Fitbit!

As I’m writing this blog I’m drinking my  pint of water with lemon juice and honey to stay hydrated as I just did 5000 steps this morning. Why am I describing my walk by steps, you might ask yourself.  Well, Christmas 2016, my hubby and  I got a present of a Fitbit wristband from our son by post as he didn’t return home for the Christmas holidays.  However,  our daughter was here with us and we all chatted and opened presents together through this magic technology called “Skype”.  This form of communication has made the world very accessible to us all, I give gratitude to all those people who gave up their precious time to study technology, engineering, physic etc so I can have these magic moments with family throughout their lives, wherever they are in the world. It doesn’t replace someone in your presence but it helped make my day happier seeing and chatting together on this special family occasion.  That is  life’s cycle for you, giving your children roots and then  wings to live their lives and to understand perhaps what it’s all about!

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Odd present for us, no, or yes!  Well, after we lost our little Solly we began to set goals for ourselves as we enter another chapter of our lives.  We have decided to try to walk part of the Camino Frances later this year, just for a week only . However, a lot of younger people, especially students attempt to walk the whole trek over a number of weeks and months as there are many routes to take on this ancient pilgrimage  in Spain. The route we’re are going to try starts in the French Pyrenees at  St Jean Pied de Port and goes to Santiago in Spain.  It’s a big challenge for me due to my health but this little band on my wrist has given me an incentive to get out there walking.  Unfortunately, my hubby and I fell victim to a bad head cold/flu in January, It took about three weeks for us to recover fully however, during this time I was very aware I wasn’t doing these steps, I can’t believe this wristband has such an impact on me.

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I started off very slowly but now I have registered 5000 steps per day on the Fitbit.  Initially, when I started this walking routine I was exhausted, totally on the floor.  However, after a few days of not feeling the best, I began to drink Kvass and within a half an hour it restored my energy.  So, now I try to drink a  quarter to half pint of Kvass, whatever I have at hand, it ‘s my energy elixir after my  5000 steps.  It’s hard to get beetroot at the moment as it’s not in season and if I don’t have it I struggle throughout the day..  You might ask, what is Kvass?  Its fermented beetroot  and if you have fatty liver disease like me it’s great for the liver and kidneys.  But I didn’t realise it would have such an impact on me. However, after researching its nutrient profile I was amazed that this vegetable is highly nutrient.  It contains folate, manganese, potassium, copper, magnesium, phosphorous, fibre, iron vitamin C and B6. I have included website address below if you wish to further research this inexpensive vegetable nutrient profile.  

At the moment I ‘m doing two consecutive days of  5000 steps, not bad for me, and may I continue to increase my steps and drink plenty of lemon water and Kvass to remain hydrated and help my liver recover !  Also, this Fitbit wristband helps me to get out into the open air to enjoy the magic of nature and help me obtain optimal health in the next couple of years!

I ‘m a bit late with this, here’s to a great 2017.

http://www.caminoadventures.com/camino-frances/

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=49#nutritionalprofile

http://jap.physiology.org/content/115/3/311

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4425174/

Solas, off on another adventure!

Today, our little sweetheart Solas is no longer sitting beside me keeping me company while I write this blog, I miss her so much, like everyone in  my family.  During the last twelve weeks of her life things were slowly getting harder for her. Her tumor had grown to the size of a small melon and in her final week, blood began to ooze out of it.   Here in Ireland, we had an unusually warm summer , which made it more difficult for our little dog to have a good night sleep, she became so restless. My hubby,daughter and I had many sleepless nights with her pacing the floors, finding it difficult to stay still. But she never whimpered or groaned, never showed her pain.  She just wanted to be around us for as long as she could hold out, she was an extraordinary spirit. I personally believe , she belonged to our family’s spiritual tree and she came into our lives  to help us all, in particularly my daughter, and to teach us unconditional love and embrace all the gifts life keeps sending our way. No words can express how blessed we were to have her in our lives but so sad that she was only with us for a short time..

That fateful day came on Saturday morning at 10 10am on the 10th of September 2016 in her favorite veterinary clinic in Clontarf. She loved going there, which is unusual to say, but she did,  as she knew they always made her feel better.  I believe she had subconsciously picked out her place for passing away from this world into her next life’s adventure without any pain.  I have experienced this before with my own parents, my father had subconsciously chosen my hubby to find him that awful morning on 14th July 2001 and my mother had also chosen her final week as all her girls spent time with her before her passing away on 10 Feb 2002.

