Everyday Small Things

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Happy, Healthy, Strong: Pretty Paleo – review 1st (Paleo) week

I’ve just finished my first week of being (Pretty) Paleo.  Or should I say I’m one week in to my new Paleo journey?!  Either way I decided to follow the e-book “A week of Paleo Recipes” by Suz Crawt which is free to download from the Paleo Network (click here).

I honestly give this book 5/5 stars!  The recipes were quick and easy to prepare and produced some of the tastiest food we’ve had in ages!  Some of the recipes do not state how many people they serve, but we had a pretty good idea anyway so didn’t find this a problem.  I fully recommend you have a look if you are thinking of giving Paleo a go.  If you subscribe you can download the book free!  And we all love things that are free!

As I have previously said I am thinking of doing an elimination diet and want to cut out dairy, nuts and the nightshades (which I’d never heard of but have been linked to migraines and joint problems – hmmm does that remind me of anyone?!) on top of basically being Paleo.  So I viewed the week as a ‘soft’ trial to see how my body might react.  Sometimes resources say to go cold turkey.  But I know my body.  Huge and sudden changes don’t necessarily suit it.  I went on the Atkins diet at university.  Made sure I ate all the food groups.  But by the end of the second week I had one of the worst cases of flu I’ve ever had.  I just think the sudden change shocked my body too much.

So the big dietary changes for me this week really were:  1)  swapping dairy milk for almond milk, 2) no beans/lentils as I used to eat this a lot as part of my low GI diet and 3)  no grains at all including my staple bulgur wheat.

I was working from home this week which usually means I snack constantly and cannot stop thinking about food!  Mentally I was a bit all over the shop too as there is a lot going on here at home.. often another precursor to eating/craving lots.

How did I feel?  Well I cannot believe I’m saying this, but:

  • I didn’t crave.  At all.  Not even chocolate.  This has never happened to me.  Ever.
  • No brain fog
  • No tiring easily whilst concentrating – being able to focus quite clearly (a rare thing for me with my constant headaches)
  • Headache ‘volume’ decreased
  • My gut felt nothing or clean or light.  Either way I didn’t’ really notice it at all, which I’m taking as a good thing.  Not full, not stodgy, not empty or grumbling.

I must admit, I was a little sceptical because I’ve tried so many different diets and approaches that why should this have been any different?!  Well it was!!  So I am going to continue with it.  I must admit this week I am a lot busier and being able to be ‘Paleo’ when I am out and about is looking harder.  But one of the key ideas with Paleo is that it is a lifestyle choice – not a hard and rigid set of dietary rules.  So just making the best choices possible at the moment is enough (therefore less stress therefore happier and healthier me).  I’ll slowly collect more resources and incorporate these meal ideas into my daily life.  I think the hardest trial will be on a tired or hungover day when I naturally reach for my traditional comfort foods.  But as Mark from Mark’s Daily Apple suggests… make new comfort foods.  So I’m hoping that through the repetition of making good food choices I will too create new comfort foods.

I’m currently creating a “Giving Paleo a Go Top Tips” post.  So if you are interested stay tuned.

I love how we are all different.  My friends love oats.  My body doesn’t!  What foods in your diet make you feel amazing?  Healthy?  Strong?


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Happy, Healthy, Strong: Going Paleo

I’m going to give Paleo a go.  Why I hear you say?  What’s that I hear you say?

Well very quickly in a nutshell Paleo is more of a lifestyle choice than just a diet.  It is a framework used to create the best person/mind/body you can be by focusing on Nutrition, Fitness and Lifestyle.   Traditionally Paleo is sold as the Primal/Caveman lifestyle.  And with particular regard to diet, Paleo suggests that our dietary choices should be focused on the diet our ancestors ate.  Why?  Well most arguments are based around the fact that the human digestive system has not evolved to be able to cope with the types of foods that Western cultures primarily eat these days.  But I come from an evolutionary biology background and know that there is lots of evidence to suggest that certain aspects of human biology has evolved over the last 10 000 years.  So I don’t really buy into that!  But maybe many of the foods we eat these days just are not good for us full stop. ?!  This is just a super, quick glance at Paleo and a bit ramshackle sorry– for a good and quick explanation click here.

What was my diet before? 

