Life, Death and Love…
What a nerve attacking, wracking thing…to sing at the memorial of the youngest son of my dearest friend of many years. He died from injuries sustained in a freak accident when the gas in the kitchen exploded due to a leak. Such a loss of a beautiful life. I shall dust off the cobwebs on my vocal cords and pay homage to his beautiful soul that flies free as we mourn his passing. He has left wonderful memories behind and he lives on in those.
I’m so grateful to know I shall be accompanied by the legendary luthier, Marc Maingard. Rehearsals were made possible courtesy of Skype. Technology. What a thing. My voice is taking it hard though. It’s tightened up from all the years of not singing. Pretty scary how the muscles deteriorate. I’ll be humming a lot in the next two days. Ommmmmmm … Maybe I should chant while I paint. It could have interesting consequences. Visions, dreams, messages from the Spirit World. Oooooooh. Spooky. For some. And yet…
Back to this dimension, this possibly parallel universe. One could go dotty thinking about all things esoteric and trying to figure out quantum anything, while that which is more important is right here, right now. Simple really.
Nothing wrong with sitting dreaming though, nothing wrong with conscious laziness. That’s the time we spend letting creativity lead our thoughts, giving birth to plans and dreams. I’m dreaming of many things. Projects galore. I write copious lists in my line-less journal, shopping lists as well as recipes, random thoughts, sketches for new paintings, drawings for the new horse shelter and shed using green building ideas that have been hanging around in my brain for some years now. Oh bliss! Getting things done is the thing. Ticking off the projects on the list. Some might take a long time to come to fruition, some bring immediate response, while some just move on to the next page, patiently waiting.
Life is awesome, sometimes sad, and at times an ecstatic journey. We just need to take that first step to start the trip to achieve our dreams. And we need to live in the moment and enjoy the ride, speak the language of kindness and love life. It all ends sometime.
Now is all we have and life is to be fiercely lived and passionately loved. Grab it, shake it, dance with it and sing out loud.
I rushed to get to the doctor this morning and he was late. He is only there for a half an hour in this little village. My heart rate was much higher than normal when he finally arrived because I had allowed myself to become stressed. In retrospect, while waiting, I could have taken the time to still my mind. I could have taken a breathing break.
We rush through life when I believe we shouldn’t need to. Living in a big city is not natural for my psyche, for sure. I’m still in a cave in my mind. I have lived and worked in London and Johannesburg, LA, Nashville and other European cities while performing and recording. I have spent time visiting in New York, marvelling at the traffic and the pace. I was so glad I was a musician and not a secretary, although I did once work for a few months as a receptionist for a newspaper while waiting for my showbiz life to unfold. As a performer I got to sleep late most days, party or visit at night after shows until all hours. Crazy, mad, fun, intense times. And sometimes I needed to rush. Through traffic, through scripts, through airports, through filming, through PR tours, through life.
Over the years life has changed somewhat. And I am older now. Now I stroke the cat, hug the dog, smile with my eyes closed and breeeeeaaaathe.
While life does continue to rush for many, here’s a way to cope. Simple breathing. Buddhist monk, Thich Nhat Hahn, is said to take three mindful breaths ever hour, no matter if he is in the middle of a lecture or elsewhere. It seems so easy when you read or hear it. In the beginning, some years ago, I would find myself having done two breaths and then losing focus, forgetting the third. Now I am better at it. Here, sitting at my desk, my fingers still, like a very mini meditation, I breathe and be in the moment, noticing sounds around me, letting thoughts go, noticing my breathing, in and out. “Just recognition, mere recognition, simple recognition of the presence of the in-breath and out-breath”. There. Three done.]
If you are stressed today, stroke the cat, hug the dog, and breeeaaathe.
It has been a long while since I last wrote. Many things have happened in the silent time, a knee replacement and tooth extraction being the most recent disruptions in my normally peaceful farm life.
The need to share information and thoughts is probably the strongest desire that has prompted my return to writing. So, what do I want to share? Well, let me see…
I’m a research junkie and the World Wide Web is my library and sometimes my university. I particularly love watching tutorials on painting and can while away many an hour in an “art class”. On the very rare occasion that I watch television, it will either be RT for news and documentaries, and the ubiquitous food channels. And Graham Norton. I love a good laugh.
My sphere of interest includes organic vegetable and companion gardening, herbs, healthy cooking, raw food (particularly in smoothies) and a slow carb, real food lifestyle which encompasses a fair amount of low carb vegetarian food. No, I am not a vegetarian and neither am I on diet. I’m an omnivore who chooses to eat free range and grass-pastured meat, and grass-pastured beef is not always easy to find. For that reason I choose to eat more vegetarian meals than meat meals. Free range chicken is happily available as are free range eggs, and I do love salmon and dorado (mahi-mahi) and I try to eat fish twice a week. Good old hake is still on the menu and I love stir-frying it with some quinoa, onions, garlic, broccoli and some wilted kale or chard. These days I am somewhat choosy about the fish I eat because of the mercury content and the dangers of radiation as a result of the nuclear fallout riding on the sea currents from Fukushima.
Which brings me to another deep love of mine. Mother Earth. We have been so disrespectful of Gaia and it saddens me big time. On my mountain farm I sit in Mother Nature’s lap and she enfolds me just as a mother holds her child. Her vibration pulses all around and through me. I cannot ignore her. I can only love and respect her and treat her right. Teach your children well people. Teach them to respect the Mother and all her abundance. Teach them the language of kindness. Show them love, and show them how to love our awesome planet.
OK, so those are my thoughts on food and nature today. As I write more I will share recipes, gardening tips, art and more.
Who knows what tomorrow’s musings might bring…
I can rave for hours about how happy I am that the word diet no longer belongs in my vocabulary. That doesn’t mean I am going to go crazy and eat rubbish. No, I am going to replace the word DIET with another four letter word – LOVE. Love me, love my body, love my life. So if someone asks me why I no longer DIET, I shall tell them I now LOVE instead.
Be nice to you. Putting good healthy clean food in your body is LOVE. Dressing well for your size is LOVE. Walking tall and proud is LOVE. Getting up in the morning and saying ‘Hello Gorgeous in the Mirror’ is LOVE. Drinking water instead of fizzy drinks is LOVE. Showing the world you are special with a beautiful smile is LOVE. Loving you. When you smile at the world, you are showing them LOVE. Invariably, when you smile at people, they will smile back. No matter your size!
There is a line from a song that says “While you’re helping your brother, your own hurt is gone away”. Imagine if you stopped worrying about your weight and started caring about others what a world this would be! I don’t mean you should go out and volunteer for all sorts of charities, although that works for some, I mean showing kindness to whomever you meet, those you work with, those you live with, your workers, your family and friends. KIND is a great four letter word! When you are kind to others, your true beauty shines through. Most of all, be kind to you. Stop thinking that you are bad, a failure, unlovable because you are fat. You are a Fabulous Fattie! If someone should say derogative things about your body, just tell them you love them too. It may sound a bit sarcastic, so wipe their words away with a loving smile.
Fabulous Fatties LOVE!…
The guide to being a HEALTHY Fabulous Fattie is to boost real nutrition. FF need to eat good food, not crap and the only way to be weaned off the crap is to give your body what it really needs, nutrition. Many Fatties are actually starving because they do not give their bodies true nutrition, but empty foods, and so they are always hungry.
The guide to good nutrition is to eat natural foods unsullied by man. Eat, wherever possible, good organic nutritious foods, free range everything, grass-fed animals, mercury free fish, healthy fats, no processed foods, no foods with e-numbers or MSG – in short, real foods, clean foods. The odd packet of crisps, ice cream, or food cooked in a restaurant where they probably use trans-fats and old oil, isn’t going to kill me so I will not be fanatical. And that sugar in the Crème Brûlée? Hell yes. I’ll eat it!
