The Wise Mom, June 2013

Page 1

thewisemom wise: (adj) informed, aware

healthy home

healthy planet gardening

with children

what does nature

teach us?

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Š The Wise Mom, Holistic Moms Network. Issue 14, June 2013.

thewisemom 4

From The Editor


News & Announcements

10 DC march and Knoxville TN March Against Monsanto 12 Recipe Corner 14 RX Nature 16 The Power of our Connection to the Earth 18 Our Planet, Ourselves 20 Difference 24 What does Nature Teach Us? 26 Gardening with Children 28 Nature Cure 32 Member Profile — Leilani Nguyen 34 Volunteer Profile — Parvathi Kumar 34 Volunteer Profile — Astrid Magana 36 Wonderful Weeds 38 Tips for Creating a Healthy Home and a Healthier Planet


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thewisemom EDITOR


Aimee Wood

For more information about Sponsorship, please e-mail us at or call us at 877-HOL-




The Wise Mom is published four times per year and

Nancy Massotto

is available electronically to members of the Holistic Moms Network. For information about membership,

The Wise Mom is a quarterly publication of the Holistic

please visit us at

Moms Network (HMN), a national 501(c)(3) non-profit organization for parents interested in holistic health


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variety of submissions, from personal stories and

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experiences from members to informative research

and wisdom from our parents, wellness practitioners,

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Š The Wise Mom, Holistic Moms Network. Issue 14, June 2013.

our readers to become informed about the many healthcare and parenting decisions they may face and to make the choice that works best for their unique family.

Nancy Massotto Founder & Executive Director

The Wise Mom is a publication of the Holistic Moms Network and supports the mission and purpose of our non-profit organization.

Copyright Š2013 holistic moms network


letterfromtheeditor Summer 2013 Connecting to the earth always feels easier to do in the warm days of summer here in the Northeast. Going on hikes, jumping on a bike, walking barefoot in the grass, and digging in the garden are just a few things I enjoy. And, consistently I always feel better when I do so. My mind feels clearer, my body feels rejuvenated, and my soul feels connected. This issue will raise your consciousness about the importance of connecting to the earth on many different levels; whether it be using herbs, homeopathy, gardening, walking barefoot, or just being mindful of the importance of being out in nature every day. Living in today’s society certainly makes it harder to get that “nature time”, but it is so important. It is so integral to what we are as human beings. I hope this issue will help remind you of the importance of your personal connection to the earth. Maybe it’ll spark you to take that walk in the summer rain or splash barefoot with your kids in the puddles? May you enjoy your summer! Warmly, Aimee K. Wood


Copyright ©2013 holistic moms network


We’re baaccckkk! That’s right, the Holistic Moms Natural Living Conference has returned to New Jersey after two years on the road. This year will be bigger and better than EVER! We are featuring two amazing Keynote Speakers, Dr. Shefali Tsabary, author of Conscious Parenting, and Jeffrey Smith, internationally-recognized non-GMO expert. Plus, we’re hosting a Controversial Parenting Choices panel with leading experts on the hottest issues from vaccines to circumcision. As always, we’ll have a packed Holistic Exhibit Hall, HMN Sponsors, attendee goody bags, a healthy lunch, and an opportunity to connect with oodles of like-minded parents. Registration is now open – don’t miss out. Sign up today!


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news&announcements Celebrating 10 Years! In October of this year, the Holistic Moms Network will officially turn 10. We are very excited to celebrate our anniversary this year with a special Holistic Living Awards Gala & Fundraiser. We thought the most amazing way to celebrate would be to honor those Leaders who inspired us, encouraged us, and motivated us here at Holistic Moms. Join us to share our gratitude at this very special 10 year anniversary event! We will be honoring Peggy O’Mara, founder and publisher of Mothering Magazine; Jeffrey Smith, non-GMO activist, expert, and author; Barbara Loe Fisher, author, advocate, and co-founder of the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC); Gary Null, author and natural health advocate; and Jeffrey Hollender, green living expert, entrepreneur, and co-founder of Seventh Generation, Inc. Come for the day to celebrate HMN, attend the Conference and join us for the Gala – and save on both events! Reserve your spot today!

New Chapter Forming! HMN is excited to welcome new Chapter in Mankato, MN Area Chapter into our community! Do you know a mom who needs community? Have them contact us to get started! Don’t have a local Holistic Moms Chapter? Get one started – we’ll guide you, provide you with resources and materials, and help make it a success. Click here to get started! Copyright ©2013 holistic moms network


news&announcements HMN Supporters!

We are so very grateful for the amazing organizations and companies that we partner with through our Sponsorship Program. We are thrilled to reconnect with Brain, Child Magazine, a returning Sponsor, as well as our ongoing supporters, E Magazine and the National Center for Homeopathy!

Brain, Child Magazine

Brain, Child: The Magazine for Thinking Mothers, is the largest literary magazine for and about mothers. Founded in 2000, we strive to bring the voices of women of diverse backgrounds and circumstances together on the printed page, on our website, and in our online community. Through personal essays, fiction, and feature stories our writers provide their unique perspectives on being mothers and women. We aim to be down-toearth, literary, commonsensical, funny, poignant, honest, respectful, relevant, and intelligent.

E Magazine

The Nation’s only non-profit, independent consumer publication on the environment, E Magazine is a clearinghouse of information, news, and commentary on today’s environmental issues. It’s our intent to educate and inspire individuals who have concerns about the environment and want to know what they can do to help bring about improvements.

National Center for Homeopathy

The National Center for Homeopathy (NCH) is a 501c3 non-profit organization dedicated to promoting health through homeopathy. Homeopathy is a form of natural, holistic medicine that works by healing the body rather than simply treating symptoms. We provide general education to the public about homeopathy, specific education to homeopathic practitioners, and work with a variety of governmental and non-governmental organizations and the media to make homeopathy understood and available throughout the United States. To find out more and to start using homeopathy to care for your family, please visit

Special offers or links to coupons can be found from our Sponsors in the Online Member Savings Book on the Online Member Community! 8

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Photos courtesy of the Knoxville TN chapter Marches Against Monsanto

Photos courtesy of the Arlington VA chapter by Jessica Haney

DC March from the White House to the Monsanto office 10

Copyright Š2013 holistic moms network

Copyright Š2013 holistic moms network


recipecorner From “Growing Healthy Families” Page 25



From “Growing Healthy Families” Page 44

Cool as a Cucumber Soup 3 large cold cucumbers 1 clove of garlic Sea salt to taste 1/2 tsp paprika 1/2 tsp dried mint 3 tablespoons sour cream or Greek yogurt Cut cucumbers into 2 inch pieces, reserving half of one cucumber for later. Add garlic, salt, pepper, paprika, mint, and sour cream/yogurt to blender and pulse while gradually adding cucumber. Blend ingredients for 2-3 minutes until liquid. Refrigerate for 15 minutes or overnight. Before serving, dice remaining cucumber and sprinkle into soup. Serve cold. Amara Wagner Bergen County, NJ chapter

From “Many Paths, One Journey to Health” Page 267

Insect Repellant 1 spray bottle Witch hazel to fill spray bottle citronella essential oil Other essential oils (optional) Fill a spray bottle with witch hazel approximately 1/2 inch from the top. Add a few dropper fulls of the citronella essential oil. At this point, you could add any of the other optional oils. Shake well and spray as needed. Optional oils could be: cedar wood, lemon grass, lavender, eucalyptus, or tea tree oil. Ann Linke Somerset County, NJ chapter 12

Blueberry Spinach Salad 1 bunch fresh spinach 1 package of fresh blueberries 1 package Gouda cheese cut into cubes Balsamic Vinaigrette dressing Combine all ingredients - use your judgement on amounts of blueberries and cheese - and add dressing to taste! Enjoy! Beth Grannai Triangle Area, NC chapter

From “Many Paths, One Journey to Health” Page 22

Organic Strawberry Cheesecake Icebox Cake 8 ounces of organic cream cheese 3 tablespoons of organic sugar 1 cup of organic French vanilla yogurt 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 cup diced strawberries 1, 9 inch graham cracker crust In a medium sized mixing bowl, cream together cream cheese and sugar. Blend yogurt and vanilla extract into mixture and fold into strawberries. Pour filling into crust. Freeze for 2-3 hours or until set. Place pie in refrigerator for 15 minutes before serving. Serves 8. Cassandra Alls Annapolis, MD chapter Copyright ©2013 holistic moms network

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Rx Nature

by Lawrence Rosen, MD

It’s late afternoon in the late spring, school’s been out for an hour or so. I can’t really say for sure ‘cause I’ve totally lost track of time. I’m knee deep in the muddy creek, eyes scanning for crayfish. There it is! Caught one, put in the bucket. We’re also “building a dam,” as we liked to say.


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Gathering the perfect shape and size sticks and stones to

not a drug dosed exactly the same for every person for the

hold back the mighty river! Success was when the water

same condition? What if the “treatment” - or better yet,

slowed at our a-beaver-would-be-proud construction and

the “prevention” - is something so multifaceted as nature?

diverted around the edges. We never could stop that flow

The more complex our challenges, the more complex the

completely despite elaborate architectural debates and

solutions. This whole person philosophy, embedded in

plans. My buddies and I are doing what we do after school

holistic health practice, is critical to solving the chronic

pretty much every day, all afternoon until the sun started

health woes of our time, both in research and in practice.

to work its way down, and we knew it was time to head

And it is why doctors alone will never solve any of our

up the hill for dinner. I’m only a few hundred yards from

current major health issues.

home but I might as well be anywhere. If we continue to ignore common sense and place our When I first read Richard Louv’s “Last Child in the

children in increasingly stressful environments without

Woods,” this memory came flooding back in full color

teaching them the crucial coping skills and providing

and sound. This was my childhood, like I’ve heard from

them with the opportunities for safe, unstructured free

so many people my age and older. As I reminisced, I

time in natural settings, we will continue to watch painfully

also grew increasingly worried for my children and their

as they deteriorate in mind and body. We must be willing,

generation, because I’m seeing everyday the price they are

as a health care profession, to leave our silos and work

paying for living in a world that doesn’t recognize the true

together with those colleagues in education, government,

value of nature and free play.

and environmental planning who value nature as a key to optimal health. It will only be through this commitment

I am a father, but I’m also a pediatrician with a busy

and investment that we will save our children and our future.

primary care practice. And I am witnessing the slow and steady destruction of our children’s emotional and physical wellbeing. Kids are being diagnosed with anxiety, depression, ADHD, irritable bowel syndrome and migraine headaches

(Note: adapted from a blog post for the Children and Nature Network:

Dr. Lawrence D. Rosen is a board-certified general pediatrician committed to family-centered, holistic

at all time high rates. Whatever labels we want to use, the

child health care. He practices primary care at the

message is clear – our children are suffering from stress.

Whole Child Center in Oradell, NJ and consults at the

Getting kids back into nature is a key part of the solution to keeping kids healthy and truly creating wellness.

Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital at Hackensack University Medical Center, serving as Medical Advisor to the Deirdre Imus Environmental Center for Pediatric Oncology. Dr. Rosen is a nationally recognized expert

A mounting number of research studies highlight the

in Pediatric Integrative Medicine, a founding member and vice-chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics

positive impact of free outdoor play on children’s emotional

Section on Complementary and Integrative Medicine. Dr. Rosen is appointed as Clinical

and physical health. I like that and it makes us feel good.

Assistant Professor in Pediatrics at New Jersey Medical School. He is a graduate of

It also helps to fund projects when people demand proof.

New York Medical College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and he

But do we really need randomized controlled trials (RCTs)

completed his residency and chief residency in pediatrics at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York. Dr. Rosen serves on many integrative health advisory boards, including

to prove that spending time in nature is good for us and

the Teleosis Institute, and Integrative Healthcare Sympo-

for our children? In medical school, doctors are taught

sium, Integrative Touch for Kids, PedCAM, and MarbleJam Kids. He is a contributing

that RCTs are the gold standard to prove the worth of

columnist for Kiwi Magazineand author/editor for several books, including “Integrative

medical interventions. But what if the intervention is Copyright ©2013 holistic moms network

Pediatrics” (Oxford University Press 2009), “Green Baby” (DK 2008), and “Pediatric Clinics of North America: Complementary and Alternative Medicine” (Elsevier 2007).


The Power of our Connection to the

EARTH by Libby Louer Thompson

You know that amazing feeling you get playing barefoot in the grass with your kids, or walking barefoot on the beach? Those activities inherently relax our minds and bring joy to our hearts, but did you know that they actually heal our bodies too? 16

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The practice of Earthing (also known as Grounding) is

Experts recommend going barefoot on a sandy beach or

quite simply the transfer of electrons from the ground

in dewy grass. In these locations the ground is a bit moist

to your body, usually absorbed through the feet while

and can provide the most effective electrical conduction.

walking barefoot on the ground. Once absorbed, electrons

However electrons can also be absorbed through skin in

can travel anywhere in the body. Electrons are particles

other areas, and lying on the grass to cloud-gaze may be

with a negative charge, which causes them to attract and

just as effective. Many factors in our modern lifestyle

bind to particles with a positive charge. When an equal

block the absorption of electrons, including asphalt,

amount of negatively charged and positively charged

wood, plastic, and shoes with soles. Having any of these

particles combine, they neutralize each other’s charge.

items between your skin and the ground will prevent the electron transfer from occurring. According to Ober et

What is the impact of this on our bodies?

al., as little as 30 or 40 minutes a day barefoot can significantly reduce pain and stress.

As a result of injuries, illnesses, diet or lifestyle, our bodies accumulate free radicals. These free radicals are

If you live in a city or have difficulty getting to grass for

associated with the development of cancer, premature

30 minutes a day, there are a variety of products on the

aging, chronic inflammation, and a host of other negative

market designed to help you reproduce this grounding

effects. Free radicals have a positive charge. When you

effect indoors. Sheets, mats and blankets are available that

take in electrons through Earthing, those electrons move

connect to the grounded outlet in your home, allowing

through the body, neutralizing and canceling out the

you to spend your entire slumber period communing

effects of free radicals. Simply going barefoot outside has

with the Earth. This extent of Earthing practice may be

a powerful antioxidant effect!

more suitable for those with chronic pain or inflammation issues. For the rest of us, the healthiest activity

Numerous studies are examining the health benefits of

we can pursue may just be playing outside with our kids,

Earthing. Results have demonstrated that it can reduce


pain, improve sleep, and lower stress (Gaetan et al 2012). Earthing has also been shown to reduce the primary indicators of osteoporosis, and seems to have an effect on thyroid function, though the type and extent of that effect has still not been proven (Gaetan et al 2012).

Libby Louer Thompson is a holistic mama and health coach who blogs at Through following her intuition and exploring all kinds of bizarre-sounding treatments she

Additionally, engaging in Earthing for a mere 2 hours

was able to heal herself from Lyme disease &

led to a significant thinning of the blood in research

autoimmune-type issues. Her mission is to help

subjects (Chevalier et al 2013). According to the authors

other women in similar situations to forge their own unique paths through healing.

of that study, based on the link between blood thickness and cardiovascular distress, “Grounding appears to be one of the simplest and yet most profound interventions of helping reduce cardiovascular risk and cardiovascular events”.

Copyright ©2013 holistic moms network


Our Planet, Our Selves:

Our planet is not called “Mother Earth” for only symbolic reasons. We have been born to and from this Earth. We are not simply on this planet but of this planet. Unless we learn to take care of our home, we will all be prematurely buried six feet deep under it.

The Earth’s Symptoms and What to do about Them

Just as the human body can become ill, so can a

by Dana Ullman, MPH

manufacturing plants are the rain forests, and they

planet’s body. Global pollution is turning the Earth prematurely gray. Our planet is presently experiencing a global warming, a fever and inflammatory condition that is slowly cooking us all. The life-giving blood of the planet is in great disorder as a result of water pollution, and the planet’s respiration is being choked by air pollution. Our planet’s most efficient oxygenare being wiped out at an alarming rate, and anemic soil conditions are creating biological malnourishment and chronic fatigue, turning lush plant life into desert. The more complex web of life on our planet is, the more stable and sustainable it is. And yet, the overuse of pesticides (like antibiotics) indiscriminately kills both “pests” and “friends” alike. Worst of all, pesticides over-simplify and destroy the complex web of life, often turning a “solution” into a greater problem. Overpopulation is creating congestion, a type of constipation in which increased waste build-up leads to diminished capabilities of storage and elimination. Toxic waste sites have become the planet’s newest infections, resulting in corrosive materials opportunistically oozing and seeping out wherever they can.

“The creature that wins against its environment destroys itself.” Gregory Bateson 18

Of greatest long-term potential danger to our Mother Earth is nuclear waste storage, which creates a hereditary disturbance that can strike at the heart of the planet’s life. Such storage becomes the Earth’s legacy. It is a Pandora’s Box that must never be opened, and yet, we can only hope that time and circumstance does not disturb or open it. Copyright ©2013 holistic moms network

Like the human body’s response to symptoms, the planet’s

Acting as individuals, we can also reduce the toil and

symptoms are its efforts to call attention to a problem, to

trouble that our lifestyle creates for our environment. We

reduce it, and to attempt to heal itself. Sometimes, how-

can also encourage the companies for which we work and

ever, the stress is persistent, and the Earth cannot

other companies with whom we do business to become

heal itself adequately or rapidly enough against the ravages

ecologically concerned, both in the products they create

of our progressive human race. It adapts, it deforms

and how they manufacture them. Ultimately, every action

itself, and it rids itself of any vulnerable life form­­—even if

and every purchase can be considered for their environmental

it means destroying its children to save itself.


Ignoring symptoms of the Earth or simply providing

Although these efforts are vital for our survival and for

short-term “solutions” that suppress (or bury) the problem

that of our children, we can do more. Due to the already

does not create real healing. Biomimicry (the application of

present environmental problems, we can now go on a

technologies that mimics nature’s wisdom) uses nature

“planetary diet.” We can extend our efforts beyond simply

as a model and as a mentor for sustainability. The closer

maintaining the Earth as it is to ways that will help the

that our technologies mimic nature’s sophisticated,

Earth recover from her severe illness. It is incumbent

evolved state, the more likely these technologies will be

upon us all to encourage governments to make more

a part of the real solution and less likely to create new

forthright efforts to clean up the mess we have created.

problems. It has been said that one person’s right to wave a fist ends Efforts to control, outwit, or dominate nature are ultimately

where another’s nose begins. Because everything in this

detrimental to human health and survival. Human health

home planet is so interconnected, our nose, metaphorically

is more dependent on the health of the planet than the

speaking, is actually much larger than most of us realize,

planet is dependent on human health. Until and unless

not just to fists but to various environmental assaults.

we learn to live in harmony in our home planet, we will

The effect of everyone’s actions has repercussive and

be expelled from this once pristine Garden of Eden.

cascading effects. Unless we learn to live lightly on our planet, our children will carry the heavy burden of our

We are finally waking up to the need for a healthy home,

conscious and unconscious indiscretions.

both for our own and our planet’s benefit. It is now becoming patriotic to conserve energy, to recycle, and to use biodegradable products, though some individuals and companies are just pretending to be green as a clever marketing tool (“greenwashing”).

Dana Ullman, MPH has become one of the most popular health writers at the Huffington Post (see his work at: He has also written 10 books on homeopathic medicine (, including

There are innumerable decisions that each person makes

Everybody’s Guide to Homeopathic Medicines, Homeopathic Medicines for Children and

every day that can slightly and sometimes greatly reduce

Infants, and The Homeopathic Revolution.

the Earth’s resources. By making these decisions more

He practices homeopathy in Berkeley, CA.

consciously, we can learn to live in greater harmony with our home.

Copyright ©2013 holistic moms network

and “sees” many patients via Skype and telephone. Dana serves on the Advisory Board of HMN.


Small Changes Can Make A

Huge Difference by Leslie Reichert

When we think of all the different things that stress the Earth, it’s hard to believe that what we do inside our homes can really make a difference. Making a few changes in your family’s habits doesn’t seem like we’re doing much to help our environment. But try multiplying those small changes by the number of homes in the U.S. and you’ll start to see where we can make an impact. 20

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There are 115 million households

Switch to a natural cleaner for scrubbing your kitchen

in the U.S. so when we multiply

to have seven carcinogens and 146 airborne allergens.

sink. One very popular cleaning scrub has been found

a small change by that number,

Instead, try making a natural scrub that will work just as

everything becomes impactful.

and oxygen bleach with a few drops of an essential oil and

Here is an example of one change that could make a real

the recipe and a video on how to make and use this scrub,

difference to our water system. The EPA web site states that the average home in the U.S. uses 400 gallons of water every day and 108 gallons of that goes down the toilet. If you are using a “lazy mans” toilet cleaner (meaning you put something in the tank that adds a chemical every time your flush) you are tainting 108 gallons of water with a cleaning chemical EVERY DAY. By switching to an all-natural toilet bowl cleaner, you can remove toxins in 25% of the water you are using in your home. If we could get everyone to switch to a greener toilet bowl cleaner, we could remove toxins from 12.5 billions of gallons of water every day! Here are some other simple things you can do in your home that will make a difference to you, your family and

well - if not better. Mix equal parts table salt, baking soda you will have the perfect scrub for your kitchen sink. For go to Stop creating a chemical cocktail in your home. Everyone knows that you shouldn’t mix cleaning chemicals like bleach and ammonia together in a bucket, but what happens when they mix in the air. Fumes from your cleaning products mix and can create a toxic environment for your family. Learn about the ingredients that are in the products you are using. You can use websites such as to find out what’s in the products you are using in your home. Put up a clothes line and hang dry some of your laundry. You don’t have to hang dry everything but try putting some items out in the sun instead of in the dryer. Not

the earth.

only will this save energy, but it will also save on the wear

Your bathroom faucet puts out two gallons of water a

your bed sheets outside in the sunshine. Give them a little

minute. If you brush your teeth for the recommended two minutes and leave the water running while you are brushing, you are wasting four gallons of water. An average family of four can save 11,680 gallons of water every year by turning off the water while they brush.

and tear of your clothes. You definitely want to hang dry spritz of lavender water (use a cup of vodka and 7 drops of lavender essential oil) and you’ll be amazed at how well you sleep. Leslie Reichert is a nationally recognized green living expert, author and radio personality that works

Keep your family healthier by keeping pollution out of

with, Martha Stewart Living Radio and

your home. WebMD recommends keeping your floors

numerous websites. She has been called the Martha

clean and fresh to keep your home’s indoor air quality at its best. A vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter will collect pollen, dander and even lead that can accumulate in your

Stewart of green cleaning and enjoys teaching and encouraging people on how to take the toxins out of their homes. She is changing the world, one spray bottle at a time.


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Copyright Š2013 holistic moms network

Copyright Š2013 holistic moms network


What does Nature Teach Us? by Cynthia Djengue

Everything we find in nature represents connection

may not get to the core of the Earth and rot it to the

to life, to one another. Yet, we are hearing about a

very end, we certainly do behave in destructive ways.

widening gap between nature and humans and how

Midway Films has made us aware of plastic being

this is currently affecting our environment. Climate

brought to our beaches with every wave and the fish,

change, the disappearing of bees, genetically modi-

birds and other ocean lovers are eating this material,

fied food, lack of clean water, melting ice around the

feeding it to their young on remote islands and dying

world. It seems tragic and yet, we do little about

from a malnutrition of sorts.

it. Some even joke, George Carlin calls it ‘arrogant meddling’ and we shouldn’t save the Earth, we can’t

Bees are disappearing. Why? Due to Colony Collapse

save the Earth and “that Environmentalists don’t

Disorder, (a term began in 2006 for the disappearance

give a Sh*t about the planet. The planet is fine, the

of honeybees), 1/3 of American bees died in 2012.

people are F*cked.”

