Healthy Concepts

Cat’s Claw is a woody vine which grows in the Peruvian rain forests of the Andes Mountains in South America. Cat’s Claw is the English translation of the Spanish name, Una de Gato. This name originated from the appearance of the thorns which cover the vine. They look like the claws of a cat. These hooked “claws” enable the vine to wind up among the trees of the canopied rainforest. There are many species of Cat’s Claw, but one of the most helpful to man is also known by the botanical name, Uncaria tomentosa. The Uncaria vine may take more than 20 years to reach its full size. (over 100 feet in length)

Historically native Peruvians have made decoctions or teas from the Uncaria tomentosa vine. The bark and the roots of the vine have both been used as a natural medicine. The native Peruvians considered Cat’s Claw to be a sacred botanical. Their tribal history records the ability of Cat’s Claw to cure tumors, soothe arthritis, ease gastric upsets and strengthen the immune system. The Ashanica Indians used both the bark and roots of the vine for generations to treat numerous health problems, including those related to the immune and digestive systems. Several Peruvian tribes valued Uncaria tea for its ability to relieve dysentery. It has been theorized that the use of Cat’s Claw may date back to the time of the ancient Incas.

Cat’s Claw has shown great potential for health benefits in modern times. The following universities and research organizations have conducted clinical research on Cat’s Claw:  The University of Innsbruck, Austria, the University of Munich, Germany, the Huntington Research Center, England, the Central Research Institute of Chemistry, Hungary, the University of Milan, Italy, the University of Naples, Italy, and several Peruvian research facilities.

Cat’s Claw exhibits promise for its anti-inflammatory properties. Generations of Peruvians have used Cat’s Claw for any type of rheumatism or arthritic joint condition. Clinical studies on the plant metabolites of Cat’s Claw have revealed that this herb does inhibit the inflammatory response.

Tradition shows us that South Americans have used Cat’s Claw to treat disorders specifically connected with the immune system. Tradition is supported by modern science.  In one study active compounds in Cat’s Claw called pentacyclic oxindole alkaloids were shown to enhance the proliferation of normal human B and T lymphocytes in human endothelial cells. Other Cat’s Claw compounds called tetracyclic oxindole alkaloids reduced the beneficial activity of the pentacyclic oxindole alkaloids on the human endothelial cells.  The following is a quotation taken from an abstract of scientific studies presented at the 46th Annual Congress of the Society for Medicinal Plant Research, Vienna, Austria, 1998:

“…in numerous, well-documented case studies with patients suffering from allergies, HIV, and tumor treatment side effects-whenever an over-reacting or deficient immune system is present-the oral application of root extracts containing only pentacyclic oxindole alkaloids significantly improved the situation.

The use of extracts of uncontrolled mixtures of both chemotypes of Uncaria tomentosa in many commercial preparations is-in the light of the antagonistic in-vitro effects-at least of doubtful value.

…products which are produced from a controlled harvest of Uncaria tomentosa root to contain solely pentacyclic oxindole alkaloids are the choice with respect to the traditional use in order ‘to restore the communication between body and spirit,’  the harmony of immunologic processes.”

Be sure to consult a health care professional or a professional in a health food store who is knowledgeable in the selection of quality Cat’s Claw in order to obtain a product that is safe and effective.

Sources:  Abstracts, Uncaria Tomentosa. Cat’s Claw. Healthnotes, Inc., 2010 Aisle7. Elkins, Rita, MH.  Cat’s Claw. PP. 9-22, Woodland Publishing Inc., Pleasant Grove, UT, 1995.

The information in this article is for educational purposes only. If you are seeking medical advice, please consult with a qualified healthcare provider. 

Ann Hearden received her certification in nutrition from American Health Science University in 2002. She started working at Bay Natural Foods in 1996. Ann has been a Certified Nutritionist with Streu’s Pharmacy Bay Natural since October 2005.

We all tend to develop habits that provide a rhythm or structure to our daily lives. Once these habits are developed, they can be hard to break. Building good financial habits can provide a rhythm, or sense of control, for your financial life.

