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feel good • live simply • laugh more


The New Food Revolution Changing the Way America Eats


EAT WELL On a Budget


Pairing Scientists with Schools

YOUR DOG’S DIET Dish Up Variety for Better Health

March 2012 | West Michigan Edition | natural awakenings

March 2012


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contents 9 healthbriefs 11 globalbriefs

Natural Awakenings is your guide to a healthier, more balanced life. In each issue readers find cutting-edge information on natural health, nutrition, fitness, personal growth, green living, creative expression and the products and services that support a healthy lifestyle.

9 14 ecotip 15 consciouseating 15 EATING WELL 20 ON A BUDGET 17 inspiration 17 LIVE YOUR DASH 18 healingways 20 healthykids 18 COOLING CHRONIC INFLAMMATION 11 23 wisewords Dietary Solutions Counter Disease by Judith Fertig

by Linda Ellis

28 greenliving 34 fitbody


36 naturalpet

by Linda Sechrist


U.S. Companies Pair Scientists with Schools by April Thompson

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

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

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

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Doctors Advocate a Plant-Based Diet by Linda Sechrist



Nourishing the Shift to Farm-Fresh Foods by Melinda Hemmelgarn




No Space? No Problem. by Lisa Kivirist and John Ivanko

34 STEP INTO FITNESS Dance Your Way to a Beautifully Strong and Flexible Body by Sandra Murphy

38 DISH UP VARIETY Treat Your Dog to Good Health and Good Taste


by Wendy Bedwell-Wilson

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March 2012




contact us Publishers Kyle & Amy Hass Editors S. Alison Chabonais Scott Gillis Linda Sechrist Design & Production Interactive Media Design Scott Carvey Printer Stafford Media Solutions Natural Awakenings 484 Sunmeadow Dr. SE Grand Rapids, MI 49508 Phone: 616-656-9232

Subscriptions are available by sending $30 (12 issues) to the above address. © 2012 by Natural Awakenings. All rights reserved. Although some parts of this publication may be reproduced and reprinted, we require that prior permission be obtained in writing. Natural Awakenings is a free publication distributed locally and is supported by our advertisers. It is available in selected stores, health and education centers, healing centers, public libraries and wherever free publications are generally seen. Please call to find a location near you or if you would like copies placed at your business. We do not necessarily endorse the views expressed in the articles and advertisements, nor are we responsible for the products and services advertised. We welcome your ideas, articles and feedback.

Committed to Sustainability Natural Awakenings is locally owned and operated.

’ve always admired and secretly envied anyone that has a green thumb. This Natural Foods and Gardens issue is especially for you and everyone that enjoys eating the fruits of local gardens and farms. To spotlight the value of such blessed talent, I here relate my own gardening adventures. With the arrival of spring soon, Michigan gardeners will be out digging in the dirt, reviving perennials and planting fresh annuals, confident of the impending arrival of fresh vegetables, fruits, flowers and herbs. As for me, I look forward to digging into our composter and spreading fertilizer that I have succeeded in making from scratch. The circle of life there brings a smile to my face. Anyone that has seen our yard knows that I do not have much of a green thumb. The front features an area of beach sand decorated with shells, a water fountain and some dune grass. I figure if I can’t live on the beach, I can at least pretend to. I’ve also created a rock garden accented by artsy yard ornaments. Once set up for the season, our yard requires no maintenance and includes nothing that can be killed through neglect. Still, it somehow nourishes my soul. Many years ago, Kyle talked me into planting a small tree that despite all odds has grown into a larger tree. Plus we have a couple of so-called hydrangea bushes around the side of the house. He would like more, but considering these bushes haven’t bloomed in five years, I think he understand that plants are just not my forte. Our large back yard is “lined” with small pine trees to eliminate rake time from falling leaves. Of the 25 seedlings we have lovingly planted and tended, five are thriving and I’m holding my breath for the three little year-olds saplings. The success of some hardy flowers a few years ago was also encouraging; the sole survivor, bees balm, continues to bloom. Fortunately for our friends and family, what began as a single raspberry stick has since overrun the garden. We have more berries than we know what to do with each summer. I highly recommend red raspberry bushes. I love how my step mom, Judi, has such a knack with her beautiful and productive yard. My father-in-law, too, is handy in the garden. Several neighbors do a good job, as well. As for me, I enjoy everyone’s yards as I take Thai for walks around the neighborhood. Still… I have been reading about herbs lately; maybe I will try my hand at growing some of those this year. Wish me luck! Happy spring gardening,

Natural Awakenings is printed on 100% recycled newsprint with soy based ink.


West Michigan Edition

Amy Hass, Co-publisher

newbriefs Sustainability Conference


oday’s environment presents us with a number of challenges and opportunities to becoming a more sustainable society. Pierce Cedar Creek Institute, an environmental education center in Hastings, Michigan, is hosting a Sustainability Conference on Saturday, March 17 to help individuals face the environmental and social challenges around them and find the solutions that will help our communities become more sustainable. This year’s conference will have a focus on permaculture, which encompasses more than just what you plant in your yard. Viewing life through a permaculture lens affects how we go about procuring food, housing, transportation, and how we view our connection to the greater community. This year’s keynote speaker is Peter Bane, a permaculture consultant and editor of Permaculture Activist, a quarterly journal. He will share his insights into building a permanent agriculture and a permanent culture with us, helping participants to secure a better quality of life in the face of economic headwinds and climate instability. Breakout sessions will include: • Permaculture, A Deeper Look • Gardening 101 • Economics of Renewable Energy • Home Energy Savings Strategies • Raising Backyard Poultry • Exploring Sustainability in College • Community Change • Green Jobs and How to Find One • Sustainability Strategies at Colleges Cost through February 24 is Members $35, NonMembers $45 and Students $15. Cost after February 24: Members $40, Non-Members $50 and Students $20. To register for the conference, please visit cedarcreekinstitute. org or call 269-721-4190. Pierce Cedar Creek Institute, 701 West Cloverdale Rd in Hastings. See ad page 37.

New Yoga Curriculum for Schools


eb Weiss-Gelmi, developer of Sing Song Yoga™, instructor at the Yoga Studio in Grand Rapids, and an elementary school teacher, has recently published a powerful new yoga curriculum for schools and other youth groups. The curriculum, or teachers’ guide, is to be used as a supplement to her included Sing Song Yoga™ DVD, which is a children’s yoga program that uses songs to teach the poses. The teacher guide is called “Using Sing Song Yoga™ in the Classroom: A program that Builds Confidence, Self-Discipline, and Healthy, StressFree Attitudes.” The 19 detailed lessons are intended for elementary-age students and have adaptations for different levels where needed. The lessons range from yoga games, to yoga activities of self-exploration, to yoga sequences for test preparation. One example of a lesson, “My Strongest Pose,” compares a student’s strongest yoga pose with his or her strongest personal characteristic, taking either an older individual child or a group of younger students through a process of examining one’s self through yoga. The teacher guide includes posters, cards, diagrams and worksheets to leave little preparation for the teacher to enjoy sharing these lessons with his or her students. The teacher guide, including the full Sing Song Yoga™ DVD, is now available through the publisher at and search “sing song yoga.” The Sing Song Yoga™ DVD alone is available at and is taught at the Yoga Studio. Visit for more information.

Women & Environment Symposium: Educating & Inspiring Women to Take Action


est Michigan Environmental Action Council and Grand Valley State University’s Women’s Center and Sustainable Community Development Initiative present the first Women & Environment Symposium on March 29 from 129pm at L.V. Eberhard Center in Grand Rapids. The symposium

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March 2012


will explore the intersection between w o m e n ’s i s s u e s and environmental concerns, examining topics such as environmental impacts on women’s a n d c h i l d r e n ’s health, food and farming practices, eco-business and sustainable living, among others. An invaluable opportunity for professionals and students alike to learn about the issues, their history and current success stories. It is the first largescale meeting between regional leaders in the academic, business and activism communities focused on women and the environment. For more information or to register visit For interviews contact: Daniel Schoonmaker, West Michigan Environmental Action Council, 616-451-3051

Candice on Design


o help kick off the 60th Anniversary of Standale Interiors, HGTV’s favorite designer is coming to Grand Rapids. Candice on Design, Friday, March 2 at 11am in the Steelcase Ballroom at De Vos Hall. Tickets are only $20 and include FREE entry to the West Michigan Home and Garden Show following her presentation. You may also purchase tickets at Standale Interiors, 4046 Lake Michigan Dr. NW. Full details and link to on-line ticket by visiting www. See ad page 7 & 46.

Mary Reilly Workshop


he Yoga Studio is delighted to welcome Mary Reilly, Certified Senior Iyengar teacher, back for her annual visit to Grand Rapids. Having just returned from a month of study at the Ramani Iyengar Institute in Pune, India, Mary will share her insights and inspiration in a weekend workshop entitled “Jewels from India”. The

workshop will be held March 23 through March 25 at 1110 Wealthy SE in Grand Rapids. On Friday from 6-8pm enjoy ‘From Earth to Ether: Building on Foundations’. Saturday from 9:30am-12pm, Tapas and Santosa: Learn to love backbends! Saturday 2:305:00pm, The Revolving Asanas. Wrapping up the workshop on Sunday is Pranayama and Asana from 10:00am- 12:30pm. A minimum of six months yoga is required. The entire workshop only costs $175 and you can save $25 if you register before February 27th. To register, send a $50 deposit or the full amount to the Yoga Studio, 955 Cherry SE in Grand Rapids. For more information, visit See ad page 16.

Creativity and Mindfulness


ome join The Full Circle: The Art of Letting Go, on March 31st-April 1st, and see how this two-day seminar can help you increase your overall sense of happiness and satisfaction in life! This seminar, facilitated by the acclaimed international art duo of Tali Farchi of the Netherlands, and Royce Deans from Traverse City, along with local therapists Timothy Pieri, LMSW, and Brendan Kelly, LMSW, uniquely combines various forms of creativity with Mindfulness practices. By participating in this seminar, you will learn how to “let go” of fears, anxieties, or self-doubts that act as barriers to happiness in your life, and increase your ability to live life more fully in the present and enjoy each moment. The cost for this seminar is $250, or $185 for Saturday only, and includes lunch and dinner each day, as well as snacks and refreshments. All materials are provided, and parking is free and easily accessible. Attendance is limited to thirty people so register early. For more information and to register, visit www., or call The Well Being at 616458-6870. See ad page 19.

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West Michigan Edition

WMSBF Hosts Essay Contest


he West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum (WMSBF) is hosting an essay contest. Inspired by the book, Moral Ground – Ethical Action for a Planet in Peril, they are inviting members of the West Michigan region to share their reflections on what inspires their sense of responsibility, what underscores the commitment they’ve made in their work life and home life to contribute to a more sustainable world‌and why it’s important. Information/submission sheets can be downloaded from our website, Deadline for submissions is March 2, 2012. There will be specific outreach to the business sector but the contest will be open to all individuals in the West Michigan community. Two winning essays will be selected, along with recognition of honorable mentions. In the spirit of the theme, there will be no cars, cruises or cash prizes for winning entries; however, we are pursuing broad and creative avenues for publishing the essays and recognizing the essayists. Beyond that, the community will win by gaining inspiration from the essayists’ understandings, perspectives, and visions. Founded in 1994, the West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum is a network of businesses, institutions, and individuals dedicated to promoting business practices that demonstrate environmental stewardship, economic vitality, and social responsibility through education and collaboration. For more information, visit.

Lakeshore Garden Masters


ur garden club, Lakeshore Garden Masters, recently opened their membership to all gardeners. Previously, they had required members to be MSU Master Gardeners, but now the local program is no longer conducting classes so they now are including

all interested gardeners in the West Michigan area. The club educates gardeners about various gardening topics, has plant and seed exchanges, and fellowship with other gardeners. They also are the caretakers of the Monet and Howmet Gardens. The club has five meetings, mostly throughout the summer, to visit local gardens and learn about gardening techniques. All interested gardeners are invited to come to the next potluck meeting on March 26th at 6pm at the North Muskegon VFW. The topic will be “Going Green for Gardening� and will be about using recycled materials to grow plants. Several informative presentations about various topics on garden recycling are planned and they always have a seed, plant, and magazine exchange so those present can get free items to start their gardening year. The cost for nonmembers is $5.00, but if someone signs up to be a member, the presentation is free. Everyone is welcome to come to the potluck and learn about Lakeshore Garden Masters and all the member benefits. If you would like more information, please visit our website, or call Jean Baker, President of Lakeshore Garden Masters at 231-343-5683.

Holistic Moms Network


r. J . Av e r y K a r n s , Chiropractor at Healthy Life Pain and Performance Solutions in Rockford, and specialist in Pediatric Chiropractic, is starting the West Michigan chapter of the Holistic Moms Network. This is a nationwide network of moms and dads interested in green living, and holistic living. Contact Dr. Avery Karns at for details.

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natural awakenings

March 2012


Good Food Festival Chicago


xperience the movement that’s transforming the way we eat, from March 15 to 17, at the Good Food Festival & Conference Chicago, sponsored by FamilyFarmed. org. This three-day festival and conference focuses on local, sustainable foods. The Good Food for Thought speaker series will be presented Thursday and Friday, featuring national and regional leaders of the good food movement. The speakers will map the course of this exciting revolution and share personal insights into the future of good food. Friday evening’s Localicious party will be a foodie’s dream of sustainable, local food and drink, brought to you by Chicago’s finest chefs. Saturday’s festival starts with in-depth workshops featuring top experts and nationally recognized speakers, and continues with a full lineup of workshops that discuss such timely topics such as growing and preserving your own food, good food activism, eating on a budget and backyard chickens. Throughout the day, experience the Good Food Movement firsthand with cooking demos from Chicago’s finest chefs, the interactive Kid’s Corner, the Good Food Court and the bookstore. More than 150 Good Food exhibitors, including farmers and food artisans, will offer local food, gifts and community supported agriculture (CSA) memberships.

Congratulations to Don TeBeau, Kendra Holmes, Merila Schild, Brittany Hilla-Johnson, Diane McLeod, Darlene Cyr, Stacy Eding and Charlotte Johnson who are the 8 contestants chosen at the casting call out of 41 applicants to participate in the Lakeshore SlimDown Challenge TV & Radio program, led by personal fitness trainer Cari Draft. The 8 individuals will compete for 8 weeks to achieve a healthier lifestyle & win prizes; stream the TV shows live online at 8pm every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday through April 1st at www.muskegoncc. edu/mcctv.


