Becoming Well

In May of 1999 I fell down a flight of concrete stairs.

This seemingly disastrous occurrence actually saved my life, for at the time I had a ream of health problems that I was busy ignoring.  In the end – and after a couple of months of harrowing hospital stays and specialist visits – I  had become one of those people who had a list as long as her arm of all the things that were wrong with her.

Some were hospital diagnosis:

I’d had several unreported heart attacks

I had unstable angina

I had several Deep Vein Thrombosis [DVT’s] in both legs, but most were in the left

I had a malformed bone in my spine that was responsible for the searing pain I suffered throughout my adult life

Some health issues were GP diagnosed:

My thyroid was under-active

I had high cholesterol

I had high blood pressure

Medication was prescribed for all the above diagnosis.

There were side effects of the medications, some of them so severe that I decided to take myself off them. Some I stayed on.

Some health issues were diagnosed as ‘give them time’:

My left knee and right hip were damaged in the fall and never came right – walking was painful.  My left leg became shorter.

I was deep in menopause.

My lymph system was a disaster area, I retained water as if in danger of imminent drought.

My eyes wept every morning and in the cold and in the wind.

I had violent attacks of sinusitis.

I had headaches

backache

hip pain

neck ache

acid reflux

thinning hair

puffy eyes

low energy

poor sleep patterns

And a raft of undiagnosed un-wellnesses that left me drained, exhausted, irritable and putting on weight at a rate of knots.

fat_cartoon

It wasn’t quite that extreme but it felt like it!

The years passed and I made many changes to my life.  In an attempt to recover completely and to reassess who I was and what I needed to do with my life, I quit teaching and training and administering and moved 800 kms away, to a place where I knew no-one except my youngest daughter, who had accompanied me.

I spent a year living by the sea and painting and quietly and almost imperceptibly regained my inner equilibrium.

In the way it does, life stepped it up a notch and I found myself back in the work force in a role that was different yet the same.  I was still teaching only now it was unemployed youth and unemployed women.  This role segued into opening a community centre for women where I ran courses in employment skills and life skills and self empowerment.

This work led me directly into life coaching.  When the government withdrew all funding for my kind of community care work and channeled their attention into youth unemployment – which they did as the global recession hit, my little centre came to a stop as well and I had to try and make it on my own.

All this happened over a seven year period and throughout this time I was developing a deeper understanding and relationship with myself and my own health.

I ate healthily and despite that still had that never-ending list of on-going painful maladies in my body.  I had got myself a a treadmill and despite the pain and discomfort in my hips and joints, walked every morning and every evening on it.

But still I never felt well and I never lost any weight – in fact I was slowly and steadily putting more on. I consulted naturopaths and doctors and specialists.  All kinds of tests, drugs and potions were tried and nothing helped.  There was one quite spectacular moment when my doctor actually threw his hands in the air and said he didn’t know what else to do.  I was on my own.

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I knew that most of my health issues were caused by inflammation, I just didn’t know what to do about and it seemed the professionals didn’t either.  The doctor had prescribed various diuretics and diet pills that did nothing much and came with unpleasant side effects.  The naturopath had given me herbal tinctures to take that made little difference to my health.

I resigned myself to the fact that the best was over.  I didn’t like that thought at all.

My life had taught me that my core beliefs held the answer to my health issues.  The experiences of my early years had driven me out of my body and into my head.  I was well aware of my thoughts, my phobias, my spiritual path; I was less aware of what my body was telling me.  It was the thing that was often in pain and slowed me down and stopped me doing what I wanted to do.  I sailed on despite my body, not because of it.

And then my very clever ED gave me a book for Christmas 2112.  ‘I Quit Sugar’ by Sarah Wilson.  The premise of the book is relatively simple – society’s over consumption of processed sugar is the cause of rampant ill-health. In the author’s case it was ‘a life time of mood swings, fluctuating weight issues, sleep problems and thyroid disease’.  I could relate!

The time must have been right, for I read it, it made sense to me, it struck a chord – and immediately I began to prepare for a change in life style.

It wasn’t so much that I consumed a lot of sugar, I don’t have a particularly sweet tooth, I don’t drink fizzy drinks [sodas as Americans call them] I’ve always thought they were a really bad call given that coke can be used to make a rusted on cap move.  But the book had reminded me and made me really aware of the hidden sugars in prepared foodstuffs and that was what needed to change.

Really what was being called for was a return to eating foods I prepared myself from good old fashioned whole food ingredients.  Returning to the way I used to eat before I got busy and didn’t have anybody to cook for except me so I didn’t always bother – I’d just grab something quick or convenient that I could slap in the oven while I did something else.

Having said that I didn’t have that bad of a diet either.  I ate a lot of salads, they were always quick and easy and convenient.  But I also ate a lot of bread – sandwiches for lunch, sometimes toast for my evening meal …. and bread contains sugar.  I never ate breakfast.  I sometimes grazed in the evening, looking for a pick-me-up I’d end up with my head in the fridge – or worse the freezer, because that was where the icecream lived……

I didn’t know if I would last very long with this new regime of eating breakfast, snacks of activated spicy nuts, a  salad lunch, evening meals that required some forethought if it wasn’t going to be another salad ….. but I was prepared to give it a go and see if my health issues would be alleviated.

I quit sugar sometime in late February 2013.

I never noted down the exact date – I didn’t expect a mind blowing transformation in my health or that I would have any reason to talk about life BQ or AQ. [Before Quitting and After Quitting]

I decided a couple of weeks later that seeing as how it appeared I was going to stay off sugar I might as well quit wheat as well.

I never said I would do it for forever, or even until next week.  I simply said, I will do it today.  And today.  And today.

And now it is a year later and I have changed my lifestyle completely and discovered that I like it this way and that because I feel so good I would never, never consider trading that in for the wrong food choices again.

It changed my life!

I have no illness.  I feel no pain.  I take absolutely no medication.

Without dieting or following a rigorous exercise programme I’ve dropped 4 dress sizes.

I live well, sleep well and eat well.  I have a stable emotional life, a pain free physical body and am inwardly quiet and serene.  For the first time in my life I am in tune with my body, I listen to it, respect it, care for it and nurture it.  It’s a little miracle really and I am in awe at its ability to reclaim health.

For me personally I discovered that I am extremely sensitive to sugar, even natural sugars found in fruit and root vegetables can be tough on my system.  I can only eat one piece of fruit per day – any more and my body suffers.  The very foods that I was happily ingesting, believing I was being healthy were in fact poisoning me.

I stay quite far away from sugar these days, but of course now and again give myself a ‘treat’ and indulge in a dessert.  I’ve found that if I don’t do that very often my body doesn’t suffer too much – but the instant onset of  severe ADHD is hilarious to anyone observing this calm serene, middle aged woman who abruptly and without warning becomes a wriggling, jiggling maniac who needs to fling her arms around like a windmill and do jumping jacks just to get the sugar rush out of her system.

cartoon-man-standing-on-his-head

I’ve done a lot of research over this past year into the food and health industries.  I am very clear about what is going on, I am very clear about how the food we eat affects our health and general well being and I am very clear about my responsibility for my own health and well being.

