We are two food loving and health conscious women both with farming backgrounds, passionate about inspiring people to eat real food and create better health.
We love sharing our knowledge and personal experiences with those seeking a healthier lifestyle.
In 2014 we published our cookbook ‘Friendship Food Delicious Feelgood Food’, a great resource for people needing to temporarily eliminate gluten, yeast, egg, dairy and refined sugar, from their diet.
Since then Felicity and I have developed a range of food products with the aim to make healthy home cooking simple for you and your family by providing wholefood ingredients and flavour enhancing products which are natural, minimally processed and free of additives and preservatives.
We use organic white sorghum in our sorghum bread premix, grown in South East QLD and Northern NSW, a nutritious naturally gluten free grain high in dietary fibre, vitamins and minerals and our red sorghum puffs are an especially good source of antioxidants. Complimenting this range is our unique nightshade free (no tomato) Spicy Beet Sauce that the whole family will love but which is a godsend for those people suffering from joint pain for whom tomato and chilli aggravates their symptoms.
The SOL Salt of Life brand has been a wonderful addition our Friendship Food range since the start of 2016. This includes beautiful Australian salt mixes which enhance flavour either by finishing a meal or adding it to various food preparations, our unique seasoning can be used in or on just about anything. The salt and pepper mix is so convenient it’s a ‘one sprinkle fits all deal’, we put it in a darker jar to protect the nutrients in the amazing Tassie Kelp.
We believe that by eating real, wholefoods we function more productively, are happier and more loving towards our family and friends. We are committed to making great relationships with local growers and suppliers and want you to know where these amazing foods come from that we use in our nutritious products.
We work continually to create new and exciting products and recipes, which are simple, delicious and where possible, made from Australian produce and strive to help our customers solve their food challenges.
Eat healthy food to GROW, LEARN AND SMILE!
Friendship Food is passionate about inspiring people to eat real food. Making home cooking simple for families by providing wholefood ingredients which are minimally processed and free of additives and preservatives to create better health.
We believe that educating young children how to make healthy snacks and meals is instrumental in creating a more loving and vibrant world unencumbered by disease.
Sharing your knowledge of food and how to prepare meals with your children is precious, and fundamental to the health and wellbeing of each and every family member.
Healthy happy people have the energy and vitality to become positive and proactive members of their community.
The following background story is a copy of the speech Felicity gave at the National Launch of our Friendship Food – Delicious Feelgood Food cookbook.
I remember ironing in 1998 and my hand cramping around the handle of the iron. I had to prise my hand off and manipulate it until I could move it properly again. I was concerned at the time but passed it off as bodily weirdness. This happened from time to time over the next couple of years until in 2001 other weird things started happening to my body. At first it was lots of little pains then in July 2001 I woke up and found my hands, fingers and feet had blown up like balloons and were stiff and sore. My skin was as tight as a bongo drum. Walking was hard especially after being in a rest position. Other seemingly unimportant symptoms appeared now to be part of a bigger problem.
Our GP said he thought I had Scleroderma and we were then referred to our Rheumatologist who confirmed this. We were told that I was very sick and that children may be very difficult to conceive or carry full term. We were devastated and at that moment in time we thought we were very hard done by. There is a little part of me that is embarrassed by the pity that I felt for myself back then. All my dreams as a young girl, of that fairy tale life with the husband, the dog and the kids seemed gone. The dreams felt impossible and unreachable and to make matters worse, my symptoms seemed far more painful when I reflected on what I had been diagnosed with. I do remember though, feeling very sad.
We were told not to join a support group for Scleroderma or to go home and google Scleroderma so that we had time to come to terms with everything. So we went straight home and did just that, we googled Scleroderma. The very first google research session we ever had involved reading a story about a Scleroderma cluster group, somewhere in Spain. Apparently the town where the people live was built very close to an old toxic waste dump. This piqued my interest and without realising at the time, my research into possible causes for the development of Scleroderma had begun.
