New things happening round here….
In terms of health-experiments, although I have decided to go the conventional route for emotional well-being, this hasn’t affected my natural-living-attitude. Natural therapies, eating a nutritious diet, exercise and the likes can be very powerful supplements in the quest for health. I don’t think I will ever stop experimenting.
Fermenting. This isn’t a “new” thing, as such – kombucha, kefir and sauerkraut are household staples around here (not to mention Viper’s bread) – I’ve just started experimenting with new ingredients. Sour oats or “Oat-ghurt” is my new favourite. It’s pretty simple to do, you just need to be patient for a few days.
A basic run down of the method goes a little something like this:
- Take 1C whole oat groats, and cover with 1 & 1/4C water – soak overnight.
- In a food processor, blend up oats with an additional 1/4C water.
- Place in a ceramic/glass bowl, wrap in a tea towel and place in a warm, dark place. I actually use a yoghurt maker as my incubator – I can keep the oats at a constant 30 degrees C, which makes the process a lot more fool-proof. A hot water-cupboard or somewhere consistently warm would do the trick though.
- Incubate for around 48 hours – keep tasting the oats…. they will become increasingly sour as time goes on. If they seem to be getting too dry, you can add more water, but only in small 1/8C increments.
- Serve as you would ordinary oatmeal/porridge….add a pinch of salt, and whatever toppings you like. I’ve been enjoying these oats with coconut cream, cinnamon and raisins. Store extras in the fridge.
I really love these oats – they taste like a bowl of oats, mixed with a tangy yoghurt – hence the “Oat-ghurt,” tag. Supposedly chock-full of beneficial bacteria for the gut too – but I just like the taste, the nutrition bit is a bonus.
I love coffee. Not going to lie. I have managed to cut down my consumption from up to 3 cups a day back to just the lonely morning cuppa. Green tea, although it contains caffeine, doesn’t effect my anxiety/nerves – and I don’t get the melt-down-caffeine-crash that feels like my brain is a dry sponge. Everything in moderation, right?
Magic Drops. I’ve started using bush flower essences, made by the lovely Alisha of Naughty Naturopath Mum & Essence Practioner. She made me up a personal blend for a whole host of issues, plus I am taking a general Emergency Essence for those times I tend to get overwhelmed/anxious. As with natural therapies, it’s kind of hard to tell if what you are taking is “working,” per se, but I can tell you that I feel a lot more balanced, calm & focused which has got to be a good thing. Alisha ‘makes-to-order,’ specific blends for whatever ails you – whether it be physical, emotional or in between – check out her blog, she always has the most informative posts (on the subject of fermented foods above – this post of hers is excellent).
Seed Cycling. Sounds a kooky, yes, but I’m willing to give it a go. Basically the intention is to balance hormones, and regulate my menstrual cycle (including symptoms of PMS). All you do is consume 1T ground flaxseed and 1T ground pumpkin seeds on days 1-14 of your cycle, followed by 1T ground sunflower seeds and 1T ground sesame seeds on days 15-menses. Simple as that. I shall keep you posted.
Yin yoga – Hip Openers. I tend to practise what I call “intuitive yoga” – I don’t stick to a particular style or “school,” of yoga for any long period of time, I just go with what my body and mind needs on that particular occasion. Some days this may mean a dynamic vinyasa flow, while a different occasion may call for simple pranayama (breathing) exercises and gentle stretching. Recently I have been focusing on Yin yoga, which hones in on seated asana (postures) held for long periods of time (at least 3-5 minutes). This gives the connective tissue in muscles/ligaments time to release and help give us the true benefits of the posture. The slowing down of asana gives our mind the time to “let go,” as well. Hip openers have been playing a huge role for me at the moment – which is pretty accurate considering the emotional roller coaster I have been riding. Emotions, particularly negative or “bottled-up” feelings tend to be stored in our hips – our metaphysical “saddle-bags,” if you will. Hip openers like Eka Pada Rajakapotasana(pigeon) help us to release pent up and stale emotion – even if that means getting a bit teary during a yoga class (been there) – better out than in.
What’s something NEW you have discovered lately?
I’ve been a bit lazy this week, not much enthusiasm for blogging/being on the internet in general. Lack of mojo, I guess. Sometimes the internet/Face Book/blogging really annoys me (read: I get angry at the amount of mindless crap out there – in saying that perhaps I am contributing to said mindless crap right now). I hate advertising at the best of times, but some days it just feels as if social media/internet platforms are just huge webs of soul-less crap-mongering, feasting on the naivety of the confused and direction-less.
Talking with other creative souls, I realised a few things:
- The internet is a place where it is very easy to start comparing yourself to others.
- Comparing yourself to others is a FABULOUS way to lose motivation, creative flow and confidence.
- Not much is truly original these days.
