What Have I Been Up To This Month?

What has excited me?

Since attending HEALTH Unplugged last year I’ve become more and more interested in sustainable farming and ethical meat eating. I’ve been copyediting some articles for the Primal Eye and one of my favourite writers is Caroline Watson, who writes about sustainability and ethical farming. Her articles are always the ones that get the most attention from both vegans and meat-eaters alike, so they’re well worth reading. Her articles An Ethical Meat Eater’s Response to Cowspiracy and Is it Morally Right to Eat Meat? are my go-to articles when I get the question ‘isn’t eating meat bad for the environment/animals/human health?’

But I got really excited about sustainability when I met Dr Sarah Beynon at a hen party of a mutual friend. She’s SO interesting. She runs Dr Beynon’s Bug Farm which is a research centre and working farm dedicated to bugs, a really important part of farming ecosystems, which are often decimated in intensive farming practices. Her aim is to run research on farmland biodiversity as well as educate the public on how important bugs are. Even more cool, her partner runs a restaurant on site, Grub Kitchen, that uses edible bugs in some of their dishes. Only problem is the farms in Wales!

I also got excited when I read an article in the Telegraph about grass-fed meat. I think this is the first time I’ve noticed something in mainstream media about how much better grass-fed/pasture-reared cows and chickens are, not just for health but for the environment. I was so shocked that I looked up from my phone at the rest of the passengers in the train to see if they had noticed the momentous, seismic shift in public knowledge this represented. Not a peep, of course – everyone else was far too busy on their own phones. But I read the rest of the article in something of a daze. This is AMAZING! And they even referenced the Pasture for Life label, a little known label that farmers who can guarantee their animals are pastured for life can opt to add to their meat.

On a similar note, I was really excited when a friend told me about Knepp Castle in West Sussex. It’s not really a farm – they have a load of wild animals and cattle that roam around the estate, doing whatever it is animals do. It’s an attempt to re-wild a section of Britain the way it used to be, when animals had predators like wolves – here the regular culling stands in for wolves to keep the numbers down. It’s grass-fed animals taken to a whole new levels – these animals are ENTIRELY free to eat whatever they want, behave how they want, heal themselves how they want. It’s awesome. The meat is sold through Garlic Wood Farm butchers who do deliveries, although unfortunately only in quite large quantities. I’m going to need a second freezer!

What have I been reading?

I finally picked up Chris Kresser’s Your Personal Paleo Diet and started reading it. I bought it a few months ago as I thought I should really read the literature published by all the people I follow. It’s a good thing I did, because it got me all excited about paleo again. Truth be told, I’ve been having my doubts recently, and not really sure whether paleo is the answer to all things. What I love about his book is he says well…maybe it isn’t. But it’s a great starting point and template so do the 30-day reset and then work out what works and what doesn’t. OK, it’s not revolutionary, but I think I’m finally in a place where I might actually do the reintroduction thing properly to really work out what does work for me. I’ve definitely been plateauing recently and just feeling a bit mediocre. Only problem is I’ve got 7 weddings this side of Christmas to get through first!

What have I been listening to?

I’ve been listening to Nourish Balance Thrive a lot recently – it’s a fantastic podcast hosted by Chris Kelly, who’s British but living in California so he has access to loads of really important people in the paleo world. Most recently his episode on sunscreen and vitamin D really interested me because I’m going on holiday in September (ages away!) and had been thinking about going down the coconut oil route to ensure I avoid burning but keep it natural. But this episode suggests that as long as the sunscreen isn’t full of crap then it’s probably a good idea. My plan now is to use coconut oil most of the time but invest in a good quality sunscreen and use it when I’m in full sun for long periods. Generally speaking I’m way more sensible in the sun than I used to be – I tan really easily and find that the sort of tan you get from everyday activity lasts longer than the type of tan you get when doing hardcore sunbathing anyway so I don’t really do that anymore – I avoid the midday sun and enjoy early morning swims and walks and cover up in the heat of the day.
Chris Kelly’s wife hosts the Paleo Baby podcast (don’t be fooled by the name, it’s not just for people with paleo babies!) and she had a great episode recently about environmental toxins in the house. I’m pretty smug about most of my daily products and household cleaning products, although my partner does try hard to sneak chemically stuff in… But I was particularly interested in the guests blogpost about essential oils. There’s been a sudden rise in people I know peddling a particular brand of essential oils which are meant to be purer and better than others. I love essential oils for making the house smell nice but I don’t really use them for health reasons. They’re a bit expensive and although I’m sure they’re great, I just can’t justify spending a lot of money on these things – I’d rather shell out for Knepp Castle meat and good quality fish!

What have I been cooking?

It’s been a quiet month on the recipe front – I just haven’t had a chance! But I did post a few recipes:

And I had a reader tell us all about her Whole30 journey in three parts: Week 1, Week 2, Week 3 and 4.

What else is new?

I’ve finally signed up to the Applying Functional Medicine in Clinical Practice course, a five-day course on 2017 which introduces a functional medicine approach to healthcare. We cover it a bit in the CNM course but this should go into way more detail and bring a functional approach to nutrition, once I start practicing as a Nutritional Therapist. I’m excited – it’s the same one Dr Rangan Chatterjee did a few years back so I know I’ll be in good company. Along with the Natural Chef course I’m hoping this will give me the edge to stand out in what is starting to look a bit like a flood of Nutritional Therapists!
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