Is that All?

Image by orangebrompton Flicker

Image by orangebrompton Flicker

I’m well aware that there are bigger issues out there, but please can Melbourne Café owners change it up a little.

There is something about warmer weather and the spring air that gets me excited about the up coming seasonal fruits. I know its not summer, but for some reason the warm air makes me want to cook with fresh produce and fruits such as berries, apricots and peaches.

Lighter lunches seem to be my preferred choice in the warmer months and the café I went to for lunch today only had the usual chicken wraps, pies, salad’s, sandwiches and soups on offer, none stood out for me.

As I couldn’t find the food I wanted I picked up the ABC’s Delicious food magazine to get some inspiration of my own.

While enjoying my bacon, egg and cheese English muffin and drinking a lovely pot of English breakfast tea (white with half a sugar if your wondering…or if you feel like making me one) I was excited to see all the recipes with figs, tamarillos and peaches in them.

Now why can’t we have light meals like fig and prosciutto salad and  herbed lemon chicken with green beans or a simple garlic, olive oil and parsley pasta, in smaller cafes? I know the big expensive restaurants do this type of menu, but it would be nice to get this at cafes.

Italians are known for their fresh produce and range of enticing antipasto’s and afternoon delights. I know we aren’t Europe, but come on, Australia have some of the most amazing  produce in the world. Our meat and poultry are world class, just ask Sam Kekovich, our wines and cheeses are consumed all over the world and our Master Chef contestants have beaten celebrity chefs at cooking their own meals.

I just think that with the amazing spread of produce available to us, we should never feel a lack of variety when we eat out.

I know that cost and availability is to be considered, but I would like to see more creative and even simple classics such as the New York  Waldorf salad in  Melbourne cafes.

I know I can go home and make this myself, but when I go out for a meal I prefer to purchase something I can’t make or can’t be bothered making at home. It’s not that I’m lazy, its just that some of these meals have many smaller components to them and they would take a hungry, tiered person (me after work and the gym) an hour to make.

I can make a quick spaghetti, throw a quiche into the oven or make a quick Greek salad. The point is I don’t want these things for lunch when I know I’m likely to have something similar for dinner.

One café that I’m particularly impressed with is Puck Specialty Coffee on Palmerston Crescent in South Melbourne. My favourite lunch item to order is their meatball salad. It comes with 2 generously sized meetballs, a salad with greens, cucumber, tomato and fetta as well as a slice of toasted and buttered Turkish bread, delish.

The great thing about this café, is that if you can’t find what you want, they will make something up for you. Now that’s what i’m talking about. I went in one afternoon and felt like a warm pasta, they didn’t have one on the menu, a group of work friends and I suggested one that we like, penne with sundried tomatoes pesto and chicken. The next time we went in, we ordered it for lunch.

Now that’s what I call creative and simple.

What menu items would you like to see at your local café?

Exercise – A Little is Better Than None

Image by Leah Tihia Flicker

Image by Leah Tihia Flicker

It’s hard for anyone to deny the truth about exercise and just how important it is for our health and well being.There are countless magazines, apps and news stories telling us what to eat, when to exercise and how often we should be doing it.

The problem is, unless it’s summer and the air is warm and the sun still out, it’s burpee (bend down, jump your legs back, jump them forward then stand up and repeat) hard to stay at the gym.

I had no issue in getting to the gym (besides traffic) last night. The problem popped up half way through my step class.

I wasn’t focused to begin with and when your stepping on and off a platform from the back to the side and to the front, I just lost all concentration and stopped half way through the track.

On top of that, I had to fight away thoughts like; ‘I’m so unco and why can everyone else do it’.

I had to remind myself that I’m here to improve my fitness not someone else’s (a lot goes through your mind in a matter of seconds). ‘Just get me out of here’ was another one of them,  I even turned and looked at the door, but since I was already there I decided to push on without the step for that track.

I finished the class and went on to do a one hour Pilate class. I know that anyone who has been to the gym would have had the same thoughts once, twice or several times.

The problem is we all need to exercise so how do we stay motivated when these thoughts come creeping in.

You start buy being realistic.

Biggest Looser trainer, Michele Bridges, recently spoke to Mamamia’s, Catherine Rodie Blagg, about exercise. In the article, Michelle puts it this way, “If I hear one more health club or personal trainer tell me that fitness should be fun I’m going to vomit,” she says.

Finally, an honest trainer. When I’m doing burpees, holding squats or pulling my last set of weights, I definitely don’t find it fun. It burns, I want to stop (and some times I do) but I know that in a few more seconds the pain will be over and my body will thank me later.

I believe that our mind is the biggest hurdle. We know that exercise is good for us, so what’s stopping us from doing what is best for us.

