Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Meet Danielle / Real People Wednesday Series

Hello Readers! 

How is your week going? Happy Wednesday! On Wednesdays Laura and I decided to do a feature of someone else and interview them. We will be highlighting artisans, moms living a natural lifestyle, wholistic doctors, chiropractors, passionate bloggers, chefs, organic farmers, and many more! If you would like us to interview you, let us know. I'm so excited about this Real People Wednesday Interview Series. For this week, my husband interviewed me! I thought it would be great for some of y'all to get to know us authors a little more and our backgrounds. So here is a little personal post for your midweek. Enjoy! 



Q: Tell the readers about yourself:

A: Well, I live in Georgia with my husband Ben and boxer, Lucy. I’m from New Orleans and lived all of my life there until college when I left for Chicago. I’m the only child and only grandchild. My family (and friends) still live in New Orleans so I really love getting to go back as often as I can. I loved my childhood. I grew up in community. I mean we didn't have that fancy word for it but we had such deep and significant friendships and relationships. Losing any one of us would have meant we lost a piece of our own selves. I’m so thankful for that. I really seek to develop that in my life now, but it has never quite happened as organically as what we all had growing up. It’s something I’m very mindful of as I get older. My husband Ben and I love traveling. We really love it. Lucy likes it as well and she comes with us most places. Going to different cities and meeting locals and scouting out all of the best restaurants and places are one of our favorite things to do. We especially love eating at said restaurants, meeting local artisans, visiting local shops, and our local farmers markets. I really am a sucker for farmer’s markets— especially ones committed to high quality local ingredients like our Morningside Farmer’s Market in Atlanta! Many times I won't be able to fall asleep on Friday night because I'm so exited about waking up the next morning and seeing what the weekly harvest will be! I know that’s strange! (You can find out about how I save money buying from Farmer's markets here). 

Q: What is your favorite place you have traveled to this year?

A: We have been to a few wonderful places this year. However, by far my favorite place I’ve been to in the last year is Blackberry Farm in Walland, TN. It has always been a dream of mine and Ben’s for a few years now to go there. Ben surprised me for our anniversary this year with a trip there. I really didn’t know exactly what to expect, but it definitely exceeded every one of my expectations and wildest imaginations. It was definitely one of the most memorable— if not most— vacations I have ever been on and experiences I have ever had. I cannot wait to go back!  / The picture below was taken on our anniversary at Blackberry Farm. They made the headpiece for me. I especially love the fresh peppercorns they added. I cook with dried pink peppercorns all the time!

Q: How did you learn to cook?

A: My grandmother was born and raised in New Orleans and she comes from a long line of women who cook. She never uses recipes and I grew up with her as my muse wanting to be as effortless and vibrant as her in the kitchen one day. She is one of those people who wants to feed any and everyone who steps foot in (or even just near) her house from the mail man to her whole church. When I was a little girl she would let me crack the eggs, stir the pot, and give me useless jobs that made me feel important in the process. Since then I have steadily grown in my definite love of cooking and developed my own style (for example kale salad and hard boiled egg uses) which mimics the “no recipes” style of my grandmother’s. I love cooking now in large part because it makes me feel loved from all of the memories I have in the kitchen being doted on by my grandmother, and it also gives me a tangible way of loving others.

                                                          / Pasta Ben and I made together /

Q: What made you want to start blogging?

A: Well I've always wanted to. Ive always really felt like it was an admirable world I wasn't really involved in or privy to. I loved the community aspect that blogging provides. I loved the idea of being able to share information I'm learning in such an accessible and feasible way. I was also inspired by some of my blogging friends: Lauren and Asharae. I've just never had the motivation nor the time frankly to pull it off. However, it is something I’ve always thought about in the back of my mind and really desired to do. One week in particular I was thinking about it especially a lot and I woke up the next morning with a text from Laura saying we should write a blog! I had never thought to write a blog with a friend, a friend who is just as passionate about food and health as I am, but it has proved to be a brilliant idea. She wrote up our bios and set up a large portion of the background of our blog which is something that wasn’t as much of interest to me to say the least.  We also have each other to bounce off endless ideas and to brainstorm with. It's really a perfect match and a great catalyst to launch into this new blogging world.

