Meet Emily Penn: Good Medicine Nutrition

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A few months ago we reached out to Emily after discovering her through Instagram. She is a vibrant soul with a great story of how she found healing from a troubled past through a healthy food diet. We are thrilled to have her out to the studio to share her love of nutrition with the community.

We invite you to gather with us on December 1st for her Winter Wonder Foods class. Where Emily will share with us a recipe that will help prepare our bodies and mind for the coming season of Winter.

What inspired you to become a nutritionist and a health coach?

It was a series of things, starting with my interest in food and cooking from a young age. I spent my junior year abroad living in Paris with a host mother, eating the most incredible food from the abundance of markets in the city, most often simply prepared with olive oil, salt and pepper. My taste buds experienced a reverse-culture shock when I returned, so I began to seek out farmers markets and ways to simply prepare my own food. A vegan self-experiment in 2012 left me feeling better than ever, with diminished feelings of anxiety and depression. I went on to manage a health-focused cold-press juice company in Portland, where I started really learning about the medicinal value of food and herbs. I began to spend all my spare time learning about food and nutrition.

Food is a portal to becoming the best version of yourself. The whole process of learning about nutrition, viewing food in a new light and experimenting with different ways of eating has led to all sorts of personal transformations as well. I wanted to become a nutritionist and health coach to help guide other people on the same journey. Start with nourishing yourself properly and see where energy for other pursuits opens up in your life.

Where did you receive your training? What did you love about it?

I have my undergraduate degree in Sociology from Smith College in Northampton, MA. I went through Portland Community College's certification program in Functional Nutrition and I'm Board Certified in Holistic Nutrition through the National Association of Nutrition Professionals. I loved that PCC's program included modules on Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine. These ancient schools of thought have so much to teach us about modern prevention and treatment of disease.

You also offer handcrafted granola. What inspired you to create it?

A few years ago, I became really determined to make as many things as I could myself. So often the things we buy from the store are loaded with added sugars, vegetable oils, chemicals and preservatives and these same things are usually easy to make at home. I started with granola. My favorite recipes have changed and evolved over the years. My current favorite granola is a grain-free version made with coconut, cashews and pecans. The ingredients are so naturally sweet, you only need a little bit of maple syrup to make it pop.

What is your favorite service you offer and why?

I love my counseling sessions. I really enjoy sitting down with someone and getting to know them, their relationship to food and their motivation to change. When someone really taps in to their own motivation and energy, the results are so inspiring! I'm the guide - I provide knowledge and practical tips and ideas about food, but it's really my client who's doing all the work.

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I also love Meal Delivery because I love cooking - I'd spend all day in the kitchen if I could! Preparing nourishing, healing meals for people gives me a great sense of satisfaction. The Pantry Clean Outs and Organizations are really fun because we get rid of the stuff that's not going to support someone's health and set them up for success in the most basic of ways. It sounds simple, but wiping the slate clean is helpful for a lot of people.

Tell us a bit about where you work and the healing collective you are a part of?

I do local Nutrition Counseling sessions out of my office at Ripple Wellness in Washougal, WA. We're a community wellness center that really focuses on collaborative patient care. We offer acupuncture, massage, naturopathic medicine, and yoga therapy. We also offer many community events and workshops covering all sorts of wellness-related topics. It's amazing to be working alongside like-minded practitioners who I can continually learn from! All my other services are offered privately and I do distance counseling sessions as well.

www.goodmedicinenutrition.com

insta: @ goodmedicinenutrition

facebook: @ goodmedicinenutrition

Recipes for your enjoyment

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Spirit Dolls: Meet Nova Dawn

I had the pleasure of meeting Nova through a tea blending workshop I hosted online. After realizing she was in my neck of the woods, I was thrilled to meet her in the flesh. She is a beautiful human being, intelligent and incredibly creative. It is an honor to have her out to the studio for her Spirit Dolls workshop this October. Nova will be not just be guiding us on how to craft our own Spirit Doll, but the whole workshop is set up like a day retreat. Visit here for more info and commit to a day of spiritual self care and ancestral healing.

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In your own words- What is a multidisciplinary artist?

A multidisciplinary artist is someone who works across a variety of different mediums. I have literally studied and practiced every artform in one way or another over the course of my life - music, dance, theater, drawing, painting, sculpting, writing, sewing, fibre arts, etc… I love any and all opportunities to get my hands on creative projects! My biggest foci overall, have been singing, ritual performance art, Surrealist inspired pen and ink drawing, writing, and crafting - and currently spirit dolls, masks, and ritual objects.

