Lessons Learned and Imperfect Me (another wordy post!)

by Laura Agar Wilson on 26/02/2013

in self reflection

Here’s another lengthy wordy post for you with some of the thoughts that have been bouncing around in my head lately! As usual this will be of interest to some of you and boring as hell for others ;-) I do talk about my relationship with food and if you feel this will affect you negatively then maybe don’t read this. If you are a new reader and wanting to catch up then these posts help to put some of this stuff into context.

Photo 03-02-2013 08 26 02Go get yourself a cuppa as this is a monster post!

First things first I just wanted to clear something up, for my own sake really, on writing this blog and what I’m sharing here with you…

When I write this blog my desire is to share with you my journey trying to become my version of healthy. I’m not writing this to tell you what you should or shouldn’t eat or to start eating as I do. I live my life and I share it. I do also try and share interesting information that I think might be useful but I believe that you all have a mind of your own and can take the bits that are relevant and useful for you and leave the rest, with tolerance and understanding, as I tend to do with other blogs :-)

Of course I hope to inspire others in various ways, but I’m not writing this blog as a doctor or a nutritionist or anything other than the imperfect ‘me’. I’m always going to be learning. I am a health coach, but that is something very separate from what I share here, my clients would tell you that I work with them in a highly individualised way, I don’t recommend that they all start adding coconut oil or butter to their coffee for example ;-)

I just wanted that to be clear before I go on. I’m not trying to shirk my responsibility or accountability, but if I ever feel like I can no longer ‘be me’ on Keeping Healthy Getting Stylish for fear of readers not liking what I put out there for whatever reason then this whole thing becomes rather fake and pointless. I do enjoy comments that challenge me to examine my behaviours and beliefs in a respectful way, so do keep em coming!

*edited to add* – I received a lovely comment from a reader yesterday explaining that she was veggie and was finding me posting about steaks and bone broths a bit alienating and also asking why I went veggie back then, for health or because I loved animals. I thought I’d share my response here:

‘When I went veggie it was a mix of the health related stuff, the ethics and the environmental side of things too. However, I will plainly admit that I put my own health above the other two things, and when that started going wrong, then it prompted me to start eating animal foods again. I also feel that my understanding of food and where it comes from has evolved, I think that mass production of meat is cruel to a horrid degree, so I try my best to eat organic and local as much as possible, but I know that of course animals are still harmed and killed. I read something the other day that has stayed with me – nature is violent and we are a part of that cycle, the best I feel I can do for my health, while still trying to do what I can, is value the lives of the animals that are nourishing me by using as much of them as possible (e.g bone broths) and getting them from the most humane sources. I never preached about ethics when I was a veggie because I truly believe we all have to follow our own paths. I am aware that I may be alienating a lot of my readers, but as I will say in my post tomorrow I can only be ‘imperfect me’. Hope that helps answer your question, I enjoy it when people ask things that might be difficult for me to respond to but it helps me take a hard look at myself and sometimes that is good :-)’

I think its fairly obvious that there has been some big changes in the foods I’m eating. When I started this blog I was an omnivore eating fairly high protein (as that was what had helped me lose some of the weight before I even knew what a blog was!) then I became veggie, vegan, then back to veggie, then back to omnivore and at the moment I’m rather a ‘high fat’ omnivore. What an adventure that has been! Just a reminder that the main issue (amongst various others) that made me return to eating animal products is that I believe I have hypothalamic amenorrhea. That is also the drive behind a lot of the way I am eating now including plenty of fats (including saturated!), very little soy and nutrient dense foods like bone broths and organ meats.

I’ve learned a lot about myself which I will come on to in a moment, but first of all I wanted to talk about some of the changes I’ve experienced since I started eating more animal products and more fat, and well, a whole lot more in general!

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My hair and skin

I’ve noticed some big changes in my hair and skin, since late last year my hair has become a lot thicker and I have visible new hair growth! I’ve always had fine hair, so this is wonderful even if its a bit difficult to style properly at the moment! With my skin, my face is doing really well. I think I had started to look quite ‘grey’ but now I feel that my face is a lot more glowing. On the negative side my keratosis pilaris has worsened on my arms which is frustrating, especially as vitamin A is suppose to help with this condition and I’ve been eating plenty of liver! (got a big post in the pipeline all about skin care as a few of you have requested this!)

My sleep

This is one thing that has clearly improved since I started eating more high fat / animal products as well as using a light alarm clock. Even just since the start of the month I have seen a dramatic improvement in the quality of my sleep. I used to wake up in the middle of the night and not be able to get back to sleep but now I’m getting 8 hours solid, deep, blissfully unbroken sleep. I’m just starting to appreciate the impact of sleep on health so I’m very glad this has improved so much.

My digestion

My digestion has improved a lot. I never really noticed the bloating I would get – usually mid afternoon – until it stopped. I’m not having to go to the bathroom several times a day any more either (I was almost too regular if you know what I mean). Digestion seems to be pretty good!

My energy levels

My energy still tends to be up and down. I started eating more like 3 times a day (with evening meal and dessert eaten at the same time) and that was working well but I’ve started to have more of a pronounced energy dip in the afternoon so I think I need to experiment and try reducing morning coffee, eating more at lunch time or make time for an afternoon snack again.

My hormones

Still no periods. I had some blood work done this month, and after taking to the nurse I had believed that my hormones were now normal, however I dug deeper, talked to the doctor and I’m not quite there yet. Last year certain hormones were low, and all of them have improved but my LH levels are still low – very much a typical HA hormonal profile. I had a good talk to my doctor and really I know I just need to be patient now. PCOS, early menopause and other reasons for this have been ruled out, so I feel that if I keep my weight stable, don’t stress my body out with more exercise and continue to work on handling stress, I’ll be ok :-) I’m also excited to be starting acupuncture this week!

