Saturday, June 25, 2016

Aga i Sverige och Australien

25 Juni 2013 

Mamma och jag sitter och pratar vid köksbordet när vi äter frukost och idag påminner hon mej om historien när hon var tolv år gammal (1943) och fick lov att hjälpa till att baka för första gången. Så här gick det till:
Har`u slae’t pöjken? (min rubrik på historien)
I min mors barndomshem (Holmentorp i Synnerby) användes inte aga.
En dag när Märtas far Henry var ute och gallrade rovorna så kom Märtas lillebror Kalle springande och säger med andan i halsen
- Mor slo’ mej, mor slo’ mej.
Henry som är noga med att barnen inte ska agas och att de ska behandlas med respekt blir upprörd och reser sej genast och går in för att prata med Tinnie (hennes riktiga namn var Leontine men hennes smeknamn var Tinnie).
- Kalle säger att du har slae’t han, e de’ sant?
Mor blir så upprörd av anklagelsen att hon avbryter sitt bakande i den väggfasta ugnen och vände sej till Märta och säger
- Du få ta’ över här och avsluta bakningen.
Så uppmanades lilla Märta att lära sej baka, vilket hon aldrig gjort förr. Tinnie var så upprörd att hon gick ut i grönsakslandet för att fortsätta gallringen som Henry avbrutit. Varför Kalle anklagat henne för att slå honom visste inte Märta, men att Tinnie aldrig agade någon av barnen det var så sant som det var sagt. Vart Henry tog vägen förtäljer inte historien. I alla fall så var det första gången Märta bakade ensam. Hon använde den långa bakspaden (grisslan) för att få brödet in och ut ur ugnen. Just då kom mormor Hildur Pettersson på besök och undrade var Tinnie var nånstans. När Hildur fick höra att Tinnie var ute i landet gick hon ditut. Efter en stund kom Hildur in igen och sa till Märta
- Hoss’i allsin da’r. Det blir inte en rova kvar!
Tinnie var mycket mild till sinnet men när hon blev oskyldigt anklagad för något som hon inte gjort, då blev hon arg och hennes ilska fick sitt utlopp i grönsakslandet där både rovor och ogräs rök med.
I vanliga fall bjöds Hildur på kaffe men den här da’n blev hon utan kaffe.
Märta var nöjd med att lyckas grädda de brödkakor som var kvar.

I Sverige avskaffades aga av barn både i hemmet och i skolan 1979.
I Australien är aga avskaffat i skolan men i hemmet är det fritt fram.
Tråkigt nog anses det som föräldrars rättighet att slå sina barn i Australien. Om man står i matafffären och kvinnan bakom dej i kön plötsligt ger sitt lilla barn en hurring så att hörseln troligen blir skadad så har du ingenting att säga till om. Ja, det har hänt mej flera gånger och jag mår innerligt illa när det händer.
Händer det i Sverige så riskerar du att bli polisanmäld!

PS Jag skrev det här inlägget när jag hälsade på mor Märta hemma i Härlunda 2013 och publicerade det på Facebook.

Sunday, June 21, 2015


After my successful interruption to coffee drinking (as part of Live Below the Line) I decided to start drinking Japanese green Matcha tea instead. I had a jar of it in my tea cupboard that was quite expensive and bought in a Japanese shop where they stated it was of highest quality. Well, what does this mean. What is the ingredient that decides it's quality. I think it must be epigallocatechin gallate (EPGCG, Wikipedia) . 

Publication from 2003 looking at EPGCG content in Matcha tea tells that it has 137 times more of this compound than China Green Tips green tea and at least three times the amount of any other green tea on the market. This compound is said to have many beneficial properties such as (Preventive Medicine Center (pmc):

  1. cancer preventative
  2. lowers blood cholesterol
  3. lowers blood pressure
  4. improves immun system
  5. antibacterial (will protect you against gastroenteritis)

Not bad to get so much benefit from a 'cuppa' tea.

Another ingredient in Matcha tea is Theanine (Wikipedia):

This is another interesting molecule with claims to properties such as:

  1. promotes alpha wave production in the brain, makes you relaxed and alert ( Wikipedia
  2. promotes focus and concentration
  3. promotes relaxation 
  4. promotes improved cognition

So the statement that it is good for you to drink green tea is scientifically well established, but if you would like to read more here is another link:

I apologise for any mistakes and omissions. 

The green tea benefits are too many to fit into one blog!

Happy tea drinking!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Yellow garden flowers!

As I was weeding in my garden before Christmas I noticed a new plant  had popped up:

I let them be as the bright yellow flowers were really nice. The plant grew quite big and eventually I took it out and put it in the green bin. It is now a few months later and where it grew a lot of little plants have started growing. What to do, keep them or not? 
After some investigation I today concluded that it is Californian poppies (Eschscholzia californica). So I will happily let them grow big and harvest and dry the plant as it is a medicinal herb as summarised below from the website: 
          California poppy has a reputation of being a milder, non-addictive alternative to other poppies, and can be used for pain relief, anxiety and hysteria.The native Americans use California poppy for colic, sleeplessness and griping stomach pains. It is often used to counter excitability and nervousness in children, and has promise for hyperactive children as well. When used as a tea before bed, California poppy promotes long, restful sleep and is often used as a treatment for insomnia. This wonderful herb can also be smoked for relaxation.As it is completely safe, mild and non-addictive, this gentle poppy is completely legal and has the potential to be of benefit in assisting with opiate addiction and withdrawal: drinking a strong tea or smoking the herb as often as needed, has been used to help overcome heroine, morphine and opium cravings. It has also been known to assist in interrupting cannabis and tobacco habits. California Poppy contains the alkaloids berberine, sanguinarine, protopine, and allocryptine. It also has several antioxidants including rutin and zeaxanthin. Its aqueous extract has sedative and anxiolytic (anxiety reducing) properties, tests show that it appears to possess an affinity for the brain's benzodiazepine receptor.See:

    1. Klvana, M.; Chen, J.; Lepine, F.; Legros, R.; Jolicoeur, M. (July 2006). "Analysis of Secondary Metabolites From Eschscholtzia Californica by High-performance Liquid Chromatography". Phytochemical Analysis 17 (4): 236-242.
    2. MacLeod, B.P.; Facchini, P.J. (2006). "Methods for Regeneration and Transformation in Eschscholzia Californica: A Model Plant to Investigate Alkaloid Biosynthesis". Methods in Molecular Biology 318: 357-368.
    3. Rolland, A.; Fleurentin, J.; Lanhers, M.C.; Misslin, R.; Mortier, F. (August 2001). "Neurophysiological Effects of an Extract of Eschscholzia Californica Cham. (Papaveraceae)". Phytotherapy Research 15 (5): 377-381.

        This will increase my own organic herbal tea selection to three:

        1. Peppermint tea
        2. Lemon balm tea (Melissa Officinalis)
        3. Californian poppy tea

        Sunday, June 15, 2014

        Beautiful meditation on forgiveness!

        Plastics or not?

        A while ago I started removing plastics from my house, after my investigations about how the Endocrine Disruptor chemicals (like bisphenol A, BPA) leach into the food. But to go plastic free is more or less impossible. One example is the supermarket receipts made from thermal paper that often contains BPA. Looking at the Australian governmental website Product Safety Australia (Product Safety Australia) I could not find any information on thermal receipts. Therefore I sent an inquiry to the ACCC (Australian Competition and Consumer Agency) asking if there is any regulation of endocrine disruptors in thermal receipts in Australia. I am awaiting reply. Commonly thermal paper contains BPA, even if there are alternatives that are safer like Pergafast 201, described in the blogentry here (Blog 'Health & Environment'). Anyhow, the concern is that when you touch/hold the ticket/receipt you will get the chemical on your skin and then transfer it to whatever you touch next.