What are your favorite mediums to work with?

I love working with Nature. Nature as a source of inspiration, as a source of materials, as a collaborator… I love going out into the forest and listening, smelling, touching, tasting, and just being in it. There, I become grounded and centered and so inspired. I forage for craft materials, food, and medicine when I’m out in the wilds. I like to dance and sing with Nature, just allowing whatever wants to come forth, to come. I also love working with recycled and scrap materials. I strive to be as eco-friendly and sustainable in my work as possible. I’m even researching and developing ways to make my own natural glues, paints, and varnishes. My long-term dream is to develop immersive, community-based, ritual performances on land, featuring masks and possibly large puppets - this is in the works. I love working with anything that blends archetypes, symbolism, improvisation, music, theater, and fine arts and crafts. This is why I love making masks and spirit dolls so much right now. They are tools that can be used in ritual, self-inquiry, play, and they tell stories in their own right.

As a mom, how do you carve out time for your craft/ art?

A big help is that my daughter goes to her dad’s for a couple of days every week. I wouldn’t say that I get a ton of work done during that time, because I’m always playing catch-up on things like chores, etc., but it does help me get a bit more concentrated time in when I need it. I also have time when my daughter is at school. I’m in the midst of starting a business and I work part-time, on-call, so a lot of my attention goes elsewhere during that time, but I am working on actually scheduling in studio time for myself. Mostly, however, I just give myself small, manageable projects that I can do when my daughter is around. I learned early on that some projects lend themselves better to having kids around than others. I would love to do more performance, but it’s a lot harder to find the time, because it requires that you be in a certain place and time for rehearsals and such. While not impossible, it takes more planning and effort to make it happen. Focusing on small crafts at the moment, allows me to start and stop and work on the projects whenever I have a few extra moments. I also have a portable box with my current projects in it, which I can pack up and take with me if I’m going to be somewhere where I have to wait and I can kill time with art. I always have my pens and some little papers in my bag as well, and I usually have some kind of notebook for jotting down ideas. I think the key to keeping up on being creative when you have kids is to do it despite the chaos, make it so important that it has a sacred place in your life, and to fit it in at every opportunity no matter what.

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Tell us a bit about your artistic background. What/ who inspires you?

I grew up with pretty creative parents, my mom especially encouraged my sister and I to be actively creative as kids. For a short while she ran a children’s theater in Corvallis, OR, where I was in my first play at age 4. Despite being super shy, I took to the stage like a natural. I loved singing, acting, and dancing as well as making art and writing. When I was 5, I decided that I wanted to be an opera singer after watching a movie starring Pavarotti and seeing Linda Ronstadt in The Pirates of Penzance. I loved how the music made me feel in my heart, and I knew right then that I had a purpose in life, to share that same feeling with others through my own creative expression. From then on, my sole aim in life was to do whatever it took to become the singer of my dreams. I diligently studied vocal music, played the viola, and participated in plays and musical theater whenever I could. I won the Oregon State Solo Vocal Championship in the soprano category my senior year of high school and went on to study vocal performance on a scholarship at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, WA.

Unfortunately, as I embarked on the journey towards professional opera singing, I realized it wasn’t actually what I wanted. I wanted to get more actively creative with my music and performance, not just interpret the music of dead men. After my freshman year, I chose to leave PLU, take a year off, and then return to The Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA. At Evergreen, I had a lot more freedom to experiment with and explore music and theater. While there, I studied experimental music composition, music technology, theater and art history, puppetry, belly dancing, women’s studies, and PNW herbalism. It was so refreshing to be more easily able to follow my passions and interests!

However, it wasn’t Evergreen that had the biggest impact on me at that time, it was my internship at The Bread and Puppet Theater in Glover, VT. They had performances every weekend outside in the meadows and forest on their historic farm, with masks and giant puppets… There was an immersive component, where at the end of each “circus” the audience was fed fresh, clay oven baked rye bread with garlic aeoli and mint water. The rye and garlic was all grown there on the land, and we helped to harvest and process it all. There was something magical about people being fed straight from the land, breaking bread with strangers, being gifted with food and theater... It felt like we were tapping into something so ancient, drawing right down into the origins of theater, which began more as community ritual than anything else. Ever since, I have dreamed of creating similar experiences for my community. I have done a few, small, site-based performances that harken back to the ritual origins in theater, music, and dance, but it’s definitely my goal to do more, bigger productions in the near future.

