Our Origin Story
We are John and Rosemary Fotheringham, two Functional Nutritional Therapy Practitioners (FNTPs) and finance nerds living in the Pacific Northwest. We paid off $66,000 of debt in less than three years to become debt free in January of 2019, and we’re now on the path to financial independence (yay!)
All throughout our debt payoff, we found ourselves binging on finance podcasts like Afford Anything and Choose FI, reading finance blogs such as Mr. Money Mustache, and devouring books including Your Money or Your Life, The Simple Path to Wealth, and The Millionaire Next Door. More recently, we’ve been immersing ourselves in the “Financial Independence” and “FIRE” (Financially Independent, Retire Early) communities, hosting local ChooseFI meet-ups, attending our first Camp Mustache, and our first FinCon.
We love the FI community and want to do everything we can to help spread the philosophy and basic principles. But along the way, we have seen one bit of pervasive advice on various FI blogs that kiiiiiiind of makes us want to bang our heads repeatedly on the desk: eating “rice and beans” to save money on the grocery bill. If not literally rice and beans, the recommendation usually involves a very high-carb diet with large quantities of flour, rice, beans, and potatoes to “bulk up” the meals.
With both of us being certified NTPs (Nutritional Therapy Practitioners) and having profound health transformations when we changed how we ate, we felt ourselves dying a little inside every time we heard such advice. We knew that this way of eating was low in nutrients and would result in nutrient deficiencies in the long term, which then decreases quality (and length!) of life.
And that was why we decided to be a voice advocating for what we believe in:
- Thinking in terms of nutrient density instead of simply dollars or calories.
- Showing that a calorie is not a calorie (each of the three macronutrients―fat, protein, and carbohydrates―have different effects on hormones, satiety, etc.).
- Eating real, whole, unprocessed foods that our great-grandparents would recognize.
- Eating low-glycemic foods that don’t spike insulin and support stable energy throughout the day.
- Eating to fuel function, support metabolic flexibility, and optimize gene expression.
- Eating locally, in season, and foraging when possible.
- Creating one’s own convenience instead of paying a premium for it.
- Incorporating traditional and ancestral food processing and preservation method such as fermenting, soaking, sprouting, and canning.
- Eating nose-to-tail, never letting any part of the animal go to waste and getting a wider range of nutrients, flavors, and textures.
- Supporting sustainable and regenerative farming practices that are better for animals, better for the planet, and better for us.
- Intermittent fasting from time to time to give our bodies a chance to restore and repair, save some money on food, and reduce the time needed to prep food or do dishes.
The thing is, eating real, whole, nutrient-dense, and organic food doesn’t have to be as expensive as people think.
Through lots of trial and error, we have figured out how to eat in a way that doesn’t break the bank but is still rich in nutrients, incredibly flavorful, and also―important with both of us working full time―low maintenance.
When we first examined our food spending, we were spending upwards of $1,200 a month on just the two of us (WERE WE EATING SOLID GOLD BARS?!). We decided to see if we could halve that to $600 and get by, and we did. Then, just for fun, we decided to see if we could halve it again to $300, and we did.
These days, we settle somewhere around $400-$600 monthly for food. It may be a little more than other peoples’ food budgets in the FIRE community, but we both strongly believe in the old adage:
Our goal is to help you optimize your health just as much as you optimize every detail of your finances. The FIRE Community is one that really understands the concept of value and spending money where it counts. We think that an investment in food that supports your own health is worth the money―because if you retire but you’re not well enough to enjoy it, what’s the point, really?
For the complete story of how we got out of debt, see our 3-part blog series, How We Paid off $66K of Debt in 32 Months.
Our Health Philosophy
We believe and teach that what you eat and how you live shapes your health. Good health isn’t “luck.” Food and lifestyle directly affects which genes are expressed and in what way. This is called epigenetics, and epigenetics trumps genetics. This is good news! You have the power to improve your health by eating a nutrient-dense, properly prepared diet and balancing the five fundamentals (hence, Flourish Fundamentals!):
- Relaxation & Restoration
- Community & Connection
When these foundations are out of balance, we start to experience a host of unwanted symptoms: weight gain, skin issues, fatigue, hormonal imbalances, and worse. By supporting each of these foundations through diet and lifestyle, the body’s chemistry can be brought back into balance, helping people enhance their health naturally. The body’s default mode is health, if it gets the basic building blocks it needs to function properly and build healthy tissues.
For a real life example of the transformative power of the Flourish Fundamentals approach, you can read Rosemary’s transformation story about how supporting the foundations and transitioning from a Standard American Diet (SAD) to a properly prepared, nutrient-dense diet helped her overcome long-term struggles with weight, depression, anxiety, sugar addiction, skin problems, and painful menstrual cycles.
We embrace whole-body, nutrition-based approach, making sure that: 1) your digestion system is working properly, 2) you are eating the right kinds of foods to keep your energy levels stable and sugar cravings at bay, and 3) you are eating enough high-quality fats and proteins to keep you satisfied and nourished.
We believe in addressing nutrient deficiencies by using real food, and only using supplements as a true supplement―that is, they are in addition to a nutrient-dense, properly-prepared diet. You can’t out-supplement a bad diet!
