Despite the “Beast from the East” plunging the UK back into sub-zero temperatures with its best attempts to fool us into thinking that Winter will be with us for a bit longer – there are signs that tell us otherwise! Can you feel that change? It’s more than the increased daylight hours and more than the daffodils raising their heads above ground. It’s that whisper in your ear to yawn and stretch; to rub the sleep from your eyes and to figure out what to do and where to go today. It’s your creativity starting to resurface after a sleepy hibernation; the desire to start new projects, flex those muscles and to reassert your place in the world.
And with that creative Spring energy in mind I have finally planned and created my first newsletter! It will be a monthly affair; if you sign up you should receive some combination of seasonal health and nutrition tips and a few of my musings and witterings on the first of each month. There will be occasional discounts for my coaching or detox course; easy recipes and answers to any questions that readers might like to send.
If you would like to sign up please CLICK HERE!
But, in the meantime I thought that you might like some inspiration for how to prepare some of the Spring vegetables that are turning up in veggie boxes over the next few weeks.
This season’s early produce can sometimes feel a bit dull as you wonder how much more of the heavy winter roots and leaves you can handle. At this time of year home produce will have generally been carefully stored for a few months and veg-box schemes often have to pad out with imported produce. But all is not lost; a little inspiration goes a long way at this time of year!
You can make the most of spring greens stir fried with ginger, chilli and garlic and then dowsed with coconut aminos. Jerusalem artichokes are lovely sliced into coins and roasted with olive oil and plenty of sea salt until the skin caramelises. This is a great time to enjoy sprouted seeds and pulses if you are craving something a bit lighter or you can grate beetroot and carrot to serve with toasted walnuts and a lemony dressing.
Try mashing cauliflower with cream, salt, black pepper and freshly ground nutmeg as an alternative to mashed potato or roasting beetroot until it’s soft and sweet and then serving it with a garlicky yoghurt dressing. Don’t forget that you can make jacket potatoes from sweet potatoes; roast them until really soft and then serve with plenty of butter.
But then, as the daylight hours grow and thoughts turn to shedding a few layers, flavours kick off with all things fresh and exciting. The season’s new, spindly asparagus is lovely lightly steamed and dipped into raw salted butter or soft boiled eggs. Rhubarb makes so many amazing puddings or can even be finely sliced into raw salads. Wild garlic is great shredded and stirred in to a one-pan meat dish just before serving and purple spouting broccoli is delicious steamed and served with plenty of good butter.
If you make any of these do let me know. And if you sign up to my newsletter… see you on the first of the month!!
Flojo’s Easy Detox Tip #6
Ok. I’m back in business. Made the decision, set some intentions and booked in some clients. And wow have I missed it! Seeing a nutritional therapy client transform in health, vitality and confidence in their ability to heal is profound and immensely rewarding.
As I scanned through a client’s food diary this week, making a few suggestions for easy swaps, it occurred to me that followers of this blog might find some of these ideas useful too. So, here’s a super easy alternative to the ubiquitous oven chip. Because your average oven chip, whether branded or supermarket generic; or even home-made is pretty much devoid of nutrients and is generally coated in sunflower oil which, while it sounds inoffensive, is an oil that is easily damaged by heat.
But these tawny babies are both properly tasty and sneakily healthy; packed with minerals and vitamins, cooked in coconut oil (which is one of the safest oils to cook with) and providing the all important perfect crunch to squish ratio.
While your oven is heating up to around 170c (these fries aren’t fussy and will happily adapt to whatever temperature your oven needs to be for other dishes) melt a tablespoon or two of coconut oil in a roasting tin. Meanwhile, give several organic sweet potatoes a quick wash and then cut into fries like so: Then stick them in your hot roasting tin and mix with the melted fat before sprinkling over generous amounts of sea salt and sweet smoked paprika.
Bake until nicely caramelised around the edges and serve (probably round about 30-40 mins). Appreciate that carby deliciousness. Feel smug that you are cramming some quality nutrients in with these as a side dish. Vow to never buy oven chips again.
