Healthy Concepts

Uncomfortable symptoms of hormone imbalance often start when a woman is much younger than the typical menopausal age of 52. Occasional hot flashes, fatigue, irritability, moodiness, insomnia, irregular menses and decreased feelings of sex drive or libido may begin for some women in their late 30s and 40s. You may know that something’s not quite right but not realize that your hormone imbalances may be the reason why.

Hormone imbalances change things and nowhere is that more true than in the bedroom. Less vaginal lubrication and decreased sexual desire can turn a happy couple’s sex life upside down. Vaginal dryness is very common and can occur at many different times including during breast feeding, peri-menopause or simply when using certain contraceptives. Too little lubrication and pain with intercourse is especially common as women approach menopause and after, thanks to decreasing estrogen levels.

Fortunately there are many safe and effective prescription vaginal estrogen products available today. Some absorb into the vaginal tissue locally, not throughout the entire body. This is important if a woman wishes to avoid the risks of systemic estrogen therapy. The additional vaginal moisture and increased vaginal wall elasticity from the estrogen medication makes intercourse much more comfortable and controls the common vaginal symptoms of dryness, itching and burning daily. As a women’s health nurse practitioner, I often prescribe a vaginal estrogen tablet used 2-3 times per week for many of my patients when needed. The popular estrogen vaginal tablets are very easy to use and non-messy. I also advise my patients, especially those over age 40, to consider use of a friction reducing lubricant during sex.

Drug store variety lubricants do a great job to temporarily relieve vaginal dryness during intercourse and there is no prescription required. There are three basic formulas: water-based, silicone-based and oil-based. Water-based lubricants, such as K-Y Jelly or Liquid Silk (a favorite of many of my patients), tend to be very gentle and are particularly useful if you are very chemical sensitive. Beware of glycerin, which may promote yeast infections if you are prone to them. It is advisable to test any new lubricant on a small area of the labia first to be safe. Talk with your provider if you are noticing bothersome vaginal dryness or pain with intercourse. There is no need to suffer in silence especially when so much help is available! Your provider can rule out other reasons for pain and help you to improve your sex life.

Fortunately, hormone testing and customized, low dose bio-identical hormone therapy can also help you to manage many symptoms. Get your hormones tested if you suspect your testosterone (or any other hormones) may be out of whack. Loss of testosterone can have real consequences for your sexual function and your health in general. Compared to men, women have much less testosterone but it is an important hormone for vitality for both sexes. Its nickname is the "hormone of desire" and it drives libido and good genital sensation. It also contributes to feeling energized, stimulates bone growth and helps give you an increased general sense of well being.

Remember that hormone therapy is not just about controlling vaginal dryness and low libido. Beyond alleviating symptoms, supplemental hormones play an important role in long-term health and wellness. Hormones may also assist in prevention of diseases such as osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s, and even certain types of cancer. If you have a family history of any of these diseases, if you had an early menopause, or if you have had your ovaries removed in a hysterectomy, natural hormone therapy may offer long-term health benefits for you.

For more information about a convenient and affordable way to measure your hormone levels, visit the web site of Women’s Health America at Women’s Health America, the PCAB accredited natural hormone experts, are America’s first compounding pharmacy to specialize in compounded, low dose, natural hormone therapy and hormone testing. Read about their Restore Program which offers hormone testing to measure amounts of the female sex hormones called estrogen, progesterone, testosterone and two adrenal hormones called DHEA and cortisol. They offer customized hormone treatment recommendations along with urinary NTx analysis to determine rates of bone loss for women. They can help you to find a provider in your area skilled in utilizing hormone testing and familiar with prescribing individualized hormones made just for you. Getting your hormones tested will help you to find out why you may feel the way you do. Customized hormone treatment can help you to feel like yourself again. Please get the help you need if you are suffering! You and your partner deserve a satisfying sexual life — no matter what age you are!

Randi Mann, WHNP-BC, CNMP, is the owner of Wise Woman Wellness LLC, an innovative wellness and menopause center recently opened at 1480 Swan Road, De Pere. Mann is a board certified Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner and certified NAMS Menopause Practitioner, one of 14 in Wisconsin and 540 worldwide to achieve this distinction. She combines the best of conventional and integrative/complimentary medicine to help women live healthier, more abundant, joy filled lives using a blend of compassion, cutting edge science, practical guidance and humor. Contact her at 920.339.5252 or via the internet at www.wisewomanwellnessllc com.

Do you suffer from fatigue, headaches, joint pain or even gas and bloating? If so, you may have a food sensitivity. Many people suffer from these and many other symptoms without even knowing it. Many of these symptoms or conditions are triggered by a person’s diet. Often people unknowingly eat foods that their bodies do not have the capability to properly digest and often have unspecific, but harmful reactions to them. Thankfully, there are ways to determine if you have a food sensitivity.

Food sensitivities are not the same as food allergies. True allergies are associated with IgE responses. IgE is an antibody that is formed by the immune system in response to an allergy, asthma or parasite and causes an immediate reaction. These reactions release histamine which causes the symptoms most people experience with an allergy. These symptoms include difficulty breathing, wheezing, itching, rashes, flushing of the skin or the possibility of anaphylactic shock soon after a food is consumed. A child’s throat swelling within minutes after eating a peanut is a good example of this type of reaction.

A food sensitivity, on the other hand, is a delayed reaction, which means it can take hours to days for the body to show symptoms. The response to a food sensitivity is likely to be IgG mediated. IgG is another antibody produced by the immune system, only it is nonspecific and causes many nonspecific symptoms. Some common foods that cause sensitivities are dairy, wheat, chocolate, egg, citrus fruit, corn, nuts, sugar, soy, tomato and beef. There is also an abundance of food additives that trigger sensitivities such as monosodium glutamate (MSG), artificial sweeteners and food colorings.

The symptoms of food sensitivities and allergies can be quite different. A food allergy normally causes a quick and obvious reaction such as swelling, rashes or difficulty in breathing. The symptoms of food sensitivities are not as immediate or obvious as those of food allergies. Fatigue, lethargy, needing to sleep after you have eaten, mood swings, depression, restlessness, headaches, migraines, joint pain, gas, bloating and indigestion are examples of food sensitivity symptoms.

Many illnesses experienced by children and adults can also be associated with food sensitivities. Anxiety, arthritis, asthma, depression, irritability, acne, fatigue, chronic fatigue, migraine headaches, multiple sclerosis, irritable bowel syndrome, constipation, fibromyalgia and premenstrual syndrome are illnesses linked to food sensitivities.

The cause of a food sensitivity is often complicated and can be difficult to determine. Some of the possible explanations for the cause of irritation and sensitivity include additives that are present in processed food, inflammation already present in the body that reacts with ingested food, and the over consumption of the same food.

How do you determine if you have a food sensitivity? Food sensitivity testing is not usually done through a typical allergist or allopathic doctor. It is best to have a practitioner who specializes in food sensitivities, such as a Naturopathic Doctor, perform certain tests.

A trial test commonly performed is the elimination/challenge test. The test involves the patient eliminating common food culprits from their diet for three or four weeks and observing whether or not the symptoms are reduced. After the elimination period, the food is slowly reintroduced to see whether the symptoms become worse. The test can be difficult to follow through on, but it is highly effective.

Another common test is the serum IgG test, which identifies antibodies to certain foods in the blood. This test is easier on the patient because he or she can see lab results that indicate food sensitivities and does not have to participate in an elimination diet. The drawback of this test is that the results are sometimes not as accurate as the elimination/challenge test.

Many people suffer from food sensitivities without even knowing it. The best ways to prevent food sensitivities are to eat only whole, nonprocessed foods, go on a monitored detoxification diet one to two times per year, try not to eat the same foods every day, and reduce inflammation in the body if needed through exercise, diet, and specific nutrients. If you feel you may be suffering from food sensitivities, contact a Naturopathic Doctor. He or she is specially trained to help diagnose and treat your food sensitivities in the most effective and non-invasive way possible.

