Inner Nutrition: Discomfort & Cultural Identity, Charli Mills

When I learned that one of the Anishinaabe’s protocol for a Water Walk meant I had to wear a skirt, inwardly I groaned. I grew up out west among ranches, logging camps, and mountains, feeling more comfortable in a flannel shirt than a flowing skirt. However, the walk was not an event; it was a ceremony, and a skirt announced to the earth we walked upon that we People of the Heart were women, the containers of water, the bringers of life.

For this, I would wear a skirt.

Someone gave me a fun thrift-store find, knowing I called my literary community a ranch. It was a Western skirt of many colors with motifs and a narrow lace hem. I planned to wear my walking boots with it and leggings underneath. The night before the walk, I gathered up my clothes for an early morning departure to Copper Harbor from Hancock. To my embarrassment, I realized the motifs were small panels depicting a theme of “Cowboys and Indians.”

No way could I wear this skirt. I called a good friend who was also walking and also white. I told her what I had discovered about my only skirt. She confirmed I couldn’t wear it. Miserable, I ransacked my closet and found a lounger, something like a house dress. Covered with a t-shirt that proclaimed, “The Revolution Has Begun,” our official 2019 Water Walk slogan, and a Women’s March sweatshirt, my PJs passed for a skirt.

I’m writing this column to explore what it is to be white and an anti-racist.

It’s likely the most uncomfortable topic I’ve ever tackled. Can I change the subject? Because discomfort is hard to experience. But here we are, me writing and you reading, all of us willing to sit uncomfortably in the muck of what American cultural identity has become. But as the condensed version of a quote by Vietnamese Buddhist monk, Thich Nhat Hanh, goes, “no mud, no lotus.”

Let’s talk about my cultural identity since I’m tapping the keys from the hot seat. Then you can think about yours. I’m an American, a fifth-generation Californian who grew up on the Nevada border not far from Lake Tahoe. I could ride a horse before I could walk, and somewhere I have photo-evidence. You might laugh, but Charli is short for Annette. It’s a buckaroo culture thing— nicknames are popular, and my dad gave me mine as a baby. He says Charli was his imaginary friend as a child. He didn’t tell me this until I was fifty-three years old.

My full name at birth was Annette Marie Fernandes. Mills is my married name. I’ve been told all my life, “You don’t look like a Fernandes.” Really? I think I have the nose to prove it. I have my great-grandmother’s nose. According to family legend, I was a “Portagee Red.” It meant I was Portuguese with red hair. Okay, so the hair is unlikely Portuguese. It turns out the nose isn’t either. Great-grandma was Basque and Scots. According to my DNA, I’m Basque, Portuguese, Scots, Irish, Spanish, French, and English with a smattering of Swedish, which is kind of weird because my great-grandfather came from Denmark, not Sweden.

I’m western European. I’m western American. I grew up identifying as Portuguese, eating linguisa for breakfast, and marcella at Christmas. My dad’s family was Catholic, and that’s likely the common denominator among my most recent ancestors. My mom’s mother was half Portuguese and half Danish (until I found out it was Swedish). All my Portuguese ancestors came from the Azores or Brazil, first to Hawaii Territory and then to California.

Why does heritage matter?

I can’t insist that it does because my strongest cultural identity growing up was that I rode horses, pushed cattle on trails, and could braid rawhide leather into horse reins. I wore chinks (Vaquero-style chaps), Wranglers, and satin neck-scarves. I was born a buckaroo (a variation of the word Vaquero, a traditional horse culture that worked the land-grant ranchos and ranches of California and Nevada) and have lived in every western state except Oregon, Colorado, and Wyoming. As a writer, I belong to an organization called Women Writing the West. I write women’s fiction, reclaiming forgotten voices from the fringe and frontiers.

What matters to me are the lost voices of my female ancestors. If I don’t heal my own losses, how can I reach out holistically as an anti-racist? This is a fine line to navigate. Too much self-reflection and I lose the chance to bridge cultural reconciliation; too little and I might unwittingly appropriate a culture not my own. Whether or not you feel called to reclaim your own ancestral roots, an anti-racist must accept the humanity of every person.