So, my understanding of autism (I had a diagnosis of Aspergers a few weeks back) is that there is no “cure” but that many of the symptoms can be alleviated with various therapies. And guess what? The most accessible therapy seems to be that of supporting the body in detoxifying. In a nutshell that’s doing massive amounts of work on the gut and its microbiome; helping the liver, kidneys, skin, lymph and lungs to hasten toxicity out of the body and cleaning up the external environment. How serendipitous it is that I’ve got an interest in the detox field already!
Regular readers of this blog might recall that making the switch to a roughly ancestral diet a couple of years back pretty much eradicated my depression and significantly lessened my anxiety – two of the most crippling symptoms of Aspergers. And that, as I have gradually been converting to a more minimalist home and have significantly reduced chemical toxins in my life I have become calmer, slept better, breathed more fully and become, well, healthier and happier.
But, before I can properly crack on with more physical clearing, I am concentrating on getting really, really comfortable with the idea of resting up and taking time out. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always been good at curling up on the sofa with a cuppa and a good book. And a blanket. And lots of cushions. But, I have always felt ashamed that while other people managed full time jobs, did outdoorsy stuff with their families and maintained social lives I was just being lazy. Once I read up on what it actually means to have Aspergers I found it a revelation that shutting the outside world right outside where it belongs and retreating to my cosy spot with a latte and the cat has been as crucial to my brain as rest-days are to an athlete. No guilt required!
The Art of Selfishness
Flojo’s Easy Detox Tip #5
Hi lovely people! How are you all getting on with your bite size detox tips so far? Any successes?
Now, this week might seem a bit random but before you wonder what mail/post has to do with detox, see if any of these scenarios sound familiar and note how they make you feel:
- Tripping over the pile of junk mail that awaits your attention by your front door.
- Having to open addressed post, that you have no interest in, in order to rip out your contact details before sorting the rest for recycling.
- Trying to ignore the siren calls of the free catalogues which make you want to spend money on things you never knew you needed. (And still don’t!)
- Recycling the freebie local newspapers and accompanying leaflets. (Did you read them? And if you did, was it worth it?)
- Immediately throwing out the flimsy charity bags that get posted through your doors. You already give to charities. Just not these ones.
Do you recognise these irritations? Did they make you feel good? I’m thinking not. Does junk mail enrich your life? No? Can I get a Hell No? Ok. Let’s get rid of it. Let’s detox the letterbox’s equivalent of someone regularly popping tasteless junk food in your mouth without your permission.
Sorry, much of this advice is UK specific, but please post alternatives in the comments. And if it seems initially time consuming please remember that it will all be worth it in the end I promise!
- Print, fill in and send off this form to request that Royal Mail stops posting unaddressed post through your letterbox. It will take a few weeks to take effect but even then…
- Save the number 03452660858 because you may need to make a few follow up calls to make sure they actually follow through with your opt out request. It took me three phone calls. But it now works just fine.
- Contact the Mailing Preference Service to reduce the amount of addressed junk mail you receive. Those amazing credit card offers, specially for you? You really don’t want those!
- Put a sign on, above or over your letterbox requesting no unaddressed post or newspapers. For the first month I made a massive sign that actually covered the letterbox just to make things crystal clear. Sometimes even this didn’t work so…
- Be prepared to (politely!) phone or email the local paper’s editing teams or charity bases for anyone who abuses this. I’ve only ever had sincere apologies when doing this (the deliveries are usually contracted out) – and each time it has stopped the problem.
- Phone mail order companies you have accounts with and ask them to stop sending catalogues because you order online anyway.
And then look forward to less distraction, less wastage and less rubbish and recycling to deal with. Yeah that counts as detox! Great job, you’re saving the world too so bonus points for you!
Flojo’s Easy Detox Tip #3
OK, this is a supadupa easy tip. Stop buying margarine, spreadable “butter” and any fancy schmancy low-fat, cholesterol-reducing, poly-whoodyamaflip tubs of yellow gunk! And, before you ask, even that one. And that one! Sorry, that ones gotta go too. I know it says pure/organic/healthy on the side. It’s still no good for you.
