Archive | May, 2015

Holistic Approaches to Healing Addictions by Lisa Marshall

Posted on 28 May 2015 by Jason

Holistic Approaches to Healing Addictions

by Lisa Marshall


Through 15 years of alcohol and prescription drug addiction, one prominent Virginia business owner tried it all to get clean: three inpatient rehab centers; talk therapy; Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA), spending roughly $200,000 in the process.


“I would follow through for about a year, and then start to feel like I was on top of things and get complacent,” says the 52-year old, who asked that her name not be used. She’d treat herself to “just one drink” and soon find herself in a familiar downward spiral. She last relapsed in October 2012. Three months later, she was on the Interstate in the morning, a half-empty four-pack of mini wine bottles on her front seat, when she swerved and slammed head-on into a semi-trailer truck. She escaped her flattened car with minor head trauma, gratitude that her children didn’t have to “bury their drunk mother,” and a renewed will to sober up and rediscover happiness.


Today, she’s done just that, thanks to a comprehensive, holistic approach that included hiring a life coach that specializes in addiction, overhauling her diet, making time for daily physical and spiritual exercises and reframing her addiction, not as a disease she is cursed with, but as a predisposition she has the power to keep at bay.


“Yes. I was passed a gene by my alcoholic father. Yet that only becomes a threat to me when I make a choice to ingest something that cuts the beast loose,” she says. “I work hard every day, using a whole bunch of different tools to keep that from happening.”


She counts among a growing number of alcoholics and addicts reaching beyond the standard trifecta of 28-day rehabs, 12-step programs and psychotherapy toward an approach that addresses mind, body and spirit. More than 40 million Americans over the age of 12 (16 percent of the population) are addicted to alcohol or drugs, according to the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at New York City’s Columbia University. Yet the standard treatments yield less-than-stellar success rates.


Sixty percent of addicts return to drug use within a year after rehab, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and only 5 percent of AA attendees continue with meetings after 12 months, according to AA research. David Essel, a Fort Myers, Florida, life coach who specializes in working with substance abusers, says that when examining all the data, only about one in 10 addicts or alcoholics that use conventional means alone are still clean after one year. Fortunately, because people vary widely in emotional needs and physiologies, other complementary options are also catching on.


Mending Brain and Body


Enter a group meeting for recovering addicts or alcoholics and chances are there will be a pot of black coffee, plus donuts or cookies. “Having poor eating habits is a primary contributing factor to relapse,” says Registered Dietitian David Wiss, founder of, which provides nutrition consulting for recovery programs in Los Angeles. Because substance abuse can deaden appetite and many of the same neurological circuits that drugs and alcohol stimulate are also activated by salty or sugar-laden foods, newly recovering addicts tend to be ravenous and drawn to junk food. “After 30 days in treatment, people can gain 10 to 30 pounds. They often turn back to addictive substances they’ve abused to get their appetite back under control,” says Wiss. (Because smoking deadens taste buds, drawing people to seek out more intense salty or sugary flavors, it exacerbates the problem.)


In a subconscious attempt to get maximum stimulation of now-neglected reward centers in the brain, users often eat little all day, then binge later, leading to erratic blood sugar levels that can impact mood, further sabotaging recovery. After years of abuse, addicts also tend to suffer deficiencies of proteins and good fats—key building blocks of a healthy brain.


“The brain has been rewired due to the use of substances. Without healing it, you can attend all the meetings in the world and you’ll still struggle with cravings,” reports Essel. He starts new clients with 500 milligrams (mg) daily of the dietary supplement DL-phenylalanine, an amino acid precursor to feel-good neurotransmitters such as norepinephrine. He also gives them tyrosine, an energizing amino acid said to quell sugar cravings. For relieving a craving in progress, he recommends 500 to 1,000 mg of glutamine, placed under the tongue.


Wiss says he generally recommends food over supplements, yet asking newly recovering addicts to also revamp their diets can be tough. “I wouldn’t expect anyone to make a big nutritional change in their first week of sobriety,” he says. After that, he encourages small steps: Drink eight glasses of water per day. Eat three meals and three snacks to keep blood sugar stable. Load up on fiber, which can help heal the gut and replenish it with healthy bacteria. Eat plenty of lean protein to promote production of feel-good brain chemicals. Load up on nuts, seeds, fatty fish and other omega-3 fatty acids that suppress inflammation in the brain and have been shown in some studies to quell depression.


Daily exercise is also key, Wiss notes, “Exercise circulates our blood and gets all those healthy nutrients into our brain.”


Physical activities can also help fill the void and even provide a new sense of identity for someone whose self-esteem has been shattered, says Scott Strode, founder of Denver, Colorado’s Phoenix Multisport, which hosts group cycling, running and climbing outings for recovering addicts and alcoholics.


Strode kicked his own cocaine habit 18 years ago by immersing himself first in boxing, then climbing and triathlon. He founded Phoenix in 2007 to help fill what he sees as a gaping hole in recovery support services—a place where people with similar pasts can gather and talk without dwelling exclusively on their dependence issues. He has since served 15,000 people in Colorado, California, and Boston, offering 60 free outings a week for anyone at least 48 hours sober.


“By being part of something like this, you can let go of the shame of being the addict, the junkie or the one that let down the family. Now you are the climber or the mountain biker,” says Strode. He stresses that Phoenix programs aren’t intended to replace treatment. Still, “For some, just that redefining of self may be enough. For others, it’s a powerful tool in a broader toolbox.”


Beyond AA


Co-founded in 1935 by an alcoholic named Bill Wilson, Alcoholics Anonymous now has 2 million members and has played an important role in many successful recoveries. However, its God-based approach (five of the 12 steps refer to God or Him), a credo that alcoholics must admit “powerlessness” and its emphasis on alcoholism as a defining disease aren’t for everyone. Naysayers point to a 2006 finding by the nonprofit Cochrane Collaboration that states, “No experimental studies unequivocally demonstrated the effectiveness of AA or 12-step approaches for reducing alcohol dependence or problems.”


Such concerns have prompted some alternative recovery fellowships, including Moderation Management (, which helps people that want to drink less; and Smart Recovery (, which supports an ethos of self-empowerment via cognitive behavioral therapy, nutritional changes and group discussions. Other programs focus on renewing the soul by applying metaphysical practices to the traditional 12 steps.


“The conventional 12 steps talk about a higher power outside of you,” says Ester Nicholson, a singer, author and addictions counselor. In her book Soul Recovery: 12 Keys to Healing Addiction, she describes a descent into crack cocaine addiction beginning in her teens, and the long climb out of it.


At first, she says, the 12 steps helped her break free of what she calls the “spiritual malady, mental obsession and physical allergy,” that is addiction. But after a decade of being clean, followed by a near-relapse, she discovered meditation and other spiritual practices. “I realized that this higher power can restore me to sanity, but the higher power is actually within me. I found this wonderful bridge between the 12 steps and universal spiritual principals, and it is rocking my world.”


Patti Lacey, 54, an Essel client, likewise found lasting sobriety by extending her toolbox, learning to focus not only on past pain, but on bringing forth her best self. According to the International Coach Federation, which reports an uptick in interest in recovery coaching, a coach helps to establish individual goals and map a journey to success.


Two years into recovery, Lacey still takes her supplements daily, rises at dawn to meditate, attends 12-step meetings and is part of a nondenominational church community. She also regularly meets with her coach to report progress and update goals, including getting a handle on her finances, a frequent casualty of addiction. “Everybody’s journey is different,” Lacey confirms. “What I needed was someone to tell me exactly what to do in the beginning, and then be around to hold me accountable. That changed everything.”


Lisa Marshall is a freelance health writer in Boulder, CO. Connect at


Complementary Healing Tools

by Lisa Marshall


Ear acupuncture: Since 1974, addiction specialists have used an ear acupuncture needling protocol to ease cravings, decrease anxiety and improve sleep during withdrawal. Numerous published studies in The Lancet, the Archives of Internal Medicine and others support its efficacy. More than 1,000 U.S. programs now use it, according to the National Acupuncture Detoxification Association (


Neurofeedback: Also known as EEG biofeedback, this uses electroencephalography sensors attached to the head to enable someone to observe their own brain wave activity on a computer and learn to intentionally alter it via visualization and relaxation techniques (


Aromatherapy: Life coach David Essel recommends three aromatherapy oils to clients in recovery: lavender, a relaxant; lemon grass oil, for energy; and frankincense, a mood-balancer.


