Healthy Concepts

With school, sports, friends and hobbies, today’s tweens lead busy and active lives, and sometimes they don’t take the time — or know — to practice good hygiene. While discussing proper hygiene with tweens can be difficult, it is possible to address the topic without making him or her feel uncomfortable or self-conscious. One approach parents can take is to appeal to a tween’s growing maturity by making it clear that these self-care tasks are their responsibility. Giving tweens the respect and encouragement to make their own choices in these transitional years can help them develop healthy habits for life.

To help empower their tweens to take better care of their hygiene, parents can follow these tips:

Make it Fun: The tween years are all about finding a unique sense of style. This also applies to cosmetics and accessories. Allow them to choose their shampoos, soaps and oral care products. This will encourage them to take interest in their hygiene without parents having to ask. 

Brace Face: Tooth brushing can be a struggle at this age. Your child may go in the bathroom for 30 seconds and declare that he or she has brushed. Kids should know that good oral care is just as important as taking a shower, especially if they have braces. Make the process a little easier and ensure they are brushing for the proper amount of time by keeping a two minute timer in the bathroom. By supplying them with products in the flavors (e.g., not-too-spicy, not-too-sweet) and designs they will like, they might even forget they are doing something healthy and those two minutes will fly!

"Oral health is an important issue particularly for kids in their adolescent years. Tooth decay is still recognized as the most common chronic disease affecting children in the United States. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, 51 million hours of school are lost each year due to dental-related illness," says Dr. Jennifer Salzer, orthodontist, dentist and mother of a tween. "Not only can poor oral hygiene affect the health and well-being of a child, it also plays a role in self-esteem."

Under Armor: Puberty is the first time adolescents have to deal with body odor. Help tweens understand how to control odors by explaining the difference between deodorant, which controls bacteria while adding fragrance, and antiperspirant, which stops or limits sweating. Remind tweens that both deodorant and antiperspirant will help if they put it on before they start sweating, not after.

Skincare 101: Changing hormones typically bring about oilier skin, especially on the nose and forehead. Teach tweens to wash their face once or twice a day with a cleanser and discourage them from picking, as this causes inflammation and scarring.

Lead by Example: Whether they admit it or not, tweens notice your habits. Set an example by showing that a healthy hygiene routine is important to you, too.

SOURCE: Metro Creative Connection


Want to make a difference? Change your toilet! Depending on how old your current toilet is you can save as much as 42,000 gallons of water annually for a family of four. That’s less on your water bill, less on your sewer bill and certainly better for our environment.

Toilets consume more water in the average household than any other use including showers and laundry. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates a family of four can save about $1000 over ten years by installing a new high efficiency toilet.

Toilets built between 1920 through the 1970s consumed between 5 and 8 gallons per flush (gpf). Some one-piece toilets consumed as much as 12 gallons per flush! The older the toilet the more water it consumes and the more you can save by changing it.

In an effort to reduce water consumption and need for more sewage treatment plants in 1995, Congress required installation of only low-flow toilets consuming 1.6 gpf or less.

Manufacturers were not prepared for the sudden change and produced toilets that did not work well to eliminate solid waste. Over the next 10 years, manufacturers made improvements increasing the trap diameter, glazing the trap interior and improving the flushing action of their toilets.

The current low-flow toilets work as well as the 5 and 7 gpf predecessors.

Today we have high efficiency toilets that use 1.28 gpf or less. Some are dual flush using .8 gpf for liquid waste and 1.6 gpf for solid waste. These are still gravity flush action toilets, using only gravity to force the water from the tank into the bowl and down the trap.

There is also an option for pressure flush toilets. These use a bladder inside the toilet tank that fills with water and compresses the air in the bladder. When the toilet is flushed the compressed air forces the water into the toilet bowl with greater force than gravity flush toilets. The result is a 1.0 gpf toilet with excellent flushing action. The only consideration is the distinctive ‘whoosh’ sound as the toilet is flushed.