We think we are all in control of our lives but deep down I don’t think we are, we all have a purpose here, just like our Solly.  I know Solly you wouldn’t want me to be sad, it just wasn’t her, she embraced everything with so much curiosity and passion. If there was something different in the park or street during her many walks , she‘d go over to the object and check it out.  She had an amazing skill of sniffing out tennis balls or sliotars hidden deep in bushes, where the local children had hit or kicked them off their targets. Over the years we have collected many boxes of balls, mostly tennis balls.  Solly was so proud when she found one and carried it back from her walk to our home, it gave her a great sense of pride and happiness. Another beautiful aspect was her appreciation when you gave her a fresh bowl of water, before drinking it she would stare at you with her beautiful sparkling eyes as if to say “Thanks”. She had a profound love for the water, and any opportunity to swim she would stay in there all day, she went crazy but in a good way.

Solly, appreciated all the small things you did for her, Buzz, my daughter gave her a regular grooming, she loved all the attention and knew that  “mama” Buzz would always make the right decision for her .  My daughter was so strong on Solly’s last day and throughout her life, she had the terrible task of signing the euthanasia form. Solly’s tumor had erupted and there was no other way to go, she was in so much pain and its was time for us to say goodbye.  It came to me as a shock because I was always hoping she’d beat this disease, cancer, perhaps I was naive. Casper my son, unfortunately was not there during her passing, as he now lives in New Zealand, but he too had a profound love for little Solly, even though he is allergic to cat/dog hair. My son rang us to tell us that  he had felt her beside him in his bed the following night, my hubby had this experience, after the loss of our other dog, Phoebe.  I can’t rationally explain this, but maybe we are not supposed to understand this but to be aware that all our family angels, whether human or animal are watching over us, helping us through the good and difficult times in our lives!

.Finally , as you can see, Solly to us was an exceptional spiritual dog , she was a gift from the unknown.  So, Solly I’d like to thank you from the bottom of my broken heart and I’m eternally grateful for you coming into our lives  and I know you have  profoundly changed  every family member forever. Can I just say, please keep an open heart for our animal friends as I believe we are all here on this planet to help each other, to live in harmony and give each other unconditional love, with no judgement.

Our Solly on youtube:

 

Kefir and me!

Authentic Food is my Medicine !Kefir is a fermented milk using “Kefir Grains” (looks a little like cauliflower flowerettes) with cow or goat’s milk, originating from the area around the Caucasus Mountains.  These grains are a living organism full with lactic acid bacteria and yeast.  The grains feed on the sugars in the milk, creating this bacteria that helps digest the lactose. Over time the grains grow, especially in summertime when temperatures are higher than the rest of the year.  I have notice by making Kefir milk/yogurt every day I have increased my daily calcium intake. Personally, I think this simple routine of making Kefir has increased my drive to improve my overall health.   For years, I had aching pains in my left hip and sometimes at the end of my spine. Many  years ago, I was diagnosed with Osteopenia, (part of my autoimmune disease) and have been taken 2 calcium tablets a day since then to relieve the pain. If I miss taking them for more than one day I could feel a dull pain coming back again. Now as I look back , I feel my body was crying out for  authentic food, but  I just kept ignoring  what my own body was telling me, always too busy to put my health first.  So, if there is anyone out there in a similar or worse situation, please , listen to what your body is telling you, your health is your wealth (this was one of my father’s quotes). Doctors prescribe medication where many have a limited knowledge on beneficial food nutrients.  If you can read this blog, then you have the key  to achieve optimal health and take control of your health. So why not start today,  take a baby step by introducing something healthy into your diet.  🙂

In the last couple of years I was  getting a slight pain in my right hip and my left knee was locking when I went walking.  This pain was the catalyst that inspired me to take control of my own health. I felt if I didn’t grasp this moment now I’d be in a terrible way in a few years, it’s never too late to change. So this slow process begins, through reading books, articles on foods, their nutrient values and watching interesting YouTube videos. It can increase your knowledge in  understanding how important authentic food is to the body.  As I was doing that I came across many articles about fermented foods and the impact they can have on the body.  So this little Kefir grain by way of the internet, has introduced me to fermented foods and between making Kefir milk, Kefir yogurt , eating soft cheeses and taking 2 calcichew  d3 tablets every day, my bones feel much stronger than ever before. May my family, friends and myself be always blessed and surrounded by veritable organic foods , especially these little grains and authentic milk.  Now to simple steps and photos in making this special elixir , well for me anyway.

