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- Food policy and teaching kids to garden
- The power of urban gardens
- Grant from Burt's Bees to design and implement a program for urban garden development
- Urban homesteading, chickens, compost
- Paleo perfectionism and raising a family of 4 girls plus husband
- Letting the perfect be the enemy of the good
- Kendall's AHS poster presentation
Click here to download this episode as an MP3.
Welcome to the Balanced Bites Podcast with Diane Sanfilippo and Liz Wolfe. Diane is a certified nutrition consultant and The New York Times bestselling author of Practical Paleo. Liz is a nutritional therapy practitioner and the author of Modern Cave Girl. Together, Diane and Liz answer your questions, interview leading health and wellness experts, and share their take on modern paleo living with their signature friendly and balanced approach. Remember our disclaimer: The materials and content within this podcast are intended as general information only and are not to be considered as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.
Liz Wolfe: Hey everyone, Liz Wolfe here. And the intro is a little bit deceptive because Diane is actually not here with me today. She's doing all kinds of important New York Times bestseller type of things. But I'm so excited because I have my friend and colleague, the amazing Kendall Kendrick from Primal Balance. She's on with me today, one of my favorite people that I've met through this whole fantastic ancestral health movement. She has a really impressive résumé, and I'm going to try and give a little bit of a rundown on it, but I'm also going to leave a little bit of that responsibility to her because… dang. You have a long list of stuff that you're working on, Kendall. Super long list.
Kendall Kendrick: Thank you, Liz!
Liz Wolfe: I just adore you.
Kendall Kendrick: Aww, I'm swooning.
Liz Wolfe: I'm serious.
Kendall Kendrick: You make me swoon always. You always make me swoon!
Liz Wolfe: You're totally my girl crush.
Kendall Kendrick: Aww, you're my girl crush!
Liz Wolfe: Oh, my goodness.
Kendall Kendrick: You were mine first.
Liz Wolfe: This is just silly. Well, I met Kendall in Charlotte at a Balanced Bites workshop and just totally fell in love with her right away. She knows so much about so many things that I'm interested in and want to learn about. She's also a compadre in the push to affect public policy when it comes to health and food, and Kendall is working in kind of moving towards a healthy diet for little ones, which is very important. I think we've really connected on that as well, my work with Steve's Club and what you're doing now as well, which we'll talk about as well. What else? Mom of four.
Kendall Kendrick: Yes.
Liz Wolfe: You've overcome a ton in your life, and you know so much about paleo parenting and, as your blog says, about balance. I love so much of what you talk about, about avoiding that pitfall of paleo perfectionism and having a fully healthy, well-nourished family but still keeping that element of balance. So I'm just going to ask you to do a little introduction of yourself and just kind of let me know what you want everybody to know about Kendall Kendrick!
Kendall Kendrick: All right! Well, I will say the things that you and I most have in common is that I am soon to graduate from the Nutritional Therapy Association, and you are already a nutritional therapy practitioner.
Liz Wolfe: Ta-da!
Kendall Kendrick: You were one of my inspirations for actually doing that program, and it's been fantastic. So I've been doing that this year. A lot of big kind of life changes have happened for me in this last year. I started working in food policy back in the fall. Farm to school and school gardens are a huge passion of mine because I do have four daughters. My oldest is 11-1/2, and my twins just turned 9, and in fact, tomorrow my baby will be 5, which is so hard to believe. And so, because we've always sort of had this natural lifestyle and been able to expose our kids to some of the things in that lifestyle, like eating locally, going to the farmers’ market, growing our own food, and I have an urban farm and I'll talk about that in a little bit, but I really felt like other kids deserve that opportunity who maybe wouldn't get that, because I think probably the majority of children don't have access to those kinds of resources. And so I really got involved with the school gardens at my children's Montessori school, which is a public school, it's a magnet program, and through that, I started to become involved with the farm-to-school initiatives that were happening in my city, and I landed my dream gig, and I am now the project coordinator for childhood nutrition for our local food policy council, which is a nonprofit. And just recently I received a grant through Burt's Bees to implement some different programs in our local schools to really just put some education pieces together to help kids, again, just understand more about gardening, where food comes from, and it's so exciting. It's the kind of job that I just wake up every day and pinch myself and say: Is this a job? I don't think I can call this a job because this is just so exciting. I was at PaleoFX a couple of weeks ago, and I would start talking to people about it. And in my head I was like: Just shut up! Just shut up! Just stop talking! I can't stop when I start because it fills my heart so much to see children know where food comes from and how it's grown, and it's just something that our society is missing out on so much, and I think that it just links back to this ancestral diet that we're all trying to work on here.
