Sunday, November 20, 2011

a kitchen garden window

Although I'm 37 years young I feel like I'm getting old because of my newfound interest in creating gardens. This small garden of succulents, herbs and flowers is the view I now have from my kitchen window where I stand about four times a day to wash dishes. It is a simple collection of plants and symbols I've gathered over the past six months since I decided to transform the overgrown patch of dirt and concrete that was there before. I was inspired by my great friend Sally who planted a memorial garden outside her inner city home, a garden about this size, for her friend whose baby died. Sally's plot is always bursting with colours, and when passers by stop to admire the flowers Sally tells them it is in honor of a baby who died. In my own garden the yellow silk heart flag is in memory of my dear friend Luci's baby girl Sunny who was stillborn, sweet beautiful Sunny. The colourful ceramic rooster a wedding present from my long time friend Kylie, I love the colour and character it adds to my patch of dirt. I'm still adding to this garden space, still dreaming of new shapes, colours, symbols...a boat in memory of my late great brother in law Peter Malcolm...a symbol to honor my late brother...and when I see them I plant marigolds for my mum. Mosaic tiles made by my boys and I are on my wishlist too. Pete, my husband, can't understand why I'd plant anything we can't eat. Pete tends the vegie garden in our backyard with great attention to the soil, the planting, the harvest. Lettuce and carrots have their own beauty but for me the colour and beauty of flowers is nourishing too. As my great grandmother Emily Rowe taught all the children in our family "dirt is good for your soul". Happy gardening.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011


If you are yet to discover the joys of wholefood chef Jude Blereau’s philosophy and cookbooks it is my pleasure to introduce you. Jude’s cookbooks ‘Coming home to eat – wholefood for the family’ and ‘Wholefood for children – nourishing young children with whole and organic foods’ are on high rotation in my kitchen. Both are perfect for newcomers as well as deft hands at wholefood cooking. Jude’s writing makes every aspect of whole foods cooking seem possible even to readers who consider themselves ‘time poor’. From cooking your own nourishing stock to making natural yoghurt, the best-ever chocolate brownies to fabulous recipes incorporating grains that perhaps you had no idea how to prepare. In ‘Coming home to eat’ Jude writes about making the transition to a real food diet, “Without doubt, the best advice I can give you is this: expect the transition to take some time. It doesn’t happen overnight – I consider one to two years normal…It also takes a while before you fully understand the whole idea of real food, adjust your approach to meal preparation and cooking and work out your own shortcuts.” Before you even get to the recipes in these books, soak up the front and back sections  crammed with useful information about whole food ingredients. Jude's writing is inspiring, her tone is very encouraging and realistic about what people can achieve when making a change to whole foods or learning about new ingredients. If you have no idea what to stock in your whole foods pantry, have no idea what to do with kudzu, agar or arrowroot, or how long to soak dried black turtle beans the answers and many, many more are in these beautifully presented books. Go on over to Jude’s blog and see what I mean for yourself. You’ll read her passion for real food and even score a few free recipes. Do buy the books though, one or the other or both. Enjoy!

Sunday, November 06, 2011

mama's little helper

I’ve cut caffeine, wheat, dairy, alcohol and all forms of sugar including fruit out of my diet for 12 weeks, I have a month to go! Planet Organic herbal teas have been a saviour during this time, particularly the Female Balance blend – certified organic licorice root, sage leaf, nettle leaf, chamomile flowers and lemongrass.
The licorice root gives the sweetness I am searching for and the chamomile and sage takes the edge off my freyed witching hour nerves. Nettle is a natural detoxifier, and lemongrass aids digestion. Giving up sugar is no easy task, goodbye 3pm chai with honey, goodbye date and coconut roll, goodbye chocolate. I had no idea I was addicted to sugar, but that is a whole other post. 
A simple cup of this fragrant, naturally sweet and uplifting herbal tea is my new best friend.

Friday, November 04, 2011

10 tips for making the switch to wholefoods

1. Go through your cupboards and pull out all the processed foods in packets, cans and jars. Read the labels look for numbers, look for how many times the words sugar, sucrose, maltodextrin appear. You have two options: throw them in the bin or if that feels wasteful take them back to your local supermarket that has a collection for foods to donate to charity.

2. For one week keep track of how often you eat out or buy take away and the cost. This is not about deprivation. I’m not saying never eat out I’m saying be conscious of what, where and who you are eating with. Then ask yourself at the end of the week was it worth it? Both financially and for your health and well-being. Part of the problem with eating out is that there is a culture of mediocrity out there in most cafes and restaurants, sub standard meals are tolerated by most consumers. Do not tolerate mediocrity.

3. Find out when your local farmers market is on and buy your fresh food for the week.

4. If you say time is a real issue for you go online and have your fresh food delivered.

5. With the money you save on not buying take away and eating out you can afford to buy organic food and cook at home.

6. When you cook, cook double the amount and then you will either have lunch or dinner for the next day.

7. This is not ideal but it is still better than take away food – stock your freezer with some real food meals that you can pull out before work and leave to defrost in the fridge then reheat on the stove or in the oven and serve with a salad. ‘Microwave’ is a dirty word. If you are going to eat real food, cook it and heat it with fire.

8. Attitude is everything. If you say cooking is a bore and a chore then it will be. If you change your attitude and enjoy the luxury of having fresh food and see preparing your own food as a way of nourishing yourself, your family and friends cooking becomes satisfying.

9. Enrol in a wholefoods cooking class. If you have the know-how, preparing real food can be quick and easy. Skill up.

10. Can’t afford cooking classes? Go to the library and borrow some books on wholefood cooking. Or find recipes online. See there’s nothing stopping you! Not time nor money J

If you have any tips I’d love to hear. Share your experience of switching to real food.

Thursday, November 03, 2011


The fact that food is even referred to as ‘real’ or ‘processed’ says much about where we’re at with food today. Thankfully an increasing number of people are asking questions: where does our food come from? Who grew it? How far has it travelled? And in the case of meat, what sort of life did the animal have?

Real food is good for our body and soul, and good for the planet. It doesn’t contain chemicals, preservatives, artificial colours or flavours. It doesn’t come from a factory and is not sold in packets with numbers on the ingredient list. Real food, fresh fruit and vegies, grains, meat and dairy is grown or produced without chemicals. It is fresh, preferably local and importantly for our planet sustainable. The best places to buy real food are direct from growers at their farm gates, farmers markets and from food co-ops.

For many folk, especially city dwellers, the excuse of having ‘no time’ to purchase or prepare real food is their reasoning for eating ‘convenience’ foods be that take away or heat and eat meals out of packets. The truth is, enjoying real food and their own good health and that of the planet is not a priority. I appreciate that people arriving home late, tired and hungry go for convenience but with the right ingredients on hand a real food meal can be prepared quickly and effortlessly. It is just a matter of changing your habits and your mind about what matters.

It is well documented by leading experts such as American author and journalist Michael Pollan that eating mass-produced and marketed food is unsustainable from a health perspective and planet perspective.

If you’re not already committed to eating well, eating real then make the switch! Silence the sceptics who want to keep you on the same path as them they’ll say ‘I eat food from the supermarket and I’m ok’ or ‘organic food is too expensive’. Until you have a real food diet you don’t know how well you can feel, how much energy and mental clarity you can have. And as for organic food being too expensive ‘what price is good health and well-being?’

Tomorrow – 10 tips for making the switch to eating real food 
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