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Fertile Welsh Harlequin Duck Eggs

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White Welsh Harlequin duck eggs…they can lay both white and blue-green eggs

Maybe 4 years ago I was reading Cure Tooth Decay, by Ramiel Nagel. It was fascinating, but what really got my attention diet-wise, was his info on how duck eggs are wonderful for tooth remineralisation. My eldest son, who normally had a high pain tolerance (has been bitten by about 4 different types of spiders, sliced himself badly while building a cubby in the bush etc and would never cry or complain much) had been a writhing mess on the floor when he had toothache. Now we were growing our own veg and chicken eggs, eating a very “from scratch” sort of diet and I didn’t get how we could have tooth decay creeping into the family. Cure Tooth Decay made it clear that excess of poorly prepared grains in the diet and a lack of tooth-building foods in the diet was just as much a problem as an excess of sugar and junk could be.

Gold Phase Welsh Harlequin

We were wanting to produce more eggs here, so decided duck eggs would be the optimal choice, as they’re 4 times higher than chicken eggs in fat soluble vitamins A and D…and generally helpful for tooth remineralisation.

Next step was to research which types of ducks were the top layers.

Being fond of the less common varieties, we went for Welsh Harlequins, and were blessed enough to find someone with a few hours drive of our place selling a small flock of these gorgeous ducks.

“Teenage” Duckling, about 6 weeks old and almost adult size

Fast forward a few years, and we now have a beautiful flock of Welsh Harlequins, which has just increased by 16 this Spring, after a successful incubator hatch.

The egg laying has been sporadic over the years, ducks being far more particular with their diet that chickens are (in our experience anyway!). Once we went for about 6 months with barely an egg from them, which was such a disappointment when they were costing so much to feed! I tried organic chicken feed from a local organic store, and it worked beautifully…for about a month. Then we were back to meagre production.

A slight increase in production occurred when I started using a different hose for their water. Sound crazy? We’re an organic market garden, and Rick has a fertigation system (a way of pumping liquid nutrients into the irrigation pipes for the crops) and I had been using one of the hoses connected to this system for the ducks water. Certain minerals have the ability to promote either fruiting or leaf growth in crops (male or female qualities) and I wondered if there was something in there that was stopping egg (like fruit) production. 10 days after switching to a hose that pumped up pure unfertigated bore water, I started getting some eggs.

Eventually I contacted Country Heritage Feeds, a local organic chicken feed producer and they got me onto the high protein organic mash that they sell to commercial egg producers. That was about 3 months ago, and we haven’t looked back. That feed has made an incredible difference. We went from a few eggs a day, to almost every duck laying almost every day! And this has been going on steadily for 3 months!

A Gold Phase Pair

No we get more eggs than we need…and they’re all fertile. That batch of 16 we had hatch this Spring were from 21 eggs that we incubated in a Janoel incubator (I will note that we put an extra thermometer/humidity reader in there for the incubation, as the incubator wasn’t doing a good job of regulating temperature by itself).

Last Spring we had 10 hatch, out of about 11 eggs, under chicken hens, who then went on to raise the ducklings for us. So funny when the ducklings jump in the water for a swim and their “mother” hen freaks out because she can’t understand why any chick of hers would want to get wet!

Spanky, our Silver Phase hand-reared duck, when she was about 2 days old (and went for a trip to the beach with us!)

Onto the fertile eggs. So long as our ducks are pumping out fertile eggs like this, we have our surplus available for sale. And it doesn’t matter where in Australia you live, because we are able to safely express post them anywhere in the country.

Our Fertile Welsh Harlequin eggs, from organically fed, free ranged birds, are $25/doz.

Eggs are most fertile for the first 7 days from being laid, so I post eggs on the day, or day after they are laid. For example, if you wanted 2 dozen, you’d get the eggs from the day I post, and from the day before I post.

I can express post 1 doz anywhere in Australia for $20.

I can express post 2 doz anywhere in Australia for $25

So far we’ve sent out over 15 doz, and only had 3 eggs have any breakage. I achieve this by lining a box with either fabric or bubble wrap, and then individually wrapping each egg in cloth, taping that on with packing tape, and then placing them in the box, filling gaps with more bubble wrap or fabric (I use old clean sheets and bubble wrap from business packages that we’ve received, so we’re keeping it eco-friendly), and sealing the box.

Bubble wrap lined for posting fertile eggs
Wadding, cotton fabric and some wrapped eggs

I try to always add an extra couple of eggs to the box, so that in the unlikely event of breakage, you still will have as many eggs as you paid for.

NOTE: the cotton wrapping of the eggs insulates heat, and therefore can start the incubation process early. Be aware your babies might hatch out about 3 days early!

This week I’ve been getting lovely feedback from buyers who’s ducklings have just hatched. The hatch rates have been impressive (as shipped eggs usually have the reputation of less fertility).

The hatch at Birdsong

“Hi Racheal, it’s David. I got a dozen eggs from you last month remember? Just thought you might like to know our babies have arrived, 2 days early. 7/12 all safe and well. Candled after a week and all 12 forming well, at 2 weeks 2 had turned bad, by the end of week 3, 2 looked malformed and were dry and we lost 1 after he’d almost pipped his way out yesterday. It was looking like we might be lucky with 10 near the end but not to be. The ducklings are little beauties but don’t they take a long time pipping! Kind regards, David”

“Hi Racheal, thank you very much for selling your Welsh Harlequin duck eggs to us. We have lots of them. Your ducklings are the best hatch. Thanks again Racheal, Phillip and Cheryl.”

To order, contact Racheal at racheal@birdsongmarketgarden.com.au

Back in the days when the dam actually had water in it!

This Week’s Delivery Runs (Weds 11th Dec and Fri 13th Dec)

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Here are this week’s delivery runs, for orders $50+ in Toowoomba (4350):

Wednesday 11th December, 4-5pm. Please add the Wednesday delivery run item to your cart and place your order by Tuesday night. 6 spaces available.

Friday 13th December, 12:30pm-2pm. Please add the Friday delivery run to your cart and place your order by 8:30pm Thursday night. 9 spaces available.

Healing Autism- One Family’s Journey, Part 2

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AUTISM UPDATE: August 2019

(7 Months on the GAPS diet & 7 years since last holiday)!

Hello everyone,

Thank you all for your continuing prayers and I just wanted to let you know how Zaria is going on the GAPS diet. Well, Zaria has finally turned the corner and is doing extremely well! For a very long time we just couldn’t seem to move forward on this diet and we seemed to of been on the first 2-3 stages of the diet for what seemed like forever (7 months)! At the time we just couldn’t see much hope in ever moving forward. When we tried to introduce a new food into the diet, the aggressive behaviour would come back, although not as severe as before. As long as she was following stages 1-3 of the GAPS diet and we did not introduce any new foods, she was autism free. Obviously Zaria’s digestive system really needed this time of healing! We have managed to introduce quite a few new foods into the diet recently, which seemed to of happened all of a sudden and we have found that SHE IS STABLE – NAggressive Behaviour – NAutism – No Medication – Moving Forward – Hallelujah and Praise God! We are finally on stage 6 of the GAPS diet now and we are finally going forward, which has taken us 7 months to get to this point!!! Dr. Natasha said that symptoms will eventually get less and less, or less severe each time and not as long lasting. Well this is exactly what we have been seeing in Zaria. 

There are 6 stages in the GAPS introductory diet and you have to go through each step, symptom free, before moving onto the next stage. The introductory diet is a very crucial first step to take for those dealing with severe digestive issues as it includes all the important foods in order for the digestive tract to heal. It can be quite time consuming because you have to start out slow, introducing one food at a time, to see if there is any reactions, and this can take up to 3-7 days for each food. If there is a reaction you have to wait another week or so before trying again to give your digestive system some more healing time. The most difficult part about the diet I’ve found however is going through severe die off symptoms. This occurs when you takeprobiotics to replace the bad pathogenic microbes in the gut with beneficial ones. This is an important step in the GAPS diet because you need this in order to heal the gut wall apart from the diet itself. Introducing good bacteria creates a war inside the gut, it’s the good guys verses the bad guys. As you work towards healing the gut and re-populating the digestive system with healthy bacteria through nutrient-dense foods (no processed sugar, no dairy, no grains) and probiotics, (sauerkraut, fermented veggies, kefir) the bad bacteria are dying as they are being starved of their fuel. But as the bad bacteria die off, they release toxins that the body must process and eliminate before it can begin to rebuild and heal. This process makes you feel like you are getting worse (healing crisis) before you get better and you can have all sorts of horrible symptoms which range from rashes, itchy skin, flu like symptoms, headaches, fatigue, ear ache, moodiness, aggressive behaviour etc. Die-off symptoms can come in waves and must be managed carefully! Therefore taking probiotics has been a slow process for us as we are slowly working our way up to a therapeutic dose. 

Perhaps a good explanation as to what has been happening in Zaria’s body before the GAPS diet can be found in the video called “overcoming psychiatric problems by healing the digestive system,” In this video Dr. Natasha gives a good explanation as to what happens in a child to make them become autistic. In the video she explains that most children are born with perfectly normal brains but they acquire abnormal gut flora from day one from there mother at the moment of birth. So their digestive system instead of being a source of nourishment becomes a major source of toxicity in the body. A river of toxins flood these bodies of these children in the first and second years of life. These toxins get into the brain and clogs it up. If the brain of a child is clogged with toxicity, all that sensory information can come into the brain is not processed appropriately and it turns into mush, into a noise that the child cannot decipher anything useful. The brain develops screen saving procedureswhich manifests themselves into self stimulation which means the child is involved in repetitive movements and other commondaily autistic behaviours.

So while Zaria is now free from these autistic behaviours, we still go through some ups and downs. There are times when shestill struggles as toxins are still working there way out of her system as we try and slowly increase her probiotic intake! So she can sometimes come across as cranky and short with people at times, but it is usually caused from one of two things; either we have introduced a new food into the diet that her body is not quite ready for and you can see how this affects her brain instantly, or we have increased her probiotic intake which reacts in the same way. We have found that things like Epsom salts (in a bath, spray bottle, or oil rub) and magnesium has worked wonders in helping her get through these difficult times! We have also found that 7 months without any form of sugar (including fruit) has really been beneficial, as it has helped eliminatesome of the nasty pathogens (eg candida) and we can certainly notice a difference in our overall health!

When Richard and I first moved to the area of Toowoomba many years ago, we rented a place in town for quite a number ofyears. Our three children were born during this time as well. But over the years we faced some really scary health challenges. Some of these health issues were really quite scary and life threatening! A few examples include the time when the children were born and they would not thrive, or the time when Reuben was rushed to hospital unable to breath with croup. The children and I had always struggled with intestinal issues, but this wasn’t the only issue we were facing that was affecting our health at the time. What we did not find out for quite a number of years while living in this house was the fact that we were living in a house that was full of hidden toxic mold. This certainly became apparent when it started to show up on walls and under floor boards etc. In fact there was so much moisture in the house that paint was peeling from the ceiling and mushrooms were growing up from the floor boards. I was constantly vacuuming paint off the floor every day as paint was peeling from the ceiling! The real estate at the time showed little interest in trying to help us over come this problem. In the end all they did was repaint inside of the house which did little to kill the mold, but instead it actually increased the amount oftoxins which affected our overall health even more. Thank the Lord we were able to move away from this house to where we are living now, out of town where there isn’t as much fog or moisture in the air. The term “toxic mold” refers to molds that produce mycotoxins that release spores into the air which has been known to pose serious health risks to humans, evencausing death. Having lived with toxic mold for many years has certainly come with a price. In Zaria’s circumstances, it has certainly been an ongoing challenge to try and get rid of all of those nasty toxins out of her body that she not only was exposed to back then, but also from the result of a leaky gut. The good news is we have seen such amazing results in eliminating all of these toxins as we go through the process of healing her digestive system!

When you finish the 6 stage introductory diet, it is time to move onto the full GAPS diet, which is less restrictive and you can choose from a wide variety of foods to eat. It has only been recently that we have found we can finally move forward on this diet and we have been able to introduce many different kinds of foods, including our very first sweet thing – GAPS approved – first desert in 7 months, taking us from stage 3 to stage 6 in a very short period of time! As of September 2019 we are now on the full GAPS diet which means “VARIETY” which is EXCITING! But even though we are now on the full GAPS diet, we are finding that it is still quite a slow process as we still have to introduce one food at a time, taking things slow as we need to continue with the foods we know that will promote healing!

I think our turning point may have been when we were advised by a GAPS practitioner to take dairy out of the diet to see if this made any difference in Zaria’s behaviour! Dairy is really hard on the digestive system and the gut needed more healing time before Zaria could tolerate it. After 6 weeks without dairy, we reintroduced it again, starting with raw goats milk. We have heard that goats milk and camel’s milk is much easier on the digestive system than cows milk. It is important for us to avoid all dairy from the supermarket due to it being processed (pasteurised & homogenised)! Milk needs to be pure, in its raw state, so that the body recognises it as food as it naturally contains everything needed (enzymes) for the body to be able to digest it. Much of the food we buy in the supermarket today is so processed that the body has a hard time digesting it, which can lead to intestinal damage! Many different indigenous groups around the world were known to culture there milk which not only made the milk more digestible, but it also provided additional nutrition (probiotics) to the milk. We don’t want Zaria’s gut to get damaged again from processed milk after all the hard work we’ve put into healing her and getting her so well, so we’ve decided to get some goats of our own for milking! For those of you out there who turn up your nose at the thought of goats milk, you will be interested to know that there are some breeds of goats out there that have pleasant tasting milk! 

So it seems as though things are finally progressing and falling into place. We have found that the Lord has gone before us and placed different people in different places at the right time to help us on this journey of healing! We are just so amazed at what the Lord is doing in our lives! We are finally moving forward and can see the light! All the glory goes to the Lord!

FIRST HOLIDAY IN 7 YEARS!!!

It is amazing to think that we have just come back from our first holiday in 7 years! Our last holiday was 7 years ago when we went to Mappleton near Maleny and we had to come home early because this was when Zaria first started showing signs of autism and she was so out of control that neighbours complained in the camp site, so we had to cut the holiday short, come home early and get help! We have now gone back to the area of Maleny (Witta) as a 7 year celebration!!! For the past 7 years, there was no way in the world we could even think about going away on a real holiday with Zaria, so this is a miracle! We had such a wonderful time and because we were on stage 6 of the GAPS diet, we didn’t have any problems staying on the diet while we were away. I was even able to take some GAPS friendly home made treats along for the trip which is so nice to finally have a bit of variety in the diet! Where we stayed there was a really big spa bath where we could continue to detox Zaria with Epsom salt baths. We were planning on going really slow and easy on holidays because we were worried about how Zaria would cope. In the end we packed so much in a day with lots of nature walks, a day at the beach etc. So how amazing is that – it just blows me away the transformation – what a miracle all this has been!

Many of you have been asking me if you could pass our story on to other people, as it may help others who are struggling with autism. By all means, we are more than happy for you to do that. I really do hope that by sharing Zaria’s story it may be of some help and encouragement to someone else that maybe going through something similar. It is really sad to think that when a child gets diagnosed with a condition such as autism, you automatically get put into a system. This system gives you a diagnostic label called “autism.” This diagnostic label is a distraction and can side track you from ever finding the real help you need to find a cure. This system keeps people in bondage without any real hope, keeping you busy with endless amounts of medical appointments such as regular paediatrician appointments, occupational therapy, speech therapy, psychology,medications and endless amounts of recommended autism seminars, making you go around in circles, when precious time is being wasted! I don’t want anyone to have to go through this roll a coaster ride!