Liz Wolfe: Most definitely, and I think that I even have forgotten, and maybe at some point I knew, but for a long time I forgot where food comes from.
Kendall Kendrick: For a long time, my food came from a McDonald's bag!
Liz Wolfe: Absolutely!
Kendall Kendrick: That was most of my life until I started having children 12 years ago, and I was a total junk food junkie, and I say that all the time, and I grew up on a farm! And just completely lost all of that and just didn't understand nutrition whatsoever, and to have a family that's just riddled by diabetes and autoimmune diseases, and it's all nutrition based.
Liz Wolfe: So, growing up on a farm, what kind of memories are kind of coming back to you while you're working with these kids and designing this program to reach them with nutrition and where food comes from and how to grow good food? What's coming back to you? Because you know that I have my little homestead going right now, and I have forgotten. I need to learn. Maybe I need to hear a little bit about what you're working with these kids on.
Kendall Kendrick: Yeah. We started our little urban farm at our house. We live very kind of intercity and we have a third of an acre, which is more than probably a lot of people in this city have. But we have 16 chickens now, actually 15 because we had to give one of our roosters away last night.
Liz Wolfe: Last night?!
Kendall Kendrick: Last night actually. Yeah, we live in the city so we can't have roosters, and we got several new chicks in January, and there was one day we were like: Oh, those are roosters.
Liz Wolfe: Shoot.
Kendall Kendrick: Yeah, now we're giving them away and we have to get more hens to keep our egg production up. But anyway, my husband is just now venturing into aquaponics and growing tilapia and growing greens and whatnot with that, so that's kind of exciting… when he's not flooding the basement! They have to be temperature controlled, so for now we're just working in the basement trying to get all the kinks kind of worked out, and growing our own food. So taking those pieces into the schools and the programs and just getting those kids into the dirt. And I will say, when I was a little girl, I wanted nothing to do with being dirty or being in the dirt, and all of my cousins would be barefoot all day, running around on our grandparents' farm, and I was just like: Uh-uh. Nope, nope. But I have these amazing memories of spending evenings and sunset out in the field getting all the cows back into their pens for overnight with my grandfather, and I think that that is probably what got me back into food. I know that's inside of me, and so just putting those memories into the kids now so that they'll carry those with them through and pass it on as well and do big things with it. You know, it's totally different than being out in the country, which you're learning now, Liz.
Liz Wolfe: Uhh… yes.
Kendall Kendrick: You're out there in the middle of nowhere on a farm versus doing these small gardens, but the lessons are still the same. And so it's just really important that we teach these kids that it's really simple to plant some seeds and get your food out of that and to create healthy, nutritious meals. So what we really do is we emphasize tastings in the classroom, taking the food that's grown in the garden and doing really fun stuff with it, like making kale chips. Kids love kale chips! They get so excited. Making smoothies out of them… You know, the possibilities are endless. And it's so funny because you have parents who are like: My kids are so picky, and they won't eat anything. Well, when they get in a classroom with their peers, pressure is a beautiful thing in that case. Because when everybody else is tasting it, they don't want to be left out, so they taste it and: Oh, wow! This is fantastic! And you go home and say: Well, guess what? We had these really great green smoothies today. Or, we had these carrots, and we ate them right out of the dirt. So it's very exciting.
Liz Wolfe: I love it! I wish I could be among these little kids. I'm envisioning those AT&T commercials where those little kids are talking to that weird market research guy.
Kendall Kendrick: Yes!
Liz Wolfe: If more is not less, then you might want… you want more! I just can see myself sitting there soaking it in. I love it. And we're going to get all set up for our chickens here in about two weeks. So let's just take a quick homesteading detour. Can you please teach me how to have chickens? How am I supposed to love these little feathered lizards?
Kendall Kendrick: Well, I actually make fun of mine on the regular, but they're my husband's babies. I made a joke… We gave the rooster to a good friend of ours who's a farmer out in the country, and so I told her when she took the rooster away in the crate, I said: I think my husband packed a little snack bag for him and wrote him a little love letter. So just know, if my husband's calling you crying tomorrow… No, I'm just kidding! But the urban farming thing is really his thing, and so he's more attached to them. But it's so exciting! They're so cute when they're chicks. We got so excited about watching them grow every day. And if you go away for a couple of days, you come back and you think that they've grown, like, two months. So they're fun to watch, and then all they do is poop. It's just lots of poop. Eat, poop, eat, poop. And then, the next thing you know, they're ready to go outside. And then, you get eggs! And that's when you really love them! Because you start seeing them as production options. So, I grew my relationship with them once they started giving me something in return and I wasn't just feeding them.
Liz Wolfe: It's a mutual relationship.
Kendall Kendrick: It is.
Liz Wolfe: Good. OK, I'll remember that.
Kendall Kendrick: You know, I think chickens are so easy. The hardest part is just getting set up. We've always kept ours inside. We have a really nice-size basement, which is fortunate for us, and so we just kept them inside in the beginning in sort of a little pen we made and kept bedding in there until they were feathered out and ready to go outside. And even most recently we had to integrate the babies with the birds that were a year old, and that went great. That went fine. So, yeah, I think you're going to do just fantastic. Do you know how many you're going to get?
Liz Wolfe: Husband is very adamant that we stick with five.
Kendall Kendrick: Wow!
Liz Wolfe: But that means we'll get five and then five and then five.
Kendall Kendrick: Yeah.
Liz Wolfe: He likes to pare down just to kind of lower those expectations because he knows we're going to go and I'm going to get my, you know, 20 chickens.
Kendall Kendrick: Right! We started off with nine, and then my husband went and did some work on a friend's farm, and so he sent them home with seven. And I said: Really? Seven?! So then we had 16, but two were roosters, so they're going away. And then he said he wants to get four more so we just have a dozen and a half eggs a day.
Liz Wolfe: Just a dozen and a half.
Kendall Kendrick: Yeah, and I mean, there's only six of us. We don't eat a dozen and a half eggs a day. But apparently we're going to have 18 chickens soon. And there's always some talk about wanting a pig and… yeah. So I think you are my husband in this scenario, and I'm your husband in this scenario.
Liz Wolfe: When we went out to get – I wrote about this on my blog way back when – and I was telling you earlier off the air that I get my dog back today. I'm so excited!
Kendall Kendrick: Aww.
Liz Wolfe: He's been away from us since we've been preparing to move and moving and in temporary housing and then moving again and now kind of half-in, half-out of the new homestead. But he's been away, just kind of trying to give him some kind of semblance of stability for a couple of months, and I haven't had him, and this guy is 95 pounds of just pure brawn and muscle, and he's a super tall dog and the coolest dog in the world, but we went out looking for a small-ish… you know, a lab or something like that, and we went to the animal shelter, and I see this fully grown, gigantic dog – that's Cal – and I looked at my husband, and he goes: No. Because at this time we lived in a shoebox and there was just no way he was going to fit in our house, and of course, so the next day I went back and got the dog and surprise!
Kendall Kendrick: Aww, how sweet!
Liz Wolfe: Yeah.
Kendall Kendrick: When it's love, it's love.
Liz Wolfe: It was love.
Kendall Kendrick: And it might be that way with the chickens, right?
Liz Wolfe: I think it could be, and hopefully it's love between the chickens and the dog.
Kendall Kendrick: Yeah, well, I will say I have a little 8-pound Chorkie, and he tried to maul a couple of chickens. And our chickens don't totally free range. We have so many hawks, and all of our friends' chickens keep getting taken away by hawks, so we built sort of this PVC pipe and chicken wire mobile coop that we stick them in and just kind of move them all over the yard. There are all kinds of options you can work with.
Liz Wolfe: And you're in an urban setting.
Kendall Kendrick: We're in a completely urban setting!
Liz Wolfe: OK. And that's great because you are also kind of teaching. You're not teaching kids how to have 15 acres and some guinea hens.
Kendall Kendrick: No, not at all. And we're really fortunate. We have a group that works in our district, and they just procured a chicken tractor, so we actually have a chicken tractor that's going between seven different schools right now on a weekly basis, and it have four hens in it, and it's a mobile tractor, and the farmer who built it and put it together comes and picks it up every week and takes it to the next school. And so the kids collect the eggs during the week, and they do science research and all of this work taking care of the chickens, and then at the end of the week they make the eggs and scramble them and eat them and do different things with them. And so, again, it's just saying you can be in a totally urban setting. Now, I live in a neighborhood that's very cool. A lot of people have bees. Other people have chickens. We have a huge community garden. We have a floodplain where some houses were lost right next to the creek years ago, and so the city let us have it, and now we have probably at least a full acre of community gardens there. We each just have our own plot, and we garden our plot and help out with the garden. I just feel really fortunate, but I feel like anybody could have that. I feel like there are so many opportunities out there, and all you have to do is be willing to go find them.
