RSS

Author Archives: sallyinthehaven

‘Avoid fruit and nuts. You are what you eat.’ Jim Davis.

Although I do still partake of the odd nut or two (love me some macadamias) I realised this week that it is almost a year now since I touched a piece of fruit.  I was never a big fruit eater to begin with (although I don’t recall ever turning down a slice of apple pie or a rhubarb tart) but since I started following a ketogenic lifestyle the world of fruit has become virtually non-existent for me.

But ‘why? why?’ you might ask.  ‘Fruit is good for us—right?’  Well, yes . . . and no . . .

For those of you who have never heard of ketogenics (which, for the record, excludes anyone within earshot of me) here’s my understanding of it (vastly oversimplified, and should NOT be considered medical advice).  The human body uses three energy sources to keep it moving: carbohydrates (sugars and starches), protein and fats.  We will also burn through those energy sources in that order.  (Your body will always burn the carbs first and the fat last.)  The ketogenic diet is a very low-carb, high-fat diet which involves drastically reducing your carbohydrate intake while at the same time replacing it with foods high in fat.  This reduction in carbs puts your body into a metabolic state called ketosis.  When this happens, your body, having no sugar left to burn is forced to burn the fat.

(Eat fat to lose fat?  Sounds crazy right?  I thought so too.  But I gave it a go and a year later I’m fitter, healthier and slimmer than I have ever been.  All I can say is—don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it . . . )

How do you drastically cut down on carbs?  It’s surprisingly easy when you know the rules (click here for more info if you’re interested and hear from the real experts)—but the one thing that does seem to horrify people most (apart from telling people they should be eating MORE fat of course) is when I tell them they should be careful about their fruit intake.  Why?  Because most fruits contain a surprising amount of carbs, mostly in the form of sugar.   For instance, a medium-sized apple (150 grams) may contain as much as 18 grams of carbs, which is almost a full day’s allowance of carbs if you are eating strictly ketogenic (keeping under 20gms of carbs per day).

(Disclaimer:  Before I start to sound all holier-than-thou I am decidedly NOT strictly ketogenic!! I adhere to the ‘lazy-keto’ lifestyle and try to stay under 50gms of carbs a day.  One must always leave room for a little dark chocolate and a sneaky drop of red at the end of a long day.  Priorities, people—priorities!)

And I admit I feel slightly vindicated this week after reading a story which would seem to indicate that eating too much fruit is not only a problem for people.  An article in the Melbourne Age outlined the effect fruit-heavy diets were also having on some of the animals at Melbourne zoo.

Animals like fruit for the same reasons we do (it’s sweet and it tastes good) and so many animals (especially primates) will selectively choose to eat the fruit in the meals they are given and simply ignore the rest.  This has become such an issue that zookeepers have apparently had to wean their animals off fruit because it has been making them fat and rotting their teeth!   Dr Michael Lynch, the zoo’s head vet stated, “The issue is that cultivated fruits have been genetically modified to be much higher in sugar content than their natural, ancestral fruits.”  Because of this the zoo has now switched their animals’ diets towards leafy green vegetables and pellets packed with vitamins and minerals.  Zoo photos of meal times with monkeys enjoying bananas may soon be a thing of the past.

Now before all the fruit growers of the world (or any other avid fruit-lover for that matter) get ready to come after me with their big sticks, I am not saying that no-one (man or beast) should ever eat fruit again.  All I am saying is we should perhaps be slightly more selective about the type of fruit we eat—and how much of it we eat.  Sugar is a sneaky bastard.  He’ll get inside you anyway he can . . .

 
2 Comments

Posted by on October 12, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

“Sometimes,’ said Pooh, ‘the smallest things take up the most room in your heart.” A.A. Milne.

Stories from my Sketchbook . . .

I recently saw the new movie ‘Christopher Robin’.  It was (perhaps predictably) very sweet (although not sickly sweet enough as to cause a sugar coma) and, as an early and adoring reader of A.A Milne (especially the poems . . . ‘I found a little beetle; so that Beetle was his name . . . ‘) evoked nostalgic memories of happy times I spent along with C.R. and his friends on their many rambling adventures around the Hundred Acre Wood . . .

Now I know that movies are movies and real life is real life and movies (more often than not) take diabolical liberties with the truth (the real Christopher Robin was probably turning in his grave) but the one thing I especially liked about this movie was that all the little critters actually looked like the real toys I had always imagined them to be, rather than the prettied up Disney versions that have so eclipsed E.H. Shepard’s wonderful original drawings.

Pooh and Piglet and Tigger and Eeyore (‘ . . . it’s not much of a tail but I’m sort of attached to it . . . ‘)  were all a little careworn and grubby and frayed around the edges—just as any much-loved childhood toy should be.

