Healthy Concepts

There are few things that conjure up a universally pleasant response; thus, they get all the glory. It’s easy when the object can be used in virtually any and every capacity: as a sweet and savory food product, an herb, a popular essential oil, a simple yet satisfying scent, a charming piece of décor, a calming agent, and so much more. It begs the question, “Is it possible to have too much of a good thing?”

Not when it comes to lavender.

It’s something Scott Sonoc and his wife Marsha Williams know firsthand. The owners of Island Lavender Company, they planted the first commercial lavender fields on Washington Island on the newly renovated Historic Island Dairy property in the spring of 2013 and haven’t looked back since.

Situated five miles from the tip of the peninsula of Door County, the Island Lavender Company is a working lavender farm specializing in the cultivation of hearty organic lavender plants to be used to make the highest grade lavender products.

Scott explains that the Island Lavender Company farm has been designed to blend in with the existing character of Washington Island’s Scandinavian heritage promoting agricultural entrepreneurship, specifically celebrating lavender grown in the United States. The property includes a hand built, carved Viking Temple featuring birds, snakes and nature. The lavender market is housed in the restored 100-year-old Historic Island Dairy, a special island location featuring an exhibit of the dairy when it operated from 1917 to 1960.

And this year, they’ve expanded their beloved store to include a location in mainland Ephraim, Door County.

“It came primarily because of customers’ demand,” Marsha explains. “We discovered a fantastic building in North Ephraim that really enables us to show both the wide array of products we have as well as an entire exhibit area devoted to explaining how we process lavender.”

Located on the north edge of Ephraim in the historic big red barn just before entering into Sister Bay on Highway 42, Island Lavender Company’s additional locale allows Scott and Marsha to share their love of lavender and all it is capable of within their array of products and also in the form of graphics, exhibits and educational material — including lavender recipes for guests to try at home.

An extraordinary commitment to quality

The natural growing and harvesting procedure is one that Island Lavender Company takes seriously and procures products of the highest quality, becoming the standard for superiority due to each step in their process being so thoughtfully and diligently executed.

“We do everything by hand,” Scott says. “From the planting to the trimming to the harvesting.”

Lavender bundles are harvested by hand with a sickle, and dried in a barn while buds are stripped and separated from the stems in a custom-designed machine. Dried lavender buds go through the filtering process two to three times to ensure grit is removed, while lavender buds headed for culinary purposes are sifted more than five times and sent to a specially engineered stainless steel still to produce the highest quality food grade lavender essential oil.

It’s all based on the philosophy that excellence is reached when time and attention is paid to make it so; however, there’s something notably lacking in Island Lavender Company’s method: chemicals, pesticides and unnecessary additions during the growing process. Island Lavender Company is a completely natural lavender farm.

“We have an opportunity to focus on the need to protect the environment on various levels,” Scott says. “We don’t use pesticides or any kind of artificial fertilizers. Rainwater and sunshine is it. We work with the environment instead of against it.”

They’re natural components found typically in summer in Wisconsin, and lavender cultivation works exceptionally well in the area in all four of its diverse seasons. Hibernating in the winter, lavender begins growing in spring and flowers in mid-July. There are a number of variations, of which Island Lavender Company grows 16, primarily Lavandula Angustifolia, or English Lavender.

“We get so many comments from people who walk in our doors and just take a deep breath and say, ‘Oh I feel relaxed just being here,’” Marsha laughs. “It’s kind of a path of discovery. We’ve got information panels about lavender and how we process lavender throughout the whole store. People wander and they read the information panels and are able to get a good sense about what the lavender business entails.”

Island Lavender Company’s products are handmade in Wisconsin, with a number of them being done in-house by Scott, Marsha and their team. Travel pillows, neck wraps and salves are among some of the hundreds of products handmade and hand labeled.

