Truth, beauty and plate of sardines

Sometimes I get overwhelmed with the uncertainty and contradictory nature of this world we live in where we simultaneously have access to so much information, yet so little truth.

When we can quickly ask Google to tell us about any topic and within seconds we have thousands of links, each calling out to us to choose them, how can we know (I mean really know) that the information we’ve found is correct? That it’s more correct than what we would have found if we plugged in a slightly different question? If someone else asked the same question on a different day when the general consensus on a topic had changed?

Sifting through the endless barrage of journal articles for my naturopathy studies, opinion pieces for cultural and societal issues, and books for new perspectives and ideas, is at times down right confusing and anxiety-inducing.

You know how we sometimes find ourselves defending our position on something with scathing conviction, riding tall on our mental high horse, confident that our opinion or view of the world is the correct one? Those times when we look at someone else and wonder how they could see the world through such an incorrect lense?

Why don’t they see how obvious it is that I’m right?! 

It’s so easy to fall into the trap of thinking that we’ve got all the facts on a topic and that we can sit back and relax, safe in the knowledge that we have landed on the correct point, isn’t it?

The older I get and the more I learn, the less I know. Instead of getting clearer on where I stand on topics, I find myself becoming increasingly more of a fence sitter, a hedging-her-bets kind of girl. I pause before offering up what I think I know about something. The certainty I once had is gone. And that’s a very good thing, for when I’m certain about something, I’m not learning or growing. I’m stagnant. And that’s not alright by me.

The fallacy of knowing the facts has been a repetitive theme in my life lately. It keeps showing up in conversations I’ve had, while I’m writing essays or reading a book. Contradictions are rampant and the further I dig for answers, the more I realise that multiple truths can and do exist at the same time.

I can study how each individual nutrient works in the body while understanding the flaws in learning about holistic health in such a reductionist way.

I can appreciate the miracles of modern medicine, while reeling at the atrocity of the thousands of prescription drug deaths that occur every year.

And, I can acknowledge that while there is a lot of compelling science for a plant-based diet, I’m listening to, and meeting, my body’s current demands for a small amount of meat.

Yep, I’m eating meat. Well, to be more specific: fish. For now.

Only once per week and of the sustainable variety, but oh wow the guilt! I feel like I’ve been keeping a dirty secret and I also feel like a total fraud. A fraud because I can spout off the benefits of being vegetarian without a second thought, but also because I’m eating fish and I’m still not convinced that I should be. Yes, everything I’m learning at uni points towards the importance of eating fish. What about the ethical issues though? Sure, I’m eating sustainably caught sardines but I’m still participating in an industry that says it’s OK to kill another being for my own benefit. Is it though? How can I sit with pride in my decision to eat fish when I know I only have this privilege because I’m human? Because I live during a time when I can outsource my hunting to someone else?

Someone went and killed that fish on my behalf, because I sure as heck couldn’t stomach the thought of killing it myself. If I can’t reconcile the idea that what sits on my buttery toast was once a living creature, and if I need someone else to do the killing so that I can pretend death wasn’t involved, what right do I have to eat the result?

If I’m being really honest with myself, I don’t think I do have that right and yet, I wholeheartedly believe we should strive to get our nutrients from our food wherever possible.

Therein lies the discomfort.

I’ve recently finished reading Dr Campbell’s latest book, Whole: Rethinking the Science of Nutrition and it reminded me of how pivotal Campbell’s first book, The China Study, was in my decision to switch to a vegetarian diet. Campbell gave me the final push I needed to dive head-first into vegetarianism. He provided the science and the rationale behind how animal protein switches cancerous tumor growth on, and why a whole food, plant-based diet is the healthiest way to eat. His argument was compelling and, although I’m now studying the biochemical reactions that need things like B12 and omega-3 fatty acids (nutrients that can only be obtained in useful amounts from animal sources), I can’t ignore that the science is clear about meat’s contributing role in health conditions like cancer. Equally though, I can’t ignore the importance of getting adequate levels of B12 and omega-3 fatty acids. Those little nutrients are bloody important!

