Sunday, June 29, 2008

BigTree and CultureLab :: Beginner's Guide To Going Raw

Had a wonderful day at Springwood, catching up with Taffy and Glenys, then a leisurely late lunch with Paul. My mountains friends are a diverse bunch, but one thing that we all have in common is a certain passion and delight in food - not to mention our desire to see fresh organic food made available to as many people a as possible, and with a commitment to sustainable principles.

I had seen Taffy's video of the solstice circle, but today i got to experience it and what a magnificent ly crafted structure it is. i shot some footage of Taffy talking about CultureLab, and then we got to talking about raw food. CultureLab, by the way, is the food co-operative in the lower Blue Mountains which runs a food box scheme for it's members and customers. i love the model they have chosen, which is similar to a Japanese model i had read about. It involves staying small - a group of no larger than 50 - and "expanding" by helping other groups form along a similar basis. I like working in groups of 50-80, because at that size it is possible to know everyone in the group. Cohesiveness is possible.

both taffy, glenys and paul were curious about raw food and there are always questions. what do you eat? where does the protein come from? what difference do you notice when eating raw?

there is much already written (on the web and in many great books) but whilst riding on the train back to katoomba, i gave some thought as to what my key thoughts were on eating raw. mainly in answer to the question of what eating raw foods looks like. \

What Does Eating Raw Look Like?

i like to keep it simple. think of food in three main food groups. 1. fruit 2. vegetables 3. nuts, seeds and oils. eat mostly fruit and vegetables, with small amounts of nuts. fruit has a cleansing action on the system, so it is best eaten in the morning and ideally, not eaten at the same time as vegetables. i personally don't mix my fruit and vegetables, though some raw foodists do. i soak nuts before eating them. put in a bowl and cover with water, then leave overnight (or soak in the morning and rinse in the evening). rinse them the next morning (do not use the soaking water) and then eat. raw vegetables are loaded with vitamins, minerals and are enzyme-rich. these foods have a nourishing and enriching effect and are the building blocks of the body. two things that i do in the vegetable realm are 1. juicing and 2. sprouting. Vegetable juices, especially green juices are a way of getting large quantities of trace minerals, enzymes, antioxidants, etc. directly into the bloodstream. Sprouting - lentils, mung beans, and buckwheat are my current favourites - is a great way of eating living food.

that's it really. i soak dried fruits, make my own nut milk (usually almond) and use the blender for smoothies, soups and sauces. everything i eat is a variation (an experiment, actually) on these principles.

Benefits of Eating Raw
Ahhh, well this is the bit i love. Not only are you doing your body a favour, but the planet benefits as well. Eating raw is even more sustainable than being vegan. Not only are you consuming plants and therefore not contributing to the energy that goes into producing animals and animal products for food, but you are not eating processed (vegan) foods which use energy in the making. And to top it all off, by preparing raw food you are saving on the energy that is used to cook a meal. And if you grow your own food organically, there's a further saving on transportation (food miles), and on artificial inputs - petro-chemical fertilisers and pesticides.
As for the health benefits, some raw theorists say that for every month a person is eating 100% raw they are healing one year of eating cooked food. As a result the body becomes regenerated at a cellular level and you experience the effect of becoming younger. i personally have seen this both in myself and others. Symptoms are, an increased level of energy, clearer and more focussed mind, more tone in my skin and clearer skin, loss of those tree-trunk thighs (storehouses of waste that the body is unable to process and eliminate immediately).

Sunday, June 22, 2008

mid-winter raw

tonight, a gathering of raw foodies at my place to celebrate mid-winter solstice.

i so enjoyed hosting this. we had some great conversations about a whole range of things. and there was a general feeling that we'd continue to hold meetings monthly at people's homes. this is definitely a more convivial atmosphere.
i love learning about new foods and tonight it was the jicama which donna had managed to find at Prahran markets. i'd read about it in Alissa Cohen's book. in australia the jicama is grown in queensland.
we discussed our favourite films, putting together some ideas for next month's meeting - a delicate balance, farmer john, the power of community, the future of food. next month we're gathering at katherine and ben's place in east brunswick for food demos, films and more shared food.
talking of which, joy's thai soup was a treat with the rich, warm flavours so suited to winter. and you had to be really fast to get one of Thoran's "balls". donna made beautiful banana ice-cream using the champion juicer. a real treat. and thoran had the pesto that packed a punch (4 cloves of garlic. really!).
we heard tales from our adelaide cousins via Thoran (who has lived in adelaide). and a lot of discussion around the usual topics, which is the best blender to get? dehydrator? a recipe for toothpaste. do we really need to keep using colgate? it is always so refreshing to spend time with people who live a raw lifestyle.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

raw film fest

if i had a wish for my 50th birthday, it would be to attend this raw film festival. how wonderful would that be, to be in the company of rawfoodies committed to sustainable living and enjoying film and festivities.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

