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It’s All About ‘We’ Coming Together for Creative Change

Holiday Renewals How the Old Gets New Again

JOYFUL GIVING How Generosity Transforms Us


TOYS What’s Safe and Smart

December 2019 | Bucks & Montgomery County, PA Edition |

Seven years without a cold?

had colds going round and round, but not me.” Some users say it also helps with sinuses. Attorney Donna Blight had a 2-day sinus headache. When her CopperZap arrived, she tried it. “I am shocked!” she said. “My head cleared, no more headache, no more congestion.” Some users say copper stops By Doug Cornell nighttime stuffiness if used just before cientists recently discovered bed. One man said, “Best sleep I’ve had time. He hasn’t had a single cold for 7 a way to kill viruses and in years.” years since. bacteria. Copper can also stop flu if used early He asked relatives and friends to try Now thousands of people are using it it. They said it worked for them, too, so and for several days. Lab technicians to stop colds and flu. placed 25 million live flu viruses on a he patented CopperZap™ and put it on CopperZap. No viruses were found alive Colds start the market. soon after. when cold viruses Soon hundreds Dr. Bill Keevil led one of the teams get in your nose. of people had confirming the discovery. He placed Viruses multiply tried it and given millions of disease germs on copper. fast. If you don’t feedback. Nearly “They started to die literally as soon as stop them early, 100% said the they touched the surface,” he said. they spread and copper stops colds People have even used copper on cause misery. if used within 3 cold sores and say it can completely In hundreds hours after the first prevent outbreaks. of studies, EPA sign. Even up to New research: Copper stops colds if used early. The handle is and university 2 days, if they curved and finely researchers have confirmed that viruses still get the cold it is milder than usual textured to improve and bacteria die almost instantly when and they feel better. contact. It kills germs touched by copper. Users wrote things like, “It stopped picked up on fingers That’s why ancient Greeks and my cold right away,” and “Is it and hands to protect Egyptians used copper to purify water supposed to work that fast?” you and your family. and heal wounds. They didn’t know “What a wonderful thing,” wrote Copper even kills about microbes, but now we do. Physician’s Assistant Julie. “No more Dr. Bill Keevil: Copper quickly kills deadly germs that Scientists say the high conductance colds for me!” cold viruses. have become resistant of copper disrupts the electrical balance Pat McAllister, 70, received one to antibiotics. If you are near sick in a microbe cell and destroys the cell in for Christmas and called it “one of the seconds. best presents ever. This little jewel really people, a moment of handling it may keep serious infection away. It may even Tests by the EPA (Environmental works.” save a life. Protection Agency) show germs die Now thousands of users have simply The EPA says copper still works fast on copper. So some hospitals tried stopped getting colds. even when tarnished. It kills hundreds of copper for touch surfaces like faucets People often use CopperZap and doorknobs. This cut the spread of preventively. Frequent flier Karen Gauci different disease germs so it can prevent serious or even fatal illness. MRSA and other illnesses by over half, used to get colds after crowded flights. CopperZap is made in America of and saved lives. Though skeptical, she tried it several pure copper. It has a 90-day full money The strong scientific evidence gave times a day on travel days for 2 months. back guarantee. It is $69.95. inventor Doug Cornell an idea. When “Sixteen flights and not a sniffle!” she Get $10 off each CopperZap with he felt a cold about to start he fashioned exclaimed. a smooth copper probe and rubbed it Businesswoman Rosaleen says when code NATA14. Go to or call gently in his nose for 60 seconds. people are sick around her she uses “It worked!” he exclaimed. “The cold CopperZap morning and night. “It saved toll-free 1-888-411-6114. Buy once, use forever. never got going.” It worked again every me last holidays,” she said. “The kids ADVERTORIAL

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Natural Awakenings is a family of more than 70 healthy living magazines celebrating 25 years of providing the communities we serve with the tools and resources we all need to lead healthier lives on a healthy planet.


Contents 12 THE EMERGING



Awakening to the Evolution of Community

14 BEYOND CALCIUM Full-Spectrum Bone Health

22 WASTE-FREE FEASTING How to Reduce Holiday Food Waste


People-Pleasing Holiday Sweets




Making the Old New and Green

30 SURGEON MARY NEAL On Lessons From Heaven


Conscious Breathwork



Safe and Eco-Smart Toys

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Bucks & Montgomery County, PA Edition

37 THE GENEROUS HEART How Giving Transforms Us

DEPARTMENTS 7 news briefs 8 health briefs 10 global briefs 14 healing ways 16 ROOTS 22 green living 24 conscious eating 28 healthy kids

30 wise words 31 teen voices 32 fit body 34 pet pages 37 inspiration 38 local yoga 40 calendar 40 classifieds 42 directory

letter from publisher


Inner Peace I first came across the piece below over 30 years ago. It made such a strong impact on me then that I’ve kept the copy close by ever since. Now, I’m pleased to share it with you. I hope it moves you the way it continues to move me. And I hope each and every one of us becomes infected by inner peace in the new year.

BUCKS / MONTGOMERY EDITION PUBLISHER Joe Dunne • 908-405-1515 MANAGING EDITOR Melanie Rankin• 850-466-8322 CALENDAR EDITOR Kevin Rankin COPYEDITOR Julie Vitto DESIGN & PRODUCTION Melanie Rankin SALES & MARKETING Joe Dunne SOCIAL MEDIA Kristy Meyer YOGA SECTION Rosie Lazroe • 732-596-7384


Joe Dunne, Publisher

SYMPTOMS OF INNER PEACE by Saskia Davis Be on the lookout for symptoms of inner peace. The hearts of a great many already have been exposed; and it is possible that people, everywhere, could come down with it in epidemic proportions. This could pose a serious threat to what, up to now, has been a fairly stable condition of conflict in the world.

Signs & Symptoms of Inner Peace A tendency to think and act spontaneously rather than on fears based on past experiences An unmistakable ability to enjoy each moment A loss of interest in judging other people A loss of interest in judging self A loss of interest in interpreting the actions of others A loss of interest in conflict A loss of ability to worry Frequent, overwhelming episodes of appreciation Contented feelings of connectedness with others & nature Frequent attacks of smiling An increasing tendency to let things happen rather than make them happen An increased susceptibility to love extended by others and the uncontrollable urge to extend it

WARNING If you have some or all of the above symptoms, be advised that your condition of inner peace may be too far advanced to be curable. If you are exposed to anyone exhibiting any of these symptoms, remain exposed only at your own risk. © 1984 Saskia Davis. Request permission to reprint and/or purchase poster(s) at

CONTACT THE PUBLISHER Joe Dunne Cell: 908-405-1515 • Fax: 877-635-3313 Visit our Facebook page for the latest health updates and information, or to post your events and comments.

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Natural Awakenings Publishing Corporation 4933 Tamiami Trail N., Ste. 203 Naples, FL 34103 Ph: 239-434-9392 • Fax: 239-434-9513 © 2019 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. 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.

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December 2019


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Bucks & Montgomery County, PA Edition

news briefs

Inner Spa Expands to Become Wellness Center

Ease and Convenience of At-Home Health Tests


n its effort to continuously offer the community the best in holistic wellness, Inner Spa is pleased to announce its expansion to include chiropractic care, posture management, MLS laser therapy and brain-based technologies for healing the body from the inside out. Agasar Family WellCare at Inner Spa offers a variety of wellcare services in five categories: chiropractic care, colon hydrotherapy, massage and body therapies, body detox services and wellcare services. The diverse team has more than 50 years of combined experience and is led by Dr. Jerry Agasar, DC, Dr. Andrew Agasar, DC, and Cathy Agasar, board-certified colon hydrotherapist and vice president of the International Association for Colon Hydrotherapy. “We focus on care plans that help the whole person, because healing the body comes from the inside out. Our lifestyle approach to wellcare is all about you,” says Dr. Jerry. Cathy agrees, saying, “Our unique approach and service combinations are more proactive than traditional medical care, which is why we call it wellcare. We look forward to seeing you soon.”

he public can check many health aspects at home in an easy and highly convenient way without going to a doctor’s office. LetsGetChecked, based in Dublin, Ireland, and New York City, provides comprehensive, at-home health testing along with complementary clinical services and connections with a global network of regulated laboratories, enabling users to take more active roles in their health and decision making. After obtaining a testing kit online or from a selected pharmacy, customers self-collect a blood, saliva or urine sample with a kitprovided lancet and send it to an affiliated lab—all Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments-approved and College of American Pathologists-accredited—using a pre-paid label. Most will receive a call from the company’s nursing team with results a few days later, which are also posted in their LetsGetChecked account. Thirty separate kits—grouped in men’s, women’s and sexual health plus wellness—can check for sexually transmitted diseases; some cancers; thyroid function; vitamin, cholesterol and hormonal levels; and more. Since its founding in 2014, the company has performed more than 250,000 tests. CB Insights, a leading private company research and analysis firm, named LetsGetChecked to its inaugural Digital Health 150 list in October.

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Maintain a Healthy Diet and Weight to Lower Cataract Risk

New research offers potential paths for treatment for the nearly 20 percent of patients with high blood pressure that don’t respond well to medications. University of Florida College of Medicine researchers, testing 105 volunteers, found that the populations of gut bacteria differed between hypertensive individuals with depression and those without depression. A second study by Italian researchers found that patients with heart attacks had different bacteria in their guts than patients with stable angina.

A recent study published in The Journal of Nutrition used adherence to dietary guidelines and total diet scores to assess the effects of diet on cataract risk. The researchers followed 2,173 older Australians for five and 10 years in two phases. They found that maintaining a healthy body mass index (BMI) of less than 25, combined with a healthy diet, reduced the risk of developing cataracts.

Eat a Better Diet to Improve Gut Bacteria Researchers at the University of Hawaii Cancer Center tested stool samples of 858 men and 877 women in Los Angeles and Hawaii with a mean age of 69—regarded as an ethnically diverse study population with varied food intakes. The study found that those with higher quality diets also had significantly better gut bacteria diversity, a factor linked to reduced risk for a variety of diseases. Diet quality and a reduced risk of developing chronic disease is strongly associated with fecal microbial diversity. 8

Bucks & Montgomery County, PA Edition

Hong Vo/

Researchers followed more than 36,000 Japanese men older than 40 for an average of 13.2 years. They found that those that consumed culinary mushrooms three times a week had a 17 percent lower chance of developing prostate cancer compared to those that ate mushrooms less than once a week. Participants that ate mushrooms once or twice a week had an 8 percent lower risk. The trend was even greater for those men over the age of 50 and was unrelated to other dietary habits.

SK Design/

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Reduce Blood Pressure and Heart Attacks With Better Gut Bacteria

Train Students in Mindfulness to Reduce Stress and Improve Grades Sixth-graders that received mindfulness training each day for eight weeks experienced lower stress levels, less depression and improved academic performance compared to their peers in a control group that studied computer coding, report Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers. In addition to that 100-student study, researchers surveyed 2,000 students in grades five through eight and found those that showed more mindfulness tended to have better grades and test scores. They also had fewer absences and suspensions.

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health briefs


Marry to Halve the Risk of Dementia Wedlock tends to stave off dementia, according to a new Michigan State University study. Analyzing 14 years of data on 15,000 people older than 52, researchers found those in all unmarried groups—cohabiting, divorced, separated, widowed and never married—had significantly higher odds of developing dementia than their married counterparts. The differences were most acute for those divorced, separated or widowed—about twice as prone as married people to develop dementia, with the men faring worse cognitively than the women.

Extreme Weather Events Affect Mental Well-Being People that experience storm and flood damage to their homes are about 50 percent more likely to experience depression and anxiety, British researchers report. Surveying more than 7,500 people after the 2013-2014 season of severe weather, they found that those with homes damaged by wind, rain, snow or floods had mental health risks similar to living in a disadvantaged area. This occurred even when the effects of the extreme weather were relatively minor and did not force people to leave their homes.


