Fear, labour and the miracle of it all.

There is so much fear around the most natural thing we are designed to do. It is fear that makes labour a dreadful thing. If you can change your mindset about what labour is or should be, you can enjoy a most beautiful experience even if it was a difficult labour.

It upsets me that we live in a society where labour and birth seems to be a competition among women. Those who have not taken drugs through labour are hailed a hero and those who did take drugs are made to feel less worthy than the women who choose the pain. The stories of women who have the most dramatic and near death stories are given the most attention to. The more dramatic the better, the longer the labour the more amazing you are. “my labour went on for 5 days” Good onya, but you forgot to mention that only the last 2 hours were the most painful. But of course humans like to top each others experiences, forgetting that these stories put fear into women.

The majority of labour stories I have had to listen to are nothing short of unbelievable. If I didn’t know any better I would NEVER give birth! Holy batman, I hear you can tear terribly and need 358 stitches to put your undercarriage back where it belongs. I am sure some of you reading this can relate. I am so sorry you have had to experience that. Then there are those who need their hips dislocated in order for the baby to fit through the birth canal…….awful. Of course these examples are VERY rare.

So lets focus on the beauty and miracle of birth. I think I have enough experience to tell you that giving birth is the most amazing thing you will ever do in your life.

Whether you choose drugs, no drugs or a home birth (and I did all three of these things) in the end all that matters is that you have given birth in the way you wanted to.

The only way to achieve the birth plan you envision is to go and get yourself informed and educated. Don’t do what most women do, leave it up to the doctor. “The doctor knows best attitude” can get you into trouble very quickly.

No, think for yourself and ask yourself, how would I like to give birth and how can I make that possible. If you are uninformed and unprepared you will be brought to the slaughter, been there, done that!

Only once, because the 2nd and 3rd time, I made sure I got what I wanted and what I needed. Think with your doctor, don’t let him do all the thinking. When, in the rare occasion something does go wrong, your doctor is right there. But do not let him do the birthing for you, that’s your job.

Your body is designed to give birth, it has done this since the beginning of mankind. Let your body do what it should and don’t intervene unnecessary. And most important of all do not be afraid. Breath, relax and allow nature to do it’s thing!

 

This Super Duper breakfast in a glass will get you Up&Gone without the nasties

I decided to start my day with this smoothie:

smoothie (1)

  • 1 banana
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 400ml coco quench (non dairy milk)
  • 1 super duper heaped tbsp raw cacao
  • handful of goji berries
  • 2tsp or more of Maca
  • handful of dates

I’m full now! #loveraw #superfoods #vegan #preventionisbetterthancure #eatrealfood

Maca is a root that grows in Peru and it gives you loads of energy and balances your hormones. You can have up to 2 tbsp of Maca a day.

The raw Cacao will give you a hit of caffeine. If you prefer to leave the cacao out, you may do so. It will still be yummy without.

Free range backyard ISA Browns are an OXYMORON! Here is why…

When I started keeping chickens in my back yard I bought 6 ISA Brown hens. I did not know much about chickens then, so I bought what was easily available. Most people with backyard chickens keep ISA Brown hens, becasue they are such great layers, right?? I don’t think so, anymore…

 

Here is what I learned over the years about the ISA Brown laying hen:

  1. They are a hybrid bird, created in a laboratory in France by a company called the Institute de Selection Animale. I don’t eat laboratory made food, so I have decided I don’t want to own laboratory chickens either!
  2. This French company owns the rights to this bird, which means that you are not legally allowed to breed them. Not that this is possible anyway, because the formula for these birds are a closely guarded secret. Kind of like the secret ingredient in Coco Cola or KFC, which are both junk as well 😉 It also sounds awfully familiar to Monsanto, DuPont and Syngenta who own and control a huge part of the food supply by genetically manipulating seeds, rendering them infertile and forcing farmers to solely rely upon these companies for new seeds, pesticides and fertilizers. This practice has forced many farmers into bankruptcy.  Anything that is a closely guarded secret when it comes to food, seeds or animals should be considered suspicious and it needs your further attention and research before investing in it.  Since when did we humans create (made out of nothing) anything, anyway? Everything was already created by the Master at the beginning of time…..He does not keep any secrets from us.
  3. The Institute of Selection of Animale, merged with Merck Pharmaceuticals in 1997. I do not trust the integrity of (P)harmaceuticals all that much. They are very profit driven with not much regard for human health care. I guess I.S.A and Merck suit each other well. I feel like a hypocrite having ISA Brown hens and supporting Big Pharma……
  4. The ISA Brown hens lay for approximately 16-18 months of their life ONLY. After that the health of the bird declines and no eggs are produced.
  5. ISA’s are specifically bred for commercial operations. In other words, they are BATTERY HENS. If you decide to buy these chickens, you ARE supporting the commercial poultry industry. Since you are thinking of buying chickens, or already have them, I know that you believe in free range chickens and eggs. Free range backyard ISA Browns are an oxymoron……
  6. ISA’s rely on a high protein layer pellet, which you must purchase in order for them to lay. What is in those pellets??Most likely GMO corn, GMO soy and a variety of other grains. Although these pellets do not look like grains at all! Now you are not only supporting, the commercial poultry industry (battery hens), but also Big Pharma and Monsanto, DuPont and Syngenta……..

Aracauna Aracauna

Here are plenty of reasons to buy a pure bred chicken

  1. Pure breeds lay CONSISTENTLY for 5 years!
  2. Pure breeds do not need to rely on high protein layer pellets.
  3. Pure breeds love your kitchen scraps and whole grains in the form of a scratch mix. If your scratch mix contains corn, make sure it is Australian corn. If it is imported, it will most likely be GMO corn.
  4. Let your chickens free range. They get loads of protein from grubs in your garden. Free ranging will also increase the quality of your eggs.
  5. Keeping a pure bred is like growing Heirloom seeds. By doing so you support and increase bio diversity or genetic variety. The less genetic variety exists, the smaller the chance that your chickens or vegetables will be able to fight off disease.
  6. Having a variety of pure breeds looks very pretty too 😉

Pekin Bantam sooo cute! Pekin Bantam sooo cute!

How and where do I buy REAL chickens? I am glad you asked. There are several ways of acquiring some interesting and beautiful varieties and they are no more expensive than the ISA Brown.

  • You can incubate fertilized eggs at home. Fertilized eggs can be bought on sites such as Gumtree. If you are in my neck of the woods, North Western Sydney I can refer you to Kathryn Stedman from http://thehomegrowncountrylife.blogspot.com.au
  • Kathryn has been breeding Araucanas for years and has an amazing set up on her property. She sells fertilized eggs for the incubating enthusiast or chicks for those who don’t own an incubator. Her chickens are gorgeous and lay blue-green shelled eggs! It’s a sure treat for the eye. For inquiries you can contact Kathryn on 0433247695
  • Another reputable breeder is Shahid from http://www.shahidpermaculture.com/ Shahid is a permaculture enthusiast. Apart from growing a vast variety of organic fruit trees and vegetables, he also breeds his own fish as well as his own chickens. Shahid has a vast knowledge of all things permaculture. His main breeds are Rhode Island Reds and the Australorps. For inquiries I refer you to his website: http://www.shahidpermaculture.com/

Silkie Silkie

Now that you are fully informed by the truth of it all, I trust that you will be able to make an informed decision. 

 

So you want to make Coconut Yoghurt? It is easier than you think!

cocoyogo

 

 

 

I love coconut, in case you haven’t noticed yet. And recently I have been on quite an exciting coconut journey making all sorts of delicious coconut creation. From muffins, to smoothies and even butter, cream and milk. I try to incorporate coconut into my diet everyday. Here are some reason why I love coconut oil:

 

 

  • Anti-bacterial: Coconut oil kills bacteria that cause various bacterial infections, including ulcers, urinary tract infections and gum diseases.
  • Anti-viral: Coconut oil can kill the viruses that cause herpes, influenza, measles, hepatitis C, AIDS and SARS, to name a few.
  • Anti-fungal: Coconut oil kills fungi and yeast making it great for fungal infections such as dandruff and athlete’s foot and yeast infections such as thrush.
  • Antioxidant: Coconut oil protects against free-radical formation and damage.
  • Anti-inflammatory: Coconut oil helps kill harmful intestinal microorganisms making it an important element in reducing inflammation.
  • Anti-carcinogenic: Coconut oil has been found to prevent the spread of cancer cells as well as boost the immune system.
  • Anti-microbial: Coconut oil has anti-microbial properties which protect against infection from bacteria, viruses, yeast, fungi and parasites.
  • Anti-parasitic: Coconut oil can help rid the body of tapeworms, lice and other parasites.
  • Anti-protozoa: Coconut oil kills protozoa parasites such as giardia.
  • Improves nutrient absorption

With that in mind I decided to find as many ways as possible to add coconut oil into my everyday life. And I found out that it wasn’t that difficult to do so.

