Tuesday, April 14, 2009

My health initiatives for winter

My pumpkin soup

Down under in Australia we are in the middle of autumn. Though it is not cold at all at present, we have had humid weather that is unseasonal and with it has come heavy, continuous rain.

This has been a real blessing because we are pulling slowly out of a long, protracted drought...Funny though, it's always been green living near the sea but it hadn't been raining over our dams, so that last year the dams had dropped to 16% which was dire.

So even though it is not cold I am determined to be more prepared for the winter season and the seasonal illnesses that can come with it. We had a sick year last year. We do not want to repeat that. So this is my focus:

1. Prayer. I believe it is vitally important to pray for good health. I will always resign myself to God's will but I will pray that He will guide me in making good choices for my family, to find me the best and most economical way to achieve this. I have seen the fruits of such prayers for which I am very grateful for.

2. Stocks. It is going to the BEDROCK of our diet. Here is why. I buy organic, free-range chicken frames and make up 14litre posts of stock using 6 frames per pot. This is so incredibly nourishing and it dramatically alters that flavour of everything you cook with it. I am planning that most of our lunches will be soups. Thick, hearty soups using chicken stock for any water content.

So far I have made pumpkin soup and pea and ham soup...but I want to build the repertoire but it must be soups that are not complicated and hard to make OR overly expensive, with too many ingredients.

With the lunchtime soup I usually have in our freezer a good supply of sour dough bread I buy as yesterday's bread at a quality sour dough bakery - this has been a blessing and kept the bread affordable and yesterday's sour dough bread is not like normal bread that is a day old, there is no real dramatic difference in it's texture etc.

Then our nighttime meals will consist mainly of casseroles. I cook all my fortnight's casseroles and bag them in large clip-lock bags. Then all I need to do is throw them in into the slow cooker each day. What HAS worked for me is when I buy my fortnight's supply of organic meat I braise the casserole meat, onions and liberal amounts of garlic together and clip-lock each meal lot together with the stock's I need for each casserole...sort of my casserole base, you would call it. Then each day I defrost a bag and when I cook that night I need only throw in my vegetables and maybe a can of diced tomatoes or sour cream depending on the desired flavour. This IS working! I usually use 4 cups of stock to a casserole.

Our breakfast we like to make sure is a protein breakfast in order to help with daily detoxification so we buy organic, free-range eggs. Once again we have been blessed. A community truck arrives in our area every week and sells food off the farm at a fraction of the normal price. I can buy 2 and half dozen eggs for less than what I'd pay for one dozen and these are stamped organic, free-range! This allows us to use the eggs a little more liberally and save quite a bit of money from our food budget.
We use blessed salt in our soups, casseroles and our salt grinder, for healing of both body and soul.


3. Lime Water. My dear friend Elizabeth put me onto this one and for all the ladies entering summer in the northern hemisphere I highly recommend this. I buy limes (I hope to plant a tree this year) and I usually squeeze half a lime to a good sized jug of water, I also add some probiotic powder, a great way to get this important supplement into the children. This drink has an AMAZING effect on me.

Confession time: .....I can get addicted to soft drinks.....do I have to say that louder? it's embarrasing....I can find myself on the soft drink vicious circle, the more I drink the more my body craves it. It's embarrasing because I believe I am health conscience and this is a major obstacle in that goal, I know it.

It has been a BLESSING to discover that this simple, refreshing, unsweetened drink actually kills the addictive desire for a softdrink. So when I experience this inordinate desire (I did yesterday driving in the car) I had waited until I got home and made up a punchbowl full. On this occasion I threw in some crushed ice as well. I was satisfied and the children flocked around like birds, enjoying this cold, healthy, delightful drink. When I make a big punchbowl I use two limes, so it is quite economical. I even served this in a punchbowl on Easter Sunday to family and relatives, they all loved it! There were no softdrinks served that day and we did not miss it. I will continue to use this drink through winter.

4. Herbs. They are truly God's natural pharmacy gift to mankind. While there is always a time and a place for antibiotics in order to save lives, the less often they are used the better. Herbs are a daily health regime for us and antibiotics are our last resort for something serious.

