Margarine vs Butter

It seems that margarine is the master of re-invention.

Whatever the latest health buzz is, you can be sure margarine is re-formulating to take advantage, whether it's "cholesterol free" or "added plant sterols for heart health"...

Meanwhile, butter is still...well, butter.

But which one is the healthiest, I hear you ask? Isn't butter full of that dreaded saturated fat? Don't doctors recommend margarine?

If you go to the website below, you'll be able to see how both butter and margarine are made...

I know which one I'd rather be eating...

Don't you?

Update: Raw Food Challenge


It's been over a month since I started my Raw Food Challenge. In the beginning, I was doing terrific and reaching my goal of eating at least 70% raw. But then...

I was REALLY busy, had visitors, and the weather turned cool, and...

[insert any other excuse that comes to mind] and I got a bit distracted.


The good news is that I'm still eating more raw than I normally would. On any given day, I estimate that I'm eating about half raw, half cooked, which is still an improvement, though not quite where I'd like to be.

As for my skin? Hmmmmmm.

As I type, every spare millimetre of chin and cheek area on my face is covered in break-outs. Worse than ever!! I am trying not to be disheartened by this turn of events. It is my experience that when making healthy changes, things get worse before they get better as the body cleanses itself.

After I started the raw challenge, I began oil-pulling (read this post if you are feeling thoroughly confused right now), and also drinking raw apple cider vinegar twice a day (mixed with water and a pinch of stevia), PLUS I'm due to give birth in the next week or two, so any or all of these could be making a contribution to the pimple problem.

On second thoughts, the skin breakouts might be caused by my guilty little secret!! My sugar-free diet has been hijacked by those little green packets of Aussie Drops hard-boiled eucalyptus lollies. Aaaarrrgh. My pregnancy cravings for these babies is bordering on obsession!!

Never mind. The other bit of good news is that I'm broadening my horizens in the kitchen. Some of the new recipes I've made so far:

 - Raw Almond Milk. The leftover nut meat that I strained out was turned into honey and almond muffins. Not raw, but my boys loved them for a mid-morning treat.

 - Raw Rice Milk

 - Raw Cashew Milk (my favourite so far)

 - Raw Almond and Sesame Balls. (These tasted just like those yummy, sticky sesame bars you can buy in the shops. I did take a photo, but some helpful little person seems to have erased it from my camera...)

 - Raw Lemon and Coconut Slice (this one is currently setting in the fridge so can't say how it turned out.....but it tasted pretty darned nice when I was licking the "dough" off my fingers...)

 - Raw Oatmeal and Raisin Cookies.

Oh. And I've also been dipping my spoon into this jar...

of raw chocolate on a regular basis, too. Very yummy, and no cane sugar either.

My next projects are making some of these divine-looking raw brownies, and also this raw chia pudding.

By the way, I've only just discovered The Rawtarian site. As a complete bumbling newbie at raw food "uncooking", I absolutely *heart* this girl! Her site is full of easy, fuss-free recipes, and I can't recommend it highly enough.

Since stumbling across her site, I've had a renewed enthusiasm for my raw food challenge. Today I went and bought my first ever jar of agave syrup and my first ever packet of nutritional yeast. There is no stopping me, now!

I am soldiering on, pimples and all...

The Convenient Myth


In the beginning, I made changes to our lifestyle, purely for health reasons.

And the benefits were so noticeable and remarkable, that I stuck with it.

But over time, I've started to realise the other implications of our new simpler, less materialistic lifestyle. Every time I make something from scratch, instead of buying it pre-made and pre-packaged, I have taken a stand for the health of the Earth.

Think about it this way:

For every unnecessary item I buy, resources have been used up in order to make it, package it and ship it.

 - Chemicals have probably been used in the production. Those chemicals and other waste products have to go somewhere - most likely leaching into the soil or waterways downstream of where they are produced, or simply dumped into the ocean.

 - Energy has been used to produce it, and probably from coal-fired power plants, which happen to be the world's largest emitters of mercury air emissions. Mercury is the second most toxic substance known to man, and a human carcinogen, not to mention all it's other effects on the brain and vital organs.

Coal-fired power stations also emit arsenic and other toxic metals, acid gases and dioxin.

 - Transport has been used to get the product from the place of manufacture to the place of sale. In today's global marketplace, and with our obsession for cheap, foreign products, this often means the item is made in China, then shipped to Australia - a distance of roughly 8500 kilometres.

 - And then when I get tired of the product/use it up/break it/no longer need it, it ends it's life in landfill. One estimate is that every Australian produces an average of 3kgs of waste every day. I am not overly good at mathematics, but by my calculations, with a population of around 22 million, this equates to 66,000 tonnes - or 66 million kilos - of waste EVERY SINGLE DAY. 

