For somebody who knew nothing about Switzerland except for fine chocolates and watches, this year I’m getting my Helvetica fill. I was in Switzerland in June and now, a mere month later, I find myself in Switzerland again.
Last month it was to dance my cares away at the Recharge for Life at the bodyART (the holistic movement therapy loved by Madonna) three-day retreat held at the Hotel Castell in the midst of the Engadine district at Zuoz. A stones’ throw away from the exclusive St Moritz Alpine ski resort. I’m now beginning to understand why this beautiful and proudly independent country is so loved by the affluent from world over. Pristine and discreet, Switzerland is not for the hoi polloi. Maybe that’s one of the reasons why I decided to return so soon.
This month it’s by the lake at Lugano as a guest of renowned Feng Shui master, the Italo-Swiss design luminary, Cristiano Falconi. Based between Lugano and Dubai, Cristiano has been helping individuals at home and in their workplaces arrange their spaces according to an ancient Chinese-based belief that the way furniture, colours or props are arranged within a building, a garden or even within a room, can positively or negatively affect aspects of a person’s life, health and fortunes. He ‘did’ my home at Desert Palm Resort in Dubai a couple of years ago and I must say that the sense of comfort and ease that permeates my abode thanks to the soothing choice of colours and positioning of artefacts has reinforced our friendship, as well as the increasing faith I place in the power of subtle energies, like Feng Shui, to touch us in myriad ways.
Lose The Lectins
Even though Dr Steve Gundry’s new book the Plant Paradox eschews seemingly healthy products like the nightshades veggies including tomatoes, peppers and zucchini, if you remove their peel and their seeds, then they are not as cataclysmically bad for you as he warns.
Please give my fave summer soup recipe a go, even Dr Gundry would approve as all peels and seeds are meticulously removed.
Tomato And Orange Soup
- 1 Kg of fresh tomatoes, halved (peeled and de-seeded)
- 2-3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 4 Tbsp of olive oil
- 2 leeks, chopped
- 2 carrots, grated and chopped
- 2 celery stems, chopped
- 1/4 tsp of cumin
- 1l of vegetable stock
- 120 ml of freshly squeezed orange juice (about 2 oranges)
- Orange zest and pumpkin seeds to garnish
- Pre-heat oven to 180°C, gas mark 4.
- Put tomatoes halves on a baking tray, drizzle with 2 Tbsp. of olive oil, sea salt, pepper and garlic. Bake in oven for 40 minutes.
- In the meantime, add the remaining olive oil to a saucepan. Over medium heat, sauté the carrots, leeks, celery and cumin for a few minutes, then add the vegetable stock and cover with a lid. Cook for 20 minutes or until the carrots are tender.
- Add the cooked tomatoes and the orange juice to the saucepan and bring to a boil for a minute.
- Remove from heat and let the soup cool a bit before putting in a blender.
- Serve with orange zest and pumpkin seeds on top.
July 28 comes around every year and so does the global awareness day for this range of viral liver diseases that is a leading cause of death globally; that’s as many as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis or malaria combined. Together Hepatitis B and C cause 80% of all liver cancers worldwide.
Viral hepatitis is not found in one location nor amongst one set of people; it is a truly global epidemic that can affect millions of people without them even being aware. Currently, 90% of people living with hepatitis B and 80% living with hepatitis C are not aware of their status. This can result in the real possibility of developing fatal liver disease at some point in their lives and in some cases, unknowingly transmitting the infection to others.
With the availability of effective vaccines and treatments for hepatitis B and a cure for hepatitis C, the elimination of viral hepatitis is achievable, but greater awareness and understanding of the disease and the risks is a must, as is access to cheaper diagnostics and treatment.
As somebody who is moved by the seriousness of environmental issues, the platonic crush I have on Canadian best-selling author and activist Naomi Kline is not surprising. I haven’t yet read her latest book, No Is Not Enough, but I will. She explains that her already chart-topping publication represents, “An attempt to uncover how we got to this surreal political moment. It is also an attempt to predict how, under cover of shocks and crises; it could get a lot worse. And it’s a plan for how, if we keep our heads, we might just be able to flip the script and arrive at a radically better future.”
I may be biased, as she is my friend, but Farah Nabulsi’s short 10-minute movie Oceans of Injustice transports you to Occupied Palestine and offers a poignant glimpse of the institutionalised discrimination that reigns supreme. Despite international condemnation on the part of the UN, the International Court of Justice, Amnesty International and too many other global organisations to mention, the injustice continues as it has for decades.
We recently travelled there together, but if you can’t go, then let the short 10-minute film Oceans of Injustice take you on a metaphorical journey.