Category Archives: Blog Archive

WIN with Earth Probiotic & Our Greenish Life

There is an abundance of food scraps in this house. Like an overload. Every meal leaves behind veggie off-cuts, avo skin, fruit pips, egg shells and sweet potato peels.

Vancouver has a slick composting system… (blah blah blah, yes Debbie, we know Vancouver is brilliant at any-and-everything, you tell us all the time, blah blah blah), but really they do. The council DELIVERS composting bins TO YOU. Sigh. So when we returned to SA, and the common practice of being surrounded by food scraps accompanied us, we felt sick to our stomachs as we opened the bin and threw the beautiful, nutrient-rich waste away. We weren’t equipped to compost. It felt wrong. Intentional sin. A bit like buying un-free range eggs.

Fortunately, freedom returned when my toddler started at a farm-school and food scraps were requested as animal food. FAN-TASTIC. Our ‘waste’ was being lovingly carried in chubby, grubby hands, into the mouths of horses, goats, rabbits and chickens. Beautiful. Order (and soul satisfaction) was restored, but the need to compost at home was tapping me on the shoulder; I needed a long term solution.

And so I got chatting with Earth Probiotic about their food digester and bokashi bran. Bokashi what? I’m intimidated by hippie words I know nothing about. Bokashi, I thought, was one of those. But actually, it’s Japanese for “organic fermented matter”. Not so intimidating after all.

And so I gave this Bokashi Food Digester setup a go. ‘Haaaang on’, you may be asking… ‘What’s a Bokashi food digester?’ – well, that’s a good question.

‘The Bokashi Food Digester is an all natural, non toxic and 100% biodegradable solution allows all food waste to be composted. Food waste nutrients benefit soil thus improving soil health and improving plant and vegetable health.’

The idea is that you add food scraps to your food digester, alternating your scraps with a handful of bokashi bran. Bokashi is wheat-bran inoculated with a mix of probiotic bacteria, yeast and fungi. The goal? Bokashi juice. Bokashi juice is to your garden like water is to a man in the desert. Like chocolate to a child; like wine to a parent.

The Bokashi Food Digester is particularly well designed in that it comes with a sieve which is placed in the bottom of the bin so the bokashi juice can settle below it (to be tapped out) and won’t form mushed sludge with your food scraps. Our family filled a 20L food digester in just over a week (and the poor animals at school, got nothing). We layered our scraps between handfuls of bokashi and let it sit for 2 weeks. The bin lid fits tightly so there is no off-putting stench attracting flies, rodents or unwanted guests. Neat and tidy, just how I like it.

After two weeks, I tapped off my bokashi juice, and got almost 2L of the browny/orangy goodness! (Be sure not to store this next to your kombucha – they look identical). Wowzers. Bearing in mind, you need to dilute your bokashi juice heavily with water before use as it is highly acidic. 1:100 for lawns, 1:300 for gardens and pot plants, 1:500 for succulents and 1:1000 for sensitive plants. Also, your juice should be used within 24 hours after tapping for the best results.

It’s a fantastic system. It’s neat and easy to use. The empty bokashi bran tub can be used to store food scraps in your kitchen and then emptied into your large digester at the end of the day. After you’ve tapped your juice, you can add the food scraps to your worm farm, or bury it in the ground.

Keen to have your very own Earth Probiotic Bokashi Food Digester? Well luckily, Earth Probiotic, Our Greenish Life and Green Goods are giving one away! The prize is worth over R200. Yes, please.

Enter here:

Share this competition on Facebook for an extra entry.

Thanks for entering. Good Luck!

Contact Earth Priobiotic
(t) (27) 011 783 3380
Physical Address: 3 Springhill Close, Moodie Hill, Morningside, Gauteng.

Terms and Conditions

The competition runs from Wednesday 08 July – Wednesday 15 July 2015.
This competition is open to Cape Town residents only.
The winner will be chosen randomly and contacted via email.
Winner will be announced on the Our Greenish Life website and social media channels on Wednesday 15 July.

THIS COMPETITION IS CLOSED. Congrats to Valerie Duffield Anderson who won this awesome compo.

A Natural Health Kick

Thinking back now, it is bizarre how life has led me to this point of valuing wellness in a new, more natural light.

Back in 2008, I randomly worked for a Health and Wellness company and saw some pretty incredible things. I was (and still am) completely convinced by how important healthy food and correct supplementation (if necessary) can be, along with rethinking simply jumping into medicine and how natural approaches can absolutely change lives. Not only did I see fairly sick people become well, but I saw healthy people flourish. I have the utmost respect for medical science and am constantly amazed by the breakthroughs happening in that realm, but when it comes down to what we mere non-doctors can do, I’ll opt for the natural until intelligently instructed otherwise.

