Thursday, October 20, 2011

Sweet potato cakes.

I made these as a substitute for fish cakes.  Cook one sweet potato, drain and mash.  Add a little coconut and some finely chopped kale. Thicken with Teff flour.  Form into patties. Brown both sides in a frypan with a little coconut oil. Season with veggie salt. Serves two people.

Zucchini spaghetti

Use a spiralizer to grate a zucchini into long "spaghetti" strands. Stir fry with a little coconut oil.  Puree one to two  tomatoes in the blender and add puree to pan.  Add mixed herbs to taste.  Add two dessertspoons of teff flour to add iron and protein as well as thicken the mixture.  Cooked when zucchini is soft and mixture has thickened. Add vogel salt to taste. Serves one hungry vegan.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

how we try to make ourselves better than others.

When we consider the egomania of the modern world which also drives our economic system its easy to just think that we use the pursuit of wealth, pleasure and happiness to position ourselves ahead of others. But in a thought that came to me today I think its even more insidious than that.  Every time we criticise or are annoyed with someone aren't we saying "our way is best", that the other person's wants, feelings and opinions aren't as important or as valid as ours. Everything we do, think and say places us in a position relative to others.  The better path I think is to tread a middle way between pride and shame, between negative and positive judgments of all kinds

Well - not quite vegan!

On an autumn trip out to Lake Gordon I succumbed to the smell of a chicken wing.  Its about the only meat that still smells good to me. Then I desperately needed some yoghurt to sort my stomach out one time - at least I got lactose free so it doesn't seems to have bothered my dairy allergies - but it does taste damn good.  Oh well - I'm still mostly vegan and recently having discovered teff grain has meant I can have a yummy high protein almost gravy like vegetable stir fry.  I had water and amaranth flour to make the gravy once the veggies are singed. Love my smoothies and sprouts but in a Tassie winter raw and cold loses its appeal a bit so I try and balance the salads with the above. I seem to have come through winter healthier than ever.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Elemental hierarchy of needs

When we come into the world we need food, shelter and touch - Earth Element
From infancy to teenage hood we learn (mostly) to manage our emotions and relate to others - Water Element
Throughout our schooling and more likely from our peers and environment we acquire knowledge - Air Element
Leaving school and entering adult life we look to pursue our passions (careers, hobbies and goals) and our loves - Fire Element.

But at some point, if these needs are met, we realise we still have an unmet need - to find meaning and connection - Spirit Element

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Love your friend as yourself

These links relate to my last post:

Why does good and evil exist?

If I've understood this correctly (from what I'm learning at )there are usually four main ways people try to explain away the mix of good and bad in the world:

1. Nature (the world) evolved according to certain Darwinian and scientific rules.  It has no mind.  It does no good to pray to anyone as there is no-one to hear those prayers.  The best we can do is seek to amass wealth, happiness and ongoing genetic continuance by competing the best we can with others for limited resources.

2. Someone or something created the world but has since moved on to another project and have left us to muddle along the best we can.

3. All the evil in the world is the fault of an anti-god force which balances the good of a god force.  Through this polarity we know what is good because we can compare it to the bad.

4. The world was created as a playground for sometimes fickle collection of gods, much like as in Greek Mythology. They're not really interested in our needs, we're only here as ornaments and playthings in their garden.  The best we can do is to try and placate them and stay on the right side of them through beseeching them and making offerings or sacrifices.

My recent reading of "The Twelfth Insight" by James Redfield, watching  as well as what I have understood from the comments of various South and North American indigenous thinkers of our time I think there another theory. This theory also has a basis in recent scientific understanding as interpreted by the likes of Amit Goswami, Lynne McTaggart and Ervin Laszlo.

We are part of a mass of vibrating particles/waves.  The fact that we perceive ourselves and the world around us as separate forms is an illusion created by our minds.  The illusion is pretty "cool": it allows as to act in this world, to touch, see, hear, taste and observe the elements of this perceived world.  We can go "wow" at the snow covered mountains and the silver edged clouds in the sky, smell the rich aroma of freshly ground and brewed coffee, taste the melting chocolate in our mouth, listen to chirping of newly hatched birds and insects on spring day and touch the soft fur of a puppy dog. However our perceived separateness leads us to egotism: the pursuit or happiness and the escape from pain, at the possible expense of others.  Egotism in itself is not escapable as it is as natural as breathing, our error is in pursuing egotism for just our perceived bit of the universe without understanding the reality of our connection with everything else. We need to be egotistic for the whole mass of vibrating particles/waves and all the space in between that make up our collective universe.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Vegan one year on - successes and lessons learnt.

Last March I started a six week experiment to see if going vegan would improve my rapidly deteriorating fingernails.  The fact that I'm vegan one year on is testimony to the fact it did work.  In the process I uncovered a dairy allergy. Gee its great to have a full sense of smell now I haven't got blocked sinuses. A December visit to the optometrist left both me and the optometrist surprised as my vision had improved and he wanted to know what I had done - the only think I could think of was the change in diet.

What I've learnt along the way.
While I had supreme health for nine months a bout of stress just before year's end and too much summer fruit made my chronic problem with candida flare up.  It didn't seem to want to respond to my normal strategies so I consulted my general practitioner who referred me on for advice.  It turned out too much fruit (including goji berries), sweeteners such as agave syrup and too much spice in the curries I'd been having had unbalanced my system and surprisingly olive oil and chamomile turned out to be a problem for me as well.

This lead to a serious rethink on the recipe front. My beloved sprouts are still a big part of my diet.  Especially mung beans, broccoli, alfalfa, germinated brown rice and quinoa. As I needed probiotics to rebalance the system  I've come up with a barley sprout powder, probiotic powder and fibre (inulin) drink that I have twice a day and as I rather like the drink its a bright part of the day.  Green leafy vegetables are another big part of the diet, especially for the work's lunch box and I'm worried about the increased pesticide intake. I did a first aid course once with a lady who worked on one of those farms that grows greens for supermarkets and she told me about all the chemicals they use.  As the local organic shops don't keep a big range of greens I've been busy expanding the current veggie patch and my partner is going to build me a bigger purpose made area attached to the house - to grow things like margoram, oregano, sorrel, rocket, perilla, chicories and japanese parsley - so I can just walk out the kitchen door and pick what I want.  Now root vegetables, not being fruit, have attracted my renewed interest of late.  I highly recommend getting a julienne peeler - these allow you to thinly shred root vegetables - great for quick stir fries or eating raw and much easier to clean than graters, especiallly if your only preparing food for yourself.  Parsnips, turnips, swedes and radishes all get chucked into my meals.  At the moment I go easy on the the carrots, beets and sweet potatoes due to their high sugar content . While tomatoes and cucumbers are technically fruit they seem to be ok so I'm having a few.  I've replaced my favourite spicy tofu with plain organic. For nuts my favourites are macadamia's, walnuts and hazelnuts but I use quite a few other nuts and seeds as well, especially as added texture and flavour in salads. For drinks I'm sticking to white tea (a type of green tea), nettle tea and our gorgeous water that comes straight out of the ground in the hills above our property. While some say you don't need to, and my blood levels are good, I'm nonetheless choosing to supplement with B12, kelp, organic derived iron and vitamin D. I'm also having bitters before meals and trying to incorporate a few bitter greens in my meals.  This is just what seems to suit me and wouldn't necessarily work for everyone - although it should me noted that on the whole the western diet is too sweet and doesn't incorporate all the diverse flavours you'd normally find in more asian cuisines. I was tired for a couple of weeks while I cut the sugar down but now I'm well again and feeling great.

I got a magazine on Friday with a write up of an interview with a David Wolfe and it was interesting to hear that he favours a raw diet but not too many of the very sweet fruits and said to go easy on the nuts. He likes to browse the wild foods in what ever area he's visiting.  Another useful thing he said was if you are travelling try to find where the farmers markets and organic shops are.  Cucumbers also keep quite well if you are travelling around and need something to snack on.  He recommends putting together a bit of a snack pack.