Tuesday, 28 March 2017

WHY SUGAR AND I CAN NEVER BE FRIENDS

Before I quit sugar the first time I had started to turn a deathly shade of grey.  I ate all day long, anything that I could get my hands on.  My stomach was as round as a football, I frequently doubled over in pain.  Even my closest friends began to suspect I had a secret eating disorder as my weight continued to plummet.  I was so fatigued that I needed to take several naps a day.  This was my life, day in, day out for several years. Unsurprisingly it was soon accompanied by deep depression, a hole so dark that I wasn't sure I would ever claw my way back out. During this time I visited countless doctors, soothsayers, potion makers, specialists and healers.  Everybody had a different diagnoses, everybody offered a different cure and yet my condition stayed the same. Eventually I decided I had had enough, I was not going to continue living my life like this, so I made a pact. I bought a one way ticket to Germany, the last place I had felt happy and well.  With a strength I hadn't known for a long time, I decided to give myself a year in which to do everything in my power to get well. And so my journey to recovery began.

Through the help of an amazing doctor in Germany (to whom I will be forever grateful) it was discovered that my body was over run with candida.  Candida is one of those sneaky illness' caused by an imbalance in the gut that can wreck havoc with your body. The Candida Diet website describes candida as being 'a pathogen that takes advantage of a disruption in the balance of microorganisms in your gut'.  Candida thrives on sugar and yeast.  In my case it was literally eating up everything I was consuming, leaving my body in a malnutrition
state.  The week after visiting this doctor, I left on a two month backpacking adventure through Spain and Portugal with several close friends.  The whole time I carted around a small bag of homeopathic remedies to help begin the process of taming the candida and repairing the damage it had done.  The combination of the right medication, the warm Mediterranean climate and great company slowly lifted me out of my hole.  My the end of the two month adventure I had piled on some much needed weight, my skin was glowing and my smile was huge. However it took my several setbacks to realise that as somebody prone to candida, I needed to make some permanent lifestyle changes.

Like most people, I was consuming sugar without really realising it.  I would drink a glass of orange juice at breakfast, a hot chocolate in the afternoon, a bakery treat every other day (because it's hard not to when you're in Germany!).  Before hitting town on the weekends we would knock back a few vodka redbulls and I always stored a couple of muesli bars in my bag in case I got hungry.  I didn't consider my diet to be particularly healthy, but I also wasn't eating bags of lollies and ice cream everyday either.  It wasn't until I had moved back to New Zealand to study but was also working two jobs, and dare I say it partying rather hard, that I found my health spiraling out of control again.  When I contacted my doctor in Germany he immediately suggested a strict no sugar/ white flour/ yeast/ alcohol/ fruit diet.  In doing this the candida is literally starved back into submission.

Quitting sugar cold turkey sends your body into a tornado of withdrawal symptoms not unlike that of a drug addict.  Not only are you fighting an incredible craving for anything sweet but you're also feeling the physical side effects as you detox.  The first time I did this I thought I was on deaths door.  My head ached, my body ached, I went from having constipation to diarrhea and back again, I was so fatigued I could barely function and worst of all were the toxins seeping out of my body in any way they could.  I literally smelt like a damp tea towel that had been left in a corner to collect mildew.  My eyes watered, my nose ran and I was constantly in a cold sweat. Thankfully this didn't last for long.  After a couple of weeks I began noticing immense changes, it was as though a veil had been lifted from over me.  Suddenly my mind was crystal clear, a would wake in the morning bursting with energy and enthusiasm for the day, my cravings for anything sugary had completely disappeared and my senses were alert.  I felt super human.  I swore never to put anything bad into my body again! 

Of course over time I slipped back into bad habits, particularly in times of stress.  However I made some permanent lifestyle changes that I've held onto ever since.  I never drink sugary drinks anymore, even during setbacks I still only allowed myself to have one sweet treat a day, and I remained in-tune with myself enough to know when the candida was creeping back.  For years now I have done regular sugar free diets in order to steer my body back to its neutral point.  The severity of the detox always differs depending on how bad I've let things get, but the results are the same.

Despite knowing how wonderful it feels not to have a system poisoned by sugar there's no sense in declaring I will never let a grain of it pass my lips again.  I'll continue to indulge in a piece of birthday cake, the occasional Sunday waffles drizzled with maple syrup or a bite of my beloved cream donuts.  However I will never let myself get back to the place I once was.  Not only do I not want to be overcome with candida again, but I also want nothing to do with type two diabetes and all the other lifestyle related diseases that are so common in our society now.  Our bodies work so hard for us and I feel we owe it to them to at least nourish ourselves adequately.


Helpful links:
The Candida Diet 
I Quit Sugar
The Sugar Film
 

WHY SUGAR AND I CAN'T BE FRIENDS


Before I quit sugar the first time I had started to turn a deathly shade of grey.  I ate all day long, anything that I could get my hands on.  My stomach was as round as a football, I frequently doubled over in pain.  Even my closest friends began to suspect I had a secret eating disorder as my weight continued to plummet.  I was so fatigued that I needed to take several naps a day.  This was my life, day in, day out for several years. Unsurprisingly it was soon accompanied by deep depression, a hole so dark that I wasn't sure I would ever claw my way back out. During this time I visited countless doctors, soothsayers, potion makers, specialists and healers.  Everybody had a different diagnoses, everybody offered a different cure and yet my condition stayed the same. Eventually I decided I had had enough, I was not going to continue living my life like this, so I made a pact. I bought a one way ticket to Germany, the last place I had felt happy and well.  With a strength I hadn't known for a long time, I decided to give myself a year in which to do everything in my power to get well. And so my journey to recovery began.

Through the help of an amazing doctor in Germany (to whom I will be forever grateful) it was discovered that my body was over run with candida.  Candida is one of those sneaky illness' caused by an imbalance in the gut that can wreck havoc with your body. The Candida Diet website describes candida as being 'a pathogen that takes advantage of a disruption in the balance of microorganisms in your gut'.  Candida thrives on sugar and yeast.  In my case it was literally eating up everything I was consuming, leaving my body in a malnutrition
state.  The week after visiting this doctor, I left on a two month backpacking adventure through Spain and Portugal with several close friends.  The whole time I carted around a small bag of homeopathic remedies to help begin the process of taming the candida and repairing the damage it had done.  The combination of the right medication, the warm Mediterranean climate and great company slowly lifted me out of my hole.  My the end of the two month adventure I had piled on some much needed weight, my skin was glowing and my smile was huge. However it took my several setbacks to realise that as somebody prone to candida, I needed to make some permanent lifestyle changes.

Like most people, I was consuming sugar without really realising it.  I would drink a glass of orange juice at breakfast, a hot chocolate in the afternoon, a bakery treat every other day (because it's hard not to when you're in Germany!).  Before hitting town on the weekends we would knock back a few vodka redbulls and I always stored a couple of muesli bars in my bag in case I got hungry.  I didn't consider my diet to be particularly healthy, but I also wasn't eating bags of lollies and ice cream everyday either.  It wasn't until I had moved back to New Zealand to study but was also working two jobs, and dare I say it partying rather hard, that I found my health spiraling out of control again.  When I contacted my doctor in Germany he immediately suggested a strict no sugar/ white flour/ yeast/ alcohol/ fruit diet.  In doing this the candida is literally starved back into submission.

Quitting sugar cold turkey sends your body into a tornado of withdrawal symptoms not unlike that of a drug addict.  Not only are you fighting an incredible craving for anything sweet but you're also feeling the physical side effects as you detox.  The first time I did this I thought I was on deaths door.  My head ached, my body ached, I went from having constipation to diarrhea and back again, I was so fatigued I could barely function and worst of all were the toxins seeping out of my body in any way they could.  I literally smelt like a damp tea towel that had been left in a corner to collect mildew.  My eyes watered, my nose ran and I was constantly in a cold sweat. Thankfully this didn't last for long.  After a couple of weeks I began noticing immense changes, it was as though a veil had been lifted from over me.  Suddenly my mind was crystal clear, a would wake in the morning bursting with energy and enthusiasm for the day, my cravings for anything sugary had completely disappeared and my senses were alert.  I felt super human.  I swore never to put anything bad into my body again! 