Eat Nuts to Reduce Odds of Death From Heart Disease Adults that ate nuts two or more times per week had a 17 percent lower risk of dying from a heart attack or stroke, reports an Iranian study that followed 5,432 adults for 12 years. The research was presented in August at the European Society of Cardiology. “Nuts are a good source of unsaturated fat and contain little saturated fat,” says study author Dr. Noushin Mohammadifard, of the Isfahan Cardiovascular Research Institute. “They also have protein, minerals, vitamins, fiber, phytosterols and polyphenols which benefit heart health.”

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Nature Cure

global briefs

Making Meat Without Animals

Five major food technology companies have converged to form the Alliance for Meat, Poultry and Seafood (AMPS) Innovation, which seeks to create real meat from animal cells without the need to slaughter animals. The founding members of the coalition are both cell-based seafood companies BlueNalu and Finless Foods and meat makers Fork & Goode, San Francisco-based JUST Inc., and Memphis Meats. AMPS Innovation ( intends to tackle obstacles presented in the cellular agriculture industry and bring products to the consumer faster with transparency and proper regulatory frameworks for cell-based products. Each member company has made significant strides in the development of these products with the hope they will soon be options in the everyday diets of individuals, as well as a nutrition source for a human population projected to grow to 10 billion by 2050.

A new study based on the National Land Cover Database of 3,086 of the 3,103 counties in the continental U.S. published in the journal Urban Forestry and Urban Greening found that increases in forest and shrub cover corresponded to decreases in Medicare health care spending, even when accounting for economic, geographic or other factors that might independently influence healthcare costs. Urban and rural counties with the lowest socioeconomic status appeared to benefit the most from increases in forests and shrubs. University of Illinois graduate student Douglas A. Becker, who led the new research with Matt Browning, a professor of recreation, sports and tourism, says, “It occurred to me that low-income communities are getting the biggest bang for their buck because they probably have the most to gain.” Other studies have shown that people in intensive care units recover more quickly and have fewer complications after surgery if their hospital rooms look out over trees rather than parking lots and that forest walks can influence potentially health-promoting hormone levels or anti-cancer immune cells in the blood.

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Lab Steak

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Charge It

The RS Automotive gas station, in Takoma Park, Maryland, has been around since 1958, and Depeswar Doley has been running it for 22 years. Now, frustrated by the complicated rules, requirements


Bucks & Montgomery County, PA Edition

and contracts of oil and gas companies, he has completely transitioned away from offering petroleum and become the country’s first exclusively electric vehicle (EV) charging station. Because there has been a shortage of EV charging stations in the state, the station’s changeover was partially funded by the Baltimore-based

Electric Vehicle Institute and the Maryland Energy Administration. Its new 200-kilowatt electrical system will now be able to recharge up to four vehicles at a time while drivers wait inside. Doley says, “It’s not something that I expect to become rich overnight or something like that, but it’s a good cause [and] good for the environment.”


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Awakening to the Evolution of Community by Linda Sechrist


en master Thich Nhat Hanh’s suggestion that the next Buddha would likely not take form as an individual but rather as a sangha, a community practicing mindful living, led many people to ask, “Why a community?” The author of more than 100 books that explore the Buddha’s core teachings on mindfulness, kindness and compassion, Hanh clarified the meaning of sangha as a good community necessary for helping individuals learn how to encounter life in the present moment, resist the unwholesome ways of our time, go in the direction of peace and nourish seeds of enlightenment. Even the best intentions, he noted, can falter without such a group of trusted family, friends and co-practitioners experiencing mindfulness together.

A Migration to Forming Community

Today’s trend toward collaborative processes and opportunities for transformation through online communities is made easier by the availability of affordable video conferencing providers such as Zoom, Skype and Mighty Networks, as well as online platforms like Facebook and MeetUp. 12

Although many groups form for marketing, political, civic or social purposes—allowing participants to share values and common interests—thousands more gather as online intentional communities associated with personal growth and spiritual awakening. Myriad individuals have been able to experience some aspect of community through international organizations such as MindValley, Hay House, the Shift Network and Dr. Deepak Chopra’s Jiyo, a wellness-focused mobile app intended to extend the reach of his ideas on health and social transformation from millions of people to more than 1 billion. In MeetUp, spiritual awakening groups recently comprised 1,113,972 members in 3,631 groups worldwide. Additionally, co-housing communities, spiritual residential communities and eco-villages continue to form around the intention of designing and implementing pathways to a regenerative future.

The Old Story Versus the New Story

The increased interest in intentional communities may hint at a possibility that the

Bucks & Montgomery County, PA Edition

human desire for community might be nature’s evolutionary nudge toward a collective leap that helps us to survive a changing climate and Earth’s potential sixth mass extinction. If so, this possibility needs a new supportive story that includes humans as part of nature, with its evolutionary impulse as a guide for body, mind and soul. With our modern scientific worldview, when people talk about nature, they typically mean animals, plants, geological features and natural processes, all happening independently of humans. A more suitable new story is cultural historian Thomas Berry’s moving and meaningful narrative in The Great Work: Our Way Into the Future, in which humans aren’t above nature by virtue of superior intellect, but instead are equal partners with all that exists in a materially and spiritually evolving universe. From Berry’s perspective, humans are the eyes, minds and hearts through which the cosmos is evolving so that it can come to know itself ever more perfectly through us. Apollo 14 astronaut Edgar Mitchell shared Berry’s perspective. Traveling back to Earth after walking upon the lunar surface, Mitchell gazed out of the spacecraft



window, whereupon he was flooded with an ecstatic awareness. “I was a part of the universe I was observing, and I became aware that everything that exists is part of one intricately interconnected whole,” recounts Mitchell, who founded the groundbreaking Institute of Noetic Sciences to explore the nature of human consciousness.

A Guiding Light

Seijaku Roshi, the abbot and founder of the Pine Wind Zen Community, aptly named for its location in a pine forest in Shamong, New Jersey, advises, “People are searching and hungering for community, which is number one on my agenda. If we aren’t talking about community, we’re squandering the moment. Whether it’s an evolutionary nudge or not, it appears that our tragic world situation is pushing us towards an alternative vision for living a meaningful life that meets the needs of people, society and the environment. We are awakening to the fact we’re interconnected, interdependent and need community, which is the spirit and guiding light whereby people come together to fulfill a purpose, to help others fulfill their purpose and to take care of one another.”

Conscious Evolution

Craig Hamilton, the guiding force behind the movement known as Integral Enlightenment, is the founder of the telecourse training program Academy for Evolutionaries. His spiritual guidance and teachings reach a growing international online community spanning 50 countries. “Transforming ourselves in the deepest possible way is, in fact, an evolutionary imperative, and we need to be able to identify the indicators of emergent shifts and participate creatively with change as an evolutionary force. Evolution up to this point has been playing out unconsciously. We’re now waking up and realizing that we can collaborate and participate in an emerging future.” Hamilton’s experience is that where humans awake to the one that is expressed through the many, they also begin to engage together. “Practicing community isn’t as simple as it seems. In online communities, a lot less can go wrong. The stakes aren’t as high. People come and go, share and engage as they like.”

A Community of Sisterhood

Laurie McCammon, author of Enough! How to Liberate Yourself and Remake the World with Just One Word, feels certain that humans are evolving. “We were last to the party with our big brains, and now we’re trying to intellectualize our way to an uncertain future without important feminine values such as feeling, intuiting, nurturing, interdependency and vulnerability,” says McCammon, who is deeply involved in the circle movement, in which women gather in small groups to empower each other. A regular participant in Gather the Women Global Matrix, a worldwide sisterhood that connects thousands of women sharing meaningful conversations and celebrating the divine feminine with the intention of bringing about personal and planetary transformation through cooperation and collaboration, McCammon says, “No one of us can bring about large-scale transformation alone. It’s time to tell the new story wherein our lives and actions demonstrate that together we are enough. Non-hierarchical circles that encourage authentic communication are part of this new story.” Citing other important circle communities such as Tree Sisters and The Millionth Circle, McCammon suggests that women tap into The Divine Feminine app, which allows them to find circle communities and events anywhere in the world.

Co-Creating With the Intelligence of Nature

Teacher and futurist Peter Russell writes books that are focused on consciousness and contemporary spirituality. His lectures help humans free themselves of limited beliefs and attitudes that belie many of humanity’s personal, social and global problems. The author of The Global Brain: The Awakening Earth in a New Century, Russell posits that the evolutionary process naturally draws humans together. “Humans are social creatures that need community, which I find very energizing,” says Russell, who cites the Findhorn Foundation eco-village, in Scotland, as a dynamic experiment in community. “Although residents went through hard times, they recognized the need for

honest communication so they could attune to one another in loving ways that would allow everyone to work through their difficulties. Today, life at Findhorn is guided by the inner voice of spirit, and residents work in co-creation with the intelligence of nature,” he says.

The Collective Wisdom of Community

An uncertain future is emerging, making it necessary for new and more intuitive methods and spiritual practices for developing collective wisdom, human potential and the skills for practicing community. “I’m in the process of finalizing 118 chapters from 90 different authors for a Collaborative Change Library: Transforming Organizations, Revitalizing Communities, Developing Human Potential,” says associate editor Carole Gorelick, who clarifies that spiritual practices are now playing a part in bringing about collaborative change. She notes that several chapters are updated versions of The Change Handbook: The Definitive Resource on Today’s Best Methods for Engaging Whole Systems (2007 second edition), which included modalities such as World Café, Open Space Technology, Art of Hosting, Appreciative Inquiry and many others. A living handbook for developing human potential and the skills to practice community, Fred Eppsteiner has been teaching Buddhism for 23 years. A student of Hanh’s since the 1960s, he is the founder of the Florida Community of Mindfulness, in Tampa. Eppsteiner sums up why the next Buddha could be a community: “A better future will be created by people who are living the values they want for the world, not just abstractly using only the intellect. In community, we ask ourselves, ‘Can I be what I want to see in the world? Can I practice these things mindfully in community with love, acceptance, deep listening, compassion and kindness?’ These are values that every Buddha has lived for centuries, and certainly ones we need to evolve from a culture of, ‘It’s all about me’ to a culture of, ‘It’s all about we’.” Linda Sechrist is a senior staff writer for Natural Awakenings. Connect at December 2019


What’s good for muscles is good for bones. ~Susie Hathaway

Osteoporosis can be prevented, and I’ve seen many patients reverse osteoporosis. ~Leat Kuzniar

BEYOND CALCIUM Full-Spectrum Bone Health by Marlaina Donato


ur bones are the foundation that supports our bodies and the quality of our lives. Unlike the brick and mortar and bedrock of a building, the human skeletal system is living tissue that breaks down and rebuilds; this constant remodeling demands much more than just taking an obligatory calcium supplement. Compromised bone health is most often associated with postmeno-

pausal women, but it can also impact men and younger adults. Genetics, hormonal changes and nutritional deficiencies can all foster bone loss. The National Osteoporosis Foundation reports that 44 million Americans have low bone density and 10 million suffer from osteoporosis, facing a high risk of fracture from this debilitating condition. Fortunately, it’s never too early or too late to do right by our bones.

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Synergy of Vitamins and Minerals Walter Willett, M.D., chairman of the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, argues that the daily recommended 1,000to-1,200 milligrams of calcium is based on inadequate studies, and advises half that amount. Other minerals may play an equally critical role. The body robs calcium from the bones when blood levels of this vital mineral fall too low; but taking a calcium supplement—especially without co-nutrients—can increase fracture risk. “Calcium supplementation is complex; more isn’t better. Vitamin D is essential for calcium absorption, and vitamin K2 is essential for getting that calcium to your bones and keeping it out of your arteries,” Kuzniar says. Magnesium, phosphorus, zinc and potassium are also allies in calcium metabolism. Vitamin C, too, is a key player in bone health, promoting collagen synthesis. Nutrient absorption relies on integrity of gut health, so opting for probiotics is a wise choice across the board.

