Book Review: 3 books in 4 days-Diet, Surrender and Inspiration

Wow, 3 books in 4 days and I have 2 others open😱. I am on a role! 😂 In all honestly, each book had me captivated, entertained and a little wiser. Thought I would share a review of each while it is all still fresh in my mind. Besides, with covid infection rates rising, home and reading is the safest place to be right now.

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1. The Surrender Experiment: My Journey into Life’s perfection by Michael A. Singer

How does a man go from just wanting to be on his own in a cabin in the woods to being a CEO of a multi-million dollar company (while still living in a cabin in the same woods)? He surrenders to life’s flow, that’s how. If you think back to the times when you just followed your instincts and things just fell into place and everything turned out way better than you could have ever expected, that’s surrendering and following life’s flow. Michael Singer discovered his ego voice (my words not his) by chance one day and became obsessed with trying to silence it so he could enjoy inner peace. The book details how this obsession led him on a journey that he could never have foreseen. It teaches us the power of faith in a higher power/life’s flow and how important it is to get out of your own way and not overthink things. Accept that everything and everyone is in your life for a reason and that if you are focussed on the right things, the right people, experiences and even money will appear just as you need it. It’s a very powerful story.

2. A Recipe for Miracles by Jeanne Danielle Brooks

I was so inspired by this book. This is the founder story of Wicked Donuts, a hand crafted gourmet donut brand that is available in Durban, South Africa. The author takes you on the roller coaster ride that was her life until she found her calling. My heart broke for her, then I got excited for her and next thing you know I was punching the air in sheer joy. If you find yourself in a space where you feel like nothing ever works out for you and you don’t know what your next step forward is, pick up this book and let the author inspire you with her story. The last 20% of the book is filled with tips and tricks for budding entrepreneurs which the author learnt along the way. I am sure that she and her brand will only go from strength to strength in the future.

3. The New Keto Friendly South Beach Diet: Rev Your Metabolism and Improve Your Health with The Latest Science of Weight Loss by Arthur Agston, M.D.

I remember buying the original book when low carb diets became the in the thing back in the day but I didn’t follow it at all. I don’t even think I got very far into the book. This time round, I didn’t put it down until I was done. This is probably because I am far more invested in my health now than I was back then. (Oh how wish I was still that weight. That was about 30kg ago🙈🤪) The science is so easily explained that each time you put an item of food in your mouth, you are making an informed choice. There is no space for excuses. I bought it because it was only $2 on the Hay House Sale and because I knew I needed to be more serious about my nutrition and I was looking for a ready made eating plan that I could just start using. I find creating one for myself overwhelming so I end up procrastinating and, next thing you know I am a few kg’s heavier instead of lighter because my eating goes off on a tangent. 🤦🏽‍♀️ I got way more than I was expecting for my $2.29/R34.66. I received an invaluable education in nutritional science and the eating plan I was hoping for. I cannot begin to detail the where, why’s and how I have diabetes today but I am grateful to finally have a better understating of where I went wrong and how I got here. The authors aim is really to help you prevent diabetes but the science was very relevant to me as well. Science has come a long way in a very short space of time in understanding how we ended up overweight and pre-diabetic/diabetic and how to turn the tide. If you are looking for links to scientific papers to back him up, you will be disappointed but hey, he even references Dr Tim Noakes who essentially woke South Africa to the benefits of the low carb Lifestyle and Banting. Dr Tom Noakes does science! He also incorporates Intermittent Fasting into his recommendations so he ticked all my boxes.

Each of this books happened to catch my attention at just the right time and the message in each was just what I needed to hear at this moment in my life. I am so excited about 2021 because I feel better equipped by them to achieve the goals I have set for myself. I could have ignored them and told myself I have enough books to last me a good few years (which I do) and I don’t need more but they tugged at me so I followed my instincts and purchased and read them anyway and I am really glad that I did.

I hope you enjoy these books and find them as enlightening as I did. All are available on Amazon right now. 50% of the profit from A recipe for Miracles will be donated to Gift of the Givers who do amazing work throughout the country and the world.

Stay Safe! Happy Reading!

Life with Diabetes

It’s World Diabetes Day today. I had the displeasure of being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in 2016. It is what it is though and what choice does one have but to accept it and learn to work around it. I am determined however to get it into remission and I will succeed. For now, I will share what seems to work for me at the moment, however do bear in my mind that this is based on my personal experience and is not an sort of medical or dietary advice.

My Diet

There is no doubt that controlling your blood sugar takes more than just diet but what you eat does play the biggest role. The following has worked for me based on trial and error:

  • Refined carbs are not my friend. I will still enjoy a piece of cake here and there but I don’t make a habit of it
  • Sweeteners, and this includes natural sweeteners like Xylitol, cause a spike in my blood sugar so I just don’t bother with them
  • I stick to drinking water, and unsweetened black coffee. I have started drinking unsweetened black tea as well.
  • Intermittent fasting (IF) really helps as well. I stick to the 16:8 fast but I have learnt that fasting alone is not enough. Discipline is required in that 8 hr eating window. I have worked from home since lockdown started and found myself constantly “grazing”. I slowly gained 4 of the 6 kg’s I had lost in the first 3 months of following IF. Of course it wasn’t just the constant nibbling, it was also the lack of movement every day that caused the weight gain. I have a timer so that I ensure I don’t eat for 2,5hrs at a time for now. I plan on getting myself to two meals a day before year end.
  • My blood sugar readings also appear to be affected by my weight. When I lose weight, I have lower readings. When I gain weight then my average reading rises as well. It seems to take as little as a 2-3kg change in weight to make a difference. Clearly it is in my best interest to keep the number on the scale moving in a downward direction.

The Power of Exercise

I am not exercise’s greatest fan but I have finally accepted it’s importance in maintaining good overall health and in keeping my blood sugar levels within a normal range. Diabetes is known to take a toll on one’s heart so it is important to maintain good heart health and that is where exercise comes in. Since self-discipline is not my strength when it comes to this topic, I have signed up with a personal trainer to make exercise a habit in my life. I have to admit that after 2 weeks, I look forward to our sessions and feel fantastic after them. My circulation has clearly improved and I appear less prone to retaining water. My average blood sugar reading has also lowered over the last 2 weeks so this was clearly a great decision on my part. 😜

Stress Management

I was blown away when I saw the difference stress makes to my readings. I immediately know when I have underlying stress. It’s right there in my blood sugar readings. It is actually quite scary how much stress affects my body. On the flip side, I have also noticed how spending time with certain people in my life results in lower levels regardless of what I eat when I am with them. These people are good for my body, mind and soul. It’s important to never underestimate the damage stress can do so I try to keep my stress levels as low as possible. Some of the techniques I use to de-stress are:

  • Dancing at the end of the day to my favourite music. It as has the added benefit of getting the circulation going burning off excess sugar in my blood.
  • Reading. I can happily spend an entire weekend reading.
  • Focusing on a conversation with my son or cooking/baking with him. It requires me to live in the moment. It is an amazing feeling and I love doing it (When he allows me to)
  • Connecting with friends, although, it is mostly via whatsapp these days
  • Meditating every morning for 10 minutes. I am so thrilled that I have kept this up for over a month now. I am well on my way to making this a habit! (Whoop whoop)
  • Saying my morning mantras in the shower. I say mantras to keep myself aligned with my purpose. It is so calming to say these at the start of the day
  • My morning prayer. I find it so peaceful to start the day giving thanks for what is and what will be and just handing the day over to God.
  • Journal writing. I love writing. I have a normal journal as well as a special gratitude journal. The one thing I have noticed is that when I am consistent about writing in my gratitude journal, I get wonderful surprises ever so often. How cool is that!
  • A candle-lit bubble bath, especially on a exercise day. I also use this as my visualisation time.

I don’t view diabetes as a life long disease. I choose to view it as something that can be overcome and that is what I plan on doing. My first milestone is to start 2021 free of meds.😁 It is to be respected at all times though or it will do some serious damage. If you have been diagnosed with it and don’t take it seriously, then I invite you to reconsider this choice, to start monitoring what causes your spikes and to work around them. You have everything to gain from doing so. If you are prediabetic do what ever you can to turn that diagnosis around.

I wish you all the success in keeping a diabetes diagnosis under control. It can be done. 😉

Intermittent fasting: 3 weeks in

It’s almost 3 weeks since I started Intermittent Fasting. It’s been an interesting ride this far and I am still going strong. A change in routine last week and a change in weather this week appear to have brought their challenges though.

Last Thursday marked the end of my leave and the beginning of yet another year. Let me just say, it might as well have been a year ago because that’s the way it feels after one week! Mentally I was ready for this or so I thought. I had my 3 words that are to help me shape this year and, well, I walked in the door and immediately got sucked into the usual daily dramas. I was so exhausted at the end of the day but I was thrilled that I stuck to my fasting times and managed to resist the desire to snack as I normally would in the afternoons. My focus now is to ensure that any carbs I consume are low GI and I am quickly learning that some of the foods that I consumed daily do not have the desired effect on my blood sugar especially the “low gi” bread at the sandwich bar at work. So today I took my own lunch. I was so proud of myself but then I snacked on a packet of Lays. 😔 Let me say though that I absolutely enjoyed those chips and somehow my blood sugar was normal afterwards so I refuse to feel guilty about it.

This week has also been cooler. Usually I will eat more on cooler days because I do feel hungry more often so this week has been a challenge on that front. I find that I am hungry by 10am and 12pm just cannot come fast enough. I don’t want to drink too much coffee and have reduced my water consumption a bit because I hate running up and down to the toilet. Today I felt like I was absolutely starving! The plus side was that those first few mouthfuls of lunch were absolutely divine. It was a reminder of how mindlessly I eat all the time. I am really hoping that my body settles into this routine by next week. The hunger pangs can be quite distracting. Today I even heard my tummy growling 🤣. I have lost 1.5kg in total so the going is slow but it’s definitely going in the right direction so I have no regrets. The inflammation comes and goes depending on the types of carbs I eat.

This week also saw me join a new team part time for a few months. I get to spend more time on the things I am really passionate about and it has been so energising in the moment. Of course, being the introvert that I am, I am completely drained when I get home but it I feel good anyway and that’s all I can ask for.

I also received all my study material for this semester on Monday. Oh My Hat! These are the last four subjects that I need to complete to earn my BA degree in psychology and anthropology but boy oh boy, what a combination of subjects that I left for last🤦🏽‍♀️. So…on top of juggling single motherhood, womanhood, my day job and making an impact in this new team, focusing on my health (and I have a career goal as well), I know also have to add these 4 interesting but time consuming subjects to the mix. I am usually a very lazy student and only do the assignments on the day they are due and “study” for exams the night before. There is no way I will get away with that this semester. My assignments are due on the same day for at least 2 subjects and all my exams are set in the same week. 😭 I will fly through it all I’m sure though. It’s the only way I roll.

Well that’s it from me for now. Hope you have a great start to the year thus far! It’s Chinese New Year on the 25th in case you feel need to start over. To my fellow Rats, this is our destiny year on the Chinese calendar! My Chinese colleague tells me that we should wear red underwear this year to enhance our luck! I don’t know about you but I will be taking advantage of any the Valentine’s sales to boost my red underwear collection for the coming year.😜😁 To my Chinese readers…Happy New Year!

Image: Freepik.com

Enjoy the rest of your week! Please like and/or share if you enjoyed my post.

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