“Our soaps, lotions and our body mists and room sprays are extremely popular,” Marsha says. “In fact, we offer free shipping to every state in the union — all over the United States. But it’s also nice to pop in and pick something up, and we always offer free food samples!”

The versatility and array of products — both edible and not for consumption — vary greatly; however, Scott and Marsha make it their task to keep one thing in mind for all of them.

“We try to primarily deal with small family-owned businesses,” Marsha explains. “It’s really quite fun, we have cultivated wonderful relationships with various suppliers to whom we supply our own lavender culinary oil and then they use that in making the products. Our food products are all made by professional food manufacturers and they use our lavender.

“The chocolates are really amazing. We have a wonderful chocolate supplier based in Port Washington. He’s really an artist who uses a very high quality cocoa. We have great lavender granola that’s made here in Door County: Lavender Cherry Granola, Lavender Blueberry Granola, Lavender Vanilla Granola and Lavender Dark Chocolate Granola.”

Everything from lavender gelato, lavender infused coffee and teas in a number of varieties like Lavender Crème Brulee, Lavender Grogg and Lavender Chocolate Mint, as well as jams and jellies perfect for the flavor — sweet but also herbal — are available and perhaps make up more of the traditional side of Island Lavender Company’s selection. Lavender seasoned salt and Lavender Balsamic Vinegar from Italy are a couple that Marsha says are very special.

“Lavender Caramel Corn is another one that people are excited about,” she says. “It’s really good and pairs amazingly well with a glass of red wine.

“I love asking customers about how they’re going to use our products. We meet a lot of fascinating people from all over the world. We’re very happy to be here, and we try and make sure people have fun.”

Celebrate with Island Lavender Company!

Join Island Lavender Company daily for the entire month of July to celebrate the Fourth Annual Island Lavender Blooming Festival

Featuring interactive and educational activities — all of which are free! — the Fourth Annual Island Lavender Blooming Festival is celebrated both at the Ephraim, Door County location and on Washington Island.

It’s an especially long festival, Scott explains, following the natural cycle of the lavender plant. Buds begin to bloom in the beginning of July and last through the entire month.

“It’s pretty to look at, fun to walk through and is really aromatic,” he says. “We are working in the lavender fields daily during the festival so you can have your questions answered about how to grow lavender, how lavender can be used in your daily activities and how we transform our lavender harvests.”

Focusing on and bringing attention and awareness to protecting the environment is also important to Island Lavender Company’s core mission, and that includes more than the growing of the versatile plant itself.

“Part of the whole cycle is the idea of pollination and bees,” Scott says. “We have an exhibit in Ephraim with a full size beehive showing how honey is gathered and produced. It really becomes an educational component throughout the month.”

During the festival guests are encouraged to interact with visiting artists who have also made it their artistic passion to protect the environment, the honey bee community and the wonder of lavender. Watch and converse with the artists as they discover the magic of the lavender fields in their compositions and artwork.

“One of the artists paints with beeswax,” Marsha explains. “She’ll be demonstrating her technique and selling her art. We have a jewelry maker joining us and a potter who creates lavender designs. We’re leaning toward the arts and expanding both the lavender focus, pollination and saving the bees.”

“All of our events are free, and there are no entrance or special activity fees at the Island Lavender Company because our goal is to heighten public awareness of the many outstanding qualities of this incredible plant,” Scott adds.

All activities are available daily in the month of July between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. at both the Ephraim and Washington Island locations. 

A happy, healthy environment for all

The Island Lavender Company is distinguished by being a working lavender farm cultivating healthy hearty lavender plants specifically for the very cold winter seasons of Northern Wisconsin. Scott and Marsha provide housing for many of their employees, as well as pay a minimum wage of $15.00 per hour.

“We have a commitment to quality — in how we treat our employees, our customers, the environment and how we make our products. We take it very seriously. It’s about the little details and we really try to get those right.” —Marsha Williams

Island Lavender Company

10432 Water Street, Ephraim


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“Our deep respect for the land and its harvest is the legacy of generations of farmers who put food on our tables,preserved our landscape and inspired us with a powerful work ethic.” —James H. Douglas, Jr.

