Green and Thrifty: It's Been a Week

Kale and calendula in the mid-winter garden

It's been one of those weeks. I woke up on Tuesday morning with the nausea and dizziness thing again. Again! I believe I have established that it is connected with my ears. They are blocked and sore, and the dizziness gets worse when I turn my head to the left or lie on my left side. Both times I've had this now have been after spending hours outside in the Tassie winter with nothing covering my ears, so it all hangs together. It is much better today but I have had a few days of just lying still in one position trying not to throw up (sometimes unsuccessfully..).

Still, being unable to do anything at all does give one a lot of thinking time. I have been under an enormous amount of emotional stress recently, trying to resolve some angst from the past and deal with some huge stresses in the present. I think all the extra stress has added to making the illness worse and lasting longer than it usually does. I usually bounce right back from being unwell but this time it is taking much longer.

Broad beans - don't forget you can eat the leaves in salads and stir-fries!

Now, enter stage right, lovely reader Madeleine. We have been emailing back and forth about various things and it turns out that Madeleine is a macrobiotics counsellor, and that macrobiotics is an eating plan and lifestyle which meshes very well with my philosophy of local food and natural, gentle living. Madeleine has been very kindly sending me information about how I can nurture my body back to health, with some ideas of simple, belly-happy foods for my situation. I must admit, I had been eating terribly. When I am stressed my go-to foods are chocolate, cheese and bread which are my preferred vehicles for sugar, fat and gluten, and nowadays I don't have youth on my side to help me recover. I am keeping a food diary to show Madeleine the horrific things I have been eating, and the day before I got ill I had lovely, warming porridge with fruit for breakfast, as always, and then the rest of the day I ate only cake and chocolate. That's it, nothing else. No wonder my body said no..

So onto green and thrifty for the week. Well, as I have mentioned before, the silver lining of being ill is that you can't go anywhere, do anything or spend any money, so there's that. Since Monday the only time I have left the house is today when Red and the dog took me for a short walk.

Broccolini florets. Cut and come again.. and again.. and again..

Red has spent the week playing Florence Nightingale and taking care of me. They have done the housework, made me soup, kept the fire going, brought me cups of tea and filled up my hot water bottle. Tuesday was the day I was going to go up to Paul's and help to cut and load a trailer full of wood as we were nearly out. Paul did all this himself and brought it into town so we wouldn't be like orphans huddling round three sticks and a pine cone to try and keep ourselves warm, and Red stacked it all up in the wood shed. I am very fortunate to have all this kindness in my life.

I pulled out this lovely knitted neck warmer the other day as an extra layer to keep me warm and cosy. It was a gorgeous gift from my friend Sandra a couple of years ago, but when I pulled it out of the cupboard it was full of holes. I suspect the cat. She likes to climb into the cupboard and make nests in my clothes, which always involves the use of claws. I was so sad to see my lovely scarf full of holes so I have been weaving it back together again over the last couple of days. It's a very wonky mend but probably won't show much as the scarf bunches up nicely and I have a lot of hair as I haven't been to the hairdresser for months.

I suspect the cat

My other green and thrifties this week are food. Red made me pumpkin and sweet potato soup during the week and today I sauteed a heap of onion, garlic and ginger on Madeleine's advice, along with celery, pumpkin, sweet potato, carrots and the turnip lurking in the bottom of the fridge. I added Red's left over pureed soup to all the veg and now have a huge pot of vegetable and left over soup to keep me warm on the inside for the rest of the week.

Tonight I cooked up brown rice with miso broth, another suggestion of Madeleine's, again with lots of garlic and ginger added, and a bunch of greens from the garden: broccolini, beet greens, kale and broad bean leaves. This dinner was fantastically warming (there was a LOT of ginger in there) and very delicious.

The broccolini is particularly sweet and yummy right now. Sometimes the little bunches start to get away from me, but I still cut them and eat them, even if there are a few flowers appearing. At this time of year they are sweet and crunchy and perfect. These meals are so cheap and so full of goodness and so very yum that I think I could probably eat them every day. I probably will eat them every day because I am quite boring (my children will attest to this) and quite happy to eat the same thing day after day as long as it is easy and delicious.

Other things I am doing to get better: soaking cotton balls in a mixture of grated ginger juice and olive oil and plugging my ears with them. I have done this for two days straight now, changing them every few hours. Ginger has lots of good warming and healing properties, including being both antibacterial and antiviral. I took the cotton balls out just now and my ears have unblocked. I can hear properly for the first time in a week. Thanks Madeleine!
I am resting and resting and resting. I am napping in front of the fire and reading old favourite children's books, then taking another nap.
Another of Madeleine's suggestions - soaking my feet each night in hot salty water. Ears are connected to kidneys in traditional Chinese medicine and the foot soak is beneficial for the kidneys. I don't know anything about such things but I am loving soaking my feet in warm salty water. It feels so good. I don't have pumice to rub the soles of my feet with, but I do have a beach rock with lots of holes in and it seems to be doing the trick..

I think that I have come to the realisation that now is the time to start taking care of myself. I have coasted along for many years sorta kinda taking care of myself but often not. I've got by on a legacy of reasonable genes and quite good health, but now my body is slowing down and I can't keep pushing through and ignoring its pleas for care and love. So it's time. And I am very pleased to let you all know that Madeleine has very generously agreed to share some of her wisdom about gentle eating and self care with us sometime in the near future. That is something I am very much looking forward to, and it will be exciting to share this Blueday space with another writer:)

Well, there's my week, and I will leave you with a lovely video from Yarrow Willard, Herbal Jedi, from whom I have been learning much about herbs and wild crafting over the last few months: Remember You Are Loved

Now it's your turn - how has your week been, and how have you green and thriftied through your days?


Deborah said…
Oh Jo, so sorry you have been ill but delighted you have recovered due to gentle measures!
There's something very special about collecting bits and pieces from the garden and turning them into soothing soups.
I hope you continue to grow strong and feel well. I haven't been to yoga since April and YouTube and Zoom just aren't the same. I am aware that I am losing flexibility and strength. Mobility and feeling strong is so important as we age.
Take care,
Treaders said…
Can't wait to hear more from Madeleine as I find it absolutely fascinating. Hope you feel better soon!
simplelife said…
Gosh Jo you have been having a tough time. Does sound like it's time for some serious self care, not in the marketing sell you something way, but in that way of listening to our bodies and our minds and treating them with the love and support they need and deserve.
I'm looking forward to Madeleine sharing too. Those meals you shared look and sound delicious. I don't make that food much at home though as the hubster turns up his nose like a petulant child 🙄.
I'm sorry I didn't reach out to check on you, I had been wondering why you were so quiet. Take care my friend
Cheers Kate
Jo said…
Deborah, "There's something very special about collecting bits and pieces from the garden and turning them into soothing soups." - I love this! Soup is so great, it's so forgiving of whatever odds and ends are available in the garden or at the bottom of the fridge:)

Anna, me too!

Kate, I am the only person in my house who likes my particular brand of vegetable soup, and Red looked very askance at the brown rice with greens. But there is plenty of food in the house, and sometimes Red and i eat the same thing, sometimes I have my soup and they have their preferred dish. We eat together and have a nice conversation so I have no problem if there are different things on both our plates. I think at some time we have to say to ourselves, "this is what I need," and make it happen. It is a very difficult thing to do though, for those of us brought up to be 'nice':)
And please, please don't feel as if you have to check on me every time I stop writing! I very much appreciate your kind thoughts and i am so fortunate to have very many kind people around who look after me and as I get older and wiser I am getting better and better at asking for help! You take care of yourself as well, dear friend:)
Anonymous said…
Jo, I am so delighted you can hear again, you are clearly giving your body what it needs. And how lovely that you have shared photos of what you are doing, I'm sure it will have readers off to their gardens and pantries to cook up some seasonal delights. Our bodies are talking to us all of the time, and when we stop to listen and give them what they need they can return to good health.

I think we are the only creatures on earth who continue to hurtle through life in Wintertime. All of nature rests, except us. No wonder many of us get sick at this time! It is unfortunate that we live in a capitalist society that doesn't value or listen to nature, but instead bows to the god of convenience and runs after more bucks to buy that convenience. I think many readers here are off that treadmill, or moving toward getting off it, and this can allow us to slow down and return to good health, both mental and physical.