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“Osteoporosis can be prevented, and I’ve seen many patients reverse osteoporosis,” says Leat Kuzniar, a Nutley, New Jersey, naturopath. “It becomes more difficult after menopause and if the bone density is very low, but we can always make some improvements in bone health. We need to assess diet, exercise, gastrointestinal health, hormones, medications, pH and even stress levels.”

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Optimally, the quest for stronger bones begins with a nutrient-dense diet. “Plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, protein and some fats create a physiology in the body to support optimal bone health. Avoiding too much sodium and


healing ways

animal protein also helps,” says Mary Jane Detroyer, a New York City-based nutritionist and certified dietitian. She underscores the importance of mineral-packed kale, collards, mustard greens, bok choy and broccoli, but warns against oxalateladen spinach and chard, which inhibit calcium absorption. “Other calcium-rich foods like tofu, edamame, yogurt, kefir and cheese are also good, as well as milk substitutes fortified with calcium.” Omega-3-rich chia seeds, walnuts and other tree nuts are heavy hitters that boost both calcium absorption and collagen production essential for bone strength. A 2016 Brazilian study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows that a diet with excessive sweets and caffeinated beverages negatively impacts bone mineral density in postmenopausal women with osteoporosis. Soda consump-

tion also amps up the risk of fractures. An analysis of female subjects spanning 30 years published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2014 reveals a 14 percent increased risk for fractures with each daily serving of soda, including diet beverages.

Get Moving High-impact activities like jumping rope and jogging build strong bones in our youth, but as we age, low-impact exercise is easier on the joints. Mayo Clinic recommendations include walking, gardening, dancing, stairclimbing and elliptical training. Resistance also yields significant results. A 2018 Korean study published in the journal EnM reveals that exercise employing free weights, weight machines and elastic bands increases muscle and bone mass in both women and men.

American College of Sports Medicinecertified personal trainer Susie Hathaway, in Fairfield, Iowa, explains why. “What’s good for muscles is good for bones. When a muscle contracts, it gives a beneficial pull on the adjacent bones, stimulating the bone-building cells to be more active.” Hathaway highlights safety and the importance of bearing weight on the feet. “Gravity is important for bone health. Weight-bearing aerobic exercise, such as brisk walking, provides a mild stimulus for your bones and helps slow down bone loss.” Kuzniar reminds us that with the right care, our bones can carry us through life. “Once we know what factors are at play in the patient, we can address the underlying causes.” Marlaina Donato is an author and composer. Connect at

When you do the right thing, you get the feeling of peace and serenity associated with it. Do it again and again.” ~Roy T. Bennett

December 2019


Natural Awakenings is proud to introduce the newest section of the magazine, ROOTS: Healing with Nature’s Pharmacy.

Are you a practitioner? Call Joe at 908-405-1515 to participate. We want to hear from you!

We invite local businesses and practitioners that work within the belief system that nature is medicine to be featured in our ROOTS section. Our readers want to learn how beneficial natural approaches may be for restoring and maintaining health.

GOOD TO KNOW PRICKLY PEAR CACTUS might be worth tackling in order to gather some of the pads. By peeling the pads and making a poultice, a moist mass of the pulp, it can be applied to areas on the body that are sore and inflamed. The poultice is usually covered with a piece of cloth and lightly bandaged. Don’t forget that the fruit can be made into a yummy jam, jelly, butter or syrup. 16

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healing with nature’s pharmacy



by Jeffrey Green

here are hundreds, if not thousands, of different teas available on the market today. Which is the best? It depends on how tea is being defined, and the purpose for choosing the drink. There are basically two categories of tea: true tea and herbal tea. True tea consists of varieties made from leaves of the Camellia sinensis bush, commonly known as the tea tree, tea shrub or tea plant. Such teas include black tea, green tea, oolong tea and white tea, and may have other ingredients added for flavor. Herbal tea is not really tea at all because it doesn’t contain any tea leaves. Herbal tea is made up of ingredients such as spices and herbs, flowers, fruit, bark, roots and other organic vegetation. True tea, one of the most popular drinks in the world, second only to water,

has medicinal value, and has been shown through research-based data to help the body ward off disease and illness because of the high levels of antioxidants in the leaves. According to, Chinese folklore says that tea was discovered almost 5,000 years ago by Shennong, a Chinese Emperor in the 2700s BC. The story goes that a servant of Shennong was purifying water by boiling it for the emperor to drink. Leaves from a nearby tree, which may or may not have been the Camellia sinensis bush, blew into the pot of hot water. When Shennong tasted the drink, he found it to be enjoyable. Tea was discovered. Herbal tea does not contain any part of the Camellia sinensis plant, which disqualifies the beverage from being a true tea. Instead, herbal tea is any drink

in which water is infused with the essence of other organic matter, including flowers, herbs and spices. Herbal tea is also known as tisane, which is pronounced tee-zahn. There are two etymologies as to where the word tisane originated. In Greek, ptisanē is defined as a medicinal drink made from barley-soaked water. In French, the word tisans literally means “tea without tea”. The practice of mixing water with spices and herbs dates back to prerecorded time, especially when preparing it specifically for medical treatment. One of the first recorded entries of the popularity of tea dates back to 1550 BC in the Egyptian Ebers papyrus. Egyptians used tea to pay tribute to the gods, prepare the dead for burial and cure the afflicted. Herbs like dill and basil were prepared into tisanes to help digestion and to aid with heart issues. With countless plant material combinations, how is it that a comprehensive list of benefits from the many different types of blends came to be? It is believed that Shennong discovered that chewing the leaves and other parts of different plants produced beneficial outcomes for certain maladies. For years, Shennong experimented and made what scholars would today call numerous medical breakthroughs. Apparently, even after chewing on poisonous plants, a combination of certain herbs and spices in water acted as an antidote for the poison. For the last 5,000 years, tea (whether true tea or herbal tea) has been traveling the world spreading its goodness and healing qualities. Through the years and with December December2019 2019


roots: healing with nature’s pharmacy


The Metaphysical Side of Tea Leaves


ncient Chinese tea drinkers began to analyze and interpret the shapes and positioning of the tea leaf remnants in the bottom of their tea cups and noticed something remarkable. Reading tea leaves became a method of divination. In the 1600s, tea became an import throughout Europe, and the practice of foretelling one’s future from tea leaves was carried across the sea and into other expanding continents. Because of the large number of effects that tea has on the body, tea drinking is regarded as a unique and individual experience. There seems to be a tea that can help with any illness. With so many different combinations, flavors and blends, tea can be made specifically for what some-

Jeffrey Green, MA, is a freelance writer, reiki practitioner and staff member for Natural Awakenings magazine. 18

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one is seeking—either an enjoyable beverage, a mixture to combat illness and disease, to calm the troubled mind and spirit or to create a metaphysical drink that transcends time and place. Some believe that because of the individual experience and personal connection to the tea, the drinker influences the movement and ultimate placement and pattern of the leaves. The palette of leaves answers questions about the past, present and future of the person who drank the tea. Many who participate in the process, either reading or receiving messages, believe that it is the psychic modality, psychometry. This ability allows a person to receive psychic messages from inanimate objects. Reading tea leaves, however, involves reading an object which was once animate. The leaves were alive at one point and came from a plant that was very much alive as well. The energy that flows through every living body is interconnected. This connection allows for ethereal knowledge and communication with other planes of existence. Tea is multipurpose. From beautiful flowers, plants, herbs, bark and roots comes a mystical sensation—tea. Used as the beverage of choice, medical remedy or to foretell the future, tea is known and used the world over, and will continue to reveal its magic to anyone willing to take a sip.


discovery after discovery, the list of medicinal benefits of tea has continued to grow. Tea was first brought to the early colonists in 1650 by Peter Stuyvesant. The early settlement of New Amsterdam, known today as New York City, consumed more tea in 1670 than all of Europe combined. So how did coffee become the drink of choice over tea in this country? Before the U.S. became its own country, English rule made it difficult for the colonists by taxing products and services provided by the Motherland. In 1763, England won the French and Indian War. It was costly. In 1767, England decided to recoup some of the cost from the war by increasing taxes on the colonists who were building this country under English control. The predominantly tea drinking settlers were outraged by the high tax and revolted against the British. The Boston Tea Party was when tea, valued at almost 10,000 silver pieces, was thrown into the harbor in rebellion of the tax. This event was the catalyst for the American Revolution. Tea was at the center of, and indirectly responsible for, America winning its freedom from England. With its long history and wide array of uses, tea has become a staple for many around the world. There are as many medicinal benefits of tea as there are different kinds of herbs and plants, flowers and stems, roots and bark on the planet. It is an elixir that can aid in the treatment of, and even cure of, many ailments, conditions and diseases of the body, mind and spirit. Tea’s power is highly regarded in the medical community throughout Asia and Europe, and is becoming more popular in the U.S. as an alternative health device. Its presence in the world is strong enough to even help in the creation of a new country. Perhaps someday, tea will again be the drink of choice for most Americans, either for the great taste or for the medicinal value.

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December 2019


QI The Force Behind Blood Flow and Higher Intelligence This interview with qigong practitioner Jeff Primack, conducted by nationally recognized mindfulness speaker and author Damon Damato, is part one of a two-part series. Primack is founder of Supreme Science Qigong Center and has shared qigong, breathing and food-based healing techniques with tens of thousands of people worldwide in live seminars.

Can you bring a universal meaning to describe what is qi?

Qi is the electric life presence that beats the human heart and charges the air we breathe. Gong, like gong fu, is a repeated action to activate higher energy. Qigong generates a powerful magnetic field in the hands and this energy dilates arteries, healing what it touches. The effects of qi are profound for increasing circulation and improving endocrine imbalances. Science will discover qi is related to static electricity and can be harnessed with hand postures.

Qi Revolution is coming to New Jersey at the Somerset Ukrainian Cultural Center on January 18 through 20, 2020. What is your higher vision for sharing this kind of healing with hundreds of people?

I believe when more human beings develop “qi awareness”, human evolution will go higher. Our intention is to experience the authentic healing and stress-dissolving practices of qigong in a strong group energy field. Sound, light and qi graphics are used to improve learning so everyone can feel what is going on without any previous experience. It’s rare that more than 300 people all simultaneously inhale at the same second, while holding the same healing prayer. Many people that attend heal old injuries, and nearly everyone is strengthened by the energy. Our vision for this event is to uplift the group energy to the highest level to benefit all that attend. 20

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Is there significance to practicing qigong in large groups?

Between 1980 and 1999 the Chinese people gathered for qigong events inside arenas and stadiums with tens of thousands of people. Dr. Yan Xin led this first wave of qi awareness with integrity, but other fake masters misused qigong to protest the government, and qigong was banned in large group settings. Chinese people had discovered the secret of group energy, and it went beyond the roar of a rock concert or the cheers in a football game. Qigong was a weekly outing in China for two decades and people viewed qigong as an opportunity to be strengthened and healed while enjoying fellowship with friends. Qi sensations and internal benefits reach into the scientific minds of truth-seeking men and women. Where two or more practice qigong sincerely, there exists a larger living field of energy, and I believe it’s stronger when more people practice.

The breath work at the Qi Revolution is transformative. Since every person is connected to it, do you believe the answers to healing and overcoming negative emotions are found here? Breathing is the most powerful skill humans can learn to attune with the spirit of life. Genesis 2:7 reveals, “God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” After teaching qigong breathing to groups large and small, I would say there is a connection. People report euphoric vibrational experiences when they do our Breath Empowerment, even if they don’t

believe qi exists. Breathwork is the best gong fu—repeated deep breathes will break the veil of darkness and bad thoughts, eventually flooding the body with light energy.

Can one become more peaceful and increase awareness from the breath?

A renown surgeon named Perrin Clark, M.D., from Daytona Beach, Florida, recently attended our national event. He told us he was super stressed from telling five patients (on average days) that they had some type of cancer. Dr. Clark’s job was to give bad news to patients, and this caused him to hold his breath a lot! He now reports his stress has gone down dramatically since after attending Qi Revolution and learning qigong. As a result, he attended our trainings and was certified in both our Qigong and Food Healing programs.

