January 20, 2014

Heatwave salad

Posted in food, health, life tagged , , , , , , , at 8:45 pm by Margi Macdonald

Too hot to think?
Too hot to move?
Need to feel cool and cleansed?
Too tired to read a recipe?

May I present… Easy carrot salad!!!




It goes well with other salads


And on cooler days and nights, is lovely with pan-fried haloumi or eggplant slices.
For added protein, throw in a handful of nuts.


Salad preparation and clean-up is easy, and almost carbon-neutral!



January 5, 2012

Farewell futile expectation, desire and resolution.

Posted in brisbane, food, health, life tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , at 8:35 pm by Margi Macdonald

A few days late, but never mind, I’ve been relaxing and working hard on a garden make-over.

So here it is, a few thoughts about 2012, and NOT making resolutions.

A friend shared these 6 Habits of Cultivating Happiness from the Greater Good Science Center. So easy and gentle, I’m sharing these on my fridge for the whole family.

The transition from 2011 to 2012 revealed an overdue shift in how we think about food and our bodies, endless dieting, shame and judgement.

As so many of us are seduced into believing we must be svelte, skinny and super-fit by mid-January and forever onwards, I’ll share these articles with you. A health professional with a love of fresh food and cooking, my hope is that clients embrace guilt-free enjoyment of great food and regular, life-affirming activity. It’s a relief to find others are exploring these ideas.

This much we know: there’s fat chance of staying slim

Getting off weight’s vicious cycle

You may also want to know that a new study published in the prestigious medical journal The Lancet shows that ” just 15 minutes a day of moderate-intensity physical activity is all it takes to reap major benefits. A little bit of exercise can do a lot of good, and some is always better than none.” From Medicine Matters by Dr. Sandra Fryhofer.

I call moderate exercise :

any form of housework or gardening which raises heart-rate and a sweat

jumping or skipping

doing the Time Warp or the Hokey Pokey – with zest and laughter

brisk walking in lovely, fresh places

saluting the sun – yoga

getting off the bus or train one stop before your usual stop, and walking the rest of the way

taking the stairs, not the elevator or escalator

What are your favourite forms of exercise? We’d love your ideas and insights, shared with a comment below.


Cautions and care: This article is provided for your information and enjoyment. Before beginning a new exercise program, it’s always a good idea to see your family doctor for a check-up. Similarly, if you or a loved one are struggling with an emotional or mental health concern, see your doctor.

Image: © Margi Macdonald

November 30, 2010

Imagining beauty and health

Posted in cooking, food, health, life, love tagged , , , , , , , at 10:20 am by Margi Macdonald

We certainly take a different view these says, about feminine beauty….

…compared to Botticelli’s exquisite 15th century depiction of beauty herself…

What’s going on here?

Are you able to enjoy your body without guilt?

Is each meal and snack a reason to admonish yourself with critical self-judgment?

Are you a slave to someone else’s opinion about how you should look?

How do you balance your need to move and to be still, to be nourished and comfortable, to enjoy yourself, and to be healthy?



Photographer and rights not acknowledged at online source.

Botticelli The Birth of Venus c 1486

October 19, 2010

You belong here

Posted in health, life tagged , , , , , at 9:01 am by Margi Macdonald

Thank-you for visiting.

Visitors and readers are the lifeblood of spaces like this, and are part of the warp and weft of a good blog.

In our stories and conversations, we weave a tapestry of shared experience, knowledge and wisdom.

These pages are for you… tell us…. what would you like to see, hear and discover?

What interests you?

Which health and well-being topics would you like to explore?

Put the kettle on, make a cup of tea, sit a while, and spend some time exploring the archives.

Never miss a new article; be sure to sign up to receive updates by email, or by RSS.

You belong here.


Image: A Mon Seul Desir – from The Lady and The Unicorn Series of Medieval Tapestries.


October 12, 2010

“Sugar is good for you!” – and for the people who sell sugar (via The Ethical Nag)

Posted in cooking, food, health, life tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 10:51 am by Margi Macdonald

India - Haridwar - 010 - vegetables for sale in Bara Bazaar

Do we imagine things are different here in Australia?
I think not.

Do you have a sweet tooth? Do you chew your food quickly, eat while watching TV or checking your emails, or constantly snack while on-the-run?

