Shirl’s Pearls turns … ONE!

To all my dear Pearlers, Friends and Family:

Yes, it’s now almost a year since we launched!! 

It was my dream. In 1959, aged 10 and with a pile of Enid Blyton books beside me, I remember closing my eyes and saying, “One day I will be a writer and speak to many people about my book!”

Sixty years later, my “book” is a website and my talks are on YouTube. You know, dreams do come true … weaving their way into a future we could never have imagined. 

It all started with the phrase on my first page: “I thought I would never grow old”. I loved my family so much – but would I grow as ‘old’ as them? Complaining about aches and pains? 

I wanted to be a doctor so I could cure everyone who was sick and suffering. My Mum did too, but the Japanese occupation put an end to that. I read books she bought on medicine and physiology, learned about chronic diseases, and the names of our organs and bones. But I found nothing that explained why old people became fatter, had trouble walking or suffered from some kind of illness. 

The answer came many years later: ‘‘The people you meet and the books you read”. These were the keys to knowledge and wisdom, and they defined my life. 

The book was Diet & Salad published in 1949 by a doctor of chemistry, Norman Walker. It was given to me just before I left Singapore to live in Sydney. Dr Walker wrote that the COLON was the indicator of your health. The colon??

He described it as your engine room, “intimately related to every cell and tissue in the body”.1 It works tirelessly, 24 hours a day, supplying nutrients to your blood and your organs, getting rid of what it doesn’t need, and ensuring every part of your body functions well.

If the body doesn’t function well, “the intellect cannot be expected to function or develop constructively …2

What do we need to keep the colon healthy? 

  • Raw vegetables or vegetable juices, fresh fruits, unprocessed grains, plenty of water
  • Salads
  • Right food combinations
  • Fibre
  • Water
  • Exercise (which I found the most challenging). 

Dr Walker was emphatic. DON’T mix starches with proteins. Fruit after a meal interferes with the digestive process resulting in fermentation, acid reflux, bloating and gas. Have another look at his Food-Control Guide from my Raw Real Life! post. 

From my teens to my early 30s, I suffered gastritis and frequently took antacids. Would the cure be that simple? My mother said citrus fruits were acidic and best to take after a meal to properly digest food. But taken before a meal according to Dr Walker, they have an alkaline reaction on the body! 

Don’t you think it’s worth a try?

  1. AVOID FRUIT AFTER A MEAL. Start your day by squeezing half an orange and grapefruit diluted with lots of water. Wait. Any acid reflux? I didn’t have any. Then have your tea or coffee with breakfast half an hour later. 
  1. DRINK MORE WATER. Limit or avoid alcohol altogether. And NO MORE SUGARY DRINKS!
  1. EXERCISE for at least 30 minutes after your morning juice. I recommend a brisk walk. Read again the benefits of walking in Move! 1.0 post. (If your job is stressful as mine was, that walk will give you a full working day of energy. I could still smile at the end of my day!) I took the next step and joined a gym at 68 – how I wish I’d done this sooner!

I was raised on lavish, tasty main courses, followed by rich desserts and sweet tropical fruits (which I found the hardest to resist). I knew I had to take a slow, steady approach or I’d easily give up.

I now found having substantial salads before main meals helped control the craving for nibbles like chips and eating too much in my main meal. It’s the fibre in the salad which keeps hunger at bay. I also didn’t have a second helping of the main dish, and avoided dessert or fruits after. Did you know that the brain needs time to tell us we’ve had enough to eat? To my surprise, I felt full an hour later and didn’t feel like having ‘something sweet’ at all. 

This regime took 2 years, but that’s essentially how I went from a size 12 to an 8. It’s all in Move! 2.0

My diet has sensibly evolved over the years; as we age, our food, vitamins and supplements must also be rebalanced. 

However, what I’ve NEVER changed is the way I time and separate what I eat! 

I’m convinced this has helped my metabolism work better and the nutrients from raw fruit and vegetables to be absorbed much faster, keeping my colon happy.

So, everyone – it truly is your COLON, GUT and MICROBIOMES. They hold the key to a long and healthy life. It’s what I learned 40 years ago. And if all those Christmas carols you’re hearing prompt you to buy another gift, I suggest Eat like the Animals by Professors David Raubenheimer and Stephen Simpson. It’s a book everyone should read – solid evidence from years of research showing the results of our poor eating habits.

A recent University of Sydney study in fact found that diet “could be more powerful than drugs in keeping conditions like diabetes, stroke and heart disease at bay”.

Now a word about our Team – we’ve pooled talents to give you our very best: 

  • Sam – who got our domain name on WordPress, and writes regularly on finance in Sam’s Corner
  • Lina – who brilliantly created and formatted the website, and who manages exasperating customer-help chats with calm and expertise
  • Amos – cameraman and video editor extraordinaire, who’s always patient, meticulous and reliable on assignments (he even tells me how I should sit, where to put my notes and glass of water!)
  • Kristie – who drew and painted the Shirl’s Pearls logo and keeps surprising us with her fun illustrations
  • Dave – an indispensable editor.

And special thanks to those talented and giving people who’ve contributed to our posts this year: 

  • Ros in Sydney for providing her lovely kitchen for our videos and for being a warm, generous human being
  • Shosh in Perth who spent much time setting up and capturing ‘people pics’ for the site, and for giving invaluable advice and guidance 
  • Lionel for his audio editing, snapshots and filming
  • Tony, Jeff, Phil and Efrem for their heartfelt, well-crafted writings in our Cope with Covid series (and cope we did!)

Finally, Pearlers – our final home video to end this very difficult year. We felt you shouldn’t be denied! Is it about … 


Unclassifiable, I’m afraid. 


 1 Walker, N.W. (1940/1970). Diet & Salad, p.25. Norwalk Press: Summertown, Tennessee.

 2 Walker, N.W. Diet & Salad, p.26.

2 thoughts on “Shirl’s Pearls turns … ONE!

  1. Joyce

    Great one, Shirl! Here’s to many more Pearls of Wisdom!
    A Happy, Healthy 2022 to you and everyone who makes your world the consistent Pearl-generating oyster it is!

    • Thank you Joyce! I wish for all of us a year with far more ups than downs. Let’s all greet 2022 with a smile and a firm handshake and say “Come on in, we’re ready for you!”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s