SHAPE Program Supports Better Health Outcomes, Dr. Linzi Saigh-Larsen, ND, MSAc, CNS

Naturopathy, UP Natural Wellness, UP holistic business, UP wellness publication, UP holistic health, naturopathic doctor in Iron River MI

Naturopathic medicine has so much to offer. It provides individualized care and focuses on creating the conditions for health to support the body in healing itself. This is one of the things I love most about this medicine.


When someone comes to Upper Peninsula Natural Wellness for guidance on their health journey, more often than not they have many challenges taking place. My goal is to implement the most gentle intervention to make the biggest shift in their health. One way I am able to do this is through a program called SHAPE ReClaimed.


This is a health restoration and lifestyle modification program that combines a patented homeopathic supplement with the nutrition protocol for a simple, effective and safe way to achieve optimal health. The goal is to teach you new skills and help you embrace a healthy lifestyle.


I find this program simple and effective. It is organized into three phases: cleanse, stabilize, and live.

These three phases are designed to first balance your brain chemistry, strengthen your immune system, and cleanse your body of excess weight and toxins.        


Then you will reincorporate new foods and begin to stabilize your weight and brain health, and lastly, learn to maintain this healthy lifestyle.


This program is customized to your bio-individual needs. What this means is that I will use your health history, symptoms, and urinalysis results to adjust this protocol specifically for you. This will ensure you feel satiated and achieve optimum results. You receive your own program guidebook, nutrition guide, dietary supplement, and any other recommendations I have found to be beneficial to your healing journey. A urinalysis is used to measure your improvements, and we meet weekly to answer questions, hold you accountable, establish positive health habits, and learn how to take control of your health.

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Individuals have experienced a decrease in inflammation, fewer joint problems, better digestion, normalized blood pressure, lower cholesterol and triglycerides, balanced blood sugar, cognitive improvements, reduced dependence on prescription medications, optimal weight, and better overall health.


Is the program hard? Well, to answer that I often challenge those who come to see me with a mindset shift: Choose your hard!


This means that taking a risk is hard. Staying stuck is hard. Getting in shape is hard. Being out of shape is hard. Meal prep and choosing health over convenience can be hard. Feeling sick, bloated, and inflamed from eating processed food is hard.


Prioritizing self-care is hard. Not making time for self-care is hard.


The moral of the story is: Life is hard. No matter which direction you choose, it’s going to be a challenge. The solution? Choose the hard that pushes you to be better and closer to your goals! You are stronger than you think, and can do hard things!


I look forward to the opportunity to help you on your health journey. I work with individuals locally in my office, and remotely via phone or zoom. Call, text or email the office to schedule a free twenty minute consultation to see if you are a good fit, and ready to take control of your health.


Dr. Linzi Saigh is a naturopathic doctor. Naturopathic medicine is a system that uses natural remedies to help the body heal itself. It embraces many therapies, including herbs, massage, acupuncture, exercise, and nutritional counseling.

Article sponsored by Upper Peninsula Natural Wellness.

Article excerpted from the Winter ’22 – ’23 issue of Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine. Copyright 2022, Empowering Lightworks, LLC. All rights reserved.

Bodies in Motion: Fitness Tips for the Holidays & Beyond from Local Fitness Trainers

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Matthew Wheat, founder of Superior Performance Training, Doctoral Student of Physical Therapy & Certified Strength & Fitness Specialist

The World Health Organization’s (WHO’s) current physical activity guidelines are 150-300 minutes of light to moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous activity weekly, as well as participating in strength training twice/week, including exercises that stress all major muscle groups. Adherence to these guidelines can improve and preserve quality of life, reduce healthcare costs, and reduce the risk of all-cause mortality.

Learning a new sport or activity can be an exciting way to get exercise this winter. Examples include snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, or even getting together with friends to join a group exercise class.

When exercise does not feel like a chore, it makes adherence to a lifetime of physical activity much easier. Celebrate the holidays this year by implementing or maintaining the WHO’s physical activity guidelines. It can increase the number of holidays you get to spend with your loved ones.

Melodie Alexander, Owner of TM Fitness, Certified Personal Trainer & Certified Wellness Coach

Winters can be tough on our mind, body, and soul. But after many years of utilizing fitness and nutrition to fuel my health, I now feel the best I have overall in the winter months!

In addition to starting my day by setting myself up for success, noting what I’m thankful for (i.e. “a house full of kids and laughter”), what I will remember for tomorrow (i.e. “I am in control of my success and health”), and one word of the day (i.e. “FORWARD”), I also plan when I’ll do my workout and set out key points for my nutrition.

Moving and sweating takes care of a lot of those stress hormones naturally. Making good food choices continues to aid both my positive mindset and physical health.

Through the holidays, I always suggest if you enjoy certain sweets and meals, have a portion and be done with it so you don’t overindulge.

One of my core mantras is “If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.” Working with someone to keep you accountable and having long and short-term goals also helps set you up for success.