I don’t care what claims that crap makes on the side of its plastic tub; humans did perfectly well on good old butter from organically raised, pasture raised cattle for – like – ever without replacing it with bleached, purified, chemically interfered with, heated (and so damaged) artificial and additive-laden muck. The blame for the downturn in the general population’s collective health can largely be left at the door of the fake butter-peddling industry’s doors. And don’t be fooled by actual butter with “traditional values” packaging either. The nutritional content still doesn’t compare. A bit of research into seeing what commercial dairy herds are fed, how they are raised and how they are treated should put you right off.
Butter from organically raised dairy herds is the bomb! It has a great Omega 3 to 6 ratio, higher levels of vitamins D & K, more CLA (linked to weight loss) and tastes so much better than spreadable rubbish or inferior butter. Butter is a magnificent accompaniment to steaming plates of broccoli, asparagus or kale while carrots or cabbage sliced and gently fried in butter are far tastier than boiled. Not only does veg taste better with butter but the fat soluble vitamins, such as A and D become more bio-available once served with the rich golden stuff. In the meantime, I am more than happy to let my daughters eat it by the slice, happy in the knowledge that it’s a bonafide health food in its own right.
Soil Association Definition of Organic Dairy Farming
Mark Sisson: Is All Butter Created Equal?
Flojo’s Easy Detox Tip #2
Confession: I used to avoid cleaning our bathroom… I would regularly give it a good wipe round with an e-cloth; but the deep cleaning? I’d avoid it like the plague. But hear me out! Every bathroom cleaning spray I tried, even the “eco” products, triggered a mild asthmatic episode. My poor lungs were struggling with the assault of toxic chemical combinations. But asthma or not everyone’s going to get a lungful of stuff you really don’t want to breathe in from commercial cleaning products. Have you got a minute right now? Go have a look on the labels.
That’s not really acceptable is it?
But then, neither is having a grubby bathroom so I was really chuffed when I read that white vinegar mixed with water makes a perfectly fine cleaning spray. White vinegar doesn’t appear to be an easy product to obtain in the UK but I bought 4 x 5 litre bottles* from Amazon for just over £12.00 and I figure those should do me for about a year (I’ll list some more uses in other tips!). I’ve just been diluting the vinegar with tap water at a roughly 1:3 ratio.
You can add essential oils if you like but I haven’t invested in any yet. I’m thinking some rosemary might be nice here.
It works on all your bathroom surfaces from the bath, sink and toilet to any shelves, windows, glass screening or shower curtains you have. You can just spray on and wipe off but if you’ve got some serious soap and limescale scum going on in your bathtub then a sprinkle of bicarbonate of soda and a smidgen of elbow grease should do the job nicely. Then spray with your vinegar mix and buff to a shine.
A shiny clean bathroom, happy lungs and an end to multiple garishly branded plastic bottles assaulting my eyes. For a 500ml bottle that’s cost me around 10p I reckon that’s an all round winner! Who’s going to give it a go?
*Simon is taking the used plastic bottles to school to be re-used.
A mommypotamus recipe: DIY Citrus Splash All-Purpose Cleaner
Flojo’s Easy Detox Tip #1
Snowy mountain tops, golden sands, puttering streams, shingle beaches, icy lakesides, flowered meadows, woodland tracks, dry bushland, verdant forests, gorse covered cliff tops.
My challenge for you this week is to find a place where you can go and just be. Take as little as you can (safety not withstanding) and walk your head clear. Notice the colours around you, appreciate the contrasts between light and shade, vertical and horizontal, nearby detail distant vistas. Seek out visual shapes only found in the natural world, from the curve of a branch to the crest of a wave. Listen for sounds of wildlife, weather and your own feet. Allow your footfall to quieten, shorten and soften. Take note of the changing scents around you and see if they conjure up long forgotten memories. Lean against a tree or rock and close your eyes. Slow your breathing. Sense your limbs, your heartbeat, your lungs. Feel your connection to everything that lives. Smile and move on.
I honestly can’t think of a more profound easy detox fix to start off my tips with. Do give it a go and report back!
This is Your Brain on Nature
Don’t Think. Do.