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.

Grow your own vegetables and herbs

Now that Covid is here and people can’t always afford vegetables and herbs. You can grow your own in your garden if you have.

This will be good for those that are in lockdown and are looking for something to do. Gardening is great for mental health.

You will save heaps of money on buying herbs and vegetables. The herbs that you grow in your garden tastes so much better than the ones that you get in store. The herbs that you grow are fresher and have no pesticide spray to them. And its the same for vegetables that you grow.

These are easy to grow and they will last a few years. But you will need some space to grow them. If you live in an apartment block why not have a shared vegetable and herb patch? You would just need to get the landlords permission to do so.

You can buy all the seeds and seedlings from your local nursery. If it’s your first time you could get some advice from the nursery staff about what to grown and when to grow them. You would need to make your own planter and you can buy the materials for that from your local hardware store. Bunnings have some great advice on how to do this.

Oh, and you will need the discipline to water them most days. But now that you are home you can do so. And you can watch them grow. Watching them grow gives you sheer happiness.

Iso weight gain: how to lose all that weight in iso

We have all been in lockdown and with things slowly starting to open up we want to lose some of that weight.

Many of us ate unhealthy during iso, whether that would be too much-processed foods or baking. We also did not do enough exercise and for some of us, we didn’t really sleep well.

In an article by Daily Mail, many Britons ate too much chocolate and biscuits during iso.

How to lose that weight

  • In some states and countries, gyms have reopened. But they have strict social distancing rules. So try to plan your time wisely. If they are not do go out for a walk (that’s if you’re allowed to).
  • Get a better night’s sleep. We need about 7-8 hours of sleep each night
  • Drink more water. By doing so you are helping the liver to flush out all the unwanted toxins. We should drink about 2-3L each day. If you are not used to drinking much go small and then increase the amount slowly.
  • If you don’t already add more fruits and vegetables to your diet. Adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet will make you fuller for longer. And don’t forget the proteins and carbs for each meal. You should go for wholefoods if you can.
  • Cut back on the alcohol as it is dehydrating.
  • Stress less if you can and just be happy.

Don’t try any of those quick fixes as you’ll never get the results that you want. You’ll crash and burn that way. Its best to start changing your habits for the long run and then the weight will come off slowly.It may take about a few weeks to see any real change.

How to live frugally during Coronavirus times

Photo by Skitterphoto on

The Government has given you about $3000 per month to spend on the necessary things you need to live on. In Australia its the Jobkeeper payment. There are many things that have been closed due to lockdowns so you need to live frugally now. You don’t know whether you’ll have a job by the end of this and the payments are due to end in September.

Rent eats up most of your budget- Its around $1310-$1500 for just a one bedroom place.

Pay all the things that you have to pay on time like your rent and bills. If you pay them late they will charge you a late fee. Thinking of cutting down on the cost of your electricity? Cut down on the things that you don’t need such as leaving the light on all the time. Ask to pay for everything annually as you’ll save some money.

As for the washing, I like to do mine just once a week to save on water.

Go on a $120 grocery shop challenge. Buy everything on special or at the manager’s special as they are usually cheaper. Buy instant coffee and just enjoy that at home. If you earn Coles gift cards why not use those?

Don’t go out much for dinner or cafe food. If you do see if you can buy a Groupon or two. Remember you only have $300 to spend on dining out and takeaways and coffee out. You can always use the gift cards that you have for dining out.

Do extra tasks for a bit of cash. Who knows you might need it for this year’s Christmas as by that time you might not have a job.

July 4th- Independence Day

July 4th is Independence day. We cannot spend Independence day together because of the coronavirus restrictions.

It is normally celebrated with fireworks and parties all over the US. In Australia it is celebrated at TGI Fridays with some themed specials. Of course this year at TGI Fridays there would be no such thing.

“Independence Day (colloquially the Fourth of July or July 4th) is a federal holiday in the United States commemorating the Declaration of Independence of the United States, on July 4, 1776. The Continental Congress declared that the thirteen American colonies were no longer subject (and subordinate) to the monarch of Britain, King George III, and were now united, free, and independent states. The Congress had voted to declare independence two days earlier, on July 2, but it was not declared until July 4”

(source: Wikipedia)

But luckily there is apps like zoom and Facebook where you can spend time together virtually. I feel for you. I’m lucky to be in Australia but I feel sorry for you.

So here is something from Australia to cheer you up. We would love to give you some Tim Tams to help you celebrate July 4th.

If you really wanted a small meal with just your household, you could go with a classic hotdog where you buy the bun (or you can bake your own) and buy some frankfurters. And then you could have it with potato salad and ketchup, mustard, onions and cheese.

Happy July 4th guys.

Crazy socks for docs

This initiative started in 2018 but I first heard of it when Mind Body Miko brought this up in 2019. Crazy Socks for docs is a month-long initiative to support doctors and healthcare professionals. Here you wear different colored socks and you post your pictures on Instagram.

I did this last year too and it was awesome.

The doctors and healthcare staff always feel stressed and burned out. They work long hours to keep us healthy and safe. On top of that they feel anxiety and people don’t really understand that they need their rest. In May and June I have been working super hard to fight this Covid19 pandemic and the economic losses that we face.

As we all know stress plays a huge role in our health and its important that healthcare staff stay focussed on helping to win the battle against Covid19

I loved wearing stockings on my runs just for a bit of crazy fun. I got no injuries from it because I didn’t go as fast as I would have.

Lets hope that with this Coronavirus pressure, doctors and nurses take some time off for themselves. If you can you should stay at home to help ease the pressure off our doctors and nurses.

What could you spend your Jobseeker/Jobkeeper money on

The Jobseeker/Jobkeeper is the Government support stimulus package in Australia. You get it once a fortnight. We don’t really know when this is going to end, so you should really spend it wisely

The Government stimulus is supposed to be the money that you live on whilst you are not working. Therefore expensive and excessive spending is discouraged. You don’t need the latest Bulgari perfume, expensive skincare (such as Kiels), makeup (you’re not going out), alcohol, iPad, and other expensive electronics, designer shoes and clothes, and the latest handbag.

But what you spend the Government stimulus is on food, homewares, some crockery (we don’t need the expensive Royal Doulton crockery unless it’s on special and yours is no good), medicines, basic toiletries, some work shoes, work clothes, pajamas, underwear, runners, activewear, pay your bills and your rent, etc. It should only be spent on the basics. You could buy some stationery and a laptop from Officeworks if that’s what you need for work at home.

You could also buy shares if there is enough money.

You could use that money for some DIY home improvement like buying plants for the garden, crosstitch and picture frames.

You should only be spending 10% of your government support income on restaurants, bars and cafes. I.e if you earn about $1500 a fortnight then $150 can be spent on cafe/restaurant food. You should not be going out to eat everyday.

Now there is no excuse to be going to Chadstone and shopping all day. You would most likely be in breach of the Coronavirus restrictions. I read online that in one weekend people did just that and it was 70,000 people, Never again.

Are you a Good Friend to yourself

Dr Eric Perry wrote about this topic and I asked the question about to myself about being a good friend. This topic often overlooked as we seem to be pleasing other people and not ourselves.

What is a good friend?

A good friend is someone who accepts you for who you are no matter what. They are there when times are tough and are there for you when you are happy. These days due to the Coronavirus pandemic times are very tough and it can be hard to fathom and accept yourself.

You stress about finance and wanting to be the best, so much so that you forget to care about yourself.

Being a friend to yourself is the most important relationship you’ll ever have. If you are not a good friend to yourself what are you? Being a good friend to yourself means that you can discover yourself in lots of ways.

How to be a good friend?

Just accept yourself for who you are and not what you look like. Good friends are there no matter what life brings at them. During these times we learned that what you look like doesn’t matter. Its who you are. Do something that you like

What are five things you like about yourself? Ask yourself this question.

Write them down. They could be that I like that I’m motivated to work.

The bakeoff trend: how long will this last?

We were inspired by NPR’s article to write our own.

During lockdown we baked a lot of things as people had time on their hands to do so. Some people have lost their jobs due to the pandemic so they might not have enough money to buy bread. We think this will last a while.

The New Daily says that the demand for flour has gone up and so has the cake mixes.

They were faced with the mandatory task of making breakfast, lunch and dinner when all the restaurants were shut in March.

Just before lockdown in Australia, the supermarket shelves were empty of baking products as people panic bought. Now that the restrictions are easing the baking shelves are full again. The other day I went to the supermarket needing to buy sugar and there was lots of sugar left. If I went during the panic buying season there would be none left.

Now that the lockdowns have eased people are contemplating whether to dine out or not due to the cleanliness of places. Hence baking is here to stay.

Just this week I heard that there was a second wave of lockdowns in Melbourne. I wonder if people will do more baking during that time at home. Its also school holidays in Australia so there might be a bit more baking action going on!

Could where you live be a risk for Covid19

The BMJ opinion says that people that live in low socio economic areas are more likely to get Covid19. In the past week alone we have seen an increase in Melbourne and the six hotspots are all low socio economic areas. In the world it is India, USA, Brazil and Peru that are the highest low socio economic areas with the highest rate of Covid19

So what is a low socio economic area?

That would be an area that is affected by people who are low-income earners (they mainly earn welfare). They would also have a lot of homeless people living in those areas. This area would be drug-affected. These areas have lots of fast food places due to everyone being able to afford these kinds of food.

Could obesity have a part to play in this?

The answer is yes. People from these suburbs are likely to be obese and are likely to access more junk food than those in wealthier places. Also exercise has a role in being healthy and if there are no walking paths and tracks then people will be more sedentary.

We see it in areas like Broadmeadows, Airport West, and the City of Casey. Wealthier suburbs have access to a walking trail or two.

So what should governments do to make it better?

The City of Casey said that they were looking at giving people more access to fresh, healthy food. But Governments could make access to fresh and healthy food cheaper for those that can’t afford it. Back to basics is a volunteer run programme in Melbourne where those that are disadvantaged can take some free food and other basic needs.

They should also put in more walking paths which are accessible. Then that way everyone will be a lot healthier.

National Wellbeing Week 2020

In such a devastating time where people have lost their jobs and their livelihoods, we will celebrate National Wellbeing week.

The Guardian wrote up about how one professor kept it together during the COVID19. We have been trying to keep it together but its been hard sometimes to do so.

This week we went out on runs and we tried to keep it together during these tough times. During these tough times my friend called me heaps on Instagram but I’ve been trying to block him out as I’ve been way too busy. Also he kept saying that he was bored at home.

That week I treated myself to a milkshake. Its important during these times to treat yourself to stuff every once in a while. I also treated myself to a sausage roll.

On Sunday it was really sunny so I treated myself to a run with lots of lovely buildings and sites to take in. I loved the views and gorgeous buildings.

Went to a few Les Mills webinars which has been uplifting. Also watched some What would you do scenarios. I love these scenarios as they are all about the human connection.