Sunday, September 12, 2010

Week 1

As I've mentioned in my previous post, I am currently on a 21 day detox by Dr. Joshi, health guru to celebs like Gwyneth Paltrow.

The gist of it is that our current food system, our demand and our attitude of putting food on a pedestal has taken it's toll on our health. We want the food that we enjoy to be available all the time even if it means that it has to be harvested while still unripe and flown 10000km to reach our supermarkets. Or our consumption and demand for sugar which has gone up has pushed industries to create artificial and cheaper forms of sugar ie. high fructose corn syrup. I understand that the usage is banned in commercial products in Australia but very commonly used in confectionary production in the US. Our bodies were never meant to process all these 'chemicals'.

So, the plan is-
  • No wheat or gluten products
  • No red meat
  • No fruits except organic bananas. Reason being sugars even natural sugars do not allow our body to break down our fat stores as the body will prefer sugar as a source of energy
  • No junk food, chocolate, char siu pau etc
  • No vinegar, ketchup and sauces
  • No yeast products
  • No coffee or black tea
  • Eat lots of fresh produce

It may sound like a no brainer but having a plan and alternatives helps.

I remember during the end of the 1st week of the detox last year, I was feeling fantastic. This time, not as much. I'm a bit disappointed but there may be a few things that could be the reason. I need to wake up at 4am for work. I had a few naughty moments. A few of them justifiable.

Learning how to use fennel, parsnip and kale.
Decrease in sugar cravings.
Making my own vegetable stock for the first time.
Rediscovering my love for cooking. I lost interest in cooking for most of winter. I got so desperate that I resorted to an Indian catering service for meals. I had Indian food for a good 2 weeks!

Not so fun times
Preparing beetroot. Geez, it should come with a warning sign. Amateurs/ clumsy folks stay away! I used a hand held mixer to pulverize the boiled beetroot into soup and I ended up with a crime scene.
I’m wishing so badly for a plate of combination broken rice.

Onto week 2....

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


Dear all,

Winter has officially left us but it almost seems like he (I'll use he as I dont agree with how all the natural disasters are given lady names) is being a big bully and is refusing to let the other kids like Spring have fair play time in the playground.

So, what have I been doing over this winter?

The only thing that makes up for the crazy amount of driving I do with work is the chance to explore suburbs I would otherwise not got to. This is from a shop in Dandenong, home to many Indians and Afghan. The first picture is from a lil restaurant that does lunch, buffet style for $9.50. When I first saw the sign, I was stoked. What a bargain! Then I realised that I only had 5 dishes to choose from. Yet, being the Asian I am, I had 3 servings.! Score!!!

Lovely bento set I had at Yamato, CBD

This is the epitome of great things in small packages. At first glance, you sort of go yea, cute but really, how awesome can it be until you take a bite into one of these babies. The luscious semi-sweet bun encapsulates a liquid gold made of savoury, rich salty egg yolk. At Crystal Jade, CBD

Now, this is amazing home cooked goodness. Cheers to the Seow household.

A Vietnamese entree dish. It comes with different hams, a fresh salad, rice paper rolls and my favourite of the lot, mung bean muffins at Richmond

Pan fried barramundi on a bed of couscous and grilled vegetables at Mocha Joes, Glen Waverly

Now, this sums up winter beautifully. Fresh almond croissant with a cuppa at Sugardough Patisserie, Brunswick. Im not sure why my almond croissant got stabbed. Im quite sure the French wont do that.Where is the élégance ?

Forgot I had a work site assessment the other day. I ran out of clean black socks so I thought I'd pay tribute to the King of Pop.

My palate has obviously enjoyed all the rich and yummy food but my digestive system hasnt. I'm having every foodies nightmare....a sensitivity towards wheat, lactose and other good stuff. So, I'm having a springcleaning of my digestive system so that I can eat all the good stuff when I head back home end of this year. Haha, a bit ironic I know, it's like let's clean the house so that we can mess it up real good later. So, I am currently on a 21 day detox by Dr. Joshi. I did this once last year and felt amazing. It is a detox system based on ayurvedic principles and plain getting back to simple, fresh food. I will be writing about my progress to keep me on track and hopefully inspire some people to have a go at it.

Much love,
Michelle, 11 degrees

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Melbourne's weather sucks!

Dear all, sorry for the lack of updates.

It's slightly stressful times at the moment. Adding to the lack of sunshine, I am in the middle of transitioning. I won't let out too much yet just in case I jinx myself.

Stay tuned. This blog will pick up as the weather does.

Much love,
Michelle, 11 degrees

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

It ain't easy being a hippie

So, what is a hippie? Flower power? Drugs and rock and roll? Tree hugger?

I never knew what exactly defined a hippie. It’s a fun word to throw around and I may have used it quite loosely at times but having Fitzroy and Carlton as my ‘hood’, I am slowly unveiling the true meaning of a hippie. I can proudly say that I am a hippie wannabe. It’s not so much the dressing or the clichés that I am into but more the philosophy of it. It emphasizes a life of love, freedom and peace. It emphasizes on small changes all individuals can do to make a difference. It emphasizes on not giving into the pressures of big corporations or giving into pressures to conform.

In terms of food (haha I’ve just noticed my blog has a huge food theme), I love the idea of slow food. Slow food as compared to fast food. I try to buy seasonal organic fruits and vegetables as much as I can. I’m trying to cut down on my meat intake and am eating more tofu instead. I try not to buy imported food.

My favourite shop at the moment is the Friends of The Earth Food Co-op on Smith Street. You can read more about what their about here:

I go there at least once a month to stock up on food staples like grains, tofu, milk and peanut butter. Yes, peanut butter is an essential. Do not judge!

I usually bring my grocery bags along as plastic bags are a big no-no but I forgot to the other day. They kindly pointed out that I could use one of the boxes provided. And so I did. Take note that it’s about a 30 minute stroll back to my place. So, there I was, carrying my box, smiling smugly with my pro-earth life choice. 5 minutes in, my nose was itching and I had no spare hand to ease my itch. 10 minutes in, my arms were aching. People were staring. Well, let’s just say my fashion theme for the day was comfort and practicality. And I hit the tipping point. I succumbed. I walked into Woolies, bought a small item and grabbed a few extra bags to bag my other items. And I threw the box away. I THREW THE BOX AWAY, along with my pride and my pro-earth statement. Arghhh, I am ashamed.

I guess I’ll save the earth some other day.

Beautiful, non mass produced peanut butter aka product code 21

Much love,
Michelle, 11 degrees

Thursday, July 15, 2010

A Belated Father's Day Dedication

Well, I've written a lil tune to thank my dad for all that he's done. I love you Dadu!

Sorry for the crazy hair flippin' action.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Eat. Pray. Eat

I’m reading the book Eat Pray Love and hoping to finish it by the time the movie screens in cinemas. I’m averaging about 10 pages per week at the moment. I think I’m on track.

It’s no surprise that it’s a bestseller. Elizabeth Gilbert presents such an honest vulnerability and a gamut of emotion. I actually do LOL*, tinkering on a ROFL* at times. The book chronicles her journey of self discovery after a tumultuous divorce where she finds herself eating herself crazy in Italy, finding zen in India and falling in love in Indonesia.

I guess a lot of women can relate to her journey. I can too. The eating part is self explanatory but I’ll explain how I can relate to her as she looks for inner peace. She writes about how she finds it so difficult to be still and achieve zero thoughts while meditating in an Indian ashram.

I’ve been attending Ashtanga Yoga classes for awhile now. It’s a dynamic mix of different asanas and breathing techniques. Artee, our instructor consistently reminds us to focus on our breathing and ‘zone out’ by focussing on a point in front of us. I struggle to turn off my brain chatter. I’m sure I’m not the only one but that doesn’t make me feel any better. Telling myself not to think of anything is just counterintuitive and makes my thoughts race even further from zen island. In front of me is a glass wall with abstract frosted designs on it. I focus on a point and it starts looking like…….char siu pau (BBQ pork bun)! Another part of the class which always makes me chuckle is when we move from a pose where we stand on our toes and drop down into a squat. As the class approaches the squat, you can hear a series of knees going POP…pop..pop…POP POP POP as it resonates through the class. The acoustic memory part of my brain somehow relates that to the sound of juicy charchoal-grilled chicken wings being snapped at the joints. Oh, how I miss home.

Well, it's soup for dinner....again. Sigh.

*for you baby boomers, LOL is abbreviation for laugh out loud and ROFL is abbreviation for rolling on the floor laughing

Much love,
Michelle, 14 degrees

Thursday, July 8, 2010


I have a new found obsession! I'm in love with all things Japanese. Ever since arriving in Melbourne, I have been on the look out for good authentic Japanese food. From a roll of good sushi, you can almost sum up the Japanese philosophy. Clean, simple, fresh. I've also grown fond of the culture.

From Malaysia to Australia, I have gained amazing insights into different cultures and a very different lifestyle. I have discovered a more confident self in Australia, embracing the boisterous nature of the people here who are ever more than willing to share their opinions on all matters.

Albeit loving the energetic spirit, I find myself mellowing down. I'm not even sure whether I am allowed to use that word considering I am still very much a neophyte in this world but I do feel a sense of seeking a genteel way of life.

Hence, I have taken up Japanese lessons. I had my very first lesson yesterday and I have never had so much fun learning. I can very well say it was the first time I was excited about homework. The class is small and the centre believes in teaching Japanese the way Japanese would learn it. So, that pretty much means you go into your first class and the sensei starts conversing in Japanese with you. I found the approach very refreshing. None of the patronising stuff where you start learning about "John is a boy. This is a ball. This is John's ball". It was an instant immersion of culture. She would use Japanese to teach us hiragana and repeats the questions in different ways until we see the pattern. Obviously we looked like lost tourists half of the time, trying to decipher these sounds coming out from her mouth. She had the patience of a saint and great body language skills. I reckon I enjoyed it so much because it felt like a good game of charades.

Anyways, I'll leave you with these pictures of our bento boxes before class and a sunflower my sensei drew on my homework for ahem.. excellence in not looking like a complete fool in Japanese 101.

Much love,
Michelle, 14 degrees