Letter from The Publisher
June is here with all of its seasonal celebrations: solstice, long days and the official start of summer! It’s time to find even more reasons to step outside daily, take a walk and enjoy extra time socializing with friends, family, neighbors, pets and the robins singing in the trees at dusk. The kids are out of school, we celebrate fathers of all kinds on their special day and the glorious summer months are ahead of us. Time to kick off our shoes and enjoy.
Getting more exercise, socializing and eating fresh seasonal foods, as it turns out, are good for more than just our overall physical and mental well-being—they’re good for our actual brain health. June is Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month, which according to the Alzheimer’s Association, is an annual time to hold global conversations about the brain, Alzheimer’s disease and other similar forms of dementia that more than 47 million people worldwide are living with (Alzheimers-Illinois.org/ABAM). Of course, brain health is not dependent on our gender, and we can all benefit from taking proactive actions each day to keep our cerebral wellness “top of mind”. Our main article this month, Melinda Hemmelgarn’s “Brain-Savers: Smart Strategies for Preventing Dementia” is a must-read for learning more about preventing and treating cognitive decline and memory loss by adopting diet and lifestyle risk reduction measures.
We always love talking about food and healthy ways to prepare daily meals, and try to provide dinnertime inspiration (accompanied by a dash of dietary education, as well) in each issue of Natural Awakenings Chicago. In keeping with our June theme of brain health, we feature several recipes with ingredients that support our cognitive abilities. Mushrooms contain unique nutrients that can benefit brain health, and writer April Thompson shows us ways they can be both healthy and delicious in “Medicinal Mushrooms: Beyond Buttons and Portabellas.”
‘Tis the season to begin the summer feast and enjoy abundant, seasonal fresh produce. Locally grown asparagus, lettuces and greens, rhubarb and other early summer delights are now available. Sure, you can buy global asparagus year-round in many stores, but nothing beats the freshly harvested, locally grown stalks for both taste and nutrition. Likewise, a freshly picked, organic, local strawberry or blueberry is a summer treat to be savored and enjoyed in its peak season during late June and early July. To help you enjoy the amazing early summer bounty, we’ve included some mouthwatering recipes from area experts in our Conscious Eating department. We encourage you to support our local family farmers by shopping at area farmers’ markets, farm stands and co-ops, signing up for community supported agriculture (CSA) shares and purchasing produce at local stores that is Midwest-grown.
Part of living a more healthful life is discovering daily ways to find happiness by balancing work, play, relationships and downtime (be it relaxing, meditating, walking through a garden or just plain getting a good night’s sleep). Yet, it can be almost automatic at times to view our day as little more than 24 hours of chaos and commitments to get through, rather than a celebration of living. Of course, it’s not an all-or-nothing proposition; no matter how bad a day we might be having, it’s possible to enjoy a nurturing moment or two of our own making. We encourage you to make the time this summer to find moments of calm and enjoyment, and seek out a reason to celebrate the wonder in each and every day.
Wishing you a wonderful start to your summer!
Happy Father’s Day!