In a nutshell – low GI.  A few years ago I really overhauled my diet because my world fell apart as I was suffering from constant migraines and headaches.  And yeah I really noticed an improvement in energy, in my gut’s happiness and was able to start losing weight. Yay!

Before that I felt like I had tried everything.  At college I even went completely gluten free for nine months after many health professionals suggested it to help combat the migraines.  And I had found the same results.

Despite big improvements I still feel sluggish.  Still have migraines/headaches daily.  Still have a low-grade auto-immune condition.  Still have joints that flare up too much during exercise and take too long to calm down.  Still always feel hungry (even though the ups and downs have stabilised a lot!).

Which brings me to Why go Paleo?

The first day I arrived in Australia I went for a massage (after the long-haul flight).  My massues just so happened to be a massive advocate of Paleo and we got chatting about the migraines/auto-immune condition.  She had had a similar experience.  It’s funny how you meet people at certain moments in your life.  Going back home was for me… a chance to listen to my heart and body again.  So it was interesting that in my first few hours back I had this conversation.

I realised I had just dismissed Paleo earlier because of the evolutionary argument.  But she gave me some good resources to read (see below for some links if you’re interested):  in particular the link between foods that irritate the gut, cause the body ‘stress’ which may induce migraines.  Now not a lot of this is backed up by hard science.  But hard science has failed me.  This is hard to admit.  I’m a scientist for goodness sake.  Anyway long story short.. I have nothing to lose by further investigating the link between my diet, my health and therefore my happiness.  I will probably do an elimination diet soon.. am just researching the best way to go about this now.

In my reading I found this recipe book – a week of Paleo recipes.  And they were so yummy, quick to prepare.  My next post is my review of this week.

Are you interested in Paleo?  What bought you to it?  Have you done an elimination diet?  Can you make any good suggestions?

Want to know more about Paleo?  These are some good links I’ve found:

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Happy, Healthy, Strong: Pilates Instructor here I come!

“Physical fitness is the first requisite of happiness. In order to achieve happiness, it is imperative to gain mastery of your body. If at the age of 30 you are stiff and out of shape, you are old. If at 60 you are supple and strong then you are young.”  Joseph Pilates

Tomorrow I am starting a Pilates Mat Instructor Course.  Yipitydoodaaaaaaah!!!!  Excited much?!  Arr yes!!!

I came to Pilates to help combat the ol’ migraines and was lucky enough that my gym had a truly talented and well educated Pilates instructor.  Iwona from Poland.  And yes this is cheesy, but she did change my life and she got me on this road to Pilates.  Pilates makes me Happy, Healthy and Strong.  I want to incorporate it more into my life.  I want to understand the art/science of Pilates more.  I want to help people the way Iwona helped me.  I’ve had countless moments as a teacher where I’ve had the opportunity to make a difference for others.  And I’m addicted because it is important to me to be able to help others in my life.

So tomorrow off I’ll go… really nervous.. but excited because I feel it is one of those moments in life where I’ll be opening a new door.  I have no idea what’s on the other side… but it is a step forward to creating the life I dream of!

This old take of Keep Calm & Carry On rings true – I do find doing Pilates empowering, calming and centering!  And now it’s going to be in my life more!  🙂

What brings you calmness?  What empowers you?

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Happy, Healthy, Strong – Music

Introducing Jamie Pye

A good ol’ friend and I recently stumbled upon a new young talent in Barwon heads.  His name is Jamie Pye.  According to his facebook page he is only 16!  As he played his instrumental, finger-style, original music we were blown away.

Barwon headsOur view at Barwon Heads as we listened to Jamie’s original music that just fit perfectly with the landscape.

It was a beautiful, autumn afternoon and as we sat over-looking the rivulet and out to the ocean, his music fit perfectly with the Australian, coastal landscape.  He doesn’t appear to be on iTunes yet, but you can here him on triple j unearthed.  We bought his album, a full length album called ‘Vibrations’ and I haven’t stopped listening to it.  He’s one to watch out for!

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Happy, Healthy, Strong – Foodelicious

Cafe culture – great tasting grub!

Melbourne CoffeeMelbourne Coffee really is superb folks – it has bought my Coffee Diva back out.

