Month: April 2016

When Your Body Talks, Best To Listen

From day one we are told to eat right for good health, by our parents, our food administrators, doctors and so on. Oddly, however, it is not always clear what is right. Most recently, Dr Mark Hyman in his Eat Fat Get Thin challenges the long held belief that fat is not right and to prove his point says, in so many many words, let your body do the talking. It will tell you what’s right.

Usually not one for such fad diets, I  jumped on board and recently completed the  21-day challenge, which is actually a total body reset. Whose idea was this anyhow? Actually it was Paul’s, having read about it in The Sunday Times, his holy grail of newspapers.

Kicking and screaming he came along for the exercise, too, and I think he’s glad he did. As for me, not sure where I got the wherewithal to do it, considering the speed of life nowadays, but yahoo, I did it, and am seven pounds lighter and a couple of inches thinner, too, and much wiser about the food chain.

On the matter of the former, my father, bless, worried that I didn’t have any weight to lose. Nothing to speak of, I admitted, but I had gained a few toxins that were seriously weighing me down. The truth, however, I confessed, was that weight was the last thing that attracted me to the diet, it was the body reset that got my attention.

Having indulged in comfort foods, containing gluten, which I’m intolerant of, while spending more time than usual in the US, I had begun to feel a bit foggy again. Who can resist Sara Lee coffee cake, Pillsbury cinnamon rolls and anybody’s honey buns and… you get the picture.

Thus, the 21-day plan was just what I needed to tune up, so to speak. Like any regime that proposes a certain outcome, there were food restrictions but not what you think—no calorie counting to speak of, no starvation at all. Thank Goodness. But off the menu were most of the normal culprits: refined carbohydrates, gluten, dairy, processed food and sugar. But fat, normally, their associate, was the star of the menu, good fat that is.

Dr Hyman’s book is about eating more good fat to not only get thin but also to feel better and prevent wretched illness, including heart diseases, cancer, dementia and diabetes. Make no mistake about it, I’m not in a position to endorse EFGT, it’s far too involved for that after one short stint with the programme, but I can say this: it worked for us. Also, it blows some of the food myths out of the kitchen such as that fruit juices are as healthy as the fruit they come from and that nuts (pecan, brazils, almonds, walnuts, etc.) are fattening. Not so, on either account. Fruit juice is liquid sugar and nuts are just naturally good. But of course, if you are a nut allergen, nuts are off the menu, too.

And fortunately for me, I am not. So within a week’s time I had eaten all of my Georgia pecans—all of them. And as much avocado and olive oil as I jolly well pleased, along with vegetables galore, and reasonable portions of poultry, oily fish, and grass fed meat. The options for recipes were endless, one of the reasons the plan worked for me.

But it does come with its cons, if you will. Planning is absolutely necessary. It is not for the willy-nilly. And aside from not having any access to fresh Georgia pecans for the last two weeks of the diet, I felt like Superman without my kryptonite for longer than I thought I should have. So I had a visit with my GP and found out that all was well, but quickly ascertained that my kryptonite was likely added sugar, not just from all those coffee cakes but other processed foods, too, and was doing more damage than good. So it was just as well that I ran empty on it.  And another dislike about EFGT was taking loads of  food supplements but admittedly, this was crucial.

Would I take the EFGT challenge again? Let’s hope I don’t have to because the book is a great resource for learning more about what is really good for the body and what is not. And as the author writes, there is no better doctor than your own body—it tells you what you need to know. It is up to you to listen to it.

Right… mine is calling for a coffee break and a gluten free, fine chocolate. Off I go.


Dreaming up a Good Nightlife

I am dreamer, always have been. According to psychologists we all are. Dreaming is a natural part of our sleeping life, the mechanism the subconscious minds uses to offer feedback, resolve problems, etc… But here is the thing, the subconscious doesn’t know the difference between a dream and real life. That’s why nightmares can be chest pounding, heart racing and so on.

And that can make for a restless night. But what about if we dream well, can this make the difference in having a good night? It does, at least, for this one writer. Read more in my recent  Huffington Post blog: ‘Dreaming up a Good Nightlife’.



Queen Marks Magnificent 90th Birthday

April 21, 2016…Today the Queen of England turned 90. What an accomplishment unto itself. To be honest, I haven’t had the pleasure of knowing that many 90-year-olds. Three come to mind right away: my BFF’s great grandmother, a wonderfully poised lady; Irene Sinclair, the former beautiful Dove model, whom I only met briefly at a dinner; and my mother-in-law, who died at aged 96, giving me a good 15 years with her.