Of course over time I slipped back into bad habits, particularly in times of stress.  However I made some permanent lifestyle changes that I've held onto ever since.  I never drink sugary drinks anymore, even during setbacks I still only allowed myself to have one sweet treat a day, and I remained in-tune with myself enough to know when the candida was creeping back.  For years now I have done regular sugar free diets in order to steer my body back to its neutral point.  The severity of the detox always differs depending on how bad I've let things get, but the results are the same.

Despite knowing how wonderful it feels not to have a system poisoned by sugar there's no sense in declaring I will never let a grain of it pass my lips again.  I'll continue to indulge in a piece of birthday cake, the occasional Sunday waffles drizzled with maple syrup or a bite of my beloved cream donuts.  However I will never let myself get back to the place I once was.  Not only do I not want to be overcome with candida again, but I also want nothing to do with type two diabetes and all the other lifestyle related diseases that are so common in our society now.  Our bodies work so hard for us and I feel we owe it to them to at least nourish ourselves adequately.


Helpful links:
The Candida Diet 
I Quit Sugar
The Sugar Film
 

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

INTERNATIONAL BREAKFAST


I'm sitting here in front of my semi burnt toast feeling uninspired.  Not even the thick layer of butter and the creamy mush of avocado on top can disguise the fact that this is an unfulfilling start to the day.  I know without a doubt that 20 minutes after I've finished breakfast my poor old gut is going to be rumbling and the kiddo's are going to start asking if it's morning tea time yet.  I've had my doubts about a Western breakfast for quite a while now.  I've been paying attention to the less than ideal cycle it gets us into, toast or sugary cereal  leads to sudden rise in blood sugar levels, leads to crash, leads to unhealthy snacking all day etc etc. Rather than feeling comfortably full and satisfied we just always have our noses in the pantry.

On the whole we're a pretty healthy bunch.  The majority of our fruit and vegetables come either from our vege garden or from our amazing vege guy at the local Sunday market, we use spelt flours, keep away from processed foods and try to make sure that most other foods we consume are organic.  Yet Ayana and I both suffer from regular bouts of candida, we all have a grumbling gut and we're always living with brain fog.  So we thought we might embark on a fun little experiment.  We've decided to begin the day with miso soups and grilled fish like in Japan, dahl curries from India, Moroccan fried eggs, Irish boxty pancakes, Peruvian noodle soups, and whatever else takes our fancy.  Obviously this will take some meal planning and may not be possible on days when we have to be out of the house at 830am but I'd like to try it at least a couple of times a week.

Nic gifted me Little Tables last year which is full of inspiring recipes and the most beautiful images so that's where we're planning to begin our breakfast journey. 

Well as predicted in the time it has taken me to write this little post my stomach has decided it could really do with some morning tea so I'm off to snoop around in the fridge for dinner leftovers.
xx

Monday, 18 July 2016

WINTER GARDEN


Funny I woke up this morning (545am... thank you Nico!) with an incredible urge to throw together a blog post. 
How this past year has flown by!  It's like we blinked and suddenly we're counting down the last weeks of winter again, our sweet newborn is nearly a rambunctious toddler and our little Ayana is a kindergartner who dresses herself and demands tutu's at all hours of the morning.  For us the first year of babyhood seems to be pure sleep deprived survival and everything else gets pushed aside.  Of course it's a case of accepting it, knowing it'll pass and trying to be kind to ourselves in the process but it's not always easy.  One of the last things to get our attention during this time is our garden.  In fact that's an understatement, our garden has been horribly, horribly neglected... again!  We managed to pull back enough weeds in early winter to throw a few plants in the ground but they're looking very sad and I suspect only the strongest will survive.  Although we like to pretend, Nic and I aren't exactly green fingered.  Sure we like the idea of being self sustainable and growing our own food but the truth is we enjoy our weekly trip to the Sunday farmers market even more (especially when it includes a coffee date and a play at the beach afterwards).  As for the chickens, well the wee chicks we adopted just before Ayana was born provided us with the eggs we needed, retired and then eventually passed away.  My mum (who lives next door) recently got some new ones and it has been a relief to have somebody to feed our compost scraps to again (throwing them in the bin felt very strange and wow I had no idea how fast that fills up your rubbish bag!).  Plus while they're laying well we benefit from a bounty of fresh eggs. 
Gosh well this has been a rambling first post, it feels a lot like when you catch up with a long lost friend and although there should be a lot to talk about there are some awkward silences in the initial conversation! Sharing our personal lives on the internet has always made me feel a little uncomfortable, but then again having these times documented and being able to look through the years is so beautiful.  So we'll see how we go and what path this dear blog of mine is going to take.  Either way it's nice to be back. xx