June 21 marks the official start of summer, the beginning of three wonderful months of warm breezes and sunny days (we hope!) ahead. It’s a great time to stroll fairs and festivals, peruse farmers markets, and embrace refreshing recipes using locally sourced food. Below are great tips to make the most of visiting our local farms!

Maximize your farmers market trips

Community-based farmers markets can introduce shoppers to an array of foods they may otherwise never experience. Farmers markets are great places to find fresh, locally grown foods, and many market customers are happy to know they›re benefitting both the environment and local businesses with every dime they spend.

Farmers markets can range from the very large to the relatively small, and first-time visitors may not know where to begin. The following are a handful of ways to maximize your visit to farmers markets of all sizes.

  • Take time to explore. Farmers markets tend to have many of the same fruits and vegetables you can find at the local chain grocery store, but farmers markets also are known for offering more than what you may find in the produce aisle. Take time to explore the market and you may just find foods you typically only find at your favorite restaurant. Exploring also may introduce you to new foods you may otherwise never have tried.
  • Consider the timing of your visit. The popularity of farmers markets has increased dramatically as more and more people embrace the concept of buying locally grown foods. While that›s great news for the planet and local farmers, shoppers should keep that in mind when planning their visits. If you love trying new foods, arrive early to the farmers market before the more unique offerings have been snapped up. Foods that have small yet devoted followings may not be available in abundance, and you may end up leaving empty-handed if you arrive late. If it›s a bargain you want, then visit later in the day when farmers with substantial remaining inventory may be more inclined to lower their prices.
  • Know your seasons. Some fruits and vegetables are better at certain times of the year than others. Freshness draws many people to farmers markets, and foods that are in-season are more likely to have that unforgettable freshness than those that are out of season or nearing the end of their season. Knowing the seasons is important for budget-conscious shoppers as well. If you›re shopping on a budget, purchasing foods while they›re in-season may save you some money, and you can always stock up on your other favorites later on when it›s their turn to be in-season.
  • Speak with the sellers. First-time farmers market shoppers may feel like they're lost in the woods while everyone else seems to know exactly what they want and where to get it. If you find the farmers market somewhat intimidating, speak with the sellers. Shopping at the local farmers market tends to be more intimate than shopping at the chain grocery store, and many sellers would be happy to offer you some tips and make some suggestions based on the meals you like.

Farmers markets are great places to support local businesses and find fresh foods. 


Check out these local CSA farm share programs!


Where to find:

Types of shares:

Featured items:

About the farm:

Burr Oak Gardens, LLC

W5511 County Road B, Rio


CSA pick up sites located near Appleton North High School and at Goodwill North Central Wisconsin in Menasha on Thursdays, June 15 through October 26 (20-week season).

Mini share, Basic share, Double share, Double Every-other-week and Late Fall Storage share.

Fruits, vegetables, herbs. Honey available as an add-on in the fall.

We are certified organic through Midwest Organic Services Assocation (MOSA). We have been delivering to the Fox Cities since 2010. Our farm uses sustainable practices to produce wonderful vegetables and a few annual fruits that are suitable for growing in Wisconsin. We are always astonished by what mother nature does with a little rain, a little soil and a lot of light.

Field Notes Farm

1579 Church Street, Stevens Point


Downtown Appleton Farm Market, Saturdays 8 a.m.-12:30 p.m.;

Future Neenah Farm Market, Saturdays 8 a.m.-noon;

Downtown Stevens Point Farm Market, Saturdays 8 a.m.-1 p.m.;

Pulse Young Professional's Bazaar After Dark.

Every week and every other week pick up, mid-June through mid-November.

Summer season is 18 weeks + 4 weeks of fall storage season. Each share is 3/4 bushel with 9, 11, 18 or 22-week pickups.

