Invisible illness Awareness Week

It is invisible illness awareness week. Exploring the issues faced by people with an invisible illness or invisible disability gives one much food for thought.
Civilised society may have come a long way – but we still have way further to go!

Source: Invisible illness Awareness Week

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Intermittent Fasting for Health & Weight Control

Oh wow, sorry for the long silence.

For most of this year I have been my husband’s carer in one way or another. He had a near fatal bowel emergency on Valentines Day. I am so very lucky to still have him in my life.

M personal journey has involved going through menopause. It has been a process of several years. It probably is not quite over. For the most part, my symptoms have largely involved excessive moodiness and some intermittent but mild depression, some hot flushing and changes to my cycle characteristics.

I believe the process started sometime not too long after the birth of my second child (November 2007). It is a bit weird – realising I am at that next stage of life.

What I really wanted to talk about is Intermittent Fasting (IF).
You may have heard or even read about it in the last couple of years. The book “The Fast Diet” is quite popular and has resulted in a spin-off meal industry in the UK.

I decided to experiment with the concept. I am doing it as a raw foodie. It is 4 weeks since I started.

Why would I do it if a raw food diet is supposed to have similar effects on weight and health?

Well, for me, my weight was not altered by raw food and at times, some raw foods irritate me rather than help me. I have a complex medical condition and have to be careful with folate as I cannot process it properly without high supplementation of vitamin B12. For me, that needs to be by injection on at least a weekly basis.

So, back to IF. It has actually shifted a small bit of weight for me I believe. I do not weigh myself or measure my BMI or body fat or anything else. I just go by how I feel and how my clothes fit.

The crux of intermittent fasting is having at least a couple of non-consecutive fast days each week. It is not a complete fast but a partial fast involving severe calorie restriction. The restrictions are 500 calories for women and 600 calories for men. You cannot afford to eat empty calories from refined sugars or have calorie dense foods like fats or animal products. The best way to do it is vegan and raw vegan at that, in my opinion.

On your non fast days, in theory you can have whatever you like. In practice, it is much better if you try to stick to a healthy moderate diet as much as possible. This makes the fast days easier, you will get better results, and it is just healthier that way.

Once you have lost the weight or accomplished the health gains you desire, you can change to one fast day per week. Certain people should NOT undertake intermittent fasting such as children, the elderly, the sick, anyone with a history of an eating disorder or anyone advised not to do so by their medical practitioner (you are free to seek multiple opinions on that).

One of my biggest challenges with it is that I get very cold when I fast/restrict calories. It is mid-winter here and it has been our coldest in 18 years. A good remedy for that is to include some warming spices like ginger, turmeric, garlic, and chilli. Potassium rich foods like bananas should help too.

If you would like to join me on this challenge I am offering two Bootcamp options:

http://betweenskyandearth.com.au/store/pc/Bootcamps-c252.htm

Until next time,

Peace to All.
Kiss for Life.

Miriam.

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G’day!

I decided to start a very personal blog on a separate account. It might appeal to some of you.

naturalmamaramblings

Well, this is not my first blog. But even so, I am not a master of the craft. I just wanted another space to write more general musings about life from my perspective.
Which brings me to more of the why. My perspective is very specific but also broad. You see, I suffer very badly with “Environmental Illnesses” – Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, Electromagnetic Radiation Hyper-Sensitivity. I am also a greenie and a trained Permaculturalist, I Home School my two daughters via Natural Learning and Unschooling and I am a nutrition student.
Currently, life is topsy turvy as my husband had a near fatal medical emergency 4 weeks ago. It required urgent major surgery. By far that Valentine’s Day has been my most stressful day ever.
Feel free to say hi below – I look forward to meeting you here in wordpress cyberspace!

Cheers from
The Natural…

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Green Smoothies for Dummies by Jennifer Thompson

Book review by Miriam Baxt – http://www.betweenskyandearth.com.au & http://www.australianrawfoodnetwork.com.au

My apologies to the author – the original post of this article had the wrong spelling to her surname (now corrected).

I have been having green smoothies, on and off for over 3 years. I never bought a book as there was SO much information – free – on the internet. Plus the free community support you can tap into via social media makes it much easier than back in the 80’s when I first got into raw food.

BUT, you know what?! I am so grateful for the opportunity to review Jennifer’s book. I really liked it and happily recommend it. It covers a lot of ground about many aspects to going raw and making and drinking/eating green smoothies. There were a small number of issues for me personally but they did not really impact the purpose of the book.

Jennifer has a great, easy to read, minimal jargon style of writing. When Jargon is used, it gets explained as do many other aspects like equipment and certain types of foods. While this is mostly a beginners guide, it has good recipe sections for stages of life or special needs like pre- & post-workout nutrition, preconception, pregnancy, babies, kids, detoxification and chronic illness. You do not need to read the whole book or start in a particular spot but you will get a much better appreciation of the great health benefit of green smoothies if you can take the time to read it through.

Jennifer also refers back to other sections to reiterate certain information. The main thing lacking with this was a page number. Maybe in the next edition, the copy editor might consider adding them in plus a few other aspects that need a tidy up (sorry – I am a pedant for editing!)

