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’.
Ever have those days when you’re knackered and you just don’t feel like cooking? Who am I kidding… that was me, most days for about 20 years!! LOL Those ‘too tired to cook’ days were when my dinner usually consisted of cereal (and a glass of wine of course)… cheese and biscuits… or a bit of toast. Nothing nourishing, nothing particularly healthy but it did the job… often leaving me feeling hungry (and awake) during the night… and starving the next day! And to be fair, I still have those days… Not so much that I’m knackered... but as a single gal, living alone who chooses to put my health first… doing ALL the shopping, ALL the cooking and ALL the dishes ALL the time… well sometimes it’s nice not to have to! So, what’s different for me these days?
So, I launched a new series of resources this week, complete with a quiz and some free resources... premised around the secret I finally discovered which is this: think big and act small. Weird idea, right? And by ‘act small’ I don’t mean contort yourself into the smallest ‘grey woman’ that no-one will notice... I mean small, daily acts that will take you on a journey to a destination you cannot even begin to imagine from where you are now. How do I know this? Well let me tell you...
I had a birthday this week… and I’ve always loved to use the annual celebration of ‘me’ to reflect on my life, where I’ve been and where I might be going. I’m generally a self-reflective kind of gal (and if you’ve followed me for a while, you probably know that already) but there is something pretty special about reflecting on your life through the lens of certain ‘milestones’, like Christmas or anniversaries… and I’ve always found birthdays are a great lens for reflection. For me particularly, with all my world travels I love thinking about where I was, who I was with and what my life looked like that year… and whether in that moment of self-reflection I’m where I thought I’d be. I especially love clicking back through the big life changes that didn’t feel so big or easy at the time… adventure, heartbreak, new life, laughter, love, loss… the highs and lows of life that are easier to track through the rearview mirror of life and self-reflection. My most favourite type of self-reflection and contemplation in recent times is the health journey that I’ve been on… and it’s been a particularly poignant aspect for me in the past couple of years as I made such headway into healing and getting my life back.
Hashimoto's and medication is an ongoing topic of debate... not only whether to medicate, but what type to take and at what dose... and in some circles it can be controversial. I try to steer away from talking to much about medication, mainly because it's outside my scope of work and I'm not qualified to give that sort of advice... But I was asked the other day whether or not I believe in medication and I’m assuming the question came from the fact that I talk a lot about all the weird and wonderful ways we can heal ourselves and maintain good Hashimoto health naturally and the fact that I don't speak much about the medical side of it. My short answer: I believe in holistic, personalised treatment, including medication that is accurately targeted, closely monitored and prescribed collaboratively. I don’t believe in medication from the ‘you’ve got a thyroid problem, here’s thyroxine, let’s start you at 50mg and see what happens’. Let me tell you why...
When we put our leftovers, scraps and rubbish into the bin in our house, at some point, when it’s full we empty it… we take it outside and leave it for collection, never to be thought about, looked at or mulled over ever again. So how come we are willing to keep the trash inside our minds? I was talking about insomnia, anxiety and rumination kinds of stuff with a gal from my community the other day and when she told me she couldn’t sleep at night, I asked her what was keeping her awake. Stress, worries, angst, to-do lists… you know how it goes, pretty much everything and anything you’ve ever said, done or worried about it in your entire life! It sounds quite ridiculous when I write it like that, but I’ve been there… watching the clock at 2am, 3am, 4am all the while going over and over and over every failure, every worry and every conceivable-potentially-catastrophic-what-if that my alert little mind can bring to the fore at those wee wee hours of the night.
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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