The pressure flush toilets are so efficient and effective that we have equipped our showrooms with them in the functioning restrooms as well as other commercial installations with excellent results.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency developed a rating and testing system for the new high efficiency toilets that insures proper flushing action with average consumption of 1.28 gallons per flush or less. Manufacturers must have their toilets certified by a testing agency to achieve the EPA ‘WaterSense’ label. You can see a complete list of such toilets at

Some communities offer a rebate incentive to encourage residents to install new EPA certified WaterSense toilets. Check with your municipality.

Tip: Before you buy a new toilet check the drain center to be sure the new toilet will fit without major plumbing problems. Toilets are made with drain centers of 10’’, 12’’ and 14’’. This is the distance from the wall behind the toilet to the center of the drain on the toilet. You can check your toilet center by measuring from the wall surface to the center of the hold down bolt caps on either side of the toilet. Don’t try to squeeze a 12’’ center toilet into a 11½’’ space. It is normal for there to be some space between the tank and the wall surface.

Allen Kitchen & Bath has been remodeling homes in Southern Wisconsin for over 30 years. Remodeling Magazine ranks us among the Top 100 Remodelers in the nation. Showrooms are located in Madison and Milwaukee. We also operate our own countertop production shop in Deerfield. Design consultations and estimates are free.

The dieting industry is notorious for great marketing schemes. Their cut-calorie approach or restrictive calorie dieting has been a staple in our society for decades. You don’t even have to change what you eat, just the amount. How is it possible to eat the same foods that got you to where you are and truly believe that it will be a permanent fix? To be successful with permanent weight loss or better health you must create new habits.

So what’s so wrong with the traditional dieting approach? When you reduce calories below a level required to maintain lean body mass and meet metabolic demands, you do lose weight, but a good portion of that weight is muscle tissue. The scale is telling you things are going wonderfully, but the scale neglects to point out that if you lose muscle you slow your metabolism. Muscle is calorie-active tissue and fat is simply stored fuel. Remember the scale cannot tell the difference. Muscle is also the physical location where fat is burned, so if you lose weight and any portion of that is muscle, you’ve just crippled your body’s fat burning machine.

Also valuable to note is that when you are in a calorie deprived state your endocrine system attempts to protect you from starvation. Repeated bouts of this will coax the thyroid gland to make metabolic shifts so your body can survive on fewer calories. This absolutely guarantees that losing weight will become a greater challenge in the future. Now on the flip side, when you go back to your ‘normal’ eating habits you will more than likely gain all the weight you’ve lost back plus 10 or 20 pounds to boot. Yes, your metabolism has been affected with no way to stimulate it. Most will end up becoming yoyo dieters returning to the same system that had failed you before.

I know many of us hear big name diet plans that say they are ‘sensible’ while others claim to be ‘balanced’ and nearly every one of them play up the idea that they are a healthy lifestyle change. The point they miss is in recognizing that if you want to boost one’s metabolism you cannot starve away metabolically active tissue. What you want to do is protect muscle while dropping body fat to stimulate increases in your metabolism thus keeping your body more efficient at burning ‘through’ food.

If all your attempts include a form of calorie deprivation, don’t blame yourself; it all boils down to being misinformed. Society has taught this with the many dieting programs, so it’s not your fault. You never really failed. It was the diet that failed you. If you recognize that with each perceived failure you return to the same technology that had failed you before, perhaps with a different twist or name, but the same ‘cut calories’ approach, you will also recognize that you need not a repackaging of the same approach, but a new approach, one that absolutely works.

If you find yourself like the millions of others that have been caught on this continual dieting rollercoaster, chances are your metabolism may need a boost.

Here are 3 simple recommendations to help kick-start your metabolic rate:

Eat an absolute minimum of 1,200 calories per day

While unhealthy and short lived, eating a low-calorie diet will help you take off weight but too few calories will cripple your metabolism. As calorie depravation continues your metabolic rate will slow as it tries to conserve energy. As your metabolism crashes, the weight you take off will eventually creep back on over time. Plus, by restricting your calories you’ll be more likely to crave and binge on junk foods.

