Friday, March 6, 2015

"Tweaking my diet"

For those of us who suffer through the debilitating symptoms of IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), I would like to gripe a bit about my condition. I have been suffering now for about 24 years and it has either been really good for me or really bad. People say that you have to be positive in situations of illness and I have been trying my darnedest to be as positive as one can, with excruciating bouts of spasms and not to mention the ever-increasing roller-coaster of toilet activities. I am so over this condition that I am truthfully saying I am clinically depressed!

For those who want to judge me in that statement; to hell with you! You have no idea what I have been through. I have been on a eat 6 meals-a-day diet, I have been on a lactose-free diet, I have been on a gluten-free diet; I have had a colonoscopy  and an gastroscopy and now I am tweaking my diet again and are on the FODMAP diet.

I am sure those who have IBS understand what this entails, but for those who don't FODMAP is an acronym for Fermentable Oligo-saccharides And Polyols. So what the hell does that mean? These are sugars that can be poorly absorbed. They are found in a wide range of foods and include:

* Fructose in excess of glucose (found in fruits and honey).
* Lactose (found in milk and milk products).
* Sugar Polypols such as sorbitol and mannitol (found in some fruits and vegetables and often 
    added  as artificial sweeteners).
* Fructans - fructo-oligosaccharides or FOS (found i wheat, rye, onions and garlic).
* Galacto-oligosaccharides or GOS (found in legumes such as chickpeas).

Now that seems a lot to take in but what that means is my diet is crap and I have to cut out anything worth eating. 

So, from now on in I cannot eat chocolate (Oh my favourite thing in the world), cheese ( Oh tasty is the best), and many fruits and vegies I love such as watermelon, apples, asparagus, pears, plums, cauliflower and mushrooms. The most thing I will miss is bread containing wheat, gnocci ( Oh no not the gnocci!), pasta and crackers and this is only a small amount of things I will have to give up. 

You will now find me in the health food section of my local supermarket trying to find anything that contains none of the above FODMAP's. Yes that is almost impossible but that is where I will be. 

Tweaking my diet is the only way I can gain back my life; if I can remember what that looks like!

For all those FODMAP-PERS out there, I know how you feel. If you all have any advice for me or some excellent recipes, please send me the links. I will need all the help I can get.


Thursday, February 26, 2015

Tweaking My Attitude

What can I say to those friends who took the time to follow my blog. It isn't a blog or at least it hasn't been a blog, instead it is some random girl who pops up every year and rambles on for several paragraphs. Guess what I am doing it again. I am sorry! I have neglected my duties as a blogger and have now decided to pull up my boots and get cracking. I have several reasons for not blogging but I am sure you do not want to hear them Or do you?

1: Laziness seems to creep up on you when you least expect it.
2: Laziness seems to creep up on you when you least expect it. Oh! I have already said that. Well it is true, I have neglected you all because I simply could not be bothered writing anything for what has been a year. I have officially lost my will to write and I do not know how to get it back.

Writing websites claim that you have to keep forcing yourself to write anything, even if it is only a sentence a day. Well I am starting to think they are right because it is like anything, if you do not practise you lose the ability to do it.

You are probably wondering why it is has taken me so long to recognise that I have been my own worst enemy. It is simple:  The ability to deny. Yes I have denied that I have a serious problem with procrastination. I think my internal dialogue is faulty and for that reason I am making it my excuse.

University taught me a lot BUT not exactly what I needed it to. It taught me to be organised. I have always been organised so that wasn't a hard lesson to learn. It taught me to research. Yes I can do that. It taught me to be proactive in my own goals. Well that says it all doesn't it? I haven't been proactive because I just haven't. I somehow lost my way and I hope that you all can help me get right back on the path or should I say on the horse.

So, on a positive note I have decided that it is time to stop wallowing in my own self-pity and write something for me, NOT for you or the reader (as they are always telling us) but for me. For my sanity because if I do not do this, I will be forever angry at myself.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Holiday Happiness

Isn't it great when you head off on a holiday to a paradise that enables you to relax? Holidays are meant to be about relaxing and I must say that I was hoping for a place that was magical, spiritual and peaceful and I think my wish came true.
We packed up the car to the point of not fitting even a wafer into the boot and headed off to Apollo Bay with the intention of spending Christmas by the seaside; dabbling my feet in the salty water and risking a little sunburn for the pleasures of the beach. What we found was an oasis of sorts in the form of a house on a isolated hill overlooking the ocean and backing onto bushland.