After a barrage of tests, an unravelling and restructuring of thoughts and a new mission which was to get pregnant. It was suggested we try starting a family straight away as the complications could mean waiting years for a baby. Tom was born August 2002. We were ecstatic. I had a trouble free pregnancy. In actual fact most of my symptoms went into remission when I was pregnant so I felt on top of the world. Mimi came into the world 15 months later and George was born in 2007. I could have been pregnant forever I felt so great and I often said to Doctors, ‘Is someone bottling that stuff your body makes when you are pregnant because it is magic?’
Searching for a natural healing method
When George was about one, my health started sliding downhill again. I was back to arthritic type symptoms, spasms, restless legs, cramps and shooting pains in the hands, puffy feet, dryness, aches, pains, chronic fatigue, digestive issues and coughs and colds that went for months. We experienced a miscarriage which was sad but no surprise as I felt rotten. I was over myself and I wanted to feel better so that I could be the vibrant Mummy I planned to be to our three wonderful little people. I knew that after we had all the children the plan was to take the next step and start taking some drugs that would ease the severity of my symptoms and give me a better quality of life.
Again, what do we do when we are given the name of a drug or something we know nothing about? We go home and google it. I googled the drug and I was a little frightened by the information relating to it and I didn’t have enough time in my day to read the fine print relating to possible side effects. I thought there must be something natural I could try first and drugs could be a last resort. So I asked around and friends suggested and recommended a healer here in Toowoomba. I went to him and he told me amongst other things to take myself off gluten, dairy, eggs, yeast, refined sugar, alcohol and caffeine for 3 months then reintroduce them back in on their own to see if any triggered or worsened my symptoms. (The alcohol and caffeine were a whole other story – stay tuned!)
It was no small feat for me to remove these foods from my life for any period of time. I love food. Dairy, bread, desserts, cakes and commercial chocolates were all my friends and lots of them. I also I drank many cups of tea each day and was partial to another regular habit…drinking wine and beer. The mere suggestion of taking myself off these things was giving me heart palpitations but I did it and after just two weeks on this diet I felt amazing.
I started bouncing out of bed with vibrant energy. My hair, skin and eyes were shining. My friends and family started commenting on how well I looked. But the most amazing, amazing, amazing thing for me was how unbelievably positive I felt in my head. I felt like a screen door had opened and the world I was viewing was full of opportunity and I had felt like I had a crystal clear purpose in life and that was to be the best person I could be. I now realise that back then this was my body’s response to dealing with the lack of chronic pain in my day. When it was taken out there was no way it was going to be replaced with any other form of negativity. It could only be positive. I actually remember checking a couple of times to see if I was pregnant because I felt as good as I did each time I was having our four kids.
The idea came for the recipe book shortly after my Eureka health moment. I started tweaking and creating recipes so that I could eat them on my elimination diet. Some worked, the good ones stayed and friends and family started asking for the recipes. I was printing and emailing recipes left, right and centre and many people I talked to, knew someone with a food intolerance. I thought I should put these recipes together so that I can help other people to alleviate symptoms and address health issues. So I started compiling my favourite recipes for a book. I started with the snacky, ‘cup of tea’ foods because they were the foods that I was finding I missed the most, those and the breads, dairy and sugary foods.
What I discovered after the diet
After three months on the elimination diet, I started introducing each food back into my day. I had to do it on the run as I was busy with a baby and toddlers. I noticed eggs were ok with me. A couple of cups of tea with a little cow’s milk were ok but not a glass of milk which left me nauseous. A little hard cheese and yoghurt a couple of times a week was and is now tolerable. Gluten makes my cramps and arthritic type symptoms come back and I have trouble walking on my feet a bit in the mornings. Foods containing gluten also give me chronic tummy cramps closely followed by diarrhea. Also my psoriasis which I have had with me since I was 16, flares up after I eat gluten. Too much sugar of any type but especially refined sugar gives me a headache straight off, between the temples. It also gives me tummy upsets and leaves me irritable. Once I start eating sugary food I can’t stop. I can become addicted to sugary foods in about one day of eating them. Something else I’ve noticed is that if I don’t have a lovely big salad with meat or eggs and nuts, seeds and avo, for lunch, I crave sweets at 4pm.