Kefir:

Buy your Kefir grains on the internet (kefir.ie) or perhaps you may be lucky enough to receive a present of them from a kind person or a friend.:)

Step one:

Place grain/grains into a clean glass jar and pour in your milk of choice .  If you have just one or two grains just put around a quarter cup of milk and as they grow add more milk.  I usually gauge it to one tablespoon of grains to one cup of milk.. ( When it increases in size, I put what I don’t want into refrigerator, placing it in a glass jar with  milk and  the lid on. You can also feed it to your plants in the yard , garden or a plant pot, especially in the warmer weather,  it’s great for roses and even the bird’s love it:)

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Step two: (first fermentation)

Cover the jar with a tea towel and place it in a dark area, like your cupboard. Leave it there overnight.

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Step three:

Next day , strain milk into your jug with a plastic sieve. Now, you have your Kefir milk.

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Step four: ( second fermentation)

Pour strained milk into another glass jar with lid on and let it stand for another eight hours or longer on your counter. I leave it overnight  on the counter and in the morning I have a slightly thicker milk.. (Kefir yogurt)

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Step five :

Repeat all the above steps by placing the grains again into a clean glass jar with your choice of milk. Cover with a clean tea cloth and then place it into your cupboard. Simple or what!

Finally, every morning I make a smoothie with the Kefir yogurt ,adding a banana or apple or berries and  honey or maple syrup into a blender , as it has a tart taste and I find it hard to drink without the fruit etc.

Notes : – Use a clean glass jar to store the grains. – While taking out the grains from the plastic strainer always use a wooden spoon. – Never let heat touch your grains as it will destroy them.

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Why not give it a try !

Authentic Food is my Medicine !

Oh I do wish I was beside the seaside, especially in Lahinch, Co Clare, as I have just returned from there, having a great time with family and our little sweetheart pet, Solas.  This is a magnificent area, strolling along those wonderful sandy beaches where the water is soooo clean, and the smell of the Atlantic is sooo profoundly naturally healthy !  It’s renowned for surfing, when the waves are good you just see these black heads bobbing up and down on the horizon, at first I thought they were dolphins, perhaps I should go to Specsavers !

On one of our days there, we visited Doolin, which is about 15 kilometers from Lahinch.  It’s a very picturesque hamlet known for many a good traditional musical night,  you can also take a ferry to the aran islands from this little hamlet’s inlet.  Well, let me move on with my story, we parked our car in a public car park across from the ferry.  I remained in the car , as my hubby brought Solly down to the sea. Why you may ask yourself, miss an opportunity like that  ?  Well, I had an  Irish breakfast and  my body felt so heavy and energyless after it. This breakfast includes sausages, rashers, tomatoes, white/black pudding and not forgetting the fried egg.  However,  to the rescue I took out my bottle of Kombucha  (fermented tea drink) and had a glass of it.  Just sipping it slowly I began to feel much better.  My energy and my old self was coming back again on this wonderful planet. I just couldn’t believe the impact it had on me,  As I’m only making this elixir since March.

So, now  I was well enough to  join the others as we crossed over granite slabs with many crevices between them, navigating my way around the Burren “jigsaw”,  taking in the beauty of the wild fauna.  I was amazed at my recovery level, this never happened to me before.  When I usually go away on holidays, away from my daily routine, I struggle to feel good as I indulge in the local cuisine especially the desserts.  However, this time I took my Kefir grains/ milk/ yogurt with me as we stayed on our little green Ireland. So, I have come to the conclusion that without these fermented drinks I wouldn’t have enjoy my holidays as much as I did. I started to take Kefir milk and yogurt around Feb 16, so it’s not very long. I’m convinced it’s helping me fight viruses for the first time in a very long time, positive times ahead 🙂

There are many blogs about this wonderful elixir on wordpress and other social media outlets. However, for people who don’t know about these magical grains, well for me anyway, my  next blog  I’ll talk  about why I’d need this amazing drink and I’ll show you a few simple steps and images to make your own Kefir milk.  Eat  well!

Free Gaff!

Chickens leave the nest!

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  • Chicks return quite often these days, thank God,  even stay with you until they have a deposit for their own nest.

 

  • They are never too far away, not like in the olden days, when they left they were gone. Today you can click on your computer to speak and see them or with a simple whatsapp text  you’ll feel they are just down the road.

 

  • Letting them go is a must, it’s sad but with time you will enjoy your new life and never look back.  It’s a time for individual growing, new challenges ahead and fulfilling dreams and goals.

 

  • Rebuilding relationships with hubby/partner, for single parents find love, why not !  Love has no ageism !  You’re free from the extra expense, perhaps now you’ll have a few pennies left in your pocket to indulge yourself.

 

  • Catch up on latest trends in music, films, however, no reality shows!

 

  • Be creative, invent something really relevant for the good of mankind.  Leave a mark of your journey on this planet, to your loved one’s, or your community, inspiring other to follow and carry the torch.  Well there’s a challenge !