Work shares and Farm Artist shares available.

A variety of 8-15 household favorite vegetables each week, including weekly herb and

occasional fruits and apple cider.

We are certified organic and take pride in farming with a focus on soil health, building community and transparency. Each share features a newsletter with a story from the farmers, a list of the share's contents and simple recipes. We also have an orchard of peach, plum, pear and apricots. In the fall, we press apple cider to be fermented. We have a 5-month payment plan for our shares. Pick up sites in Appleton, Neenah, Amherst, Stevens Point and Plover.

Good Earth Farm

W8965 Oak Center Road, Oakfield


Fond du Lac Downtown Saturday Market from 8 a.m.-noon.

Summer season CSA: Weekly Large, Medium, Small and Every-other-week shares from June through October.

Winter season CSA: November through February.

Mushroom shares and fruit add-ons available. Weekly newsletter, The ComPost, with news from the farm, great vegetable info, recipes and more!

We are a certified organic vegetable farm offering vegetable shares to the Fox Valley and surrounding areas. Our CSA is a fantastic opportunity to eat with the seasons and purchase locally from farmers who use sustainable and environmentally responsible farming methods. We offer many opportunities to see where your food grows, meet the farmers and have fun on the farm!

Oakridge Farms

125 County Road CB, Neenah


Appleton Downtown Farm Market, Saturdays 8 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

Standard share, Half share and Market share.

Fruits and vegetables.

We are a family farm growing fruits and vegetables using sustainable farming methods. We focus on building soil health and using minimal chemical inputs on our fruit crops. We offer summer CSA shares, pick-your-own strawberries, raspberries and blackberries and offer a daily farm stand open mid-June through September.

Park Ridge Organics

N8410 Abler Road, Fond du Lac


Appleton Downtown Farm Market, Saturdays 8 a.m.-12:30 p.m. (our stand is on College Ave. in front of McKinney Photography).

Our on-farm store is open Monday to Saturday from June through October.

Full, Half and Quarter shares offered every week for 20 weeks (June through October). Late season shares (November and December), Winter Storage shares (January and February).

Vegetables, mushrooms, eggs (available for farm pickup only), pasta and herbs.

Park Ridge Organics has been certified organic since our beginning in 2003. It is a second-owned farm providing produce to over 300 members each season. Our farm grows high quality produce and takes strong measures to ensure food safety. With over 14 years of growing experience and soil management, our produce flavor is exceptional!

Source: MetroCreative Connection.

For many homeowners, summer is all about staying cool. But that comfort comes with a hefty price tag. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, air conditioners cost homeowners more than $29 billion a year in energy costs. While that’s often money well spent, there are ways to stay cool this summer while simultaneously limiting energy consumption.

Air conditioners are a necessity in areas where temperatures rise to uncomfortable and often unhealthy levels in the summertime. But employing air conditioners is not the only way for homeowners to keep their homes cool during the dog days of summer.

Embrace strategic landscaping. The landscaping outside of a home can contribute to cooler climates inside the home. Deciduous trees shed their leaves annually, and when planted on the western and southern sides of a home, these trees can block the sun from entering the home during the hottest times of day, reducing the need to lower the thermostat on air conditioners. Of course, when these trees shed their leaves in late fall, sunlight can then make its way into the home, potentially reducing heating costs.

Maintain air conditioners. Air conditioners contain air filters that, over time, can wear down and become dirty. The DOE notes that the relatively simple task of replacing and cleaning these air filters can reduce air conditioners’ energy consumption by as much as 15 percent. If the unit does not respond after routine filter maintenance, the DOE ( lists issues with refrigerant, thermostat sensors and drainage as some common air conditioner problems. Homeowners who suspect these issues can contact certified professionals to inspect their units and perform any necessary repairs.

Install ceiling fans. Cool people in a given room by installing ceiling fans in areas of the home that might be warm but not too hot during the summertime. Modern ceiling fans with the ENERGY STAR® logo can be as much as 75 percent more efficient than older models, and ceiling fans typically consume far less energy than air conditioners. Install fans that can rotate forward and in reverse, as the direction the fan is rotating can actually heat or cool a room. Consult the owner’s manual to determine which direction fans should be rotating in on hot and cold days.

Draw the blinds or close the drapes on especially hot days. Drawing blinds and closing drapes can keep the sun out of the home, lowering temperatures inside as a result. While many homeowners understandably do not want their homes to be dark all day long, on especially hot days when the summer is bearing down, drawing the blinds or closing the drapes can have a substantial impact on comfort levels inside the home.

Air conditioners help to keep homes cool on hot summer days and nights. But homeowners who want to stay cool while cutting their energy costs can try various alternatives to air conditioners when the temperatures allow. 

Source: MetroCreative Connection.

Government? Insurance companies? Doctors? Hospitals? Employers? Or should it be us, and our families and friends working with health professionals to decide how we spend money on health care?

This is part of the debate that is moving through our government legislative process as the U.S. House of Representatives have sent a bill to the U.S. Senate that makes changes to the Affordable Care Act of 2010.

We can spend our money any way that we want, but when faced with expensive medical care bills, the many rules and regulations of health insurance take over.

As health insurance plans move to higher deductibles, we have incentive to take charge of how we spend our health care dollars.

No one knows what the legislative process outcome will be, but one thing is certain, and that is, we will need to make more informed decisions about our health to reduce our health risks and lower our need for expensive medical care.

To our advantage, new technology is available that uncovers disease risks before symptoms appear; and new health information is available to reverse it. Test results showing high risk for diseases like cancer, diabetes or heart disease can be addressed.

For example, the latest genomics health information research is showing that gene expression can be controlled by nutrition and nutritional supplementation to turn off bad genes and turn on good genes. It follows the same path as antioxidant protection at the cellular level for our whole body. The more we learn about things we do every day to reverse pre-disease risks, the more we can do something about it.

The current system does not offer direct benefits to reverse pre-disease. This is why we as consumers, using our own money will demand health care help to address disease before it happens.

It may be a while before health insurance plans direct us to focus on health before disease, but the expansion of health savings account type plans can motivate us to drive innovation using our own health care dollars to improve heath and lower cost.

Health savings account plan designs are available to people on Medicare, individual plans and many people who receive their health insurance through their employer.

Remember to always work with a licensed health insurance advisor to choose your health insurance plan to determine what plan is best for you. 

Aloe vera’s use can be traced back 6,000 years to early Egypt, where the plant was depicted on stone carvings. Known as the “plant of immortality,” aloe was presented as a funeral gift to pharaohs.

Historically, aloe vera has been used for a variety of purposes, including treatment of wounds, hair loss, and hemorrhoids; it has also been used as a laxative.

Two substances from aloe vera, the clear gel and the yellow latex, are used in health products today. Aloe gel is primarily used topically (applied to the skin) as a remedy for skin conditions such as burns, frostbite, psoriasis, and cold sores, but it may also be taken orally (by mouth) for conditions including osteoarthritis, bowel diseases, and fever. Aloe latex is taken orally, usually for constipation.

How much do we know?

There’s not enough evidence to show whether aloe vera is helpful for most of the purposes for which people use it.

What have we learned?

Aloe latex contains strong laxative compounds. Products made with aloe were at one time regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as over-the-counter (OTC) laxatives. In 2002, the FDA required that all OTC aloe laxative products be removed from the U.S. market or reformulated because the companies that manufactured them did not provide the safety data necessary for continued approval.

There’s some evidence that the topical use of aloe products might be helpful for symptoms of certain conditions such as psoriasis and certain rashes.

There’s not enough high-quality scientific evidence to show whether topical use of aloe helps to heal wounds.