Yeast and the sugar-yeast combination, have taken me a lot longer to work out. I now know I have significant Candida issues. (Candida is the particular yeast that causes those dreaded fungal infections). When I eat yeasty, sugary foods I become bloated and gassy. My psoriasis flares and a plantar wart on my foot, which I nearly have a name for because he’s been with me for so long, flares up by growing and hurting. He is my barometer for gauging how I’m going in that department. He even feels better when I don’t eat too many sweet veggies and fruits.
The recipe book
So in 2008 I decided to write a book of recipes. Quite an ambitious, naive, wonderful project to take on but I plugged along through 2009 and 10, then our beautiful, special, healthy, nearly didn’t have her, fourth child Maggie, came along in 2011. She was a healthy 9 lb 3 oz. I cooked her in my Mummy tummy oven whilst eating nuts, fruit, veggies, meat, quinoa, lentils, beans and lots of other greens. I had an excellent pregnancy, birth and delivery and for the first time I understood how in years gone by some women could give birth to the baby between breakfast and morning tea and then serve lunch to the workmen (not ideal but obviously possible) I too felt really capable and alert after Maggie’s birth.
When I finished breastfeeding Maggie at 12 months, my dear friend from school, Kate said ‘Flick what’s happening with the book? Come on, Maggie’s one now, you need to get back to it! I’m on a new path to health and I need your book. How can I help you?’ Kate is an amazingly vibrant and creative ‘get it done fast’ person and I could tell she meant business when she said this. She offered to test cook all the recipes and type them into a more acceptable format to use in a recipe book. (Some were written on the back of school newsletters that had been left on the kitchen bench, which also had kid smudge on them and cattle prices and weights scrawled into the corner). Later that day Kate rang me from North Star to say that Julie, her sister who is a genius with photos and graphics, would like to photograph the food for the book. I was humbled, overawed and grateful all at once.
So the book picked up pace on a more serious level and between the three of us it started to take shape very quickly. Whilst Kate baked and tested, Jules photographed the finished product then later Julie and I worked together on the manuscript, formatting the words and pictures and moulding the book into the living creation that we have given birth to. We can’t explain easily the divine guidance that seemed to assist us through the many, many hours we spent working with the words, phrases and paragraphs whilst in front of Julie’s computer screen in Goondiwindi (Gundy) during 2013. We just rolled with the good times and fed off each others energy, passion and skills.
My trips to Gundy were required as the book was in a program on Julie’s computer, so I spent many hours on the road between home and that computer. Some nights driving home late, I was so tired I would wind the window down and blast myself with cold air and sing bad 1am radio songs as I whistled through Yelarbon, Inglewood, Gore and Cunningham, trying to keep my eyes from closing. I loved every minute of it. Even waking the next morning to the crazies of Philp Central getting ready for school, music, footy training, swimming and Family Day Care, I felt it would somehow all be worth it. I also felt though, that all through this time that I had to remain in peak performance to keep my health great and my energy levels high. My family didn’t sign up for any of my dreams so I was very conscious not to let them in on too many of my tiring book adventures as I didn’t want them to feel unimportant compared to the book we were working on. Something my ten year old daughter would unashamedly remind me of if she ever felt ripped off in the Mummy love department.
Finally the book was finished, after what felt like 5000 proof reads and some very important spelling and grammar reminders from the wonderful Jane Grieve who did the very first proof read of the manuscript. Sorry about that Jane. I cringe now when I think of the raw state that manuscript was in. Thank you so much for what you did for us and for the incredibly polite, eloquent, diplomatic way that you dealt with our shortcomings as fledgling writers. I promise never to under hyphenate or incorrectly apostrophe again.
Beyond the book
Shortly before the book was published, two things happened. Our dear talented friend Kylie, who joined us for a period in 2013 to be a part of Friendship Food, very courageously and graciously bowed out for family reasons. We also became a company, Friendship Food Pty Ltd. We did this because we wanted to take the concept and philosophy for the book further by creating a business that could assist and inspire people to make healthy changes in their lives so that they too can feel great, find their calling in life and achieve their dreams.
