It’s that time of the year when many of us eat and drink more than we should. Parties and celebrations occur all through the month, and then there’s Christmas Day itself, often with two massive meals as we divide our time between families.
Life is complex, so we often make simple choices for food. Few ingredients, easy to cook, and often pre-packaged. To me it should be the other way around; life should be simple and food should be complex.
I remember in my childhood, a gift for any festival used to be fruits and vegetables, and sugar was a delicacy. This has drastically changed over the past few decades; now sugar is present everywhere and in everything, and fruits and vegetables are rarely seen on the plate.
Often our plate consists mostly of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, with few, if any, vegetables. To make matters worse, we then buy health supplements in a bottle from a pharmacy to make up for a lack of nutrients.
But why, when Nature has provided us with such a variety of nutrients in form of plants, and that at no cost?
So, what’s on my plate?
Since starting my health journey two years ago I developed this salad recipe of nearly 50 ingredients – no copyrights or patents pending!
Chicken – cooked or stir-fried in coconut oil with a little garlic.
Lettuce, cabbage, mizuna, watercress, capsicum, broccoli, cauliflower, mushroom, cucumber, tomatoes, avocado, green chillies, spring onions, beetroot, borage flowers, nasturtium flowers, onion weed flowers, olives, cranberries, blueberries, fresh pomegranate seeds, desiccated coconut, parsley, coriander, sorrel, mint, fennel, cottage cheese (paneer), cheddar cheese, seaweed, olive oil, lemon juice, almonds, cashews, pine nuts, Brazil nuts, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, mustard seeds, flax seeds, quinoa, sesame seeds, cinnamon, salt and pepper.
Mix them all in the quantities you like and you cannot go wrong with it. This recipe is low on carbohydrates, and very tasty too. I use mostly cabbage, lettuce, avocado and broccoli as main ingredients and add the other ingredients to my taste or availability in the garden or season.
Grind all the seeds and nuts and nuts listed above beforehand, and use this super-seed mix every time you want to make some salad. I use this in milk also with a bit of turmeric powder and cinnamon powder – it helps fight allergies, reduces inflammation and improves blood sugar too.
Sustainable Landscapes Consultant
Food - the abundance or lack thereof - governs our health. In contrast to ancient times, in our modern society food is abundant and a new way of eating has emerged; anything, everything, anytime. A very important skill for survival has been forgotten, and that is NOT to eat.
Yes, eating well is a key to health, but so is fasting.
Staying hungry, fasting, or starvation is part of human evolution. Before agriculture was developed, hunting, gathering or foraging was a part of life. Humans are able to go for days or even seasons to find the right food to survive. Our body is capable of much more than what we might think.
In many cultures fasting is a regular practice, but this is not so in western culture, and the need for it is overlooked by most of us. Research has proved that fasting can improve hormone levels, reduce inflammation, reduce stress, improve strength, reduce blood sugar and improve overall health.
As a person who regularly practices fasting, from my perspective the majority of people seem almost obsessed with eating. As wide-spread health issues increased over the years, the idea of ‘moderation’ became a popular one. However, when it comes to health, we want it in abundance! How many of us would like to have moderate diabetes, moderate obesity, moderate cancer or moderate heart failure?
There are various ways of fasting depending upon variables such as your health condition, availability of time etc. For many the intake of food is a constant, regular occurrence; overabundant in supply and low in quality (i.e. junk food). However, for optimal health a good rule of thumb is to only eat what is in season, eat locally grown (which is often the cheapest), and do not eat when you are not hungry. Additionally, eat the right stuff.
Diets change just like fashion, but one thing that should remain a consistent part of our regime is FASTING.
Sustainable Landscapes Consultant
Grow your own Drugs
Yes, you read that right, but don’t get the wrong idea! You can grow your own drugs in your backyard. Let me explain: there are so many things we can grow in our garden which can not only heal us, but provide a sustainable source of food, a green manuring cover crop, or to a scientist, a legume crop which helps to fix nitrogen back into the soil.
I speak of Fenugreek; a spice to the cook, medicine to the herbalist, a green manuring cover crop to the gardener, and, to the scientist, Trigonella foenum-graecum, a plant from Fabaceae (family of legumes) which fixes nitrogen from the air back into the soil.
Auckland winter is known for storms - rain, wind, and thunder. A great excuse to leave the garden to its destiny. Some seasoned gardeners give it a rest and plant a cover crop like mustard, oats or barley. These are very fit for purpose, but if you are looking for a crop that also provides healthy nutrition, regulates blood pressure, blood sugar, and proper balance of hormones, plus can give your libido a boost, then fenugreek is it.
Fenugreek is very easy to grow, can be bought in any Indian spice store, and is typically sown in winter. It just needs a well-drained, sunny spot and in 24hrs your new “drug” crop is on its way. The whole crop can be harvested in 45 days or leaves can be harvested at any time of the growth depending upon requirement.
The leaves can be used like spinach, while the seeds are slightly bitter and typically used in spice blends; added to pickles, curries and sauces, and even as a tea. And, it’s the perfect spice accompaniment for potatoes - while potatoes raise your blood sugar, fenugreek evens it out making the perfect companion.
Next time if you need a cover crop, or an excuse to stay away from your garden in winter, give this ‘alien’ a go, chances are you might find a friend for life.
Jai :: Sustainable Landscape Consultant
p :: 021-050-3045