Below is (most obviously, I hope) not a sketch of that most beloved and humble Winnie.  It is, however, a sketch of another bear who carries the same telltale scars of being on the receiving end of a lifetime of deep love and devotion . . .

 
1 Comment

Posted by on September 28, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

‘Pink isn’t just a color, it’s an attitude!’ Miley Cyrus.

Stories from my Sketchbook  . . .

When I pulled into my driveway a couple of days ago I was greeted by a largeand extremely rowdyflock of pink and gray galahs foraging for their supper on my front lawn.  I am not sure whether they had been rowdy for as long as they had been there, or whether they just became so when I drove in, but they certainly weren’t backwards in coming forwards in venting their feelings about my untimely intrusion  . . .

I think that is one of reasons I like them so much.  I love critters with ‘attitude’ (as if you hadn’t guessed) and galahs really have that.  In spades.

Being mostly pink just kicks things up another notch . . .

 
8 Comments

Posted by on September 21, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

‘Never have more children than you have car windows.’ Erma Bombeck.

I think Erma Bombeck is being rather optimistic here, implying at least some form of orderly conduct is possible as long as each child has a window of their own.  Then again, I imagine she was probably also talking about children of the two-legged variety, rather than those of the fourlegged persuasion.  Anyone who has ever had more than one dog in a car at any given time will know that, no matter how many available windows there might be, every dog will be absolutely desperate to look out of the exact same one . . .

Adding to the general car-chaos in my household is the fact that none of my girls actually like being in the car in the first place.  Even when I do get a day when it appears they have all decided to be good and are happy, smiling and sitting nicely, I can almost guarantee that before we are even out of the driveway they will have somehow managed to transform themselves into a confused and tangled little mass of collars, leads, legs and grumbly, snappy little faces.

(And if (God help me) one of them also gleans that we might actually be on the way to the v.e.t. instead of the beach, any hope of establishing the slightest modicum of doggy-decorum immediately flies out of the very same window they are all still arguing about . . . )

And the fun doesn’t stop there.  By the time we eventually arrive at our destination all three of them will have wound themselves up into such a frenzied state that I will need all my wits about me to get them out of the car again.

I know that as soon as I open the car door Maudie will make her break for freedomand she is fast!!  I have to make myself as large as possible in the doorway and make sure I have her leash well in hand before I allow her any space to move at all.  (Still being clipped in to her seatbelt has never been an issue when trying to escape the car . . . )

While attempting to wrangle Maudie I will also be watching Molly as she is always an accident waiting to happen.  Molly is somewhat clumsy on her feet these days (and a tad portly to boot) and if she were to jump from the car without my help she would be more than likely break whatever leg she landed on first or even completely forget to put her legs under her at all and bellyflop hard on to the ground.  (She’s knocked all the wind out of herself one more than one occasion!)  She is also a slippery little sucker when she doesn’t want to be caught . . .

And, of course, by the time I have cornered Molly and placed her gently on the ground next to Maudie, I am likely to find that Maudie is, actually, no longer where I thought she was.  Somehow she has managed to get herself back inside the car again (why?  why?) and is now hiding beside her sister Mabel, who has positioned herself (immovable as a rock) as far away from me as she possibly can, having obviously decided that no matter how much she hates the car whatever is outside is much, much worse.  Sigh.

I’ve been considering for a while now what best to do about the situation.  Apart from never (ever ever)  taking the girls in the car again which, unfortunately, isn’t really feasible, I’ve decided that something similar to the option below might be the way to go.

I’m not quite sure about the legal ramifications though . . .

 
11 Comments

Posted by on September 14, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , ,

‘Perfect is the enemy of good.’ Volatire.

Stories from my Sketchbook . . .

One of the (many) issues I have when sketching is knowing when to stop.  If I am not entirely happy with where my sketch is going (and, let’s face it, I rarely am) I will inevitably end up tinkering and fussing with it, ad nauseam, in a vain attempt to ‘get it right’.  Of course I never do get it right and, quite often, I make it worse . . .

Last month, in an attempt to get over myself in this regard, I took a short online Sktchy course called ‘Make Your Mark’ run by artist Joan Martin.   The course appealed to me because I was told I would be using materials and techniques I had probably not used before and this would, hopefully, force my work to become looser and more expressive.  It would also, I was promised, teach me to learn to accept the limitations of the materials I was using, and become more creative with my ‘mistakes’.

And, as far as I am concerned, the course delivered on its promises.  Although I did use some materials I had used before (paints, inks, pencils etc ) I also used them in ways I hadn’t tried before.  For instance, I have sketched with biros quite often but I had never sketched with a great big fat marker pen in one hand and a biro in the other—using both hands at the same time!  That was trippy.  It just about did my head in and the results were somewhat bizarre to say the least!  In other exercises I moved paint around with the edges of credit cards or torn up cardboard and I painted with pipettes and feathers and string.  I even used candle wax . . .