Although I didn’t realize it at the time, healing my own ancestry is what drew me to my first Water Walk. The Anishinaabe women (kwe) are committed to bringing awareness to water’s importance in our region. Water is life, no matter where any of us come from. The kwe invite all peoples to join them in understanding this sovereignty of water. They call those who accept the invitation, People of the Heart.

Often, the heart needs healing. When we turn to address the history of a nation built on slavery and genocide, it’s enough to diminish any heart. Origins of America as a nation cause the ultimate in discomfort when walking the path of an anti-racist. How can one be proud of cultural identity and reconcile our past? Avoidance is one strategy. That may temporarily protect the heart from pain. Deflection is another. Some people get angry over the subject.

To heal, we must look back to understand our present moment to choose a better future.

Despite the discomfort, it doesn’t last. That moment when I really saw my Western skirt in a different gaze, I felt embarrassed. I sought support. A good friend may help us sit with the uncomfortable emotions and support the right choice. I learned to recognize cultural misuses and found a creative solution that hurt no one. I could still be a buckaroo who helped kwe in a water ceremony that heals us all.

This is not the end of the story. This year, I did not participate in the Water Walk. Part of the reason was COVID-19 and my reluctance to gather. Mostly, it was due to the demands of my thesis at the time. But I still went into solitary sacred space for the weekend, meditating, singing a song to Nibi, and contemplating what it means to be Indigenous. I am not Indigenous to America, but my ancestors were once Indigenous to Western Europe. All my DNA leads back to the tribes of Celts.

Native singer, speaker, and poet Lyla June Johnston’s song “Mamwland” took me home to my earth healers, whose voices I can hear when I hold the earth in my hand. Healing as an anti-racist, I realized, may look a lot like the reclamation of cultural identity—not to create further division, but to understand that we are all humans indigenous to this great round world.

It is important to me to actively seek out where racism yet roots within me. When I sit with the discomfort that can rise from my European cultural identity, I get the chance to give up unnecessary trappings. And I get to wear something new with broader, inclusive meaning.

Charli Mills grew up out west where she once won a rodeo trophy for goat-tying. Now she wrangles words from the Keweenaw as a literary artist, writing about the veteran spouse experience and women forgotten to history. She makes literary art accessible at CarrotRanch.com.

Recommended Listening: Earth Talk: Mindfulness, Healing and Racism: Cultivating Right Relations with Lyla June Johnston, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=20dOZaIzF1c

Work Cited: Johnston, Lyla June. “Mamwland.” YouTube. https://youtu.be/TeGLDwfrvb8

Excerpted with permission from the Winter 2020-2021 issue of Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine. Copyright 2020, Empowering Lightworks, LLC. All rights reserved.

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Healthy Cooking: Making Millet & More, Val Wilson

Cooking for the holidays can be a joy or stressful. Here are some tips to keep things upbeat. Use recipes that are simple when making dishes for the holiday. Trying to follow an elaborate recipe can create stress, especially if you spend a lot of time on it unsuccessfully. Prepare some dishes ahead so you’re not overwhelmed on the big holiday. Loafs can be made the night before, or even a couple of days ahead, and refrigerated. Then all you have to do is bake it the day of your holiday dinner.  


Millet is creamy, nutty, slightly sweet, and gluten free, plus the easiest whole grain to digest. Millet has a high amino acid protein profile and iron content. It also contains B vitamins, phosphorus, 15 % protein, and feeds and nurtures your spleen, pancreas, and stomach.  


Tempeh is a complete protein containing all eight essential amino acids, and is 19.5% protein. Made by partially cooking, then fermenting soybeans, tempeh is easy to digest. Soybeans have easily absorbable iron, many B vitamins, and carotin, and support detoxification. Known for promoting vitality, and having anti-cancer properties, soybeans feed and nurture the lung and large intestines.


Kudzu is a thickening agent that is also very medicinal. When purchased, it looks like white chunks. Dissolve the chunks in water before adding them to the hot gravy for thickening. Kudzu helps to alkalize your body, relieve stiff muscles, and may help relieve migraine headaches by dilating blood vessels. The plant arrowroot is also a thickening agent used in cooking. Arrowroot is very soothing to your digestive tract.  


