Healthy Concepts

What constitutes healthy living is subjective, and is often based on a variety of things that essentially add up to an overall balanced existence. Physical fitness, mental and emotional well-being, and connecting to a deeper sense of self and spirituality are often parts of such a life.

No one quite understands the significance of this holistic approach more than The YMCA of the Fox Cities (the Y). The group includes five locations: Apple Creek, Appleton, Fox West, Heart of the Valley and Neenah-Menasha, and all carry a strong focus on the spirit, mind and body connection. To describe the group as a “fitness center” is technically accurate, but also only one miniscule piece of multi-dimensional and impressive puzzle. In fact, the establishment doesn’t even mention the two words but instead offer an all-encompassing message in its mission statement:

To put Christian principles into practice by promoting youth, adult and family activities that build a healthy spirit, mind and body for all.

“There’s no other organization that focuses on the total person like the Y does,” Joel Zeiner, a YMCA Mission Emphasis Committee member and local pastor, says. “It encompasses all. People can focus on the physical and be very strong, but their mental or spiritual state might be completely absent.”

“The Y is a place to nurture everyone at every level of their self-development,” Maeghan Johnson, Arts and Humanities Director for the Neenah-Menasha Y location, adds. “We provide tools to really find life balance. We’re all-inclusive and a positive place for all of our members and staff.”

“The members set the culture,” Scott Schanhofer, Executive Director for the Neenah-Menasha location, says. “The staff is great, and our whole philosophy is that we want to leave something better than we found it. It’s a home and there’s a sense of ownership. It’s really cool.”

“We have programs of all types — fitness is truly only a portion of what we do,” Kourtney Kositzke, Arts and Humanities Coordinator in Appleton, says. “We always say ‘cradle to grave’ because we have child care, we have programs for active older adults, youth sports, visual arts. Across the board we have a wide variety.”


One of the ways the YMCA of the Fox Cities encompasses the “something for everyone” mantra is by providing healthy practices for spirituality. And for both longtime members and new visitors, it’s more than the words that make up the mission statement that create the environment that conjures up warmth and a genuine sense of acceptance. It’s a feeling.

“When you walk into the YMCA, we want you to feel it, to feel welcome,” Joel says. “We have a Christian foundation but all faiths are welcome — no matter who you are or your condition — we want you here.”

The YMCA is committed to helping members on their spiritual journeys and make sure to do so in a natural and organic way. Meetings are begun with invocations, inspirational quotes are found on the walls and there are Bible verses littered throughout; however, they are mindful to present spirituality and spirit health in a natural, respective manner.

“We have a spiritual exercise board so people can engage with it at their own leisure. It doesn’t have to be intimidating or a part of a program,” Joel says. “We also have a devotional booklet that we give every leader that provides a lot of different material to use — whether it’s starting a cycling class with music to inspire people spiritually or starting a workshop with a devotion.”

Spiritual workshops vary from all-purpose adult Bible studies at the Appleton YMCA to more focused groups such as Fellowship and Friendship: A program for seniors to join other members for coffee, treats and fellowship; Conversations on Scripture; and Women’s Bible Friendship Group, focusing on spiritual practices of rest and simplicity for women of all ages.

“The one thing that really makes a strong Y is a leadership team that believes in the full holistic focus: spirit, mind and body,” Joel adds. “(The YMCA of the Fox Cities) team does. I’m so proud of that.”


Arts and humanities have long been considered a vital part of a person’s development, and the Y provides a variety of programs for children and teens to set the tone for mental and emotional well-being and growth as early as two years old.

“There’s a lot of diversity in ages,” Maeghan says. “We have a working pottery studio, painting, drawing, stop motion, stain glass working. You name it, we probably do it.”

The art classes are presented in an array of ways and curriculum, like the complimentary program developed at the Y called Artful Expression, encompassing the idea that art has the power to heal and provide coping mechanisms for those who may struggle to express themselves in other ways.

“It’s a program focused on teens, grades 5-12,” Kourtney explains. “It’s great for kids who are battling a mental illness, or it could be as simple as suffering from a lack of self-esteem or confidence. They learn to use art as a form of expression.

“Each child is different but our idea is that by giving them art techniques and making sure that when they’re doing the art they feel good, when they’re struggling and they’re not in our classroom, they can start drawing and feel better inside.”

Participants in the Artful Expression program are often referred by school counselors or teachers, and classes can be accommodated for all schedules: both during the day for homeschooled students, after school and on weekends.

The Y also offers family programming in the form of one-day workshops and progressive week-long courses.

“We love hosting family classes for an intergenerational group to come together. It opens family dialogue. Once you start creating something, you really start to see the conversation flow. I’ve heard so many parents say, ‘You actually got my teenager to talk to me!’” Maeghan laughs. “They’re able to connect in a face-to-face, engaging way.”

The Growth and Development program helps children prepare for school and focuses on fine motor and gross motor skills, and socialization. Private (one-on-one) and semi-private (two students to one instructor) music lessons for piano, violin, drums and voice — to name a few — are offered as well as humanities courses for safety in the form of classes teaching the importance of safety in technology to babysitting certification and bike safety.

“We can start to see the trends in our community and parents really set the pathway for us by letting us know what they’d like to see and what our next curriculum should be,” Maeghan says.

“I personally oversee the dance program. We offer every genre you can imagine: ballet, tap, jazz, hip hop, ballroom — baton is making a comeback. We have both recreational and competitive programs. Every student is welcome and everyone is a part of a team. We work a lot with special needs clientele and we hold a great sense that there’s nothing that can’t be accomplished.”

“Mental health concerns can start as early as young childhood,” Kourtney adds. “Finding things that kids enjoy and make them happy will help them in the long run and can help them get past some of the struggles they might face… You never know who is going to walk through our doors. It’s really neat to see young kids connect and interact with older adults.”


The physical aspect of health is no doubt a focus of the YMCA of the Fox Cities. The state-of-the-art fitness center provides physical fitness for all levels and ages. Youth sports programs can begin as early as 4 years old, and encompass core sports: flag football, basketball, indoor soccer, track and field, volleyball, as well as lesser available offerings in our community like fencing, “Jedi training,” rugby, archery and more.

While it’s an impressive list in itself, Scott explains that there’s an added component to the program that incorporates all three of the aspects of health that the Y focuses on: spirit, mind and body not readily found in other clubs.

“We do value talks and huddles in all of our youth sports. One team or both teams talk about our core values – caring, honesty, respect, responsibility and what it means to them in school or within the game. It makes them think about the sport but also their experience overall. Winning and losing is only a small part of what sports are.

“What we’re finding is that club sports and competitiveness is forcing some kids out of sports because they’re not as engaged,” he adds. “We want them to have fun. We want to teach them to compete against themselves, to learn new skills and to understand that failing isn’t fatal. We want to give sports back to the kids.”

The Y approaches sports and all aspects of health with the belief that while promoting skills and lessons within the program, the bigger picture includes volunteer coaches and staff teaching life lessons in a natural and organic way that’s easy to understand: fun.

“If kids aren’t having fun, they’re not putting in effort or getting better,” Scott explains. “Having fun means more easily developing skills. If you come to the Y and participate in youth sports, you’re getting the benefit of developing as an athlete but so much more.”

Meet some of the YMCA of the Fox Cities family!

Bill Breider

President/CEO, YMCA of the Fox Cities

“The YMCA of the Fox Cities is a mission-driven organization bringing people together from all walks of life and at all stages of life, around a common and inclusive set of values by providing programs, services and facilities that improve spirit, mind and body. Our purpose is to strengthen the foundation of our community by providing opportunities for everyone to reach their highest potential in all areas of health.”

Maeghan Johnson

Arts and Humanities Director, Neenah-Menasha

“I love the sense that I’m connecting with people and making a difference. And they’re giving to me too. I love interacting with our members and my co-workers. We have a sense of family. There’s something for every age, every family — every internal need.”

Kourtney Kositzke

Arts and Humanities Coordinator, Appleton

“I really like being able to bring my creativity to different programs and see children grow and flourish. Knowing that a child went home better from just meeting with me and knowing I made an impact is huge. Our art program has grown into so much more. It has been really rewarding.”

Scott Schanhofer

Executive Director, Neenah-Menasha

“One of the unique things about the Y is that it’s a community organization. We attract many different people to our facility. Visitors always say we’re a very warm place, welcoming and friendly. And that’s important to us. Coming to the Y is a great way to start your day. People care. Impact isn’t necessarily changing someone’s life, it can be as simple as putting a smile on someone’s face.”

Joel Zeiner

YMCA of the Fox Cities Mission Emphasis Committee Member

“Physically you can be strong, but if you don’t spend time on spiritual health and trying to connect with God you’re going to miss a really important, joyful and life-giving part of your experience. We want everybody at the Y, no matter their religious background, no matter their lifestyle. This is a place where the community gathers. And they’re connecting in meaningful ways.” 

“You can thrive at any age”

The YMCA of the Fox Cities offers a wide range of ways focusing on spirit, mind and body health to prove that you can be happy and healthy – and active! – at any age. Their Active Older Adults (AOA) program offers activities such as:

  • Land and water exercise classes
  • Health screenings
  • Use of workout equipment/walking track/pools
  • Yoga/Pilates/Tai chi/Qui gong
  • Enrichment Classes: Language/computer/music
  • Clubs: Knitting/Book/Chorus
  • Social events/luncheons

The YMCA of the Fox Cities collaborates with the Menasha Senior Center and the Thompson Community Center to provide the above programs. For more information, visit

For more information and to discover how you can get involved in your nearest YMCA of the Fox Cities location, visit or contact:

Apple Creek YMCA

2851 East Apple Creek Road, Appleton • 920-733-9622

Appleton YMCA

218 East Lawrence Street, Appleton • 920-739-6135

Fox West YMCA

W6931 School Road, Greenville • 920-757-9820

Heart of the Valley YMCA

225 West Kennedy Avenue, Kimberly • 920-830-5700

Neenah-Menasha YMCA

110 West North Water Street, Neenah • 920-729-9622

In 2009, when nurse practitioner Randi Mann decided to open Wise Woman Wellness, she had already spent several years working in the traditional health care system and she had experienced the frustrations many providers feel when trying to treat their patients. There was not enough time and resources to treat the individual as a whole and get to the root problem causing the symptoms. It felt more like disease management as opposed to wellness care. Her specialty has always included women’s health care and she saw many women suffering and knew there had to be a better way.

Randi opened Wise Woman Wellness in De Pere, and started treating women who were suffering with hormone imbalances, utilizing treatments and resources not readily offered in traditional health care systems. Women started to feel better and the word began to spread. The practice addressed other pillars of good health, such as nutrition, exercise, supplements, lifestyle interventions and life coaching. Today, Wise Women Wellness is a thriving center for wellness dedicated to improving the lives of women through a blend of functional, holistic and conventional medicine. At the center of it all is Randi’s dedication to being the leading hormone expert in this area and helping as many women as possible.

A woman doesn’t have to accept the unpleasant symptoms of hormone imbalances like hot flashes, weight gain, irritability, fatigue and low sex drive. There are safe, effective treatments available to alleviate these symptoms, such as low-dose, customized, bioidentical hormones. The practitioners at Wise Woman Wellness have been successfully treating women for years with bioidentical hormones and other treatment options.

Randi has also had great success in the diagnosis and treatment of thyroid issues. She is affiliated with one of the top thyroid experts in the world and utilizes his protocol and testing methods as part of her multi-pronged approach to thyroid treatment. In fact, Wise Woman Wellness is the first in this area to provide Thyroflex testing for patients suffering with thyroid issues. This FDA-approved machine is 98 percent accurate and has provided a much clearer picture of a patient’s thyroid function than traditional blood tests. Thyroid sufferers are often the most frustrated when they arrive at Wise Woman Wellness because they have been told over and over again that everything is “normal” based on their TSH levels. This is not an accurate representation of how the thyroid is functioning, but has been the standard of testing for years and years.

Wise Woman Wellness is dedicated to being the hormone experts. A woman cannot feel her best or reach her optimum health if her hormones are out of balance. Every system in our body, every cell, relies on hormones to function properly. This is why it is so important to find an expert in the field, and if you can find one who is dedicated to the health and happiness of each woman who walks through the door, then you have found Wise Woman Wellness. 

”I feel so strongly about what you do for women and the way I feel now that my hormones are balanced. I am a walking testimony, feel great and look great, better than many of my friends the same age, and want all other women to know about Wise Woman Wellness and the great care they offer!” - Diane, age 55, Green Bay

Wise Woman Wellness

1480 Swan Road, De Pere


I am on a journey. Not a “pack your bags” journey across the miles but a physical and spiritual journey to discover different modalities of healing for my well-being. Having had a fairly long and at times bumpy life, there are times I wonder: why did I do that, say that or think that?

As I spent time prayerfully considering my next step, I found myself drawn to Christa Chantelois, founder of Wisdom Within Healing LLC. I admit that the name struck a chord with me; after all, who doesn’t want to find wisdom within themselves? Christa believes that each of us has a divine light within us, and that we come from light and love so we are light and love. In this busy world, it is easy to lose focus of that.

After some research, I made an appointment for a Reiki session. I have heard much about Reiki over the years but didn’t fully understand what it really involved. I knew it originated in Japan (the land of my ancestors) and is a healing technique where energy is channeled to the patient by means of touch or “laying on hands.” This helps to activate the body’s natural healing process, which can restore not just physical but emotional well-being. This is especially true if there are blockages in certain areas.

