A Naturalista journey: what this year has taught me

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Beautiful friends and family, Happy Christmas! As I head home tomorrow and prepare to return to Costa Rica for a month in the New Year, I can’t help but look back over the last year and share the ideas these months seem to have shown me.

A little over a year ago I started my blog as a place to share the recipes and inspirations that kept Ben and I on track when stress was all we knew and we realised we needed to shift into a more connected way of treating ourselves and everything around us. Lying in bed this morning with the holidays in sight I realised how far we have come and how much further there is to go. I am so excited and grateful. As my nutrition studies continue and Ben steps into his own in the world of herbal medicine, there is so much inspiration around us and so much knowledge to gain and share.

But so much, if not all, of this knowledge seems to me to be not great new discoveries about how to eat and live, rather it is an old intelligence and responsibility that we appear to have lost somewhere along the way. Cooking a bowl of food from scratch, locally and seasonally; brewing herbal infusions; grinding oats and almonds to exfoliate our tired faces: this is nothing new or revolutionary for mankind. We have been doing it forever. And so in this next chapter of my journey where I will dive deep into natural skin food and remedies, I’m not looking for some super anti-ageing breakthrough or magical cure-all fairy dust: I am simply looking to relearn the knowledge we have forgotten, with a few intelligent ingredients from nature. To remember and unearth the skills and recipes that have been keeping us alive, and cleansed, toned and moisturised, far longer than parabens, sulphates, preservatives and injections that stop us smiling too hard. In naturopathy we are always working to shift the focus away from curing a symptom or patient, towards rebalancing the whole so that the body can thrive as it is designed to: restoring the optimal conditions in the body so it can react and grow and fight off invaders as best it can.

And the power of learning to make our daily meals, our night time face oil, our window cleaning spray (next year!) from scratch, is that it takes the responsibility and the potential back into our own hands, and out of those of the giant multinationals who let us lazily buy into the idea that our health and beauty and happiness can be passively bought and absently consumed. That is where community comes in, and it has become so important to me this year and continues to bind together all that I do and all the ways we learn together on this awesome healthy living path that is taking the world by storm. We can’t do this stuff alone, it works better together. Just as we can’t eat isolated vitamin supplements and suddenly achieve the dense micronutrient balance that a single kale plant has miraculously evolved to contain for us, we can’t make a conscious change if we don’t come together and learn off each other. And community in the city, where life can be so busy yet so isolated; so social yet so skin deep; so action-packed yet so painfully un-present, seems to me to be something of crazy importance. That is why we set up Pura Vida Social Club and that is why we all sit devotedly writing our bogs and getting our goodness out on Instagram and social media. No man is an island and neither is any Londoner. Let’s find more ways to properly come together as humans and hold the space to meet eye to eye and learn and make together. It is our fuel and our support system. And always a lot of fun to step away from the computer screen and meet fellow flesh and bone.

And making is so great. Anything – from granola to candles to body scrub to knitting – creation is meditation and making is what we do so well. Selling my skin food at Makers Market in East London earlier this month I was blown away by the beauty and intelligence of all the stall holders and their wares. I want all their skills and inspiration.

So happy Christmas everyone and I hope the new year brings great things. Getting into nature will always be top of our list, even if we are buried in deepest urban London. It has so much to teach us and we are built to live among it. In navajo culture they use animal medicine cards to reflect, heal and learn about their path, and they say the strongest remedy there is is to head into nature and observe the spirit animal thriving in its natural habitat. There is more to learn about survival there than in any books or teachings. So whether it’s a horse or a mouse, a flower or a weed, we can all find something that exists purely in nature to remind us where we came from and where we should be heading.

Happy 2015 and thank you all for your support and love this year.

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