Back when I was a Police Officer, working shifts… I sometimes worked 5 days in a row for 11-12 hours each day and on the day shift, I had to be at work and ready to roll by 6am! Shiftwork is enemy of a healthy lifestyle, but I did my best to always take my own meals and snacks and this Chia Pudding was one of my staples. I only had to make one quick batch the day before my working week started and it lasted the entire shift block! It’s really very easy to make, highly portable and I even ate it once or twice in the passenger seat with sirens blazing on the way to a job! Shhhh… don’t tell anyone 😉 The best thing about this pudding is that it’s packed full of fibre, protein and good-omega-3-fats from the chia seeds… some healthy nut fats, fruit fibre and probiotics in the yoghurt… what a great (and super tasty) way to start the day!
I've been edgy and fractious for the past few days... feeling quite unlike the 'me' I've come to know (and love) these past few years, and a little bit more like the 'old me' of years gone by. Grumpy, jumpy and on-the-go... doing, doing, doing. But at the same time, wandering aimlessly, irritable and searching for something elusive and just out of reach. Do you know that feeling I'm talking about? And it hit me like a sledge hammer this morning... all is well in my world and there's nothing wrong. I know, it sounds crazy right? But if you're like me having lived a life with endless fatigue, anxiety, digestive problems, guilt and over-thinking... it is eerily disconcerting to free of it. All of it.
I've been really quiet on this blog for the past few months... and for a large part of that time, I was kind of beating up on myself for letting another weekend go by without posting. In fact, I've spent the better part of the last 2 weeks wrestling with the idea of shutting the whole thing down and taking a big nap! LOL The thing is, I love doing this... I love what I've created and I'm really proud of my achievements. But I had to ask myself if that was enough to keep going?
Even though I was never a massive fan of regular cow milk, I still loved having it in a latte or used it for cereal... so giving it up was hard and I tried all manner of things for ages... rice milk, oat milk and soy milk (disaster!). I tried commercial almond milk but never really liked the taste and found that coffee made with almond milk was often watery and thin. Then I started making my own! As with everything recipe based, I used someone else's recipe and then adapted-the-shit-out-of-it to get it to suit my taste buds and lifestyle. I've toted my own milk to all sorts of places around Australia and overseas and I always get asked about it... every time I offer the barista a taste, they fall in love with it!! And I hope you will too 🙂
I’ve been holding my breath for just over two years now… and bloody hell it feels good to let it go. You see, I’ve been pursuing and chasing and striving towards building my own business that I thought was my purpose in life, my ‘raison d’etre' and at the risk of sounding corny... my destiny. But in recent months, I finally had to face a very tough reality that while my hot pursuit of all things nutritional, healing and Hashimoto’s has consumed me for the past few years… it has not become what I hoped or dreamed it would be. And the weird thing is, I’m now okay with that.
This banana bread recipe is by far and away my most favourite and it's also the one I have played with a lot over the past 3 years (yes, I worked on this recipe for a couple of years!) to get the right texture, taste and consistency that you almost think you're eating the real deal. It freezes really well, toasts great and it's highly versatile as a basis for variations like chocolate chip, blueberry or coconut.
Do you find yourself flagging around mid-morning or late afternoon… your brain won’t work, you’re sleepy, tired and you’re feeling grumpy or cranky and just want to lie down somewhere dark and quiet? Or perhaps you tend to skip lunch (or eat later) having long gaps between meals because you’re trying to lose weight, too busy to stop and eat or you read somewhere that snacking is bad for you? Maybe you simply don’t feel hungry and thereby believe your body doesn’t need all that extra food, plus you’re gaining weight and so you're thinking that "being good between meals" will bring long term weight loss? Skipping meals or having long breaks in between aggravates the cycle of hyper-arousal, nutrient deficiencies and hormonal disruption commonly associated with Hashimoto's... mostly because it's messing up your HPA Axis and totally playing silly buggers with your blood sugar levels.
I'm very creative and great at adapting recipes to suit my tastebuds, budget and food preferences... and every now and then I actually create something myself! I don't eat lots of nuts and seeds as snacks... mainly because I eat low FODMaP foods but also because when you have a sensitive digestive tract, they can be a a little harder to digest. So I like to find creative ways to eat them for their goodness and also keep a balance on the ratio of the different types. So have a crack at these... winter spiced, crunchy nuts and a hint of coconut make these bliss balls simply delicious!