The book that I would highly recommend, that has helped us to get this far in Zaria’s journey of healing is by Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride “Gut and Psychology syndrome – natural treatment for autism, dyspraxia, A.D.D, Dyslexia, A.D.H.D, Depression, Schizophrenia” by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride This book could benefit anyone and not just those with autism! I just wanted to explain the title of this book because when you see the word “psychology” you may get put off or get the wrong impression! From my understanding, Psychiatrists have so many different names out there for so many slightly different symptoms such as those listed in the title of this book. By having separated these so called “conditions” (or symptoms) into categories with a different diagnostic label has certainly complicated things, as it prevents any chances of anyone seeing the connection between the gut and the brain. So when you have a leaky gut, your body can have an autoimmune reaction and this can affect parts of your body in so many different ways. These symptoms is your body’s way of warning you that something is wrong and is in need of help, as something bigger is going on inside the body. Dr. Natasha always emphasises that all diseases begin in the gut! Dr. Natasha’s book looks into the root cause of all of these problems and treats it as a whole, instead of treating every “condition” (symptoms) individually. There is also a really informative video by Dr. Natasha Overcoming Psychiatric Problems by Healing the Digestive System.” which I highly recommend. I think this video explains things even better than the book in some ways and it would be really good for those who do not have the time to read! I’ll leave the link below! I also found the book “Gaps stories” – medinform publishing really encouraging, as I really needed this encouragement during my journey through the GAPS diet! Natasha did not write this book but was written by the people from the emails Natasha received explaining there journey as they cured there own conditions by implementing the GAPS diet as they focused on healing the gut! Many of these people have left there contact details in the book because thisdiet has healed them and changed there life so much, that they now want to share there stories and be able to help others.There is also a lot of good information which can be found on GAPS Diet Australia website. They have free articles and also a forum where you can get support and chat with others who maybe suffering with various conditions. GAPS practitioners sometimes give people advice on there which I have found to be very helpful. They also sell some products on there website that may assist you while you are on the GAPS diet depending on individual circumstances.

Many years ago before Richard and I had children, we read a really interesting book called “Nutrition and Physical Degeneration by Weston A. Price. This book I believe was the very first piece to the puzzle we needed to know in order to get to where we are today. So, when I found out that Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride was part of the Weston. A. Price foundation, I just knew that we were on the right track. This book is about a dentist who in the 1930’s travelled the world for 10 years, travelling to hundreds of cities in a total of 14 different countries in his search to find healthy people. Western A. Price was a dentist who was all too familiar with the common tooth decay, rotting teeth and poor health. But he wanted to find out why the isolated indigenous people around the world were in perfect health, while the civilised society around him was suffering from so many illnesses which ranged from crippling arthritis to degeneration. As Dr. Price travelled the world, he discovered that when isolated groups of people ate their indigenous foods they appeared to be in perfect health. They were free of chronic disease, dental decay and mental illness; they were strong, sturdy and attractive; and they produced healthy children with ease, generation after generation. Dr. Price had many opportunities to compare these healthy so-called “primitives” with members of the same racial groups who had become “civilised” and they were eating modern foods such as refined grains, white sugar, refined vegetable oils, canned goods, and pasteurised milk, these people had crowded and crooked teeth, narrowed faces, deformities of bone structure, arthritis and susceptibility to every sort of medical problem. This book along with the book called “Nourishing Traditions” by Sally Fallon seem to go hand in hand. Nourishing traditions is a book that is based on the work of Weston A. Price but it offers modern families a fascinating guide to wise food choices and proper food preparation techniques. It is said that this book is a challenge to politically Correct Nutrition and the diet Dictocrats! 

At the beginning of the GAPS diet, we immediately saw incredible changes as Zaria’s autistic symptoms and aggressive behaviour became less and less. One of the first changes I noticed was when Zaria started to brush her own hair with a hard brush for the very first time, or when she could actually have a conversation without screaming or having a meltdown! While I wanted to scream out to the world that Zaria was cured, I just knew that I had done this once before, back in 2017 when she was free of autism for a whole month due to what I thought was from the yogurt cultures. But I truly think that this time it isdifferent, as it has been over 7 months now and she is now free of medication. I truly believe she has turned that vulnerable corner and things can only get better from here! I just can’t express how wonderful it has been to spend time with Zaria now and to be able to have a real amazing mother and daughter relationship with her as we spend time together in conversation and affection. This is the same girl who did not like any form of affection and would communicate with deafening screaming, meltdowns and abuse! You would appreciate this a whole lot more if you remember reading the desperate, heart breaking, hopeless letter I wrote in 2014 when Zaria’s list of autistic symptoms was pages and pages long! To be able to see the transformation in what she was back then to what she is today is just mind blowing to me and a miracle! The time we have spent with her now is just so precious and priceless. I just have to stop what I am doing and take it all in. The whole family has had to readjust our lives from just barely surviving, always being on high alert and cautious of what we say or do, to now relaxing and trusting that Zaria is now on the road to recovery! We also have a sense of freedom for the very first time as we can now go out without having to plan in advance or have to rush home to deal with a nightmare! All of these new changes are certainly hard to get use to! But while all of this is good, we all have to remember that while all this is exciting and although we are seeing such amazing, incredible life changing results through the GAPS diet, we realise however that we still have a long way to go. It is a long commitment that can take up to 2 years or even longer to get complete healing! We do not know what the future holds as life is full of ups and downs, but we know we can put our trust and faith in the Lord for all of our daily needs as we are truly thankful and grateful for everything! 

I understand that when you know someone who has autism, you just wish you could do something to help them in some way, but most of the time you are left just feeling so helpless! There are times when I just wish everyone had this information so that people didn’t have to suffer so much. But while I want to scream it out to the world so that people can get some kind of relief, I also realise that even when people do have this information, there can be times in our lives when we just can’t manage it for whatever reason. It took us 5 years after receiving the book to do the GAPS diet. This is partly because Richard and I spent most of our time around the clock just trying to survive and we were completely exhausted. So to expect someone to be able to read a book or prepare meals under such circumstances can be overwhelming for those going through such trials!

It has certainly been a journey with the Lord and things happen in His good timing and for His purpose! Someone recently told me that we cannot predict what will happen to us in our lifetime, however, we can choose to either blame God or glorify Him and enable our messes to be turned into messages! So I really hope that Zaria’s story and journey has been an encouraging and inspiring message to you all!

All the glory goes to the Lord!

when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold. Job 23:8-10

* I have recommended a few books and videos that has helped us on our journey to recovery, but while these have been such a blessing to us in so many different ways, it does not mean that we totally agree with everything they say!

Overcoming Psychiatric Problems by Healing the Digestive System – Dr. Campbell-McBride

Can You Reverse Autism? by Beth Lambert

Healing Autism- One Family’s Journey, Part 1

By | Nutrition | One Comment

This is from a friend of mine who is happy to share her family’s story in the hopes it will help others struggling with autism. Racheal

Hello everyone,

I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank you all for your prayers and to let you know that Zaria is now on the road to recovery from autism!

I know that many of you have been wondering how Zaria has been getting along as most of you have been aware of the extreme circumstances we faced over the Christmas holidays. Some of you may not have been aware of our circumstances and I’m sorry if our mannerism was a bit out of sorts or stand offish at times and we may have seemed like we made so many excuses, but our life has been so extreme and restricted! Some of you may of thought that Zaria was doing well after we introduced milk cultures into her diet some years ago, but didn’t realise that she went backwards. I’ll try and explain to you what happened regarding all of this in this letter.

Life has been extremely difficult as Zaria not only had extreme autistic symptoms, but she was also extremely violent. She verbally and physically wanted to kill us on a daily basis! Things were so desperate over the Christmas holidays that we had to make a difficult decision. My sister kindly offered to look after my other two children for awhile due to safety concerns. Shayna and Reuben had to lock themselves away in a room for hours and days on end for safety reasons. There were times when I wanted to call the police but restrained, instead I took all the blows because I did not want her to end up in some institution some where. There were days when I did not think I’d live to see tomorrow – yes it was that bad! It was so hard because the thought of being away from my children tore me apart, but at the same time I wanted them in a safe environment. We were all living in the most extreme circumstances but I thank the Lord that the family was able to stay together because the Lord answered our prayers and made a way for us in our darkest hour!

Now most of you know that in 2017, something quite remarkable happened which gave us a window of hope in our journey to try and help Zaria. We witnessed a transformation in her and at the time we put it down to the fact that we had introduced some yogurt cultures into her diet. These cultures were made at home that consisted of things like villi, Japanese matsoni, buttermilk, amasi, filmjolk, piima, Bulgarian yogurt etc. For a whole month it was like living with a totally different child with no autistic symptoms whatsoever! We valued this time as we got to know our daughter for the very first time without autism. But after about a month, for some reason she went backwards and slipped back into extreme autism again! Since then we questioned how can a child go from being autistic to being a perfectly normal child? It was always in the back of our mind that autism is caused from gut issues, but we just didn’t have all the answers to try and help her. We always understood the importance of nutrition and all, but we just didn’t know where we were going wrong! We just didn’t have the answers as we had many missing pieces to the puzzle. But this experience showed us that autism can be reversed and it gave us the hope we needed to keep going and to search for answers for a cure even though we were told that autism was not a curable condition and that we just had to live with it for the rest of our lives! Despite this we never gave up!