Where on Earth does this leave me?

For all of you playing along with the ‘What’s Laura eating now?’ game at home, here’s how I’m currently eating:

  • Once per week, I’m having a tin of Fish 4 Eva sardines to make sure I’m meeting my body’s requirement for omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Other than that, the rest of my diet is still vegetarian. I still strive to eat organic, locally grown and produced food where possible.
  • I still believe in the importance of supporting local businesses, who care about the quality of the food they’re producing.
  • I will continue to eat some cheese, no milk, and occasionally some full-fat unsweetened yogurt.
  • I’m also supplementing with a good quality soil based probiotic, organic iron and magnesium (because our soils are so depleted that even eating organically doesn’t guarantee I’ll get enough of this macromineral).
  • To avoid confusion, I’m still going to call myself a vegetarian (as much as I despise dietary labels). The only difference is that a few times a month, I’ll be tucking in to a tin of sardines.

For now, this feels right. Mostly.

I’m yet to find that perfect balance of achieving a diet that is 100% ethical, local, organic and meets all of my nutritional requirements. I’m not convinced that such a diet actually exists.

I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s OK not to have all the answers. And, you know what? It feels good that I’ve reached a point in my life where I’m OK with shifting my perspective and knowing that I don’t have to always eat a vegetarian diet, just because that’s what people know me as.

Laura xo

Is the vaccination debate distracting us from a bigger issue?

Do we need to chop down some trees to see the forest more clearly?

Do we need to chop down some trees to see the forest more clearly?

A quick note before we get to today’s post: This post is not designed to be a forum to debate whether or not we  should vaccinate. I have no desire to weigh in on the slinging match about the merits and risks of vaccination because this topic has, at its heart, parents who are doing the very best they know how to protect their kids – on both sides. I’m not a parent and haven’t studied the research about vaccination, so I’m not in a position to comment on who is right. I do know that hurling abuse at others for their views is not something I will tolerate or accept, both on this blog and in my life. I will delete any comments that are rude, aggressive or disrespectful. Thanks for listening! Now onto the today’s post:

Much has been published about the vaccination debate recently. (Oh, you hadn’t noticed?) It’s being discussed in great detail, and rightly so. It’s an incredibly important topic.

I have been keeping my eye on the seemingly never ending deluge of articles about the issues surrounding vaccination rates and I have started to become increasingly uncomfortable with the amount of times I have seen the words ‘make vaccinations mandatory’. As I said at the start of this post, I’m not interested in discussing the merits of vaccinations right now. What I want to talk about is what I see as being a much bigger issue – an issue that is hiding in plain sight behind those three little words: make vaccinations mandatory. It’s an issue of our rights. Our right to decide what medical care we do and don’t want. Our right to choose which medicines we are happy to take into our system and which ones we want to avoid. Our right to weigh up the risks and make decisions about our own body and health.

These rights are so very important.

When we focus on the specifics of what is being proposed (changes to our legislation to make vaccinations mandatory) it’s easy for us to get caught up looking at the benefits of such a decision and forget that this change has more far-reaching consequences than just enforcing a vaccination schedule. Let me put it a different way: what happens when the push is to mandate that you and your family take a drug you aren’t comfortable with? What happens when you think the risks of taking that drug outweigh its benefits? By allowing mandatory vaccinations, we are opening the door to a new precedent in enforced medication. Whether or not we agree with someone else’s decisions regarding vaccination, it isn’t our right to force someone else to take a drug. Nor is it our government’s right, but it will be if this legislation is passed.

I am very aware that this may seem melodramatic and I’m certainly not saying that big pharma and the government are out to get us. Not at all. I’m saying we need to be mindful of the broader implications of legislation changes like these. I’m saying we need to really consider what it means to take away someone’s right to decide what medicine they want to take. Because the government won’t just be deciding for someone else. They’ll be deciding for you too.

All drugs come with side effects and risks. We know this. The aim, of course, is that the benefit of the drug outweighs the side effects and risks. Vaccines are no different. Much of the vaccination conversation centres on the risks associated with the drugs found in these vaccines. Like every other drug, there are risks associated with vaccinations – no one is pretending that there aren’t. The general consensus though is that the benefits to both the individual receiving the vaccination and to those who can’t be vaccinated for whatever reason, far outweigh those risks.

Let’s look at a different, equally common drug: the oral contraceptive pill. Like vaccines, the benefits and risks of this drug are well known. In case you’ve been living under a rock, the pill helps prevent unplanned pregnancies but it can cause issues like increased risk of blood clots and some cancers. It can also affect your long-term chances of conceiving because (at risk of stating the obvious) the drug’s purpose is to suppress your fertility. Taking a fertility-suppressing drug for years is likely going to mean your fertility is suppressed, at least for a while, after you stop taking that drug. Doctors know this and I hope the women they prescribe the drug to know this. Unfortunately for a lot of women, the pill has suppressed their fertility for so long that their body no longer knows how to be fertile and those women must embark on a long journey to heal before being able to fall pregnant.  Most women I know who have been on the pill started taking it in their teens and didn’t stop until their late 20s, so they’re looking at 10-15 years of taking a drug that screws up one of the body’s most important processes.

We’ve been conditioned to believe that the pill is a harmless drug but that simply isn’t the case. Every drug comes with side effects and, just like vaccines, the pill is no different. 

A lesser talked about side effect of the oral contraceptive pill is the impact it has on other people. ‘What is she on about?’ I hear you all asking. Well, what I’m talking about is how someone else’s decision to take the pill affects everyone else’s health, along with our planet’s health.

The synthetic hormones (namely ethinyl estradiol)  found in the pill are flushed from the body during urination. These hormones make their way into our waterways, where they set to work creating intersex fish. Yes, you read that correctly. We are demasculinising male animals, destroying their ability to reproduce, through our decision to take the pill. Ethinyl estradiol isn’t the only thing to blame for this but it is a big contributor to the problem. Oh, and in case you’re wondering, we don’t really know if we can actually remove ethinyl estradiol from our waterways. Ecotoxicologists think we might be able to but it’s going to cost a bomb.  You can read more about this here. 

Setting the (huge) impact to our wildlife aside, let’s look at how this affects other people’s health. Because this is my blog and I get to call the shots, and because I can only really comment on my own experience, I’m going to talk about myself for a minute.

I want to be as healthy as I can be.

I want my body to be in the best possible shape for when my partner and I decide we want to fall pregnant.

I want my body to be free of synthetic hormones.

I stopped taking the pill years ago when I started to realise the damage it was causing me. I don’t want synthetic hormones in my body yet they are in my body because they are in the water I drink. They are in the water I drink because a large percentage of women in Australia take the pill. And it is categorically their right to take the pill.

It is their right to take the pill, even though it negatively affects my health.

It is their right to take the pill, even though it could affect my chance of becoming a mother.

It is their right to decide which drugs they are comfortable taking and which drugs they are not comfortable taking. Not mine. Not yours. Certainly not the government’s.

Where am I going with this? My point is that although someone else’s decisions about their medical care can and do impact our own personal health status, introducing legislation that forces people to take a drug they are not comfortable with is not something we should be advocating for. Taking away our fundamental right to make our own choices about medical care isn’t something I can stand for. By handing over our power to the government to decide what and how much of a drug we should take, we are handing over our power for them to make decisions about more than just vaccinations. We are handing over our power for them to make decisions about what risks we are subjected to, based on which medication they force us to take. I’m not OK with this and I hope you aren’t either.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Remember, I’m not talking about whether or not people should vaccinate. This is about our right to weigh up the risks and benefits of any medication and make the best choice for ourselves and our kids. If you want to debate vaccinations, there are countless other forums you can do that on 😉

Laura xo

Diary of a sugar addict: I quit sugar

Pre-sugar quitting days.

