Doniga Markegard—regenerative rancher, conservationist, and author of the memoir Dawn Again, has lots of events and appearances planned for the second half of 2019. Join her (and sometimes Katy Bowman, as well!) for these exciting events concerning her book, sustainable farming, food, and movement.
August 10–16, Montana. Doniga will be a guest instructor at a few Women in Ranching Gatherings at various ranches in Montana. These are invite-only events.
You might have heard that Roland & Galina Denzel, co-authors of Eat Well, Move Well, Live Well, have recently moved from California to a new home in Colorado. Want to know more about what they’ve been up to? Hear it from Galina herself below.
We’ve been writing together for 11 years and living together as a family for eight. During that time, I had a full-time job as a movement teacher and trauma healing specialist, and Roland worked as a print analyst for a large corporation, with evenings and weekends dedicated to writing and health coaching. We had very full and demanding lives, and we tried to maximize our self-care in the little time we had.
During these eight years together, we took greater and greater strides towards modifying our environment—we were always aware that a real food diet and exercise were not enough to offset the effects of a sedentary lifestyle, a noise-polluted environment, and a nature- and community-deficient life. So we moved from an apartment that had little light and plant growing space, where we literally grew our greens with a grow light, to a larger space with more light and room to teach cooking classes. Then we moved to a townhome with more growing space for veggies and edible flowers and a gathering space for friends that was closer to my studio so I could walk instead of bike, and much closer to wilderness trails than before. We were aware of how changing our living space created more opportunities for movement, for nature, for better food, for connection. We even had a quieter space to record our podcast! Yet, we felt that long workdays indoors, and some of our new dreams—relationship, creative and professional—were asking for yet another change in environment.
In May, we moved from California to Colorado. For me, it was a love at first sight experience, since I grew up next to mountains and have always felt so at home around peaks, trees, and snow-surrounded valleys. Roland, a California native, is still learning that weather is fun—and having four seasons in one day is totally a Colorado experience. Also, hail hurts!!
We’ve been blessed with wonderful friends and community here, as so many of our Nutritious Movement colleagues and friends live close by. We’ve also discovered that three of families we know and love are moving here later this year, independent of each other, and our hearts are so full!
Of course, not owning my movement studio and working more online with clients has created a whole new flow of the day—we are being conscious of more screen time, and truly dedicated to bookending our days outside in natural light. We’ve also found that gardening and badminton make incredible movement breaks outside! We were lucky to find a neighborhood with established old trees and native plant gardens, so each walk is truly a healing balm for the eyes. We have bunnies, squirrels, and even foxes here in Fox Hill, Longmont. The Rockies are just a short drive away, and there are plenty of people to hike with!
We’re finding that more outdoor time in natural light, more time to be with friends, and a community that supports care for the environment are truly nourishing us. Even something as simple as being able to compost 90% of our trash and dedicating ourselves to be as single-use and plastic-free as possible is making a huge difference in our mood and mental health. People are asking if we miss the ocean—who wouldn’t miss the ocean? Or the friends we have in California?! You have to grow your heart to hold everything you love and everything you are stepping into! We have many sweet memories of it and we know we will visit for long walks and swims soon!
What are we working on now that we are not in our 10-12 hour day full-time jobs? I am working on bringing new movement courses and workshops, as well as coaching offers, to our online school on eatmovelive52.com, and have been growing a beautiful and compassionate curriculum around emotional eating and conscious eating. In fact, I just finished a new free book called Peace with Self Peace with Food, which will be available for free for a short while, as readers become familiar with a nervous system approach to healing from the pain of emotional eating.
Roland took the big plunge out of the corporate world last year, and if you’ve ever done anything like that you know it’s scary as hell. Yet, he’s been consistent and passionate about helping others and he’s growing a wonderful community of people who are interested in losing weight in a kind and compassionate way through a real food lifestyle. He has a new program coming up, called Weight Loss Now. He’s also leading several Breakthrough coaching groups for people who are serious about making a change in their health trajectory. He’s also working actively on his urban fantasy novel and is helping out writers in his Indestructible author community live healthy and happy lives as they write long hours each day to make their book ideas reality!
