Rise…and Shine!

August 28th, 2015

“The difference between rising at five and seven o’clock in the morning, for forty years, supposing a man to go to bed at the same hour at night, is nearly equivalent to the addition of ten years to a man’s life.”

~Philip Doddridge

Most people would identify themselves as either larks (early risers) or night owls. Several weeks ago, we asked Fork in the Road fans to tell us why they get up at the butt-crack of dawn and what they get out of it. Here’s what they told us, and some of the beautiful images they provided to help make the point.

Photo courtesy of Deb Dyar

Photo courtesy of Deb Dyar

Deb Dyar: For some reason, the most spiritual moments for me come in the early morning. Breathe deeply and experience the beauty.

*TerriWiebold sun picture

Photo courtesy of Terri Byrnes Wiebold

Terri Byrnes Wiebold: I wake up early on my own. My time then meditating and journaling sets the tone for the day. Each day this anchors my connection with the universal energy and flow of the day.

Kelly Bittner: I get up at 4:30am to go to kickboxing/strength classes. Initially, it was a struggle, but now I love being awake that early. I can take my time and not feel crazy rushed to get to work. Plus I have all the time in the world after work to still cook/meet friends/do anything. BONUS: it’s so peaceful in the morning. I love seeing all the deer and hearing the birds chirping.

Sue Goode: I love to see the sun rise…the quietness of the hour, preparation for the day. Prayer, exercise and meditation.

Photo courtesy of Tracy L. Kelley

Photo courtesy of Tracy L. Kelley

Tracey L. Kelley: Few things are as amazing as watching the sun come up, listening for birds, and having a moment of peace that sets the day in motion. Night has its own special energy, but I like who I am when I get up early instead of staying up late. I read, do yoga, take a walk or—if I’m really lucky—witness some pretty incredible scenes in nature:

Sarah Harding: My morning routine is essential. Getting up “early” for me means before the three kids and preferably 5 hours or more after going to bed.

Shirley Treanor: When I get out of bed early it allows time for me to take care of my sunflower garden while beating the heat of the hot summer days.  It is a good way to start the morning because it puts me in a meditative state and connects me to the plant kingdom.

Photo courtesy of Shirley Treanor

Photo courtesy of Shirley Treanor

Tiffany McSkimming: I love being up early. I workout first thing–P90x3 or Les Mills Combat, 30-45 minutes. I’m more energized for the day and able to handle life’s stresses better. It’s my “me” time to get focused in for the day!

Photo courtesy of Tiffany McSkimming

Photo courtesy of Tiffany McSkimming

Photo courtesy of Tami Thompson

Photo courtesy of Tami Thompson

Tami Thompson: I was really struggling with how I would capture the joy I have in early rising. Then I realized it would be simple. One of my very favorite things to do as a mom is watch my kids, especially when they don’t know I’m watching. And I love looking at their faces while they’re sleeping. This is pure joy and it is that joy I have when I get up early.

Jenny Comstock: I like to be doing one of four things as the sun comes up: yoga, running, roller skating or meditating. Sunrise truly is a magical time. If I can do something to nurture my soul right off the bat, I find I will continue to do so for the rest of the day.

Photo courtesy of Julie Poore

Photo courtesy of Julie Poore

Julie Poore: That still and quiet time before the neighborhood comes to life is a holy moment for me: To bear witness to all of creation coming to life. My morning starts with going straight to my yoga mat. Breathing in and out, deep into my lungs, is an act of gratitude for the breath and life. My morning ritual ends with the blessings of a shower. Water has always been a powerful element for me.

Photo courtesy of Diane Baker

Photo courtesy of Diane Baker

Diane Goodson Baker: I have always been an early riser—it is the best part of my day. I have more energy early for yoga, walks or exercise followed by meditation or gratitude journaling. I like to keep my life balanced and fun after years of deadlines and taking life too seriously.

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2015 Iowa State Fair Raw Food Winners

August 22nd, 2015

Forgive me for sounding press release-ish here: I wanted to make sure I got all the facts in.  Special thank you to our judges who gave up part of a Saturday to come taste all the wonderful entries. I am indebted! ~ Sheree


*2015 ISF Grand Prize presentationThe third “Eating Without Heating” raw food competition, sponsored by Fork in the Road, was held at the Iowa State Fair on August 22. To be eligible, entries were required to be both vegetarian and not heated to more than 115 degrees Fahrenheit. Judging criteria included taste, appearance and creativity.

