Sunday, 28 August 2011

Nutritional Therapy - ‘It’s not on the menu’

You have to watch this video (or clips from it on youtube)! it is just over an hour and so enlightening and eye-opening. It discusses the fact that good health is right at our fingertips and its all about our diet.  The  drug industry is such a big business that the corporate world does not actually want people to be healthy.  

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Hurricane a comin’ and I’m heading to Orlando for a Conference?

It is with mixed emotions I head off to Orlando for the Florida Association of Realtors Conference.  I have been looking forward to this conference for a long time.  I need motivation and inspiration at work.  But leaving my family and home during a storm, I am certainly feeling guilty and sad.  I would much rather be there with everyone to share in the experience. 

Also, it’s my very first conference for Real Estate and I am attending it alone.  Will I meet people? Will I be eating dinner alone each night? Will it be interesting, motivating and all that I hoped for? Or will I be disappointed that I chose to leave my family during this time?

All in all this is going to be a growing experience for me, facing uncertainty head on! 

‘Relearning’ How and What to Eat

I am embarking on a new journey with regards to my diet.  I am not changing my diet to loose weight (although that would be an added bonus J) but for health reasons.  Diet is so attached to our outward appearance where really it should be seen as how we are treating our body inwardly.  People who are blessed with a fast metabolism can eat the worst foods and still remain physically skinny, but this does not mean they are healthy on the inside. 

I have struggled since I was a teenager with stomach problems.  I clearly react to dairy, but other types of food make me sick as well and it was totally unpredictable.  I went to gastroentologists, and spent lots of money having tests done, with out any conclusive results or explanation on what I could do to prevent being sick.  The test for gluten intolerance came back negative, so the vague diagnosis of IBS still stood.  What does that mean for someone? What is the solution?

Luckily the solution presented itself to me, and it’s not an easy fix, a pill to take or 1 specific food to cut out of my eating routine/diet.  It is learning a new way of eating.  And that is why I am writing this blog, I feel that I have discovered something so exciting, that many people do already know, BUT many people do not know – so I would like to share. 

In passing I mentioned to my yoga instructor, who is also a nutrition coach, about my issues and she said she could help.  I decided that as I had no solution from a doctor, exploring a new way of eating would be worth testing out, and at worst, at least I would be eating healthier, even if it does not fix my IBS problems.

In July of this year I began on my 6 month nutritional program.  I am 4 sessions into the program and I am already noticing significant differences.  The experience is truly remarkable.  To begin, my coach evaluated my existing diet and established that I was consuming a mostly acidic diet, and because I suffer from anxiety, which is considered a possible cause of IBS, the acidic diet was not helping my digestive tract, leaving it inflamed and irritated. 

Keep in mind I have never eaten ‘poorly’.  Junk food is not a part of my diet but I had no idea how much fruits and vegetables I should be eating.  I also thought, What on earth would I eat if I was not able to eat gluten? Turns out quite a lot.  So far, I have been learning how to add fruits, vegetables, grains and beans into my diet.  And it actually tastes good!

Habits are hard to break, and that is what one’s diet is: engrained habits established from childhood.  It takes a considerable amount of time, energy and most of all WILL POWER to make a change.  I guess my IBS is a plus, in that it makes it easier for someone like me to embrace the change as I have suffered for so many years.  Saying that though, sometimes I still cannot resist pizza, cheese, icecream – things I know for sure will leave me ill for hours following.  It is as hard as stopping smoking or breaking another typical addiction.  For others who do not have digestive problems, it would be even more challenging. 

This is a learning curve.  The first time I made Quinoa it was a disaster.  You cannot be afraid to fail.  You are also not going to wake up the next day and everything you eat will be good for you – it would be far too overwhelming to make that drastic of a change.  My coach does not tell me I cannot eat something.  I have not stopped eating all the things I should not – but I am learning that when I do make the right choice I feel so much better.  I am not beating myself up when I do crave chocolate, or a cupcake, or cookie, my biggest weaknesses.  I try to stop myself, but if I do eat it, I know that as time passes and my body starts to adjust to this new way of eating I will crave it less and less.  I am also aware now of how I feel when I consume something healthy.  I feel light.  I eat a cookie now, and although I enjoy it immensely while eating, after I am AWARE of the acidic after taste of the cookie. 