Friday, 6 November 2015

NEW LIFE

The last time I wrote a post here Autumn was just beginning to turn into winter, the leaves had changed colour and my belly was expanding.  As I sit here now six months later, nature is exploding with colour and life again, I have a sweet, chubby little babe at my breast and am adjusting to life as a mother of two (well three if you include the puppy that has also joined our family).

After weeks of being told she would come early, little Miss Nico Amelie arrived exactly on her due date.  She was born at home in our bed after what I can only describe as a pretty fast and easy labour/ birth (well you know, as 'easy' as you can call labour). From the moment she was born I had this overwhelming sense of feeling complete, and that our little family felt complete.  What ever happens in life now I've got my little crew. This has really had me thinking over the past couple of months and put some pretty major things into perspective... which I'm going to share in the next post!  I just really wanted to touch base after such a long break.
xx

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

BACK ON TRACK

There has been something very different about this pregnancy.  Right from the beginning I have been plagued with incredible fatigue, unlike anything I experienced with Ayana.  Everyday feels like I'm just living for the next chance to lay my head on the pillow and get carried off into a deep slumber, only to wake up feeling no less refreshed.  I've been cranky, emotional and altogether not much fun to be around.  Something just hasn't felt right.  So my midwife finally sent me off to get my bloods checked again, only to determine that my B12 had dropped to extremely low levels.  After a slight panic attack (thanks for nothing Dr Google) I went to visit my own doctor and had the first of three B12 shots.  It's only been a couple of days but already I can feel some life flowing back into me.  I still have a little while to go but what a relief it is to be functioning like a semi normal person again.

Anyway I really do miss this blog and hope I can start writing here more often again (or you know, for the next 3 months before the little one arrives and I'm probably too exhausted again!).  And also my apologise to everybody who hasn't recieved email replies etc from me lately, I'm starting to work through the list!
xx
P.S That last photo is of the cow charging down the hill to greet me.  Believe me you've never seen a pregnant lady jump a fence so fast!

Thursday, 30 April 2015

RAGLAN (A MID-WEEK GETAWAY)

When I was young I used to love getting lost in the world of Enid Blyton books, particularly the ones where children run away to join the circus.  I would lay in bed at night pretending I was snuggled up in my old wooden caravan while outside the circus folk were cooking sausages over a crackling fire and playing the guitar.  Somehow that dream has never really left me! 

The minute we unlocked the creaky old door to our overnight train I knew at least part of my fantasy was coming true!  I had actually been wanting to stay at Solscape in Raglan for years now because they have these amazing tipi's in the bush.  As fate would have it though they were going to prove much too cold to sleep in at this time of year so I reluctantly checked out their other accommodation option... earth domes, cabooses,  eco baches and *gasp* a 17 metre long original train carriage!!  SOLD!  We spent a cosy evening inside cooking up a feast while outside the wind howled and the rain pelted at the windows, even the lighting and thunder that woke us in the night somehow only added to the magic.

Raglan itself is a pretty stunning place.  It's a small town about two hours out of Auckland that is nestled in between a rugged coastline and a huge harbour.  From all accounts there are two reasons why people move here, to surf and/ or to do yoga!  All the locals know each other and life moves at it's own pace.  It's safe to say that we fell in love with this little place almost instantly.  We'll also definitely be coming back to Solscape over summer to try out the tipi's.
x