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Natural Awakenings Naples and Fort Myers

Living and Healing in Paradise

Feb 28, 2023 11:14AM ● By Sharon Bruckman

I fell in love with Naples years before my family decided to move here from Michigan in 1982. Little did I realize how much Southwest Florida’s population would grow and how significantly the landscape of our quaint Olde Naples neighborhood would change as it morphed into a sprawling city.

Back then, daily walks down Third Street South with my son peddling his Big Wheel and my daughter cooing in the baby stroller were carefree and uninterrupted by mini-mansions and multiple-storied buildings. Pleasure drives on U.S. 41 to Ft. Myers and Sanibel Island involved long stretches of undeveloped land. I didn’t know how lucky I was to enjoy Naples ahead of the big crowds and traffic jams to come.

So much has changed in our healthcare system, too, in the past 29 years since I’ve been at the helm of Natural Awakenings. People have become increasingly disappointed with conventional treatments and are seeking alternative solutions. They are finding more success with doctors and practitioners that target the root cause of their conditions and embrace therapies that harness the body’s inherent wisdom to create health and balance.

Much of their breakthroughs stem from the use of food as medicine. Our feature story on page 24, “Veggies for the Win: Five Reasons to Choose a Plant-Based Lifestyle,” delineates the numerous benefits that come when we shift to a plant-dominant diet—from disease prevention and anti-inflammatory advantages to improvements in mental health and environmental sustainability.

Dr. Terry Wahls has used her personal battle with multiple sclerosis as an impetus to research and develop groundbreaking dietary and lifestyle solutions for people battling autoimmune diseases. You can learn more about her protocol and studies on page 28. And our Conscious Eating department on page 20 presents lifestyle and dietary recommendations to prevent and treat kidney disease.

Good eating habits don’t stop when we leave the kitchen, and we want to help you extend your nutritional pursuits when dining out. Visit for a list of the healthiest eateries in Collier and Lee counties.

You’ll find plenty more resources beyond food and nutrition in this month’s issue. As always, our local advertisers are among the best health and wellness practitioners in Southwest Florida, offering spa treatments, sound therapy, yoga, massage and even healthful services for pets.

It’s a great time to be in Southwest Florida, just drive carefully! And please keep all those still recovering from Hurricane Ian in your thoughts, deeds and prayers.

Happy Spring,

Sharon Bruckman, publisher