Natural Awakenings New Haven & Middlesex CT NOV 2021

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GOOD MOOD HOLIDAY FOOD HEALTHY BRAIN STRATEGIES MINDFULNESS for Stressed Teens HOW TO SHOP for Eco-Decor November 2021 | New Haven-Middlesex | November 2021


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Here we are in November—the last month of autumn and the sunset of year 2021. The dazzling October foliage, symphony of summer insects, and harvest celebrations are now behind us. It is a transformative period of sensory deprivation, marked by shorter days, longer nights, dropping temperatures, naked trees and most notably—stillness, except for the chilly wind, reminding us that winter is imminent. November is an ideal time for quiet reflection, completion of projects, purging that which does not serve us anymore, cleansing our bodies and minds of toxic substances and thoughts and learning or fine tuning mindfulness habits—particularly before the euphoria and excess of the holiday season begins. We tend to wait until the New Year or springtime to clean up our health habits and get fit, but why not begin now, so we can boost our energy level, brain power and our mood during the holidays and throughout the winter? Self-care is the best remedy for seasonal affective disorder too. Our November issue reads and local resources can help you accomplish this! In this month’s Healing Ways article, functional medical experts share healthy brain strategies to optimize the brain’s function and protect against decline, such as eating a healthy diet, exercising, getting enough restorative sleep and reducing inflammation and stress levels. While stress is part of life and not inherently bad, it can potentially cause problems if it becomes chronic and impairs daily functioning. Speaking of stress levels—Stress among adolescents has sharply risen, particularly during these tricky times of polarization, social media influence and the pandemic. Research has shown that one of the most effective ways to reduce teen stress is through mindfulness education. Read about school programs that teach mindfulness skills to teens, including 10 mindfulness tips—helpful for both teens and adults. The pandemic has made many of us more aware of our own mortality—51 percent, according to a survey. For many, if not most of us, death is a topic we would rather not think about, because it’s—well, morbid. However, the truth is that it is a natural and inevitable part of life. I was moved when I read Ronica O’Hara’s article: “Dying Well: Four Steps to a Good Death.” It gave me a feeling of peace around this subject and I was so inspired by the quote from Steve Job’s Stanford University commencement address after he had received his terminal cancer diagnosis. His message was that facing the reality of death can actually free us to live life to the fullest, take more risks and live from our heart. We could all benefit from some warm fuzzies and mood boosters these days, so check out our Inspiration article on “The Healing Power of a Hug,” plus several yummy and mood boosting Thanksgiving recipes and feel-good recipe ingredients in our Conscious Eating department. In this issue and every issue of Natural Awakenings, enjoy exploring the local holistic resources and happenings in our news brief section and community calendar— all here to support you on your wellness journey. Wishing you a beautiful Thanksgiving holiday with truly meaningful connections!

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“In November, the earth is growing quiet. It is making its bed, a winter bed for flowers and small creatures. The bed is white and silent, and much life can hide beneath its blankets.” ~Cynthia Rylant.

Natural Awakenings is a family of 50+ healthy living magazines celebrating 27 years of providing the communities we serve with the tools and resources we all need to lead healthier lives on a healthy planet.






How to Prevent Cognitive Decline


School Programs Teach Healthy Coping Skills



Four Steps to a Good Death




How to Buy Sustainable Furnishings

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22 EAT WELL TO FEEL WELL Thanksgiving Fare that Boosts Mental Health

DEPARTMENTS 6 news briefs 10 health briefs 12 healing ways 14 healthy kids 19 inspiration 20 green living 22 conscious


eating 26 calendar 27 classifieds 28 resource guide

November 2021


news briefs

Join Vedaji for a Journey to the Heart


n November 6, Indian mystic Vedaji will travel to Connecticut to enlighten hearts at a daylong retreat at The Red Barn in Durham, Connecticut. The focus of the retreat will be to introduce an ancient yoga therapy, memorialized by Vedaji, called The Chitta Cleanse Technique (CCT). The chitta, or subsconscious, holds a reservoir of unprocessed and stored emotions. In a chitta cleanse, participants will be proIndian mystic Vedaji vided with tools to recognize and stop these unprocessed and stored emotions from continuing to negatively impact their lives. Through a process of self-inquiry, participants can realize the virtue of harmful events and situations from their past. Continuous practice of CCT will ultimately help participants to change harmful patterns and reactions, reclaim their power, and reach their goals and full potential. Vedaji, founder of the non-profits Mindful Seva Institute and Food4Lives, grew up in a monastery in India which he eventually became the head of, and has practiced Bhakti yoga since the age of 5. Now based in Atlanta, he leads a life devoted to the service of others and has impacted thousands of devotees all over the world. The daylong retreat includes two vegetarian meals cooked with love, meditation, yoga, kirtan, a fire purification ceremony, heart to heart conversations, time with Vedaji, with the potential for deep self-realizations and personal transformation. The registration fee is $150. To register for the retreat and for more information, call 860-8088201, email or visit CTDayLong. Location: The Red Barn in Durham, 352 Main St., Durham, CT.

Stay Healthy and Grounded, Through a Healthy Lifestyle


hyllis Quinn, PT, will be giving an informative lecture on how you can enhance your health and well-being by the simple choices you make every day. The lecture is being held on November 18 at 11 a.m. at Canoe Brook Center in Branford. Quinn is owner of Physical Therapy Services of Guilford, located at 500 Main Street, Suite 310, Branford, Connecticut. She specializes in manual therapy, using hands-on techniques to help the body’s natural healing process and incorporates traditional programs and modalities to maximize health.

Phyllis Quinn, PT

For reservations, call Nancy Cohen at 203-315-0687. Lecture location: Canoe Brook Center, 46 Church St., 2nd Fl., Branford, CT. See ad on page 13.

Holistic Benefit Features Holistic Community Vendors


Benefit Holistic Health Fair will be held November 14, from noon to 4pm, at the VFW Hall in Plainville, as a fundraiser for the Plainville Food Pantry. Attendees will have the opportunity to interact with vendors and exhibitors as they learn about available resources to help promote healthy living and overall well-being. Vendors include: Natural Awakenings magazines, readers, fitness clothing, soaps, chocolates, crafts, Rev. Shirley Bloethe Pure Posture, crocheted items, candles, Bemer Therapy, CBD, soy candles, sound healing, natural minerals, T-shirts, salves, health resources, healing modalities,

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Contact Shirley R. Bloethe

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local art, Reiki, jewelry, balms, chiropractic, essential oils, honey, syrups, tinctures, natural and personal care products, natural supplements, crystals, auricular therapy and more. The Holistic fair is a free event and donations of nonperishable food, toiletries and paper goods will be collected at the door. Cash donations or checks may also be made to the Plainville Food Pantry. All door proceeds will help those in need throughout the year. For more information, call Shirley Bloethe at 860-989-0033, email or visit Location: VFW Post 574, 7 Northwest Dr, Plainville.

The Modern Doctor in North Haven Expands Scope


ecome the healthiest and most confident version of yourself at The Modern Doctor, an integrative and naturopathic medical center. The Modern Doctor works to balance hormones and achieve any health and weight loss goals with individualized plans. Dr. Shannon Homkovics, owner at Restoration Health in North Haven, Connecticut, has decided to expand on her vision be a center specifically for hormone balancing, weight loss and achieving optimal vitality at any age.

Crystals, Big and Small, Found at Gem Extravaganza Event


rystal and gemstone specimens are becoming even more popular. Borrowed Time Emporium is offering an opportunity to stock up on larger pieces. Its Crystal & Gem Specimen Extravaganza is taking place in the Sanctuary Space inside the Red Barn in Durham at 352 Main Street, Durham, Connecticut on November 21 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Crystal & Gem Specimen Extravaganza is open to the public and offers free admission. The Borrowed Time Emporium will be open during the event hours too. They are normally open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Extravaganza is offered by Jennifer Gaylord, owner of The Borrowed Time Emporium.

The Modern Doctor is determined to modernize the medical field by taking an integrative approach to provide the highest quality patient care and education. This is done through addressing the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual aspect of an individual. For more information or to make an appointment, call 203-239-3400, email or visit Location: 12 Village St., Ste. 3, North Haven, CT.

For more information, visit or call 860-929-6623. Location: The Borrowed Time Emporium, 352 Main St., Durham, CT.

