Edible Underground

Finding Balance: The Story of Laney & Lu

By / Photography By Jennifer Bakos | January 05, 2016
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Laney & Lu latté

Growing up in northern Vermont, Jennifer Desrosiers remembers a connection to food beginning early on. Surrounded by farms, her family ate food off the land, including their neighbor’s cow.

Leaving to study architectural engineering, Desrosiers began working for a manufacturing company and ended up there after graduation. About eleven years later, however, she was feeling stuck in her job and the “work-focused” life, and was experiencing incredible pain. The doctors diagnosed inflamed kidneys, but were unable to offer a cure or idea for what was causing it. “I talked to the doctor about whether it was possible that something food-related was going on and he said, ‘I don’t think so, that seems very unlikely.’”

Feeling desperate, Desrosiers tried the Paleo diet and “within one week I felt better. It provided a sort of instant clarity and renewed energy.” She had experienced first-hand the effects of listening to her body and realized that the key to developing an awareness is to “take a break and take a breath and see how you feel within fifteen or thirty minutes of eating.” This is where Desrosiers sees the real potential for change.

Laney & Lu salads
Laney & Lu interior

Her exit from the corporate world finally came in 2013 with the founding of Wild Adventurous Life, Desrosiers’ holistic health and wellness business that provides a forum for shared experiences of triumph, exploration, and wellbeing via the company’s facebook page and website. Wild Adventurous Life’s mission is to inspire people to live their life with enthusiasm and promotes health, happiness, and optimism. Even with the launch of such an impactful, successful business, Desrosiers never forgot her longing to open a café founded on these same principles. One day, she happened to “walk through the patio” right outside what is now Laney & Lu and immediately called her husband saying, “I think I just found our spot.”

The café, smoothie, and juice bar is located in Exeter and has become “a funnel” for all the information that Wild Adventurous Life provides. The life philosophies that both entities embody come to fruition not only in the benches made of reclaimed wood and the recyclable or compostable products, but also in the sense that all is connected and part of an organic and healthy environment.

Desrosiers and Wilson of Laney and Lu
Behind one of the major factors fueling the experience is Chef Keith Wilson. Having always thought it important that “we only have this one planet,” he says people today are “disconnected from nature and from the fact that we’re animals who live on this planet with all the other animals.” Through this lens, his work reflects a dedication to local sources with the respect and honor due to what sustains us.

Both Wilson and Desrosiers share a certainty that the future does not and cannot depend on one person—a balance that requires contributions from all.

Wilson hopes that people will realize their calling and start a chain reaction to encourage others to explore what is important to them. Desrosiers agrees that “all you’ve got to do is show up, listen, be positive, smile, and set an example.” That advice has certainly worked for them.

Article from Edible New Hampshire at http://ediblenewhampshire.ediblecommunities.com/eat/finding-balance-story-laney-lu
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