The sketch below began as an exercise where we were asked to scrub an ordinary white wax candle randomly across our paper.  This formed a barrier of resistance (in varying degrees) across the page—and consequently did really weird things with the graphite and pens I tried to use over the top of it.  (I nearly wore a hole in the paper trying to get doggo’s nose right!)  However, as promised, it also produced some really cool, unexpected results . . .

Was I entirely happy with all (any?) of the sketches I produced while working my way through this course? Not even close (some of them were just plain awful) but there’s no denying I learned a lot.  And it was fun to try out some new techniques and materials.   I feel I’ve become a tad more adventurous and a little more accepting of my own abilities.

As to that ‘knowing when to stop’ issue—well, I’m still working on that.  Perhaps this old dog and I can teach each other a few new tricks  . . .

 
7 Comments

Posted by on September 7, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , ,

‘I see procrastination and research as part of my artistic process.’ Lynn Nottage.

I have today gifted myself the title of ‘Supreme Procrastinator Extraordinaire’.  It’s a heady achievement (even if I do say so myself) and one I have been working towards for quite some time.  I think it’s a title I fully deserve.  I’ve earned it.

As you may recall, back (way, way back) in April I decided I was going to take a bit of a break from writing this blog.  I needed a little rest to recharge my batteries.  ‘It’s all good,’ I told myself.  ‘I’ll take a month off and I’ll write a bit and I’ll sketch a bit andwho knows?maybe I’ll even manage to get ahead of myself!  I’ll make a plan and do some research and get some stories written and some sketches sketched and I’ll make my own little treasure trove that I can delve into whenever I am caught short (for want of a better phrase).  That way I won’t be constantly running around at the last minute, glassy-eyed and desperate, babbling to myself that I have nothing to offer when  ‘OMG! It’s time to upload my next post . . . ‘

‘Man plansGod laughs.’  Isn’t that how the saying goes?

April quickly became May . . . and, although I was very well aware I hadn’t actually written anything, I could console myself with the fact that I was still actively mulling over several ideas.  (Can one ‘actively’ mull, I wonder?) 

Anyway, quite unexpectedly (as I’m sure it’s never happened before) May rapidly became June.  I admit I got majorly sidetracked here (Nordic Noir is seriously addictive) and then, all of a sudden it was July and things got really frantic at work and I found I had no headspace for anything else (at least that’s my story and I’m sticking to it) and then . . . well, here we are . . . it’s August—and late August at that—and I am finally forced to take stock.

So how did my little blog hiatus work for me?  Am I fully rested, restored and my batteries now fully recharged?  Ask me again when I am finally rid of this nasty cough I recently picked up.

Do I have that nice little treasure trove of literary and artistic goodies I so carefully planned for and promised myself?  Not so as you would notice.

Do I at least have a list of ideas for posts and sketches for the coming months ahead?  Well, not a ‘list’ as such—possibly a couple of crumpled and torn post-it notes silently gathering dust in odd places around the house.

Have I written anything at all over the last 4 months.  A draft?  A paragraph?  A line?  Ummmmmm . . .    Sigh.

Okay, that’s it.  I surrender.  I concede.  I admit defeat.  As much as it vexes me to admit it, I obviously need a deadline . . . any deadline . . . in order to get anything (creatively at least) done in my life.

So consider this fair warning!  I am turning over a new leaf—starting today!  You will be pleased to hear (I hope!) that as of right now I am head-down-bum-up-neck-deep in the throes of researching and investigating the very best way to set myself an air-tight, water-tight, every-other-kind-of-tight, no-wiggle-room, cross-my-heart-and-hope-to-die deadline for my very next post!

 

 
8 Comments

Posted by on August 31, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , ,

‘I bought some batteries, but they weren’t included.’ Steven Wright.

Hi allJust a quick note to say that I am going to take a bit of a break from writing for a while.

I haven’t quite decided how long I will be gone but I do feel the need to recharge my creative batteries and it feels like now is a good time to take a pause.  I’ve decided to enrol in a couple of online art classes and am looking forward to immersing myself fully in them.  Perhaps shifting my focus will kick start me toward a whole new directionI might even have something interesting to say upon my return!  (One can but hope!)

Thank you all so much for following (and encouraging) my posts thus far over the last couple of years Blogging has opened up a whole new world for me and I’ve met a lot of fabulous people I would not otherwise have come across.   During my hiatus I am going to actively make more time to follow and comment on all your lovely blogs instead of just stressing myself about my own!!

So take care, and see you all again soon . . .  ish . . .

Sally, Mabel, Maude and Molly.  XX

 
10 Comments

Posted by on April 20, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , ,

 
%d bloggers like this: