Parenting lessons from tribes around the world - a conversation with photographer Jimmy Nelson

Himba Women - Jimmy Nelson, Before They Pass Away  

Last year, while heavily pregnant, I attended a talk by acclaimed photographer Jimmy Nelson in our local cafe here in Amsterdam. He was speaking about his new book Before They Pass Away and showing spectacular images of the indigenous tribes from all over the world that he had spent time with. 

A year later, I have a crawling, climbing, energetic baby on my hands, and the constant bombardment of parenting advice sometimes makes me question my own choices. My desire for a natural parenting style - home birth, co-sleeping, and baby wearing - reignited my curiosity about how these indigenous people raise their children. I recalled Jimmy saying that he lived nearby, so I reached out to him. He agreed to come over for tea, and with my daughter happily sitting on the kitchen table between us and bashing Jimmy's phone, he shared with me how the indigenous tribes have influenced his own parenting methods. 

Jimmy Nelson

Let’s start at the beginning - how did you get into photography in the first place?
I was a very creative kid. I went to a Jesuit boarding school, but I was not academic - I’m dyslexic. Then, at the age of 16, my hair fell out in one day. I was given the wrong antibiotics. I woke up and looked in the mirror, and I was bald. Now it’s irrelevant, because I’m in my mid-40s, but when you’re a 16-year-old teenager, it’s quite heavy, especially in the mid-1980s in northern England; everybody’s judging you.

I left school at 17, and I disappeared off to the one country in the world where everybody else was bald, and that was Tibet. I thought, “I’m going to find myself amongst a lot of monks.” So I walked the length of Tibet, by accident. I took a few pictures to document the journey. They were published, and that’s how I started, at 17.

That’s amazing. Now, for “Before They Pass Away”, you spent time with tribes all over the world and took stunning pictures of them. In your observations of the tribes, what are you focusing on initially?
The aesthetic. These tribes are some of the world’s last traditional cultures. They have not been presented in an iconographic way, a way in which we could look at them with far more praise and respect, and realize they perhaps have something that we don’t have anymore, and we’re on the edge of losing it forever. The only way to do that is to put them on a pedestal, to celebrate them. The only way to do that is to make them into icons, into art.

Once you make pretty pictures, people go, “What pretty pictures”! Then they look beyond the pretty pictures and go, “Wow, who are the pictures of? Aren’t they amazing? Who is this?” They start asking questions which we’ve not asked before. And if we don’t find answers soon, these people will go.

If that happens, the world will go upside-down, because these tribes give us the balance of culture, of knowledge of the world’s last natural environments, traditions, languages. The world can’t be all about progress and material wealth. It must also be about consolidation of what we already have, which is a natural, spiritual, mental, cultural wealth. We’ve kept ourselves busy for many, many generations, believing material wealth was the only way forward. We have to regain that balance. That’s all the book is about - it’s about putting these tribes on a pedestal, to start that discussion.

Yakel villagers on Tanna Island - Jimmy Nelson, BEFORE THEY PASS AWAY  

When you were with them, did you notice anything that made you think, “This aspect is so important to their life and their existence and their identity,” but they themselves didn’t feel that it was anything special?
The majority of them know how significant the natural setting is that they live in, and how pure that is, because they’re the last of their groups. 99 percent of their people have already moved away to the cities, and live in boxes under bridges. Some of them have returned and told them what city life is like, so they are aware.

Then again, I think they still don’t truly understand how important it is. You know, 100 years ago, an American photographer called Edward Curtis photographed the Native Americans. You may know those sepia pictures, of Chief Sitting Bull.

Yeah.
He spent 30 years traveling around America, photographing the last Indians. Everybody laughed at him. Everybody said, “This is a waste of time. These people are dirty. They’re covered in leather, and they’ve got feathers in their hair, and they sing silly songs. It’s far more important we get rid of them, or they get rid of their cultures, and we move on.”

One hundred years later, look at America. In my opinion, it’s one of the most culturally impoverished and socially sick places on the planet. They all have the biggest cars, but also the biggest bellies and the biggest guns. That, I would argue, is because they’ve lost their cultural roots. Who am I? Where am I from?

I don’t want us to lose that cultural history on an international scale. I’m being very melodramatic and of course it’s not as black-and-white as this, but just to illustrate what I’m trying to do with my work.

HUAORANI, CONONACO RIVER - Jimmy Nelson, BEFORE THEY PASS AWAY  

Regarding health, how do the tribes look after themselves? They don’t have access to medicine like we do.
It’s a survival of the fittest. If you’re not healthy when you’re born, you die; as harsh and simple as that. Those who are born healthy, functioning, they live, and they live a healthy life.