Tempeh Millet Loaf with Onion Gravy 

1 cup millet 
2 cups water 
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1 (8oz.) package tempeh 
1/2 onion (diced) 
3 garlic cloves 
1/4 cup walnuts 
3 T. tamari
5 T. tahini 
1 tsp. basil 
1 tsp. marjoram
1/2 tsp. paprika 
1 carrot (grated) 
1/2 cup rolled oats 
2/3 cup water

Put millet in a soup pot with 2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 20 minutes until all water has been absorbed and millet is soft. Let sit 5 minutes, then stir in the 1/2 tsp. sea salt. Puree the tempeh, onion, garlic, walnuts, tamari, tahini, basil, marjoram, and paprika until smooth. In a large bowl, mix together the millet, pureed tempeh mixture, grated carrots, rolled oats, and water. Press into an oiled loaf pan, bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Let sit for 5 minutes before cutting. 

Onion Gravy 

4 cups water 
1/2 onion (diced small) 
1 tsp. sea salt 
3 T. tamari 
4 T. kudzu or arrowroot, dissolved in 1/2 cup water 
1/4 cup minced parsley 

Bring water to a boil in a pot. Add the onions, reduce heat, and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the sea salt and tamari. Simmer for 5 more minutes. Dissolve the kudzu or arrowroot in the 1/2 cup water and add to the pot, whisking as you add the thickening agent. Gravy will thicken as it continues to cook. Turn off heat once thick, and add the parsley. 

Chef Valerie Wilson, aka Macro Val, has been teaching cooking classes since 1997. She now offers cooking classes you can attend through Zoom. Visit http://www.macroval.com.for class schedule, purchase of any of her five cookbooks, phone consultation appointments, or radio show, Facebook Macro Val Food.

Excerpted with permission from the Winter 2020-2021 issue of Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine. Copyright 2020, Empowering Lightworks, LLC. All rights reserved.

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Gifts from Nature: Sprouts!

Crystal Cooper

As we prepare for winter amid these overwhelming times, great opportunity and responsibility exist for maintaining our health and strength. Relying on our abilities and resources has become vital as our societal systems sustain prolonged, multi-faceted stress. One way to move forward with health-focused lifestyle changes is to grow food indoors for whole-being inspiration. Considering combined nutritional value, cost, and required effort and maintenance, one method outshines them all—sprouting! By harnessing the ancient practice of sprouting seeds, we can reap the benefits of eating live food while it’s too cold for plants to grow outside.

Through the sprouting process, water and electricity awaken and enliven stored enzymes, vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and antioxidants. Eating sprouts is like eating every part of an entire plant at a very young age. It’s as simple as soaking, draining, rinsing, and storing. Given the convenience of such a power-packed food, sprouting is a historically popular form of ancient agriculture.

The advantages of eating sprouts are vast. Being easily digestible, the bioavailability of sprouts provides a synergy of nutrients with gut flora. This makes them a notable source of energy and protein. The sprouting process also inhibits certain anti-nutrients found in many grains and nuts. Enjoying your crop as raw as possible provides the most benefit, as heat can damage nutrients. It’s also wise to introduce sprouts in small quantities, as some bellies may be sensitive to this live, concentrated food.

In addition to being a superior food, studies have shown that sprouts particularly benefit the brain, heart, lungs, organs, and bones, as well as help with cancer prevention and lowering cholesterol. They also regulate blood sugar and are therefore ideal for those with diabetes and inflammatory issues. You can access these benefits by incorporating sprouts long-term into your diet. Furthermore, not all sprouts are created equal. Specific plants provide particular health advantages. Sproutpeople.org is a great resource for research.

An abundance of information and options exist in the simple world of sprouting.

A cornucopia of seeds can be used, including all edible grains, seeds, and legumes. From a simple mason jar or hemp bag to self-draining, variable ventilation, stacking sprouters, a range of growing mediums are available. Sproutpeople.org is a complete sprouting info and resource website, providing all one needs to know about sprouting while streamlining the process of purchasing quality seeds and growing mediums.