Location: UIC Forum, 725 W. Roosevelt, Chicago. For more information or to register, visit Chicago.


West Michigan Edition

For more information visit See ad page 10 & 26. The Directors of The Heritage Registry of Who’s Who take pleasure in announcing the inclusion of Yolanda Cordele, owner and wellness provider of Midwest Massage & Salon Services in the forthcoming 2012 edition. The accomplishments and achievements attained by Cordele in the field of Salon & Wellness Services warrants inclusion into The Heritage Registry of Who’s Who. Midwest Massage and Salon II, 6883 Cascade Rd SE # A in Grand Rapids. 616-949-4000. See ad page 33.

The roots of all goodness lie in

the soil of appreciation for goodness. ~Dalai Lama


High Fiber Trumps Low Fat


hen food shopping, concentrate on fiber content, rather than just the amount of fat, suggests a study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association. New Michigan State University (MSU) research suggests that foods high in fiber—but not necessarily low in saturated fats or cholesterol— are tied to lowering the risk of heart disease and Type 2 diabetes in teens; it’s a generation noted to be at high risk for developing chronic disease, due in part to the popularity of processed foods with this age group. The researchers found that due to low consumption of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and beans, the teens’ total dietary fiber intake was about 13 grams a day, well below the recommended 26 grams and 38 grams for female and male adolescents, respectively. “Our study reinforced the current dietary recommendations for fiber intake by including a variety of plant-based foods,” says lead author Joseph Carlson, a registered dietician and associate professor at MSU. “It may be better to focus on including these foods than to focus, as is commonly done, on excluding foods high in saturated fat.” Teens are not the only ones that benefit from a fiber-rich diet. A recent report published in the Archives of Internal Medicine showed that adult women and men that eat at least 26 grams and 30 grams of fiber a day, respectively, had a reduced risk of death from cardiovascular, infectious and respiratory diseases.

Grass-fed Benefits


new, in-depth guide to the benefits of grass-fed beef is now available from Animal Welfare Approved, a national nonprofit organization that audits, certifies and supports farmers that raise their animals according to the highest welfare standards, and outdoors on pasture or range. The Grassfed Primer, available as a free download at food-labels, notes that grass-fed meat and dairy products offer health benefits via higher levels of omega-3 essential fatty acids, conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) and vitamin E, and can reduce the risk of E. coli infection. Scientists now believe that CLA may be one of humanity’s most potent defenses against cancer.

Does Our Food Control Our Genes?


he old adage, “You are what you eat,” may be literally true. Based on findings from a groundbreaking study by researchers at Nanjing University, in China, the connection between our food’s biochemistry and our own may be more intimate than we imagined. The researchers discovered that tiny RNAs (a mirror-image form of DNA), or microRNAs, usually found in plants, were circulating in human blood; one of the most common sources was rice, a staple of their native subjects’ diets. After conducting tests with mice, they found that microRNAs were capable of altering cell function and directly manipulating the expression of genes. The study results, published in the journal Cell Research, suggest that the human body is a highly integrated ecosystem and suggest that genetic changes in one species may trigger alterations in another.

More Rest Equals Better Teen Performance


dolescents that log between six and 10 hours of sleep each night perform better in mathematics and physical education classes than those that sleep six hours or less, according to a study published in the International Journal of Clinical and Health Psychology. The researchers, after analyzing the sleep habits of 592 students aged 12 to 19 in Seville, Spain, further observed that bedtimes and wake times did not significantly influence academic outcomes; however, they did note that students that require less than 15 minutes to fall asleep tended to achieve better marks.

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March 2012


Healthy Weight for Healthier Gums


egular brushing and flossing is vital for keeping teeth and gums healthy. Surprisingly, so is managing our weight. Case Western Reserve University researchers have found that the body is better at fighting gum disease when fat cells disappear. Excess weight often triggers damaging inflammation throughout the body, and inflammation from gum disease can erode bone, lead to tooth loss and create fissures in the gums, allowing harmful oral bacteria to enter the bloodstream. Such bacteria have been linked to preterm births, fetal death, heart disease, diabetes and arthritis, according to Nabil Bissada, chair of the department of periodontics at the university’s School of Dental Medicine.

Kudos for BacteriaBusting Coriander


il derived from the aromatic coriander plant—one of the 20 most popular essential oils worldwide—has applications beyond aromatherapy as a food additive and is widely used in Mediterranean cuisine. Coriander oil’s reputed health benefits include relieving pain, easing cramps and convulsions, aiding digestion, curing nausea and fighting fungal infections. Now, researchers from the University of Beira Interior, in Portugal, have specifically found that the oil is highly effective in killing bacterial strains such as Escherichia coli (E. coli), Salmonella enterica, Bacillus cereus and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Thus, coriander oil may be useful in preventing and treating food-borne illnesses. “Coriander oil could also become a natural alternative to common antibiotics,” says study leader Dr. Fernanda Domingues. Source: Society for General Microbiology

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West Michigan Edition

eeling psychologically strained or blue at work? A simple, daily B vitamin supplement may be an answer. Australia’s Centre for Human Psychopharmacology, at Swinburne University of Technology, and the National Institute of Complementary Medicine recently partnered in a study assessing the personalities, work demands and mood, anxiety and strain experienced by 60 men and women. Half the group took a nutrient-herb-blend supplement with the full spectrum of B vitamins plus calcium, magnesium and vitamin C, nutrients known to help with the stress response; and passionflower and oats, which also soothe the nervous system. The other half received a placebo. At the end of three months, controlling for differences in personality and work demands, the B-complex treatment group reported significantly lower personal strain. The supplement group also reported decreased feelings of depression/dejection, anger/ hostility and tension/anxiety, as well as less fatigue. The placebo group noticed no such changes. It’s wise to talk with a doctor or other health professional before beginning any supplementation program; bottled Bs may interact with certain medications and with each other. B vitamins occur naturally in meat and tuna; whole grains; leafy greens like collards, kale and Swiss chard; lentils and beans; broccoli, Brussels sprouts and cabbage; and potatoes and oranges.

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

Little Thumbs

Gardening Helps Children Grow Gardening provides many varieties of engagement for children: designing, planting and maintaining a garden patch; harvesting, preparing and sharing food; working cooperatively in groups; learning about science and nutrition; and creating art and stories inspired by their garden experiences. When third, fourth and fifth grade students participating in a one-year gardening program were surveyed for life skills, they showed significant increases in self-understanding, interpersonal relationship skills and the ability to work in groups, compared with nonparticipating students. Qualitative surveys of 52 second and third grade students working in a community garden classroom program in San Antonio, Texas, further revealed the children were likely to have more positive bonding experiences with their parents and other adults. A study of children with learning disabilities that engaged in gardening measured increases in nonverbal communication skills, awareness levels of the advantages of order, understanding of how to participate in a cooperative effort, and the ability to form positive relationships with adults. Juvenile offenders that gardened showed improved self-esteem, interpersonal relationships and attitudes towards school. Overall, gardening has been recognized by many studies as a therapeutic healing activity that can positively impact mental health and well-being. Source: University of Colorado-Denver; Health Sciences Center

Future Fuels

U.S. Renewable Energy Surpasses Nuclear Beginning in 2011, renewable energy production in the United States surpassed nuclear production in overall quantity and percentage. As a percentage of total U.S. energy generation, renewables are steadily, if modestly, gaining. California’s leadership goal targets the utilization of 33 percent renewable energy sources by 2020. Hydroelectric, geothermal, solar/photovoltaic, wind and biomass combined make up a growing segment of the mix: 11.7 percent as of June 2011, surpassing nuclear at 11.1 percent. For the same period in 2010, nuclear was 11.6 percent, and renewable was 10.6, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Forbes reports that many environmentalists, however, think that the two prominent technologies that currently make up much of the renewables sector—hydroelectric power, at 35 percent, and biomass, at 48 percent—are the least attractive. (Wind is the third-largest, at 13 percent of renewable, 1.5 percent of the total.) Large-scale hydroelectric power production has harmful impacts on river ecosystems and has become less popular in the developed world. As for biomass, each of the many types of feedstock must be evaluated individually for its emissions profile, water footprint and other considerations, such as whether farm fields or forests need that material to decompose in place in order to retain soil or ecosystem function. natural awakenings

March 2012


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Reinvention is nothing new in Silicon Valley, California, home of some of the world’s most prominent cutting-edge technology companies. Frustrated with what they perceive as the slow pace and inefficiency of many nonprofits, some of the area’s innovators are bringing fresh approaches to solving vexing social issues. Along with money, these social entrepreneurs are applying their business skills—from marketing to operations, together with their enthusiasm and business drive—to transform nonprofits into more savvy, goal-focused businesses. “Donors aren’t waiting until retirement now,” says Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen, a philanthropist and author of Giving 2.0, a book on how to improve philanthropy. She says, “This is no longer about sympathy. It’s about strategy,” asserting that donors today are demanding more research and metrics before funding charitable projects. Beth Kanter, a nonprofit scholar and author of The Networked Nonprofit, points to, which advocates for family-friendly laws, as a leading example. “MomsRising didn’t reinvent the wheel, and instead just focused on what they were enthusiastic about—mobilizing people,” she says. Instead of operating in a traditional manner, the nonprofit outsourced much of its operations, allowing it to run more nimbly on a virtual basis. Arrillaga-Andreessen advises, “If we are to solve these problems, the onus is on givers to facilitate that change.” Source: The Christian Science Monitor

Breathe Deep

The Gift of Cleaner Air The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently finalized new Mercury and Air Toxics Standards created to protect families from power plant emissions of mercury and airborne toxins such as arsenic, acid gas, nickel, selenium and cyanide. The new standards are expected to prevent 11,000 premature deaths, 4,300 heart attacks and 130,000 cases of childhood asthma symptoms each year. “It has taken almost 20 years to amend the Clean Air Act, despite clear, unequivocal scientific knowledge that mercury and other pollutants have been killing our children,” remarked Kathleen Rogers, president of Earth Day Network. Source: 12

West Michigan Edition

Bee Wary

Coming in April

Nature’s Wake-Up Set to Snooze Bees are awakening earlier each spring, according to a Rutgers University study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Scientists report that global warming over the past 130 years has caused several species of North American bees to emerge about 10 days earlier than they did previously, with most of the shift occurring since 1970. Scientific research known as phenology measures the timing of lifecycle events of animals and plants. “A shift in 10 days is a lot from the point of view of an insect whose lifetime is measured in weeks,” says Rutgers Entomologist Rachael Winfree, co-author of the study. Because bees are the world’s most important pollinators of flowers and plants, any change in this crucial relationship could prove devastating. Study leader Ignasi Bartomeus, Ph.D., says. “If bees and plants responded differently to climate change, bees could emerge in the spring before plants were flowering, in which case the bees would die because they wouldn’t have anything to eat. Or plants could flower before the bees emerged, in which case the plants would not be pollinated and would fail to reproduce.”


Source: USA Today

Recycled Shelters

Nigeria Makes Houses from Plastic Bottles

Citizens of Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation, can now live “inside” the plastic water bottles that previously littered their roads, canals and gutters, thanks to a project initiated by the Kaduna-based nongovernmental organization (NGO) Developmental Association for Renewable Energies, with help from foreign experts from African Community Trust, a London-based NGO. The prototype 624-square-foot, two-bedroom bungalow looks like an ordinary home, but it is made from capped, sand-filled plastic bottles. The bottles are stacked into layers and bonded together by mud and cement, with an intricate network of strings holding each bottle by its neck, providing extra support to the structure. Once approved, the country will start construction to alleviate a current deficit of 16 million housing units.

Celebrate Earth Day with Natural Awakenings’ April edition, brimming with eco-solutions for your home, work and everyday family life.


Celebrate International Women’s Day March 8 Viva la femme: 2012 marks the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day. For activities worldwide, visit

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

616-656-9232 natural awakenings

March 2012


ecotip Cold Comfort Big Boosts in Fridge Efficiency

Refrigerator manufacturers are making huge strides in creating more energy-efficient products, and with recent improvements in standards, upcoming designs will use a fifth of the energy that household refrigerators required 40 years ago. That will save the average owner about $150 over a typical 12year product lifetime. Government analysts note that side-by-side refrigerators might be more convenient than traditional top-and-bottom models, but they offer less usable space and use more electricity—50 to 150 more kilowatt-hours (kWh) per year, about 20 percent of the unit’s total energy consumption. An icemaker and door-accessed ice and water service can each add another 10 to 15 percent to overall refrigerator energy consumption. Top Ten USA, the leading source of independent information about the energy efficiency of common products, identifies and publicizes the most efficient products on the market, so that when consumers are able to find the most energy- and money-saving models to buy, manufacturers are encouraged to make products even more energy-efficient. The nonprofit uses comprehensive information from Energy Star, the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC), The California Energy Commission and professional and manufacturing trade publications to evaluate and determine the most energy-efficient refrigerators and freezers in the United States. They recently tested three size categories: medium (14 to 18 cubic feet); large (18 to 22 cubic feet) and extra-large (22 cubic feet and up). To compare the top 10 most efficient medium refrigerator models, visit Energy Star, a joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy, calculates that by upgrading to Energy Star appliances, Americans saved enough energy in 2010 alone to avoid creating greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those from 33 million cars, while saving nearly $18 billion on their utility bills. Source: 14

West Michigan Edition

consciouseating “Having a realistic weekly budget is helpful, because you can’t go too far over budget before you realize you are in trouble,” advises Lisa Leake. To make it even easier to stay on track, she makes it a habit to shop near home and uses cash instead of credit.


Seasonal Shopping

“If we shop for seasonal produce and freeze or can surplus from our local farmers’ market, we can eat well all year and still eat frugally,” advises Rebecca Miller, a macrobiotic and healing foods caterer from Overland Park, Kansas. “When fresh blueberries are $3 a cup at the grocery during the off-season, for example, we can still enjoy canned berries in recipes or thawed from the freezer on our morning oatmeal.”

Eating Down the Fridge In tough economic times, many families include food in their spending cuts. How can we tighten our budget and yet still eat well?


ix months ago, Josh Viertel threw down the “value meal” gauntlet in a major way. The Slow Food USA president challenged cooks around the country to create a family-friendly feast for under $5. Many responded, sharing their tips and tricks at SlowFoodUSA. org/5Challenge. Here are some favorites.

Setting a Budget

Five dollars per meal for 21 meals a week, plus snacks, neatly totals the $125 weekly food budget set by the Leake family, of Charlotte, North Carolina. Lisa and Jason Leake, parents of two young daughters, first explored what it would be like to eliminate processed food from their diet, which they describe in their blog at Their success led to the additional challenge of eating real food on a budget.