- Don’t let your mission/creative process become confused with the influence of what others are doing.
- Sometimes tunnel-vision can be a really great thing.
Anyway, one of my favourite ways to lift mood/motivation is music. I have been thinking long and hard this week over what album to introduce you all to, and nothing really jumped out at me (that I wanted to write about). It wasn’t until yesterday afternoon, when I was embarking on the momentous kitchen scrub-down at my place of work (much motivational energy required) that I remembered an artist/album that I felt like listening to. The mark of good music for me, is a physical reaction. If I get an all-over-body-tingle from any kind of music, I know it’s a good thing – and this lady (the gorgeous creature pictured above)delivers.
It seems like the majority of my readers are women (if you are a man reading, I apologize, next week I’ll write about ZZ Top or Kyuss) and so this musical-interlude is definitely for the female soul. Maybe it’s because I’m excited about heading home next week as well - Bic Runga hails from my home town of Christchurch, and is one of New Zealand’s most celebrated female singer/song writers. I am just highlighting Bic as an artist, as ALL of her albums are stellar – she encompasses a variety of genres from folk-pop-country to soul/blues and then some.
One of her oldest tunes, from way back in ’97 is my all time favourite - Bursting Through.
Then again, classics likeDrive, Sway and Good Morning Baby never fail to go down a treat. I’ve actually had the pleasure of meeting this (tiny) talented lady as a star-struck young teen – she was so down to earth and genuinely lovely which is refreshing in a small world crammed with large egos.
Makes me so proud – so much good music from my tiny little country of birth – makes for many more posts spot-lighting talented Kiwis, I’m sure of it. Definitely looking forward to getting back over there (however cold) in a few days.
Listening to a female singer-songwriter is sort of like a guilty indulgence for me (Viper snorts and mutters under his breath as I monopolise the stereo with featured music – men just don’t seem to ‘get it’) – it’s like a chocolate & red wine session when you are pre menstrual – a sensory experience that helps you “let go,” and in turn regain a little balance/motivation back into your life. Red wine, chocolate and good tunes – sounds like just the ticket to me.
Fermenting is getting “hip.” And so it should be, fermented food is magical.
Traditionally, fermented food was included at every meal – you just have to look at classic ethnic cuisines to see this – think sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, yoghurt. It really does make sense – fermented food helps with digestion, and absorbing the nutrients of food readily into the body. Somewhere along the line, this practice fell out of being the “norm,” – but it is well on the way back to becoming mainstream, thanks to the growing popularity of store bought fermented foods.
So what are the health benefits? To avoid me clumsily regurgitating scientific jargon – just read this.
We all know that I am cheap, plus I love to experiment – home fermentation projects are constantly on the go in my house. Don’t be intimidated – it’s an easy process – and the scope to which you can extend your fermentation craze is limited only by your creativity. For some excellent ideas, check out this site.
Anyway, today’s post is all about kombucha – my first foray into “home brew” if you will…. I started brewing about 2 years ago, and it has been a constant (and almost obsessive) practise ever since. You will need a kombucha SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast) to brew your own – put your feelers out – there will be some sort of hippie (!) in your neighbourhood brewing, I’ll bet. The great thing will kombucha-brewing is that every brew creates a new SCOBY, so you end up getting overwhelmed with the things (most brwers will be happy to get rid of a few) Otherwise they are easily available to purchase online, or you can grow your own from a store bought drink.
Basic Kombucha Brew
- 6C boiled water
- 6 black or green tea bags (organic) – or a mix of both*
- 2/3C raw, organic sugar**
- 1 kombucha SCOBY
- 1/2C kombucha tea
- Wide neck glass jar/container – sterilised.
- Cheesecloth/muslin/clean tea towel and a rubber band
- Place water, sugar and tea in a saucepan and bring to the boil – make sure the sugar has dissolved.
- Take off heat and wait until is has cooled completely (too hot and you will kill your SCOBY – think blood temperature)
- Remove tea bags, and gently pour mix into your prepared jar.
- Add the already-brewed kombucha tea and handling the SCOBY with clean hands, pop it on top (doesn’t matter if it sinks)
- Cover with cloth and secure with rubber band.
- Store in a warm, dark place – the time it takes to brew will depend on the temperature – in the midst of Summer, a brew can be as quick as 3 days, but up to 2 weeks in Winter. Using a straw (plastic/glass please) taste your brew every few days – it depends on your tastebuds too. I like my brew on the TANGY side rather than sweet, so I generally let it brew for longer, so that the bacteria eats away more of the sugar. It should be slightly fizzy too.
- Once satisfied with the taste, remove SCOBY and place in a “Scoby Hotel” (a clean jar – you can put multiple SCOBYs in the same jar) and cover with some of the kombucha tea – this keeps the SCOBY happy & alive. Place in the fridge, ready to use for the next brew.
