Letter From the Publisher

Dear Readers,

As I write this letter, the weather has finally started to feel like fall. We’re in that in-between season, enjoying the days before the holiday season starts in earnest. It’s the perfect time to reflect and express quiet gratitude for all of the gifts and experiences we’ve been given this year. Good or not so pleasant, each moment weaves into our lives and gives us an experience for which we can be thankful.

With the coming of the cooler weather, our bodies are making the adjustment to cold temperatures and we, in the mid-Atlantic, are spending our time in different environments than we were just last month. While the leaves continue to change and we start watching for morning frost, we spend more time indoors. As we start gathering together for family get-togethers, like our Thanksgiving feasts, we become exposed to more people in tight spaces. All of these changes can have an impact on our health and may expose us to nasty bugs that challenge our health.

But that isn’t all our bodies are facing. We have little control over many of the environmental changes that have taken place in the past few decades, such as the widespread use of antibiotics and pesticides. Our diets have changed as well. Most of us eat too much sugar and not enough of food that provides the essential vitamins and minerals needed to fuel our bodies. Not just on Thanksgiving—we eat and drink too much, don’t get enough sleep or exercise and stress all the more, because we aren’t doing right by our bodies. All of these habits are lifestyle choices that affect our bodies and compromise our immune system—a fact that is borne out by a dramatic rise in autoimmune diseases, as well as compromised health with more colds and flu.

Our theme for this November issue of Natural Awakenings has been put together to be your roadmap to rebuild your immune system—by rethinking your diet, reconsidering your environment and reframing your lifestyle choices. Our feature articles by Kathleen Barnes, Dr. Charles Gant and local nutritionist, Elizabeth McMillian, offer many practical steps and tips to protect your immune system and safeguard your health. We hope you will be thankful for that!

Just as the types of food that we eat are important to our health, the water that we drink is just as important. The national news has been following the stories of unsafe tap water in Flint and Detroit, and even locally, a large section of Washington, D.C. residents were told to boil their water before drinking or brushing one’s teeth with it—just last July—due to a problem at the pumping station.

For the past few decades, concerns over the safety of the water coming into our homes has been rising. Legitimate concerns about tap water exist, mostly because many homes constructed before 1986 were built with lead pipes and fixtures. Jim Motavalli’s article this month on safe drinking water provides important information on how to make the water that you and your family drink as safe as possible. Rather than seeking plastic bottles that end up in our landfills, there are good options now to filter your water effectively.

And this is just the start. Our goal each month is to provide you with all the cutting-edge information that will support your health and well-being, and to help you feel gratitude for our local natural health community. This is the month to show thankfulness—and we are certainly thankful for you—our readers. Wishing you a beautiful autumn and a Happy Thanksgiving.

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