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Returning to Nature

Isobel from @paddysriverfarm is wife, mama, homesteader, a retired registered nurse studying to become a naturopath/nutritionist, setting up a multigenerational homestead with her family by the river in the Southern Highlands Australia.


Motherhood, nutrition, natural health and growing nourishing are deep passions and what has guided her to homesteading. Grow Nourish Thrive.


Homesteading and growing food is not the easy way out of this life, i would say it is the hard way as there’s nothing convenient about it. It’s a lifestyle, a life change not a trend or hobby. Well, that’s my opinion any way.


Motherhood changed my perspective of life in many ways and most importantly it pushed me to look into the best nourishing food for my children and family. Where could I source organic food, what food is the best nourishment for family, wow there are so many labels out there – vegan, paleo, no gluten, diary free etc, what do I trust, where did that come from? – all the questions often most new mamas out there ask.


I returned to nature when I saw a crumbling healthcare system when I was working as a registered nurse for many years. Constant sick patients with a list of health problems and chronic disease, I mean it is one big hot mess. People reaching out for help not knowing what is causing all their health issues or contributing to their chronic state of disease. Mostly health professionals just putting a band aid over the problem in forms of pharmaceuticals and supplements and the root cause of many problems not getting addressed.


When I became a mama to my first son, I started to really read more into natural health, nutrition, all the diets out there, all the toxins we are exposed to, I went down that big rabbit hole.


At the time I was a first time mum, learning the ropes of new motherhood, living in the city and I came across many influencers promoting the trendy “healthy” plant based diet, ashamed to say I followed it for a few months and it didn’t work for me one bit. My body started flaring up screaming for help and I was ignoring it, telling myself that animal-based foods are not healthy or sustainable.

That’s when I stopped listening to the media, the trends and started listening to my body, following my intuition for which whole foods suited my body and staying away from food made in a lab or grown with chemicals. Guess what – I healed but I am still healing.


This isn’t a post to spark debate on whether you should choose to eat meat or not or what you should do in your life, its sharing a journey of how returning to nature opened my eyes, nourished my family and has helped healed me.


Studying as a Naturopath/nutritionist I constantly see how much crap is truly in our world these days, I wish it would all disappear, but I guess that’s not a realistic goal, we can’t control everything in our world surrounding us but one thing we can do is be conscious of what we are choosing to nourish ourselves with. Just think our bodies thrive on food as fuel to survive, toxic fuel and we start to shut down over time but wholesome nourishing fuel we don’t just survive – we thrive.


As you can probably read my deepest passion is nutrition, choosing nourishing real whole foods, natural and herbal medicine, understanding our unique bodies again (reclaiming and re-learning intuitive eating) to heal and thrive. Bringing back the art of homesteading to connect with our food and how it gets from the paddock to our plates. Getting back into the kitchen, cooking from scratch, home cooked meals from simple real ingredients grown on the land within an ecosystem, and involving our children throughout this whole process.


My driving force is my children, seeing them connect and understand where their food comes from, that food is real, it is living whether plant or animal, we cannot separate it from each other, it is an ecosystem of life and death – a cycle of respect, deep understanding and survival. My children see that. They see life on the farm being born and the day it ends to nourish our bodies and the soil again, nothing wasted, it’s confronting and very real. The day we cooked meat from our first goat we saw being born, grew on the farm and harvested, the sense of deep respect and gratitude for that life, I cannot even describe in words – that is true connection to our food and the world has lost that.


I think the current system of shopping in grocery stores for our food for convenience has done us more disservice and contributed to that loss of connection to our food system than anything else. It’s hard to picture a living breathing bovine eating grass in the field when you see a T-bone steak wrapped in a plastic tray sitting under fluorescent lights – I mean we would have no idea that steak was even an animal.

That doesn’t mean we need to all move to the country and start a garden, get cows and have chickens (although it sounds nice), some people don’t want to grow all their food and that’s ok. There are some beautiful small farmers out there growing nourishing food with regenerative ethical principles, who love their animals and gardens and care for the soil health and ecosystem they steward, and they want to support you with their nourishing produce. Find those farmers but know those farmers. Meet them, see their farming practices and if they align with yours as many still will use chemicals in their farm – if it’s one thing I’ve learnt is be-careful with labels – “Pasture raised” could still be cattle grazed on pastures sprayed with chemicals and finished on GMO grain. Have that knowledge and then you can choose what do to with your food system rather than be unaware.

Homesteading in my life is returning to nature, bringing lost knowledge of home keeping, food preparation, food growing, food security into the modern world and that’s why I love it so much, the community is growing and its exciting!


Regenerative farming, homesteading, our health, it cannot be separated, it is all linked and forms a whole – a symbiotic harmony.


Please join us by sharing, continuing the conversation below, and connecting with Isobel at the following:




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