Liz Wolfe: I think a lot of cities have some kind of urban garden connection. It would be really easy. Anybody that's interested, start out by Googling urban gardens in your city, and kind of see what comes up.
Kendall Kendrick: Absolutely.
Liz Wolfe: I'm sure there are volunteer opportunities and even teaching opportunities. Master gardeners a lot of times are involved with that type of stuff.
Kendall Kendrick: Yeah, if there's an extension service in your county, like I work closely with our extension service, and they're a great resource. If you have 4H where you live, they're a great resource, even if it's in a city. We have 4H here, and they're amazing. So there are so many resources. I just heard Josh Whiton speak at PaleoFX, and he runs an urban garden here in North Carolina, but in Raleigh, which is about three and a half hours from me. He spoke at PaleoFX on sustainability and creating these gardens. And it was great! This guy lived in an apartment complex, and he just took an area where people were taking their dogs, this little grassy area, and he started a garden there, and now he has this huge urban garden in Raleigh. I'm just blown away by the work that he's doing. So it just takes a vision, you know? It takes so little.
Liz Wolfe: And I want to talk about AHS, which is the next kind of paleo, ancestral conference that's coming up, because you have a ton to say about what you're going to be doing there.
Kendall Kendrick: Yeah!
Liz Wolfe: I want you to definitely give people the rundown, but first tell me, tell all of us black-thumbed jerks out here who are not… I have no faith in my gardening skills, and I now have many, many acres with which to work. So give me a couple of nuggets, because I'm going to plant something and something's going to grow, and I want a whole legion of people to do this with me. So tell us what to do.
Kendall Kendrick: Well, I always joke because I kind of am the black thumb at my house, but I like policy. That's what I say. I don't think that you have to be… Like, every time I've gotten an orchid, it's dead like within a week or something. And I've killed very houseplant I've ever had, but somehow I've managed to keep children alive and animals alive, so I have something going for me.
Liz Wolfe: Animals are easier, man.
Kendall Kendrick: I'm like: Just put a bunch of chickens on your land. Don't grow stuff. Just eat eggs all day long. Get some cows and goats! But I have grown stuff and I have been successful, and really there are so many guides out there that you can look at. If you want to do some soil testing, generally there's a university in your state that will do soil testing. I can't even get that complicated. We're just like: Dig a hole in the dirt, stick the seed in, stick the plant in, water it every day and let it grow, and see what happens.
Liz Wolfe: See what comes up. I think that's good!
Kendall Kendrick: I mean, what do you have to lose? I think it's really simple. I like composting. That's my favorite thing to do. I don't know why that is really easy for me. I think because the whole point is things dying, so it works really great! Like, you want the stuff to die! And so I'm always like: Well, I'll do the good compost. Then you go make that compost, and get that on your garden, and you're going to be golden.
Liz Wolfe: Well, I'm making some compost, so that's good.
Kendall Kendrick: I saw your video, you and your worms! That was great!
Liz Wolfe: That was bad, was it not? And that was completely genuine. I was recoiling every time I tried to pick up that worm. My hand wouldn't let me do it. I'm better now. I've picked up many worms in the ensuing weeks.
Kendall Kendrick: You were reminding me of my little girls. It was very cute.
Liz Wolfe: Oh, my goodness. And my mom, you hear her in the background because I've been back and forth to my parents' house. Our new home is within a couple of hours from my parents' house, so of course, we didn't have our house yet. We were just getting ready to close on our little homestead. But I wanted to start composting now! I wanted to start ordering all the stuff now because apparently being totally self-sufficient requires a lot of Amazon purchases, which is completely not self-sufficient at all.
Kendall Kendrick: Yeah!
Liz Wolfe: But I'm doing the compost thing.
Kendall Kendrick: OK, good. That's great.
Liz Wolfe: Do you do vermiculture?
Kendall Kendrick: I thought about doing vermiculture. I have a lot of friends who do, and I wanted to get into it. I just have a couple of tumblers, and also I do compost all of the chicken bedding. I do the deep bedding method, so I don't clean it out regularly, and it doesn't smell. It's fantastic. So every few months we'll clean it out, and we put that in a separate compost because you want that to really, really break down before it goes anywhere near your garden. So I just have several piles. I have sort of a slow pile in a black container, and then I have the tumbler. You know, I'm super slack about that. I have four kids. I'm just like: I get stuff done when I get stuff done.