The view was spectacular and instead of lazing on the beach all day, we basked in the glory of The Bay House, with its wildlife, its proximity to bush walks and the quietness of no TV and little phone reception. I have never ventured anywhere that didn't have every TV channel in the world let alone only one channel to peruse, but to have no reception on our phones was daunting. You may ask why? Well, I realised how much I relied on this one piece of technology. I acknowledge now how incredibly tuned into our phones we are and how if for some reason we didn't have it, the world as we know would end or at least I thought so! My boys found it difficult to be without any technology, but I think it helped them to realise their subservience to all things electronic. 

It seemed for a while that we were in withdrawal of the very invention that is supposed to make our lives easier and that by giving up this so-called improvement to our lives was an impossible task set by some relaxation god. We were even cursing the fictional techno responsible for the tower failure that brought on this abomination to technology. Just when we were starting to enjoy the sound of the ocean and the breeze in our hair, the relaxation god lost his/her train of thought and the phone reception magically reappeared.

By the end of this well earned holiday, I was reluctantly leaving the only place that allowed us to venture out of our comfort zones and explore the world around us. Before we left, we vowed to continue our new and improved life beyond our computers and our phones but it didn't last; I am here writing this blog and my boys have easily slipped back into the world of Facebook; Twitter and Hollywood on the TV. With our tiny Kmart Christmas tree in tow, we headed back to the real world, the one beyond the sanctuary of The Bay House and the one that leaves you handcuffed to screens of all sizes. 

Until next Christmas, I will have an electronic device attached to my hand (not surgically), my favourite TV shows taping on our recording device and my life locked into my blog, my novel and my job. Don't get me wrong, I love these things, they do make my life easier but I did enjoy just sitting and looking out across the expanse of ocean and interacting with the cockatoos; the resident Koala; the Shetland ponies; the wallabies; the cows and the ever laughing Kookaburras. It was fantastic!

So, here are just some of  my pics from our trip; please enjoy!


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Tweaking Christmas!

I always thought that Christmas was about family, about cheer and about spending quality time helping out others! What is it with the Christmas rush? Does everyone just go completely crazy? I was driving my very visible car to the shops and within the speed limit, and from absolutely nowhere a car comes speeding around a corner just missing my car and another car travelling in front! 
I don't know what to say about this time of the year except to say that clearly people just don't get it; they speed; they buy too much; they yell at strangers; they push you around; they swear at you in an animated fashion from behind their wind-shield and they risk their lives for no reason except to enter the shopping centre a second faster!  I think we should boycott shopping centres; telling the shop owners that we are sorry but Christmas isn't about dragging two or more trolleys full of decorations and excess food to the checkout! It is not about trying to navigate a car park full of rude imbeciles, honking because you are not moving at their pace. Nor is it about spending more than you make on new so called gadgets that will be obsolete in a couple of months!

My remedy: to not venture out over the Christmas period except if desperate! Food will have to wait! Those who wish to see me will have to wait!

I suggest that we all take a hard look in the mirror; isn't Christmas about spending time with those we love especially considering what has just happened in America! Those little children and their teachers won't be spending Christmas with their families and there are many families here in Australia who are grieving after a spate of fatal road accidents! There are families who won't be celebrating Christmas because they are too poor to do so! Maybe, just maybe we should take a few minutes to breathe before we mouth obscenities to a stranger; maybe just maybe we should drive a little slower instead at light speed and maybe just maybe we should show someone a little kindness instead of frustration! 

CHRISTMAS! THE TIME FOR GIVING! I say, giving what? Think about it!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

I am back!

What can I say? I have been busy and I have also been slack but it is without a doubt that my intention was to write a new blog entry every day! You are probably thinking, this woman is completely ridiculous  however, I plead your forgiveness that I haven't been diligent enough to write something interesting or in this case anything at all!

So, let me update my situation. I have completed my Bachelor of Arts/Diploma of Professional Writing and Editing at the University of Ballarat and I am waiting on my results. Three and a half years and I will shortly have my degree.  I also run a book club and I write book reviews for The Courier newspaper here in Ballarat. My biggest achievement this year was to start my novel. I am about eight chapters into my first draft and I am very excited about the characters, the setting, the plot and of course the writing process.

Now that you are aware of my current situation, let's chat about what has prevented me from writing my blog. Well let's see! First I would like to say that no one is to blame except myself as I have been completely overwhelmed with health issues as well as trying to navigate my final year at Uni. One of the most horrible things to have happened to my family this year would have to be contracting Salmonella poisoning! Yes, the dreaded bug entered our intestines and for a whole 2 weeks decided it wanted to inflict the most excruciating pain I have ever experienced; not to mention the vomiting, fever and the fainting! First let me say that I have given birth twice in my short life and I would have to say the pain of birthing is mild compared to this. I was positive in my delirium that someone had broken into my house and hit me in the stomach with a piece of 4 by 2 wood and then proceeded to stab me continuously with a sharp knife in the back.