Apparently we are the second most wasteful nation on earth, coming in behind the United States. Hardly an achievement to be proud of...

The figures are just mind-boggling. And so obviously unsustainable. How long can we keep this up???

And when did humans start being referred to as "consumers", anyway?

The more I think about it, the more I believe that without a healthy planet, it is impossible to have healthy humans. It's all inter-connected. WE are all inter-connected.

And so...although I am only one amongst billions, and my contribution may seem small...I will continue to live as simply as I can, and not purchase things based on that notion we call "convenience".

After all, polluted water and soil and air are anything but "convenient"....

"Only when the last tree has been cut down, and the last river poisoned, and the last fish been caught, will we realise that we cannot eat money" (Cree Indian Proverb)

An Octogenarian's Secret to a Long, Vibrant Life


I have a great-auntie who is an amazing, inspirational woman.

She is in her 80's now, takes no medications, lives on her own in a big house, bakes her own bread and tends a large, enviable garden of herbs and vegetables and flowers.

But the thing that everyone notices and comments on, is her zest for living, her seemingly boundless energy and love of fun. She is a little powerhouse of energy and fun! Everyone I know adores her. She is a surrogate "nanna" to a number of young people who admire her, and love to visit her.

One day, a few years ago, she was visiting and helping my brother do some renovations on his house. I was in my early 20's then, and struggling to keep up with her, as she washed and cleaned walls in readiness to paint

I asked her what was her secret for having so much energy and spark.

Her reply?

"Every time I eat a meal, or make a sandwich, I go into the garden and pick a whole heap of herbs to eat with it. My sandwiches are nearly all green."

I didn't appreciate the logic at the time, but as I've become more health-conscious, I've thought often of her words, and how some herbs, like parsley, are true super-foods, rich in all the nutrients that humans need to survive and thrive.

(Parsley has more vitamin C than any other vegetable, and rich in folic acid, iron, Vitamin B12, Vitamin K, chlorophyll and beta-carotene, along with smaller amounts of just about every nutrient currently known to man....A true superfood, and not just on your plate for decoration!!)

Food for thought....

My Experience with "Oil-Pulling"

Recently, I was on a natural remedies website  and someone mentioned "oil-pulling". What on earth?!?! I'd never heard of this before...

My curiosity was too much to bear. I had to know all about this practice of "oil-pulling".

Turns out it's an ancient Ayurvedic practice, where you swish oil around in your mouth for 20 minutes - first thing in the morning, and apparently it "pulls" toxins out of the bloodstream, helps your body detox by stimulating the meridians of the major elimination organs, as well as killing harmful bacteria in your mouth.

It was still early in the morning, and I hadn't yet had breakfast, so I was keen to give it a try. I suspected that my body was trying to fight off some kind of virus as my stomach had been feeling "off" and for a few days I kept getting severe muscle weakness in my arms and legs.

The only oil I had was cold-pressed Sweet Almond Oil. I put a tablespoon in my mouth and swished it around gently, for 20 minutes, and then spat it into the toilet. (Note: Do NOT swallow, as it is now full of toxins and bacteria.)

The colour had changed to white, just like the instructions said it would.

Almost immediately, and for a few hours after, I could feel gunk (that's mucus to the faint-hearted...) coming down the back of my throat. Could it be, the oil was clearing out my sinuses???

All day, I felt unusually thirsty.

That night, I woke up no less than three times, and each time I was bathed in sweat. But I wasn't hot. I was just sweating like crazy.

The next day I noticed a definite improvement in the muscle weakness symptoms. That night, I again woke up sweating. By the third day the muscle weakness had gone.

I've continued to "oil-pull" each morning (about a week), and I aim to continue long-term. I've now got my eyes peeled for other changes.

Some of the testimonials online are really intriguing. Many people listed dental and gum problems improved, eyesight improved, sinus problems improved, and arthritic conditions improved although many had to persevere for a couple of months before joint problems eased. Several people said that their hair started to grow back as their original colour, instead of grey. And one woman said her husbands eyes became noticeably bluer!

Isn't that fascinating?!

I do not know HOW it works, from a scientific perspective, but then again, I've never belonged to the school of thought that says if it cannot be explained, then it cannot possibly work. I prefer to judge by results, and oil-pulling most definately caused a reaction for me....and I wasn't even using the oils that are generally recommended as most effective (sunflower or sesame).

If you want to learn more about this little-known practice, see here.

And if you decide to take up oil-pulling, do leave me a comment. I'd love to hear what others experience from it.

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