Time to nude up people…

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There are a few cliches around food: ‘you are what you eat’ ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away’ ‘eat too much of the wrong food and you’ll get fat and sick ’ – ok, I made that last one up, but it has as much truth as the others.

 

Our modern lifestyles have resulted in a diet vastly different from our grandparents, we eat things that can be consumed, but can not necessarily be called food. Hot dog anyone?

 

Our physical and mental health would be vastly improved if we all made a pact to ‘get nude’. That’s right, ‘get nude with our food’. Ditch the supermarket for the green grocer or farmers market, go to the butcher instead of the deli, bring a box of veggies home instead of supermarket bags full of square things in packets. Nude up your food, bring it home in its birthday suit – your body with thank you for it.

 

Everyone knows that rates of cancer, diabetes, heart disease and autoimmune diseases are higher than they’ve ever been. So are rates of clinical depression and anxiety disorders. No one knows why (apparently). I’m no expert, and I only have my own experience to go by, but I do think what we are consuming goes a long way to explain it.

 

Obviously there are things at play that are out of our control, such as genetic predisposition and environmental aspects. But it astounds me that modern medicine does not include a protocol of eating real food as a way of managing certain conditions.

 

Alas, you do not need a doctor to tell you to eat real food to improve your health and quality of life. You are in control of this, what goes in your mouth is entirely your choice.

 

But know this, there are plenty of foods that will improve your health if you are facing illness. It’s complicated, there’s no doubt about that, as there is no prescription for it – what works for one person may not work for another. It’s a case of trial and error.

 

Given that winter is just around the corner, for those of us in the southern hemisphere, below is a list of really simple remedies for winter ailments, without setting foot in a pharmacy. And if you’ve been chowing down on too much ‘fawn’ food, you’ll be more compromised because your body will have been working really damned hard to process it. So wrap your laughing gear around some of the treats below.

 

Thyme tea: a brew of thyme leaves will help loosen congestion and ease symptoms of bronchitis. Steep a tablespoon of fresh thyme leaves (or a teaspoon of dried) in a cup of boiling water. Drink as a tea.

 

Cinnamon & honey tea: this tasty little powder stabilises blood sugar, and is a great antiviral and antibiotic. Mix one tablespoon with one teaspoon of honey and boiling water, drink as a tea that will help relieve cough and congestion and lower fever.

 

Lemon Balm tea: this little maestro will help you fight that cold sore that’s brewing on your lip. Steep two to three teaspoons of  fresh leaves in one cup of boiling water, for 10 – 15 minutes. Dab on to your lip daily with a cotton ball.

 

Ginger & Lemon tea: Steep a knob of ginger in hot water and squeeze in the juice from half a lemon. Ginger will help with high fever and headache and is very effective against sinus symptoms and congestion. The vitamin C in the lemon will help speed up your recovery.

 

These little remedies are just the tip of the ice-berg, there’s a whole world of whole foods out there, all designed by nature specifically to nourish your body and make you feel great. This is the first in a series of posts on the therapeutic value of food, so if there is something that you’re interested in, comment below and I’ll be sure to include a post on it. What foods work for you and make you feel great?

 

Creativity – A Salve for the Soul

 

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People tend to categorise themselves. Do you consider yourself creative, or academic or a ‘maths and science’ person? Believe it or not, we all have our own creative adaptor. It’s just that some people have learnt where to plug it in, and some haven’t.

We are also quite constrained by what we think is a creative undertaking. Being creative is not just about painting pictures or doing ‘art’. It can be anything you want it to be. What characterises creativity is that it is done with a passionate outpouring.

Mindfood’s theme for this month’s edition is ‘Creativity’, which is what has inspired this post. Carolyn Enting interviews art therapist Irena Stenner in her article ‘Unleash your inner artist’. Stenner explains that creativity is a way of connecting with something ‘beyond our intellect’. I think it’s important to remember this; not every activity you undertake needs to be cerebral.

When Mum was very sick, I was having a hard time managing my emotional stress levels. My very thoughtful and intuitive brother presented me with a sketch book and a set of artists pencils, and reminded me that when I was younger my art was a strong force in my life and a means of expression that I was heavily reliant on. My practice fell away over the years and was replaced with going to work, studying and looking after my children. It had been many years since I’d sat down to draw.

Mum passed away not long after this, and so for his birthday I decided I would take his advice and make a piece of art for him to take home to Queensland, where he lived with his wife and family. The process was incredibly soothing and I had forgotten how healing it could be. I had transcended to a peaceful happy place, right there in my living room, with my baby kicking on the floor and my older kids happily drawing at the table with me.

But you don’t have to draw or paint to be creative. You can sing, or bake, or whittle some wood. Try something that you’ve always admired other people doing, but believed you wouldn’t be good at. The point of the exercise is not what you produce at the end, but rather, the process of creating and where that process takes you.

There was a time in my life where I was stuck in a bit of a rut, with not much money or support to change things, and I read an article that suggested doing one thing each day, that you wouldn’t normally do and see how it feels.

So the next day I wore red lipstick out to the supermarket. I felt fabulous all day. The day after that I wore a beret. The next day I walked, instead of drove. These simple acts were acts of creativity, without any effort, expense or time required from me. And I tell you, they were a salve to my soul.

I still struggle to make time for creativity, but when I do, it feels like I’ve been on a little holiday. What about you? Is there something you do that makes you feel brand new?