Sunday, November 11, 2007

Facing The Tough Stuff

I have been struggling lately with a personal crisis. My lovely daughter has told me she does not want me to be her carer anymore and wants the small amount of money involved to go to her 15 year old daughter instead. Furthermore she says that I have been mishandling her money and it is not given to me to help me out financially. This is a government handout of $45 per week. Alysia says that I have not been spending it on projects approved by her. She has also accused me of "lording it over her", because I bought her a membership to the Royal Agricultural Show. Apparently I did not allow her the pleasure of paying for it herself.

The sad part is that I think she is suffering from the effects of large amounts of Ketamine and methadone, both prescribed for her by her doctors. My youngest daughter has bi-polar disorder and I think Alysia may be heading down that track. I miss her terribly, but she will not see me, nor will I beg.

Sadly I now have to deal with my new reality and find some way of filling the void.

Life sucks sometimes.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Is It OK?

Ok I have missed blogging for a few days because I am really depressed right now. I feel so flat and not my usual chirpy self. However for me at least, this is not all that unusual. I have a daughter that is not in the best of health at the moment and she has had some serious pain over the last five years following a car accident. We are good friends ans well as mother and daughter and do a lot of things together. She has been really snappy for a while now and I have let it get to me. Now this is unusual as I am able to shake this off nine times out of ten. However all I can think of lately is some rather hurtful remarks.
So instead of nurturing this hurt I have made an appointment to see my local GP. Maybe I need someone to talk to? She will offer me some anti-depressants and I will say thank you and never get the prescription filled. This happens quite a lot as I know that no amount of pills will help and that just talking about my perceived problems will be of more benefit than the drugs. Recently there has been a couple of well known sporting personalities that have been making headlines for all the wrong reasons. They were both depressed and on drugs. Sadly one died and the other has his life in tatters. Both were heavily reliant on anti-depressants. So excuse me, but I have no wish to follow them down that slippery slope, ever.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

So What?

I have been thinking about my obsession with food. I have come to the conclusion that I am definitely not orthorexic as I have been eating somewhat off plan now for the last three weeks. It must be the change fron the cooler months because I am eating things I don't often consume and I am unrepentant about this.
Strangely the world has not stopped turning and I am feeling ok. I am looking forward to the wonderful stone fruit season that is just around the corner.

Monday, October 15, 2007


An ETL forum buddy has posted an interesting thread on her blog about the definition of the word orthorexia. Somehow I wondered if I was indeed an orthorexic. Because I am very lazy and have not read the article I am using Bree's quote from veggilicious.

"In the book Health Food Junkies: Overcoming the Obsession With Healthful Eating" by Steven Bratman, MD. He describes orthorexia this way:

"In fact, it is transferring too much of life's meaning onto food that makes orthorexia an eating disorder. If you simply eat healthy food but don't give it more of a place in your life than it's really due, you have a good diet - a laudable goal. But when you use food to drain away the energy from other parts of your life, you are impoverishing your soul. Instead of dealing with your real feelings - your real challenges, interests, desires, and needs - you pretend to find them in food. You transfer anxiety over how your life is going to anxiety over what you are going to eat."

Hope you don't mind Bree? I found Bree's discussion very honest and indeed helpful. It is good to keep our obsessive qualities in check and not let them completely rule our lives.
To see it in full go to'

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Jumping Jehosophat Spring Is Here!

Hey I woke up the other day and I actually smiled. Now that in itself is not unusual, but it is for me first thing in the morning, any morning. Somehow as if by magic the world has turned on the sweet warm Spring sunshine.
Now I am by definition, a hot personality. I actually need to feel warm and if I was any other animal, I would be a reptile. No wonder that I was born in the Chinese year of the snake!
Western Australia is beautiful in Summer. Living on the Indian Ocean side of the country has so many benefits weatherwise. Here the late afternoon winds in the warm months comes off the cool ocean and after a morning of easterlies, it feels wonderful. In Perth this breeze even has its own name. The early settlers called it the Fremantle Doctor, given it refreshing qualities.
Now I have calculated that I can enjoy feeling warm for the next seven months, yippee. Please remind me that I said that when I am complaining about a succession of 40C plus days with no respite in sight.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Market Days

Saturday is the day when Judith and I get up early and head off to the Central Fruit and Vegetable Market. This is the only day that this centre opens to the public to sell off the produce left over from the previous week.
Today we went for the first time for a while due to Jude's ill health and found there was little good quality produce to buy. Now that Australia is taking more refugees fron the Sub-Saharan nations, there have been more people turning up every week. Of course this has had the effect of driving up prices for mediocre produce. Taking this into consideration, we decided to only go bi-weekly until the Summer stone fruit comes into season.
I think the mango season is only a week or two away. Jude thinks its a bit longer. Who knows? I can't wait to get my teeth into some of those golden beauties. The first lot that arrives before Christmas are the best. They come from the Top End and are grown in tropical conditions. Later the Carnarvon crop come in in January and they are somewhat smaller. They are still nice eating, but the first ones are supurb. I wonder what the crop will be like this year as last year was a bumper one. Some producers say that a good crop is followed by a poorer one. I sincerely hope they are wrong.
The one bright note this morning is that we got a box of our favourite bananas from Carnarvon. Most bananas are grown in Queensland, but we favour the smaller local ones. We all think they have more flavour and are great for the kids in their lunchboxes. I often carry a cpuple in my purse when I go out. They make a great instant snack. Fruit, you can't beat it!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Seriously Itchy

Ok I have been using soap and now I have broken out in small skin blotches that are seriously itchy. I try to remember not to use any soap, but I love to use the vegetable based ones and I bought a stack of my favourites at the Royal Show the other week.
I shall have to include more nuts and seeds into my diet. These are mandatory on the Eat To Live plan, but I often forget to include them. I really dislike nuts and find them very constipating. However I think that my skin looks much better when I do eat them.
My skin is aging and I am also covered with puple patches that occur when ever I knock my arms or hands. Strangely they mostly occur on my right hand and arm. This makes sense because I am right handed. I wonder if this has anything to do with my low iron status? I try to eat a lot of leafy green vegetables, but I cannot possibly eat the full amount each day. Two pounds of leafy greens is a lot to consume daily. Even if one pound of those is cooked!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Eating Out

Last night I went to a meeting at a local hotel just up the street. I had registered as vegan and I was told this was not going to be a problem. When I arrived the chef came and asked me what I wanted with my tea, salad or vegetables. I told him salad as I though that was pretty safe. Next he asked what type of dressing I wanted. I replied that a vinagrette would do nicely and could I have that on the side.
When everyone else got their meal, which was roast beef and vegetables, a small salad was placed in front of me. This consisted of just iceberg lettuce and a couple of halved cherry tomatoes. I think I spied one piece of cucumber, halved and a big slice of carrot that even Bugs Bunny would have trouble chewing. The biggest laugh was the vinagrette, which I was told was balsamic vinegar, turned out to be worcertershire sauce. I only found this out when I dumped most of it on my salad. This sauce is not vegan, or gluten free and eaten in this quantity can really burn one's mouth. I ended up going hungry and eating a pile of mentos candy, which also as it turns out contains gluten. This is something that I have just found out today. Of course these are my favourite snack 'foods'.
My celiac test kit is yet to arrive, but later I remembered that I had a positive IgA blood test done in 2001. I was told this was meaningless, because my IgG test was negative. This is not the case and a positive IgA test means that I have a 97% probablity of having celiac disease. ..This explains the bloating, burping and the gassy emmissions. Why wasn't I told about this at the time? Yeah! Why wasn't I told?

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Searching Other People Writings

This morning, seeing that nothing much has happened in my life for quite some time, I decided to go in search of some online blogs. I was immediately struck by one thing. Most blogs that appear in blog readers are writtn by professionals and that some of them are downright ugly. One cited a book that said, that blogs are the domain of amateurs, as if it was a bad thing.
However the content of the blogs were all very different. Here are just a few that for some reason clicked with me.
Simply Recipes, published by This has a big index of recipes including a good number of vegetable ones that can be easily veganised. However it was the 'About' page that I loved. The reason for having a space to record all the family recipes sat well with me. Here was a real family and they were sharing their ever involving collection of their favourite foods. Now you can keep your professional blogs, this one has a soul.
Next was Wendy Knits, which of course features Wendy's knitting efforts. Now I grew up in a time when everyone knitted. I learnt at an early age, using sharpened meat skewers and an oddment of wool. I sat on a tiny stool at my mother feet and happily dropped stitches to my hearts content.
Wendy however knits socks and is quite a feisy lady when challenged by her readers who are heartily sick of her socks and want her to move on to something else. I agree with her wholeheartedly when she admonishes them. Then I am immediately jealous, because she has readers. Another huge asset to her blog is her wonderful cat Lucy and I am stuck again by how lucky she is. Her Lucy is immensely photograhic, while my Inky just looks like a dark grey blob in any of my attempts to catch her image and publish online. I once started a blog for her, but all she did was lie around and sleep.
There were of course several blogs like Joke of the Day and Treehugger that caught and held my eye. Another She Shops is also a good read for any woman. However there was one that actually broke my heart and made me realise how fortunate I am.
This one was Baghdad Burning which details life in war torn baghdad. If anyone thinks life for it's citizens in improving, please read this blog. Ever considered what you would take with you in just one suitcase? Read about one persons choice of keepsakes. (Warning some entries are anti-American)
All-in-all it was a good mornings read and I am no wiser as to what makes a good weblog. I like the immediacy of these accounts and I think I shall stop trying and just post my daily thoughts and activities. All I know is that I would rather read these amatuer blogs than any of the daily newspapers, that try to play catchup with the online news services. Not to mention the wastefulness of felling trees simply to make paper for outdated news.
I am off now to see if I can get a really good shot of Inky.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Lesson In Life

As I am getting older I find that somehow everyone thinks I am either great for keeping up with technology" You mean you have a blog?", or "you actually own a MP3 player". This of course leads to what I have downloaded on it. I tell them something ridiculous. I am not about to tell anyone that I have nutritional podcasts by Joel fuhrman, or my entire collection of Andre Bocelli albums. On the other hand I find a certain mocking/scolding tone creeping into peoples dealings with me. Some of it is directed at my hearing loss. Others it's because I think differently from everyone else. All I know is that I am sick of it and want to run away and hide.
I often wonder how other people deal with situations like this? I want my life back and I want people to see me as a worthwhile individual and offer loving support and not put hindrances in my way. I want to remind them that it is only a few years since I graduated from University and that I have helped form the nation's future when I was a member of the national executive of one of our political parties, that just happened tp hold the balance of power in the Senate. No One it seems cares about any of that. I am older and therefore, I know nothing.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Bloggers Block....

...or too sick to care. Who said you have to blog everyday anyway. Sometimes I can't be bothered and not much happens in my life anyway.
Yesterday I ate two small pieces of garlic bread. Ok so I know that was not a smart choice, but I needed to eat some food containing gluten and that was in my freezer. My sister fills her freezer up with meat and then shovels her breads in mine. I open my freezer and I find all manner of things I have never seen before in there. She never seems to eat the stuff in her freezer either. After a week or so I just toss the lot out. However I have had this garlic bread stuck in there for over two months, so I want it gone, one way or the other.
The result of eating this is that I have no energy at all and I have a headache to boot. I am not too sure if the bread is entirely to blame for the headache though as it is overcast and that often brings on such an event. It is to blame for the bloating and gassy emmissions after just an hour or two. My waist size has increased 2 inches overnight. Please let my test kit come soon.
Maybe I should just contact my doctor and ask for an IgA test to be carried out along with other bloodwork. One thing I have discovered is that doctors love carrying out tests. I wonder if they get a kickback from the labs?

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Opening Pandora's Box

I usually only write blog entry each day, but today I wanted to post about this item as well.
From today I need to reintroduce some gluten containing foods, so that when my celiac testing kit arrives, my blood will contain the traces of these proteins. Then I will be able to do the test immediately. However I am afraid that this will indeed open Pandora's box and the old cravings will slip in again.
Just thinking about it is making me uneasy. After all the great progress I have made on a gluten free diet, why go backward? I guess it is because I had a postitive Iga antibody test done once before and my doctor told me to ignore it. Now I want to know the truth. Is it CD or just gluten intolerance, which the test will not show? If the test is negative, then I will continue to avoid grains like wheat, barley and rye, just as I am doing now. As the kit is coming from our Southern Hemisphere neighbour, New Zealand, it should arrive within the next few days. I want to get it over and done as quickly as possible, and with the least amount of pain.
After the gastric distress I suffered last week, I am not looking forward to it at all.

Getting Back On Track

OK Now the week long Royal Show is over for another year, I can finally get back on track. Yesterday I went to the markets and stocked up on mushrooms, greens, beets and sweet potatoes. I still have some leftover pumpkin lentil soup in the fridge and washed lettuce leaves in the salad spinner. Today it's going to be oats for breakfast, a green smoothie for lunch and the green machine and salad for tea. I want to make sure I eat enough to keep me satisfied all day long. I also need to drink plenty of water to flush the salt that I ingested during the week, out of my system.
I am eating my porrige as I am typing this and I laughed as I added two teaspoons of brown sugar. I no longer add salt ot butter, but I am darned if I am giving up my brown sugar!
It's funny but I cannot buy kale here in Perth. it seems we are too sophisticated to eat such a rustic vegetable. The greenest green I can find is tatsoi. I occasionally get lucky and get a bunch at a local gourmet greengrocer in Angelo Street, South Perth. This tiny shop is filled to the brim with Italian deli lines and great fruit and vegetables. They only stock top quality produce at top quality prices.
I have logged on to the Eat To Live forums and the Fat Free Vegan Forum and nobody is posting anything. What is happening in the USA? Maybe it's the change of season that is bringing about this great cyber silence. One thing is for sure, it is easier to follow the ETL guidelines in Summer, than it is in the cooler months. For someone wanting to experience a different taste experience, Nicole (full of veggies) has posted her famous pumpkin smoothie in time for the Fall pumpkin crop. I am going to try this one day as a desert rather than a smoothie. Thanks for the inspiration Nicole.
Now I am off to prewash my greens, so that they are ready to use in a flash. I like these labour saving ideas as they help me to whip up a meal in minutes, rather than hours as used to be the case. When I am hungry I want food almost instantly and that is when I am most vulnerable and likely to reach for the junk instead of food.
Oh, and after a week of eating a small amount of SAD foods, my weight stayed the same, 55 kilos (121 pounds) yippee!

Saturday, October 6, 2007

I Feel Great Today

Today I am feeling great, so I take it that it takes around 48 hours to get rid of the offending foods out of my system. I shall remember that the next time I am tempted by high fat, salty, low nutrient foods. Somehow two days of misery is not worth the five minutes of pleasure*.
Yesterday I stopped the nonsense and cooked a pot of Lark's pumpkin and lentil soup. I posted the recipe on my other blog, Serious Sixty Somethings. I have yet to post a picture of the finished product. I took half a thermos with me to the show and I ate the whole lot. I also took a salad that had fruit and half an avocado that I had rubbed with lemon juice prior to packing. It kept well and tasted great. I did eat far too many of my sisters salty chips though, so I am expecting a blow out on the scales this week. It's amazing how quick the soup was to cook. All-in-all it took just 30 minutes to prepare and cook in my pressure cooker. So why don't I make this type of food more often?
I also tried Nicole's system of preparing the ingredient of smoothies and freezing them in individual containers. You can see it at the link below. Anyway it saved me heaps of time and better yet, I have them ready whenever I need some frozen fruit. Nicole you are a genious

* It is strange how many of us equate food with pleasure. I know that I should be eating good foods and that taste has little to do with quality of nutrients. In fact the reverse is true. Good tasting foods are packed with salt, sugar and fat and the higher nutrient ones often don't taste great. I know which ones my body prefers though. Ahh, such is life!

