Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2012 | My Food Journey in Review!

My Gingerbread Homestead - complete with rich soil, a compost bin, a pond, winter hardy crops, a greenhouse, solar panels and pigs + chickens | Christmas 2012

2012 was a great year of food transformation. 
 I let go of a LOT of old ideas + habits in order to welcome the new, better information + practices.  I had many goals for the year and as I look back, I can say that I had a very productive, valuable, meaningful, successful hell of a 2012!

[ Empty yourself and let the universe fill you ]

Begin Vegan | Raw Stuffed Mushrooms
w/ Pesto + Sunflower Seed Cheese
Boise Urban Market
Begin Vegan | Raw Beet Cheesecake
First Thursday @ The Press
10. Cooking alternative foods + my love for snapping pics of my food led me to create Begin Vegan.  "Food Porn" quickly became an opportunity to sell my food at the Boise Urban Market, write an article on Gluten Free cooking for a local magazine + opened the doors to many new friends that have alternative diets, dietary views + food challenges.
My article on Gluten Free Cooking in a local magazine!  Food + words by me, photography by Johnny Winn!

Fall Cleanse Packet + Journal
9. I started Spring + Fall Wellness Cleanses through one of my new (+ closest) friends of 2012, Megan Williams.  We were interns together at Earthly Delights Farm where we would take turns making lunch for the crew.  One day she brought her own lunch - a very healthy lunch, mind you.  I was intrigued when she told me it was a week long cleanse where you actually EAT!  Right up my alley!  I started the next week on the spring cleanse. It's amazing what a little reset will do for you.  Within a week you can change eating habits + cleanse certain areas of your body.  After the cleanses I find myself not craving sugar (a bad habit of mine - chocolate + cupcakes make this gal weak in the knees!).  Spring was the time to detoxify the liver.  Fall was meant for cleansing the stomach and intestines.  This is tied into seasonal food and chinese medicine.  Not only is this beneficial for the body, but also the mind.  Keep a journal, write about your experience, have a support system.  It's so powerful to get rid of the bad + start a new!
Green Drinks (juiced leafy greens + veggies) made many lunches in 2012.  
8. Juicing was a huge part not only of my cleanses but also of my 2012.  I spent most of my summer juicing veggies.  When you have all of the vegetables from the farm weekly, you must act quick + this was a perfect way for me to get all of my greens (maybe 2 or 3 days worth!) in one quick juice.  Juicing has also become one of a few go-to treatments for when I feel that I am getting sick.  I load up on nature's immunity! Veggie + fruit juice is absorbed by your body almost immediately so the benefits are almost instant.  You are able to hypernourish your body with so many wonderful nutrients within minutes + the pulp can be saved and reused in other recipes or recycled into your compost.  Win-Win if you ask me!
Polenta + Sea Greens foraged in my former intern friend Austin's backyard bay in Washington!  The meal that changed my dietary status completely.  Not only removing the vegan label but opening myself up to smarter choices that put quality, freshness + sustainability in the top priorities for my food (next to organic + gmo free!).
7. I let go of my dietary labels this year.  I started out as a strict "VEGAN," added "GLUTEN FREE" to the mix + then tried to tack on "RAW."  It was a great learning experience for me to try all of these things.   A year and a half of eating completely vegan proved that I do not need as much animal products as I had in the past + is not a big priority in my diet.  You can get your protein from plants.  Quinoa, buckwheat + millet are amazing gluten free grains packed with so much more than the simple carbohydrate.  I learned the power of raw food.  I am a big believer in sprouting + living food + drink.  As I leave behind the restrictive titles I carry with me all the benefits I have discovered.  
Very excited to be reunited with cheese again!  From my year and a half vegan cheese abstinence, I learned to eat local, better choices + to enjoy them in smaller portions.  Cheese is now a pleasurable treat for me!
6. One label I fought for this year was that of Genetically Modified Foods, GMO's.  I took part in one of the biggest movements going on right now.  People everywhere are waking up to the brutality of biotech companies destroying seed diversity with their invasive patented seeds, killing the soil immunity with monoculture, not to mention the control they have over farmers through bullying, stalking + suing.  I was proud to stand up to Sen. Mike Crapo (is in favor of protecting GM crops, against the labelling of GM food) with many other concerned citizens in front of his office this past summer at the Right To Know Rally.  I supported Prop 37 and will continue to fight the most important food fight of our lives!

One of my signs that I made for the Right To Know Rally.  We gathered to express our desire to have GMOs labeled after Mike Crapo voted against the our right to know what's in our food + in favor of Big Biotech companies + their pocketbooks. 
At the Mountain Home Farmers Market, showing support for one of the few GMO Free farm stands!  
Locavore Tour favorite, James Reed of Onsen Farm + I with Leslie of GMO Free Idaho.
A fig grown in a greenhouse
at Onsen Farm right here in Idaho!
5.  In order to know whether my food was organic or not I decided to get to know my local Idaho farmers and see what they had to say about the importance of organic food + growing practices.  I teamed up with some friends of GMO Free Idaho + set up the first Locavore Tour.  We went to Hagerman and met up with many of the big players of the local, organic food movement.  James Reed, Mike Heath, Golden Egg Farm + many more opened their land + minds to us and I realized that the real heros are farmers + the real power they have are seeds!
The whole experience was great.  To meet + connect with people  who not only paved the way for connecting consumers to farmers but also have revolutionary ideas of the food + farming future.  There are real people behind real food grown in your area.  Getting to know these people solidifies the bond between your food + yourself.  Many farms aren't USDA Organic certified because of the ridiculously expensive cost + tests and other nonsense BUT many of them use "better than organic" practices!  Connect with food, connect with farmers!
A gift basket I won from Inspire A Better Earth!  These are all homemade, natural soaps, detergents, scrubs + bug spray. I talked with the woman behind Inspire A Better Earth before buying raffle tickets and she is doing such a wonderful thing!
4.  This was the year that I went completely natural!  I've completely replaced western medicine with herbs, essential oils, acupuncture + of course organic food!  Let Food Be Thy Medicine!  Along with health, all of my household + beauty products have been switched to all natural, organic, foraged, local goodness.  I have taken the toxicity out of my laundry soap, dish soap, hand soap, beauty products + toiletries, cleaning products + so much more.  Many of these transitions were made when I moved into my new North End Bungalow in which I intend to keep this place as green as possible!

2012 was only the beginning of my canning experience!  This is a new practice I will use for the rest of my life to preserve the food I've grown.

Chopped up cilantro frozen into cubes.
3. OUT with the NEW and IN with the OLD!  I ditched my microwave this year.  I tossed plastic utensils + containers out of my kitchen + replaced it with glass, wood + metal.  I have become a fan of slow cooking real food over today's toxic methods of "cooking" processed packaged garbage.  I learned how to can and preserve your fresh in season food so that you can eat well throughout the year without sacrificing quality + taste!

Oven-roasted spaghetti squash with mushrooms + cilantro. 
2. I have discovered + truly understand what REAL FOOD is.  Local. Organic. GMO-Free.  Seasonal Food.  If it lives + grows naturally in nature - it is real food.  Vegetables, fruits, raw milk, non gmo fed, free range, local, organic meat + eggs, wild caught fish, organic spices, natural ois + fats foraged herbs, fermented living drinks, clean water ...these are all REAL FOODS!  I learned more than I could possibly begin to write from many of my now favorite farmers, authors + food activists!  Healthy soil is the beginning to healthy food which is needed for a healthy body + mind!  I've met many new friends and acquaintances through real food values in 2012.  It was so nice to meet other people who believe in the same food values giving strength to our food movement.  When it comes to food, GET REAL!
Real Food grown by my crew + your's truly at Earthly Delights Farm.

Earthly Delights 2012 | Season 8 Crew | Much Love Forever
Saving Seed off of my Drunken
Woman Frizzy Headed Lettuce.
Saving seed has never been so
1.  The most important part of my food journey in 2012 was achieving my goal of learning how to grow my own vegetables.  I was lucky to land an internship at Earthly Delights Farm with Casey O'Leary as my amazing mentor + teacher.  I will be forever grateful for the things I've learned, still learning, connections I've made with the soil, other interns, farmers + influential writing .  I had no idea the tremendous positive impact farming would have on my life.  It is one of the biggest highlights of the year in review and my life thus far and has opened my mind up to infinite possibilities of achievement and success in life.

I stayed true to myself by following my heart while listening to my body + trusting my gut.

Food is my life + I choose to have a good one!

Cheers to 2012, you were a rad ride!

Last dining experience of 2012? Brick 29 Bistro - my little brother's wedding reception!
EAT: Eggplant Parmesan w/ Crispy Polenta and Green Beans.
DRINK:  Oban Scotch Neat, Champy, Water + Wine

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