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Monday, May 1, 2017

What Doesn't kill you



First things first, a disclaimer; I am discussing health related issues as they apply to me. I am not a doctor and this information should be used in consultation with your General Practitioner, Gastroenterologist,  or health professional.  

I am writing this blog for the many out there who have dietary and health worries related to their digestive system and may be looking for ways to approach the issue and inform future discussions with health professionals.  The steps outlined can assist in narrowing down problems, and also recording information. I also feel that the dietary additions I have made around fermented foods and additional cultures have assisted my overall health.

My Experience:
A few years ago I got sick. It happened fast, within three weeks of an upset stomach and gastroenteritis symptoms, I was at the emergency department and admitted, dehydrated and worried. I was given 5 litres of saline intravenously and was a patient for two weeks. I spent years on medication and my illness is still defined as ‘undifferentiated colitis’.  As I understand it in simple terms, my system overreacts and treats everything as foreign and to be flushed through the body, seeming to be the equivalent of hay fever for your stomach. In the two years after getting sick I went down two belt buckles, and then up three after putting on weight as a side effect of a steroid drug.    

After two weeks in hospital and starting a regime of drugs, I had a month in bed with reducing symptoms and started seeing a gastroenterologist. I was prescribed Salofaulk, Mercaptopurine, and Prednisone for about 12 months. The year on prednisone was a long one. You sweat at night, your appetite is insatiable, you eat every meal like a maniac who's been lost in the woods for a week and has been dropped into all you can eat restaurant. Prednisone side effects include weight gain and retaining fluids so you get what I like to call the 'Chipmunk fat Elvis' look for a while.   

The key areas of information I thought it was worth sharing are; taking steps in identifying triggers and recording your diet, gut health, love the ferment, and my diet today.

Identify:
In order to understand what triggered my illness I went through a process of illumination, cutting out different food types and drinks for a period of two weeks. One fortnight I was off bread, then I reduced dairy, I stopped alcohol for two weeks (I am forever grateful that wasn't the problem).  It is important to keep a food diary for about two months and highlight meals where you have a noticeable reaction or increased symptoms. This is all information gathering to assist you and your doctor or specialist to diagnose and treat you. I noticed improvement when I removed seafood from my diet, and then noticed reactions to a lot of Asian cuisine with fish stock or shrimp paste base. I now had a starting point, a way to change my diet and hopefully let my digestive system recover.   

My Gut Health Dietary additions:
I drink yakult once or twice a week and eat the pot set preservative free yogurt.  I have a Kombucha live culture drink and also eat kim-chi (picked cabbage) with turmeric. Sauerkraut is also on the menu and is a German dish which is finely cut cabbage that has been fermented by various lactic acid bacteria. I feel like I have incorporated foods from around the world that are fermented or brewed into my diet. The aim is to develop the bacteria in my gut in an attempt to balance out whatever went wrong. I still take medicine as prescribed (Salofaulk and previously Mercaptopurine. I also took Prednisone for about 12 months) 
  
I also try to make bread about once a week, letting the flour porridge sit covered at room temperature for 24 hours to let the enzymes and bacteria get to work. See 'Netflix series Cooked episode 'Air' for further inspiration and details of the science behind it. This will be an especially interesting for those with gluten intolerance. See links below.

My Diet today is not dissimilar to before I got sick, with the exception of the additions noted above. It is worth noting that if you are experiencing digestion related issues simple foods are easier for your body to digest, i.e. vegetable soups and stews. A lot of winter comfort foods are great.
 
So appreciate your gut health if you have it, if not I hope this helps. Try to to eat raw, fresh, organic. Steam it rather than boil it to death, and comfort food is your friend. In my opinion fermentation and live culture are the seeds to sow a healthy gut.


Links:


Thursday, November 10, 2016

Love Trumps hate, but only when they don’t love Trump’s hate

The world is unified in shock and sadness. As astonishment and disappointment transitions to fear as we comprehend how intertwined nature of our success and failure is with that of our American counterparts. There is no point going into the character flaws of the man, the president elect. The American media illustrated the character of the man in the lead up to the election in a ‘gloves-off’ appraisal. There will be no, “OMG WTF, we didn’t know!” crying out from the trailer parks along route 66. The question is, why did the unwashed masses elect this popular sovereign? Economic factors have impacted middle class manufacturing America, shifting the ground and pushing the content middle classes down. A healthcare system that considers finance before need violates basic human rights and will in my mind foster an anti-establishment sentiment and a feeling of insecurity, either consciously or subconsciously. The winning campaign was underpinned by the notion that if elected, ‘I am going to drain the swamp in Washington’ referring to removing the corruption. That people voted for Trump, despite his enormous deficiencies, indicates that the disgruntled ‘have-not’ camp has become the majority.

Vox populi, vox dei - latin for ‘The voice of the people is the voice of God.’ The US election result shows the masses did not have a voice or feel they had the ability to affect change in the democracy. A ridiculous man now controls the fate of millions. His election ran on a platform of division; rife with nationalist and racist rhetoric - rhetoric which contradicts the notions of liberty and justice for all. The pillars of the constitution groan under change and control in the new regime. How did the majority become so disgruntled, disenfranchised, so excluded from opportunity that they burnt it all down? This was a massive donkey vote and now we have an ass elect. Every upper-middle American with an investment property, private health insurance, and two cars needs to look at who has no car and fears their child getting sick.

The land of the free and the home of the brave could now become the land minorities flee, where freedom is enslaved. Racism from the highest elected office can only provide a leg up for for the nationalists, supremacists, and the harbourers of hatred. On day 1 on Trump’s presidency his website page calling for a ban on Muslim immigration to America was taken down, possibly heralding a shift from the extremes. Lincoln’s conception of America as ‘a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal,’ is now more relevant than ever. These words are the bedrock upon which the American dream is build. This notion is woven deeply into the fabric of a diverse nation; this is the joker card that cannot be trumped. I for one am going to get Thai food, sit on the couch in my underpants, and watch Rome burn. No, no, no, that simply won’t do. In the spirit of - the glass is half full, mostly backwash, but half full none the less - we must band together. We must be the change we want to see in the world. The day of the benign passive liberal with a social conscience are numbered. When those that oppose equality and decency are in power, the humanitarian in us must rise, the martin Luther King, the Nelson Mandala, the Gandhi within us all must rise up and actively make the world our own. Hard times demand great leaders to rise; we must all call out injustice, open our hearts and homes, sacrifice for what we believe.

Love trumps hate is not a sign you wave on Election Day, it is a manifesto, a mandate, a call to action for the morally responsible. Good luck America. I leave you with the Gettysburg Address. If ever there was a time to ponder the sacrifice made on the altar of freedom, it is now.

Abraham Lincoln, November 19, 1863:
‘Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow -- this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
Abraham Lincoln

Saturday, June 22, 2013

One sentence each

Here is what happens when you write a story one sentence each with your brother... I thought it was a handshake, but she was giving me a piece of paper folded into four. I licked the side of her face, she responded with hostility. A sharp elbow with just enough spice to convey her excitement and trepidation caught my ribs. The sharp edges of the note held an intimate curiosity. There is something seductive, alluring, forbidden about the passing of a note. The open secret that longs to wrap you in lust and curiously make your heart flutter and falter. I didn't open it instantly but rather, in self-indulgent torment, turned half away and make a remark about some triviality. After an instant and an eternity I cracked and read the note: "I wish you had less body hair. Stay off the coke or I'm moving to Canada and taking Jo-Jo". I wasn't disappointed. Jo-Jo was our pet monkey. I could not live without him. She always came out with shit like that, the crazy bitch new where every single one of my buttons was located, and how to push them. Including the one six inches up my ass. They say kinky is using a feather and perverted is using the whole chicken...She was a poultry farmer. It was a bluff. She'd never convince that monkey to go anywhere near Canada. He was racist. His disregard even extended to things with a foreign prefix. French sticks were forbidden, French fries, the food of the devil. French horns he was surprisingly supportive of. That monkey was a paradox, an enigma inside a flea-bitten riddle. But he loved German porn and Ice Skating, what monkey doesn't. He was a fan of the old seven-minute cinema, and Torvel and Dean. Good times, good times. Enough daydreaming, I wanted her. I needed her. My blood sang to her and it took all of my willing to keep it hidden. The pleat of my pants, however, was unforgiving and the massive erection silhouetted my enthusiasm, awkward with a capital D. She calmed me with a gentle hand to my face and a nuzzle without touching, she had a tender way about her which always left me speechless and dumbstruck and warm in a blanket of security. "Why do you put up with me and all my weird shit?" I asked, still a little crimson. "Normality is mediocrity". She was always blunt but never rudely so. Her shortness was so much of her nature, her charm. She continued "I couldn't give two shits for all those mediocre, normal mid week TV watching boring fucks, I like the way your mind works. I love your crazy, you know that." She was a tapestry, a Venus de Milo to my cup of milo, the Shiva to my Brahma-Vishnu, the guy that wore a Lucretian suit and mask and paid to watch. Ah, Tuesdays were much better now than the dark days of game shows and emotive, tear jerking, low budget, shite pseudo reality numbing entertainment. It was better when we were so bored that we were forced to create. Look at all the lovely things that were made up - Romeo and Juliet, the magic flute, God. She was so much better then me, she pushed boundaries and did things I would never do. The first to push the red button, the foot to the floor, caution and piss to the wind, a god amongst mortals who wonders why all around her are all so boring. They broke the mould when they made her, and maybe on purpose. "Welcome to earth, for the safety of others we have broken the mould in which you were made, please enjoy your stay and obey the rules."

