A NEW HOPE

The New Year is just around the corner and I have high hopes.

2015 drained me emotionally. The year was relentlessly hard in all ways and may have even been one of the hardest years of my life.

Is it wrong to expect that the magic turn of 2015 into 2016 will change anything in my life? Probably. But I have to hope for something; and right now it’s for a better year ahead.

I’ll be working hard in 2016 to create the positive changes I need in my life. I don’t expect anything good to be just handed to me inside a golden egg. I know life doesn’t work like that.

I’ve never been one for New Year’s resolutions, but this time I’m going to write a list of goals for 2016. Maybe together they’ll create a pathway for me. Or maybe I’ll forget them. I don’t know.

I’m excited about plunging back into writing again next year. I want to dive deeper, and achieve more, creatively, in 2016.

I’m also looking forward to learning Spanish with a dear friend. Possibly others will join us and we’ll form a group. The geographical distances between us will mean we’ll need to create some kind of online community to do this. I’ve no idea about how we’ll do any of it yet, but it’ll be an adventure. I’ve wanted to learn a second language since my teens.

The Perth Writer’s Festival will be on in late February 2016, and I’m excited to be attending again. I’ve already organised my accommodation with a city friend.

So I guess I’ll keep looking upward and moving forward as best I can. Even if at times it feels like I’m hobbling with one leg amputated, metaphorically speaking, and my brain a scrambled mess.

What are you most looking most forward to in 2016?

 

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End of Year Blues

I’m feeling more emotional than usual for this time of year, and I miss the happy excitement of the festive spirit that I usually enjoy in December.

In the last three years, my family has lost two loved ones. There’s only been one recent Christmas when we’ve not felt the stabbing grief of loss.

This year, my Grandad is in palliative care. He doesn’t want to be here with us anymore. We don’t know how much longer he’s got, but we know it isn’t long. It’s probable that we’ll lose him before Christmas day.

So again, we will be grieving together at Christmas time this year.

I know that Christmas isn’t a happy time for everyone and I have to make it clear that I’m so grateful for the many happy Christmas days I’ve had in my life. But this year my heart is heavy again.

I’m fortifying my soul for our impending loss. That means I’m trying not to dwell on the sadness I feel. I’m trying to relish the nostalgia that comes with my family’s traditions. As much as I can, I’m living through the young eyes of my excited son.

If you are finding this time of year hard on your heart, please know that this sadness will pass and all things will be new again soon. 2016 is not far away.

Make sure you reach out to hold someone’s hand. And cry as much as you need to – preferably on the shoulder of someone who loves you.

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WHAT IS A HEALTHY DIET?

GUEST POST by Sarah Eve Matthews

We’re all different, so why should there be one diet that serves all of us? What’s healthy for you might be different to what’s healthy for the next person or what I consider healthy for myself. Is anyone ultimately right on what is healthy?

These days, research that’s done on a product is often funded by the same company that developed the product. Results are biased and can be very misleading. Who can we trust? How do we know what’s best for us? Who should we seek for the answers?

I believe the answer is to listen to your own body. Do you feel sick or sluggish after eating certain foods? Do other foods give you energy and make you feel good? Do some foods give you a boost then leave you flat? If we can learn to respond to what our bodies are telling us, we’ll get better at understanding what healthy is for us.

Medical food journal, The Lancet, published a global study regarding obesity rates. It stated that in Australia, nearly 25% of children and 63% of adults are obese.

We’re becoming a fast food nation – really fast. People eat out regularly, creating a new generation of people who think it’s the norm, rather than the occasional treat. When I was growing up in the 70’s, it was a rare thing to have take-out. I remember having fried chicken twice, fish and chips on a Friday night and roast chicken a few other times. That’s a time span of over 12 years. For many people, that’s the norm for a week or just a few days.

One thing I hope we can all agree on is that fast food is indeed junk food and not something to be considered healthy. But it’s not just fast food that’s junk food. Packaged and processed food (full of numbers) can be found anywhere in the supermarket – including the so-called ‘Health Food’ isle. A quick glance at the ingredients on the packet will tell you if it’s real food or just an attempt to sell you an over priced, sugared, high fat, high sodium item that’s low in nutrition. Drinks can also be full of sugar and chemicals (in amounts we wouldn’t normally consume).

So what is healthy for you? Educate yourself, listen to your body and read the labels before purchasing packaged food. Decide whether what you’re eating is nutrient dense or a food imitation made to satisfy a craving.

How does food make you feel? Do you have the energy you need to function? Are you drinking enough water? Only you can answer these questions and only you can give your body the right fuel it needs.

Through research and experimentation, I have discovered that for me, a plant based wholefood approach is the way. It makes me feel great, gives me plenty of energy and helps me maintain a healthy weight.

Sarah has a YouTube channel called Vegan Style Cooking which focuses on recipes for a wholefood plant based diet. She’s currently working on a recipe and guidebook for this type of eating. She overcame significant health issues and lost weight through diet changes, meditation and yoga. Now, she hopes to help other people by sharing her journey and recipes via https://www.youtube.com/c/VeganStyleCookingwithSarah

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