Food Glorious Food – Autism and Eating

Food Glorious Food – Autism and Eating

Written by Kate O’Donnell



– Parents Globally


Sensory sensitivities can involve taste and smell.


So when it comes to food, sometimes there can be little hurdles and sometimes epic ones. Often it comes back to the texture of the food in the mouth, which can create a gag reflex and vomiting. Sometimes eating food can even become a trigger, as I mentioned earlier. 


Given that food is both necessary for nourishment and life, this is an important one to try and overcome if you can. Food is also a very social event these days, so you have this impact as well.


In our house, planning meals for a family of four felt like preparing three different meals for a royal family. One person eats only soft food, the other only likes crunchy and don’t even think about mixing anything, or it’s over before it begins.

We can finally laugh now about the times we sat with Mister in his toy car to eat. 

The number of times we have watched and played games on the iPad just so we could spoon-feed with distraction.!

And yes I can hear the criticism, but when the other option is a feeding tube in hospital you don’t question the iPad! Sometimes you have to do what works. At times it felt mealtimes were like the story Green Eggs and Ham by Doctor Seuss… 


“Would you on a train, would you could you in a boat… and a whole lot of not in a boat, not with a goat, I will not eat there here nor there, I will not eat them anywhere. I will not eat them, Sam, I am I DO NOT LIKE GREEN EGGS AND HAM!” Insert tired, stressed parents, nutritional deficits and loads of worry.

Distractions are good, enticement, a reward system with the passion factor being used again. 

Trying to source some choices that can fit into your child’s likes, whether that is smell, texture, shape or colour. Go gently when introducing anything new, remember to use stories and habits. 

Never stop offering new foods. 

Food time should never become about a parent becoming angry or trying to ‘make’ the child eats. This is a sure path to disaster.

And again you may be faced with comments from those gorgeous helpful ‘others’ like: “Picky eater, fussy, choosey, spoilt… just make them eat it… they need to learn…back in my day…if they are hungry they’ll eat…” NO! Planet Spectrum doesn’t work this way!

Please know that if food/eating is an issue for your child, you are not alone. Our family worked with the OT and speech pathologist… There are thirty- two steps to eating…Who knew?! 

JAX Tyres for Ponderings

We worked on playing with food, sensory issues, no stress at mealtimes, modelling, and the importance of still offering a variety of foods. 

There are so many different areas to eating and food that your OT and speech pathologist can work on with you. Please refer to the resource section for helpful links.

TIP – If you are experiencing difficulty with your child’s eating, limited food choices and mealtime disarray- you need to seek help from your OT and speech pathologist. This is their area of expertise! 

For more information about the world of Autism CLICK HERE. 

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Want a Bedtime Story With Matthew Matthew McConaughey? Alright Alright Alright!

Want a Bedtime Story With Matthew Matthew McConaughey? Alright Alright Alright!

It is Winter in Australia, and it is now possible for Matthew McConaughey to tell you a bedtime story. 

If you are fortunate enough to have a hot water bottle and a comfy bed, you are in for a treat. 

As you snuggle down under the doona, the gentle southern gravelly drawl starts to tell you a bedtime story called Wonder. There’s not an alright in sight, but there is a starry sky, and you are in for 35 mins of heaven. The beautiful wordsmithed tale by Chris Advansun is part of the Calm App. The sleep story feature is pure decadence. 

This is not your average meditation app. 

Founded in 2012 by Michael Action Smith and Alex Tew, social entrepreneur and the creator of Moshi Monsters; the Calm App has taken the concept of guided meditation and taken it to a new level.  

It did not take long to take off with investors like Ashton Kutcher jumping on board the chill train along with a bevy of fast pace angel investors. 

The Calm platform won the 2017 Phone app of the year, and with a revenue of 150 million in 2018 and a world full of present chaos, we can see why it is popular. 

Featuring simple icons with an intuitive For You feature based on use, categories and classes like Sleep, Meditate, Music, Calm Kids, Calm Masterclass, Breathing exercises and scene therapy make this the full suite. The scenes are seriously serene, and I am hoping in the future, there might be a VR component. 

There’s even Emergency Calm- a meditation to provide immediate relief when overwhelm hits you. You can choose 3 minutes, 5 mins or 10 minutes. The motto is Sleep more, Stress less, Live better – I can’t argue with that. 

As a meditator now for 12 years, I was keen to see what was so unique and if it was a beginners only format or if there was depth and substance. I was not disappointed. 

I was pleasantly surprised. Many of the meditations are lead by Tamara Levitt – head of mindfulness at Calm. Tamara is a Canadian author, mindfulness instructor and voice over artists. The Siri of Zen. 

There’s a meditation for Deconstructing Performance Anxiety, Calming Flight anxiety, mindful eating and wait for it; the World Cup Penalty series for those fans who need o ease anxiety of watching penalty shoot-outs. Sound baths and those sleep stories for everyone; little kid to big kid. 

Masterclasses around Gratitude, performances by Jason Kidd, Eat Pray Love’s Elizabeth Gilbert’s Masterclass on Creative Living Beyond Fear. 

The audio is sublime, high quality and if you are lucky enough to own a decent set of headphones- transcending. 

From novice to the “I can’t meditators” the Calm App is priced at $70AU a year, and I think it is worth the investment. Tip- I found the procrastination meditation highly effective. 

Now if only they had Augmented Reality; because Matthew darling, I’d really like a foot rub to go with those dulcet tones. 

Available https://www.calm.com, Google Play, Apple Itunes and your Laptop! 

Written by Kirsten Macdonald

Narnia, A Faraway Tree with a smidge of a Doc called Suess, and some Kahlil Gibran is the word charm that grew seeds in Kirsten Macdonald's imagination. She has an innate curiosity about the stories of "us" and a deep faith that is strongly supported by a dark sense of humour. Ask this wordsmith about anthropology, ancient religions, the curious nature of humanity and the incredible cuteness of sloths and you will have a conversation for hours. Writer, editor and researcher, Kirsten has developed Ponderings into a space that is now shared by a team and a shared vision that is infectiously positive and forged in good stuff.

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Ten Insights Into The Narcissist

Ten Insights Into The Narcissist

We hear the word Narcissism in reference to traits of self-interest and vanity in a world of social media. 


However, Narcissism or Narcissistic Personality Disorder PD is a mental condition. A well-balanced perspective is needed along with some tips for those on the other end of Narcissistic behaviour. 


The excessive need for admiration, disregard for others’ feelings, the inability to handle any criticism and a sense of entitlement along with criticism and manipulation, grandstanding (the list goes on) are all facets of Narcissism. Researchers have reported associations between NPD and high rates of substance abuse, mood, and anxiety disorders. For more symptoms see the bottom of this article, we have some excellent references. 


“Narcissus, the Laconian, was a young hunter who loved everything beautiful.

Once, during the summer, he got thirsty after hunting.

He leaned upon the water and saw himself in the bloom of youth.

He fell in love with his own shadow, as if it were somebody else.”


JAX Tyres for Ponderings

Being in a relationship or friendship with a true Narcissist can find you drawing in toxic sludge. 

Many an injured heart, broken life and mental anguish can be the product of such behaviour. So what can be done? 

1) Never admit vulnerability to a Narcissist. 

It can and will get used against you in a typical 123 Gaslighting maneuver. Do not appear fragile to a Narcissist, you are a duck on a lake, graceful, your legs might be going nuts underneath, but all anyone can see is serenity. Vulnerability is important with the right person. A Narcissist is not that person. 

2) Understand Gaslighting behaviour. 

A type of psychological manipulation whereby a person covertly sows seeds of doubt in a targeted individual or group, making them question their memory, perception, or judgment, often evoking in them cognitive dissonance and other changes including low self-esteem. 

3) While many people tell you a Narcissistic person is self-centred, mean and arrogant, it is MUCH more complex.

Manifesting in many ways, including an overdeveloped sense of entitlement, a lack of empathy, and a need for admiration, grandiose behaviours, sensitivity to criticism, the list goes on. The point here is- the condition is layered and varied, so unless you are a trained psychologist or therapist; seek professional assistance if you believe you are on the receiving end. It is very dangerous for your mental health and not always obvious. Gaslighting, in particular, can be very insidious. 

4) Understanding that while the condition remains somewhat of a mystery to psychology experts; behavioural disorders are often deeply rooted. 

You cannot talk a Narcissistic out of anything. Some studies suggest many Narcissists know precisely what they are doing, they believe they are on a higher pecking order than others, view themselves as more evolved, and they are never ‘wrong.” There is no reasoning here. Try and reason, and you will soon find yourself attacked verbally and wounded. 


5) If stuck in a verbal corner, try using non-critical words and don’t attack or question their motives. 

There is no win here. Use phrases with sincerity. Phrases such as “I’m trying to understand what you are saying, leave it with me and I’ll come back to you on that one” can help disentangle. You have the option to smile sweetly and say “Well, I’ll take that into consideration. I am sorry you feel that way.” Make your polite exit. Walk away and keep the tone light. 