With Christa’s background as an intensive care unit nurse, crisis advocate, community health educator and licensed professional counselor, she has unique qualities of compassion and empathy that I was looking for as well as being a trained Reiki master. Although I was very intrigued that she offers in-nature settings for therapy/counseling, I opted for the traditional office setting for my first visit.

My appointment started out with me lounging in an oversized comfy recliner, sipping sparkling water and talking with Christa like she was a long lost friend. She is one of those people you can just talk with easily, especially when she opens up about her own life situations so you don’t feel like you are the only one exposing your vulnerable side. She explained that during a session she starts at the feet and works her way toward the head. Sometimes she will use direct touch and at other areas her hands just hover over your body.

After getting comfortable with pillows and a blanket, and firing up relaxing flute music, I was ready for my session. I still have a hard time trying to explain how soothing and healing Reiki felt. I felt like I had finally been able to turn off my brain and all the “noise” in my head had finally been quieted so I could fully relax. I’ve noticed that on my own, it is much easier to relax my body than my mind, which made my time at Wisdom Within Healing that much more special.

After my session, Christa and I sat and talked about what she learned. As a healer, Christa is very intuitive of things that come to her as she is trying to unclog areas of the body with low energy, or life force. She mentioned a few things to me to see if I associated anything with it. She was especially mystified by the fact that when she was working on the area around my kidneys and liver she could not stop picturing a lemon. She laughed that she could not get the thought of a lemon being squeezed out of her mind. I mentioned to her that in the past I had tried to add lemon juice to my water, but my dentist had noticed tooth decay so I stopped. Because I primarily drink water and it gets a little boring, as of several weeks ago I had begun adding Young Living Essential Oil’s Lemon Vitality drops to my water for flavor. I found it to be such a treat I practically doubled my water intake. Both of us got a huge laugh out of that one.

After my time with Christa, I felt more relaxed and refreshed. She is a great listener and reminded me that I have worth and a purpose to live every day with enjoyment. While I did not come to Christa with the depth of personal traumas that some do, I know she is exactly the kind of person to help someone with more troubling issues. Anyone who is experiencing distress or discomfort and is looking for insight from a compassionate professional would benefit from visiting Christa at Wisdom Within Healing. Her mission, after all, is to ensure “that all people may remember their absolute worthiness of love, and thereby live their authentic sacredness, know the connectedness of all beings and care for Earth.” 

Wisdom Within Healing

103 West College Avenue, Suite 1005, Appleton


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There are several health food stores in the Greater Green Bay area, all serving a wide demographic of health conscious individuals. There also seems to be a pharmacy popping up on every corner of the city! There are many reasons to visit both kinds of stores, but how does one decide which one to go to? What if there was a store that combined natural health with traditional medicine? There is!

Streu’s Pharmacy Bay Natural: a locally owned and operated pharmacy that has been actively serving the community for over 60 years.

Streu’s consists of three businesses beautifully combined into one; a long-term care pharmacy, a retail pharmacy and a natural health store. The long-term care pharmacy provides prescription services to nursing homes and many assisted living facilities. The retail pharmacy has services for the public, including durable medical equipment (both pharmacies offer free delivery!). The natural health store focuses on serving the health-conscious individual, no matter what stage of their journey they’re on. The integration of natural health with traditional medicine is a concept that has helped many understand the importance of both practices and how they equally contribute to a healthy lifestyle.

Streu’s offers several services other pharmacies do not, like a community classroom, which offers monthly educational classes to community members and health care professionals. Classes vary in topics such as diabetes, heart health, benefits of essential oils, whole body cleansing, weight loss, etc. Streu’s also offers state Community Based Residential Facilities (CBRF) courses, which make getting education credits for health care facilities easier and more convenient. Streu’s also has the knowledge and convenience for patients needing long-acting antipsychotic injections, including flexible hours on evenings and weekends, and a team of trained nurses and pharmacists who are available to administer injections. It’s currently flu season, and Streu’s has the tools to stay protected. We carry a preservative-free flu shot in both regular and high dose. Our nurses can do immunizations at Streu’s (via appointment or walk-in) or they can travel to companies and assisted living facilities. The retail store staff can also help with immune-boosting vitamins, minerals and supplements, which encourage the body’s natural ability to fight back — ask the nutritionist for more information.

Streu’s mission statement is “to serve the community by achieving positive outcomes in health and wellness and making a difference in people’s lives.” Streu’s is a pharmacy that is revolutionizing the way pharmacies can help patients in all stages of their lives. Many progressive decisions have been made within the 63-year history of Streu’s, and the pharmacy’s reputation for quality services continues to grow throughout the Green Bay area. In addition to the marriage of traditional medicine and natural health, Streu’s prides itself on their customer service and ensuring their patients feel they’re being heard, acknowledged and helped. This is just one reason Streu’s has been a trusted partner in health care for over 60 years — the genuine interest they have for their clientele and community.