As a Naturopathic Doctor, Dr. Rebecca Georgia utilizes a variety of research-based complementary and alternative modalities such as nutritional supplements, vitamins, herbs, homeopathy and diet and lifestyle changes. Dr. Georgia believes that personalized preventive care is essential in helping people achieve their health goals. She is on staff at The Family Clinic of Natural Medicine, on Madison’s Southeast side. You can learn more about her by visiting her blog at or call 608.222.2700 for more information.

"The beauty of life begins with realizing that there is beauty in life. Find your beauty, realize your life. It is your choice!"

These words are the motivating force behind Lifestyle by Choice, LLC.

Lifestyle by Choice owner Gary J. Coenen, M.S., would like to see people live by his words and realize "You are the creator of your body. You are the creator of your mind. Create the body and mind that you are happy with." For some people, this may be advice that is easy to follow. But for people with limiting issues, such as tobacco or cigarette use, weight issues, addictions, phobias, libido, migraines, hair pulling, anxieties, stress or pain, the journey toward this goal is full of obstacles.

Coenen partners with his clients to help them obtain clarity through the use of clinical hypnotherapy, professionally combined with neuro-linguistic programming, cognitive therapy and emotional freedom technique.

"Hypnosis is as ancient as healing itself," he says. In fact, hypnosis-like practices can be traced to ancient Egypt, India, Greece and China. According to the Natural Standard Bottom Line Monograph, Wong Tai, a father of Chinese medicine, made an early written reference to hypnosis in 2600 BC. The practice has matured through this century, as the American Medical Association and American Psychological Association both endorse hypnosis as a medical procedure.

Coenen has found that medical issues related to anxiety or stress, such as Parkinson’s, muscular sclerosis, spasmodic torticolis or trichotillomania are oftentimes relieved to some extent by the use of clinical hypnotherapy. This healing benefits individuals by teaching them useful mindfulness techniques as well as stress and anxiety reduction strategies.

When dealing with clients with behavioral issues, Coenen can use a skill called emotional freedom technique as an adjunct to other therapeutic modalities in creating lasting solutions for behavior change. "I support the idea that addictive behaviors are manageable and under the control of the affected person," he says.

Do you want to change your life? Coenen invites you to enjoy success by contacting him about any limiting issues you may have. He can be reached at (608) 213-3158 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Lifestyle by Choice is located at 313 Price Place, Suite 206, Madison.

Are debilitating headaches affecting your quality of life? Do you have a backache that never seems to go away? What about annoying allergies that arrive like clockwork each spring and don’t seem to respond to over-the-counter medicines?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you could benefit from acupuncture, a thousands-year-old oriental therapeutic technique that involves inserting thin needles into various points on the body to relieve these symptoms. While sticking oneself with needles seems completely antithetical to pain or symptom relief, acupuncture is an increasingly popular treatment alternative for many health-minded consumers in our area. It is even being used to treat infertility, spur weight loss and a host of many other issues.

In 1997, acupuncturist and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practitioner Leaf Song opened The Beijing Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine Clinic in Middleton. She says ridding themselves of pain is what spurs the majority of her clients to seek out her services.

"The most popular problem among our clients is pain," Song says. "Whether it’s for the back, neck, shoulder or migraines, it’s the number one reason people come here. They try everything else, including pain pills, before they try acupuncture. But then they are surprised at how quickly they get relief."

Arlene Krueger, a LaFollette High School teacher, came to Beijing Acupuncture when her ankle pain became debilitating. She said when she first heard about acupuncture, the thought of having needles jabbed into her body didn’t excite her at all, but she wanted to give it a try because no other treatments worked. She didn’t expect that she could move without pain after doing it the first time, but that’s exactly what happened.

"When I leave, I feel so good," Krueger says. "And I was thinking, why would anybody not do this?"

Despite its increasing popularity, the technique of acupuncture and other TCM modalities remains somewhat of a mystery for many Westerners. Song likens the traditions of acupuncture to how families here hand down recipes to their children. That is, even if you receive a treasured soup recipe from your great-grandmother, the batch you make will still differ from hers.

That being said, in families throughout China where Song was born and raised, the acupuncture technique is handed down from generation to generation. She learned at a very young age how to attend to the mental, emotional and physical needs of the human body, and used massage on her own grandmother.

