It’s been a while since I’ve posted properly or with any regularity here…the past 3 years have seen me lose my mum, become a mum twice over, and adjust to all that in between raising two kids and supporting my husband and finishing off my Institute of Integrative Nutrition Course. I must confess there hasn’t been a lot of time to ‘Nurture’ this Mother in between the chaos and fun that is life! I first started writing this blog as I became fascinated with health and wellness and wanted to understand what really made us sick. And what I could do to support my mum as she was facing a tough cancer battle. It helped plant the seed for so much of my own personal discovery into health and wellness, and what I could do to really thrive and feel great, not just survive. It seems everyone is busy, everyone is ‘time-poor’ and although we are working harder than ever we are sicker than ever and more exhausted than ever. Dr Libby (drlibby.com) has been a long time mentor for me and it doesn’t surprise me that her game-changing book “Rushing Women’s Syndrome” still dominates shelf space. I’m blown away in hind-sight of how relevant it was of me to name this blog Mother Nurture and the focus that I now want to write about is exactly that, nurturing the mother. It’s going to be a goal to post two blogs per month on topics that seem relevant to me at the time, as well as some follow ups on previous articles that I now find more relevant than ever. Like most busy Mum’s I don’t have a lot of spare time but I hope you can find some ‘gold’ in some of the posts on here, and let me know of any feedback, good or bad!
I’ve taken some time out from writing of late, to do the title of this blog, some nurturing of my own dear Mum.
Since her diagnosis last year, she has undergone six months of chemotherapy and then three months ago has had the courage to undergo a revolutionary bone marrow transplant. It’s not an easy transplant, with many risks associated with it. Unfortunately, there were some complications and it did not go as well as we’d like to expect, however our dear Mum put up the most incredible fight and showed more courage and depth of spirit than I could have ever expected of anyone. I have such a huge admiration and the utmost respect for her. Sadly, she lost her battle last month. But, we know that if anyone could have beat it, it would have been my mum.
It’s been a massive journey for us all, and as a daughter and not a doctor there is only so much I can do. But I do believe that it’s the bits we have done as a family are the reason she has made it this far. From the years of support with chemotherapy, love, friendship and above all supporting her and her wishes for treatment, we’ve been there. As much as we’d like a different result, it is what it is. And in this last month, the incredible ties that have bound our amazing family together have been monumental. What a legacy she has left behind. How in awe I am of her. And how blessed I am that we have been there with her for this journey. Apart from the obvious of taking her food and green smoothies (!), and visiting her everyday, we have given her comfort, we have become knowledgeable in the entire BMT subject area, we’ve arranged masseuses so she too can have a little bit of her own nurturing, friends have come by, we’ve sat with her and most of all, loved, supported and nurtured her.
There will not be a day that goes by that I won’t think of my dear Mum. And I already miss her dreadfully. But, I’m aware that she was such a special lady, I believe she has done all she can for this lifetime, no doubt already she is busy in the next lifetime, doing amazing things elsewhere, making other people smile and feel special. And I can’t wait to see her again one day.
Thanks for your support on this blog. I plan to get back into it, and discover a bit more and share here about my own health journey as time marches on.
About a month ago I was lucky enough to spend one glorious week at Gwinganna resort in the Gold Coast Hinterland with my amazing Mum. It’s called a ‘Lifestyle’ retreat, but known lovingly as a health retreat by friends and converts alike. Gwinganna is a special special place. If you find yourself ever able to, I would advise you to go there at least once in your lifetime. It changes something in you. All that I have written, thought and executed in my ‘healthy’ life, was realised and actualised in the week at Gwinganna. So many of the questions for why my body responded in a certain way were answered. The science and education was such an interesting and enlightening experience for me. (So much so that I want to take this study further.) Previously I have mentioned how I do not have any qualifications in the health and wellness industry, just a passion and a keen interest. However, I have discovered an amazing course called the Institute of Integrative Nutrition based out of New York, but that is studied online. And…I am thrilled to say I will be starting this course in 2 weeks time! Will look forward to sharing much of my knowledge with you here!