Ibogaine: This psychoactive brew derived from the West African shrub Tabernanthe iboga has been used ceremonially for centuries. In the 1960s, an opioid addict accidentally discovered that after experiencing an intense, four-to-eight-hour dreamlike “trip”, his cravings for heroin ceased. Deborah Mash, Ph.D., professor of neurology and molecular and cellular pharmacology at the University of Miami, traveled to Amsterdam in the early 1990s to see if there was any truth to such cases.


“I saw a man who was on heroin and cocaine and addicted to benzodiazepines undergo detox with no withdrawal signs, and in 36 hours look like a new person,” she recalls. She has been studying it ever since. The drug is believed to serve as an addiction interrupter, acting on opioid receptors in the brain to quell withdrawal symptoms. Some describe it as “resetting the brain” to a pre-addiction state.


Ibogaine is illegal in the U.S. Some offshore clinics are providing it but Mash warns that some are unscrupulous, so buyer beware. ( offers medically-supervised Ibogaine therapy in Cancun).

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Yoga for the Bro’s Men Find Yoga Builds Fitness by Meredith Montgomery

Posted on 28 May 2015 by Jason

Yoga for the Bro’s

Men Find Yoga Builds Fitness

by Meredith Montgomery


Five thousand years ago, most yoga teachers and students were men. Today, of the 15 million American practitioners, less than a third are males. However, this figure has increased in the past decade, with teachers in some areas reporting a balanced ratio of men and women in their classes.


Yet, even as professional athletes add yoga to their training regimen, Power Yoga founder Bryan Kest, in Santa Monica, California, points out, “To the mainstream man, yoga is not masculine. You see men in ballet performances, but it doesn’t mean men are attracted to ballet.”


Eric Walrabenstein, founder of Yoga Pura, in Phoenix, agrees. “To achieve the widest adoption of the practice, we need to shift away from the notion that yoga is a physical exercise primarily for women, to one that embraces yoga’s holistic physical, mental and emotional benefits for anyone regardless of gender.”


Life Benefits


Physically, yoga can complement traditional workout routines by increasing flexibility, strength and balance, and also play a role in pain management and injury prevention. Kest says, “Yoga is the best fitness-related activity I know of, but the tone and shapeliness that results is a by-product. The focus is on balance and healing.”


He encourages students to challenge themselves without being extreme. “The harder you are on anything, the faster you wear it out. If our objective is to both last as long and feel as good as possible, it makes no sense to push hard. Instead we should be gentle and sensitive in our practice.”


Men will do well to learn how to stop what they’re doing and breathe, says Kreg Weiss, co-founder of My Yoga Online (now on Gaiam TV), from Vancouver. He emphasizes the importance of modifying poses as needed during classes and notes that doing so takes vulnerability that doesn’t come naturally to most men. “If you find yourself shaking while holding downward dog, allow yourself to go down to the floor without worrying about what others will think.”


Societal pressures of masculinity sometimes dictate who a man thinks he should be. Breaking through such barriers enables a man to be relaxed with himself and unafraid, “It changes what goes on off the mat, too,” observes Weiss.


Bhava Ram (née Brad Willis), founder of the Deep Yoga School of Healing Arts, in San Diego, points out, “Men need yoga because it helps us deal better with stress and emotional issues. When we have more inner balance, we show up better for ourselves, spouses, friends and loved ones.”


Therapeutic Benefits


As modern science begins to document yoga’s healing effects, it’s being used in treatment plans for conditions ranging from addiction and trauma to multiple sclerosis and cancer. Ram was a type A aggressive reporter and network war correspondent and, “Like many men with similar personality types, I struggled with anger and control issues. I had no interest in yoga; it seemed strange and unnecessary to me,” he recalls.


After losing his career to a broken back, failed surgery, advanced cancer and dependence on prescription drugs, he found himself facing death. Inspired by his young son to take control of his health, he embraced yoga as a healing way forward. After two years of dedicated practice, Ram says he turned 80 pounds of physical weight and 1,000 pounds of emotional toxins into gratitude, forgiveness and loving kindness. “I left 90 percent of my back pain behind and the cancer is gone.”