Seattle-based Kim O’Donnel, author of The Meatlover’s Meatless Cookbook, blogs about family meals for USA Today. “I regularly emphasize what I call ‘eating down the frig,’” she says. “That means making use of what we’ve got on hand, like generations before us that also went through food shortages. We’re just out of practice.” One way to help ourselves learn, says O’Donnel, is to stock a “smarter” pantry. Staples include different varieties of dried beans; lentils; quickcooking grains such as quinoa, bulgur, couscous and purple barley; garbanzo beans; brown and black rice; and a few BPA-free canned goods like tomatoes, black beans and chickpeas. “If we take our time and watch for good deals, we can build a pantry at a low cost,” she says, because such ingredients are basically “blank slates.” As just one example of a low-cost, pantry-based

meal, O’Donnel might start with cooked red lentils, then add fresh ginger and garlic, sautéed onion with cumin, and fresh spinach and tomatoes, and then serve it with whole-wheat pita bread.

Ingredient-First Cooking

Jane Zieha, a certified public accountant, knows that feeding people and watching the bottom line can go together. She owns the acclaimed Blue Bird Bistro, in Kansas City, Missouri. An avowed all-natural, organic, sustainable and local foods passionista, Zieha has stayed true to the principles of her Pennsylvania upbringing. “I didn’t eat like anybody else growing up,” she says. “We never ate packaged food. We ate what was fresh. When I was old enough to go to a friend’s house for dinner, I was surprised at how they ate.” Today, both at home and at work, Zieha continues to select the best that local farmers can provide. “I don’t start with a recipe and then find the food, like most chefs and restaurants do,” she explains. “I find the ingredients and then go from there.”

Meat as a Condiment

More expensive ingredients, such as heritage turkey, can bring more flavor and texture to an entrée as an ingredient instead of a standalone part of a meal, advises Zieha. She might feature heritage turkey in an enchilada filling, pasta or savory bread pudding, so that a little goes a long way. It also makes sense to shop for varieties of fish or cuts of meat that aren’t widely popular or that take longer to cook. Slow Food’s Viertel, who shops near Brooklyn, New York, remarks: “I buy ‘trash fish’—sea robin, squid, mackerel, sardines—because they are cheaper and I believe, taste best. The same is true of the other meats I buy. I never cook pork chops or filet mignon; I cook oxtail and short ribs.” Then, O’Donnel adds, the frugal cook turns bones of roasted poultry or trimmings from a whole fish into a delicious stock. Any homemade broth can be just the frozen asset we need for yet another tasty “value” meal. Cookbook author Judith Fertig writes at

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March 2012



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Yoga Mitigates Prison Recidivism

by Linda Ellis Overcrowding is a serious issue in American prisons partly because the rate of recidivism (return) is high. A 1994 study showed that 67.5 percent of the 300,000 adult prisoners released in 15 states were re-arrested within three years. James Fox, founder of the nonprofit Prison Yoga Project ( believes that part of the problem is that the U.S. prison system overly emphasizes punishment during incarceration and that programs such as yoga classes might lower the rate of recidivism. He is an advocate for restorative justice and has worked with prisoners for 10 years. The theory is that yoga and meditation help prison inmates develop important emotional and social skills, including impulse control and willpower, and thus reduce tendencies toward antisocial and criminal behaviors. Fox observes how anyone that adheres to the practice can develop mindfulness, patience, diligence and self-motivation. The Prison Yoga Project provides training for yoga teachers that want to work in prisons. Fox also would like to maintain a scholarship fund to help former inmates do teacher training, so they can make a career out of the practice. Source:


ave you ever walked through a cemetery or read an obituary and pondered that small, seemingly insignificant dash between the day someone was born and the date he or she departed? This oftenoverlooked little line ultimately represents every breath and step we take in life. Until an epiphany awakens us to the brevity of this dash with which we have been blessed, true appreciation of our life cannot begin.

So think about this long and hard; are there things you’d like to change? For you never know how much time is left that can still be rearranged. When, as newborns, we take that first independent, deliberate breath, we sign an invisible contract with life that we will do everything we can to preserve, cherish and live it. By seizing and inhabiting our moments and living our dash, instead of simply existing, we are abiding by that first unspoken oath. Because success should not be measured in what you will buy, or own, but in the pride you feel

in the person you’re with … when you are all alone. When we spend our time focused on problems, we subconsciously disregard all that is not a problem. In mulling over yesterday and worrying about tomorrow, we fail to recognize the presence of today. When we postpone living until everything is running smoothly, we forfeit the minutes of our now. Instead of focusing on the next achievement or acquisition, we need to practice focusing on all the blessings around us—our loved ones and the sheer pleasure found in simply being. The poet in me writes: So live in your now; be conscious, sincere. Let your mind allow you to be in your here! For it matters not, how much we own, the cars… the house… the cash. What matters is how we live and love and how we spend our dash. Linda Ellis’ global touchstone poem, The Dash, was followed by the Live Your Dash poem, and her new book, Live Your Dash. Join the conversation at and

natural awakenings

March 2012




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t’s important to note that wounds and infections would never heal without the presence of acute inflammation, the body’s normal biological response to harmful pathogens, damaged cells and irritants. Although this protective measure to initiate the body’s natural healing response is often misrepresented as being synonymous with infection, it is not; even when the inflammation is caused by infection. Dr. Vijay Jain, an expert in ayurvedic medicine, explains how the system normally works: “An infection brings about an acute inflammatory response and also summons the aid of immune system cells such as lymphocytes—thymus cells (T cells), bursaderived cells (B cells) and natural killer (NK) cells—as well as monocytes (a type of white blood cell). These then migrate through the bloodstream to eliminate specific pathogens or pathogen-infected cells.” In contrast, chronic inflammation occurs when the immune response stays activated, rather than naturally

abating, and the body’s defense system consequently turns against itself. Today, a number of leading physician scientists including Jain are drawing attention to an epidemic of cases of such chronic inflammation. With 35 years of experience in general surgery and 15 years of focused study in integrative medicine, Jain bases his concern on extensive study and research. He currently serves as the medical director of Amrit Ayurveda for Total Well Being, at the Amrit Yoga Institute, in Salt Springs, Florida. Floyd H. Chilton, Ph.D., author of Inflammation Nation, and professor of physiology and pharmacology at Wake Forest School of Medicine, in WinstonSalem, North Carolina, is on the same wavelength. Trained as a physician and specialist in infectious disease and inflammation at Harvard Medical School, Chilton’s 20 years of research have likewise led him, along with pioneers like Dr. Andrew Weil, to conclude that chronic, systemic inflammation is the root cause of many diseases.

The condition has been linked to rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, Crohn’s disease, psoriasis, irritable bowel syndrome, diabetes, allergies, arthritis, atherosclerosis, Alzheimer’s and cancer. Furthermore, in 2000, The New England Journal of Medicine published several studies showing that blood indicators of inflammation (such as homocysteine, fibrinogen and Creactive protein) are strong predictive factors for a heart attack. These experts all point to the standard American diet as a primary culprit for setting chronic inflammation in motion, and cite an anti-inflammatory diet as helpful in counteracting the problem. Kathy Bero, founder of at NuGensis Farm, Inc., in Pewaukee, Wisconsin, attests that an anti-inflammatory diet containing many angiogenesis-inhibiting foods was a major factor in the remission of three aggressive forms of cancer that threatened her life six years ago. “Many of the diseases linked to chronic systemic inflammation also share a dependence on inappropriate blood vessel growth, which either nourishes the disease or hinders the body’s fight against it,” Bero explains.

“Angiogenesis-inhibiting foods are known to assist the body in controlling the healthy growth of blood vessels.” The nonprofit NuGenesis Farm supports 35 acres dedicated to growing anti-inflammatory and angiogenesis-balancing foods with the strongest disease prevention properties, using sustainable organic agriculture practices. It offers a “food as medicine” model for global communities seeking alternative methods for naturally preventing disease. An anti-inflammatory diet recommended by family physician and nutritionist Ann Kulze, author of Dr. Ann’s 10-Step Diet, includes colorful, fresh fruits; green, leafy vegetables; low-glycemic foods such as whole grains, sweet potatoes and winter squashes; fruits such as berries, cherries, apples and pears; high-quality protein in omega-3-rich fish such as wild salmon, sardines, herring and mackerel; seeds and nuts such as walnuts; and green tea. It also calls for the vegetable-based protein found in soy foods, beans, lentils and other legumes. Ginger and turmeric, dried or fresh, rank among recommended spices. In addition to maintaining a healthy and correct balance between omega-6

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and omega-3 fatty acids, an anti-inflammatory diet eliminates consumption of margarine, vegetable shortening and partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, all of which promote inflammation. “Anti-aging researchers believe that chronic inflammation shortens our lifespan,” remarks Jain, who recommends a prophylactic diet specific to the constitutional makeup of any of the three ayurvedic doshas—vata, pitta or kapha—as well as the annual panchakarma detoxification program. He further emphasizes that food should be freshly prepared with fresh ingredients and loving intention. “Proper economic studies would increase our understanding of the true cost benefit of growing food for the purpose of disease prevention,” says Bero. “Many believe that incorporating anti-inflammatory and angiogenesisinhibiting foods into our daily diet will not only improve both overall health and the outcome of treatment, it will also go a long way in reducing immediate and long-term health care costs.” Linda Sechrist is a senior staff writer for Natural Awakenings magazines.

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Preparing Kids for Tomorrow’s Jobs U.S. Companies Pair Scientists with Schools

experienced, to help them troubleshoot the next time.” Leapin’ Lizards is one of 34 STEM programs nationwide awarded funding through the 2011 Ashoka Changemakers’ Partnering for Excellence competition, backed by U.S. corporate heavyweights like Google, ExxonMobil and Amgen. Many participating companies are investing in STEM school programming to fill the pipeline of homegrown talent for potential future hires.

Citizens Off the Sidelines

Career opportunities in science, technology, engineering and math are projected to grow 70 percent faster than other occupations—with 2.4 million job openings in those fields during the next six years.


hat’s great news for tomorrow’s job-seekers. Yet, most American youth are matriculating out of the country’s schools ill-equipped to compete for these high-tech, high-wage jobs; among developed nations, U.S. high school students currently rank 23rd in science and 31st in mathematics. Now, hundreds of schools are working to better prepare students by harnessing outside resources to reinvigorate science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) curricula in classrooms and afterschool programs. Forget rote memorization of the periodic table of the elements that previous generations may equate with science class. Kids in STEM programs are designing video games, programming robots and building solar cars— fun, hands-on, practical projects that add zest to technical subjects. The extra excitement helps, because many STEM programs extend the school day, either as a mandatory late-day module or an optional afterschool session.


West Michigan Edition

Psyched about Science

Kids like Camerino Sanchez-Park can’t get enough. “Robotics helped me learn a lot about science and batterypowered objects and engines,” says this fifth-grader at Faller Elementary School, in Ridgecrest, California. “The best part was working with the cool, high-tech robots. I would definitely do it again!” Sanchez-Park is one of 87 youths psyched about science as a result of hands-on afterschool programs run by a local nonprofit, High Desert Leapin’ Lizards. It taps the brainpower of scientists and engineers from a nearby naval base to instruct in subjects like renewable energy, chemistry and robotics. Rather than focusing on abstract concepts, students create working windmills or robots capable of tackling obstacle courses. “It not only sparks an interest in science, it teaches them how to think like a scientist,” says Program Administrator Sandra Goldstein Birmingham. “For example, the kids maintain an engineering journal of the challenges they

Courtesy of and Citizen Schools

by April Thompson

Another Ashoka winner, Citizen Schools, sees the challenge as a supplyand-demand problem that includes a lack of teachers trained to meet the current needs for STEM education. Consider, though, the 10 million professionals currently working in related fields, and Americans have a system-wide solution. “If we can put just 1 percent of them in the classroom, we could more than double the math and science teachers in the country,” advises Managing Director John Werner. Citizen Schools recruits corporate volunteers from the ranks of top technology, architecture, finance and other fields to lead afterschool “apprenticeships” for disadvantaged kids in public middle schools. Participating states include California, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Massachusetts and Texas. Google has provided some 350 volunteers, plus a recent $3.25 million grant to expand Citizen Schools activi-

ties in three state programs. Its employees supply an appealing bridge from academics to up-and-coming careers, teaching kids marketable skills like website design, cell phone marketing and computer programming. Collaborating on real-life problems in small groups develops more than tangible skills, attests Marianne DeModena. Her sixth grade son, Christian Deguglielmo, completed apprenticeships with Google at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and with investment advisors Cambridge Associates, both in Boston. “Christian came home a different kid,” says DeModena. “It’s brought out his leadership abilities, school pride, social skills and confidence… it’s really opened up this other side of him. He says Citizen Schools is his favorite subject.” The program’s success is more than anecdotal: A longitudinal study by Policy Studies Associates, Inc. found that kids enrolled in Citizen Schools afterschool programs significantly outperformed a comparison group on a range of indicators, including school attendance, proficiency test scores and graduation rate.