Kari Getschow, Licensed Athletic Trainer & Certified Personal Trainer at Synergy Fitness

With the holidays approaching, our routines can become cluttered with family commitments, holiday parties, and school performances. Though we may have good intentions to exercise, it can be difficult to make time. A proactive strategy is to write down your normal daily schedule. Be specific. For example, in the morning you get out of bed, brush your teeth, make your coffee, walk the dog, and check your email. The list continues until you go to bed. Circle or underline the healthy habits you can continue throughout the holiday season. Add new habits or specificity before the schedules get busy. For example, in the morning, after you brush your teeth and drink a cup of coffee, you go for a 30-minute walk/exercise, and then make breakfast.

Everyone’s schedule is different. Maintain an exercise habit that fits in your schedule. You can honor commitments to yourself by inviting family and friends to walk with you, or block exercise into your schedule as you would a standing appointment. Make a small and attainable fitness habit to maintain your health through the holiday season. Most people miss a day of exercise but focus on the next day to quickly return to their routine.

Connor Ryan, founder of Unity Human Performance and Unity Yoga Co-op & Certified Physical Preparation Specialist

It’s time to set the tone for winter. A simple daily discipline to help you open to the calmness of being in the present moment (in addition to incorporating moments of silence and gratitude first thing in the morning and before going to sleep), is breaking up the middle of your day both mentally and physically with movement.

With changing weather conditions, determination is required to persist in the variable elements. No matter your method, indoors or outdoors, consider and commit to moving your body daily for at least twenty to thirty minutes.

Some exercises I recommend to help keep fit are the squat, hinge, lunge, step up, horizontal push, horizontal pull, vertical push, vertical pull, and plank variation. If you don’t know these movements, it’s best to learn them from a professional. If you do know them, you can incorporate them into a daily routine that takes anywhere from twenty minutes to two hours.

Newton’s First Law: An object at rest will stay at rest, and an object in motion will stay in motion. Find a way. Keep moving forward to stay moving forward.

Excerpted from the Winter ’22 – ’23 issue of Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine. Copyright 2022, Empowering Lightworks, LLC. All rights reserved.

The Co-op Corner: Recipe For Success Program Receives Funding to Continue Food Education Across U.P., Marquette Food Co-op

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MFC Outreach Director Sarah Monte (right) and Education Coordinator Amanda Latvala (left) at a Feeding America distribution site this summer.

Feeding America West Michigan (FAWM) sends monthly trucks to locations all around the Upper Peninsula to distribute food to people in need. FAWM recently performed a detailed assessment of their mobile pantry distribution program and learned that attendees wanted to learn more about how to prepare healthy meals with the ingredients they were receiving. FAWM, the Marquette Food Co-op (MFC), and the Northern Michigan University Center for Regional Health (NMUCRH) teamed up to create a food education program that would specifically serve attendees of the mobile pantry distribution.

Funding from the Superior Health Foundation has enabled the team to create this multi-faceted project with a virtual and in-person food education component that links food educators across the Upper Peninsula. Seven mobile pantry locations whose attendees indicated strong interest in food education were selected for live food demos or sampling. These locations include Marquette, Ishpeming, Newberry, Sault Ste. Marie, Manistique, Norway, and Ontonagon.

Comprehensive kitchen equipment kits were put together so that our partners had the tools necessary to prepare and serve the food.

At mobile pantry distributions throughout the summer and fall, our partners prepared food in certified kitchens and brought it to the pantry distribution so attendees could taste the prepared recipes. Depending on the location, our team of food educators would demonstrate recipe preparation, or move from car to car serving the featured recipe and chatting about how they prepared it.

This is a particularly fun and challenging partnership, as what food will arrive on the truck often isn’t known until twenty-four hours before the event. FAWM notifies the food educators of the products, and the team gets to work finding the right recipe that features food participants will be taking home that day. Recipients get a copy of the recipe so they can recreate the meal at home.

The MFC and Food for Life Nutrition services developed a suite of recipes tailored to the items most often delivered via the mobile pantry, so the demo team has resources ready to go. These recipes are housed on the NMUCRH website. NMUCRH also worked with the MFC to put together video demonstrations to accompany the recipes. These demonstrations and recipes are available to anyone and can be found at nmu.edu/ruralhealth/recipes.

The MFC provided staff for the demos at the Marquette and Ishpeming locations.

We used our experience with food demonstrations offsite to create equipment kits for each team of food educators at each location. NMUCRH, as an organization that serves the entire Upper Peninsula, travels frequently and was instrumental in dropping off the kits to our partners.

Preliminary evaluations indicate that the recipes are a big hit. For example, out of the 128 evaluations at the Marquette location, 115 people indicated they would make the recipe at home, with another 11 saying maybe they would make the dish at home. 119 people stated they would share the food and/or recipe with other people. It’s not just the participants enjoying the event. As one food educator said, “I loved getting to interact with so many people, cracking jokes and chatting with them. This filled my cup.”

We are thrilled to announce renewed funding for the Recipe for Success Program and are looking forward to another year of bringing food education to sites across the Upper Peninsula. Be sure to visit the NMUCRH site above to learn more about our partners and to try out some of the recipes in your own home!

*Article sponsored by the Marquette Food Co-op

Excerpted from the Winter ’22 – ’23 issue of Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine. Copyright 2022, Empowering Lightworks, LLC. All rights reserved.

Creative Inspiration: Marquette Music Scene Hall of Fame, Julia Seitz

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Halls of fame have etched the names of influential figures on their walls, placing notoriety and accomplishments on an eternal altar. There’s a hall of fame for football, the NCAA Hall of Champions, and even the Hollywood Walk of Fame. What about locally? In 2017, Marquette’s musical community saw a need to create a hall of fame for local entertainers and honor Marquette’s musical history. The Marquette Music Scene Hall of Fame inducts Marquette musicians plus musical entities and promoters.

“I did it because if we didn’t get down some of those facts and history, they would be lost,” said Marquette Music Scene Hall of Fame founder Cindy Engle. “Right now, if you ask somebody about a venue like The Diamond Club or The Brockton, they have no idea what you’re talking about because those buildings have become other things or are gone.”

The Marquette Music Scene (MMS) is under the umbrella of non-profit organization MÄTI, the Masonic Arts, Theatre, and Innovation Company, which promotes artistic innovation in Marquette. Currently, there are fifty-seven members in the Marquette Music Scene Hall of Fame. Anyone can nominate an individual, group, ensemble, institute, event or venue. The Marquette Music Scene Hall of Fame even inducts musical talents posthumously, making sure their legacy lives on.

A nomination form is available on the Marquette Music Scene website,marquettemusicscene.com. Qualified nominees must be born, raised, or founded in Marquette County, and may represent any music genre or be associated with a music-related vocation from Marquette County’s historical eras.

“It’s a great honor being picked for something like that because you’re chosen by your peers.

We feel strongly about our musical community. It means a lot,” said Dave Zeigner, a 2017 inductee. He plays Latin jazz and blues with the guitar, bass and piano for enjoyment and composing music. He has also played Latin jazz, Afro-Brazilian music, rock, and performed in a symphony.

Zeigner described the ceremony as similar to being at the Grammys or Oscars. There were many guests, people gave speeches, a couple of bands played, and a jam session ensued.

“A good amount of music is going on in our community, and shining a light on that and the people that created it is important,” said Zeigner. “[The Marquette Music Scene] puts in a lot of work to do it every year. My hat’s off to them….. They shine a light on our community and hopefully pique interest in our musical history founder—not just in the county, but the whole UP.”

Judging criteria is based on three categories: impact, influence, and reach.

The inductee must have had a remarkable effect on developing Marquette County’s musical heritage. The inductees are the backbone of music in Marquette through their musical art, teaching Marquette the technique and joy of music, or taking bands and musicians under their wings to promote their voice and manage their growth.

Inductees have a renowned artistic force, compelling their network of fellow musicians to be inspired by their voice or sound. Marquette music fanatics and connoisseurs, even the community at large, are moved by their work.

Also, the musician’s reach must go beyond the boundaries of Marquette’s county lines—their contributions to the music world must be recognized across regions, the nation, and even across the globe.

Cindy Engle is the sole judge for the Marquette Music Scene Hall of Fame, but does have Andrew “Bear” Tyler, a business consultant and marketer, assist. A board of directors for the Marquette Music Hall of Fame is in the process of being established.

Engle conducts an intensive and thorough review of nominees’ applications.

She encourages including any letters of recommendation, awards, multi-media, compositions, discography, or other career highlight documentation. Nominees’ activities in the community, technical innovations, musical teaching experience, and much more are also considered.


Additional awards are gifted to approved nominees. For example, the Music Mafia is an annual award granted to a local business owner or venue operator that has helped the music in Marquette thrive the previous year.

“Renee Prusi at The Mining Journal does all sorts of local music write-ups and stories,” said Engle. “Most of the other Marquette Music Scene Hall of Fame inductees have been bar owners that have kept playing music and promoting live music as much as possible.”

As the title suggests, the Marquette Music Scene Hall of Fame awards Rising Stars to bands formed in the last five years who have heavily influenced the local music scene. The award tells the public and music community to keep an eye out for these rising musicians.

The Marquette Music Scene Hall of Fame induction ceremony is held every year on Small Business Saturday in the Upper Peninsula Masonic Center’s Red Room.

The decision to hold the ceremony then ensures everyone can participate.

“It enables more band members to come and share [their music and time] with the new inductees,” said Engle. “I try not to be in competition with the other venues when they have big events because we all need each other. I don’t want to take away from someone going to see a band at a bar, so if I can pick a weekend when there are not too many places holding live music, that makes it better for everybody.”

Each inductee speaks to the audience about themselves and receives a trophy that acknowledges musical accomplishments. The Marquette Music Scene Hall of Fame will also display inductees’ names on a wall with those of past nominees.

There are hopes to build a showcase where the Marquette Music Scene Hall of Fame can display memorabilia. The 2022 induction ceremony will be at 6:00 p.m. on November 26, the Saturday after Thanksgiving, in the Red Room of the Masonic Building in downtown Marquette. All are welcome to join and celebrate Marquette’s musical best.

Julia Seitz is a Northern Michigan University student pursuing a Bachelor of Arts. You’ll find her either writing creative fiction or researching a new fixation. She enjoys reading scary stories, but is too scared to watch horror movies.

Excerpted from the Winter ’22 – ’23 issue of Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine. Copyright 2022, Empowering Lightworks, LLC. All rights reserved.

