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Rebecca Clarke


Prevention and the cure (O non Expl)

Thu, 04 Dec 2008 04:02:42 +0000

I'm a big fan of taking preventative steps for health. So, given that it's been 2 years since my last eye health check, I headed back to the optometrist for a check. I should preface this with the fact that I wear glasses for long distance work and had recently noticed that even they weren't strong enough. As in, with them on, I was having trouble reading street signs; without them, I have trouble seeing more than about 10m in front of me without it getting a bit blurry.

So, yesterday I went to have my eye checkup. In good news, I have no serious eye-health issues, in bad news, my eye sight has gotten worse. It's that moment when the optometrist says "Even with your glasses on, you wouldn't pass an eye test" that you realise it isn't good. The main reason is that I rely a lot on my right eye to compensate for the fact that my left eye isn't great. Thus, as the sight in my right eye deteriorates I notice it quite quickly. Oddly, my left eye seems to have stabilised and I now need a slightly reduced lens for that eye. So, I now have two stronger pairs of glasses on order - my normal ones and the sunglasses for driving.

In even better news, my short distance vision is also going so I have a third pair on order (that sigh that you can hear is me realising that I can now lose up to 3 pairs at once). Unsurprisingly I freaked out about that one. The optometrist had to deal with a 27-year old who was freaking out about a number of things - 1. being blind by the time I'm 40, 2. The possibility of having to wear bifocals before I'm 30 and 3. The fact that my eyesight is seemingly deteriorating rapidly.

Luckily, he was a lovely guy and patiently explained what was causing this. Apparently I have a focusing lag which is being exacerbated by the fact that I spend a great deal of time in front of the computer and reading legal texts then continue to compensate for my lack of long distance sight with stronger and stronger prescriptions. Thus, by continuing to only supplement my long distance vision, I would actually be making the problem worse and then by supplementing my short distance vision it could actually help my eyes to stabilise. Not sure whether or not it will work, but it was lovely of him to explain it and to deal with a decidedly scared patient. It's funny, but I always thought that it was at 40 that you started to notice these things, but apparently, your eyesight deteriorates as your focusing muscle starts to lose its elasticity in your early 20s. I just notice it more than most because my right eye has always had to overcompensate for the lack of sight in my left and thus as it starts to slow, it's quite scary.

If nothing else, at least by going for my regular checkups I'm learning something new each time. I'm still hoping that I'll go one year and find out that it's stabilised, but even so, hopefully taking action now will slow the deterioration. I tend to schedule all of my checkups at the same time so that everything is reset at once. Thus Christmas not only means a heap of festivities but eye exams, the girly checkup and dental visits. It's a nice that you know everything is up to date before you start the new year.

Expectations (Onon Expl)

Sat, 15 Nov 2008 05:38:10 +0000

Well, it's going to be a little bit lonely this week. Mick's gone across to do some work on the farm before the tenants move in (think painting a whole house in a week along with doing a heap of odd jobs) along with some friends. This leaves me at home with the boys and a heap of time to get things done that I have been putting off. As I started making a list of what I wanted to get done I realised that even if I had an army of helpers, I wasn't going to manage to get everything done in 9 days.

This is somewhat typical of me. For some reason, I'm not sure whether it's my personality or my bloodtype or genotype, but I always seem to put this intense pressure on myself to achieve these superhuman feats. It happens a lot when uni's in full swing and I'm trying to work fulltime, study part-time with reasonable results, have a veggie garden, keep the gardens presentable, make healthy meals everyday for Mick's lunches, have dinner on the table at a reasonable hour and spend time with my also full-time working, part time studying husband.

I know that list doesn't seem like much, but somedays it all seems a little bit unachievable. There's definitely a temptations sometimes to let something slip but it's usually followed by the guilt that somebody else would be managing just fine. What's wrong with me that I can't do it all? Last semester, it was the veggie garden that took a hit, it produced well, but I didn't replant quickly, instead I called it letting the soil replenish (code for I don't have time to replant).

