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Meryl Gwinn

By Meryl Gwinn

I’d like to introduce my new wellness column fashioned for a time that is harnessing a shift toward a more—forgive me if this word is too trendy—“conscious” form of living.

Many of us are already active participants in this shift and many more are taking the first investigative steps into finding out what conscious living is all about. We can’t help it. As a society we are becoming increasingly aware of unsettling issues in our environment. Large corporations are sickening our crops and our health, the presence of genetically modified organisms in our food supply is making headlines and grocery stores are super-domes of questionable and dubiously labeled products. Even the honeybees, for cryin’ out loud, are reportedly on the outs. Profit at the expense of life (and pure honey) is not a sustainable practice.

But what should we do about it? We’re unsure whether to storm the White House or go vegan-extremo—to the horror of our spouses and children. But I do think many of us are looking for easy changes for a wholesome approach to healthful living. Taking responsibility for our own health maintenance through informed decisions will leave us less sick, more energized and reduce our dependence on bigger outside systems with questionable agendas.

Whether we want to improve our physical health or simply provide the purest niche for our families, following a more natural, back-to-basics design will bring us closer to what our bodies need in order to thrive. I believe that cleaning up our diets, simplifying our spaces and reconnecting with nature can help us to revive our powerful intuitions. Combine information with intuitive action and life gets far easier and more enjoyable. It really works. Solutions versus synthetics—it’s practical and GMO-free.

We, as mindful consumers and informed participants in our own wellness, are at the forefront of this movement. And as a community, our little corner of the world offers up an ample bed of resources. Local farms, organic markets, juice bars, fitness and yoga centers and various forms of alternative healthcare and healing practices keep popping up all around us, offering a preventative approach to wellness.

I’d like this column to evolve with a place that is evolving, one that is harvesting a healthier, more nurturing environment for its community members—our own little built-in healthcare system.

This column will make full use of the knowledge and awareness of people in our community who are out there taking a forward step, so that we can return to a more classic form of doing. It’s what may have been thought of in the past as grandma stuff—buying less, making more, saving tinfoil, sneaking in movie snacks—and it’s edgier than we thought. This column will also include ideas for adapting non-harmful and non-toxic daily habits, using less and therefore spending less.

South Orange County carries a reputation for good looks. Let’s be empowered to use them for branding a message of sustained health and real, natural beauty, in place of a superficial appearance and artificially manipulated aesthetics.

So let’s get started by paying tribute to our namesake fruit and make the “orange” in Orange County stand for immune-boosting tonics, citrus-based beauty regimens and the “good stuff” in our kids’ lunchboxes—farm to face, literally.

Here are a few easy ways to use the orange to our organic advantage:

  • Immunity tonic:  Vitamin C is a pricelessly potent antioxidant that can prevent and reverse cellular damage. Remember scurvy? It aids in the detox process, promotes healing and kicks the immune system into gear. Incorporate fresh squeezed citrus into your morning routine.
  • Air purifier:  Orange peels are refreshingly fragrant. Place dried peels in cloth bags and hang in musty places, or boil them stovetop for a rejuvenating aroma.
  • Household cleaning: Citrus is anti-fungal, anti-microbial and antibiotic. Add juice and orange zest to white vinegar for a strong chemical-free household cleaner.
  • Essential oil: Citrus improves microcirculation and enhances tissue oxygenation which helps the body to respond to stress and recover from exercise more effectively, and is especially useful for promoting healthy skin.
  • Animal/pest deterrent: Many animals, insects and other pests despise the strong scent of orange peels. Sprinkle some in your garden to prevent cats and other animals from using it as a litter box.

Meryl Gwinn has a Bachelor of Science degree in Kinesiology, has studied yoga, health, food, and humans around the globe. She is a constant pursuer of natural medicine and whole-healing solutions. She believes in the power of choice, simplicity and plants as preventative medicine. She is committed to inspiring this change in self and in system. Gwinn welcomes reader feedback at

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