chats

After a chat with my mum about my vegetarian health dilemma, I have decided to continue my vegetarian lifestyle but I now have a new set of tools from my mother: she told me all the things she made me, that I have not made for myself, that helped me stay healthy while under her roof. That was the first 8 years of my vegetarian life, so she did pretty well and I managed to muck it up in just on 2 years, on my own 🙂 So I’m taking her advice to heart, and very seriously, and I’ve also upped my iron supplement intake (now at max) but I can’t up my B12, as that’s already at the maximum and any more is not healthy.

I feel better, after just a few days of this, but it’s early days of course and I have another “cycle” to get through before I celebrate any positive differences!

 

Things are moving forward (FAR TOO) quickly in the whole We’re Leaving The Country saga. Inspectors have come by, transport people have come by. We’ve signed things and set up final appointments, and now, on the (very sensible) advice of my husband, I need to pack my bags and see if I can live out of my two bags (suitcase and a large backpack) for the next few days, until they come to take all our stuff away. That way, I can see if I need anything, or if there’s anything I don’t actually use as much as I thought I would, before it’s too late to change my mind about what I am taking.

I also need to include all the dog stuff that we will have to travel with and have with us when we get there. My husband has to carry all his military gear (he’s also only taking 2 bags: a suitcase and a backpack) so I am (quite rightly) assigned the dog gear.

The closer we get to September, the scarier and more “real” it feels. It’s not a holiday (not that we’ve taken any of those recently) it’s actual MOVING. Taking our lives from one continent, over the ocean, to another continent. Taking our family – our beautiful fur children – and all our possessions – and putting them on a plane (or a ship) and off we go…

Taking my Rescue Remedy now, as things are starting to jump up and down in my mind more intensely. Giving the dogs their own Rescue Remedy (made for pets) and watching for any tummy troubles related. Of course, me being the idiot that I am sometimes, I gave them a LITTLE bit of ice cream yesterday, after our very long lunch time walk. Azzie’s tummy was fine, fine and then bleh. Gina went twice on our early morning walk, but both were good. Hoping she’s ok. Odin’s tummy was fine.

Azzie is getting used to her puppy cut, and Gina is enjoying the coolness of her trim down as well. I’m going to trim her chest and neck a bit more though – it’s still a bit long and she generates a lot of heat in there. I can feel it when I give her a scratch or put her collar on.

What else? Oh, hit another high point this morning… or low point? in my weight loss journey – getting very close to my final weight goal. So that’s cool. Will see how my journey continues when we reach Americaland.

I’m procrastinating. *sigh* I need to Get Things Done.

Still trying to sell Helga (Naartjie is already under new ownership, but the owner is away so he’s allowing us use of her until we leave – he’s awesome) so I need to put an advert up asap, as all other avenues have not panned out. I put up for sale ads everywhere I was allowed, but we only got 2 calls and one of them he said it was too much so I said call back in a month or so…

it is happening again

I’m generally a very healthy person. I love my vegetables and I love fruit and my legumes.

My blood pressure is, on last check up, around 2 months ago, 94/65 or something like that. While I normally have a very low, but HEALTHY blood pressure… I think that’s a little TOO low. My husband was also a little concerned when I told him. I don’t really have issues, normally, despite it being at that level.

I don’t avoid salt entirely, but yes I do keep it to a minimum when cooking and I always look for prepared food with a low sodium level. I hate salty food – too much salt ruins the taste of good food, in my opinion. Like food that’s too spicy/hot. My way of cooking/eating has helped my husband’s cholesterol and salt levels drop to excellently healthy levels, so that’s a bonus.

But the last few months now, I’ve been having issues. Again. The lethargy, the light-headed feeling. The weak limbs. The feeling like my body is moving faster than my brain. Or the other way around. Can’t even work that out right at this moment.

When I was sixteen, I decided I wanted to be a vegetarian (I’m an animal lover, aren’t I?) and my mother was supportive and made sure that my diet was always up to par – I never had a day of trouble, and I very rarely got sick. I went on like that until around age twenty three or twenty four (I don’t remember exactly) and then I moved out…

I tried as hard as I could to keep my diet correct, and eat the right amount of things to keep my iron levels up and my bones and muscles strong. Around age 26, working at UCT, it started really affecting my life. I was too weak to climb stairs – I had to stop every two or three to catch my breath and stop the stars from swirling around my head and the spots to clear from my eyes. I couldn’t drive very well, because my foot would start to shake on the brake pedal, and I was too weak to lift the handbrake on a hill. It was a recipe for disaster. I finally gave in and went to the doctor (I hated/hate going to the doctor) and she said that I would either have to get iron injections (the supplement form would do nothing for me at this point) or I would have to start eating meat again. I am terrified of needles. The thought of them made me feel sick and faint, and having to get them once a month just made my mind go blank and my body go cold. The doctor had to help me sit up – merely at the thought of it. That was another side effect of being anemic and mineral deficient. So I, very angrily/unhappily, chose to try eating meat again. I had to start off very slowly, as my system was by that point not used to having to digest meat, and if I overdid it I became VERY sick and pretty much ended up losing anything I ate… from both ends… (TMI, yes I know – but I’m trying to be honest here) but after a mere month or so of eating meat (mostly chicken, but some beef when I could handle it) I was back to perfect health and had all my energy and strength back. It both disappointed and astounded me. And hurt my heart a little bit. I really tried so hard.

So, almost a year ago now (I can’t believe it’s been that long, but I counted back to the post I made) I made the choice again, to try the vegetarian diet. I thought, since I was more in control of my diet, of what we could eat, that I was making food for me AND my husband (who has remained a meat eater – and that was never a problem for me) that I could keep up my diet to keep me strong and healthy.

It worked… at first. Then about 2 or 3 months ago, during “that time” (not going to go into that any more than I have to – if you don’t understand, it doesn’t matter) I started with the vertigo again. And the nausea. And each time it’s gotten worse. Today, and yesterday, it has been the worst. I feel like my brain is surrounded by cotton wool. My ear is blocked, they are both ringing and my hands keep going numb when I’m lying on my side in bed. I’m feeling incredibly weak. Slow. Tired. My head hurts almost constantly – not a headache, per say, but more a thumping of my pulse through my temples. My heart POUNDS just climbing some stairs, or going up a hill, when it never did before. I can barely run a few meters before I have to stop to catch my breath. This is not good. This is deja vu. My hands shake when I carry anything heavy and my heart thumps all the time. I have to force myself to eat, too. And that is so not normal for me. I love food.

So, I am thinking I need to make that choice again. I don’t want to, but my body is clearly trying to tell me something is wrong. I need to listen.

I’ll talk to my husband about it. He usually has something useful to say.

 

A New Year

So. 2015 huh? And still no flying cars.

Tesla’s are cool, of course – but they don’t fly…. yet.

ISIS are making a concerted effort to f**k the world up.

America slips deeper into idiocracy. (That movie is a scary warning, which unfortunately no Americans seem to take seriously)

My home, South Africa, begins to twist into “new Zimbabwe” thanks to Zuma and the ANC “gang” – with farm attacks and “reallocation of land” and load shedding and all that fun stuff. Apparently Zuma blames the “white colonials” for all the trouble they (the black people) are having now in South Africa. Yeah. Because it was so rosy before they arrived, right?

Dogs are doing well (although G is having a bad tummy morning – but I know the reason why and I have taken steps to sort her out)

Husband is still away. They extended his mission time.

So there went our Nordic dream trip. Yay army.

One good thing came of all that mess – in trying to sort out a shengen visa to travel around Europe, I discovered that because of various factors (foreigner, married to a US military member, living in Germany on orders) I can actually get a kind of residence permit, which will allow me to travel Europe without the need for a visa! Yay!