Dry seeds can remain viable for one to five or more years, making them ideal for stocking up and storing. Dormant seeds should be stored in a cool, dry, dark place. You can freeze them for increased shelf life; just be careful to avoid freezer-burn. Since refrigerators are humid, they are not ideal for dry seed storage. However, once the seeds have been sprouted, rinsed, dried completely (towels or a salad spinner are helpful), and stored in air-tight containers, they’ll stay fresh and bacteria-free in your refrigerator for weeks.

With a fresh crop of sprouts, occasions to experiment with flavors, textures, and consistencies are infinite! From spicy to sweet, big fava beans to small sesame seeds, recipes are limited by only your creativity level. They can be added to salads—but not just spinach and lettuce ones. Sprouts spice up anything from tabouli to potato salad. Being the most bio-available and nutrient-dense protein for the cost, sprouts are a sustainable meat alternative. Sandwiches, soup, hummus, salsa, pizza—they can even be dried and ground to make bread flour. Sprouts are a natural, nourishing way to support us when we need it most.

It can be challenging to remain happy and healthy throughout our long U.P. winters. We can grow these fun, teeny kitchen gardens to satisfy our minds and bodies with a living harvest during our darkest months. Making sprouts a regular part of one’s diet can provide extra energy, vitamin C, and weight loss—something many particularly appreciate this season. Plus, these baby plants can delight us with their sweet spark of new life in our indoor winter world.

Crystal Cooper has called Marquette home for over a decade and is passionate about natural healing modalities as well as personal and global sustainability. Crystal advocates resiliency-promoting actions within the community in the face of our changing climate.Crystal.coocooper@gmail.com.

Excerpted with permission from the Winter 2020-2021 issue of Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine. Copyright 2020, Empowering Lightworks, LLC. All rights reserved.

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The Age of Miracles, Martin Achatz

My daughter has reached that age
when her body unfurls
gospels of growth all night,
psalms filled with arm, leg, hair, sweat,
breath staled by the tilt
from girl to woman. She will soon
inherit gifts. Blood. Ovum. Creation.
Then she will be lost to me. Gone
on a long journey across desert, mountain,
to a distant Bethlehem.

This December, she tells my wife
she doesn’t believe in caribou
flying over glacier, tundra. Questions
things like seraphim choirs,
kingdoms at the North Pole,
donkeys that sing “Dona nobis pacem”
on the winter solstice. I know,
she says, nods as if she’s accomplice
to some divine conspiracy theory.
So I write her this poem
about last Friday, when twenty inches
of snow fell in Cairo, Alexandria,
Jerusalem. Brought the entire Middle East
a silence it hadn’t heard in 112 years.
Children in refugee camps danced
in the blizzard, made rosefinches
with ice bodies, palm frond wings.
No bombs. No bullets. Just white.
Everywhere. White upon white.
From the Mediterranean to the Mount of Olives.

Martin Achatz is a husband/father/teacher/musician/poet who lives in Ishpeming. His work has appeared in Paterson Literary Review, The Other Journal, and The Macguffin, among others. He’s currently serving his second term as Poet Laureate of the Upper Peninsula and teaches in NMU’s English Department.

Excerpted with permission from the Winter 2020-2021 issue of Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine. Copyright 2020, Empowering Lightworks, LLC. All rights reserved.

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Green Living: Shopping for Values, Steve Waller

Life has changed, more than just COVID. Old values face new challenges—climate, rural flight (urbanization), jobs and energy. Like COVID, these won’t go away unless we do something. A technological solution has risen from obscurity and matured. It is finally the best economic choice, but it requires new values and attitudes.

Solar is the solution, not just for the homes and businesses of those who can afford it, but also for utilities serving the rest of us who can’t afford it or who rent. Solar has many good points, but there are tradeoffs that question and challenge old,outdated values.

Homeowners who install solar commit to something that neighbors may not be ready to accept. Solar homeowners willingly invest in what they already had (electricity) but value being cleaner and not making the challenges listed above worse. They save money and increase their home value while simultaneously giving doubting neighbors the unexpected gift of stabilized electricity prices and a cleaner environment. Neighbors who see solar working cleanly, silently, effectively, and reliably change their outdated resistance.

The cost for residential solar is about the price of a moderate car except cars need constant refueling, insurance, maintenance, and are pretty much dead after ten years, while solar panels are very much alive, and doubling or eventually tripling the initial investment. A car is an expense, not an investment. Cars never return their original cost.

