Write on

So it’s the last week in January already, and the first week of my 50th year.  Not sure how that happened – less than one year until the big five-oh.  If you’d asked me at 16 – or even 21 – what I would have accomplished or be doing by the time I hit my half century I doubt it would bear much resemblance to the life I’m living.

I suspect I would have predicted husband, kids, career (perhaps in writing), a decent-sized house and a foreign holiday or two each year.  In other words, I would have been the stereotypical, suburban, middle-aged woman – a “stepford wife” if you like.  Nothing wrong with that, however that’s not what’s happened.  Not yet anyway.

I’m a single lady (even that’s debatable some days…), no kids (but I have acquired 9 godchildren along the way), just given up my career to start afresh (never did write that novel), and trying to limit myself to just five festivals a year.  Spending time in British fields listening to music, come rain or shine, rather than lazing on far-flung beaches.  I do have a little house of my own and a grumpy cat for company though.  Not to mention a fantastic network of amazing friends who I appreciate more with each passing year.

The support I’ve received while setting up my new business has been humbling.  People are genuinely interested, and want to talk to me about it, even if they do secretly think I’ve lost my senses!  Two of my friends have signed up with me to lose weight, which is brilliant and they are both doing well.  I’m so proud of them!

Prior to becoming self-employed I worked primarily in the public sector after graduating from university, which was my preference at the time.  However after being made redundant in 2009 I spent a couple of years working in the private sector for a premium skin care company, which I really enjoyed.  Getting discounted products was a perk not to be sniffed at too!  However financial pressures dictated I needed to earn a little more and so I returned to the public sector again.

A week or so ago I met up with one of my former skincare colleagues, and posted on social media about how I missed working there, along with a picture of some samples I’d been gifted – I’m a sucker for a freebie!  A uni friend who runs a beauty industry magazine contacted me after seeing that post and offered me a freelance job writing a weekly column.  This would be flexible enough to fit around my diet plan clients and keep me out of mischief while I established my business.

So, reader, of course I said yes.  Another new chapter has opened.  I’m finally writing for a living (well, expenses and free products) – my 16 year-old self would be proud.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finding nemo?

Happy New Year! I hope you all had a good festive season and 2019 is treating you well so far.  As always it’s a time for reflection, consolidation and resolution.

This update is a bit later than I planned as the omega-3 blood test results took longer to come back than I anticipated.  Apologies!

I have started seeing clients from home for my 1:1 Diet business, which is great.  So far I’m not missing the daily bustle of an office which is a big surprise.  I thought I’d struggle with spending so much time in my own company but as yet that’s not been an issue.  However do I ensure I get out of the house regularly for both exercise and a change of scenery.

You may remember that I was looking into improving my health and vitality and started taking a wheatgrass supplement in November (see previous post here for more information).  I also subscribed to a good quality omega-3 supplement that provided a blood test to identify your levels of omega-3 and -6.  I started taking this on 10th December and sent my blood test off the same day.  They did say it could take 15-20 business days for the result to be returned, and mine came through yesterday.

As expected, this was not good, but worse than I thought.  The analysis measures the amount of omega-3 and omega-6 oils in the red blood cells.  You are given two scores: an Omega-3 Index result and an omega-6 to omega-3 ratio.

The Omega-3 Index is on a scale from 0-12.  Anything under 4 indicates a higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease.  A score of 8 and over is good.  I scored 2.

A good ratio between the omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids in the cellular membranes is important for a strong immune system and aids the body in dealing with infection and injury.  A desirable goal is 3:1 or less.  A ratio of 5:1 is borderline.  However it’s common in the West for a ratio between 10-20 due to the amount of processed food and vegetable oils in the diet.  A ratio higher than 5 can increase the amount of chronic inflammation in the body, which may lead to the development of joint problems, cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, kidney disease and obesity.

The scale used to illustrate the results ranges from 1 (good) to 15 (poor).  My result was 37.1:1.  Clearly room for a lot of improvement!

They recommend taking omega-3 every day and a second test after 4 months, as the life span of a red blood cell is 120 days.  I bought a six-month supply and will do another test around the five-month mark.  I am very aware that the information is provided by a company with a commercial interest in selling omega-3.  However, regardless of where I source the supplements, I think it’s pretty obvious that I need to do something about the lack of omega-3 in my diet.  The health community is clear that the majority of people suffer a deficiency (here and here) so I’m not alone.  I don’t regularly eat fatty fish or marine fatty acids as part of my diet.  I will investigate where these can be sourced from, other than the obvious fish which I don’t like (except Nemo, he’s cute) and continue with the supplements and see if my test results improve.

