Dumbo Feather Issue 57

Dumbo Feather is an iconic Australian magazine. Published quarterly for seven years, and hailed around the world as a design leader, it is a magazine like no other. Our readers are people who want to be told a different story than the one they hear every day. Each quarterly issue features five extended (20 page) profiles of people worth knowing, across enterprise, education, science, sport, politics, fashion and the arts. Whether they’ve touched millions, or just those around them, we take the time to get to know these people, and ask them to tell us their stories.

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9 minutos
belonging in the body

The lawns were crusted in silver frost when my mother and I left the house to go power-walking at five in the morning. We crunched across people’s front lawns, leaving footprints upon the grass. She walked hard and fast, as if using her body to smash glass. She pummelled the chilled darkness, leading with her skull, her fists pumping like machinery. The route that took us up town was my favourite. We streamed along the glowing ribbon of shop windows on Tutanekai Street in Rotorua. She wanted to transform her body in the darkness. I loved her, and joined her there. I grew up with women, mostly single working mums, who performed never-ending tasks to make safe and happy homes for their kids. But these women could not or would not…

7 minutos
discovering the right diet

When people take responsibility for their own health and begin to investigate various dietary philosophies, they often end up very confused. There are hundreds of diets out there, each with their own compelling logic. There are diets based on religion, ethics, anthropology, moral systems, the seasons, cleansing, blood types. You can choose to be a vegetarian, a vegan, even a fruitarian. You can adopt a macrobiotic diet, a live foods diet, a Paleolithic diet. You can maximise fats or carbohydrates or proteins. You can base your diet on Chinese medicine or Ayurvedic medicine. Each of these systems has persuasive proponents who have benefited from them—often I find myself believing in whichever one I happen to be reading about! “As soon as you trust yourself, you will know how to live.” —Johann…

5 minutos
reimagining our healthcare system

Kindness in healthcare is not new. As a child, I would follow my father on a Saturday morning as he did his orthopaedic surgery ward rounds. He would sit on the end of the bed, hold his patient’s hand, accept armloads of silverbeet from their garden and learn about what mattered most to them. Dad saw their bone and joint problems as part of the whole fabric of their lives, not just as a part to be fixed. My mother, who is also a doctor, provided advice and reassurance after their operations. They treated every patient and every colleague with kindness and respect. They were a great partnership. It was a privilege to be part of these moments. People at their most vulnerable would feel safe to share their concerns and…

3 minutos
gut intellect

We all have those moments where we know our physical body has something to do with the way we’re feeling. Maybe you get a cold and realise why you were a bit whiny the day before. Perhaps a headache has made you less resilient to stress and you want to isolate yourself from others. After playing sport or doing exercise, you’re more likely to feel relaxed and at ease. Learning about the gut-brain axis has opened my eyes to the fact that that there are many more levels to the way we feel and what’s happening inside our bodies. We know now that there are many, many nerves connecting the gut and brain. Some of them are delivering information from head to belly, which means our emotional and psychological states can…

3 minutos
inside giulia’s kitchen

HERBS My aunt had one of the largest herb gardens I can remember. Her parents owned a tree nursery and she would have the most interesting things in her garden to try out. When I was working on my book I came across this article that listed foods we used to eat a few hundred years ago versus the foods we eat today. It was a crazy number like 500 or more different local plants and herbs that were eaten versus 17 different plants we consume today. As I started to use more fresh herbs in dishes, I realised that I didn’t need as much salt and pepper. It’s not because I believe salt is super unhealthy—I actually don’t believe any of those alleged “devilish” foods are necessarily really dangerous. It…

6 minutos
the ever changing brain

One of the greatest advances in our understanding of the chemistry of the brain and the psychology of emotion is that the structure of the brain is constantly changing. Every interaction we have with the world alters connections within the brain, some of which strengthen to form memories; others are weakened or lost depending on whether you’re motivated to remember them. The average human brain weighs 1.4 kilograms and is made up of 100 billion nerve cells, called neurons. There’s also 100 billion cells called hepatocytes in your liver, and your liver weighs roughly the same as the brain and has about the same surface area. The big difference is that while an average cell in your body has up to 10 contacts with neighboring cells, each neuron has up to…