The Idea That Launched A Family Business

After a winter’s worth of work, my family and I are excited to announce the launch of our new family business, Dr. Cowan’s Garden, as well as the arrival of its companion book, How (& Why) to Eat More Vegetables. Here’s the short story of how they came about.  

For years I have thought it strange that people (including myself) who are devoted followers of traditional or paleo-type diets regularly ate vegetables that didn’t even exist before the 1800s.   In addition, having read everything I could find on the actual diets of successful traditional people, I knew that their vegetable consumption surpassed anything I was doing. I also knew such diversity was essential for optimal health. Because I’ve been growing most of my own vegetables – including perennial vegetables – for the past year, I’ve been able to substantially increase the types of vegetables I consume. However, I knew this diversity was not accessible to the vast majority of my patients and friends.

Then, about a year ago, I had a breakthrough.   Through the kindness of a grateful patient, I was given access to a large garden to grow vegetables in Napa. At around the same time, Lynda and I had a meal at the restaurant Bar Tartine in San Francisco, where I was introduced to the incredible flavors of fresh vegetable powders. Almost immediately, I envisioned turning the two 70-foot beds of kale I had growing into kale powder.   The next thing I knew, I had made powders from about 40 to 50 herbs and vegetables I grew, and my diet was more fun, flavorful and nutritious than ever.

At a family vacation on Cape Cod last summer, I broached the idea of creating a business to sell a line of vegetable powders, blends, hard-to-get perennials, maybe even wild vegetables, to patients and friends.   After about eight months of incredible work by many people, we now have a book describing the traditional vegetable diet, and we have a company ready to bring these vegetable powders to market.   How (& Why) to Eat More Vegetables explains the theory behind a diverse vegetable diet and provides recipes to help anyone implement this approach.

I have often said that even if somehow I found out that eating traditional foods were not the most healthful foods on the planet (something I actually can’t even fathom), I would still eat them just for the taste and enjoyment. If I died young, at least I would have enjoyed the ride.   I can’t imagine this scenario, however, because, to me, the most nutritious food MUST also be the food that tastes the best – that is how we are wired.   The same now goes for our vegetable powders; they add so much fun and flavor to our meals, I can hardly imagine life without them.

It has been an incredible journey, and we have been accompanied and helped by many friends and patients -- too many to thank in this blog.  

I hope you try our powders and read about them in our book.   They are the gift of the Cowan/Smith clan to the world.   The book is available through the practice website, and the powders (as well as the book) are on www.drcowansgarden.com. I will be writing a monthly blog on the powder site to describe the ideas behind each of the powders and to share information about the particular vegetables, so subscribe here to receive that blog.

We are all very excited to bring this approach to eating vegetables to the world. We hope you join us on the journey.

With gratitude,

Tom