Kest explains that yoga’s significant therapeutic value is based on its capacity to reduce stress and its effects, while teaching and strengthening techniques to cope with it. “Ninety percent of the stress we put on our bodies originates in the stress we put on our minds,” he says. “If you want to be healthy, you have to look at mental fitness, not just the size of your biceps or the strength of your cardiovascular system. It’s calmness and peacefulness of mind that matter.”


Tips for First-Timers


Weiss urges men new to yoga to take time to find the right class. “When men that can’t touch their toes walk into some preconceived notion of a class full of women Om-ing, they feel apprehensive and the experience does them no service.” Regardless of one’s state of fitness, it’s important to start slowly, with a focus on the breath. “If you don’t have a good foundation, you can miss a lot of yoga’s benefits. Seek teachers with a solid yoga background educated in anatomy.”


Walrabenstein recommends that first-timers find a class that meets their expectations of targeted benefits. “Remember that yoga is supposed to serve you in enabling your best life possible. If for you that means a vigorous workout, go for it. Even the most physically-oriented yoga styles can carry profound mental and spiritual benefits—and can lead to a deeper, more rewarding practice over time.”

Arrive early to get settled and talk with the teacher about existing injuries, limitations or other concerns. Yoga is practiced barefoot and clothing should be loose and comfortable, allowing the body to sweat and move.


Walrabenstein reminds men to have fun. “Yoga, like anything, can be awkward at first. Make space for your learning curve and remember, no one in class is judging you.”

Meredith Montgomery, a registered yoga teacher, publishes Natural Awakenings of Mobile/Baldwin, AL (

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Manly Foods Boost Testosterone with the Right Choices by Kathleen Barnes

Posted on 28 May 2015 by Jason

Manly Foods

Boost Testosterone with the Right Choices

by Kathleen Barnes


Today’s rates of male infertility and sexual dysfunction suggest that

low testosterone is rapidly becoming a national problem.


]Johns Hopkins School of Medicine epidemiologists estimate that 18.4 percent of all American men over the age of 20, totaling 18 million, have reported experiencing erectile dysfunction. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 7.5 percent of all sexually experienced men under 45, or more than 4 million, have consulted a fertility doctor, suggesting it’s a serious problem among younger men.

“Both erectile dysfunction and infertility reflect elements of lifestyle choices, especially obesity, smoking and exposure to environmental toxins,” says Naturopath James Occhiogrosso, of Fort Myers, Florida, author of Your Prostate, Your Libido, Your Life: A Guide to Causes and Natural Solutions for Prostate Problems and He says there are many ways to address low testosterone, a factor in both issues, and a healthy diet is crucial for healthy sexual function in both men and women.


Some foods can help while others can hinder a man’s sexual vitality, advises Craig Cooper, of Newport Beach, California, founder of the CooperativeHealth network of men’s health websites and author of Your New Prime: 30 Days to Better Sex, Eternal Strength, and a Kick Ass Life After 40. He identifies key no-nos that decrease testosterone as eating excess sugar, drinking excessive alcohol and a sedentary lifestyle. Here are the best foods for increasing testosterone.

Shrimp: Like fatty fish, this tiny crustacean is one of nature’s few food sources of vitamin D, which Harvard School of Public Health research confirms is linked to testosterone levels. Four ounces of shrimp contain 162 IU (international units), about 40 percent of recommended daily intake.


Oysters, red meat and pumpkin seeds: All of these are rich sources of zinc, which Cooper notes has a direct link to higher testosterone levels. He cautions, however, that too much zinc can cause its absorption to diminish. Men need 11 milligrams (mg) of zinc a day. Oysters are considered a food of love for a reason: One shelled oyster contains 12.8 mg of zinc. Pumpkin seeds are zinc powerhouses with 7 mg in 3.5 ounces. In comparison, 3 ounces of beef liver or dark chicken meat deliver 4.3 mg and 2.4 mg, respectively.


