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Natural Awakenings Westchester / Putnam / Dutchess New York

Publisher's Letter for March 2020

Feb 26, 2020 10:53AM ● By Marilee Burrell

Each month we are blessed to discover so many wonderful mind-body-spirit practitioners, events, classes and resources in our region. I’m ignited with hope whenever our readers, friends or family members tell us they’ve tried something new to improve their health and wellness. Kudos to my mom, who now enjoys weekly chair yoga; to my friends who attended their first meditation class with me and finally experienced complete relaxation; and to our readers who share the thrill of hiking the beautiful trails of our beloved Hudson Valley. March is my birthday month, and Marilee’s too—a time for us to celebrate the special privilege we’ve been given to educate and support our neighbors for the highest and best good. We’re so lucky to be able to age gracefully in the midst of our Natural Awakenings wellness community. Thank you!

In the Hudson Valley and across the nation, more Americans are moving away from meat and toward plant-based foods, a development that comes with the promise of glowing health and expanding culinary horizons. Writer April Thompson shares the secrets of making this a seamless transition in “The Roots of Good Health: Thriving on a Plant-Based Diet,” on page 22.

I’ve been eating more and more plant-based for years, but I’m always looking for ways to do it a little better. My new favorite ingredient is hemp seed hearts, which add protein and Omega-3 and -6. I’m also trying to add more mixed greens into my daily diet through juicing, smoothies and salads—a goal that will be easier to achieve when I can get them straight from my garden. Spring arrives on March 19, and I can’t wait to start planting. I’ve already mapped out rows of luscious greens (spinach, swiss chard, kale, arugula and a variety of lettuce) and lots of medicinal herbs. I’ll also plant cucumbers, zucchinis and tomatoes, which are always prolific, as well as a full row of celery for my morning juicing. I’m so excited!

I love to be a little daring in the kitchen, so I can’t wait to try the vegan recipes in “Meatless Makeover: A Plant-Based Spin on Classic Dishes,” starting on page 28.  Among them are Vegan Popcorn “Chicken”; Mushroom, Sage and Onion Wellington; and the dish I plan to make first (since I’m gluten free): Walnut Meat Tacos. (This seems like a good time to mention that my son’s taco shop, Tacos and Cones, located in Pawling, serves up a delicious gluten-free vegetable taco!) Be sure to check out this month’s special plant-based dining guide on page 26, which features plenty of terrific plant-based eats.

Speaking of plants, I continue to be amazed at how quickly the hemp-CBD industry is growing in our state. This year, New York’s 560 hemp growers have planted nearly 14,000 acres for CBD production. The reasons for the hemp boom are obvious to me. I know so many people and pet owners, including me, who have used CBD products with great success. But with the huge number of CBD products flooding the market, it’s important to check labels and verify purity and dosage, and to ask your doctor about the potential for interaction with any medications you might be taking. We talked to several local CBD retailers about safely navigating this new market, and we’ve shared their advice on page 34.

With the start of growing season, challenge yourself to try a new activity or class to support your personal growth and wellness. Our calendar of events is a great place to start. You can find it on page 52, or check out our expanded calendar online at

Happy Spring!



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