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news briefs

Archangel Experience and CD Release Party Announced


omposer and crystal/ sound healer Bradford W. Tilden has announced the official release of his fifth album, Archangel Meditations Part 1. This channeled composition is comprised of two tracks that connect with Archangel Michael and Archangel Uriel. The recording contains angelic frequencies transmitted through his voice and geometries embedded in music that heal and activate the active listener. This album is designed for meditation to connect with the archangels, for use by holistic practitioners during healing sessions and for personal relaxation and wellbeing. It is available now to listen or purchase on all your favorite platforms at To celebrate the release, Tilden conceptualized an immersive CD release party called The Archangel Experience. Guests will lay down to receive the gemstone energies he developed for each archangel through two specially charged gemstones while meditating and listening to each half-hour archangel meditation track. Participants receive a free copy of the new CD and keep the charged gemstones containing the archangelic frequencies. Tickets are $30 to attend this music meditation experience. There are five $50 VIP spots to receive the complete gemstone layouts. This CD release party will be held on November 20 from 7-8:30 p.m. at the Red Barn, located at 352 Main Street, Durham, Connecticut. On December 11 from 2-3:30 p.m., another party will be held at Avant Garde Holistic Center, located at 328 East Main St. Branford, Connecticut. The Red Barn tickets are available through Venmo @BradfordTilden or Eventbrite at For Avant Garde tickets, RSVP to, 203-481-8443, or Venmo @Ron-Smith-419. Contact Bradford@ to host The Archangel Experience at your local center or be trained by Tilden to facilitate it. See ad on page 29.


n November 16 at 6:30 p.m., join the New Haven County chapter of Holistic Moms Network as Rachel Mazzarelli speaks about PSYCH-K, a simple, non-invasive, interactive process that helps change subconscious beliefs that are self-limiting and self-sabotaging. Limiting subconscious beliefs are often the things blocking us from living our full potential in life. The PSYCH-K energy system is a blend of contemporary and ancient tools for change, derived from contemporary neuroscience research, as well as ancient mind/body wisdom. PSYCH-K transcends the standard methods of visualization, affirmations, will power and positive thinking by targeting behavioral/habit change, wellness and stress reduction. It is a multi-functional, multi-disciplinary process to help you initiate change at the subconscious level where 95% of our consciousness operates.

Rachel Mazzarelli is the owner of Whole Healthy Thermography. She holds a master’s degree in clinical nutrition and is a certified clinical thermographer. Mazzarelli began her career in the fitness and wellness industry working with both private and corporate clients. She worked with clients to help them find better health with nutrition, movement and lifestyle choices and practices. After 10 years of experiencing the benefits of thermography for not only monitoring breast health but many other issues, she got certified as a clinical thermographer through The American College of Clinical Thermography. Mazzarelli incorporates holistic living and utilizes both Eastern and Western modalities in her professional and personal life. The mission of Holistic Moms Network, a nonprofit support and discussion network, is to connect parents who are interested in holistic health and green living. It welcomes people wherever they are on their own holistic path in an environment that does not judge. The monthly meetings, open to the public, are the third Tuesday of each month. While they usually take place in person at the Woodruff YMCA in Milford, Connecticut, the monthly meetings are currently offered through Zoom. For more information and the event location, visit or RSVP for the event on the Events page on

Mindfulness is simply being aware of what is happening right now without wishing it were different; enjoying the pleasant without holding on when it changes (which it will); being with the unpleasant without fearing it will always be this way (which it won’t). ~James Baraz 8

New Haven/Middlesex

Festival of Trees Brings Hope to Families Facing Cancer


oin Danbury’s premiere holiday event, the Ann’s Place Festival of Trees, from November 19 to 21. Back again live at the Summit at Danbury, attendees can take a walk through a winter wonderland of hundreds of decorated trees and raffle prizes. Guests will also enjoy a unique shopping experience with artisanal vendors at the Festival Marketplace. Entertainment will be on the hour Saturday and Sunday and children’s to-go craft bags are available for those age 11 and under.

Art to NurtureYour Soul

Art Classes for all ages and abilities. We have classes in clay, painting, jewelry, printing and specialty workshops. We also offer private classes for individuals or groups; including special needs, dementia, and home schooled students.

860-349-0251 Located at the Red Barn 352 Main Street, Durham, CT 06422

Adults 21 and over can join the popular Taps and Trees Beer Festival Saturday night. This is truly a fest within the Festival of Trees as attendees will be able to partake in tastings in the Tap Room of local beer and other libations. The first 400 guests to arrive receive a souvenir glass. There will be live music, dinner and dessert by-the-bite and all with full access to 100+ trees, raffle prizes and shopping that the Festival offers. All proceeds go to Ann’s Place, serving local families facing cancer with counseling, support groups and wellness programs— all free of charge. Find out more about these services at 203-790-6568 or For more information and to buy tickets to the beer festival, visit

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A reduction of just 200 calories a day combined with aerobic exercise four times a week produced greater weight loss and better heart health in obese, sedentary adults than exercise alone or a 600-calorie reduction plus exercise, reports a new study in Circulation. Researchers from the Wake Forest School of Medicine, in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, tested 160 adults ages 65 to 79. Those that combined exercise with 200 fewer calories a day lost 10 percent of their weight, about 20 pounds, over five months. They had a 21 percent average increase in the aorta’s ability to expand and contract, a key indicator of heart health. Measures of aortic stiffness did not change significantly for the exercise-only group or the 600-calorie-reduction-plus-exercise group. Weight loss was similar for both calorie-reduction groups, even though one group consumed nearly three times fewer calories per day.

Boost Kids’ Learning Abilities with Exercise yulianto poitier/

The right kind of exercise can help kids learn vocabulary better, suggests research from the University of Delaware. An article published in the Journal of Speech Language and Hearing Research reports that when 48 children between 6 and 12 years of age were taught new words before swimming, they scored 13 percent higher on a test of the words than children that did CrossFit-like exercises or colored pictures. Lead researcher Maddy Pruitt says that exercise is known to increase levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor, a protein she describes as the “Miracle-Gro of the brain.” Swimming made a difference, she says, because it is an automatic movement, while the CrossFit exercises were new to them and required mental energy. 10

New Haven/Middlesex

A single dose of 100 milligrams of the compound L-theanine—the amount found in four cups of green tea—improved reaction times and working memory of men and women in new research from Japan’s Central Research Institute, in Shizuoka. In the doubleblind, placebo-controlled study, 69 adults that selfreported cognitive decline reacted more quickly to computer-generated promptings and answered more questions correctly after ingesting the compound compared to the placebo. anna pyshniuk/

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Eat High-Flavonoid Foods to Reduce Cognitive Decline Eating foods high in flavonoids—the antioxidant-rich plant compounds found in strawberries, oranges, peppers and apples—can reduce the risk of cognitive decline by 20 percent or more, reports new research published by the American Academy of Neurology. Researchers followed more than 78,000 people in their late 40s and early 50s for 20 years, asking them what they ate and to evaluate their cognitive skills. They found that those foods with more flavones, such as yellow or orange fruits and vegetables and some spices, reduced cognitive decline the most, at 38 percent—the equivalent of being three to four years younger in age. Anthocyanins, found in blueberries, blackberries and cherries, were associated with a 24 percent reduced risk of cognitive decline. “The people in our study who did the best over time ate an average of at least half a serving per day of foods like orange juice, oranges, peppers, celery, grapefruits, grapefruit juice, apples and pears,” says study author Walter Willett, M.D., a nutrition and epidemiology professor at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. “And it’s never too late to start, because we saw those protective relationships whether people were consuming the flavonoids in their diet 20 years ago or if they started incorporating them more recently.” trang doan/

health briefs

Holistic Community Professionals HCP

Our professional team of holistic and natural businesses provides community outreach and education. We are committed to improving the health and wellness of body, mind, and spirit in the communities we serve. Visit our Site:

Coaching & Workshops Torin Lee TL Coaching /Zen Events 860-861-9038

Intuitive Counselor & Healer Gayle Franceschetti, MEd, CHt Hypnotherapy, Meditations Reiki/Energy sessions, Essential Oils Group Past Life Regression Individual Past Life Regression Workshops, Spiritual Power Journeys, Private mentoring & counseling 203-631-7803

Medical Intuitive/Shaman Past Life Regression Therapy Spirit of the Lotus Robin Barros IMT-C, CSC, CPLC Hands-on Healer Medical Intuitive Shaman/Medium Spiritually-Guided Coach Advanced Soul Coach (R) Holographic Sound Healer 5 Gavin Drive, Columbia CT

CBDa 10xPure TM Earleen Wright CBDa 10xPure TM is known for its healing power over CBD alone. We are the only company that has CBDa. Contact Earleen Wright 203-215-3222

Lightworker Bradford W. Tilden, MM, CMT, UWT Remote journey and coaching sessions Workshops in Crystal & Sound Healing Professional certification courses In Universal White Time (UWT) Energy and Gemstone Healing 860-830-5841

Naturopathic Physician Vis Wellness Center Dr. Nicole Klughers ND, PharmD, MSAc Naturopathic Physician Acupuncture Provider Rocky Hill & TeleMedicine 234-2-ACU-DOC

Holistic Healer Indigo’s Path Adriana R. Russo MA, CHT, CCH, CHLC Hypnotherapist, Reiki Master Intuitive Body/Mind Coaching For transformative health and healing 203-510-8932

LMT, RMT, Psychic Jill Andrzejewski LMT, RMT, Psychic Massage Therapy #9900 Reiki & Chakra Balancing Angel Tarot & Oracle Card Readings A Moment In Time Treasures items for self-care and healing Workshops and classes 203-909-1108

Wellness Center The Red Barn in Durham Janice Juliano, MSW, LCSW Holistic Psychotherapist Coordinator MassageTherapy Nutrition / Yoga / Reiki / Sound Healing Professional Photography / Art Classes 860-559-6151 352 Main St, Durham

We Welcome You! To Join Holistic Community Professionals contact: Shirley Bloethe: 860-255-8844 11 November 2021

healing ways

Healthy Brain Strategies How to Prevent Cognitive Decline

benjavisa ruangvaree/

by Linda Sechrist


healthy brain performs mental processes known as cognition, which is the acquiring of knowledge and understanding by means of thought, experience and the senses. This includes functions and systems such as memory, learning, language, problem solving, decision making, reasoning and intelligence. The aging process, a stroke or a brain injury can cause a mild to severe reduction in healthy brain 12

New Haven/Middlesex

functioning resulting in impaired memory and concentration, and difficulty in learning new things or making decisions that impact daily living. Functional medicine experts focused on preventive health care agree on the ABC’s for optimizing the brain and protecting against decline: eating a healthy diet, exercising, reducing inflammation and stress levels, balancing hormone levels, cultivating healthy relationships and getting enough restorative sleep. With their expertise, they are helping to shift the old paradigm of inevitable aging and cognitive decline into a new one based on the brain’s neuroplasticity. Harvard-trained neuroscientist Jill Bolte Taylor, author of the bestseller My Stroke of Insight and the recent Whole Brain Living, is a true poster child for demonstrating the brain’s neuroplasticity and ability to recover from a massive stroke. She writes about the congenital neurological brain disorder that became a problem when an arteriovenous malformation exploded in her brain’s left hemisphere. For four hours, she observed her brain functions systemically shutting down one by one. On the afternoon of her stroke, she could not walk, talk, read, write or recall any of her life. Eight years later, she was not only slalom waterskiing again, but also explaining to the world, “We are the life-force power of the universe, with manual dexterity and two cognitive minds. We have the power to choose, moment to moment, who and how we want to be in the world.” Devaki Lindsey Berkson, author of Sexy Brain, a hormone formulator and former researcher at Tulane University’s estrogen think tank, advises, “Most people think hormones are sexy, reproductive things and when they get older, they’re relieved that they don’t have to think about them. Not true. The body has a virtual physiological internet system. Hormones are the email signals to most cells. While the robustness of hormones and their signals affects lungs, gut, kidney and vocal cord health, it especially affects the brain. Balancing hormones with bioidentical hormones is one solution.” David Perlmutter, neurologist and co-author of Brain Wash, cites food as the biggest player in both brain and overall health in his books and PBS workshops. “Eating inappropriately causes intestinal permeability, resulting in inflammation, which in the brain, threatens good decision making—from deciding on the foods we eat to turning off our televisions at night, getting

a good night’s rest, making sure that we exercise regularly and connecting with other people. Not good for the gut are dairy products, alcohol, highly processed foods that are low in fiber, high in sugar and refined carbohydrates, as well as antibiotics,” he says, adding that meditation and exposure to nature are powerful ways of reducing inflammation in the body and brain. As explained by neurologist Dale E. Bredesen, author of The End of Alzheimer’s, stress leads to an increase in cortisol levels that can be toxic to our brains—in particular the memory—consolidating the hippocampus, one of the first structures affected by Alzheimer’s. Studies show that high stress levels can also contribute to brain fog, involving difficulty concentrating, forgetfulness and mental fatigue. The Bredesen Protocol, available from health practitioners and online, includes exercising, eating a plant-based diet, supplementing to reduce insulin sensitivity and optimize cognitive function, reducing both gut inflammation and exposure to toxins, treating pathogens and optimizing sleep., Cleveland Clinic’s Healthy Brains Initiative, is an online resource center with information on how to manage brain health and create a brain span that matches a life span. It offers six pillars of brain health as explained by brain health experts, including exercise, sleep, relaxation, mental fitness and social interaction. Supplementing for brain health should be done wisely, says Mark Hyman, author of Food: What the Heck Should I Eat? and director of functional medicine at Cleveland Clinic. He recommends at the very least taking a multivitamin and mineral supplement, omega-3, extra vitamins B3, B6 and B12, folate and a good probiotic that enhances the brain-gut relationship. Mastery of the ABC’s in kindergarten is required as the foundation of language and a lifetime of learning. Living the fundamentals for a healthy brain can result in a brain span that equals our life span.

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Uplifting Humanity

plus: Boosting Immune System

Linda Sechrist is a Natural Awakenings senior staff writer. Connect at Linda November 2021


healthy kids

Mindfulness for Stressed Teens School Programs Teach Healthy Coping Skills by Erin Lehn


een stress levels often rival those of adults, concludes data collected by the American Psychological Association in 2017. This is especially true these days with the influx of social media expectations, political unrest and a global pandemic to contend with. Other daily pressures—such as relationship turmoil, bullying, academic challenges, unstable home lives and mood disorders—can add to the stressors. With all of these pressures, it’s no wonder many teens often tune out and turn toward their devices, getting fixated on other people’s lives or compulsively recording their own experiences, but not fully living them. 14

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A wealth of research has demonstrated that one of the most beneficial ways to help teens navigate the ups and downs of these tumultuous years is through mindfulness education. A randomized clinical trial published in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology in 2009 was one of the first studies that provided evidence of the effectiveness of mindfulness-based stress reduction treatment of adolescents. Since then, there has been no shortage of research findings proving its benefits. “In a nutshell, mindfulness is about being keenly aware of your life, in the present, versus the automatic tendency to ruminate about the past or worry about the future,”

says Gina Biegel, CEO and founder of Stressed Teens, a Campbell, California, business that has been disseminating mindfulness-based programs tailored to adolescents since 2004. “It’s noticing your thoughts, feelings and physical sensations in the present moment without harmful judgment.” “Mindfulness is a practice in the art of aligning your energy, mindset and emotions,” says Tris Thorp, the San Diego-based author of Healing Your Heart and a Chopra Center-trained leadership coach. “When teens acquire the skills to better navigate what’s happening in the moment, they’ll have more opportunity available to them because they’re calm, centered and grounded.”

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ence of what works in the classroom. They are also long-term mindfulness practitioners, giving them a unique perspective of how mindfulness can be used and taught effectively in school,” says Shackleford.

“The best moments come when a teen realizes their own wisdom, sees it emerge and is able to grow stronger as a result,” says Jem Shackleford, head of curricula for Mindfulness in Schools Project (MiSP), a leading nonprofit provider of mindfulness training for schools in the U.K. and internationally. According to Biegel, a regular mindfulness-based practice helps rewire the brain when people focus on pleasant, beneficial and positive experiences. “For survival purposes, our brains are naturally wired to the negative, aka ‘negative selection bias’,” she says. “Thankfully, we can train our brains to be more tilted to the positive. In fact, just thinking of a positive memory for 12 seconds can create a benefit for your well-being.” While there are multiple approaches to weaving mindfulness practices into a school setting, here are two highly effective practices. n Certify teachers in mindfulness training so they can deliver the materials directly to their students. “MiSP curricula are produced by educators that have many years of experi-

n Implement a school-wide approach. Stressed Teens offers online mindfulnessbased groups and one-on-one therapy and coaching sessions for teens, as well as professional instructor certifications and the Whole-School Mindfulness-Centered Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) program. This approach, in which an entire school participates for a calendar year, is especially beneficial because everyone is going through the program at the same time. “Typically, schools complete two lessons per week to fit the curriculum into one semester or one lesson per week to spread learning over two semesters,” Biegel says. While teens can learn and practice these techniques alone, a whole systems approach that involves the family, school and community has been shown to have the biggest impact. “A teenager with a mindfulness practice can have a beneficial effect on other members of the household. However, there needs to be support from every angle in a teen’s environment for it to be sustainable,” says Thorp. “There’s so much evidence-based research and measurables that demonstrate how impactful these programs are in schools and communities. There’s a clear reduction in acting out, reduced conflict, and more participation and engagement.” “Think of the ripple effect of possible benefits if the whole community and systems a teen are in are also learning and practicing mindfulness,” says Biegel. “Mindfulness-based methods also include and affect positive human values like gratitude, kindness, generosity, self-care, compassion and acceptance. Youth, parents and educators can all benefit from that.” For more information, including free mindfulness-based resources, visit Stressed, and Erin Lehn is a frequent contributor to Natural Awakenings magazine.

