Nature pulls us deeper into life. Connecting with the natural world connects us with ourselves too. My work is about nature connection, and I make use of my background as a professional actor, dancer, facilitator for personal development and my daily practice of living wild. There is a growing wave all over the world to live a more simple, sustainable and deeply connected life. Let’s surf that wave together!
We are what we eat.
That is my experience.
I don’t get my food from a store, I find it in the bush, in wild open areas and in the sea. Every day. My food is gathered, hunted and fished.
In this 1 day workshop, we will encounter various wild edibles: plants, berries and fungi (seasonally dependent). We will learn to recognise these, taste the edible parts, and discover their uses including medicinal ones. You will come to know the basic principles of a biologically appropriate diet. The backbone of this workshop is an exploration into our past as hunter-gatherers and information on the impressive, and often surprising health benefits of eating wild (more of that below). By eating wild plants, fungi and animals we can help to prevent the use of fertilisers, chemicals and any sort of packaging too!
Workshop attendees will receive a free e-book containing the most important wild edibles growing in New Zealand, Europe and America.
I had definitely been on a healthy diet before I started eating wild food, but I just couldn’t get rid of my chronic stomach pain and other minor symptoms that I had for about 20 years, no matter what I tried. Chronic health problems are widespread and on the rise. Prevalence in diabetes, for example, has doubled in New Zealand in the last ten years, we also have one of the highest obesity rates in the world, which has more than doubled in the last 30 years.
When I stopped eating refined food and started eating wild plants, animals and fungi instead, my health increased rapidly. After only a few days I was rid of my stomach ache, 2 weeks later most of the other symptoms were gone, and my joint pain is reduced to only an echo of what it has been. But these advantages and more are not only my experience.
Our biology was formed while being hunter-gatherers over hundreds of thousands of years. Only 10.000 years ago we started changing our diet and relying mostly on grain, cultured vegetables and fruits, and domesticated animals. The comparatively brief period of agriculture has been too short to substantially change what our bodies need and rely on every day. There are scientific studies and real-world observations proving this. One of the best examples is Weston Price, an Ohio dentist who traveled the world to study people who did not suffer from dental illnesses. He found people on each continent (also here in NZ) with extremely low rates of dental cavities and palates that were wide enough to fit all their teeth, i.e. also their wisdom teeth. These people all had one thing in common, they were living isolated from modern foods, still relying on their traditional diets. His findings were that the causes of cavities, smaller jaws, even smaller skulls and hips was malnutrition caused by non-traditional diets.
Another health professional, Dr. Eugene Payne spent 25 years in Brazil and Ecuador examining approximately 60.000 people native to that region and reported finding no (!) evidence of cancer among the natives isolated from western lifestyle. Modern research backs these observations, that hunter-gatherers have been extremely healthy compared to modern humans.
Why then was their life expectancy so low? This is easily explained. Not enjoying the blessings of modern trauma medicine and by living a life exposed to environmental risks one out of three children died before the age of fifteen, dropping the average life expectancy substantially. Once beyond the age of fifteen people regularly lived into their sixties and seventies, some even into their nineties without the help of modern life-prolonging measures.
So what does this mean for us as modern humans? If we mimic the traditional diet of hunter-gatherers, suitable to our climate and individual genetic setup, we too can live healthily and feel energised in a way unknown to people consuming refined food.
Wild edibles can make up an important and diverse part of a healthy, and even healing diet. They are nutritional powerhouses. Wild-growing purslane, for example, contains more of the important omega-3 fatty acids (underrepresented in our modern diets) than any other leafy vegetable plant. Wild edibles contain phytonutrients that have medicinal properties, so your daily food can be your medicine.
In the end, it is quite simple: wild food is generally more nutrient-dense and trustworthy than store-bought food, and it can be your daily medicine. Foraging, hunting, and fishing provide for more food sovereignty and are rewarding for us humans in a deep-seated way too! If done in sustainably, it can help to actively regenerate landscapes. This is what we have been doing for hundreds of thousands of years, and if we start reconnecting with these roots, we can feel it in every fibre of our bodies. To me, it feels like coming home.
WE ARE RUNNING A DAY WORKSHOP ABOUT WILD FOOD AND HOW TO PREPARE IT IN GOLDEN BAY ON 29/11/20 ($115 including wild lunch)
We are not completely booked yet, so…
nature connection intensive
This nature connection intensive is about deepening our connection with nature and aiming at experiencing ourselves as part of the web of life.
In the stillness of nature the mind settles down and becomes more silent, we can let go, relax, connect with our intuition and creativity. This state of reduced stress is healing for the mind, our emotions and physical body.
This week long immersion is an example of a sustainable way of living and can inspire us to simplify our lives. At the end of the week we will support each other to formulate concrete goals and strategies to implement our experiences into our daily lives, so we and nature will benefit from this nature connection intensive on a long term basis.
Our time together is divided between learning and practicing skills, solo time and sharing. Also we dedicate time the elements to deepen our connection and understanding of earth, water, fire and air.
Some of the skills we cover include basic orientation, healthy nutrition that is suited to our biology, wild greens, hunting, trapping and friction fire. You have the possibility to eat completely off the land if you wish.
Solo time is dedicated for your personal connection with nature. You will establish a sit spot in which you can observe nature, animals, weather and plants. With a calm mind your awareness and understanding of the life cycles around us can grow further.
Then there is time for sharing our adventures, insights, dreams and challenges. In the stillness of nature often a whole lot of undigested emotions can well up. This is a time for letting them be released and settle down. You can view our team and nature as a catalyst for personal disentanglement and growth. In this simple setting we can remember who we truly are.
If you long to connect deeper with nature and are 25-65 years old with average fitness, this is for you. Because we will be off track all the time surefootedness is important. If you are younger or older or unsure about your fitness, simply get in touch. I would like to connect via phone or skype, to make sure this is suitable for you before you book.
Creating fire “the old way” is a magic process. Friction fire is generally generated by the friction between two pieces of wood, one moving and one stationary. The bow drill is a method to get the spindle up to speed quite easily and can well be learned in a day.
The Maori have used Mahoe (Whitey-wood) for their friction fires (but used a fire plow instead of a bow drill). In the course of this one day workshop, you will build your own bow drill from scratch and learn to use it. This includes collecting appropriate tinder.
The magic doesn’t lie in the act itself, lighting a “primitive” fire triggers our ability to remember the old ways. I have experienced this myself, and many others have too.
First and foremost I want to give gratitude to this planet. Without her sustenance and beauty, I would not be doing this.
I walk the talk. Almost everything I eat I have gathered, hunted or fished. I live in a tipi in the bush and sleep on a bed I made from materials sourced within 20 metres. I get around by walking, and for longer distances I generally use my bike. But this hasn’t always been the case. In the past I lived in a city, in a flat with central heating. So I am able to bridge the worlds between the “primitive” and modern, and meet everybody where they are at on their own journey of nature connection.
Nature connection is transformative. Since many years now I have been supporting people in actively creating their lives.
What I am showing folk: being in nature is high-level fun and surprisingly easy. Sure there are things that we need to know and practice to look after ourselves, but if we know the basics we can get out there and connect with nature in a deep and joyful way, also with ourselves and anyone who might be with us.
I deeply care for this planet and believe that if we live more simply, we can live healthier, happier and above all, preserve our beautiful habitat.
What motivates you to connect with nature?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life? – Mary Oliver
Where are you on your personal journey towards living wild?
Can I support you in any way? If so, don’t hesitate to get in touch.