPC. $55. Unity Center for Spiritual Growth, 6025 Ada Dr. SE, Ada. Info: or 616682-7812,

savethedate February 25 & 26 Inspired Life GR – 8:30am-4:30pm. 2nd Annual Health and wellness conference featuring holistic health experts driven to share and educate how the connection of breath, energy, community, movement and mindset impact and benefit physical health. This deeper awareness allows for individual work to be done and transforms positive spiritual and emotional health for our Michigan communities and beyond. Discount if registered by Dec 31 and for Students. Location: Aquinas College, Wege Ballroom, 1607 Robinson Rd SE, Grand Rapids. Info and register:

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.

Sunday Hot Yoga –5-6:15pm. Sweat with this active, energetic, athletic style of yoga with traditional poses in a hot room. Not recommended for people with heart or lung conditions or those not engaged in regular exercise. $12 drop-in. Hearts Journey Wellness Center, 6189 Lake Michigan Dr, Allendale. or info@ Spirit Space Sunday Worship –10:30am. An interfaith, non-denominational gathering place for worship and spiritual enrichment. Join for inspiring messages called Reasoning’s. Spirit Space, 3493 Blue Star Hwy, Saugatuck. Info: 616-836-1555 or Sunday Series –6pm. Explore spirituality, universal truths, self-mastery and balanced, positive, loving and joyful living with The Coptic Center and their ongoing offering of enlightening ministers, teachers and guest presenters. Love offering. 0-381 Lake Michigan Dr, Grand Rapids. Info: Community Yoga class - 9-10am. $5.00 donation goes towards the charity of the month. Bodhi Tree Yoga & Wellness Studio, 208 W. 18th Street, Holland. Info: call 616-392-7580 or go to

Monday Healthy Lifestyle/Weightloss Clinic – 6- 7:30 pm. Enroll Now for our 13 week Healthy Lifestyle/ Weightloss program where you receive personalized coaching from a naturopath to help achieve your healthy lifestyle and weight loss goals. Space is limited. $249. The Remedy House, 5150 Northland Dr, Grand Rapids. Info and Register: by calling 616-443-4225.

This class is a great gentle option for those who use a cane or walker, have limited mobility, or have recent injuries. Special $10.00 per class. Bodhi Tree Yoga & Wellness Studio, 208 W. 18th Street, Holland. Info: call 616-392-7580 or go to The Practice of A Course in Miracles –7-8:30pm. Learn miracle-mindedness. Got joy? This is how to have it. Hint: You already do. All are welcome. Free. Fountain Street Church, 24 Fountain St. NE, Grand Rapids. 616-458-5095.

Tuesday Beginner Yoga series –7:15-8:15 pm. New to Yoga or want to reconnect to Yoga...this class is for you. Our intention is for you to discover a lifelong love for yoga. Please visit our website for complete class description. $70 for class only or $100 for class and a One month Unlimited Yoga to start when series if finished. pre-registration required. Bodhi Tree Yoga & wellness studio, 208 W. 18th Street, Holland. Info: 616-392-7580 or Gentle Hatha Yoga –7:45-9am & 9:15-10:30am. With Mitch Coleman. Drop-ins welcome. White River Yoga Studio, 8724 Ferry St., Montague. Info: 231-740-6662 or

Wednesday Healthy Lifestyle/Weightloss Clinic – 6-7:30 pm. Enroll Now for our 13 week Healthy Lifestyle/ Weightloss program where you receive personalized coaching from a naturopath to help achieve your healthy lifestyle and weight loss goals. Space is limited. $249 The Remedy House, 5150 Northland Dr, Grand Rapids. Register by calling 616-443-4225.