There’s not enough scientific evidence to support aloe vera for any of its other uses.

What do we know about safety?

Use of topical aloe vera is likely to be safe.

A two-year National Toxicology Program study on oral consumption of nondecolorized whole leaf extract of aloe vera found clear evidence of carcinogenic activity in male and female rats, based on tumors of the large intestine. Another study in rats showed that decolorized whole leaf aloe vera did not cause harmful effects. This suggests that a component called aloin, most of which is removed by the decolorization process, may be responsible for the tumors seen in rats fed nondecolorized whole leaf aloe vera. More information, including what products are actually in the marketplace and how individuals use different types of aloe vera products, is needed to determine the potential risks to humans.

Abdominal cramps and diarrhea have been reported with oral use of aloe latex. Also, because aloe latex is a laxative, it may reduce the absorption and therefore the effectiveness of some drugs that are taken orally.

People with diabetes who use glucose-lowering medication should be cautious if also taking aloe orally because aloe may lower blood glucose levels.

There have been a few reported cases of acute hepatitis in people who took aloe vera orally. However, the evidence is not definitive.

Tell all your health care providers about any complementary or integrative health approaches you use. Give them a full picture of what you do to manage your health. This will help ensure coordinated and safe care. 

Source: National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health.



2 large zucchini, cut into 1/2 inch diagonal slices

1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning (or 1/2 teaspoon dried basil and oregano)

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1/2 teaspoon dried garlic

1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)

1/4 teaspoon pepper (or to taste)

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon olive oil (optional)


  1. Place everything in a large zip-close bag and shake it all together so the zucchini gets coated in seasoning and lemon juice.
  2. For best flavor, let zucchini marinate in fridge for at least 15 minutes or more. (The more you marinate the zucchini the more flavor the zucchini will absorb.)
  3. Before grilling the zucchini, preheat grill over medium low heat.
  4. Place zucchini on heated grill and grill 2-3 minutes on each side, or until zucchini is tender to your liking and has grill marks. Enjoy! 

Cryotherapy of Wisconsin has been open in Northeast Wisconsin for almost two years. In that time, they have helped thousands of people feel better by reducing or eliminating their chronic pain. Many clients feel relief in as little as two sessions, and praise the benefits of cryotherapy in helping them lead a normal, pain-free life.

Mary B., from Appleton, is one such client. In a recent interview, Mary talked about why she started coming to Cryotherapy of Wisconsin:

“I have been suffering from arthritis down my spine and was recently diagnosed with Lupus, which has caused inflammation from neck to feet. I have been on several medications, including steroids, and wanted to wean myself off of all drugs and find an alternate source of relief. I heard about Cryotherapy of Wisconsin, gave it a try, and was amazed at how quickly I started feeling relief from the pain.”

“Before I heard about cryotherapy, I hadn’t been able to go snowshoeing in years because of my pain. After I started coming here, I was not only able to go snowshoeing, but I went on a 10-mile hike and felt great afterward! I cannot say enough about how much Cryotherapy of Wisconsin has changed my life!”

Jodie L., from Appleton, had a serious fall three years ago that left her in a coma in the ICU. The accident caused slight brain trauma, which left Jodie suffering from chronic migraines that were unaffected by medication. Since participating in cryotherapy, Jodie has felt significant improvement:

“I would rate my migraines a 10 (on a scale of 1-10) and I was just miserable. Once I started coming to Cryotherapy of Wisconsin, I felt immediate relief, and I signed up for an annual membership so that I can come as often as I need to. When I come here on a regular basis, my migraines are now no more than a 3! And, as an added bonus, I’ve been getting relief in my knees and back too! I’m able to go up and down stairs without pain. I can’t say enough about Cryotherapy of Wisconsin!”