Empty Nest Syndrome heading for me !

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Just had a magnificent time with my family last week, it was very special because my adult children came home, my daughter Buzz from London, and Casper, my son from New Zealand.  Buzz comes home regularly, however, Casper hasn’t been home for a year and half.  They are both extremely happy where they live, London offers so much diversity, it’s exciting and no match for our little old town, Dublin.  New Zealand is quite the opposite, so laid back attitude and much safer to stroll down the streets of Wellington late at night without feeling intimidated, which you might feel in certain parts of Dublin, well according to my son.

Now my daughter is gone back and my son is gone away for a few days but he’ll be back for another little while. I reflect on how these visits will become less as they become more settled in their lives and how my husband and myself will have to etch out a new path on our journey.  At the moment, we are carers for my daughter’s dog Solas, who has cancer in her liver.  She is doing well at the moment, we take one day at a time and enjoy her energy and her love for life.  She has so much strength, you’d think there was nothing wrong with her, she knows only to live for today.

When I was young I was ambitious with many  plans,  but looking back now they were mostly about success, job and money.  I could not have imagined how my life would pan out. All plans go out the door with everyday living especially with your soul mate by your side. It has been amazing living in the moment with him and my children. Yes,we have all made mistakes along the way but my two beautiful children were not one of them.  Through making mistakes we all learn and without them my life would have been very boring and “safe”.  So, perhaps I’ll take on the next chapter in my life on a day to day basis, enjoying the ups and downs. And  creating a healthier lifestyle for my husband, myself and Solas! Now,my nest doesn’t feel so empty after all.

Sunflowers for optimal health!

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I don’t know about you, but I have all these so called great ideas in my head regarding my next adventure with food.  On a number of occasions I have purchased products to make something and I usually end up throwing out the item because it’s well out of date, I’m sure it happens to others, it’s annoying/ wasteful to say the least!  

Well, after having our evening meal my husband and I like to have a cuppa and a biscuit, sounds real boring, it’s not when you have a nice fire roaring, rain bucketing down outside  and looking at a good movie , relaxing with the person you most admire in your life.  At this time, I have a cup of sage tea as it controls my hot flushes. I don’t know of anyone else that takes it but it does the trick for me.  My husband has a sweet tooth and I’m the opposite, I love my solid “real” foods but sometimes I concur  with his love of these tantalizing biscuits, chocolates sausages and chips etc.  However, I pay the price for my weaknesses, they profoundly affect my  sleep pattern. The next day, I invariably wake up with a headache and my whole system seem out of sync. It takes me one or two days to feel myself again.

So quite recently while looking in the food cupboard I spotted a bag of sunflower seeds, yes, why not, I’ll try to make sunflower butter from them so I can have it on crackers with my cuppa instead of these tantalizing biscuits.  These seeds are full of micro-nutrients  such as Vitamin E, copper, B Vitamins like thiamine, phosphorus, selenium and also provide you with fatty acid in the form of Linoleic acid, which I’m apparently lacking as I have under-active thyroid.,  I have been taking Eltroxin for this condition on a daily basis for a number of years and I was told I’ll be on it for life! But maybe not, as the micro-nutrient selenium supports the thyroid, who really knows?, there is always hope!

 

Now to the recipe!!!!

 

Step one :

 

Put 200g of sunflower seeds into a grinder, (all of this packet) and grind for five to ten minutes depending on the speed of your machine.

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From Lidl

 

 

Step two:

Two to three tablespoons of pure olive oil as I want a smooth texture.  Next time making it  I’ll blend the seeds longer, perhaps then I won’t need so much oil.

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Next time, less!

 

Step three:

Add two teaspoons of honey, it adds to the taste.

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Today’s choice

 

Step four:

Add half a teaspoon of cacao powder to improve colour, ( optional).

 

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Love chocolate !

Step five:

Add a teaspoon of sea salt, according to taste.

 

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Sea salt, d best.

 

 

Et Voila ! Put it into a plastic/glass container, leave to cool down, then cover it and finally into the refrigerator.

 

 

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Appearance!

 

 

Finally, success!, as I have it with crackers instead of indulging in those tantalising biscuits. It’s a great way to get these kind of seeds into your diet as it can be difficult to include them in your daily routine. Just nearly finished it and I’ll be making more of it soon..  Later on I’ll let you know if I change anything in this recipe.  Not too happy with the colour maybe someone out there might be able to help me out with its appearance.

 

 The proof is in the eating !

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Delicious !!!!

 

Would love to hear your comments and suggestions.