Saturday, August 31, 2013


What do you think?

I fell for the clever marketing too. My children began their day with weetbix. Other cereals were a treat because they were so much more expensive. I heard the comment that weetbix were no better than chaff and that they had as much nutrient as the cardboard packet but here in New Zealand we trusted the manufacturers, Sanitarium, who were also Seventh Day Adventists and, like Kellogg's, promoted the vegetarian lifestyle.

I feel sad that I was not wiser about the nutrition of cereals. As I watched this video the science of advertising took on a whole new meaning. I knew it was there but was kind of shocked to discover how subtle and invasive it really is and how much I had been sucked in when I thought I had a reasonably healthy degree of scepticism.

If you have had enough of the skill and skull-duggery of advertisers take a look at this article which describes how some researchers are studying ideas to change our shopping habits. Awesome! Put a mirror to reflect your own image as you go around the grocery store making your selections.

And there's more. I was totally shocked to read this today. I followed a link on the Livin La Vida forums. Shock horror. Now I will never eat anything again with aspartame even in an emergency. I'd rather eat sugar despite it's addictive and other negative qualities. This is not BS there is now public access to the patent for manufacturing Aspartame. Does this scare you about food manufacturers? It does me!

Today's photo of Otama Beach. You can't feel the wind but let me tell you it's straight off the Antarctic ice.

Friday, August 30, 2013


As a nation New Zealand tends to be a great sporting nation and we succeed way above our weight if you consider our population. When I was younger the description Rugby, Racing and Beer was synonymous with being a Kiwi, perhaps less so nowadays. The racing referred to is horse racing and there will not be many Kiwi's who have never placed a bet. Of course our friends across the ditch in Australia were sometimes better than us but there are a few arenas where we have excelled above anything that Australians can do. Rugby Football is one of those sports.

On Saturday our All Blacks secured the Bledisloe Cup. This is a rugby football competition between Australia and New Zealand.

If you're starting to take this All Black dominance of Australia for granted, banish those thoughts.
New Zealand's vice-like grip on the Bledisloe Cup - and Wallaby rugby minds - is now so absolute it should be considered a national treasure.
Steve Hansen's All Blacks tonight secured the Bledisloe Cup for an 11th consecutive season as they despatched the Wallabies for the second straight week with another very impressive performance, winning 27-16.  NEWS ITEM 

 On Sunday, 25th August, we finished off the Louis Vuitton Cup and the Team New Zealand boat lines up to do battle with Oracle for the America's Cup starting on September 7th 2013.
Here is a link to the first race with a very dramatic moment 45 minutes into the video.
Today's race was in fog and must have been quite a challenge in light winds. Luna Rossa, the Italian competition got lost more than 3 minutes behind to the finish..The Presentation.

And 15 year old Lydia Ko has shown her remarkable golfing prowess again.

Golf: Lydia Ko wins Canadian Golf Open

Newstalk ZB - August 26, 2013, 9:59 am
Kiwi amateur Lydia Ko has romped to a successful defence of her Canadian women's Golf Open title at Edmonton.
She's won by five shots, finished with a stunning birdie putt on the 18th to card a final round six-under 64.
The 16-year-old finished on 15 under for the tournament.
Frenchwoman Karine Icher finished second.

Motor Racing is a sport both Australians and new Zealanders tend to excel in. For a few minutes we thought Scott Dixon was well on his way to winning another championship with a win at Sonoma Raceway. A controversial ruling when he hit a crew pit member from another team put paid to his chances. Sometimes it's tough to be an elite sportsman. NEWS ITEM
Valerie Adams, four times world Champion with Shotput was robbed of her gold medal at last year's Olympics when the Belarussian drug cheat made an incredible throw. Since then the wrong has been righted and Valerie has been showing Europe that she is definitely the best. This event was actually two weeks ago but who's counting when Kiwis are top of the sports ladder. NEWS ITEM Incidentally her younger brother, Stephen has been selected to train with  the NBA

None of these people got where they are without hard work. They all were persistent at working toward their ultimate goal and at times they became single minded in their pursuit. Money plays an important part in getting to the top but guess what? New Zealanders do not begin with big budgets. They get there with persistence and a 'Never Give Up' attitude.

In New Zealand we are proud of them. I am not terribly sports orientated but these people make me proud to be a Kiwi.

Sunday, August 25, 2013


Definition of addiction in English


Pronunciation: /əˈdɪkʃ(ə)n/
Translate addiction | into French | into German | into Italian | into Spanish


[mass noun]
  • the fact or condition of being addicted to a particular substance or activity:he committed the offence to finance his drug addictionaddiction to crack cocaine is spreading[count noun]:an addiction to gambling


late 16th century (denoting a person's inclination or proclivity): from Latin addictio(n-), from addicere 'assign' (seeaddicted)


  [uh-dik-shuhn]  Show IPA
the state of being enslaved to a habit or practice or to something 
that is psychologically or physically habit forming, as narcotics, to such an extent that its cessation causes 
severe trauma.
1595–1605;  < Latin addictiōn-  (stem of addictiō a giving over,surrender. See addict-ion

Addiction comes about through an array of changes in the brain and the strengthening of new memory connections

Individual development

Before the 1980s, the so-called addictive personality was used to explain the development of addiction. The addictive personality was described as escapist, impulsive, dependent, devious, manipulative, and self-centered. Many doctors now believe that these character traits develop in addicts as a result of the addiction, rather than the traits being a cause of the addiction.


 A few days ago I began to ponder anew the nature of addiction. It is a destroyer of families. It ruins relationships. It wrecks lives. It causes grief, disappointment, distress to loved ones. It changes plans and dreams. It does not make the addicted one happy. They become ashamed and learn some very antisocial behaviour including how to lie well. 

Those of us who have eating disorders know a lot about the personal distress of addiction and we often battle with the mixed feelings of hating ourselves for the addiction, while simultaneously knowing that to be successfully free we need to love ourselves.

Addiction to food could be called the least harmful of all addictions but it causes shame both in the addicted person and to their family and friends. Those who feel comfortable being seen alongside someone who is overweight are a rarity. Food addiction usually leads to health problems and ultimately becomes a community or societal problem.

But what about the addictions that cause serious harm to others?

Whether we are family, coaches, counsellors or onlookers, we need to be strong because only the addicted person can change his/her life. 

We need to express loud and clear that we love the person but despise their addiction.

Our love can be mistaken for acceptance and yet I do not feel comfortable with tough love as it was often practiced toward drug addicts in the 70s and 80s. 

We must not let our love be mistaken for tolerance. It's a very hard line to walk. Nor is it helpful to police the addict. We all know how we feel about the Food Police.

We live in a world that judges harshly while also preaching tolerance. Anything goes so long as it appears harmless to the on-looker. God help you when you are caught in wrong-doing. The critics and harsh judges become very vocal. The do-gooders come by with clichés, useless answers and programs.

Where is the balance? Where are the straight talkers? The strong people who can enter the addicts life like straight arrows that fly true and hit home releasing the addict from his/her prison? Where are the wise people who know when to walk away until the addict is willing to take personal responsibility?

In today's world addiction has become an excuse for all kinds of behaviour.

The truth is that we cannot become addicted before we walk along the pathway of whatever our particular addiction is. 

Addiction is the result of having a tolerant attitude toward the focus of our addiction. 

In the case of food or medically prescribed drugs this is usually inadvertent. We can become addicted chemically through the way our body and or brain interacts with the legitimate product. This was the case for me and wheat. For many years I knew I was caught in a vicious cycle and felt helpless to break it. I envied those who were hooked on cigarettes. Cigarettes are non-essential but we die without food. Once I realised that I was not addicted to all food, but quite probably wheat only, new possibilities opened up for me.

I believe that no-one becomes addicted instantly but most people have the potential to become addicts if they dabble. Most people would know what has the ability to suck them into an unhealthy relationship.

Drugs, some foods, pornography, alcohol, certain sexual activities, gambling, hoarding are among destructive and addictive behaviours. Some things may at first seem innocuous but it's clear that at some point our obsession begins to change the structure or the working of the brain and finding freedom becomes a tortuous process.

Addiction is a reason but it is not an excuse. 

Once an addiction takes hold the addict can only become free by being determined. Will power is not enough. It requires strong mindedness and a strong spirit. Without inner strength all efforts are doomed to failure. Most people will benefit from a good counsellor. Everyone needs a strong and wise friend. 

