My health and wellbeing design – LEARN

A really important part of this design for me is to educate myself about health and wellbeing. So I have added ‘L’ for Learn to the design process acronym  SADIMET Making it now SLADIMET. I wanted to find information and inspiration from a variety of sources to draw on to develop my design. I love learning new things and wanted this design to give me the inspiration to continue expanding my knowledge.

One of the first thinking tools that I found useful was The circle of life. This divides your life into twelve important areas. They are; spirituality, creativity, finances, career, education, health, physical activity, home cooking, joy, social life, home environment and relationships. You grade how successful you feel your life is in each area by plotting a point on the circle. The centre of the circle is’ terrible’ and the edge of the circle is ‘wonderful’. The resultant image gives you a visual indication of areas that may require your attention or work.


So from this activity I noted that four main areas that required my attention were home cooking, physical activity, spirituality and career/finances. I did some initial work on trying to link all four areas into this design, but eventually decided that career/finances, was too separate from the other three and really required a design all of its own. I am working on creating a poly-income for myself, so will definitely be coming back to address this area of my life in due course.


I used the twelve ‘circle of life’ headings to begin a brainstorm for my Zone 00 design. I looked at each area again, just in case I had missed anything and to spark off new ideas. This was a very useful exercise and I would recommend it to anyone wanting to make positive changes in their life and not really knowing where to begin.


A lot of my learning came through the 6 month course that I undertook ‘Eat, smile, live’. It was carried out via regular videos and link sent to me. There was also a lively Facebook forum created where all the students on the course could share ideas and ask questions of the tutor and each other. I learnt loads about wholefoods and healthy lifestyle attitudes. I have lots of new ingredients in my pantry now and new recipes under my belt. I have met a network of people on a similar path and made new online and real-life friends. I have cooked healthy lunches for friends and helped other people learn more about improving their lives through making healthy choices. I can see how this knowledge links very naturally with my work around food growing. So I feel this will help me with future career options too.


I brought a few new books to help me find out more about wholefoods, veganism and healthy eating and to inspire me to try new recipes. I used Graham Burnet’s new book “Vegan permaculture’ and found it very inspiring and helpful. Following are photos of some of my other favourite books.

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As well as writing this blog, I love to read other people’s blogs too and probably spend far too much doing exactly that. Here are some of the most useful blogs that I bookmarked and have returned to time and time again.

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I joined the local Vegan challenge for January 2015. I attended a few of their meetings and social events. I ate a fully Vegan diet during January and am still 90% vegan now, but I have begun having honey in my tea again. I love bees and feel that as long as they are being kept in an ethical manner, then bee-keepers are helping rather than harming the planet. So sweet tea is back in my life thank goodness!


Adventures in whole foods – Making my own milk

No I have not brought a cow.

No I am not banging on about the wonders of breast-feeding yet again

I have discovered how to make Almond milk!

For the last six months or so we have switched from cow’s milk to almond milk. My son has eczema and dairy in all forms seems to make his skin far worse. So I decided to cut out dairy from his diet and mine. I am breast-feeding him still and if I ate a lot of dairy products, It did seem to have an effect (OK so I did mention breast-feeding just a tiny bit)

We have been buying Almond milk and noticed that the almond content seemed incredibly low at just 2% This led me to wonder about how this type of milk was made and if it was possibly to do it myself. In a lucky piece of timing, the tutor on my health and nutrition course sent us a video last week of herself making a green smoothie that included her making her own almond milk-perfect! So this morning I gave it a go and I am happy to report that it is quick, easy, cheaper than buying the cartons and very very tasty.

IMG_2658Step 1. Buy some whole almonds

IMG_2659Step 2. Soak your almonds overnight in plenty of cold water

IMG_2660Step 3. The next morning, rinse them carefully. You need roughly 1 cup of soaked almonds to 3 cups of cold water.

IMG_2661Step 4. Put the almonds and water into your blender. Blend on high for a few minutes.

IMG_2663Step 5. Pour the milk into a sieve lined with a muslin. You can buy special nut milk bags  but I found this worked just as well as didn’t cost me any money- which is always good!

IMG_2665Step 6. Pour the milk into a glass container through a funnel. I am using re-purposed lemonade bottles. Store the milk in your fridge, I think it is ok to keep for 3 or 4 days, but it is so tasty I don’t think it will last that long.

IMG_2664Step 6. The almond pulp can be used for baking, composted or I may feed mine to the chickens.

Step 7. Enjoy in your cups of tea, poured over cereals or in a hot chocolate!

Food from my garden – May

This month I have been keeping a record of foods we have eaten using ingredients from our garden. I was expecting May to have slim pickings from our little patch of goodness. The quantites of veggies we picked were limited but we actually had far greater variety than I had expected.


In a previous post I mentioned; rhubarb crumble, salads, wild garlic, fresh eggs, mint tea and lemon balm tea.My eldest daughter has become a top-class herbal tea maker. I think in the summer we will drink these teas cold over ice too.


Throughout May we have also enjoyed mange-tout, radishes, fresh herbs especially basil, chives and oregano. Also ‘posh’ salads with calendula flowers, chive flowers, sorrel, numerous types of lettuces, beetroot leaves, pea shoots and a few small spring onions.

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One of my biggest crowd-pleasing dinners was pasta with homemade wild garlic and basil pesto. Here is the reciepe, I didn’t measure anything, so just use quantities you have to hand in this more or less balanced ratio.



Take a big handful of basil and the same of wild garlic and chop them up finely.

Grate about 150g of cheddar cheese

Using a pestle and mortar, bash up handful of mixed nuts (I used half salted and half plain) Pine nuts would be lovely in here too.


Combine the ingredients in a bowl with a good glug of olive oil and some black pepper.


Serve over hot pasta and let everyone help themselves! Yum!