Home Brew Booch

I’m sure most of you agree that “Fresh is Best”, and when ever you can make your ownIMG_0725 products or grow veggies at home, I am sure you get excited like I do. Whole organic foods are one of our passions, and not only do they taste better, but knowing what really is “in” the food and where it is from is so vital for our vitality! Food awareness really sets up an over all focus of self-improvement, wellness, and a IMG_0728shared discipline and responsibility advocating choices which helps us steer away from processed and GMO foods. I continue to become more educated about our choices in food and how those choices affect our bodies, first, from a microcosmic perspective, to our entire planet, environmentally, on a macrocosmic level.

Whew! That was rather a “seriousish” tone, but now I’ll move into your kitchen, setting the stage for your home-brew of a wonderful elixir, Kombucha!

I love it when I get introduced to something awesome, that I get to share with others, and this happens to be a great gift you can give to your friends, as the mother scoby reproduces each time you make a batch! That is what is happening with our home- made “Booch”, and we are quickly becoming a Kombucha Community!

Luckily, it also is very tasty, for grown ups and children alike!

This probiotic fermented beverage is sometimes called “The Immortal Health Elixir” and has been around for over 2000 years. It’s health benefits have been associated with preventing and fighting cancer, arthritis, and other degenerative diseases.

You make Kombucha from pure tea (black, green or white tea), sugar, clean water, and a scoby, and allow it to process for about 5-10 days. S.C.O.B.Y, stands for “symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast” (known as the “mother” for its regenerating properties). The  “mama” scoby mushroom may look a bit strange, but is worth embracing her beauty in what she can produce for you and your family! If you can, try to get a scoby given to you by another Kombucha maker, or you can order one online in most areas.  If you are in Australia, I recommend a  site called The Whole Daily for a scoby, as we are very happy with the results from the scoby that Alice sent us! Thanks, Alice!

The Food Renegade had some great info on the amazing health benefits of Kombucha , and answered a lot of my questions which gave a great kick-start to this newbie brewer! Hopefully this is something your body will smile and thank you for, and you will enjoying making Kombucha at home for your friends and family!


What a pretty sight!
Apple/Ginger, Goji Berry, Blueberry/Chia, Apple/ Wheatgrass…What a pretty sight!

Our Homebrews

Go Sober In October

Drink GlassOcsober is a fundraising initiative that encourages people to give up alcohol for the month of October.

I think this initiative is a good cause. Any alcohol awareness campaigns that target young people can only be beneficial in my opinion. Also, what I like about the idea of Ocsober is that the “grown up” who is participating will undoubtedly benefit from this clean living month also! Even those who have no issue with alcohol, per se, still may from time to time have a few too many. Or perhaps it is just a bit more of a habit or ritual than one would like. I feel this is a personal knowing in yourself to how you line up with this topic, and what you, personally, may get out of it.

So, for the person who thinks this is a great idea for someone else to commit to a dry month (this person is possibly the same person who thinks running a marathon for charity is also great for someone else) can still help a lot by contributing on the financial front. The goal is to raise ‘$700,000 to empower 700,000 children’ to make safe and healthy life choices.

So any and all of us can support the cause by either signing up ourselves, or as a group, or by financially contributing for someone who has signed up for the sober month of October. Cool huh?

And, it may also be a good incentive for someone who is wondering about their own drinking to take a look at it and take the challenge for themselves.

Even if you don’t drink, you still can join the campaign and continue your sobriety through it,  showing support and encouragement to those around you by sharing your experience of what living a wonderful, fulfilling life without the need for alcohol looks like!

Here are some facts about the devastating effects of alcohol on us and on our adolescents:

  • Every 24 minutes an Australian dies through either legal or illegal drugs
  • Alcohol related harm was responsible for 5,554 deaths in 2010 and same year 157,132 people were hospitalised due to excessive alcohol consumption (Alcohol’s Burden of Disease In Australia, 2014)
  • Teenagers who start drinking before age 15 are five times more likely to become dependent on alcohol than those who don’t start until they are 21
  • Nearly 50% of 16-17 year old drinkers say they intend to get drunk most times/ every time they drank alcohol
  • More than 20% of 14 – 19 year olds consume alcohol on a weekly basis
  • Alcohol is involved in 13% of all deaths among 14–17-year-old Australians.
  • One Australian teenager dies and more than 60 are hospitalised each week from alcohol-related harms.
  • Drinking contributes to the three leading causes of death among adolescents – unintentional injuries, homicide and suicide.

