An update and exciting things ahead...

So its been a while since I last updated you on how the diet has been going and to be honest it was tough going you can read about what made me start the diet and how it was going HERE.

After 6 weeks on the GAPS into I was starting to notice that my mental health seemed to be declining and I wasn't seeing much change in my bowel movements either. So at that point I thought I would stop intro and just continue with the full GAPS diet which allows a lot more variety!

After about a week on Full GAPS my mental health improved but interestingly enough my allergy symptoms (itchy eyes, nose, ears and throat) that had disappeared on intro came back and my sore back that eased dramatically on Intro also started getting worse again. Another interesting thing was that I ran out of sauerkraut when I started full gaps and my bowel movements began to improve. When I restarted the sauerkraut recently the bowel movements worsened again. After listening to a Quirky Journey  podcast about intolerances I realised that maybe I had gone too full on with the fermented foods and when they say to start with a drop and gradually increase each day they mean it!!!

The GAPS diet is really teaching me to listen to my body more and try and be patient (which by the way I am not very good at)! So that's where I am on the health front of things. 

NOW ON TO THE FUN STUFF!!

I am so excited to have a few new things to tell you about that aren't health related!!

 I will be doing a bulk order of these legging on the 20th July, so if you would like to brighten your workouts then order now and they will be delivered to you in the first week of August.

I will be doing a bulk order of these legging on the 20th July, so if you would like to brighten your workouts then order now and they will be delivered to you in the first week of August.

First of all I wanted to tell you about my new range of LIMITED EDITION LEGGINGS that I am selling in my shop! I love, love, love these leggings! I love that I can wear artwork and I love that they are such good quality. I love that they are so comfy and I love that they give good core support. I love that they don't roll down over your waist so your muffin top doesn't pop out. What's not to love!!! These leggings are printed with my original designs, both front and back. They are made with 88% polyester, 12% Elastane and have a stretch waistband

 

Secondly, I was so blessed to have my artworks turned into a gorgeous 2018 Calendar, and with such a great response to them I want to offer them again for 2019.

I am opening up pre-sale orders early this year so that you don't miss out. I will need a to sell a minimum amount of calendars, before I go ahead with ordering. If unfortunately I don't get the number or pre-sale orders required, your money will be refunded in full. You can order your Calendars at the special pre-sale price HERE

 The calendar will again be filled with 12 of my gorgeous and colourful original artworks.

The calendar will again be filled with 12 of my gorgeous and colourful original artworks.

 

Thirdly and finally I also wanted to let you know that I am excited to announce that I will be exhibiting my work as part of the SALA festival this year at Tara Kate Therapeutic Arts in Williamstown. I cant wait to show my pieces as part of my Art Brightens the Way exhibition. You can find out more about Tara Kate Therapeutic Arts HERE. If you are in the area of Williamstown during the month of August, we would love you to pop in and say hello!

Phew! And that's all I have to update you on for now! So I hope you have a beautiful month and don't forget to stop by my Shop to have a look at all the goodies on offer!

Jess x

 

Three weeks later...

Its been 3 and a half weeks since I started on my gut health journey and the GAPS Intro diet. You can read why I am doing it HERE. First of all I wanted to say thank you to all those people that sent me such positive feedback about what I wrote. You never know if what you are putting out there is a good idea or not, but I'm glad it resonated with so many people. Secondly I want to say that so far the journey has been not all smooth sailing, which has kind of thrown me, but I’m resilient and once I start something I need to finish it! If you would like to hear more then read on. 

The first week was Stage 1 of the diet and consisted of bone broths and soups. As my body got rid of all the toxins my energy levels were in my boots. I just needed to listen to my body and rest as much as I could. I needed to get my digestive system working properly before I could move on to the next stage so i was super stoked when I did my first solid poop, after a long time of not doing solid poops (you have no idea how much poop comes into your thoughts on this diet!). Although I was exhausted my mood seemed a lot calmer too.

