In a world cluttered with poor quality foods, empty calories and nasty additives, it's no wonder we are constantly reminded to eat less. Although, contrary to this bombard of messaging, we are here to remind you all that sometimes you need to EAT MORE … GOOD FOOD!!
It wasn't until early this year, when I was having a regular check in with my naturopath and she ordered some blood tests for me, that we realised I was deficient in a few key minerals. Upon reflection, I considered my diet, and although general healthy and clear of a lot of the bad culprits like saturated fats, processed carbs, simple sugars, soft drinks, artificial ingredients, preservatives and so on, I was quick to realise I probably wasn't, eating enough. Sounds silly, but sometimes, in this day and age, it's so true. Frightened by constant reminders of how many poor offerings there are available to us and reminded at all eating opportunities to reduce over consumption, combined with a recent emphasis on where our food is coming from and what it may have had done to it, do you ever feel like it’s sometimes easier just not to eat? Obviously, I was….
So, in an effort to overcome this and get back on track with giving my body all that it needs, through real foods and good nutrition, I’ve decided to start “super” cooking and preparation. Super salads, super toasties, super smoothies…. I’ve always been a big believe in trying to get 35-40 ingredients in your belly daily, I supposed I had just let fear get in the way.
Summer’s night in Melbourne and I prepared one of the best salads my husband and I have ever had. The best bit – it had 24 ingredients in the one vegan salad. How is this possible? Easy. Start with 8 herbs, 2 spices, 2 nuts and 2 seeds and you’re already on your way before you’ve even added the salads, veg or fruit. And to make this more exciting – half of this came from our garden and had been staring at us the whole time.
We have always tried to grow fruit, veg, herbs and spices wherever we live. And slowly over the years, I suppose it has become a passion for us. We have learnt a lot, just by trial and error. We are by no means, green thumbs, although trust us, eat your first home grown piece of fruit or bunch of herbs, and you’ll be addicted too.
And before you say “that sounds romantic but.. we rent, we have no land, we don’t get sun…..” just listen. IT’S NOT HARD. Most of our herbs are grown in little planter boxes (tip keep them close to the kitchen and you’ll use them more). Our chillis and turmeric and ginger, grown in window planters and it wasn’t until 2 years ago when we settled in our home, we relocated our lemons, limes, apples, oranges and the rest, into the ground from starting life in pots. Remember though, you don’t need a basket full to take to the market. So when I say we grow, I mean enough for 2 people a couple of times a weeks, for that particular sprouting season.
The only “hard” part about biting into your own grow apple, is the daily watering, which in all honesty is my meditation time. It’s the most relaxing and rewarding part of my day. I reconnect with my breath, myself and absorb all that flora energy. Apart from that, I suggest you fertilise occasionally, grab some manure on your next country drive, start a compost or try Seasol, all great nature fertilising options. Good organic soil helps and weeding may be necessary, but then again, gardening also double counts as your 20 mins exercise for the day so win, win.
Know your environment; Here in Victoria we are temperate climate (not extreme season but still a variation between the 4 season) and therefore it’ important to know what to plant and when, and weather to plant from seeds, cuttings or if the plant will self sow.
Our wins; tomatoes (cherry variations are so easy to use), chillies, eggplants, lemons, limes, apples, capsicums, rosemary, parsley, mint, basil, oregano, thyme, sage, strawberry’s, mushrooms, lettuce, spinach, kale, cucumber, turmeric, ginger, edible flowers for the fancy Instragram pic 😊
Our struggles (sometimes it’s a matter of where you plant); olives, avocados, blueberries and raspberries. We’ve done research into what our soil will work with (we live bayside, so nice and sandy) so try to avoid buying things we know won’t work to avoid the loss.
My tips, and it is very important so please note, FLOWERS. Flowers are so important to help you create your own eco system and allow the insects to the pollenate the fruit and veg trees. So don’t think you need to fill your space with just edible foods, have a nice balance between the pretty guys too (plus, how good is picking your own flowers to pop on the dining table)
And my final super tip; try planting lupin. A current new player in the gluten free grain world, these easy to grow flakes are so versatile, full protein, fibre and minerals and is a serious super food to watch.