Archive | May, 2012

Natural Awakenings’ Fit Club 2012 PDX

Posted on 08 May 2012 by Jason

Hello Natural Awakenings magazine readers! We are happy to announce our three Fit Club Members for the eight-week Spring Program. We are excited to share their stories so you can follow along on the adventure, and we hope you can participate in the workshops.

Jenny Dempsey Stein, 41
Volunteer environmental grant writer, stay-at-home mom and seeking employment.

I applied for Fit Club because I was initially very intrigued by the combination of holistic training, yoga, ayurvedic philosophy, fitness and writing. I have been searching for an appropriate program, but have not felt comfortable in larger fitness clubs.
I hope to get my body back after two rear-end collisions in two years—specifically, to restore my strength, flexibility and vitality to my arms and back and to bring back some personal confidence.
I expect that I will try different types of bodywork, including yoga and aerobic conditioning, that will show me ways to overcome limitations and stretch what is possible. I expect to learn more about weight training, a topic I am unfamiliar with. I see Fit Club as a gathering of people who want to be their personal best, but know they need to work at it, open up to new ideas and let go of what no longer serves them.
My worst habit: I tend to crave sweets under stress or after a long parenting day.
In my youth, I was an avid runner and then turned to hiking and hatha yoga in my 20s. I moved to Oregon after college in New York and enjoyed a lot of outdoorsy field work and tree planting with the Forest Service, Americorps and Friends of Trees. I studied massage therapy for a while and did some sports event massage, before focusing on a career in environmental resources and sustainability. My husband and I have two active children and we really enjoy involvement with their school, especially supporting green and place-making initiatives. In my spare time I love to do organic gardening, harvest fruit, walk my dog, listen to music and go to estate sales.

Maury Evans, 51
Massage therapist and corporate travel agent has been reading Natural Awakenings magazine for about three months.

I am hoping this program will bring insight to food and how to understand and learn how to eat properly. I am looking for changes in my life and hoping this program will show me how to make those essential life changes. I joined Fit Club because I feel it is a holistic approach to physical, mental and spiritual wellness and possibly healing.
My worst habit: My worst habit is cookies and milk.
I grew up in Fort Collins, Colorado. I am one-half Native American (Lakota), enrolled on the Rosebud Sioux Reservation. I have a bachelor’s of art degree in theatre and my teaching credentials in Theatre and Speech Communications. I love to sing and act in theatre productions when I have time. I’ve never been athletic except dancing in musicals. However, last year, when I turned 50, I decided to try something I hadn’t done before: I chose to run a marathon. So, I trained for six months and ran the Portland Marathon in October 2011.

Denise Miller, 43, Medical Assistant Student
A new reader to Natural Awakenings magazine, I applied to Fit Club because I wanted to heal my whole self, not just lose weight but help my soul and better my life.

I want to be healthy enough to keep up with my kids, grandkids and job after graduation. I want to be happy with me and in my life. I want “wholeness.” My expectations are to learn ways to better my health and lose weight—both body and emotional. I think Fit Club is a heart, mind and body program.
My worst habit: lack of trust and overeating (sorry; that was two).
Eleven years ago, I moved to Oregon leaving my family (parents, sibling and oldest children) in Arizona to be with my husband and his family. About two and a half years ago, I was diagnosed with breast cancer, which led to a double mastectomy and chemotherapy. I don’t think I have completely bounced back, but I work at it every day. At the same time, I was in treatment for cancer, my husband, Ron, was in Iraq for 12 months. We are currently separated and I am now a single mom. I go to school every day for Medical Assistant classes and I come home to take care of my youngest children. A rundown on my children: We have seven—His, Mine and Ours. Amanda, who is 25, Cassey 24, Courtney 22, Ashley 21 and Jordan, our youngest girl, 20. They have all moved away and four of the five (all but Ashley) have a child. My two youngest children still at home are 14-year-old twin boys who are pretty self sufficient for the most part but still a lot of energy.
There is me in a tiny little nutshell.

We will keep you posted on our journey with Fit Club. If you would like to join us for a workshop, visit (workshops) for more information. They are all free (by donation only) and open to the public. We hope to see you there.