Two cars cost twice as much for ten years. Two solar panels return twice as much for more than twenty-five years. Solar is an effortless, secure, tax-free, inflation-proof investment, not an expense. To say someone can’t afford solar is saying they don’t have a 401K because they have to put money into the account. If you don’t invest, you don’t get the profit.

Utility grade solar (thousands of solar panels grouped together) should not be taken lightly because there are tradeoffs that challenge old values while offering important new benefits.

Utility solar effortlessly converts all grid-tied customers (resistant households, low-income households, businesses, mines, factories, farms, entire towns) to clean instead of dirty power. New utility solar is now officially the least expensive electricity available, less expensive than natural gas. Grid-tied customers pay less with solar energy. Local communities benefit from tax revenue generated by utility solar panels. Solar stabilizes electricity cost (no fuel price hikes). Solar storage strongly reduces the need for old, expensive, dirty power plants.

U.P. Facts: Solar panels output more power in our cold weather.

The backs of “bifacial” solar panels collect additional energy from sunlight reflected from snow. Solar “trackers” tilt panels for maximum output during the high summer sun or the low winter sun,and also help shed snow.

Utility tradeoff: Thousands of utility solar panels cover hundreds or maybe thousands of acres of rural land. Most see those panels as a needed improvement. Others aren’t ready to see their landscape change. The value of clean solar energy has to outweigh the value of a view for a few. Solar panels prevent much more CO2 than trees can capture. Without solar, our electricity increases CO2, warms earth, and kills wildlife.

Solar brings clean, stable, badly needed, long-term, non-toxic power, tax revenue, and jobs to rural job-starved areas, and benefits the entire region. Utilities must be pushed to build solar farms faster, and residents must value some acreage being safely and economically converted to clean energy.

Give the gift that values our entire generation and kids, brings badly needed resources to local communities, and protects the environment (climate, air, water, and wildlife). Become a vocal supporter of clean solar energy.

Steve Waller’s family lives in a wind- and solar-powered home. He has been involved with conservation and energy issues since the 1970s and frequently teaches about energy. Steve can be reached at Steve@UPWallers.net.

Excerpted with permission from the Winter 2020-2021 issue of Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine. Copyright 2020, Empowering Lightworks, LLC. All rights reserved.

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Health & Happiness 2020 Donation Winner: Camp New Day, Akasha Khalsa

For youths who have a parent incarcerated in the prison system, it can be difficult to have fun childhood experiences without being weighed down by the burdens of their complex family lives. One organization in the U.P. set out nearly two decades ago to provide such youths a place where they could let go of their burdens for a week and enjoy the outdoors while in community with other young people in similar life situations.

Camp New Day is the Upper Peninsula’s only summer camp that serves youths with parents or caregivers who are incarcerated, and it is this year’s recipient of Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine’s annual donation for 2020. (See p.9 for more info.)
 
The camp lasts for one week each July and includes activities such as archery, fishing, canoeing, kayaking, and nighttime campfires. Although the camp’s target population is children of incarcerated parents, the camp’s goal is to be a typical summer camp experience where kids only talk about their experiences with caregiver incarceration if they wish to.
 
“A lot of our kids have a lot of burdens and things that they have to tend to at home and it just lets them have a hopefully carefree week being kids,” Board President and Camp Director Gene Champagne said. “We’re perfectly willing to talk about [incarceration] if the camper wants to talk about it, but usually the counselors hear it at night in stories, and when the kids are talking in their cabins.” 

To serve the camp’s target population, camp staff receives two days of in-depth training before the week begins. 
 

“We have pretty rigorous training, not only what the state requires us to teach and educate our staff about, but also things that might be unique to children who have an incarcerated parent or caregiver,” explains Champagne. “Some of them might be, not all, but some of them, might have more examples of anxiety or [feelings of] worthlessness or guilt or who knows what else that might be associated with the incarceration.”
 
Oftentimes, Champagne said, the campers may come in unsure of themselves and unsure of the camp experience, but by the middle of the week they acclimate to the carefree atmosphere.
 