Here are 10 good financial habits that can help you build a sound financial foundation and help you reach all your financial goals:
  1. Make sure your financial information and records are organized. Knowing where important financial information is located and having a system for paying your monthly bills will save time and aggravation.
  2. Use direct deposit for your paycheck. This saves time and gets you money working for you faster. It is also safer.
  3. Use automated savings plans to save for near term purchases and long term financial goals. This involves having your financial institution or your employer transfer a set amount each month into your savings account to be available for a vacation or a major purchase. It also includes participating in your employer's retirement plan to save for your retirement.
  4. Prepare a household spending worksheet. The process of preparing your first one will help you identify potential areas for reducing expenses. Analyzing your spending on a regular basis (perhaps annually) will help you monitor your spending and develop savings habits.
  5. Prepare a personal balance sheet periodically. Having a current, or relatively current, personal balance sheet can be handy when you are considering applying for a loan. Over time, you will be able to monitor your progress toward your long term financial goals.
  6. Reconcile your checking account monthly. This avoids bouncing checks and fees that may be charged if your balance is too low. It is much easier to do this every month than to skip a month or two and then have to deal with multiple statements.
  7. Review all your bills and statements as soon as you receive them. Even if you are not going to pay the bills immediately when you receive them, by reviewing your bills and statements you can identify and correct any errors.
  8. Make credit card payments promptly and pay more than the minimum. Avoid late payment fees and reduce the amount of interest you may owe on unpaid balances by making sure your payments arrive before the due date. Paying only the minimum will cost you more interest and it will take much longer to pay off the balance.
  9. Be sensitive to fees. Some fees can not be avoided, but choosing to walk an extra block to use an ATM that does not charge a fee instead of using an ATM outside your network can be worth the effort. Also, be sure to understand any fees that may be charged to your checking or savings accounts based on minimum balances or excess transactions. There is no sense in paying fees if you do not have to.
  10. Learn more about handling your finances. The more you know the easier handling your finances will seem. Try to read the personal finance columns in newspapers or perhaps even subscribe to a personal finance magazine.

Your habit of a morning coffee may be a good start to your day. A few good financial habits can be the start of a good financial life.

Charles Schmalz is president of East Wisconsin Savings Bank, with locations throughout the Fox Valley. For more information, visit

We all know people that live their life from their heart. They are those that overcome the obstacles, hardships, dramas and trials of life with grace and gratitude for them. They are the kind of people you want in your corner, like to be around and are your biggest cheerleaders.

For me, this is my second oldest sister (from a family of 8 siblings), Mary. She’s always been an extraordinary individual, finding joy and laughter in every moment of life. To this day, it is the simplest of things that brings a broad smile to her face.

In the days of our upbringing, she would have been known as mentally retarded, where today we dress up and dissect that terminology. Anyway, out of the gang of kids in the house, the only name she could clearly say was mine. This meant that as Mom and Dad focused down the sides of the table in hopes of knowing who did something, Mary would inevitably chime in with, “Bob, naughty.” At first this was difficult to handle, after all, I was taking the brunt of situations I wasn’t involved in. Of course this all changed when the situation involved the car. Mary pointed me out as always, and I was way too young to have been driving. This lead to the laughter at my always being pointed out by my sister with a chuckle in her voice and as she did so, she lightened the mood around a very serious household.

Looking back, I can now see the gift she’s given and appreciate the joy she has brought.  Most of all, I’m grateful for the way in which she lives her life from her heart.

We seem to be conditioned to think of life as competition, war, strife and the dramatic ‘battles’ of existing. After all, we live in a dualistic physical reality that assigns ‘winners and losers’ to every aspect of life. Yet, truly living from the heart is much more subtle and less overt.

Thomas Merton, a 20th Century Jesuit Theologian, states in the preface of his book, “No Man Is An Island,” “My successes are not my own, for my successes are built upon the attempts, trials and failures of others. Likewise, my failures are not my own, for by attempting, trying and failing, I have become part of the building of someone else’s success.”

Somewhere along the explosion of our evolution in speed, information and technology, we have lost the understanding of our interconnectedness and narrowed our focus of what it is to live. Easily we wrap ourselves in the dramas, fears and concerns of everyday life, striving to succeed. In this we forget what it is to truly live from our hearts.

The longer I have with my sister Mary, the more she continues to teach me about this type of living. It is a way of living that is simple, although simplicity doesn’t mean that it is easy. Here are a few suggestions to ponder from the way in which she lives her life.


