#259 The Chefs Garden with Dr. Amy Sapola - The Benefits of Eating from a Regenerative Farm

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I’m a firm believer that a healthy body starts with healthy nutrition, which means eating quality food.  

When it comes to plants, that quality starts with the quality and the nutrients in the soil they grow in. 

Not all cauliflower is created equally. 

In today’s Tuesday Terrain talk you’ll hear from Amy Sapola, Clinical Pharmacist, Institute for Functional Medicine Certified Practitioner, and Director of Farmacy at Farmer Jones Farms on the beauty and the benefits of bringing the farmer onto your team of wellness practitioners. 

Amy will open your eyes to the benefits of regenerative farming for the soil that supports it to the plants that are grown there, and ultimately the health of the people who eat from regenerative farms. 


Referred to in this episode: 

What is Farmacy? 

Solid Starts 

The Evolution of the Chef’s Garden Video 

Should I be avoiding oxalates? 

Dr. Amy Sapola 

Farming for Health Podcast 

Farmer Jones Farm 

Follow us on Instagram: 





Read the full transcript below:

Laura Lummer  00:00

You're listening to the breast cancer recovery coach podcast. I'm your host, Laura Lummer. I'm a certified life, health and nutrition coach, and I'm also a breast cancer thriver. If you're trying to figure out how to move past the trauma and the emotional toll of breast cancer, you've come to the right place. In this podcast, I will give you the tools and the insights to create a life that's even better than before breast cancer. Well, let's get started. Hello, friends, welcome to episode 259 of the breast cancer recovery coach podcast. I'm your host, Laura Lummer. And this is our Tuesday Train Talk. This these are the episodes where we dig in to things from the simplest smallest shifts you can make up to some really big lifestyle changes you can incorporate to support the health of your terrain, to support the terrain, meaning the soil of your body, the tissues of your body, what can you do to help your body be as healthy as possible? And how can you incorporate these small changes, or big changes into your life in ways that fit your lifestyle and that you enjoy? Now I think one of the most important parts of doing that is to really connect to ourselves. These episodes are not about what's out there, like how do I look for more and do more, and have people tell me what to do. But it's really about understanding what's available to you. And then connecting back to yourself, to listening to your body, to connect into your food, to connecting to nature and your circadian rhythms and really getting in touch with you and your own special body and its own unique needs. But knowing what's available to support your body and those needs. We are going to hear today about something called regenerative farming. Now some of you may have heard of that before. And some of you may know what it is. Some of you may think, Oh, I've heard that. But I have no idea what it is. And some of you may never heard of regenerative farming because typically we hear about big corporate farms are we hear about organic farms. So we're here to talk about what regenerative farming is. And we're going to talk about it with an expert and a vivacious, energetic, knowledgeable person that I'm so excited to share with you. Her name is Dr. Amy Cipolla. And I was first introduced to Amy because we are both studying with nature winters in the metabolic approach to cancer, we are both studying to become terrain advocates under this philosophy and work with people in the metabolic approach to cancer. So Amy gave a presentation to a group of us and on pharma Jones farm where she is the director of Pharmacy with an F. And it was so magical, really I was just so drawn in to what she had to share about this amazing resource where plants are just not only grown and cultivated, but nurtured and studied and so much energy and love and care goes into these plants to get the soil as healthy as it can be to get the plants as healthy as they can be. And ultimately to give us transfer that health to our bodies, we consume it but make them as delicious as possible. And that's one of the reasons why the Farmer Jones farms and the chef Garden Supply so many top restaurants around the country around the world and amazing chefs because their food is just top notch. And I hope that you will find that out for yourself as I have as I ordered produce from the chef's garden. And especially in the month of July, the chef's garden has collaborated with Nisha winters and the metabolic Institute of Health. And they have collaborated to create a box specific to the needs of our body during the season of summer. And I'm gonna put links to all that in the show notes. For this episode, you're gonna find so much information, YouTube videos from the chef's garden to help you understand more about how it originated because it's a beautiful story. You can learn more about Amy and look at her website, her podcast, so much great information that this could be a two hour long podcast episode. But I want to leave those links for you to explore and learn even more about regenerative farming and supporting your health through this plant forward. Beautiful way of connecting back to the earth and back to your body and your Ultimate Health. So let me tell you a little bit about Amy. Her title at Farmer Jones. PharmD is the director of Pharmacy with an F and she has put together a wonderful video to explain to you in detail what that means. So the link to that also in the show notes or where you're listening into this podcast. Just scroll down you'll see the link right there. Dr. Amy subpolar is passionate about public health issues related to the social determinants of health, soil health, and planetary health. Dr. subpolar is a clinical pharmacist. She is certified with the Institute for Functional Medicine. She's a certified practitioner, and she's a certified wellness coach with a Bachelors of Science in nutrition. She has also completed a two year fellowship with honors in integrative medicine from the Academy of integrated health and medicine. She is a mother of two young children and avid gardener a passionate Cook, a longtime yogi. And Amy has an integrated approach to health and wellness both personally and professionally. And I know that's going to come through in our conversation. But please explore her website and the links to all of the videos because she creates these amazing recipes. And she shares these recipes on the YouTube channel and on the Farmer Jones farm website. Again, you'll have links to all of that in the show notes. So Dr. Cipolla is the director of Pharmacy with an F at the chef's garden in Huron, Ohio, and pharmacy at the chef's garden is about bridging the gap between farming and health care. Amy's goal is for the farmer to become part of the health and wellness team. How cool would that be. And in her work at the chef's garden, she helps guide consumers towards a more mindful relationship with food by connecting the benefits of healthy soil, to healthy plants, and ultimately, to healthy people. So I am so excited to get to share her insights and her knowledge with you here on our Tuesday terrain talk episode. And so without further delay, please enjoy this conversation with Dr. Amy subpolar. Hi, Amy, thank you so much for joining me today. And so happy to