Friday, October 5, 2007

Celiac Testing Kit?

My dietary misdemeanor on Wednesday is still causing me gastric distress. Only this time it is so painful I have had to take pain relievers. I read about a Bio Card Celiac Testing Kit on the ETL Forum, so I have ordered one from a supplier in NZ. I have had a negative blood test before, but later I was told that for this to show any useful results, one has to have eaten some foods containing gluten prior to the test for the protein to show up in the blood. Of course this makes sense to me when I stop to think about this. As I had abstained from grains for a good two weeks before the bloodwork was done. It seems a good idea to retest. The best course of action would be a to have a biopsy done as this would show CD even while avoiding gluten and is 100% accurate. However I would rather not have this procedure if it's not needed, as it is expensive even with private health insurance. So I think this cheaper option will be useful in my case.
My doctor suggested that I might actually have a gluten intolerance instead. Her advise was to immediately go on a gluten free diet and to carefully monitor my results from gluten avoidance. She also suggested that because so many additives are added to grains, flours and breads today, maybe it is a reaction to any one of these, that is causing me the bloating and other problems.
I shall just have to wait and see. On a brighter note it is good that just by avoiding certain foods I can be and remain symptom free. In reality it is just so hard to buy food outside the home that is completely gluten free.
Once foods was good, clean and pure. Now there is so much tinkering and 'improving' done to the food supply, that simply eating any product can indeed be life threatening.
Most health conscious people spend a great deal of time trying to decipher food labels. These are often misleading and in the some cases, deceptive.
If I am having trouble with compliance at sixty six. Then my heart goes out to all the small children with severe food allergies, that have to face even greater difficulties every day of their lives. For them, the world is truly a hostile environment.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

A Stern Reminder

No sooner had I got to bed last night when I remembered why I have to be so fussy around food. First I simply could not sleep, so I guess the excitment of the night culminating in a fireworks display and the sugary foods were to blame. Also my heart rhythm problem, atrial fibrillation, reappeared again after an absence of four months and if that was not bad enough,I had vision problems associated with migraines. I spent several hours regretting the misdemeanors and hoping that my heartbeat and tummy would settle down. This morning I have the metalic taste that I notice after a high sugar intake. It's no wonder half the kids have ADHD these days.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Today I Went Off Plan

I ate off plan all day today, not a lot, but I did eat the very worst foods for me, cheese and chips. It just goes to show that one should be prepared. I can manage when I am at home and even when I go out for half a day. But today for some reason I couldn't be bothered making the necessary preparations. I left home earlier than I had planned and my breakfast was the usual oatmeal. Later I felt hungry around 2.30 pm and I could not find anything ETL friendly to eat. There were a lot of foods that were vegan, but most were swimming in oil. I settled for two bananas I bought with me and two very small pieces of chocolate. These settled my hunger and unsettled my digestive system both at the same time. After this I was not a pleasure to be with. I had my first real bout of gassy tummy since I started McDougalling in May this year.Unfortunately this kept up all evening and my tummy bloated so much that I had to keep pulling up my zipper.
It was so silly, because I had taken a salad with me and cloaked it in the members area of the showgrounds. Later there was a members reception with food platters, drinks and icecreams. I was pretty good though, I mainly ate the dried fruit off the cheese platters, some hot chips and I ate half an icecream, so it could have been worse. I also ate some nuts, allowable on the Fuhrman plan, but I ate too many of them and to make matters worse, some were coated in sugar.
I kept telling myself that one cannot be perfect all the time. But my better side was not buying it. Tomorrow I will be prepared and I will eat whatever I take with me. In fact I shall insist that I do.
I only hope I will listen to me tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Eating Yes, ETL Maybe!

After just twelve weeks eating nutrient dense foods I realised that I am not eating according to plan, or even eating enough food. Somehow the 1 pound of raw leafy green salads have been replaced by beans and rice and I am not achieving the 1 pound of cooked greens,nuts and ground flaxseed either.
How can I expect to get excellent results if I am not following the recommendations to the letter? I guess because I am small and because I am already at my ideal weight, I find it difficult to remain focused.
I meant to reform my food intake today, but I was out late and didn't eat any lunch. My biggest problem is that my sister Judith and I share a pot full of oats in the cold weather. I get up at 7 am and she gets up at 9. As she has a gastric problem she has to take a pill half an hour before eating. So I don't get my breakfast before 10 o'clock. This is far to late for me to establish a good routine. I should have a green smoothie or juice at seven. This would help increase my raw green vegetable intake a lot.
I simply must make sure I get enough nutrients every day, or else my weight will suffer along with my health. we hear a lot about how hard it is to lose weight. It is also hard to eat enough to maintain a healthy weight. To those who want to lose a hundred pounds or so, this must seem a trivial problem. However for me it really is.

Monday, October 1, 2007

All The Food At The Fair

Don't you just love the healthy food in the picture BBQ lamb, chips and coke (click to enlarge).