Life has been good to us. We’ve said yes to our vision for a new season of life, and we are so blessed to be supported by beautiful nature, a home that can hold our work and life, and be a base for local learning and retreats, and a community of people who need nature and love it as much as we do. Many of you know that we chose Colorado because I want to go back to school here, and I can’t wait to tell you more about it next time.
For now, from us, the Denzels, happy reading and we hope that the tools, tips, and life we share inspire you to grow your dreams and make them happen wherever you are.
Do you know that Doniga Markegard, author of Dawn Again, was featured in a promotion with Patagonia recently? If you missed it, watch it below now!
Doniga is a regenerative farmer who provides grass-fed and pasture-raised beef, lamb, pork and chicken to their community in Half Moon Bay, California from her and her husband’s ranch, Markegard Family Grass-Fed. Their practices of regenerative farming, holistic planned grazing, and watershed stewardship helps to make their farm as environmentally-friendly as possible! Go, Doniga!
Just outside my front door there is a field of stinging nettles the size of half a city block. It is the healthiest plot of nettles I have yet to see.
It was not always that way. There was an old barn on the hill above, that once was a milking barn and then held moonshine during prohibition. The activities in the barn helped pay the mortgage on the ranch and supported the growing family of settlers. When my husband arrived on the ranch the barn was falling down, due to lack of maintenance. The new owners made money elsewhere and simply used the ranch as an escape from the modern day stresses and routine.
The barn was bulldozed into the ground. Remnants of the roaring Twenties and a family of farmers making a go at life in California would soon turn to dirt. That dirt would then be fresh breeding ground for seeds that were carried along the coastal winds, dropped by birds as they migrated or a fox as he marked a territory. The seeds that lay in the freshly disturbed earth were not those that dominated the surrounding grasslands. They were seeds that some call the name forbidden to utter in some circles, the dirty word that many groups dedicate themselves to seek out and conquer: Invasive Species.
Poison hemlock, ripgut brome and medusahead all are icing on the cake of the conqueror. As these species drift around the world, looking for an opportunity to propagate, we have a choice to view them as a problem or an opportunity. So when the dirt became home to Italian thistle and poison hemlock, we put in the pigs. In nature, waste equals food, so if we are to mimic nature, everything eats and is eaten. When we want to sculpt our lives and our landscapes, that basic principle can help us avoid dissonance. The pigs did what they do: eat everything. They ate the roots of the plants because we let them stay long enough to feast on the starchy taproots of the thistle. Then we moved them off and let the ground rest and recover from the disturbance.
Winter set in, and soon a diversity of plants began to establish in the pig fertilized and disturbed earth. We did not spread any seeds, just waited and watched as the drifters found a settling place amongst the diversity and chaos. The result is a field of stinging nettle that is so healthy that the top leaves are the size of my hand—despite the drought—rivaling those of the Pacific Northwest, where everything is greener and bigger. So when life brings us stinging nettles, what more are we to do than to eat, a basic behavior we share with all life on earth. The act of gathering, preparing food and then the celebration of eating helps us to tap into that familiar comfort of not only surviving, but thriving.
Each species has a role and once we begin viewing this diversity as something to celebrate rather than select, isolate and destroy, the better off our lives and landscapes will become. The ranches on which our livestock graze support 66 species of birds and 157 species of plants. In all this diversity there is food being grown. How we tend to that food source is up to each and every individual. For our family, in spring, an abundance of stinging nettle means it’s time to make stinging nettle chips!
Recipe: Stinging Nettle Chips
Top 3 or 4 sets of leaves of the stinging nettle plant before they flower in the early spring
Apple Cider Vinegar
Harvest the nettle, be creative, collect as many as you can. See page 211 of Dawn Againto learn how to harvest without gloves. I also recently worked with my daughter Quince and I held a bag under the plant while she carefully cut the leaves with scissors. Enjoy the adventure of interacting with the plant.