Essential Oils Class –6:30-8:30 pm. Meet and discuss a variety of subjects including the use of Essential Oils for spiritual growth and healing to “Oils of the Bible”. Every other week will be a support group discussion. Facilitated by Allegra Miller, Plant Wisdom, Quantum Wellness Educator. Love Offering. Unity Center for Spiritual Growth, 6025 Ada Dr. SE, Ada. Info: contact or 616-682-7812. $20 off BioMeridian Assessments – Food allergies, environmental allergies, organ function and real food menus and shopping lists for families that are healthy and kidapproved. Grand Rapids. 616-365-9176. Meditation –6-7pm. Join together for meditation that begins and ends with live, native flute music. Attend the full hour or any portion of the meeting. Spirit Space, 3493 Blue Star Hwy, Saugatuck. Info: 616-836-1555 or

Saturday Beginning Yoga –8:30-9:45am. This class will introduce you to basic postures, breathing techniques, and mindfulness with an emphasis on building body awareness. Gentle yet relaxing in nature, you will leave feeling relaxed, rejuvenated and having a greater sense of health and wellbeing. $12 drop-in. Hearts Journey Wellness Center, 6189 Lake Michigan Dr, Allendale. Info: visit us at or info@ Hot Yoga –10:15-11:30am. Sweat with this active, energetic, athletic style of yoga with traditional poses in a hot room. Not recommended for people with heart or lung conditions or those not engaged in regular exercise. $12 drop-in. Hearts Journey Wellness Center, 6189 Lake Michigan Dr, Allendale. or Gentle Hatha Yoga – 915-10:15am & 11-12:15am. With Mitch Coleman. Drop-ins welcome. White River Yoga Studio, 8724 Ferry St, Montague. 231740-6662. Info:

Chair Yoga –10:30-11:30. Incorporate movements and breathing exercises designed to assist with relaxation and increase mobility, balance, and strength. A chair and other props will be used to safely modify this yoga class for all fitness and mobility levels.

A Course in Miracles –9:30-11am. A complete self-study spiritual thought system. It teaches that the way to universal peace is by undoing guilt through forgiving others. The Course focuses on the healing of relationships and making them holy. It expresses a non-sectarian, non-denominational spirituality. Love offering. Unity Center for Spiritual Growth,6025 Ada Dr. SE, Ada. Info: office@ or 616-682-7812,

Sweetwater Local Foods Market – 9am-1pm. A double-up bucks and bridge card market. Hackley Health at the Lakes building on Harvey St. Located inside during inclement weather. Muskegon. 231-861-2234.




March 7

March 10-12

March 25 & 26

Integrative Health Spring Speaker Series -March 7, 14, 21 & 28, 2017 –6:30pm – 8pm. Every Tuesday in March. The Donnelly Center at Aquinas College, Universal Health Solutions, Grand Rapids. Info:

West Michigan Women’s Expo –Fri. 10-8, Sat. 10-8, & Sun. 11-5. Celebrating 19 years! DeVos Place, 303 Monroe Ave NW, Grand Rapids. For info:

Body Mind & Spirit Expo – 3rd Annual Holistic Expo in Kalamazoo, professional mediums, intuitive’s, healers & more gathered under one roof. Free lectures & prize giveaways. Admission $10 per day, 12 & under free. Wings Event Center, 3600 Vanrick Dr. Kalamazoo. Info:

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West Michigan Edition

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...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


Vikki Nestico, R.Ac. Located at Renewal Skin Spa 6080 28th St. SE, Grand Rapids 616-940-1177 • At Grand Wellness, we focus on a holistic approach to wellness, promoting healing through acupuncture, herbal therapy and lifestyle modifications. Call to set up a free consultation to discuss how Chinese medicine can help your specific health concerns. See ad, page 29.


Andrew Gielczyk Licensed Builder 616-834-2480 • Wood & Saw is focused on creating a sustainable high quality of life for our clients. Building simple, costeffective, energy-efficient, toxic-free homes and remodels that achieve the healthiest possible indoor air quality. See ad, page 33.

CHIROPRACTIC CARE DYNAMIC FAMILY CHIROPRACTIC 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.


Dr. Dan Gleason 19084 North Fruitport Road Spring Lake, MI 49456 616-846-5410 An alternative, holistic approach combining chiropractic and kinesiology as well as the latest in metabolic and hormone testing. Using a variety of techniques, we work with our patients to determine the scope and duration of care that’s right for each individual.


Mary De Lange, CCT, LMT 1003 Maryland Ave, N.E., Grand Rapids 616-456-5033 • Certified therapist since 1991 offering colon therapy in a sterile and professional environment. Using a holistic approach, colonics relieve constipation, diarrhea, gas, bloating, poor digestion, back pain, body odor and more. See ad, page 33.


Holistic Energy Therapies 616-481-9074 Offering an advanced clientcentered dimension of colonics since 1996: gentle, safe and effective. Eliminate toxins and enhance well-being. Also offering Quantum Biofeedback sessions. I-ACT certified Instructor.

BE YOUNG ESSENTIAL OILS Clara VanderZouwen 616-481-8587 Independent Sharing partner Keto OS (get your Ketones)

Be Young Essential Oils are exclusive E.O.B.B.D. guaranteed 100% pure & safe for your entire family and pets! Wondering what to use? Just call or email me, I’m here to educate you! Now offering Keto OS. Ketones flowing through your body within 60 minutes!


Cottage of Natural Elements 351 Cummings, NW Grand Rapids 616-735-1285 • Your local source for all things natural and botanical. Essential oils, bulk herbs, tea, hand-crafted bath & body products, raw ingredients, containers, local artwork, unique gifts. Practitioner discounts. Space rental and artisan consignment. See ad, page 23.

YOUNG LIVING ESSENTIAL OILS Marilyn York Independent Distributor 1-877-436-2299, ext. 2


MicroLife Nutritionals by Vasayo 616-481-8587 • Superior Bio-availability with Advanced Liposome delivery technology: Our proprietary Liposomal-encapsulation technology ensures vastly improved nutrient delivery and absorption within the body over traditional supplements.

Become an Independent Distributor. Discover the high potency of therapeutically authentic essential oils from Young Living. Enhance your own health, as well as others who seek holistic wellness options. Free training. See ad, page 19.

HAKOMI THERAPY KEN PORTER CST, CHT 3355 Eagle Park Dr. NE Ste. 107, Grand Rapids 616-262-3848


Barbara Zvirzdinis, WK, CMT 616-581-3885 Matrix Energetics is a system used to heal, transform and create new possibilities in your life. Using the principles of quantum physics and subtle energy during a Matrix Energetics session we are able to enter into different realties and download new possibilities for your mental, emotional, physical and spiritual selves.

Hakomi Therapy can truly change your life. It’s a mindfulnessbased, experiential therapy for transforming the unconscious patterns that keep you from the love, joy, and fulfillment you deserve. Offered with exquisite care and attentiveness.

natural awakenings

January 2017



Jodi Jenks Natural Health Practitioner, Reiki Master 616-443-4225 Certified in bodywork, lymphatic drainage, raindrop therapy, CranioSacral, reflexology, iridology, natural health consultations including a zyto bio-communication scan. Emotional clearing with essential oils and energy work, reiki, Energy Touch. See ad, page 33.


Educational programs for personal health improvement. Workplace wellness programs. Wellness Forum Foundation focused on school nutrition and children’s health. National conferences.


Bob Huttinga PA-C & Rev. Barbara Huttinga 332 S. Lincoln Ave., Lakeview 989-352-6500 Naturopathic/Holistic Practitioners and retail health store. Natural health consultations, classes, oils, h e r b s , h o m e o p a t h y, hypnosis, foods, candles, crystals, books, CD’s, massage, reflexology, emotional clearing, raindrop therapy, foot detox, DOT/CDL health cards for truck drivers. See ad, page 39.


Barbara Zvirzdinis, WK, CMT 616-581-3885 Certified Matrix Energetics Practitioner, Certified Wholistic Kinesiologist, Certified Massage Therapist, Reconnection Healing Practitioner, Certified Herbalist, Certified Acutonics Practitioner and Certified Reflexologist. Specializing in muscle testing, massage, energy medicine, nutritional counseling, lectures and classes.


West Michigan Edition


332 S. Lincoln Ave., Lakeview 989-352-6500 A Certified PA since 1976, Bob Huttinga practices both traditional and homeopathic care. He finds the cause and the homeopathic remedy. Most insurance accepted, except Priority Health, Blue Care Network or Medicaid. See ad, page 39.