Lean, grass-fed beef, tuna and nuts: These are high-quality sources of omega-3 fatty acids. “Without obtaining at least 20 percent of our daily calories from fat (no less than 15 percent) we can’t function at optimum capacity, as hormones are produced through the components of dietary fats, including the sex hormones like testosterone,” advises Virginia Beach, Virginia, Registered Dietitian Jim White, a spokesman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “A diet high in carbohydrates and too much dietary fat—more than 35 percent—will cause a gain in body fat, which can decrease testosterone levels. Balance is the key.”


Broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage: Cruciferous vegetables are rich sources of indole-3-carbinol, which helps both balance testosterone and estrogen, and neutralize excess estrogen in men and women, says Occhiogrosso. Yes, men have estrogen, too, just less than women, and too much blocks testosterone production.


Red grapes: This whole food is a good source of resveratrol and proanythocyanidin, which block harmful estrogen production, says White. Excess estrogen production spurred by eating foods like soy and flax and the growth hormones contained in big agriculture’s meat and dairy products lowers testosterone production in men.


Strawberries: Due to their cortisol-lowering vitamin C, all berries help reduce stress, including when the hormone’s released during a heavy workout that can hamper testosterone production. One study published in the International Journal of Sports Medicine, confirms that more cortisol equals less testosterone; another in the World Journal of Men’s Health shows that high cortisol lowers sex drive and results in delayed ejaculation. Plus, two Brazilian studies showed animals with the highest vitamin C intake had the highest sperm counts among study subjects. (Another good cortisol fighter is the allicin in garlic.)


Pomegranates: Occhiogrosso likes pomegranates for building testosterone levels. An impressive study from the International Journal of Impotence Research showed that the performance of 47 percent of the impotent male study participants improved after consuming a daily glass of pomegranate juice for four weeks.


“Food is always the first choice when I’m treating men with testosterone and fertility issues,” says Occhiogrosso. “It’s often effective without the dangers of testosterone injections.”


Kathleen Barnes is the author of numerous health books, including Food Is Medicine: 101 Prescriptions from the Garden. Connect at

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Don’t Get Ticked Off Natural Ways to Avoid and Treat Lyme Disease by Linda Sechrist

Posted on 28 May 2015 by Jason

Don’t Get Ticked Off

Natural Ways to Avoid and Treat Lyme Disease

by Linda Sechrist


In 1977, two Yale School of Medicine scientists identified the infected blacklegged deer tick carrying the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi as the disease-transmitting organism of Lyme disease. Since 1982, this most commonly reported vector-borne disease in the U.S. has gained notoriety, with its own resource book, Disease Update: Science, Policy & Law; research center (; International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society website,; Lyme Times print journal (; and national informational organization, the Tick-Borne Disease Alliance (


The surge of activity appears justifiable. According to scientists at the Centers for Disease Control, approximately 300,000 cases are diagnosed annually in this country alone.


Amy Tan, author of The Joy Luck Club, is a post-treatment Lyme disease patient and co-founder of LymeAid4Kids ( that funds the diagnosis and treatment of uninsured children with Lyme. She disagrees with physicians that downplay late-stage cases and insist that the disease is cured with a simple round of antibiotics, as does Katina Makris, a classical homeopath from New Hampshire and host of Lyme Light Radio.


After experiencing mysterious symptoms, Makris spent five years suffering from debilitating symptoms familiar to individuals with Lyme—undiagnosed, relapsing fevers, lingering fatigue, joint pain, headaches, neurological symptoms and cognitive impairment. “Then I finally began my 10-year healing journey,” she says. Her book Out of the Woods: Healing from Lyme Disease for Body, Mind, and Spirit, is a recovery memoir and resource guide for alternative medical, emotional and spiritual support.


Lyme evades detection by standard blood tests for bacterial antigens and antibodies. “The ELISA [enzyme-linked immuno assay] test is only accurate between two weeks and two months after the bite,” says Makris, who notes that the Western Blot test is somewhat more accurate, while the IGeneX Laboratory test is superior. She believes the best laboratories for testing are Clongen Laboratories and IGeneX Laboratory Services.


Dr. Richard Horowitz has treated more than 12,000 Lyme disease patients as medical director of the Hudson Valley Healing Arts Center, in Hyde Park, New York. The author of Why Can’t I Get Better? Solving the Mystery of Lyme and Chronic Disease raises another red flag regarding detection. Testing for coinfections frequently transmitted along with Lyme is unreliable. Horowitz, who will conduct a workshop with Makris at New York’s Omega Institute for Holistic Studies, in Rhinebeck, and online, from June 26 to 28, counsels that antibiotics are not effective because they don’t address all of the infecting organisms now frequently found in ticks.


Stephen Harrod Beuhner, independent scholar and citizen scientist, resident of Silver City, New Mexico, and author of Healing Lyme Disease Coinfections, says that the bacteria have jumped species and found new hosts that live in habitats formerly occupied by wild animals: “They have learned to exist in humans and are teaching each other how to resist antibiotics and more easily infect us. What they do together in the body is a great deal more complex than what they do alone, making them difficult to treat. Bartonella species utilize the immune system of whatever mammal they infect as part of their infection strategy. Any existing inflammation in the body, such as arthritis, facilitates the growth of Bartonella.”


The weaker or more compromised one’s immune system, the more likely a debilitating course of illness will occur. An improved immune system can identify the outer membrane proteins of the offending bacteria and create countering antibodies in four to eight months. “Once the immune system creates the proper antibodies, the bacteria are then eliminated fairly rapidly,” advises Buhner.


Makris is grateful that she saw a nutritionist trained in functional medicine. “He worked slowly and methodically to reduce the inflammation, build up my immune system and restore my digestive, endocrine and nervous systems before killing the bacteria and opening up natural detoxification pathways to flush out the bacteria and their endotoxins. We used weekly acupuncture appointments, good nutrition and homeopathic formulas, plus various herbs, vitamins and mineral supplements,” says Makris.


Ticks in high-vegetation areas wait for a passing host. To avoid these hitchhikers, wear light-colored long pants tucked into socks. A shirt should also be tucked in. Later, strip down and search hair, underarms, legs, behind the knees and ears, and in the belly button. As commercial tick repellants contain toxic ingredients, a mixture of topically applied, therapeutic-grade essential oils is preferred.


Linda Sechrist is the senior staff writer for Natural Awakenings


Essential Oils to Repel Ticks


1 cup distilled water

2 drops geranium essential oil

2 drops Palo Santo essential oil

1 drop myrrh essential oil

4 drops grapefruit essential oil

1 drop peppermint essential oil

1 drop Thieves hand soap or castile soap


Place all ingredients in a spray bottle and shake. Spritz on socks, sneakers/hiking boots, ankles and legs at minimum and consider other, exposed skin.

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The Teeny-Tiny Vacation Option Mini-Dwellings Make Travel a Lark by Avery Mack

Posted on 28 May 2015 by Jason

The Teeny-Tiny Vacation Option

Mini-Dwellings Make Travel a Lark

by Avery Mack

Tiny vacation cottages necessitate a simple, cozy approach to taking time off together and spell crazy fun—a huge improvement over sterile motel rooms.

Most of us are oriented to a typical American house averaging 2,300 square feet, making it a childlike hoot to step into the petite footprint of a tiny house one-tenth the size. Vacation rentals of tinies are available nationwide in all shapes and styles—including treetop aeries.


Tree houses range from rustic to luxurious. Marti MacGibbon and her husband, Chris Fitzhugh, spent a romantic weekend at the Out ‘n’ About Treehouse Treesort, in Cave Junction, Oregon. “The Peacock Perch is a favorite,” says MacGibbon. “It also helps me overcome my fear of heights.”


In Hawaii, Skye Peterson built a tree house from recycled materials in five native ohia trees outside Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. The eco-friendly, solar-powered, passive-energy vacation home enchants guests with firelight at night and breakfast in the morning.


For those that prefer ground-level vacationing, glamorous camping, or glamping, offers an outdoor experience with the comforts of home. Yellowstone National Park’s Yellowstone Under Canvas has summer options for every budget through September 7, including an onsite gourmet restaurant. Tipis offer the basics, while a roomier safari tent adds a wood-burning stove with complimentary firewood. A deluxe suite with private bath sleeps a family with king-size and sofa beds. All face majestic views of mountains, water and wildlife.