Surely there are others but these three made 90 seem as magnificent as Queen Elizabeth II does. Remarkable, isn’t she? Still working and looking absolutely radiant, imagine?

Though I haven’t met her personally, for years we teased about being her neighbour when we lived near Buckingham Palace and I will always remember that though Paul has been presented to the Queen at a work event, he gave up, perhaps his one and only opportunity to attend one of her prestigious garden parties, before we were married. Spouses only! Real love, isn’t it?

Reflecting on my 18 years in England, I must admit that living in London during the lifetime of the Queen has been historic. Let’s say I have enjoyed the fanfare of an event or two over the years, one of them the Diamond Jubilee in 2012, and looking forward to many more that kick-off today, some yesterday and before, to celebrate her stamina, her service and commitment, her life.

On that note, I am pleased to join in with millions to say Happy 90th Birthday, Queen Elizabeth II.






Ready to Work

Readiness is important in many major areas of life: ready for university, ready for marriage, ready for parenthood, and sometimes after a long absence, we need to be ready to do something vital again such as work.

For weeks now, I have not written anything comprehensible, haven’t worked. I am sure this hinges on the loss of my mother. Though I have had much to say, I haven’t had the wherewithal to say it in writing. Let’s face it. Daunted by grief, I quit working for nearly three months.

This is not to brag about it. Nor is it something that I am particularly proud of. On the contrary, I would like to pretend it hasn’t happened. But it has and all things that happen out of order, my silence as a writer, deserve an explanation.

Otherwise, such practices sneak their way into the norm, though I do understand that it is normal to grieve. And that there is no set time when we should get back to work, back to life as we knew it before loss. Of course, the latter never happens since with loss, life changes and often drastically, depending on the degree of the loss. We find ourselves taking on new roles, living in unacquainted space, etc. I know I have, but that’s another blog.

In any case, most of us have a responsibility not only to ourselves, but also to our surviving loved ones to live after loss and often to the deceased one, too.

A friend pointed out that surely my mother wouldn’t want me to quit indefinitely. Spot on! When she lost her father to a tragic accident and then her mother to an illness, my mom felt broken hearted as I do now, but was able to maintain her commitments to family, church, community and work and so on.

On this note, it is fortunate for me that I am self-employed and have a fall back—my husband. Otherwise I am almost sure I would be out of job, not to mention what else I would be out of.

But writers, artists, the likes, do have a history of long absences; dry spells and so on, since the mind is our most valuable tool. And grief, at least for me, has been mind blowing. The tricks of the trade that helped me out of the dessert in the past have been futile —stepping away from the work, running, which normally satisfies my thirst, letting the work rest and going back to it and so on.

Typing for Inspiration
How about typing for inspiration?

This time, the quagmire, whatever you want to call it, was different. As I came to terms with this, I accepted my feelings as natural to the grieving process, although they felt (and still do) rather alien, as alien as death itself, though dying is a natural part of living, I said with a brave face to a dear friend the other day.

With heartfelt remorse, she replied, no it isn’t.

Of course we’re both right. Everyone has to die; there is no way around it. It is the natural end to life, however it comes about. But death is an evasive matter, one that plunges us into the depths of grief. Nothing about it feels natural. Nothing.

Yet, here I am, to some still early days yet, returning to work. To others, I am ever so late. Due to the nature of their work and the way they process grief, they’ve been back for ages, even if their hearts still ache.

But here is the thing that we likely have in common. To some degree, we return to work, do what we need to do, when we are ready. Ultimately it was such words that provided the incentive I needed to write again, coupled with a take away from my church’s Bible in One Year subscription.

In Luke 19: 11-14, Jesus tells The Parable of the Ten Minas, in which a man of noble birth called ten of his servants and gave them a mina each before he left on a journey. When he returned, it was the one who turned the one into ten that received the highest of blessings, precisely because he made good use of his resource.

To paraphrase our vicar, Nicky Gumbel, we are not only supposed to use our money, but also all the gifts God has given us. That means the gift of writing, too.

Hence, I am ready and I hope you are too. Visit or for weekly blogs on life, on lifestyle, on London, and other relevant topics. See you next week.