The iron have me so bazodee…literally!

Morning!

My heading is the lyrics from a song about steelpan music: the “iron” is the steelpan music and “bazodee” means overwhelmed, confused, dazed in Trinidadian. Now, the original song was about enjoying steelpan music, but my heading means that my actual iron levels are low and I am literally overwhelmed, confused and dazed.

A few weeks ago, I collapsed in the washroom. I passed out for a few minutes and when I woke up, I had twisted my ankle and bitten through my lower lip. After getting bloodwork done and going through the agonizing twenty four hours after being told I had to come in to discuss the results and when I actually met with the doctor, I was told that there was virtually no iron in my blood. Sigh.

As a vegetarian, we’re always reminded that we need to keep up our protein. I do try to include protein in every meal and those close to me know that I’m always lecturing about protein in meals. Somewhere along the line, I guess I lost sight of the iron part of things. The doctor met with me and discussed the levels and while he didn’t try to make me start eating meat again, he did ask me a few times if I would consider eating meat, “not that I want to judge your lifestyle”. Hmmmm…

I can’t actually fathom chewing on and swallowing a piece of chicken or bacon on salmon. I actually can’t. Now I know the body is resilient and if I wanted to, I probably could actually do it, but the reality is that I’m not going to. The fact remains that I have been a vegetarian since high school and can’t go back now. If I can incubate a human and take care of two of us on this diet, I can surely take care of myself, right?

So like the lactose intolerant revelation a few months ago, now there’s this bombshell. I mean, seriously? Does my body want me to eat nothing at all? Sigh. To add insult to injury, since last year, I have given up juice and pop and have stuck to drinking only water and tea: I go through a cup of orange pekoe in the morning, 750 ml a day of green tea at my desk at work and then I drink unsweetened homemade iced tea at home (that I brew myself) and on doing my iron absorption research, I’ve come to find out that properties in tea (tannins) inhibit iron absorption. Here’s the kicker: tannins only affect iron absorption in iron found in non-meat sources. So essentially, because of the all-day tea drinking, my body has not been able to absorb any iron I’ve been consuming. What the f….annoying!

So now what? Now what do I do? I fear I might have to become those meal-planning, own-food-bringing, nutritional-content-scrutinizing people. I don’t have time for all of that! Can’t I just eat three beets and call it a day? I never want to reject food or bad talk food or shun food. I like to eat!! I have been doing research and my loved ones have been providing a lot of information and advice for me to consider, so that’s good, but I still can’t be bothered! hahahaha…I’m kidding.

Over the last three days, I’ve had to make changes. I have to take my iron supplements twice a day with food, but not with dairy (since that inhibits absorption) and try to have it with Vitamin C (which helps absorption), but after one hour of having tea, which affects absorption. It’s like an algebra formula! I just want to eat!!!!

Okay, enough with the whining.

I’m not invincible and despite how free-wheeling I want to live my life, diligence and organization is necessary. The amount of attention my body needs is growing and so to be healthy, I have to make a concentrated effort. No more fainting spells and low energy because I have my life to live. I have a son to raise and a job and a boyfriend and hobbies and this blog and my family and my Fitbit to keep busy. I don’t have time to have low iron!!! Right now, I have to work hard to get the iron levels UP and then maintained! That will take some effort, but pretty soon, it’ll be automatic and my body will be happier and I will be happier. This low iron thing is not going to keep me bazodee!

So on I go, one meal at a time.

Have a good week!

Vikera

One step at a time

Good morning!

So I got an activity tracker. It’s a long story, but the gist of it is that we got one for one of my besties and I thought it was a brilliant idea, so I got one too. I know what you’re thinking, “Laziest woman in the world, why are you wasting your money?” 

I’ve never been a fan of exercise. Everybody knows that. I have spent quite a bit of time avoiding it actually. In recent years though, I’ve been trying to get my act together and be more active. So here I am in 2015 with an activity tracker masquerading as a person who gives a damn about the inches on her waistline.

Let me tell you why I like this device: it makes it all count. Because I’m prone to sloth, there are times when it’s hard to get motivated to even get the bike out from the balcony, let alone go for an actual bike ride, for example. Because my Fitbit tracks the activity from the time I get up in the morning, I’m not starting from zero by the time I have an opportunity to ‘exercise’.

The common goal for a step count is 10,000 steps a day. When I first got it, I put my goal as 5,000 because I didn’t know how many steps I did – I didn’t want to get discouraged. In the first few days, I smoked that goal. Then I went to 8,000 and soon enough I was getting close to that, so I decided to go whole hog and try to get 10,000, so I could push myself!

Here’s how my Fitbit has been working: by the time I get to work in the morning, I have 1,000 steps logged, half of them from my all-over-the-place method of getting ready in the morning. T-minus 15 minutes to walking out the door: oh, I forgot to pack my lunch (kitchen)…dammit, where’s my red shoes (my bedroom)…ack! my hair (washroom)…where’s that thingamabob (living room)? Hey, is Kidlet ready? Um, what IS he doing in his bedroom (Kidlet’s bedroom)? Vitamins (kitchen)! Hmm…did I put on deodorant (washroom)?

Basically, being disorganized is a very active lifestyle!

This continues on throughout the day at work too…walk over to the printer waiting for my printout out…oh wait, I never did hit “print” did I? walk back to my desk, hit “print”, walk back to the printer then walk back to my desk. Rinse and repeat 10 times a day = 500 more steps. My daily flask of tea? Go to the kitchen at the back of the office to put the kettle on, get sidetracked with gossip, come back to my desk, forget to put the kettle on, go back, put it on. Get back to my desk, forget the kettle was on, go back to refresh the kettle, go back to my desk. Remember the kettle, go back to the kitchen then come back to my desk with tea…another 300 steps logged.

With the Fitbit, all the unintentional exercise counts. By the very nature of how it works, it’s very forgiving. For me and how my mind is wired, it works. It doesn’t judge my lazy days. It tells me, “Hey, you didn’t do exercise on purpose today, but you still logged 3,000 steps! Good for you!” Now, having said that I’d have to be asleep or completely immobile to log 0 steps a day, so it does reward very minimum effort. For me, though, I plan to not do less than 5,000 steps a day, so that’ll keep me moving.

So what’s the point of this? The point is that I’ve become much more active since getting this tracker. It validates the things I’m doing right and pushes me to do more. Because I had to be out the door early and was busy at work and didn’t take my lunch walk, by the time I came home last night, I had only logged 2,000 steps. I got my butt out for an hour of walking around my neighbourhood. The tracker tells me I walked 4 km. (Really? Who is this person?) I came back home, exhausted, invigorated and excited. Checked on my step count: 8500? Seriously? WTF! I didn’t even meet my goal. I wasn’t even mad. I did more than I would have that’s for sure. I tried walking on the spot, but after about a few hundred steps or so, my thighs were NOT amused, so I gave it up and passed out forthwith!

Anyway, long story short, I’m slowly changing my lifestyle to a more active one. One step goal at a time. For me to do this whole thing is a reflection of how I live my life. I really just am doing the best I can. I push myself when I want, but I also cut myself slack when I need it. I don’t want a perfect life, I just want to be happy and comfortable and healthy.

*******

Steps taken while I was typing this post? 0
Steps as a result of writing this post before work and now I have 10 minutes to get out the door: 1,000 😛

Have a great week, folks!

Vikera

PS. With all this walking, I’m going to have even more AMAZING thighs by the end of the year. EEEEK!

It’s the courage that counts!

[Yes, you’re in the right place. I’ve changed the look of the place. This is the third time in 17 months that I’ve given the joint a new look and feel. I will try to restrain from tweaking it every day (but I can’t guarantee) and let the new look sink in.]

One of my besties had “It’s the courage that counts” tattooed on her body. It’s how she lives her life and the more I live, I realize how much that is true. It’s not always about where you’re going, it’s about what it takes to make the steps to get there.

A friend of mine (I’ll call her Walking Mama) began working out “to lose the weight and not feel so bleh every time I had to put on clothes” and what happened next changed everything. She had been doing her daily walks in the neighbourhood and was approached by a woman who had admired her perseverance and dedication to her exercise programme. They had a conversation, she shared her experiences and she never gave it a second thought and kept on walking. Some time later, Walking Mama was approached again – it was the same woman, who was now 45 pounds lighter. It seems her pep talk and demonstration of strength had inspired someone else to make a change.

Now, Walking Mama is amazed by these chain of events. I get it. When you choose to do something personal, you never think about who is watching and how your actions will manifest itself in someone else’s life. She went for her walks when she actually didn’t want to, when it was raining, when it was too hot, when she was tired, when she just couldn’t be bothered – that is strength. We live in a world where every little thing you do can be found on social media – all efforts big and small must be pointed out, given a spotlight, and acknowledged. What I find funny is that despite that all, no one REALLY knows how hard it is to put one foot in front the other and keep going, so it’s always a shock when someone understands.

This is why this piece touches me. Walking Mama had been posting pictures over the course of her transformation and she received a lot of encouragement. We watched, in pictures, as her body changed and her smile got bigger and bigger as she achieved her goal, yet, we were not there at 5 am cheering her on or watching her do what we wouldn’t do ourselves. We don’t know the real struggle. This woman did. This woman was up in the morning and saw the whole thing as it unfolded and saw the true demonstration of strength.

Funny, that’s the thing about courage and strength. It’s rarely private.

People have the potential to be strong and brave, but sometimes they just need to know that it can be done. We are always on the lookout for someone to show us it can be achieved. We are bombarded every day by images of six-pack abs and toned bodies, but it seems unrealistic to the average person. We don’t have personal trainers, we don’t have home gyms or unlimited time on our hands. What we do have is an hour to walk in the morning before the husband, children and the sun get up, what we have is online workouts we can do while the children play in the yard, what we have is a quick trip to the gym on our lunch break instead of frittering the time away surfing the internet.

It’s easier and more convenient to do something when you have all the tools available and someone pushing you to do it. It’s not easy when you have to be creative to work towards what you want. That is where the strength is. That is when the courage is needed: pushing through and past the exhaustion, the laziness, the hurdles. To see someone exhibit that kind of courage consistently IS inspirational and motivational. Hell yeah!

So we press on. We put one foot in front the other. Sure, we fall off the wagon, but then the next morning we get up and keep going towards our goal. One foot in front of the other. We start again despite our setbacks because it’s the courage that counts.

V

There’s been a development

Good morning!!

So there’s been a development.

I’ve been blogging now for a little more than year and it’s been a wild ride. I’ve been able to share my peaks and a lot of my valleys. My readers have been there along for the ride the whole time. Well, here’s another peak for ya!

A few months ago, I went on a date with a man, which led to another date with him, which led to another date, which led to a few other dates, which led to him asking me a question a few weeks ago:

“Would you like to be my girlfriend?”

Needless to say, I am very excited about the possibilities. He’s funny, he’s smart, he’s a parent as well, he’s very tall, but most importantly, he gets me – the real me, the whole me. I’m not going to lie, we’re awesome together.

Honestly, I didn’t know if I wanted to share it on the blog. I am protective of who/what I put in the public eye, but it felt weird not sharing it. Of course, there’s the whole, “What if I tell the world and it doesn’t work out?” Well, after all this time looking for someone, I’m trying to make a concentrated effort not to hold back. What’s the point?

What’s the worst that can happen: I get my heart broken? Well, I got a divorce and buried my mother in the same year: my heart’s been broken plenty, thank you very much. It wasn’t easy, but I’m still standing.

Having been single for a long time, I’m not scared of going back to that either. Meh. There’s no real point in holding back. I have a good life and while there are times I had been conflicted about sharing it with someone else, now that I’ve met this man, I see a different side of things and frankly, different things about myself too.

We are taking things slow, which I know sounds incredibly cliche, but it’s actually true. We both have children, so it’s none of this ‘love at first sight, flashforward three months and let’s ride off into the sunset’ business. Just being able to see each other takes a lot of coordination – with the different custody arrangements, classes, work, other family commitments and my early bedtime, we couldn’t take it too fast even if we wanted to! I certainly don’t take for granted the time we do spend together, which is how it should be anyway. I guess, I’ll finally figure out what to do with a man. 🙂

Anyway, I don’t want to ramble on and on, but I just wanted to share the news. From time to time, I’ll probably write about things I’ve noticed about myself in this situation…or not. I don’t know yet how comfortable I will be, but you know me: the words must flow. 🙂

Have a wonderful week, my friends! ❤

V

What are we supposed to do now? Part 2

So on Monday I was talking about how dating has changed over the years and expectations of a date have moved far away from what has been traditionally expected.

This ‘new future’ worries me though. There was a time when you would advise your child to wait on someone special before committing, so at least that was in place to separate the wheat from the chaff, but now, with commitment being optional, now what do we use to gauge if someone is worth your time or not?

Very worrisome.

I have always been guided, selfishly, by what a person I let into my life can add to my life. I think I am a wonderful person to be in a relationship with and I have a lot to offer. I’m not going to discount that. Why would I let some random person into my life, enjoy all that I have and then be out? I wouldn’t let a stranger spend five minutes with my child alone because of trust, don’t I deserve the same courtesy? Too often, I think people put up with situations and people that they don’t deserve. You should ask yourself, “Is this person worth all that I’m giving right now?”

I know I’m being hard on poor unsuspecting suitors – maybe that’s why I never have a long line at my door – but I’m worth it. You’re worth it. You’re worth working for. You’re worth waiting for. You’re worth respecting. I think that’s what the traditional values meant. At first glance, it may have seemed like the woman had a lot to prove: “Can she cook? Is she physically attractive? Is she from a good family? Can she have children?” but on a deeper level, the men have to prove themselves too: “Can he provide for a family? Does he have a good job? Does he have a house? Can he take care of his family?”. There is a need for both sides to put their best feet forward and prove themselves. Sadly, we’ve kinda moved away from that.

I get it. It’s not necessary for a man to have a good job anymore because there are a lot of financially independent women out there and it’s not necessary for women to be able to have children because the need to ‘carry on the blood line’ is not a priority anymore. While all these questions don’t need a positive answer, I think the sentiment should still apply. I think we should be asking SOME qualifying questions. They may be along the lines of:

  • What are your goals? Do you want/have a career?
  • Are you financially stable?
  • Are you willing to be monogamous? Do you want to be with only me or are you still sowing oats?
  • Do you want children?
  • Do you want to get married?
  • Where do you see yourself in five years?

I mean, this list is, of course, not exhaustive, but these are the kinds of things one should be thinking about at the outset for a lasting relationship. It should be about complementary goals and ideologies, not just chemistry. It fosters respect and teamwork and focus and will ultimately lead to better compatibility and stronger relationships.

I think these days, we are not overly diligent about who we hitch our wagons to and it erodes the perception of love and wonderful romantic relationships and that makes me sad. Like the prevalence and availability of fast food makes us less willing to go out of our way for a nice meal, you know?

Anyway, I don’t have a solution, but I can only be diligent for myself and my body and my heart and mind. Here’s to hoping we find our way back to love and respect and honour and romance and dedication and partnership and all of that good stuff!

Keep love alive! ❤

V

What are we supposed to do now? Part 1

Good morning!

I saw this picture on Facebook about dating back in the day versus dating in 2015. I intended to save it and include it in this post, but it slipped away from me. It did, however, inspire me to think about the dating life these days. I know my opinions won’t be popular or possibly even understood, but it’s just what I’ve observed in recent times.

It’s 2015. It’s a world where women don’t NEED men, they want men. It’s a world where women don’t need to get asked out, they do the asking. It’s a world where it’s acceptable for two people to have sex on a first date. It’s a world where there are open relationships and you can hire someone to cuddle you. It’s a world where traditional values are not strictly adhered to. There are no more guidelines, per se: the rules of courtship are much more individual. What’s acceptable is largely subjective. I get it. I don’t like it, but I get it.

I, myself, have always been guided by a more traditional set of courtship rules. I know I’m in my late 30’s and people have hundreds of ways to connect these days, but I just don’t think it’s acceptable to court me by text exclusively. I don’t expect flowers and candy, but I do expect a bit of deference when it comes to holding the door open or allowing me to order first if we have a meal of some kind together. Depending on the situation, I do not expect my date to pay for everything all the time, but I expect him to know that he should expect me to expect him to pay all the time. (Does that make sense?) What happened to gentility and respect and honour and chastity and self-worth and all of that stuff? Why has progression led to such a bastardization of our morals? These days, you don’t get asked to be a girlfriend or boyfriend, you are asked to accept a “Confirm if you’re in a relationship with” request on Facebook.

I actually still believe in romance. I actually still believe in talking on the phone for hours late at night (and it doesn’t include phone sex). I do believe in going through picture albums and sharing memories (not just adding the person to Facebook so they can look through your pictures WITHOUT context or emotion). I do believe in waiting for exclusivity to have sex (and not having a condom with you on a first date). I do believe in using the words ‘boyfriend’ and ‘girlfriend’ (and not label-less introductions). Having said all of this, I understand that we’re all doing the best we can and that most of these situations depend on the person involved, but I can’t help but wonder why we can’t dial it back – not all the way back, but to like the late 90’s or something.

Why can’t we really get to know each other? Why can’t we really connect with people? Why can’t we wait or slow down, for pete’s sake? I have a few theories:

  1. Since marriage is on the decline, people are not courting with a view to get married, but are ‘getting together’ in a much more casual way, so the need to know everything in order to determine long-term compatibility is fairly obsolete.
  2. With the perception of women changing from virginal and chaste, to a more multi-dimensional entity, it’s almost like the sentiment is “you can take it”. We are no longer the ‘fairer sex’, so there’s no need to tiptoe around us, is there?
  3. We live in a world where we can have it all, so the general feeling is that there is no need to compromise, so instead of accepting a partner as is – flaws and all – we are opting to take the good bits and throw back the rest. This leads to casual sex (if it’s good) without commitment or all these other ‘situationships’ that blossom out of thin air.
  4. What about self-worth and self-esteem being on the decline? Maybe with all the noise out there making people feel they’re not good enough, maybe people think they’re not worth waiting for?

I don’t know, this is what I came up with. Maybe it’s none of this, maybe it’s all of this. All I know is that I’d be hard-pressed to let some random person borrow my favourite shoes without asking 100 questions first, let alone said person having their way with my body. I mean, seriously? As I said, maybe I just don’t get it.

So what do we do now?

V

What are we supposed to do now – Part 2 to be published on Thursday April 9.