Health is a huge word. To be healthy is our right, and our choice. People worldwide have been taught to eat a lot of rubbish. Chemical kak. Factory-made food. Sugar by the trillion tonne loads. Seriously, sugar is a poison and the scourge of diabetics and a contributor to many other illnesses, syndromes and degenerative diseases. I urge you to curb the sugar load on your body. I didn’t say give it up, although that wouldn’t be a bad thing, I just don’t want to promote any kind of fanaticism or dieting dilemmas here. I don’t diet. I just eat healthy food, and sometimes a lot of it. My choice.
A really healthy step to take is to learn to drink green drinks and juices. I do the blended salads with Moringa powder. If you haven’t heard of Moringa please Google it. It is a powerhouse of nutrition. I chuck salad ingredients, or left over salad, into a blender with the Moringa and some filtered water, blend well and drink. It doesn’t go brown in the fridge like green juices and is very pleasant to drink. Take a while over it, chewing the drink and really tasting it. I know my body does a happy dance when I take the trouble to make and drink a Green Drink. You can add chia seeds or flaxseeds to enhance the drink even further. I love them both so I alternate. If I use flaxseeds I blend them first before anything else, in order to release their beneficial oils.
Remember, this is not about dieting, this is about health. I do not promote any diet, although I have learned a lot through my years of dieting. I have learned that once I get on the healthy trail, my anxieties recede and calm comes to my being. I know I eat a lot when food is good, but as someone once said, I’d rather get fat on really good chocolate than on rubbish.
I eat any natural food that grows in the ground, on bushes and on trees. Legumes, fruit, seeds, grains, nuts, and all vegetables. I eat meat, poultry, fish, dairy – free range and natural where possible and I make bone broth which I love to drink instead of tea or coffee now and then. There is great nutrition in bone broth and it heals and seals the gut. Google GAPS with Dr Natasha Campbell McBride to find out how her regime has healed children with autism. There is a lot to bone broth that I never knew!
We can choose to be fat and unhealthy or we can choose to be Fabulous Fatties with skin that glows, a sparkle in our eyes and a lust for life! What will it be?
Fabulous Fatties rock!
It’s been quite a while since my last entry but many thoughts have been racing around my brain over the last couple of months. Years actually. I have mentioned it before, and I will say it again. Diets make you fat – or rather they have done that to me! Every time I say the word ‘diet’ my whole being goes into stress mode. Imagine the cortisol streaming through my body, making it even harder to lose weight!
Well, now I have had it. Banting, Intermittent fasting, Low-carb, Keto, all of it. I’m done. It has taken me the best part of my adult life to get to this point. Enough. No more dieting. I have decided I am a healthy, happy, Fabulous Fattie. Yes FATTIE. Why sugar-coat it? Fat, fat, fat. And fabulous! Now I visualise the curvy, cuddly body that is me.
At my yearly medical about two weeks ago, I was pronounced in excellent health. Wonderful blood pressure, a strong heart and no scratchy sounds in my lungs. My cholesterol is absolutely normal, as is my blood sugar. What more could I want? My doctor wishes he had my blood pressure. And even though I have a knee the doctors would like to replace (they said that three years ago) I still manage to walk in my little forest up and down a hill. Slowly, I will admit, but I can do it.
My dad Jack believed in portion control and never gave up his sweets and treats, and in so doing lost his excess adipose tissue. I always admired his self-control, but there are moments in so many people’s lives when that portion-control-switch doesn’t want to switch off. So? What now? I have fought it for too many years, berated myself for failing time and again with every diet I ever tried, and I have tried a few. Even gone to a psychologist, albeit very briefly!
Bad girl, flip-flop, now it’s working, now it’s not. Naaaah. No more.
Why am I a Fattie? The straight answer and bottom line is that I love food. The tastes (oh the tastes!), the visual delights, the cooking, smelling, savouring, and enjoying the delight that is good food. A well-made oxtail that has cooked for a day and a night in the slow cooker can turn me into a food writer. I wax lyrical, and want more. Yep. Simple. If it’s good, my MORE switch gets turned on. My greedy switch. Greedy for good, tasty food, sometimes in cream sauces. (Not the ones with flour in them. Real cream sauces.) That’s where the food sensuality comes in. Bathed in spicy creaminess, redolent with herbs, fork tender, made from scratch, wholesome goodness. Real food. I just LOVE it!
The problem with me and dieting is that I feel guilty and such a failure (again) when I go off the rails. Then I inevitably binge. So no more rails or being obsessed with something I “can’t” have. I don’t want to be obsessed with food and dieting for one more Nano second. I want to go out and have that crème brûlée or an ice cream without guilt. So now I do. I also have French fries, or a baked potato. I make delicious banana pancakes, eat oranges, apples, pineapples and other fruit. What would the diet gurus be saying? CARBS! Don’t eat those carbs!!! I say piss off! (Actually I say a lot worse but feel the need to keep this a little respectable!)
No more rules, no more restrictions, no more deprivation, no more irritation either! I like bread! So now I make my own with great ingredients. Stone ground organic white and rye flours, raw unpasteurised honey, EV olive oil or real butter, Himalayan salt and filtered water. I generally have two slices a day. Once it is out of the bread machine, I slice up the bread and pack two slices per baggie and put them in the freezer. (That’s after I have had the first two warm slices with butter.) That way the loaf feeds me for 6 days. If I left it out, however, it would be gone by the end of the day! That MORE switch.
So how do I get to be a healthy Fabulous Fattie? I eat organic vegetables that grow in my garden and I buy local organic produce wherever possible, including pastured pigs not put through dreadful conditions, free range eggs, free range chicken, lamb, game and grass fed beef. I eat dairy, cream, full cream milk and yogurt and indulge in a fancy cheese every so often, and breakfast is often the most awesome “green eggs” with our organic leafy greens, garlic, celery, spring onions, spices and cheddar cheese, all cooked in coconut oil. I have weaned myself off all things that are processed. Mostly.
The only tinned foods I buy are tomatoes and tomato paste, (and that changes when the garden tomatoes ripen), fish and beans. I do not buy anything that has an E number in it, MSG or anything that sounds like it was made in a lab or is unpronounceable. I use only coconut oil, extra-virgin olive oil and sometimes macadamia oil. I also render fat from the free range chickens and other organic meats and use that for cooking as well. For the most I make all my food from scratch. Real, natural food.
I am happy to be a healthy Fabulous Fattie. And I think us FF need to love ourselves and our bodies. I think us gorgeous big girls deserve to dress beautifully in clothes that make us feel good, even if it is a kaftan or a big loose top! Being a FF does not mean we have to be glum and hide our personalities. We fatties are people with great talents, big hearts, and beautiful dreams – just like any thin person. But it’s moments when someone uses the phrase “Fat Cow” that my hackles start to rise. I mean, do you hear people saying “You skinny cow!”? No, you don’t. Maybe skinny bitch…
Do thin people get side-lined for jobs? You know, when the employer doesn’t want to have ‘a fat, lazy person’ around? Lazy!!! Well, fat people may sometimes have a problem moving fast, but I have known some FF that will dance skinnies off their feet, some that will stand for hours making pancakes for fundraising, and those who never tire of helping their kids with academics, sports and celebrations, and FF secretaries who bustle around and make their bosses proud with their excellent contributions and professional demeanour. We are people us Fabulous Fatties, and we need to show the world that we are every bit as good as skinnies everywhere. We need to strut our stuff, hold our heads high and walk with confidence and joy.
I am behind all Fabulous Fatties everywhere. I love you. I want you to feel good about yourselves. I want you to celebrate being alive! And I want you to be a happy, healthy Fabulous Fattie. I’m here for you. I am a Fabulous Fattie
Listen, I have to tell you that I think dieting is a crock of shit. The very word DIET sends me into paroxysms of loathing. I think of how much money I have spent on dieting aids, books by the score, internet purchases and much more. I don’t want to continue like that for one more day and I will not.
My interest in nutrition and weight loss started when I went vegetarian for seven years in England in the 70s. Being part of the hippie culture I learned about whole foods: sprouts, rice, and vegetables usually grown organically in the back yard of the commune or picked up at the local market. Good times. Tasty food. Lots of carbohydrates.
Another side of my eating was the stress of wondering when and from whence the next gig would come, and if I was going to be “thin enough” for stage. Being emotional to start with, eating has always been my go-to activity when stress appeared. But not only then. Stressed, sad, happy, delighted, confused, successful – you name the emotion – they all result in eating.
Of course, events along the way helped to pile on the pounds. Motorbike accident, stopped cigarettes, hysterectomy, and a back operation: they all contributed. The sad thing is that I started dieting at a weight I could only dream of achieving now. Being over 60 and having spent years battling weight gain I do not expect to become a lissom wand, ever!
And if truth be told, food is one of my greatest passions.
I have spent the last month or more rebelling against Banting and all other diets. However, I have now managed to slow the runaway train and am a tad more thoughtful about food choices once more. It has resulted in rummaging deep within me to find some answers. My own answers and my own choices.
So what are they?
The upshot of it all is that I have decided to eat from all the Banting lists. From all food sources, all categories, nothing to be left out. Even sugar. Gasp!
And how do I intend to lose weight? Do I want to lose weight? How healthy am I? All these questions have been roaring around my addled brain, seeking the true answers that reside in my inner being. Profound, I know…
Eating less will do for starters. One helping and not two. How do intend to achieve that? By eating slowly, putting my fork or spoon down between mouthfuls, basically – eating mindfully. Big words, but achievable.
What will I be eating? Mostly everything that is natural and not processed by man. I did say mostly. There is nothing on my AVOID list because such a list does not exist for me anymore. The Amarula Crème Brûlée I had after lunch yesterday was a true delight and I refuse to go out and deny myself something so delicious, sugar and all. Sure, I will make my own at home with xylitol, but really? To go out and have a ‘normal’ meal is a huge pleasure.
Through all the years of dieting, (Low carb, keto, Banting, GAPS, Protein Power, Carbohydrate Addicts Diet, Schwarzbein) – they have all contributed to a store of good knowledge about foods and nutrition in general. I know what to eat and I am sure we all know basically what to eat. I don’t touch MSG as a rule, but there are Doritos and Lays days in my life. Mostly they were eaten with great guilt in the past, but no longer. Once in a while is fine by me.
I eat bread. Gasp again! These days I have access to stone ground non-GMO organic flour and have great fun trying out different recipes. In the past I would probably have eaten the whole loaf in a fit of secrecy and shame, but no more of that. Delicious with grass fed butter (it always sounds strange – butter doesn’t eat grass! Yes, I know, I know…) and local organic cheeses, very yum.
Every one of us has things we mean to do but never get round to. Things we know are beneficial but somehow manage to elude us in our daily routines. So I am making a list of those I am endeavouring to execute, out of which I plan to make a habit.
Habit Challenge List
Borax in filtered water daily for arthritis in my broken bones. (Google it…)
Krill oil capsules occasionally to replace the fish I very seldom eat due to mercury scares.
Lemon juice or apple cider vinegar in the mornings with coconut oil and salt. (This habit is already in place.)
Eat within an eight to ten hour window. This is intermittent fasting which I practice at least four days a week and sometimes more.
Sprout organic seeds and enjoy the abundance of nutrition, and one day make a sprouted seed bread, just for fun.
Soak oats and nuts overnight as an occasional breakfast. (Soaking breaks down the enzyme inhibitors, making the food more easily digestible. And – I like it!)
Eat vegetables, preferably raw but also cooked any other way. Raw blended green juices are the one thing with which I struggle, but now that I am eating off all the lists, I shall use apples and bananas to make them more palatable, together with seeds and nuts for protein.
Make kimchi and other fermented foods and eat regularly. The thing is to find organic cabbage. A red cabbage is growing in a pot and I am sowing more seed after the next new moon. Carrots abound in my garden and I have loads of kale, so no excuse.
Make yogurt more often.
Deep breathing daily. (I often do three mindful breaths throughout the day and also at night before I sleep.)
One last but most important thing of all – Love my body, fat or thin!
There you have it. My own lifestyle, tailored just for me. I will let you know how it goes…
I found the answer for my body. Keep the carbs under 20 and the fat percentage anywhere between 70 and 80%.
A few days ago I made fish cakes with coconut flour and that was a mistake. My weight went up instantly – about 800g. I was not pleased. So I cut carbs down to below 20 and voilà! A whole kilo gone in 4 days. Must have been water weight, but it taught me something.
The other trick is to eat a l-i-t-t-l-e supper. I had 2 boiled eggs and some mayo and that was more than enough.
Breakfast this morning was at 10:15 (I eat between 10 and noon) and I made sure it was high fat. Here it is…
This is a very South African dish – called Skilpadjies which means tortoises – with not a tortoise in sight! It comprises lamb liver minced and flavoured and made into a pattie and wrapped in caul fat and this was fried in coconut oil. The avo is full of lipase and helps to break down fat while the eggs are…well we all know eggs! Great protein and good stuff.
That will keep me satisfied for a l-o-n-g time.
Whoa! Did I get a rocket today from a Facebook Banting chap! All about enzymes. He drilled me as to why I was suggesting avocado instead of cooked vegetables for lipase content. So – just in case anyone is wondering why I suggested that, and in case you haven’t read my blog post on enzymes, I shall repeat. All enzymes are destroyed through cooking and heating. This is a fact I discovered when researching. It seems as if that is not so important to the chappie (who shall remain nameless) as he went on to give me links to enzymes. I shall repeat, picky person with harsh words…Raw Raw Raw! That is what I was trying to get through! Cooked vegetables do not contain working enzymes. And I believe in enzymes to help with our digestive process. I am not a doctor, nor a nutritionist, but I do believe in the power of raw, enzyme rich, nutrient dense foods.
An enzyme stays an effective enzyme if it’s raw – and the harsh person? May he be blessed with happy thoughts!
On with the Revolution!
A Happy Sunday Breakfast Dish!
It was Yummy. Savoury Mince with Eggs and Avo (and a tomato:)
I was not hungry for hours after, and eventually had a creamy coffee and 6 almonds. So far tonight I have eaten one hard boiled egg with a tablespoon of mayo. I might just have the last one in a moment…good thing I love eggs!
Love and peace…and happy Banting
I love SparkPeople. Their nutrition tracker has been my saving grace for a while now. For instance, I had a really big breakfast this morning.
Beef Mince flavoured with Smoked Paprika & Turmeric, 3 Eggs, Avo & a Cherry Tomato
Spike day is my ‘up the carbs’ day. I keep my carbs at 20 per day so I reset my metabolism on the 7th day, (I call it Reward Day, since I have been so awesomely good and because I don’t want my body to think I am starving it!). I also know that when I eat more carbs on my strict days I can tend to overdo them. 6 strict days means I can play on the 7th day, and I choose to stay within Banting rules then. That is when I make my favourite coconut pancakes.
Coconut Pancake with Macadamia Cream Filling
I use my SparkPeople nutritional tracker to help plan my day, even on Reward Day. I can also look back and see what I have eaten at any time. It is so helpful. Like today – I had such a big breakfast, all legal, and even with my palm size protein and green drink (which is 8 carbs) for tonight, I still have 2g left over.
Water has been my good companion today and I find that I am drinking quite a bit. I think this is also because protein is a diuretic and I had a fair bit yesterday. So water is my friend…I also had 2 small cups of black filter coffee with cinnamon and coconut oil…delicious.
Today has been an industrious one. Now for a stroll with the dogs and my own Banting Cocktail (Sparkling Water with Bitters)
Have an awesome evening…