Foraging and Well-Being


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Sea-weeding on the Isle of South Uist in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland (Credit Ceolas)

The word ‘Exercise’ does not sit well with many of us. However, if we remove the duty element that so often goes glove in hand with a health club membership, and engage in softer, less regimented activities, there is a fulfilment that can’t be measured by a Fitbit. A holistic, more balanced attitude towards exercise makes it accessible to everyone.
Only one person can win a race but each of us can enjoy being out of doors. Those in a slower mode can appreciate nature on the journey.

The 1924 Olympic runner, Eric Liddell decided that he would not run a race on a Sunday. Interestingly, he is remembered for something he didn’t, rather than did, do. Medals are given to winners but Eric Liddell in spite of being at the time, one of the fastest runners in the world, didn’t enter the race. There is no disputing the fact that exercise benefits physical well being but how we participate is an individual’s choice. Some enjoy team exercise, whilst others may benefit from quietly plodding, or speeding on, solo. There are endless activities that will tick the exercise is good for you box.

A Sea-Weeding Huddle  (Credit Ceolas)

Last week I was asked to lead a Sea-weeding Experience for Ceolas, a Gaelic Music and Arts Festival in the Outer Hebrides. My mantra was Let’s Go Seaweeding and Breathe. You can do this with a friend or alone. Most of the time we have little idea of the personal struggles that people battle with, be it in the workplace or on a seaweed forage, but exercise can support the mind. Fresh air, wind, sun and rain are distracting. Sunshine makes us feel good and although wind and rain may present a physical struggle, when there is a small reward, perhaps a warming drink at the end of a walk, the challenge is worth it. Overcoming the elements can indeed be uplifting. Physical activity affects mood by demanding concentration, leaving less time for anxious thoughts.

Seaweed Cookies

Credit Fiona Bird

1 tablespoon dried seaweed  (UK Measurements)

• Additional ingredients:

• 125g unsalted butter

• 50g caster sugar

• 180g plain flour

• Tsp egg yolk

Pre heat the oven 180ºC Gas 4

 In a mixing bowl cream the butter and sugar together.
Add the flour and seaweed and bind the mixture together with the egg yolk.
Work the dough together and divide in half.
Roll into 2 x 15cm x 3cm rolls and wrap each roll in cling film. Refrigerate for a minimum of 20 minutes (so that it is firm to slice).
Cut 1cm slices and lay on a non stick-baking sheet. Bake for about 12-15 minutes until the biscuits are golden. Keep a watchful eye because the biscuits colour quickly.
Remove from the oven and leave to harden for a minute before putting the biscuits on a cooling rack.

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