Thursday, November 13, 2014

Health & Happiness & the truth about butter

It's rather arrogant & yet funny at the same time that Australians & even in the US/UK, citizens are often seen to take information from other countries when someone thinks they've discovered an answer to improve our health & well being, 'oh look they have a lot of olive oil in their diet, it must be good for us' & then add it in, not just a little, in everything. Marketing pours in telling us we need more of it & if we just add more our health will improve. We've done this with education 'oh look Reggio is great in Italy, let's do that here', totally forgetting the overall culture, the lifestyle, way of life is very different to our own, ignoring the budget support from the local councils in Reggio or the history behind the beautiful Malaguzzi inspired services for children & hence why being tokenistic about health or education never works. Years ago when I was casual teaching, I would come across these beautifully aesthetic pre school environments & not one aspect of our indigenous history, the very culture that is the foundation of this country was represented in those rooms, of course culture borrowed from Italy was far more relevant (or so they believed) than embracing our own heritage. We still teach French in schools across this country & yet how many schools know their local Aboriginal language & how many Aboriginal languages have been lost since occupation of these shores by white man? Australians are becoming more known for as the chameleon at the party than leaders in culture & patriotism. We adapt & take from other cultures whatever we like & as a multicultural society this is of course to be expected. Yet to disregard our very strengths & to import Baramundi from Asia for our major supermarket chains when we have the best Baramundi in the world, we have to start considering it is time to grab that pendulum & stop it swinging & we've taken this all a little bit too far. You can't take a little & add it to something which has a lot of issues & a lot of attitude about those issues.

Some years (decades ago) we were told butter was bad for us, full cream milk (although I still think its weird how we are the only species/mammal that keeps drinking/using milk after child rearing) even eggs, the list went on & fully supported by the industry & marketing enthusiasts who continued to dictate to us what we should & shouldn't eat. Few took the time to think for themselves, asked the hard questions - why when there was a huge slump in wheat exports & countries were suffering greatly, did a healthy food pyramid suddenly appear that told us carbohydrates in the form or breads & pasta was not only good for us, it should be the largest staple in our diet! Why because it was funded by the very industry needing to increase their profit & wow did it work. Within a decade a whole profit driven fast food industry was born, hamburgers were considered healthy, with all that salad how could they not & plus it was a bread roll, bonus health! At the same time the statistics went charging upwards for the wheat industry, the obesity epidemic was born & the fast food industry & the increase in heart disease, preventable disease & the demand on health services in our country.

As I said it is sort of arrogant & yet naive to hand your health over to your government & not ask or research the information yourself, come on people do you really trust the people who need to think about big business & profit? Someone jumps on the band wagon with a little information & then rams it down everyone's throat & people make these drastic changes (over the top) to their diets. We need more wheat, we need less eggs, less butter, less full cream anything. Then the diet & lite industry is born. Have you looked at the shelves lately, watched people standing there reading the labels to try & find something which actually means what it says?

We live in a country where lite can be colour, it doesn't have to mean good for you. When something is low in fat, low can often equal high in processed something else. If you want healthy food go back to basics, cut out processed altogether, go raw, go naked, give up reading labels & listening to the profit driven industry tell you that you'll be fine as long as you have that processed milk & cereal & throw a few blueberries on it for breakfast, put something green in your smoothy; why oh why do people not listen to the voice of their body crying out, begging them to listen to why they are angry, irritable, can't poo, their tummy goes up like a balloon, they feel crap after eating! You are not your neighbour or friend, we each have different body types, we have histories of family illness, preventable disease, risk factors. What works for one may not work for someone else. What is important, is listening to the changes & voice of your body. How does food make your skin feel? How regular are you using the bathroom? Are you tired or too energetic that you can't sleep? Food is a major power source for modifying many of our simple ailments before they develop into cardiovascular disease, cancers or death.

What anthropologists learn from studying other cultures is heart disease & cancer & even mental health is lower in these countries because of the whole health approach & full diet differences that would require us to over haul our lives, not just say 'oh this fat is bad & this one is good'.

When we stepped off that plane in Rome & finally put down our bags in our room we were famished. It didn't matter that technically it would have been breakfast time at home, we headed straight for the flashing pizza lights across the road & ordered up. There was no puff this or cheese filled stuffed that. No pastry that tasted more of processed something than of real ancient wheat grains & cheese that was the colour of sunshine from the processed taste increases used to keep you wanting it. We ate real pizza; pizza made as it has been since Queen Margerite was indulged with the first Margarita, flying the colours of Italy, basil for the green, tomatoes for the red & cheese for the white (yes cheese was white!).

What I noticed as we ate our way through our travels was the balance of food (water & fruit on the table) & even wine with our meals. yes it was relatively normal to have a glass (yep just 1) with our meal, sometimes two, even 1 at lunch. It wasn't a whole bottle or two, we didn't need carrying out the door or a taxi. In Pompeii our tour stopped at a lovely old restaurant & following a 3 course lunch of salads, pasta, fruit & wine, there was no tummy swelling, no 'omgosh I can't fit another thing', the food was fresh, it was real, it was without the processed ingredients a society demands in order to cut back on time in the kitchen waiting for good food to arrive. It was delicious & authentic.