I have learned that we are all different, there is not a one size fits all solution to our health.  Fad diets are not the answer.  Boot-camp exercise programmes are not the answer.

We must eat and we must move.  We must find the foods that give us health and ensure that our bodies are allowed to move in a free and healthy manner every day for the amount of time that our particular body best benefits from.

Moss

We are all different and so are our food and exercise requirements.

We have to pay attention.  We have to observe how certain foods make our bodies feel.  If there is ill-health there may well be a dietary reason for it.  It is a consideration worth considering.  I have learned that there are three main food groups.

1.  Foods that give me health

2.  Foods that are neutral for me

3. Foods that are poison to me

I eat mostly the foods from group 1.  I can eat a small selection from group 2, but as they do not add to my sense of well-being I do not use them as a major part of my meal planning.

I can and sometimes do choose to eat foods from Group 3.  I then have to suffer the consequences.  🙂  But mostly I choose not to eat them any more, I don’t like the consequences!

But, when all is said and done, I’ve simply chosen to be responsible for my own health.

There’s a great and empowering freedom in that.

********************************

Please do be aware, this is just my own journey, my own experience.  My life has taught me that when I get my head straight, when I understand what is required of me, when I listen to what my body is telling me, I can get myself a bit more sorted.  This is just another step on the path I’m walking, taking responsibility for my own well being as far as I am able.

If you have questions please feel free to ask them.  If you have something to share and contribute, please do  – don’t be shy.

Experience3

Thanks for coming by today.

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101 thoughts on “Becoming Well

  1. Interesting post Pauline. A few years ago my son was diagnosed with ADHD. The specialist was amazed that he had been able to progress through school and life without it troubling him earlier. There were two thing that made that possible, firstly he is highly intelligent and secondly he had a healthy diet. We have mostly home cooked meals, very little take-away and I was not a fan of cool drink so it was a rare treat. I realised early on how full of sugar cordial was so that was out too. I’m pleased we were so “strict” with our kids diet, at times I felt so mean… but it was good to know it was a major help.
    Having said that I have been overweight for many years. After my second son I have been stuck on the same weight. I feel frustrated because I do the right thing and still I am not a healthy weight. I have started to listen to my body more and have started to realize that wheat is probably why I feel bloated and have sore joints, so I am trying to replace it whenever I can. I’m not a big sugar junky, but do like salty stuff occasionally so will keep an eye on how that goes. Thanks for some interesting insights. Fran has been an inspiration too. I like the idea of her Kombucha and the fermenting process… another step on the road of discovery 🙂

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    • Thanks for sharing your experiences – we are all suffering on some level or other from the modern food industry I think. ADHD is really a food sensitivity problem – caused not only by sugar but also the additives in ‘healthy’ foods. The stuff euphemistically known as ‘numbers’ on labels. Most of it is not food related and is an irritant to the system of a child and an adult. I did a lot of reading on alternative theories on ADHD when I was teaching and we had success with so many when the parents were willing to change their kids diets.

      I love the salty stuff too – it is the additives in them that are the killer. I now make myself a bowl of popcorn and grind some Himalayan salt over it and add in some yeast flakes for added yum factor – hits the salty spot and doesn’t hurt the body.

      Fran is great – I’m waiting for her kefir grains to arrive and I’m also trying to source a kombucha scoby. Such fun!

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  2. Here I am, 4 days later and down at the end of many, many comments. Clearly, you struck a chord and have inspired people. how cool is that?
    I wanted to ask about that fall when you mentioned it weeks ago, but I didn’t want to pry. So glad you have found ways to heal from that and many other physical challenges. You are an inspiration!

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    • It did strike a chord didn’t it! It is so good to know one little story can shine a wee light for those who were looking for one 🙂 Its what we do for each other in this confraternity isn’t it!

      I do have a wee chuckle when I see those two words ‘you’ and ‘inspiration’ – it’s an on going journey and has been a monumental struggle – these days I’m just a little older and the view back is longer and wider – I can now see the forest and the trees. That’s all! 🙂

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  3. Wow Pauline! Life has certainly thrown you a few curve-balls. Fortunately you are made of the kind of stuff needed to deal with them. Another extraordinary story from your life, superbly told. I love what you did with purple-haired lady and the inspiring words you chose for her. You are an inspiration, as always. Big hugs and heartfelt wishes for heaps of happy, healthy times ahead. : ))))xoxox

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    • It’s all just more opportunities for learning and becoming – my lessons were often quite dramatic because I didn’t listen to what I was being told. Life is quieter these days 🙂
      Thanks for coming by Anne, it is always lovely to hear from you xoxo

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  4. Pauline, my heartfelt congratulations to you for the major steps you took for your health! I am sorry about the fall on the concrete steps, but as you stated, the fall was the trigger to focus on your health. I a delighted that your health has been restored.

    Unlike you, I have a terrible sweet tooth. I have to make a commitment to eat less of sugary things. I do so love my bread, sandwiches, and homemade roti. Your post is an inspiration to all. I ought to adapt your food groups.

    I’ll have to dedicate some time to read the comments for I am certain other bloggers posted valuable information. Have a great balance of the week as you continue a balanced lifestyle.

    Congrats again!

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    • Hello Elaine, it is always so nice to read your comments! There is a lot of interesting discussion going on here – the support is wonderful and the practical help is amazing … I am about to take another step and [hopefully] start making my own kefir too. Very excited about that!

      You may be interested to hear that when I began this thing I was so concerned about my ability to give up bread – it was, I thought, the reason I might not stay the course. But two things happened relatively quickly – one was the improvement in how I felt emotionally and the other was the pain relief I experienced. As the weeks passed and I sorted out which foods I found fitted in with my lifestyle and taste buds and I found alternatives to bread it became simpler and easier to stay on course.

      My hardest thing was giving up fruit almost entirely – but now I can eat some again and I am pleased about that!

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  5. I feel slightly hypocritical commenting here because I have a blog with the word ‘sugar’ in it, but you’re exactly right. So many health issues are completely diet related. I LOVE your three food groups. It’s absolutely true and everyone’s list will vary based on a variety of factors. Food labeling in America is absolutely horrendous. People have no idea how much “non-food” food they are consuming let alone the amounts of sugar, salt and fat. I had a very similar experience and I was shocked the things that went away when I decided to eat better. Thanks for sharing your journey to taking better care of yourself. Be well!

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    • Oh PJ Sassifras, please don’t feel hypocritical at all! I love your concoctions – the fact that I can’t eat them is no matter – I so enjoy the creative process you go through in making them and the beauty with which you present them to us – all grist for my artistic soul 🙂 I’ve got your latest post in my email waiting to be got to for commenting, I read it last night when my faculty for English had deserted me……

      You are so right about the food labelling thing – not just in America either! They are past masters at disguising contents. I used to have a wee book back in the 90’s that went to the supermarket with me – it had all the numbers and what they contain and all the unpronounceable names and what they really are – I wore it out! I keep thinking I must get an updated version.