Q: What has your background and journey of health looked like? 

A: I was never one of those people or kids who ate at McDonald's for the majority of their food consumption. Being healthy carried a certain level of importance to both of my parents. My dad does triathlons, marathons, and Iron Man competitions. He has also been a vegetarian since before I was born. My mom also has a high level of health awareness overall. My parents raised me going to the chiropractor and even going to natural doctors a few times here and there. I had a certain level of awareness of health and nutrition; however, I think I was unaware in a lot of areas and unschooled in other aspects. I had much experience but it wasn’t until the past few years as certain things happened in my life that I really had a strong interest in doing my part in researching and comprehending what being healthy actually meant and what living naturally had to offer for me and others. I started seeing various wholistic doctors and kind of learning from my own mistakes and experiences. I started out mostly being interested in this in light of cooking and using food as medicine. I researched a ton, cooked a lot, and started making little changes in my life here and there and building upon the experiences my parents had given me. All of that culminated and led to me attending an intensive course in Las Vegas, where I met Laura! We learned so much. It kind of overwhelmed me. It definitely gave me an even stronger passion but I was still unsure how I would put all that I had learned in those 8 days and over the course of my life into practice. Shortly after I got home from Las Vegas we found out that some doctors at the hospital had made a mistake (a few) and my grandfather had been battling leukemia (unbeknownst to anyone) for over a year. That really catapulted me into treating a variety of disorders and illnesses very quickly! My journey of health now continues to grow and form in various ways and I’m happy to have a space to document that and share lessons I’ve learned along the way. 

Q: What does being healthy and living a natural lifestyle mean to you?

A: Now it means more to me than it ever did. It’s not about eating vegetables when you don’t feel like it and making yourself exercise when you would rather be relaxing. Eating healthy is not about counting calories and a list of can’ts or shouldn’ts. Being healthy to me is being well, fully and wholly well. It’s living a whole, peaceful, vibrant life and pursuing wellness in all areas including physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. I find if I am physically living well and making certain choices it contributes to how I’m doing emotionally and vice versa. I want to live in a way that gives me life and energy to give to others and become a better wife, friend, daughter, and person in this world. To me, being healthy is definitely not about guilt (I feel like in our culture it has become that) and what you shouldn’t eat or should do. As I’ve started living naturally and becoming well physically, emotionally, and spiritually I’ve found I live a fuller and much more satisfying life.  I now (try to) incorporate a lot of things into my life that make me feel well such as: raw milk, amazing roasted chickens that make for easy healthy lunches, my vegetable soups with bone broth, fermented vegetables, a lot of greens (this has become one of my favorite and easiest ways to eat them), juicing, grassfed meat and bone broth, good quality cheeses, digestive enzymes, some good vitamin D from the sun, organic teas, raw local honey, organic produce, fermented sourdough breads, pasture eggs, dry skin brushing, and a good amount of water and mason jars. These things all (and others) help me feel better in order to live better and be who I was designed to be. To me, that is accomplished by making certain choices and decisions in my daily life that to me don’t even feel tiresome or burdensome at all. If they feel that way to you, I would love to chat and we can talk about how that specifically changed for me.

Q: If you could pinpoint one big revelation, what has been one of the most revolutionary points in your journey of being well?

