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Living Off the Land: An interview with the man behind Wise Choice Market's design

Posted by Christina Boyes on

Stewart and Shannon's children pose for a photo on Thanksgiving.

This week, we'd like to give you the chance to get to know us better. There are a few ideals that everyone who works with and for Wise Choice Market agrees on - even though we take different paths to reach it. Everyone involved in every step of the process here is passionate about the importance of a healthy diet based on the elimination and avoidance of processed foods and the active incorporation of fermented and whole foods. We also work hard to minimize the impact our actions have on the environment. 

One of the most exemplary individuals is Stewart of Nourishing Days Design1, and we are indebted to him for the work he does to keep our little website looking beautiful. He and his wife Shannon have taken a path that many of us envy, but few feel capable of following. This week, we asked him to share the experiences of his family with you. 

1. Rumor has it that you and your wife practice what you preach. Can you tell us a little about your lifestyle?

We live in a small community that is trying to live an agrarian, off-grid lifestyle. Our hope is that someday we can grow most of our own organic food and maybe even have some left over to sell to others. We are three years into it and still building some of the basic infrastructure for our gardens, water catchment, and home. We have a long way to go!

2. What first drew you and Shannon to fermented foods?

Shannon actually became interested in fermented foods first (about 9 years ago) because of the cost savings. She found that she could make yogurt much cheaper than she could buy it. After that she began learning about the other types of fermented foods and that she could make these healthier foods at home. One of the key books during that initial learning stage was Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon. After the birth of our first son we began to realize that food really mattered and that our decisions on it would impact the next generation.

3. Fermentation can sometimes go horribly wrong...can you share any funny stories with us about your experiences with fermenting your own foods?

Well, there was this one incident that involved a baseball bat in the middle of the night. I awoke to the sound of shattering glass and thought for sure someone had broken into the duplex we were living in. So I grabbed the baseball bat (with heart racing) and went room to room hunting for the source of the noise. I couldn't find any broken windows and so went back to bed. In the morning we found the remains of a 1/2 gallon glass jar on the kitchen table. It was severely cracked and the liquid has spilled out. Shannon had been fermenting pickles and apparently had forgotten to burp them properly. I think that qualifies as going horribly wrong. :-)

4. Did you grow up living a simple life, with wholesome foods? If not, do you notice a difference in your health? If so, what is it?

Actually, I grew up mostly on processed and fast food. I think when you consume unhealthy food for a long time you begin to think the way you feel is "normal". Now that we eat healthier foods I can definitely feel a difference. For example, if I drink some Kombucha after a meal I immediately feel lighter like my body has the enzymes it needs to break things down. The same with sauerkraut and other fermented foods. I'm not able to handle eating bread, unless it is sourdough. I have much more energy when I eat healthy, and in particular, fermented foods.

5. I've heard your wife is quite the cook. Do you share her talents?

No, not at all. Seriously, when I have to put a meal together for the children or even myself I hope there are leftovers or something easy to put together. I fully support Shannon in her endeavors to feed us well, but she is the one who really makes it happen.

6. What do your kids think of your lifestyle? Do they encounter conventional foods often, and if so, how do you deal with the challenges that presents?

Our children love animals, gardening, and being outside. They walk down to the neighbors to pick up raw goat milk almost every day. It is really a wonderful environment to raise children in. Some of our children have difficulty eating conventional or processed foods (much like I do). We suspect we react to some of the pesticides and other food additives. Sometimes we have to plan ahead and bring healthy snacks or just avoid eating while out and about. Other times I take some activated charcoal if I know I'm going to be eating something processed or we pick up some kombucha, which seems to help.

7. Before you go, can you share one tip with our readers about living a simpler, healthier lifestyle?

I think the key is to take seriously what you put into your body because it has a direct impact on your health. Would you rather pay more for good food or more for "good" medical care? It is all about priorities. If at all possible, don't compromise on your food... give up something else instead.

Image Credits: Stewart and family



Information provided in this communication is not designed to and does not provide medical advice, professional diagnosis, opinion, treatment or services to you or to any other individual. This is general information for educational purposes only. The information provided is not a substitute for medical or professional care, and you should not use the information in place of a visit, call consultation or the advice of your physician or other healthcare provider. Wise Choice Marketing Inc is not liable or responsible for any advice, course of treatment, diagnosis or any other information, services or product you obtain through Wise Choice Marketing Inc.

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