- Store your kombucha in a glass bottle with a tight fitting lid (to keep in the fizz).
*Always use caffeinated tea – after you get used to the process, you can start to play around with adding herbal tea bags, but this is truly trial and error depending on the type of tea. My rule of thumb is 3 fruity tea bags to 3 caffeinated tea bags – even then I have had some failures.
** This is the type of “food” the SCOBY likes best – I have had moderate success with alternatives like rice syrup/honey, but raw organic sugar produces the fizziest and nicest tasting brews – and makes sure that your SCOBY remains healthy.
Other pointers: Exercise extreme hygiene practises – you don’t want to go adding in any nasties to your brew. Always handle the SCOBY with very clean hands and DO NOT touch the SCOBY with any metal utensil – use bamboo/ceramic/glass etc. Don’t be freaked out by the “bits” that tend to swim around in the brew – drink ‘em down, they are good for you (or don’t, whatever).
To fridge or not to fridge? For extra fizz, allow the sealed bottles to sit at room temperature for 24 hours until refrigerating.
Don’t stress about the amount of sugar used in the recipe – this is the FOOD for the bacteria – the longer you leave it to ferment, the less sugar there will be in the end product…. if you try and cut down the sugar, the end result will not be optimal.
Kombucha DOES have a very low alcohol content due to the fermentation process.
Now you have your brew sorted, you can start to play around with flavours. Adding flavouring during the first brew will increase the likelihood of mould or contamination of your SCOBY…. so don’t go trying to get funky before this point. Store your kombucha in glass bottles with tight fitting lids – try adding 1/8C fresh juice to 750ml kombucha brew – orange/apple/lemon/cranberry – whatever takes your fancy – or try my Ginger Tonic which is my favourite “medicine” when I’m under the weather.
Fermented Ginger Tonic
- 4C boiled water
- Fresh ginger (around a 3 inch piece, roughly chopped)
- 1/2C raw organic sugar OR rice syrup OR honey
- Optional: 1/4C fresh lemon/orange or lime juice – just for a little citrus kick.
- 2C brewed kombucha tea
- Mix all ingredients EXCEPT kombucha tea together, making sure the sugar is dissolved.
- Let the mix infuse (I place it all in a sterilised jar) for at least a few hours.
- Strain out ginger pieces and combine with the kombucha tea.
- Pour into a glass bottle (I find the large V8 veggie juice bottles/ are great for this) and leave in a warm, dark place for about 2 days (again, depending on your climate/temperature) – again the process is to let the bacteria eat away the sugar – it will become nice and fizzy.
- Store in the fridge.
Something that I have taken from all my fermentation experiments: trust your NOSE - always give things the “sniff test,” and if it smells WRONG, then it is probably not fit for consumption – sour/tangy/vinegary are all OK – if the smell makes you gag, then don’t run the risk – chuck it and start again. You will hone your nose skills as you continue to experiment.
Kombucha – tried it? Love it? Do you brew?
I admit, this week has been a struggle. Emotions (hormones!?) are running rampant, and physically I’m a tad under the weather. It’s hard to keep motivated and optimistic when you are feeling sluggish, that’s for sure.
Misty and myself have watched far too much television this week, I’ve been lazy with the cooking (surviving on cafe-leftovers…. perks of working in hospitality) and I haven’t washed my hair in I don’t know how long (actually that’s no real change). That’s OK though, as some weeks, you are not on you “A game,” and that’s perfectly fine. These things happen. I use these little stages as an opportunity to practise a little self-love, and to “let-go” of preconceived ideas of what I should be doing/achieving/being. Learning a little more about myself through my healing crisis, I have become a little more tolerant of myself and realise that it is a good thing to admit to having limitations.
Nobody is perfect – if that was the case, life would be so boring.
Anyway, Misty and me have been spending a lot of time at home this week, so we have been experimenting. I spent today chasing him around the house with the scissors, as his hair is slightly out of control (in the mullet-sense) – he was not amused. Anyway, I managed to get the hair cut out of his eyes, which is an achievement – but if anything, the mullet is even more pronounced. Oh well, I’ll take a mullet over a bowl cut any day.
I’ve never been one to use hair-products…. usually they are ridiculously overpriced and so full of toxic crap I won’t go near the things. After Misty’s hair cut today, I thought it would be kind of cool to play around with styling his new “do.” I have heard about people using flax gel for a hair product, but as usual I started to play around with what I had on hand – a never ending jar of xantham gum. This gel results in what I would call a “wet-look,” and it goes a little crunchy when it dries (like a hair-spray) – any way it makes for cute spikes on a little boy’s head, that’s for sure.
DIY Natural Hair Gel
- 1C water
- 1t xantham gum
- This is easiest to prepare in a food processor/blender as otherwise the xantham gum tends to just lump-up.