Wishing everyone rest, good food and good health today. I'm looking forward to posting here, and sharing ideas with all of you.

Madeleine. X
Jo said…
Madeleine, our poor bodies talk to us but sometimes it takes a painful episode for us to listen and take its advice.. slowing down seems to be key to so many good things - but we are expected always to whirl faster and faster. I am now going to be someone who does not try to hurtle through the winter. I will be doing some gentle hibernating instead:)
Thank you so much for your advice and insights xx
simplelife said…
I couldn't agree more Madeleine. I know I could benefit a lot from living seasonally and even daily.
I learnt once about the signs our body gives us, at first they are gentle like feathers bumping against us, if we don't listen they become more uncomfortable like bricks being tossed at us until finally if we haven't taken notice it's like hitting a brick wall, and we can't go on no matter how much we want to. I've had a lot of bricks for quite a few years now, sounds like Jo you might have reached the wall.
Cheers Kate
Linda said…
Hello Jo. Sorry to hear how poorly you have felt. Ear problems are horrid and you have been very fortunate to find an excellent person to help you get well. Madeleine sounds a marvellous therapist, suggesting excellent things to help your ears to get well and those meal suggestions sound delicious, nurturing and nourishing. Red sounds a perfect Florence Nightingale, enjoy all the care and get properly well before you throw yourself back into life. My husband’s aunt had a wonderful saying - that when you felt ill you “should enjoy sitting in the soft cushion” to give your body chance to heal properly. Enjoy that soft cushion, Jo!
Anonymous said…
Glad you are feeling better, and listening to your body and answering to it's needs. When stresses take over, I go into "warrior" mode ( my go to survival skill), and barrel through trying to take care of things. Eventually, my body rebels and I get sick. As I age, I realize it's my souls way of demanding the quiet the it needs to heal, and take care of the body I'm neglecting. Soups...they heal. Quiet it heals. Red...they Rock!
I hope this week is a better week. Looking forward to Madeline's guidance, and your continued posts.
To your continued recovery,
Jo said…
Kate, I'm really hoping that actually it is just a very small brick this time, and I promise I will pay attention!

Linda, just sitting in my soft cushion on your advice:) Ate the same meals today as I did yesterday, they are still yummy!

Patricia, like you, I spend a lot of time barrelling through and not paying attention. I mean, I am glad that I have the health to deal with stress, it's just remembering to go softly and quietly afterwards, isn't it?
Anonymous said…
Be well again soon, Jo. I hope you are through the stressful things, and that there are calmer times ahead for you.

Linda in NZ
Jo said…
Linda, honest truth, I precipitated this round of stress myself, as sometimes we all have to do, and am now working through the fall out, but I am seeing some good things come out of it, which is all we can hope for in life:)
Linda in UK said…
Sorry, Jo. It should have said sitting ON the soft cushion, not IN it! Hope you are feeling better.
Jo said…
Linda, I really quite liked the thought of sitting IN the cushion:)
gretchenjoanna said…
It is like you to see the good things in the midst of suffering, but my first thought was UGH!

I like hearing about the comforting and healing therapies, though.
Jo said…
Gretchen Joanna, believe me, there has been a great deal of UGH going on!
Annice said…
Meniers disease or labarynthitis, which I suffered from for many years. It does resolve itself. Stematil (tablets, suppositories and when extremely bad a Stematil injection). It is a horrible debilitating disease.
Jo said…
Annice, yikes, I really hope not! I will be going to get checked out by a doctor when I can't possibly procrastinate about it any more..
Annice said…
Hope it isn’t Meniers. Stress can be a factor. I took fluid tablets to keep it at bay, low salt diet. It did eventually resolve itself, I haven’t had a bout of it for many years. Good to get it checked out by a GP and maybe a referral to ENT specialist. Best advice will come from medical professional. Good luck.
Jo said…
Annice, oh, how dreadful to have this keep on coming back. What an awful time that must have been for you. You have my complete sympathy in retrospect! Thanks so much for letting me know your experience so I can add that to the list of enquiries i present to my doctor. So glad to hear that it resolved for you, and I will be following this up and hoping i can find a resolution as well. Meanwhile, I'm focusing on calm..

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