I am sure everyone knows the fashionable thing to do now is "detox".
Not the rehab version of detox where the celebrities end up when their career needs a boost.
I am talking the detox thing where you don't eat certain things for days on end, do some fasting, drink some fresh vegetable juice with wheat grass juice and then add some selenium powder in it for full impact. You only do this twice a year apparently.
Almost as bad as my gall bladder flush episode from hell.
You can buy all sorts of packets of products from health food stores that supposedly outline the full procedure. In fact, one Christmas K gave me one such packet to try. What sort of present is that I ask you? I have a book on drinks to make whilst you detox. The drinks are essentially non alcoholic cocktails full of lemon, lime and ginger. So very refined.
Yesterday I noticed an advert in a women's magazine that had the headline "Why detox twice a year, when you can do it every day". Now that seemed interesting. So I read on for full details.
It was advocating the partaking of Metamucil each morning after breakfast. Metamucil is basically a fibre mix that you drink with a glass of water.
So, it appears that a detox is actually all about having a CRAP each day.
Then, a few pages later there was an advert with the headline "Send your children off to school each day with a glass of Metamucil".
Hold on here. This is wrong, wrong, wrong.
What is going on here. It is bad enough that companies add things to food, even milk, to encourage action stations in the dunny department, but would it not be better to encourage healthy eating habits from the word go?
There is something strange about getting people, children especially, to take a product to have a crap without first investigating their diet.
By the way, have you ever taken any of those fibre gel drinks? You want to be very, very careful about when you take it, how much you put in the glass and how long you wish to sit on the toilet. If you don't drink four glasses of water with it, you end up with a 1kg moving mass of fibre trying to make it's way through 80 feet of intestinal tract. Very, very unpleasant for yourself and those close to you, if you get my drift. And, if you are prepared to drink four glasses of water anyway, you would not need to drink fibre gel in the first place.
Personally, I would rather send my child to school with a multi-grain sandwich, piece of fruit and a cup cake. Because I can tell you right now, there is no way that he would drink something like Metamucil after his breakfast. I mean, it is hardly as appealing as an orange juice is it?
No matter how nicely they package the container, no matter how many yummy and tangy flavours it comes in, if you have ever tried one you would have realised that no child is going to be fooled into thinking that is a treat of sorts.
My advice is, before you go "detoxing" at breakfast each day, have a look at what you are eating for breakfast. In fact, have a look at your whole food intake for the day. Extra fibre may be needed for some, however, let us not make it a first choice and certainly not try to make it fashionable by calling it a "detox".
Detox? Yeah right.
Saturday, November 03, 2007
When I was ten my father had a notion to go up to Queensland to make his fortune. He had hoped to buy a caravan park in a tourist filled place. When we got to Queensland we initially lived in the caravan park that he was hoping to buy. If you ever want to put your children in danger, go and live in such a place. It was full of the most unsavoury and creepy people who were always on the look out for young children to entertain. But that is not what this is about.
The deal to buy the park fell through and we ended up buying a milk bar opposite a high school in a place called Caboolture. The building was fibro cement and terribly depressing for my mother. My dad had to go and get a job as a builder locally and my mum had to work in the milk bar making lunches for surly faced teenagers from the school.
Initially I hated being in that place. This was my third primary school and I really did struggle making friends as I was very shy. That slowly changed as I managed to establish some sort of relationship with a couple of other girls. The school was structurally a beautiful old building with wide verandah's and the classrooms had louvre windows to let fresh air into the rooms. Giant Moreton Bay Fig trees adorned different parts of the school, a welcome haven from the sun and a place to climb for the boys. Girls were not allowed to climb trees if they were wearing dresses.
I was forever getting headlice and ringworms as were the rest of my class mates. Children did not have to wear shoes to school. Perhaps the humid environment lent itself to all sorts of skin eruptions and other creepy crawly things. Not that it bothered me but I am sure that my mother was not too impressed.
There was so much freedom for me up there. When I think about what I did after school and on weekends it makes me sick to the stomach now that I am a mother. Running wild, riding my bike, out of the house in the morning and back just before dusk. I used to go down to the local river and swing out on a rope to the middle and let go. We would play around on the railway tracks leaping off when the goods train with its long and never ending cargo would make its way through the town. Not far from our house was a pine plantation in which my friends and I would disappear for hours on end. The silence of that plantation has always stuck in my mind. The only sign of life in it were the ants that crawled on the pine needles and tree trunks.
Cane toads were a common problem in Queensland and still are. We would catch them, wrap them in a plastic bag and put them in the freezer to die before throwing them into the rubbish bin on collection day. It may sound quite mean and I an not sure would not allow my son to do it these days, but really, they were a pest to the natural environment.
When we moved there we had very little money to spend on furniture and my dad managed to get some hospital beds for us to sleep in. The house had lino floors and was cold and quite ugly inside. I remember finding some streamers in a neighbours rubbish bin and taking them out and decorating my room. At times I would look for interesting stones to put on the windowsill or cut out pictures from magazines and pin them to the side of my wardrobe.
When I was about 20 I went up there with a boyfriend and took a photo of my old home. It had not really changed.
Earlier this year when I went up to Noosa we decided to go back and see my house. It was almost significant for me as S was the same age that I had been when I moved up there. When we got there I could not believe the changes to the town. It was totally unrecogniseable. The house had been pulled down, the trees that once graced the school had were long gone. There was nothing there that I could pin to my childhood.
My family and I only lived there for a year or so. My father blamed my mother for his lack of personal success and failure to obtain his dream. It never occured to him that he may have been at fault.
I have a vision of my mother in that fibro house we lived in. She was leaning over the washing machine putting the wet clothes through the mangle. Her hair was in curlers and covered in a scarf. I think I asked her a question and she just said to "go on and get outside". The back door was off the laundry and I recall the skip off the back step I did before I raced off the through the backyard and slipped through a gap in the rear fence and darted off for the day.
She was still doing housework when I came home that evening.
Sunday, October 14, 2007
When I was small we used to visit some friends who lived in a town called Dookie. Dookie is near Shepparton and is well known for the Dookie Agricultural College. My parents friends were called Kirsten and Henning and were, like my parents, Danish. Kirsten came over from Denmark with my mother in 1959 so they were close friends. They had moved up to Dookie as they were chefs and actually worked at the College in the kitchens cooking for the students, boarders and staff.
The drive to Dookie was long and generally hot. It took at least 3 to 4 hours to get there in mum and dad's big Chevrolet. The highway seemed to go on forever and the view was brown grassed paddocks peppered with ring barked trees.
The house were we stayed was the quintessential Australian country home. Timber, tin roofed with a wide veranda and hot. The grass was brown but there was always a row of beautiful and colorful standard rose bushes growing along the white wire fence. Inside the walls were lined with painted, timber lining boards and the floors were polished boards. The kitchen was small and in the centre was a laminex topped table around which we sat for each meal.
Dookie is, of course, a farming area. For myself and my brother and sisters it was the most amazing place to come to. So different to the hemmed in suburb of Hampton where we lived cheek to jowl with others. Vast acres of brown land surrounded us in Dookie. There were farm animals to visit, barns to explore, tractors to climb and haystacks to scramble upon. I would walk through the paddocks trying to catch the locusts that were eating the brown grass. Sometimes I would hold one and study its brown and hard body before letting it go.
In the morning we were up early and after breakfast we would disappear to roam free. I was six at the time and when I think about it I do wonder that our parents let us be so free at around a place full of dangers for children. Occasionally we would watch them call the cows in for milking. The poor animals would walk slowly towards the milking sheds, their udders swollen with milk and painfully swinging side to side. Inside the milking barn they would clap the machines on the the teats and the rhythmic sound of milking would be constant.
We would search for frogs in the green dam and wade in as deep as we felt was safe. Sometimes we would remember to bring a jar in which we would tip some poor unsuspecting tadpoles and brown water to take home. There was always an unceremonius toilet flush when they later died.
The big, tin roofed barns were full of strange equipment that we would climb over and explore. Things that had big teeth like apparatus or something equally monster like. One time I remember some sheep had found there way into an area where grain was stored and ate themselves silly until they ended up with big, bloated bellies. The farmer came along and, using what appeared to be a fat skewer, poked the poor animal in the gut and the most foul smelling air was released. Within minutes the sheep was up and about with no obvious side effects.
I learnt to play chess when I was there. I stepped in fresh cow dung and the memory of that lovely warm cow pat covering my bare feet has always been a nice one.
As Kirsten was a good cook, there was always the most delicious food to eat and whenever we came back to the house there was always something waiting for us. There was one exception to that. In the morning we were given cornflakes upon which was poured fresh cows milk. Fresh milk has nothing to do with what we drink from the shop and I remember the absolute revulsion at the creaminess of the milk. It was only topped by the hair that poured out of the jug onto my cereal.
I still recall so many wonderful memories of being there. The heat, the freedom, the animals and the sense of the cycle of life. One time one of the sheep had twins and I was able to watch without feeling repulsed. It seemed so natural. It was a great learning process for me.
They owned a pet sheep called Mary. My sister and I would take turns in the mornings to give it some milk from a bottle. One morning we ran out together to feed Mary but she was gone from the adjoining paddock. We searched and called for her and one of the farm hands called us over to a large shed and said to us "here's Mary". There was Mary alright. Strung up by her back legs and sliced down the middle. I was horrified and my sister started to cry. I was still holding the bottle in my hand.
That same day we were going home. Mary had been butchered and my mother was given the choice cuts to pack into the eski and take home. That night, when we got home, she cooked lamb chops. I recall looking at the fatty chops and all I could think of was what I had seen that morning. My sister started to cry again. I said I could not eat it. It made me feel sick. I was allowed to leave the table.
It was one of the few times that I did not have to eat all my meal.
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
I have had many, many cars in my life. Up until I was in my late 30's, all the cars I had were classic cars.
Here is one I bought (and sold) about two or three years ago.
It was called an Austin 1100 Estate. It was a 1974 model and the only on in Australia. In the
series of Fawlty Towers (with John Cleese), he drove a red version of this car. As you can see, this was brown.
I fell in love with it. The cuteness of it. The starkenss of it. The grooviness of it.
The car had what was called liquid suspension which meant it had a rather bouncy ride. Across the back seat I laid a beautiful, if daggy, crocheted blanket. There were no seatbelts in the back seat and no-one sat in it anyway as it kept fallling back. The heater was stuck on and the car was extremely hot.
Unfortunately, as much as I loved this little car, I realised that I could no longer drive old cars. I had crossed the line a couple of years beforehand and bought a new car. When you cross that line of old (no aircon, safety bags, vinyl seats, lap belts, no head rests) and move over to new car (air con, ergonomic seats, tinted windows, power steering, great radio, air bags galore and all round comfort) there is no going back.
This car lasted about three months and then I had to sell it. It turned me into a sweaty bitch by the time I drove it anywhere. Plus I had reached the age where people thought I may have had it since new which implied that I was older than I wanted to be thought of.
But it was rather interesting.