Kai Chronicles

Eating, exploring and enjoying life


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Confessions of a food addict

It’s been 7 weeks since the end of my elimination diet (the umpteenth one!!). I ended that one with a bang when I got drunk on wine and shots with a couple friends. Boy, that hurt the next day!!

cheers

It’s always a good idea at the time

But my diet remained fairly stable and healthy. Sadly, I can no longer say that.

It all went pear-shaped when I hit the wheat: sweets, bread & pasta.

Once I had a taste of it, I was hooked again. It started off slowly with a piece of toast then went to peanut butter on an English Muffin then a week later I graduated to a tuna sandwich then pasta for dinner with the boys……you get the drift.

And I must say, physically, I don’t feel too bad. But I know if I don’t stop soon, I’ll crash.

I am already noticing the fatigue and the cravings though. I’m eating bread daily – Oh give me my daily bread NOW or someone might get hurt.

Yes, a wee bit mad.

I truly do think wheat is addictive and let’s not forget the sugar I’ve been consuming (it’s in everything). I knew I was crossing a line when I went to the local bakery (Hell on earth) and ordered a lamington (see exhibit B). I pretty much inhaled that the minute I got home (which is only 2 blocks away). It was all downhill from there.

IMG_0932

Welcome to the dark side

Now, I’m consuming wheat daily and I’m back to that attitude of ,’what’s one more day going to hurt?’

But I know I cannot stay here in food heaven – or is it hell? There seems to be no borders lately.

I read this article about how new research is linking depression to inflammation. And what is a main source of chronic inflammation? Diet.

The article states:

 

There are several problems with the modern diet. It is high in foods that provoke inflammation, such as refined flour, excess sugar, oxidized (rancid) fats, trans fats, and a wide range of chemicals and preservatives. And it is low in foods that reduce inflammation, like long-chain omega-3 fats, fermented foods, and fermentable fiber. Numerous studies have associated the Western diet with major depressive disorder. 

And I don’t want to be depressed. Nor do I want to be fat, unfit, sluggish, lazy, anxious, constipated, addicted, wheezy, snotty or sick all the time. All of the things that come to me when I eat a diet full of wheat, sugar and dairy.

So, once again, I am setting myself up for a restriction. It will start on Sept 1 when I go to Bali on a mini wellness holiday. That gives me just over a week to fill my face. Now, pass the caramel popcorn and M&Ms please.

 


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Down with the (mental) sickness

despair

When my computer crashed in 2012, I ended up in a dark place.

Here in Australia and I’m sure New Zealand, it’s hard to escape the talk about depression since media personality Charlotte Dawson committed suicide on February 22.

Charlotte was well-known for her battles with depression and had tried to kill herself after a bout with Twitter trolls in 2012. I remember some of that media coverage but I wasn’t involved or a follower of the madness.

But now that’s she’s dead, there is a big drive to shove “awareness” in everyone’s faces, like nobody ever heard of depression or suicide before.

I don’t want to be disrespectful but what pisses me off is there is only national grief and consciousness when a celebrity dies from their own doing.

And her death came less than a week after Channel 7 aired the last chapter of the made for TV movie, INXS Never Tear Us Apart.

Of course, we all know the ending of that saga.

With these 2 celebrity suicides all over the airwaves, we are reminded and encouraged to care about depressed people and better yet, be kind to ALL.

And this attention won’t last. But there will be more suicides. There have probably been 18 other suicides since Charlotte’s considering the statistics of 6 per day.

I’ve  written before about how I’ve thought of suicide myself. Several times. And when I get in a dark place, I continue to think about it. I think most of us have, even though so many would never admit to it.

I’ve been in a very low place for weeks now and I’m struggling with the physical manifestation of that: fatigue, cravings and body pains. Emotionally, I am numb.

And I know it’s easy for me to sit here and say that I’d never actually kill myself but I do know what it feels like to be that desperate to get rid of the pain.

