The Pantry Challenge

Food wastage costs us about $30 billion each and so as a part of the Sustainable Living festival we did the Pantry Challenge in January.

We had so much leftover food from last year at Christmas time and November when we catered for a wedding. During this challenge we managed to use up most of the food. Some of it though we gave it away to those that were less fortunate via the Ascot Vale Little Pantry. We ate the croutons and other things and donated that Maggi two minute noodles that we don’t eat.

We used up some of that Couscous and it was yum.

During the last few days of the challenge we used the nuts and seeds that we had leftover to make nut bars. Normally nut bars costs about $3- $6, but if we make them at home its about $0.50 per bar. The linseed that we used from last years Fitness Expo was free, but the other nuts and things cost us about $15 altogether.

One day I had the leftover honey as a bit of added sugar. All the manuka honey that was in the pantry was also used up. We ate up all the Goji berries and noodles in the pantry. Also all the cans of beans was eaten then. At the RPM initial training I ate the last of the protein drinks.

Do the Pantry challenge if you can. You might just find something useful out of it and you might just save yourself a bit of money in the process

Healthy weight week

Healthy week weight falls in the third week of January.

“Just what is a healthy weight?”

For me a healthy weight is 51kgs. That would mean that I have a BMI around 19. For most people this is healthy. Now weight can fluctuate sometimes particularly for females. So I would suggest weighing yourself once a week and don’t beat yourself up if you have a crappy day. Its ok to have a crappy day

Its also about Smart eating and this we have learned to embrace. Its hard to do at first but then after a while, you get used to this. Here we learned to give up ice cream and drink water instead.

Giving up on Friday drinks is hard and is unsustainable for most people as we love the wind-down. Friday was one warm day so I didn’t beat myself up about doing a lot of exercises not even a run.

And then on Sunday, I had a sausage in a bun for Australia day. I wasn’t going to give up Australia day celebrations. But I went for a 26 run beforehand.

Week one of Online trainer

So I signed up for Jon’s online trainer for free for the first month. If I spend 1 week per module I’d only have to pay the $87USD. This is not bad for the course the earns CEC’s at the end (I think from memory it’s about 10 CECs from Fitness Australia)! At the end of the course there is one exam that you must take in order to graduate.

Photo by cottonbro on

In this first module he talks about Facebook and setting your own home page. He also talks about evaluating your worth. Its important to do this now in Module 1. My worth post Covid would be about $20000 per year as not many people would want to buy personal training due to lost jobs. This is the money that I would need to gain my freedom and pay my bills. My bills would be rent, food, supplements, gym memberships, some clothing etc.

When would I post? At night as many people now work from home. They also say that people should post health and fitness tips. I do that but I also love to support small businesses. I also would post things about mental health and sleep and the like.

What makes me exceptional? I love to talk about other things as well as fitness. Things such as health and wellbeing and mental health.

This week was just the beginning of what’s to come.

What is your writing process like?

I got the idea for this article from Mental Health at Home who says that we should be writing most days to combat COVID madness.

Where I write?

I write in my study where it is nice and cozy and a good place for me to work. I write on my laptop as that is easier to type and write fast. Grammarly helps with spelling errors and the like.

Do I write drafts on the go?

Yes absolutely. I write when ideas come to me from research and doing things. And then I spend a few days going over it and making sure that everything is fine before publishing it.

How often do I write?

I write mostly every day when I can. Sometimes the articles depend on the demand for information and mental health things. Right now I’m trying to adapt my blog to the COVID times. I know that there have been many deaths and infections all over the world particularly in the States.

Mental health is one of the biggest topics right now and I’m trying to find out lots about it. I signed up to the Global Wellness Institute a little while back and they send out stuff to my inbox about the latest trends.

When do I publish?

I publish when I can. There are no set timelines as to when I publish. You have to remember that COVID is an unprecedented time. We don’t know what will happen the next day or the day after or what the demand will be.

Over to you, when do you write and publish?

What else is happening in the plant based world

We talk about this issue as World Vegetarian day is on the 1st of October and now is a good time to consider going vegetarian.

agriculture cherry tomatoes cooking delicious
Photo by Pixabay on

Now that the meat industry is struggling, the plant based fake meat products have really picked up their sales. Food politics ahs reported an increase in some of their sales. They reported a huge increase in April in the US when the pandemic was at its highest there. Now that its Melbourne and the abbattoirs are now operating at 60-80% capacity would we see more plant based foods in the supermarket?

There has been some talk about going on a plant-based diet for a while. First of all, it was from the Truth about Weight Loss summit with Chef AJ last year, and then it was reinforced when I watched “Diet Fiction” which is on Amazon Prime (note new users will get 30 days free trial). Diet Fiction talks about being 90% whole food plant-based diet and 10% cheat foods. Too many Americans and Australians are eating too much meat and protein which is not good for you. Meat such as steak has a lot of saturated fat in there which is not good for the waistline and the kidneys

Freely says that about 375 million people worldwide have been vegetarian. But if we encourage more people to go vegetarian the number could be about double that in 2025.

Meat free Mondays has been going on for some time and its really popular. People post a lot of photos on Instagram and they get a lot of likes. Instagram is going crazy over Meat free Mondays. The hashtag #meatfreemondays has over 266K posts as people are more serious about being healthier.

We really should be trying to go for a wholefood diet that is full of vegetables and nuts and legumes. We should have a few Meat-free dishes during the week

Bean and brown rice salad

Now that its Spring time, having a salad at home is a good option for a light lunch. Note this post was written in the pre COVID times when I could get to the Queen Victoria Market. During COVID lockdown you can get all your market essentials delivered.

brown nut lot
Photo by Mike on

Brown rice is one of the wholegrains that you could have in a day and canned beans is another. You can cook brown rice either in the microwave or on the stove depending on the brown rice that you buy. Most of the packets of brown rice comes with instructions.

I bought those Organic beans from the market for $1.80. Here they do fill me up and I tried it with brown mushrooms and brown rice as well as chili olive oil.

Stress Management post COVID19

During COVID19 all of our arrangements have changed and people are working from home. Here the dynamics of working at home have changed due to people having families with kids. Their kids have to go to home school.

But then post COVID lockdowns people would be starting to go back to the office.

person using macbook pro on table
Photo by Anna Shvets on

I listened to this podcast which popped up on my feed.

So we need to find ways of connecting with the employees and working at home. Employers need to be more flexible and its now the norm. They need to forget that they are on camera.

You need to trust people and you need to manage your business by results. By that I mean that you have to define outcomes. You shouldn’t really care too much if you are getting the results from your employees. You need to be able to manage people and you need to communicate. You shouldn’t worry too much about employee productivity. You need to get your team on board with your strategy which will always change depending on what is going on with COVID. We cannot plan too much ahead. You should plan some small goals and then go from there.

You need to work out which things you do well and which you don’t. And then you can work out the time and you need to get some exercise. You don’t need to have too much ZOOM meetings all the time but you do need to meet them once a week. Time is not relevant but you do need to know how your employees are feeling. Your behaviour needs to be good in order for employees to be good and treat the company well.

10 wellness tips to help you with working from home

Here are 10 wellness tips to help you with working from home.

close up photography of woman sitting beside table while using macbook
Photo by Andrew Neel on

Schedule your workouts depending what you time you work best.

For some people that would be in the afternoon and for others it would be in the morning.

Support small businesses

This could be when you’re out (for the four reasons- exercise, study or work, medical and caregiving and buying food) or online. It could be that takeaway coffee or pastry or some local handmade thing.

Instead of the supermarket why not give a local greengroccer and the butcher a go?

Get up every hour from your desk and go for a stretch

This is a good idea for you to go and make that cup of tea or do some housework chores. Something to break up your working day. We did this in the city so why not bring the same things home?

Aim to have the same amount of protein at home as you do in your normal working day

Hence this will make the transition smoother from working in the office and at home to vice versa. So if you are used to having a lot of protein and snacks keep to that

The push-up challenge

We did this in May and found it very useful. Here you did 250 push-ups a day for three weeks. It was awesome and a good way to beat mental health.

Keep to the same working hours if you can

This is a good idea for everyone and it keeps everyone sane. If you go all different hours it’s hard to keep up with your work as everyone is always distracting you. Thus your colleagues and clients will know when you can meet them.

Pace yourself

Do one hour of work and then take a break. You need breaks throughout the day to keep you focused at home.

Don’t forget to hydrate

Just because you’re at home working does not mean that you can forget to hydrate. When you have your breaks go up and get that glass of water or tea.

Sleep properly

Make sure that you get 7-8 hours of sleep every night

Dress in your work gear

For some people that might be very casual gear depending on the type of work that you do. Obviously don’t work in your PJ’s as your body will think that its sleep time and not work time. If you work in office wear, wear that and your body will think that its going to work.

Easy vegetarian bake

Now that meat is sort off the menu with the abattoirs all down, we figured that we’d do a vegetarian bake with eggs and whatever vegetables we have at home. Eating vegetables and lots of it is good for you and we should be having five serves of it a day. In this vegetarian bake you can use all sorts of vegetables.

Eating vegetables helps to increase fiber to help get rid of waste. It is a great idea for people to have a Meat Free Monday or another meat-free day during the week.

Recipe courtesy of CookingwithKarma

The future of work post Covid

The future of work will be very different for the foreseeable fututre

According to Peakon, employee engagement is important and they must not be disengaged. Workers’ responsiveness is important and the surveys are important. Higher engagement is important for getting the best outcomes of your business. Unhappy employees will resign from that company.

People’s expectation is always changing in unprecedented times. as they are adjusting to working from home. They need to feel that their voices can be heard. We need to listen more to employees. One way of this is by giving them surveys to do and rewarding them such as a prize draw.

Peakon can help companies predict engagement and attrition nine months before. We need to reduce attrition within the companies in order to gain the best possible outcome. High turnover is not a great idea as it results to lost productivity, time and costs with hiring a new person.

Analytics is the future of work. Having data from employee surveys is important as it will lead to a much better outcome which will lead to less turnover. We need to understand the data to drive meaningful change within an organization. Employee experience is important.

Driving meaningful change is important for managers. It helps to take the pressure of HR. Management needs to drive the business forward. They should be proactive and don’t be afraid to be wrong. They need to understand correlation and data.

With these in mind, it may not be long before the company is up and running at full speed with a COVID safe plan. In the long run, that company would earn some profits post COVID! If they listen to their people and keep them happy, they will want to stay. Happier employees equate to more productivity!

Bright Virtual Running festival

Normally this race is held in Bright Melbourne and it attracts many trail runners.

Due to the Coronavirus the Bright running festival race has gone virutal. And due to Stage 4 restrictions in Melbourne they have panned it out over two weeks (100km in 10 days given that a person can only do a maximum of 10km in one hour). There are other races like the 50km and the 25km. I picked the 25km knowing that that’s what I can do given that I trained for that distance pre stage 4.

It costs $20 to enter and like other virtual races you can do this anywhere.

On Day One I ran up some hills and explored a new area known as the Afton st park. It was fun but a hard climb. Once the restrictions are eased I’d like to try for a longer run.

Day two saw me run to Lincoln park and back. It was a lovely 20C day and there were quite a few people around.

Day 3 saw me do a run around the park and up on Maribynong road and Mt Alexander Road. My fellow runners have said that the road was quite good. This road did not disappoint as it had a few walkers and runners there.

Day four saw me do another postcode run around Moonee Ponds with a very short stop in Ascot Vale at the Happy Groccer. I love to support small business as this time they are losing a lot of money due to COVID. If they lose too much money they cannot survive. They need customers to survive.

It was so much fun and I’d do it again


I saw the new Disney movie at home on the Disney Channel. Orignially it was going to be for the cinemas but due to Coronavirus they put it straight to live stream.

Directed by Niki Caro the theatrics of the movie was really good. She is from New Zealand and they are known for their good theatrics and detail.

The storyline remained the same however there was no talking dragon and there was a female witch which is played Li Gong. Li Gong is known for her role in Memoirs of a Geisha. She is known to play dramatic characters.

Based on the 1998 movie its about a woman who disguises herself as a male warrior to save her father and the kingdom from the evil Bori Khan. She is courageous and fights really well. At the training, she fails it at first and then later on passes. Later on when the other soldiers find out that is she is a woman she is expelled from the camp. At the Imperial city, she makes up and has a brilliant idea of defeating Bori Khan and the Witch.

The movie is based on being brave, loyal, and truthful. These are three pillars of Chinese Wisdom. Yifei Liu was great in playing Mulan who is brave and she defeated Bori Khan the evil warlord who defeated many kingdoms and tried to take the Imperial City by kidnapping the emperor. Donnie Yen plays Commander Tung. At first, I could not recognize him as he is older. I couldn’t recognize Jet Li as the emperor as he always fights

The movie is available on Disney Plus