A lot of the illnesses we suffer from here are self-inflicted. They’re self-inflicted from food, sugars, salts, all the synthetic aspects. They’re self-inflicted through the lifestyle we lead. We believe we have to live for happiness. None of these people have the term “happiness”, because they don’t worry about the future, or when they’re going to be happy. They just are.

They don’t think about goals, or “This will make me happy if I do this”?
No, it’s about today. It’s about what matters now, about what I feel now. It’s about today, and this evening when we eat. We, on the other hand, worry about 20 years, our pension. It’s a bit of a Catch 22.

I’m particularly interested in their child rearing practices. Here, everybody talks about routine, about sleep training, about when to give solid foods. In the tribes, did you see any small infants being fed solid food?
No, they’re all fed by the breast. They feed them until they’re 4 or 5 years old.

Really, that old?
Why not? It’s 10 times healthier, coming out of your breast, because it’s clean. It builds their whole immune system. And there’s no structure to it. It’s just when they’re hungry, they eat. There’s none of this, “They should eat, they shouldn’t eat, it’s now bedtime, we’re going to have to wean them off.” All these communities, the best food comes out of your breasts.

Chukchi - JIMMY NELSON, BEFORE THEY PASS AWAY  

So the babies are constantly on the mothers?
Yes, they’re never left alone. If the parents are working, the other brothers and sisters carry the babies. They’re always sleeping between the parents, or the brothers and sisters, and from when the day begins, they’re attached to another human being. Everywhere you go, that is a common denominator. Obviously, in the colder climates, they do that for warmth, but even in the warm climates.

Do the babies then still whine and cry?
Hardly at all, no. There’s always human contact. All their needs are being met. They’re constantly on the boob. They just need the warmth.

And during the night, do they wake a lot, nursing?
You never hear that they’re awake. They nurse all night, so they sleep like my children were brought up, next to their mother. If they’re hungry, they get something. There’s never any process of screaming or yelling.

Do you think this parenting style is possible in our society?
Our first one was attached to me, 24 hours of the day. I had this long wrap sling, and she grew up facing me, and then when she got older, she’d be facing out, and fall asleep. Everywhere I went on the bike, I had her in my sling. She lived in there, for about 3 years; so much so that when you took her out, she would scream, because she wanted the contact. She just came with us. If she fell asleep and we weren’t ready to go to bed, she would stay attached to me or my wife. Come bedtime, we would just put her down and we’d all sleep together.

It depends on how enthusiastic and committed you are as a parent. We live in this world of 1,001 opportunities and distractions. To keep the child away from that requires you to apply yourself as a parent, on a far greater level than most people ever do. Unfortunately, being acknowledged as a mother is not significant anymore. We believe it’s far more important to be somebody, and have a title.

Maori Women at Huka Falls JIMMY NELSON, BEFORE THEY PASS AWAY  

I find women are really conflicted with the pressure to be everything - successful at their career and a great mother. We’re trying so hard to do everything right, which of course is impossible, and then we fail, we get tired, we shout at our kids, then we feel like bad mothers.
Yeah, we’ve made things so hard for ourselves. Also from a physical point of view - we’ve all decided to have kids in our late 20s, 30s, even 40s, 50s, which I think is a disaster. In the tribes, they all have children in their teens. I think there’s nothing better than having a child when your body is as strong, healthy, elastic... and when you are as fearless as you are when you’re in your late teens.

I had my eldest when I was 25. I would have done it 2 or 3 years earlier, if I could have. In fact, we’re encouraging our kids to have kids as young as they feel comfortable.

Really? That’s interesting.
I think physically, they’re going to be stronger. They’re more adaptable. They’re healthier. They need less. They’re happy to take care of the kid, they’re more mobile. They have less expectations, less structure. Come the age of 40, you’ve got kids who have left the house, and then you can go and do other things.

Huaorani - JIMMY NELSON, BEFORE THEY PASS AWAY  

What else have you witnessed on your travels that influenced how you raised your kids?
Many, many things. Interestingly, my wife of 23 years now, she traveled extensively before we met. One thing we experienced, and what I still experience when I go off into the bush, is how everyone sleeps huddled together. Even if you’re a stranger, and especially if it’s cold, you put your hands and your feet in each other’s groins and armpits, to keep warm.