Find a bowl large enough to fit all the nettles. Pour in the olive oil and vinegar about 3 parts oil to one part vinegar. Stir in the nutritional yeast until you have a slurry. Add in a couple pinches of salt to taste. Set all the trimmed leaves of the stinging nettle as well as the top group of leaves that form a bud. With a wooden spoon gently massage the oil mixture into the nettles until they are thoroughly coated. Pour in more oil as needed to coat the nettle. Take your time with this, part of the process is to massage out the stingers. Don’t tear the leaves, just work the oil into the surface. You know when it is ready when you pick up a raw nettle leaf, eat it and it does not sting your tongue. When you taste it, go through a sense meditation before you place the leave on your tongue. Then use your intuition to add more salt, fat or acid to the mix. See page 60 of Dawn Again for sense meditation. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees and place the nettles flat on a cookie sheet. Cook for about 20 mins, turning half way through until the leaves are crisp but not burnt.
This fall, we’ll publish Dawn Again: Tracking the Wisdom of the Wild, by Doniga Markegard. It’s a riveting memoir of exploration and survival. As a young girl, DonigaMarkegard was thrown from her horse and knocked unconscious. She remembers an out-of-body experience that revealed to her the great mystery at the heart of life. In Dawn Again, she writes of the journey that experience sparked.
At a wilderness immersion school, medicine people and wildlife trackers train her in indigenous ways. Her search for an authentic life takes her hitchhiking across the West and to Alaska, where she falls deeply in love with tracking wolves and the rigors of surviving in the wilderness.
Doniga seeks a vision and discovers her purpose, only to find herself on a cattle ranch, falling in love and starting a family, and learning a new way to apply the deep, unshakeable lessons of the wild.
We’re really excited about this book and we knew it needed a really special cover. So we turned, as we do, to our incredibly talented designer, Zsofi Koller. She did not disappoint. We took the opportunity to chat with Zsofi about the cover for Dawn Again, and what went into making it.
How do you approach the design of a cover for a new book?
Book cover design is about making an intangible tangible. On one hand, there are endless options. ENDLESS. On the other hand, if you listen to what the book is about—and I mean, listen with ALL your senses—some ideas become clear tracks to follow. And I follow those tracks, and see what happens.
When I’m doing first cover design, the book itself might not be written fully yet, or I might not have access to the full manuscript. So I’ll often get a debrief from the editor or author about the WHAT of the book. Not just the what—also, the spirit and heart of it. And I’ll daydream about it, and I’ll go to the bookstore and roam around thinking about it, and I’ll look at approximately a billion things online to get ideas.
And eventually I start to pile together ideas from my mental toolbox, and often times visual cues from my teammates, and it starts to take shape. And then I run my first concepts by our team, and we take it from there.
You chose not to use a photograph for this cover. Why not?
Well, we did try that idea. Pretty cute, right? (We were still ironing out the subtitle at that point, too, it seems!)
But it wasn’t the right idea for this book. This book isn’t best expressed by a photo. There’s a side of introspection, of spiritual exploration, that is best captured by a slightly more evocative imagery. So the thought of a wolf that embodied a sunrise felt too perfect to not use.
What were some of the particular challenges in designing this cover?
In total honesty, this cover didn’t feel like it had challenges. It came together pretty seamlessly. There were a lot of different iterations of sunrises and wolves though!
How do you know when you’ve landed on the right design?
When it makes someone on the team cry. And I can just feel it, too. When I come back and look at the design 24 hours later and still love it, I know it’s working. When I want to show it to my husband, it’s working. When I want to sweep everything into the garbage bin and keep working, it’s not right yet. And there’s really no short cut to the process. Sometimes it takes less time, or more time, but it’s always a process.
What do you most like about this final design?
I love the colour palette. A lot of our covers tend to be quite bold, which I love as well, but I enjoy the softness of the greens, pinks, oranges, and cream in this cover. It certainly feels true to a glorious dawn. I’m also very fond of the fonts we landed upon. A good font for a book is a little gift that keeps giving. I’m so looking forward to the interior design—the pieces have been laid in play so nicely by the cover, it makes the whole design process flow smoothly.
This special guest edition of the Propriometrics Press blog is written by our publisher and best-selling author, Katy Bowman.
I identify as a mover, but I also write a lot about movement. I’m a mover who writes. I think the way I identify is key, as it influences how I get my writing done. Because I define myself as a mover, I’m rarely unmoving—even when I’m being productive in ways we think of as sedentary.