Pre-sugar quitting days.

Week one: edging away from sugar

I woke up on day one with a feeling of dread. My regular diet is, by no means, sugar-laden but I am partial to the odd Magnum and struggle to say no to chocolate if it comes my way. The prospect of giving up the sweet stuff completely for eight weeks was, quite frankly, terrifying. After three bites of the first meal of the program (scrambled eggs with avocado, on homemade gluten-free toast) though my fears started to subside. As I sipped on my bulletproof coffee, I thought, “This is pretty much what we have for breakfast on weekends normally! Maybe this won’t be so hard.”

Come the end of the week and I was pleasantly surprised at how painless the transition to a sugar-free diet had been. Sure, I had moments where I contemplated sneaking in some sugar but it wasn’t hard to convince myself that it wouldn’t be worth the short-term pleasure. The biggest struggle has been keeping on top of the cooking schedule! As someone who is usually pretty haphazard about dinner plans, I found it challenging to have to be so organised and spend so much time in the kitchen. I’m incredibly blessed to have a boyfriend who a) loves cooking and b) knows how to calm me down when I have a meltdown while trying to prepare dinner.

Week two: turning my back on getting sweet relief

This is the week we gave up the sweet stuff entirely. Not even the odd raspberry or tomato would find its way onto our plates. (Gulp.) I hit the ground running on Monday, feeling good about having stuck to the program for one week. The spiced coco-nutty breakfast muffins were delicious and so satiating that I made it through to 1pm without any pangs of hunger. I was starting to feel like maybe this sugar-quitting caper wasn’t going to be so tough after all.

Come Tuesday though, it was a different story. The first thought that popped into my head when I woke up was, ‘Doughnuts. I want doughnuts! Now!’ This was weird for a couple of reasons, with the biggest one being that I can’t actually remember the last time I had a doughnut, so they aren’t exactly something that featured heavily in my diet before I quit sugar. The doughnut cravings lasted all week but I managed to distract myself by going for a quick walk, having a(nother) herbal tea, or a high-fat, high-protein snack like a piece of cheese.

Week three: I can do this! And then I fell off the rails.

‘I can do this!’ was my mantra this week. I repeated it over and over as I went about my day, feeling like I was dodging temptation at every corner. I was guzzling water or herbal tea any time I felt a niggling to eat sugar, and it was working. Sugar-free? Too easy! And then I fell off the rails a bit. I went out to my favourite pizza haunt with my bestie and my god son, and had a (delish!) bowl of pesto gnocchi. I knew the pesto was sugar-free but I couldn’t say the same thing about those fluffy balls of potato goodness. About halfway through my meal I started to feel really fidgety and felt a headache coming on. My mouth was dry and I just didn’t feel right. I couldn’t believe how badly the sugar was affecting me! After only a couple of weeks without it, my body couldn’t handle it. This came as a shock to me. I mean, I knew sugar was bad but that bad? Yikes.

Week four: clean week

Give up sugar? Sure. And gluten? Done. Alcohol? Ah, I’m not so sure about this but I suppose I can hit the pause button on my love for a glass of red with dinner. Coffee? No. Freakin’. Way! Are you kidding with this? It’s my first week back at uni this week and you’re asking me to get through that without caffeine? As old mate Darryl Kerrigan said, ‘Tell him he’s dreaming!’ This was far and away the hardest week of the program. After missing my morning coffee by just a few hours I started to feel a headache coming on. I made a dandelion, chai and almond milk latte in the futile hope that I could trick my body into thinking I’d just had some coffee. No dice. Turns out my body is smarter is than me. Wait, what? The next 24 hours were a foggy haze of aggravation, nausea and pain. It would have been easy to forgive me for ditching the no-coffee rule just to find some relief at this point; however, it would appear that I have more will power than I thought because I somehow managed not to succumb to my cravings. And boy am I glad I didn’t, because come the next day I felt immeasurably better. The day after, I felt better again.