6) You can have objective empathy, so you can spend less time with the person and try to remember it’s okay to do this. 

Just because you live near a poisoned lake, doesn’t mean you have to drink from it every day and it can still have lovely elements on sunrise. Focus on the positive, but remember it’s okay to say no. 

7) Do not believe the love bombing. 

The Narcissist enjoys making you feel loved up and joyful; this may come in the form of gifts or favours. This makes you fodder; it makes you open up and become vulnerable for an unfortunate future personal attack. Be pleasant, but don’t soak it up or take it as gospel. Be objective and don’t get attached to incoming feels. They become weapons later. 

8) Do not encourage codependency. 

Be warned! You need you. Be self-sufficient and do not rely on the person. Relying on people who care about you for support sometimes is okay, this is the essence of community, looking out for each other. But do NOT do this with a Narcissist. This will foster a sense of dependency, so when you do wake up and realise what is happening, you will have emotions, not unlike an addiction. 

9) Pay attention! 


Long term exposure to Narcissism can make you immune to the behaviour. Keep a note of when you feel awful or manipulated and when you don’t. Are you okay at work and with other relationships? Do you have strong bonds with others and feel good? If you only feel poorly around one person, this is a sign of a deeper issue. Ongoing mental manipulation is damaging and will have consequences.  


10) Get educated. 


You have power in your life to make choices, so make them! Reclaim your personal power and find out more about these aspects showing up in your life. Why are you making room for them? Do you have to? What will happen if you don’t make any changes with this relationship or within yourself concerning this person? What might happen if you do? Seek help professionally and use the situation to learn about the events in your life. 

According to Erika Carlson and co in extensive research; the Narcissist is often fully aware of their reputation and simply do not care. 


They believe they are genuinely the right one, the most important. Consider for a moment that narcissistic people do not really lack empathy, but instead, their vulnerability and need for self-protection limits their freedom to express it.

Exploiting and bullying others while being the best on show is a standout feature of NPD, and some very strong tricks are used to keep everyone playing out the illusion. So the warning here is if you listen for long enough, even the strongest of minds can and do break under pressure.

Calling a person with NPD out can inflame the situation making life much harder for you. Stay calm, collected and reduce your exposure. 

**Always seek medical assistance and professional psychological help. Helping yourself is the first step to a positive life.

Journals and websites for further reading: 

Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition

Kacel, E. L., Ennis, N., & Pereira, D. B. (2017). Narcissistic Personality Disorder 

Clinical Health Psychology Practice: Case Studies of Comorbid Psychological Distress and Life-Limiting Illness. Behavioural Medicine, 43(3), 156-164

Carlson, E. N., Wright, A. & Iman, H. (2017). Blissfully blind or painfully aware? Exploring the beliefs people with interpersonal problems have about their reputation. Journal of Personality, 85, 757-768. 10.1111/jopy.12284 

Getting to Know a Narcissist Inside and Out

Erika N. Carlson  Laura P. Naumann  Simine Vazire

Book Editor(s): W. Keith Campbell  Joshua D. Miller

First published: 20 July 2011


Citations: 6











Written by Kirsten Macdonald

Narnia, A Faraway Tree with a smidge of a Doc called Suess, and some Kahlil Gibran is the word charm that grew seeds in Kirsten Macdonald's imagination. She has an innate curiosity about the stories of "us" and a deep faith that is strongly supported by a dark sense of humour. Ask this wordsmith about anthropology, ancient religions, the curious nature of humanity and the incredible cuteness of sloths and you will have a conversation for hours. Writer, editor and researcher, Kirsten has developed Ponderings into a space that is now shared by a team and a shared vision that is infectiously positive and forged in good stuff.

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An Australian Love Story With Gin and the Distillers Who Make It

An Australian Love Story With Gin and the Distillers Who Make It

Written by Renae Failla

June 18, 2020

In the 1700s, Gin rose to prominence among the ‘inferior class’ as Distillers started production at a low cost making gin one of the most accessible and cheapest drinks you could get your hands on at the time. In addition to this around a quarter of households in London began making their own gin.

A Gin & Tonic a Day Keeps the Doctor Away – The Introduction of Gin & Tonic

Just like your Vodka Lime Sodas or a Tequila Sunrise, the Gin and Tonic is one of the easiest cocktails to make and is pretty much foolproof making it a favourite for dinner parties.

The English – India introduction of the drink was not as simple, with a deep rooted history in medicinal advancements at the time and the British invasion of India during war time.

Interestingly, it was invented as a guise to trick soldiers into taking quinine, a bitter powder derived from cinchona bark used to treat the malaria disease spreading at the time and is now a regular ingredient in tonic water.