So, all in all, the main point of Ocsober is to help our young people. But I see that it can have powerful effects on the adult population as well.

Think about alcohol and your life. How often do you feel you need a drink? There are many tests out their on the internet that clarify quickly if you indeed have a drinking problem. One of the main problems with an alcohol problem though, is denial. It sneaks up on people, and is quite cunning in its ability to justify a big night. Again, only you can be the true judge of what effect alcohol has on your life, and what role modelling you may be presenting to your children. I think it is a valuable dialogue to have with each other.

Alcohol is such a crutch in society as a whole, and it is excused so much more readily than illegal drugs or smoking, yet is just as harmful, just as fatal or more. The glamorised alcohol campaigns by alcohol companies is atrocious and really sets our young people up for binge drinking and problem drinking early on. The seductive bottles, fancy wines and the indulgent lifestyle depicted by attractive, rich and successful people who seem to “wine and dine” all the time, with no repercussions whatsoever.This is not accurate at all. We all know that, right? Alcohol  does a lot more harm than good for anyone who drinks (I know what they say about a glass of red wine) but the dangers far outweigh the benefits, no matter what demographic you come from. We all have a liver, blood cells, and a pancreas, and no matter how much money or prestige we have, the effects of alcohol don’t seem to really give a stuff about what income bracket we find ourselves in. The alcohol industry is not that different from the fast food industry in that it sells itself through very misleading advertising. The main victims of this advertising are our young people who are not yet developed enough to make responsible decisions. The seductive advertising and social pressure is enormous. I speak from personal experience, as I fell deep into this trap myself in early adolescents. I have been on both sides of the drinking game. From seduction to destruction. Fine line. I’m sure I am not the only one. Anyone else feel like being candid?

The main reason I chose to write about this topic was to be a voice to mysSplitShire-0061elf and other parents about how our own choices affect our children. What we do, our behaviours, are far more influential than what we say. Children imitate us, and there is generally no differentiation between what behaviours they imitate. They just do what we do. We make choices every day that will impact the rest of our lives, and those around us. We have more influence and power than we think. We don’t have to buy into the masquerade of society and be brainwashed anymore. We can make conscious choices to live wide awake. Individually when we delve into our self- understanding we can determine how this applies to our lives, and collectively we can support each other in passionately wanting to give our children the best chance for their life. Both adults and children having clear heads, healthy bodies and courageous hearts….

So check out the website for the Ocsober campaign for more thorough information and how to sign up.

It seems like a win-win to me.


Mortal Lives

I never put much thought into the wisdom years of life, as I have been chasing youth since before I was even a youth myself. Society instilled into my consciousness that youth was everything. Young people were all-powerful, and most influential. That image of skin that never ages, a gleaming white grin, toned physical structure and energy that trumped all others. This is what I thought immortality looked like. I was nothing more than a silly little sproutling feasting on naiveté.
When I think about it, I was force fed propaganda, glossy superficial magazine spreads, the who’s who goss of celebrity lives, the overpriced and unattainably anorexic sized runway fashions, and the McDonald’s television commercials that depicted awesomely perfect 20 somethings running on a beach playing frisbee after enjoying a Big Mac and Super Sized fries, apple pie and large diet coke. As appealing as all of that nonsense was, it was unhealthy, unrealistic, and in reality, a Super Sized lie.

It all is just shiny, glossy, fear mongering wrapped with a pretty little bow. Fundamentally it is a societal mental health crisis.
I was in the same boat as many mortals on the planet, I was scared to death of death. Being scared of death makes ageing really unappealing. There are hair extensions, eye brow tints, collagen injections, Botox, nips and tucks here there and everywhere, anything that may halt death in his tracks. Deception again. I haven’t tried all of these wonderful death-defying tools, but I could have been on my way if I didn’t WAKE UP!