So my boss back in the day had this magic potion he used to make when he started feeling sick. Recently I shared this little gem with a colleague of mine who was starting to feel under the weather and she bounced back almost instantaneously. I had forgotten how effective it could be, and now with winter upon us and new bugs coming home from play school, I’m stocking up on these 4 very simple and easy to find ingredients:

– honey (as local and natural as you can find)
– fresh garlic (crushed)
– fresh ginger (crushed, or cut up as finely)
– brandy (preferably not for kiddies)

Garlic & Ginger (

All you do is mix equal portions of the above together to make a paste. Yes, its gross, and yes, you will smell of garlic, and you do need to throw this towards the back of your mouth and try swallow it without gagging, but it works. I consider it a healthy dose of a natural antibiotic. Do this as often as you need to, when feeling a bit gross.

lemon hot water

As far as drinks go, there’s always the good old HOT TODDY: Honey, ginger and lemon in a cup of hot water, or you can add crushed ginger to hot water for a sore throat. No brainer.

I keep all of the above at the office and at home. While I can easily consume a roll of cheery flavoured Halls lozenges in one go, it won’t do half the work that those 4 beautiful natural gifts can provide.

Wishing you a warm, safe and bug-free winter.


The Wonderbag Review

It all began back in 2008 during the regular power outages. Sarah had the idea of creating the Wonderbag to ‘ease the impact of health, socioeconomic and environmental problems facing Africa and developing countries’. Growing up in rural Africa, she was passionate about empowering women living below the poverty line.

The Wonderbag has a powerful story. We love these kinds of stories.

So, I’d been staring at the Wonderbag innocently sitting in the office for weeks – it had been flirting with me for a while – and in a moment of pure impulsiveness (these happen rather frequently), I bought it and took it home with recipes running through my head. Firstly, yoghurt. We loved making our own yoghurt in Vancouver with an electric yoghurt maker (which was on for 15hrs at a time), but now with Eskom pushing us off the grid, we’ve gotta get smart about these things.

I ripped open the box, smiled adoringly at my new purchase, and then headed into the kitchen to get going on the yoghurt. Following the recipe exactly (with my hardcore candy thermometer nogal), I placed my pot of yoghurt goodness – at exactly 110 degrees Fahrenheit – carefully into my Wonderbag. I showed hubby ever so proudly when he got home from work and we went to sleep, eager to get up in the morning and see the result.

The next morning I called the family together (no, really, I thought it a teachable moment) and I presented my first attempt at power-free cooking (you can picture the superwoman emblem beaming under my jarmies), and…  it was a watery curdled mess. No no, this was not okay.

Here’s what I learned:

– Read the instructions before use, (duuuuuuuuuuh, every superwoman should know this)
– Don’t use a pot with a long handle that sticks out the bag. A cast iron pot like this is ideal:

– The Wonderbag does not produce heat – it retains heat (this had nothing to do with my failed yoghurt attempt, but is a good reminder).

As it turns out, I’d missed a vital part of how to get started. You need to open your (previously vacuum-packed) bag completely, give it a good shake to get all the chips moving and happy, to then close it tight, allow it to regain its shape and then get cooking. Errr. Oops.

So you could call it a rough introduction to my new purchase, but one that I’m happy to report has been beautifully redeemed.

I have since made a PERFECT batch of yoghurt, and mouth-wateringly delicious curry with the most tender chicken I might have ever tasted. I most recently made chicken stock which I’m thrilled I can make in the Wonderbag since we ALWAYS forget it on the stove and I way prefer it to store bought stock. After resting in the Wonderbag overnight, my stock measured in at an impressive 140 degrees F. That’s hot!

I find myself wanting to use it for everything I cook now. ‘Let’s make a soup, or another curry, steel cut oats, or risotto? Huh huh huh?’ The recipe booklet it comes with is another WIN. You’d be surprised what you can do with this seemingly simple bag.

My conclusion: You feel like you need a goodie badge for owning this little gem. It cooks food tenderly, is Eskom-free and a very, very practical accessory (errmm, dare I say essential?) for your kitchen. But for me, knowing it began as a community initiative supporting underprivileged women in rural townships in Africa; that makes my heart sing.

You can buy your very own Wonderbag online here. Do it!

Out of Sight and Mind

The Man on the Top of the MountainI was driving the kids to school one morning and remembered I needed to buy yoghurt.

I’m playing it out in my mind; how the ratio of two small kids (one of which can’t yet walk) to one fairly short tempered adult in a large grocery store looks … and I knew that if we popped in for yoghurt, it would be impossible for me to spare Clayden’s eyes from the lollipops, the fruit ‘jooooose’ and ice cream he is so very unfairly denied (all the things we eat and drink after his little soul has gone to dream land), and whether or not I’m up for the challenge.

This morning Clay wanted banana chips for breakfast. And doughnuts. Why? Because they were on the kitchen counter. In view. For goodness sake, why would you eat soggy Weetbix when doughnuts are staring you in the face.