What was unlucky for us is that we all were going through this terrifying ordeal together; not one of us could help each other out and with that in mind I would like to tell you that whilst the toilet became our saviour, it also became dangerous. Upon my fourth visit to the loo for the night, I suddenly woke to find myself covered in blood and a pool of the red lava surrounding me. I was numb and blinded by the red glow yet as I placed my hand on my injury, I was somewhat surprised to find that I couldn't see properly and that I was even on the floor of  my bathroom. Delirious! Once I had gathered my thoughts, I screamed out for help and with that came my drawn and fellow pain sufferer, my dear husband from the second toilet in our house, to find his wife covered in blood. From the one eye I could see out of, was a facial expression like no other. he was distraught at seeing the amount of damage I had done. With that we set about cleaning up the bloody mess and we found that the cut was only about 3 centimetres long just above my eyebrow. Finally I was bandaged up and placed back into bed. Hubby decided it was best to come back to our bed instead of his absent son's (that's another story), just in case there was a repeat of the fainting spell. The next day I was sporting a very large black eye!

So the moral of this tale is that when suffering from a serious case of Salmonella, you should call an ambulance if for some reason you cannot think clearly, are suffering from a severe fever or you bash your head on a tile floor and wake up covered in blood!

You are probably wondering why I am joking about this now. Well, I must say if I don't joke about it I would absolutely cry. I am still recovering from the effects of the poisoning and with that I would like to warn everyone of the possible devastation of eating raw eggs! Now, let me say that we as a family don't just go out and eat raw eggs all the time, what we did was eat them in a wonderfully chocolate batch of dessert mousse. I must say that home-made mousse is always nice but this time round it could have been fatal.
So, I suggest that you do not make home-made mousse any time soon. If you do, you could be taking your life into your own hands because there is no way to detect that the eggs have been contaminated with Salmonella; they do not smell or even look different.

The first thing we thought when the health department rang us was that we had just survived a repeat of the Monty Python skit - The Salmon Mousse! It definitely felt like Death was close by!

My advice is to continue to enjoy the foods you love but be aware of the dangers of raw animal products!

Now that I am back, you will probably hear from me once a week or maybe even twice until I regain my energy!

So until the next time, happy eating, happy reading and happy writing!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

'Rack and Ruin'

There was this saying my mum and my nan use to say to us kids; 'If you do not clean up your room everything will go to rack and ruin'. It is funny as you get older you realise that they were right. What does that mean in the scheme of my life, well it is now becoming the voice in my head as I try to go through all the rubbish I have accumulated in the last two and half years of study!

I thought it would be a good idea to somehow clean up my tiny work space in order to prepare for the last year of my Bachelor Degree; well it has been harder than I thought because without even knowing it I have been placing papers I have lately received (since the 2011 academic year finished) on top of the already mess that is my desk.

So, what do I do now you say?

I think I will leave it all there and clean it up when I finally finish my course. I know! It is imperative I am organised but I just keep telling myself, 'I am on holidays!'

Happy reading and writing to you all . I hope that cleaning your space has been easier than mine!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

'Tweaking and Printing'

Writing to me has always been fun and infectious. What I have found in trying to complete my assessments for Uni is that sometimes writing becomes a chore. I am not completely satisfied with how my writing is progressing and I think when I do write something worth my own praise, it needs tweaking so much that I become disheartened by the process.
Knowing the way in which I work at my best, printing is my only answer! I must print the piece of writing (Draft 1), go over it with a fine tooth comb; edit all the mistakes; rewrite it again (draft 2); go over it again and hopefully not find any corrections, but if I do I must go through the whole process again.

I know that all writers do this, but I really find it difficult to separate my Uni assessments with my own writing. My novel has been put on the 'to do pile' and I now am delving into the assessment pile of the work that needs to be finished within six weeks.

I have come to realise that to even come close to getting everything done, I will have to grow another pair of arms; never sleep; type at a hundred miles an hour; wear a grazing bag (like horses) and somehow have toilet breaks (don't want think about how or what to use).

What I do know is that I need to stop stressing and concentrate on one thing at a time and hope that when the semester is over I will have completed what is important; what needs to be done and maybe just maybe, I may have become this 'superwriter' (sounds like a superhero) that I have always wanted to be.

In the meantime I will keep chipping away at the overgrown list of assessments!

Happy writing!