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Wilton Magazine Readers Choice Awards 2019

For our first annual Readers Choice Awards, we went to the source—our devoted readers—to find out the best of Wilton. Hundreds of you responded (thank you!) and now the results are in. Check out the winners here—lots of great places to go, eat, and shop, or visit. From hair color to hardware; caterers to coffee [...]read moreWilton Magazine Readers Choice Awards 2019

All You Need Is Glove – Reclaiming My Post-Partum Body through Kickboxing

Did I have a perfect body before having a baby? No. After a month-plus of HIIT (high intensity interval training) Kick kickboxing classes, do I have a Bond Girl bod? No. Would I have a Bond Girl bod if I made it to the studio several days in a row over a month-plus? Maybe. What [...]read moreAll You Need Is Glove – Reclaiming My Post-Partum Body through Kickboxing

Cast Away – the Norwalk River is an angler’s dream

“Many people are surprised to discover that the Norwalk River is home to excellent trout fishing,” says Gerald Berrafati, a licensed fishing guide and a member of the board of directors for the Mianus Chapter of Trout Unlimited. “I’ve run into caddisfly and sulphur hatches on the Norwalk that rival the ‘glamour hatches’ on Connecticut’s [...]read moreCast Away – the Norwalk River is an angler’s dream

Swinging for the Majors – Local boys aims for the mlb

Dillon Lifrieri has loved baseball as long as he can remember. He dreamt the dreams of most little kids, to play in the Major Leagues just like the heroes he watched on TV and at the grand ballparks. But at a tender age, Lifrieri’s childhood dreams hit an emotional roadblock. “When I was ten and [...]read moreSwinging for the Majors – Local boys aims for the mlb

Ten Minutes with Annie Farrell – A master farmer at millstone farm

Annie Farrell’s father was an NYPD detective and her mother was a “Lord & Taylor lady.” A fan of all creatures great and small, Farrell grew up with “a turtle pen, a snake pen, birds, and every critter I was allowed.” The family spent weekends at their lakeside home in North Salem, surrounded by farmland, [...]read moreTen Minutes with Annie Farrell – A master farmer at millstone farm

Being Arty- 75 Years of Showcasing Wilton Artists

It’s the 75th Anniversary of The Wilton Library Summer Art Show, so we thought it an opportune time to take a look at the local artists who have brought color and creativity to walls of library through the years. The premise is simple: If you’re a Wilton artist, you’re good to submit two pieces of [...]read moreBeing Arty- 75 Years of Showcasing Wilton Artists

Journey to Wellness – A Healthy Path Through Personalized Medical Care

Each day, I woke up feeling like I had run a triathlon the day before. My joints hurt, my muscles burned. I was achy and tired. I experienced chronic pain every single day and every single night. What was going on with my body? Why was it betraying me?

Eleven years ago, I stood on the landing and started to cry because I couldn’t figure out how I was going to get up the six stairs to my bedroom. My husband, who had already tested positive for Lyme urged me to see a specialist. Soon I was on a three-month course of antibiotics, which alleviated some of the worst symptoms. I thought I was cured.

But no. Certain symptoms persisted and new ones cropped up. It became clear that something was very wrong. I consulted a battalion of doctors and specialists, presenting each of them with a neatly typed list of my bizarre and inconclusive symptoms.

I was variously tested for and/or diagnosed with Lyme disease, post Lyme fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, Hashimoto’s, hypothyroidism, and Sjögren’s syndrome. I became pre-diabetic. Doctors continued to prescribe a cornucopia of drugs. Nothing helped except prednisone, which is an effective but pernicious steroidal drug you cannot take long term because of the awful side effects (eroded bones, hair loss, weakened immune system, a hunchback). I was diagnosed with a “non-specific auto-immune disease.”

The information I was given was contradictory and confusing: eat gluten free, eat dairy free, eat nuts, don’t eat nuts, try low carb/high protein, eat high fiber/low protein, eat a plant-based diet, eat lectin-free foods, avoid nightshades vegetables, eat fruit, don’t eat fruit, take vitamins, don’t take vitamins because they could cause liver toxicity.

