(This morning’s 15 min walk/jog) 🙂 yay!

After moving house and not really exercising or blogging for ages I am unofficially joining myself to a NEWSTART program, which involves:

N – Nutrition

E – Exercise

W – Water

S – Sunshine

T – Temperance (avoiding bad things such as drugs, going easy on junk food)

A – Air

R – Rest

T – Trust in God

I’m calling the one I’m doing ‘T – NEWSTAR’ instead of NEWSTART, because I really need God’s help, so ‘Trust in God’ will have to come first.

I’m not the ideal candidate for a ‘health-freak’, with my weak lungs (from pneumonia as a baby), to my fractured tailbone and very low muscle tone, with skinny ‘chicken legs’ (lol!), and my foot injury, which means I have a sore heel every morning.

I was feeling so ‘blech’ this morning when I got up.  I had cold legs, a ‘funny’ tickle in my throat like I was catching something, and I felt tired.  I decided I’m going to start by doing devotional time first and asking God for strength because nothing else is working.

I’ve tried sleeping more in the morning to stop myself from getting sick, but it’s not working.  I just don’t have enough energy to exercise, cook healthy food, avoid junk, etc., on my own.  So, here goes!

After my devotional this morning though, I thought my circulation felt really bad with my cold feet, so I decided even if I feel totally rubbish I need to go for exercise in the fresh (cold) morning air (which usually I try to avoid).

I dug out my exercise gear and took a brief interlude outside, swinging my arms and legs to try and stretch them as much as possible.  I remembered my ‘deep-breathing’ technique of inhaling deeply through my nose, then out my mouth two puffs (to try and fully empty my lungs).

Funnily enough I didn’t freeze, and when I came inside the house felt really warm!  I didn’t jog much, just a brisk 15 minute walk (keeping in mind the T for Temperance!)  I am the kind of person who takes things to the extreme naturally.  I might have in the past jogged for 1 hour, then injured myself or been tired and grumpy for the rest of the day, but I can’t afford to do that when I have 2 little ones to look after.

Now, I wonder what I can make for brekky that is low fat, low sugar and yummy, before the kids wake up?







Depression: The Way Out

Vicki Griffin started running away from home as a little five-year-old girl. Imagine never having a happy memory from your childhood; never waking up even one morning feeling excited about the new day.  When she talks about depression it is really genuine.  Her talk and some of her childhood experience are shared below, or through the link.







Sleep, Glorious Sleep!


sunset blog

I like to experiment on myself to see what works.  Things that have helped me to sleep include some unusual things, like avoiding MSG before bed, not over-using my brain before bed, and certain foods that help make serotonin … mmm.. tofu!

I made the mistake last night of overdosing on excitotoxins. They sound really exciting but they are not really that great.  They are found in MSG and artificial sweeteners.  They cause the brain cells to get so excited that they jump up and down until they die. Not quite, but I’m not a scientist, hence my basic explanation.

My breathing was already affected when I went to sleep. I noticed I would just stop breathing every few breaths. When I woke up too early in the morning my brain was over-active, my stomach in a knot, and I could see small spots in front of my eyes periodically. It was a really awful feeling. I also felt anxious for no reason, which I found really interesting.  I wonder if MSG could be a factor in anxiety?  It is hidden in so many processed and fast foods.

I ate some vegetarian ‘duck’ from the Asian grocery store, loaded with MSG, plus soup with lots of stock cubes (marked ‘no added MSG’ – yeah right, they are liars with their pants on fire), plus fizzy drink with artificial sweeteners.

I found a couple of helpful links this morning, and there is a wealth of information online about MSG and other things that prevent good sleep.

A few foods that help sleep:

Magnesium rich foods such as pumpkin seeds


Foods that contain tryptophan (because tryptophan helps us make our favourite happy drug – serotonin):


Tofu – the highest in available tryptophan! Hooray, I love tofu!


Gluten (note: lots of processed gluten products contain MSG)


Sesame seeds




Oats and brown rice


Almond milk


B vitamins (Note: a lot of B vitamin fizzy tablets contain aspartame)


Foods and substances that have kept me awake and or disturbed my sleep or given me nightmares:


One night I ate a big, spicy curry, followed by a huge Cookie Time cookie (go NZ!) full of chocolate chips just before bed.  That was one of the best cookies ever, and one of the worst sleeps (or lack of sleep plus nightmares).


Chocolate (Nooooooooooo! Actually not only does chocolate have tonnes of sugar, and contain caffeine, it contains another stimulant, theobromine, which is also a stimulant and causes mental unrest)


Sugar (not including fruit – this is aimed at processed sugar)






High protein foods just before bed


High fat foods just before bed


Spicy foods – especially just before bed.


I would also like to add that the brain needs a break sometimes. From my own personal experience too much mental stimulation has affected my sleep, including:


Movies – especially just before bed


Studying and googling stuff just before bed


Doing any kind of work requiring a lot of mental concentration – such as calculations, paperwork, paying bills just before bed


The mind needs a rest too!! How do you think your legs would function if you spent the entire day running with no rest?


Many people are too addicted to constant mental stimulation. We have to be texting, calling, googling, gaming, watching movies, watching TV, listening to music, looking at photos, reading, checking facebook, etc.,


Taxing the brain constantly without giving it a chance to wind down caused me a lot of sleep problems.


Here is what I do if I want my mind to have wind-down time before bed:


Go for a walk in the evening with the kids and watch the sunset


Do some light cardio exercise to reduce stress


Do some simple weight-bearing exercises – i.e. push-ups


Ask my husband for a shoulder or foot-rub


Take a relaxing shower or bath


Pray and read the Bible (for some reason reading the Bible does not stress or tax my mind, but calms it. I believe there is a difference in mental activity between entertainment reading and reading that uplifts spiritually, but I won’t go into depth here or I could write a novel)


Do a foot soak


Have a good, positive conversation with someone


When I see the evening as a connecting and relaxing time – with God, other people, and with the outdoors, I feel refreshed, I sleep better, and I awake with mental clarity and power to think and accomplish things.


I haven’t suffered any loss by avoiding the completion of work and projects at night. I leave it, rest my brain, and then do the hard mental work in the morning.


This (as well as prayer from members of my prayer group) has greatly reduced my anxious thoughts at night, has helped me fall asleep, and has helped me think clearly.

Helpful Anxiety Links

Helpful Talks about Anxiety (from a preventative health point of view):

Neeta Hillman – How to Deal With Anxiety (Neeta is an internal medicine specialist who has struggled with anxiety, and has treated patients with depression and anxiety for years):

Neeta Hillman – The Improvements and Long-term Benefits of Exercise: