Health, Life

Love, Marriage and Bipolar disorder – My SISTERS article

I was inspired to write this article after watching The Silver Linings Playbook for the second time. If you liked the movie, you’ll love the book, by Matthew Quick. I can totally see why Jennifer Lawrence won an Oscar for her brilliant performance. Bradley Cooper has really grown as an actor since his days in Alias!

I’d like to thank Tamara Redfern, life coach extraordinaire, for helping me bring my article to life.

I spotted an error in the second paragraph in my article: I’ve interviewed a writer with Bipolar Type 1, Sara (pen name) and her husband, Ali (pen name), who does not have bipolar. I’ve also interviewed Tamara Redfern, Sara’s life coach, who also has bipolar.

Sorry about that, folks. Nobody is classified as an illness!

Family, Health, Life

Everyday Heroes – My brother, Abdul Hadi :)

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Today is the 28th birthday of my brother, Abdul Hadi 🙂 I’ve been very blessed to have him in my life. He was my roommate in Jordan, we went to Syria together with our brother Ahmad, and he was my very patient Hajj buddy in 2010.

My brother has courageously stepped up and volunteered for the City2Surf in order to raise funds for the Black Dog Institute. You can find his page here and you can learn more about the Black Dog Institute by clicking here.

Mental illness is a lot more common than most people think. Check out some surprising points from this Black Dog Institute fact sheet:

One in five (20%) Australians aged 16-85 experience a mental illness in any year.

65% of people with mental illness do not access any treatment [3,4]. This is worsened by delayed treatment due to serious problems in detection and accurate diagnosis. The proportion of people with mental illness accessing treatment is half that of people with physical disorders [4].

Rates of depression are slightly higher in women with depression, affecting one in six (17%) compared to one in 10 (10%) men experiencing depression in their lifetime. Across both sub-types, bipolar disorder affects around one in 33 (3%) men and women in their lifetime [1]. However, prevalence of bipolar disorder is probably higher than the statistics suggest, as many cases are often undetected or misdiagnosed.

Please donate to my brother’s fundraising cause, and help him raise funds for an institute which has helped to save so many lives. The Black Dog Institute is working hard to minimise the impact of mental illness, and maybe even one day, prevent them from developing in the first place.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Health, TCM

Nourishing food, TCM style

1368859_14894374It’s autumn in Sydney, and it’s the start of flu season. Alhamdulilah, with my twice-daily ginger tea and goji berry ritual, I’m feeling pretty good. If you’re feeling cold, get those fantastic ginger sachet drinks from your local Asian grocery store. I add goji berries to mine to increase the potency of the tea. Drink it in the morning and afternoon, and even in the night if you need more warmth.

Anyone who knows me well enough will see my current good health as a testimony to the effectiveness of TCM. Yup, I was that sick kid in primary school with the tissues and Vicks Vapour Rub. God bless the person who invented Vicks!

In the spirit of knowing what foods are good for you, check out this great Traditional Chinese Medicine website.

Potato: neutral, sweet, Sp, Sp Qi tonic, heals inflammation
Sweet Potato: neutral, sweet, Lu, Sp & Ki, Qi, Blood & Yin tonic, benefits Kidneys, astringes Jing

I love potato and sweet potato, and interestingly enough, I have to strengthen my lungs and kidneys…it’s amazing when the food we enjoy actually helps to heal our bodies. Lu = lungs, Sp = spleen, Ki = kidneys, Qi = life-force.

Learning more about food properties actually puts a whole new spin on cooking. It’s not just about cooking healthy food, it’s about cooking food that will nourish me, depending on what season it is. I’ve been having mutton soup, sweet potato, apple stews and other warming foods because of the colder weather. Mmmm. Sooouup.

Disclaimer: You’d actually need to see a TCM practitioner or apprentice/student in order to get your diagnosis e.g. Lung Yin deficiency or Liver stagnation etc. Once you know what’s going in your body (your kidney, spleen, liver and lung system), you can then take a look at the above chart then cook the food your body needs. And remember to avoid food which might actually harm your body.

I’ve been seeing my acupuncturist for over a year now, and her knowledge continues to amaze me. All she has to do is feel my pulse, look at my tongue, my nails and my general complexion, and she’s able to give me a good summary of how I feel, and, best of all, the right kind of treatment.

It’s important to note that the ‘kidney’ in TCM is actually the entire kidney system, including the adrenals and the bladder. This fantastic article helped to explain it to me: My Kidneys Are What?

Handy tip: If you’re feeling the beginning symptoms of a cold like a scratchy throat or runny nose, cut up a small piece of raw ginger and chew on it. Literally. If that doesn’t do the trick, eat more raw ginger. It’ll warm you up and expel the cold in your body. When it’s cold outside, remember to cover the back of your neck, which is susceptible to wind invasion.

Stay tuned for more TCM updates!

Health, SeekersHub Sydney

Essential Oils Workshop – May 26th, 6-8 pm

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If you’re interested in health and well-being, come join me at the SeekersHub Sydney Essential Oils Workshop this Sunday! This workshop is the brainchild of my sister-in-law, and I’m looking forward to learning more about the benefits of essential oils.

Being asthmatic, I generally stay away from strong scents. This means that I’m the one to sit in the back of the room (or exit completely!) when someone starts to burn strong incense or oud. I’m all for beautiful fragrances – the food of the angels, after all – but not when it triggers my asthma. I’d be interested to learn from the experts about the best way to use these essential oils when it comes to my sensitive lungs. The winter nights in Sydney are getting colder, and a holistic, natural approach to managing my asthma would help to supplement my existing asthma care plan.

I’ve had the blessing of sampling some of the fantastic oils from my sister-in-law’s selection. I must say, even my adorable 1 1/2 year old niece is enjoying them! Click here for the doTERRA website for more information about their essential oils range.

Here’s an interesting quote from the site:

Essential oils have been used throughout recorded history for a wide variety of wellness applications. The Egyptians were some of the first people to use aromatic essential oils extensively in beauty treatment, food preparation, and in religious ceremony. Frankincense, sandalwood, myrrh and cinnamon were considered very valuable cargo along caravan trade routes and were sometimes exchanged for gold.

Fascinating!

Health, Islam, Life, Love

Create What You Love – Huffington Post opinion piece

1350860_hand-in-handI really liked this article on Huffington Post – Create What You Love: 4 Steps To Improve Your Life.

The four principles Susanna Bair wrote about are:

Use love to build a beautiful and healthy body.

Use love to create the work you enjoy.

Use love to develop the relationship you want.

Use love to build a better world.

I know that starting off my day with my morning prayer (fajr) helps to remind me of what matters in life. All five daily prayers help to ground me. The key is to take my time, and not rush through them. I can measure how centered I feel in my life depending on how present I am with Allah in my prayer.

Going for a walk or doing my yoga stretches helps me feel a limber and relaxed. I do a lot of sitting down when I study or write, and that puts a lot of stress on my lower back. Moving around helps to clear my head and release any built-up tension in my back or shoulders. It’s amazing what a short 15-20 minute walk/yoga session can do.

It’s a blessing to be able to study and work with what I love (counselling and writing, respectively). I’m looking forward to completing my Diploma of Counselling over the next few months, and joining the workforce once I get enough volunteer experience. As for my writing…stay tuned for my next article 🙂

Spending quality time with friends and family is a constant source of joy, validation and support for me. I don’t have any pets, but I have three plants: Lily, Violet, and Lucky Bamboo. I water them regularly, and talk to them on occasion. I’ve heard that talking to plants actually helps them grow! I suspect it’s working lol.

 

 

 

Beauty, Health, Life

You Can Be Too Beautiful – Atlantic Times opinion piece

1003016_make-up_tools_3Check out this interesting article – You Can Be Too Beautiful.

We all make snap judgements based on how other people look, and it’s a common myth that prettier people have it easier. This article offers a different insight. Beauty itself is so subjective, and the entire beauty industry is geared towards capitalising on what people think they lack.

In countries like India, Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia, fair skin is the ultimate expression of beauty. It’s bizarre. Shelves are lined with all manner of ‘skin-whitening’ products, and it makes me wonder about what kind of chemicals are strong enough to bleach skin several shades lighter. Scary.

On the other hand, in Australia and many other countries, a lot of fair-skinned folk are dying for a tan. Literally, in some cases. The statistics about the mortality and incidence of skin cancer are quite serious. 1,452 people died from melanoma in 2010. I’m hoping that more people will value lasting qualities like compassion, patience and kindness over fleeting constructs like physical beauty.

Health, Opinion

My article on DNA is up!

DNACheck out my latest article – Investigating Our DNA.

It’s amazing to think how much of our destiny is already pre-programmed into our genome. Someone told me once that everyone was born a blank slate, with the potential to be imprinted by the environment alone. In reality, our unique genetic makeup influences us from the beginning, from the colour of our eyes right down to our inheritable diseases. With the advances in genotyping technology, there’s also so much we can learn about our genetic ancestry. Our past, present and future are clearly impacted by many unseen factors – one of them being our genetic code. This really flies in the face of the concept that we’re all in 100% control of our lives, because really, from the minute we’re born, we’re given a set of cards that are beyond our control.It’s a reminder for me to rely on Allah because He’ll look after me, and everyone around me.

Health, Life

My new article on acupuncture is up!

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Check out my Lip Mag article, The Joys of Acupuncture.

I strongly recommend every sentient being to trial the benefits of acupuncture. Yes, I kid you not, I am that much of a believer in the power of harnessing TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine)! It’s made a huge difference to my own health and my husband’s, and after many years of being rushed through our GP appointments…it’s nice to get an hour or two of uninterrupted care by our acupuncturists.

Here’s to TCM, and better health!

 

 

Health, Life

Fruits that are berry good for you

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Ha, forgive the pun, but I’ve come across this fantastic article: Eating Berries Linked To Lower Heart Disease Among Women.

I love strawberries and blueberries, so this is good news for me, and for all berry lovers out there. Food really is medicine, as traditional Chinese medicine says.

What we eat really matters! I feel better when I’m eating veggies, fruits, and when I exercise. Making healthy food choices impacts on my general well-being, and it starts at the grocery store. Here’s to more berries, and to a healthy life 🙂

On an exercise note, it’s awesome having the sun out again! Swimming in the ocean is a great way to keep fit and have fun. My husband bought me an Ahiida suit to wear when I’m at the beach. Admittedly, I feel like the odd one out when we first hit the beach, but by the time we’re in the water, I don’t care anymore lol. Balmoral beach is an amazing swimming beach because it doesn’t have those crazy waves that send you tumbling upside down. Check it out if you’re in the area!