Give up coffee for a week? Absolutely 😉

Week five: last week sans sweet

Week five! Who would have thought I’d make it this far? Certainly not me. After one month with no sugar, I was starting to wonder why I ever wanted to eat the stuff to begin with. It suddenly occurred to me that I couldn’t remember what ice cream tasted like and when I thought about it some more, I realised I didn’t actually want to eat it again to remember. This was definitely a break through for me because up until then, I still didn’t believe I would ever get to the point where I didn’t want to eat sugar. That, my friends, is what we call progress.

Week six: sugar’s back. Gulp!

To say I was nervous about this week is a massive understatement. I was petrified of reintroducing the substance I had invested so much time, energy and willpower into quitting just a few short weeks ago. I had visions of taking a bite of a piece of fruit and turning into a raving sugar beast as I turned the house upside down, looking for all things sweet. Turns out my premonition was a little melodramatic though (who would have thought!).

While I really savored the sweet taste of the peach we included in our salad, with the exception of a stressful walk down the ice-cream aisle at the supermarket where I had to muster all of my determination not to reach into the freezer and grab out a Golden Gaytime, I managed to not fall straight back into the sugar-binge cycle.

Week seven: almost there

With just two weeks to go, I could see the light shining down the end of the tunnel and, quite frankly, it scared me. It seemed I had come full circle: before starting the program, I was worried I wouldn’t be able to stick to the program, and now I was worried that I won’t know how to eat properly without it!

This week, I also realised just how much I am looking forward to loosening the reigns a bit when it comes to fruit. This program has made me realise that I was eating way too much fruit so I certainly won’t be going back to my pre-program volume but I do find it hard to resist a ripe peach in Summer!

Week eight: we did it!

By the time the final week rolled around, I had well and truly got the hang of navigating through life without sugar. There were two massive bowls of lollies at work this week and I walked past them without a second glance. It was such an empowering feeling to no longer compulsively reach for sugary treats!

I’m so happy that I finally took the plunge and quit sugar. For the first time in my adult life, I feel like I am in control of what I eat and it isn’t a daily struggle to stay on track. I simply don’t want sugary food anymore. Many people have asked me if I will stay off sugar for the rest of my life but I have learnt not to set restrictive boundaries. We are always changing and evolving, and what works for me now may not work for me during a different stage of my life. I’m going to stick with sugar-free living for as long as it serves me to do so.

P.S. Don’t forget to enter the competition to win yourself a copy of That Sugar Book. The competition closes this Friday (27 March). Find out how to enter.

That Sugar Film: an interview with Damon Gameau (and a competition)

That Sugar Guy: Damon Gameau

That Sugar Guy: Damon Gameau

Hold onto your hats. Damon Gameau is changing the way we talk about sugar, and he’s doing it in a big way. His documentary, That Sugar Film, is currently touring Australia, selling out cinemas all over the place. If you haven’t already seen it, go and rectify that as soon as you can. I have a feeling you’ll be thanking me later.

So, what’s That Sugar Film all about?

Damon undertakes an experiment that sees him eating the average amount of sugar an Australian consumes daily (which in case you are wondering is 40 teaspoons. That’s right, 40! Every day). The catch? Damon can only eat foods that are perceived as being healthy, such as low-fat yoghurt, juice and cereal. His aim is to document how a high-sugar diet affects the body and to highlight the issues that exist in the industry.