I truly believe that the ‘western’ diet is where our ailments lie.  Advertisements on packages trick us to make us believe that what we are eating is good for us, when really it is not.  With the risk of sounding extreme – the big food manufacturers seem to have a bit of a conspiracy going on and do not really care about the well being of their consumers.  What they care about is their bottom line. 

If you want to make a change and think – oh its too hard – I don’t have time – reconsider.  I did not think I could do something like this – but I am – and it feels liberating! I am starting to really enjoy food for the first time in a very long time! And I am also starting to learn all about what I am actually eating – education is true enlightenment.

Stay tuned and join in my journey – I’ll post links and more information soon! 

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Stella Maris, Long Island

Traveling… one of my favourite things!

I love to go to new places whether it is far away or close to home.  I make it my mission to go to 1 ‘cool new place’ every single year.  I would say it is my priority goal, before house projects or anything.  I think about my vacation about a year in advanced!  Getting only 3 weeks vacation a year on this side of the world (compared to Europeans who get about 6 weeks) it goes fast.  I usually budget in a few days unpaid too since I have a very pro-traveling boss J

Just over a week ago my boyfriend and I traveled to Long Island, another island in The Bahamas.  We had never gone there before and we both enjoy getting to see the different islands in The Bahamas.

I have been to Abaco, Freeport, Chub Cay in the Berry Islands, Eleuthera, Harbour Island, and Andros.  And now Long Island.  We LOVED Long Island!

We were between Cat Island, San Salvador and Long Island.  As my boss owns a lot of property in North Long Island I had heard so much about it, so we chose to go there.  The Ministry of Tourism was doing a special that if you go and stay at a participating hotel for 4 nights; you get your 2 airline tickets for free! We thought that was fabulous, and a great way to celebrate our 9 year anniversary. 

On Friday July 29th we headed off on Pineapple Air down to Stella Maris, North Long Island.  I was not sure what to expect, but I was expecting something similar to Eleuthera.  Long Island makes Eleuthera feel like a bustling town. 

Dolphin House
Stella, the local community potcake, greeted us warmly at the airport.  We were whisked away by Dwight, a local taxi driver and our new best friend.  Arriving at the front desk at Stella Maris Resort was such a pleasant experience.  All the staff greeted us warmly and we found out that we had been upgraded to a beautiful house on the water with its own private pool! To my surprise, when I asked for the keys to the house, I received a funny look and was informed that they do not lock the doors.  I defensively explained that we do live in Nassau – it’s understandable!

Dolphin house could not be more perfect - a 70’s style island home with a great layout for visiting guests.  Two bedrooms on each side separated by a living and dining area, and great porch and the feature of the house is the ocean views and huge swimming pool.  

Yummy Cake!
Dinner at the resort is phenomenal.  Chef Bruno makes remarkable dishes and on our first night there we had a most delicious cake in honor of our anniversary.  I was pleasantly surprised to see Stella the dog outside of the clubhouse and she kindly escorted us back to the house, after she realized we had a ‘to go’ container.  Stella enjoyed her reward of cracked conch, and barked a few times as if to say that we paid her to act as security and we were now protected. 

On Saturday morning after a lovely relaxing night sleep, we were up early and enjoyed a great breakfast.  Stepping out of the house the small crabs scatter, and a meow came from some trees.  This was our first encounter with Rambo, the community ‘potcat’. The pancakes at breakfast were superb!  I had the same pancake every day and may have to go back just to eat another pancake.

Dean’s Blue hole was today’s destination.  About an hour’s drive south, down the one road that runs the length of the island we found it.  Words cannot explain, and photos barely do this place justice.  It is something one must see to appreciate.  Driving through the settlements of Long Island takes you back in time.  What really amazed me was how interesting it is to witness this primitive state of development.  Most people only conceptualize it in history books, how a church was built and the town grew around that and side streets develop and before you know it you are in a city.  In Long Island, you get to experience the state in which every town or city would have started off in.  Everyone knows everyone.  Even though we were outsiders, we still received a very warm welcome. 
Dean's Blue Hole

We meandered back North, excited at the thought of just relaxing around the pool at house, and even taking a nap.  Oh the decadence of island life. 

Sue heads up the bar and grill down by the water at the Stella Maris Resort.  We opted for lunch over there and met our new friend Rambo the cat.  I shared my generous portion of mahi-mahi and Rambo fell in love. 

Later on that evening he even found our house, came in and enjoyed a packet of cat food we had picked up from the store for him.  Rambo curled up so happily on the couch we did not have the heart to put him outside, so there he slept! 

On Sunday we lazed around, enjoying the house and time to do nothing, something that I especially do not get much of in Nassau.  Stella passed by to check in and lay by the pool with me until she caught a whiff of something coming from the grill and happily trotted off to investigate.

Stella, Everybody's Friend! 

Cape Santa Maria
Today was the day we were going North.  Cape Santa Maria has a legendary beach that we had to see for ourselves.  Lunch was fantastic and the beach was breathtaking.  I insisted that we go in search of the monument that I had heard of.  We were told it was down a road that was not too good – they did not tell a lie.  It was a very rough road and we were glad we rented a little jeep.  The monument is worth seeing just for the beautiful views – the different blues from the waters below.  I find all different types of landscapes beautiful, from snow-capped mountains to green pastures, but I must admit that the turquoise ocean landscapes are my absolute favourite.

Views from the Monument

Sad that our trip was drawing to a close, it was decided we would watch the sunset, enjoy the stars, and rise to see the sunrise.  Sue told us the best place nearby to watch the sunset was at the Beach Bungalow about 10-15 minutes south.  Driving down, with the music blasting, singing at the top of our lungs I felt true happiness and contentment.  The water was calm and the sunset was striking.  It was a very romantic setting.  As we both wanted one last dinner at the resort we jumped in the Rav and headed North.  Dinner was, as expected, very yummy! 

Next on our Island Agenda – watch the stars come out.  Where else could be more perfect to watch the stars but from the middle of a sun heated pool with the sound of waves crashing on the seawall.  Most of us really miss the beauty of the night as a result of our city lights.  The stars were mesmerizing.  The only other place I have been to that would top this is the Galapagos Islands. 

The alarm went off early and we looked at each other and said, are we really getting up? YES! So we did – however, the sky was cloudy, and the mosquitoes came out in droves, and drove us right back in the house and back to bed!

Our trip had come to a close, it was time to pack up from dolphin house and depart.  Rambo brought his family, a female and 2 kittens, by and it was heartbreaking that we did not have anymore cat food! Lesson learned, always travel with more cat and dog food than you think because I will always come across hungry cats and dogs!

A quick flight back to Nassau brought us quickly back to reality… we will definitely be back to Stella Maris, Long Island.  

Sunday, 7 August 2011

My very first blog...

Welcome to my very first blog.

I’ll take this first entry to introduce myself. 

I was born and raised on the Island of Nassau, in The Bahamas.  I went to high school here and graduated in 1999.  I headed off to boarding school in Ontario for 2 years, and then university in Nova Scotia, Canada.  I returned to Nassau in 2005 after graduating with my Bachelor of Commerce.  

When returning back home I moved back in with my parents and started working in real estate.  Not because I planned to, but because it sort of just happened.  I was supposed to work at Atlantis, but after 2.5 days there I realized it was not the place for me.  I worked for about 2 years at one real estate company before I moved to the company where I am now, at Graham Real Estate. 

It was my mission to save up and for my boyfriend and I to purchase a house, and that happened in 2007.  After we settled into the house, I found my place back in island life, and things with work were going well, it was then my calling to give back to the community - something I had always said I would do once I got ‘organized’ with life.  I got involved with Baark! and the Bahamas Humane Society at the end of 2009. 

Like many people, I have never been a person that knew exactly what they were destined to do in life.  I would like to believe that I will ‘succeed’ in life and that I am destined for ‘greatness’ – defining those 2 very vague words is what I am trying to now figure out in 2011.

This blog will be exactly what the title says – An Island Girl in an Island World. 

My journey of figuring what success and greatness mean to me… the search for completeness and balance.