So this afternoon I’m off to see Mr Kupke at the “government house”  (not the Rathaus, he was quick to clarify) and begin the paperwork for that.

I just let Gina out on the balcony for the 10th time this morning, and 7 seconds later she was at the door, asking to come back in – I timed it. Seriously. She’s worse than a cat. I’ve had it up to my eyeballs with this in and out and in and out and in and out every 2 minutes, so she can now sit there and chill until I feel like opening the bloody door again.

UPDATE: there was a reason for her restlessness – she is quite unwell. Vomiting, bloody diarrhea. So I rushed her through to the vet. No parasites or Giardia, thankfully. But she will have to fast for today and see how she does tomorrow with a little bit of chicken or something. Danke schon, Doktor Dehn.

Been a few months now as a vegetarian and I’m doing well. No anemia, no weakness or issues. I’ve been using an app called “MyFitnessPal” which helps me count calories etc and I have been slowly and steadily losing weight. I’ve lost 10lbs now, and while I have hit a slight “rut” now, hovering around a weight, I just need to be disciplined and stick to it and I am sure I can lose some more. I’m close to my goal weight. I just need to stay on track.

We’ve had loads of snow, but I think it’s now petering off a bit. We’re heading into March (it’s Gina’s 6th birthday tomorrow!) and it’s starting to warm up. Then again, Germany (Baumholder especially) likes to keep us on our toes when it comes to the weather.

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Today is the day, and why I can’t give up cheese.

As I wait for the US to “come online” I count down the minutes until my Facebook account disappears forever.

Not discontinued, but actually gone. Deleted. All trace of me removed. I feel a bit weird, but also good. Had a strange dream last night about it – cutting a line, flying out into a grey/black world like a kite let go. I could see lights down below, but I was… free? Alone, but free. I think I had wings, but I don’t remember. I looked down, not up.

Today’s the day.

 

I tried to give up dairy too, as I am a vegetarian (lacto-ovo… sparingly) and I know what goes down in milking sheds/factories.

But then there was macaroni cheese. Linguine pasta with creamy alfredo sauce and portobello mushrooms. Chocolate milk. Ice cream. Whipped cream on apple pie. I know it’s wrong. So very wrong.

I tried soy milk.. it was ok – but tasted weird after a while. I tried almond milk – didn’t like that at all. Even tried rice milk (nearly gagged) just so I could say I had.  I’m not a vegan – I wish I had the discipline, money, time to be. But I am still a vegetarian.  Some days are harder than others (I gave up meat because my conscience/heart wouldn’t allow me to enjoy it anymore, not because I don’t like the taste) and I struggle. But I’ve seen my health/body change already in just a few months of being serious about it again.  Lost weight, lost fat, feel lighter and more energetic. I just get so _bored_ with the options available here.  That’s what makes it difficult – lack of choice and variety.

So maybe when we move back I can get into it better.

Big things ahead. We are hopeful, after such a long time.

 

Stay frosty.

Queen of Excuses

I am the queen of excuses.

Sometimes they are valid, but mostly they are just pathetic attempts to make myself feel better for being lazy/clumsy/fat/uninspired.

So yesterday, I finally kicked my own butt, and made an effort. I signed up to Livestrong Women and got the “MyPlate” app for my phone as well.

It has a calorie tracker. I set my current weight, my goal weight, my age, my sex, my height and my activity level and it told me how many calories I should try and consume a day to help me lose weight.

I thought – that looks easy! And then I started actually putting in the things I was eating and wow do those calories add up quickly! Luckily, I saw that a nice easy dog walk a few times a day helps a GREAT DEAL – so imagine how fat I would be if I didn’t have my girls to keep me active?!

So today, I am feeling much better about it all – I know I _can_ go through the day on the calories I have to consume, without feeling hungry, and as long as I keep up with the dog walking, I will manage to lose some weight. Of course, I need to get a scale to actually see if I’ve lost anything!

One of my many excuses for not running started out as a legitimate one: while at the dog park, one of the dogs (not Azzie, surprisingly!) slammed into my knees and popped my right knee back very hard. It was swollen and bruised for over 2 weeks and I could barely walk, much less run. So I gave it 4 weeks to heal. That was 6 weeks ago. So. No more excuses. I MUST RUN! If dog walking takes off anything from 97 to 170 calories, imagine what running can do?! Come on, biatch, get your fat butt in gear.

I must just ignore the guilt I feel for leaving behind two perfectly good dogs while I go off and do stuff on my own… right?

It’s hard. They do everything with me – they are with me nearly 24/7 (only times they are not is when I have to go into a shop etc, so I leave them at home – I don’t leave my dogs in the car if it’s even vaguely warm outside – and if it’s cold, I still only do it for maximum of 5 minutes) so it’s difficult to leave them behind and head out the door in my running shoes. I know it’s all me! They don’t care, as long as I come back! They were the only ones worried the one night that I went for a run late at night and got locked out of the gate I went through  and had to run an extra 4km to get home… I was gone nearly an hour… my husband had no idea, but the dogs went ballistic when I got home!

I love them so much, these two silly fluffy butts. They are just getting healthy again, after so many months (years, in Gina’s case) of being unhealthy and not quite “right” at all. They are (besides my husband) my everything in this world.

But it has to be done! I REFUSE to turn into a fatty before I’m 40! It’s no excuse! Sure I’m getting old, heading into middle age… but I know women who are twice my age and they run marathons, for goodness sake! I’m HEALTHY, got use of my legs my body my mind – I have NO  excuses left.

And the yoga, too – I need to do that more. The dogs settle after a few minutes of flopping all over me and climbing under my Downward Dog, so that’s not an excuse EITHER!

Vegetarian thing is going well – I’m settling in to my routine and menu nicely, even when tempted by other food that I loved before. I just think about where it came from, how it got there… and my mind is set. I feel healthy, despite the weight I’ve gained (and I know I have, thanks to the wobbly bits and the bits that fight me when I put on an old pair of jeans) I just need to drop the fat now, and tone the muscles that I know I have underneath!

Doing the 30 Day Ab Challenge (Livestrong Women) and I WILL FINISH IT. No giving up.

Dame Mix-a-Lot

Nothing to do with big butts, promise. Mine is being carefully kept in check by energetic walking and playing with my dogs, 3 times a day, and a run every second day. I’m also going to get back into my yoga… might have to do it in a separate room, of course, because according to Berners: if you are on the ground, you are on their turf and they pile on top of you in a big happy furry love flop. Not so nice when you’re trying to go from Downward Dog into Plank etc.

Our Dog Food Adventure unfortunately came to a painful end, after Gina developed a horribly inflamed stomach and colon and was pooping blood and had almost permanent diarrhoea for 2 days. She was so stoic and polite about it, that I don’t really know when the problem started, and only saw that something was wrong when it got that bad. I felt terrible for my poor, gentle girl. But she’s all fixed up now, after 2 weeks of various medications to soothe her stomach and colon lining, to put back the good bacteria in her tummy and some antibiotics to kill any nasties that decided to take root while she was under the weather. I switched her to “sensitive stomach” prescription diet and she is doing impressively well on it. Stomach is settled, good poops, she seems more energetic and full of vim and vigour – but that’s also because the weather is finally turning to Berner weather: icy cold, lots of rain, lots of puddles, mounds of fallen leaves under every tree! Azzie also had tummy issues with the diet I had them on – but nothing as severe. She had ups and downs and it was highly unpredictable which way her tummy would go each day. She also developed an itchy problem. So I switched her over to “sensitive skin” prescription diet and she is doing remarkably well too 🙂 Besides the occasional “dietary indiscretion” which causes some tummy woes, she is in excellent health. The itching subsides during the day, but I think there is something else she is allergic too (besides GRASS, which she LOVES to roll around in when it’s wet!) in the other food or treats that they get, so I’m in the process of elimination now to see when the itching stops – until then, she gets a Loratadine 10mg tablet every evening to help her relax enough to sleep. (Vet approved, don’t worry, and the absolute mildest dose I can give)

So unfortunately, the Dog Food Adventure is over – some dogs do very well on raw diets, some do very well on “human food” diets, but my girls just need to stick to something tried and tested. They are now very healthy, and very happy, and this makes me a happy furry mommy.