When she was older, Song attended and graduated from Zhejiang College of Traditional Chinese Medicine, and then the China Academy of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Beijing. Leaf also worked in China Longyou hospital as a doctor of traditional Chinese medicine before she came to the United State in 1990 to join her husband, Jonathan Song, who was then pursuing a Ph.D. in physiology and neuroscience. Jonathan also received his Chinese Medicine degree in 1983 from Zhejiang College of Traditional Chinese Medicine, as a classmate of Leaf Song, and a medical degree in 1988 from Peking Union Medical College, China. The couple moved to Madison in 1997 after Jonathan was offered a job at the University of Wisconsin. Leaf opened The Beijing Acupuncture Clinic and Jonathan joined later.

With acupuncture, the basic principle behind the technique is that practitioners can activate a person’s Qi (pronounced ‘chee’), the vital energy that flows throughout the body. When one’s Qi is blocked or stagnant, illness, pain and disease result. When Qi flows freely, a person is healthy mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

"If your Qi is blocked, the needles and other techniques can help to open it up," she says.

At an initial appointment, Song asks clients about the problem they’re trying to resolve. She also asks about health history, lifestyle and the things they’ve tried to remedy their situation as well as other medical conditions, medications and supplements they take. To differentiate the medical issue further, Song also carries out tongue diagnosis and pulse diagnosis procedures. Diagrams for the tongue are important since they reflect how the internal organs are functioning and provide valuable clinical information. The pulse diagnosis can be used to gain a further understanding of the vital flow of energy coursing through meridians connecting to internal organs. Song also looks at various body areas to see how they are or how they are not working together, and then to determine how they’re imbalanced or balanced.

During the treatment, Song uses a gentle touch with her clients, noting that Americans especially tend to be more sensitive to needles and pain in general. That could be attributed to diet, stress level and other factors in a person’s life, she says. (One patient, Bobbie, who is seen for hip pain, says it is no worse than a mosquito bite.)

"We’ve considered American patients’ feeling, so we use disposable needles, which are thinner and less painful for patients than the reusable ones used in China," Song says. "We also use lamplight to improve the blood flow in the patient’s body, which reinforces the function of the needle."

"It’s just like a little poke. It’s not like getting a shot," Krueger adds.

Instead of painful, the treatment process is often relaxing. "When you go to the doctor’s room, you see the doctor, and your blood pressure rises," says John Leonard, 65, who had come to Beijing Acupuncture Clinic every two to three weeks since his first try a year and a half ago. "Here is the opposite. When I am here, I have the needles in. The light turns down. The music is nice and quiet. I have a 15- to 30-minute nap. People don’t believe that.

"You don’t feel the needles at all. While you know they are there, they don’t hurt."

The clinic recently treated a woman in her mid-30s who had been suffering from constant severe headaches for the last 10 years and has been through all kinds of tests and treatments. By the time she came for acupuncture, her headaches were so severe that she couldn’t work anymore. However, she got relief from her pain after her first treatment. After the second treatment on the next day, she felt almost 90 percent better. By the fourth treatment she was virtually pain-free. She was so amazed she was almost crying. "With acupuncture you pay a little, relatively, but you gain a lot," Leaf likes to point out.

Song says she continues to be amazed by the success so many people have with acupuncture. "You’re always thinking about it and learning new techniques and how to help different people," she says, adding that she has used it on herself on many occasions. For example, she suffered jet lag after a return trip from China and was extremely tired for days.

"I used the needles and I slept great that night," she says.

In addition to acupuncture, the Songs use a variety of herbal medicines and teas in their practice. They adhere to the philosophy that good health is maintained through a variety of approaches and techniques, as well as living a balanced life. Beijing Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine Clinic is located at 6255 University Ave., Suite 202, Middleton. For more information, call 608.238.3333 or visit

Hay fever sufferers might find some extra relief by adding acupuncture to their treatment plan, the results of a new clinical trial suggest.

In a study of more than 5,000 adults with nasal allergies, German researchers found that those who had acupuncture added to their therapy showed greater improvements in their symptoms over three months.

Overall, acupuncture patients reported bigger gains in their quality of life, reporting that symptoms such as itchy eyes, a runny nose and poor sleep were taking less of a toll on their daily lives.

Dr. Benno Brinkhaus, of the Charite University Medical Center in Berlin, led the study, published in the "Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology."

In many countries, acupuncture has become a popular alternative therapy for allergic rhinitis, more commonly known as hay fever. But the few studies that have been conducted on the treatment have produced conflicting results, according to Brinkhaus and his colleagues.

To investigate, the researchers followed 5,237 adults suffering from seasonal or year-long allergic rhinitis. Of these patients, 487 were randomly assigned to undergo up to 15 acupuncture sessions, delivered by a physician over three months; another 494 were randomly assigned to a "control" group in which patients stayed with their standard treatment alone.

The rest of the study group, 4,256 patients in all, did not want to be randomly assigned and instead chose to have acupuncture.

All patients were surveyed about their quality of life at the study’s start, at the end of the three-month treatment period, and again three months later.

After treatment was completed, Brinkhaus and his colleagues found that acupuncture patients reported greater gains in quality of life compared with the control group. The difference was still present, although waning, three months later.

Acupuncture has been used for more than 2,000 years in Chinese medicine to treat a wide variety of ailments. According to traditional medicine, specific acupuncture points on the skin are connected to internal pathways that conduct energy, or qi (pronounced "chee"), and stimulating these points with a fine needle promotes the healthy flow of qi.

There is some research evidence that acupuncture might influence immune system activity, which in theory could help explain its benefits for hay fever sufferers.

Whatever the mechanism, Brinkhaus and his colleagues say that this study and past research suggest that hay fever sufferers who are interested in acupuncture should give it a try.

"Acupuncture can be considered an effective and safe treatment option for patients with allergic rhinitis," they conclude.

SOURCE: Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, November 2008; Reuters Health

Today, many people sit for extended periods of time. Whether it’s at a work station, as a passenger in an airplane or car, bus or train, we’re all generally less active than we were in years past. In this computer age, many adults and children spend an enormous amount of time sitting down in front of a computer taking care of business, surfing the internet, playing video games, purchasing merchandise, etc.

It is a known fact that prolonged sitting or inactivity can result in a multitude of health issues. These can include, but are not limited to:

coronary heart disease

a greater risk of being overweight or obese (associated with certain cancers, osteoarthritis and back problems)

the development of type 2 diabetes

lower bone density and a higher risk of osteoporosis

a higher risk of colon cancer

One symptom of inactivity or prolonged sitting is that of poor blood circulation in the lower extremities, especially in the lower portion of the legs below the knees and in the feet.

One remedy to poor circulation is to periodically exercise the lower extremities. When a person has the option of occasionally getting up and moving around, or taking brief walking breaks or stretching, that can alleviate at least some of the poor circulation issues. However, many people work at jobs that require them to remain at their work stations for prolonged periods of time. For them, getting up and walking around to address such blood circulation issues is not an option.

For people who are unable to get up and walk around, it is desirable that they engage in some form of exercise while sitting. Today, a variety of exercise devices exist which are primarily designed to be used in a large open area such as a gym. Many are large and are formed from metal, metal alloys, steel, stainless steel, cast iron, etc. so as to be sturdy and long lasting. Some of these exercise devices are designed to be stepped onto or to be stood on while performing a particular exercise. Such exercise devices are normally not moved from one location to another but are positioned such that the person who is working out rotates among the various pieces of exercise equipment. Each exercise device may be designed to work only certain muscles of a person’s body.

A related problem of poor blood circulation in a person’s legs or feet exists among people who have limited mobility for other reasons. Such reasons include, but are not limited to those who have a leg, ankle or foot injury, those with leg neuropathy or leg degradations, those who are too weak to walk, the aged, those afflicted with a disease or those recovering from certain medical procedures, such as a foot operation, and the like. In addition, some medically challenged people, such as the handicapped or wheelchair bound individuals, as well as those suffering from a temporary or a permanent infirmity may not be able to stand on their own. All of the above individuals would benefit from a one piece, lightweight exercise device that they could use to properly exercise their legs and/or feet to ensure proper levels of
blood circulation.