Everyday is an adventure

 The dawn of each new day begins a new experience that can hold magic, mystery, surprises and treasure. Then again, it can bring more fear of tomorrow, regret, anger, apprehension and the mundane repeat of yesterday. Upon opening your eyes, you have the choice of which of these thoughts will guide your day.  As stated in the Indiana Jones movie, ‘Quest for the Holy Grail’, “Choose wisely.”


Take time to observe and appreciate


Spend 2 to 5 minutes at some point during the day and observe the people in your life.  Observe them doing whatever they happen to be doing at the time. Focus your attention on them individually and appreciate their being in your life, the talents they have and even their idiosyncrasies. In doing this, you may find out that they have little things they do that become endearing. I did.  My wife, Lisa, makes the funniest faces and moves her lips around when she’s reading. I so love watching her.

Sing out with gratitude

Although Mary doesn’t sing well, she sings often. Sing out your gratitude for the events of the day. Share them. Exalt them. Relish in them. If for some reason you cannot find any, make them up, list them out and keep writing until your feelings change.


Take the big perspective

The world around you is a reflection of the world within you. You create your reality.  You attracted the people and situations that are in your life (like attracts like, water seeks its own level). We naturally do this to learn and grow as Soul Beings that are having a Physical Experience. You are more than your body or mind, you are an infinite and eternal being here to grow, learn and experience. When you take a look at the arguments, difficulties and struggles of life from this perspective, the emotional tightness falls away.  A new view comes into focus and from this new perspective, you will be able to see what it is you are to learn about yourself, experience and grow through. Life no longer becomes the dualistic battle, fight, struggle and the arguments and dramas fall to the side.

Have a belly laugh 

There is an old adage, ‘Laugh and the world laugh’s with you, cry and you cry alone.’  This saying exemplifies that we like to have happy joyous people in our lives; so be one.  Even if you have to go to the absurd, have a good laugh each day; you know the kind of laugh that brings tears to your eyes. This not only changes your mood, it changes your vibration and will draw more joy and laughter into your life.  In doing this daily, you will soon find yourself having belly laughs spontaneously and often.

Living a life from the heart is as simple or as difficult as you want to make it. When you realize that your personal reality is a reflection of your inner reality, when you take the initiative to change what you’ve always done, thought and felt, when you consciously change the vibration of your being, you change your life and the reality you experience.

Bob and Lisa Reber own Druidic Gems in Fond du Lac. For more information, call (920) 924-0802 or visit

Approximately 50 million women battle with menopausal symptoms every single day.

There are some women that transition easily, and then there are others that have a difficult time with all of the so-called ‘normal’ and ‘abnormal’ symptoms. There are natural products to help with the many stages of this process. These products can assist in relieving uncomfortable and sometimes debilitating symptoms from PMS, peri-menopause, hysterectomy and menopause.

There are 2 doctors that need to be revered champions of women’s health. The pioneer was Dr. John Lee, who understood 30 years ago that pharmaceutical Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) was causing women to get very sick. His life’s dedication to increase awareness regarding the safety and efficacy of using natural progesterone cream continues, unprecedented. Along with Dr. John Lee, another pioneer is Dr. Jonathan Wright, who developed compounded bio-identical hormones. His formulation of what is termed bi-est is the standard when a prescription is given by a natural physician and then made up by a compounding pharmacy.

Bi-est is composed of 80 percent estriol (the weak estrogen) and 20 percent estradiol (the principle estrogen produced by the ovaries).

Transdermal creams have a molecular structure that is considered ‘natural’ to the human body and are easily accepted and non-harmful.

There are natural products that have exactly the correct dosage, or the 80/20 percent ratio that will be accepted and utilized by the body. Many doctors state that when a woman uses estrogen creams, they should always use progesterone in conjunction with it. The use of these products can be used on the same parts of the body, and can even be used for vaginal dryness near that area.

The combination of these products can also be used for the following health concerns:

  • Enhancing sex drive and libido
  • Protection against heart disease
  • Guard against atherosclerosis
  • Bone preservation
  • Improving concentration and memory
  • Promote fat burning for energy
  • Prevent vaginal thinning and dryness
  • Elimination hot flashes and night sweats
  • Helping with insomnia
  • Improving skin elasticity
  • Protecting against fibrocystic breast

Bernadette Goodine owns Down to Earth Nutrition and Massage, 2331 Velp Ave., Ste M, in Green Bay. For more information, call (920) 434-2073.


