Gratitude - a strong kick of energy

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Gratitude - a strong kick of energy

Farm life is always busy, there is constantly so much to do, mostly more than two hands can actually accomplish. The grounds, the animals, the veg garden and, of course the herb pharmacy and the production of cosmetics require a lot of dedication and time.

Than I feel a strong responsibility towards the community I live in; to have a functioning society one must take an active part its wellbeing. Voluntary work is one of my ways to give something back to a community that has provided me with a home; I am on regular shifts doing ambulance duty.

Than there is family, the wish to build something up together, seeing a project thrive and to provide for the future.

An enormous amount of energy is required for all this. But where does it come from, what is the source of inspiration? I believe it is gratitude. I am so thankful for all the wonderful things happening in my life, for all the fantastic people who are part of my life - in gratitude I feel love.

And right now the feeling of gratitude is almost overwhelming, thank you. However, so is sleepiness and the need to rest the body.

My twopence for tonight.

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Fasting, food and plant talk

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Fasting, food and plant talk

It’s been more than three months now, that I’ve been fasting. Well, no, it may feel like it, but it has only been nine days. Yes, the first three /four days were, as always, difficult: fatigue, headaches etc. But then everything was fine, I felt great, light and full of energy - until yesterday… my thoughts were all about food. I could only think of all the lovely dishes I wanted to prepare and working in the veg garden was pure torture: ripe strawberries, fave beans, deliciously smelling herbs. The thought of taking a bite of something green, fresh and crunchy was more than sweet, I was longing for the feeling to chew and swallow.

Fasting is something I do regularly to give my body a sort of reset. When I am preparing for something new, when I need clarity in my mind or when a different sort of energy is required for healing work. Well, this time I am missing the aspect of focus a little and I am observing myself behaving like a teenager. Mind you, I am still on the fast, lets see where it might lead to.

Food is our first medicine and it truly is able to perform miracles (and disasters if the wrong type and too much of it is consumed). However, what people consider to be food, has changed drastically in accordance with the desires of a rather superfluous industry. Rule of thumb: be hesitant of foods that come in packaging, when food is a product sporting ingredients and perhaps an advertisement - it is not food anymore. Highly processed and refined foods are dead. Try to look at food like your great-grandmother, anything she would not have used or known is probably wise to refrain from.

Preparing fresh food from scratch surely is the healthiest way for your body, community and the planet. If you cannot grow your own, buying your groceries at a farmers market or directly at a farm is possible even in the biggest cities of our planet. Like this you support directly local farmers without giving money to big corporations, get fresher and truly ripe produce.

And when at the market, go for the leafy greens that have already been nibbled at by insects. Why? Because they are amazingly good for you:

I strongly advocate a 100% plant based diet, 51% of which should even be raw food. And now I am telling you to go for the ugly and damaged veg as well. Because plants talk, they communicate with each other and also with insects by the means of so called plant volatiles, a phytochemical released normally in small amounts in the leaves.

When a leaf is damaged by herbivorous insects, many more plant volatiles are released. Exactly which plant volatiles are produced varies both by the plant species and by the species of insect eating it.

But why do plants do this? Well, these volatiles attract both parasitic and predatory insects that are natural enemies of the herbivore insects eating the plant, it is the plant's way of recruiting help to defend itself. The plant attracts other insects that like to eat the very insects that are eating its leaves. Plant volatiles can even signal to neighboring plants to increase their defense responses too. 

Plant volatiles are known to have very strong anti-cancer and antioxidant properties - meaning, it boosts our health to eat them and protects our cells; we’re getting more antioxidant goodness when consuming those organically-grown leafy greens that have some insect holes in them. And most probably you can even buy them cheaper. Enjoy your food, I will have to wait for another week, but will surprise you with some dead easy and nutritious recipes then.

 

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Mechanics, magic, maintenance

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Mechanics, magic, maintenance

My blog entries will vary, sometimes they will be some concrete writings on plants, a sustainable lifestyle, maybe building, the Campogrande Agricosmetics or whatever thought occupied me during the day and I feel valuable to share with you. Like this my readers get to know Campogrande in a truly organic way.

 

Do you have some favorite items, things you care for and do not want to part with? I have lots! In fact, I try to have only those. Things that are of high quality, things that can be repaired, mended or given new life with a different use. 

 

My car is already 50 years old and can basically be mended with a screw driver. I did so just yesterday. It does not have a catalytic converter and no electronics that regulate the exhaust fumes. But it uses very little petrol and ran for all these years without producing waste. Only a car that has never been built may be called environmentally friendly. Considering that the average lifetime of a car in Europe is 9.65 years, calculating the grey energy of producing a car that is certified as eco friendly - I must say my trusted Fiat 500 is doing very well in comparison.

 

The idea of discarding something because it is faulty and replace it with a new item, has become very foreign to me since I moved out here in the green heart of Italy. In the beginning it was just an idea, which went along with the concept of a sustainable lifestyle. It made sense. But then something magical happened and it became love. There is such great beauty in maintenance, in caring, it opens up a completely new world. Many things have to be learned first, not as in acquiring a new taste, more as in knowing something from the roots up; like this, one develops a passion for caring and a wonderful ability to use one’s hands, to create and renew life. It may be a broken branch from a plant that is mended to heal or potted to grow new roots; an old, metal watering can that can be soldered to give it many more years of life - love comes with knowing, caring and creating. Isn’t this already a big slice of what life is about?