The Agricultural Research Service (ARS), USDA and EPA all have their opinions on the disappearance


While George has a point I hasten to say that we are

of bees and will stand together in their response.

indeed destroying our own environment. While we

But, when you see the price of almonds rise Copyright ©2013 holistic moms network

exponentially this is directly related to bees. You can

learn that there are 365 million acres of GMO crops

learn more through the film, Vanishing of the Bees.

worldwide. The only way you can avoid eating GMOs is by eating ORGANIC. Most of Holistic Mamas do

Our icecaps are melting at a furious rate. According

so but there are so many of our friends and relatives

the New York Times in April 2013, Dr. Thompson, an

who don’t see the point. Yet, if you were to research

OSU glaciologist, discovered that “ice accumulated

Morgellons disease you will be quite disturbed.

over 1,600 years melted in 25 years.” This is detrimental to those whose populations thrive on water supplies.

With all of that said, our Mother Earth is beautiful

The Arctic, in particular, is being watched carefully

and even as I look on a map of mortality rates about

as this “region is rising twice as fast as anywhere else

women in the U.S., specifically in rural areas, who

in the world. Arctic ice is getting thinner, melting

are experiencing increased death rates I do not

and rupturing.”

hesitate to keep believing in the spirit and will of a population that will continue to connect across

Clean water is also an issue. According to

nations, have increased empathy for its animals, unsafe water kills 200

will demand better food, better water and cleaner

children every hour. That would probably include

resources. We have no way of knowing how a Higher

several blocks of families in your neighborhood. Can

Power might have a hand in all of this. This is not

you imagine? Climate change is also responsible for

to say that God/the Universe/Mother Nature is cre-

water contamination. “As climate change scenarios

ating an ice melt, a tornado there, a tsunami over

become increasingly reliable, existing infrastructure

here, rather, as humans connected to a higher power

will need to be adapted and planning of new systems

and higher purpose, we learn, sometimes in crisis

and services will need to be updated. Extreme

or tragedy, the importance of being kind to fellow

weather conditions are also reflected in the increased

humans. Thus, Nature is a gift for that reason. She

frequency and intensity of natural disasters. For

teaches us compassion and possibly the desire to

example, in 2010, over 200 million people were

create an even more beautiful world.

victims of natural disasters, including floods, with important repercussions for waterborne and waterrelated disease transmission.”

JCynthia Djengue, BA, MSW, CHC lives in Phoenix, AZ and works in healthcare marketing. She is a certified Holistic Coach, a Young Living Oils

Gentically Modified Food. Most of us in HMN have

representative and believes in all things spiritual

been outraged about GMO foods and their effects on

and holistic. Cynthia most enjoys writing on

our children. The issue first cropped up in 1994 with a tomato and grew from there. The Discovery Channel

spiritual topics and her Facebook business page can be found at

lists the top 10 GMO foods as sugar beets, potatoes, corn, tomatoes, squash, golden rice, soybean (in almost everything), oils, animal feed (eat an animal, eat a GMO food), and salmon. In GMO OMG we Copyright ©2013 holistic moms network


Gardening with Children

byJennifer Champion

While most children think that their food comes from the grocery store, packaged neatly in colorful boxes and sporting their favorite cartoon characters. I was no different, although most of my foods didn’t have cartoon characters on it. I thought vegetables just magically appeared on the shelves in the grocery store and in cans, nonetheless! 26

Copyright Š2013 holistic moms network

About two years ago, when my son was 3, I decided to

the foods that we feed our children, but more often

introduce him to the world of “Just Where Does My

than not we have no idea what is on them. We trust

Food Come From?” This began the process of tearing

that the stores will label them correctly, stock them

up my neatly manicured, society-approved backyard.

in the appropriate place, and hope that the stickers that

With my very active little boy bopping around the

appear to be missing just simply fell off. In reality,

backyard, I plunged my shovel in to the grassy area

the only way to be certain of what we are feeding our

on the side of the house and began the process of

children is to grow our own fruits and vegetables.

reclaiming our backyard. My son’s current fixation is on those little “Rolly-Pollies” and I put him on duty

Not all are blessed to have a substantial-sized backyard,

to pull them all out and provide them with relocation

but everyone has some space. There are canvas cloth

assistance. Teaching him to value all life, even the

bins such as those found at

smallest insects, is something important to me.

that don’t take up a great deal of room or exhaust the bank account! Maybe you live on a second story

He tired quickly of this task and we set in to digging

apartment floor and would like to try out the ledge

holes and planting our plants. The feeling of soil in

planters that straddle the railing or maybe a hanging

our fingers, the squish of the water turning the soil

planter of tomatoes or strawberries, which by the

in to mud, and the occasional squiggle of the worms

way are on the dirty dozen list to grow organically.

made my son squeal with delight. Watching the joy of my little boy experiencing the world around him

What I have witnessed from this experience is that he

and absorbing the experience.

is stronger in his desire to eat fresh fruits and vegetables, and chooses them over candy and other junk foods.

Juicing is also a huge aspect of our lives. Many of the

The delight of popping a blackberry from the bush

vegetables and fruits that we tend to in the garden

in the backyard conquers the delight of any store

become our beverages throughout the day. But what

bought treat with cartoon characters. The experiences

to do with all of that leftover pulp? Tossing it out

that we give our children, the time we take to teach

seemed so wasteful! So we turned it back in to fertil-

them where our foods come from, makes the imprint

izer for our garden and each morning my son duti-

upon their spirits and produces healthier individuals.

fully walks out to the backyard garden and pitches Jennifer Champion was once 350 pounds and at 5’5”

the pulp (and that morning’s pastured egg shells) in

she was morbidly obese, depressed and facing a diag-

to the plants. Each week the soil is carefully turned

nosis of PCOS. She took control of her life and

and the dried pulp is mixed in and used to provide

eventually enrolled in the UWS Masters of Human

further nutrients to the soil.

Nutrition and Functional Medicine program where she anticipates being part of the inaugural graduating class this coming December. She has defied the medical

Natural fertilizers, no pesticides, no herbicides and

community by correcting her PCOS to have

the selective use of natural predators and beneficial

a beautifully spirited little boy and plans to pursue her ND with endocrinology after completing her Masters

plant placement provide the best foundation for a

with UWS and is the creator of NeoGenesis Nutrition because everyone deserves

healthy garden. All parents want to feel good about

a New Beginning!

Copyright ©2013 holistic moms network


Nature Cure –

How Time Outdoors Affects Mental and Behavioral Health by Jennifer Bahr, ND


Copyright ©2013 holistic moms network

It is interesting how often naturopathic doctors, who

You are probably familiar with cortisol as a hormone that

have nature built in to their title, forget to mention the

contributes to weight gain/retention. It is a stress related

importance of being outdoors for health. We routinely

hormone, so it makes sense that taking a break to step

suggest exercise, but forget to say “outside”. I am guilty

into nature could help to reduce it. So nature can not

of it from time to time, partially because the bulk of my

only help you reduce stress, but may make it easier for

practice is homeopathy, and that alone is usually power-

you to lose weight as well. The ways your body can benefit

ful enough to get people taking better care of themselves.

from nature go on and on, but I won’t.

This is a huge misstep, especially for those of us who see mostly children as I do. It is even worse for me, as my

Writing this has been a good reminder for me. We are

practice is specialized in treating mental and behavioral

all connected to the earth and the environment. As a

health in children and adolescents.

naturopathic doctor, I spend more time worrying about removing the negative effects that come from modern

There are so many ways that cultivating a relationship

living than those effects that clearly show that our bodies

with nature, or even simply being outdoors, can help with

and minds have evolved to be part of nature, not separate

behavioral concerns. Outdoor activities often involve

from it. I am fortunate enough to live in a part of the

exercise, which leads to improved sleep, which in turn,

country where I can start my day walking my dog on the

leads to improved focus. In fact, studies have shown that

beach and take an afternoon hike through the redwoods.

playing in nature rather than indoors led to a 12%

I avail myself of this opportunity several times a week,

reduction in frequency and severity of ADHD symptoms

because I know how much better I feel from a walk out-

as well as improved academic performance and social

side than a run on a treadmill. I intend to start including

skills and enhanced creativity.

the word “outside” with my exercise recommendations on my treatment plans from this point forward. And consider

And what about depression? Let us not forget the impor-

this your addendum if I, or your doctor, has failed to

tance of vitamin D and the greatest natural source of it –

include it on your treatment plan.

the sun! Getting outside and playing in the sun, whether you are young or old, helps to alleviate depression not

See you on the trails!

only from the physical activity, but on a biochemical level Dr. Jennifer Bahr is a licensed naturopathic doctor

as well. Just twenty minutes of direct sunlight at the hot-

(ND) located in Santa Cruz, CA. She is an expert

test part of the day is enough to make your daily needs of

in homeopathy and the natural treatment of

vitamin D, which can boost you mood and your immune

children. She is among a small number of licensed

system. Keep in mind, sunscreen with an SPF in the

ND’s that specialize in child and adolescent mental

double digits will block your ability to make vitamin D.

and behavioral health. She believes in sustainable healthcare and uses treatment protocols focused on

So let your bare skin show for a bit, and eat some berries

stimulating the body’s natural ability to heal. You can

and leafy greens for lunch – both are high in antioxidants

read more about her at

and can help protect you from the harsher side of the

Her practice is at Fountainhead Naturopathic

sun’s rays.

Clinic (, in Capitola, CA where she and her colleagues are working to revolutionize mental healthcare with compassion and integrity.

Anything else? You bet. Studies have also demonstrated that spending time in nature decreases cortisol levels. Copyright ©2013 holistic moms network



Copyright Š2013 holistic moms network

Copyright Š2013 holistic moms network


Tell us a little about yourself

slippers/flip-flops so it feels better to my feet. After years of being a brown thumb, I’ve just planted my first garden

I come from a substantial extended maternal family built

ever, in the front lawn consisting of organic heirlooms--

by female relations who immigrated from Viet Nam to the

Three Sisters (native corn, squash, & beans), watermelon,

US as refugees twice-over almost 40 years ago. Hailing

and cucumbers. I winged it so I am keeping my fingers

from Honolulu and San Diego, I’ve made my home in the


diverse San Francisco Bay Area since 1998. I am currently chapter (Fremont, Union City, & Newark).

What is your number one holistic passion and why?

My husband and I have been together 14 years and mar-

My passion is the Childbearing Year as a wholistic journey

ried for 7. We are parents to one 5-year old girl so far,

into matresence/patresence (the rite of passage of becom-

who reminds me that my future grandchildren are

ing a mother/father) that stretches one’s skin, grows one’s

present in the universe and that I am an Ancestor-in-

heart, deepens one’s soul. Having a child is challenging-

Training. I am blessed to have a loving & supportive

-whether through birth or adoption--and it takes us to

family that is allowing me to follow my bliss and live

the core of our Selves and we are remade as a new Self.

authentically and meaningfully. After circling around

As a society, we focus attention on pregnancy/birth and

birthwork for a decade, I am a now a BIRTHING FROM

of course, baby, and very little attention is focused on the

WITHIN_ Childbirth Mentor & Doula and a Reiki Mas-

postpartum needs of the mother & father; postpartum is

ter Practitioner. I also do Blessed Event photography

such a tender, vulnerable, and precious time that should


be supported, honored, and celebrated. We need the

an active member of the Holistic Moms Network Tri-City

intensive support of our tribe(s) throughout the childTrained as an anthropologist a lifetime ago, I enjoy

bearing year to thrive and be empowered as parents, as a

adapting time-honored traditions and feminine

family, and as whole people. I honor feminine knowledge

knowledge to a modern setting. I dabble in urban

and ancestral wisdom and seek to restore them as sacred

homesteading/permaculture, cooking, knitting, writing

commons. The dreams of mothers will truly heal the

poetry & prosery, blogging, art, holistic parenting, pho-


tography, biking, yoga, and reiki. I recently took up “barefoot” jogging which is a lot like scuffling about


