How is 2017 looking for you ? As I dive back into 2017, I’d love to share how mine has started with you.
Brené Brown recently posted about the 4 questions that she asks herself at the close of the year, and I have found them to be exceptionally valuable – I’d love to share them with you, as I suspect that you might find them valuable too (if you haven’t come across Brené as yet, I heartily recommend that you take a look). What do I want more of in my life?
- What do I let go of that is no longer serving me?
- What will make me feel more alive?
- At the end of every day and every year, I need to know I contributed more than I criticised. How have I contributed, and what will my life look like moving forward?
This is especially important to me as this year I begin a new cycle. It is said that the universe works on a 9 year cycle – 2016 was a 9 year, and I was also in a personal 9 year. It is a time for endings and new beginnings – it would fair to say that everywhere you looked, this was very evident and especially true in my life. My first book was published in 2006 and in the following 9 years I wrote 4 books, run 5 Whole and Natural Foods Chef Training Programs, and after years of following the path less travelled, was finally in a position to buy my own simple home. I build a house and moved in May 2016, with a new book launching also. I absolutely know deep in my bones and soul that this is a cycle ended and I finished the year/s exhausted, not knowing what the path ahead looked like, or even where it lay. I did what I know works for me – rest, meditate and do the spiritual work – this time I answered Brene’s questions for myself.
What I want is more time, less struggle, more ease, less ‘I have to get through this list’, more laughter (what do you call a parrot with a raincoat on ? see below), more being present in the moment.
What is no longer serving me are some of the ways that I teach, which have huge and heavy logistical loads and my push through that wall attitude (which I grant has been a positive many a time – I wouldn’t be where I am with that push). I have been too judgmental and critical – I need to remember what I was like 20 years ago when I was early on the path. Exhaustion and fear are not serving me.
What makes me feel alive is not being exhausted, being rested, doing the spiritual work, knowing I’m on purpose and that I am living a true and honest life, being a person of high integrity and walking a true path. Being with my beautiful daughter Nessie, and sharing her moments and path is what fills my heart with such love and meaning, along with my mum and family.
I’m pretty comfortable in that I have contributed – that I have achieved what I set out to do some 25 years ago – to effect change in how we grow, produce, prepare and eat food, and that hasn’t always been easy. Other than being a mother – which is the most important thing of all to me, this is the thing I am most proud of. That I didn’t tow a line, or post a photo, or go along with a train of thought when I felt it to be untrue, but rather said clearly – the emperor is wearing no clothes – and all with great integrity.
So that has set me thinking in where I go to from here, and how I see the path ahead.
My primary driving force, as I wrote in my first book, is that we as a society understand that food is not something that simply stops us from feeling hungry. It is exactly the same as love – an elemental human need. Together they sustain and nourish us, providing fuel for our body and soul to grow and our lives to fulfil their potential. Yes we all know now it needs to be real (I’m a bit over that whole JERF thing) but what I’ve found over the years of teaching is that the so many WHY’S, WHAT’S, HOW’S AND (REALLY)? make it so hard to actually DO.
Whilst I love the path I’ve travelled, these basic foundations are what I want to get back to – the WHY and the HOW. No matter what the problems going on or intolerances that may be, the food we eat is where we always begin. It will require learning about and building strong, grounded foundations (which I write about in my new book Wholefood From the Ground Up and I also talk about them here) but the translation of the why will always require the knowing how to prepare and cook food. When you know how to cook, how thermal mass works, how equipment can influence the experience and the end result, when you know how an ingredient behaves, when you know all the basic things that I took for granted when I was growing up and was passed. on. I know you are time poor, I know the pressures, but I promise you it makes the hugest difference to know these things, and it has nothing to do with being perfect or creating the most perfect food, or taking a perfect photo of it. I’ve taught hundreds (probably thousands) over the years and I know the difference knowing these things make, I know that cooking from scratch matters and makes a huge difference, and is probably one of the most important things you can do. I also know that these days, sadly you have to know a lot more than I did say, some 40 years ago when i was just a young 20 year old, because back then there was so much less bullshit going on, and food was still real and not the total illusion that it is today. You will also have to get wise – you have to learn some good basic information so you can make informed decisions – because today there is so much of that bullshit abounding about what makes food healthy, wholesome, ethical and sustainable. I want to empower you to make these informed decisions and have many small and big victories in the kitchen. To this end I am going online (and working on implementing everything you wanted in the survey I did last year – goodness me, that was months ago!). Right now, I am working on a class program for Perth (which will include a Whole and Natural Foods Chef Training Program 4 week intensive in May), and am at my desk working on the online programs. I haven’t forgotten about Canberra and Melbourne, and will update you on those a bit later. The best way for you to stay up to date with me (and I with you) is to SUBSCRIBE to the newsletter. As a subscriber, you also unique access to information, events, recipes and treats.
