Happy Easter (Monday)!

Well, Happy Easter Monday! I know I haven’t blogged in a while but I’m not beating myself up for it. Life gets busy, but in the best way.

I’m a huge advocate for New Years Resolution’s, I love setting new goals and I’m a list girl, so lists and goals are one of the big motivators for me. So what a perfect time to start a new slate than the day after Easter Sunday!

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while or reading my tweets, you know that I can’t eat a lot of chocolate but my boyfriend bought me some small raw chocolate eggs and I might have had a few too many of those, and now I feel quite ill.

So today will be a new day. Fresh food, happy food, healthy food, and just getting back on tract with the food and exercise. Taking a few days off is never a bad thing but I can’t wait to get back onto feeling myself again.

 

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So you want to try yoga?

I’m not an expert in yoga at all but if you read my first yoga birthday post, I have some quite fresh experience in getting into the lifestyle, so I thought I would give you some advice if you’re new to yoga or even if you want to try it, but don’t know where to start.

Do your research.
Do you know anything about yoga? Do you know what type of yoga you would like to do? Have you done it before? Is this your first time or are you getting back into it again? These are all questions you have to ask yourself while researching about the practice.

Find classes in your area.
I’m all for watching videos online, I think it’s a fantastic resource and with so much free content out there, I don’t think you should let it go to waste. HOWEVER, for yoga especially, I think it’s an absolute must to go to a class and learn how to do the poses correctly. You will never know if you’re doing it right if you’re watching it and trying to copy it, you could end up hurting yourself.

It shouldn’t cost the earth.
It doesn’t have to be expensive either; depending on the area you live in, you can find affordable classes with experienced teachers. I live in Belfast so I learn through Yoga Belfast who have a range of classes for beginners right up to intermediates, in a range of areas, and are affordable too. There’s some drop in classes and others were you can sign up for a certain amount of weeks. There are many other yoga companies in Belfast of course, but I haven’t had any experience with them.

Get the right gear.
You don’t have to buy a £200 yoga mat, you don’t have to spend loads of money on new workout clothing, but make sure you’re equipped to work out properly. You don’t need to worry about trainers because yoga is done in either socks or in your bare feet. Try to avoid very loose clothing but don’t go really tight either, try and find a nice balance in between the two. I personally don’t like the cheap foam yoga mats because they can slide back on the floor (First week I went to yoga, this actually happened, so personal experience is talking.) but I got a good yoga mat from ASDA and it wasn’t expensive at all. I’ve heard TKMaxx or Sports Direct do some nice ones too.

Practice makes perfect.
This speaks for itself really. You can’t expect to get better at anything if you don’t practice. You’ll mess up, you’ll fall over, you’ll lose your balance, your posture will need corrected, but you know what? That’s okay, if you learn with someone who is willing to show you the ropes and if you’re willing to put the effort in, even one or two times a week, then you will gradually get better.

I am very thankful to have introduced yoga into my life, I don’t know what I would do without it. It has helped me physically; I’m now more flexible and that is particularly helpful when I go to the gym too. It has helped me mentally; I still get stressed and I still panic but yoga helps to bring me down (If only I could do yoga in work every day, now that would be heavenly!). I believe yoga is for everyone, no matter what your age, gender, flexibility, fitness level, lifestyle, whatever it is. It’s such a good focus for people to get stuck into and I would highly recommend it to anyone. I hope my advice has helped even just one person, good luck!

 

My Second Intolerance Test.

If you’re not familiar with my first intolerance test, you can click here and it’ll take you to that post. It’ll describe my experience, what I found out and why I done it.

So I would say it’s been a good year and a half since I got the test done and over the past two months, I was starting to revert back to some of the feelings I was getting before the first test. When I would eat certain chocolate, I felt really groggy and slightly crampy and when I ate certain meats, the same thing would happen. I booked my Mum and I in for another intolerance test (This was her first one), I thought I had booked for the blood test but me being silly, it wasn’t. It was just like the one I got done before, just in a different place (So I’ll not be describing the process again, so you can check the above link if you’re interested in finding out what happens).

I found out that my gluten, soy/soya and carrot levels were still very high, surprisingly. I had been off it for a year and a half so I thought it would barely show up. I was very wrong. What also showed up was cocoa/chocolate, potatoes, MSG and pork. A few days previous, I had a really weird moment with some bacon, about twenty minutes after eating it so once she told me that I couldn’t have pork, that “episode” made total sense.

We found out about a week ago (My Mum had slightly different intolerances to me) so it’s almost like going back in time to when I first found out. This time is harder, for me anyway. As I sit and write this (on a Sunday night), I’ve just had two slices of gluten free bread, toasted. I don’t feel too good after it, so I go look at the packaging. There’s potato starch in my bread. That’s not something I would have looked for, maybe I should have, so I can see why I feel slightly strange.

With seven intolerances, well actually there’s a lot more, because pork covers so many as does potatoes, MSG and gluten, I am constantly worrying about food, especially when I eat out. Before it wasn’t too bad because I only had three to contend with. I went for pizza with my best friend the other day and I felt rubbish after it. It was a gluten free base pizza and I really tried my best to pick one that wouldn’t affect me and the only thing I can think of is either 1) the spicy beef was the problem or 2) there was a cross contamination issue. I started feeling a little sore about ten minutes after finishing it the pizza, so I know it wasn’t what I had for dessert, which was just a simple ice cream. But then again, if it was pizza, maybe it had potato starch in it? I just don’t know.

I can’t be spontaneous any more, and ever since the first test, I haven’t been. It does help finding new and interesting restaurants in Belfast and just outside, but I don’t know if this will get any easier any time soon. As for lunches, I won’t have to change too much but I can be more creative with food now, because I’m being forced to; I don’t want to be sore all the time, and I don’t want to damage my body. I’ll be tracking my progress on my blog, and I’ll be trying out more new recipes, since I can’t have chocolate any more, so possibly lots of sweet ones, but good sweet ones!

As with my other post, I have to say this was my personal experience of food intolerance testing, I am not a medical professional and if you are in a similar position, please seek professional help from your doctor.

How has my yoga experience been so far?

So this week seen the completion of my six week term of yoga that I signed up for at the start of the year. If you read my New Year’s Resolutions post, you’ll know what I wanted to try new things and practice more yoga so I signed up to a yoga class that had a six week term.

I went every Monday night after work and it was just down the street from my work, so it’s the perfect location and the perfect time. I wanted to try yoga more seriously because I wanted to become more flexible and be able to relax, because even though I have no house to pay for, no children, no “big” responsibilities basically, I still get very stressed out. I’m a huge worrier and I wanted to find something where I could relax, even just for an hour, and concentrate on my body rather than my head.

We do a deep relaxation and concentrate on our breathing for the first five to ten minutes at the start and end of each class. The first week, I made myself jump at the end because I dozed off. The second week, someone had to shake me gently to wake me up. Yep, I fell asleep during yoga. Everyone was lovely about it but it was slightly embarrassing. But hey, at least I was relaxed.

I can feel myself learning something new every week, we do a number of the same poses every week as well as new ones too but we try and advance them and stretch further with them. It’s not just a same old same old class every week, you do actually learn and feel yourself becoming better at yoga, which is what I wanted. I had tried yoga online before, but there’s nothing like going to a class and a teacher actually helping you into the pose. I went to the class on my own and it was actually a really big step for me. I’ve started going to more things on my own, and it is getting easier. It’s still scary but when I’ve been to most events, there’s always someone who will come and talk to you when they see you on your own.

I’ve signed up to another six weeks which start this Monday (but I’ll be going on Thursday night then going back to my Monday schedule) and I can’t wait to advance more in my poses. I can see a huge difference in the way I feel, even from just that one hour a week and apart from not wanting to wake up for work on Monday, I genuinely look forward to a Monday because of yoga. It’s my “me-time” slightly after the weekend and just to take a time out.

The first of a few Health Journey posts.

Before this blog, I had another one. I’ve actually had a few over the past few years but I always get so insecure about them, that I would delete them. My last blog had two great posts, both about my transition into the gluten free lifestyle and I deleted the blog a month ago, completely forgetting to save those two posts so if I ever wanted to talk about it again, I could simply copy and paste. I really regret it now. The upside of this is that I get to talk about it again, but a year later. I’ll spilt this into two posts, because my other posts were too long and it really needed that second post to balance it out.

I can’t remember when I started to get signs that something wasn’t right. It might have been in the New Year of 2013, or slightly before then but I was having a really healthy year. I had came back from University the previous year and gave myself a good kick up the arse and finally started to get healthy and lose weight. I was the healthiest I had ever been, but I was getting sore heads, stomach cramps, feeling exhausted and having a really foggy head. Those were the main symptoms I had had. I was sleeping so much after college every day that I had to ban myself for an entire month because it was getting out of hand and when you’re so used to going home and having a three hour nap, once you ban yourself, it’s not pretty. I banned myself in the December of 2012 because I remember thinking half way through the month “Oh yeah, I’ll be off for the next weeks so I’ll not want a nap anyway”. I had no idea what was going on, absolutely none. I went to the doctor and told them what was wrong with me and I was told I should go off bread for a month. That’s literally what I was told. Going off bread didn’t help me, I think I done it for about two months and there was still no change. It had been suggested to me that maybe gluten was the problem, but I had no idea what gluten was, but I love researching (It was one of my favourite things to do in college for projects) so I done that and it was if someone had just watched me for a few months then wrote down everything that had happened. My symptoms and other symptoms were listed and it made so much sense. All the pain I was in, all the tiredness I had felt, all the times I couldn’t concentrate in class and sometimes struggled writing down the exact same words the teacher was saying on a piece of paper, it all made sense. It was gluten. It just had to be.

I’m not a huge fan of going to the doctors for a few reasons. 1) Whenever there’s something wrong with a woman, the first question they’ll usually ask “Is there a chance you could be pregnant?” I get it. I’m a woman and yes, we can get pregnant but it really annoys me that for the majority of time, that’s what we’re asked. 2) Appointment times. As I said, I’m not a fan of doctors so when I go, I am genuinely not well but whenever I would ring up for an appointment, I was given one for a week and a half later. I understand that if it was truly an emergency, I could get an emergency appointment or go up to A&E, but isn’t a week and a half later a bit ridiculous? So I was put off a lot and I didn’t think I would get anywhere fast. I’m pretty sure I went for another appointment a few months later but I can’t be 100% sure about that.

I was still getting cramps, I was still exhausted, I was still feeling foggy. I was exercising and some people thought I was tired because I was “working out too much”. Trust me, I didn’t over-do it and I wasn’t tired from it. I actually dread to think what I would have been like if I hadn’t been working out. I was still losing weight and I was eating enough for my body type and enough for me to lose weight. But the pains were still coming and in November 2013 I’d had enough. Enough of the stomach pains especially, I was a woman, we get period pains, I only expect pains once a month, not once a day for hours on end. So I did more research and found a centre that done allergy and intolerance testing near me.

In my next post, I’ll go through my experience of the intolerance testing and how it’s helped me ever since. I wanted to include it in one big post, but it’s much better to split it up into chunks (: