Transitional Torment

Posted October 11th, 2010 in Nutrition, Organic, Organic Box Delivery by Hannah Yang

As a Naturopathic Physician, one of my favourite things to ask my patients to do when I need for them to quantify certain things, like stress levels or pain intensity, is to put it on a scale of 0 – 10, ten being the highest intensity.  If I were to put ‘’Moving’’ on that scale, it would definitely be about a 0 for enjoyment.  I think that packing up your life, moving large awkward pieces of furniture, twisting one’s body to contort around narrow staircases and sharp corners in order to squish your futon frame into your new home or discovering that the vinyl’s that belong to your husband that once brought you great joy are WAY too heavy to lift more than 25 at a time and thus making you (temporarily) curse the day Marvin Gaye was born (and the birth of disco, jazz, reggae…well, music, really) is about as enjoyable as violent diarrhea on a 10 hour bus ride in a third world country.  It gives me the sweats.  And not in a good way.

We have just moved into our new flat in East London.  It’s a gorgeous flat, with high ceilings, steps away from adorable boutiques and vintage stores, organic markets and great Thai food, and with just enough council housing and gang-related violence to feel a little more ‘’Real’’ here in the east end.  But the amount of time After moving in that passes before you are actually Formally Moved In still astounds me.  And we are nowhere near Formally Moved In.  You know how excited you get when you move into a space that has that extra room?  The very room that you and your partner giggle with glee about when dreaming up all the possibilities it holds?  Yah, you know that room – the ‘’it could be the office’’ or ‘’think about the number of guests we can finally have’’ or ‘’the hobby room’’ or ‘’music room’’ and all it ends up being for about a year after you’ve moved in is Storage?  The “we don’t know what to do with this shit so let’s put it in here and deal with it later’’ room?  It is almost as if having that extra room gives one permission to hold onto the stuff that is not needed anymore.  In fact, that is probably the one thing about moving that I CAN appreciate – the downsizing and throwing stuff out/giving it to charity part of it.  There is nothing more satisfying (at least to me) than filling garbage bags full of things that you no longer need and then donating them to Oxfam or any other local charity shop.

So, what can one do in order to deal with the torment of being in transition?  I could get all metaphysical on you and say be in the moment, live in the now, let go of your worries, appreciate what is here – but NONE of those things are remotely possible for me if I’m covered in sweat and dust and surrounded by boxes.  But what I CAN recommend is to give yourself a reward at the end of it in the form of an alcoholic beverage and a wholesome meal.  And what better way to get yourself settled into a new home than to have a fridge full of wholesome, organic produce that is delivered straight to your front door!!  Abel and Cole and Riverford Organics are just two of the many organics box delivery services there are available in and around London.  There are also organics produce pick up schemes in many of the boroughs in London where everything is grown locally.  Growing Communities in Hackney and Islington is one that is well organized and also has a farmer’s market in Stoke Newington on weekends.  Eating a home cooked meal is probably one of the only ways I can feel some semblance of normalcy and routine when I’m in transition.  Oh…and shoes.

Organic vs. Biodynamic

Posted August 12th, 2010 in Organic by Hannah Yang

Today is Day Two of my vacation in France with my gorgeous husband and what is the first thing that I do after a luxurious lie in? I log into my blog and start typing. I guess the fresh air and biodynamic food (and, erm, wine) has not done much to melt away the London pace from my weary bones, but I do not think I will need much coaxing away from my laptop over the next few weeks. I have found out that we are going to be visiting his parents (I must preface any reference to his parents with this fact – they are Absolutely lovely) for a couple of days in their house in the woods for some dinner and wine. His parents’ English vocabulary consists of ‘’hello’’ and ‘’thank you.’’ My French lexicon is pretty much limited to food, wine, bodily functions and swear words. Did I mention that we are going to be in the middle of the woods, far away from civilization (and escape)? I did, however, bring this upon myself. I boldly told my husband a few days before our month long escape to France that while we are in France, we are to speak nothing but French. Ha! Only a day into my vacation and I’m being thrown into the deep end. Français Lesson avec Les Parents-in-Law. I’ll keep you posted.

The silver lining in this will be his father’s impeccable taste in French Biodynamic wine. Ah wine… the Elixir of Life, Liquid Courage and whatever other titles of invincibility it has been bestowed with. I lose any and all inhibition when attempting to speak my horrible French when I drink wine and I will inevitably ramble on and on in broken French while inwardly congratulating myself for being so clever and already bilingual only two days into my vacation in France. And the beauty of the Biodynamic part of it all? No Hangovers. For Serious.

So… what is the difference between Organic and Biodynamic? Well, from the reading that I have been doing, it seems that Biodynamic Agriculture has predated Organic methods by a few decades and is much more stringent in its rules and regulations in terms of maintaining soil integrity without chemicals, encouraging a completely self-sustainable/self-contained ecosystem balancing harvesting and growth with processes such as crop rotation, specific fermentation in their manure to act as fertilizer and harvesting in accordance to the Lunar cycle. The term ‘’Organic’’ was coined by J I Rodale and it is more of an Americanized term whereas Biodynamic farming was based on Rudolf Steiner’s approach to the farm and the earth’s relationship and thus it is much more popular in Europe. What do I think? Regardless of whether something has been labeled Organic or Biodynamic, make sure that it’s up to a standard that is regulated properly.Organicconsumers.org is a great site that helps you to understand labels and regulation. Biodynamic.com is another good resource. At the end of the day, the food industry is one that thrives on making money and labeling is under policed (or self-policed) and not necessarily to be trusted at first glance. For more eye-opening facts, watch Food Inc. and be thoroughly appalled. Pour yourself a large glass of biodynamic wine while watching it – you’ll need it.