- Whizz together and store in a little jar/air tight container.
- Use SPARINGLY – you don’t need much at all – 1/2 a tsp rubbed into your palms and then used to style is ample.
What are your ways of finding balance when you have an “off” day (or week)? Yoga and a good nap are my 2 favourites.
I officially have a fussy toddler. It was bound to happen sooner or later. It’s definitely time to get sneaky.
Misty loves plain pasta, plain noodles, plain rice. No “bits” please. No sauce, no nothing. Awesome. He’s actually pretty good with snacking on vegetables (think carrot sticks, peas, sweet potato cubes, celery, cucumber, cherry tomatoes) so I’m not too concerned with having him eat 3 “balanced” meals a day – he’s a grazer, just like me. Lot’s of nutritious snacks & smoothies throughout the day – maybe I’m lazy but I’m not going to make him sit down and force him to eat a huge plateful of food at breakfast, lunch & dinner if that’s not the way his appetite works. Back to the plain pasta obsession….. I have a sneaky trick up my sleeve:
“Bone broth is a flavourful liquid made by boiling the bones of just about any vertebrate you can think of (typically poultry, beef, bison, lamb, or fish) in water for an extended period of time (typically anywhere from 4 hours to 40 hours!). Often vegetables and herbs are added (typically carrots, onion, celery, garlic and I like to add bay leaves too). The bones from mammals need to be sawed open, whereas fowl and fish bones don’t. The used bones and vegetables are strained from the liquid and typically discarded. The resulting liquid is called “broth” or “stock” and is rich in numerous vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants (especially calcium, magnesium and phosphorous, which are essential for bone health) . Most importantly, bone broth is also particularly rich in two very special amino acids: proline and glycine.” SOURCE
Obviously , this is not an option for vegans (I apologize to my vegan readers – of course, a home made veggie stock is a good alternative, but unfortunately, won’t quite pack the nutritional punch that a bone broth wields) but the fact of the matter is that Viper and Misty eat meat. I think using every possible part of a slaughtered animal is the most respectful thing to do – if there is going to be a dead animal in my fridge, I am going to honour it’s sacrifice by using every little tiny part of it (hippie rant).
So that’s it, my dirty little secret – buy organic, free range meat and get the MOST bang for your buck. Chicken, beef, fish – whatever you buy, use ALL of the animal. If you are using beef, try to get a variety of bones for maximum nutrients. A whole chicken will provide us with at least a couple of manly-sized meals, toddler pickings, scraps for the dog, PLUS a whole lot of glorious bone broth (or stock, whatever you like to call it). Value for money AND huge nutritional benefits is a win in my book. All you need to do is chuck everything in a large pot (add whatever you like see the suggestions in the quote above) and let it simmer away. You can use this as a traditional broth, a base for a more complex soup/stew/casserole, add to sauces for extra wow factor, add to baby food/veggie puree – the uses for this stuff are endless. You can even partake in a bit of toddler-trickery.
Cook your regular pasta/noodles/rice in bone broth – it adds flavour AND nutrition, and little people LOVE it. It really makes you wonder what goes into those “stock” cubes you can get at the supermarket, doesn’t it? I will take boiled bones over a tiny foil wrapped square ANY day, thankyouverymuch.
The sparkling lights, the gambling, the shows, the parties. I admit it, if you asked me where I would go in the world RIGHT NOW (expense being no worry) I would have to go with Las Vegas. Viper and I are obsessed with all-things-American, and even if I should be saying Europe (for the culture!) or India (for the spiritual enlightenment!) I would be off drinking cocktails and putting it ALL on 26 red before an Elvisn impersonator could pronounce myself and Viper, “hound dog and Lisa Marie.” Seriously, although my wedding last year was lovely – there is still a teeny tiny part of me that wished we had gone with our original “Vegas Elvis Elopement” plan. One day.
At the moment though, I have to live vicariously through the tales of other bloggers. Hannah recapped her Vegas adventure here and here, and the very brave Bethaney did it with her toddler in tow (not sure I’m game enough for that!) We all know, however, that I am slightly obsessed with vegan food – so while on my insomnia-spurred-Vegas-trawl I began researching into the foodie options available. Paul Graham from Eating Vegan in Vegas really covers all the bases when it comes to compassionate cuisine.
While Viper would be (oh so predictably) tempted by the promise of celebrity chefs cooking up all sorts of meaty-glory…. Vegas is actually turning into a bit of a hub for vegan dining, which gives the place even more appeal. During the witching hours of insomnia (oh the joy) I have been perusing different restaurants/menus for inspiration…. although I love reading food blogs, I never really try out recipes – just reading the title of a dish can really get the creative cogs in my brain turning – I find recipes way too restrictive. I saw the Sweet Potato Soup with Roasted Almonds on the menu at Mesa Grill, and then that little inspirational tidbit turned into my “Ode to Vegas.” I know America has a real fondness for mayonnaise, and while I can’t stand the traditional stuff in any way, shape or form, this vegan/root veggie version is quite the delicious variation. I couldn’t have possibly dedicated a recipe to Las Vegas and NOT include some sort of Elvis-ingredient either – hence the “Bacon” almonds, which are given a sweet/salty/smoky marinade which is a pretty stellar addition to this salad.