10 Mindfulness Tips for Teens 1. Stop what you’re doing and count your breaths to 10. 2. Devote your awareness to more of

the pleasant and beneficial moments in your day.

3. Accomplish only one task at a time. You will be more productive than if you split your attention to multiple tasks. 4. Start a daily gratitude journal. Each day, consider the big things you’re grateful for, like your family, friends, health or home. Also, don’t forget the little things you’re thankful for, such as a cup of coffee or a hug. 5. Get some form of exercise every day. Even a 15-minute walk can do wonders for the mind. 6. Spend time outdoors enjoying nature.

Notice the power of grounding by paying attention to your feet on the ground.

7. Begin a daily mindfulness practice.

Start with 10 minutes and work your way up.

8. Commit to a nourishing self-care routine with a caveat to set incremental goals you can accomplish. You do not have to overdo it. 9. Acknowledge the positive qualities of your family, friends and others in your inner circle. Let them know how much they mean to you. Let them know you see them and hear them. 10. Carve out daily enrichment time

such as learning an instrument or creating artwork. Bring mindful attention, paying notice to your five senses, to anything you do in your daily life. Tips courtesy of Gina Biegel, CEO and founder of Stressed Teens; Jem Shackleford, head of curricula for Mindfulness in Schools Project; and Tris Thorp, author and coach. For more helpful mindfulness tips, click on the Stressed Teens Toolbox link at, visit and November 2021



New Haven/Middlesex

Four Steps to a Good Death by Ronica O’Hara



n his deathbed, Apple founder Steve Jobs looked for a long time at his children, his sister and his wife, then moved his gaze to the space behind them. “Oh wow! Oh wow! Oh wow!” he gasped. No one can know for certain what he was experiencing, but his words point to the deep, mysterious potential of our final hours—the awareness of which can transform our life long before its end. “An awareness of dying, of death, can wake us up to life. It helps us live a life that’s rich and full and meaningful. When we deny the truth of dying, we live less wholeheartedly, less completely,” says Frank Ostaseski, founder of the pioneering San Francisco Zen Hospice Project and author of The Five Invitations: Discovering What Death Can Teach Us About Living Fully. The pandemic has 51 percent of us thinking more about our own mortality, a survey shows. The subject of death has been slowly opening up in America: TV programs like Six Feet Under and Alternative Endings: Six New Ways to Die in America present dying and grief more realistically; thousands of small conversational gatherings called “death cafes” are being held each year; people are designing their own funerals and choosing green burial sites; and the field of “death doulas” is emerging to help families navigate the legal and emotional shoals. Half a century after the release of Elisabeth Kübler-Ross’ seminal book On Death and Dying, palliative care to ease pain is offered by two-thirds of American hospitals, and Medicare funding for end-of-life hospice care has grown tenfold over the last two decades. Yet for many, death remains the last taboo—85 percent of us have not discussed our last wishes yet with loved ones. Thousands of studies in the emerging field of experimental existential psychology have found that when reminded subconsciously of death, people tend to drive faster, drink harder, smoke more and get meaner to out-groups in attempts to lower their anxiety. But when we look death squarely in the face, that anxiety recedes, the research concludes. Gratitude, self-honesty and the humility of recognizing our place in the larger whole are also proven antidotes. With less fear, we are better able to take the proactive, concrete steps that ease our passage—getting clear on our values and desires, having important conversations, attending to final decisions and opening to our spiritual process. Although death has its own ways and means, these four processes can make it more likely we will die as we would like to. November November2021 2021


Defining What We Value “Deeply consider what your

priorities in life are,” says Tarron Estes, founder and CEO of The Conscious Dying Institute, in Boulder, which has trained more than 6,500 doulas since 2013. “Ask yourself, if I had only three months to live, what’s important to me spiritually, emotionally, physically? What do I still need to do or say?” She recommends Stephen Levine’s book, A Year to Live, for exercises and meditations for that process. “Don’t wait until the time of your dying to discover what it has to teach you,” advises Ostaseski, who has sat beside more than 2,000 hospice patients in their last hours. “When I’m with dying people, the things that are important to them are not their spiritual beliefs, but are more about relationships—‘Am I loved? Did I love well?’ Those two questions are useful inquiries now. They help us to discover where value and meaning can be found.” By applying our values to the dying process, we can start sorting through options. Do we want to die at home or in a hospital? What medical procedures will we accept or decline? What measures do we want to be taken to sustain our life? Who do we want to be at our side? And what do we need to say before that time?

Having Important Conversations As daunting as the prospect of an end-of-life talk with family and friends may seem, it can start with simple words like “I want to talk with you about something important to me.” Without spelling out our desires, death can become inadvertently medicalized: Nine in 10 of us say we want to die in our homes, but only two in 10 do. “The default systems are all to treat, treat, treat, until someone finally says, ‘No,’ so many people end up on a high-tech conveyor belt to the ICU,” says award-winning journalist Katy Butler, author of The Art of Dying Well: A Practical Guide to a Good End of Life. Among people that undertake such talks, 73 percent describe the experience as positive, reassuring and productive. A downloadable Conversation Starter Guide ( provides practical guidance for these critical conversations. Attending to Medical and Burial Decisions Taking care

of business—the paperwork aspects of death known as advance directives—spares loved ones from having to make tough decisions later. A last will and testament precludes pain and infighting among family and friends. A living will specifies what treatments are wanted under what conditions. A medical power of attorney designates a trusted person to make medical decisions if a patient is not capable. A Do Not Resuscitate order approved by a doctor means emergency medical workers are less likely to give CPR, which frequently causes trauma and broken ribs in elderly or frail patients. Either cremation or a burial can be decided upon; environmental options such as a forest burial in a wooden casket can be explored. Local hospice options can be surveyed in advance; nonprofits generally are rated better than profit-making groups.

Opening to the Spiritual Process Whether or not we have

religious beliefs to carry us through waves of loss and sorrow, death can spur spiritual insight. “In dying, we withdraw from our outer circles and come into the inner circles of our lives—the relationships that matter most to us,” says Ostaseski, who has worked


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four decades with hospice patients. “There’s a growing silence that has us becoming more contemplative and reflective. Our sense of time and space changes and we enter into a kind of free flow. The boundaries we have lived by begin to dissolve, and we start to feel ourselves as part of something larger—not as a belief, but as a natural occurrence. Often people realize themselves to be more than the small, separate self they had thought themselves to be.” Joan Tollifson, a Zen-trained spiritual teacher and author of Death: The End of Self-Improvement, concurs: “When the future disappears, we are brought home to the immediacy that we may have avoided all our lives. With no future left to fantasize about, the focus of attention may finally be fully on right Now, the only place where our life ever actually is. Really getting that ‘This is it,’ there may be a sudden recognition of the absolute preciousness and wonder of every simple ordinary thing and of the people around us, just as they are, with all their flaws and foibles. Old grudges and resentments often melt away, and love shines through. “All the things which may have been part of our self-image— independence, physical strength, cognitive sharpness, good appearance and so on—have either disappeared or are rapidly collapsing, which invites the discovery that none of that really mattered, that what we truly or more fundamentally are is not dependent on any of that. “The greatest gift we can give to a loved one who is dying,” says Tollifson, is to “simply be present, listen, follow your heart, trust the process. Everything else will follow from that. There’s no right or wrong way.” It can be difficult to know what to say to a loved one near the end, but hospice workers recommend five phrases that have deep healing potential, even if a person seems unconscious: “I love you,” “Thank you,” “Please forgive me,” “I forgive you,” and “Goodbye” or “Until we meet again.” As Butler points out, the first four phrases can be said any time in our lives. Increasingly in hospice care, loved ones are encouraged to sit with the body after the death, touching it, sharing stories, perhaps gently bathing it and dressing it in favorite clothes. “Touching the body, feeling the coolness, makes the death real to the family,” Ostaseski says. “Research shows that people that went through that process still grieved, but they were able to be with the emotion and not be overwhelmed by it.” Facing the reality of death—as hard and heartbreaking as that can be—can free us to truly live life, said Jobs. After his terminal cancer diagnosis, he told Stanford students in a commencement address, “Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything—all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure—these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.” Health writer Ronica O’Hara can be contacted at OHaraRonica@


Susane Grasso

The Healing Power of a Hug by Marlaina Donato


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hen we were children, a hug helped to take the sting out of a skinned knee or quell first-day-of-school jitters. In adulthood, hugs are not as plentiful or practical; many people lack partners or loved ones, and the gesture—both giving and receiving—is too often labeled as sentimentality. As we continue to move through life with pandemic restrictions, hugs can feel risky at a time when we need them the most. A hug elicits a powerful shot of neurotransmitters like oxytocin, serotonin and dopamine, and we don’t necessarily need another human to reap the benefits. Wrapping our arms around a breeze-swept tree in the backyard or on a hiking trail can lower heart rate and set our brains abuzz with feel-good endorphins. Earlier this year, the forestry service in Iceland invited people to cuddle up to trees to offset COVID-19 isolation and get in a good dose of forest bathing. Scientific research, including a study from Carnegie Mellon University, backs what unapologetic huggers have always known: Even the most casual embrace can help to lower stress, boost immunity and promote a better night’s sleep. Cuddling up with a stuffed animal is a part of everyday life for 43 percent of American adults, with men taking the lead. Befriending a plush toy is part of some trauma recovery programs and has a soothing effect on those navigating the dark waters of grief, loss and chronic anxiety. Snuggling up under a warm, weighted blanket is also akin to a hug, and has benefits much like the real thing. Holding and being held strengthens the body’s defense systems, as well as romantic partnerships, friendships and our relationship with ourselves. Opening our arms can foster the spiritual discipline of not only giving, but receiving—a vital requirement in self-care. In a time of chaotic uncertainty, isolation and change, hugs can be medicine; they can also be a powerful metaphor and reminder to remain open, willing and beautifully human.

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Boosting Immune System plus: Uplifting


Marlaina Donato is a mind-body-spirit author and recording artist. Connect at November 2021


green living

Eco-Decor for the Home How to Buy Sustainable Furnishings


by Sandra Yeyati


hile comfort and beauty are clear priorities when shopping for furnishings, sustainability and health should be, too. By asking the right questions and doing a little up-front research, consumers have the power to appoint their sanctuaries with non-toxic, ecologically responsible items that are built to last and won’t pollute the environment. According to the Sustainable Furnishings Council (SFC) (, 80 percent of the environmental impact of any product comes from the materials used to make it, so it’s vital to ask about all of the material components in a piece of furniture.

Sustainably Harvested Wood Because it is long-lasting and sturdy, wood can be an excellent, eco-friendly material. The most important consideration is that it hasn’t contributed to deforestation. SFC Executive Director Susan Inglis recommends third-party certification to confirm that wood was sustainably harvested in ways that preserve the forest’s ecosystem and benefit nearby communities. The Forest Stewardship Council ( issues one of the industry’s most coveted independent certifications. Reclaimed wood is another Earth-friendly option. “Perhaps the tree was cut down decades or centuries ago and made into a building, and now it’s being used to make a piece of furniture,” explains Inglis. A third sustainable choice is wood from a plantation that was 20

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established more than 25 years ago. “While it is not sustainable to convert natural forests to plantations today because you’re losing biodiversity, wood from long-established plantations is considered sustainable,” she says, adding that in those settings, new trees are planted to replace those harvested.

Non-Toxic Textiles According to Inglis, the most environmentally sound textiles are made of natural fibers like organic cotton, linen, hemp and wool, which are long-lasting and can be recycled into new textiles. Synthetic fibers are petroleum-based and much less desirable. Textile manufacturing practices can also be environmentally problematic. “Look for certification that they’re not polluting waters or using toxic dyes,” says

Volatile Compounds and Unhealthy Chemicals The SFC has identified five classes of chemicals commonly found in furniture that have been linked to cancer, endocrine disruption and immune impairment: volatile organic compounds like formaldehyde found in paints and finishes; flame retardants; fluoridated chemicals used in performance fabrics; antimicrobials; and polyvinyl chloride, known as PVC or vinyl. Inglis recommends that consumers ask about the potential presence of these chemicals when shopping for furniture and avoid them if possible.

Recycled Plastic Recycling plastic to make furniture is trending, and that’s a plus, according to Inglis. “The best thing would be to avoid making anything out of plastic,” she says. “Plastic is a huge environmental problem, and our use of it continues to go up, especially in the COVID era. Only a small percentage of it is being recycled, leaving a

lot of it to break down into microparticles, unfortunately. So, making things out of our plastic waste is good.” Robinson, on the other hand, refuses to use any plastic in her handmade, all-natural furniture. “Plastics are a non-biodegradable, petrochemical product,” she says. “They’re polluting everything. The plastics industry is so insidious. Anything we can do on any front to pull away from petrochemicals in every aspect is good.”

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Price and Durability


“Well-made furniture can get expensive, but you’ll have to replace cheap furniture because it’s not built to last. What’s cheap in the beginning is expensive in the end, because it’s not taking into account the cost of having to replace it or the cost of cleaning up an environment that gets more and more filled with junk,” says Robinson, who also recommends looking for well-made vintage pieces that can be restored and brought back to life. “I recommend that you spend the most budget you have on a quality product, because that sofa, if it’s made well, can be reupholstered over and over again,” says Robin Wilson, a New York City designer and founder of Robin Wilson Home. “By keeping that sofa, you’re being eco-friendly to the world because it is not going into a landfill.” Sandra Yeyati, J.D., is a professional writer and editor. Reach her at SandraYeyati@


Aimee Robinson, owner of EcoBalanza, an organic furniture boutique in Seattle. She points to the Global Organic Textile Standard ( as a reliable organization which identifies producers of natural fibers that are organically grown without pesticides, while also considering the social and environmental impacts of their production systems.

November 2021


conscious eating

Eat Well to Feel Well thanksgiving fare that boosts mental health by Christy Ratliff




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cross America, people of all ages are struggling with mental health issues. Nearly one in five people is living with a mental health condition, and the number of people seeking help for anxiety and depression is skyrocketing, reports Mental Health America. According to the organization’s 2021 State of Mental Health in America Report, suicidal thoughts are increasing among both adults and children, and 9.7 percent of youth is experiencing severe major depression compared to 9.2 percent last year. The highly contagious COVID-19 Delta variant has only exacerbated these mental health challenges. The hope and help we seek may be as close as our own kitchen. Accumulating research shows that a diet rich in highly processed foods may increase the risk of developing or worsening various mental health conditions. But a nutrient-based diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables; omega-3 fatty acids; nuts, seeds and legumes; whole grains, fresh herbs and spices; fish and olive oil, may help to support and enhance mental health. We can start this Thanksgiving by serving up healthier, nutrient-rich options to alleviate anxiety and depression, stabilize mood and promote mental health and wellness. “The gut/brain connection helps us understand the food/ mood connection,” explains Dr. Uma Naidoo, a Harvard-trained nutritional psychiatrist, professional chef, nutrition specialist and author of the national bestseller This is Your Brain on Food. “The enteric nervous system—that is, the nerves supplying the gastrointestinal tract—totals over 100 million neurons and communicates directly with the brain, or central nervous system, by way of the vagus nerve, which is responsible for our ‘rest-anddigest’ response. “It’s also vital to note that the gut contains the highest number of serotonin receptors, and the gut itself produces all the neurotransmitters that are also made in the brain, including serotonin, often called the happiness hormone. In turn, these neurotransmitters are implicated in sound mental health or potential problems when they are deficient.” “What we eat affects mental health in many ways,” adds Amy Spindel, a functional holistic nutritionist in Plano, Texas, and founder of “Nutrient deficiencies can cause poor neurotransmitter production. Insufficient vitamin B6, folate and vitamin B12 can be implicated in depression and anxiety

