February 26, 2014

My top tip for healthy change

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

A big thank-you to Kathleen Murphy, -the next of The Health and Happiness Collective to share her wise, supportive guidance.

Your health. Your life.

Getting started on a health kick is often overwhelming, particularly if there are a lot of changes to be made or many habits that you feel need adjusting. However, as with most things in life, simplifying your approach can remove unnecessary stress and help you turn these changes into easily maintained habits.

Here is my number 1 tip on where to start.

Be honest about the quality of your diet and how it makes you feel.

What percentage of your diet is made up of processed and/or packaged foods? Does your diet feature food or drinks that leave you feeling heavy, bloated or a bit ‘off’. Do you eat because you’re hungry? Because you’re bored? Because you’re feeding mid-afternoon sugar cravings? Or, are you eating without being aware of ‘why’?

These are important questions, as they’ll help you nut out what’s driving both your healthy and unhealthy habits.

Also be honest…

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March 19, 2012

Good for soup and symphonies…

Posted in cooking, food, health, music tagged , , , , , , at 3:35 pm by Margi Macdonald

Sometimes when we’re thinking about dinner, and the shift from summer to autumn, our thoughts turn to soup.

You know, soups made from scratch, with a foundation of homemade stock and that great soupy trinity of carrot, celery and onion (or leek).

Sometimes when we’re pottering about on locavore and sustainability websites, we come across a gem such as this.

Now…I’d love to know about your all-time favourite soup; why you like it, memories made while supping its nurturing deliciousness, super-soup ingredients… all of that. Please share with a comment!

Convinced soup-making is all together too time-consuming?  You need this.

October 1, 2010

Is this what you’ve been waiting for..?

Posted in cooking, food, fragrance, health, life, love, music tagged , , , , , , , , , , at 12:29 pm by Margi Macdonald

When I grow up (______________)

Late 2010 – early 2011

A 21st century multi-media, interactive, self-paced course of ancient wisdom and sensory cultivation will be available by subscription.

This is a very special project, possibly one of the first of its kind, and I’m developing it now.

This course is for you if:

  • You’re interested in truly knowing your own mind and creating a life guided by your mind’s unique abilities.
  • You’ve struggled to find an exercise program and diet which suits your constitution and lifestyle.
  • You have chronic health concerns, or are recovering from major illness or surgery.
  • You’d love to plan holidays and adventures which enhance body and mind.
  • You’ve never felt comfortable or relaxed in your workspace or at home, despite making it as beautiful and functional as possible.
  • You know our ancestors had much to teach us, but you don’t know where to start, or how to weave ancient wisdom into 21st century health and well-being.

Sign up to receive course updates by email.

It’s for you, and it’s for life.


Image: When I Grow Up (________) Todd Baker on Flickr

Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License

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

July 27, 2009

Healthy self-sufficiency: grass roots health care reform

Posted in brisbane, health, life, love tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , at 12:54 pm by Margi Macdonald

The other morning one of our cats received a nasty head wound in a neighbourhood stoush with another fiesty feline.

It must have been a tough fight, as he wouldn’t let us near him until late that night, not even for a touch of Reiki healing.

For those of you who don’t know, a cat’s bite is a hideous thing, as those sharp incisors are the next best thing to a hypodermic injection – except the injection is of all kinds of grotty microbes plunged beneath the skin.

Needless to say, our magnificent Bee Mai now has an abscess, despite our initial cleansing of the wound once he’d let us touch him.

Last night we had to intervene: we gently opened up the wound, and then cleaned and irrigated it, using a ‘magic-mix’ of river salt crystals, certain essential oils, freshly boiled water, and love.

The love is important! Cats – indeed any fearful being in pain – need to be approached gently when even a mini-procedure is in progress.

Time and patience, and focussed attention to detail are also important. Our cat’s health will depend upon us tending to his wound at least 2 times each day, and closely observing his general health and behaviour. Healthy self-sufficiency requires mindful attention. It is not the pop-a-pill-and-off-you-go health management typical of western medicine.

Bee Mai -smaller image

So what’s a little veterinary-science-in-the-kitchen doing on this blog?

Well, obviously this is one of those ‘do not try this at home’ examples. Having said that, I firmly believe in empowering folk to care for themselves and their families using common sense, kitchen remedies, and wise and judicious medical and veterinary assistance.

Our family’s recent experiences of the public health system illustrated how over- reliant so many people have become on the western medical model of health care.  ER waiting rooms, and those of any general practice, are overflowing with folk who have never been taught – in any meaningful, coherent way –  the rudiments of preventative health, correct first aid, or safe, commonsense management of everyday health concerns.

No wonder our health systems are in crisis! It’s the same in the user-pays-and-pays-and-pays model of the USA, as much as in the seeping, groaning ‘free’ NHS models of the UK, and my home town.

I mean… crickey! We needed flying-pig-flu before most Aussies { and I’d suggest, a few too many public health officials and politicians and employers } understood that  staying at home, resting, eating right, staying hydrated, hand-washing, covering our mouths and noses when coughing and sneezing, and seeing a doctor when necessary, are the best defence against seasonal influenza and rhinovirus.

Get started as a self-sufficient health care consumer with this basic to-do list:

  1. Attend a comprehensive First Aid Course. Update your skills annually.
  2. Keep a First Aid Kit in your home, and one in your car.
  3. Drive safe. Drive sober.
  4. Live a moderate life.
  5. Keep your body moving.
  6. Know your body and mind; be aware of what’s ‘normal’ and ‘typical’ for you. Be sure to carry that same knowledge about your loved ones.
  7. Keep your body and mind unpolluted, and free of toxins and drugs.
  8. Expect the unexpected, and have a management plan for such events.
  9. Be sure you have a sensible, reliable family doctor whom you trust to hear and guide you. Have regular check-ups.
  10. Be sure you have a sensible, reliable natural medicine practitioner, whom you trust to hear and guide you. Receive regular guidance and treatment.
  11. Stay out of fights! {This applies to world leaders as well. Far too much money is diverted away from health during times of conflict.}
  12. Eat fresh food including all the wonderful greens, and yellows, and reds, and oranges and purples and browns. If a foodstuff has a label with a string of chemical names and numbers on it, and a shelf-life of months or years, or is packaged in styrofoam, chances are it’s not food… it’s food-imitation.
  13. Educate yourself.

greens - small image

How do you practice healthy self-sufficiency?

Share your wisdom with a short comment below.

Cautions and care: I do not advocate that readers treat their pets or family members for abscesses, or any other lesions, infections, or health concerns, without having sought appropriate medical or veterinary opinions. I treat our cats, because I am competent and safe due to my training, education, and experience. Today- based on my observations of my cat’s wound –  I know there is a 50:50 chance we’ll need a trip to the vet.

Today, and any other day, if in doubt about your health and well-being, or that of another, always seek appropriate assessment and treatment.

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