Dropping kilo’s without trying….how nice!

Today I had a lovely surprise. It was unexpected but very welcomed – I have now lost a total of 14.5 kgs!!


My original goal was to lose 20 kgs. That would put me at the lower end of the healthy scale for my height, however once I hit the 12kg mark, I
found I was very happy with where I was and have maintained that weight for some time now.


I guess what was so lovely about the extra 2.5 kgs was that I had been sick for many weeks. If you have been following me on my blogs or social
media you would know I’ve been hit with an onslaught of different issues including the flu, intolerance to the antibiotics I was on, allergy
flare ups, sinus infections and generally feeling horrendous!


I have not been diligent about my maintenance program, have taken more “days off” than I was supposed to and have done absolutely stuff all
exercise (or basic moving around for that matter). So, it was with great joy that I jumped on the scales to see that I was dropping kilo’s
without trying….how nice!


It’s funny the things that can make you smile. Even though I am perfectly happy at this current weight, I was still thrilled at having lost more.
Maybe it was because these past few weeks have taken me back to the old days where every day was an ongoing battle with illness. Maybe it is
cause I’m a step closer to my original goal, or maybe I just needed a bit of good news for a change. Whatever, it has reminded me of the need to
be grateful for the little things.


So, today I pledge to try to live in gratitude once again.


Can you list at least 5 things you are grateful for today?


Has anything happened to you recently that just made you smile?

How do I start my food chemical intolerance awareness campaign?

I had a huge response to my blog on starting an awareness campaign for lesser known food chemical intolerance’s. I was so grateful for the support and this generated a burst of enthusiastic energy but I still had a big question….how the hell do I do it?


Firstly, I decided to submit my story to ACA. Great start, but they must get thousands of story submissions, so I am guessing there will be a fair wait until it’s looked at and even then it may not make the cut. This will require some patience and maybe a bit of persistence, so where to from here?


Secondly, I approached the allergy and intolerance unit I attended to give me information about any groups or associations out there that I can join forces with etc.


Of course there is the endless hours I will spend trawling the internet to see what I can find, but that is where my creative juices stop 🙁


Now, I’m a fairly intelligent and spirited person, so if a 9 year old girl by the name of Katie Stagliano from the US can get others inspired to help feed the hungry (and I know about it) then it shouldn’t be that hard right? Plus, it’s not like I want to start a ‘not for profit’ or charity, so there should be some pretty simple ways to go about this, I’m thinking.


So, where to next? That is the question…


That is where you come in!


Have you ever started an awareness campaign, crusade or mini revolution?


Have you promoted your business to groups, committees or associations – what worked for you?


Please share any advice, tips, tricks and tactics to help me on my way.

How do you describe the feeling of depression when it is so hard to comprehend yourself?

I just read the title of an article written by Heather Armstrong from Dooce.com – “I CANT: this is what depression feels like”. I thought that was a pretty good way to sum up a very complex subject in a very succinct and simple way.


I personally don’t remember all that much during the worst times of my dalliance with depression. Considering at a certain point I slept 20 hours a day, I guess there was not much conscious time to remember! But, I do remember just not being able to function and the words “I can’t” repeatedly being howled from my lips. My mind wouldn’t work, I couldn’t remember anything, my muscles wouldn’t work  properly (even a trip to the bathroom was a mission!) and I’d spend the rest of the time watching day time television (cause those were the days of my life) or begging to go back to sleep.


As time progressed and the sleeping hours reduced to 16 hours a day things became very weird. We were trialling a lot of medications with some funky side effects – to this day I believe that some of those side effects still linger, such as my non-existant memory, but they were a necessary evil at that time. I was trying to hold down my job, which was not only very stressful, but with little downtime when you sleep 16 hours a day, there was little fun to be found in a day. Seriously, the only life I had was watching people on TV have a “life”!


I don’t know if it was the day time TV or the copious amounts of red wine I would consume to try to keep myself awake but I started creating little drama’s in my own head and would berate my husband about things that never actually happened. I honestly believed that these “things” had occurred – truly bizarre – and don’t get me started on the late night phone calls and desperate texting. I was extremely lucky to have my husband, some true friends and family around me at that time because it is a very difficult thing to understand if you have not been through it yourself. Even then, whilst you are going through it, you can’t comprehend it yourself.


So how do you explain something like that to other’s around you? When they see you, you seem perfectly fine, maybe sometimes a shell of the person you used to be, but you look OK, talk OK, function OK. What they don’t know or haven’t seen are the never ending days where you can’t function, talk, think or even wake up in my case. Why is it, that where you can, you hide it? Considering it is so prevalent in our society (1 in 4 people will experience it) I don’t understand this, but yet, I tried my best to hide it. At work for a very long time, we kept it secret from my team. Stupid really because worse than ignorance and not understanding is having your team think their Manager couldn’t care less about them and feels it’s OK to take lots of time off, so much so they wonder if you’ll bother to turn up again at all.


