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Natural Awakenings Westchester / Putnam / Dutchess New York

Publisher's Letter for November 2021

Oct 31, 2021 11:59PM ● By Marilee Burrell

Planning & Gratitude

Everything feels more precious this year. Family, friends, gatherings—even simple ones—are significant in light of the past few years. So it’s easy to be grateful this year as we approach Thanksgiving. Whether large or tiny, any gathering is worth celebrating and getting excited about. I know I’ll be over the moon to be able to spend this holiday with my 95-year-old mom and have the simple pleasure of making the stuffing and gravy for her.

Thanksgiving is traditionally a time to indulge, or even overindulge, but for those like me who want to stay on track with their healthy-eating ways—those who still want a special meal, but one with more veggies, organic ingredients and gluten-free options—I’m happy to report that there are healthy selections in our area, for both turkey eaters and vegans. To learn about these resources, check out “Organic, Vegan and Gluten Free Thanksgiving Day Meals in Westchester and Putnam,” on page 20. And if you’re cooking the big meal yourself, read “Eat Well to Feel Well: Thanksgiving Fare that Boosts Mental Health,” on page 22, for motivation to add more nutrient-dense food to the menu.

A nutritious diet is key for good brain health, according to experts who say that cognitive decline is not inevitable—but food isn’t the only factor. There are preventative things we can do now to keep our minds sharp into old age. Exercising regularly, reducing inflammation in the body, getting enough sleep and having positive relationships are also important. Learn more in our Healthy Ways article on page 28, “Healthy Brain Strategies: How to Prevent Cognitive Decline.”

This month we’re bringing the topic of death out of the closet. Even though all humans have exactly two things in common—we were all born and we will all die—we talk about birth quite a bit, but death and dying not so much. Births usually involve a lot of preparation: we choose a doctor, make birth plans, take classes, perhaps hire a doula. We don’t usually plan our death process. However, that’s starting to change. Now there are death doulas, trained professionals to help us navigate the process of dying. In New York, there is a bill pending that would legalize medically assisted death for mentally competent people with a medical prognosis of six months or less to live. And there are Death Cafés, events that encourage conversations about death. When we truly face the reality that our time in our physical bodies is limited, we are more likely to focus on what is most meaningful to us and appreciate the days we have left. That’s what Steve Jobs did. Please read “Dying Well: Four Steps to a Good Death,” on page 24, to start living more intentionally now. 

Dana and I are excited about the big Awaken Fair coming upon November 21. The fair is back in person in Tarrytown for the first time since Covid, and it’s sure to be a big party. Read more on page 10 and purchase your ticket online or at the door. And please stop by our booth to say hi. We hope to see you there!

For additional events, check the calendar starting on page 38 and our website,

Make plans! Be grateful.


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