But there’s no ridding the pain. Your pain is only passed on to the next person: your parents, your partner, child, siblings, friends, co-workers, etc.

This I know. This I have experienced and have yet to fully understand or accept the suicide death of a close friend in 2007. Yes, nearly 7 years on, I’m still shattered.

I can’t imagine when the life taker is your mother, father, sister, partner or child like it was for some people I know.

I don’t like to talk about my own depression or suicidal thoughts because of the stigma attached to it. I don’t want people thinking that every time I’m in a bad mood or hiding away that I’m depressed because chances are that has nothing to do with it. I don’t want people feeling sorry for me or worse yet, avoiding me because they think I want them to FIX everything. That just makes everything worse. Ignoring something or someone does not make it/them go away!

So what’s the solution?

Certainly not more pharmaceuticals.

I don’t know. More awareness? More talking? More sensitivity? More caring? More love for yourself and others.

Please remember that depression can affect anyone and everyone. You don’t need to have a labeled “illness” to experience it from time to time. Sometimes it just takes one small kick to send you down a deep hole. Just remember to climb out.

If you are depressed or thinking of suicide, please reach out to someone. I know it’s incredibly tough to do but do it. If you can’t talk to family or a mate, call a help line.

Australia Lifeline 13 11 14

New Zealand Lifeline 0800 543 354

Canada Suicide Prevention  1 800 784 2433

UK Samaritans 08457 90 90 90

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Seal Wisdom Help Me Now

voice

I’ve become addicted to The Voice. I have always liked the music and dance  reality shows and have watched Australian Idol and So You Think You Can Dance before with great interest. It’s not really about the singing and dancing though. It’s about the courage these people have to take the steps needed to pursue their dreams.

The Voice is a far cry from Idol. I mean, anyone can audition for Idol and get a minute of air time even if it’s an embarrassment to him/her and everyone they know. The Voice is clearly for professional artists. Or maybe they just don’t show the really shitty performances on air. I wish my shitty performances were not out there for busy editors to see.

It’s no secret that I’ve been struggling lately. Just when I thought I was out of the danger zone, 2 back-to-back rejections pushed me back into the hole I was nearly out of; this time I was at the very bottom. It was dark, dirty and I wallowed in it for  30 hours or so. I actually stayed in bed 16 of those hours. The other 14 were spent in a zombie-like state wishing I would just disappear. I considered going to the doctor for a prescription but I detest pharmaceuticals so I treated myself with a good dose of chocolate and herbal medications. It worked for  me then. I pray I don’t need that treatment again today.

I took several days off last week. School holidays are now over and I have no excuse but to harden up and get on with things.

I worked on the weekend and filed 2 stories this morning. I got nothing but requests to do things  differently from my editor. No thanks. No compliments. I also got 2 pitch rejections from him , just to put a rotten cherry on top of my morning (not the same rejections as mentioned above – so I’m 4 for 4 in as many days).

I can feel the imbalance trying to take over my mind and body again. Anger, insecurity, pity, self-loathing…..I wish Seal was my life coach. But he suffers from depression too, doesn’t he? Don’t we all at some point in our lives?

I watch The Voice for inspiration. For motivation. I wish Seal would say inspiring words to me like,

“Let yourself be great” ~Seal

or remind me that,

“Fear of failure leads to no success” ~Seal

I’ll have to say those words to myself. And I do. But I also need someone to tell me that it will all be ok in the end.

Quote if its not ok its not the end

 

It’s sooooo not ok. I guess it’s not the end. (And thanks John Lennon)

 

 


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Post holiday depression

tropical paradise

tropical paradise

I recently returned from far north Queensland where I spent 8 glorious days and nights soaking up the sun, breathing the sea air and catching up with friends and family. It was great but I found myself in a funk after it was over.

So much so, I wonder if there is yet a name for this affliction. Maybe,  PHDS (post holiday depression syndrome).

All day Sunday I felt like doing nothing. I would have been very happy to drink coffee and watch Sex and the City all day long. This would not have been very fair to Master T so I read the book instead of watching the series. And then, later in the afternoon, I decided to kill my blues the old fashioned way: booze and food.

It was a scorcher day so 2 beer on the beach was heavenly. Then  2 more at home was well, getting sloppy. I really cannot mix eating and drinking so I stopped once my leftover pasta was ready to serve. Maybe it was giving up the holiday eating that got me down.

leftover angel hair pasta with turkey bolognese....

leftover angel hair pasta with turkey bolognese….

Today marks the start of yet another restriction period. I must stop calling it as such because it’s now my daily routine and not just a “diet” phase. Back to no dairy, no wheat, no yeast, no alcohol. And just to test myself even more I’m trying to limit carbs!! For me, this means no pasta, bread or cereals. It’s nearly dinner time and I haven’t lost the plot yet so all is well. Once Dec 24 comes, it’ll be anything goes for a few days. I refuse to be restricted at Christmas!!

And even though the blues got me yesterday, they’re well and truly gone today. I’m back to routine and back to working….and blogging!! I’m embarrassed about missing 2 weeks of posts. I have no excuse but that I was living it up in the tropics.

As I ease back into my daily life, I will keep this post short and sweet. Keep watch for WWW in 2 days and I promise a holiday run-down by the end of the week!!

 

 

 


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It will all be OK

 

September 13th was RUOK day in Australia. It’s a day dedicated to asking your fellow human being, R U OK? And I totally missed it.

I missed it because I spent most of my day being NOT ok.

I spent 90% of my day being angry, sad and more angry.

Thankfully, I had some friends on Facebook to chat to that released some of the negative emotion, even if only for a short period.

The anger was born from a collection of pent-up emotions that come from living with other human beings. We’ve all been there….I’m thankful to be over it now. But some of the anger remains…

Remember my last post? As I wrote that, I had no way of knowing that a friend (JF) in New Zealand was planning his own suicide. Unfortunately, he succeeded and has now left his parents,  a wife, kids and a long string of friends to mourn him and ask why.

I skipped the first stage of grief, denial and went straight to anger (with the help of other issues of my own).

It’s been 2 days since finding out and the anger is waning. I want to be in denial (stage 1), let’s just pretend this didn’t happen. I mean I hadn’t spoken to him since Christmas 2005. What a regret to carry.

I’d known JF since April 2001, when I was a tourist to New Zealand and he worked with Mr M (hubby).

The two continued to work together and in 2003, when JF started his own business, Mr M went to work for/with him. It was a small enterprise so we became quite close with JF.

When Mr M & I  got married in March 2004, JF was an important part of our wedding day. He closed his business for half the day so we could all fly to Queenstown in his plane. He even acted as my witness at our courthouse ceremony and was our personal photographer too.

He was a loving and caring person. I had no idea he was tormented enough to take his own life.

I’m ashamed to say that I judged him over something that I did not see clearly and our relationship had been non-existent since late 2005. The last time I saw him, I was heavily pregnant and he was planning his own wedding, which I didn’t attend.

I know stage 4 (depression) is just around the corner but I know I will see through it.

I hope JF is at peace now.

Is there someone from your past that you would like to re-connect with? Do it now. Do it today. You never know when it may be their last day on earth.

RIP JKF…..you are loved.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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I’ve thought of suicide.

There’s that word: Suicide.

It makes people uncomfortable, tense, ashamed and sad; it’s a topic that very few will talk about.

World Suicide Prevention Day is September 10th and I am raising my hand to say that, yes I have thought about it in the past.

We’ve all had ups and downs in life,  times so horrible that even suicide was a seemingly viable option. But it’s really only a permanent solution to a temporary problem.

Before anyone gets carried away with this post, I’d like to assure you that I am not suicidal and I have never seriously taken the thought passed the confinements of my own mind. I am in an extremely happy place and my goal in this post is to raise awareness to the taboo subject.