Gateway to the Stars

Howard University Middle School of Mathematics and Science, or (MS)², taps into higher institutions of learning as another rich source of STEM prowess. Founded in 2005, the Washington, D.C., public charter school is located at the university, one of the nation’s preeminent historically black colleges. Every (MS)² classroom includes at least one undergraduate teaching assistant, providing youths with collegiate role models in STEM fields, while giving university students an opportunity to test their teaching skills. The school also partners with NASA, which pairs its engineers with teachers for professional development, and sponsors rigorous student workshops in astronautics at its Goddard Space Flight Center, in Greenbelt, Maryland. The collaboration gives students a scientific leg up while broadening their career possibilities. “Employees within the space program range from botanists to ballet dancers, all necessary in helping to get astronauts ready for takeoff,” says natural awakenings

March 2012


Yohance Maqubela, executive director of (MS)². He recognizes that not every student will end up pursuing a career in a STEM field, but that science and technology will permeate whatever discipline they choose. Above all, STEM curricula are designed to address one of the most frequently asked student questions: “Why am I learning this?” By making learning more relevant, these programs are help-

ing kids stay motivated, think critically about their surroundings and connect the dots so they see the big picture. It’s a mindset that will serve them well, wherever life leads them. April Thompson is a freelance writer in Washington, D.C. Connect at

Boot Camps for the Career-Bound Courtesy of and Citizen Schools

by April Thompson


amps specializing in STEM-related subjects are cropping up across the nation. For a period of a week or more, they give children the chance to steep themselves in a favorite subject with peers that share their passions. Hands-on projects such as sleuthing crime scenes and assessing environmental habitats give kids a taste of what it’s like to work in a particular field and stretch their brains and muscles in the process. Here are just a few of the types of STEM-oriented camps offered. Visit for a comprehensive listing. Experimenting: General science camps make it possible to sample its different branches, from astronomy to zoology, and learn how things work through fun, interactive experiments. These group-oriented camps foster leadership and teamwork, as well as curiosity and discipline; key characteristics for any career in science. Animals: Veterinary camps teach skills ranging from basic animal handling to diagnosing disease. Often co-sponsored by university animal science programs, these camps typically blend lab and classroom work with fascinating field trips. Beachcombing: Marine sciences camps help introduce kids to Earth’s precious and complex maritime and underwater ecosystems. These camps often involve enjoyable activities like tidepooling, beach surveys and canoeing, while teaching skills such as conservation principles and sampling methods. Mystery: Crime scene investigation (CSI) camps introduce youths to the field of forensic sciences. Campers learn the art and craft of evidence collection, while developing observation and problem-solving skills. They may get to practice DNA testing, ballistics analysis, autopsy techniques and other tools of the trade. Robot building: Robotics camps make the challenging field of engineering approachable for children of all ages. Students are taken step-by-step through the engineering process, from designing and building through programming and testing. The sessions often culminate in a competition in which camp robots are pitted against each other on a ball field or obstacle course.


West Michigan Edition


CHOOSING FORKS OVER KNIVES Doctors Advocate a Plant-Based Diet by Linda Sechrist


ilm Producer Brian Wendel’s concern for the many Americans suffering from multiple chronic diseases, as well as the strain this puts on our nation’s health care system and economy, sparked the idea for documenting what doctors researching the issue have to say about it. In his latest film, Forks Over Knives, these pioneering thinkers examine the claim that most, if not all, of the degenerative diseases afflicting humanity can be controlled or reversed by avoiding the ingestion of animal-based and processed foods; more, they make a compelling case that switching to a whole-foods, plant-based diet can restore health. Much of the foundational science showing why a plant-based diet of whole foods is not only best for everyone’s health, but also for the planet, comes from noted nutrition research pioneer T. Colin Campbell, Ph.D. He has summarized his results in his book, The China Study, co-authored with his son, Dr. Thomas M. Campbell. His 1980 study of 130 Chinese villages, involving 6,500 adults and their families, directly tied the consumption of animal protein-based foods to the development of cancer and heart disease. Based on his research, Colin Campbell, teamed up with Dr. Junshi Chen, currently a senior research professor with the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, in Beijing, specifically characterized casein, a protein found in milk from

mammals, as “the most relevant carcinogen ever identified.” With concrete evidence in hand, and accounting for other diet and lifestyle factors, the pair went on to conclude that consuming whole, plant-based foods offers the best strategy for improving health and preventing serious diseases. Other solid science presented in the film comes from Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr., whose 150 scientific articles complement the 1995 publication of his peer-acclaimed book, Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease, which summarizes the results of his long-term research on arresting and reversing coronary artery disease through

nutrition. In his two decades of global research, Esselstyn, who directs the cardiovascular prevention and reversal program at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute, found that wherever people ate a plant-based diet, cancer and cardiovascular diseases were rare. In many of the case histories and personal stories chronicled in Forks Over Knives, diet was used as a treatment for various diseases and cited as being more effective than prescription drugs. Anthony Yen and Evelyn Oswick, for example, attest how their lives were saved by switching to a whole-foods, plant-based diet after a lifetime of illness that included multiple heart attacks and surgeries, as well as chronic chest pain. Treatment under the care of Esselstyn succeeded in reversing advanced-stage heart disease in both cases. Today, they enjoy active lives full of friends, family and meaningful work. Social media channels such as Facebook have been vital to spreading the word about the effective solutions presented by the Forks Over Knives film and companion book (complete with recipes). Wendel reports inspiring posts such as, “Your film changed my life,” or “I no longer require diabetes medication.” Potential savings in costs to people and the planet are vast. Consider, for instance, that according to the Polytechnic Institute of New York University, if the entire U.S. population were to adopt a plant-based diet for just one day, the nation would save at least 100 billion gallons of drinking water, enough to supply every person in every home in New England for nearly four months. Wendel foresees the ForksOver website ultimately expanding into a news resource, linking people with information provided by leading experts in the whole-foods, plant-based world via various media platforms. It will also provide opportunities to blog with experts, listen to live broadcasts about food preparation and find resources to help individuals transition to a healthier, plant-based diet. Linda Sechrist is a senior staff writer for Natural Awakenings magazines.

natural awakenings

March 2012


Changing the Way America Eats Nourishing the Shift to Farm-Fresh Foods

Farmers’ Job Market

by Melinda Hemmelgarn


entucky farmer and writer Wendell Berry states that in order for people to care about their food, “They have to taste it.” Tasting the difference between fresh, local, organic foods and those that travel hundreds or thousands of miles before touching our taste buds is catalyzing a healthy change across America. Consider the growth in patronage of farmers’ markets alone: The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reports the number of markets has soared, from 1,755 in 1994 to 7,175 in 2011. What’s driving the surge? Incentives include our appreciation of scrumptious seasonal flavor, a comforting sense of community and the reas-


West Michigan Edition

cies,” have “statistically different nutrient contents.” In other words, each variety promises a unique mix of healthprotecting compounds. Supermarkets must rely on crops and animal products that can withstand longdistance travel and also meet uniform appearance standards. Small farmers serving local markets, on the other hand, can better preserve the legacy of biologically diverse heirloom crops and heritage breeds because of the shorter distances between field and plate. An heirloom tomato picked ripe at peak flavor can’t survive a lengthy commute, but nothing tastes better when it’s plucked fresh from the vine and still warm from the sun. Planting diverse, region-specific crops also reduces the burden of weeds, pests and plant diseases—and any related chemical use—and helps provide safe nourishment for pollinators and wildlife, as well. No wonder the Organic Farming Research Foundation characterizes farmers as the largest group of ecosystem managers on Earth. Everyone can support a cause that feeds us well while caring for the planet.

surance of knowing exactly where our food comes from and who—often on a first-name basis—grew or produced it. Good, healthy food germinates in genuine relationships—between growers and consumers, and farmers and the Earth. Local markets boost hometown economies, too; the USDA predicts a record $7 billion in such food sales this year, delivering a greater proportion of food dollars directly to farmers. Regional food systems also support the biological diversity that is vital to sustainability. According to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization, “different varieties of the same spe-

With 57 being the current average age of American farmers, and more than a quarter 65 or older, the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition recognizes the desperate need for more young farmers. When the National Young Farmer’s Coalition recently surveyed 1,000 beginning farmers, it found that access to capital, land and health insurance presented the biggest hurdles to entering farming as a career. The Women, Food and Agriculture Network has identified access to health care as the main challenge facing females that want to farm. While city dwellers tend to idealize farming as a romantic occupation in a bucolic setting, it is actually a risky, physically demanding job. Despite the

challenges, farmers say they love their work because they enjoy being outside, working with their hands, producing high-quality food and being their own boss. It helps to be healthy, smart and an optimist at heart.

Sticker Price versus Hidden Costs

To consumers coping in a down economy, the cheapest price may sometimes seem like the best choice. John Ikerd, professor emeritus of agricultural economics at the University of Missouri, notes that, “Americans, on average, are spending only half as much of their disposable income for food today as they were in the 1960s.” However, at the same time, “The percentage spent on health care has doubled.” Scores of studies show that many of today’s chronic diseases are related to poor diet. Factor in medical costs associated with food-borne illnesses, antibiotic-resistant bacteria and pesticide- and hormone-contaminated food and water, and it’s easy to understand why Michael Carolan, author of The Real Cost of Cheap Food, declares, “Cheap food... is actually quite expensive.” One way for families to save money on food costs is to reduce waste. Jonathan Bloom, author of American Wasteland, says Americans waste more than 40 percent of the food we produce for consumption, throwing away $100 billion-plus in food a year. Most of it ends up in landfills. Instead of providing incentives to agribusinesses to produce less expensive food, smarter national farm and food policies could prioritize producing higher quality food and wasting less of it. Kathy Bero, board president of NuGenesis Farm, in Pewaukee, Wisconsin, advocates shifting commodity payments to organic farmers. Her nonprofit educational farm promotes “food as medicine,” along with cost-saving, health-boosting consumer strategies such as learning how to garden and cook to maximize nutritional value.

Inspiring Trends

Stephanie Coughlin, a farmer in San Diego, California, says: “If you don’t have local farms, you don’t have local security.” Across the country, communities are proving how a few conscious buyers can improve everyone’s access to high-quality local foods. Farm to Hospital: As director of nutrition services at Fletcher Allen Health Care, in Burlington, Vermont, Registered Dietitian Diane Imrie has the power to influence the economic security and sustainability of her community and surrounding region. Imrie sources approximately 40 percent of the food served at her hospital from farms located within a day’s drive. In her work, she helps keep farmers on their land while providing higher quality food to patients and staff. The facility also supports onsite gardens, which yielded $2,000 worth of produce in 2011, despite Vermont’s short growing season. The hospital food is so popular that its café serves downtown businesspeople, further bolstering profitability and community benefits. For local maple sugar producer Bernie Comeau, Imrie’s consistent purchases provide an income he can count on every month. Imrie is glad to note that for farmers, selling their food to the hospital is “like a stamp of approval.” Marydale DeBor, who founded and led the “plow to plate” comprehensive food and disease-prevention initiative associated with Connecticut’s New Milford Hospital, maintains that, “Institutional leadership is critical.” She says that thanks to a supportive CEO that believed in bringing farm-fresh foods to hospital food services, their retail café more than doubled its revenue within two years. DeBor believes that hospital food should set an example for public health.

natural awakenings

March 2012


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“We need to support beginning farmers, and more food hubs and new distribution systems to facilitate access,” she says. “Consumers need to let their hospitals know they should focus on good food and nutrition.” Farm to Restaurant: Leigh Lockhart, owner of Main Squeeze Natural Foods Café and Juice Bar, in Columbia, Missouri, buys supplies directly from local organic farmers and never quibbles about price. She composts any food waste in her garden, where she grows some of the produce used in her restaurant. Rather than large plates of cheap food, Lockhart serves portions within U.S. Dietary Guidelines, comprising higher quality, more satisfying meals. Relationships with chefs are important to farmers, advises Carol Ann Sayle, owner of Boggy Creek Organic Farm, in Austin, Texas. Farmers can rely on a sure buyer; chefs appreciate dependable and high quality food; and customers return because of the great taste. Farm to School: Organic farmer Don Bustos, program director for the American Friends Service Committee of New Mexico, trains beginning farmers and ranchers in ways to provide food to the Albuquerque Public School District and beyond. For example, farmers grow crops during the winter in solarpowered greenhouses, and aggregate their products to meet school needs. Mobile meat processing and distribution networks also create jobs while keeping small farmers economically and environmentally viable, explains Bustos. Local agriculture fuels strong communities and fresh local foods help children thrive. In the Pacific Northwest, AmeriCorps volunteer Emma Brewster works with the Real Food Challenge, a national youth-based program that

encourages colleges and universities to shift 20 percent of their food budgets to farm-fresh, locally sourced foods. Brewster works with Lucy Norris, project manager for the Puget Sound Food Network, which creates opportunities beyond farmers’ markets for local area farmers to connect with regional processors, distributors and end users, including Seattle Public Schools.

Hands in the Dirt

Regardless of occupation, many people feel a natural urge to work with the soil and witness the miracle of seeds sprouting new life. Rose HaydenSmith, Ph.D., a garden historian and a designated leader in sustainable food systems at the University of California– Davis, points out that home, school, community and workplace victory gardens established during World War II succeeded in producing about 40 percent of our nation’s vegetables. In both world wars, she says, our national leadership “recognized that food and health were vital national security issues.” They still are today. Melinda Hemmelgarn, a.k.a. the Food Sleuth (, is a registered dietitian and award-winning writer and radio host, based in Columbia, Missouri. She co-created F.A.R.M.: Food, Art, Revolution Media – a Focus on Photography to Re-vitalize Agriculture and Strengthen Democracy to increase advocacy for organic farmers ( Learn more at Food Sleuth Radio at

2012 Farm Bill Update by Melinda Hemmelgarn


he single piece of legislation known as the Farm Bill currently contains $90 billion in taxpayer funding and significantly affects farming, conservation, energy and the quality and price of the food on our plates. When the bill comes up for renewal every five years, the public has a chance to voice support for a greener, healthier, more sustainable food and farming system. Sign up for Farm Bill updates and action alerts from the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (website below), and talk with members of Congress about concerns. Marydale DeBor, who works to improve food quality in Connecticut, recommends that citizens align with farm advocacy organizations. “Advocacy is the single most important need now, around the Farm Bill and state policies,” she says.

Did you know?

n Most Farm Bill dollars support food assistance programs, namely food stamps or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), our nation’s largest safety net against hunger. In 2012, SNAP is projected to consume 75 percent of the total Farm Bill budget. n Most SNAP benefits are spent in supermarkets and convenience stores. SNAP can be used at farmers’ markets, but only by those that accept electronic benefits transfer (EBT) cards. In 2011, SNAP’s $11 million of the program’s total $71 billion benefits were redeemed at farmers’ markets nationwide, directly benefiting local farmers. n Crop insurance is the second-largest Farm Bill budget item. n The majority of subsidy payments go to large farms producing corn, cotton, wheat, rice and soybeans, which helps explain why soda is cheaper than 100 percent fruit juice, and corn-fed feedlot beef costs less than organic, grass-fed beef. n An improved Farm Bill would provide participation incentives for conservation, beginning farmers, local food economies and organic agriculture, and better align agriculture with public health.