Take a trip downtown and tucked along the East River will be Streu’s Pharmacy Bay Natural at 635 Main Street. Many will be pleasantly surprised to learn that inside the building are about 80 employees loyal to serving the community, including: pharmacists, nurses, nutritionists and health coaches, pharmacy technicians and delivery drivers. Streu’s has continued to grow and maintain a wonderful reputation throughout the years since its inception and its leadership, high professional standards and innovations have earned the company high recognition throughout the state.

Stop in today and let Streu’s have the pleasure of being your hometown pharmacy and natural health store! 

Streu’s Pharmacy Bay Natural

635 Main St, Green Bay

Store: 920-437-4750 • Pharmacy: 920-437-0206

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Quantum Neuro Reset Therapy (QNRT) is based on the principle that the brain and nervous system control and coordinate all functions of the body. Unresolved emotional stress, past or present, is understood to affect the nervous system in an adverse way that may lead to physical, mental and emotional breakdown.

QNRT focuses on three main areas during therapy

  1. It works to “Release” individual adverse emotional experiences that have been identified through evaluating the stress factors of the brain/body connection.
  2. It works to “Reprogram” the coping mechanisms that have been built from the adverse emotional experiences. These ancillary patterns are ways of surviving emotional traumas by using false beliefs, negative life patterns and/or unwanted core drivers.
  3. It works to “Reset” the brain and neurological pathways to all areas of the body so that the individual can heal unencumbered.

There are many different therapeutic aspects to QNRT. An Advanced Certified Quantum Neurological Reset Therapy Practitioner can identify core drivers, negative thought patterns, inflammation, infection, toxicity, environmental triggers, food allergies, etc. For example, the emotional neurological conflict to gluten and wheat is not being able to hold things together. The emotional neurological conflict to gliadin is feeling defective and not mounting up. 

At Holistic Dentistry of Port Washington, we recently celebrated a landmark: our one-year anniversary. Even before we opened our doors last September, Dr. Laura Railand was at work building the new practice from the ground up, giving a complete face-lift to the former site of Dr. Steve Carini’s practice in a beautiful storefront in downtown Port Washington.

We take a unique whole-body approach to oral health care, combining sound dental science, modern technology and years of experience with a deep concern for our patients’ physical and emotional well-being and comfort. Our goal is to bring your mouth, teeth and related structures back into harmony with the rest of your body. We look at underlying causes in order to end progressive destructive processes and bring your health back into balance. This does not always mean an easy fix, but we are committed to working with you through all stages of treatment until you reach your goal.

For us, the goal is a healthy body exemplified by healthy gums and soft tissues of the mouth, and the elimination of bad bacteria that can destroy teeth and bone. We know that when chronic infection is removed, the body is relieved of a burden that impacts overall health. We also understand that not all dental materials are created alike, and that you deserve to have high-quality restorations that will improve your health rather than harm it. Dr. Railand follows the International Academy of Oral Medical Toxicology protocol when removing amalgam fillings, and our office strives to be BPA-, fluoride-, and mercury-free (amalgam/silver filling-free). We practice healthy dentistry with an emphasis on total health, using the best in state-of-the-art and traditional dentistry in conjunction with highly effective, less invasive treatment options.

Our team recognizes the importance of physical, mental, emotional and spiritual aspects of health. We believe that we are not merely treating a body; we are treating a person. We have made it our mission to share information about all aspects of dental wellness with our patients so they can be active, educated participants in the decision-making process. Dentistry can bring up negative emotions and stress for people, so we work to maintain a comfortable, safe, nurturing environment and to provide all patients with positive experiences. We strive to make dental appointments something you’ll actually look forward to.

Dr. Railand is committed to offering minimally invasive, health-centered dentistry, and she has dedicated thousands of hours to her dental education to better serve you. Her unending enthusiasm for the well-being of her patients sets her apart from the rest. At Holistic Dentistry of Port Washington, we are always looking for patients who share our goal of achieving total health. 

Holistic Dentistry of Port Washington

222 N Franklin St, Port Washington



One of the most fun aspects of traveling for me — whether near or far — is undoubtedly finding and researching restaurants. About 2.5 hours north of Green Bay, Eagle River is a great getaway spot during every season. During our recent visit, my friend and I couldn’t help but exclaim how serene and picturesque the changing autumn leaves were at every turn, and pointed out the cross-country skiing areas and beautiful wildlife that surrounded us on our drive.