People all over Northeast Wisconsin have found the healing benefits of cryotherapy just as Mary and Jodie have. The Cryosauna uses nitrogen gas to lower your skin surface temperature by 30-50 degrees Fahrenheit over a period of two to three minutes. The skin reacts to the cold and sends neural signals to the brain that stimulate the regulatory and healing functions of the body.

It’s a very fast and efficient way to achieve the same benefits that athletes get by sitting in a tub full of ice water (without the damaging effects of ice directly on your skin). The skin’s exposure to these extreme temperatures triggers the release of anti-inflammatory molecules, which aid in healing your pain. The process also releases endorphins, which are hormones that make you feel motivated and energetic. The mood-enhancing effects from each session can last for days.

Depending on your level of pain, it is recommended you initially take 5 to 10 treatments in close succession — separated by 1-2 days — to maximize your results. Afterward, additional treatments can be spaced further apart to maintain, and improve upon, your results (e.g. once every week to two weeks).

Cryotherapy is not recommended for women who are pregnant, or people with cardiovascular diseases or epilepsy. Contact Cryotherapy of Wisconsin for a full list of symptoms that may prevent you from receiving treatment. Children under the age of 18 require a parent or guardian signature before treatment.

Cryotherapy of Wisconsin has two convenient locations to serve you: 3525 E. Calumet Street, Suite 300 in Appleton, and 940 Hansen Road, Suite D in Green Bay.

Cryotherapy of Wisconsin provides customers with the most advanced cyyosauna in the Midwest, and cryofacial equipment to target the facial muscles as well. Call us today at 920-460-7035 in Appleton or 920-366-2449 in Green Bay, or visit us online at

Mention this article to take advantage of our new client special! Five sessions for only $99, with a money back guarantee if you’re not completely satisfied (some restrictions apply). Take the first step toward less pain and more energy with cryotherapy. 


When we think of Sheboygan, we think about a feeling. It feels like adventure, wholesome tradition and home. Hugging the shoreline of Lake Michigan is a quaint town with rich heritage and a welcoming community. It’s the ideal mix of Midwestern values with the essence of an East Coast town. Right in the heart of the revamped South Pier District lays the Portscape Apartments. These apartment homes embody everything this community has to offer.

The amenities make these more than apartments; they are homes. All apartments are complete with luxury finishes, private entrances and attached garages. Not to mention, the priceless river and lake views, large private patios, vaulted ceilings, spacious floor plans and yes, your furry friends are welcome too! Whether you’re a young family or empty nesters, Portscape Apartments offers the perfect setting for whatever your life entails. A variety of floor plans include one bedroom or two bedrooms, both with dens.

Living in Portscape Apartments means truly living. Our residents wake up in the morning and have their cup of coffee out on their private covered patios as they watch the boats head out into the rising lake horizon. Throughout the day the boardwalk bustles with activity along the charming shops and restaurants that line the river. Then it’s a short commute to wherever the day takes them. Several well-known local companies operate within miles from their front doors, including Kohler, Sargento Cheese, Bemis and Aquity Insurance, to mention a few. There’s no wasting time on a lengthy commute when there is so much more to be had — whether it’s shopping at the local boutiques or spending a day on Lake Michigan. It’s also just blocks from all the amenities of downtown Sheboygan and the thriving Art District, or minutes away from world-class golf courses and mellow countryside.

People flock to these shores for weekends away from the stresses at home. When living at Portscape, every day is a getaway. The peaceful pace embraces the simple things in life, like a glass of wine at the nearby cafes, afternoon bike rides and evening strolls along the lake taking in the sunset. Being nestled between the Sheboygan River and Lake Michigan means enjoying all-around good living. It holds promise of always living life to the fullest with less stress among a vibrant social community.

Portscape is a rich environment where there’s always a neighbor with a helping hand, some of the best views in the state and going to bed at night surrounded by beauty and knowing you are home. Portscape isn’t just a day at the lake, it’s a life enriched by community. 

