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Dispatches : Nutrition

Ridge Distillery's American-Made Absinthe

Organicabsinthe By Dana Allen

Fifteen miles down the road from Montana’s Whitefish Mountain Resort in Kalispell, Montana, Joe and Jules Legate, owners of Ridge Distillery, are crafting American absinthe.

Once thought to be hallucinogenic, absinthe was banned. That absinthe is a hallucinogen is, in fact, an early 20th-century urban myth. Thujone, the supposedly psychoactive ingredient, chemically resembles THC, which causes the "high" in marijuana. But Thujone doesn’t have the same effect on humans.

Absinthe originated in the Jura mountains of Switzerland, but gained popularity and infamy with bohemian artists living in Paris at the turn of the 20th century. Wine was too expensive—insects had decimated two-thirds of Europe’s vines—and absinthe became the working class drink of choice. Not only was it a stronger spirit, but its unique herbal mix reputedly heighten some senses while dulling others. Legendary drunken debauchery ensued, with tales of impressionist painters being led to artistic revelation by "the green fairy," a euphemism for the spirit's effect. Soon the liquor was reviled, blamed for insanity, and outlawed.

Production went underground until 2007, when the American Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau lifted the ban by clarifying rules governing thujone content in foods and beverages. American distillers, including the Legates, brought the green fairy to life.

The Legates discovered that Artermisia absintheium, grand wormwood, the flavor in distilled absinthe, grew wild on their property. Curious, they sent samples to a Seattle distillery, which reported enthusiastically on the quality of their plants. Soon the Legates were growing and supplying herbs to distillers around the country.

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Drink Your Vegetables: Healthy Juice Recipes for the Whole Family

MHMFarmers' market bounty. Photo: Elizabeth Sullivan

By Elizabeth Eilers Sullivan

Not so long ago, I went hiking with friends in Santa Fe. It was a Wednesday dawn patrol, and the night’s moon was still cloaked in darkness. On the way up, we walked at our own pace in silence, but when we crested the ridge, we regrouped for the descent, and started talking. It was early, we hadn’t had breakfast, and we were hungry. The conversation naturally went to food—specifically how eating fruits and veggies makes us feel more energized and vibrant.

“When my family takes the time to juice in the morning before we head out there is a conscious vibrational shift in the air,” I told my hiking companions. These women are longtime Santa Feans who have been known to lament astrological abnormalities and are comfortable using juice as a verb, so they perked up their ears. I explained that we feel calmer, happier, and more alert, almost like a buzz on days when we drink fresh-squeezed juice for breakfast. It’s the effect of good food in your body producing good effects outside of your body. We crave processed food less. We get sick less often. Our energy lasts longer. And it’s not just me. It’s all of us: my husband and my four young sons, including the baby, who’s 20 months old.

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Schwagbox Goods of the Month Club for Cyclists

SchwagBox-product-mockup-639px

Does the cyclist in your life stump you when it’s gift-giving time? Are you a rider who geeks out on trying the latest and greatest bike-related anything as soon as it becomes available?

Schwagbox, started by the guys who run Bikerumor.com, ships a selection of new cycling-related goodies to riders and triathletes each month. The package typically contains performance energy foods, chain lubes, chamois creams, and other bike and body care products engineered to make every ride better. The monthly selections are curated by the Bikerumor.com editors, so you get the latest and greatest products, many of which won’t be in your local bike shop yet because they are so new.

“As Bikerumor editors, we get to try new product constantly, and we wanted to share that opportunity with everyone that rides,” said Tyler Benedict, Bikerumor founder. “Schwagbox lets us hand pick the most exciting, best tasting, and most functional items to share from established brands as well as upstarts.”

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Let Them Eat Cake (and Kale)

By Elizabeth Eilers Sullivan

SpinlisterPart of eating healthily is learning how to love the good stuff and self-regulate the sweets. Photo: Elizabeth Sullivan

How many times have you heard yourself cajoling your kids with the phrase, Just take two more bites? Or, You can’t have dessert until you finish your meal? Depending on your child’s temperament and yours, you might inadvertently be doing two things: setting up a power struggle that can last until one of you caves, and teaching them to ignore their body’s signals.

What if you could change this practice so that eventually your child might leave a half-eaten cupcake on his plate, stating, “I’m full, thanks,” as he happily got up from the table? What if you could teach him to regulate his own intake of sugar, and, in turn, help him avoid the colds, mood swings, and lethargy that often comes with it? As the long, sugar-laden holiday season kicks into high gear this week, I decided to put this radical notion to the test.

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Closer to the Ground: Foraging and Fishing With Kids

On a recent Tuesday evening in Santa Fe, a handful of people gathered at Collected Works Bookstore to hear Dylan Tomine read from his new book, Closer to the Ground: An Outdoor Family’s Year on the Water, in the Woods and at the Table. It was one of the first really cold nights of the season and half a dozen members of the audience were clad in sheepskin and down. Tomine, a father of two from Bainbridge Island in Puget Sound, Washington, showed up in standard Pacific Northwest attire: a crinkly, bright blue rain jacket. Every so often, he'd interrupt himself to take a big swig of water and say, “I’ve never felt so dry in my whole life.”

RebelUltraGTXFish story: The author with Weston and Skyla on Puget Sound. Photo: Dylan Tomine

Tomine and his family are avid adventurers, but their sport of choice isn’t climbing or paddling, cycling or surfing. It’s foraging. In all weather and seasons, they take to their motorboat, the local beaches, forests, and trails to hunt for crabs, king salmon, razor clams, chanterelle mushrooms, oysters, and blackberries. Listening to someone describe the outrageous edible bounties of the Pacific Northwest while landlocked in the high desert is a little surreal, to say the least, and the experience was much like that of reading Tomine's book: Saltwater seemed to drip from every word; I could taste the brine in the pages.

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