One of the most available minerals on earth, and yet one of the most prized, quartz crystal have been utilized in most cultures around the world. Quartz crystals have been found dating back to 70,000 BC with the remains of the Neanderthals; among other things, the Druids wore crystals for the power of protection; the Mayans along with many civilizations used quartz in their art; and many healers from the earliest times to the present used quartz as a tool in their healing and meditative practices. Among Spiritualists, it is used to communicate with angels or spirit guides.

Quartz surfaces in both the spiritual realm and the industrial side of civilization. Modern times have had industry utilize quartz in their inventions and products. In the 1950’s and 1960’s, if you were cool and wanted the best transistor radio, you bought one that had a quartz crystal as a tuner. That radio was the best because crystals refine the radio signal.  Still today among the best quality highest priced watches quartz is used as a balance because the crystal’s matrix is perfectly aligned with the magnetic field of the earth.

Quartz crystals are fantastic amplifiers, transmitters and receivers of energy. As a transmitter in passive state, crystals will take the existing energy around the room and amplify it. When used with focus and intent to direct energy, quartz becomes a powerful healing tool. Quartz can direct energy to or from the body.

As a healing stone, quartz (besides being the best energy amplifier overall) is the most powerful healing tool. The unique helical spiral crystalline form contributes to this power. 

Here are a few attributes:

  • With intent magnifies healing energy
  • Raises energy vibration
  • Cleanses
  • Unblocks energy
  • Stimulates immune system
  • Amplification of attributes of  other stones
  • Enhances psychic ability
  • Unlocks memory
  • Helps enhance mental concentration

Many configurations of natural quartz crystals exist.  They also may be shaped by man for specific purposes. The various growth patterns create works of beauty which serve many spiritual purposes.  Crystals can be in points, wands, scepters, clusters, cathedrals, generators, tabular, crosses and many more forms, each with its own attributes.

Crystals offer so many possibilities that aid us in our quest for physical health, spiritual wellness, and the unfolding of the infinite. Next month check we will further discuss individual types and attributes of quartz crystals.

Jesse Martinez and Jane Hamilton own Mystical Earth Gallery, 907 Oregon St., Oshkosh. For more information visit or call 920.231.0907.

Years ago, in a previous life in corporate America, I had the opportunity to undergo advanced training based on Dr. Steven Covey’s widely popular “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” and have since studied “The 8th Habit.” One of the concepts that I continue to refer to with life coaching clients is, “When you pick up a stick, you pick up both ends.”

The concept contains a very simple truth. The “when you pick up a stick” concept (action), directly leads to “you pick up both ends” (reaction/response). It indicates the part that we can control (our own actions), and that which we cannot control (how others will respond/react). There is also the recognition that the outcome will be whatever it will be, is neutral, and the labels “good” or “bad” are really judgments that we make of the outcome. In essence, “good” and “bad” are relative terms, and there are varying degrees of such within each and every situation.

Highly-effective people realize that the only way to make true progress is to look objectively at the facts, discern their level of importance to the task at hand, ask what has been done in the past and determine where they’d like to be in the future. Since they know they can only take action in the present, they align their daily actions with the future goal and then take it step by step moving in the direction of that goal. Whenever challenges present themselves, they continue to reassess to make sure their goal is still appropriate, given current conditions. If so, they continue on course; if not, they make corrections.

This technique is important and works for virtually everything they hope to create in their life. Whether it’s learning a new skill, working toward a degree, establishing a family and home life, parenting children, navigating a career, reestablishing good health, building a savings account or making a place for more enjoyment in their life.

The first key to taking effective action is to make others aware of the Who, What, Where, When and Why surrounding those actions. If there is awareness and acceptance by all who could potentially be affected, there is a much higher degree of success possible in a shortened amount of time. To allow other perspectives to be heard and incorporated whenever possible, a cooperative effort is established, and a win-win situation results.  While people might not always be able to get everything they want when they want it, they do appreciate their needs and concerns being taken seriously.

Clear communication is the second key to a successful outcome. Clear communicators do not assume anything, are direct in their communications and listen more than talk. They allow space and silence in their interactions, and do not react impulsively. The old adage “Haste makes waste” continues to hold true! It is much better to iron out potential problems ahead of time and make sure everyone has a clear understanding of the process.  And it is a process, which means it is ongoing and subject to change.