We know....... the healthy fats found in nuts, vegetables etc are good for us, we know real olive oil (not the boutique crap that you buy for a fortune & think it is better yet oxidizes in the pan & then is just crap), we know real butter (not the fake stuff or the lite stuff or the cheap stuff) is good for you, we know coconut oil, coconut flours, coconut in general which has been widely used in healthy heart countries is good for you when combined with vegetables, fish, nuts, pulses (not layered in muesli bars or sweet treats loaded with processed sugars.

We know that over the decades our supermarkets are filled with more labels & processed foods than ever before & yet they are still in demand. We know heart disease & mental health & preventable disease in our cultures is still far from under control. We know binge drinking & alcohol is more about avoiding real life in this country than enjoying it. We know that processed crap, which we have been using now since post WWII, because the demand went up to have food faster & easier, so that families could spend less time at the table & in the kitchen & work harder & spend more time spending their money than saving it, is screwing with our bodies & instead of going back to basics & cutting out the processed crap, people spend more money signing up to gym memberships they never use, running their frustrations out & creating more bone density issues & draining the medical industry more. Come on people, get real. Take charge of what you eat & what goes into your body, it's the only one you have.

We know that those cultures where there is lower heart disease & better mental health, don't appear to have this all consuming materialistic drive, they are not the individualistic motivated society we live in. They spend time together as a family, as a community, they care about their neighbours, about each other, children are raised in communities not by governments & education departments, friends are for life, marriage & commitment still has meaning - life is very very different in these cultures - food is a celebration of tradition, a family get together (in some areas of Australia we've become more concerned about the size of our outdoor BBQ & house, the houses which are bigger with more rooms, yet less children & BBQ's that are more about showing off your skills than spending time with neighbours, because now we've become so busy most people don't know who their neighbours are!); food is an extension of a nations culture (what does this say about Australia?), not just who can stuff the most on the their plate & eat the fastest & replicate those meals we see on t.v.. Life is enjoyable. Food is to be enjoyed.

In those cultures where overall health is different to the results we are seeing here, exercise is not just an industry or something you must schedule in or stick a video in to squeeze in between your morning latte' & paper reading; its a way of life, dance, music & art are embraced. There are many nations in the world where the slim, carefully edited glossy magazine cover bodies would be considered unattractive & unwell. Bodies are to be celebrated, healthy, curvy, sexy bodies. Nothing is more attractive than a happy soul, joyous & full of life; a person who loves life, enjoys food & taking care of themselves. In countries where it is OK to have a few curves, people feel good about themselves, they are more likely to socialise, spend time outdoors, with family, friends & less time worrying about their appearance.

Can you see where this goes & how it works? Food & what you think of food, how you use food can completely alter the function of your body, inside & out & feed the thoughts you tell yourself, alter your behaviour, change your relationships with people, how you interact, what career you chose, what life you live. One would think that food, should be a priority. Yes reading & writing is vital to our children's development, yet so is food, water & a safe home to live in. Human beings are the most dependent species on the planet. Why not teach children to be more independent, to understand good food, how to use it & start taking care of their health, preventing long term disease, reversing the pattern & history & ignorance of our past. When we learn more about food, the truth, the naked raw truth about what we eat, we are empowered with decisions we never knew were possible. Give a person a fish, they have a meal, teach a person to fish & they have a food source for life. I started with my children when they were little, I told them they each needed to come up with one meal a week to cook as a main meal. When my 6 year old learned how to make rice wraps, we had rice wraps once a week until she learned another & another. I let them make their own breakfast & gave them choices. There were none of those silly rules about green veggies are just for dinner, you can eat vegetables, fruits, salad anytime & water was always available & sometimes the only thing available. You are the power behind what your children put in their mouths, you buy it, you give it to them. You are deciding the health of your children by what you choose to put in their mouths.

I've been having eggs nearly every single day for the last few years, sometimes I have spinach & vegetables with my breakfast, sometimes I follow it up with fruit, Greek yoghurt, nuts. The other day was my daughters birthday & as the only vegan in the house she was cautious about anyone else making her birthday cake & decided to make her own. A layer of coconut infused grains & oils, packed into the bottom of the pan, layered as a cheesecake (without cheese of course being a vegan), filled with yummy dates, nuts, cacao & drizzled with what looked like chocolate & tastes better than the fake stuff you unwrap from the supermarket that was sourced from child labour from the West Coast of Africa; yet was just a blend of cacao & dates & coconut oil. Everyone who tasted it couldn't believe there wasn't one thing in it that wasn't good for you, how could something good for you taste so good?

I've taken to this fetish of pan fried large mushrooms, with red onion, fresh coriander, kale & spicy lentils, just talking about it now gives me an appetite. Sometimes I top it off with a sprinkle of goat cheese.

Good food does taste good, it tastes damn fantastic. You feel it in your bones, in your brain, you don't feel sluggish or overloaded, your tummy doesn't bloat, your bowel works a treat, that's because real food, the unprocessed, back to basics food is great for us, it was how it was supposed to be, before we stuffed around with it to make more time for keeping busy & less time in the kitchen. Great food radiates in your skin.

If you put more time into learning how to use real food, to cook from scratch, with NO processed foods, to live without that disgusting processed sugar (which is more addictive than some illicit drugs), if you learn to give your body a natural high, rather than a quick fix carbonated caffeine filled kill your feel good ...... drink, you won't look back. Our tummy bloats for a reason. Gluten is difficult for any person to process not just the gluten intolerant, it takes a hell of a lot of time for the body to sort it & get it through, you don't need an allergy or intolerance to know when your body is struggling to process something. The thing is it's mixed with other processed crap & processed sugars & don't fall for the huge gluten free product market, check them out, make time.  Many have added other nasties just to get you thinking you are doing the right thing. If you want something to taste good, then go to the effort of making it feel good for your body at the same time.

Someone said to me a few weeks ago 'but it's so expensive to eat healthy'. If it's expensive then you are doing it all wrong. You don't need that packaged stuff to diet & stay healthy, you need a good farmers market, a few friends to buy bulk or family, shop around, find a green grocer & watch your recycle bin go down with less packaging & overall you will have a better impact on the environment & you'll notice a huge difference to your food bill. You may need to shop more often, to keep things fresh, yet you could always plan your week better & work around the extra trips. Better still, gather seedlings from friends, join a co-op for seeds/plants & put in your own garden. Gardens are now on balconies, in apartments, up walls. We are out of excuses.

When I mention to people how much I love yoga, there is the natural assumption yoga=weird stretchy poses. The asanas, which are the 'weird stretchy poses', make up a small portion of what yoga is about. It is a lifestyle choice. OK there are some out there have done as I described above & taken a little of the good stuff & put it into their life & then tell others 'it doesn't work' because their body doesn't look like those 'yoga freaks' gracing health magazines, tight biceps & trim little butts, well neither do I or do I aspire to this image either, that's definitely not what yoga is about. There is a philosophy behind yoga, a tradition that goes back many many years, its just as much about your inside health as your outer, about your thoughts, your behaviour, your beliefs (self, others, world). So eating healthy & wanting to treat my body with more respect is part of an overall acceptance that it is the only body I have & a gift to be enjoyed, not to be taken for granted & I am the sum of all my choices & the people I share my life with.

Our bodies have a voice, they tell us when something we are doing isn't working, when we feel ill, over weight, bloated, stomach pain, headaches, disease, lethargy, sleep all the time; what you put into your body is the fuel to keep your brain & body going. If you are more concerned about how your body looks than how it feels, well there are plenty of people out there to help you with that & I could tell you the trajectory for the path you are headed down, but why spoil the journey.

It's not rocket science, you just have to want to know. Stop listening to all the marketing hype & the sell sell sell promotions to get you to want more of the wrong stuff. We survived to evolve for a reason, without the processed stuff, without fast food. We've done more damage to our bodies than ever before in history, become more vain & more disconnected from each other than ever before. What have we done with all that time we save by not being in the kitchen? How much time do you save by using the drive-thru? What do you do with that time? You buy more take away & work harder....good luck with that.

"Studies  of people in Samoa and the Cook Islands from the 1960s found that although people ate diets  high in coconut they had  little heart disease – but  along with coconut  oil  they ate a limited diet based on a few staple foods like fish, taro, breadfruit and  bananas and  no processed food. They also ate the coconut flesh, not just the oil – that's very different to saying you can add coconut oil to a typical western diet and get a benefit," she says.

Give your body a chance, give it good food & make great choices about what fuel you feed your body to power your brain & energise your soul. If you like your nuts & you've ever had a snickers (the fake thing wrapped in plastic) & some of this naked truth is sinking in & still need convincing that you can still have treats, good food does actually taste great then try my daughter's smoothy treat for a spin on something you enjoyed previously that was all processed.

Blend  - Cacao, peanut butter (organic), agave & almond milk - OMGosh a treat that tastes like it, feels like it & looks like it & without the nasty. I just downloaded 100 different healthy smoothy app to see if I can change up the ones I usually throw together. No longer do I have this structured ideas about what should & shouldn't go together, I just give it a whirl & see how it tastes.

I don't do sauces unless I make them or dressings. I do fresh & raw & naked food, food as it was meant to be. I do use herbs, fresh & dried & spices in my food, nothing better for the metabolism than heating it up.

I would like to leave my children with a legacy of health, not a pattern & history of preventable disease. I would like to enjoy being energetic well into my prime (which even nearing 50 in a few years hasn't happened yet!). I want to feel sexy, not just look the part (without the plastic) & I don't want to be popping pills to get my body to perform the way it should naturally. So I chose good, real, naked food over quick & easy processed every time.

Breakfast is up - yummmmmm. Diced mangoe, banana, with a sprinkle of LSA after my eggs :)

Get real about yourself, do yourself a favour , eat authentic food as it was meant to be. Get naked about food. Live longer, happier & healthier.

Namaste xo


  1. You have such an interesting blog. Thanks for sharing, I enjoyed reading your posts. All the best for your future blogging journey.

    1. Thank you :) it's been sometime between posts & just noticed your kind words.