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  6. Pingback: Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes… | theroadtoserendipity

  7. I love how you tell your stories! They are so engaging! You should write a book some day.. heehee

    Anyway, about your postl… Amazing! not only because your choices and life changing experience, but for sticking with it.

    It is amazing what process foods does to our bodies. We recently made the commitment to buy only organic, non gmo foods. And I say commitment, because it is expensive. On the other hand, we spend much less, because we only buy what is on our list and don’t spend much money eating out.

    I made that type of drastic change when I was in my 30’s. I was suffering with chronic YI. (I hope it is ok to say this here… heehee) In any case, I experience something like you did… Doctor’s couldn’t do anything for me. So, I decided to do my own research and bought a book on alternative medicine. To lower the bad bacteria in my body I had to stop eating processed foods. Almost everything has yeast in it, specially canned food. And of course, sugar was out of the question, being that bacteria feeds on sugar. I even stopped drinking beer (my favorite) for a year. In less than a month I was yeast free and cured for ever!

    It is amazing how food can alter your health so much. The saying “you are what you eat” is so simple and true.

    We do have our days of eating out and giving in to process food, but it is very little.

    By the way, if you like to get more green into your life without eating more salads, I drink Wheatgrass. I buy organic wheatgrass online. I did research on it and found it to be the best. At wheatgrass.com. This green is a miracle maker. There are tons of books about it.

    Thanks for your sharing your story Pauline. It is isnpiring! xoxox

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    • Thank you Pati! It is great to hear you have made that commitment – it is a little more expensive, but I remember comparing food spends once with someone who bought ‘regular’ items and she actually spent more than me……… I make sure I eat organic and non gmo too – and did even when I was not well – which contributed to why it took so long to figure out what my issue was! And yes, YI is perfectly okay to say any where in my opinion. Millions of women suffer with this problem and are fed drugs when all they have to do is exactly what you did…. and you did it all by yourself! 🙂

      I have been so fascinated reading all these comments – some people put health ahead of taste preferences and others don’t. It is a choice and we all make it when we are ready I guess.

      I use something called ‘Vital Greens’ and also I still use Spirulina as a pick me up as I don’t like the taste of wheatgrass alone. I admire anyone who can knock that stuff back! 🙂 Thank you for offering up that information – it is always handy to have available!

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  8. Wow, your post is inspiring. I’m so impressed that you’ve managed to maintain such major changes. I wish I had the strength to renounce sugar but…. it’s not going to happen.

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        • Probably – it’s a choice we make every day isn’t it – health or addiction 🙂 You’ll do it when you are ready. At least you have a bit of info now, I always say we do things in ‘baby-steps’. The info comes in, it takes a few days or months or years to percolate around and then one day we make a ‘sudden’ decision to look after ourselves….

          And always remember, it is something you can just try out for a day.

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  9. Hi Pauline! What a great inspiration! I want to quit sugar too. My blood sugar is up, and I need to get it down. I think i will follow your advice, and use you as inspiration! Congratulations on your great post!

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  10. amazing post, Pauline! I was so lucky when I was young and truly penniless; I had a wonderful woman doctor who taught me lots about alternative medicines (and this was in the late 60s and early 70s); She gave me a book to read when I was in hospital after surgery on my teeth and that led me to others that changed my life. Not only on the physical front, but the emotional healing and finding a spiritual path that worked for me. Her license was taken away around ’72, not for hurting anyone, but for “unorthodox practises” . . . I was so sad, but when I told her that she said not to feel badly for her; she was tired of patients who didn’t want to learn or change, who just wanted a pill so they wouldn’t feel the effects of their choices. Without her, my life would have been quite different. I’m naturally healthy, which is a good thing, but I think that eating as well as I could much of the time made a big difference. Processed foods were very rare for us as we just couldn’t afford them even if we’d wanted them.

    But I got onto books like “Laurel’s Kitchen” and those by Frances Moore Lappe. We were never vegetarian, but ate little meat and as much as possible was wild meat or seafood we caught ourselves. But there were too many stretches of living in the city or far from the sea where we couldn’t do as much of that. Still, it all helped.

    Moving here has not been the best thing for my well-being in lots of ways. I put on quite a bit of weight (I’m a comfort eater) over the past 15 years. I adapted to eating more like my Mum. And I sometimes am tired of the work it takes to make veggie dishes when I can grab a sandwich or whatever instead. But it goes back and forth. Stress is a big factor for me in the comfort eating area. When one of my brothers moved here to live with Mum and me in her house, there was a lot of stress as I found a way to adapt to someone who is pretty much my polar opposite and who dislikes my beliefs, etc. We came to a truce after some time and then when Mum sold the house, she and I moved to this building in our own suites and my brother moved south of the river. He recently apologized to me for how he treated me verbally and that has helped a lot, too.

    Working at jobs I’m not well-suited for didn’t help, either and living so far from what I felt was ‘home’ added to it all. Plus there were other factors.

    All told, I’m a lot heavier than I’ve been in my life and it has taken a while (and a few photos – the camera doesn’t lie!) for me to see that. I still feel skinny, as that’s what I am naturally.

    Movement has dwindled, too, over the years. As an extreme introvert, I dislike mall walking and ‘though I do go with my walking friend, we had our first walk this year last week; before that a short walk in December and nothing else since last May.

    However, Pauline, thanks to you I have started doing a few of my old exercises and at least two yoga ones nearly every morning and I know that will help.

    I am grateful to you and all your commenters for the recurring discussions on your and their blogs about sugar, health, etc. I can feel myself moving slowly in a better direction. My sister took me to a movie Saturday afternoon, then we picked up Chinese food and took it back here to celebrate Mum’s 91st birthday; but we only kept some sweet and sour after, plus a single dessert and the ice cream; all the rest went home with my sister! Other years, I’ve been eating Chinese for several days, ’cause Mum doesn’t care for leftovers too many days in a row.

    I like your approach, Pauline,, of eliminating one thing for a bit and seeing what happens when it is re-introduced, then trying another. Also that you allow yourself a treat at times and eat what’s on offer if you are visiting. I’m more like that, too. If I had a life-threatening issue, I might be more fussy about what I ate at other people’s places, but I’m lucky and don’t have that to deal with. I haven’t arrived at the ‘ready to let go of sugar’ stage yet, but have drastically reduced my consumption. When I was so active in my earlier years, it didn’t affect me that much; I just burnt it off. Now, though . . . Salt is more of an issue for me, I think.
    And butter . . . 🙂 I used to never butter my toast; then Mum switched from margarine to the real thing and I re-discovered my love of it!! Not her fault, of course . . . but this year I switched to a couple spoons of salsa on my coddled eggs instead of butter and switched to a bit of jam on the toast instead of the butter. But I’m not off it yet . . .

    When I was still working, I began having heart palpitations and ‘racing’; I was going to see a doctor when a couple of different people suggested I try giving up the coffee. I never drank it when I was younger except if we went out for coffee (back then just black was on offer and we would sit for hours talking and drinking coffee; the staff at the restaurant we went to was awesome and just kept it coming. In return, when we had the money saved, we would take the kids there for a meal and we always tipped well). At work, I was always invited to go to Timmie’s or Starbucks with the others and in the interests of good relationships I would go along. I don’t like black coffee from those places, and I like the blended drinks and lattes, so guess what I started on . . . ?? that’s right! So one or two of those big drinks a day and after some months I guess my heart wasn’t too happy. I took their suggestion to heart (as it were) and switched to just water for a while. The symptoms vanished within days. Now I’m more careful about coffee most days and make my own ‘thinned-down’ version at home. When I go out now, we often go for bubble tea made with fruit and real juice. It’s all baby steps, isn’t it?

    Well, this is becoming a book, so I’ll quit here. One last thing, though:
    MH, I’m with you when it comes to deprivation feelings . . . what has helped me a couple of times was to find an acceptable substitute that I grew to love. Like salsa on my eggs instead of butter . . . You’ll find something that works for you, too . . .

    Thanks again, Pauline, for this post. You help others a lot, even if you don’t know it always.
    ~ Linne

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    • Thanks for all that sharing Linne dear…. it must be very challenging when you have your mum and aunty with different ways of eating – and we all have that comfort food thing I think. I’m fascinated by how many people have mentioned deprivation as an issue. I think that when you go on proper ‘diets’ it is all about deprivation, which is why they don’t really work….. you know, we go on ’em and off ’em and on ’em again and all the time the number on the scale is going higher and higher. If diets worked there wouldn’t be a diet industry!

      Your last sentence said it right ….. you have to find something that works for you! Because we are all different. xoxo

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  11. I love this post and plan to share it with others. You’ve had an amazing journey and ultimately healed yourself. Bravo. I’m sorry it took such a dangerous fall to start the journey to good health, but I’m glad you’ve arrived (and that I found you) on the path.

    I gave up soft drinks/sodas/fizzies in January, and I’ve almost completely given up chocolate, too. But I’m still eating fruit and wonder if that isn’t the culprit.. I don’t eat much bread and when I do, I eat sourdough. Yet my stomach remains inflated. I’m not where I want to be (need to drop 15 pounds) but hope to live in my own body in the way you are living in yours.

    Thanks so much for this, Pauline.

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    • I’m so glad you heard me shouting your name on Fran’s comments – all that synchronicity was too good for you to miss 🙂

      Don’t be sorry about the fall – good heavens woman, I’d been having heart attacks and not telling any one…. I’d think to myself ‘Ooooh, I don’t feel so well….’ and go and have a wee lie down. I’d feel faint and nauseous and find it difficult to breathe. My heart would begin racing erratically and I thought I was having a panic attack because I had so much to do at work and no more energy or time to complete everything! I was a smoker back then too and would have a drag on my rollie of organic tobacco [ 🙂 ] and feel faint and nauseous and my heart would start racing erratically, so I’d put the ciggie down and go back to it later when the ‘panic attack’ had passed.

      Thick as two bricks me!!

      I am so happy to hear you have dumped those sodas and are cutting down on chocolate. I should give it a bit more time and eliminate the chocolate altogether for a few days before chucking the fruit out too. Cutting back doesn’t work – your body needs to not be processing the stuff that is poisonous to it and to detox from those effects. It doesn’t take long, I found within 24 – 36 hours I would feel benefits when I completely eliminated my poison culprits. I also found I got cravings for the bad foods – so we are a bit like a heroin addict – wanting the thing that will eventually kill us! That’s why the ‘scientific’ approach worked for me. Eat it and observe. Don’t eat it and observe. If the effects are obvious eventually you will choose health over dis-ease and then it is not a case of deprivation…..

      I am still a bit rotund – I don’t weigh myself but can tell by clothes size. While I’d like to feel a bit lighter now, I think I am still recovering from the years of poisoning my body and it is still slowly coming off. So I’m learning patience too 🙂

      You are such a wonderful person Alys, you deserve a body that celebrates your soul!! xoxo

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  12. The time you quit sugar was the time that I changed my diet radically and did the very same thing! WOO-WOO! Or maybe it is just that we hit the same plateau at the same time. OOPS! On the kefir front…will be sending ASAP and maybe once you get your grains growing (especially if you are using regular cow’s milk as they grow like topsy when you do that) you can send some to Wendy? I love that you found your own way. I love that you headed out into the wilderness one step at a time making no promises but just seeing how things went. That is how you start a journey and all the planning in the world isn’t going to equal that first step in empowering your life. I went through a very similar journey and after spending the first (almost) 50 years of my life bordering on obese (and actively tap dancing in obese for a fair percentage of it) it was a miracle to be able to lose weight easily and keep it off and all I did was dump processed foods and wheat from my diet and add in a few home grown probiotics. As you say, what works for one person doesn’t necessarily work for anyone else and where I can use date paste others can’t. Find what works for you by trial and error. It really IS worth the effort as Pauline and Wendy and I are here to tell you :). Hugs from Sidmouth and sending you over todays sunshine and blue sky because I bloody well don’t need it anymore! 😉

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    • There we go again with that synchronicity! Alys would love to read this!!

      I think I didn’t mention in my post that losing weight was not my intention when I started this thing – I wanted to lose the pain in my body and the stiffness in my joints and the swelling in my legs… it just so happened that as those things lessened, so did the weight…. cue big, flashing light bulb above head 🙂

      I think the more of us who tell our stories the better – there are folks out there searching and the allopathic world doesn’t yet understand what is required.

      You can add Robbie into that list of us three – shes on this train too – who knew we’d all end up together?
      More happy synchronicity – “Alys!!”

      And hey, the sun just came out – thanks for that 🙂 xoxo

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      • Ditto again! “Oh SNAP!” 🙂 I was to the point where I didn’t care how I looked, I just wanted to be able to walk without hobbling and to be able to go uphill/downhill/approach hill without my knees giving out and me falling over. Everything hurt and after my mum died suddenly in 2012 of a massive heart attack it was like my own little light going on. I started to slowly lose the weight in order to give myself a quality of life that I saw on the other side of losing a bit of weight. I hit a plateau and in 2013 another light went off inside my head when I was coerced into dumping wheat and going on a smoothie “challenge” and I felt absolutely dead set amazing for the whole time and wasn’t hungry once. It was like being reborn and suddenly I could think clearer, my bones didn’t hurt, I had energy (wtf?!) all from eating better and giving my poor long suffering body a bit of a bloody rest! We are a fantastic confraternity of community Pauline and we span the world. Isn’t that amazing? 🙂
        (Sorry if anything in my comment doesn’t quite make sense as I am listening to some AMAZING music about as loud as my old deaf ears will handle and am prancing around the kitchen making soup so you just never know what autocorrect will get away with if my brain is otherwise occupied 😉 )

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        • What are you listening to? See, that alone is a sign of high energy – my ability to dance and cook and croon tunelessly all at the same time has trebled in the past year. Orlando used to ask for his little dance and get thirty seconds on a good day before I was completely pooped [in my defense -he is a Maine Coon and goes a dead weight in my arms and I feel like I’m holding up a dead pony]

          It must have been an awful thing to lose your mother so suddenly – but good that you heard the siren blast! My inherited genes have all gone that way too – both sides. Just here one minute and gone the next. It makes me really try very hard to leave a loving impression everywhere I go because this is the last impression I may leave you with ….

          We are a great confraternity – it is so supportive and so empowering and just so great I can’t quite find the words …..

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          • I was listening to Ben Folds latest album. I love Ben folds :). Maine coons sound like hefty critters. Earl felt like a dead pony lying on top of me last night and I kept ootching over to the edge of the bed till there wasn’t any edge left to ootch to. Seems Mr E is feeling the cold now so it might be time to throw a thin blanket over him…does that mean that autumn is really almost here?!

            Both mum and dad went quick and like you it certainly makes me very careful to be the healthiest little narf this side of the Pecos that I can be. My grandparents (most of them) were extended play records but both my parents smoked so that probably had something to do with their early demise.

            I love this confraternity. You are absolutely right about the support and the power to uplift when you are flat. I don’t think it IS words any more. It’s progressed to an entity of its own that nurtures anyone who puts into it. Like kefir really ;). Off to post it as soon as the post office opens this morning so you will probably get it early next week. I have a blog post to assemble today (for “assemble” read “bosh together and shove a few photos in to try to pique a few people’s interest 😉 ) and will assemble the components of that PDF tomorrow. I have all of the information stored in word documents (I am an information hoarder…come the revolution I am going to be the local library 😉 ) and just have to compile them into something somewhat chronological that makes sense. You had best wish me luck with that as I do tend to wander around punctuating the air with extra (some unkind folk might say “completely unnecessary” 😉 ) information but I do love me a good set of sentences and words.

            Have a gorgeous smoochy Maine coon hair covered day and just think…all that heavy lifting and dancing about is going to give you a dancers body like Beyoncé! Note to self “don’t try this with Earl…you will look like a female body builder turned to steroids…”

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            • I LOVE BEN FOLDS!! I first heard of him when I watched an American show called ‘The Sing Off’ and went looking for his albums… I didn’t know he had a new one out – must go looking for that on itunes now….. title please?

              Very excited about my kefir granis arriving and a new learning curve starting! You are spreading the love all over the world – Spain and NZ is just a starting point – we will share it with others and who knows where ‘Fran’s Kefir Grains’ might turn up!!

              Hope your trip to the PO goes well, have a good day Fran! xoxo

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              • It’s called “The sound of the life of the mind” and it’s wonderful :). I bop my way around the kitchen interspersed with amazingly soulful songs and the last one titled “Thankyou for breaking my heart” is truly beautiful. He is one of my singing heroes. I have adored him since dot :). His song “smoke” practically documented my breakup with my ex 😉

                They were actually Jess of Rabbidlittlehippy fames kefir grains. She sent me a few and they grew like topsy. I have given them away to lots of people but am starting to run a little low so I might have to rehydrate the last few crumbs (after today’s posting) and get some growing again in regular milk just so’s I have some spare. My non-dairy version doesn’t grow. They are just happy to ferment away all to themselves.

                I don’t even think Jess still has kefir grains to be honest. Might be fun to send some back to her ;). It is a commitment but once you get into the routine/habit you don’t even notice it. I just batch it up every second day and voila, kefir on tap. I have been neglecting my finished kefir and it has been building up in the fridge alarmingly so I am going on a green smoothie jag for a couple of days to use it all up along with my booch that has been sitting on the fridge shelf. You can use your finished kefir to bake bread, to culture veggies etc. It’s a very exciting thing that we take on when we culture and it’s SO good for you 🙂 Just imagine all of those new little pets that king Maine Coon Orlando is going to have to contend with for your attention and affection now! You had best get him a new box to make up for it 😉

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              • Just found this! 🙂 Free music…the best kind. Cheers Youtube! I reckon if you love Ben Folds you are going to love this album (this is the full album on youtube by the way 🙂 )

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              • I just saw Dani’s amazing…AMAZING Bavarian crochet tutorial! OMG! I don’t say OMG but OMG! How absolutely drop dead gorgeous and as narf7 can actually crochet/hook a bit this might even be a teensy bit possible! I am drooling right now and am UBER excited about making something even 1/64th as gorgeous as what Dani just made I am in love 🙂

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                • Yes, me too! I am determined to give it a try – I have a vision of gorgeousness in shades of sea colours, draped artfully across my rather grubby looking favourite chair ….. sigh!! It will be my winter project!

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                    • No, he does not knit – but he does like to be helpful while I am working…. he will catch any stray yarn that looks as if it might be wriggling away from me and hold onto it firmly just in case. He is also quite helpful in making sure a basket of yarn is mixed in a happy and together kind of a way 🙂 Bless them both!

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                    • 😉 Just eating my buckwheaty goodness now and then am bundling the dogs, the vacuum sealed kefir (cheers for some of today’s posts images 😉 ) and heading over to post them off 🙂

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                    • Kefir grains winging their way to N.Z. as I type this 🙂 I will get onto that PDF so that you get it before the grains. If the post is anything like last time it will be there tomorrow! 😉

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                    • Just linking to your blog now in my latest post and after I schedule today’s post I am going to head off and get this PDF sorted out so that I can send it to you ASAP. Today’s post was inspired by your wonderful post (you get 2 links 🙂 )

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                    • Glad to be of service 🙂 Just posted a link to the 1979 New Zealand hit “Computer Games” by Mi-Sex in my post. I even used “Mi-Sex” as a tag…looking forward to all of my new followers and comments that arrive from THAT search I can tell you 😉

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    • *If you send me kefir grains I sure can share with Wendy.

      **Send many kefir grains please, also need to share with ED.

      ***Send kefir grains soon please, many people in need here.

      ****Also send instructions on reviving kefir grains and etc for the many people who will be enjoying their restorative powers 🙂

      ***** Thank you 🙂

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      • LOL! They are being sent tomorrow. Sorry it took a little while but I have been waiting for one of my dear constant readers to get back to me with her address so I can send her some at the same time. She got back today and so tomorrow, first thing, narf and several little surreptitious packages will be heading over to Beaconsfield post office to wing their way to N.Z. and to Spain! Your grains won’t look like much when you get them. They need to swell up and rehydrate and then once they get back to production they will start growing and you will/should have plenty to share around with anyone who wants them 🙂

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          • I will include information for how to dry them and send them on to other people. We are kefir couriers now 😉 Its easy really. You just rinse them off in cool water and set them onto a piece of baking paper/parchment over a cake rack until they dry. I turned mine over as they dried to ensure even drying. They go from quite large cauliflowerettes to teeny tiny little things but rehydrate quite magnificently. I will send you “some” grains. It won’t look like much but it really is and you just need to follow the instructions to rehydrate them and after about a week they should pick up and get culturing nicely again. They need a nice milky spa for the first week though…sort of “first week free” thing and then they start paying their way 😉 I am sending some to Spain to another blogger who is going to use goats milk to culture them. How exciting is this social media blog-a-magiggy thing eh? 🙂 I LOVE to share the love 🙂

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  13. Well, that’s just what I needed to read today. I’ve been struggling with my food AGAIN! My diet has to be a bit different than yours but for the same reasons. It’s so hard to stay with it since everyone wants you to eat what they think is good for you. Sometimes I get tired of the deprivation and go off on a food bender. Good thing I’m not much of a drinker. I get stuck with the weight not moving down and give up. it’s been a long winter, though my area has had it better than some, but not getting out and moving, takes it’s toll on this old body. So today, I’ll try and get a handle on it once again. I always feel better when I do. Thanks for the pep talk. I’m on the journey with you. Glad to have a traveling companion. Hugs, MH

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    • And that is exactly right MH – we are all different and our ‘food that heals and poisons’ lists will all be different. Otherwise we would surely all suffer the same illnesses don’t you think?

      Here’s one thing I learned over the past year which may help with that feeling of deprivation: By observing closely how certain foods affected my pain levels and sense of wellbeing and by ‘testing’ and ‘retesting’ those observations – just to be sure you know – I stopped flagellating myself for being stupid and became more tolerant of my foibles which in turn made it easier to realise that even though I love salty foods [for instance], they don’t sit on my healing list and aren’t good for me. And then I chose not to eat them any more, found something nice to replace them with and never suffer from deprivation.

      I think the ‘add in’ and ‘replace’ methods of Jon Gabriel are very helpful. If you don’t know him google his name – he has quite a story!

      And I know what you mean about not getting out and moving taking its toll. As we get older we have to keep at it ‘use it or lose it’ as they say…. My mantra on this one is I do what I can. And even if it is just some gentle stretching exercises and a few leg raises it all helps. And the next day I can do a little more. I do love yoga!! It’s actually quite motivating to see how the body responds to a few gentle exercises over a week.

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      • Thanks for all the input. I was eating too much salty a few weeks ago and noticed my BP going sky high and a few little chest pains. Made a doctors appointment but stopping the salt has helped. I do Qi Gong which is sort of a combination of yoga and Tai chi. I’m quite flexible but need to get the heart rate up. But weather is turning so I’ll get out soon. I do walk once a week in our mall. It’s a 2 mile stretch as quickly as possible. I can do more, just a bit lazy with the gray weather. Come on sun. Watch me when I say, it’s too hot to be out.:) We are an odd bunch aren’t we. I’ll keep watching you and looking for inspiration. Thanks.

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        • I would love to learn QiGong – I have heard it is so gentle and meditative and good on so many levels – I have not heard of a group here though. I think you are more active than me from this – I tend to get into my studio and not come out – and there’s not an awful lot of physical movement going on there!

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        • What has finally helped me with the sense of deprivation, is coming up with the following phrase: Chocolate is not your friend.” I remind myself of that and it helps. Now that I’m off soda and chocolate (no soda this year and only one or two days with chocolate) I don’t miss it. I’m also craving healthier foods. Though we are only into February of the year, my goal is to stay “clean” over the long holidays that stretch from Halloween through Christmas. I think, as you’ve mentioned before, that it will also help stem the depression as well as the widening girth.

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          • I like your little phrase Alys! It sounds like you are going along really well – we are nearly into March so you must have done about 8 weeks off soda!! That is excellent – have you noticed any health and wellbeing improvements?

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            • I realized that the caffeine from both was clearly keeping me awake. I’m often ready for bed by 9 these days, a complete change for me. I’m also waking up on my own, but sometimes too early (like 4 am). I do best with a full eight hours.

              What feels great is that the soda and chocolate no longer ‘own me’ if that makes sense. That alone is liberating. I’ve lost four pounds, and would like to lose more to get to a healthy BMI. Thanks for your kind words of support and for this inspiring post.

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  14. What a wonderful post filled with wisdom! I enjoyed reading about your journey down this path + I sure don’t envy you with all your ups and downs. I can relate to “health issues” changing your life + how you have to figure it out by trial and error. Mine started 14 yrs ago + it seems like a life time ago!It is such a bumpy road that takes so many twists. turns and even U turns!
    You are so right about listening to your body. I believe that is why you are here today. I know it is why I am here today. I was given a dx that 14 yrs ago meant I would not be here today,but I am!Just like you:-) My doctor helped me get my situation under control( tx), but he did not offer any advice for how to heal my body! Doctors treat symptoms , they don’t treat the underlying causes of our disease! Oh I could go on and on and on about that…

    I am so glad you shared this post today because it makes me feel like I am not crazy. As I read this post I could “feel” your frustration. I know what it is like to battle health issues that want to take over your quality of life. We have to fight back + the doctors just don’t give a hoot!!! Doctors need more training in nutrition + it is not about eating a healthy diet. You have to listen to your body and figure out what is “right” for your body. You did listen to your body + you figured it out! I have done the same too and that is why I grow an immunity garden-one that keeps my body going:-)
    I have studied my bloodwork for 13 yrs and from the reports changed my diet to figure out what I needed to do to battle my health issues.
    I also feel that when we are not nurturing our creative soul we can suffer from health issues too:-) Your beautiful mixed media heals my soul just enjoying it as I am sure it heals yours-thank you for sharing a part of your life to help me feel better about my journey-:-)

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    • There you are again Robbie, just perfectly mirroring my own experiences … you inspire me in so many ways – yours is one of the gardening blogs that made me – just made me – stop whining about wanting a garden again and getting out there and doing something with the area I have 🙂

      I agree with you on the ‘why we are here’ thing – for me a big part is learning to respect my body and to understand what it needs. I have become SO very respectful of it over this little part of the journey – and absolutely love its ability to move towards health with just the slightest bit of help….. it’s a grand wee thing!!

      I noted in an earlier comment that I had a sudden thought while writing this post about the way my paintings have changed over this last year too – and realised that I probably documented the journey to health within them – I’m going to go back and look closely.

      I’m interested in hearing more about what you learned from studying your bloodwork and how you did that.

      I know I got sick because I was not looking after myself. I was intent on proving I was worthy of being alive by saving everyone else when all I really needed to learn to do was save myself 🙂 Slow learner 🙂

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      • oh my goodness your last paragraph is me!

        “I know I got sick because I was not looking after myself. I was intent on proving I was worthy of being alive by saving everyone else when all I really needed to learn to do was save myself 🙂 Slow learner :-)”

        ditto- me too!!! Oh wow, that is me in a nutshell!

        bloodwork + CT’s helped me understand my illiness…

        Well, I would annoy my doctor because, in the early years before my first tx, I would ask for a copy of all my tests. I would go home and study them out by trying to “understand” what each of the tests meant. I was a bit obsessive! lol. My kids were young, so I wanted to see them grow up + I was not going to let this illiness beat me down. Well, I have a deep faith and know if it is my time, it is my time, but I won’t go down without a fight-lol. To me a fight is to change what you can change and accept what you can’t:-)

        I annoyed my doctor so much that he once was using his dry erase board explaining to me about cells etc through diagrams + he got irritated with ALL my questions. He put down his marker + said, ” you don’t need to know all this”…YES I DO! So that is why I went and educated myself. I am not a doctor, but I had enough science in my education to understand some of the basics. I read, and read and read.

        I looked at the reports and tried to figure out if there was something I could eat or change in my life habits that would help me get better. Well, as you know it does matter the changes you make.

        I came to the conclusion doctors treat symptoms not what is causing something. They don’t care about nutrition, so it is up to you + what we do + eat does matter more than people realize!

        I see him every 6 months. Back in 2003 they told me I would need tx every 2 yrs since I got a partial remission. Well, they were wrong. I have not had tx since 2003 (chemo) + they no longer give me CT’s every 6 months and no longer bloodwork.

        I would get my bloodwork done every 6 months so I would watch what I ate + look to see if my bloodwork was improving with my changes etc. And it did!!! By growing my own food fresh from the garden my WBC went up into the normal range. I also found I was anemic + starting taking B12.I no longer was anemic.

        Yes, you can learn a lot from your own bloodwork. I did not try to treat myself. + don’t do crazy things-just eat healthy + listen to my body. I know all this fresh food from my yard is keeping me alive + yes those changes make a difference.

        I go see him in 8 weeks + have no CT’s, or bloodwork this time…Now he just stops in my room and asks “how are you doing?” Any problems etc….I am stable which means my partial remission is not doing anything. I am not cured, but nothing is going on. If it starts acting up, for example, symptoms, I would have chemo again, I am not going to be like some people and not get treatment. I feel the drugs they used on me to beat it back in 2003 helped + the rest was up to me-to change! I was unbalanced before my illiness…now I am balanced-lol

        I am eager to see what you come up with your paintings…were they different?

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        • Wow Robbie, that is quite impressive. I don’t have the head to understand medical speak – and I have been told on several different occasions by doctors and specialists that I didn’t need to understand the hows and whys and whats. When I asked my heart specialist how something had come about in my body his reply was, and I quote, ‘Asking how or why is just a waste of time’.

          He and I did not have a particularly long association. His parting words to me were “If you don’t take this medication don’t think for a moment that I will treat you when you come back here having another heart attack”

          It is so important isn’t it to sort out whats right for you…… We are all so different and what is the right diet for one person is totally wrong for another.

          You are due the heartiest of congratulations on your tenacity to understand and overcome your illness. You are a real example of taking your life into your own hands. I’m so glad we have our connection! 🙂 xoxo

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  15. What an interesting post. Processed foods are really bad for human beings I observe. Well done for empowering yourself (and others who will read this). I struggle with icecream. It doesn’t help but it really calls to me. I don’t usually have it in the house and I avoid it but it keeps finding me. I need to join an ice cream anonymous self help group! 🙂

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      • for occasional treats, I buy all-natural ice cream (no organic here that I’ve ever seen, but in Vancouver or Victoria BC I could get it). Another alternative would be to make your own, then you don’t get all the ‘stuff’ that’s in the usual brands. Including anti-freeze!

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  16. Wow Pauline! What an incredible story, What a journey you’ve been on and I am so glad that you are feeling better and more in control of you life and body. Big love AJ 🙂

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    • Thanks AJ. I find it hard to remember what life BQ was really like any more – people remind me, they say ‘Do you remember when you couldn’t ….’ And I say ‘Oh my, yes – that disappeared ages ago….’ I much prefer life this way 🙂

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  17. Everyone seems to be finding their way to better health. I’ve had healthier times. I’m admittedly at least 15 lbs overweight. Just Since Christmas and Holidays I put on 6. I generally join back WW. We have two weddings this summer so I best get er done. Really happy to hear you’re feeling so much better. Life is too short to be ill of health.

    You’re art girl has the prettiest eyes. Mine are brown but I’ve always wanted blue. Have you noticed a lot of Hollywood actors have blue eye?

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    • Thanks Boomdee – I’m so well it’s almost unbelievable I was once the other way 🙂

      I was trying out a mix of blue and green in her eyes, but you can’t really see the green. I had never thought of the blue eye thing in Hollywood – I know Paul Newman had the most wonderful blue eyes – I just watched Ben Affleck in Argo – he has lovely brown eyes, my eyes are brown too. I’ll paint the next eyes brown just for us Boomdee 🙂

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      • Oh, that’s sweet ❤ ((( Pauline ))). I think Ellen Degeneres has gorgeous blue eyes. Wasn't Paul Newman a dish? He sure aged well and had a long marriage. I by his salad dressing often, the proceeds go to charity. Just a nice man all around.

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  18. What an amazing journey, Pauline…and with such a simple solution. I mean that in the most respectful way. We are what we eat. I know what you mean about the crap in prepared food. I don’t eat processed food at all, really, but this week bought a yogurt. Geez. It tasted like plastic sugar. Ice cream is the main thing that puts weight on me. I don’t eat it anymore, either. 🙂 You are creating from a healthy body, and your work shows it! Hugs from Olalla.

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    • You are so right – the solution was horrendously straight forward and easy – it was uncovering the knowledge of what to do that was so very difficult.

      While I was writing this post I realised that much has also changed in my art work over this past year – I guess I tracked it that way too 🙂 At some stage I’ll have a good look through my journals with that thought in mind…….. I feel like it was the last bit of the puzzle to sort out – now I can enjoy the rest of the ride [fingers crossed :-)]

      Hugs back Christi xoxo

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  19. Oh my word, you fell down a set of concrete steps…how horrible, but it turned out to be a blessing in disguise, I suppose.
    It’s amazing what can be going on within our bodies and we have no clue, or is it that we ignore the little clues?
    We all need food for survival, but so often we put things into our body that are toxic. You did a wonderful job sharing your journey. I can only hope it’s read by those people who are currently in the situation you were in in 1999.
    I love the portrait, Pauline…it’s beautiful! xo

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    • Thanks Jill, I’ve been involved in a number of conversations about my journey to health and this post is an attempt to get it out there without going into too much detail. I realised the quote on the painting fitted so I popped her in for another outing

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  20. hi Pauline 🙂 This really interests me! I eat what I believe is a pretty healthy diet but I have not been able to lose weight, suffer from Fibromyalgia and usually feel like crap. I had cut alot of sugar out (but not entirely) and eat things occasionally sweetened with honey but I do eat alot of fruit, both fresh and dried. I had quit gluten but 2 weeks ago started eating a little again as I hadn’t felt any better really. What generally makes up your diet?

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    • Well now – isn’t it interesting – you sound just like I did.
      I haven’t dared to try any honey at all in the past year – but at some stage I must taste a bit and see what happens. Dried fruit is packed with sugars as you know and I cannot take much of them either. I keep some prunes around for when I run out of kiwi or banana to have with my morning cereal and just have to make sure I don’t eat too many too often.

