Thursday, March 14, 2013

Hate ya guts.

Tonight (and for the next 7 nights or so) I'll be sleeping at home on my own whilst the man I love sleeps in a luxury $800 a night twin share down the road.

Not quite.

Before I met Dave I didn't really know anything about Crohn's Disease, but for the last few months barely a day has passed in which it hasn't been the main topic of conversation. You see Dave's Crohn's is particularly severe, and if you know anything about Crohn's you know that it's an unpredictable beast, affecting different individuals in different ways with no sure fire answers as to how to best treat it. The last year or so has seen a steady decline in his health; in short he's had a pretty shit time of it (pun most definitely intended).

Dave doing his thing - To & Fro, Sunday nights on 3RRR

We've done a lot of research, oh have we done research - endless scrolling and turning of pages, seeking advice from all sorts of traditional and non-traditional practicioners - and although we've gained so much wisdom (hence my particular interest in food/diet at the moment), unfortunately as things stand right now the only way forward is surgery. Tomorrow morning a specialist surgeon is going to cut him open right down the middle and remove a section of his small intestine that's become so scarred and strictured barely any food is able to get through.

We're both pretty upset that it's come to this point, especially since this will be the third time Dave has been through this over the last 14 years. But, we're both feeling confident that with some positive dietary changes we can master this beast. That's all we can do right now; have optimism for the future and try to be as proactive as possible.

As I like to say from time to time: 'I love you to bits, but I hate ya guts' (and I'd really much prefer to keep him all in one piece).

I'm crossing all my fingers and toes that tomorrow all goes smoothly.


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

A trip to Taranaki Farm

If you're one of those fools who doesn't believe in global warming (which I'm sure you're not, if you're visiting this blog) then try living and working without air-conditioning over the last couple of weeks. The last few days been particularly exhausting; riding my bike in the heat from one rather warm house to one very warm workplace. I'm not surprised to hear research suggesting that recent increases in heat and humidity have lowered human productivity by 10%!

The long weekend saw Dave and I escaping the blistering heat of Melbourne for a couple of nights in the central highlands, with one very pertinent stop-off along the way - Taranaki Farm. What a bloody inspiring experience that was. If you have any interest in ethical food production (or even if you choose to keep your head in the sand about these things... actually ESPECIALLY you) then I highly recommend a trip to Taranaki Farm for one of their farm tours. For several hours farmer Ben Falloon lead us around his property as he eloquently and liberally shared details of their farming practices. Truly revolutionary, unconventional farming.

Taranaki Farm Tour with farmer Ben Falloon

Ben has drawn a lot of his ideas and techniques from Joel Salatin's Polyface Farm in the US (which you might have seen on Food Inc) which I think is fantastic in itself - farmers around the world helping other farmers operate in an ethical and sustainable manner. All we need now is more farmers doing the same thing!

A happy wallower at Taranaki Farm - I swear she was showing off to us: "check out my wallow and how much fun I'm having, it's AWESOME".

There's definitely plenty of valid arguments to suggest that we shouldn't be eating meat at all, but I believe if you give people a choice between unethically farmed meat and no meat at all, the uneducated masses will just choose unethical meat. I believe it's important to bridge the gap between the undiscerning omnivore and the vegetarian; get people consuming less animal products, but ensure whatever they do eat is farmed in an ethical, sustainable and considered manner.

Further reading (and viewing!)

Polyface Farm [4 minute video] - Meet Joel and Daniel Salatin, the father-son team at Polyface farm.  

Halve meat consumption, scientists urge rich world - it's not that hard.

Sunday, March 03, 2013

Figuring out food...

Food is a bit of a thing around our place at the moment. I wish I could say it's been in a good way (full of exciting cooking adventures and inspirational meals) but instead it's been in a tricky, restrictive, difficult-to-manage kind of way.

Both Dave and I have recently made some pretty big changes to our diets for various health reasons (more on that later!). Dairy is out. Gluten is out. Along with caffeine, alcohol, red meat… I'll spare you the extended list of all the things Dave can't eat right now, but suffice to say it's been tough.

Every now and then I slip up (cheese is very hard to resist, and gluten is a challenge when all sorts of delicious baked goods pass through our studio doors) but more often than not I really feel it - and regret it - when I do. It's amazing how once you take a bunch of stuff out of your diet you become so much more aware of the discomfort caused by those certain foods. Was that always the case? Did I just not notice? Was I attributing those symptoms to something else?

I also find it interesting how, once you have eliminated some of those big items from your diet (dairy, gluten, red meat) it becomes a lot easier to start thinking about eating ethically. It's not a far stretch to go from where we are now to eating only ethically farmed and/or organic produce.

On the home garden front, things seem to be progressing, although I still feel like I have no idea what I'm doing:

Broccoli sprouts - possibly a failed attempt

I sprouted some broccoli seeds in punnets as they said to do, but realised maybe a bit too late that I should have thinned out the sprouts early on so there was just one in each compartment. Now they're long and spindly and looking more like microgreens than something that will actually grow into a plant. I'm going to wait and see, but in the meantime start a new punnet with fresh seeds and see what happens.

In other developments, my new worm farm arrived!

Worm farm from Ecoflo

I'm really excited to have a worm farm again, and this time I'm trying a different style. This one doesn't have the same sort of rotating trays structure of most worm farms, you just feed from the top and take from the bottom via the hatch or tap. Worm farms don't smell, so I've got this one sitting in a corner of our kitchen within easy reach.

Some interesting reading...

Urban Orchard - I love this concept! Grow something? Got too much of it? Take it to the Urban Orchard table at Ceres and swap it for something else. I cheated and took some of the back-laneway-figs, and picked up a Zucchini (of course) in return.

Wheat Belly - Some veeeery interesting insights into modern wheat and why it's making us feel crap (scroll down to the bit titled "WHEAT: UNhealthy Whole Grain")

Supermarket Bullying & Duopoly Power - if you're still shopping at Coles and Woolies, read this!

Who Gives A Crap - ethical toilet paper by some awesome Melbourne guys! Pre-order now :)

xx Lara.