You’re going to love how great the foods we recommend make you feel. On this website and in Rosemary’s books, you’ll find the types of low-inflammatory, nutrient-dense foods that have nourished the human race for thousands of years, and allowed our ancestors to be naturally vibrant with health. It wasn’t until these foods began to fall out of common usage—coupled with the introduction of refined sugar, processed carbohydrates, and trans-fat laden vegetable oils—that so many of us became overweight and sick.
Eating this way will require some changes to the way you eat and live―but if you’re already on the path to financial independence, or you’re already there, you’re used to making incremental progress, day after day! The myriad benefits are well worth the extra time in the kitchen and having a little higher grocery bill than you would on the Rice and Beans Diet: increased energy, reduced/eliminated sugar cravings, better sleep, clearer skin, improved mood, balanced hormones, and fitting effortlessly into your favorite clothes.
Ready to dive in?
Flourish Fundamentals 30-Day Reset
We’re super excited to announce the Flourish Fundamentals 30-Day Reset, a health transformation course we’ve specifically designed for the Financial Independence community. (The first of its kind!) 🎉 The course includes six live virtual meetings through Zoom, a vault of useful resources, and empowering action steps designed to create tangible, measurable progress.
We are specifically looking for beta testers who:
- Have some nagging health issues they are ready to take control of (this might be a little extra weight, hormone imbalances, skin issues, headaches, low energy, restless sleep, mood issues, foggy-headedness, etc).
- Want to kick their sugar and carb cravings.
- Want to learn to eat in a way that doesn’t break the bank, but also doesn’t sacrifice food quality.
- Consider themselves valueists, and are willing to spend a little more money on food (beyond rice and beans) in exchange for better health now and into the future. As we always say, “Pay the farmer now so you don’t have to pay the doctor later!”
- Are open to their minds being changed (we’re going to bust some myths around the often-maligned fat being bad for you!).
- Are willing to incorporate animal products in their diet. It would be possible to do this reset as a vegetarian with plenty of high-quality pastured eggs and full-fat cheeses, butter, and cream, but it’s not compatible with a vegan diet.
- Are willing to make lifestyle changes, not just wanting a magic pill.
- Can provide constructive and actionable feedback, and an honest testimonial.
Beta testers will get a discounted rate of $297 for the six-week class, with $697 being the full rate going forward. The first cohort will meet Thursdays from 6-7 PM Pacific, from January 9 to February 13, 2020. Space is limited to the first ten participants who register for the cohort. Reserve your spot now and use the code BETA to get $400 off!
Rosemary wrote her ebook Radiant Reboot: Reclaim Your Health, Increase Your Energy & Reboot Your Life in 30 Days as a sort of “nutrition coach in a book”. It walks you through a 30 day, self-guided clean eating program. If you’ve ever done a Whole 30, the food guidelines are similar, but it also gives you basic concepts around the foundations of nutrition so that you understand the WHY behind eating this way, 100 curated real-food recipes, tips for how to stock a nutrient-dense fridge and pantry, and much more.
Eat Your Sunscreen
If you’re going on a winter trip to a sunnier destination, or if the days are getting longer and sunnier, you want to be sun-ready! Unfortunately, much of the conventional advice around sun protection out there is inaccurate at best or actually harmful at worst. This is why Rosemary wrote the ultimate guide to sun exposure and sun safety, Eat Your Sunscreen: Superfoods to Boost Your Skin’s Natural Defenses Against Sunburn. You’ll learn why sun exposure is so important for mood and health, why chemical-laden sunscreens are nowhere near as helpful as we’ve been led to believe (and some better alternatives), and foods and nutrients that help you resist burning and aging and help you tan more easily―even if you’re naturally pale and even if you only have a couple weeks! You’ll even get recipes for sun-protective foods, and some non-toxic product recommendations.
Personalized Nutrition & Finance Coaching
If you want specialized help or extra support, we occasionally takes on coaching clients on a case-by-case basis. We special in working with other couples (brining a balance of masculine and feminine perspectives), but are happy to work one-on-one with individuals, too. You can work with both of us together, or request to work with just one of us. Contact us directly to set up a free 15 minute call to see if a nutritional therapy approach would be a good fit for you.
Free Resource Pantry + Newsletter
Enter your email below to get instant access to the Flourish Fundamentals Resource Pantry, which includes the following free guides:
- Guide to Healthy Fats [PDF]: Which you should eat, and which to avoid.
- How to Make Sauerkraut [PDF]: Cheaper than probiotics, and boosts immunity and gut health.
- A Beginner’s Guide to Eating Liver, Nature’s Ultimate Superfood [PDF]
- Free E-Book Chapters [PDF]: From Rosemary’s books Radiant Reboot and Eat Your Sunscreen
You’ll also get our best recipes, healthy living tips, and other subscriber-only bonuses in our weekly Flourish Friday email.
THE FINE PRINT: The content on this website is strictly our opinion and is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to take the place of medical advice or treatment from a personal physician. All readers and viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Flourish Fundamentals does not take responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. All viewers of this content should consult their physicians before beginning any nutrition, supplement, or lifestyle program.