Of all the high fat food available at the show and there is plenty, not much has passed my lips, which I find amazing. I have sampled a few thing that in days gone by I would have eaten my fill. However these days I really don't want to eat the stuff. As Dr John McDougall said " I have feasted enough in my life and now I simply want to eat good, fresh and nutritious foods.
Jacquie bought some hot potato wedges today and I had one, without the sour cream. I was amazed at how much fat it held. Jacquie said that's the way she likes them. The funny thing is, once you start eating them, they just taste delicious no matter how greasy they are.
I spent my money on a beautifully crafted bag from Indonesia instead. I was happy about that.
I also spent a quite hour watching the cattle judging. There is something about cows (and bulls) that I love. They are peaceful creatures. Even as a kid on the farm, we loved spending time with them and having the calves suck our fingers.
I am not sure if I want to go tomorrow. Somehow I think I will give it a miss and look forward to having a great day there on Wednesday instead.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

One of my friends sent me this picture. I can't remember who that was, but it really is a beautiful scene, taken with a fisheye lens.

The Country Comes To Town

Hooray it's Show time again. Every Spring the country comes to the city. The Perth Royal Show is a time when the whole state brings it's produce to town as the Royal Agricultural Society list events for produce and livestock.
This year I have a multiple entry pass and I can go as often as I like. This is great because there is so much to see, that I need several days to see everything and there are different events each day.
Yesterday I met Aly and Jax there and we wandered around for several hours. I found out that they dislike going to see the animals with me, so I will go alone one day and spend several glorious hours alone with the livestock. However this also has a sad side, as several classes are judged first on them on the hoof and as carcases. It is sad to realise some of these beautiful animals are raised solely for eating.
There is food of every type available. Over the last several years there has been a trend toward providing a healthier option. One major supermarket provides a whole pavillon featuring fresh foods. There, my favourites are the strawberries and grilled mushrooms and if I am feeling decadent, the chocolate dipped strawbs too.
Jax went yesterday to buy her showbags. Again just about everything is available in them; chocolates, sweets, toys, soft drinks, football club memorabillia, Aussie flags, etc. Of course the choice is small if one follows a healthy lifestyle. But there are some things that I can only buy at the Show. Solarfruits products fall into this catagory. Solarfruits are located in the orchard country and they produce the best natural sun dried fruit leathers. They add only minimal preservatives and these are the nicest I have ever tasted. Just 99% pure fruit and 1% preservative dried naturally outdoors on special tables.
I am going to buy an Aussie bag and out it away until the Red Bull Air Race and/or Australia Day in January. Then everyone dress in the silliest way imaginable. As both of these event occur locally for me, I shall be there wearing a green and gold umbrella hat and wrapped in the Aussie flag. My footy team has a bag too and I just might get one of these. Yesterday I bought a great sun hat, pics will be posted later. Sufficent to say that my colour consultant sells a similar product for $90. The one I purchased was only $18.
Fancy finding a bargain at the show!

Saturday, September 29, 2007

A Sheepdog's Trials

I have seen many dogs driving sheep. However this is definitely a first. A sheepdog herding ducks and not just any ducks either. Little black ducks wearing coats and hats is something that I have never seen before. These little fellows were at the Perth Royal Show today. I simply could not resist posting their picture.

The Value of Community

To me the values I cherish most reflect the community in which I live. Sadly this much needed aspect of life has diminished in recent times. Here in my street I no longer know the names of my near neighbours. Most live insular lives and perhaps I do too. When my mother moved into this suburb in the 1960s, she knew almost everyone who lived in this part of the street. They were in most part friends and would have wonderful parties in each others homes. Now people scurry indoors when anyione approaches. People worry about protecting their property and see everyone as a threat.
This is why I value community so much. Being older means I no longer have the community connections that come from having children living at home. Schools, P&C meeting, gym clubs, etc are all a wonderful way to meet people. Being in the 'aged' catagory can be very isolating in itself.
Lately I have been having trouble hearing. Instead of getting sympathetic responses, I am usually met with impatience. This morning I did not understand what my daughter was saying on the phone. After making several attempts to guess what she was saying, she responded with an "oh mother" statement. This has the effect of making me feel less than valued. I want to laugh that I mis-hear, while not stictly funny, I don't want it to be serious either. After this, I want to scream. Not hearing well is making me an outsider in my group.
One thing I love in the Age of Technology is the way I can link with like minded people all over the world, while sitting at my keyboard. I like having 'friends' in far away places. I value their wisdom, sense of place and above all their friendship.
As one gets older, one loses touch with so many people. No one replaces them and I cling to my family to try to retain my sense of self. Perth is one of the fasted growing cities in Australia. The place I grew up in is hardly recognisable to me anymore and my neighbours are likely to be of a different ethnic origin. Sometime I don't even feel Australian. Western Australia has a desert, the Nullabour Plain, separating us from the Eastern States. There they look out across the Pacific to other Rim countries like the United States and Japan. Here on the Indian Ocean, we are almost as close to Asia as we are to Sydney. It seems as though our Prime Minister often forget this too. After the Boxing Day Tsunami in 2003, he, John Howard sent a message of condolence to the Indian Ocean nations containing this remarkable statement, " I send my deepest sympathies to these countries, while we are not an Indian Ocean nation..." Where the heck does he think we are? How can the leader of the country forget about us here in the West?
Age may bring many rewards, but for me I am increasingly finding it isolating. I am no longer linked to my community by work or play. I find it hard to understand those I love and I feel devalued when I am scolded for not understanding .
So, as I mentioned earlier. I thank all my friends on the cyber highway. Those who respond to my often very silly posts. People in diverse places like Jane in the UK and Robert and Laurie in the US. These people who are linked by the power of words, lifestyles and beliefs now form my community. I shall never meet most and to me that is not as important as just knowing that they care and offer their support, friendship and love.
Thank you one and all, Jocelyn

Friday, September 28, 2007

Colour, a Vibrant World

I read in Eat To Live that primates, that includes us humans, are the only animals that can taste sweet foods and see in colour. I am so sorry for the other creatures, how drab their world must be, I know some birds see colours very differently to us, as they have whole colour spectrums they cannot see ( as do we) This fact I discovered when studying botany some time ago.
Luckily for me, my colour vision is excellent and the glorious array of colours makes such a huge difference in my life. Here in Perth we have wonderful blue skies, while in Singapore their skies have a dull heat haze. Although I guess that varies at different times of the year and whether it is a monsoon season or not. Somehow the bright blue hue makes me fell more alive.
Yesterday Aly and I revisited our wonderful colour consultants, where we had a free make-up session the day before. I finally decided to throw caution to the wind and buy a full kit in my "season's colours of Winter". the kit cost $345 dollars for all the make-up I need. It does not include any skin care products though. I think that this kit will last me several years, perhaps as many as 10 years.
For my money I got a plastic shell with 10 eye shadows, 2 powders, 6 blushes, 3 lipsticks, 1 mascara, 1 concealer, 1 lip liner, 1 eye liner and a set of 5 good quality brushes and one bottle of foundation liguid make-up. The only itenm that was not incuded was a brow pencil. What a bargain!
Our consultant, Lyn was less than happy to see us as I failed to make an appointment. That woman expects everything to be scheduled. I know she is a really nice person, it's just that she like to be organised, very organised and I am a more spur of the moment person. Aly of course takes up a lot of room in her wheelchair. Unfortunately the shop is very small, so you can see the problem. Yesterday there was the pair of us and 4 customers all crammed into a very small space, plus staff.
Anyway I bought my kit and now I am very happy. I learnt a lot about how to apply the products the day before and asked for a face chart to take home. Imagine getting to the magic age og sixty six and never having had a make up lesson before. Gosh I am really breaking new ground.
I first met the wonderful crew at Your Colours, in Perth back about 20 years ago. One day I woke up feeling fat and looking dreadful. My clothes were all the latest fashion colours, expensive, but they did nothing for me. When I looked in the mirror, a fat frumpy lady looked back at me. Later that day I saw an advertisement for a colour consultant that had just opened a shop in Bon Marche Arcade in the city. So I decided to make an appointment and went off to see what it was all about. I think it cost me $120 then, which was a lot of mony. But I was desperate and I willing to try anything. Well, what a great decision that was. I went and found the colours I had been buying were not what I should have been wearing. I found I needed to turn my back on fashion and buy what suited me and only what suits me. I learnt that If I bought classic styles, I could wear them year after year and better still, all my colours would mix and match perfectly.
I was made to feel so special and once the colour decision was made, based on skin undertones, I was made up in my season's colours and shown how to combine the palette. I was given a beautiful little leather wallet full of my own seasons swatches that I could take shopping. That small leather wallet still resides in my purse all these years later. Thank goodness it was not in my handbag that was stolen a few years ago. For some reason I had taken it out the day before and put it on my bedside table.
I have never made a fashion colour mistake since that day and I love all of my clothes. I look so good in the strong vibrant winter colours. Even more so as my hair is greying. Who would have thought that I would discover that my favourite colour is hot pink? Most women my age wear drab colours, because they think bright ones are not for them. That is so sad.
It is strange how just the colour of our clothes can make one more confident person. I was so chuffed that both my daughters have had their colours "done" and now I want to send my grandaughter Lori off to have hers done too. Aly is hoping she is a different season to her (Winter) so she can claim her make-up kit back from her. My kit is bound to last a lot loger than hers, because my daughter has one of her own.
To all those lovely ladies out there who need a confidence boost. Consider checking in with a local colour consultant. Although it is expensive. Your season remains constant your whole life long and pays for itself when you don't make mistakes. It saves time when shopping too as I can see at a glance if anything in my colour is on the racks. I make a beeline for the colours that I wear. Yesterday I bought 3 item on sale for just $39, yippee.
Colour plays an important part in my healthy lifestyle. Who says It's all just about food?

Thursday, September 27, 2007

A fun Day Out and a Frank Oz Film

I want to stress that there is more to life than living to eat, even eating to live. Nothing compares to having fun with a much loved family member. My daughter Aly decided to have a free make-up at our wonderful colour consultant's office in Perth. Not to be outdone, I said I wanted one too (of course) Aly and I have similar tastes and we love what each other gets, or does. So much so that I tell her just to buy two whenever she gets some new toy. So off we went to our make-up session. I had my hair cut the other day and felt wonderful. I decided that I could look good at sixty six after a bit of work and that I should apply the essential products whenever I go out.
Next Aly went off for an eye test for her driving assessment the next day, so I wandered around and found some great clothing bargains that I want to get today.
After that was over we ended up at one of the local cinema complexes and saw what turned out to be one of the funniest films I have seen in ages; the Frank Oz film, Death at a Funeral. This was a roll-around-on-the floor-laughing-my-arse-off black comedy. At one stage I was shrieking with laughter. I tried to stop, but noticed that everyone else was howling with laughter too, so I stopped worrying. My whole body was on overdrive with mirth and what a lovely experience that was. Life here has been pretty tough for the last five or so years for the pair of us. What a lovely way to release tension. Well done Frank Oz!
There was also a funny side that only the two of us got. The film was about how a bottle of 'pills' was to blame for the whole debacle at the funeral. Aly has the debillitating pain condition, Complex Regional Pain Syndrome and takes various medications in an effort to control the pain. This include largish quantities of ketamine, a powerful veterinary drug also sold on the streets as Special K. In the film, the pills in question contained, among other things, this drug. A little later Aly got something out of her purse and popped it in her mouth and I put my hand out thinking it was a breath mint. Instead she whispered to me that it was methadone! I got the giggles and saw the funny side. Thankfully she does not react the same way as the characters in the flick.
To end a great day, her taxi driver Russell picked us up and deposited me at my doorstep and I was home by 9pm.
Thanks Aly, thanks Russell and thanks to Qantas Frequent Flyer promotion, for the free preview tickets. It was Oztastic in every sense of the word.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Reducing My Meds, Yippee!