Liz Wolfe: All right, so let's talk about that. I was reading one of your blog posts, and I promise you we'll get to the AHS stuff as well because I want people to hear about what you're going to be doing at AHS as much as I want people to get to know you and love you as much as I do because you're a fantastic resource. You're so balanced. You write about so many different things, the different things that have happened in your life, your perspective on birth, your perspective on female hormone balance and imbalance. You've done a guest post for RobbWolf.com as well on your journey to balancing your female hormonal issues and whatnot. But just as a mom, I was just reading one of these posts that you wrote fairly recently, and you were talking about – and I think this applies to anybody – but you were basically saying there are many, many things in life that are a hell of a lot harder than just being a mom and eating the right food. So give us a quick glimpse into how Kendall Kendrick the mom handles all of this stuff.
Kendall Kendrick: Well, I will first say that I share custody of my three older children. The reason that I write about balance often in my life is because it's very hard to maintain balance in my life. So I think I feel like if I write about it enough that it'll happen naturally! And I kind of tend to always swing one side or the other, and I think getting older and having been a mom for 12 years now, I'm just trying to find the middle a little more because I like being there. It feels a whole lot more stable.
Sharing custody of my girls has been a challenging road the last six years, almost seven, so I don't get to control what my children eat when they're not at my house, so the only opportunity that I have… well, my three older children. My youngest child is with my husband now, and she's the one who's going to be 5 tomorrow. So I do have full say over what she eats, and she's completely gluten free and paleo. But you know, with my other kids, it's just a journey, I think. I do the best that I can when I have them, and I send them on their way, and they have a great life all in all. Really, I think people take this paleo thing so far sometimes. While I do think there are a lot of things that are a lot harder than making these choices, there are also times when you can't make these choices. So there is a balance in that, just like my children don't have a choice when they're not with me about what they get to eat. So, we just have to accept that and move on and do the bet that we can when they're with me.
So yeah, that's just kind of the life I live, and a lot of people are always trying to figure out how to best feed their kids, and I say just do the best you can, and don't stress and worry about it. I have had friends whose kids would eat broccoli, and my kids weren't going to go near broccoli. And I was just like: What is wrong? Why don't my kids eat broccoli?! But my kids eat farm bacon every morning, and they make their own eggs every morning. I mean, they get up and scramble the eggs from my backyard, and I'm like: OK, so we know they're getting great protein and great fat. I'm not going to stress about a little broccoli. It's not that big of a deal. I mean, you and I both know that what kids really need at this age is good health fats to grow strong and to make their brains develop in an appropriate way. And so, again, you just try not to stress about it because honestly, they're going to be OK! There was this tweet when I was at PaleoFX. I sent something that, I think, Dr. Terry Wahls said, something about if you want stupid kids, feed them sugar. It got re-tweeted, like, hundreds of times, and I just thought: Well, gosh, my kids have had so much sugar in their life, you know? And they're not stupid! And obviously it was just one of those nuggets, and I know what she meant, she meant it a lot deeper than just that, but I think people cling onto those things.
Liz Wolfe: Yeah.
Kendall Kendrick: They get so caught up in it, and then you become this perfectionist. And here's the problem: Perfectionism just breeds shame. When you're trying to be a perfectionist, you're missing out on being in that moment and enjoying life, and it's something that I struggle with on a regular basis. I'm a perfectionist at being a perfectionist, you know?!
Liz Wolfe: That's such gold, that it just breeds shame. It's so true. I've never heard it put that way. Did you make that up?
Kendall Kendrick: I heard it somewhere. I didn't make it up!
Liz Wolfe: Well, you can take credit for it. That's just fine with me. I think that's so gorgeous, and – what is it? – not letting perfection being the enemy of the good?
Kendall Kendrick: Right. Yeah.
Liz Wolfe: We really do get that black-and-white thinking, that on-wagon, off-wagon behavior, and that still creeps in for me sometimes, too.
Kendall Kendrick: Absolutely. I have tried for a really long time to be the good paleo girl, and my husband and I went away to the Dominican for our first vacation away ever this last weekend, and I kept eyeing this pizza out of the corner of my eye at this buffet for, like, two days straight, and I finally just said: I'm doing it! We're on this trip, and I'm doing it. And it was so fun, and I wrote about this in a blog post recently, but it was so fun to give in and do that, but then I felt terrible and I came home with swollen feet, and I just was like: Oh, my gosh. I don't think I can do that again. I came back, like, three pounds heavier. And not that that matters, but I felt that and it didn't feel good. So sometimes you have to give in just to be reminded of what your goals are and who you're trying to be, and not because Robb Wolf says so, you know?
