Showing posts with label Health and Wellbeing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Health and Wellbeing. Show all posts


Making Tea


When we think about making tea, we immediately think of the brand, the bag, the pot. 

We are so conditioned to associate an item with a brand first and foremost. 

I can still recall jingles about tea bags from my childhood..... and that is frightening. Where is this data stored in my brain for all these decades ? 

Did you know that gresh spices make a lovely tea ? They are the same spices that I often use in cooking and you can buy them in bulk. 

For a refreshing tea, the basis would be coriander, fennel and cumin seeds, however, I like to 'spice mine up a little. 

I like to add some cardamom pods (broken open) and some cinnamon stick. I also add some mulberries from the freezer from last year's surplus. I like to call the tea ' Mulberry Spice'. 

You can make enough for a week or so by putting those ingrediatents into a dry jar. Don't woryy about quanities.... just find your own taste and change it up as you like. 

I have a little jar that I fill when I am travelling. 

I have a little tea strainer ball that cost me $1.00! I also use an old inside of a tea pot... or if you like, why not make the pot! 

The point is, it's straight from the jar.... sooooooo cost effective, no packaging (after the bulk purchase) and you can change it to suit the season and your taste. 

It is the perfect ritual to start the day with.... to sip slowly.... to be at peace..... THEN, you can dive into the coffee and the crazxy world. 


Renewing, Restoring, Rewilding, Reconnecting

We were due for a break. We were excited by the opportunity to go away as a family and take some time out.

We didn't need to go far, or spend much money at all.

It is funny that you can be so close to home and yet feel so different about things. Truth is, it is not the location, it is the mindset that you slip into.

You slip into a mindset of relaxation and renewal. You slow down, breath and look around. You are not rushed and you take the time to let all the little things enter your senses. You listen intently, you breath deeply to smell all that you can. You reach out to touch the surrounds.

And it feels wonderful. It feels like you have a fresh lease on life.

...and yet, you are so close to home. It shows you that you can turn off distraction and turn on your senses at any time that you need to renew.

Our weekend consisted of a Friday night of games first of all. A hilarious night of Pictionary where we snorted with laughter and our drawings made us question the way we think collectively because we could draw meaning from a couple of squiggles.

On Saturday we walked almost 8 kilometres. We explored, studied and 're-wilded'. We reconnected with nature and realigned with the fabulous thing that is Mother Nature in its many forms.

It is beautiful to watch our boys, who are now young men, still show wonder and awe at the natural environment.

On Saturday we had an abundant meal of fresh seafood.

On Sunday we returned home, very steadily, stopping a number of times along the way.

When we arrived home we were refreshed and content. It was such a wonderful time of purposeful renewal that we all agreed that we will do this more often.

Personally, I will be exporting this thinking to myself when I am at home. I challenge you to do the same.

What would it look like if you carved out some time to practice renewal ? Does it mean that you have a bubble bath with a glass of wine ? Does it mean that you drag your chair out into the garden and read indulgently without guilt while you eat strawberries ? Does it mean that you choose a hobby and give your self permission to carve out time to indulge yourself in it ?

It's very healthy to practice self care instead of martyrdom and guilt . We are much better for those around us when we take care of ourselves first.

There is much joy to be had in slowing down.


Our Grandparents Never Went to the Gym

Can you imagine trying to set up a gym or fitness centre in 1940. You would have to convince people that it was of benefit to them to come in and use the equipment.

I can imagine a farmer being told to get onto the treadmill so he can walk to get some exercise. He’d be saying – he get his exercise in the paddock thanks!

What about the gardener. She would be told to get on the weights machine, but she would argue that she gets enough of that pulling weeds and digging potatoes.

What about the woman told to jump on the bicycle to ride her way to fitness, she’d be saying that there was no point in doing that because she just rode four miles to get here on her own bicycle and still has the return journey ahead of her!

Yes, I agree with you that the 1940’s gymnasium would be a total flop!!