People want a cause for your depression and oddly you do yourself. Why can’t the fact that you have a chemical imbalance in your brain suffice? I don’t understand fully why one person has an addictive personality or someone else gets diabetes but I do understand that it is true and accept that. I understand that during menopause, even PMS, the hormones and chemicals can do amazing things to your body physically and mentally, so why cant I get my head around the fact that the chemicals and hormones in my body went ‘whacko’ for a certain time and I needed something to get the balance right like all other diseases?


I honestly do believe that the depression I went through stemmed from my food chemical intolerances. Getting sick all the time with no cause or cure, being made to feel like you were a hypochondriac and being told over again that it’s “in your head”, or “it’s just you” can get to you. Having said that, I am also predisposed to depression due to a family history, yes there were a number of horrid life events happening at the time, but I think when your energy is depleted by the toxins in your system, you have little left to fight with. There are many out there who would say they have been through worse times and didn’t end up in a heap and there are many who went through much less and ended up the same – as I said previously, I don’t know why all smoker’s don’t end up with lung cancer, but some do, some don’t.


So today I continue to live with the ghosts of the past and keeping those food chemical intolerances in check. It is still a struggle to balance your health and other areas of your life when the health side of it takes up so much of your precious time and energy, but I am getting there day by day. I just have to get better at the balancing act on the other areas of life to compensate for the health bit until the health bit becomes just another ball in the air.


If you have lived through depression are you able to articulate what you went through or are living through?


What are the coping mechanisms you use(d) to manage to get on with your life?

Chemical intolerances extend past food, you won’t believe where they turn up

I have decided to go on an awareness crusade!


This idea has been brewing for a while, but my recent illness reignited that flame.


As anyone who has been following me knows, I suffer from a number of chemical intolerances contained in natural foods and additives. I also suffer from allergies, however it is the intolerances that cause the most distress to my health. Intolerances are notoriously hard to diagnose and many people are living with “sickness” that they cannot get diagnosed and this is where my crusade starts. I not only want people to be aware and maybe find a solution to their ongoing illness, but also make it so much easier for those of us who know their intolerances to be able avoid them more effectively.


Recently, I caught the “plague” that has brought down almost everyone I know in Sydney. The problem for me was when I had to resort to antibiotics and just kept getting sicker and more incapacitated. As I always do, when all seems too bleak to cope, I went on a research rampage to figure out what was wrong with me, only to discover that the antibiotic that was supposed to make me well, actually contained Benzoate, which, as you guessed is one of my intolerances. So essentially, I was poisoning my body and getting ridiculously ill as time went on.


So, now that I am on my third course of antibiotics (Benzoate free!) and starting to come out of the fog, it occurred to me that most people are aware of Lactose and Gluten intolerances but the majority are unaware that others exist. Yes, MSG would be a well known one, but other than MSG (621) being added to Chinese food, did you also know Glutamates also occur naturally in tomatoes, spinach and mushrooms?


So how is it that only some of the intolerances are well known and have even created a whole line of products and marketers dreams? Look at preservatives – this has started to become a whole new buzz industry. If you are buying for your child it must be “all natural”, “colour free”, “preservative free” etc. There is a whole new niche market for preservative free wines (thank you God!!) and even bottles of stuff to take out the majority of preservatives in wine (again thank you for small mercies).


That is fantastic and the more awareness the better but what about the others? Have you heard of:


?? Benzoates – it took me 4 pages of information to find that Benzoates were contained in my antibiotic – small print at the very bottom, almost an after thought. It is contained in every cough medicine I can place my hands on and even lemonade, the old wives tale, cannot be tolerated. Another interesting note, when I called up my regular doctor to advise another doctor had placed me on the antibiotic containing Benzoate, she put it through her computer that has software that is supposed to warn them of the allergy/intolerance ingredient in the drug – but it did not appear!! You have to specifically check each and every one with the Chemist and even then read the pamphlet that comes with the medication thoroughly yourself.


?? Sulphites – yep appears in many “drugs” and even dried fruits.


?? Propionates, Sorbates, Nitrates, Amines, Salicicylates


You would know about colour intolerances, particularly in children’s diets (red cordial anyone?) but did you know that Antioxidants (wonder foods) can also be on your list of intolerances?