      My usual diet is really simple. I eat a lot of oats – it is the basis of my breakfast cereal and my cheese and oat cakes that I generally eat at lunchtime. I have activated nuts and seeds that I keep for snacking if I get the munchies – but most days I don’t need them. I eat a big pasta bowl full of fresh salad or vegetables for my dinner. I make up a nut sprinkle mixture from sunflower, pumpkin and sesame seeds and walnuts mixed with dry toasted coconut chips and dried karengo or other seaweed and scatter a good dollop of that on top of my past plate. I sometimes eat some organic chicken but no other meat. I make a big pot of chicken broth up about once a month and freeze it. It is my cure all whenever I have eaten something I shouldn’t.

      I’m not radical – if I go out for a meal I eat what is on offer, except for meat. I had three desserts in a relatively short space of time, while on holiday just before Christmas and when I went out to dinner with an old friend sometime in January. I experienced sugar rush quite strongly each time but noticed that the after effects were hardly there any more and I wonder if that is because my body has entirely detoxed from the built up sugar load it was carrying.

      I don’t buy anything in the supermarket that has unpronounceable ingredients. I use organic milk in my coffee every day and oat milk on my cereal. I eat ordinary processed cheese and butter. I cook with coconut oil when I need to and use coconut oil enriched with essential oils as a face and body lotion.

      I don’t eat bread because I get really gassy from it and I don’t like gluten free bread. I do love that seed bread recipe I got from you but don’t eat it much. I am just about finished a loaf I made just before Christmas.

      I sometimes eat crisps because I love the salt – but suffer the next day. More and more if I want something munchy, I make up some popcorn and sprinkle yeast flakes on it.

      That’s pretty much it. I think the fact that I have stopped ingesting food additives may also be helping.

      One other thing – I think you can tell by how you feel when you first take something out of your diet if it is bad for you – I had headaches and nausea for three days after after quitting sugar and really only got through that by constantly drinking my chicken broth which is a miracle cure all 🙂

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      • 🙂 Yes I do sound like you.

        I removed additives etc years ago, and sweets except for occasional chocolate. I went away in the weekend and brought a large bag of sweets from an old fashioned lolly shop…I feel terrible today so this really hit home for me. I will give your eating plan a go.

        i have been eating heaps of berries and fruit and often make dried fruit balls so can change things there. Unfortunately they have formed quite a large part of my diet this summer. I can’t eat oats but can find other things. I have tried so many different exclusion diets but never excluded fruit etc. See how I go!!

        Thanks for this Pauline. I just cannot lose weight and that drives me nuts…it has seemed the “healthier” I eat the more I put on, I get so fed up with it!!!!

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        • I found I just had to start paying attention – how did I feel when I ate something and how did I feel when I hadn’t eaten it for a bit …. it happened really easily for me with the sugar – but I know there is still something in my diet that doesn’t quite agree as I still have a bit of a belly….. I am still dropping weight though quite slowly – if I got a dog and started walking like Narfie7 does I might be better off!

          My daughter swears by fermented foods and I am intent on introducing more of them into my diet.

          Your last paragraph was exactly what I said to my doctor the moment before he threw his hands up in the air! 🙂 ‘Healthy foods’ obviously isn’t a straight line across the board – we have to find out what our body loves and what it doesn’t process well.

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          • There would be few older women that don’t have a wee bit of a tummy there 🙂

            This is all very interesting and I will give it a go, I have been looking at more fermented foods too. Fran sent me some kefir grains but when I started on the dairy free I let it go, stupid thing to do!!

            Yes, no, “healthy foods” is not an across the board thing. I firmly believe nutrition is the basis of many of our ills but trying to work out what is what for ourselves becomes terribly frustrating…doctors are no help and other health, including natural, are just so pricey to access. Ok, I will see what I can do with this 🙂
            Thanks Pauline 🙂

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            • There’s a lot of info available on-line. People like Jon Gabriel, Juilie Daniluk, the website Food Matters has a raft of information – though they keep trying to sell you stuff. [I just ignore that aspect] I think we have to be our own diagnosticians when it comes to just not feeling well with no obvious ‘illness’ attached to it. And we have to be prepared to pay attention to how certain foods – or groupings of foods – affect our bodies.

              Interestingly I wasn’t even thinking of losing weight – I just wanted to feel better. The loss of inflammation reduced my body enormously!

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              • That’s all I really want, loss of inflammation. Is this a low histamine diet? I was once told about it but really felt felt at the time fruit was too healthy to have to go without! Weight loss would be grand! lol.

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                • I ave no idea if it’s a ‘low histamine’ diet – it’s NOT a diet – it’s a life style. I think diets are really bad – the word has come to mean ‘deprive yourself of foods you love’ and eat what someone else says is good for you.

                  You have to find what is good for you and only you can do that. It’s not about deprivation, its about adding in the stuff that makes you feel good, eliminating the stuff that makes you feel bad and don’t worry about the weight. That will take care of itself when you start to feel well. If you are sugar sensitive the weight will be inflammation and that is why you feel like crap – attend to your health, forget the weight and see what happens 🙂 xoxo

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                  • No, I didn’t mean diet as in going on a diet, I meant the way you said it eg gluten free diet 🙂 🙂 I gave up dieting years ago, I think dieting has a large part to play in metabolic disorders….you get to a stage where you can’t eat bugger all without gaining weight!

                    I will find it hard to lessen my fruit content of my mind (it’s nearly fig season!) but if it helped me feel better I would be rapt….there is no joy in life when you are feeling half dead and in pain, so, I will give it a go 🙂 Will be making soups now so it’s a good time with soup in the fridge all the time.

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                    • Oh good – sorry I thought you had regressed in your wish to get rid of weight – I feel like screaming sometimes when I hear people say I’m going on a diet “It’s a trap I tell you, a trap – don’t do it!!” Ten pounds to lose last month, diet, twelve pounds to lose the next month and so it goes more and more weight to lose after every diet is completed….. It took me sooo-ooo long to work that out!

                      Just go with the scientific outlook – eat your figs one day, pay attention. Go a day with no figs, pay attention. After all, you may not have to lose the figs 🙂

                      I agree though, it was my intention to lessen the pain in my body, that was all I wanted and to me it is a miracle when I remember how it used to feel and how it doesn’t feel anything like that any more….then I am content to go without my version of ‘figs’.

                      Email me if you want to talk more contentedcrafter@gmail.com

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                    • Cool, yes, I will do, thanks Pauline. I have always said I could live on fruit, vegetables and nuts and I very definatly could as they are all my favourites. You don’t use stevia either, or similar?

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                    • Nope. The odd thing is that I have discovered there is so much sweetness in unsweetened food – I guess my taste buds have adapted and now find what is naturally there!

                      Which explains why when I do get a wee taste of sugar it really is like an orgasm in the mouth!! [Sorry – but there is no other way to explain it 🙂 ]

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