My weight

I am the heaviest I have been since I started writing the blog. Still 4 stone (56lbs) down on my highest but 2 stone (28lbs) up on my lowest. I try not to worry myself about the number, I’m still happy with what I see in the mirror and I feel like this is a much more natural weight for me than I once was. I’m not losing weight eating this way, very much the opposite! As someone that has always been on the bigger side I just think I’m designed to be curvier. I do struggle with the occasional ‘fat days’ but I have stopped comparing myself to others – whether that’s models, random people on Pinterest or even other bloggers. Now that I don’t even see a skinnier body as an option for me any more, I don’t feel that urge to lose weight. Once my hormones are back to normal I’m looking forward to being able to exercise more intensely and I’ll probably drop a couple of pounds, but I’ve learned my lesson. I will definitely never make the same mistakes again and allow myself to become under nourished and over exercised!

Exercise

Total exercise per week is about 4 – 5 hours with no strenuous activity as part of that. I’m doing strength training (roughly using the plans in LiveFit to give me some structure) a tiny bit of very light cardio on the gym machines, yoga and walking. I’m bloody loving my exercise at the moment! I don’t think I’d have a lot of time to do much more than that anyway. It’s just enough to stop me from going round the bend and keeping some tone in my muscles.

Photo 03-09-2012 19 54 58

I’m not attributing all of these changes, positive and negative to eating more animal products or fats, or suggesting that my former vegan diet was to blame for any problems that came before. Some of the problems I did have like feeling cold all the time were probably more due to being under nourished. Likewise some of the positives I have experienced could just as likely be as a result of a higher calorie intake irrelevant of the source.

All I can say right now is that I’m feeling good about how I’m eating. I’m not specifically avoiding grains and beans, its more that I’m enjoying other foods right now and as far as dense sources of carbs go I’d rather eat squash and sweet potatoes than rice! I am still loving full fat dairy and I’m excited to try raw dairy shortly. Most of the animal products I am eating are the best I can afford – locally sourced from the farm shop or organic.

Photo 10-02-2013 09 50 47

The bottom line for me whether you are high raw,  gluten free, vegan, vegetarian, paleo, primal or whatever way you chose to label or not label your diet, is eating whole real foods as much as possible. I’m not completely anti processed food, I think we have to be realistic and some processed food can healthily be part of a mostly whole foods diet – plus what would life be like without pizza and cake? It just depends on the individual, and as I have said many, many times before – find your version of healthy!

Through all of this I have learned a lot about myself, for example I am definitely an all or nothing person. I do strive for balance but that will always be a struggle for me so I can either fight it, or use it to my advantage. I also love learning about health and nutrition and experimenting and expressing that learning through my own diet. This blog is about my adventures with food, and it really is just that, an adventure! How I eat is probably always going to be an expression of things I am learning about, from the books, blogs and of course the more academic stuff I’ve been reading while studying. What I do need to be mindful of is not allowing my all or nothing nature to take things to unhealthy extremes. I also need to continue to question the information I read and expose myself to, pulling it apart and seeing which bits make sense for me as an individual and which aspects work for my body. I feel I am getting better at this!

I just want to be as healthy and happy as possible and I guess that is why I’m always reading and researching new perspectives. Right now I’m just going with the flow, happily experimenting with new foods and hoping that my body is going to heal itself as a result!

What have you learned about yourself recently? What influences the way you eat?

{ 64 comments… read them below or add one }

Alex February 26, 2013 at 10:24 am

A great post, Laura. Your posts on this topic are always very honest and a pleasure to read, I for one love seeing bloggers being true to themselves and writing about what affects them, there are too many ‘pr-focussed’ blogs out there; I admire that you want to keep yours real to your life.

It’s all a great learning curve, and you’re doing great on your journey, listening to your own body is very rewarding and satisfying.

It’s hard not to get dragged into being like others in the blog world, but I find if I stick to my own path and goals I feel a lot happier in myself and that when I do acheive something I know I’ve done it the right way and for my own good.
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Laura February 27, 2013 at 6:59 pm

Thanks Alex, that means a lot! You are definitely right, it is a huge learning curve and I think all you can do is follow your own path :-)

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Sarah February 26, 2013 at 10:31 am

Great post, you very eloquently write about what I think one of the main problems of blogging is – being seen as some sort of expert, while really we’re only sharing our experiences. I can relate to most of what you say and I’m still trying to find balance while dealing with health problems. I still have days when I don’t feel good about the way I look, but feeling so tired has made me realise that I value energy and a sharp mind more than a slim body.
This may sound dumb, but I’m only just coming around to truly believing that if you eat right, move a bit and treat your body well you will be a healthy weight (hormonal issues etc. aside) … it just might not be the weight you imagined being. I’ve known this for a while, but my body is giving me a lesson in believing it.
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Laura February 27, 2013 at 7:00 pm

Thanks Sarah, I think you are very right about finding that healthy weight, whether its what you hoped it would be is another matter! Glad that your body is giving you that lesson :-)

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Jemma February 26, 2013 at 10:35 am

Love this post! It’s interesting how we evolve and our relationship with food changes. I’m loving my food right now and for the first time in a long time I’m feeling nourished and super healthy. I don’t feel guilty about what I eat anymore or try and be restrictive. I’ve always advocated a healthy balance and obviously this is going to be interpreted differently for each individual. Taking the good with the bad is the spice of life as life would be boring without cupcakes! This more relaxed attitude that I have towards diet and fitness has helped wonders with my positivity. I don’t feel bad if I’ve not eating a certain way or haven’t worked out for 2 hours at a time. Obviously this approach will not suit everyone and why should it. However it’s working for me a d that’s what I need right now. I’ve come to realise that it’s ok not to be perfect and life has become a lot less stressful. I’m so happy that you are doing so well and reaping the rewards as a result! X
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Laura February 27, 2013 at 7:02 pm

Thanks Jemma, you are definitely right that different approaches work for different people. Glad that your positivity has been improved with a more liberal approach to food!