And it got me thinking about what is in sight every day, which, if eliminated, would change me for the better? And not only that, but what is currently hidden away that needs to be IN my sight. I read this article recently that said that a ‘child’s bedroom is their classroom’ and so to spare the beautiful, idyllic, for-the-split-second-its-tidy Pinterest version (which I must admit, I do love the sound of) and to get creative – paint, inspire, get messy, and allow imagine to fill that space. And it is the same with us.

If I want to read more, I must buy more books, and place them in spaces where I have the time to read (ha ha ha – time to read – ha ha). If I want to spend less time on my smart phone when I’m home with my kids then I need to HIDE IT AWAY. If I want to grow my own veggie garden and eat organically, then in a moment of inspiration I must buy the plants and put them next to my front door, begging for some planting attention. Let me hide my TV behind a cabinet door (or get rid of it completely), let me unsubscribe from DSTV or Netflix (by the way – there is nothing wrong with DSTV OR Netflix… each to their own) if I need to stop wasting time in front of the TV, and let me dust off the dining room table.  Throw the Mr. Delivery pamphlet on your fridge away, and replace it with this seasons Farmers Market schedule and the running/cycling/triathlon events calendar. Put your runners next to your bed when you set your alarm for 5am. Get out your fancy pants cutlery set and hand crafted artisan food platters and invite some friends over for dinner. Concerned about free range? Get chickens.

As someone who has most of her earthly belongings meticulously packed in numerous Tim Horton’s boxes, it is true that we don’t need very much at all. But of what we do have, lets take what inspires us, put in our sight and navigate our lives in the ways we know to be good.

And, after all that, what I really should do is just start making yoghurt again. Anyone have a starter culture for me?

.Do something today that your future self will thank you for

Dare we suggest you try Kombucha?

I have Clayden’s distressing bum rash, Google and Wellness Mama to thank for my life changing approach to more natural, organic products and the difference they have made to our family.

This healthy blogger, Wellness Mama, kept on and on about kombucha… and I couldn’t pronounce the word, let alone bother to find out about what exactly it was. Then my friend Suvi offered me a SCOBY (Symbiotic Colony Of Bacteria and Yeast) and a game of tennis and that sealed the deal. It was late last summer and I was desperate to get this body onto a tennis court.

So over Suvi came with her SCOBYs and her bottles and her brown/orange liquid with floaty bits in. We went through the first couple steps in kombucha making, headed down the road for some tennis and came back to finish off my first brew. A pretty splendid afternoon.

And I’ve been addicted ever since. Not only is this easy, but its low maintenance, really healthy and super flavoursome (you can play with adding so many fruits/juice flavours). My favourite being pineapple. Also, you feel like you should get a gold star for creativity in the kitchen.

What exactly is Kombucha?

Kombucha is a fermented sweetened tea that has been around for centuries. It is slightly tangy and slightly sweet, and a great treat on a summer day.  Kombucha can be double fermented into a fizzy soda with a slight fruit taste.

Kombucha contains high levels of antioxidants, b-vitamins, probiotics and glucaric acid. It has been reported to have a variety of health benefits including:

  • liver detoxification
  • improved pancreas function
  • increased energy
  • better digestion
  • improved mood (helps with anxiety/depression)
  • kills Candida (yeast)
  • helps nutrient assimilation

Lets give it a go then shall we?

My simple recipe:

  • 3 litres water
  • 3 or 4 teabags (orange pekoe/regular tea, or you can use Rooibos if you prefer)
  • ½ – ¾ cup sugar (the best quality, most unprocessed you can find)
  • A SCOBY (preferably in some starter kombucha itself)

Equipment required: big pot, 3l glass jars, cheesecloth (or a dish cloth), elastic band.

Pour the water into the pot along with the teabags and sugar and bring to boil. Make sure the teabags have brewed their tea nicely and the sugar is all dissolved. In essence you’ve made really sweet tea. Remove from the stove and let it cool until it reaches room temperature (SCOBY’s are destroyed in hot water so be very sure you allow it to cool properly).

Once the tea is cool, pour it into your large glass jar and gently pour in the starter kombucha and place the SCOBY in the jar. Cover with cheesecloth and seal with the elastic around the neck of the bottle – allowing it to breathe but not letting the fruit flies in. Let it sit for 10-14 days. Put it aside, or in a place where you can forget about it for a while. (Interestingly I found that kombucha in SA brews SO much faster than in Canada).

Photo Cred:


After about 10-14 days, take a peek at the top of your bottle. You should see that your kombucha has formed a new thick SCOBY on the top of your brew. Then you know its ready(ish?). This is no exact science. Then you can decant your kombucha into smaller bottles (drinkable portions) and seal them up tightly to make kombucha soda. This is when you can add fruit (grapes/pineapple etc.) or a bit of real juice and continue to let it brew – remember to leave out of the fridge. This is called the Second Brew. This takes about another 5 days or so until then fizz up nicely.

And that’s that! Drink, enjoy, feel proud that you’re now a brew master, and repeat.

Wellness Mama has kindly researched for us, the benefits of drinking kombucha. Read all about it here. If you’d like to buy a starter kit – do so here 🙂