The Grand Prize Blue Ribbon winner was Holly Houg of Des Moines, whose No-Bake Peanut Butter Cups won accolades from the judges. A Blue Ribbon was awarded to Lucas Burr of Iowa City for his Blueberry Fruit Leather. At age 15, Lucas is the youngest winner in the annual competition so far.


2015 ISF Blue ribbon boy

The 2015 Eating Without Heating judging team included:

Missy Keenan, a freelance writer, editor and user experience consultant living in Des Moines. Her professional projects include writing website copy, helping clients make their sites easier to use and writing stories for the Des Moines Register and other publications. You can see more about Missy and her work at www.missykeenan.com.

Laurie Moritz, a raw food chef, instructor and creator of Sweet Raw Joy, a Cedar Rapids, Iowa based line of nutrient-rich, full-flavored raw vegan desserts and raw stone-ground chocolates. She is a certified instructor for Alissa Cohen, raw food chef, teacher, and author of Living on Live Food and Raw Food for Everyone. You can learn more about Laurie and Sweet Raw Joy on social media or by emailing Laurie@SweetRawJoy.com

Anne Rierson, Public Relations Manager at Frontier Co-op. In her role, she manages media, community and influencer relations for the co-op and its three national brands – Frontier, Simply Organic and Aura Cacia. Her Twitter handle, @Spicegirl, hints at her love of flavorful food. In her free time, Anne enjoys long-distance running and traveling with her husband, Jeff.

2015 ISF Judges - very intentThis years’ Blue Ribbon winners each received cash awards. Frontier Co-op of Norway, Iowa, provided a healthy living gift basket, which was presented to the Grand Prize Blue Ribbon recipient.

For information next year’s competition, visit the Iowa State Fair website after February 2016, or email Sheree at sheree@fork-road.com.2015 ISF Crowd + judges 2

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You do WHAT with corn silk?

July 31st, 2015

Corn in a basketNothing says summer like fresh corn! Most people throw out the silk—the long soft yellow threads that grow out of the top of an ear of corn—but corn silk has been used like a folk remedy for hundreds of years. Corn silk extract has long been used as a treatment for diabetes. It is also helpful to address conditions including:

• Bladder infections
• Fluid retention
• Heart disease
• High blood pressure
• Hyperglycemia
• Kidney stones
• Urinary tract infections

A natural source of vitamin K and potassium, corn silk is regarded as a safe dietary supplement. There are no known side effects when taken as directed. The proper dose varies from person to person and is impacted by age, weight, height and any medications being taken. Because corn silk tea is a diuretic, you will want to avoid drinking it before bedtime or it could interrupt your sleep.

To harvest corn silk: When shucking fresh sweet corn, simply pull the golden strands off of the ears, and spread them out on a paper towel to dry. Fresh corn silk is best, but dried silk works, too. Be sure to use homegrown or organic corn. The silk from conventional corn, in addition to likely being genetically modified, likely contains pesticides.

A great remedy for incontinence or urinary discomfort—or just drink it because you enjoy the pleasant taste!
Yield: 2 servings

2 cups purified water
2 tablespoons fresh corn silk, chopped

Put water and silk into a pot and bring to a boil with the lid on the pot. Cover and let this steep for fifteen to twenty minutes or until cool enough to drink. Strain. Sweeten with raw honey to taste, if desired. Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to three days.

Yield: 4 servings

4 cups purified water
4 tablespoons fresh corn silk, chopped

Put silk and water in half-gallon glass jar. Cover with a lid and place in the sun for 4-6 hours. Strain. Add honey and lemon or lime to taste. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

For an alcohol tincture
Corn silk may also be taken as a tincture. To make an alcohol-based tincture, fill a small jar about 1/4 full of fresh, chopped corn silk. Top off the rest of the jar with a high proof, preferably organic, alcohol such as vodka. Allow mixture to infuse in a cool, dark place for six weeks, shaking occasionally. Strain and take 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon, several times a day (reduce amount for children). May be mixed with a spoonful of raw honey for a sweeter taste. Will keep for one year or longer in a cool, dark place.

Corn silk can be used to treat many pet conditions. Tea made with fresh silk seems to work best, particularly for the urinary tract. A suggested dose is 1/4 cup of tea per 20 lbs of body weight, twice per day. Not recommended for pregnant animals. Please check with a veterinarian for guidance on your pet’s individual situation.

Watch me get corny in a related YouTube segment here.

And…If you have an allergy to corn or are taking a prescription diuretic, do not take corn silk. Corn silk may decrease the level of potassium in your blood. If you have other medical conditions, are pregnant or nursing, have severe pollen or other allergies, or any general concerns, it’s a good idea to check with a qualified professional before use.

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