I have been far too busy for food coaching over the last years, but love this one to one contact. You might simply want to get sorted out and see a clearer path for the year ahead – (a bit like me having someone to consult on the garden design, giving me steps for the way forward) or you might be totally stuck with understanding gluten free baking or conversion. There is so much we can do in one hour – I am opening up 6 places, and I’d love to help you with those small victories, or make things easier to understand for you. Cost is $200 and to grab a spot, just email me firstname.lastname@example.org
It’s at this time of the year that I try and post my favourite reads from the year – and most of these are blogs that I actually follow, so I have given you the blog address. I have to tell you though, there are very few nutrition texts or such here – I think I’m just over it all !
Violet Bakery (my most favourite baking book outside of mine :) I make the Cinnamon Scrolls from these all the time. If you haven’t got this, and love baking – get it (in Australia I think the US version, with a forward by Alice Waters is the way to go. Just remember a US cup is 240ml and US tablespoon is 15ml).
The Vanilla Bean Baking Book – I got this for Christmas, and I love it. Can’t wait to try her scone technique. Same goes for measurements above, as this is a US book.
Neighbourhood – love Hetty’s approach to vegetables, so inspiring.
The Salad Book – Belinda Jeffrey has been a friend in the kitchen over many, many years before we met and became friends in real life. I have a couple of these ear marked for the hot weather.
A Year in My Real Food Kitchen – my dear friend Emma Galloway’s new book. If you are looking for good, everyday, delicious gluten free, vegetarian food – honestly, Emma does gluten free better than anyone I know.
Our Delicious Adventure – Jane Grover is another good friend, and I loved reading about their journey around Australia (with great food thrown in).
The Kings Grave – I finally got to read about the search for King Richard 111 body – I love archaeology.
The photo at the top of this post, is the bunch of roses I picked from garden the other day – only now 5 months old, I am just so thrilled with how they are going.The 3 pink ones on the left are St Cecelia, soft yellow Windemere, the strong pink is Sister Emmanuelle, the apricot is Abraham Darby, and the red – the glorious Falstaff. I ummed and ahhhed over Falstaff (a climber), was told not to get it, but oh I just love it – if you are thinking about it, don’t let anyone talk you out of it.
The photo’s below are just a snippet of what’s been going on around here and my top 9 from intagram – love that my gorgeous Smeg Victoria stove made it in twice – you love this oven as much as I do it seems. And now I’ve time, I will do a proper post on my new kitchen shortly. There’s Constance having her bad hair day and looking slightly electrocuted (this photo always makes me laugh, she looked so shocked !) roses from my new garden and good old fashioned baking – proper muffins (not obese, fake, sugar laden muffins), the strawberry celebration cake from the new book, beautiful young Rosie with her Sweet + Sour Chocolate cake, and these glorious ‘from the Womens Weekly’ baked goodies at a country fete.
Constance showing her yoga moves, and encouraging me to get started with it again…
I ask you – how GORGEOUS is this caravan… saw it on Instagram and just love, love it. What about that stove ?
I think I should leave it there !! We need to go a little more slowly this year, a bit more step by step… I will be back shortly with a dairy free chocolate ice – cream (agar and kudzu base)… oh and the answer to the joke – Poly Unsaturated !!!
Wishing you a wonderful, grounded, peaceful new year with many joyous moments. I so look forward to seeing in and working with you this year…