My love of organics began as a child, wandering my dads organic apple orchard, going to soil association meetings with hippies that smelt funny and had long hair and bush walking. I have always wanted to know that what was on my plate was not only going to be good for my body, but also good for the people who grew it and the environment.
I was a chubby kid at school, back then there were only two in our class who were overweight.. now I would have had a lot more friends unfortunately with childhood obesity now a major health concern.
In my teens I had a stressful home environment which resulted in anorexia and bulimia. Food became the enemy, and I began a process of slowly starving myself for protection. The only thing I had control over was what I put in my body. This lead to not only long term physical health impacts but affected my relationships with friends and family.
In seeking healing I came to see a naturopath, who encouraged me to no long be in opposition with my own body, but to nurture it. This lesson still remains one of the most important of my life today, and is part of why I share my love for healthy food and cooking. Through having to take the journey of loving my body and self again, I discovered my passion for fresh, healthy food, and I love nothing more than having friends over for a beautiful nourishing meal and great conversation.
I now work at a health retreat catering for yoga retreats and functions. I have completed Holistic Lifestyle Coaching Certificate 1 with The CHEK Institute, and am currently completing studies in nutrition.
I feel that the media also has a large part in the way we treat and perceive our own body, and learning to nourish your body, organically, leads to loving your body. You can only be your best when you feel your best.
One of the most common reasons given for not eating quality food is the cost. We have become so accustomed to dirt cheap food, we have forgotten the true value of it. Then, as more and more of us demand better food, we are offered healthier options with very high price-tags. The result is that it seems our only two choices are cheap, chemical-laden foods OR expensive, organic foods. However, we must remember that many of our ancestors had very little money, yet ate very high quality food. So, let’s look to our roots and re-learn how to eat well on a budget.
1/ Buy whole foods instead of packaged or pre-cut food
Whole fruits, vegetables, fish, chicken and cuts of meat are much more affordable than packaged food, as you are not paying for the packaging and marketing of the product. Resist the urge to buy pre-mixed salad, pre-cut fruit, and perfectly cut mini carrots. Animal foods are also much cheaper bought whole (see #11).
3/ Buy chemical-free/spray free produce that is NOT certified organic
The process of certifying a farm to be organic is very costly for farmers, so they must pass that cost onto the consumer. Fortunately, all you really want is fruit and vegetables that have been grown in an organic manner, and you can find plenty of this at your local farmers market. Which brings us to…
4/ Shop at farmers markets
Local markets have very affordable food because you are rarely paying for a middle man or long-distance transport. These markets are not a guarantee of organically grown/raised food, but there is lots of it there. So get talking, ask about growing methods, and find the local farmer who sells chemical-free food at very affordable prices, like this inspiring elderly city farmer.
5/ Become a member of a co-op
This is another way to get cheap food and be part of a health-conscious community. Google co-op and your city name to find a co-op near you.
6/ Only buy produce that is in season
A lot of work and money goes into delivering produce to consumers out of season. Food is stored for months, transported great distances, and sprayed with ripening and waxing agents. On the contrary, when a fruit or vegetable is in season, it can be harvested in abundance, providing a huge supply at lower costs. Farmers markets and my veggie cheat sheet can help you learn which season to buy what. It’s so nice to look forward to different foods with the changing weather.
7/ Start with the Dirty Dozen and Clean 15
If you shop at a supermarket, where certified organic produce is most expensive, focus on the Dirty Dozen and Clean 15. Then you can still greatly reduce your chemical intake, even if you can’t buy all chemical-free food yet. Keep in mind this chart is U.S. based, so may vary in your country.
8/ Grow your own
Imagine never having to buy carrots, tomatoes or parsley again. Just go out to your garden and pick them! More and more information and resources are available for learning to grown your own food, even in small spaces. Weed em and reap!
