Archives for March 2013

  • Food for Skin: Spring Foods for Clear Skin | 03.29.2013

    Tree - stock exchangeSpring Fever’s bite is just around the corner.  We are anxious to smell the fresh air, feel the warm breeze and enjoy the promise of new life and rejuvenation.  During the Winter season, the cocooning and self reflection can now give way to the creative and bursting energy of Spring.  This energy is reaching from the depths of the earth and pushes with an upward rising movement stretching to the Heavens.  The very thought of Spring with its many colors and clean fragrance will refresh, nourish, and stimulate.  The color of Green is the energetic life color of the trees, plants, leaves, and grasses.

    In Spring, the element of Wood is symbolized by the tree that has roots planted in the earth and branches reaching to the Heavens.  The trunk holds life between the two worlds.  The human organs that correlate with the Wood Element are the liver and gallbladder. The liver is the organ in charge of helping the body break down toxins and when it is functioning properly peace and harmony are felt and there is focused direction and self-responsibility. When it is stagnated, there is anger, depression, and frustration.

    The Spring skin is the acne skin. This skin is red, inflamed, and congested. There may be rashes, allergic reactions, and eczema flare ups.  This is a good time to do a liver detoxification and eat simple dishes with lots of green vegetables. Sour foods also stimulate the liver and gallbladder.  The sour taste has an absorbing astringent function, stopping abnormal discharges of fluid from the body, like excessive sebum on the face.  Examples of sour foods are vinegar and lemons. Anybody who has papules and congestion on the face should drink a hot cup of water with one-half a lemon first thing in the morning. The hot water and lemon stimulate the liver to release bile and break up fats.  Other examples of sour foods are limes , pickles ,sour apples, sour plums, leeks, blackberries, grapes, mangoes. olives, raspberries, tangerines, tomatoes, sourdough bread, adzuki beans. Vegetables include broccoli, parsley, lettuce, carrots, alfalfa, beets, zucchini, shitake mushrooms, artichokes, cucumbers, celery, endive, and watercress.  The liver can be nourished and assisted in healing by eating foods and herbs that enhance the wood element.  Drinking a tea with dandelion, beet greens, and lemon will go far and is so simple to do.

    This Spring is a great time to get some healthy nutrition through green smoothies. Smoothies are fun and easy to make in your blender or nutibullet type of mixer.  An awesome green smoothie is one made with green vegetables and green fruits along with a small amount of antioxidant berries.  By helping the liver and gall bladder be strong, the skin will become clearer and healthier.

    Your Spring challenge is to stand tall, stretch for the heavens and keep your feet grounded to the earth. Join me for our next class on seasonal foods that promote healthy skin!

    Learn more about spring skin solutions at Susan’s workshop, Food and Skin: Spring Detox and Clarity on Saturday, April 13, 1-2pm.  Susan Reddig, B.S. is a licensed esthetician at Clinical Skin Solutions of Billings, focusing on beautiful skin from the inside out.  www.billingsclinicalskinsolutions.com.


  • Sustainability Think Tank |

    Just 12 years ago Bruce Kania purchased farm ground on the Yellowstone River about five miles east of Shepherd.   Like many of us, he had agriculture in his background.  But he also had “hunter/gatherer” in his genes too.  In fact, based on a two million year presence for homo sapiens against only, roughly, 15,000 years of agriculture, it’s fair to say that hunter/gatherer imprintation may have dominated around his motivation for land management.  

    Bruce KaniaSo now, at the Shepherd Research Center, Bruce’s name for the farm, there’s a few hundred acres of experimentation going on around wildlife enhancement, fishery enhancement, perennialization, water quality enhancement, and more…all driven by an overriding theme…How Will Humans Sustain and Transition in this Changing World?

    According to Bruce, Shepherd is a think tank.  Since 2005, folks from 39 different countries have visited and participated in the think tank process.  This includes individuals from some of the premier learning institutions of the world including Oxford, Harvard, and Yale.  They’ve been to Shepherd to see the ongoing experiments in action which include floating islands that cycle nutrients into fish.  

    Fish from the Ponds The PondsNow Bruce and his wife Anne want to build and grow and connect on a community basis as well.  They would like to enter into discussion with local folk interested in the broad topics of sustainability and physical, emotional and spiritual health.  Other more detailed topics of interest are aquaponics, organic and raised bed gardening, horticulture, wild edible plants, paleo lifestyle, stewardship around fishery and wildlife enhancement, the lag time between environmental and policy shifts (and how this might be addressed),  and pretty much all the other transition issues/opportunities we currently face.  

    But beyond just talking about these topics, Bruce and Anne want to collaborate and experiment around them too.  They propose that their farm can be a platform from which experiments can be run and ideas tested.  

    Anne Kania“I’ve been amazed over the years by the human resources in Billings.  It seems that Billings has more than its share of bright, inquisitive, high energy people.  Maybe it’s Montana that pulls such people here, or keeps them here, for that matter,” Anne Kania stated in a recent interview.   “We’d like to share the experience that happens at Shepherd, the abundance, the lifestyle, the challenges and the outcomes with our friends and neighbors.”   