We stopped for a late lunch at Bortolotti’s Cin Cin, a new wine bar and bistro. We knew it was an Italian restaurant but didn’t know exactly what to expect. Walking into the establishment, we wouldn’t have guessed that it had just opened in June. It was beautifully and elegantly decorated with a quaint lounge area to the right and comfortably laid out tables to the left. Our server, Keith, was friendly and attentive, and knowledgeable about both the food and extensive wine selections. (His favorite dish is the Jambalaya!)

My guest and I were fortunate to speak extensively with the owner, Jessica, who after having much success with her growing catering company, Jessica’s Cucina, opened the kitchen area for a more spacious work area. Bortolotti’s Cin Cin naturally followed, and we’re so glad it did! While there, we discovered “Cin Cin” means “A toast to life” in Italian, and now having spoken with Jessica, heard her philosophy and tasted her food, can’t imagine a more fitting name.

When you spend time at Bortolotti’s Cin Cin, you know it’s different — in the best sense of the word. Jessica believes in using organic produce from local farms as much as possible, and has banned two things from her kitchen: a deep fryer and a microwave. Instead, there’s a focus on fresh ingredients and partnering with other area businesses to create a truly unique and authentic menu that’s far from the typical Italian American eatery. She also encourages guests to savor their time eating in her dining room, spending hours laughing and connecting over food and wine just as is customary in Italy.

We began our meal with Patatine Avocado (Avocado Crisps), fresh cut avocado sautéed in coconut oil and dipped in garlic bread crumbs. As avocado enthusiasts, my guest and I were curious about how this technique would affect the taste of one of our favorite foods. It was delicious! The dish was very light and crispy, and the familiar smooth texture of the avocado was perfectly intact.

Our second appetizer, the Bistecca Crostini (Steak Crostini), was crostini topped with cherry tomatoes, Italian parsley, cream cheese and chive spread, and marinated steak. The steak was incredibly tender and was complemented perfectly by the smooth and slightly sweet spread. The tomatoes were fresh, and the components together created a very satisfying dish. The Insalate Di Giardino (Garden Salad with shrimp) was colorful, fresh and delicious! Jessica chose their homemade Honey Balsamic dressing to accompany it, which brought the ideal amount of sweet to pair with vegetables like cucumber, bell peppers, broccoli, cauliflower and more.

We then enjoyed the Coure Interrottore (Heart Breaker), which Jessica let us know won the 2017 People’s Choice award in the “Taste of the North” café/grill category. We can see why! This vegetarian dish combines artichokes, hearts of palm, roasted chickpeas, cilantro and onion in a creamy house dressing stuffed in pita bread. Flavorful but not overwhelming, the mixture in the toasted pita bread was just the right texture and lunch choice. Kettle chips were on the side and added great crunch and a salt component.

When the Panino Uovo (Egg Sandwich) — two farm fresh eggs, sautéed peppers, onions, tomatoes, arugula and cheddar — came out we were beginning to get full, but we stopped to ooh and ahh over how attractive it was (the presentation of all of the dishes was impeccable!). The sandwich was simple but done so well that we felt like we were eating something made exclusively for us.

I’m still thinking about our last entrée, the Basil and Sundried Tomato Chicken Breast, marinated in balsamic vinegar and olive oil, baked with a basil and sundried tomato rub. I’ve never had a more tender or melt-in-your-mouth chicken, and the flavor of the sundried tomato elevated it to a level that I can only describe as delectable. It came with roasted cauliflower, one of my favorite side dishes done just right.

My guest and I tried a lot of different items on the Bortolotti’s Cin Cin menu, but at the end, we realized we weren’t overly full, but delightfully so in a way that made us feel satisfied because we had eaten quality, thoughtful food. We were struck by the amount of vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free items on the menu. In fact, four of the six dishes we enjoyed fit into those categories, and we both remarked about how special it was to find such a restaurant in the area. We can’t wait to go back! 

While fall for many means football, sweaters and pumpkin spiced everything, it is also a time for you to re-evaluate how you are handling your skin care routine. You may have started to notice that your skin is becoming dry and you don’t understand why.

Dry air everywhere

The main reason fall is so harsh on your skin is because of the drop in humidity. In summer, the air is warm and moist keeping your skin moisturized without you even realizing it. Once the cooler air arrives, the humidity levels drop and you lose that natural moisturizer. On top of the dry air are the strong, cold winds. These winds can strip your skin of its natural barrier that keeps it from drying out. The dry air doesn’t stop the minute you walk into your home, though. Forced air coming from a furnace or fireplace also dries out the air in your home. Everywhere you go the air around you is causing your skin to dry out quickly.

