This pretty tea is a delicious treat in Summer when served chilled as iced tea although it can be served warm too. My partner’s Mum used to make this tea from fresh hibiscus flowers when he was young in Sri Lanka. Hibiscus tea has a tart cranberry-like taste that reminds me of Ribena that I used to drink growing up but without all the sugar! It’s a healthy alternative to soft drinks and cordial for kids. Hibiscus tea is caffeine-free and has lots of health benefits and antioxidant properties. It can help lower blood pressure and high cholesterol. It also helps raise the immune system, improve digestion and skin conditions as well as relieving anxiety and depression symptoms.
Bio-dynamic and organic farming practices are both more similar than they are different when compared to modern day farming practices. This is because bio-dynamic and organic farming both strictly forbid the use of harmful chemical pesticides and fertilisers.
The main difference between them is that biodynamic farmers create their fertilisers from the resources of the farm itself, whereas organic farmers can buy fertilisers in from outside the farm. For example, a truck-load of chook manure or rock minerals may be purchased for an organic farm and spread out on to the soil. That is not to say that some organic farms don’t create their own fertility on-farm. It’s just not as high in the priorities, philosophy or standards compared to the biodynamic farmer. Biodynamic agriculture is a self-containing, self-sustainable method of farming.
What is Biodynamics?
Bio-dynamics was created by Rudolf Steiner, an Austrian scientist, in the early 1900’s. Bio-dynamic farmers use a set of bio-dynamic preparations to add soil biology to the soil or compost instead of a chemical. This soil biology has a composting action to produce humus (the only true plant food). For example, 500 is a preparation used as a spray that is made from cow manure and refers to the millions of micro-organisms contained in it. These act like a broad-spectrum probiotic to break down the root systems, leaves and manures to compost them.
The farmers are trained to know how soil biology works and use certain techniques to maintain and increase humus levels.
The goals of the bio-dynamic farmer include;
- To grow the most nutritious plants possible and to build health for the end user.
- To use a closed farm system that has very little, if anything, brought onto the property to treat the soil or plant.
- To increase the humus bank in the soil, so there is enough for future crops. If there is a lack of elements or unusual climate conditions then some substances may be needed to fix a situation. In this case, permission must be received by the farmer from the certifying body, before proceeding.
So, what are the benefits of eating biodynamic and organic produce?
Bio-dynamic plants look individual, are naturally sized, lighter green in colour and have upright leaves. The root system is mostly small and hairy and the produce lasts a long time in the fridge. This is in contrast with the produce you find in a supermarket that has been fed water-soluble fertilisers. It all looks the same (factory-like), go limp quickly and lacks in flavour. Bio-dynamic and organic food are better for the environment as they have not been grown with harmful chemicals. Thanks to the sustainable farming practices that add more nutrients back into the soil, the food is generally more nutritious and flavoursome.
This is a different kind of bread using whole grain instead of flour. Quinoa gives a dense and nutty flavour and texture. Quinoa is a very nutritious superfood grain containing protein and it is naturally gluten-free. Using whole quinoa makes this bread less processed than those with flours so it is a nice change. It is easy to make because no yeast or rising required. For gluten-free, make sure your ingredients like bicarb soda are gluten-free. Delicious served with grass-fed butter!
This Beans Curry recipe is a great way to make beans taste delicious and makes a healthy meal or side dish. Inspired by a Sri Lankan dish, it is a regular dish we make in our home. It is easy to make with ingredients most people keep in their pantry and gluten-free if you use gluten-free spices. Turmeric is a wonderful spice to use in your cooking and has many health benefits such as having anti-inflammatory properties. The spices in curry powder are thought to help prevent diseases like Alzheimers Disease. Use organic spices and ingredients to make it even healthier. Serve with a whole grain like brown rice or quinoa or chicken and our delicious pumpkin curry (see our Recipes).
Many weight-loss diets today may help you lose weight successfully, but, they do not meet the nutritional needs of your body. This is the reason why people become ill and develop complications following such diet plans that demand food restriction or low-fat/cleansing approaches. I realized this after having tried them myself – I lost weight, but I also became malnourished, and my body lost many essential minerals.
The consequence of this is dangerous, for it becomes a struggle to rebuild and regain all the nourishment that was depleted from your system – it could take years to get back in good health. Also, your body begins to starve for nutrients, causing you to go back to eating more and gaining unhealthy weight, leading you to yo yo dieting.
We already know that fat loss isn’t just about eating less and exercising more. Toxins in your environment; food, air and water lead to fat gain (and inhibit fat loss) irrespective of how much you eat or exercise. Therefore, here’s a more sensible approach that will not just help you lose weight, but cut down toxins, and ensures you aren’t starved or deprived of nutrition.
- Eat more healthy fats: While many still believe and promote low-fat diets, research shows that your body needs healthy fats, and that they are required for weight loss. The brain is made of fats, and Omega 3 fatty acids are needed for a healthy brain and body. Swap unhealthy fats for healthy ones like sardines, fatty meats like lamb and chicken thighs, nuts, nut butter, and dairy products like butter and olive oil. Grass-fed dairy products are the best as they are rich in Omega 3’s.
- Eat organic and avoid food additives: Organic food contain less chemicals as they aren’t sprayed with pesticides/herbicides, and no chemicals are used in processing or in the animal providing the meat/dairy. High-fat dairy products, nuts and oils often contain lots of chemicals. These chemicals get stored in fat tissues, contributing to weight gain and obesity. Therefore, eating organic would be your best choice. As for food additives, those to avoid include artificial colours, flavours and sweeteners, preservatives and MSG. These are toxic to the body and contain substances that stimulate appetite and interfere with thyroid and pituitary gland activity. They can also affect cell transport causing toxins to accumulate in the cells, preventing weight loss.
- Eat more vegetables: cooked vegetables are easier to digest and contain lots of minerals that are essential for good health. They contain Sulphur which helps the body and liver detox, while minerals provide the body with energy to burn fat. Fibre in vegetables aids in weight loss, too.
- Cut off sugar and wheat out of your diet (or limit your intake, at least): These are two major culprits in weight gain especially processed white sugar and wheat flour that have no nutrition but calories.
- Get plenty of sleep and rest: This actually helps your body function better, run efficiently, and burn more fat. Sleep loss over time may contribute to weight gain and obesity. It elevates certain hormone levels in the body, like cortisol. This hormone makes you hold onto extra fat. It may also increase your appetite and lead to a slower metabolism. While sleeping, you also burn nearly as many calories as you do while watching TV.
As you see, a holistic approach with simple do’s and don’ts is what you need to reach your weight-loss goals. With discipline, proper practice, and motivation as key, anyone can lose weight naturally and stay completely healthy and happy.