My Daily Permaculture Diet-Integral Health Series (2)

Applying permaculture principles to our planet’s health and our own integral health.

By Aline Van Moerbeke

In a previous post I applied 3 Permaculture Principles to my diet, as part of a Integral Health series of post I am hoping to write. Today I want to look at some further principles.

Obtain a Yield

Multi-function and cultivate your own food

“You can’t work on an empty stomach” says the description of this principle on David Holmgren’s website. Nowadays, I think we need to go even further and look into the nutrients that are actually in the food that you consume and into the colonies of bacteria that are actually in our stomach and digestive system for us to really “Obtain a Yield” when performing the simple act of “eating”.

There is ever more information out there on the Microbiome and its importance on our overall (yes also very much mental and emotional) health. So if we have to cover our basic need for sustenance, we might as well multi-function and do it right. In the one activity of having to eat we can stack the following functions:

Balance out the “baddies” in your microbiome and repopulate with the “goodies” by following a balanced diet based on organic (regenerate your soil!) whole foods for true nutrition and optimum health and energy levels. Understand about prebiotics and probiotics (especially to counteract use of antibiotics when the latter are necessary) and get rid of refined sugar for starters.

Get some outdoor time by actually cultivating a large part of that organic whole foods’ diet. It gives you a mental boost (time to slow down, connection with the good bacteria in the soil have been proven to prevent and help depression and anxiety, community gardens give you a human connection as well…) as well as a physical boost (fresh air, “agro-fitness” (be aware of your postures!), grounding…). Annuals are ok but better are perennials and forest garden products.

Carbs are needed, so think about what you will eat to replace rain fed mono-culture agriculture cereals. It’s not just that gluten is becoming a problem (not the fad, but the real deal where the plant is actually evolving to make itself more toxic in the face of years of abuse by Roundup and the likes). Can you have rice? Potatoes? Sweet potatoes? Lentils or chickpeas? Sprout or have a window sill herb garden if you live in an apartment, anything green will boost your immune system!

Having secure access to food is a necessary part of your resilience plan. Hence Bill Mollison’s words:

So… Obtain that Yield and stack functions: outdoor time and exercise, connection with nature and people, true nutrition and optimal energy levels, a higher level of resilience, hey and you might even sell your extra produce so a financial income or a whole bunch of social capital can also be generated by… just having to eat!

Produce no Waste

Use the whole animal

We have this fantastic restaurant near my home, Terrae. They have grass fed organic beef on the menu, but they can’t say what cut you will be getting on your plate. They buy the whole animal when one is slaughtered and they prepare whatever comes next out of the freezer, always delicious! No picking and choosing and only having steaks! That’s so wasteful and so disrespectful of the animal! (I hear those vegans coming, I am happy to have a respectful conversation and exchange of ideas, but no butchering of each other…)

There are lots of other examples of applying this principle on David Holmgren’s website, but what I want to point out particularly under this principle, is the use of the bones. Bone broth is one of the world’s top super foods and the bones often just get thrown away! Did you also have a grandma that used to put a bone in the soup? And did it have those greasy bells on the surface? Well that’s the good stuff!

Bone Broth boosts immunity, halts inflammation, reduces symptoms of the Common Cold and Bronchitis, helps with weight loss and hydration, the gelatin is anti-aging and cell protective, plus it also helps regulate the stomach’s acid production (which was/is necessary in my case) and there are many more benefits, apart from it being easy on the money belt.

Bone broth is so cheap to make, it’s using a “waste” product and it’s good for you! So go find your local organic grass fed/free range meat supplier and you’re also supporting your local economy hence again upping your local resilience (do all you can so those local farmers don’t give up and disappear!).

Creatively Use and Respond to Change

Eat according the season, even if the climate is changing

David Holmgren’s site talks about “inevitable change”. It for sure is coming… and you might find solace in the Positive Deep Adaptation approach, as do I. But if we want to stay grounded in the day-to-day here and now, we can observe the inevitable changes during the year; from spring over summer to autumn to winter. Plants grow and die, others take their place.

If we look around us, we often have something to eat right there! It might be wise to skill up and learn about the “food that we tread on” (taken from a Spanish disobedience promoter Josep Pamies and his association “Sweet Revolution”) every day.

Here on Mallorca we have fungi, berries, wild salad greens of all sorts, rosemary and thyme, blossoms, salty leaves on the sea shores (atriplex), fennel, asparagus, wild chard, wild garlic, borrage, you can even nibble on young pine tree needles for Vitamin C… it changes with the seasons. A creative cook can for sure perform magic and put some lovely dishes on the table! And again, it’s so light on the home economy!

Check out if there are any workshops being held in your area or use the database Plants for a Future for their edibility rating, great resource, and it’s free! Take some precautions though, the David Suzuki Foundation has a list of recommendations here. As for Climate Change… you might want to get ready and observe warmer climates near you, see what they have wild food wise… and get eating prickly pear for example! Creatively… reacting to all sorts of inevitable changes, we can become much more resourceful. It becomes a second nature!

Further Reading

We are only half human, just over half of us (1.3 ratio) consists of… microbes! The Human Microbiome is our eco system and we should take good care of it!

Touching the soil is a good anti-depressant!

Wellness Mama shares her take on Bone Broth Benefits

Nourished Kitchen shares a surprise: Is Bone Broth really a source for minerals? Still worth drinking lots of it though!

In my anti-candida treatment I was coached by a Psycho Neuro Endocrine Immunology therapist, Carmen Dana.

If you are in need of emotional well being before you feel you are up to any of these small lifestyle changes, check out this free or donate what you wish mini course by Heather Jo Flores: Emotional Permaculture. I have translated this one into Spanish and host it on our PermaMed.org website, should you prefer Spanish or have Spanish speaking friends you would like to share this research with.

As they say in Spanish: ¡Salud! (Cheers, but also Health!)

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