Sunday, 31 May 2015

introducing my heroine

I cannot remember how I first came across the zero waste home blog but I became hooked. After a while I ordered her book which quickly became my bible as I absorbed Bea's message. You can see how well read my copy is.  This woman has done her homework and I find her inspirational and credit her with giving me the incentive to start living according to my morals however misguided they might be.

So how easy is it in the UK to be as diligent as Bea? Truthfully?  It's hard. Walk around any of the main supermarkets or shops and you'll be hard pressed to find anything not wrapped or double wrapped in plastic. Bulk buying as Bea experiences in America is virtually unknown here. If you go to the counter with loose apples (for example) or present them in your own bag, the cashiers stare at you perplexed. I'm quite shy and to be labelled "weirdo" is challenging.
I did ask one approachable guy on the fish counter at Tesco if he would be prepared to serve me by placing my products in a glass jar and he said he would but he doubted anyone else would be so willing.  Bea is a confident sassy French lady and would be totally unfazed. As an inhibited English woman with decades of humility passed down the generations it's hard to go against "normality".

The best compromise I've found is a local farm shop at Battlefield ( Battlefield Farm Shop) near Shrewsbury where they are more encouraging and even provide paper bags instead of plastic but the prices are higher and for a single mum it's another consideration to make. So apologies Bea, I'm not there yet but working on it.  However one of the things she mentions I cannot ignore is the danger of canned food leaching BPA into our diets. Suddenly I'm filled with guilt and stare at the cans of tomatoes, beans and chick peas in the cupboards. Have I unknowingly been serving my daughters food laced with chemicals likely to increase their chance of breast cancer? Can you imagine the fear and upset the very idea creates? So a priority for me now is to research some of the online medical journals and see what a simple lay  person can find out for herself.  I've done a small amount of reading and some of it is indeed scary but is it fair or true?  Is it only in America that the concerns are felt?  I know food production methods vary between the UK and America but I'm thinking of animal welfare and the more humane methods which are enforced here not the chemistry of canning production.

Am I the only mother feeling inadequate against a mass of contradictory information? I believe we all want the best for our children but its hard when you suddenly have to confront the idea you may have been harming the ones you most wish to protect.

Saturday, 30 May 2015

Deliciously Ella review

I thought I'd start with reviewing the Deliciously Ella book which I bought recently in my quest for the optimal healthy diet for myself and the girls. I was delighted to read how one determined girl could change her life and heal herself through diet alone. I love stories like this but is it as wholesome as it appears?

Firstly, it is a very pretty book, very like Ella herself, although the constant use of "amazing", "insanely" and "awesome" is grating.  I did find some of the recipes enjoyable. Too enjoyable actually as I followed her guidelines for three weeks and put on weight!  Not the result I wanted although I felt good. She claims "eating a wholefood plant diet is an amazing way to get to your natural weight".  Whoops. Perhaps I am just a piggy. The gnocchi was disgusting, even the dog refused it and she hoovers up most things but the marinated kale salad was a revelation even without pomegranate seeds. (Excuse me but £1.50 for a single pomegranate from Tescos? I think not).  I love kale now as does the youngest daughter so that is a bonus. Aldi sell a bag for 79p, the Tesco equivalent is £1. I've used both and found no difference in the quality. The other recipe I'll definitely use again is the avocado chocolate mousse as my eldest daughter ate it happily and I felt smug at feeding her something more nutritious than her usual brand. (Ha! if she had known about the avocado there is no way she would have touched it!).

Basically Ella claims to have cured herself of Postural Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) by becoming a gluten free vegan. This is an illness I'd not heard of so I did some googling and and found this;

For many, PoTS will improve with time and in some individuals it will disappear altogether.

So Ella's illness may possibly have naturally disappeared without the changes. None of my business of course but it leaves a doubt in my mind. Also she recommends The China Study by Dr T. Colin Campbell although this recommends no added fat including the olive oil which Ella loves to use along with her vast quantities of maple syrup.

My conclusions? I'll keep the book and whilst I don't think it is perfect and some of the recipes are too simple (cucumber and avocado rolls anyone?) there is enough in there to use and adapt for my little family. Eldest daughter now enjoys mashed banana and nut butter as a snack which gives her much needed calories so this alone makes me happy.

Update: I made the creamy brazil nut cheese on page 85. Warning! If you hate marmite do not use nutritional yeast! It is truly the most disgusting vomit inducing food I have ever tried. Yuk Yuk Yuk

Update 2: Having recently purchased The oh she glows cookbook I feel disturbed by the similarities of the two books. I now feel slightly suckered by all the British hype of the Ella book and will not be buying the second one which is due out next year I believe. Ah well...

Friday, 29 May 2015

Meltdown motivation

Hi, I'm a mum just trying her best to be frugal, healthy and do the very best for my daughters. Not a lot to ask or anything unusual in that you might say but I've reached meltdown.

 I read that dairy, meat and wheat are bad. Processed foods must be consigned to the bin. A bin? What about the devastating effect of all that plastic floating in the oceans killing our planet? No everything must be made from scratch with organic wholemeal cooked in a home made kiln but what about those who claim no no no everything must be raw or you'll give your kids cancer in later life. Don't use canned food or eat tuna because of mercury poisoning. Don't use bleach or allow chemicals in your soaps or shampoos. You must eat breakfast and no snacks but what about those fasting days, you know the ones that promise you giddy health and a svelte figure in two weeks? On and on and on well you get the picture. The messages are constant and conflicting and I've had enough. So now I plan to do my own research and make my own choices. I know I'm not alone so here starts a little blog on a quest for the truth about life. Not a lot to ask surely?