For most it’s not about loosing weight, its about being the best version of yourself that you can be, physically and mentally. Everyone has things they enjoy and dislike, yet we still need to push on and do it (the dishes, washing and any cleaning to list a few).

When these things don’t get done your home can get pretty messy. The washing basket explodes, the dishes get mouldy and your house mates start complaining.

Your body is the same as your home, when you don’t exercise your tummy struggles to fit into your jeans, you start getting sensitive towards certain foods and your hips, knees and joints start complaining.

Put all of that together and you can bet that you’re left feeling moody and grumpy.

Just like Bupa’s ‘meet the healthier you’ campaign, you should be your number one reason for wanting to exercise.

Medical practitioners and psychologist often recommend physical activities as part of the treatment in symptoms like stress, anxiety, fatigue and depression.

An article in the Canberra Times says that people living with a mental illness are at greater risk of experiencing a wide  range of physical health problems.  The opposite is also true: people living with physical health conditions such as diabetes, asthma  and heart conditions experience depression and anxiety at twice the rate of the  general population.

Read more: http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/a-healthy-mind-and-healthy-body-are-fundamentally-linked-20120429-1xso6.html#ixzz2dELvXz00

We have all heard the quote “prevention is the best medicine” so whether you do a little or a lot, some is better than none. So do what  you need to do, get up and get moving.

Start somewhere and see the link below for some tips on where to start according to your age.

http://www.naturalhealthmag.com.au/content/exercise-your-decade

Here are some types of exercise to get you started.

What’s stopping you?

Time, money a lack of knowledge?

Put your excuses aside; starting is as simple as taking a walk or doing some hand and leg circulations while sitting in your chair.

Why wouldn’t you want what’s best for you.

Good Luck and happy healthy futures to all.

Additional Recourses:

Olympic Park Sports Medicine Centre is committed to providing world class sports medicine care for everyone, from the elite athlete to members of the general public, enabling each individual to return to their desired activity as soon as injury or illness permits. See more at: http://www.opsmc.com.au/

Mind Matters special guest editor, Elaine Mulcahy, PHD,  said that a study done by the University of Georgia in the USA, found that steady-paced aerobic exercise improved the brain’s ability to solve problems and make decisions fast and effectively. Read more: http://healthfitness.com.au/mind/exercise_mental_performance.htm

Smiling Mind is a unique web and App-based program developed by a team of psychologists with expertise in youth and adolescent therapy, Mindfulness Meditation and web-based wellness programs. Smiling Mind is a free tool that will assist in improving the lives of young Australians, and is available online or as a smartphone App. In recent years, Mindfulness Meditation has surged in popularity for use in the treatment of stress, resilience, anxiety, depression and other physical and mental illnesses. – See more at: http://smilingmind.com.au/blog/#!/category/background/what-is-smiling-mind

Sequels – How Many is Too Many?

Resident Evil Banner

Resident Evil Banner

By Branka Milovic

Resident Evil – Retribution

Love it or hate it, opinions won’t kill off an action hero.

Released in September 2012, Resident Evil Retribution is the fifth film in the adaptation of Capcom’s video games series of Resident Evil.

Game six has been released and the ending of film 5, Retribution, tells us that there will be another film, but how many sequels are too many?

In the case of Alice (played by Milla Jovavich) and her ongoing battle against Umbrella Corporations T Virus, I don’t believe fans will ever have enough of seeing Milla Jovavich dressed in a skin tight body suit, kicking infected human butt.

The obsession with characters such as Alice will always get people’s attention, people want to see their hero go through trials and prevail in the end.

Writers and directors can continue resurrecting action hero’s and their villain’s because every person can relate to the struggle of good and evil, life and death.

Seeing how super human characters respond to these issues gives us hope that good will prevail; being curious creatures we want to know all about the character, we bond with them, we want to know how they grew up, we want their life story and when we know the story ends well, we as viewers will put up with bad writing, bad acting and a weak story lines.

Take the success of George Lucas’s Star Wars series, again six films, a number of  spin off books, and years of capturing audiences from all decades and millions of dollars later we still have conversations about the characters and what else might have been.

Whether you watched the Star Wars films in order of release, four, five, six, then one two, three, or in chronological order, the point is, you watched them all. You waited in anticipation; you waited in line for that 12.01am session because you wanted to be amongst the first to see it.

If you hadn’t seen it you would have nothing to contribute at your work place morning tea conversation; on top of that you would get sick of people saying “oh my god I can’t believe you haven’t seen it”

Film or book, viewers and readers can’t get enough of great characters; JK Rowling Harry Potter Series is another example.

If JK Rowling wrote an addition to the Harry Potter series I dare say, good or bad, it would sell as swiftly as Alice kills off T Virus infected humans.

What superhero do you want to see more of?