Five years ago a lady gave me a book called “Gut and Psychology syndrome – natural treatment for autism, dyspraxia, A.D.D, Dyslexia, A.D.H.D, Depression, Schizophrenia by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride. When she gave me the book she said it was from the Lord and it was going to cure my daughter of autism. As you could imagine at the time, Richard and I spent most of our time (around the clock) just trying to survive and we already had books sky high claiming to cure autism. We also felt a bit discouraged because we had followed a nourishing traditions diet based on the books “Nutrition and Physical Degeneration by Weston A. Price and “Nourishing Traditions” by Sally Fallon before we had children. We nourished our bodies in preparation to have healthy kids. Later, we were to discover that it wasn’t the diet/nutrition that was the problem, but our already damaged and compromised gut! It wasn’t until recently that the Lord really directed our attention back to Dr. Natasha’s book in some really amazing ways! 

The author of this book, Dr. Natasha Campbell – McBride has helped so many patients recover from so many different conditions. She was able to find the common link as to what was the real underling cause of all of their conditions/symptoms. Dr. Natasha had done years of medical training and was even a neurologist and neurosurgeon, but when her own child was diagnosed with autism she realised that her own profession had nothing to offer to help heal her child. So during her search for answers, she discovered that many people who came in to her clinic were all diagnosed with all sorts of slightly different conditions, but they all had one thing in common which was gut issues. Dr. Natasha was able to cure her own child of autism by first healing the gut. So she implemented a special diet for people to heal their gut and she called it the GAPS diet. Not every one necessarily had gut symptoms, but after they implemented the GAPS diet they no longer had symptoms of ill health! Dr. Natasha’s book explains how all diseases begin in the gut! Not only is the gut and the brain connected, but over 85% of the immune system is found in the gut! If your gut is damaged you cannot digest food properly and therefore the person cannot absorb important vitamins and minerals to be able to function properly. So, you can try and provide your body with the most nutritious food in the world, but it will be of little benefit to you while your gut is damaged/compromised and your gut flora is out of balance! When your gut is damaged, the stomach doesn’t recognise food as being food, so the body has an autoimmune response to try and protect itself by attacking it, causing toxins to be released into the blood stream and up to the brain. This in turn can attack parts of the body causing all sorts of auto-immune conditions such as arthritis, eczema, psoriasis, fibromyalgia, food intolerance, celiac, environmental allergies, depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, autism, behavioural problems and the list goes on and on… Dr. Natasha’s book was so successful that she was flooded with emails of people thanking her and telling her about their success stories. So Natasha published another book called “Gaps stories” – medinform publishing. Natasha did not write this book but was written by the people from the emails Natasha received explaining there journey as they cured there own conditions by implementing the GAPS diet as they focused on healing the gut! 

Richard and I have always been aware of good nutrition even before we had children. What we did not realise however is that we can eat the most nourishing foods in the world but it will be of little benefit if the gut is already damaged and you lack important gut flora. This is the piece to the puzzle that was missing for us as we tried to work out what went wrong in the health of our children. Food intolerance is just one of many symptoms of a gut issue. It is not necessarily the food that is causing the problem, especially if you are eating a healthy diet of unprocessed organic foods, but the problem is caused from a leaky gut. Once the gut lining is healed, many people find that there symptoms/condition disappears and they no longer have food intolerance anymore as they find they can eat normally!

Our bodies are bathed in a sea of microbes, but our lifestyle is killing off these important microbes that have so many important functions in the body. It is extremely difficult to put them back in after they have been destroyed, even with the best probiotics, because they contain only a handful of different species! We all require very acidic stomachs which also makes it difficult for microbes to survive when we try to put them back in orally! Also, reintroducing good bacteria back into the system must be done very gradually due to die-off symptoms! Many professionals say that some species of microbes will eventually become extinct perhaps within the next 10 years. This is because we lack certain microbes in the body to be able to pass them on to the next generation and the ones we do have left are getting destroyed by things like antibiotics, medication, modern diet, pesticides and environmental issues etc. But all of these microbes are needed as they all play different roles in the body to keep it healthy! A baby gets its good bacteria from the mother. As a baby goes down the mothers birth canal during labour, the baby swallows the mother’s gut flora. But today a lot of babies that are born are not obtaining the good bacteria from their mother, which is causing so many problems in children today starting with the so called normal colic and food intolerance. We live in a world full of antibiotics as doctors have been pressured to prescribe it for just about anything and everything! Antibiotics can be hard to avoid as it seems to be everywhere, it is even found in meat! So while we are slowly killing off our good gut bacteria, each generation is getting sicker and sicker. This damage gets passed from generation to generation as abnormal gut flora is what will be passed onto the next generation of children. Probiotics = (Pro = For); (Biotic = life) = (For Life) = helps you live! Antibiotics = Against Life – kills the good and the bad bacteria! When the good gut bacteria is damaged, this makes way for pathogens and bad bacteria to multiply and take over the body because the body no longer has the good bacteria to keep things in balance. Each of these microbes is capable of causing various health problems which starts in the gut and from there causes all sorts of other toxic symptoms!

So the family has been on the GAPS diet since the 9th January in support of Zaria to help heal her gut and to try and increase her gut flora. Since the diet, Zaria has shown huge improvements! I realise however that it is early days yet and we have a long way to go. There are 6 stages just in the introductory diet alone and we are only on stage 2-3! It hasn’t been easy, but now because we have been made aware of what causes autism, we can now clearly see what is going on in our daughter’s body to cause her to become autistic and this has helped us to persist as we see improvements. At the moment Zaria is stable for the most part with no autistic symptoms. The only time we really see any sign of autism is if we introduce a new food into the diet too early, her gut hasn’t had enough time to heal, or her body is not quite ready for that particular food yet and we can clearly see how this affects her brain as it reacts instantly! She has extremely bad behaviour the day before she shows signs of an upset stomach or headache (toxins) which is interesting! But besides that, she is a healthy, vibrant 9 year old child! For the most part, she has been waking up really calm and happy. But as you can imagine this restricted diet of endless amounts of stock, sauerkraut juice and fermented vegetables is asking a lot from a child and there can be times of frustration. We continue to reassure her and encourage her to persist with it and she is doing extremely well! We’ve also found that it is not just about a diet of healing the gut, but it’s also a life long journey of learning and developing healthy lifestyle choices, so that we can continue this journey of maintaining good health! 

Some of you may remember the letter I wrote in 2014 when Zaria was four years of age. Zaria was 2 years of age when she started showing signs of autism and was diagnosed with autism. By the age of 4, we were so desperate to get help for Zaria as we had what seemed like an endless list of symptoms to manage. One of the hardest things we ever had to do was resort to medication, but at the time we felt like we didn’t have any other alternatives. I remember that day well, crying all the way home from the doctors thinking what a terrible mother I was having to resort to medication. But we were living in the most extreme circumstances. If you remember we had to pack everything away in boxes and practically live in an empty house and tape up all the glass due to safety reasons. We had to change our cutlery to plastic so they weren’t used as weapons to do us harm! We literally couldn’t go anywhere because Zaria would try and get out of a moving car and try to smash the car windows. She was full on around the clock, needing very little sleep – destroying things and getting up to endless amounts of mischief. On top of all of this, she was extremely violent as she physically and verbally wanted to do us harm on a daily basis! There were days when I wondered if we would live to see tomorrow as we experienced the physical and verbal abuse every day! This is just a small taste of what it was like living with her condition without medication! Due to lack of sleep and high energy levels, Zaria needed around the clock care, but she had worn out all of those who tried to care for her. This was becoming a huge concern for us and alternatively led us to medication. The medication did level out her brain and make her stable for the most part, but we know that with all medications comes side effects which creates more complications and we worked hard to try and find a cure to try and get her off it. During the Christmas holidays we were told by the doctor that we had to increase the medication because she had outgrown the dose. Over the years we tried to give her only baby doses of the medication so that the side effects weren’t so severe and therefore the medication wasn’t as effective. The day I was told to increase the medication was the day we implemented the GAPS diet.

This week on the 17th May 2019, I am excited to say that Zaria is now officially off her medication for autism!!! I have been gradually reducing it since the 9th January when we first started the GAPS diet. I’m not saying that she is totally cured just yet and it remains to be seen what the future holds and whether she may need the medication in the future, but things look VERYpromising! That HUGE list of symptoms she had before the medication and what we were dealing with up until now is none existent as far as we can see which is a miracle! The diet can take up to 2 years to heal the gut in severe cases – we have a long way to go and its been two steps forward and one step back etc. I am just more and more convinced that conditions such as autism is caused from gut issues, as I can now clearly see what happens in Zaria during stages of the GAPS diet.

In the book called “Gut and psychology Syndrome” on page 339 it says “In case of severe GAPS conditions like autism the longer this situation goes on, the more normal learning these children miss and the more they fall behind their normal peers. Normal children never stop learning, so for an autistic child to have any chance of catching up with them he or she has to learn at double speed.” Well, this is exactly what Zaria has been doing since she started the GAPS diet – learning at double speed! She was very behind in school, but she had the determination to catch up. Without any prompting from me or anyone else, she has worked around the clock to catch up with school and is now where she should be for her age – I really hope she keeps up with the motivation! She no longer struggles with dyslexia and other forms of learning disabilities! No more daily melt downs or deafening screaming all day, no more dodging heavy flying objects or having to protect ourselves or the house from endless amounts of abuse!!!

It has been a very long journey and the Lord has been so gracious and merciful towards us, helping us and directing us every step of the way! All the glory goes to the Lord!

Over the Christmas holidays I was trying to find a video of someone who maybe going through something similar with there autistic child and to see if they had any answers, as we were so desperate for answers ourselves! This video although slightly different to our situation, shows the closest thing I could find to what we were going through and the desperation of it all! “Maximum love: Part one – Living with severe autism | 60 Minutes Australia” 

The second video is the author of the GAPS diet “Overcoming Psychiatric Problems by Healing the Digestive System – Dr. Campbell-McBride”

Just Remember: “All diseases begin in the gut”

Thanks to you all!

Karen

Maximum love: Part one – Living with severe autism | 60 Minutes Australia

Overcoming Psychiatric Problems by Healing the Digestive System – Dr. Campbell-McBride

Birdsong Shut-Down Week

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I’ve emailed all our regulars, but for anyone who didn’t get that, Birdsong will be closed Monday 26th August-Saturday 31st August 2019 (open again Sunday 1st September). We are so low on stock, and the garden isn’t coping with the volume of orders we’re getting.

If you need anything before then, Sunday 25th from 10am-4pm we’ll be open for pick-ups and drop-in shopping.

So what do you guys eat?

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Now and then, I get this question. I can understand why people would be curious to know what the organic farmers eat (besides vegetables!).

Some think we’re self sufficient (we’re not!), but vegetables are only one of many food groups, and besides the eggs our ducks produce, we don’t really have much else (meat, legumes, grains, fats, dairy etc).

I guess the diet that our habits come closest to, is Nourishing Traditions (you may have read or heard of the book by Sally Fallon). We’re not 100% followers of this, but the general principles are definitely guidelines we use at Birdsong. We activate/soak our nuts, make ferments, eat seasonally, make bone broth, do our own dressings and sauces (to a point, I’ve never tried making my own soy sauce for example!) and eat organically as possible.

I also get asked if we eat only organic food. Almost, but not quite. It’s mostly organic, but there are 8 in our family, and some products we eat (like cream and cheese) that can be found in Toowoomba organically, are in such tiny and expensive portions that it’s not viable for us. When we go out for dinner at friend’s places, we eat what they’ve prepared for us with thankfulness…I don’t go checking to see if all the ingredients are organic! I’ve heard of people who get that obsessive, and it can be detrimental to relationships when it gets to the point that people can’t invite you over because you won’t eat their food and they possibly can’t afford to feed everyone organic.

We do eat meat, and sometimes it’s organic, sometimes just free range (when buying chicken I’m more particular about this) and when I buy in bulk I like to make sure it’s local. Like we’ll buy a side of beef from Bannock Brae (not organic but do grow their own feed for the cattle), who are neighbours of good friends of ours, and a family run business.

We do eat gluten/bread, rice and pasta (always organic at home). I was gluten intolerant for two years, in which we hardly ever had gluten in the house, but now that I’ve healed, we do buy bulk organic/biodynamic wheat flour to bake with. We don’t usually make our own loaves of bread (though the children love making their own naan, pita, wraps etc) and I’m so thankful the supermarket has certified organic bread at a reasonable price! Homemade bread is beautiful, but I’m not superwoman and can’t do everything. We make a LOT of food from scratch, but bread was one of those things we decided to just buy, rather than be subjected to the stress of trying to keep up with making it!

Nuts we eat, and always organic. Nuts are not always sprayed with pesticides/insecticides from my understanding, but I know they use fungicides, and they’re no good for your gut and health either. So we only buy organic nuts, and then activate them (soak for about 12 hours then put through a dehydrator until crispy to neutralise the physic acid).

Eggs are another one we definitely eat, and usually from our own backyard where the birds are fed an organic diet, drink clean bore/rain water and free range in a paddock. If I have to buy eggs, we get organic or at least free range. You can find documentaries about the conditions caged birds suffer, and I don’t believe the meat or eggs from birds treated like that and subjected to so much stress should be consumed by humans.

Dairy…we eat that too. Organic milk, butter and yogurt (unhomogenised where possible) are pretty easy to source. I’d love to have our own house cow so we could make our own dairy products, but the lack of land here doesn’t allow for it! Like I mentioned above, cream and cheese are two products I don’t usually buy organically.

Vegetables…lots of them! We eat these seasonally, because I think it’s backwards to have a paddock full of produce and then go and buy produce that we’re not growing (and I know even most organic produce doesn’t come from soil as nurtured as Rick’s). The exception to this is fruit, because we hardly grow any fruit, and with 6 children, we go through plenty of it. I’m thankful for people like Dennis from Gran Elly Orchard who grow fruit with similar soil nutrition to our vegetables. But there’s no way I’d go and buy something like broccoli if it’s out of season. We’ll just eat what is available.

I do a lot of canning, so I guess it would be more accurate to say the FRESH produce we eat is seasonal, but then in summer for example, we produce a LOT of tomatoes, and I work overtime trying to preserve/can as many as possible into sauces, sun-drieds, pastes etc so that all winter we can cook with our own tomato products. Last summer corn was abundant too, so I canned a lot of that. In winter we make sauerkraut (when there’s enough cabbage! This year it was a bit sparse).

We don’t meal plan. I’ve tried that before, and it did save time years ago. But now we’re in this unique situation where we grow a lot of produce, and have a cold room for storage and buy floors, nuts, seeds etc in bulk. Plus all those home-canned goods are on the shelf. So I find that there’s a lot of raw materials to work with, and a meal can always be created with what’s on hand.

I guess the last thing that comes to mind is sugar. We use organic coconut sugar, organic maple syrup, our own honey from the hive out the back and sometimes some organic cane sugar (some recipes need something lighter than coconut sugar). I try to limit it a bit, and especially cut back if using a baking recipe. Often we can halve the sugar in a recipe and still find it’s sweet enough!

So there you go, a little look at what we eat at Birdsong.

Plastic Free July

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(Mostly) Waxed Boxes…very reusable!

Here we are in Plastic Free July again.

In previous years at Birdsong, we have had giveaway reusable mesh produce bags for certain sized orders and looked at ways we can reduce our single use plastic packaging.

This year, it would be great to make the effort to get everyone returning waxed boxes and glass jars that can be reused for future orders. Some customers are amazing at this…every order, without fail, they bring back their boxes, crates and jars. But for others it’s not a habit yet 🙂

Our one plastic use at Birdsong that we can’t do much about, is packaging loose-leaf greens. They’re moist, so paper just disintegrates. And while mesh produce bags are ok, the bags are worth almost as much as the greens in value, so it’s difficult to use them without raising our prices substantially. Many of our customers order for delivery, so everything has to be pre-packed before transporting into town, ruling out the option of customers bringing their own produce bags..having said that, if you are keen enough to shop on-site at Birdsong and BYO packaging, we can accommodate that.

If you are on our email list, you’ll have noticed I always thank people for bringing back their waxed boxes and large glass jars. The waxed boxes (especially the size pictured above) are very much reusable. So please don’t throw them away! If you are a delivery customer, you can leave boxes at your front door for me to collect when I next deliver to you, and if you’re a pickup customer, you can bring the boxes back with you on your next pickup. I know it can take a while to get in the habit. When supermarkets first discontinued single use plastic bags, it took me a while (and several trips back to the car!) to get used to bringing them in with me. But now it’s automatic, the habit has been formed.

