Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Eating to heal - My top 5 inspiring Food Sites

This year, I have been on a journey to heal my body. Part of this process has been about rethinking what I eat and the way I eat. Whilst I have happily enjoyed trying new style of food and cooking, the family has not embraced it all. We've had some hits (homemade pot noodles) and some misses (beetroot brownies). Junior Hoges still begs me to buy white bread for his lunch box. But I have found that if I plan and organise my meals and shopping lists, I can cook up some really delicious lunch box alternatives. 

One of my biggest learning journeys has been to start eliminating foods that are acidic and contribute to inflammation within the body. To my dismay, coffee is highly acidic. I love coffee and have an extremely well established relationship with my caffeine habit, sometimes having up to 3, double shot coffees a day! I know this is not good for me. I have cut back to just one a day after deciding to pay close attention to how I feel after drinking coffee. What I discovered was that I actually felt a bit crap. Deflated. Irritable. That 2nd or 3rd cup lost it's meaning, it's specialness. I now choose to have a glass of water or peppermint tea when I begin to feel that old habit tickling me.

Practising mindfulness with what we eat takes time. You have to choose to slow down and think about what you eat and how you eat it. Breaking sugar and coffee habits are challenging, especially on those hard days when you may be feeling more tired, or more pain, or more grumpy than usual. Food or drink seems to be the best way to comfort. But putting crap into your body only gives you a quick fix, when really a nourishing bowl of soup and a big glass of lemon water will go a long way to healing you physically, emotionally and spiritually. 

I have found much guidance and inspiration through various websites, blogs, naturopaths, mums and authors. Whilst I do not subscribe to any one diet or way of eating, I rather choose to eat intuitively and by what works for me and my family. I try to grow my own and source local produce (easy when you live in a beautiful country town with so much locally grown and farmed produce on your doorstep) and make my own foods from scratch. Muffins, cakes, slices, breads, stocks, broths etc. Where I can't make my own, I try to buy organic and read the ingredients for nasty additive numbers and sugar levels. It may take a little longer, but this is a much more mindful way of eating and ultimately is more enjoyable and healing for the body.

Here is my top 5 Inspiring Food Sites:

Real Food Revival

Well Nourished

Wholefood Mama

Kris Carr

Whole Food Simply

Clear your mind. Make a cup of tea, sit down with a pen and paper and visit these sites. Read, explore and make a list of recipes and ingredients and ideas that appeal to you and your family and make a plan for a more mindful approach to eating. 

I must also make a mention that I visit Jamie Oliver often too. 

Nic Nurtures

Friday, 24 April 2015

5 Easy Ways to Nurture Yourself when Living with Pain

There is nothing like a bout of chronic pain to knock you to the ground and darken your days. My recent flare up of sciatic pain from a disc bulge in my lower back has been nothing but debilitating, physically and mentally. And anyone could forgive me for feeling a bit down or being a little more sensitive and easily irritated. 

Pain sucks. It literally robs you from your ability to enjoy life. It sits there, niggling, poking it's tongue at you, jaunting and jeering as it take over, making you feel heavy, weary, drained of energy and sad about all the things it prevents you from doing. But thats only if you let it. You see, pain is actually a mind game. It is a safety mechanism that our clever bodies developed as part of our 'fight or flight' reaction to stress. 

Internally, physically, I have a disc bulge with in my lumber and sacral area. This impinges on the nerve root of the sciatic nerve, which in turn creates muscle tension throughout all the muscles in my glutes. This then sends a message to my brain which creates the pain sensation, further increasing tightness in those muscles, which creates more pressure on the sciatic nerve and sends the message to the brain creating pain. Its a bit of a cycle. On days that it feels unbearable, it gets you down emotionally. And this in turn makes everything else that little bit harder. 

It amazes me to think that their are so many people in our world who live with chronic pain, far worse than mine. People put up with and tolerate to some extent varying levels of pain and discomfort, consuming high quantities of non steroidal antiinflamatories, and possibly developing habits of comfort - eating, drinking, smoking, drugs, etc. Medicine is a wonderful thing. It can help cure diseases and relieve the symptoms of pain, but often it is merely providing a bandaid solution.

After my last visit to the GP and then Chiropractor, I was feeling pretty low as it had been suggested that surgery may be the best option for me, considering my career as a Massage Therapist. After I got over myself and the initial shock of this news, I decided that that was not going to be the case for me. There has to be a better way. I felt nothing but gratitude for my body for giving me this opportunity to grow and learn. And so I started a journey of reading books on metaphysics and Angel Cards, and learning about Flower Essences and Essential Oils. I listened to podcasts about tapping or Emotional Freedom Technique. I've always believed in the power of the mind, we can choose what we want to be true for ourselves. 

I came to realise that I felt stressed. Yes there was the stress of living with pain, but there was also an underlying stress, one that I had been living with for sometime. The stress of my running massage business whilst on maternity leave, and the fact that ever since the baby was born nearly a year ago, I'd been feeling indecisive about whether I should keep it going or try to sell it. I knew that I needed to release this stress in order to be able to remain calm in my mind to heal the physical injury in my back. 

Fortunately, an exceptional Remedial Massage Therapist came my way and was hired immediately. Her positivity and passion for manual therapies matched mine and renewed my own passion. Suddenly I became a mentor, and my decision was made to continue to growing a sustainable business. And I am now back in practice one day a week which feels great! However, my body was still harbouring the effects of the mental stress of the past year and the physical stress of my injury.

With the boys back at school on Monday, I made an effort to mediate when the baby had her morning sleep. I packed away the Easter seasonal table display and in it's place I created an intention alter with crystals, buddha, family photos, symbols of health and prosperity, abundance. I lit a candle and cleared my mind. I focused my thoughts and energy on visualising my abundant healthy happy life.

5 Easy Ways to Nurture Yourself 

1. Juicing - drink a daily juice made with fruits and vegetables that have anti inflammatory, healing properties. I've been drinking beetroot, cucumber, celery, pineapple and ginger.

2. Keep up with exercise. Even if you are feeling pain and limited movement, it is so important to keep the body moving. I have been doing specific back strengthening exercises that were prescribed for me, but also engaging in Feldenkrais. I love the philosophy of this movement therapy and the gentle nature of moving. It has helped me immensely.

3. Meditate - this is so important. Just sit comfortably in a chair or lay on the ground and breathe, deliberate, full breaths. 5 minutes of being still can change your whole day. 

4. Try Tapping - I recently listed to a live Tapping stream on Hay House Radio. I decided to join in and found that it actually started to work! So amazed I was by this, I looked up the hosts web site and found The Tapping Solution. I've been practising this daily in the shower. 

5. Water - it is important to stay hydrated, as this will help to keep your body functioning well, especially your muscles and joints. It also makes sense to me to drink water to help put out the fire or cool down the inflammation. 

These are just 5 Easy and practically FREE ways to nurture yourself when living with pain. The important thing about these nurturing ways is that it is easy to incorporate all or just a couple of these into your daily life. You will begin to experience a greater sense of calm, which, can only decrease your pain and increase your quality of life.

Nic Nurtures

Sunday, 12 April 2015

ten on ten: april

April Days
Autumn afternoons at the beach
Cool mornings at the park, nature spotting, fun playing
The days are shorter, the rain is coming.
School holidays, cubby creating...pallet up cycling.

more ten on ten here

Nic Nurtures

Friday, 10 April 2015

A return to me

It's been another long pause between posts. So much has been happening. It is a busy life being a mother of three children. My baby is one in about 6 weeks. My big boy twelve in four months. Time sure has sped up, but some days it stands still. 

My head has been a whirl since school went back in February, and I haven't felt the energy to post or write. With March coming to an end, summer fading off into the distance and term one finishing, I've begun to feel a shift, a return to me. 

It's funny how the baby fog begins to lift around that nine to ten months of age. Baby P is so much more interactive and fun exploring the world around her. She eats more than she breastfeeds and attends day care one half day a week. I've managed to get back into my massage studio and work! It is such a lovely feeling to connect with my clients again on the table. It is refreshing to remember why I massage people and to experience a renewed energy in the direction of my life and career.

My phone has been playing up recently. The battery goes flat almost every time I use social media apps. This is not such a bad thing, and I am taking it as a sign that it was time to loosen my attachment to my phone. I leave my phone on charge on the bench during the day. This has minimised my time spent checking and looking and checking and photographing all day long. I am being mindful.

A gifted new journal and set of pens has been getting a work out instead. Each day I find a moment to stop and write. It might be a list, or musing, a sketch or day dream. It doesn't matter what, just as long as I journal. I've been journalling on and off since I was about 17 and I have always found it to be so therapeutic and helpful in releasing blocks in my life. 

It has been my wish, since that first journal entry 20 years ago, to write - articles, books, websites, coaching, holistic thinking. Writing for me is intuitive and creative and something that is not necessarily planned. I find that once I put pen to paper, or fingers to keys, it just flows. 

Autumn is my favourite season, the cooler mornings, warm sunny afternoons at the beach, the changing of the leaves and the trees. I love it, it feels like a return to me. 

Nic Nurtures x