Nom nom nom


(Credit to the awesome guys at Our Veggie Patch for their beautiful produce!)

So I was supposed to write this post over a week ago, but being unwell (effectively from lack of sleep) took care of that, and then this week has gotten away from me, so here we are, nearly a third of the way through March and my head is almost spinning wondering where is time going!

But we’re not here to talk about my own personal time warp, we’re here to talk about our wellbeing, namely focusing on eating for (what’s left of) March.  And just like sleep, it’s a biggie too big in fact, for me to cover in a month, so I’m choosing a couple of particular elements of eating and focusing on them, namely why we eat what we do, what meaning food has for us and how we choose what is right for us.  Should be simple enough!

I’m not going to tell anybody what they should eat, or go into a deep psychoanalysis about the choices we make, or start a debate on food being good or bad (spoiler: food is neutral, it has no moral value).  What I am most interested in is the motivation behind the choices we make, and how to work out what our bodies need and what is the right food for us and our families.  This comes from my own journey with food, which has been a deeply complex one all my adult life, and at 41 I’m only really now making changes that come from healing from some deeply entrenched unhealthy beliefs and habits.

I’m one of those people for whom certain foods have a direct adverse effect on my body and health in general, and I have not always made choices that avoid these effects when choosing what to eat at any given point in time.  More often than not, I have given in to the desire for what I want right now and then suffered the consequences – both in the short and long term.  I know I’m repeating myself here, but through a lot of self-reflection, prayer and counselling (over a period of time), I fully understand that, like other areas of my life, I will do just about anything to both avoid discomfort and fulfill a desire instantly rather than be denied what I want, and for the most part I’m able to do that in my life.  As a result, I am constantly lethargic, achy (I have an auto-immune arthritis), have GI upsets, chronic headaches, don’t sleep well and walk around in a brain fog, not to mention the resulting lack of motivation and apathy.

This is not living, it is surviving.  And it’s a pretty poor substitute for the real thing.

I’ve shared about the effect of lack of sleep on my life, and this is still a work in progress, and my less-than-stellar diet only compounds these effects, and adds its own flavour.  When I eat certain foods (grains, dairy, refined sugar and anything processed), my joints ache more and I become more lethargic, but I have been willing to put up with those symptoms to get what I want, when I want.  But last year I experienced something that was to become a game-changer for me.  After consuming more chocolate than I usually would in one sitting one night, I ended up with an awful, debilitating migraine, and I knew my chocolate days were over.  I would do anything do avoid having that experience again.  Since then, I’ve had the same experience on certain occasions after eating wheat and dairy, so they are now off the list too.

I had someone say to me once that we make changes when the thought of staying where we are is more painful than the thought of the change required, and that is what finally broke through to me with my food choices.  Pain is often a motivator for change, and whilst I was willing to put up with pain in my body to eat what I wanted, I was not willing to risk debilitating headaches and migraines for the same reason.  And I haven’t looked back.  I refuse to become fearful of these foods, but choosing not to eat them is easy now because I know what a likely consequence will be, so I just don’t.  And this has surprisingly led to other (welcome) changes in my eating habits – I don’t snack as much (because I don’t have as many ready available options), I’m becoming more aware of how much eating (particularly snacking) is often more habitual/boredom busting/filling some emotional need than for nutritional requirements, therefore I’m becoming more mindful about my habits,  I don’t buy take-away food anywhere near as often as I used to (not just for me, but for our whole family), and I’m back to primarily cooking from scratch, with beautiful ingredients, and getting creative with what I have available.

I can’t say I’ve experienced a radical transformation as a result, and I’ve still had headaches, but far less often and less debilitating.  And I’ve even lost 5kg (despite January’s Move being a bust!)!! I am definitely being transformed in my mind as much as my body, and I am so grateful to finally be experiencing breakthrough in what has been a nearly life-long struggle, but I still have more to learn and grow in, and I’m excited J

How about you?  Are you happy with your way of eating?  Do you struggle with certain areas?  Do you know why?  Let’s do this together and encourage each other along the way.



So February was all about sleep, and it wasn’t the month I had planned in my head.  I had planned to look at all the whys of why sleep is so important, what to do to sleep well, what to avoid to get good sleep, how sleep affects our immune system and so on and so on.

Turns out just getting enough sleep was what became the focus in February, and it was a big lesson learned for me – a true game changer.  I committed – several times – through the month to keep to a regular bedtime, and both my choices and events out of my control saw that that didn’t happen, always to my detriment.  My #1 takeaway from the month is if I don’t get enough sleep, nothing else I try or do really matters, because lack of sleep will trump everything.  And I do not live well on lack of sleep.

I have an auto-immune disease (psoriatic arthritis), osteoarthritis, chronic headaches, gut issues and other bits and pieces that pop up from time to time.  I determined a long time ago that I would not let these conditions define me, and would do what I can to minimise their impact on my life, but as is the nature of our beautiful, complex, mysterious minds and bodies, when things are intertwined there’s no easy way to create a clear, step-by-step ‘plan’ to fix or control what we would like to be able to.  And I have learned in nearly 10 years of living with these issues that sleep is the key component to living well – but I didn’t truly appreciate the significance of this until this month, when I chose to  focus on the effect of sleep on my daily life.  So there is step 1 to living well and thriving in wellbeing – get enough sleep!  Of course there are more factors (as we are walking through each month), but without enough (good) sleep, nothing will really change.

Understanding all this was really brought home to me this week after 3 nights of too little sleep late last week and over the weekend (some nights because of my choice, some because of events out of my control), and I have spent the rest of the week unwell and ending up with a migraine.  Simple cause and effect, and something so obvious I can’t ignore it.  I’ve also learned I believe I need more than 8 hours sleep per night, which will mean truly, truly protecting my sleep time and routine, because this is what is going to see me live well, and truly thrive every day.  It will mean giving up what I *want* to do for what I need to do, giving up social opportunities and managing my daily routine around a set, non-negotiable bedtime. I’ve written before I don’t like this, but I like even less the results of not enough, or living as a half-version of my true self, so this is how it has to be, and I am choosing to embrace the process.

How about you?  What does sleep man to you, or look like for you?  I plan to keep tracking and monitoring my progress throughout the year, how can I help you in your journey?

We’re into March now, which is all about Eating – what we eat, why we eat, how we see food in our lives.  It’s a biggie, and I’m in for the ride!

(P.S. For more information on the importance of sleep and the effect of not enough sleep on our bodies – especially in regard to immunity – go to this excellent article by Sarah Ballantyne at The Paleo Mom, her knowledge and expertise is amazing!)