Tag Archives: food(ed)


In the earnest effort to keep the food • local • farming •  health • intentional conversation alive, I’m bringing in some big guns.  It’s my absolute joy to make room on this lil’ ol’ blog for a friend who is leading the quest for good and good-for-you food.  We won’t have her forever, but until she gets her own corner of the internet I will shamelessly spotlight her any time she wants to put pen to paper.  We are, afterall, two people searching for the same thing: simple, abundent life.
Without further adieu, I give you Julie ‘HotPants’ Lenger, on behalf of Food(ed)[insert manic clapping here] 


Do you know how long it takes me to realize something? Apparently a long time. Some things are easy. Like a new friendship or a new dress – like and like – done. Or a really pretty shower curtain?! Love it – done! But sometimes it takes me a long time. Like when I found out that I could never eat a slice of wedding cake ever again (unless of course I had been invited to Chelsea Clinton’s wedding – then I would have eaten every last piece) because I have celiac disease. The simplest way to explain is that I never get to eat “normal” cake, pizza, cookies, pretzels, pasta, cheese whiz (well who really wants that anyway?!) ever again. Ever. Do you know what that means for a mid-western girl who grew up in America and loves Swiss Cake Rolls more than life? It means the entire world is made of gluten.
Gluten is a protein in most conventional flours that allows it to bind easily – and if you have celiac disease it causes you severe illness. So when I say the entire world is made of gluten – it is. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are riddled with gluten – waffles, pancakes, sandwiches, pizzas, wraps, tortillas, fried chicken, cookies, sun-chips – so.many.things!  
For the longest time – the no’s outweighed the yes’s. No bread. No toast. No donuts. The tears outweighed the smiles. No donuts. The anger outweighed the joy. No donuts. And then, little by little something began to happen. I suddenly realized that I was thinking about food. And I was thinking about it with reverence. The kind of reverence you give an aging grandparent or a sick family pet.
The entire world is made of gluten – so therefore – I have to pay attention. I don’t get to thoughtlessly prepare a meal, or pop a snack in my mouth. Every bite is a thought, a decision, a question, a privilege, and an opportunity. I believe that most Americans put very little thought into what they put into their mouths. It’s second nature to run though the drive though lane and order a quick meal or grab a dressing and slather your salad with it. But for me – I have to slow down enough to plan, think, decide and then act. That “action” then, has become something that has been nurtured, cared for and loved.
We often move at the speed of light, tending to slow down only when our children or we are ill. I think this keeps us from thinking and realizing, along with holding and accepting. How long does it take you to realize some things? What are the ways you have been given (sometimes backhanded) opportunities in your life to thrive and think, prepare and appreciate? However big or small – we all have them. 

What’s your gluten?


Julie is the heart behind Food(ed) • a holistic approach educating people on how to live with and enjoy eating within specific restrictions.  She’s also a student, a mom, a singer, a Bradley Method advocate, and a ninja.
Photos by Lynell Shooks.  She is also a ninja.

dos announcements

When I moved to Grand Rapids in the Fall of 2002, I met a girl with fire in her hair.  Julie and I spent 5 years singing together at Mars Hill.  She has been a silent (and, uh, not so silent) constant in my life, walking with me through heart ache, Indigo Girls, depression, utter joy, pregnancy, miscarriage, home parties, and sushi.  I’m blessed to know her.   

Also, in 7th grade, she pinched Curt’s buns. No lie.

Julie has just started up her own business, Food(ed).   She has a heart for healthy people, and has turned that passion into fruit by offering her knowledge to the community through helping you shop and cook well.  Not merely decent, not fast, but well.  She’s far too stretched right now to keep up with her own blog, but I’ve invited her here to Apple Pie, Anyone? to throw down some serious food chat, knowing that you’d love it.  Based on the Pantry Confessions of last Monday and all the recipes I’ve gathered from you over the years, it’s plain we are a community that thinks a lot about what we put in our bodies.

Stay tuned.  Get excited.  She’ll be here soon. 

I’m also super excited and scared to death to announce I have a new idea.  Well, not a new idea… but one I am finally taking a deep breath and running with: classes at TexasNorth using local friends and experts.    Some will be free, some will cover cost, and some will have profit  to buy new equipment for future classes.  These ‘classes’ will give all of us the chance to learn from the past and lean on community.  We can sew, we can garden, we can mill wood, we can preserve, we can work cattle, we can do lots of things out here. 

Curt and I strongly believe we have a responsibility to share this land we’ve been given.  Share the land, share the food, share the porches.  Thus far, that’s looked like lots of hayrides, lots of campouts, and few weekends working on hay lofts. 

We’re great at sharing space. 

I think there’s the potential for more.  I think I can create an environment where people can come and experience the ‘old school simple but hard and rewarding’ way of doing things.   I’ll do the homework and bring in local friends and experts to teach us well. I’ll set up the classroom.  Let’s make this place work. 


We’ve been asked several times if we’d raise chickens for the freezer… and we did that by accident one year, but never again simply due to better flock management.  It keeps coming up, and I keep thinking, “Dude. I can’t do that alone every year!”  So, I’m not.

You’re going to do it with me.

Introducing the first in hopefully a long series of informal gatherings on the farm entitled OLD SCHOOL.  This Spring, I’m going to open up a small OLD SCHOOL • CHICKENS class to anyone in the area who wants to learn how to butcher chickens for their freezer.  I know.  I can’t believe it, either.  But, many hands make light work and any chore is better with company.  Not to mention, in this craze of EAT LOCAL! we still find ourselves extremely detached from the food on our plate. 

I think we can change that. 

Let’s do it.  Let me raise the chickens.  I’ve got the time and the space (for up to 50 birds).  When they’re ready for the table, you come out and we’ll all just do it together.  My friend Amy will guide us all through it, you’ll amaze yourself with what you remember from Biology class, and we’ll all stock our freezers a little.  I’ll even make dinner (not chicken).  Maybe you come once, maybe you come every year.  At least you can say you’ve done it and you know how it’s done.  Check it off your list of Amazing Things.

If you’re in, I’m in.