9/ Find a good butcher
Ask around, check our your nearest industrial area, and find a large-scale butcher with pasture-fed, free-roaming meats. As with produce, you don’t need the organic certification if you’ve gotten to know your rancher or butcher, and know where your meat is coming from and how it was raised. If they butcher meat on a large-scale, they will be very knowledgeable, have a wide variety of animals and cuts, and will be very inexpensive.
10/ Buy cheap cuts of meat
People are so used to lean, boneless, fileted, quick-cook cuts of meat, that the rest of the cuts have lower demand and MUCH lower prices. Try lamb neck or forequarter chops, chicken wings and legs, beef brisket or cheeks. The cheap cuts are often the tastiest, and easy to throw into the slow-cooker, oven or grill. Don’t forget the highly nutritious organ meats, and to ask the butcher for meat scraps and bones (often free) for your bone broth and soups.
11/ Buy the whole animal Just like pre-cut fruit and vegetables, you pay extra to have someone pre-cut your meats for you. Instead, buy the whole chicken and use the carcass for broth. A whole fish is usually insanely cheaper than fillets, and the fishmonger will often fillet it for you for free anyway. Again, save the fish carcass for fish broth/stock! A whole cow, pig or lamb may be slightly big for your fridge/freezer, but if you get a handful of friends together, you can do a meat-share from a wholesale butcher or farmer. At the least, buy the whole beef rump, and ask the butcher to cut into steaks for you.
12/ Plan your meals
Planning ensures you get your meat out of the freezer to defrost, your dinner in the slow-cooker before you leave for work, your leftovers packed for lunch. And all that will prevent you from buying expensive take-away food and throwing away unused food that you forgot to eat.
13/ Bring your lunch and snacks with you This is part of planning, but doesn’t have to take much time or fore-thought and saves tons of money spent on restaurant and cafe food. After dinner, simply throw the leftovers into a container for breakfast and/or lunch the next day. Then in the morning, just add to your bag some snacks like: a piece of fruit, a whole carrot, a handful of nuts, half an avocado with a little spoon, a couple cold chicken wings or sausages. Become a pro at Lovin’ Leftovers.
14/ Make your own basics from scratch
Not only are homemade broth, yoghurt, dressings, sauces, sauerkraut, and nut butters/flours much healthier, but they are also incredibly cheaper and easy to make. Here are some recipes to get you started.
15/ Eat soaked whole grains if they work for you Whole grains such as rice, millet and oats are a very cheap food staple that can be moderately enjoyed if grains work well for your metabolic type. Just ensure you always soak grains before cooking.
Lastly, whatever your budget, it may be wise to reassess what you are spending your money on, and reconsider if food deserves a healthy portion of your budget. Remember that nutrient-rich, chemical free food is essential to your life; nice clothes, gadgets, big cars, alcohol, home-furnishings and resort holidays are not. Doing without some material goods doesn’t have to hinder your happiness, but poor health surely will. However much money you have to live on, find a way to eat well.
What are some ways that you save money on food? Do you feel like you can afford the kind of food you want to be eating?
Note: ‘Are Freerange Organic Eggs Worth the Money?’ – This is a transcription of the video.
Hello, we are here with Vince Polito in Cromer, Sydney in the middle of the suburbs right across the street from an elementary school and right next to another house and another house; a typical suburb. However, if you can see behind us, we have got a farm in the middle of a suburb. We are here with Vince today to talk about how we can get wonderful farm fresh vegetables from his family to ours.
Hi Vince! Can you tell us how much space you have here growing these beautiful organic vegetables and how long you have this farm going?
It’s just a large block of land for the moment. We had a lot of land that we don’t have any more.
How long you have been running this backyard farm?
From 1968, we had the shop and farm. We grew spinach, all greens, tomatoes and we supported ourselves with a shop. There’s four in my family, 2 boys, me and the wife.
[nonmember]FREE YOU TUBE VIDEO – Duration: 2:21min
MEMBER VIDEO: Duration: 10.01min View the entire member video below when logged in.
No login details? Join the Tribe! (top right of this page)
[jwplayer config=”primal-health-600w-player” mediaid=”4117″]
Wonderful, and how much space do we have here that you are growing all the crops?
Roughly 200m2 (2150ft).
About two house blocks?
Yeah, roughly. One block I have to let it go now and I concentrate on the one as I’m getting old! I am 83.
He’s 83! How long have you been growing in your backyard farm?
57 years. All veggies, spinach, tomatoes, pumpkin, carrots, beetroot and everything! When we had the shop.
What do you have currently growing here?
For the moment, we have corn and tomatoes.
Bex: Corn and tomatoes. I see a very large tomato crop.
Yes. 600 plants.
Bex: 600 tomato plants! How long have they been growing and when will they be finished?
Vince: At the end of January, they should be finished. All depends on the weather. For a couple of months, we’ll pick them if the crop is doing well.
You’ve said that you have a lot of corn right now?
Yes, I have corn till May.
So, you grow them seasonally?
What else do you have growing in here at the moment?
That’s all I have for the moment.
For selling at the farmer’s market?
What else do you have here that you grow for your family?
I grow lettuce, little carrots, spinach and all that stuff.
I noticed you have some chili peppers and some herbs – Basil, rosemary?
Basil, oregano, mint. We had a lot of rhubarb but that’s finished now.
Ok. I saw some bean plants?
I plant beans for the family, 2 or 3 rows every year.
Italians eat lots of Borlotti beans…
One finish, one start…
I saw some chickens in the back?
I’ve got 11 chickens and 5 or 6 eggs every day.
5 or 6 eggs every day?
I have 2 bee hives, about 100 kg (220 lb) of honey every year.
Honey bees, how much per year?
100kg. This is for the family and not for business.
Around the perimeter of the house, I have seen lots of avocado trees.
I’ve got a lot of avocados. About a dozen plants. They are all full of fruit.
Do you have a lot of fruit from them?
Yes, I do. Every second year. Not every year.
Ah, I see.
Every second year. They do one year and they have a spell for another year.
There is a kiwi vine growing up on the side of the house?
Just more for show and we get some fruits at the same time.
Kiwi fruits, wonderful! In the past you used to grow different things here. What else have you grown here?
Yes, everything, potatoes, everything before. All veggies.
Yes, cauliflower in the winter not in summer.
Some cauliflower comes here in the winter.. and?
Basil, all the herbs I can grow.
So we found you, Vince, at the farmer’s market in Frenchs Forest here in Sydney and we buy a vast majority of our own vegetables from you.
I’ve got a brother in law, we work all together with the same stuff. We don’t use chemicals.
He’s a little bit older than me and we share the stuff. Whatever he grows, he sends to me and I pay the market price whatever it is.
Where is his farm?
(The Farm) is up in Dural (West of Sydney, about 50 min)
In Dural. So you put together what you’ve grown here and what he’s grown there to sell in the farmer’s market.
At the elementary school here (across the road), most of the people know me. They take their kids to school, then they come up to the market.
We had the shop for 17 years in Collaroy Plateau. I know a few people from there that still come and see me. I don’t know what I’ve got, but they are still coming!
The benefits, obviously, from buying from a local farmer such as yourself is that you grow here, not certified (certified organic), but in an organic fashion.
We don’t have an organic certificate because it’s too late for me to do one. There’s a lot of money involved. They have to check the ground, too much to do. I can’t keep up with it.
I have found at the Bunnings (Sydney hardware and gardening chain store) a kind of spray. You put it in a bottle, place a couple of holes, the fruit flies go in and die in there. Caterpillars, I can’t do nothing with caterpillars.
So instead of spraying anything on the plants, you just put it in the bottle and attract things (flies) in there.
Yes, they are trapped in there and never come out to touch the fruit, plant or anything.
Fantastic! What other methods do you use to nourish the soil and the plants? Growing in between? Or putting some fertilizer?
Note: He does hang fake snakes to scare away birds and pests too.
I put “Dynamic Lifter”. Organic stuff. Special from the markets. It’s a special fertilizer for growth.
If you want you can check if any people suspect something.
…and I use lime. I leave it in the ground for 6 months sometimes with nothing growing in it. Then I change the piece of the land.
Do you use any other organic fertilizer or you put something in between the crops?
I put a lot of compost. Dead grass. Sometimes I’ll buy some compost, organic from the nursery, if I need it. They don’t suffer.
You find that’ll keep your soil nourished enough to keep your crops growing.
Vince: (Vince agrees and nods.) Yes. Sometimes I get a tomato plant about 5 feet high.
Bex: Because of the volume, the amount of the crops you are growing in here, you think this is a sustainable way?
I do lose some crops. I get enough benefit for what I save. I prefer to have a worm rather than a chemical.
You prefer to have a worm rather than a chemical.
(Bex continues… now talking about the 12 avocados trees. Missed the first part)
They (avocado trees) are actually growing between his wall that’s around his house and the footpath, or sidewalk. So you can really grow food anywhere.
Would you say to our viewers that anybody with a little bit of backyard, a little bit of grass and a little bit of land on the side of their house can do a bit of what you do?
If people like me want to grow stuff, they’ve got to prepare the ground with a bit of lime to cultivate, leave it to rest for a while, and you can grow anything you want to grow.
Vince, thank you so much for talking to us today and inspiring us. We want to let everyone know that if you are in the Sydney area, you can visit Vince at the farmers market. At Frenchs Forest Farmer’s Market, every Sunday morning from 8 am to 1 pm.
“Vince’s Veggies” is the name of his stall. You look for him and his grandson, Simon. You can also find him on Facebook, thanks to his grandson: www.facebook.com/Vincesveggies
‘From our familia to yours’
This is really the way we should be shopping, growing our food as a community. Thank you Vince, very much!
It took a long time for me to finally understand how important it is to keep fit and look the best you can.
How did I do it? Well I finally said enough is enough. I was sick of constantly saying ‘I’m gonna do it’. Finally I broke through the barrier of self doubt, and half-hearted attempts at making a change. It wasn’t easy, but now I fully understand that optimal health is a whole package deal. I now have more insight into how much a role my thoughts and emotions played in my ability to change my body and health.
First, the tool you need is your mind. Give yourself a goal and do it only when you are prepared to give it one hundred percent. Once you have finally said enough is enough, there will be no stopping you. I know because I have been on that yo-yo ride for a long time.
At 62, I am feeling great. Loving the exercise, training, and love all the positive feedback from other people about how great I look. The power of positive thinking comes to mind also knowing that I can do this and loving every moment of it. The feedback alone is worth the journey and hard work you put into it. When everyone notices and starts to comment on how well you look and you know you do, that’s when you feel like you will never look back again. I have so much energy, my skin looks healthy, I have lost body fat and I feel so much stronger. A positive thought about all of this is that I am much happier. Most of my mind baggage is gone, I’m reading and understanding a lot more about the body and the benefits of a healthier lifestyle. Drinking for a long time was my downfall. Now that’s all under control I can focus on the more important things, such as getting healthy.
In a nut shell its all about how bad do you want it. It is a life time change, but YOU can do it and it is surprising how easy it becomes once you start seeing the results and also when other people notice it as well. I just love it all.
Get great coaches / trainers! No better ones than Brad and Bex! They are the whole package deal to making the first steps to looking good, and feeling good about yourself. I can’t say enough about the holistic CHEK Practitioner approach for training and overall health. It’s an absolute must.
So good luck on your journey. One you will surely love as I do! Also the quote that I look at everyday which I find to be true. When you think you’re going to falter, think positive, don’t give up and remember:
“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.”
*The book Sue credits as the catalyst in changing her mindset is The Power of Now, by Eckhart Tolle, a book that has changed millions of lives.
There’s no denying that eating healthy food is much easier and more enticing when you feel confident cooking it. Before I got more confident in the kitchen, cooking simply meant making food hot, and our healthy meals often consisted of dry bland chicken with dry bland vegetables. No wonder it was more enticing to buy ready-made meals, processed sauces, and packaged foods that were artificially-flavored to be nice and tasty.
Fortunately, you don’t have to be a great cook to make healthy dishes taste great.
All you need are nature’s flavours – herbs and spices! Not only do herbs and spices add wonderful aroma and flavour, they also are full of immune-boosting nutrients. It can take a while to get confident with using various flavours in your cooking, so here is a cheat sheet to start you off.
You will notice that several herbs work well for all the meats, so those herbs and spices are the ones you’ll want to keep on hand all the time. You will also soon discover your own personal tastes, and so you may just want to use your favourite flavours as often as possible.
To know how much to add, it’s best to start with recipes, or use a recipe as a guide, until you become more familiar with appropriate amounts for each type of herb and spice. When no recipe is available, try starting with 1/4 teaspoon for about 4 servings; half that for cayenne.
Tips for cooking with herbs and spices:
– Dried herbs are best added early in the cooking process (especially good for longer cooking times), while fresh herbs have best flavour when added at the end of, or after cooking. Bay leaf and whole spices like cloves are best for dishes with long cooking times.
– For cold food like salad dressings, add spices and herbs several hours before serving (when possible) to allow flavors to blend or “marry” well.
– Dried herbs and spices are stronger than fresh. Use this guide when following a recipe: ¼ teaspoon powder = ¾ teaspoon dried = 2 teaspoons fresh.
– Crush dried and fresh leaf herbs, like oregano, thyme or basil, in your hand before use for a more immediate release of flavor.
– A mortar and pestle is handy for pounding herbs and spices to release the aromas and flavours before rubbing on meat or adding to dishes.
– If doubling a recipe, you may not need to double the herbs. Use just 50% more.
Tips for storing herbs and spices:
– Dried herbs and spices should be kept in a cool, dry, and dark place (like a cupboard not directly near the stove) in airtight containers to retain flavour and nutrients.
– Try to use dried herbs and spices within one year. If you can’t smell the aroma of a herb when you rub it between your fingers, it’s too old.
– Treat fresh herbs like a bouquet of flowers: Snip the stems, stand the herbs in a glass of water, and refrigerate. OR put them in a plastic bag in your crisper drawer, leaving some air in the bag so the herbs can get oxygen.
– Fresh herbs only last about a week at the very most, so to keep them for longer, you can freeze them. Simply wash and pat dry, pick the leaves off the stems and store the leaves in a freezer bag.
Which herbs and spices go well together?
Herb and spice mixtures in the store are often full of salt, additives and MSG, so it’s best to buy your herbs and spices individually and learn which go well together. There are exceptions to this rule, of course, so just be sure to read the ingredients to ensure that all your mixture contains are the actual herbs and spices. Moroccan spice mixes and Italian herb mixes, for example, are easy and delicious and you can learn from reading the ingredients how to make those mixtures yourself. Reading recipes is also a great place to learn combinations. Here are a few mixture recipes you can use often. Just put in a jar and shake well!
Italian Dried Herb Mix: 1 tsp of each: basil, sage, oregano, rosemary, thyme
Bouquet Garni (classic mix for stews/soups): 1/4 cup dried parsley, 2 Tbsp dried thyme, 2 Tbsp dried bay leaf + Optional: 2 Tbsp dried rosemary. Fresh version: 3 sprigs of parsley, 2 sprigs of thyme and 1 bay leaf tied together with kitchen string and left in the stew while cooking.
Chicken Seasoning Blend: 1 tsp dried sage, 1 tsp dried thyme, 1 Tbsp sea salt, 1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper + Optional: 1tsp garlic powder, 1tsp onion powder (if not using fresh garlic and onion in the dish)
Mexican Mixture: 1 Tbsp chili powder, 1/4 tsp dried oregano, 1/2 tsp paprika, 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin, 1 tsp sea salt, 1 tsp pepper + Optional: 1tsp garlic powder, 1tsp onion powder, 1/4 tsp chili / red pepper flakes (or you can use fresh garlic, onion and chili in the dish). Great on mince (ground beef).