Denny Richard is a Life Coach, Wellness Coach, Personal Trainer and Yogi. He has been writing since 2005 and has published a book on wellness: Mirror/Mirror – A Holistic Approach to Living Well. \ 971.533.8622.

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Six Ways to Improve Digestion with Chinese Medicine: Focus on the Spleen. by Elie Cole

Posted on 08 May 2012 by Jason

So, you go to an acupuncturist and you really enjoy the experience. You feel relaxed, your energy increases, your digestive system feels better and your stress level comes down. But why does your acupuncturist always talk about your Spleen? You have never heard your doctor mention it. Don’t a lot of people get their spleens surgically removed?
From the western medical perspective, the spleen is part of the immune system. It produces white blood cells and filters the blood to remove damaged or abnormal red blood cells. It also stores red blood cells. The spleen is, in fact, surgically removed when it ruptures. Although spleen removal is not considered a life-threatening issue, it does weaken the immune system.
From the Chinese medical perspective, the Spleen is considered one of the most important organs. The function of the Spleen can best be explained with metaphors, so for a visual person, this can really make a lot of sense. Everyone else should hang in there and try to tap into the imagination.
The Spleen and Stomach are the two primary organs of digestion. If the Stomach is the sous-chef, then the Spleen is the bubbling cauldron. The Stomach accepts the food as it comes into the kitchen and chops it up making it ready for the soup that the Spleen is responsible for cooking. As the Spleen begins to cook the food sent over (metaphorically speaking) by the Stomach, steam arises from that bubbling cauldron. That steam is the fuel that enables all the other organs in the body to function properly. In Chinese, that steam is called Qi.
If when making a soup the pot was beginning to boil and steam was starting to rise, then a pitcher of ice water was poured into it, it would certainly halt the process of cooking. It would halt the process of breaking down the food, and extracting the nutrients. The steam would not arise and, therefore, the function of the rest of the organs would begin to decline.
This is what can happen with the consumption of ice cold drinks with meals or cold foods like ice cream or frozen fruit smoothies. Salads and raw vegetables, although they may not come straight out of a cold fridge, are considered cold in their energetic properties. The digestive system works best when it is kept warm by food and drink.
Everyone wants their organs to function optimally, right? Well, there are a few things that can be done to avoid the predicament of pouring ice water into a boiling soup.

1. Drink room temperature or warm water with meals or all the time.

2. Eat soup! It’s the perfect food, according to Chinese nutritional theory. It is warm, cooked, has vegetables in it and is already in the most easily digestible form.

3. Lightly steam veggies (even the ones put on top of a salad). Steaming starts the breakdown of cellulose or plant structure. It gives the digestive system a little head start. If there is any weakness in the digestive system (as most of us have), it can be hard for the body to break down purely raw vegetables. However, don’t cook them so much that all the nutrients are lost. Find the balance by steaming veggies (and even fruits like apples and pears) for a few minutes.

4. Decrease raw fruit and veggie intake in the winter. Increase raw fruits and veggie intake in the summer. When making a fruit smoothie, use un-frozen fruits or defrost them first. Then add some fresh ginger since ginger is warming and will balance the cool properties of the fruit.

5. Eat more frequent, but smaller and easier-to-digest meals.

6. Follow a daily routine in regards to eating, exercising and sleeping. The Spleen loves consistency and will function more optimally with a regular routine. Eating meals at about the same time each day, exercising during the same time of day, and going to bed and waking up around the same time each day will also contribute to a healthy Spleen.

The Spleen is the organ responsible for the creation of Qi, or the body’s vital energy. If the desire is to increase Qi and live a life full of vitality and energy, respect the Spleen by adopting some of the suggestions above. They are easy, simple and will nourish one’s body on many levels.

Elie Cole is owner of Nourishing Medicine and co-owner of Cypress Beauty & Wellness, located at 1616 SE Bybee Blvd., Portland. She can be reached at or

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LOCAL BEATS -May collection of musical highlights in our fair city

Posted on 08 May 2012 by Jason

A monthly collection of musical highlights in our fair city


Rumor has it that the month of May was named after Maia, the Roman goddess of spring and growth. Wildflowers begin to bloom, gardens begin to sprout, and your monthly calendar fills with must-see music engagements.


