Gosh – Where to even start. I feel like a neglectful Mother not having written a word on here for a couple of months but the going got tough at Uni this semester! I made it to the finish line though, and here I am…. with ten blissful weeks of break ahead of me. Hurrah!
It hasn’t been all study and exams though, particularly in my last few weeks of Uni. In fact, I gave myself a ‘treat’ right in the middle of our exam block because it felt like a learning experience that was not to be missed and turns out, I was right…..
Holly Davis and Jude Blereau are two of my guiding lights in the kitchen. I have a few people who have influenced the way I cook but it has been these two ladies above all else so when I heard they would be running classes together in Sydney throughout November, I booked into lots of them! What exams?! *slaps forehead* They were all wonderful of course, but the absolute highlight for me was their four-day workshop ‘Build A Whole and Natural Foods Kitchen for Spring and Summer’.
Wholefoods is a term everyone seems to be throwing around these days and ‘experts’ have popped up everywhere, but Holly and Jude have been teaching wholefoods cooking for most of their lives and that really sets them apart from everyone else for me. They joke about the fact that they’re ‘in’ now when their way of cooking was once so odd. Haha!
I choose to do cooking classes almost exclusively with these incredible women because they share my philosophy on healing with wholefoods. No need for a cupboard full of ‘superfoods’, no need to cut out entire food groups (allergies aside), and no need for special equipment. What they teach is good technique, proper preparation of foods (essential where food intolerance is at play), and a love for the best possible ingredients with both of them favouring biodynamic produce. They also have a no-nonsense approach to teaching that makes understanding how to properly nourish yourself for health and wellbeing a lot simpler than sifting through the minefield of mostly misinformation we find on the internet. What’s not to love about that?!
After doing 15 or so of their classes over the years, you’d think I might feel like I’d learned enough by now. However, I continue to attend because ‘you never learn less’ as Holly always says, which is just so true, but I also find it allows me to further strengthen a few of my kitchen skills whilst continuing to expand my knowledge of a foods as medicine approach to healing. I also find hands on food prep is the missing link in my degree, and I think that’s an essential for a Naturopath to be.
Over the four days of classes we learned how to build a whole and natural foods pantry so we always have ingredients on hand that we can incorporate into many a wholesome and nutrient dense meal. We were taught how to cook some 40ish recipes like smokey chipotle creamed corn with coriander, quick quinoa sauté with summer squash and oat and macadamia pastry with a coconut cream filling just to name a few delicious things. Along with that we also delved into cooking for those with food intolerances, and we learned how to mix and match left overs to make new meals on busy days…. SO useful!
One of the many interesting discussions we had over the weekend was about the explosion of the real foods, wholefoods, clean eating (whatever you’d like to call it) lifestyle into the mainstream. This is wonderful of course but as with all things that become somewhat commercialised, companies jumping on the bandwagon to make a buck can mean some ‘whole’; ‘real’ and ‘clean’ products just have those labels slapped on them for marketing purposes and may actually be nothing of the sort. We’ve already spoken about almond milk here, but we can also consider other things such as kombucha or fermented vegetables that are now widely available. The Healthy Home Economist just did a fabulous post on this very issue with kombucha recently and given her findings it makes me think I should do similar research in the Australian market. Always read your labels!
We had so many thought-provoking conversations like that amidst our recipe making, the four days just flew by. We also walked away with an 85-page cookbook containing an abundance of information from best types of fats to use to which salts to stock and everything in between. AMAZING! Isn’t it great when you find yourself surrounded by a big bunch of like-minded people? I think that’s where the magic happens and change occurs in the world <3
I can’t recommend doing courses with Holly and Jude enough. If you’ve been wondering whether to sign up to one or not, sign up! It will be one of the best health investments you’ve ever made. They really do make their classes accessible to all levels of learning so they’re perfect for everyone. If you want to know more pop on over to Holly’s and Jude’s websites and see when their next classes are on. Happy wholefoods learning!
A quick note: The weekend retreat, as I prefer to call it, was run out of the Collaboratory at Wild Kombucha by Ballsy. Have you been to that exquisite place?! It is a lovely space and the wonderful folk there are producing some fabulous kombuchas, which you can try straight from the tap. Definitely put it on your ‘must visit’ list.