Eat every three hours

A regular meal schedule helps keep your body working to digest and absorb food. Between breakfast and bed, aim to eat a meal or snack every three hours. And try to eat breakfast within 90 minutes of rising. People who regularly eat a healthy breakfast are more likely to control their weight. If you wait to eat until you’re really ravenous, you’re more likely to overeat later in the day. Also breakfast helps fire up your metabolism after a full night of fasting (so break that fast).

Eat protein with every meal

All foods contribute to the thermic effect, which means that all foods — carbohydrates, fats, and proteins — help to give the metabolism a gentle nudge higher when we eat them. But protein has the greatest thermic effect of all. In addition, protein can increase metabolism by helping to maintain and build muscle mass.

Tony Bednarowski is co-owner/publisher of Nature’s Pathways Magazine and founder, developer and nutrition counselor for — Good Food, Better Health! He is an International Sports Science Association (ISSA) board certified Nutrition Specialist & Sports Performance Nutrition Specialist with more than 30 years experience in the health and fitness industry as a trainer, nutrition specialist and competitive bodybuilder. For more information, visit or call 920.850.9983.

An old Chinese proverb states, "Only when one cannot sleep does one know how long the night is." Anyone who’s ever experienced an occasional bout with insomnia — and that’s most of us — can relate to this all too well.

In fact, surveys have shown that 40 to 60 percent of the general population has trouble sleeping. Daily stress and worries, pressures from jobs and family, body aches and pains caused by uncomfortable beds and pillows, and a host of other issues can keep a person from getting enough quality sleep.

Sleep is crucial to good health and functioning, so lack of it is a serious matter. "Sleep is one of the most important functions of the brain," says Frederick R. Carrick, DC, Ph.D. Through it, our bodies recharge and renew for the next day’s challenges.

As wellness experts, doctors of chiropractic can provide patients with a different approach to their sleeping problems — without the use of sleeping pills, which leave many people in a mental haze the next morning. To start, here are a few helpful tips that they would recommend for the sleepless in Seattle (or any city, for that matter):

Exercise regularly. Exercising in the morning is best, but if you must exercise in the evening, do so at least two or three hours before bedtime. Any later, and your increased heart rate can interfere with your sleep.

Limit your intake of caffeinated beverages such as coffee, colas and tea. Try to avoid them altogether late in the day and at your bedtime. In addition, for each cup of caffeinated beverages you drink each day, drink an equal amount of water.

If you have trouble sleeping and then get thirsty, drink tap water at room temperature (cold water may disturb the digestive system).

Eat an early dinner. Eating after 6 p.m. may interfere with sleep as your body works to digest the food you’ve eaten.

Go to bed at the same time each night and get up at the same time each morning. The routine will help your body know when it is time to rest.

Keep your bedroom at a cool, comfortable temperature and try to make it as dark as possible when you’re ready for bed.

Choosing the correct mattress and pillow is also essential to getting the quality sleep that your body needs to function at its best.

A mattress for instance, should support the body’s weight evenly and allow the spine to stay in its natural alignment. Choosing the right one is a personal matter.

But regardless of whether you like your mattress firm or soft, give it a good trial run before you buy. Chiropractors recommend lying down on a mattress for a minimum of 3 to 5 minutes to get a good feel. Sitting on it simply won’t do. Most stores offer a 60 or 90 night return policy so don’t be shy about using it.

Chiropractic care can help

If you continue to experience pain and discomfort at night or have difficulty falling asleep, visit your doctor of chiropractic. Doctors of chiropractic are trained to treat spinal problems that can interfere with a restful night sleep. They can also offer nutritional and ergonomic advice that can help improve the quality of your sleep.