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After Evergreen, I spent many years wrestling with feelings of failure (a number of things hadn’t worked out the way I’d wanted them to…) and I struggled to find my creative and artistic center. Over the years, I did a lot of creative play, inquiry, experimentation, and healing around my creative work. I studied and participated in butoh, modern dance, ecstatic dance, sketch theater, ritual theater, blogging, folk singing, knitting, sewing, costuming, collaging, pen and ink drawing, and more. Despite not feeling grounded, centered, and focused in my work, I always did whatever I could to stay in the creative flow. Now, after years of diligence and hard work, I am more focused than ever. I am starting a business where I will be coaching creatives and selling my masks, spirit dolls, and ritual objects.

Other than Nature and The Bread and Puppet Theater as stated above, I am inspired by compassion, mindfulness, and magic. I love anything that will make me take a closer look at myself, anything that will help me to grow. Symbols and archetypes are also very inspiring to me. Working with symbols and archetypes is a powerful way to tap into the magic of self-inquiry, which is why I like working with masks, spirit dolls, and ritual objects so much. With these things we become “other” and thereby reveal hidden parts of ourselves. There’s nothing better than learning about oneself!

Some artists/creatives I love and am inspired by are: Tori Amos, Bjork, Andrea Zittel, Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Tasha Tudor, Barb Kobe, J.K. Rowling, Alice Hoffman, Andy Goldsworthy, Carolyn Elliott, Meredith Monk, Amanda Palmer, Maya Deren, Banksy, and Pauline Oliveros.

Medicine Talks: Meet Katie Grace of Wild Grace Apothecary

Katie Grace is an herbalist, healer and the proprietress behind Wild Grace Apothecary. Katie will be leading a Medicine Talk on the herbal ally, Motherwort. She will inspire you with her grounded and nurturing nature, along with her vast knowledge of medicinal plant allies. Reserve your spot and hope you join us October 6th for an afternoon of myth, medicine and magic

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What inspired you to become an herbalist?

A combination of things really. I've always been drawn to history and the old ways. When I was about 7, my uncle told me about how people used to use plants for medicine, which absolutely fascinated me. I'd grind up basil and rosemary in my little mortar and pestle and imagine what that medicine could be used for. When I smell those herbs, that's still the memory that floats up. Later on in college I struggled a lot with anxiety, depression, and disordered eating and began reading about alternative therapies, including plant medicine, that could help in navigating my way through those challenges. Now, the seasonality of plants and Nature at large speaks to me. We need different things depending on our environment and the season. The way the energetics of how the plants interact with us and vice versa shifts throughout the year, to me, informs how we can relate with the land we inhabit. 

I decided to channel my curiosity about plants into crafting high quality, organic botanical skincare that was more affordable than a lot of what's out there. There's a ton of plant-based skincare companies, but we focus on creating effective and accessible products with simple recipes based on what you might find in your own garden.

Where did you receive your guidance and education?

I'm mostly self-taught, though I've taken lots of classes and workshops with various herbalists. I read a lot. Books, blogs, articles, monographs. More importantly I spend a lot of time listening to plants and observing how I feel in their presence, whether or not I consume them, and try to learn what they have to teach us aside from what they can do for us medicinally. 

What are your current favorite herbs to work with during the Autumn season?

My current favorites are Ashwaganda, Hawthorn berry, Chicory root, and Motherwort. Herbs that help me ground, soften, be more present. Autumn is my favorite season and I don't want to miss any of it because I was distracted or too busy!

You also offer other services beside your amazing herbal offerings Tell us a bit about what they are.

I like to think that everything I offer is an invitation for people to have an experience in their bodies. Aside from making botanical skincare products that focus on the seasonal nature of our bodies and minds, I also practice craniosacral work in which my client and I work with their dreambody to unwind emotional and physical tension in their bones, organs, and other soft tissue so that they can feel more present, comfortable, vibrant, and grounded. 

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Katie crafts beautiful seasonal medicine. To honor the coming season of Autumn she is  releasing her Mabon Wild Medicine Bundle. These bundles are superbly crafted to help you align with the rhythms of each season. Katie will have many herbal offerings available for purchase at the Medicine Talk. I recommend supporting her work and treating yourself to a Mabon bundle!

Websites: 

WildGrace.me

Wild Grace Apothecary

instagram:

 @wildgraceapothecary and @wildmedicinebundle