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Jess February 26, 2013 at 10:47 am

Well, I am definitely not a fan of the whole vegan transition that has swept the blog world because most of the bloggers involved were very forward about the ‘ethics’ behind their decision. Also, the swing seems way too extreme to me – from no meat to multiple servings a day, plus lots of eggs, plus avocado and coconut oil when the jury really is still out on the saturated fat issue. Sure, some studies suggest that it’s not as bad as we first believed but the official stance is that more research needs to be done. I’m not saying we should all go back to the panic and horror associated with such fats that characterised the 90s and early 2000s but at the same time I don’t think it’s right to see bacon as the panacea for all ills.

That said, I don’t include you in the cavalcade of hypocritical bloggers all jumping on the butter bandwagon because you’ve always been open and honest about wanting and needing to experiment with your diet. Ironically, I remember you getting many quite aggressive comments saying how much you’d alienated people by going vegan and drinking green smoothies! So apparently you can’t win. Possibly the readers who came to your blog in the early days of your weight loss will enjoy your current stance, whereas those who read during the veggie/vegan period may not be so comfortable. I don’t have an opinion on that because I started reading your blog about two months before you went vegan, and the blogs I read (not hate-read…those have another criteria entirely…) I am generally drawn to because of the person behind them; the author’s personality, rather than their particular diet. I’m not bothered by talking about meat/showing it in meal photos or whatever – my parents are omnis and really I think it’s being slightly precious to have a pop at someone *just* for displaying a current diet that is not in line with your personal beliefs. I think you were always honest about your reasons for not being vegan on the blog, and I appreciate that you’ve never been openly anti-vegan in your current posts, as so many bloggers have (if I hear one more ‘OMG, veganism made me fat’ post I will scream).

I have keratosis pilaris too by the way – I’d never noticed it on you! Mine’s related to my eczema and I don’t know that vitamin A would be a cure because even before you were eating meat you probably got more than enough from pumpkin/squash/carrots etc. I’ve tried SO many supplements and creams to get rid of mine but nothing has worked :( I had it very severely all over my face as a teenager though so I have to be greatful for small mercies.

Most of the way I eat is influenced by trying to avoid bingeing at all costs. However, it doesn’t work for me because all the volume I try to cram in with lower calorie foods wrecks my stomach – I’ve had to go back on the steroids again because I can’t manage my diet properly. It makes me so sad and angry – if I couldn’t stop eating badly to lose weight you’d think I’d be able to on the basis of avoiding being on meds for the rest of my life, but no. I just have a moral sense that eating meat/dairy is wrong, and I have done since I was seven years old…really it’s bothered me since I was five and went to a working farm with my school. The idea of eating those animals made me so upset…I’ve tried eating meat on the basis of losing weight/copying another blogger twice and I lasted a few days only because I couldn’t stand the guilt and despair of having to eat it. I do wish I could find some way of eating that works for me though, so I could be medication-free and have a normal digestive pattern – the phrase ‘too regular’ is an understatement for me (sorry, TMI…)

Anyway, I think so long as someone is honest about their intentions then whatever diet they are following isn’t really a subject for judgement. If someone is deceptive or suddenly changes their views without explanation, though, then it’s a different matter entirely.

xxx

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Laura February 27, 2013 at 7:07 pm

Thank you so much for all of this Jess, it has made me feel a lot better about the whole thing! You are right about me getting flack when I went vegan, I definitely can’t win ;-) but I think its more that for many people, eating in a certain way comes across as ‘extreme’ to them – and that’s fine, we all have different believes and understandings when it comes to food. I really admire people like you and Emma (Quirky Kitchen) that have been veggie / vegan for so long. I think you are good examples of how it can be great if it suits your body and matches your ethics. The keratosis isn’t that bad, its just that I’ve noticed it worsening over the last few months but I think it may be the time of year and be being a bit lazy with moisturising!

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Jamie Gibbs February 26, 2013 at 10:56 am

Well said, Laura. I’ve never considered going vegetarian, but I do my best to stay away from mass produced meat and go for stuff that’s local. Like you, I try to ‘use all of the buffalo’ to make sure that as little of the animal as possible is wasted.

It’s awesome to read about all the benefits that you’re getting from the changes you’re making too :) I need to try one of those light alarms too.

Jamie
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Laura February 27, 2013 at 7:08 pm

Thanks Jamie! I think local meat helps to avoid the horse meat issue as well! ;-)

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Hiba February 26, 2013 at 11:21 am

Hi Laura
Thank you for your honesty, I could relate to much of what you wrote.

Since studying at IIN, I have started integrating more animal products into my diet, although I am still having a hard time with this after 21 years of being vegetarian! One of the main side effects is that I have lived through the cold this winter much better than previous ones!

I also find that seed cycling, which was mentioned by a guest post on your blog, is really helpful for balancing hormones.

And I am really pleased you’ll be starting acupuncture, I am sure it will be very helpful!
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Laura February 27, 2013 at 7:10 pm

Hi Hiba, I was just thinking of you the other day! Hope you are well xxx I really need to get my act together with the seed cycling! Hope that eating the animal foods has been working well, but I can appreciate that it must be hard to eat them after so long! I do have high hopes for the acupuncture!

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sarahf February 26, 2013 at 11:30 am

As always, a great post. I think you’re very open and clear that you are sharing what you do, not suggesting others follow you exactly. I find the different things you try really interesting, but, to be honest, I can’t get my hands on a lot of your ingredients (I live in rural Japan, I’ve only found kale once, and I’ve never seen coconut oil!) so I couldn’t follow everything you do even if I wanted to (although I’ve tried a few of your recipes and I can’t get enough of the carrot, ginger and orange soup, it’s so good!). I read your information, and that of others on a range of blogs and think about applying it to my life in a way that I’m able. The great thing about the internet is that we can find all sorts of ideas and give them our own twist.
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Laura February 27, 2013 at 7:11 pm

Thanks Sarah, I’m so glad that comes across! Amazing that you live in Japan, you have me intrigued! I can certainly imagine it must be very hard to find certain things out there. Very glad you like that soup!

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Rose February 26, 2013 at 12:03 pm

Laura, I adore your wordy posts… just wrote a very wordy post, myself, on veganism :) Even though you’re eating animal products now, I so respect your experimental methods of finding out what works for your body! I’m a sort of mad scientist when it comes to my own macronutrient ratios, as well… I <3 fats!

Just wanted to let you know that I will never stop reading this blog, no matter what you eat! Your food philosophy is just so inspiring, and your voice is so relatable… that the actual food doesn't even matter to me that much!

Thanks for keeping this blog up! I really do love it. And as a very new blogger, I get a lot of motivation from it.

<3<3<3 Rose
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Laura February 27, 2013 at 7:12 pm

Thank you Rose that is so sweet of you to say! I love that you say you are a mad scientist with your macros – great way to figure out what works for you!

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Ffion @ Chocolate and Raspberries February 26, 2013 at 12:51 pm

Great post as always Laura! I definitely think it is important to experiment with what works for you, and as I’ve said before, I think different things work for us at different stages in our life. I am happy in the way I am eating at the moment, but my diet is always subject to change, and improvements!

I also have keratosis pilaris, and except for scrubbing away at it every day, I’ve not discovered a way of making it get any better!
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Laura February 27, 2013 at 7:13 pm

Thanks Ffion! I completely agree that as we get older / life situations change that our diet will change and evolve with it!

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Nicky @kabochafashionista February 26, 2013 at 1:14 pm

This post is just bloody amazing :) After my last post a few people shot me down with my change in diet to a more high fat/protein and less carb diet, particularly because of my ED past – saying that my fears have shifted which is not the case at all. Like you, I have been doing tonnes of reading on nutrition. I find it so fascinating. I never said this is how people should eat at all, but I’m trying to work out what’s right for me too. I don’t know if you’ve read the Metabolic Typing Diet book but it has totally inspired me to change things as I came out as a ‘protein type’. If it helps my digestive/skin issues and makes me a healthier person overall, then sure I’m willing to give it a go! Afterall, who doesn’t want to feel at their best? In no way is that restriction when it’s quite obvious I love carbs! That saying, not all people do best on this kind of diet as the test shows so I think people just need to understand that we are all very different in what we need. And like you say, it’s always about balance and what is life without treats so even if I have changed my diet slightly, they will always still be there to look forward to :)
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Laura February 27, 2013 at 7:16 pm

Thanks so much Nicky! I did see some of those comments on your recent post and it must be frustrating to be reminded of your ED past when you know you have moved on from that. I think some people who aren’t as into nutrition and health like we are to ‘get it’. As you say, who doesn’t want to feel their best? I have done some work on metabolic typing, I do it with uniquely healthy clients to help them think about what might work for them. I’m a protein type as well!

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emma March 1, 2013 at 12:33 am

Just thought I’d comment here instead of at the bottom as Nicky and I have both been reading that book and have chatted about our results – I’m a mixed type and had a good giggle with Nicky at the monster that would be unleashed in me if I started following a “protein type” diet plan…..oh god….phil would divorce me! hehee! here’s to health, happiness and uniqueness!
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Christina February 26, 2013 at 1:15 pm

I always say it, but I do love your lengthy posts! They are so honest and informative. I really hope you can get your period back as soon as possible – it’s great that your doctor’s are working closely with you to resolve the issue.

You’re right about finding a balance – in both food choices and weight. Like you, I’m slowly having to come to terms with the fact that my body isn’t meant to be an XS/6/8. It’s incredibly difficult for me to have to throw away clothes that no longer fit – especially as I genuinely believe that I looked better before – but I know that I can’t sustain that size without giving up some of my favourite things in life – dinners with friends, a few beers at the pub and sharing cake with Trout!
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Laura February 27, 2013 at 7:18 pm

Thanks Christina, I can empathise with the clothes thing, I had loads of size 8 stuff and now dare I say it, size 10 stuff that wouldn’t cover one of my thighs now. It was difficult getting rid of it! I think reminding yourself of the things you gain when you gain – haha like the opposite of the Special K ad! ;-)

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Paige @ A Healthy Tale February 26, 2013 at 1:46 pm

Good for you for sharing your thoughts! I too am an all or nothing person which isn’t always a good thing! My boyfriend always says I go from 0-60 in a second, but that’s what keeps it fun right! ;-)

I think sometimes with reading blogs such as yours isn’t so much about what food you eat, but the encouragement and inspiration people can get from reading them. Also the sense of community you can get from blogs.

I must admit though before I took the leap and started my own blog, I did think would I be able to post pictures of ‘naughty’ foods that I eat, but it wouldn’t be honest of me to hide things and lie. So isn’t it better to read a blog from someone who is honest, open and up front!
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Laura February 27, 2013 at 7:19 pm

Oh yes being all or nothing definitely keeps it interesting! Agree with the sense of community from blogs, its a great thing to be part of :-) I completely agree with the honest and up front, I would definitely post pics of things you think are ‘naughty’ that’s what makes us human right!

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Tamizn February 26, 2013 at 4:37 pm

Have a crazy stomach so am constantly looking for the best way to ea for me. I totally agree though, my blog is basically an online diary of my life not to advise others but to show them alternatives, great post x x
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Laura February 27, 2013 at 7:20 pm

You are bang on Tam, as you say for you its about finding something that works for your digestion!

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Greta February 26, 2013 at 5:21 pm

Thank you for this open post! And for explaining everything in detail. I remember you were the veg girl, I often saw you on Nicole’s blog and read here, but I quit as our food philosophies were very different. And lately I remembered to so I decided to check out how were you doing and oolala, I was so pleasantly surprised – you ate like me! And your blog became interesting!!
So anyways, I always respect and admire people for their choices. especially the ones that make them happy and glowing! You glow! I want that!Therefore I read!
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Laura February 27, 2013 at 7:22 pm

Thanks Greta! So glad that you decided to check me out, very much enjoying your blog as well! I think you are right, if someone is happy and glowing then good for them!

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Chrissy Grace February 26, 2013 at 5:51 pm

you go girl! errrr helllo flashbulb moment finding your own healthy = uniquely healthy!!! i’m so glad you wrote this today. I’ve been reading your blog for nearly a year and have noticed the gradual changes too but I’m glad that you are doing this for you & your health foremost – and I just wanted to say we all totally love and adore you and you do NOT have to justify your eats to anyone, including bone broth!

i can only imagine how being open on a blog like this is a double edged sword at times, its amazing but also makes you vulnerable to critique & some people may not want to/wish to change with you as you grow and develop yourself – but imho that is their loss and they should recognise that this is your journey not for their entertainment or that you are their “guru” but just a normal northern lass doing her own thang sharing and caring as she goes along :)

anyways youknow how brilliant i think you are. You have really helped me think very differently about food eventhough we couldn’t be on more polar opposites of our scales or journey if we tried ! (your adding good fats, I’m taking them away, you’ve stopped running and i’m starting !!!) you have been uber supportive of my journey and i hope i can do the same for you in any way i can.

lots of love always
Grace xxxx
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Laura February 27, 2013 at 7:24 pm

Thank you so much Grace, you are awesome! You are right about blogging being a double edged sword, you do open yourself up to criticism but I think that is blogger responsibility too. But isn’t it amazing that although we are at different ends of our journey’s we can still support each other, love that!

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Maria @ runningcupcake February 26, 2013 at 6:40 pm

I have those bumps on my arms too, but never knew until today that it had a name! I use a nice body scrub ( a gentle sugar one, not salt as that is too scratchy) and lots of moisturiser as I have very dry skin anyway, and am careful about what products I use because a lot of shower products leave me with really itchy skin.
Great post, anyway- I think your honesty is what makes your blog so great to read. I think when I started reading your blog you ate meat, or maybe were just turning veggie, but it doesn’t bother me anyway- Andy eats meat, so do the rest of mine and his family, friends etc.
I hope you sort out your issues- hormones take ages to rebalance (some friends of mine took a long time after coming off the pill, for example) so keep relaxing and not stressing, and enjoying life, food, working out etc.
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Sarah February 27, 2013 at 11:12 am

Haha – me too with the bumps on my arms – I’ve had them as long I remember, but never knew it had a name! You learn something new every day …
Tbh it doesn’t bother me really and I just ignore them, but I could probably benefit from a good body scrub
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Laura February 27, 2013 at 7:26 pm

Thanks Maria, I think I just need to be a bit better with moisturising! I think you are right about hormones taking time, I’m just so impatient!

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Sarah T February 26, 2013 at 7:14 pm

Hi Laura,

Thanks for sharing your journey so openly and honestly. I hope the doctors are able to help you out with your hormone levels.

xoxo

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Laura February 27, 2013 at 7:26 pm

Thanks!

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Amanda @ .running with spoons. February 26, 2013 at 7:31 pm

I always love reading your “wordy” posts because of how open and honest you are about your journey, Laura. I know that everyone has to figure out what works for them individually, but it’s always nice to hear about the results of someone else’s experimentation and get inspired to try new things. I’ve done a lot of experimentation with my diet over the years, and unfortunately, not all of it was motivated by the healthiest desires. I think I’ve finally reached a place where I know what works for me though, which I’m super thankful for.

Also, regarding the missing period issue… Have you tried increasing your carb intake to see if that helps? I know everyone says that increased fat is the way to go, but I’ve read some things that suggest an increase in grains can help as well.
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Laura February 27, 2013 at 7:31 pm

Thanks Amanda, I think its being able to be honest enough with yourself at the reasons behind that experimentation. I think when I went veggie and vegan it was for genuine reasons, but as time went on the disordered behaviours crept in. Now I think I would have trouble with being veggie and not feeling like that was disordered (for me). The great thing with where I am now is that everything I am doing is with a few to my health and for once in my life, not about weight loss! I am looking at increasing my carbs now that I’ve experimented with fats more. I’m still torn after what I’ve read and researched about some of the anti nutrients in grains so I don’t think I’d make them a massive part of my diet until I feel like I’m getting all the nutrients I need, but before I went veggie they weren’t a big part of my diet then either. I am definitely needing to increase starchy veggies though!