In the morning I added a few tablespoons to our smoothies. In my muffins I use coconut oil instead of butter. I make coconut butter and eat that straight from my spoon. It is very delicious. And I made coconut and chocolate balls, which were even easier to eat all day long!

Last week I decided to try and make Coconut Yoghurt and it turned out really nice. I wasn’t to sure if I would have much success with it as there are a few ways to do this. I looked online for a recipe and after much deliberation I decided to use the recipe from Green living Australia as I already purchase my yoghurt culture from them. I did use gelatine as my setting agent instead of pectin, which is what she recommends to use. I only had gelatine in my cupboard, hence my reason for trying that. If you have Agar you might be able to use that too.

Here is what I did:

  • First I made a liter of coconut milk (recipe here) I left the pulp in with the milk as the pulp also contains a lot of goodness. But you might want to drain it.
  • I reheated the coconut milk to boiling point, before turning the gas off all together.
  • Add 1 tablespoon of sweetener of your choice. I prefer coconut sugar or honey. This will be extra food for your yoghurt culture to eat, they will need it to proliferate.
  • At boiling point I removed about 100ml of coconut milk and dissolved in it 2 tsp of gelatin. Once dissolved I poured it back into the coconut milk and stirred it thoroughly.
  • With a thermometer, check for the milk to come down to 40 degrees. Once there, add a smidgen of your yoghurt culture, stir it through and transfer the pan into your (turned off) oven. Leave it there for about 12 hours.
  • You will notice that after 12 hours the yoghurt is still runny. It will set when you put into the fridge for a few hours.

There you go! If you are already making normal yoghurt, than this will be a breeze for you. But even for first timers, it will be fun to do.

 

 

 

 

Menstrual Cup

menstrual-cup2

It was about 8 years ago when I stumbled upon a little contraption called a Menstrual Cup. This was before I had kids and although I was really impressed by it, it was the price and the thought of sticking this “up there” that held me back.

This specific cup I was looking at was $60 and I didn’t feel like taking the risk at the time. What if it doesn’t fit, is uncomfortable, yadi yadi yadi………How silly of me! Now that I have had my children I have come to realize that an entire head can be squeezed through a very small opening. And so, now the thought of having a menstrual cup up there was a walk in the park compared to an infants head. No big deal, at all. Wow, I am so glad I did it as it has entirely changed the way I look at my monthlies. I no longer dread them, in fact I look forward to it. When I have them, I don’t realize I do. It’s no longer a dreaded affair, thank goodness!

You may have never heard of this contraption and quite frankly are scratching your head,  so let me explain what it is.

A Menstrual Cup is a very neat and hygienic way to catch your flow during your period. Apart from it being clean, it is also very green and very economic, because you will only ever need 1 Cup to do the job.  The Cup is made from a medical grade silicon and is worn inside the vagina during menstruation to collect menstrual fluid. Unlike tampons and pads, the cup collects the flow, rather than absorbing it. The best thing about it is that there is no need to change it every 2 or 3 hours like you would with a pad or a tampon. Instead, it only needs changing once every 10-12 hours. How convenient is that? I experienced first hand how convenient that really was when I flew to The Netherlands last year. (36 hour trip!) It is easier to squeeze an infants head through your birth canal than it is to squeeze past 3 overweight people in the Economy Cabin! You can only imagine how thrilled I was not to have to do that every 3 hours or so!

Here are some of the great advantages of the Menstrual Cup

  • It’s economical. The Honest Menstrual Cup costs $25 dollars and can last for years. Typically, women will spend about $150-200 every year on disposable menstrual products.
  • It reduces waste. Silicone-grade menstrual cups are safe to be used for many years. In stark contrast, the average woman will use over 10,000 pads and tampons in her lifetime. It takes thousands of years for those to break down. Imagine the smell 😉
  • It limits exposure to chemicals. There has been growing concern over dioxin – a chemical by-product from cotton bleaching process – that has a potential link to cancer. Cotton is one of the worst offenders of pesticide uses, and all the chemicals that are used to produce pads and tampons can also off-gas into the environment.
  • It is Effective. In my experience the cup is leak-free — a major benefit for women who lead busy lifestyles.
  • You can also sleep without having to wear thick night pads, in fact go naked if you are that way inclined.
  • When on holidays you can swim without a worry.

To order your very own Cup email me at: orders@honestpantry.com.au

Apple Tea Cake

My favourite dessert has always been Dutch Apple Pie, there is nothing like it! The mix of apples and raisins with brown sugar and cinnamon is just so delicious. And with a crumbly top and bottom it can not be replicated in a truly grain free and sugar free way.

Nevertheless, I decided to make a Tea cake instead. Completely inspired by the memories of my childhood indulgences of Apple Pie.

 

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup apple sauce
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 3 tbsp coconut nectar/honey/maple syrup
  • 1/2 tbsp vanilla powder
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup of sultanas
  • 1 apple cut up

Mix all ingredients together and pour into a greased round 15 cm springvorm. Bake at 175C for approximately 40-45 minutes. Make sure the cake is baked enough. When I took it out it was still quite moist on the inside. You can either reduce the amount of apple sauce or let it dry out in the oven a wee bit longer. Also, if using store bought apple sauce, adding extra sweetener is totally unnecessary.

Check with a skewer if the cake is done.

appeltaart

This is a typical Dutch Apple Pie

7 reasons why you should mulch your garden.

17sugarcanemulch

Mulching is such a simple thing to do, so easy and so rewarding. In fact there are only benefits to mulching your gardens. But when I drive through the country side and look at all the bare farm land, I wonder why those farmers don’t bother protecting their soil from the elements.

Mulching protects the soil from the damaging effects of wind, sun and water. Mulches have so many function and a lot of benefits. Let’s have a look at some of these;

  1. They prevent evaporation of the moisture in your soil. Especially helpful in summer.
  2. They absorb water on the surface and hold it there until it has time to be absorbed.
  3. Mulches reduce erosion from gravity, wind and water.
  4. they keep your soil warm in winter and cool in the extreme summer heat.
  5. They suppress weeds, which also robs the soil of water.
  6. Mulches supply nutrients and organic matter to soils.
  7. Mulches are one way of using up your garden surplus. (lawn clippings, newspaper)

I sometimes use sugar cane mulch, which is a fantastic product. But because I have chickens I use the lucerne hay they have been pooping on for weeks and I scoop the whole thing onto my patch. Full of nutrients for my garden.

At the moment I am in the process of growing the Lucerne grass in my chicken pen, because not only do my chickens love it, it also can be cut and used as mulch and when I grow it myself it’s free. Who doesn’t love that?

So, go out into your patch and give a bit off dress up. Your vegetables will love it!

 

 

 

Delicious Brussel Sprout Recipe

brussle-sprouts

As a kid I did not like Brussel Sprouts. My mother would boil them (to death)and serve them to us with potatoes and meatballs,  it really wasn’t a culinary experience, to say the least.

Knowing that this vegetable protects us from cancer and protects our DNA, I have persisted in preparing them. As an adult I have discovered many different ways of preparing these healthy sprouts and boiling is the worst way of doing it. It is bland and boring and simply doesn’t enhance the taste of this vegetable.

This is what I do and my kids like them too.

  •  2-3 tbsp butter
  • 500gr Brussel Sprouts, halved
  • 1/2 onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • Tbsp seeded mustard
  • salt and pepper
  1. In a heavy bottomed fry pan slowly melt the butter. (It needs to cover the whole pan and the onions and garlic need to swim in it.)
  2. Saute onion and garlic
  3. Add the mustard and stir
  4. Add the brussel sprouts
  5. Season with salt and pepper
  6. On low let this simmer until the brussel sprouts are soft. Probably 10-15 min.

You can add in some ham, mushrooms and cream as well. So good!