Learn more about the 2012 Farm Bill at:

How to Grow and Find Local Food Find a farmers’ market In season in the region; local harvest calendars and markets Locate sustainably grown food nearby

Environmental Working Group and EWG Action Fund

Food Fight: The Citizen’s Guide to the Next Food and Farm Bill, by Daniel Imhoff Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition

Food gardening tips

natural awakenings

March 2012



Rooftop Raised-Beds

Urban farmers in the United States are now transforming an increasingly significant portion of the country’s millions of acres of flat rooftops. Launched in 2010, New York’s Brooklyn Grange rooftop farm operation (BrooklynGrangeFarm. com), totaling nearly an acre atop a mid-rise warehouse, is among the largest of its kind. Sometimes called “vertigo farming”, because the farmers overlook an urban skyline, these enterprises re-green the landscape, wisely manage rainwater and rebuild affordable local fresh food systems. The Grange grows produce in seven-inch-deep beds using a growing medium made from compost and small, porous stones and annually produces 40 cultivars of organic tomatoes, salad greens, peppers, Swiss chard, beets and carrots. Food is sometimes transported to market via bicycles.

Window Gardens

Windowfarm co-founders Rebecca Bray and Britta Riley ( help homeowners grow some of their own food in window spaces year-round. Their research-and-develop-it-yourself hydroponic system project facilitates plant cultivation without soil, using nutrient-infused water pumped through a series of growing containers. To date, more than 20,000 people have downloaded plans for their own Windowfarm.


Alleyway Wonders

In the East Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago, flowers, ferns and ivy gardens have replaced concrete alleyways thanks to Podmajersky, a local real estate development firm. The lush gardens provide a tranquil sanctuary from city bustle and an aesthetically pleasing and inspiring surrounding for the Chicago Arts District, home to 1,500 artists and other creative entrepreneurs. In Monroe, Wisconsin, one resident turned a humble downtown alley into a welcoming nature-scape. Taking advantage of the “heat-island effect” generated in paved urban areas from hard-surface buildings and a nearby parking lot, as well as a southern exposure, his Midwest gardens even include cacti.

GARDENS No Space? No Problem. by Lisa Kivirist and John Ivanko


or everyone that feels surrounded by a concrete jungle occasionally relieved by a pocket park, green strip or landscaped median, the concept of finding a place to grow their own food may seem like a fantasy. Fortunately, backyard, rooftop and community gardens are good ideas that are coming on strong. Around the country, productive green spaces are replacing paved lots and lawns with edible perennials and seasonal crops that enable folks to eat better and fresher, while reducing the family food bill. “Food plants can be grown anywhere, including on a high-rise balcony, miles from the nearest farm,” says David Tracey, author of Urban Agriculture: Ideas and Designs for the New Food Revolution. “You just need to meet the plant’s basic requirements for sunlight, water and a few nutrients. Cities are great places to grow specific kinds of food; they tend to have plenty of niche areas such as empty lots, rooftops and the ends of streets that new urban gardeners are using for growing fresh crops like salad greens and tomatoes.”


West Michigan Edition

Go Fish

Aquaponics is a well-organized way to sustainably raise fish and fresh produce together. “It mimics natural recirculation of resources in wetlands in a constructed dual-use ecosystem; the only inputs are fish feed and a small amount of power,” explains Sylvia Bernstein, author of Aquaponic Gardening and founder of “Because an aquaponic system can be set up anywhere, including warehouses, parking lots and exhausted fields, it is ideally suited to help localize food production and provide an alternative to clearing more land to feed our future.”

Patio Paradise

“When your space is limited, you start to think creatively about how to best use it,” notes Tracey. “Consider all three dimensions of a balcony or other narrow areas to maximize lists some 2,500 community gardens in its database, as does the American Community Gardening Association ( growing potential. Climbing vines such as grapes and berries, hanging pots with tomatoes and nasturtium, and fruit trees in half-barrels are great ways to grow more food in a small space. The crops don’t know they’re in a pot.” Herbs also love containers. Some plants, like tomatoes, can even be grown upside-down to more efficiently use limited space.

Vacant Lots

“Community gardens are an excellent solution for those with the garden itch and no good land to scratch,” advises Roger Doiron, founder of Kitchen Gardeners International (Kitchen, a nonprofit community of 20,000 members that has been cultivating change since 2008. Community gardens have taken over empty city lots, church lawns and schoolyards that are collectively farmed for food, relaxation or social camaraderie. Co-gardening a neighbor’s lot and sharing the harvest is another option.

Eating the Lawn

Garden-Fresh Recipes Lemon Balm Iced Tea Yields 8 servings Lemon balm grows prolifically and is ideal for a refreshing summertime iced tea. Slowly simmer the flavor out of the lemon balm in a slow cooker or simmer on the stove. Vary proportions depending on the pot size and desired sweetness. Big bunch of fresh lemon balm stalks with leaves ½ cup honey ¼ cup lemon juice 8 cups purified water 1. Stuff as much rinsed lemon balm into a slow cooker as will fit. Cover with approximately 8 cups of water, depending on the size of the slow cooker, and let simmer about three hours on low heat. 2. Drain the resulting liquid into a pitcher. 3. While it’s still warm, add honey and lemon juice. It is easier to add the honey while the tea is still warm, because it readily dissolves. Add more water to taste. 4. Chill before serving.

Strawberry Spinach Salad

“There are no beauty contests in the plant world, but, if there were, a productive, ever-changing patch of diverse vegetables would beat out a monoculture of turf grass any time,” says Doiron, smiling. Put into food production, America’s 25 million acres of lawns could go a long way toward reducing the environmental cost of transporting produce hundreds or thousands of miles. Americans growing their own food isn’t a pie-in-the-sky fantasy. As University of California garden historian Rose Hayden-Smith confirms, “During the peak year for Victory Gardens, 1943, some government estimates indicated that up to 40 percent of the fresh fruits and vegetables consumed on the American home front were produced in school, home, community and workplace gardens.” “One of the first steps in bringing healthy foods to the forefront of society is bringing them to the front and center of our living spaces,” concludes Doiron. “Growing food in small spaces is all about doing what you can with what you have. It’s a matter of changing our notion of potential foodproducing landscapes.” It does wonders for people’s connection to nature, too.

Yields 4 servings

John Ivanko and Lisa Kivirist are co-authors of Farmstead Chef (, ECOpreneuring and Rural Renaissance. Their award-winning Inn Serendipity B&B ( operates completely on renewable energy.

1. Mix spinach and strawberries in a large salad bowl.

Foodies prefer strawberries that are red inside and out, quarter-sized and organically grown. The dressing helps accent the sweetness of the fresh strawberries and spinach, with a nutty crunch from the chopped peanuts. Note: Mega-mutation versions of California strawberries are often sprayed with poisonous pest fumigants that harm people and the planet. 8 cups fresh spinach; wash, remove stems and tear into small pieces 3 cups fresh strawberries, sliced For the dressing: ½ cup water 1 cup vegetable oil ½ cup salted peanuts 1 /3 cup honey 3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

2. Combine all dressing ingredients in a blender. Pour to taste over salad. natural awakenings

March 2012


THE BEAUTY OF BONSAI by Sharon Pisacreta


classic poem states that “only God can make a tree”, but growing a bonsai tree allows us to take part in this creative process. Anyone who has had the pleasure of shaping and nurturing one of these exquisite plants knows that a bonsai is a living work of art. And along with the satisfaction of growing a miniature maple tree or a two-foot tall birch forest, bonsai lovers understand that the process can be life altering. Colin Lewis, celebrated bonsai teacher, believes “a bonsai is a microcosm containing within it, unchanged in everything but size, the mystery of the universe.” Small wonder that so many gardeners choose to learn the ancient tradition of bonsai. Bonsai is a Japanese word, but it is derived from the Chinese ‘pen-tsai’, which means trees taken from nature and transplanted to decorative pots. For centuries, Chinese poets wrote of trees as living links between heaven and earth, so it is not surprising that one of the earliest references to bonsai can be traced to China in the 3rd century BC. Although bonsai was introduced to the West in the 19th century, North American interest was sparked following WWII when returning soldiers brought back miniature trees from Japan. In the following decades, increasing numbers of Americans and Europeans began to grow bonsai trees, inspired by the spectacular bonsai exhibitions on display during the 1964 Tokyo Olympics and Expo 1970. If you are ready to join the millions of hobbyists worldwide, here is a primer on the art – and the beauty – of bonsai. The Bonsai Gardener – First decide on whether you wish to grow an outdoor bonsai or one that will spend most it its time indoors. Plants suitable for indoor bonsai include bamboo, gardenia, box, fig, Chinese elm and bougainvillea. A wider selection of trees are recommended for outdoors, such as Japanese maple, birch, beech, juniper, holly, cedar, rhododendron, lilac and spruce. While a bonsai is a fully mature tree trained to remain small, there are three different size classifications. Mini Bonsai can be held in one hand and are trained to grow no larger than 2-6 inches. Although Mini Bonsai are very popular, they are often the most difficult to grow. Two hands are required to carry a Classical Bonsai, which grows from 6 inches to two feet in height. And a Great Bonsai measures between 2-4 feet, necessitating two people to transport it. Next, consider which style and shape will work best for your miniature tree. The five basic styles of bonsai trees are formal upright, informal upright, windswept (slanting), semi-cascade, and cascade. These styles are based on the shapes of trees growing in nature. Bonsai experts sometimes train plants to grow into shapes that are not typical for that species (e.g. a blue cedar trained to grow in a cascading shape). However beginners will


West Michigan Edition

find the process easier if they take the tree’s natural form into consideration. Bonsai can be germinated from seeds or grown from leaf or stem cuttings, but many gardeners prefer to jumpstart the process by purchasing a plant from a specialty nursery. Quality plants can also be bought online from sites such as, joebonsai. com and Remember that at least one hour of training should be devoted to each tree every week; if you grow five trees, five hours will be required. Therefore until the basics have been mastered, beginners may find it easier to care for only one or two trees. The Bonsai Artist –The bonsai is not merely an exotic form of houseplant. The grower seeks to create a natural landscape of beauty and serenity. Therefore the container is an important element of the aesthetic experience. After selecting the right color, size and shape for the pot, decide how the tree is to be placed within it. Fortunately containers have been designed with particular bonsai styles in mind. A cascade-style bonsai is frequently planted in a tall octagonal pot, while a low oval pot is best for a windswept bonsai. Harmony is the key factor. Pots should always complement the style of tree as well as the primary color of its leaves and trunk. To bring the tree to maturity, while keeping its size small and proportional, demands precision, care, and an artistic eye. Pay close attention to the placement of the bonsai’s branches, how the trunk tapers, the shape of the roots and the size of the leaves. Since pruning is essential in making a young tree appear mature, a wide array of tools – some quite beautiful – is available for the bonsai grower. A pair of electrician pliers is fine to start with, but the serious enthusiast will want long-handled wire cutters and concave branch cutters. As gardeners become more immersed in the world of bonsai, small pruning saws, small rakes, and fine spray watering cans will inevitably be acquired. A great local resource for bonsai enthusiasts is the West Michigan Bonsai Club (WMBC), which promotes the art of bonsai through workshops, meetings and exhibits. Based in Grand Rapids, the club will host the annual Michigan AllState Bonsai Show at Meijer Gardens on May 12-13. For information about membership or future club events, visit The Spirit of Bonsai – Creating a harmonious setting for the bonsai -- as well as any rocks, moss and other plants that may be part of the bonsai landscape – requires both an artist and a gardener. But the world of bonsai can also provide a profoundly spiritual experience. Although we live in a high-tech world of instant communication, bonsai is an art that demands patience, devotion and mindfulness. In

fact, some bonsai trees last centuries; in Japan bonsai trees are often passed down from generation to generation. Each bonsai is different and original. The successful bonsai gardener honors its unique nature by carefully observing the tree as it responds to its environment and to the grower’s efforts to evoke beauty and balance. It is a journey the gardener and tree take together and both will experience successes and difficulties along the way. As renowned bonsai expert John Naka wrote, “The bonsai is not you working on the tree; you have to have the tree work on you.” Indeed, bonsai masters believe that the tree “speaks” to the gardener. Through this partnership of nature and man, the bonsai often comes to embody an emotion or an idea that only the gardener can discern. It is a journey of spiritual growth that becomes more symbiotic with time. For example, if the grower is setting off on a new direction in life, he or she may feel compelled to uproot the tree and replant it in a new setting. In Japan, bonsai trees are regarded as sacred. They represent the balance between nature and man, co-existing in eternal harmony. Don’t be intimidated by such lofty sentiments. Most people are initially drawn to bonsai because of the beauty and challenge it affords. However once you embark on growing a miniature maple or juniper tree, you may begin to experience a deep oneness not only with the bonsai, but with nature itself. Don’t be surprised. It is only the tree ‘speaking’ to you. Sharon Pisacreta is an award-winning freelance writer who lives in SaugatuckDouglas. She is also the editor of the online site Sharon may be contacted at

natural awakenings

March 2012


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Tip of the Month Use old gutters to hang outside windows or over a deck railing to grow herbs. natural awakenings

March 2012



Step into Fitness Dance your way to a beautifully strong and flexible body. by Sandra Murphy


ichard Simmons grew up in the French Quarter of New Orleans where, he notes, “Lard was a food group and dessert mandatory.” Exercise studios were geared to those already in shape, not to people that wanted to lose weight. So in 1974, Simmons opened Slimmons studio, followed by his classic exercise video, Sweatin’ to the Old-


West Michigan Edition

ies, with motivating tunes like Dancing in the Street, Summer in the City and Loco-Motion; a plus—not everyone in his video is a size 0. Simmons and others have been helping people dance their way to fitness ever since.

Making Dance a Game

In Portland, Oregon, Mara Woloshin

was inspired to get a move on when she complained to her 15-year-old son, Benny, about her weight. “Benny challenged me to do some basic Wii Fitness and then Zumba Fitness,” says Woloshin. “I give myself the right to fail at most exercises and dance moves; I just keep moving and let my son give me tips, pointers and instruction.” Benny puts in his own dance fitness time, plus keeps mom on track for 30 minutes a day. The Wii video game keeps score. “I win sometimes; mostly with yoga, while he is terrific at dance stuff,” Woloshin says. “I’ve logged more than 1,200 days with the Wii so far, and love to shake my size 14 self. I’ve lost eight pounds and have built an incredible relationship with my teenager. We dance, compete, sweat and encourage each other. “We also enjoy conversations before and after Wii time. Are they meaningful? Sometimes. Does he laugh at me? Definitely. Does he look forward to our evening dance workouts together? Absolutely.” Wii games popular around the country include Just Dance, versions one and two, and Just Dance Kids plus Gold’s Gym Dance Workout and Zumba Fitness.

