Yes, tomatoes are high in lycopene and this may assist in the prevention of prostate cancer. Yes, they are full of antioxidants, Vitamins A + C, Folate & Calcium and yes, they are on the ‘dirty dozen’ list but, did you know…
- In Australia the majority of tomatoes are grown on large tomato farms in Bundaberg or Bowen in North Queensland and are sold to supermarkets across the country. Each tomato we buy from them is likely to have travelled thousands of kilometres to get to our dinner plate.
- Generally commercially grown tomatoes are picked green. Approximately three days prior to their expedition on a refrigerated semi-trailer they are gassed with ethylene that acts like the fruit’s natural hormone and is used to artificially ripen it. To date we haven’t found any studies that suggest the levels of ethylene gas used are harmful to humans (n.b. tomatoes produce it themselves naturally) but this would explain why there are times when you pick up a store bought tomato that looks ripe and find it is still very firm and/or it is bland in taste – it’s not actually ripe at all! The longer tomatoes are left on the vine (like the truss tomatoes shown below), the softer and juicier they become and the higher the concentration of sugar which makes them taste better.
Photo: Courier Mail – Feature image on the homepage: abc.net.au
- The flavour enzyme that is produced as tomatoes ripen stops working when they are stored below 12.5℃. Read More
Kale is one of our favourite ‘leafy greens’ but sadly it is on the “Dirty Dozen” list of those that are most likely to contain pesticide residue and finding ‘organic kale’ in the quantities that we like to eat and juice it is not always easy, or affordable. At >$1 a leaf it makes it very satisfying to walk in to the kitchen with an armful of leaves picked fresh from the Vegie Patch.
2012 however, was not our most prosperous Kale season, it got smashed! I have a lot of patience for gardening so spent anywhere from 5-30 minutes most mornings diligently picking green cabbage moth caterpillars off by hand (including eggs on the underside of the leaves). This was working okay until we had a few days away and when we returned we found the leaves stripped bare with hundreds of grasshoppers having moved in whilst no one was home. I salvaged what I could but overall it was a pretty poor harvest for the Vegie Patch MKII in the new house.
Ideally I’d like to encourage more natural insect predators to prevent this happening again like Pee-Wee birds but as our house is surrounded by three houses with cats and with Evi spending a significant amount of time snooping in the garden it is not exactly the most conducive to a fully balanced eco-system. Other common remedys like spraying chilli-onion-garlic mixes onto the plants or hanging them from stockings in the garden to deter grasshoppers seem to have a negligible effect, be an eyesore and also deter me from eating the leaves.
So this year as it is coming into the cooler growing season I am determined to have an abundance of Kale and have just planted 28 seedings but this time I have taken the following steps to prepare the garden including:
- I dug and turned the soil in the garden beds thoroughly over the summer months to kill and/or bury any grasshopper eggs as well as covered the ground in a thick (10+cm) mulch to make it even harder for any hatching insects to make it to the surface.
- I have allowed decoy plants like Nasturtiums to grow in parts of the garden I don’t intend to use for vegetables so that the cabbage moth and other pests will focus on them before the Kale.
- The most simple concept of all…I have applied several years of childhood meccano set engineering experience + my $30 battery drill to put up what I hope to be a grasshopper and butterfly proof barrier shown below. It won’t win any points for ‘glamour’ by SJ’s standards!
It is fair to say it has been a while between recipe shares on here. With the upcoming release of my book and finalising the food inclusions to make sure they are ‘perfect’ I have been a bit over-worked in the kitchen. That said, Evi concluded that since it was Anzac Day tomorrow I had better throw you guys a bone so I whipped up some Vegan Gluten Free Anzac Biscuits this morning that are absolutely scrumptious. Perfect to have with a cuppa after a dawn service tomorrow!
Frank Warren kicked off his PostSecret Australian tour in Brisbane last night at the Tivoli and we’re still riding the wave of such an emotionally charged event. It was exhilarating! Frank gave us an insight to his childhood, his parents and his own battle with depression. He talked about his calling in November 2004 to hand out 3,000 blank self-addressed postcards to people on the streets of Washington DC asking them to anonymously share a secret that they had never shared with anyone before with the hope of getting 100 in his mailbox. He had no idea how much PostSecret was needed in the world and since then he has received 500,000+ secrets (some of which he shares at his events) and PostSecret.com is the most visited advertisement free blog in the world.
Key take-aways from the evening: Read More
It’s Evi’s 8th birthday on Sunday April 14 and to celebrate she’s decided she’s giving up to 20 fur babies the opportunity to try a sample of her Australian Made 100% Organic Vegan Dog Treats. Special!
All you need to do to be in the running is post a pic of your pooch on Instagram and tag @aconsciouslife and use #evistreats by midnight Sunday 14th April (her birthday). It’s that simple! Winners will be notified here on the blog and on Instagram on Monday 15th April.
PLEASE SHARE THIS WITH YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY and if you want to read about what prompted us to create this product for our wee girl you can read more about Evi’s story here.
Today’s topic complementary medicines (vitamins, supplements and herbal remedies) is one of my ‘pet peeves’ of the health industry and as many of my patients and clients will tell you I work hard to ensure they use their money to buy ‘real food’ and engage in fun ways to exercise because there is no ‘magic pill’ that is going to do the work for you, no matter how powerful the manufacturers marketing campaign. It can be a tough battle convincing some people though as Australians spend >$1.2 Billion a year on vitamins, herbal remedies and natural medicine in the hope that products like Swisse’s Ultiboost Appetite Suppressant with Slimaluma will turn their body into Sonia Kruger’s.
This brings me to a segment from ABC’s ‘The Checkout’ that I wanted to share with you that blows the lid on manufacturers like Swisse (sorry Ellen, we loved having you in Australia but the folks that paid for your trip don’t have a lot of integrity). It shows how flawed the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) is in Australia in terms of allowing complementary medicines to go to market and how their ‘spot checks’ are pretty much meaningless.
If you are not able to watch the video right now, here’s the gist of it:
We were in New York City recently and although we did a lot of cooking ourselves we enjoyed getting out and about to some of our favourite eateries. If you’re wondering how to stay healthy whilst you are in the big apple give some of these places a try. Our absolute favourite is Hu Kitchen so that’s why it is up the top but the others are in no particular order.
- Hu Kitchen – Without a doubt this place comes in at #1 for us. The layout, the variety of food (all organic with plenty of paleo, GF, vegan + vegetarian options) and seriously the world’s BEST chocolate – if you go there you have to try the Almond Butter and Quinoa variety…and bring us back some!
We have been doing a bit of travel lately and let’s just say long-haul flights and autoimmune diseases are not a match made in heaven! I have had to be really gentle with myself and remember I don’t need to be all things to all people all the time and allow my body to adapt to new time zones, seasons, environments and cultures – all of which impact our overall health and wellbeing. Jet lag hits me pretty hard but I have got better at dealing with it with these top tips: