|Ecology Runner & Wife|
I met Sam Huber a few years ago. We immediately hit it off. He was inspiring to me—someone who held to his beliefs. He was a man who was kind, compassionate, and aware of his surroundings, environment and his place within them. He was healthy—not perfect, of course—but he exercised and took care of his body, and he passed on these qualities by teaching physical education to children, and through his work with Ecology Runner.
Eventually, after being friends for some time, the stars aligned (sort of) and our lives overlapped in such a way, that I had the privilege of taking our connection to the next level…after a few months of dating and a whirlwind of a romance, we were engaged, and last year I was lucky enough to marry the man of my dreams.
What’s it like to be married to Eco Runner? Well, it’s wonderful, amazing, and everything I’d dreamed of. It’s also a bit intimidating at times. Like any great role model, Sam has caused me to reflect on my own beliefs, and values, and how they translate with my actions.
|Overlooking the beautiful Utah Valley from Mt. Timpanogas|
In order to understand where we are, and where we are headed, I think it’s always useful to explore where we have been. I was raised in a religion and culture that was quite unique, surrounded by an environment that offered some of the most beautiful and spectacular landscapes imaginable, but I felt removed from it. I don’t know if I ever really appreciated the mountains of Utah, where I grew up, or the beautiful desert, until I left them. If I had to pick one landscape or place that was closest to my idea of heaven, it would be the desert regions of Southern Utah. When I have been there, I have felt the most peace and calm, quiet beauty.
Fast forward 12 years, and I found myself living in Milwaukee, Wisconsin by way of a few years in Poughkeepsie, New York. Living in New York, I had been surrounded by chefs that were attending the Culinary Institute of America—not knowing much about food and nutrition myself, I set out to learn about food, where it comes from, how we view it, how to cook it, and of course how to enjoy it.
When I moved to Wisconsin, I brought that knowledge and background with me. I managed to enjoy food (Beer! Cheese! Brats!) so much that I gained 51 pounds in a year. I was also grappling with some struggles personally—finances, relationships, career, and ended up enrolling at Alverno College to finish my “on hold” bachelor’s degree. I put myself through college, working as an office manager of a lobbying & PR firm, and I started Weight Watchers to get things under control, and it worked. In the last two years though I have backslid a bit and have recently re-started the program.
As college will cause you to do, I began a lot of soul searching and self-exploration. While, I left organized religion behind, when I left Utah, it does give me a little bit of comfort to believe that there is a connection that we share, or a life-force. The interconnection idea seems to make sense to me even on a scientific level. All living things seem to be connected or affect each other in an interdependent manner, and that connection is holy in its own way. Logically, if we are interconnected and each action affects the other lives on the planet, then we must learn to be conscious of our actions.
I started to really think about the ideas of compassion, and being aware of our footprint and effect on the earth. It breaks my heart to think that I would, through my own oblivion, cause suffering or pain to anything—not only animals, but also future humans on this planet. I think of the children that I might someday have, and it terrifies me to think of treating their planet with disregard and not being conscious of my actions and choices. I decided modify my behavior to a more conscious way of living. I began to read books on consumerism as well as the food industry and the practices of the food industry.
As I explored the story behind how we get “things” and food, and where everything comes from, my eyes began to open wider and wider. The thought of children in third-world countries hurting, starving and working in horrible conditions (or working at all) was a frightening one. I modified my behavior drastically to become more aware of where the products I was buying were coming from. I started to be aware of and seek out brands that were sweatshop-free.
Then when one starts to explore conscious consumerism, it leads to the realization that most of what we buy, not only harms the people who manufacture what we buy, but also harms the environment, and the creatures within the environment. I know it’s so much easier to just not think about it, and enjoy my trip to the mall, or buy the new trendy shoes, but once I started this exploration, I could not turn back and forget what I had learned.
|"Unmeat" loaf: Comfort!|
I began to eat less and less meat. Once I learned more about the meat-packing and factory farming industry—the antibiotics, the hormones, the horrific conditions--I just could not bring myself to do it anymore. I could not imagine hurting an animal myself, and I was inadvertently causing pain and suffering just by eating something that I no longer needed or even enjoyed. It was a logical step. Also after learning about the environmental impact that the industries had and the contribution to disease outbreaks, famine and global warming, it was no longer an option for me personally. Just by cutting back on meat, and following Weight Watchers, I lost about 25 of the 51 pounds I’d put on. I began to feel healthier, and stronger.
|Meat & dariy-free lasagna|
|Madeline (she's a little shy)|
All of this seems well and good, but I still feel like I am not doing enough. I want to be able to do more. Rather than make an impact I want to erase my impact, on the earth. I want to ease the suffering of those around me, and stop being selfish and be more self-aware. This stems from wanting to be a good “mom” to my pets—my two pugs Frankie & Tatanka and my kitties Madeline & Bisou—and to work with Sam to take care of our new little “family” as we begin our life together.
|The rest of the Huber children: |
Bisou, Tatanka & Frankie
Sam has asked me to join him on Eco-Runner, adding more of a nutrition and lifestyle aspect. We recently purchased a home built in 1943 in Historic Cedarburg, Wisconsin. We’ve found our new town to be welcoming and lend itself very well to our lifestyle.
In the next year, I will be exploring my way around our new surroundings, as we work on our backyard garden, cut our consumption in half, and try to be more conscientious in our spending and eating habits. Being the more nutrition/consumerism focused side of “Team Huber” I will include some recipes, reports from the garden and compost, and how to live reasonably green on a budget. I’ll share my discoveries about my town and environment, the challenges that I run into and the successes.