The whole orange/spinach combination reminds me of my Mum, who always made me make sure I was eating a little vitamin C (orange) whenever I ate an iron-rich vegetable (spinach) – thanks Mum – and it just so happens they go great with sweet potato and fake bacon – who would have thought?
Spinach & Orange Salad with Sweet Potato Mayo and Smoky Baked Almonds (aka “Bacon” bits)
(Vegan: Gluten/wheat/refined sugar/grain/soy/corn free)
Makes 4 large serves
“Bacon” Bits (Sweet Smoky Almonds)
- 1C almonds
- 4t tamari
- 3T maple syrup
- 2t smoked paprika
- Combine all ingredients except almonds in a small mixing bowl and whisk well.
- Throw almonds in and toss to coat.
- Roast at 180 degrees C for 8-10 minutes…. careful they will catch and burn quickly.
- When dry (they will almost be like a cluster of toffee) roughly chop.
Sweet Potato “Mayonnaise”
- 2C cooked sweet potato (roasting will get the best flavour)
- 3T nutritional yeast
- 3T tahini
- 3T olive oil
- 2t wholegrain mustard
- 2t apple cider vinegar
- 1C water (up to 1 & 1/2C to achieve desired consistency)
- 2t lemon juice
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Combine all ingredients in a food processor, adding water bit by bit until you reach your preferred “mayo” consistency.
- Season (S&P) to taste.
(Ingredients for each person – you are making 4 serves)
- 1 navel orange, cut into segments, free of pith.
- 1 good handful (2C) baby spinach leaves
- 1/4C “Bacon” almonds
- 1/4C Sweet Potato Mayonnaise
- Place spinach leaves on plate, arrange orange segments.
- Sprinkle over chopped almonds, and drizzle with the mayo – putting the mix in a squirty bottle is the best idea (an old ketchup/mustard bottle is perfect for this).
So now I shall eat this salad and pine for the parties, lights and loose times that Las Vegas seems to promise. One day I will get there. How about you? Where in the world would you LOVE to visit? Your dream escape? Your ultimate adventure?
A “healing crisis” is the belief that an individual in the process of getting well will undergo some sort of healing reaction – it could be mild or it could be more extreme – putting it really simply it’s the idea of “you have to get worse before you get better.” Having experienced quite a few odd symptoms over the last few weeks while withdrawing from conventional anti depressants, I decided to look into the idea of a “healing crisis” in more detail.
At first I thought I was losing my mind – as well as general physical symptoms of fatigue, congestion, digestive sluggishness and skin irritation, I began experiencing some emotional reactions to the changes I had instigated. Huge mood swings, general irritability and anxiety, plus I even felt like I was reverting to old behaviours. This culminated in me being told I was ‘acting like a 2 year old,’ when everything finally made sense. YES I may have been behaving like a child, but it was as if my body and mind had reverted back to stage before I had started being “treated” by conventional medicine…. sound crazy? Perhaps, but it makes sense in my head, so I’m going to go with it! Anyway, although these symptoms were rather brief and fleeting, they really gave me insight of the deeper healing that was going on inside my body (and mind).
“When improvement occurs, vitality is restored to the body, and its self-healing mechanisms are awakened. As healing begins, symptoms reappear as part of the body’s process of eliminating diseased cells and toxins from its tissues. Hence the assessment that the healing “crisis” is actually good news because it is a sign and signal of deep healing and restoration. It should be added that, not surprisingly, the patient always feels better after the healing crisis has run its course.
The healing crisis is recognized today by many natural health practitioners. Homeopaths call these incidents “aggravations” and chiropracters refer to the phenomenon as “retracing.” What is important for us to understand is that a healing crisis, or any healing that will sustain us over the long haul, must occur at some point in the therapeutic program. ” (Source)
I have been lucky enough to come into contact with a group of ladies from all different walks of life – Mother’s, natural health practitioners, energy healers, to name but a few. I wanted to gain insight into what these women thought about the notion of a healing crisis – so I have put together their thoughts, articles and experiences
I have been a long time reader of the inspiring and beautiful blog by Lucie D’Alessandro, Delve Spot – so I was thrilled when I came across her blog post describing her very own experience of an (on going) healing crisis as she used the intensive natural healing modality, Gerson Therapy to treat her breast cancer. She left the most encouraging comment on my initial post about my own experiences, which really hit the nail on the head in my mind: ”I love hearing that people understand healing reactions, Lou – go you for embracing yours and sharing. They can make you, your world, feel so wobbly and seem so counter intuitive to healing, no? Yet they’re so necessary and powerful. They panicked me at first, even now I still get a liiitle bit weary, but having a deeper understanding of what healing reactions are all about took me down multiple notches. Talking about what we experience is so important – demystifying the weirdness!”