Many foods, including a number of vegetables and most meats, are naturally sweet. We don’t appreciate their naturally sweet appeal unless we take a bit of time to chew thoroughly, mindfully paying attention to our food and the pleasurable ritual of eating.

The benefits are that an enzyme in saliva which breaks down the natural sugars in these foods does its best work when food spends an adequate period of time in our mouths. We can enjoy the sweet flavour without ever needing to ingest added sugars and sweeteners. We simply need to chew thoroughly.

The other benefit of mindfully enjoying naturally sweet foods – indeed all foods – is that we consume less.

Yes, you read it correctly! There’s a satiety centre in our brains which signals to us when we’ve had sufficient. Unfortunately, the distractions of all our screens, and fast-food-gulping ensure that many of us keep wolfing it down, well after the brain has reminded us we need to stop.

Your sweet challenge for the week?

See how many common vegetables are really quite sweet, when cooked simply and eaten slowly.

Yum yum!

"Sugar is good for you!" - and for the people who sell sugar I just love this. Guess what the Sugar Association recommends in its publication called “Pleasing Picky Eaters’ Taste Buds”? Apparently, “youngsters may find vegetables sprinkled with sugar more enjoyable to eat”. Of course they will. Personally, I’d find corrugated cardboard sprinkled with sugar more enjoyable to eat, too.  That does not make it good for me. And under the “Don’t Worry, Mom” section, the Sugar Association reassures us: “The good … Read More

via The Ethical Nag


Image: India – Haridwar 010 – vegetables for sale in Bara Bazaar. McKay Savage on Flickr. Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

Words: © Margi Macdonald at Some Energy Thing. © Carolyn Thomas at The Ethical Nag

October 4, 2010


Posted in brisbane, cooking, food, health, life tagged , , , , , at 2:19 pm by Margi Macdonald

Who can deny the simple, glorious pleasure of a tiny, perfectly ripe, sweet, juicy strawberry?

Or, indeed a bowl-full?

Why do we love them?

  • their presence at the markets means it’s springtime
  • growers who love to sell them at farmers’ markets are always very proud of these sweet red delights
  • they’re fun, healthful fast-food, containing Vitamin C and silicon, and usually have more iron and potassium than the other berries
  • they dress up and down, with minimal accessorising, and always look good
  • children love them
  • they belong to the same class of plants as roses
  • Eastern medicine considers they have a cooling nature, moisten the Lungs and generate body fluids, and can benefit episodes of sore, dry throat or hoarse voice. Belonging to the spring-phase, they’re an ideal addition to an activating, cleansing diet.

Strawberry nonsense, full of trickery and fakery and things you really shouldn’t swallow, lick, or kiss too often:

  • strawberry-flavoured anything… lipbalms, lipsticks, perfumes. Why? There’s simply no such thing as a ‘natural’ strawberry flavour or aroma. Trust me on this.
  • non-organically grown or mass-produced strawberries. Why? Poor little stawbs… they’re a fruit which is usually doused with all kinds of agricultural chemicals, and is often hybridised to be tough and hardy  { including in your mouth }.  They’re often picked way too soon, which means they never ripen, and arrive in their plastic punnets, all sour, cranky and tart.

How do you enjoy strawberries?


Images: Renoir Strawberries 1905; strawberry illustration sourced at Wikipedia, origin not noted.

Words: © Margi Macdonald

Cautions and Care: This article is for your information, and is not a substitute for medical diagnosis and care. If you have a concern about your health or well-being, or that of another, please see your doctor or other approriately qualified and experienced health professional.

August 30, 2010

Asparagus. A cure for road-rage, rampaging and ranting?

Posted in brisbane, food, health, life tagged , , , , , , , , , , , at 6:42 pm by Margi Macdonald

Thanksgiving Asparagus. Marilyn M King

Spring is upon us in this great land down-under, and springtime means fresh asparagus. Don’t be fooled into thinking this classy vegetable grows naturally all year round. It doesn’t. It’s one of nature’s sublime springtime treats, best when its hidden, subterranean parts had the pleasure of a good, cold winter.

So what about the road-raging and ranting? Is there a natural sedative in the pert spears of an asparagus bunch?