LGBTQIA COUNSELING ADVANCED COUNSELING AND THERAPY SERVICES, PLC Sue Dilsworth, Ph.D, ERYT-500 2020 Raybrook Ave. SE, Suite 305 Grand Rapids, MI 49546 (Corner of Burton and E. Beltline) 616-307-1617

Psychological services tailored to meet the needs of the individual. Through various treatment modalities, you will have an opportunity to explore life patterns, address immediate personal challenges, and explore alternative ways of dealing with personal conflict/ turmoil, moving you on to a healthier, happier life.


Pam works with highly – motivated individuals as they focus on their complex life agendas and aim for their very best life-work balance. This provides a powerful framework for building more effective relationships while maintaining a balanced and fulfilling personal life. See ad, page 28.

MASSAGE THERAPY DYNAMIC FAMILY CHIROPRACTIC & MASSAGE THERAPY Jaci Timmermans, MT 4072 Chicago Drive, Grandville 616-531-6050

Offering Swedish massage with integrated techniques, chosen specifically for your unique body. Relieve those tired and sore muscles and rejuvenate. Call for on-going monthly specials and discounts.


Mary De Lange, CCT., LMT. 1003 Maryland Ave. NE, Grand Rapids 616-456-5033 Over 24 years of professional experience and trained in a complete range of modalities. Whether you are seeking relaxation, renewal or treatment for a specific condition, Mary will help find an approach that is helpful for you. See ad, page 33.

MOBILE MASSAGE WORKS Dania Vandermeer, LMT 3234 S. Westnedge Avenue Kalamazoo, MI 49008 541-325-1429

Licensed Massage Therapist offering 5 years experience in Swedish, Deep Tissue, Chinese Cupping, Pregnancy and newly trained in Oncology Massage. Personalized Massage experience with stretching homework to provide balance and stress management.


Patrice Bobier CPM Hesperia: 231-861-2234 Jennifer Holshoe Grand Rapids area: 616-318-1825 In private practice since 1982 - specializing in home birth and a team approach. Over 1,550 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. Free initial consultations including prenatal check-up.


5286 Plainfield Ave, NE, Grand Rapids 616-364-9191 An award-winning hair stylist with 30 years advanced education, that uses and sells organic hair care products as well as uses a professional line of organic hair color. Ionic Detox Foot Baths also available.

SCHOOL / EDUCATION BVI SCHOOL OF AYURVEDA Ruth Small, Ph.D., Director 269-381-4946

School of Ayurveda. State licensed. Certificate program for healthcare professionals, doctors, nurses, yoga teachers, wellness educators, massage therapists, holistic health specialists, chiropractors, dieticians and those seeking to learn selfhealth-care. Instructors highly qualified (B.A.M.S.).

NATUROPATHIC INSTITUTE OF THERAPIES & EDUCATION 503 East Broadway St, Mt. Pleasant 989-773-1714

Educational programs offered: Natural Health Program: four years (one weekend a month); Massage Therapy Program: one year (two weekends a month); Holistic Doula Practitioner Program: six months (one weekend a month). Individual classes available. See ad, page 37.




Conscious Dying plus: Children’s Dental Health Our Readers Are Seeking Providers & Services for Hospice, Estate Planning, Burial Advice & Holistic Dental Care

Food Sensitivities plus: Holistic Eye Care

LAKESHORE NATURAL SKIN CARE 10500 Chicago Drive Holland Twp • Zeeland 231-557-3619

Specializing in advanced, customized skin care with Elina Organics. Facials, body treatments, needle-free Mesotherapy, TriPolarRF, DermaLaser, Facial Hydratherapy, Oxygen Facial Therapy, LED, microdermabrasion, bamboo massage, Raindrop, reiki and more.


Thermography is a safe, tested, painless, and effective procedure providing information for breast cancer risk assessment, breast cancer prevention and early detection, possible hormone imbalance, thyroid dysfunction, diabetes, musculoskeletal inflammation, and neurological problems.

Our Readers are Seeking Providers & Services for Addressing Dietary Concerns & Natural Vision Care



Eco Yards

plus: Medical Massage Our Readers are Seeking Providers & Services for Gardening/Lawn Care Supplies Massage Therapy Xeriscapes & Other EarthFriendly Landscaping

Contact us to learn about marketing opportunities and become a member of the Natural Awakenings community at:

natural awakenings

January 2017




Natural Living


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