 

To use the notion of mindfulness has become very fashionable, there are millions of coaches offering workshops on the theme. You learn to walk in a mindful manner, speak or eat - I am sure their are workshops on many actions you can pay money for and learn in four days how to do them in a mindful fashion. Sometimes I find these ideas rather foreign and abstract, why not adapt them to everything you do and just call it your life?

 

Nine years ago I chose to live a life I would not need a holiday from. And truly I haven’t seen the need for one. My mind and my heart are so full, inspired by the contact with nature, giving birth to so many ideas - often I wonder how much time will be left to transform all of them into reality. Life is so short and for many years I was not following what my heart truly desired. No regrets here, but just such an incredible love for life and to create and grow.

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Thank you for your feedback. And eat your porridge.

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Thank you for your feedback. And eat your porridge.

The feedback to the launch of the website was tremendous, I thank you all for your kind words, criticism, enthusiasm and interest in what I am doing here. It was heartwarming to receive so many e-mails from all around the world. And yes, there will be an Italian version of the website, just give me some more time. I love Italy, the language - it is my home like no place has ever been before. 

We had heavy thunderstorms last night with lots of rain. The rain is desperately needed, as winter was far too dry. 

When I got out of the house this morning, looked at the clear, blue sky and took the first breath of fresh air, all clean and filled with the aromas you only get after the rain, it felt as if I would see and feel all this for the very first time. It was a blessing and filled me with joy, a joy which will guide me through the day.

On my morning run, I enjoy to run barefoot, it felt like being a child again, running in the mud and getting really dirty. The air was fresh and cold, but the earth under my feet felt warm - this planet is alive!

The oldest person alive in Scotland, 112 year old Gladys Hooper, once said the secret to longevity is "eat your porridge every day and stay away from men". Well, she surely is right on her oats, whether keeping men at a distance helps, will need further research, I believe.

Oats (Avena sativa) do indeed have numerous beneficial properties for your health and beaut care. Just one cup of oats have 10mg of readily available protein, they are a nutritional powerhouse - the right way to start your day. Beta-glucan, a unique fiber in oatmeal, has beneficial effects on cholesterol levels, it contains plant lignans, which are converted by the intestinal flora into mammalian lignans, one of which is called enterolactone, which protects against breast and other hormone-dependent cancers as well as heart disease. Eat your porridge every day.

But oats are fantastic in skincare as well. And remember the skin absorbs everything you put it in contact with, as if you were actually eating it.

I produce creams and soaps using oats and oat milk, but there are terribly easy, cheap and effective ways you can integrate oats in your daily skin care, leaving your skin silky, well nourished, hydrated and firm in a way no commercial product can compete with. And it is dead cheap. Naturally, when I write about the benefits and use of oats, I refer to organically grown oats.

Facial Tonic

You need: rolled, organic oats, a teaspoon, fresh non chlorinated water, and a little jar with a lid.

Add a teaspoon of oats in the jar, fill it up with water, close the lid and shake vigorously. let it steep over night. In the morning (do not shake the jar, just use the almost clear liquid), after having cleaned your face, dab the tonic with a cotton pad on your face. Beta-glucan forms a fine film on your skin and penetrates deep into the skin to provide deep moisturizing to your skin. Be careful to just use a small amount of oats, to not shake the jar before using it, you do not want to have a sticky porridge on your face. The tonic will keep in the fridge for about three days, then it will start fermenting.

Facial mask and remedy for rushes

Make a small amount of porridge, just oats and water, let it cool down then add crushed fennel seeds and a teaspoon of honey. Apply all over the face and neck, leave for approx. 20 minutes before washing it off with warm water.

This mask will also give relieve with skin rushes, neurodermatitis, dry and flaky skin, replenishing the skin moisture, removing dead skin cells. It enhances wound healing and improves collagen deposition and activation of immune cells within the skin.

Bath and shower with oats

You need: a small, white linen or cotton bag and organic rolled or crushed oats.

Often, I use the oat paste that remains after having made oats milk, so nothing goes to waste. Fill the little bag with a generous amount of oats, soak it well under the shower and rub it all over your body, soaking it again and again to get that nutritious oats milk all over you. massage it well into the skin before rinsing it off. Naturally, you do not wash it off using soap.

If you prefer a luxurious oats milk bath, attach the cotton bag right under the water tap when you run your bath and it will act like a tea bag. No need to rinse it off after the bath.

Have a good day

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Well, this is a new beginning

Today is the launch of my website. Surely there are still many things to improve on, to change and correct, but here it is.

I purposely did not integrate an "About me" and decided to incorporate a blog instead. Here you can get to know more about Campogrande on a regular basis. I shall report here about our daily activities and publish more detailed and in-depth information about the products, share health and beauty advise as well as my fiddling with permaculture, organic building and a sustainable lifestyle in the green heart of Italy.

I look forward to a vivid exchange with you readers.

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