DIY Treadmill desk

Ever since reading Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives (adlink) I was obsessed with getting a Treadmill desk. They’re pricey though…

So because I have a standing desk at my office from before, I came up with the idea of taking mum’s unused low-budget treadmill she’s been wanting to get rid of for years and have it under my desk. Voila – a DIY treadmill desk!

I dragged the whole thing to work on a day this summer when I knew no one else would be in the office to “test it out” without having to explain to everyone about my weird idea. I later realised my “weird” idea is a real thing (adlink)! You don’t have to buy a whole one-unit treadmill desk (adlink) you can just buy a treadmill that fits under your desk. There are special ones without the handle thing that fits under any desk.

And the real ones have a special type of motor in them that are better for this type of use – slow speed for a long time. And quieter with ability to control it from above your desk or through an app. But hey, who needs to be that fancy anyway right…

Anyway my solution worked fine! I could focus (better) when working, maybe writing becomes a bit shakier, but I am a programmer so I’m suppose to type with my keyboard anyway and that is no different from sitting. Also I have a track ball mouse so there’s no issue there either, just have to move it a little to the side compared to when I’m sitting.

So it works fine and I can work just as well while while doing it. But WHY do I do it? Well one reason is the same as standing up while working – getting a more varied work position instead of sitting and slouching for 8 hours.

Standing up and working burns about double the calories as sitting. So slowly walking while working burns even more calories. According to my Google Fit my hour of walking today 1.8 km/hr burnt just over 300 calories and added 6000 steps to my step counter! Compare that to an hour sitting and working which I got a Google search figure of about 100 calories/hour.

I’m busy reading a book by a Swedish author called The real happy pill (adlink). Last night I was reading about standing desks and it’s effect on children in particular. And yeah, a treadmill desk can’t possibly be worse! So what he’s saying is that the benefits of standing while working goes far beyond burning more calories, the brain actually works better. A study done on 7th graders showed that the benefits of standing while working was better concentration, improved memory and better working executive control (making decisions).

Who doesn’t want those benefits?!

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Aubergine curry

Had this really nice aubergine curry tonight. Mm. It was delish! Deep fried aubergine, courgettes, garlic, red curry paste, coconut milk. Something like that.

Been reading up on oils today. If you buy organic rape seed oil for example – does that mean it’s not been refined with chemicals and stuff? Anybody know?

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Sunday sum up

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Hello! Another week coming to an end. Is been a good week. I’m still doing my diet and it’s going really, really well. I’ve started working out again. Aiden is sleeping which means so am I.

I hope next week will be equally good. I’ve planned the food for the week with an extra post – Aiden ‘s column. I’ve started freezing his stuff in small non-plastic containers to make it easier. It’s so much fun planning and feeding this little one.

I’ve become such a hippie. I made my own tooth paste the other day.

I should go to bed now. Good night!

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#veganchallenge – A girl can change her mind, can’t she?!

I never thought I’d rethink my meat-eating. I really didn’t. But I am and it started with my sister-in-law saying she has started following a vegan diet when we met at my in-laws a few weeks ago. My mother in law and her husband are vegetarians and have been for a few years. So it was already mainly a meat free diet being served (although my mother in law had kindly cooked us some chicken tikka masala, I must mention)

Back to the vegan thing. So my sister-in-law was instantly attacked with loads of stereotypical jokes from us 3 meat eaters, when explaining the reasons for her new eating habits. As I’m throwing out these jokes on a regular interval, however, I realise it must be something that happen to vegans/vegetarians all the time – being made fun of, questioned and asked to justify their position and any seemingly inconsistencies in their argument. Why is that? I don’t constantly have to explain why I eat meat.

Anyway, I had a revelation should I say about my own reasoning and justifications when it comes to eating meat,very surprisingly actually. I haven’t considered challenging myself on this point before because I’ve been convinced meat serves an important purpose for us. And as you’ve noticed here on the blog I’ve had a keen interest in high protein diets, which is can be perceived as a contradiction to a no-animal diet. There are some convincing arguments for a high protein diet being the way forward, but having read up a bit more I’ve come across arguments equally convincing saying the opposite. Arguments covering several aspects of life (health, environment, treatment of animals, weight) not just maintaining a certain weight. As we say in Sweden; “Man är inte sämre än att man kan ändra sig” (“I’m not worse than I can change my mind”)

The more I’ve thought about it I’ve realised that my justifications for eating meat is kind of poor and doesn’t really cover the kind of meat I tend to eat – cheap, mass-produced and also processed meat. The means to get it cheap and easily accessible to me, is worrying both from a moral and health perspective. Hence the reasoning; “I don’t think it’s wrong or bad for my health to eat grass feed beef from a local butcher, but because it’s not available to me price or location wise – it’s equal to substitute it with cheap store-bought meat.”

It’s not that someone else has challenged me on it (although my sister-in-law shared some blog & books after I showed an interest), but the seed was sown at some point and it has now lead me to this conclusion: I can’t really defend eating meat the way I do. If I’m going to continue I will have to accept the fact that I can’t defend it and have no good excuse and hats off for those who don’t. I haven’t made a definite decision where this revelation should take me, so maybe it’s a bit premature blogging about it. It is a very personal thing and my choices has to be right for me and I don’t have to stick to anyone else’s rules.

Some who read this will probably feel like I’ve done a one-eighty. And I have, as regards to the meat, I suppose. But all the other stuff is basically the same.

Jon just sighs; “Gosh, you always have to think of ways to make your diet more complicated.”

Either way, exploring new recipes and rethinking old ones is always fun, so I’ve decided to set myself a challenge – a vegan diet challenge. I have already started and I’m on day 6 of 30. I say vegan but actually it only partly describes the changes I’m making. And also, important to point out now; I’m only talking about a vegan diet at this point. So that no vegan lifestyle activist get offended and call me a fake. I’m not looking for a title to live up to in any way. Any change is a good change.

I did not realise (silly me) the environmental aspect of eating meat, not fully anyway. I read yesterday that you can do more for the environment by cutting out meat one day a week, than eating local produce seven days a week. So any change is really a good change and I’m doing something.

Besides eating a vegan based diet I’m also continue to cut out gluten, sugar, starchy and processed food and opt for organic produce as much as possible. It’s about making healthy choices.

After the 30 days I will evaluate and see how I want to move forward. Here’s some stuff I’ve eaten this week:

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Winter melt down

Isn’t it just typical that the day after writing this very positive, ambitious post – I have the worst day… That’s reality I guess. Up & down.

I’ve been sleeping badly lately (unusually bad) due to Aiden being sick and waking up a lot and me not being able to unwind and fall asleep. I’ve felt eaten up by life to the extent that I’m not even thinking my own thoughts. Days of irritation finally lead to a break down when Aiden refused to eat because he’s nose was blocked and just screamed of frustration. And what’s the best solution? A crying mum throwing her mobile and stuff on the floor? Probably not, but hey we’re all human…

Realised that I need to go back to basics. Just be happy getting through a day, especially if we haven’t slept. I’ve felt great lately so I’ve snuck more and more into my days and more demands & pressure on myself without sensing when it’s enough. That in combination with wanting to be helpful to others have emptied the little reserves I had. That might be why my brain is working so hard at bedtime. But just in case I’ve cut down on coffee to one cup a day, in the morning, as well.

Now I just need to find out why Aiden wakes up at 4am expecting to be up and play. It’s a bit inconvenient.

I need to keep a closer eye on myself and recognise signs of me getting stressed, to remind myself that I need to take a step back. It’s not nice when you feel you’re losing control and that you physically feel dizzy and feel like you have a helmet squeezing your head tighter and tighter. It can’t be healthy!

It’s boring and lame to have to cut down, as I want to do more in a day. But I can’t right now – sleep and health is most important.

Today we went for a walk to the store, it’s freezing cold here in Sweden right now. My thighs are still hurting from the cold. This only though we just took a short walk as Aiden’s still not well from his cold.

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Chia seed pudding

Chia Pudding

 

Of course I HAD to try this hyped chia seed pudding/porridge thing out there everywhere on all health, exercise blogs. Especially since I’m trying to introduce high protein without meat/dairy products. More about that later!

This first one I did following this recipe, in English it would be:

  • 2 tbsp organic chia seeds (I didn’t have organic this time though – next time!)
  • 1 tbsp organic coconut flakes
  • ~12g saffron
  • 1 tsp organic vanilla essence (again didn’t have organic this time…)
  • 200 ml unsweetened almond milk (gaah! didn’t realise they would sweeten it, found unsweetened one now so will buy it from now on)
  • 2 finely chopped dates for sweetening (I didn’t have dates so just used some maple syrup)

Anyway, you mix it all and refrigerate overnight and serve with berries and maybe some almond milk.

So my verdict? It’s not bad. Not awesome either though. But that could have been because I expected it to taste like passion fruit, cause this saffron version looks like passion fruit.

I’m trying cardamom and cinnamon and maple syrup for tomorrows porridge.

The Men Who Made Us Fat

The men who made us fat“The question is not why there are so many fat people […], but why there are thin people in an environment that is leading us all to be obese”

 

I’d like to highly recommend this 3 part BBC documentary called “The men who made us fat”. So interesting! Never put your trust in government guidelines, recommendations or food company labelling/marketing to educate you on what’s healthy! There’s to many conflicting agendas and the main priority is not to recommend that is best for us humans. (there’s also; The men who made us thin)

The men who made us fat BBC documentary
The men who made us fat

 

I feel cheated out of an awesome birth experience…

I’m experiencing a few quite new emotions. My friend has blogged previously about how sensitive it can be to discuss pregnancy/birth/children and that people can take offence so easily by everything. She said that some get provoked when she says she found giving birth easy. But also by the fact that she found breast-feeding difficult and not enjoyable. I was not provoked by her experience then or now. But I didn’t really know what she meant, until now… And I’m the one taking offense.

No one can put a price at the reward. I still wish I'd had a great birth experience too...
No one can put a price on the reward. I still wish I’d had a great birth experience too…

This Swedish blogger has just had a baby. Which is lovely! But straight away she’s started indicating what a fantastic experience it was, her 4 hour labour and birth, and that it was the best thing she’s ever done and she’s telling her expectant mothers-to-be readers not to worry because her experience was so great.

This really provokes me, I’ve noticed. I’m surprised by my own reaction, but I also want to dig a bit deeper into why it’s so provoking to me. I mean it’s not like I was hoping that she’d have a terrible experience. I’ve had plenty of friends telling me that they really enjoyed giving birth, and this has not made me upset in any way.

And I agree with her that there is NO NEED TO WORRY. Seriously. The baby will come out and the first few days, weeks after are just amazing. The emotions of having a child is great. And if it’s not because of complications, then worrying now, will not help you in any way.

So I guess it’s that addition of saying “don’t worry, it was the best thing I’ve ever done”, that is sooo provoking. The reason for not worrying should be that you can’t do anything about it, and that it is a lottery (women that have had several children can testify to this – the same woman can have as many different birth experiences as children). But that this woman had a great birth is no indication of what other people’s experience will be.

For me, giving birth was far from great. I still view it as a trauma. I have no positive thoughts connected with the actual birth or hospital stay after.

I think I’m provoked because there is this underlying idea or thought that if you’re tough enough, prepared enough you will get an easy birth. There’s all these tips out there – teas, exercises etc to tone your uterus and make birth giving easy peasy. I did it all. I prepared for it as thoroughly as I did the London marathon.

My opinion now, after having given birth, is that it’s a lottery and you can be lucky or unlucky. You can’t really do much about it. If it’s straight forward then maybe your preparation can help you a little and make you feel better. But just because it goes pear-shaped does not mean that you could have done anything about it, before or during.

It’s true that I feel cheated out of an awesome experience myself, so it might just be viewed as bitterness. And it’s true that I feel let down by Swedish health care. And I also feel very unlucky.

It’s not really that I’m begrudging of others lovely experience of birth giving, not really. I just think that had I had a great labour/birth experience myself, I would have probably felt it was due to all my preparation, my mental attitude and my personal strength. Since that didn’t happen, I feel this urge to explain that if you had a great experience you were lucky – not better prepared, or mentally stronger, or physically in better shape than me – you were just lucky!

It’s stupid, I know. It doesn’t make a difference and it doesn’t change individual experiences. It shouldn’t make me feel less. Less of a woman or whatever type of primal emotions it has awaken in me.

That’s where I’m at. Not saying it’s right. I’m actually a bit surprised about it. But that’s my feelings. And probably a lot of other women’s feelings as well. So I’ve started thinking of my labour and birth and I might write it down & share as an exercise to try to come to terms with what happened and to remember how I experienced it.

All this also made me think of this woman I saw on TV who has been diagnosed with cancer recently. She talked about this blame culture when it comes to diseases and it did really make me think. I’ve caught myself passing silent blames. Especially when you see someone not taking care of their health and ending up being sick in different ways. She said that she never thought it would happen to someone like her; yoga person, health aware and thinking about her diet. But it is what they say Cancer doesn’t discriminate.

And with cancer you often hear what a positive attitude can do, and you have to fight cancer. But people who fight for their lives still die in cancer. Some people have made all the right choice pre-cancer and still end up with this killer disease. And others might have really played with fire and sure enough end up with cancer, but they survive.

It’s unfair and it’s mostly out of our control. Being a strong person can help deal with the consequences of a bad birth experience and to juggle all emotions afterwards. But the actual turn of events during labour is hard to control regardless of preparation made.

3 stuffy noses

Coffee and mandarin - sickness remedies
Coffee and mandarin – sickness remedies

Poor little baby has got my cold now. He’s not terribly unhappy about it surprisingly, but when his little stuffy nose is keeping him from feeding properly he gets really upset and even more upset when we attempt to clear his little nose. And Jon is now showing signs of the cold. So all three of us are sneezing and coughing away. Hello virus feast!

Aiden & Jon
Aiden & Jon have both got a cold

He also feeds very frequently now that he’s sick. Which is good! It’s comforting for him but also rehydrating and the breast milk will help him fight the cold with all its’ super ingredients. Naaw little man, doesn’t understand what’s going on. Glad he doesn’t have a fever at least. It’s just the first of many colds though to help strengthen his immune system. Read there’s more than 200 cold viruses… So he’s just getting started in building his immune system for them all.

I’m getting better now, had a sleep-in this morning (well except waking up every other hour, at least, to feed A, but back to sleep after). Have not been able to work out or anything for a week which is annoying as I just got started on Period 2 of the schedule I’m following. But what can you do…? I’ve forced myself out for a few walks at least, it will help fight the cold virus as well and help us feel a bit better. I just want to be well now!

Loving Gteborg, loving "the Plutt"
Loving Gteborg, loving “the Plutt”

Slowly getting stronger

Olga Rnnberg

I’m basing my training on this book. It’s got exercises especially for new mum’s. I said yesterday is so boring doing them, it’s got nothing to do with the book itself. It’s just that my body is so weak and I’m not enjoying the exercise yet. But I can tell a difference so it’s well worth and I will continue. I do the training three times a week but the plank the other three days with a walk for example. And the last day is rest day (yes I didn’t forget a week is seven days).

I’ll let you know how it goes!