Yesterday I went to the doctors office to see if I could reduce my asthma medication. A couple of years ago I was prescribed Pulmicort for my servere wheezing. My sister was still smoking at the time and I could not shake off the bouts of breathlessness. My diet then was also less than perfect, with a lot of fat, some dairy and bread. Lots of bread and white bread to boot.
Now over 2 years later I am dealing with mouth and throat problems that stem from a high dose of inhaled steroids, namely recurrent oral candida.
I have decided that I am going to attend the Mends Street Medical Practise and make Dr Li EE my practitioner. I have been without a doctor ever since my own physician sent me my medical records neatly bundled in an envelope and announced that she was closing her practise. No other explanation was forthcoming. I wondered if she had some terrible disease that forced her to take such drastic action. But no one I have asked has heard anything along those lines. They just say she simply closed up and left, leaving a lot of really elderly patients bewildered and without medical care.
Anyway I discussed dropping my inhaler from 800 ug twice a day, to 600 ug twice a day with Dr LI. To my amazement, she suggested cutting it down still further and using my bronchial dilator in the middle of the day if necessary. I could have hugged her. What a sensible lass she is and I am now happy about seeing her regulary.
The nice thing about going to see her is that it is such a lovely part of the suburb. Mends Street in South Perth, is directly across the river from the city and the ferries leave from the jetty at the bottom of the street. The medical centre itself is in an old turn of the century (20th century) building and is relatively untouched. I noticed yesterday that they have taken the old historic backboards out of the window to let in more light. This is a shame as this was an original part of the building. It's still a lovely place and suits the village environment of Mends Street perfectly.

Click on the picture above and you will see the weeds growing in the gutters. I wonder what happens when it rains. Maybe it still has turn of the century downpipes too.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Sadly Gluten Free

It's a sad thing, but now I find I have to avoid foods containing gluten if I want my digestive woes to go away. For years I have been addicted to bakery goods. I adored anything that contained copious amounts of flour, especially bread. To me, there is no better aroma than the smell of fresh bread baking in an oven. I am drawn to baker's shops and those quaint dark little cake shops in St Kilda, ( a suburb of Melbourne) Somehow I never associated the bloating and burping with bread. I think I never wanted to. I did have a blood test done once and it came back clear. However everytime I eat anything with flour in, the same set of symptoms kick in.
My doctor suggested staying away from bread if I thought it was the culprit. Later another doctor told me that I have a cluster of illnesses now thought to be associated with gluten intolerance; asthma, osteoporosis, migraines and constipation that together suggest a gluten problem. I do not think I have celiac Disease though as this causes other more noticable problems.
Sometimes I just wonder if it is the wheat that we now grow for milling. When I was a kid I often stayed on a wheat and sheep farm in the Western Australian wheatbelt town of Koorda. There the wheat was so high that it came up to my chin as I ran through it. Now it would hardly reach my knees and no, it's not because I have grown. Wheat varieties are now shorter and they are higher in protein too. When I was a kid there where very few additives added to bread dough. Now flour is just one of ten or more ingredients listed on the label. Improvers, acidifers, finishing agents, added gluten, preservatives, all ensure allergy prone people have at least a few problems with eating bread.
In the 1940's and 1950's bread got stale and could only be used for toast the second day. Now here, some bakers only bake once a week and bread sold in this state, actually comes from Victoria.
Sometimes a gluten problem can be funny. A couple of months ago, my daughter Aly and I were having tea in Sizzlers. After carefully scrutinizing the salad bar menu, I selected some pumpkin soup for a starter. I only took a few spoonfuls when I realised that it was made from a packet mix and not from fresh ingredients. A short time later I burped very loudly. A little boy, around six years old looked at me with admiration and said "that was a big mans burp". His mother was horrified, but I thought it was funny. Here is this sixty six year old woman emitting burps that make our kids proud. My grandson Nathan thinks its cool. It is probably the only thing about me that is!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Eat to Live = Nutrient Dense Foods

The foods featured in this eating plan are unrefined, nutrient dense foods that contain maximun nutrients per calorie. Foods such as leafy greens, vegetables, fruit, beans, nuts and seeds are the backbone of this way of eating. Other foods such as dairy, meat, fats salts and sugar are discarded or allowed in limited quantities only.

Eating for health, rather than for fun is something I needed to work on. While I may love to eat certain foods such as icecreams, cakes, chocolates and hot chips, the aftermath of eating these foods is quite frankly, not worth the discomfort.

