Food has always been a large part of my life from teaching cooking, nutrition and hospitality in secondary schools, cooking classes for adults through tertiary education, food and nutrition policy work and later in life completing a Master of Human Nutrition at the age of 67 and working as a nutrition consultant.
My parents and grandparents grew food, had chickens and cooked everything from scratch, preserved fruits, sauces, pickles, soup stocks, ice-cream and even ginger beer, as was common with most people. I remember the introduction of supermarkets changing buying habits to a one stop shopping experience, offering highly packaged, processed foods and the paralleled changing landscape of escalating lifestyle diseases.
Mass migration to Australia followed, bringing new global flavour’s, cooking styles, fruits, herbs, spices and vegetables. In my late teens I was a sponge for these new food ideas and recipes, that took the Australian fare of meat and 3 vegetables to another level. I was hooked and food became my professional pathway.
I live in Adelaide with a large food garden, in home built in the 1890’s, where I continue to cook for family and growing grandchildren, sitting them on the kitchen bench and teaching them how to taste, cook and try new foods. This week I’m indulging them in the secrets for cooking delicious artichokes just arrived at the markets.
Now a nutritionist, I understand the importance of a mostly plant-based diet that is both nurturing for our bodies and the planet. The following recipes whether vegan, vegetarian or with occasional organic meat and fish are high in plant foods. The most recent evidence from clinical research, found traditional Mediterranean diets, an optimal food plan for good human health. The diet is high in plant foods, very low in animal foods, and full of powerful polyphenols and antioxidants. Living in South Australia with a climate and food supply similar to the diversity of Mediterranean countries, I am lucky to have such abundance of these foods.
Having some land for a food garden, growing herbs in balcony pots, sharing communal, food gardens, using local, food markets and neighbourhood share and swap food programs, all allow us to enjoy fresh, organic and seasonal produce. Some suburbs even have garden compost swapping for fresh foods.
Plant foods are abundant and varied with fruits, vegetables, legumes, herbs, spices, seeds, grains and nuts full of protective polyphenols and antioxidants. Understanding how to use and allows us to to take a proactive role for a healthy life. Today’s savvy consumers minimize or eliminate plastic, recycle and minimise processed foods to reduce planet footprints, protect water-ways, oceans and finite resources.
We usually eat 3 times a day, food is a delicious celebration of life, the seasons and sharing time with each other. You will find recipes in this blog following the seasons from the southern hemisphere. The blog name 19seventies girl relates to the decade I became professionally involved in food. For me that decade has come full circle returning back to a more plant-based diet that I used to eat. before my wayward ways in the 1990’s and early 2000’s.
There is much research on food related healthy aging and longevity. The Blue Zones initiated by Dan Buettner with studies from 7 countries of the longest living healthy cultures, all underpinned aby plant-based diets have many commonalities to the traditional Mediterranean style diet. Try the recipes and let me know your thoughts on your food journey.