Conscious Food July – The Conscious Adventurer

Conscious Food July – The Conscious Adventurer

I believe living more consciously includes becoming kinder to ourselves, each other, and our world. I’m so excited about my new radio show The Conscious Adventurer on Otago Access Radio, 105.4FM and 1573 AM, Tuesdays at noon. You can listen in from or download the podcasts from Itunes. Each month has a theme and for each show, I’ll do a short talk with psychological tips, then guide you through a mediation or visualisation related to the theme, then interview someone connected with the theme.

On The Conscious Adventurer, In July,  we’ll be looking at our relationship with Food and we’ll be bringing more awareness to our food choices. I’ll be interviewing Lucas Deschamps of Natureally – an organic cafe with loads of vegan fare, one of our favourite places to eat in Dunedin; Nicola Brown, a clinical psychologist and creator of NIBL, Tracey Loughran, a naturopath of Flourish and the Taste of Success Weight loss programme and Pip Wood of FoodShare.

That’s The Conscious Adventurer, Tuesdays at noon on Otago Access Radio, 105.4FM, 1573AM and podcast from and Itunes.

My first guest, on Tuesday, 5th of July is Lucas Dechamps of Naturealley. Lucas is pretty passionate about organic food and food packaging, amongst other things.How many disposable coffee cups do you think we, in NZ, dispose of every year? Do you know that the vast majority of these are not biodegradable? What questions would you like to put to Lucas?

Food Conscious July

Puddles, Magic, & Foraging

Puddles, Magic, & Foraging


“Come! In!” insisted Bear, pulling on my dress. He was splashing in a puddle, and I had been watching him, feeling like there wasn’t enough space in my chest for my heart. Bear’s fascination with the puddles, his delight and absorption – how utterly magical. I was holding Ant in a carrier and this space with my two boys felt ethereal.

So, I got into the puddle with Bear who then started stirring the water with some long leaves. More magic.

While stirring the water, I saw lots and lots of cabbage tree leaves. I had been looking for these after a kind friend took pity on my dismal fire-lighting skills and gifted me a lot of dried cabbage tree leaves as kindling. They are the secret weapon. I started gathering leaves with great gusto. The trees were up on a small, but steep, bank and after Bear and I had climbed this, I realised that walking down might be a problem. If Bear was unsteady, there was a chance he might fall and hit his head.

More magic – I showed Bear how to sit down and scoot down the hill. “Agin!””Agin!””Mum!”.

It seems to me that foraging is about finding treasure in the ordinary and overlooked. Isn’t that what conscious adventuring is about?

“Conscious Adventuring – finding treasure in the ordinary and overlooked”

Conscious Living

Conscious Living

I’ve been thinking a lot about what underlies the projects that I’m involved in and that I care about. I believe the underlying idea is Conscious Living. To me, this means, bringing attention to my thoughts and actions and knowing that I have a choice in what I do. I believe this to be broader than mindfulness – which is a state of mind at a particular moment that I can choose to engage in. To me, trying to live more consciously means, amongst other things, trying to reduce the impact I have on the environment, trying to live with more compassion, and trying to be conscious of where I direct my attention in terms of time and thoughts.  What does Conscious Living mean to you? Is it something you identify with?

JohnHain pixabay Mindfulness

Image thanks to John Hain via Pixabay

Microgreens, Gardening with a Toddler, and Self-Care

Microgreens, Gardening with a Toddler, and Self-Care


“Whooshoo…whoo…” said Bear earnestly, his eyes wide, standing at the back door. I was changing Ant’s nappy. “What’s that, little one?” I asked. “Whoo shoo…come!” he insisted. With Ant in tow, I went to the garden, not suspecting a single thing. And there it was…

I didn’t have my camera with me, so I will just have to describe Exhibit A. One container that had housed microgreen seeds and soil. Now, it housed mainly water. Bear had very carefully watered it and the seeds had overflowed into the garden. There was little choice but to laugh and hope that perhaps this unusually warm weather might see some of the seeds grow.

Several weeks later, here there are:


Growing microgreens has been part of trying to grow more of what we (could) eat. Doing that has been part of more consciously and mindfully eating and being a more conscious and mindful consumer. I also feel that this is related to self-care and care for my boys – I’d been thinking quite a bit about self-care as I’ve been sick for some time.