The twelve step program is popular and often successful.

Personal responsibility is essential. Addicted people need to realise and accept that they are vulnerable, probably for the remainder of their lives. 

Every behaviour begins with a thought. We talk about mindful eating because our brain needs to be re-wired if we have been eating stuff in an unhealthy way for a long time. The best way to never become addicted in the first place is to stop the thoughts right from the start. The moment you entertain thoughts is the moment you climb on the slippery slide. This is true for every addict. People who are at risk of addiction or who are already addicts need to learn to practice thought transference and aversion.

Thoughts lead to exposing yourself to the object of your addiction. Why let something that you do not want to do take away your freedom. Dilly-dallying with thoughts is DANGEROUS. It is one step away from action. 

Addicts despise themselves. They struggle to be honest. They think they are unlovable. Sometimes they are right and we need to call on our knowledge of God's unconditional love to see past the activity and find the real person who feels helpless and trapped in their own prison. It gets tricky. Addicts become angry and defensive and they leave their loved ones feeling betrayed and helpless. 

All the counselling in the world cannot help unless the addicted person has a willingness to practice avoidance. You cannot ever safely dip you toe into the addiction. Most people learn some aversion techniques. Given time and determination to follow an excellent practice the brain re-wires itself and freedom comes ...... with the warning to not venture back in the direction of the addiction. 

It is not easy but it is possible to break any addiction.

This is personal. I have one son in prison and another has lost his job this week. 

What did my husband and I do to be in this situation?

I wish I knew.

We want to see our sons return to productive lives free of their addictive behaviours. 

There are many question we must ask ourselves. In what way did we make their behaviours possible. Were we too strict, or too soft and gentle? Did we not emphasise personal responsibility? These questions may seem futile but they just might lead us toward what we should do now.

The past cannot be changed but maybe I can find a way to change the present and the future. Unless I cling to this hope I am lost.

The first sign of problems arose in the mid 1970s. I sought advice but no-one in my circle had anything of great value. Over the years I have spoken with experts and done a lot of reading. I came to the conclusion that whatever went down in their childhood that contributed to the current situation, these men are responsible for their own behaviour. Whatever contribution I made through lack of expertise and knowledge I will not wallow in guilt or shame. I have always done the best I could. It grieves me it was not enough. 

Today I continue to believe in our sons. I know they have a good foundation based on healthy values. Hopefully the day will come when they come to their senses as did the prodigal son. I wait and watch.

I am a praying woman, I believe in the power of prayer but no amount of prayer has saved our family from this grief. I still have hope and I believe God is totally good. This situation is not His making and the answer can be found in Him.

Last night I lay in bed, distressed, unable to sleep, too aware of my own lack of a healthy spiritual life and neglect of my relationship with God.

In my distress I began to see something.

For all these years, at least 40, I have lived on the fringe of a swamp filled with crocodiles. Sometimes the swamp encroached on our living space. There were rare times when I ventured into the swamp and took risks in an attempt to help my sons but most times the crocodiles have entered our life stealthily, shockingly, without permission causing havoc. 

Last night I almost wished I had been taken out by a crocodile. I don't want to know anymore. I don't want to seek healing and recovery. I want out. Let a crocodile destroy me. I don't want the responsibility. I'm tired of the battle, of the background alertness and the shocks that come just as I think I can relax my vigilance. The whole mess is far too big for me. It should be bundled up in an old kit bag and thrown at God. It's His problem. But the reality is I am the feet on the ground. Give me wisdom.

I love my sons, I love my family. I cannot allow those thoughts of giving in to linger.

If God is real, if God is love, if I know anything at all about God, there is a an answer. I just wish I knew what it is.

Addiction is not an excuse.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013



Our pretty, red sunrise has been followed by a chilly day with lots of heavy showers. John lit the fire which took a couple of hours to begin to warm us up but from then on we have been cosy. This house is open plan with huge open spaces and high ceilings. Days like this I would love a cosy corner but there isn't really anywhere.

I had to do a frantic last minute internet search to find out what to do after making our Mexican Chicken Stir fry too spicy. I had chicken and a huge bowl of limes so decided to make a tasty stir fry using a pinch of chilli and lots of smokey paprika. You can guess from my heading what happened. I went to pick up the jar of chilli powder after shaking in a heap of paprika except that the paprika was sitting there unused.


We are not into hot chilli and I am very careful to only add it for flavour, a pinch at a time, rather than heat.

Thank goodness for the internet and tips to rescue our meal. First I added a can of tomatoes and more lime juice. Then I put the lime skins in,  removing them before serving. I served our chicken with as little sauce as possible and then added a large spoonful of Greek Yoghurt to our plates.  In the end I enjoyed our dinner but I have a heap of left-overs. I think I'll freeze it. I understand freezing kills the heat.

Whatever I did worked to rescue our dinner. John went back for seconds and I have none of the unpleasant after affects of too much chilli.

Saturday, August 17, 2013


I found this video fascinating. It reminded me of many books and magazines and advertisements that were still around when I was a child in the 1940s and 50s.  I had aunts who subscribed to some of the health ideas here. They always seemed a little strange yet somehow they were also compelling.

Personally I have been thinking lately about the term Paleo and the popularity there is for the Paleo Lifestyle and how some people are zealous to live it to perfection. It reminds me of how some racial groups try to hold onto their ancient culture in it's purist form, into the 21st Century. The world and it's knowledge do not stand still. If it did we would still have wooden wheels or none at all.

I have also become aware of dissent in the ranks as various expressions of the Paleo and Primal lifestyles try to insist their's is The Way. It reminds me of Christian denominations squabbling over the authenticity of their particular way of teaching, preaching and living the Christian walk. There is always going to be as many different ways of living as there are people and the same fundamental beliefs are not always unifying. Even within my own family, where four children had the same parents with the same up-bringing and same basic value system, each has evolved his/her own style.

At the same time there are some things that are basic to leading a good life and one of them is good nutrition. How does one maintain a healthy lifestyle and keep it in balance in a world gone crazy? Answer: Take a swing back into the past and find a place that feels comfortable to you and encompass it with a great sounding philosophy such as saving the earth from the damage we humans inflict on nature.

Paleo has much wisdom and also a lot of foolishness in that it can so easily become a quest for perfection or maybe worse, as fanatical as any religious cult. If anything bugs me about the Paleo movement it is the emphasis on evolution. I am not a monkey. I was never a monkey and nor were my ancestors monkeys. Monkeys may have some humanoid characteristics and  horses have some similarities to donkeys or zebras but they are different animals and require different conditions and handling. I'm prepared to learn lessons from the past but don't equate me with Caveman.

Let's have another look at the wisest book, The Holy Bible. The earth was created to please God and provide a place for mankind who are to be companions and friends of God. Mankind is instructed to care for the earth but also to go forth and multiply. Surely then, caring for the earth will involve some way of providing for future generations. This automatically leads us to using our intelligence to develop a sustainable economy. We all know that this is idealistic and intrinsic greed takes us in the opposite direction.

Mankind is also made in God's image. This means we have the potential to be creative, intelligent and solve problems. We also know that mankind is imperfect and open to suggestion or temptation that leads us down wrong pathways. This is called sin in Bible terms.

I am grateful to the Paleo movement for the information they bring forth but I am also mindful that this often needs a healthy filter to prevent travelling down strange roads.

What is our, yours and my, area of responsibility? To be as sensible as possible in our interpretation of what is good. The only place I find consistent good is within the love that God has for me. I am then able to let my light within my sphere of influence however large or small. If everyman uses his knowledge for the good of others we will do well. Is that possible?

My understanding and knowledge tells me that man is flawed and only when we allow God to reign in our hearts can we hope to live better. That is why Jesus came. It's a great shame that so many people cannot accept His goodness as being better than any other thing. It's a great shame that many people who call themselves Christian have no understanding of the Father Heart of God and therefore have no integrity and no credibility. That's a sermon for another time.

I know this might seem like a disjointed read, simply a bunch of soundbites, but It would take hours of thought and weeks of composition to put this together as a proper article. I am coming to a conclusion that gives some cohesion to the way I live and in particular of how I eat.