I was so excited to reach stage 2 and be able to introduce Ghee (clarified butter) into my diet with no issues. Then I added in one egg yolk to my soup one morning and oh my goodness, the reaction I had was really noticeable. Not only did my anxiety go through the roof but I had bad diarrhoea for day. I felt like I had gone back to the beginning and was so disheartened. At this point I was getting sick of just bone broth, soup and casserole.

After I let my stomach settle down again, I felt much better both emotionally and physically. I decided to introduce some homemade yoghurt. For the first couple of days I  was fine, then came the upset stomach again. At this point, I was ready to give up on the whole diet. I was getting completely over soup, stews and broth. I just wanted a Big Mac, fries and coke – upsized please!

Funnily enough at the same time as my upset stomach, my son came down with Hand, Foot and Mouth disease and then passed it on to me. One of the symptoms of HFM is diarrhea, so needless to say, I’m a bit excited to think that maybe I actually don’t have an intolerance to yoghurt (woohoo there is hope!). So again, I have had to really listen to my body and rest with the HFM symptoms. I think there might be a lesson here somewhere 😉.

Now as my digestive system is settling down again, I’ve introduced avocado yesterday and so far so good. I’m looking forward to adding more in over the next week or two (including trying egg again) for some more variety. At the same time though, im trying to not get too ahead if myself, in case my gut doesn’t want to play the GAPs game so easily.

The last few weeks have seen lots of ups and downs both mentally and physically. Mentally, I have been waking up at about 4am most mornings with the most intense fear and anxiety. This will usually last until about 10 in the morning and then subsides. I have noticed in the last week however, that the 4am anxiety has really reduced. Apart from wanting more variety in my diet and the disappointment when something doesn’t go well with my gut, I do feel my mental health has improved somewhat, and that is a great sign. I just need to remember, to be patient with the whole process and realise that its not a magic bullet. Its about the journey and not the destination.

Sometimes Art needs to take a back seat...

 

Today is my 38th birthday and I have had a beautiful day. I have got some gorgeous gifts from my boys and phone calls and messages from my beautiful friends and family. I feel so blessed. This is a different story to the last six months that I want to share with you. I'm not sharing this for pity but maybe for awareness and to let you know that its not always sunshine, roses and art and that's ok too.

I have suffered with anxiety and depression most of my adult life. Which means being medicated most of my adult life. I can clearly remember when my first bout of terrifying anxiety hit. I was living on my own in Adelaide studying nursing and working at a nursing home. I was in my second year and I was studying for exams. I remember being unable to sit still and getting extremely agitated to the point where nothing I did could calm me down.  I had this feeling of absolute dread that wouldn’t leave.

 That first bout of anxiety saw me fly home to my parents home where I stayed for about three months while I began my first lot of anti-depressants and my mother nursed me back to health. Since that first diagnosis I have tried to come off the antidepressants twice without success.

 

Six months ago I decided to come off the anti-depressants again. I was feeling great so I thought I can do this thing called life, without them.

 

 The first month was really good, I was the calmest and most chilled I had been in a long time. I was eating well and sleeping well. Unfortunately the calm didn’t last. During the next few months, I started to become more and more frantic and obsessed about my heath. I was also becoming more and more exhausted.

 

 I noticed that during the time I ovulated and before my period, I would go into a deep depression and my self-worth was terrible as well. I went to a psychic and she told me that my adrenals were shot. I knew it wasn’t all in my head so I went and saw a Naturopath to make sure!

 

The Naturopath assured me that my anxiety and depression was not in my head. She recommended I start a clean eating plan and I get some bloods taken. So being the good student that I am, I cut out gluten, dairy and sugar all at once. You know what, I think my body went into complete shock.

 

My body was not getting its daily dose of serotonin from my antidepressants and it wasn’t getting its daily dose of all the carbohydrates and sugar that I loved and consumed regularly. So, the only thing my body could do was to scream out for help by making my mental health oh so much worse.

 

My obsessive thinking and scary thoughts started to get much worse and my anxiety was through the roof. My mind was racing and I wasn’t sleeping.

 

 To say I was in hell would be fairly accurate.

 

Frighteningly it got to the point where I didn’t want to be on this earth anymore. Fortunately, however, I reached out for help and I ended up in hospital.

 

Somewhere between Christmas and my hospitalisation I was able to do a stool specimen (oh yeah I forgot to mention that my bowel pattern was all over the place with diarrhoea after most meals) and a DNA test to see what else was going on in my body. After 4 weeks in hospital and back on my anti-depressants I came home and although I was feeling better, I knew within me that I wasn’t 100 percent.

 

That’s when I got my results back from my Naturopath.

 

The stool specimen showed that I have too many opportunistic bacteria in my gut which is causing me to have a leaky gut. My DNA came back showing that the overall inflammation in my body is high (hello sore back and sore joints, oh and hello inflamed brain), it also showed that I have estrogen dominance (hello crazy pms and sore boobs) and that my liver is not coping at all with any of it.

 

So my gut is in a whole world of misery and I want to find out how I can heal my gut which will in turn help my brain.

 

I’ve recently been listening to a Quirky Journey Podcast with Jo Whitton and Foud Cassard. They share stories about how they have healed their families through something called the GAPS diet.

 

GAPS stands for Gut and Psychology Syndrome which was discovered by Dr Natasha Mcbride who helped heal her sons Austism through food.

 

 After hearing so many amazing stories about how people have healed through GAPS I bought the book and read it in a couple of days. I am fascinated by how the gut affects the brain and I am hopeful that by healing my own gut lining and decreasing my own bad bacteria (that I have likely had for all of those years) that I may just help my mental health too.

 

I am going to begin the GAPS intro diet in the next week and Im looking forward to documenting the journey.

Music and magic...

This is the story of a beautiful young lady with dreams. Dreams of singing and playing at the Tamworth country music festival with a blue guitar. DREAMS come true if you TRUST yourself and BELIEVE in your abilities.

This is the story of a gorgeous girl turning 21.

My client was the Aunty of this girl and she wanted to create a 21st birthday present to encourage her niece to chase those dreams.

 This is the artwork that was created about that beautiful story.

This is the artwork that was created about that beautiful story.

 This is the beautiful girl in that story and when she received this piece from her Aunty she "...almost cried. It brings me so much happiness." 

This is the beautiful girl in that story and when she received this piece from her Aunty she "...almost cried. It brings me so much happiness." 

Are you looking for a unique and extra special 21st, 40th, 50th, 60th or 70th birthday present to buy for? I would love to create a personalise and unique piece of artwork for someone special in your life! Please get in touch via the contact form and/or book your custom order in today by heading to my online store.

Jess

x

Family fun captured through artwork.

I was lucky enough to get an email recently from a lovely client who requested a piece of artwork representing her family and the fun adventure they enjoy together. The client sent through lots of photos and lots of information to work with so I was able to choose significant aspects that I would add to the artwork.

 

 The client and her partner also attend lots of music festivals so I made sure that there was a reference to this in the piece.

The client and her partner also attend lots of music festivals so I made sure that there was a reference to this in the piece.

 This family enjoy lots of time together on their new boat

This family enjoy lots of time together on their new boat

 The family all enjoy fishing although the mother and the youngest tend to stay on dry land as the boat trips tend to last too long for them! The father of this clan has a Scottish heritage so I was pleased to be able to add this aspect in the form of a picnic rug.

The family all enjoy fishing although the mother and the youngest tend to stay on dry land as the boat trips tend to last too long for them! The father of this clan has a Scottish heritage so I was pleased to be able to add this aspect in the form of a picnic rug.

Unfortunately pictures on screens never do paintings justice to what they are like in real life, so I am always relieved when my clients get their artworks in the flesh and I get such wonderful feedback like this..

"The Painting is even more gorgeous in real life. Thank you so much."

If you would like to some special family memories captured in a beautiful and heartfelt keepsake then I would love to hear from you. Together we can work together to make something special that can be treasured for ever.

Jess

x