Thursday, March 27, 2014

is there any chicken?

Wednesday rolled by like any other wednesday. I picked River up from school and headed home to think about dinner. A friend had given us a very meaty freshly caught Australian salmon that Pete filleted and asked me to hunt through for bones - very fiddly work, but I wasn't complaining I was happy for FREE fresh fish.

Pete came up with the idea to turn the fillets into salmon patties made with mashed potato and fresh corn from our garden and beans from a local farmer. We also had an abundance of tomatoes from our garden that we made into bruschetta. A feast was set.

We've had salmon patties oh about a million times at least and they are usually well received eaten with a splodge of tomato sauce. On this very ordinary Wednesday night when the plates were placed on the table Sol looked down and with such hopefulness in his voice asked, "Is there any chicken?" (We had roast chicken the night before and meat is Sol's favorite). "No, there's no chicken. This is dinner tonight", replied Pete. This is about the point where dinner that night was turned on it's head and I had a very unwanted insight into what can happen in other households at meal times that has actually never happened to this degree in my house.

Sol burst into tears, big heart felt sobbing kind of tears. "I want some chicken" he wailed. Oh dear. My heart sank, my stomach flip flopped. I no longer felt like eating, for I knew that Sol's overwhelming emotional response was not going to be tolerated easily by Pete.

Sol pushed his plate away and came over to sit on my lap and cry some more and seek sympathy. Pete explained to Sol, "This is dinner tonight Sol you don't have to eat it if you don't want to but if you want to cry you will have to sit in your room." The crying and asking for something different to eat continued, "But I'm hungry!" he wailed.

Pete got up, extracted Sol from my lap and carried him calmly to his bedroom and told him to stay there until he finished crying. Sol being the determined character he is was not deterred and was back crying at the table within seconds.

I hadn't eaten a bite but dinner was over for me I felt so emotionally churned I couldn't eat. While I stand by our family rule that what is served at dinner is dinner and no alternatives are given, what I found difficult this night was the intensity of Sol's response. During the hour that this took place my mind was thinking about family's where this is a regular occurrence.

Ordinarily, even if the boys are not that thrilled with what we are having for dinner they will pick around the parts they don't particularly want, try bits and pieces or if they are really hungry they will actually endure eating the whole meal even if it is not their favorite. They have never been 'fussy' because they know it will not be tolerated and because we have explained to them that it is disrespectful to the good food we are fortunate to have and disrespectful to the care and time put in to make the meal. Plus they know that on another night they will get to have a dinner that is their favorite.

The main reason that Wednesday night dinner fell apart was because Sol was way over tired from having started kinder this term. Fifteen hours a week of being with 23 other four year olds, playing, making friends, finding his way in the crowd, listening to his teacher and then coming home and being expected to eat a not so favorite dinner well, it was all a bit too much. For everyone.

I shared the story with a friend and fellow kinder mum the next day and she said "Oh on the long kinder day we have egg and bacon rolls for dinner." Egg and bacon rolls she told me are her four year old's idea of comfort food. To my mind there seemed to be some merit to this approach.

The week after the Wednesday night dinner I thought about what my friend had said and I also thought about a poet I'd heard on the radio, a line in her poem rang in my head "Ice cream for dinner said no parent ever". Well, I decided in that moment that sometimes we parents (especially this parent) can take the whole eating well thing a little too seriously and there must be some lightness and playfulness too. So when River asked, "What's for dinner?" It gave me great joy to be able to say "Pancakes with mango and ice cream". Ok so they were buckwheat pancakes with coconut milk ice cream but it was fun and not at all what they expected me to say and I'm hoping that they will say, "Remember that time Mum let us have ice cream for dinner."

How do you handle tired children at dinner time? Do you ever eat breakfast for dinner?

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

a weekly stills collection

1. Homemade hamburgers on gluten free buckwheat buns were a hit for dinner.

2. Dahlias = magnificent. Couldn't resist them.

3. Tacos are a great way to encourage kids to eat salad, set everything out and let them make their own.

4. Wonderful chocolate beetroot cake, recipe in my upcoming ebook.

5. A glimpse of me at Pete's sister's magical wedding on the weekend. I'll share that post soon because, well, who doesn't love a wedding?!

