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Rants

Australia, my home land, my heart breaks for you

By | Food for thought, Rants, Travel | One Comment

I’m so sad. I’m actually crying right now.

But I had to sit and write this in the hope that it will help you all make change. Help you to meaningfully look at your life habits and think about the future. I talk about this stuff all the time, but this time it’s more serious.

Why so serious?

Maybe it’s because I’m about to have a baby that it’s hit me harder than normal? Is it wrong that I feel guilty already about the world I’ll be leaving behind for him? I hope he’ll be ok?

Or is it because the place I call home, Australia, is literally on fire. The state I was born in is burning. The mountains that are snow topped in the winter are now filled with flames. Smoke has reached New Zealand. The size of the burnt area is half the size of England, can you imagine if half of England was engulfed? Half a billion animals have perished and perhaps entire species lost. The only way these fires will be put out is by mother nature. It needs to rain. Yet it won’t. And what if it doesn’t, how long will they burn for? And the smoke. The long term health implications of this will be absolutely terrible.

What most people outside of Australia don’t realise is that our rural fire firefighters are largely volunteers and these are the people who are on the front line.

Feeling helpless

It’s awful feeling helpless isn’t it? We all know the feeling. We will have all experienced it at some point in our lives. As I watch videos of koalas fur smouldering as they are pulled off trees to be rescued, of a burnt, dead kangaroo stuck to a fence because it couldn’t get out, of families being separated and of a country that is now so divided by politics, I just feel lost. It hurts. I did wake today feeling slightly more optimistic. It’s refreshing to hear that the country is pulling together and the support I’ve seen is outstanding. It does make it a little easier. Just a little.

Is there anything we can do? We can start by not ignoring it. We can start by educating ourselves on how to help and stop being ignorant. We can start by making it our problem.

Change for the environment

So, when I speak to people or put out tips on making change for the environment I am actually serious. It’s not just some little thing I do because I have time. It’s because I want to make a difference and I want others to as well. It’s because it angers me every time I see people not thinking about their actions before they do them. If we don’t actively consider what we do now, there will not be a next time. No seriously there won’t.

I am not an environmental scientist. I studied human nutrition. Very different, yet both are sciences and both inter-related, probably moreso now than ever before. And don’t get me wrong this is not solely attributed to climate change, not at all. However, over the last 12 to 18 months I’ve done a lot of research (as has my husband) on this ever-changing world we live in and perhaps how we can be better. There is no perfect way to start, it’s just important that you do.

We are by no means perfect. No one is. We still travel. We buy products in plastic. We own a car. But we have made so many changes that will help our world.

  • Look after what you have. Don’t be wasteful. Repair clothes. Repair toys. Repair home furnishings. Look after your home. Stop throwing things away when they can be fixed.
  • Don’t buy a bottle of water. If you are thirsty and you forgot your reusable one, tough shit. Wait. Or ask a café or shop for a glass of water as you pass by. It’s not rude if you ask in the right manner.
  • Can you walk? Transport currently has the biggest impact on the environment, the biggest emissions. So yes walk, especially if it’s a short distance because by the time you get in the car, drive, park and get out you may have been able to walk there anyway. Stop moaning. We have legs for a reason. Re-arrange meetings and use technology for the purpose we have it. Video call. Phone call. Don’t feel like you have to be there in person. Think about how much time you’ve wasted in traffic not even moving. Right, only you can change that.
  • Challenge other people’s decisions and behaviour. Be brave and ask them why they are or aren’t doing any of the above.

There is so much more we can do, this is just a start. And this won’t stop Australia burning. Think about every decision you make because collectively that’s the best chance we have at making a difference.

Even if it’s one thing. Tell me a good reason why you shouldn’t give it a go. What’s the worst that might happen? Your legs get tired or you feel really thirsty. Someone talks back to you. Wow. Seriously.

And on that note (while I’m feeling overly passionate), don’t be a dick. Be nice to people. Smile. That also won’t help our environment, but it might just inspire someone else to do something good. Or at least feel good.

So please, don’t turn away. It’s not someone else’s problem. You have a personal responsibility because you live here, on earth.

How you can help

And finally, here’s how you can help those in Australia. At this stage monetary donations are the best way to help. The time will come for clothing, food and shelter but at this very point in time it cannot actually reach those who need it due to geographical restrictions and evacuations.

Mycause.com.au – Has a multitude of links to support those who have suffered in the Victoria bushfires, wildlife, humans and the volunteer fire service and emergency services.

Wires.org.au – This is the NSW Wildlife Information, Rescue and Education Service Inc.

Koalasincare.org.au – Not for profit organisation run by volunteers who receive no government funding, they’ll be inundated with rescue koalas at the moment.

MyGC.com.au – has a full list of charities including The Red Cross, St Vincent de Paul and The Salvation Army.

Adopt a Koala

Have we been overplaying hydration?

By | Food for thought, Hydration, Rants | No Comments

Something I’ve recently learnt more about is one of the most basic things that we tend to over complicate. Our bodies are over 70% water, that means it’s important to keep your levels topped up but we spend far too much time worrying about it than is truly necessary.

An awful lot of people mention hydration to me and it’s always a requirement for corporate wellbeing workshops. “I know I don’t drink enough water”, “Is 3 litres too much?” “Yeah but tea and coffee doesn’t count, does it?”

Let’s just hold up for a minute while I simplify this for you:

  • Rather than worry about what counts and what doesn’t ask your self if you are thirsty. If you are then you probably need to have a drink.
  • The next time you go to the toilet, check your pee. Is it dark yellow? Is it smelly? If so then you need to drink more fluid. Or eat, because fruit and veg contain lots of water.
  • Are consuming mostly caffeinated, added sugar or artificially sweetened drinks? Then yes you should aim to get some water in throughout the day but you don’t have to cut them out completely. Water does not have to be your sole drink, forever.
  • If you are getting a headache and your concentration is starting to dip then it could be the onset of dehydration.
  • A hangover is severe dehydration.

What about for exercise?

It really only becomes slightly more technical for elite or endurance athletes as hydration levels can impact their performance. For athletes and those training for endurance events it may be beneficial to calculate your own sweat rate as that will assist you in knowing how much to drink, over what time frame and to ensure you don’t drink too much. This requires a short calculation and some measurements so ask for help with this one.

After intense or endurance exercise pure water is not the most rehydrating of drinks. Skimmed, whole milk or dissolvable electrolyte tablets are great as they also replace the minerals your body has lost through sweating. Try not to include sugary sweetened rehydration drinks as they are likely to add extra calories to your diet which really aren’t needed. You don’t need a Lucozade (other brands are available) after a 30 minute game of squash, you may if you’ve just run a marathon.

If you are generally into exercising it will help to start your session already hydrated. So, if you are one who likes to work out first thing in the morning, then get some fluid into you as soon as you wake up. If you are out for a leisurely Sunday jog or on your way home from Crossfit stick to the above tips and you’ll be ok.

Moral of the story. Unless you are an elite athlete, or completing in an endurance event, hydration is really, quite straightforward. There is no magic number, no formula, no ideal amount. It’s purely down to you to know yourself, I’m hopeful we can all manage that?

Protein water, two words which should never be paired

By | Food for thought, Rants | No Comments

I know……it’s not new and in the last twelve months we’ve seen protein added to a plethora of products. Some for good reason and others not so much. In the snacking market there are now tasty bars with added protein, not to mention the quark/yoghurt combo on chilled supermarket shelves to name a few. We are almost in the realms of protein fortification. Although generally in nutrition we refer to food fortification in reference to micronutrients such as vitamin D or B and minerals iodine and calcium.

Protein water. So firstly, there’s nothing really wrong with water in general, it doesn’t need to be changed, perfectly fine how it is. We use it to hydrate our bodies which are made up of around 50-60% of it (1). We’ve already got sparkling and several sugar free flavoured varieties as well as coconut water. And then this turns up. There are several brands on the market and I honestly commend anyone who is trying to start up their own business in a market which is saturated with new products. But please, if I can ask just one thing – food and drink has to actually taste nice. Forget the claims, forget how good it supposedly is for you or what it’s going to do because if you don’t like it you won’t go back for more. And if you do then perhaps rethink your priorities.

I thought, why not, and gave it a try. I was excited, I’d seen this product and wanted to try it, I opened the lid, slowly, carefully and took one sip. Then almost spat it out. The taste was so strong of something artificial, even though it contains no artificial colours of flavours? It went in the bin. 20 grams of protein, no thanks. You see you can get that (and many other nutrients might I add) from food.

½ a medium chicken breast

150g of cottage cheese

3 whole eggs,

200g of Greek yoghurt

to name a few.

Taste is key, it’s what keeps us loyal to certain foods. So, use water for its sole purpose – hydration and food for its purposes – a few which include providing us with protein and micronutrients too. Let’s not mess with the things which are already doing ok. Please.

References:

  1. Royal College of Nursing, DIY Health Check Point. https://matrix.rcn.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0006/519630/DIY_Information_Sheet_Total_Body_Water_Percentage.pdf