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Natural Awakenings Charlotte

July 2021 Upcoming Issue



Feature: Food as Medicine                                                       

Byline: Julie Peterson

Even though poor diets may cause 45 percent of America’s deaths from heart disease, stroke and diabetes, the Standard American Diet turns out to be a hard habit to break. But with research building that documents the critical nature of a healthy, largely plant-based diet, the medical community is taking nutrition more seriously. Consumers are learning to eat the rainbow in produce and to choose foods that nurture gut microorganisms. It includes sidebars on shifts in the medical field and the impact of food choices on the planet.


Healing Ways: Better Sleep                                               

Byline: Ronica O’Hara                        

Being sleep-deprived makes us not only crabby but also prone to obesity, depression and heart disease, which is why it makes sense to strategically structure our bedtime routines. Munching on doze-inducing foods, wearing amber glasses to block out blue light, writing out a to-do list for the next day, snuggling into a weighted blanket and taking a melatonin pill are all study-proven approaches to obtaining deeper, better slumber. Sidebars discuss soporific essential oils and sounds to fall asleep by, including meditations, music and narrated stories.


Fit Body: Running as a Spiritual Practice                                           

Byline: Marlaina Donato

Running is usually regarded as competitively engaging and rewarding for physical health and well-being, but it also has a deeply spiritual side. Pressing our feet upon the Earth directs our attention to our inner emotional terrain and bodily sensations, trains us to use our breath with mindfulness, clears our mind of clutter and develops the skills of discipline that help us master the art of living. Tips in a sidebar include breathing instructions and advice to leave a watch and phone at home.


Healthy Kids: Kids Love Pets                                                               

Byline: Ronica O’Hara                        

Up to 90 percent of kids are lucky enough to live at least a while with a dog, cat, hamster or other animal, and the effects are profound on kids’ health, character development and well-being. Research shows that pets offer a refuge to kids when they’re overwhelmed, boost their immunity, help them build social skills and teach them responsibility. Sidebars offer advice to parents on how to weigh a pet decision, what breeds are family-friendly, when smaller animals might be better and how to teach a child safety around dogs.


Wise Words: Peter Singer on Ethical Eating                                                     

Byline: Sandra Yeyati

The Princeton bioethics professor and author of the influential Animal Liberation says food is an ethical issue because of the environmental impact of factory-farmed animals, the suffering they endure and the fact that the farms are breeding grounds for new viruses. The most important ethical choice we can make is to avoid animal products, he says, and he predicts that as vegan products become more available and cheaper, people will be encouraged to switch to animal-free diets.


Conscious Eating: Green Grilling                                                         

Byline: Laura Paisley Beck

Nothing says summer like barbecue sizzling on the grill, and happily, practical steps can be taken to lower any environmental downside. The chemicals in charcoal and lighter fluids can be avoided by using charcoal made from bamboo or coconut shells. The environmental impacts of producing and shipping mass-produced beef can be sidestepped by using local grass-fed beef or creating plant-based alternatives. And guests can bring their own plates to avoid paper and plastic dinnerware. The article includes two recipes for the grill.


Inspiration: The Power of Play                                                    

Byline:Marlaina Donato

Mirth has been a memory for many this past year, yet research shows that snippets of playtime are good for the soul and reduce depression while increasing emotional resilience. It’s time to make a to-do list dedicated to pure, illogical fun that might include everything from playing with clay to blowing bubbles in the shower to acting out charades or playing a favorite childhood game.

Green Living: Urban Gardening                                                           

Byline: Laura Paisley Beck

For a lot of Americans, especially in cities, healthy food is scarce. Inspired in part by the pandemic, creative solutions are emerging, with gardens popping up everywhere from spare rooms to rooftops to empty warehouses. Front-yard gardeners are offering their produce to family, friends and passersby, and some communities are organizing websites in which farmers and community gardens can upload their offerings.


Natural Pet: Dog Treats                                                     

Byline: Amy Coyle

Store-bought dog treats require oil, energy and water to produce and transport, but dog treats made at home are simple, low-cost, free of dubious ingredients like meat by-products and bleaching agents—and certain to wag a tail. No special equipment is required, and sometimes it’s as simple as reaching into refrigerator for raw carrots. Two recipes are included.


Eco Tip: Composting                                                              

Food waste rotting in landfills accounts for almost a quarter of U.S. methane emissions, but with planning and a little effort, uneaten food can be composted into “black gold” that enriches garden soil. It requires a bucket in the kitchen, a bin or pile in the yard and the practice of alternating green layers of food waste and grass clippings with brown layers of dried leaves and shredded cardboard.

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