September Conscious Caretaking + Yoga Issue

Sept14_VABR_WEB_Page_01 Welcome to the September issue of Natural Awakenings, our caretaking issue. So many of us either are caring for loved ones, or have loved ones caring for us, that it seems fitting to offer some great thoughts on this important, sacred and sometimes difficult part of life. Caretaking also applies to the world around us. Natural Awakenings readers are known for their compassion toward others, both human and non-human, and our environment. Here is some food for thought on care and compassion.

There are four kinds of people in the world: Those who have been caregivers; Those who currently are caregivers; Those who will be caregivers; And those who will need caregivers. ― Rosalynn Carter

Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive. ― Dalai Lama XIV

To love a person is to learn the song in their heart, and sing it to them when they have forgotten. ― Thomas Chandler

For me, I am driven by two main philosophies: know more today about the world than I knew yesterday and lessen the suffering of others. You’d be surprised how far that gets you. ― Neil deGrasse Tyson

Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. ― Leo Buscaglia

I would rather make mistakes in kindness and compassion than work miracles in unkindness and hardness. ― Mother Teresa

Until he extends the circle of his compassion to all living things, man will not himself find peace. ― Albert Schweitzer Compassion is the basis of morality. ― Arthur Schopenhauer

Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. ― Albert Einstein

When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed. ― Maya Angelou

Wishing all of you a month blessed with good care, for yourselves, for your loved ones and for the world around us.

Tracy

August Transformative Education + Kids Health Issue

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We’re pleased to present the August Transformative Education + Children’s Health edition of Natural Awakenings magazine! In this month’s issue, you’ll find information about innovative learning approaches for adults and for kids, as well as holistic ways to keep kids healthier.

In our Feature article “Learning that Transforms Hearts and Minds,” you can explore several innovative and effective ways of learning that are being practiced by businesses, students and individuals all over the world.
In “Schools that Rock: Innovators Blaze Creative Paths,” we uncover several of the most creative educational institutions and techniques. This is supplemented by a tour of alternative educational opportunities in Roanoke by Growing Up in the Valley magazine’s Amanda Powers. “Super-Immunity for Kids” features simple ways to help keep kids strong, and the “Day Care Goes Green” article takes a peek at some green and healthy child care innovations.

Local kids are learning about healthy eating habits through a popular program called “Healthy Happy Cooks.” This month, our Community Spotlight features this innovative program, which has helped thousands of city schoolchildren—and their families—eat better, and feel better as a result. As founder Heather Quintana says, “I believe that people don’t need fancy diets to be healthy, but just a diet of lean protein, and lots of fruits and vegetables—and encouragement.”

Looking for last minute expedition to fill these waning weeks before school starts? Check out “Summer Mini-Getaways: Green Travelers Recharge at Spas, Parks and Vineyards” for ideas. Or maybe you need a respite from the kids after a long lively summer at home. If so, find a few relaxing retreats in “Natural Spas in Central Virginia.” This month marks a full year of our Blue Ridge Green Travel article series by contributor Anne Piedmont. We hope you’ve enjoyed the past year’s installments and look forward to bringing you more in the coming months.
Check out our news briefs and calendar listings for green and healthy living, learning and fun opportunities happening in the coming months, and mark your calendar so you don’t miss out!
September is Yoga Month, so we’re busily preparing our September Conscious Caretaking + Yoga issue. As always, we welcome your ideas and input.

Sincerely,
Tracy

July Food Watch + Natural Medicine Cabinet issue

July_2014_Page_01Thanks for picking up the July Food Watch + Natural Medicine Cabinet edition of Natural Awakenings magazine! Inside, you’ll find freshly prepared pieces to help keep you healthy and happy this summer.

This month’s feature article, “Stewards of Earth’s Bounty: Organic Farmers Sow Seeds of Change,” is a roundup of farmers across the nation who are working hard to provide consumers with local, organic, non-GMO, secure and healthy food stock. To complement this national perspective, our Community Spotlight shines a light on local farm heroes right here in Virginia’s Blue Ridge. Additionally, one of our local news briefs features information on a regional food security project currently underway at Virginia Tech. The Appalachian Foodshed Project is  creating a network to improve food access, expand food security and enhance food economies.

For our Natural Medicine Cabinet feature, we explore “Essential Oils for Summer Maladies,” which includes a simple, toxin-free recipe for summer bug repellent. And, if the healing power of essential oils interests you, check out our calendar listings for two local essential oil workshops coming up in July and August. In other local natural medicine cabinet news, we highlight the new Virginia Tech Farmacy Garden project, in which doctors in Montgomery County will be “prescribing” visits to the Farmacy Garden for qualified patients. The goal of the Garden Prescription Program is to emphasize the importance of diet and moderate physical activity as vital components in a patient’s wellness plan. Keep reading our news briefs to learn how you can get your own personal food prescription for healthier living through Holistic Nutrition Source.

Thinking about summer family camping opportunities? Our Healthy Kids feature this month explores how parents can transition kids away from mind-numbing video games and into consciousness-expanding outdoor experiences. Our Blue Ridge Green Travel article highlights three regional family camping venues: Middle Creek Campground, in Buchanan; Camp Karma, in Bedford; and Camp Easter Seals, in New Castle. They offer low-cost, high-return opportunities for kids to plug in to nature.

There are so many fun and diverse events and learning opportunities happening this month, so please check out our calendar listings and find something to get you moving. We’re busily preparing our August Transformative Education + Children’s Health issue, and welcome your ideas and input.  In the meantime, stay cool!

Sincerely,

Tracy

 

June 2014 Inspired Living + Men’s Wellness

 

June 2014 Natural Awakenings MagazineWelcome to the June Inspired Living + Men’s Wellness issue of Natural Awakenings magazine. This month is an enlightened, alpha male-inspired, star-studded issue! First, our Wise Words article features an interview about life lessons with motivational speaker and author Wayne Dyer. This month’s Green Living feature highlights singer-songwriter Jack Johnson’s efforts to green his concerts and connect his fans with local environmental nonprofits. Award-winning local novelist and journalist Dan Smith shares with us his thoughts on the topic of our feature article, “The Healing Power of Story.”  Finally, our Inspiration article offers ideas for helping alpha boys become the kind of mature, compassionate and awe-inspiring men we feature this month.

If you feel inspired to eat local foods, including those grown in your own backyard, then you’ll enjoy the locavore lineup we’ve prepared for you this month. First, our Community Spotlight looks at the recent visit to Roanoke by Joe Lamp’l, host of the PBS show Growing a Greener World, who came to Roanoke with his crew to film a local segment with the help of Blue Ridge Public Television. Roanoke is doing so many things right, he said, and he’s excited to spread the word about our green and growing community. Second, check out “Living Off the Land,” this month’s Conscious Eating feature, which summarizes the variety of ways we can all eat clean, green and local. Finally, if you want to eat fresh on the road this season, check out this month’s Blue Ridge Green Travel feature, which highlights new developments at farmers’ markets throughout Virginia’s Blue Ridge region.

Looking to plan some fun activities this month? Look no further than our news briefs and calendar listings. In local news briefs, we feature two events that put the “fun” in fund-raising. The Smith Mountain Lake Songwriters Festival benefits St. Jude Hospital, and the Horse and Hound Wine Festival, in Bedford, benefits local animal welfare groups. The Friends of the Lynchburg Nature Center group invites you to enjoy a day of hiking, crafts and music at the first Ivy Creek Park celebration, and Barefoot Studios at 16 West Marketplace in downtown Roanoke would love to have you visit its second free Afternoon of Healing event.

We’re busily preparing for our July Food Watch + Natural Medicine Cabinet issue, and invite your ideas and input.  In the meantime, enjoy this inspired issue of Natural Awakenings!

Sincerely,

Tracy

May 2014 Women’s Wellness + Bodywork issue

 

May_2014_Page_01Thank you for picking up the May Women’s Wellness + Bodywork issue of Natural Awakenings magazine! The topic of women’s wellness encompasses so many aspects, including physical fitness, emotional health and mental clarity. Many of us find it a great challenge to adequately manage these aspects not only for those we care for but ourselves as well. Our Wise Words article this month is an interview with Gabby Reese, who shares how she balances her diverse and demanding rolls as pro volleyball player, author, fitness expert, fashion model, environmental activist and mother. I love that one of her suggestions is to create a team of other female friends who can help one another on a day-to-day basis!

This month, we also explore ways to use bodywork to promote health in our pets. Local veterinarian Dr. Marge Lewter weighs in with her perspective on holistic health care for pets. Both Dr. Lewter, of Holistic Veterinary Services, in Blacksburg, and Dr. Lori Leonard, of Concord Veterinary Services, outside Lynchburg, can provide a holistic health evaluation and treatment plan for your pet.

This month’s Community Spotlight focuses on Barefoot Studios, in the 16 West Marketplace building in downtown Roanoke. Founded by Jane Barefoot Rochelle, the studio is a healing arts center with four licensed practitioners, who offer healing touch, therapeutic art, massage, Tai Chi, Reiki, reflexology and emotional release therapy. The studio truly embodies the “the art of healing and the healing of art.”

In local news, Floyd Fest is just around the corner. Last year the event sold out early, so grab your tickets now! This month, you can have fun while learning about green living at the EcoExpo in Blacksburg on May 10, or if bike safety is your thing, check out the Rally for Road Safety in Roanoke on May 17. These and other events are highlighted in our News Brief section.

Next month, look for our special Men’s Health + Inspired Living issue. In it, we’ll learn some valuable life lessons from author and motivational speaker,Wayne Dyer. Plus, we’ll hear about how singer/songwriter Jack Johnson has been greening up his own music festivals and supporting eco-causes close to his heart.

Hope your summer starts off with a splash!

Sincerely

Tracy

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