Abundance and Expansion [Journey Part 3]

caregiver health lifestyle Jan 13, 2019

(Welcome to the third instalment of my travel blog. This is part 3 of 3 written in June 2018 - photo taken in Sydney, Aus)

I wanted to extend my heartfelt thanks for the positive feedback I’ve been receiving on these writings. I’m so glad that you are finding them valuable.

A special note on why it’s taken me two months to release this third installment of my travel blog; when I returned home in February my father was diagnosed with advanced stage lung cancer. I became one of his primary caregivers. I was honored to do this role and I can tell you that it tugged at my heartstrings the whole time.

I was grieving my father while he was still living. I was trying to be objective with his health needs while also being his daughter loving him and accepting the inevitable. The month of April was extra intense and my priority shifted to his care while in hospital, then to palliative care, to his passing and everything that takes place in that journey.

My humblest sympathies to you on losses of your family, friends co-workers and dear ones. My heart goes out to those of you who are currently caring for a loved one touched by cancer or a chronic illness. It’s an epic emotional journey.

While my grieving will still continue it has shifted into relief and release. I have begun to shift back into my nutrition coaching. I have missed it greatly, working one on one with you, in our groups and connecting with our community. Thank you for staying with me, reading my Facebook posts and more.

Foreshadowing perhaps?

What I find most interesting about this travel blog is that I personally found inspiration in re-reading parts 1 and 2. Go figure. It’s as if I was writing the very words that would comfort me on the journey I was about to embark on with my father.

Do you remember in Part 2 I wrote about finding strength while experiencing darkness? I wrote about giving in and surrendering to what is about to unfold and that when we do, all will be revealed. And I also wrote…Have courage to both observe what is unfolding around you and take it in at the same time. And also be able to face your darkness with a deep knowing.

Holy frig batman, I am my own sage. I like that part of myself. I’m happy to be able to share these understandings to all I connect with. And I did surrender to all of the unfolding although not right away, it took awhile. A close friend said to me…’this is your father’s journey.’ Namaste Dad. Peace. I miss him every day.

Shifting further into Abundance and Expansion

This third part of my travel blog is aptly named Abundance and Expansion because I wanted to share with you my food and learning experiences while ‘living’ in Sydney, Australia.

At this point in our trip my husband and I were looking at how we could incorporate the healthier lifestyle and sense of ease we were experiencing once we returned home. One of my goals has been to continue to live that lifestyle (mentally and physically) and I’m incorporating elements from these experiences in my upcoming nutrition coaching program. This is a really good thing.

Again the hunter-gatherer in me was on the search for the right foods and tools so that we could make full use of our time in our Airbnb. We found a glass blender for $15 at Kmart. How cool was that? It made enough smoothie for two. And then of course, I was on the search for a good protein powder. Hello Google search. Hello bus ride to the local mall which housed two grocery stores, health store and the beautiful Harris Farm Market. All of this abundance under one roof. It was heaven for foodies.

I’ve also included my favorite travel recipe for you, my morning protein power smoothie. This morning ritual kept us fueled and ready to explore our surroundings.

Protein Power Smoothie:

  • 1 1/2 cups almond milk
  • ¼ cup frozen blueberries
  • 1 tbsp greens powder
  • 1 scoop protein powder (we used an organic vegan protein powder, by PranaOn, made in Australia of course)

Blend all ingredients together until smooth. I like to add water to thin it out as needed.

An opportunity for more nutrition insights

I attended nutrition symposiums on low carb eating, the microbiome and another on whole foods plant-based eating. I took advantage of being outside of North America to see the viewpoints and research in this country’s health, food and medical industries.

I’ve highlighted below for you my key learning’s from these symposiums (there were four in total). This is the view from Australia (November-December 2017). These are summaries from notes that I captured as I listened. (They are not hard facts and should not be misrepresented nor taken as medical advice).

The Low Carb Down Under community:

  • The average Australian consumes 250g of carbohydrates per day. A low carb approach is 50g / day.
  • Dr Gary Fettke is a medical doctor from Tasmania. He advocates choosing fruit that is local and in season. Most of the fruit that we find in our larger grocery stores is sprayed with pesticides and herbicides. We eat modern manufactured fruit so that it is beautiful to look at and available year round.
  • Dr Doron Sher, an orthopedic surgeon and proponent of low carb eating tells us that prolonged high blood glucose levels can deteriorate joint cartilage and cause collagen to stiffen (leads to inflammation and arthritis).
  • He is also a proponent of tuning in to how foods make you feel after eating (especially processed foods) as that will help you appreciate what will fuel you. I appreciate that a medically trained doctor would advocate this very holistic thought process.
  • Nina Teicholz, NY journalist indicated that there are more than 74 randomized control trials to support low carb diets.
  • Australia & New Zealand are among the highest consumers in fruit juice in the world. Fruit juices often contain the same sugar content as soft drinks. Australia has a Sugar by Half campaign which is helping to raise awareness.
  • Oregon US Oncologist Dawn Lemanne talked about carbohydrate restriction to enhance cancer therapy.
  • In general, the low carb seminar I attended were not proponents of exogenous ketones as there isn’t clear evidence in taking ketones and its impact on insulin (it's still a bit of a yo-yo approach to weight loss).
  • Sleep apnea may also be attributed to fat storage around the throat area. It interferes with sleep and sleep apnea may subside after fat loss.

The plant-based food community recommended no oils and to use whole foods only. They said not to drizzle olive oil on salads for example; one would eat the whole olives instead. It was a mic-drop moment in the seminar room. The theory is that the process of extracting the oil from the olive oil is pro-inflammatory for our cells. I’m waiting to see more research on this one. I’m a huge proponent of cold pressed olive oil. Fascinating.

We’re seeing a new paradigm emerge called the human holobiant; looking at the inter-connectedness of the human brain, the nervous system and the gut microbiome. Dietary variety promotes microbial diversity (aka beneficial bacteria for our digestive system that supports our nervous and immune systems). The importance of eating a variety of vegetables of all colors and types can only continue to be emphasized.

When an end is a continuation

I know there is a lot in this blog post. There’s so much I want to share. One of the biggest aspects of retreating from one’s routine is the opportunity to set new goals and to reset priorities (and to keep learning).

My hope in reading this three-part travel blog is that you embrace both masculine and feminine signs in your day to day. That may sound kooky however when you tap into that energy and dual nature, you might just be able to move a mountain.

At the very least, I hope I’ve inspired you to take action on either booking a vacation, changing up one of your habits that is no longer serving you or doing further reading on eating well.

I could have easily entitled this blog Transition and Transformation because that was what was happening for me. This travel journey and time with my father was empowering and this is exactly what I want for you.

Thanks for coming with me on my journey, my intention was that my experiences enriched you – and really, our journeys have only just begun.

Stay healthy,



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