Monday, June 2, 2014

Lessons learned from a month (mostly) sugar free

For the month of may, I agreed to take part in what quite possibly may have been the toughest 30 day challenge around. I went sugar free. I cut out all sugar and things from the sugar family tree and some stuff that, while not really sugar, is just as junky, like potato chips. I entered this challenge with zero confidence (actually I bet a tenner that I'd be back on the sweet stuff with in 24 hours) and no strategy on how I would approach my love of snacking. I just jumped in with both feet and hoped for the best. The result being that I may or may not* have eaten my own body weight in salted cashews.

In the interests of full disclosure, there were three slip ups, day 2 I put vanilla syrup in my coffee without thinking, I realised soon after but I pretended I didn't and drank it anyway. Day 16 had me sampling some Yarra Valley dark chocolate (it was litterally handed to me on a platter, what am I going to do?!?) and then there was a regrettable honey soy stir fry incident around day 20. I decided not to exclude fruit, but did limit how much I could have to a single serving per day and no fruit juice. 

I was told that it takes three days for the body to withdraw from sugar, HA! By day 15 I'd almost lost the will to live but somewhere around 10pm as I was desperately sucking the last drops of toothpaste out of Lil' Edges tube of Dora the delicious explorer, it occurred to me that I had hit the half way point. There was now more sugar free days behind me then ahead. The end was nigh. 

It never got any easier. Every day I woke up and thought "Screw this, today I'm eating a box of Lindor balls and washing it down with a slurpie." It was like giving up smoking all over again. I'm moody and a little deranged at the best of times so as surprised as I am that I made it 30 days, I'm even more surprised that nobody got killed or divorced in the process. 

So here's what I've learned:

1. Everything has sugar in it. Even the sugar free stuff has sugar in it, they just call it honey or agave nector or maple syrup or fruit juice. While you could argue they're better for you than sugar, it's still just sugar when you break it down, nothing more, nothing less.

2. Being sugar free does NOT improve concentration. Or judgement. Or mood. Or motivation.

3. Don't go to a chocolaterie on day 16. 

4. Just as it's not healthy to overindulge in any one type of food, neither is completely omitting it. I think it throws off the balance and you just end up overindulging in something else (hello salted cashews). Sugar, carbs, fat, salt, wheat, these things aren't the enemy. Eating m&m's like they've just become a banned substance on the otherhand...

5. Artificial sweeteners, stevia and anything else you want to pretend is just as good as sugar are all bullshit. I suggest the truth is more like '600 times sweeter than satan's backside' and 'made from sugar but it tastes like arse'. 

6. There are actually some pretty good low or no sugar recipes out there but you have to wade through a boat load of really shit ones to get to them. Just taking the sugar out of something and replacing it with fat (or a different kind of sugar) doesn't actually make it good for you, no matter how many pins it gets on pinterest. I saw a no sugar recipe for cake that had lemonade in it and choc chip peanut butter cookies that only had 2 ingredients (I'll let you guess what they were). 

Pumpkin, feta & rosemary bread

7. This one probably shocked me the most though, I realise I don't actually NEED sugar in my coffee. 

So 30 sugar free days done and dusted. I struggled through each and every one of them and now that this madness is over, let us eat cake. 

No seriously, somebody bring me some cake.

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* I totally did! 

Friday, March 28, 2014

Cancer & the idiotic Facebook shit.

 I've got a radical idea about how to raise awareness for breast cancer, or any cancer for that matter. It's a little out there so bear with me... How about if we just talk about cancer? I know, crazy right? We could talk about how to check our breasts for lumps and what to do if we find something. We could post links to so people could get more information. We could donate so that more research into prevention and cures can be done. We could volunteer or do a fun run. Did you know men get breast cancer too? Maybe we can include men in the discussion?

Or we can keep playing stupid games like posting pointless status' that have nothing to do with anything, let alone cancer. I don't care where you like to put your handbag, I'm not going to repost some ridiculous statement about using my boobs to get out of a ticket and I don't care if you've got make up on in your selfie. 

Not talking about something is the opposite of raising awareness and it helps absolutely nobody. Cancer is sadly all too common and completely heart wrenching. Many of us have been touched by it in one way or another. My father died from pancreatic cancer. I'm aware of how horrible it is for everybody it touches. 

So let's just stop with the childish bullshit and use our power for good: to actually raise people's awareness of this insidious collection of diseases. 

Pancreatic cancer is the ninth most common cancer in men and the tenth in women. It has one of the lowest survival rates because it is usually only diagnosed in it's advanced stages. Every year, approx 2,500 Australians get diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, less than 5% will survive beyond five years. 

Go here to find out more about pancreatic cancer:

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Friday, February 15, 2013

Poo in a box

First things first, 'Poo in a Box'. It's a thing. I bought it as a shit (sorry!) gift for my brother while we were in the UK because... well, come on, it's 'Poo in a Box' and it sure beats the "all I got was this lousy keyring" gift. Basically its various seeds encased in elephant, reindeer or rhino poo. You plant in the garden, give it some TLC and it grows into a plant that you can forever tell people came from the crappiest (you can slap me for that) gift ever. I'm still shocked I managed to get this through customs. All I can say is that having a toddler on the verge of tantrum shooting "Don't mess with me buddy" death stares at everyone can only help you.

Poo in a Box
I've neglected this blog. I'm aware of it. I want to blog more often and I have about 25 to 30 draft blogs waiting patiently to be finished and posted and I swear to myself that I'll look them over on the weekend and blog at least one. The weekend comes and goes and I don't give the blog a second thought and the cycle repeats itself over and over again.

The problem is that this is a blog about my life with Crohn's Disease and I just feel like I don't really have anything else to say about Crohn's Disease. Aside from the periodic flare-up I'm doing ok. I have an issue with a stricture that continues to be a pain in the arse (I'll slap myself for that one!) but otherwise it's business as usual.

I could write superficial pieces about various medications or new treatments available that I've researched from the net, but honestly, if you're looking for information about these things you should really speak to your doctor not seek out the opinions of random bloggers. There is so much misinformation and personal experience stated as fact that I'm personally pretty wary of anything I read on the internet. You should be too (except when it comes to Poo in a box, that's the real McCoy).

Also I don't want anybody looking to me as though I'm some kind of expert just because I can regurgitate stuff I find via google. The only thing I'm an expert on is my particular brand of Crohn's as it relates to me. That's a pretty small area of expertise.

Lack of direction, not lack of time is the problem. We all have 24 hours in a day. ~ Zig Ziglar

I like the blog, I don't want to kill it and I definitely don't want my Crohn's to start going ballistic just so I'll have some writing fodder. Given all that it doesn't really leave me any where to go...
So I guess the blog is on hiatus... unless I just put the Crohn's side of it all on hold an blog about anything that takes my fancy but that feels a bit unfocussed and aimless and to be honest all that scope just leaves me staring at a blank screen wondering what to say. I guess I'll ponder it awhile.

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Tuesday, January 1, 2013

New Years Resolutions

How did it get so late so soon? It's night before it's afternoon. December is here before it's June. My goodness how the time has flewn. How did it get so late so soon? ~ Dr. Seuss

It’s that time of year again. Christmas is on the doorstep and the New Year is looming on the horizon. It’s the time of year when we all get caught up in the excesses of gift giving, food and beverage consumption and obligatory family, work and social gatherings.

I’m feeling very reflective this year. Where am I? Where have I come from? Where am I headed? And where do I want to be? I feel as though the last year has been dampened by my negative attitude. The year started with my undesired return to work which meant depositing Lil’ Edges in day care. Instead of making the best of a bad situation, I got stuck in a narrative of negativity. Anything good that happened was quickly drowned out.

If life seems jolly rotten,
There's something you've forgotten!
And that's to laugh and smile and dance and sing,
When you're feeling in the dumps,
Don't be silly chumps,
Just purse your lips and whistle -- that's the thing!
~ Monty Python

And there was plenty of good that happened. I ran the Mother’s Day Classic, an 8km fun run to raise money for charity. A monumental achievement considering that I was only relatively new to running and have never really been that interested in physical activity before. Now I can’t imagine not exercising on a daily basis.

After a little encouragement from a friend and without any real planning, I did NaNoWriMo and completed it. Fifty thousand words in 30 days (give or take a couple of hours). The book is currently needing some editing and possibly some illustrations but the foundation is there and it won’t take all that much to whip it into some kind of readable state.

I’m writing this blog from the merry old land of England. Yes, the Edges clan made the journey to the UK to visit Mr Edges family. I’ve met my in-laws for the very first time. Travelled overseas for the first time (technically 2nd time, but I was kid and barely remember it). It’s exciting stuff. I still can’t really believe it.

So, where to from here? I want to lose the negative attitude. Glass half full, not half empty. Bad shit is going to happen, there’s nothing I can do about that, but I don’t have to dwell on it or let it get the better of me.