This is similar to many peoples first experience with the BTD. At first, before you get into the swing, it just looks like a big uphill battle. There are all these foods that suddenly you can't have, foods that you've never heard of that you should be eating and you can't buy anything pre-prepared that fits all of the criteria. Some days it just seems like you've taken on something completely overwhelming - the time it takes to prep stuff and cook it seems to take up all of your free time. You feel guilty that you can't achieve the 100% compliance that others seem to be able to easily achieve. As you beat yourself up it becomes more of a focus and it seems even worse that you're not able to achieve something so simple as eating right.

Then one day it clicks. You put in place a system; chop veggies up on a certain day, meal plan, start feeling better and then it becomes second nature. Suddenly it all seems right. However when there's a heap of stress, it can all start to fall apart again rather quickly - timesaving becomes more important and then you start the climb back again.

So, what's the lesson that I'm slowly learning - expect less and support yourself more. In life, this means I'm trying to set somewhat more achievable targets and protect my health first. In BTD/GTD, it means, just remember that even 50% compliance at first is better than 90% of the population will ever achieve. Achieve 80% compliance and you'll be on the way to high compliance without even knowing it.

To GTD or not to GTD, that is the question

Sat, 08 Nov 2008 13:39:20 +0000

I'm about to have a bit of time at home in a few weeks and I'm debating whether or not to try doing the GTD. I've had the book since March, when it was released in Australia, and we've measured, re-measured and measured again (for good measure (image) ). As with everything, Mick was pretty easy to work out, he's a nomad by name and by nature. He would seriously be out every night if he could manage it and he always seems to wander. Thus, his measurements were fairly easy. Mine have been a little harder to work out. We've settled on explorer at the moment - it fits with my personality, my lack of a sense of direction and my food allergies.

However, then the issue becomes, would it be better for me than the BTD? Well, according to Dr D's calculator, the BTD is the consistent winner for me, thus I shouldn't change. The Explorer in me wants to give it a go though. Especially the fact that some grains become diamonds. i am a carb addict, so this could be good.(image) >" class="middle" /> It could also be quite dangerous.

Lately I haven't been that diligent with my diet and whilst I haven't had any avoids, I've had interesting eating habits to say the least. Stress has meant that I haven't been able to digest things well and a lack of time has meant I haven't had the same high protein, low carb diet that my body does best on. I have to admit that whilst studying for my final exam I ate a lot of carbs. Think a double batch of Loraine's Pumpkin Millet bread, about a tonne of beetroot chips and a couple of batches of tahini carob cookies. Not a good idea for a stressed O-nonnie. Logically I know I should have stuck to kale, beef and broccoli along with heavy doses of rhodiola. The foods that make me feel good. Instead I went for the ones that were quick and easy.

In my defence, we did eat a lot of beef stews. Lots of stews for dinner because it was easy to put it in the slowcooker and then just reheat it each night, however it's not the same as a fresh cooked meal with freshly steamed veggies. This week we're focusing on fresh food. For the first time in the past 4 months, we have a week where I'll be home at a normal time each night so I can do a freshly cooked meal each night. It also means Mick can't be tempted to have a pizza. I know it's probably not that exciting for other people, but it's a big thing for us to have a normal schedule without late nights due to tutes or after-work appointments!

So, hopefully next week I'll be able to report that things are starting to look up in the health department!

A bit of a drama

Mon, 03 Nov 2008 10:12:44 +0000

Life has been a bit of a drama lately. I won't go into the gory details here but it hasn't been great. It's really tested me and thus I've been a bad and absent blogger. Still, it's onwards and upwards from here on in and I'm sure that there will be a light at the end of the tunnel.

So, let's look at the positives
1. Uni is over for the year!!! Yay. Studying law is fantastic and it is something I've always dreamed of doing, but it is a bit of a time-consuming passion. I have to admit that I love it though and I'm so glad that I'm doing it.
2. I have replanted the veggie garden (with the help of the puppies) and soon we will be harvesting lots of fresh lettuce, beans and carrots.
3. The great friendships I have - in real life and over the internet. Sometimes you forget that there are people who would miss you if you weren't around, but then there are those days where you feel their spirits supporting you.
4. The simple things that we take for granted - being able to see, to read, to speak, to write without fear of censorship or retribution.
5. The farm - it's officially ours and one day we can be self-sufficient. The fact that it's going to be a few years is good because we're able to get clear about what we're doing and make sure that we add to the planet.
6. Knowing what foods are good for me and which ones aren't - so many people just stumble through life without realising that the food that they eat makes a difference to their day.
7. Having access to fresh fruit and vegies as well as organic, grass fed meat. So many people are reliant on processed foods but here in Australia we have great fresh food just about on our doorstep.
8. Sunny days - being able to go for a walk with the boys or out in the garden and enjoy the sunshine.
9. Reading a good book - any good book, and taking the time to savour the words on the page, the visual delights of prose.
10. Having a loving husband and puppies that will go for a walk with me on a Sunday morning; even if I'm having a bad week, they'll give me hugs and happy tail wags.

You could be wondering why I felt the need to share the positives. Part of it is me trying to cope with stuff - I'm listing at least 10-20 things a day that I'm grateful for and focusing on that rather than everything else. The news these days is so full of doom and gloom - depression, recession, economic crises, the sicknesses, the scary elements of society and there is so little focus on the positives. Things that people can do to help themselves or better yet the happy stories - the friend helping someone through a bad day, the funny moments that you share with others.

So, this is a bit of a thank you to those who read this blog and to those on the board who are friends. I am sorry that I haven't been around much but I promise to do better from now on.

Almost farmers (O non)

Wed, 27 Aug 2008 11:21:19 +0000

Well, the reason I have been a little lax in the blog department is that we've finally gone to exchange of contract!!!!! Now, this is a bit of a New South Wales thing, but the law of property sales in that state allows for "gazumping". Gazumping means that even though you have made an offer that's been accepted by the vendor, if another person makes an offer on the property and gets to exchange of contract first, they get the house/land/deal. This doesn't happen in Qld, so it's been a bit of an education to deal with the legal system.

So, this means that in roughly 53 days, we'll be the proud owners of the farm. The only hitch being that we live on the opposite side of the country at the moment(image) slight hassle. Thus we're starting to plan in detail how we will make the move out to the property and the skills etc that we will need to make our dream a reality. Hubby recently celebrated his birthday so he got a book on Biodynamic Farming methods and he's already started talking about different elements.

This whole exercise has been a lot like being on the BTD for me. You can make a deal with yourself and then things happen along the way that break that contract. You fall off the wagon, things happen and you might choose to not follow the recommendations. Then suddenly something happens that makes you really commit to your health - you start reading the books, cleaning out your cupboards and planning your meals a little more.

I need to do that. I'm 100% compliant to the O non diet, but something is still affecting me. Ron's mis-typing scared me, but I've been tested 3 or 4 times and I'm always an O, so I'm confident that I'm on the right diet. The problem seems to be my stomache and its inability to just settle at the moment. We're going to a different doctor on the 12th, which I'm hoping will lead to me finding somebody like my old Brissie doctor - caring and truly committed to using natural therapies instead of trying to throw antibiotics at things.

I'm wondering about trying the explorer diet to see if that will help, but the gripping pain I have after eating is making me a little gunshy of trying anything new. Who knows, it could be the thing that helps even though the test clearly indicates that I should be on the BTD not the GTD.

Cooking slowly (O non)

Tue, 12 Aug 2008 02:02:32 +0000

I have to admit, I've started this blog a few times with different names. I'm not sure why, it's just nothing has seemed to really summarise what's been happening over the past week or so.

First up, we've been using our slow cooker much more. Nothing too inventive yet, just really stews - primarily beef - although I've used turkey this time, so we'll see how they go. I'm thinking I put too much water in this time as it seemed a little more soupy than previous attempts. In good news, hubby will be home a little late tonight, so I'll try to thicken his up before his dinner.

Secondly, I've been trying some new recipes for Mick to take for his lunches and breakfasts. Some of them are naturally BTD compliant whilst others aren't really, but can sort of be made that way. For example, bacon and egg muffins. Now, generally this would be a no-no. But, if you bake compliant spelt-based english muffins and use roast turkey that's been lightly fried rather than bacon, they turn out ok. They also got the thumbs up from him - I consider that a massive achievement. Lunch wise, thus far he's had the shepherd's pies, turkey red curry with rice and turkey filo parcels. Not all of them have been massive hits, but at least it gets away from the same things all the time and gives him the opportunity to try something new as well.

Next up - we got our side of organic, grass-fed, local beef! Plus a whole lamb. The puppies have some bones and lamb flaps from the same animals so nothing should really be wasted! There's about 90 kilos of meat all up with probably 20 kilos of bones/dog food. Next up I'm ordering in some free-range turkeys so that the freezers are well stocked and we have no excuse for having anything but good quality, home cooked food.

Which brings me to my final piece of exciting news - we have a vacuum sealer. Seriously, this thing, although it uses plastic bags, is great. You can vacuum seal pretty much anything. Mick joked that if he stood still long enough, I would have vacuum sealed him, but it is great. I packaged up all the meat into meal sized serves then vacuum sealed it. No risk of leakage in the freezer! I've also been experimenting with frozen cookies (making the dough, then freezing it ready to bake), cakes and muffins for lunches. I'm hoping to do one big batch every month or so, then just take off what I need for that week.

Reading and pondering (O non)

Sun, 03 Aug 2008 12:22:27 +0000

Well, I've had a few things on my reading list. Admittedly, I should have been reading cases on Torts Law (image) , but surprisingly other things became a little more exciting.

First off, the Last Lecture. I actually laughed out loud and cried during this book; on the bus no less. Just an amazing reflection on somebody's seemingly ordinary life and the achievements that we all take for granted in our lifetime. If you get a chance, it's a great read and really makes you think about your own life and how you want to live it. For those of you that haven't heard of the book, it's based on a "Last Lecture" delivered at Carnegie Mellon by Randy Pausch. The thing that makes it amazing is that he delivered it after being diagnosed with terminal cancer and he didn't focus on what he hadn't achieved or on what was being taken from him but on the accomplishments, on the wins and on the lessons that he wanted to pass on to his children. It is a beautiful book.

Next up was the Acne Prescription on Sheriberry's advice. Well, I gave it a go and my skin cleared up. You still eat your normal BTD foods but it's about the mixing of foods and the foods to avoid to stop pimple formation. Well, I gave it a week then decided that I'd try going back to having a couple of treats - sweet potato chips and possibly my biggest weakness - Ribbit's Quinoa muffins. The acne came back with a vengeance. Let's just say I'm a convert to SheriBerry's methods.

Other than that, we have freezers and a vacuum sealer now. We're going to give the once a month cooking idea a try to hopefully carve a bit more time out of our schedules. Mick's been working some extremely long hours, so having something healthy to give him at 8pm is sometimes a bit of a struggle - thank goodness for frozen turkey schnitzels and the slow cooker! He's still been getting substantial lunches and breakfasts, but hopefully freezing a bit more pre-prepared food will help a bit if I can just quickly heat it up on the stove or in the oven each night.

Meat, lots and lots of meat (O non)

Fri, 25 Jul 2008 11:07:48 +0000

I'm really hoping that Ribbit's signature quote won't be true for hubby and I because people, the beef is on its way. A side of beef (I could probably find out its previous name, but don't want to know it that well) grown organically and biodynamically by a local farmer, taken to the abbatoir then cut up by my new friendly butcher. Gluten, preservative and nasty-free sausages will be coming our way (about 15kg) along with mince, heaps of puppy bones and a couple of whole lambs from the same growers. I'm so excited.

To prepare for the potential beef deluge, this week I decided to finally use our slow-cooker. You see, there was a bit of a saga when we bought the slow cooker - it took 3 months to finally get it (I kid you not, 3 months) and thus winter was over by the time it arrived. So, this week we had beef stew. It was fantastic. We coated the beef in millet flour and browned it first. We put the beef, carrots, sweet potato, green beans, fresh peas, broccoli stems and chard stalks in with water and slow cooked it on high for probably 8 hours. I added a slight bit of arrowroot powder and took the lid off then it cooked down over another 6 hours until it was thick and luscious. Hubby even enjoyed it without any flavourings other than salt & pepper. I'm looking forward to using it much more as the stew was great as a breakfast for me.

Well, that's the latest news over here. Healthwise, it looks like the passing out was due to a mild arrhythmia that was exacerbated by the coughing, however we're going to do an EEG again because they're a little worried that there are seizures involved as well. It's off for more testing - ick. In good news though, I'm passing out less, so hopefully it's going to resolve itself without too much intervention.