symptoms, as they are all needed for various stages of neurotransmitter production, especially serotonin, dopamine and GABA.” “Traditional sugary, high-carbohydrate foods promote unstable blood sugar and selectively feed inflammatory gut microbes,” Spindel says, suggesting that we skip the typical foods many of us associate with the holidays such as pecan pie, marshmallowtopped sweet potato casserole and canned cranberry sauce. “Blood sugar fluctuations cause the body to scramble in an attempt to re-regulate glucose, which may mean spikes of cortisol or adrenaline, as well as insulin. The end result can be depression and anxiety from excessive stress hormones and a glucosestarved brain.” But making such changes, particularly during the holidays, isn’t easy. “If the thought of changing up the traditional Thanksgiving menu gives you pause, you are not alone—and this is why I believe in adding in habits (and in this case, dishes) which have a positive ripple effect on our bodies and our brain, allowing for a self-sustaining cycle in our lifestyle,” advises Naidoo. “As a nutritional psychiatrist, I feel that we are more emotionally nurtured by a feeling of abundance in ‘adding’ new Thanks-

giving dishes than thinking about this as ‘excluding’ foods,” she notes. “For example, tossing a fresh, folate-rich spinach and arugula salad with bits of antioxidant-rich strawberries, crisp roasted chickpeas and omega-3-rich olive oil adds color, flavor and a plethora of mood-nourishing ingredients to the dinner table. Even adding extra veggies to existing dishes, such as allicin-rich garlic to green beans or extra celery and fresh herbs to stuffing, adds in powerful phytonutrients with gut-loving fiber.” “Thanksgiving favorites that are ample in neurotransmitterproducing nutrients include turkey, shellfish, sweet potatoes and acorn squash, asparagus, leafy greens, oranges and green beans,” Spindel adds. While it’s true that we cannot control a global pandemic or solve the mental health crisis in America with positive thinking alone, we can minimize our feelings of powerlessness and despair by making small but significant dietary changes—not just on Thanksgiving, but every day of the year. Christy Ratliff is a professional health and wellness writer based in Central Florida.

Feel-Good Recipe Ingredients Some study-proven foods to enhance mood found in the following recipes include: n Pistachios. These tree nuts, which are actually

seeds, are rich in healthy fats, vitamins and minerals. According to a Pennsylvania State University study, eating pistachios may reduce the body’s response to daily stress.

all images via

n Honey. A National Institutes of Health study

shows that the nutrients in raw honey may enhance mood and help with insomnia. It’s also rich in antioxidants, which contain anti-inflammatory properties that help protect the brain. n Fresh herbs. Sage provides natural anti-anx-

iety properties, while thyme and rosemary are rich sources of micronutrients and flavonoids, shown to protect against inflammation in the brain, a key factor in major depressive disorder. n Apples. Nutrient-rich apples are a good source of

quercetin, a plant flavonoid, which studies suggest may be beneficial for mental health.

n Green beans. An excellent source of vitamin A, green beans

help fight inflammation and support the nervous and immune systems. They are high in folic acid, a B vitamin that studies have shown to potentially lower the risk of depression.

n Tomatoes. Several studies show that regular consumption of tomatoes may help ward off depression. n Olive oil. Multiple studies show that low levels of olive

oil, in conjunction with a Mediterraneanstyle diet, has a positive impact on mental health and brain function.

n Cornmeal. Naturally gluten-free, cornmeal is an

excellent source of folate, an important B vitamin. Research from the National Institutes of Health suggests that those with low levels of folate are more likely to experience depression.

n Raisins. A great source of vitamin B, raisins can help the

brain produce serotonin, an important neurotransmitter for reducing many anxiety-related symptoms.

November 2021


Goat Cheese Appetizer with Honey, Fig and Pistachios 1 medium, fresh goat cheese log (about 11 oz) ¼ cup roasted pistachios, chopped ¼ cup honey (this recipe calls for 2 Tbsp; others call for ¼ cup) 1 to 2 Tbsp fig spread Healthy selection of whole-wheat crackers, vegetable chips, etc.

photo by Christy Ratliff

Spread chopped pistachios on a small plate. Roll goat cheese in pistachios to coat sides and top. Transfer to a serving tray and sprinkle whole pistachios on top and around the cheese. Drizzle honey over and around cheese log. Warm fig spread for 5 to 10 seconds in a microwave. Drizzle spread over cheese log or half of cheese log, as desired. Serve with whole-wheat crackers or chips. Courtesy of Susan Randall. For more information, visit

Buzz’s Fresh Herb and Apple Sage Stuffing

photo by Christy Ratliff

1 loaf bread, toasted (whole wheat (WW) or half WW, half French bread) ¼ cup unsalted butter 2 cups celery, chopped 1 large yellow onion, chopped 1 to 2 cloves garlic, chopped (to taste) 3 Granny Smith apples, chopped, with skin on ¼ cup sage leaves, chopped ¼ cup fresh rosemary, chopped 1 to 2 Tbsp fresh thyme, chopped 2½ cups reduced sodium vegetable or chicken broth 2 eggs 1 to 2 tsp salt to taste (may substitute nutritional yeast or fresh dill)


New Haven/Middlesex

Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease a large, 2-to-3-inch-deep casserole or baking dish. Toast bread and cut into 1-inch cubes. Set aside. Melt butter in a large pan. Add celery, onion, garlic, apples and fresh herbs. Stir to mix and cook until softened, about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from heat and cool. Beat eggs in a large mixing bowl. Add bread cubes and apple/vegetable/ fresh herb mixture into the egg mixture. Add broth and salt (or nutritional yeast or fresh dill) and mix well. Spoon stuffing into prepared casserole dish. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake for 20 to 30 minutes more or until goldenbrown crust forms. Remove from oven, uncover and cool. Courtesy of Buzz Spence. For more information on fresh herbs for emotional health, visit

Greek-Style Green Beans (Fasolakia Lathera) ⅓ cup olive oil 1 onion, chopped 1 lb green beans 1 medium potato, sliced (¼-inch thickness, cut in half) 3 medium tomatoes, grated, or 12 to 15 oz chopped tomatoes ¼ cup parsley, chopped 1 tsp sugar ½ tsp salt Fresh pepper

photo by Christy Ratliff

In a medium pot, heat olive oil on low to medium heat. Sauté onion until softened. Add potatoes and heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Add beans and mix with olive oil until coated. Add tomatoes, parsley, sugar, salt and pepper. Mix well. Add just enough hot water to cover the beans halfway. Cover and simmer for about 40 minutes, or until beans are soft and most of the liquid is absorbed. May be served as a side dish for four people or a vegetarian/vegan entrée for two. Courtesy of Elena Paravantes, RDN. For more information and Mediterranean recipes, visit

Seluisauganasda Cherokee Cornmeal Cookies Here’s a creative, nutritious way to celebrate indigenous tradition during the holidays while also being mindful of mental health.

photo by Christy Ratliff

¾ cup softened butter ½ cup organic brown sugar 1 egg 1 tsp vanilla 1½ cups flour ½ cup cornmeal 1 tsp baking powder ¼ tsp salt ½ cup raisins (Other versions of this recipe include nuts and dark chocolate pieces.) Preheat oven to 350° F. Spray cookie sheet with nonstick cooking spray and set aside. Using a wooden spoon, mix butter and brown sugar in a large mixing bowl. Add egg and vanilla. Stir until smooth. Add flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt. Add raisins. Mix well. Drop dough by rounded teaspoonful onto baking sheet. Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until slightly golden. Makes about 2 dozen small cookies. Courtesy of La Potosina. For more information, visit November 2021


calendar of events WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 3 Nature Explorers – (Nov 3 & 10). Join the Nature Center and Ansonia Public Library for this 4-week pre-school/toddler program for children ages 2-5 with their adult explorer. These classes are loosely structured, influenced by the seasons and the interests of the children. We will go outside to explore nature and read a story every class so please dress for the weather. Classes will end with a light snack and conversation. Tuition: $40 for all 4 weeks, due at the first class. Class is limited to 10 children. Ansonia Nature and Recreation Center, 10 Deerfield Ln, Ansonia. Preregister: ansnaturectr@

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 5 Universal White Time Healing Level 1: Fri, Sat & Sun November 5-7 – Fri: 10am-1pm; Sat-Sun 9am-6pm. Increase your healing abilities with this effective, ground-breaking energy-healing modality that is rapidly gaining recognition. UWT works with the forces of unconditional love, divine light, and all time as one unit. It is a healing that is targeting the problem through time and space. $450. Avant Garde Holistic Center, 328 E Main St, Branford. 203-481-8443

