This year I put on five kilos. It doesn’t seem much but it’s difficult not to notice the jeans that used to gape at the back don’t anymore. The shorts I’ve worn for the past three summers are now awkwardly pulling across my hips. And the tight, short skirt I love but always think twice about wearing is sooo out of the picture right now. Don’t get me wrong, it didn’t happen all of a sudden. I knew the scales were showing a higher number each couple of weeks. It was a long and slow process piling on the kilos- a weekly one of rushed morning muffins and Friday blueberry bagels on the way to work. It was my Friday treat of Thai for lunch. It was my new reality of sitting for more than 10 hours a day. At the end of September I knew it was time to do something. I’m not a huge fan of fad diets, the latest being Paleo, but I knew I had to do something otherwise next year would just be another five. I looked into a few diets and just as I like to cook, I combined a few that worked for me. I haven’t cut out sugar or gluten or foods not eaten by my Paleolithic ancestors. I just cut down. For a month now I’ve eaten 1200 calories a day (give or take the odd day where I’ve blown out big time!) It’s hard. I’ve had to change almost every meal I eat: portions, types of food and frequency. It’s also great. In tracking exactly what goes in my body, I’m accountable for the bloating, the aches from ignoring my lactose-intolerant stomach and my conditioning to need sweet after every savoury. After a month, I know what calories are wasteful, I know what foods will stop my stomach from growling at my 11am meeting and I know what foods I can snack on to my hearts content. The daily nutritional report makes me think through recommended daily intake of vitamins and my consistent lack of iron. It’s going great. In cutting most store-bought processed foods and going back to basics, I’m sleeping better, I can concentrate longer and I’m losing some of the five kilos. In fact, two and a half kilos in four weeks. I read earlier this year in one of those classic click-bait articles 10 things you should get under control by the time your 30. One of them was healthy eating. I’m realising why – healthy eating has huge benefits. Alas, enough about weightloss, I’m actually keen to share my latest new favourite breakfast/lunch/dinner food – corn fritters. Their versatility is amazing. A bit of avocado on top is great for breakfast, broken up and in a salad at lunch, or served with a delicious salsa a great summer dinner. I tried one recipe a few weeks back, but today I decided to mix things up. Corn, zucchini and quinoa fritters with avocado, tomato and capsicum salsa Fritters: 1 can of cornThe kernels of 1 husk of fresh corn 1/2 of creamed corn 1 zucchini, grated 1/3 red capsicum, diced 1/4 cup raw = 1/2 cooked quinoa 1/4 cup milk (I used Lidell’s new hi calcium, low fat lactose free milk) 3/4 cup self-raising flour (would have used whole meal but didn’t have any) 2 eggs (I’ll probably scrap one of the yolks next time) 1 teaspoon ground cumin Fresh parsley Fresh spring onion Salt and pepper to taste Combine all the ingredients in a bowl. Add extra milk or flour until the consistency is like a pancake. Lightly spray a fry pan with vegetable spray and cook at test fritter. Taste. Adjust any flavours or consistency. Cook the remainder. Makes 24 x 8cm fritters 101 calories per serve (2 fritters)   Salsa: 1.5 avocados, diced 1/2 tomato, diced 1/4 capsicum, diced 1/8 red onion, small dice Juice of half a lime Fresh coriander and parsley Combine all the ingredients in a bowl. Done! Serves 4 68 calories per serve — It’s always amusing to see the end result of my cooking – and it’s not the food.   Care to share?Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)
I’m not very good at doing nothing. My ideal holiday involves people, activites, museums, sightseeing and the like. The typical picturesque sit-by-a-beach and relax is torturous. Add waterskiing, sailing, beach cricket, kayaking and you’ve got my attention. Last week I took three days annual leave and went camping with a group of friends from home. The camping trip is a yearly, if not more, trip from the group of 80% teachers enjoying their holidays. My previous life of vomiting words on to a computer screen during the holiday period is no longer and so they invited me into their fold. By the afternoon of the first day (the morning involved driving, setting up a comfortable campsite and lunch), I was making activity suggestions. Frisbee. Kayaking. Tennis. Anything?! A dear friend sitting across from me in our circle of chairs joked, “Mel, you do know how to do nothing, right?” I laughed – it’s what I do when I don’t know what to say. As the three days ensued, my usual pace of life took a dramatic shift. I become familiar with ‘doing nothing.’ A how-to guide for people who don’t know to stop and do nothing: Care to share?Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)
I’m not offended easily but if there’s one sure way to offend me, it’s to call me busy. “Oh I’d love to catch up, but I know you’re busy” “Mel, you are so busy – you do too much.” And today’s “Hi Mel, I know you are busy, but I have another busy thing for you to think about.” I don’t think calling someone busy is a common way to offend, but it strikes a chord with me because it involves a judgement. In one’s assumption that I am busy, or too busy, they are assuming I am not interested in them or that I don’t have time for them. More than that, I think I interpret them as questioning my priorities and my ability to balance them. The reality is I’m not busy and I’m definitely not too busy. Don’t get me wrong, there have been times when I have been stressed because I had a lot on my plate. I remember to a time about three years ago when I was studying full time, worked two part-time jobs (saving for exchange to America), lead Sunday school at church and helped out an afternoon kids program and lead a bible study group at university. I also managed to attend evening church, two bible studies and play netball one afternoon a week. Every day for five months I just moved from one thing to the next, familiarising myself with the quiet hours of the morning to complete essays. That was a time when I was too busy. Friends told me I dropped off the face of the earth. And I see now I did. But now, post-study and working full-time, I question Rowan Kemp‘s statements that “At uni, you have all the time in the world. You will never have as much time as you do now.” He said it many times during my four years at the University of Sydney, but I’m just not feeling it. I don’t have assignments to do when I get home, I’m no longer leading in energy intensive roles for the Sydney University Evangelical Union and I don’t move from one thing to the next. Days now are very routine. I wake at 6, leave at 7. Start work at 8.30. Take lunch at 1. Leave at 4.30. Arrive home and eat at 6. Go to sleep at 10. I limit myself to two, max three evenings out midweek and must must must be in bed by 10.30pm so I can function and be a good worker the following day. What is unaccounted for is two hours commuting and two or three hours each evening, a total of five hours per day midweek and then weekends. I’ve got more time now than I’ve ever had before! Today, I told someone today not to think of me as busy, but engaged, active and/or energetic. Unfortunately I did turn down the request for my assistance because I’ve just taken on a new project that will stop me from doing today’s request well. Working full-time means making decisions about how to spend your time, what and who you invest in.  I’m still working it out. But while I do, please don’t think I’m too busy. The nights where I sit at home drinking a glass of wine, reading a book or catching up on the latest episode of the latest tv series are no longer few and far between. I love people. I love to chat with people. I love to do things for people. I love to bake for people. I love to organise people. Please don’t think I’m too busy for you. Care to share?Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)