Natural Health

Winter is looming, and Natural Health immediately caught my eye on the supermarket magazine rack with its "Winter Wellness Guide." A smiling model in a hot pink hat and scarf jumps off the page and makes those grueling months look like a downright party. "Wellness," a holistic approach to taking care of your mind and body, used to be a style of living only found in hippie health food stores, but is now striking chords with a mainstream audience: the magazine was sitting right between an US Weekly and a Cosmo.

While I'm all for a natural health approach, a flip through the front of the book was an immediate turn-off. It opens with a cheesy photo of a winter night accompanied with the caption "Footprints in the Snow" and a hokey "deep thought" from the author of a book called Invisible Acts of Power: Personal Choices That Create Miracles. Ugh.

The magazine succeeds on a practical level, however, with an easy-to-read layout that uses lots charts. The front of the book is mostly a product play reviewing everything from types of brown rice to natural beauty treatments that use figs and olives. I was happy to see that the editors are not vegetarian snobs like so many healthy living gurus, and there is a good article called the "the eco-conscious carnivore," that explains the healthiest cuts of meats and the meaning of different meat labels like "organic," "certified humane," and "natural." The Good Medicine section offers "an integrative approach to total well-being," which combines advice on drugs, natural therapies, and lifestyle changes.

And then there is "The Winter Wellness Guide," which is what made me buy the magazine in the first place. Despite the annoyingly cheery models, which make the winter look just a bit too cozy, I like the advice and the quirky illustrations that accompany each digestible paragraph. The advice includes everything from eating more dark chocolate, (helps to lift your spirits if you have Seasonal Affective Disorder) to wearing more bright colors (no wonder the cover caught my eye) to adding more ginger root and garlic to your food in order to boost your immune system, as well as rubbing yourself down with black spruce oil after a shower in order to protect yourself from bacterial infections.

While the magazine doesn't focus a lot on new studies or in-depth reporting, the advisory board of holistic and traditional medical experts whose quotes are scattered throughout the book gives it enough credibility that you feel like you're not just being sold a trendy lifestyle, but real advice.

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