Image of Guenevere Measham by Dimitri Tsapkinis at UNCSA 1994
Image of Guenevere Measham by Dimitri Tsapkinis at UNCSA 1994

Being a teenager wasn’t all the commercials made it out to be. Maybe it was the perfect time for some people, but it wasn’t for me or my misunderstood companions. How could I be understood when I couldn’t even understand myself? I missed that point, another bit of proof that teenagers are not that clued in. We were awkward, we had acne, bucked teeth and growing pains. We had parents that didn’t have a clue, teachers that just wanted to inflict misery upon us, and no one seemed to understood our true omnipotence and creative genius. Why couldn’t you see that we were so brilliant, beyond anyone ever to walk on the earth before us? We knew it all, and then some. This is painfully true, and so painfully teenager-like. We were confused, we were in constant heart ache like many badly acted soap operas of the late eighties. Come on, Fantasy Island. I shall be right there. I was more like Adrian Mole, in angst and confusion and embarrassment of the tragedy of teeneragerdom. (Check out The Secret Diary Of Adrian Mole by Sue Townsend- it is hilariously funny!) I had no idea who my authentic self was. Massive declarations could be made one day, and the next day I would decide that I was sorely mistaken, and I would declare another identity. I am sure this is not everyone’s teenage experience, but for me, these were some of the most agonising, ridiculous and dangerous years of my life. So why had I glamorised them? I think I was still chasing what you had, what you looked like, judging your outside appearances with my fragile insides. What society had programmed me to believe immortality and perfection looked like was definitely not me.

Was it really all that bad?

Okay, it wasn’t ALL bad. In certain ways, it was the rite of passage that started to unfold the largest chunk of my life. My true authentic self was hiding in there, and let out little sparks from time to time, usually the parts I shied away from. But, those sparks of authenticity become cornerstones of my true self later on.  Some may think of that as digression, but I see it as the parts of myself that were always there, always wanting to shine whether I knew it or not. Young minds are able to imagine such great things. They have an extraordinary faith in their abilities and don’t see the limitations. They have passions and desires that are so true to them, that they feel will always be there! Add a lack of common sense which could lead to dangerous or risky choices, but if directed and encouraged this passion could be harnessed to become monumental change in the world. A star is born. Ready for anything. No ceiling on their future. Endless possibilities. The qualities I tried to keep with me for the long haul are these early seeds of passion that were born. I tried to let go of the not so awesome personality traits, kicking and screaming at times. The beauty in all of this is that I am a bit better at discerning what to keep and what to leave behind. What wins and fails I encountered are what made me into who I am now. This can only be moving closer to my authentic and best version of myself.

Fast forward 20 years. I am a mum. My eldest child will be moving into adolescents in a flash, and I am now putting to rest those outdated beliefs. I don’t need to chase youth to see the tops of the daisies. It used to feel that way. Either we are young, or we are dead. I know, it’s macabre. So I have adjusted my view of youth, mainly from the “punch in the face” perspective gained from being a mum. I see how my kids view youth as the barometer of awesome. Old people just aren’t as hip as hipsters, as epic as Ed Sheeran, as sick as Sam Smith, or as cool as the Clash of Clans, Okay? I understand why it seems that way to them. I was them. So were you.

One thing I completely missed in this whole story was what worth I placed on experience. What value I placed on wisdom.

Wisdom is what I chase now. I keep my ears to the ground, I love discovering new stuff, seeing young talent emerging, being physically active and being excruciatingly silly, just ask the kids. I thrive on new experiences and knowledge. I am enamoured with world breakthroughs in science and the understanding of the human mind. I am fascinated with the world, I am in awe of the galaxies, I am humbled by the mysteries of the deep. I love being alive. The passions of youth are the beauties worth holding onto, when accompanied by a drop of wisdom. I don’t think I could appreciate the real value of life until now. So, to be honest, the best years are these. I get to appreciate all the phases, all the decades, and witness my own children as they learn to walk on their own. Perspective is gold, and as far as being mortal is concerned. If I was not mortal, I wouldn’t appreciate they importance of living each day to the fullest. I would take life for granted, and not see the value of this precious gift we have been given. There is no way I could have seen that at 15. My scope is panoramic, and my vision is becoming 20/20. I listen to the wind and I live in my heart. I say thanks everyday and I ask how I can help the world be a better place. I’ll never take life’s precious gift for granted again. Those times have passed, and new times are here for the living.