The preceding information was provided by the doctors of Madison Chiropractic, LLC, in cooperation with the American Chiropractic Association.

Useful Mattress Facts

A mattress should provide uniform support from head to toe. If there are gaps in between your body and your mattress, you’re not going to get the full support you need.

If you do have back pain, place a board beneath your mattress. But do this just until the pain goes away; such firmness is not good for routine sleeping.

Every few months, turn your mattress clockwise so that your body indentations are kept to a minimum.

If you’re waking up uncomfortable, it may be time for a new mattress.

Be aware that changes in your life can signal the need for a new mattress. For example, if you’ve lost or gained a lot of weight, if a medical condition has changed the way you sleep, or even if you’ve changed partners.

Pillow Talk

Your head and neck should remain level with your mid and lower spine. When lying on your back, your head and neck should remain level with your upper back and spine.

Choose firm foam and materials to press back and support the head.

If you find yourself asleep on your side with one hand propped under your pillow, that’s a clue that you are not getting the support needed from that pillow.

There is no such thing as a universal fit when it comes to pillows. Find one that is consistent with the shape and size of your body. Most doctors of chiropractic can provide advice about your pillow choice.

Two years ago, I wouldn’t have been able to tell you what thermal imaging is. Today I am a certified thermographer who helps men and women discover if cancer is ravaging their body. Of course, thermal imaging can be used for other purposes, such as discovering whether a vertebral disc is herniated, whether there is a venous blockage or whether a thyroid is not functioning correctly; but the majority of my clients are concerned with detecting cancer as early as possible. Thermal imaging is the means of doing so, sometimes 5-10 years earlier than what a mammogram can, without the potential harmful side effects and without the discomfort and humiliation.

So what is thermal imaging? Thermal imaging is a photographic process that records heat patterns within the body. These heat patterns, when read by a trained medical doctor, can be used to determine whether the possibility exists that there is a cancer present in the body, whether there is an infection in the body or where there is an injury to the body. When concerned about cancer, it should be noted that cancer produces inflammation in the body as the cancer cells reproduce at the average rate of doubling every 90 days. Thermal imaging can detect this inflammation long before a tumor develops, sometimes 5 to 10 years prior to the development of the tumor normally detected by a mammogram.

(Mammograms detect the change in breast tissue density and are not effective until a tumor has already formed.) Thermal imaging provides the patient with the earliest possible detection of the cancer, which can mean a less aggressive approach to the treatment and a more successful outcome.

Many of my clients ask me if they will need to have a mammogram if the thermal imaging indicates that cancer may be present in their breasts. The answer to that question is that it is up to their physician to determine what treatment protocol should be followed. I do not get involved in providing advice or treatment, only in helping the person detect if the cancer is present. Very often the attending physician will require a mammogram for the purpose of determining if a tumor has formed and at what stage the cancer is in. They then want to know why they should have the thermal image taken if a mammogram may be required somewhere down the road. There are several reasons. The main reasons are that thermal imaging detects the possibility of cancer years before a mammogram can.

Unlike mammograms, thermal imaging:

does not subject your body to cancer-causing radiation

is not painful or uncomfortable

can be done at any age and as many times a year as desired without harmful side effects

can be accurately used on clients with implants

can be used to monitor your cancer treatments as often as desired

can be compared to prior photos to see if there has been any thermal change in the breasts

requires no prior referral from a medical doctor

Like mammograms, thermal imaging has an accuracy rate of approximately 85 percent and is FDA approved.

Cancer is not the only medical problem which can be observed by using thermal imaging. A case of severe neck and shoulder pain was shown to be caused by a tooth infection that had not yet surfaced. One client who came in to monitor the results of her breast cancer treatments had a full body screen completed to determine if her cancer had spread to any other part of her body. The physician who analyzed the scans suggested that she seek medical treatment for a dysfunctional thyroid, monitor a herniated disc at l5-s1, and advised her that there was no sign of her breast cancer having spread. Another client used thermal imaging to detect the cause of her abdominal pain, another to determine the point of origin of her varicose veins.

The procedure I use in taking the thermal images is fairly simple and straightforward. The day of your scans you begin by completing paperwork pertaining to your medical history and concerns, which is submitted with the scans to the physician trained in reading the thermal images. The entire process takes 30 to 60 minutes depending upon whether you are doing a breast cancer scan or a full body scan. The scans are downloaded to a trained medical doctor who conducts an analysis of the scans and returns a report to me with your scans within 2 business days. I then mail out a copy of the report and scans to you for you to follow up with whomever you choose. For example, I have reviewed my scans and report with my chiropractor, homeopathic doctors and acupuncturist.

The prices range from $155 to $450.

The accompanying photos depict an example of two thermal images of breasts, the first (page 25) being normal breasts and the second showing abnormal breasts where cancer is suspected. The other photo depicts the jaw area to determine if an infection is present or if TMJ is possible.

Kelly Tynan is with Advantage Thermal Imaging, 6033 Monona Drive, Suite 201, Monona. For more information, or to make an appointment, call 608.204.9715. Mention this article and receive a 25 percent discount on any scan.

Root crops: When buying root crops such as beets, carrots, turnips, potatoes, etc., choose firm products. They should be hard, not spongy. I pick artichokes the same way. If the leaves are wrapped tight and the artichoke is firm, it’s going to be good.

Asparagus: When purchasing asparagus look for tight buds and crisp stalks.

Stone fruit: When choosing stone fruit look for product that is free of bruises and blemishes. I like to buy product before it has reached peak ripeness to avoid bruising between the store and home.

Pears: Look for blemishes and bruising. Often, quality cannot be determined until the product has had time to ripen a bit. Gentle pressure applied with the thumb should yield to a bit of give. I liken it to butter that’s just about room temperature. I use this method for mangoes and avocados as well, and I have yet to hear a complaint.

Avocados: When shopping the avocados, feel for pockets of air. This is usually an area that was bruised prior to ripening.

Strawberries: Strawberries are usually sold with the calyx attached. The calyx is the stem and leaves that remain after the fruit is removed from the vine, often seen on tomatoes as well. The calyx should look fresh, not wilted and dried out. We also look at the area directly around the calyx, the shoulders. Strawberries with white shoulders are immature. They are typically tasteless and hard. Old berries dehydrate; they loose their shine and their skin tears easily. Look for uniform color, too.

Tomatoes: Use the same indicators as strawberries to choose a good tomato. Often, tomatoes are picked green, and blemishes tend to show up only after the consumer has purchased and taken it home to ripen. Choose tomatoes that are nearest to ripe to avoid these unseen problems!

Pineapple: Pick a pineapple that shows some gold in it and odds are it’s going to be great!

Andy Johnston is produce manager for Willy Street Co-op, 1221 Williamson St.,
Madison. For more information, visit, or call 608.251.6776

Beware of dry cleaners making claims about dry cleaning your clothes using "organic" or "natural" methods. Marketing claims for dry cleaning are not regulated like food claims. The National Cleaners Association, a dry cleaning industry trade group, says some operators are using these terms in blatantly misleading ways.

What is organic dry cleaning?

When a food product has an FDA-regulated "organic" label, consumers can trust that no harmful chemicals were used in its manufacture. But "organic" means something very different when it describes the chemicals used in dry cleaning.

In dry cleaning, "organic" only means that the chemicals used to clean clothes are structured on a chain of carbon, the element found in all organic compounds. Gasoline is organic, and so are most of the petrochemical solvents used by the dry cleaning industry for the last 150 years.

Dry cleaners marketing "organic" cleaning methods are technically accurate but socially irresponsible. They are counting on you not to understand the difference between a chemical-free "organic" peach and a petroleum-based "organic" dry cleaning chemical.

