Tag Archives: farmers markets

Summertime….and the living is easy

If you are like those of us who live in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, you will understand the urge to be outside as much as possible during these days of summer, where the days are sunny and bright(and rarely much hotter than 85-90 degrees) and the evenings cool to perfect sleeping temperatures of 55 degrees. Our days are particularly long in Oregon between mid May and late August(of course we pay back for this during the darker days of winter….when daylight starts at 7:30 and ends at 5:00) and everywhere you go, crowds of people are outside walking, biking, jogging, rowing, playing tennis, frisbee, softball or just perched on a chair soaking up the rays of summer.

Perhaps you wonder where Candace and I have been these past few weeks: well, now you know: outside instead of blogging, trying to soak up every ounce of natural vitamin D(when not at work or busy with the usual chores of daily living!) and getting as much exercise as possible outside of the gym. There is something very magical about this time of year: it brings out the best in everyone.  My biggest challenge during the longer daylight hours is finding a way to get enough sleep! Ah, but no complaints: power naps are a great solution and I take them as needed.

My colorful garden, filled with kale, edamame, peppers, corn , tomatoes and herbs: so inspiring

My colorful garden, filled with kale, edamame, peppers, corn , tomatoes and herbs: so inspiring

Ah, and then there is the food: grilled vegetables, fish, chicken, kebobs, lovely salads, shopping at local farmers markets for dinner, which makes it so easy to eat a rainbow of brightly colored fruits and vegetables everyday. I love to make fresh berry and peach pies each week: the combinations are endless for baking up yummy desserts. Just last week I was making a bunch of pies for a dinner party and I had a wonderful time playing with different spices to enhance the various fruits: cardamon, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice in various ratios. It is such a pleasure to peruse the stalls of the markets and get inspired for dinner. I love carting home my various treasures and then deciding how to marinate the meats, season up the veggies, mix together fresh herbs from the garden, like basil and oregano, and serving up a delicious, locally grown and nutritious meal for my family and friends.  Everyone can become a cook of sorts when the choices are so available and tantalizing.

It is important to take extra time in the warm summer months to appreciate the natural rhythms of the seasons. In just 6 short weeks,  the days will shorten, the temperatures will cool and soon we will be putting the soup pots back on the stove to cook up rich and hearty foods that suit the rhythm of autumn. For now, savor the days, shop the markets, walk outside, get some natural vitamin D, spend time with loved ones, dance under the stars(we did last weekend at my birthday party), explore a new place, read a summer novel: in short, pause and enjoy these summer days. This is what balanced living is all about.

Dinner al fresco: so easy to make healthy fresh foods when the farmers markets are open

Dinner al fresco: so easy to make healthy fresh foods when the farmers markets are open

We look forward to catching up with all of you. Please feel free to share the things you love to do when ‘the living is easy’. And stay tuned: we will be writing more often during these next few months.  One of  our goals for the fall is to launch an e-book, designed to inspire you as you find ways to balance your hormones and your life. Happy summer!

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Filed under Essentials, Kyle Bell McAvoy, Whole Eating, Women's Health & Happiness

Reflections on the week

I had the good fortune to attend an all day summit on Saturday entitled “Universal Responsibility and the Global Environment: an Environmental Summit”. The original draw for me was that the Dalai Lama was going to speak throughout the day, someone whose message of compassion and tolerance is well known throughout the world. My expectations of the summit were greatly and quickly exceeded.

His Holiness, the Dalia Lama in Portland, OR on May 11, 2013

His Holiness, the Dalai Lama in Portland, OR on May 11, 2013

The morning panel consisted of the Dalai Lama; our governor John Kitzhaber; the Executive Director of the Oregon Environmental Council: Andrea Durbin, David Suzuki: well-known scientist and environmentalist, and the moderator: David Miller, host of Think Out Loud( a daily radio show on our local NPR affiliate). The conversation was lively and focused on what we are facing as humans in terms of the environmental issues so prevalent throughout the world. Much has been written about the changes we are seeing in the earth’s climate and it is difficult sometimes to know how each of us CAN make a difference in our daily lives that WILL make a difference globally.

Briefly, the panel highlighted the need to shift our measurement of success from the GDP(Gross National Product), which relies primarily on the movement and growth of the economy,  to one that measures our happiness and how we interact with the environment and with others on a more sustainable manner.  Over and over again, the conversation returned to the intricate relationship the human species has with nature and its cycles: it is only in the past 100 years or so that we have distanced ourselves from farming and become more focused on our JOBS and on the cities we have built. That distance sometimes allows us to forget that we depend on ‘nature’ to give us the air, water and food that we need to live.  As David Suzuki so succinctly put it, “why has the environment become a political issue? all human beings need air and water to live: let’s start from that premise and work forward”.

At Menopausibilities we have talked about taking the time to reflect, to eat organically, to pay attention to the chemicals that we are exposed to , to be aware of the many hormone disrupters that are so prevalent in the world around us. Yet each of makes decisions every day that affect the quality of our lives: we ‘vote’ with the choices we make: where we shop, what we buy, how far we drive to go to work, whether we carpool, whether we shop locally or always look for the bargain and neglect the wider impact of our choices.

Candace and I at one of our favorite local farmers' markets: always a source of inspiration!

Candace and I at one of our favorite local farmers’ markets: always a source of inspiration!

As for me, I do try to buy organically and shop locally whenever I can but of course there are times that I don’t. I love the idea of the 80/20 or 90/10 rule of living(or eating or what have you): 80 % of the time striving for the best practice, 20 % perhaps not reaching that high bar: but that is better than most and a step in the right direction! It became quite clear to me by the end of the summit that I have some changes to make, ones that are doable and will have an impact.

First and foremost, I am going to compost again. I can’t believe that I ever stopped actually, having lived in Oregon for over 30 years…but laziness set in so now I get to start this practice again. I went and bought my silver compost bucket yesterday and I have already filled it to the top with scraps from all of the veggies and fruits that I have eaten….uh oh, now I must get my bin in place. That is my next step and I am determined to get this in place by week’s end. Then I will feel much better about creating a smaller carbon footprint plus some rich compost for my vegetable garden, which my husband and I just planted yesterday: more about that in a future post!

For now, wishing you time to reflect on the choices that you make each day…and hope that we continue to believe that we CAN make a positive impact,  even when we make seemingly small changes. As always, we would love to hear from you and some of the choices and changes you have made.



Filed under Essentials, Kyle Bell McAvoy, Women's Health & Happiness