Sunday, September 26, 2010

I'm never going to be like Martha Stewart

One look at that dusty machine and Kaya was all over it with his cleaning equipment!

It's not that I really want to be like Martha Stewart, it's just that I'd like to have the opportunity to be like her. This sewing machine situation is not helping me in my quest. If you read my earlier posts here and here about what I've gone through to be able to sew, you'll probably have some idea of the frustration I'm feeling. And you might even be waiting to hear how things have progressed. Well ... there's good and bad news. Let me tell you what happened when I again rang Brother in the U.S. to reorder those needed parts that never arrived by mail.

It was a steamy, hot night. I'd just put the baby to sleep and hubby and I had some time to ourselves ... hmm this is sounding like a post quite different to what I wanted to write. Let me rephrase that. The other night, after I put the baby to sleep, I had some time to get on skype to call Brother. It was late, the air-conditioning wasn't working as usual and I was tired. These things didn't bide well for the poor person who answered the phone... The conversation started out well enough with me explaining that I wanted to place an order and I was going to make it especially easy because I wanted to reorder exactly what I'd ordered 3 months ago. The woman told me, "sure! Just let me have a look at your order." Short pause, and then the words that almost caused me to pull all my hair out and throw myself, screaming through the glass in the window, "I'm sorry but we no longer stock internal sewing machine parts." What! The! F@#$!? I almost screamed at the woman and then I almost cried. I was more than a little bit angry when I asked the poor woman what the hell she was talking about, I mean, I'd just ordered those parts a few months ago! She told me they recently changed their system and no longer carried internal parts. However, she was nice enough to find me the number of a service provider who'd be able to help me. Well, that was at least something.

Seriously, are these Sewing Gods really trying to tell me not to use this machine? This is all just too much! Already I'd spent almost as much as the cost of the machine, in parts and I'm still not guaranteed to be using it anytime soon. Eventually, I decided that I was not going to use the bloody machine, instead, I would buy a new one when I got to Australia. But I would still order the parts, fix the machine and then sell it here in Turkey. I should even make a profit because here, the machine retails for approximately US$800 whereas I only paid about US$160 (plus the cost of the parts).

So I called the number she gave me, and this is where the good news starts. The guy I spoke with was so helpful and even though none of the part numbers Brother gave me, matched the part number he had, together (after a couple of emails back forth with photos of the parts) we were able to figure out exactly what I needed. The credit card details were given and the parts were posted that very same day!

Now, once again, I just have to wait a couple more months until I get to Australia, to see the parts, my brother will bring with him. Let's hope he doesn't forget them, lose them, or break them!

To Kill the Fungus!

I started a detox today.  It's been 6 1/2 hours and I'm starving!  Just looking at the bowl full of pine cones beside the computer is making my hungry! How am I going to manage another 6 1/2 days of this?

I've been thinking about doing this particular cleansing diet for a few years now but always found an excuse to put it off. But finally, even though I can think of some really good reasons not to do it, I willed myself to start anyway.

The detox I'm doing now is the part of Stage 1, the Detoxification Stage of the anti-Candida cleanse. Even though I don't get yeast infections, I just know that disgusting candida fungus has spread it's filthy tentacles throughout my body and I want it gone! How do I know? Well first of all, pretty much everyone in today's day and age has a candida overgrowth. If you've ever taken antibiotics or eaten meat fed with antibiotics or been on the pill or eaten too many sugary foods or not enough vegetables or have silver (mercury) fillings, or drunk fluoridated water, or you're under a lot of stress, chances are you too will have an overgrowth of candida. And candida can be quite noxious. It normally lives in your gastro-intestinal system along with millions of other micro-organisms, but if you treat it right (stress, antibiotics and bad food, for example), it will happily grow and grow and will break through the lining of your stomach to infect all other body systems and causing innumerable health problems.