My preferred eating plan is like the one who lives on the land where 80% of food is grown and prepared by him/herself. There are some things in the grocery shop I will always buy, like vinegar, baking powder, coconut and olive oil, canned tomatoes and frozen veggies. There are some things I will try to find at Farmers Markets. Because I live in New Zealand and believe that most of our farming practices are reasonably safe I will buy my meat from the butcher or the supermarket and I will enjoy the variety of dairy, eggs, fresh vegetables and fruit that is available. In addition I will always enjoy restaurant meals and cappuccinos.

What to call this? It's not Paleo or Primal, it is currently Low Carbohydrate, High Fat and Moderate Protein but only because I find myself intolerant of wheat and still at an unhealthy weight. It's not completely free of industrialised foodstuffs.

How does The Real Food Menu sound?

As for other aspects of lifestyle, we are blessed in New Zealand to have a mild, temperate climate with temperatures varying from occasional frosts to hot days which rarely exceed 32'C or 90'F We can comfortably go barefoot at all times of the year. For some, winter swimming in the sea is a year round activity while for others we have some magnificent ski fields. We have hills to climb, beaches to walk on, quiet rural towns and sophisticated cities. Generally speaking it's a good life and most people do well or at least have the opportunity to do well.

Well that strayed a bit from the video but it's what I've been thinking about. Somehow we humans like to have a label for things. My life is REAL.

 Otama, Coromandel,New Zealand
at 11:27 HIGH 16°C (60'F)
LOW 8°C (46'F) at 07:38
Wind NNW 11 KT With Gusts 14 KT 
Humidity 74%
This is Mid-August looking forward to spring. It was a beautiful morning but my camera had flat betteries so had to wait until they were charged before taking this snapshot


Wednesday, August 14, 2013


I wrote this about a week ago. It still makes sense but right now I'm now I'm not i a very good place. I have to begin again. I'll tell you why after you've read this.

This week I began to think about my general nutrition and how it relates to the name of this Blog..... Improving My Health.

I decided to listen to Jimmy Moore's Ask The Experts podcast with Dr. Steve Phinney. who co-authored The Art And Science Of Low Carb I came away a little concerned about my macro nutrient ratio. I think I need to give better focus on healthy proteins and maybe let the fats look after themselves for a while. That doesn't mean I want to change from LCHF, or Nutritional Ketosis, just that I suspect I am in danger of not getting enough protein. I'm not sure how I will do this but I will complete this week of Fat Fasting for 5 days followed by 2 days higher calories and higher protein This is where I will begin to make the change so maybe I will not continue this cycling for the whole month. At least not quite the way I am doing it. I want to stay consistent and I know that my body likes it best when I follow a similar routine day after day. For instance, people who fast from say 8 pm Thursday to 8 am Saturday for several weeks do not feel so good when they break that pattern.

Deb Willbefree, one of my friends and a really special support person left a message about getting adequate protein months ago.  Well Deb, I think I am beginning to get a handle on how much protein I should be eating. *smiles* Anyway I will be working all this out over the next few days because I want to settle into a consistent pattern because that was one of the things Dr. Phinney mentioned several times and then this morning I saw that one of my favourite nutritionists, Dietitian Cassie, who co-hosts a podcast with Jimmy Moore, was talking with Evan Brand on this podcast. Again there is the message about being consistent. There is a lot more in this podcast and I recommend it.

The last week is a bit of a blurr. I was learning to ride a bicycle after 15 years. First I discovered my balance is exceedingly poor. Friends loaned me their ladies bike and I tried to get off the way I did when I was a kid but.... my legs are many years older, fatter and stiffer and I sort of jumped and twisted. Ouch!!! I knew immediately I had wrenched my back but hoped it would heal without too much bother. A couple of days later I was even able to do a little weeding in my flower garden .... such a sad sight at this time of year.

The truth .... I wasn't sleeping, I had back pain and then we had a very big day on Saturday when we drove to Morrinsville, approximately 3 hours away, to share in my uncle's 95th birthday celebration. I enjoyed the day and catching up with cousins but it was a long day and I was glad to get home. Another difficult night followed. The pain was not steady. Every now and then I would think it was abating and I would be fine by simply taking good care of myself. On Monday I changed my mind and made an appointment to see the chiropractor. He did some manipulation yesterday and I nearly screamed. But after some rest and sleep I knew the pain had changed. Instead of something that was destroying my mind and my ability to think clearly it reduced to a dull ache. Sadly after 6 hours in bed  last night I could barely move again this morning so I am back in the recliner.The pain has once more subsided to a dull ache. I thought I could handle a bit of pain but this affected me more than I realised at the time and caused a lot of nausea too.