A third and final key to success is being flexible and adaptable. Both allow for adjustments and change, which are many times necessary. Real, lasting change takes time and consistency to be effective. Realizing that everything in our universe is in constant motion or change, whether we care to recognize that fact or not, provides us with a natural curiosity, openness and gives us the ability to “go with the flow.” Going in the direction of the flow takes much less effort than going against it, and conserves our energy to make it sustainable over the long haul.

Note that each of the keys can be expanded upon. The overall picture, however, is very simple. Simple is not always easy, and ease comes with practice. With regular practice, we can become proficient at any task. Becoming proficient gives us a sense of self-worth, self-confidence and self-esteem. It also inspires others to reach higher themselves.

Go ahead!  Pick up the next stick that interests you, apply the 3 keys and see what happens!

Joan M. Ek, owner of Life Spectrums LLC, is a Professionally-trained Life Coach and Reiki Master Teacher in the Usui/Tibetan and Karuna ™ methods. With over 20 years in the field of health care, she is passionate about the mind/body/spirit connection.  She works to help empower individuals to reach their innate potential through life coaching, reiki therapy and teaching, and facilitates seminars and workshops on topics relating to quality of life. She also provides resource and referral services to clients. Contact her via phone at 920.733.9793 or on the web

When using the scale as your directional indicator, there are a few things to keep in mind to ensure you’re getting a true and accurate reading. Remember, a person’s weight can fluctuate five or more pounds throughout the day, so by following these three very important but simple rules, you will have a clear-cut and accurate picture of how your true weight loss is going:

  1. Weigh yourself only one time per week.
  2. Weigh yourself on the same day every week.
  3. Weigh yourself first thing in the morning on an empty stomach.

Keep in mind that weight loss comes in unpredictable spurts, so don’t get frustrated. If you have a week or two with no weight loss, it’s just your body making re-adjustments that are necessary in order for your progress to continue and be permanent.

Measuring progress without the scale

The scale can be your best friend or your worst enemy depending on what stage you’re in: either the weight is falling off and things are looking great or you’re sitting in a mini plateau where it seems like all your progress has reached its end. These are the times when alternative measures of progress will keep you focused and moving forward toward success.

Try some of these benchmarks when the scale isn’t moving:

  • Body measurements (smaller or tighter) - waist, hips, arms, butt, legs, even the way your clothes fit you.
  • Performance - more endurance during exercise, walking longer and further, exercising at a higher level for longer periods of time.
  • Health - a good check-up from your doctor, lower blood pressure, better cholesterol levels, lower blood sugar levels, etc…
  • Inner change - Analyze the way you’ve been feeling lately, a higher energy level, a better attitude and outlook, more confidence, how others respond to you, how you look at yourself and the compliments you receive.

These are all great indicators even when the scale has been letting you down!


Coupling a healthy, flexible, and well-rounded nutrition plan with an active lifestyle is the single best way to stay lean, healthy, and fit for life. This can mean anything from spending an hour a day for four to five days a week in a gym to just grabbing the opportunity for physical activity whenever and wherever possible.

Try using the stairs more, taking a brisk walk at lunch time, using a treadmill or exercise bike while watching TV or reading a book, working in the yard, parking further away from the office, or taking the dog for a walk each night, whatever works for you. Try it! Even housework will help!

All of these seemingly small bursts of activity, if done on a regular basis, can accumulate into real results and help you reach your goal more quickly.

Spot reduction

Unfortunately, contrary to what you may have is impossible to reduce fat in a specifically targeted area of your body. Body fat is reduced in layers. So, for example, doing crunches will strengthen your mid-section but will not take the fat off your stomach. Similarly, an activity like walking or running will burn fat all over your body, not just in your legs or butt area. However, you can incorporate a sensible exercise program, along with your new healthy eating habits, to speed up your weight loss while toning your body.

Burn baby burn!

Research has proven that a pound of muscle burns 30 times more calories than a pound of fat. That’s why it is absolutely essential that we preserve our muscle mass while ridding our bodies of those undesirable fat pounds. One way to do this is to be conscious of your heart rate while exercising. The optimal heart rate for burning fat is 80% of your heart’s maximum capacity.

There is an easy way to figure out how to get the most out of your cardiovascular workout:

Here is the formula to find the perfect zone to maximize your fat burning potential:

220 - (Your Age) = (X) * .8 = Your perfect zone

Example: 220 - 35 = 185 * .8 = 148 beats per minute

Tip - If you also do some type of weight training, ALWAYS do your cardio workout afterward.

Reason - During your weight training session you burn up muscle glycogen, this leaves your body searching for an alternate source of fuel when it comes time to do your cardio. The alternate source of fuel will come directly from your fat storage, thus burning more fat at a quicker rate.

Do you have a question you’d like to see answered here in my column? Write or email me your topic and I’ll do my best to answer it in a future article.

Tony Bednarowski is co-owner/publisher of Nature’s Pathways 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.

In the lazy days of summer it is fun to play outside in the sun and sleep with the windows wide open at night… unless you are suffering from bothersome hot flashes and night sweats! Don’t sweat (please excuse the pun!) – you’re in good company. It is estimated that 75 percent of menopausal women experience hot flashes. This is a common problem for many midlife women made worse by the summer heat and humidity.

A hot flash is a recurrent, transient feeling of flushing and feeling of warmth or intense heat on the upper body and face lasting on average one to five minutes, sometimes followed by chills. The cause is still a matter of speculation, according to the North American Menopause Society. Hot flash frequency usually increases during the perimenopausal years, reaches the highest occurrence during the first two years postmenopausal, and then declines over time. Most women experience hot flashes for 6 months to five years, although some have them for 10 years or longer. A small number of women experience hot flashes almost hourly and drenching sweating that disrupts their daily lives and results in sleep disturbance and subsequent depression.

So what can you do to manage these symptoms besides crank up the air conditioning? First, recognize that what you are experiencing may be due to a female hormone imbalance. If your hormone levels are out of balance or your estrogen is too low you may develop many uncomfortable symptoms. A lesser known fact is that hot flashes may happen when your estrogen level is too high as well, especially in relationship to your progesterone level. This is common during perimenopause. Feeling hot and flushed several times a day and waking up hot, sweaty or clammy are the second most frequently reported perimenopause symptoms after irregular periods. This may also happen if you have reached menopause, had your ovaries removed, recently had a baby, stopped use of birth control pills or are simply very stressed and not ovulating regularly. It is a great idea to initiate a discussion with your health care provider to talk your symptoms and the impact that they are having on your daily activities including your sleep and energy level. Note that not all hot flashes are related to changes in estrogen levels. Hyperthyroidism, excessive alcohol intake, infections such as tuberculosis and out of control diabetes can cause them too.

It is a great idea to have your hormone levels checked (visit the or web sites to learn more) to see if your hormones are out of balance. Consider use of customized, low dose, bioidentical hormones for your moderate to severe symptoms. Estrogen therapy is considered the gold standard treatment and your therapy should be individualized. Natural progesterone has been helpful to many women too as it is a precursor hormone and also because it down-regulates estrogen receptors. Become an educated consumer and learn about the many treatment options available today including hormones that are made especially for you (compounded by special pharmacies called compounding pharmacies) according to your hormone levels and severity of symptoms.

What else can make your hot flashes go away? A common first-line of defense is to take a high quality, pharmacy grade, multi-vitamin and mineral supplement daily, the type that requires more than once a day dosing. Eat three healthy, well balanced, nutrient dense meals and three snacks each day.  Vitamin E (d-alpha-tocopherol  - 400 I.U. – 800 I.U. daily) and Omega 3 fats such as those found in  fish oil ( 2,000 – 3,000 mg daily) are also very  beneficial.  Make healthy life choices such as exercise daily, quit smoking, limit coffee to one serving or less (sorry!) and decrease sugar and flour intake. Avoid triggers such as stress, spicy foods, hot fluids and all forms of alcohol. Yoga, meditation, slow deep breathing and other relaxation practices can help too. Dressing in layers during the day and use of a small desk fan at work to supply moving air can be surprisingly helpful. Keeping a ceiling fan turned on low in the bedroom at night works well too.

A wide variety of herbs are available today and can be quite effective for some women with mild symptoms. One to try is black cohosh (20 mg - 40 mg once or twice a day). My favorite choice is sold under the brand name Remifemin and is one of the most studied on the market. Please note that botanicals and other natural treatments take longer to work than estrogen – sometimes up to 8 weeks.  Please be careful to watch for any interactions between any prescription medications that you may be taking and any herbal preparation.  There are also several non-hormonal prescription medications that work well for some women.  Remember, hot flashes do not signal the end but a beginning to a new phase of life. You can still be a hot mama, now in more ways than one!

