As we all try to recover from the food and drinks binge usually associated with festivities at this time of year, one remedy is to seek out your nearest market – of which there are many throughout Ireland – and find the healthiest products to put body and soul back in balance.
Look no further than the ‘Natural Rebel Market Stall’ of friendly April Danann in Skibbereen in west Cork every Saturday. Or many Sundays at the People’s Park Market in Dun Laoghaire.
And, while doing so, enjoy a jaunt through this hauntingly beautiful southwestern region at the same time, comprising towns such as Bantry, Dunmanway, Skibbereen, Ballydehob, Castletownbere, Schull, Rosscarbery and Macroom.
After trying April’s nourishing concoctions, including herbal teas and coffees, syrups and seasonings, apple cider vinegar, lattes and sports powders and herbucha, you might well conclude she must be a direct descendent of Tuatha Dé Danann, the supernatural race in Irish mythology, folk of the goddess Danu who dwell in the Otherworld but interact with humans and the human world.
Knowledgeable, open-minded, April set sail from her native Newfoundland in 1997 to see the world and ended up in the Emerald Isle where she home-schooled her 12-year-old daughter, Dars Brigid, and established a vibrant business in the field of alternative health. Her products can also be found in health food stores in west Cork and in ‘The Art of Eating’ in Dun Laoghaire.
Passion for well-being and quality of life permeates her every fiber.
“We all have it within our power to enjoy long and happy lives,” she told me after I visited with her. “And one of the vital ingredients in achieving that is what we eat and drink. I myself have endured severe health problems in the past and made a decision that instead of taking pharmaceutical drugs I would try alternative methods to get back to health. It has worked for me and it can work for anyone.”
Even though April doesn’t put much stock in what she describes as “formal learning,” most of which, she says, will be “unlearned” while experience is gained, this young single mother still possesses an impressive array of health credentials, including a diploma in medical intuition from Canada another in nutritional therapy from the Irish Institute of Nutrition and Health; a BSc in food management and marketing from the College of Agriculture, Food & Rural Enterprise in Cookstown; an MSc in nutrition & exercise science from the University of Chester in the UK, and, as if that is not enough, is now completing a Phd in naturopathic medicine from the University of Natural Medicine in California. Her other diplomas include kinesiology, massage therapy and family herbalism.
In other words, April is far from being a light-weight when it comes to matters of health.
So impressed was I after meeting her at the Skibbereen market, I ended up having a most enjoyable visit with her at her rural home where she creates her nourishing products and learning more about this remarkable, independent-thinking woman so full of vitality.
As April says in her website introduction, even though she was born and raised on Canada’s east coast “and loved the fresh air, the wildness and sometimes the snow,” she thinks it prepared her for West Cork and the rainy days of Ireland.
Working as a Medical Intuitive since as long as she can remember, her interest in food and nutrition, she says, “were natural companions to this ability to hear the body’s voice,” adding, “Capturing wild organisms and growing a business; life just gets better.”
April is also an author, on subjects as diverse as healing, lightworker, massage, counselling, walking the spiritual path, energy work and hands on healing of any kind.
She is also a poet in her own right. Read these words from her website and you’ll know exactly what I mean –
“Love begins with me, it begins with you – perhaps it’s just a fleeting tingle of nervous energy creeping through our veins.
On a good day.
It starts with the words I tell myself – taking the time to focus and fill my internal imagery with kind, compassionate verbiage. Extending the depth of happy by a few millimetres.
Can this be only an intense projection of my hearts desires – after all, only love endures all things?
When these lofty thoughts shape and create the reality that becomes my world, the landscape that surrounds me softens, becomes rustic, colourful, ancient and wild.
Just like me.”
While at the Skibbereen market, you should also pop over to the stall of The Little Chickpea Company where Emma Fleury will serve you up tasty and nutritious vegetarian and vegan foods, whether they be curries, falafels or burgers. You can also taste the goodies at The Little Chickpea Company restaurant in Schull, Cork.
Did you know chickpeas are packed with protein and full of fibre, helping keep your cholesterol count down? Not to mention containing folate and other B vitamins, as well as minerals such as iron manganese, phosphorous, calcium and zinc.
And don’t forget to check out the excellent honey. Ask for the woman from Newry married to the Cork man. They’ll know who you mean.