heart stopping revival

I feel certain this sort of thing happens much more often than is reported. It fits within my understanding of the human mind-body-spirit be-ing. For this reason i have specifically asked that should my body be decreed physically and biologically dead, that it be treated with utmost respect and not disturbed for as long as is possible. Despite it being an ethical minefield, i am not prepared to donate my organs. Mind-body medicine has now proven that the brain is not the only seat of emotions and intellect in the body. Neurons exist in the locations of all major body organs. A heart, liver or kidney transplanted to another person is not just a transferral of biological material, but also a transplantation of the associated neuronal transmitters that contain emotional and genetic material from the donor being. I recall Thomas Moore's quizzical question: if you darn and re-darn an old sock until barely any of the original material exists, is that a new sock? In other words, what determines the true nature of something.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

caretaker board

Yesterday i accepted a position on the Caretaker Board for the Blue Mountains Food Co-op. This is a transitional role and i am expecting to be doing this for about 3 months or so - until the Co-op is in a position to elect a full board to carry it forward. How did this come about? A letter, mailed out from the previous board, informed Co-op members of the board's was resignation. To keep the Co-op operating they nominated two Board nominees (from last November's election) step in and form a caretaker board. To form a quorum, three board members are required. I was approached to make up this number. And here we are: Ian, myself and Yeshi (Paul).

This is a pivotal time in the history of the BM Food Co-op. A number of issues remain to be resolved, though the most important in my view is that of healing the Co-op community from the divisiveness and hurt that has been part of the fabric of the Co-op in the months (some say years) leading up to this moment. On a practical level there are governance issues to address. There is the potential relocation of the Co-op to the proposed Waratah Street address, and the financials need assessing to ensure that the present trading situation is sustainable. There may well be other issues, and this is what i shall find out more about when i rock up next Tuesday to have meetings with the Board, staff and the accountant.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

a new spin on free-cycle

received an email today from dear friends taffy and glenys in the blue mountains. they have come up with their own marvellous response to the planet's environmental predicament.

many of us are already using Freecycle to re-distribute the plethora of stuff that we accumulate in this consumptive society.

taffy and glenys have gone beyond this and taken freecycle literally . . . into the realms of sustainable transport. Click here
to watch Taffy's video of free-cycling.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

eat food, not too much. mostly plants

Sounds like good advice. Words of the wise from Michael Pollan. A friend recently saw this article in The Age, spruiking Pollan's book In Defence of Food.

This is not news to me (about eating mostly plants). I first read about it in Colin Campbell’s book, The China Study, which contains the scientific evidence to support the benefits of eating a mostly plant-based diet. In his book, Campbell summarises the results of a longitudinal study providing clear evidence of the relationship between diet and chronic disease.

And this little ditty certainly resonates.

Don't eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn't recognise.
Avoid foods with health claims.
Prepare, and if you can, grow your own food.
Don't get your food from the same place as your car gets its fuel.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

it's a choice: you don't have to be sick

food does matter. this is the newly-released doco from australian filmakers, with the superb John Butler Trio soundtrack. i just watched the trailer online and can't wait to see the entire film.

i guess i've already understood the message through my own journey of becoming sick and then healing, without the use of drugs and pharmaceuticals. i don't need an expert to tell me that the pharmaceutical companies are in the business of making money, not healing people. however, there are still many people who choose not to listen. and it is a choice.

why is food so important to me? because i love the taste, i love the way the energy of food connects me with nature, i love to watch it growing, and i love to be healthy from eating nothing but whole, unadulterated foods.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

my new worm farm

sometimes i wish i could think of better titles for my blog postings. however, this is how it is. i'm excited about my new worm farm. picked it up on wednesday night after attending the last seminar in the SLAH series. it's been an inspiring time (read my earlier posting). on wednesday i enjoyed meeting and talking to others who are as enthusiastic about their worms as i am. thank goodness i am not the only person in the world who talks to her worms!
so . . . today i unpacked the worm farm, soaked the coco-peat block, and liberated the wormies into their new home. this is worm farm #2 and long overdue as the first farm has been full for a few weeks now. i'm definitely a two-worm farm girl.
so, i've re-sited farm #1 to the back of the property under the lemon tree. the new farm is close to my front door for easy access. worm farm #1 is now boasting a second story. i'm sure i'll be able to put that vermicast to good use on the garden shortly.
How to set up a worm farm? there are many ways of doing this, but here is what i do.
  1. lay down some newspaper or cardboard on the bottom of the bin. this prevents stuff from falling through the holes in the bottom.
  2. then sprinkle a layer of cocopeat. this gives the wormies somewhere to live when they are not eating their way through food scraps and the like.
  3. put the worms in.
  4. cover them with a thick layer of damp newspaper, or a hessian sack. this serves a dual purpose. it keeps the worm home moist, and keeps the light out. worms don't have eyes, but they still don't like the light, and will run for cover when it's bright.
  5. from here on, all you need to do is feed them. the worms do the rest.