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Lost and Found

She loved him. He towered and fumbled.
Calloused hands and soft heart,
Sawdust and a eucalyptus ebbed into every jacket
He had never changed style or cut of hair, twice a year whether I need it or not

She changed him to the core, tenderness and love he longed to explore
Like eagles and wolves they had paired for life, irrespective of social ceremony
She, an inelegant ballerina, letting nothing through a protective veil,
Fumbling into each other with awkward intensity,
The time to inseparability could be measured in seconds

His calloused hands were tanned, worn and rough, leather saddles and old tables
Her face pale and smooth, porcelain doll in a harsh unrelenting riddle of a world
The fit true, the join reuniting those whom always belonged
He would be her Romeo, dependable and tender
She would embrace his Juliet, whatever that may be,

A firm embrace as life’s persistent torrent hurtles towards the next corner
Together in solace they would find a corner, a pool aside the torrent,
Solace to bear children and watch the season’s shift, quicker now with love in hand
 Lonely winters and cold feet still a close memory

Flowers bloom and life springs anew
Father’s eyes, mother’s hair, and the suns energy
In him they would find themselves, reflections of the other, and a new love,
Stronger, selfless, like nothing they could have imagined previously


Jonathan Nolan

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Start-up Ventures – Young Entrepreneurial Professionals Burning Candles


There is a new generation; a group of young professionals in there twenties and early thirties who have seen Google and Facebook grow from garage to gargantuan. From the birth of Arpanet 1976, the PC, the laptop, and smart phones and social media have paved a path to a world where a concept, an idea can make you billions. Intellectual property has never had as much liquidity as it does today, and this generation wants to capitalize on it. Some of these entrepreneurs work ‘normal’ jobs. You can see them leaving office buildings at 5:30pm like everyone else, it is only after hours when they burn the candle. They invest their time, developing applications, trying to grow an online business, trying to bring the next Google or Amazon to life. One finger on the pulse of advancements in technology and the other reading the zeitgeist, trying to predict shift in the new generation, like a prospector trying to follow a vein of gold to IT start-up riches. Holding a stethoscope, listening intently for the heartbeat of the digital society. Try desperately to ‘Prophet to Profit,’ to prophesize the future to generate revenue from that vision. A conversation between two of these young, tech nouveau can often sound like a foreign language, throwing around terms like; traction, critical mass, bootstrapping, burn rate, hacking a startup, angel investment and seed funds. You may be thinking ‘wank words’ but these people are often in uncharted waters and band together for strength and support, and in the process a new tongue has formed.   
Fazzam [http://Fazzam.com.au] is one of these enterprises. I recently interviewed Co-founder Robert Petrovic who, with his two business partners has developed a location based application that allow people to 'virtually' knock on your neighbors doors and ask them for just about anything based on post-code. Fazzam allows people to advertise services such as language classes, essentially a digital notice board for the community. Robert started the business with friends who have the diversity of skill them amongst to bring a company and concepts kicking and screaming into the world.  
I recently attended a MeetUp group, [http://Meetup.com.au] called Melbourne Silicon Beach the group comprises around 1,200 members and includes; entrepreneurs, developers, investors and people with an idea. Melbourne Silicon Beach introduces the different groups and gives people a place to get feedback, and some times to receive invaluable tough love that can potentially change the course of their development. Concepts are born and turned to rubble a hundred times over as the tribe of techies pitch and listen.    

Like all the stereotypical Hollywood writers working in a bar or café, their screenplay tucked firmly under one arm, hoping that Spielberg comes in for lunch, reads their script and whisks them away to fame and fortune. All entrepreneurs have their ‘elevator pitch’ ready to deliver at a moments notice. The elevator pitch is a concise, well-planned and thoroughly practiced description of your business that your mother could understand; delivered in the time it takes to ride an elevator. You never know when you will jump into an elevator and be face-to-face with James Packer and Rupert Murdock, both looking for the next fiscally sound investment opportunity or game changer to throw some money at to see if its got legs.    

The York Butter Factory is a temple for this religion of innovation. The Factory is the co-working space for Melbourne's high-potential digital and web entrepreneurs. A Mecca for Start-ups, and for the brave who believe they can shake the shackles of corporate cubicles, those with the faith in a concept and their ability to bring that idea to a place where it pays the mortgage, keeps the lights on, and lets you take your partner out for dinner and champagne at that place with the French name in the city that overlooks the water (A universal success measure). The theme of the place is very much inception, iterative design with constant feedback and course corrections. The hash tag is #GST, or ‘Get Stuff Done’, and people aren’t afraid to tell you if there is a problem with your design.

I love the idea of playing table tennis while working out an approach to tackling a tough problem, being my own boss, never wearing polished black shoes in summer, occasionally starting work at 10:30am, and never again being constrained by governance or the corporate policy machine.  

So for those with an idea that is accompanied by a level of frustration with working for ‘the man,’ it is worth investigating the other avenues out there. The energy, creativity and changes occurring in this sector are phenomenal, you can strike sparks off anything, and nothing is impossible.  


Jonathan Nolan

9-5: Office worker
5-9 : Dreamer / Entrepreneur / Innovator / Developer / CEO, CTO, CIO, CFO /

Friday, May 4, 2012

CLM’s at the work social functions


A CLM, or “Career Limiting Manoeuvre” is any act, either during work hours, or outside, exposing your inner idiot to management, and making them glad they passed you over for that promotion last year.

The work function, and especially the Christmas party is the best arena to limit ones career. The suits will be swapped for jeans and appropriate collared shirts, staff resources scramble for sausage rolls, the meeting agenda is a massive bender, the project mandate, get the hips to gyrate.   


Within minutes, intentions, reservation and social boundaries are drowning in social lubricant. Different characters then start to emerge, it seems the same types of characters exist in every work place. There is the shy quiet guy who has three beers becomes the worlds loudest extravert. There is the ear chewer, and the person who wants to give the ‘bosh’ a piece of his mind as soon as he finishes this bottle of bourbon.
The obvious secret office romance so closely guarded or unfulfilled starts firing up in the corner. If you are in one, please be aware these are always as obvious as a third nipple on your forehead to your colleagues. A mad drunken public pash on the podium will be hazily recalled with hung over horror the following morning. The excuse, “but I was blind as a welder’s dog!” will have to suffice…again.


And let us tip our hats and always remember the “man of the match”, the one person who’s antics were highlights, the person who had their pants off and on their head before everyone has even arrived, three drinks in front of the field, he started a fight with the bartender, spilt a drink on the pregnant lady, kicked a puppy, demanded a pay rise and threw up in the taxi. Management material. 

 

Jonathan Nolan is an MX reader who will offer you shots at the Christmas party.





Dinner party no go “Faux pas for the course”

I have heard of a rule, possibly a boring one, which states that dinner party conversation should avoid the topics of sex, politics, and religion. Therefore “Have you heard the one about the priest, the Queensland Labour party candidate and the dominatrix?” is fantastic fun if you’re a habitual instigator, persistent line crosser, or a tenacious feather ruffler, but probably not recommended as an icebreaker at your partners work dinner. The reason it is recommended those topics be avoided seems to me to relate to the passion people hold with concepts or beliefs that go to the core and people will rarely shift their opinions. A brick of an idea set in your minds concrete, hardened with age. Having all your beliefs decided seems to makes people feel complete, more whole. I like to think I could have an opinion swayed with a convincing enough argument. Ask yourself, “When was the last time you changed your mind on a big issue? Or more importantly what in your life has the power to change your perception of the world around you?


Religion is an obvious one, no one wants to be baptized between the entrée and main meal, and I have never seen anyone have their religious beliefs changed. Any attempt to convert the heathen, pagan sun worshipers to your cult and have them drinking the coulis by the main course will no doubt end in enough tears to baptize a room full of sinners. “Demons out!” And as far as I’m concerned, evangelists out! Religion is a wonderful thing for people to have, however if I become aware of it, it looses its beauty.

As any dinner party progresses, the socially inept and opinionated have converted the weak minded to the ways of the Jedi, “These aren’t the droids you’re looking for.” Sex must be next on the agenda, the outgoing hedonists wanting to shock and awe the left wing conservatives. How quickly a civilised dinner party can end with keys in a bowl, everyone having grown bad mustaches, wearing polo necks and platform shoes. Just remember, kinky is using a feather in the bedroom, but perverted is when you bring the whole chicken.

Discussions of politics arrive with the dessert course, and with the alcohol flowing, some at the dinner party have socially lubricated themselves that well there is no censorship friction at all between concept and mouth. I am guessing the Latin term would be “vino verobolis dihoreticas.”

If it is an important dinner such as your partner’s boss has invited you around, apply the 10/10 Beer Vs. Importance rule. If the importance of the event is 8/10 you can only have 2/10 beers. If you rate the importance is 4/10 then down a six-pack and dance the sprinkler. In Vino Veritas, or “In wine there is truth.” “Hey you, I don’t like you at work, but your wife has a fit bum” will come back to bite you on the bum. If the conversation gets heated before the dinner, play the arbitrator and try to find common ground, “How bad are the local council but how good is the local football team!”
 Remember what happens on the footy trip stays on the footy trip, however what happens at the dinner party will be brought up by your wife for weeks.  

Jonathan gets great joy out of being a habitual instigator, persistent line crosser, or a tenacious feather ruffler.