Some soldiers were so put off by the taste of quinine that they preferred to die.

JAX Tyres for Ponderings

Why is it so popular now?

While Gin rose to prominence in England in the 1700’s, it has since become a common drink of choice in Australia. And one of the biggest gin trends in Australia in the last decade has been the introduction of craft distilleries – making gin in very small batches, sometimes considered ‘limited edition’.

Below are some of our Australian favourites hailing from each state:


Victoria – Four Pillars Gin

This distillery is located in the Yarra Valley and launched in 2013. One of the first craft distillers to produce gin in Australia.

Named the best Gin in the world in 2019 at International Gin Producer of the Year at the 50th Annual Wine and Spirits Competition in London- this is one very impressive distiller.


Instagram: @fourpillarsgin

South Australia – Ambleside Distillers

This South Australian distillery uses the traditional method of single run vapour infused distillation infused with botanicals. Made in picturesque Hahndorf in the Adelaide hills, this award winning gin will have your mouth watering with the decadent descriptions.


Instagram: @amblesidedistillers

Queensland –  Kalki Moon Gin

Created by Bunderberg distillery, the Kalki Moon Gin won gold at the Australian Distilled Spirits Awards in 2019.

The Kalki brand has won multiple awards at the Australian Distilled Spirits Competition in Melbourne, winning Gold, Silver and Bronze for their range. 


Instagram: @kalkimooncompany

New South Wales – Archie Rose

Hailing from the distillery considered ‘Australia’s most highly awarded distillery’, Archie rose produces a dry gin whose bold flavours work well with tonic. In this gin you will also be able to taste hints of honey – originating from Archie Rose’s very own rooftop beehives.

The very cool aspect of this Gin Distiller? You can customise your Gin, pick the style, flavours, cask type, get it labelled with your name on it and sent to you!


Instagram: @archierosesyd

Western Australia – The West Winds

This Premium Australian gin is a London Style Dry Gin that derived its name from the wind the sailors used to push themselves to the shores of Australia.

Awards: Gold & Champion Gin – Australian Distilled Spirits Awards 2015; Gold Medal – San Francisco Spirits Competition 2011


Instagram: @thewestwindsgin

Tasmania – Forty Spotted Gin

This gin is a London Dry Gin and is considered a ‘rare find’ taking its name from a rare bird that has 40 spots and can only be found in Tasmania. Made with Australian Mountain Pepper Berry, this is highly sought after.


Instagram: @fortyspottedgin

And now knowing the intricate origins of gin and reaching the end of iso with 20 people in each restaurant, it’s time to settle down and try the most popular gins from each state – G&T anyone?


Ernest L. Abel, THE GIN EPIDEMIC: MUCH ADO ABOUT WHAT?, Alcohol and Alcoholism, Volume 36, Issue 5, September 2001, Pages 401–405, https://doi.org/10.1093/alcalc/36.5.401



Written by Renae Failla

Renae Lauren’s writing flair and experience reads like an eclectic menu of finesse. The Marketing Coordinator and serial blogger has communications and media prowess with a love for fashion, travel and Italian fine food. 

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The Bombilating Badinage of Moira Rose

The Bombilating Badinage of Moira Rose

Written by Cassidy Krygger

If you haven’t watched the hilarious Canadian television comedy Schitt’s Creek yet, you are missing out. 

Created by and starring father and son duo Eugene and Dan Levy, Schitt’s Creek is about a wealthy family who loses all their money and must go live in a small town. Filled with hilarious but truthful characters, Schitts Creek succeeds in the fine art of comedy without poking fun at anybody, humanity and inclusivity all rolled into one.  

Yet perhaps the true star of the show is Moria Rose played by the legendary Catherine O’Hara. Moira is the Rose family matriarch, a washed-up soap star and has an astoundingly glamorous wig for every occasion. But what truly makes her fascinatingly funny is her accent that has throwbacks to early Hollywood cinema and the extensive vocabulary that accompanies it. 

Where do the words come from? 

The comedic genius herself told Entertainment Weekly 

I have a couple of books that have arcane and archaic words that nobody’s ever heard and it’s funny to play with my dialogue a bit and… accessorize with a few of those words.

So without further ado, here are (in my humble opinion) Moira Rose’s most fabulous 20 words and their meanings. 

Pettifogging: Placing undue emphasis on petty details. 


Frippet: A frivolous or showy young woman.


Chanteuse: A female singer of popular songs.


Confabulate: Engage in conversation.

Bombilate: Buzz.


Callipygian: Having well-shaped buttocks.


Heuristic: Enabling a person to discover or learn something about themselves.