Copyright ©2013 holistic moms network

June 2013


Leilani Nguyen Tri-City Chapter How do you make your connection to the Earth and the environment?

it’s transformed the way we’ve experienced car-

There are many ways we integrate connection to Mother

though my husband and I have been several times, being

Earth in our family. Besides gratitude prayers, minimizing waste and using sustainable/used products, I seek parenting & children’s books/games that celebrate the Sacred Feminine which embodies our primal connection to Mother Earth. I teach my daughter to honor the Goddess within and respect/connect to the

camping/car-oriented destinations like Lake Tahoe. We recently biked for the first time in Yosemite Valley; on a bike was such a personal and freeing way to explore, discover, and experience little pockets of delight and natural wonder away from the cars/traffic and crowds. I will never forget riding through the Yosemite pines with my wolfcub daughter howling for sheer joy under the awe-inspiring backdrop of Half Dome.

sacred without. She loves her magical birth story and understands the power of her body to create life; a lot of her self-directed play involves pregnancy and birth (albeit of animals). My husband engages her in building and

What do you love about the community you have found with HMN?

maintaining the raised bed garden he made in the backyard to teach her our fundamental connection to

Discovering the local chapter when we relocated to

food source. We’ve been playing Wildcraft to teach her

Fremont almost 2 years ago was a blessing. I came to

about plant medicine and the healing that is innately

HMN at a time when I was in self-hibernation to restore

available in nature. We are all Reiki practictioners in our

my health and self; my chapter has been an integral part

family so we teach her to channel healing energy to the

of my journey emerging to wholeness. I found a like-

earth, to animals, to plants.

minded vibrant community of families that offer their experience, wisdom, knowledge, support, humor, food,

Since she is a little young for long/rigorous nature walks,

and love. Best of all, our children are growing up

last year we got a used Trek tandem trailer bike and have

together immersed in this collective consciousness. Now

logged maybe a thousand miles from bike riding around

if only we could all live in the same neighborhood, then

town, along trails, camping. When we bike in town to

we could truly have a village!

appointments, parks, or errands, we experience more of the urban wildlife that exists around us that is invisible when one is in a car. When we “getaway to nature”, Copyright ©2013 holistic moms network


June 2013


Parvathi Kumar Co-Leader for Somerset County, NJ

Parvathi Kumar is the Co-Leader for Somerset County, NJ and on the photography team for The Wise Mom. Tell us a little about yourself.

What are your holistic passions? I’m interested in various holistic endeavours

I have two sons, a husband, I live in central NJ.

such as yoga, ayurveda, vegetarianism and green

I’m a photographer covering portraits and events living. as well as exhibiting work in various galleries and venues through central NJ. Also, I’m a yoga

How do you connect to the earth?

teacher in Bridgewater, NJ. How do I connect to the earth? I love to hike and My formal academic background is in Electrical

be in nature. I enjoy gardening and composting.

Engineering and Computer Science. I worked as a telecom software engineer for ten years. I play classical guitar and am trained in South Indian Classical Dance as well.


Copyright ©2013 holistic moms network

June 2013


Astrid Magana Orlando, FL

Astrid Magana is on the photography team for The Wise Mom.

Tell us a little about yourself.

What are your holistic passions? #1 Holistic Passion : I try to be as natural as

My name is Astrid Magana, I go by Astro. I am

possible. I love learning how mother nature can

the wife of a sweet fun guy, the mom of a little

keep us strong and healthy, there is always a

girl who makes me smile all the time. I am an

natural alternative for everything.

animal lover, I live with three dogs, a fish and a hamster. I am a vegetarian that believes we can

How do you connect to the earth?

have a kind natural diet. What do I do to connect with the earth? I don’t I am a photographer, I specialize in maternity,

think there is a better way to connect with the

birth, newborn and kids photography. I have

earth than with our diets and interaction with

been in love with photography since I was very

nature. Learning how to grow our food and get

young. I see photography as the only way of stop- it from the backyard to your plate. ping time and making a moment last forever.

Copyright Š2013 holistic moms network


wonderful weeds

by Angela Tiberio


Copyright Š2013 holistic moms network

Spring has arrived and so have many of the wonderful, yes

After gathering the young tender green nettle tops (always

wonderful weeds that flourish this time of year! We can

use gloves) cook or steam nettle and use in recipes as you

find nettles, dandelions, lamb quarters, chickweed, and

would spinach such as soufflés, stir fries, and soups. The

more, growing abundantly in our fields at Lavender Moon

dried leaves make a very nourishing tea alone or it can be

Herb Gardens. We are out harvesting these vital, medicinal,

blended with other herbs. Simply infuse 1-2 teaspoons of

edible roots and greens that are so welcomed. Harvesting weeds

dried herbs in 8 ounces of hot, boiled water for ten minutes

for food and medicine has so many benefits. It is cost

or up to several hours if you want a strong, mineral rich brew.

effective, reconnects us to nature and provides us with tremendous nutrition. Most wild weeds are far superior in

Cleavers (galium aparine) are a delicious tender plant that

vitamins and minerals than their cultivated cousins.

can be added to salads if they are harvested before they begin to flower. Cleavers are often found in the garden and in

Dandelion (taraxacum officinale) leaves, flowers and roots

the woods where the ground is moist. When used fresh

are all edible. The tender leaves are less bitter if gathered

(or dried and used with 6 months), they make a wonderful

in the early spring before the flower appears. Although,

diuretic tea and are soothing to the kidneys and urinary

they can be gathered anytime from April to October. Older,

tract. Try are also an excellent lymphatic cleanser and I

tougher leaves can be briefly boiled to remove some of the

use them often in a tincture form (they are best preserved

bitterness. The leaves contain high amounts of vitamin C

this way) for swollen glands, tonsillitis, and ear infections.

and A, potassium, iron, and calcium. Simple toss them into salads or try marinating them in olive oil, apple cider

When harvesting plants from the wild, stay away from

vinegar, and garlic.

busy roads (gas fumes) or fields that may be sprayed with chemical fertilizers or weed cleaners, and of course, be

Roots of the dandelion dug in the spring are high in the

sure to know what you are picking. As crazy as it seems,

plant constituent taraxcin. Taraxcin helps the liver rid the

I recommend that people plant some of these weeds in

body of toxins, metabolize fat, lower cholesterol and eases

their garden so they know what they’re harvesting until

chronic constipation. These roots can be washed and sautéed

they become familiar with the plants.

with other vegetables roots, dried and drank as a tea or roasted in the oven at 250 degrees for 30-45 minutes,

Although there are several good books written on plant

then ground and prepared like coffee.

identification, you’ll learn more in an afternoon on a lively herb walk than you will from reading books.