Large capacity (1kg+) glass jars can be sterilised and reused also

Another way we reduce plastic packaging, is by packing our organic nuts/seeds/dried fruit etc in glass preserving jars, as pictured above. These too, can be sent back for cleaning and reusing. I love glass, because besides having a long life, it doesn’t alter the flavour of whatever is packed in it. And a row of glass packed foods look quaint on the pantry shelf 🙂

If you are bringing jars in that didn’t originally come from a Birdsong order, just keep in mind they need to be large and able to hold about a kilo of nuts. Jam jars and other smaller jars just don’t have the required capacity. The largest moccona coffee jars are great for 1kg dried fruit.

Back when we were starting to convert to glass containers in our own pantry…

This Plastic Free July, let’s see if we can all form some helpful habits to reducing plastic waste in our lives.

For loads of inspiration and products to make the change to reusable packaging in your home, check out Green Dandelion, at 1 Station St, Toowoomba (inside the new Emerge Cafe) http://www.greendandelion.com.au

The Birdsong/Grassrootschef Tour

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Our first “paddock to plate” type tour was just over a week ago, with Asher and Jess from https://www.grassrootschef.com.au

Rick spent the first hour, sharing his valuable knowledge on gardening, with soil nutrition as the foundation. We wandered through the market garden, and as we did, Asher picked fresh produce to prepare for the group, right there in the paddock.

A fire pit was set up, and fresh corn was barbecued; a kale and red cabbage slaw prepared, pumpkin slabs roasted, a beetroot hummus whizzed up and some beautiful chickpea flour flat breads cooked. Asher shared some cooking techniques and showed us all how we can eat local, clean and delicious.

We had perfect weather (it was just before the frosts started!) and enjoyed meeting others who were keen to learn more about growing and eating fresh organic cuisine. As pictured, we all picnicked on blankets, right there next to the paddock that the meal was gathered from!

There’s definitely the possibility we’ll hold another similar event, so keep posted at https://www.grassrootschef.com.au

Simple Slow Still

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A talented friend of mine from Simple Living Toowoomba (local ministry teaching people self-sufficiency, DIY and basic skills), Margy, has just started her own business, teaching workshops.

If you love to learn something new, create a project and spend time with others who enjoy the same, I’d encourage you to check out her website…there’s 3 workshops coming up soon.

https://www.simpleslowstill.com.au/workshops.html

Confessions of a Farmer’s Wife

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He looks like I’ve been feeling…pooped! Here’s an inside look at life at Birdsong lately…hahaha.

We had a lovely 5 days away at the coast, and not the overcrowded QLD coast, but a kind of remote little coastal village in NSW. It was bliss. We swam, read books and generally recovered from the fast pace life that the market garden creates. The children think it’s wonderful, partly because of the beach, and partly because it’s the only time I’ll ever let them eat cocoa pops!

But then we had to come back to reality. I got hit with hayfever (maybe the change of seasons brought on new pollen in the air…I don’t know). Then started having very disturbed sleep, and less than a week after the holiday was not coping. Rick’s got a lot of engineering work on at the moment so I end up with more farm work. Like, all of the harvesting, packing and sales. On top of homeschooling 5 of our 6 children (but thank God I have Rick’s mum helping me with that this year), making all our meals from scratch and managing all the other needs and distractions that come up. It was really too much.

Then we had other issues, like the lawn is starting to look a bit Amazonian, but the lawn mower, ride on mower and then the 2 wheel tractor all stopped working! The 2 wheel tractor was the saddest part. I was mowing with it (since the other equipment had broke down) and accidentally mowed over a bicycle tire that had been completely submerged in grass. That didn’t go down well, and broke the clutch. I felt terrible, because this was the first time I’d ever used the 2 wheel tractor…and because I’d repeatedly told the children not to leave their rubbish around the yard!). The 2 wheel tractor is an unusual piece of equipment from Europe, so parts are costly. Rick was already pretty disillusioned and considering giving up the farm just before that happened. He started pulling the tractor apart to find what went wrong and was very blessed to have our neighbour stop by and help him. It’s almost fixed now, phew.

Then came Friday. Friday is a huge day. I get up at dawn (that’s normal) and then get out in the market garden to harvest whatever else is needed for the delivery orders. Most of the packing is done Thursday arvo, so it’s not so stressful on the Friday morning. I have a very mature 9 year old who gets her 5 and 3 year old brothers fed and ready for the big day out while I work outside. Our 12 year old came out to help harvest. Most stock is ready to go in the cold room, but things like herbs are harvested to order. And leafy greens can’t be packed until the last minute.

Eventually all the boxes are ready (and I hope I haven’t missed anthing!). This week it was 8 boxes of veg, overflowing the boot of the van onto children’s laps! Then we start delivering. We try to get out of the house at 8am and need to be finished delivering by 9:15am for my eldest to have her piano lesson. While she’s there, the rest of us go grab some groceries, then collect her from piano and head straight to homeschool gymnastics. I really didn’t feel like being there this week, but once a fortnight the under 5’s have a class…and that was this week. My 3 year old was so excited that he’d get to use the gym equipment too that I didn’t have the heart to skip it on him. Then it’s lunch in the park with a stack of other homeschool families.

Next things start to slow down a bit and I drop the children off to my sisters for the afternoon so I can do any town errands by myself!

Busy. And I can totally understand why there aren’t more small farms and market gardens. It’s hard work, but doesn’t make enough money to hire help.

By the way, this was written more in a effort to help people understand some of what’s involved in small scale farming, not to have a whinge. Overall we have a great life, and I’m so thankful for the produce (and the opportunity to farm), as I doubt I’d have the energy to maintain this schedule without it!

Gran Elly Orchard Tours

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A number of you already buy apples from Dennis Angelino’s biologically organic farm. But for those who don’t know, Dennis is into remineralising the soil, like us. He’s opening up his farm at Thullimbah for tours on March 3/4 (Saturday/Sunday).

Sounds like a great family excursion, and opportunity to see what goes into apple farming and processing without poisons.

Contact Gran.Elly.Orchard@gmail.com for more info

A Fowl Experiment

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“Three duck eggs? That’s it?! But there’s about 11 ducks in there!”

I’d bought all these extra ducks for eggs, and some days I’d had 7 or 8 eggs in a day, but never consistently, and I’d purposefully bought a breed of duck that’s known for outlaying chickens. So what was the problem?

We soak their grain for at least 24 hours before their feed, give them table scraps and market garden scraps…and sometimes even some milk kefir (which they love). And I was pretty sure it wasn’t a predator nicking off with the eggs.

After the Sustainable Agriculture Conference, one of the bullet points I’d jotted down was that we should start sourcing organic feed for our animals. The primary focus of the lectures was on human health, but it became pretty clear that feeding animals with roundup contaminated produce is dangerous too.

We found certified organic lucerne for the sheep during the drought (which turned out to be the same price as the regular lucerne we’d bought before that!), and eventually I took the plunge and bought organic chicken feed too. I’d been holding off, as it’s far more costly than even the special duck formula that we sometimes bought.

At the same time as starting the organic poultry feed, I started picking a fresh tub of produce for the chooks/ducks each morning. Especially after all the rain and hail, we had lots of lettuce that wasn’t suitable for sale, but was perfect for the birds. We have about 30 birds, so maybe table scraps weren’t enough, even though they free range in a paddock.

2 days later, that’s all it took to see a difference. I had 7 duck eggs that day. And 7 the next, and the next…and then 8, then 9. Plus all the chook eggs. It’s been about 10 days now, and I’m still getting 7-9 duck eggs a day, plus chook eggs.

I’m sure the organic chicken feed has helped, but the real difference, in my opinion, is the fresh produce every morning. I made sure there was variety in the tub too, by using kale, chard, mesclun, and cabbage greens on top of the lettuce.

And every day, they polish off just about everything! It’s usually a bit of chard that gets left, if anything.

I say all this, because if you can see results in fowl health after only 2 days, by ramping up their fresh chem-free vegetable intake, what do you think it will do for human health? For your health?

I’d love to hear of anyone’s experiences with incorporating more fresh produce in their diet. 🙂

Hopefully I’ll be able to report back down the track on this Fowl Experiment, because the next change I’m looking for is in the birds feathers. Some of the chooks have bald patches which I want to see cleared up!