Healthy Cooking: Antioxidant-Rich Wild Rice, Val Wilson

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Wild rice is known for its rich, black color and mild, earthy flavor, but did you know that it is a fantastically healthy food that can help slow the signs of aging?

Its high antioxidant levels, thirty times higher than other rices, can help do this and offer many other health benefits. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals, the dangerous by-product of cellular metabolism that may cause healthy cells to mutate or turn cancerous. Our bodies may form free radicals from eating refined processed food, smoking, drinking, environmental pollutants, eating sugar, and taking pharmaceutical drugs.

When you eat wild rice, the high antioxidant content may help neutralize the free radicals that accumulate under the skin, which can cause wrinkles and other blemishes. It is important to note that white rice has no antioxidant capabilities. 
     
Wild rice offers other wonderful health benefits too. It has high fiber content, which can help improve digestion, is good for the heart, and may help reduce the risk of colon cancer. Wild rice’s high phosphorus, vitamin K, and zinc levels are good for strong bones, bone mineral density, and healthy joints. Wild rice also contains vitamins A, C, E, B6, niacin, calcium, iron, magnesium, selenium, and omega-3 fatty acids. Wild rice is best cooked with other brown rices to create a nice chewy texture, sweet, earthy flavor, and colorful combination. 

Wild Rice Mushroom Pilaf

1/4 cup wild rice 
1/4 cup short grain brown rice 
1/4 cup long grain brown rice 
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 onion (diced) 
2 garlic cloves (minced) 
2 cups chopped assorted mushrooms (shiitake, maitake, cremini, or your favorite) 
1 carrot (diced) 
2 celery sticks (diced) 
1/2 cup walnuts (chopped) 
2 T. minced parsley 
2 T. raisins (optional) 
toasted sesame oil 
tamari 
1/2 tsp. thyme 
1/4 tsp. rosemary 
1/4 tsp. sage 
1/4 tsp. sea salt

Directions

Put the rices and water in a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to the lowest possible temperature, cover, and simmer for one hour until all the water has been absorbed. Sauté the onion in a little toasted sesame oil and tamari until soft and translucent. Put the sautéed onions in a large mixing bowl. Using the same pan, sauté the carrots in a little toasted sesame oil and tamari for a couple of minutes until they are browned and add to the bowl. Sauté the mushroom and celery the same way, then add to the bowl.

Chef Valerie Wilson has been teaching cooking classes since 1997. She offers weekly, virtual cooking classes that all can attend. Visit http://www.macroval.com for schedule, cookbook purchases, phone consultations, or radio show, and follow her on Facebook at Macro Val Food.

Excerpted from the Fall 2022 issue of Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine. Copyright 2022, Empowering Lightworks, LLC. All rights reserved.

Creative Inspiration: Limit-Busting Community Artist Mary Wright, Christine Saari

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Mary Wright

L’Anse-raised Mary Wright was a homesteader, a teacher of health education, English, history, and art, a cancer survivor, and a feminist. Most people remember her, however, as a community art organizer.

Well over three-thousand blue and white hand-painted chairs brightened NMU’s campus during FinnFestUSA 1996 and 2005. 50 colorful fish shanties appeared at the Lower Harbor parking lot during the World Winter Cities Conference held in Marquette in 1997. Residents painted 400 book covers to represent their city block and raise money for their library. The history of pioneer settlers and families of today were recreated on one of the 500 Heritage Family Poles, set up to celebrate the Marquette Sesquicentennial in 1999. In 2007, 200 doors told the stories of grandmothers, past and current. Over the years, many thousands of people participated in these and other projects, and uncountable locals and tourists viewed them.

When Mary Wright dreamed up these community efforts, the sky was the limit.

No idea was too big or impossible to carry out. Her criteria for any of these undertakings were straightforward: The project had to involve fun, collaboration, and community spirit. Mary believed that every person has the capacity to be creative if provided the opportunity, and that working on joint art projects, reflecting the spirit of old-time barn-raising events, could create miracles.

This community aspect was essential. All participants, from elementary school child to grandmother to prisoner, were welcomed. The wilder the inspiration, the better! If you wanted to cover the wall of your fish shanty with left-over socks gathered at laundromats, or hang shoes of your relatives from your family tree, why not?

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Mary Wright’s Doors Project

To make these complicated events happen required multiple skills. Mary had a knack for roping people in, persuading them to help paint a mural, create a prototype, drive logs from Munising to Marquette, give money, or procure materials. She networked with local and state art organizations, city government departments, labor unions, and corporations, found donors and sponsors, and worked with the news media. She made countless presentations in schools, clubs, and to any group. And she did it all without a computer or the Internet! Her persuasive powers and persistence were legendary. Mary Wright did not take “no” for an answer.

Mary Wright had a special gift for finding the perfect expression of a particular event:

Blue and White Chairs, Finland’s national colors, were the perfect symbol for FinnFestUSA, an annual international festival held each year in a different city. They gave people of Finnish heritage a chance to honor their families and to define what being Finnish meant to them. They were an expression of hospitality, an invitation to sit down to strike up a conversation, to recycle old furniture, to create an heirloom. All fifteen UP counties participated. Chairs were set up by their painters’ regions, so visitors could find the chairs, benches, stools, and rockers they had decorated. A calendar was later created to provide a lasting souvenir of the event.