Liz Wolfe: Right. Most definitely.
Kendall Kendrick: And people just take it so far, and I want to remind people that it is about the balance factor and that we want to do what's right for our bodies and listen to ourselves.
Liz Wolfe: Yes. I said in the last podcast someone had mentioned to me through my blog about this whole homesteading journey that I'm going on now that if it's worth doing, it's worth doing poorly at first.
Kendall Kendrick: Yes!
Liz Wolfe: Having a “cheat” or not feeling like you're completely gung-ho paleo or whatever you're trying to accomplish, there's no shame in kind of working up to something and just doing the best you can moment by moment. People get so stuck in these really miniscule details. I wrote a whole post about the question, is it paleo?
Kendall Kendrick: Yeah.
Liz Wolfe: I see people say: Wait. Spaghetti squash is paleo? I didn't know that. Or people want to have absolutely no sugar in their diet whatsoever from sweet potato, from any kind of starch, and we get so dogmatic and so partitioned in our thinking, and really I just want to say: All of this comes down to do what you think is right moment by moment and what makes the most sense to you. And just kind of guide yourself gently that way because you just can't get lost in the minutiae. That's diet dogma behavior, and it can be really toxic.
Kendall Kendrick: It's dangerous. And then I always say if you fall off the __________, you have to go pick up a paleo white chip. There's nobody keeping track of your time. It's just for you to figure out that template for yourself. There's a lot of conversation, I think, because this movement is really becoming so much more mainstream now and people have been doing it for a while, and there is this sort of new movement coming in that's kind of anti-paleo that I see, and I'm disheartened just because there's negativity in it, and I just want people to do what works for them and not be hateful towards others who are choosing differently, especially because there are people who are coming in here that are sick, that are really sick, and they just want to feel better. They just want to get out of bed. And we've seen it happen over and over again.
Liz Wolfe: Well, with Terry Wahls!
Kendall Kendrick: Exactly! And her story is so inspirational to me. I've written about it a couple times. My mom has lupus and fibromyalgia and several other autoimmune diseases. I begged her for two years to at least go gluten free. She finally just decided to do it, and she hasn't had a flare in months! She's healthy and she feels amazing, and it's just like: Yeah, it works, people. It works. But you have to figure out what works for you.
Liz Wolfe: So, so critical. It works, but figure out what works for you. Because, like we were just talking about, you went and you had some pizza because you're a grownup, you can make that choice, and you know where you are with your health and with how food affects you, and that that was going to bug you a little bit but it wasn't going to cause some massive problem, whereas maybe with your mom, she has to know herself well enough, that maybe her choices aren't going to be your choices.
Kendall Kendrick: Right. I don't have celiac, but I feel almost certain that my mom does. She's not tested, but I can see that she really kind of falls into that category, and if she does have gluten, it really does affect her. If she has it accidentally, she'll call me and go: Oh, my gosh. My stomach hurts so bad! And then she'll start telling me what she ate, and I'll say: Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. I think you got glutened. No, that's not going to happen to me. In fact, I didn't feel anything as it was happening. It was more of like two days later, like: Whoa! What did I do? Yeah, and I've also been healing my body for a long time, like you said, my hormone imbalances. I had estrogen dominance, which Robb Wolf in his podcast helped me figure out a couple of years ago, and that was just life changing for me, because I was already paleo and I couldn't understand why my moods weren't getting any better and why my cycles were getting worse. And I kept doing research, and Robb gave me some great pointers, and I followed through, and within a couple of months it was completely gone, and I've had no problems since. Paleo is kind of that first step, you know? You take that, but then you actually have to keep peeling those onion layers back to get down to what the issue is. And that's really what got me involved in wanting to go into nutritional therapy because sometimes you specialize a little bit more beyond just what we consider the basic paleo diet.
Liz Wolfe: Yes, absolutely. And back to your area of specialization; let's talk about your AHS presentation.
Kendall Kendrick: Yes! I'm really excited. I'm doing a poster presentation this year, and it is basically a blueprint of the childhood nutrition program that we're creating here in Charlotte, where I live, with implementing more school gardens and connecting our school gardens together. So I'll just be presenting about that and sharing with folks the work that I've been doing all year.
Liz Wolfe: I imagine that that work with the kids is probably of extreme benefit to the educators as well, because I would think there are a lot of teachers that have no experience with this type of thing whatsoever.