Do you use lots of herbs and spices in your cooking? What are your favourite flavours or flavour combinations?
Normally when you see people talking about depression or articles on depression, you see someone with their head in their hands not knowing what to do with the world. For me it was completely different. I still went to work, went to social events and lived life. Realistically I did not even know I was chronically depressed. I just got unhappier and unhappier as each day went on. I never went to a doctor for them to tell me I was depressed.
The way I can describe it is I just lost my pizzazz, I didn’t feel like I was really me, life was a struggle – even things that should have made me happy didn’t anymore. However I still carried on with life and at the time just thought being happy was for special occasions. I always put on a show that I was living the dream.
I put this show on for everyone until the show was cancelled.
At the age of 25 on Australia Day, I was partying like a rock star. I passed out super early and couldn’t get out of bed the next day. I was unbelievably sick, the sickest I have ever been. I fell ill with Pneumonia and Glandular fever. I went though the modern medical system, and after months of going to doctors, having x rays, numerous different types of antibiotics, my condition continued to worsen. At the age of 25, I thought I was going to die.
Through this sickness I was at an all time low. It was honestly the worst I had ever been. Life just seemed useless.
At this stage a good friend suggested that I see a CHEK Practitioner named Rhett Strauss, who literally brought me back to life using the CHEK principles to guide me to health and well-being. I cannot thank him enough. Three years later, I am my vibrant self again.
Depression is not an easy thing for a guy to go through.
We are supposed to be macho and not show our feelings. When we are sick we are supposed to man up. However, depression makes you feel like you are weak and you have failed.
One thing I have learned from my experience with depression is it’s ok to be depressed. You may be thinking, what do you mean its ok to be depressed?
Hear me out. If your body is toxic, you are not fueling your body correctly, you are not in the company of people that truly care about you, and each day you wake up you are not doing what you love doing. Plus you batter your body and never get much rest. Why wouldn’t you be depressed?
The thing I want you to know is there is nothing wrong with you. You are fine just the way you are.
You are depressed because you are not living the way you want to live.
So let’s change this.
How? It’s easier than you think. For starters, I would recommend eating real food. Get rid of the four white devils: processed dairy, flour, salt and sugar.
Drink more water – you will be amazed at the power of hydrating your body. If your body is toxic, water will help get rid of these toxins the way they are supposed to – through your bowels.
Start making small steps each day.
I was so low and so down on myself that I was forced to change. There were three options I could think of:
1) Suicide. That wasn’t really my thing. It briefly crossed my mind but I brushed that idea.
2) Keep being depressed. That didn’t sound like fun either.
3) Change. Now this was the scariest of all. What happens if I fail? Then I thought, what have I really got to lose, so i gave it a go.
Its hard to make drastic changes as when you are depressed it takes so much energy to change and if you were like me you felt like you had no self worth so why bother. However small changes are not so bad. I made little changes each week. I would think to myself I don’t need to feel as depressed as I did yesterday. Don’t get me wrong, I was still depressed, just not as much. Then each day it got better and better until, wait for punch line…I was happy. It hit me one day that I loved myself and love life.
When you are depressed you actually have quite a strong sense of what makes you unhappy. The simple solution is stop doing what your doing and change. You certainly do not need to listen to me or anyone else. You have the power to do this. You are amazing. If you do not get anything else from my little rant just take on this one sentence “You are amazing You are Worth it” do not let anyone ever tell you otherwise.
I look back on this illness now as a positive experience because it has given me the chance to have a thorough understanding of health and life. Once I had energy again and my spirit started to come back to life, I noticed the majority of people around me and in society were depressed, overweight, sick and just generally unhappy with their lives. I decided that helping people become as healthy and happy as me was something that I wanted to do, and started my studies with, of course, the CHEK institute. This has been an amazing journey and I have a real passion for learning and hope to have positive influences on all that cross paths with me. The journey still continues 🙂