We prepare a tonic spring tincture from the dandelion roots here at Lavender Moon, which can help improve one’s digestion after a long winter.

Angela Tiberio is a graduate of the apprenticeship program of the internationally-known herbalist Rosemary Gladstar. She also completed an advanced clinical apprenticeship with many other

Nettle, (Urtica dioica) a powerful, prickly weed that springs up everywhere this time of year, is a very nutritious

world-renowned herbalists. She is a member of the Northeast Herbal Association, United Plant Savers, American Herbalists Guild, and the Northeast

plant full of calcium and iron. I incorporate it into my

Organic Farmers Association of New York. Angela is the owner of Lavender Moon

springtime diet as well as my tea formulas. Nettle should

Herbs in upstate New York.

never be eaten raw. When cooked or dried however, it loses its sting but not its amazing nutritional or medicinal properties. Copyright ©2013 holistic moms network


tips for creating a healthy home AND A HEALTHIER PLANET!

by Caroline Blazovsky

Simply cleaning up your home environment and creating a healthy living space for you and your family can help the planet. These four easy steps will get your on your way to living a healthier life and also make a contribution to the Earth. Tip #1 -Remove Clutter (This means recycle, reuse, and remove.) Start looking around the house for ways to de-clutter your home. Community programs like Free-cycle allow you to share unused things in your home


by giving them to other members of the community who can use them. This helps to keep unwanted items from ending up in landfills and allows us to recycle items so they can be used more than once. A win for Earth! Having clutter around the house prevents you from being able to clean properly. Remember, dust likes to hide in, around and under objects, leading to an increase in allergens in the home. Keeping items off the floor allows you to properly vacuum and wash floors which helps reduce dust mites. A win for you!

Tip #2 -Pick a HEPA vacuum and an energy efficient, less toxic vacuum for the earth. When searching for a vacuum you can also make a contribution to the earth. Make sure to pick a unit that is more energy efficient as well as a brand made by a Copyright Š2013 holistic moms network

company that is reducing environmental impacts. Many

a cutting board, reduce mold in a bathroom shower, and

companies have reduced or phased out their use of PVC

deter ants from invading your kitchen. It is also great for

(polyvinylchloride), check to see if you are purchasing a

cleaning windows, flooring and countertops with its natural

brand that is helping the planet. Also placing a call to a

antibacterial properties.

company requesting PVC free products can also be helpful tor your family. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection

Tip #4 -Reduce Volatile Organic Compounds

Agency, long-term exposure has been associated with liver

and help improve your homes air quality and make an

damage and increased risk for a rare liver cancer. This

impact on global warming. Ever notice that intense odor

product in on my list to remove in homes, especially those

when you open paint, nail polish, automobile products?

with very young children.

The odor comes from VOC (volatile organic compounds) and they are found in our homes in abundance. They are

A vacuum can be your wisest investment. One of the main

also major culprits in global warming. We do not want

culprits in homes is dander. Dander or skin cells can

them in your house, or our planet. You can also test your

be produced by humans as well as pets. When buying a

home to see if you are being exposed to these toxins

vacuum, select a unit with a HEPA filter. This will allow

without your knowledge.

you to clean your home more thoroughly, and pick up microscopic dander that can accumulate in your home

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) can be emitted from

and cause allergies.

personal care products, carpet, furniture, paint, building products and fragrances. When these VOC levels become

Tip #3 -Clean with Vinegar and purchase/ create products that are healthier for the Earth. Some of my favorite cleaning products are ones

elevated in a home, individuals may suffer from

that we can create ourselves. Keep some products on

any construction projects, reduce using fragrances in the

hand such as lemon juice, vinegar, hydrogen peroxide,

home and store harsh chemicals (paints, solvents, cleaners

baking soda, milk, water and salt. You can make all sorts of

and pesticides) away from occupied spaces, ideally outside

concoctions that will be effective at cleaning all sorts of

in a shed or storage area.

numerous symptoms such as headaches, malaise, asthma and respiratory irritation. Try to ventilate the house during

problems. Find resources that will help you make your own

Caroline Blazovsky, AmericaÅfs Healthy Home Expert

products or consult an expert to help you. Products that

is a nationally recognized home expert Certified Mold

make a healthier home also work simultaneously to make

Remediator-CMR, an indoor air quality specialist /

a healthier planet. Seeking natural ways to do things,

Certified Indoor Environmentalist-CIE, with educational background in sustainable design from Boston

helps you to be more eco-friendly to the planet. By using

Architectural College She is a member IAQA, and

Biomimicry (looking at the earth’s way of doing things

resides on the National IAQA Green Committee,.

and trying to mimic that in our own homes), you create a

Caroline is a media resource in television, radio and

healthier planet and a healthier you.

print and is President of My Healthy Home, LLC. She is available for consultations. Consult on testing for contaminants in the home, reducing the use of chemicals, improving indoor air quality, mold, and using more

Selecting a natural cleaning product is always a great

environmentally-friendly building materials and products. Learn more at

option. Using white distilled vinegar and water as a cleaning

agent can help reduce bacteria, mold and pests in your home. Vinegar has been shown to eliminate bacteria on Copyright ©2013 holistic moms network



Copyright Š2013 holistic moms network

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