Saturday, 15 April 2017

The Ideas Are There

When I started doing yoga last September I bought the cheapest fitness mat I could find. It was a foam mat. My yoga teacher told me it was better for the likes of pilates as it wasn't a proper yoga mat. When I eventually got a proper yoga mat the fitness mat ended up idle in the wardrobe. 

I had an idea in my head for a few weeks but never got around to it until now. I measured the length and width of the mat and marked out 5 sections long by 4 sections wide and cut the segments. I was going to stack them all together but found that might be a bit too high. So I divided them into 2 piles. Maybe slightly flatter than intended but when I get more flexible they'll be just right I'd say. 

I wrapped them in duct tape and now I have 2 homemade yoga blocks. 

They'll come in handy for sitting in a cross legs position, sitting with the soles of the feet together & knees out wide position, and, practising jumping from downward facing dog to feet between the hands - which we've done in yoga class before. Indeed anything where a block is needed in my practice. 

I can't quite get my legs low enough to the ground in a cross-legged sitting position due to a lack of flexibility in the lower back and tightness in the hips (and possibly anterior pelvic tilt) so the block will help me sit with better posture without too much pressure on the lower back and hips.
Like my younger brother says: "the ideas are there, only to think of 'em."

Thursday, 30 March 2017

Another Yoga Update

Beads of sweat and another endorphin high from another great yoga class. I'm finished the second six-week run of vinyasa flow classes. I had intended to try a power flow class next week to see if my body is ready for it but I had bad back pain during the weekend and will need to allow time for my body to recover. It's a pity this setback happened but I'll try and keep my mind in a good place and drop in to vinyasa flow classes until I'm ready. Power flow classes are drop in and I paid for ten drop in classes tonight and was told it's valid until November. I intend using the card for the drop-ins during the next nine weeks. She takes a break for the summer in nine weeks time until September. Just as well because it's hot yoga and those intense heaters would take a lot out of you in the warmer summer months I'd say.
I go into how I got on in this evening's class with a bit more detail in my other, gluten free, blog if you want to check that out, eamonglutenfree dot blogspot dot ie (no need for the www) is the address I think.
Just want to say that yoga class is usually the highlight of my week and while my body isn't as flexible as I'd like it's putting my mind in a good place with a more positive outlook on life and learning to love myself a bit more.

Monday, 6 March 2017

A Word of Warning

I was looking for smooth almond butter for when I first made grain-free bread last year. I picked up the Lifeforce brand, read the ingredients & allergen section of the label, bought it and went home. Luckily before I opened it I read the other side of the label and it said it was produced in a place that also handles gluten. I took it back to the shop and got my money back.
While shopping in Dunnes stores in Tralee  yesterday I noticed that the same brand of nut butter had been moved from the nut butter, honey, jam section to the free from section. So any coeliacs, especially newly diagnosed, should not immediately trust a food item just because it's in the free from section. Be very wary of Lifeforce products because of the cross contamination risk. Dunnes, among other supermarkets, also put spelt flour beside the gluten free flours. Spelt is a type of wheat. It has a lower gluten content than regular wheat but that doesn't matter. It still has gluten in it so avoid!

Saturday, 4 March 2017

New Smartphone

I was looking into new and second hand phones recently. My Xperia Z1 served me well since the end of October 2013. Even as recently as days ago I was discovering something new about it. I didn't realise it had an answering machine until earlier in the week. It was the best phone I ever had. But the charge port cap was long gone and a dodgy job on a battery replacement meant the back was only hanging on and there were glue stains on the lens cover so there was a foggy picture with the main camera. I didn't do the replacement. I took it to a repair shop. Also the replacement battery didn't last as long as the original did before it started dying last year. Its waterproof quality was well and truly gone. A new phone was needed.
There's actually a Sony mobile phone connection to this blog. Back before smartphones came out I had a Sony Ericsson cybershot phone with a good camera and flash and it had a little joystick instead of the direction arrows. When I took a photo with it I had the option to share it on the internet by setting up this blog. The earliest blog posts here with photos were taken by the camera on that phone and written using its keypad.
When looking to replace the Z1 I had a look at older flagship devices from the Sony Xperia Z3 to the Z5. The Z5 Premium was just outside my budget even second hand. I could have went with a Z5 but the best price for an unlocked mobile phone was in Cork and I wasn't willing to travel because I had to consider that cost on top of the phone price. I then looked at the best phone I could afford in a local second hand shop. I was prepared to go without full water resistance at this stage. The phone I looked at was the Xperia X. It looked ok on the display. I would have bought it but when I handled it, it had some dents and scratches. That put me off even though the shop offers a 2-year warranty.
The same day I went into my service provider's shop out of curiosity to see what a new phone would cost. I was shown the Xperia XA, X and I think it was the E5. But then I was shown the Samsung Galaxy A3 2017. Only released at the end of January. It drew my attention because, even though it's a mid range device, it's water resistant - one of the reasons I originally bought the Z1 - and within my budget. I went back to the shop and bought it yesterday.
One thing that I don't like is that when the software updated it installed Facebook and I can't uninstall it, only deactivate it. I deleted my Facebook account and uninstalled it from my old phone because it had too much control over my phone. It wasn't in the phone when they set it up with my SIM card and sd card from my old phone in the shop. Apart from that I spent ages fiddling with it yesterday. I have to get used to the hard home key and the back and recent apps keys being off screen and on opposite sides to the Z1. I hit recent apps instead of back a few times and I tapped the screen to bring up those keys a couple of times out of habit. Screenshot is easier on Xperia. Tap the recent apps key and a menu bar at the bottom of the screen gives you screenshot among other things. I had to Google how to screenshot on my new Samsung Galaxy A3. You press and hold the power and home keys at the same time until you hear the click and the thumbnail image is in the notification bar at the top. At least I know how to do it now.
Overall, while it's not a flagship device or an Xperia, it's fairly good quality for the price and it's practical in terms of what I need from a phone. I must check if I can bring comma into the letters part of the keyboard though. Then it'd be fairly close to all my needs. And I have a phone that I can make and take calls in the rain again.

Thursday, 9 February 2017

Yoga Update

My body is still quite tight at yoga. Today my instructor adjusted me during a high lunge. Later I wasn't quite twisting enough during a twist pose and she straightened me and gently adjusted my shoulder back further. I think she might have got and impression of how tight my body still is when adjusting me, at least I hope so.
There was a back bend workshop on Sunday and now I wish I'd signed up for that because it's supposed to open the hips and make you stronger in the core and back and one of the women said she felt very loose after it. Anyway, I'll keep practicing.
Next week is the last week of this run of vinyasa flow but I've signed up for the next 6-week run. I don't know how to progress after that because at the moment I know I'm not ready for the more advanced power flow. I'll see how things pan out.

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Gluten Free Specific Blog & Diet

Just letting people know that I have a new blog for specifically gluten free and coeliac related stuff. The Web address is http://eamonglutenfree.blogspot.ie if you want to check that out. I'll keep this one as well and post general random stuff as I usually do.
I started a gut healing diet on Sunday and there is a 6-stage meal plan. I'm hoping that'll help with a few issues I've had recently. I remember a dietician telling me in October 2015 that the reason I had cravings for sweets was probably because of an imbalance between the good and bad bacteria in my gut and something to do with intestinal yeast as well. I've been planning this diet for a few months and now I'm in the first week and hopefully after all 6 stages I'll gain back any weight loss from the first couple of stages. There is also a mention in the book about stocks and broths providing nutrients to bones so a person will lose weight (which I really don't need to do) in the first stages but gain it back through bone density in the latter stages.  I'm also taking vitamin D tablets because my levels were low the last time I had a check up at the doctor. That will help absorb calcium to keep my bones in good condition.
This diet is all about healing a leaky gut and replenishing the good bacteria though. The great thing about the diet is that it's not just gluten free, it's grain-free. So no so-called "safe" grains like corn or rice either. So it's ideal for me. It's not specifically for coeliacs, it's designed to heal every digestive system. You see grains can be tough on digestive systems and contribute to a leaky gut so that's why they're out. In the latter stages peas and beans are allowed back into the meals but I won't be doing that because I get abdominal pains these days if I eat them. It also has indicators on recipes to state if they're suitable for people who have other dietary requirements - nut free, dairy free, paleo, low fodmap.
So I have a diary with a plan for sourcing ingredients and what food I might need to cook in advance and days I should have food for all meals if I manage portions correctly. I can't eat out (not that I had much options for that anyway) and I'm already resisting the temptation to grab quick snacks like crisps, chocolate bars and fruit from the shop to munch on, on the way home. Fruit isn't allowed until the latter stages apart from lemon juice in herbal tea. For the tea I put some mint leaves and ginger in a tea strainer and leave it brew for 5 minutes in a cup of boiling water. Then I add coconut oil, honey and lemon juice to taste. There are healthy fats in the diet - animal fat, ghee, coconut oil.
So that's what I'm up to at the moment. Check out my new gluten free blog as well.

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

2017

Happy new year to everyone. What are some of the things I want to do for this year?
First of all work on improving my diet to improve my gut health and general health. I also need to get driving lessons and hopefully pass my driving test. It would be nice to get a girlfriend and develop the relationship to something serious and long-term. I need to be more mindful and to get my thoughts and mental health in order as well. I also hope to get my computer up and running because there's a few chapters of a fictional sports story on it that I started writing in 2015 that I'd like to complete. I intend writing it under a pen name because of what it's about. So I'll have to change my name on the author part. I'll keep up the yoga and hopefully make my body more flexible and improve my posture and body language, as well as using it for strength and fitness. I've been doing yoga since September so it's not a new year's resolution fad. I have another idea in my head but I don't know how realistic that goal is yet so I won't reveal it here. I also have it in my head to see if I can find a dentist who's willing get my teeth fixed under the medical card. I wouldn't bother going to a dentist only I want to improve my chances of finding a girlfriend. So I have to.
I only decided to write this because I'm waiting for the oven to heat up to put on my dinner. But I hope it's reasonably interesting for readers to have my thoughts shared with them. Happy new year everyone!