There are a number of healing routines within the Qi Revolution experience. Do you need to be fit to participate? Can one receive healing attributes if they are out of shape, ill or have other physical impairments?

People with injuries often experience pain relief doing qigong in the first morning practices. We are okay with people practicing where their body is at and provide modified postures for those that need special assistance. People of all ages can benefit from qigong’s challenge.

I’ve seen a shift over the past few years where your focus has really zeroed in on food healing, especially in regard to food science. Why do you feel

this is so important in today’s world, and how does it relate to one’s personal qi?

Food is key to excellent health, especially natural foods made before the inventions of man. Kiwi, for example, helps to reverse asthma in hundreds of students I’ve counseled. Moreover, a study published in the prestigious medical journal Thorax indicated that children that ate kiwi three to five times a week, versus those that didn’t eat any, had a much lower incidence of asthma. My theories have science to back them. Proof is really in whether or not God’s kiwi really helps people breathe. Evidence shows kiwi should be suggested by allergists and breathing therapists to help children with this disease. Food affects our qi by becoming our blood and the cells that carry oxygen to our brain. I teach that eating red foods (high in carotenoids) are the best way to stop the oxidative processes responsible for heart disease and brain degeneration. We make smoothies and serve sweet red pepper paste to all attendees at Qi Revolution, so they can taste for themselves how delicious natural foods can be prepared.

You perform a global healing circle that is legendary. How does it connect participants using the 9-Breath Method with an expanded process?

The living electricity felt in the hands of the Circle of Healing is unlike anything else we teach. After everyone is proficient in using the 9-Breath Method, our signature breathing technique, we hold hands while doing it many times. The feeling is like an electric current going through everyone’s legs, arms and hands. It feels so very good! Delicious, I might say. We focus our mind to God and ask for healing of people we

Jeff Primack love and send light to noble groups and nations worldwide.

You have vowed from the beginning to keep the cost of Qi Revolution in reach for all people and have even gone as far as to offer this healing for veterans free of charge. You offer CE hours for message therapists and nurses for an incredible value. Share with me the importance of putting people over profit.

Qigong is not only for rich or materially successful people. Qi Revolution, priced at $199 for three days, is made affordable to open the “qi door” for more people. Massage therapists love our training and earn 24 CE hours when they attend. We allow U.S. veterans to attend free, and each year hundreds of veterans do attend, and many of them have become our best qigong instructors. Qi Revolution will be held from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on January 18 through 20, 2020, at the Ukrainian Cultural Center, 135 Davidson Ave., Somerset, New Jersey. For more information, call 800-298-8970 or visit See ad, page 11. December 2019


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Waste-Free Feasting How to Reduce Holiday Food Waste


by Yvette C. Hammett

he heaping platters that cheerfully mark the holidays have an unfortunate downside: Americans increase their waste by 25 percent between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The discarded food and packaging burden landfills with an additional 1 million tons of waste each week. That’s in addition to the 40 percent of food Americans typically waste each year— nearly half of all the food prepared at home or in restaurants. Monica McBride, senior manager of food loss and waste for the World Wildlife Fund, notes that squandered bounty is grown in areas that were converted from natural habitat into farm fields, so it’s also a waste of natural resources. “Once you start cooking, you realize the impact on the planet,” says chef and caterer Steven Laurence, owner of Vegan Commissary, in Philadelphia. “My grandmother was the kind of person who, if there was one pea left over, she put it in a container and someone ate it the next day. That kind of informs my cooking. The way I was trained, you didn’t waste anything. You used everything.” In individual households, small changes can have a big impact, especially during the holidays; all it takes is awareness

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and a plan. Frugal cooks can make room for a holiday waste reduction strategy by taking inventory of the pantry and boxing up a load for the local soup kitchen or food bank. Then, design a menu with the environment in mind, using portion control to avoid food waste and whipping up dishes that can easily be upcycled into new creations that can be used as appetizers in the coming days or tucked in the freezer for future enjoyment. Start with the Guest-imator at, a great way to determine portions for a holiday party, says Cheryl Coleman, director of the EPA Resource Conservation and Sustainability Division in the Office of Resource Conservation and Recovery. The Guest-imator and Save the Food, a program of the Natural Resources Defense Council in conjunction with the Ad Council, tells cooks how much to make to keep guests happy and includes recipes for leftovers, such as Crispy Sheet Pan Hash, made with leftover roasted vegetables, and Ugly Vegetable Pasta, made with zucchini, tomatoes and eggplant. Spoilage is another way food finds its way into the garbage can, and that too, can be avoided, Laurence says, pointing out that most food goes bad because it’s not cooked

properly or is mishandled in storage. “Mix animal protein with starches and grains in a container and it goes bad because of two different sorts of enzymes. It is a fuel for bacteria.” He also recommends using as many organic ingredients as possible for longer-lasting leftovers. “We guarantee all of our dishes for two weeks,” he says. Encouraging visitors to take home leftovers is another effective food-saving strategy, says McBride. “Have Tupperware or to-go boxes you could provide to your guests.” Reilly Brock, content manager at Imperfect Produce, in New York City, agrees. “Just like repurposing excess product requires creative thinking, food waste around the holidays requires outof-the-box ideas to keep impact low,” says Brock, whose company delivers imperfect produce to customers’ doors for a cost savings. “Why end the fun when the meal ends? The best part about leftovers—and the holidays—is keeping the celebration going.” “Also, make sure you keep food safe,” McBride says. “The CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] has a really great overview of how to do that for parties. Standard guidance is not to leave food out for more than two hours. So, as a party planner, make sure you mentally note when you put food out.” Coleman recommends taking it a step beyond the holidays by joining a movement to cut food waste year-round. She suggests visiting to learn more. “Through that and additional outreach, we might be able to start to change,” says McBride. Yvette C. Hammett is an environmental writer based in Valrico, Florida. Connect at

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December 2019


conscious eating

Stick with your favorite recipes that you know are going to be a success and are going to leave everyone’s taste buds happy.


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AgeDefying Habits

Plus: Healthy Immune System

~Pamela Reed


People-Pleasing Holiday Sweets


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by Julie Peterson

he holidays may send too many sugar plums and frosted gingerbread figures dancing in the heads of people with dietary restrictions. Anyone that chooses to avoid highly processed flours or sugars, artificial ingredients and loads of butter will typically be presented with all of this and more at social gatherings this time of year. They arrive on visually appealing cookie platters that tempt with their cute shapes, vibrant colors and sparkle. Some, like the gingerbread and reindeer cutouts, will beckon with glazed eyes: “Just one,” they whisper. But one can turn into nine and make someone that may normally avoid sugar or gluten feel bodily regrets. Someone that is vegan or allergic may feel they can’t have treats. Making healthier choices about food is difficult for reasons many don’t understand. “People have relationships with food—involving family, comfort and traditions—and they don’t want to give that up,” says James Brandon, of Tampa, founder of Facebook’s Vegan and PlantBased Beginner’s Community. Brandon says that holiday treats are tough to resist, but staying true to health goals is most important in the long run. The best defense to avoid frustration at social food events is to bring a dish to

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share that meets your dietary needs, says Megan Gilmore, the author of No Excuses Detox: 100 Recipes to Help You Eat Healthy Every Day and a blogger at Detoxinista. com. “That way, you can introduce something delicious to your friends, family or co-workers and be sure you’ll have something to eat!” A batch of simple, delectable, visually appealing and healthful cookies can be that plate to share, a gift to give or something to keep on hand for guests. Keep the focus on simple, advises Pamela Reed, who blogs at There are plenty of recipes that will satisfy the sweet tooth and decorate the holiday buffet (until they’re all eaten, that is). Don’t increase holiday stress by trying a new recipe at the last minute. “Stick with your favorite recipes that you know are going to be a success and are going to leave everyone’s taste buds happy,” she says. Transitioning to a more conscious way of eating isn’t about deprivation or leaving tradition behind. Bring on the new and healthful cookie recipes and name one after your grandma. Julie Peterson writes from her home in rural Wisconsin. Contact her at

Petrovich Nataliya/


Oh-So-Healthy Holiday Treats Peanut Butter Cookies (Vegan, Gluten Free)

photo by Pamela Reed

Yields: About 18 cookies 1 cup creamy peanut butter ½ cup coconut sugar ½ cup brown sugar 2 tsp vanilla ⅔ cup oat flour 1 tsp baking soda ¼ tsp salt ¼ cup almond milk Additional sugar to roll cookies in Preheat oven to 350° F. In a large bowl, cream together peanut butter and sugars with a hand mixer. Once combined, add vanilla and continue mixing.

Add flour, baking soda, salt and almond milk into the bowl and mix for a few seconds, until combined. The cookie dough will be a little crumbly. Prepare 2 cookie sheets with silicone baking sheets or spray with nonstick spray. Roll the dough into large balls, and then gently roll in sugar to cover them. Use a fork to gently press down on each cookie a little bit—not too much, or they will crumble. Bake cookies for 12 minutes. Once out of the oven, allow to cool for 15 minutes. This is important, as the cookies will be very soft when they come out of the oven, but they will harden up as they cool. Store in an airtight container or freeze. Recipe courtesy of

Natural Awakenings recommends using organic, non-GMO (genetically modified) and non-bromated ingredients whenever possible.

December 2019


Yields: 12 balls

Note: If you’d prefer to roll the balls in coconut sugar or shredded coconut, roll them in one of those options before freezing, so the coating will stick better.

Chocolate Topping: ¼ cup cocoa powder ¼ cup melted coconut oil 3 Tbsp pure maple syrup

Store in the fridge in a sealed container for up to two weeks for best texture.

Line a standard loaf pan with parchment paper and set it aside. In a medium bowl, stir together the chocolate crust ingredients until a moist dough is formed. Press the dough evenly into the bottom of the lined loaf pan and place it in the freezer to set.


1 cup pecan halves ½ cup shredded unsweetened coconut 1 cup soft Medjool dates, pitted (about 10 dates) 1 Tbsp coconut oil ½ tsp sea salt ½ tsp vanilla extract ½ cup arrowroot or tapioca starch Extra arrowroot for dusting, or coconut sugar Place the pecans and shredded coconut in a large food processor fitted with an “S” blade, and process until the pecans are broken down and crumbly. Add in the rest of the ingredients and process again, until a sticky dough is formed. (It should stick together when pressed between two fingers.) Scoop the dough by rounded tablespoons and roll the dough between your hands, forming balls. Arrange the balls on a plate or baking sheet lined with parchment paper, then place them in the freezer to

To prepare the filling, you can use the same bowl to stir the peanut butter, maple syrup, coconut oil and salt. Depending on whether you’re using salted or unsalted peanut butter, consider adding more salt to taste. Store-bought peanut butter cups are quite salty, so I like to add a generous pinch of salt to mimic that flavor. Remove the crust from the freezer and pour the peanut butter filling over the top, using a spatula to spread it out evenly. Return the pan to the freezer to set.

No-Bake Peanut Butter Cup Bars (Vegan, Gluten Free) Chocolate Crust: ¾ cup ground almond meal 2 Tbsp cocoa powder 2 Tbsp pure maple syrup 1 Tbsp melted coconut oil Pinch of sea salt

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Rinse the mixing bowl and use it again to make the final layer. Combine the cocoa powder, melted coconut oil and maple syrup, whisking well to break up any clumps. Once the mixture has become a smooth chocolate sauce, pour it over the peanut butter layer, and return the pan to the freezer to set until firm, about an hour or two. Once the bars are firm, grab the edges of parchment paper to easily lift the solid bar from the pan, and use a sharp knife to slice the bars into your desired size. Store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to two weeks, or in the freezer for up to a month. (The bars become very firm if frozen for too long, so I prefer serving them from the fridge after the initial firming-up time.) Source:

photo by Megan Gilmore

Peanut Butter Filling: ½ cup creamy natural peanut butter 3 Tbsp pure maple syrup 1 Tbsp melted coconut oil Pinch of sea salt

photo by Megan Gilmore

No-Bake Pecan Snowballs (Grain-Free, Vegan)

set, about 1 to 2 hours. For a “snowball” look, roll the balls in additional arrowroot or tapioca starch—just a light coating will do—since the starch will not enhance the flavor. It’s just for looks!

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December 2019


Refresh Holiday Traditions Making the Old New and Green by Ronica A. O’Hara


elebrating classic holiday traditions the same way we always have—and maybe the way our parents and grandparents did—is part of the rich family heritage we pass on to our children. These family rituals are binding, grounding, memorable and much more, says Saul Levine, M.D., professor emeritus in psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego. A survey of 50 years of family research published in the American Psychological Association’s Journal of Family Psychology found that family holiday rituals, as well as everyday routines like family dinners and bedtime stories, build stronger family relationships, enhance children’s health and academic achievement, help teenagers’ sense of personal identity and even boost marital satisfaction. It’s also natural and perhaps inevitable that these traditions undergo changes over the years. “If people from only five or six generations ago could see our modern Christmas, they’d barely recognize it,” says Brian Earl, host of the popular Christmas Past podcast that chronicles holiday traditions. “New trends and customs become traditions in time; every generation has 28

its opportunity to add new chapters to the narrative and continue the story.” For Elizabeth Newcamp, Christmas festivities took an eco-turn for her military family of five when they were living for a few years in the Netherlands, where “Sinterklaas” traditionally delivers gifts in reusable burlap bags. “In an effort to reduce wrapping paper, we now use the sacks on Christmas,” says Newcamp, who blogs about family travel at She and her husband Jeff also ask for and give experiences as gifts whenever possible; their 7-year-old son asked if he could organize a little library for their Navarre, Florida, neighborhood. Anyone that wants to send gifts to their sons is asked to find them used. “I don’t think we’ve lessened any of the fun of the holidays, but hopefully we are eliminating some of the waste,” she says. For many years, Ginny Underwood’s family in Bluffton, South Carolina, would dress up and go to a restaurant on Christmas Eve, exchange gifts and then return home to watch a movie or play board games. Last year, they tried something new: staying home, putting on pajamas, eating cottage pie and playing handmade

Bucks & Montgomery County, PA Edition

“Minute to Win It” games that Underwood, a professional organizer who blogs at, created. “We had a blast; we didn’t stop laughing all night,” she says. “We saved hundreds of dollars and we had a lovely time.” Lighting red, green and black candles while focusing on principles like unity, selfdetermination or purpose are key in the seven-day Kwanzaa celebrations; but, “Instead of just lighting the candle amongst friends and family and discussing, I want my family to spend that day exemplifying the principle,” says Vanessa Davis, executive director of the nonprofit African Village International, in Jacksonville, Florida. Now her children meditate, journal and practice mindfulness to learn about self-determination; volunteer or pick up trash outdoors to learn about collective work and responsibilities; and buy something at a locally-owned store and discuss future finances for cooperative economics. “I was inspired to change because Kwanzaa isn’t really a religious holiday, but it is a darn good way to reflect on the past year and goal-set for the future,” she says. “Giving children more hands-on experiences for Hanukkah and taking the emphasis off of ‘What am I going to get?’ makes the holiday more meaningful for the kids,” concurs Pamela Morris, early childhood education director at the East Valley Jewish Community Center, in Chandler, Arizona. Each Hanukkah evening, her family of five lights a menorah and says traditional prayers while also volunteering to wrap food packages at a local Feed My Starving Children event, crafting personal menorahs at a pottery studio, going to see Phoenix ZooLights and gathering to make the traditional potato latkes or jelly donuts. “Each night is a focus on family time and welcoming friends to join us,” she says. By observing and evolving traditions, family bonds can strengthen through time, relates Earl: “By participating in holiday rituals, children are learning about who they are. And by passing them down, parents reaffirm what’s important to them and keep the connection to the past intact.” Ronica A. O’Hara is a Denver-based natural-health writer. Connect at

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Updating Favorite Traditions n Instead of buying a Christmas tree or Hanukkah bush in a store lot, get one in a pot that can be replanted later. n Take a family holiday photo, either serious or wacky, and recreate it every year with members in the same poses and expressions. n Invite someone to a holiday dinner that’s not part of the family, such as an international student or newcomer in town. n Cook up a batch of healthy, vegan cookies with the kids and organize a neighborhood cookie swap. n Have a $10 or $20 gift exchange challenge in which everyone competes to come up with the most useful, creative or eco-clever use of the money. n String together popcorn and cranberries to make a tree garland or door decoration, and later drape it on outdoor trees to feed birds and wildlife. n Give kids $10 to donate to a carefully selected charity of their choice. n Take a favorite holiday story, parable or song and have the kids (and adults) act it out with costumes and all.

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wise words

Surgeon Mary Neal on Lessons From Heaven by Kajsa Nickels


n 1999, while kayaking on the Fuy River in Chile, orthopedic surgeon Mary Neal became trapped beneath a waterfall and drowned. She was underwater for 30 minutes before the current pulled her out. During that time, Neal experienced what she believes to be a miraculous event in which she penetrated the veil dividing the physical and spiritual worlds. There, she was told that it was not yet her time, and of the future death of her eldest son, a prediction that was fulfilled 10 years later. The experience gave her a new perspective on the purpose of our Earthly existence and life after death. She has since written two books on the subject: To Heaven and Back: A Doctor’s Extraordinary Account of Her Death, Heaven, Angels and Life Again; and 7 Lessons from Heaven: How Dying Taught Me to Live a Joy-Filled Life. Her life-altering experience prompted her to pay more attention to those things that are truly important: faith, family and relationships with other human beings. She lives with her family in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, where she continues to mend broken bones.

How do you think your medical background makes you uniquely qualified to speak on near-death experiences (NDE)?

I am a very concrete thinker and analyze everything. Being a doctor also gave me ac30

cess to many resources that the common person would not. I spent many months researching scientific and medical literature to try to come up with a logical explanation of what had happened to me. I was forced to conclude that my experience fell outside of the parameters of both science and medicine. I could not find any examples to disprove what happened, especially when the predicted death of my oldest son came to pass.

What was the most profound moment of your experience?

It’s hard to pinpoint the most profound moment of the entire experience, but what impacted me most was the realization that God is real, and He is present to each and every one of us every moment of our daily lives. I realized to the depths of my soul that all God’s promises are true, not just wishful thinking or a vague hope.

How has your NDE made you a better wife, mother and medical professional?

You can’t have an NDE without having your entire life changed. When you realize that there is more to life than what you can see with your physical eyes, it changes your entire perspective on every moment of every day. The things we say and the things we do create a ripple effect that spreads beyond the boundaries of our human sight. Love

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is ultimately the only thing that matters, to reflect love to the world and other people. I was a “good person” before my NDE, but I now see differently. I see that each human being is incredibly loved, and that we are all one: We are them, and they are us. Everything else in the world is secondary to God’s love and presence in our lives.

How is your approach to everyday life different than it was prior to your NDE?

I am able to be entirely present in every moment of my life. I can experience deep and abiding joy regardless of my circumstances. I am able to trust that grace covers my past, that there is life after death and a plan for my life. No matter what is happening, even if it is terrible, beauty will come out of it. Most people are trapped in regrets of the past and worry about the future. With complete trust in God, I am able to fully have joy in each and every moment.

Is there a difference between joy and happiness?

Absolutely. Happiness is an emotion based on circumstances. Happiness can accompany joy, but not always. Joy is a state of being, of trusting in God, of believing that his promises are true. Joy comes from freedom—freedom from disruptive emotions like guilt, remorse, unforgiveness. Even in the devastation of my oldest son’s death, I can honestly say that I experienced a deep joy from trusting in God’s love and promises.

Why do you believe heaven is written in our hearts?

As a scientist, I firmly believe that we are created beings with physical bodies and spiritual souls. I believe that our spiritual self remembers heaven and remembers joy. Part of our journey here on Earth is to rediscover our connection with God. As adults, we often feel that we have to choose between science and spiritualism. The truth is that they coexist, answering questions in different ways. Kajsa Nickels is a freelance author who lives in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Connect at

teen voices

Holiday Cheer by Isabella Dussias


hat is cherished the most by teens during the holiday season? Of course, we love our time off from school to relax with family and friends. It’s a nice break to pull away from what often feels like over-scheduled lives and take time to realize what matters most to us. However, in polling some of my friends, I found that teens have a lot of pride in what makes them unique in how they celebrate the holidays. There are many families that carry on traditions that have been handed down through generations. Learning how to make those cherished family recipes is important to us as young adults because someday we will be handing these down to future gen-

erations. Teens have pride in what we have learned from those who have come before us and taught us about our heritage. Whether it is making a special meal or going to a certain holiday event each year, it makes us feel special and have a greater sense of connection to our family as a whole. There are certain things my friends look forward to annually. Without them, the holiday season would not feel the same. So, this year, if you think your teen isn’t interested in that traditional family activity or that maybe they’ve outgrown it, think again. We are just waiting for the custom that we have become used to—the song we always sing or the cookies we always bake or crafts we always make—that embodies holiday cheer.



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Home is where the heart is—this is what we cherish. Those special times with family and the traditions they have taught us have made us who we have become. Someday we will be the ones ensuring that these endure, that the fabric of our family is maintained and that we build a home full of warmth and happiness. So, here’s to a season full of love, family, traditions and holiday cheer! Hope it’s a good one for you and yours! Isabella Dussias is a 16-yearold singer-songwriter/ composer from New Jersey. She enjoys writing about issues that are important to today’s youth, and she believes music is an important outlet to connect people and share messages through the creativity of lyric and melody. For more information, please visit

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December 2019


Many people have found that a regular breathing practice has helped them increase energy and decrease anxiety. ~Rachael Walter

Three Weeks of Profound Workshops at Cabo Breath Fest


n celebration of Natural Awakenings’ commitment to promoting higher consciousness during the last 25 years, the Cabo Breath Fest will offer many lifechanging workshops plus other activities from February 1 to 21, in San Jose del Cabo, Mexico. Some of the 20-plus international experts offering workshops include event founder Dan Brule, author, breathwork pioneer and the creator of Breath Therapy; Stig Avall Severinsen, champion free diver and author of the bestselling book Breatheology – The Art of Conscious Breathing; Dr. Jim Morningstar, author and founder of the School of Integrative Psychology; and Lena Kristina Tuulse, Breathwork pioneer and author of Passion for Life, who introduced conscious breathing to much of Europe. As this historic event is a cocreation of the trainers and guests, attendees are also invited to make presentations during some of the 100 available sessions. There will also be yoga on the beach, drumming circles, concerts, social gatherings, great food, dances, art and other enriching activities. Tickets: $100 for any or all workshops. For more information, tickets and cheap accommodations, call 800-568-7957 or visit or cabobreathfest.



Conscious Breathwork


by Marlaina Donato

ur first breath is instinctual and belly-deep, but as we grow into life, everyday stress and trauma can bring us into the shallows. Mindful breathing can help guide our breath back to its original, healthy rhythm. Both the brain and organs benefit from increased oxygen, and the vagus nerve that connects the two—prompted by changes in the body’s pH levels—releases acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter responsible for lowering heart rate. Breathwork can improve vagal tone, a major component in a wide range of conditions like depression, pain syndromes, sleep disturbances, anxiety disorders and chronic inflammation. A 2016 study by the Medical University of South Carolina published in the journal BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine shows a lower number of proteins associated with inflammation in the saliva of participants that employed breathing exercises. A study that appeared in the journal Psychophysiology in 2015 found that 20 minutes of mindful breathing at bedtime fostered a good night’s rest for people with insomnia.