    On that note, Bruce and Anne will be present on Earth Day, April 22, and ready to expand on or discuss the idea.  They can also be reached at 406-373-5200


  • Board Notes: The 2020 Challenge |

    The Year of the Co-op, 2012, has come to an end but in the eyes of the International Co-operative Alliance 2012 marked the beginning of the “2020 Challenge”.  The “2020 Challenge” is simple:

    • Co-operatives will lead in economic, social and environmental sustainability and
    • Co-ops will be the preferred model for business and
    • Co-ops will be the fastest growing form of enterprise.

    The starting point for this “2020 Challenge” is the powerful claim which co-ops make to the outside world – we have a way of doing business that is better than most.  We give individuals active participation through ownership, making them more engaged in the success of the co-op.  And the co-op business model creates greater economic, social and environmental sustainability.

    There are 5 interlinked themes that will make this decade of the co-op successful:
    1)      Elevate participation within membership and governance to a new level.
    2)      Position co-ops as builders of sustainability.
    3)      Build the co-operative message and secure the co-operative identify.
    4)      Ensure supportive legal frameworks for co-operative growth.
    5)      Secure reliable co-operative capital while guaranteeing member control.

    Over the course of the next 5 articles, my column will focus on each of these interlinked themes to help us all understand more about ourselves and begin to elevate our thinking to truly embrace the “2020 Challenge”.  Next article will focus on elevating participation.

    In the meantime, you have many opportunities to elevate your participation in your co-op.  You can attend one or more of the many workshops that are offered each month.   And don’t forget to check out the working member opportunities board (near the restrooms).

    One of the unique things about being a co-op is that we are all much more than just shoppers – we are vested owners.  Perhaps each of us should take our own “2020 Challenge” and decide how we can each be a better co-op member.  Sounds fun, doesn’t it?

    Carol Beam, Board of Directors President

    Carol Beam is the President of the Board of Directors.  Feedback?  Contact Carol!


  • Celiac Disease & Gluten Sensitivity | 03.01.2013

    WheatThey’ve become household words, but if someone gluten sensitive was coming to dinner, would you know what to feed him/her?  If you are the one who has been diagnosed with Celiac or gluten sensitivity, do you fully understand the pathology of each? 

    Celiac disease is an autoimmune condition, meaning the body’s own immune system attacks itself.  Specifically, the immune system attacks the “villi” in the small intestine, the “arms” that reach out and grab nutrients as they pass through the digestive track.  Celiac disease attacks and breaks off the arms.  As a result of malabsorption and depleted nutrients, the body is trying to do normal physiological function on fumes.  

    Celiac disease now affects 1 in 133. Not many years ago, it was a one-page description in the medical text and doctors were told they would rarely see it in practice.  A lot has changed, and fast.

    1 in 8 people with Celiac disease have GI (gastro-intestinal) symptoms:  gas, bloating, diarrhea, nausea, GI pain or cramping.  The other 7 of 8 people may not have any GI symptoms and may present with joint pain, migraines, eczema, irritability, depression, clumsiness, difficulty balancing, neuropathy, infertility, fatigue (including iron or a B-vitamin deficiency), osteoporosis or changes to teeth.  This list can also include weight gain or constipation – opposite of what we’d think when there is malabsorption.  Because the symptoms can affect any organ system, it’s easy to miss.  Symptoms of joint pain are addressed by the rheumatologist while the dentist talks to the patient about oral hygiene. 

    Celiac disease progresses on a spectrum.  A person doesn’t go from healthy to “100% villous atrophy with crypt hyperplasia” overnight, stages progress from 1 to 4.  If a person was tested for Celiac disease before Stage 4 is reached, a negative diagnosis might again be given. 

    Are there ramifications of all this negative diagnosis?  You bet!  Many people are out there eating a little or a lot of gluten because they were tested and told they did not have Celiac disease.  Or maybe they never got tested; they just tried a gluten-free trial, felt better and mostly avoid gluten now. 

    The long-term consequence of either of these two scenarios is that individuals “cheat” and they continue to throw fuel on the autoimmune fire.  It’s not the amount of gluten one eats; it’s the fact that gluten is the trigger and fires or “turns on” the immune system, which can set off the immune system for up to six weeks.  If the autoimmune process isn’t turned down or off, the person could expect to have other autoimmune diseases in his/her lifetime!  Cheating isn’t an option.

    If Celiac disease is definitively ruled out via blood tests, a biopsy, and looking for the genetic markers, that is truly good news and the person would now be diagnosed with Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity.  While the autoimmune process doesn’t seem to be in play in this diagnosis, eating gluten is still playing with fire.

    Join me for a free workshop on the ins and outs of Celiac and gluten intolerance on Good Earth Market’s Gluten-Free Day Saturday, March 9 from noon-1pm.  All gluten-free products in the store will be 20% off.

    Tracy Konoske, MS RD, holds her Masters degree in Nutrition from Bastyr University, the “Harvard” of natural medicine.  In addition, she has advanced training in functional medicine from the Institute for Functional Medicine.  Tracy has a virtual private practice here in the Billings area – as such, she “sees” patients all over the state of Montana as she helps them identify the root cause of their health condition.  Tracy’s specialties include:  migraines and chronic headaches, irritable bowel syndrome, joint pain including fibromyalgia, and auto immune diseases including Celiac disease.  You can find more information at www.healthylifestylesmt.com.