have you here. Thank you so much for having me. I'm thrilled to be with you.


Laura Lummer  06:54

Yeah, yeah, it's a pleasure. So we'll just jump right into this with like the big burning question. What is regenerative farming? What's that all about? I think, what can you share with us?



Yes, so regenerative farming has been around for as long as farming has been around, right? It's really getting back to those techniques, where we're giving back to the land instead of simply taking constantly taking, right and so regenerative farming is about building up soil health, rebuilding the soil right now we're losing in conventional agriculture, the soil faster than we're rebuilding it. And so that's just simply not sustainable. So, really, with regenerative agriculture, we're using techniques like cover cropping, crop rotation, minimizing tillage, minimizing any sort of synthetic inputs or chemical fertilizers, really thinking about how do we farm in harmony with the land, allowing the soil to regenerate. So like with cover crops, for example, at our firm, the chef's garden, we use a multi species cover crop, which means each plant in that mix is putting something unique back into the soil. And so by using that cover crop, we're not only putting nutrients back into the soil, but we're building the biodiversity in our soil, which is really that soil life. So those microbes in the soil, just like we have a microbiome in our gut and on our skin, and really all over our bodies, the soil isn't live, or at least should be. And so for plants to be optimally healthy and vital, and have all the nutrients that we need to thrive. The plants have to have that biodiversity alive in the soil, because those microbes are what actually allow the plants to take up nutrients in the form of minerals. So


Laura Lummer  08:45

but no, but it's so fascinating. And so when you say cover crops, can you tell me what a cover crop means for those of us who have never planted a carrot ever?



Yes, yeah. So a cover crop is something that you're not necessarily going to like Harvest like a carrot, right? So cover crop is essentially a way to keep roots in the ground. And it's something like, say, cow keys or right, or that or Clover or buckwheat, like some of these crops that we know help kind of restore certain minerals in the soil or bring like certain kind of qualities that we're looking for. Back into the soil mustard content in this use. There's a number of different cover crops. But one of the biggest things about cover crops is you're not leaving bare soil. So bare soil. There's erosion, right? If you have any sort of rain events, there's a lot of runoff. And then of course, if you have those roots in the ground, that water absorbs better, and whatever's going there, hopefully crops or the cover crop is going to be more dry. up tolerance. So by having kind of healthy soil with roots in the ground cover crops, letting land and be fallow. So letting it you know, have those cover crops and not constantly be in this rotation of farming. And again, like looking at yields, and really like that intensive farming where you're looking at high utilization of chemical, high utilization of tillage, really getting back into where you're letting the land rest a little.


Laura Lummer  10:31

Okay, so would a cover crop be something so let's say that you're growing summer squash and you harvest the summer squash and then the cover crop gets planted to just kind of regenerate the nutrients there?



Yeah, yeah, that's exactly it. So sometimes it's in the fall. So after you've planted, you could plant a cover crop kind of for the fall, and then around us in Ohio, it freezes. So some of the plants are gonna die naturally, because of the frost. But they don't have the roots in the soil, right. And so there's something called even like a tillage radish, which is a big radish, that helps break up soil compaction. And when it dies in the winter, it then rots in the soil, right, and then there's space in the soil for water and air to kind of Occupy. And so basically, they're helpful for kind of breaking up that compaction. So yeah, the cover time can be planted in the fall, or some people will plan it in the spring and kind of leave it for the growing season. But most of the time, the fall.


Laura Lummer  11:35

Yeah, that is so cool. I love that. And so is that something that affects the flavor of the crops that you're growing for harvest? Because I order boxes and photos from you. And I'll tell you, when the little baby summer squash came, like my husband could not stop eating them. They were so delicious, as was everything you know, that we get from the farm. But does that help with the flavor? Or I know you do a lot of research and development of the farm. So how do you get? You know, it's kind of like when people go to Europe, they come back and they say to me, oh my god, Laura, their food is fresh, it tastes so different than here. And that's kind of how I felt when I got the produce box from the chef's garden. So what makes that happen?