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Breathing Breaks

From traditional rebirthing techniques using circular breathing to Middendorf Breath Work for somatic awareness, there are many styles of conscious breathing. The gentler approaches best suit everyday needs and taking a breathing break can actually provide more refreshment than one featuring coffee. “Many people have found that a regular breathing practice has helped them increase energy and decrease anxiety. It is a powerful tool to reset the nervous system when we’re overwhelmed and stressed,” says Somatic Breath Therapy (SBT) practitioner Rachael Walter, owner of Breathe-HereNow, in Keene, New Hampshire. Like many forms of breathwork, SBT bridges the chasm between mind and body. “Conscious breathing can also help people access and understand their emotions,” notes Walter. Pranayama, an ancient technique of yoga that focuses on breath control and employs alternate nostril breathing, can be performed while lying down, seated or on the yoga mat. Kundalini yoga teacher Melissa Crowder, owner of 4 States Yoga, in

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Joplin, Missouri, advises students to start out slowly, three to six minutes a day, and then work up to a longer practice. “Alternate nostril breathing is a great practice for everyone. As little as six minutes of yogic breathing, as needed, can make a profound difference in decreasing pain and stress,” she says.

and in turn, presses upon the stomach and helps to churn the gastric juices. For this reason, it can aid earlier stages of digestion.” When used in conjunction with other modalities such as cognitive behavioral therapy, diaphragmatic breathing might be beneficial for irritable bowel syndrome.

Belly Benefits

Breathing Into Feelings

The American Lung Association recommends a variety of exercises, including diaphragmatic (belly) breathing, for conditions like asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Engaging the diaphragm is key in breathing to fullest capacity. Walter explains, “An open, healthy breath is one in which we use the diaphragm to initiate the breath, followed by the belly expanding and the breath moving into the chest.” Most of us unconsciously fall into shallow and sometimes self-conscious breathing patterns at an early age. “During my training, I read that by age 6, we pick up on cues telling us to tuck in our tummies. This simple, bad habit begins a cascade of physiological responses. Upper chest breathing can create anxiety symptoms and poor digestion,” explains Colleen Breeckner, owner of Colleen Lila Yoga, in New York City. “Diaphragmatic breathing causes the diaphragm to become flat and wide,

The depth and quality of the breath can help us to become aware of emotional states that include “holding patterns”. “Conscious breathing is a doorway into deep meditation, which can help alleviate anger and insecurities. It can also be helpful in dropping addictions,” says Crowder. “Linking pranayama with physical movement [asanas] helps to release tension and emotions that can be held in the body’s soft tissues.” Breeckner agrees, “Developing this awareness can help us to move unpleasant and stuck emotions through the body.” Well-being can be just a breath away, says Walter. “When we open up our breath, we open ourselves to a fuller experience of being human. It has the capacity to bring us into the present moment to access our joy and our life’s purpose.” Marlaina Donato is an author and a composer. Connect at

Noteworthy Breathwork Styles Clarity Breathwork: Developed from the groundwork of Leonard Orr, with a focus on accessing the subconscious mind for self-awareness Holotropic Breathwork: Developed by psychiatrist Stanislav Grof, M.D., and his wife Christina and employs deep, rapid breathing to initiate an altered state of consciousness; training in the Grof method is required Integral Breath Therapy: Gentle technique for an altered state of consciousness that works with the body’s natural healing capacity Middendorf Breath Work: Named after German-born Ilse Middendorf, a gentle technique that does not include forcing the breath to promote healing Rebirthing Breathwork: Pioneering and well-known form of breathwork that was also developed by Orr with a focus on releasing unconscious energy blocks imprinted during the birth process Shamanic Breathwork: Uses specific breathing methods, chakras or energy centers, music and movement to overcome emotional blocks for deep-level healing Transformational Breath: Developed by Dr. Judith Kravitz using uninterrupted breathing, Kundalini yoga and other elements of physical and energetic healing; recommended by Dr. Christine Northrup and Dr. Deepak Chopra

Go-to Breathing Exercises From Rachael Walter: The Three-Breath Sigh Place one hand on your lower belly and the other on your chest. Breathing in through your nose, let your breath start in the belly and move up to the chest. Then exhale through your mouth while making an audible sighing sound. Repeat two more times. The Four-Eight Relaxing Breath Place one hand on your lower belly and the other on your chest. Using a belly breath, inhale to the count of four and exhale to the count of eight, making your exhale twice as long as your inhale to facilitate relaxation. Feel free to play with how fast or slow you count to find a comfortable breathing pace. Repeat for six to 10 times as needed. Breath Walk This is an excellent exercise to do while at work, school or a public place to give your nervous system a break, even when the world is crazy-busy around you. Walk at a slightly slower pace than normal and breathe in for one step; breathe out for the next step, counting three or four for each breath/step. Continue as you walk, being mindful of your breath, counting and surroundings.

For further inquiry, Melissa Crowder recommends these Kundalini yoga breaths: Shabad Kriya for promoting deep restful sleep Sitali Pranayama for lowering a fever or cooling off a hot temper Breath of Fire for improved brain circulation, stimulating digestion and weight control Right nostril breathing for afternoon slumps Left nostril breathing to quiet mind chatter at bedtime December 2019


THE WAR ON CANCER Part Two: The Biology

by Laura Weis

If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles‌ If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle. ~Sun Tzu, The Art of War


n the first of this three-part series, we examined the failing war on cancer, the history of cancer therapies and current approaches, and why we have not made progress in reducing cancer rates and deaths in humans and animals. Now it is time to dig into some biochemistry and evolutionary biology to understand the biology of cancer, which was written into our genes when life was just beginning. The elegant compromises and adaptations for producing cellular energy that led to the development of all multicellular life forms from early single-celled organisms also gave rise to the potential for unchecked cell growth that we call cancer. The earliest single-celled organisms developed two methods for producing energy in the universal currency of ATP. When food was abundant, a more primitive and inefficient method called fermentation, or glycolysis, could be used. For times of scarcity, cells developed a more efficient means of producing energy, through membrane-embedded complex electron chains that eventually were able to 34

use oxygen as final electron receptors. This more efficient process is called aerobic respiration, or oxidative phosphorylation. Fermentation is a much older process and has been in use since life started about four billion years ago. The key features of primitive life were constant reproduction and constant mutation. Around two billion years ago one of the most fascinating parts of the cancer story occurred. A type of single-celled bacteria invaded another form of singlecelled life called Archaea, and the two developed a mutually beneficial relationship. The bacteria primarily used respiration to produce energy, while the Archaea relied on fermentation. In this ancient compromise, the bacteria agreed to exchange energy production for shelter and food provided by the invaded host cells. Over the next billion years, the bacteria transformed into the mitochondria that are the energy-producing powers of modern organisms, and in the process transferred most of their genes into the developing nuclei of the cells, which are well-pro-

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The elegant compromises and adaptations for producing cellular energy that led to the development of all multicellular life forms from early singlecelled organisms also gave rise to the potential for unchecked cell growth that we call cancer. tected from disrupting carcinogens such as radiation and chemicals. Eventually, the mitochondria became the decisionmakers for growth and reproduction in our differentiated modern cells. In times of scarcity, not only do our mitochondria efficiently produce energy, they also signal genes in the nucleus to shut down growth and reproduction. Unfortunately, this complex energy production system left us vulnerable to the possibility of cancer. The genes in the nuclei of our cells are highly protected; the 37 genes that comprise the mitochondrial genome and reside in the cellular cytoplasm are highly vulnerable to damage from carcinogens and mutagens. Instructions from the mitochondria are responsible for turning on and off pathways that are necessary for the formation of tumors, including n major growth-suppressor genes, n genes that cause damaged and old cells to commit suicide, n genes that promote the development of blood vessels, n genes that maintain the cell in a welldifferentiated state and n genes that lead to the metastasis of tumors.

Eventually when cellular processes go awry, additional individual mutations develop in the nuclear genome. It is these end-stage mutations that some of the cutting-edge cancer therapies target in a misguided attempt that mistakes outcome for causation. We know this to be true from research on “cybrids”, cells constructed using parts from two or more cells. When the nucleus from a healthy cell with healthy cytoplasm containing healthy mitochondria is replaced with the nucleus from a cancer cell, no cancer develops. When the nucleus from a cancer cell is replaced with the nucleus from a healthy cell, the cell remains cancerous. The diseased mitochondria are directing the process. The theory of cancer as a collection of individual mutations of nuclear genetic material is incorrect. This complex topic can be explored in detail in the book Cancer as a Metabolic Disease by Thomas Seyfried, as well as in numerous other articles. Fortunately, “knowing the enemy and knowing ourselves” is really one and the same. It is this knowledge that can lead to a unified approach to cancer prevention and therapy, to be outlined in the final article in this series. Dr. Laura Weis and her husband, Dr. Ransome Weis, own and operate Doylestown Veterinary Hospital & Holistic Pet Care, and Holiday House Pet Resort & Training Center, in Doylestown. She focuses on homeopathy and nutrition counseling for her clients within the full-service veterinary practice. Call 215-345-6000 to request an appointment. See ad, this page.




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A New Generation Spurs Change

Safe and Eco-Smart Toys by Julie Peterson


he pet aisles are so full of squeaking, plush and colorful toys it can make a dog or cat parent’s head spin like a Frisbee. Add blinking lights, flavors, promises of higher intelligence or cleaner teeth; then toss in concerns about sustainably sourced materials, potentially toxic ingredients and varying degrees of quality. The choices are complex. It would be nice to look for that gold seal of approval from the Pet Toy Regulatory Agency. But don’t bother: There is no such thing. It’s all up to the consumer to figure it out.

The Problem Is Real

Concern regarding toxicants in children’s toys and the realization that they posed a risk of chemical exposure led to regulatory protections. “Similar safeguards do not exist for pets, even though they exhibit similar chewing and mouthing behaviors,” says Philip N. Smith, Ph.D., associate professor of terrestrial ecotoxicology at Texas Tech University in Lubbock. “Owner education is key to limiting unintentional chemical exposure.” According to a 2013 study co-authored by Smith and published in the journal 36

Chemosphere, common endocrine-disrupting chemical toxins in plastics can enter a dog’s body through saliva. Concentrations of leachable chemicals can increase in older, degraded toys, according to the National Institutes of Health. For anyone that has ever had a pet destroy a toy faster than it takes to calculate the cost per second, durable construction may be the highest concern. After all, if the toy is vigorously ripped to shreds, pieces may be swallowed. The most immediate issue becomes intestinal blockage. This is a common problem for cats and dogs with a propensity to eat garbage, plants and holiday decorations. But when we spend good money on actual toys, we would like to think that it won’t lead to surgery. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee. Poorly constructed toys have required many pet owners to watch for the parts to pass through the animal or, worse yet, make a trip to the vet. Even if a toy seems sturdy, it’s best to observe the animal with the toy. Charlotte Easterling, a graphic designer in Madison, Wisconsin, learned this from her

Bucks & Montgomery County, PA Edition

Shopping for Safety

Experts offer some guidelines for ways consumers can choose harmless toys: 4 Be suspicious of toys manufactured overseas or cheap ones made in the U.S. 4 Contact the manufacturer and ask if toys contain phthalates, BPA, arsenic, bromine, chemical dyes, chromium or formaldehyde. 4 Look for toys made with ingredients from nature (hemp, leather or wool). 4 Find a pet supply store that has natural, safe and sustainably sourced products. 4 Inspect toys periodically for loose parts and watch the pet with new toys. 4 If a pet plays with a toy and then acts oddly, contact the vet. Julie Peterson writes from rural Wisconsin. Connect at


Perfect Pet Presents

The American Pet Products Association (APPA) National Pet Owners Survey provides insight into the demographics, buying habits and other traits of dog, cat, bird, small animal, reptile, fish and horse owners. The 2019-2020 survey shows that about 85 million U.S. homes, or 67 percent, include a pet. This leads to a lot of money flowing into the pet toy and care community. Annually, dog owners spend about $124 and cat owners spend about $89 on treats and toys. The survey also indicates that Millennials are the largest pet-owning demographic. “The pet care community is doing a great job of meeting the demands of a new generation by offering a range of products made from sustainable, recycled and upcycled materials,” says Steve King, CEO of APPA, in Stamford, Connecticut. King notes it’s expected that as Gen Z pet owners begin to assert themselves in the marketplace, we will see more products based on sustainability and transparency.

