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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The best meals

I am lucky to regularly eat in great restaurants all in the name of research. In the past week I have visited Glass at the Hilton, Fratelli Fresh at Potts Point and North Bondi Italian, from each of which I enjoyed scrumptious meals. But as they say, the simple meals are often the best and last night I enjoyed one of the best meals I have had in a long time. A visit to my old school saw the principal, who was my year 10 maths teacher way back in the early 1990's take myself and an old classmate who now teaches at the school to the local Italian prior to a nutrition presentation the school hosted for the parents.

The local features is your typical plastic chair, plastic flower 1980's fit out but the veal scallopine I had was one of the best I have ever tasted. So, if you are anywhere near Georges Hall, stop in and visit the crew at Lascala Italian Seafood Ristorante - you will not regret it :)

Monday, June 8, 2009

Foods that are not healthy for kids

If you have seen the new McDonald's ad on TV you could be mistaken for thinking that taking the family out for a play in the park followed by a trip to the local burger joint is a healthy thing to do. Unfortunately, while physical activity is great for kids, a high fat meal of burgers and fries is probably not the best choice to follow a family play session.

There are a number of advertisements currently been shown that send pretty mixed messages about healthy eating for kids. Take the Nutella ad for example; Nutella has a low GI because it is high in fat. A breakfast of 2 slices of toast with Nutella, milk and a piece of fruit is about double the total amount of energy a child requires for breakfast and 2 tablespoons of Nutella contains almost half a child's daily requirement of fat - so no, it is not a good breakfast choice for children.

Another example is seen in the Uncle Toby's Fruit sticks currently being plugged by none less than a sports dietitian. Each serve is packed with 16g of sugar which also means it is not such a good snack choice for children either.

It is time for food industry to stand up and take food marketing to children, directly or indirectly seriously. Featuring less than nutritionally sound food products in commercials that promote physical activity make things even more confusing for parents. Just becuase it sounds, and is made to look healthy, doesn't mean that it is.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

When things are quiet......

Every Dec/Jan, SG (my coaching psych guru buddy) and I head for a Summer holiday to drink lots of French champagne and plan out our goals for the year ahead. We love this holiday; the thought of a new year full of unlimited possibilities doesn't get much better for two highly driven, self employed, over stimulated scientists. Each year we return with a crisp new journal full of ideas, dreams and goals, completely inspired and raring to go.

Unfortunately 2009 has been less than satisfying; a slower than normal business year, laughable liaisons with disappointing men, ever increasing PAGY tax installments and business expenses, frustrating work experiences and not much on the horizon has left a pretty empty hole where my energy and inspiration is usually sitting.

So, what do you do? You can say fu*k you all and move to Queensland where there are no tolls, parking costs and a general vibe of, 'none of it really matters anyway so have another beer at the beach' - or you can take the time to turn inward and focus on what personal changes you would like to make to try and turn the need for external stimulation and gratification into something personally meaningful so you feel satisfied no matter what life, love and work throws at you.

So, I am trying and trust me, it is not easy for my ever frantic mind to take some time off. Last week I went to a farm and even had a good time with the animals, F6 and night filled with roasts, wine and a film festival and this weekend I have managed to refrain from any form of solicited social or work liaisons in an attempt to just be.

Periods of ebb after frantic flow can be challenging to deal with but are ultimately inevitable in the cycle of life and like everything how we deal with them is ultimately what will predict our individual sense of well being and happiness. And if all else fails, can I suggest you take advantage of the Jetstar savings on airfares and head to Hawaii for a couple of weeks like I am planning to because apparently a good dose of Vitamin D is also pretty good for mood.

When things are quiet......

Monday, June 1, 2009

Should we be upset that Mars Bars are smaller?

I have to admit that when I ducked out in the rain on Friday night to pick up Thai food and a block of Cadbury's chocolate that I was pretty devastated to see that the regular 250g block of chocolate had been downsized to a mere 220g, and perhaps the worst thing repackaged into some sort of box :) Then of course there were the media reports in yesterday's newspaper about the new downsized Mars Bars. How could they do it to us?

If you take a step back though, and get rid of your emotional attachment to a chunky Mars Bar snugly sitting in your tightly wrapped hand; or the memories of the family block of chocolate divided up exactly evenly between all family members, the truth is that we get plenty of food. In fact, we get way too much food.

Numerous pieces of research have shown that we will eat the serving size of food that is given to us. If we get 25-g of chocolate we will eat it, same as we will the 500g. So, all in all, reducing the sizes of our favourite treats is probably not a bad thing, especially since most of us could do with losing a few kgs!