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!