Some of the conditions caused or exacerbated by candida are:

  • irritable bowel syndrome
  • lupus
  • prostatitis
  • Crohn's disease
  • psoriasis
  • asthma
  • skin and nail fungal infections
  • gallbladder disease
  • schizophrenia
  • PMS
  • vaginitis
  • cancer
  • multiple sclerosis
  • arthritis
Not nice! And the symptoms of Candida paint an equally ugly picture:
  • bloating and indigestion
  • constipation
  • diarrhea
  • bad breath
  • chronic fatigue
  • chapped and dry flaky skin
  • stiff shoulders or headaches
  • sexual dysfunction and impotence
  • urinary tract infections
  • arthritis
  • irritability and mood swings
  • autism
  • depression
  • muscle pain and fatigue
  • hyperactivity
  • menstrual irregularities
  • memory loss
  • short attentions pan
  • learning difficulties
  • chronic allergies and gluten intolerance
  • hypoglycemia
  • cravings for sweets
  • acne

Hmmmm, there's more than a couple of these symptoms I suffer!

So the cleansing diet will go on!

By the way, the seven day detox is not a compulsory part of Candida cleansing, but a detoxifying fast like the one I'm doing (that includes lots of nutritional broths) is a good way of cleaning out the colon, providing a good foundation for the actual Candida cleansing diet.

During weeks 2-3 food is reintroduced but only those foods that Candida does not have a taste for.  The idea is to starve and kill the Candida fungus. Candida particularly loves sugar so during these 2 weeks absolutely no sugar is allowed, not even fruit sugars. The hardest part of this diet for me is sure to be not eating any fruit... Candida also loves starchy and high carbohydrate foods which the body converts to the sugar. So out with all glutenous grains and no potatoes either. And since I'm cleansing my system, all other baddies like caffeine and alcohol are also no no's. Eating lots and lots of vegetables is extremely important because they absorb some of the toxins being worked out of the system by the cleanse.

End of week 3 marks the end of Stage 1 of the cleansing program. By this time, a lot of that nasty Candida will have died off. One way to know if the diet has been working is to look at how you've been feeling. If you've been feeling yucky with flu-like symptoms or headaches and nausea than you know the diet's working. These symptoms are a result of the Candida cells releasing by-products into the bloodstream as it dies off. Drinking lots of water and taking lots of vitamin C are a couple of ways to reduce these symptoms.

Stage 2, the Elimination Stage, takes 4 weeks. During this stage the diet is a lot less strict and we can reintroduce some foods like green apples and berries back into our diets. Complex carbs and beans can also be slowly reintroduced. Throughout these 4 weeks, some specific anti-fungal treatments are used to really attack that Candida. Things like oregano oil, garlic, goldenseal and olive leaf extract are particularly effective. The worst part about Stage 2 is that the Candida die-off symptoms will get worse before they get better...

Okay, Stage 1 involves detoxifying the system for 3 weeks.  Stage 2, which takes 4 weeks, will  hopefully eliminate every last bit of Candida. That's 7 weeks so far. At the 2 months mark, it's time to start Stage 3, Repopulation. The idea here is to repopulate the gastro-intestinal system with all the good bacteria it needs to function efficiently and keep us healthy. So during this stage probiotics are added to the diet. But the best part of Stage 3 is bringing back all those foods that were avoided for the previous 2 months! Mmmm grapes, cherries, mangoes! It's important that these foods are reintroduced one at a time and if any adverse symptoms or reactions are noticed then this is a sure sign that the body is (and probably always has been) allergic or sensitive to that food and so it should really always be avoided.


I had this blog saved in my drafts folder and didn't realise I hadn't posted until now when I planned to update you on how I was going ...

It's actually 4 days after I started the diet and I'm ashamed to admit that I wasn't able to continue with the fast. I thought the nutritious broths and all the vitamins and minerals I was taking would be enough to keep feeling strong but I didn't realise just how much breastfeeding was taking out of me! I lasted only one day... However, as I mentioned in my post, the fast isn't absolutely crucial, so I moved on to the second part of Stage 1 and I'm currently doing pretty good on my strict diet of no sugars, or grains (besides brown rice), or dairy (besides natural yoghurt and kefir).

I'll keep you updated.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Another Rant

Thoroughly enjoying some eggplant infused whole wheat fettucine with a mildly spicy tomato and broccoli sauce
I witnessed something today that really saddened and bewildered me.  And the worst thing was that I did absolutely nothing about it. And now I feel guilty too. This morning I watched a mother, one of my neighbours, completely fill her baby's bottle with cubes of white sugar before adding UHT milk.  I then watched her give it to her 4 year old son telling him to "drink your milk. It'll make you grow up big and strong". And I stood by and did absolutely nothing.

There are about 15 families living in this complex with children more or less the same age as Kaya. As a naturopath and someone particularly passionate about health and nutrition, I can't help but observe what the parents feed to their children and babies. In every case the children are regularly and routinely given nothing more than junk food.  For example, in the 18 months we've lived here I haven't yet seen one particular little girl given anything but sugar laiden junk "foods". Since she was 6 months old, I've watched her parents force feed her white bread heaped with jams or chocolate spread and coco-pops for breakfast, fries dripping with ketchup, puddings, cakes, white bread and occasionally white rice or pasta for lunch and dinner and every kind of lolly, gum, ice-cream, biscuit or cake in between her "meals". Her only source of fruit is sugary fruit drinks, her only source of vegetables are fries, her only source of dairy is flavoured milk and yoghurt, her only source of grains is the refined flour in the rice, pasta and cakes she eats and I've never seen her eat any kind of meat. When we first arrived here, I just couldn't sit back and watch this little baby screaming as her parents pushed this crap down her throat.  So I pushed Murat to talk to them about it. But it was to no avail... nothing we said would convince them to give up the sugary foods because they were afraid she wouldn't eat anything else and would end up starving to death.... Oh dear! By the way, this girl at almost 2 years of age is fat and has severe sleep and behavioural problems. And of course this is no surprise considering her malnutrition. In my opinion this is child abuse. Lack of education is not an excuse.

Unfortunately similar feeding habits are shared by every single family here. It seems that not a single parent has an issue with giving their babies sweets and lollies throughout the day. It's rare to see a child here without a lolly pop or ice cream in their mouths. And I'm talking about babies younger than 1 year old! How can so many people be so naive? I understand that people generally tend not to read (except newspapers and magazines) and instead rely only on the TV for their information, but surely these parents watch programs other than advertisements for junk food... Surely it's not possible that these parents just don't realise junk food is bad for kids... Is it only the parents living here in this complex that think this way? Or is this an accurate cross-section of this country's general public? Is this an accurate cross-section of the world population in general. If so, what kind of people are we raising.

The mothers here are constantly complaining that their children aren't sleeping properly, that they're violent, that they're hyperactive, that they refuse to listen to their parents, that they're having problems in school, that they're always sick, that they're constantly needing to visit the dentist, that the're always fighting with other children, that they babies are very slow to crawl, walk and talk, that they won't eat their meals...  These poor kids are living their lives surfing on waves of sugar and chemical induced highs and lows! How can children in this state of being learn? How can they grow and develop into happy, healthy, well-adjusted, intelligent, contributing members of society?

Just wondering, that's all...

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Message from the Sewing Gods?

Are the Sewing Gods trying to tell me something?  It seems that these crafty (get it? tee hee) Gods are conspiring against me sewing.  It has now been almost 1 year since I ordered my sewing machine and still I have not been able to sew a single stitch.  See my earlier blog for all the obstacles I struggled with in the first 6 months post order.  And now 6 months on I'm still working on getting my brand new, albeit dusty, sewing machine in a workable condition...  The guy I mentioned in my previous post, who gave it to another guy to look at before sending it to another guy eventually came back to me with a "sorry lady, but the part I need to fix the machine is not available in Turkey so there's nothing I can do to help you" or that's what I figured he said from his facial expressions and hand gestures since I'm still pretty hopeless with the local language.  So anyway, after this conversation and a few tears of frustration, I jumped on the internet and spent a couple of days madly googling the part description to find the part number to find out where I could order it.  I even asked my mother in Australia to try to order it from the manufacturer there.  Eventually I discovered that the only place I could get it from was the official Brother parts and service centre in the USA.

So, after figuring out the time differences and loading up my skype credit I called a friendly guy at Brother and tried to describe the part I needed replacing.  He was confident it could only be one part and promptly put it on back-order for me (of course it wasn't in stock when I called!).  A sense of relief and satisfaction started to settle over me.... that was until he asked for my credit card number and corresponding U.S. address.  I don't have a U.S. credit card!  Bloody hell!  "Oh and by the way", he said, "we don't ship internationally".  Bloody bloody hell!  So now I had to find someone with a U.S. credit card and someone in the States I could ship the part to who'd be willing to then ship it on to me.

Luckily I have 2 siblings living in the States.  I thought of my brother first because I knew he had more free time available to be able to visit a post office.  He gave me his credit card details and even told me to order anything else I might want from the U.S. since I'm often complaining to him about all the things I'm never able to find here in Turkey.  But he advised me not to have the package sent to his address because he was going to be away for a few weeks.  As a personal trainer / health coach to a disgustingly rich family, he often trips off to this tropical island or that luxurious resort on the family's private super yacht.  So I spent the next couple of days trying to get in contact with my sister.  My sister is a famous professional athlete so it's difficult to catch her (because she's so fast ... get it?  tee hee).  She's always racing here, there and everywhere.  But eventually I did get a hold of her and she told me she would try to find the time to post my part when it arrived.  So finally I was ready to call Brother again with all the necessary information.  Luckily they still had my part on order and just to be super sure that the part on order was the part I needed, I again described the broken part.  The person I spoke to assured me that the part ordered sounded like the very part I needed.  So the order was confirmed, the credit card details were given and a U.S. shipping address was provided.  Now I just had to wait.

One and a half months later, the package finally arrived.  I ripped open the envelope and there in my hands was ... a part that looked absolutely nothing like the part I needed!  Aaaarrrggghhhhhh!!!

I called Brother again and explained the situation and asked if I could send them a photo of the broken part from my machine.  And after a week of emails back and forth with 3 attempts of attaching the photo in different ways, we realised that their email system did not allow them to receive attachments...  Huh?So they then offered to email me their official list of parts complete with diagrams.  I immediately identified the part I needed, called my brother to get his credit card details again (because of course I threw away the paper I wrote them on), and confidently ordered the needed part.

My sister received the part in the mail more than 3 months ago and posted it about a week after that.  I'm still waiting to receive it.

Last night I skyped my brother again to get his credit card number (why do I continue to throw it away?) and as soon as the Brother office opens for business I'm going to try again.  This time I'll get the part sent to my brother (since my sister is now especially busy leading up to the 2010 Hawaii Ironman World Championships) and have him bring it with him to Australia where we're all planning to get together for another brother's wedding later in the year.

Until then I'll be desperately praying to the Sewing Gods to allow me to start sewing.  Feel free to join me in prayer.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

My Blog's a Mess!!

I spend quite a lot of time looking at other people's blogs. Everyone else's is so pretty and so organised and so cohesively put together. So I know what a total mess mine really is. First, there's too much blah blah blah in the "About Me" section which I really need to rewrite. Then there's the "About Me" tab that I made ages ago but haven't gotten around to finishing yet. And what about all the other tabs I planned on including ... well they're not even thought through in my mind yet! And now I can't even remember how to edit the tabs or create new ones so will have to consult google again. Then there's the "My Favourite Books" thingy on the side that doesn't even work and I have no idea how to fix that! And what about the blog itself! I haven't even got a theme for what I write about. Sometimes I want to write only about topics of a frugal/conscientious/do-it-yourself/naturopathic/health type nature. Other times I have an urgent need to purge some of my thoughts about baby-related challenges or joys I'm experiencing. Occasionally I think it would be a good idea to write about life as an expatriate in Turkey ... but I'm afraid that some of the things I'll say may be construed as negative or persecutory and my words will hurt the feelings of the naturally proud Turks who might read this (especially the Turks I'm related to). Of course I could just write 3 different blogs and cover all topics. Yeah right! I can't even seem to manage keeping a single blog updated often enough. And what am I doing right now? I'm procrastinating. In the time it took to write this blog I could have fixed most of the problems I've just complained about. Or I could do it now ... Nah! Think I'll go make myself a cup of coffee and read through the other blogs listed on my Reader instead.