Take a tour of the beautiful model unit located at 679 South Pier Drive in Sheboygan or contact us to learn more about the Portscape Apartments lifestyle. Call 920-547-0346 or visit our website at

When the weather is warm, our natural inclination is to go outside. Many popular summer activities can be hazardous to our ears due to high decibel levels. Prolonged exposure to the sounds of lawn mowers, power tools, motorized vehicles, sporting events, concerts and fireworks can all lead to irreversible hearing damage.

The following tips are recommended by the Better Hearing Institute to protect your ears:

  • Use earplugs. When you are going to be exposed to loud sounds, wear earplugs to prevent damage to your hearing. Custom ear protection crafted from earmolds will perfectly fit the unique contours of your ears, guaranteeing a snug, proper fit and dependable protection.
  • Leave the fireworks to the professionals. Fireworks are synonymous with the 4th of July, but they represent an extreme noise hazard and should be restricted to professionals. Earplugs will provide an extra level of hearing protection without detracting from the festivities.
  • Take measures to protect against swimmer’s ear. There’s nothing more refreshing than a cool swim on a hot day, but when water enters the ear canals it can lead to a painful infection known as swimmer’s ear. To protect against this, invest in a pair of swimmer’s plugs.
  • Limit your time in noisy environments. Take steps to limit the length of time you spend in noisy environments. When participating in noisy activities, make sure to give yourself periodic quiet breaks. 

In my last article I discussed gut health and the importance of the microbiome as it pertains to health, and the role in leaky gut or intestinal permeability. Today I would like to delve into food sensitivities as this can be a factor in pursuing improved gut health.

Food sensitivities are different than food allergies. Often times a food allergy can be much easier to uncover as the reaction to a particular food (think peanuts) is pretty quick and can be life threatening, requiring medical intervention. These patients often carry an EpiPen with them. This is an adverse reaction traditionally described as an IgE reaction, which is different than an IgA or an IgG reaction. One can think of the immune system like the armed forces, which has several branches like the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines like IgE, IgM, IgA, IgG, etc.

Unlike the quick responsive IgE reaction food sensitivities tend to have a delayed reaction, which can be more difficult to figure out. Some clinicians favor an elimination diet while others, like myself, prefer to use specialty labs to look at the body’s immune response to commonly reactive foods. Depending on which lab is utilized you can have several foods tested to help uncover some culprits that can be driving a negative immune response and creating inflammation in the body. Common inflammatory foods include gluten, dairy, corn, egg and soy to name a few. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley and rye.

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease, which is triggered by ingestion of gluten. According to The New England Journal of Medicine, “Celiac disease is one of the most common lifelong disorders in both Europe and the U.S.” The American Celiac Society says, “The majority of celiac patients have visited five or more doctors prior to diagnosis… taking an average of five to 10 years, after initial presentation, for celiac disease to be diagnosed.” Approximately 87 percent of celiac patients are undiagnosed. Gluten sensitivity is much more common than celiac disease and involves a different process with the end result the same: avoidance of gluten. Some symptoms of gluten sensitivity include joint pain, muscle pain, skin rashes, fatigue, headaches including migraines, brain fog, reflux and IBS just to name a few. Often, traditional blood work will demonstrate low vitamin D and iron due to absorption issues accompanying the sensitivities.

One should question why these values are low and consider further evaluation including food sensitivity to uncover the cause. Specialty labs such as Cyrex and Vibrant Wellness in California have some of the best testing for gluten sensitivity and additional foods as well as leaky gut or intestinal permeability. Celiac markers can be tested with your family doctor. Children can also be tested for gluten through a blood panel or a finger poke. According to the Journal of Attention Disorders, “All children clinically diagnosed with ADHD or their parents report a significant improvement in their behavior and functioning after 6 months on a gluten-free diet.”

If you are looking to uncover potential food sensitivities your functional medicine practitioner can help you start your journey to feeling better. We are here to help you get started. 

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