Friday, 29 September 2017

My accidental detox and retreat

Hasn't the flu season been dreadful this year!  Just about every family I know has had some or all of it's members affected - even hospitalised. We were no exception. For weeks now we've been trying to keep our bugs to ourselves, taking care of each other and trying to eat as absolutely well as we can, making lovely soothing brews from the garden too.

Sorry for the silence! I've really missed writing and filming, but I had absolutely no energy to sit up, read or focus on an idea. I typically write in the evening. Only now, after 4 weeks, do I feel renewed energy. I no longer feel like I have lead boots walking up my garden path, and I have no desire to lay down on the couch again for a long time!  I can think again, and this weekend I am back to running workshops on the weekends.

I am so excited to feel finally well again. It really is so easy to take your health for granted. This period of illness has made us even more conscious of what goes in the mouths of my family. I thought our diet was really good - well balanced, fresh and local, but over these past few weeks I've been on an accidental detox - no gluten, no dairy, no chocolate, no caffeine (yes, I did love my coffee and dark choc!).  I've been wanting to do this for a while, but hadn't managed to find the time.

While I was really ill, the thought of everything but ginger tea made me feel sick. Going off coffee added to my pain. I'm sure it's what gave me migraines for days. It was hard to tell what was the flu and what was the detox. Either way, I'm glad I did it simultaneously. I was feeling so rotten anyway.

After the second week, all my body craved was freshly squeezed juices, simple vegetable soups, plain steamed vegetables,  raw undressed salad, fresh raw macadamias and herb infusions. Even though I couldn't tend my garden, the plants provided a diversity of fresh healing food. Now I am feeling better, I've committed to stick to this simple diet because I feel so good. I even managed to go out and do some more planting today - eggplants, capsicum, open hearted lettuces, cucumber, more flowers and herbs.

Another great healer has been calm family time in nature, particularly around water - down at the river sitting on rocks with my feet dangling in the fresh cool water, at the lake on a little sailing boat, and on the bay watching whales families migrate south to Antarctica.

And finally, sleep, lots of sleep! I can't ever remember sleeping so much in a month. I know that the flu hit me hard because I had allowed myself to get run down and exhausted. People tried to tell me, but I felt fine, so I kept going. Even though I live a simple life, I still try to cram as absolutely much into every day because I so love what I do and I have so many things I want to do. Never-the-less, it's a good wake up call to remember to take better care of myself and energy.  Im not one to dwell on things, but a few times I thought I'd really blown it - adrenal fatigue or something like that. But each day, I am feeling a little bit more 'normal'... and I'm feeling so enthused to get back into everything (with a little more sleep thrown in!).

Thank you garden, thank you water, thank you to my loving family and friends.

I hope you've been keeping well and taking good care of your health. I look forward connecting with you all again over the next weeks.

Sunday, 3 September 2017

Turmeric: How to grow, harvest, use and store

I've been digging up lots of turmeric from my food forest and kitchen garden lately. I use it every day and love it fresh - in juices, grated in salad, but also in curries, egg dishes, teas, soups and rice. Fresh and raw is best though - it's more potent that way.

I've made a 8 minute film about how I grow, harvest, use and store turmeric. The link is here. I hope you enjoy it.

Turmeric is a member of the ginger family and has been used in India for over 2500 years. Well known as the orange/yellow colour in curries, and more recently in the popular golden mylk, it is a medicinal powerhouse with a great health benefits. 

It is a superb natural cold and cough remedy with its antibacterial and anti-viral qualities.  The anti-inflammatory action of its active ingredient, curcumin, helps to relieve chest congestion.

Turmeric is a fabulously easy plant to grow in warmer climates and it has so many beneficial uses.

Plant a segment of turmeric when the soil begins to warm, and nine months later, when the tops die back, dig for the abundant rhizomes. One of my plants yielded 5 kg last year!

5 kgs from one piece of turmeric in just 2 years.

In courtyards, balconies and courtyards, you can grow it in big pots and grow bags. It certainly does prefer a warm humid climate, but there are niches you can find or create to extend it's range somewhat.

Thanks to Bernie, a Turmeric farmer ( for writing and saying there are three key forms of turmeric: 

  1. LONGA: deeply orange and contains lots of curcumin - the one to grow and use for medicine.
  2. AROMATICA: yellow, the one in my film, mostly for culinary purposes.
  3. NATIVE: Australia has a native turmeric in North Queensland. Polynesia has a black turmeric, and Hawaii folk has white turmeric. 
Remember too that your body can only absorb curcumin when you add some pepper and oil too. This is why golden milk is popular, but also why it works in curries.

(Please note, it is recommended that people on blood thinners should not consume turmeric).

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