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cat, Hazel, who choked on a common cat toy. “She was playing with a glitter ball and then started meowing kind of frantically, scrambling around and pawing at her face. I jumped up and pulled the ball out of her mouth,” recalls Easterling. Hazel only gets big glitter balls these days.


Choen photo/




The Generous Heart How Giving Transforms Us


by Cindy Ricardo

ne of the ways we come into balance and connection with each other and with life is by giving from the heart. When we give to others, whether it’s an act of kindness, generosity or compassion, it helps us live from the heart instead of the ego. Living from the ego is painful and exhausting. It’s like feeding a hungry monster that’s never satisfied. Ego craves, pursues and clings to status, approval, material wealth and control. It views the world through the eyes of fear—constantly evaluating, judging and acting in ways that are self-centered, defensive and protective. Like with Scrooge, ego closes our heart and makes us small, fearful and contracted. By contrast, generosity requires that we open our hearts to the world and each other. We allow ourselves to be vulnerable. In doing this, we open ourselves fully to life, love and relationships. We let go of striving and pursuing things. When we stop striving, we begin to see, value and respond to what’s happening in the present moment in ways that are healthy and healing. Our priority shifts from acquiring things to appreciating what we have and being open to sharing with others. Generosity is a quality of kindness, of living from a place of abundance. We see the world through a clear lens that isn’t clouded by fear, wanting or clinging. When we interact with others, our connection is

genuine. We see people instead of judgments or labels. Being generous arises from the heart, not the wallet. We don’t need to have material wealth in order to be generous. The only requirement is a willingness to open our hearts, to see life as it is and to interact with others from a place of compassion and love. Some examples of generous acts are: n Doing a household chore without being asked. n Setting aside what we’re doing and listening to someone in need of emotional support. n Telling loved ones what we appreciate about them. n Listening to children and trying to see the world through their eyes before offering advice.



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n Smiling at a stranger.


n When asking, “How are you?” looking into the person’s eyes and taking time to truly listen with an attitude of curiosity and compassion.


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Creating Community & Connection Plus: Spending Locally

Generosity awakens goodness in the heart, and this helps us open to life, love and relationships. Cindy Ricardo is a Coral Springs, Floridabased psychotherapist who blogs at


December 2019



Find the studio, teacher or style that fits you best



Twisters Wellness Centers

Nourishing Storm

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doylestown Bikram Yoga Doylestown 1717 S Easton Rd 570-977-6689

Cornerstone Health & Fitness 740 Edison Furlong Rd 215-794-3700

erdenheim Twisters Wellness Centers 717 Bethlehem Pike 215-654-5393

new hope Cornerstone Health & Fitness 415 S York Rd 215-862-2200

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Whole Body Yoga Studio

103 E Walnut St 215-661-0510

quakertown Moondog Yoga Studio 115 E Broad St, Ste 200 267-374-4046


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Kindred Yoga

1364 Welsh Rd 267-664-1022


777 Second Street Pk 215-514-6065

warrington Cornerstone Health & Fitness

847 Easton Rd, Warrington 215-918-5900

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31 Days of Abundant Kindness by Rosie Lazroe


is the season for gift giving! It’s a perfect opportunity to show loved ones that they are appreciated while feeling the joy of giving to others. Ahimsa, meaning “non-harming”, is the first principal of yoga and can be the most valuable gift to give this year. Through thoughts, words and actions, people have the power to choose kind and gentle simplicity to remain fully present within themselves and with those they love most. Use the month of December as a way to practice non-harming toward three people every day. It can be a friend, family member, stranger or yourself!

Here are some ideas to get started: n While looking in the mirror, focus on one thing to admire instead of giving into negative self-talk. Choose something different each day. n Donate an extra blanket to a homeless shelter or to someone in need of warmth this winter. n Give hugs to friends and family— including yourself! n When setting down plates on the dinner table, or yoga props before class, set them

down gently and mindfully instead of quickly and carelessly. n Choose to turn the other cheek when dealing with feisty loved ones. n Be kind to yourself. Offer yourself a kind thought each day, especially on days that you are feeling forgetful, clumsy or cranky. n When holiday shopping, buy from companies that invest in the health of the planet. n Choose ahimsa while driving by leaving extra space in front of your car so anxious drivers can switch lanes easily. This will make you feel better too. n Spend more quality time with elderly family members. n Treat yourself to something life-affirming each day, such as taking a nap or making a homemade smoothie.

Your input helps shape this section while our input helps you grow!

Search your heart for other ways to close out 2019 with the principle of ahimsa. Wishing you abundant peace this holiday season. Rosie Lazroe is a certified yoga teacher and master reiki practitioner. For more information, call 732-596-7384, email YogaByRosie@ or visit

For information, email December 2019


calendar of events Submit your listings by the 5th of the month. Email for assistance.



Gardening in Concert with Nature – 7-9pm. As our gardens play an increasingly important role in environmentally friendly living, so do our garden problems. Bucks County Horticulture Hotline expert Bill Pasko will discuss the management of garden problems in ways that are friendly to wildlife and the environment. $3-$5. The Life Science Building, Delaware Valley University, 700 E Butler Ave, Doylestown. 215-489-2283. BucksBeautiful. org/education.

Perkasie Tree Lighting Ceremony – 5-8pm. Santa arrives to light the tree at 7pm at this traditional family event. He rides in on a Perkasie Borough Electric Truck, then travels to the very top of the tree to turn on the lights. One lucky child will climb the stage and flip the switch to light the tree: every child that brings a non-perishable food item for Pennridge FISH is entered into a drawing to win the honor. Free. Perkasie Town Center, 620 W Chestnut St, Perkasie. 215-257-5065.



Patricia Schultz Book Signing – 6:30pm. #1 NY Times Bestselling author of 1,000 Places to See Before You Die will be discussing and signing copies of the deluxe edition the book, with more than 1,000 all-new photographs and 544 pages. Makes a great gift. The Doylestown Bookshop, 16 S Main St. 215-230-7610.

NBA/McCaffrey’s Food Markets Newtown Holiday Parade – 2-4pm. This parade, one of the largest holiday parades in Bucks County, continues to provide a magical experience for the whole community. Hosted each year by the Newtown Business Association, it is a great opportunity for local businesses to get involved and for families to line the streets to watch a spectacular event. Free. Newtown Borough & Township, State & Sycamore streets, Newtown.

Annual Santa Arrival & Tree Lighting – 6:309pm. Santa & Mrs Claus arrive 7:30 pm. Entertainment: dancers & singers. Hot cocoa/snacks/ food. Toy collection – unwrapped. Photo with Santa – Bring your camera and much more. Shops at Town Center, 200 Town Center, New Britain. 215-345-8750.

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 5 Yoga, Meditation and Acupuncture – 12/5-12/12. 8:30-9:15am. After our Yoga & Meditation Class, Kimberly Niezgoda, Board Certified Licensed Acupuncturist, will place acupuncture needles in locations that may include your arms, legs, ears or head to transition your body from a state of excitation or stress into a place where the body can rest, restore and balance. $25. Whole Body Yoga Studio, 103 E Walnut St, North Wales. Patty Ferry, 215661-0510. Holly Nights – 6-9pm. Experience the enchantment of Pennsbury by candlelight. A community tradition for over 35 years, this joyous feast for the senses offers crackling fires, hot-mulled cider, dancing shadows and the merry sounds of carolers strolling the grounds. Adults/$14, seniors/$12/, youth/$6. Pennsbury Manor, 400 Pennsbury Memorial Rd, Morrisville. 215-946-0400. events/hollynights.

MONDAY, DECEMBER 9 SDBM 21st CCLC Winterfest Open House and Community Celebration – 10am-2pm. 21st Century Community Learning Center Winterfest is a family-oriented day with over 30 vendors and crafters. Enjoy holiday shopping, kids’ carnivalstyle games, free craft tables, live performances by students and local groups. Free. Morrisville High School, 550 W Palmer St, Morrisville. 215-4280500.

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 12 Pain. Relief. Naturally. – 6:45-7:30pm. Learn about drug-free, surgery-free healing for acute or chronic pain. MLS laser therapy is safe, painless, non-invasive and effective. It utilizes dual wavelengths of infrared light to penetrate deep into the tissue and stimulate regeneration at the cellular level to relieve pain, reduce inflammation and promote wound healing/soft tissue repair. Free. Agasar Family WellCare at Inner Spa, 4 Terry Dr, Newtown. Cathy Agasar, 215-550-6502. Info@AgasarFamily

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 13 A Christmas Carol performed by Gerald Dickens – 7-8:30pm. Returning for his 16th year, renowned actor and great-great grandson of Charles Dickens, Gerald Dickens, will be performing his spirited rendition of A Christmas Carol on the factory floor of Byers' Choice Ltd. $22.50. Byers’ Choice Ltd, 4355 County Line Rd, Chalfont. 215-822-7707. dickens-great-expectations.html.

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 14 Winter Fair at River Valley Waldorf School – 11am-3pm. Celebrate the whimsy of the holiday season at River Valley Waldorf’s most magical festival. Featuring paper star making, candle rolling, a secret winter garden, King Winter and much more.


Bucks & Montgomery County, PA Edition

There will be live music, food and desserts and an artisan market. Come join the fun. Free. River Valley Waldorf School, 1395 Bridgeton Hill Rd, Upper Black Eddy. 610-982-5606. Search “winter fair at river valley” on Awaken the Joy Within - Sound Healing – 2-4pm. Find your joy within. Join us for a blissful afternoon of live sound healing with gongs, sound bowls and bells, in restorative yoga poses with essential oils. Awaken your inner guide and feel your inner freedom as you take this time to heal your body and mind. $35. Whole Body Yoga Studio, 103 E Walnut St, North Wales. Patty Ferry, 215-661-0510. Patty@ WholeBodyYoga

TUESDAY, DECEMBER 17 Sound Healing Meditation – Noon-12:45. Sound healing therapy benefits us mentally, physically, spiritually and especially emotionally. The singing bowls will be played throughout this entire workshop. The chakra system is cleaned and balanced. An ocean drum with a short visual meditation will take you on a beautiful journey and ground you gently. $25. Whole Body Yoga Studio, 103 E Walnut St, North Wales. Patty Ferry, 215-661-0510. Patty@ WholeBodyYoga

classifieds $30 for 30 words, then $1/word. Email by the 5th, or call Joe at 908-405-1515. FOR RENT BEAUTIFUL ROOM(S) in professional setting in Warrington. Massage, counseling, nutrition, etc. Work free for 30 days. 267-406-0782.

TRAINING Attention yoga teachers, massage therapists, nutritionists, reiki and healing practitioners: supplement your income and expand your repertoire of expertise as a COLON HYDROTHERAPIST. This unique healing modality has immediate earning potential. Train and work locally within months.

ongoing events

Meditation, Yoga, Stress Management, Music and more...

Submit your listing online at by the 5th of the month, one month prior to publication. Please email with questions.