When my wife and I had children, from day 1, they were in our bed. My wife said: “Here’s the baby, and the baby is going to sleep here.” I was a little bit upset at the beginning, but 18 years later and now with three children, we all still sleep in the same bed. We’ve got two mattresses together. My two eldest daughters have boyfriends, so when the boyfriends visit, they go to their own room. If there are no girlfriends or boyfriends, we all sleep in the same bed.

That’s probably the most significant thing we’ve adopted from experiences that we’ve learned on our travels. We’re looked upon as very strange.

That’s incredible.
How my kids grew up is the polar opposite of how I grew up. I grew up not knowing my parents; at the age of 7, I was sent to a boarding school with Jesuit priests for 10 years. My concept of physicality and nudity and the opposite sex was seriously handicapped, from my youth. Nothing was ever discussed. If it was discussed, you’re going to go to hell, and you’re going to die.

Now here I am, I’ve grown with the kids, in our physicality. We walk around naked when we’re getting dressed in the morning. Nobody bats an eyelid. That all comes from growing up as a unit. I think that gives us a strength that many other families don’t have, so when the shit hits the fan - and it does - the children have a deep sense of self-security and confidence from that.

That’s wonderful.
In general, our society is overly protective of our children - because everything is so transparent. We now know all the dangers. We only have to google every accident we could ever imagine, and it’s available, so we’ve become terrified. We don’t do anything anymore, and don’t let the children do anything.

Daily Life in Umoramba Village - JIMMY NELSON, BEFORE THEY PASS AWAY  

When you go to some of these communities, the children grow up in the environment with everybody. In Papua New Guinea, there is a group of people living in treehouses, 40 meters up from the ground. The treehouses don’t have a fence. The children just crawl freely; they just don’t go over the edge.

I think you have to let children find their own borders. We live in a city. My children are allowed to go and come in the evening as they please. We are, again, judged by other people that give curfews and deadlines. My wife and I say, “They’re going to get out anyway. They’re going to find a way”. We used to smoke, we don’t smoke anymore. We don’t do drugs. But we say to our children: “If that’s what you want to do, do your thing, and you’ll learn accordingly. Please keep in touch with us. Please communicate with us.” If you don’t trust them to have their own adventures, they’ll intuitively fight against it, they’ll want to go and have those experiences.

Seeing my teenagers now, how free they are and how happy they are - it’s harder work as a parent, because there’s more freedom. You’ve got to be on the ball. Each child is different. You have to trust them in their own adventures, have their own disasters, make their own mistakes, otherwise they won’t learn.

My mum understood that, too - that is how she raised me.
I think we dissociate ourselves too much from our children. In the tribes, there isn’t really a separation of child and adult, or old person, or teenager. The children are as important as the old people, but they have different strengths and weaknesses. Everybody works together as a community, as a unit, because you need each other to function and survive.


Carry In Style - Advice from a Babywearing Expert

Hi - I'm Melanie from Carry In Style Amsterdam Babywearing Services, and together with my 3 year old son Mason, I live in Amsterdam.

The beginning of my babywearing journey

When I was pregnant I thought I would just carry the Bugaboo stroller I had bought up and down three stairs every time I wanted to go outside with my son. Well, after only a couple of days into motherhood I realised it was a very bad idea!

So when my son Mason was 1.5 weeks old, I bought a highstreet babycarrier. I loved it, outside the house and inside, but after only 2 months my back and shoulders were killing me! I didn't know anything about wraps or ergonomic babywearing, but luckily I met a mother that did know a bit about it and I switched from the back killing babycarrier to the stretchy wrap. Mason loved it and so did I! Through research I learned about ergonomic babywearing, knee to knee support, the TICKS rules of safe babywearing and all the benefits of babywearing.

Carry in Style

When my son was about 6 months old I started blogging about babywearing on Facebook as Carry In Style, but I wanted to do more. I wanted to educate myself so I could educate other parents. Since then I've done 4 babywearing courses (2 in the Netherlands and 2 in the UK at the Trageschule) and I can call myself a certified babywearing consultant. With over 4000 followers on Facebook I'm also proud to say that I have become the best known Dutch babywearing expert. I'm happy to reach and help this many people and may share my love for and knowledge about babywearing with all of them.

Benefits of Babywearing

Besides the fact that babywearing is cozy, it's handy and it even is a workout, babywearing has more proven benefits:

  1. Sling babies tend to cry less, because they are close to the caregiver.

  2. Sling babies learn more, because they can spend more time in the state of quiet alertness. Researchers have also reported that carried babies show enhanced visual and auditory alertness.