Mary felt Fish Shanties symbolized the spunk, spirit, and sisu of UP winter culture. Some grandparents used them to create playhouses for their grandkids. Book Covers were a natural for a library fundraiser. The project was organized around city blocks. This created special pride for residents and helped distribute the covers widely. Family Poles were perfect to portray the 150-year history of Marquette. The many different stories of individual families and organizations told through these poles formed a kaleidoscope of the community’s past and present.

Mary Wright learned how to draw the attention of the news media. Her flamboyant way of dressing in bright exotic costumes, colorful hats, and artful jewelry made her stand out. She managed to get herself on the Today Show in New York, at which she presented a bench decorated with portraits of the show’s luminaries. In the days before drones, she had an aerial photo taken from a helicopter to help advertise her book project. Family poles rode in the Fourth of July Parade. Outdoor working sessions gave visibility to a given project. There were interviews, photographs, and editorials in the newspaper.

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Mary’s unique style is featured in Yoopera, a film documenting the production of the Rockland opera and the creation of Mary’s Storyline project in which thousands of white panels strung on wires fluttered in the wind like layered prayer flags from their spots around the Rosza Center and more Michigan Tech campus areas. Primarily made by schoolchildren, each panel had a photo transfer of someone’s image and the story of that person’s life told in the first person.

Mary Wright’s activities were not restricted to Marquette and Houghton.

She organized over thirty-five community projects, including in places like Alpena, Ypsilanti, and Port Huron, and also worked internationally in Toronto and Finland. Her themes were often based on ordinary objects such as shovels, stepladders, pillow cases, spring flowers, or winter mittens. In 1999, she received Michigan’s Governor’s Award for Arts and Culture.

Participating in one of these community projects has had a lasting impact on many. Often it was the first time someone had created an art object. Mary Wright supporter Doug Hagley said about Family Poles, “Some families were reunited after years of separation. Dialogues were fostered… Children honored their parents and grandparents…. The community and its visitors experienced the healing and community-building power of art.” School children became interested in their family history and realized that you could be an artist at any age. Poet Sandy Bonsall’s experience painting blue and white chairs with her students prompted her to write My Mother’s Story Is My Story. I myself was inspired to create a family pole to explore the Finnish background of my husband, and Grandma Doors led me to research the life of my Bavarian grandmother whom I had never met.

We lost Mary in November 2021. To honor her and her work, the Beaumier Heritage Center at Northern Michigan University will feature her in an exhibit in the spring of 2023. If you are willing to loan Mary Wright project object for the exhibit, please contact Dan Truckey at (906) 227-3212 or email heritage@nmu.edu.

Austrian writer and visual artist Christine Saari has lived in Marquette since 1971. She has published memoir Love and War at Stag Farm (2011) and poetry book Blossoms in the Dark of Winter (2018). Find her visual work at The Gallery and Wintergreen Hills Gallery.

Excerpted from the Fall 2022 issue of Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine. Copyright 2022, Empowering Lightworks, LLC. All rights reserved.

Senior Viewpoint: Evolving from Trauma to Wellness, Beth Jukuri

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If you were asked to write about health and happiness, what parts of your life would you think about? What parts of yourself would you focus on? 

How would you rate your own health and happiness?

The most sacred part of my wellness is my mind and how much I am able to challenge it. 

 I was indoctrinated into a cult-like religion from birth. I didn’t have access or control of my mind and its beliefs. The religion chose my life for me–where I went, who my friends could be, what I could or couldn’t do with my body.

At forty-six, when a young niece shared with Family Protective Services that “Grandpa touched me,” I became aware that I had been sexually abused as a child by my father.

I also became aware that my body and its emotions and feelings always lived in the truth. My body shook and my steadfastness to stand by my niece and believe her was unshakeable.

My body and its unexpressed emotions, and the way it never lied showed me the fragility of my mind and its false nature.

It became my priority to set my mind right. To bring it back to my body and reality. To use my mind and not let my mind use me.

The wellness of my mind and how it sits with reality is critical in my choice-making and ultimately how I live my life.

Without a mind set in reality, you cannot see life or who you are clearly.

I had lived with so many falsehoods and ill-conceived ideas both of myself and the outside world.

If on your stage of life, you don’t see the backdrop and the other characters in their true form, how will you know how to interact with them?

At forty-six years of age, I woke up in my life and realized I had seen the stage incorrectly and I was playing a part in a play in which I no longer wanted to participate.

The character of who I was fit into the play, but it had no place in reality and with the truth inside of me.

It is ironic to see the darkest parts of your life, to feel the vast emptiness of losing so much and at the same time feel empowered, strong, brave, and deep levels of love.

As I attempted to right my world and to re-adjust the stage, to find the character of me, I brought in new levels of happiness, joy, love, and peace.

I was embracing my history of abuse and acting in the present with new information, and making new choices that honored me.

This did not serve the requirements of my family of origin. It did not serve the silence abuse needed in order to thrive.

I became a new me with a voice and a choice.

The new me brought in new hurdles in many relationships. The open and free relationships welcomed the new me, and we experienced new levels of deep love and connection.

The relationships that were conditional died.

