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Natural Awakenings Charlotte

December 2021 Upcoming Issue

Healing in Community plus Boosting Immune System 

Feature: Uplifting Humanity                    

Byline: Linda Sechrist                         

In these days when so many of us are feeling separated and isolated from each other, approaches that bring people together in small groups offer participants valuable opportunity for healing and wholeness. These community gatherings known as wisdom circles, story circles, power of eight intention circles, support groups, prayer circles and dialogue circles, invite people to share experiences, find creative solutions to societal issues and mentor each other’s growth. Sidebars offer best practices for  starting and maintaining a circle.


Healthy Ways: Boosting Immune System                                        

Byline: Ronica O’Hara                         

In addition to getting enough sleep, exercise and plant-based foods, we can boost our immunity during this stressful season by adding specific adaptogens and mushroom powders into our daily routine. Such adaptogens as astralagus and panax ginseng, and mushrooms like reishi and turkey tail perform specific functions in the immune system that keep our body in balance and boost our resistance to illness. As powders, they can be easily added into drinks or foods, and they can also be taken as tinctures or pills.


Fit Body: Holiday Zen                                                          

Byline: Marlaina Donato 

Despite our best efforts, holiday time can frazzle our nerves and snag us in an unhealthy loop of overindulgence. But we can avoid that pitfall with such strategies as five-minutes bursts of exercise or dancing, eating foods like berries and walnuts to boost serotonin and dopamine levels in the brain, conscious mouth breathing, allowing ourselves power naps, meditating using easy apps and cancelling guilt when we enjoy the office party dessert table.                                                                                                              


Healthy Kids: Best Books for Kids                                     

Byline: Sandra Yeyati                         

Helping children learn to read and love books is one of the most important parental endeavors. Choosing books for kids should always start by discovering what their passions or interests are and then finding a good book on that subject. A great children’s book will include an engaging character that has an experience, prompting them to change and grow. A diversity of authors and illustrators that explore the lives of all cultures will help kids realize  how alike we all are, and nuanced fiction will invite kids to use their imagination and find their own way. Includes a sidebar pointing to websites and organizations with award-winning book suggestions.


Wise Words: Thomas Moore on the Art of Listening                                

Byline: Marlaina Donato

The bestselling author, Jungian-based psychotherapist, musician and former monk discusses why too often today we debate rather than converse, why it’s important to find peace in ourselves so we can listen well, and why he finds reason to be an optimist because he sees us slowly evolving into a more humane community of Earth beings.

Conscious Eating: Low-Sugar Holidays                      

Byline: Christy Ratliff

Sugary treats are embedded in our holiday traditions, yet they do little to actually make us feel merry and bright in the long run. Sugar increases the risk of heart disease and diabetes, ruins our teeth, and may contribute to poorer mental health. Exacerbating the problem, many everyday foods like bread and catsup contain large amounts of hidden sugars. Some solutions include deciphering product labels, adding spices and herbs, and taking chromium picolinate as a supplement to reduce cravings. Includes recipes for baklava cookie cups, baked apples, dark chocolate bark and honey lavender cookies.


Green Living: Mindful Holidays                                           

Byline: Sandra Yeyati

This holiday season can be an opportunity not just to make sustainable choices, but to take strategic action that positively impacts the planet and inspires friends and family to join the environmental cause. Suggested strategies include cooking plant-based meals with locally sourced produce, choosing non-beef alternatives like sustainably produced fish and chicken, wrapping gifts with fabric instead of paper, sending greeting cards that are biodegradable, avoiding toxic glitter that adds to the microplastics problem, decorating with a potted living tree, and giving gifts like electric bicycles, hiking shoes, plants,and donations to Earth-friendly causes.


Natural Pet: Dog Toys                                                              

Byline: Karen Shaw Becker 

Most healthy dogs retain their love of play throughout their lives, and they are fascinated (at least temporarily) with toys made just for them. A pup’s temperament, size and age all play a role in determining which toys are safe for them. Other considerations are based on the toy itself, such as materials used, size, shape and more. Many rubber and plastic toys contain harmful toxins, so toys made in the U.S. out of 100 percent natural rubber, organic cotton or other eco-friendly and contaminant-free materials are the best choice. The sidebar offers advice for choosing toys that are safe, as well as identifying toys that require close supervision or should be avoided.

Inspiration: The Soul of Winter                                           

Byline: Marlaina Donato

In the ancient world, fire festivals marked holy days celebrating the sun’s promise of return in a time of hardship. Today, something inside our ancestral memory makes us crave celebration as we wrap the year’s end in shiny ribbon, ethereal lights and scented candles. Winter can feel long, so it’s time to treat our senses by buying a few yards of red velvet to sleep on or picking up that long-anticipated novel.

Eco-Tip: Eco-Food Practices                                                             

Small incremental changes in the way we buy and store food can add up to a healthier planet. Strategies include buying staples in bulk, making foods from scratch rather than buying them processed, using Mason jars to preserve and store foods, using reusable washcloths and napkins rather than paper goods. and cleaning dishes with a bristled wooded dish brush rather than bacteria-laden disposable sponges.

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