sprigs & sprogs

What grows in your garden…?
October 6, 2013, 21:38
Filed under: Farming, Health, Nutrition, Organic, Pumpkin

Well……seems like I am breeding quite a few moths at the moment, as today our cabbages and broccoli looked more like stalks of something else…only some sad looking sticks left…and a bunch of fat happy green caterpillars, that apparently now can turn into moths…. Grrr.

Here is a photo resume of our little veggie patch so far.






These plants are the happiest on our plot. No matter if we have a dry spell of 3 months or pouring rain. Resilient.


Still waiting for our Butternuts to be ready…yum!


Pumpkins are well on their way now, today they have started to change color. Will add some new pix of them soon.


These are my “dry” photos. Next time I will upload a couple from after the rain…the weeds are taking over, yes and the tomato plants!

I love our little plot, although, we are novices, we are enjoying ourselves, and this summer we have learnt lots, by trail and error.  And we will try and take this with us when we start all over in the new year.

But on another note, whether your vegetables grow well or not, it is something very healthy and therapeutic about digging, planting and growing.



Ah vad det vaxer…
June 15, 2011, 21:56
Filed under: Farming, Health, nature, Nutrition, postaweek2011, Rocket

Went out for a walk today, and I could not believe how much everything has grown… All it takes is a few days with rain and then a few days with glorious sunshine and, Voila! Even our windowsill tomatoes and peppers has had a growth spurt, and they are sitting on the inside?

As you know I have been dreaming for a while now, of having my own piece of land. And to see this sudden burst of edible things out in nature just fuels this desire… Do you think it’s a natural instinct? To be able to provide for oneself and ones family?

Our window sill garden is growing…and there is so much  more I would like to add. But the next seeds are going to be Rocket, can’t wait to eat my “own” rocket. If you are not a rocket fan, try rocket on pizza or pasta. It tastes so good! I love it with most things at the moment. Why not try a cheese and ham sandwich with rocket… Staple lunch in this house. As a matter of fact, had it today.

Rocket has as many other salad greens high vitamin A and C content and it has a very positive effect on liver function. Which could prove useful for detoxing.  Apart from the above it’s also packed with other nutrients like; iron, calcium, folic acid and vitamin B.

Let me know what you think about Rocket, as I know this is one of these “love or hate” foods.


You are what you eat.
December 4, 2010, 21:08
Filed under: Farming, Health, Nutrition, Organic

Organic food is good for the soul.

Is the reason for all disorders like allergy, eczema and others, that we putting the wrong things in our mouths? Refined carbohydrates, sugars and fats? Or is it because of all the traces of toxic substances that we get in our bodies through the food we eat, from food treated by pesticides or grown in a heavily polluted area.


If something you eat makes you feel good you are likely to keep eating it and vice versa. This is an indication that the food is good or bad for you. With one huge exception, if you are addicted to a substance. As then the body has already moved past this first stage in the Adaptation process.

In my mind twenties, I was drinking a lot of tea, drank alcohol regularly and on top of that enjoyed spicy food. I often complained about stomach cramps, which eventually was diagnosed as stomach ulcers. This was caused by the combination above; caffeine, alcohol and spicy food? The ulcers only appeared long after my habits where set, when my body was not able to protect my body anymore, it was total overload.

My doctor advised me to avoid all three for a while to let my stomach recover. From then on I converted to herbal teas, eased of on alcohol and opted for milder curries. And it did work wonders. Today I do drink a “normal” cup of tea once in a while, but if I have two in the same day, I get stomach ache straight way, same goes for spicy food and alcohol. So I do strongly believe that your body sends out signals to help you choose what’s best for you. We just need to tune in…

This is known as the “General Adaptation Syndrome”

Stage 1: Initial Response

This is your first response to any event or substance is the best indicator of whether or not it suits you. Great example is the first “puff” on a cigarette.

Stage 2: Adaptation

The human body adapts quickly. Straight away the body starts working on protecting it self from the damaging substance, and it is doing so in an unseen state of stress.

Stage 3: Exhaustion

The body’s immune system is depleted and the body is not able to cope. Not able to adapt any further.

Stage 4: Recovery

It is necessary to avoid or greatly restrict the offending substance. Only this can give the body the time to recover.