Yeah, so a couple of things. First, we're two miles off of Lake Erie, we are really mineral rich soil already. So the minerals have so much flavor, right? Plus the phytonutrients of the plants. So if you look at our plants, or our vegetables, we grow a lot of smaller size vegetables, which are more concentrated in flavors, so they have kind of less of the starches, but more of the flavor. Like you mentioned, the small zucchinis. And those are amazing. I actually had them just for lunch today. They're so good. Yeah. And that's, you know, the small size mineral rich soil healthy, active soil. So the biology of the soil, like I mentioned, helps bring up minerals into the plants that the plants need to thrive. And so when the plants are healthy and able to form those phytochemicals, or phytonutrients, that's the flavor compounds, the color count mountains and the scent compounds that we noticed with that sensory experience. So really, all three of those things are so important to having the plants tastes kind of like they used to taste. I have fond memories of like my grandma's house right in her garden. And I feel like that's sort of what we're getting at is how do we have this really thriving, healthy ecosystem, where plants are able to be kind of their best selves and be as nutrient dense and healthy as possible. And you can take that difference in the health of the plant when you consume it.


Laura Lummer  13:53

Yeah. And so I love that you just brought up you said as healthy as possible. So when you keep the soil healthy through farming in the way that you do, how is that more beneficial than say we go and buy something that's right off the shelf at the grocery store GMO? Whatever it is, carrot was says among the subject of Garritan GMO carrot, and they're just like kind of flat. Right. But how is the type of farming you do and growing, having healthy soil because it starts with the soil and that microbiome, right and then the healthy plant? How does that impact



our health? Yes, so I won't even go down the GMO rabbit hole, but


Laura Lummer  14:34

I'll just say it's another podcast. That's another podcast but



I would highly advise avoiding GMOs and we have a totally non GMO farm. We don't plant any GMO seed anywhere on the farm. We completely avoid it. It's part of a healthier plant. One of the things that differentiates our vegetables from what you find in the grocery store is how they're harvested in ship. So in the grocery store often vegetable aren't, aren't picked at peak ripeness due to being transported long distances. So sometimes they're ripe and then closer to reaching grocery store shelves with with ethylene gas to help them ripen up before they get put on the shelf. But they have a long transportation time. They may also sit on the grocery store shelf for a little bit before you buy him. And then they may sit in your refrigerator for a little bit before you eat them. And all that time, you're losing some nutrients. And so ideally, you want to pick vegetables at their peak ripeness, and consume them soon after, right. And so we harvest only to order. So when you place an order, we then harvest we don't harvest ahead of time and like let it sit there for weeks on end. The we harvest, and then we actually ship overnight to your doorstep. So there's no long transportation chain or you know, sitting on trucks, it's really harvested fresh and sent to your door. And taking out that kind of transportation time and picking at peak ripeness. You'll notice better flavor, but also better nutrient density.


Laura Lummer  16:07

Mm hmm. Yeah, that is so cool. And I tell you, I love that like when mine comes right to the door. And I'm just like, Oh, it's so inspiring to have an open this fresh box and produce and it smells beautiful. And it looks beautiful. And it and yours comes with gorgeous recipe cards. And so you add the last box I got had this bok choy salad. That was amazing. And so it's so fun, because I think a lot of people don't know how to cook vegetables, right? And they want to incorporate more vegetables which they should into their diet, but they're like, What do I do with this? You know, how do I cook it? Do you just steam it until it's a soggy mess? Or, you know, so I really appreciate that it comes with inspiration, you know, as well as just the inspiration of getting that box itself. Yeah, and I



would tell your listeners, check out our website, Farmer Jones farm, we have a lot of free recipes on there. So under recipes on Farmer Jones farm, you can find tons of vegetable forward recipes for all seasons, all different preferences, and dietary needs. We have a lot on there. We also have a build your own box by health condition set, I think versus 16 different health conditions on.


Laura Lummer  17:20

So how do you decide? Like if, let's say what type of give me an example of a health condition that can pick for.



So cancer prevention. And then we look at, I look at the current literature on cancer prevention, and what vegetables have some research to support their utilization? In a lot of cases, vegetables, we know are helpful for many health conditions. So it's not super hard to find good evidence. But we try to see what what has the best evidence and then that's what we put on those pages. So there's brain health, hormone health. Here's pregnancy, there's lactation, like postpartum.


Laura Lummer  18:06

What a great use of pregnancy. What a great gift to give to someone who's pregnant, right? Do you boxes of this produce? Oh my gosh, yeah.



And that's, I think it's a really nice gift for like anybody, like, especially we have blood sugar balance is one of them, right. And so instead of giving people boxes of chocolate, why not give vegetables, it's such a nice gift. It's so thoughtful. And again, it comes with recipes. So it's not as overwhelming as it could be right if you don't normally cook. But there's a lot of really inspiring things by when you get a box of vegetables, and you don't necessarily know what everything is. Sometimes it's really fun to take the time and look it up and sample new things and try and experiment. And that can add a lot of creativity and fun and play in the meal. And then it's fun to just share with other people as well.


Laura Lummer  18:59

I totally agree. And it forces me to kind of go outside my comfort zone right in the last box. I got this big bag of braising mix. And I was like, What the heck do I do with this? And I went on your website where I saw your lovely face and all of the recipes and everything that's going on. I was like, oh, okay, this is really cool. There's a lot of great stuff there. So what would you tell people who I often hear this, so I've had produce deliveries for years. And people always say to me, oh, I want to pick my own? Yeah, I'm very concerned that it's not there. Like is it? You know, Is it rotten is it speckled? Like what would you say to people who are worried about the quality that they're gonna get?



Yes, first of all, that's my mom. See, I'm that person. But um, you know, I think one of the things we really pride ourselves on is quality and we have amazing customer service. We have dedicated customer service people, and we're sending the best of the best we've sold To the best restaurants around the world for the last 35 years, and just in the last, like, two and a half years since COVID. Basically, we started playing the theme vegetable that we're sending to the best restaurants around the world, to home consumers. So the quality is super high. Even though you can't pick your own unless you live in Ohio, we do have a pharmacy ends in Huron, Ohio, but you know, I have


Laura Lummer  20:23

a client in Ohio and she's just a couple of miles from you. And she's like, You got to come out sometime. And we're gonna go pick their we're gonna go to the ship started because like, Oh, it sounds like a great field trip.



Yes, yeah. But you know, we really pride ourselves on sending the highest quality vegetables possible.


Laura Lummer  20:41

Yeah. So what is the difference? Amy between regenerative farming and organic farming?



Yeah, that's such a good question. So regenerative farming, basically, like I described as farming in harmony with nature is trying to reduce synthetic inputs. It doesn't mean that it's organic, though. There is a differentiator there. And so, like Rodale Institute, for example, it's a big proponent of regenerative organic agriculture. Organic agriculture, though, doesn't tell us what's going on with the soil. So it tells us what we're not using, right? You're not using synthetic inputs, you're not using GMO seeds, but it doesn't say what you are doing. Oftentimes, farmers are doing some combination of both. It just depends on what certifications they have and sort of what practices they're following. But it's important to ask those questions and get to know your farmer. So again, organic is really non GMO seeds, and using organic pesticides, herbicides and fungicides. OMRI certified typically are the products that they're using non synthetic.


Laura Lummer  21:52

And then in No, not no chemicals, just organic, approved chemicals is



often a misunderstanding with organic because oftentimes people feel it's organic, nothing has been used on it. And unfortunately, that's not true. And so there you can look online. Omri is the acronym is bo m, ar, I have a list of like approved products that can be used in organic produce. So, you know, if you're interested in kind of researching that more deeply, and then again, regenerative farming is about reducing any sort of synthetic inputs, doesn't guarantee organic, but is looking at soil management practices. Sometimes I hear regenerative described as more of a philosophy because everyone manages their farm a little bit differently and uses kind of what makes sense for how they farm like for us, one of the tenements of regenerative agriculture is often having animals on the land. But for us for food safety reasons, especially serving food and restaurants and thing, we don't have animals on our land, because we don't want to risk that contamination potential, right. And so, um, you know, not every kind of possible option of regenerative farming has to be used to be called regenerative. Get that.


Laura Lummer  23:18

Yeah, it totally makes sense. So let's touch on with the study. We both do with Nisha winters, one of the aspects, one of the categories in the terrain 10 is toxic burden. And something we talk about a lot is glyphosate, and how you know, people's consumption of glyphosate. So for people who hear this, and I think, Whoa, hold on, I eat organic 100% Everything. What would you say about the safety and the toxic burden? When people think about the difference between organic and the farming regenerative farming, as you described it?



Yeah, I would say it's really important to know your farmer know their farming practices, and understand what they are and are not putting on their land. Because it's really hard to tell also, like, who are they surrounded by? Right, because glyphosate or Roundup can be in the air, it can be in the water, like it's pretty ubiquitous in our environment anymore. And so did the understanding kind of the whole, the whole picture can be really helpful, but it's not UV. There are tests that can be done of produce to look at glyphosate levels. We do periodic testing on the farm to make sure that we haven't no detectable glyphosate, because we don't use any anywhere on the farm.


Laura Lummer  24:40

That's one thing that's important. That's important to know. Yeah, super important. Yeah. And I know so with all the research and development that you do, what is the focus? I mean, I don't think I ever hear about like, we don't go and you know, I live in California so as you drive through the agricultural part of Bakersfield and Fresno well as needed. See, you know, miles and miles and miles of mono crops, we don't really think about what goes on behind it. Are they researching? Is this safe? Is this delicious? What's happening? So what do you do there on the farm? And how does that work and making your product



quality? Yeah, so in my role as director of Pharmacy with an F, one of the things I help lead is kind of where we're going with our research, right. And so right now we're looking at nutrient content of the vegetables, and how our farming practices year over year influence that. So ideally, each year based on our regenerative farming principles, we should be improving and our nutrient density. And so that's what we're really looking to see. So we're looking right now primarily at minerals, mineral content, we're starting to look at some vitamins as well. And we're moving into looking at phytonutrients. So right now, we're most interested in sulfuric vein, which is obviously probably interesting to your audience as well. And then nitrates.