But before I talk about that, I wanted to share my Gwinganna experience with you. As guests of Gwinganna we started the day at 5.30am with a gentle knock on the door, before we get ready and head off to do Qi Gong at 6am as the sun comes up. The morning is a mix of some yin (slow) and yang (hard/ fast) activity as well as a delicious gluten free, dairy free, sugar free breakfast (my heaven!) and then at 11.30am we meet up for the education seminars. We had some truly amazing people lecture us and help us to put the pieces of the ‘wellness’ puzzle together. Lunch is at 1pm and then from 2pm until 6pm there is ‘dream-time‘ where one spends time getting massaged, pummeled and scrubbed in the absolute world class day spa. Life has never felt so good!
After an early dinner, you retire to your gorgeous room, with no tv’s or screens as distraction yo drift into a blissful sleep ready to do it all again tomorrow.
I came home from the week away with some incredibly clarity about health and wellness, some lovely new friends and a feeling of calm that I have never before experienced. I can’t wait to go back one day, and I hope you get the opportunity to also!
About 2 months ago, I went with my mother to the hospital to meet with her doctor about her bone marrow transplant. A massive operation which she will undertake in January. Fingers and toes crossed that this goes well and that her body ‘takes’ the new immune system. More on this later.
The hospital I refer to is the leading cancer hospital where we live. There are many very sick and some dying people in there. No-one wants to be in there having treatment, despite it’s fabulous doctors and facilities. Everyone is aware of their fate and that of their family members. One day in particular, I had planned to just spend a few hours there with Mum but being the way hospitals were we spent the day there having tests, waiting and some more waiting. And as it was, I had to buy my, and my mums, lunch while we there. Do you think I could find one nutritious thing to eat in the canteen? My choices included; fried dim sims, hot chips, donuts, battered fish, thick chicken schnitzel sandwiches and muffins, chocolate bars, coke, buckets of coffee, caramel syrup for milkshakes and other such hideous foods. There was some salad options but this was still very ancient in terms of offering and nothing that was gluten free, dairy free friendly. I was very disappointed in the hospital system that at a place such as a center for cancer treatment, there wasn’t any understanding for a holistic understanding for healing and wellness. It astounds me in this day and age, with all the information available to us, we aren’t doing ‘more’ to help these sick people in our lives. There needs to be more funding, government support and education in understanding the whole picture of returning to wellness.
I know that these sorts of food operations are managed by a contracted supplier that is separate to the hospital doctors itself, but wouldn’t it be wonderful if we lived in a world where organic, healthy, delicious and most importantly nutritious food choices were the norm rather than the exception? And that this became just as important as the western medicine itself? I dream of a world where we look at a persons illness in totality, and aim to heal them holistically.
I’m pleased to say that after 3 months, 2 of them being Winter we have survived as a non-microwave family! Initially, I wasn’t sure how we would cope with quick Winter meals, heating up last nights left overs or defrosting chicken quickly before dinner when I’ve forgot to leave it out to thaw. But, I think we haven’t just survived, we’ve prospered.
Apart from the major plus of us having a heap more bench space to cut, mix, blend, juice and whisk our healthy meals, I’ve also learnt how our grand-parents used to cook, in a time where there was a lot less cancer and disease in general present. Something to consider.
Things I’ve learnt:
1. To thaw meat, fill a bowl with hot but not boiling water and place meat in plastic wrapping in. Leave for 10 minutes. Pour water out and repeat with more fresh hot water until meat begins to thaw. Gradually move the meat a bit and then just keep repeating for as long as you need.
2. Leftover dinner of any combination of vegetables, quinoa, rice etc can be made into a delicious next day meal by cracking an egg and whisking it up, tossing the left over dinner through it and then cooking the new mix together in a fry pan, so it becomes halfway between and omelet and scrambled eggs. A perfect protein packed lunch.
3. Porridge tastes better made on the stove. With coconut cream, frozen blueberries and cinnamon sprinkled on top- breakfast never tasted so good.
4. Asparagus on the grill plate in a bit of coconut oil and chill flakes instead of quickly ‘zapped’ for 30 seconds is a perfect accompaniment for any meal, or a quick and easy snack.
5. Papadums can be cooked on the stove but aren’t good for you anyway. Crunch with curries can be added with roasted cashew nuts or toasted pepitas.
6. Re-heating left over chicken isn’t that good for you anyway. “Zapping” away the salmonella in the microwave was never a good idea!
7. There is a little bit more cleanup with no microwave, but the taste and feeling of not eating food that has been ‘damaged’ makes you feel great!
I wonder if you have adopted this practice as well or if you think I am just plain nuts?!