Monday, March 24, 2014

wholefood step-by-step: #12 sweet alternatives to refined cane sugar

As long time readers here will know I don't believe in banning or demonising foods, even sugar! Because I think doing so can set up a vicious cycle of going cold turkey, feeling deprived, binging, feeling ashamed, going cold turkey, feeling virtuous, then eating some, feeling like a failure and on it goes. And as for laying great wholefood foundations for our children it is about educating them and role modelling not shaming them into eating well.

So, what to do? I am going to share my experience with transitioning from refined sugar to alternative sweeteners in this post and would love for you to share yours in the comments.

I stopped buying cane sugar late in 2011 after I did a 3 month detox off wheat, sugar, dairy, alcohol and caffeine.

In place of the organic raw sugar that I once used for baking I began experimenting with sweet alternatives.

Still today I don't buy refined cane sugar. However, if I am out and am offered a cake or biscuit or ice cream that is made with cane sugar and I feel like eating some of it I do and I don't beat myself up about it. I do though pay attention to how the food makes me feel, and sometimes I don't even do that, I just enjoy the moment and the food for what it is knowing that it is not my typical daily diet.

And when it comes to my children they are aware of how eating lollies and super sweet foods make them feel, they know they can eat that sort of food at birthday parties, when they visit family or friends and they know their limits. They're kids so sometimes they overdo it but mostly they are pretty good and knowing when enough is enough.

In my pantry these are the sweeteners you will find:

Pure maple syrup - The main thing we use maple syrup for is on buckwheat pancakes on a weekend, sometimes I use it in baking. It's important when you buy maple syrup to make sure it is real, real maple syrup is made from the sap of maple trees whereas some syrups sold are actually maple flavoured syrup made from high fructose corn syrup.

Coconut sugar aka coconut palm sugar - this little sweetie has become increasingly popular and is my go to cane sugar replacement when baking biscuits, cakes or muffins. You can switch it 1:1. Coconut sugar is made from the sap of the flowers of the coconut palm, the sap is heated so that the water evaporates and you are left with the granules of coconut sugar. 100% coconut sugar has a low GI index which means that it raises blood sugar more slowly than refined cane sugar that causes blood sugar to spike.

Raw honey - switching to raw honey was step number 5 in this series, but if you haven't switched already the main reason to do so is because raw honey is real food, it has not been heat treated and it retains its original health giving qualities: natural enzymes, antioxidants, minerals, and its anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal properties. I like to keep this in the cupboard for sore throats, to have in chai, River and Sol like it on a corn thin or millet sourdough toast as a snack.

And in my fridge, fresh medjool dates - very popular with raw foodies for me fresh dates are suuuuper sweeeet! So, they certainly satisfy any sweet craving. I like to eat one as it is with a handful of nuts on those afternoons when I want a sweet pep me up, my favorite thing to make with them is Mona's raw chocolate balls. When I was pregnant with River I used to dream about date trees laden with dates, they were a serious craving! The homeopath I saw at the time told me dates were full of trace minerals and I now discover they also contain folic acid which is essential for healthy development of babies. I'm sharing this to show that real food cravings can have a powerful purpose!

I tried to like stevia for a while but the sheer whiteness of the powder just screamed at me that is was still an overly refined 'product' and I just didn't like the taste or the crumb that it created in baking.

Same goes for agave, I tried that for a while and wasn't mad about the taste or the refining process.

From time to time I buy brown rice syrup, mainly if a recipe calls for it. There does seem to be some controversy around detectable amounts of arsenic in rice syrup you can read more about that here and here.

Remember, just because these are alternatives to cane sugar they are still forms of sugar and are best eaten in small doses as part of an overall wholefoods diet that sees you munching on lots of fresh veggies, some fruit, nuts, seeds and if you like organic meat, fish, dairy and wholegrains.

If you're hungry for more on this topic read Jess Ainscough's 9 awesome sugar alternatives.

Tell us your sweet story in the comments. Which sweeteners do you have in your pantry?

Friday, March 21, 2014

weekend reading

It's been a messy week due to broken sleep, Sol's had an ear ache and sore throat. I remember when I was pregnant with River, the wonderful homeopath and chiropractor I went to every couple of weeks, who is also a father of six, said to me in the weeks before I gave birth, "Ah, sleep. It will never be the same again." How right he was.

Anyway, hopefully next week I will be back to my usual blogging rhythm and everything else rhythm for that matter. Which leads me into the first link for today's weekend reading...

Nicole's strategy for finding rhythm when when she loses it

The weather is cooling into Autumn here, Alexx's crunchy coconut and nut crumble topping is perfect for adding to the top of stewed new season apples and pears

I thought this fantastic article might come in handy: 10 Super Immune Boosting Foods For Kids

How fun does this look?! Rainbow Kids Yoga Teacher Training

For those who don't know it already, I think you'll love Heather's wholefood, homeschool blog Beauty That Moves

Jodi's having a giveaway, $100 gift voucher to be won to spend on lovely organic clothing made by Fabrik

Ok. I'm off to sleep incase I have to wake up at 3am and read Bambi to Sol like I did last night. Wishing you all a wonderful weekend in Autumn or Spring where ever you are in the world. See you back here next week x

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

stills collection

1. Potato salad with, nasturtiums from the neighbours front lawn, cherry tomatoes, parsley and spring onions from our backyard and potatoes from the local farm. Part of the lunch to celebrate my Dad's marriage to Mila - welcome to the family Mila!

2. Dairy-free basil pesto in the making: fresh basil, pine nuts, walnuts, macadamias, garlic, olive oil and salt. Without the parmesan this pesto is pretty potent but still yummy and nourishing.

3. Mid-week dinner: basmati rice, tempeh, roasted pumpkin, beetroot, carrot, homegrown cherry tomatoes and lettuce topped with home sprouted sprouts. (For those of you thinking my kids would never eat that, neither did mine that night. I was using up leftovers that night so this is what Pete and I ended up with and I think from memory Sol and River had chicken drumsticks with salad sticks and avocado)

4. Jars from the op shop waiting to be washed, ready for my pantry overhaul.

5. Lunch at my desk. Working and eating is not very zen but the lunch was! Organic roast chicken drumstick with salad and sprouts on millet sourdough.

Have a great week!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

wholefood step-by-step: #11 butter is best...unless you have an issue with dairy

Sorry this post didn't appear yesterday as planned. Sol had an ear ache, then my computer jammed but I'm back now!

My cousin Nicole asked me on the weekend, 'Can you write about butter and margarine because I don't know why butter is better?' I figured that Nicole probably isn't the only one wondering about this so here we go...

Butter is best because it is made with wholefood ingredients. The butter pictured above contains: organic cream, water and salt. Butter is nourishing thanks to its omega 3 fatty acids, vitamins A, D, E and K, it tastes good and it satiates (satisfies) us so we don't go looking for more food in the way that we do if we eat highly processed 'empty' calories. Good fats like butter are essential for keeping our hormones happy and are especially important for nourishing children's growing brains.

Margarine on the other hand is made from processed and heated vegetable or seed oils that become denatured or damaged during processing. The problem with this is that they are inflammatory to the cells in our body. See naturopath Georgia Harding's great post on fats and oils here.

Until two weeks ago, we were butter all the way in my house. We use it as a spread and in baking, melted on steamed vegetables any way we could eat butter we were!

Then, Pete went to see a naturopath partly because he had had a cold and congestion for two months that he just couldn't get rid of completely. River and Sol too had lingering chesty coughs. The naturopath immediately recommended cutting all dairy out of our diets (the only dairy we eat is butter, natural yoghurt and parmesan cheese) until the congestion cleared, and suggested switching to Nuttelex instead of butter.

Pete arrived home with the Nuttelex, I read the ingredients: sunflower oil, vegetable oils, water, salt, emulsifiers (sunflower lecithin 471) flavour, vitamins A D2 and E. Flavour? What is that I wonder.

Interestingly, Sol won't eat the Nuttelex. He asks for his toast to be spread without it.