60+ Yoga – Noon-1pm. A regular yoga practice will help you improve mental well-being, decrease chronic pain, sleep better and live with more ease and peace. Class meets every Wednesday and Sunday. Mention Natural Awakenings to get your first class free. Kindred Yoga, 1364 Welsh Rd, North Wales. Christa Stebbing, 267-664-1022. Christa@ Philly Lyme Support Group – 2-4pm. 1st Sun. Our peer support group is for individuals with Lyme disease or co-infections and their loved ones. Online meetings also available. Check our sites on FB and Meetup for details. Free. 1108 E Willow Grove Ave, Wyndmoor. Emily Yost, 267-586-0482. EYost@

monday Yoga with Dr Cheikin – 6:15-7:30pm. Ongoing class taught by a medical doctor, offered at gentle/ beginner level. Includes informal discussion of relevant health topics. Dr Cheikin has studied yoga, Feldenkrais and dance for over 40 years and has taught for over 20 years. Beautiful quiet studio with easy parking. Please call before coming to first class. $15. Center for Optimal Health, 832 Germantown Pike, Ste 3, Plymouth Meeting. Office staff, 610239-9901. Mental Health Support Group – 6:30-7:30pm. Join 4 The M.I.N.D.S. for its weekly peer-to-peer support group. We welcome family, friends and individuals that suffer from mental illness. Aldie Medical Arts Building, 11 Welden Dr, Doylestown.

wednesday 60+ Yoga – Noon-1pm. A regular yoga practice will help you improve mental well-being, decrease chronic pain, sleep better and live with more ease and peace. Class meets every Wednesday and Sunday. Mention Natural Awakenings to get your first class free. Kindred Yoga, 1364 Welsh Rd, North Wales. Christa Stebbing, 267-664-1022. Christa@

thursday Intuitive Medium Counseling Sessions – 5-8pm. One Thursday per month – occasionally moved to accommodate need, by appointment only. In-person sessions with Linda Harbaugh. Linda has over 20 years of experience as a teacher, psychic and coach. Linda receives intuitive messages identifying root causes of blockages associated with physical and

Yoga with Dr Cheikin – 7:30-8:45am. Ongoing class taught by a medical doctor, offered at gentle/ beginner level. Includes informal discussion of relevant health topics. Dr Cheikin has studied yoga, Feldenkrais and dance for over 40 years and has taught for over 20 years. Beautiful quiet studio with easy parking. Please call before coming to first class. $15. Center for Optimal Health, 832 Germantown Pk, Ste 3, Plymouth Meeting. Office staff, 610-2399901.



emotional pain. She helps refine client attitude and lifestyle for optimal health. $50. Center for Optimal Health, 832 Germantown Pk, Plymouth Meeting. Michael Cheikin, 610-239-9901. Query@CohLife. org.


Candlelight Yoga – 12/6-12/27. 6-7:15pm. Join us for a lovely evening of gentle yoga poses surrounded by only the light of candlelight. This is a good time to slow down during the busy holiday season and take some time for you to unwind. All Fridays in December. $25. Whole Body Yoga Studio, 103 E Walnut St, North Wales. Patty Ferry, 215-661-0510. Patty@WholeBodyYogaStudio. com.


saturday Doylestown Farmers’ Market – 8am-1pm, thru Nov 23. Enjoy live music and shopping outdoors from your local farmers. We offer USDA Certified Organic, chemical-free and low-input produce. November harvests bring radishes, collards, winter squash, kale and more cool season delights. BUY LOCAL. Free. S Hamilton St between W State St and W Oakland Ave, Doylestown. Rhiannon Wright, 484-663-9727. Breakfast Benefits: Learn about Laser Treatment – 9am. 3rd Sat. All are welcome to share breakfast and learn about the benefits of laser treatment. Facilitated by Dr Paul M Bizzaro, DC. Free. The offices of Dr Bizzaro, 81 S Main St, Yardley. RSVP to 215-493-6589.




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friday Spirituality Health & Awareness Group – 1011am. Awaken your spirituality from within every Friday morning. Experience and discover your own spirituality, health and awareness. Through interactive discussions, participants will reveal their own blocks and fears toward health and create a life of awareness, using ancient philosophies that provide insight into the essence and meaning of life. All are welcome. $30. M.E. Matters, 668 Woodbourne Rd, Langhorne. David Piltz, 215-914-5344. Admin@



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December 2019


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Your local source for natural health, nutrition, fitness, personal growth, green living, creative expression and the products and services that support a healthy lifestyle

Life Coaching - Gestalt

Behavioral Health

Heritage Dental

M.E. Matters

595 Bethlehem Pike, Montgomeryville 215-822-3860 •

Step Into Joy Healing Arts

Enjoy an anxiety-free dental experience. You no longer have to be nervous about going to the dentist. From the moment you open the doors, our friendly and courteous team will make you feel comfortable in our relaxing spa atmosphere. Choose from a wide range of holistic services. See ad with special offers, back page.

Trauma Professional and Reiki Master 267-272-9343 •

668 Woodbourne Rd, Ste 108, Langhorne 215-914-5344 Psychological and behavioral health services for individuals, couples, teens and families where mind, body and spirit matter. We offer neurofeedback, therapy and a spirituality awareness group. Our goal is to help you experience life with increased awareness and without fear. See ad, page 9.

Chiropractic Care Dr Paul M Bizzaro, DC

81 S Main St, Yardley 215-493-6589 • My mission is to educate people to the benefits of chiropractic, nutrition and a healthy lifestyle. Over 40 years experience (personal and professional) allows me to relate to your problem(s). Services include non-force chiropractic, nutritional testing, utilizing test kits/panels, Chirothin weight loss, massage (covered by most insurance) and laser therapy for pain. Personalized attention guaranteed. See ad, page 19.

Dentistry - Holistic Dental Wellness Centre Hyo J. Lim DMD

216 Mall Blvd, Ste 11, King of Prussia 610-265-4485 Dr. Hyo Lim provides a holistic approach to exceptional dentistry, in a warm and caring environment. At Dental Wellness Centre, mercury- and metal-free restorations are used for the most biocompatible results. Biocompatibility testing for dental materials is available. Invisalign is offered as an alternative to metal braces. Zirconium and titanium implants are offered to replace damaged or missing teeth. Free digital X-rays with initial consultation. See ad, page 7.


Beth Skovron, DDS

Lanap & Implant Center of PA David DiGiallorenzo, DMD Henry Hsu, DMD

184 W Main St, Collegeville 610-409-6064 •

Joan Summers, Certified Gestalt Coach,

Experience deep and long-lasting healing. Joan offers healing for her clients who are tired of feeling stuck, disconnected or without purpose. She offers Gestalt Life Coaching, Equine Gestalt Life Coaching and reiki, and you may choose to customize your session. See ad, page 14.

Medical Doctor - Holistic Michael Cheikin, MD

Providing oral health solutions through holistic, biologically compatible and organic practices. One of the world's most accomplished centers for periodontal and implant care, which integrates wellness services into their therapeutic approach. Experience with immediate total tooth replacement with metal-free dental implants, treating gum disease with LANAP, a no-cut, no-sew method of treating gum disease, comfortable gum grafting with PRGF, implant denture solutions, and chronic pain management. See ad, page 3.

For 30+ years, Dr Cheikin has helped patients achieve root-cause level healing using education, nutrition, yoga and other methods. Specializing in physiatry, pain and medical acupuncture, he also offers special testing for deficiencies, toxicities, infections and allergies. See ad, page 3.


Metaphysical Services

Ascend Hospice

Journey To The Self

108 Cowpath Rd, Stes 3 & 4, Lansdale 215-542-2100 Bringing a personalized and holistic approach to hospice care. Our trained volunteers offer aromatherapy, massage therapy, reiki and pet therapy to bring healing and wholeness to clients and their families. See ad, page 9.

Bucks & Montgomery County, PA Edition

Center for Optimal Health

832 Germantown Pk, Ste 3, Plymouth Meeting 610-239-9901 •

Linda Harbaugh, Intuitive Medium

Certified Life Coach/Reiki Practitioner • 484-904-9268 Delivering messages of love and guidance from deceased loved ones and spirit guides via readings and intuitive reiki sessions. A certified life coach, Linda also offers intuitive coaching packages to help you navigate life, jobs and relationships. Psychology degree, former teacher, 30 years business experience. Telephone or in person.

MLS Laser Therapy

Sexuality Coaching

MLS Laser Therapy

Michelle Christine

Dr Paul Bizzaro, DC

Sacred Rose

81 S Main St, Yardley 215-493-6589 • Get permanent relief for your pain without drugs, shots or surgery with FDA-approved laser therapy. Benefits include speedy healing process, pain-free, extremely safe with no known side effects. Don’t live in pain anymore. See ad, page 19.

Unity Barn, 4000 Sawmill Rd, Doylestown 215-840-8139 • Michelle Christine supports women to reclaim and redefine their sexuality in any stage of their lives. Together we will work on helping you to love, nourish and celebrate yourself and your divine femininity. See ad, page 29.

Nutritional Healing

Spa - Holistic

Center for Natural Healing

Inner Spa

Jeffrey L Griffin, DC

Bailiwick Office Campus, Ste 26, Doylestown 215-348-2115 • Feeling poorly? Lacking answers? Improvement at a standstill? Locate the source of stress and the treatment becomes obvious. Mention Dr. Jeff’s 35 years of experience when you call and receive a free phone consultation to learn how we can start helping you today. See ad, page 23.

4 Terry Dr, Ste 12, Atrium Bldg, Newtown • 215-968-9000 • A fully organic, holistic, eco-friendly wellness spa featuring an array of detoxification, cleansing and therapeutic services. The spa is one of the only facilities in the area to offer colon hydrotherapy. See ad, page 31.

Veterinary - Holistic

Reiki Step Into Joy Healing Arts Joan Summers, Certified Intuitive

Reiki Master and Gestalt Coach 267-272-9343 • Experience peace of mind, enlightened awareness and physical restoration. The connections between physical pain and emotional trauma are often revealed during an intuitive reiki session. It is a practice of compassion and spiritual connection. See ad, page 14.

Doylestown Veterinary Hospital & Holistic Pet Care 380 N Shady Retreat Rd, Doylestown 215-345-6000

Improving the lives of pets through acupuncture, herbal therapy, homeopathy, nutritional counseling and integration of holistic therapies with conventional medicine for customized approach to care. See ad, page 35.

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Stress-Free Dentistry Get comfortable with us!

Dental Care in a spa-like atmosphere With every visit, we offer COMPLIMENTARY services to help you relax, such as: Massage Chairs • Refreshment Center • Music & Video Headsets • Hand Treatments For No Extra Charge

Heritage Dental Spa is a truly unique dental practice Not only can you trust Dr. Skovron with all of your Holistic Dentistry needs and treatment plan, but you can trust that the team at Heritage Dental will make you feel as comfortable as possible in their relaxing spa atmosphere.

Offering Anxiety-Free exams and cleanings, PLUS State-of-the-Art Holistic and Metal-Free dental services  Safe removal of mercury fillings  Non-surgical gum treatments  Tooth-colored restorations  ClearCorrect® “invisible” orthodontics  Bio-Compatible Implants  CEREC® one-day metal-free crowns

 Holistic solutions for sleep apnea  Root Canals - Specialists on premises  Dentures secured by implant snaps  Now offering: High tech digital scanning with less radiation and 3D imaging

“This is by far the best dental appt I have ever had. I have a terrible fear of dentists and I was put to great ease. Very detailed appt which made me feel that they took everything into consideration. I really can’t say enough.” ~ Janice M.

Accepts Aetna PPO, Delta, MetLife, Guardian

Ready to book your Stress-Free dental ar appointment? Call TODAY! We want to hein you saw us Natural Awakenings!


Open Wide and say Spaaaaaa! Dental Cleaning (prophylaxis) for healthy adults, Comprehensive Exam & Digital X-ray



Offer does not include periodontal therapy, for adults with perio condition present

Special Offer:


Consultation OR Second Opinion

No Insurance? Ask About Our In-Office Plans

Plans start as low as



Heritage Dental


595 Bethlehem Pike, Suite 302 Montgomeryville

Profile for Natural Awakenings Central NJ & Eastern PA

Natural Awakenings Eastern PA December 2019  

Coming Together for Creative Change, Holiday Renewals, Joyful Giving, Eco Pet Toys, Local Holistic Practitioners, Local Events

Natural Awakenings Eastern PA December 2019  

Coming Together for Creative Change, Holiday Renewals, Joyful Giving, Eco Pet Toys, Local Holistic Practitioners, Local Events