Melbourne is known for being full of coffee (and sometimes food) snobs.  But geez the food really is good!  Don’t get me wrong, in the UK you can get great food, but it can be harder to come by.  And just because it has the word ‘organic’ on it doesn’t seem to ensure the food is actually of a quality as it does in Melbourne.  I actually saw on the news here a report about Aussies who’ve set up a cafe in Paris, making Australian-style coffee which is really taking off.  I’m off to Paris in a few weeks for the French Open (gee I know life is tough), so I might go check it out.  I’m generally a caffeine-free-zone (again related to headaches/migraines), but couldn’t help myself recently.  My first Melbourne coffee stopped me in my tracks walking across the busy Flinders Street in Central Melbourne.  Aargh the Coffee Diva was back!

There is a few new cafes here in Brunswick that I’ve visited.  One is called Milkwood and one is Eastern Elevation.

One of my key goals in terms of getting Happy, Healthy & Strong is improving my relationship with food.  It has become my Foodemy (that did seem to work better in my head when I combined food and enemy.. maybe that’s just me?!)  I’m in a food rut.  Sick of cooking it.  Sick of buying it.  Sick of sharing it.  Why is that I wonder?  [Possibly something to do with the window that won’t shut and the long winter we’ve had?…).

Eggs & smash

Poached Eggs on Broadbean and Mint Smash at new cafe Milkwood – so good I went back today for lunch!

Anyway, it has been really nice to share some meals out that feel really nutritious and nurturing rather than heavy and greasy!

I’ve also been thinking about having a crack at Paleo when I get home.  I already know that I’m really not a carbs girl (well I love bread.. but I need a 30 minute nap after eating it).  So when I’ve been out for a meal here I’ve been a little nervous because sometimes all there is on offer is a meal based around carbs that I know will send me to sleep – not what I want to be happening at the end of my meal when I want to catch up with my friend who I haven’t seen in years.  So I’ve been really greatful that many meals offered have been based more around pulses, protein & freshness which suits me much better.

What’s the nicest thing about food where you live?

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Happy, Healthy, Strong – Music

Today’s Top 5 (Jogging) Tracks

Do you listen to music when you exercise?  Why?  Last night my friends and I all sighted different reasons.  Amy likes an inspirational pump-up, pop songs, whereas I often prefer something a bit ‘angrier’ with a strong beat like Linkin Park (yes I still love that album!).

But when it comes to jogging I often get frustrated because the beat on the songs changes and that interrupts my jogging pace.  And when you buy those jogging compilations they are full of pop songs that I’ve either never heard of or are just not that in to.  I’ve tried jogging without music, but I get bored and this is often the reason I stop after 30 minutes (yes a short attention span here)!

Now before you go any further may I just say this:  I used to be a massive music snob.  I was a 90s punk-rock-ska kid.  I could never have liked anything as mainstream as a pop song.  But then I grew up.  If the song makes me happy or moves me emotionally, and yes pop songs (and any genres) can do this!  So I am no longer a music snob and I have no time for them either!!!

Today however I ended up with BBC Radio 1’s Live Lounge, Volume 5 (so all acoustic – oh yeah).  And my top 5 tracks to listen to were:

  1. The man who Can’t be moved – Cover by N-Dubz:  this surprised me because although not really a pump-up song it has a great beat and is emotional enough!
  2. Ego – The Saturdays:  please don’t judge me!  But their harmonies live really are tight!
  3. Sweet Disposition – The Temper Trap:  I’d forgotten how sweet this song is after it had been over played.  Again it turns out it has a really good jogging beat.
  4. My Hero – Dave Grohl:  need I say any more…
  5. Bang bang bang – Mark Ronson & The Business International:  now this song used to really annoy me.. but today the beat just got me going.  And it is just silly… and when I’m out enjoying myself I am also a dag (for those of you overseas… that means silly too).

What have a learned from this?  I need to rethink my jogging Playlists seriously.

What music do you listen to when you workout?  Can you make any good suggestions?

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Everyday Small Things: Wisdoms

Today I watched episode 1 series 3 of Adam Hills tonight and father Bob was on. For those if you overseas he us an outspoken, Catholic (don’t run away.. This iS no religious preach), who also very very funny. He uses this to help get his message across about helping those less fortunate and u can choose to ask more re religion if you choose.

Anyway my wisdom and EST (Everyday Small Things) for today us a quote if his:


Damn straight. I’m going to keep this with me as inspiration to be more generous on my mission to be Healthy, Happy & Strong!

What does this statement say to you?