One doctor told me that I just needed to accept the fact that I was getting older. Seriously? I had tried everything that conventional medicine had to offer, and it was only making me sicker, so I decided it was time to investigate other options. I believed that someone, somewhere would be able to put the pieces of the puzzle together and figure out how to make me well.

When I first consulted with Dr. John Salerno of the Salerno Wellness Center (salernocenter.com), now located in the Sportsplex (he also has a long-standing practice in New York), I was polite but secretly skeptical. I’d been down this path many times before with other doctors, and gotten nowhere. However, a very small part of me was also hopeful. Maybe this doctor would unravel the enigma of my health woes?

Dr. Salerno is affable, smart, and he really listens. He is a symptom detective who analyzes your medical history and works systematically to find root causes of illness. Over the years, he has treated and cured thousands of patients who have presented with a host of different conditions. He is a whiz at diagnosis. Dr. Salerno predicted what my blood work would reveal, and he was right.

My hormone levels were a disaster—low estrogen, low progesterone, and testosterone so minimal that the lab could barely measure it. Apparently prolonged use of prednisone diminishes hormones. Who knew? My adrenal glands were in distress, and my thyroid levels were sub-optimal. Thanks to the frequent use of antiperspirant, I also had high levels of aluminum in my blood. And arsenic. Arsenic? Apparently rice and wine are to blame. Dr. Salerno encouraged me to adopt a low carb lifestyle and to choose organic wines. My vitamin D, C and B were also deficient.

Dr. Salerno also said possibly the nicest thing any doctor can say to a patient: “It’s not your fault.” I almost wept. I was so grateful not to be judged for my health challenges. He provided me with a list of supplements to take and prescriptions for bio-identical hormones. He tweaked my thyroid meds and customized IV treatments specifically for me (Dr. Salerno has 36 proprietary IVs for every ailment and condition imaginable).

Not everyone believes in using this approach to wellness, but all I can tell you is that I am a convert. Within six weeks of following a plan designed to balance my thyroid function, shore up my vitamin deficiencies, and stabilize my hormones, I felt and looked a lot better. I dropped eight pounds and the chronic muscle pain that plagued me for years diminished by 90 percent. My rosacea has calmed down and food sensitivities have disappeared. I no longer wake up at 3:07 am, unable to fall back asleep. My blood sugar levels are now normal. Am I running marathons? No. I am cycling, swimming, and feeling so much better. Functional medicine may not be for everybody, but it is the right choice for me.

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Weed Between the Lines – Cultivating a New World for Medical Marijuana

Governor Ned Lamont has been vocal about ending the prohibition of recreational marijuana use in our state, yet federal law still treats cannabis as a highly addictive controlled substance, with the same classification as cocaine and heroin. The conflict between state and federal law seems tantamount to the contrast of old world with new. In one scene we see a seedy drug dealer selling dime bags on a corner and in another, a clean, organized state-of-the art dispensary. The image of a user transcends from hippie or street thug to clean-cut business people and grannies wearing track suits. This might leave some to wonder how our neighbors and friends really feel about marijuana legalization in our state.

Fairfielder Chris Mayle has a deep personal interest in medical marijuana. He and three partners opened Advanced Grow Labs (AGL) in 2014, which was recently acquired by a publicly traded company named Green Thumb industries. Located in West Haven, AGL researches, develops and produces medical marijuana products—nurturing the progress every step of the way—from plant to finished product.
Current occupation notwithstanding, Mayle is an interesting man to know—intelligent, insightful, and incredibly proud of the business he and his partners have built. He is also the son of Peter Mayle, the author of the New York Times bestseller, A Year in Provence. Mayle believes medical marijuana products are natural, plant-based pharmaceuticals that will continue to make a big impact on the health and comfort of the people who need them. “I think we have just scratched the tip of the iceberg on this,” he says passionately. “I think we will look back in 100 years and say, ‘I can’t believe we didn’t figure that one out sooner.’ ”

“Doctors are starting to believe that THC is having a profound impact on people with a variety of illnesses,” Mayle says. Sarena Kelly, an APRN with Advanced Rheumatology Center of Bridgeport, has seen the positive effects in her practice. “Researchers have identified two different types of cannabinoid receptors in our bodies that have a direct effect on pain and inflammation. Thus, the therapeutic effect of consuming exogenous cannabinoid is to directly reduce pain and inflammation.”