Emotional hygiene is about our psychological health and emotional wounds... in much the same way that personal hygiene is about physical health and tending to physical wounds or injuries. When we get a cut, we don’t grab a knife and stick it in the wound to give ourselves more pain, make the wound worse or prevent it from healing. We put a bandage on it or get it stitched to close the wound and keep it covered to stop infection and further damage to allow the body time and conditions to help it mend. So why do we stick the knife into our emotional wounds with guilt, worry or anxiety?
There is an incompatible truth related to healing Hashimoto's... basically you can't want to recover, long for the day when you feel better, dream about healing for good... but still want things to be the same, not change anything and not prioritise your healing. It took me a long time to realise this... and it's a pattern I see in so many of clients and the women I connect with, so let me give you an example. I've got a long term client who has done amazing and courageous things in creating change in her diet, her mindset and her daily habits... but recently she was all up in a bit of a whirly-whirl of anxiety and discontent, slipping back into some old habits and she was starting to physically feel the effects, primarily those familiar feelings of fatigue and overwhelm.
Do you climb into bed each night exhausted with a vague hope of having a clear, uninterrupted nights’ rest and the minute your head hits the pillow your brain kicks into gear and you start mulling over the days’ events… then the day before… and last week… last years’ ad infinitum? Or is your life so busy and crazy that it’s the first time in the day you actually get a moment to yourself and some space to think? Ticking off those mental to-do-lists that never seem to get done, wondering if you actually switched off the iron or just a really creepy, unsettling feeling that there is something serious in your life that you have overlooked or missed? Worrying, rumination and anxiety are things that are quite commonplace for anyone living with Hashimoto’s… I’m not sure if it’s a by-product of the disease or whether it’s just an exacerbated personality trait… but either way, for most women with Hashimoto’s, myself included we tend to overthink, overanalyse or over worry about pretty much everything. And when your brain is full of that sort of stuff, it can’t dial down enough to get the rest it needs.
I get asked a lot about my work and what I do exactly... but I also get asked a lot about Hashimoto's itself... what the big deal is about it... and why all the fuss about ensuring I manage my diet and lifestyle factors. So of course, I had to write about it! In one particularly recent conversation, one funny fellow thought Hashimoto's was some kind of Japanese Philosophy course!! LOL Well, he got the Japanese part right... 'cos Hashimoto's was discovered by a Japanese scientist, called Hakaru Hashimoto all the way back in 1912! It's officially called Hashimoto's Thyroiditis... and its an autoimmune disease that attacks the thyroid gland creating all sorts of havoc in body. It's an immune disease not a thyroid disease and therein lies the distinction.
Decision fatigue… it really is a thing... like a proper psychological phenomena. Like any kind of fatigue… it’s about when the tank is empty… but instead of a physical fatigue, decision fatigue involves mental energy which can be harder to recognise. Basically… the more choices you make (about anything from what to wear to where to live) during the day… the harder your brain must work… until it runs out of energy. Once the mental energy tank is empty, your brain looks for shortcuts in one of two contrasting ways: act with haste and carelessness (you know act first, worry about the consequences later) or the penultimate energy saver ‘do nothing’ (avoid making any type decision at all costs). For me, and I reckon for those of you with both Hashimoto’s and anxiety… the default is often ‘do nothing’… but only after we’ve agonised, ruminated or worried about the decision for days, weeks, months or years first.
I’ve been reading Sarah Wilson’s latest book recently (First we make the beast beautiful: a new story about anxiety)… and it’s poking bloody big holes into my vulnerability and making me sleepless, anxious and angsty… connected, understood and calm all at the same time. She gets it. And not only does she get it… she expresses it rather eloquently, in my humble opinion.
So, I’m reading this blog post the other day on Hypothyroid Mom… and I had a really strong reaction to it... and um, not in a good way. The hairs on the back of my neck stood up... my heart started racing... and I started talking out loud, which is never a good sign, especially when I’m alone! I was shouting at the computer and working up a sweat in my bid to climb way up high on my soapbox!! LOL It may sound funny… and yeh, my reaction was probably a little bit dramatic… but the blog post upset me, annoyed me and really really frustrated me. It upset me so much that half-way down I had to stop reading... and I’ve not yet been able to finish it either. Why? Because it was raising all those old emotions in me (ones I’ve worked really hard to let go of) and it made me a little angry because I imagined that there were thousands (okay, maybe not thousands, but it’s my story!! LOL) of women out there who reading this and getting sucked into a little phenomenon that I like to call ‘comparison-itis’.
Hashimoto Awareness Warrior after a mid-life health crisis opened the door to a creative way to heal and a wonderful career change...
A book worm, dog lover and a little bit OCD (but in a good way!). Loves travel, cooking and will do just about anything for a good cup of java!
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