Organic Cotton

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This doesn’t have a whole lot to do with our vegetables, but a few weeks back I thought I’d try organic cotton socks for the family. Synthetic ones just aren’t nice. So I found Blessed Earth and bought some. Every one of my children that tried them said the same thing “These are SO comfortable Mum!” And they are. And they were only $3-$5 a pair! That was impressive, after spending much more on bamboo socks that weren’t any higher in quality.

By the way, I don’t get any incentives from Blessed Earth for writing this, I’m just letting you know, because a lot of our customers are the type of people who would want to know about these products.

Anyway, right now they have 60-70% off all their organic cotton sheets, and they also have a clearance page with loads of organic cotton clothes very reduced. It’s worth checking out if you’re looking for organic cotton. Especially as gifts…there’s a lot of baby/children’s items on clearance.

Happy shopping 🙂

Glyphosate, a Major Piece in the Puzzle

By | Nutrition | No Comments

“It’s called leaky gut. The gluten proteins escape through your stomach lining and into the bloodstream. Your body then treats them as foreign matter and has an autoimmune reaction. You’ll have to go off gluten, and probably for the rest of your life.” This is what I was told by my doctor several years ago. I was very impressed he told me WHY I was sick, instead of just offering some band aid solution. I was also impressed he offered a dietary remedy.

So I went off gluten. And it helped a lot. But I still had autoimmune reactions sometimes. I worked out it was soy and quinoa mostly, that were causing the trouble. Within an hour of eating them, I’d have brain fog, anxiety attacks, rapid heart rate, insomnia (when I tried to go to bed), and a goiter (inflamed thyroid).

Why were these ‘gluten free’ foods triggering autoimmune responses too?

The penny dropped at the Sustainable Agriculture forum with Dr Arden Anderson, a month or so ago.  He talks a LOT about glyphosate (street name:Roundup). Yes, other sprays like pesticides and fungicides are nasty too, but glyphosate seems to take the cake. And it’s far more widespread than you’d think.

Farmers (and everyone else) are told that it breaks down in the soil and is harmless. It’s a blatant lie. Now it’s been found glyphosate has a half life in the soil of about 22 years. And if it’s not sprayed on the crop itself, but just at the base of a tree…maybe an avocado tree for example, it gets into the roots, into the trunk…into the fruit. And peeling the skin doesn’t make your produce chem-free. You remove some of the toxins, but it’s in the whole fruit, vegetable or nut. You can’t just scrub it off.

As an example (forgive me if I mentioned this in another post), I know a lady with Multiple Chemical Sensitivity. She can only eat organic or she gets some pretty severe symptoms, sometimes landing her in hospital. She was telling me how pricey decent organic meat is. We have graziers in the family, so I suggested that I could give her some beef to try from a family farm. The cows aren’t given grain or pharmaceuticals. So I thought it would be a nice safe choice for her. Then the farmer mentioned the lantana in the paddock had been sprayed 8 months prior to that cow’s butchering with Roundup. But it’s supposed to break down in the soil…and it was 8 months since the cow had potentially eaten grass near that sprayed lantana.

Well, this lady reacted to the beef, and quickly. She knew right after eating this meat that there had to be glyphosate in there. After all these months, and just from grass near a little lantana that was sprayed.

This bothers me, because I know it’s common practice for farmers to spray the unwanted noxious weeds in their paddocks with Roundup…right where the cattle are grazing. For example, another family member, who sells their beef to one of the major supermarket chains sprayed heavily throughout their farm to deal with blackberry bushes. So it’s in the system now, and it’s not going to just disappear.

“Farmers are some of the sickest people on the planet, due to their chemical exposure and poor diet.” This from Dr Arden Anderson. We then went on to hear how in Bundaberg, the farmers spray the tomato bushes (after harvest) with glyphosate before mowing the bushes back into the ground. To help break it down of course. Brain cancer is so rampant among those tomato farmers that the specialists in Brisbane that they see know them as the Bundaberg Tomato Cancer Patients. Once again, the spray wasn’t applied on the tomatoes themselves, but it’s in the ground, and therefore seeping everywhere else now.

Did you know glyphosate has been patented as an antibiotic? Since August 2010…and this was right after claiming that glyphosate has no detrimental affect on biology. Um, ANTI- BIOTIC…anti-life. And if you’ve used Roundup in your garden, have a little dig in the soil around where you sprayed and see what life you can find in there. Healthy soil should be crawling with life.

How does it work? Chelation. Chelation can be described as binding…like taking a prisoner, throwing them in a cell and chucking away the key. Glyphosate chelates manganese, a mineral that it vital to both soil and human biology. I’d been told gluten binds or locks up other minerals and nutrients in your body…but is it really the gluten, or the glyphosate, which is in so much of what we eat?

Anyway, with that chelation going on, the beneficial microbes in the soil (or your gut) are destroyed. Which then allows pathogens to proliferate…this kills weeds. Just think what else it is killing.

Though we’d been eating semi-organically (like our high mineral organic veg, some organic dried fruit and nuts etc), I’d not realised just how dangerous the glyphosate is to human health and how great the need is to be sourcing ALL of our foods organically. But it’s a baby-step process! There’s so much to learn.

I just sit there thinking, how many people…how many families who have food sensitivities, are actually sensitive to the glyphosate and other chemicals in their food? It would make sense. I know people who are so careful with avoiding gluten or dairy but still have pretty constant symptoms. Is it because glyphosate is still in their gluten and dairy free alternatives? Especially soy products.

You might have heard that this generation (my children for example) are not expected to outlive their parents. That’s how sick our culture is. Dr Arden mentioned how cancer is children is escalating rapidly, and he even knew of a baby BORN with cancer. It’s heart breaking.

So…what was the conclusion of the seminar…what can we actually do about this?

-Source and buy (or grow) organic food. I know it can seem expensive, but as more and more people say no to GMO and chemical ridden produce, it creates a sustainable marketplace for organic farmers to be able to produce more of what the people need. And start small. Bananas were one of the things we started with. Wrays sell them at $2.95/kg. That’s pretty reasonable, and they’re MUCH sweeter than supermarket bananas. Panama disease in bananas is glyphosate induced. And here most of us are not even aware that bananas are sprayed with that garbage too.

Dr Arden said veg are more important than fruit, and to try and get as much colour and variety in your produce as possible.

-Drink lots of clean water…distilled water is great. Try and get off town water. Or get a filter. Or find a friend with tank water who can share.

-Cut back on meat. Um, we’re still working on this one! Eating it now and then is ok, and seafood (if well sourced) is a good option.

-Supplement. Dr Arden mentioned that the minerals and nutrients are just not in our food…but there are a growing number of people like us who are working at getting the soil back to it’s former glory so supplementation won’t be needed. I actually stopped supplementing because I wanted to see what our veg did for my health without any outside ‘crutches.’ But in general, you will need to supplement. And you’re probably wasting your time with supermarket multivitamins. Talk to a naturopath who should have a much better idea of which products are actually going to make a difference to your health.

-Sleep. For some that doesn’t come easy. There are things you can do to help though. Like getting outside around dawn and trying to spend 1/2 hour out there in that morning light. I use that time to feed the animals and do a bit of yard work. You can also pull electronic devices out of your bedroom. Green/blue lights interfere with sleep. You can try essential oils that support sleep, like lavender or sandalwood. You can try music like Wholetones, which plays frequencies that bring peace and relaxation (and even healing) to the body. I found these so helpful when I had autoimmune induced insomnia.

Exercise. They always say that, don’t they? He advised walking, as it’s renewing for the mind while exercising the body. I find it really hard to go for a walk just for the sake of exercise, but doing something like spending 30 minutes outside loading wheelbarrows of mulch for the garden, or walking around checking on the state of various crops is much easier to do.

 

Though the conventional agricultural situation is a mess, there’s still time to turn it around, and turn your health around while you’re at it.

How to….

By | Nutrition | 2 Comments

Yesterday was the Simple Living Toowoomba October workshop…Sourdough. It was delicious 🙂

But it reminded me that maybe I haven’t mentioned Simple Living Toowoomba before on this website? And it seems like more and more people are getting interested in learning some DIY skills, especially due to health reasons…like when you start reacting to chemicals in food, cleaning or beauty products and wonder what alternative you have.

Or maybe you’re looking to save money…learning to DIY items that you are presently probably paying to much for is really empowering and cheaper than you’d think.

