Dear You,

I am writing you this letter to introduce myself. My name is Heather Carter, and I am starting this blog as a way to share my knowledge and passion for food, wellness and this phenomenal planet we miraculously get to call home. Ideally, and wildly optimistically, I would love for this to grow and grow and touch as many lives as possible, and it would be wonderful to have this letter to look back on down the road. I also wanted to share with you that I will be completely honest and transparent, and to demonstrate that from the get-go.

I was raised to always respect the food that I ate, the Earth it came from, and the people around me. I consider myself wildly lucky. I won the ultimate jackpot in life, I have the best family for me. I am constantly surrounded by love, laughter and support, and logical, reasonable, creative thinkers. I would not be who I am today without each and every member of my family. To any Carter, Mitchell, McGrath, Lightbown, Lum, Williams, Waugh, Udris, Matson or White who may be reading this, thank you from the depths of my soul for being who you are, loving me in the way that you do, and constantly teaching me about life and love. Somehow, I am also surrounded by unparalleled humans that I get to call my friends. They support and encourage me daily, make me laugh until I cry, call me on my BS, and are some of the best cheerleaders a girl could ask to have behind her.

With all of them behind me (my immediate family we call Team Carter... even though they are pictured in front of me, above), I have been able to do some incredible things in my life so far. I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Dance from York University, in Toronto, Ontario. Yes, a degree in dance! That was pretty incredible in and of itself, as I never knew it was possible when I fell in love with dance at the ripe old age of eight. Through the program, I was able to do an exchange to Chichester, England in my third year, and experience dance and life across the pond, as well as explore Europe. I got a serious bite from the travel bug, and it has been constantly itching since the day I landed in England. Travelling allowed me to see the beauty in all of the places I went, and gave me a greater appreciation for Canada and the places I get to visit frequently. ​

This inspired me to travel to Central America after my degree. I volunteered at a turtle refuge in Costa Rica, which was mind-boggling, motivating, educational, and inspiring as hell. This ignited the protective fire that had been smoldering inside me for so long over the state of our Earth. I saw bags and bags of plastic be removed from the beaches during my time there; this made me feel good for what we were able to get out of the ocean, but deeply saddened, knowing that it was a continuous flow of plastics coming in with the tides every day. It was hard to believe a place so wildly beautiful and remote was continuously suffering the consequences of the entire world's behaviours.

After my time in Costa Rica, I volunteered with a coffee co-operative in Guatemala, called De La Gente, and helped local coffee farmers with whatever they needed; picking, sorting, drying, etc. It was here that I realized how privileged I was, and how most of us are in the Western world. One young farmer had us sort through beans at his kitchen table, and brought out an old radio to play music for us while we worked. He apologized that he had no television or anything newer, but that for him, it was perfect. It made me reflect on all of the things that I had, and whether or not I actually needed them. I am so grateful for all of the lessons I learned along the way.

De La Gente means "For The People" and that's exactly why this coffee cooperative exists. They provide direct trade options internationally for a number of local farmers across Guatemala.
Taken on my first afternoon volunteering, after hiking up the mountain and picking coffee cherries in San Miguel Escobar.

I want to share what I have learned, as well as my family’s values, with others who may not have had the same opportunities as I have, or had such role models in their lives. I hope to inspire you to truly nourish yourself, in all aspects - body, mind and soul - to nourish your loved ones, and nourish the Earth, in whichever ways resonate most. ​

I want your body and mind and spirit to be nourished, as I feel you will then be in a beautiful place to live your life to the best of your abilities - to live out your potential. For example, in my opinion, it is no longer enough to just “eat”, it may satiate the stomach in that it is full and needs no more volume, but that doesn’t speak to the quality of the nutrients, the emotions attached to eating and the dining experience, or the cellular needs of your body - your vehicle - to operate optimally. It is also arguably no longer enough to just “get some sleep”. You know there are bad sleeps, okay sleeps, and phenomenal, like-a-rock sleeps (as well as many others in between). You also know how glorious it is to wake up after that last one; to be so well rested, vibrant and full of energy. I want that for your body, and I want that for your soul and your mind, too. I don’t know what that is for you, but I will show you what works for me, and show you what it's like continually trying to decipher what that is, as we are constantly growing and changing, and maybe it will work for you too. Perhaps something you are already doing is working, and I would love to know what that is! Tell me in the comments below. There is always room for improvement - pobody's nerfect - and I would love your help.

Indulging in an epic Belgian waffle in Brussels.
Enjoying tea and champagne at the Fairmont in Banff, Alberta with some wonderful company.

It is a hard thing to quantify, honestly, my reason behind starting this blog and this business. There is this need, or want, or yearning maybe, that burns so deeply inside me, and it just makes sense. I feel that life has been gently nudging me in this direction for what I am sure has been my entire life.