Save the date for Sophie Barker. Perhaps best known as one of the vocalists for downtempo faves “Zero 7” (alongside Sia Furler), the British chanteuse has also collaborated with electronica pioneers Groove Armada and Robin Guthrie of the Cocteau Twins. Last year, Barker recorded Seagull, her first-ever solo studio album and brings her tour to the states this May in support of the release. L.A.’s indie alt-rockers The Janks open.

Sat,. May 5, White Eagle Saloon, 836 N. Russell St., Portland, 9pm

Portland based singer-songwriter, Laura Veirs, released Tumble Bee: Laura Veirs Sings Folk Songs For Children last November to great acclaim, landing a Parent’s Choice Gold Award for the catchy and clever family folk album. Witness why the poetic performer is such a crowd favorite at two separate shows this month.

Sat., May 12, Doug Fir Lounge, 830 E. Burnside St., Portland, 9pm
Sun., May 13, Kennedy School, 5736 NE 33rd Ave., Portland, 1pm

Singer/songwriter/guitarist/ and all-around legend, Lindsey Buckingham, brings his intimate one-man show to the Aladdin in support of his most recent album Seeds We Sow. Expect to hear new songs, favorites from his previous solo albums, and of course a few Fleetwood Mac classics.

Fri., May 18, Aladdin Theater, 3017 SE Milwaukie Ave., Portland, 8pm

There must be something in the water in the UK because the Brits are churning out some amazing tunes as of late and Ben Howard is no exception. The English singer-songwriter’s voice is melodic and magnetic, a unique blend reminiscent of Jose Gonzales and Brett Dennen. Critically acclaimed Canadian singer-songwriter-guitarist Bahamas opens.

Tues. May 29, Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell St., Portland, 8pm

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Kitchen Compost Caddy – A PDX must have item.

Posted on 08 May 2012 by Jason

We don’t usually think of great design and kitchen compost at the same time, which may be why many of us don’t like our kitchen compost pails.
This is the kind of story Natural Awakenings loves to tell: A local guy looks at a commonplace problem and solves it beautifully, after others failed or never bothered to try in the first place. It’s even better because our favorite elements are in the story: fresh thinking creates a green product that makes it easier for other people to live green. What’s not to like?
Jeff Evans is an avid cook. He is also an avid recycler. In theory, he believed that composting kitchen scraps was a wonderful idea. He wanted to do the right thing. But he had some issues with the standard Portland compost pail. Although it represented a step in the right direction, it clearly had not yet arrived.
Evans isn’t the only person to notice this situation. The pail is not pretty. On a counter, it is an awkward height for a receptacle. In the sink, it gets in the way. No matter where it is, scraping a plate or peeling vegetables into the pail is a three-handed operation—hold the plate with one hand, hold the scraper in the other hand, and with yet another hand hold the lid of the pail open. Given this challenge, it’s common, at least occasionally, to miss the pail, which requires extra clean-up.
Evans didn’t like the mess; he didn’t like the ergonomics, and he didn’t appreciate the aggravation. He didn’t believe it should be this difficult to do the right thing. Aside from that, he understood that the reason most of us have for giving up on a green project is, “… it was too much trouble.”
Unlike most of us, Evans comes from a manufacturing-and-design background that goes back more or less to his birth. The family business supported microchip manufacturing. When he started on his own, he specialized in medical installations. Creating products that only halfway worked would have run him and his family out of business.
He had never given much thought to compost pails although that was about to change. Evans didn’t actually lie awake nights, but he’s not the type to let go of a challenge. He needed a simple, durable, attractive, affordable and convenient way to overcome the multiple objections to the standard-issue compost pail that showed up in every Portland household last October, and he designed and prototyped until he came up with one.
The result is the Kitchen Compost Caddy. Patent is pending, and it is being marketed right now out of the basement of Evans and his partner, Ron Summerow. As long as you still have the pail that Metro gave you, count on spending $29 plus a little for shipping. If you need another pail, it will cost a bit more.
The Kitchen Compost Caddy shows uncommonly good thought applied to a common situation. The metal frame mounts the compost pail inside the door of a kitchen cabinet. It screws into the door frame (screws are provided), and holes are pre-drilled for the most common dimensions. The rack and pail, once installed, allows the cabinet door to be closed without interference with the sink drain or garbage disposal. The compost pail slips solidly into its mounts at top and bottom, and it lifts out easily for emptying and cleaning. A small handle clicks positively into place to hold the lid of the pail open for food disposal, vegetable peeling and bag changing. And it clicks just as positively into the down position so the lid will fully close. Two models are offered: one with a basket to store a box of composting bags, and one without.
The powder-coat finish means this product will never rust or corrode. It is difficult to imagine how it could be broken. Everything comes from local sources; it’s all 100 percent recyclable, and final assembly takes place, for the time being, in Evans’ basement.
To make the deal smell sweeter—literally—Evans will throw in an activated-charcoal filter with mounting hardware to attach to the underside of the lid. Like that box of baking soda in the fridge, you’ll be glad to have it.
To have a perfect story, there needs to be a happy ending. This product is brand new, and it’s currently local to Portland. Evans hasn’t given up his day job. He’s promoting Kitchen Compost Caddy through trade shows, advertising and word-of-mouth. He is also looking at other cities which already require composting, or which will follow the trend soon. With his patent pending, he has yet to find any competition for this delightfully ‘common-sensical’ product, so the future looks bright.