So my mission is:


  1. To educate people that you could be eating things that are making you sick (yes, even really healthy foods)
  2. To make the other lesser known intolerance chemicals as well known as Gluten and Lactose
  3. Chemical numbers or chemical names be on all medicinal packaging – not just food packaging or contained in the four page leaflet that is not always provided when receiving your prescription
  4. To give people with ongoing and undiagnosed illness some hope or at least another avenue to investigate in their search for a “cure”. These symptoms can present themselves in so many forms. The chemicals can attack your central nervous system so symptoms can show up as migraines, chronic sinus, muscle aches, lethargy, nausea, dizziness, night sweats – separately or all together – and the list goes on.


I may not have a huge following on my blogs at this moment, but I hope with a little help from everyone spreading the word through Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, plus some extra work on my behalf, that I may just get out there to at least one of the millions of people suffering as I have. Making it easier on those of us who know our intolerances but still get caught so often would be an added bonus too.

Choose 2 and get started!

celery and raw nut cheeseAll you need is a step (one recipe), then another (tip or suggestion). We allow ourselves to get overwhelmed trying to do too much and end up doing nothing.

Raw ‘n’ Tasty recipes, tips and suggestions for Everyday raw is full of easy to implement daily ideas. Choose one and give it a go, set yourself a target of one per week – feel the benefits and enjoy a sense of accomplishment. Enjoy!


Preventing illness….what I have learned

I put the call out and you answered…..so what did I learn about illness prevention?


Firstly, disinfecting surfaces and obsessively cleaning hands may stave off conjunctivitis, but it is rather useless when it comes to colds and flu. Short of spraying Glen 20 each time someone speaks to kill off the airborne particles, you just can’t stop the bug from spreading. You can however top up your immune system with multivitamins, echinacea and olive leaf extract.


Trying to go cold turkey from 1000 odd kisses and hugs a day with your child is just not on!! Hugs and kisses must continue as they are addictive and cannot be lived without.


I am happy to say, that as I always knew, it would seem alcohol really is a cure all. Alas I am unable to drink Bourbon and Coke anymore (believe it or not the coke has a preservative in it that I can’t tolerate, the Bourbon is perfectly fine to consume) but I am more than happy to try Drambuie for medicinal purposes of course. Add a little fairy dust and a magic wand and she’ll be right mate .


Lastly, I must be thankful that my gorgeous boy rarely ever gets sick and I should just “suck it up” and have a drink!!!

Until next time, stay happy and healthy.


What are your secret illness prevention tools?

This past week has been a tad lacklustre. The long weekend was spent holed up inside whilst the rain pelted down and our little darling fell sick – a sickness he very generously passed on to me. Now, I did everything to stop the spread of germs throughout the household. My illness prevention tools included disinfecting everything that was touched, following the little munchkin around with antibacterial wipes, teaching him to cough into his arm and even tried Vicks on our feet!


I personally ate soup super powered with that much chilli and curry it would knock the socks off a fiery Indian dish, washed my hands till they were peeling and when it finally struck took to rest and fluids (admittedly there were a few Gin’s in there – but alcohol is a ‘cure all’ anyway right??). But this was all to no avail as it has crash landed on my chest and my throat is so swollen I can barely swallow.


There was one small thing that I was unable to avoid and that is my compulsion for “huggles” and “kissies” – how can you not shower your poor sickly child with too much love? Air kissing and stroking of the forehead were road tested but it’s a little difficult to change the rules for mornings (when coming into our room you must wake us with a big hug and kiss rather than shouting, otherwise you are not allowed onto the bed to play hiding from the Monsters). Plus it’s so bloody dark at the moment that you do not know what is being swiped or drooled across your face.


So with all best of intentions, I lucked out and from the look of my Facebook page, there is little sleep and lots of viruses doing the rounds at the moment. I’m guessing most people are feeling as crappy as I, but for those of you who have avoided it, I beg of you – PLEASE share your illness prevention secrets!!

Balance your life and accept help, it’s OK!

So a friend of mine was cooking some muffins – yes the items in the attached picture are muffins, what did you think they were?


These little gems prompted me to think about how things have a way of going awry and how irritated I get when people pretend that life is perfect when you know it not to be true. Don’t they know that it is our imperfections that make us likable?


Yep, this picture gave me a “big belly laugh” and reminded me that if it wasn’t for life’s little failures, we wouldn’t be the fabulously flawed people we are. It’s these less than perfect moments that allow us to connect, have a chuckle and draw on the support and comfort that others can provide.


So why is it that people pretend that all is in hand and even in some cases appear to be offended because I accept the support and help that is offered to me? Are they annoyed that I have a bigger support network, that I seem (yeah right!) to have an easier time of it, or is it jealousy because I am on a mission to achieve my dream lifestyle? Or is it more to do with their own inadequacies – do they feel that they may appear to be needy, weak or even lazy? Maybe they feel like a failure, just don’t want to bother anyone or worse feel they’re not worthy of any help….