Asthma, headaches/migraines, obesity, lethagy, depression are all made worse by a bad diet. Now having changed my basic foods, I find I get fewer bouts of depression and headaches. Dairy was always a trigger for my breathing difficulties and I can only eat these products in limited quantities, if at all.

Luckily for me I changed to a vegetarian diet over 20 years ago. This was funny because I had always been a big meat eater and a avoided vegetables at all cost. How things have changed. I now love green veggies and cannot tolerate the smell of meat cooking. Just contemplating eating the greasy flesh makes my stomach churn.

Fruit is by far my favourite food ever. I love it fresh and raw. The only fruit that's improved by cooking, in my opinion are apples, laden with spices. Cooked in this way, they are a taste of Heaven on Earth.

Beans presented a much bigger problem. After following a raw food diet for some time, I could not get my head around eating large quantities of beans. But time and practise helps with all things. Now I quite look forward to a plate of bean stew, or soup. Given that the weather has been cold here lately, beans have played an important part in my diet. As the days get warmer, I guess I will eat more salads. My favourite salad features avocado and is topped with grilled portobello mushrooms. this was my one big cheat when I was a raw fooder. No matter what the weather was like, I would always feel warm and cheered after eating this combination. Other bean products like as tofu and soy milk, are ok in limited amounts.

The huge amounts of leafy greens required on this diet is rather alarming. I mean, how can I eat a pound of cooked greens as well as a pound of raw ones? I would have to hire an extra stomach from somewhere, lol. Nevertheless, I continue to try to reach at least part of that total.

Nuts and seeds, needed for the goodness of their omega 3 fatty acids, are something I struggle with. Even soaked, they still present problems with my digestion. One thing I have noticed with being Seriously Sixty, is that I cannot take the liberties with food that I once took. I am prone to constipation and I have to be somewhat careful when it comes to eating large quantities of nuts.

This plan also realises that we live in the real world, where copious amounts of food is ever present and much of it is great tasting junk. So allowing 10% of total daily foods to come from non-recommended sources, makes life interesting. Most of the time I don't want the built in cheat, but it is nice to be able to indulge in my own addiction, peanut butter. Sometimes I add in some brown rice to my dishes, but only 1/2 a cupful at a time. This adds the fibre I need to help my sluggish digestion.

I wonder if I am alone in this, but I think, study, read so much about food and I spend very little time in actually eating it. Now that really is food for thought.

* Includes other non-starchy vegetables like tomatoes, zucchini, mushrooms etc.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Why I Eat To Live?

Most people think I am obsessed with eating to control my weight. Well they actually think that I obsessed full stop! However they completely miss the point that by eating healthily, I have controlled tha asthma that has plagued me since I had the first attack at the tender age of fourteen months. During my teens I spent an average of one week per month in bed unable to breathe enough to speak or walk. It did not help that my mother was a heavy smoker either. This was in the 1950s and then no one linked smoking with health problems. It was not until 1986 when I first started eating an almost completely plant based diet, that I finally beat the onset of severe episodes. However no matter how hard I tried, I still have to take some pretty serious medication to control the attacks. On the brighter side, I have not been hospitalised for asthma since 1986.

Now I would dearly love to cut out the dependence on steriod inhalers. Can this be done? Especially since I have scarred lungs from all that wheezing over the decades. I truly believe that if anything can do this, it is a nutrient dense eating plan and for me that plan is Eat To Live

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Wow How Did This Happen

The other morning I woke up and looked in the mirror. Looking back at me was this older woman who was definitely in her 60's. She seemed as puzzled as I did about the whole situation. I asked her what she was doing there in my mirror, but she just frowned at me.

Ok so I know that at age 66 I have been in my 60s for some time. But not seriously sixty looking.I guess it comes to all of us at one time or another, but I have managed to tell myself that I am doing so much better than everybody else and that the results show. After all, I continually edit my lifestyle and try to keep refining and improving my diet and I somehow expected the results to show on the outside, hence my bewilderment on looking in the mirror that morning.

I will freely admit that I have wild hair and now it desperately needs cutting. I am also thankful that I bought some new make-up the day before. Now if I could just remember where I put it.... only joking I tossed it on the floor when I went to bed that night. Not that I am untidy, I just try to live in one room in my sisters house. The rest of the house is very small and overfilled with her possesions. I think the term "overfilled" is nicer than saying it is cluttered. Now of course my bedroom is too.

I share my room with my companion, Inkypuss, who some people unkinder than me, might call a cat. She is grey, dignified and feisty and has bitten me more times than I can remember. But we co-exist and each has grudging respect of the other.

Recently I changed my diet from vegan raw foods, to an Eat To Live one. This lifestyle is championed and perfected by Dr Joel Fuhrman from New Jersey. He is one of the few physicians who treat medical conditions by nutritional excellence and movement, rather than using drugs. It's still vegan though. When I first read the e-book I thought that it was just a raw diet with a few cooked dishes tossed in to make it saleable to the mass market. Now over two months later, I realise he has tweaked it to give even better results than a pure raw food one. I know rawfoodists will never agree with me, but I like it.

Anyway that is enough of an introduction, apart from adding that I am a hopeless Blogger and mine always look amateurish when compared to the ones my grandaughter Jacquie creates. Oh By the way,
Happy 15th Birthday Jax!