If your health is challenged by prolonged periods of inactivity, investigate all your options and find a piece of equipment to combat this problem that not only fits your lifestyle but your budget as well. That way, you will be more likely to use it and see results.

Mike Soletski invented The Peddler, a small and portable exercise device that is designed to facilitate blood circulation in the lower extremities of a person’s legs and feet. For more information, visit, or email him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

There are times when all of us are approached by people that appear sincerely concerned with the eternal life of our souls. This seems innocent enough on the surface, yet deep within me a voice is screaming in dismay over the paradox of this polite concern.

A part of this contradiction can begin to be understood through archeology and anthropology. Every civilization that is known or has been discovered, along with our modern religions and belief systems, agree on one thing: the soul is eternal. Which would mean that the concept of eternity is not something that is held by any one doctrine or dogma; instead it is an idea that has been held by humanity since its conception.

Interesting too, is the fact that there is no beginning, nor is there an end to that which is eternal. This would mean that our soul began its existence prior to this life here on the physical earth and our soul will continue to live long after our bodies have returned to the earth.

Wouldn’t this then infer that this physical lifetime is an expression of our eternal being? If this is so, then we truly have nothing to fear.

There are other words that we can easily substitute for eternal. Some of these are: timeless, perpetual, everlasting and even infinite.

Infinite. Hmmm, now here’s a thought we can truly ponder. How would our lives change if we were each concerned with our Infinite Life? This would mean that we are limitless, boundless. Wait a minute. That would mean that we are without limit and without boundaries. We would only be limited by infinity.

Imagine your life for a moment without the limits that we perceive others have placed on us or the boundaries that we set upon ourselves.

We all have things we would love to do ‘if only…’ And it is when we discover these ‘if only…’ things that we discover the barriers, limitations and boundaries that hold us back from living the infinite life and being the infinite beings that we truly are.

Take a moment to quiet your mind. Take a few deep breaths and look into the quiet part of you, the part of you that knows how infinite you really are. Then breathe the knowledge of your infinite soul into your awareness. When we do this, the troubles of the day dissipate from view. The perceived limitations of ‘if only’ diminish in their size, scope and hold upon our lives. We are able to see the path to the life we want more clearly. We begin to break free from the bindings that are holding us back.

I had limitations and perceived boundaries that were holding me in a day job that no longer fit with the rest of my life. The passion for the job had run out long ago and getting started on a weekday morning was a demanding chore. It was only the obligation, responsibility and my conscience that kept me going.

Making a career change seemed a daunting task and even then my vision as to ‘what’ I could be a part of was limited by the bindings of my perception. I was once again resigning myself to an eternal life of doing what no longer resonated with who I am.

Slowly I began changing my thinking, understanding that I am an infinite being that is boundless, limitless and able to manifest a different life. One by one the limiting thoughts and perceived boundaries began to reveal themselves and as they came to mind I was able to change them.

Before I knew it, a career opportunity presented itself that fits with who I am and who I’m becoming. The skills I’ve learned in the past will serve me well, the passion has returned and the potential is infinite. Even more extraordinary is that I wasn’t looking for a job when this opportunity came along.

My life experiences make me wonder about the sincere concern those approaching me truly have about my eternal life. However, for now I much more enjoy living the infinite life, so, why don’t you begin living yours?

Bob and Lisa Reber own Druidic Gems and Your Soul’s Journey in Fond du Lac. For more information, call 920.924.0802 or visit

Healthy, sustainable living is not a privilege or a luxury for those who can afford it. Modeling and teaching children healthy, sustainable habits is a responsibility shared by all parents and caregivers. Healthy, sustainable living starts with a healthy pregnancy and good prenatal care. Expectant mothers who eat a healthy diet, have an active lifestyle, don’t smoke, drink alcohol or use recreational drugs are more likely to have a healthy pregnancy and healthy baby.

