POSTED BY: ERIKA
It’s that time again! Time to highlight someone who we think is awesome! This week’s Wild Wednesday feature is Ms. Leah Leighter.
Even though it seems like it has been so much longer that we’ve known each other, it’s only been a year since we met! I met Leah at Vero Espresso, the adorable little coffee shop I worked at last year. Starting a new job is always intimidating because of the already established relationships between the employees, and finding where you fit into the dynamic can be a bit challenging. But I was lucky enough to have Leah who “took me under her wing” instantaneously. Leah taught me everything I needed to know about the coffee shop, introduced me to customers and pretty soon I felt right at home!
Since the first time I told Leah about Wild Squirrel she has been such a supporter. She has always offered to help, many times offering to do “whatever we need!” She is one of the most generous and genuine people I know and I was excited to finally get to interview her!
Leah (far right) hanging out with us in Eugene at the Street Fair!
If you could live anywhere in the world where would you live?
The Pacific Northwest has been my home and it has truly treated me well. However, as we are just coming out of the rainy season, its time for some Vitamin D! I guess the first place that comes to mind is to visit my good friend in Utila, Honduras.
What would you hate to live without?
It would have to be dark chocolate! Lately I’ve really had a thing for dark chocolate with orange.
If you were an animal, what would you be?
An otter! Because they float on their backs and eat! I used to swim backstroke competitively in high school and I love food.
What is one thing you do for yourself everyday?
I don’t always have the luxury or time to do this everyday, but I love taking long, hot showers. It’s one of the few places where I can just think.
What’s your favorite type of food, favorite restaurant?
Hmm…favorite restaurant would be any back porch with a barbecue. Ha! Can you tell I’m ready for summer? A family favorite would be a marinated flank steak, grilled medium rare, sliced thinly, and served with chimichurri.
Leah, something we love to talk about is…food! Can you tell me more about your new relationship and approach to food and nutrition? How has it changed your life?
I used to feel weighed down and bloated after I ate. I remember after one meal I ate while we were working together I felt particularly bad. You suggested that I eliminate gluten from my diet, so I decided to try it for a month to see if I noticed a difference. The first week was hard. I felt like I was missing out on something. I decided that if I was going to get through the month I was going to have to be more creative. I started to incorporate more vegetables, protein, and fruits into my cooking.
Second, I hit up Google. I found numerous gluten free cooking blogs where I learned tips on baking with alternative flours as well as cooking with alternative grains. After 5 months of eating gluten free, I have found I am more adventurous in my cooking and I have the tendency of making more of my own stuff which is pretty fun! Being bloat-free is nice too.
What are you most passionate about?
I am pretty passionate about acquiring new skills and refining old ones. I like projects of which you can physically see the progress being made and the fulfillment of doing them yourself.
What are you future dreams? Both professionally and personally.
I’ve been bombarded with this question since I graduated last spring. Honestly, I don’t know the answer to my dream job and at times that can be frustrating. At some points in the future, I would like to volunteer in Africa for public health education—either in women’s health and family planning or nutrition.
Some of my personal plans for the summer are to hike the South Sister, backpack in the Wallowas, run the Women’s Half Marathon in under 2 hours, participate in a triathlon, and to put together a game of slip n’ slide kickball with some friends.
Leah loves to bring Squirrel Size almond butter packets when she goes on bike rides!
What is your favorite Wild Squirrel flavor and why?
Oh, this is a tough one. I think it would have to be either the Chocolate Coconut or Honey Pretzel. Typically I eat it straight out of the jar but I also mix it in with ice cream, put it on pancakes, make sandwiches, and bak it into cookies and breads.
Thanks Leah for sharing a little bit about yourself! Keeley and I so appreciate all of the support and encouragement you’ve given us over the past year.
Until next time!