Kendall Kendrick: Yeah, one of the things that we're trying to create here is actually a green teachers network as well so that we can give them more resources. We're still focusing on putting together our curriculum and how all that looks. One thing that we really strive for is to not put any more work on the teachers. We really try to have parent volunteers involved because there are a lot of teachers who just don't have time in their school day to go out and garden with the kids. I know for the school that my children attend, it's completely run by parent volunteers who do all the gardening, and it's amazing to me. I mean, we have parents out there when – it doesn't get that cold here, but it's cold for us – and parents out there in the rain and gardening and not taking a week off. I have a grandmother who is there almost every day gardening with these kids.
Liz Wolfe: That is awesome.
Kendall Kendrick: Yeah. We know we're really fortunate. Not every school has that kind of participation, so we're trying to involve the community and figure out ways that we can offer that throughout the district. We have about half of our schools that currently have school gardens, but we don't know exactly yet how many of those are being maintained, so the goal is to really figure out ways to keep them sustainable and get more created. Really the ideal would be to have the entire school district gardening.
Liz Wolfe: Would that be one giant communal garden in my front yard?!
Kendall Kendrick: We're just going to come to your… How many acres did you say you have now?
Liz Wolfe: Fifteen.
Kendall Kendrick: I could do a lot with 15 acres and a bunch of kids.
Liz Wolfe: No kidding, right?!
Kendall Kendrick: Maybe you should just fly your Steve's Club kids out to help you garden and get that all set up. I bet they'd dig that, right?
Liz Wolfe: They would totally dig that, and they are some seriously hard workers and they're up for it. They'll try anything. I mean, they'll work on handstand walks and… It's just crazy what they're willing to try.
Kendall Kendrick: They're better than I am at CrossFit!
Liz Wolfe: Well, there's no fear. There's just no fear at all. And of course, since everything has to come back to me and what I feel like talking about and learning about right now, but I struggle with fear of failure and even fear of starting sometimes, and kids just don't have that. Youth don't have that. They'll just go gung-ho, and they'll figure out how to do something, and that's why I'm so fascinated with what you're doing because I want to get back to that place where I'm like a sponge.
Kendall Kendrick: Right.
Liz Wolfe: Like I'm not all preoccupied with all of the stuff that I have to do in front of the computer and stuff like that, so I think this deliberate physical extraction that I've imposed on myself and my husband to live in the country and start this new way of life is going to bring a lot of peace to my mind. It already has, and I have think that a lot of those self-imposed limits have started to fall away, which is great, but I want to get back to that place where I'm like these kids that just soak this stuff up.
Kendall Kendrick: Yeah. And you know, my husband and I, we really wanted to live off the land, and I'm this sort of urban hippie mama. I've home birthed all my babies and extended breastfed and wore them in slings and did all that kind of stuff, and so it made sense that I would want to go do that next step, but because, again, I'm sharing custody, we're in the city, and so we had to make the best of what we wanted. And we would always go out in the country and drive around, look at land, and just pine for it and fantasize about it, and finally one day we were like: Let's just do it where we are. Let's do the best we can with what we have. And we didn't know anything. It wasn't like I picked up all this wisdom from growing up and just walking through a field in my childhood and shucking peas with my grandma. I didn't. And so we've had to start from scratch, and I'm really fortunate I'm married to a very smart man who is handy with tools! He spent weeks and weeks working on a chicken coop at night and on weekends when he was home from his corporate job. But you know, you just pick it up, and you do it and you go, and you don't have fear about it. And if you have fear about it, you acknowledge the fear. Thank you, fear! And you keep going. We have a lot of stuff we have to move out of the way in our brains in order to go forward, and the kids just don't have that yet. And so the best thing that we can do is help them not get that and continue to educate them that worms are awesome! Even if you and I are totally scared of them, right?!
Liz Wolfe: Skeeved out.
Kendall Kendrick: Yeah! When I first started gardening with kids, there were things I'm like: Ahhh! But you just watch them, and then you just move forward.
Liz Wolfe: And you just kind of remember that a lot of that really is kind of conditioned, I guess.
Kendall Kendrick: It is completely conditioned! It is. It's just kind of how we grow up, and that's why it's so important for me to get kids back to ancestral living in one way or the other.
Liz Wolfe: What this really makes me think about is what it actually means to teach. And I think that's something that you've really taught me and something that I've observed you doing through your blog and the way you reach out to people what you're doing with the kids, with AHS and everything. I guess, teaching is really doing and representing something that you care about. I think that's kind of the most powerful way to teach people, and it's probably the most powerful way to learn as well. I mean, Diane went out there and wrote a book.