But, as a 2010 girl I have a gym membership. We have a community owned aquatic and leisure centre about half way between my house and town.

Sure, I could get my exercise walking in the paddocks, digging potatoes and riding my bicycle like they did in 1940, but there is one big difference. They never allowed do get themselves overweight in the first place.

Have you noticed when looking back at old photos and hearing people’s recollection that very few people were overweight ? I believe it is a combination of an active lifestyle and limited food variety and quantity.

Today we lead a more sedentary lifestyle and have an abundance of food all around us, and like any cow on a good pasture we are bound to add a few kilos each year until you hit middle age and ........... Last week I read that obesity is now the biggest health problem in Australia and is responsible for all kinds of preventable diseases and conditions.

If exercise was a pill it would be a wonder drug. It reduces stress, makes you feel very very happy, reduces blood pressure, corrects type 2 diabetes, makes for strong hearts, great skin, hair and nails. Who wouldn’t buy a box of that pill ?

So. Quite ironically I drive to the gym to get on the exercise equipment. One of the trainers told me I am close enough to ride my bike there and back, which I am… but if I rode my bike there, I wouldn’t have to go inside!!! ( That’s my logic …..and I am sticking to it for now!)

Is it worth the money ? I think so because I use it almost every day so the actual cost of each visit is less than a cup of coffee and I feel so damn good after a class. Today during a bodypump class with the music blaring I had a massive rush of endorphins and could barely stop myself from yelling out ‘damn…yeah!’ as I threw that weights bar over my head.

You can check out all about bodypump here.


Post Vacation Blues

We arrived back from our annual holiday and for the first few days I had what I coined 'post vacation blues'. Normally I am really happy to go away, but very happy to return home again.
We use our annual holiday as a time for renewal. We make our plan for the upcoming year, talk about our focus and and areas of improvement we will launch into for the upcoming year.

We also totally relax.

I enjoyed watching 'Chocolat' ( must be about the fifth time I have seen it and still love it!)

I enjoyed having lazy breakfasts like this.

and of course there was lots and lots of this.......

I think I got a little too used to having someone come in and change the towels. I even joked about employing some person who I never actually meet who will come in like the tooth fairy and do things while I am not looking. lol

But.... thank goodness that feeling has passed and I am now ready to face the year.
We had family come and stay last week, so it was nice to be home and to enjoy spending time with people you love.

Now it's time to put my 2010 plans into action.


Health + Yum = Chocolate Slice { ? }

You see lots of recipes that claim to be healthy and yummy. In my experience those two adjectives don't often go together. But...... I have found a slice that actually provides a chocolate fix and yet has only healthy ingredients..... and there is no cooking involved.
You will need:
Half a cup of sesame seeds
Half a cup of almonds ( soaked in water overnight and then drained)
Third of a cup of coconut
Third of a cup of cocoa powder
8 dried figs
Half a cup of chopped dates
Two drops of peppermint essence
Two tablespoons of water.
Throw everything in a food processor and churn/ pulse until the mixture is crumbly. You may need to fiddle with the amount of water or sesame seeds if it is too dry or too wet. Test by pressing some mixture together.
Press the slice into a small pan ( 20cm x 10cm) and refrigerate until firm.
The taste is nutty, yet chocolatey and most importantly it is very satisfying with a cup of tea!
We thought it actually tasted better on the second day in the fridge... not sure about the third day {lol}
Try it and see what you think.....


Bucket List {Tick}

Today I can finally tick something off my bucket list. You know that list you have of things you are going to do before you kick the bucket ?

Years ago I had put 'be a person that goes to the gym and actually enjoys it' on my list. In my mind I may as well have written 'climb Mount Everest' or 'parachute naked' because...... {in my mind} it was never going to happen.

