Tech Inclusion Conference

This was a part of Melbourne Knowledge Week and I was invited to participate. Normally it is about $100 to attend for the day and drinks. This conference is for people that work in technology and how they can learn to be more inclusive and equitable to people who are multicultural, refugees, Aboriginals, women and people with disabilities.

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This years theme was inclusion, equity, and diversity and how companies can be more diverse and include everyone in there. A big theme of this was disability and mental health. There was also talk about the Aboriginal community and how they can be included in everyday society.

So how does a company employ Inclusion in their policies?

Inclusion is about making everyone feel welcome in society and in the workforce. And its about making ideas be heard. Its also about starting with everyone in mind and getting rid of the rulebook.

In Australia, we are crap at listening and learning about other people and cultures.

We need money to make ideas work and be accessible for all. Women, in particular, invest about $2000. You need to get grants and you must have a good design and purpose when applying for the grant. You should surround yourself with some good advice.

Oh, and you should take care of yourself in whatever means possible.

So how can business work with people who have a disability?

They need to uphold their reputation and they need to include everyone in. Processes and systems are changing all the time. They may have to bring in a specialist or employ some specialist technology.

You have to realize that we don’t know everything and it is normal as we are human after all.

They also need to have those difficult conversations with people and create awareness so that there is no racism and everyone belongs. They also need to have more understanding and recognize the values that people with a disability can offer such as less sick days and being more productive.

People with disabilities should be treated equally. Also, people who are transgender should be able to find jobs easily.

People with disabilities have rights and you may not be able to see their disability. These people have a hard time finding jobs. In Melbourne, there is a company called Accessibility OZ who employs people with disabilities and helps them to find jobs in the workforce.  They have been around for 8 years. They work with large corporations on creating awareness and change. At Vic Uni there are people with disabilities working there.

And those more vulnerable people

The more vulnerable people would be Aboriginals and those from another country such as Asia who are racially abused in everyday society. How do we go about educating those people that we are all just human beings?

There is a misconception that Aboriginals are the people that drink the most and that is portrayed by the media. So, of course, no one wants to employ them. There is an Aboriginal community that talks about these issues.

There is a Victoria University app which includes information for people from all sorts of different backgrounds. The team made the app with people with disabilities in mind. At Vic Uni physical signage was a challenge as not everyone can read it.

Many thanks to the organizers of the conference for inviting me. I had a lot of fun learning about stuff.


Ramadan

Ramadan is a month where Muslims fast and are not allowed to have sex. They fast from sunrise to sunset. It is in the month of May. We as health coaches should observe this as we would be coaching Muslims who want to lose the weight.

This is a holy month where self-discipline happens. A lot of Muslims gain weight by overeating, instead of losing weight.

If you are a woman who is having her period at this time, you can be excused from fasting. If you have diabetes at this time you should let the doctor, dietician, personal trainer know as your medications and exercise should be adjusted.

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We got invited to the Ramadan feast and Market in Malaysia Hall in Melbourne. Here there were some good chances for fun times and all the items sold out really quickly. People were buying up items really quickly to take home. The place was really busy at 2pm when I got there. I didn’t get to try the pink kuih which had sold out within minutes.

They didn’t have much in terms of drinks but I tried a homemade lemon tea and it was quite alright.

The Roti Jala was awesome. You can have this with sauce but I decided not to. As I had too much sauce in the nasi bungus.

The nasi bungus is anchovies, egg, nuts, sambal and rice, all in a paper wrapping. And it was plentiful for $6. The quality of the nasi bungus was soo much better than Pappa Rich. I had the bungus at Pappa rich and did not like it one bit. The sauce was really spicy and the rice had lots of coconut flavor. And this didn’t have msg.

The nuts were plentiful in this one too.

Last but not least was the pandan pancake which was a nice way to round out the meal. I got this and the roti jala together for $4.

Now you can see why the Malaysians gain weight at this time. As a coach, I would advise them to enjoy their food at this special time and keep up their exercises as well as their fluids.

I would advise them to sleep during the day whilst they are fasting and then when the fasting hours are over they could get up and do their exercises. I wouldn’t push them too hard, just simple exercises would be fine.


How to kick sugar cravings

Guys, sugar is one of the reasons why we put on weight. As an adult, according to the Australian dietary guidelines we can have between 40-90 g of sugar a day. That is according to Myfitnesspal.  This sugar includes your natural fruits.

