Slow and steady

Moving slowly through the UK countryside


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A year of healthy changes

My year of health-based changes – a response to this health and wellness prompt.

Last summer I found out that I was coeliac, and needed to cut out gluten from my diet. No bread, pasta, pastry, cakes… Yes, I do miss them sometimes, and reading packets for ‘hidden’ gluten can be tedious. Some complete supermarket aisles are off-limits for me. It also make eating with others more complicated (Do I ask about ingredients or just eat lettuce and tomato?), but to be honest, I think I’m pretty fortunate. Someone else at work had similar symptoms at the same time, and had to have surgery for bowel cancer. All I’ve had to do is change my diet.

rice cakes

I discovered that I really like rice cakes a few months before being diagnosed as coeliac. Very convenient for lunches and on holiday.

Mrs Crimble's Jam Coconut Rings - gluten free and mmmmmmm!

Mrs Crimble’s Jam Coconut Rings – gluten free and mmmmmmm! I may have eaten rather too many of these.

In December I started the NHS couch to 5k running programme. It hasn’t all been easy – there have been some bumpy patches on the way, and weeks with very little running, but overall it has made me fitter, and changed the way I see myself. Most runners seem to run further and faster than me (and some dog-walkers are still faster), but I have repeatedly surprised myself with what I can manage, and that has made me stronger.

Along with running, I re-discovered yoga, after a 20-year break. Yoga has really helped me improve my posture, always pretty poor, and getting worse from too many laptop hours.

My most recent wellness move has been to find out more about mindfulness meditation. The yoga had started me off, and the web and various books have helped me on my way. I took some convincing that it could work for me, an obsessive-compulsive worrier, but I can definitely feel a real change.

I love being able to find little patches of calm and quiet – even a few seconds focusing on breathing or hearing the sounds around me can open up space when my mind starts whirling, and longer sessions give me time to catch up and slow down. If you’ve never tried it, go and read up on mindfulness meditation now!

So, what health changes should I try next?


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Bit of a gap

Warm weather and tired legs have meant a lack of exercise over the last week, so I’ve not kept up with my Juneathon at all well.  The tired legs are probably a combination of not enough sleep and maybe, the effect of changing my diet to include oats.  For the first six months or so, I didn’t eat oats, as some coeliacs respond to the avenin in oats as well as the gluten in wheat.  Now that my blood tests have shown that I’ve got the gluten thoroughly out of my system, I can try gluten-free oats (grown and packaged away from wheat), then have another blood test.  I need to get that booked up, as I have a suspicion that maybe my insides aren’t so keen on the oats – which would be a great pity, as I really like them.

Anyway, I did go out today, and did a short run – only about 1.5 km, but better than nothing.  It was all hard work though, and I can’t honestly say I enjoyed it.

Still,  I did see the Yellow Flags flowering by the river.  Yesterday I saw three different damselflies there, but they were all too far away for good photos (Large Red, Blue-tailed and Azure).

Yellow Flag flower

Yellow flag – wild iris, growing by a small river near my house


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Half way through Juneathon…

… and I still have a bruised-feeling on the ball of my foot, which started when I did star jumps for Jillian Michael’s 30 day shred (which I did one day of).  Tried surfing to find out what might be causing it, and it looks as though it may be the deadly serious turf toe.  Or it may not, but I like the sound of it.

Anyway, it’s still a bit tender when I’m walking (though didn’t notice it when running yesterday, so maybe my padded running shoes, which I do sometimes wear for running, are actually not such a bad idea after all).  So resting it seems the best idea, though that doesn’t fit too well with training for a 5k in two weeks.

Speckled Wood butterfly on my aunt's garden fence

Speckled Wood butterfly on my aunt’s garden fence

So… today’s exercise amounted to half an hour of gardening, removing brambles and willowherb from my aunt’s garden, and a bit of wandering round the shops.

I bought two pairs of trousers and a couple of t-shirts – all in a size larger than usual, as I have definitely put a bit of weight on over the past few months.  Not really what you’d expect with an improved exercise regime, but probably more to do with having been underweight before, perhaps because I was undiagnosed coeliac, and then discovering lots of very tasty coeliac-friendly treats.  And treating myself because of all that exercise I was doing.

Is two treacle tarts and two sugar-based chewy-bars perhaps more than a girl should eat in one day?  If I’m not careful, the new clothes won’t fit either!  I’ve never had to watch my weight before – a whole new experience.  Maybe I’ll start to feel like a normal woman?  Ha!