Well, not that I know of, yet in Chinese herbal medicine its underground tuber is described by Paul Pitchford as able to “improve the feminine principle, especially in the aggressive person, and is used to ease menstrual difficulties, promote fertility, and increase one’s receptive and compassionate nature.” He s not just talking about women, by the way!

The ritual of preparing and cooking fresh asparagus to perfection, enjoyed with a strip of smoked salmon and a soft-boiled egg might at least slow us down, and give cause for gratitude to mother nature for her spring bounty. Perhaps compassion follows such a dainty feast?

Here’s what else we know about fresh asparagus – not that sad, soggy stuff in cans:

  • It has a natural diuretic, making it an ideal food to naturally shift a little fluid retention
  • When fresh and seasonal, it has good amounts of vitamin C and A, sulphur, folic acid, and potassium, and is naturally low in kilojoules and sodium.
  • it also contains an amino acid – a protein building block – called asparagine, which gives urine that unusual smell after we’ve eaten asparagus.

We understand that in Chinese medical terms, asparagus nourishes the cooling, calming, restorative nature of Yin energy. No surprises there, for a food which spent the winter slumbering and gestating underground, away from Yang warmth and light.

Did you know that the little tips of asparagus are actually its flowers, and that aged Parmesan is a great friend to asparagus?

If you live in Brisbane  Australia, and would like to learn how to cook slow-roasted Kealford Farm Organic Pork with spring asparagus on a cauliflower and white bean mash, and many other seasonal wonders contact me.

My colleague Jillaine Wheeler – The Pantry Practitioner – is cooking this, and other family friendly fare in a cooking class this September. There’s also an artichoke and aioli starter, a wild salmon rillette, deeply nourishing, creamy green ice cream, and organic, preservative-free rose on the menu. I hope you can join us.

How do you like to serve and enjoy asparagus? Are you lucky enough to live in a place where fat,white asparagus is common? Let us know with a comment.


Image : Thanksgiving Asparagus Oil on gessoed board.© Marilyn M King. Used with kind permission. This and other similarly beautiful oil paintings available at Small Oil Paintings

Words: Margi Macdonald

Cautions: The information here is not a substitute for face-to-face health care provided by a health professional, nor can it be construed as advice for the management of any physical, mental or emotional disorder. Please see your Doctor is you have a health concern.

August 24, 2010

Living on $2 a day. Could you? Would you?

Posted in food, health, life, love tagged , , , , , , , , , , , at 10:07 am by Margi Macdonald

Internationally, the Extreme Poverty Line is defined as the equivalent of $2 a day. 1.4 billion people currently live below this line, that is 1.4 billion people who do not have the basic choices and opportunities that most Australians take for granted.  Imagine just eating below the poverty line for one week – Rachel Hills did.

Read about Rachel’s experience here

Visit Live Below the Line and consider that many of us in the First World are malnourished despite being overfed, overindulged, and over-resourced.

What does this mean to you?

Image: This image is a work of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, part of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, taken or made during the course of an employee’s official duties. As a work of the U.S. federal government, the image is in the public domain.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

September 12, 2009

Feasts for mind and mouth and heart

Posted in brisbane, food, fragrance, health, life, writing tagged , , , , , , at 1:58 pm by Margi Macdonald

Sometimes we chance upon a piece of writing so evocative, beautiful, rich and real, that we are transported into the experience of the writer.

Today I chanced upon this wonderful piece The Olfactory Safari. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Another happy discovery  this week:  I picked up a fabulous book on the sale table at Readings on Lygon Street in Melbourne – The Fruit Hunters: A story of nature, adventure, commerce and obsession by Adam Leith Gollner.

This book’s got it all – superb writing, sex, sensuality, history, agriculture, obsession, botany, mythology, and more fruits than we’ll encounter in a lifetime. Read this, and you’ll be yearning for exotica, culinary diversity, and noisy, foetid,  fragrant marketplaces in lands-afar.

The Fruit Hunters cover

And a confession – I first thought to give this to my sister Wendy Fogarty a London-based Slow Food maven, but she might just have to procure her own copy! This hardback is my kind of book, with rough-cut pages, subtly un-smooth creamy-coloured paper, hand-drawn botanical illustrations and a feast of recommended further readings.

What are you reading and enjoying today?  Share with a comment below.

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