I’ve written eight books (EIGHT BOOKS!) in the last few years, so clearly I’m in a passionate relationship with my computer. Also, I love books. I love reading them, taking pictures of them, and discussing them. Books have been key to my life. They not only teach me facts, they teach me new ways of seeing the world. So, reading and writing. How do those go with movement when both seem so sedentary?
Move Your DNA (and also Don’t Just Sit There) are books that show how to infuse movement into the non-exercise parts of your day. The movements are smaller than large feats of exercise, but they’re movements nonetheless. Often, getting more movement (and moving more of you) comes down to positioning yourself differently.
When you hold up your own body instead of leaning it against the back of a chair, you use your core muscles more subtly than you do when holding a plank, sure, but you can do it while you work or read. Cycling through sitting cross-legged, sitting with your legs in a V, or kneeling while you chop your veggies for dinner is an easy way to stretch. Wearing minimalist shoes (or no shoes) gives all the muscles in your feet a chance to strengthen, even with no added “exercise” time. Standing up to email, working outside whenever possible so your body is responding to fluctuations in light, temperature, sound, wind velocity, and more—all these things add movements to your life you may never have considered before.
Propriometrics Press is a #practicewhatyoupublish company. Meaning, the books we publish infiltrate the lives of our staff and authors. Many of you have asked “what position do you read or work in?” so I thought I’d show you how all of us work with books on the move.
Our editor-in-chief, Penelope, nature lover, often works outside.
If she’s not outside, it’s likely blizzarding (anyone in Nova Scotia will tell you that should be a word). If stuck inside, she’ll create an obstacle course and walk it a couple times an hour because movement and creativity are related and really, it just makes us feel better overall.
Our book covers are all dynamic thanks to Zsofi and her dynamic workstation.
Note: Canine co-opting is a thing. You’ve been warned. #theydontcallitdowndogfornothing
Now and then our Dynamic Aging authors, Lora, Shelah, Joan, and Joyce come down out of the trees to work. Whether it’s a standing work desk, exercise-reading hybrids, or simply going outside, what you see modeled here are ways to move more of you.
Sometimes, oftentimes, it takes less to move more. Less leg (on the table) means more leg (positions not available in a chair, and use getting up and down from her lowered desk) for Stephanie, our Director of Operations.
And finally, some of my favorite read-exercise hybrids involve my piriformis and legs up the wall.
Some of my less favorite (or perhaps it’s just less productive) movements include working with my children, literally, on my back.
You can also watch this video of me working over a 60-minute period (it’s sped up to two minutes because watching me work is sort of like watching paint dry) to see how much movement goes into my “office” time—a time many perceive as mandatory stillness.
So there you have it. Books can move you. Not only your mind, but your body too.
So, in case you missed it, one of our books was on The Today Show on Friday, no big deal (totally a very big deal). First of all, what a total thrill to see Katy Bowman and some of her Dynamic Aging co-authors on national television! And of course, the idea that millions more people were able to gain access to the ideas and possibilities presented in Dynamic Aging is the real fuel for our collective fire around these parts.
So that part was awesome enough, and then around mid-day Eastern time, Dynamic Aging started charging up Amazon’s best sellers list, finally coming to rest in the number two position, where it stayed for just about twenty four hours. At this writing, it’s still firmly in the top 50 books. You guys, out of more than thirty million titles. Let me give you a bit of perspective on this. Propriometrics Press is a very small company, with one full-time employee and a ragged band of independent contractors. We’ve all been together in person exactly one time, and it was just a few months ago. Getting our book on The Today Show was a massive accomplishment. Watching it climb the charts and compete alongside books published by the Big Five was a pinch-me-I-must-be-dreaming experience. Seeing it still sitting comfortably in the top 100 books today—I don’t know how to explain the feeling. We do not do a lot of resting on our laurels, but we are pretty good at celebrating our success with long strings of celebratory emoji, like this:
The part of all this that remains the most awesome is hearing from readers. So, if you’ve had a chance to look at Dynamic Aging, we’d love to hear from you. Drop us a line in the comments if you like, and if the spirit moves you, maybe review the book on Amazon—reviews of all kinds help other readers decide whether a particular book is for them.
And now, it’s on to the next! (see under: laurels, not resting on). We are getting ready to release an expanded edition of Move Your DNA in just a few weeks. Tell you more about that soon!
