The Paleo Problem (or why I’m being a #foodwanker)

We hear it all the time: you should be the hero of your own story. But most days, that’s easier said than done!

Today, take 5 minutes to imagine how you could rewrite the story of your health, starring you as the superhero. What would your hero costume be? Would you have special superpowers? Is there a way to start acting a little more like that hero right now?

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I have chosen to be a super food wanker! Pardon the crass term, but a friend of mine uses it to describe a near-secret faction of healthy-food aficionados and it appeals to me right now.

A #foodwanker puts intense effort into their food. There are clever, health-ful ingredients. There is artsy, fancy plating or presentation ideas. And there is lots of caring about what the #foodwanker is actually eating.

You see, I don’t really care about food. I haven’t for a really long time. If it on my list, I’ll eat it. But sometimes, if it just happens to be on my plate, or the kid’s plates or on a platter at an event but isn’t on my list, I’ll eat it too.

My challenge is to be more of a #foodwanker. Especially as my recent blood tests have indicated that my body is struggling to handle inflammation and insulin and I’m not super keen on being diabetic. Not even a little bit keen to be honest. Diabetes sucks.

So I am doing 30 days of paleo eating and the worry I have about feeling restricted to no dairy, no gluten, no grains, no sugar and no alcohol for a month needs a way to be alleviated or I’ll go nuts. Activated nuts.

So my super power will be to care more deeply about food than I ever have before. Beware the foodporn and ridiculous hashtags!

Of course, the flip side to Paleo and any lifestyle so heavily focussed on organic, leafy, grass-fed, patted-twice-daily, holier-than-thou produce is that you can come across looking a bit, well….. like a smug ass-hat.

I am trying super hard not to do that. Because I am not in anyway smug (or even a foodie) and have already had a laugh that I might ever be considered a #paleofoodwankermum. However, #kid2 stole most of my chia custard and liked it so I gave him one #cleaneatingkids #notoxinsformybabies #bettermumthanyou (oops, perfect example of smug ass-hat moments!)

PS – if you don’t already, come follow me on Instagram. I’m very cleverly registered there as @bellafountain

Chia and Coconut Custard topped with blueberries and Chopped Almonds

Chia and Coconut Custard topped with blueberries and Chopped Almonds

A jar full of salad - tres #foodwanker!

A jar full of salad – tres #foodwanker!

Sorry in advance,

#foodwankerBella

Sick of being Sick. Help Me!

Sick-and-tired

First up – this is not a ‘poor me’ post. I get that the various maladies I’m afflicted by at the moment are not life threatening, not devastating to my quality of life or any sort of dire zero-hour of my health. There are people who are in those situations and I’m sorry for sooking about my health when I am not.

But I am sick.

And have been sick for a few months now and it’s starting to really get me down.

I don’t know if it’s because I stopped getting sick at the same time I started looking after my diet and losing the weight three years ago and I’m unaccustomed to the erkiness and sadness of being unwell. I’ve had three years of not much more than a common cold or two that while yes, did make me miserable, buggered off in the appropriate time frame.

This year it started with a cold, that somehow became pneumonia, that was treated with a stack of antibiotics that flared up my gastritis. Then I was better for a day and got another cold that I’ve now had for two months and I had a crazy Raynaud’s Phenomenon attack for the first time and have just got my diagnosis of Raynaud’s Disease (you can read about Raynaud’s here) with my fingers but especially my toes being significantly affected. Oh, and I still have a cold. And the gastritis is making it hard for me to eat normally and I am bloated and puffy all over.

So I’m feeling:

  • out of breath
  • snuffly/snotty/coughing gunk
  • fat/bloaty
  • in pain when I eat most things
  • Oh – and at any given time, my hands and/or feet do this….
This is Raynaud's Phenomenon. Fun, huh?

This is Raynaud’s Phenomenon. Fun, huh?

So clearly, I’m pretty much a walking sick-sook.

