Living with a happy gut (and other rambles)

Beginning of 2012, I became friends with my gut. After years of pain & bloating (and thinking it was normal!), I cut wheat & gluten out of my diet. Considering I lived off bread, cereal, pasta and pizza, I had no idea how I’d survive but hey, look at me now! I look back on my diet and it makes me CRINGE. I wouldn’t even be awake for an hour before the bloating kicked in and then it wouldn’t be long until lunchtime that usually involved pasta or bread/wheat roll (wheat is supposed to be better than white bread right?)

I have no idea how I managed to juggle 1-2 jobs and study for so many years when I was constantly feeling ill after every meal (I didn’t share this with anyone).  It wasn’t until my 2nd colonic session in 2 years when it was suggested I should see a naturopath as my bloating hadn’t improved since the previous appointment.

And if you haven’t seen a naturopath before, they are the earths miracle workers. A good one will know what herbs you need for any problems whether it’s an unhappy gut, time of the month problems, sleep, stress or moods (my one helped me with all the things listed and more). Naturopaths are the first people I recommend to ANYONE.

& how does this all relate? I came across this fantastic article this week titled, “Gut Feelings: the future of psychiatry may be inside your stomach” and I could not relate any harder to this article if I tried. We live in a society where people think a script will help make you feel better but why would you want to mask the symptoms when you can have a solution to the problem?

It’s not easy & it does take time but I always refused to accept medication for headaches, unhappiness and pain. And now that I’ve read John Gray’s ‘The Mars and Venus Diet & Exercise Solution‘ book and this latest article, I can’t help but feel more people will be aware of just how important eating the right food is. Not only does it improve moods & your health, you may notice you’re sleeping better and feeling better.

I’d love to know, have you noticed how food makes you feel?

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Forty seven;

Now that I’m back in Perth, it’s time to make the most of the days I have left before I begin summer school in January. It’ll be an intensive 11 weeks jam packed into 4.5 weeks and I’ve had a few wide eye responses when I said I’m going to be doing two units (you’ll know if I survive or not mid February).

Until then, I’m packing my days full of wake boarding, paddle boarding, walks/runs along the beach, catch ups with friends, picnics and finishing as many books as I can.

Are there some books you can recommend? 

November good reads;

A girl can dream right?

[Image source found here]

I’m currently reading ‘The Happiness Trap‘ by Russ Harris which was recommended to me around the time I really struggled with mindfulness (you can read some great mindfulness posts here). So this months ‘good reads’ will be based around this idea of mindfulness and happiness.

Four articles I’ve recently enjoyed:

– “What’s your strategy for Happiness?” via Huffpost (Healthy Living section)

– “Happiness is uncovering what you already have” via the Zen Habits blog

– “Achieving Happiness: Tips to repairing a blaming relationship” via Capital Gazette (Lifestyle section)

– “Self esteem & the mind: 5 behaviours that destroy self esteem” via the Complete Self Esteem blog

Do you have any articles you’d like to share? Or good books you’ve recently read?

Brain rules;

Remembering things isn’t my strongest trait so when a lecturer mentioned I need to practice and time myself for an upcoming test, I made some wall notes. I’m the kind of person that has a photographic memory to the point where it’s a little freaky sometimes. Tell me to do something, I will most likely forget but ask me where I left a book/shoe, I could recall exactly where in an instant.

Good thing I realised I had a photographic memory long before I started university because it’s really helped with remembering things for exams using diagrams, tables & drawn up brainstorms (also known as mind maps).

Now, all those words in the picture above, to the right hand side may look like a long list but I’ve somehow taught myself to remember lists….only problem is, they have to be in that order! (brains, huh?)

So if you have trouble with your short term or long term memory, here’s a great tip I picked up from reading, “Brain Rules” back in June this year. If it’s short term memory that’s a problem, repeat to remember. In my case, I have to do it daily or once every second day for it to stick. Last minute cramming will only get me so far!

If it’s long term memory, remember to repeat. This is a great one for uni semesters, where you go over course material weekly or fortnightly, jogging your memory.

I hope those two tips can help someone as much as they’ve helped me! Now back to memorising that list…

Weapons of Mass Instruction;

In April this year, after reading this post by Zack, I purchased a book called “Weapons of Mass Instruction” by John Gatto, someone who had taught in public schools for 30 years before resigning from the out of date compulsory schooling system.

In the book, Gatto asks, “do we really need forced schooling? Six classes a day, five days a week, nine months a year, for twelve years. And if so, for what? We have been schooled to think “success” is synonymous with “schooling””. He goes on to show dozens of examples of successful people who didn’t finish high school, some who didn’t even attend (think George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Sir Richard Branson and Robert Kiyosaki (author of Rich Dad, Poor Dad).

Compulsory schooling teaches us to be consumers, to listen to instructions and to follow, not lead. In most parts, I was crying reading this book, thinking finally- here’s someone saying there’s more to life than to get straight A’s, go to a good college and settle into a decent job. There are other paths than compulsory schooling because it’s not for everyone.

For me, my brain switched off from this system the minute I started high school. The work wasn’t stimulating nor was it interesting. The only two classes I enjoyed were Art & Sewing where I was able to shut off and let my creativity free (and surprisingly to this day, this is still where my passions lay) so when I wasn’t in these classes, I would be at home “sick”.

I was lucky, I left as soon as I turned 16, much to my parents disapproval. If only back then, my parents or myself knew a little something about the Montessori approach to education. Taken from the Perth Montessori website:

“A Montessori education is a method of education founded on knowledge of the development of the body and mind of the child as identified by Dr Maria Montessori.

Dr Montessori (1870 – 1952) was a person of great depth and insight. She was Italy’s first female doctor before stepping into the field for which she is so well known: early childhood education” (you can read more about it here & here). 

If you’re a visual person like myself, maybe this video will be better at showing what the Montessori education is about.

It’s good to know there’s schools out there that offer an alternative approach to education such as the Montessori method & Steiner Education system.

What are your thoughts about the traditional school system? Did you enjoy it?

Winter Break;

First semester of 2012 is officially over! After 3 exams in the space of 18 hours, I can happily throw out all my notes (or in my case, scan and save to an external hard drive like the awesome person I am). This semester I was enrolled in 3 units: Building Cost & Construction, Economics and Property Market Analysis. All were interesting and at times, stressful but I’m definitely studying the right degree for me. I found myself reading up on so many different property issues the past few weeks (nothing to do with exams but hey that’s procrastination for you!) and I’m just so fascinated by it all.

Next semester, I’ve enrolled in Property Law (YES! inner geek in me is so excited), Property Investment Analysis and Property Valuation Methodology. As it all relates to work, it makes it that much easier to absorb and understand. I would of failed half the course if I didn’t have the work experience I do.

Now, until the next semester, I have 5 weeks to get a few little somethings done:

List as many things on Ebay as possible. It’s time, my hoarding days are over!

Read 2 books I bought what feels like years ago. ‘Weapons of Mass Instruction‘ by John Taylor Gatto and ‘Frames of Mind‘ by Howard Gardner (I’ll be reviewing both once I’m done!)

Organise my room. I moved house 2 months ago and everything is still in boxes. I’m thinking Ikea & Howard Storage World for inspiration on storage ideas.

Tax stuff. Boring. So boring & tedious but um, hello holiday $$$

Start my little challenge of getting rid of 1,000 things. I’ve given myself 9 months. Who thinks it’s possible?

Rest? What’s that?

Brain Rules;

It was one of those classic situations. I was out looking for a book to buy a friend and went home with two for myself (and none for my friend!) One was the ‘Eat right for your (blood) type‘ by Peter D’Adamo and the other one was ‘Brain Rules‘ by John Medina as shown above.

I finished the first book months ago (when I first visited a naturopath in November as posted about here) but it wasn’t until this weekend that I finished the second. ‘Brain Rules’ is made up of 12 chapters so I wanted to have time to read each chapter, one at a time and have the time to absorb it aswell.

These are the 12 chapters outlined in the book:

– Exercise: Exercise boosts brain power

– Survival: The human brain evolved, too

– Wiring: Every brain is wired differently

– Attention: We don’t pay attention to boring things

– Short-term memory: Repeat to remember

– Long-term memory: Remember to repeat

– Sleep: Sleep well, think well

– Stress: Stressed brains don’t learn the same way

– Sensory integration: Stimulate more of the senses

– Vision: Vision trumps all other senses

– Gender: Male and female brains are different

– Exploration: We are powerful and natural explorers

If there’s any book that I would highly recommend- it’s this one. Yeah, the first principle is a fairly obvious one about how exercise stimulates brain activity but it’s also one that isn’t taken into consideration in work or study environments. How often are you under the pump & exercise is the last thing on your mind? I sure am guilty of this one but have made it one of my biggest efforts to include a walk here & there and the results are HUGE.

I was quite devastated however, to learn that although a number of people in the science and medicine field know that female and male brains are different and every brain is wired differently, this isn’t applied to the way we learn.

Take it upon yourself to read this book & understand the way brains work that is described in a simplified way.