August 2020

Eating + cooking // I’ve been finding myself leaning towards warm foods lately as I try to keep my body warm (one of my fibromyalgia symptoms is feeling like my bones are cold and won’t warm up). I’ve been making a big pot of these stewed apples on a Sunday afternoon and then having them as my afternoon snack throughout the week. Stewed apples are a team player and a great source of pectin, a prebiotic released when apples are cooked, that feeds the beneficial gut bacteria and decreases the population of harmful bacteria. 

I’ve been cooking cauliflower pizza (recipe to come soon!) weekly for dinner. I love the cheesy, bread-like texture of the base, it’s a true winter warmer. Cauliflower is a member of the  overachieving cruciferous family. He’s that guy in a group assignment who wants to do it all. Containing fibre, antioxidants, choline, potassium and vitamin C, it helps feed the healthy bacterias in your gut that help reduce inflammation and promote digestive health; prevent digestive diseases, some cancers and heart disease; support brain development and the production of neurotransmitters for brain and nervous system health; and help regulate muscle contractions and the nervous system. 

I’ve been gravitating to pork as my protein of choice lately.  I’ve had pork belly and pulled pork in the last week. Pork is a quiet achiever. It’s a good source of protein, B vitamins, selenium, zinc and iron. Although pork contains less iron than other meat sources of meat iron (heme-iron), the absorption is very efficient. B vitamins are important for many bodily functions including blood formation (particularly the formation of red blood cells), brain function and metabolism.

Breakfasts are usually reheated meat, mushrooms, avocado or a drizzle of avocado oil, brussels sprouts and green leafy vegetables. I get baby spinach in my fruit + veg delivery every week so I keep it easily accessible in the fridge where I can grab a handful and add it to any meal. Silverbeet (chard), rainbow chard and kale are abundant in my (small) veggie garden. 

Sunday morning breakfasts are a ritual in my family. It’s a time to cook something nourishing for the soul. During my childhood, pancakes were a Sunday morning staple. I’ve had trouble finding an autoimmune protocol-friendly (AIP) pancake recipe I like so I’ve been making Alex’s baked oats (not AIP elimination phase friendly). I sit on the couch with Frankie, reading a magazine, drinking a cup of tea while it bakes in the oven, inhaling the smells and feeling truly blessed.

Drinking // chamomile, green and peppermint teas are my trusty friends during winter (continuing on the theme of keeping warm!) however I’ve recently introduced chai to the gang. The practice of steeping a cup of tea from tea leaves is part of my winding down routine at the end of the day. Chai is the A-Team of beneficial ingredients. A union of black tea, cinnamon, cardamon and other spices; chai can reduce blood sugar levels, reduce nausea, improve digestion, reduce inflammation, support the immune system and improve heart health.

Listening // Fake Doctors, Real Friends  has been accompanying me when I’m driving, while I work, while I’m cooking. Basically all the time. 

Doing // reformer pilates is part of my weekly routine. I’m managing 2-3 sessions a week at Cadence Pilates at the moment, depending on if I’m in a flare up or not. Reformer pilates is a form of resistance training with different classes having a different focus. Generally a reformer pilates class will focus on the whole body, strengthen and tone muscles, and improve posture, balance and coordination.  I always monitor my heart rate while exercising and follow the Chronic Fatigue guidelines for exercise to prevent fibromyalgia flare ups. Since starting reformer pilates 7 months ago, my fitness and energy levels have improved, my recovery rates are shorter, my mental health is better and I’m feeling stronger. I am aware these are an result of many pieces of a moving puzzle coming together but for me, exercise is important in managing my fibromyalgia as too little exercise will cause a flare up but so will too much!

I try to journal every second or third day. Writing things down is therapeutic, especially as I live alone and don’t always have someone to vent to! It’s a way I can express my thoughts, feelings, frustrations, elations, dreams and plans with utter honesty and no consequences. When I journal I feel grounded, calm and more like myself. For me, it’s a time for reflection and allows me to see symptoms and triggers, along with thought patterns that aren’t benefiting me. 

Socially // restrictions are increasing again in Adelaide however I was able to meet with my Book Club in person for the first time since March and enjoy dinner and a glass of wine while we could – I don’t think it will happen again for a while now. With Victoria entering lockdown again, I’ve had many phone calls with family and friends experiencing the significant increase in restrictions. It is important to keep connecting with each other during this time.

My thoughts are with everyone in lockdown at the moment. If you are struggling or not feeling like yourself, please contact Lifeline or Beyond Blue.

Reading // I recently finished Michelle Obama’s Becoming and thoroughly enjoyed her insights into life as the First Lady. It was fascinating to read it in the lead up to another US election as it provided insights into the US political system I wasn’t aware of. I am currently reading Dr Jolene Brighten’s Beyond the Pill. It’s filling in a lot of gaps in my knowledge about hormones and the menstrual cycle. I’m sure I’ll be talking about this more in the future as it’s important for us to know how our bodies work. There is a lot that wasn’t covered in Sex Ed at high school! 

Play // last Saturday after pilates, I picked up Frankie and we went to Ikigai Coffee Shop for brunch. It was so nice to do something ‘just because’ and Frankie was well behaved so we sat in the sun for about an hour with nourishing food, a coconut chai latte and the latest Wellbeing magazine. Ikigai were great about making changes to the menu to suit my dietary requirements. 

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