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feel good • live simply • laugh more

Birth The Way Nature Intended


Gentle Ways to Bypass Medical Intervention

Rethinking Breast Health Natural Ways to Keep Them Healthy

Kids Lovin’ Veggies

How to Instill Healthy Lifelong Habits

Flexing Our Muscles Weightlifting Makes Us Fit, Healthy and Self-Confident

May 2015 | West Michigan Edition | natural awakenings

May 2015


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contents 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.

18 KIDS LOVE VEGGIES How to Instill Healthy Lifelong Habits


by Clancy Cash Harrison



Weightlifting Makes Us Fit, Healthy and Self-Confident by Debra Melani

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Safe Ways to Let Them Explore by Sandra Murphy




Natural Ways to Keep Breasts Smooth, Pain-Free and Firm, while Reducing the Risk of Cancer by Lisa Marshall




Home Cooking, Organics and Massage Are Keys by Gerry Strauss


Conscious Choices Lead to Less Intervention by Meredith Montgomery


Why Vegans and Vegetarians are Naturally Trim by Judith Fertig



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May 2015



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Publishers Kyle & Amy Hass

The happiest days are when babies come.” This line from Margaret Mitchell’s epic novel and blockbuster movie Gone with the Wind came to thought as I laid out this month’s issue on Breast Health and Natural Birth. New life brings immense joy and presents an opportunity to put much of life in perspective. We might consider what is truly important to us, how generations fit into the circle of life, how miraculous creation is and the role we each have in nurturing this new expression of life at hand. We all rejoice that Mother Earth gives birth each spring and I grin over the fact that throughout history farmers have known they were waiting on a woman. In March, she blusters, in April, she cries and in May, she delivers a cornucopia of colorful flowers, plants and trees. The moment of this new life’s arrival feels touched by magic, filled with breezy light following a good night’s rest. As women we tend to nurture the lives of others and our relationships foremost, giving them precedence over self-care. We may also judge ourselves harder than anyone else. In Lisa Marshall’s feature article, “Rethinking Breast Health,” we learn one of many reasons that it’s important to our health to love our bodies for the gifts they are and nurture them well. Of course the same principle applies to every facet of our being; all spring from the foundational relationship we have with our self. Getting to know our self well can be an amazing and rewarding adventure. Dr. Pamela Peeke, a clinical assistant professor with the University of Maryland School of Medicine, recommends repeating the following mantra as a touchstone: “I love and honor myself as I do the other people in my life.” One way to give our self the TLC we deserve is to write down things that make us feel happy and healthy and then make sure we do at least one of them every day. Our special women’s issue combined with the celebration of Mother’s Day offers us all a prime opportunity to recognize the many wonderful women that have mothered, mentored and contributed goodness in our own life and the lives of so many others. May we remember to tell the women in our lives that have “got our backs” how much we appreciate them… and then be that kind of person in return.

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Subscriptions are available by sending $30 (12 issues) to the above address. © 2015 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.

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West Michigan Edition

Natural Awakenings Magazine of West Michigan


NaturallyWestMI Natural Awakenings Magazine of West Michigan

newsbriefs Michigan Educational Vaccine Seminar


n May 3 from 9:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., join others in discussing vaccines, a topic that is surrounded by much confusion and controversy, at the Okemos Conference Center. To help disseminate highly under-reported, important, peerreviewed vaccine science, Dr. Tetyana Obukhanych PhD immunologist and Mary Tocco, independent vaccine investigator will discuss known risks and the controversy surrounding the outbreaks of measles and other illnesses. For over twenty years, the federal government has been privately compensating millions of dollars to parents of children suffering with autism and other vaccine injuries and yet, much is not discussed in public about the dangers. Even though the US has a very high level of vaccine rates, we continue to have outbreaks of infectious illnesses we vaccinate for. These topics will be examined very closely at the Michigan Educational Vaccine Seminar in Okemos, designed to inform parents, educators and healthcare providers in the community. Tickets cost $25 for early-bird registration or $35 at the door. For more information or to register for this event find Michigan Opposing Mandatory Vaccines on Facebook or email

Introduction to Zero Balancing Class Returns


fter such a great response to her first class, Linda Squires, certified Zero Balancing practitioner, is offering a second Introduction to Zero Balancing class on May 14 from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at Holistic Care Approach.


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Zero Balancing is a therapy method which works with both energy and structure simultaneously. It is done by touching the patient’s body with both clarity and strength while the practitioner is at the state of interface versus streaming or blending. When the practitioner is at a state of Linda Squires interface, his/her body is at containment and doesn’t allow his/her energy to stream or blend with the patient’s. This helps create an environment of safety and keeps the practitioner at an ultimate state of being while working. By touching the energy and structure of the skeletal system and placing hand fulcrums, Zero Balancing gives the patient a new experience in which they may change – deeply, permanently and thoroughly. The practitioner simply helps the person into a state of balance and lets nature, with the person’s inner resources, do the healing and produce a state of grace. For more information, call 800-987-1368, email or visit Also, if you are a bodywork practitioner and would be interested in learning Zero Balancing here in Grand Rapids, please contact Linda S. Squires, DC. See ad, page 20.

River City Water Festival


ome to the River City Water Festival on May 30 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Grand Rapids Public Museum and learn how to help protect our local water resources. Join Groundswell students, community partners and environmental experts from throughout West Michigan to learn about the importance of clean water. Presenters will have handson, interactive activities perfect for the entire family. For more information, visit or find River City Water Festival on Facebook.

Depression? Anxiety? Insomnia? The Future of Brain-Based Health FDA Cleared Medication-Free Treatment

Bethesda Health and Wellness, LLC Susie Daubenspeck 616-594-9005

natural awakenings

May 2015


newsbriefs Buttermilk Jamboree


he 5th Annual Buttermilk Jamboree, June 12-14 at Circle Pines Center, cultivates creativity, art and community cooperation. The threeday festival features dozens of Michigan bands and artists, as well as a few nationally touring groups. Buttermilk’s four stages boast an eclectic array of performers throughout the day and into the night, while kid’s activities, daily educational workshops, a beer tent serving locally-crafted beer and other activities enrich the genuine experience. Weekend and day tickets are available, as well as on-site car and walk-in camping, included in the purchase of a weekend ticket. Be sure to check out to see this year’s entertainment lineup and activities. Circle Pines Center is located at 8650 Mullen Rd in Delton. To purchase tickets or for more information, visit See ad, page 3.

Grand Rapids Vegfest


he 1st annual Grand Rapids Vegfest will be held on Sunday, September 13 at the DeltaPlex from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Grand Rapids Vegfest is an all-day, family-friendly event that features presentations by top experts in the health field, a vegan food

court, a cruelty free market place, demonstrations, children’s activities, a special program for teenagers and more. The goal of the first annual Grand Rapids Vegfest is simple: to promote plant-based diets for health, compassion and conservation of the environment. Whether you’re a hard core vegan or an omnivore curious about the health benefits of a plant-based diet or just want to taste some delicious food samples, there’s something for everyone at Grand Rapids Vegfest. Grand Rapids Vegfest is also currently seeking vendors and sponsors who would like to showcase their business at the event. For more information, call or email Kim Enochs at 616-8816988 or or visit

Urevia Programs Available


ubtle Energies and D’ Rose Institute have launched a new sister website to compliment the current Subtle Energies site. The new site highlights the Urevia programs, establishing a deeper understanding of the offered classes. The Urevia system has expanded, providing quality education for alternative holistic practitioners, health-care professionals, healers and any student seeking self-improvement to enhance health, wellbeing and spirituality. Classes are designed for individuals seeking personal well-being and health, and they are also for practitioners seeking to expand their career skill-sets. For more information call 269-671-4455 or visit the new site at See ad, page 33.

Advanced Thermal Imaging in Grand Rapids


fter ten years of receiving breast thermography, Julie Bennett decided to open her own business for medical infrared imaging in Grand Rapids, sensing a great need for women (and men) to know about this safe, effective and

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West Michigan Edition

potentially life-saving procedure. Medical infrared imaging is a painless imaging procedure that uses no radiation, injections or other invasive methods. It is a unique test that uses a sophisticated medical infrared camera and computer system to image the body’s surface temperature patterns. These patterns of heat are altered when biochemical messages from within the body change the amount of heat given off at the surface of the skin. Painless and economical, the test is approved by the FDA as an adjunctive imaging procedure. Breast thermography is the most widely known use for medical infrared imaging, but Advanced Thermal Imaging has the technology to image any part of the body for vascular, neurological or thyroid problems—and also for diabetes and cancer. The technology may provide an early warning, or it can serve as a method of analysis for a difficult problem. Because of advances in technology over the last twenty years and because of improved standards and practices in the field of thermography, it has become an essential tool for risk assessment—especially for women concerned about their breast health. Advanced Thermal Imaging is committed to helping you in the prevention and early detection of disease. For more information call 616-724-6368, email, or visit See ad, page 25.

New KPS Massage Oil


rand Rapids Natural Health is excited to partner with Keeki Pure and Simple on the unveiling of their new KPS massage oil. KPS massage oil is a more sophisticated line of Organic Body and Beauty, made especially for massage therapist, Janelle Goltz, LMT, of Grand Rapids Natural Health. Keeki Pure and Simple will be working with the Grand Rapids Natural Health office to launch their sparelated products as they are eager and excited to partner with another locally owned, health-minded company and to offer massage clients massage oil that is organic, vegan, cruelty free and healthy for the skin. For more information, call 616-264-6556 or visit Mention this Newsbrief and receive 20% off your first massage at Grand Rapids Natural Health. See ad, page 29.

You must do the things you think you cannot do. ~Eleanor Roosevelt

natural awakenings

May 2015



Lower Breast Cancer Risk by Eating Colorful Veggies


esearch published in the British Journal of Nutrition discovered that the risk of breast cancer decreases with increased consumption of specific dietary carotenoids, the pigments in some vegetables and fruits. The research was based on five years of tracking 1,122 women in Guangdong, China; half of them had been diagnosed with breast cancer and the other half were healthy. Dietary intake information was collected through face-to-face interviews. The women that consumed more beta-carotene in their diet showed a 46 percent lower risk of breast cancer, while those that consumed more alpha-carotene had a 39 percent reduced incidence. The individuals that consumed more foods containing beta-cryptoxanthin had a 62 percent reduced risk; those with diets higher in luteins and zeaxanthins had a 51 percent reduction in breast cancer risk. The scientists found the protective element of increased carotenoid consumption more evident among pre-menopausal women and those exposed to secondhand smoke. Dark green leafy vegetables such as kale, spinach and dandelion greens top the list of sources rich in luteins and zeaxanthins, which also includes watercress, basil, parsley, arugula and peas. The highest levels of beta-carotene are found in sweet potatoes, grape leaves, carrots, kale, spinach, collard and other leafy greens. Carrots, red peppers, pumpkin, winter squash, green beans and leafy greens contain alpha-carotene. Red peppers, butternut squash, pumpkin persimmons and tangerines are high in beta-cryptoxanthin.

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


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Italian Court Links Boy’s Autism to a Vaccine


ast September, a Milan Court held in favor of plaintiffs that claimed that three doses of the hexavalent GlaxoSmithKline vaccine Infanrix Hexa that were administered to an infant beginning in 2006 caused autism later when he was a young boy. The vaccine is used for polio, diphtheria, tetanus, hepatitis B, whooping cough and haemophilus influenzae type B. After hearing from several medical experts, the court ruled that the child likely suffered autism and brain damage as a result of the vaccine’s content of mercury and aluminum, combined with a genetic mutation in the child rendering greater susceptibility. The ruling ordered damages to be paid by the Italian government’s national vaccine injury compensation program. The court’s decision was also based upon GlaxoSmithKline’s list of possible adverse events resulting from the vaccine, which included five cases of autism during clinical trials. Today in the U.S., most vaccines routinely given to children under 6 years of age are free of thimerosal, a mercury-derived preservative.

Weight Gain in Moms Lowers Toxins in Newborns


any expectant mothers try to know about everything they put into and onto their bodies as multiple studies are finding that infants are exposed to toxins during pregnancy. A new study of 325 expectant mothers has determined that the baby’s exposure to toxins in the womb decreases when the mother’s weight gain during pregnancy approaches the guidelines recommended by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) in 2009. Women that are underweight at the start of pregnancy are advised to gain between 28 and 40 pounds, women of a healthy weight 25 to 35 pounds, overweight women 15 to 25 pounds and obese women 11 to 20 pounds. The researchers found that expectant mothers with a gestational weight that meets or exceeds the IOM guidelines gave birth to infants with reduced toxin levels. In their analysis of the umbilical cord blood of mothers from Spain, the researchers tested for 14 pesticides and 21 other environmental toxins, including seven polychlorobiphenyls (PCB). Other influencers such as age, education and fish consumption may also be relevant.

To Get Healthy, Get a Healthy Partner


aving a healthier partner may be one of the best things to do for our own health. Research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Internal Medicine finds that losing weight, stopping smoking or becoming more active is easier with a partner that has led the way in any or all healthy pursuits. The study authors reviewed data collected by the UK Health Behavior Research Center at the University College London that followed 3,700 couples between 2002 and 2012—most of them ages 50 and older and married. Those that smoked at the beginning of the study were more likely to quit by the end of it if their partners quit smoking, and those that were physically inactive at the beginning of the study were more likely to become active if their partners did so first. About two-thirds of the men became newly active during the course of the study. Men with wives that had lost weight were more likely to also shed pounds during the study, and women with husbands that didn’t lose weight were less likely to do so through the study period.

What’s MTHFR?


he methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) gene regulates energy and detoxification. A genetic variability for MTHFR is cause for concern and it is surprisingly common; approximately 45% of Americans are affected. The problem involves the nutrient, folate. Having one bad copy of the gene slows the methylation cycle to about 70% of normal, but having two defective copies, one from the mother and one from the father, can result in a sluggish ability to clear toxins, only working at about 30% the normal rate. Substances that are normally fairly harmless can overwhelm the body like perfume, mold, dental fillings, paint fumes or certain medications. The person may feel drained of energy or have unexplained symptoms that can take several days to get over. Even light exercise or emotional stress can result in ongoing aching, extreme fatigue or general malaise. Having the MTHFR gene may also influence a person’s susceptibility to several congenital, autoimmune, brain disorders and more. A small list of the numerous conditions related to MTHFR includes autism, ADD, Alzheimer’s, acute leukemia, alcoholism, atherosclerosis anxiety, cleft palate, scoliosis, infertility, recurrent miscarriage, bipolar disorder, diabetes, cancer and fibromyalgia. Testing for genetic issues may be a useful tool for getting to the root cause of diagnosed and undiagnosed health complaints, or to pre-screen children before beginning their vaccination schedule. Nutrigenomics takes information about genes and uses nutrition to get foods, supplements, lifestyle and environment to work in the direction of health and in people’s favors. Pamela Zinn MS is a clinical nutritionist at Holistic Nutrition Center in Holland. For more information or to get tested, call 616-355-5333 or visit See ad, page 40.

natural awakenings

May 2015


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

Corporate Climate

Companies Slowly Embrace Sustainability The 2015 State of Green Business report (Tinyurl. com/2015GreenBusinessReport), which assesses the environmental performances of companies worldwide, along with the trends to watch, is produced by GreenBiz, in partnership with Trucost. Collectively, companies have been nibbling at the edges of challenges such as climate change, food security, ecosystems preservation and resource efficiency. One measure of corporate engagement going forward will be proactive involvement on political issues that could accelerate the transition to a low-carbon and more sustainable economy. It remains to be seen whether companies can afford to sit on the sidelines, letting the political process unfold, or worse, play defense against changes that might roil their status quo. 2015 will be an interesting year on multiple fronts, especially with the launch of the new sustainable development goals at the United Nations (UN) in New York this fall, along with UN climate talks in Paris in December. Both will be tests of corporate engagement and resolve in driving the kinds of change many of their CEOs publicly call for. The reports’ findings of companies’ progress in greenhouse gas and emissions, air pollutants, water use and solid waste production are all leveling off or even declining.

Animal Genocide

‘Lethal Control’ Trades Off Species Over the next four years, the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers will shoot 16,000 double-crested cormorants nesting near the Columbia River, in Oregon, at a cost of $1.5 million a year and eliminate almost 100 sea lions because both feed on endangered salmon and steelhead trout. “If people knew how many animals are killed at taxpayer expense, they’d be horrified,” says Camilla Fox, executive director of Project Coyote, a San Francisco Bay Area nonprofit. Termed “lethal control”, there’s a growing trend to kill one species to protect another, and not all methods used are humane. In 2012, Dennis Orthmeyer, acting director of California’s Wildlife Services, said, “We pride ourselves on our ability to get it done without many people knowing about it.” Climate change, reduced habitat and food supplies, and the introduction of non-native species are the result of human interference. “With society’s growing footprint, lethal control can only increase,” observes Michael Scott, a University of Idaho ecologist. A plan to poison 4,000 ravens will protect greater sage grouse. More mountain lions will be killed to save bighorn sheep. The human rampage goes on, and concerned citizens are advised to urge lawmakers to end lethal control and protect wildlife habitat sustainably. Take action at 10

West Michigan Edition

March to Support GMO Labeling A worldwide grassroots group March Against Monsanto, has inspired a broad coalition of individuals and groups to gather in cities and towns all over the world as part of a global effort to raise public awareness and bring increasing political pressure to bear regarding Monsanto’s corporate farming and business practices and to insist upon labeling of foods that contain genetically modified organisms (GMO). The Kalamazoo rally will take place from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m., May 23, beginning in Bronson Park and the Grand Rapids rally will take place from 1:30 to 4:00 p.m. on May 23, beginning at Ah Nab Awen Park. An estimated 428 cities in 38 countries on six continents will be participating in the Global March Against Monsanto for a peaceful, non-violent, informational protest. GMOs have been banned by Austria, Bulgaria, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Japan, Luxembourg, Madeira, New Zealand, Peru, Russia, France and Switzerland. Monsanto and other companies such as Dow and Syngenta genetically engineered food that poses scientifically established health risks that include organ damage, sterility, infant mortality, birth defects, immune reactions, allergies and increased cancer risk. Marcher’s demands include solidarity against Monsanto predatory business and agricultural practices, rejecting “substantial equivalence” of GMO and traditional crops, independent scientific testing of GMO crops, promoting organic solutions, exposing the cronyism between big business and the government, addressing poverty, the real cause of global hunger, supporting food and seed sovereignty, supporting local farms, bees and biodiversity and labeling of all foods that contain GMOs. Long-time activist and member of the Gateway Greens, Daniel Romano warns, “Monsanto is bankrupting famers and causing soil infertility, mono-cropping, loss of biodiversity and beehive collapse. Their practices pose a very real threat to organic farming and loss of native plants and are creating dependency on a centralized food system. In aggregate, this is a recipe for global famine.” For updates on the Kalamazoo rally, visit March Against Monsanto Kalamazoo, MI on Facebook. For more information, visit and


Tool Pool

Farmers Share Farm Machinery Instead of buying or renting expensive specialized machinery, farmers in Maine can now join a “lending library” of farm tools on short-term loan by using the Shared-Use Farm Equipment Pool, a partnership between the Maine Farmland Trust (MFT) and the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association. There are already equipment co-ops and joint machinery ownerships around the country; now the sharing economy being established in urban areas seems to be catching on in rural America, too. For a $100 annual fee, members can gain access to a seedbed cultivator, twoshank sub-soiler, plastic mulch layer, tine weeder, and strip and ridge tillers. The 1,200-pound mulch layer, for instance, retails for more than $2,000. Each piece is undeniably useful, but pricey, especially given the cost per use. Farmers have a three-day window to use the tools. The pool came about when Mike Gold, an MFT staff member, saw the need to lower costs for both new and seasoned farmers. Currently, most of the tool pool members are newer vegetable farmers, but Gold says there’s appeal for established land stewards, too: “They see the opportunity to use that one piece of equipment that they may only need once a year or once every few years.” Source:

Town Eateries Embrace Sustainability The city of Maplewood, Missouri, outside St. Louis, has teamed up with the Green Dining Alliance to become the area’s first Green Dining District, with at least 25 percent of all of its independently owned businesses certified by the Green Dining Alliance (GDA). The GDA helps businesses with sustainability and green business practices while also helping them save money. So far, eight restaurants in downtown Maplewood are GDA-certified. Green Dining Alliance’s Olivia Engel says, “It’s a win-win that makes sense for businesses and communities.” The city is also encouraging the program by subsidizing Green Dining Alliance membership fees. View updates at

Persistent Pacers

Women Marathoners Better at Maintaining Speed Danish researchers studying almost 2 million marathon results from 131 marathon races over a period of five years have concluded that women are 18.6 percent better than men at maintaining a consistent pace overall, compared to the first and the last parts of the distance. Among the population studied, 68.5 percent were men and 31.5 percent were women. The research further suggests that both men and women “burn out” en route and could improve their marathon results significantly simply by starting slower. Source:

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Enflamed Water Home Flame Retardants Found in River

Scientists with the Washington Toxics Coalition tested household dust and laundry wastewater from 20 homes in the state’s cities of Longview and Vancouver and took samples of incoming and outgoing flow from two wastewater treatment plants that discharge into the Columbia River, the Northwest’s biggest waterway. They detected flame retardants in all the tests. The conclusion of the study, published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, is that flame retardants are sloughing off household products such as couches and TVs and collecting on people’s clothing, washing out in the laundry and passing through wastewater treatment plants into local waterways. Source: natural awakenings

May 2015


ecotip Raised Right

Organic Flowers Honor Mom and Mother Earth



The Mother’s Day tradition of gifting mom with flowers, including such perennial favorites as lilies, orchids, tulips and roses, can be practiced in a sustainable manner. Buying organic varieties protects workers, families and the environment. Flowers grown with conventional techniques contribute to the contamination of groundwater and streams through fertilizer and pesticide runoff that can also threaten animal species. Many of the cut flowers are grown in South America, where farms continue to use pesticides that are restricted in the U.S. and cited as highly toxic by the World Health Organization. GreenAmerica. org provides several helpful tips on bringing joy to mom on her special day in eco-friendly ways: Grow Your Own. Buy organic bulbs or seeds in consumer seed catalogs and retail racks or online from reputable sources that include Children can then grow their own flowers to make them mean even more. Tips for natural weed and pest control, environmentally friendly watering, making raised garden beds and more are posted at Buy Local and Organic. Support local communities and save shipping costs and energy by purchasing chemical-free organic flowers from a local farmers’ market or community supported agriculture. Online retailers like OrganicBouquet. com and offer U.S. Department of Agriculturecertified organic flowers. Ask Local Florists to Go Organic. Find out if local florists purchase any organic and local flowers, and if not, request that they do so. Also, eschew plastic wraps and vases for eco-friendly flowers to avoid toxic ingredients and the carbon manufacturing footprint. Fun options to hold and showcase the gift include old, recycled Mason and glass jars and bottles or an artistic vase from an estate sale or antique or thrift shop.

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The Horticratic Oath by Darrell Smith


he ancient Hippocratic Oath begins, “First, do no harm…” Each year, new doctors promise to uphold this oath in their medical careers. The idea is simple: doctors should improve a patient’s health, or at the very least, not harm it. What would happen if we, as citizens of the earth, were to take a similar oath towards plants? Perhaps a “Horticratic Oath” is an equally important promise, addressing the foundation of life on earth. Such an oath would need to entail the following:

First, improve the soil.

Soil, the living skin of the earth, is an extremely thin zone of fertility that is crucial to the sustainability of human life and especially for the lives of terrestrial creatures. Soil provides an anchoring point for plants, and more importantly, holds minerals essential for plant health. Healthy soil leads to healthier plants and ecosystems.

Second, work with natural systems.

Plants are miraculous. They use water and sunlight to literally turn air into sugar, transforming carbon dioxide into carbohydrates in order to build cell structures that will become food, fuel, shelter and medicine. The miracle of plants is that they are producers, and if given proper conditions, they produce abundantly.

Third, feed soil biology.

Plants need soil minerals and the vital nutrient nitrogen, which they are unable to access on their own. Billions of microscop-

ic organisms are required to unlock the nutrients stored in the soil and to “fix” nitrogen from the atmosphere— meaning that bacteria in the soil assimilate atmospheric nitrogen and release it as they die so that plants can use it. The unseen microscopic world fuels the entire growing system. To abide by the Horticratic Oath, we would protect the health of living systems above and below the ground. Aggressive tilling, over-fertilization and synthetic pesticides all degrade soil biology and destroy its organic matter. Carefully maintained organic soils absorb more water, support greater microbial life and allow plants to take in mineral nutrients that make them more disease and pest resistant. From the human standpoint, the payoff is in healthier plants that improve our bodily health and make for better living and working environments. So, let us take the first step of the Horticratic Oath: first, improve the soil. Darrell Smith works with The Green Team of WI, a sustainable landscape firm in Milwaukee, WI. He co-wrote the original Horticratic Oath™ with Sandy Syburg, president of Purple Cow Organics based in Oconomowoc, WI. For more information, contact Darrell at

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natural awakenings

May 2015


communityspotlight by Amanda Grasmeyer


imi Ray, of Mimi Ray Yoga is the founder and director of “The Art of Teaching Yoga” a Yoga Teacher Training Program held in Grand Rapids at Expressions of Grace Yoga Studio. Ray has been teaching in Grand Rapids since 2004 and is pleased to be sharing her passion for Yoga with new teachers in this 200 hour Yoga Alliance Program. The Training, also licensed with the State of Michigan, begins a new session in August, 2015. Ray began practicing yoga in college and has studied with many great teachers throughout the United States. Her initial attraction to yoga was “the calmness and being at home in my own body that I experienced when I took my first yoga class.” She has seen the benefit of Yoga in all areas of her own life, and is pleased to be able to offer the opportunity for others to learn the dimensional practice of yoga and teaching yoga through her Yoga Teacher Training School. When she moved to West Michigan, Ray began studying to become a yoga teacher, and in 2004, began teaching with a rather unique vision. Instead of becoming a studio owner, she shared her teaching throughout the community and regionally through classes, workshops and immersions in all aspects of yoga. At the same time, she traveled to study yoga and teach yoga as well as assist teachers in other Teacher Training Programs. With this strong passion and vision for yoga’s transformative power, Ray fulfilled a long time dream of opening a Yoga Teacher Training School. In August of this year, she’ll begin working with a new group of students in Grand Rapids. The Program will continue through April of 2016. In the Teacher Training, students practice and refine their understanding of the poses, learn to teach and observe the poses, develop class plans, learn adjustment and assisting, as well as 14

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study the anatomy of the body, breath, meditation, philosophy, chakras, introduction to and daily healthy lifestyle choices. These subjects weave together into an integrated foundation that well prepares participants to teach. “The real work is in your practice. One has to solidify that within before you can teach others”. Ray notes, “We focus very much in our culture on the yoga of the body and the physical culture of the yoga, and truly, as we train the body, we’re training the mind and making subtle connections deep within the Self. It’s a practice of being more aware, conscious and discerning.” When focusing on the bigger meaning of yoga during the training, Ray highlights the idea that the great teachers will help their students to understand why they are doing the poses and, overall, why they are making the choices they are making. She says, “What’s exciting is experiencing and witnessing the shift – the lightbulb moment – where a concept comes alive in someone’s body, in their full awareness. It’s the ‘aha’ moments where the understanding is way beyond the mind. You build on those, and that creates this very potent life-long practice. The practice of yoga is always transforming. It’s alive and within us.” Ray also notes that some students will take teacher training to progress within this line of thought and deepen their own interaction with yoga, whether they actually want to teach or not. She explains, “People want to go through the training to make the transformative shift from practicing the yoga poses to understand the alignment, the philosophy that points to the bigger picture of the practice.” That being said, Ray believes that everywhere we go, there are a lot of people and programs that could be benefited by yoga that haven’t been tapped into yet, such as high schools, prisons, wellness centers, etc. She wholly believes that there’s a great opportunity for yoga to compliment other programs that exist and that a relationship could be created in the commu-

nity if people could bring their efforts to better the community together. Part of Ray’s Teacher Training program includes trainees teaching a six-week class; she strongly encourages students to choose an underserved community to teach – a community which yoga has not yet tapped into. This is a great way to give back to the community and practice their teaching while making new connections and relationships. Of the current graduating group of teachers, Ray says, “I’m really pleased with the quality of teaching and their dedication to their studies. In our group, all of the students who wanted to teach are now teaching yoga in our community.” Ray’s former students and experiences have also kept her excited for the March 2016 retreat she’ll be offering, together with Jess Lee, another local teacher. This opportunity is for students who are interested in deepening their practice in the beautiful natural setting of the Brazilian Atlantic Coast and rainforest to retreat and refine their teaching practice. This will be the second year for the annual Brazil yoga adventures, called “The Sacred Art of Yoga – Retreats and Teacher Trainings in Brazil”. Locally, Mimi Ray Yoga’s next teacher training will begin in August of 2015 and end in April of 2016. Two informative meetings for those interested in learning more about this program will be held at Expressions of Grace on Thursday, May 14 at 5:00 p.m. and at 7:35 p.m. Ray will also be holding a class on that day from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m., and those interested in the program are welcome to join the class as well. Mimi is excited to enter yet another season of teaching teachers and for the opportunity to enhance the art of teaching yoga. For more information on the Retreats and Teacher Trainings in Brazil, find The Sacred Art of Yoga - Retreats and Teacher Trainings in Brazil on Facebook. For more information on Mimi Ray Yoga call 616-361-8580, email MRayStyle@, visit or or find Mimi Ray Yoga on Facebook. See ad, page 16. Amanda Grasmeyer is a frequent contributor to Natural Awakenings Magazine. You can contact her at

natural awakenings

May 2015


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natural awakenings

May 2015


Keep it fun, so that your kids will try new things like vegetables. Remember, it takes 12 times before a baby actually prefers a new food, so don’t give up!