A: It’s funny because actually one of the  biggest turning points is not a specific fact I learned or lifestyle change I made, but rather a realization I had about myself as a person and some unhealthy mindsets I had given into. Now I realize your mind contributes to your physical health in more ways than we realize. So if the mind or emotional side of you is not healthy then often you will pay a price in physical ways. One realization that was huge for me was realizing I was responsible for my own happiness-- my circumstances and others do not dictate my own level of peace and happiness. It’s easy for us to believe life and things just happen to us and not understand that we have a choice in how we respond and live in light of things we cannot control. Instead of having high expectations  for others and the general landscape of my life I focus more on growing as a wife, becoming a better friend to my friends, growing spiritually, and being a good daughter and granddaughter. Instead of lamenting over what hasn’t been given to me, what others have that I don’t, and what is bad in my life, I have found that I can instead pour my energies elsewhere into making my life the way I want it to be and become the person I want to no matter what circumstance I find myself in. I have the eyes to see beauty all around me now in the people's faces and eyes I meet and in the simple things found in every day. My eyes are not as clouded anymore, and I feel very alive to joy and life and in wanting to be a life giver. I've found so much joy in that I could honestly write a book about it! I know it sounds great in theory but it's even better to actually live it. I used to have very high expectations for my friends and for life in general. I now focus on trying to stay grounded in truth, in growing, giving love to others, and building a truly meaningful and beautiful life. / If you are interested in learning more about this, you can definitely email me. There's a lot of concepts and resources I've found especially helpful. A Blog About Love also writes about living that way in the contexts of interpersonal relationships and how it can transform you and your relationships. They're cute too /

Q: Do you love life?

A: Yes! I can say I do 100%! I wouldn’t have always said that so emphatically, but I mean it whole heartedly now. I feel so much gratitude in my heart. I am so grateful for the experience of life as a whole. I am too thankful for the bad as well as many trials that have taught me such invaluable lessons when I have allowed it. There’s also a beauty in raw pain as well even if it’s honestly wretched. I am so thankful-just so thankful to live life and I love it!

Q: What's one of the most common questions you are asked?

A: That would be: "How do you stay so skinny?” I probably get asked this every week! If anyone knows me they know I cook homemade from scratch all of the time. I bake from scratch often too. A lot of people don’t understand how I can be skinny since I cook so much. My answer is: genetics (mostly inherited habits hah) and ingredients. If you use high quality ingredients it makes a big difference for not only your waist line but how you feel as well and your body's ability to ward off sickness. I must say, I do not equate weight to health like our general culture has done in recent years. I am a big believer that when one focuses on true health their focus is not on their weight. When you are living a truly healthy life the way you are designed for, I believe your weight will be the exact weight you are meant to be, which may vary on the individual.

Q: What do you do? 

A: I never know quite how to answer that question as I feel there is always many things going on in my life that I care equally about even if some of those do not provide a pay check. Some things I do in my life now are coaching others who want to start their journeys of getting well and healthy, selling essential oils to those who need it, helping others figure out what digestive enzymes and supplements are best for them and what they need, coaching others in natural remedies for their bodies, and helping others figure out why and how they are sick and how to combat that. My husband and I also teach 3-6th graders at our church as well as the youth. We love it when the kids come over to our house and ransack it -- and they do! 

Q: What are a few funny facts about yourself?

A: Well, I’m terrified of cats. I don’t dislike them, I’m just scared. I become paralyzed and unable to move around them. It’s bad, I know. The other thing is that I wish more than anything that I could sing and dance well but I'm horrible! Whenever music comes on I will start "dancing" (moving up and down and around) but it doesn't ever translate the way I want it to or look the way I see it in my head. Same with singing, but probably even worse. I even took lessons as a child to get better, and I still will not be trying out for American Idol let’s just say.

[Interviewer's note: I think she is actually a great dancer. ] 

Q: The interview is over, is there anything else you would like to say to your readers?

A: Thank you so much for reading. Our posts usually will not be as much about us as this one was. Laura and I are really and truly excited about this new little space of ours. We can’t wait to grow with all of you and provide a lot of information about health, wellness, and natural remedies for you and your families. It’s so important in this day and age! Thank you for reading about my life. I can’t wait to hear more about all of your stories! You can also follow us on instagram, twitter, and pinterest!
Love, Danielle

                                     Beets from the Morningside Farmer's Market in Atlanta, GA

Update: You can read about a day in our lives in this post. Also, I mentioned above how much I benefited from my time at the CNHP conference in Las Vegas. You can find our two other posts about our professors from CNHP here and here. You can also see more from the interviewer (my  husband) in this post where he does a video on herbs

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