Popular DVDs

In 2011, compiled a list of the best dance videos they ever reviewed. The list launches with their hands-down favorite, So You Think

You Can Dance Get basketball shoes, not Fit series. Melt away running shoes. calories using a variety Community classes of dance styles and fun generally range from moves via Billy Blanks’ 45 to 90 minutes (find Dance with Me Groove a local class at Zumba. & Burn. com). An hour-long Several Dancing regular Zumba class with the Stars cast can burn 400 to 600 ~ Mara Woloshin members have videos calories says Lucas, out to improve fans’ depending upon body look and style. Check out Cheryl Burke weight, workout intensity, conditioning Presents Disco Abs (includes Village level and individual People’s classic YMCA) or Julianne metabolism. As a point of reference, Hough’s Dance with Julianne: Cardio charts calories Ballroom. More experienced dancers burned by a 155-pound person enmay like Dancing with the Stars Ballgaged in an hour of light calisthenics at room Buns and Abs. 246 calories; leisurely biking, 281; and walking briskly uphill, 422. Taking Fun Classes “Find a class and an instructor you “Zumba Gold is a great reentry to exerlike,” counsels Lucas. “Make a commitcise for baby boomers” advises Sherry ment to having some ‘you’ time. Part of Lucas, a licensed Zumba instructor in exercise is being social, so it’s a chance St. Louis. “Classes are approachable, to make new friends, too.” available and affordable.” RecommendDoctor of Natured workout wear includes comfortable opathy Kathy Gruver, Ph.D., finds that sweat-wicking clothing and a good a hip-hop workout best suits her needs pair of shoes. Because of the side-tofour to five times a week. Each 90-minside movements, she suggests tennis or ute class is non-stop action and she

“Give a kid more control and you just might discover a workout partner.”

rarely takes a break, although some class members don’t dance the entire time. Gruver works out at Rhythm Dance & Fitness Studios, near Santa Barbara, California, with choreographer Tamarr Paul. “I grew up dancing jazz, tap and ballet; nothing even close to hip-hop, and there are still moments that I can’t get a certain move or trip over my own feet. Still, it took just a few weeks to get my rhythm back and get in the groove,” says Gruver. “We run through a set of steps multiple times before we add more. Once we’ve learned a whole dance, we run it over and over to different music; some faster, some slower.” With dance, there’s something just right for everyone. Dance with the kids, the dog, while making the beds or vacuuming crumbs. Dance along with a video or take a class to learn something new and different while making new friends. In any case, breathe in the music. It all makes exercise fun. Sandra Murphy is a freelance writer at

natural awakenings

March 2012



Cesar Millan

DOG WHISPERER Never work against Mother Nature; always work with her. by Sandra Murphy


esar Millan learned the benefits of collaborating with nature from his mentor grandfather, and continues to rely on this commonsense approach to life, including in his work with dogs. Years of in-depth research and observations have guided the development of his training philosophies, which are broadcast in 110 countries via his Dog Whisperer series, now airing on National Geographic Wild. “I believe it is important to be as educated about your passion as you can be,” says Millan, a certified trainer and bestselling author on the subject. “I listen to every perspective and point of view. Every system of belief about dog behavior can have something important to contribute. The fun part of my job is teaching pet owners to create balanced and healthy relationships within


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the home,” he continues. “Often, the human can’t see how their behavior is affecting the dog.” Millan’s website tells the story of his original “Aha!” moment. It was while working with actress Jada Pinkett (now Smith) and her dog that he first realized he was not training dogs, but people. “We both achieved confidence through weeks and weeks of hands-on training practice, based on the body language she expressed, the thoughts she focused on and the energy she projected when she was with her dogs,” Millan relates. “I knew then that this would be my new challenge and my mission—training people to understand how to communicate with their dogs.” In a nutshell, he believes that dog training is something created by humans, but that dog psychology—what he tries to get his clients to practice first and foremost—is created by Mother Nature. Natural Awakenings asked Millan to summarize the cornerstones of his approach.

First on the list of essentials is exercise. For a dog, exercise is more than just a walk—it’s a chance to use stored energy and see new sights. It’s also a social event. “A proper walk exercises the dog not just physically, but also mentally. Practice a properly disciplined walk for a minimum of 30 to 45 minutes a day,” Millan advises. “You can visit a dog park later for play and affection.” Second in importance is discipline. Discipline is about realizing the order of the pack—defining which one is the decision-maker—and is not to be confused with punishment. “Dogs have found themselves in an odd predicament by living with humans,” explains Millan.

No matter the age, there is always something new to be learned—by both the dog and the human.

“In the wild, dogs have a leader, work for food, and travel with the pack. When we bring them into our world, we need to help them achieve balance by fulfilling their needs as nature intended. This means maintaining your calm, assertive pack leadership.” The third part of achieving mutual understanding is affection. “We tend to give affection, affection, affection,” says Millan. “It can lead to bad outcomes if not balanced with exercise and discipline.” Exercise is especially important to remember for small dogs that are frequently carried around, sometimes termed “handbag hounds”. Following the lead of some high-profile celebrities, the popularity of these dogs is on the rise, with unfortunate consequences for the animals. As owners tire of the responsibility, dogs are turned in at shelters, some barely able to walk, due to muscle loss or lack of muscle development, because they have been off their feet far too much. “A dog is not a toy or an accessory. A dog is a living creature, and when you adopt one, your commitment is for the extent of their life,” Millan advises. “The decision to adopt a dog should be treated with the same careful attention you use to decide where to live, whether or not to have children or if you wish to be married. This choice is just as life-changing and just as fulfilling as any other major life decision.” Millan’s most important personal relationships are with his two sons and two dogs. One of his favorite books is Wayne Dyer’s The Power of Intention. “We create our own outcomes,” Millan says, “and I have found this principle can be applied to all the relationships in our life. “Dogs are instinctually intelligent and live in the present. Being in the moment is probably the single most important lesson they can teach us,” Millan remarks. “Never stop maintaining or growing a dog’s balance. They communicate and glide through life based on energy; I am always inspired by that gift.” For more information, visit Sandra Murphy is a freelance writer at natural awakenings

March 2012



DISH UP VARIETY Treat Your Dog to Good Health and Good Taste by Wendy Bedwell-Wilson

“Broiled chicken, brown rice and steamed broccoli again?”



hen you sit down to dinner, you prefer some variety, and so does your dog, who may well inquire, “What, kibble again?” Day after day of the same mix of protein, carbohydrates, fats and veggies can hamper any appetite, human or canine. But a diet packed with different food types can make eating more enjoyable. Before concocting your own dog food blends, it helps to learn more about potential ingredients and the benefits of a varied diet, as well as how to successfully introduce new foods.


Healthful Variety

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By definition, a varied diet is dense in nutrients and changes regularly; a decided departure from the stick-tothe-same-food routine encouraged by dog food experts of the past. Dr. Sean Delaney, a board-certified veterinary nutritionist in Davis, California, says that today’s varied diet for dogs should resemble a cornucopia, filled with

healthy meats, whole grains, legumes, dairy, fruits and vegetables. “For optimum health, it’s better to have the food in a natural, unprocessed state,” he says. To start, dogs require 12 amino acids in their diets, so foods that contain all of them would provide the best quality protein for dogs, advises Dr. Rebecca Remillard, Ph.D., a board-certified veterinary nutritionist and founder of Veterinary Nutritional Consultations, in Holliston, Massachusetts. “Egg and liver are of the highest protein quality because of their amino acid profiles,” she advises. A varied diet even reduces the chances of dogs developing an allergy to certain foods, like chicken or wheat, adds Delaney. “Feeding a dog food that’s not commonly used in the pet food industry—a food that he’s naïve to—reduces the potential that the animal will develop an allergic reaction to it.”

Shopping for Choices

Dr. Tracy Lord, a holistic veterinarian based at the Animal Clinic and Wellness Center, in Williamsburg, Virginia, says that older theories once claimed that dogs would become picky eaters or experience indigestion on a varied diet, but that perspective has since been questioned. To the contrary, variety brings excitement and interest to the table— or the bowl. For instance, Lord points out, “If you feed your child a dinner of chicken, broccoli, brown rice and cantaloupe, you can pat yourself on the back for providing a well-balanced nutritious meal. But if you feed this same meal to your child three times a day throughout his life, you would start to see nutritional deficiencies.” Plus, no one would be surprised to hear that the child is tiring of it. The same holds true for dogs, she says. Their bodies appreciate the different sources of nutrition, while their taste buds respond to delicious change-ups. One popular type of varied diet centers on taking commercially prepared, top-quality, frozen, canned or dry foods and simply rotating them, as long as the owner provides a consistent number of calories. This approach will ensure that a dog receives the right balance of nutrients, says Remillard. She explains that, “Federally regulated, commercially prepared foods have processing methods and quality assurance programs that limit the potential for food-borne illnesses in pets and offer guarantees, a nutritional profile and bioavailability of nutrients. Remillard further notes, however, that not all products are equal when it comes to highly desirable ingredients, so as with any

other processed food, consumers must read labels. Varied diets also may be prepared at home. That’s where home chefs can get creative with different types of meats, grains and vegetables, but they should follow guidelines prepared by a trained nutritionist, Remillard cautions. “Unless properly formulated by a nutritionist, diets developed at home are not likely to be complete and balanced,” she says. “The nutritional profile of any diet—including homemade diets—depends on how the recipe was formulated, the nutrient content of the ingredients and how the owner prepares the food. Homemade diets may also contain contaminants and food-borne microbes if the owner isn’t careful.” Sometimes, just adding a little something special to a dog’s bowl will give him the variety he’s craving. For example, “If we’re making something our dog loves, like grilled salmon or ahi, we’ll cook a little piece for her and give her a little less kibble in her dish,” relates Alyce Edmondton, who lives in Redmond, Washington. “We always share our dog-safe leftovers with her. We figure that if it’s good for us, it’s good for her, too.” Wendy Bedwell-Wilson’s healthy living pet articles regularly appear in national and international magazines. Her latest of six books on dogs, Shih Tzu, is part of the DogLife series. Connect at

WHAT’S ON THE MENU? by Wendy Bedwell-Wilson If you would like to incorporate a varied diet into your dog’s eating routine, here are five expert tips for doing so safely and successfully.


Choose different main ingredients: If you’re primarily relying on a chicken and rice diet, switch the pooch to something completely different, like a duck and sweet potato or bison and barley diet, advises Veterinarian Sean Delaney.


It’s okay to change brands: Although some food manufacturers have developed a food line designed to rotate among items, you can always try out different brands and formulas. Stick to the high-quality mixes for optimal nutrition, says Veterinarian Tracy Lord.


Change the menu regularly: If you plan to rotate a dog’s commercially prepared diet, consider buying a new blend each time you shop, advises Veterinarian Rebecca Remillard.


Switch slowly: For a smooth transition between foods, slowly increase the amount of new food while decreasing the old, counsels Lord. The process should take about a week.


Take note of portions and calories: Delaney advises that a good way to ensure that a dog stays youthfully slim and trim is to calculate an appropriate calorie count and portions of the new foods.

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March 2012


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Tuesday, March 13

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

Saturday, March 3 Vendors Fayre - 12:00-6:00 pm. Don’t miss this great opportunity to “sample” some of the great services and merchandise available. Footbaths, readings, jewelry, spa products and much more. Natures Spiritual Connections. Grand Rapids. 616-929-4204. Yoga for Gardeners with Chris Smith - 12:00-2:00 pm. Prepare for spring by learning yoga techniques to ease he strain of gardening and then relax and watch your garden grow. All levels welcome. $25. Yoga Studio. Grand Rapids. To register, call 616776-0836 or email

Sunday, March 4 Community Yoga Class - 10:00-11:15 am. Free all levels Community Yoga Class. Begin your month with a fresh focus! Free. On The Path Yoga. Spring Lake. 616-935-7028.

Tuesday, March 6

fill the air during this weekend. Join us in the sugar bush when the forest transforms into this agricultural opus. Learn how to tap trees, set spiles, collect and boil sap, and create maple syrup. Cost $130 (fullweekend); Kids are ½ price. Circle Pines Center 8650 Mullen Road, Delton. 269-623-5555 West Michigan Women’s Expo - 10-8 (Fri); 10-8 (Sat); 11-5 (Sun). Shop, Live & Learn. Over 400 exhibits and seminars tailored to women and their families. Everybody’s talkin’ health, beauty, fitness, fashion, friends and fun! Spend the day or spend weekend. Open to public. Tickets available at the door. Hours: For info or to exhibit, visit www.kohlerexpo. com. At the DeVos Place in Grand Rapids. East Meets West - 6:30-8:30 pm. Eastern philosophies often focus on prevention of disease whereas Western medicine tends to focus on treatment. Join us to explore ways to bridge the gap between East and West to enhance your health. Good will offering accepted. Expressions of Grace Yoga. Grand Rapids. 616-361-8580. Kirtan + Potluck House Party - 7:00-10:00 pm. Kirtan starts around 8:00 pm. Bring a dish to share with this community. Last name A- F can bring an appetizer, G -L bring a main course dish, M-S bring dessert, T-Z bring something non-alcoholic to drink. RSVP space is limited. Free. Home of Philip Chafee. Grand Rapids.

Dinner Talk - 6:30 pm. Please join us for a complimentary Dinner Talk sponsored by Get Healthy Michigan. Your evening of educational entertainment includes a dinner and vital information that will help you live a healthier life. Pietro’s Restaurant. Free. Grand Rapids. Please register at or call 616-447-9888.

Saturday, March 10

Grains Class - 6:30 pm. How do I prepare all these different grains? Most of us have tried whole wheat, but what about quinoa, spelt, millet? We will have some new grain dishes for you to taste-test. $5. Wellness Forum. Grand Rapids. Call 942-7907 for reservations.

Men’s Power Yoga - 11:30 am-1:30 pm. Paying special attention to men’s physiology, this workshop will aid flexibility to reduce injury risk and emphasize strength through a fusion of yoga and martial arts. $20. On The Path Yoga. Spring Lake. 616-935-7028.

Wednesday, March 7

Yoga of Eating: A Divine Reconnection with Food and Body - 1:00-3:00 pm. Our inquiry will revolve around body image and movement, culture, yoga psychology, and the power of embodiment practices to heal body image on its deepest level. $28. Expressions of Grace Yoga. Grand Rapids. 616-361-8580.

