April 2014 Green Living + Healthy Home Issue

April_2014_Page_01Welcome to the April Green Living + Healthy Home edition of Natural Awakenings magazine! This month, we explore the many ways that you can live a healthy and sustainable lifestyle, regardless of your income level or where you live. One of my favorite benefits of going green is that, in doing so, you can live better without breaking the bank. Learn more in our feature article, “Live Green, Save Big.”
Homeowners throughout the town of Blacksburg may find that solar energy is easier and more affordable through a new program called Solarize Blacksburg. This month’s Community Spotlight features the program, which runs through May and had more than 170 homes sign up in the first two weeks alone. This pilot program could pave the way for similar community-wide solar programs throughout southwest Virginia.
Are you gearing up for your spring cleaning fling? Our Green Living article, “Homemade Eco-Cleaners,” provides eco-friendly, DIY cleaning recipes that take minutes to make. After you’re finished cleaning indoors, consider transforming your own little patch of Earth from than just another lawn to mow into a mini-park. Our Healthy Kids feature, “Backyard Birds and Butterflies,” can help you beautify your yard and while making kids and critters feel at home. Even if your backyard is a parking lot, our Inspiration article, “Wilderness in Sidewalk Cracks,” will show you how you can still enjoy small bits of nature in the heart of the city.

Once you’re finished greening up your homestead, you’ll want to check out the April and May events outlined in our news briefs and calendar of events. Earth Day is April 22, and our “Celebrate Earth Day 2014” article provides a global perspective on the event, along with a roundup of local celebrations. Here at Natural Awakenings we invite you to celebrate Earth Day with us through our “7 Days of Earthy Giveaways” promotion. Go to our website at NABlueRidge.com or see ad on page 39 to learn how you can enter to win!

Last, but certainly not least, please read and save our 6th annual Blue Ridge Green Living Directory. Inside the directory, you’ll find all kinds of resources to support your green and healthy lifestyle, including products and services, businesses as well as nonprofit organizations. You can access the directory online in a searchable format with interactive maps at Guide.NABlueRidge.com.

We hope you’ll enjoy this eco-friendly issue of Natural Awakenings!

Sincerely
Tracy

March 2014 Food + Garden Issue

 

Mar14_VABR_WEB_Page_01It’s here: the March Food and Garden issue of Natural Awakenings magazine! In our feature article, “Pioneering Food Trends,” you’ll learn how national food experts predict that local, regional and sustainable foods are among the top mainstream food trends for 2014, and what the term “hyperlocal” means for you. We’ve paired this national perspective with local resources for you in “Eating Local,” a special edition of our Blue Ridge Green Travel series.

We are really proud of this month’s Community Spotlight on how Roanoke Natural Foods Co-op keeps local foods stocked for the region’s locavores. Next year, in 2015, the Co-op will celebrate 40 years of leading the way to provide local, organic, sustainable food and products for the area. It has grown from a tiny group of people to include thousands of member-owners, two stores, farmers’ markets and a farm of its own.

Aquaponics systems are gaining ground in the sustainable food production movement and our Green Living feature this month explores why a home aquaponics system may be one of the best green investments you can make in 2014.  After enjoying the article, don’t forget to sign up for our Jr. Ponics Aquaponics Garden giveaway (ad on page 15) from Blue Ridge Hydroponics (BRH), and check out our news brief on how BRH is helping to provide hands-on opportunities for local campers to learn the benefits of aquaponics and other types of gardening.

Our Healing Ways article, “Powerhouse Herbs,” may surprise you with insights into new research about the powerful healing properties of common herbs. Our Healthy Kids Feature, “Seven Signs of Food Sensitivities,” provides action plans for parents to manage common food-related diseases for their kids.

March and April are full of opportunities to get out and learn about local green living, so be sure to mark your calendars with the events you’ll discover in this month’s news briefs and calendar listings. The Lyric Theatre, in Blacksburg, is host to two eco-friendly film screening events: a green burial workshop in March and a green business movie and panel discussion in April. The Central Virginia Chapter of the Virginia Master Naturalists is hosting a water summit at Lynchburg College at the end of March, and the Sedalia Center, in Big Island, is hosting its first Health and Wellness Fair in April. Don’t forget to mark your calendars for Earth Day Roanoke on April 26, or find out where your local Earth Day celebration is taking place.

We hope you enjoy this month’s issue, and be on the lookout for April’s Green Living issue of Natural Awakenings, complete with our special annual directory section!