I’ve actually had 2 newspaper pieces published about the subject in the past 2 weeks. I hope the pieces may bring hope to anyone who is contemplating life/ death and show that they are not alone. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in Australia. It ranks higher in some countries. This can change with love, support and understanding.

Just now,  Katchafire’s  haunting song, Hold On plays through my iTunes. The song is  about a bloke who chooses to take his own life. Here are the lyrics.

he never reach 27
he always looked unfriendly
always supported the fighting
and he never did lose until that day
that day
took the tip of that gun got his brain
he worked from Monday till Friday
hands like concrete when it’s ready
took the family dinner on Wednesday
nobody thought he’d lose
what a terrible day
I know he will be tripin on my words
I’m singing to you

Chorus
hold on
there’s a solution out there
you got to let it take you
back up and slow down
there’s no easy way of turning back
turning back
when your head is singing
there’s no easy way of turning back

he never told anybody
he was feeling unsteady
oooo
he didn’t know that we love him
nobody ever told him now it’s too late
I know he will be tripin on my words
hold on

BUY on iTunes here:

http://itunes.apple.com/au/album/say-what-youre-thinking/id262844096
I cannot listen to this kiwi band without lamenting about my dear friend, Andrew “Smitty” Smith. He loved Katchafire and we’d groove to their tunes when we lived in Queenstown.  He hung himself 5 years ago and it’s something I will never get over. Just writing this now brings a lump in my throat and tears to my eyes. Hold on…

Andy was like a little brother to Mr M and I, so when he died so suddenly and so violently at his own doing,  it felt like a piece of my soul had been damaged.

So, this post is not only for the ones thinking that suicide is an option (it’s NOT) but also for all the family and friends who have been left on this earth to figure out how such a thing could have happened.

I can’t imagine one person who has lost someone this way to not have ever had the thought of, ‘How could I have not seen that they were hurting’ or ‘Why didn’t I do something?’

Andy is not the only suicide in my circle of friends and family. When Mr M’s 24 year-old cousin killed herself in 2003, I remember well the words spoken from the funeral director or clergyman.

“There is nothing you could have done.”

I don’t believe that. Sure, I believe in fate and destiny and that everything happens for a reason but I refuse to believe that one person, thought or situation cannot change the path of another.

As humans, I think we need to let go of the super human, nothing bothers me persona. We all hurt. We are all capable of the same emotions but for some reason we think that talking about the low times will make us look weak or like we are failing at life.

When I feel like depression is grabbing hold of me, I bring myself back to the present moment and focus on what my body is feeling as a way to get myself out of my afflicted mind. I know that method may not work for everyone.

If that doesn’t work for you, CALL someone. If you don’t have someone who you can confide in, call your national help line. I will post some numbers at the end.

Mr M and I did not attend Andy’s memorial (held in New Zealand) in 2007 but we both sent pieces to be read.  Here’s what I sent.  It was written the day after receiving the news. It’s a raw and emotional piece of writing that explains everything I was feeling at the time…and still.

Smitty’s dead

Was all that he said

And my heart

Broke in two

The pain that I feel

Unfortunately real

And certain to scar

My soul

To lose you this way

Unthinkable to say

And utter sorrow

Consumes me

I’ll think of the laughter

Forever after

And remember you

As a friend

Life must go on

Though you are gone

And miss you…….

I will

 Remember the saying, “This too shall pass,” and talk about life with your friends, family and/or supportive community groups. There are many people feeling the same way at this moment. Please speak out…..to anyone who will listen.

Lifeline Australia 13 11 14

Lifeline New Zealand 0800 543 354

Northern Ireland 0800 808 8000

Lifeline USA 1 800 273 TALK (8255)

Suicide Hotline Canada 1 800 448 1833

Hopeline UK  0800 068 41 41

What suicide leaves behind

Less than 2 years ago, a young Australian mother of 2 watched her husband take his own life.  Lori is now an ambassador for suicide prevention and urges  men (especially) to speak out before another mother has to raise her kids without a father. Her blog is called Random ramblings of a stay-at-home-Mum. Have a read.

