Book Review - Four Of My Favourites
In my free time, I often have my head in books that expand my knowledge and spark inspiration within the realm of sustainability, nutrition and veganism. Below I have written brief reviews of four books that I really have enjoyed reading and that I have taken lots from. I am in no way associated with the authors or publishers, and only seek to advise others on where to find helpful information (and lovely pictures!). If you have read other books that really spoke to you, feel free to email me, comment below, or tell me on Instagram @seedblog or Facebook (SEED). Happy reading!
Grown and Gathered – Matt & Lentil
Trading, sharing, foraging, growing, fermenting – some of my favourite verbs, and those that form the basis of this stunning book. A collection of what is evidently a detailed expression of the couple’s core values, it is full of recipes, plans, stories, tables and pictorials educating the reader about slow, considered, sustainable living practices. Matt and Lentil work in factual information to explain and support their foundations, such as eating a diet of 90% plant-based foods, sourcing all food as locally as possible and practicable, and understanding exactly what you are buying/growing/consuming at all times. This book would be quite at home in the 18th century, yet in our current generation stands out as a much-needed revival of past practices combined with new information.
Grown and Gathered is one of those books worth owning even if you know someone with a copy, as you are likely to refer to it time and again. It caters for literally everyone – rural or urban, knowledgeable or uneducated, vegan or carnivore. The book has its own website with extra information, blog posts and an Instagram page @grownandgathered. The best thing though, I feel, is the book’s vibrant photographs that make me think “I want to be there, doing that, right now!”.
The Weed Forager’s Handbook – Adam Grubb & Annie Raser Rowland
If you live in or near Melbourne, are a forager, plant-lover, food-lover or want to reduce your food bill, this book needs to be in your backpack ready to use at any time. Annie and Adam have compiled a list of their favourite and easy to identify edible urban weeds that can be easily found around the area. Photos are comprehensive and descriptions are detailed to help you accurately identify, assess and use free food. There are additional tid-bits to educate you on how not to poison yourself, and on what to look for around the site to minimise soil contamination risk. Since I bought this book, I pull it out regularly to double check myself – you’ll be amazed when you read it at the sheer amount of free, nutritious plants that you have walked past 1000 times without a second glance. This book has opened my eyes so much and now I can’t walk anywhere (literally) without looking at the ground to see what’s growing!
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying – Marie Kondo
This book I have read most recently of all in the list. I borrowed it from a friend who bought it for herself and so far five others have already borrowed it after seeing and hearing about its impact on her life. Boasting a rebound rate of ZERO (yep!), Marie Kondo (aka KonMari) states her simple rules to tidy your house once and never again – dispose, then store. This is one of those books that makes you skeptical in the first few pages, only to completely change your mindset within a few more. It’s an easy read – just over 200 pages of large font – and well worth the hours. KonMari speaks about our desire to hold onto things both that we use and ‘might use someday’, and how negative the impact can be on our whole life. After reading this, I removed approximately half of all my belongings (my wardrobe is now drastically smaller) and am loving continuing to live in line with her recommendations. While I cannot yet say that Ill never rebound or need to tidy ever again, I can say that reading is believing and I highly recommend this for anyone!
The main reason I wanted to try this and reduce my belonging was to facilitate our eventual goal of living in a tiny house that we build together. In a small space, there is no room for excess stuff so we must keep only the essentials and things that we really love. My partner is currently reading about the magic of tidying as a write this – we shall see if it works on him too!
Natural Harry – Harriet Birrell
Before I decided to become vegan, I stumbled across Natural Harry through a mutual friend. Summer on the Surf Coast frequently involved trips to Barwon Heads for a feed and a swim – and a huge delicious organic smoothie! Harriet Birrell (who interestingly used to live a life the very opposite of ‘healthy’, if you’ve heard her story) created a raw food truck in a beautiful simple plywood caravan built by her partner. Her summer slices and smoothies were the highlights of my weekends. Not long after, she released Natural Harry, her first recipe book. It is 100% raw, plant-based food just like her diet, is full of meals for all times of the day, and has a particularly amazing list of basics (e.g. dressings, sauces, spreads) that I regularly make. If you like sweet things, this book is especially in your interest – Harry specialises in raw slices and cakes. IT even has natural basic cleaning product recipes! I will always love this book, for its beautiful photography, delicious staple recipes and memories of sunny Saturdays at Barwon Heads. IT also helped me fall in love with raw food. Her second recipe book ‘Whole’ comes out later this year..!