I see this time in my life as one of my greatest achievements—leaving the cycle of abuse.  I changed how I interacted with abuse and that changed the trajectory of my lineage.

My breaking the silence and responding differently than my mother is the most difficult thing I have done, yet became one of the most healthy periods of my life.

I broke out of the family dynamic that supported abuse for generations.

The happiness that has slowly seeped back into my life is pure.

It has no hidden agenda or the false realities such an agenda was based on. Nor is it dependent upon the behaviors of others. My happiness is based on me—how I see myself and my worth, and how I love myself.

The levels of happiness I have found as I walked through decades of denial and recovered my innocence is life-changing.

What I know to be sure is that health and happiness live with truth. They grow and thrive in its presence.

My ability to be myself and to know myself and to love myself all stemmed from my ability to live with dark truths.

As Gloria Steinem once said, “The truth will set you free; but first it will piss you off.”

Even my anger and rage and overwhelming sorrow—after expressed—left me in peace.  I made sense. The world made sense. The truth is so much easier to live with than trying to prop up a false relationship with both myself and others.

I loved me, the broken, twisted me that stumbled out of denial.  I loved her courage and the bravery she showed to admit she didn’t know who she was.

I woke up at forty-six a stranger to myself.

The new me was a stranger in my relationships.

So began the second half of my life living life as Me.

Discovering and choosing what made me happy, what felt like love, where peace lived, and what I felt was true for me became my way of life.

I love this healthier me, one that is filled with so much happiness and knows deep love, even if she is completely estranged from her family. 

I want others to know it is possible to live a good life after abuse.

To be happy.

To know joy.

To feel deep love of self.

What I know to be true is that we love as deeply as we love ourselves.

Abuse isn’t who you are. It is what was done to you. A healthy response is one that honors and respects you.

At sixty-three, I feel very grateful for my mental wellness and the sheer amounts of happiness I experience.  Perhaps it’s because of all the years I lived codependent on others to make me happy that I am now so appreciative of my ability to find happiness alone.

Just being at peace with who I am and the choices I have made, and who that makes me as a person, brings me great happiness.

There are moments in our lives when we have the opportunity to become more ourselves or to find a deeper level of awareness.  These are moments that will define your life either negatively or positively, with more growing or shrinking.

To me, health has always had an evolutionary spin to it—a feeling of growing and changing.  Life is not static.

I feel happiness comes when you are free in the spaces you live and the relationships you have.  The freer you become, the more happiness you gain.

Married thirty-five years, mother of four, grandmother of three, retired mail lady, and fiber artist Beth Jukuri‘s art has become her therapy, her therapy her art. She co-founded WIND (Women in New Directions) to explore oneself and grow more empowered through nature and art.

Excerpted from the Fall 2022 issue of Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine. Copyright 2022, Empowering Lightworks, LLC. All rights reserved.

Co-op Corner: Prescription for Health Program Debuts at 10 Area Farmers Markets

Prescription for Health program, Marquette Food Co-op education & Outreach, UP holistic wellness publication, UP holistic business
Sarah Monte, MFC Outreach Coordinator & Amanda Latvala, MFC Education Coordinator at the Downtown Marquette Farmers Market

One in 7 people in the U.P. are food insecure. At 14%, the U.P. has a higher food insecurity rate than the national average of 10.5%. Members of the U.P. community whose work is focused on food and health were invited to meet regularly to help direct these efforts. From those meetings, the Food as Medicine Partnership, a collaborative that is bringing Prescription for Health programs to communities across the Upper Peninsula, emerged.

This group, which includes twenty-five organizations, businesses, and individuals, envisions a collaborative food system in the Upper Peninsula that provides nutrition education and equitable access to wholesome, local, and affordable food for all residents. The first project the group took on is a Prescription for Health program, generously funded by the Superior Health Foundation. This Prescription for Health program is unique in that it addresses food access from both the customer and supplier side.

The Prescription for Health program uses a medical referral process for enrollment.

Participants receive a referral from a participating healthcare provider with a prescription for adding fresh fruits and vegetables to their diets. To qualify for the program, individuals must be at risk for or diagnosed with a chronic health condition, face economic barriers to food access, and be 18 years of age or older.

Participants enrolled into the program will receive vouchers to purchase fruits and vegetables from participating local farms. Each participant will receive a total of $15 per week during the 20-week season. The referral process is administered by the Upper Peninsula Commission for Area Progress (UPCAP).

A goal of Food as Medicine and Prescription for Health is to provide these services as widely as possible. The U.P. Food Exchange (UPFE), a collaborative local food network the Co-op helps administer, has members located across the U.P. and active in local food and farmers markets. Members were able to help identify and onboard farmers markets that could participate in the program.

This is more complicated than it sounds, as many markets in the Upper Peninsula are small and lack a market manager. For Prescription for Health to work, the market must have regular produce vendors and a market manager or fiduciary that can be a central contact for the Food as Medicine team to work with.

The current list of farmers markets includes:

Bay Mills/Brimley Farmers Market, Main St. Calumet Farmers Market, Depot Park Farmers & Artisans Market (Ironwood), Houghton Farmers Market, Hancock Tori & Farmers Market, Gladstone Farmers Market, Downtown Marquette Farmers Market, Munising Farmers Market, Newberry Farmers Market, and the Sault Ste. Marie Farmers Market. We hope that more markets can be added as the program continues.