“Sometimes the smiles don’t come out until Wednesday; I call it Miracle Wednesday. You know, some kids might come in never having been to a summer camp before. I know the first time I went, I was probably nervous and scared. And some of them might come in with a real defensive attitude, (having) never been to camp before,” Champagne said. “But I call it Miracle Wednesday because by Wednesday they’ve had a day and a half at camp, and they realize, Hey, this is a fun, safe place to be. I’m getting three square meals a day and we’re doing all this cool stuff. And you see the smiles really start to come out.”
 
The organization, which hosted its first camp in 2002, drew the idea for its mission from a social outreach project at St. Paul’s church in Marquette inspired by a camp with the same premise in Denver.
 
The camp currently accepts U.P. youths aged nine to fourteen, and provides any necessities to the campers to ensure they are able to attend, according to Champagne.

“We provide everything free of charge to the campers, whether they need a toothbrush, bedding, or transportation,” Champagne said.
 

Camp New Day U.P. usually accommodates about twenty-five to thirty campers each summer. The campers are housed in four cabins by age range and gender, with about six campers and two counselors per cabin.
 
Unfortunately, Champagne said, the organization was unable to host a camp this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so instead board members traveled to see some of the campers and give them care packages of items that would usually have been distributed at camp, including beach towels, blankets, sunscreen, glasses, games, and other camping supplies.
 
In the future, Champagne said, the camp hopes to expand to accommodate children who age out of the current program. Although the target population is often quite mobile due to the foster care system and family financial burdens, making it difficult to keep in touch with campers through the years, Camp New Day U.P. hopes to host small regional camps throughout the year for high school students. 

 
The camp survives on the generosity of organizations and individuals, Champagne said.

People donate time, money and goods to the program. Counselors for the camp are always in demand, especially male counselors for the boys’ cabins, added Champagne. The camp also looks for volunteers who can share fun skills with the campers.
 
“There’s groups of individuals around the UP that make blankets for these kids all year and donate to the camp, and the kids are just amazed,” Champagne said.
 
“I didn’t know there were so many people who cared about us… and who don’t even know us,” an anonymous camper said.
 
Akasha Khalsa is a student at Northern Michigan University, where she studies English literature and French. She is currently employed as a desk editor for the North Wind Independent Student Newspaper.

Excerpted with permission from the Winter 2020-2021 issue of Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine. Copyright 2020, Empowering Lightworks, LLC. All rights reserved.

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Winter 20-21 Issue Out!

Click here for a Central & Western Upper Peninsula of MI pick-up location near you!

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Healthy Cooking: Soybeans &Women’s Health,Val Wilson

soybeans and women's health, healthy cooking, U.P. holistic business, U.P. wellness publication

When it comes to keeping women strong and healthy, soybeans and products made with soybeans can be very helpful. Soybeans contain easily absorbable iron, many B vitamins, and carotin, support detoxification, promote vitality, and feed and nurture the lungs and large intestines.

Soybeans made into tofu are high in calcium. When made into tempeh, it is 19.5% protein. Containing all eight essential amino acids, it is a complete protein. When made into miso, it has 11 grams of complete protein in each tablespoon. And by fermenting it to make the miso, its healing properties are enhanced. Miso is a living food containing lactobacillus, a healthful micro-organism that aids digestion. There are so many wonderful health benefits from soy foods, I can see why we have been eating them for thousands of years.

Studies have shown soybeans can support your bones by reducing bone loss due to osteoporosis, helping to reduce the risk of fractures. Researchers conclude that their findings indicate postmenopausal women and others with low bone density could benefit from consuming soy.

I feel there is a lot of confusion about the plant-based phytoestrogen isoflavones found in soybeans. This part of the bean does not disrupt your estrogen levels, it balances them. If your estrogen level is too low, it raises it; if your estrogen level is too high, it lowers it. These isoflavones also have been credited with slowing the effects of osteoporosis, relieving some side effects of menopause, and alleviating some side effects of cancer. They have also been shown to dramatically lower the undesirable LDL cholesterol. It is interesting that in China, where they eat soybean products such as tofu, tempeh, and miso every day, until recently, they did not have a term in their language for hot flashes.