Simple Living Toowoomba meets one Saturday morning a month with the purpose of passing on basic skills in a variety of areas. It started out as a cooking class, but now goes way beyond food. Local people sharing skills with other locals.

So, sample classes are

  • Rag rugs
  • Knitting
  • Sewing
  • Crocheting
  • Cooking from scratch
  • Building a chook shed
  • Growing vegies
  • Soap making
  • Bread making
  • Jam making
  • Reupholstering a chair
  • Basic home maintenance
  • Homemade toiletries and cosmetics
  • Frugal living
  • Growing herbs
  • Pressure cooking
  • Creating a budget
  • Mending clothes and darning socks
  • Making ginger beer and lemonade
  • Sewing Bee
  • Preserving /Bottling
  • Shopping and feeding your family without spending a fortune.
  • Propogating plants

And that’s just a sample. Classes depend on who’s available to teach and how much interest there is for attendance. The sourdough class just gone was very popular!

Classes are generally $5 per adult, run for 2 hours, it’s ok to bring children (but you need to watch them/be responsible for them) and are very inspiring. Just to be around so many people with so much knowledge, creativity and tips is amazing.

We meet at Range Christian Fellowship, in Wilsonton.

You can find out more here

If you want to be in the loop, go to the contact and booking page and request to be added to the mailing list.

I will also mention that right now SLT are looking for someone with some experience to teach on herbs. Growing them, using them etc. We had someone lined up and it fell through, so we’d love to find someone else to share with us on that topic (for next year).

Our last class this year (3rd Saturday Nov) will focus on some homemade Christmas ideas. Margaret will demonstrate some Furoshiki (hope that’s correct spelling!), it’s Japanese wrapping using fabric. Very interested in that! We waste far too much paper as a culture, wrapping everything in disposable wrapping paper. I’ll be demonstrating flavoured salts. Easy to make, and great little gift. And there will be a third demo also.

Maybe we’ll see some of you there 🙂

Water Fasting- my unexpected detox

By | Nutrition | One Comment

Maybe it sounds a bit backwards writing about water fasting when our business is selling food.

But I know a lot of our customers are buying from us because they are either dealing with an illness and need fresh chem-free veg to assist with healing, or they’re very keen on living a disease-preventative life. Which is why I thought you might like to hear a bit about my experiences with water fasting.

It had been years since I’d fasted. Mostly this was due to the fact I always seemed to be pregnant of breastfeeding and didn’t consider fasting safe in those conditions. It was also partly due to the fact I have low blood pressure, low iron count and often low blood sugar too, so can get light headed if I don’t eat for too long.

This year, while looking into what could be done about my mummy tummy, I came across water fasting again. As a Christian, I’d water fasted often back in the day, but always for spiritual reasons. I’d never really looked into the health side of fasting.

Side note: what do I mean by water fasting? It means the only thing that enters my mouth for the fasting period is water. Not tea, not broth, or any other variation…just water. And preferably filtered water, because living on straight town water with all it’s nasties isn’t advisable.

Intermittent fasting was said to be excellent for weight loss (and I don’t just mean the initial weight you lose by default when you don’t eat) and eating fat in stubborn areas.

Rick noticed I was looking at fasting again and advised me to read the Franklin Hall classic “Atomic Power with God Through Prayer and Fasting.” So, I got the book and started what was to be a single day fast. I wasn’t far into that book before I felt totally empowered to fast longer! I wanted to try for 3 days. It should also be noted that Rick and I had done an extended fast before. To dive straight into a longer fast with no previous fasting experience can be very hard on your body, and detox symptoms will abound. But even with that previous experience, I wasn’t expecting what came.

Spiritually, it was amazing. I’d sit down to pray and just burst into tears, and start seeing and hearing from God far more clearly than usual. The most surprising instance, was when in the early hours of the morning I was praying for a friend with cancer and God showed me a picture of her leaving with an angel on either side of her. It was hard, but I knew she was going to die. Later that morning, I found out she’d passed away at 4am…right about when I’d seen that picture.

Physically, it was also amazing, and such a detox! I’ve since read up lots more on water fasting and found explanations for things that were going on! On the second night of the fast, I started feeling funny. Cold, shivering, trouble sleeping, and by morning I could feel a fever coming on. So I broke the fast, and the symptoms stopped. Knowing now what was going on, I should have continued the fast, as those symptoms were the manifestation of my body dumping toxins and the like, and it would have blown over eventually.

A few days into a fast, your breath can start smelling metallic. Heavy metals literally leave the body during a fast. The other way to detox them is to use a sauna about 3 times a week for 12-18 months, I’m told. Much less running around if you just fast the metals out!

Was it hard to abstain from food? Yes! I used to fast a day a week when I was about 19, and that was far easier. I was single had no children, and I fasted on my day off of college. So I could just laze around and read a book or whatever on my fast days. Not so now, with 6 children who think they need to eat every 2 hours. And the responsibility of cooking for a large family, selling food as a job etc. So habits were hard to break. I’d be preparing snacks for the younger children and have to stop myself putting that bit of cheese in my mouth. Or be chopping veg for dinner and have to refrain from eating that carrot slice.

And leftovers! Our fridge seemed to abound with leftovers when I’d fast (just goes to show how much I must have been eating on an average day!). I hate waste, but there was all that food sitting in the fridge…that I couldn’t eat.

And we’re a ‘from scratch’ type of family. I don’t have instant food sitting around, except fruit and veg really. So even if I was fasting, I still had to prepare food for the family. And for the first month or so of fasting a day a week again, cooking actually started to bring some relief. If I couldn’t eat it, then at least I could smell it. And touch it. And have it all prepared for when the fast ended 🙂

During fasts, I started getting agitated when the children would complain about being hungry…only an hour after their last meal.

And then the flu hit. You all know it was bad this year. Rick was the sickest I’ve ever seen him and all the children caught it and spent the bulk of 48 hours sleeping on the couches. But I didn’t have nearly the ferocity of flu that the rest of the family got. I was a bit tired and had a bit of a sore throat…felt a headache attempt to come on once or twice, but that was all. Seeing how sick they all got made me surprised that I didn’t suffer the same fate. Until reading more on fasting. Fasting gives you such a detox and rejuvenation for your immune system, that you can be living with a house of sick people and yet not fall ill yourself. It’s amazing.

Did it get easier to fast? Yes. I’m on a fast as I type this, and haven’t eaten in about 22 hours. I’m not hungry. True, those cookies my 7 year old just baked look and smell lovely, but I’m not actually feeling like I need sustenance. If you fast regularly, your body adjusts to that. I also get full easier when I’m not fasting, which is a blessing!

You might also find you have a lot more spare time when you fast. I’m astounded how much we achieve when I’m on a fast! Even though food still has to be prepared for the rest of the family, there still seems to be extra time available.

Choosing when to fast…obviously there are some days that will work better than others if you’re looking to regularly fast. Early on, I did a fast (it may have even been on a 3 day fast) on a Friday, and that was awkward. Friday is our town day. I’m preparing orders, delivering orders, taking the children to gym and piano, often having lunch in the park with friends, often visiting my parents (who offer me food) and running around doing town errands. It’s a full day, and the Friday I fasted was exhausting! I didn’t feel very alert when driving, felt like I might pass out while shopping…not good. Having said all that, now that I’m used to fasting again, maybe I could do it on a Friday. But it’s best to just pick a day when you know you’re not going to be too pushed.

Did I lose weight? Yes. I dropped 4kg and am about the same size I was in high school, which is a good thing after having 6 babies 🙂

The idea of doing all this, from a health perspective, is not so you can then afford to binge on your regular days (just remind me of that when I go out and am offered dessert, which we normally don’t have!). It’s amazing to see and experience the cleansing of your body, and it’s best to support that by eating as organically and wholesomely as possible as a lifestyle.

I’d also read that women in particular can struggle with binging on their regular days in between fasting. I did experience this for a month or so. The feeling of looking at food and knowing you can eat it was too much, so I’d eat it. And eat that…and eat that other one too. Not good. But thankfully that struggle seems to have passed.

If you’re looking for an effective detox, to deepen your spiritual life and start fasting, short fasts can be best to start with. Fast a meal, or a half day. A whole day if you feel you can, and then work your way up from there. People do 7, 21, and 40 day fasts even. But often those longer fasts are either supervised, or only undertaken by experienced fasters.