18th April 2021 Garden Update

The heavy rained washed some of the soil off the roots of my bitter gourd plants so I topped up the planter. The eggplants growing at the bottom look quite happy but actually their growth is quite stunted because they don’t get much light. Am not sure why, but the stems of the bitter gourd vines are quite thin and weak looking.

My Kang Kong and other eggplants have a white fly problem. I’ve sprayed it with Neem oil so fingers crossed this will soon be a problem of the past.

Here are my new ladies finger plants looking beautifully happy!

The Indian borage got replanted next to the withering basil. I’m hoping it’s pungent leaves will keep the aphids away.

The watercress has also been replanted. It was growing in water and the leaves were beginning to grow out unusually small. Let’s see if the soil makes a difference.

I’ve also replanted the gotu kola cos it wasn’t looking too happy in its pot.

What is conservation?

The natural world is essential for our survival. Nature provides us with air, water, food and medicine which is what we need to survive. However, the reason why we have been lax in protecting her is because we have become disconnected from nature and have stopped thinking about where out air, food, water and medicine come from.

As mentioned above, we simply cannot do without the natural world. But beside that, the natural world gives us a sense of wonder and is filled with awe-inspiring natural beauty. Just imagine the world without amazing places like the Great Barrier Reef and Amazon Forests, or species like the polar bear or pangolin.

Conservation is about protecting and preserving the natural world. We do this not only because we need the natural world to survive, but also because the natural world is inherently beautiful and was around before we were / has it’s own right to exist. We preserve the natural world to ensure equitable access to critical natural resources, such as food, water, and air, for future generations.

Conservation also involves sustainable development and stabilising economies. We cannot dictate to others and we especially cannot tell poorer people how they should be living. To carry out conservation, people all around the world will need to work together and come up with innovative solutions that will benefit us all.

Everyone Should Learn To Cook

I believe everyone should learn to cook. In his book ‘Cooked’, Michael Pollan very nicely outlined the reasons why we should all learn, which I have summarised to be:

We should all learn to cook because it

  • improves health and general well-being.
  • makes the food system healthier and more sustainable.
  • helps us to achieve a greater degree of self-sufficiency.
  • helps us to acquire a deeper understanding of the natural world and our role in it.
  • not only gives us the meal, but the occasion through which we can develop the practice of eating together at an appointed time and place.
  • allows us to become alchemists and puts us in touch with the laws of physics, chemistry, biology and microbiology.

Like Pollan, I too believe that everyone should learn to cook, not just girls, women or those who identify as female. As he so aptly put it, “Men and children both need to be in the kitchen too, not just for fairness and equity, but because they have so much to gain.” Indeed they do!

Ask and you shall receive

Today my friend was learning to drive so I acted as the quasi-driving instructor.
“Ok, we need to change lanes here. Could you move into the right lane please?”
My friend put her right signal on, checked her blind spot for a couple of seconds, then turned her right signal back off.
“Why didja do that?”
“I saw a car in the lane so I turned off my signal.”
“Uh, but you need to change lanes right?”
“Yeah but when I had my signal on the car slowed down.”
“That’s coz he was giving way to you!”
“Yeah but I wasn’t comfortable that he was there…”
(At that point I was doing an internal face palm. I’m sure my eyeballs were bulging from my face.)
In reflection I asked myself:
How often do I find myself in the situation where I ask God for something, and then through sheer grace have my request granted… only to reject it because it isn’t quite in a form I am comfortable with?

Dietetic clinical placement

I said goodbye to my patient who was being transferred to a hospice. He’s going there to starve to death because his cancer is so advanced that he is no longer able to swallow.

I really had a hard time with this. I had spoken to him the day before and he still had a lot of fight in him. He didn’t look like a man who was on his last legs. Nothing about him said “sick” or “dying” unlike some of the other patients I’d encountered.

I hid in the corner of the hospital and cried although I was not sure why. Maybe it was just that time of the month. Or maybe because I felt so damned helpless. Or maybe I cried because I thought it was so freaking ironic that here was one patient who actually did want to eat and had a good appetite, but just couldn’t.

This man had not been ready for the end and it made me wonder about the kind of life he had lived…

Which leads me to the few things that have really struck me from placement at hospital:

1) Value your health.

If you smoke, quit. If you drink copious amounts, stop. If you’re pre-diabetic or have diabetes, work to get that under control. If you eat lots of junk, swap it for lotsa veg. Go out and exercise.

Why bother? Try regrowing a leg that’s turned gangrene from poor vasculature as a result of diabetes or part of your neck that’s been lopped off because of a cancerous growth from smoking. It’s easy to ignore some health warnings because they don’t affect you RIGHT NOW, but once they do… It’s very possible that the consequences are irreversible.

(My dear friends, if I have nagged you of late about smoking or drinking, it is only because I love u. I make no apologies for it.)

2) Be grateful

This has been especially highlighted to me every time I come across a patient who can’t swallow cos they’ve got a tumour, or can’t talk cos they’ve got a stroke… It suddenly strikes me how much i take these everyday liberties for granted.

3) Your state of health affects those who love you most

From the lady who was guilt ridden for not being able to bring her husband home to care for him because he was obese (how do you lift your obese husband into the shower or even turn him in bed when he’s had a stroke and can no longer move himself?) to the husband who was desperately trying to nourish his wife by hiding supplement powder in her soup.

When you’re sick, the people who care for you most are also deeply affected.

4) Live EVERYDAY

Live hard. Taste the food you eat. Tell or show your loved ones you love them. Give your dog a big fat squeeze. Really Listen. Etc etc etc So freaking cliched, but so damned important. There’s a reason why people keep harping on about this shit

5) Find God

Your time on earth is finite. When you’re near your end, will it be a desperate cling because you fear eternal obliteration or a confident walk into the next stage of life?