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…

Month in review

January started with dating and ended with reading.  A vast improvement!  I picked three books, relatively randomly, but they all seemed to share some similar themes; aloneness, disconnection and mental health issues.

The first book I read was The Double Bind by Chris Bohjalian.  This isn’t a new book, (published in 2008) but was new to me.  I came across it when I was doing a bit of research around F Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby.   In this book the main protagonist, Laurel, grew up near East and West Egg,  the areas where Gatsby and the Buchanans live in the novel.  The book is based on the premise that the events in The Great Gatsby were true and explores what happened to Tom and Daisy (and their family) after Gatsby was killed.

Laurel is attacked while out cycling.  After this she becomes withdrawn and focuses on her photography and volunteering at a local shelter, where she meets a homeless man who she believes is the youngest child of Tom and Daisy Buchanan.  After he dies she becomes obsessed with uncovering the truth about his life.

I won’t say much more for fear of giving away the novel’s twist.  I guessed what this would be part way through, but didn’t work all of it out.  It was an interesting read, but probably not one that I will pick up again to reread.  It was the first of this author’s books I’d read and his style of writing didn’t quite gel for me.  However, if you like a thriller, or are interested in what may have happened post-Gatsby, then you might enjoy this.

The next novel was Lullaby by Leila Silmani.  She is a French author and the novel was a best seller in France.  It has now been translated into English and has had quite a lot of press coverage, mainly due to the subject matter.   The cover says  “The baby is dead.  It only took a few seconds.”  The story focuses on Myriam and her husband Paul who decide to get a nanny for their two children so Myriam can return to work as a lawyer.  They find Louise who seems perfect.  However as the reader you know that she will kill the children and it’s a matter of waiting and working out how and why this happened.

There is a lot of focus on gender and class and the story is fairly tightly plotted.  There is real sense of Parisian life and culture and how similar and different it is from ours. The end did seem quite rushed however, which was a shame.  The language was stilted in some places and I’m not sure if this was due to the translation or if this is how the original was written.  It was also unusual to read a book where none of the characters are particularly likeable.  I imagine it must be a difficult read though for parents who rely on a nanny for their children.

The last book was a debut novel from Gail Honeyman Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine.  This was my favourite of the three by a mile.  It’s about a thirty-something single woman who has clearly had a traumatic childhood and has a difficult relationship with her estranged mother.  She is a creature of habit and very literal in  her understanding of the world.  She keeps herself isolated from her colleagues, until a chance encounter changes that.   Eleanor’s observations are hilarious, and the book was a real page-turner.  It is horrific in parts but written beautifully with some well-drawn, believable characters. The denouement was quite surprising but left hope for a sequel.  I would really recommend this one to anyone.

In all three the main protagonists are women who are all slightly separate from the rest of society and struggle in different ways with accepting that.   They all have mental health issues to some degree and find it hard to connect with others, feeling a need to prove something to either themselves or other people.   While they may have had experiences I have not shared, or may not all have been particularly likeable, it was interesting to see the commonalities and also understand a different perspective on life from mine.

As always, books open doors to different lives and different viewpoints.  I’ve been back to Waterstones for more, so my dating tales are likely to be interspersed with book reviews.  You have been warned!