For further details, or to order a Kitchen Compost Caddy, visit or call Jeff Evans at 503-206-5665.

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Natural Remedies for Seasonal Allergies by Dr. Lauri Grossman

Posted on 03 May 2012 by Jason

For many, spring brings joy via outdoor activities amid blossoming flowers and blooming trees, as they visit parks, hike through meadows and jog along roads in the warming air. For millions of allergy sufferers, however, the attendant airborne pollen brings bedeviling sneezes, congestion, teary eyes and runny noses. Hay fever alone, which affects 35 million Americans, shuts many of us indoors. Before resorting to such an extreme measure, try controlling allergic reactions using some of these simple suggestions.


The Mayo Clinic recommends that we begin by reducing exposure to allergy triggers:

  • Stay indoors on dry, windy days and early mornings, when pollen counts are high. The best time to be outside is after a good rain, which helps clear pollen from the air.
  • Remove clothes previously worn outside. Immediately after coming inside, shower thoroughly to rinse off pollen.
  • Don’t hang laundry outside, because pollen may stick to it, especially sheets and towels.
  • Keep indoor air as clean as possible by turning on the air-conditioner in both the house and car, and use high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters, especially in the bedroom; most cost less than $100. Make sure the vacuum cleaner has a HEPA filter, too. Keep indoor air comfortably dry with a dehumidifier.


For those that love being outdoors, several natural remedies can help. Dr. Roger Morrison, a holistic physician from Point Richmond, California, likes targeted, widely available, over-the-counter homeopathic medicines. Carefully read labels to match specific symptoms with those noted on individual remedies.


For example, for a badly dripping nose, Allium cepa may be the most helpful remedy. It helps lessen nasal discharge, plus reduce sneezing and congestive headaches that can accompany allergies.


If allergy symptoms center around the eyes, causing itching, burning, redness and tears, then homeopathic Euphrasia is a better choice. If nighttime post-nasal drainage leads to coughing upon waking, Euphrasia can help, as well.


Pulsatilla helps people whose allergies are worse when they enter a warm room or feel congested when they lie down at night.


Homeopathic remedies generally are available for less than $10. If symptoms don’t improve in three days, stop and try a different homeopathic remedy.


Homeopathic practitioner Dr. Greg Meyer, in Phoenix, Arizona, says that many of his patients benefit from taking herbs and other natural supplements, and one of the most effective for hay fever is Urtica dioica (stinging nettles). Studies reported in Planta Medica: Journal of Medicinal Plant and Natural Product Research, showed that after one week, nearly two-thirds of the participants taking two 300 milligram (mg) capsules of freeze dried nettles experienced decreased sneezing and itching. Dr. Andrew Weil of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine, in Tucson, recommends taking 250 mg of freeze dried nettles extract every two to four hours until symptoms subside.


