Bareroots: yoga, nutrition and bear education

A lover of health, bears and a yoga teacher in the Iyengar tradition for more than 25 years.

Crystal McMillan of Bareroots

After 26 years, Crystal McMillan has a pretty good sense of her business.

A lover of health, bears and a yoga teacher in the Iyengar tradition for more than 25 years, McMillan found a way to bring her loves together in her Bareroots Natural Health and Yoga Centre in French Creek.

“My vision was to bring together my three loves, my commitment to nutrition, yoga and Bear Smart,” she said.

Along with about 25 yoga classes a week with a number of instructors, McMillan encourages people to consider the importance of nutrition to their health.

As a registered nutrition consultant, McMillan said she sees a general lack of understanding about nutrition and healthy eating in modern society.

Along with selling numerous aids to healthy living, McMillan does private counselling, looking at people’s current health, medications and historical information and consulting “on the best way to bring the body back into balance.”

“I look at overall health, not just symptoms, but the underlying causes,” she said.

She can then give recommendations, which she said often start with things as simple as eating more whole foods.

“Proper diet is a huge part of health,” she said, adding she is also a big proponent of supplements and super foods.

She said currently tumeric is “certainly the number one super food,” explaining the many powerful properties of the ginger-related curry spice, including being a powerful anti-inflammatory.

She said she often talks about health tips, like tumeric or the latest natural health advice, which she works to stay current on, during her yoga classes and is also happy to chat with customers who drop into the store.

“People are taking their health into their own hands, trying to address the underlying causes more,” she said of what she sees as a positive swing towards natural health in recent years.

“It’s a growing way of life, but it’s not new, that’s where we came from, it goes back to Hippocrates, ‘let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food’.”

While McMIllan encourages a natural health approach, she works closely with other health professionals and points out that some issues are best dealt with by pharmaceuticals or mainstream doctors.

She also wants to bring that increasingly broad approach into her shop, making Bareroots a hub for health with more of the workshops and other medical consultants she already provides.

And McMillan’s love of health and nature combined in a completely different way, leading her to found Bear Smart B.C. to consult and educate the public and government on bear conflicts.

Still executive director, McMillan works with various provincial government departments, First Nations, municipalities, school groups and individuals to reduce bear-human conflicts.

McMillan donates one percent of the sales from Bareroots to Bear Smart and has done things like write the bear hazard assessment for Qualicum Beach — as a local example — and serves on the provincial bear working group.

For more information stop by 891 Island Highway West, check or call 250-954-2273.

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