If you are not feeling your best please seek appropriate answers and proper guidance for management of your hormone related symptoms and individual needs.  Choose a knowledgeable provider who specializes in midlife care for women and is certified through the North American Menopause Society (NAMS) if possible. You may find a provider in your area listed online at or contact NAMS at 440-442-7550.

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. Please contact her at (920) 339-5252 or via the internet at http://www.wisewomanwellnessllc com.

Transitions are change processes from one state to another. Regardless of our intentions, change happens. Transformation, which may coincide with a transition, is a complete shift that happens from within resulting into something useful.

Why do your friends hire a coach for assistance? Some say, “I’m OK. I don’t need a coach.” Employing a coach doesn’t make you defective — it empowers your journey.  Transitions involve stages of events and emotions. A professionally trained coach has tools and gifts to effectively support you in your journey. Behavioral changes don’t happen overnight. Everyone progresses through change at a unique rate. Coaches assist you in identifying the completion of one phase and the beginning of the next phase.  Ultimately, the decision is yours on how to proceed, with each step having its own challenges and rewards.

Per Paul “Bear” Bryant, University of Alabama football coach: “When you make a mistake, there are only three things you should ever do about it: (1) admit it, (2) learn from it and (3) don’t repeat it.”  Change isn’t always the result of a mistake or a bad behavior. Recognizing your need to grow in another direction is very exciting and powerful, especially when you take action.

Mind and Body Stages of Change – based on the Stages of Change Model (SCM)

1. Pre-contemplation: Limited awareness

You haven’t acknowledged the need to change. You may get defensive when someone brings the problem to your attention, since you don’t see anything wrong. Alcoholics Anonymous calls this the “denial” phase.

2. Contemplation: Recognizing a problem exists – “what if”

Your attention is placed on identifying the problem. You evaluate the pros and cons.  You are receptive to information and reflect on the feelings and thoughts around the situation.  This is an ideal time to interview professional coaches for a free trial session.  You voice your situation out loud with an independent person allowing you to hear your own thoughts and ideas while establishing a rapport with someone who may assist you in your journey.

3. Preparedness/Determination: Readiness

You announce “something has to change.” This is when you commit to researching your options. People avoid the fear associated with making a decision. We get upset when someone makes the decision for us, yet we don’t want the responsibility associated with making the decision. Ideally, the coach is now hired to support your review. A qualified coach won’t tell you what action to take, but will motivate and assist you to think through your choices. The coach works for you – it’s your agenda.

4. Action/Willpower: Time to act and change the behavior

Now you believe in yourself and your ability to make the leap to change. This stage is typically the shortest time frame but requires the most willpower. Your coach is valuable to you as you’ll doubt yourself and want to fall back on old habits. Your coach will motivate you to take the course of action of your choice. If you stumble, your coach is trained to help pick you back up and remind you that trying something new and different is exciting and involves risks.  Ideally you continue into the next phase.

5. Maintenance: Continuing the behavior

The goal here is to maintain your objective without falling back on bad habits – don’t throw in the towel. Your coach will remind you of what you’re striving for and where your passion lies, especially when the road gets bumpy. It’s normal to regress. Regularly evaluating your behaviors with your coach against this change model is very comforting.  It takes a lot to let go of the behaviors of the past, especially if they’ve existed since childhood (ex: money patterns.)

6. Relapse: Returning to old behaviors

Discouragement happens here as you’ll have a relapse which shakes your confidence.  Don’t view yourself as a failure, work with your coach. You slipped up, oh well. You have the opportunity to decide how to take your life forward. This is one of the most critical roles for your coach. Shake it off and get back on track. If relapses are frequent, then work with your coach to determine if you have the proper goal/plan. Often what we originally envisioned and the end state are different, but for all the right reasons.  We get smarter as we grow through our journeys.

7. Transcendence: Your new life

You’ve now truly become the new you with new behaviors. Your previous behaviors no longer sustain you. To return back to your previous state would feel peculiar. You did it!  Go celebrate with your coach.