When I first looked into gluten, dairy, yeast, egg and refined sugar recipes I could not find one book that addressed eliminating all these foods. I have since found some recipe books that could be adapted but still not with an entire focus on the elimination of these 5 food types. We felt that our book could provide the cornerstone for our company Friendship Food to be a business that inspired people to lead a healthier life by applying our affordable, practical and achievable examples on an everyday level. We looked forward to the resources and material offered through Friendship Food being delivered in a down-to-earth, grassroots, everyday, and real manner. We also wanted to share our belief with people that good health should be something incorporated into our every day.
Going on this elimination diet has changed my life for the better, forever. I now believe that the recipes in this book are not just a plate of satisfaction, they are little stepping stones that have the potential to lead to a better life for those who don’t feel so well or enthusiastic about life. If someone buys our book and never tastes a morsel from its pages but takes away the message that we discovered from its creation – that is, to help yourself feel good, decide to be positive and productive, always be kind, find what you are passionate about in life, be brave and chase your dreams – then we will be very happy. This is because we believe that good health is not just what we put into our body or what we do physically in our day. It is how we think, the opinion we have of ourselves, how we treat others and how we allow them to treat us.
Before the book was released I was a little anxious as to how it was going to be received. It is a bit scary when you have written private things about your life and put them out there to the world. But I have been touched and humbled by the beautiful comments people have made about the book and the impact it has had on them. I love reading emails from people saying they have adopted some or all of my practices, made recipes from the book and that they haven’t had restless legs this week or that they hadn’t realised the significance of yeast and sugar in Candida infections which they’d suffered from for years. What blows me away though is the prevalence of autoimmunity amongst those who, like me, come from a farming background where many of their forebears used harsh and now banned agricultural chemicals. It makes me think back to that very first Scleroderma google and those villagers living near that toxic waste dump somewhere in Spain.
In short, we have been thrilled with the response to our humble self-published, grassroots edition of Friendship Food. We have learnt so much about the process of publishing a book over the past year and we now look forward to the production of a hard cover version in the future.
Thank you, Mum and Dad, my rocks of Gibraltar. You are the reason I am me. You are good, honest, hard-working country folk and I am very proud to be your daughter. Thank you for everything. Thank you to my children. Patient, kind Tom, bubbly, creative Mimi, gorgeous, animal-loving George and happy, healing Maggie – you are my everything. I love you all to the core and your Father and I are here always to help you follow your dreams. Trev, I am the luckiest woman in the world. In you I have everything. Thank you for your unconditional support, love and confidence in me. To my brother Jack and my sister Melissa, I love you. You are included in my BFF list and my life wouldn’t be the same without you in it. Of course, thank you too Kate and Jules. What a wonderful whirly-wind couple of years. Thank you both for your belief in my humble little book idea. Thank you for your generosity, your talents, the time that you share with our business and your delicious feelgood friendships.
Thank you must go also to my other amazingly supportive friends and business owners out there. You know who you are. For years you have shown your support for the book and all that has been involved in its creation. Thank you, Tania Hubbard for gracing the back of our book with your beautiful words and energy.
Thank you, Jane Grieve, Dr Louise Clarke, Trevor Watts and Mayor Paul Antonio for speaking and helping us to launch the book at our National launch here in Toowoomba. You each added a very special component to the event. We are touched by the intimacy and appropriateness of your words. We are honoured that you chose to come.
We wish everyone always, the healthiest and happiest future and we look forward to hearing back from you with any ‘feelgood’ moments that you wish to share with us after reading and cooking from Friendship Food – Delicious Feelgood Food.
Love Flick xx
Friendship Food is a joint cookbook project between friends Felicity, Julie and Kate, who all love delicious feelgood food! There are over 70 recipes in the book, all of which are free of gluten, yeast, dairy, egg and refined sugar. About six years ago after painful symptoms associated with autoimmunity got the better of Felicity, she eliminated these foods from her diet and felt wonderful! This inspired her to write a book to share the recipes she had developed, to help others feel good. Felicity teamed up with Julie and Kate to create the Friendship Food book, which isn’t just a cookbook but a blueprint to a way of life with the potential to make dreams come true – as it has done for us!