What a day! It started bright and early, when Katy Bowman and her Dynamic Aging co-authors appeared on The Today Show. It was a terrific segment, focused on so-called super-agers…folks who keep their bodies and minds nimble well into their seventies, eighties, beyond. Three of Katy’s four co-authors were featured, sitting on the floor, squatting, swinging, climbing at the park, and just generally being awesome, as they are. You can watch it all unfold right here.
Of course, we love to point out that though we think Katy’s co-authors are super, there’s nothing so different about them—except their habits. They’re not genetically superior in any way (that we know of!), but they’ve spent most of the last decade learning Katy’s Nutritious Movement philosophy and moves, and putting them into practise daily. The great news about that, is that anyone can do what Joan, Shelah, Lora, and Joyce have done. You can, I can, we all can. Totally inspiring.
Then, once the segment had aired all the way across the country, we were delighted to note that Dynamic Aging climbed into the top TWO books on Amazon. Out of, like, more than thirty-three million! Which occasioned many notes back and forth among the Propriometrics Team to the effect of: TWO! TWO! TWO! Excitement makes us a little monosyllabic, it turns out.
And most amazing of all are the comments we’re seeing on social media, about what this book means to those who have read it, and the excitement with which a whole new crowd of readers are embracing it. In a day that’s been full to the brim with incredible moments, it’s the moments in which we realize that Dynamic Aging, a book we really believe will be a game-changer for so many people, is actually going out and finding its intended audience that mean the very most.
It’s been an incredibly exciting time around the Propriometrics Press offices! We’re delighted to share the news that Katy Bowman and three of her four septuagenarian co-authors will be on The Today Show on Friday, March 31, sharing what Dynamic Aging looks like in action. Katy and her co-authors spent a day with Maria Shriver in Ventura, California, right after Dynamic Aging launched, and you’ll be able to tune in and see the result of that on The Today Show during the 8 a.m. block. If you can’t make it to a television set, you’ll be able to stream the segment afterward, right here. We’ll share some video of the episode if we can to make it extra easy for you to find!
And if you’re looking to get your hands on a copy of Dynamic Aging, we’ve made that easy to find, too!
First of all, the setting. Exquisite. We were so fortunate to be hosted by Doniga Markegard and her family on their working cattle ranch. The green and gold hills rolled by, dotted with cattle, the mountains rose behind them, the Pacific Ocean waved in the distance. Doniga and her husband Erik are the finest kind of people, and gave us such a warm welcome to the beautiful land they farm. The weather, too, was perfect. Balmy and sunny, with just a gentle breeze, hardly a cloud in the sky, no veil of fog.
Katy wanted a forage-and-farm-to-table meal, in keeping with the themes she explores in Movement Matters, and we found a perfect chef in Kevin Koebel of Local FATT (Food Awareness Through Teaching). Chef Kevin was entirely unfazed when I told him we wanted our guests to participate in some way in making the meal they were going to share with each other. In fact, this is the basis of what Chef Kevin does. So on the appointed day, he marshaled our eighty-or-so guests and got them working on cooking, assembling, and serving delicious appetizers, as cows milled around and the sun slanted across the hills. This act of making and serving food together turned our eighty guests into a cohesive group; fast friends were made, along with tasty bites!
As the sun began to drift down toward the horizon, we raised our glasses and made a toast to water—“not just a condiment for your meal,” Katy said, “but the earth’s blood.” Water is life, we agreed, thinking of the WaterKeepers and all those at Standing Rock, and we savoured our water before the meal was served.
The sun set, the air grew chilly, and Chef Kevin served platter after platter of incredible locally-sourced food. Cowbells punctuated conversation. Friendships were renewed and solidified. As guests began to think about drifting off into the night, coffee and hot cocoa was served, alongside bowls of fair-trade chocolate from Santa Barbara Chocolates. We stood together in small groups, hot drink in one hand, handful of chocolate in the other, finishing conversations that had woven through the party, saying goodbye for now. A sweet end to a sweet evening. We are so grateful to everyone who worked to make our party a success, to everyone who made the journey to celebrate Movement Matters with us, and to everyone who took an interest from afar! Thank you!
Another take on the evening can be found here, courtesy of Martin at Soft Star shoes.