Life is not meant to be easy, my child; but take courage it can be delightful. ~ George Bernard Shaw

I want to have more energy and to wake up feeling refreshed. I’m tired of being tired, of everything feeling like both a physical and emotional effort. Is this a state of mind? I don’t know. It might be. At any rate I want to blog more, run more, write more, think more, do more, see more, learn more, read more, enjoy more, laugh more, love more and live more. I want to be motivated and interested. I want to be engaged and engaging.

All that being said, here’s what I hope to achieve in 2013: (though I reserve the right to change these if and as I see fit ;-p)

  • Attempt a half marathon.
  • Publish the 2012 NaNoWriMo book. 
  • Start a home based business.

  • You don’t need endless time and perfect conditions. Do it now. Do it today. Do it for twenty minutes and watch your heart start beating. ~ Barbara Sher

    What are you hoping to achieve in 2013?
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    Monday, August 13, 2012

    Incy Wincy

    Over dinner a couple of weeks back, my friend explained that the previous day she had been doing her weekly housework chores which included stripping the beds and changing the sheets. She said she'd done the sheets earlier in the day but had gotten distracted before putting the pillow cases on and so, some time just before going to bed she went into the room to finish the task. She lifted up one of the pillows to find a large spider and what she mistook to be an awful lot of little dots of spider poo... until the little dots started to move. In no time the bed was covered in hundreds of tiny baby spiders.

    Her husband, who had turned a very pale shade of white, stared at her wide eyed and mouth open in horror. She went on to say she sprayed the bed with bug spray, swept up the bodies and finished putting the pillow cases on. Her husband looked positively sick. It seemed this was the first he'd heard of it.

    I can't decide if she's amazingly cool under pressure or completely bat-shit crazy.

    There is no way in hell you could have gotten me into that bed after some eight legged hairy ho' bag had spawned her 6 million hairy bastard babies on my pillow. You could have drowned those fuckers in a Mortien swimming pool and it still wouldn't have been enough for me.

    Why am I bringing this up? Because so far today I've had three little baby spiders crawl on me and now all I can feel the little tickles of phantom spiders crawling all over my skin. One of the baby spiders (actual, not phantom) sprinted around the bend of the baby's ear and across her forehead as I was feeding her. It took every ounce of impulse control I had not to smack it right there on her head with a magazine.


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    Saturday, June 30, 2012

    Magnetic Meals Planner

    So I made this after seeing something similar on Pinterest. I'm generally not very crafty but I'm pretty happy with the result. It's basically a menu planner for the evening meal. I'm chronically disorganised and wind up making a mad dash to the stupidmarket three or four nights a week to pick something up for dinner. And because I'm that disorganised, we wind up having the same thing more often than not. So in the interests of variety and sanity, I've made this. Down the left are the days of the week with what we're having for dinner. On the right is a pocket for the various meal labels, below that another pocket for retired meal labels, or stuff we've just had or to hold a pencil. Below that are post-its.

    I used:

    An A4 frame. I used an old Ikea one that was laying around.

    3 sheets of coloured cardboard to make the menu pouches. More or less.

    1 sheet of scrapbooking paper to cover the backing board of the frame but you could use fabric or leave it as it is.

    Magnets. Strong ones. I used one each for the days of the week clips and then the rest (I bought a pack of 20) I stuck to the back of the frame so it would stick to the fridge. You could hang it on the wall IF you live in a house that allows for such things.

    Bulldog clips. Make sure they're metal so they stick to the magnets for easy removal and planning.

    Stickers. Whatever takes your fancy. I used hippy flowers because that's what I had and the colours matched the paper I had. LUCKY!

    Glue. I'd recommend the dries clear kind unless your gluing skills are better than mine, which, let's face it, they probably are. But go clear anyway. Trust me, when you accidentally smear glue over the leg of the hardwood table you'll be glad of it.

    Clear contact. I covered the printed meal labels in contact to give them a bit more strength and to make them easy to clean. Anything even remotely associated with food will, in my house anyway, become covered in crap.

    Post-it notes. Dementia will be a smooth transition for me. If I don't write it down it slips in the never regions of my mind where it will inevitably resurface at some irrelevant time long past the moment I actually needed to recall it. It is here that I can jot down new dinner ideas or reminders or baking ideas.

    Just cut and paste the bits and pieces where they go. If I can figure it out, so can you. Or search on Pinterest. Google. Where ever.

    On the fridge!

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    Friday, December 30, 2011

    Every Dinosaur Poos!

    With a sick Lil' Edges on my hands I thought I'd try to brighten her up with some Nick Jr. To my complete amusement this is what was on:

    Quality children's programming.

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