I am definitely feeling some benefits of taking both wheatgrass and omega-3 daily for the last month (six weeks for wheatgrass).  I have more energy and am sleeping better.  I have also noticed an improvement in the strength and condition of my hair and nails.  I tend to suffer with hormonal skin breakouts linked to my menstrual cycle and these have reduced.  So far, so good.  It’s not cheap, but what price health?

As always, if you have any questions about the 1:1 Diet, wheatgrass or omega-3 oil get in touch for information or a referral.  Thanks for reading 🙂

 

Accreditation’s what you need…

I mentioned a couple of posts ago that I was waiting for my training date to become an Independent Consultant for the 1:1 diet by Cambridge Weight Plan.

The course was last Wednesday in Southampton (a trip to the seaside to boot!) and I submitted my accreditation exam on Friday.  I got a phone call on Monday to advise that I’d passed with 96% (the required passmark is 85%) so I was really thrilled with that.

This means I am able now to take on my own clients and help them with their own weight loss journeys.  If you’re on Facebook you can find my page here.

I am not expecting to start seeing anyone until after the festive period, but who knows, there may be people wanting to start dieting before then.  If so, I’m ready for them!

As an aside, I am still taking the Omega oil and wheatgrass and will update on those in a separate post later this week.

Green, green grass

I thought I’d post a short update on progress.  I’ve been taking the wheatgrass and vitality juice shots since my last post – about 12 days.  I certainly feel better for it, and fought off a cold that was brewing faster than I usually would.  It’s early days though, and I have six weeks’ worth of wheatgrass still in the freezer.

I only had 10 shots of the vitality juice as this was a freebie when I placed my wheatgrass subscription.  I have ordered some more as I liked it so much.  It tastes good – made up of pomegranate (34%), red grapes (34%), goji berries (17%), raspberries (10%) raw aloe vera and matcha tea – and goes well in my morning smoothie, but would be easy to drink as a shot on its own.   This one has anti-oxidant properties and is meant to boost energy, while the high levels of vitamins and minerals should improve my immune system, support blood cell development and assist with healthy skin, nails and vision.  I’ll take it for another month and see if I notice any changes.

The wheatgrass is slightly less palatable, but not awful; tastes a little bit like kale and is very green.  My friend takes hers straight but I found this repeated a bit much for me (apologies if TMI!) so I add it to a small amount of apple juice.  It’s easily drinkable that way, but can also be added to smoothies or other drinks or food.  As it’s frozen in individual sachets it’s really easy to serve with no messing about measuring etc.  This is meant to contribute to healthy energy levels, reduce tiredness and fatigue, boost physical and mental performance and support a healthy immune system.  I need all of those at the moment!

The Arctic Omega-3 oil finally arrived today, from Norway via Poland for some reason!   I was beginning to think it would never get here.   I  will update in a week or so on how I’m getting on with that.  I have sent off my blood test for analysis though, so can get the results in a couple of weeks and then see if taking it daily makes any difference to my omega-3 and omega-6 ratio (see my earlier post for more information on this).

If you’re interested in the juices, drop me a message and I can give you a referral discount code.

That’s it for now, I’ll have more to update on later this week.  Thanks for reading 🙂

 

 

All Change

Yes I’m back again and things are changing.  I spent sometime in the Outer Hebrides over the summer, which allowed for a period of reflection and contemplation.  On my return I decided I fancied a change of career.  I was able to negotiate leaving, and my last day was at the end of September so I have spent the last few weeks enjoying some downtime and researching various things.

Some of you will know that I have been losing weight over the last year or so, having lost over five stone so far.  I achieved this with the Cambridge Weight Plan and have decided to become an independent consultant for their newly rebranded 1:1 Diet to help others who wish to lose weight as well as continuing my own journey.  I am waiting for my training course place and hope to be ready to go with my own clients in the New Year.  Exciting times!

I have also been looking at improving my health and vitality generally and, after speaking with a friend of mine, have just joined the Wheatgrass Juice Club started by Dr Britt Cordi, a molecular biologist.  Fresh wheatgrass juice can contribute to enhanced energy levels, reduce tiredness and fatigue, boost physical and mental performance and support a healthy immune system.

Britt’s juice is flash frozen to  retain as much of the good stuff as possible and there is a 4-week trial with a 110% refund guarantee if you don’t notice a change.  It seems like a win-win, particularly with a 50% off Black Friday deal (result!).  I started this morning, so will update on how I’m getting on.

The frozen juice shots arrived packed in dry ice which was pretty cool, with a free two-week trial of their Vitality juice included.  This has anti-oxidant properties, boosts the immune system and helps with healthy skin, nails and vision.  All good things.  It’s also delicious!

As well as wheatgrass, I’ve been looking at research into omega 3, 6  and 9 levels and the impact this has on our body and long-term health.  I eat very little fish so have always been a bit concerned about it, but have only recently had the time to spend time investigating.

Modern diets generally mean that we have a predominance of omega 6 fatty acids compared to omega 3 ones in our cells.  The recommended ratio is 5:1 but most people have a ratio between 10:1 and 20:1 due to the amount of processed foods, farmed meat/fish and vegetable oils in the Western diet.

A ratio higher than 5:1 can increase the amount of chronic inflammation in the body, which can lead to the development of joint problems, cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, kidney disease and obesity.  I definitely want to reduce my risks of developing any of these.

One company I was recommended offer a very pure omega-3 oil, sourced in Norway, blended with cold-pressed olive oil from Crete containing omega-9 fatty acids, which helps to maintain healthy blood vessels, heart health and controls blood sugar levels.  They recommend increasing the intake of both omega-3 and -9 fatty acids, along with a reduction in omega-6 ones to prevent the development of inflammation and cardiovascular disease.

They also supply tests for you to check your omega 3 and 6 levels before starting a course of supplements, and again 180 days later to see how much your levels change.  I am expecting my ratio to be pretty high, unfortunately.

I have ordered my first batch and they should arrive shortly.  The oil also comes with a sample of a vitamin K2 supplement, which is meant to assist in delaying the development of age-related osteoporosis and arterial stiffness.  I shall be bursting with energy in 2019!  Who knows, I may even have renewed vigour for the dismal dating scene. Lol.

I’ll be updating with how I get on with my new career as well as the health supplements.  If you’re interested in the wheatgrass juice or omega oils drop me a message and I can refer you on.

Thanks for reading – come back soon 🙂

 

 

 

Times they are a-changing

It’s been a while. I’m aware I start far too many of these posts with that. Thanks to those who stick with me regardless.

They say every cloud has a silver lining and that’s definitely true for me. I had a bereavement before Christmas which was, and still is, difficult. However I came into an inheritance as a direct result and that has certainly made life a little easier.

Financially I’m secure for a while, and have been able to buy another VW campervan, which is amazing. I previously had a classic 1978 one, but had to sell him in 2011 after being made redundant. I’d vowed to get another and I finally have. Hurrah!

Additionally I’ve got together with someone I’ve liked for ages. Turns out he felt the same, we were just too rubbish at telling the other. That good old social lubricant, the work leaving do, helped us on our way.

So, all in all, life’s not too bad!

Tales about the City

I raced through this book in about three evenings.  I have been a fan of Armistead Maupin for years – ever since I first discovered Tales of The City in the late 1980s and fell in love with the characters, as well as San Francisco (it’s been top of my must visit list ever since).  I’ve read every book he’s written, and so getting this when it published was a no-brainer.

He calls it a memoir, rather than an autobiography, and that’s exactly what it is.  A series of reminiscences from his life – pretty much in chronological order, but interspersed with updates as necessary.

While I knew that the early books in the TotC series were based on actual events, I hadn’t realised just how autobiographical they were.  It was fascinating to see where the inspiration for some of the characters came from, and how some of the (seemingly-far fetched) plots were based on real events and places.

I also hadn’t realised how involved Armistead was in the early days of the gay rights movement. He is very honest about his past and lifestyle, both before and after coming out.  He also mentions a fair few well known figures, including Harvey Milk and Rock Hudson, but it’s not name-dropping; they are integral in the story.  It’s a really interesting, personal document of a pivotal time for gay rights in America and also a love letter to San Francisco.

After reading some of his non-TotC fiction I had wondered if he didn’t like women very much as the majority of his straight female characters are ultimately not very likeable.  However this book answers that question; the love and respect he has for his mother, grandmother and sister (as well as other members of his “logical family”) shine through.

I loved the concept of a “logical family” as well as the terminology.  Your logical family are those people you chose to be with and feel a bond with, not necessarily those you are related to or share DNA with.  Those who are familiar with my blog will know that this resonates with me.

I recommend this book to anyone who enjoyed Tales of the City, or who is interested in recent cultural history.  It’s an easy read but will stick with you and also make you think about your own freedoms and prejudices.  Read it.  Then read Tales of the City.  I dare you not to love Mrs Madrigal.  Better still, read TotC first so you don’t get spoilt for the twists…