The things we humans obsess over (Part 2)

So I’ve done 22 days no alcohol now, and I’m feeling pretty good. Previously I’d done 5 weeks in 2013 and that was a monumental exercise in fabulousness. But with this new-ish clarity of thought comes the inevitable reflection on just how utterly obsessed we are with the ‘demon-drink’ …..and I’ve realised how much alcohol is a knee-jerk reaction in modern western society.

 

Had a bad day? A glass of wine will sort that.
Nailed that project at work? You deserve a drink!
Survived the working week with all your limbs intact? Time for a beverage!

 

It’s like drinking is so ingrained into what we do literally day to day that it takes a concerted effort to minimise the ingrained knee-jerk reaction to relax with a drink…..

Think about it:
Oh it’s a beautiful sunny summers night, I’d better make the most of this and go out and have a beer in the sun!
Oh it’s a rainy winters night, freezing out there! I should tuck up with a yummy glass of red wine in front of the fire…

It’s the elixr for the masses, comes in all shapes and sizes, flavours and strengths, colours and packages, it picks you up when you’re down, transforms your face to a smile from a frown, helps lubricate communication all over town, makes you think you can dance and ‘get down’ – it’s what?! ALCOHOL! Yay! *cue mexican wave*

Now I don’t propose to have all the answers to this (or anything for that matter) what I want you to do is simply stop and think for yourself.

To start asking yourself how you feel about drinking…. to see if you resonate with anything I’ve mentioned, and to see if you too could start to challenge the assumptions modern society has placed upon you about drinking. *glug glug*

Could you go a week without drinking? A month? What changes in your social habits would you need to make in order to do this? How would your friends and workmates react?

After almost 10 years in Recruitment (an industry body known for enjoying the ‘odd tipple‘ *cough*) I can hand on heart say that I still enjoy a deep spicy glass of Shiraz, and smooth and velvety Central Otago Pinot Noir, and love the giggly brain-fuzz and silliness from a ridiculously over-priced glass of Champagne…. but my attitude to drinking is slowly changing.

With glorified boozing in adverts tempting me… And bars full of laughing, smiling, beautiful people – waving about their bottles of beer and oh-so-tempting glasses of chilled Pinot Gris as I wander past …I almost feel like I’m ‘sticking it to the man’ some days…. so yeah, fight the power and whatnot, I’m off to pour myself a stiff tea.

 

Growing your own veg….?

So as a result of being stuck in bed for the better part of a week, in between a persistent consistent and insistent headache (!!) I’ve been unable to do much more than sleep & think…. One of the main things I’ve been contemplating is food, and it’s relation to health…. Segué into thinking about what I’ve enjoyed the most at friends places and favourite restaurants – and it’s always been the dishes made with home-grown and/or locally grown veg.

Now being mildly OCD about how things look (read: matchy matchy) M & I have been bandying about on the whole ‘grow your own veg’ thing, wanting fabulous (expensive) planters and the like. What I’ve realised is that we’ve been making this WAAAAAY harder than it needs to be, and therefore created barriers to getting amoungst this goodness.

So today, as M squirrelled away in his office, and I lay in bed, I decided to take matters into my own hands and get this ball rolling… I realised through a bit more research that you can actually grow most veg in planter bags – a very cheap and effective way of getting your garden growing! (Duh, I know right?) so I let my fingers do the walking/index finger do the clicking, and have ordered some essentials to get underway:

 

  • Seedling trays
  • Yates black magic seed raising mix (love that name!)
  • Gardening gloves
  • Potato bags x4 (can grow potatoes, onions, beets, carrot etc)
  • Wide/long planter bags x2 (primarily for tomato, lettuce, carrot etc)

For starters I checked online to see what I should be seeding for planting now, what plants grow best together (companion planting reduces the need for chemical bug sprays – WIN!) and got the following seeds:

  • Chives
  • Cocktail tomatoes (multi coloured goodness)
  • Mesclun lettuce
  • Cut & come again mixed lettuce
  • Marigolds
  • Beetroot
  • Red onion

(Still to get carrot seeds but couldn’t find a good one online)

So these should arrive in the next few days, and I’m going to put my love, energy and time into seeing what I can grow… we have a fabulous deck that’s large & gets all day sun, so I’m cautiously optimistic. I know that apartment living is about as far away from Mother Nature as you can get, and I’m an earth-baby at heart, so hopefully this will have far reaching positive effects on M & I….

And if you don’t try, you’ll never know…… I can’t wait to be making beautiful meals for my friends & family from home grown veggies.

 

The Cult Of Celebrity/ Looking To Celebs For Lifestyle Advice?

More and more of these lifestyle books/style guides/cookbooks/cum-how-to-guides by celebrities seem to be published year on year, as this infamous ‘cult of celebrity‘ gains yet more traction….

So why do we buy this stuff? How come a book with a famous face or ‘personality’ seems to whizz right to the top of the best seller list? And how does a celebrity (who has a ton of stylists, personal chefs, trainers and image-makers) suddenly become an expert themselves?

What bugs me about this trend is that half the stuff people talk about simply isn’t attainable in day to day life.. we don’t have personal trainers, chefs, interior designers, or unlimited dollars for a wardrobe makeover etc…. so when people read this goop (intentional reference) they are buying more and more into an unattainable ‘ideal’ lifestyle. And perpetuating the cycle of ‘I wish I had/if only I was’ instead of learning to appreciate what we already have.

The key to breaking this trend is firstly, I believe, to become aware of it. To realise that ‘modern life’ has become this hamster wheel of bombardment with images of ‘beauty’, glamour, lifestyle, saturating our daily lives until our visual brains and impressionable souls start to think this is the norm… then continuing this barrage of stimuli that tells us ultimately: ‘if you only looked like this… had these things… you would be happy, you would be valuable – you would be loved’…

As someone who struggled with this system of belief, manifesting as an eating disorder that dictated my life for over 6 years… it bugs me that a so-called ‘celebrity’ can publish a book telling other people how they should live their lives if they want to be happy.

Happiness is within us all. There is no magic formula to fit everyone. One size doesn’t fit all folks…. and you aren’t going to find fulfilment with a new pair of shoes, a flashy car, or a bigger house than your neighbour.

Sure, these things are fun… hell I’m a shoe-girl myself, and I love nice things… but as I grow, and seek out the perspective I need to evolve and be fulfilled and joyful as a human being, I realise that so much of that stuff we’re desperately trying to attain, the things we’re going into debt for to GET, simply don’t cut it.

So if you knew you had the power to change your life…… what would you do?

 

Lifestyle changes/ eating for health..

Reading through this list of heathy eating cafès published in the Herald today (not an exhaustive list by any means but still good selection) it does truly seem like Auckland is cottoning on to healthy, tasty eating…. There does seem to be a bit of a movement of this lately, and it’s been one of my (slow burning) passions for many years so it’s great to see some dialogue and energy behind this. (Am I just noticing this because I’m getting back into it, or is it truly changing?)

Since my health issues in 2012, and subsequent changes in my body since then (read: weight gain due to heavy doses of hormones, ongoing issues with my body dealing with a temp “fix” device pumping yet more hormones into my body each day) I’ve been trying to find the right balance to get myself back to optimum health…

Through the changes in my diet and lifestyle I’ve noticed that I’m not as susceptible to colds/viruses as I once was… or if I start to get sick I can generally knock it before it takes hold. This in itself would be reason enough to make the simple changes I have… but as I’m on a bit of a journey at present, there’s more to come!

Through my years of coaching and working in the recruitment industry I’ve noticed the common theme that everyone is looking for in their life is balance. (namely a career that provides challenge and opportunity to grow, whilst supporting you financially and allowing adequate leisure time and the ability to enjoy new experiences..) this is the holy grail right?

But it all begins with balance.

We can’t expect that our lives will change if we keep doing the same things that we have always done. It’s not rocket science – it’s logic. You need to change the ingredients or the inputs, to achieve a different result.

One if the easiest ways to change your life is to adjust your lifestyle – make some very real decisions about your inputs and ingredients. It can be the food you eat, the alcohol you imbibe, the fresh air and exercise you experience from day to day – or the people you spend your time and energy with/on.