Peccadillo: A minor fault or sin.


Toggery: Clothing


Penury: A state of extreme poverty.

Largesse: Generosity in bestowing money or gift on others. 


Ennui: Boredom


Reciprocity: The practice of exchanging things with others for mutual benefit, especially privileges granted by one country or organization to another.


Bailiwick: A person’s area of skill. 


Assuage: Make an unpleasant feeling less intense.


Chinwag: A friendly conversation. 

Dewdropper: A young man who sleeps all day and doesn’t have a job

Unasonous: Characterized by equal stupidity.

Bedevil: Cause great and continual trouble to. 

Bebe: A baby.


All six seasons of Schitt’s Creek are now streaming on Netflix. 


Cassidy Krygger

Cassidy Krygger

Hollywood Reporter

Cassidy Krygger is an actress and writer with a passion for film, history and media. With qualifications in Social Media Marketing and a Acting for Film and Television, our shining star Cass is fantatical about old world Hollywood and has an impressive Instagram following of 40,000+ 

Alongside this, Cassidy has a passionate interest in making a positive change in the world, and this passion flows through into the media work she contributes to as part of the Ponderings team.

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Five Ways to Identify if Your Workplace is Toxic and What to Do About it

Five Ways to Identify if Your Workplace is Toxic and What to Do About it

Written by Melissa Griffiths

Could you imagine going to a workplace that wasn’t toxic? Yes, they do exist. 


According to The Barometer Project: “findings show that depression costs Australian employers approximately AUD$8 billion per annum as a result of sickness absence and presenteeism and AUD$693 million per annum of this is due to job strain and bullying.

A prominent finding is that the cost is mostly due to workers showing mild symptoms of depression as they take twice as many sick days as those who do not show any symptoms of depression at all.

The results further suggest that potentially AUD$ 17.84 billion in costs to the employer could be saved if the mental wellbeing of the 25 per cent least psychologically healthy working Australians could be raised to the level of the 25 per cent most psychologically healthy workers.” 


So what are some of the factors contributing? Let’s take a look at some signs in what is a very serious problem for Australians. 


Here are five signs that you might be in a toxic workplace, plus some short and long term solutions.

  1. Hierarchy. Believe it or not, modern workplaces were constructed after the Industrial Revolution, designed mainly by men. They were built like pyramids, with a clear leader at the top and many minions at the bottom. Obvious power imbalances lead to power games, which occur at the expense of people within the organisation.  

2. Futility. Toxic workplaces are NOT productive. When employees are unproductive, they feel any attempt at work is futile. Then they start to focus on other things, including gossip

in the lunchroom about their new colleague whose hair is purple. Naturally, if this person overhears the gossip, they will feel excluded. Which leads to my next point…

  1. Circularity. When people feel excluded, they become even more unproductive. I mean, who wants to work in this kind of environment…? They end up doing the bare minimum, taking sick leave, and withdrawing from their colleagues. If this dysfunction in the workplace is ignored – or even tolerated – by management, it becomes a vicious circle. 
  1. Expectations. When managers are under heightened pressure, expectations change. Jobs are lost, hours are cut, and sometimes unrealistic expectations are placed on staff. Often, workers are pushed to ‘go the extra mile’, and personal circumstances – particularly for those in marginalised communities – are not taken into account.
  1. Bullying. The clearest sign of a toxic workplace is serial bullying and harassment by those in positions of power. The culture certainly comes from the top. If HR is covering up this behaviour, it simply flourishes. 


JAX Tyres for Ponderings

So, what are the solutions? 

Well, there are some measures which can be taken to mitigate this, such as ensuring there is proper education about different people’s behaviour patterns, effective communication, understanding mental health issues, diversity and inclusion, and leadership skills. 

Also, you need the right people in the right positions if you have a hierarchical structure. 

There needs to be an environment of openness and trust, where people know that their concerns are heard and acted upon instead of being ignored. 


You can do this by going through either internal Human Resources or contacting an external consultant to facilitate training.

Building an environment where people are valued creates positive change for all. 

Where you need consulting or training about constructing a positive work environment – including around diversity and inclusion – reach out to me and let’s see how we can work together.



Melissa Griffiths

Melissa Griffiths

Transgender Advocate & Workplace Relations Expert

Melissa Griffiths is a transgender authority and advocate who lives in Melbourne. Melissa is a consultant to businesses about how to deal with a transgender people transitioning in their workplace and also on diversity and inclusion. Melissa is also a highly sought after speaker for events and conferences.

Check out her details and other wonderful aspects to her porfolio of experience Here. 

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