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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Monday, Oct. 20, 2014

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Wanderlust made me happy in the best way.
Wanderlust made me happy in the best way.

Got Wanderlust?

I’ve been to music festivals over the years as a concertgoer, crewmember and band wife. I’ve been to yoga classes as both a teacher and a student. I’ve experienced nature as an observer and participant in outdoor activities. But, I’d never been to the festival that celebrates the union of yoga, music and nature until this past weekend.

I journeyed to Wanderlust California for the fifth anniversary of the festival held at beautiful Squaw Valley Ski Resort in Olympic Valley, Calif. (home of the 1960 Winter Olympics), near Lake Tahoe. Squaw is the original of the series of Wanderlust Festivals that now includes eight full-scale, four-day locations and Yoga in the City, a condensed version of the festival set in urban environments so patrons can get "Wanderlusty" closer to home.

Squaw is an incredibly user-friendly venue, just 50 minutes from Reno, Nev. and with ample free parking. I was greeted at the main entrance by a bevy of product tents generously giving free samples of their yogi-focused goods. Vega, Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day, Evolution Juices, Coco Libre, Lyfe Kitchen, Sunology, So Delicious, Kind, Lifeway Kefir, My Yoga Online, TurmericALIVE, Mary’s Gone Crackers and even Ben and Jerry’s (Greek Yogurt) filled my goody bag each time I passed by. It was like an outdoor "granola" version of Costco on sample day, only my dream version of the warehouse superstore.

There were also "Hydration Stations" sponsored by Camelbak located throughout the grounds where you could refill your reusable water bottle with filtered water at no charge. This struck me as particularly considerate, extremely eco-conscious and almost charitable considering the amount of profit that could have been made by selling bottled water on-site in the record heat of the weekend. Recycle, compost and trash bins punctuated this emphasis on "green."

A huge variety of classes were offered during the day, taught by everyone from super star international instructors t…

Jack Green and Helen Dentice at The Natural Food Shop.
Jack Green and Helen Dentice at The Natural Food Shop.
The Natural Food Shop, 3048 S. 13th St.
The Natural Food Shop, 3048 S. 13th St.

Herbal medicine on Milwaukee's South Side

I have a health infatuation - herbal remedies. Utilizing herbs as a natural means to treat health issues and ailments is something I’ve been interested in since my first allergic reaction to Western medication in my teens. As someone highly sensitive to both over-the-counter and prescription meds, I find herbs to be less irritating and often more effective than their laboratory-manufactured counterparts that are often inspired by or even derived from plants that are readily available in nature.

Combined with energetic medicine like traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture, chiropractic care and Reiki, I personally choose herbal remedies as my first line of defense/offense to treat a host of both chronic and acute maladies, especially when used under the guidance of an experienced herbalist.

I recently explored herbal shopping options in Milwaukee and was thrilled to discover The Natural Food Shop. Situated on a block of South 13th Street near Oklahoma Avenue that is littered with retail cultural treasures like Indian, Middle Eastern and Latin grocery stores as reported in detail by Molly Snyder in 2011, The Natural Food Shop is a healthy treasure trove in a neighborhood full of unique local commerce. I made a special trek just to explore this hidden gem geared for wellness nuts like me.

The store is small yet inviting with shelves stocked full of teas, foods, supplements, tinctures, salves, oils, balms and flower essences at fair prices. I was especially impressed with their beauty and personal care section that introduced me to an organic, Bulgarian rose-based skin care line called Alteya Organics. I was also made aware of Green Hope Farms Flower Essences, compounds used in vibrational and energetic healing with none of the drawbacks of chemical medicine.

The shop was busy with the bustle of an array of patrons who stop in for specialty items and personalized service. During my visit, I observed a woman picking up a gigantic order of loose, …