You can’t make massive changes overnight, there’s always a period of adjustment, and that’s OK. Some of the things that have worked for me, which I will keep doing and refining are:
– Cutting down/ cutting out alcohol (seems a no brainer, right?)
– Cutting down/cutting out sugar/ refined and processed food (amazing how your body responds after the initial detox period)
– Increasing exercise (a lot of this is just finding out what works for you, for example gyms are not for me, but for some that’s perfect)
– Increasing organic/ wholefoods and vegetables in my day to day diet (had a huge impact for me personally)

The Herald article talked about healthy eating cafés really working because they haven’t compromised on taste, and this resonates with me… no one in their right mind (??) wants to eat dry, tasteless bird seed.. and you don’t have to. Cooking can be an absolute joy – with inspiring ingredients and unreal flavour and taste experiences.. food that nourishes you. <3

 

Buddha Bowl

Reflection.. feminine mid-life crises?

Ok serious question: why does it take until we are sick, and HAVE to stop, to allow us time to make us put on the brakes and reflect on our lives?

I’ve recently been diagnosed with menorrhagia and fibroids and quite literally been forced to stop over the past 6 weeks. For someone who is constantly on the move thats tricky to say the least… It’s been a harrowing and stressful time (mainly because of how long it’s taken to get a diagnosis and treatment plan) and for what is actually quite a common problem for women.

It’s not until I had to explain why I’ve been off work and barely left the house that I’ve realised how many of us really suffer to some degree with this stuff. Up to 25% of women at some stage in their lives will have these symptoms and issues.

I didn’t know any of this until it started happening to me…. (and it’s quite simply one of the scariest experiences I’ve had..) so why don’t we know about this? Why do so many so many women suffer from varying degrees of this but no one talks about it?

….and why on earth does it take a catalyst of this degree before we stop and really assess our general health and well being?

So I’ve been reflecting on my habits, my lifestyle and just generally taking a good long hard look at myself. I think in our 20’s there’s a general feeling of invincibility… the ageing process hasn’t really even begun and we can take our bodies for granted, knowing full well that they will bounce back with the vigour and vitality of youth…

Not so in your thirties! With all of the wisdom, financial stability and vague smugness of our personal sexual revolution… brings the inevitable process of coming to grips with our own mortality. (be that a rogue wrinkle that appears overnight and forces us to accept the aging process, or a medical issue typically associated with those childbearing years…)

And so we reflect….. and OH BOY once you start down that road it feels like you are getting to know yourself all over again… “but I survived my twenties and I’m really together now – why am I here again? Haven’t I figured this all out already?”

Do we call it a mid-life crises? If so why do we go all introverted and reflecting instead of buying a big red penis extension sports car? As women are we destined to forever question ourselves until the day we shake off this mortal coil?

I hope so.

It’s far too easy to take things like your health (mental, physical and spiritual) for granted, and get so caught up running around trying to do all the things, and be all the things that we tend to lose ourselves in this noise and activity.

  • When was the last time you did something purely for YOU, for your own pleasure – for the simple enjoyment of it?
  • When was the last time you spent time relaxing, meditating and just generally stopping to enjoy being alone with yourself?
  • When was the last time you thought gentle, loving thoughts about yourself, or reminded yourself just how awesome you are?

The irony is these things are free.. And take less time and effort than your morning bathroom routine. And if we don’t take care of ourselves, who will?

So as I move towards my milestone birthday, followed closely by surgery that will hopefully get me on my feet and kicking butt again…. I’m using this time where I am literally stuck in bed to reflect… to spend time focussing on the things that make me happy, to visualise myself enjoying things to come, and to put in place the things I need to continue looking after my mental, physical and spiritual health well into the future.

Hey, it’s not a bright shiney red sports car, but something tells me I’ll get more mileage from it.

Hungry for change

Not long ago I watched a fabulous little doco called “hungry for change” – which happened to come into my life as I’d already been making some different lifestyle choices around diet, and trying to reduce the amount of chemicals I expose myself to through processed food, body products and cleaning products..

What this awesome little doco does is paint a very real picture of how little we do in modern day society to support ourselves feeling healthy & vital.. and how our current lifestyle goes against our very nature. Really interesting stuff.

It’s amazing what happens when you cut down on things like sugar and refined carbs in your diet, and start eating natural.. you have more energy, a strengthened immune system, you sleep better, concentrate longer.. it’s just magic!

It’s not really realistic to cut ALL of this from your everyday life… but it’s truly remarkable what even small changes can do for you… and how those small changes lead to other small changes..

Would totally recommend this doco, link to the trailer is here