We’re all humans. We all have to deal with that negative talk that’s in our head. It’s not what’s real. If you need help, please ask someone: a friend, family member, teacher, pastor, counselor, doctor…anyone who will listen. Hold on….


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The World’s Most Popular Drug

Did you have a coffee or tea this morning?

Caffeine laced drinks and products are consumed by millions the world over. Does that make us all drug users…..and possibly abusers?

The truth is: Caffeine is a drug.

Caffeine is a natural stimulant found in coffee, tea, cola and cocoa beans. This, of course, does not mean caffeine is limited to these products. There are countless other soft drinks, lollies, ice creams, energy drinks, chewing gum, supplements and medications on the market today that are enhanced with caffeine.

Many people consume hundreds of milligrams worth of caffeine per day and would never guess they may be dependant on or addicted to a stimulant.

What happens when you stop –  cold turkey?

There is a very high chance of experiencing withdrawal symptoms such as: headache, nausea; feeling light-headed, tired, moody, depressed and irritable. These symptoms may continue for 2-8 days so it is easy to reason why so many people just continue with their daily caffeine fix.

How much caffeine are we talking about?

  •  250ml cup of instant coffee (1tsp)  = 60-80mg
  • 1 oz espresso = 90mg
  •  250ml cup of black tea = 40-60mg
  • 250ml cup of green tea  = 25-40mg
  •  375ml can of Coke = 50mg
  • 100g chocolate bar = 20mg

It is hard to pin point the safe levels of caffeine without doing a scientific experiment first-hand. It all depends on who you ask.

Food Standards Australia New Zealand say:

“There is currently no recognised health-based guidance value, such as an Acceptable Daily Intake, for caffeine. However, a FSANZ Expert Working Group analysed the available literature in 2000 and concluded that there was evidence of increased anxiety levels in children at doses of about 3 mg of caffeine per kilogram of bodyweight per day. The anxiety level for children aged 5-12 equates to a caffeine dose of 95 mg per day (approximately two cans of cola) and about 210 mg per day (approximately three cups of instant coffee) for adults.”

Is there any reason to stop?

According to the Havard Health Publications, caffeine is not only safe, but may also have some benefits.

“Studies show that the risk for type 2 diabetes is lower among regular coffee drinkers than among those who don’t drink it. Also, coffee may reduce the risk of developing gallstones, discourage the development of colon cancer, improve cognitive function, reduce the risk of liver damage in people at high risk for liver disease, and reduce the risk of Parkinson’s disease.”

There are some health conditions that will not benefit caffeine intake: like candida. Caffeine can feed candida and would aggravate excess candida symptoms that may: abdominal pain, thrush, depression, urinary infections, rashes, acne, white coated tongue and food cravings.

Some people may not tolerate caffeine very well and experience over-dose like feelings such as: restlessness, nervousness, excitement, insomnia and gastrointestinal issues.

Although there is no proven evidence that says caffeine is harmful to an unborn fetus, it is widely known and accepted that caffeine should be limited to (the equivalent of)  one or two cups of coffee per day.

I personally have “gone off” caffeine several times. Each time I endured 2-3 days of physical pain in the form of severe headaches and nausea.

I am currently off caffeinated coffee but have been having small doses of caffeine in decaf coffee and chocolate, occasionally. I do not drink green or black tea at all.

Yesterday I was unwittingly served a caffeinated coffee  and was not aware of this until 1-2 hours later. I  noticed that I was jittery and scatter-brained and couldn’t figure out why. When I was told of the coffee mix-up, I rationalised my confused state to the excess caffeine.

There’s no denying it: Coffee and caffeine products are big business and keep getting bigger. It does make me wonder though….

Do we need to be stimulated all the time? And are we just trading off one drug for another?

Cigarettes are no longer in fashion and are now a known health hazard but coffee, tea, cola and energy drinks are very sociable, acceptable and consumption is on the rise……for the moment.