What else…. hmmm *thinks*

I’ve put all my items up in my shop again, but haven’t had any clients ordering vintage clothing so far…

I am strangely both happy and sad about that. The perfectionist in me grimaces at the idea that I will get an order and I would not get it PERFECT first time, in time, so I don’t WANT any orders! But the vintage lover and creative side of me says PLEASE! Bring it!

I tried making stuff for myself (I have a fabric stash… *hangs head*) but I just seem to lack the inclination. I did finish a nice wiggle skirt, done in black micro suede, but as usual, I did it “my way” and it came out nothing like the way it was meant to. It’s like when I make for myself, my perfectionist self wanders off to a back room and ignores me until it’s “all over” and she can come out and say “told you so!”

I do want to make some casual tops and some yoga pants, just for fun. I have some GREAT patterns. Some are not “vintage” inspired – they just looked simple and useful.

 

I was pondering trying NaNoWriMo this year. I just wish my brain could stick to one idea. I have so many “snippets” but I just can’t seem to “see” further than the scene that I initially write.

My husband is away, again. I miss him terribly. Very little contact, so it’s very quiet in the evenings for me and the girls.

I read. I watch my tv series. I watch movies.

He might be going away again, quite soon after he gets back from this one.

Not sure how I feel about that yet.

I just take it day by day. Try and fill the hours after sundown.

 

I’ve also, after much thought, decided to go back to being vegetarian. (lacto-ovo, for now, in case anyone cares about the technical stuff) after many years “break” from it.

I initially decided I wanted to be vegetarian at the age of 16. It lasted 10 years, and then due to various things, my diet was NOT up to par, and I became anaemic and under weight and very weak and had terribly low blood pressure (even more so than I normally do) and I finally saw the doctor and she said I _have_ to either fix up my vegetarian diet (which I did not see happening, due to the circumstances at the time, which I won’t go in to now) or start eating meat. I chose meat. Now I will admit that I like the taste of meat – I am a meat eater, no doubt – and that’s not why I chose to go veg last time, nor this time. I simply couldn’t handle the inner mental/emotional battle that I seem to have with myself about eating animals whenever I think about it too much.

I’m not going to evangelise to my husband and force him to come over to the “Veg Side” – we have tofu – this is not an activist thing, or a soap box thing. It’s a personal thing and has nothing to do with him. I will continue making him DELICIOUS food, with meat, and I will also make myself delicious food, without meat. Simple as that. More work, but that’s totally OK. I’ve been eating meat-less for about a week or so now, and I must admit, I feel great. I’ve lost 2 or 3 pounds (the bathroom scale is set to pounds, to help me learn the silly American way 🙂 and the stove is set to Fahrenheit) and I feel lighter. Of course it could be my imagination, the weather, and the exercise 🙂 I’ll take whatever I get, really!

 

I’ve also tried to start incorporating meditation in my day. Just 10 or 15 minutes to start. Some days I forget, or I just don’t “feel like it” – but the days I do make a plan, I feel calmer and more patient (especially with the dogs, and annoying people)

It will take time to reach a proper meditation level to feel any REAL benefits (like yoga) but I know it works, as I used to do it a lot when I was on my own. It would take the form of a silent ride, sometimes, or a walk with the dogs in the rain, with not another soul around, or a longer than usual run with music in my ears and the wind blowing me forward.

I have rediscovered Debussy (not just Claire de Lune) and the dogs and I spent an afternoon relaxing (they were snoring, happily) while we enjoyed his music.