My Year in Review: Part 1

2013

At the start of this year myself and some friends decided we’d embrace 2013 as the ‘Year of Doing’ and we set out to accomplish things we’ve always wanted. Some friends moved job, some moved house, some moved country, some got married and some went back to college.

I had spend the 2nd half of 2012 reading and researching wellness concepts, things like juicing, veganism, yoga, crystals and organic beauty and decided there was a hell of a lot of things I wanted to accomplish in 2013. So I decided to put together the following timetable so I’d be able to fit everything in (organisational freak alert!):

Month

Give Up

Take Up

January

Alcohol

Yoga

February

Running

March

Meat and Fish

Reading books

April

Sugar

Meditation

May

Toxic Beauty Products

Getting up early

June

Social media

Meditation: Take 2

July

TV

Journaling

August

Caffeine

Juicing

September

Listening to the ‘Negative DJ’

Hot Yoga

October

Dairy

Embracing my ‘woo woo’ side: Chakra’s, crystals etc.

November

Toxic house cleaner

Clean Water

December

So here’s a very quick run through of how the first few months went:

January

Give Up: Alcohol

General Verdict: When I think back on it this was a very big deal to me at the time. I was unbelievably self conscious about doing this and telling people I was ‘off the booze’, but on reflection no one really cared except me! This was the first time I have denied myself anything for an extended period of time and I have to say, as strange as it sounds, it was actually kind of liberating. I felt so proud of myself for actually sticking to something and I also really enjoyed the non-hungover weekends and additional cha-ching in my purse.

The funny thing is that since this month I have completely reevaluated alcohol altogether and feel 100% times better for it too.

Success: 5/5

yoga3

Take Up: Yoga

General Verdict: I’ve always enjoyed yoga. Whenever I leave a class I feel renewed and refreshed in both body and mind. The only thing is that classes around here are bloody expensive, therefore I’ve never really been able to truly embrace my yogi side (‘hummmmmm…’). That was until I came across Yogaglo online (more about that here). Now I practice yoga in my living room  2/3 times a week and LOVE it. I love how I’m now able to do poses with my body I used to gawf at in amazement.

Success: 5/5

February

running

Take Up: Running

General Verdict: As per this blog post, I used to love running but nothing I could do this month, nothing, turned the hobby back on for me. I tried fun runs, running with friends, running alone, running with music, without music, on treadmills, along the sea but I just didn’t enjoy the activity. I found it boring and even tortuous at times (dramatic much?!). I decided to take this one on the chin and accept that sometimes our passions change and nothing we can do can reignite that flame. Therefore, once this month was finished, my running activity hobbled along for a few weeks before whimpering out of sight, never to be seen again for the rest of the year.

Success: 1/5 (the 1 point is for the 5 KM I ran a handful of Saturday mornings in Marley Park)

March

Give up: Meat and Fish

General Verdict: Like my January  attempt, this was another ‘challenge’ I had built up to be bigger in my head then it actually turned out to be. The problems is I come from a home where a meal isn’t considered to be a ‘proper’ meal unless there’s a piece of meat somewhere on the plate. The other thing is that before this month I didn’t know a whole lot about cooking with lentils or beans and therefore over the course of this month I existed solely on vegetables and salads (and one horrendous attempt to eat home cooked Tofu)… a happy, healthy girl I was not. More on that here.

A funny thing has happened since this month though, I’ve actually gone off the taste of chicken and red meat. I don’t like labels but now I consider myself to be 90% vegetarian. And very happy and healthy while at it! Saying that, if my body wants red meat I’ll adhere to it (and that’s why I gobbled up a rather yummy steak last month!), for me it’s all about doing what my body wants, not dictating to it.

Success: 5/5

Reading

Take Up: Reading

General Verdict: I’ve always enjoyed reading but this was a habit that was pushed aside once I was introduced to the bloody Apple App Store. I loved this month and it’s reignited my love of reading ever since. I’ve had the pleasure of reading some really great books over the course of the year (‘The Husbands Secret’ and ‘Gone Girl’ spring to mind). Myself and my friends have even started a Book Club which encourages us to keep up the reading. Nice work people!

Success: 4/5 (minus 1 for reverting to the iPad when in between books)

sugarlips

April

Give up: Sugar

General Verdict: What an interesting month this was (more on this month here). I’m no nutritionist so I won’t preach too much, but by GOD when I started educating myself on the effects sugar has on our systems and the levels of sugar in our everyday foods (22% RDA in a glass of orange juice?!!) I was gob smacked and a lot of what I’ve learnt this month I hope to never forget.

Today I still eat the occasional food with refined sugar but I’m now tonnes more aware of what I’m eating and am chuffed to say I haven’t had an evil soft drink since April.

Success: 4/5

meditation

Take Up: Meditation

General Verdict: Gulp. This one ain’t such a rosy story. I really, really struggled with this one. Firstly, I did everything in my power NOT to meditate, meditation- procrastination was the theme of the month. Then, if I did manage to force myself to sit with my eyes closed and a timer set for 10/15 minutes, I found it to be almost physically painful. More on that here.

Success: 1/5 (the ‘one’ is for the amount of YouTube clips and books I read about ‘how to mediate’… I just haven’t actually done it yet!)

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My Wellness Cloud Bookshelf- Part 2

Books

Happy rainy Monday morning to you- things can only get better I suppose!

Here’s a round up of a few more books I love and would recommend to any budding Wellness Warriors…

No More Dirty Looks: I’ve discussed this book in past blogs (here and here) so I’ll just quickly say here how this book opened my eyes to all the crap we are lathering on to ourselves on a daily basis.  I’m sorry to be the one to break it to you- but some of the products on your bathroom shelf and make up bag have chemicals which are hormone disturbing at the very least and carcinogenic at the worst- eeeeeek :-/!

Since reading this book I’ve become one of those annoyingly smug people who doesn’t buy any ‘unclean’ beauty products. I preach about the joys of using coconut oil for everything (‘I use it as a face and body moisturiser, eye make up remover and hair defuzzer don’t you know?’) and it makes me happy, so I’m planning to keep it that way.

Even if you love your beauty products (as I once did), I’d recommend this book as it’ll arm you with a fighting chance when trying to decide between shower gels so you can pick the less offensive one.

You Are What you Eat: There was a time I used to call this book my ‘Bible’, I’d bring it everywhere and refer to passages regularly, (‘Page 15, section 2: ‘thou shall not eat fruit after carbs’). It was my first introduction to ‘wellness’, although the movement didn’t have any fancy terms, blogs and quiona back then.

One of my favorite things is the way Gillian breaks everything down into individual body parts:

  • Pealing nails= Means you many have a weak and over worked liver and you are recommended to introduce Milk Thistle into your diet.
  • Stinky poo= Points to stagnation in the large intestine and that you’re in need of a digestive enzyme after meals
  • Spots on chin= Means you have an hormonal imbalance in the reproductive area and you could do with a herb like agnus castus to correct it.

womancode

Womancode: In the last few months I’ve been slowly coming to the conclusion that a lot of women’s health issues (physical, mental and emotional) are due to our hormones being unbalanced, or out of ‘whack’ as a lot of other bloggers seem to say.  This book cemented this theory for me. The book discusses some really important topics and I think it’s a book we should all read (my copy is available if anyone wants a lend!)

Some of the stuff I learnt:

  • PCOS, endometriosis, low libido, infertility, cystic acne, PMS, cramps and irregular menstruation are not normal and are not things we should be expected to live with (a say whaaat?!)
  • These are all symptoms of unbalanced hormones.
  • Amazingly interesting things (which I actually can’t believe we didn’t learn in school!) about our monthly cycles and how we have different ‘powers’ and qualities at different times of the month depending on the balance of hormones in our system (e.g. we are proven to be more creative the 7 to 10 days following our periods and that’s the time we should brainstorm and try new foods and sports as we will most likely enjoy them).

Mind Over Medicine: I am currently reading this fascinating book all about how we can heal ourselves with the power of our minds- sounds a bit ‘out there’ but apparently its all backed by medical research as Lissa is a qualified doctor. I’ll report back here once finished.

Salt, Sugar, Fat: This is next on the reading list and I’m pretty excited about it as it provides insights into the big business that is the Food Industry. 

So, have any recommendations of other wellness books for me to read? Any suggestions are much appreciated 🙂

2013 The Year of Doing, March

2013

2013 has been christened the ‘The Year of Doing’ by myself and my friends. It’s the year to stop talking about doing things and actually do them. To get the ball rolling I’ve broken the things I want to try ‘give up’ and things I’ve always wanted to ‘take up’ into different monthly challanges! Each one will last for the month before I report back on how it went. This is my review of how my 3rd month went…

Give Up: Meat + Fish

In my early teenage years I ‘went veggie’ for a few years for humanitarian reasons, that was until one cold Irish morning I woke up to the smell of my Dad cooking the family a fry up- rashers, sausages, pudding, eggs and mushrooms.

smiley face fryThat is one tantalising smell… Something inside me broke, I forgot about the poor pink piggies and I legged it downstairs ordering him to divvy me up ‘2 rashers, sausages and an egg- STAT!’ I haven’t looked back since, and eat meat/ fish with most meals, until this month…

I decided I wanted to try this no meat/ fish challenge for the following reasons:

  • Through my Wellness research I was totally grossed out to learn how commercial farming routinely administers low-dose antibiotics to their livestock to prevent disease spreading in the unsanitary conditions they keep the animals and also to promote rapid growth. The effects these antibiotics have on humans is disputable, but it’s safe to say that every time we eat a piece of factory farmed chicken/ beef, or dairy for that matter, we’re eating antibiotics, pesticides, steroids and hormones. Mmmmm, nom nom…

Shocker alert- half of all the antibiotics made in the US are administered each year to animals!

  • According to The Blood Type Diet (which I blogged here) my digestion system would better suit a veggie diet. As I’ve always had a very dodgy digestion this sounded pretty good to me.
  • I’ve been faily freaked out by the Horse Meat Scandal which rocked Europe over the last few months and worry that this story maybe the tip of a food fraud iceberg…

So how did the month go? This was a weird one, a game of two half’s if you will…

The first two weeks were great.

  • I loved cooking all the different veggies and trying out the veggie options when eating out. Actually I think I’ll do a blog post or two on all the yummy stuff I ate 🙂
  • My veggie intake soared and I was easily eating my 5 a day, everyday
  • My digestion system was the best it has ever been, with a massive reduction in bloating, gas, too little or too much pooping!
  • I also managed to get other people on board by cooking a delish 3 course veggie Mother’s Day meal for the rentals. I also got my carnivore boyfriend to eat more vegetables- he knowingly ate kale for the first time and loved it!

In the 2nd two weeks everything came crashing down. I found I was hungry ALL THE TIME. I would wake in the morning with hunger pangs which were actually painful and never felt truly full after a meal. I also realised my energy and motivation had reduced greatly. And to make matters worse, I was putting on weight (4 pounds over the month!).

Verdict: I am not a vegetarian. I would love to be able to be one and think it’s a very healthy decision to make but I don’t think it’s a diet that suits me. However I’ve decided I’m defiantly not going to be as reliant on meat and fish as I once was.  This month has made me realise I had a massive over reliance on meat- a meal wasn’t considered to be an actual meal in my mind unless there was a portion on meat somewhere on the plate.

So, instead of being a meat eater who also eats vegetables on the side, I’m going to be a veggie eater who sometimes eats meat/ fish on the side (all of which I will try and ensure are organic/ sustainable).

Take Up: Reading

Reading

Something happened about 5 years ago that stopped my good habit of reading each night before going asleep… the introduction of my iphone. Since then my iphone (and subsequent ipad) has monopolised my spare time and my books sit unread, like neglected children, on my bookshelf.

I miss reading. I miss the feeling you have when you have a good book waiting for you. I also think my English and vocabulary is getting bader (!) without reading regularly.

Therefore I embraced this ‘challenge’ like an old friend.

I spent a lovely Sunday afternoon pottering though 2nd hand book shops in The Blackrock Market where I choose the below books and read, to varying degrees of success:

Books

I’m afraid after this month is over and the motivation to read wanes I will revert back to my ipad. Therefore I’ve set up a Book Club with some friends. It’s a great mix of people, who are all interested in different areas and topics so I think we’ll get to read some great books! I’ve chosen our first book, a thriller (my favourite type!), by Gillian Flynn called ‘Gone Girl’- fingers crossed it goes down well 🙂

Verdict: I found this ‘challange’ to be extremely hard. Each night before I drift off to sleep the last thing I want to be is ‘disciplined’ and pick up a book over a quick Facebook stalk on my ipad. However, when I did actually read I loved it. I really hope the Book Club is successful as I definitely need some motivation to keep that damn ipad away from me!

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