After baby is born, breast-feeding (if possible) is the best way of providing optimum nutrition for baby. Appropriate car seats and safety restraints are required upon departure from most hospitals. Cloth diapers and hanging them out on a clothes line are back in fashion. While some may debate the cost of cleaning cloth diapers vs. the cost of disposable diapers, there is less debate about energy savings, product purchase costs and the benefits of decreasing landfill volumes.

As baby grows and table foods are introduced, it is not only less costly but also more convenient to use selected table foods, such as cooked fruits and vegetables for baby’s pureed food. A "Magic Bullet" grinder works great, helping busy moms to puree small amounts of fruits and vegetables. An added bonus for baby is that fruits and vegetables prepared at home can be ready to eat without added salt or sugar. Homemade, pureed baby food stores well in small glass jars. A plant-based diet is a great way to begin introducing your baby to solid foods.

Protecting baby from exposure to plastics, which can leech chemicals into food, is important. BPA (Bisphenol A) is a material put in plastic to make plastic stronger. It is sometimes found in sippy cups and bottles. Toxic effects include neural and reproductive effects which are linked to breast and prostate cancer. BPA exposure has also been linked to obesity, diabetes, impaired immune function and high blood pressure. Phthalates are used to make plastic more flexible. They are found in cling plastic wraps, squeeze bottles and shower curtains. Phthalates have been linked to kidney and liver damage. Check the labels on plastics before use. Renee Loux provides a great update on plastic labeling in her book "Easy Green Living," which provides tips on ways to decrease your exposure to the toxins in plastics, such as not heating food in the microwave in plastic containers; cooling food before storing in plastic containers.

Toddlers can be great shopping partners at the grocery store. Give them their own reusable bag and let them help to pick out vegetables and fruits. Take your toddler to the farmer’s market and introduce them to the people growing their food. Plant a small garden with your toddler of ready-to-eat items, such as peas and beans. Visit a local apple orchard and the pumpkin patch. Toddlers love to be outdoors. Capitalize on this by biking and walking to the park, the library, the grocery store or the farmer’s market. Along the way, teach your child the safety rules of walking/biking in the neighborhood.

Healthy, sustainable life-long habits begin at birth. These habits can be fostered by parents and caregivers who model healthy, active, sustainable living every day.

Margie Weiss, Ph.D., APNP, LEED® AP, is principal for Weiss Health Group, LLC, a leader in creating individual, company and community health connections. Weiss is facilitating the 2009-2010 HS3™ collaborative in NE Wisconsin. Weiss is active in numerous community boards including the St. Elizabeth Hospital Foundation, FVTC Foundation, Menasha Corp. Foundation, Tri County Community Dental Clinic Board, and Board Advisor for the Fox Cities Community Health Center. She also serves on the New North Sustainability Committee. For more information, visit

Each year, millions of new cases of cancer are diagnosed across the globe. Although there is no definitive cause for many of the cancers out there, certain lifestyle choices put a person at a greater risk for cancer. By making a few simple changes, that risk can be reduced.

1. Eat steamed broccoli.  Broccoli is one of the superfoods purported to help reduce cancer risk. However, microwaving or overcooking broccoli can destroy up to 97 percent of broccoli’s cancer-preventing flavanoids. Therefore, eat broccoli raw or lightly steam it to retain the most nutrients.

2. Load up on garlic.  Garlic might contribute to bad breath, but the side effect may be worth it. Garlic contains sulfur that can help fend off cancer by stimulating the body’s natural immune system.

3. Enjoy orange foods.  Sweet potatoes, carrots and cantaloupe contain carotinoids, which can reduce the risk of cancer.

4. Eat some blueberries.  Blueberries top the list for antioxidants. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals, which can contribute to cancer.Sweet potatoes, carrots and cantaloupe contain carotinoids, which can reduce risk of cancer.

5. Drink plenty of water.  The body needs water to stay healthy and flush out contaminants. Therefore, enjoy eight glasses per day.

6. Get a little sunlight.  Not only does sunlight boost mood, which can reduce stress and keep the body in top form, the body receives most of its vitamin D from the sun. Minimal sun exposure will increase vitamin D in the body. Too little vitamin D can actually contribute to some cancers.

