Musings, Reflections, Spirituality, Reflections, Spirituality

On Transitions & Accountability – An Equinox Recipe

It’s impossibly early. Its dark, and cold. There’s a storm blowing outside and I’ve been woken by the sound of sheet rain pummeling relentless onto the tin roof, while overhanging branches slap against the shed in rhythm with the wild dance. After an apparently unseasonable run of hot, humid weather, these are the winds of change that herald the final birth pangs of summer giving way to autumn. It is a welcome relief.

The equinox looms. If you are in the northern hemisphere, the first appearance of snowdrops signals the beginning of new life, new hope with Spring and there may be a welling up in you, an urge to clear away the cobwebs of winter and do a Spring clean. Sure you could hire someone to do it for you, but there is no personal catharsis in this, and with the coming lighter energies of Spring this is something that we all seem to need to do. Here in the southern hemisphere just now, the Hawthorn berries are in full swing, pomegranates are ripe with their precious ruby jewels, and  the leaves of deciduous trees are beginning to turn on their show of gold and crimson hue. And as many plants do, Autumn also invites us to begin gathering our resources for the cooler months, to turn inward on preparing ourselves and our homes. Both experiences of the Equinox draw us to focus on the hearth – both of our homes and our souls. The Equinox elicits a stir to change, to reflect, to set new goals, to learn and to grow.

In less than five weeks, the Passover season will be upon us. I’ll be de-leavening my home and clearing out the physical remnants of bread that I don’t actually eat, and generally decluttering the accumulated flotsam of the previous year. As I do this, I also reflect on the lessons that I have learnt over the past year. What have I learnt? Have I grown, in my character and my spirit? Is there anything that I should have done differently? Is there anything lurking in the shadows that I still need to overcome? How is my relationship with my Creator? This is a time of deep soul-searching and accountability.

An important component of the Passover meal is the bitter herbs. The inclusion of the bitter herbs represents the bitterness of being in the bondage of slavery while we were in Egypt. After the sacrifice of the Messiah (the Passover Lamb), this bondage of slavery in Egypt came to be synonymous with being in bondage to the slavery of this world, to the system that is run by greed and narcissistic lawlessness. The bitter herbs however, are not the focus of the meal, if they were we’d be stuck in victim mentality, and we wouldn’t be able to move forward. This would then become a root of bitterness in our being that keeps us stuck in slavery, often not to the system but to our own negativity.

You see this is the funny thing about bitters, the bitter principle whether it be in a plant, or in life, invites us to change. It stirs us up and ignites a fire deep in our belly, our own personal hearth. Physically, this helps us to digest our food properly, so that we can absorb it and utilise it’s nutrients for our growth and repair. Spiritually, if we allow it, it spurs us to draw closer to the Creator, whose Light helps us to reflect on what we’ve been through, learn it’s lessons and then grow or begin to heal from it.
Many of the bitter herbs are also blood-cleaners and anti-inflammatories.

My last post eluded to the ability of Rosemary (Rosmarinus off.) to stir up change. I wanted to make use of the beautiful stately bush growing where I currently live, while it was at it’s peak, so I developed the following bitters recipe based around that. It can be used before meals or whenever you’re feeling a bit stagnant. Take between 1/2 tsp to 1 Tbs depending on taste, and the heaviness of the meal.

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Last of the Summer Bitters

Raw, unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar with the mother.

2 parts fresh rosemary, flowering tops
2 parts dandelion root (raw – dried or fresh)
2 parts burdock root (raw, dried or fresh)
1 part fennel seeds
1 part dried orange peel.

(optional: add a 1-2 Tbs raw honey or sustainably-sourced vegetable glycerin to add a touch of sweetness.)

Mason jar large enough to hold all of your herbs. (I used a 475ml jar).

Fill the mason jar with the herbs and pour over the ACV. You will need to stir as you pour to loosen the herb so it becomes completely saturated. When you think you’ve filled the jar with ACV, let it sit for an hour and you’ll see that much of the herb has absorbed the ACV and there’s exposed herb left on top. Pour on more ACV, stirring as you go, until you absolutely can’t get any more in the jar. Cap tightly, and let sit for up to 6 weeks. Give it a shake every so often. After 6 weeks or so, strain the mixture through a nut milk bag, and rebottle. I like to use 50ml bottles so I can take some with me wherever I go. It also makes a great gift.

Bitter is a taste that is often missing from the Standard Western Diet, much to our detriment. I encourage you to explore the world of bitters and Be the Change.

Many Blessings,
Michelle x

 

 

Whole Food Soul Nourishment

The Fantastic Berry Bombastic ‘I Love My Gut’ Smoothie.

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For me, food should be functional…which is a strange thing to say, but in this day and age..food is a far cry from what it was intended to be. So what does functional mean? It should be highly nutritious, have healing potential, and engage the senses in a positive way. One of my favourite pastimes is making my meals functional. I formulated the following smoothie recipe to help heal my gut wall/gut brain, nourish my beneficial flora, and provide a nutrient dense breakfast smoothie that keeps me going for hours. And it has a pretty colour, and tastes incredible. My 6 year old daughter said it is the best smoothie I’ve ever made. (And her favourite colour just happens to be purple). Depending on the coconut you use, it’s meat may be softer, or more mature – this will effect the end consistency of the smoothie and so this can also be enjoyed as a pudding or smoothie bowl.

Water & flesh from 1 young coconut.

1 scoop (30g) hemp protein powder

2 Tbs chia seeds

1 Tbsp bee pollen

1 Tbsp lecithin powder (non GMO – I currently use Healthforce Nutritionals)

1 tsp L-glutamine powder (I use Jarrow Formulas)

1 tsp slippery elm powder (sustainably sourced)

the inner gel from 1 medium aloe vera leaf (or 20ml bottled fresh aloe juice – Lifestream is a good brand)

¾ cup blueberries – fresh or frozen

½ tsp vanilla bean powder (or 1 vanilla bean)

½ tsp cinnamon (true cinnamon – look for Cinnamonum verum or Zeylanicam verum)

2-4 capsules probiotic (I use and recommend Healthforce Nutritionals Friendly Force) – open and empty capsules into smoothie.

10 – 12 drops fulvic / humic acid (optional but highly recommended)

Add all ingredients to your blender jug and then blend on high for around 30 seconds until well incorporated. Enjoy!

A Materia Medica of ingredients:

Coconut – the water is rich in electrolytes and has the perfect balance of electrolytes akin to human blood. In fact, during WW2 in the pacific, coconut water was used in emergencies to substitute plasma when a blood transfusion was called for. The flesh of the coconut is rich in healthy saturated fat – in particular lauric acid, which is also found in human breast milk and is essential for brain development. Coconut also has anti-fungal properties.

Hemp – industrial hemp contains no THC (the compound that becomes psychoactive when heated) and is a highly nutritious food in it’s own right. The seeds provide a good source of fibre, as well as all of the essential amino acids, and a good ratio of essential fatty acids. It is easily digested and has a high bioavailability.

Chia – chia is an ancient food used by the aztecs to aid endurance and stamina. The seeds are high in protein and the omega 3 essential fatty acid. They are also high in fibre, and forms a gel in liquid which helps soothe an inflamed digestive system.

Bee Pollen – has been touted to be a complete superfood, being very rich in amino acids, B vitamins, and enzymes.

Lecithin – acts as an emulsifier to help the digestion of fats, and is also essential for brain health.

L-Glutamine– amino acid that is present in every muscle cell and assists in providing energy to the cell ensuring quicker recovery. It is also essential tot he integrity of the gut wall, and is used in healing the gut wall.

Slippery elm – an ancient herbal food used by native americans for soothing, drawing and healing inflamed tissue. It is also nutritious, and helps to restore the gut wall integrity as well as helping to tone the entire digestive tract. It is a demulcent.

Aloe vera – soothing gel, cell proliferative helps to heal connective tissue and restore integrity to the gut wall. It is also anti-microbial and immune-strengthening. Helps with hydration.

Blueberries – a low GI sub-acid fruit which is rich in polyphenols – dark coloured blue purple colour pigments which are highly anti-oxidant and help prevent and heal free radical damage by micro and macro parasites and environmental toxins. These pigments also feed and nourish the beneficial flora in the human microbiome.

Vanilla bean – a warming herb that acts as a synergist to harmonise the other ingredients.

Cinnamon – a warming herb known as a circulatory stimulant. It acts as a synergistic vehicle to bring blood flow to the digestive tract and enhance the absorption of the other nutrients. Cinnamon is renown for regulating blood sugar levels. It is also antimicrobial and a carminative – meaning that it relieves gas and bloating.

Many Blessings,

Michelle

Musings, Reflections, Spirituality

Embrace the Abundance.

Have you ever considered that long before you were born, or even thought of, that all of your needs for sustenance and healing had been provided for? That out of the Earth arose an abundance of free food and medicine that is still available today? But in order to see this abundance we have to let go of some preconceived ideas. Firstly, we have to let go of the belief that in order to feed ourselves we have to work for it. We have to let go of the poverty consciousness, the belief that only if we have money can we afford to eat – and essentially survive. We have to let go of the mindset that says that in order to heal we need to see an expert who’ll give us little white pills. As a species we seek a magic bullet, a magic pill to take away everything that we struggle with, yet we fail to see the magic around us.

Roald Dahl once said;

Watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you, because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.

 

I’ve mentioned this before. Have you found your joy? Have you walked the world in wonder today, as you once did as a child? To those willing to see, to those willing to open their heart of perception with wonder and gratitude for the secrets hidden in plain sight, the mother load of all treasure troves awaits.

Today my children and I ventured out for our daily constitutional along one of our favourite beaches. The Winter sun warmed our faces as we breathed in the gently cleansing ocean air, flooding our cells with those life-enhancing negative ions, the sand massaging our bare feet as we walked. The wildness of this environment infuses my soul with a spirit of freedom. I drink deeply, feeling recharged, renewed, alive. As I walk and listen to the playful banter of my children, I give thanks in my spirit for this blessing of freedom and peace, for the blessing of the wild places. There’s a rocky island outcrop settled on the water’s edge in the middle of this stretch of coastline. We determine that that’s where we’ll walk to before we turn around and head back home. As we get close enough to notice the detail of various enclaves hidden in the rock, my eye catches a splash of verdant green tumbling, trendling, from the summit. My heart skips a beat in excitement. I feel like I’ve run into a dear old friend. Such is the feeling I get when I meet these remarkable, familiar, wild beings. This is Pigface, an interesting common name that doesn’t really speak of it’s attributes. Perhaps it is better to call it by it’s formal name, Carpobrotus glaucescens. It typically grows in exposed coastal areas such as sand dunes by the sea. The leaves are succulent, contain much water, and can be somewhat salty in taste. A salty taste in wild edibles is often indicative of a high mineral salt content. Pigface also produce a tasty fruit that turns purple when ripe. Unfortunately, this particular wild being was too highly perched to sample, and so I feasted on it’s mere presence instead.

There is abundance wherever you look, but you have to look with those glittering eyes of wonder 😀

pigface at lighthouse

 

and a slightly better view (photo credit for the below shot: http://www.anpsa.org.au)

carpo

Many Blessings,

Michelle x

 

Carpobrotus glaucescens
Carpobrotus glaucescens