Sunday, 17 February 2013

The World is our Oyster!

There are new beginnings and fresh chapters looming on so many fronts for us!

Work. There have been huge changes in our work over the past 3 weeks. My husband now works in a bike shop, and I have a wonderful new job tutoring primary and high school students in English. Of all the jobs I have ever had, teaching is definitely the best 'fit' for me, and as cliched as it sounds, I really feel that it's my 'calling'. I still photograph, but it's turning more and more into a 'paying hobby' and isn't so much a 'career' anymore. It's wonderful for me that after 7 years studying my teaching degree I have only a year left until I will be fully qualified. At times the study has seemed never ending, and with 7 subjects still to complete I'm by no means finished yet, but the end is in sight. I'm energised and excited by thoughts of my new career.

Home. We are planning a move back to my childhood home! Nothing is set in stone as yet but it's looking pretty good. My Dad still lives on the 10-acre property on which I grew up, and we are contemplating moving back there. We can rent out our unit and can live at Dad's rent-free. That will leave us lots of extra money for improving the property: building vegie gardens and an orchard, keeping chickens and bees, dogs and cats and cattle. While all of these used to be well established, Dad has spent at least 6 months away every year for about 20 years, so some work is needed to reinstate the food-growing side of things. 

I'm thrilled beyond measure by this possibility. Not jumping-up-and-down excited, like I would be for something like an overseas holiday, but deeply, quietly joyous in my heart. So many happy memories are wrapped up in that home for me and the surrounding area is still just as I remember it from my childhood. I am delighted at the thought of raising my children in a rural environment. This morning we woke up there are I was able to send the kids outside to play, unsupervised, and I could never do that where we live at the moment. I really hope that this plan comes to fruition.

Tomorrow the Garden Diet 28-day raw program begins again. I didn't go through with the 21-day cleanse that has just finished - the work upheavals and associated pressures took all my energy and motivation way from my diet. In fact, I almost relished eating badly, hurting my health and energy levels with food - weird and sad and not something I really want to analyse right now. But all the changes that are happening at the moment make it seem like the right time to change my diet again too, for the better. A positive energy is flowing through my life and I realise it's always there, I've just started to become more aware of it and tap into it. This energy will help my 28-day program efforts, and will be strengthened by them as well, I'm sure of it.

Tomorrow: Breakfast will be a vegetable juice. Lunch will be Tabbouli and dinner will be gazpacho. Note to self: go shopping early!

Soon I could be growing some, most, or even all of my fresh fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds. It will truly be *my* garden diet then! What a possibility!

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Annual 21-day Cleanse

My most recent approach is not working. Not at all. I'm not sure why, but it's just not right for me. I crave the light, energetic, easy feeling that I had when I did the Garden Diet programs last year. I've decided to do the 21-day cleanse again, starting today, as a way of rejuvenating myself and getting back on track.

A couple of things are inspiring me at the moment. One is my sister-in-law. She recently did a 6-day 'lean and clean' program by James Duigan. I briefly considered doing it as well. She talks about feeling light, clean, and alive: 'I felt like I was dead before, now I don't think I'll ever stop eating this way.' It was really hard for her to do the program - she felt hungry and uncomfortable and craved fruit and coffee - but she persevered and she looks and feels amazing as a result. I have the book as well and gave it some serious consideration after her spectacular results. But the 'Clean and Lean' approach isn't at all for me. Seriously, meat at every single meal and snack. Meat meat meat meat meat. I gag just thinking about it. I believe that difrerent approaches work for everyone. My sister-in-law doesn't digest raw food well, particularly salads, whereas I feel great with raw food and unwell if I eat meat! So I don't think that what works for her would be particularly good for me.  What inspires me, though, is her determination to stick it out and make it through the 6 hard days in exchange for feeling wonderful at the end. She is really amazingly focused. I'll be drawing strength from her example when the 21-day prorgam gets tough for me!

I'm also inspired by this article. I've been avoiding discomfort with eveything I've got for a long time now! Which is crazy, since the things that have given me the most joy in my life - cycling, climbing, having children - have been distinctly uncomfortable! I'm drawing incredible inspiration from the reminder that embracing discomfort leads to amazing rewards.