        In April 2012 the Swedish Chemicals Agency was instructed by the Government to propose a ban on bisphenol A in thermal paper and to carry out a survey of the use of bisphenol A in toys and childcare articles. When living in Sweden in 2013 I noticed shops advertising the fact that ‘We use BPA free receipts in this shop’. Anyhow a ban on bisphenol A in thermal paper in Sweden was suggested in a report on 29 June 2012. But here in Australia I have not seen or heard any comments on this issue.

        There is a Facebook page that is a good resource for information about endocrine disruptors in thermal receipts issue (FB page BPA Free Receipts). This page seems to be created by Appvion Inc. /Appleton Paper and basically is an advertisement for BPA free paper BUT what they don't state is that the replacement chemical BPS they use is just as bad as BPA. As you can see below the two structures are quite similar...

        Bisphenol S                   Bisphenol-A-Skeletal.svg

                 bis-phenol S                                     bis-phenol A        

        ...and therefore both mimic the sex hormone estradiol and are classified Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals.



        BPA/BPS also mimic the estrogen hormones, the primary female sex hormones. This is a class of compounds similar in structure to estradiol.

        Some possible negative effects on the human body after contact with the chemical BPA (or similar endocrine disruptor):

        1. It can interfere with mammalian development by mimicking the action of the sex hormone estradiol, one of the possible reasons for early puberty in girls (1999, Nature, Howdeshell et al, ‘Environmental toxins: Exposure to bisphenol A advances puberty | doi:10.1038/44517)

        2. Research at Deakin University (and other places) indicating that BPA might be partly responsible for causing both obesity and diabetes (2012, FASEB, Gibert Yann et al, (Deakin Research Newsletter April 2014 ).

        3. From Wikipedia: Neurological disruption, thyroid disfunction, cancer, reproductive disorders, asthma, heart disease. (Wikipedia entry for Bisphenol A), click on link to read for yourself.

        Many argue that Wikipedia is not a reliable source or information. Therefore I have found the same information in a report published by the UN in 2013: (which has more detailed info for the interested). In this report they use EDC as the acronym for Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (UN report on EDCs 2013).

        The effects of long term low dose exposure of BPA/BPS is not known yet BUT after a bit of research my suspicion is that  it is not good for you in any way.

        Studies by the CDC (Centre for Disease Control and Prevention) in the US has shown that 90 % of americans have BPA (bis-phenol A) in their body and that it is excreted via the urine. So why does this matter? Is it harmful or not? As always it is argued by some scientists that it is completely harmless, like Justin Teeguarden in the US (Article in Environmental Health News in US). Others are finding connections between BPA and cardiovascular diagnosis and diabetes. Even the suspicion about this should be enough to try and limit exposure to humans and especially children.

        The ban on using BPA  in baby bottles and drink bottles is anyhow widely spread but what is unknown to many is that alternative chemicals chosen by industry are just as bad. One replacement chemical used is BPS (bis-phenol S):

        Now say that you have decided to spend the money and buy bottled water for your family to have CLEAN and PURE water to drink. The water gets delivered in bottles like this:

        ... which are made of polycarbonate plastics and most likely leak out BPA (or BPS) into the water it contains. 'Refresh pure water' is claiming to be Australias largest supplier of water in plastic bottles. Looking through their website they do not mention anything about testing for BPA/BPS content in the water (Refresh Pure Water website).

        I now filter the water I use (Brita filter) and I continue to throw out plastic containers.

        The endocrine disruptors are everywhere around us and will stay with us for generations to come. What we should try to do is stop using plastic as much as we can. This is no easy task as you will realise if you try a trip to the supermarket with intent of not buying any food that is in contact with plastic. To avoid BPA you also need to avoid canned food as the tins are epoxy lined and this plastic inner lining of the cans leak out endocrine disrupting chemicals.