Lucie also put me onto this fabulous site which includes a post that really defines a healing crisis in such a positive way.
You all know I’m a big fan of sharing – I find it such a powerful form of therapy, and sharing knowledge/experiences may just help others who are in a dark place, or are trying to regain their health, do you agree? The thing is, not enough people KNOW what a healing crisis is – and may take it as a sign that their therapy is NOT working – when it may just be the beginning of something amazing. The following quotes and snippets are from some very inspiring women – check out the links to get to know them better.
“Well, I’ve dealt with many healing crises before! Both my own and my clients. I love that they occur. For me, healing crisis symptoms are headaches, increased thirst, skin rashes, large cyst like blind pimples generally around the lymphatic glands (throat, groin, arm pits) digestive upsets coupled with extremefeelings of overwhelm and anxiety. Sleeplessness, crying, bad breath and stronger odour of urine. This might sound strange but I would get excited for my clients as it meant changes and shifting which is what they and I were hoping for. It means the body is adjusting, clearing and cleansing. Every time this arises I would be sure to transition them (and myself) more gently through this process with the purifying essence blend. This really serves to support the physical and emotional clearing without it becoming an added burden.” Naturopath and Essence Practioner, Alisha Lynch (Naughty Naturopath Mum)
“With every step I take in my healing process, I get the healing crisis. I just didn’t know it had an actual name. It can put people off -’ I changed my diet and I got sick!’…. there needs to be more info about it so they persevere!” Blogger (and holistic health hero) at Natural New Age Mum Sonia Donaldson
“My experience with healing crisis is that it is MUCH less with the use of homoeopathics, as the medicines are gentle and given in specific potency most often a helping crisis does not occur. I have received many patients in my practice in a healing crisis from other practitioners. My approach is to assist with this with remedies. However I believe that ‘good’ patient management and prescriptions when given by the practitioner can AVOID a helping crisis all together and this is my approach. Not every ailment has to get worse before it gets better. Sure sometimes there is a a slight response when first starting a remedy however good practitioners create wellness without this happening most of the time. Slow and gradual improvements in health last and become permanent. Hard and fast detox, prescriptions etc can lead to healing crisis and I don’t think this is the best way. (Not judging anyone btw just sharing my clinical experience I hope it comes across as such and not criticism)
Illness/wellness is layered. When you manage the layers gently you don’t get a healing crisis. When you go for the centre of the orange and just cut of course you will get ‘splatter’ …. I don’t cut – I manage the layers and then they dissolve and reveal the next one.” Nicole Cunningham, Homoeopath and creator of Puraforce Remedies.
As you are probably aware, I have chosen Classical Homoeopathy as my main source of healing-assistance as I attempt to withdraw from conventional anti depressants – I think this little quote from Puraforce Remedies sums up the modality nicely: “Homoeopathy is a form of medicine that assists the body in healing itself. It does not reject the great discoveries of modern medical science, only their commercial abuse. Homoeopathy has stood the test of time, helping people achieve health not only in the last 150 years, but since its discovery 2000 years ago.”
I also need to state here (being a responsible blogger, I suppose) that my journey is exactly that – MINE. I am in no way suggesting or providing tips for withdrawing from conventional medicine. Any decision regarding this needs to be an educated one – with appropriate advice and support from reputable sources/practitioners. I tend to use this blog as a type of diary – but I am aware of the implications of this, as the internet is a massive entity and there are impressionable folk out there. Take care, and do not do anything rash!
Finally, a little video-link to Kelly Burch (Dog Rose Healing). Kelly is an energy healer and specialises in Energy EFT – if you are feeling even just a teeny bit stressed or overwhelmed - watch (and TRY) this video. I had never experienced Energy EFT before, and let me tell you, after this 10 minute exercise, I felt like a bucket load of tension had just melted away. I have been using this technique every few days, and it’s wonderful. A new little trinket for my healing “tool-box” if you will.
Food-blogging isn’t really conducive to saving money on your weekly food bill. I suppose in some cases if you had a bunch of sponsorship and got freebies all the time it would make life easier, but then you would have less control over your content, right? I like to ‘blog to the beat of my own drum,’ if that makes sense? I don’t blog to make money or chase popularity/success in any way. I appreciate each and every person that takes the time to read fridge scrapings, and if I inspire someone in any tiny way to try something new, then that is all the success I need. I also try and be realistic – I know not everyone (including myself) cannot afford to eat 100% organic, and be purchasing every trendy super food under the sun on a weekly basis – it’s all about finding a comfortable middle ground, right?
