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Watercress is easy to grow and super nutritious




By Debby Looney, gardening expert

I have recently rekindled my love of cooking – for years it has been an uninspiring rota of 10 meals, all of which were fairly nutritious and healthy but monotonous. However, recently I have given myself a shake and started taking an interest in cooking again.


Why am I writing this in a gardening column, you may ask? Two reasons: firstly, I have been asked on a regular basis why I don’t mention fruit and veg so much anymore, and secondly, I am re-appreciating the importance of the afore mentioned fruit and veg. I read somewhere recently that instead on your five-a-day, we now need to consume seven-a-day due to the decrease in soil nutrients as a result of over use. Now, I have found veg growing at home to be time consuming, and, to be honest, if you work full-time, there is only so much you can do. So next spring, I am going to write more about energy and time effective ways of growing your own, and am going to stick with the plan myself too!

In the meantime, to get back to my new found culinary interests, an ingredient I am coming across frequently is watercress. I have been substituting spinach and rocket as I cannot find watercress in any supermarket. It is actually an ingredient which grows wild in most countries, and Ireland is no exception. In fact it grows ‘everywhere’ once you start looking. It grows in slow running water so it can be found in springs, at the edge of rivers and in drains. It is not recommended to use it from the wild as there is a danger of liver fluke. However, I have grown some from seed, and use part of my pond where there is a nice bit of water movement from the pump, and it is growing ‘mad’! It is the most gratifying vegetable I have ever grown. If you do not have a pond or stream, worry not, it can be easily grown in a minimum of soil as long as it never dries out. I am constructing a watercress nursery for myself out of some shallow barrels joined to each other with water butt connectors to my own water butt over-flow – it sounds complicated, but a little bit of engineering versus zero weed picking is worth it! Basically, if you can grow it in a pot which you can stand in a few inches of rain water, you will be able to grow this wonderful greenery!

The nutrient content of watercress is awesome, it contains potassium, protein, magnesium, calcium and vitamin C, and is being sold as a superfood these days. It is peppery, but not too strong, and is ideal in salads and soups – it adds a freshness which spinach cannot compete with. There is a lot of research being done into the benefits of watercress, with astounding implications into its use for ailments from nappy rash right through to cancer.

So, if you grow nothing else, do give this a try. Basically, if you have a pot which you can stand in a few inches of rain water, you will be able to grow this wonderful greenery!

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New free local fitness group to motivate people back to health

By Brian Foley from Activate Fitness  Our mission at Activate is to extend and enhance the lifespan of 7,000 people in Killarney which is why we have set up a […]




By Brian Foley from Activate Fitness

Our mission at Activate is to extend and enhance the lifespan of 7,000 people in Killarney which is why we have set up a free health and fitness group. 

Our primary vehicle is our gym but we do a lot of other stuff, too, like:

* Train kids how to exercise in schools
* Helping frontline workers with their mindset
* Supporting local fitness events and teams
* Running fun social events in the community
* Raise funds for local charities

We’ve won awards for this stuff, but the real reward is moving the Killarney community back towards health. So today, I’m thrilled to share a free Facebook group: ‘Fitness, Nutrition & Health in Killarney’ with you.
Visit this link to join:

In that group, we’ll share helpful posts, tips, and support for everyone, whether you exercise at Activate or not. We’re also welcoming other health and fitness practitioners to join the group and help people find valuable and sensible advice around health and fitness.

When you join, Facebook will ask you a few questions, then my team will be around to support you and give you stuff to help.

If you have questions about fitness, health, longevity, nutrition, or exercise, go ahead and ask! If you have answers, please share! Let’s get some positive momentum going in Killarney!

What’s the deal with motivation?

I was having a discussion with a new client the other day and it came up that they sometimes feel a lack of motivation to keep working out. I know many of you feel like this sometimes, so I thought I would write about it today.

I really believe in discipline, as motivation is fleeting – but we’ll address this anyway. There are a few things that you can do to fool-proof the system. Here’s five ways.

1. Find an accountability partner:

When it comes to working out, having someone to hold you accountable can be a huge motivator. Whether it’s a friend, family member, or even a fitness coach, knowing that someone is counting on you to show up for your workout can help you stay on track.

2. Set realistic goals:

Setting goals is a great way to stay motivated, but it’s important to make sure they are realistic. If your goal is too lofty, you may find yourself getting discouraged when you don’t see results as quickly as you’d like. However, if your goals are achievable and realistic, you’ll be more likely to stick with your workout plan and see the results you want.

3. Find a workout routine you enjoy:

If you dread your workouts, it’s going to be very difficult to stay motivated. However, if you find an exercise routine that you enjoy, you’ll be more likely to stick with it. There are so many different types of workouts out there, so take some time to experiment and find one that fits your needs and interests. I feel a key facet many of us in the health and fitness industry miss regularly is making sure people are always engaged and challenged, so it remains fun to work out!

4. Reward yourself:

This one sounds a little weird, but for some, it can really work. One way to stay motivated is to reward yourself after setting a goal and reaching it. Whether it’s your favourite snack or a new piece of workout gear, treating yourself to something special can help keep you on track.

5. Get enough sleep:

This is the one thing we all hear that’s drilled into our brains – but for good reason! It’s important to get enough sleep when you’re trying to stay fit and healthy. When you’re well-rested, you’ll have more energy for your workouts and you’ll be less likely to skip them. So make sure to get plenty of rest each night!

Following these tips can help you stay motivated to workout, even when it feels like a struggle. Just remember to be patient, set realistic goals, and find an exercise routine that you enjoy. With a little effort, you can reach your fitness goals in no time!

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Irish food only for Lisa’s September challenge

Could you survive on a diet of food grown only in Ireland for one month – well that’s the challenge one Kerry woman has set herself. Artist and food activist […]




Could you survive on a diet of food grown only in Ireland for one month – well that’s the challenge one Kerry woman has set herself.

Artist and food activist Lisa Fingleton plans the unusual action as she will eat only food grown in Ireland for the entire month.

That means no sugar, lemons, olive oil, or coffee with the challenge designed to highlight issues with Irish food security.

In the seven years since Lisa founded the 30-Day Local Food Challenge, food supply chains have been hit by a succession of market shocks highlighting Lisa’s concerns with increasing urgency.

From seed shortages caused by Brexit to the global market shock of COVID-19 to potential shortages caused by the ongoing war in Ukraine, to the recent conversation about the need to reduce the Irish National Herd in line with carbon emissions targets, Lisa says there has never been a more important time to talk about Irish food security.

“This year in particular in Europe we are seeing the impact of war on food and the global reliance on Ukraine as an important wheat producer,” said the former Kerry County Council Artist in Residence who lives in Ballybunion.

“This has shown us more than ever just how fragile our food systems are. We need to focus on building sustainable and resilient food systems on the island of Ireland. This year we are encouraging people to do one local meal a day so they can make it really simple and have Irish porridge for breakfast or really elaborate with a meal grown in your own garden.”

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