A second focus of the Prescription for Health Program is to ensure that the farms receive support to help them increase the produce available at farmers markets. Farm debt is a huge problem across the country—even small-scale farming requires a high debt burden that is difficult to pay back, especially with an income that varies seasonally. UPFE and the Food as Medicine team want to help alleviate the debt barrier that keeps farms from starting or expanding.

The first ever UPFE mini grant program awarded nine farms $14,000 to increase their cold storage capacity. Funds can be used for the materials and labor to build new or additional facilities, as well as access to technical assistance for construction and HVAC. Grant recipients are also required to work with the U.P. Produce Safety Technician to ensure all the facilities and harvest systems are following best practices.

This funding will support the increase of local food production by ensuring that farms have a place to safely store produce until it can be sold.

Cold storage facilities are also essential for extending the agricultural sales season by providing space for keeping storage crops that can be sold well into the winter, directly supporting the growth of the U.P. farm economy and increasing access to local food for all residents.

This year’s grant recipients include Boersma Family Roots CSA and Farm, North Harvest CSA Farm, and Minnie Farms in the Western U.P.; Snowy Acres, U.P. Gourmet, and Full Plate Farm in the Central U.P., and Jere Farms, Gordon’s Produce, and Dutcher Farm in the Eastern U.P.

This grant program was developed in partnership with UPFE team members that include: The Marquette Food Co-op and the U.P. Food Exchange, Western Upper Peninsula Planning District Region (WUPPDR), Bay Mills College/Waishkey Bay Farm, Fresh Systems LLC, Renegade Sheep, the Marquette County Conservation District/Michigan On-Farm Produce Safety, Portage Health Foundation, and the North Farm/Upper Peninsula Research & Extension Center. Many partners were instrumental in spreading the word about the grant opportunity across the Upper Peninsula. And of course, the Superior Health Foundation funding made this possible.

A collaborative network is essential to make changes in our communities.

To grow our local food system and increase access to healthy food for all residents, we must work together. We offer our thanks to all the UPFE, Food as Medicine, and farm market partners for their work.

To learn more about the Food as Medicine Program, visit upcap.org/program/food-as-medicine or email Sarah at smonte@marquettefood.coop. To become an owner of the Co-op and support future initiatives like Prescription for Health, visit marquettefood.coop/owners/ownership.

*Article provided by the Marquette Food Co-op.

Excerpted from the Fall 2022 issue of Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine. Copyright 2022, Empowering Lightworks, LLC. All rights reserved.

Green Living: Are You a Biophiliac?Steve Waller

biophilia, love of nature, humans as part of nature, UP holistic wellness publication, UP holistic business

Do you crave a quiet weekend at the cabin with a view of the lake or the ocean?

Are you inspired by a mountainous panorama or a garden bursting with colorful flowers and butterflies?

Does a buck deer running through the woods rivet your attention?

Can a short walk outdoors make you feel a lot better?

Is your dog or cat part of your family?

Are you happy that the house plant you’ve tended for years is doing so well?

Then yes, you are a biophiliac.

Erich Fromm (1900-1980), a German social psychologist, originally said biophilia is the “passionate love of life and of all that is alive…whether in a person, a plant, an idea, or a social group.” E. O. Wilson (1929-1921), Pellegrino University Professor, Emeritus, at Harvard University, claimed that “our natural affinity for life―biophilia―is the very essence of our humanity and binds us to all other living species.”

Biophilia is the recognition that you are part of the natural world.

Your ancestors, for hundreds of generations, lived in and depended on the fields and forests. In exchange, they were imprinted with an appreciation of the hazards, bounty, and beauty in wild, spontaneous nature. Sure, they had to struggle through some of nature’s challenges, but afterwards they were rejuvenated by a warm breeze on a summer’s night, a conversation at the campfire, or a cool dip in the lake.

That imprint, passed down from the ancestors, has not diminished. Sometimes it’s hard to recognize in the bustle of modern times, but given an opportunity, the feelings are still there.

Artists, photographers, musicians, all strive to capture the “essence” of nature because it is so appealing. Architects incorporate living plants and bright skylit rooms to make their urban structures feel warm, spacious, airy, and inviting, more like the outdoors. Subconsciously, they acknowledge that most of us are biophiliacs, even if we don’t realize it. When the right nature button is pushed, we get warm and relaxed.

For many, biophilia is the reason we live in the UP.

We want to be closer to nature than to Detroit or Traverse City. We want to meander along a river that runs clear and cold, home to wily brook trout. We don’t want to see human trash or fences. If we lived down south, we couldn’t talk about how we are so tired of winter but love how the trees look after a snowstorm. Biophilia makes us endure the cold so that we can see those lacy white trees once again.

Birds come in a dazzling array of colors, yet none of the colors ever clash. All birds’ colors go together. Is it because the birds are just snappy fashion-smart feather-dressers? Or is it because our sense of color and what goes with it is based on what humans have experienced in nature for thousands of years? Biophilia likely shapes our sense of color, beauty, and art.