Kendall Kendrick: Yeah.
Liz Wolfe: And you're out there having the urban gardens and working in policy and just trying to kind of cultivate all of that in your personal space. And that's something that I love about the entire community, is you see people are blogging, they're putting their voice out there, they're showing people what they're doing through social media or whatever, and that's kind of how this community has built so quickly but in such a tight-knit way, which like you were saying before, there can be a little bit of hostility crop up with people who don't feel like they've found their place in a particular movement. And that's OK, but I love to hear about what people are doing in this community, especially when it involves actually doing.
Kendall Kendrick: Yeah, it does. And I've always tried to be really honest with people about my past. I got into radio when I was 17, which back in the '90s was a crazy place for a 17-year-old to be, and hanging out with rock stars when you're 18 and 19 is not the healthiest thing in the world probably! And I had an issue with drugs when I was young, and I got clean when I was 21 of my volition. So in years of recovering, there's something that's always said, and I just keep it with me: Principles before personalities. And I think that if we could just remember that in this community sometimes, to just take what you need and leave the rest and remember that it is about the principles. We're trying to find health. We're trying to find a lifestyle movement, all of these different pieces of the ancestral community. And if the personalities don't work for you, then just take the message so it does work for you.
Liz Wolfe: I completely agree. Well, we will wrap it up there. I love everything that you've said, and I'm so grateful that you were able to come on with me today.
Kendall Kendrick: Thank you so much, Liz! I had a blast. Always!
Liz Wolfe: I'm so glad we got to talk again. It's been way too long.
Kendall Kendrick: Yes. I'm going to escape and come to your farm, too.
Liz Wolfe: Please do. Everyone is welcome at the homestead. Hopefully I will not have ruined my chickens and my guinea hens and my dog. We'll see how it all goes, but I have a really good feeling and I’m really excited about it.
Kendall Kendrick: Are you getting a goat?
Liz Wolfe: Yes!
Kendall Kendrick: You have to have a goat, right?!
Liz Wolfe: Yes! We're actually going to go out to the farm that my family has been getting goat's milk from. I emailed them and I said: I heard that you all have some does out there and that you're selling them. Because to keep goats producing milk, you have to breed them year after year after year to have a consistent supply, so there are always little babies. So we're going out there, and I was prepared for her to say: Yeah, they're $400 each. And I'm really thinking: Well, this is a real investment. And it is. But they're, like, 50 bucks! Something like that, so I'm like: Score! Husband, we were planning on $400, so should we get eight goats?!
Kendall Kendrick: Should we get 20?
Liz Wolfe: Should we just bring all of them with us? Yeah. I've been reading a blog that's just hilarious. It's Weed 'em and Reap.
Kendall Kendrick: Oh, yes! I think I've seen that. Yeah.
Liz Wolfe: Hilarious. She does everything that I want to do. She has goats. She has chickens and all that. She's very handy, and she has all these stories about the most hilarious goat birth ever, and she just paints the most hilarious pictures of how goats are and her life with all of her animals. I think she's out of Arizona. So that's one of my favorites to read, and it's just hilarious.
Kendall Kendrick: Well, I can't wait to read your story.
Liz Wolfe: Yes!
Kendall Kendrick: Because you are hilarious. I don't know what we would do without homesteading in the 21st century. I'm thinking of my grandparents building their first farm in the 1930s with no Internet, no help, no nothing.
Liz Wolfe: And they built their own houses. They built everything.
Kendall Kendrick: Actually my grandfather passed away a couple of months ago at 94, and my father just brought me the saw that he used to build his house. So I have that saw. And he died in that house. The house he built was the house he passed away in.
Liz Wolfe: Wow.
Kendall Kendrick: But we have the Internet!
Liz Wolfe: So we can all live through one another. Yes. I like it. Oh, this has been so much fun.
Kendall Kendrick: Thank you!
Liz Wolfe: Everybody check out Kendall's blog. It's Primal-Balance.com. She's on Facebook as well. Look out for Kendall at AHS coming up this year.
Kendall Kendrick: Yay!
Liz Wolfe: And I'm sure we'll have you on again, Kendall. This was a blast!
Kendall Kendrick: Thank you so much. Have a great one!
Liz Wolfe: You too!
All right, that's it, everybody. It was so much fun having Kendall here. Next week we'll be back, me and Diane once again as usual. Thanks for listening. We'll see you next week.
Diane & Liz