Which way are you looking? Life or death?

Warning: This is a morbid topic. Readers of a sensitive disposition may find the content disturbing.

It’s easy to be a young adult – most of your goals and dreams lie ahead of you. You start sentences with: “When I go to ….” or “As soon as I finish training I will …” Then along comes one of your dreams: a wonderful partner and then the family, along with the mortgage, the insurance, garden and house maintenance, school costs, and before long your head is filled with “get-by” rather than “chase your dreams”.


Of course, when you’re a young adult you don’t see life as easy. You spend most of your thinking time on trying to uncover the rules for success, until you realise that in most circumstances there are no rules, mostly only good timing. Then you begin to value those dreams again – the ones that don’t rest on having to earn mega-bucks.

Counting time as dreams run out

Your perspective on when you’ll do things in life changes. Instead of seeing life ahead as an endless reservoir of time to do things, you start to count the time you have left. You also notice that certain dreams have passed their use-by date. There is now no way I can take up tap dancing or climb a mountain when my knees creak and throb as I climb a ladder.

Until I was 50 I kept reassuring myself that I had half my life ahead of me. Once I reached that magical life-number I realised that I couldn’t kid myself any longer. Instead I tallied the years until 100 and thought about how much I could cram into them. I also started looking back and valuing what had already passed.

Looking back and looking forward

In effect I turned my back on death and started valuing life, whereas, previously I had looked at death and counted the life I had left. That was until I realised usually death doesn’t come with a ‘just a minute I haven’t finished this’ option. You die, you’re dead, your energy passes on to who knows where – there is nothing more you can do here on earth. If I haven’t finished a project, tried an activity, or hugged a loved one, time has run out and there’s no going back.

But it’s not all that bad. You won’t have any worries, and you probably won’t have any way of influencing the people left behind to deal with what you left behind. Isn’t that a weight off your mind? No need to control circumstances and happenstance.

Damn the bucket list

Recently I‘ve found some of that relief sneaking into my thinking. It doesn’t matter if this book gets published; what matters is that I wrote it. It doesn’t matter if I haven’t travelled to half the places on my dreams board. I won’t give a damn when I’m dead.

Our bucket lists and dreams boards are pegged in the now, not against some fast running-out (although unknown) bucket of time. It’s being happy now. And for me, being happy now is writing – writing novels, short stories, non-fiction and blogs. Even travelling, I find a bit irksome, if I’m unable to find time to write. Writing is my passion and my passion equates to my happiness.

So this is me being happy …


Heather Sylvawood, Amazon Author

Is Wheat ‘Poison on Your Table’?

by Heather Sylvawood, Amazon Author

What if I told you that somewhere in the world wheat is being grown that has been treated with a deadly chemical, and we could consume it without knowing?

What if I told you that the chemical is an industrial toxin called sodium azide and the US Poisons Centre warns medics against giving CPR to victims of the deadly poison?

Grain ears in wheat field

Clearfield Wheat Treated With Poisons

According to The Alternative Daily, “Clearfield Wheat being grown in the Pacific Northwest is a semi dwarf strain of wheat that has had its seed and embryos exposed to a chemical, sodium azide, which is an industrial toxin …

“The makers of Clearfield wheat claim that their wheat is a result of “enhanced, traditional plant breeding techniques,” making a distinction between genetically-modified wheat. However, although no gene splicing techniques were used, many other methods were, such as the purposeful induction of mutations using chemicals, high dose x-ray and radiation techniques to induce mutations coupled with cross breeding.”

Where is This Wheat Used?

Newspaper and a cup of tea, shallow focus

We have no way of knowing where the wheat-based ingredients in products we eat come from or where the manufacturers sourced their wheat. And it’s not just bread-based ingredients that present that risk.

Unless you’re gluten-intolerant you’re unlikely to look at the preservatives and taste enhancers in the products you buy. So this incredibly altered Clearfield Wheat could be used to produce products with any of these numbers on them: 1100, 620 – 625, 1400 range if made from maltodextrin (more common in Europe), malt products, some soy sauces and malt vinegar.

Our Internal Eco-system at Risk From Poisons

As we are becoming increasingly aware, the body eco-system is incredibly resilient, but also incredibly sensitive to substances like poisons. If we continually bombard it with substances foreign to the body it eventually surrenders and we get dis-ease.


Of course we as consumers are partly to blame, because we’re always ready to buy the newest, fastest food available. We buy into the market and the market responds because manufacturers understand our “new/fast is best” mentality will fall for their advertising.

How Poisons Sneak Into Our Foods

Fats need preserving in order to last the time it takes from manufacturer, to shipper, to distributer (often in another country) to retail shelves and finally to your shopping bag. It’s totally understandable that manufacturers look for preservatives to stop foods going rancid. Cooked meats, dairy and some vegetables go rancid or decay within a few days if stored without refrigeration, and only last a few days more inside a fridge.

It’s also totally understandable that manufacturers are going to look for the cheapest form of preservative in order to make the greatest amount of profit. And what preservative enhancing products do we produce in abundance in the world? Wheat, salt and sugar.

Why Do We Like Poisonous Fast Fat Foods?

In order to reach a stage where the need for preservation became imperative, as a species, human beings had to move from eating for life to eating for pleasure. Pleasurable eating has all to do with taste.

According to A. Drewnowski, author of Why Do We Like Fat, “Diets rich in fats tend to be more flavourful and varied, they also are high in energy.” So in the past centuries, human beings, who were focused on surviving, got hooked on the taste and energy-giving properties of animal meats. Given an active lifestyle where a few hours sleep during the hours of darkness was the only sedentary activity you did, such a diet was practical. Besides, the food was consumed unadulterated except for cooking over a fire. No preservative in sight.


Have you ever wondered why we find those adverts of burgers, shining with fat (it’s usually a painted on chemical in the pictures) and dripping with preservative-packed mayo so appealing? They are a promise of a flavourful experience. We know this if we’ve eaten meats and dairy products before. If we had only ever tasted a vegetarian/vegan diet, would those images appeal?

Taste is Also a Learned Thing

Human beings who have discretionary spending are continually expanding their taste sensations. Foods from other cultures are readily available and exotic herbs and spices are integrated into our diets weekly if not daily.  Fast food sauces include them and in their advertising using images of exotic places to sell the product. They sell the concept of visiting the exotic location – “the taste of”. However, many of these exotic foods contain preservatives, whiteners, wheat flour thickeners, flavour enhancers and soy.

If a desired exotic food tastes strange or repellent when we first try it, we work through the challenge by trying it again and again until the taste is familiar. I often think back to my first taste of yoghurt. My mother made a batch from a ‘bug’ she’d been given. It was sour, so sour it put me off for years. Manufacturers, however, started producing flavoured yoghurts – they knew it had to fit our modern, sugar-skewed taste buds. Now I eat an organic, Greek natural yoghurt, but even that has 3g sugar per serve, whereas my mother’s natural yoghurt had none. I’ve learned to like it because I have come to believe it’s good for me!

By Heather Sylvawood, Amazon Author