You see, I don't mind exercise, I enjoy it on MY terms. But as I am getting older, the weight is creeping up, the flexibility is dropping away and I don't want to be forty and fat, I want to be forty and fabulous! Although I want to drop about 10 kilos, I don't want to do a 'weight loss programme'. I am after so much more than that. I am after a lifestyle change. I want to take charge of my health and my future.

I don't know what changed in me, maybe it was just my {season}. But I started getting out the front of my house and walking up and down the street. The total length of the street is 500m so it made it very easy to work out distances I was covering. It was also my cheat ticket because If I got too tired I could just come inside, rather than be such a long way from home that I would have the pain of walking all the way back. {hee hee}

Each day, it seemed to get easier. I have read and heard other people say this before but I never really got it. I started trying to jog from one telegraph pole to the next and then the next - with Hubbie's encouraging words and me screaming and cursing! Before too long I could jog the whole 500 m ( as long as I had the right song playing on my son's Ipod! lol)

Then on the 4th of September I did the unthinkable and went and got a fitness assessment at our local swim/gym centre. I had always imagined that the gym is full of people in 80s lyrca G-strings with perfect bodies and wearing lipstick! Well..... it's not. It's full of people like me who want to make changes in their lives. There's the overweight mums who drop their kids in the creche, the businessmen battling the beer gut and the retired couples who want to maintain their health. All of them surprisingly 'normal'.

So I now go to the gym. I have been everyday since then and I actually enjoy it, hence the bucket list tick. I started off really easy and have built things up. In the past I have failed because I have gone in too hard and hated it and declared never again. But the last few sessions I have felt absolutely brilliant and could actually say I enjoy it. I have great songs on the Ipod and have to stop myself from calling out "in the name of love" ( by U2) when I am on the treadmill!!! lol

If you are on a budget, your first thought may be the cost. If this is an issue for you, there are lots of ways around it - just grab your music and dance around the house, run up and down the stairs or get a workout DVD. The same applies if you have young children and can't get out. The choice is yours and there is {always} a way if your desire is strong enough.

I pay about $2 a day and am now more than willing to forgo the occasional signature coffee { vanilla latte on skim} in order to feel this good. My mind is clear, my energy levels are out of this world and I feel great. Because the focus is lifestyle not weight loss, I am really enjoying the process.

Are you ready to get started or to take it to the next level ?


Sustainable Health Choices.

I wrote last month about feeling as though most 'simple living tasks' were going quite well and that I wanted to start focusing on my health as well. We take such good care of our garden, testing our soil, correcting PH, using only organic materials..... why then is there a separate set of rules when it comes to taking care of my own body ? If I am not healthy and fit I won't have the energy or ability to do all the things that make my house function, like cooking and gardening.

I really want to get fit and have increased energy. As a by product I want to lost about 10 kgs.

Today is day sixteen of my continuous 'better choices' and I have lost 2 kilos. Nothing too exciting, but I am aiming for a sustainable lifestyle change, not a quick fix. I am not on a diet, I am just on an awareness campaign.

I found the above book while I was browsing around waiting for some photos to get developed in a department store the other day.

I liked the no nonsense approach and I like the pictures - sound strange, but it's very motivating.

I wouldn't say that I have really learnt anything knew, more of a bit of a 'aha' moment, or that moment when you suddenly 'get it'.

So far I have taken on board that it really is about calories in and calories out. My body ( using calculations from the book) uses about 1560 calories per day to function normally. So whatever I put into my body either creates a deficit and means a weight loss, or creates a credit and means a weight gain. Add a little exercise to that and I use up more calories each day resulting in a larger deficit .

I don't count calories every day, but I did do some homework to find out the calorie count of different foods to gain an understanding of what I was eating. ( i use calorie Once I had that information I made some adjustments to what I was eating. Did you know one fancy drink at a particular fast food cafe has the same calories as almost a whole days worth of food? So if you were to consume this AND your food you would be eating for two adults ? No wonder Australia has such an obesity problem. Who would of thought that a drink could be that calorie dense ??

I now ALWAYS eat breakfast. Before I started I would think that I am not hungry enough to eat breakfast and would go without. By lunch time though I could eat the handles of the kitchen cupboards.

I opt for foods that are filling and make me feel full for a lot longer ( i.e. low GI ) so that I can get more bang for my calorie buck. What I mean here is that for the same calorie intake I could either eat four squares of chocolate or opt for a huge sandwich. I know that if I eat the chocolate I will still be hungry afterwards.

Exercise is the number one feel good drug on the planet. This has taken me a long time to 'get'. I am often too tired to go for a walk or a bike ride, whereas Hubbie would say "I am SO tired I NEED go for a ride or a walk". He understands that energy comes from exertion and the more you do the better you feel. This is in contrast to me 'waiting' for a magical burst of energy, missing the point that the energy comes from the very thing I was avoiding.

Exercise doesn't have to be a 5km run. Exercise can be dancing around your house with the stereo on, playing with the kids, walking while pushing the pram. The thing is that if you make a small start, even walking around the backyard five times, it gets easier each time and you feel the need to naturally build it up.

Never say you don't have time to exercise. I heard Michael Pollan say once that we say we don't have time to cook, yet we have time to watch cooking shows. It's the same with exercise... we don't have time to exercise, but we watch television shows about people exercising and losing the most weight.

Exercise helps you sleep better, breath deeper, stand taller, think clearer and gives your skin a lovely glow. It's up to you whether you want a spoonfull of this free, magic medicine.

So... I will keep posting about how things are going. It's a shame I don't own a video camera. I think you would get a great laugh out of footage of me jogging with Hubbie while he looks fabulous and is encouraging me and I am panting out " i'm gonna die, I'm gonna die" LOL


So Dark Before The Dawn

I am really missing my morning quiet time. I like to have some time before the sun comes up to sit and ..... well just sit, or download all the ideas that raced around in my head throughout the night, or blog, or read or write lists.... and lists..... and then summary lists! lol

But the sun is coming up very late at the moment. It is after 7am which in my books is way too late! I don't have an alarm clock. I sleep with the blinds up so I can see the stars and hear the first bird warn me of the impending daylight. But 7am ? That means by the time the birds start, it is already close to 6.30am and I feel robbed of my quiet time.

I try to start each day with a strong morning routine. If I can get through that then all is well with the world. Households with children can be danger zones in the morning. Having a predictable steady paced routine is much better for everyone's mental health. Believe me, I have tried looking for that pair of shoes at the last minute only to attempt getting out the back door and realising that one child doesn't have a hat which means ' no play' - it is a much saner option to opt for the night before readiness programme and the subsequent peaceful morning.

After the whirlwind has left I can start my 'whip round'. Finish making the beds, swish the loo and perform the meditative daily sweep.

In keeping with my focus of health and fitness I have been taking the time to do some exercise and fuel up with a huge breakfast. Breakfast like a king and dinner like pauper.

Thinking back to my Grandmother's ways - routines were an integral part of life. Can you imagine the family getting up to have no fire going, not hot water, nothing cooked ..... because the wife 'didn't feel like it today' lol How times have changed!

Routines were essential to the running of daily life. Now days, we seem to be able to take it or leave it. If we don't feel like doing the washing, the family has more than enough clothes in wardrobes. If we don't feel like cooking there is always the drive thru! In my grandmothers day if she didn't wash, there were no other clothes. They had work clothes and church clothes. If she didn't cook, they didn't eat because there were no take away restaurants! I remember her telling me that on one occasion she didn't iron the pillow cases and they had unexpected visitors drop in and stay the night and when she had to pull out the un-ironed pillow case she felt humiliated because it was a great shame! lol Yes.... things have surely changed.

But back to my world....... I have to wait until April before daylight savings finishes and I get my extra daylight in the morning. Until then..... I will continue blogging away in the dark feeling cheated because the day is well underway yet the sun is not doing her job!


Time To Evaluate

It has been 9 months since I threw in my job as a solicitor and started living a more simple and deliberate life. Today I was re-reading the entry from June last year that I wrote regarding the decision.

I guess this means it is time to put my money ( or lack of it) where my mouth is and commence the experiment. Can a thoroughly modern mum live freely in a modern world. Can she produce food? Can she cook from scratch? Can she knit socks(gulp!)? Can she raise chooks for eggs? Can she learn to sew properly (gulp!) and........ can she still afford to buy the occasional vanilla latte on skim milk that has become her signature coffee ?
I believe that my user name "BusyWoman" is about to become an extremely accurate assessment of the days to come. I look forward to it with a sick sense of excitement. I hope you will stick around for the journey.

Time for an evaluation.......

I haven't been blogging as much lately about the usual topics because it seems that I have those things under control and blogging about them again seems somewhat repetitive. I haven't even been reading many simple living blogs because I have found them to be following the same themes all the time. Is there only so much one can write about the topic before there is nothing new to say and day in day out it is just the same ? I hope not!! I am always looking for a new challenge.

You see, in June last year I was worried about whether or not we could produce our own food, whereas today I am in the habit of going and grabbing things out of the garden as required, especially things like herbs and shallots which are generally an after thought on the shopping list. The thing we need to improve on is succession or staggering the planting so we don't have thousands of vegies harvest then nothing for the next two months.

Cooking From Scratch..... another thing that we have under control. It seems so natural now to bake bread, make pasta or try new things like the challah loaf.

Chooks...... another normal part of the day now to get up and feed them and talk to them and in return they fill the fridge to overflowing with their beautiful eggs. We certainly need to give away or sell some more because one fell out when I opened the fridge door yesterday! lol

On the knitting front..... well........ my excuse is that knitting is a winter thing and I don't sit down long enough in the summer months to be able to do it! ( are you convinced?) Ask me again in the winter months how I am going.

Even our house seems to be slowly falling in to line. I like a clean crisp and clutter free environment, it's just that it usually only stays that way for about 35 minutes! Over the months we have thrown out more and more "stuff" which makes things a lot easier to keep clean. Once I started doing yoga I became very conscious of our living environment. It's hard to relax and do yoga poses with a clear mind when you are staring at a basket of ironing! lol I believe that your home environment has a HUGE impact on your mental well being. It is much easier to relax and feel at peace in an uncluttered space.

There are still a couple of projects I want to do in this department. Tackling the filing cabinet is one of these jobs. time to clean out some old paperwork and revamp the file headings. Can you out your hand on any piece of paper or financial record in less than thirty seconds or do you have to go digging? My aim is to be the thirty second girl!

So.... with the food gardening, cooking, home management and even the cash budget under control is time now to move towards looking after myself personally. Time to work on regaining my personal health and becoming more active and fit. I don't mean a " lose 30kg in 3 weeks" type of thing, I mean adopting a more healthy approach to eating, drinking and exercise for no other reason than to feel great! That includes looking after my skin, hair, nails etc and doing the best with my god given self, in a way that still reflects my values for an old fashioned approach ( meaning I won't be getting botox injections for a wrinkle free face lol! )

I have been really inspired recently by Libby ( ) who blogs in her fitness section with tremendous honesty about her weight loss journey. I love the way she shares her ups and downs, good days and bad days. She gives me so much motivation !

So, my question to you all is this........ If you're reading this blog you obviously have an interest in simple living. How would you rate your health? Do you nurture your body the way you nurture your garden? Do you feel healthy and happy and energised? Are there changes you would like to make about the way you look after yourself ?

Are you interested in following a journey to health, the simple, frugal way ? No group programmes, no personal trainers, no membership fees and no hype? I wonder if it can be done. let me know if you would like to join me on the journey.

April Theme: Re-organise and Transition

In the Southern Hemisphere, April is in Autumn.  The days here are still warmish, but there is a sneaking whisper in the wind. That whisper ...