  3. Sling babies tend to be are more organized, because they benefit from the regulating presence of the parent. When left to their own resources, without this regulating presence, the infant may develop disorganized patterns of behavior: Colicky cries, jerky movements, disorganized self-rocking behaviors, anxious thumb sucking, irregular breathing, and disturbed sleep. Thus being forced to self-calm, the infant wastes valuable energy they could have used to grow and develop.

  4. The 'humanizing' benefits of babywearing. The baby is intimately involved in the caregiver’s world. Baby sees what mother or father sees, hears what they hear, and in some ways feels what they feel.

  5. Sling babies tend to be are smarter, because - when participating in their parents’ world while in the sling - environmental experiences stimulate nerves to branch out and connect with other nerves, which helps the brain grow and develop.

(Source: http://www.askdrsears.com/topics/health-concerns/fussy-baby/baby-wearing/benefits-babywearing)

Mason is now 3 and I still carry him. A lot less than I used to, but he still likes to be in a carrier especially when he's tired (yes, even at home he asks for it). But even when my own babywearing days come to an end, I will keep encourage parents to do the most natural thing possible: hold their child close to them.

Ask the Babywearing Expert

Some of the mamas in the MamaHub Group on Facebook asked me some questions. Here they are, along with my answers!

Q: Hi Melanie, I'm going over to Germany next year to my brother’s wedding and I will be bringing my 3 boys with me, the youngest will be 1yr and 2mths, what kind of carrier would you recommend for a baby that size, bearing in mind I never used any sort of slings in any of my kids so I don't know any of the makes or models that are out there. But I think it could be useful when I'm over there instead of a buggy? - Carol

A: Dear Carol,

Thanks for your question! First, let me explain the differences between a couple of products you can use to carry your child:

  • wrap or sling (stretchy or woven): a long piece of cloth

  • ring sling: a shorter piece of cloth with 2 rings sewn in

  • mei tai carrier: a backpanel for child with 2 straps for on your waste and 2 straps for over your shoulders

  • half buckle carrier: the same back panel with the same two straps for over your shoulders, but buckles for on your waste

  • full buckle carrier or soft structured carrier: the same back panel, but in stead of straps, only buckles. Using a full buckle carrier is as easy as putting on a backpack!

I think taking a carrier with you is indeed more useful than a buggy, because very often at parties you see parents carrying their children in their arms and that's much heavier than carrying them in a carrier.

Because you are new to babywearing, I would advise you to go to a local sling library and try different carriers, because babywearing is very personal. With babywearing it's important that your child has support from the wrap or carrier from one back of the knee to the other. When Mason, my son, had the same age as your youngest, he could easily fit in a Manduca, Ergobaby, Tula baby, Beco or other full buckle carrier. However, I also know children of that age where those carriers are too small and they need a toddler carrier.

Then you also have the person using the carrier: I loved the Manduca full buckle, but others hate it and prefer the Egobaby or Tula full buckle.

So, try out different carriers and find the one that fits you and your child best. Good luck and much fun at your brother's wedding!

---------------------------

Q: This may sound ridiculous, but can I make my baby lazy by carrying him? Is it even possible to carry too much? I have an Ergo for when I’m out and a Babasling that has saved me time and time again when he wants to be up looking at everything I do or when he doesn't want to be in his buggy on a walk. He really loves sitting up on my hip or back and watching the world. He has started walking since Christmas but still loves to be carried. - Fiona

A: Dear Fiona,

Thanks for your question! I totally understand, so please don't worry about sounding ridiculous. With my son (now 3) I've wondered about the exact same thing :-) I've carried him since he was 1,5 weeks old and still carry him, but if it's up to him, he wants to run. Not walk, but run, hahaha!!

So I think babywearing doesn't make children lazy. I do think personality makes people lazy. If your son really is lazy, then it doesn't matter if you use a carrier or stroller, because he doesn't want to walk anyway.

But Fiona, I guess he's still very young because he just started walking. I don't believe you can already say he is lazy. He might like to be near you and to see the world from a better and higher view. He knows you best from everything and everyone in the whole wide world, so when he's with you he feels safe.

I'm not a doctor and all I have is your question and what you say in it, but from my point of view you have nothing to worry about. Enjoy the snuggles!!