The good news is their coughs have all cleared! So, for us Nuttelex was a short term choice.

I suppose the other option to avoid using the Nuttelex on toast would be to spread it with avocado or tahini.

* disclaimer: I am not a doctor, scientist or health practitioner, this information is based on research and personal experience please consult a health practitioner if you have a health concern.

Tell us your thoughts in the you eat butter? If your family dairy-free what alternative spread to butter do you use?

Friday, March 14, 2014

weekend reading - postponed

In place of my usual weekend reading list that I post on Friday, I am dedicating today's post to acknowledging the power and spirit of community and putting a call out to support beautiful mama Sonya Koeck who is doing everything in her power to continue alternative, progressive treatment for cancer after being diagnosed five years ago. You can read more about Sonya's story in my post from last year.

Sonya is a beloved friend of people close in my life, she has relocated herself and her two children to Warranwood in Melbourne to receive low dose chemo that in the past she has travelled to Germany for.

If anyone is local to Warranwood and is able to assist with driving Sonya to her treatment in Warrigal Road Burwood on Tuesday, Wednesday, and/or Thursday please phone Margie on 0402 342 340.

As many of you are aware this type of treatment is astronomically expensive. If you feel like giving up your coffee, chai or juice for a day and donating $5 or whatever you can that would be greatly appreciated. Thankyou to those on The Wholefood Mama facebook page who read this and donated. 

I know that some weeks even $5 is too much of a stretch, so instead we count our blessings! And if that's you this week, count your blessings and send some healing thoughts and blessings out to Sonya and her family.

Sending blessings to Sonya and her family, and to each of you who may have in one way or another been affected by cancer. It is all too common and for that reason I am moved to support people in any way I can, so that's why I share this here today.

For donations: SONYA KOECK
Commonwealth Bank, Narrandera
BSB: 062583
ACC: 960503

Thankyou for reading this and for your thoughts and prayers and donations. 
Wishing you all a beautiful Autumn weekend and I will 'see' you back here next week with more wholefood love xxx

Thursday, March 13, 2014

thursday recipe: chocolate coconut biscuits

This recipe is a case of necessity being the mother of invention.

I had all the ingredients in the bowl to make anzacs for River's school fete, butter melted and then when I went to look for oats, we were out of them. A fairly key ingredient missing.

Hmmm. What to do? Drive to the shop to buy more oats or create something new? I consulted my trusty old Margaret Fulton Cookbook because I figured I would be heading down an old fashioned biscuit path and wanted to get an idea of what I could make with the ratios of flour and butter that I had in the bowl.

I decided to add a few tablespoons of cocoa powder and create the chocolate coconut biscuits you see pictured. They are definitely on the rich side with all that butter but they are not overly sweet, so if you like your biscuits to be sweet add some more sweetener of your choice.

To look at they do resemble yo-yos, if you wanted to be completely decadent you could sandwich them together with an icing, or jam and cream, or dip one half of each biscuit into melted chocolate.

Chocolate coconut biscuits

3 tbsp cocoa
3 cups spelt flour
1 cup coconut sugar
1.5 cups coconut
2 tsp baking powder
4 tbsp boiling water
1.5 tsp ground cinnamon
250g butter
2 tbsp honey

Preheat oven to 170C degrees.

In a large mixing bowl combine cocoa, flour, coconut, sugar and cinnamon.

Melt butter over a low heat and stir in the honey.

In a separate bowl put the baking powder and pour boiling water over it.

Add baking powder mixture to butter and honey.

Pour wet ingredients into mixing bowl and combine.

Roll into balls approx. 1 tbsp in size and then press down with a fork.

Bake for 10-12 minutes.

Perfect with a good cup of tea.

Happy cooking! x

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

what's for dinner?

Unless of course we know the answer and we know that the dish is a crowd-pleaser, what's for dinner? can be a challenging question. Today I thought I would get in early and asked Sol at breakfast "What would you like to eat for dinner tonight?" I don't normally ask, but I wanted some ideas. His immediate reply was "Mashed potato". River chimed in with "Pizza". The pizza was a no, the mash potato I said yes and then wondered what to put with lamb and rosemary sausages, homemade tomato sauce (recipe will be in my ebook) and steamed zucchini with garlic butter and oregano.