For the next few weeks, Damon is heading to select screenings of the film to host a Q&A session. I was fortunate to attend one of these sessions and it was an absolute testament to Damon’s passion for sharing this important message with integrity and a side serving of humour. He has a knack for inspiring people to open up about their story of ditching sugar, and he empowers others to get started on their own journey. If you get the opportunity, I highly recommend attending one of the Q&A sessions. (To find out which screenings he’ll be at, click the link at the end of this post.)

Damon was kind enough to take some time out of his busy touring schedule to answer some questions for us so, without further a-do, here they are:

1) You mention in That Sugar Film that it was your beautiful partner Zoe who originally inspired you to give up sugar at a time when the sweet stuff featured highly in your diet. Can you tell us a bit about the strategies you used when you felt the urge to eat something sweet in those early days?

In those early days I wasn’t ‘trying’ to cut sugar so it happened very naturally. There was no pressure on me to do it so I still had the odd sweet treat but it just occurred less and less. After the experiment, I did have some very strong cravings. A spoon of coconut oil helped me or half an avocado. There are fats that also light up the same reward centers as sugar but in a slightly less way. The other strategy is to use some reverse psychology on the brain: have something foul like apple cider vinegar when you get a craving, the brain thinks ‘well if that’s all I’m gonna get when I crave sugar, then I’m not gonna crave anymore!’

2) How has giving up sugar changed things for you?

I am just a better person without it. I admit I am quite sensitive to its effects so when I eat sugar I feel a bit irritable, even anxious sometimes. When I return to real foods that have a slow release and don’t spike my blood sugar levels rapidly, I gain more clarity and feel much better. Then there’s the fun vanity effects of brighter eyes and glowing skin.

3) In a nutshell, what’s your food philosophy?

Don’t over think it, just eat real foods. Real foods don’t need a star rating or a tick, they just are. It might take a while for the palate to adjust but it does and it’s a wonderful thing when you start to notice the subtle flavors and sweetness of natural foods. The body knows what to do so trust it and give it the real foods it needs to function at its best.

ThatSugarBook

Image via thatsugarfilm.com

Because I believe this is such an important message to spread, one lucky reader (Aussies only) will win themselves a shiny new copy of That Sugar Book. For your chance to win, follow these three steps:

1) Sign up to my newsletter (you’ll find the link in the top right corner of this page).

2) ‘Like’ the Miller Natural Health Facebook page. You can do this by clicking the ‘Like’ button over there to the right of this page. If you already like my page (muchas gracias!), don’t fret – you can still enter the competition by signing up for the newsletter and sharing this post. Phew! 

3) Share this post using the buttons below.

Update (28/05/2015): This competition has now closed.

It’s that easy!

For competition terms and conditions, click here.

To find out more about That Sugar Film start here:

What do you think about sugar? Have you seen That Sugar Film? Jump into the comments section and share your thoughts.

Laura xo

Selfie sticks and our human disconnect

Take photos of the world around you.

Take photos of the world around you.

There’s something about selfie sticks that makes me feel really gosh darn uncomfortable. A bit icky. Disconnected. You feel it too?

Until last weekend, I hadn’t been able to put my finger on exactly what it was about that innocuous extendable stick that made me feel so depressed. Sure, it’s a tool that feeds the vacuous and vain pass-time of taking 23 photos of oneself in order to find the most flattering angle, but it’s more than that. It’s something bigger.

What happened a couple of weeks ago that triggered the sudden realisation about why selfie sticks just don’t sit right with me? Well, my lovely fella – Chris – pointed out a couple standing in the middle of a street full of people, taking a selfie…

With a selfie stick.

In a street full of people.

There they were, angling to get both themselves in the shot and capture what was in the background. The result was an awkward minute while they took photo after photo, in pursuit of the ultimate shot.

After noticing this display of bizarre human behaviour, Chris commented on how ridiculous it was that instead of asking one of the many passer-bys to take (what would probably be a much better) photo of them, they were hell bent on doing it themselves. Why?

Why don’t we ask for help anymore? What happened to reaching out to a fellow human for a bit of assistance? If we are too scared to risk being rejected after asking for a quick photo to be taken, how can we ever expect to be brave enough to ask for help when life gets really shitty?

Feeling connected to other people is a deep human need.

It’s the gooey stuff that allows communities to form and binds people together, making us feel less alone. It’s oh so important for our mental health and overall well-being. And it’s the stuff that seems to be the first casualty of living in a big city, where it’s rare to have a courtyard, yet alone a whole block of land to spread out on.

The townhouse we live in is one of four on our block. I have spoken to two of my neighbours for a combined total of maybe five minutes (if I’m being generous) in the year we have lived there. I couldn’t tell you their names, or how they spend their spare time. I certainly don’t know when they are on holiday, so would never think to check on their place. Nor would they think to look in on ours.

There’s a glaring irony to be seen when country and city dwellers are compared: ask any land owner who their neighbours are and they will easily rattle off the names of everyone who lives in a 5km radius, plus will tell you where their kids go to school and how their crops are doing. Ask a city dweller the same question and you’ll likely get blank looks, shoulder shrugs and a non-committal answer like, ‘Oh, they’re a young couple. They work full time… I think.’

It really is a sad state of affairs, don’t you think?

All hope is not lost though! We can start turning our isolation back into being connected and we just need to take small steps at a time, inching our way back to our fellow humans.

Will your first step be asking someone to take a photo for you?

Laura xo

Fear the food and eat it anyway

Some not-so-scary greens.

Some not-so-scary greens.

Food. Four letters, one syllable. How can such a simple little unassuming word cause so much angst and confusion?

This question sits at the heart of why I’m so passionate about dedicating the time to dig through the mountains of conflicting information and advice about what we should eat and, bigger than that, how to obtain that seemingly elusive goal of being vibrantly healthy.

What’s considered the ideal diet changes with every season: Low fat, high carb? High fat, high protein, low carb? Vegetarian? Organic? Sugar-free? Paleo? I’m sure I’m not the only person who finds it bloody confusing! I’ve talked a bit about the conflicting advice on this blog in the past but today I want to peel off another layer and talk about our fear of (real) food.

A couple of days ago, I talked about a post on Facebook (if you haven’t done so already, head on over and like the page to keep up with everything that’s happening in this little community of ours) that the beautiful Amy from OtherWise Living shared. The post talked about taking a common sense approach to drinking raw milk. Here’s a snippet, if you missed it:

“What is it about milk straight from the cow that gets people so wound up? From this week anybody providing raw milk for consumption will face a fine of up to $60,000 (in case you were wondering the penalty for distribution of small amounts of the drug “Ice” attracts a $45,000 fine)….Drinking raw milk has risks associated with it but we do many things that have risks attached – we drive cars, swim at beaches, skydive. If you’ve ever done a food safety course you’ll know we eat many foods that we need to be careful with; rice, chicken and leafy greens are common foods most responsible for recorded food-borne illnesses. The thing is we don’t ban them we take a preventative and educative approach.”

This got me thinking. Why are we so scared of real simple food but so trustingly assume that the stuff sold to us by big corporations is perfectly safe to eat?

I don’t drink cow milk (never really liked it) but I this post caught my attention because I find it fascinating that on one hand milk is referred to affectionately as nature’s perfect food, and on the other we have a situation where we are terrified of drinking the stuff in its natural form! Don’t get me wrong – it is devastating that recently a child died after drinking raw milk. No parent should ever have to go through that hell.

But when we consider that people die on our roads every day, yet people still put their kids in cars, surely it must nudge us closer to the truth that there are inherent risks associated with simply being alive and sometimes really shitty things just happen. 

As the original post said, rather than rushing to ban raw milk, might there be more value in taking a measured approach of implementing safety procedures and educating people about safe transportation and storage of milk? Our safety is important, yes. But let’s stop underestimating our own ability to make safe choices for ourselves. Us humans are a lot smarter than the rule-makers give us credit for.