---------------------------

Q: When I met Michelle in Dublin in November I was quite in awe at how she wrapped Cara up in her sling. She'll probably remember that I was in no way considering using one of those but rather the baby carriers that are already formed! My boobs are huge and I'd be terrified they'd suffocate the baby in a sling. Am I being ridiculous or am I better off using the harness type one? Thanks for any advice. - Adrienne

A: Dear Adrienne,

Thanks for your question! You're not being ridiculous by questioning if you can suffocate your baby. There are TICKS rules for safe babywearing. The letters stand for:

T - tight
I - in view at all time
C - close enough to kiss
K - keep chin on chest
S - supported back

When you have your baby close enough to kiss his (or her) forehead, there is enough room for him to breathe. So it doesn't matter if you're using a wrap, a full buckle carrier or frame carrier (which you can only use on your back and I wouldn't advice, because of the support for the child and the fact that the more room there is between you and your child, the heavier it will be for you); when you stick to the TICKS rules, there is nothing wrong.

Babywearing should be comfortable for both child and parent, so if you are insecure to use a wrap like Michelle, then there are other ways of babywearing where you don't have to use a long piece of cloth.

Please visit a sling library and find out what works best for you and your child. Good luck!

---------------------------

That's it for now. If you have any other questions or would like to get babywearing advice, please contact me!

Much love,
Melanie Koswal
Carry In Style
www.facebook.com/CarryInStyleNl

Banana ice cream

Here is how to make the tastiest creamiest one ingredient ice cream. This ice cream has no sugar or bad stuff making it a great treat and good for toddlers and kids too. Bananas are a great source of potassium, vit B6, manganese and vit C. They are also a great prebiotic so enjoy this treat whilst boosting your gut flora. My daughter is a huge fan of it with added cinnamon. You can see her in the below picture pinning me down trying to eat some. 

image.jpg

FOR THE ICE CREAM

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 ripe bananas (with spotted brown skin)

HOW TO:

  • chop into small 1 inch sized pieces and freeze bananas for around 3 hours
  • place in the blender and mix until it has a consistency like soft serve ice cream 

 

FOR THE CHOCOLATE SAUCE

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp raw cacao powder
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil (optional)

HOW TO:

  • Mix together in a small bowl and drizzle over the ice cream. 
  • If you want a hard crunchy chocolate sauce topping then add the melted coconut oil. It will pour on liquid and turn hard on the ice cream. It's great fun for kids to smash into it with their spoons. 

Hazelnut 'nutella' brownie

I had tried other raw brownies before but found them a little heavy, so I began thinking about alternatives. Exhausted from a long night of sleep interruptions and in need of a treat, I searched our cabinets and found hazelnuts, which seemed a good start. With baby under one arm, I started throwing stuff into the blender, and these brownies are what came out! I'm pretty pleased with them and love how they work with the dehydrated oranges, too. Hazelnuts and cacao together always remind me of that Nutella flavour, plus they are great sources of vitamin E and magnesium. Also, these brownies are sugar free - so they are a win-win for me!

INGREDIENTS: 

  • 1 cup of hazelnuts (roasted and skinned, or see how to do yourself here)
  • 1/2 cup of raw cacao (add more to taste if you want a darker, richer chocolate flavour) 
  • 2 cups of dates  
  • 4 tbsp coconut oil (melted)
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons of hazelnut butter (optional) 
  • pinch of sea salt

HOW TO:  

  • Place the hazelnuts, cacao, salt, and coconut oil in the food processor and mix until well combined and the hazelnuts are chopped finely. 
  • Add the dates one by one until you have a good consistency that will hold together when pressed down. 
  • If it's too mild add more cacao, and if it's too crumbly add some more dates. 
  • Press into a container and place in the fridge for an hour to harden. 

 

Apple crumble with coconut salted caramel

Between egg allergies and gluten allergies in my house, baking can be a royal pain in the butt! However I discovered these two recipes as a solution to some good christmas comfort food whilst at home in Ireland. They were so tasty they even passed the grandparents test. As far as desserts go, the apple crumble is a pretty healthy one - filled with apples, spices, coconut oil, and almonds, and it is free from refined sugars. 

