I’ve become a food wastage nag….

Posted on September 25th, 2013

…But I don’t apologise for it. Are people wasting more food these days? Caring less? Or am I just becoming increasingly obsessed? A lot of all three, me thinks.

Shooting for I Quit Sugar 2

Shooting for I Quit Sugar 2

I’ve been working on a food shoot for my next book. That’s me above making sauerkraut, with my mallet from the toolbox. I’ve been flying a bit interstate, too, passing through food wastage hot-spots (in-transit eateries). And I’ve been eating out and at other people’s homes since getting back from overseas. I thought, then, it might be a good opportunity to share what I do to prevent food being wasted. I’ve been to the food wastage frontiers. Let me report back, in the desperate hope I can inspire even just one person out there (please let it be you!) to shift their ways a little.

For this is the reality:

Food wastage is the #1 environmental issue today, causing more carbon emissions than cars.

Consumers – us – are the biggest food wasters. We chuck 20% of the food we buy.

I suggest this is a conservative estimate.

So, some examples of what I did to stem the tide this week:

A swede and turnip bought for propping: cooked and mashed, frozen to top shepherd’s pie down the track. I cooked it while steaming veg for dinner that night (using a double steamer on top of the roots).

Sardines, cooked, used on shoot: I invited (forced!?) everyone to eat them…they left behind the heads and tails. I kept my heart-sinky disappointment to myself and took them home and ate on top of vegetables that night. They’re the best bits people! And I kinda think that if you’re not up for eating the whole fish, you shouldn’t be eating any of it. I know, harsh. But this is where the food landscape is at:

We need to earn our right to eat good food.

And please don’t give me the Oh But The Germs argument. We kiss our mates. We eat our lunch at our computers (which are festooned with more germs than a toilet bowl). We live in polluted cities. Some of us smoke cigarettes.

Fennel, beetroot (including the leaves) and leek bought for propping: cooked up into a soup that I took to a friend’s place, Read more

Build gaps in your life. Pauses. Proper pauses.

Posted on September 24th, 2013

It’s been a wonderfully full few months. So full, I’ve had to get very focused with my priorities. This is the best thing about fullness – it doesn’t allow room for hot air or bad energy. And, so I’ve had to – for the first time in almost four years – drop this blog for two weeks. I had a gap to build.

Choose life.

Choose life.

In spite of concerted efforts to slow my life down, things have sped up. I was in Forbes (central west New South Wales; population 7500) last week, speaking at a business lunch, and a woman in her forties approached me – with little tears in her eyes – to share that she, too, was trying to slow down but feared that because she was such a frenetic person who attracts lots of “doingness” into her life, she was doomed.

“Ah,” I said.

“You can keep doing, but be still while doing so.”

And you can have lots going on, if you own it in your own way.

It’s taken years for me to work this out. Slowing down for me isn’t necessarily about slowing down what I’m doing on the outside. It’s slowing down on the inside, getting gentle and mindful and happy with my speed and activity. It’s having techniques that I choose to turn to, so that I can do what I do best: doing. Because…

You can choose to be while you do.

One of the techniques I actively choose is having pauses. Proper pauses. I was overjoyed to read in Esquire’s What I’ve Learned series the other day that Radiohead’s Thom Yorke does the same. The headline is his, in fact.

I worked for the duration of my recent “holiday” in Sardinia. It was unavoidable and I chose to be OK with this. I’ve taken on a US book deal and, now, a UK book deal (this just happened), my business has grown from two people (me and Jo) to ten staff in just a few months, I have a second Read more

Slow food and hiking guide to Sardinia #1

Posted on September 10th, 2013

Thinking of heading to this large, personality-drenched Mediterranean island? Well here’s my rundown on the highlights from my marathon trip there.

Iscala e surtana

The hike up to Tiscali, carrying my trusty Byron Bay markets satchel and wearing… my green shorts.

Marathon? I covered a helluva lot of what is a pretty big island, sampling the highlights, covering vast tracts by foot and bike…the rest in my little Fiat Panda…all in less than three weeks. Yep, it exhausted me. And I wouldn’t necessarily recommend doing as I did. But I know no other way. Hmmph…

But, I should kick off by saying the place is perfect for food and outdoors fans, especially anyone who likes a robust dose of uncertainty spiking their travel plans. Much like the other Blue Zone I visited – Ikaria – it’s a wild, “rustic” island with a rugged history that very much determines both the feel of the place, the outlook of the people and various longevity factors such as diet and exercise. It’s quite “untouched”, too, leaving aside the over-done Costa Smeralda in the North, much of which was developed by some Arab guy in the 1970s and is now populated by people with deck shoes and large yachts from Italy, Russia and other places where deck shoes go down well (yes, visualise this!). But beyond this glitz belt, it’s very much high adventure territory. Which is just my kind of thing.

Oh, one other thing. Travel in Sardinia is really hard to research. There are so few guides on the place and the locals haven’t got their act together on the tourism front. WiFi is hard to find. Roads are impossibly winding. Few locals, especially inland, speak English.

I kind of liked the position this forced me into – I had to explore a little blind. Which required taking each day as it came, and following my nose and the advice of random people I met along the way, rather than a mapped-out itinerary. To my mind, this is what travel is really about – seeing where happenstance leads you. It certainly led me in some rich directions.

But to my highlights. I’ll do this over two posts, so I don’t swamp you. Below is a map of where I travelled. I chose to stay on one half of the island. To Read more