Discover Womb Wellness - 6:00-7:30 pm. In this class we will discuss ‘Womb Wellness’ from a spiritual as well as physical and emotional well being point of view. Learn how to start a “Womb Circle” and begin connecting and healing with other women in our lives. $5. Elder & Sage. Grand Rapids. 616-242-1355. Guided Meditation and Healing Circle - 7:00-8:00 pm. Escape from stress and discover an inner world of calm, peace & joy through guided meditation, and energy healing from Healing in Americatrained healers. $5. Holistic Care Approach, 3368 E. Beltline Ct. NE, Grand Rapids. 269-929-6796. JOURNEYDANCE® for Women - 7:15-8:45 pm. Holistic Dance Fitness for Mind, Body, & Spirit. Weaving simple, guided movement sequences and free exploration, JourneyDance reconnects you with your innate state of joyous well-being. $15. Expressions Of Grace Yoga. Grand Rapids. 616-361-8580.

Friday, March 9 Maple Syrup Weekends - 3/9-3/11. With help from mother nature, the sweet smell of boiling sap will

Sunday, March 11 How Giving Opens the Gateway to Heaven 10:00-11:00 am. Join the monthly Eckankar worship service where people of all faiths are warmly invited to experience the Light and Sound of God. Services are the second Sunday of each month. Free. Dominican Center at Marywood. Grand Rapids. 616-245-7003.

Monday, March 12 Sanity Saver event - 6:30 pm. You can be a Sanity Saver! If you enjoy helping moms during the transition after having a baby, this volunteer opportunity is for you! Free volunteer training to become a MomsBloom volunteer. Grand Rapids. For more information contact angie@momsbloom. org or 616-828-1021.

Help! I’ve been Diagnosed - Meeting about ME/ CFS or Fibromyalgia First steps to regain control. Presented by Beth Schipper. Free-will donation accepted. CFS Solutions of West Michigan. Grand Rapids. Contact: Lori Kroger at 231-360-6830 or Trigger Point Massage - 6:00 pm. Free community workshop sponsored by The Foundation for Wellness Professionals on how to do Trigger Point Massage. Workshop participants will learn what a trigger point is, what causes them and how to prevent them. Foundation for Wellness Professionals. Grand Rapids. 616-447-9888.

Wednesday, March 14 Natural Health First Aid Kit w/ Speaker Kathryn Doran-Fisher - 6:00 pm-7:30 pm. From colds and influenza, to bites, scrapes and other home emergencies Dr. Kathryn will explain when to use these natural remedies and when you should go to the hospital. $3. Grand Rapids. 616-242-1355. Guided Meditation, Prayer and Healing Circle - 7:00-8:00 pm. Relax to guided meditation, and receive energy healing from local healers while church chaplains pray over your prayer requests. Donation. Unity Church on the Lakeshore, 41 So. Washington, Douglas. 269-857-8226.

Thursday, March 15 Relaxation Response Workshop - 6:00pm-7:30 pm. Learn simple breath and mental awareness techniques to de-stress your nerve system, improve immune system function, calm your mind & emotions; support your body’s ability to heal naturally from within. Space is ltd. FREE. Must pre-register. Dr. Ragini Pierce. Muskegon. 231670-0179. Third Thursday “Pow Wow”- 6:00 pm. How to start a food business? Come to meet other producers and clear up common questions. Call 616-421-4540 for directions to Facility Kitchens in Lowell.

Friday, March 16 Maple Syrup Weekends - 3/16-3/18. With help from mother nature, the sweet smell of boiling sap will fill the air during this weekend. Join us in the sugar bush when the forest transforms into this agricultural opus. Learn how to tap trees, set spiles, collect and boil sap, and create maple syrup. Cost $130 (full-weekend); Kids are ½ price. Circle Pines Center 8650 Mullen Road, Delton. 269-623-5555

Saturday, March 17 Sustainability Conference - 8:30 am-4:00 pm. Learn how face the environmental and social challenges and find the solutions that will help our communities become more sustainable. Conference includes a keynote speaker and breakout sessions. Members $40, Non-Members $50, Students $20. Pierce Cedar Creek Institute. Hastings. 269-721-4190.

natural awakenings

March 2012


FREE Nervous System Evaluations - 10:00 am-3:00 pm. Evaluations with state of the art Electromyography. Dr. Michael Morea D.C. Lakeshore Family Health Expo. Free. The Lakes Mall. Muskegon. 231-578-9355. The Healing Benefits of Natural Clay Plasters in Your Home - 1:00-4:00 pm. Class will offer a look into the many benefits of natural clay walls. We will explore the possibilities of how clay can minimize the affects of Autism and other disorders. Evolve Center for Success. Grand Rapids. 616-813-8601. RSVP to 269-967-7773. JOURNEYDANCE® for Women - 1:00-3:00 pm. Holistic Dance Fitness for Mind, Body, & Spirit. Weaving simple, guided movement sequences and free exploration, this special workshop will add heart chakra opening movements and dancing with scarves. $20. Expressions Of Grace Yoga. Grand Rapids. 616-361-8580.

Sunday, March 18 Naturopathic Health Community Class - 3:004:00 pm. Learn about Naturopathy with Anne VanderHoek, NE, of Return2Wellness. Each month a different aspect of natural health services will be featured. Free. On the Path Yoga. Spring Lake. 616-935-7028.

Tuesday, March 20

The Skinny on Fats & Oils - 7:00-8:30 pm. Presentation with Katie from KitchenStewardship. com. Free event. St. Mark’s Episcopal Church at 134 N. Division Grand Rapids, MI 49503. Call 616-682-8339 for more info.

Wednesday, March 21 Guest Speaker at Elder & Sage - 6:00 pm. Come hear Asher Thayer speak on Cranial Sacral Therapy. $3. Elder & Sage. Grand Rapids. 616-242-1355. JOURNEYDANCE® for Women - 7:15-8:45 pm. Holistic Dance Fitness for Mind, Body, & Spirit. Weaving simple, guided movement sequences and free exploration, JourneyDance reconnects you with your innate state of joyous well-being. $15. Expressions Of Grace Yoga. Grand Rapids. 616-361-8580.

West Michigan Edition

pm. The Yoga Studio. Grand Rapids. To register, call 616-776-0836 or email

Tonight is Potluck - 6:30 pm. Bring your favorite plant-based dish for others to taste and share. Also bring a copy of the recipe, as we are all looking for new ideas for our healthier lifestyles. Wellness Forum. Grand Rapids. Call 616-942-7907 for reservations.

Spring Time Cooking Class - 1:00-3:00 pm. A list of recipes will be included along with lots of tips on how you can grow, cultivate and enjoy the fresh food that lies ahead. $20/person w/ half down upon registration. Class minimum is five people. March 22 sign up deadline. Nature’s Spiritual Connections. Grand Rapids. 616-929-4204.

How to Paint the Healthy Way - 6:30 pm. FREE seminar, demonstration and Q&A on the latest in NO VOC paints and proper painting how-to’s so you can get your project done! HWC Homeworks, 2010 Porter St. SW, Wyoming. Barb Clare, facilitator. 269-967-7773. MomsBloom special event - 6:30-9:00 pm. We invite you to join us in celebrating the families we’ve served and help us continue to expand our outreach by attending this special event. The Girls’ Choral Academy and pianist Lizzie Kazmierski will provide music. $30 per person or $50 per couple. MomsBloom. Grand Rapids. 616-828-1021. Listening to God’s Voice - 6:45-7:45 pm. The divine voice of God is within you—speaking through intuition, dreams, nature or direct experiences. Join this special discussion to find your own unique connection to God. Warmly open to all faiths. Free. Wyoming Library, Conference Room. Wyoming. 616-245-7003.

Friday, March 23

Reiki Share Group- 5:30-7:30 pm. For all trained in Reiki. Come & share a Reiki meditation, experiences, and Reiki with each other. Free. Jan Atwood, LLC. Grand Rapids. 616-915-4144.


Thursday, March 22

From Earth to Ether: Building on Foundations - 6:00-8:00 pm. The Yoga Studio. Grand Rapids. To register, call 616-776-0836 or email Hula Hoop Workshop w/ Rebecca Urick - 6:307:30 pm. Burn up to 600 calories and have fun doing it! Quiets the mind, restores the mind-body-spirit connection, promotes well being. Experienced and Beginning Hoopers Welcome! Hoops provided! $15. Expressions of Grace Yoga. Grand Rapids. 616-361-8580.

Saturday, March 24 Weekend Workshop - “Jewels from India.” Welcome Mary Reilly back from a month of study in at the Ramani Iyengar Institute in Pune, India. The Yoga Studio. Grand Rapids. To register, call 616-776-0836 or email Tapas and Santosa - 9:30 am-12:00 pm Learn to love backbends! The Revolving Asanas- 2:30-5:00

Sunday, March 25 Weekend Workshop - “Jewels from India.” Welcome Mary Reilly back from a month of study in at the Ramani Iyengar Institute in Pune, India. The Yoga Studio. Grand Rapids. To register, call 616-776-0836 or email Pranayama and Asana - 10:00 am- 12:30 pm. A minimum of six months yoga is required. The entire workshop only costs $175 and you can save $25 if you register before February 27th. To register, send a $50 deposit or the full amount to the Yoga Studio. Grand Rapids. Call 616-776-0836. Restorative Yoga - 3:00-5:00 pm. Relax and renew your body and spirit in nurturing yoga poses. Each pose is completely supported, breathing techniques are incorporated, and tension is released from the body. A perfect way to re-discover balance in your life! $15. On the Path Yoga. Spring Lake. 616-935-7028.

Monday, March 26 Garden Club Potluck - 6:00 pm. Our topic will be “Going Green for Gardening” and will be about using recycled materials to grow plants. We will have several informative presentations about various topics on garden recycling. $5 for non-members, Free for members. North Muskegon VFW. Muskegon. 231-343-5683.

Wednesday, March 28 Living A Healthy Lifestyle - 6:00-7:30 pm. Dr. Michael Kwast, DC, CSCS will be presenting this entertaining and informative seminar about nutrition, anti-aging and stress management. $3. Elder & Sage. Grand Rapids. 616-242-1355.

Thursday, March 29 Women & Environment Symposium - 12:00-9:00 pm. The symposium will explore the intersection

between women’s issues and environmental concerns, examining topics such as environmental impacts on women’s and children’s health, food and farming practices, eco-business and sustainable living, among others. L.V. Eberhard Center. Grand Rapids. 616-451-3051. What’s Next? - 5:30-8:30 pm. The Great Lakes Bioneers Traverse City is forming Trailheads. Come share your ideas. The Great Lakes Bioneers Community wants to know from YOU. Good Works Collective. 417 S. Union Street, Traverse City. 231-947-0312. Relaxation Response Workshop - 6:00pm-7:30 pm. Learn simple breath and mental awareness techniques to de-stress your nerve system, improve immune system function, calm your mind & emotions; support your body’s ability to heal naturally from within. Space is ltd. FREE. Must pre-register. Dr. Ragini Pierce. Muskegon. 231-6700179.

Friday, March 30 Reiki I/II Training Class - 9:00 am-5:00 pm. Learn how to do this vibrational relaxation and healing method for self and others. Includes textbook and lunch. $225. Jan Atwood, LLC. Grand Rapids. 616-915-4144. Cooking Class - 9:00 am. Once a month cooking to save time and money! The last Friday of every month. $20 per session. Call 616-421-4540 for your shopping list. Facility Kitchens. Lowell. janet@ Fire of Transformation Yoga Practice w/ Mimi Ray - 6:30-8:30 pm. This practice is an invitation for experienced students to light the inner fire of the heart; transform and refine your practice. $18. Expressions of Grace Yoga. Grand Rapids. Call for prerequisites. 616-361-8580.

Saturday, March 31 The Full Circle: The Art of Letting Go - See how this two-day seminar can help you increase your overall sense of happiness and satisfaction in life! $250, or $185 for Saturday only. All materials are provided, and parking is free! Attendance limited to 30. Full Circle Seminars. Grand Rapids. 616-458-6870. Relaxing Yoga for Home Practice, morning retreat - 10:00 am-1:30 pm. For all levels and abilities, includes a delicious home cooked vegetarian lunch and refreshments. $35. Self Realization Meditation Healing Centre. Bath. Pre-registration required. 517-641-6201. A longer, overnight retreat is also possible. Exploring Michigan: Hiking, Canoeing, Wandering - 1:00 pm. Three different authors will explore various ways to experience Michigan. Loreen Niewenhuis will discuss her book A 1,000Mile Walk on the Beach. Jim DuFresne will share his book The Adventurous Traveler. Doc Fletcher will talk about Paddling Michigan’s Hidden Beauty. Grand Rapids Public Library. 616-988-5400.

Wednesday, April 4 Muskegon Area Earth Week: Family Movie Event - 1:00-4:15 pm. Children and their guardians get to explore their natural world through a guided tour of MCC’s Kasey Hartz Natural Area, watch a movie, create poetic nature art, and munch on popcorn. Free

event. Muskegon Community College’s Stevenson Center. For more info please call 231-288-0999.

Friday, April 6 Hula Hoop Workshop w/ Rebecca Urick - 6:30-7:30 pm. Burn up to 600 calories and have fun doing it! Quiets the mind, restores the mind-body-spirit connection, promotes well being. Experienced and Beginning Hoopers Welcome! Hoops provided! $15. Expressions of Grace Yoga. Grand Rapids. 616-361-8580.

FRIDAY, APRIL 20 Earth Rock Concert - 7:00-10:00 pm. Celebrate Earth Day listening to local bands, soloists, and poets. 2012 Lakeshore Earth Day Planning Taskforce. Free. Grand Haven Community Center. Grand Haven. 616-844-4497.

SATURDAY, APRIL 21 Green Earth March - 12:00 pm. Come join with us on anything that doesn’t use fossil fuels: your feet, your bike, your roller blades, etc. Meet at Franklin Street parking lot south of the Ottawa County Courthouse. Free. Grand Haven Community Center. Grand Haven. 616-844-4497. Earth Day Fair - 1:00-4:00 pm. Visit booths of environmental organizations and businesses, community and educational groups. Food, games, information, music from Prevailing Winds and others. Environmentally friendly things to buy. Some displays and games may be outside in Central Park. Free. Grand Haven Community Center. Grand Haven. 616-844-4497.

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 25 Muskegon Area Earth Week: Chris Bedford Arts Festival & Awards - 6:30 pm. View the late Chris Bedford’s latest film, “Getting Real about Food and the Future” and learn more about his impact on West Michigan. Free. Muskegon Community College’s Overbrook Theater. Muskegon. For more info please call 231-288-0999.

SATURDAY, APRIL 28 Muskegon Area Earth Week: Earth Fair 1:00-4:00 pm. Bring the family to play games, win prizes, hear demonstrations, and see cool technology. Organizations and businesses will be showing what our area has to offer in terms of natural resources, eco products and services, green jobs, recreation and sustainable practices. MAREC. Muskegon. 231-288-0999.

