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Food from the wild: go with your gut

Judy Murphy

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April Danann and husband Max with children Dara and Trevor. “I can smell it off food, if there has been plastic on it,” she says.

Lifestyle –  Judy Murphy talks to Nutritionist April Danann who will reveal secrets of “Energy Medicine” to a Galway audience this month

New Year, new you? If that’s your aim, then maybe it’s time to go with your gut. Scientific research shows that a healthy gut is vital to keeping the entire body and mind healthy and in a state of balance. And that involves eating probiotic food.

Vegetables, fruit and water can be turned into healthy, tasty and probiotic gut-friendly food via the age-old practice of fermenting, and a workshop being held at Galway City Museum on Monday, January 30, will give people the skills to start home-fermenting.

The Wild Fermentation Class is being given by Clinical Nutritionist April Danann, who practises what she describes as “Energy Medicine” from her West Cork home. Canadian-born April, who lived for some time in Galway, near Monivea, previously worked as a food hygiene inspector.

In her 20s she studied massage therapy, kinesiology and healing touch, among other complimentary practices, including medical intuition – a skill she says she’s had since childhood. She also has a Masters in Nutrition from the University of Chester and a PhD in Naturopathic Medicine.

“I even have a diploma in food packaging technology,” says the mother-of-two with a laugh. That’s in addition to a BSc in Food Management and Supply and a Masters in Exercise and Nutrition Science. So, she combines science and naturopathic medicine in her work as a nutritional therapist, a rare combination, especially in this country.

And she’s fascinated by food, from the humble dandelion; “immerse it in water, vinegar or brandy and it becomes a magic elixir” – to vinegar; “I make it from hawthorn, elder, red clover and other local flowers”.  Other mixtures include Turmeric and Ginger Apple Cider Vinegar, and Wild Blueberry AC Vinegar. Her Fire Tonic Apple Cider vinegar with wild herbs, garlic, hawthorn, turmeric and ginger is an ideal pick-me-up and is just one of the blend she makes for different needs.

A fermentation expert, who is revered by those who espouse healthy diets, April has made a series of Youtube videos for the Happy Pear restaurant in Wicklow, demonstrating what’s involved in the process.

Her love of wild fermentation grew organically, she explains. Cider vinegar is beneficial for the gut and when April first started taking it, she used to buy an organic commercial brand.

“But it was too acidic and was hard on my stomach,” she recalls. “Then, I was on a fast one time and decided to make my own, because commercial vinegars didn’t have the local organisms that my stomach needed.

“It wasn’t difficult but it took time and it’s much more palatable,” she says of the process.

April began by capturing what’s known as “a vinegar mother”, the starter culture for all her subsequent vinegars.

“I put open pots of liquid in our garden in West Cork, which I was able to develop into a vinegar mother. I now use that mother all over – it’s travelled to Singapore, Thailand, America, Australia and Canada.”

However, the bacteria and yeast it contains means it’s particularly well adapted to Ireland and April gives it to people who attend her classes and who want to make their own apple cider vinegar.

“Once you have the ‘mother’ the hard part is done. Then you just need time and patience to produce it the old-fashioned way.”

She does that using “pristine well-water and old whiskey barrels; no plastics or metals”.

That’s because metal can affect the taste and acidity of the finished vinegar. As for plastic, “you never want to put anything acidic near plastic”, she says firmly. “Anything with an acid base will be affected by what it’s fermented in.”

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

 

CITY TRIBUNE

€46,000 Lotto winner comes forward as deadline looms

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Galway Bay fm newsroom – The Knocknacarra winner of the Lotto Match 5 + Bonus from the 12th of December has come forward to claim their prize, just two weeks before the claim deadline.

The winning ticket, which is worth €46,234, was sold at Clybaun Stores on the Clybaun Road on the day of the draw, one of two winners of the Lotto Match 5 + Bonus prize of €92,000.

A spokesperson for the National Lottery say we are now making arrangements for the lucky winner to make their claim in the coming days.

Meanwhile, the Lotto jackpot for tomorrow night (27th February) will roll to an estimated €5.5 million.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Voice of ‘Big O’ reflects on four decades

Denise McNamara

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The daytime voice of Big O Taxis is celebrating four decades in the role – and she has no plans to hang up her headset any time soon.

Roisin Freeney decided to seek a job after staying at home to mind her three children for over a decade. It was 1981 when she saw an advert in the Connacht Sentinel for a dispatch operator.

The native of Derry recalls that the queue for the job wound its way past Monroe’s Tavern from the taxi office on Dominick Street.

“There was a great shortage of work back then. I nearly had a heart attack when I saw the line of people. My then husband who was giving me a lift in never thought I’d get the job, he was driving on past and I said, let me off.

“I got it because I worked as a telephonist in the telephone exchange in Derry. But I was terrified starting off because I hadn’t been in the work system for so long.”

Back then Big O Taxis had only 25 drivers and just a single line for the public to book a cab.

“We had an old two-way radio, you had to speak to the driver and everybody could listen in. It was easy to leave the button pressed when it shouldn’t be pressed. People heard things they shouldn’t have – that’s for sure,” laughs Roisin.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of Róisín’s story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Baby boom puts strain on Galway City secondary schools

Stephen Corrigan

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A baby boom in the late 2000s has left parents of sixth class pupils in Galway City scrambling to find a secondary school place for their children next September – with over 100 children currently facing the prospect of rejection from city schools.

The Department of Education is now rushing to address the issue and confirmed to the Galway City Tribune this week that it was fully aware of increasing pressure and demand on city schools

Local councillor Martina O’Connor said there were 100 more children more than there were secondary school places for next year, and warned that this would put severe pressure on schools to increase their intake numbers.

“This will put a lot of pressure on schools because they will have been working out the number of teachers and what resources they would need in October or November last year and they could be facing a situation where they will be asked to take an additional eight or 10 students.

“There would normally be a small excess – maybe two or three – but this year, it’s over 100. There is a bigger number of children in sixth class this year and there will be the same issue for the next few years,” said the Green Party councillor.

A Department spokesperson said while there were capacity issues, factors other than numbers could be at play, adding that there were approximately 1,245 children in the city due to move onto secondary school in September.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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