~Veronika Van de Geer Buckley, Maine mother

KIDS ¤ VEGGIES How to Instill Healthy Lifelong Habits by Clancy Cash Harrison

Starting at conception, the early years of a child’s life are a perfect window of opportunity to establish a foundation of healthy eating.


ant a child to love veggies? Here are simple tips parents can practice in the first three years to establish lifelong good eating habits. Start early. We all know that eating healthy during pregnancy will help a baby grow, but many may not realize that an infant can taste flavors in utero and through breast milk. Eating a variety of fresh produce during pregnancy and breastfeeding helps shape a healthy diet later in life. Treat weaning as a time for the infant to explore the texture, taste and aroma of an array of foods. After six months of exclusive breastfeeding, food can be introduced, although breast milk is still the primary source of nutrients. Small, repeated exposures to many foods during this stage will help minimize refusals to try or accept foods in the toddler years. 18

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Children’s foods should be exploding with nutrients. Offering a variety of organic produce ensures optimal nutrition and decreases chemical exposure. Research reported by the Harvard Medical School and the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, among others, shows that richly colored foods help build dense bones, powerful brains and tough immunity. Good candidates include butternut squash, sweet potatoes, leafy greens, carrots, broccoli, berries and citrus. Also go for those naturally high in iron, such as peas, leafy greens, apricots, raisins and legumes. Avoid anything high in sugar and other sweeteners, hydrogenated oils, artificial colorings and other harmful additives. Another important yet often overlooked foundation of healthy eating is encouraging a child to self-regulate his

or her calorie intake. Self-regulation starts on the first day of breastfeeding and is carried through adulthood. Respecting a child’s decision to end a meal allows them to control their own food intake. Common signals infants use to end a meal include turning their head away, arching back, throwing food on the floor and showing an interest in other activities. To encourage self-regulation, always serve meals and healthy snacks on a schedule and allow the child to feed himself when possible. As early as 7 months of age, most healthy infants are developmentally ready to do this, which should optimize nutrient consumption, increase participation in family meals and contribute to a less stressful mealtime. Appropriate foods for self-feeding should easily melt in an infant’s mouth and be a safe size, such as soft fruits and cooked vegetables. To prevent choking, avoid round, hard and sticky foods such as whole grapes, peanuts, popcorn and nut or seed butters. Don’t be afraid to add mild herbs and spices to a child’s food. An easy way to teach healthy flavor preferences, develop taste buds and reduce pickiness when they’re older is to expose children to many foods, textures and aromas. A dash of cumin in smashed avocado or freshly chopped mint mixed with diced strawberries introduces new perspective on a favorite food. Food refusal is inevitable, normal behavior. Children will love a food one day and hate it the next. Rethinking the definition of variety empowers parents to reintroduce a not-so-favorite food many times. If children don’t like the way an item feels or looks, they may not taste it. The refusal of a carrot doesn’t necessarily doom carrots. They can be

It’s important to give the child the same food that the family eats, but in smaller servings. This allows the child to watch others eat and enjoy the same meal. ~Maria Myers Maiden, North Carolina mother

coined, minced, mashed, puréed and diced to change the texture, plus they can be served cold, at room temperature or tepid. A child’s early adventurous eating increases the willingness to experiment with a wider range of less familiar foods as a young adult in a multicultural foodscape. Kids are not born reciting an alphabet; it takes time and practice to read and learn a new language. Similarly, it requires time and patient practice to establish a healthy foundation for eating. Have faith in the family’s ability to make eating together enjoyable for everyone. Clancy Cash Harrison is a mother of two, pediatric feeding therapist, registered dietitian and author of Feeding Baby: Simple Approaches to Raising a Healthy Baby and Creating a Lifetime of Nutritious Eating. Connect at

Kid Feeding Tips by Clancy Cash Harrison n Holding off on fruits as a first food to prevent development of a sweet tooth is a myth. A sweet taste preference is engrained in an infant’s DNA (Annual Review of Nutrition; Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care). n Restricting foods high in sugar and fat increases a child’s preference for them. Then, when sweets are made available, the child feels compelled to overeat them (Appetite; The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition; Proceedings of the Nutrition Society). n Most children will refuse a new food and by age 2, become afraid of anything new. Therefore, introduce a large variety of foods early in life (Appetite; International Journal of Obesity). n Infants and children can regulate calorie needs based on current growth patterns and age. Some days an infant will eat large amounts of food, on others very little. n Pressuring a child to eat is a behavior associated with unhealthy eating habits. Not only does it set them up for long-term food aversions, it teaches them to distrust their internal feelings of hunger and fullness, often leading to a habit of overeating.

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Easy Kid-Pleasing Recipes T

hese recipes are designed to build dense bones, powerful brains and tough immunity by strategically pairing foods to increase the absorption of vital nutrients. Even toddlers love to use the creamy recipes as dips for their favorite vegetable sticks. To encourage self-feeding with a thinner-texture recipe, place food on a spoon and let the infant lean into it or pull the spoon to their mouth.

Pulse almonds in a blender until finely chopped. Add strawberries and herb of choice. Mix until well blended.

Banana and Coconut Ice Cream Basil and Banana

1 tsp finely chopped fresh organic basil ½ diced organic banana In a blender, mix all ingredients until smooth. Add breast milk to thin as needed.

In a blender, mix all ingredients until smooth. Top with fresh organic berries.

Dilled Peas

Cinnamon Smashed Sweet Potatoes

/4 tsp organic coconut oil 1 Tbsp organic peas 1 pinch fresh chopped organic dill 1

Sweet and Chunky Avocado

½ ripe organic avocado, mashed with a fork ½ ripe organic banana Pinch of organic cinnamon (optional)

In a cast iron skillet, heat coconut oil over medium heat. Add peas and cook for 5 minutes, constantly stirring. Toss with dill before serving.

Mix ingredients well until smooth and creamy. Add breast milk to thin as needed. For more texture, dice the banana and gently mix into mashed avocado.

Strawberry and Almond Purée

8 raw, soaked almonds 4 large organic strawberries, diced 1 tsp fresh chopped organic herbs (basil, cilantro or mint)

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4 frozen organic bananas (without peels) ½ cup unsweetened organic coconut milk 1 tsp organic vanilla extract

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2 Tbsp smashed organic sweet potato Dash organic cinnamon Bake sweet potato until its center is soft. Remove flesh from peel. Smashing with a fork, mix in cinnamon. Add breast milk to thin as needed. Recipes and photos courtesy of Clancy Cash Harrison from Feeding Baby: Simple Approaches to Raising a Healthy Baby and Creating a Lifetime of Nutritious Eating.


To build muscle and become toned absent injury, create a full-body routine, balance muscle groups targeted in workouts, and progress properly through increased weight loads.

Flexing Our

MUSCLES Weightlifting Makes Us Fit,

Healthy and Self-Confident by Debra Melani


omen who shy away from the traditionally male-centric weight rooms might want to reconsider. Standing their ground amid the deadlift bars and iron plates could lead to a host of unimagined benefits. Research has found that among other things, hoisting dumbbells can amp up the fat burn, ward off some common diseases and make women stronger, both inside and out.

Burn Calories When Resting

Aerobic activity can burn more calories while doing it (e.g., 14 to 16 per minute when running), but strength training prolongs the burn, even when resting afterward, according to Wayne Westcott, Ph.D., of Quincy, Massachusetts, who publishes widely on the topic in scientific journals, magazine articles and books. Women will burn fewer calories while pumping iron than when running (between eight and 10 calories a minute), but because of weightlifting’s action—traumatizing muscle tissue and forcing it to rebuild—muscle recovery requires increased expenditure of energy, and thus calories, when the person is at rest. The research shows a revvedup burn of between 5 percent and 7 percent for three full days after a workout, says Westcott, who developed the exercise science major at Quincy College and has reviewed and directed strength-training research for more than 25 years. “On average, a woman burns an extra 100 calories a day by having done 30 minutes of strength training twice a week. That’s an extra 3,000 calories a month, or nearly an extra pound of fat she can burn.”

Additional “free” calorie burning comes from the after-burn effect. By initiating the anaerobic, rather than aerobic, system, weightlifting requires more energy just to return to the resting state. “So, after you finish a workout, you will burn approximately 30 percent of the amount of calories you burned during the workout in the first hour afterward as your body transitions back. It’s a bonus of resistance training.” “It’s like there’s a furnace inside you,” says Naturopathic Doctor and CrossFit instructor Holly Lucille, of West Hollywood, California. The more buff a woman becomes, the more fat she burns. “It can help minimize that natural effect of slowed metabolism as you age and control body weight,” she notes. To maximize the burn, eat a healthy combined protein/carb snack within an hour of the workout, advises Jen Hoehl, a personal trainer in New York City, who says, “Adding amino acids helps the muscles rebuild more efficiently.” Westcott agrees, adding that 90 percent of studies he’s reviewed concur that about 25 extra grams of protein such as a Greek yogurt, more for heavier men, just before or after a workout, enhances fat loss, bone strength and lean muscle gain.

Don’t Fear ‘Hulk’ Bulk

Experts agree that it’s impossible for women to look like the Hulk character of comic book fame. “They don’t have enough anabolic hormones, such as testosterone,” Westcott explains. “Our team has written 26 books on strength training, with not one title exclusively for women. The muscles are exactly the same for both genders, so the same training works, but women will just get toned, not bulky.”

“I train a lot of tiny girls that deadlift 225,” Hoehl says. One tip: Don’t overeat, a mistake many women make when starting out. “Often, people will be hungrier, and they lose track of what they eat or think, ‘Now I can reward myself,’” Lucille explains. “You have to figure out what your new normal is. Eat lean, clean protein.” All three experts agree that braving the free-weight area boosts success at toning and trimming the whole body. “If you use free weights, you use your core and more muscle groups to help stabilize both the weight and your body, which is often standing,” Hoehl explains, versus machines that are often worked while sitting, and generally exercise only one targeted muscle group at a time.

Recover Muscle

Weightlifters also slow Mother Nature’s habit of stealing muscle during aging. “Women lose an average of five pounds of muscle per decade after age 30 until menopause, when the rate increases even more,” Westcott says. Studies have found that during a woman’s first six months of twice-weekly weight training, she can rebuild about one-quarter pound of muscle per week, he says. Because becoming stronger makes everything from chores to other kinds of workouts easier, women become firmer, fitter and more self-confident, Lucille observes. Independence rises, along with self-esteem. “As with all things in life: If you push against resistance, you get stronger,” she says. “That’s true both mentally and physically.” Note: Experts recommend using a certified trainer or weightlifting class to get started. Debra Melani writes about health care and fitness from Lyons, CO. Connect at

natural awakenings

May 2015



Many plants can be toxic. Veterinarian Jane Brunt, executive director of the nonprofit CATalyst Council, in Annapolis, Maryland, advises: “Make sure the plants in your garden are safe, in case your cat is tempted to taste anything. Say no to foxglove and lily species, since they’re poisonous to cats.” Find an extensive list of both safe and problem plants at ASPC-ToxicPlantGuide. Note that aloe vera, asparagus fern, philodendron, dieffenbachia, tomatoes and many varieties of ivy are also among species that can cause consequences ranging from an upset stomach to kidney failure and even death, if ingested.

Protect from Predators

Outdoor Options for Feline Friends Safe Ways to Let Them Explore by Sandra Murphy

W Ne Sh w op W , Re Ou eb de r Sto sign re ed

hile some cats are content to stay indoors, others want to go outside. Even if they remain in the yard, letting them out without a plan can put them in danger. Gently managing a cat’s outdoor experience can instead ensure a consistently safe, enjoyable time without worry or compromising its freedom. A few guidelines will help.

Make the Garden Safe

Cats love to chew on greenery, so set up a small pot or two or a small flat of grasses. Most cats enjoy munching on oat or wheat grasses and relish treats of fresh catnip and catmint. Marigolds can repel fleas and basil will both ward off mosquitoes and complement family meals.

“Never leave a cat outdoors unattended,” says Dr. Cindy Houlihan, owner of The Cat Practice, in Birmingham, Michigan. “During the day, problems can include stray cats, hawks or loose dogs. Another danger is the movement of foxes, raccoons, coyotes and owls close to urban areas where the food supply is more plentiful. Elderly cats are particularly prone to harm. An enclosure is the best way to keep a cat safe outdoors.” Paris Permenter and John Bigley, bloggers at, an online magazine for cat lovers, built a “catio” for daytime use by their felines. Located in Cedar Park, Texas, their four rescue cats need protection from coyotes. “It’s attached to our house, like a small screened porch,” explains Permenter. “The cats use an open window that’s fitted with a cat flap for access; we also have a human-sized screened door, so that we can go in to clean the room. It’s

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enriched their lives and given a former community cat a better home, as well.” In Wheat Ridge, Colorado, Jane Dorsey, volunteer coordinator for the Cat Care Society, utilizes “habicats” both at the shelter and at home. Because her first cat, Chessie, was an escape artist, Dorsey decided to use a large dog pen (12 feet long by six feet tall) as an enclosure. Stood on end, it attaches to the house and has a weatherproof panel roof. A cat door leads to the kitchen. “Chessie’s personality improved because she was able to decide when to go in and out. For easy cleanup, we used pavers for flooring.” In lieu of safe garden access, experts suggest likewise setting aside a small area inside any enclosure for a pot of plants. Also, pet tents made by Sturdi Products and Kritter Kommunity facilitate more portable enclosures. Houlihan finds that, “In case of a sudden change in weather, the cat can avoid heat stroke or a scary storm.” Then there’s the live entertainment factor: “Cats love vertical space, so a cat tree or actual tree limb, properly anchored, can let him have a better view of birds, lizards, toads, chipmunks and squirrels without harming them,” she says. “It’s like kitty television.”

Go for a Walk

A mesh-enclosed stroller allows a cat to ride in safety while the walker burns

calories. In case of a sudden noise or loose dog, the cat can’t escape. Houlihan also recalls a patient called Uti (pronounced YOU-tee), that was prone to chewing electrical cords. “His owners now take him outside for a daily stroll; he’s no longer bored and has quit chewing.” Adopted from a local shelter as a kitten, Makai also goes for accompanied walks. Due to heavy traffic near their Baltimore, Maryland, row home, Andrea Martin, a manager with Brand Public Relations, and her husband Nick, use a harness and leash to take

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her outside. “We often get the, ‘You’re taking your cat for a walk?’ look,” relates Martin, but that hasn’t stopped this adventurous team. “She likes taking a break from being indoors,” she explains. Make sure the harness fit is tight enough so the cat can’t wiggle out of it. With proper planning, any kitty can safely enjoy the great outdoors and the sun on its back. Sandra Murphy is a freelance writer in St. Louis, MO.