Every man dies. Not every man really lives. ~ William Wallace

natural awakenings

March 2012


ongoingevents 989-352-6500.

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

All Month Long Open Meditation & Silent Prayer - Sundays 7:45 Am & 7:45 Pm; Mon-Sat 6:45 Am & 8:45 Pm. All Welcome! Free. SRMHC. Bath. 517 641-6201.

103 E. Ludington Ave, Ludington. 231-852-0849. Mom’s Meditation Group - 10:30 am. Join us for a guided meditation group and an hour to de-stress and begin your week. Free. The Infinite Feminine. Grand Rapids. Call or register at infinitefeminine. com as space is limited. 616-648-7011.


Intermediate Hatha Yoga with Mitch Coleman - 6:15-7:30 pm. Drop-ins welcome. Visit for more information. Classes meet at White River Yoga Studio, 8724 Ferry St. Montague. 231-740-6662.

Unity of Greater Grand Rapids - 10:00 am. Celebrating God’s presence in human nature. Offering uplifting messages that are spiritual without being religious. Youth programs & Nursery. Unity of Greater Grand Rapids 6025 Ada Drive SE, Ada. 616-682-7812.

Kripalu Yoga with Marro Spehar - 7:30 pm. Gentle/Moderate. Drop-ins welcome. For more details visit our website at Seva Yoga Studio, 2237 Wealthy St, East Grand Rapids. 616-458-2541.

Worship Service - 10:00 am. The last Sunday of each month we host this time of self-reflection and sharing. This month’s Love Offering will be new or used winter clothing. Rev. Barb Huttinga and associate Coptic Ministers speaking. The Healing Center 332 S. Lincoln, Lakeview. 989-352-6500. Unity of Muskegon “A Church of Light, Love & Laughter”- 10:30 am weekly. Sunday Services & Youth Education. Minister: Rev. John W. Williams. 2052 Bourdon St., Muskegon. 231-759-7356. Unity of Grand Rapids -10:30 am. A spiritual community that is warm and welcoming, inclusive and accepting of all, honoring diversity, for those who are seeking spiritual truth. 1711 Walker Ave NW, Grand Rapids. 616-453-9909. unityofgrandrapids. org. Rockin Vinyasa Yoga - 4:00-5:15 pm. Energetic Flow Class builds stamina, strength and flexibility. Walk-ins welcome. $10. The Club Yoga. Sparta. 616-481-6610. Women’s Meditation Group - 4:30 pm. This group will explore different forms of meditation for approximately one hour. Free. The Infinite Feminine. Grand Rapids. Space is limited. register at 616-648-7011. The Coptic Center Sunday Series - 6:00 pm. An ongoing series of inspirational speakers, centering and music. Youth Ministry class one Sunday of each month during service, check schedule. The Coptic Center. Grand Rapids. 616-531-1339.

Monday $30 Off BioMeridian Assessments - State-of-theart profiling and tracking of all 58 meridians in the body with take-home computer generated results to assess progress. Grand Rapids. 616-365-9176. For more info visit Yoga-Beginning - 9:00 am. This is where you start. Learn the basic poses, strengthen, breath awareness and relax. For more information visit or call Smiling Lotus Yoga,


West Michigan Edition

Tuesday Adults OCD support group - 7:00-8:30 pm. Open to any adults who have or think they may have Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. Friends and family members welcome. Free. Anxiety Resource Center. Grand Rapids. 616-356-1614. Gentle Hatha Yoga with Mitch Coleman - 7:459:00 am & 9:15-10:30 am. Drop-ins welcome. Visit for more information. Classes meet at White River Yoga Studio, 8724 Ferry St. Montague. 231-740-6662. Yoga for Everyone - 10:00-11:00 am. With Ruth Sutherland. $3.00. The Healing Center. Lakeview. 989-352-6500. Self-Help Education Meeting - 1:00-2:30 pm. The Peter M. Wege Health & Learning Center (Wege North Building at St. Mary’s Hospital), 300 Lafayette Ave. SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503 (Room & topics subject to change). 231-360-6830. Aromatherapy Class - 6:30-8:30pm. Every 2nd Tuesday with Linda Bayer RA. Basics and different topics each month. Bayer Essence. Jenison. 616457-7426. On Being a Spirit having a Physical Experience - 6:30 pm. 2nd & 4th Tuesday. From the Shamanic Teachings of the Sweet Medicine Sundance Path w/ Marie Moon Star Seeker. $10. Owl Hawk Clan. Open Mind in Rockford. 616-447-0128. A Course In Miracles (A.C.I.M.) - 7:00-8:30 p.m. This self-study system teaches forgiveness as the road to inner peace and the remembrance of the unconditional love of God. Unity of Greater Grand Rapids. Ada. 616-682-7812. Foods with “Culture”- 7:00-8:30pm. Every 3rd Tuesday January to July. Bring a sample or just come and taste sourdough, kefir, yogurt, sauerkraut, kombucha and kvass. Free (donations are accepted). St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, 134 N. Division Grand Rapids. or Janice at 616-450-1843. Mystic Angel Classes - 7:00-8:30 pm. With Denise Iwanwi. $15.00. The Healing Center. Lakeview.

Adopt a Healthier, More Active Lifestyle 7:30pm. Perfect nutritional support for optimal fitness. Ask for Reliv’s Personal Training. Open Presentations Spring Hill Suites, 450 Center NW, Grand Rapids. Deb Riolo 616-822-4247.

Wednesday $30 Off BioMeridian Assessments - State-of-theart profiling and tracking of all 58 meridians in the body with take-home computer generated results to assess progress. Grand Rapids. 616-365-9176. For more info visit A Course In Miracles (ACIM) - 9:30-11:00 am. Self-study system unique in teaching forgiveness as the road to inner peace and the remembrance of the unconditional love of God. Unity of Greater Grand Rapids. Ada. 616-682-7812. Kripalu Yoga with Marro Spehar - 10:00 am: Gentle & 7:30 pm: Gentle/Moderate. Drop-ins welcome. For details visit Seva Yoga Studio, 2237 Wealthy St, East Grand Rapids. 616-458-2541. Essential Oils Education - 1:00-3:00 pm & 6:308:30 pm. What are Essential Oils? Why and how would I use them? Enjoy FREE classes with New Subjects each month. Natural Health 4 Today. Grand Rapids. 616-698-6148. Essential Oil Trainings - 2:00-4:00 pm. A different class taught each week. Come learn more about oils. $25 per class. Nature’s Spiritual Connections 5286 Plainfield Ave, NE. Grand Rapids. 616-443-4225. A Course in Miracles Class - 6:00-8:00 pm. With Cindy Barry. Free will offering. The Healing Center. Lakeview. TheHealingCenterOfLakeview. com. 989-352-6500. General Anxiety Support Group - 7:00-8:30 pm. Open to individuals who have any kind of anxiety problem as well as their friends and family members meets every. Anxiety Resource Center, Inc. Grand Rapids. 616-356-1614.

Thursday Qi-Gong Class - 6:00 pm. This class offers light breathing and stretching exercises to promote health and relaxation. Free. Natural Health Improvement Center. Grandville. 616-301-0808. Classes for the Childbearing Year and Beyond 6:00 pm. Every 3rd Thursday. Designed to educate & support wholistic parenting & living from pregnancy through parenting and beyond. Advance registration required. Full Circle Midwifery. Hesperia. 231-861-2535. Spiritual Classes - 6:00-7:30 pm. Astrology, numerology, tarot, etc with Gail Brumeister. $15.00. The Healing Center. Lakeview. 989-352-6500. Advanced Hatha Yoga with Mitch Coleman - 6:15-7:30 pm. Drop-ins welcome. Visit for more information. Classes meet at White River Yoga Studio, 8724 Ferry St. Montague. 231-740-6662.

Oils Classes- 6:30-8:00 pm. Every 3rd Thursday with Barb Huttinga. The Healing Center. Lakeview. 989-352-6500. Evening Meditation Group - 7:00 pm. Explore different types of meditation and de-stress from the week. The Infinite Feminine. Grand Rapids. Free. Space is limited, call or register at 616-648-7011.

Friday Yoga-Intermediate - 9:00 am. Learn the basics. Holding poses longer, moving deeper into your practice and awareness of the core. For details visit or call Smiling Lotus Yoga, 103 E. Ludington Ave, Ludington. 231-852-0849. Kripalu Yoga with Marro Spehar - 7:00 pm. Gentle/Moderate. Drop-ins welcome. For details visit Seva Yoga Studio, 2237 Wealthy St, East Grand Rapids. 616-458-2541.

Saturday Gentle Hatha Yoga with Mitch Coleman - 9:0010:15 am & 10:30-11:45 am. Drop-ins welcome. Visit for info. Classes meet at White River Yoga Studio. Montague. 231-740-6662. Sweetwater Local Foods Market - 9:00 am-1:00 pm. Every other Saturday. Indoors at Hackley Health at the Lakes, Harvey St. 1/2 Mile South of Lakes Mall. Exit US 31 at Pontaluna Rd. Muskegon. Adopt a Healthier, More Active Lifestyle 9:30am. Perfect nutritional support for optimal fitness. Ask for Reliv’s Personal Training. Open Presentations Spring Hill Suites, 450 Center NW, Grand Rapids. Deb Riolo 616-822-4247.

thenaturaldirectory ...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

chiropractic care




Dr. Ronson Dykstra & Dr. Ronda VanderWall 4072 Chicago Drive, Grandville 616-531-6050

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




Dr. Andrew Schafer 1801 Breton SE Grand Rapids, MI 49506 616-301-3000

Barbara Zvirzdinis, WK, CMT 616-581-3885

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


Kyle Hass Licensed Residential Home Builder 616-299-5815

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.

Locally owned and operated. Specializing in building custom livable and affordable new homes that are Energy Efficient and utilize Green Building practices. Unmatched efficiencies and uncompromising quality. See ad page 37.

Tr e a t i n g m u s c u l o s k e l e t a l conditions, and specializing in back pain, sciatica neck pain, and headaches. Also offering physical therapy, massage therapy, and postural awareness. Most insurances accepted. Breton Village area. www.grchirospa. com. See ad page 8.

cleaning pRoDucts NORWEX PRODUCTS

Clara VanderZouwen 616-698-6148 Imagine cleaning with only water! Improve the quality of your life with Norwex products by radically reducing the use of chemicals in personal care and cleaning. Save Time & Money.

cOlon hydrotherapy HARMONY ’N HEALTH

Mary De Lange, CCT., CMT. 1003 Maryland Av., 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, bloat, poor digestion, back pain, body odor and more. See ad page 6.

natural awakenings

March 2012



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

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

dentistry / holistic DENTAL HEALTH & WELLNESS CENTER

essential oils BE YOUNG ESSENTIAL OILS Clara Vander Zouwen 616-698-6148

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


Dr. Kevin P. Flood DDS 616-974-4990

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

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

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


830 Forest Hill Ave Grand Rapids, MI 49546 616-942-7907

energy healing AMA~DEUS®

Beth Cosmos Grand Rapids: 616-648-3354 Ama Deus® healing energy method is a hand mediated technique aligned with love. The energy helps to enhance one’s own and others growth and awareness or physical and emotional healing. See ad page 31.


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

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

health food stores


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

holistic health centers THE HEALING CENTER

352 S. Lincoln Ave, Lakeview 989-352-6500 Naturopathic / Holistic Practitioners. Physician assistant, Certified Natural Health Professionals. Private consultations. Counseling & Classes. Blood typing, acupressure, emotional release, i r i d o l o g y, h o m e o p a t h y, massage therapy, reflexology, cranial sacral, foot detox & more. See ad page 11.

homeopathy BOB HUTTINGA

352 S. Lincoln Ave, Lakeview 989-352-6500 A Physician assistant since 1976, specializing in naturopathic and homeopathic care and ApoE Gene Diet. Also, certified Silva Method instructor. See ad page 11.

interior design services STANDALE INTERIORS


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

4046 Lake Michigan Dr. NW Grand Rapids, MI 49534 616-453-8201

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

Offering environmentally friendly options for cabinetry, flooring, countertops and window treatments. The H o m e c o m i n g Collection from Kincaid with the Eco3Home designation offers furniture manufactured in an environmentally responsible process. See ad page 7.

Reach Your Target Mark Contact us for special ad rates and opportunities!



West Michigan Edition

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

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


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


quantum biofeedback

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


We have multiple certified massage therapists offering relaxation, prenatal, deep tissue massage, and medical massage. We also offer Reiki, chakra balancing, and Ayurvedic bodywork. Breton Vi l l a g e a r e a . w w w. See ad page 8 & 32.

Natural Health & Healing Center 723 Kenmoor SE Grand Rapids 49546 616-481-9074 This highly complex device is a non-invasive technology that energetically scans & harmonizes the body’s stresses and imbalances, reducing those imbalances that make us uncomfortable. Visit

school / education




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


503 E. Broadway St Mt. Pleasant, MI. 48858 989-773-1714

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

Patrice Bobier CM, CPM Hesperia: 231-861-2234

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

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


Log Cabin Home - 2 Bedrooms, 1 Bath on Campau Kettle Lake in Caledonia. Plenty of storage in the new 4 Stall Garage. Asking $168,000. Located at 8810 66th Street SE in Caledonia. Call for details 616-292-6762.

Openings for Acupuncturist, Naturopath, Chiropractor, Holistic Physician etc. Please contact Dr. Greg Ling at Healing Harmony in Muskegon 231-755-3214.

White Cloud- 80 Acre Farm, 6 bedroom home, vinyl siding, insulated. Dairy barn, outbuildings, 4 stall garage on M-20. Rob Breen 231-652-1100.

KNIFE SHARPENING Expert knife sharpening at affordable prices. 616-364-0941.

OPPORTUNITIES Holistic & Green Business Owners Wanted for Health Network - NAN, the Natural Awakenings Network, is a green and healthy living network that will allow members to enjoy discounts on products & services focused on wellness, green/sustainable living and healthy lifestyles. If you are interested in becoming a provider (a business or organization that offers discounts to members) in this innovative network or want more details, contact Natural Awakenings at 616-656-9232 or Publisher@ Participating as a Provider is FREE for the 1st year.

natural awakenings

March 2012



West Michigan Edition

Natural Awakenings Magazine March 2012  

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

Natural Awakenings Magazine March 2012  

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