That sense of beauty even extends to our preferences in partners. When we say someone is beautiful or handsome, is it because we are drawn to a certain brand of makeup or shirt, or are we drawn to the person beneath all that dressing? Our ancestors evolved this crazy habit of choosing partners that they found attractive and passed that imprint on to us. Biophilia shapes our preferences.

You might discount this ancient influence and think your modern choices are beyond primal inheritance. You might think it is all just a nostalgic excuse for common and conventional thought. But it’s not. It’s art. It’s beauty. It’s natural. You’re a biophiliac.

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 from the Summer 2022 issue of Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine. Copyright 2022, Empowering Lightworks, LLC. All rights reserved.

Bodies in Motion: Moving Your Body & Perceptions to a New State of Wellness, Mohey Mowafy

weight bias, movement for health, healthy perspective on weight, physical fitness, UP holistic wellness publication, UP holistic business

We may or may not admit it, but we tend to judge people based on their appearance, particularly their body weight/size. Well, there is nothing in any appearance that should be used singularly to determine one’s health.

Back in 1975, I began developing a short, two-credit class about obesity. It was held on summer weekends at a camp that Northern Michigan University owned at the time. The paradigm I developed and taught turned out to be embarrassingly erroneous. Admittedly, I had fallen into the misperception that “if one is fat, everything is wrong about that one.”

A common bias that exists is to judge the entire personality of another human by their body weight, pretending we are simply worried about their health. Worse is the agonizing psychological pain that the overweight person must endure, believing it is all their fault. Admittedly, this is practiced far more fiercely against females than it is against males.

Fast forward to 1978, when I was attending a conference on the subject of obesity and eating disorders. One day, I wandered inside a room where the presenter’s talk convinced me that I had been wrong for so long. Her presentation stopped me dead in my tracks. I felt like I was perceiving the world through a new pair of soul lenses.

She was introducing a brand-new concept—that of “Health at Every Size,” a term later trademarked by the Association for Size Diversity and Health in 2003. Health at Every Size (HAES) opposes the idea that a person’s body weight and size is an accurate, full-picture representation of their health status. Naturally, I formed the NMU student organization “Good Health for All Sizes.” Yup, got the T-shirt to prove it! The concept rests on an enlightened assumption: A person’s health is much more nuanced than one single calculation.

Because we all have an internalized weight bias (applying negative stereotypes to ourselves and/or others),….

….ask yourself what “kind” of images of people you see in ads, on billboards, and in most of our films and series. Large folks are never portrayed as desirable. Yes, we have been doing better more recently. But how many people do you know who dismiss generous-size folks as far less than “okay”? Most of us believe that those who do not fit the “ideal” image have only themselves to blame because they must be lazy and gluttonous. Well, this might be true of some, but I assure you, not all. No wonder those with large sizes also adopt such a devastating belief! I was an obese child; I know.

Think of someone you know who has struggled with her/his weight all of their life, then ask yourself this question: Why is it that every time they starve themselves on a diet, they gain all the weight back plus a little more? Heaven knows, I tried to convince my sisters not to follow the unenlightened crowds, to no avail.

In my classes, or in any presentation to any group about this subject, I use a moment from the movie Gone with the Wind. When Scarlett went back to Tara, hungry and with no food in the mansion, she had to dig a potato from the ground. She swore “As God is my witness, I shall never be hungry again.” That is what our body tells us when we starve it. My stock answer when anyone asks me about a diet they want to follow to lose weight is this—“if you can live on it the rest of your life, go for it.”

So, if going on a diet is something we always do but it always fails us, or we fail it (96% of those who attempt to lose weight by “going on a diet” regain it, plus a few more pounds), consider a new possibility. The answer will not sound “conventional” to you, I am afraid. Try this to liberate your mind by considering a far more realistic paradigm to be healthy and yes, spunky. I have always asked my students to add to the list of health measurements one that I call “spunk.” Well, academically, it is called “activity.” It simply requires muscle movement, which the muscles were born to love. Seriously, when we are reasonably active, our muscles not only work, they work better, and they just love it! Science has shown that our muscles do not just move us around; they are also potent metabolic regulators on a cellular and sub-cellular level.

Moving our muscles need not be called exercise.

It’s okay if the word doesn’t frighten you. But if it does, just don’t call it anything. Moving need not be a chore and certainly oes not dictate a gym membership. My personal favorite now (or perhaps I should add, at my age), is walking. Yes, just walking. Ask those who walk. They not only feel alive, they have a special relationship with themselves (including their emotional/psychological/spiritual selves).

How about just dancing, even when no one is watching? It is much more fun when we act silly on purpose. And, how about finding some simple movements that you can do at home even while you are sitting if you need to? The idea of “use it or lose it” may apply very well here.

Finally, I would like to clarify that I am not advocating obesity if it is not a person’s normal state. Yes, it can be helpful to calculate Body Mass Index and waist size as a measurement of general health. But how we go about “fixing” it needs to become more enlightened than what has been typical so far.

Mohey Mowafy is a retired Northern Michigan University Professor. He graduated from the University Wisconsin (Graduate work at the Muscle Biology Institute and the Biochemistry Departments). He is married to Kristen Mowafy, and is the father of Adam Mowafy.

Excerpted from the Summer 2022 issue of Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine. Copyright 2022, Empowering Lightworks, LLC. All rights reserved.