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Natural Awakenings Healthy Living Magazine

The Simple Life

Summer is the perfect time to simply daydream and just be. I love its essence—including sunshiny hot days with an occasional cool lake breeze to fill our sails; an abundance of garden-fresh salads packed with local, seasonal ingredients; bathing suits and garden gloves drying on the line; no need for socks; the warm ground welcoming bare feet; long evening walks accompanied by fireflies and crickets; and wide-open windows helping to recharge our batteries and remind us of the expansiveness of nature. Each new day offers the fresh opportunity to change our trajectory, individually and collectively. The actions we take to care for our bodies are also an important step in reconnecting to Mother Earth and her ecosystem. The human gut microbiome, critical to fighting off disease, and soil microbiome, which enables plant growth, are vitally intertwined to maintain life on the planet.

As agriculture and food take center stage this month, our feature story outlines how important regenerative organic farming practices are for developing robust soil rich in nutrients and beneficial microbes. With this improved soil health comes increased water retention, less soil erosion and a higher volume of healthier crops. Plus, farmers don’t need to use chemicals, because the microbiome creates disease-resistant soil to fight off threats. By imitating natural systems (biomimicry), planting diverse crops and avoiding toxic chemicals, we can create a better food system that benefits the environment today, as well as for future generations to come. It’s a win-win situation.

But mainstream food systems everywhere are undergoing major changes in quality and accountability, largely because of an industrial agriculture and commercial food system that ships food, in or out of season, to places hundreds or thousands of miles away. While the need for a shift to regenerative practices is the obvious answer, support from consumers is key to tipping the scales. We urge you to vote with your dollars, because actions like supporting local farmers and markets that stock local, sustainably grown food do set trends and tell the market what is good for business and what is not.

Food also has such a special way of bringing families together. We find that cooking and taking the time to savor meals as a family makes for a natural slowdown, another joyful simplicity of the season. If the dog days of summer eventually lead to boredom and over-snacking, consider creatively offering up healthy, diverse foods, presented in ways to please even the most finicky palates. Our Healthy Kids department offers up ways that parents can support microbiome health while establishing a lifetime of good eating habits with many helpful tips and tasty recipes.

As the lazy days of the season glide by, we hope you will take some time to ponder the ways even one small choice you make today could have a positive impact on your own health and the longevity of our planet. Ultimately, connecting these daily decisions and actions to a larger and greater good can help us feel better and be in control of our lives, meaning we’re happier and healthier, too. It’s that simple.

For the love of freedom, simplicity and happy healthy summering

John and Trina Voell