As for the rest of the week, well perhaps this list will help...

1. I have a good supply of zucchini, while it's not revolutionary zucchini slice is simple and nourishing
2. Spinach and sweet potato bombs look good (though could have a more peace loving name!)
3. Now that Autumn is here I am feeling like soup, pumpkin or minestrone
4. Quinoa salad with currants and pistachios would be delicious alongside some roast chicken
5. For something wholesome and sweet, Wholefood Simply's protein packed version of banana bread could be the go

Simple family fare made with real ingredients and a whole lotta love. Happy cooking! x

Monday, March 10, 2014

wholefood step-by-step: # 10 transition to organic

Transition is the key word in this step. The word organic has become such a loaded word in our modern world. In my grandmother's childhood food was organic, there was no need to label it as such and make it exclusive. How times have changed. Organics have become big business and that means that as consumers we need to keep our wits about us and not be lured in by marketing and packaging! And to do our research and work out what is most important and achievable for our family.

Rather than feel overwhelmed at the expense of organic food, or that you are 'poisoning' your family if you can't afford to buy wholly and solely organic, there is a common sense way to approach this step.
Read on and I'll break it down for you...

Why eat organic food?

Sadly, the use of chemical laden pesticides and fertilizers, and antibiotics is standard practice in conventional farming and despite research and government authorities that declare the levels of chemicals used produce food safe for consumption, I'm not buying their declaration or the food!

The cumulative effect of eating foods with chemical residue concerns me, especially feeding this food to babies and young children. Having said that, I don't want anyone reading this to feel like they are failing their children if 100% of the fruit and vegetables that you feed them aren't organic, the most important thing is that they eat fruit and vegetables!! Further down I will explain which fruit & veg to focus on if budget is an issue.

Then there are the environmental consequences of conventional farming including water pollution from chemical run off and soil and land degradation. You can read in more detail about this on the Sustainable Table page.

Last but definitely not least - the flavour! The flavour of good quality, fresh, organic produce is unbeatable.

But it's so expensive!

Let's consider first why there is a price difference between conventional and organic food.

Firstly, there's the cost of organic certification. In Australia certified organic food producers and manufacturers must comply with stringent requirements to be given certification, this may mean the producer has to spend money to adjust how they operate their farm/business to meet the requirements. The benefit of certification to you the consumer is that you are guaranteed that the organic food you are buying is in fact truly organic.

Next thing to consider is that organic farming is more labour intensive and often the yield is lower, therefore consumers pay a premium price. I am happy to pay more for people power over pesticide power!

Supply and demand plays a role, as the demand for organics grows we will hopefully see a reduction in price as the scale of organic farming grows to meet increased demand.

For a more detailed explanation read 10 Reasons Why Organic Food Costs More

So, what to do?

Anyone devoted to eating organic food will tell you that making the choice to spend your money on organic food comes down, in part, to your values and priorities.

I value organic food over new clothes and shoes every season (in fact I am consciously trying to only buy second hand clothes, in an effort to do my bit to conserve the Earth's precious resources), we eat in restaurants as a family maybe six times a year, I don't spend money on expensive cosmetics and skin care or hair cuts/colours. That doesn't mean I don't want to look my best - I do! It just means that I spend my money very consciously and make different choices.

Once you make the decision to buy organic food you will naturally become more aware of the best places to source it (tip:not fancy organic foodstores!), you will hear people talking about particular shops, markets and farms, you will find blogs and websites that will point you in the right direction to buy things at a good price.

I'll now break it down by food group how I approach eating organic on a budget...

I stock up on organic meat when I see it on special at my local supermarket and my local greengrocer. Often I can pick up a whole chicken for around $12 and I get about three meals out of that including soup. My local health food store also stocks organic meat, I don't buy meat from there because it is more expensive than at the other two places but I do order organic chicken carcasses and lamb shanks for soup at the health food store.
Money saving tip: consider the quantity of meat your family eats and see if there is room to reduce it. Also, buy cheaper cuts of meat and get into slow cooking.