        I could continue to investigate this as I continually find out more disturbing facts

        - recycled paper contains BPA (from thermal receipts)
        - money contains BPA (transferred from thermal receipts in the wallet)
        - chicken wrapped in plastic contains BPA

        etc, etc

        If you now wish to avoid exposure to BPA/BPS you might want to:

        - avoid canned food
        - avoid polycarbonate plastic containers 
        - avoid recycled plastic with resin code 7 (contains polycarbonate plastic)
        - avoid heating food in plastic containers in the microwave
        - avoid washing plastic containers in the dishwasher (releases more BPA)

        Sunday, December 29, 2013

        I went bikeriding in June 2013

        I decided to take time off from my gardening on a Sunday in June 2013 when I was in Sweden visiting my mum. My hope was to see if the house my parents lived in when I was born was still standing. It sure was, but no one has lived in it for a while so it was run down. It used to be surrounded by a large forest that has more or less all been cut down as you can see below. 

        I parked the bike to walk in and take a closer look at Rosenberg in Vinkoel, where Anders and Maerta lived in 1957. I think they moved in 1948 or 1949 and moved out to Lyckhem in Haerlunda in 1958.

        The grass was long but I needed to come closer and peak through windows as well as look around the 'garden'. 

        When I walked around the house peaking in through the windows I saw what I thought looked like the kitchen with a wood stove. Mum later confirmed it and said it looked very similar to when she lived in the house. I know that there was no running water then because water had to be fetched from a well a bit away from the house. As I was child number six it must have been a bit crowded in this kitchen. Apparently this is where they all slept cause it was the warmest room in the house, out of the two rooms present. 

        Behind the house I found the'cellar' used for food storage. Built from stone and dirt it kept the potatoes safe from freezing during the winter.
        It was a very low stone entrance and of course I bumped my head as I entered to see what mums 'fridge' looked like. Well dug into the ground it would have kept a constant cool temperature.

        Mum told me that they had a chook house with lots of chickens laying a large number of eggs that were sold. The first five year's lease on the house included the farming of some land and milking of a number of cows. The next five years dad worked at the saw mill in Haerlunda. The family's transport was a motorbike. I don't think mum had a washing machine for many years. So many kids and so much work to keep them clean and feed them. All cooking to be done on the wooden stove. What a different life. Hard to imagine!

        Saturday, November 9, 2013

        My dear sister!

        My sister Marianne is not with us any more.

        I am remembering all the good laughs we had a few months ago.

        When I lived with mum I used to jump on the bike every other day to go and visit Marianne in her flat. The bike ride took about twenty minutes on the old highway with very little traffic, it was such a nice ride through the forest.

        Once I arrived, Marianne and I used to almost compete coming up with all sorts of silly jokes to get a good laugh. Everyone knows how good it is for you to laugh. You can feel it in your body.

        One time she said she wanted to come and visit me and mum in Harlunda. We were of course very excited and I moved some furniture into the room she would stay in. I cleaned the room and put on clean tablecloths and burned some lavender essential oil to make it smell nice in her room. When Marianne arrived we spent a lot of time cutting and sewing clothes for mum. Marianne was an excellent sewer and she showed me tricks of how to do things. She learned a lot about sewing when she worked in the studio making garments for the Church in Sweden.

        I loved my sister Marianne. When I was little she was the sister who organised games and activities for us little ones. I especially remember a picnic to the forest. Marianne packed a basket with home made cinnamon buns, home made cordial and a badminton set for us to play with and of course a blanket to sit on. Then we all walked out into the forest (not very far). It was Marianne, me and my sisters Kristina, Lena and Lillemor (if I remember right). The open clearing where we put down the blanket and spent a few hours was surrounded with big trees and the sun was shining and it was all incredibly happy (in my memory). This is how I want to remember her. She was so nice to me when I was growing up. My happiest childhood memories are from time I spent with her.

        She was like an angel.