I’ve been looking at various things Self-Care related and this blog post by Bruce Thao popped up in my newsfeed, titled “Self-Care is a Lie”. Bruce Thao makes some thought provoking points including that (1) we are not taught how to self care, (2) that we are praised and programmed to care for others above ourselves and (3) that after we have worked long hours at work and home, it is expected that we should care for ourselves. He says “we are set up to fail” and talks about the systems that are operating that are not helpful. He also talks about switching from thinking about our Sole Gain to our Soul’s Gain.

And this Gardening with a Toddler endeavour? Hopefully this is part of how Bear and Ant will learn to grow their own food and be aware of what they eat.

Any tips on gardening with a toddler? On growing your own? On self-care?

It Starts with Me

It Starts with Me


Rubbish bag

Some weeks ago, I had the amazing fortune to attend a workshop by Kate Mead (“The Nappy Lady”). It was completely life-changing. I had been doing a number of environmentally conscious things, but her talk was a complete catalyst. It really hit me: It starts with me. 

We are still a long way off where I would like us to be, but here are some highlights of things that have been working in the pursuit of trying to be a more conscious consumer:

  • becoming aware of packaging and trying to buy things without packaging (ideally), or packaging that can be recycled. Our city council only recycles certain plastics, for example.
  • taking our own packaging or bags
  • having keepcups for the occasional take out coffee (or going without)
  • switching to cloth nappies. I’ll own up now and say that the bulk of that rubbish bag is made up of nappies. I’ve been trying to find ones that work for the boys.
  • using a Bokashi composting system in addition to our usual composting bin. This allows us to compost meat (ideally we’d eat less meat), small bones, and citrus
  • trying to use handkerchiefs instead of tissues (at least some of the time)
  • growing microgreens so that there are some handy greens and so I don’t buy them in packaging
  • trying to make more of our meals from scratch rather than buying products which are more prepared and have more packaging

Why the picture? This is two weeks worth of rubbish. I was putting out a rubbish bag weekly. I’d like to see if I can stretch out to three weeks and then longer. I also need to look into a waste pick up service so we don’t use black plastic bags. Small small steps, but #itStartsWithMe


The Great Tomato Competition & the Nash Equilibrium

The Great Tomato Competition & the Nash Equilibrium

It’s been a long time since I last posted. The past months have flown by. In addition to watching the Little Gardener grow so quickly, I’ve been teaching (and struggling to fit the associated admin into the Little Gardener’s nap time). The semester has come to end – just in time for a flurry of spring planting .

The Great Tomato Competition has started! While waiting for grown-from-seed (Money Maker and Grosse Lisse) seedlings to grow, Labour Weekend (the time, in NZ when tomatoes are planted out) was upon us and we decided to buy some grafted tomato plants for early tomatoes. The Other Gardener and I each choose a tomato plant, and without being able to interpret the Little Gardener’s directions, we chose a variety for him that we both agreed on. This year, I have chosen Sweet 100, the Other Gardener has Dynamo and the Little Gardener has old fashioned Beefsteak.

The rules are simple: (1)we all have to plant in the same size container (planting bags, in this case, as space in the glasshouse is at a premium), and (2) we cannot sabotage each other’s plants/growing.

The current categories are:
(1) first tomato that is 1cm or more in diameter
(2) Heaviest tomato
(3) Most number of tomatoes
(4) Heaviest overall yield
(5) By blind tasting, tastiest tomato

The plants were bought on Monday and some interesting things have already happened. The Other Gardener went out last night, saying he was putting the plants into their bags.

Exhibit A: Two of the Three Plants

According to the Other Gardener, my plant was put into it’s bag too.

Exhibit B: My plant


I also discovered that my bag is only three quarter filled with tomato mix compared to the other two bags which as can be seen are completely filled.

The competition went up a notch this afternoon…

Exhibit C: Grow light + barricade to prevent my plant getting night light


I also discovered that the rest of the tomato fertiliser has been squirrelled away to another location…

Speaking of competition, here is an interesting Ted talk about some psychology of competition and the Nash Equilibrium:

Any tomato growing tips?

Incidentally, most of this blog post has been written using Dragon Dictation for iPad and I’m actually quite impressed with it’s performance!

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