 

APPLE CRUMBLE INGREDIENTS: 

Filling Ingredients:

  • 6 cups finely chopped apples
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil or ghee or butter
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp allspice
  • ⅛ tsp nutmeg
  • ⅛ tsp cloves
  • ½ cup maple syrup (or liquid sweetener of your choice)
  • 1½ tbsp lemon juice
  • Optional: a handful of raisins or dried cranberries

Topping Ingredients:

  • 1 cup almond flour (ground almonds)
  • ½ cup slivered almonds
  • ¼ cup maple syrup (or liquid sweetener of your choice)
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil or ghee or butter
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • optional: an additional 2 tbsp slivered almonds for topping

HOW TO:

  • Preheat oven to 175C. Oil a pie dish (or any similar size pan) and set aside.
  • Mix all filling ingredients in a mixing bowl. Transfer to the pie dish and spread evenly.
  • Mix all topping ingredients (except slivered almonds reserved for garnish, if using) in a separate small mixing bowl until coarse crumbs form.
  • Sprinkle this mixture over the apples in the pie dish. Garnish with slivered almonds if desired. 
  • Bake in a preheated oven for approx 30 minutes, until the crumble turns golden brown.

COCONUT SALTED CARAMEL

COCONUT SALTED CARAMEL INGREDIENTS:

  • 3/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil 
  • 1 cup coconut yoghurt (or coconut cream)
  • 1 tsp sea salt

HOW TO:

  • stir the coconut yoghurt, coconut oil and coconut sugar in a pan on a medium heat until all the ingredients are combined.
  • simmer for 5 mins or until the sauce is thick and coats the back of your spoon
  • mix through the salt and serve

Chocolate dipped apple pops

These are great for party treats or a fun snack for kids and adults. I love them. Using dark chocolate or raw cacao keeps the sugar content low in this treat and you get the benefits of the antioxidants and minerals they contain.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 red apples
  • raw cacao powder or good quality bar of dark chocolate (at least 70% chocolate)
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil 
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup (or other liquid sweetener of choice)
  • handful of Brazil nuts - chopped (or any other nut you like)
  • handful of desiccated coconut
  • cake pop sticks
  • slice of lemon
  • bowl of water

HOW TO:

  • Melt the cacao and coconut oil with the maple syrup in a bain-marie above low heat making sure not to burn the chocolate
  • chop apples into segments and place them into a bowl of water with a squeeze of lemon juice. This will prevent them turning brown. 
  • place your chopped nuts, coconut and melted chocolate into little dipping cups 
  • place the apple segments on the cake pop sticks and dip away into the toppings you want on your apple

How to make coconut milk

I used to drink coconut milk from a can but I'm trying to cut down on my exposure to BPA and other plastics so cutting canned foods out of my kitchen where possible. This led me to make my own creamy coconut milk. It's super easy and fast to make. In winter I love to make up a batch in the morning and use it to make a nice hot cocoa by adding some raw cacao and a spoon of maple syrup. Or it's very tasty just with some cinnamon and maple syrup as a night time drink before bed. The bonus part of drinking this milk is that coconut milk contains lauric acid, antimicrobial lipids and capric acid, which have antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties. 

 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cups desiccated coconut 
  • 4 cups warm water

HOW  TO:

  • Heat water until warm (but not boiling).
  • Add desiccated coconut and water to blender. If all of the water won’t fit, you can add it in two batches.
  • Blend on high for several minutes until thick and creamy.
  • Pour through a colander to filter out the coconut pulp, then squeeze through a muslin cloth to filter the smaller pieces of coconut.
  • If you separated the water into two batches, put the strained coconut back into the blender with the second batch of water.
  • Drink immediately or store in the fridge. Fresh coconut milk should be used within 3-4 days of making it for the best flavour and texture.

New years detox

Looking to start 2015 with a health kick? Join 7-day Fresh Start Detox to feeling healthier, lighter, energized and refreshed!

Price is 45 euros. Starting 10 January.

Sanna has teamed up with Healthy Happy Green to bring you a fantastic juice offer to complement the detox (within Amsterdam). You can choose from 5 or 7 day juice programme of freshly made organic juices. Additional costs apply.

Sign up / more information email sanna@sannasumner.com.

Home made coconut oil and mint scrub

My skin really dried out a lot after having a baby and this was a handy scrub to rub on my skin in the shower to both exfoliate and moisturise quickly and easily. The lemon oil smells so fresh and mint has a high content of salicylic acid which cleanses your pores. The salt removes toxins and the scrubbing improves circulation. It's great for my skin, made it much softer, and it's so easy to make.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2 cup of coarse salt (I used sea salt)
  • 1/4 cup of warmed coconut oil
  • 1 large handful of mint leaves
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • couple of drops of lemon essential oil (not necessary but makes it smell beautiful)

HOW TO:

  • place the mint and lemon zest in a food processor and blend until combined and finely chopped
  • add the mint and lemon zest to the warmed coconut oil and salt and stir everything together
  • place in a jar keep in the fridge for a few weeks