LIVE IT UP eNews!                                                                            
January 2007

1.  On Anorexia Nervosa

2. Recipe: Mango Mousse

Dear Reader

Firstly, Happy New Year to you and yours! I hope you have really enjoyed a wonderful festive season surrounded by people of your choice, in the pursuit of love, peace and happiness.

And so much for that goal of getting my Christmas Cake and Plum Pudding made in November. As you will be aware we didn’t even get a Christmas Newsletter out, although you did receive a Merry Christmas message from me. I did get the pudding and Christmas Cake made the week before Christmas and they turned out extra-deliciously! (Don’t think that’s a word but it will do!)

We had a semi-quiet time at Beechmont up in the mountains at the back of Nerang, made wonderful by the sounds of little children and the noisy excitement was heart-warming.

I’ve just come back from visiting my Dad in Mackay, over the New Year weekend and had a wonderful time relaxing, going for a drive, catching up with girlfriends and just spending time in company with Dad.

I am still excited because my trips to Nepal and Iran are firming up, so I will keep you posted on my progress.

Warm regards, Narelle

1. On Anorexia Nervosa

Anorexia Nervosa is a frightening eating disorder, characterised by weight loss caused through either restriction of food, or over-exercising, or a combination of both. The reason that this disorder is frightening, is because it can kill you.

What is interesting is that many of the so-called symptoms of Anorexia are actually symptoms that are identical to starvation.

People who were starving, such as prisoners of war and those who experienced the depression and the terrible shortage of food that occurred then, also demonstrated mood disorders and specific behaviours such as:

  • Severe anxiety
  • Depression
  • Cut food into tiny pieces and eat it very slowly
  • Developed rituals around eating, such as cutting food a certain way, eating food/drink in a certain order,
  • Chewing food ever so slowly and for a long time
  • Hording food
  • Obsessing over food
  • Perceptual distortion – food and body image

Anorexic sufferers also have a distorted perception of food portions, for example he or she sees their own minute serving size as huge in comparison to a normal serve that other’s eat and also have a distorted perception of their body – believes their own body is fat compared to others.

Anorexia can also cause osteoporosis and it is not unusual for teenage anorexics to be at high risk of spinal or other fractures. This risk is compounded of course, when the person does high intensity jogging, running and other contact sports.

Anorexia and starvation

When someone with anorexia does reach starvation levels, it is very important that a doctor oversees refeeding, because there is a risk of sudden death if the person is overfed nutritious food too much and too soon. This was the case when prisoners of war were released after being in prison for 5 years and surviving; then they died due to refeeding.

Quite often, once the person has put on sufficient weight, anxiety and depression are reduced, and perceptual distortions may also be less fixed, simply because the brain and its neural networks are being nourished.

Anorexia comes with a psychological component where the person finds it very difficult to manage their thoughts and to motivate him or herself towards good health, and proper nutrition really does help.

If someone with anorexia is admitted to hospital, once the risk of refeeding has passed, they may find themselves on naso-gastric feeding and calorie loaded supplements, plus 3 meals and 3 snacks a day, in order to get the weight back on and try to combat the effects of starvation. If you experience anorexia, you may not like the sound of that, and yet your recovery depends on it.

Why does someone develop Anorexia Nervosa?

There are several reasons:

  1. It can give the person an identity, where formerly no-one noticed them
  2. It can be a great ‘reason’ or ‘excuse’ not to do things
  3. It can be a means of controlling something in your life where everything outside of food, seems to be controlled by someone else
  4. It can be a means of making someone pay.
  5. This is one perfect aspect of your life.
  6. And really, who knows?  it can be a combination of reasons that are different for everyone.

What can you do to help yourself, or someone you know who you suspect has anorexia?

  1. Urge him or her to see their doctor, ASAP
  2. Provide information on the horrible effects of Anorexia Nervosa
  3. Don’t harass the person at meal time. If they eat, great, if they don’t eat, don’t say anything about it. Provide fun, enjoyable conversation at meals or snacks to reduce tension and increase a relaxed approach to food.
  4. If you are very concerned because weight loss has been dramatic, then you need to speak to someone about getting an assessment done.

If need be, someone with anorexia can be admitted to hospital under what is called an “Involuntary Treatment Order” because they have a diminished mental capacity.

Depression, anxiety or stress often accompany an eating disorder.

Complete a confidential Depression, Anxiety & Stress Survey here.

I hope this information has been helpful. There is a lot that can be done from a psychological perspective, so please, don’t hesitate to call if you or someone you know, needs help.

Click on the button to get the help you need.

2. Health Tip: Mango Mousse


2 ripe mangoes, peeled & pureed
1/2 cup luke-warm water
1 envelope unflavoured gelatin
1 cup whipped cream

Soften gelatin by sprinkling over water and letting it sit for 10 minutes. Then, heat in the microwave or over simmering water on the stovetop until gelatin melts.

Allow to cool, then stir through mango puree.
Chill mixture in refrigerator until it begins to thicken and set, stirring occasionally.

Fold in the whipped cream.

Pour into a basin mold or individual serving dishes and refrigerate until firm.
Either unmold or serve individually garnished with small cubes of mango, passionfruit pulp and topped with some chopped macadamia nuts.  Oh, this is heaven for 6 of you to enjoy!