Many of us know intuitively that our body is our temple and that it deserves to be treated as sacred… However, we have become so domesticated as a species that it can seem odd to truly listen to our body’s messages and feedback. We might have learned to distrust its cravings that have become symptoms of addiction rather than innate wisdom and messenger of important dietary and spiritual needs. But there is always hope! For the last 10 years I have been on a journey of re-wilding and I will share with you some of my favourite foods and practices to juice up and reconnect you to the wild wisdom within.
The act of immersing the body in cold and living water is medicinal! It stimulates the immune system and sends waves of well-being through our entire being. Wild-swimming makes us feel alive! I used to be a bit of a wuss with cold water, prefering to immerse myself only when I knew I had a hot sauna to go into afterwards! But over time instead of thinking “but it’s so cold” I now think “but it feels so amazing!” and my body wisdom pretty much takes over and leads me into the water, when it used to be that my mind would stop me from getting in. This is a beautiful example of re-wilding and learning to trust the body. I love swimming in wild rivers, in the sea, and I try to go every winter to the Arctic wilderness of Lapland and enjoy ice-swimming! Swimming in a hole in a frozen lake is by far my favourite wild-swimming experience that exorcises any demons and leaves me feeling brand new and shining!
Eating seaweed is something I absolutely love. I eat it almost daily, a sprinkle over salads, soups or kelp powder into salad dressings. This wild food from the sea is so full of minerals that our bodies are hungry for and it feels great to eat something that has grown in the sea. I mostly eat wild dulse, wakame and kelp from the altantic sea. It gives me a primal nutrition that makes me feel nourished on a very deep level, and I start to crave it if I go without for a while. I know this craving is healthy body wisdom rather than addiction, because my body has learned how nutritious seaweed is and how much core energy it gives me. A lot of our food is depleted of minerals, which makes seaweed a treasure trove for our hungry bodies.
The gut is the seat of our health, often referred to as the second brain, because it is full of neuro-transmitters, deeply affecting mood, well-being and energy levels. One of the ways we can care for our second brain is by eating fermented foods regularily. I love sauerkraut, miso paste, organic sheep or goats milk yoghurt (I avoid cow’s dairy), kefir and kombucha. By having fermented products as part of your diet, you help to feed your gut’s good bacteria population, which is essential to health and energy care. Fibre also feeds the good bacteria in the gut, so having plenty of fresh fruit and veg daily is wonderful for your whole system.
Medicinal mushrooms are one of my great loves! They often grow on trees and I love to make them into a potent brew, simmered in spring water on the stove for a couple of hours at least so that as much goodness is extracted as possible. Another way to do this is to add pieces of the mushroom into slow-cooked stews to add medicinal value to your dinner! I have made some tinctures with Birch polypore and Turkey tail mushrooms, and I often add the tinctures directly into soups and sauces when I feel like my immune system needs a boost. These mushrooms are easy to find in the UK. Another favourite of mine is Chaga, which grows mostly in the Arctic regions, but it is possible to find it also in Scotland, and to buy online of course. These mushrooms are truly golden! I recommend researching and getting to know them, being sure that you know what you are picking and it is safe before you take them internally.
And of course we have the weeds! Nettles, plantain, dandelion, chickweed… there are so many, they are abundant, and they are so nutritous! When we eat wild food, it connects us directly to the land where we forage it and the nutrition in wild food is many times stronger than even organic food, not to mention conventionally grown food full of pesticides. The last time I was weeding my veggie patch, I made the weeds that were edible into a delicious salad dressing, blending them up with tahini, garlic, apple cider vinegar, olive oil and kelp powder. And then I had this delicious way of having my weeds on top of my salads, which instantly boosts my energy levels and makes me feel deeply nourished. When we eat foods that are nutritionally dense, we feel fuller for longer and much more deeply satisfied.
I had a 2-year phase in my rewilding journey when I was almost fully Raw Vegan and did many types of cleanses, like juice fasting, liver-flushing and intestinal cleansing. This phase was massively impactful on my relationship with my body and learning to better hear its wisdom and messages, as I cleaned out a lot of gunk that had been stored in my body for years! After 2 years, I did start to eat cooked foods again, and occasional wild meat and dairy too, but I still eat high raw and do regular fasting days. It is so healing for the body to get a break from digestion. Digestion is the process which takes up the most energy in the body (unless you are growing a baby! In which case it is also better not to do any fasting or body-cleansing as the toxins released would affect your growing child). So it makes sense that when we stop eating, the body has all the spare energy it can use to heal itself and get rid of waste. I love to have liquid days when my body tells me it is time and I will simply drink spring water with lemon, green veggie juice, and possibly soups and smoothies if I need it, but so that all I have that day is liquid, hence really easily absorbed into the body. Twice a year, around the spring and autumn equinox, I love to do a slightly longer fast, about 5 days, with added herbs and clay for a deeper cleanse. It’s such a wonderful reboot before the seasons shift.
I feel that the benefits of sleeping outside under the stars goes deep into the crevasses of the soul… To renounce the comfort of a bed, and even a tent, for the comfort of starlight shining deep into your being, is priceless… A bivy bag is a handy thing to put around your sleeping bag that will keep you dry in case of rain. For me, the experiences I have had sleeping out directly in nature without a tent remain some of the most nourishing times when I have felt so deeply held by the spirit of the Earth. To remember where I belong, to remember who I am and what is important, sleeping under the stars is and has been a key element of my journey of rewilding.
Another very simple practice, like removing the tent that is between you and nature from time to time, is to take off your shoes! So simple… so effective! To walk barefoot on the Earth and feel your skin breathing with Mother Nature’s skin, is deeply grounding, deeply healing, and essential! It is one of the ways we can offload the electro-smog that we pick up through our interaction with wi-fi and the many devices of our modern lives. We can offload our static by standing barefoot on the Earth, and we can also draw up life-giving energy from the Earth into our own bodies. I do this with my intention and with visualisation through the soles of my feet. It is a beautiful cycle of renewal that works instantly and is wonderful at anchoring in that connection we have between our body and the body of the Earth. It’s particularily fun to do after the rain when the ground is all squishy :)
How often to you simply rest and become aware of the sensations in your body? On the path of rewilding my body and also my intimate relationship, it has become a crucial element of my daily practice to simply feel and listen to my body. As a woman, I do this by connecting with my womb regularily, because that is the seat of my power and also a part of the body that can become very loaded and cluttered energetically and emotionally. Therefore it needs extra care, listening and tending to. The same goes for the yoni and the breasts. Our sexual organs are incredibly powerful and sensitive, and I have found that the path of rewilding has also been an invitation of deep emotional purging of my sexual organs, so that I can once again reclaim my sexual innocence and truly inhabit my body without shame. The same kind of sexual rewilding is possible for men who are willing to listen to their sex from an open hearted presence in truth.
And finally, rewilding the body is truly not possible without regular contact with nature! From 5 minutes of barefoot breathing on the Earth daily, to missions of sleeping out for days in the wilderness, gardening, sitting with a tree… Whatever your medicine in nature is, listen to its call, follow it and honour it. Do what you can! It is better to do little and often, than nothing at all. The Earth has so much healing for us, and it is unconditional. We are her children. But reciprocity is also essential, and it is so important to give something back to Nature. Give her your love, your gratitude, an offering of flowers, something bio-degradable that you have made to honour her… The Earth is a sentient being which we are a part of, and she feels every heartfelt thanks and loving stroke that we make upon her body.
Wherever you are on your path of rewilding, may your feel Nature's ever-present love and wisdom, that is a part of you. Feel free to get in touch if you'd like to share or ask something about this blog and the journey of rewilding :)
Blessings of the wild earth to you,