Fruit & Veg
We have a very productive little veggie plot in our backyard that Pete lovingly tends. This summer we have not paid for corn, tomatoes, lettuce, spring onions, silverbeet, parsley or coriander.

We are very fortunate living outside of the city to have local farms to purchase the rest of our fruit and veggie supplies, they are not certified organic but I buy the food direct from the farmers I can see where they grow the food, they are small scale and I trust them.

When I lived in the city I loved shopping at the CERES market.

There are now a growing number of organic produce home-delivery services available. For those in Melbourne interested in this check out my friend Josh Aitken's business Organic Origins and on the Mornington Peninsula my friends Robin and Peter have Transition Farm a community supported agriculture model. (these mentions are not sponsored, my friends do a great job and I thought it may be helpful for people to know about what they offer).

And finally, when I do go to the supermarket (yes I go to the supermarket) if I see reduced organic fruit and veg I will buy it, this is not ideal because a) it is always heavily packaged in plastic and b) it is not local but it does save me money from time to time.

Here's a great list of the top fruit and veg to buy organic and those that you can get away with buying conventional.

Money saving tip: grow some of your own, join a community garden, buy in season.

Organic bread is expensive there is just no way around it. The good thing though is that it may lead to you eating less bread! We order organic bread in at our local health food store, we buy either rice or millet sourdough at $6.45 a loaf or I buy Healthy Bake bread, made in a variety of grains except wheat and that ranges in price from $6.50 - $7.50 per loaf.
Money saving tip: consider reducing the amount of bread your family eats, bake your own, look out for half price loaves to put in the freezer for toast.

The only dairy we eat is natural or Greek yoghurt and parmesan. We buy the five:am brand from the supermarket which is around $6 for 700grams. Sometimes I buy Organic Dairy Farmers pecorino at the supermarket which is about $6 for 150grams - use it sparingly!

This category is the one to be most careful about. Many people fall into the trap of spending big dollars on processed food with the word 'organic' on the box - yes it is certified organic but it is still processed food and can still be high in sugar, salt and fats that are of no value to your body. Always read the ingredients list to see what's in it and where possible stick with fresh real food and homemade snacks.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this step. How strict are you with buying organic? What are your tips for favorite places to shop or ways to save? Leave your tips in the comments.

Sunday, March 09, 2014

sunday stills collection

1. A bloom that broke off a plant I bought this week. Too beautiful to waste...

2. So it sat on my kitchen windowsill bringing me joy for the week

3. Banana smoothie please

4. Thankyou Pete for growing these beauties

5. This is what we ate for dinner on Tuesday night. Oh yes we did. More about that next week.

Friday, March 07, 2014

weekend reading

Here's a little pic that didn't make it into my book. You can find the 'recipe' here. There will be new recipes in the book too!

I love this post from Nicole - 10 tips for an easier dinner time

I'm looking forward to lunch with girlfriends on Sunday. I'm taking chocolate, coconut, almond slice, one of my favorite recipes from Georgia at Well Nourished

If you love food blogs and haven't found Golubka yet I think you'll be happy to visit

I'm excited to have written a piece for Confetti Magazine, looking forward to seeing it live in the next little while

Remarkable series of photos - Children around the world with their favorite toys - found via A Cup of Jo

Have you seen Wholehearted? A new project celebrating motherhood that Jodi is involved in

How wonderful does My Darling Lemon Thyme the book look?

I'm presenting another Blogging for Beginners workshop next Saturday 15th of March, 9.30am-2.30pm, $60 includes lunch. If you're local and would like to come along you can book your place at Sorrento Community Centre ph. 5984 3360

Ok, I'm off to do some much needed exercise and then rustle up some homemade pizza for River and Sol. Have a wonderful loooooooong weekend (those of you like us who are lucky to have one!)

See you back here next week for more wholefood & family life xx

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

what's for dinner?

So, we continue today with the second list of meal and snack ideas from around the web.

In our house at the moment we are still loving any mangoes we can get our hands on but now that Autumn is officially here there's some beautiful pears about.