Tofu Kabobs

Wooden kabob sticks
1 lb. fresh firm tofu
1 onion (cut in chunks)
4 carrots (cut in long, round diagonals)
1 yellow summer squash (cut in cubes)
20 radishes (cut in thick rounds)

Marinade:
1/3 cup tamari
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup water
2 Tbsp. each: brown rice vinegar and mirin
1 Tbsp. brown rice syrup
1 tsp. basil
1 tsp. thyme

Arrange tofu and all vegetables in a shallow dish, lying flat and not stacked on top of each other. Whisk together marinade ingredients and pour over vegetables. Let marinate for 30 minutes. Take the wooden kabob sticks and place tofu chunks and vegetables on each one, alternating the vegetables to make each kabob unique. Heat a skillet and brown kabobs on each side, or place kabobs on a cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. To grill the kabobs, soak the wooden sticks in water for 20 minutes first, then prepare kabobs as described above before grilling.

Chef Valerie Wilson, a.k.a, Macro Val, has been teaching cooking classes since 1997. Visit her website to purchase her cookbook Year Round Healthy Holiday Cooking, set up a phone consultation, or listen to her radio show, http://www.macrval.com. Facebook, Macro Val Food.

Excerpted with permission from the Fall 2020 issue of Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine. Copyright 2020, Empowering Lightworks, LLC. All rights reserved.

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Creative Inspiration: Midwife to the U.P.’s Arts Scene, Anita Meyland, Ann Hilton Fisher

arts in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, Anita Meyland, U.P. holistic business, U.P. wellness publication

Have you noticed the vitality of the arts in the Upper Peninsula? As with any example of robust health, many factors have combined over time to create this success. One woman who played a key role in this by example, educating, and organizing, is Anita Meyland.

Anita was born on March 5, 1897, to an artistic Milwaukee family. Her father, Fredrick Elke, learned how to paint frescoes, painting on wet plaster, and his work decorated many area churches.

Anita graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 1917 and became an art teacher in Milwaukee. Upon marrying English teacher Gunther Meyland in 1924, they moved to Marquette where he had been hired by the normal school, now Northern Michigan University.

Although others called Anita “the grande dame of culture” in Marquette, “patroness of the arts” and even “bohemian,” the words she most often used to describe herself were “teacher” and “dilettante.”

Anita loved to teach.

She taught art in the Marquette and Ishpeming schools. She brought a group of women painters together who met every week for eleven years, studying a new painter each week,and then learning to paint in that style. She created “The Paintbox,” a children’s program held on Saturday mornings for any child who wanted to attend. She taught adult education art classes within the school system and for the elderly residents of Pine Ridge. She’s best known for organizing and naming Marquette’s first “Art on the Rocks” show in 1950, showing the work of ten local artists, most of whom she had trained. Her work with the Lake Superior Art Association and the Art on the Rocks show earned her countless awards, including the naming of the gazebo at Presque Isle Park (the site of Art on the Rocks for many years) after her.

It’s more surprising that she would embrace the term “dilettante.” We’re now in an era that venerates specialization. The term “dilettante” suggests a dabbler—someone who never takes anything too seriously. Anita would vigorously disagree. She never stopped learning new things and never stopped sharing them.

So, in addition to her painting, Anita learned to weave, and organized an Upper Peninsula weavers group. She studied pottery, and 200 pots from her own collection formed the basis of a pottery exhibit at NMU in 1980. She learned, and then taught classes in scrimshaw, quilting, spinning, pewter, ironwork, beading, candle-making, and woodcarving.

Nor did Anita limit herself to the visual arts.

She was a charter member of the Marquette Community Concert Association, and active in the Saturday Music Club. She wrote a play for Marquette’s Centennial in 1949. A newspaper article from 1984 describes her eagerly preparing for the upcoming U.P. Young Authors conference, planning a theme based on cats—ranging from T.S. Eliott to Garfield.

What about Anita Meyland as “bohemian”? Scrapbooks from the early years of the Lake Superior Art Association include a 1963 invitation to “Vida’s Vignettes—An Evening with Vida Lautner, Artist.” The Tuesday evening event began with a reception at 8:30, followed by a talk at 9, “art and punch on the rocks” at 10:30, “the vernissage” (showing) at 11 p.m., and then at 3:00 a.m. “Comes the Dawn.”