When I offer help to others, it is my way of showing love. In some cases it can be selfish (I like the feeling of being needed) but mostly it is about giving back, sharing experiences and making a difference in someones life. So I like to believe that by accepting an offer of help then I am accepting their love into my life too.


Balance is not about appearing to be perfect. If you are “faking it till you make it” that’s cool and can be a very useful tool in the right situation, but you also need to be true to yourself and open up to the possibilities that can come with accepting a little help from your friends.


Whether you need help with caring for your child, cleaning the house, cooking muffins for your kids school fete – if you can get assistance paid or otherwise, take it and start concentrating on the things that matter in life – your health, family and friends.


Why doesn’t everybody accept the help and generosity of others? If you want to achieve balance in your life then you may need to get over it. When I started to get sick ALL THE TIME, getting things done was extremely difficult. It took every ounce of strength to get through a day let alone get through the things that needed to be done – I didn’t have much choice in accepting help and it turned out to be a fabulous lesson.


So I say, when offered help, accept it. You can achieve balance with a great team around you, but you will not if you go it alone. Anyway, what a lonely path to tread.


What do your friends and family help you out with that you are so grateful for?


Children and Grief: The effects still linger

Today is my brothers birthday. He would have been 58. Who would have thought 34 years later, it would still bring me to tears.
Robbie died when I was only 7. He was the first in a long line of such experiences in my life. “They” (Psychologists, Psychiatrists, Counsellors etc.) tell me that this was probably where my anxiety issues and depression episodes stem from.

When you are 7, you are starting to get a grasp on the finality of death. This is a headspace no kid should be in. I thought I could wish it away and if I could made a deal with God that he’d reverse his decision. I also took on the assumption of guilt having made a wish in the past to take away pain from someone and moving it on to another person – was that pain transferred to Robbie upon my request?

There was a significant change and impact on my world. Everything as I knew it had changed. I had never seen my mother or father cry. I had never felt these overwhelming  and intense emotions – panic, fear, emptiness, confusion, desperation. And there was that never ending question of why? I was to be separated for eternity from someone I love, how do you comprehend this? I still struggle with the concept even though I know the world to be transient and believe it is only the physical presence that is lost.

We strive as parents to give our children a safe and secure environment with the intention of instilling a confident, self assured and assertive personality. In one fell swoop death can take this away if we don’t take charge. In my case, I internalised all my thoughts and questions. I didn’t want to hurt my parents by bringing up something so painful, so I stayed away from the topic when I needed to speak. I created my own misconceptions and theories about death, which did not necessarily arm me well for the onslaught of loss that was to follow. In short, I didn’t make it easy for my family to help me through and didn’t deal with it well at all.

What would I do to help that 7 year old if I could go back? I think I would focus on three main areas:

  1. encouraging talk and questions
  2. creating keepsakes and constructing memories
  3. reminiscing and checking in over time

What do I do to help the 41 year old who still crumbles whenever death is experienced by a close friend? Well, today I could focus on the horrific way he died, the years we’ve lost or just how bloody unfair life can be…. BUT I choose to focus on the gratitude I feel for having known him and how lucky I was to have spent 7 wonderful years with my loving, doting brother.

I have a number of friends struggling with their grief at this moment in time. Please share with us your coping strategies and how you help your children through. 

Good night my brother, you are forever in my heart. Rest in Peace.

For further blogs see: www.takechargenow.com.au/blog/


4 Useful Travel Resources

Have you ever stopped to consider how technology has impacted our lives, especially the way that we travel?  The information that we have at our fingertips via the internet not only make our travels easier, more comfortable and enjoyable, it can also help keep us safe. But did you REALLY know just how much is available out there for the frequent traveler? Here are  four useful travel sites and resources that I have come across:

iTranslate: iTranslate is a universal translator for your iPhone that translates words, phrases and text into over 50 languages.  http://www.apple.com/webapps/productivity/itranslate.html

SeatGuru: Run by Trip Advisor, SeatGuru is the ultimate source for airplane seating, in-flight amenities, and airline information. This website features aircraft seat maps, seat reviews, and a colour-coded system to identify superior and substandard airline seats. http://www.seatguru.com/

MileBlaster: MileBlaster frequent flyer miles and points tracker is the ultimate frequent flier tool. It’s available for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch as well as on the web. https://www.mileblaster.com/

FlightAware.com: A useful site for the frequent business traveler, FlightAware provides live Tracking Maps, Flight Status, and Airport Delays for airline flights, private/GA flights, and airports all over the world. http://flightaware.com/

For further travel advice and resources, visit us at www.juliewarnertravelplans.com

Happy Travels


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