Ever since I was young, I have had a passion for great food, fresh food. My mother, grew food, had chickens and cooked everything from scratch, preserved fruits, sauces, pickles, soup stocks, ice-cream and even ginger beer, as was common during that time. When supermarkets changed shopping habits and offering newly processed, highly refined foods, our food at home stayed constant, as it always had been.  I continued this tradition, adding new varieties of fruits and vegetables, herbs, spices and the abundant multicultural influences that changed the face of food in Australia forever.

I was a sponge for new flavors, food ideas and recipes, tasting and learning new food skills. 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, having recently completed a Master of Human Nutrition, I understand the importance of a mostly plant-based diet that is both nurturing for our bodies and planet earth.  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 the traditional Mediterranean diet, an optimal food plan for 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 to cook with.

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 cook with 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.  Understanding how to use, prepare and cook artichokes, sweet potatoes, hemp seeds, pomegranates, figs, purple carrots, different mushrooms, saffron, endive, fresh basil and fennel, brings variety of foods and nutrients to your diet. Reduce animal foods to a minimum, sourcing only organic and pasture fed products and use sparingly.  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 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.

There is much research on healthy aging and a healthy long life. The Blue Zones initiated by Dan Buettner with studies from 7 countries of the longest living healthy cultures. Underpinning all of these are plant-based diets and many have a Mediterranean style diet.  Try the recipes and let me know your thoughts and share your food journey.  

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