Cleaned Out

Earlier this year my faithful laptop died… it was unexpectedly painful because I didn’t realise how attached I had become to it, even though it was an inanimate object. In fact I wrote a little obituary for it back in January which you can read here if you like.

The day before my computer died, I finished my list for the year which had included two computer specific tasks…
No. 56 Clean out my computer properly and…
No. 73 Tidy up my iTunes library

The truth is, while I didn’t think my computer would die… I knew it needed a good clean up, it was like someone how had been living on fatty foods and had been clogging their arteries, with so much plaque and crap floating around it was only a matter of time before my poor little computer had a computer heart attack or stroke… little did I know it would be the next day. I had planned to give it some TLC and a massive purge of data so that it could once again live a healthy and I had hoped long life… but it was not to be… perhaps it was a case of too little too late.

Anyway, it is now June and earlier this semester I finally replaced my computer… I got my new laptop at the end of March and I have been very careful about what gets transferred across and what remains on the hard drive from my old mac, which now lives on like a brain in a jar… supplying information as I need… As part of this process I have had to choose which music I take and by default cleaned out my iTunes library. The hoarder in me is secretly happy that all the information is actually just sitting right there on another drive if I change my mind and what it back, but I still feel able to tick it off the list all the same. The same with no. 56 – my computer has well and truly been cleaned out… not the way I had imagined… but off the list all the same…

As part of this whole process, I feel like my new laptop has given me a new opportunity to keep the file situation down to a minimum from the beginning. And while it may have gotten a little file crazy during uni, now that my uni semester has finished… a long and painful semester… but that’s another story… I have stopped and taken the time to do another mini clean out… just to make sure everything stays organised and not just repeated piles of things I really didn’t need to keep in the first place. I have actually found this quite cathartic and I think I will have to sit down and do it regularly so that is stays neat and tidy… but I guess still a little by default these can come off the list…

Oh and here is a selfie with me and my computer… cos everyone does that right?

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Enough is Enough

IMG_2064Recently I read an article which sums up some of my sentiments much better than I can, in fact you can read all about it here…

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-katz-md/nutrition-advice_b_3061646.html?utm_hp_ref=mostpopular

But if you can’t be bothered reading the article… let me summarise and paraphrase… Basically the article talks about how in the world we live in today everyone is considered a nutrition expert, when in fact they are not.  It highlights the fact that while many people have had success with weight loss and improving their health, this does not automatically make them a nutrition expert.  And while that may not sound like a big deal, when you think about it in the context of other industries it makes a little sense.  It is like saying because someone has looked at a house they can build one, or because someone has watched ‘Law and Order’ they are actually now a qualified lawyer… when you look at it like that, it seems pretty silly.

The thing is people do this all the time… they see an interesting picture on the internet, or hear someone who looks healthy, or who is famous recommend something that agrees with their food philosophy, or just seems legit so they think it must be true and they have to tell everyone about it… even if it’s not true.  But because the general population are not experts in nutrition they can’t actually tell you whether it is or not… which just continues the whole cycle and actually helps no one.  This is how most fad diets are born, including things which on the surface look pretty good, for example juicing, or sharing propaganda on specific nutrients which are now apparently toxic… despite the fact that there is no actual evidence to back this up.

You might think I am being a little harsh, but the reality is, poor nutritional information and dietary habits can be dangerous and it is important that people think clearly about what they believe when it comes to food as well what they are going to share when it comes to food.  But isn’t that what I am doing you might say… just pushing my own opinions on nutrition?  Well maybe I am, but I am actually a qualified expert in nutrition, and I not saying that because I want to sound good or because I want to promote myself in anyway, it is what I am employed to do.  I am a dietitian and this means that I am trained to be an expert in nutrition and all that comes with it, including the interactions between nutrition, weight and health and disease…  Often I find myself, in fact most of the time I find myself defending good nutritional advice to people who have heard or read that some obscure supplement with an ingredient in such minute amounts it is almost not there, is better… which no matter how much I explain and provide evidence in the contrary, because the reality is not exciting, like the supplement or quick fix, people don’t want to hear it.

I have deliberately chosen not to write about nutrition and/or dietetics in the past because nutrition isn’t a one size fits all thing, sure there are some general rules of thumb, but what you need can be very different from the person sitting next to you.  And while I know what is right and wrong when it comes to food, sometimes I am not the best example and as this is my personal blog I wouldn’t want people getting the wrong idea about what I think is ok to do because of what I do on here (although I try not to share my worst food habits just in case).  But I have had enough and this blog has been brewing for a little while… in fact every time I see something incorrect on facebook, which is at least second daily, I think now is the time… but I hadn’t done it… but now I feel inspired, maybe because I feel like someone is finally on the side of the dietitian… who knows.  As a result I am going to try and debunk some common food myths or fad diets as I see them.  Please don’t think I am trying to push my own agenda, I just want there to be a place for people to find if they ‘google a diet’ so that some good evidenced based advice comes up… rather than what usually happens… lots of false, unhelpful claims… It’s not going to be all the time, just every now and then because I feel like I need to be better at sharing what I know, breaking some of my own bad habits… but also helping others make sound choices rather than wishing the internet would regulate the rubbish its self, coz lets face it, its not going to happen.

The truth is having a healthy diet may not be the most glamorous diet going round, but it works, what you put in your mouth needs to be used or you will put on weight, extra weight puts you at risk of a number of diseases, as does being underweight.  And unfortunately there is no quick fix… but the good news is even small steps in the right direction help.

