Tuesday, 1 January 2019

January 2019: listen!


December was a month of indulgence. And not a good one for listening to whispers: there’s too much shouting going on. So, keeping an ear open for your body’s complaints may have been difficult; but in January we should have a little more time.

The avalanche of potions and pills around these days, makes it so easy to attack every discomfort with medicine. Headache? Ibuprofen. Tummyache? Paracetamol. Can’t sleep? Zimovane, etcetera. Sometimes this is necessary: when you are really busy and can’t miss a beat, a pill can be a godsent. But are you, always?
Do you know what causes your headache? And do you really need to delete it with a pill every time? For the cause will stay, and may well get worse. And those pills always have side effects.

When you catch colds too easily, or when a fever won’t go away, when your leg or your chest or your bottom seems to hurt, this means something’s not right. And it is best to listen, and react.
When a child catches a fever, it’s probably one of the many childhood diseases. And dealing with it wisely rather than using pills, will improve their immune system [1].

Your body is constantly talking to you.
When you notice you are tired, try to take the time to rest and ask yourself what you can do to improve things. How often do you push yourself, grab a cup of caffeine or eat something sugary to lift your energy, to keep you on task? Forgetting all the while that something was trying to get your attention?
When you have a headache, before you grab an aspirin and forget you even had one, remember that your body is reminding you to be gentle with yourself. It is - still - whispering.
When you lay in bed restless and can’t seem to get to sleep, don't go immediately for a sleeping aid. Take a few moments to write your worries and concerns on a piece of paper so you can feel a bit lighter in mind and body [2].

One of the clear ways your body speaks to you is pain. But your body is not the enemy! Some people can't feel pain at all - a terrible affliction which leads to an accumulation of wounds, bruises, broken bones, and other health issues that may go undetected, often leading to a shortened life.
Pain is a warning sign. Use it sensibly. If you don't heed it, you may regret it forever. 

Whenever you feel a cold coming on, don't just grab a pill. Eat more fruit and veg. Drink a lot. And build up your immune system. See the Thought of October 2014.

If your throat starts to complain, don't just grab a pill. Avail yourself of the many home remedies around, and build up your immune system. See the Thought of November 2014.

If you tend to get indigestion, don't just grab a pill. Have one if you must, but when you get the time, ask yourself what might have caused it. For instance, heartburn is likely to be the result of too much, rather than too little stomach acid: which means that the very last thing you should do is an antacid. See the Thought of December 2018. 

If your arthritis is getting worse, your blood pressure too high, your eyes are deteriorating etc. etc., you could consult our alphabetical index and find out what else you can do, instead of medicating. The companies flogging these tablets don't want us to get better. They want us to go on buying them forever.  

"It is too easy to medicate, numb or cut out the parts of your body that cause you pain. If you do not get at the root cause, it will show up over and over again in various ways." [3]


Veg: Brussels', beet, sprout tops, cabbage, celeriac, celery, corn salad, Jerusalem artichokes, carrots, salsify, kale, kohlrabi, landcress, leeks, parsnips, pumpkin/squash, rocket, spinach, swede, turnips, winter (= black/white) radish, endive, winter purslane.
Meat: wood pigeon, pheasant, wild duck, goose, grouse, partridge, venison. For game recipes, see www.gametoeat.co.uk/.
Fish: coley, megrim, hake, clams, crab, cuttlefish, mussels, oysters, scallops, whiting.

Shallots are traditionally planted on the shortest day. You can still plant garlic: buy heads from a proper supplier to prevent disease.
If you leave veg in the ground, apply a thick mulch (straw, bracken or newspaper) for protection, so you can get them out easily. And check http://www.gardenorganic.org.uk/your-organic-garden-december-and-january?dm_i=4UO,4NFGO,JCJBU,HC8AU,1 for what else you can do in January. 


Pumpkin/squash, other vegetables (leek, cabbage, onion, swede, garlic, celery, carrot, parsnip, tomato purée), herbs (rosemary, thyme), spices (cayenne/chilli pepper, coriander, cumin, nutmeg, ginger, paprika powder, cardamom, curry powder, turmeric, masala), (sour) cream* …. whatever you fancy and have lying around.
Peel pumpkin and take the seeds out. Cut it up in ab. 2cm pieces. Cook with the other chopped vegetables, spices, herbs and salt, till everything is soft. Mash or purée. Add salt, pepper and (sour) cream.

*Try make it full-fat if possible: fat helps absorb the nutrients and does not make you fat at all! See the Thought of November 2018 and https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/hsph-in-the-news/full-fat-dairy-may-reduce-obesity-risk/.

KALE, SAUSAGE and POTATOES with RED WINE - the original recipe has pasta but I prefer potatoes. If using pasta, just put it in the water when it boils, along with the kale.
Kale, potatoes and sausages for 4; 130ml red wine; tin of tomatoes or 2tblsp of tomato paste, large onion.
Cut up the onion, chop the sausages in 4. Fry both together for about 10 minutes, but make sure the onions don’t burn. Add the wine and tomato (purée). Let boil gently, covered, while preparing the rest. Cut the potatoes in pieces of about 2-2½ cm. Strip the kale off its thick midriffs and chop finely. Put the potatoes in cold water and bring to the boil; then add the kale. When both are done, drain the water and add the sausage mix. Stir. Season if necessary.

Boil equal amounts of peeled, cut-up parsnips and potatoes until tender. Or a bit less of one or the other, depending on taste and availability: I had a bit more potatoes. Drain, mash with butter, milk, and grated mature cheese; season with salt and pepper. Delicious winter fare.

Leeks for 5, 2 tins of sardines, flour, 1 tin of chopped tomatoes, rosemary, olives, lemon slices.
Cook the leeks in little water, set aside, and keep the liquid. Heat 4-5 tblsp oil from the sardine tin and ab. 8tblsp flour, all the while stirring. When it’s a nice smooth paste, gradually add the tin of tomatoes, then the leeks and some of their liquid till the thickness feels right. Add the sardines, chopped rosemary and olives. Heat through, season and serve with pasta, millet or on bread. Or with potatoes as we do - we grow our own and plenty of them! And don’t forget the slices of lemon.

For more recipes see January issues from former years. Or go to https://thoughtforfoodaw.wordpress.com, which still has eight recipes for this year. 
We also have an alphabetical index of subjects, which you will see if you click on this month, in the top right hand corner.