When we lived in England, I loved popping into the local health store. It was (and likely still is) called Oregano,  pronounced with the emphasis on the -gan- syllable. And the -gan- sounded a little more like ‘gone’ over there. Just so you know. Anyway, the main reason I went in (apart from the smell of spices in the air) was to buy pitted dates from a bulk bin. Maybe it was because I bought these extremely sweet and chewy treats at a health store that I felt quite virtuous about eating so many of them.

At home I liked to put them on an open dish on the dining room side board, conveniently on my way to and from the kitchen, downstairs loo, back doorway leading out to the garden and garage, laundry line, etc… in a nutshell, right where I’d pass them at least a dozen times a day. Living on the coast, it was of course nice and humid, and they remained sticky and chewy in the open air for the little time they survived that environment. I was the only one who ate them, so I had only myself to blame for the frequency with which the vanished away, necessitating very regular stops at Oregano.

Let me tell you how happy I am to be back to eating these rich treats.

Very, very happy.

For example, I have a sore throat, which I am treating with Oil of Oregano (dropped under my tongue). I recover my feeling that life is actually good (after each nasty dose) with a few dates. All I can say is that it’s like taking mouthful of fruity, slightly textured brown sugar which holds together well enough to require sufficient chewing to produce a sensation of bliss. Pure bliss.

#dates #treats

Food as medicine.

Hippocrates was on to something big when he said about 2400 years ago, “Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food.” I’m sure there are many good reasons why he is called the father of medicine, and this must be one of the best.

I heard this wise quotation so long ago that I don’t remember not being vaguely familiar with it. Thus, my children were lucky enough to occasionally hear it from the lips of their well-meaning but sometimes rather wordy mother. Little did I suspect how they would eventually find it a fitting means of (good-naturedly) mocking me at family meals… About a decade ago, when I was first experiencing some health conditions (such as  glossopharyngeal neuralgia and chronic migraine) I was in the habit of swallowing a great number of pills, several times a day in an effort to keep pain at bay. Sitting down to eat dinner together one day, my astute young son tossed out those often-heard words of  Hippocrates, remarking that he was pretty sure this sage advice wasn’t meant to be taken in the way I was ‘following’ it (referring to the little heap of meds next to my yet empty plate). Thank you, Jack.

This evening I actually felt like I was getting it right. I woke up early this morning with a sore throat, and throughout the day had little appetite, but drank several cups of soothing herbal tea which goes down a treat with some lovely local raw honey. By about 7pm I was hungry for more than a little fresh fruit. So I warmed up some sliced poultry patties I’d prepared the other day from free range organic ground turkey and the same quality of chicken livers. It was actually yummy tonight; sliced and heated up until a little crispy in coconut oil and bone broth powder. I dined on these delectable morsels, with a large bowl of spinach salad dressed in homemade ACV, olive oil, and honey dressing. But the piece de resistance of my simple meal was yet to come; fresh beets, carrots, onion, garlic, and ginger all chopped up and cooked in olive oil and ACV with fresh squeezed lemon juice and sea salt.

I may never be the same.

In the last year I’ve thought and read more about the gut, and gut health, than in all the rest of my life combined. Easily. One clever book which I actually found interesting enough (almost) to call ‘entertaining’ was GUT, written by Giulia Enders. Really, I’d say this is about as fascinating as such a subject can be made to the average person.

Gut book cover

So, after reading much and listening to several podcasts on this easily overlooked subject, I’ve come to understand just a little, why and how food is/ can be/ should be our first and best medicine.  This is clearly not a scientific blog; I’ll just say that the wee bit I’ve gleaned has certainly persuaded me to take this all much more seriously, and literally than I ever thought I would.

#Hippocrates #GiuliaEnders #GUT #guthealth #food #medicine

Vera Brittain

This fall I read an autobiographical book called Testament of Youth, written by Vera Brittain. I first learned of her, and this book, by watching the film of the same title on Netflix. Only 100 years have passed since WW1 ended, and our world has changed; in some ways, almost beyond recognition.

For example,in 1914  Vera was a young woman just beginning to see her long-cherished dream of studying at Oxford coming true. While a small number of women were students there (at women’s colleges), no woman could actually obtain a degree! (Eventually that changed, and she did obtain the degree she had earned.) It’s a little hard to wrap my head around, but that’s how progress goes, isn’t it? Some struggle and sacrifice to bring about change which is thereafter taken for granted by so many who would have otherwise been without it.

I also really appreciated reading the story of those years of her life because of how she threw herself into whatever purpose each season demanded of her. I am at a seasonal change in my own life in a few ways, and I am not referring to the fact that autumn has suddenly changed to cold snowy winter already! No. I don’t want to talk about this abysmal weather. I mean that, like Vera, I started my university degree as a young woman. Also like her, I stopped it to do other work (nursing soldiers in her case, mothering children in my case) that seemed more urgent and pressing at the time. And, like Miss Brittain, I am on the cusp of falling back into the delightful world of college and university, to eventually finish earning my degree.

For anyone who appreciates period dramas (especially those based on true events), I highly recommend Testament of Youth. And for those who are a bit ‘hard-core’ about books, read this one.

#VeraBrittain #TestamentofYouth #autobiography #book #movie #inspiring #appreciation #history

Testament of Youth book cover