7. Reduce animal fat intake.  Cut down on the amount of high-fat dairy and meat products consumed.

8. Walk 30 minutes a day.  Even moderate exercise can reduce cancer risk.

9. Reduce exposure to chemicals.  Let those dandelions sprout in the lawn, skip dry cleaning clothes and use natural items around the house for cleaning. This reduces a person’s exposure to potentially toxic chemicals that may contribute to cancer.

10. Enjoy grapes.  Grapes contain the cancer-fighting compound resveratrol, which is found in wine. However, grapes do not offer the potentially negative consequences of alcohol consumption.

11. Choose organic whenever possible.  Organic foods are grown without chemical pesticides and fertilizers, making them better for the body.

SOURCE: Metro Creative Connection









Everything is made out of energy, yet energy is something many of us don’t understand. Every month Tina Bensman, a practicing clairvoyant and energy healer, will answer any questions you have about your energy system. Topics may include energy anatomy, dream analysis, chakra balancing, manifestation, life patterns, etc. The ideas written here do not replace medical attention. Always listen to your body, mind and intuition when receiving advice of any kind. If you have a question, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. If your question is chosen, you will be notified before the article prints.

Dear Tina,

Lately I’ve been having a number of dreams all located in my grandmother’s house. I haven’t been there since I was a child, and in fact they sold it 15 years ago. Why am I suddenly dreaming about it?

– Granny’s House-Sitter

Dear Granny’s House-Sitter,

In most cases, dreams are simply energetic messages. In order for your unconscious mind to communicate these messages to your conscious mind, it will show you pictures — the universal language. If you show someone a picture of an apple and they don’t speak the same language as you do, they will still know what you are trying to communicate. In your case, the source of your dream wants to communicate something to you. It showed you a picture of your grandmother’s house.

The space in which a dream takes place is a symbol for the "space" you are in energetically. So, in your waking life, how did your grandma’s house feel to you? Was it a safe, comforting and nurturing space, or was it a dysfunctional and unstable space? These feelings then dictate the tone of your dream. Depending on the dream events that occurred inside your grandmother’s house, knowing the tone of the space can help you further analyze the energetic message. Let’s say you dreamt that you were in your grandmother’s house when you got a phone call about a job offer. If Grandma’s was a safe, nurturing space for you, that job offer is probably a safe and stable choice. If you felt neglected or unworthy at Grandma’s place, that’s a great sign that this job isn’t going to be the right one for you. Tone and emotion are essential to dream analysis.

Dear Tina,

I was told that my chakras are completely out of balance and I need to fix them for my life to go smoothly. What in the world does this mean, and is it true?

– Confused and Fearful

Dear Confused,

Well, let me ask you. Do YOU feel out of balance, unstable or less like yourself lately? If so, then your energy is probably out of balance. A chakra balancing could be exactly what you need, but only if that type of treatment resonates with you. No one has more knowledge about what you need than you. Yes, there are times when you might feel lost and confused and appreciate the advice of others. If you feel that way, do your best to still tune in to what feels right to you.

A chakra is an energy center, a place where certain frequencies of energy gather. It is a window between what you are feeling inside and what you are showing and experiencing on the outside. Sometimes because of certain beliefs, people or events, this window can get a bit fogged up. A chakra balancing washes off your window by actually shifting the energy inside and around you. Practitioners may do this with sound, aromatherapy, visually or by shifting the energy with their hands. This will clear up some of that old energy you have absorbed over the years and facilitate your own natural healing process.

Always remember that you are living in order to learn, love and evolve. If you are out of balance, you will still be learning and evolving. It just might be a bit easier if your energy was flowing smoothly. Listen to yourself – always.

Tina Bensman, a Madison clairvoyant counselor and energy healer, is a lifelong student of the paranormal. She had her first clairvoyant vision at a young age and continues to see and hear energy. Bensman is trained in clairvoyant reading and many modalities of energy healing, but through professional training she was disappointed in the methods many schools used to devalue everyone’s natural gifts. She started The Chakra House to teach how natural and easy it is to work with energy. She believes that everyone has natural psychic gifts and can access their abilities if they realized their potential.


Subscribe Today
Community Partners Directory
Find a Newsstand
Community Calendar