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May 2015


RETHINKING BREAST HEALTH Natural ways to keep breasts smooth, pain-free and firm, while reducing the risk of cancer. by Lisa Marshall


e’ve been conditioned to narrowly define breast health in terms of pink ribbon campaigns, cancer awareness marches and cold, steel mammography machines. Nearly 30 years after anticancer drug maker Imperial Chemical Industries (now AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals) established the first National Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October 1985, many women have come to equate healthy breasts with cancer-free breasts, and assume the most important thing they can do is undergo regular screening. But amid this chorus, some women’s health advocates are striving to get a different message across: There are a host of steps women can take to not only fend off disease in the future, but keep their breasts in optimal condition today. “We need to change the conversation about our breasts from how to avoid breast cancer and detect it early to how to have healthy breasts and enjoy them,” says Dr. Christiane Northrup, an obstetrician and gynecologist from Yarmouth, Maine, and author of the new book Goddesses Never Age: The Secret Prescription for Radiance, Vitality, and Well-Being.

Healthy Breasts, Healthy Body

In adolescence, breast changes are the first to signal the arrival of womanhood. When she’s aroused, a woman’s nipples harden and change color. When a woman gives birth, her breasts fill with life-giving milk. “In all these ways, your breasts are deeply connected to your femininity, compassion and sensuality,” says Hawaiian Naturopathic Doctor 24

West Michigan Edition

Laurie Steelsmith, co-author of Natural Choices for Women’s Health. Because breasts are extremely sensitive to hormonal fluctuations throughout the body, they can also serve as a barometer of overall health. “If you’re having chronic breast symptoms, it can be your body’s wisdom saying, ‘Help. Something’s wrong.’ Women need to listen.” While some premenstrual swelling and tenderness is normal, exaggerated or persistent pain is often a sign of systemic estrogen dominance in relation to progesterone. It’s common in the years leading up to menopause, but can also hint at impaired thyroid function, because low levels of thyroid hormones have been shown to boost estrogen in breast tissue, advises Steelsmith. Large, fluid-filled cysts or fibrous lumps, while non-cancerous, can also be a reflection of overexposure to harmful chemicals and toxin buildup, combined with poor lymph flow, notes Dr. Elizabeth Vaughan, an integrative physician in Greensboro, North Carolina. “If a woman has lumpy, bumpy breasts, they probably contain too many toxins, and those toxins are primarily estrogenic.” Addressing such symptoms is important not only to relieve discomfort, but also

because excess estrogen can fuel future cancer risk, says Vaughan. Any new, suspicious lump should be evaluated by a professional. Also, severe breast tenderness combined with nipple discharge could be a sign of infection or a problem with the pituitary gland, so it should also be checked. But typically, subtle natural healthcare steps can go a long way toward restoring breast wellness. For nipple tenderness, Steelsmith recommends chaste-tree berry (175 milligrams [mg] of powdered extract or 40 drops daily). The herbal supplement mimics naturally occurring progesterone in the body, helping to counter estrogen dominance. Vitamin E (400 to 800 international units [IU] per day) and evening primrose oil (1,500 mg twice a day) have also been shown to alleviate breast tenderness. For fibrous or cyst-filled breasts, Vaughan advises supplementing with iodine (up to 12.5 mg per day via kelp, seaweed or oral tablets) or applying an iodine solution to the breasts at night. A key constituent of thyroid hormones, iodine helps the liver convert unfriendly forms of estrogen into friendlier forms and flush toxins out of lymph nodes in the breast. Also, steer clear of chocolate and coffee, because caffeine is

believed to interact with enzymes in the breast, exaggerating pain and lumpiness. Also consider ditching the bra, says Vaughan. Brassieres can constrict lymph nodes and hinder blood circulation in breasts, locking toxins in and aggravating fibrocystic symptoms. The link between bras and breast cancer risk remains hotly debated, with one 2014 U.S. National Cancer Institute study of 1,400 women concluding unequivocally that, “There’s no evidence that wearing a bra increases a woman’s risk of breast cancer,” while smaller studies from the United States, China, Venezuela, Scotland and Africa suggest a link. Vaughan, the founder of, says the science is compelling enough that she has chosen to keep her own bra use to a minimum and advises her patients to do the same. “Obviously, there are certain sports where you should wear a sports bra and there are certain dresses that only look right with a bra,” says Vaughan. At a minimum, avoid wearing a bra to bed and steer clear of underwires and overly tight bras that leave red marks. “This is not about guilt-tripping women into never wearing a bra. It’s about wearing a bra less.”

Bajaj notes that implants can rupture, forming scar tissue and lending irregular shape to the breast. Often, as a woman ages and her body changes, the larger breasts she chose in her 20s no longer look right and may cause back and shoulder pain. In some cases, implants can also lead to loss of nipple sensitivity. For these and other reasons, 23,774 women—including actress Melissa Gilbert and model Victoria Beckham—had their implants removed in 2014, often following up with a breast lift (using their own tissue) to restore their shape. Vaughan sees breast implant removal as a wise and courageous choice to restore optimal breast health. Better yet, don’t get implants in the first place. “There are a lot of other things you can do to improve the appearance of your breasts,” she advises.

Vaughan recommends breastperking exercises like dumbbell bench presses and flys that tone the pectoral muscles beneath the breasts, making them more resilient and look larger. To prevent or reverse sagging, she again urges women to go bra-free. “We have ligaments in the upper outer quadrant of our breasts called Cooper’s ligaments, and they’re responsible for holding our breasts up. Just like your muscles atrophy when you put your arm in a sling, your Cooper’s ligaments atrophy if you wear a bra all the time.” In one unpublished, yet highly publicized 2013 study, French Exercise Physiologist Jean-Denis Rouillon measured the busts of 330 women ages 18 to 35 over a period of 15 years and found those that regularly wore a bra had droopier breasts with lower nipples than those that didn’t. In another,

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Too small or too big, lopsided or riddled with stretch marks… it seems almost every woman has a complaint about the appearance of her breasts. That’s a problem, says Northrup, because, “Healthy breasts are breasts that are loved. We have to stop beating them up.” According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the number of women getting breast implants for cosmetic reasons ballooned from 212,500 in 2000 to 286,254 in 2014. Physicians—including Northrup— claim that modern implants don’t, in the majority of cases, promote disease like older silicone implants did. Yet even plastic surgeons warn that having implants should be fully thought out, and at some point they’ll probably have to come out. “They are manmade devices, and are not intended to be lifelong. At some point, you will probably have to have further surgery,” says Dr. Anureet Bajaj, an Oklahoma City plastic surgeon.

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smaller, Japanese study, researchers found that when women stopped wearing a bra for three months, their breasts perked up. Those worried about stretch marks also have options. They can be a sign of inadequate copper, which promotes collagen integrity and helps skin stretch without injury, says Steelsmith. If rapid weight gain is occurring due to adolescence, pregnancy or for other reasons, try taking copper supplements or applying a topical copper spray on the breasts. Remember to massage your breasts daily, not only as a “search and destroy mission” for early detection of cancerous lumps, says Northrup, but as a way to get waste products flowing out and loving energy flowing in. “It concerns me that women feel pressured to think of their breasts as two potentially pre-malignant lesions sitting on their chests,” Northrup says. “These are organs of nourishment and pleasure for both ourselves and others. We need to remember that, too.” Lisa Marshall is a freelance health writer in Boulder, CO. Connect at

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West Michigan Edition

Bust Musts for Cancer Prevention by Lisa Marshall


ccording to the American Cancer Society, one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer, and nearly 40,000 will die annually of the disease. But at least 38 percent of those diagnoses could be prevented via diet and lifestyle changes, affirms the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR). “For decades, the dominant public message about breast cancer has been about early detection,” says Medical Doctor Robert Pendergrast, an associate professor at the Medical College of Georgia, in Augusta, and author of Breast Cancer: Reduce Your Risk with Foods You Love. “Screening is important, but not nearly enough attention is being paid to prevention.” Here’s what we can do to keep cancer at bay or from recurring. Eat more veggies: Cruciferous vegetables, like broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts, are loaded with indole-3-carbinol, or I3C, a potent anticancer compound that helps break down excess estrogen and convert it into a more friendly, or benign form, says Steelsmith. One study in Alternative Medicine Review found that women that ate high amounts of cruciferous vegetables were 30 percent less likely to develop breast cancer over 30 years. I3C can also be taken as a supplement (300 milligrams [mg] per day). Eat more fiber, especially flax: Fiber, via whole grains, fruits and vegetables, helps flush out toxins including unfriendly estrogen. Flax contains cancer-fighting compounds called lignans, which block the effects of excess or unfriendly estrogen on cells. Drink less alcohol: Alcohol boosts estrogen levels in women and is broken down in the liver to acetaldehyde, a known toxin that causes cancer in laboratory animals, notes Naturopath

Laurie Steelsmith. According to the AICR, a woman that has five drinks per week boosts her risk by 5 percent. Two or more drinks per day boosts such risk by more than 40 percent. Skip the barbecue: Charring meat produces carcinogenic compounds called heterocyclic amines. A study of 42,000 women, published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, found that those that routinely ate welldone hamburger, beef or bacon had four times the risk of those that opted for medium or medium-rare. Keep weight in check: Excessive estrogen, which lives in fat cells, fuels cancer risk. According to the AICR, a woman with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 (obese) has a 13 percent higher risk of cancer than a woman with a BMI of 25 (slightly overweight). Spice up life: Curcumin from the turmeric plant has been shown in many studies to have potent immune-boosting and anticancer properties, reactivating sleeping tumor-suppressor genes that can kill cancer cells. De-stress: Growing evidence that includes studies from Ohio State University suggest that stress can boost the risk of breast cancer and recurrence, plus heighten its aggressiveness by altering hormones and impairing immunity. One study from Finland’s University of Helsinki followed 10,808 Finnish women for 15 years and found as much as double the rate of breast cancer among those that had experienced a divorce or death of a spouse or family member. Drink green tea: It’s loaded with epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), a potent antioxidant believed to suppress new blood vessel growth in tumors and keep cancerous cells from invading healthy tissue.

Triumph Over The ‘Big C’ by Lisa Marshall


hen Sandy Messonnier was diagnosed with breast cancer, she faced scary treatment decisions as doctors pressured her to consider all means available. “I was more afraid of the treatment than the cancer itself,” says Messonnier, 52, of Plano, Texas. “I kept feeling like I was being lumped into one big category of all women that got breast cancer, rather than treated as an individual.” With the help of her holistic veterinarian husband Shawn Messonnier, Sandy took a more measured approach, blending conventional and complementary medicine in an individualized protocol the couple describes in their book, Breast Choices for the Best Chances: Your Breasts, Your Life, and How You Can Win the Battle! After careful consideration, Sandy opted for two lumpectomies three weeks apart, instead of a mastectomy, to remove

the small tumor. The second one was done to clear up a few remaining cells indicated by a biopsy. Meanwhile, she took supplements including green tea and coriolus mushrooms to impede the spread of the cancer cells. Several tests helped determine if she needed chemotherapy and the optimum dose for some of her supplements. The results prompted her to decline chemotherapy and opt for a brief stint of radiation while taking the supplements quercetin and curcumin to help combat the fatigue and other side effects. Afterward, she cleansed her body with homeopathic mistletoe, herbal milk thistle and other detoxifying supplements. Then she began the work of keeping cancer at bay. “A lot of doctors never talk to you about what you are going to do after the poisoning [chemo], the burning and

Male BreastbyCancer We Are Not Alone Michael W. Kovarik


here is an intruder determined to establish a permanent lodging within our bodies. Striking those of us not accustomed to its existence, its discovery evokes silence, disbelief and confusion. “Men don’t get breast cancer,” echoes in our numbed minds as we suddenly confront a struggle so many women have endured. Breast cancer’s tenacity is unparalleled, for it recognizes no boundaries and harbors no sense of discrimination. It is an equal opportunity invader. It hits hard, it hits home and it strikes fear. Male breast cancer awareness and treatment is in its infancy. In 2014, the National Cancer Institute projected more that than 2,300 men will be diagnosed and more than 400 will die of the disease each year, but that assumption may reflect only men that seek out early medical treatment. For many, the discovery of a lump induces fear and denial, yet any reluctance to act invites this toxic interloper

further into our systems. Unfortunately, the thought that permeates the minds of many men is, “I will travel this road alone.” We then retreat into a cocoon, in hopes of concealing the reality. We cling to the hope that it is all a dream, but it is not. As we embark on a treatment designed for women, the rarity of this disease becomes clear. Alone and frustrated, we sense an inner desire for change, so emerging from our selfcreated cocoon, we tune in to all the information around us and begin a much-needed conversation. Learning from the teachers we have; the thousands of courageous women that have and are still journeying with this disease, we begin to open up. In revealing who we are and how breast cancer affects us, we connect with other men, dispelling the sense of isolation. We listen and share our frustrations, thoughts, losses and fears. Trust in conversation

surgery,” she says. “Rather than taking a cancer-fighting drug, I chose to be more mindful of what I do with my body.” Her regimen called for committing to keeping up with the healthy diet, plus regular walks, yoga and Pilates that she believes helped keep the cancer relatively mild to begin with. But she also made some life changes to address the one thing she believes may have driven the outbreak in the first place—stress. She made peace with her mother, which reduced a lot of stress, began to cultivate a spiritual life and now takes time to meditate or walk when she feels even lightly stressed. She also vowed to keep the fear of recurrence from overwhelming her. “Many women never stop worrying about it,” she observes. “That is toxic energy you are putting back into your body.” As of this October, Messonnier will be five years cancer-free. Her advice for women newly diagnosed with breast cancer: “Chemotherapy, radiation and mastectomy are not among the right choices for all women. There are other options, depending on the type of cancer. Don’t be so fearful that you make hasty decisions you don’t need to make.” guides us to inform not only our daughters, wives, sisters and mothers, but also our sons, partners, brothers and fathers about cancer’s poisonous reach. We gain the courage to be tested for the BRCA gene, recognizing that information is power and knowledge means life. Amidst the multiple surgeries, decisions, mastectomies and scars, through our connections and conversations, we reclaim the power we had granted to fear and cancer. We release our shame and embarrassment, knowing that we are not alone, for each of us possesses the self-compassion, strength, spirit and belief that we can, we are and will continue to thrive in the face of breast cancer. For more information on male breast cancer, survivor stories and an upcoming documentary, visit and Michael Kovarik, a breast cancer survivor and resident of Greenwich, NY, is the author of Healing Within: My Journey with Breast Cancer. Contact him at MWK.Healing@gmail. com and on Facebook/Michael Kovarik.

natural awakenings

May 2015



Laura Prepon’s Journey to Health Home Cooking, Organics and Massage Are Key by Gerry Strauss


Ne Sh w op W , Re Ou eb de r Sto sign re ed

How do you manage to consistently eat local organic food instead of fast food? My mother was a gourmet chef and an advocate of organic food, so we always had amazing meals growing up. Eating organic produce that’s in season locally seems to help me assimilate nutrition more readily. Whenever I can, I also try to tap into biodynamic agriculture, which takes an even broader holistic approach to food production and nutrition. I view GMOs [genetically modified foods] as toxic to the system. photo by Michael Simon

rom That ‘70s Show to Orange is the New Black, actress Laura Prepon has long been considered by TV audiences to be a welcome image of health. Yet Prepon’s recent discovery that she’d been falling short in nourishing her body as effectively as possible has set in motion a complete redirection of lifestyle, from her diet to fitness routine. Now working on a book about clean living and eating due out next year, Prepon has rededicated herself to educating us just as much as she’s entertained us through the years.

