S.L.O.W. – Seasonal, Local, Organic, Whole.
I’m so often asked why I believe it’s important to eat SLOW. Firstly, eating seasonally allows us the medicinal benefit of the foods grown in season. Nature knows the medicine we need and at what time of the year, and it is right here in our garden, someone’s near by or at our Farmers Market. Why import it? It tastes better in season, healthier, cheaper and a whole lot less trouble.
[private]Eating locally and preferably organically automatically means you are reducing the amount of gas emissions by excluding the flight miles. Do we really need to buy watermelon from Mexico in winter, or grapes from Bangladesh? We can grow these in their own season when our body and the earth want them around.
The fruit winter provides us with to enjoy at this time are all your root veggies like sweet potato, Swede’s, turnips, kohlrabi and parsnips. It’s also time to get into your cruciferous veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels spouts and kale (before the white butterfly does). Beetroot, fennel, Jerusalem artichoke, onions, potato and spinach. The fruits giving us their love now are all your citrus, rhubarb, avocado, apple, kiwi fruit and persimmon.
It’s also the time to enjoy salty foods like (Australian) seaweed, miso paste and tamari, and flavoured salts, as a salty flavour is the one associated with winter and the kidneys. By salt I don’t and never mean table salt that has been bleached, has had a chemical anti-caking agent, iodine or fluoride added to it, contains sugar and is altogether the wrong type of salt to be consuming. Instead get into good sea salt, Murray River salt or one by ‘Byron Bay Healthy Salt Company’ that uses divine mineral rich salt from the Himalaya’s.
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), winter is a time when our energy goes ‘in and down’. So it’s a time of introspection. A time when our own energy slows down relative to spring. And the cooking methods we are encouraged to use now reflect this slowness. Cook and eat meals that require a longer cooking time. Things like soups, stews, casseroles and dhal. Meals that contain more water, that cook over a lower temperature for a longer time. So a long simmer instead of a throwing a quick salad together is ideal. Bake your veggies instead of a quick stir-fry. Pull your slow cooker I winter and use your oven more. Everything should slow down.
Like the ‘winter years’ of our own life this season is the end of a cycle, encouraging contemplation; deciding what you want to take with you into the beginning of the next cycle that starts with spring. Spring is about a renewal of energy, a time that reminds us of our youth – that’s the season to be out and about, starting new things – not winter.
We are encouraged to eat foods that don’t grow as quickly as say rocket or sprouts do in the spring. If we eat foods with a different energy to the season then all sorts of issues may arise. Our body, mind and spirit don’t know if it should be going ‘up an out’ or ‘down and in’. The growing time is faster in spring so eating food that has grown quickly will speed up our own energy, so now our body is confused. It doesn’t know if it should be going out and socializing and creating and building as you do in spring, or staying home in front of the fire and going to bed earlier. Then the physical symptoms arise that are related to the organ most sensitive in this season.
That’s the kidney and bladder – and the parts of the body the kidney’s rule are the reproductive/sexual organs, the teeth, hair, knees and bones. It’s also very important to keep warm in these cooler months to keep your internal body warm. And to keep your skin moist – use natural body oil like flax, coconut, walnut or almond oil on your skin after you shower. The condition of your skin will reflect the condition of your lungs – where most of your immunity is made and held. So if you’re skin is dry so too will be your lungs. The symptoms likely to present themselves will be a cough, dry scalp, dry stools, dry, flaky skin (eczema, psoriasis or dermatitis), itchy eyes and perhaps even night sweats. Also consider taking a raw oil internally – hemp, chia, walnut or flax and increase the amount of oily foods you’re eating now. Things like tahini, nuts and seeds and avocado. Mushrooms are food that are known to nourish and moisten’ and bodies and any radish will help to reduce phlegm. Winter will also bring about any symptoms directly related to the kidneys, like reproductive issues, urinary tract and bladder infections.
June officially started on June 22 this year – being Winter Solstice and the shortest day of the year, and soon enough spring will be here again. Renewal. I for one am enjoying my fire, plenty of winter veggies in my garden, in my oven and then into my body. And spending quality time alone, to listen to that quiet voice inside me that’ll guide me in the right direction for the next cycle.
One of my favourite quotes by an extraordinary man.
‘Live each season as it passes. Breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influences of each.’ Henry David Thoreaux.
My ‘Seed Cracker’ recipe. Perfect all year around but especially in Winter.
All Seed Crackers
GF DF VG V SF NF GrF
Makes about 16 crackers
Recipe out of my new book available in November – ‘Janella’s Super Natural Foods’. This is one of my favourite and most-made recipes of late. Most crackers are made with grains and sometimes I don’t feel like or want grains, so these are perfect. Use any amount of seeds you like, just be sure that the chia and/or hemp make up at least 1/3 of the mixture, as these seeds hold the crackers together. If you use a dehydrator, they’ll remain raw, or keep the oven temperature below 50°C and cook for 3 hours. If baking them and you find they’re not crunchy enough then after the first hour flip them over then put them back in for another 30 mins.
1/3 cup chia and flax meal
2/3 cup hemp, sesame, sunflower, pepitas, nigella, poppy
1 cup water
1 tsp sea salt
Method – Preheat the oven to 150°C. Line a 30 x 40 baking tray with greaseproof paper. Place everything in a bowl, then mix well to form a wet dough. Let the dough sit for about 15 minutes to allow the chia/flax to swell up and go gooey.
Using wet hands or a spatula, spread the dough out until about 1/2 cm thick on the prepared tray, then score into sixteen rectangles with a sharp knife. Bake for 60 minutes, turn the off oven and leave to dry out in the oven for an hour. If using a dehydrator, press the dough onto 3 or 4 Teflex sheets, score, then put on 175 for 12 hours. Remove the crackers from the Teflex sheet and cut all the way through to create individual crackers, then place upside down on the sheet and return to the dehydrator for 3 hours.
Allow the crackers to cool slightly before storing in an airtight container for about 1 week. They’ll stay fresher for longer in the fridge.
– Omit the salt and add 2 tsp ground cinnamon or freshly grated nutmeg and 1/2 cup roughly ground pecans, and a sweetener.
– Add 1/3 cup organic goji berries.
– For sweet crackers, add 1/3 cup pure maple syrup, 1/3 cup cacao nibs and 1 tsp ground cinnamon.
– For a savoury cracker, add 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh or 1 tbsp dried rosemary and 1 tsp garlic and onion powder.
– 2 tsp sweet or smoked paprika.
– Add 1 tbsp seaweed flakes like dulse or nori.
– Add 1 tbsp grated turmeric, fresh
– 1 cup leftover pulp from making coconut milk, or use desiccated coconut.
– 1 tsp chilli powder or cayenne for some heat.
– In a bowl over simmering water melt ½ cup raw cacao powder together with ½ cup cacao butter then cool it. Spread over the top of your cooked crackers and allow to cool. Store in the fridge for a week -10 days.
– Soak then sprout the seeds first before dehydrating. This will activate them
Janella Purcell June 2014.[/private]