Food, farming, and medicine?
On the 6th June, I attended a farming workshop on the Great Tew Estate in Chipping Norton. This is part of a collaborative initiative with LEAF (linking environment and farming) and Nutritank (an organisation working to improve nutrition education for medical students), to improve farming education for all up-coming healthcare professionals. We had wonderful discussions on the food environment in the uk, sampled different non-dairy alternative drinks, made fresh butter, and hung out with some adorable goats.
Educating professionals on the realities of our food environment, provides an essential point of contact to the public to support the development of healthy habits. Educational experiences like our day at the farm, allows for greater understanding in how our food is produced from farm to fork. LEAF hosts many educational opportunities for all, inspiring and sharing the value of farming via in-person visits, virtual ‘farmer time’ experiences and free countryside classroom resources.
LEAF aims to bring together farmers, the food industry, professionals, and consumers to inspire and enable a sustainable and circular approach to farming. Reconnecting with nature is the backbone of this approach. With covid-19 bringing a drastic change to our lives, many feel it is a vital time to change the way we have approached our health and wellbeing, and to explore new avenues. Starting with increasing biodiversity, supporting small business meat and dairy farmers, and kickstarting community gardens to share and grow produce. Numerous groups are striving to change the system, believing this begins with reconnection to the earth and each other. Let’s prove them right!
Staying healthy in the heat
With summer officially here, and temperatures rising, it is important to be aware of how to stay safe in the sun. When we are dehydrated, we are at risk of overheating, which could lead to heat exhaustion and heatstroke. Those most at risk include babies and young children, those over 75 years old, those who have serious and long-term illnesses such as Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, kidney disease, mental health conditions, and heart or lung conditions.
Aim to stay out of the sun during peak hours (between 11 and 3pm), drink plenty of fluids (aim for more than you would normally drink) and avoid excess alcohol. Fun ways to stay hydrated include cold fruit teas, freezing fresh fruit and enjoying for a snack, and adding non-added sugar squash or fruits and herbs to your water. You could even have a go at making your own ice lollies from fresh fruit, fruit juices and fizzy drinks. Mix up your dinners with dark leafy greens, fresh fruit, nuts, and seeds. A favourite of mine is watermelon, feta and rocket!
Wear SPF daily on your face and body, ensuring to cover up with loose clothing and a hat when you need it. If you venture out to the beach or water to stay cool, remember to be aware of health and safety. Be aware to dial 999 or 112 in case of an emergency. Be aware of the weather, as this can drastically change the water level, increase risk of pollution, and lead to strong currents and fast flowing tides. Be wary of your limits with outdoor exploring, it is not worth pushing yourself to exhaustion if your fitness and ability is not up to it.
Summer is a time for fun, take time to relax and make wonderful memories whilst staying safe.