Today, I attended the funeral of yet another one of my neighbors growing up. I grew up in the house right next door to this lady. She was the mum to 7 kids, which we all knew so well. There were 6 of us kids growing up so between the 2 houses, there were 13 kids running around. Unimaginable by today’s norms.
This was typical of Ireland in the 1970’s and 80’s. We had very little in the way of material possessions but we were rich in the ways that mattered – community, friendship, fun, play, family, love and connection. In fact, the very things that we, as a society today in 2021 are lacking more and more. I’m thinking about the inverse correlation between wealth and the accumulation of material possessions (houses, cars, clothes, stuff to fill your house with) and to what degree community, fun, family, love and friendship play in our modern lives – are these inversely correlated as one goes up, the other goes down? I starting to digress here so let’s get back this post….
It was December 28th 2020 on a cold, wet and wintry afternoon trip to Ikea to pick up some much-anticipated online purchases. Delivery was not an option on this occasion and after spending much of Christmas house bound with restricted movements under the latest Covid-19 restrictions, I was glad of the excuse to collect some new furniture. Long queues and physical distancing were maintained outside but once inside, the usual Ikea busyness took over and it was not uncommon to bounce off people as you wandered nosily from room to room letting your imagination run wild. Interesting to note how easy it was to spot a few people that chose to not wear a mask indoors, as they now stood out from the crowd. It was an enjoyable day and the retail therapy worked, I felt good.
Losing life remains the ultimate cost in this pandemic. Yes there will be untold economic damage, stress, financial burden on business owners and the banks, in the end, will again be deemed too big to fail and be bailed out by taxpayers along the way. The ultimate price we pay is with our lives and unfortunately more and more people are passing away as the health service struggles to cope with the number of admissions, ICU care beds and containment of Covid-19 in the wards.
There is one button that I think could well be the most important button on the internet for me.
I have ignored this button for quite some time now, since before Christmas and I am not entirely sure why. Writing regularly is part of what keeps me well, part of what I call “building my base” – a toolkit of sorts for keeping my life on a good path. These are the things I do on a daily or near daily basis that bring me joy, purpose, meaning, connection and fulfillment. Other base building activities include meditation, reading, exercise, eating well and learning.
It seems that Ireland are once again returning to the most restrictive lockdown-esque measures in an attempt to curb the rise and rise of Covid ahead of the run into Christmas 2020.
It’s most likely a strategic attempt to save Christmas and make sure that we are all out spending our Covid savings on stuff we don’t need in 9 weeks time. I get a feeling that saving actual lives is running 2nd place to saving the economy right now and in a way I can understand that.
When I started out on my alcohol free challenge in June 2019, I had quietly hoped to achieve 90 days without drinking alcohol. That was a mountain to me from where I was.
I live in Ireland, a country where alcohol consumption is so deeply ingrained in the history and the culture that to not drink is social suicide. If I was 20 years old now, I’m not sure I would have the experience, maturity or courage to row against the very strong tide of drinking pressure that remains alive and well in this country.
Breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper. It’s a funny old saying but the wisdom within remains as valid today. Break the fast like a king with this simple, wholesome bowl of nourishment.
Halloumi is one of those overlooked food products that is having a bit of a revival right now in the food world. Mainly due to it’s ability to be barbequed or grilled, it has become popular as an easy vegetarian option. It also tastes great. It is generally a mix of cow, goat and sheep’s milk (although the exact blend here can vary by product) which results in a hard cheese that can be eaten hot or cold. It is verrry tasty.
Smoothies are a favorite delivery mechanism of mine. When you see the health ads promoting eating 5 fruits and vegetables per day this can be tricky for some to achieve. Not when you are a smoothie making machine, you can achieve this target in one blend. Often in a day that starts with a smoothie I can take in anywhere between 10 to 20 different fruits and vegetables. It makes it way easier to up your intake so at least you can get to the starting line of ensuring good health – you’re eating the right stuff!
I am in the middle of writing my 1st ever book. It will be a cookbook compiling and curating all my favourite recipes into one place. As I am embarking on my final year (4 of 4!) in Nutritional Therapy in a few short weeks time, I routinely provide meal ideas to my clients to help them make better choices around food and improvements in personal performance.
I am, like many of you, a busy parent, husband, employee, friend, colleague and son – so many hats! I like simple recipes that call for a handful of well chosen ingredients, which when carefully combined can get nourishing wholefoods onto the table with minimal fuss so everyone can fill up and be happy.
I personally road test each and every recipe and tweak it for my own personal twist where possible.
I hope everyone is doing ok out there in the world where Covid-19 still rages wildly. Here in Ireland, we are seeing cases rise now each day and have begun to reintroduce restrictions into society to try and suppress the virus once again.
It is an unbelievable time of uncertainty and for alot of people this brings new levels of heightened anxiety. I feel it too. What happens if this happens, what happens if that happens….it’s an endless spiral that does you no good.
Hypercholesterolaemia is a condition characterised by an excess of cholesterol in the blood. An alternative term is dyslipidaemia, which encompasses elevated triglycerides, low levels of HDL-C, and high LDL-C (1).
Hypercholesterolaemia is an important risk factor for cardiovascular disease, coronary heart disease and arterial disease and is the leading cause of death for men, women, and people of most racial and ethnic groups in the United States (2).
Leaving aside the recent chaos that began in Minneapolis, and the leadership crisis they have in the White house, its 328 million people are under siege from their own food choices. While the temporary nature of the rioting will pass when the media eventually gets bored of covering it or it no longer stimulates clicks, likes, posts and reactions across the fickle social media world, the deep systemic problems arising from the food culture in America will be its ultimate demise in my opinion.
Following on from Is Resveratrol Worth The Hype? comes the mighty Turmeric. Turmeric is a plant from the same family as ginger and grows natively in the India and Southeast Asia region. It looks very similar to the ginger root, with the bright orange colour of turmeric being the main physical difference.
Much has been touted about the benefits of this little plant compound over the years with lots of claims about its protective influence against cancers, cardiovascular disease and other chronic conditions. The headlines seem to always revolve around drinking wine, unsurprisingly – it’s almost as if we just want to be told to drink more wine, it’s good for you!
While the exact mechanisms by which the components of this diet may improve cardiovascular health does require further research, the cumulative effects of higher fibre intake, antioxidants, healthy fats including the essential fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, protein and complex carbohydrates all appear to contribute to an overall reduction in inflammatory markers (hs-CRP, IL-6,7,18), oxidative stress, endothelial dysfunction, blood pressure, insulin resistance, blood glucose dysregulation, LDL, HDL, total cholesterol levels and body weight (3, 4, 6, 7).
Cardiovascular disease is a favourite topic of mine so when it comes to dietary interventions to prevent and reverse heart disease, the Mediterranean diet (MD) is right up there, alongside a whole-food plant based diet low in sugars as the best dietary choices available.
I’ve done a lot of self-experiments over the years – gluten free, vegetarian, pescatarian, vegan, paleo, 365 days alcohol free, standing vs seating desks, smartphone vs dumb phone, caffeine free, 30 day fitness challenges. I have learnt a lot from doing these trials and testing out what works or doesn’t work for me. A human guinea pig if you will.