Italy

Weleda Garden, Tuscany 10.-12. June 2018

Weleda has a long history in Italy, with its first representative established in Milan in 1934. Two of lead plants are cultivated in Italy: Sea buckthorn is grown near the Tuscan coast, while iris is cultivated in the northern Apennines.

Power berries packed with sunshine

Visiting Weleda’s fair-trade partner for Sea Buckthorn, the super food bursting with Vitamin C and immunity boosting powers. Today I walked through the fields of San Mario, in Bibonna, Tuscany I met a tough little berry – Sea buckthorn. This little orange ball of energy thrives on sunshine, is packed with Vitamin C and has an invigorating effect on our vitality. The growing conditions here in Tuscany are ideal – the soil is nourished with compost and the long hours of sunshine give the Sea Buckthorn the light it needs to build its vitamin complexes. We can learn a lot about resilience and determination from Sea Buckthorn. It is a stubborn plant, penetrating its root system sometimes 12m deep into the rocky Tuscan soil thriving in even the toughest of terrains. It’s a survivor with its own built in defense mechanisms and water saving tricks which makes it flourish without needing much nourishment from the land. The only thing Sea Buckthorn needs is sunlight – and plenty of it! It’s these qualities that makes us …

Respecting women, respecting childbirth through midwifery

Meeting the empowering woman, empowering mother’s-to-be at the ‘Elemental School of Midwife Art’. I visited the ‘Elemental School of Midwife Art’ set in Florence, Italy. I think it should be called The ‘Empowering School of Midwife Art’ because that’s they do here. They teach midwifes the skills to empower women who are to become mothers, not just at the time of birth but throughout all stages of their pregnancy and life thereafter. You feel that this is a special place from the moment you walk in the door. The beaming, warm, welcoming faces of the staff make you feel instantly calm and secure – it’s been like this since 1996 when the school first opened by founder Verena Schmid. Verena Schmid was a midwife, author, international teacher with the aim to found a place where midwives could learn to create a world that is more women friendly. Here, she would teach a different view over women’s sexual passages and help midwives rediscover the art of women centred care, learn the physiology of respected childbirth as …

Car park to care crop at FICO

Fico Eataly World is the largest agri-food park in the world. Even the original car park is green, being transformed from a concrete jungle into a biodynamic meadow. FICO, in Bologna Italy is an interactive, experiential center that teaches us of all ages about food and biodiversity. I was very lucky to have Carlo Triarico, President of the Association for Biodynamic Agriculture in Italy as my private teacher. Carlo works to help biodynamic farms and the health of all other farms. As we walked past the food and produce stalls of local eco artisans, Carlo explained his involvement in this complex that was designed to create a way for all generations to connect with the food we eat and where it comes from in our agricultural world. Why is biodynamics so important to you? “It is the first form of biodynamic agriculture. It’s from the very beginning, over one century old. Yet it is modern. It’s the agriculture of today too. We need it.” Carlo Triarico The meadows are currently under construction but the future …

Feeding the soul – in Italy

The ancient Romans used aromatic essences to connect religiously and spiritually. These days, modern day Italians and people world-over use essential oils to open the mind, enhance spiritual connections and invite inspiration. Scientific research reveals the power of essential oils as an anti-inflammatory, antidepressant, anti-stress, antioxidant, antimicrobial, and analgesic. But this is just the start of their healing qualities beyond the physical. My beautiful host Valentina provided me with a very special essential oil aromatic experience so I could spiritually connect again after my 3-month journey and to also give me the creative inspiration for my last botanical drawing – a gift I leave in each country after they have opened their doors and lives to me. To enable the connection Valentina laid out a range of essential oils very cleverly removing the labels so we had to choose with our spirit, not our minds. ‘The essential oil chooses you.” Valentina said. “They know what your body needs.” I selected the gentle yet energizing oil, mandarin. The power of this essential oil being to connect …

Feeding the mind – in Italy

Our body digests our thoughts just as much as the foods we eat. Health isn’t just about how much exercise we do, what we eat or what products we use. What we are thinking, saying and believing is just as important for our wellbeing. So, question for you… how do you talk to yourself? Are you your own biggest cheerleader? Or biggest critic? Science shows that our bodies digest the power of our thoughts as readily as the food we eat. I’ve only personally learnt this lesson recently, but when you speak to yourself like you would a friend it’s amazing the change we can bring to our lives. Being your own number one supporter doesn’t scream NARCISSIST, its actually the quickest way to achieve a healthy mind, body and spirit. Still not convinced? Then maybe you might believe the Big Apple Experiment. Have you heard of the Big Apple Experiment? It took the internet by storm in 2016. It claimed to demonstrate how our negative thoughts can have a serious impact on our minds …

Feeding your body – in Italy

Healthy living starts on the inside. And I don’t think there is a better place on the planet than Italy to teach us how to feed our mind, body and soul. Italian art, music, design, fashion and food are part of day to day life here and the very culture itself revolves around beauty, love, passion and sensuality — all the good things that feed our body, mind and the soul. Feeding the Body – with Eco MasterChef Claudio Di Dio Italians don’t just value quality ingredients, they value quality of life. The best Italian dishes are prepared with simple, fresh, whole foods. There’s no such thing as fast food here… every bite is eaten slowly, consciously savoring the senses exploding with flavors and the company you are enjoying it with. It’s no wonder Italian food is one of the most loved cuisines in the world when you think of all the love that goes into it. And no one puts more love into his cooking that Claudio Di Dio, Eco Chef at BistròBiò, a …