So today is Day 1 of the Garden Diet 21-day program for me. I've had my breakfast juice - I had orange and grapefruit instead of just orange juice. It was fantastic and, just as I remembered from last time I did the cleanse, it filled me up completely. I've got some Sun Tea brewing and I'm looking forward to the adventure ahead - discomfort and all!

Today's happiness exercise is focused on bulding awareness with all of our senses. It's a great practice and today I'll be focusing it on my children - really focusing on them with every sense. They are such a delight!

Monday, 21 January 2013

A New Normal

Finally our household has emerged from the ravages of gastric infection. On the plus side I lost a kilo! :-) On the minus side... well, I don't think I need to go into too much detail there.

I can eat like a normal person again, so as from now I am living according to my 'new normal'. Sticking with the plan I designed a couple of posts ago.

Right now it's actually evening and all of my eating and activity are over for the day, so tonight will be all about actually doing the meditation thing (it's sooooo difficult for me - I tried it a few days ago and wow, do I have a chatty scatty brain!) and building a new habit of having herbal tea instead of snacks in the evenings.

Tonight's dinner was so yummy. A Farmer's Plate: tomato, cucumber, cos lettuce, basil, fetta, prosciutto, olives, boiled egg. A very tiny drizzle of olive oil and apple cider vinegar. It was delicious, colourful and completely satisfying.

Friday, 18 January 2013


Three days I'm not really going to talk about.

It's been a constant race to keep ahead of the laundry. Ugh.

Needless to say there's not been much eating, exercise, or meditation!

Getting back to normal now.

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Hello again!

So it's an anniversary of sorts... a year (and a bit) since I completed the Garden Diet programs and got me some 'afters' to be proud of. I remember the experience with (mostly) pleasure, but it's also a bit of a blur in my mind. I remember that it was hard sometimes to be organised and have raw food when we were out, and that eating at other people's houses required forethought, planning, explanations, and bringing my own food. It was really great but also quite the challenge at times.

So a year on I've pretty much gone back to a 'normal' Western way of eating, with a few extra raw recipes thrown in. I had a few half-hearted and failed attemptes to re-do the Garden Diet programs, but they generally got to about day 3 or 4 before lack of motivation derailed me. I eat generally healthily, but too much sugar for sure. I'm addicted to sugar! I also eat at odd times and seem to be hungry a LOT! There's sometimes not a huge distinction between morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea - just a trail of snacks taken every half hour or so. It's easy to lose track of what I'm eating, and often it's whatever the kids leave behind. The kids, unfortunately, also eat less well when I do.

Improvements in my 'wellness' have also plateaued in a big way, despite several attempts to get some forward motion happening again. I'm still not particularly fit and I've got a few remaining kilos of 'post-baby weight' to which I'd love to say goodbye. I get frustrated by my failed attempts to improve my lifestyle - Starting again, always starting again! Every darn week I seem to start again. Feelings of deprivation are a big hurdle for me – I'll 'start again' at breakfast, brand spanking new beautiful healthy lifestyle plan in place, only to revert by 11am because 'it's all too hard and I just don't have the emotional energy at the moment and, quite frankly, I'd feel so deprived and sad if I didnn't eat that (insert name of unhealthy snack here)...'

I'm not sure why I feel that this time will be different, but I know that during the Garden Diet program blogging seemed to really help me stay on track. It's a great reflective tool and the knowledge that someone might read this keeps me a teeny bit accountable.

So what's the plan?

I'm basing my new habits on the Garden Diet's three-fold strategy: Diet, exercise and 'happiness'.

The exercise bit is easy to formulate. Three times a week I'll do a program of strength exercises that I have - it's quick, challenging, and doesn't need any equipment. I can do the exercises during the kids' half hour of tv... oh, who am I kidding, I'm not a perfect Mum and they have at least an hour of tv time most days into which I can schedule a few squats and lunges! Three times a week I'll do something aerobic - running, cycling, boxing (there's a boxing gym near my house and I'm itching to give it a go), swimming, windsurfing, kayaking, whatever I can get to. Running will probably be my staple - it's quick, easy to do from home, and I can take the kids along.

The diet part is pretty much worked out. After years of experimentation I'm putting into place what I've learned works best for me. Breakfast is a glass of water with lemon juice, then a plain glass of water, then two glasses of freshly squeezed vegie juice. I know, it sounds really lame and model-starvation-y and not like a meal at all. 'I need to chew', etc. But I've been doing this for several weeks now and to my astonishment it keeps me full and happy till about 11:30am. It's the one meal of the day that I really feel I've nailed. Then another vegie juice fills the gap till lunch. Lunch and dinner will be a combination of raw meals and small portions of the cooked food that my family eat, including eggs, dairy, very occasional meat. Yes, meat. Variety. Lunch and dinner will include homemade fermented foods - I'm a dab hand at sauerkraut and look forward to expanding into kefir, kombucha, kimchi and more. Lunch and dinner will also include greens. Greeeeeens! I do love eating leaves. And sprouts. Babies of goodness. Snacks: I'm really trying to take my snacking in hand and get over the need to be constantly eating. I've begun to build the habit of snacking on iskiate: Chia seeds, water, lime juice and a dash of maple syrup. Looks like pond scum, tastes divine. Hydrates, cleanses, fills, and has the zinginess of a Mexican cocktail. What's not to love? Iskiate is my new snack-attack friend. I'll make a big batch every morning.

The biggest change and challenge: quitting sugar! I blame Sarah Wilson for this:
She's big into the quitting sugar thing and backs up her convictions with some compelling arguments. I have her ebooks - two of them. I don't agree with everything she espouses, but vive la difference. I agree with a lot more than I disagree with, and anyone can see that the SAD (Standard Australian Diet) contains waaaaaay more sugar than it did only a generation ago. And it really can't be good. Keen to give that stuff the heave-ho. I expect withdrawals and cravings and feel some trepidation, some fear of failure, but whatever. Suck it up sunshine and reap the benefits.

The 'happiness' part of things is more of a challenge for me to decide on. I don't really know what questions to ask myself, what exercises to do, how to get this part of my self-designed program up and running. So I'm starting with something basic - five minutes of meditation a day - and I'll take it from there. I'm sure that as the days progress I'll find inspiration and direction in this area.

So, here we go. Sugar free, mostly raw, hold onto your hats. 'Before' pictures coming tomorrow.

Thursday, 31 May 2012

My new blog:

I have a new blog! One chatting about not only food but also life in general and the things that make me happy. It's at:

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Day 3

Ewwwww, I am sick. A tummy bug is doing the rounds of our family - my son had it first, then my husband, and now my daughter and I have succumbed. Ew. I seriously can almost not keep up with the laundry.

I did a really indulgent thing today - I had a half hour sleep mid-morning! Thank you husband. xxxx

I've been thinking a lot about my photography over the last couple of days. I've been contracting to studios for over 10 years now, and it's been great. I've learned an incredible amount, worked with amazing people, and gained confidence, nous, and lifelong friendships.

For the last couple of years, though, I've been contemplating 'nreaking free' and starting my own studio. It's scary! If a client has a problem, it's up to me (and only me!) to fix it! And what if noone books me? What if I'm not good enough? In my rational moments none of this worries me, but at 3 in the morning it's another thing entirely.

I'm finally feeling ready to go for it, though, and one big reason is that I've taken the last year to shhoot a lot of personal work and really try and find out what makes me 'tick' as a photographer. As pretentious as it sounds to 'take time out to find myself as an artist' (cringe), it's been really helpful and my confidence has soared. I've discovered that while I admire many, many photographers (and other artists), all of whom have very different styles and approaches, I also have my own style and approach that's every bit as good and valid! And I'm sure there are people out there with whom my style will resonate, and who will be excited to book me to photograph them. So as I continue to build a body of work that represents my own vision, not that of a studio I'm shooting for, I'm also getting ready to order stationery with my logo on it, get a website live and kicking, and have a stand at a bridal fair to see what the reaction will be. I hope it;s good. I hope people will like what I do. But the fact is that I love shooting the way I want to, and I love it so much that I'm prepared to give it a shot. If nothing else I've got some great photos of my kids to treasure as a result of all my experimentation, and if I get nothing else, that's good enough.

So that's it for today. Noone wants to read about me eating cooked pumpkin soup and toast while I'm sick :-)

And of course I didn't exercise because I could seriously sleep all day. Tomorrow, or whenever I feel well again. Instead I'm just indulging in daydreams about cycling in the Swiss Jura. Mmmmmmmm....