This post is the first of 3 emails we were asked to write for the Wellness Warriors Lifestyle Boot Camp offered by Dr. Jamie Thomure of DuPage Family Wellness. Dr. Jamie first launched a Nutrition Boot Camp in 2017 which Joelle and I have both participated in and seen the benefits! The Wellness Warriors Lifestyle Boot Camp was recently launched to go beyond nutrition into everyday healthy lifestyle choices. We highly recommend checking out these Boot Camp’s along with the many other services being offered at DuPage Family Wellness!
Dollars = Support
I’ve been fighting it all day – the feeling that I need to be out there shopping today. Black Friday. To boot, I’ve hardly even scoured the ads, so not only am I not there in the thick of it, I don’t even know the potential deals I am missing out on. Can anyone relate to feeling that today is just too big a day to miss out on?
Where we’ve been, are now, and are going…
Where we’ve been?
We’ve taken a much longer break than we anticipated from contributing to this site… and are ok with it. Seasons ebb and flow, life changes, speeds up and slows down. So, we thought we’d give you a little insight into what’s been going on and where we are headed.
Fall has finally begun to settle in and our bodies are feeling ready to move into this next season of shorter days and new focuses. Our summer has been interesting and different for us, but also exactly what we wanted to pursue. The two most shaping occurrences were hosting a young girl through Safe Families and expanding our backyard micro farm.
5 Reasons to Buy Food Locally
We are just approaching that wonderful time when for the next several months locally grown food will be in abundance. During this time of year, we make it our goal to source as much of our food locally as possible. There are so many reasons why we do this but here’s our top 5:
Beginners Guide to Composting in the Suburbs
Composting has gained a lot of ground in recent years. Here in the West Suburbs of Chicago, Joelle recently attended a free composting seminar and we’ve even heard of community composting initiatives. In it’s infancy of stardom, composting still comes in well behind more popular gardening trends like fertilizer, whether organic or chemical. Few use compost and fewer yet have an idea of what it is or how it is made. Until a couple years ago, I would be the lowest up the totem pole in that category!
Joelle recently asked me what the difference was between fertilizer and compost. Never having given much thought to the matter, I pondered for a moment and a familiar analogy came to mind. I likened fertilizer to that of a supplement. Often times we take vitamins, minerals, herbs, etc. to supplement our regular diet. Fertilizer, likewise, is a supplement to the health and vitality of the soil. Compost, on the other hand I likened to a complete, well balanced, fully fortified and nutritious meal. Compost, from my experience, offers the full support system for any living plant to grow in and thrive.
A Heritage That Must Endure
Over the past month of two, we have logged quite a few hours either in our own garden or volunteering on local farms. My experience has been this; that there is almost nothing more pure and noble than working the soil and being connected to it. Whether it’s the sweet smell of freshly churned compost, holding a fresh seedling in my hand that’s about to be planted and take root, pulling weeds to focus energy on productive plants, plucking a fresh worm to feed to our chickens, or just standing back and looking at how much life is sustained by such a simple process, there is little I have found more delight in than gardening, farming, or anything in between.
Cedar Plank Marinated Trout
It was a delicious weekend of eating at our house and this trout was one of the highlights. We’ve had it in restaurants but this was our first time cooking fish on a cedar plank and we anticipate it being repeated often in the future! Not only did this method of cooking give the fish that smokey flavor but it was super simple as well.
To prepare your plank for cooking you’ll want to soak it for a least one but preferably 3-4 hours. After you get the plank soaking, this is a good time to get your fish marinating. We used trout but this recipe would be great for any fish that you would want to plank.
Strawberry Rhubarb Granola Crisp
Tis the season when strawberries and rhubarb abound in gardens and farmers markets! These late spring/early summer crops pair together perfectly with the sweetness of the strawberry offsetting the tartness of the rhubarb. Rhubarb has always intimidated me, but this year I am determined to harvest and incorporate everything we can from our garden into our meals. I’m so glad I did because rhubarb is super easy to harvest and prepare and this crisp turned out amazing. In fact, Jim complimented that it was one of the best things he’s ever had! I’ll link to the homemade granola recipe that we make and used for this but any granola should work. Enjoy!
We Gave Up This for TV and Videogames?!
Any spare time we have had over the last two weeks has gone to tilling, planting, watering, chicken coop building, and related activities. In one of these planting sessions, Jim made the above comment “We gave up THIS for TV and videogames?” The more we learn about growing our own food and the industrial food system the more we are compelled to really know where our food came from. Not just was it organically grown but what was its life really like. There’s a lot of marketing ploy mumbo jumbo out there you see often: all natural, cage free, grass fed, etc. Companies know these labels will sell their product and commonly do the bare minimum to get them on their packaging. Which is why we encourage everyone to grow your own food, talk to your farmer yourself, or better yet, go visit the farm. How else will you know what you are really eating?
I could go on and on about this but the great farmer and writer, Wendell Berry, does it so much better in his essay The Pleasure of Eating. I highly recommend giving the whole essay a read but this excerpt summarizes why we are so convinced that it is important for our own health and the health of the world to know the source of our food.
Learning to Nurture
In Wendell Berry’s, The Unsettling of America, he describes two types of people: the exploiter and the nurturer. He states:
“Let me outline as briefly as I can what seem to me the characteristics of these opposite kinds of mind. I conceive a strip miner to be a model exploiter, and as a model nurturer I take the old-fashioned idea or ideal of a farmer. The exploiter is a specialist, an expert; the nurturer is not. The standard of the exploiter is efficiency; the standard of the nurturer is care. The exploiter’s goal is money, profit; the nurturer’s goal is health – his land’s health, his own, his family’s, his community’s, his country’s. Whereas the exploiter asks of a piece of land only how much and how quickly it can be made to produce, the nurturer asks a question that is much more complex and difficult: What is its carrying capacity? (That is: How much can be taken from it without diminishing it? What can it produce dependably for infinite time?) The exploiter wishes to earn as much as possible by as little work as possible; the nurturer expects, certainly, to have a decent living from his work, but his characteristic wish is to work as well as possible. The competence of the exploiter is in organization; that of the nurturer is in order – a human order, that is, that accommodates itself both to other order and to mystery. The exploiter typically serves an institution or organization; the nurturer serves land, household, community, place. The exploiter thinks in terms of numbers, quantities, “hard facts”; the nurturer in terms of character, condition, quality, kind.”