There were people who thought the name “Art on the Rocks” was inappropriate because it suggested drinking. Anita was not inclined to change it. In a 1978 interview, she was described as “a little indignant” at the prospect of a return to provincialism in the arts, saying “I’m afraid we’re going back in that direction.”

Above all, Anita Meyland believed you should never stop learning, and never stop growing. Anita continued pursuing her multiple artistic interests right up until her death on March 7, 1995, just two days after her 98th birthday.

Ann Hilton Fisher grew up in Marquette and remembers Anita Meyland in her lovely home on Pine Street.  After a career as a public interest attorney in Chicago, she and her husband have retired to Marquette where she volunteers with the Marquette Regional History Center. This article is adapted from a presentation given at the History Center’s 2019 cemetery tour.
  

Excerpted with permission from the Fall 2020 issue of Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine. Copyright 2020, Empowering Lightworks, LLC. All rights reserved.

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Green Living: Women Changing the World, Steve Waller

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Ordinary, caring people who think clearly, express themselves logically, and communicate effectively are actively shaping our future. They view the big picture, including future generations, and recognize actions we have to take today to improve tomorrow. They rarely start out with privilege and authority. They mostly start just with passion and determination. Maybe it’s you, or your neighbor.

That’s how women such as Naomi Klein, Vandana Shiva, Naomi Oreskes, Winona LaDuke, and Erin Brockovich became recognized and powerful. Because of them, our lives are better.

It isn’t always facts and figures that persuade.

It’s style and relationships. How and to whom you communicate is often more effective than what you communicate. It’s knowing how to say something, how to get through a preconception or bias that makes the difference. Gentle persuasion can lift a very heavy stone. Compassion, not just for your subject, but for your partner, friend, and neighbor, keeps doors of communication open.

But…One individual cannot possibly make a difference, alone. It is individual efforts, collectively, that makes a noticeable difference—all the difference in the world! — Dr. Jane Goodall

For change to actually happen, effort needs to be collective, shaping views for a wide audience.

Share and garner support. Become collective. An excellent example is Greta Thunberg.

Greta Thunberg, a seventeen-year-old Swedish environmental activist, got started after convincing her parents to reduce their own carbon footprint. For two years, Thunberg challenged her parents to lower the family’s environmental impact. She tried showing them graphs and data, but when that did not work, she warned her family they were stealing her future. Giving up flying in part meant her mother had to give up her international career as an opera singer.

Thunberg credits her parents’ eventual changes with giving her hope and belief she could make a difference. The family story is recounted in the 2020 book Our House is on Fire: Scenes of a Family and a Planet in Crisis.

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n 2018, at age fifteen, Greta spent school days outside the Swedish parliament holding a sign reading “School strike for climate.” Soon, ordinary young people organized a school climate strike movement called “Fridays for Future.”

Thunberg’s youth and straightforward speaking in public to political leaders and assemblies criticizes world leaders for their failure on the climate crisis. In 2019, multiple coordinated multi-city protests included over a million students each. To avoid flying, Thunberg sailed to North America where she attended the U.N. Climate Action Summit. Her exclamation “How dare you?” was widely featured by the press. Thunberg has inspired what is called “The Greta Effect.” All this has come from a teenager with Asperger’s syndrome, which Greta calls “my super-power.”

Rachel Carson (1907-1964) was an American marine biologist and author. In the 1950s, she focused on conservation and problems she believed were caused by synthetic pesticides. She and her classic book Silent Spring (1962) were met with fierce opposition by chemical companies. Her book eventually spurred a reversal in national pesticide policy, a nationwide ban on DDT and other pesticides. It inspired a movement that led to the creation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The Rachel Carson Prize, an international environmental award established in Norway, commemorates her achievements and awards women who distinguished themselves in outstanding environmental work.

Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature—the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter. — Rachel Carson

You don’t have to be special. You have to become special.

Steve Waller’s family lives in a wind- and solar-powered home. He has been involved with conservation and energy issues since the 1970s and frequently teaches about energy. Steve can be reached at Steve@UPWallers.net.

Excerpted with permission from the Fall 2020 issue of Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine. Copyright 2020, Empowering Lightworks, LLC. All rights reserved.

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