Saturday, April 29, 2017

The weird things we do and don't still do

I've been writing Craving Fresh for a long time now. Almost a decade in fact. Right from when I planted my first vegetable garden and gave birth to my first child to now. I've experimented with lots of things over the years. Some of those experiments have taken, and some haven't.

And since it's easy to read someone's blog and think that everything they do is supernaturally better than anything you're doing in the privacy of your own home, I thought I'd update you on almost ten year's worth of experiments so you'd know that I'm really, pretty average. (If a little weird.)

1. Garden

This one is obvious from all my recent posts, but yes, I still garden. Avidly. It was one of the reasons we bought our own house a year ago. I wanted to plant a garden and an orchard that I knew I'd be able to harvest from for many years down the track.

2. Keep chickens

Nope, we gave up chickens a long time ago. We've never lived somewhere where we felt we could give them enough room to move around without smell becoming an issue. I still think about it from time to time. If I can sort out some sort of chicken tractor situation that would fit over the top of my vegetable gardens, I might try it again.

3. Sourdough
No. I faithfully tended my sourdough starter and baked breads, pizza and cake from it for more than a year, but nobody ate the goods (except for the chocolate cake). And since I never got used to the taste of sourdough bread, I gave it up.

4. Soak grains and beans

I don't soak grains anymore (confession, I mostly bake with plain white flour), but I do still soak beans for a day before cooking them. I'm thinking I'd like to try my soaked apple muffin recipe again though, as it was always a winner.

5. Cook spinach and silverbeet to reduce oxalic acid
Yeppers. Kind of. We have crazy amounts of spinach growing in our garden at the moment, so I blanch it before freezing it to reduce the oxalic acid. But because of this article, if I'm using the spinach fresh, I just chuck it in. I figure it's kind of balanced that way, some fresh spinach, some cooked.

6. Drink kefir
Yes, I still add milk kefir to all our smoothies. The kids got used to the taste a long time ago and don't even notice it, and I just love knowing that all those beautiful probiotics are going into our system. I did give up water kefir though, because it felt like a lot of effort to maintain when I don't even like fizzy drinks. I mostly drink water or smoothies, which is why the milk kefir works so much better for us.

7. Zero-waste
Nope. Sadly, I haven't really made much progress on the zero-waste front in the past year. We still put out a bag of rubbish every week, mostly filled with nappies. Probably the only thing that has changed is that I recycle all our soft plastic now by taking a bag of it each week to the supermarket to drop off in the recycling bin there. Of course I still do all the things I did before I tried to go zero-waste - take my own reusable bags to the supermarket for fruit and packing at the end, pack lunches that don't require clingfilm, etc, but still, a lot of the foods we eat come packaged. We recycle what we can.

8. Cloth nappies
Nope. You probably gathered this from my zero-waste line above, but we use disposables now. I faithfully used cloth nappies with my first two children until the elastic gave out on them all and they stopped doing a good job of holding in the urine. They also smelled a lot, so by the time number three came along, I was ready for leak-free, non-smelling nappies. In hindsight, I probably should have just bought a set of new cloth nappies, but... I didn't.

9. Moon cup
Yes. I still use the same Lunette moon cup I bought nine years ago, and it's the only menstrual device I need. No pads. No tampons. No stress. I LOVE my moon cup. I actually forgot to take it on holiday with me last year and got my period while we were away so had to buy tampons. I couldn't believe how useless they were. I couldn't go swimming and I had to rush back to the bach every hour or two to change them because they just didn't do a good job at all. Needless to say, I always make sure I take my moon cup away with me on holiday now.

10. Make chicken stock
Yes. I always save my chicken bones and carcasses, plus vege scraps like carrot peel, the ends of my onions and my celery leaves. Once I have a decent stock of these in the freezer, I throw them all in my stockpot with water and a dash of apple cider vinegar and simmer away for the day. I use the strained chicken stock in soups and to cook my rice.

11. Line dry my clothes
Yes. I hardly ever use our dryer, as it takes so much power to run and always causes our power bill to skyrocket. On sunny days, I dry our clothes on our outdoor washing line, and on rainy days I dry them on the washing line we strung up under cover on our deck. I still use my hot water cupboard to finish things off, and occasionally I'll finish things off in the dryer if it's too damp outside to get them completely dry.

12. Use baking soda for deodorant
Yes. I've been using baking soda deodorant quite happily for many years. I still think it works better than anything else at eliminating odour. However, just last month I bought a natural Bellatoa deodorant as I do find that straight baking soda can irritate my armpits and I wanted to give my skin a break.

13. Use World Organics skincare products

Yes. I love World Organics and have been happily using it and selling it for three years now. My favourite products are the Juniper Berry Facewash, the Bamboo and Shea Face Exfoliant, the Calming Calendula Cream as my face moisturiser, the Purely Primer in rose gold as a tinted moisturiser or a primer under the Luminous Foundation Caramel, the Rejuvenate Moisture Me Body Lotion and the Replenish Wonder Lift Serum for tightening my skin and smoothing fine lines. I always keep a stick of this sunblock in my handbag for emergencies and I love experimenting with the different eyeshadows, blushes, lipsticks and lip glosses in the makeup range. I love World Organics because it's naturally good for my skin and the environment. No nasties whatsoever and it really works.

14. Trim Healthy Mama
I still make the occasional Trim Healthy Mama recipe, when I'm trying to watch what I eat, but overall I just eat the food I want to. I still haven't sorted my eating-to-weight ratio out, but that has more to do with emotional overeating than anything else. Give me ALL the chocolate! Hopefully one day I'll get to the bottom of those issues and get some healing there. In the meantime, I'm not planning to undergo any drastic weight loss measures because I know I'd just put all the weight back on again unless I addressed the underlying issues of why I eat too much. And I think yo-yo dieting is worse for me than just maintaining a stable (too big) weight. (In my non-professional opinion.)

15. Vaccinate
We remain a vaccine-free household and I'm glad for it. The kids are allergy-free and haven't inherited my hay fever or my mild asthma (which I suspect were caused by vaccine reaction). They're also happy, healthy and bright. The last time I had the actual flu was back when I used to get flu shots in my early twenties. I did have a bout of tonsillitis last year, but managed to get through it naturally. I know vaccination is a heated topic, on both sides of the debate, so all I can say is that I'm glad I've been able to make this choice for my kids. Hopefully they'll turn out a lot healthier than me.

And there you have it. A roundup of the weird and wonderful. Is there anything I've missed off this list, that you've been wondering about?


  1. Great update Emma :) I wondered if you're still getting raw milk? Its funny to look back at old posts and half the things I don't do anymore but it was good to try them.

    1. Ooh good one. I forgot about the raw milk. No, we haven't had any since we moved to Auckland. I would if I had an easy way to get it like I did in Wellington.


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