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 6 Realize the Virtue of Trauma with The Chitta Cleanse Technique (CCT) – 9:30am-10pm. Indian mystic Vedaji travels to Connecticut to introduce an ancient yoga trauma therapy based in Self-inquiry. Learn how to cleanse the subconscious mind to release negative patterns and conditioning, break free from the false ego, and to ultimately realize the Self. Event includes yoga, meditation, fire purification ceremony, kirtan, and two vegetarian meals. Early bird registration $108, after $150. The Red Barn in Durham. or email Reiki Class Level 2 – 9:30am-3:30pm. For Reiki Level 1 Practitioners who want to deepen their practice. Will learn the use of the three Usui symbols to use for inpatient or remote treatment. Ample practice time for giving remote and table treatments while following CDC Protocol. Small class, open for four participants at The Buttonwood Tree Performing Arts Center, 605 Main St, Middletown. Requirements: Reiki 1 Certificate. Cost: $150 Members. $160 non-members. Call:203-314-5401. or,


Free Essential Oil Class – 6:30pm-8pm. Help align your mind, body, spirit. Learn to take control of your health with therapeutic grade oils. Free class! 36 Cheshire Rd, Wallingford or on Zoom, to register please call 203-631-7803, email or visit

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 13 Reiki II – 9am-1pm. Reiki II attunes higher frequencies of energy. Second Degree or Reiki II certification class teaches ancient, powerful and precise healing symbols. Gain the ability to heal mental, emotional, and past life issues from a distance. $150. 36 Cheshire Rd, Wallingford, to register please call 203-631-7803, email or visit Connecticut’s Wild Turkey – 1:30pm. CT’s Wild Turkey is an iconic symbol of Thanksgiving. The Native Americans as well as early settlers relied on the turkey for survival by hunting the species to near extinction. In the 20th Century there was a successful relocation program that increased the number of turkeys to a large population. Join us on a brief talk and hike to find the illusive wild birds. Wear good walking shoes. Free. Ansonia Nature and Recreation Center, 10 Deerfield Ln, Ansonia. Preregister: Sonic Alchemy – 7pm-8:30pm. This sound healing meditation concert combines Bradford Tilden’s inspiring piano music, crystal bowls and channeled vocal tones to create a powerful activating, and healing experience. Especially beneficial for starseeds and empaths. $20. Prepay with Venmo: @ronald-smith-419 required to RSVP. $25 cash at door. Avant Garde Holistic Center, Branford. 203-481-8443,

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 19 Full Beaver Moon Hike – 6pm. Full moon hike with stargazing. Join Ranger Evelyn for a hike by the light of the full moon, then relax under the stars for an astronomy lesson with Ranger Jeremy, who will be talking about the partial lunar eclipse that will have occurred earlier that morning. Wear comfortable shoes for uneven terrain and dress for the weather. Fee $1 per person. Space is limited and registration is required. Ansonia Nature and Recreation Center, 10 Deerfield Ln, Ansonia. Preregister: Full Moon Meditation w/Gayle Franceschetti – 6:30pm-8pm. Align w/new energies of this Super Full Moon. Opportunities for letting go of the old and allowing spiritual energies to reach human hearts and minds. $25. Zoom or in person. To register, please call 203-631-7803, email or visit

I Am Enough: An Exploration of Restorative Yoga Practices – 9am-12pm. Virtual on Zoom. Trainer Sara Balkun. Restorative postures, which are often supported by blocks, blankets, bolsters, and other props, allow the body to practice shifting from the fight or flight response to rest and digest. In this training, participants will learn restorative poses as well as the benefits they provide. 3 CECs. $60. Register at


New Haven/Middlesex

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 20 The Archangel Experience and CD Release Party – 7pm-8:30pm. Come celebrate the release of Bradford Tilden’s latest album Archangel Meditations Part 1 by experiencing the meditative power of the music while receiving gemstone layout energies that connect with both Archangel Michael and Uriel. Participants gets a free copy of the CD and two specially charged gemstones. 5 VIP spots available to receive the whole gemstone layouts during the experience. $30-$50. Ticket reservations via Eventbrite: For alternate payment arrangements, contact Bradford 860-830-5841, Red Barn in Durham, 352 Main St, Durham.

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 3 A Day of Healing (Virtual Free Event) – 9am-4pm on Zoom. Sponsored by Connecticut’s Statewide Behavioral Health Integrative Medicine Collaborative. Six healing practice sessions throughout the day (meditation, sound healing, yoga, compassion practices, etc.) Join us for one, two or the entire day! The schedule of events/healing practice sessions will be announced in November. No CECs. Free of Charge. For more information and to register go to:

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 4 Universal White Time Gemstone Healing Level 3 – 9am-6:30pm both days. (Sat & Sun, Dec 4-5).This course focuses on preparing us for the Higher Vibrations of the New Earth. The shape and colors of our auras and chakras are changing as the vibration of the Earth is increasing. The layouts in this class help us integrate the changes, prepare our minds, auras, and bodies to help us make the shift to the New Earth harmonious. $400 Venmo: @Bradford-Tilden or Eventbrite: https:// For alternate payment arrangements, contact Bradford 860-8305841, Braulttree Wellness Center, Higganum, CT. 860-344-9573. Winter Wreath Workshop – 10am. Celebrate winter and the festive season as you create a wreath from fresh locally grown greens, then decorate your masterpiece with natural trimmings. Enjoy some warm mulled cider and a cookie too! Wreath frames and wire will be provided. Please bring your own hand clippers. Materials fee: $15. Limited space. Ansonia Nature and Recreation Center, 10 Deerfield Ln, Ansonia. Preregister:


sunday Sunday Guided Hikes – 1pm. Meet outside the ANC. Hike the Ansonia Nature and Recreation Center trails for a positive start to your week. Come and learn about the history and ecology of the land while Ranger Dan, our Assistant Director, leads this weekly hike on our beautiful nature preserve. We will begin promptly at 9:00 am. Dress for the weather and conditions. Free. Ansonia Nature and Recreation Center, 10 Deerfield Ln, Ansonia. Preregister:

monday Birth Partners Doulas now offers in-home private yoga sessions with a relaxing hand/ foot massage included! – $75 per session Call 203-718-6512 or email to book your or to gift one to your favorite mamato-be! Come see CELC Middle School in action – Tours by appointment only! Middle school specialists, 5th – 8th grade. Small class sizes, personalized instruction, robust academics. Limited openings still available for 2020-21. 28 School St, Branford. Contact or call 203-433-4658. For more information, visit Monday Morning Hikes – 9 am. Meet outside the ANC. Hike the Ansonia Nature and Recreation Center trails for a positive start to your week. Come and learn about the history and ecology of the land while Ranger Dan, our Assistant Director, leads this weekly hike on our beautiful nature preserve. We will begin promptly at 9:00 am. Dress for the weather and conditions. Free. Ansonia Nature and Recreation Center, 10 Deerfield Ln, Ansonia. Preregister:

tuesday Fiber Arts Group via Zoom – 6pm. Get together with Ranger Dawn and others to work on your Fiber Art projects! This is an ongoing program and is entirely Free. Ansonia Nature and Recreation Center, 10 Deerfield Ln, Ansonia. Preregister: for more details and the link. Abundance Manifestation Series – 6:30pm8pm. (Tuesdays, Nov 2nd, 9th, 16th, 23rd, 30th). 5 classes Includes companion book. Learn how to focus your intent to create abundance in all its forms. Discover the keys to open your gates to allow and accept that which is rightfully yours. $97. On Zoom, to register please call 203-631-7803, email or visit



Birth Partners Doulas now offers in-home private yoga sessions with a relaxing hand/ foot massage included! – $75 per session Call 203-718-6512 or email to book your or to gift one to your favorite mamato-be!

The Caring Network via Microsoft Teams Meeting – 6pm. (Thurs. Nov 4th & Nov 18th). Free support group for adults who have lost a loved one. Info about loss and grief will focus on Holiday planning; facilitated open discussion. Bridges Healthcare, 949 Bridgeport Avenue, M i l f o r d . C o n t a c t B r o o k e To r r e s M . E d . , 203-878-6365 x480 for more information and Teams Link.