Quercitin is another useful herb. By preventing release of histamine, it also works to lessen the sneezing and itching that accompany allergies. Take 400 mg twice a day before meals.


Diana Danna, an integrative nurse practitioner in Staten Island, New York, suggests the age-old remedy of a neti pot to relieve congested nasal passageways. It may take a bit of practice, but she’s seen how rinsing the sinuses with a warm saltwater solution can reduce congestion and make breathing easier. An over-the-counter squeeze bottle can substitute for a neti pot, as can NeilMed Sinus Rinse. Danna suggests rinsing twice a day for best results.


Simple dietary modifications often yield promising results, as well. Stick to non-mucous- producing foods and eat more foods that give a boost to the body’s natural immune system.   Whole grains, fruits and vegetables and raw nuts and seeds fit both categories as do lean proteins like fresh fish and organic meats. Drinking plenty of clean water flushes the system and thins secretions. Foods that tend to cause the most problems for allergy sufferers include dairy products, fried and processed foods and refined sugars and flours.


Adding essential fatty acids to a diet has benefits beyond allergy relief. In my own practice, I’ve seen how patients that take one to two tablespoons of flaxseed oil or three grams of fish oil during the spring months breathe more easily when outdoors. They also delight in healthier looking skin, shinier hair and harder nails.


Trying these approaches may well turn spring into a favorite time of year for everyone.


Lauri Grossman, a doctor of chiropractic and certified classical homeopath, practices in Manhattan, NY. She also chairs the American Medical College of Homeopathy’s department of humanism, in Phoenix, AZ. Learn more at and

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PCC Nutritional Therapy Program Highlights Herbal Medicine Education

Posted on 03 May 2012 by Jason

Portland Community College’s CLIMB for Health Professionals is about to complete the inaugural year of its Nutritional Therapy Program. Accredited by the National Association of Nutrition Professionals, the program has trained a large cadre of dedicated students who are well on their way to careers in nutritional therapy.
Spring term 2012 brings an opportunity for students to study the traditional Chinese medicine approach to food therapy, dietetics and herbal healing with a two-day intensive course, May 12-13. The response to herbal therapeutics has been so positive that PCC is adding a new course of study. Beginning fall term 2012, the college will begin offering an online one-year program in professional herbal medicine. Classroom hours can be applied toward professional credentialing with the American Herbalists Guild, the professional association for practicing clinical herbalists.
“We are excited about this new program, which can be the perfect complement to a credential in holistic nutrition,” said Sheila Meserschmidt, Director of PCC CLIMB for Health Professionals.
The Professional Herbalist Course, leading to certification, includes a wide range of topics from the “big three” herbal systems—Western, Ayurveda and Chinese—including ten body systems, plant chemistry, case management, herbal preparations and a 300-herb materia medica (the study of individual herbs and their therapeutic properties). The course prepares students for the entrance exam toward professional membership in the American Herbalist Guild, the only professional association representing herbalists in the United States.

Visit or call 971-722-2798 for more information.

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The Personal Leadership Foundations Seminar Coming to Portland

Posted on 03 May 2012 by Jason

Personal Leadership: Making A World Of Difference is coming to Portland May 21-24. Led by facilitators including Gordon Watanabe, Ed.D., professor emeritus of education at Whitworth University, the seminar is recommended for anyone who lives or works with people hailing from diverse cultural backgrounds, including health care professionals, local community activists, humanitarian relief workers, organization development consultants and the faculty and staff of higher education institutions.
Today’s realities demand that more of us take the lead as never before,” Dr. Watanabe explains. “The challenge is whether we can do that while organizing for sustainability, cultivating genuine and authentic relationships, and nurturing both strength and compassion.”
This program is grounded in the Personal Leadership™ methodology. “The seminar offers a practice-based, reliable, and infinitely repeatable process for determining the best way to move forward with confidence and ease,” Dr. Watanabe says. “It is designed to help people stay connected to their internal wisdom and creativity and to discern right action at all times, especially when faced with change, the unfamiliar, and in times of personal or professional transition.”
Completion of the Foundations seminar qualifies participants to enroll in the Facilitators seminar.