River is studying Vietnam at school this term and yesterday I went into his classroom and taught the class how to make rice paper rolls, each student rolled their own and many for the first time bravely tasted coriander, Vietnamese mint and fish sauce "eeeeww!!" was the response of some, and fair enough too, they're all fairly potent flavours. I was impressed though by their willingness to try things.

What to cook? What to cook?....

1. Speaking of mangoes, how good do these mango and coconut chicken skewers sound? Anything on a stick seems to win kids over! Perhaps you could even try this with firm white fish.

2. They seem to equally love anything in a wrap...beef fajitas

3. For a vegetarian idea I think this Italian spinach pie looks like a winner

4. How about Moroccan lamb stew?

5. Lunchbox love: Emma's spiced apricot, orange and quinoa muesli bars sound too good for school lunch!!

What are your current family favorites? Share them in the comments - no matter how simple they may be, share them they make become another family's new favorite and we all know how good it is to find a dish everyone loves!

Monday, March 03, 2014

wholefood step-by-step: # 9 switch to organic eggs

Wouldn't it be wonderful if we all kept chooks? Imagine the joy of our children collecting eggs each morning. I am looking forward to the day that is a reality for my family when we eventually move from our rented beloved home where our landlord is not keen for us to keep chickens (but was happy for us to dig up a big patch of lawn to plant veggies so I'm not complaining!)

In the meantime we are really blessed to be able to buy organic eggs at $7 a dozen from one of two local farms where we know the farmers and can see the chickens pecking around happily.

Cage and free range

I've written on this topic before and still I can't understand why eggs from chickens subjected to the cruelty of living in cages are still being sold. Yes there's been a slight win in this area last week with the Australian Capital Territory announcing a change in legislation to ban battery cages (and sow stalls for pigs) but we still have a long way to go. And then as if trying to do the right thing when buying food isn't hard enough, there's the whole free range marketing lie to wade through. You see, there is no legally binding definition of the term free range in Australia so it is open to very loose interpretation. Just because the farm says their chickens are free range does not mean that the chickens are not treated with antibiotics or growth hormones and some free range farms have no outdoor stocking limits. **(my mistake, chickens farmed for eggs or meat in Australia are not given growth hormones. I had read this in the past but when I was researching this post I read on the Animal Welfare Labels website 'growth hormone use unspecified' which made me think perhaps it is still used and we have been mislead. I have now read this from Mothers are Demystifying Genetic Engineering and am clear hormones are not used in chickens but they are still used in beef farming).

If you can't keep chickens in your backyard and don't live near a good farm, then farmer's markets or your local health food store would be your next best bet. This fantastic list on the Animal Welfare Labels website will give you trustworthy details of many brands of eggs that are marketed as free range but in fact may be keeping their chickens in far less space than you imagine free range to be.

Why eat organic eggs?

By choosing to eat organic eggs you reduce your and your family's exposure to chemicals, antibiotics and growth hormones that pass through the chicken to the eggs. Organic eggs come from chickens that have been fed organic feed. And to me this reason is worth the higher price.

Keep your own chickens

If you have the space and are keen to keep your own chooks but haven't a clue about what to do, head on over to Farmer Liz's blog, Liz has it all there for you in words and pictures.

Share your thoughts on all things eggs, where do you buy them? who keeps chickens? If you are having trouble finding a good source of organic eggs leave a comment and maybe another reader can help.

And if you want to catch up on the series and see the other steps go here.

Sunday, March 02, 2014

stills on sunday

1. Pete grew those cherry tomatoes, then cooked that sauce, then took the photo! No end to his talents.

2. Our little helper in the garden. We're happy that this year he can work out on his own which ones are ripe enough to pick!

3. The current state of my pinboard. I love River's words on the red paper 'I was as happy as the sun', and the pics - me with my nan, cousin and aunty 3 of my besties, Sol and I on his first day of kinder this year, River and Sol looking thrilled last summer about having their first ice cream from the Mr Whippy van that drove up our street and top right is that same cousin as a little girl with my bro.

4. A gorgeous melon, a gift from Robin. 

5. Spinach and fetta pie for dinner this week didn't last long at all. A definite crowd pleaser here.

(linking up with Ms. Beetleshack Em)
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