Rustic Karenville, eight miles from Ithaca, New York, isn’t on any map. Owner and builder Karen Thurnheer and her husband, Robert Wesley, live in a 270-square-foot cabin amidst a small village of tinies next to the 9,000-acre Danby State Forest. The little buildings don’t have running water; some have woodstove heat, electricity if the generator’s running and there’s a composting outhouse. “The houses are silly and fun,” she says. “There’s fresh air and at night a million stars.”


Sarah and John Murphy welcome travelers to enjoy urban life with amenities in the heart of Music City via Nashville’s tiniest guest house. With a complete kitchen and bath, conditioned air and Wi-Fi, its 200 square feet can accommodate four.


Rhode Island’s Arcade Providence historic shopping mall took a hit from Internet shopping. Now it’s vibrantly alive as micro-apartments (bedroom, bath and kitchen in 300 square feet) fill the second and third levels, while first-floor stores cater to residents and destination shoppers. The “no vacancy” sign is regularly posted for apartments acting as dorms or pied á terres.


On the West coast, near the 150-acre Lily Point Marine Park, in Port Roberts, Washington, a secluded gingerbread cottage affords a gas fireplace, solarium and upstairs deck for viewing wildlife. “It’s relaxing and romantic,” says owner Pat Capozzi.


Artsy and trendy, Caravan is the first tiny hotel in the United States. Since 2013, guests have enjoyed a choice of its six tiny houses in Portland, Oregon’s Alberta Arts District.


Simple living students, retirees and even families with small children and pets are embracing the concept longer-term. “The best part,” says Macy Miller, a Boise, Idaho architect who built her own tiny of recycled materials at a cost of $12,000, “is no mortgage.” To avoid local minimum-size zoning requirements, her house is mounted on a flatbed trailer. The 196-square-foot space is also home to her boyfriend, James, toddler, Hazel, and Denver, a 150-pound Great Dane. Recently, Miller blogged, “I’m designing what may be the first tiny nursery as we expect baby number two!”


As Thurnheer observes, “There are lots of silly people like me who love living tiny.”


Connect with freelance writer Avery Mack at


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Sun Exposure, Vitamin D and Sunscreen

Posted on 28 May 2015 by Jason

Sun Exposure, Vitamin D and Sunscreen
Each year the Environmental Working Group (EWG) assigns each commercial sunscreen a rating based on the hazards of ingredients as well as its ability to protect against ultraviolet alpha (UVA) and ultraviolet beta (UVB) rays. The EWG will release their 2015 Sunscreen Guide this month. Visit for more information.
Skin cancer, especially malignant melanoma, is a rising concern. Melanoma represents only about 3 percent of all skin cancers in the U.S., but it accounts for about 75 percent of all skin cancer deaths. Non-melanoma, mostly basal cell carcinoma (BCC), rarely metastasizes to other organs but its incidence is increasing by as much as 10 percent. Ultraviolet rays (UVR) can cause direct cellular damage to the skin, gene mutations, immunosuppression, oxidative stress and inflammatory responses.
Sun exposure is essential, however, for vitamin D production. Vitamin D provides protection from acute illnesses, cardiovascular disease, chronic pain, diabetes, osteoporosis, birth defects, depression, autoimmune diseases and many different types of cancers. Some people can receive a physiologic dose of vitamin D from sunlight in as little as 15 minutes a day. However, using as little as SPF 15 sunscreen has been shown to decrease vitamin D production by as much as 99 percent, and. it is estimated that one-third of Americans are at risk for inadequate vitamin D levels.
To learn more about this topic, please join naturopathic doctor Rachel Stricker for a talk on “The Truth About Sun Exposure, Vitamin D and Sunscreen” on Saturday, June 27, from 1 to 2:30 p.m. in the Battle Ground Healing Arts garden.

Contact Dr. Rachel at or 503-707-3309 for more information.

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AquaLumine™ Pure Living Water Launches in Portland

Posted on 28 May 2015 by Jason

AquaLumine™ Pure Living Water Launches in Portland
After nearly two years of careful planning and focus group research, Portland has been selected as the launch city for AquaLumine™ Pure Living Water, the remarkable natural spring water that has rapidly developed a passionate following.
Nestled in a remote Idaho canyon is a spring long renowned for its healing waters by many generations of the local native peoples. Sourced from this sacred spring, AquaLumine™ Pure Living Water is packaged with great care and devotion by the steward of the spring, and received gratefully by those who experience this rare and valuable gift from Mother Earth. A wide range of physical and “supersensory” benefits have been reported by people who drink the water. A number of unusual phenomena have been associated with the site of the spring and the water which flows from it, each indicative of the fact that Nature has imparted to AquaLumine™ some very unusual and special attributes.
Community gatherings are held twice a month to provide those exploring the water a glimpse into the fascinating story behind AquaLumine™, as well as the opportunity to taste, purchase and share experiences of the water. The community provides loving support for the healing journey of each individual member. AquaLumine™ community gatherings are held on the second Thursday and fourth Sunday of each month at 7 p.m. at Unity of Portland, 4525 SE Stark Street, Portland.

Learn more at, phone 503-765-9761 or email

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HairapyPDX Now Offering Discount for New Clients

Posted on 28 May 2015 by Jason

HairapyPDX Now Offering Discount for New Clients
Located in southwest Portland, near Multnomah Village, HairapyPDX Organic Salon has been providing eco-friendly salon care with an organic touch since 2009. HairapyPDX is currently offering a 20 percent discount on one service for new clients.
As an organic, natural and toxic free salon, HairapyPDX uses hair, skin and nail products and tools that are not only good for the body but are also good for the environment. They support numerous organic brands and locally made products that are good for you from the inside as well as the outside.
HairapyPDX has everything for your beauty needs and more—consultations, organic facials, haircuts and color, styling, ammonia-free permanent waves and true keratin, a certified organic straightening system that lasts up to three to five months.

For an appointment, call 503-360-1324 or book online at Visit for more information.

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Artemis Foods Now Offering Cooking Classes

Posted on 28 May 2015 by Jason

Artemis Foods Now Offering Cooking Classes
Since 2000, Artemis Foods has been Portland’s premier local, organic and sustainable caterer. Executive Chef Grace Henricks and the Artemis Foods Team are now offering cooking classes in the Artemis Kitchen twice a month.
Classes are for up to 12 guests and include written recipes, chef’s demonstration and eating (enough food to call it dinner). The menu will be paired with matching adult beverage samples that will also be available for purchase. Cost is $50 per person and reservations are necessary.
The May 15 Meat Class, taught by Chef Rob Westmoreland from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., will include brining, marinades and rubs for excellent home results. Try his Indian inspired, fragrant Pork Vindaloo and SuDan farms local pasture raised lamb rubbed with sumac, pink peppercorn, garlic and fresh oregano. Lamb will be served with a white balsamic and rhubarb gastric and try a honey lavender brine on chicken to enjoy with Chef Westmoreland’s spaetzle. Seasonal roasted and grilled vegetables, whatever is coming in from local farmers, will round out the class.

For more information, visit Sign up online, call the office at 503-233-8539 or email to book a spot.

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Fall Registration Now Open for New Preschool

Posted on 28 May 2015 by Jason

Fall Registration Now Open for New Preschool

Based on the qualities of mindfulness, kindness, respect for all life and connection to nature, Frog Song Montessori Preschool will offer an education that encourages children to explore, create and deepen their understanding of themselves and the world around them. The Montessori method is uniquely suited to bring these qualities to life in the classroom.
Montessori is based on self-directed activity, hands-on learning and collaborative work. In a carefully prepared environment, children experience freedom within limits and are free to follow their own interests. This approach values the development of the whole child: physical, social, emotional and cognitive, and recognizes the child as a spiritual being.
The program is situated on 14 acres between NE 82nd Avenue and Rocky Butte, in Portland, on land being transformed by Dharma Rain Zen Center into a space for spiritual practice, community connection and native habitat. Children can explore a pond, seasonal streams, ravine, orchard, vegetable beds and areas offering natural habitat for a multitude of creatures. This will allow children to develop a personal relationship with the natural world, and will offer real-life lessons in taking care of our earth.
The Frog Song program, for children ages 3 to 5, runs September to June, Monday through Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. It is a program of Dharma Rain but is non-religious in content and is open to families of all beliefs.

Learn more at

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