Stage 5: Hypersensitivity

When recovered you may react to substances you have never reacted to before. As the body is now back to where you started, before you started taking any substances that did not agree with your body. Which mean you can get more sensitive to other processed foods and similar.

For many years there have been a belief that, some foods make us ill, while others gives us optimum health.

Already in 1923 there was a meat advertising campaign stating: “90% of the diseases known to man are caused by cheap food stuff.”

Our traditional way of farming, does include many kinds of toxins, which so far seems to be a small price to pay for the food companies, to get the crop they expect every harvest. They do this without taking any account to the toxins that enter all the crops they grow, that we will eat, and that will then enters our system and overloads us with toxins that give us a variation of side effects.

Many studies have been done on pesticides used in agriculture. According to Professor William Rea, Director of the Environment Health Centre in Dallas, Texas, pesticides exposure is linked to asthma, eczema, migraines, IBS and rhinitis. But it has also been associated with depression, memory decline, aggressive outbursts and Parkinson’s disease. It is also believed to have cancer causing agents.

It’s even more important to avoid when it comes to children, they are extra vulnerable as their bodies and brains are still growing.  Pesticides can contribute to slow development, behaviour problems, hyperactivity and learning difficulties in children.

So what could we do to avoid this and improve our health?

More and more people have realized the huge benefits of organic foods. Which is the most natural and beneficial way of eating, for optimum nutrition and health. There is less, if none, toxins and been proved to consist much higher levels of nutrients.

This has not been proved on paper, but in actions and wellbeing.

Research made on rats by the Danish institute of agricultural science in Feb 2005, showed pesticides below detection levels for both traditionally grown foods and organic grown,. But the rats fed on organic food was noticeable healthier, slept better, had stronger immune system and where less obese.

You can see this in the influx of organic products in most shops, as that’s what the general public wants, they don’t want to feed their children toxins.

It can also be seen in the masses of people opting for self-sufficiency and the huge interest in growing their own vegetables.

The Environmental Protection Agency compiles a yearly report of the foods with highest level of pesticide residues, it’s called the “Dirty Dozen” report. See below for the 2010 Dirty Dozen report;







Bell peppers






So if you can only buy limited organic food, make these your top choices.

In 2006 the European commission stated:

“Long term exposure to pesticides can lead to serious disturbances to the immune system, sexual disorders, cancers, sterility, birth defects, damage to the nervous system and genetic damage.”

The European commission’s statement dates from 2006. Why have we not seen more incentives to help the traditional agriculture to become more environmental friendly and steer them into a more balanced way of farming. And more research to invent something more sustainable than pesticides? Is ill-health the price we have to pay, for “cheap” and ready-available food all year round?

While doing my research I came across many cases where, individuals have become ill with life threatning diseases, only to find that with optimum nutrition free of toxins, they have miraculously recovered. This is enough for me to believe that food is our medicine.

Nutrition education is not a lifestyle hobby; it should be compulsory fixture on school curriculums all over the world.

Sweet Potato, Butternut Squash & Smoked Chili soup – Yum!
November 5, 2010, 20:49
Filed under: Nutrition, Pumpkin, Recipes, Sweet potato

A colorful autumn.

Here’s the recipe I promised, I made this soup last weekend and it was delicious.

Serves 4

Cooking time: 50 minutes

25g (1oz) Butter

1 clove garlic, crushed

225g (8 oz) sweet potato, diced

1 small butternut squash, diced

1/4 teaspoon sweet smoked paprika

1/2 red chili, finely diced

750ml (26 fl.oz) vegetable stock

2 teaspoons whole grain mustard

1 tablespoon parmesan cheese, finely grated

125 ml (1/4 pint) double cream

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

-Melt the butter in a pan, add the garlic, sweet potato and butternut squash, stir, cover and cook for 10 minutes.

-Add the smoked paprika and red chili, then cook for 1 minute.

-Add the stock and bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes until vegetables are tender.

-Allow to cool a little, then stir in the mustard and parmesan. Blend until smooth.

-Return to the pan, add the cream, season to taste, then gently reheat for 2 minutes and serve.

Recipe is taken from the book; New Covent Garden Food Co, Soup for all seasons.



I made one batch without chili for my children, they loved it. So just as nice with chili as without.

Have a lovely weekend!