About 6 months ago I read Sarah Wilson’s eBook- I Quit sugar. It made a lot of sense. I’d heard a lot about giving sugar the flick, and knew about how we are all eating far too much of it, and Sarah’s book explained it simply and succinctly. I had not known that sugar was the only molecule that did not have a corresponding appetite hormone. And that it is added to so many things (like low-fat yoghurt/ milk). Following my reading of this, I paired back my sugar a lot. I was a lot more ‘aware’. Suddenly I noticed sugar everywhere and creeping into everything I ate. Honey. Tomato chutney. Fish sauce. Curry paste. Some obvious, some not. But I didn’t entirely quit. I didn’t think I ate too many sugary things, and when I did it was fresh fruit, dried fruit in muesli and sometimes couple of pieces of dark chocolate after dinner. But if we were out at a great restaurant and there was a great desert (like a chocolate torte or similar!) 50% of the time, I’d ask my husband if he’d like to ‘share’ with me. Which, luckily for me, was never a struggle for him! Slowly I’ve been more aware of sugar and have cut it out where I can. I will choose eggs on toast for breakfast rather than ‘healthy’ muesli, or a have a piece of goats cheese for a snack instead of a banana which I would have done in the past. (Banana’s are 40% fructose – Fructose is the enemy per se, not sugar).
But then just as you think you have your sugar consumption under control, something else happens. One Saturday I went out for lunch with a really fun group of girlfriends, and at the end of a fabulous lunch they all ordered this ‘infamous’ peanut butter chocolate parfait for dessert and I knew I shouldn’t have taken one bite, but I went along with it. And boy did I pay for it!! I had the worst headache after eating that dessert. I know it wasn’t the wine, I only had 1 glass. Within 15 minutes of ingesting this dessert, I could feel the sugar in my system. And I could feel my blood sugar spike and then slump. I had to nap on the couch in the afternoon. And went into food cravings on and off all evening trying to find that ‘high’ again. Oh dear. It took me about 18 hours to feel better. I drank lots of water and went to sleep, feeling very amazed it could affect me so quickly. At least tomorrow is a new day, I told myself. The next day, I caught up with a friend who I hadn’t caught up with in a while and she was looking just fantastic. She wasn’t looking bad before, but her tummy was definitely flatter, and she had certainly lost a few kgs. Her skin was clear and her eyes were sparkling. “Whatever have you done?” I inquired, “I’ve quit sugar- thanks to you”! I’d given her a copy of Sarah’s book some months back, not realising the impact it would have.
So all these signs, I said to myself why haven’t I done this for real myself?! So that’s it. I’m quitting sugar. For now anyway. My husband is doing it with me. We’re officially doing Sarah’s 8 week plan. Wine is OK. No tonic water for a G&T. But cheese, you will be our friend. I will let you know how we get on, and hopefully I can share some delicious new sugar free recipes and ways of eating with you!
Fact: Our bodies are constantly exposed to a toxic cocktail of heavy metals, chemicals, pesticides, and other pollutants, now more than ever. They are in the air we breathe, the food we eat, and the water we drink. I’ve been wanting to write a post about detoxing for a long time, and each time I’ve started, I find there is more and more information on the subject and I need to bring it all together. I hope this all makes sense, and that this is not too long!
I want to start by saying that I think the word ‘detoxing’ has become a mainstream concept. In this post I want to delve deeper and talk about the history of what it really means to ‘get rid of toxic waste’. Go into any pharmacy/ health shop and you are bound to see the words ‘detox’ on a poster or product in the store. We hear the ads for ‘lemon detox diet’ on the radio, friends say they are ‘detoxing’ by cutting back on coffee and alcohol and then there are others who drink nothing but juices for a week which get delivered to their front door as part of a ‘detox’. Let’s face it, it’s now cool to detox. Which in many ways is great, as it means many of us will feel more comfortable doing it.
I don’t want to make light of others detoxing efforts, I think everyone is on their own health journey- there was a time when I didn’t know what I now know! I’ve talked before on here how I have done a 4 week detox where I cut out coffee and dairy, and now subsequently I am not consuming either of these two items, and at that time, I felt great and it was what I needed. However, I wanted to take this a step deeper. One thing I haven’t gone into detail about before but which I want to blog about is a proper detoxing for our insides. After my time in Bali when everyone was having Colonic irrigation ( I wrote about this here) I investigated this myself when I got back to Melbourne. I had a couple of colonics on and off and found these to be amazingly beneficial. My skin was clearer, my digestion was much improved and I felt lighter and healthier! The logic goes, as much as you can put good ‘stuff’ into your body, your body also needs a way of getting rid of additional ‘waste material’ which has remained in the colon for some time. This can include: accumulated toxins, parasites, impacted faeces, worms, dead cellular tissue, accumulated mucous and extra food and bad bacteria that didn’t escape when you went to the toilet (if we eat 3 times a day, essentially we should go to the toilet 2-3 times per day – how many people do that?) and this is built up often from years before. Travelers are often exposed to parasites and we all have ‘baggage’ we need to let go of. It’s scary to think that the average western female will have around 5-7kgs of impacted faeces sitting in their colon!!
So, keeping all that in mind, and aware of my family history and mothers health issues, my detox this time is a little more ‘hard core’ than before. Some would wonder “why a healthy young girl needs to detox”- and my answer is simple: we now exist in an environment very different to the one in which our ancestors were first created. The world has changed around us, but our genetic makeup not so much. There are five main parts of the body through which toxic waste is excreted from the system; the skin, the lungs, the kidney, the bladder and the colon. When we sweat, we get rid of toxins. But in the case of the colon, the situation is similar as to what happens in your kitchen sink…layer upon layer of grease, partially decayed food, and other debris attach to the pipe and make the passage in which new waste water flows. This sticky residue is full of poisonous toxins and if it doesn’t get eliminated it gets reabsorbed through the colon wall, back into the blood stream, and allowing the toxins to recirculate in the body. Just think about that for a second… Scary? In any normal day, our livers, kidneys, lymph glands, and other organs all work hard to maintain an alkaline state and to clear everyday waste from your body- without the overload from pre-existing toxins in the colon. When I think about what a lifetime of exposure to these chemicals and toxins is doing to our bodies (combined with the affects of a cluttered environment to our mind and spirit, a packed schedule, and other day-to-day life challenges ) it’s no wonder many of us end up being tired /stressed/ overweight/ not sleeping well/ have a ‘poor immune systems’ / suffer from migraines / digestive issues. It’s the same as if you were to work overtime for weeks on end without taking a break. Your mind and body start to fall apart! That’s why a regular ‘full body servicing’ is in order! (A fact I read the other day: many of us take better care of our cars than of our bodies).
Everyone will have different objectives when undertaking a detox of this kind. For me, I already have a good level of health and have been on this journey for some time. However I am aware of the external environment I exist in, as well as my personal environment. Not always able to eat perfectly, and also enjoying alcohol and sometimes rich food, I like to give my body a yearly cleanse. A month a year off alcohol, sugar, anything processed as well as really strict with gluten and dairy (I already don’t drink coffee), it was a good time to take the cleanse to the next level.
So, this week I have existed on four freshly squeezed vegetable juices per day, lots of water, supplements and daily colonic irrigation, and 2 sessions of far-infrared saunas. Day 3 and I’m feeling fantastic…and it is amazing how much of you there is to still shed…even after effectively fasting for 3 days! I can recommend Purity in Hampton for this type of program. http://www.colonicirrigationmelbourne.com.au/
If you choose to take on this type of detoxing program, I can guarantee that there will be people who don’t ‘get’ it. They want to question why you do this and what is the need, they’ll say things like “It’s 2012, why do we need this” or “ It’s not natural” or “ Surely there’s a modern solution” etc. Ironically, it is this ‘modern technology’ which is in many ways the culprit. Historic artifacts and records show that people have regularly purified their bodies, including cleansing the colon. Around the turn of the 20th century, the present-day colonic machine was developed, providing a significantly improved method of accomplishing colon cleansing. Up to the late 1920′s many medical doctors had colonic machines in their offices, and machines were found in hospitals as well. Articles dealing with colon health frequently appeared in prestigious medical and scientific journals until the early 1930s.
But then, at around the same time modern man began a 50-year love affair with drugs and surgery. These seemed to offer us (relatively) instant relief for body ailments, meaning purification and prevention techniques became less attractive. However, there has been a resurgence of interest in using natural approaches for healing the body, when these modern technics sometimes don’t work, or when people don’t feel good from medication. And thus, colonics have rapidly been regaining the respectability they have already earned. And, as I say to my friends “Cleansing detox programs offer us all preventive measures so that you can be in control of your own health”. And isn’t that what we all need to do anyway?
I’m aware there is a lot in this blog to consider. I’d love to hear what you think.