At last I'm beginning to think about things I need to do and to eat properly. I think I have even lost some of the weight gain caused by inflammation.

We were supposed to go to Otama this afternoon but there was no way I could prepare and pack so the cats are alone tonight and we will be there sometime tomorrow. Our friends have left for California and a visit with their family.

This heading is kind of ironic. If being consistent is the key then I need to put this last week in perspective and see it as a minor blip on the screen. But it will only be a minor blip if I get nyself back on track ASAP.

Thursday, August 8, 2013


Deb posted this and I realised how much I needed to pause and take in the beauty of the song, music, words and pictures.

Sometimes I think I'm crazy. Sometimes I think the people around me are crazy. Sometimes both are true.

I am enjoying a quiet sunny day. I've had a short bike ride. A friend was willing to lend me their bike for a few weeks so I can get fit enough to ride on the West Coast Rail Trail next month. First I had to re-learn to ride and I feel very wobbley. Quite possibly the biggest challenge is improving my balance and getting back the confidence that will go with doing so. I have been surprised that the cross-trainer did not condition my legs for cycling and I get puffed easily. Fortunately there is hardly any traffic. I can ride on the footpath or on the road and feel safe. Which is just as well because I have not yet been able to use the brakes. I tend to get slow enough to put my feet on the ground or fall off as I did a couple of days ago.

One project is almost finished. I'm knitting the front bands on John's cardigan and then will finish sewing it together.

The garden is being worked on as energy, time, weather and inclination permit. I am going to sow my tomato seed and etc in pots this week and hope they will be big enough to plant out before we go south on Sept 21st.

The next major project is obviously becoming proficient on the bike. Murphy's Law kicked in when John's leg packed a sad. He has been riding his bike off and on for years and I was looking forward to riding with him. But he is having problems. He had an angioplasty earlier this year which seemed very successful. Unfortunately it has gradually become bad again over the last few months and now he is waiting to see the specialist in about 10 days time. It cannot come quick enough and I must say I feel very anxious.

Our quiet time is almost over. Saturday we go to my uncle's 95th birthday lunch. Next Wednesday we move to Otama for 3 weeks of Kitt-sitting. Trips to hospital are coming up and we will be heading for Christchurch in 6 weeks.

Hope you enjoy the video. It really spoke to me so thanks Deb.

Thursday, August 1, 2013



Hi Folk. I forgot to post this yesterday.

 If anyone reading my blog is curious about what a ketogenic diet is and how the term nutritional or dietary ketosis developed there is a good article by Laura Dobson from About Low Carb. Here is the link to the article which explains a ketogenic diet and it's benefits better than I can

Here is Laura Dobson's outline of Atkins Induction. There are many things here that I do not entirely agree with so I'm doing the stage two phase of cycling fat fasting with a normal ketogenic diet my way. I think I have worked out what is best for me and of course there will be adjustments from time to time. Atkins allows more oils eg. to quote "For stir-frying, canola, peanut, and grapeseed oil are recommended, especially if "cold-pressed" or "expeller-pressed".

I just don't use any of those oils preferring butter or coconut oil. Maybe I will try a little of my saved pork fat to try out too. There are a few other things that I would ignore such as the limit on cream and avocados. At this stage I am working out my menus on a calorie and nutrient ratio application while I settle into what is best for me now.

Otherwise I found this article uncomplicates the Atkins program. 

There is no point trying to do something you do not understand and does not suit your body and lifestyle. I am beginning to find my feet and can see how what I am doing will work for me in the short term and make it easier to transition to maintenace when that time comes. Because I am determined to remain open and flexible there is no guarantee I will continue with cycling 5 days fat fast with 2 days increased calories, protein and carbs.

The best thing of all is feeling wonderful. I have no intention of doing anything which will compromise how well I feel. Today my plan is to continue the 7 day cycling for August or the next 5 weeks and see how that goes.