Archive | July, 2012

Baby Badlet

27 Jul

Welcoming my daughter Dottie. Born at 8:40am on Thursday 26th July on the Gold Coast in Australia.

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Posts about the birth and first week of life coming soon!

Immunity

18 Jul

This week marks 2 years since the last time I was sick with any sort of viral infection. No colds, coughs, sore throats, tummy bugs or fevers. Pretty cool huh? Want to know how I did it? Here’s a list of some of my secrets:

I eat mostly wholefoods. I noticed a massive change in my natural immunity when I cut down on eating pre-packaged, processed foods including sugar. Eating foods in their complete, natural form makes it easier for your body to digest and absorb nutrients.

I identified that I have an intolerance to yeast and now I avoid it. It took me years to figure out what was causing all of my digestive upsets and once I finally discovered that yeast was the culprit I eliminated it (and all it’s derivatives) from my diet. Consuming something regularly that irritates your body impacts on your immune system.

I include superfoods in my diet, especially those high in vitamin C and antioxidants. This might seem fancy or expensive but the truth is that I can easily go for weeks at a time without consciously eating any of this stuff but if I’m making a nut slice or a smoothie I always make sure some of these go in. The raw superfoods I use regularly are: cacao, camu camu, acai, maca and goji berries. I also take a vitamin C supplement.

I don’t wash my hands unnecessarily. I wash them only when they are dirty or when I have come into contact with a sick person. I have encountered many sick people over the past two years (including my husband Bob who has had about 3 colds during that time) and have never caught anything.

I don’t use cleaning products. This is mostly because I am sensitive so strong chemicals and smells. Apart from laundry powder and dishwashing detergent, you won’t find much else is my house! I use good old elbow grease and water for most household cleaning.

I corrected my vitamin and mineral deficiencies. If your body isn’t getting enough of something then it will not be able to operate at its optimum. Using blood test results interpreted by a doctor and dietician I introduced supplements and changed my diet in order to raise the levels of many essential vitamins that were low. I also take a non-dairy probiotic. If your immune system is using its energy simply to digest heavy, processed, acidic, unhealthy foods then it’s not going to have much strength left to protect your from bacteria.

I exercise regularly. Exercise releases toxins, shifts fat, boosts immunity and generally helps your body to perform better.

I am hydrated. I drink alot of water and raw juice. I rarely consume hot drinks like tea and coffee – I believe that the dehydrating effects of tea and coffee are not worth the supposed antioxidising benefits.

Of course I can’t know for sure exactly what has prevented me from getting sick but I wouldn’t be surprised if some or all of these things helped out along the way!

Intolerable

15 Jul

Some days I feel as though my yeast intolerance has completely destroyed my life and other days I believe it to be the greatest blessing imaginable. When I eat yeast my digestive system slows down and then it causes me all sorts of discomfort for up to 4 weeks, even when it’s just an additive or a flavouring.

There are so many normal and delicious foods that I can’t have because of it: bread, pizza and croissants to name a few… and because I also don’t have dairy, my options become very limited when I’m eating out.

Bob and I used to go out for breakfast every weekend, something which is virtually impossible for us now. Not only are most breakfasts based around or accompanied by bread, but all of the alternatives are usually high in dairy or cooked in butter. I can eat sourdough bread (thank my lucky stars) however most commercial “sourdough” is just sour flavoured yeast bread. Going out for breakfast is a thing of the past for me.

What about lunch? Thankfully there are a few reliable sources of nomi-friendly food on the Gold Coast but unfortunately most of them are the Southern end so we don’t get down there much. As far as traditional lunch options go, let’s face it – they are mostly based around putting things between two slice of bread. Sometimes I consider a soup or a curry but the problem here is that any prepackaged stock or sweet asian sauce is guaranteed to contain yeast extract (cry) and when you try to explain this to people, even chefs, they often fail to understand.

People associate yeast with bread and beer. It’s difficult to convince people that it is also found in other foods. Even sushi contains yeast!

Going out for dinner is about the same as lunch for me. There are a few safe options that are just a little bit too far away to be easy. Pasta is usually safe and thai style coconut based curries made with fresh spice pastes are usually ok too. Pretty much all indian food is made with ghee or yoghurt. Funnily enough I can often find some goodies at a pub of all places, chips and salad is easy providing that they have a non beer battered version.

Often though, I just reside myself to eating at home as explaining my needs to busy waiting staff is often more trouble than it’s worth. Many of you may be thinking, well that doesn’t sound so bad and you’re right, it’s not… but some days the craving for a pizza or a croissant is simply unbearable and the alternatives are just not even worth it.

So, what good could come from this terrible fate? Here’s just a few positives:

I learnt to cook. My cooking skills were very basic before I discovered my yeast intolerance 3 years ago. I used foods and flavourings out of packets and never attempted anything seemingly complex or adventurous. Once I wasn’t able to use stir-fry sauces I had to make my own. Once I wasn’t able to use vegie stock I had to make my own. Once I wasn’t able to have toast for breakfast, I had to find something else. I had no choice but to learn!

I turned to wholefoods. Considering that so many packaged food contain yeast derivatives or suspicious ingredients like “seasonings” or “vegetarian flavourings” I turned to a diet which is for the most part unprocessed. I absolutely LOVE eating foods in their natural form – it feels so right. I recently had white rice for the first time in months and it just left me feeling empty! I still use some packaged foods – far less than ever before – and mostly organic with as few ingredients as possible.

I eat less crap. I don’t get tempted by shitty foods at the servo, I take healthy snacks with me everywhere I go. There is hardly any ready made snacks in my fridge and pantry. If I want biscuits, I need to make them myself and because I can control what goes into them, I’m eating so much better than ever before.

I feel amazing. Before I discovered my intolerance I used to have a tummy ache pretty much all the time. It caused me to feel nauseous and anxious as well as having uncontrollable gas and pain that struck at random. I was afraid of going out in case the pain or anxiety showed up. I didn’t know it was possible to feel this good! I am so thankful everyday that I don’t suffer with those symptoms anymore.

Whenever I’ve had yeast by accident I’ve been reminded of the discomfort that I used to suffer with and I’ve realised that although sometimes I believe I’m missing out, I’m actually doing what’s best for my body.  When I think of my intolerance, it’s a love/hate relationship!

Nesting

11 Jul

Everyone keeps asking me, have you been busy nesting?? Um… is that just the same as being organised? If so then, yeah I guess. Obviously expectant parents need to rearrange things at home a bit, and prepare as much as possible for the arrival of a new person. Bob and I have got all the stuff we think we will need – for the first little while anyway and – apart from the gathering of stuff, I really don’t relate to this whole “nesting” thing at all.

What are you meant to do anyway? Get emotional while ironing baby clothes? Sit in your ‘nursery’ and dream about when the baby has arrived? Actually that’s the other thing we get asked alot – “do you have your nursery all set up?” umm… assume much?

The simple answer is “no”. A baby is a tiny person that needs constant care and supervision, not it’s own room decorated with trendy wall hangings and their name on the door. Nurseries like that are for parents not babies. Sure, I can understand how having all of the baby’s things contained in one area rather than stored around the house could make things more convenient but in all honesty, the baby is neither going to care about the interior design of it’s nursery nor remember it anyway. So yeah, we have baby stuff. Most of it is in a room that I will never call a nursery.

And the other side of this nesting thing is cleaning. Apparently it’s normal for women to become manic, clean freaks or crazy perfectionists in the lead up to having a baby. I must admit I have used having a baby as a good reason to get a few things done that I’ve been wanting to do for ages like washing the kitchen walls (that were covered in oil because our kitchen doesn’t have a fan) but the truth is that I probably would have done that anyway, just as I would have cleaned the bathroom, done the dishes and swept the floor. I’m in no way a cleaning maniac but I do make an effort to keep things manageable so I haven’t really noticed any increased inclination to clean.

I am not at all doubting that the nesting instinct exists and that it serves a purpose however I feel perfectly ready, organised and ‘nested’ without going to any extremes. Thank goodness.

Walking

9 Jul

Everywhere I go people are offering me sincere, fear-based warnings that I could go into labour anytime simply because I’m walking around. I understand that physical activity can be useful in an attempt to bring on labor for women who are overdue but seriously… what’s more normal than walking?

I am fit, I feel fine, I have had an active pregnancy and I’m really not doing anything strenuous (like walking up my street for example). So, I can’t quite get why everyone is so worried about a bit of walking. It doesn’t matter whether it’s from the shops to my car or out around the neighbourhood, the theme is the same. In fact today I had 3 people tell me (not warn me but tell me) that I will go into labour because I chose to walk 200 metres in between to places I was going instead of driving.

I can understand that it is just as much human nature to protect a pregnant woman as it is to protect the life of a child but in all honesty, what is sitting around “conserving my energy” going to achieve? My guess it that it will leave me bored, stiff and depressed. Exercise releases endorphins which (hello?) reduce stress, hake you happy, improve your immune system and (ta-da!) give you more energy. In fact my midwife has given me her blessing to participate in any endorphin-releasing activity that I feel capable of. And I love walking so just try and stop me!

I Understand

4 Jul

I have a new found compassion for overweight people. Throughout my pregnancy so far I have put on 13 kilograms and I have begun to feel the impact of that extra weight every day.

I remember having harsh judgements towards people who struggled to simply walk around. I thought it was gross when heavy people worked up a sweat doing very little and I used to think that they brought their physical pain upon themselves.

But here I am, with a huge tummy, experiencing occasional joint pain, muscular aches, shortness of breath and of course I can’t see below my belly button! I’m sorry! Everyone I ever cast judgment on because they were in pain from their weight or because they couldn’t keep up with my walking pace, I totally understand how hard life is for you.

I still believe that it would be healthier for people to do their best to lose unnecessary weight and let go of poor dietary habits however I now understand the discomfort that goes with being obese – and I’m only 56 kilos!

Defeat

3 Jul

Throughout my pregnancy I have been determined not to let being pregnant become an excuse not to do normal things. I have continued my yoga and exercise despite some people suggesting that pregnant women should do nothing but rest. I have continued to do the shopping, go for walks, drive and clean the house.

I have unfortunately had moments of defeat where I’ve reached a point that I have to give up something I could have previously done easily – I had one of those moments today…. I gave up walking up my street. This might sound lame but you have to walk up my street yourself to fully appreciate just how steep and difficult it is (even for fit, non-pregnant people). On the weekend I went for a walk with Bob and I needed to stop for 3 rests before we reached the top! I was completely out of breath.

The main problem with setting out on foot from our place is that once you get to the top of our street, you turn a corner and go up another steep hill, then you have a break on a flat bit before going up a third hill! At our last attempt, I made it to the top of the third hill and I was ready to turn around. I was very disappointed in myself. And today, when I received an offer to go for a walk I knew that I shouldn’t do it, so I drove to the flat bit and set off from there. It’s embarrassing to admit! I was shocked that it came on so suddenly after coping fine with the hill for my entire pregnancy.

I obviously don’t want to ignore any crucial messages from my body about what is and isn’t cool so, I am in fact ok with my decision, even though at the time I felt like the world’s biggest copout. My body is busy making a person! My heart is pumping more blood than ever and I am carrying alot more weight so it’s understandable really.

Thankfully my other “defeats” have been easier to accept, like heavy lifting and bending down. My body was pretty clear about taking it easy with these sorts of activities involving core abdominal muscles so I’ve just had to surrender.

On the bright side, I’m 9 calendar months pregnant today and in 6 days I’ll be 40 weeks so the baby could arrive at any time!!

Cold & Dirty

2 Jul

I’m not going to lie to you, I actually hate having showers. It’s true. I’m probably the only person alive who feels this way. Whenever I mention it to people they tell me how much they love having a shower and look at me like a freak. I’m not denying it – maybe I am a freak!

What on earth is wrong with me? Long time readers will know about my dream to giving up hair washing and will remember my many experiments to see how long I could last with out washing it. I’m planning on cutting my hair really short in a few weeks – hoping to live the dream!!

So showering, in all honestly… I would avoid it if I could. Why? I hear you ask. I have given this alot of thought. From what I can figure out, it comes down to this… I get cold really easily. Most people don’t understand just how much this effects me, especially seeing as though I live in Qld! It should be hot right?

Not exactly. I live on a mountain where it’s commonly 6 degrees or cooler than the Gold Coast. So why don’t I just have a really hot shower? I do! The actual shower itself isn’t the problem I suppose, it’s the discomfort before and afterwards that causes me to suffer, particularly when I have wet hair. Most of the time, I can’t have a shower unless there’s a heater involved when I get out.

At the moment I’m 39 weeks pregnant and it’s the middle of winter and people seem to think that because pregnant women tend to “run hot” that I’m not going to feel the cold. From my perspective, I feel just as cold as any other winter although I have started to notice that Bob will turn on the heater and I’ll say “I can’t believe you’re cold? I’m fine.”. Maybe I have got some extra baby warmth happening, this has made me nervous about how cold I will potentially feel after I’ve given birth.

As it is right now, I only shower every second day (*loses twitter followers*) and I am perfectly ok with this. Earlier this year I was showering every 3 days (*friends lower their opinion of me*). Just for the record, I have no judgments of anyone else’s choice to shower frequently. We are taught that it is necessary to shower everyday but I can tell you right now that my body really does not need it. My skin dries out when I shower daily and my hair becomes increasingly oily. It’s a vicious cycle. If I get hot and sweaty (rare) then I find it easier to just have a simple wash with warm water rather than committing to a shower. In fact, I pretty much only have showers when I need to wash my hair…

and I hate that I need to wash it at all. The only reason that it becomes oily so fast is due to frequent washing with products that strip the natural oils. I once had a hairdresser who told me that once you get past the first two months without using conventional hair care products, your hair will start to regulate it’s own oil production and appear clean and normal without the need for regular washing. This is my goal. Who knows what will happen to my showering habits if I succeed!