Preventative measures can help

To protect your skin against the effects of dry air and harsh winds there are five preventative measures you can start doing today that will benefit your skin as the weather transitions into winter:

1. Break out the humidifier

Create your own humidity by using a humidifier. Humidifiers add more moisture into our homes, giving skin relief from the dry climate and increasing its hydration.

2. Wear proper clothing

It is best to cover up your skin during a cold, windy day with long sleeves, a hat and a scarf. Avoid fabrics like wool that can cause irritation.

3. Avoid hot showers

A hot shower always feels great after coming in from a cold day, but hot showers are very harsh on your skin. Hot water removes many of your skin’s natural oils promoting dry, itchy skin, and causing it to redden and become irritated.

4. Exfoliate less

Exfoliating the face and body is a must during fall as it removes dead skin cells and revitalizes our pores, but it is important to avoid over-exfoliating. Over-exfoliation can irritate and overstimulate the skin causing it to become dry and irritated.

5. Incorporate a heavy moisturizer and lip balm

In summer, the humidity in the air naturally keeps your skin and lips moist. While we experience moisture loss in fall, it is important to provide extra moisture by using a heavier moisturizer. Apply the moisturizer generously both morning and night, especially after a shower. Keep a small container with you to reapply throughout the day as needed. The cold air and harsh winds can also dry out your lips, causing them to crack. Regularly apply a sun protection factor (SPF) lip balm every morning and keep it handy to reapply throughout the day.

Allow your best skin to show during this upcoming holiday season. Follow these five preventative measures and you are on a great track for having healthy, glowing skin while the weather is at its coldest. 


If you are in your 20s, 30s or 40s, you might think your hormones won’t begin to change until you get close to age 50 or menopause. The average American woman reaches menopause (classically defined as a year without a period) around 51.2 years of age. You may not realize how well you feel today is strongly correlated to your hormone balance.

If you are experiencing fatigue, irritability, anxiety and insomnia, your provider may have told you these symptoms are not related to hormone imbalances because you are too young. You may also have asked your provider to check your thyroid levels or your blood count to make sure you are not anemic. If these tests came back normal, you may assume there is nothing else to be done to help you feel better. This is generally not the case, ladies! Please note! Hormone imbalances can affect you as significantly now as when you are your mother or grandmother’s age.

Unfortunately, younger and younger women are experiencing more symptoms of hormone imbalance today due to hectic lifestyles, high stress, and unhealthy diets and lifestyle choices.

Your hormone balance plays an important role in how you feel every day, in your overall health and in preventing premature disease. If your progesterone, estrogen and testosterone aren’t in balance you may experience many common symptoms: premenstrual syndrome (PMS), premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), polycystic ovarian syndrome, uterine fibroids, fibrocystic breasts or breast tenderness, belly fat, abdominal bloating, heavy bleeding, migraines, mood swings, irregular periods, fatigue, anxiety, difficulty concentrating, a decreasing sex drive and food cravings. If you feel like you are out of balance, eating a healthy diet and making simple lifestyle changes such as exercising regularly will definitely help. PMS symptoms can be managed with eating smaller, more wholesome meals (3 meals plus 3 snacks daily). Include in your diet lean sources of protein, legumes, foods with soy protein (unless you have a thyroid disorder), raw and leafy vegetables and fresh fruit, low fat milk, cheese and yogurt, whole grain breads, cereals, and pasta. Avoid food stressors such as refined sugars and fats, salty lunch meat, sausage, bacon, high fat cheeses such as brie, white bread, cake, cookies, jam, honey, molasses, high-salt snacks such as potato ships, caffeinated drinks, and alcohol.

You may also wish to consider having your hormone levels tested and the use of bioidentical hormones to alleviate symptoms. Using individualized dosing, bioidentical progesterone often helps women in their 20s, 30s and 40s feel better. Progesterone plays a vital role in helping many women feel calmer, less irritable and sleep more restfully.

What is progesterone?

Progesterone is one of three main female sex hormones in our bodies. It travels via the blood stream to trigger certain activities or changes in the body. Hormones work by binding to specialized areas of cells called receptor sites. There they start a chain of events in target cells or organs. For example, progesterone has been known to exert a calming effect in the brain, reducing anxiety. Each month progesterone prepares the uterine lining for pregnancy and progesterone levels rise after ovulation. Unless you become pregnant your progesterone levels then drop and this triggers menstruation. Progesterone also balances out the effects of other hormones in the body such as estrogen. When you have too much estrogen and not enough progesterone then you may experience many uncomfortable symptoms. This is often referred to as being “estrogen dominant,” a popular condition referenced in many books written about menopause but not an official medical diagnosis used in conventional medicine.

Is there a difference between “natural” or “bioidentical” progesterone and synthetic progesterone?