Do note that while there is no dairy in the recipes, this is not a true vegan book as some recipes include bee products for their healing powers. I personally found the amounts of honey too much. BUT Jennifer regularly reminds the reader that it is ok to modify the recipes and she does state if something should not be used. All recipes come with basic a nutritional breakdown too. Also, before each recipe containing bee products there is an excellent allergy warning.

There are some good extras on the publisher’s website – http://www.dummies.com which Jennifer regularly remind the reader about. If you are using the e-book version, that makes it very easy to open to the link if you are using a smart device. I honestly cannot compare this book to any others as I do not have any other green smoothie books – and I honestly feel you do not need another one. You may want to expand your knowledge by learning more about what is in season when, what you might be able to grow for yourself and how to grow it. I am big on experimentation, so encourage everyone to go and explore new ingredients. I hope it will spur you on to delving deeper into the raw food lifestyle and culinary delights – especially those that can be done without much more equipment than what you already have in your kitchen drawers and cupboards!

I love how Jennifer supports the idea that you do not need a high speed blender. I started with a good basic kitchen blender and I instinctively blended the fruit and liquid first before adding the greens – just as Jennifer recommends. The main reason I chose to switch to a high speed blender was to make a smoother blend and to blend up root vegetables for savoury blends. (You need a stronger motor for blending raw beetroot.)

The things/details I would like to see improved –
* I was a bit surprised by the non-inclusion of some items in the “superfoods” section as they are in some of the recipes – eg. Chia, Hemp, Carob, Cacao.
* the book is obviously written for the American audience so perhaps either be a bit more generic with some of the details or include better information for other geographic zones. This is relevant for a few things such as blender brands & models, the “dirty dozen” list,
* the pictures were poorly included – a few pages slapped in the middle of the book and not well explained i.e. no reference to “from left to right” or “from the back to the front”. I would have preferred to see them next to or much closer to their recipe and interspersed which makes for a nicer reader experience.
* there were a few copy editing issues – all extra words as opposed to missing words or incorrect spellings.

Peace to all,
KISS for Life,
Miriam.

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Busy Bee – My “To Do” List

Well, here in Melbourne, Australia we are experiencing typical early spring weather in late spring. Our summer officially starts on Saturday! Christmas-New Year is rapidly approaching and I am busier than ever with community work and trying to do some business marketing too.

I am getting a bit anxious as next week I am part of a team of 3 presenting a talk on Permaculture Gardening, on behalf of our local council, to around 100 people. I used to do sessional tutoring at Monash Uni but never lectured. That was 18 years ago and I am feeling very out of practice I must say.

My part is a quick rundown on Permaculture before my 2 colleagues show how it is applied in urban gardens. Permaculture is such an expansive subject area. It is best presented at least partly in the outdoors. We have to present it in an auditorium, so less than an ideal setting.

My involvement has also got me on a steep learning curve of some of the more finessed aspects of presentations – when I was last at University, there was no Power Point! There was not even email or the internet for public use.

So, more specifically, my part is a quick rundown on “What is Permaculture”…. in about 30 minutes max! It is nearly 12 years since I did my Permaculture Design Certificate. That taught me What is Permaculture and how to use it in 72+ hours! (I even got to teach one small portion of our PDC.)

I love teaching but I’ve always presented to smaller groups so I am feeling challenged. Our presentation is not yet complete. One of my colleagues is taking care of the presentation slides. So, at least that is one less thing to stress about.

We are doing the presentation as representatives of our local Permaculture group – South East Suburbs Permaculture. The group is part of Permaculture Victoria. We have started forging a good relationship with the council since applying for (and receiving) a festival grant.

The group also recently launched a Beehive Hosting scheme. It is a community project to get help maintain healthy honey bees in the region. (Australia is very fortunate to have little beehive health issues.)

After next Wednesday I’ll take a couple of days breather and then I must get my head down with my Food Coach studies. I have a lot of work to do and I hope to get it all done by end of April 2015.

Over the summer I also have to put together another presentation for the council on Green Cleaning. I get to do that one on my own. I’m not sure if that is a good or not so good aspect.

On the more personal side, my husband’s family celebrates Christmas so there are two events to go to – the extended family and the immediate family. On my side we have a wedding. My sister is getting married in February.

We homeschool the kids so that means there is always something needing our attention. Having 5 chooks also tends to result in needing to stop them destroying something in the garden. (Sometimes they are assisted by the kids!)

On the business side of things I have plenty to do too. Update the webshop a bit. Launch my new project – Australian Raw Food Network. I am also setting hubby up with something too.

How about you? What’s on your agenda for the next few months?

Peace to all,
KISS for Life,
Miriam.

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Mothers of Invention

I have had a crazy few months since my last post. My apologies for the absence.

I have also had severe writer’s block – not because I do not have things I want to write about, but because I get overwhelmed about all my potential blog post ideas running around my brain.

I have also “met” some interesting Mums. I “met” in that place where so many people now spend (too much?) time – Facebook. I’ve been trying to upgrade my skills and understanding of this technological and cloud age that is very foreign to me. This has brought me into the circles of women in business at various stages on that pathway.

I want to tell you about one of the Mums & her product. I have wanted to share this for weeks now. This lady’s name is Leanne & her product is called the Cozy Dozee. See her website for videos and product links – http://www.cozydozee.com. I really wish either I had thought of making something like this for my kids or had been able to buy it when they needed it (we are past this stage now).

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What is the Cozy Dozee? – well, a picture really does paint a thousand words but basically it helps you keep your child’s head in a comfy & better aligned position so that it does not flop about while they sleep in the car.

Simply put, Cozy Dozee is a gentle head support for sleeping children in the car.
The key benefits are, it helps:
– correct neck posture
– improve sleep quality and comfort
– reduce parents stress levels and distraction on the roads.
Watch a video, find out more and buy online at http://www.cozydozee.com

So many mothers become inventors out of necessity or perceived necessity and so has Leanne. I doff my hat to her and all Mothers of invention.

Peace to all,
KISS for Life,
Miriam.

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Is Crowdfunding just charity without the tax concession?

Have you heard of Crowdfunding? Do you know what it is?

I have done a lot of thinking about crowdfunding the last 2-3 years – both as a potential contributor and as a potential fund raiser. It is a little more complex in practice if you are not in North America.

This is what Wikipedia says:

“It usually involves the collection of finance from backers—the “crowd”—to fund an initiative and usually occurs on Internet platforms. The initiative could be a nonprofit (e.g. to raise funds for a school or social service organization), political (to support a candidate or political party), charitable (e.g. emergency funds for an ill person or to fund a critical operation), commercial (e.g. to create and sell a new product) or financing campaign for a startup company.[citation needed] One crowdfunding expert described it as “the practice of raising funds from two or more people over the internet towards a common Service, Project, Product, Investment, Cause, and Experience or SPPICE.”[2]”

(source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crowdfunding )

Most crowdfunding platforms require the money seeker to give a reward to the contributor. Most also require that the money seeker apply to start a campaign. In The USA, crowdfunding can be used to raise business capital, but that is not the case here in Australia.

Usually, donated money is held in “trust” by the platform organisation, until the end of the campaign. There are several variations in the way the campaigns can be run – for some you can get all the money raised even if you fall short of your target figure. Many platforms do not let you have the money if you do not get the target figure (I believe the Australian ones follow this method).

I want people to be aware, that giving money to a crowdfunding campaign is just a pure donation. Even if the campaign claims that you will get a reward there is no guarantee and no-one can compel the honouring of that reward. However, campaign owners may get “black balled” if the platform company finds out.

This week, as a result of being a Facebook group administrator, I came across a post for a link to a new campaign. The campaign is by three Australians, using an American platform, to finance their purchase of a farm/rural property. They are using the “flexible funding” regime, i.e. they will receive all moneys raised/donated at the end of the campaign even if they do not reach their goal amount. I was rather concerned at the way the campaign represented what they were doing as the disclosure was very muddied. So, I messaged the campaign owner with some questions. One of my concerns was that they sounded a bit like a non-profit organisation – they even use a “.org” suffix on their url. This is the Campaign Headline:

Help the School of … buy land to expand their … programs …

My questions included – were they an RTO? What names were going to be on the title? There was no disclosure about the business name or registration (this is required in Australia) nor any disclosure about what percentage the funds represent of the purchase price.
At least one of the deed owners – a family of 6 – will be living on the farm permanently (this point is disclosed in the campaign). It is not clear if the other two people will be living there or not.

Currently, for their workshops and possibly for residing at, they lease a smaller rural property where they run weekend workshops on health & sustainable living techniques. They bring in/hire other presenters. They want this bigger property so that they can accommodate more people and more extensive courses as well as have somewhere “off grid” to live.

The campaign owner did not “get” my concerns about the lack of disclosure. Shame. People seem to think that just because it is now easier to circumvent a traditional loan, they do not have to disclose much about themselves and their motives.

Their whole concept is good one – helping people be healthier, taking better stewardship of the planet, learning important skills. The execution was and is a bit short of my personal expectations.

Do not get me wrong, the crowdfunding platforms do require disclosure but in my opinion it falls well short of what it should be depending on the campaign.

Yesterday I did a quick online search on Crowdfunding. I came across this unfortunate wrap up of one campaign:

“Despite having raised over $560,000 for the adventure game, and having entered beta in 2013, developer Winterkewl Games has canned the project.”

( source: http://www.forbes.com/sites/erikkain/2014/07/17/cancelled-kickstarter-game-yogventures-raised-over-500000-in-crowdfunding/ )

Admittedly, this is somewhat a different type of campaign but it demonstrates the fact that not all campaigns end in a positive way.

What am I trying to say then? Basically, choose who you donate your money to carefully. You deserve to have all your questions answered. There are some wonderful campaigns seeking assistence via the various crowdfunding platforms. If you have never considered any of them, go take look. But – do not expect anything other than a good fuzzy feeling if you ever make a donation.

Peace to all,

Kiss for Life,
Miriam.

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