So if you want to make sure you are getting correct information, check where it comes from, who wrote it and what their intentions were.  Don’t be afraid to challenge claims and fads, read labels carefully and if you are stuck ask a professional… there are actually a lot of us out there… here is a good place to start if you want one…

http://daa.asn.au

Be careful and if it looks to good to be true, it probably is…

Em – your friendly Accredited Practicing Dietitian (APD)

No. 17… Camping… in Winter

I survived… that’s probably the first thing I need to say… but the second is, it actually wasn’t that bad… seriously, it turns out I am not that bad at camping. This weekend Dave and I headed north to Echuca Moama for a spot of camping… now in fairness, it wasn’t as rough as it could have been, it was really just a warm up. We stayed at a caravan park… but still in a tent and it was still very very very cold.

Generally speaking I am a bit soft… well at least that’s the way I think of my self. I am not super good at things that require co-ordination or are outside, I am not really sure why this is… it just is, but for a long time I have wished this wasn’t the case. Recently I have had lots of blogs about wanting to be better, healthier, fitter and stronger… generally a better person, because when it comes down to it, even though I know they are good for me sports are not my strong point… in fact usually they don’t go well, it’s not that I don’t enjoy it, I am just not very good… and I had putting camping in this same boat. I have actually been camping more than I realized, a few school camps, lots of years at SYG and even a previous trip with Dave and his family. But between trips I always start to panic and convince myself that it isn’t a good idea, but it turns out I was wrong. I actually enjoy it, sure it would be nicer a little warmer, but I still enjoy it. My sleeping bag is warm, my tent is generally dry and I usually get to see a part of Australia that I haven’t seen before, plus it usually means getting away from the business of everyday life and spending some quality time with Davo… which I love and as a bonus he loves too… (camping that is… not always having constant attention from me).

Prior to the trip Dave decided that he would encourage me with getting me some gear to making camping easier… earlier this year I go a new sleeping bag… which was awesome, and just last week I got some new walking/hiking shoes so that I didn’t have to wreck my nice purple runners out in the bush… and now that he knows we can do it… camp that is… the list of potential purchases is growing. One thing I will be looking into before our next trip though is how to cook on a trangia (camp cooker) properly. I think we did a pretty good job for rookies but I am sure we can do it better… Maybe even perfect our new favourite dish ‘Peachy Keeny Custard’.

Anyway, here are a few of my favourite photos from the trip… oh and some of my new favourite tradition, photos using the camera timer with the town sign.

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Oh and I got to cross number 47. ‘Lie on the ground and look at the stars off the list too… win!

No. 28 – Try Yoga or Pilates

So this year, all year, not just since the revelation of my last blog, I have been making an effort to exercise regularly… and while the last couple of weeks have been a little poor, on the whole I think I am doing pretty well.  Earlier this year I tried yoga for the first time, this was something that I had put on my list (no. 28) because I thought it was about time I gave it a go… well actually I put either yoga or Pilates on the list, and I was secretly hoping for Pilates because I thought that might have been easier, but when I had an offer to attend a yoga class, it was one I couldn’t refuse.

To be honest, one of the reasons I hadn’t attempted yoga in the past was because I was a little afraid of it, I had put it in the spiritual basket of crystals and energies, some thing I wasn’t sure if the rules I had made for myself regarding my own spirituality.  I had it tangled up, and probably fairly so in the traditional view of yoga, one which is deeply embedded in religions which are not my own.  I have learnt however that modern yoga is not this… its an adaption, there are certainly elements that still reflect this deeper connection with inner self and spirituality as other wise you would just be standing in a room pulling strange stances with a group of strangers, but it is only as deep as you allow it to be, you choose the meditation, you choose the focus of your thoughts… or lack there of and attempt to reach the peaceful state it strives for.

As I don’t often do things by halves, rather than just attempting regular run of mill yoga at the local gym, I found myself signing up for a Bikram Yoga class… that’s the yoga you do in a 40degree room with a humidity of 40%… it’s hot and sweaty and intense, it was an interesting experience, not one that I think I would run back to… I think I might need to try just regular yoga first, but I was glad I did it and it crossed it off the list… but here are 3 things I learnt at my yoga experience…

1.       If you have a cold… don’t to bikram yoga… in fact don’t do any yoga with others!  During my class there was a man in the row behind me who brought his own tissues with him… that’s not cool.  You are in a hot room with lots and lots of other people… breathing the same thick air and sharing a confined, contained space… I don’t want your germs… so please don’t come.

2.       I am too fat for yoga… My friends of course say this isn’t true… apparently I am just not that flexible yet… but I know they are just being kind… there were a number of poses which I found impossible… while my flexibility was an issue… sometimes there was just thigh or boobs in the way… there is nothing you can do about that once the yoga class has started… although hopefully all the sweating I did will have shifted that weight in the right direction, even if it is just dehydration.

3.       Bikram yoga makes you sweat in places you didn’t know you could sweat… that’s probably a little too much information I know, but it is true… at one stage we were lying on the floor (on our own towels and mats) and when I lifted my head there was a decent sized puddle left on the floor from my ear… seriously my ear… gross… bring a change of everything!

So there you go… yoga is done… maybe I will try it again… but maybe just regular normal temperature yoga where you can breathe and your other class mates will be encouraged to wear more than just the necessities for the class.

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