The Personal Leadership Foundations seminar is being held in partnership with the Intercultural Communication Institute May 21-24 at the Mark Spencer Hotel, located at 409 SW 11th Ave., Portland. $1675/participant, lodging not included. Includes opening reception and closing dinner meals; catered 

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Healthy Vending Machines Arrive in Portland

Posted on 03 May 2012 by Jason

Stumptown Vending is a locally owned, green business with a cutting edge concept that is sure to catch on with Portlanders. With his new business, owner, Wynne Scovill, is hoping to change the way people snack while on the go.
Taking a mindful approach to its consumers, Stumptown Vending is stocking vending machines with nutritious and eco-friendly snacking options. Most products in his vending machines will be either kosher, gluten free, vegan and/or organic. No high fructose corn syrup here! Included are locally made favorites such as Betty Lou’s organic bars, Skout Trailbar, Erin Baker’s cookies and Gorge Delights pure fruit snack bars, which helps the community and brings down the business’ carbon footprint.
Scovill is taking his green concept a step further by using recycled vending machines that have been retro-fitted with energy efficient lights. He also covers the machine with a custom made vinyl wrap to attract appeal and maintain a clean, professional look.
Stumptown’s first vending location is at Linnton Feed and Seed (10920 NW St. Helens Rd.) where the employees are devouring the Pop Chips and Deep River snack chips. Currently, Scovill is talking with management at two new possible locations. Stumptown is seeking additional clientele that shares similar values and is working with a LEED certified residential building in the Pearl District.

Visit or email for more information.

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New Kitchen Compost Caddy Hits Portland

Posted on 03 May 2012 by Jason

Last October, Portland began a program of residential composting by distributing composting buckets to all Portland households.
When the little brown bucket arrived on their doorstep, Jeff Evans’ first thoughts were, “I don’t want this composting bucket sitting on my kitchen countertop.” After using the bucket on the counter for a few weeks, the foul smells coming from the bucket were noticeable as the food scraps sat decomposing at room temperature.
To the rescue is a local company which has designed a new product, manufactured here in Oregon, that answers those concerns and makes using the Portland compost bucket a pleasure. The “Kitchen Compost Caddy” is a compost storage system which provides households a way to store their Portland composting bin on the inside of a cabinet door at a convenient height beneath the kitchen counter. Once installed, the lid will lock open, aiding in food prep and scraping of food from plates. With a flip of the latch, gravity drops the lid quietly closed.
Two models are available: one with a basket beneath the composting bin to store composting bags, and one without; also, three sizes are available to meet different cabinet widths. Finally, to reduce food odor, the company ships each Caddy with a free replaceable activated carbon filter, that lasts three to four months, and mounting hardware to affix the filter to the underside of the lid.

To learn more or to order, visit or call 503-206-5665.

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Portland ‘Bike Share’ Moves Forward

Posted on 03 May 2012 by Jason

A proposed ‘bike share’ system for Portland moved one step closer to reality last month when City Council authorized a request for proposals to solicit a private sector operator. The project will be funded by a federal grant, along with private sponsorships and user fees.
“Bike share will be a great addition to North America’s most bike-friendly city,” Mayor Sam Adams said. “It’s a simple, attractive alternative to making quick trips by car.”
Having a bike share system in Portland, means giving residents and visitors an efficient and sustainable choice by letting people check out a bicycle to ride from one point in the city to another for a small fee. Bike share riders will move throughout the city without adding to road congestion and parking demand, while improving air quality and personal health by forgoing a car trip.
Bike share currently operates in 16 American cities, with another 14 in the planning stage. Cities such as Denver and Minneapolis have seen reductions in drive-alone trips and an increase in bicycling since launching bike share systems.
Bike share is expected to be operational by spring 2013.

Visit to learn more and to recommend locations for bike share stations.

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