COARSEGOLD – There’s a lovely little shop in Yosemite Lakes Park that beckons you to walk in, soak up some eco-knowledge, and make yourself feel better. The store, also an online retailer, is Healthy in the Park, and features “a carefully curated collection of organic, eco-friendly, cruelty-free, gift and organic living products.”
Its founder and YLP resident Anne Zuber wants to share what she’s learned after years in the natural products industry. It all began simply enough.
“My life changed in one single hand washing back in 1997,” says Anne. “A product formulator washed my hands in her beautiful kitchen in a home converted into a production facility in Sebastopol, California. She simply let me polish my hands, while she told me that our skin is our largest organ, and what we put on it we essentially eat.”
Thinking of the pink, .99 cent dime-store moisturizing lotion she had tucked away at home, Anne experienced a breakthrough realization that made her rethink her understanding of home and personal care products, particularly with regard to their ingredients.
“One of the best overall recommendations I can give to folks is read lables,” Anne suggests. “If it has fragrance in it other than essential oils, just get rid of it. It is most likely a neurotoxin and hormone disrupter. If you can’t get rid of it, use it to clean your bath tub.“
As the mother of two children, Anne knows a lot about what it takes to be healthy in the home. The famly moved to YLP just over two years ago.
“I love it,” she says. “It is so different than the heart of busy Silicon Valley and West Sonoma County where we spent the last 20 or so years. And you get to a certain age and think, ‘eh, I probably won’t meet any best friends,’ but I have been proven so very wrong. We are very happy here, all of us, including the kids, their dad, and even my parents.”
Anne’s dad Dennis Osantowski is the new Toys For Tots coordinator for Eastern Madera County, also relying on his wife, Anne’s mom Dorothy Zuber. The kids go to Rivergold.
Meanwhile, back in the shop, Healthy in the Park orders directly from formulators who either grow or harvest their own organic herbs and botanicals.
“Buying from this store trickles down to supporting individual farms and farmers who are working super-hard to grow and cultivate in ways that do no harm to our waters, our soils or our air. People who make great things can make them all day long, but if we do not choose to support them and if we do not choose to integrate awesome products into the flow of our daily lives, what really have they done?”
“Because we know every penny counts these days, we choose the best, most essential products from the best formulators, that do not in any way break the bank.”
Healthy in the Park has a host of products for all kinds of people, including women, men, teens and even babies. From sun protection to rosascea relief, and everything in between, Anne will have either a product or a simple suggestion to help, or probably both. Sometimes, she believes, it’s the common practices of everyday existence that are most rewarding when elevated to ritual.
“When you are ready to fully revel in your every day habits like washing your face or body, that is the time to come into Healthy,” Anne says with encouragement.
“The feeling of owning and using home, health and body care products that were hand crafted in small batches by someone who has chosen mindfully and intelligently to formulate a product so that every-single-ingredient benefits your heath, is stunning! It is profoundly different than buying a mass produced product – on every level it gives us a feel good, do good, be good experience. It is empowering.“
Anne wants to emphasize to the community that she’s able to be available outside the main shop hours. She’s a mom who likes to be home when the kids are home, and the store is open Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m, which is why she’s telling people to just call her if you need something.
But what happens if you really need something and it’s 5:30 on a Friday or mid-day Saturday? Anne wants people to phone her up, so the shop and its wares, and her knowledgable input, can be an ammenity to the area.
“When you have a problem that you really want help with, like digestive issues or immune support or chronic pain or dry skin, eczema or rosacea, we have the tools to empower you.”
Some of Anne’s recommendations are so basic the answers may come as a surprise to some.
“For facial care,” she says, “use oil – oil – oil. We have to rethink past all the ‘oil-free’ propaganda and get back to science. As a cleanser, oil dissolves oil; it’s just a fact. As a lotion, anti-oxidant, skin balancing face oils can provide the deepest, fastest remedies to aging and acne related issues of any topical substance.”
And what’s one product Anne says everyone should try? Be careful, it’s the same one that got her hooked on the good stuff 17 years ago in Sebastapol: organic body polish.
“Organic Body Polish is a game-changing, life improving product,” she swears.
Stop by Healthy in the Park during regular business hours, or give the friendly shop-owner a call to set up an appointment as needed. You can also shop online. Give yourself and your loved ones a treat, and check it out soon.
The bottom line according to Anne?
“We make people happy all day long over here!”