I need to get better. I need to figure out why this year I’ve entirely lost any immune system I ever had. Traditional (Western) medicine really has nothing to help me at the moment. Their thoughts? The gastritis will eventually get better as long as I can figure out and avoid foods and medications that inflame it. A cold should go away on it’s own. As long as you don’t have/work with/get coughed on and re-infected by small children daily. Oh wait. No way Jose. The Raynaud’s Phenomenon flare-ups can’t be avoided but I should try to never get cold. Riiiight.

So I’m not sure where to go? Do I look for some Traditional Chinese Medicine? Or look into Paleo or fermentation foods for gut health?

Help me, help me Obi-Wonky-Donkey.

Bella

Decide to be lucky

I have a friend who is working through a divorce at the moment. I say ‘working through’ rather than going through. Because it is and has been, an amicable separation and now legal divorce. No yelling, no hating, no ugliness. When I heard them speak about it though, they mentioned how lucky they are to have things work out so well.

I agree and I don’t.

In many situations in life, we make choices that affect our ‘luck’. In that particular end of a marriage, there are two people who are making choices about their behaviour, their mindset and about working together. So it’s ‘lucky’ that they both feel the same way about it, but not that it’s actually coming together this way.

I often tell myself that I am so lucky to have met The Captain and to have a lovely husband and a strong marriage. But that luck in meeting him was totally steered by the fact I had no desire to hang out with guys who were less than good people. The fact was that I was purposefully aloof and would always prefer to be single than the girlfriend of some ass. Even if they weren’t an ass all the time. So when I met The Captain, and time after time he demonstrated his amazing character not just about or to me, just the way he thinks and the little glimpses into his moral compass, it was no surprise that I fell madly in love. So yes, it was luck that this meeting happened when I was so young, but not that I married someone with the same values that I have. It’s not at all perfect, but we mark thirteen years together and ten years married next week, and it is amazing.

One area where I do feel true luck is with the conception, pregnancies, birth and beyond of my lovely boys. As someone who had been less-than-healthy in my teens and early twenties, I fully expected to struggle to get pregnant, and maybe that I wouldn’t be able to have children at all. The fact that I did really is luck. I see that Michelle Bridges is ‘being slammed’ (there’s a few irked facebook comments) for saying the healthy lifestyles of herself and her partner Steve contributed to the luck of them falling pregnant at her age (she is 44). In the article (you can read it here) she repeatedly uses the word lucky. Like me, the couple had assumed that a contributing factor in their lives might hamper getting pregnant, they had even gone so far as to book IVF appointments, but with luck, fell pregnant naturally. Had they steered their luck by being uber fit and healthy? Maybe. And when you finally take the plunge to start or extend your family, the constant worry about how things will turn out sometimes make you cling to the choices you CAN make, rather than the flipping of the universe’s coin. Even now, when I think about taking the plunge one day to expand our family, I think I couldn’t possibly be this lucky again.

luck quote

Because realistically, there are people out there who do ALL THE RIGHT THINGS who struggle and even fail to be able to fall pregnant, carry babies to term or have their children born with health or developmental struggles. I was lucky as was Michelle. I truly don’t think her comments are offensive to people who are trying to fall pregnant who aren’t as fit and healthy as she is. Because it was luck. And even if it took her a year, and IVF and sixteen lab-coats, it would still have been luck.

So where I think I’m at with luck is that a lot of what we feel is luck is actually mindset. We choose so much of our future without even realising it’s in the little choices we make all the time. Stick to your goals, and beliefs and the rest really is pure, dumb luck.

Heads or Tails?
Bella

Why would you Even Meal Prep your Food?


So, my life is back to super busy, as I’m sure all of you are experiencing as well!  Whether you’re a student, working, have a family of your own (or knowing lots of you – doing all three!) life is busy and can get stressful.  Eliminate the stress and time factor of having to scrounge to find something appropriate at each lunch-time and having to cook every single night by meal prepping!  It saves you time in the kitchen and helps keep you on track with healthy eating!  You can prep and plan for just dinners, for lunch and dinner, or even all three main meals of the day and snacks too!  The amount of prep you do, depends on how much time you have to dedicate to prepping and your personal preferences.

I prep my lunches for the week, cut up my veggies for snacks, as well as all my dinners for the week.  At different times, I’ve prepped my breakfasts as well but I seem to have a bit more time in the mornings to make it now that the boys are a bit bigger.

So what exactly is meal prepping?  For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term, essentially it is planning and prepping your meals in advance for the week.  This means cooking items in bulk and eating leftovers!  For those of you who just groaned and are turned off to the thought of left overs, listen up, I used to hate left overs when I was younger, well actually up until I was at uni!  Now I rejoice in their existence and you should too!  Left overs are a wondrous time saver!

If prepping and planning can stop you eating off track and keeping you eating good wholesome and nutritious food one extra time each week – that’s a fantastic result and will certainly help you on your way to your goals faster!

And no, I’m not ‘preparing’ for anything special at the moment. Not competing, no shoots booked any time soon. This is just my life. And meal prepping is a life-hack I’ve really grown to enjoy and see the benefits of.

What do you do to keep your weeks prepped and ready to enjoy?

With hugs I prepared earlier,

Bella

Blergh. Argh. Snuffle. Cough. Ick

germs

I’m still sick.

I really sook about being unwell, which is very uncool considering –  at worst – I have a cold and maybe a chest infection. There are billions of people in the world doing it tougher than I am right now. So now I’m feeling unwell AND guilty 😦

It’s hard when you are working towards a goal and get sick though. I’m struggling to eat enough (or at all) but my weight is still sitting up on my last check-in weight. Almost a kilo up :/ Nervous about tomorrow now too.

I trained a couple of days ago and that went okay. It stole all my energy for nearly two days though and I’ve decided to hold off on my next session until I pick up a bit.

I also have the niggling fear that being sick is my body sending me warning signs. I’ve said before that my health tends to break down fairly quickly and I’m always watching for it now. The Captain, in his husbandly wisdom, doesn’t think it’s anything to be worried about. And if I can think reasonably, I agree. I’m not run-down. I’m eating a great amount of good quality food. I’m nowhere near over-trained. And I’m sleeping more (or at least going to bed much earlier) than I do when left to my own devices.

I just need this erkiness to bugger-off so I can get back to feeling okay.

But today is Sunday. And Sunday means a frozen-yoghurt date with my kids. So I’m going to wrap up warm, paint some normal looking face back on and go have some fun.

Stay warm, stay healthy,

Bella

No Check-in. But Magic Soup (18 weeks)

Nope, I haven’t skipped out on a check-in already! I’m sick.

This week I wasn’t required to formally check-in with Coach Adam so I skipped the whole kit and kaboodle. No jumping on the scales, no body-fat pinches with Kate, nothing.

Its half nice, half worrying. I was just getting back into the swing of it but I understand the rationale behind not doing a check-in while my body is all up in a hormonal flux (which is why this particular week each month is my assigned week off check-in). It makes sense.

Women’s bodies do some crazy stuff and if I was getting bent out of shape over the TWO KILOS my weight jumps up because I had to report it to my Recomp coaches or be worrying about Kate pinching my GIANT PUFFY TUMMY there’s a good chance I’d be tempted to throw in the towel for the week. Instead, I get some breathing space to know this week is more about my body doing what it does, rather than it doing what is a reflection of my actions.

And the sickness… Blergh. I am pretty sure it’s just a cold but I’m a coughing, sneezing, ball of yuck on the couch. So plenty of hot herbal tea, big bowls of veggie soups and early nights for me.

So, magic soup time!

I usually just grab one of these organic packs from the supermarket (or, if you are less snotty and brain-fogged you can save money and buy each vegie separately!)