In fact, Connnecticut’s medical marijuana program has recently extended the medical indications for multiple rheumatic conditions. “In our practice CBD or cannabis therapeutics are considered a safe complementary treatment for patients who are receiving, have failed, or are intolerant of standard of care therapies,” Kelly says.
“We need more research to figure it out, but with diseases like Parkinson’s, Epilepsy, and ALS, CBD has been very helpful,” Mayle says. “CBD alone won’t do it. But CBD combined with THC is known to relieve symptoms of myriad diseases including MS, Crohn’s disease, HIV, glaucoma, cancer, and many more.”

One Fairfielder, Christy Damon Jeffremow, eschews the use of opiates and now relies on medical marijuana to help alleviate side effects from chemotherapy. “I have no shame shouting from the roof tops all of the ways that marijuana has helped me,” she says expressively. When she first got her prescription she went to the closest dispensary, located in Branford. “I was nervous at first, but everyone there was extremely helpful in suggesting which strains would work for me. They recommended a sativa “Tangerine Haze” for nausea and an Indica “Girl Scout Cookies” for migraines.”

Perhaps the best way to understand the art and science behind the business is to tour a facility like AGL. The first thing worth noting is the fanatical “operation-room-like” attention to cleanliness the lab requires. Each employee must stand in a high-pressure air shower every time they enter the lab to blast off bugs or other impurities. Each of the 50 employees receives a clean uniform they must wear each day. Access to the labs is monitored closely through digital key fobs and security cameras.

First on the tour is a meeting of the mother plants and their baby clones at several phases, and then, as Mayle says “you get to see where the magic and the medicine happens” in the grow room where strong artificial sunlight showers the plants, creating lush greenery with huge, sticky marijuana buds. From here they are harvested, then dried or processed.

The processing facility features cutting edge machines that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. They are operated by cheerful millennials who pridefully explain the science of their particular role. In the state-of-the-art commercial kitchen, every baked treat is measured and created with precision to ensure each holds the proper dosage of medicine. “Connecticut is by far the most stringent of all states when it comes to purity and regulation for this medicine,” Mayle explains.

Fairfielders have mixed feelings about the legalization. While most are impressed with what they hear about its healing and medicinal properties, one Fairfield Dad disagrees. “I fear that recreational marijuana becoming legal will impact safety on the roads and the quality of work produced by our working population, who might not keep recreational use to after-work hours. Making marijuana legal for recreational use could also make it more available to younger people and send the message that’s “it’s fine.”

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Secret Garden — A Work of Heart — that’s on the Garden Conservancy Tour

Secret Garden

When Tom Harris moved into his North Wilton home 25 years ago, it was a pokey ranch-Colonial hybrid with tiny windows and virtually no landscaping. “It was as dark as a tomb,” says Harris, “the yard was non-descript, just overgrown bushes. At the edges of the property it was like a jungle.” But the new [...]read moreSecret Garden — A Work of Heart — that’s on the Garden Conservancy Tour

Mom Squad — Helping new mothers embrace motherhood

Maya-Donald

The timing couldn’t have been worse, but the result couldn’t have been better. Maya Donald was 24 and exceling at her job in customer service for a telecommunications company, when she learned that she was pregnant. She’d also just ended a romantic relationship with the baby’s father. Having an infant at this point in her [...]read moreMom Squad — Helping new mothers embrace motherhood

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