In regards to my first statement – I have really cut down on buying any speciality ingredients of late, (read: I’ve cut done on buying MORE stock for my kitchen altogether) mainly for the sake of our weekly food budget. This doesn’t mean that our meals have to be bland/boring/unhealthy in any way though – I have just concentrated on using what I have on hand, and taking advantage of my supplies of dry bulk goods (grains/legumes/beans etc). This would be one of my top tips for being healthy on a budget – buy bulk amounts of (quality) dry goods – way cheaper in the long run. Basically, what I’m saying is, that although I might not have the budget to be posting recipes for amazing super food/fancy ingredient filled dishes, I can still make sure my family and I are eating a balanced, nutritious diet.
I made this Spiced Apricot Relish a few days ago, and mentioned that stuffing it into roast chicken would be a delicious idea – I thought I should come good on that notion and provide a recipe for you (meat eaters). Stuffing is a great way to stretch out a roast chicken. It’s also a good way to sneak in a nutritious option – quinoa in this instance, as opposed to a plain bread stuffing – great for those who suffer from food allergies/intolerances. Fellow vegans/vegetarians I apologise, but this relish also makes a lovely marinade for tofu, so I encourage you to give that a go – served on a bed of seasoned quinoa with herbs, walnuts and coconut oil was my version of the following dish I cooked for Viper & Misty. The good thing is, we can ALL share the roast veggies on the side!
I have listed a few substitute-ingredients that could be used instead of the ones I had on hand. I like recipes that you can adapt to use up leftovers, and make the most of the food you have in your fridge – this is a great recipe for using up smaller quantities of bits & pieces you might have hanging around in the fridge.
Spiced Apricot & Walnut Quinoa Stuffing
Vegan: Gluten/wheat/soy/corn/refined sugar free
- 1C cooked quinoa (rice/cous cous/buckwheat or any leftover grain would work well here)
- 4T Spiced Apricot Relish (or any chutney/relish you have on hand – plum/cranberry/apple would all be delcious) thinned out with a few tablespoons of warm water.
- 1/2C walnut halves (or almonds/pine nuts) roughly crushed
- 1 small red onion, finely diced
- 2 cloves of crushed garlic
- 3T chopped fresh herbs (dry is also fine) I used thyme, basil and parsley (what I had in the garden)
- 1t lemon zest
- 2t lemon juice
- 1/4t sea salt
- Black pepper to taste
- Simply thin down your relish with a few tablespoons of warm water (so it folds through the quinoa a little easier) – then mix in all other ingredients.
- Stuff into the cavity of a whole chicken and roast according to your bird’s size as you would normally.
A whole, organic chicken will set you back around the $10-12 mark, depending on the size. Even with Viper’s fiesty appetite, a chook stuffed in this fashion will provide 2 large manly meals, plus 3 toddler meals. Not to mention the stock I make from boiling down the bones, or the dog food I make for Boosty out of gristle/skin and the likes. It’s a pretty cost effective meal when you break it all down in that fashion. Not to mention the protein factor – chicken AND quinoa? Oh yes, that’s a whack of protein for sure.
Favourite penny-pinching meal suggestions?
This week has been full-on, that’s for sure. In both good ways, and then not so good. I’m working on a post at the moment in response to something I went through this week – a healing crisis. It’s really been an interesting few days – a lot of physical and emotional stuff has come up as a result of weaning myself of anti depressants, but the thing is, it all needed to come to a head so I can continue on the path to wellness.
As I type this all I can think about is a huge pimple. Gross analogy, yes, but probably the most simple way to put it. Imagine one of those really sore, inflamed pimples, where you can just feel the infection building up under the skin…. lot’s of pressure, lot’s of discomfort. The toxic stuff needs to come to a “head” (ew) so it can be released and healing can begin – and that’s what I have been experiencing this week (sans the pimples, thanks goodness). A healing crisis is like the pressure-part of the pimple…. the body starts to try and get rid of old toxins/emotions/behaviours to make room for healing – and it can bring up a lot of OLD and dormant issues that’s for sure.
Anyway, at first I thought I was losing my mind – but after some research and supportive encouragement from my homoeopath, I realised that what I was going through was GOOD – almost a sign that things are getting better. I have been lucky enough to be introduced to a community of inspirational women, recently – among them energy healers, naturopaths, homoeopaths, authors, Mother’s – really any “hat,” you could imagine. I am collecting some of their thoughts/experiences on the topic of healing crisis, and I will share them with you next week.
I have been spending a lot of time in my yoga space, that’s for sure – really working on breath and balance within the body while I’m in a bit of healing turmoil. Works a treat. Cooking also helps give me a sense of focus & direction…. I’ve said this in the past: cooking is a bit like meditation for me. I have so many more thoughts to share on this topic – I think it is something that we need to be more aware of – how many people may have given up on their health when faced with a healing crisis – thinking it was a turn for the worst, whereas it is actually a sign of progress? Next week I will delve deeper, that’s for sure.
I can’t believe I haven’t posted this recipe before…. I’ve been making it for years. It’s one of those super quick and easy things to whip up, when you feel like you need a little something else with a meal. We are huge condiment fans in this household – and if you are not into apricot, I have condiment recipes to suit everyone: Beetroot, Fig, or Tomato. On the side of a curry, stuffed inside a roast chicken, spread on sandwiches, on a cheese platter, used as a tofu marinade – this little relish has all sorts of uses.
Spiced Apricot Relish
- 3C dried apricots – a brand that does NOT contain sulphates or preservatives…. the apricots will be a darker brown.orange as opposed to the fluro-orange-additive-laden ones.
- 2 & 1/2C water
- 3/4C apple cider vinegar (malt/white wine will also work)
- 1t ground cinnamon
- 1t ground coriander
- 2t tabasco sauce
- 1 inch piece fresh ginger, chopped into chunks
- 2 red onions, roughly chopped
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 1/8t cayenne pepper – or more if you like it really spicy.
- Juice of half a lemon
- Black pepper to taste
- 1/2t sea salt
- Combine all ingredients except lemon, pepper and salt in a large saucepan.
- Bring to the boil and let it bubble rapidly for 3 minutes.
- Reduce to a gentle simmer, and cook for as long as it takes for the liquid to reduce down to about 1/3C (thereabouts – not a crucial point, but the flavours will be more intense, the more you let it cook, plus it will be a thicker end result).
- Let the mix cool before whizzing in the food processor until nice and smooth.
- Season with lemon, salt and black pepper.
- Divide into sterilised jars and store in the fridge.
Have you experienced a healing crisis?
I’ve never been a huge pastry fan. Pies, tarts, quiches and the likes are never high on my agenda – quite the opposite of Viper. Experimenting is something DO like, so quite randomly I started playing around with making a pastry from the ridiculous supply of chickpea flour (besan) I have on hand.
If you haven’t played around with chickpea flour before, I really encourage you to do so – it’s a really great ingredient for those with food sensitivities, is cheap, and it tastes delicious. I got into experimenting with the stuff specifically through my mate, BuddyEE (read about this little dude here) – just goes to show that being restricted to but a few ingredients actually inspires creativity. A couple of the recipes that I created for extreme-allergy-suffering kids have become staples in my house – and none of us have any real food intolerances…. allergy friendly doesn’t have to mean bland and boring, right?
Anyway, back to the pastry. Obviously, this pastry isn’t going to be the same as your traditional wheat flour/butter short crust – the end result is pretty similar taste/texture wise, but the method used in the recipe is a little different. You can’t roll this pastry out like a normal short crust, you simply have to press it into the tart pan, as it will not hold together as a sheet.
Easy Allergen Free Pastry
(Vegan, gluten/wheat/grain/corn/soy/refined sugar free)
- 3/4C chickpea flour
- 1/4C water
- 2T coconut oil (soft)**
- 2T liquid sweetener (rice syrup/agave/honey/maple syrup)
- 1/8t sea salt
- Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well.
- Cover and place in the fridge for at least 6 hours, (overnight is optimal) so the dough can firm up.
- Carefully press dough into fluted tart pans (this recipe will make 4 individual tart cases which measure 2 inches in diameter) – the mix has a tendency to be quite sticky, so wet your hands well to make things easier. Try and get the dough to a couple of millimetre thick.
- Bake in an oven heated to 180 degrees C for 12 minutes until golden brown.
**I have played around with using a vegan butter substitute AND regular butter in this recipe too – they both work well. Simply substitute in the same quantity (soft, not completely melted) – the butter/vegan spread actually works quicker than the coconut oil, you will only need to rest.chill the dough for about 45 minutes in the fridge. The cooking time is also quicker – approximately 9 minutes in a fan forced 180 degree C oven. Butter tends to get a darker colour to the end result too.
I have been a little fixated on sweet fillings for these pastry-experiments. The one below is filled with a combination of date paste, a few squares of melted chocolate and some coconut butter. Easy and delicious.
Slow roasted peaches are such an easy, healthy dessert (check out this recipe for another peach-creation). Load them into a cooked pastry shell, and dollop with some coconut cream, ice cream, custard – whatever.
Although I’m usually not such a huge savoury-fan (I will take sweets ANY day) lately my taste buds have been craving everything savoury – even for breakfast which is unheard of. I think I will need to branch out into some vegan-pastry-pies very soon.
How about you? Pastry fan? Sweet or savoury for your pie fillings?