The dangers of "organic" cleaning methods

If your cleaner claims to be using "organic" methods to clean your clothes, they are using either perchloroethylene, also known as PCE or perc, or petroleum (hydrocarbon) solvent, often marketed under the brand names DF2000 or EcoSolv. Perc is considered by the EPA to be an air and water toxin and dangerous to human health. Exposure can lead to increased risk of cancer, reduced fertility and eye, nose and throat irritation. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health estimates that 85 percent of dry cleaners still use this 1940s-era solvent.

Many dry cleaners also use hydrocarbon solvents. According to Judith S. Schreiber, chief scientist for the New York State attorney general’s Environmental Protection Bureau, hydrocarbons

are "a cleaned up version of gasoline" and only slightly less toxic than perc. Hydrocarbon solvents are classified by the EPA as VOCs (volatile organic compounds) and they are likely contributors to smog formation. They are also listed by the EPA as neurotoxins and skin and eye irritants for workers.

Environmentally safe dry cleaning methods

CO2 Cleaning. Converts CO2 gas under extremely high pressure to a liquid. Avoid CO2 cleaners using Solvair systems, which use glycol-ether during the wash cycle. Glycol-ethers are a family of VOC chemicals used in antifreeze and household cleaning products.

GreenEarth. Uses liquid silicone, essentially liquefied sand. Clear, odor-less and non-toxic, silicone degrades to sand and trace amounts of water and CO2 when released to the environment. Excellent fabricare benefits. 

Professional Wet Cleaning. Uses water, like home washing machines. Be sure to inquire if 100 percent of dry cleaning uses this method and whether detergents and pre-spotting agents have toxic or VOC properties. Wet cleaning machines drain directly into the city water system.

Caution about certified environmental dry cleaners

Any dry cleaner, even a perc cleaner, can hang up a "Certified Environmental Dry Cleaner" sign if they pass a test certifying they have the knowledge and ability to maintain their facility in an environmentally responsible way. Do not rely on signs in the window. Ask your dry cleaner to tell you exactly what process is being used.

For more information, visit:

John Whitley is the owner of Best Cleaners of Madison, Inc., which in July 2002 became the first dry cleaner in the state of Wisconsin to totally commit to a 100 percent environmentally friendly dry cleaning operation by eliminating perc and using only "Green Earth Cleaning" or "Wet Cleaning." For more information visit

Diabetes is on the rise. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 151,000 people below the age of 20 have been diagnosed with either Type 1 or Type 2 Diabetes and more than 13,000 children and teenagers are diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes each year. The World Health Organization estimates that more than 300 million people will develop diabetes by the year 2025. These rising numbers and the burden it adds to our current healthcare costs makes diabetes a national concern, and opens a great opportunity for naturopathic medicine.

What is Type 1 Diabetes? It is an autoimmune disease that destroys the beta cells of the pancreas. Beta cells are cells that produce and regulate insulin. The damaged pancreas is unable to secrete sufficient insulin, which causes an imbalance in blood sugar regulation. Insulin is a hormone secreted in response to food or glucose. Insulin’s job is to move the glucose into cells where it can be used for energy. If the pancreas cannot produce enough insulin for the breakdown of glucose, blood sugar begins to rise in the blood stream and over time it can damage the heart, arteries, eyes, nerves and kidneys.

Common symptoms of Type 1 Diabetes include: increased thirst, increased hunger, blurred vision, weight loss or gain and increased urination. The cause of Type 1 Diabetes is unknown, but there seems to be a combination of factors that lead to this destructive condition. A few theories are that it may be induced by a virus, hereditary etiology, wheat allergy, or early cow’s milk consumption in infants.

There are a variety of laboratory tests that can help diagnose Type 1 Diabetes. The most common is a random plasma blood glucose test. If the value is 200 mg/dl or more with the presence of diabetes symptoms, diabetes is often diagnosed. Also, some newer tests exist to help measure blood glucose levels over time. They include the fructosamine test, which estimates the average glucose level in diabetic patients during the preceding two to three weeks, and the hemoglobin A1C which detects an individual’s average blood sugar control over the last two to three months.

How can naturopathic medicine help Type 1 Diabetes? Naturopathic doctors will educate and help guide patients to eat properly in order to maintain healthy blood sugar levels. Diabetic patients with poor blood sugar control often end up with devastating complications which can lead to nerve damage, blindness, amputations or even kidney failure. Naturopathic doctors can help prevent these common complications through dietary counseling and the recommendation of specific nutrients. Naturopathic care may also reduce the amount of insulin needed to regulate blood sugar, increase energy and enhance a patient’s well being. In addition to optimizing wellness for Type 1 Diabetes patients, naturopathic doctors can also provide many treatment options for Type 2 Diabetes patients.

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.

Healthy Guidelines for Diabetes

Eat 30 grams or more of fiber per day

Eat a low-saturated fat, low-carbohydrate diet

Reduce dairy products in your diet

Avoid sugars and high fructose corn syrup

Eat small frequent meals through the day that contain protein.

Eat plenty of green leafy veggies, lean protein and other low-glycemic foods

Increase garlic and onions consumption

Increase the amount of fish and flaxseed to increase your Omega 3 fatty acid intake

Exercise 3-5 times per week

Almost eight years ago, after many years of collecting crystals, attending classes and studying metaphysics, Doris Deits took a leap of faith and opened Peaceful Heart Gifts & Books in Oregon, Wis. The momentous decision changed her life and she has never looked back.

With the help of her husband, Deits’ thoughtful efforts have culminated in a beautiful space that emanates healing and loving energy, palpable to all who enter. Shelves and racks are filled with CDs, aromatherapy, unique hand-crafted jewelry, colorful scarves and jackets, healing crystals and stones, statuary, books, cards and chimes. Soothing music and welcoming scents permeate the air, adding to the ambiance.

"I feel that we all need more fun and joy in our lives, so I’m always looking for new products that make me smile or spark that inner goddess energy," says Deits. Customers compare a visit to her store with a trip to State Street in Madison. "People seem pleasantly surprised to find a store like Peaceful Heart in Oregon, and I like to boast that we have ‘stress-free’ shopping here!"

Whether it’s a time of celebration or a time for support and encouragement, Peaceful Heart offers an abundant selection of specialty items throughout the year. Deits states, "I love shopping for the store, but the very best part of owning Peaceful Heart is talking with people and hearing their stories." This caring attitude is shared by staff, offering warm greetings and assistance to all who enter.

Because Deits sees the education of staff and customers as an important part of the store’s success, the lower-level classroom offers space to host monthly events and various classes, listed on the store’s web site. Says Deits, "This is a safe haven for people to explore new avenues for their own healing and upliftment." Reiki nights, group meditations and various healing topics are standard fare.

This year Deits invested in a newly designed web site, and gave the store front a facelift with brightly colored awnings, new signs and updated the door and windows with energy efficient glass. Excited with the changes, Deits heads into the 2010 fall and holiday season with "a burst of fresh energy and enthusiasm."

Peaceful Heart is located at 123 S. Main St. in Oregon, just a few miles south of Madison off Hwy 14. Store hours are Monday through Friday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. For more information please visit or call (608) 835-5288. With local restaurants, a coffee house and chocolate shop nearby, a visit to this welcoming oasis is well worth the trip.

There are two types of grocery shoppers. There are those who plan ahead, prepare lists, memorize the circular for sale items, clip coupons and shop judiciously and efficiently for healthy, economical foodstuffs.

Then there is the camp that likens a trip to the store to root canal. Distracted, they haphazardly grab items as they dash through the aisles, cursing big box retailers under their breath as they anticipate a quick exit, albeit with a cart full of things that aren’t very healthy made by companies with questionable ethics.

If the latter describes you, yet you aspire to a more Zen shopping experience, you need to try Willy Street Co-op. For 35 years, the Madison landmark has been a trusted establishment because of its unique business model. Located at 1221 Williamson St., it is owned and controlled by nearly 20,000 Owners, all of whom are eligible to serve on its board of directors and committees. The goal is to operate the store efficiently to generate a profit, which is then reinvested in the business.

The co-op has also been committed to providing the neighborhood and city with a variety of organic, local and natural foods since 1974, a category that has been growing phenomenally over the last 10 years. It’s also committed to sustainability. With solar panels on the roof, a composter and rain garden behind the store, and the practice of donating what would be well more than 10 percent of its profits to charitable organizations (many local), Willy Street Co-op is a refreshing alternative on the retail landscape.

Anya Firzst, who moved to Madison in 1985 and became an Owner shortly thereafter, considers the co-op to be a social center in the community.

"Every time I shop I see people I know and have a conversation with them," she says. "It’s not the kind of place you just drive to, get your groceries and leave, and I hear that sentiment from a lot of people. That’s what I like about it. Besides being able to get what I consider quality groceries, it’s that connection to people in the neighborhood and the employees and the people in the store that make it such a better experience."

So enamored with the concept, Firzst began volunteering at Willy Street in 1986 and was hired as an employee in 1987. Today she’s general manager.

It’s important to her that her employer’s values jive with her personal values.

"I like the positive impact that we’re able to have on the community where we’re located," she says. "I like working for a company that is conscious of where it gets the food, how we handle it, and how it’s working to improve the quality of things that people buy."

In an age of increased incidents in the food supply with issues like mad cow disease and salmonella outbreaks, the model is resonating with consumers.

"I’ve definitely seen an increase in people shopping here that I haven’t seen before and our growth in Ownership confirms that people are more engaged in the co-op, and that reflects a ‘buy local’ sensibility," she says.

This month, Willy Street Co-op will open a second store, Willy West, at 6825 University Ave., Middleton.

"We know that opening a second store will help us better meet our mission to provide the best in locally-grown, natural and organic food. Since over 40 percent of our 20,000 Owners live outside of the Williamson Street neighborhood, this Westside location will definitely provide better access for them and new shoppers," says Lynn Olson, director of cooperative services.

The new store will bring nearly 100 new jobs to the community and will reflect the needs and personality of the neighborhood. Owners and prospective Owners are encouraged to submit requests for products they’d like to see in the store.

Olson says that not only is she excited that the store brings with it employment opportunities to the area, but for the increased economic impact the co-op has to fulfill its mission of promoting sustainable agriculture and supporting various community organizations.

Willy Street Co-op has been supporting Community CHIP, a sister organization to Community Shares of Wisconsin that supports 65 groups committed to making Madison and Dane County a better place to live. Organizations work on a variety of issues including the environment, affordable housing, community development, violence prevention, services for people with disabilities, advocacy for people facing discrimination, consumer protection and much more.

Each time customers come through a check out line at Willy Street Co-op, they’re asked if they’d like "to CHIP."

CHIP is a voluntary 1 percent donation of the total bill and is added to the total. On a $10 purchase, a CHIP would raise the bill to $10.10. The small amounts add up — last year co-op Owners donated over $100,000 to Community CHIP.

"We are the only store that does that for them and now with another location, we’re able to do even more, which is very fulfilling, especially during these challenging economic times," Olson says.

You don’t have to be a Co-op Owner to walk in the door or even shop there, although there is a surcharge for non-Owners who shop. Currently that surcharge is 10 percent but they’ll suspend the policy at both stores from the opening of Willy West, then reinstate it in the new year at 5 percent.

It’s just one of the many ways the Co-op attracts new Owners, which not only benefits the co-op but the community as a whole.

"Supporting local businesses helps everyone, Firzst says. "More and more people advocate buying local and I think it’s great," she says. "At some point we all have to support our local economy because a strong local economy will keep all of us healthy."

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