Sincerely

Tracy

February 2014 Rethinking Heart Health + Healthy Relationships

Feb14_VABR_WEB_Page_01Welcome to the Heart Health issue of Natural Awakenings Magazine. This month we are exploring ways to keep your emotional and physical hearts, literally and figuratively, healthy. We’ve lined up a feature article that explores lifestyle changes which have been shown to improve conditions in people suffering with coronary heart disease. On the emotional side, you’ll find an anchient Hawaiian secret to facilitate emotional healing of the heart through forgiveness in our Inspiration article. And I’m in LOVE with our conscious eating article this month, which discusses how dark chocolate (mmmmm, chocolate) can actually be good for your heart.

In our Blue Ridge Green Travel feature this month, we’re excited to share with you an article by our national editor, Linda Seachrist, on how to well, travel green. We’re excited here at …. For our partnership with Virginia Green.

In local news, we love our region and are happy to announce that Explore Park in Roanoke is too – the park will soon be the host of weddings, receptions and other events celebrating love and nature. Speaking of celebrating and heart health, we all know that wine is good for both. So, if you are interested in becoming a winemaker in your own right, check out our newsbrief on a new cooperative starting in the area.

Orvis has been showing the love to residents of the Rescue Mission. Read all about this unique partnership that keeps those in need warm while diverting waste from the landfill. Another newsbrief describes how Roanoke County officials are showing the love to our environment through a new anti-littering campaign. The campaign encourages smokers to keep their butts in their own cars, and out of local road and waterways.

In this month of love, you’ll be happy to learn about how many wild animals mate for life. (Wonder what their divorce rate is?) How signs of heart trouble in women may not be as obvious and how a new Breathalyzer is changing the way doctors can diagnose heart failure, with no invasive procedures in about 30 seconds.

We welcome your comments. Also, please share the love and support the businesses you see in Natural Awakenings and let them know we sent you. Their ongoing support and participation is what allows us to bring you this invaluable resource every month.

As the late Nelson Mandela said “A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination.” Wherever your heart and passions lie, I hope this issue of Natural Awakenings helps you to be more formidable this February.

With love,
Tracy

January 2014 Health and Wellness + Health Coaches Issue

2014-01 CoverHappy 2014 from Natural Awakenings magazine! This month, we have prepared a couple of feature articles to help you kick off the New Year right. In “Build Your Own Wellness Team,” you’ll find practical advice on planning an integrated approach to your overall wellness. In “Paths to Wellness,” our editor, Karen Adams, interviews several wellness professionals from across the region. This piece will give you an insight into different philosophies and treatment modalities offered by local practitioners and consultants.

The New Year provides us all with the opportunity to clean up, clear out and start over. Our “Greening the New Year” article provides tips on small, doable steps we can all take to help preserve the planet, such as recycling and donating unwanted items. For information on how to donate while helping your local community, please read our “Lose the Clutter” news brief, featuring Goodwill Industries of the Valleys.

It’s time to start planning for spring and summer activities for ourselves and our children. We hope you’ll join for the 15th annual Tons of Fun family event at Tanglewood Mall, in Roanoke, in early February. The event is sponsored by Roanoke County Parks, Recreation and Tourism and you’ll find details about it in our news briefs. In addition to family fun, representatives from local county children’s camps will be on hand to provide information and answer questions about sending your kids to camp.

Once you’ve decided where to send the kiddos for summer camp, you can start planning your own getaway. In this month’s Blue Ridge Green Travel feature, you’ll learn about an organization that helps both residents and visitors to the Virginia region find the greenest and most sustainable vacation spots.

Finally, while your local issue of Natural Awakenings just celebrated five years in November, this month our parent publication is celebrating 20 years of publishing! Over the last 20 years of providing a free community magazine, the corporation has grown into 90 markets, which are all independently owned and operated by local franchise publishers (like me!). We are so proud and honored to be a part of this amazing company, and we hope you’ll enjoy “Catalyst for Change: Natural Awakenings Celebrates 20 Years” by our founder and CEO, Sharon Bruckman.

As always, dear readers, please support the businesses you see in Natural Awakenings in the coming year. Their ongoing support and participation is what allows us to bring you this invaluable resource every month. And make sure to tell them we sent you!

Wishing you a healthy and prosperous New Year,

Tracy

December 2013 Awakening Humanity + Holiday Themes Issue

Dec2013_VABR_WEB3_Page_01Welcome to the December issue of Natural Awakenings magazine. This month, we address the universal, yet fundamentally personal, topic of “Awakening Humanity,” with articles about how to live in the present moment now, and to live without regrets in the future.

We are getting into the holiday spirit here at Natural Awakenings! What a wonderful time of year to “awaken,” acknowledge our blessings and think about how we can share those blessings with friends and family, our neighbors and the larger community. Check out “Green Merry Making” for tips on how to have an eco-friendly holiday and “Tis the Season to Be Wise” to ensure you take care of yourself and your spirit while enjoying the season. If you are seeking eco-friendly lodging for your visiting family and friends, you’ll also discover some hidden gems in our “Green Holiday Getaways” feature article.

For green, healthy, local, high-quality gifts, please visit the local vendors featured in the Holiday Gift Guide (pages 16 and 17) and elsewhere throughout the magazine. Also, consider an excursion to Roanoke’s 16 West Marketplace, the topic of our Community Spotlight article this month. The Marketplace serves as a great meeting and reception venue with offerings including locally roasted coffee, delicious and healthy dining options and a relaxing atmosphere. Businesses inside 16 West offer beautiful handmade clothing, furniture, artwork, local and organic food and wellness services. We at Natural Awakenings celebrated our fifth anniversary in publication at 16 West, which has become one of our favorite downtown stops. We hope to see you there soon!

In other local news, you’ll find our second installment in Save a Ton Ecotip series, providing you with simple ways you can save a ton of energy and money this winter. Speaking of winter, if you’re looking for an affordable, energy-efficient way to heat those cold spots in your home, check out our news brief on ductless heating systems. We also extend our congratulations to Bookbag Santa, a local nonprofit education organization, which recently won a new vehicle from Toyota! In our news briefs section, you’ll find these and other stories about local green and healthy happenings.

So, kick back with a nice hot cup of cocoa with some cinnamon on top, and enjoy this year-end issue of Natural Awakenings.

Wishing you peace and a joyful holiday season,

Tracy

 

November 2013 Personal Growth + Mindfulness Issue

2013-10 Cover_Page_01Hello from Natural Awakenings magazine! We’re so excited to bring you the November “Personal Growth + Mindfulness” issue. Our feature article, “Fast Track to Personal Growth,” explores ways each of us can examine our lives and expand our energy outward to make the world a better place through health, peace and sustainability practices.

The Healing Way feature this month, “12 Steps to Inner Peace,” provides an “inward looking outward” viewpoint to personal growth. It is accompanied by a sidebar written by local counselor LuAnn Keener-Mikenas, who offers additional practical recommendations for your personal journey.

Our Blue Ridge Green Travel piece offer tips on how you can treat your traveling guests to a natural and local Thanksgiving feast and show them the bounty of our beautiful region. As you begin planning your holiday festivities, our “Crafting a Green Holiday” article will provide you with tips and tricks to make homemade gifts and decorations that not only brighten the season but also offer ways to enjoy the season with friends and family. Before launching into the holiday giving spree, check out our bonus Green Living piece, “Shop With the Planet in Mind,” where you’ll find tips for getting what you need with minimal planetary impact.

This month’s Community Spotlight is about the Clean and Green Business Coalition, a truly unique affiliation of businesses here in the Roanoke Valley. These businesses have been working together with assistance from local non-profits and government agencies to reduce their carbon footprints—and have succeeded admirably. Their individual and collective successes serve as an example of the good that can be achieved through hard work and focus, and as an inspiration for businesses large and small throughout the region.

If you are inspired to reduce your carbon footprint as well, please check out our first installment of the Save a Ton Ecotip series for weatherization tips, and our news brief regarding tax credits for solar installations.

Finally, Natural Awakenings magazine is proud to announce our 5th anniversary of publication in this area, while our corporate office will be celebrating 20 years in business next month. We’re also pleased to again sponsor the annual Green Living and Energy Expo at the Roanoke Civic Center on November 1 and 2.  We’ll also be co-hosting a reception for Expo exhibitors on Friday, November 1, at 16 West Marketplace, in Roanoke. The reception is open to the public. We hope to see you there!

Have a great Thanksgiving and look for our Holiday Gift Guide in December’s issue of Natural Awakenings.

Sincerely,

Tracy

October 2013 Environment + Energy Therapy Issue

October Cover

Happy fall from Natural Awakenings magazine! We’re so excited to bring you the October “Environment + Energy Therapy” issue.

The issue of climate change is complex, controversial and extremely compelling. In this month’s feature article, “Easing Earth’s Rising Fever,” we merely scratch the surface of this expansive topic by checking in with some of the nation’s premier thought leaders for a panoramic view of where we stand as a nation.

For a local perspective, our Community Spotlight features a regional energy-efficiency education program called Save A Ton, which not only helps homeowners and renters save money in the short term, but will help our region reduce its carbon footprint and greenhouse gas emissions over the long term. Over the coming months, each issue of Natural Awakenings will feature an “Eco-Tip” from the Save A Ton campaign and provide local resources for our readers to find more information.

In this month’s Healing Ways article, you can explore the increasingly popular yet ancient art of energy healing. You’ll also hear from a local expert on the topic, Jane Rochelle, owner of Barefoot Studios, in Roanoke, and a certified healing touch practitioner.

Fall is officially upon us, and we are once again blessed with another beautiful peak color season. Our Blue Ridge Green Travel feature this month highlights a few more of the “green” events taking place that honor and preserve our beautiful region. This month we showcase the  Blue Ridge Potters Guild Show and Sale, the Nature Nurture art exhibit at The Jacksonville Center for the Arts, the Go Outside Festival and one of our perennial favorites, the Green Living and Energy Expo, taking place November 1 and 2 at the Roanoke Civic Center (also see center spread).

October is also Spinal Awareness Month. As a patient of chiropractic, I can personally attest to the efficacy of the practice to not only relieve backaches, but a host of other ailments as well. Check in with a local chiropractor to see how it can help you!

Please enjoy this issue of Natural Awakenings magazine and the brilliant colors of fall!

Sincerely,

Tracy

September 2013 Fitness and Yoga issue

September Cover

Thanks for picking up the September 2013 “Fitness and Yoga” issue of Natural Awakenings!

September is National Yoga month and, to celebrate, our Community Spotlight this month highlights Blacksburg’s Blue Ridge School of Massage and Yoga (BRSMY) and the inspiring philosophy and business wisdom held by its co-owners, Jeff Tiebout and Victoria Stone. Our Healing Ways article is about how practicing yoga can relieve stress and heal trauma and includes a contribution from Roanoke psychologist and yoga instructor Annemarie Carroll.

There’s still time to enjoy the last precious moments of summer, which officially turns to fall on Sunday, September 22. For travelers coming through the region and locals alike, our Blue Ridge Green Travel feature this month highlights a few of the “green” events taking place that celebrate the environment and eco-friendly travel opportunities in the Blue Ridge.

The Natural Awakenings Calendar of Events is bursting with additional recreational opportunities this month. On September 14, head out to the Black Dog Music and BBQ Festival at Chateau Morrisette or downtown Roanoke’s Oak Barrel Blues Festival and, on your way, stop by one of the six Fall ECO Day locations to responsibly recycle your electronics. (For a full list of what’s accepted, check out the news brief in our August issue at NABlueRidge.com/ back-issues). Enjoy a good meal for a great cause at the Roanoke Valley SPCA’s Spayghetti fundraiser, featuring lunch or dinner, on Tuesday, September 24. The last weekend of the month abounds with choices for outdoor recreation, including the Smith Mountain Lake Wine Festival (September 28 and 29) (be sure to use the recycling bins sponsored by Corrugated Container and Natural Awakenings), Floyd Oktoberfest at the Jacksonville Center (September 28) and the Harvest Festival in downtown Roanoke (also September 28).

As you plan ahead to enjoy the fall colors during the peak of the season this year, consider doing good while having fun. You can sign up now for the Fall Waterways Cleanup on October 5, sponsored by Clean Valley Council, and the Chase Away K9 Cancer fundraiser at Peaks of Otter Winery on October 12.

September is also National Preparedness Month. Visit Ready.gov for tips and checklists to help keep your family safe in the event of an emergency. The Rescue Mission is ensuring that all homeless families are prepared for winter weather through their Happy Coatsgiving drive, beginning in October. So, as you plan your winter wardrobe, please consider donating new or gently used coats to help this worthy cause.

We hope you enjoy your September issue of Natural Awakenings magazine and the final days of summer!

Sincerely

Tracy

August 2013 Family Health issue

August 2013

We’re pleased to bring you the August 2013 “Family Health” issue of Natural Awakenings magazine! In this issue, you’ll find information and resources for keeping your family happy and healthy for the remaining summer vacation and beyond, and for enjoying those last few weeks before it’s time to head back to school.

A healthy diet is important for our children and for ourselves but, in this stagnating economy, it can seem difficult to budget enough for fresh, local, organic ingredients. In “Good Food on a Budget” you’ll find some amazingly simple tips for balancing nutrition and taste without breaking the bank. These tips, developed through research by the Environmental Working Group, will help you get the most nutritional bang for your buck.

You can also look into signing up for a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) share, which is an affordable way to have fresh, healthy, organic, locally grown produce on the table weekly. I’ve recently become a member of Riverstone Farm’s CSA (see the ad on page 19) and the freshness and quality of the produce is amazing!

It is time to start thinking about “back to school” and how we can get our kids off on the right foot and with all the advantages that a healthy body and mind can provide. In “Kid-Smart Supplements,” you’ll learn how supplements can help children focus better in school, avoid illness and fight off acute sickness during the cold and flu season. I know we’ll be loading up on the fish oil, probiotics and elderberry extract at my home as part of our back-to-school shopping.

The weeks leading up to the beginning of the school year are ideal for spending high-quality family time together. In “Play Together, Stay Together,” you’ll discover how family-centric recreational activities provide health benefits, strengthen family bonds and create lasting memories. Our special guest writer Pete Eschelman, also offers ideas for activities in the Roanoke Valley. For other ideas, see the first article of our Blue Ridge Green Travel series, “Traveling Virginia’s Blue Ridge,” in which guest writer Anne Piedmont takes us on a journey around the region with ideas for residents and visitors alike and with a nod to some of the region’s most popular attractions.

Speaking of keeping the region green, if you have electronic waste (e-waste), please don’t dump it in the trash can. Tube-type TVs and computer monitors contain lead, while cell phones harbor toxic mercury, cadmium, arsenic and brominated flame retardants, all of which can leach from landfills into groundwater. Instead, bring electronic waste by one of the Fall Electronics Clean Out (ECO) Day locations on September 14. For more info, see our news brief on page 8 and ad on page 5.

And finally, you may want to take your family to the second annual Floyd Yoga Jam, a “big family and community party” of yoga, music, food and fun (see the Community Spotlight on page 12). There will be lots of activities for kids and grown-ups alike, and plenty of time to relax and enjoy the natural surroundings of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Sincerely,

Tracy

July 2013 Food Watch issue

July 2013 Cover

Welcome to your July 2013 “Food Watch” issue of Natural Awakenings magazine! In this issue, you’ll find information and resources for making smart and healthy food choices, plus lots of fun, eco-friendly stuff to do throughout the month!

In “Six Ways to Eat Safe” you’ll find in-depth information about food safety and sustainability concerns including chemical exposure, ecosystem stressors, GMO labeling and why the word “natural” on food packaging may not mean what you think it does. In our “Health Rules” article, you’ll learn why an alkaline diet can reduce damaging inflammation for a healthier body (again with the kale!). Keeping with the healthy eating theme, our Community Spotlight this month highlights The Well, a natural food and supplement store in Bedford. The Well’s co-founder, Linda Burger, is a holistic health guru who gives her own spin on the healing power of food and how “we are what we eat.” Linda is a firm believer in encouraging everyone to get educated about where food comes from, how it’s grown, what’s in it and on it, as well as what the term “organic” really means. If you can’t make it to The Well for your fresh produce, check out our Farmers’ Market page (21) for information on other local sources of food around the Blue Ridge Region. As Hippocrates so famously said, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”

Our “Green Night’s Sleep” article highlights steps that hotels across the country are taking to be greener. (Interested in information about hotels, campgrounds and bed and breakfast establishments across the Blue Ridge Region that are doing the same? Then keep an eye out for our new “Blue Ridge Green Travel” section being launched in August’s issue of Natural Awakenings!) Another interesting piece included in the green hotels article is that some hotels are using water for cleaning. The article tells us: “Electrolyzed water is now used for cleaning; a higher pH works as a nontoxic degreaser, while a lower pH turns water into a sanitizer, eliminating the need for chemical cleansers and gloves.” For more information about home systems that can produce acidic water for cleaning, please contact Tara Orlando at Healthy Water for Me (ad page 5). For effective tools you can use to clean with just water, contact Jean Cox at H2O at Home (ad page 12).

In our “Savor Summer” article, you’ll find simple tips for enjoying low-cost fun in the sun including one of my favorite, yet most elusive, available pastimes, “doing nothing.” In fact, when my youngest child complains, “I’m bored,” I reply, “Great! Try being a human ‘being’ rather than a human ‘doing’ for a little while.”

Whatever your plans for “being” or “doing” this summer, the staff here at Natural Awakenings hopes you enjoy them. Have a great July and Happy Independence Day!

Sincerely

Tracy