As a self-taught chef, I like to cook at least 80 percent of my food at home and bring meals to work so I don’t stress about food during the day. It feels good to get people together in the kitchen and I’ve taught friends how to cook healthy foods in simple ways, so they now bring their own meals with them to work. It’s all about preparation, so that you’re not just grabbing something on the run. Knowing what’s going into the food we’re eating is important.

Why do you include a lot of soup in your diet? With all of the GMO food sprayed with chemicals in the typical American diet and the other environmental toxins everyone has to deal with, our gut flora, intestines and bodies in general are becoming compromised. Ten years ago, few had even heard of gluten allergies unless you had celiac disease, which was rare even then. Now, everywhere you go, there’s a gluten-free option. I love eating soup because the healthful ingredients I use are broken down completely, so the body can immediately assimilate needed micronutrients, which help heal us from the inside out. I’m talking about homemade broth from grass-fed beef bones, so you get the marrow; I’m partial to knuckle bones. I always have soup broth in my refrigerator.

What’s key to your ability to naturally stay healthy and fit in the midst of an intense schedule of work and travel? I love modalities like acupuncture, massage … all of that. I fully believe

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in keeping energy flowing to benefit the functioning of all our organs. As school kids, we learn about the circulatory system and central nervous system, but who knows much about the lymphatic system? It’s extremely important, and people are starting to get the idea. Activities like yoga, swimming and bouncing on the trampoline can help.

Do you see society’s penchant for medicating as a way to avoid listening to and addressing our body’s real needs? I do. That’s why I study Eastern medicine, because I feel that Western medicine treats problems and Eastern medicine prevents problems from happening. I grew up in a family of doctors and “full-on” Western medicine and respect the medical community. Unfortunately, these days, most people are continually medicated and they’re not getting better. As a society, we tend to just take a drug to handle a symptom instead of addressing the actual cause of the problem.

As a celebrity, do you see yourself as a conduit to facilitate a shift away from unnatural lifestyles? Yes. The reason I decided to write a book was because I’ve been struggling with a bunch of different ailments in secret for a long time. When I began working with my integrated health coach, Elizabeth Troy, I started to heal for the first time in all the years of reading books on health, diet and fitness, seeing doctors, taking loads of pills and spending crazy amounts of money on all of these activities. I want to help people struggling to regain their health to get answers. Gerry Strauss is a freelance writer in Hamilton, NJ. Connect at

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et down off your cross.” Harsh words, especially coming from a longtime hospital chaplain when the woman she was addressing had just learned she was cancer-free. Regardless, “Within two minutes, she started retelling the story of her diagnosis, surgery and chemo,” recounted Debra Jarvis, affectionately known as “The Irreverent Reverend”, during a TEDMED talk in Washington, D.C. “She was using words like suffering, agony, struggle... and ended with, ‘I felt crucified.’” It was then that Jarvis asked this woman to do what would likely require more of her than anything she’d done before. Over the years, Jarvis has observed the tendency for us to identify ourselves by our wounds as “survivors” of something that does not and should not define us. “What if people decided to claim their trauma as an experience, instead of taking it on as an identity?” she queries. “Maybe it would be the start of defining ourselves by who we have become and who we are becoming.” As Jarvis well knows, there are, in her words, “powerful forces” pushing us to do just the opposite. In 2005, she found herself in the same position as her friend, having recovered from cancer and trying to sort out what it all meant. “We don’t all have to start a foundation or write a book,” to

claim meaning for ourselves, she says. “Maybe we make one small decision that can bring about a big change.” For some, this has meant exchanging a disease-prone view of themselves for a more inspired outlook. Too often, though, mustering the humility to adopt such a perspective can seem just as difficult as climbing down from whatever tortuous experience we’re clinging to. Yet, it’s essential. As those familiar with the Bible know, a central event of Jesus’ life, his crucifixion, was followed by his even more compelling resurrection, a term that thought leader Mary Baker Eddy describes as “spiritualization of thought; a new and higher idea of immortality, or spiritual existence; material belief yielding to spiritual understanding.” The good news is that such transformation is not exclusive, but available to anyone. Whether it’s at the urging of a chaplain or another counselor or our own divine inspiration that’s encouraging us to move on, we owe it to ourselves to begin discovering who and what we really are. Eric Nelson is a Christian Science healing practitioner from Petaluma, CA, who writes on the link between spiritual consciousness and health. Find more articles at

natural awakenings

May 2015



Michigan’s First GreenStar Gold Certified New Home by Annica Vanderlinde


uring the time when Marsha and John Reeves were in the market for a new home after deciding to move from the Ann Arbor region, they happened upon a green home educational session put on by the south east region’s sustainability design expert, Michael Klement. They were sold from there. Marsha says, “According to my teachers, the two primary guidelines for being a good person in the Anishinaabe world are: 1. don’t take more than you need, and 2. don’t waste. Since I am always working to be a good person, it was essential to follow these guidelines


West Michigan Edition

in building a house. Green building helps people to avoid taking more than they need and to avoid waste as much as possible. We are blessed in this part of the world to have people with a great deal of knowledge and experience in green building, so the choice to build ‘green’ was easy.” It was no surprise that when choosing to move to Newaygo, the Reeves contacted a small residential construction company in Rockford that only commits to building green homes, Vos Energy Concepts. The home the Reeves wanted to build was no ordinary new home. It was to be located in the

Manistee National Forest on acreage connected to the beautiful Muskegon River – and the goal was preservation. The project removed neither heritage nor important trees from the site. Dan Vos, a builder from Vos Energy Concepts says, “Small tree logs from the land were split in half, left with bark and were placed inside between the window frames. Support posts for the patios and entrance roof on the home are logs also from the property.” In addition, rainwater will be captured on site with rain barrels. The water will be used to water the medicinal plants that grow around the

house along with the gardens. The gardens are not conventional; rather, they follow the practice of huglekultur. Huglekultur is an alternative type of raised bed garden system that stays fertilized and moist from a decaying log planted underneath it. Any unused rainwater, because it comes off a foodgrade metal roof, will not harm the local aquifer as it immediately goes back into the ground. Inside the house, you will get a sense of biophilliac design elements including the use of tree branches, natural shapes and ample interior natural lighting which provides views of the natural world outside. Many of the materials, finishes, trims and cabinets were locally made using regionally sourced or reused materials. Old School chalkboards were up-cycled, cut to size, polished and placed as the window sills. Small tree branches standing up, stripped and finished placed throughout the home are used for hanging scarves, wet gloves, coats, baskets, towels and whatever else needs a place. A local artist, Kendra McKimmy, put together a design of a tree from the shore of Lake Superior. Stones collected by the homeowner and artist were used in the making of a beautiful tree that is located on the bathroom curved wall facing the soaking tub. John says, “I believe that there are finite resources for all of mankind. So to be a steward of resources becomes a requirement for all of us. I have 11

grandchildren and five great grandchildren that are counting on those of us in the decision process today to make responsible choices in the use of our finite resources. Building green is one of those responsible choices.” From an energy standpoint, this home rated at a HERS index of 16 which makes it 84% more energy efficient than the standard built-to-code home. The HERS index score comes from local Energy Rater, John Kuyper, who reviewed all of the components and mechanicals of the home to accurately project it’s efficiency. The super tight and efficient concrete foam shell of the home sits on insulated concrete floors which retain the heat of the sun in the winter. Above the home, the attic is insulated and air-sealed with a reflective metal roof to keep down the heat from the sun in the winter. All energy star appliances and LED lightbulbs are installed throughout and a Heat Recovery Ventilator keeps fresh air circulating in the

house while avoiding a lot of heat loss during the winter. The home also utilizes a very high efficiency and sealed wood stove for cold winters and radiant floors in junction with a mini split air source heat pump powered by solar PV and hot water to keep the energy costs down and the homeowners comfortable. In addition to the fresh air, the air quality in the home is not diminished because the home only uses low- or no-VOC paints, primers and sealants, as well as tiled bath surrounds that prevent interior mold growth behind the walls. The Reeves also joined Consumer’s Experimental Advanced Renewable Program and started generating electricity in November, 2013, and they eventually expect to achieve Net Zero Energy. The Reeves’ goals on this project did not align with LEED for Homes, but GreenStar certification made a lot of sense for them. While we approached this home using GreenStar in the middle of the construction period, the reviewers were still able to retain what they needed to verify the home’s completion. “Brett and the GreenHome Institute staff were wonderful to work with! They went far beyond my expectations in assisting us through the application and certification process. Their personal attention to the details of our needs was truly impressive,” says Marsha. For more information on GreenStar Home Certification, visit

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May 2015



Giving Birth Naturally Conscious Choices Lead to Less Intervention by Meredith Montgomery


Benefits of Home Births

abor and delivery tions where a vaginal Most births is a natural process birth would have posed that can be enjoyed. should be viewed a relatively low risk to “It’s not something the health of mother and as a natural life to be afraid of,” says child. Entirely natural process instead Mel Campbell, author childbirth is now rare of The Yoga of Pregnancy. of a potential here compared with “It’s a wonderful and other countries, but that beautiful experience. We medical emergency. wasn’t always the case. need to remember that In 1900, 95 percent of the body is designed for ~Abby Epstein, The all U.S. births took place Business of Being Born in the home; when more giving birth.” Natural childbirth moved to hospitals here uses few or no artificial medical interin the early 20th century, midwives still ventions such as drugs, continuous typically handled the delivery in other fetal monitoring, forceps delivery or countries, sometimes without a doctor episiotomies (cuts to enlarge the vaginal present. In America, obstetrics became opening). According to the U.S. Centers a profession and a doctor-attended birth for Disease Control (CDC), 32.7 percent in a hospital was promoted as a safer of deliveries were by Cesarean section alternative. By 1938, half of domestic in 2013—most performed in situabirths took place in hospitals, and by

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1960 it rose to 97 percent. Currently, midwives attend less than 8 percent of births here, and fewer than 1 percent occur outside a hospital. Natural labor and delivery in a hospital is possible, but, “It’s hard to have an unmedicated birth in many hospitals if you don’t know your rights, understand your physiology and have a doula by your side helping you avoid unnecessary interventions,” says Ina May Gaskin, a pioneering midwife and author of Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth. Key factors to discuss include fetal monitoring, intravenous tubes and the option to eat or drink during labor. Women choose home births and homey birthing centers because they labor there more comfortably, feel more in control of the process and can more easily avoid interventions. Many moms seek out a midwife’s services because they don’t want to repeat the conventional hospital experience that accompanied their first baby’s arrival. When actress Ricki Lake gave birth to her second child in her home bathtub with the assistance of a midwife, she felt empowered by doing it on her own terms. “Giving birth wasn’t an illness, something that needed to be numbed. It was something to be experienced,” she says. When women let their bodies naturally lead, labor can last as little as 20 minutes or as long as two weeks, and the spectrum of pain intensity is equally broad. A healthy prenatal lifestyle that prepares a mom-to-be for a natural physical, emotional and spiritual experience of childbirth is highly beneficial.

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“Pregnancy’s not the time to overexert yourself; let go of the temptation to overachieve and instead practice breathing and mindfulness,” advises Campbell. “If you’re experiencing morning sickness, try to embrace it and how it serves you. By doing so, you’ll be more in tune with your body. These lessons are gifts you can take with you into labor.”  She reminds women that the baby is always getting nourishment from all that mom eats and breathes in, and also feeds off of her feelings and emotions. “The more we can feel at peace with ourselves and incorporate the baby into our being, the more we feel a connection and union,” she says. “It’s vital that you let your body’s innate wisdom be your guide and respect any cues it may give.” Campbell guides expectant mothers through a yoga practice that embraces the changes occurring each trimester. For example, a more physical practice in the second trimester utilizes the surge of energy to build stamina and strength, while opening the heart, hips and pelvis. Complementary relaxation techniques for labor include breathing practices, visualization, meditation and massage. When a mother isn’t connected to monitors and tubes, she’s free to experiment with positions and props

Conscious Childbirth Resources The Yoga of Pregnancy Week by Week: Connect With Your Unborn Child through Mind, Body and Breath by Mel Campbell Natural Hospital Birth: The Best of Both Worlds by Cynthia Gabriel Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin Spiritual Midwifery by Ina May Gaskin Your Best Birth by Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein The Business of Being Born a film by Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein Mothering Magazine’s Having a Baby, Naturally by Peggy O’Mara natural awakenings

May 2015


There is a great deal of fear and ignorance about allowing labor and birth to proceed without disturbance. Rates of routine intervention are so high, most nurses and physicians rarely see a fully natural birth. ~Ina May Gaskin such as balls, bars and pillows, plus a warm shower or bath. If a hospital birth is planned, Gaskin notes that labor often slows once a woman leaves the comfort of home, and recommends laboring at home as long as possible. There is no way to predict the course of labor and delivery when women let nature take the lead. Campbell, a mother of three, says, “I tried to focus on the intention of what I wanted for my birthing experience, while also surrendering expectations, knowing that I would have whatever type of birth I was supposed to have.” She adds, “The breath is the most important thing—it keeps us in the moment, helps us to relax and supports us through labor.” While the home birth option is important to America’s new generation of trailblazing women, it’s also significant on a macro level. Gaskin explains, “It’s hard for staff to change routine practices in hospitals but home births make innovation possible.” Home births demonstrated that women don’t require routine episiotomies and have shown how maternal mobility and position changes can help labor progress and free badly stuck babies (earlier methods often injured mother and child). Gaskin has found, “Wherever and however you decide to give birth, your experience will impact your emotions, mind, body and spirit for the rest of your life. No one should have a home birth who doesn’t want one, but it must be one of the choices.” Meredith Montgomery publishes Natural Awakenings of Mobile/Baldwin, AL ( 36

West Michigan Edition

A Mother’s Guide to Natural Childbirth by Meredith Montgomery


etermining the best birth setting for a mother necessitates sound planning. If an unmedicated birth is a goal, these insights may help in making decisions. Home birth takes place in the comfort of home, typically with the assistance of a midwife, and is suitable for a healthy woman with a low-risk pregnancy. She is able to wear her own clothing and eat as she pleases. Because monitoring of mother and baby is done intermittently, she is free to move around. Confirm the midwife’s training and experience; ask how many home births she’s attended and which obstetricians she consults. Discuss the signs and symptoms that might necessitate a move to the hospital and how quickly it can be done. While a midwife’s fee is often far less than the cost of a hospital birth, not all insurance companies cover home births. A birth center provides personalized, family-centered care in a homelike environment for healthy women. Practitioners follow principles of problem prevention, sensitivity, safety, appropriate medical intervention and cost-effectiveness. A midwife typically delivers the baby, but the collaborative practice team also includes obstetricians, pediatricians and other specialists.

Mothers experience personal freedoms similar to a home birth, and tubs for water births are usually available, plus other birthing props such as squatting bars, stools and balls. The center should be accredited by the Commission for Accreditation of Birth Centers. Inquire what the protocol for care will be if complications arise, learn what the center’s charges for care cover and confirm if the family’s insurance policy will pay for the services provided. A hospital generally has access to the latest medical technology, making it a preferred option for medium-to-highrisk pregnancies. With proper preparations, an unmedicated birth is possible in this traditional setting. Investigate their rates of Cesarean births and episiotomies and the determining parameters. To allow for an active labor, request intermittent fetal monitoring, avoid intravenous fluids and ask about the availability of birthing props. Become familiar with hospital policies, such as who can be in the delivery room and whether the baby will stay with mom after the birth. If a nurse midwife is not on staff, consider hiring a doula to assist in preparing for and carrying out the family’s birth plan.

communityspotlight by Julie Hurley


edar Tree Birth and Wellness is the first - and currently only - natural birthing facility in Grand Rapids and offers expecting mothers who want an out-of-hospital birthing experience a range of services, including prenatal care, lactation counseling, chiropractic care and massage therapy. Owner Sara Badger also operates Simply Born, her midwifery company, from the renovated home at 915 Cherry St. in Eastown, which has a dedicated birthing suite on the second floor that includes a full-service kitchen, a bedroom and a bathroom. “Cedar Tree Birth and Wellness serves as a community center for professionals who work in the area,” says Badger. “We have independent practitioners, such as doulas, massage therapists and chiropractors come in and offer their services to our clients, and their own.” Badger, who has attended over 800 births, started Cedar Tree just over a year ago. When she moved from California to Grand Rapids, she saw a great need to bring the world of homebirth out into the open. “My mother was a midwife and I hadn’t realized that women went to the hospital to have babies until I was well into my teens. While in college, my mother asked me to intern for her over a summer, and I just didn’t stop. It lit a fire underneath me, and I realized that this was a way for me to try and change the world for women,” she says. Home births still have a stigma attached to them, as Badger has learned from her time in West Michigan. “When I first arrived, people talked about their home births under the radar, it was all very hush-hush. But, statistically, home births are safer than hospital births for women who are low-risk.”

Badger says the C-section rate in local West Michigan hospitals is roughly 33 percent, which is on par with the national average. However, it is alarmingly well over the World Health Organization’s recommended C-section rate of 10-15 percent. “Home births are a safe and realistic choice for women, and the benefits of a vaginal birth are enormous: As a baby comes through the vaginal canal, an essential transfer of gut flora is given from mom to baby. It’s a physiological thing too - the compression is good for getting fluids out of the baby’s lungs. We have higher rates of cancers, diabetes and autism in children, and research is beginning to show a connection to our very high C-section rate.” Badger’s C-section rate is 3 percent. She firmly believes in transparency, which is why she is so open about her statistics, and she encourages women who are seeking prenatal care to ask their doctors about both the benefits and risks of each of their birthing choices. “Our goal at Cedar Tree is to educate the mother and community about the birthing process,” says Badger. “I want mothers to come out of birth empowered, confident and capable of their own instincts. And this goes beyond birth, into the decisions we make as parents. We should be holding ourselves and our care providers accountable - instead of handing over your baby to a pediatrician asking what’s wrong, I want mothers to say ‘this is what is wrong with my baby, how can you help me?’” An expecting mother at Cedar Tree can receive prenatal care starting around 12 weeks and most office visits last about 30 minutes to an hour. “We collect data and monitor mom and baby, but then spend most of the time talking about the woman’s needs, fears and how we can support them. We also focus on nutrition, which is a huge component of care.” When labor begins, the expecting mother can call whenever she feels she

needs assistance. When she gets to the center or when Badger arrives at her home, Badger encourages the natural instinct to move around or go for a walk. Cedar Tree also employs students who offer extra labor support and help with each birth. “How long we spend at each birth really depends on that labor and that mother.” says Badger. “After the birth, we stay for about two hours or longer if necessary, and then leave the new family so they can enjoy that bonding time with some privacy.” Badger, who has four children of her own, says that her clients have really researched their options to have an outof-hospital birth, and whether they’d like to utilize the birthing center or birth in their own homes, Cedar Tree offers both. Because of the lingering stigma about homebirth, she says that many husbands and partners feel more comfortable with birth at the center. “Our men are just learning how to be in birth,” says Badger. “Back in the 70s, when I was born, dads weren’t allowed in the labor room. We are working to educate families on the many benefits of natural birth and absolutely want to get dads and partners involved in the process.” Cedar Tree averages about 2-4 births per month and can accommodate 1-2 birthing mothers at one time. Badger also travels to people’s homes to assist in about 4-6 home births per month as well, and her travel area generally includes a one-hour radius around Grand Rapids. Midwife apprentice Samantha Breaux says that many clients of Cedar Tree find they receive so much more than just prenatal care. They walk into a strong community of supportive women and a built-in network. Badger plans to continue to work for moms and babies, providing education and options to meet people’s needs. “Ultimately, that is what we are all about - simply providing options. We’re in no way against hospital birth, and we realize homebirth isn’t for everyone, so we are here to provide an option for those families who are simply seeking a perfect ‘in-between’,” she says. For more information, call 559-9075341, email or visit or SimplyBorn. com. See ads, pages 34 and 47.

natural awakenings

May 2015


Navigating the Journey of Perimenopause Simple Skills for Success by Dana Glor-Gray


erimenopause can last six months to ten years for women, which is mainly determined by genetics. Many women experience heavier, longer, painful periods and irregular cycles during this time, along with fatigue and mood swings, just to name a few symptoms. A woman’s approach and attitude toward her perimenopausal journey determines her experience. This transformative journey brings empowerment and greater happiness if a woman is conscious of self as new needs surface. The physical changes during perimenopause are frustrating and irritating to say the least, but if a woman is proactive, she can design the right

plan for herself. There is advice everywhere, and most of it is very helpful; however, individuality is the most important intention to keep in mind. What works for one woman, does not necessarily work for another. A little attention to self-care creates big rewards. Taking advantage of alternative therapies and tweaking one’s lifestyle just a little can help a lady get out of bed in the morning instead of wanting to roll over and sleep another five more hours. A few dietary additives such as red raspberry leaf tea and a juice made out of carrots, apples, lemons and parsley is beneficial by providing the body with much needed nu-

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West Michigan Edition

trients and support, but it is important for each woman to do a little research and find out what works for her as there are several options. Mentally and emotionally, there is one common theme on this journey for women: They are no longer willing to do things they do not want to do if there is another option. Women begin to say ‘No,’ more often, and this frees up their energy to pursue personal goals such as health and spirituality. Often, family members will say, “It didn’t bother you before.” The truth is that it always bothered her; she never liked it, but she kept quiet. With the fatigue and energy shifts of perimenopause, a woman is forced or highly motivated to use her energy with more wisdom and less co-dependency. The shifts in hormones encourage direct communication, clearing out issues that have been under the surface for years. These issues are not new to the woman. She has simply ignored them until now. A woman going through perimenopause no longer tolerates dissatisfaction. It is a time of cleansing one’s mental and emotional energy and life. The easiest way for a woman to embrace this energy is to be self-aware and make appropriate changes where needed by using more of the resources around her. Feelings of anger, frustration or sadness indicate areas of needed growth. Asking for help, delegating more, letting the small stuff go and researching to find useful resources for every day needs are

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good uses of energy. Each woman has her own stress points: find them and resolve them. Developing a strong relationship with one’s spirituality is also powerful. Meditation is one way to do this. It reduces stress, something very important to do during perimenopause, but it also increases one’s connection to self. Knowing what works for self and what does not is the most useful information one can attain. Without this basic information, a person’s energy is distracted and out of focus. Meditation and developing one’s spirituality provides precious information and self-awareness. A relationship with the Divine provides useful information as well as a resource for self-healing, balance, and rejuvenation. A visualization that includes the Divine gives a person the opportunity to ask questions, receive guidance and experience loving energy that is healing and balancing. Visualizing a meeting place in a natural setting that invites the Divine, angels, spirit guides and animal totems is a simple technique. It takes ten minutes or less for basic benefits and twenty minutes for greater rewards. Performing this task before a nap, in the morning upon rising or just before falling asleep at night uses little effort and is worth it. A woman can navigate the journey of perimenopause successfully if she listens to her body, resolves mental and emotional needs and takes her selfdevelopment to the next level. This is a time of growth, healing and empowerment, which prepares a woman for the next phase of her life. Focus on balancing the body, mind, heart and spirit. Well-being is a priority, and it is essential for healthy relationships with others and coping with daily obligations and stress. Ignoring one’s basic needs is impossible during perimenopause, so working with the energy is a wiser choice. If a woman does the work and joyfully embraces this journey, the quality of her life will improve ten-fold.

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natural awakenings

May 2015


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West Michigan Edition

EATING SKINNY Why Vegans and Vegetarians are Naturally Trim

by Judith Fertig


e read the labels touting low sugar, carbs, fats and calories. We try this and that diet, hoping the pounds will melt away. Yet more than a third of U.S. adults, nearly 80 million of us, remain overweight or obese, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in Atlanta. The problem might be that we’re getting the wrong advice. While most weight-loss plans focus on reducing calories, recent research shows that vegan and vegetarian dietary patterns can result in more weight loss than those that include meat, without even emphasizing caloric restriction. Scientists at the University of South Carolina, in Columbia, point to their study, How Plant-Based Do We Need to Be to Achieve Weight Loss? Study participants were divided into five groups, according to eating style, from vegan to flexitarian to carnivore, and monitored for an eight-week period. At the end of the evaluation, those that followed an entirely plantbased diet achieved the greatest weight loss. Study leader Gabrielle Turner-McGrievy, Ph.D., notes, “Many researchers agree that vegan eating styles are tied to lower BMI [body mass index], lower prevalence of Type 2 diabetes and less weight gain with age.” Can it really be that simple… eat more plants and lose weight? “Yes,” says clean food coach Jeannette Bessinger, of Newport, Rhode Island. “Most people could benefit from eating more vegetables.” Co-author of Natural Solutions for Digestive Health with Naturopath

Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants. ~Michael Pollan Jillian Sarno Teta, Bessinger advises her clients to start by eating more green, leafy vegetables. Vegetables contribute to weight control in several ways, says Bessinger. They fill us up and help calm cravings. Plus, when plants become the bulk of what we eat, we naturally consume fewer high-fat, high-calorie foods. For an easy appetite-control strategy, Bessinger suggests having a cup of vegetable soup about 10 minutes before a meal. “It shuts off your appetite valve and you’ll eat noticeably less,” she says, while still feeling full. She also recommends slowing down and being mindful when we eat. Vegetables help us do that. “It takes two-and-a-half minutes to eat a piece of cheesecake, but much more time to eat a big salad,” she says.   For New York City-based Victoria Moran, author of Main Street Vegan and The Good Karma Diet, losing weight and maintaining a healthy lifestyle became easier once she adopted a vegan diet. “I’ve been through life and loss and ages 40 and 50, and my weight stays steady, some 60 pounds less than it once was,” she says. “Every year

when I put away my winter clothes and get out my summer clothes, they fit.” Her eating strategy is easy, too. “Make your plate look like a Christmas tree,” says Moran, “mostly green with splashes of other bright colors from vegetables and fruits.” She eats green veggies in several ways. She makes her own green juices—one favorite combines celery, kale, apple and lemon juice. She also adds tender greens like romaine or spinach to smoothies that might also contain fruit and citrus juice. She steams greens with plenty of garlic and makes big salads. “I bought my salad bowl at a restaurant supply house,” Moran exclaims. Salads get an oomph factor with a selection of avocado, pumpkin or hemp seeds, mushrooms, chickpeas or red beans, artichoke hearts, chunks of steamed yam and sautéed tofu or tempeh. Moran cites benefits of more energy to do more physical activity and “feeling really good” as additional outcomes of her dietary shift. Sophie Uliano, a Los Angelesbased natural beauty expert and author of the new Gorgeous for Good, agrees, believing that eating a vegan diet 80 percent of the time can pay dividends in weight loss, well-being, energy and beauty. “Most of the time, eat clean and healthy,” she recommends. “It’s not a diet. It’s a ‘live-it’, a way of life.” Uliano recently asked two colleagues on the Hallmark Channel’s Home & Family show to try eating vegan, while also eliminating gluten, alcohol, caffeine and refined grains. The pair lost weight, gained energy and improved their skin tone. “Transformation comes in a series of small, consistent decisions over time,” concludes Bessinger, eating salad instead of cheeseburgers and vegetables instead of fries. For natural weight management, “Make strategic, long-term changes in stages that you can actually sustain over time.” Judith Fertig blogs at AlfrescoFood from Overland Park, KS.

natural awakenings

May 2015


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


Garden Of Life Demo - Garden of Life will be doing demonstrations once a month at Nature’s Market, 1013 Washington Ave, Holland. Contact Nature’s Market at 616-394-5250 or visit to find out which day they’ll be there each month. 20% off Breast Thermography- Schedule before June 15 and receive 20% off breast thermography. Contact Julie at Advanced Thermal Imaging at 616-724-6368 or by email at 3093 Broadmoor Ave. (near 29th St.), Grand Rapids. Blossom in May- Schedule a 90-minute Integrated Massage and Energy Healing session, and receive an additional 30-45 minutes of Spiritual Guidance for all your Inner Spring cleaning needs! Call Casey at 269-221-1961. 6363 North 24th St., Kalamazoo.


Healing Development Workshop- Friday 5-8pm, Saturday & Sunday 9am-5:30pm. Learn the foundation for energy healing work - whether on yourself, or in a practice. This includes the human energy system, the use of the creative mind, the nature of healing and practical application. For more information or to register, call 269-908-1016. Grand Rapids. Restorative Nada Yoga Workshop- 5:30-7pm. Nada yoga uses sound and vibration to create a transformative and healing environment for the mind and body. Space is limited. Register at Hearts Journey Wellness Center, 6189 Lake Michigan Dr., Allendale. Sambodh Study Retreat- May 1-3, 7pm on Friday, 9am-5pm Saturday and Sunday. Swetaswetara Upanishad. “A relentless meditation on Brahman, teaching the vision of reconciliation of various paths to Self realization. For details, email SambodhSociety@ 6363 N. 24th St., Kalamazoo.


Party for the Planet- 10am-4pm. Celebrate conservation, recycling and our natural world at the John Ball Zoo, located at 1300 W. Fulton St. in Grand Rapids. Festivities will include zoo keeper talks, science experiments, giveaways, demonstrations and more. Urevia® Practitioner –May 2-3, 10am-5pm.This class is devoted to creating a better you. It’s a prerequisite for the Integrative Health Program. Costs $290, requires a non-refundable $75.00 deposit prior to class. For more info visit To register call 800-260-4544. Held near Hickory Corners. Spiritual Body Retreat- May 2-3, 10:30am-5:30pm. Swami Bodhananda teaching the Swetaswetara Upanishad at the Sambodh Center, Kalamazoo. Teaching the vision of reconciliation of various paths to self-realization, this Upanishad takes the student from the stage of karma to upasana and ultimately to the wisdom of the infinite self. Veg potluck. Donation-based event. 269-381-4946. Spring Celebration- 11am-6pm. Free angel gal-


West Michigan Edition

calendarofevents Visit for guidelines and to submit entries. All Calendar events must be submitted online by the 15th of the month prior to publication. Denotes an event sponsored by Natural Awakenings Magazine West Michigan. lery reading at 1pm with Joan Cranmore. We have vendors, food vendor on grounds, aura photography, card readers and mediums as well as healers. Vendors offer a wide selection of books, jewelry, music, gift items, candles, etc. Door prizes hourly. Vendors welcome! Richland.


Michigan Vaccine Education Forum- 9:30am3pm. Join others in discussing vaccines, a topic that is surrounded by much confusion and controversy at the Okemos Conference Center. Register by email at or online at EventBrite. com/e/michigan-vaccine-education-forum-sundaymay-3-2015-tickets-15809506660. Okemos. Sacred Waters Kirtan Concert- 12:30pm. Sacred Waters Kirtan is a yogic practice of sound healing using meditational call and response chanting. The songs invoke ancient mantras and the sacred names of the Divine in the ancient languages of world religions. Unity of Greater Grand Rapids, 6025 Ada Dr. SE, Ada. Spring Cleaning for your Body, Mind & Soul1:30-3pm. Join this aromatherapy & herbal class with instructor Randi Plouffe. $25 per person (preregistration required). To sign up for the class please email Randi at RootsBotanicalApothecary@gmail. com or call 406-647-6485. Bodhi Tree Yoga & Wellness Studio 208 W 18th St., Holland.


Mini-Natural Health Consultations- 2-6pm. Enjoy free 15-minute mini-natural health consultations by Dr Bessheen Baker, a Certified Naturopath for over 20 years at The Remedy House, 5150 Northland Dr. NE, Grand Rapids. Call 616-443-4225 to register. Free Community Class- 6-8pm, offered by Dr. Bessheen Baker on How to Find Your Balance, with Energy, Sex Drive and Weight Release at The Remedy House, 5150 Northland Dr. NE, Grand Rapids. Space is limited, call to register at 616-443-4225.


Health & Wellness Talk-6:15pm. Learn about chiropractic as a lifestyle. Come with questions! We provide a light dinner and give you a thank you for anyone who joins! RSVP to join. This event is open to the public and families are encouraged to attend. 388 N. Third St., Fruitport. Guided Meditation and Healing Circle- 7-8pm. Escape from stress and discover an inner world of calm, peace & joy through guided meditation and energy healing from Healing in America-Trained Healers. Holistic Care Approach, 3368 Beltline Ct., NE, Grand Rapids.


Open Mind Intuitive Fair- 11am-5pm. Experience Angel Communication, Palmistry, Spiritual and Intuitive Readings and Astrology. Treat yourself to

a chair massage and perhaps a well-deserved gift for you or a loved one (Mother’s Day). Call 616-8638868 or email Open Mind, 90 N Main St., Cedar Springs. Sing Song Yoga- Noon-12:30pm for ages 2-6 and a parent, 12:45-1:30pm for ages 6-11. Introduce your children to the joys of yoga in an age-appropriate class full of music, movement and merriment! Learn more and register on-line at The Yoga Studio, 955 Cherry St. SE, Grand Rapids. Essential Oil Workshop- 3-5pm. Therapeutic Grade Oils. Learn and understand essential oils and how to use them. Workshop fee is $25. Contact to register, 616-443-4225. The Remedy House, 5150 Northland Dr., Grand Rapids. Mother’s Day Partner Yoga Workshop- 2-3:30pm. Bring your Mom, daughter, best friend, sister or anyone you hold dear to you heart to this yoga workshop where you will connect, laugh and play together. Open to all levels and abilities. $30.00 per couple, pre-registration required. Visit or call 616-392-7580 for more information. 208 W 18th St., Holland.


AnDro Concert- 7pm. Join us for an ensemble of eclectic instrumentalists who speak from the heart with uncommon synergy, making a blend of traditional and original melodies from across the globe. $10 in advance, $15 at the door. Unity of Greater Grand Rapids, 6025 Ada Dr. SE, Ada.


Yoga Teacher Training Info. Session- 5pm. Join Mimi Ray for an informative session on her Yoga Teacher Training program beginning in August. Those interested can also join in on a class from 6-7:30pm after the session. ArtOfTeachingYoga. com. Session held at Expressions of Grace, 5270 Northland Dr. NE, Grand Rapids. Introduction to Zero Balancing Class- 7-9pm. Learn the basics of Zero Balancing with this class. Class held at Holistic Care Approach, 3368 E. Beltline Ct. NE, Grand Rapids. For more information, call 800-9871368 or email Yoga Teacher Training Info. Session- 7:35pm. Join Mimi Ray for an informative session on her Yoga Teacher Training program beginning in August. Those interested can also join in on a class from 6-7:30pm before the session. ArtOfTeachingYoga. com. Session held at Expressions of Grace, 5270 Northland Dr. NE, Grand Rapids.


Kombucha Class- 9-11am. Learn the benefits of, and how to make this healthful fermented drink. Preregistration and payment required. Facilitator: Janis Lutz, Health Coach and Educator. $25.00 includes starter and recipes. Pay by May 8 and save $5.00. Moondrop Herbals, 351 Cummings NW, Grand Rapids. 616-735-1285.

7th Annual Open House- 10am-2pm. Join us for the Natural Health Improvement Center’s 7th Annual Open House. Meet our local vendors, come meet and mingle with our staff and physicians and enter to win an awesome door prize! 4466 Heritage Ct. SW, Grandville.


Encompassed Body Experience- 1:30-3pm. This 6-month series focuses on your body, mind and spirit connection. See website for this month’s class description. Costs $15 per class or $75 if paid in advance. For more information and registration check out or call 616-392-7580. 208 W 18th St., Holland. HypnoBirthing The Mongan Method- 6-8:30pm. For the mother-to-be and her birthing companion—learn relaxation techniques in this 5-week session so that you can give your baby a welcome that is calm, gentle and safe. $300, all materials included. Midwifery Matters Community Center, 6293 Kenowa Ave. SW, Grandville.


Chiropractic Wellness Talk- 6:15pm. Learn about chiropractic as a lifestyle. Come with questions! We provide a light dinner and give you a thank you for anyone who joins! RSVP to join. This event is open to the public and families are encouraged to attend. 388 N. Third St., Fruitport. Thermography for Breast Health- 7pm. Join us for a free informational seminar about the benefits of infrared thermography. Bring a guest to receive a free gift. Space is limited. Call 616-724-6368 or email to reserve a seat. Include your name, guest(s) name, phone number and email address. Advanced Thermal Imaging, 3093 Broadmoor Ave. (near 29th St.), Grand Rapids.


Organic Whole Foods Lecture- 6:30pm. Dr. Johnson will discuss the health benefits and myths of eating organic whole foods and steps to transition to a plant-based diet. Sign up in the store or call 616394-5250 to reserve a seat. Nature’s Market, 1013 S. Washington Ave., Holland.


Hormone Happy Hour- 5pm. Women, join our pharmacist and fellow in Anti-Aging & Functional Medicine, Mary Heim, for Happy Hour! All things hormone related can be discussed in this small group Q&A. Refreshments served, RSVP’s encouraged to 616-558-8334. Keystone Pharmacy, 4021 Cascade Rd. SE, Grand Rapids. Reiki Share- 6-8pm. Come check out what Reiki is all about and have a mini session done. Open to those who know Reiki and those who don’t. Donations welcome. Contact to register, 616-443-4225. The Remedy House, 5150 Northland Dr., Grand Rapids. Healing Circle at Spirit Space- 7-8pm. Following meditation from 6-7pm, join us in a Healing Energy Circle at 7pm to promote wellness for ourselves and others. Join us for all or part of the gathering. Call 616-836-1555 for more information. All healing modalities are welcome, Saugatuck.


Reiki I & II Class- 9am-5pm. Introduction to Reiki. Become attuned to the universal energy, learn how to

give treatment to self and others and meet your Reiki guide. Class fee is $250 ($50 deposit due at registration). Call to register 616-443-4225. The Remedy House 5150 Northland Dr. NE, Grand Rapids. March Against Monsanto Kalamazoo- 1-3pm. Rally together to raise awareness and bring increasing political pressure to bear regarding Monsanto’s corporate farming and business practices and to insist upon labeling of foods that contain GMOs. March begins in Bronson Park, Kalamazoo. March Against Monsanto Grand Rapids- 1:304pm. Rally together to raise awareness and bring increasing political pressure to bear regarding Monsanto’s corporate farming and business practices and to insist upon labeling of foods that contain GMOs. March begins in Ah Nab Awen Park, Grand Rapids. Emotional Release Class- 2-5 pm. Learn how to identify and release limiting beliefs and patterns using essential oils, how and why they are one of the most powerful tools to do so and to help YOU get the happiness and peace you deserve! Must RSVP by May 13 by calling Ilka at 616-259-7509.


Advanced Reiki Class- 9am-5pm. Enhance energy work to a new level. Learn how to perform psychic surgery, and how to set up and utilize a crystal grid with energy work. Class fee is $275. ($50 deposit due at registration). Call to register, 616-443-4225. The Remedy House 5150 Northland Dr., Grand Rapids.


Mystic Circle at Spirit Space- 7-8pm. Following meditation from 6-7pm, join us in our Mystic Circle. This is an opportunity to incorporate journaling and communion with our Creator in a meditative format. Call 616-836-1555 for more information. Spirit Space, 3493 Blue Star Hwy., Saugatuck.


River City Water Festival- 10am-2pm. Learn how to help protect local water resources. Join Groundswell students, community partners and environmental experts from throughout West Michigan to learn about the importance of clean water. Presenters will have hands-on, interactive activities perfect for the entire family. Grand Rapids Public Museum, Grand Rapids.

savethedate June 6-7

Karuna® Reiki Level 1 & 2- 10am-5pm. Costs $225 with non-refundable deposit of $75 for each class required. These are the beginning levels of Karuna® Reiki focusing on compassionate action to be used on yourself and others. It’s the next step for the serious Reiki Practitioner. For more info visit To register call 800-260-4544. Hickory Corners.

June 12-13

Unity Gently Used Sale - 8am-5pm. Join us and find some treasures! 6025 Ada Dr. SE, Ada.

savethedate June 13-14

Reiki I & II, 10am-5pm. These are the beginning classes for Usui Reiki. Cost of $225 includes a non-refundable $75 deposit prior to class. Learn how to use the Reiki energy, overview of the chakras system, hand positions and a meditation to meet your spirit guides. For more info visit To register call 800-2604544. Hickory Corners.

June 26

Healthy Lifestyle Expo - 11am-7pm. Visit local businesses and health providers whose products and services promote a healthy mind, body and spirit, and includes health screenings, food samples, demonstrations, entertainment, kids’ activities, giveaways and more at The Event Center at Fricano Place, 1050 W Western Ave. in Muskegon.

June 27

Mercy Health Seaway Run- 7:15am. This run is one of Michigan’s most scenic and most popular runs. With courses that take advantage of the beautiful shorelines of Lake Michigan and Muskegon Lake. Run begins near the Muskegon Family YMCA and Fricano Place on W. Western Ave. in Muskegon. To register, visit SeawayRun. com/participants.

June 30

HypnoBirthing The Mongan Method6-8:30pm. For the mother-to-be and her birthing companion—learn relaxation techniques in this 5-week session so that you can give your baby a welcome that is calm, gentle and safe. $300, all materials included. Midwifery Matters, 2119 Lake Dr. SE, Grand Rapids.

savethedate July 12-14

Buttermilk Jamboree- The Buttermilk Jamboree is a three day celebration of music and arts that takes place at the beautiful Circle Pines Center in Delton and features rustic overnight camping, local and regional musicians and bands, workshops, local food and goods vendors, craft beer tent, a dedicated kids & teen area and more. natural awakenings

May 2015




July 18-19

The Ayurvedic Understanding of the Mind- 9am-7pm both days. This weekend Ayurveda course is offered by the BVI School of Ayurveda. Information, visit Application, contact 6363 North 24th St., Kalamazoo.

August 15-16

Ayurvedic Apporoaches to Nutrition & Food- 9am-7pm both days. This weekend Ayurveda course is offered by the BVI School of Ayurveda. Information, visit Application, contact 6363 North 24th St., Kalamazoo.

savethedate September 13

Grand Rapids Vegfest - 11am-5pm. The first annual Vegfest in Grand Rapids! Presentations by top experts in the health field, a vegan food court, a cruelty free market place, cooking demonstration, children’s activities, a special program for teenagers and more. Held at the Delta Plex in Grand Rapids.

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


meet at White River Yoga Studio, 8724 Ferry St. Montague. 231-740-6662.

Spirit Space Sunday Worship - 10:30am. Spirit Space is an interfaith, non-denominational gathering place for worship and spiritual enrichment. Join us for inspiring messages called Reasonings. Visit or call 616-836-1555 for more information. Saugatuck. Community Yoga Class - 4-5pm for $5. All levels welcome. Proceeds donated to the charity of the month. Bodhi Tree Yoga & Wellness Studio, 208 W 18th St., Holland. Visit for more information. Sunday Series - 6pm. Explore spirituality, universal truths, self-mastery and balanced, positive, loving and joyful living with The Coptic Center and their ongoing offering of enlightening Ministers, Teachers and guest presenters. Love offering. 0-381 Lake Michigan Drive, Grand Rapids. For more information see

Monday Intermediate Hatha Yoga with Mitch Coleman - 6:15-7:30pm. All levels. Drop-ins welcome. Visit for more information. Classes meet at White River Yoga Studio, 8724 Ferry St. Montague. 231-740-6662. The Practice of A Course in Miracles - 7-8:30pm. Learn “Miracle-Mindedness”. Got joy? This is how to have it. (Hint: You already do.) All are welcome. Free. Fountain Street Church, Grand Rapids. 616-458-5095.

Tuesday Gentle Hatha Yoga with Mitch Coleman - 7:459am & 9:15-10:30am. Drop-ins welcome. Visit for more information. Classes


West Michigan Edition

Morning Flow Yoga - 10:15-11:30am. Unwind your body and your mind. A Yoga practice intended to gradually increase flexibility, strength and a range of motion. Laketown Healing Arts,, Holland. New Class: Pump, Pose & Prana with Jaala 10:30-11:30am. Come join us and explore this new and different class at Bodhi Tree Yoga & Wellness Studio, 208 W 18th St., Holland. Visit MiBodhiTree. com or call 616-392-7580 for more information. How to Stay Young - 5pm. Presentation on How to Stay Young for the First 100 Years is about the benefits of Chiropractic and the importance of preventive health measures. Call 616-777-0309 to RSVP. Brusveen Chiropractic, 11325 54th St., Allendale.

Wednesday $20 off BioMeridian Assessments - Food allergies, environmental allergies, organ function and real food menus and shopping lists for families that are healthy and kid-approved. Visit or 616-3659176. Grand Rapids. Chair Yoga - 10:30-11:30am. Relax and increase mobility, balance and strength in a class modified for all fitness and mobility levels. Hearts Journey Wellness Center, 6189 Lake Michigan Dr., Allendale. Meditation at Spirit Space - 6-7pm. Beginning and ending with live, native flute music, join our silent meditation. Stay for 10 minutes or an hour. 3493 Blue Star Hwy., Saugatuck. Creation’s Lessons for Living - 7pm. 2nd Wed of month. Creation desires to help us grow, mature, evolve. Connect with Creation’s wisdom through the teachings and ceremonies of the shamanic Sweet Medicine SunDance Path. Donation. Call 616-8564957 for more information. Join me in learning to walk in beauty. NE Grand Rapids.

Mindfulness, Meditation and Mudras - 7-8:15pm. Classes will include various mindfulness practices. Experience a quiet and gentle way to end your day. Space is limited. Register ahead of time. Hearts Journey Wellness Center, 6189 Lake Michigan Dr., Allendale. Healing Clinic - 7-8:30pm. Seeking Healing, Clarity or Reconciliation in your life? Seeking Peace, Joy and Freedom? Call Pastor at Healing Ways 269-3033523 to reserve appointment time. WaysToHealing. com. 6363 North 24th St., Kalamazoo.

Thursday Kundalini Yoga - 7-8am. Kundalini yoga uses breathwork, mantra and dynamic movement to help you access and express your rich inner self. Expand your sensory awareness and intuition as you embrace your SATNAM (true identity). Hearts Journey Wellness Center, 6189 Lake Michigan Dr., Allendale. Morning Flow Yoga - 10:15-11:30am. Unwind your body and your mind. A Yoga practice intended to gradually increase flexibility, strength and a range of motion. Laketown Healing Arts,, Holland. Advanced Hatha Yoga with Mitch Coleman - 6:157:30pm. Drop-ins welcome. Visit WhiteRiverYoga. com for more information. Classes meet at White River Yoga Studio, 8724 Ferry St. Montague. 231-740-6662.

Saturday Hatha Yoga - 9-10:15am. A Little more invigorating, this is a great class to learn the foundations of a yoga practice. Laketown Healing Arts,, Holland. Gentle Hatha Yoga with Mitch Coleman 9-10:15am & 10:30-11:45am. Drop-ins welcome. Visit for info. Classes meet at White River Yoga Studio. Montague. 231-740-6662. Sweetwater Local Foods Market - 9am-1pm. Hackley Health at the Lakes building on Harvey Street. We are inside if the weather is bad. We are a double up bucks and bridge card market. Hesperia. 231-861-2234.



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


Vikki Nestico, R.Ac., Dipl. OM Acupuncture + Chinese Herbal Therapy 616-940-1177

Grand Wellness offers a holistic perspective on wellness and promotes healing through acupuncture, Chinese herbal therapy and eastern nutrition. Set up a free consultation to discuss how Chinese medicine can help your specific health concerns. See ad page 20.

BIO ENERGETIC SYNCHRONIZATION TECHNIQUE BRAIN & BODY BALANCING Spark of Life Studio 959 Lake Dr. SE, Ste. 201, Grand Rapids 616-516-1479

Living organisms strive to be in balance but everyday stress is preventing us from feeling our best. Let us restore balance to your brain and body and thus maximize your overall wellbeing as well as your body’s innate healing capacity.

BODY CARE PRODUCTS MOONDROP HERBALS, LLC Cottage of Natural Elements 351 Cummings, NW Grand Rapids 616-735-1285

Your Local Source for all things Natural and Botanical. Hand crafted bath & body products, tea, bulk herbs, essential oils, other raw ingredients, containers, local artwork, unique gifts. Practitioner discounts. Space rental and artisan consignment. See ad page 12.

classifieds FOR RENT Commercial Space for Rent - Professional office space available for rent. Up to 2500 sq ft with high ceilings and full basement. Great visibility, signage and off street parking. For showing please contact Erin Whiteford at 616-389-5166.


Barbara Zvirzdinis, WK, CMT 616-581-3885 Certified Massage Therapist offering Therapeutic, Hot Stone & Matrix Massage. Certified Wholistic Kinesiologist, Certified Matrix E n e rg e t i c s P r a c t i t i o n e r, Reconnection Healing Practitioner, Certified Herbalist, Certified Acutonics Practitioner, and a Certified Reflexologist. See ad page 29.


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

Tr e a t i n g m u s c u l o s k e l e t a l conditions, but specializing in b ac k p a in , n eck p ain , a n d headaches. Also offering physical therapy, massage therapy, and postural awareness. Most insurance accepted. Breton Village area. See ad pages 7 & 30.

COLON HYDROTHERAPY HARMONY ’N HEALTH Mary De Lange, CCT. LMT. 1003 Maryland Ave, N.E., Grand Rapids 616-456-5033

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

BETHESDA HEALTH AND WELLNESS, LLC Susie Daubenspeck 616-594-9005

Certified technician in Nexalin Technology, a medication-free t r e a t m e n t f o r a n x i e t y, depression and insomnia. The hypothalamus and mid-brain area are gently stimulated, supporting brain function resets. Treatments in your home or Holland office. Find us on Facebook and LinkedIn at Susie Daubenspeck. See ad page 5.



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


DYNAMIC FAMILY CHIROPRACTIC Dr. Ronda VanderWall 4072 Chicago Drive, Grandville 616-531-6050


Family owned and operated in the heart of downtown Grandville, Dynamic Family Chiropractic focuses on lifestyle improvements through living a maximized life. A safe and natural approach to health through the combination of exercise, nutrition, detoxification and chiropractic care.

Treatment Room for Rent -This is a room rental situation in which you schedule your own appointments as an independent contractor. We are an up-beat, organic salon with four stylists working independently with a varied clientele. Our previous therapist was able to establish an active business through salon clientele and her own marketing. If interested please call 616-364-9191 or email

Barbara Zvirzdinis, WK, CMT 616-581-3885 Matrix Energetics is a system used to heal, transform and create new possibilities in your life. Using the principles of quantum physics and subtle e n e rg y d u r i n g a M a t r i x Energetics session we are able to enter into different realties and download new possibilities for your mental, emotional, physical and spiritual selves. See ad page 29.

OPPORTUNITIES Natural Practitioners and Massage Therapists wanted to share office space in Caledonia/ Dutton area. Contact Hollie at 616-970-2940.

natural awakenings

May 2015






3355 Eagle Park Dr. NE Ste. 107 Grand Rapids 616-262-3848

Clara VanderZouwen Independent Sharing Partner 616-481-8587

Be Young Total Health essential oils have undergone the 13 step E.O.B.B.D. evaluation by third party experts who are professionally trained for evaluating essential oils for purity, quality, and therapeutic value. Learn online, through free classes, or one on one from me, how you can use these gifts of nature to benefit your family and even your pets! See ad page 29.

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

Become an Independent Distributor. Discover the high potency of therapeutically authentic Essential Oils from Young Living. Enhance your own health, as well as others who seek holistic wellness options. Free Training. See ad page 38.



1140 Monroe Ave. NW, Grand Rapids 616-889-9825 NAMA Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner and Personal Trainer. Ayurvedic consultations for better health and balance through diet, lifestyle, herbs, exercise and more. Fitness regimens that are tailored to your unique needs. Exercise with a higher purpose.

West Michigan Edition


Jodi Jenks Natural Health Practitioner, Reiki Master 616-443-4225 Certified in bodywork, lymphatic drainage, raindrop therapy, CranioSacral, reflexology, iridology, natural health consultations including a zyto bio-communication scan. Emotional clearing with essential oils and energy work, Reiki, Energy Touch. See ad page 19.


A fitness and nutrition coach, making your health and fitness a priority. Plans for people of all ages and fitness levels. Offering many free options, as well as cost effective solutions. Contact Missy to see how to achieve your optimal level of health & fitness.


Pastor & Casey Brian Kalamazoo & Portage 269-221-1961 Massage Therapy, Energy Healing, Spiritual Counsel, Healing Services for Groups and more. We fully support you in experiencing Healing in all aspects of your life: physical, mental, emotional and spiritual...




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


Educational programs for personal health improvement - Wo r k p l a c e w e l l n e s s programs - Wellness Forum Foundation focused on school nutrition and children’s health - National conferences.


Bob Huttinga PA-C & Rev. Barbara Huttinga 332 S. Lincoln Ave., Lakeview 989-352-6500 Naturopathic / Holistic Practitioners. Physician assistant, Certified Natural Health Professionals. Private consultations. Counseling & Classes. Blood typing, acupressure, emotional release, iridology, homeopathy, massage therapy, reflexology, cranial sacral, foot detox & more. See ad in page 23.

TOTAL HEALTH 4 TODAY Clara Vanderzouwen 616-481-8587

Private Consultations, Biofeedback Scans, Detoxing Ionic Foot Baths, Essential Oils Assessments and more. Total Health 4 Today’s goal is to address every aspect of a person’s health inside and out, in the most wholesome, natural way possible. Call or email for an appointment. See ad page 29.


332 S. Lincoln Ave., Lakeview 989-352-6500 A Certified Physician Assistant since 1976, specializing in naturopathic and homeopathic care. Family care. Also, certified Silva Method instructor. We use Clinical Homeopathy to assist traditional medications. We take most insurances. See ad page 23.


Barbara Zvirzdinis, WK, CMT 616-581-3885 Certified Wholistic Kinesiologist, Certified Matrix E n e rg e t i c s P r a c t i t i o n e r, 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 Practitioner and Certified Reflexologist. Specializing in muscle testing, massage, energy medicine, nutritional counseling, lectures and classes. See ad page 29.

MASSAGE THERAPY DYNAMIC FAMILY CHIROPRACTIC & MASSAGE THERAPY Jaci Timmermans, MT 4072 Chicago Drive, Grandville 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.


Mary De Lange, CCT., LMT. 1003 Maryland Ave. NE, Grand Rapids 616-456-5033 Over 21 years of professional experience and trained in a complete range of modalities. Whether you are seeking relaxation, renewal, or treatment for a specific condition, Mary will help find an approach that is helpful for you. See ad page 6.


Sheri Beth Schafer, LMT Ayurvedic Bodyworker, Reiki Master 1801 Breton SE Grand Rapids 616-301-3000

We have multiple certified massage therapists offering relaxation, prenatal, deep tissue massage and medical massage. We also offer Reiki, chakra balancing and Ayurvedic bodywork. Breton Village area. GRChiroSpa. com. See ads, pages 7 & 30.


In private practice since 1982 specializing in homebirth. Over 1450 births attended. Offering midwifery care that maintains a family-centered safe birth experience. Empowering women to stay healthy during pregnancy, give birth naturally and parent in the best ways. Free initial consultations including Prenatal check up.



Leslie Cornwell, CNM 616-258-2386


Looking for different care for your pregnancy outside the traditional maternity system, we have what you have been looking for. High quality care for preconception, pregnancy, and beyond. See ad page 34.


Sara Badger, Midwife Jodi Borsk, Junior Midwife Casi Russo, Senior Student A full service Midwifery group partnering with you to provide prenatal care, education, and choice. The first birthing center in Grand Rapids to add to women’s birth choices. Contact us for a free consultation 559-9075341. See ad page 34.

REIKI PRANA HOUSE REIKI & MASSAGE Jen Gemski, CMT Reiki Master Practitioner 1345 Monroe Ave. NE Ste. 204 616-970-3003 Find relief from anxiety, depression, grief, chronic pain, or pain/ discomfort due to cancer treatment. See how Reiki can transform your life from chaos to harmony, you can find balance again! Awaken the healing within. See ad page 30.

SALON SERVICES CJ’S STUDIO SALON 5286 Plainfield Ave, NE Grand Rapids 616-364-9191

An award winning Hair Stylist with 30 years Advanced Education, that uses and sells Organic Hair Care Products as well as uses a professional line of Organic Hair Color. Ionic Detox Foot Baths also available.

Look for this symbol throughout Natural Awakenings for Natural Awakenings Network (NAN) providers offering savings to NAN members.

Attn: Ruth Small, Director 6363 N. 24th St., Kalamazoo

State-Licensed Post-Secondary AYURVEDA SCHOOL. Opening April 18, 2015. One-year Certificate Program for self-care, healthcare professionals, yoga teachers, massage therapists, chiropractors, dietitians, wellness and holistic-health educators. Highly qualified instructors. Accepting Applications.

INSTITUTE OF SANATIVE ARTS 0-11279 Tallmadge Woods Dr. Grand Rapids 616-791-0472

State licensed school for massage and bodywork. Offering high quality, affordable massage certification courses as well as NCBTMB continuing education courses for the experienced therapist. Located conveniently to Grand Rapids, Standale, Walker and Allendale.


503 East Broadway St. Mt. Pleasant 989-773-1714

Educational Programs Offered: Natural Health Program - Four Years (one weekend a month); Massage Therapy Program - One Year (two weekends a month); Holistic Doula Practitioner Program - Six Months (one weekend a month). Individual classes available. See ad page 48.

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

Specializing in advanced, customized skin care using all-natural, organic skin care products from Elina Organics. Facials, Back Facials, Foot Facials, Hand Facials, Tummy Facials, and “Beautiful Legs” services. Needle-Free Mesotherapy, TriPolarRF, DermaLaser, LED, Microdermabrasion, Peels, Body Wraps, Body Scrubs, Brow Shaping, Aromatherapy, Signature Scent, Hair Restoration, Bamboo Massage, RainDrop, Air Compression Lymph Drainage Massage, Acupressure, Reiki, Infrared and Ionic Cleanses, Ear Candling, and more! See ad page 12.

natural awakenings

May 2015


The Path You Have Always Wanted Naturopathy

(each year 600 hours)

Inspire a world of health! Your diploma in Massage Therapy, Natural Health or Holistic Doula is here.

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

Massage Therapy

Therapeutic Bodywork Practitioner...1 Year

Holistic Doula Practitioner Doula....... 6 Months

All Classes Meet on Weekends

Fri: 5-9pm and Sat & Sun: 9am-6pm

Naturopaths: 1 per month - Massage: 2 per month

Individual Classes:

Herbology - Aromatherapy - Nutrition Live Food Preparaton - Light Healing Touch Reexology - Homeopathy & Much More!

(989) 773-1714 ~ Mount Pleasant, MI 48

West Michigan Edition

Over 19 Years of Experience ~ Licensed and Accredited

Profile for Natural Awakenings Magazine ~ West Michigan

Natural Awakenings Magazine ~ May 2015  

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

Natural Awakenings Magazine ~ May 2015  

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

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