In the last 6 months I have made a conscience decision to use the herbs on a daily basis without fail. No more, hot and cold with this important aspect of my family's healthcare and my own. I hope to post again soon to show you what my dear husband has done for me in the kitchen to make this a much easier task for me. This is important. That you are set up in a way that using the herbs is not a big imposition to your daily life. I have also found a online dried herbal site in Australia where I can buy them wholesale if I spend a minimum of $50, this has been a significant find for me.
I have in the last 4 months been making tinctures for the first time. The main tincture I have focused on is bottles of elderberry tincture, they are 'brewing' at present in preparation for the winter season. I have also started making herbal oils and we have been using this with good success already - comfrey oil and calendula oil. I've prepared a gotu kola oil and a horsetail oil. I'll post about them in depth in the future, why I've chosen those herbs and what I will use them for.

I brew up big pots of herbs, usually a mix of about five herbs. In regard to the children, I put dried herbs into all the soups and casseroles, usually stinging nettle and comfrey. I put the children in stinging nettle baths (they call 'the pond' bath, they feel like frogs!)

We use Swedish Bitters for everything, it is our number one cure-all in a cupboard! We also been greatly blessed to have a very experienced herbalist that we visit for all our general health complaints, I thank God the day she came into our lives.
5. Blueberries and Sheep's Yogurt. Who hasn't got a sweet tooth? I think most people have. This is also another 'Achilles' heel' for me. I suffer functional hypoglycemia and when you get on that 'sugar bandwagon' it is often not easy to get off. Until I discovered my blueberries and and sheep's yogurt. Firstly this is a very healthy food in itself:
Blueberries, the health benefits are innumerable, a powerful antioxidant.
Raw honey for a little sweetner, also with many health benefits.
Then the sheep's yogurt is better for you than cows and in my opinion the best tasting, not gamey like goat's, not heavy like cow's, it's just right! A good probiotic food for the body.
This one dish has stopped me many a time in recent months from getting back onto that awful food spiral, and of course for those enjoying spring in the northern hemisphere, it's prefect!
I use frozen blueberries, I do not let them thaw, it gives it that lovely icecream effect.
I pour a little honey but it is a dish that can do without it if need be.
A few tablespoons of the sheep's yogurt.
All stirred together to create a delightful sweet!
Now I know this may not seem like a winter dish, I do believe it will keep me on track when I'm tempted with some heavy, sugary treat.

6. Other miscellaneous health ideas. This will consist of the regular use of castor oil packs otherwise known as the Palma Christi, the Palm of Christ -for myself and other family members when needed. I hope to do a series of them on my liver and also for the abdomen area.

Also the need to be more sensible with clothing choices for the family. We can get caught out thinking we are in a warm, sub-tropical climate, that we can still walk around the house in the morning barefoot. Warmer clothes that we can always peel off if it becomes too warm (which is usually the case) is better than not wearing them at all. I really believe that these are just common sense approaches. We continue to use the terramin clay for our teeth brushing. We drink the clay as well and make good use of our "St Benedict's Well."

So this is my arsenal for this coming winter. Arsenal oh yeah, it's a war. I don't want a year like last year, it is a major stress and disruptor in our lives and I do believe deep down that a great deal of it is preventable.


Marilyn said...

Great post Anne. I too want to start building up early for the winter. I have only had a couple of minutes - I have printed out - but I need time to get into all your links. I may ask you for help in making stocks - I want to make some for when baby arrives. I will also send you some resources I have.

Anne (aussieannie) said...

That all sounds good Marilyn, I'd be interested in your resources and sharing more of my information.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for a wonderful post. Would you mind sharing your favorite casserole recipes? Thank you so much. This is so 'in line' with my daughter's healing. I appreciate it very much.

Anne (aussieannie) said...

Yes, I think I'll do a post on casseroles soon..

Marilyn said...

Thanks Anne - also if you could point me in the direction of making nutritious stocks with herbs in. I want to have chicken stock and beef broth in the freezer for postpartum. I just ordered some grass fed beef bones. I do have Nourishing Traditions - do you just use this? Do you add herbs to this - and which ones?

I too am interested in your casseroles - I would like to freeze some for postpartum.