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Anna @AnnaTheApple February 26, 2013 at 8:13 pm

I always love your reflections! I think that your approach to food and exercise is really healthy. I also love your approach to eating meat – getting it local and organic as much as before. I don’t mind reading vegetarian blogs or recipes, but it is nice to see some actual meat on a blog!
I definitely agree with just blogging yourself not blogging to appease an audience or advise on a way of eating. That’s why I blog, because it’s just nice to share a bit of your life and connect with other people!

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Laura February 27, 2013 at 7:32 pm

Thanks Anna, I’m glad you enjoy seeing some meat! I agree, it is just nice to be part of the community!

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Catherine February 26, 2013 at 8:41 pm

I enjoy your wordy posts the most and, in general, I enjoy your blog because you are honest and open.
I have keratosis pilaris too. Yay upper arms! We seem to be quite a club judging on your comments. My two brothers and I both have it, and we call it our ‘bubbly arms’. I am not so bothered by it, sure, I wish I had smooth arms but I have enough other body bugbears it has fallen on the wayside! Like my weird goblin fingers and crossing over toes, it’s one of the quirks I have embraced.
xxx
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Laura February 27, 2013 at 7:33 pm

Thank you Catherine, that means a lot! Yep KP definitely seems to be a common issue! Haha, I’m trying to imagine your fingers and toes now!

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Lauren (@PoweredbyPB) February 26, 2013 at 8:55 pm

I think it’s great that you are finding out what works for you. Personally for myself I know that since going vegan my hair grows at an insane right, my skin has never been so clear and I always used to get the worst period pains, but I never get that anymore. I know that my vegan diet works perfectly for me, but I can appreciate that it wouldn’t work for everyone. I actually turned vegan for health reasons but actually I would say my ethical ones are now stronger than anything else and as such I would never go back to even being veggie. I have to been doing a lot of experimenting with my diet lately, and I do find that since I have stopped eating grains at lunchtime and just have say beans/lentils with a salad, I have much less of an energy drop off. I find it kind of interesting to pay attention to little things like that, and see what works for you.
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Laura February 27, 2013 at 7:34 pm

From some of the things I’ve been researching and reading I think it has helped me understand why veganism can work so well for some and not so well for others – of course I think how you eat within that framework counts as well, you eat so well and with lovely wholefoods! I found that with grains at lunch time as well, that is one thing I can say for certain!

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Claire @ Flake and Cake February 26, 2013 at 9:09 pm

Thanks for sharing this Laura, there was so much I could relate to. I totally agree its you tht you have to find up what is right for your body – I know what works for me might not work for someone else and vice versa. I’m also with you on the all or nothing thing. I love chocolate and I can’t trust myself to only have a little, so I have to either let myself have lots or nothing. The same for exercise – I try and do one thing active each day or I have weeks of barely moving! It is so interesting to hear about the changes you’ve made and experienced.

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Laura February 27, 2013 at 7:35 pm

Thanks Claire! Glad I’m not the only all or nothing person, I think its just figuring out how to make that work for you!

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Rachel February 26, 2013 at 9:15 pm

Love love love these posts! I’ve been reading for about a year and among other things you have introduced me to the joys of smoothies in a bowl and putting my porridge in the nearly empty nut butter jar to get the last of it out (and as a thrifty gal i can’t believe i hadn’t thought of this!). You were the first healthy living blog i found (through the channel 4 website) and, although i read other american blogs (and Oh She Glows which is Canadian of course!) But i always come back to your blog as you’re a northern girl like me so i can relate a bit more. I have to admit, in your vegan days, whilst i enjoyed reading the blog, i often felt slightly depressed – i could never run that far and eat that little (altho i do know you were always self-assessing and never telling others to eat like you).

I’m not an ‘all or nothing’ person at all – i’m a lazy arse at heart, so i’ve never been much good at sticking to exercise regimes. Your current low-intensity exercise routine is much much more than i ever do, although i did get into running last year. I did fall into the trap of feeling bad if i ran less than the previous day, or comparing how far i ran with bloggers (it was never as much!) But for some reason something has clicked this new year and i feel much happier in myself. I will be putting my running shoes on again soon, but it will be much more enjoyable & relaxed and now i’m living near a gym i’m looking forward to joining & doing some classes & maybe even doing some weights to see what all the fuss is about!

I love reading about your food experiments as it gives me ideas, although i have yet to enjoy avocadoes! It has made me think about what i eat, experiment myself but i am too laissez-faire to be rigid about sticking to a certain way of eating (last year i tried to cut out caffeine, sugar, dairy and meat to see if anything affected my spots – it was hell & i cracked in days!). I have recently taken the plunge in abandoning ‘low-fat’ versions of normal food and amazingly my weight has not rocketed. Not feeling the urge to put butter in my coffee though and i just couldnt eat yummy scrambled eggs without toast – i’ve tried and i’m starving again so quickly.

Anyway i wont waffle on, but just keep doing what you’re doing as its clearly working for you (i want your amazing skin & thick dark hair!) – and dont stop writing long posts like this – we can look at pictures of salads all day but its only when we read stuff like this do we get to see the ‘real you’ and start to think more deeply about who the real us-es might be! Thank you for continuing to put your deepest personal thoughts out there for us to read :o)

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Laura February 27, 2013 at 7:37 pm

Thank you so much for this lovely comment Rachel! So glad that you’ve enjoyed the blog! You should definitely give avos and strength training a try :-)

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Joy February 26, 2013 at 10:52 pm

As I was only saying to you last week, turning 30 rocks and with that comes the sense and feeling that you can be open to changes more readily and also think about what is right for you. Let’s face it, when we’re 80 we’ll hopefully be a) reaping the benefits of a healthy outlook but b) potentially not remember (or care) how we got there. If we can take some comfort in that during in our 30s we can let go of a lot of things that we ponder on or get concerned with (sorry to lecture, this perspective of ‘what would the older me do?’ just helps me in times when I’m getting bogged down in life’s every day details although I’m also a fan of mindfulness and just thinking about the current me!!).

An awesome and raw post, I really admire you for wanting to talk about all of these issues. As a vegan (did I tell you I was vegan ;)) , I still take away a lot of inspiration from what you write on a weekly basis (my life didn’t have wrap breakfasts, baked tofu and green smoothies a year ago! ;)) ) but even away from the food it’s just good thing to read about someone on a similar wavelength and lifestyle I can relate to.

I have friends who aren’t vegan, don’t exercise, prefer a different hobby, have different political views, or whatever makes us dissimilar, and I would not stop being their friend; likewise, I wouldn’t give up reading your blog just because some posts have different perspectives than I was first used to. Don’t get me wrong, I sometimes want to send you pix of tofu with a sad face that says ‘remember me?’ ;)) but that would be unhelpful for you and, ultimately, I’m doing what I feel is best for me, you’re doing what’s best for you xx

As for your bod, I really hope it works out that you get an improvement soon. I’m afraid I haven’t had a similar problem so can’t offer anything more than support. You sound like you’re doing everything you can to enhance the way you live to take control of the situation, and any of us who have had to do something similar with health problems can relate to that.

As you know, I’m learning things about myself like I’m better if I’m not so rigid with routines but I have to have some kind of control over my free time. Also part of a new role I’m doing at work is team building, leadership and management which means a lot of getting myself motivated so that others follow. I’m trying to apply that in my personal life – I’ve always been a motivated person, but a procrastinator too. We’re always learning, right?! :)

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Laura February 27, 2013 at 7:41 pm

I agree with you about being in your 30′s, it does help put things in perspective doesn’t it. I’ve been able to ‘let go’ of a lot of stuff as I think life is just too short. Well chuffed I introduced you to baked tofu and green smoothies! I am looking forward to having tofu again, its just in case it might mess with my hormones, I know the jury is out, but I’d rather not take that chance. Love what you say there about friends, you are so damn right! There are blogs I read no matter what because of the people behind them that has less to do with their food an more to do with them. I hope that some people feel the same way about me :-)

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Nat February 26, 2013 at 11:25 pm

Fantastic post as always Laura, I thought it might be coming based on a few pretty unhelpful and unfair comments left on both yours and a few other ladies blogs recently! With regards your KP, have you tried just good old coconut oil? A friend of mine suffers from it and swears by slathering it on during her shower. Worth a try after all what’s the worst that can happen, you get soft skin and will smell all tropical :)

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Laura February 27, 2013 at 7:43 pm

Thanks Nat, yes there was a couple of challenging comments but I don’t mind them if they are respectful, I guess it comes with the territory! I have actually just ordered extra coconut oil just for that reason, hope it will help!

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Katrina February 27, 2013 at 7:31 am

I read about you having keratosis pilaris, and I sympathize, because it’s something that afflicts me from time to time as well. I managed to figure out that it only appears on the back of my upper arms and legs when I eat dairy, or eating something containing dairy. Once a few days of dairy-free eating pass, it disappears. I’ve also purchased a skin cream from Boots before specifically designed for keratosis pilaris. It didn’t make it go away, but it decreased the size and redness.

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Laura February 27, 2013 at 7:44 pm

That is very interesting what you say about dairy, I can remember that it didn’t seem to bad when I was vegan. I might have to experiment with that in the future but I love diary too much at the moment to cut it out!

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Sarah February 27, 2013 at 10:58 am

I find vitamin D is a big factor in controlling keratosis pilaris (notice how it disappears when your skin has been in the sun?). Supplementing with high quality vitamin D (such as Solgar) might help during the winter months, as it’s quite hard to get enough from diet alone.

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Laura February 27, 2013 at 7:46 pm

Hi Sarah, yes I thought that was the case I know that it does improve in the summer. I already take Solgar vitamin D – and advise all my clients too as well, great product and pretty essential vitamin to supplement with at least in this country! To be honest I’m now thinking its a bit of a combo of things that have made it worse including not moisturising enough!

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Laura February 27, 2013 at 12:55 pm

Hi Laura,

I just wanted to say a huge “well done” for this post, and not in a patronising way, but in admiration of your honesty.

I have been reading your blog for a long time, pre-vegan, during your vegan, post vegan. I still love it all. I am a vegan but I have never subscribed to the “my way is the best way” thing – I still love reading your posts and watching you experiment with nutrition and recipes and what-not. I find your blog incredibly inspirational.

I also wanted to add – am sure you have it covered – with your health problems, I would ask your GP to check thyroid levels if they haven’t already. They can mess about with you monthlies, and other things, like you wouldn’t believe. The other thing is, with the keratosis pilaris, I have found 2 things really work. One of them is sugar scrubs (gentle ones, either home made with sugar & coconut oil or shop bought like Soap & Glory) or things like Buffy scrub from Lush. In fact, Buffy has worked a treat on my KP which I used to get on backs of arms and legs. The other thing, in conjunction with these, that has worked a treat is good old cheap Jergens body lotion – I have tried all varieties and they all seem to work beautifully.

Anyway, just wanted to add that and let you know how inspirational you are.

Yours,

Laura

x

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Laura February 27, 2013 at 7:48 pm

Hi Laura, thank you so much, so lovely to hear that you have been reading for such a long time and stuck with me through thick and thin :-) I did have my thyroid tested as well for this most recent blood test and it came back normal thank goodness! I’ll have to keep an eye out for the buffy scrub (love the name!)

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Katie @ Peace Love & Oats February 27, 2013 at 3:11 pm

I love this post, Laura! And I love your blog BECAUSE you are always open and willing to change. I love that this is your journey and that you are always true to yourself.
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Laura February 27, 2013 at 7:49 pm

Thanks Katie, I think when we aren’t willing to change then that is a sad thing indeed!

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Tara McBoyle February 27, 2013 at 4:05 pm

Hi Laura,

I appreciate your honesty with this post. I think that finding what is healthiest for you is great but at times it can come across a little bit faddish, which can make it seem a bit disingenuous. For example, you were a running vegan when it was all the rage amongst bloggers to live this lifestyle. Now that everyone seems to be switching over to lifting heavy and eating a more paleo-style/high protein regime you too are doing the same thing. I know this may be a coincidence, or it may be the case that you hadn’t previously considered embracing this lifestyle until other bloggers opened your eyes to it, but from an outsider’s perspective it does seem like you do follow trends to an extent.

I appreciate that you needed to eat more calories and fat to get back to a healthy weight and restore your hormone balance but, having suffered from HA myself, I can assure you that all you needed was more food in general. You were undernourished and that is really the only thing that needed to be addressed. I say this as a vegetarian who successfully regained their cycle by eating more calories and slightly more fat. I didn’t worry about loading up with protein/saturated fat but just focussed on eating more to increase my weight, which in turn meant my cycle returned. I’m not saying there is anything wrong with the approach you have adopted but I just wanted to point out that it isn’t necessary.

I guess how you approach your diet really is proof that you are most definitely an all or nothing person. It is probably the complete turnaround in your approach that has taken people by surprise – going from a committed vegetarian/vegan to someone who eats a lot of animal products. If I had to guess I would say that you probably get some backlash from these dietary choices because they are so extreme. Most people don’t live on either end of a spectrum but instead fall somewhere in the middle, whereas you seem to push things towards either end, e.g. raw foodie/vegan at one end and meat/dairy/offal/bulletproof coffee/bone broth eating at the other. Perhaps you need to consider why you tend to do this with your diet instead of settling for a happy medium? Are you afraid that if you aren’t committed to an ‘extreme’ eating regime that you aren’t healthy enough?

Anyway, they are just my thoughts. This isn’t supposed to be a negative comment and I do enjoy your blog regardless of how you choose to eat, I just thought I would provide some feedback and hope you welcome it. I think it is great that you have been so proactive in fixing your HA and have actually had the guts to make some changes. I also wanted to add that I had HA for two years and only regained my cycle after about a year of being at a weight that my body was happy with (which took time in itself to get to!), so hang in there. It takes time but I’m sure it will sort itself out in the end.

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Laura February 27, 2013 at 8:05 pm

Hi Tara, thanks for being honest with me! I really do welcome the comment – your the only one that has challenged me. I can completely understand why you feel like that and why yourself and others see these changes as being faddish. I was hoping to try and address that in this post when I was talking about how I eat being a reflection of the things I’m reading or researching at that time, the same was the case for experimenting with veganism. I guess what has happened is that I’ve become aware of this way of eating from a couple of blogs, did my own reading and because it makes sense to me and with the health issue I’ve got, I am trying some aspects out. If I was just following trend then I wouldn’t be eating dairy, trying IF for example. Believe me I have questioned myself a lot when it comes to making these changes, i.e. am I doing this for the right reasons, I am just being a ‘sheep’ etc but I realised that if I wasn’t writing a blog I would have just eaten how I wanted without a second thought, and as I said if I can’t be me, then why bother? I know that I seem to be drawn to ‘extremes’ but that does really depend on your perspective, although I do think part of that comes from my all or nothing nature, but as long as I’m healthy and happy and manage the unhealthy aspects of my nature then I’ll be ok in the end, even if I bounce about eating different ways!

Congrats on recovering from HA! I know that a lot of other women have recovered from HA without eating as I am, but because I’m over 30 and very impatient I’m putting a lot of effort into dealing with it! And I know that because I have been on the bigger side all my life this could take some time to get better. You are right about it taking time to get there, its taken me a year to gain a couple of stone but I think that was probably the best way for me to do it. I’m at a 24.9 BMI now so hoping I just need to hang on in there as you say! Fingers crossed xx

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Maureen @ Breaking Free & Finding Me February 28, 2013 at 1:51 pm

YES, just YES! Thank you for this post! I am a recovering binge/emotional eater ( I just recently started a blog documenting my recovery and journey to healthy and happy life). I lost a lot of weight, got obsessed with losing weight, cutting calories and over-exercising (cardio) to the extreme. I was miserable and due to my disordered thinking thought I still wasn’t skinny enough even though I had gotten very thin. After a few very stressful months and the death of someone very close to me, I spiraled into a depression and binge eating cycle. I had lost my period while over-excercising and calorie cutting and my doctors couldn’t figure out why because I too had gained weight like they told me. It was only when I acknowledged my issues, and began taking small steps to begun healthy again that I began to get my period regularly again. I’m still working on all the other issues so it’s inspiring and hopeful to see someone like you, healthy and happy, on the other side! I hope I can get there one day too!! Thanks again for your post! We are all need to find our own version of happy and healthy and it’s great to have support along the way :)
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Donna March 3, 2013 at 5:49 pm

Hi laura, was just having a browse through your latest posts while chilling on a sunday afternoon & in case i forgot to mention when i see you at work on tuesday, wanted to say how much i loved reading this post. Since i’ve known you i’ve always found the journey you’re taking with health, nutrition & everything else; really interesting & you’ve had an inspiring effect on looking at things differently. This post was a particular pleasure to read as i could sense ‘you’ & the depth of feeling you’ve obviously had through your journey. Thanks for a positive sunday read :-) x x

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