Laura Lummer  26:00

Can we talk about why why cancer survivors would be interested in sulfuryl? Right?



Yeah, so So if your theme is created when you chew, essentially cruciferous vegetables, or you cut them, or kind of break their cell walls, so some enzymes combined with other compounds in the vegetables, and it works off European, and South European helps with healthy hormone detox, essentially. So it helps support your body's natural process to help balance hormones naturally. And help with that detoxification of hormone metabolites that could be more harmful if reabsorbed, so selfcare, Fanes really important for that, that's why we love our cruciferous vegetables, we even have I formulated an antioxidant micro green button that we call our high health European blend, because it's all of the cruciferous vegetables in like just tiny little micro greens that you can kind of sprinkle on everything. I love


Laura Lummer  26:59

  1. Yeah. And I think I redirect you there when I asked you to explain sulfur bank, because you're talking about the research you're doing going into it. Is there something else you want to say about that?



Yeah, no, I think that pretty much is it right now. That's where we're focused, we also do look at our soil health. So we look at kind of the microbial activity that's going on in the soil, because we again, want to see that soil just really alive and active and thriving. One of the things that I was really impressed with when I came in toward the farm initially, is even just like the thought that goes into everything that they do, like, they have like yellow and sticky paper around a lot of the crops. And it's just monitoring what sort of bugs are there, because they'll stick to it. So what sort of pest pressure might be going on and even just talking with the growers, like a lot of what we grow, like, especially the microgreens, and stuff are really small, like specialty crap that we send out, are grown in greenhouses and those growers, like no those plants so well, that if anything starts to look dry with them, they know it like very quickly, and they identify issues so quickly. And you know, it's really like a case by case scenario. And then also even just things like growing tomatoes, we don't plant all our tomatoes, one, but they can't meet over the small sections like around the farm, because if one, you know, crop get a disease or had something wrong, it doesn't influence all the other ones planted in the other areas. And so I just I'm continually impressed with the thought that goes into like, planning and trying to prevent disease and, you know, pest pressure more


Laura Lummer  28:44

naturally. Yeah, pest pressure, like I would have never thought about that. That's fascinating. Yeah, everything that goes into it. So I get sometimes people ask this question, especially when I talk with them about increasing their vegetable intake. And we know how in the world of social media, people like to take specific elements and then demonize them as much as possible, rather than talk about overall benefits of things. So can you speak a little bit to oxalates? Because I do hear from people often. Oh, you know, if I eat more of that than I have to worry about things like oxalates and kidney stones and that type of problem. What would you say about that? Yeah,



so I typically say it depends, right? If you are prone to kidney stones, and you've been advised to avoid oxalate, by all means that probably make sense, but also looking at the underlying cause, like why do you have high oxalate levels? Why aren't you clearing it? Are there other things you could be doing in the diet or in your lifestyle? That may be helpful as well? Right? Because vegetables that contain oxalates also contain a lot of vitamins, minerals, fiber phytonutrients like there's a lot lot of benefits there. So to just like, blanket avoid them, especially if you don't have trouble with kidney stones doesn't make a ton of fun. If you do, then it's looking at the other lifestyle things so that maybe you can have some or maybe you can prepare them in a certain way that minimizes the oxalates. So that you can better tolerate them.


Laura Lummer  30:21

I love that. Yeah, I think just, I think that we just, again, get conditioned to look at tunnel vision, right to look at one thing and one problem it might cause rather than taking in everything. No. Do you grow fruit at all on the farm? Yes, it all.



So we have tomatoes.


Laura Lummer  30:42

And I met we That's true. Yeah, it's a vegetable that is a fruit, right? Yeah,



we do grow strawberries. And right now it's strawberry season. And they are beautiful and abundant. And I just want to eat everything was strawberries. But those that's really our main fruit. And then we do have huckleberries, which are kind of more like a tomato as well. And those are really fun and special that come on a little later. We have like little melons as well. And then we'll have we can't cucamelons their little tiny cucumbers basically. So we have some fruits, but if


Laura Lummer  31:26

and can you say because I remember I heard you, you know speaking, which is why I invited you hear and when you said the amount of vegetables, the amount of crops that you grow on that farm, I was like, blown away. Yeah.



Yeah, so we grow 600 to 800 different varieties of edible vegetables, flowers, microgreens and herbs.


Laura Lummer  31:49

That is amazing. Amazing. Because I think when people start thinking about vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, kale, of course, kale, right, and go right to that. And when I heard you say that, right, I thought, That's so fantastic. And can you speak a little bit to why? Like, what's the importance of having this variety of herbs and vegetables and all of these different plants in our diet?



Yes. Oh, my gosh, I love that question. So really, diversity is key, just like diversity in our microbiome is so important. diversity in our diet is tremendously important. So again, eating the rainbow, getting as many different colors of phytonutrients, as you can, is so important. And also eating seasonally. So thinking about kind of the wisdom of nature, and how, for example, in the spring, spring greens are really abundant. That helps us kind of with our digestive system with our liver, right. In the summer cooling foods are like tomatoes and cucumbers and foods that are like, higher and moisture. In the fall. We think of root vegetables in like squashes, which are high and beta carotene, which becomes vitamin A and help support the immune system so that diversity and seasonal eating is so important to helping support health all your around.


Laura Lummer  33:13

Yes, I love it. I love that you touched on seasonal eating because, right our body and our own circadian rhythms are in sync with the Earth, whether we remember that or realize it or not, it just is. And so I'd love how you describe that eating with the seasons. And also, I think because of our climate controlled environments that we live in, we just eat as if it was winter, like all year round, right, these big heavy meals and heavy foods. Whereas if we stop and think if we didn't have air conditioning, and is 8590 degrees out, you're not going to be sitting down to a big ol steak and a big potato, you're going to want a sour strawberry. Right? You're like, I'll just take the strawberry smoothie. That's good. Yeah,



exactly. That's, I think there's a lot of wisdom to iron beta, and kind of that seasonal eating and eating kind of in tune with nature. And it helps to just get it in more diversity to because it's very easy to get into the route of like, this is what I have everyday for lunch. And this is what I have every day for dinner type of thing. All right meal prep, which is great and very convenient. But if you're always meal prepping the same thing week after week, you're not getting in that diversity. That's a really, really important.


Laura Lummer  34:24

Yeah, so important. And I think too, because of our own microbiome, our own gut health. And you know more and more as we discover we in science and clinical studies see the in amazing benefits of having a diverse microbiome in our gut. We have to think about that right as we're rotating the foods that we eat, so we're feeding different bacteria in our gut. So like we have all these little pets in there.



Yes, and recently I thought this is thick that our own micro biome. Diversity is about 10% that of the soil. And that's mostly because of our urban Our urban living environments been more like sanitation. And so really honestly, getting out in nature, getting your hands in the soil eating vegetables grown in healthy soil helps support your own microbial diversity.


Laura Lummer  35:11

Yeah, that's so you got to have people come and help garden out there and pull weeds.



Yes, hands dirty gardening gloves. And I recently I don't like to paint my nails either, but I painted my nails. And because they were so bad. I really I like to have my hands in the soil and actually touch the soil.


Laura Lummer  35:35

Yeah. And honestly, I think there's something so beautiful about that, because where I live now is a condo. So I have potted plants. But it's weird. Like, sometimes I just, I just want to like report the plant or plant something new, right. And I agree with you like, I want to have my hands in the soil. Even though I do paint my nails, I'll go get them repaint it, but I want to feel that. And the same was cooking, there's something I love so much about getting a big, beautiful box of fresh produce. And I even just love washing them and prepping them and just the smell of them and the colors of them and cooking. Right? It's really part of that whole arithmetic way of eating, is when you pick up this vegetable to consider like how did this come to be here in your hand? And how's it going to become a part of your body? And who's touched it? And where did it come from? Like, it's so beautiful. Think about it coming from a place, like a garden where it's been cared for, like your farm, from the very planting of the seed even before the seed, right? When you're thinking about the soil that that seed is gonna go in.



Yeah, that's I just wrote a blog for the Center for mindful eating, and the quote, we started out with something like, you know, when does the apple stop being an apple and start becoming part of me, like when you consume it, and it's just really cool to think about that, really, you know, that energy and those nutrients, it's really more than just the nutrients themselves. But that energy that you're taking in, and it becoming part of your body, like literally our bodies are made of the food that we consume. So


Laura Lummer  37:10

I love that I love that so much. And I'll never forget, I'll share this experience when my daughter was a young teenager. And she was having a lot of trouble with acne. And I took her she was at the doctor for something I don't even remember what it wasn't. She said something about her skin. And the doctors like well, if you want, you know, I can write you a prescription for it. And I said, Well, why don't we first start with when she goes out with her friends don't eat the pizza or drink the soda, because then it's not something that she has when she's at home. And I'll never forget, he turns to me goes, Oh, that's ridiculous. It makes no difference what somebody eats, that's not going to affect their skin. And I thought we need to find a new doctor. This is how could you say that the food you put into your body isn't going to affect your body? Just makes no sense. What is the cell built from? Right? Where does it get nutrients from? That's like saying anything you put in the soil will have no effect on the plant. I mean, it doesn't even make sense.



I just had that with my daughter she had, she's gonna be really bad asthma and coughing for like hours on end. And we were crying and they put her on like five different medications. And I did like an elimination style plan with her to see if there it could potentially be food, right. And so we went through eliminating some of the top allergens really thoughtfully, and we identified like for triggering foods, we kept those out of her diet. I personally tapered her off of medication, and now she's symptom free. And I took her back in and he's like, Wait, she's so much better than we would have expected. But you know, it's not the food. And I was like, Are you kidding? It's very unlikely that it would be a food allergy. And I was like, really? That's so weird. Because it seems to be working. Yeah, yeah, exactly. I think that's just our current system. But, you know, I think it's one of those things that you see for yourself, the power of food, and the healing potential it can have and also just how important all of the lifestyle factors are because the carry receiving the doctor's office is a very, very small part of what goes on in our lives. And it's the day in and day out that really matters the most. Not only diet, but the lifestyle, the sleep, the stress, all of the things we talked about.


Laura Lummer  39:28

So important. And you know, just as you say it in the way that you have been describing the farming, it's the same, right? You're taking that same care of those plants, that we want to be taking care of our body, you're looking at their circadian rhythm, what seasons are they going to grow best in what soil? What communities have other plants around them or they're going to grow best in and the whole energetic just transfers to humanity, right? Our life and our bodies and our health. And I just think it's amazing that if we can stop and get back into touch with that, and how important being in touch with the Earth and the energetics of the earth and the food our, to our own health. It's, it's beautiful. I mean, it's mind boggling, but it's beautiful, you know? Yeah. Yeah. So whatever not asked you about that you'd like to share because I feel like I could talk to you, I could just sit here and listen to you forever. We're going to share the amazing video about the farm and how the family behind the farm and how all of this got started. We've got a link to that in the show notes. But what would you like to share? Like what just warms your heart when you think about the chef's garden?



Yeah, you know, one of the things I would say, one of my main goals at the chef's garden is for the farmer to become part of every health and wellness team. And I think that's the farmer is often left out of the equation, right? If you go, unfortunately, stay a night in the hospital, you'll see that there's a disconnect between the food that you're served often in a hospital and healing or, you know, the healing potential of food. And so how do we bring the farmer into that equation, to be able to grow food in a way that's really nutrient dense and supportive of health? And, you know, bring that farmer in? So they're part of the care team, because I think food is really foundational to our health. And that's what really lights me up is how do we get children involved? How do we change our healthcare systems? How do we change our schools? You know, there's so much work to be done that it can be overwhelming. But I think just simply starting the conversations, it's been really fun in my role, one of the things I do is reach out to various health systems. I've been working with them schools, and how do we really just start to implement small little changes that often begin snowball, as people just experience, the change, or, you know, just a little bit of like, a little, like, try this? And, you know, you try one thing you experiment? And then you're like, oh, actually, that's great. How about this. So just starting with one small change can really make a difference.


Laura Lummer  42:13

I love that. And I know, you inspired more questions, because you touched on children. And a lot of times someone will get a diagnosis of cancer, they'll start to reevaluate many things in their life diet, especially food, and begin to implement dietary changes for themselves, but not their family. And then they'll say, Oh, my kids don't like it, or I don't want to battle the kids. But essentially, if we don't teach our children, how to nourish and support their bodies and their body's ability to work optimally, that at some point, they may end up where we are as adults, trying to figure out how to eat. So how do you address that? What What would you say, and I love the like, I'm just thinking, as you say, one small changes, like puts a little microgreens in their sandwich, you know, or



something like that. Exactly. And that's, so I have a four and a seven year old. And I know it's not easy sometimes to get kids to eat, you know, their vegetables, right. But as the thing getting them involved is really powerful. So, for example, we have a garden at home, and I'll have the kids come out and play with me. And we just did here that we just opened the back gate into the garden, when it was lunchtime for the kids to go out and find like, oh my god, that's so cool. pick berries or pictures, meadows or whatever, and they just kind of graze around and eating. And I love that. I think that's how it should be. But it's kind of getting them to play with their food to maybe cook with you. So cherry tomatoes on a skewer. Super simple, but kids have fun with that right? And they're fun. They're kind of sweet. They're like small. I also love the idea of like cooking with your kid and bringing them into the process. Also at school, like school gardens I think can be really amazing. They're challenging every school system my kids have been in I've helped certainly garden and I'm not gonna say it's the easiest thing in the world. But, you know, I think it's really important for kids to learn from a young age where their food comes from to have that connection to have the sensory experience with fresh vegetables and have a hand and growing it. I used to volunteer for Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution. And I'll never forget there was a grandmother with her grandson and I was just doing this activity where I was making salsa with kids and I had all the different ingredients and they had to basically take spoonfuls and create their own salsa in a car. And she said, oh hell never eat that he doesn't eat vegetable. And I said okay, well let's let him try to make it and so he made it and then he proceeded to eat the entire cup. And that's not projecting our own expectations or biases onto the kid. If, and if you want to play with it, let them try it without being like, Oh, they're not gonna like that or whatever. Like, don't try it. And you know, it takes trying things a few times sometimes before you like it, or trying to prepare it in different ways. Like, we all have probably scarring childhood experiences with, like boiled vegetables, right, lima beans.


Laura Lummer  45:21

Yes, that's me. Gross.



I haven't talked about boiled brussel sprouts from his childhood that he couldn't put enough ketchup on. But I think those are the things where you're like, you know, that's probably not the best way to cook a lima bean or Brussel sprout. But what if we roast them? And what if we, you know, do XYZ? That can make it a whole different experience? Or what if we tried to carry it raw vs cooked? What if we pair it with this or that, like, there's a lot of options. So just trying different things. Although kids tend to like smaller about the struggles I found, so try and follow wrestled with them. But I like bite size that they can try staying away from super spicy or you know, super like bitter at first. And just playing around, there's a great website called solid starts, which I wish I had it when my kids were really little. I didn't know about it until more recently, but they have recommendations for starting kids on whole foods from like the time they start eating through toddlers like how to cut it, how to prepare it like wonderful way to get kids really growing up with all of those Whole Foods and not relying on like the profit pouches. I think this is a whole nother conversation. But oftentimes, everything's pureed when kids are small, and you don't get that job development, you're not chewing, you're not really learning like eating skills, right? Pretty much sucking down kind of simple, more simple sugars. So avoiding like overly sweetened, highly pureed foods and thinking about how you could eat more solid foods with smaller children. Yeah.


Laura Lummer  47:10

We could, yeah, we could talk about this. And I think too, because, you know, we hear now that, you know, this generation of kids will be the first generation who will not outlive their parents, due to their health due to lifestyle, not infectious diseases, but lifestyle. So we have to become aware that we can change the direction of that it's not too late. And we can get kids and it's been my experience. I have four adult children, but through raising my kids and all the children around me that, yeah, when they see or they have the experience of helping to plant something, even if you live in an apartment, and it's an A in a pot and plant a tomato plant that they really do, because they've been engaged in the process, whether it's cooking or planting, that they're more receptive. And we as cancer survivors, we don't want to see that people we love go through it. And not that anything is 100% guarantee. But if we could teach them from a very early age to take care of themselves in ways that many of us are just learning now, how much better chance will they have? You know, we can change the tide a little bit from what we're seeing happening now? Yes, absolutely. I love it. And so I want you to be able to share your podcasts and what people can continue to learn from you about better ways to nourish themselves. And so talk to us a little bit about that.



So I host the farming for health podcast, you can find it on every podcast platform. And you can also find my writing on firmer johnsburg.com under blogs. And you can find our pharmacy build your own box feature there based on health conditions under pharmacy and build your inbox.


Laura Lummer  48:50

I love it. And I'm gonna put links to everything in the show notes also, along with the link to the video that you're going to share. And I'm just so honored to have you here. This is such a great conversation. And I think such an important critical conversation to help you know it as I know work with all breast cancer survivors and I am a breast cancer survivor. And I just think that over the years that I've been managing cancer and and supporting my body's ability to heal, one of the most important things is just getting in touch with that energy of what are her body actually like really learning to love our body and nourish it and feed it from a place of love like heart centered eating and realizing that that is not deprivation, that eating nine to 12 cups of beautiful fresh foods, fresh grown vegetables in a day is anything but deprivation. And it is a treat and it is a pleasure as well. And so learning to get back in touch with our the with nature, with the nature of our foods and the nature of our body is just something that is absolutely foundational to our health and to our healings Well, thank you so much for sharing your expertise here.



Yes, thank you so much.


Laura Lummer  50:04

I hope you got as much out of that as I did. And I hope that you go through the links that are in the show notes for this podcast and learn more about Amy, explore the recipes that she's created for you learn more about the chef's garden and try some of this amazing produce. And I encourage you to do that I should say I'm not making any money off of this, I'm not getting a kickback from the chef's garden or from Farmer Jones farm. I just think that this is a valuable, incredibly valuable resource for all of us. And because I eat the vegetables in the produce from the chef's garden, and I know how delicious they are, and how much I enjoy the recipes. I think that this is just a tremendous tool for you to have and explore. And it's a fun way to learn how to have a more plant forward diet, which all of us can benefit from. So explore all of those links. Enjoy yourself and come and tell me what you think. And if you try one of the chef's gardens boxes, I'd love to hear about it. You can find me on Instagram as the breast cancer recovery coach, Facebook, Laura Lummer, the breast cancer recovery coach, and you can even join my free Facebook group, the breast cancer recovery group, where we have these kinds of discussions and support each other in everything we can do to create lives that are better than before breast cancer. And then there's the ultimate way to help share your insights and allow me to share more of my insights with you and that's joining me in the better than before breast cancer life coaching membership. You can find all the details about that on my website, the breast cancer recovery coach.com forward slash life coaching or just go to coaching and programs. Alright, enjoy yourself explore some of these links. I cannot wait to hear back from you and I'll talk to you again soon.


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