I love to talk, connect and engage; I also love to write. When younger my mom went to a parenting class. She learned on the first day that I am a “lion” personality. King of the Jungle (or Queen, in my case). I am a natural born leader, and I am ferocious in going after what I want or what I feel I deserve...if I’m able to decide what that is. My friend, if I may share a secret with you, it is that I am so truly terrible at decision-making sometimes (most of the time); it is one of my biggest pitfalls. I strive for efficiency and have anal-retentive qualities, so I analyze each decision down to the most miniscule factor that might make one option slightly better or worse than another; I get stuck in analysis paralysis. I have recently realized that there are infinite possibilities for how any given situation could unfold, and that I can in no way predict even a small percent of them. I try to find comfort in this, and hope that it continues to bring me some speed and peace of mind in the decision-making process. It boils down to the fact that it will all work out, because it always does. I always find a way. My big sense of humour doesn't hurt in these situations, either. Life is too short to take yourself seriously...evidenced below, in a Costa Rican grocery store in a towel and hiking boots, because post hot-river soak, clothes are overrated.

A quote that has always struck a chord with me is “be the change you want to see in the world.” I do my very best to live by this in my daily life. I worry for the state of the Earth, for the state of humanity, the state of our wildlife, and the state of the farming/agriculture industry. I do a lot of worrying. I try and use this as fuel to remind me in every decision I make, that I have the power to make a change. ​

It may only be one disposable cup that I avoid when I bring my reusable mug somewhere, but one cup is one cup; and that is just one day. I can multiply that by how many times I use the travel mug, and really feel the impact (or lack thereof) that my efforts are having. I try and eat seasonably and locally, to cut down on my contribution to the greenhouse gases that are emitted in transporting our foods from farm to table, as the average piece of food travels over 2000 kilometers from where it is grown to where it is sold. That figure makes me sad. Sad for the nutritional content lost in that long trek, and sad for the gas that is used and the exhaust that is pumped into the air that we breathe to bring delicious produce to us year-round. I am only one person, but my buying dollars are votes, as are yours, and I choose to vote locally. I understand that I am privileged to have the option, and that implores me further, as I am aware that not everyone is as fortunate. I take responsibility for the actions I take and am attempting to comprehend the extent of damage I may be doing to myself, to others, and the Earth, with each of those actions.

Picking tomatoes in the greenhouse.
Romanesco Cauliflower is a beautiful cone shape, and is high in Vitamin C, as all cauliflower varieties are, though the coloured varieties contain around 25% more Vitamin A than the white.

At times “being the change” feels impossible, as I am just one tiny human on one very large planet full of 7 billion other tiny humans and countless animals and plants. When this gets me down, I remind myself that it just takes one ripple to make a wave. Each decision I make for the Earth, or for my health, IS in fact being the change. You can help, and probably - hopefully - are already helping. I will show you what I do, through this blog and social media, and hope that it might inspire you to make a change as well. You, my friend, will also keep me accountable, for I promise to continue to find new ways to integrate and share my health journey and the health journey of our collective home, the Earth, in a sustainable, appreciative way.

Admiring a single snowflake on top of Sulphur Mountain, Banff, Alberta.

That is my intention with this blog, to demonstrate the efforts that I take, daily, weekly, monthly and yearly, to live a thoughtful and conscious life. I hope that something I write about or a photo I share with you will inspire you to either continue on your path to healthier living, or to make small changes that will ripple and echo into eternity. I understand it is an utterly daunting task, to heal our relationship with food and with our Earth, to which we have become so disconnected and negligent, but we must. There is literally no other option. If we destroy this Earth with the convenient practices we have become accustomed to, it will be us that ceases to exist; Mother Nature will always find a way. The Earth was here so long before us, and it will exist long after us as well, but that doesn’t mean we need to expedite the time it takes for the latter to become reality.

Taking a moment after a morning shift picking up plastic and digging up old turtle nests, to identify what stages of development they stopped growing. Our findings were recorded and logged in a database for researchers to track long-term.

By documenting my journey and challenges, I strive to lead by example. I am eager to learn more about you, and I am eager to have your help in building and maintaining this blog and eager to have you by my side and help me in my efforts. Thank you for your time and attention, I truly cherish it. I appreciate you, whoever you are, wherever you are, and whatever you bring to the table. You are unique, and you are special and you are beautiful. I hope that your life is everything you want it to be. If it is, I applaud you; you are welcome to watch me as I stammer and trip and stumble along to getting myself there - while also appreciating the journey along the way. If it’s not, come along for the ride with me and we can figure it out together, because I truly believe that’s all anyone is doing; figuring it out. Wouldn’t it be better to not go it alone? I would be honoured if you would walk this path with me, and I hope that we can all get something of deep value from it, whatever that may be for each of us. It will be different, because we are all different, and there is beauty in that. We wouldn’t be here if we were all the same, and even if we somehow made it work, life would be pretty boring and wildly stagnant. I celebrate you and your differences, and from the bottom of my heart I thank you for being here with me.

Wishing you love, nourishment, and great health,

Your friend,