About Me

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I love finding new worlds through writing and reading. I am excited by creating new flavours and tastes in the kitchen. I am fascinated by nutrition and healthy lifestyle choices. I adore my my dog, family and friends.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Glimpse into Motivational Monday - Week 9, 2014

This week, I would like us to remember the words of Marcus Aurelius...

"When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive, to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love."

These words have helped me this past week while I have dealt with new information about my health. No matter how difficult things can seem, how unwell you feel, or how lonely you are, ultimately, you are alive and have the opportunity to be happy, no matter the obstacle. 

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Glimpse into book club update - BOOK CHANGE

Hello all!

Last week, I announced our first book for the online book club so that we would all have two weeks to find a copy, and start it on March 1st. During this week, I have discovered that the book is being reprinted as a paperback currently, and will be released at the end of March. There are hardcover copies around, but I have found that it is quite difficult (and expensive) to find a copy. Therefore, I feel we will need to postpone reading "The Interestings" til later on.

So if you have by chance, found a copy, fear not! We WILL read it! However, as it seems it will prove difficult to find a copy in the next couple of weeks, no matter where in the world you are, we will be better off to postpone and select a new book for this month!

The book for March/April will now be......"Winter's Tale" by Mark Helprin.

Briefly, this is what this book is about:
One night in winter, Peter Lake, orphan and master-mechanic, attempts to rob a fortress-like mansion on the Upper West Side.
Though he thinks the house is empty, the daughter of the house is home. Thus begins the love between Peter Lake, a middle-aged Irish burglar, and Beverly Penn, a young girl, who is dying.


There are varying reviews for this book; some not so good, some are great. I feel that this means we will have a good source of discussion then, as maybe some won't love it while others will.

It is also discouragingly large, especially if you have brain fog like me! However, we have til April 15th when discussion will start, and if we find by, say April 7th, that we are all behind, we can extend our time frame. So please don't feel pressured or intimidated! Remember, this book club is about taking your mind away from your real world, and discussing a story with other people. Just relax and have fun with it.
There is also an added bonus, that when you finish this book, you can sit back and enjoy the on screen adaptation, which is currently in cinemas!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Glimpse into Wellness Wednesday; week 8 2014 - belly breaths

This week has been one of information overload for me after a visit to a cardiologist brought a new diagnosis. I am working on staying calm, processing the information, and looking at it with a positive view, and as a step towards better health with new treatment.
Therefore, I feel this week's Wellness Wednesday should focus on deep diaphragmatic/belly breaths. This type of breathing can reduce stress and pain, and improve crucial body processes such as your immunity and blood pressure. Once you have read this, take your focus away from the bright computer screen, away from the chores that need doing, and take your mind away from all that worries you.

Close your eyes, take a deep, slow breath through your nose, and focus on the rise of your abdomen/belly rather than your chest. Exhale slowly and feel the benefits of the increased amount of oxygen in your body. Be thankful for being alive, for being here to enjoy the good times, and for the good people in your life. Don't let the big problems overwhelm you.

Every time you feel like the worry is setting in, take 5 to 10 deep breaths.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Glimpse into Motivation Monday - week 8 2014

This week's Motivation Monday...

This is especially apparent in chronic illness, due to the ongoing unwell times and loneliness, and then the stressful visits to doctors, endless tests, worry about employment and your lack of independence, and how you will get your life back on track, the loss of friends, and life plans and loved activities. Sometimes it can all feel unbearable. 
What I try to tell myself when I feel like this is that this is just how life goes. This is what it is all about, and by getting through the tough times, we get to the good times. Some things are hard, and they hurt, and they are unfair, but if we can not change them we should not focus on them. It is the hard things that we do have control over which we should put our energy into. Let go of the unchangeable, accept it, and adjust to it, and work on what you can change.

And sometimes, when everything happens at once, it will be the good things. 
Just take each ball as it comes. Accept the strikes, and hit the others out of the ball park. We can do it.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Glimpse into the bookclub: March book announcement

It is the 15th of February, and that means that it is officially the first Glimpsing Gembles blog online book club book announcement!

Drumroll please.......

The book will be Meg Wolitzer's "The Interestings."

We officially start reading on the 1st of March, so you have time to go find or borrow a copy of this book. (If you start reading early, we won't tell anyone! ;-) )

Summary: The summer that Nixon resigns, six teenagers at a summer camp for the arts become inseparable. Decades later the bond remains powerful, but so much else has changed. In The Interestings, Wolitzer follows these characters from the height of youth through middle age, as their talents, fortunes, and degrees of satisfaction diverge.

Wide in scope, ambitious, and populated by complex characters who come together and apart in a changing New York City, The Interestings explores the meaning of talent; the nature of envy; the roles of class, art, money, and power; and how all of it can shift and tilt precipitously over the course of a friendship and a life.


Glimpse into Foodie Friday week 7 2014 - Cinnamon

Good afternoon! Happy Foodie Friday! 

Yes, I know. It is Saturday. Oops! The first Foodie Friday of the new series should have begun yesterday, but as most of us know, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome has its moments which make a regular routine unrealistic! I may have to change Foodie Friday to a bi-monthly thing, rather than weekly, but I will see how I go!

Today's ingredient is cinnamon. I use it all the time, such as in the Passion Pleasers I posted about on Sunday. Other recipes I have created on my blog which use cinnamon are:
It is delicious, and can be used in sweet and savoury dishes, and in meals, treats or drinks, and in an oil for therapeutic use. Even if you don't use it as the feature flavour in a dish, it can be a hidden added nutrient!

Cinnamon was once highly valued in trading, more so than gold, and it is not hard to see why. 
Just half a teaspoon a day can help lower your levels of bad cholesterol (LDL - low density lipoprotein). It contains manganese, calcium, iron, and dietary fibre. It has anti fungal, antibacterial, anti parasitic, anti-clotting and anti inflammatory properties (amazing!). It is a natural food preservative due to its ability to prevent bacterial growth.The smell can boost brain activity, and cognitive and memory function, and can relieve nervous tension. It can help improve the pain from arthritis, headaches, migraines and menstrual cramping. It keeps blood sugar levels steady, so is great for weight loss and type 2 diabetes.  It is also safe for people with Fructose Malabsorption and following a FODMAP diet. To top it all off, it is delicious! 

What a fantastically beneficial ingredient to add to your meals and drinks! 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Glimpse into Wellness Wednesday Week 7 2014

Welcome to the new blog series: Wellness Wednesday! 

Exercise is a scary word for people with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME), and other chronic issues. I know I struggle with balancing the desire to get back to my active self, and the fear of causing yet another relapse due to even light exercise. So this blog series will focus more on the idea of moving and using your body and mind, at your level, when and if you can. If you are healthy and fit, then amp up the movement to your level. Anyone can be involved in Wellness Wednesday!

*Remember to always check with your doctor before you start any new physical activities.*
*I am not a personal trainer. These are ideas I have discovered along my journey. Ask a local trainer if you need guidance with movements so you do them safely.*

Today we are going to start out with the basics....walking! Walking is so good for you. So go on, get out there! This week, try to increase how much you walk. 

If you are bed bound, try to move your legs back and forth while lying on alternating sides. Or if you are in a wheelchair, move your feet out and in, bending at the knees, a few times. Or if you can not move your legs, move your arms, or enjoy the fresh air and sunshine while you move along in your chair outside.

If you are very unwell but can get up for a little bit, think about adding a few more steps on your way to the bathroom, or the fridge for example.

If you have limited exercise tolerance like me, try to add in one or two short walks with a supportive friend or family member - somewhere different to where you usually rest, such as in your garden or a park. Not only do you move your body, loosen your muscles, increase your blood flow, and get vitamin D, but you can enjoy the company of another, and the fresh air!

Keep adding, step by step, but only when your body is ready. Do not push yourself until you are well enough to do so. There is dispute whether exercise helps people with CFS/ME, but gentle movement, at your level, will help your body and mind stay happy and rust free!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Glimpse into Motivation Monday - week 7 2014

Welcome to the new blog series... Motivation Mondays! To get things started, here is an idea to think about this week....

 "Do not wait until the conditions are perfect to begin.
Beginning makes the conditions perfect."
A big part of having a chronic illness is waiting. Waiting for answers, waiting for results, waiting for improvements. It could be easy to fall into the trap of putting your life on pause, and just waiting. As I often say though, this is our life, we only have this one chance, and it is up to you whether you let your illness become you, or whether you let it only be a part of you. If we wait for that miraculous moment when we feel healthy again, we may have let a great chunk of our life ramble past us like a tumble weed. Maybe you can not do the exact thing that you want to do, but find an option that makes you happy. For example, I can not work at the moment due to my health. I love my work as a nurse, so in the meantime, I keep myself happy learning more, and reading and writing about health. In doing so, I have discovered a new path for myself and love the idea of helping people improve their overall wellness through improved nutrition and lifestyle choices. Find your option! Begin, and keep happy and strong, and things will get better!
If you are healthy and thankfully free of a chronic health issue, this still applies to you! What are you putting off which you could do now? What if you put off that dream job until you are more confident, or when the kids are older, or when the sun, moon and earth are at a 45 degree angle, and you find yourself in an unexpected situation that keeps you from that dream job?! Act now. You don't know what could change down the track. Be brave, begin, and the happiness and self love that comes from beginning will make you strong enough to keep going.

Do not wait; begin. 

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Glimpse into passion pleasers

My mantra for baking is if it is healthy enough to eat for breakfast yet tastes deliciously naughty, you are on a winner! These cake squares fit this motto, and are super easy and quick to make!  
 All you need is:
1/4 cup nut butter (I used almond, brazil and cashew butter)
1/4 cup tahini
1/3 cup rice syrup
2 large bananas
1/3 cup coconut flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
*170 g passionfruit pulp
All you  need to do is: 
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C.
  2. Line a baking pan with baking paper. Any size you have will do, but one about 20cm x 20cm will make a good thickness.
  3. Pop all the ingredients into a blender or food processor; hold back with half of the passionfruit pulp and save it for later. Blend until smooth.
  4. Pour the mixture into the pan evenly.
  5. Top with the leftover passionfruit pulp.
  6. Bake for 20-30 minutes, until firm and golden. Keep an eye on the topping, as it will burn. If it starts to catch, cover the pan with a piece of foil.
  7. Let it cool and slice into squares.
The fun part...alternative additions:
*Instead of passionfruit pulp, use about 100g of one or two of the following:
  • chopped dark chocolate or choc chips
  • berries (frozen or fresh)
  • drained, crushed pineapple
  • dried blueberries, cranberries or pineapple
  • crushed nuts
  • quinoa flakes or gluten free oats (you may need to add a little water if your mixture becomes dry when blended)
  • chopped pumpkin seeds, poppy seeds or toasted sesame seeds
*You could also try:
  • 1 tablespoon of raw cacao
  • 1 teaspoon of ginger powder
  • 1 teaspoon of fresh ginger
  • 1-2 tablespoons of vanilla extract
  • 4 tablespoons of LSA -linseed, sunflower seed and almond meal (you may need to add a little water if your mixture becomes dry when blended)
  • Whole round slices of pineapple at the bottom of the tray, and then pour mixture over the top for a pretty and fruity pattern.

I hope you enjoy these nutritious treats, any time of the day! And they keep getting better...only the blender and pan to clean!! Winner!!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Glimpse into a community for health and happiness

I would love this blog to be a hub for a community of kindred spirits, coming together in the interest of their health, to find motivation, ideas, and inspiration. Whether it be due to CFS/ME, or other types of chronic illness, food intolerances, or healthy eating and a willingness to improve your well being that has brought you to this page, I would like us all to work together to improve our health and happiness.
I know that a big problem for people with chronic health conditions is boredom, motivation to keep going, and loneliness. So to help combat this, I am proposing that we come together and help each other. Even if you have good health, join us, as we all have different experiences, thoughts and goals.

For 2014, I will be bringing four new series to the Glimpsing Gembles blog. Take a look!

A book club! Every second month, we will begin a new book. This can be reading the book, an online edition, or listening via audiobook; however you are most comfortable. This will give us something to do, motivation to do it, and people to talk about a common subject with that will take our minds off our issues. 
On the 1st of the month (March, May, July, September and November), we will start reading a new book. On the 15th of the next month (April, June, August, October and December)I will post some of my thoughts about the book on the blog, and we can all continue to add to the conversation in the comments section below the post. This gives us all six weeks to read the book, and two weeks to discuss! The book for the next month will also be announced on the 15th, so as to give you time to buy or borrow the book. 

As January has gone and February has begun, if you happen to be in between books, join me this month, otherwise, wait til February 15th for the announcement of March's book choice, and begin reading for March. The book choice for Jan/Feb is The Testament of Mary, as it is a short book.

Send any book suggestions you have to GlimpsingGembles@hotmail.com and I will try to include everyone's picks at some point :-).

Motivation Monday: Every Monday we will have a new motivational quote. Feel free to send me suggestions to GlimpsingGembles@hotmail.com. The quotes will be posted on the blog and on the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/glimpsinggembles.

Wellness Wednesday: Every Wednesday, I will explore a new form of movement for the body, or activity for the mind, which can be adapted to all our varying levels of mobility and comfort. 

Foodie Friday: Every Friday, I will explore a new healthy ingredient which we can add into our cooking and baking. If you have any ideas, suggestions or questions, leave a message and I will do my best to find information out for you!

I hope that you enjoy these ideas and that you will join me in the journey for health and happiness!