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“People that eat too much sugar can have a risk of diabetes and other chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease” (The Conversation, 2018). Medical news today supports this idea by saying that too much sugar can cause obesity which puts people at risk of cancer and diseases such as high cholesterol

I have that odd sugar craving. Throughout the months of doing sugar-free, I have learned that added sugars are bad for you every day. On the odd occasion, it’s ok.

And its usually for cake at the Big Umbrella or chocolate Nutella pancakes. But over a few visits, I have gotten better. After all, they decided to serve hot food from their van and that’s when I got better. I’m a woman I know and as women, we get cravings around our period time.

Too much sugar can lead to an energy overdose which then if that energy is not used, can turn into fat. Because I am a runner, training for a marathon I can have a little bit more sugar but not too much.

Some tips for kicking sugar to the curb

If you want sugar grab a piece of fruit instead. Fruit has natural sugar which is good for the brain. As adults, we should be having 2 or more serves of fruit a day.

I drink apple cider vinegar daily and that helps to get rid of sugar cravings. You can buy them in Woolworths for about $5 and it will last about a month and a half.

Eat a good breakfast. A good breakfast has fiber, protein, and carbs, all of which we need for our body to perform well. I love oats in the morning

Eat regularly. Don’t wait until lunchtime or dinnertime to eat. By that time you will be ravenous. So include some small snacks at your desk such as nuts and fruits or some cottage cheese. Or you could have your shake.

Earn your sugar. By that I mean do some activity that requires lots of energy. Such as running marathons or cycling.

A little bit of sweets is ok but eating too much is bad for you. It’s better to just eat fruit and exercise or enjoy a savory snack. Leave the sweet treats for a special occasion.

Oh and if you need to lose you should kick the added sugar habit now and replace it with fruits and other savory snacks.


Week four of Precision Nutrition

This week is about protein and energy synthesis.

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It is about how we produce and transfer energy in the body. ATP is the body’s “energy currency”. It helps with almost every function in the body. We get energy from our food and nutrients that have been absorbed from food.

The body processes nutrients by oxidizing them for energy, using them to build the body’s components (ie muscle tissue), store them for later or excrete them. We don’t really produce energy according to the law of thermodynamics. The law of thermodynamics are the principles that govern energy exchange, including heat exchange and the performance of work

So how is energy transferred?

Energy moves around from one component of the body to the next one. ATP is the body’s energy currency and we need that for the body to work and for food to digest properly. For the ATP to work we need nutrients constantly. The ATP needs a nutrient called Triglycerides (fatty acids) and glycogen which is a carbohydrate.

For example if we were to have a chicken salad with avocado, the chicken would broken down into amino acids, the fats from the avocado and chicken would be fatty acids and there would be some glucose that would go to our liver and be converted to glycogen.

How the ATP makes energy

It makes it by breaking the molecules that releases energy such as your fats, carbohydrates and proteins.

The body just makes what it needs and when it needs it.

Are fat burning supplements really necessary?

The answer’s no, for a normal person it has a lot of caffeine in there and we really don’t need that much caffeine to function. For some people, too much caffeine can mean no sleep.

We normally burn fat from exercise and other body processes such as fat oxidation.

Should we have low or high carbs?

The answer’s partly yes. We need some dietary carbs to help us burn fat. We need enough glucose for our body to function. And then we talk about the Krebs cycle which is a major metabolic pathway that involves a series of enzymatic reactions that convert pyruvic acid from food into energy.

So what does that mean for the client?

They should be on a moderate to high or even a low carb diet for the Krebs activity cycle to decrease. But then again everyone is different. No two people are the same. It depends on their activity levels. Most people’s bodies are best at fat adaptation and changes in their diet.

So how do we get fat?

It’s easy to say that people overeat and that’s true to an extent. But also genes play a part. If we eat more than we burn we gain fat. Other factors can also affect our body processes nutrients.

These are:

  1. Exercise and daily movement- how much do we do and when. Are we doing 10000 steps a day
  2. Hormones- hormones play a part in how we sleep, eat, breathe, think and for females plays a part in menstruation
  3. Age- the older you are the less BMR you have. Because the older you are the more muscle you lose
  4. Genetic programming
  5. The type of food we eat- do we eat good food or do we eat junk food
  6. Body composition- are we fat, thin or skinny

Chronic illness and the burden on our society

Millions of Australians live with chronic pain, many of us which are working and it affects our jobs as there is lost productivity due to sick days. Chronic pain can be debilitating or even depressing as 40% of Australians with Chronic pain experiences.

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Most of the symptoms from chronic stems from being overweight or obese. Australia has an ageing population which means that we work longer hours than we should (often without a break)

Chronic illness and disease cost our society about $140 billion each year and the cost is rising. Chronic illness comprises of diabetes, heart disease, COPD, cardiovascular disease, POCS, etc.

According to AIPC chronic disease affects 29% of Australians in 2015. Normally people would visit the doctor and get their prescription and then go home. They would not be able to work. Doctors visits can be anywhere between $50-$90 per visit.

According to Painaustralia the cost of pain per year is $139 billion and that number is set to rise in 2050 to $215 billion.

And then there are our hospitals which are full to the brim.

What should the government do to prevent increasing costs?

  • The Government should invest in more housing for the homeless as many of them out on the street suffer some sort of chronic disease from poor diet and being out in the cold
  • The Government should pledge to increase welfare for those with chronic related disease so that these people can manage it better without having to worry about money.
  • If the Greens win the election they pledge to look after people that are poor and they pledge to increase Medicare to include dental care. And they also pledge to increase the rate of Newstart for those that are poor.
  • Make sure that everyone is paid properly and that everyone gets a break at work. And if the employers do the wrong thing, fine them heavily.
  • Increase Medicare rebates for those that can’t afford to see a GP
  • Build new hospitals especially for those in regional areas.
  • Educate people on good eating habits and offer free food to those doing it tough so that they don’t have to rely on junk to get them by
  • Close the number of Mcdonalds and other fast food places (only a small minority- we don’t need them on every street corner) and replace them with healthy food places.

What should we do to manage or prevent chronic pain?

  • Drink more water.
  • eat 2 serves of fruit and five of vegetables per day. Have some vegetarian meals week and if you are a heavy meat eater, cut back on the meat
  • Exercise- about 150 mins of vigorous activity is needed a week. Also, we need about 2-3 strength sessions a week. Marathoners need even more. Another way to incorporate exercise is to walk while you can and within the hour every hour.
  • Sleep well- we need about 7-8 hours of sleep.
  • Relaxation- Get a massage if you can or meditate, do yoga.
  • Don’t work so many hours if you can

My top ten favourite places in St Kilda

Here are my top ten favorite places in St Kilda where you can hang out as a tourist or run around.  In summer St Kilda gets really busy but we love the lifestyle here.

1) Beach
I love going there for the beach and views. You can easily spend a really good day there walking and exercising. Along the way, you’ll get to meet and pat a few cute furry friends

2) Lentils as Anything
This is a really great healthy food place. Here you can pay as you feel for some good, healthy food which is vegetarian. I love their Lentil burger as well as their curries. These curries fill you up and keeps you warm for a while.

3) Bay City Burrito
RMIT Newintstudents has blogged about this before, but did you know that they are a healthy burrito place

4) Barbeques

In summer we love barbequing everything by the beach. But you cannot bring alcohol on to the beach or at the park areas. There is a bit of a drinking problem in St Kilda and the council have banned alcohol in public places during Summer

5) The various bars and restaurants on Acland St

Acland st is always busy and very lively on Sundays and it’s worth checking out. Here the bars and restaurants offer many specials and good food. Now that the road is gone there is a bit more of a lively scene and alfresco dining.

In the past, there used to be a road there but last year the council decided to remove the road. It’s better for everyone that way as there would be fewer accidents around that area

6) The Esplanade markets on the weekend

This is really fun and you can see everything. They are only on Sundays from 10am-5pm (or less during the winter) Here they sell lots of artworks and the like. Oh, and there are some gourmet food stalls. But if the weather is bad the market will not run

7) The boats

I love to see the boats out on the sea. I love to see the boats at the Marina on a sunny day as they are fun to watch!

8) Acland St Cantina
Even though it is a junk place, you are allowed to have the odd cheeky meal or two outside. They are a Mexican place where you can enjoy some wine and great food. They do have a great nightlife here.

9) St Kilda Sea Baths and Captain Baxter
Occasionally you might want to check out the health center. Captain Baxter is a lot of fun and its a bar. They can be very crowded at the best of times but they serve good drinks and live entertainment.

10) The Fifth Corner

I have been to the Fifth Corner before and it’s an Irish pub that serves great beer. It’s best to avoid that area after dark and on Friday nights as there are always fights going on there.

Here you can enjoy your Guinness! I’m yet to have a meal there, but I heard they have some good specials going on during the week!

Hope you guys enjoy my article and I hope to see you soon in St Kilda!


Winter weight gain and how to avoid it

Let’s face it. We all put on weight over winter but its how you deal with it. This winter is no exception. Most people tend to put on weight around their middle and then want to lose it in September!

We all love our comfort foods during winter and hate exercising in the cold. But if you have a goal in mind such as a marathon, then this will help you to stick to your goal and not put on weight.

Oh and if you have a gym membership you better be committed to the gym all winter long. They have lots of group classes in there to help motivate you to stay on track.

We don’t sleep well during winter as it is too cold outside. Some people cannot afford heating.  Or some of us might be lucky and sleep really well. And then we get a cold and its inside bed for a little while. Our cortisol levels rise when we don’t sleep well and then we put on weight.

We also crave comfort foods during winter. But most of the ones outside have lots of calories in there. Some people eat more than they burn, meaning that they will gain weight easily.  In 2014 I was one of those. I went to potluck dinners, ate as much as I wanted without a care in the world. Also, I ate lunch out every day as I had uni. Did not sleep so well in winter (still don’t’) and was inactive. At most I slept about three hours per night. At that time I put on a lot of weight (mainly fat mass)

At this time we crave a lot of desserts especially chocolate. Who doesn’t love chocolate? There are so many chocolate places in Melbourne. You’ll just have to try and avoid them all.

We get dehydrated easily during the winter due to indoor heating and staying indoors.  In 2014 I had no idea about the fluids or how much I needed to drink so I mistook hunger for thirst and had as a result overeaten. Now I know that it is one liter of water for every 25 kgs we weigh and if we exercise its another 1 liter. We still need to keep our fluids up at this time as they help the body to function properly. Our gut microbiome gets stressed easily due to too much junk food and not enough nutritious foods.

In the supermarkets, there are not a lot of fresh produce and berries so people resort to the frozen or canned stuff that sometimes has more sugar in them then the fresh ones. Our bodies don’t process white sugar so well as we discovered on Sugar-free September. We can process the natural sugar just fine and bananas are in season at this time as well as apples.

Hopefully, these tips will help you to keep the weight off this winter and be flu-free. Stay healthy and avoid junk food and you’ll be just fine. Also, don’t forget to exercise.


The effect of BCAA and taking too much of it

Too much of anything is not good for you.

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In response to A current affair video about the protein shakes we wondered whether it would be good for all or just some people.

BCAA is the Branched Chain Amino Acids. We need some of it especially if we are training for an event such as the Melbourne Marathon and going to the gym. But do we really need it in everyday life? This question and debate were posted on Facebook in the Precision nutrition group as well as other groups.

The answer is no especially if you are trying to lose weight. The whey in the protein shakes can be too much for some. And we normally take protein as marathoners after a long workout. The BCAA supplements for most are too much unless you are training for something.

Your body gets them naturally from foods such as fish, chicken and other meats.

Most people have no idea what is in the powder and supplements. Some people have allergic reactions to these.

Here are the ingredients found in BCAA (according to nobbs.com)

  • L-leucine – is a branched chain amino acid known as hydrophobic amino acid and it’s an essential amino acid
  • L-isoleucine – branched-chain amino acid which we cannot synthesize so we must get it from our diet
  • L-valine – another branched-chain amino acid classified as “nonpolar”

Other ingredients

  • Silicone dioxide – food additive that is harmless
  • Citric acid – it is commonly found in powder form and citrus fruits. You might have heard about it when you got some vitamin C because many vitamin C supplements contain citric acid.
  • Lecithin – produced by your body and found in the hearth, kidneys, liver. It is mostly known for its possible aid in memory function and learning (there are a lot of supplements coming out on the market with this compound).
  • Sucralose – just another artificial sweetener that is completely harmless. I have discussed about it, here.
  • Tartaric Acid – just like citric acid, the tartaric acid is found in bananas, plants, grapes, and it’s harmless.
  • Inulin – aka diabetic sugar or no sugar, it’s a polysaccharide that is found in plants like leeks, onion, garlic. It is harmless.

 

The BCAA and whey can damage our liver and kidneys causing some issues for most people. But people take it for convenience.

And protein and BCAA for the everyday Joe is expensive. They are about $50-$70 per bottle.

Too much BCAA can have a decreased effect on how you exercise according to Fit Body supplements. Web MD also says that it causes fatigue.

In conclusion, taking too much BCAA is bad for you! Not only is it a waste of money, but it is also bad for your health. And that is for the normal sedentary person. For athletes, it would be a great idea to check up with your dietician first.


Tips for night shift workers (or those that work late)

Guys here are my tips for shift workers.

Some people work during the night shift and so their body clocks are not used to the night hours at first. But then after a while, you will be. This is true for flight attendants, nurses, hospital staff, 7-11 staff, etc.

Shift workers find it hard to balance life around their working hours but it can be done and here’s how. Shift workers need to let their friends know that they don’t have the time or the energy to see friends unless it’s on that odd day or week off.

Preparation is key.

Most supermarkets are open from early in the morning until 10pm-12amish. So there is always time for you to buy those snacks which are healthy for you. I have noticed that many people fall for the junk food hoping that it will fill them up. It does but you consume all the unnecessary calories.

You can order those healthy snack boxes or some workplaces, hospitals have these healthy vending machines that sell nuts and dried fruits.

Have a protein-rich meal before you start work. This can be your chicken salad, quinoa salad, some chicken and rice. Do some batch cooking on your days off and then you won’t have to think much about mealtime.

Other tips

Eat meals at the same time each day so that your body will get used to it.

Drink lots of water during your shift and have one coffee before it. Have any coffee later in the shift and you might not sleep so well.

Do your exercises before your shift if you can and then that way you’ll get it over and done with. Your exercises should be things that you like to do or otherwise its a chore.

Aim to get 7-8 hours of sleep during the daytime. But have the curtains closed so that you sleep in a darkened environment. Buy some earplugs to avoid the noise. Also, wear an eyemask.

Take some time to relax after work. It should be the first hour after you eat your meal. It could be watching TV or reading a good book.

Don’t drink as alcohol might cause you to be awake for a while

Make sure that you get the support that you need from your family and friends. If you can get your friend to drive you or carpool. At the end of the shift, you will be so tired.

Guys here are my tips. If you have any more please feel free to drop me a comment!


Should the Government spend more on Mental health

This article is written for Mental Health week 2019 which is from 13-19th of May.

Mental Health is about being happy and not stressed. Every year thousands of people suffer from stress which leads to depression and anxiety and they try and find a way to cope.

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Australia’s mental health services are stretched to the limit and there is only so much that the police can do. Mental illness is treatable provided that money is spent on Mental Health services for everybody.  1 in 5 Australians experiences Mental health each year!

The government should spend more on Mental health as there are not enough mental health facilities in Australia. People wait a long time just for a bed in the hospital.

According to the Conversation, there needs to be a coherent strategy for dealing with mental health across all communities. They say that the budget is a little too unfair. States vary in the services that they provide. In Melbourne city, we have a great service, but it may not be the same for other states.

Mental health services in the community may be hard to find. Most people would have to go to the emergency ward just to get treatment.

In the rural areas of Australia people are missing out on these services. This is supported by the ABC who say that more money should be spent on these things. They have to travel really far to get a bed and be properly looked after. In Tassie there no proper mental health services for adolescents. People have to travel to Melbourne for these. And places like Albury have only one mental health facility. That is Nolan house which does not have enough beds.

According to Farmonline, the government will spend about $737 billion just on Mental health alone with more alcohol and drug support services to go to regional areas.

The hospitals are always full. People either have to wait or they die waiting for service.

In the streets of Melbourne, you can sometimes hear fighting and lots of arguments. People resort to alcohol to keep them sane. In the Federal Election, the Morrison Government pledges to spend $1 billion on this service.

Kids have to wait up to 12 weeks in Headspace just to see someone and the turnover rate is really high. Clinicians are coming and going at an alarming rate and people are being turned away. People may have to see multiple clinicians. This puts them at a high risk of disengaging with the services and being suicidal.

With St Kilda’s the Gatwick closed, more and more people turn to the streets because they can’t be helped.

If the Greens win this election I would be happy as it means that the people have been listened to. We want better Medicare and Mental health services for the people that are doing it tough.

Do you think that the Government should spend more on Mental Health services? Please leave a comment below!