Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Juice Extravaganza

We upgraded our juicer at the weekend. When we realised that our current juicer (that we bought second hand at The Salvos) was so large and loud to use that it was actually stopping us from juicing, we decided to find a "new and improved" version to try.

Without too much time wasted we found our new wonder juicer and promptly bought a bag of apples and selected fruit and veg to start juicing. I read the instructions first, which probably seems like overkill (I mean, how hard can juicing be?) but I actually learnt a lot! Four key juicing tips I learnt are:

  • When juicing multiple items always start with the softest then move onto the harder items
  • To juice herbs (I used mint) roll it up into a ball and push it through the juicer under another item (I used an apple)
  • If you aren't going to clean the juicer straight away, leave the strainer in soapy water and it is easy to clean later (don't let food dry out in the strainer - it solidifies)
  • You can re-use the pulp left-overs from the juicer! I always used to compost the pulp but I learnt that you can also make teas and use the pulp as a nutritious filler in soups and stews. I used my mint pulp to brew a GORGEOUS cup of mint tea. I am not exaggerating either, this was THE best mint tea I've ever tasted.
I only cut up half our bag of granny smith apples and that turned out to be PLENTY as a base for two different mocktails. At first I juiced everything separately (except the mint which went through with an apple, as described above); then tasted each juice and mixed it with the other ingredients to pick the perfect combinations.

Our original ingredients were:
  • A bag of granny smith apples (and one lemon to stop browning)
  • A bunch of mint (juiced with one apple)
  • Half a rockmelon
  • Several celery
  • Half a dozen pears
The instructions were also helpful in suggesting certain recipes, however I prefer to experiment. The general guide seems to be: add watery juices to pulpier ones to attain a pleasant consistency for drinking (not too watery, not to thick). Using the ingredients above the best combinations were:
  1. Apple, rockmelon and pear. YUM
  2. Apple, celery and mint. Mmmm, refreshing.
One important thing to note is that when I brushed my teeth at the end of the day I was amazed to find I still had rockmelon juice in my mouth. Fruit juice can rot your teeth and as good for you as it is, it is not worth a trip to the dentist! So always clean your teeth after YOUR juice-fest.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Is your Journey Right for You?

I felt hit by a thunderbolt while listening to the No Meat Athlete podcast with Nicole Antoinette yesterday; what she said wasn't new, however the WAY she said it drove home a point I needed to hear.

So, what was it all about? To paraphrase, her point is to enjoy the journey, not just the destination, however what opened my eyes was the way she described your happiness on the journey being KEY to whether the destination is even right for you.

Working towards any goal requires effort, and you may attribute a feeling to an achievement, such as, when I get a new job I'll be happy. Or, when I meet my soul mate I'll be happy. But what Nicole points out is, unless the journey to your goal makes you happy, then the destination definitely won't! At best you'll feel happy for a while before discontent creeps in again and at worst you'll have wasted all that effort for a goal that was never really 'you'.

Personally, it makes me question whether MY big goal is right for me. Mike and I have bought the property in Woodanilling, with the plan of building a permaculture site and tourist accommodation. We had originally based this on a 10 year plan but initial contact with the Council and other government departments helped us realise there was a LOT more bureaucracy involved and it would more likely be a 15-20 year plan in practise.

This is because we had planned to owner-build all the accommodations however it is not legal to owner-build tourist accommodation in Western Australia (only your own accommodation). To start out cheaply we had also looked into buying a shipping container and making this into our first accommodation, then renting this out in the future and building our own home, however the Council does not even want shipping containers placed on properties in the area, let alone have them fitted out and rented as accommodation.

Basically we have realised our plans entail about 15-20 years of fighting with the Council and getting the local population on side. Yes, the result may be amazing however that process does NOT make me happy.

I am currently completing Nicole's Worksheets in her free ebook "Stop Making Excuses and Start Running" which is applicable to any procrastinator out there (not just runners); I expect answering her cut-to-the-point questions will help me figure out what journey is for me.

Is your journey right for you? 

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Anarchy at Work: Self Managed Organisations

Are you sick of your boss? Most people would answer yes to that question without much thought and yet we are so often 'stuck' in our working rut that we don't even question the options out there. Why are so many companies based on a hierarchical setup when quite often, the wrong people are in the highest jobs on the ladder?

The quick answer is control. When creating companies, the creator wants to control 'their' company and so the hierarchy is created and continues to exist long after the creator has moved on. However companies don't HAVE to be organised this way.

Morning Star and Gore-Tex are two self-managed companies with well documented histories of success:

To me, the fact that these self-managed (anarchistic) organisations work as well as they do, proves that anarchy works in small communities. I've previously described my experience at an anarchist camp site, so I know first-hand how well they can be run and how conflicts can be resolved. All it takes is willing participation by all involved. 

The real challenge begins when we try to up-scale anarchism to larger communities and to countries. How do you deal with the minority of people who aren't capable of active participation in self-management (for example due to mental illness or drug abuse)? 

I expect the active community would have to decide how to deal with these people on a case-by-case basis. At least the result would be far more compassionate than the mandatory sentencing handed down by our current judiciaries. 

There are many challenges to be faced by modern anarchists, but at least we have working, self-managed organisations that are profitable and fully-functioning, that can act as inspiration for those of us who are considering starting a business.

Want to learn more about Anarchy? Read:

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

It's going to be a dry January, in more ways than one

I was not planning on making any new year's resolutions this year, however when I read Leo Babauta's post on making 1 habit-forming change a month I leaped at the chance to fully focus on one 'resolution' at a time.

For me, it was obvious what January's focus needed to be: alcohol. For the last year I have been physically unable to drink very much; after a few glasses of any alcohol I feel sick, if I keep drinking then I vomit (with little notice - very embarrassing!)

You would think this would stop me from drinking anyway, however the social pressure I felt meant I continued to drink each Friday after work and every time I went out with friends. I had learnt to cut down my drinking, but not cut it out.

So for the month of January 2014 I have decided not to drink any alcohol at all (for full transparency this actually started on January 4th). Bizarrely I'm actually looking forward to Friday 'drinks' at work this week, as I've prepared to bring a soft drink and still stay as long as usual socialising.

For me, alcohol has often been used as a social 'lubricant'; because I'm shy I thought I needed a drink to be funny/outgoing etc. however the honest truth is I just become loud and boorish after a few drinks - not quite as funny or entertaining as I hoped.

Last year's discovery that being shy is just an excuse to stay in my comfort zone helped me to realise that I was using alcohol as a social crutch, and it was one I no longer needed. 

The one thing I immediately missed was a cold drink on ice (it's the middle of summer here), and water just didn't cut it. So Mike and I played around with a variety of fruit juices and soda water to create different mocktails and I think we've found the perfect recipe:

  • 1 quarter pineapple juice
  • 1 quarter apple juice (with a hint of passionfruit)
  • half soda water

Yum! It's amazingly fresh and tasty. Good bye booze! Hello sobriety. I'll let you know how I go.