• Energy Medicine,  Fabulous Food,  Vitamins Minerals and Herbs (oh my!)

    GEMS Nutrition

    We love food. I have written before about how, when you start doing any type of homesteading, you become basically food-obsessed. I think many people in the holistic health industry find themselves in this position, learning more about the body means learning more about how to feed it for optimum performance. GEMS Nutrition is a course that has been percolating in my mind for a long time. I thought it was done nearly two years ago, then found out to my chagrin when I sent the files to a student, that I had somehow saved over some of the files incorrectly. As we had just moved to the rainforest all…

  • Costa Rica Ramblings,  Fabulous Food,  Vitamins Minerals and Herbs (oh my!)

    Wandering Herbalist: Mamon (Rambutan)

    Medicinal plants, fruit: Mamon The fruit stacked high on the table at the market looks almost alien. Spiky, with little barbs radiating outward, bright red and about the size of a ping-pong ball; here in Costa Rica, this fruit is known as mammon, though in Asia it is better known as rambutan. Don’t be fooled by its’ strange appearance – it is delicious. And at this time of year when it is in season, it is ridiculously cheap and can be found everywhere. There was a lady selling bags on the side of the highway out of the back of her truck today; one kilo for one mil colones (just…

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  • Costa Rica Ramblings,  Fabulous Food,  Permaculture

    Clueless attempts at Permaculture: 3.5 months

    The good news is: food is actually growing. The half-dozen pots of lettuce I had planted as we were getting settled are large and we are consistently pilfering leaves for salads. We’ve had our first little crop of radishes and celery, green onions and herbs are in abundance. Almost every tiny bit of space that could be eked out of what used to be our driveway has been put to good use. Combined with our new little property (see below), this feels like a tremendous amount of plants for me. The thing is, while I have always loved to garden and have always had one, up to now it has…

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  • Costa Rica Ramblings

    Dreaming of permaculture: our journey to Costa Rica

    Written for Health Action magazine It started twelve years ago during a Saskatchewan winter. Having just finished my training in herbology and sick-to-death of the cold, I came to the conclusion that I wanted to study herbs in the rainforest. It sounded like a whim and people laughed it off, but I began to do some research and my husband and I created a five-year-plan to move back to BC, pay off student loans, and embark on a six-month trip to see what I could learn about medicinal plants somewhere warm with gorgeous beaches. We chose Costa Rica for a few reasons. One, it has more protected rainforest than any…

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  • Costa Rica Ramblings,  Vitamins Minerals and Herbs (oh my!)

    Chan – the Next Super Seed

    Chia seeds, flax seeds, hemp seeds – the Western world is getting familiar with the idea that seeds are superfoods. Little powerhouses of nutrition, seeds are packed with enough goodness to give an entire plant or tree it’s start in life and as such are usually pretty good for you. As I listen to the deafening noise of the cicadas in the rain forest of Costa Rica I sip on a weird local concoction that might just be the next superfood seed to add to the list. The first time we tried the strange drink called fresco de chan was five years ago when we were out for dinner and…

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  • Costa Rica Ramblings,  Fabulous Food

    My clueless attempts at permaculture.

    OK, so some of you may have been reading about our renovation process and how we are going about rehabilitating the cabinas we have purchased in the jungle. Part of this whole process however is the idea that we are going to live as self-sufficiently as possible and that means growing as much of our own food as we can. Our property is only about one acre: some of that is primary rain forest, some hillside, a large amount of driveway and some inhospitable cliff. We are trying to purchase a nearby property that would give us some actual farming space, but, like oh-so-many things in Costa Rica, it is…

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  • Vitamins Minerals and Herbs (oh my!)

    3 Herbs to start Wildcrafting

    Tis the season for wildcrafting. If this is a term you are unfamiliar with, ‘wildcrafting’ means to find medicinal and culinary herbs and plants in their natural habitat and harvest them in a sustainable (read: not picking every last flower or enraging the Lorax) way. I am lucky enough to live in the Central Okanagan in an area where two ecosystems brush up against each other; one being desert like, and the other a wet rich cedar forest. Between these two areas there are many medicinal plants to be found, most of which people think of as weeds. While it can be dangerous to simply start picking and eating plants…

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