Come see CELC Middle School in action – Tours by appointment only! Middle school specialists, 5th – 8th grade. Small class sizes, personalized instruction, robust academics. Limited openings still available for 2020-21. 28 School St, Branford. Contact or call 203-433-4658. For more information, visit Open Healing Arts Exchange – 6pm-8:30pm. (Nov 10 - Every 2nd Wed of the month). Gather and experience each other’s unique healing modalities. While featuring White Time Energy and Gemstone healing, we welcome all practitioners and anyone interested in giving and receiving a healing and/or curious about the healing arts. $20. Braulttree Wellness Center, Higganum. 860-344-9573.

friday Birth Partners Doulas now offers in-home private yoga sessions with a relaxing hand/ foot massage included! – $75 per session Call 203-718-6512 or email to book your or to gift one to your favorite mamato-be! Come see CELC Middle School in action – Tours by appointment only! Middle school specialists, 5th – 8th grade. Small class sizes, personalized instruction, robust academics. Limited openings still available for 2020-21. 28 School St, Branford. Contact or call 203-433-4658. For more information, visit

classifieds ALS SUPPORT


THE ALS ASSOCIATION CONNECTICUT CHAPTER – Leading the fight to treat and cure ALS through research & advocacy while empowering people w/Lou Gehrig’s Disease and their families to live fuller lives w/compassionate care & support. 4 Oxford Road, Unit D4. Milford. 203-874-5050.

CT LYME RIDERS, INC. – Founded in 2007 by motorcyclists Sandy Brule & Tony Gargano. A 501(c)(3) non profit public charity aiming to bring awareness to the public about Lyme Disease. Events & info. 860-537-0255,

BOOKS THE TRUE SCHOOL IS LIFE – Books for Conscious Living such as: Recognize and Heal Yourself through the Power of the Spirit; Living and Dying to Keep on Living; Cause and Development of All Illness; The Life I Chose Myself… and much more! 844-576-0937. 20% off with coupon code: OFF20.

DISTRIBUTORS WANTED DISTRIBUTORS WANTED – For monthly deliveries of Natural Awakenings and other local publications. Perfect for a retired person or stay at home mom looking to earn some extra income and connect with their local community. Honesty and dependability are the most important characteristics of our distributors.

MEDICAL/INTUITIVE HYPNOTIST HYPNOSIS THERAPY CENTER – There is a meaning behind every ailment and condition people have. It’s your body speaking to you. If you are tired of being sick and are ready to help yourself heal, then consider having a Discovery Session so you can learn the cause and ‘cure.’ Madison. 203-245-6927.

PARKINSON’S SUPPORT PARKINSON DISEASE ASSOCIATION – Mission: “To Ease the Burden, To Find A Cure” for those w/Parkinson’s Disease and their caregivers in CT. Education, support and socialization. 860-248-9200,

November 2021


community resource guide APPLIED KINESIOLOGY KC CHIROPRACTIC & WELLNESS Kevin Healy, DC 17 Woodland Road, Madison, CT 203-245-9317

Applied Kinesiology i s a n e u r o logical evaluation to find and treat dysfunction. Different because it addresses causes instead of chasing pains, Dr. Healy tests if a therapy alleviates dysfunction, finding immediate answers as to which provides the most improvement. Chiropractic, craniosacral, myofascial and acupressure are among the therapies Dr. Healy uses. Generally, no single cure exists as disease and dysfunction typically involve multiple areas of the body. The goal of any therapy—physical, chemical, or emotional—is to improve function; a combination of therapies typically yields the best results. See ad on page 9.

MASSAGE THERAPIST A MOMENT IN TIME MASSAGE, LLC Jill Andrzejewski LMT #9900, RMT & Psychic 3490 Whitney Avenue, Suite 205 Hamden, CT 203-909-1108

I use a holistic approach to treat my clients—We work as a team, setting goals to move forward to get you where you wish to be physically, mentally and spiritually. My intention is to empower people to empower themselves. I am an advocate for gentle stretching, crystals and breath work to maintain a feeling of being grounded and calm. Services available: massage, 30-minute sessions for chronic pain management, Reiki, chakra balancing, angel tarot, oracle card readings, couples Reiki, foot baths with hand made all natural herbal ingredients, group events and classes. A Moment In Time Treasures items available for purchase. Sessions available by appointment only.




Not Just doulas … Birth Partners! Proudly serving clients for over 30 years, providing quality birth and postpartum doula care. Contact us any time for more information.

Robin Barros, IMT-C, CSC, CPLC 5 Gavin Drive, Columbia, CT 860-709-3903

Spirit of the Lotus is a sacred space, warm and welcoming, where you can go for holistic health and healing. Robin uses many modalities to get to the heart of what’s caus-ing you to be in pain, out of alignment or just frustrated with what feels like a block to living your best life. Integrative Manual Therapy, gently helps you release tension from injury, illness or surgery. Intuitive guidance helps you release Physical, Mental & Spiritual baggage, carried for years, lives or generations. As an Advanced Soul Coach & Past Life Coach (R), we clear away inner debris in order to connect you with the wis-dom of your soul. With years of experience and training, you can experience optimal health & wellness.

Aim for the moon. If you miss, you may hit a star. ~W. Clement Stone

New Haven/Middlesex


April Beaman 2 Forest Park Dr. Farmington, CT 212 New London Turnpike Glastonbury, CT 860-415-1150 CT Thermography specializes in medical thermal imaging, also known as Thermography. Thermography is the use and study of thermograms for detecting and measuring variations of heat emitted for the surface of the body. A thermogram is produced by a highly sensitive, medical infrared camera that accurately maps the temperature variations which are then interpreted by Board Certified physicians known as thermologists. Thermography does not expose the body to radiation or involve contact and is used to aid in the detection of inflammation, disease and cancer. See ad on page 7.





Kristen Klie, D.V.M. 203-645-5570

Final Journey, LLC is an in-home euthanasia service for your animal companion that brings comfort and peace during a sensitive and challenging time. See ad on page 9.

PHYSICAL THERAPY PHYSICAL THERAPY SERVICES OF GUILFORD 500 East Main Street, Suite 310, Branford, CT 203-315-7727 (Phone) 203-315-7757 (Fax)

At Physical Therapy Services of Guilford, we specialize in manual therapy using hands-on techniques to help the body’s natural healing process. We also incorporate traditional programs and modalities to maximize health. 40-minute sessions are conducted one-on-one in private treatment rooms. See ad on page 13.

community resource guide REIKI SUSANE GRASSO, RMT 2489 Boston Post Road Guilford, CT 203-500-6950

Stress is the plague of the 21st century and the cause of physical and emotional woes. Because of this, my sessions combine my ability to see auras with Reiki, Theta Healing, acupressure and Sound Vibrational Healing to provide deep relaxation and balance. “Tension out! Wellness in” is more than a phrase. For my clients it is a statement of fact. Distance Healing available. See ad on page 19.


787 Main St, S Woodbury, CT 203-586-1172 Combining an array of natural therapies that have been used since ancient times with today’s technology, Salt of the Earth Spa provides a sanctuary for deep transformations, healing and grounding for Mind, Body and Spirit.


Offices in Essex & W. Hartford 860-767-2189 In person (depending on CDC compliance) or telemedicine


coming in the december holiday issue


Bradford Tilden, MM, CMT, UWT 860-830-5841 My goal is to empower you to develop spiritually and professionally. I offer sessions and teach certification classes in Universal White Time (UWT), Lemurian Intuitive, Crystal, and Sound Healing, transformational voice coaching, and guided visualization. I use these techniques, and more to help you to obtain authentic expression, empowerment, and transformation. You can purchase personally attuned crystals, through me. My clients and students gain a renewed clarity and a sense of purpose in working with me.


Boosting Immune System plus: Uplifting Humanity

Elm City Wellness is an independent, woman-owned wellness center with a focus on community healing. Services include a variety of skilled massage, CBD massage, community and private acupuncture, Reiki, craniosacral therapy and organic skin care, including signature, microderm and high frequency facials. Skilled therapists specifically tailor each and every session. Our wellness store features local products, candles, wellness supplies and books, smudge kits and a large range of third-party tested, pharmaceutical grade CBD products. See back cover ad.

With separate trainings in behavior therapies, psychoanalysis, crisis and trauma, for adults, and children and adolescents, I am fortunate to have both a broad range and depthful knowledge to assist you. Whether from past wounds and conflicts or new situations like those surrounding Covid, many of us develop behaviors or symptoms as we struggle with fear, anxiety, or depression. Talking reveals your unique individuality: being ‘heard’ by a specially trained clinician allows us to consider better choices and understanding so that you are less drained, less pained, and have a better chance for increased productivity and contentment.

November 2021



New Haven/Middlesex


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New Haven/Middlesex