Sweet potatos & Pumpkins are my Super foods!
November 1, 2010, 21:32
Filed under: Fitness, Health, Nutrition, Pumpkin, Sweet potato


I was diagnosed with a sinus infection, and had to take antibiotics for a week.  So when I said my common cold was a bit more stubborn I was on the right track. It took me another week after finishing the antibiotics to get over it… So my fitness routine is none existent, and that was just as I had finally got into one! But such is life, and I blame my immune system. So why was my immune system not up to scratch?

It could be many reasons,  stress, not enough sleep, in combination with all the germs that my children carry from nursery and back and I have to admit probably not an optimum diet.  So I have ended up putting too much stress on my body, without fueling it with the right nutrients to cope with the stress.

It has been very frustrating to not be able to go back to the gym, but I have made an effort to eat more “super foods” and tried to sit back and rest a bit, to give my immune system time to recover.

My super foods of the month: Sweet Potato and pumpkin.

Made a lovely Pumpkin, Sweet potato and Chili soap yesterday, by The Covent Garden Soup Company. Delicious! I will add the recipe tomorrow.

Nutri People have a great thorough list;


Tomorrow I’m finally going back to the gym. Jay!! Body Pump here I come!

Common Cold or just an uncommonly drawn out one?
October 12, 2010, 22:26
Filed under: Health, Kids, Nutrition, Uncategorized

Get your daily intake of vitamins from organic fruit and vegetables.

Today has been a beautiful day with blue skies and sunshine… Guess what I got up to? Went to the doctor for an appointment, which had been reschedule without anyone bothering to inform me. Then I ended up on the sofa with the worst headache I have had in years. This headache business was with all certainty, apart of my “common cold”, which I have now decided is a “not-so-common-cold”.  I have been dragging this cold along with me now for weeks, and instead of getting better it seems to be getting worse.

So yesterday I got this advice from a friend of a friend; Chop up an onion and leave it on a plate on your bedside table over night. apparently it is supposed to help unblock your nose.  You can imagine my disappointment when I woke up and couldn’t breathe through my nose. But as the day went on, I was suddenly able to actually blow my nose. If this was the onion or pure coincidence no one will know. But it’s worth a try! I have opted for a big cup of hot water with lemon and honey tonight.

So what are the best tricks in the book to get rid of a common cold?

1. Make sure you catch up on sleep and get enough rest. Have you ever as a parent noticed how you get a cold as soon as you have had a couple of late nights with your little ones? Your immune system goes down with not enough rest, and you are more vulnerable  to viruses.

2. Drink lots of water,  you get dehydrated from having a cold. Water is the best body cleanser, keep in mind that the adult body is 50-60% water. It is used in most functions of the body, without it we would not survive. So drink a little bit extra when unwell.

3. Eat lots of fruit and vegetables, not only are they full of vitamins and nutrients, but they have a high content of water. Which can both help you fight your cold.

4. De-stress, stress is as bad for your immune system as sleep deprivation. Keep calm and relaxed. If you don’t have a relaxing hobby. Learn a simple meditation routine to help you relax.

These are no miracle advice, just common sense. When I find a miracle cure I will be sure to let you know!

Is farming for me?
August 31, 2010, 20:59
Filed under: Farming, Kids, Nutrition

We have had one of those fantastic August days today, a blue blue sky, a slight breeze and the smell of dry soil.

I took my children for a little stroll in the country-side, our short stroll ended up being a two-hour adventure. We saw dragon-flies, lizards and butterflies. The neighbour hood is full of edible things, there where nearly ripe pumpkins,  grapes on the vines, pears on the trees, even the oranges has started to take shape, although they still look like limes rather than oranges.

There where fields that just have been ploughed and ready for its next job, soils so dry and hard that it looked like a field full of rocks.

I get so much pleasure out of seeing all these fantastic things in our neighbourhood, agriculture is the main source of income in this area, like most of Portugal.  I am smitten…I dream of an organic farm of my own. This is coming from me, who has still not been able to figure out how to keep my pot plants alive!

I do believe this is a great way of getting the best food possible and look after the environment at the same time. But I sure have the work cut out for me, I first have to saw some seeds in pots to see if I really can learn how to do it…

Anyway, back to my lovely walk with my children… we ended it by the old-fashioned water pump for a refreshing splash!

If you don’t have country-side to turn to for de-stressing, how do you do it?