“The only constant is change, continuing change, inevitable change, that is the dominant factor in society today. No sensible decision can be made any longer without taking into account not only the world as it is, but the world as it will be.” (Isaac Asimov)

Jennifer Culver is a professionally-trained holistic coach and reiki master with over 15 years experience in professional leadership, corporate and personal wellness development, mentorship, and business consulting. She is a member of the International Association of Reiki Professionals, the International Coach Federation, the International Coach Academy, Clayton College of Natural Health and Holistic Moms Network. She founded Jentle Wellness, LLC, which emphasizes finding and following one’s Path to Wellth, as defined by the individual. For more information, contact Jennifer by visiting, email her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or call 920.570.1704.

When we are young we are free to express ourselves with abandon. We twirl, and kick up our heels, sing nonsense songs and rhymes; we skip and hop for no reason, draw purple dinosaurs and green cars with wings, all kinds of things. We do these things alone, with friends, with our parents, and sometimes even in public! Our performance gets praised and even encouraged. But something happens; when did it change, when was it not OK to skip down the side walk swinging clasped hands with our best friend?

Yikes. Now if you saw an adult doing those things you would think they were “on” something. We shut down the creative spirit in us either gradually or suddenly. This is a part of what makes us who we are and without it there can be an indescribable feeling that something is missing. We need creativity to increase spiritual connections to our original or authentic self. So how do we go about doing this and how can it transform us?

The transformation begins by investigating the process, so you are on your way. Here are some tips you can use to guide you along.

  • Think of things you enjoyed doing as a child. What form did your creativity take when you were young?  Do a meditation and ask to speak to the child in you. Place yourself into the role of fun, visualize the feeling, then what are you doing? Are you alone or with others? While staying in this place and feeling young and carefree, jot down at least 5 activities (do not judge them) that you enjoyed.
  • Let go of false beliefs. Everyone has been criticized about their creativity whatever form it took. Sometimes this happens so early we are not able to recall the freedom of creativity with criticism. This is a difficult one. It can be so deeply rooted that we are not consciously aware of what was said or done to form these false beliefs. For others it is right on the surface down to the exact time and place. Whichever it is, the result is the same.  Jot down some of what pops into your awareness regarding these false beliefs.
  • Be open to change. Replace false beliefs with what is true.  The conversion process is not an easy one, for some it takes years of group and individual work. To begin, though, think of the most loving person or entity and put a voice to what they would say to you. Counter the false beliefs with what this loving spirit would truly say. Read these back to yourself. This is the reality, not the false belief.
  • Let go of the outcome. It is the process of doing that gives us the joy we are seeking. It is the ego that wishes to control the outcome of what we do. So when we were young and carefree we just loved to dance and draw for the feeling it gave us. Much of the time it was not meant to be a permanent record of achievement. Engage in some temporary forms of creativity, draw in the sand, sing to a CD in your car, do a jig while you’re cooking dinner….
  • Start small and uncomplicated. As with the last point I want to begin with the expectation of process. Begin with no destination in mind. You do not have to buy $300 paint supplies or take expensive dance lessons unless this is truly where your heart leads you. There are many forms of free art in our backyard, so to speak.
  • Decide how much time you want to dedicate to the practice of creativity. Be practical for what will work for you. Avoid being too lofty with this goal, this is a trap some fall into. In stead carve out a few short sessions, maybe just 3-5 min. and build from there. Be spontaneous. Even the most revered artists need short spontaneous breaks of fun creative energy to retain their artistic talents.
  • Structured or unstructured, you need to decide what works best for you. Take a few minutes a day or several minutes, it doesn’t matter. I find a combination of these works well for me. One thing that assists me is to have a clear intention to be creative during my day.
  • Decide what moves you the most. Music, writing, dancing, drawing… Select the form you feel touches your spirit the most but mix it up occasionally, alone and with others.
  • Avoid obstacles that could get in the way of implementing the practice. Get support. Support like a playmate when we were young, will give us that added energy to move through creativity. Joining a workshop or group session with like-minded people can be very exhilarating.
  • Give yourself positive affirmations before and after you perform your creative practice, and believe in yourself. Be gentle and kind with your creative spirit. Even though it is always there you are maybe just reintroducing yourself to it. Foster it with kindness to see it grow.

Teresa Van Lanen is a Transformational Healer who conducts presentations and Workshops that help people reconnect with their creative spirit and move into more joy in their life.  For a free quiz to gauge where your creative energy lies and for more information on her workshop at the Center for Insight and Inspiration, Washington Island Bayou on Aug. 15 from 9 am to 2 pm, visit her website

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