This is bigger than raw milk though. It’s just one of the telling signs of the mess we have got ourselves in when it comes to what we eat. Our modern food-production system favours food that is processed and cheap to create in large volumes. It tricks our taste-buds into wanting more than we need by layering sweet over salty over fatty. It confuses us with its multi-million dollar marketing strategies designed to take advantage of the part of our brain that associates green with healthy; and the part of our brain that sees a list of what a product doesn’t include (no sugar, no dairy) and forgets to check what it does include (artifical sweeteners, processed soy).

We have been conned into thinking that eating fresh, healthy food is dangerous, and that’s simply not true.

I have seen this fear in others: being greeted by wide eyes when talking about how I drank spring water straight from the source, rather than treated tap water.

I’ve seen it in myself: being too scared to drink the first batch of kombucha I brewed because I didn’t trust that I had the skills not to make myself sick.

Enough’s enough. Let’s start taking back our power. Let’s start trusting that Mother Nature actually does know best – she definitely knows better than humans do. Let’s stop assuming that because it comes in a package it’s OK to eat and start questioning why it needs a package to begin with.

Let’s eat real food, even if we are scared.

Laura xo

I made the decision not to die at 25. Did you?

Filling my home with crystals and plants reminds me of the endless supply of energy that is available for us all to tap into.

Filling my home with crystals and plants reminds me of the endless supply of energy that is available for everyone of of us to tap into.

For years now I have religiously (pardon the pun) listened to podcasts of sermons conducted by Reverend David Ault, from the Spiritual Living Center Atlanta. If you haven’t listened to any of his sermons, may I suggest you do. He talks about the universal truths of spirit and humanity, without being confined to one religion,  and he does it with such reverence for the divine nature inside every person that you can’t help but be drawn into the message behind his words. If you’re looking for some inspiration to shake up your life, then Rev. Dave is your guy!

In one of his recent sermons, he mentioned Youtube phenomenon Prince Ea – a young guy who uses rap to talk about all things that make up the human experience. I noted his name down and, after finishing the podcast, I immediately set about watching every video Prince Ea has made and posted to Youtube, and he impressed the metaphoric socks off of me!

The video that Rev. Dave talks about in his sermon is called Why Most People Die Before Age 25. It only goes for three minutes and 43 seconds but Prince Ea manages to drop a tonne of truth bombs about life in that time.

The one that resonated the most with me was this: “The wealthiest place in the world is not China, not Dubai. It’s the graveyard. Because in the graveyard, you will find adventures not invented, businesses never erected, songs never sung, books never written, ideas never nurtured, people never realised… because, they were scared to take a risk.”

Woah, right! The truth in that hit me down in the deepest parts of my heart.  I asked myself, “What richness am I denying myself and the world because I’m scared?”

This blog (which, at that time had lain dormant for over a year) immediately came to mind. I could scarcely remember why I had stopped writing here to begin with. I knew I was busy but why had I decided to completely stop sharing my words with the world? As I sat in silence, I got really honest with myself and admitted that it was because I was scared.

I was scared that I had nothing new to offer the world, that everything worth saying had already been said.

I was scared that no one would find my words useful, that they would think I was stupid.

Most of all though, I was scared of showing too much of myself to a world that is trying to make me everything I’m not. 

Those fears haven’t gone away. They are still rattling around in the back of my mind but I have made the decision to, in the words of Louise Hay, feel the fear and do it anyway. Because, does it really matter if the words I write here only resonate with me? Does it actually change anything if someone doesn’t agree with what I have said? Will the pressure I feel to conform go away if I make myself more like I think society wants me to be? No, no and no! So, why would I keep hiding myself from the world then?

Someone wise (cough, cough, Prince Ea) recently reminded me that “There’s never been a statue erected for a critic.”

Amen, Prince Ea. Amen.

Love,

Laura xx