November 16, 2012

Moving in a new direction

After 25 years as an online herbalist, I've come to a fork in the road. I recently closed All Goode Gifts and moved from the beautiful, albeit rugged, upper peninsula of Michigan back "home" to Colorado Springs, CO.

There were many reasons for this, and though I closed one chapter of my life, I'm starting a brand new one and am excited about the possibilities and opportunities that await around the corner.

I've always loved teaching and lecturing. (Just ask my husband and sons!) After watching how Herbalism has changed through the years, I really want to get out there and help empower people by educating them. Unfortunately, I am seeing far too many "hacks" for lack of a better term, out there promoting themselves as experts and putting out some pretty wild and sometimes dangerous information. I love this field and take it very seriously, and it just frosts me to read some of the "advice" from self-proclaimed experts that can really do more harm than good, or those who seem to prey on the inexperienced and charge exorbitant amounts for things that can easily be done in your own kitchen. Yes, safely.

So as I move further into this education realm, here's the lesson for this week: Please do your own research and seek out those herbalists who are well-established and have been out there doing this for a reasonable amount of time, especially if they are going to charge you for whatever they are suggesting.

Run, do not walk, if someone uses the word "cure" relating to herbs. Now, as a disclaimer, those of us who have walked this path for some time have some tried and true "remedies" that we use and fall back on, but most of the really good herbalists I know would never promise a cure or even use that word. It's irresponsible and can be dangerous, so please take all advice with a grain of salt, and educate yourself. The Internet is full of information that is, dare I say it, FREE for the taking! I am amazed at what some folks are charging for info that is very basic and readily available.

I will take a moment to put in a plug for one of my favorite herbalists, Tina Sams. She is the editor of The Essential Herbal Magazine and it's been around for quite a while. (Is it 7 or 8 years, T?) is the address and it is a great place to start if you want to learn about herbs, their uses, their history, folklore, etc. Lots of great herbalists contribute to the magazine and it's always full of interesting, useable information. (T, just put the check in the mail!!)

If you have questions about health and wellness, feel free to contact me at Others learn by your questions, so don't be shy. I'll never use your personal information and love answering questions and helping you down the herbal path. Don't be a stranger!

January 14, 2012

Annnnd, We're Back!

We're Back!

After 2 years off, I'm finally back at the Blog. There are many reasons for my leaving, but 2012 is a year of change for me and the business, and part of that is renewing the Blog.

January is always a month of renewal, reflection and re-evaluation for me. Last year brought so many changes - some good, some not so good. Up here in Michigan's upper peninsula, we have LOTS of time to just sit by the fire and think or contemplate. Days are short and the snow fall keeps me close to home much of the time. I'm normally doing course work during the winter. But I figure at this point, I really have enough letters behind my name to give me some credibility, so I want to focus on other things.

If you're anything like me, you usually make "New Year's Resolutions" or goals at this time of year. I think everyone does that to some degree. Something about a brand new year, a fresh slate makes me want to do that thing I love - PLANNING!

So what are your plans this year? Lose weight? (I think every woman puts that on her list!) Get healthier? (a GREAT goal!) Learn something new? Well, this year, I'd like to help you do those things and more. I will be concentrating on health more than anything this year.

As I look around and at my own life, folks are just not as strong and healthy. It seems in spite of all the information available to us, we are becoming heavier, more fatigued, have more ailments than in years past. There are several reasons for this, and we'll be exploring them as the year goes on. But for me, the number one culprit has to be food. The more labels I read, the more I find that there is an awful lot of garbage out there and consequently, many of us are becoming the human equivalent of toxic waste dumps. It seems more than ever, we are being bombarded by chemicals and preservatives and it seems "no place is safe". I'll also be sharing some links for those of you who love to do your own research.

Lastly, I will continue to answer any and all questions sent to me. I so appreciate those who read the blog and send questions, so keep doing that. If I get enough of the same questions, I will devote blogs to those issues as they come up.

So, I just wanted to give a little introduction and game plan for the coming year. I hope you'll join me and share your thoughts, insights and concerns so we can all learn and grow from one another.

Be Well! (Valere!)