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I finely dice the onion and soften it in the pot with some good olive oil, about 4 teaspoons of minced garlic and 1 teaspoon of minced ginger. When the onions go transparent, I’ll throw in a hefty pinch of dried chili flakes. And a decent shake of good quality Italian dried herb mix.

All the other vegies get peeled and diced and thrown in and stirred well to coat. Then I turn the heat down low, add water to fill the pot and I leave it alone.

About an hour later, I remember I was making soup. Depending on levels of ‘blergh’, sometimes I half-blitz it with a stick mixer but mostly I just ladle it into a comically large mug and eat/drink it like that.

It keeps me alive while I’m sick and I swear it’s making me better.

Hope everyone else is doing well!

With snot and hugs,
Bella

Can I ask you a question?

Yes, you can always ask me a question. Always.

The other day I had a question pop up on Facebook chat. It happens a lot. Mostly from my friends and family asking when I’m going to make time to see them, because I’m a shocker for getting caught up in my work and kids and forget the bigger world. But this day it was a facebook friend that I have’t actually met in the real world. Someone who only knows me from my online exploits both here, on Instagram and the facebook page.

Do you sometimes find it easier to talk to strangers? I do. What follows is a simple chat I had that answers questions I get asked often, so I thought I’d share. I’m not a bitch, I did get permission to post this here too 🙂

Thanks for stopping by this weekend. Feel free to connect with me either here, instagram, facebook or twitter as I’m always happy to help out wherever I can 🙂
SV

 

Friend: Hi Bella hope you are doing well. I have a question for you and hope you can help out. I have an unhealthy relationship with food and would love to just have a freaken healthy relationship with food. I am going to a coach who will help me get the body I want but why is it that every time I go on a new healthy plan I binge eat? Or I want to eat everything because once I start to eat healthy again I am 100% on that plan. Did you had an unhealthy relationship and how did you overcome it?

 

Bella: Yep, I’ve always had a pretty disastrous relationship with food! I’ve swung from starving myself as a teen to being obese, to competing and it’s ALL hard. What has worked for me is not seeing ANYTHING as absolute anymore. I do the best I can each day. As I go to bed I ask myself “What can I do better tomorrow?” and “What went well today?” Sounds lame but even if I’ve had a blow-out binge I can usually see a positive like “I ate really well until 4pm” and it’s enough to stop it being constantly negative the way I find most approaches are!

 

Friend: That sounds like a really good idea. Do you still binge today? Did you find it very hard to be healthy still after your first comp or did you lose control?

Sorry for all these questions

 

Bella: Every now and then. It’s a thing. My ‘binges’ these days aren’t really binges, it’s just things I shouldn’t really eat. But I still work at being positive about my food and mindset. And yes, I found it REALLY hard after competing. Questions are fine – happy to help out. I should blog this conversation as I think LOTS of people would love to ask me!

 

Friend: What or who motivate you after comp to not go back to “old you” binge eat and eat and eat and eat? I am so scared once I reach comp body that after comp I will F it up again. Why do we feel like freaking binge eating? Thanks for answering my questions

 

Bella: I kind of did for a while. It’s about knowing where you are happy within yourself I guess. I don’t need to be as lean as I was on stage to be happy. I eat and train the way I do for ME to be happy. Eating crappy food all the time and feeling flubby isn’t happy for me

 

Friend: That is exactly how I feel! I am sooo much happier with skinnier and healthier me and much more self confidence but o dear do I hate being fat. This is the biggest Ive been and it is a daily struggle. I guess its still a long journey for me but I will get there. Thanks for the chat Bella I really appreciate it.

                

Bella: Any time. It a constantly evolving thing, and that’s okay! We are always changing and growing.

 

Friend: Thanks again for this chat. Not a lot of people understand the binge eating cycle so it was a good chat. I am sure I will still have heaps of questions for you in future. Hopefully one day I can help out people like you are doing now

 

Bella: Of course, happy to help out any time at all. xx

strangers