Progesterone is a hormone produced in your body. The term “natural” or “bioidentical” refers to progesterone that is chemically identical to the progesterone produced in a woman’s ovaries. Natural or bioidentical progesterone is produced from a plant source (Mexican wild yams or other plants) and is modified in a laboratory to become identical in chemical structure to human progesterone. Synthetic progesterone is called a progestin and does not have the same effects on various body receptors outside of the uterus. Many women today are choosing to take bioidentical hormones instead of synthetic hormones.

If you are not feeling your best, please seek appropriate answers and proper guidance for management of your hormone related symptoms and individual needs. Choose a knowledgeable provider who specializes in hormone care for women and is certified through the North American Menopause Society (NAMS) if possible. You may find a provider in your area listed online at or by contacting NAMS at 440-442-7550. 

The following is a question-and answer section with Russ, a male aerial arts student.

Tell us a little about yourself, Russ. What do you typically do for physical activity/strength training?

In the past I’ve done MMA, but more recently my primary activities were weight training, running, scenario paintball and jet skiing.

How were you introduced to the Co-ed Pole Strength and Hammock Fit classes?

My girlfriend is a longtime member of Aerial Dance, and Co-Ed Hammock classes started around the time we started dating. She knew that I enjoyed working out and staying in shape, so she suggested I go to class with her. Since I’m willing to try anything twice and I liked spending time with her, I agreed.

Before you tried these strength and conditioning classes, what were you anticipating?

I expected to get a good workout. Not necessarily a workout that keeps my heart rate up the whole time, but more tricks. I anticipated that it would be difficult to pull the moves off using my own bodyweight, but I wasn’t expecting the heavy focus on conditioning.

What was the most surprising aspect of the pole strength class you tried?

I was surprised to find that it was even more painful than I thought it would be on my skin. I was not desensitized to that type of activity at all. I naturally used my upper body a lot more than I should have due to not being prepared for the discomfort. For example, when we would do pole pumps, I would use only my upper body because it hurt to brace my leg on the pole, so I wasn’t able to work my legs in addition to my arms and shoulders. That’s getting better the more I do it and desensitize.

How about the hammock fit class?

I didn’t have a lot of surprises with hammock. Diane gave me a good idea of what to expect. I knew I’d be utilizing muscle groups that I hadn’t before, or at least for a very long time. I expected there to be some challenges with teaching me the moves and also the physical differences of teaching a man as opposed to a woman. I was not expecting the upside down and spinning portions to be as hard on my equilibrium as they were.

You and Diane are now going beyond the strength training classes and working on a doubles pole routine for the Christmas Show on Dec. 9. How is that going?

Couples lessons are going well! When we first started, we focused more on getting me up to speed on the pole basics, and now we’re moving into tricks, which is pretty exciting. Instructor Kelly is very enthusiastic about working with us, which makes it more fun, and is adapting moves to capitalize on my existing strength.

How does it compare to the pole strength class?

The lessons are a lot more fun and challenging. This is definitely what I was looking for from the beginning. Because of the way I’m used to exercising, it can be difficult taking what the instructor says and applying it to the pole. Watching a demonstration and hearing instructions is a very different thing when you’re upside down and spinning and trying to figure out where you’re supposed to put your hand. Not being able to do it repetitively is a challenge. You get more repetition of conditioning moves during a class and they are more familiar, where learning tricks takes more work to get into and I can’t do as many “reps.”

Other than getting to bond with your girlfriend, what is the coolest part of working on a doubles pole routine/aerial training?

The coolest part of working on a routine is getting to see what I’m actually capable of. I would see people do these cool tricks and moves and wonder if I was able to pull it off. Guess what? I am! I also like that when other instructors and students are in the room while we’re training, they get just as excited as we do and are always willing to lend a hand or suggest new things for us to try.

Some people might think, “Why are you not doing a ‘manly’ sport?” What would you say to that?

I don’t think that it’s not a manly sport. Pole definitely has a stigma attached to it, but when you show people or tell them about the moves that you’re pulling off, they understand the strength and skill required, and that you’re not trying out for Magic Mike 3. It’s just as empowering for men as it is for women.

What would you say to other men who are considering trying an apparatus in the aerial arts to work on strength, endurance or flexibility?

I would tell other men interested in aerial that they should definitely give it a try! It will challenge your body in ways that it hasn’t been challenged before. Aerial helps with body awareness and it will help you become more flexible. My best advice is that if you’re going to try pole, for God’s sake, shave your legs because sweaty hair does not stick. Do your homework. Look at what other pole athletes wear and recommend and draw from any experiences they’ve had that might help you. 

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